As interest moves from flavored vodka in the booze industry, we’re seeing more flavored whiskies arrive to replace them. I recently heard of Porter’s Fire and had to try it – it’s a whiskey liqueur from Ogden’s Own Distillery in Ogden, Utah.
Porter’s Fire is named for Orrin Porter Rockwell, a guy I hadn’t heard of, but Ogden’s tells us: “With his long, flowing hair and beard and his run-ins with the law, Orrin Porter Rockwell was one of the most colorful characters in the history of the Mormon church. He was a close friend of Joseph Smith in New York. It is probable the Rockwell was the youngest member of the LDS church as its inception.”
Like we discussed in our podcast this week, it’s an interesting choice to marry your liquor branding with the Mormons (especially since they don’t drink), but it’s certainly a understandable branding choice for a Utah distillery.
Porter’s Fire is a Canadian whiskey combined with cinnamon and vanilla liqueur. It’s 35% alcohol, and I gotta tell you: the flavor of this liqueur is SO familiar and SO reminiscent of Chila Orchata and RumChata, that I had make a cocktail with them. This is very much a non-creamy version of those horchata liqueurs, I’d almost bet you that you would have trouble telling them apart in a blind taste test. You can also taste the same flavor profile of Five Wives Sinful (Cinnamon Vodka from Ogden’s) too. All 4 of those products feel like they’re seasoned and flavored almost the exact same way, and all of these make for some really simple, tasty Christmastime cocktails too. Here’s a cocktail to try (pictured above):
Sinful Cinnamon Cocktail (by Greg Mays)
in a shaker, combine:
2 oz Porter’s Fire Cinnamon Whiskey Liqueur
1 oz Chila Orchata
shake well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Pimm’s is an interesting liqueur if you’ve never had it before. It’s essentially an English Amaro, with gin as it’s base spirit. It’s a touch bitter, a little sweet, and sort of herbal, earthy and gritty. There have been as many as 6 varieties of Pimm’s over the years, but the original “No. 1 Cup” is the one that has stuck.
Here’s how you make the simple and refreshing Pimm’s Cup Cocktail:
Last year, I made a Harry Potter-themed cocktail for Halloween: the Devil’s Snare. For several years, though, I’ve meant to make a Black Martini for Halloween, and now that I have a bottle of Sambuca, I can.
This is a two-ingredient cocktail that’s perfect for Halloween, though I will say, that if you’re not a black licorice fan, remember that Black Sambuca has a strong anise flavor, so if that’s not your cup of tea, maybe revert to last year’s cocktail.
Before you begin, you need to get a little messy. Make a small amount of Halloween sugar by adding some dashes of Angostura bitters to regular sugar.
Then wet your finger slightly with Sambuca (which is very sticky) and run that around the rim of the glass, then sprinkle the sugar on it. Let the glass sit while you make the drink:
in a mixing glass, combine:
2 oz vodka
1 oz black Sambuca
stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with “Halloween” sugar
I’ve been meaning to make this cocktail for quite some time, but because I’m a cocktail/liquor guy and not a wine guy, I don’t have as much access to Prosecco, an essential ingredient to the Spritz.
Prosecco is a popular Italian sparkling white wine, and I got a hold of a bottle of Mionetto Prosecco DOC recently (which runs about $15/bottle), and I made an Aperol Spritz right away. The Spritz is a refreshing, yet dry (not too sweet) fizzy cocktail. Here’s how you make it.
in a balloon glass filled with ice, add in this order:
4 oz Prosecco DOC
a splash of club soda (probably about 1/2 oz)
2 oz Aperol
Because 2 of the 3 ingredients are bubbling, the cocktail basically stirs itself. Enjoy!
There’s no denying the RumChata has been a big hit in liquor stores over the last 2 years, particularly around the holidays. It’s no surprise then that a major liquor company – in this case, Sazerac – would enter the fray with their own Horchata liqueur.
Chila ‘Orchata is familiar, then: rum, cream, and cinnamon and spice, at a $20 price point, and at 14% alcohol. We decided to taste Chila side-by-side with RumChata, since those are likely to be side-by-side on your liquor store’s shelf.
We really like both these Horchata liqueurs. The rum in the Chila ‘Orchata stands out just a tad more, and makes it taste marginally spicier as a result. Going back to RumChata, it was a touch milkier, but to be really frank, they’re nearly identical, and they both taste very good, even drunk by themselves on ice. Take from this what you will, but of the group of us that tasted it, the guys leaned toward Chila ‘Orchata, and the gals favored RumChata a little more.
I made a tasty winter cocktail with Chila ‘Orchata. Try this one out:
One of the first bottles I ever bought when I started Simple Cocktails was amaretto, an almond liqueur. I made a few drinks with it, then it collected dust in the back of my liquor cabinet for months. When the bottle ran out, I never thought of it again.
Recently, I was trying to figure out a good cocktail for dessert time, and Lisa (my wife and podcast co-host) recommended Amaretto Sours, a drink I haven’t made in at least 3 years. I grabbed some amaretto, some lemons, and the Amaretto Sours were the hit of the party! I’ve since almost finished the bottle making them for Lisa and others at the home bar. Here’s the recipe:
strain into the old fashioned glass that you’re prepped
A quick note about egg whites. There is a tiny risk of salmonella from raw eggs (about 1 in 20,000 may have it), but alcohol kills germs, right? Plus I’ve had several of these in the last few weeks and have yet to contract salmonella. Adding some nice fresh, local eggs will add a richness to cocktails that’s pretty amazing, and it’s getting popular again to add them to Sours.
While I am not Italian and I have not yet visited The Boot, but it’s my understanding that Sambuca is the thing to add to your coffee or espresso. Sambuca is an herbal liqueur that’s available in either the white or black versions, and will run you upwards of $30 a bottle.
Romana is really the most familiar Sambuca brand, with the towering Colosseum on the label. The white variety is incrementally higher in alcohol than the black, but the flavor is pretty similar in both: black licorice. White seems a bit sharper and more licoricey than the black, and black tastes a tad more syrupy, but the flavor is hard to tell apart unless you’re doing it side-by-side, and really, you may just want to choose the color based on the cocktail you’re making. For instance, I’ll be making Black Martinis for Halloween (stay tuned for the recipe), so black is the one I need.
The premise of this liqueur is pretty simple: add a shot of Sambuca in the place of sugar in your coffee or espresso of choice, much like you would with Bailey’s. It adds some sweetness and flavor, and as long as you don’t dislike anise flavoring, Sambuca may be a fun addition to your coffee.
Lisa and I recently compared 3 different types of Chartreuse on the podcast and it reminded me how much I love the stuff. I looked through my recipe books for Chartreuse cocktails, and found the simplest one ever. This is a vodka-and-green version of the Alaska, a gin-and-yellow Chartreuse cocktail. Try it out, but sip it slowly – vodka’s 40% alcohol and green Chartreuse is 55%!
1 1/2 oz vodka
3/4 oz green Chartreuse
stir with lots of ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
I mentioned in a recent podcast episode that a great cocktail would be an Amaro shot and club soda. Amaros are sweet and bitter and if you’ve developed the palate for it, they can be really refreshing.
For this drink, you’re not limited to Campari – substitute any other amaro of your choosing (I bet Aperol or Averna would be really good choices). Obviously, the recipe is very simple: a two-ingredient refresher!
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: