Red Lion Cocktail

red lion cocktail

Recently I stumbled onto a cocktail which I associated with a hair metal band that I loved in middle school (the White Lion), and I was pretty surprised to find another variant on the lion theme in a totally different cocktail book: What, When, Where, and How to Drink.

Compared to the White Lion (which is sort of red), the Red Lion is a pale yellow color (confusing, I know), but I suppose drinks can be named whatever people wanna name them. Regardless of color confusion, you should definitely try this refreshing lion out:

Red Lion Cocktail

  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz triple sec
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz orange juice
  • shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with a lemon peel

Remember, you can download our free Simple Cocktails recipe booklet now and make better cocktails at home!

Christmas Day on the Morning Brew

Merry Christmas! If you caught my segment on the Christmas special episode of The Morning Brew, welcome to Simple Cocktails! Here are the recipes I shared – the second one was a favorite of The Big Man himself.

silent night rumchata cocktail

Silent Night (by Greg Mays)

  • 2 oz RumChata
  • 1 oz spiced rum
  • shake with ice and serve in a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with a pinch of nutmeg

orange you glad it's new years cocktail

Orange You Glad It’s New Years? (by Greg Mays)

  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz orange liqueur
  • 1 oz white chocolate liqueur
  • stir with ice and serve in a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with an orange slice

Papa’s Cough Medicine

hot root tea

I’ve covered Art in the Age’s ROOT Liqueur before, and while I haven’t quite found a cold cocktail that I love with it yet, it makes a hot tea to die for, and probably the best cough remedy I can think of, particularly when you use a ton of citrus with it. The recipe is simple (of course):

Papa’s Cough Medicine (by Greg Mays)

  • in a mug, add:
  • 1 1/2 oz ROOT
  • juice of 1 mini orange or lemon
  • top with boiling water
  • if needed, add sugar or honey to taste

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Hot Buttered Rum

hot buttered rum

I remember the first time Mrs. Simple Cocktails and I made Hot Buttered Rum – it was a disgusting disaster. I’m not sure where we found the recipe, but we ended up melting a stick of butter and basically just pouring the rum in and sipping it. Nasty! Well, like the Hot Toddy, a Hot Buttered Rum is similar to tea in that the primary ingredient is boiling water: clearly the missing element from our original attempt at the drink. Here’s a proper recipe for Hot Buttered Rum. Enjoy!

Hot Buttered Rum

  • in a mug, add:
  • 1 sugar cube
  • a pat of butter
  • 2 oz rum (I used spiced rum)
  • top with boiling water and stir well

Hot Toddy

hot toddy

I’d always heard of Hot Toddys, but have never made one until just recently. Hot cocktails are a rare treat, and they usually only make up about 5% of the big cocktail books. Now that my town’s already had a snow or two this year, it’s time to try some classic cold weather cocktails. The best way to think of a Hot Toddy is it’s like tea, but with whiskey instead of tea. Yes please!

Hot Toddy

  • in a mug, add:
  • 1 sugar cube
  • a dash of nutmeg
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • 2 oz whiskey (I used Jim Beam Black)
  • top with boiling water and stir well

Jose Cuervo Cinge (Cinnamon Tequila)

jose cuervo cinged carmel aple cocktail

Jose Cuervo Cinge is a new cinnamon-infused tequila that retails for about $18. As you may know, Cuervo is the top-selling tequila brand in the world, and since vodka and whiskey have embraced the flavored liquor trend, it’s no surprise to see tequila flavors, too.

Cinge is sweet and spicy, though mostly spicy, vaguely reminding me of a Fireball candy. Because Cuervo isn’t a 100% agave brand, the mugginess of tequila is eclipsed by the cinnamon burn, and your lips will be left sticky and sweet. Cinge has a unique flavor that makes for some fun cocktail recipes, and since tequila mixes well with apple, here’s a recipe for you to try:

Firey Cinged Apple (by Greg Mays)

  • 2 oz Jose Curevo Cinge
  • 2 oz apple juice
  • 1 oz caramel liqueur (I used Lovoka)
  • stir and serve on the rocks

Honey Paddy Cocktail

honey paddy cocktail

The Paddy is a classic cocktail which is a bit like a Manhattan with Irish whiskey. Since I have a bunch of honey whiskies to work with because of the Bees vs. Trees series, I decided to put it to use and substitute Bushmills Irish Honey in the place of the usual Irish whiskey in a paddy. It’s a great cocktail:

Honey Paddy Cocktail

  • 1 1/4 oz honey Irish whiskey
  • 1 1/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash bitters
  • stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Home Bartender Christmas Gifts 2013


Last year, I offered you a few Christmas gift ideas for home bartenders. I have some more ideas this year and you get the chance to win a great home bartending gift set, valued at $60 (see below for details)! Here are the gifts, pictured left to right above:

Ice molds. Tovolo offers the Colossal Cube and the Sphere ice molds. Each set comes with 2 molds. They’re a cool gift for a whiskey lover as they cool your drink without too much watering-down. Colossal Cube molds are available from Amazon here for $15, and the Spheres for $10 here.

Citrus Squeezer. I joked about this recently on Instagram: for us home bartenders, our squeezers will wear out, so make sure you get a good one. This is a high-quality squeezer by Dalla Piazza that will cover all your squeezing needs: limes, lemons, or oranges, and it’s available from Amazon here for $22.

Muddler. Epicurean has this awesome “wood fiber” muddler that dishwasher safe and really sexy. Muddlers are either wood (so not dishwasher safe), or something much less elegant like aluminum. This is a great mix of style and functionality that’s available direct from Epicurean for $25 here.

Bar Set*. This is a 7-piece set by Swissmar that includes a full-size shaker, strainer, bar knife,  jigger, stirrer, bottle opener – all in a nice stand. It’s a perfect collection of necessities to start you home bar, available for $60 from Amazon here or win a set from Simple Cocktails (see below)!

Bar Knives. This is a 2-knife set by Joseph Joseph – 1 straight edge, 1 serrated – that magnetically sticks together to protect the blades and your fingers. I think it’s actually designed as a cheese knife set, but it’s also perfect for a traveling bartender. The set retails for about $12 at local cooking shop, from Amazon here, or or direct from Joseph Joseph here.

Measuring Jug. Also by Joseph Joseph, this jug measures any fluid from 1 oz to 1 liter, with a cool double-reservoir design. Much like the knife set, this is a good gift for both foodies and home bartenders. This runs about $15 at your local cooking shop, from Amazon here, or direct from the company here.

Zester. This zester by Kitchen IQ has a removable reservoir on the back to catch and measure your citrus zest (which you’ll see occasionally in a cocktail recipe). It’s $15 at your local cooking shop, or get it from Amazon here.

*For a chance to win your own Swissmar cocktail set, pictured above, shipped direct to you from the manufacturer, post a comment below listing your favorite Christmastime cocktail. 1 entry per person, U.S. residents only. I’ll draw a name randomly on December 16th. Good luck!

Mark Twain Cocktail


“Livy my darling, I want you to be sure and remember to have, in the bathroom, when I arrive, a bottle of Scotch whisky, a lemon, some crushed sugar, and a bottle of Angostura bitters. Ever since I have been in London I have taken in a wine glass what is called a cock-tail (made with those ingredients) before breakfast, before dinner, & just before going to bed.”

Mark Twain’s birthday is November 30th, and this year would have been his 178th. There may be no better way to celebrate his legacy than with his favorite cocktail – a real old-school treat which he describes above in a 1874 letter to his wife.

Mark Twain Cocktail

  • 1 1/2 oz of scotch
  • the juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 2 dashes of bitters
  • crush the sugar with a muddler in a cocktail shaker
  • add ice, shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass


tnt cocktail

I was browsing Mr. Boston’s Cocktail book recently, and discovered a cocktail I’d never heard of. This drink ends up a cool, bright yellow because of the mixture of the two ingredients. This is a potent drink – it clocks in at a meager 2 oz – and it’s a great excuse to use you old-timey cocktail coupes:

TNT Cocktail

  • 1 oz absinthe
  • 1 oz whiskey
  • stir with ice and strain into a small, chilled cocktail glass