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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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Death to Anonymity

You guys, I got business cards;

…What I’m actually going to do with these cards is a complete mystery to me right now, but at least now I don’t have to hope the slightly-drunk individual I’ve been talking to for the past hour can remember a) where they are and how they get there, but more importantly, b) to read my blog. I’m fairly certain the majority of these cards will end up in those bowls at Quiznos with the hopes of scoring me a free sandwich, but only time will tell.

Why do I need business cards for a site that doesn’t technically have a business model? Branding. Because in order to raise awareness for something you care deeply about (any blogger that writes about a dedicated topic for free has a profound attachment to it), you need to market yourself. Because we all know  that if a tree falls in the woods and all that shit. Basically It’ll be like I’m handing someone a ‘selfie‘ of my site, except it doesn’t have ‘#yolo’ anywhere on it. I don’t know how to do any of this, so I’m hoping to learn about it as I go. Painfully, I’m sure.

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If I were an eloquent man, I could easily hype up my site to people in a positive, memorable way, but on average, it goes a li’l something like this:

Hello.
Oh, no, I'm not Lou Diamond Phillips from La Bamba.
So you enjoy beverages?
Damn, that's a cool jacket. Where'd you get it? J. Jill?
I write. I have a site. There's this thing. Online.
<begin sweating for no reason>
So, do you know how to read? No? That's weird.
Can I borrow your phone? Oh is that a flip phone?! Never mind.
I take little pictures. Well they're not little. I guess they're regular size.
You know what? Forget my face. FORGET YOU EVER SAW ME!
<I then knock the drink out of their hands and bolt out of that Denny's>

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I commissioned Print and Grain [an army-of-two] letterpress company from the lovely Portland, OR to design these and man did they deliver. The style they designed works great with my site’s bad boy attitude and I’ll proudly spread them like a virus wherever I go.

*be sure to check out their shop on Etsy for more on Print and Grain letterpress products.

Black Flag

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-Insert clever Henry Rollins joke here-

I infused Cognac because I don’t care much for it. In fact, I infused about 1/2 a bottle of Courvoisier that I got for Christmas yet had never really used other than to show people that French is not only difficult to pronounce but even harder to spell. I’m sure I’ll be infusing other spirits soon (looking @ you, bottle of Knob Creek bourbon) based on this experiment. Vanilla beans. Herbs. Buffalo chicken wings. You name it; I’ll be on it.

I didn’t infuse an entire bottle because I wasn’t sure what the result would be, nor if I would want 750 ml of black tea infused cognac (which came out pretty great), so I only infused about 10 oz of it. Will I be making more? Definitely. But I think I’ll use a different brand of cognac next time or may just switch to Brandy altogether. The name comes from the black tea and the black mission fig bitters from Brooklyn Bitters . I was originally going to call it “Fuck, I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing here and this drink is strong. Oh god its so strong” but opted against it at the last minute. Maybe next time?

So here’s a booze-only drink (one of many to follow) for those that like a good cocktail with depth and variety.

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Tea infused Cognac
Benedictine
Fernet Branca
Dry vermouth
Bitters
Demerara simple

I used Dolin Dry here (after testing Lillet Blanc and Martini dry) and felt that it worked much better than sweet vermouth (Dolin Rouge) which would make it more Vieux Carre in nature and a bit sweeter.

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1 1/2 oz Bavarian Berry black tea infused Courvoisier cognac*
3/4 oz Benedictine
3/4 oz Dolin Dry vermouth
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
10 drops Brooklyn Hemispherical Black Mission Fig bitters
Couple dashes of demerara simple

*To infuse the cognac: take a single serving of your favorite black tea (I used Bavarian Berry Black, which is nice and bright with little hints of fruit) and steep it in a separate glass bottle with about 8 oz of cognac (or technically any spirit) for about 12-24 hours. Fine strain it into yet another bottle to remove any and all leaves and sediment. That’s it really. Keep it in the fridge and it’ll last for about a week. 

Pour everything in a mixing glass. Even the dashes of syrup.
Stir it nicely. In fact, let this be the therapeutic part of the process. Yeah.
Strain into a sandwich bag. Just kidding. A coupe.
Cut a fresh lemon peel and squeeze the oils in and around the glass. Discard when done.

[Enjoy]

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