Podcast 87- ​​GLUTEN FREE: Bailoni and Hola Harvey

hola harvey wallbanger

Tirzah give us the low-down on gluten free drinking whilst Greg tries not to kill her. Drinking pastors? Greg’s gluten quiz! New Mexico IPAs are the best. We taste Bailoni Apricot liqueur and eau de vie. Is yeast bad? “I have an app that can help us with that.” We make a Hola Harvey for Cinco de Mayo, a “real drinking holiday.” Natasha was wearing cowboy boots…dancing on the bar? Oralé Harvey.

Download Episode 87.

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Drinking the Derby

four roses and mint julep recipe

The Kentucky Derby is coming up Saturday – a celebratory event which usually marks the arrival of Spring and “spring time” bourbon drinks like the Mint Julep. I have 2 pots of mint in the backyard and they are full and ready to be julep-ized. As a refresher on how to make your own Juleps, you can see my Julep walkthrough here.

According to the Derby, “120,000 Mint Juleps are served over the two-day period of Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby weekend at Churchill Downs Racetrack. That’s a feat that requires more than 10,000 bottles of bourbon, 1,000 pounds of mint and 60,000 pounds of ice.”

So in light of the coming Derby this weekend, I was excited to receive a care package from Four Roses, one of my personal favorite cinnamon-forward Kentucky bourbons, then a copy of Michael Dietsch’s brand new book Whiskey: A Spirited Story with 75 Classic & Original Cocktails, which releases May 17, 2016 [Amazon link].

whiskey by michael dietsch

Much more than just a simple listing of recipes, Deitch devotes several pages to each cocktail and goes into the history and story behind each. It’s a beautiful hardcover book with excellent photography, designed cleanly and well-organized, with a good deal of cocktail pointers (whiskey or not). He says of the Mint Julep:

“With an origin in the 18th century, the boozy julep came along before American whiskey was widely available. And even when American whiskey was more available, the julep had become a drink of the genteel South, and in that time, gentlemen drank brandy and rum, not brash American whiskey.” (pp 103)

Enjoy a Mint Julep and enjoy Derby Day on Saturday! Cheers!

Novo Fogo Cachaça Caipirinha Kit

novo fogo cachaça

I’m a little embarrassed to say that until recently, I had not tried cachaça (kuh-CHA-suh), the Brazilian sugar cane juice liquor. Similar to rum, cachaça is Brazil’s most popular distilled spirit, and the base for the caipirinha (KAI-pir-een-yuh) cocktail.

Well, Novo Fogo Cachaça helped us to correct that when they sent us their caipirinha kit to try out on our podcast (which we did here). The kit includes a bottle of Novo Fogo Silver, 2 small branded mason jars, and a wood muddler, all of which we use in the recipe below.

novo fogo caipirinha kit

A caipirinha is like a South American take on a Daiquiri: lime, sugar and rum, though in this case the rum is swapped for cachaça. I find Novo Fogo’s cachaça to be a earthier, grassier and much more flavorful variety of rum, which is technically is, because it’s distilled from sugar cane juice. Their caipirinha kit makes for some tasty cocktails, too, and all you need to add is lime and sugar. Here’s how you make it:

Caipirinha

  • in a small mason jar, add:
  • 1/2 of a lime, but into wedges and with the enter pith removed
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 oz cachaça
  • muddle together well, then fill the jar with ice
  • shake well, then serve directly in the jar

Podcast 86- ​​ Green Chile Vodka and Leaving the Quarter

jagermeister leaving the quarter

NOTE: The podcast is now available on Google Play! Click the grey button below to listen through Play.

“Very New Mexico.” Greg’s hot and spicy liquor reviews. Red or green? We taste Crater Lake Hatch Green Chile Vodka. Redeeming the “shot” liqueur that’s Jägermeister. Eric is too cool. Hide the strawberries. We make the Leaving the Quarter cocktail. “You don’t really need good flavor…..”

Download Episode 86.

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Prince Memorial Cocktails

purple rain prince cocktail

You know, I’ve always found cocktails that memorialize an occasion, or person, to be a bit cheesy and so I rarely partake in “theme” drinking. I found myself in a situation last week when Prince died, that folks who were coming to our already-planned cocktail party that night began asking if I was going to be making any Prince-themed drinks to remember him by.

Drinking and partying in memory of someone who’s passed away is a thing, and people have done it for thousands of years (at least), so I softened to the idea of some themed cocktails, both for the sake of our party guests and because of fun in creating new cocktails! After 3 recipe revisions for each, we got them just right. The first drink we made is the Purple Rain (pictured above).

Purple Rain (by Greg Mays)

  • in a shaker, add:
  • 2 oz coconut water
  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz açaí juice
  • shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Next up, we made a riff on a Gin Sour by including some muddled raspberries:

raspberry beret prince cocktail

Raspberry Beret (by Greg Mays)

  • in a shaker, add:
  • 5 raspberries
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • muddle the raspberries well, then add:
  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
  • dry shake (no ice), then add ice and shake again to chill
  • double strain into an old fashioned glass filled with ice and add 3 raspberries for garnish
  • add 2 drops of Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters on the foam

So there you are: 2 simple cocktails you can drink in memory of The Purple One. Cheers!

Podcast 85- ​Ransom Old Tom Gin and Whiskey Sour

NOTE: The podcast is now available on Google Play! Click the grey button below to listen through Play.

Old friends. A tease. Canon and cocktail discovery in the early days. We taste Ransom Old Tom Gin. “You better appreciate this, Eric.” We (finally) make a Whiskey Sour. Milkshakes in Home Ec. Refrigerating eggs.

Download Episode 85.

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Whiskey Girl Whiskies

whiskey girl whiskies

Whiskey Girl is a line of flavored whiskies from Dark Corner Distillery in South Carolina and designed to appeal to female whiskey lovers. Currently available on the east coast, Whiskey Girl is available in 3 varieties: Apple & Maple, Butterscotch and Peach. Retailing at just under $30 a bottle, we had the opportunity to try both the butterscotch and peach versions of their whiskies on a recent podcast episode.

Based on a whiskey of corn, barley and wheat (without spicy rye), and at 35% alcohol, Whiskey Girl are very mild whiskies, indented to be easy to drink for everyone, I imagine. These are sweetened, too, though the level of sweetness seemed to be dependent on the specific flavor we chose. On the podcast, most drinkers preferred the peach flavor as it has a more whiskey-forward flavor profile and tasted less sweet than the candy-like butterscotch. Peach Whiskey Girl, we figured, would be delicious in iced tea, as it would flavor it, sweeten it, and booze it up.

Cocktails with Whiskey Girl will involve some creativity, but you should probably consider replacing a whiskey liqueur with these, and not a whiskey. I made a Manhattan with Whiskey Girl Peach in the place of rye, and the flavor balance was off. Cocktails with whiskey liqueurs as a ingredient (like Southern Comfort or Drambuie) would be the easiest to swap out for Whiskey Girl, so I tried it in a J.R.’s Revenge cocktail, which is usually made with Southern Comfort:

Butterscotch Revenge

  • in a mixing glass, add:
  • 1 1/2 oz bourbon
  • 1/4 oz Whiskey Girl butterscotch
  • 2 dashes of bitters
  • stir with ice and strain in a chilled cocktail glass

Wine Margarita

wine margarita

The Margarita is one of the most iconic cocktails in the world, a derivative of the Sidecar, and it regularly fights the Martini for most-googled cocktail. One of my first blog posts at Simple Cocktails was a Watermelon Wine Margarita, which tasted a lot like Jolly Ranchers, and not at all like booze. Some beer-and-wine-only restaurants will make “cocktails” out of wine to replicate the boozier versions, and I’ve personally found that some wine-based mixed drinks like that can be great for parties because you can make them in a pitcher and they’re ready-to-drink without being overwhelmingly alcoholic.

With BBQ season right around the corner, here’s my recipe for Wine Margaritas, in both individual servings and for pitchers:

Wine Margarita (by Greg Mays)

  • in an ice-filled, salt-rimmed Collins glass, add:
  • 1 oz orange curacao
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 4-5 ounces white wine of choice (decide based on your desired dry-ness)
  • garnish with a lime wedge
  • stir well (I left mine in the photo above un-stirred for a cool “sunrise” effect, but stir before drinking)

Pitcher of Wine Margaritas (by Greg Mays)

  • in an ice-filled pitcher, add:
  • 1 bottle white wine of choice
  • 6 1/2 oz of orange curacao
  • 6 1/2 oz lime juice
  • fill pitcher with lime wheels and stir well
  • prep ice-filled, salt-rimmed glasses for serving

Podcast 84- ​Tamworth Gins and Prado

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Jon Taffer and booze (link). Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s response. Full Diva. We taste Tamworth gins, Flora and Apiary. We make a Prado cocktail. Why choose blanco? “I like you, but where am I going to take you?”

Download Episode 84.

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Podcast 83- ​Santera Tequila and Añejo Highball

simple cocktails with freinds
Nobody turns you down. Cocktail Olympics? Naked ladies and skulls. We taste Santera Tequila. Richard’s non-simple cocktails. We make an Añejo Highball. Learning about “sundowners.”

Download Episode 83.

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