Recipe: 2014 Kentucky Derby Cocktails

For Kentuckians, having horses take 2 minutes to fly around a track at great speed is reason enough to celebrate for roughly two weeks leading up to the main event. This of course, can lead to a large consumption of mint juleps. That can get tiresome, believe it or not, so here are some twists for your consideration. Of course, if you’re looking for the real deal Julep, we’ve got you covered there, too.

BlackberryBlackberry Mint Julep Margarita
2 parts Milagro Anejo tequila
1 part lime juice
1 part honey syrup
5 blackberries
6 mint leaves

Muddle berries and mint. Add rest, shake and strain over ice in julep glass. Garnish with blackberries and mint sprig.

ReviverSpring Reviver
1 oz. rhubarb tea
1 oz. Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
1 oz. Lillet Rosé
.75 oz. fresh lemon juice
3 dashes absinthe
1 strawberry slice, mint sprig or edible flower (for garnish)

Shake ingredients with ice and fine strain into a chilled coupe glass, garnish with a strawberry slice and a mint sprig or an edible flower.

DewlepThe Tullamore Dewlep
2 oz Tullamore D.E.W. Original
½ oz vanilla sugar syrup
dash peach bitters
12 mint leaves

Pour all ingredients into a cup. Gently muddle mint, fill with crushed ice and stir gently to combine garnish with a sprig of mint and straw.

BaileyMajor Bailey
(by Jon Santer)
2 oz Hendrick’s Gin
1 sugar cube
¼ oz simple syrup
8 mint leaves
1 spear cucumber (for garnish)

Muddle in julep glass. Top with crushed ice until a mountain peak of ice forms above the glass. Garnish with copious amounts of mint and a cucumber spear.

Recipes: 2014 Spring Cocktails

For a least some of the nation (sorry New England and Midwest!), the brutal, crushing cold of winter has passed and things are starting to warm up and become tolerable once again. With that we’ve had a plethora of cocktail recipes heading our way over the last few weeks, and we’ve culled and tested the best of the best for your consideration:

image003 (1)Mayan Mule
1 part Milagro Reposado tequila
½ part fresh lime juice
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
3 parts Ginger Beer

Place 2-3 ice cubes in a Collins glass. Add fresh squeezed lime juice, Milagro, ginger beer and bitters. Stir. Garnish with mint sprigs and a lime wheel.

Presbyterian Revenge
(Created by John McCarthy of Bathtub Gin)
1.5 oz. Black Grouse Scotch
.75 oz. Cynar liqueur
.25 oz. lemon juice
.25 oz. simple syrup
1 dash grapefruit bitters

Shake and strain into a rocks glass with ice. Top with a splash of soda, garnish with a grapefruit twist.

BlossomMuleBlossom Mule
(Created by Mulberry Project)
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
3/4 oz. Maraschino liqueur
2 oz. sake
4 oz ginger beer
4 dashes of Pechaud’s Bitters
cherry blossom for garnish

Pour the lime juice/Maraschino/sake into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain contents over fresh ice, into a tall glass. Add the ginger beer followed by the the Pechaud’s Bitters, stir and garnish with cherry blossom flower.

ChandonChandon Lavender
1 oz. lavender simple syrup (1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon lavender florets)
2 oz. fresh lime juice
3 oz. Chandon Brut Classic

Simple syrup: Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let sit 30 minutes. Strain the syrup into a clean container and refrigerate. Discard the lavender.

Cocktail: Pour the simple syrup and lime juice in a decorative glass and stir to mix. Add Chandon Brut Classic and serve.

Mo-Coco-Jito
6 fresh mint leaves
3 fresh lime wedges
4 ounces Amy & Brian’s coconut juice
2 ounces rum
splash of club soda

For a fresh take on a refreshing mojito, muddle together mint, fresh lime, and rum in a martini shaker. Pour in the coconut juice and a splash of club soda; shake well. Strain and pour into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice and garnish with a mint leaf.

Original Recipe: Hot Buttered Holiday

hot buttered holidayHiram Walker recently sent out to a bunch of drink writers and other industry types a package of three mystery products. The goal: Make a cocktail out of whatever you get, and see which one gets the most “likes” on the company’s Facebook page.

This turned out to be tougher than I thought. I received a bottle of Wiser’s Spiced Vanilla Whiskey, a bottle of triple sec, and a bottle of pumpkin spice flavored liqueur. What did I come up with? This festive, Thanksgiving-esque hot cocktail, adapted from my favorite hot buttered rum recipe. Not very seasonally appropriate, but what the heck else am I supposed to do with pumpkin liqueur???

But this is delicious:

Hot Buttered Holiday
for the batter (serves 10-12)
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
pinch salt

for each cocktail
2 oz. Wiser’s Spiced Whiskey Vanilla No. 5
3/4 oz. Hiram Walker pumpkin spice liqueur
1/4 oz. Hiram Walker triple sec
boiling water

In a bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Refrigerate until almost firm. For each drink, spoon about 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture into a small mug. Pour the whiskey, pumpkin liqueur, and triple sec into the mug. Top with boiling water to fill the remainder of the mug, stir well, and serve immediately. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and a shake of ground nutmeg.

Recipes for National Iced Coffee Day

April 21st has been designated by those who designate such things as National Iced Coffee Day. One of these days we’ll design a calendar with all of these holidays for reference (unless someone already has, in which case please point us in that direction). As an alternative to the usual Frapuccino, we present a couple of boozy recipes to try out during your next lazy weekend.

Iced CoffeeGuatemalan Iced Coffee
1 1/2 oz. Zacapa Rum 23
3 1/2 oz. Guatemalan coffee
1/2 oz. Demerara sugar syrup
cream (optional)

Pour coffee into a highball glass filled with ice. Add Zacapa Rum 23 and Demerara sugar syrup and stir well. Add cream if desired.

Boozy Biscotti Iced Coffee
(by Lisa Lavery at Yummly)

For the coffee:
4 1/2 oz coarsely ground coffee (about 1 3/4 cups)
3 1/2 oz cold water

For the cocktails:
2 cups cold water
8 ounces amaretto, chilled
2 ounces Pernod, chilled
ice and milk (for serving)

Place the coffee grounds in a 2-quart pitcher, add the water, and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let steep at room temperature for at least 12 hours and up to 1 day. Line a fine-mesh strainer with a standard coffee filter and fit it over a medium bowl. Working in batches, slowly pour the coffee into the filter until all of the liquid has passed through the strainer (the coffee will pass through in a slow stream; don’t force it through); stop when you reach the solids at the bottom of the pitcher (don’t pour them in). Discard the grounds and the contents of the strainer.Wash and dry the pitcher. Transfer the strained coffee into the pitcher. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 5 days.

When ready to serve, add the water, amaretto, and Pernod to the strained coffee and stir to combine. Serve over ice, passing milk on the side.

(NOTE: This has been a staple in our household for quite some time now. We’ve tried to keep it around to see how long it will last in the fridge and still remain fresh, but it doesn’t last long enough. For the coffee, last week we used Gachatha AB from George Howell, but I’m certain any coffee of reasonable pedigree will serve the job well.)

Recipe: St. Patrick’s Day Cocktail’s 2014

Without question, one of the busiest recipe holidays of the year for us is St. Patrick’s Day. For those content in drinking watered down beer with green food coloring or a straight shot of Jameson, the answer is simple: Keep doing what you’re doing. However, for those desiring a bit more in their festivities and libations, we’ve collected the best of the bunch for you to enjoy.

NOHO FrescaNOHO Fresca
2 oz. gin (Note: We used Russell Henry Dry for this, but any decent gin will do)
1 oz. elderflower liqueur
1 oz. cucumber water
1/2 oz. lime juice
Float 2 oz. NOHO

Shake all ingredients with ice. Serve in Collins glass. Garnish with a cucumber slice (optional).

Herradura Green Agaveimage001
1 ½ oz. Herradura Silver
1 oz. melon liqueur
fresh lime juice

Shake tequila, melon liqueur and lime juice with ice for 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a Shamrock carved lime (good luck!). Shake and pour into martini glass.


Honey SmashBushmills Irish Honey Smash
1.5 oz. of Bushmills Irish Honey
2-3 mint leaves
3/4 oz. simple syrup
2 pieces of lemon
1 oz water

Muddle the lemon, mint, water, and simple syrup in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add Bushmills, shake, and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint and serve.

The Montserrat
(courtesy of Irish Whiskey historian Tim Herlihy)
2 parts Tullamore D.E.W.
1 part cloudy apple juice
1 brown sugar cube
1 dash Angostura Bitters
large orange ‘Horses Neck’ twist

Muddle brown sugar cube, bitters and small amount of Tullamore D.E.W. in bottom of rocks glass. Fill glass with cubed ice. Stir to dilute, adding Tullamore D.E.W. slowly. Add more ice as necessary. Afterwards, add apple juice and garnish with an orange twist.

BloodyMariaGreen Bloody Maria
2 oz Milagro Silver
1 tomatillo
1 oz lime juice
.5 oz agave nectar
4 cucumber slices
1 pinch cilantro
1 slice jalapeno
1 pinch minced garlic
1 pinch salt

Blend all ingredients without ice. Shake and strain into a tall glass with ice. Garnish with cucumber.

LepearchaunLepearchuan
1 oz Berentzen Pear
1.5 oz Irish whiskey
(Note: While the recipe doesn’t call for an exacting brand, we used Tullamore D.E.W in this instance)
.25 oz fresh lime juice
2 oz ginger ale

Combine Berentzen Pear, Irish Whiskey and lime juice over ice in an Old Fashioned glass. Top with ginger ale. Garnish with slice of pear.

CirocCÎROC St. Patty
3 basil leaves
1 jalapeño
1 oz lime juice
.75 oz agave nectar
1.5oz CÎROC Vodka

Build in shaker, muddle, add vodka and ice. Shake and fine strain over a couple glass garnish with basil leaf and jalapeño.

Recipe: Booker’s Bourbon Cocktails

BookersWhen we approached Beam for a few ideas for mixing Booker’s Bourbon in a cocktail, they were caught off guard. Apparently, no one’s really requested them before. So Beam got together with resident mixologist Bobby G, who hit up a few friends to contribute some ideas. All of these recipes aside, we’re going to side with Fred Noe, who believes the best way to drink Booker’s is “any damn way you please.”

Clermont Smash
Courtesy of Tony Abou-Ganim
1.50 oz. Booker’s Bourbon
.75 oz. falernum syrup
10-12 spearmint leaves
3 dashes Fee Brother’s Peach Bitters
1.50 oz. fresh lemon sour

In a mixing glass muddle the spearmint leaves with falernum syrup, add remaining ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a double Old Fashioned glass filled with crushed ice and stir. Rub a wedge of pineapple around the rim of glass and garnish with pineapple wedge and a sprig of mint.

Dalton Cocktail
In honor of Jerry Dalton, Former Master Distiller Jim Beam
1.25 oz. Booker’s Bourbon
.50 oz. Laird’s Applejack
.25 oz Grand Marnier
1.50 oz. fresh sour
.25 oz. falernum syrup

Shake all ingredients with ice until well blended. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a burnt orange peel and drop a cherry into cocktail. Cut a small half dollar size piece of orange peel with as little pith as possible. Hold peel between thumb and forefinger about 4” above cocktail. Hold match between peel and cocktail squeeze peel sharply to release oils into flame.

The River Styx
1.50 oz Booker’s Bourbon
.50 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
4 1″ pieces of fresh pineapple
3” sprig of fresh rosemary (stripped of the bottom 2”)
.50 oz blood orange or pomegranate syrup

In a mixing glass muddle the pineapple and the rosemary. Add all remaining ingredients except the syrup and shake vigorously with ice. Double strain the cocktail over the ice in a double Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a half moon slice of orange and the remaining 1” of the rosemary sprig.

Tangerine Julep
1.50 oz. Booker’s Bourbon
½ fresh tangerine cut and muddled with peel
6-10 fresh mint leaves
.50 oz simple syrup

Muddle the mint and tangerine with the simple syrup in a double Old Fashioned glass. Fill glass with cracked ice and add Booker’s Bourbon. Stir to combine, garnish with a mint sprig.

Kentucky Lemon Drop
1.25 oz. Booker’s Bourbon
.50 oz. limoncello
2.0 oz. fresh lemon sour
5-6 fresh spearmint leaves

Shake all ingredients with ice until well blended. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass with an optional sugared rim. Garnish with a lemon wheel. The little pieces of mint that should be floating around in the cocktail are little bursts of flavor that is considered good luck if you get one.

Booker’s Apple
1.5 oz. Booker’s Bourbon
2.0 oz. fresh pressed apple juice
1.0 oz. fresh lemon sour

Build over ice in a tall glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Recipes: Mardi Gras Cocktails 2014

While a good portion of the United States is currently digging itself out from a rather harsh winter filled with ice, sleet, snow, power outages, and traffic accidents, the folks down in the Big Easy (where our intrepid Editor-In-Chief recently spent some time) are gearing up for Mardi Gras. We’ve collected a few recipes to help folks come in from the cold and celebrate the warmth that is Fat Tuesday. These drinks are best paired with your favorite flavored paczki — avoid the prune ones.

PurpleBasil

Purple Basil Gimlet
2 oz Hendrick’s Gin
½ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz simple syrup
4-6 leaves purple basil
(Note: if you can’t find purple basil, regular basil leaves will do nicely. The purple adds a nice effect though.)

Press purple basil leaves with simple syrup and fresh lime juice, add gin and shake well, strain up into a stemmed glass, garnish with a sprig of purple basil.

Ragin' CajunRagin’ Cajun
1 part Hornitos Plata Tequila
2 parts lemonade
3-4 dashes of green hot sauce
Salt/smoked paprika rim

Rim shot glass with salt and smoked paprika. Mix chilled lemonade, chilled Hornitos Plata and hot sauce in mixing glass and pour into shot glass.

Tequila TuesdayTequila Tuesday
1 part Hornitos Plata Tequila
1 part concord grape juice
½ part lemon juice

Build over ice in a tall glass.

Recipes: 2014 Oscar Night Cocktails

This year Ellen DeGeneres hosts the 2014 Oscars, and thankfully Seth MacFarlane lowered the bar so low in the expectations game that DeGeneres has nowhere to go but up. In fact, she did a great job in 2007 and presuming no disasters she’ll be great again this year.

Meanwhile, we’ve received a few recipe ideas for Oscar-themed cocktails, many of which will be served at several of the A-list after parties around town. Try them yourself tonight! (Meanwhile: Follow our sister site, Film Racket, with an evening-long live-tweeting of the entire affair @filmracket!)

Baileys Vanilla Cinnamon_Glamour ShotBaileys Glamour Shot
1 oz. Baileys Vanilla Cinnamon
1/2 oz. Goldschläger Cinnamon Schnapps
edible gold flakes for garnish

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled shot glass rimmed with edible gold flakes.
(Note: We don’t stock gold flakes in our arsenal, and this drink is just fine without them. You can also get creative like we did and crush up some Frosted Flakes.)

CÎROC Coco Light Martini
1 1/2 oz. CÎROC Coconut
1 1/2 oz. unsweetened coconut water
1 oz. pineapple juice
1/4 oz. fresh lime juice
lemon twist for garnish

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

The Patrón Red Rose
1 ½ oz. Patrón Silver Tequila
1 ½ oz. Patrón Citrónge orange liqueur
2 oz. mango juice
1 oz. watermelon juice
red rose (for garnish)

The Ultimat Blue Orchard
1 ½ oz. Ultimat Vodka
¼ oz. Patrón Citrónge Orange Liqueur
2 oz. fresh blueberry juice
1 oz. fresh raspberry juice

(Note: along with the Patrón Red Rose, we are being told these two recipes are on the menu for Sir Elton John’s annual after party.)

Johnnie Walker Blood and Sand

Johnnie Walker Blood and Sand
3/4 oz. Johnnie Walker Black Label
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
3/4 oz. cherry liqueur
Orange peel for garnish

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with an orange peel.
(Note: this recipe was created in homage to the classic 1922 silent film Blood and Sand which can be viewed in its entirety online for free.)

Tasting the Classic Cocktails of New Orleans

Ah, New Orleans… it’s not just the home of some of the best food in the world, it’s also the birthplace — a spiritual birthplace in some cases — of some of the most classic cocktails ever invented.

I had the good fortune to travel through Louisiana, particularly New Orleans, on the eve of Mardi Gras recently, with a specific goal of seeing how these classics measure up to more modern fare. Whenever possible, I went straight to the source where the cocktail was first created.

Without further ado, here’s a rundown of some of NOLA’s biggest and most noteworthy cocktails… recipes included. (Note: I skipped the Grasshopper, reportedly invented here at Tujagues’. Next time, I promise.)

Sazerac047
1 tsp. Absinthe liqueur (preferably Herbsaint)
1 1/2 to 2 oz. Rye Whiskey (preferably Old Overholt)
1 sugar cube
several dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Coat the inside of a cocktail glass with the Herbsaint and pour out the excess. Shake the remaining ingredients in a cocktail shaker with lots of ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.

I’ve covered this classic before. It’s one of my favorite drinks. It’s also the official drink of New Orleans, invented here in the 1850s. The Sazerac at the Roosevelt Hotel’s Sazerac Bar — as iconic a place to order one as you can find — isn’t the best I’ve had. Sweet and spicy, it was way too warm and — more importantly — absent of nearly any absinthe flavor, the quintessential part of the cocktail, in my opinion. Today the Roosevelt is better known for its Ramos Gin Fizz, another NOLA classic.

040Vieux Carre
3/4 oz rye whiskey
3/4 oz Cognac
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
1 tsp Benedictine
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

On the rocks with a lemon twist.

This is very close to the recipe that the Hotel Monteleone’s Carousel Bar — where this drink was invented — uses today. (Most others omit the Benedictine.) A powerful, bittersweet cocktail, the Vieux Carre (the French name for the French Quarter) makes for a near-perfect digestif, all the better while sitting at the Carousel… which actually rotates 4 times an hour as you sip your beverage.

032French 75
1.5 oz cognac
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp simple syrup
Champagne

Briefly hake the first three ingredients and strain into a tulip glass. Top with Champagne and a lemon twist.

This is the recipe used at Arnaud’s French 75 Bar. Arnaud’s didn’t invent the French 75 — but it’s become an iconic drink in NOLA either way. (It’s also one of the most refined, service-oriented bars in town.) I really love this cocktail, but there are myriad ways to make it… many of which use gin instead of cognac.

062Hurricane
2 oz light rum
2 oz dark rum
2 oz passion fruit juice
2 oz pineapple juice
2 tsp lime juice
1 tablespoon grenadine

Mix in a Hurricane glass (what else) and serve on the rocks with an orange slice and a cherry.

OK, that’s a legit Hurricane, and as with many Tiki-style drinks, recipes vary far and wide. Just reading that recipe makes my yearn for the beach. Sadly, you won’t get that cocktail anywhere in New Orleans, especially not at Pat O’Brien’s, where it was invented. Sadly, this bar, just steps from Bourbon Street, is now focused on pushing out huge quantities of crude, Frankenhurricanes in plastic cups (see photo), designed to get you sloshed on the cheap. Pat-O’s, as it’s known, doesn’t even pretend any more, listing the official recipe of this Kool-Aid-like concoction in the brochure it places on the bar here as such:

Pat O’Brien’s World Famous Hurricane
4 oz. Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane Rum
4 oz. Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane Mix

A souvenir glass is 3 bucks. Popcorn is free, though!

Fortunately you can still make a good Hurricane for yourself… at home.

071Doctor’s Orders
2 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
1/2 oz white creme de cacao
a few dashes Benedictine

Shake over ice and strain into a coupe.

And now for something new. Bartending legend Chris McMillan made me this cocktail at Kingfish on my last night in NOLA, asking what I liked to drink and whipping this up on a whim. (The measurements are estimates on my part.) This chocolatey-vanilla-honey drink hits on all cylinders, and it’s almost embarrassingly easy to make. Give it a go in your home bar and take the credit.

Review: Rekorderlig Swedish Hard Ciders

rekorderlig 3_Bottle_Lock up_USA_Blended

Rekorderlig, Sweden’s hard cider, is available in myriad flavors, all clocking in at a low 4.5% abv alcohol level. Rekorderlig, popular in Europe and just now making its way to the States, isn’t made just for sipping straight. The creator also wants you to try it out in cocktails. A suggested recipe appears below. Meanwhile, we tried out the three varieties now available in the U.S.; thoughts follow.

Rekorderlig Premium Pear Hard Cider – Very sweet, with a long finish. The distinct taste of pears, bathed in a sort of vanilla cream, is especially heavy up front. As the cider fades it leaves behind a fizzy, more vaguely citrus finish. Refreshing, but the sweetness makes it a bit cloying. 

Rekorderlig Premium Strawberry-Lime Hard Cider – Very strawberry soda-like, with a little less sweetness and a bit less fizz than the Pear expression. The strawberry character is candylike, but in a tasteful way. The finish is actually more reminiscent of  real strawberries than candy. Fragrant and fun. B+

Rekorderlig Premium Wild Berries Hard Cider – Predominantly raspberry on the tongue, with more of a club soda-style foaminess that tends to mute the fruit. This is the least sweet but also the least flavorful of the bunch. B-

Recipe: Winter Fire
250ml Rekorderlig Pear
5-6 thin slices of ginger
20ml lime juice
30ml honey water (3 parts honey 1 part hot water) or squeeze tube honey
3 dashes Angostura bitters

Heat it up and serve, keep the ginger floating in the glass.

about $5 per 500ml bottle / rekorderlig.com