bitters

Fox In The Garden

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This drink will wake you up. Between the St. George Terroir gin which is pretty unique, to the brightness of the beet juice &  the bitter delight that is Cynar, it has a decidedly earthy profile that’s a welcomed departure from a sea of Manhattan-like variations of the season.

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I really have to get my shit together with posting more often. I’ve had this post ready for well over a month and just now decided to show up fashionably late to the party. If you think this is bad, try making dinner plans with me at an Olive Garden. Hope you like sitting alone, feverishly refreshing instagram and facebook while the waiter refills your water for the 9th time…cause I ain’t even half way done with my hair. Promise I’ll get better. #pinkypromise

Lately I’ve been obsessing over glassware and how apparently they haven’t invented the right sand that would produce the exquisite glass vessel I require for my cocktails. I mean, it’s not like I’m using red solo cups and empty PBR cans for my photo shoots but in a perfect world, I wouldn’t have to repeat glassware. In this same perfect world I would be best friends with Justin Timberlake and he’d show me the full dance routine to ‘bye, bye, bye’ and I’d show him how to ruin every shirt he owns with buffalo sauce. But I digress. Sometimes I’m not entirely sure what type of glass works best for a drink. Some are easy but when you’re designing cocktails, the lines become blurred. Especially when factoring in a garnish, the use of ice, the amount of liquid, etc.

This cocktail came together rather quickly. I had the base for it with the beets, lemon & mint back when I wasn’t drinking booze and being all whole30. But then I got a bottle of St. George Terroir gin, which is a super-distinct and flavorful gin, it was pretty easy after that. I’m sure there are other beet cocktails out there but one that I enjoyed a lot was one by Suzanne Miller called the ‘Beet Box’ which used genever and needless to say, has the raddest name for a beet-centric craft cocktail.

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Gin
Cynar
bitters
Beet rock syrup
Beets
Lemon juice
mint

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I got the idea for this cocktail (oddly enough) during a time in which I wasn’t drinking alcohol. I was going through some weird times; Times of sugar deprivation and being oddly into Miley Cyrus’ music. Yeah, odd times indeed. But out of that I discovered how good fresh beet juice tastes (and looks) in drinks.

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The hardest part about making this is would be to press the beet juice. I’m lucky enough to have a pretty rad juicer but it happens to be a pain in the ass to wash, so I guess it balances itself out in the end?

1 1/2 oz St. George Terroir Gin
1/2 oz Cynar
2 dashes (~16 drops) of Brooklyn Hemispherical Rhubarb Bitters
1 1/2 oz beet juice
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz beet rock syrup*
2 small sprigs of mint

Take the mint leaves and lightly muddle them in the mixing tin / shaker. As always, don’t over-do it.
Add the rest of the ingredients, followed by some nice pieces of ice and shake.
It’s almost a shame that the color of the beet juice is subdued with the Cynar and the syrup but its a necessary evil. The clearer the spirits you add to it, the prettier it’ll look (FYI).
Double strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a tiny sprig of mint.

[ Enjoy ]

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Once you’ve peeled, washed and juiced the beets, you’ll have this gorgeous colored goodness in a glass. You may want to sample it first since the taste can vary slightly but it should be sweet, a bit tart and full of  flavor.

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MxMo: Branches In A River

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“You have no idea where I came from
We have no idea where we’re going
Lodged in life
Like two branches in a river
flowing downstream
caught in the current
I’ll carry you. You’ll carry me
That’s how it could be
Don’t you know me?
Don’t you know me by now?”

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After sitting a couple rounds of MxMO out, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of playing around with resin and liquor, the same way the people from Jurassic Park did. That movie still scares the crap out of me. Just sayin’. This month, it’s the ever sexy duo known as the Booze Nerds leading us into the woods:

From savory rosemary in a stuffing, to a delicious juniper-y gin in a martini, to a fragrant fir ornament or garnish, our friends the evergreens have a lot to offer.

The challenge: come up with an ingenious creation using the resin-y ingredient of your choice. Zirbenz, retsina, hoppy IPA, pine-nut puree, even? Sure! Spirit, garnish, aroma, all are fair game.  Whatever resin means to you, we want to hear it.

This cocktail worked out beautifully with this month’s theme in that I was working on a drink with Zirbenz and either rosemary or thyme or lavender inspired by Linklater’s Before Sunrise?!? So when I read Zirbenz on the announcement post I knew now was the right time. I settled on thyme in the end to dance around with the Alpine liqueur and tossed in a European mix of ingredients that I’m very happy with in the end, that met my original concept for the drink.

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  • Bols Genever
  • Zirbenz
  • Apricot Eau de Vie
  • Lillet rose
  • bitters
  • muddled thyme

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Before Sunrise holds up. It is 90’s-as-fuck and slightly creepy but damn did Ethan Hawke have great hair. I watched it recently with my wife (her first time) with hopes of it culminating in a marathon screening of all 3 with the best wine $8 can buy…but after her losing any and all interest in it after about 10 minutes or so, it ended with me watching them alone. But she didn’t get any of my fancy wine.

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For this to work best, I’d advise you buy some German rock sugar from Teavana. Make a 1 to 1 syrup with it and you will instantly fall in love with the flavor; Not as cloyingly sweet as regular sugar or honey, with a quality that I can really just describe as “soft”. It works great in this one to just give a bit of sweetness and balance.

1 1/2 oz Bols Genever
3/4 oz Lillet Rose
3/4 oz Zirbenz Stone Pine liqueur
1/2 oz Blume Marillen Apricot Eau de Vie
1 dash Bittercube Bolivar bitters
1 dash black mission fig bitters
1/4 oz German beet syrup*
1 small sprig of thyme for muddling

Add the sprig of thyme and the syrup in the shaker and muddle for a bit. Pour in the rest and shake it fast (But watch ya self). Double strain into a rocks glass with some ice. It helps to extract the oil from a lemon peel onto the drink in the end. Garnish with the peel and a small sprig of thyme.

[ Enjoy ]

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Zirbenz is a stone pine liqueur from Austria. Known by some as “the agave of the Alps”, it is pine-y as hell but in the form of a very pleasant finish. I can see it going great with a nice gin.

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Royal Armada

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Condensation can go suck it.

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Apparently I have to start chilling, not only my glassware and spirits but also my house when shooting for the blog, unless I want to end up with photos of sweaty cocktails. And that concludes the ranting part of the tour…

So I’m back, kids. I’ve had a weird couple of months trying to be (the best stripper in Boston) super healthy where I’ve emerged (like a beautiful butterfly some might say) with the following 2 truths about myself:

1. I can’t quit craft cocktails & burritos from Chipotle.
2. No matter how much weight I lose, skinny jeans is just not working. I need to stop that shit.

I’m an avid (yet admittedly suck at it) crossfitter and was following  Whole30 for around 50 days (yeah that math doesn’t make sense to me either), which meant no booze. So I would just stare at my home bar at nights and wipe the dust and cobwebs off my bottles. But I got around to cooking a lot, which actually helped me think of new cocktail ingredients and recipes for the future of DTSM… cause you can bet your sweet ass that I’m enjoying the sweet, loving embrace of gin and whiskey again. Downside is that I suck at drinking at the moment and I have to be real selective with what I make, ’cause chances are that’s gonna be my only drink for the night [picture me nursing a warm negroni all night].

So there. That’s my excuse for the lack of posts lately and now that I have your forgiveness, I’ll give you a quick rundown of this drink, which was intended to be a tribute to Spain but then the west indies got in the mix and it became some weird Frankenstein history lesson that tastes a bit heavy but has a lot of depth.

 

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INGREDIENTS:

Dark rum (Aged)
Brandy de Jerez
Amontillado sherry
Licor 43
allspice dram
Angostura bitters

 



VARIANTS:

This is the first drink I made with sherry, where I tested both Oloroso and Amontillado, 2 of the most common "heavier" ones; The Amontillado won this time but I'll be sure to make something with the Oloroso soon. I dont know what took me so long to start using this stuff but I guess you get used to vermouth after a while... 

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Measure and pour the following into your trusty mixing glass (which you should have chilled slightly beforehand by stirring the lonely ice and straining out the water):

1 1/2 oz Appleton Estate 12 yr rum
1 oz Lustao Amontillado Sherry
1 oz Gran Duque D Alba Brandy de Jerez
1/2 oz Licor 43
1 barspoon St. Elizabeth AllSpice Dram
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Now perform your preferred stirring technique.
Strain into a Nick & Nora glass [if you’re cool like me] and garnish with a lemon peel monstrosity like seen above.

[Enjoy]

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Lost in Translation

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The purpose of a great craft cocktail, one made with thought, skill and care, is to delight.

 

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Holy crap did this post take FOREVER! I was planning on posting this at least 2 weeks ago and then I may have been abducted by aliens (the non-butt-probing kind) or something ’cause I never got around to sharing this delightful post with all of you wonderful alcoholics humans.

I have an upcoming “educational” (say what?!) post on sake where I lie to you all with non-confirmed facts (mainly because I was too lazy to “bing it”) about that deliciousness from Japan. It’ll basically be a “rule of thumb” type of post if you’re interested in sake to sip it instead of boring wine (if you’re feeling sexy) or to mix it with other spirits (if you’re feeling adventurous). In that post I go over soju (used here) which is not a sake but if you can keep a secret, I’ll have you know that this stuff makes for a fantastic vermouth sub. Yup.

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  • Soju/Shochu
  • Vodka
  • Apricot Eau De Vie
  • Triple-Sec
  • Bitters
  • Simple syrup

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Soju or Shochu? At this point its the same thing. Soju is traditionally from Korea, while Shochu is of Japan. This Kaikouzo Soju is actually Shochu marketed as soju. Usually they are all under 25% ABV and are distilled very much like a neutral grain spirit (potatoes used quite often), with the master distiller infusing flavor throughout the process or at the very end.

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I wanted to make it easier to start remembering hot to make my drinks. This is a simple stirred drink in a 4,3,2,1 method where you start with one spirit and from there you add 1/4 less of the next. Yeah that was confusing:

1 oz Kaikouzo Soju
3/4 oz Imperia Vodka
1/2 oz Metté apricot Eau De Vie
1/4 oz Cointreau
2 dashes of Dr. Adam Elmegiram’s Teapot Bitters
1 dash of simple syrup (just a dash)

Add all into a chilled mixing glass full of ice and stir. With every drink you make you’ll start refining your stirring technique. When I started, I was a subtle as a blender on max. It was ugly.

Strain into a smaller martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

[ Enjoy ]

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This drink plays close to a vodka martini, what with its crystal clear appearance and velvet flavors. The soju itself could potentially be used as a blanc vermouth of sorts, but there is definitely a broader flavor profile in it making you want to sip it slow to let those flavors do their work. 

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MxMo: Witches’ Garden

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This is probably the best smelling syrup ever.

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I’m cutting it pretty close on this Mixology Monday. Call it poor planning or …poor planning? I sure cant blame it on the theme, since it was wide open to interpretation, benefiting from the broad nature of “gardens“. I guess you could make a drink with the devil’s lettuce flowers if you wanted to and it’d be cool. But maybe I didn’t know the rules to this one, so I used one of everything.

The host for this month is my mate Mark (We’re not friends yet but I’m certain I’d impress him with my respectable bow tie collection and wonderful—ly bad British accent) of Cardiff Cocktails fame. Not only does he post some impressive drinks but he’s got a rad Instagram feed as well.

lets take influence from the bartenders that once ruled the world of mixology, raid your herb garden that too often gets neglected, and start mixing. I don’t want to put too many limits on this theme so get as creative as you please, want to use roots, spices or beans as well? Sure thing. Want to make your own herbal infusions or tinctures? Sounds wonderful.

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  • dry Gin
  • curacao
  • lavender bitters
  • lemon juice
  • guava/sage gomme

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In a way I dedicate this one to my mother. She sure as hell doesn’t drink (though she did kick back a shot of Hibiki the day of my wedding) and I’m sure she wishes I didn’t either, but when I think of gardens (this month’s theme), I think of her.

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I used guava here as the base of it all because lets be honest, that fruit is fucking amazing; Not only does it taste and smell lovely but (the pink type) has this rich color too. The best is to peel and juice and strain them but to be honest, I go to this little Cuban place where they do the heavy lifting for me. Yes. I am lazy. Lavender and sage are basically naturally born BFF’s and gin, with its array of botanicals, is there to tie it all up.

If you want to be super crazy, this works wonders with a dry junmai sake instead of the gin, making it much lower in proof but twice as fun.

1 1/2 oz Hendrick's gin
3/4 oz Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao
2 dashes of Scrappy's lavender bitters
1/2 oz lemon juice
1 1/2 oz guava syrup*

*for the syrup, take 2 cups of fresh guava juice, 10 sage leaves, the zest of a lemon (juiced later for the drink) & a bit of grated allspice. Combine them and bring to a boil. When cooled, double strain into a glass bottle and refrigerate it. Should hold up for a week or 2.

Add all to a shaker with some ice and go to town with your preferred method of shaking. Mine’s the one that doesn’t end up all over my kitchen ’cause I failed (every damn time) to create a proper seal.

Double strain into a chilled glass.
Garnish with a few sage leaves on a single lavender branch. Once it looks like a prom corsage, you’re set.

 

[ Enjoy ]

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Guava gomme infused with sage & lemon zest: Initially I had this as a syrup with lavender in it but after making it a few times, it just works so much better when mixed with some gum Arabic, thickening it a bit and using lavender bitters instead. Serious Drinks has an easy tutorial on gomme syrup which you can quickly adapt this with.

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The Architect

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This one’s for you, Tony. You classy ol’ fox.

I struggled making this cocktail at first. Which brings me to my first point: don’t force a drink. Sometimes they just need to be unceremoniously discarded and forgotten; Much like Lindsay Lohan. I got the idea for this one a little while back while getting some refreshments @ Drink (yes. I know I’ve talked about this place before but you wouldn’t shut up about that place either if you had a drink blog). I was alone that day, putting out the vibe*; Which is when I met the most regal 70 year old man. In the 2 hours that followed, we talked about 2 things: architecture & absinthe. He was even kind enough to draw me a diagram. Class act, that Tony.

So none of that info, or “a story of forbidden love” as I like to think of it, was pertinent to the actual drink except for the fact that it’s where it gets its name, along with its inclusion of absinthe. I would like to end this post saying that if he were to taste this, he would love it but that’s bullshit. In fact, I’m sure he would hate it and go back to Drink, only to burn it to the ground.

*the vibe: Raul standing uncomfortably in a room, sweating profusely and giving the distinct impression that he just strangled someone in the men's room.

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Absinthe
Ramazzotti
Fernet Branca
Bitters
salt

For the salt, I used Elana’s recipe from Stir and Strain for ‘vanilla salt‘. That site deserves way better than just a side note here (it’s been on my ‘Read‘ list since day 1) and you NEED to check it out (now) but I’ll have a full post dedicated to her site shortly.

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This is a stirred drink, served over ice.

1 1/2 oz Sweet vermouth  [ Cocchi Vermouth di Torino ]
1/4 oz Absinthe  [ St. George Absinthe Verte]
1/2 oz Ramazzotti amaro
1/4 oz Fernet Branca
8 drops Brooklyn Hemispherical Black Mission Fig bitters

Add all these guys into a mixing glass with ice and stir.

Add a large ice cube into a rocks glass and pour the cocktail around the cube.
Take a pinch (what’s less than a pinch? well that) and place it on top of the ice.
[ Enjoy ]

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Red Queen

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I’m a sucker for all things Alice in Wonderland…

So this drink was meant to go in last week’s regularly scheduled programming buuuuut I was trying to prove to myself (and my dad) that I can build shit. Like for REAL build things, not just a 5 piece table from Ikea. Well kids, turns out I cant. I was trying to build a set of soft boxes for lighting and I’m pretty sure that starting off by using an old wet box from Crate & Barrel as the base for it was ill advised (in retrospect). I’ll keep trying (doubtful) but given that I have the attention span of a chipmunk (I don’t even know what that means), I’m all but certain I’ll be day drinking to accommodate my photography for
the time being.

This week’s drink is all booze. Now before you get all excited, it’s not very strong -insert sad trombone here-. Made it a couple weeks back when mixing a drink called ‘Elixir No.1′ from The American Cocktail by the folks from Imbibe magazine. I’m sure that drink would have been great (?) but since I didn’t have all the ingredients for it, I started to throw some random shit in there until I ended up with a mutated (but highly “drinkable”) version that I liked a lot. So who likes “drinks that don’t make you immediately have to calculate how many sips of them you can have before getting sloppy”?! I DO.

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B&B
Campari
Dry Vermouth
Velvet Falernum
Bitters

I bought a bottle of B&B thinking it was the same as regular ‘ol Benedictine and boy was I wrong. So I’ve been trying to find new and exciting ways to use this stuff. This being one of them. If you have the OG Benedictine, I’d advise against the Falernum  [amp it up to 1 oz each] since that stuff is pretty sweet too.

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3/4 oz B&B  [ Benedictine & Brandy ]
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth  [ Dolin Dry ]
3/4 oz Campari  [ er…Campari ]
3/4 oz Velvet Falernum  [ John D. Taylor’s ]
Dash of Peychaud’s
10 drops of Abbot’s  [ Bob’s ]

Stir them in your favorite glass candle holder that you use as a mixing glass when nobody’s watching.
Strain into a chilled martini glass.
Take an orange peel and press the oils over the drink, then discard it [let it go. It’s OK]
Garnish with some cherries.

[ Enjoy ]

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