Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 14

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Which liquors do you refrigerate? Lisa reveals her Love Language as we taste 4 flavors Ciroc. Is Greg’s hand sticky? Lisa reveals the secret of the Ciroc Coconut Flavoring Room. A lot of cups. A little Licor 43 tasting as we sip on tiny beers like the giants do. We measure liquids by the inch. “I wanna whip it.”

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Sambuca

sambuca

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.

We taste Sambuca on the Simple Cocktails podcast, too. Listen here.

Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 13

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Craft spirits discussed: link to the story we talked about. Spirits made by tiny hands in a tiny distillery, it’s Snap and Root liqueurs. The value of…cursive?  “It pours out into your entire body.” Greg measured Old Fashioned glasses to find their true volume. We make a Rusty Nail cocktail, like 3 different ways, 2:1, 2:splash, and 1:1. A good reason to make cocktails at home. Twerking with cocktails.

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How to Make a Cocktail For Someone Who Doesn’t Know What They Want

home bartender. photo by matt and tish

Now that I’ve spent a few years as a home bartender, I’ve picked up some tricks on how to make drinks for people who aren’t quite sure what type of cocktail they like.

Whether a new drinker (just turned 21), or simply an intimidated bar drinker, I’ve found that the majority of people that I make drinks for haven’t tried enough cocktails in their life to know exactly what they like, so here are 5 questions I always ask people before I make them a drink:

  1. What flavors do you like – especially citrus, even foods, etc? If they love oranges, make an Orange Blossom Special or Screwdriver. Or avoid the Cucumber Martini if they hate cucumber.
  2. Do you have a liquor preference? Often, people will know enough to say “I hate gin,” or “I love gin,” (both of which I hear pretty regularly). If they like rum, make them a tiki drink. I once heard, “I’m allergic to juniper,” which as well all know, is a curse worse than death, because gin is awesome.
  3. How sweet do you like your cocktails? This one is huge, because even if they say the like Margaritas, for instance, but don’t like sweet drinks, you can just ease up on the Triple Sec a bit. If they love sweet and love vodka (see #2), then I’ll make them a simple 2 oz vodka + 1 1/2 oz liqueur cocktail like this one.
  4. What are some cocktails you already like? Here’s a specific one I do a lot: when people tell me they love Gins and Tonics, I tell them “let me make you the best G&T you’ve ever had,” and I get out the Jack Rudy Tonic syrup. Making upgraded versions of drinks they already love is an awesome route.
  5. Do you like it? At a commercial bar, this is nearly impossible, but one of the biggest advantages of a home bar is that it’s a lot easier to say you don’t like something. I always ask people if they like the drink I made, and I let them know it’s ok if they don’t, I’ll gladly pour it out (or maybe drink it myself) and make them something else.

 Special thanks to Matt&Tish for the photo.

Gin and Milk

gin and milk cocktail

Alright.

I’ve had the book Old Man Drinks for over a year, and it took me this long to get up the nerve to make one the the signature cocktails in that book: Gin and Milk.

Being a simple cocktail, Gin and Milk is totally qualified to be a featured recipe on this blog, but frankly, I’m not much of a milk guy. I don’t even drink my cereal milk after my bowl is through – I just dump it down the sink.

Being a gin lover, though, this cocktail interested me. It seems like it’d really work as we approach fall and winter, the nutmeg on top is a great addition to the flavor, but I’ll just tell you: it tastes like a moderately boozy glass of cold milk. But that’s ok, right?

Gin and Milk (from Old Man Drinks)

  • in a shaker, combine:
  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 cup milk
  • fill with ice and shake until very cold
  • pour into a chilled Collins glass
  • top with a shake of nutmeg

Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 12

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We ignore all the cocktail party rules and talk religion! And booze. We drink the elixir of life and Lisa has mixed feelings. It’s a liqueur that’s been around before color! We do some patriotic drinking as we make the Liberty. Apples are hard to garnish with. Greg has another.

We reference the Alaska Cocktail and a Monk’s Old Fashioned at some point, too.

Download Episode 12.

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Spodee White

spodee white

Spodee was one of the first liquors I reviewed at Simple Cocktails, almost exactly 2 years ago. The team behind some of the most unique drinks of our generation (for instance, Hendrick’s, Sailor Jerry Rum, and Art in the Age) are now introducing us to Spodee White.

On the podcast this week, we described the original, red Spodee as a cheap, strong, chocalatey wine…and we didn’t mean it in a negative way. Spodee Red goes well with stuff like soda (Spodee and Sody, he he) or even for breakfast with orange juice.

Now it’s time for the new stuff: Spodee White. Still packed in a 500 ml milk jug, and still a fortified wine at around 18% alcohol, White is a $9 “country wine” too, but a very different taste experience from Red.

Where the original Spodee was only fruity from the wine base, White has added coconut and pineapple, and is in many ways a ready-to-pour tiki drink. As of yet, I’ve been drinking it just as you see it above, straight out of the fridge and poured over ice. Like we mentioned on the podcast, I think an awesome way to serve White would be shaken with a equal part of coconut water.

Like many inventions from the minds at Quaker City Mercantile (and particularly from Steven Grasse), Spodee White is a unique liquor that opens up a world of great new cocktails. Every bit of liquor from them is edgy and new, and every detail of their presentation is respected and analyzed, but their ultimate goal is making great liquor, and they always tend to succeed.

Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 11

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Greg gushes for quite a while about Steven Grasse. We do the world’s first podcast review of Spodee White…at least we think so. Here’s the old Spodee review (light switch included). Greg gushes some more about Steven. Lisa diverts us to Disneyland. “The tip of my tongue says whee!'” Kids and cocktails? “All of your inspiration is me.” We finish with another 1:1:1 cocktail, the first one Greg ever made.

Download Episode 11.

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Green Dragon Cocktail

green dragon cocktail

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%!

Green Dragon

  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 3/4 oz green Chartreuse
  • stir with lots of ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Kingston Cocktail

kingston cocktail

The Kingston is a bit of a clash between styles – it’s both tropical and royal in one sip. Mostly a rum-based drink, the Kingston is jazzed up with a bit of gin, which adds some flavor, which works pretty well. It certainly drys out a drink that would be pretty sweet based on ingredients alone. Try out the Kingston and let me know what you think:

Kingston

  • combine the following in a shaker:
  • 1 1/2 oz Jamaican rum (author Stuart Walton says, “it would be inappropriate to use rum for any other location.”)
  • 3/4 oz gin
  • juice of half a lime (which is about 1/2-3/4 oz)
  • 1/4 oz grenadine (I used Jack Rudy)
  • fill with ice and shake well
  • strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lime wedge

 

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