3 Boozy Hot Chocolate Drinks for Cold Winter Nights

Winter Nite

Snow is rolling in across the Northeast and some places are expecting to receive up to a foot or more of snow. After a long morning of shoveling your going to need something to warm you up. Or maybe you … Continue reading

44 North Huckleberry Vodka Review and The Royal Bloodline

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44° North Huckleberry Vodka is produced by the 44° North Distillery in Idaho. According to their website, it is the first vodka approved to wear the Idaho Potato Commission’s official seal. It is distilled from 100% Idaho potatoes, blended with sweet Rocky Mountain water, and infused with mountain huckleberries.

It is sweet and fruity on the nose with a rich berry smell. It doesn’t smell artificial, in fact it has a fresh and natural smell that entices you to take a sip. The natural smell carries through on the taste filling your mouth with a burst of berry flavor. It is silky smooth and well balanced, finishing with a warming sensation rather than a harsh burn.

It is on par if not better than some of the other flavored vodkas available from many of the major and more well known distillers.
I used the Royal Toast as my inspiration for the drink below.
Royal Bloodline
1.5 oz 44° North Huckleberry Vodka
1 oz Lillet Blanc
.5 oz Cherry Brandy (Cherry Brandy)
1 dash of Orange Bitters
stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Notes:
The rich cherry brandy and light berry flavor of the vodka are balanced out by the complexity of the Lillet Blanc. The vodka also adds an alcoholic punch that helps to open up the other flavors and bring out the nuances of the Lillet.

The 2nd drink is called:
Black Magic
2 oz 44° North Huckleberry Vodka
.5 oz – .75 oz Coffee Liqueur (depends on the strength of your liqueur. the stronger the coffee flavor the less you need.)
1 tsp of lemon juice
shake and strain into an ice filled rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Notes:
This one tastes just as you would imagine. It has a strong coffee flavor with a fruity background provided by the vodka. The lemon juice helps to brighten and lighten both of the stronger flavors and bridge the gap between them. Try this in place of your next black or white russian and let me know what you think.

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Comb 9 Gin Review and The Love Turned Bitter

Comb 9 gin is unlike any other gin on the market. While most gins are made with a grain based alcohol, Comb 9 is made from distilled honey.

Orange blossom honey is made into a light and dry honey wine, then distilled into vodka. This vodka comes out flavorful with notes of orange blossom, combating the common belief that vodka must be odorless and tasteless. The vodka base is then redistilled with 9 botanicals including: juniper, licorice, coriander, rose petals, galangal, and lavender. The honey floral base plays a supportive role that helps to unite the botanicals together producing a smooth finish.

This is a well made spirit that is well worth the money considering the time and effort that went into it’s production. Added to this, its the only gin on the market that uses honey as its base.

The first cocktail is a simple refreshing libation created by me just in time for the summer season.
Love Turned Bitter
2 oz Gin (Comb 9)
1 oz Aperol
.75 oz Grapefruit Juice
2 dashes of Orange Bitters
1 dash of Grapefruit Bitters
5 oz Ting
Shake the first 5 ingredients with ice and strain into a ice filled highball glass. Top with Ting and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Notes:
The botanicals and orange blossom flavors of the gin combine well with the bittersweetness of the Aperol. The drink has a subtle candy like sweetness (reminds me of the original bubblegum flavor) that is kept in check by the Aperol and bitters. A great drink to sip on a warm summer day.

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The next cocktail was created by Kyle Davidson of the Violet Hour in Chicago.
Easy Out
1.5 oz Gin (Comb 9)
1 oz Grapefruit juice
.5 oz Raspberry syrup
.5 oz Aperol
.25 oz Campari
Combine all ingredients in mixing glass and stir. Strain over large ice chunk in rocks glass.
Notes:
Usually when you see a drink that contains citrus juice the instructions often call for shaking the drink. However, according to the creator he feels that stirring this drink creates a richer body. As always try it both ways to see which you prefer.
Campari and Aperol go great with grapefruit and combining this with fresh juice which helps to accentuate that flavor profile. The sweet and tart flavor of the raspberry syrup help to keep the bitter flavors from overpowering the drink. I tried subbing out the raspberry syrup for homemade hibiscus grenadine which adds sweet floral notes. Another refreshing cocktail.

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The Communist
1 oz Gin (Comb 9)
1 oz Orange Juice
.5 oz Cherry Brandy (Cherry Heering)
.75 oz Lemon Juice
Shake in an iced cocktail shaker and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Notes:
I came across this cocktail in the book: Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh.
Depending on the sweetness of your orange I would experiment with adding a touch of simply syrup (.25oz) or cutting down on the lemon by about the same amount. The drink has an interesting tart cherry flavor with botanicals of the gin in the background.