Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 4

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A tale of 3 vodkas (by Chopin). Lisa talks about ice castle fantasies. Can the ladies of “Orange is the New Black” make that? Get your utter out of my cocktail (unless it tastes good).  Greg threatens the show by claiming the “best cocktail ever” already. Do bartenders wink for tips?

 Download episode 4.

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Affinity Cocktail

affinity cocktail

I’ve noticed that many of the early 1900s cocktails are comprised of liquor mixed with with varying ratios of vermouths, each one of them with a different flavor profile. Here’s a 2:1:1 ratio drink that follows that classic formula. It’s beautifully classy and it tastes awesome, too.

Affinity Cocktail

  • in a stirring glass add:
  • 1 oz white (dry) vermouth
  • 1 oz red (sweet) vermouth
  • 2 oz scotch
  • 2 dashes of bitters
  • stir with lots of ice until very cold
  • strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with a lemon peel

Liberty Cocktail

liberty cocktail

From what I hear, the Boston Tea Party wasn’t about tea at all, but a sugar tax (compounded on a molasses tax) which ultimately pushed the price of rum sky-high.

It makes sense, then, that rum (arguably the most popular liquor in early U.S. history) and apple (“as American as apple pie”) could foster some sort of patriotism for one drinking it, right? So maybe that’s a stretch, but regardless, here’s a great simple cocktail that is certainly a sip of liberty:

Liberty Cocktail

  • 1 oz rum
  • 2 oz applejack
  • dash simple syrup
  • shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with an apple slice

Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 3

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We finish a bottle of rum, then discuss how rum bottles impress us. Riding up Guatemalan mountains on llamas. Zacapa 23 is a rum for whiskey lovers, maybe a good one to sip when smoking a cigar? Legos in the mint, but Lisa finally gets to use a muddler. Laughing in the face of the Limepocalype, Lisa makes a “gin mojito,” otherwise known as a Southside Fizz

Download episode 3.

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July 4th Cocktails (Video)

Here is the video clip from my appearance on The Morning Brew with Larry Ahrens in Albuquerque. These are the recipes from the show:

White Sangria

  • 1 bottle Vinho Verde wine
  • 2 cups white grape juice
  • 2 cups orange mineral water
  • 1 cup silver tequila
  • raspberries and blueberries

Mint Julep

  • 12-10 mint leaves
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • lots of crushed ice
  • 3 oz bourbon

Income Tax Cocktail

income tax cocktail

Here’s another great cocktail from The Savoy Cocktail Book. One thing I’ve noticed about these early-1900s cocktail books is that they often post their citrus measurements by size and not ounce, like “1/4 of a lime,” or “juice of one lemon.” It’s a quick guide, sure, but an argument against it is that citrus varies in size and juiciness based on where you are in the world.

Measurements aside, let’s just enjoy a drink! This cocktail looks awesomely orange and tastes great.

Income Tax Cocktail

  • in a shaker, combine:
  • 1 dash bitters
  • juice of 1/4 of an orange
  • 3/4 oz white (dry) vermouth
  • 3/4 oz red (sweet) vermouth
  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 2

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Who defined vodka? We locate Snake River USA. Greg plays the flavor game as he forces Lisa to define “smooth”  as we drink American Harvest. Sticky vs. salty lips. Who was the liquor sponsor of Wizard of Oz? There’s usually brown going around. As Lisa makes a Manhattan, Greg mentions his cocktail beakers. 

Download episode 2.

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Sauza Sparkling Margaritas

sauza sparkling margarita

Sparkling Margaritas are a line of pre-made cocktails from tequila brand Sauza, available in original, wild berry, mango-peach, and the newest flavor: watermelon. A bottle will run you about $12 for a 750ml, with alcohol is right at 10% for all of the flavors.

I expected these to be something like a wine cooler or Bacardi Silver, based on malt liquor or maybe wine, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the ingredient list: silver tequila, triple sec, carbonation, and flavor – those are the actual ingredients to a Margarita!

When I make margaritas at home, I usually include a splash of club soda, so this is a familiar experience for me, though I’d admit that the Sparkling Margaritas are sweeter than I’m used to. These are a great party drink though because they’re so easy to serve, and if you drink them on the rocks, it cuts the sweetness down a bit.

sauza sparkling margarita

As far as the individual flavors, we had a tasting party and Original and the Watermelon were the favorites of the bunch (which the photo above helps to illustrate). The interesting thing is that Original and Watermelon are flavored “naturally”, while Wild Berry and Mango-Peach eliminate the word natural from their label.

It’s rare that you find decent bottled cocktails in stores, but this one fits the bill as good as any I have seen yet. Sauza Sparkling Margaritas get the ingredients right and outside of the usual cocktails, beer and wine, they’re a nice option to include at a party, too.

We tasted Sauza Sparkling Margaritas on the first episode of the Simple Cocktails Podcast.

Simple Cocktails Podcast Episode 1

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“Have you heard of Sauza Sparkling Margaritas?” The blasphemy of Margaritas without salt rims. Is a cherry a berry?  Lisa makes a Vodka Sour.

Download Episode 1.

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Brancamenta Cocktails

brancamenta bottle

I have written about Fernet Branca in the past, an increasingly popular and pretty legendary bitter liqueur. BrancaMenta is a companion liqueur, Fernet Branca combined with mint syrup, which makes the liqueur mintier and sweeter (obviously), but actually changes the taste of the whole thing a bit.

While Fernet Branca is more bitter and is a stronger alcohol experience, BrancaMenta is a sweeter and more palatable drink for many. In side-by-side tests at my home bar, folks who didn’t like Fernet Branca usually liked BrancaMenta when they tried it. One said it “tastes like a Thin Mint,” and that’s not too far off the mark as BrancaMenta is more chocolaty and sweet than it’s big brother.

I was challenged to come up with some original cocktail ideas with BrancaMenta, and it’s a surprisingly easy liqueur to mix. Since it’s not overly sweet, you can use it in place of a liqueur or a base liquor. I made two types of recipes: BrancaMenta plus and cocktails with BrancaMenta. Try these out:

brancamenta cocktails

Creamy Mint Stout (by Greg Mays)

  • add 1 1/2 oz of BrancaMenta to a chilled 14-oz glass
  • top with cream stout (I used St. Peter’s)

Branca Moji-Tea (by Greg Mays)

  • add 1 oz BrancaMenta to an ice-filled collins glass
  • top with cold lime or mint tea (preferably both – I used Argo Mojitea)
  • (stainless steel straw courtesy of KegWorks)

brancamenta cocktails

I’m going to be really straight with you here: I didn’t expect these next two drinks to be as great as they are. They looked good when I was photographing them, sure, but when I tasted these cocktails, they were excellent, simple, balanced, and refreshing. I’ll be making these regularly at the home bar for sure:

White Italian (by Greg Mays)

  • in a double old fashioned  glass filled with ice, add:
  • 1 1/2 oz BrancaMenta
  • 1 1/2 oz half-and-half
  • 2 oz strong, cold coffee (I used unsweetened Illy issumo Coffee)
  • stir until combined and garnish with a mint sprig

CocoMenta Cocktail (by Greg Mays)

  • in a shaker, combine:
  • 2 oz BrancaMenta
  • 2 oz coconut water
  • 3 dashes of orange bitters
  • fill with ice and shake well (the coconut water will make the drink a little bit foamy)
  • strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with mint leaves
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