Pow Wow Botanical Rye

pow wow botanica rye cocktail

The more I began to think about the liquid in my bottle of Pow Wow Botanical Rye, the more I was intrigued. Pow Wow is distilled from rye (as you’d expect from whiskey), it’s infused with botanicals during distillation (as you’d expect from gin). Then it’s aged in charred barrels (as you’d expect from whiskey). Did you catch that glitch-out in the middle? This is a rye that has some gin-like characteristics, and if you know anything about me, you know that this bottle of booze has the potential to be the most exciting thing I’ve ever tasted.

If you’re new here, I love gin and I love rye whiskey. Other liquor is good too, but those two are my faves. Pow Wow, which’ll run you about $40 a bottle, is one of the premium whiskeys managed by Georgetown Trading Co., whose catalog includes other whiskey brands too. Pow Wow really does have some gin characteristics, particularly in the scent of it, and if you’re a whiskey or gin lover, it’s totally worth trying.

pow wow botanica rye cocktail

Here’s a classic cocktail to try with Pow Wow:

Gall Bracer

  • 1 1/2 oz rye
  • 2 dashes of bitters
  • 1 dash of grenadine
  • pour ingredients slowly over ice in an old fashioned glass
  • garnish with a cherry

Karlsson’s Bloody Mary

karlsson's bloody mary

I reviewed Karlsson’s back in September and tried their signature “Black Gold” cocktail (on the rocks topped with ground black pepper). Now it’s time to apply that earthy goodness of Karlsson’s in another proper place: a Bloody Mary.

The Bloody Mary in particular has been a point of contention for me.  “Can you really call a cocktail simple if it has 8 or more ingredients?” I’ve wondered. This Bloody Mary has been making it’s rounds on the internet, and it includes garnishes like a hamburger, nachos, bacon, popcorn, a hot dog and a pretzel. Now I’m convinced that the Bloody Mary may never be simple.

So my solution to the conundrum of the Bloody Mary is to either embrace it’s complexity or just use a good, natural mix. The mixes I’ve used  in the past have included Trader Joe’s and Ubon’s, both of which I like. Lately I’ve been hearing some good things about Zing Zang’s mix, so I grabbed a bottle to try with Karlsson’s. Zing Zang is a  thinner mix than Ubon’s, but spicier, and Zing Zang is widely distributed, so it’s easier to find.

karlsson's bloody mary

Karlsson’s Bloody Mary

  • in a tall glass filled with ice, add:
  • 1 1/2 oz Karlsson’s Gold Vodka
  • top with Bloody Mary mix
  • optionally, add a few dashes of Tabasco
  • garnish heavily, I prefer pickled things and olives

This is a spicy Bloody Mary, but from my understanding, lots of people like them spicy. Using Karlsson’s will add a richness to the drink that I immediately  noticed when I  substituted a typical vodka in it’s place.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

father's day gift ideas

Father’s Day is coming up! As a father myself, I think the best rules of thumb are: know what dad likes, and get something creative and interesting. How about Scotch, cigars, coffee, and sweets for a start? If you caught my segment about this on The Morning Brew, welcome!

scotch

Scotch. A bottle of booze for dad! If he’s not a Scotch guy, try a rye or Tennessee whiskey. Suggestions: Dewar’s Highlander Honey, Speyburn, or Balblair.

  • How much: starting at about $20 for blended Scotch. Single malts will be more like $70.
  • Where: your favorite local liquor store.
  • Buy for: the dad who loves a tasty glass of whisky.
  • Buy because: dad will appreciate the addition to his home bar.

cigars for father's day

Cigars. If dad’s a smoker, you can’t go wrong at your local cigar shop. In fact, there are so many options you may have a tough time deciding what to get him. Consider things like: a multi-pack of cigars, a torch lighter, a cutter, a leather case, a beefy ashtray, or a classy humidor. And these will go well with the bottle of Scotch you buy him, too.

  • How much: $15 and up. A quality humidor will run $125+.
  • Where: your favorite local cigar joint. I got everything above from Monte’s in Albuquerque.
  • Buy for: the guy who loves a good Summer smoke on the porch.
  • Buy because: cigars send a nice message: relax and enjoy yourself, dad.

le creuset coffee set

Le Creuset Coffee Set. If dad loves coffee, get him a set like this one, which includes ceramic mugs, a French press, and a coffee storage container. Available in manly gray (pictured), red, blue, or Le Creuset orange.

  • How much: $125.
  • Where: entire set online at Le Creuset or buy individual pieces from Amazon.
  • Buy for: the dad who loves good, strong coffee in the morning.
  • Buy because: your dad is picky about his coffee.

bourbon marshmallows

Bourbon Marshmallows. If dad’s favorite vice is sugar, order a few boxes of 1″x1″ snacking marshmallows from Wondermade, who’s Father’s Day gift set includes boxes of bourbon (made with Maker’s Mark), coffee, Guinness, and maple bacon ‘mallows. These’ll pair great with the coffee he makes in that French press!

  • How much: $7.50 per box.
  • Where: online.
  • Buy for: the dad with a sweet tooth.
  • Buy because: the thought of eating Guinness marshmallows will put a huge smile on your dad’s face. If you’re looking for creative and interesting, this is the gift to buy.

 

How to: Make a Mint Julep

how to make a mint julep

Much like the Sazerac, the Mint Julep is a simple cocktail whose preparation and mystique makes it seem really complex. Mrs. Simple Cocktails got me a full-blown julep “kit” for Valentine’s this year, so I’m making them now using all the proper tools. I’ve provided Amazon links to everything I used below:

how to make a mint julep

Step 1: take a Lewis bag filled with ice and smash it to tiny bits using a wooden mallet. The Lewis Bag prevents the ice from being “wet” by wicking the water away as you crush it.

Step 2: Next take a nickel or silver julep cup and fill it with 15-20 mint leaves and 1/2 oz of simple syrup. Muddle them gently together for 30 seconds and add a scoop of crushed ice to the cup. Stir well.

how to make a mint julep

Step 3: Add 3 oz bourbon whiskey to the cup and stir more. Add more crushed ice, this time almost to the top. Stir more. Your shiny julep cup should start looking like mine in the photo: frosty and cold! Top once more with crushed ice and garnish with a mint sprig and cocktail straws. Optionally, you can dust the top of the Julep with powdered sugar.

how to make a mint julep

Here’s the recipe list once more. Like I said, it’s simple and it’s theatrical:

Mint Julep

  • 3 oz bourbon
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 15-20 mint leaves and a sprig for garnish
Photography by Jasmine Nicole.

 

Dewar’s Highlander Honey

dewar's highlander honey

I have to confess this right out of the gate: I don’t particularly love Scotch and I hate the taste of honey. That should make Dewar’s pretty nervous as I prepare to review Dewar’s Highlander Honey, a brand new Scotch-based honey-flavored liquor, right?

Let me follow up and say that much of the reason that I am not a huge Scotch fan is that I haven’t tried a whole lot of it. In fact, I joined the Albuquerque Whiskey Club just to get some more exposure to it.

There is only one other Scotch-based liqueur that I’ve tried, and that’s Drambuie, which is also sweetened with honey, plus an assortment of herbs. Outside of the Scotch and honey connection, these two products might as well be opposites. Drambuie is sticky and most people find it too sweet to drink by itself. Dewar’s Highlander Honey, however, is nowhere near as sweet. In fact, I’d say it’s mostly a Scotch with a very slight trace of sweetness to it, and I detected little-to-no distinct honey flavor.

Funny enough, for a guy who’s a Scotch newbie and a honey hater, Dewar’s Highlander Honey (which retails for $24) is actually just right for me. It takes the distinct characteristics of Scotch that I’m still learning to love and makes them more accessible with a very subtle touch of natural sweetness.

dewar's highlander honey

Photos by Jasmine Nicole.

 

New York Sour

new york sour

I saw this recipe a few weeks ago at Bon Appetit and tried it that same day. It’s quite sweet and you could easily make a bowl of this as an adult punch for a party. Here’s how you make it:

New York Sour

  • in a cocktail shaker, add:
  • 2 oz rye whiskey (substitute bourbon if you’d like)
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • add ice, shake, and strain into an old fashioned glass filled with ice
  • slowly pour a fruity wine (I used Shiraz) over a barspoon into the glass so it floats on top of the cocktail

As you can see from my picture, the presentation is amazing. I found the “float” part to be much easier than I anticipated.

Screwdriver

making screwdriver cocktails

Years before I knew anything about cocktail making, I had two favorite cocktails: Vodka Martinis and Screwdrivers. The Screwdriver is a pretty great drink, particularly when you make it right- no orange juice cartons allowed! I mixed two versions of the humble Screwdriver – one with the most basic recipe and one with a little more mixology flair. Here are the two drinks:

screwdriver cocktails: fancy and fresh

Fancy Screwdriver (by Greg Mays)

  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 3 oz fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 oz triple sec
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice
  • garnish with an orange slice

Fresh Screwdriver

  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 3 oz fresh orange juice
  • shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice
  • garnish with an orange slice

Both cocktails are great, particularly with that delicious fresh-squeezed juice. If you have the extra ingredients for the Fancy Screwdriver, that one is more complex and tasty than the standard vodka/orange juice mix.

 Special thanks to Jasmine Nicole, my photographer for this post.
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