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, 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.
Sometimes I’m just inspired and two original cocktails back to back area clear indication when something is going right. Continuing my journey into Zelda: Breath of the Wild Cocktails, I present Mipha’s Grace. In the game this power-up brings you back from the brink of death with the power of the Water Champion Mipha! I wanted to do a whiskey based drink for this particular cocktail as whiskey comes from Gallic meaning “water of life,” which is the perfect definition for this cocktail and the power in the game.
With a deep blue/green color and select lemon, cherry, and sugar garnishes this cocktail is a beauty in it’s presentation and it’s taste. The aroma is a neutral citrus and sweet, with a hint of apple on the back end. The drink starts with a cool and sweet flavor which moves to a sweet citrus, then finally finishes with a slight burn of apple, lemon, and cherry/berry. It’s not the best cocktail in the world, but it’s a great representation of the theme with a solid drink behind it. If you’re throwing a game themed party this might be a great choice for you. Outside of that it’s a fun novelty for an evening, but nothing special enough for a regular cocktail.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 6.5/10
Overall Rating: 7/10
1 1/2 oz Apple Whiskey
1/2 oz Blue Curacao 1/2 oz Gin 1/2 oz Orgeat (Almond Syrup) 1/4 oz Blackberry Brandy Cherry with stem Lemon Wedge Sugar
Prepare a cocktail glass by rimming the edge with a lemon wedge and coating in sugar. Chill. Shake whiskey, curacao, gin, syrup, and brandy together with ice. Strain into prepared glass over a single cherry (keep stem on). Squeeze remaining lemon wedge over drink and drop it in.
UPDATE 2019: This drink actually doesn’t need the orgeat syrup. Leave it out and you get a more well balanced cocktail that’s less sweet and more “rounded.” New overall rating at 8/10. With alcohol taste rating at 6.5/10
So I thought I should throw something quick together for the holiday, and what I came up with was actually pretty solid! The Witch’s Brew is loosely based on the Rainbow Road Cocktail, but with a bit less red and yellow and more violet.
As with any layered cocktail the Witch’s Brew has a killer presentation with three distinct layers and multiple flavors for your cackling palette. As for the flavor, again you’re looking at traditional layered drink fare. So the flavor will change the more into the drink you get. It starts with the melon and sweet rum both in flavor and aroma. The back flavor once it settles leans to the citrus of the juice, but then you get pulled back into overproof rum territory quickly as it settles in. As the upper layer slowly disappears, you begin to get a sweet and floral flavor creeping in. Overall it’s a simple drink, but complex in its ingredients list…I’d say that’s perfect for a true brew.
Alcohol Taste Rating (8/10 then 4/10)
Overall Rating (7/10)
1/2 oz Blue Curacao
1 1/2 oz OJ
1/4 oz Grenadine
1/4 oz Creme de Violette
1/2 oz Midori (Or other melon liqueur)
3/4 oz 151 Rum
In an iced mixing glass stir Blue Curacao and Orange juice to chill. Strain into a cocktail glass. Then stir grenadine and Creme de Violette with ice, and strain pouring on the side of the glass (should sink to bottom). Finally stir Midori and 151 rum with ice, and strain on the side of glass (or with a spoon) layering mixture on top. Garnish with a cherry (with stem).
Looking back through the blog recently, I was shocked to find that I hadn’t made a single Manhattan in the nearly 4 years since starting this page. I have had no excuse to ignore this quintessential classic cocktail, so I apologize for my oversight.
The Manhattan is said to have first been made (or at least) introduced in the United States by the request of Winston Churchill’s Mother in a bar in NYC. Since those days the drink has become a true classic recipe known by even the most humble of bartenders. Plus it’s a great example of how a truly masculine drink can be presented in a fancy cocktail glass.
For a drink this simple if you’re not using quality ingredients you’ll be doing yourself and your guests a disservice. A cheap whiskey (traditionally bourbon or rye) will be far too harsh on the palette, while a cheap vermouth will leave quite literally a bad taste in your mouth. No, a good Manhattan is all about the right ingredients all coming together beautifully.
With a deep reddish brown color and garnished cherry this drink feels both classy and intimidating at the same time. With sweet vermouth on the forward aroma, it’s is as inviting to the senses as such a simple cocktail can be. Masked by the mixing of flavors you’re greeted with a pleasant mellow bourbon on the front of your palette. It quickly moves into the vermouth (again get a good one, you’ll thank me), and leads to an oaky bourbon and bitter finish. If you chose rye over the bourbon I imagine you’ll get of its flavor than you do the oak of your favorite bourbon.
The bite is strong, but the flavor keeps you coming back for more! It’s hard to hate a drink like this (unless of course you’re not a whiskey lover).
Alcohol Taste Rating: 8/10
Overall Rating 9.5/10
The Classic Manhattan
2 oz Bourbon or Rye Whiskey
3/4 oz Sweet (Red) Vermouth
2-3 Dashes of Aromatic Bitters
Stir with ice for about 45 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a maraschino cherry.
It’s been quite a while since the last cocktail and I figured I wanted to make my triumphant return to the cocktail blog with a really solid drink. I recently picked up some Luxardo Maraschino Cherry Liqueur, and found it to be a very interesting ingredient. It’s a clear bitter liqueur with a distinct cherry aroma and flavor that alone, isn’t something worth drinking. However, the product really shines in small quantities (1/4 to 1/2 oz) in a variety of cocktails.
So today’s drink is something of a modern flair on a classic cocktail. With just a dash of the Luxardo and some Lavender Bitters you get a VERY well balanced drink.
The drink has the lime and gin aroma of a classic gimlet along with its signature yellow-green jewel appearance. It starts light and sweet with a forward floral note of the lavender bitters. You’re rewarded with a sweet lime flavor on the mid palette, and to finish it’s a 3 stage level of complex flavors of; bitter, strong, and a little floral and bitter cherry as it settles.
Both the Luxardo and the lavender bitters and their own unique bitter complexity to this classic cocktail. If you’re looking for a modern twist on an already nearly perfect cocktail, this could be one for you!
Alcohol Taste Rating: 7/10
Overall Rating: 9.5/10
Cherry Lavender Gimlet
2 oz Gin
2 oz Sweetened Lime Juice
1/4 oz Luxardo Cherry Liqueur
3-4 Dashes Lavender Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a (larger) chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a floating lime slice.
So it’s been nearly 4 Months since you heard from me last and I thought it was about time for an update. Since early December I’ve been in the process of moving which as you may have guessed has put a damper on the bar considerably. I went from a strong 36+ bottle set, to a set of 1 (and some extras that no one uses anyway…like Campari.) In the process of moving from July to December I scaled back the home bar significantly, and now I’m starting from (near) scratch once again. The time in between however has allowed me to both learn and expand what I want this blog to contain.
While I started this blog with the intention of introducing a new cocktail every week, it has become more of an outlet for culinary creativity in the “craft cocktail” realm. My exploration of good and near perfect cocktails, has lead me to pursue a set of drinks that is both fine in its quality of ingredients, as well as in its creation. From about 2015 on it has been less about “new” drinks and more about ones that I feel are worth highlighting.
This concept of the “craft” cocktail is something that has stuck with me throughout though. Part of the artistry of the drink is more than just a new recipe, but also about the ingredients that you use. Subsequently one of my favorite YouTube channels – Common Man Cocktails expand their branding into a new channel called “The Craft Cocktail” There seems to be a trend of those that make cocktails, calling their art “craft” to mimic the exponential growth of the craft beer industry. That said, I think this blog is a unique reflection on that concept. In short I think a new tagline for the blog should be “Craft cocktaisl with an artist’s touch”
[Food for thought] But I digress…
I want to talk briefly today about the garnishes in cocktail, specifically the use of mint or fruit in some drinks. I have found over time that I really relish the maraschino cherry, or lemon wedge in a cocktail, as it adds not only color and contrast to a drink, but a unique bit of sweetness before or after finishing the cocktail. Finishing a whiskey sour (as I type) and having an orange or lemon slice and a cherry to finish the drink feels oddly satisfying. Fruit garnishes go a long way to making a drink both presentable as well as making it more well rounded.
Sucking on a lemon peel, or eating the pulp of an orange can make the taste of a drink really come to life! The “artistry” of craft cocktails is more than just spirits and bitters, but the garnishes as well! Don’t forget my fellow mixologists, that the garnish can be just as important as which whiskey you choose in your sours.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted back to back days, but I figured I was over due to get some new drinks up here to the blog.
I decided to go for this shot for two reasons. First that it’s been too long since I’ve had a shot, and second because I’ve had this sampler bottle of Godiva sitting for about 10 months that I haven’t touched.
So like any shot there isn’t much savoring to do and it’s a strong “down the hatch” flavor. The aroma is that of whatever vodka you choose with a slight hint of mint. The shot itself is a strong rush of mint flavor with a slight chocolate linger. The cherry garnish at the end really helps ease the mint and cool everything off. It’s not a bad little shot and with the Halloween nut-jobs already starting to plan their events 2 months early, this would could make a good starter for everyone at a party. Made in advance of course.
Overall Rating: 6/10
Alcohol Taste Rating: 9/10
1/3 Part Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
1/3 Part Vodka
1/3 Part Peppermint SchnappsSpeared Cherry
Layer in a presentation shot glass (watch your ABV percentages for a proper layer). Spear a maraschino cherry and set it on top. Down in one gulp and eat the cherry.
Yes, ok there’s tons of Bourbon Slush recipes out there, but I doubt you’ve ever had one like this! Instead of something from one of my regular cocktail books this is an old family recipe.
Sweet, a little sour, and a whole lot of bourbon this drink is the perfect summer drink for a crowd. You can’t make these in a smaller batch so get out a solid gallon tub to make this in! I’d talk more about the taste, but it’s just something you have to try for yourself. FYI though, don’t waste good bourbon on this, the cheap stuff works just fine.
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Can (6 oz) of Frozen Orange Juice
3/4 Can (9 oz) of Frozen Lemonade
2 Cups of Hot Tea
2 Cups of Bourbon
6 Cups of Water
Mix ingredients in a large bowl. Be sure that sugar and juice concentrate have all dissolved. Freeze overnight. Scoop out with a spoon or ice cream scoop into the glass of your choice. (Optional) Tops with Coke or another soft drink of your choice (Sprite and Ginger Ale are great options). Garnish with Orange Slice and a Cherry.
*Note do not use liquid or fresh juices. It’s designed to work with frozen concentrated juices.
Today’s blending cocktail is probably my favorite thus far for the week. The Mediterranean Freeze is an interesting color, but is well complemented by the garnishes. The opening aroma is very orange-y making for a very inviting drink. It starts off with the taste of a basic screwdriver (vodka and OJ), then moves to a sour citrus, then finishes with a subtle melon that keeps you going back for more. I wouldn’t say that the peach schnapps is lost in this drink, but it does lend itself to the overall sweetness in the first few sips. This is really solid blending cocktail and worth making again, perhaps in a larger quantity for a party.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 2-3/10
Overall Rating 9/10
1 oz Vodka
3/4 oz Midori
1/2 oz Peach Schnapps
2 oz Sweet/Sour
3 oz Orange Juice
Orange Slice and Cherry
Blend liquid ingredients with ice, pour into a pint glass. Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.