What’s a wedding without refreshments? Well, I guess it’s still a wedding, but the point is everybody loves a good wedding bar. It took us a while to figure out exactly how we wanted to handle drinks at the wedding, and we’re pretty happy with how it all turned out.
After you’ve agitated the rum allspice concoction for 10 days, you’ll need to strain all of that allspice out. It’s probably easiest to run it all through a coffee filter. As with most homemade libations that you have to strain, make sure you press on the spent allspice to extract as much flavor as possible. Once you have your strained allspice rum, you’ll need to make a 1:1 simple syrup with brown sugar (simmer a 1:1 mixture of sugar to water in a small pan until it is clear and not cloudy). Let the syrup cool off, combine it with rum, and pour it into a bottle. It will probably taste pretty rough at first, so you’ll want to let it sit around for awhile. Paul Clarke recommends 30 days or so.
There you have it! Allspice dram. A pretty straightforward liqueur that is perfect for the season, and considering it’s use in tiki drinks, it’s probably pretty good in warmer months, too. All you really need to make it yourself is time. Of course you can always buy St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram at your better equipped liquor store. In any case, you may be wondering what kind of cocktail this could possibly be used in? Well, luckily for you, I’ve got just the thing.
Chicago Winter Sidecar
1.5oz Bourbon (preferably something higher than 80 proof)
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
.25 oz pimento dram
1tsp honey (adjust to taste)
2 dashes of coffee bitters
Add all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker, fill with ice. Shake and strain into a coupe glass (champagne saucer). Garnish with a lemon twist and maybe a few allspice berries. If you feel a bit squeamish about the raw egg white, the drink will work perfectly fine with out it–you’ll just loose a bit of texture. This recipe builds upon the Black River Sidecar.
The Chicago Winter Sidecar is really good. I think it’s one of two whiskey-based drinks that Sarah actually liked (the other being Paul McGee’s Gristmill at The Whistler), both of which have a dose of allspice dram. So if you don’t happen to be very fond of whiskey or find yourself hanging out with someone who ‘hates the stuff,’ you might suggest a cocktail with a little bit of dram: a miracle cure for the whiskey averse.
Excuse me, would you like to add some sophistication to that cocktail? Well, why not try some cucumber ice cubes?
Cucumber ice. Simple, sophisticated, refreshing.
If you’re looking for ways to add a little class to your drinks, why not freeze up some cucumber ice cubes? All you need to do is peel a cucumber, chop it up a bit and throw it in a blender along with a liter or so of water. Purée, and freeze in an ice cube tray. Then you’ll be ready to enjoy the perfect gin and tonic. Or, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you might try my variation on the Porch Swing Coctail.
2oz Tanqueray No. 10
1.5oz Pimm’s No. 1
4oz Lemonade (1 part fresh lemon juice, 3/4 part ginger simple syrup, 2 parts water)
Pour all ingredients into a large Collins glass over cucumber ice cubes and top with a splash of lemon-lime soda. Garnish with cumber and lemon slices.
This Sangria is pretty darn tasty and just as good looking. Plus it’s supposedly for people on a diet…although, it’s probably still not good for you. Especially if you drink an entire pitcher by yourself.
One 2-serving packet (about 1 teaspoon) sugar-free lemonade powered drink mix
One 8-ounce can pineapple chunks packed in juice, not drained
2 cups sliced strawberries
1 orange, peeled, roughly chopped, seeds removed
1 peach or nectarine, roughly chopped
1 lime, sliced into rings
1 750-millimeter bottle of pinot grigio
12 ounces diet lemon-lime soda
8 ounces brandy
Combine powered drink mix with 8 ounces of water in a glass and stir to dissolve. Set aside.
Place all fruit in a large pitcher. Add lemonade mixture, brandy, and pinot grigio.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours. Overnight is best.
Just prior to serving, stir in soda.
Here’s a simple variation on the Port Light cocktail that I came up with to satisfy Sarah’s bourbon-hating demands. It’s also a bit easier to put together since you don’t need to blend anything. I have a feeling this is going to be a great cocktail to combat the summer heat. Here I’ve used Death’s Door Gin from Madison, Wisconsin which strays a bit from the typical London Dry style, but any traditional gin (Tanqueray, Bombay, etc.) should work well.
While I’ve never had the opportunity to visit Churchill Downs, I do enjoy the occasional mint julep. So I was pretty excited when I saw this recipe for mint julep ice cream just in time for the Kentucky Derby. Sounds good, right? Well it IS! It really tastes like a mint julep, not a particularly strong mint julep, but a mint julep nonetheless. It’s a great blend of mint, sweet, and, yes, Bourbon.
I am continuing to wish it was summer, so that I can jump on the tiki drink trend. Naturally I was really excited when I saw a recipe for passion fruit syrup. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen a passion fruit before, but I was able to track some down at our nearby Whole Foods.
Infusing your favorite spirits is really easy and fun way to play around with flavors and tailor something to a particular cocktail or drink. For instance, my sister gave me some orange and vanilla infused bourbon that makes a great Old Fashioned. A variation on infusing your own spirits is creating your own liqueurs. The process is largely the same, except for the addition of some kind of sugar to sweeten the final product. This added sweetness makes liqueurs the perfect compliment for warmer weather which revels in the frivolity of sweetness that winter’s austerity coldly shunned. Below I’ve collected top 5 liqueurs I’m looking forward to making this Spring/Summer. I’ll be posting about these as I go along, so be sure you check back.
Scotch is a difficult ingredient to mix, at least for me. I think this conclusion is at least somewhat supported by the dearth of classic Scotch-based cocktails, the most common of which is the Rob Roy (bonus tip, I’m pretty sure that is an answer to a Trivial Pursuit question). Unfortunately, the Rob Roy isn’t fizzy, it’s basically a Scotch Manhattan. For my party I needed something fizzy. Luckily there is such a cocktail outlined in Imbibe by David Wondrich.
Morning Glory Fizz
3/4 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 tsp Absinthe
1 egg white
2 oz Blended Scotch
In a shaker dissolve sugar in 1 tsp of water, add remaining ingredients and fill 3/4 full with ice. Shake and strain into a good sized bar glass and top with Seltzer. Note that this is a “morning beverage, which will give good appetite and quiet the nerves.”
From Harry Johnson’s New and Improved Bartender’s Manual, 1882, via Imbibe.