Recipe: 2015 Kentucky Derby Cocktails

We all know that the official, real deal drink of the Derby is the Mint Julep. Any suggestion otherwise borders on blasphemy within the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and is most likely met with reluctance elsewhere. Realizing full well that not everyone digs bourbon-based drinks, here are a few alternative cocktail recipes for your consideration…. aaaaaand some bourbon based variations. (Also check out the recently-published Grandstand Julep recipe.)

Affirmed WindsorAffirmed Windsor
1.5 oz. Oolong tea-infused Bushmills Original
1 oz. Noilly Prat dry vermouth
1 oz. Amaro Meletti
2 dashes Scrappy’s orange bitters
expressed lemon

Add first 4 ingredients to a mixing glass, stir with ice for 15 seconds, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Express lemon oil from peel over cocktail, rim glass with lemon and drop in.

Silver Cucumber Gimlet
1.25 oz. Nolet’s Silver Dry gin
0.75 oz. fresh lime juice
0.5 oz. simple syrup
dash celery bitters
cucumber and basil (for garnish)

In a mixing glass, muddle cucumber and basil with syrup and lime juice. Add Nolet’s Silver, celery bitters, and ice. Shake well and serve up in a martini glass. Garnish with a long slice of cucumber and fresh basil leaf.

Kings horsesAll The King’s Horses
0.5 oz. Grey Goose Le Melon
1 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. St. Germain
1 jalapeno

Muddle one slice jalapeno in a shaker. Add remaining ingredients and shake vigorously. Strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice and top with soda and jalapeno garnish.

Aperol Spritz
3 parts Cinzano Prosecco
2 parts Aperol
1 dash Soda
ice and a slice of Orange

Add ice and a slice of orange, pour in the Prosecco, the Aperol and add a dash of soda. This avoids the Aperol settling at the bottom.

SilverCupSilver Cup
1.75 oz Tincup Whiskey
0.5 oz Lustau Pedro Ximénez sherry
0.25 oz Peach Street Distillers peach brandy
8 mint leaves

In a julep glass, muddle the mint leaves with the sherry, then add the rest of the spirits and pebble ice. Swizzle, then add more pebble ice (forming a mound) and three mint sprigs for garnish.

Recipes: 2015 Spring Cocktails

The nation is thawing itself out from another weird and wild winter. Flowers are starting to bloom out, the sun is staying up a bit longer, the Kentucky Derby is right around the corner, and we’re worried about whether or not California is going to have enough water to make it through the summer. With this in mind, we present some cocktails to help usher in spring, and help with the inevitable welcome of summer.

Greta Garbo - 9Greta Garbo
1.5 oz Absolut Vanilla
1 oz lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
5 raspberries
bar spoon Rose Water
5 oz prosecco

Muddle 5 raspberries. Add ingredients. Shake and strain with mesh strainer into martini glass. Top with prosecco.

Pendleton Shandy
2 oz. Pendleton Whisky
1 oz. orange juice
2 oz. lemonade
your beer of choice (note: we used West Sixth’s Belgian Style Blonde)

Build ingredients directly into a pint glass or pilsner glass filled with ice. Garnish with orange slice.

image005 (1)DeLeón Salud
2 oz. DeLeon Platinum
½ oz. Palo Cortado sherry
1 oz. fresh pineapple juice
½ oz. fresh lime juice
¼ oz. passion fruit puree
1 dash absinthe
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake all ingredients vigorously with clean, cold ice. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with an orange peel.

GimletPineapple and Sage Gimlet
7.5 oz Bombay Sapphire gin
3.75 oz lime juice
3 oz simple syrup
7 sage leaves
5 oz pineapple juice

Build with ice in punch bowl and stir. Serves 5 people.

image015Sangria Flora
3 cups Sauvignon Blanc or dry white wine
¾ cup St. Germain elderflower liqueur
5 fresh strawberries (halved)
5 fresh raspberries
5 fresh blackberries
10 fresh grapes

Stir ingredients in a carafe. Let the mixture soak for 15 minutes (or longer if desired), then pour into ice-filled glasses.

peachtiniKetel One Peach-Tini
(note: Ignore the lame name. This one’s pretty dang good!)
1.5 ounce Ketel One vodka
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1.5 ounce white tea
2 dashes lemon bitters

Steep the white tea with white cranberry juice and raspberries. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and shake with ice. Double strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and raspberry.

Review: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, Editions Six and Seven

ECBPThe barrel proof expressions of Elijah Craig have certainly cultivated a cult following in its own rite over the past few years. With proofs varying in all sorts of dimensions throughout the series, we figured it was time to take the most recent pair for a test drive.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, Edition Six – Each release in the series is 12 years of age, but you certainly wouldn’t know it by the heat of this monster. At 140.2 proof, we’re entering Stagg territories of alcohol content, and boy does it show. Mike Tyson-like punches of wood on the nose with a bit of mint, and the body is all oak, toffee, and pepper. Perfect winter snowstorm drinking, even taking it down a notch with a splash of water. A- / $65

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, Edition Seven – A sharp contrast to round six, this weighs in at 128 proof and is by far the runt of the proof litter (most have been firmly in the middle 130s). However, this cut in proof shows just how beautiful and versatile ECBP can get when the heat gets turned down a bit. Lots of vanilla sweetness balanced with some dark fruit and oak on the taste. A little bit of burnt char on the body and it finishes with a fruit and spice after taste and a nice lingering burn. Definitely not the best of the bunch, but far from the worst either. B+ / $65

heavenhill.com

Cigar Review: Oliva Serie V Liga Especial Double Toro

Editor’s Note: We’re trying something new here at Drinkhacker in the form of cigar coverage, with a specific focus on spirits pairings. Want more? Let us know your thoughts!

If you’re a cigar connoisseur, there really isn’t a “bad time” or “off season” to be enjoying cigars. But let’s face it, cigar fans: there’s something truly blissful about smoking a cigar outdoors in the cool early spring or late summer evenings. We’re lucky enough to be partnering with our pals at the Famous Smoke Shop for the first installment of a new series pairing some of their favorites with some of ours.

Double Toro

Oliva Serie V Ligero Especial Double Toro – At first I was a bit apprehensive about the Serie V. The Serie G Special G I recently smoked left me a bit underwhelmed, especially given the price paid. However these thoughts were easily and pleasantly remedied by this little number. The reasonably consistent draw brings out warm tones of black pepper, dark cocoa nibs, and rich espresso grounds with very little effort. It’s quite heavy on the smoke produced, so those surrounded by folks with an aversion to cigar smoke may want to find a comfortable place free of protest before indulging.

Suggested Pairings: If you’ve got the bottle, or the money and inclination to find one on the secondary market, this was an absolute perfect match with Booker’s 25. Failing that, the original Booker’s would serve nearly as well. The matching of this strong and very present bourbon helps to bring out the intensity of the Double Toro, and they dance with one another beautifully with every draw and sip. Should Scotch be more along the lines of your tastes, this definitely pairs well with the classic, easy-to-find Lagavulin 16 or the equally venerable Laphroaig 10 year. Finally, beer drinkers will find that the newly released Abyss Aged Stout from Deschutes will bring out the espresso/chocolate notes of the cigar quite nicely.

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Jalapa Valley Ligero

A- / $46 (per 5 pack) [BUY IT NOW]

Review: Beers Of West Sixth Brewing

When most drinkers think of Kentucky, bourbon is usually the first word to roll off the tongue. However, the Bluegrass state has quietly enjoyed the emergence of several quality microbreweries over the last few years. In the first of what I hope to be a series, I’ll be traveling through my old Kentucky home to sample what’s happening on the beer scene. First up is West Sixth. The subject of a somewhat comical lawsuit from Magic Hat, West Sixth Brewery has been making some interesting beers in its three years of existence, with several offerings in the development stage that could bring more national attention. Distribution has been limited regionally, but they’re looking to expand later this year. We figured it was a good time to check out the core lineup, as well as a special brew exclusive to its home base bar.

West Sixth Brewing India Pale Ale (IPA) – The inaugural offering from the brewery and the one that spawned the Magic Hat lawsuit, this earthy offering has hints of pine, grass, lemon and some citrus on the back end. A bit of malt comes through at the finish. 7% abv. B+ / $10 (per six-pack)

AmberWest Sixth Brewing Amber Ale –  This is a mildly malted Amber Ale that is big and crisp on rye with a bit of chewiness. A very sharp and savory finish makes it immediately enjoyable and tough to put down. 5.5% abv. A- / $10 (per six-pack)

West Sixth Brewing Lemongrass American Wheat – Like Bell’s Oberon this is a citrus-heavy wheat beer that is incredibly sharp on first taste, but mellows with subsequent sips. Not really sure where the lemongrass is, as the bitter lemon just dominates from start to finish. B- / $10 (per six-pack)

porter-8-300x200West Sixth Brewing Pay It Forward Cocoa Porter – Chocolate mania with a hints of coffee, and the deep winter sibling to Lemongrass American Wheat’s summer overtones. Marketing mythology says that the brewmasters add about 50 to 60 pounds of cocoa nibs per batch — each making around 35 to 40 barrels. After one sip I’m certainly inclined to take this assessment as truth. One of the best of the year round offerings, and a portion of each sale goes to benefit a local charity. 7% abv. B+ / $11 (per six-pack)

West Sixth Brewing Christmas Ale – A beautiful seasonal release, this is a brilliant mix of your typical Christmas beer fare: cinnamon, nutmeg, a dash of ginger all dancing around with some citrus and cloves for good measure. Incredibly well balanced, and I wish it was available year round. 9% abv. A- / $18 (per six-pack)

BelgianWest Sixth Brewing Belgian Style Blonde – This one was just released this past week, and it was a pleasant surprise to discover this while in the midst of sampling the other releases. Very much in the traditional Belgian form, this is quite crisp with lots of sweetness when compared to other options available, with much more emphasis on yeast than malt. A bit of pepper on the back end with an easy finish. Might be an ideal place for the newcomer to the brand to start and work their way inwards. A- / $11 (per six-pack)

Review: Old Grand-Dad Bonded

OGDBIBIt’s back with a (sort-of) new look. The bourbon created by Basil Hayden to salute his grandpappy has been given a bit of a facelift and a new nudge into the spotlight. There’s been a quiet murmur about some of the selling points within the marketing of this reboot, and a very detailed and excellent history behind the brand (as well as some marketing missteps) can be found courtesy of one Chuck Cowdery, a long time Old Grand-Dad supporter and venerable author.

Discussion of history and artifacts aside, let’s crack this open.

Thankfully, it’s the same as it ever was and they did no tinkering to the mash as far as I can tell. Gratuitous vanilla throughout mixed with a light blend of citrus and corn. Not blasting or intrusive, but quite light with an easy finish and traces of caramel. At $25 its still a fantastic value, and lord knows how many of those will be readily available in the distant future.

100 proof.

A- / $25 / beamsuntory.com

Recipe: St. Patrick’s Day Cocktails 2015

So once again St. Patrick’s Day seems to present us with an onslaught of recipes courtesy of brands, PR folks, bartenders, and loyal readers. No matter where in the world St. Patty’s is celebrated, it seems to bring out the best in every drinker, professional, and amateur.

Sláinte de la Noche
1 ½ parts Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila
1 ½ parts coffee liqueur
¼ part vanilla syrup
1 part heavy cream

To make vanilla syrup, mix together 1 part sugar, 1 part water and 1 part vanilla extract. Bring to a boil and cool before serving (approximately 1-2 minutes). Combine all ingredients in a glass and serve.

liam

Liam Neeson
2 oz Bushmills Irish Whiskey
.5 oz Ardbeg 10 year old Scotch
.5 oz Drambuie
3 dashes of bitters
Splash of sweet vermouth

Shake and pour over ice into highball glass. Garnish with lemon twist and mint.

Whoops-a-Daisy
2 oz. Knappogue Castle Single Malt Irish Whiskey 12 year old
2 oz. Chamomile tea
3/4 oz. lemon juice
3/4 oz. orange sherbet
2 dashes Absinthe
2 dashes Bittermens Boston Bittahs
1/4 oz. King’s Ginger Liqueur
Bar spoon Combier Rose

Add all ingredients (excluding the chamomile tea) to a mixing tin.Add ice and shake. Double strain into an ice filled highball glass. Top with 2 oz. of chamomile tea. Garnish with an orange slice.

6_WILDE_OSCARWilde Oscar
1 oz. Guinness Extra Stout
1.5 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
.5 oz. Rich Simple Syrup
Dash of Botanical Bitters

Stir all ingredients in an ice filled mixing glass. Strain cocktail over a large ice cube. This cocktail is also delicious when made with the signature Guinness Draught. Garnish with a large orange peel and maraschino cherry.

CelticCeltic Climber
2 parts Svedka Colada
¾ part fresh lime juice
½ part simple syrup
1 brown sugar cube
Top with club soda
Garnish with mint

Place 1 brown sugar cube in the glass and cover with a splash of club soda. Cover with mint leaves and use a muddler to break the sugar and club soda into a paste without tearing the leaves. Add fresh lime juice, simple syrup and crushed ice until ¾ full. Add Svedka Colada and swizzle. Add more crushed ice until conical. Garnish lavishly with mint sprigs and lemon.

LeapLeprechaun Leap
1 oz Ketel One Vodka
.5 oz Ginger Liqueur
.75 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
.50 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 Kiwi (Peeled)

Muddle kiwi. Add ingredients. Shake. Strain over fresh ice.