tea

River Of Gold

First post of the year…one that I had planned for the END of last year but here we are…yayyyy?!? Screw it. So by now the holidays and all their bloated spectacle are but a distant memory, yet all the weight that you got as a “present” is surely still sticking around. But it’s cool, because pants fit much better when they’re sweatpants or leggings which is all I wear these days to mask my new-found curves. I hope that all of you reading this had some great cocktails or at the very least, a solid beer over the past few weeks. Some of them might have been so good in fact, that you don’t remember them at all. Nor do you remember throwing up in the Uber but you know what, it’s all behind us. Let’s look forward. Let’s be more than what we were and make something great out of the new year. I’m obviously talking about cocktails, you guys. Be who you want to be, regardless of the year, but at least have a beautiful drink in your hand.

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pineapple_cutting

Onto the cocktail. It’s fruity, full of wood notes, which mixed with the char from the pineapple, make for a fun time. GUARANTEED. Cognac is still a spirit that I struggle with in cocktails, to be honest, yet it’s super-easy for me to make into a tasty punch. It’s cold and warm months are far away, so I thought to bring a bit of tiki flavors and temperatures to the season. So put on some shorts, crank up the thermostat and invite that one friend you have over. Cause shit is about to get crazy. Unless it doesn’t. And you just have some sparkling conversation for a couple hours and then politely call it a night by 10 pm. I’ll leave that up to you.

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RIVER OF GOLD

makes around 10-15 servings

BOOZE

cognac | 3 cups blanc vermouth | 1 cup

BITTERS

Angostura bitters | 10 dashes Bittermens Elemakule Tiki bitters | 10 dashes

CITRUS, SYRUPS & JUICES

roasted pineapple juice | 2 cups lemon juice | 1 cup honey syrup* | 3/4 cup

MISC.

black tea | 2 cups

Pour all the items above into your beautiful punch bowl of choice and give it a good stir.

Taste it a bit and check if it needs a bit more of this or that, depending on how you’d like it.

Punch will undoubtedly need some ice, this is to chill it and dilute it since it would be a bit too concentrated at this point, even if you had chilled the liquids beforehand. I suggest making a big block of ice in whatever random bowl or Tupperware container you have. Or if you’re really cool, make clear ice blocks yourself like THIS.

Get a ladle ready, some cups and you’re done!

Diving Bell

The original name for this was ‘Pavlovian Bell’ but then that started to sound pretty dumb. Not that ‘Diving Bell’ isn’t dumb. Maybe I should have just called it ‘Taco Bell’.

This week I meant to post about a couple events I attended a while ago (No. None of them were “How to tell your wife you wear her heels while she’s at work”) that were a lot of fun. And by fun, I mean they had A LOT of rum. But I was suddenly presented with these gorgeous shots by the lovely Lyudmila Zotova from a collaboration we did a little while ago and I couldn’t resist posting them. This was the first real collaboration for the site and now I dream of the day I get to work with more photographers/ fellow bloggers. Just picture me laying on the couch, being fanned with banana leaves while I lethargically tell someone else how much Malibu-to-Alize ratios to use, and then expect them to shoot it too?? A man can dream. But I digress, working with Lyudmila was fantastic (you’ll see a lot more of her work on the site in the weeks to come) and it was a learning experience for the both of us (I taught her that it is hot as balls in my apartment).

This is a refresher; A cocktail you sip on a sunny day, with Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Call Me Maybe’ still playing on your phone while you shake it (both the drink AND your booty). This is how I enjoy my cocktails but you are your own master. With last week’s julep I started my spring cocktails here on the site, so this will be an ongoing series of bright, flavorful drinks for the weeks to come, ending with 2 months of just Polaroid shots of me drinking Coronas in my underwear with a confused look on my face. Why? When did this site ever make any sense? Hope you try it out and let me know how it is!

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I’ve been using Caorunn gin all over the place lately. Full disclosure: I was provided a bottle of it a while back BUT it’s pretty damn good. More than that actually. It has a softness to it that makes it incredibly easy to drink. I wish I was drinking it now…

All photos courtesy of Lyudmila Zotova. To check out her awesome work, head over to her site and/or tumblr and be sure to give her shit for not having a twitter account yet ;]

This is my second cocktail using The Owl’s Brew but because I’m SUCH a rebel, I use 2 parts booze to 1 part tea (#sorrynotsorry) and also the second time I use my ‘Death to Sour Mix’ (I cant even read that without rolling my eyes) which I talk about more in THIS post.

Diving Bell

1 3/4 oz gin

1/2 oz elderflower Liqueur

1/2 oz blanc Vermouth

3/4 oz Owl’s Brew Pink & Black

1/2 oz Death to Sour Mix*

Measure & pour all ingredients in a shaker and fill up with some big ol’ pieces of ice.
Beat it to death for a little bit to teach it who’s boss.
Double strain into a chilled glass.
Garnish with a grapefruit (any citrus really) peel

[ Enjoy ]

In case you cant get your hands on some of the grapefruit shrub and you happen to have a bottle of grapefruit bitters lying around, a couple of dashes of that + a bar spoon of simple syrup can make a tasty sub. As for the gin, a nice citrus-forward gin will work (Plymouth, Beefeater, Greenhook, Junipero…) nicely.

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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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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