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

Tequila Sunrise

The tequila sunrise is one of the most popular drinks today but also one of the worse. Essentially its cheap alcoholic orange juice complemented by colored sugar water. Not exactly my cup of tea.

When I was working on my column for Serious Eats this was one of the drinks that I had wanted to revive. The problem I had with the drink was the orange juice. In my opinion OJ is one of the hardest citruses to work with when formulating cocktails. It has a tendency to throw your carefully constructed balance out of whack. Orange juice is already perfectly and requires a more delicate balance to make it work in cocktails. Think about how many classic or great cocktails involve fresh squeezed orange juice. Believe me, not many.

So one night when discussing my column with Troy Sidle while sitting at his bar, Pouring Ribbons, this cocktail came up. He stated that he had solved the problem of the OJ by creating an orange cordial made from a base of oleo saccharum, to which a mixture of fresh orange juice (flavor and sweetness) and the fresh lemon juice (sour note).Oleo saccharum is a key component of classic punches. It is made by peeling citrus and gentle muddling it with superfine sugar, before letting it rest for at least in hour. At the end your left with a sweet aromatic base for your punch. When I tasted the orange cordial on its own it had the right mix of sweet orange flavor and sour bite.
The grenadine they use is also slightly tweaked. its made by reducing POM juice by half and adding fresh POM, orange zest, and orange flower water.

Revamped Tequila Sunrise
2 oz Pueblo Viejo Blanco
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orange Cordial
1/2 oz Grenadine

Directions: Add the tequila, lemon juice, and orange cordial to cocktail shaker. Add ice then shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add the grenadine and allow it to sink to the bottom. Garnish with a grapefruit peel.

Oogave Soda Line Review

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Oogave is a relatively new line of organic sodas. Besides the classics like Cola, Root Beer, and ginger ale, they bring some new and interesting flavors that could revolutionize the soda game. The question remains: is it all hype wrapped … Continue reading

PaQui Silver Tequila Review

PaQui Blanco Tequila

Pacqui is produced in small batches in the town of Tequila in Mexico. In the Aztec tongue paQui means “to be happy” and indeed drinking this small batch tequila is a pleasant experience.

On the nose the sweet and sugary agave aromas waft up to your nose. This is quickly followed by fruity aromas with fresh green grass and subtle minty notes dancing in harmony. There is nary a trace of burn.

On the palate it is smooth and velvety with rich agave notes. The grassy and slight herbal notes make their presence known on the mid palate followed by a light peppery note with a hint of palate cleansing citrus.

PaQui retails for about $35 for 750/ml.

While PaQui can easily be sipped neat it makes a wonderful addition to cocktails.
The first cocktail is one created by me.

Bright Lights at Night
2 oz Blanco Tequila (PaQui)
1 oz Lillet Blanc
Rinse of St. Germain
2 Dashes of Grapefruit Bitters
Rinse the cocktail glass with St. Germain. Add the tequila, Lillet, and bitters to a mixing glass. Add ice, stir for approx 25 seconds, and strain into the prepared cocktail glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

For a slight variation on the Margarita try this drink from the Jones Complete Bar Guide.
1.5 oz of Blanco Tequila
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 Egg White
1/2 Maraschino Liqueur
Combine all ingredients and dry shake to emulsify the egg white. Add ice and shake for another 10 seconds then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Note: Maraschino Liqueur is not the juice from a Maraschino cherry jar.

Or for your dessert fix try the Frostbite cocktail a mix of tequila, cream, and creme de cacao.

Tequila Revolucion (Silver y Reposado) Review and the Oaxaca Old Fashioned

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Tequila Revolucion was established in 1994 by Juan Carlos Arav as a range of super-premium 100% Agave tequilas. The bottles are emblazoned with 2 pistols as a tribute to the Mexican revolution that began in 1910.

There are a full range of expressions available but I only received samples of the Silver and the Reposado. Up first for review is the Silver.

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Tequila Revolucion Silver
On the nose there are strong aromas of agave and light floral notes, backed up by subtle hint of citrus. Upon tasting, agave is present throughout with hints of vanilla, a light floral touch, and a hint of pepper in the background. The silver retails for approximately $40/750ml.

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Tequila Revolucion Reposado
The Reposado is aged for 10 months. On the nose there are still strong floral notes of agave. The agave is complemented by aromas of almonds, honey, vanilla, and oak. On the palate there is an oaky agave taste with a touch of herb and peppery spice. The Reposado retails for approximately $50/750ml.

And now some cocktails for your drinking pleasure:
The first drink is a wonderful take on the old fashioned offered at Mayheul in NYC. This is my reversed engineered version.
Oaxaca Old Fashioned #2
1.75 ozs Reposado Tequila (Tequila Revolucion Reposado)
.25 oz Mezcal (Del Maguey)
1 tsp Agave Nectar
3 Dashes of Peach Bitters
1 Dash of Orange Bitters
Shake all ingredients with the ice and strain into an ice filled low ball glass.
Notes:
It is smooth, a touch fruity because of the bitters, and a hint of sweetness from the agave to make the cocktail extremely easy sipping. The Mezcal lingers in the background adding it’s trademarked smokiness.

My inspiration for this next drink was the Kama Sutra created by Ronalldo Colli which appeared in an article on Sfgate.com.
Unbridled Fury
1.75 ozs Reposado Tequila
.25 oz Mezcal (Del Maguey)
.5 oz Green Chartreuse
Dash of creme de cacao
2 dashes of chocolate bitters
flamed orange peel for garnish
stir all ingredients with ice and garnish with flamed orange peel
Notes:
Green Chartreuse and chocolate are a proven combination. For that reason I decided to take the original recipe and add touches of chocolate and replaced the flamed lemon peel with a flamed orange peel which I feel works better with the chartreuse and chocolate combo. The flamed orange peel is essential in opening and lightening this drink up.

The next drink is a take on the margarita created by me, in which the simple syrup is replaced with 2 liqueurs and a touch of egg white is added to create a silky smooth mouth feel. I named it the Slight Detour because it deviates from the classic margarita.
A Slight Detour
1.5 ozs Silver Tequila
.75 oz lime juice
.5 oz Domaine De Canton
1 bar-spoon of St. Germaine
.5 oz egg white
Notes:
It’s a smooth, florally and spicy cocktail. The egg white smooths over and harmonizes all the flavors.

The last drink was created by Robert Rowland that I came across in the book Left Coast Libations.
St. Magnus
8 mint leaves
2 slices of Meyer Lemon
1.5 ox Silver Tequila
.5 oz Ginger Juice
.5 oz Agave Nectar Syrup (1:1)
.25 oz Lemon Juice
.25 Aperol
Ginger Beer
Very gently muddle the mint and the Meyer Lemon slices in the bottom of a double rocks glass. Fill the glass with ice. Add all the remaining ingredients except for the ginger beer. Stir and top with ginger beer.
Notes:
Agave nectar syrup is a simple mix of a 1 part Agave nectar with 1 part water. A complex, refreshing, and spicy short drink. It is essential to get a high quality ginger beer, such as that offered by Fever Tree.

For more drinks I’ve written about using tequila see my posts on the Mexican Squirrel, the El Diablo, and the Frostbite.

Disclosure: These were review samples that I received.

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The Framboise Fizz from the PDT Cocktail Book

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This drink was originally created by Michael Klein. I came accross it while flipping through the PDT cocktail book. Framboise Fizz 1.5 oz Reposado Tequila (Peublo Viejo) .75 oz Crème de Cacao (Marie Brizzard) .75 oz lemon juice 2 oz … Continue reading

El Diablo: The Devil is in the Tequila

The earliest known reference to the El Diablo cocktail is found in Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink published in 1946. In that book it is referred to as the “Mexican” El Diablo. Some more interesting history on the El Diablo Cocktail can be found at the Alcademics blog.

This cocktail combines the classic combination of tequila and lime, sweetens it with creme de cassis, and toughens it up with a spicy backbone of ginger beer.

Creme de Cassis is a sweet-tart liqueur flavored with blackcurrants. The better and more expensive versions are made by macerating the blackcurrants in alcohol, which extracts all of the nuanced flavors of the fruit. Other less expensive versions are made by adding flavoring and sugar to a neutral grain spirit.

El Diablo
1.5 oz 100% Reposado Tequila (Pueblo Viejo)
.75 oz Creme de Cassis (Mathilde)
.5 oz lime juice
Ginger Beer (Fever Tree)
Shake the first 3 ingredients with ice and strain into an ice filled highball glass. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with lime wheel and straw. Give a quick stir to incorporate all the ingredients.

Notes:
The original calls for blanco tequila, but I like the added dimension that reposado brings to the table. The spicy agave notes pair well with the kick of the ginger beer. The creme de cassis adds a sweet fruity note that helps to bind all of the flavors together. If you enjoy margaritas, give this drink a try and let me know what you think.

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The Mexican Squirrel: A Perfect Tequila Manhattan

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The Manhattan is one cocktail which allows for endless variations. It’s ratios can be adjusted to suit each persons individual taste and other base spirits can be substituted to create an entirely different drink, while still adhering to the character … Continue reading

1800 Coconut Tequila Review & The Smokey Matador

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Coconut flavored spirits are nothing new. There is a vast array of coconut rums on the market. Then there is Cîroc vodka which has claimed it’s placed on top of the coconut vodka mountain. 1800 tequila sets itself apart from these as a wholly different animal. Instead of being infused with natural or artificial flavors it is infused with coconut water. This creates a more subtle coconut flavor thus allowing the flavors of the blue agave to shine through. This is an excellent mixer and at around $25 retail, it will be a great addition to any home bar for the summertime.

Now for some drinks.

On the back of the bottle, 1800 offers a recipe for the:
Coconut Crusher
1 part 1800 Coconut
1 part pineapple juice
Combine ingredients in a shaker and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice

For my second drink I went with a rift on the Frozen Matador.
Smokey Matador
1.5oz 1800 Coconut Tequila
2oz Pineapple Juice
.5oz Lime Juice
1tsp Coco Lopez
.5tsp of Mezcal (Del Maguey Vida)
Blend a cup of ice with the Mezcal. Put the crushed ice into a low ball glass; Combine the first 3 ingredients, shake, and strain over the crushed ice.

Notes:
Coconut and pineapple are always a winning combination and here they play the leading role with the spiciness of the agave bringing up the rear. The smokiness of the Mezcal adds a little extra complexity and adds to the overall experience of the drink.

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Have you tried the 1800 Coconut Tequila? If so, what do you think?