Podcast 31- Absinthe and a Gall Bracer

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Lisa associates with the editor. “Dropping” or “doing” absinthe? “It’s like you knew what to ask me.” We taste Trinity Absinthe which may or may not make you insane. “It’s a little ornate.” We make a Gall Bracer. Jokes vs cocktails! “It’s like Elvis.”

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Our Stanley Cocktail

our stanley cocktail

My first homemade cocktail was a Borodino, which is a 1:1:1 variation of the drink pictured here. If you’ve ever visited our Buyers Guide section, you’ve seen that the first 4 bottles of liquor I recommend that you buy are vodka, gin, triple sec, and dry vermouth. This cocktail uses 3 of those 4.

The cool thing about this particular cocktail is that subtle adjustments to the brands you use, particularly in the gin and triple sec, will make a big difference in the flavor of this drink. For instance, a barrel-aged gin, or Cointreau instead of a simple triple sec will give you all sorts of flavors to play with.  Also there’s no garnish, so if you’re still growing your home bar this should be a cinch to make.

In this case of my cocktail, I decided to use Brothers Old Tom Gin, a local Albuquerque gin from Left Turn Distilling, a gin that’s a touch sweet with heavy citrus. Here’s how to make Our Stanley:

Our Stanley

 

Podcast 30- Wheeler’s Gin and Brandy Alexander

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What’s a Madame Alexander? John Lennon story. We drink Santa Fe Spirits’ Wheelers Gin. Celery, Osha root, and native desert botanicals. Lisa loves the flavor of dirt. “Thank God John Lennon’s dead.” What is half and half? We make a Brandy Alexander (but you can make an Alexander of any sort).  A lot of nutmeg. Greg knows…brothels? Multiple apologies to Pam Grier.

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Lawhill Cocktail

lawhill cocktail

I keep finding some great cocktail recipes in Old Mr. Boston’s Bartenders Guide. This recipe is quite a kicker: whiskey, vermouth, absinthe, and maraschino make for a really vivid flavor profile that’s fun to taste. Here’s how you make it:

Lawhill Cocktail

  • in a mixing glass, combine:
  • 1 1/2 oz whiskey (I used bourbon)
  • 3/4 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/4 teaspoon absinthe
  • 1/4 teaspoon Maraschino liqueur
  • 1 dash of bitters
  • stir well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

I know this one has some expensive liquors in the mix (in 1/4 teaspoon measurements none the less), but I’d love to know what you think if you try it!

Jewel Cocktail

jewel cocktail

Recently, I’ve been finding a lot of good cocktail recipes in Old Mr. Boston’s Bartenders Guide. I’m usually able to find simple recipes with pretty classic ingredients in it. By classic I’m really referring to the presence of bitters, which are an essential element of a home bar and one of the key components of a cocktail.

If you’ve picked up many cocktail books, I may have noticed what I have. There are two types: the classic cocktail books (even if they’ve been published recently) in which many recipes have bitters, or the more modern (for lack of a better word) books, like one from my collection: The Complete Bartender. There are zero recipes with bitters in that book – it’s lots of vodka-and-juice cocktails, aka 1990’s cocktails (which is not a good thing, believe me).

Back to Mr. Boston, though. I found a fun recipe with gin, Chartreuse and sweet vermouth that has a really great flavor profile and looks really cool if you perch the cherry garnish right on the edge like I did:

Jewel Cocktail

  • in a mixing glass, combine:
  • 3/4 oz green Chartreuse
  • 3/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 3/4 oz gin
  • 1 dash of orange bitters
  • stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with a cherry

 

Podcast 29- Scotch and Cactus Juice

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“Alcohol can only make this better.” The secret to Greg’s success. Lisa smelled gas. We drink Johnnie Walker Platinum out of a coffin. 18-year-old scotch for an 18 year anniversary. “It’s not bad.” A lesson in blended and single malt scotches. “Any woman who’s a scotch drinker is automatically very…sexual.”  The best thing Johnny Depp has ever done? Greg actually makes a cocktail for once: the Cactus Juice, which he calls a “cowboy drink” about a million times.

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Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye

double standard sour catocin creek

Catoctin Creek is a relatively new distillery in the United States, founded in 2009 in Virginia and distilling mostly rye whiskey, gin, and brandy. Their portfolio perked up my attention and I got a bottle of their 92-proof Roundstone Rye, the middle product in their rye lineup, and one that will run you just over $50 a bottle.

For a 6-year old distillery, their whiskeys are going to be aged for that amount of time or less. Roundstone spells it out on the bottle: “Aged 5 years or less.” For a whiskey that’s traditionally pretty spicy and dry, a younger rye takes on a surprising candy sweetness in the taste that sets it apart from many other ryes I’ve tasted. In fact, the only other whiskey I can compare Roundstone Rye to is also young, spicy, sweet and brash: Jack Daniel’s Unaged Rye.

In honor of Catoctin’s rye and gin lineup, I chose a cocktail from Old Mr. Boston’s Bartenders Guide – a handy midsized cocktail book with some great recipes. Pairing gin and whiskey into one drink, here’s the Double Standard Sour:

Double Standard Sour

  • in a cocktail shaker, combine:
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz whiskey
  • 3/4 oz gin
  • 1/2 teaspoon grenadine
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • shake well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with a lemon wedge and cherry

 

Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 28

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We celebrate the 4th anniversary of Simple Cocktails. Here’s my first blog post from 2011. Lisa mocks my Watermelon “Jolly Rancher” Margarita. We taste W.L. Weller and Greg give us a detailed bourbon lesson. Lisa may have a surprise child…”it’s there for you, you just gotta go pick it up and pay for it.” We make the Casino Cocktail. Yes, we bought red cherry vodka once.

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Berentzen Bushel and Barrel

Bushel and Barrel

Berentzen is a 200-year-old German liquor company that has recently (2013) begun packaging and distributing their products to the United States. I’ve had the opportunity to try two of their liquors: IceMint Schnapps* and Bushel and Barrel, an apple/whiskey liqueur.

Apple whiskey is probably the next big thing in flavorings, now that the cinnamon and honey whiskeys have been on the market a while. Even big boy Crown Royal has released their Regal Apple flavor in the last few months, too.

On a recent episode of the Simple Cocktails podcast, Lisa and I tried Bushel and Barrel for the first time. It’s certainly sweet, but not sticky or syrupy. It’s flavored and partially sweetened with apple juice, and as I discovered with Midnight Moon, that gives you apple flavor and sweetness without a whole lot of sticky-sugary mess. It’s 30% alcohol, which places it squarely in the middle of straight whiskey and liqueurs, and it’s definitely drinkable straight. In fact, it’s whiskeys like this that are pretty great flask-fillers for camping or game day.

Another important tasting note about Bushel and Barrel is that it’s base is actual Kentucky Bourbon, so there’s quite a bit more wonderful whiskey character to this drink than, say, apple pie moonshines.

This is a pretty flexible cocktail ingredient, and other than a simple Bushel and Barrel and Ginger Ale (or Coke), splash it in your favorite bourbon too (1 part Bushel to 2 parts bourbon maybe) just to change the flavor profile or tame the bite a bit. Overall, this is an enjoyable liqueur at about $20 a bottle, a decent addition to your home bar.

 

*I made two cocktails this holiday season with IceMint, a Fire-and-Ice Hot Cocoa at the Burn Blog and the Hope for Snow cocktail for NewsCastic.

 

Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 27: Happy New Year!

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We end 2014 with silly noises. Time off = the plague and schedule glitches. Happy Birthday Jesus, you can celebrate that any time. We taste Galliano and talk about Harvey Wallbangers. How to have your own parade. “Turn that towards Larry.” Bitters on a keychain? We make a Champagne Cocktail and Lisa’s “New Years Drink” (pictured here).

HAPPY NEW YEAR from Simple Cocktails!

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