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.
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 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.
Well I decided I better come back for at least once cocktail before the end of the year. The “Blue Christmas” I created specifically for my annual party, and based the color/title off of the old Elvis Presley Song of the same name. I went through a couple iterations creating the drink, but settled on potato vodka and the highlight special ingredient Rosemary Simple Syrup.
Base presentation is key here. A stemless cocktail glass makes for a short easy to hold but elegant designed drink. As the name suggests it’s a bright blueish/green cocktail, garnished with a lime wedge for some seasonal green. On the nose you’re greeted with mild citrusy notes. The palette on first sip is where things get interesting. If you go with a potato vodka (vs wheat like Absolut or a corn like Titos) you’ll get smooth refreshing start, which quickly moves to a sweet rosemary and vermouth flavor, and finishes with a slightly sweet and sour citrus from the lime. If you opt for a different vodka, you’ll likely get a little more burn on the back end. Either way this is a very easy drinking cocktail for your seasonal parties. If you’re less of a vodka fan and want to push the juniper flavor out more, I’d highly suggest trying the same recipe with a London Dry Gin such as Bombay or Beefeater!
Alcohol Taste Rating: 6/10
Overall Rating: 8.9/10
1 1/2 oz Vodka (Can also use Gin)
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
1/4 oz Blue Curacao (Increase to 1/2 if you want it bluer)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Rosemary Simple Syrup*
Shake all liquid ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Float a thin lime slice on top.
*Rosemary Simple Syrup – Boil 1 cup of water with 2 large springs of rosemary for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Stir until dissolved and pour into a clean glass jar. (Optionally add the boiled rosemary springs into the syrup for further maturation of flavor) Refrigerate once cool.
For today I’ve got another side by side review of two liqueurs. Bols Ginger and Domaine de Canton Ginger. Both are ginger liqueurs designed for a variety of cocktails, and have similar flavors but very different nuances and price points.
We’ll start with the Bols (since I have more of it at the time of writing). The liqueur has a strong ginger aroma similar to ginger beer and is virtually colorless. At 24% ABV it’s the heavier of the two in its sugar content, but it makes up for it with an intense bite of ginger flavor especially at the back end. Early on you’re mostly hit with a sweet sugary flavor and some interesting caramel notes. Overall it’s not a bad flavor additive, but you won’t be drinking it straight. At around $13-15 it’s a resonable price for the flavor needed for certain cocktails. I’ll give it a solid 7/10 overall.
Next is the Domaine de Canton. A french style ginger liqueur at a slightly higher 28% ABV. Side by side there is a noticable color difference in that the Canton is slightly gold in color. There is still a bit of ginger on the nose, but it’s much less pronounced and considerably sweeter smelling. It also feels slightly (but just barely) thicker in viscosity as when you swirl it in the glass it will temporarily coat its inside walls. The like the aroma the ginger flavor is more subtle mixing in hints of vanilla and possibly some orange notes. The biggest advantage for the Canton that I can see is the lack of a harsh ginger flavor burn at the end. It’s a smooth drink from start to finish and extremely well rounded! However at around $33-35 a bottle it’s going to be something for your extended bar rather than a daily mixer. That said I’ll give it a solid 8.5/10 overall. Despite the higher price point, you’re looking at a reasonably priced product that could easily be served over ice, or with a nice pairing of dry vermouth or gin.
At the end of the day however the two products are very different but also a little the same. For some cocktails I think the Bols could make an easy substitute especially in recipes calling for 5 or more ingredients. However, if you’re looking to put a simple twist on your martini, don’t skimp on the cost for the more premium product, it’s worth every penny!
So I’m fairly embarrassed that the first cocktail of 2019 is in the middle of February, but I’m proud to finally be a day a head of a holiday for releasing a drink. This should give everyone the day to snag the ingredients if you don’t already have them.
Consulting a cocktail book of mine I was intrigued by this simple, but interesting cocktail. A visually simple light rose color, with an inviting nose of a light banana and tart berry. The drink starts off sweet with a mix of the flavors, hits with a banana and light vodka burn on the mid pallete, and finishes with the tartness of cranberry. I fell like this is a cocktail that could really be changed based on your choice of ingredients. A sweet banana liqueur will make a sweeter drink, while a stronger 99 Bananas will get you a punchier cocktail with less flavor and more burn. Additionally a cheaper vodka would make this drink more harsh than smooth and complex, so if you’re making it for a lover spend the extra cash and get a nice top shelf vodka.
Overall it’s a simple but interesting cocktail. Inviting in color and flavor, but not complex enough for the experienced mixologist to call a “regular.” If you’re looking to impress, but still keep under a budget this might be a good choice. Outside of that, I think there are better options for these three flavors.
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.
The Vesper is arguably the best martini you’ve never had. It’s origin is thanks to Ian Fleming’s famous character James Bond, in the 1953 Novel (and 2006 Film) Casino Royal. As Bond himself describes it the drink contains: “Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”
Now unfortunately for us Kina Lillet hasn’t been in production since the mid 1980s, and Gordons Gin has also changed since then as well (and is now known for being fairly low end). Bond also usually requests a Russian Vodka, which personally I’m not a fan of. So, for a modern Vesper it’s best to stick with your favorite of the harder spirits, and pick yourself up a bottle of Lillet Blanc. The remaining instructions hold true making for a truly classy cocktail.
The drink straight out of the shaker will be a cloudy white, but eventually will turn clear as it hits the air and settles. The thin waft of a lemon peel (best used a kitchen peeler for) brings a distinct lemony aroma to the nose. On the front of your palette you’re greeted with refreshing gin flavor, a lemon and Lillet hit you quickly after that, and you’re finished with a slight burn from the vodka (depending you your choice you may get a smoother flavor). This cocktail I’d say depends quite highly on the quality of your ingredients. Granted I’m using a mild American Style Gin here as well as a cheaper American Vodka, so the flavor profile will reflect the Lillet and Lemon more than the vodka and gin. If you’re looking for a stronger flavor try mixing with Beefeater or Bombay for the gin, and/or Boyd & Blair, Kettle One, or Absolut, for the vodka.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 8/10
Overall Rating: 7.4/10
1 1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Vodka
1/4 oz Lillet Blanc Lemon Peel
Shake all with ice. Pour into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass. Squeeze lemon peel over drink (express the oils) and drop it in.
So recently I picked up a set of 4 pints with laser etched designs of the popular series Avatar: The Last Airbender and Avatar: Legend of Korra. With these new glasses in my set I was inspired to design 4 drinks that embodied the franchise. The first in this set (today’s cocktail) is a spin on the classic long island iced tea.
In addition to the recent glassware I found myself buying a bottle of Pimm’s No. 1 Liqueur, which in retrospect was a terrible idea. Pimm’s tastes like flat cola and cheap vodka, and not in a good way. However in having it on hand it allowed me to impart the cola flavor without the unnecessary fizzy element. I also thought I’d be spending more time refining this, but I honestly don’t think it needs any more work. Sometimes you just get lucky and design something spectacular the first time around!
The cocktail itself imparts a unique yellow-green color, not unlike a generic green tea and the aroma is citrus with a hint of melon. The drink starts sweet, moves to sour and a little lemon, and finishes with an alcohol burn (but surprisingly not much of one). If you’re looking to use up some Pimm’s as I was, why not give this long island ice tea variant a try. However, I wouldn’t buy the Pimm’s just for this. Instead leave a can of cola open overnight, then use that the next day.
Overall Rating: 8/10
Alchohol Taste Rating: 6/10
Uncle Iroh’s Pai Sho Earth Tea
3/4 oz Light Rum
3/4 oz Gin
3/4 oz Vodka
3/4 oz Blended Whiskey
1 1/2 oz Midori
3/4 oz Pimm’s No. 1
Top with Lemonade
Fill a pint glass to the top with ice. Straight build ingredients in order, Stir well.
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.