You’re sitting at home in the evening, the sun readying itself to set. The crisp air of early fall is creeping in through your open windows. Perhaps you’re sitting with your significant other or a group of favorite friends. Perhaps you’re alone enjoying a moment of quiet. Your eyes rest somewhere in the distance, unfocused and still. You reach beside you to pick up a champagne saucer filled a new cocktail creation you decided to try tonight. Its balance of sweet and tart is complimented beautifully by it’s thick, smooth texture and bright, rosy hue. With each sip, your throat warms, then your chest and your arms, and you sink a little more into your chair with each exhale. This is the life. Bring on the season of changing leaves, cozy sweaters, and frequent celebrations!
What is this elixir? It’s the Supreme. The citrus and grenadine really bring out the apple flavors of Applejack or Calvados making this a great beginning-of-fall cocktail:
1½ oz. Calvados
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. orgeat
1 barspoon grenadine
shake and strain.
Recipe from Eric Johnson, Trou Normand, San Francisco via Imbibe Magazine
Note that we used Applejack since we didn’t have Calvados on hand. I preferred Laird’s bonded variety over their regular offering, but both were good. We also whipped up some homemade orgeat and grenadine, but you can use nice store-bought versions if you don’t have some spare hours to steep almonds in sugar. And if you can’t find, or don’t want to make orgeat, just make a Jack Rose, which is another one of our fall favorites.
Sometimes, when winter feels relentless, you just need a tropical drink. Here’s our current favorite tiki cocktail. It’s really easy to make as long as you have a blender.
8oz Coconut Cream
7oz Jamaican rum (we used Appleton)
2oz of fresh lime juice
Add all of that to a blender with ice, blend, and serve. It makes quite a bit, so we usually halve the recipe for two drinks.
In no time, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a tropical isle. Also, check out that awesome coconut mug that Sarah got me for Christmas. If you’d like one of your own, have a look at retroplanet.com.
I’m a bit of a coffee tinkerer. I don’t like getting into too much of a routine with my brew. Switching between a Chemex and an Aeropress creates a lot of variety. Both yield different results, yet neither is necessarily better.
You can also get a lot of variety from just changing how you brew a pot of Chemex coffee, and even more so with the Aeropress. It’s fun to try different things yourself, but it’s also pretty helpful to see how others go about brewing. Enter: brewmethods.com. Brew Methods is a great resource for coffee brewing recipes for those who are always searching for the best or wanting to change it up.
I was recently lucky enough to be asked by the fine folks at the Poetry Foundation to whip up a fancy-pants cocktail to celebrate 100 years of Poetry magazine. The cocktail was to be called the Hippocrene after the mythological fountain created by Pegasus. After much experimentation and some very helpful taste-testers, I ended up with:
- 1 1/4 ounces gin
- 3/4 ounce ginger liqueur (domaine de canton)
- 1/2 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
- 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon mint tea (brewed at double strength) and chilled
- 2 ounces dry, sparkling wine
- Fresh basil, for garnish
- Dash or two grapefruit bitters
Single glass preparation:
Combine all ingredients except sparkling wine, basil, and bitters (if using) in a mixing glass over ice. Stir and strain into a glass and top with remaining ingredients.
Combine all ingredients (in greater quantities) except sparkling wine, basil and bitters in an adequately sized serving bowl, along with some large blocks of ice. It’s best to let this mixture chill and dilute a little while before adding everything else, but if time is short, it could be refrigerated beforehand and water (sparkling or still) can be added along with the rest of the ingredients at service time. The basil should still be added directly to the glass, as it is the aroma and not necessarily the flavor that you’re after. It would also be nice to garnish the mixing bowl with some citrus slices, for color and a generally vigorous appearance.
We’ve finally been enjoying some bright, summery(ish) weather here in Chicago, and we found that the best way to celebrate is with a refreshing afternoon cocktail. Obv. If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, you’ll love The Lone Ranger, which can really pack a sugary punch, depending on the the rosé, syrup levels, and garnishes you choose.
The Lone Ranger
1.5 oz Silver tequila
1 oz Lemon Juice
.5 oz Rich simple syrup (two parts sugar, one part water)
2 oz Brut rosé sparkling wine
Garnish: a few mint leaves and a cherry
While we were in Gatlinburg on our Dollymoon, we stopped by the Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler to check out the distillery operation and sample some shine. Lemon Drop was one of our favorite flavored moonshines that we tried. If you mix it with iced tea you get a hillbilly Arnold Palmer, which seems like it’s about the perfect simple summer cocktail. We like to add about two shots of the lemon moonshine to a mason jar filled with ice and then fill the rest with tea and a lemon slice. Adding some mint is pretty tasty, too.
Now if you can’t get to Gatlinburg to pick up some of the flavored Old Smoky Moonshine, you may still be able to find their original moonshine in your area. This stuff is made with 80% corn and comes out at 100 proof. While it definitely has an interesting flavor too it, I was surprised how much the aroma reminded me of Cachaça. I thought I’d try to adapt a recipe and see what happened.
Tropicália Moonshine Punch
1 good chunk of pineapple
3 sprigs of mint
1/2 oz basil lime syrup*
2oz Original Old Smoky Moonshine
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash grapefruit bitters
bottle of Limonata or lemon-lime soda
Add all the ingredients except soda to a mixing glass and muddle, add ice and shake. Strain into an ice filled highball glass and top with soda. Garnish with a lime wheel.
This recipe is a modified version of Primo Avenue Punch from Bitters, and I was pleasantly surprised how well it turned out. The flavor of the moonshine holds up to everything, and it really makes for a nice summer cocktail.
The Pegu Club was a gentelman’s club for British officers in Burma, which was set up in the late 1800′s. The signature drink of the club is the now classic Pegu Club Cocktail, which for one reason or another I had never made. But with the weather heating up, it seemed like a good time to give it a go. If you’re a gin fan, I’d suggest you try it as well.
Pegu Club Cocktail
2 oz London Dry Gin
3/4 oz Orange Curaçao
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1 dash Angostura
1 dash orange bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lime twist.
(from Bitters: A Spirited History)
With the Kentucky Derby just around the corner, it’s not too early to dust off your mint julep recipes to make sure they’ve still got it. What’s that? You’re afraid you’ll catch mint julep fatigue before the big day? Never fear. Just work the classic Seelbach cocktail into your derby repertoire. The Seelbach was created in 1917 at the famed Louisville hotel of the same name. If you happen to like manhattans and champagne more than mint, this may end up being your derby cocktail of choice.
- 1 oz. bourbon
- 1/2 oz. Cointreau
- 7 dashes Angostura bitters
- 7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Add all ingredients except Champagne to a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir and strain into a coupe and top with chilled Champagne and a lemon peel.
As I happened to mention last week, Sarah and I have been working our way through some Las Vegas cocktails from Saveur. After the success of the Blueberry Basil Margarita, we decided to try a variation of the “Whiskey Rock-A-Roller.” We didn’t have any strawberry liqueur on hand, so we substituted St. Germain and a dash of Grand Marnier. I’m sure the original is great, but this elderflower version worked out pretty well, too. Sarah also ended up liking it, and anytime she can get behind a whiskey cocktail, you know you are on to something.
Whiskey Flower Rock
2 tbsp. sugar
3 oz. Rye
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. St Germain
1 dash of Grand Marnier
4 dashes rhubarb bitters
1 sprig mint
Muddle the sugar and four of the raspberries in a shaker. Add everything else except for the mint and the bonus raspberry. Shake over ice. Strain into an ice-filled glass and garnish with a healthy sprig of mint and a raspberry or two.
based off of the Whiskey Rock-A-Roller
With Spring upon us, it’s time to turn away from winter warmers and to start tippling warm weather fare. Think Juleps and fizzes. Luckily, Saveur has a roundup of some of Las Vegas’s best cocktails, many of which are particularly suited to warmer weather. Sarah and I were particularly drawn to the Blueberry Basil Margarita. Fair warning, this is a Las Vegas-sized drink.
Blueberry Basil Margarita from Patricia Richards
2 oz. fresh lime juice
1½ oz. fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp. sugar
3 oz. fresh blueberries
4 basil leaves, plus 1 sprig
3 oz. reposado tequila
1½ oz. Grand Marnier
1 oz. agave syrup
Boil juices and sugar in a small saucepan until sugar dissolves; cool. Pour syrup into a shaker with all but 4 blueberries and the basil leaves; crush with a spoon. Add tequila, Grand Marnier, and agave. Fill with ice, and shake. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice; garnish with remaining blueberries and basil.
Make sure to read the full article, too. It’s got quite a few tasty drinks. I think the Libertine will be next for us.