stirred

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!

 

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 ]

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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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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Earhart

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I feel like I haven’t posted in ages and for that, I am sorry […commits seppuku]

This is definitely one of my favorite OG cocktails. Hubris? What is that? I like it mostly because it had some actual thought put into it. As you may know, good cocktails have this nice even flow to them; You add a bit of this, you had an idea to add a bit of that or you simply fucked up and added the wrong thing while watching some squirrels run around outside. Well. That’s been my experience at least. But I’m also a guy that sometimes cant recall if I put deodorant on after taking a shower, so I spend the rest of the day paranoid, trying not to sweat.

This drink was for the Aviation American Gin facebook contest that I’ve been participating in for the last 6 weeks. The contest is still going on and there have been some truly fantastic entries. Best of luck to al…..screw that…I hope I (me) win that trip to the House Spirits distillery in Portland, OR [insert maniacal laugh here]. As you perhaps know by the name, this Aviation gin inspired cocktail was an ode to Amelia Earhart. Wiki her or watch that movie, she was a total badass. The American gin signifies her, the Jameson whiskey for where she first landed and the Benedictine and Dolin Blanc for her (missed) targeted LZ. Surprisingly, this works incredibly well and makes for a great drink to sip.

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Aviation gin
Blanc vermouth
Benedictine
Irish whiskey
Bitters

If you dont have Abbott’s bitters (I’m using the stuff made by Bob’s in England), it’ll still be tasty but it’ll be missing something. I’ve made this with cherry, fig, lavender and angostura bitters and it’s been quite nice. Go crazy. Just try and stay away from the more citrus-y bitters as they throw it off quite a bit.

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My wife put it this way when she took a sip:
“it’s like a female version of a negroni”
…I’ll take that. I would have also been happy with:
“it’s like the 90’s era Michael Jackson”.

1 3/4 oz dry gin  [ Aviation American Gin ]
1 oz blanc vermouth  [ Dolin ]
1/2 oz irish whiskey  [ Jameson ]
1/4 oz Benedictine
2 dashes of Abbott’s bitters  [ Bob’s ]

Get that mixing glass out and stir.
Strain into a rocks glass with a nice chunk of ice.

[ Enjoy ]

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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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