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!
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.