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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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.

The Commodore Cocktail: A Pink Cocktail With Hidden Fangs

I discovered this recipe while skimming through the 75th Anniversary Edition of Mr. Boston’s Official Bartender’s Guide. The recipe calls for 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Bourbon Whiskey, which I did not have on hand. The notes for the drink state that this particular bourbon has a higher than average content of rye. I decided to go with a rye whiskey (Redemption Rye), although Bulleit Bourbon would have been another excellent choice.

Commodore Cocktail
2 oz 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Bourbon Whiskey (Redemption Rye or Bulleit Bourbon)
.75 oz white crème de cacao
.5oz lemon juice
1 dash (tsp) of grenadine (hibiscus grenadine)
shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Some recipes call for equal parts of the first 3 ingredients and do not specify a high rye content bourbon. This will create an overall sweeter drink compared to the recipe I have listed. You should experiment to see which suits your palate best.

Notes:
While its pink color may lure you into thinking its a sweet drink with no bite, beware for the rye gives it its fangs. There is sweet chocolately goodness throughout the drink with the rye making its presence felt near the end.

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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

The Mojito: A Simple and Refreshing Classic

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Mojito
8 mint leaves
.75 oz lime juice
.75 oz simple syrup
2 oz white rum (10 cane or Bacardi)
3 oz sparkling water
Gently muddle the mint with the simple syrup in a glass. Add the rum, lime juice, sparkling water, and ice. Stir to combine. Top with more ice and a mint sprig.

Notes:
What needs to be said, it’s a Mojito. It’s delicious and refreshing. The key is using fresh and high quality ingredients. If you don’t have 10 cane or Bacardi Silver, experiment with other white rums to find one that suits your taste. Try adding fresh fruit like blueberries or mangoes for a tantalizing twist.

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.

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?

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.

The Bourbon Renewal

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The Bourbon Renewal was originally created by Jeffrey Morgenthaler
I however first discovered this drink on the Sloshed blog.

Bourbon Renewal
2oz bourbon (Makers Mark)
1oz fresh lemon juice
.5oz creme de cassis
.5oz simple syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
Shake all ingredients in an ice filled cocktail shaker and pour over cracked ice. Garnish with a lemon wheel or lemon wedge whichever works for you

Notes:
This drink was sweet, fruity, tart with a faint hint of spice. The bourbon is evident throughout and complemented by the spiciness of the Angostura. Next time I will up the bitters to 2 or 3 dashes to add a heavier spice note.

In the process of making this drink I noticed that I still had some hibiscus simple syrup in the fridge. I made a second drink and replaced the simple syrup with the hibiscus. I found that this creates a softer drink with the floral notes of the hibiscus pairing well with the cassis and toning down some of the bourbon flavors. I garnished it with a lemon wheel and an edible hibiscus flower. Hibiscus flowers taste like a combination of sweet raspberry and tart cranberry.

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