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Category Archives: Bourbon

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.

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.

The Rosy Crucifixion

For the impending start of spring I figured that I would put out a champagne topped cocktail, but would keep it true to my own heart with a strong measure of whiskey:

  • 1.5 Bulleit bourbon
  • .5 Cointreau
  • 6 dashes Angostura
  • 6 dashes Peychauds
  • 4 champagne

Stir the first four ingredients over ice and pour into a white wine glass (a flute won’t hold the whole cocktail), top with the champagne, and garnish with a healthy lemon twist. Cheers.

Bufala Negra

This is a refreshing and kind of tangy recipe that my friend and fellow tender from lyrics libations and life brought to my attention:

  • 1.5 oz bourbon
  • 4 basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • ginger ale

Muddle the basil, balsamic, sugar, and bitters in an old fashioned glass; add bourbon; fill with ice; and top with ginger ale, giving it a gentle stir. If you want to you can garnish it with a sprig of basil. Let me know how you like this and what you pair it with.

This is similar to a shrub, which is a spirit mixed with a vinegar based fruit syrup, popular in colonial times and in New England. I’m working on an Asian pear shrub, so stay tuned for that in the upcoming week or two.

Foghorn Leghorn

The other day I was looking around the kitchen trying to think of some combinations for some winter and harvest time bitters I would like to make, I found little inspiration because my mind was still on bourbon and finding more good things to add to it. So, instead of using the veggies I came across for salads or bitters, I grabbed a red bell pepper and told my chef that I could make something tasty with it. He didn’t seem too convinced until I shook this up for him:

  • 2 square inches red bell pepper
  • 1.5 bourbon
  • .5 Pimm’s No. 1
  • .5 coriander-ginger syrup
  • splash soda

Muddle the bourbon and the pepper in a shaker, cover in ice, toss in the Pimm’s and syrup, shake hard. Strain into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass and top with a splash of soda. This drink doesn’t need any garnish as the shaking produces a fine white head of about a quarter inch, but if you would really like to garnish it I would suggest a couple kernels of corn or a cucumber with a sprig of cilantro. 

This is something that would, in my opinion, best be enjoyed before a meal, or with delicate foods. The pepper comes through mostly in the aroma but there is a soft earthy note of its flavor on the finish, and it can easily be overpowered by oils, creams, and even light fish. I would call this a drink to have with fresh salads or warm baguettes. 

The Ginger Rogers

I usually try to stay away from Maker’s Mark because there is such a selection of better quality, dryer bourbons at the same price point, also calling out Maker’s is just calling out a name that has been marketed to you in such a way that it sticks in your head. For this occasion I chose Makers though, as it happened to be the best fit for the mixings. This is a simple, easy to down, easy to pair cocktail which went over well with both my customers and coworkers:

  • 1.5 Maker’s
  • .5 Canton
  • .25 Cointreau
  • .25 fresh lime
  • 2 Dashes Regan’s Orange or Fee Brother’s West Indian Orange Bitters
  • Twist of orange for oil

Combine liquids over ice in your shaker and shake the hell out of it to get the ice chips floating on top, strain into a chilled coupe glass and burn a spritz of orange oil over the top. Serve.

The heavy shaking is important, without those ice chips on the top of the drink it seems to lack longevity and evolution through the drinking process. A good cocktail in my mind is one that matures between the first sip and the last drop, without changes in the taste, feel, or complexity we might as well just be drinking vodka shots and cheap beer and join a frat.


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