sweet

Almondo

If you like drinks that are different, this is one of those. Tart from the citrus and the sherry, sweet from the orgeat and smoky from the mezcal & hot sauce. If you have some spicy bitters you’ve been meaning to use again, now is the time

Mic check, 2-1-2. Sibilance… Sibilance… Sorry, its been a while so I wanted to prepare to write this in the same fashion I would prep for my one-man-show at random Boston train stations. What would that show consist of, you ask?! I’m not sure. Probably me crying and sweating in equal amounts while I drink Everclear out of a pink flask; Hey, you asked. I felt it was time to start writing again, but since my writing was never really good to begin with, I can only imagine this is gonna’ hurt you more than it hurts me. But hey, maybe you’re in need of a good dick joke today so perhaps this works out in the end?! It probably won’t.

So lets get this out of the way: I’ve been gone for a long time. Life has been complicated (to put it lightly) lately and I took some time off. To those of you that had made bets on me having lost-my-fucking-mind and was last seen running naked and scared in the beautiful New England wilderness: close. Pretty damn close but no. Fun fact for like 2 of you: the woods scare the shit out of me. I mean, they’re so damn quiet and there’s no cocktail bars, nor hair salons for miles; Add to that the fact that everyone I know that does go camping, somehow ends up packing a bottle of Fireball on every trip… I’m good. Really. I’m good.

I made my own orgeat for some tasty mai-tais a while back (which you can read about HERE) and thought: mezcal… for some reason. But hey, it works. Tequila will get the job done here (when all else fails in life, you know tequila wont #ladiesamiright?!) but the backbone that comes with quality mezcal (Montelobos here) really gives it more weight.

Almondo

2 oz Amontillado sherry [ Lustao ]

1 oz mezcal [ Montelobos ]

1 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz orgeat [ YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN ]

1/2 oz simple syrup

2 dashes of hot sauce [ Cholula ]

Add all the ingredients in your shaker tin, add a bunch of ice and wake it up.

Strain into a chilled collins glass with ice and garnish with a lime wedge.

[ Enjoy ]

The major modifier here would be the sherry. I played around with Oloroso, which was way too dry and ended with Amontillado which had a lovely sweetness but I’m curious if a good Manzanilla would work just right here. If you enjoy sherry cocktails, let me know what some of your favorites are.

 

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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Pins & Needles

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Here’s to the end of these damn holidays and to the bright beginning of a new year.

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I love the holidays. Especially new year’s. I have a questionable amount of red and green pants to prove it but in all honesty, I’m just happy that its over. I got real fat just grazing on chocolate, cookies & random seasonal beer this past month and no matter how much I heard that fucking Michael Bublé Christmas album, things just felt a bit off. So here’s to this new year and all the awesome things it may bring to you (but really, to me).

You may or may not know this but our petite Christmas tree, like way-too-many things in our life, had a name: Christopher. And I got the idea for this cocktail while picking it (him?) out with my equally petite wife in a sea of pine needles and sap. He (it?) was crooked-as-shit and had a horrible color but damn it if it wasn’t the best friend $23 (AMERICAN!) can buy, and not a day goes by that I dont…hmmm….that I dont…I miss that little rascal so much. Sorry. I got emotional there and it got ugly. Not as ugly as watching Jennifer Lawrence cry but very similar.

The idea here was to make something tiki-ish, for the cold-ass weather with spirits that reminded me of “being left for dead in a prickly pine forrest in the dead of winter”. Warm thoughts indeed. The pineapple gomme made sense to me as those edible grenades are just as prickly but finding the balance took a few tries. In fact it took me so long to get it right that it’s now mid-January -__-  fml.

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  • St. George Terroir Gin
  • Braulio
  • Zirbenz
  • Pineapple gomme
  • Lime juice

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I don’t make tall drinks like these often but anytime I get to whip out some straws and fancy ice cubes (which I am working on getting perfectly clear), it’s always a fun time. I wanted to garnish these with a little branch of a pine tree but I read somewhere that can be toxic? So yeah, garnishing with poison would be a bad call.

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This is one of those cocktails that you REALLY smell while you’re making it.  In the best of ways; Braulio has a great pine smell to it that is reinforced by the Zirbenz without losing any of its inviting aroma and without it smelling like you just wrestled a christmas tree. Though that.would.be.awesome.

2 oz St. George Terroir gin
1 oz Braulio amaro
1/2 oz Zirbenz stone pine liqueur
3/4 oz Small Hand Foods pineapple gomme
1/2 oz fresh lime juice

Add all ingredients in your shaker, but trying to look real cool when you do it.
Add ice and shake hard and fast.
Take a collins glass and top up with cubed ice.
Strain into the glass, garnishing with a lime wheel, rosemary sprig & straw.

[ Enjoy ]

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Braulio [ 'amaro alpino', not the artist ] is the star here but it can be subbed for Fernet Branca if needed, as it has similar qualities to it and should be easier to find (I had to travel to NY to get it). But for those amaro lovers that perhaps don't care much for the minty-ness of Fernet, then Braulio may be a great alternative.

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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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La Muerte Chiquita

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This is my first real foray into mezcal-based drinks. I think I’m in love.

I’ve been ordering drinks with mezcal as much as I can to get a feel for how it works and the subtle (sometimes not so subtle) differences between one another; How smoky is this one? Does it work better with this juice or that one? Does it even mix well with other spirits without being a bully? Does it make me look fat in these pants? Based on the few that I’ve had, I can tell you that mezcal is a beautiful addition to a home bar (any bar really) in the way that absinthe is or like having both, bourbon and rye.

I’ve been trying to get my hands on a bottle of Montelobos mezcal for a while. To the point where I became obnoxiously slightly obsessed with the notion that if I was going to buy mezcal, it was going to be that one or none at all. That’s stupid. I know. Long story short, I got me a bottle and now we’re like best friends. I wanted the first drink I made to be more evocative of its origins (Oaxaca), so I went all Mexican up in this bitch…by way of Brooklyn, NY? Wait. what?? The xocolatl mole bitters are a must but the real treat is the chocolate extract that Taza (MA local) and Bitterman’s made, which gives it a rich flavor. To round it out, you have the dram which is basically being all creepy and coy (like Ally Sheedy in the Breakfast Club) until the very end, where it comes out, almost enhanced by the smokiness making it a pleasure to sip.

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Mezcal
Allspice Dram
Absinthe
Bitters
Mandarins

Fun fact: Initial trial runs had tabasco and creme de cacao which work well with the mezcal but didnt do it for me here. I wanted this to be a mix of a Monkey Gland & 20th Century, while maintaining some of the more traditional aspects of mezcal.

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1 1/2 oz mezcal   [ Montelobos ]
1/4 oz allspice dram   [ St. Elizabeth ]
1/4 oz absinthe   [ St. George Absinthe Verte ]
1 1/2 oz mandarin orange juice
2 dashes of Taza Chocolate Mexicano Extract
2 dashed of Bittermen’s Xocolatl Mole bitters

Prepare your glass with an absinthe rinse (like you would a Sazerac):
Fill a rocks glass with crushed ice and distribute the absinthe over it.
This will coat the glass with absinthe and help chill the glass.

Pour all ingredients into a shaker and beat the devil out of it.
Ditch the ice from the rocks glass which should now have a lovely absinthe aroma.
Strain into the rinsed glass and garnish with a flamed mandarin wheel.

[ Enjoy ]

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