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Category Archives: Ingredients

The Sketchy Deal

This one came about during the election season as a way to artfully pair a shot and a beer in the same glass.

  • 1 oz bourbon of your choosing
  • .5 oz Aperol
  • .5 oz lemon juice
  • .25 Marie Brizard orange liqueur
  • 2 oz brown ale or similar roasty, malty beer

Build in order over ice in a double old fashioned or collins style glass, garnish with a wedge of lemon. The finished product is slightly bitter from the Aperol, malty and chocolaty from the ale with a nice citrus pop in it from the remaining ingredients.

Mexican Chocolate Toddy

At home and a little at work I’ve recently been working with chocolate in some of my drinks trying to find both a thicker desert style drink and also a hot seasonally appropriate but innovative drink that isn’t necessarily for after dinner. The following finds a happy medium between the two. After experimenting through a bottle or so and finding that chocolate for baking or eating doesn’t dissolve how I would like (it clumps and falls to the bottom, leaving an unsightly sludge of sweetness in the glass) and knowing that chocolate syrup isn’t the taste I was after I tried using some Fee Brother’s Chocolate Bitters. It worked like a charm, I had created a drink that was both chocolaty and transparent, without any unwanted sedimentation.

  • 2 oz cinnamon infused tequila*
  • .5 oz cayenne-thyme syrup
  • 6 dashes Fee Bro’s Chocolate Bitters
  • 15 drops Bitterman’s Habanero Shrub
  • 2-3 oz hot water (to taste)
  • 1 oz lightly whipped heavy cream
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

Build all of this in the order posted in a steaming hot footed glass mug, with the cream floating on top of the mixture and the cinnamon as a garnish. You can let the cream fall into the mixture, rounding out the flavor more over time, or you can mix it all together in the beginning, I prefer to let it sit and watch it change over the course of drinking it.

*For cost effectiveness I used Sauza Gold, to each 750ml bottle I added 10 cinnamon sticks and let sit 4-5 days until the tequila turned a dark reddish color.

Falernum

After a break from posting for a while, due in part to not having easy access to the internet and taking a few weekends out of town I thought that a falernum recipe that I quite enjoy would be in good order. Falernum is a tiki-ish cordial from the Caribbean that can be consumed on its own over rocks or mixed into a variety of other libations, from lemonade to whisk(e)y drinks:

  • peel of 4 limes, with as little pith as possible
  • 10 oz aged rum (I used Chairman’s Reserve)
  • .5 oz amaretto
  • 60 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 cup sliced ginger
  • .75 cups demerara sugar
  • 3 oz boiling water

Mix the first six ingredients and let soak for at least one day, preferably 2 or more, make a rich syrup out of the sugar and water, strain rum mixture and add syrup, use this in a 4:3 ratio with fresh lime juice. I left the lime juice out of the recipe for the purpose of storing this long term, so that it wouldn’t risk rotting or souring at room temperature. You can mix the whole of your batch with lime juice in the beginning for ease of drink making if you want, just be sure to store it in the refrigerator. 

The Season

After dinner the other night I was looking around the bar trying to figure out a good dessert/nightcap drink and came across this rye based darkly flavored concoction:

  • 2 Rye Whiskey
  • 1 Campari
  • .5 Creme de Cassis
  • 2 dashes Fee Brother’s Aztec Chocolate bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura

Stir all of this over ice and strain into an old fashioned glass, top with a twisted orange. This is definitely not a drink to have before a meal or during a hot day, this is much better on a cool night after a heavy meal.

Rhapsody in Orange

Here’s another strong but easy drinking one for summertime. This is a variation on a light rum old fashioned with the addition of some other liquors for some more layers of flavor:

  • 2 oz light rum
  • .5 oz cognac
  • .25 oz mint syrup
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 1 dash old fashioned bitters
  • splash green Chartreuse
  • 1 lime wedge

Muddle the rum, cognac, and lime wedge, add the syrup and orange bitters. Wash a chilled coupe or cocktail glass in the Chartreuse, stir mixture over ice and strain, float a lime wheel on top and dash the old fashioned bitters on the wheel. If this is too strong or you want a highball feel free to put this on the rocks with some tonic, the base still shines through with a lot of character.

I’ve played with this a decent amount using both Remy Martin VSOP and Hennessy VS, peppermint syrup and chocolate mint syrup, Regan’s and Angostura orange bitters, and Fee Brother’s and Angostura old fashioned bitters, and both Chartreuses. My preference so far is with Hennessy, peppermint syrup, Angostura bitters for both kinds, and green Chartreuse. This makes for the most aromatic and layered cocktail in my opinion.

The 8-hour Work Day

The barrel that I was using for the Cocky Yamazaki reached the end of its ability to properly age that cocktail in a timely manner, so I bottled the last batch and put some gin in the barrel. I had a mini tasting of a bunch of different white liquors, heavy on the gin, all with a dash of the Cocky Yamazaki in them to simulate what the aging process would do to them. Out of the seven or so trial glasses Bombay Sapphire came out the winner, I barreled it and after ten days it was ready to be used:

  • 2oz Aged Bombay Sapphire
  • .5oz Lillet Blanc
  • .5oz dry vermouth
  • 1 roasted old fashioned cured orange wheel

Stir and strain the liquors into a chilled cocktail glass, top with the orange.

To cure the orange: slice 1 large navel orange into about 10 slices, grill over a flame for 2 minutes on each side, then soak in a bath of 1.5oz bourbon, .5 oz honey, and 4-5 dashes of black-peppercorn-rosemary-grapefruit bitters for 3 hours or so.

As the drink sits in the glass more and more of the old fashioned cured orange seeps into the martini,  changing it considerably from a strong and dry first sip to a much more mellow and sweeter final sip. The orange is an interactive garnish and ought to be eaten to finish the drink up.

Raba

This is number two in the series of sake, and for this one we’ll have a variation on the mule that I’m calling Raba, which is Japanese for mule. This also incorporates a wash of chartreuse, which I have become fond of in that last month or so. Don’t forget that with a wash you only want enough to get a subtle hint of it in there, it shouldn’t be a strong flavor component. So, without any more ramblings, here we go:

 

Add to an old fashioned glass that has been washed in green chartreuse and filled with ice:

  • 2 oz Nigori Sake
  • 1 oz London Dry Gin
  • 1 dash of Regan’s orange bitters
  • top with spicy ginger beer
  • garnish with a lime

This would also make a good lunchtime or early afternoon highball if you didn’t want it to be as strong as this.

Lotus-eaters

I went on a prolific sake kick the other day and made so many new drinks that Bourbon is my Spinach will be putting out a short series of sake based cocktails. For part one, I present the Lotus-eaters, a sweet, earthy, and close-your-eyes-in-insouciance-for-the-external kind of drink:

noun: a person who leads a life of dreamy, indolent ease, indifferent to the busy world; daydreamer.

  • 2 oz nigori sake (I used Rihaku Dreamy Clouds)
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz honey lavender syrup (equal parts honey and strong lavender tea)
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • 1 dash black peppercorn/rosemary/grapefruit bitters
  • 2 slices cucumber

Muddle the cucumber into the sake and vermouth, add bitters and syrup, stir over ice and strain into chilled white wine glass, garnish with a lemon twist or floated cucumber slice. I recommend a wine glass so that the drink can be swirled as the solids in the sake will eventually start to sink to the bottom, though, the cocktail will also work in a coupe or cocktail glass.

In the Second Degree

Oh gin! I’ve waited all winter to pick you up from the store and order you in the bar, and it has been a long wait (Lou Reed sang a good blues about gin and how sad it is when its gone). Now your time is here though, here’s a take on a gin old fashioned:

  • 1.5 Bluecoat or similar gin
  • 2 splashes simple syrup
  • 2 splashes cognac
  • 1 splash orange juice
  • 2 dashes lemon bitters
  • 4-5 basil leaves

Muddle the basil and gin in a shaker, fill with ice, top with remaining ingredients, stir, and serve up. Garnish with a sprig of basil and orange twist for a smooth, slightly sweet creation.

Alex’s Two Wheels

With the blooming of all the dogwoods recently I felt compelled to make something that reminds me of growing up in Florida, so I grabbed some grapefruit juice and whiskey and started mixing:

  • 1.5 Rye Whiskey
  • .5 St. Germain
  • .25 coriander ginger syrup
  • 2 splashes grapefruit juice
  • 1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
  • 1 dash lemon bitters

Stir over ice and strain into chilled coupe glass. No garnish is needed, and this could also be served on the rocks as a punch. This is sweeter than most of my drinks, but not cloyingly so, with light citrus, and crisp.

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