MSC 3: Lemon Drop Cocktail


Welcome to “Making Simple Cocktails,” our video series at Simple Cocktails! In episode #3, Lisa and Greg make a Lemon Drop CocktailSubscribe to our YouTube channel here for more great cocktail videos!

Lemon Drop

  • in an ice-filled collins glass, add:
  • 1 1/2 oz La Luz Vodka
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • garnish with a lemon wedge
  • optionally: sugar rim the cocktail glass

 

What is Vermouth? (Part 2)

vermouth bottle illustration part 2

In Part 1 of our series “What is Vermouth?”, published earlier this week, we defined vermouth as a fortified, aromitized wine. Today, we’ll give you some information about the different types of vermouth that are available.

As I said previously, there is a big taste difference between cheap and quality vermouth – it’s a good idea to spend as much as you can afford. That being said, though, I regularly buy Noilly Prat or Martini & Rossi vermouth, both tried-and-true and just under $10 a bottle.

More important than the brand, though, is the type of vermouth you buy: sweet or dry. Usually, sweet vermouth is red and dry is white, but occasionally you’ll get a curveball, like Vya Whisper Dry, a slightly sweet (but still dry) white vermouth, or Dolin Blanc, a sweet white vermouth (used in the White Martinez recipe, shown below).

white martinez with hendricks

Unfortunately, the color of the vermouth is not necessarily going to make it easy to differentiate which style you’re buying. As I’ve noted, a white vermouth can be sweet or dry, a red can be syrupy sweet or quite bitter.  Often, the type of vermouth may be printed in Italian or French.

So here is a brief guide to vermouth names, though a better option would be to ask a helpful local liquor store employee for help (which is what I do). Other than the typical dry-white and sweet-red, you might also see: rosso (Italian for red), vermouth amaro (a bitter vermouth, like Punt e Mes), bianco (sweet white), blanc (sweet white), extra dry, rouge (a paler red), rosé (a pink vermouth, think White Zinfandel), or ambre (a copper/orange colored vermouth).

Now that we’ve (hopefully) got the proper vermouth for our home bar, the final step is using it and taking care of it…

 Stay tuned for our final entry: “What is Vermouth?” Part 3.

Podcast 35- Don Quixote Pisqo and Chinese Bees Knees

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A “city covered with intelligence.” What’s pisco? We taste Don Quixote Pisqo Brandy. Grappa = ew. A funny name is sometimes all that matters. Beware the swarm. The “saffron of bitters.” About Beefeater 24. We make a Chinese Bees Knees. You could heat it up. A subtle swarm. Greg’s the loser here. It only takes 3 drinks?

Download Episode 35.

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If you enjoyed the show, please write a brief review on iTunes. That would help us get the word out and raise the visibility of the show. Thank you!

What is Vermouth? (Part 1)

vermouth bottle illustration part 1

I’ve told you that vermouth is one of the first 5 bottles you should buy for your home bar because it’s used in classic cocktails like the Martini and the Manhattan. Most people, however, have no idea what vermouth is, or that that some vermouth tastes much better than others. So today, I’ll define vermouth for you and in my next post I’ll tell you what to do with it.

Vermouth is a fortified, aromitized wine. 

Vermouth is wine (red or white) that’s fortified through the addition of hard liquor (usually brandy). Other familiar fortified wines include Port, Sherry, and Madeira. Because they’re fortified, all of these wines are both higher in alcohol content and more “shelf stable” than regular wine – lasting several weeks before they need to be replaced. Vermouth is unique from these other fortified wines, though, because it’s also aromatized with herbs, spices, tree bark, seeds, and sometimes more.

Because of the complexity of vermouth, every element in the bottle affects the taste of the final product. The type of wine, the quality of the brandy fortifying it, and all of the aromatics contribute to the flavor, and the taste can vary greatly as a result. A vermouth can taste sweet, bitter, dry, herbal, cheap, syrupy – it can take on just about any flavor profile that you can imagine.

contratto vermouth

Here on the blog, I’ve covered some really high-quality vermouth, like Contratto (pictured) and Vya, and I’ve also used Trader Joe’s $4 vermouth from time to time, too. As I said in my Contratto post: “the extra money spent on a quality bottle of vermouth makes such a massive difference in the quality of my home cocktails, it’s impossible to ignore the value of it.”

Put simply, a better vermouth tastes better, and if you’ve ever shuddered at the taste of a $5 bottle of vermouth, then try something like Carpano Antica Formula, which will run you more like $30. When you taste them straight or maybe on the rocks like pictured above, the quality difference is very clear.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of “What is Vermouth?” later this week.

MSC 2: Tom Collins Cocktail


Welcome to “Making Simple Cocktails,” our video series at Simple Cocktails! In episode #2, Lisa and Greg make the classic Tom Collins CocktailSubscribe to our YouTube channel here for more great cocktail videos!

Tom Collins

  • in a Collins glass filled with ice, add:
  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 1-2 tsp simple syrup
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • stir, then top with club soda or mineral water
  • stir and serve with a straw
  • garnish with a lemon wedge and cherry

 

Yellow Bird Cocktail

yellow bird cocktail

I’m not gonna lie: this is one of the most herbal, flavorful, tingle-your-tongue cocktails I’ve made in the last year, and it’s most certainly the most herbal rum cocktail I think I’ve ever tried (thanks Galliano!).

Yellow Bird Cocktail

  • in a shaker, combine:
  • 1 1/2 oz white rum
  • 1/2 oz Galliano
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • shake with ice and stain into a chilled cocktail glass

 

Podcast 34- Old Port Rum and Pink Gin

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Frank Sinatra. “You’re not supposed to burst into laughter.” Not allowed to talk about Frank. Greg says something about Johnny Depp though. We taste Old Port Rum – Lisa says it’s “too advanced.” We talk bitey gins. “Don’t you say that through your teeth.” We make a Pink Gin. A face like a 4-year-old? “I would hold this in a crowd.” Fly me to the moon.

Remember to check out the Simple Cocktails Store.

Download Episode 34.

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If you enjoyed the show, please write a brief review on iTunes. That would help us get the word out and raise the visibility of the show. Thank you!

Palmetto Cocktail

palmetto cocktail

I recently got a new bottle of Bacardi (with the logo and font redesign) and I flipped through my cocktail books for some classic white rum cocktails. This one fascinated me – basically a rum version of a 50/50 Martini (equal parts liquor and vermouth), but with the addition of bitters.

As I looked around the web for versions of this drink, I think there should be two different versions of what I made here. First, the Palmetto with dry vermouth should use orange bitters, not aromatic, as the drink would be relatively clear and the flavor probably would be better. Second, you can make a Sweet Palmetto which would use rum, sweet vermouth, and probably your standard aromatic bitters.

Try both, and see which you prefer!

Palmetto Cocktail

  • 1 1/4 oz rum
  • 1 1/4 oz dry vermouth
  • 2 dashes bitters
  • stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

MSC 1: A Valentine’s Day Cocktail


Welcome to “Making Simple Cocktails,” our new video series at Simple Cocktails! On episode #1, Lisa and Greg make a pair of simple Valentine’s Day Cocktails. Subscribe to our YouTube channel here for more great cocktail videos!

Love Birds

  • in a shaker, combine:
  • 3 oz La Luz vodka
  • 2 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz grandine
  • 2 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters
  • shake with ice and strain into 2 chilled cocktail glasses
  • garnish with 2 cherries each

Check out our grenadine comparison.

Podcast 33- Porter’s Fire and Lemon Drop

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Old Fashioned Dice Game. What about the BeanBoozed challenge…with booze? We taste the “scary bottle,” Porter’s Fire. Lisa’s two classic drinks. “Isn’t that laughed at in your realm?” Cocaine jokes? Dirty frosting. We make a Lemon Drop with Smirnoff Cirtus. Put a curly-cue lemon rind on it.

Check out the Simple Cocktails Store- here’s the vodka one with the Lemon Drop recipe.

Download Episode 33.

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If you enjoyed the show, please write a brief review on iTunes. That would help us get the word out and raise the visibility of the show. Thank you!