I really should post here more often. Not sure why, but it always seems to be the impending deadline of finding the right cocktails for my annual Christmas party that gets me motivated. Granted it’s August and I have plenty of time, but still…
For this year’s gin cocktail I wanted feature my new favorite gin produced by a local microdistillery. Lucky Sign Spirits in Millvale, PA is cranking out some awesome products and this cocktail highlights both their rested gin and limoncello. From the moment I first tried the “Gin Rested in Bourbon Barrels” I was determined to make a martini with it. While the rested gin certainly elevates a standard martini, this MoM variation brings a lively and refreshing twist to the classic.
The Lucky Gold cocktail has a clean citrusy aroma and a jewel-like pale yellow color. On the front of you’re palette you’re greeted with a sweet honey flavor, followed by the rested gin in the middle. The finish for this drink is a wonderfully complex lemon and vermouth finish (a very earthy flavor) which delights the tongue for sure. For a spirit forward cocktail there’s very little burn which makes for a fantastic party cocktail. As far as a simple martini variation goes this is easily one of my best creations to date! If you can’t find yourself some rested gin (and I don’t expect it to be honest) then a simple American style gin with 1/2 a barspoon of a smokey bourbon or rye should get you very close.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 5/10 Overall Rating: 9/10
Lucky Gold 1 part Rested Gin 1/2 part Limoncello 1/4 part Dry Vermouth Barspoon Honey Syrup Thin Lemon Slice
Mix all in an iced mixing glass for 45-60 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a thin lemon slice.
Yet another incoming cocktail for my annual Xmas party!
A few months back I found myself picking up a bottle of the Italian Liqueur Aperol. My last venture into this class of bitter spirits led me to Campari, which… I’m not gonna lie is probably the worst tasting stuff on the face of the earth. The only reason I keep it in the back of my liquor cabinet is on the off chance I ever meet anyone who wants a Negroni. Knowing that it’s basically a Manhattan ruined by Campari, you’ll never see me reviewing that on this blog. That said I was skeptical that I’d even like the stuff, but was pleasantly surprised by the flavor. To my friends I’ve been describing it as “Campari that doesn’t suck.” Where Campari is strong, bitter, and horrible, Aperol is light, less bitter, and quite pleasant. The most common cocktail using it is the Aperol Spritz, however I couldn’t bring myself to get a bottle of Champagne just for one drink. Therefore I found myself looking to take the base recipe and replace the fancy sparkling wine for a more common ingredient. Enter club soda, and the Aperol Fizz.
This is both a liqueur drink and a gin drink depending on how you decide to categorize it. For my party I’m considering the gin cocktail, even though the Aperol is really the star and main flavor throughout. Served in a tall glass, the inviting pink color makes for a striking presentation. On the nose it’s a strong bitter citrus mostly from the liqueur. The cocktail begins light and sweet with a hint of carbonation in the front, on the mid palette you taste the bulk of the Aperol’s bitterness, and it finishes a bit less bitter with the gin and lemon coming through. The cocktail thanks to it’s main ingredient has a very distinctive flavor. Muck like the liqueur itself it’s best used as an aperitif, and for that it makes for a perfect starter for a cocktail party. Light on palette without sacrificing flavor, it’s certainly worth a try. Just be sure it’s a flavor you and your friends/family would enjoy.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 5/10 Overall Rating: 7.8/10
Aperol Fizz 1 1/2 oz (45mL) Aperol 1/2 oz (15mL) Gin (Bombay Sapphire Preferred) 1/2 oz (15mL) Simple Syrup 1 oz (30mL) Lemon Juice Club Soda
Chill a collins glass in the freezer with 3 large ice cubes. Once chilled, fill glass with each ingredient and top with club soda. Stir lightly to combine.
Ok, gotta make up for not posting in a year and post a bunch this week!
This is the second cocktail I designed (or I should say modified) for my annual Xmas party this year. While the base recipe is essentially the modern vodka classic of the “Lemon Drop” my variant once again utilizes an infused simple syrup and bitters to transform the basic sour into something a bit more complex. The Savage Drop gets it’s name from the two respective flavors Sage and Lavender.
Visually you’ve got a classy presentation with a classic “cloudy” sour color and a garnish of fresh sage (not optional this time). The garnish in this case adds a bright floral aroma to the cocktail. Without it you only have a faint citrus to smell. As flavor is not only about taste but also about smell, a nose full of sage leaves makes this a very inviting cocktail. For your inner palette however, you’re greeted with a slight sour, but it’s not over powering. Mid palette the drink transforms and opens up into a sweet citrus and vodka that you’d expect from the standard lemon drop. The finish is where everything comes alive though. The sage and lemon create an earthy and complex flavor balanced out but the whisper of lavender at the end. If you were unaware of the bitters used while drinking it, it’s unlikely you’d pick out that what it was.
This cocktail is certainly one for the season with the herbal notes, citrus zing, and just enough bite to please any guest at your event this year!
Add 3-4 springs of sage to 1 cup (240-250mL) of water over a stove top. Bring to a boil and give an extra 5 minutes to extract the flavor of the sage. Remove from heat and add 1.5 cups (192g) of granulated sugar. Stir to dissolve. Once dissolved, fish out sage springs and set aside on a paper towel. Pour syrup into a sterilized glass container. Before sealing container slip in 2-4 of the sage springs into the bottle, then seal. Store in the refrigerator. For best flavor use within 1-3 months.
The Savage Drop 2oz (60mL) Vodka (Ideally Kettle One) 1oz (30mL) Lemon Juice 3/4oz (22mL) Sage Simple Syrup 1 Dash Lavender Bitters 2 Leaves of Fresh Sage
Shake all ingredients (except sage garnish) with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Clap the sage leaves in your hands to release the aroma/oils. Gently place in the side of the glass.
Well, well, well…here we are again just a month out from my annual Christmas party. So to get back into posting again (hopefully) here’s the last cocktail I designed and the first one to post. As per usual I pick one cocktail for each core spirit to highlight and make for my guests throughout the evening. I found this year however, that picking a solid whiskey drink to be the most challenging. Thusly, after a few iterations I settled on this spirit forward creation using Maker’s Mark 46 Bourbon and some homemade ginger syrup.
The Ginger 46 is all about the right presentation, since it’s a simple brown bourbon sour style drink it doesn’t looks like much on it’s own. Adding a skewer of crystalized ginger not only adds a little extra flair, but creates a difference in the flavor experience entirely. On the nose you’re mostly just smelling the bourbon. Maker’s 46 has a wonderful oaky sweetness that is a pleasant start. The cocktail (like any good one) has a threefold layer of flavor. It begins with sweet ginger, moves to the mellow but complex taste of the bourbon, and finishes with another round of ginger, but a bit more tart thanks to the lime and bitters. This cocktail really transforms however, when you take a nibble of the crystalized ginger and chase it with a sip of the cocktail. The ginger comes in sweet thanks to the coating of sugar, but by the time the cocktail hits its tail flavor notes, the spice of the root comes full force at you! Like a slap of gingerbread in the face, the experience is sure to delight your guests this holiday season.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 7.8/10 Overall Rating: 8/10
To be begin start by making a batch of the ginger syrup: 1.5 Cups (360mL) of Water 2 Inch (5-6cm) Peeled Ginger Root 2 Cups (400g) Granulated (White) Sugar
Slice the ginger and add it to a pot of water. Bring to a boil and be sure the water has taken on a light brown color from the ginger. It should also be very fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in sugar until dissolved. Pour into a glass container (preferably disinfected with a little vodka), and seal. Store in fridge and use within 2-3 months.
Ginger 46 2 oz (60mL) Maker’s Mark 46 Bourbon 1/2 oz (15mL) Ginger Syrup 1/4 of a Lime (Squeezed for Juice) 3 Dashes of Orange Bitters Crystalized Ginger
Mix everything but the ginger in a shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into a small cocktail glass or coupe. Skewer 2-3 pieces of Crystalized Ginger on a pick, and balance on the edge of the glass. Serve and enjoy responsibly!
Really? Pink Lemonade? Yes, but it’s a bit better than the syrupy fountain bubble from your favorite casual restaurant.
The appearance is similar to how you’d expect the common “virgin” version of the cocktail to be, but with a slightly darker color. On the nose it’s very clean and citrusy with not much else going for it. The cocktail starts sweet from the sprite/7up, moves to a clean mix of cranberry and citrus, then finishes with whatever liquor variants you used. The finish and in many ways star of this cocktail will all be about which vodka and which orange liqueur you add. For this evening’s recipe I went with my Boyd and Blair Potato Vodka and some Grand Marnier, the latter of which really classes up an otherwise simple (and frankly boring) recipe. Alternatively I think this cocktail could really benefit from a dash or two of orange bitters and/or some orange flower water to round out the flavor. Overall it’s a very simple drink, but a good starter if you’re new to mixing. A little extra attention to things like fresh juice and higher end spirits really can make this cocktail a bit better, but if you cheapen out on everything you’re going to get a mediocre experience.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 3/10 Overall Rating: 7.5/10
1 1/2 oz Vodka 1/2 oz Triple Sec (or other orange liqueur) 1 oz Cranberry Juice 1/2 oz Lemon Juice 1/2 oz Lime Juice 4-5 oz Chilled 7up or Sprite Lemon Wedge
Shake all liquid ingredients except 7UP. Strain into an iced collins glass and top with pop. Stir gently. Squeeze in lemon wedge and drop it in.
WAAAAY back in 2016 I created and posted this cocktail, but never gave it the full write up that it deserved so for day 4 of “Cocktailmas” we’re revisiting it.
The Caribbean Christmas has becoming a yearly favorite, and staple cocktail in my annual Christmas party. It’s a classic style recipe similar to the Old Fashioned, but with a bit less involved with muddling ingredients. The rum you chose for this drink will be the star of the show so don’t go for you basic bottom shelf bottle here. From the first pour through today’s revisit my choice is the Plantation 12 Year Aged Rum. It’s reasonably priced and a nice cut above what you’d get out of a standard silver variant from another brand. You would also find this cocktail works well with Appleton Estate and Mount Gay rums interchangeably.
As for the cocktail itself, it’s simple amber color is nothing to turn anyone’s attention, but the cinnamon stick garnish certainly would. On the nose you’re greeted with a simple clean cinnamon aroma. The flavor is a fairly simple one, two punch of rum followed by a complexly warm cinnamon thanks to the mingling of the syrup and bitters. I’ve exclusively made this drink with the BG Reynold’s Cinnamon Syrup and the Bittercube Trinity Bitters, but one could easily swap out the name brand syrup for a homemade batch. The bitters on the other hand would be harder to replicate. They don’t add huge flavor to the cocktail on the front end, but the aftertaste is really where they shine. In theory they could easily be switched out for a dash of orange and a dash of Angostura bitters, but I haven’t tested that one yet myself. With over a dozen bitters already in my cupboard, I don’t need to seek out the classic angostura any time soon. That said for a simple spirit forward cocktail this is VERY easy to drink. Although if you’re not a big fan of cinnamon you might find the flavor a bit overpowering. Regardless though, it’s one of my all time favorite original creations and remains so to this day. If you’re a rum fan, but don’t want to hit the dark stuff all the time. This is the perfect way to bring the sweetness of a rum from the Lesser Antilles, and liven it up for the holidays!
Alcohol Taste Rating: 6.5/10 Overall Rating: 9/10
Caribbean Christmas 1 1/2 oz Plantation Rum 1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup 2-3 Dashes Trinity Bitters Cinnamon Stick
Over ice in a rocks glass/tumbler, pour over liquid ingredients. Stir for 5 seconds. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
The 12 days of “Cocktailmas” continues with a variation on the modern classic, the “Lemon Drop.” Much like the Red Nosed Reindeer from my previous post, this variation was specifically created for my annual party.
The “Pink” of this drink comes from the Peychaud’s Bitters added to the mix, which adds primarily a little color to the otherwise cloudy cocktail.
Visually the drink is very inviting with its crusted sugar rim, and pink color. On the nose it smells of sweet lemons and the choice potato vodka. I specifically chose a potato vodka for this cocktail as its smoother nature brings out a more rounded flavor to the cocktail. Like any other basic sour cocktail it’s very citrus forward with the full ounce of lemon juice, but the sugar rim cuts through that on every sip. The late palette is where this cocktail really shines bringing a slight burn from the vodka and a complex hint of flavor from the bitters. While any basic sour recipe can easily be livened up with a dash or two of your favorite bitters, the Peychaud’s add a unique anise flavor (that normally isn’t my preferred flavor) which doesn’t overpower the drink as a whole. The use as well of a “Rich Simple Syrup” (2:1 with Turbinado Sugar) tones down the stronger flavors of the lemon and the burn of the vodka down for a more mellow variant on the modern classic.
Pink Lemon Drop 2 oz Vodka (Potato Preferred) 1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice 1/2 oz Rich Simple Syrup 1 (Generous) Dash of Peychaud’s Bitters Sugar
Rub the rim of a cocktail glass with a lemon wedge then dip in sugar. Place prepared glass in freezer to chill. In a shaker add ice, vodka, fresh lemon juice, rich simple syrup, and bitters. Shake until well chilled. Strain into prepared glass.
Counting my post of the Milkshake Shot back in August, I have decided to do a “12 Days of Cocktails” here at Medium of Mixology for the next 11 days. I’m overdue to review some new drinks and finish off the year with a BANG so to speak. As 2020 has been a dozen dumpster fires inside of another dumpster fire, we could also use a few good drinks to numb the pain of this year from ever harming us again.
So, a few months back I finally got my hands on some Pomegranate Liqueur. I’ve seen it in various recipes over the years, but could never manage to track some down until recently. Granted I wasn’t going out of my way to find it, but the bottle certainly did catch my attention. Pama Pomegranate Liqueur mixed Pomegranate Juice with Vodka and Tequila for an interesting sweet and tart flavor for a cocktail. Drinking through a whole bottle in a week I was convinced that it was the perfect choice for a Christmas themed cocktail creation.
After a bit of trial and error I finally came up with this simple crowd-pleaser! Specific to the season this cocktail requires the “Winter Spiced Cranberry” Sprite only available in November and December every year, so if you want to make this later in 2021 stock up now.
Visually perfect for your guests both in person and/or virtual this season, it’s bright red color offers a nice Christmasy invitation for you. On the nose it’s very much just he cranberry sprite, with a slight bit of tartness on the back end. As for the flavor profile it starts cold and tart, moves to a strong cranberry taste, and finishes with a nice sweetness at the end. What I did find interesting about this creation was that depending on what you’ve been eating/drinking prior it can taste sweeter or more intensely tart. If you’re looking for the sweeter side then start with this cocktail early, but if you want the more bitter tartness then go for it later in the night. The cherry at the start or finish of the cocktail (finish preferably) makes for a nice final treat before going back for more. This recipe would also be very easy to “batch” in advance and simply then pour 2 oz over ice and the sprite for your guests.
By no means perfect, it is a good and simple cocktail to get you in the holiday spirit!
Alcohol Taste Rating: 4/10 Overall Rating: 8/10
Red Nosed Reindeer 1 1/2 Shots Pomegranate Liqueur 1/2 oz Gin Top Cranberry Sprite Luxardo Maraschino Cherry
Straight build in an iced tumbler. Garnish with a single cherry on a pick and balanced on the edge of the glass.
So, yes it’s way to early to start wanting it to be Christmas, but now that the year is more than half over I’m due to start work shopping cocktails for my annual party. I got the idea for this layered drink way back in March and scribbled the idea down on a sticky note. I can’t explain it beyond that too much really. One day I just woke up and the recipe was in my head.
Using what I already know about layering and proportions I some how managed to create the perfect layered shot on the first try! This I will end up making in batches with the several tall double shot glasses I have and I have no doubt in my mind that it will quickly become the centerpiece cocktail for this year’s party.
I’m calling it the X-MAS Milkshake Shot, as right after finishing it I could only think one thing, “That tasted like a damn good milkshake!” Obviously with a shot it’s hard to give detailed tasting notes since it’s gone so quickly, but I feel the name says everything. On the nose you get the head of vanilla from the flavored vodka, and it’s creamy and smooth from start to finish. When you’ve gulped it down you can only think of a perfectly chilled milkshake so it’s best to make these in advance and serve COLD!
Alcohol Taste Rating: 5.5/10
Overall Rating: 9/10
X-MAS Milkshake Shot
Layer ingredients in order into a Tall Double Shot:
1/2 Fill Glass with Dark Creme de Cacao
1/4 oz Green Creme de Menthe
1/2 oz Irish Cream
1/4 oz Vanilla Vodka
Layer by carefully pouring over the back of a bar spoon. Chill. Serve Responsibly.
So, earlier today I was digging through my recipe book, looking for something else when I came across the recipe for “The Lusty Lady.” It was a featured cocktail on the back of a sampler pack of bitters, and given the elegant design of the cocktail I decided it would be worth featuring here on the blog…and it does not disappoint!
Though the recipe isn’t a super easy one in it’s execution, it is a good test of the home bartender to give a little extra class to a simple gin based recipe. Now in advance this cocktail calls for an egg white, and subsequently a dry or reverse dry shaking method. Although it is perfectly safe to consume egg whites in cocktails as the alcohol kills off any latent bacteria, it is worth noting that if it bothers you, you might want to pass this one by.
That said this is an impressive and deceptively simple cocktail. Any drink with egg white is going to create a nice foamy head and be velvety smooth on the tongue and this drink certainly fills that standard out nicely. The texture is extremely light and smooth from start to finish. The aroma is mostly blocked by the egg white foam, but there is a slight hint of the lavender bitters that comes through. It begins with simple and sweet tastes, but without a lot of distinguishing flavors, it then moves to a warm gin on the mid palette, and finishes with a slight hint of citrus and lavender with very little burn. Do note that I opted for an American Gin, which is significantly milder and than a traditional London Dry or Ginever. With that change up you can expect an earthier and more pronounced flavor to come through across the entire cocktail.
This is simply an OUTSTANDING cocktail, and with fresh ingredients it really takes a simple recipe to a new level. If you’re looking to impress a friend or date (with restaurants being closed) this will certainly do the trick.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 3/10
Overall Rating: 9.5/10 (Could be higher with a London Dry)
The Lusty Lady
2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/8 oz (A bar spoon) Cranberry Juice
1 Egg White
2-3 Dashes of Lavender Bitters
Shake all ingredients without ice for 8-10 seconds to emulsify egg. Add ice and shake for an additional 15 seconds to chill. Double Strain into a chilled coupe glass, and garnish with two cherries on a pick.