Recipe: National Margarita Day Cocktails 2015

It may seem somewhat peculiar to have a drink-iday for Margaritas in the depths of winter, but on the upside: maybe it’s a teaser to help everyone get through a rather brutal season and make our way to a warmer spring and summer. Either way, here are a few recipes we have received and tested for National Margarita Day (Feb. 22).

cucumberCucumber Lavender Margarita
(courtesy of Tortilla Republic, West Hollywood)
2 oz. Casa Noble Tequila (or other 100% agave silver tequila)
2-3 ½ inch cucumber slices, muddled
1.5 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
0.75 oz. lavender-infused simple syrup

(Note: the recipe says to soak 4-5 sprigs of lavender in simple syrup for 2-3 days. We only did it for a day and it seemed to work out OK.)

Shake. Pour into a 12.5 oz. glass on rocks. Garnish with cucumber and fresh lavender blossoms.

HeartsHearts & Tarts
(courtesy of Tart, Los Angeles)
1 Jalapeño Slice
1 1/2 oz. El Silencio mezcal
3/4 oz. passion fruit syrup
3/4 oz. orange Curaçao
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice

In a mixing glass, with a muddler press a jalapeño slice. Add rest of ingredients, add ice and shake. Strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

pineappleThe Veracruzana Pineapple Margarita
2 parts Milagro Reposado Tequila
¾ part agave nectar
1 part fresh lime juice
4 pineapple chunks
2 basil leaves

Muddle pineapple and basil leaves in a Boston shaker. Add remaining ingredients and shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish cocktail with pineapple and basil.

SageSpicy Sage Margarita
2 oz. Avión silver tequila
3/4 oz. jalapeño-infused elderflower liqueur
1/2 oz. orange juice
1/4 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. lime juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup
3 sage leaves
1 sage leaf and salt for garnish

(Note: out of impatience we skipped infusing the jalapeño and just muddled a few rings instead. Worked OK.)

Muddle sage in a shaker. Add all ingredients. Shake. Double strain. Pour over ice in salt-rimmed glass. Garnish with sage leaf.

2 oz. CAMUS VS Elegance
1 oz. lime juice
1 oz. orange juice
1 oz. triple sec

(Note: We’re well aware that margaritas commonly use tequila, but this was a nice enough variant to warrant inclusion.)

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into glass, garnish with slime of lime.

Recipe: Valentine’s Day Cocktails 2015

We’ve got two days until Valentine’s Day. Much like last year, it appears most of the nation will be in a deep freeze, so here’s the best of the best recipes we’ve received (and we received a record number this year) to warm hearts and souls before you soldier forth to see Fifty Shades of Grey.

AmourAmour de Amatitán
1 ½ oz. Blue Nectar Silver
¾ oz. fresh lime juice
¾ oz. crème de cacao
2 dashes orange bitters
Orange twist

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with an orange twist.


Botran Dark Secret
1.5 oz. Botran Solera 1893
1 oz. simple syrup
1 egg white
1 oz. Port
3 ice cubes
1 strawberry (for garnish)

Shake and strain over ice into a cocktail glass. Garnish with chocolate covered strawberry.

1.5 oz. Hennessy VS
.5 oz. Antica Formula sweet vermouth
.5 oz. Crème Yvette
Splash of simple syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash Fee Brothers Aztec chocolate bitters
3 muddled Black Cherries
1/8th of a lemon
Fresh grated cinnamon
Cherry (for garnish)

Muddle cherries and lemon wedge in a shaker tin. Add all liquid to shaker with ice, shake until well chilled. Strain into glass with large ice cube. Grate cinnamon over the top and garnish with a cherry.

RoseGardenKetel One Rose Garden
1.5 oz. Ketel One Vodka
.5 oz. Pom Juice
.25 oz. fresh lemon juice
.50 oz. simple syrup
Soda water
Mint leaf (for garnish)

Combine all ingredients. Shake and strain over fresh ice into a collins glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with a mint leaf. Continue reading

Recipe: National Pisco Sour Day 2015

Did you know that America has a national day dedicated to the national cocktail of… Peru? We do, and it’s this Saturday (February 7)! For anyone here not Pisco savvy or Peruvian, we’ve got a whole backlog of Pisco profiles for your perusal, but here’s a recipe to get you started on your way to celebrating. Got a favorite Pisco cocktail? Share it with us!

PiscoPorton Pisco Sour
2 oz. Pisco Portón
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. simple syrup
1 oz. egg whites
Dash of Angostura bitters

Add all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high for 15 seconds, add 5 cubes of ice, and then pulse in the blender 5 times. Strain up into a glass. Garnish with 3 drops of Angostura bitters.

Recipe: Super Bowl Cocktail Recipes 2015

Super Bowl XLIX is a mere one day away. With #deflategate, anti-media players, and all the commercials to watch, it seems as if folks are forgetting the most important thing about the game: drinking. Here’s a sampling of a few recipes to kick your viewing parties up a notch or two. No underflated drinks here!

Dulce y Picante - Environment (2)Dulce y Picante
1½ parts Hornitos Plata Tequila
½ part Green Chartreuse Liqueur
¾ part pineapple juice
1 jalapeno slice
¾ part simple syrup
¾ part lime juice
Handful of cilantro

Muddle cilantro in a mixing glass, then gently muddle jalapeño on top of cilantro, then add remaining ingredients into a mixing glass. Shake well for approximately 8-10 seconds. Double strain into a double old fashioned glass rimmed with paprika sea salt. Garnish with a cilantro leaf and/or pineapple slice.

Ketel Kick-off
1.5 oz. Ketel One Citroen
0.5 oz. fresh lime juice
0.25 oz. simple syrup
1 oz. pineapple juice
2 oz. ginger beer
0.25 oz. aromatic bitters

Combine first four ingredients in a mixing glass. Shake with ice and strain into a collins glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer and a heavy float of bitters.

image003Cool as a Cucumber Margarita
2 parts Milagro Silver
1 part fresh lime juice
3 cucumber slices
1 lime wheel
1 sucumber stick
Course ground sea salt and black peppercorn mix (for garnish)

Combine all ingredients in a blender without ice. Blend and pour over fresh ice into a rocks glass prepared with a half salted rim. Garnish with a cucumber spear and lime wheel (optional).

PSPatriot Softball (ouch! -RT)
2 parts Privateer Silver Reserve Rum
2 parts Bloody Mary mix
5 parts Notch Pilsner beer

Combine the Privateer Rum and Bloody Mary mix in a cold beer glass, add ice and top with beer. Garnish with a lime wedge, salt and pepper rim optional

Black Cocktails Freixenet_Black LuxuryBlack Luxury
½ oz. blackberry liqueur
2 oz. stout beer (chilled)
3 oz. Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut
Blackberries (for garnish)

Add ingredients directly to a champagne flute, beer first. Stir briefly.

Recipe: National Irish Coffee Day 2015

This Sunday (Jan 25) welcomes in a newly decreed holiday that we can get behind: National Irish Coffee Day. According to folklore, Irish coffee was invented by Chef Joseph Sheridan in 1942 to welcome visiting Americans. With it being quite the brisk night in Ireland, Sheridan added whiskey to their coffee and voila! The Irish take this prized recipe so seriously they’ve even set up an international standard code for it (NSAI 417, page 15). So there.

unnamedTullamore D.E.W. Irish Coffee
1/4 oz. simple syrup
1 1/2 oz. Tullamore D.E.W. Original
Lavazza Gran Selezione Coffee
Lightly whipped heavy cream

To a pre-heated coffee glass add the ingredients above and stir. Garnish with grated nutmeg.

OG Irish Coffee
(Brought back from Ireland by San Francisco Chronicle travel writer Stanton Delaplane in the 1950s)
1 1/2 oz. Jameson Irish whiskey
5-7 oz. hot coffee or 2 shots of espresso
1-2 tsp. brown sugar
Fresh whipped cream

Run hot water slowly over a glass mug until it’s at room temperature or hotter, and then dry it. Add brown sugar to mug and pour in whiskey. Add coffee or espresso, leaving room at top for whipped cream. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Set whipped cream on drink.

Iced Irish Coffee
2 oz. coffee (cold brewed, as potent as possible)
2½ oz. Irish whiskey (note: we used Redbreast, but any will do, really)
½ oz. simple syrup
Fresh whipped cream

Add coffee, whiskey and syrup together in your glass of choice filled with ice. Mix ingredients together. Top with whipped cream and freshly grated cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg.

Recipe: National Hot Toddy Day, 2015

With the majority of the nation under a bit of a cold spell (as I type this the wind chill in my town just hit a cool and breezy -21 degrees Fahrenheit), we thought it best to revisit one of the best winter drinks around: the hot toddy. A classic drink for these bone-chilling days, the Hot Toddy is best consumed next to the warmest fireplace and under the softest blanket you can find. National Hot Toddy day is technically January 11, but for those of us living on conditions befitting an ice planet, it could very well be any day until April.

The Classic Hot Toddy
1 1/2 oz brandy, whiskey, or rum (note: depending on my mood, I’ll opt for either Bulleit, Eagle Rare. or Old Forester as the main event here)
1 tablespoon honey
Juice from 1/2 lemon
8 oz hot water
1 tea bag
1 pinch of fresh ground nutmeg (optional)

Add honey to the bottom of your mug or glass and spread it around. Add the spirit of your choice and lemon juice. Pour hot water and tea bag into glass and stir. Repeat as often as necessary. 

Red Hot Ruby Punch
(Courtesy of Jason Cousins, Da Claudio, NYC)

750 ml Tincup Whiskey
16 oz boiling water
8 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
8 oz ruby port wine
8 oz fresh orange juice
8 oz demerara sugar (raw)
4 large navel oranges
Seeds from 1 large pomegranate

In a spice bag:
1 tbsp allspice
1 tbsp whole cloves
1 whole cinnamon stick

Completely peel four oranges, avoiding the white pith. Add orange peels to a mixing bowl with raw sugar and muddle, grinding the sugar into the oils. (Reserve the orange fruit for juicing.) Let stand for 30 minutes while the sugar pulls the oils from the peels. Stir in 16 oz of boiling water until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove orange peels and add spice bag. Let sit while preparing the remaining ingredients. Add Tincup, PAMA liqueur, port wine, and orange juice to a 3.5 quart or larger slow cooker. Pour in the orange sugar mixture and keep warm on low heat. Ladle and serve, garnishing with a clove-studded orange disk and a cinnamon stick.

Recipe: New Years Eve 2014 Cocktails

While the big moment on New Year’s Eve usually calls for champagne, we found a few recipes worthy of your time and consideration to serve prior to the stroke of midnight.

SugarSpiceSugar and Spice
1 oz. Ketel One Citroen
1 oz. cranberry juice
½ oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
¾ oz. honey syrup
Drop of allspice dram liqueur

Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Forbidden Punch
24 oz Fords Gin (1 750ml bottle)
8 oz ruby red grapefruit juice
6 oz lime juice
6 oz agave nectar
2 oz absinthe
24 oz water
1 750 ml bottle champagne or sparkling wine
2 grapefruits, sliced into thin wheels for garnish
1 cinnamon stick, for grating
12 star anise pods

Combine all ingredients except sparkling wine in a large punch bowl. Add a large block of ice. Add sparkling wine and stir slightly. Garnish with grapefruit and star anise. Lightly grate cinnamon on top.

Ruffino Holiday Sparkler
3 oz. Ruffino Prosecco
3/4 oz. apple cider
3/4 oz. cranberry juice
1 tsp. maple syrup
Squeeze of 1 lemon wedge

Add ingredients directly to a mixing glass with ice and stir briefly. Strain into a chilled champagne flute that has been rimmed w/ cinnamon sugar. Garnish with a mint leaf floating on top.

Casa Santo Domingo
1 ounce Zacapa XO Rum
1/4 orange liqueur
6 dashes Angostura Bitters
3 dashes Peychaud Bitters
2 dashes Orange Bitters
Orange twist for garnish

Combine Zacapa Rum XO, orange liqueur, Angostura bitters, Peychaud bitters and orange bitters in cocktail shaker. Stir gently. Strain contents into cocktail glass.Garnish with orange twist.

Snap, Crackle, Drop
(Created by mixologist Salvatore Calabrese)
1 1/2 ounces Tequila Don Julio Reposado
7-8 dashes Angostura Bitters
4-5 twists freshly ground cracked black pepper
Lime wedge

Stir Angostura Bitters and pepper on a saucer until it turns into a paste. Coat on side of a lime wedge with the paste and serve on the side of the drink. Pour Don Julio Reposado into shot glass.

Recipe: Holiday Cocktails, 2014 Edition

The holiday season is now hitting its height. Office parties are lively, Hanukkah has begun, and Christmas and Kwanzaa are right around the corner. With so many different events from which to choose, we’ve selected the following holiday cocktail recipes from a flurry of options decorating our inbox.

StElizabethFlip-1 St. Elizabeth Flip
1 1/2 oz. Appleton Estate Reserve Jamaica Rum
1/2 oz. Demerara Simple Syrup
1/2 oz. cream
1/2 oz. port
1 egg yolk

Combine all ingredients and dry shake (without ice). Add ice and shake vigorously. Double strain into a footed glass and garnish with nutmeg.

Organic Vodka Santa’s Helper
1 ½ oz. Ocean Organic Vodka
2 Basil Leaves
8 Fresh Bing Cherries
½ oz. Lemon Juice
½ oz. Simple Syrup
1 oz. Prosecco

Muddle cherries and basil in a shaker. Add vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, and ice and bruise. Strain into a champagne flute. Top with Prosecco.

EggNogAppleton Reserve Pumpkin Egg Nog
1 1/2 oz. Appleton Estate Reserve Jamaica Rum
1/2 oz. Navan Vanilla Liqueur
1 oz. egg nog
1 oz. pumpkin purée (from the can)
4 dashes of Fee’s Aromatic Bitters
1 barspoon of maple Syrup

Shake (or blend?) and serve up.

Continue reading

Recipe: 2014 Thanksgiving Cocktails

Traditionally at our house “Thanksgiving cocktails” means Stroh’s beer or lots of neat bourbon to numb yet another loss on national TV courtesy of my hometown football team, the Detroit Lions. This year looks to be different with the Lions actually performing well and family members willing to eschew their normal comfort zone and try something new. Here’s a few that I’m going to be forcing upon my family, along with a few others that may prove interesting for your holiday gatherings.

Old Fashioned RyeOld Fashioned Thanksgiving
(Created by Jon Gasparini @ Rye)
2 oz. Wild Turkey 81 rye
1 tsp pumpkin spice black tea syrup
2 dashes Bar Keep Apple bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine ingredients in an old fashioned glass over a large ice cube and stir.

Pumpkin Spice Simple Syrup:
2 parts cane sugar
1 part strong pumpkin spice tea
Brew pumpkin spice tea (one tea bag for every 6 oz. of water). Combine tea and organic cane sugar. Bring to boil, stir as sugar dissolves. Let syrup cool completely before using.


Ketel One Pumpkin King
1 oz. Ketel One Oranje
¼ oz. Godiva Caramel liqueur
¼ oz. pumpkin liqueur
1 teaspoon whipped cream

Combine first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake over ice. Strain into a martini glass. Top with whipped cream and garnish with a dust of cinnamon powder.

punchThe Sea Fire Grill Cider Punch
(courtesy Sea Fire Grill)
4 oz apple cider
1 oz Grand Marnier
1 oz Ron Zacapa 23 year old rum
A pinch of fresh nutmeg
A pinch of fresh cinnamon
1 clove
1 Granny Smith Apple, quartered and peeled
1 fresh orange, quartered

Mull apple cider, Granny Smith apple, orange and spices together. Remove orange and blend. Mix in Grand Marnier and rum with cider mixture. Chill and strain, add garnish if desired. Can be served hot or cold.

blackberryBlackberry Blitz
2 oz bourbon whiskey
1/2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
4 oz IZZE Sparkling Blackberry
Rosemary sprig for garnish

Combine first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice and shake vigorously. Pour into a Collins glass filled with ice and top with IZZE Sparkling Blackberry. Smack a sprig of rosemary between palms to release aromatics and add as garnish.

Recipe: Day of the Dead Cocktails, 2014

Recently we received an email with some recipes for drinks celebrating the upcoming Day of the Dead (see also this year’s Halloween cocktail compilation). Normally we just pick and choose from the recipes we receive and offer them up as a compendium, but mixologist Justin Noel did a such great job on each of these — featuring the newly released Espolon Anejo tequila — that it reasoned to post them all as a collection of their own. As always, make your own modifications to each recipe as you deem necessary.

Salty Air-hiresSalty Air
1 1/2 oz. Espolòn Añejo
1 oz. Fino Sherry
1/2 oz. Pedro Ximenez Sherry
1/4 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 dashes of Regan’s Orange Bitters
1 dash of salt tincture
Orange peel (for garnish)

For Salt Tincture:
15 oz. kosher salt
15 oz. hot water
1 oz. vodka
Add kosher salt to hot water, stir to dissolve. Add vodka.

Add all ingredients in a rocks glass. Add large ice cube. Stir for 20-25 sec. Garnish with an orange peel.

Awake the Dead-hiresAwake the Dead
2 oz. Espolòn Añejo
1/4 oz. Coffee Demerara syrup
3 Dashes of cherry bitters
Orange peel (for garnish)
Brandied cherry

Coffee Demerara syrup:
8 oz. strong brewed coffee
8 oz. of Demerara sugar
Add coffee to demerara sugar, stir contents till dissolved.

In an old-fashioned glass, add the bitters, coffee demerara syrup, and Espolòn Añejo. Add large ice cube and stir the contents in the glass. Garnish with an orange peel and brandied cherry.

Luna de Cosecha-hiresLuna de Cosecha
1 1.2 oz. Espolòn Añejo
3/4 oz. Cochi Torino Vermouth
1/3 oz. Cynar
1/4 oz. Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao
Brandied Cherry

In a mixing glass, add the crème de cacao, sweet vermouth, Cynar and Espolòn Añejo. Add fresh ice and stir. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry.

Highland Julep-hiresHighland Julep
2 oz. Espolòn Añejo
10-15 Mint Leaves
1/2 oz. Agave Nectar
1/2 oz. Chamomile Tea
Mint Sprig
Dried Chamomile Tea Leaves

Chamomile Tea
4 Chamomile Tea Bags
Brew four tea bags in cup of water.

In a julep cup, add 10-15 mint leaves, chamomile tea and agave nectar, and muddle contents. Add Espolòn Añejo, then add a lot of crushed ice and take a bar spoon to slightly stir ingredients. Add more crushed ice to form a cone at the top of the julep cup. Garnish with a Mint Sprig and dusted dried chamomile tea.