cocktails

Recommended Reading: The Best Craft Cocktails

Disclaimer:

I was gifted a copy of this book by the authors. This is not a review; There are plenty of places that will do that. More importantly, this is not me posting about any free shit a distributor, manufacturer or publisher sends me. If I didn’t think the contents lived up to whatever standards I’ve set for Death to Sour Mix, you would not be reading this right now.
This is me, sharing someone else’s obvious hard work and dedication to creating craft cocktails.

Any post that starts with a disclaimer just feels wrong. Imagine going out to a fancy restaurant and the first thing you read is “Warning: This food may give you violent gas“. You may rethink your food truck selection after that. Or what if right before kissing someone for the first time they whispered to you “Oh. BTW I drool uncontrollably and I just ate a ton of onions. Now get over here!“. Yeah. Disclaimers. I’ll just put them at the end of the post next time! Problem solved.

 

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That book right there was made out of paper. If you enjoy that aspect of reading books, then we’re already off to a good start. But really, The Best Craft Cocktails & Bartending With Flair was written by Jeremy Leblanc (Matt Leblanc’s brother) and Christine Dionese. These 2 darlings made a pretty big list of cocktails that range from personal twists on known classics and some clever creations by Jeremy, who according to Christine “is a damn good mixologist and is one of the nicest guys ever”. You had me at “Matt Leblanc’s brother”. Christine has a background in herbology and food science which sounds uber-nerdy to me but also pretty rad. I don’t know either of them but after reading the book and its recipes, it becomes apparent that they put a lot of effort into making a cocktail book utilizing great small batch spirits and a variety of interesting ingredients with an emphasis on organic.

Here’s a couple of my favorites from the book:

Gypsy_ing

The Gypsy

The Gypsy

vig_ing

The Vig

The Vig

*Disclaimer #2: Jeremy is not really Matt Leblanc’s brother. Or is he…?

Summertime Sadness

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 These are the drinks that kept me busy during this past summer.

I posted a little while ago on twitter on how glad I was that summer was over, making room for some wonderful stirred drinks… and pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks that nobody seems to shut up about. I mean, they are tasty, much like a pumpkin beer with extra cinnamon on the ri– focus!— I love the fall. Not because I’m lazy and enjoy wearing sweaters and Uggs as much as possible, but because it’s the perfect time to go for a walk without the fear of melting onto the sidewalk, you can meet with friends and not have to cringe internally at their 3rd degree sunburns all around the contours of their sunglasses or better yet, you can stop drinking bud lite lime now.

This past summer, I kept cycling 3 cocktails at home that were tasty representations of summer. Each one with its own merit and nuance but all 3 of them incredibly refreshing and uniquely flavorful. Oddly enough, each one has spirits that I wouldn’t traditionally consider as “summery” but damn if they don’t all work in their own way. In a summer full of margaritas, juleps and bud Lite Lime, these were the ones I kept coming back for when it was time for a refreshment.

Dead Man’s Mule

Originally from Met Bar, London
Presented here as modified @ Drink, Boston
 

I’m a fan of mules. Not the ones that put little balloons full of drugs into their bodies but the kind that you drink out of a metal cup full of crushed ice. This is an odd drink and one that at first you may not like but damn if it’s not tasty as hell! At Drink they make their own delicious ginger beer but if you don’t want to be bothered with it, Fever Tree makes a mean one that works perfect with cocktails.

1 oz Green Velvet Absinthe
1 oz Wilks & Wilson orgeat
1/2 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1/2 oz lime juice
Fever Tree ginger beer to top
 
If you have a copper mug, now’s the time to use it.
Add crushed ice to the mug about 1/2 full (or 1/2 empty if that’s how you choose to see the world). 
Pour in everything except the ginger beer. Stir lightly (swizzle even!)
Add more crushed Ice and top with the ginger beer. 
 

Eulogy

Anvil Bar, Houston
 

This is my favorite one of the 3. It’s a bit sweet tho, which is why I add a bit of crushed ice to it so it doesn’t become that overtly sweet drink that you like at first but hate towards the end. Tons of flavor here. So much flavor here on the first sip. Such that I went out and bought a bottle of Strega and Batavia Arrack the very next day.

 
3/4 oz Batavia Arrack van Oosten
3/4 oz Jonh D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum
3/4 oz Strega
3/4 oz lime juice
 
Pour all ingredients in a shaker with ice and show it who’s boss.
Strain into a rocks glass with crushed ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.
 

Art of Choke

The Violet Hour, Chicago
 

This is like a mojito that threw away its self tanner, stopped partying, went to college and got a job. If you’re a drink snob by now, then just reading that last sentence plus the the fact that this thing has Cynar as a main ingredient is making you salivate.

 
1 oz Banks 5 Island Rum
1 oz Cynar
1/4 oz green Chartreuse
bar spoon of lime juice
bar spoon of Demerara sugar syrup
handful of mint leaves
 
Lightly muddle the mint in your shaker.
Add the rest and shake it with some large pieces of ice.
Double strain into a rocks glass with a single ice cube. Garnish with a small mint sprig.
 
 
 
 

Remedies

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You guys, I’ve had a cold now for what feels like the majority of my adult life. You may know it more commonly referred to as “the vapors“. In all honesty, I’m not sure that’s even remotely similar but if it deals with throwing your hand over your brow whilst holding a dainty handkerchief and fainting all over the place, then they might as well be the same thing. Know this: Its been snowing every. fucking. day. here in New England and I’m kinda done with this cold weather business. Done.

In a cry for help, I decided to take matters into my own hands and “cure” myself with some liquor, a large pizza and a marathon session of Girls. What resulted from that was no better or worse than where I started. In fact, I may have eaten too much pizza and Girls has gotten pretty weird lately – FOCUS, Raul! – Drinks. Yes. Basically, I had leftover ginger/honey/thyme syrup from my previous post that lent itself wonderfully to flavors usually associated with cold medicine: honey, ginger, lemon, cherry, chamomile, hard alcohol. All there. So here’s a little something fun to play with. Two drinks to improve your spirits (even when people say NOT to consume alcohol when taking certain cold medicine… But we know that’s BS anyway, AMIRIGHT?!), even if its just for a moment.    

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Normally I write a quick rundown of the type of ingredients needed but since I gave you the ‘ol “switcheroo” here and made 2 in 1. I’m not gonna do that this time. Instead, I will share a ‘Snapple cap’ fact from a tasty lemon ice tea I had the other day:

“You will die alone”

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Santo Remedio

1 1/2 oz El Tesoro Platinum tequila
1/2 oz Drambuie
3/4 oz G/H/T syrup
3/4 part lime juice
1 barspoon Luxardo Maraschino liqueur

Add all to a Boston shaker. Yes, it has to be a Boston Shaker. You don’t have one? Well then good day to you, sir. …but… I SAID, GOOD DAY.
JK. I would never shun you like that. That’s a task best left for family members or loved ones.
Shake it fast. Or in my case, poorly, when you realize that all your strength has left you.
Dont even bother double straining if you’re sick. You wont even feel the ice shards like you would normally.
[ Now enjoy this sweet, sweet medicine ]

The Best Remedy

No association to this wonderful site, which is on my reading list.

2 oz Grey Goose Le Citron vodka
1 eye-dropper of Bitterman’s Boston Bittahs (contains chamomile I’m told
3/4 oz G/H/T syrup
1/2 oz lemon juice

Take everything. EVERYTHING and just dump it all in a cup or zip-lock bag. You choose.
Shake if you’re able and strain into a rocks glass with a piece of ice that’s bigger than my head (FYI: I’ve been told (by my fiance, mainly) that I have an abnormally large head).
Between you and me, I didn’t even bother straining on my first run (there were a few). That ice was delicious.
[ Enjoy ]

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Blood & Thunder

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The original calls for blended Scotch, which is curb-stomped here by my old pal, tequila, a spirit that not only sounds more menacing in its almost automatic drunken-flashback inducing montage but also makes it more appealing to a wider spectrum of people (IMO)… Unless you’re using Jose Cuervo, in which case just stop reading this right now and come back when I have a slushy margarita recipe. No! Come back! Lets just pretend you’re not using that shit and we can still be friends (the kind of friends that only communicate via Facebook likes).

I’ve gone ahead and taken what Cale Green from ‘Tavern Law, Need & Thread’ (Seattle) devised and changed it to what [to me] makes more sense, both for the cocktail itself but for the name: Blood oranges. Yup. Those weird little oranges that only come out (here in the North East at least) around this time of year but that are not only pretty to look at [I mean seriously, these things make all other citrus their bitch] but have a wonderful flavor that goes perfect in cocktails (see here ). Only this guy wouldn’t like them.

 

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Blanco Tequila
Cheery Heering
Sweet Vermouth
Blood Orange

To be honest, I gave this drink a try mainly because I’m a big Mastodon fan. Having never tried a ‘Blood and Sand’ (sorry but the idea of those ingredients didn’t really do it for me) I was more interested in a variation of the original with ingredients that seemed much more appealing.

 

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Super easy. Equal parts:
El Tesoro Platinum Tequila
Cherry Heering
Dolin Rouge
Fresh Blood Orange Juice
4 drops of (Bob’s) Abbot’s bitters (optional)

Shake it to wake it up.

For the garnish:
Thin slice of blood orange + maraschino cherry.
[Enjoy]

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Debutante

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I turned 31 this past month and I’ve realized something: I’m kind of a dick.
While there’s many [oh so many] reasons why those closest to me I would think that’s true, in this particular case it’s due to my new restaurant/bar ritual:
step 1. Check out the bar, the liquor and layout.
step 2. Check out the bartenders. Not like that.
step 3. Check out their drink menu. Study it even. Like Im gonna write a thesis on it.
step 4. Order 2 cocktails off of it, watch them make it and then stare at it for a prolonged period of time.
step 5. Taste the cold beverage. Never with a straw.
step 6. [MOST of the time] tear it a new asshole. Then force offer my fiance to give it a sip.

Basically I’m “sizing” myself up to the person working the bar, reverse engineer the drink in my head (proportions,
brands, ingredients, etc) and then I pretentiously start to bitch about it and how I would do it better.
I would stop this unhealthy behavior if I didn’t like it so much. I mean, its basically my new favorite hobby [aside from discovering daily on how much I’m turning into my father].

This is wrong. I’ve never worked @ a bar so I have no place in saying I would do it better but when you don’t know
how to make common drinks or don’t know how to balance a cocktail but you expect me to pay +/- $10.oo for it, you’re just asking for it.

There is a silver lining out of this however, in that I get new ideas for drinks to make @ home [aka the Death To Sour Mix headquarters] or many times try and make those drinks what I want them to be.

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Grey Goose Le Citron vodka
Domaine de Canton
Lemon juice
peaches
ginger

I got the idea for this drink while @ CityBar in the Lenox Hotel, Boston. There is was called “Peach-Ginger Martini” and it was very sweet but I liked the idea of the ingredients enough to give it a go.

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Note before you cut the peach:
A nice garnish for this is to use 2 pieces of the round exterior of a peach and make a mini-cookie-like sandwich out of them, which is subtle and very much edible if desired.

Use about 1/2 of a ripe peach and 2 small slices of ginger into your glass and muddle them until its just a straight up messy in there.
Pour in 1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice
Add 1 part Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur and 3 parts of the vodka
shake it like I taught you and double strain it to get rid of those bits of fruit.
[Enjoy]

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Happy holidays!

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Happy holidays to all you beautiful people!! Christmas may be over but now that leaves room for the real celebration we can all share: herpes the new year!

I’ll post a couple more drinks before this year is up and hope to grow the ‘Death To Sour Mix’ site in 2013.

Best wishes and drink responsibly.