Harvey’s Tiki Hut

Galliano’s vanilla-and-spice flavor profile makes is a pretty flexible liqueur in many different types of cocktails, from light and fruity to rich and savory. In the spring, we mixed Galliano with tequila in an Hola Harvey, and now it’s time to mix Galliano in a tiki drink.

Note that we’re using orange curacao in this cocktail (for the first time on this blog, actually). In the past, when an “orange liqueur” was called for, I’d just use Bols triple sec. The two “orange liqueurs” are different, though, and here’s a brief summary thanks to Camper English:

  • Triple sec is clear and based on neutral spirits. Cointreau is a triple sec.
  • Curacao is usually brownish, though can be orange or blue. It has color is because it’s brandy-based and sometimes aged, which also means curacao tastes richer. Grand Marnier is a curacao.

Without further delay, here’s Harvey’s Tiki Hut:

  • in a shaker, combine:
  • 1 1/2 oz white rum
  • 3/4 oz Galliano
  • 3/4 oz Bols orange curacao
  • 3/4 oz lime juice
  • shake with ice and strain into a glass (or tiki mug) filled with ice
  • garnish with a lime wedge

 Special thanks to our sponsor Galliano L’Autentico

Cocktail Books, New and Old

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If you aren’t aware, we’re in the midst of a craft cocktail boom that’s been going strong for a decade or so. In light of that, there is a deluge of great cocktail books, new and old, that are more readily available than ever. I’ve had the chance to get my hands on several of them lately, so I’m going to review and summarize some of the books that I’m reading right now.

New books: 

The Art of American Whiskey by Noah Rothbaum ($13). As a hardcover horizontally-designed book with lots of color photos, I imagined that AoAW would mostly be a coffee-table book. It certainly is nice to flip through in this way, I discovered AoAW is also a really well-written, well-researched historical book. It’s organized in a very cool way: segmented into 7 “ages” of American Whiskey, each age with history, whiskey labels, and “Cocktails of the Time.”  I was surprised at the thoroughness of AoAW and found it to be both an interesting coffee table book and a great history lesson too. Noah can be found at Liquor Intelligence.

Cocktail Chronicles by Paul Clarke ($15). It was hard not to get choked up reading through Cocktail Chronicles‘ first chapter, “Notes from a Renaissance in Progress,” because it’s true. Clarke quickly charts the near-death of the cocktail in the 70s up to the craft boom of the last decade, and here we are at the present Renaissance. Clarke then dips our toe in a handy-yet-formulaic cocktail technique section (later completed in the “Bottles, Tools and Tips” chapter), and onto the core of the book. Chronicles is primarily a history book, so sections are divided historically (“Not Forgotten”/”Muses and Bridges”/”Staying Power”), with subcategories given to ingredients, bartenders, even locales that fit that description. You’ll find a related, but small, recipe boxes on each page of your journey. This is a unique perspective on cocktail history, as Clarke calls it, a “renaissance in progress.” You can find Paul at Imbibe Magazine and at Cocktail Chronicles (the blog).

Old books:

The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto by Bernard DeVoto ($12).  Originally published in 1948, The Hour is more of a long, ranting essay than a cocktail book. At just over 100 pages, it might be a comedy piece – DeVoto lists only two alcoholic drinks that are “acceptable”: the Martini and a slug of American whiskey. He curses olives as a garnish and bans just about every other cocktail imaginable: “Remember always that the three abominations are: (1) rum, (2) any other sweet drink, and (3) any mixed drink except one made of gin and dry vermouth in the ration that I have given.” His Martini ration, by the way, is 3.7 parts gin to 1 part vermouth. The Hour is a fun (and funny) book to read, and I think is the point. Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) writes the hilarious intro, in which he references giving his 18-month-old a sip of his Martini.

The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David Embury ($25). Also from 1948 and published as a “replica” from Cocktail Kingdom, Fine Art… is really a love letter to cocktails. Embury is not a bartender, but a home cocktail enthusiast, and this tome is the most cocktail-heavy of this group. Throughout, Embury paints a picture of what makes cocktails great, beginning as many cocktail books do with proper tools, liquors, ice, setup, and measurement, all the way through through 300+ pages of cocktail recipes. As I read Fine Art… I realized it’s been echoed in many cocktail books published more recently. I feel that if you asked a friendly, passionate, experienced home bartender to explain what’s great about cocktails, this very book would be the answer. This is a perfect starter cocktail book.

Podcast 54- Manhattan Moonshine and Brunelle

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Great Gatsby. Prohibition liquor. “I’m starting to sweat already.” We taste Manhattan Moonshine. “The ladies are cringing – I think you stopped her heart!” As a salute to Ted, we make a Brunelle Cocktail.

Download Episode 54.

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Don Amado Mezcal and the Sealed Deal Cocktail

don amado rustico mezcal

If you aren’t already aware, mezcal is an increasingly popular liquor among the craft cocktail crowd. It’s distilled from agave, like tequila, but while all tequila is mezcal, not all mezcal is tequila.

Let’s differentiate mezcal from tequila. You remember hearing about a “worm” in a tequila bottle? Some brands of mezcal do that, but I don’t think tequilas do. From there, the flavor is where you really start to tell a big difference.

I hadn’t tasted mezcal until recently (hear us taste Don Amado for the first time on the podcast). Compared with agave-brother-tequila, mezcal is much smokier. Much smokier. I heard someone say “mezcal tastes like a campfire,” and I think that’s a great description. From what I’ve read, that flavor has to do with the way the agave is baked to prepare for distillation. There is less muggy-ness to mezcal, too, as the smoke is predominant. If you like smokier scotches, mezcal might be an interesting liquor for you to try.

sealed deal cocktail

Traditionally just served on the rocks, mezcal is appearing on cocktail menus now, and there is a lot of ways to experiment with it. At Tales of the Cocktail, we tried the following cocktail. Tasted alone, it was overly smoky, but that smoke paired perfectly when the drink was served with ribs.

Sealed Deal (by Ivy Mix)

  • in a shaker, add:
  • 1 1/2 oz Jägermeister
  • 1/2 oz mezcal
  • 1/2 oz orange juice
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz maple syrup
  • a dash of bitters
  • shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, top with a splash of champagne
  • garnish with an orange twist


Brandy Presidente and the Brandy Crusta Cocktail

brandy presidente

Brandy is one of the 5 base spirits that most cocktails are based on (the others are vodka, gin, whiskey and tequila) For some reason, I don’t have much brandy in my home bar. In fact, I currently have 1 bottle, Presidente, pictured above.

Brandy is the result of distilling wine, though brandy can be made from grapes too, like in Grappa or Pisco, even (almost) Ciroc vodka, though Ciroc’s not aged, so it’s not quite brandy.

The bottle of Presidente I have, a gift from a friend who traveled to Mexico, is the most popular spirit in Mexico. Surprised? Yeah, me too. It’s by no means a complex spirit, and you can get a bottle for around $10 here in the States, which is a great value for a 3-year-old aged spirit. The taste of Presidente is mild (it’s only 35% abv), a little sweet, and pretty pleasant with just a little touch of cheap-liquor-burn. It’s easy to drink straight from a snifter and like I said, you can’t beat the value for a sipper or a cocktail base.

brandy crusta cocktail

The Brandy Crusta is a classic cocktail in every sense. Recipes for the drink appear somewhere near the mid-1800s, and it’s the inspiration for what’s probably the most popular brandy cocktail today, the Sidecar. Try this one out at home:

Brandy Crusta

  • in a cocktail shaker, add:
  • 2 oz brandy
  • 1 tsp triple sec
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 dash bitters
  • shake with ice and strain into a sugar-rimmed cocktail glass
  • garnish with a lemon twist


Podcast 53- Tales Tally and La Quintinye Vermouth Royal

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Coming down from our New Orleans high. Lisa’s googling “rent-a-father.” Complete Tales summary page. Tales tally. “If it’s Hotmail, I don’t trust you.”  Check out our vermouth page. We taste 3 types of La Quintinye Vermouth Royal. “Last night I made you a gin Martini.”

Download Episode 53.

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Hornitos Plata and Hornitos Reposado

hornitos reposado and plata

Over half a century ago on Mexican Independence Day (September 16), Don Francisco Javier Sauza (yeah that same Sauza), created Hornitos tequila, an aromatic 100% blue agave experience that’s sweet and calming with a little bit of bite.

Hornitos Plata. This is Hornitos’ unaged tequila (“plata” is Spanish for silver). Plata has never made contact with wood barrels, so it’s a clear tequila. Because of its young age, Plata is more of an herbal and floral experience in the smell and taste. This is agave at its purest: very sweet, crisp and clean.

Hornitos Reposado. This “rested” tequila has an aromatic rush of blue agave, unexpected and exciting. The sting in the air that is immediately present in the nose of other tequilas is non-existent here. Instead, a sweet, calming waft of blue agave gets your attention. The flavor is mellow and very smooth, with a bit of welcome spice. Not a tequila I would associate with taking shots, Hornitos Reposado is smooth enough to sip, and enjoy the warmth in your chest of a nice, aged tequila.

Hornitos Reposado will run you $25 and Hornitos Plata, $20. The flavors of both are subtle, and though they’d be fine cocktail tequilas, I will likely enjoy Hornitos Reposado more often as a sipping tequila. The Plata is a little more floral and herbal than I’d prefer.

Tales of the Cocktail 2015 Recap

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For the first time ever, Lisa and I went to Tales of the Cocktail! Tales is the world’s premiere cocktail event – about 20,000 people head to New Orleans for the week-long annual show in July. Attendees are usually bartenders, writers, liquor brand reps, craft cocktail enthusiasts, public relations folks, marketing people, “founders” of the craft cocktail movement – even restaurateurs or hospitality folks.

Though we had a good idea of what to expect from the event from the schedule we’d received, it’s hard to summarize the vibe of Tales until you’re in the midst of it. For 5 days, we learned, partied, ate, and drank our way through the conference, and here’s what I thought of the experience:

My Favorite Parts

  • Because we were podcasting daily from the show, we had a great excuse to talk to some of the biggest names in cocktails, like Dale Degroff, David Wondrich, and Chris McMillian. They couldn’t have been kinder to us.
  • It was great connecting with other liquor writers, many who I admire very much, like Leslie Jacobs Solmonson of 12 Bottle BarCocktail Whisperer Warren Bobrow, Bit by a Fox’s Prairie Rose, Camper English, Fred Minnick, and Natalie from Beautiful Booze.
  • I had a great time working together with Lisa and discovering New Orleans with her as first-time visitors. If we met you at Tales, I’m sure you’ll agree that Lisa is much more fun to hang out with than me.
  • Interviews that were unforseeably and awesomely well-timed. We talked to Ivy Mix, who won “American Bartender of the Year” at Saturday night’s Spirited Awards, and we interviewed Sean Kenyon, whose bar in Denver won “Best American Cocktail Bar” (Kenyon himself won Best Bartender last year, too).

My Biggest Surprises
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Tales Podcast 4- 7/19/15

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In our fourth and final podcast episode from Tales of the Cocktail 2015, we interview Sean Kenyon (owner of the Best American Cocktail Bar 2015), Alex Stein of Monkey 47 Gin, Natalie from Beautiful Booze, Brian Weber from Bartender Journey, Darren Geraghty, and Neal from Cure.

Download Episode 4.

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