Casino Cocktail

casino cocktail

Sometimes for Christmas, I whip up a cocktail that’s uniquely designed for that holiday – like when I put a red bow on one, or when I considered smashed up candy canes to rim a drink (which I’ve still not ruled out, by the way).

Other times, though, the simplicity of a classic cocktail stands as a perfectly suitable Christmas gift, so that’s what I’ve settled on this Christmas: a ghostly white drink with an electric red cherry to garnish. Merry Christmas!

Casino Cocktail

  • in a shaker, combine:
  • 2 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice 
  • 1/2 oz maraschino liqueur
  • dash of orange bitters
  • shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with a cherry


Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 26

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Any single-cocktail makers out there? Cocktails depend on your inventory. Greg says Lisa is a photo-stylist….she says it may be something else. “The idea is old.” We taste Bully Boy Hub Punch. We break out the dusty Creme de Banane and make an Elephant Lips. What’s that joke liqueur? “I collect southern sayings.” Lisa gets risky with her recipe experiments. “I think of Mary Poppins.”

Along the line, we mention Old Man Drinks and a Gin and Milk.

Download Episode 26.

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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!

Gift For Guys on the Morning Brew (Video)

Here’s the video clip of Greg presenting “Gifts For Guys” on The Morning Brew with Larry Ahrens in Albuquerque. Here’s a link to the companion blog post, too.

Greg sneaks some Breakfast Martinis in his flask.

Winter Bourbons

stagg jr and weller bourbons

Just like I did with ryes last week, I’m working my way through some new bourbons, too. Here are two that have recently taken their places on my “sipping bourbon” shelf:

Stagg Jr. Barrel Proof. This variety of Stagg comes in at a huge 130+ proof,….like it says, barrel proof (most whiskeys come out of the barrel at a higher proof than they’re bottled at). I’ve been drinking Stagg Jr. in 1 oz splashes with lots of ice, and this is a very palatable bourbon. Because of both the strength and the dark label on the back, this pours in a darker, tobacco-brown color as opposed to your usual copper bourbons. I found Stagg to be surprisingly rich and spicy – it’s a mouth-filling flavor with hints of licorice and clove. I tasted more spice than the sweet corn bourbon that I was expecting. As a high-quality bourbon that’s high proof, Stagg Jr. will run you $80-110.

W.L. Weller Special Reserve. Billed at the “original wheated bourbon” (we’re talking to you, Makers), Weller is a nicely balanced bourbon, and through it has a maple sweetness, there’s a good big mid palate woodiness, too to round it out. This is an easy drinking bourbon that has the elements you’ve come to love: sweet, spice, woody, and smooth. Weller 7 year is around $50 a bottle.

Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 25

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A special apple-stravaganza show! Taking liquor places….picnics, flasks, uncorking, and more! “Apple gum? No sir.” Are Apple-tinis a joke? We taste Calvados Boulard VSOP and Greg struggles with descriptive words. We also taste Berentzen Bushel and Barrel and make a couple of drinks with it. Shunning measuring glasses. Calming sounds and mental disorders? “This is strawberry milk.” Southern accent required.

Download Episode 25.

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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!

Christmas Gifts For Guys

christmas gifts for guys

I’ve made it a habit to assemble Christmas gift ideas every year to make you aware of some nice cocktail-related products that are out there. Last year, I included other items into one big gifts for guys segment. The gifts you see in the list below get progressively more expensive as you scroll down, or you can pick some of each for your favorite man (or yourself). Here are my ideas for 2014.

stanley camping flasks

Stanley cocktail flasks.

With some of the best made thermoses and camping gear you can buy anywhere, Stanley has a pretty awesome collection of cocktail-on-the-go accessories, including flasks from 5-12 oz and a cool set of travel shot glasses. Each of these will run you right around $20 from your favorite sporting goods store or from Stanley direct. Make sure you check Drink Spirits’ list of best spirits to sneak in a flask if you need some sneaky ideas.

beardbrand explorers kit

Beard stuff.

Now that No Shave November is over, some guys have put their face blankets away until next year. I usually grow my soup-saver from November through the holidays, though, so I’m needing to wrangle my facial hair now. BeardBrand has a whole line of beard oils, mustache waxes, and beard combs/brushes. Oils range from $15-30, or you can spring for a whole assortment of products the Explorers Kit ($115), which is pictured above.

mancrate zombie suppression


When I showed off my new ManCrate to a friend, he said “I love opening crates!”

Me too, bro.

ManCrates has a whole line of dude-specific products that come ready-to-open with a crowbar. With crate categories like meat, sports, and zombies, just pick the interest your man has and buy a crate. I chose the $140 Zombie Suppression Crate, which includes weapons, a flashlight, a first aid kit, Gorilla tape, Spam, and Max Brooks’ Zombie Survival Guide. Crates range from $25 to $200-plus.

View my unboxing video here.

cogito classic smartwatch

A smart watch.

Smart watches are a relatively new thing, both in their style and usefulness. I’ve become really fond of the Cogito Classic smart watch, which connects with bluetooth to your iOS or Android phone. It’s available in several colors, and they’re distinguished from other smart watches I’ve seen because Cogito had made a sexy high-end analog watch….which includes a few bluetooth notification features. It’s style first, then function, and that’s an important distinction for some people. There’s a free app to manage your notifications and software updates, and battery life is stellar, too: my Cogito runs over a month on a standard watch battery. You can buy the Cogito Classic from Amazon for $180.


Happy Rye-day!

sazerac and e.h. taylor rye

In winter, there are usually lots more opportunities to drink whiskies of all sorts, as our gins and vodkas take a break until the warm weather returns. I’m not shy about the fact that I love rye whiskey, so I dug up a few brands that I haven’t tried yet and gave them a sip.

Sazerac Rye. Named for the official cocktail of New Orleans (or is it the other way around?), Sazerac is a spicy, quality offering that Lisa and I tasted on a recent podcast. A sexy and slender bottle that would look great as a Christmas gift, this version embodies the spice and bite that you’ve come to expect from a rye. This is a good choice rye for the cocktail that bears it’s name, and is a quality sipper for the price, too. $30.

Col. E. H. Taylor Rye. A more premium product, Col. Taylor’s Rye is very different than Sazerac. It has the scent of homemade candy and has a more complex profile than just your standard rye spice. Taylor starts sweet and drys out into a woody richness as it coats your mouth. I made an outstanding Manhattan [recipe] with this whiskey, but this one is for the person who just prefers to savor a quality rye slowly…it’s awesome. $70

Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 24

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Secrets of signature cocktails. Cooking with waffle irons. Secret connections that lead us to Winter Jack, which we taste. A story about neighbors. We make a Honey Paddy. “I just want whiskey and to go to sleep.” Lisa doesn’t like it – she understands it.

Download Episode 24.

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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!

Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 23 – Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving! Greg’s the turkey man – butter under the flesh is key. The failed Cracker Barrel plan. Can you eat and drink cocktails too? Netflix cocktail hour. A bit of whiskey talk…was rye the original American whiskey? “Put away that measuring glass.” The chemical in turkey that makes you full?

In this episode, we drink Sazerac Rye and make Scotch, Soda and Cranberry.

Download Episode 23.

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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!

G’Vine Nouaison

gvine nouaison

This summer, I tried G’Vine gin for the first time. What I didn’t really realize at the time was there are two varieties of G’Vine: Flouraison and Nouaison. Flouraison, as I described in my previous post, is a mild, soft gin with quite a bit of sweetness and traces of minty licorice.

Nouaison, I’ve discovered, is more akin to a London Dry as it’s a spicier bitier gin with cinnamon and clove. Nouaison is more in line with my personal preference in gins, as I tend to prefer London Drys to many of the milder gins.

In cocktails, Nouaison has a very different character than it’s more herbal brother, and I can see why G’Vine told me that they consider Flouraison a warm-weather gin and Nouaison a cold-weather gin. This would be a great gin in a hot toddy or a tea as the spice profile is a perfect fit.

Somewhere on the list of my favorite gins, Nouaison has elbowed it’s way in. This is a unique winter gin, and reminds me of Big Gin a little bit because of it’s flavor profile. Nouaison is definitely one to try if you like your gins spicy with a bite.