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.
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.
The Desert Healer (also called Desert Cooler) is a refreshing cocktail and a great welcome back to posting here on the blog! After a (semi) dry 40 days I’m ready to share some great new recipes with all of you.
With temperatures continuing to rise as we reach closer to the middle of spring the Desert Healer will treat the wounds from those unseasonably hot days. The drink has a unique “sandy” color, it’s not the most appealing but the orange garnish certainly helps with that. The drink begins with a mild citrus and ginger on the nose. With the first sip you’re greeted with a little ginger, followed by a hint of gin, then a nice finish of citrus and mild cherry. As it settles you get a little more of the ginger beer fizz to round things out. Overall it’s a very mild drink without a ton of overpowering alcohol burn or biased flavors. It’s a great choice for a hot summer day, but not a day that you want to sacrifice on quality.!
Alcohol Taste Rating: 5/10
Overall Rating 8.4/10
Desert Healer (Cooler)
1 1/2 oz Gin
1/2 Cherry Brandy (Cherry Heering Preferred) 3 oz Orange Juice
3-5 oz Ginger Beer
Shake juice and liquor ingredients with ice. Strain into an iced highball or collins glass. Top with ginger beer stir gently. Garnish with an orange slice
VARIATION: Add an extra 1/2 oz of Cherry Heering after stirring for a gradient effect and sweeter finish.
I’ve been off and on returning to my “wandering around” in the game Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and I was struck with inspiration on the 4 “powers” you get in the game (Incoming SPOILERS). Revali’s Gale lets you glide upward with a gust of wind, making it easier to traverse mountains. For this original cocktail I wanted to play with both the visuals of the power and the flavors of the game’s region. Specifically using Grey Goose vodka to mimic the Rito (bird-like race) and the regional wheat flavor (wheat vodka); I played with various iterations of a mix of flavors to get the desired color and flavor. It had to be green, light, airy, and in a tall glass. Thinking about it more and more I wanted to also incorporate some mint to reflect the tall mountains and snow shown in the game. For that reason I decided to do a riff on the classic Mojito.
The “Revali’s Gale” is a light summer style drink, with refreshing flavor that will elevate you to new heights. The drink looks very similar to a classic Mojito, but is considerably greener and the bottom. It has a light minty aroma and paired with a few visual mint leaves a very inviting presentation. Like any Mojito you’re greeted with a light taste of your choice spirit and club soda which moves quickly to a little sweet lime. With this variation you get a finish of melon and mint which keeps you going back for more. As you drink to the bottom and start to mix in the darker liqueur components, you get more melon and citrus, but it’s not overpoweringly sweet. Overall this is a nice twist on the summer classic, and can really be enjoyed in any season. If you’re not a huge rum person and want to go for a vodka variant, this might be the cocktail for you!
Alcohol Taste Rating: 4/10
Overall Rating: 7.7/10
2 oz Grey Goose Vodka (or other Wheat Vodka)
1 oz Lime Juice
2 sugar Cubes 6-8 Mint Leaves
Splash Blue Curacao
Muddle Lime Juice, Mint, and Sugar in a mixing glass. Add ice, and vodka. Shake well. Strain into an iced collins glass and top with club soda. Add a splash of blue curacao, then a splash of Midori. Serve to a wandering hero.
Well today’s cocktail is a tasty creation that is visually disturbing. Very dark green with a foamy top, and a little bloody grenadine doesn’t make it all that appealing (although it does match the name). Good thing the taste delivers and then some!
The “Nordic Death” features a tropical berry flavor with a light sparkle. It has a mild alcohol(y) taste on the finish. I’d call this a great party drink, especially in the creation side of the presentation.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 1-3/10
Overall Rating: 9/10
Make it Again? Yes! Already on the menu
½ oz Vodka ½ oz Raspberry Liqueur ½ oz Midori ½ oz Blue Curacao 2 oz Pineapple Juice Sprite Dash of Grenadine
Shake vodka, liqueurs, and pineapple juice. Strain into an iced Collins glass. Top with sprite and dash grenadine on top.