Prince Memorial Cocktails

purple rain prince cocktail

You know, I’ve always found cocktails that memorialize an occasion, or person, to be a bit cheesy and so I rarely partake in “theme” drinking. I found myself in a situation last week when Prince died, that folks who were coming to our already-planned cocktail party that night began asking if I was going to be making any Prince-themed drinks to remember him by.

Drinking and partying in memory of someone who’s passed away is a thing, and people have done it for thousands of years (at least), so I softened to the idea of some themed cocktails, both for the sake of our party guests and because of fun in creating new cocktails! After 3 recipe revisions for each, we got them just right. The first drink we made is the Purple Rain (pictured above).

Purple Rain (by Greg Mays)

  • in a shaker, add:
  • 2 oz coconut water
  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz açaí juice
  • shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Next up, we made a riff on a Gin Sour by including some muddled raspberries:

raspberry beret prince cocktail

Raspberry Beret (by Greg Mays)

  • in a shaker, add:
  • 5 raspberries
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • muddle the raspberries well, then add:
  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
  • dry shake (no ice), then add ice and shake again to chill
  • double strain into an old fashioned glass filled with ice and add 3 raspberries for garnish
  • add 2 drops of Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters on the foam

So there you are: 2 simple cocktails you can drink in memory of The Purple One. Cheers!

Podcast 85- ​Ransom Old Tom Gin and Whiskey Sour

NOTE: The podcast is now available on Google Play! Click the grey button below to listen through Play.

Old friends. A tease. Canon and cocktail discovery in the early days. We taste Ransom Old Tom Gin. “You better appreciate this, Eric.” We (finally) make a Whiskey Sour. Milkshakes in Home Ec. Refrigerating eggs.

Download Episode 85.

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Whiskey Girl Whiskies

whiskey girl whiskies

Whiskey Girl is a line of flavored whiskies from Dark Corner Distillery in South Carolina and designed to appeal to female whiskey lovers. Currently available on the east coast, Whiskey Girl is available in 3 varieties: Apple & Maple, Butterscotch and Peach. Retailing at just under $30 a bottle, we had the opportunity to try both the butterscotch and peach versions of their whiskies on a recent podcast episode.

Based on a whiskey of corn, barley and wheat (without spicy rye), and at 35% alcohol, Whiskey Girl are very mild whiskies, indented to be easy to drink for everyone, I imagine. These are sweetened, too, though the level of sweetness seemed to be dependent on the specific flavor we chose. On the podcast, most drinkers preferred the peach flavor as it has a more whiskey-forward flavor profile and tasted less sweet than the candy-like butterscotch. Peach Whiskey Girl, we figured, would be delicious in iced tea, as it would flavor it, sweeten it, and booze it up.

Cocktails with Whiskey Girl will involve some creativity, but you should probably consider replacing a whiskey liqueur with these, and not a whiskey. I made a Manhattan with Whiskey Girl Peach in the place of rye, and the flavor balance was off. Cocktails with whiskey liqueurs as a ingredient (like Southern Comfort or Drambuie) would be the easiest to swap out for Whiskey Girl, so I tried it in a J.R.’s Revenge cocktail, which is usually made with Southern Comfort:

Butterscotch Revenge

  • in a mixing glass, add:
  • 1 1/2 oz bourbon
  • 1/4 oz Whiskey Girl butterscotch
  • 2 dashes of bitters
  • stir with ice and strain in a chilled cocktail glass

Wine Margarita

wine margarita

The Margarita is one of the most iconic cocktails in the world, a derivative of the Sidecar, and it regularly fights the Martini for most-googled cocktail. One of my first blog posts at Simple Cocktails was a Watermelon Wine Margarita, which tasted a lot like Jolly Ranchers, and not at all like booze. Some beer-and-wine-only restaurants will make “cocktails” out of wine to replicate the boozier versions, and I’ve personally found that some wine-based mixed drinks like that can be great for parties because you can make them in a pitcher and they’re ready-to-drink without being overwhelmingly alcoholic.

With BBQ season right around the corner, here’s my recipe for Wine Margaritas, in both individual servings and for pitchers:

Wine Margarita (by Greg Mays)

  • in an ice-filled, salt-rimmed Collins glass, add:
  • 1 oz orange curacao
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 4-5 ounces white wine of choice (decide based on your desired dry-ness)
  • garnish with a lime wedge
  • stir well (I left mine in the photo above un-stirred for a cool “sunrise” effect, but stir before drinking)

Pitcher of Wine Margaritas (by Greg Mays)

  • in an ice-filled pitcher, add:
  • 1 bottle white wine of choice
  • 6 1/2 oz of orange curacao
  • 6 1/2 oz lime juice
  • fill pitcher with lime wheels and stir well
  • prep ice-filled, salt-rimmed glasses for serving

Podcast 84- ​Tamworth Gins and Prado

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Jon Taffer and booze (link). Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s response. Full Diva. We taste Tamworth gins, Flora and Apiary. We make a Prado cocktail. Why choose blanco? “I like you, but where am I going to take you?”

Download Episode 84.

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Podcast 83- ​Santera Tequila and Añejo Highball

simple cocktails with freinds
Nobody turns you down. Cocktail Olympics? Naked ladies and skulls. We taste Santera Tequila. Richard’s non-simple cocktails. We make an Añejo Highball. Learning about “sundowners.”

Download Episode 83.

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Black Trumpet Blueberry Cordial

black trumpet blueberry cordial

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the Art in the Age family of spirits. Because of their recent expansion via Tamworth Distilling in New Hampshire, though, AITA has begun to produce some very interesting, small-batch liqueurs and infusions that are deeply rooted in their local agriculture.

Most recently, we tried AITA’s Tamworth-produced Sweet Potato Vodka on the podcast (episode #68), and now we have a new bottle to try from that partnership: Black Trumpet Blueberry Cordial.

What you may do when reading the label is gloss over the black trumpet part of the name, which some of you will realize is a mushroom (I didn’t). The ingredient list includes lemon verbena and lavender, too. While initially this liqueur seems it may be very sweet and berry-forward (at least on the nose), tasting it reveals a very balanced liqueur, enough that you could enjoy sipping it on the rocks, or as a replacement for the sweetener in an Old Fashioned (see recipe below).

There is little chance that you’ll dig up old cocktail recipes that include Black Trumpet Blueberry Cordial in the ingredient list, but, as with most of the recent farm-to-glass spirits that Tamworth/Art in the Age is producing these days, you’re likely to invent a lot of delicious cocktails as you experiment with their ever-growing line of unique spirits.

Blueberry Old Fashioned (by Greg Mays)

  • in an old fashioned glass, add:
  • 1/2 oz Black Trumpet Blueberry Cordial
  • 2 dashes bitters
  • 2 oz bourbon whiskey
  • stir with ice and garnish with fresh blueberries on a pick

Wine-Finished Whiskies

slaughterhouse whiskey

Recently I discovered a little piece of the whiskey industry and decided to explore it a little bit: wine barrel finished whiskies. The two whiskies I tasted are distilled and aged as whiskey, then re-barreled by Napa Valley wineries in their used wine barrels and aged for a period of time in Napa.

Slaughter House is a product of Splinter Group in Napa, home of the Orin Swift family of wines. For Slaughter House, they barrel a 9-year-old Tennessee whiskey (distilled from 95% corn and 5% wheat) in their Papillon barrels (a red wine blend).

Slaughter House is bold and spicy , with a nose of apricot, berries and caramel followed by a flavor of cinnamon-and-sugar and marzipan. From the flavor of the whiskey, I have trouble detecting the wine’s contribution, though Slaughter House is certainly a solid whiskey when stood alone. With a price in the mid-$30 range, it’s a good buy for a solid spice-heavy 9-year-old whiskey.

amador whiskey

Amador Whiskey Co’s Double Barrel Bourbon is a blend of 3-10 year old Kentucky bourbons, then is re-barreled in Napa for 6 months.

Also a mid-$30-priced whiskey, Amador Double Barrel is barreled by the spirits division of Trinchero Family Estates. Chardonnay barrels were used for aging and the wine barrel contribution is much more obvious. It’s nose is floral and sweet corn, with a finish that is crisp and clean, clearly echoing the Chardonnay. Amador has almost no traces of spiciness, and is much milder start-to-finish than Slaughter House. I suspect that this flavor profile could translate to a broader appeal to more drinkers, too (ladies, I’m looking at you).

Whiskey is no stranger to barrel polygamy. Whether it’s something like these wine-barrel finishes, or larger brands like Angel’s Envy (finished in Port barrels) or Balvenie Double Wood, the depth of flavor that gets added through barrel exploration like this makes for some very delicious drinking.

Podcast 82- ​ Whiskey Girl and Caipirinha

cocktails with friends“A liquor to pour down my throat…” We taste Whiskey Girl butterscotch and peach. We make a Caipirinha Cocktail with Novo Fogo Cachaça. We learn about the nacho cheese capitol of the world.

Download Episode 82.

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From our Editor: New Mexico Cocktails (the book)

nm cocktails book

I’m thrilled to announce that in just a few weeks, my first cocktail book: New Mexico Cocktails: A History of Drinking in the Land of Enchantment will be released! While there is some fascinating NM history and facts, you should find it a handy cocktail reference book regardless of where you are in the world!

You’ll be able to purchase New Mexico Cocktail wherever fine books are sold beginning on July 4, 2016. Preorders are available now at Amazon.com. Thank you for your continued support of Simple Cocktails and all that we do!

signature- greg

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