Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 6

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Cocktail and food pairing, or as Lisa says, “nibbles.” Sneering in the face of cool, Greg admits to liking a brand-new flavored whiskey (listen in to see which one). Benefits of being friends with a chicken. What is 1/4 of a lime? Even though salmonella freaks people out, Lisa braves some egg whites while she makes a Pisco Sour.

Download Episode 6.

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Owl’s Brew (A Tea Crafted for Cocktails)

owl's brew bottles

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Vijay gave me a report from the Fancy Food Show, and told me “there were two interesting cocktail phenomenons there: tea infused everything and lots of unique cocktail syrups.” After some brief investigation, I ended up with 3 bottles of Owl’s Brew on my doorstep. 

Owl’s Brew is a natural, slightly sweetened, tea cocktail mixer with simple mixing instructions: “2 parts Brew with 1 part booze.” Packed in cool, matte black apothecary bottles, Owl’s Brew will run you $10 for a 8 oz bottle or $17 for a 32 oz, and it’s available at many retail locations nationally and online.

The three flavors of Owl’s Brew are:

  • Classic is English Breakfast tea, lemon, lime, and agave. This one has a very familiar tea flavor with a lemony tang that you’re already familiar with. There are many liquors you can mix with this one, but we like gin or whiskey the best.
  • Coco-Lada is black tea with chai spices, coconut, and pineapple juice. As with the Classic, there are lots of ways to mix this one, but spiced rum seemed to be a perfect fit. Our Coco-Lada bottle was drained the day we opened it.
  • Pink & Black is the fruitier tea of the bunch, with darjeeling, hibiscus, lemon and strawberry juice. We mixed this one with whiskey and gin, and gin seemed to be the best fit, though I imagine a splash of Pink & Black in your champagne would be incredible as well.

owl's brew cocktails

There are lots of good recipes listed at the Owl’s Brew site, but we stuck with their motto recipe of “2 parts Brew and 1 part booze,” and made these two drinks:

Owl’s Pina (pictured top left)

Gin and Tea (pictured top right)

The Owl’s Pina is so good that our 8 oz bottle of Coco-Lada was gone before we could blink (8 oz is enough for 3-4 cocktails). Gin and Tea is a great cocktail, too, and a tea lover will really enjoy having a bottle of the Classic on hand. Classic would also taste great mixed 1-to-2 (reverse the usual ratio) with a wheat beer.

While tea in cocktails isn’t a new concept by any means, Owl’s Brew introduces your cocktails to tea in the simplest way possible. Natural ingredients and a great combination of flavors make their black bottles an excellent addition to the hit-or-miss world of premade cocktail mixers.

Duchess

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This cocktail is old school, with roots back to 1930 in the Savoy Cocktail Book. It’s also potent and a bit sharp tasting, too, probably a result of all those pungent mixture of herbs in both the vermouth and absinthe. Now that I’ve made it and tried it, I think the Duchess would benefit from a more sweet dry vermouth, like Vya Whisper Dry or Contratto Bianco, as regular dry vermouth felt like it contrasted with the absinthe.

Give this 85-year-old cocktail a try and let me know what you think:

Duchess

  • 1 oz absinthe
  • 1 oz dry vermouth
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with a lemon twist

Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 5

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A Game of Thrones themed cocktail followed by a brief Sharknado interlude. Greg makes a sweeping generalization about Don Julio Tequila. Tasting feet sweat. “You have a Mexican wife.” What do they age Tequila in? When to shake a cocktail. Lisa makes an easy dessert drink: the White Russian.

Download Episode 5.

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Piranha

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This cocktail is a simple alternative to “________ and Coke,” and though it only adds one more ingredient, it’s more of a drink because it requires just a tad more effort. The ratios are simple, too, so it’s easy to make quickly. Here’s a grown-up-chocolate-Coke, otherwise known as a Piranha:

Piranha

  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz brown creme de cacao
  • 1 oz cola
  • build on the rock in an old fashioned glass
  • stir briefly to mix

Club Cocktail

club cocktail

I suppose that a couple of centuries ago, cocktail names were pretty easy to get confused. In a world where you couldn’t use the internet to look up ingredients, many recipes traveled by word of mouth, and I imagine that some morphed into different recipes entirely. Take, for instance, the Martinez cocktail, which some believe developed into the Martini (trust me, they’re very different drinks). And in this case, the Club Cocktail, which is almost nothing like the more popular Clover Club.

The Club is very much like the Obituary Cocktail: a gin martini with the addition of an herbal flavor modifier. In the case of the Obituary, it’s Absinthe, and here, it’s Yellow Chartreuse. Let me know how you like the Club Cocktail:

Club Cocktail

  • in a stirring glass add:
  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz white (dry) vermouth
  • a dash of Yellow Chartreuse
  • stir with lots of ice until very cold
  • strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 4

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A tale of 3 vodkas (by Chopin). Lisa talks about ice castle fantasies. Can the ladies of “Orange is the New Black” make that? Get your utter out of my cocktail (unless it tastes good).  Greg threatens the show by claiming the “best cocktail ever” already. Do bartenders wink for tips?

 Download episode 4.

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Affinity Cocktail

affinity cocktail

I’ve noticed that many of the early 1900s cocktails are comprised of liquor mixed with with varying ratios of vermouths, each one of them with a different flavor profile. Here’s a 2:1:1 ratio drink that follows that classic formula. It’s beautifully classy and it tastes awesome, too.

Affinity Cocktail

  • in a stirring glass add:
  • 1 oz white (dry) vermouth
  • 1 oz red (sweet) vermouth
  • 2 oz scotch
  • 2 dashes of bitters
  • stir with lots of ice until very cold
  • strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with a lemon peel

Liberty Cocktail

liberty cocktail

From what I hear, the Boston Tea Party wasn’t about tea at all, but a sugar tax (compounded on a molasses tax) which ultimately pushed the price of rum sky-high.

It makes sense, then, that rum (arguably the most popular liquor in early U.S. history) and apple (“as American as apple pie”) could foster some sort of patriotism for one drinking it, right? So maybe that’s a stretch, but regardless, here’s a great simple cocktail that is certainly a sip of liberty:

Liberty Cocktail

  • 1 oz rum
  • 2 oz applejack
  • dash simple syrup
  • shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with an apple slice

Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 3

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We finish a bottle of rum, then discuss how rum bottles impress us. Riding up Guatemalan mountains on llamas. Zacapa 23 is a rum for whiskey lovers, maybe a good one to sip when smoking a cigar? Legos in the mint, but Lisa finally gets to use a muddler. Laughing in the face of the Limepocalype, Lisa makes a “gin mojito,” otherwise known as a Southside Fizz

Download episode 3.

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