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.
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
Today we’ve got a tasteful and tasty spin on the classic sidecar recipe. Although given your working set of ingredients you may have to substitute here and there (as I did). I want to start by highlighting my use of a VSOP Brandy in place of Metaxa (a Greek Brandy with a stronger “winey” flavor). You MAY be able to use both Brandy and some Sweet Vermouth to achieve a similar flavor to the Metaxa. The former being much easier to find than the later depending your your location, and that difference will give you a slightly different flavor profile. In addition my use of Cassis Syrup over Creme de Cassis will make my overview of it lean sweeter than it would be normally. A common variation also calls for Chambord rather than Creme de Cassis.
So, I love this drink for 2 main reasons. First is the use of the sugar rim (which is something I wish I saw in more cocktail recpies); and second is the incredible finish that keeps you going back for more. With its deep red color, you’re greeted with an incredible forward aroma of what almost smells of agave nectar. With a sip from the sugar rim you begin with a sweet and simple flavor, move to a subtle currant and lemon, then finish with a richly sweet and oaky finish. The finish is what really caught my attention with this drink. Early in your sip is just feels like a fruity sweet drink, but the complexity of the oak from the brandy to the subtle orange of the Grand Marnier makes this damn near perfect! I do wish there was more to the front and mid palette here, but I’m willing to compromise for something this good!
Alcohol Taste Rating: 7/10
Overall Rating: 9.8/10
Au Currant Sidecar
1 1/2 oz Metaxa (or VSOP Brandy)
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Creme de Cassis (or Chambord) 1 oz Grand Marnier
1 tsp Superfine Sugar
Rub the edge of a cocktail glass with the lemon wedge and rim with granulated sugar. Shake liquid ingredients and superfine sugar with ice (approx. 15 seconds). Strain into prepared glass. Garnish with a Lemon Twist.
Today we’ve got a classy cocktail with a solid flavor. The Sidecar Royale has a classic sandy color with citrus and herbal aromas. It starts on a mildly sweet note, moves to a sweet brandy taste, then finishes with an earthy herbal and brandy bite. If you have or can find some Benedictine you might want to give this one a try. The original recipe calls for either brandy or cognac, but in my bar all I have is flavored brandies. I figured Apricot would fit this drink quite well (and it did). Although a more pure brandy would have the same flavor profile as my mix.
Overall Rating: 7.5-8/10
Alc. Rating: 6/10
Make it Again? Yes. Worth trying with cognac
1 oz Brandy (or cognac)
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Benedictine
1 1/2 oz Sweet/Sour
(Optional Rim with sugar)
A cast into the Atlantic catches you a “Blue Marlin!”
With it’s citrusy aroma, and brilliant blue color you know this one is a catch!
Ok so nautical puns aside this is an interesting and powerful drink. The Blue Marlin Cocktail features a sugar rim and feels very tropical. Unfortunately the taste doesn’t quite come up to par with the classy appearance. I feel the drink is very lacking in a more well rounded taste palette. Of course I do prefer sweeter drinks, so it might just be me.
That being said the addition of the sugar rim, really helps make the drink manageable. It’s not very sweet in the first place, so having that extra bit on your lips redeems the cocktail a bit. Also I did need to substitute a little citron vodka into the mix which may have thrown things off a little bit.
Either way the Blue Marlin is a great drink in terms of presentation, but the taste isn’t for everyone.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 6-7/10
Overall Taste Rating: 5/10
Make it Again? Maybe. Try again with all citron rum, or variation with more juice
2 oz Citron Rum (1/2 citron vodka, 1/2 light rum used)
1/2 oz Blue Curacao
1/2 oz Sweet/Sour
Lemon Wedge and Sugar (for rim) Orange Twist (or orange blossom)
Rum lemon wedge around edge and rim with sugar. Shake and strain rum, curacao, and sweet/sour with ice. Strain into prepared cocktail glass. Garnish with Orange Twist.