The Journey to Eden Begins with Gin and Rhubarb

Sometimes you want something that is simple to prepare, light, and refreshing for those hot summer days. Many people turn to Gin and Tonic as that classic summer sipper or a crisp white wine. For that reason I have taken Gin and Proscecco in order to create the:

The Journey to Eden
8 ozs London Dry Gin (Gordon’s)
3.5 ozs Rhubarb Syrup
2 ozs lemon juice
8 dashes Peach Bitters (Fee Brother’s)
2 dashes Grapefruit Bitters (Fee Brother’s)
12 ozs Prosecco (La Marca)

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Notes:
It is crisp, light and without being cloyingly sweet. The bitters dance in unison with the sparkling wine as it has notes of fresh summer peaches and ripe grapefruit. The rhubarb and gin unite, creating a uniquely satisfying flavor. It is like summer in a glass with both floral and fruity notes tickling your nose and soothing. A note on the Prosecco, it is a steal at around $12/750ml. It is light and crisp. The flavor is ripe and fresh, full of citrus, peaches, apples, and grapefruit with hints of spring flowers on the nose.

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ROOT Liqueur Review and the ROOT Swizzle

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I have actually had ROOT for some time but am just getting around to doing a proper review of it. When I first heard of this spirit being introduced, I could not wait to get my hands on some.

ROOT is one of the most interesting liqueurs to have come along in quite some time. It is based on an old herbal remedy called Root Tea. The Native Americans taught this age old recipes to the settlers, where it was passed down from generation to generation.

When Prohibition swept through the country, a pharmacist from Philadelphia removed the alcohol and renamed it “root beer”.

This is unlike any other “root beer” liqueur on the market. Its true flavor is not produced with artificial flavorings nor is it drowned out by sugar. Rather, ROOT, is flavored with birch bark, black tea, spearmint, wintergreen citrus (lemons and oranges), allspice, anise, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom, which help to give

ROOT is delicious and spicy flavor.

On the nose, it has the classic smell that you come to expect from a root beer with just a hint of alcohol. That slight alcohol vapor lets you know this is a powerful 80 proof liqueur.

The flavor is wonderful complex. There are notes of vanilla bean, mint, nutmeg, cinnamon, and birch. As one flavor asserts itself on your palate another quickly emerges. All the flavors vie for attention on your palate, yet the spirit never seems to be out of balance, with the cane sugar keeping the bitterness in check and smoothing the drink out.

This is a great liqueur to sip neat or experiment in cocktails. My one complaint is that it can be quite challenging to work with and can easily take over a drink. Think of it like an amaro or other bittersweet herbal liqueur and the possibilities become endless.
Suggested retail is around $35 for a 750ml bottle.
Now for some drinks:

My inspiration for this drink was the Black Orpheus.

ROOT Swizzle
1.5 ozs Gold Rum (Brugal Anejo)
1 oz ROOT
1 oz lime juice
.5 oz Vanilla Bean Syrup & .5 oz simple syrup
1 dash Fees Old Fashioned Bitters
half spent lime shell 4 or 5 mint leaves
Shake all ingredients with ice then double strain into a high ball glass and add the spent lime shell. Add crushed ice and swizzle until the glass becomes frosted on the outside.
Notes: The ROOT is the major player with its complexity evident throughout the drink but it does not dominate or overwhelm the other flavors. The rum is a smooth undercurrent helping to provide a base for the ROOT. The syrup and mint create extra layers of flavors to dance across the tongue.

The next drink is the Pennsylvania Dutch Manhattan created by Jason Wilson, who writes an excellent column at the Washington Post.
Pennsylvania Dutch Manhattan
1.5 oz rye whiskey
.5 oz ROOT
.5oz Bianco or Bianc vermouth
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

For the last drink of the night, I offer up my variation of the Pennsylvania Dutch Manhattan.
To Live or to Exist?
2 oz rye whiskey (Redemption Rye)
.5 oz ROOT
tsp Luxardo Maraschino
1 dash of Regan’s Orange No.6 Bitters
1 dash Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
Combine all ingredients and stir with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The Fior di Sicily

Looking for a drink can be a daunting task at times. Often I find myself flipping through recipes looking for something that calls out to me. I picked up a copy of Left Coast Libations which has a range of interesting and exciting cocktails from some of the best bartenders on the West Coast. One cocktail that immediately caught my eye was the Fior di Sicily, created by Chris Ojeda.

Unlike most cocktails, the Fior di Sicily does not contain a base spirit; there is no gin, rum, whiskey, vodka, etc. Secondly all of the ingredients are in equal proportions which is just as rare. It combines an interesting amaro, an orangey aperitif, one of my favorite sweet vermouth’s, and an elderflower liqueur.

Fior di Sicily
.75 oz Averna Amaro
.75 oz Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
.75 oz Aperol
.75 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
Stir all the ingredients with ice for 30 seconds (wet ice) or 50 seconds (large ice). Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Flame the orange peel over the cocktail then drop in the peel.
Notes:
The color is rich and alluring. The orange oils float on the surface of the drink and its scent draws you in closer daring you to take a sip. The sweet notes of floral combine with the bitter and herbal notes to create a harmonious spirit. It has all the qualities of a fine wine that has been enriched and enhanced. This drink truly is greater than the sum of its parts.

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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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Behold the Origin of the Martini – The Martinez

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The Martinez has been around since the late 1880’s and has gone through an array of variations. All of them contain the same 2 essential ingredients: Gin and Sweet Vermouth, albeit in different ratios. The origin of this cocktail still remains a mystery, with no one person being able to claim the drink as his or her original creation. Despite its origin being clouded, it’s clear that in some respects it gave birth to the iconic martini. It is a wonderful drink that deserves to be enjoyed.

Martinez
2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cinzano)
1 oz Old Tom Gin (Ransom)
1 tsp Maraschino or Curaçao (Luxardo)
1 dash of Aromatic Bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Notes:
I like the vermouth heavy version of yesteryear. The modern drinks tend to put the gin forward instead of allowing it to play a supporting roll to the vermouth. In some modern versions the proportions are 2:1 in favor of the gin.
The drink is sweet and aromatic, with the botanicals of the gin coming through without overpowering the vermouth. The maraschino lends a light touch of added complexity to the drink that is just discernible in the background. If using curaçao it adds a subtle fruit note. This would be a great cocktail to introduce someone to gin.

For another version check out:
Modern Martinez (Jamie Boudreau)
1.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
1.5 oz Old Tom Gin
2 barspoons of maraschino
2 dashes Fee’s Orange Bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

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

Solera

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I came across the Solera Cocktail on the Imbibe website. It was created by Dominic Venegas.
This cocktail makes an excellent use of sherry.

Solera
2 oz Santa Teresa 1796 Rum (Ron Zacapa)
1 oz Lustau Palo Cortado Peninsula
.75 oz Taylor’s Velvet Falernum
2 dashes of Regans’ orange bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Express the oils of an orange twist over the drink and drop in.

Notes:
The original drink calls for Santa Teresa 1796 rum. Unfortunately, I did not have any in my liquor cabinet, so I substituted it with Ron Zacapa 23. If you don’t have these particular rums, try and substitute another aged rum. If you don’t have the sherry, substitute with another sherry. The final taste profile of the drink will be different but you should get a glimpse at this drinks greatness.
There is orange on the nose due to the expressed oils floating on the surface of the drink. The richness of the rum and sherry are balanced out by the spiciness of the falernum and the bite of the bitters. The drink is a symphony of flavors that delights the palate and soothes the soul. A wonderful after dinner sipper.

Young’s Double Chocolate Milkshake

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Before any other frozen beverage such as the: slurpee or smoothie there was the milkshake. The earliest printed reference to the milkshake was in 1885, but the drink contained whiskey. Furthermore it was served as a health tonic as well as a delicious cold treat.
Ivar “Pop” Coulson is often credited as the inventor of the milkshake. In 1922 he added ice cream to the traditional malted milk and the milkshake was born. From there it’s popularity has skyrocketed and it continues to soar with new variations based on this same formula.
For this variation on the milkshake I decided to go back to the milkshakes roots and create an alcoholic version.

Young’s Double Chocolate Milkshake
8oz chocolate stout (Youngs Double Chocolate)
1.5oz rum (Brugal Anejo)
.5oz port (Noval Black)
2 dashes chocolate bitters
2 scoops vanilla ice cream (Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Bean)
Combine all the ingredients an blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled pint glass or whatever you have on hand and enjoy

Notes:
The beer really shines in this drink. The chocolate and maltiness of the beer combine well with the creaminess if the ice cream. The rum gives a little extra backbone to the drink with the port adding a touch of fruitiness on very the backend leading to a dry slightly bitter finish. You can’t go wrong with this. Try it and let me know what you think.

Have you ever tried Young’s Double Chocolate Stout? What’s your favorite milkshake.

Elks Own Cocktail

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I came across this cocktail on Cocktaildb.com

Elk’s Own (special) Cocktail
1.5oz rye whiskey (Redemption Rye)
.75oz Port (Noval Black)
.5oz lemon juice
.25oz simple syrup
1 egg white
Combine all ingredients and dry shake for approximately 10secs. Then add ice and shake for another 10. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a pineapple slice (I didn’t have any at home)

Notes:                                                                                                                                                  The rich purplish red color is extremely alluring with a soft cloud of egg white resting on top. The egg smooths out the drink and helps all the flavors to meld together. The port added a rich fruitiness to the cocktail with the rye and lemon juice keeping it from being overly sweet.

Mary Anne Cocktail

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The Mary Anne
2oz spiced rum (Kraken)
1oz port (Noval Black)
.5oz lemon
.5oz lime
.5oz nutmeg syrup
.5oz cinnamon syrup
Shake and strain over ice. Garnish with 2 blackberries
Notes:
The spiciness of the rum along with the two spice syrups meld well with the sweet fruitiness of the port. The lemon and lime add just the right amount of bite to keep the cocktail balanced.

Naming cocktails is one of the hardest things about making new drinks. I named this after Mary Read and Anne Bonny. While never receiving the notoriety of such figures as Captain Kidd, they did attract a great deal of attention. The problem with learning about their background, is that there is little documentation of their early lives. The majority of what we know surrounds the last 1 or 2 years of their life.
One notable feature about them, is that they were the only 2 members of Calico Jack’s crew to offer any resistance when his vessel was captured by Captain Jonathan Barnett. For more information regarding their lives please see the books A General History of the Pyrates and Under the Black Flag