bitters

Pillar of Autumn (End Of Season)

Living in New England, you get rich flavors growing all over the place in random orchards and farms so we’re lucky to have a lot of variety, which works wonders when making cocktails. Like this one.

When I started writing this post, I had a terrible cold (probably not “terrible” but I’m a big baby when it comes to getting sick), it was a week before Thanksgiving (aka ‘the only time of the year you should openly be thankful of anything’) and that deep regret for what I and an unnamed turkey would do to my body was but a distant bridge far, far away. Well, November is done and the struggle is here. Fun fact, kids: if you eat enough cookies and caramel flan at a steady pace throughout the day, you become a grumpy asshole that swears you can communicate with animals small & large. It’s a bad look. I regret nothing.

Autumn recipes are done. I think the way that Labor day marks the end of me being able to wear some bitchin’ white linen capris, Thanksgiving marks the end of fall weather drinks and sadly, the end of socially acceptable drinking of pumpkin beer with sugar rims. I say fuck-that to all of those things because if I could, I’d kick back a Budweiser with a sugar rim (on the can!) while wearing my comfortable white linen. So today’s drink may come too late but I’ll leave that up to you. All I want is for you to get wasted.

A shaken drink with muddled apples & ginger, fresh lime juice that joins forces with the pressed juices, Averna amaro and cherry bitters to bring it depth and finally, Applejack and bourbon to give it strength. It’s sweet and refreshing. Exactly what I’d want to drink in between those tasty stirred cocktails I’ve recommended you sip:

I’ll have some new “WINTER” cocktails shortly, or what I like to call it: “Everything around me is cold & dead and all I want to do is drink Mexican hot chocolate under fur blankets until April”. I’m not above calling a cocktail “(Lil)Let It Go”, so expect that one. #sorrynotsorry.

Pillar of Autumn
1 oz bourbon whiskey (Berkshire Mountain Distillers)
1 oz Applejack (bonded if you roll like that)
1/2 Averna amaro
3/4 oz lime juice
2 dashes cedar cherry bitters (Apothecary Bitters)
1/3 of McIntosh apple, peeled + small piece of ginger, peeled
2 barspoons of real maple syrup

Take about 1/3rd of a peeled apple, chop it into smaller chunks and add to empty shaker. Add the peeled piece of ginger and muddle them together until you’ve extracted most of the juice.

Add the lime juice, bitters, Averna, bourbon & Applejack to the shaker, along with the maple syrup.

Fill shaker with ice and take it for a ride until chilled.

Double strain into a chilled glass. No garnish needed.

[ Enjoy ]

Initially I made this with Virgil Kane’s ginger-infused bourbon which is DELICIOUS and if you have the chance, definitely check them out, be it for this drink or simply to sip it on a leisurely walk at the park. I wasnt able to find enough of it around to make it the basis of this cocktail however, hence the muddled ginger.

Rum Is The New Black

This is my absolute favorite way to enjoy a rum old fashioned. It has sweetness, depth and a smoothness that makes it hard to resist whenever I look at my bottles of rum.

Autumn is here. I’m not a beach person (even though I got that beach bod! FELLAS, AMIRIGHT?! …laughs alone in an empty room that smells oddly like dog farts), so the idea of summer going away, much like that gross pimple you got on your nose a few weeks back, is a welcomed treat cause now we get to talk about pumpkins! Hey, I wont try and tell you how to live your life but if #pumpkintalk isn’t something you’re having with random strangers ad-nauseam these days, well friend, you need Jesus.

I like the fall for drinking. I mean, I like ANY-FUCKING-SEASON for drinking but the fall brings with it a more relaxed sense of imbibing that is simply lost in the summer, where it’s all about “QUICK POUR THAT COLD DRINK IN MY MOUTH AS FAST AS YOU CAN! I’M WEARING FLIP FLOPS AND A CROP-TOP SO OBVIOUSLY I DON’T HAVE ANY TIME TO WAIT FOR SOME FANCY SHIT” …something like that. Where “autumn drinking” is more along these lines:

“Oh. Hello there. Didn’t see you there while I was admiring my new boots and super-cute scarf. Take your time and stir me up a drink that I can sip while reminding everyone on social media how much of a “fall person” I am. Oh and can you make it taste like a pumpkin spice latte?!”

Those were not aimed at anyone other than myself. But we can talk about my new boots later…

Anyone can make a quality rum Old Fashioned by simply replacing the whiskey for rum (or for mezcal like in a Oaxacan Old Fashioned) but this one is a bit different with the syrup used and the addition of the cacao. It rounds out with the lower notes of the rum that make it a smooth sip without being overtly sweet

Rum Is The New Black

2 1/2 oz Phraya premium gold rum

1/4 oz Thai syrup*

1 dash Bittermen’s Xocolatl Mole bitters

1 dash Bittermen’s Taza Chocolate extract

*For the Thai simple:
take 1 part palm sugar (natural sugars from coconut blossoms) to equal part water; Add to that a couple pieces of fresh lemongrass (pro tip: beat them up a bit with a muddler to loosen up the fibers and release its flavors). Boil. simmer. cool. strain. bottle. You know the drill.

In a mixing glass, add all these ingredients with some nice pieces of ice and stir.
Double strain into a rocks glass with a nice chunk of ice & press a grapefruit peel
over the top, serving as a garnish as well.

[ Enjoy ]

I make these with Phraya rum (a premium rum from Thailand) but really, it’s hard to go wrong with whatever aged, quality rum you have; Be it Appleton reserve, El Dorado or Diplomatico Reserva. Let me know what your favorite sipping rum is in the comments!

 

Harlow & Sage

Estamos de regreso con una nueva serie the bebidas utilizando tequila como la base principal, jugando con la idea the mezclar regiones…. JK. The blog is still in English. For now.

Hello again, muchachas and welcome to the last post which features the stellar photography by Lyudmila Zotova. Hopefully there will be more down the line with her (or other rad people out there!) but there was only so much you can do in a couple hours. Though I do believe Sting would disagree with that statement.

I was recently told that my drinks, interesting as they may seem, are not always easy to make due to some of the ingredients not being so easy to find. My initial reaction was: Oh fuck. What do you mean you cant find a rare form of gum Arabic that only grows in a tiny region of Africa?! You mean to tell me not everyone has access to the vast options of booze we swim in (like Scrooge McDuck) here in Boston?!

I want there to be a big range of cocktails you can make anywhere but I also like introducing readers to new products that I believe are exciting and new in the arena of craft cocktails but I’ll make an effort to make them as accessible as possible moving forward, with the occasional sumptuous tipple.

*Remember a while back when I posted this gin drink (which I’ve since updated so do check it out) where I used this fun syrup made from guava juice and sage ?!? No? It’s totally cool. We’re still friends but I will NEVER forget this betrayal.

I was just fucking around with the idea of tiki but with “Spanish flair”. What that means exactly, I don’t know. But I imagine it would be like me going out to a bar wearing a Hawaiian shirt, those sweet shoes bullfighters wear and a Mexican sombrero. If you wear this exact combination when you go out, please don’t. Just. don’t

Once you’ve made the syrup and placed it in some form of bottle or empty milk carton, you can start cranking these out in no time. My wife gets thirsty real quick so I’ve learned to make these in about 8 seconds. I know better now. Oh no, I think she’s coming…

Harlow & Sage

2 oz reposado tequila [ Espolon ]

3/4 oz Licor 43

1 1/2 oz guava & sage syrup

1 oz fresh lime juice

several dashes of Peychaud’s bitters

Measure and pour all except for the bitters in a shaker
Add some ice (ice), baby?
Beat the hell out of it and strain into a glass full of crushed ice
Hit it with the Peychaud’s bitters at the top to give it a nice red color
Garnish with sage leaves / kaffir lime leaves, an orange peel or a picture of me.

[ Enjoy ]

I used fresh guava for the syrup in this recipe BUT you can literally use ANY fresh fruit and I bet you it will work, as long as it’s sweet in nature with a strong backbone. This would go perfect with stone fruit like peaches mirabelle plums just to name a few.

Eventing: Negroni Week 2014

The Negroni; A drink that to be completely honest, I just couldn’t get into for the longest time. In all fairness, you go to 5 different bars and they might serve you that cocktail 5 different ways. My favorite “custom iteration” was always the shaken, no vermouth, cheap gin with muddled orange. Mmmm… if I could be sippin’ on that mutated horror this very second…

While I’m on the matter, can we all agree that Negronis served ‘up’ in a martini glass is kind of weird? Like “people that date their cousins” weird. “Oh, thank you for serving me a cocktail that will no doubt get real warm, real quickly cause I intended to sip this gingerly while I waited to ease my way into a night out with friends, but fuck it, I’m gonna be hammered now!”. Thank you, friend.

So what is Negroni week? It’s an event sponsored by Imbibe & Campari where a portion of every Negroni sold at a participating bar between June 2nd – 8th goes to charity. “Drinking For A Cause” is the name of the game.

As we all know, a “classic” Negroni is made with equal parts gin, Campari & sweet vermouth. Thats it. You just stir that stuff up and pour it in some ice with an orange peel and you got yourself a stew, baby. I never liked the original formula; Found it much too sweet. It wasn’t until I saw Jim Meehan (of PDTNYC fame) doing a 2 parts gin to 1 part sweet vermouth & Campari that I really started enjoying them. So much in fact, that it’s my go-to drink at any bar (with a lemon peel tho). Then I found this spin on the classic:

All photos courtesy of Lyudmila zotova (photographer extraordinaire) for Death to Sour Mix.

So have yourself a few classic Negronis this coming week, be it at home or at a participating bar if you want to feel good about yourself (careful you don’t feel “too good”) but then try this one on for size:

2 oz Junipero gin (Plymouth works wonders)
1 oz Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
3/4 oz Averna amaro
2 dashes Scrappy’s orange bitters

Pour into a mixing glass and stir.
Pour into a rocks glass w/ ice
Garnish with an orange peel.
[ Enjoy ]

Diving Bell

The original name for this was ‘Pavlovian Bell’ but then that started to sound pretty dumb. Not that ‘Diving Bell’ isn’t dumb. Maybe I should have just called it ‘Taco Bell’.

This week I meant to post about a couple events I attended a while ago (No. None of them were “How to tell your wife you wear her heels while she’s at work”) that were a lot of fun. And by fun, I mean they had A LOT of rum. But I was suddenly presented with these gorgeous shots by the lovely Lyudmila Zotova from a collaboration we did a little while ago and I couldn’t resist posting them. This was the first real collaboration for the site and now I dream of the day I get to work with more photographers/ fellow bloggers. Just picture me laying on the couch, being fanned with banana leaves while I lethargically tell someone else how much Malibu-to-Alize ratios to use, and then expect them to shoot it too?? A man can dream. But I digress, working with Lyudmila was fantastic (you’ll see a lot more of her work on the site in the weeks to come) and it was a learning experience for the both of us (I taught her that it is hot as balls in my apartment).

This is a refresher; A cocktail you sip on a sunny day, with Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Call Me Maybe’ still playing on your phone while you shake it (both the drink AND your booty). This is how I enjoy my cocktails but you are your own master. With last week’s julep I started my spring cocktails here on the site, so this will be an ongoing series of bright, flavorful drinks for the weeks to come, ending with 2 months of just Polaroid shots of me drinking Coronas in my underwear with a confused look on my face. Why? When did this site ever make any sense? Hope you try it out and let me know how it is!

Bell_blog_2

I’ve been using Caorunn gin all over the place lately. Full disclosure: I was provided a bottle of it a while back BUT it’s pretty damn good. More than that actually. It has a softness to it that makes it incredibly easy to drink. I wish I was drinking it now…

All photos courtesy of Lyudmila Zotova. To check out her awesome work, head over to her site and/or tumblr and be sure to give her shit for not having a twitter account yet ;]

This is my second cocktail using The Owl’s Brew but because I’m SUCH a rebel, I use 2 parts booze to 1 part tea (#sorrynotsorry) and also the second time I use my ‘Death to Sour Mix’ (I cant even read that without rolling my eyes) which I talk about more in THIS post.

Diving Bell

1 3/4 oz gin

1/2 oz elderflower Liqueur

1/2 oz blanc Vermouth

3/4 oz Owl’s Brew Pink & Black

1/2 oz Death to Sour Mix*

Measure & pour all ingredients in a shaker and fill up with some big ol’ pieces of ice.
Beat it to death for a little bit to teach it who’s boss.
Double strain into a chilled glass.
Garnish with a grapefruit (any citrus really) peel

[ Enjoy ]

In case you cant get your hands on some of the grapefruit shrub and you happen to have a bottle of grapefruit bitters lying around, a couple of dashes of that + a bar spoon of simple syrup can make a tasty sub. As for the gin, a nice citrus-forward gin will work (Plymouth, Beefeater, Greenhook, Junipero…) nicely.

The Bitter Suite

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A drink that’s both bitter and sweet for those moments when you cant make up your mind.

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Spring is here! So I bring you a cocktail….that has very little to do with this season. Shit. I think I messed this up. Let’s roll with it for now. I’ve reworked this one with like 4 different bourbons & bitters but in the end, it came down to Bulleit 10 yr which is my go-to for stirred drinks. So what I’m saying is that I’m picking favorites; Just like your parents did. Don’t be mad at them, be mad at your siblings for making you look un-cool. But in the world of whiskey, much like in the world of lazy Sundays where you sometimes chose to not bathe cause “Fuck it, it’s Sunday and I have no plans other than to eat this entire pizza in these suspect sweatpants”, it comes down to preference.

My next drink on the site will be ‘flirty & fun’ (a motto for how I live my life), I promise, with delicious fruit flavors that will have you anxiously checking the walls for the Kool-Aid man to just break through at any minute, high on LSD. But this one plays hard to get, best suited for pivotal life moments like watching the next major character of Game of Thrones die horribly or deciding if to fold laundry. Woah. Both those things I do on a Sunday which goes back to what I was saying earlier. I think this site just became sentient.

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  • bourbon whiskey
  • rose fortified wine
  • Bittermens liqueur
  • pamplemousse rose liqueur
  • decanter bitters

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A tangent on garnishes: I’m starting to hate them. I believe they secretly conspire against me somehow because it took me about 3o minutes to make the garnish pictured here, only to then realize I used an orange when I should have used a grapefruit. But lets pretend I didn’t fuck up, k? You’re the best.

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Bittermens has some great liqueurs on the market now which I see more and more of. This one particularly has a great herbal flavor in an “alpine style”. It’s a great Western addition to your amari collection.

1 1/2 oz Bullei 10yr. bourbon whiskey
3/4 oz Lillet Rose
1/2 oz Bittermens Amere Sauvage liqueur
1 barspoon Giffard Pamplemousse Rose liqueuer
2 dashes of The Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas' own decanter bitters

Measure and pour into your trusty mixing glass.
Stir and strain into a chilled glass.
Garnish with a grapefruit peel. However you can.

[ Enjoy ]

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If you don’t have any Pamplemousse Rose liqueur on hand, this works remarkably well with some Luxardo Maraschino liqueur in its place.

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Madrugal

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This drink came about when I remembered why I enjoy making cocktails in the first place.

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I was on some cocktail-making sabbatical for a while there. I got caught up with having to be all fancy with spirit types and trying out new techniques all to try and make the next big classic cocktail that everything I would come up with ended up tasting like shit. It stopped being fun and I recoiled into some weird stasis where I would get tiny panic attacks by looking at my bar and thinking “I NEED to make something amazing that everyone will love”. That’s unrealistic. You cant please everyone (you hear that, every girl I’ve ever dated!) and it isn’t about making something fancy, it’s about making something good.

Luckily, I’m surrounded by some talented people that pulled me out of that rut, simply by making drinks that tasted great but kept it simple. So I went back to basics and thought about why I even wanted to make this site to begin with (other than to find my biological parents #obvi) and it became clear that I make drinks for the people around me. That most people dont know about differences in amari or what makes one specific spirit better than another for a cocktail or why add 1 of 300 bitter types, etc. I want to make drinks that people enjoy, regardless of what goes in them. Because I know what I put in each and every one and it’s my pleasure to then pass along that knowledge. Through a website. Riddled with F-bombs and teenage angst.

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  • reposado tequila
  • campari
  • limes & lemons
  • grapefruit shrub
  • Owl’s Brew mixer

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This cocktail uses “sour mix”. Not that shitty stuff that my site takes it name after but fresh, carefully swaddled, flavorful goodness. Since I went back to basics this week, I figured I’d start there. By making my version of a sour (inspired by a margarita since that’s where I see the most lethal use of sour mix) with the lovely pre-crafted shrub but you get extra points if you make your own shrub. Even more-so if you send me some.

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What’s cool about this drink is that its really just a sour, so you can swap out the spirit and the modifier for basically anything and you’d end up with a great tasting drink; As long as you’re not using an Everclear & peach schnapps combo. Please dont. You’re better than that.

Reposado was the way to go here since that extra bit of aging makes for a smoother experience.

2 oz reposado tequila [ Espolón ]
3/4 oz Campari
1 oz Owl's Brew Coco-Lada artisanal mixer
3/4 oz Death to Sour Mix*

*hehe. 2 parts fresh lemon juice, 2 parts fresh lime juice, 2.25 parts grapefruit shrub [ Liber & Co ]. Pour all into a bottle and shake it up each time before use. keep refrigerated for a few days if needed. 
Pro tip: Make it the day you want to use it and try not to make more than what you'd want to use.

Pour all of the above into a shaker.
Add ice and sing it a song.
Double strain into a chilled glass and garnish with an orange peel to play off the Campari.

[ Enjoy ]

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I first learned of Owl’s Brew (who were not involved in the making of this post) thanks to Stir and Strain, via Honetlyyum‘s  site (what?). I’ll admit, that bottle had me at hello. I’ll be making other cocktails with this stuff in the future. This specific one has some pineapple & black tea (among other tasty stuff) which work wonders with the Campari & citrus of the drink.

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