Kris Von Dopek’s favorite Simple Cocktail

Kris Von Dopek

Recently, I had the chance to sit down with Hendrick’s Gin Brand Ambassador Kris Von Dopek to talk about his role at Hendrick’s, and craft cocktails at home.

Kris, who’s from Chicago but grew up in London, has professionally bartended for over a decade. We spent our time together talking about home bartending, though. He said “In the 60’s everybody had a cocktail set at home and you made a Martini for your guests when they came over. The 70’s kind of killed the cocktail.”

We also talked about the outlook for home bartenders now that craft cocktails have really taken off. Kris told me “You know, companies (Hendrick’s included) are now spending a lot more time and money to educate consumers directly. From social media campaigns to cocktails on cooking shows, people have more information now and they can make better choices about the cocktails they make at home. ”

I asked Kris what his favorite simple cocktail is, and he told me a White Martinez. The Martinez is believed to be the cocktail that led to the Martini’s invention, so it’s certainly a recipe to know. Here it is:

white martinez with hendricks

White Martinez

  • 1 oz Hendrick’s Gin
  • 2 oz sweet white vermouth (I used Dolin Blanc)
  • 1 dash of bitters (I used orange bitters so it wouldn’t affect the color)
  • 2 dashes of maraschino liqueur (I used Maraska)
  • stir the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with a lemon peel

We make a White Martinez on the Simple Cocktails Podcast. Listen here.

photo of Kris Von Dopek courtesy Jill Tiongco Photography

Halloween Cocktails on the Morning Brew (Video)

Here’s the video clip of Greg making Halloween cocktails on The Morning Brew with Larry Ahrens in Albuquerque. I make a Black Martini and a Obituary.

Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 19

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Halloween cocktails! Last year we made the Devil’s Snare. Sticky sugar rims. Drinks that represent….people? We taste Pimm’s by itself, and make a Pimm’s Cup. We talk about all the Pimm’s varieties which Lisa comparies to the Saw movies. “We should rim this with crushed candied ginger.” This year’s Halloween cocktail is the Black Martini. Spooky!

Download Episode 19.

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Floridita Cocktail

floridita cocktail with appleton estate

Named for the Floridita Bar in Cuba, this cocktail is a pretty interesting mix of five ingredients, mostly familiar to the rum cocktail drinker, except for that little dash of creme de cacao in the mix (a chocolate liqueur).

If you’re a Daiquiri drinker, or maybe you’re looking for something new to try in rum drinks, but especially if you prefer sweet over tart, you’ll likely enjoy this tribute to the 2-century-old bar:

Floridita

  • in a shaker combine:
  • 1 1/2 oz rum (I used Appleton Estate)
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/8 oz white creme de cacao
  • 1/8 oz grenadine
  • shake well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with a lime wedge

Pimm’s Cup

pimms cup

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:

Pimm’s Cup

  • in a highball glass filled with ice, add:
  • 1 1/2 oz Pimm’s No. 1
  • top with ginger ale (or lemon-lime soda)
  • garnish with cucumber
  • serve with a straw

We taste Pimm’s and make a Pimm’s Cup on the Simple Cocktails Podcast, too. Listen here.

Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 18

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Unlimited-budget home bar? Invasive kitchen hardware. Phraya Rum: Lisa says “warm but doesn’t burn.” It’s Greg’s favorite cigar rum. We fake like we’re smoking. We talk about warm cocktails, Lisa doesn’t have time for luxury, then we make a Mountaineer Punch. How to set up a self-serve hot cocktail for your winter party. The pressure is from Greg talking.

Download Episode 18.

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Black Martini

black martini

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.

halloween bitter 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:

Black Martini

  • 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

Enjoy…and happy Halloween!

We make a Black Martini on the Simple Cocktails podcast, too. Listen here. 

For a video of Greg making the this cocktail, click here.

Cocktails with Ciroc Coconut and Peach

ciroc peach and coconut cocktails

Like I said in a post earlier this week, Ciroc’s flavors really caught me off guard. I was a pleasantly surprised that they weren’t sweetened (flavored vodkas almost always are). Since I liked them so much, I’ve been dreaming up some cocktails to use these Ciroc flavors with and so I’ve been digging around in recipe books for cocktails that would go well with flavored vodka. Here are some recipes I really liked with Ciroc Coconut and Ciroc Peach (pictured left to right):

Ciroc Coco Creme (by Greg Mays)

  • in a shaker, combine:
  • 1 1/2 oz Ciroc Coconut
  • 3 oz coconut water
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz half and half
  • shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

*frozen blueberries are jucier when they thaw and squish up in the shaker better than fresh ones.

Our Stanley (from the Bartender’s Bible)

  • in a mixing glass or pint glass, combine:
  • 1 1/2 oz Ciroc Peach (the original recipe calls for regular vodka)
  • 1/2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz triple sec (orange liqueur)
  • stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Remember, you can get a free cocktail PDF book by registering for our email newsletter here.

 

Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 17

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Naming things like the French. Scotland’s independence…we know nothing. A Simple Cocktails brand name? A new show idea for Oprah and Gail. We taste Mahon Gin, which is seasoned with lifestyle.  We make Lisas’s favorite drink-of-the-moment, an Amaretto Sour. “If we were cavemen, we’d have to lick this.”

Download Episode 17.

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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!

Cocktails with Ciroc Pineapple

cocktails with ciroc pineapple

I confess to being totally alarmed at how much I liked some of the the Ciroc vodka flavors on a recent podcast episode, and again in my review. Since that initial tasting, I’ve been dreaming up with some recipes that I think will taste great with these Ciroc flavors. Here are 2 recipes — one that I came up with and one from a recipe book — to try with Ciroc Pineapple (pictured left to right):

Purpina (by Greg Mays)

  • in a shaker, combine:
  • 2 oz Ciroc Pineapple
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • about 20 thawed, frozen blueberries*
  • shake vigorously with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with a lime wedge

*frozen blueberries are jucier when they thaw and squish up in the shaker better than fresh ones.

Firefly (from the Bartender’s Bible)

  • in a highball glass full of ice, add:
  • 2 oz Ciroc Pineapple (the original recipe calls for regular vodka)
  • 4 oz fresh grapefruit juice
  • drizzle 1 tsp of grenadine over the top
  • do not stir
  • serve with a straw

Remember, you can get a free cocktail PDF book by registering for our email newsletter here.