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.


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.

Recipes from the Morning Brew 5/14/13

morning brew logo

Welcome Morning Brew viewers! Here are the simple cocktail recipes I made on the show this morning:

Gin Rickey

  • in a glass full of ice, add:
  • 1 1/2 oz gin (I used Wheeler’s from Santa Fe Spirits)
  • top with club soda
  • and the juice and shell of 1/2 a lime

Whiskey Sour

  • in a cocktail shaker, add:
  • 2 oz whiskey (I used Jack Daniel’s)
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • shake vigorously with ice, strain into a glass filled with ice
  • garnish with 2 cherries

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How To: Make Ice Blocks

ice block in jack daniel's

I love to drink my whiskey with a single, rough-cut ice block (I call them icebergs). It makes me proud when I serve a drink at my home bar and someone asks “did you make this ice?” I realize that’s borderline crazy, as making ice involves nothing more than freezing water, but I know you other home bartenders also take pride in the details, like getting your liquors and garnishes just right, so here’s a step-by-step guide to how I make my icebergs:

Step 1: add about 2″ of spring or distilled water in a breadpan and freeze overnight.

Step 2: once frozen, run the breadpan under cold, then warm, then hot water to break the ice free.

photo 2

Step 3: Lay your ice block on a cutting board. Put a towel under it to tame the shrapnel.

photo 3

Step 4: I’ve tried a lot of ways to do this, including ice picks, scoring lines in the ice, or gently chopping in the ice with a knife. I’ve found the best way is to just chop it in one blow with a really sharp knife, samurai-style.

photo 4

Step 4, continued: keep chopping the ice into blocks until you’re satisfied with the size. As you can see, I usually get about 7 or 8 big ice blocks that are 2-3″ and a few other scraps that I use in Gin and Tonics.

Step 5: store in a plastic container in the freezer. I use semi-disposable food storage boxes like Ziploc or Rubbermaid. Enjoy your ice blocks!


Art in the Age SAGE

art in the age sage in bloom cocktail

SAGE is one of 4 small-batch liquors that Philadelphia-based Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction produces, including ROOT, SNAP, and RHUBARB liqueurs as well. SAGE is a tough one to categorize, as it’s basically a juniper-less, sage-heavy gin, a base for a more herbal martini maybe.

SAGE, then, is a unique bottle for your home bar. If gin is not a liquor you enjoy, SAGE may give you a fresh-tasting and suitable alternative. For gin lovers, SAGE has a pretty distinct flavor, so give it a taste and let me know what you think. I used SAGE in this cocktail, which is a refreshing sipper for a spring garden party:

In Bloom (by Greg Mays)

  • 2 oz SAGE
  • 1/2 oz Royal Rose: Rose Syrup
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with a lemon wedge


Breaking Bad: The Cocktail

breaking bad cocktail

I was talking with someone from out of town recently, and they asked if Breaking Bad has given Albuquerque a bad name, y’know, since it’s a TV show about drugs, drug dealers, and violence, and since it proudly mentions that Albuquerque is the place that all of this is happening.

I snickered in my response: Breaking Bad has actually brought a strange local pride to Albuquerque, not shame. There are spas that sell “Bathing Bad” bath salts and soaps. A local donut store has their own Breaking Bad donuts. Local confectioner The Candy Lady sells little baggies of blue rock candy, in fact, they’re the company that made the props for the TV show.

It’s about time that we (Albuquerque) came up with our own Breaking Bad Cocktail. This is a simple recipe provided that you can find some candy “blue meth.” While you prepare to make the drink, crush the candy with a big knife butt just like Tuco Salamanca. Then using lemon juice, rim an old fashioned glass with the crushed candy.

breaking bad cocktail

In Albuquerque, Tequila is the second-best selling spirit (just behind vodka), so we should certainly use tequila as the base. Here’s the recipe, which is a Tequila Sour with the addition of blue meth candy. That makes it break bad, right?

Breaking Bad Cocktail (by Greg Mays)

  • fill a “blue meth” rimmed old fashioned glass with ice
  • in a shaker add:
  • 2 oz tequila
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
  • shake with ice and strain into the old fashioned glass

Remember you can subscribe to our email newsletter and download our free Simple Cocktails recipe booklet now!

Smirnoff Sorbet Light

smirnoff sorbet light vodkas recipes

Low-calorie liquor is a big deal these days. From the multimillion dollar Skinny Girl empire down to the traditional liquor brands, it seems low-cal may be the “what’s next” after flavored vodkas. Smirnoff has introduced 3 flavors of low-calorie vodka recently to the market and dubbed it Sorbet Light.

Is it sweet? Yes. Does it taste like sorbet? Yes. Is it good? Yeah, I think so. For comparison purposes, 1 ounce of Smirnoff (the red label one) is 70 calories. An ounce of Sorbet Light is around 50 calories. So you’re looking at a 30% drop in calories overall. Each of the flavors makes for some good sweet cocktails, and I made the following drinks with Smirnoff’s recipes to try them out (pictured above).

Light Tropical Martini

  • 1 1/2 oz Smirnoff Sorbet Light Mango Passion Fruit
  • 1 1/2 oz coconut water
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Light Lemon Mojito

  • add the following to an old fashioned glass:
  • 1 1/2 oz Smirnoff Sorbet Light Lemon
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 10 mint leaves
  • stir, fill the glass with crushed ice and stir more
  • top with club soda
  • garnish with a lemon wedge and mint sprig

Light RazPom Cosmopolitan

  • 1 1/2 oz Smirnoff Sorbet Light Raspberry Pomegranate
  • 2 oz cranberry juice
  • 1/4 oz lime juice
  • shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with a lime wheel

Don Julio Tequila

don julio tequilas

Don Julio proudly proclaims itself the “original premium tequila.” Sold in unique but similar bottle shapes each with a wooden stopper, the standard line on Don Julios will run you between $45-60, depending on the age. The Blanco is fruity and beachy. The Reposado (which they claim is the bestselling tequila in Mexico) is mellower, a touch spicy, and very smooth. The Añejo is a little more bold from the extended time in the barrel. You could use the Blanco in a cocktail, but all of these are very tasty and smooth drunk straight.

These are excellent tequilas without a doubt – surely the best tequilas I’ve yet tasted. There’s a world of difference between these and a bargain-basement $20 tequila, even one that’s 100% agave.

don julio high end tequilas

Don Julio also has a premium line of tequilas – as if their standard line isn’t premium enough. 70 is an añejo tequila that’s clear and has characteristics of a blanco. It’s crisp and herbal, a bit less like a tequila and more like a premium vodka in some ways. 70 will run you $68 a bottle. 1942 is an older tequila, with a lot of tropical and whiskey-like characteristics. It smells like vanilla and coconut and is ultimately the spiciest of the bunch. 1942 is $125. Lastly, Don Julio Real is a knockout. It’s smooth and quite savory (is that cheese and nuts I smell?). Real is drinkable, wonderfully flavorful, full, and complex. You may have heard: Real is $360 a bottle. The question to ask is are these worth their costs? If I was in the market for a $360 tequila, I’d totally buy this one. I also liked the 70 a lot, too. While 1942 is good, but I didn’t find it to be quite as amazing as the others in this range.


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