Whiskey

Eventing: Summer Solstice (Fuck This Snow)

Oh the weather outside is… fuck is it STILL snowing?! This is now the 3rd nail appointment I’ve had canceled on me in the past 2 weeks due to the, ummm… 7 feet of snow we’ve gotten in New England? I’m starting to feel like Luke Skywalker riding a Taun Taun in Hoth for crying out loud (WHERE MY STAR WARS NERDS AT?!).  But I promised myself I wouldn’t bitch about the weather, much like I wouldn’t bitch about my nails but much like your parents, I lied to you.

Ironically, the cold weather doesn’t make me want a Hot Toddy or any of that delicious, decadent shit; It makes me want citrus, shaken fast and extremely refreshing. I’m applying sun tan lotion with one hand as I type with the other (not masturbating at all. promise) cause I am in complete denial of the weather and perhaps suffering a bit of cabin fever. I suddenly remembered I was saving this gem of an event from last year, titled ‘Summer Solstice’, where the people’s champion (and fantastic kisser), Ray Tremblay & cocktail slinger extraordinaire (kissing ability tbd), Ray Guerin celebrated the unholy union of Chartreuse and Angel’s Envy bourbon in the gorgeous Empire in Boston, MA.

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Ray Tremblay working hard on that eyebrow game while working equally hard on an Angel’s Envy cocktail titled ‘Angel Blossom Punch':
Angel’s Envy bourbon, sage infused Aperol, lemon juice, hibiscus-rose petal syrup, bubbly

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Ray Guerin, of Tavern Road in Boston tinkering with a delicious Chartreuse cocktail called ‘Pineapple Express':
Chartreuse, Batavia Arrack, smoked pineapple juice, lime, pineapple syrup

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I recall tasting them all but I was too busy rockin’ the shit out of the sweetest skinny tie so I didnt get the ratios to the cocktails but if you ask nicely, I can pass on the info somehow through my expansive network of spies (ie. I will txt them and ask). Some of the other cocktails from the event (in order of appearance here):

How Rhu$d:
Mezcal, rhubarb tea liqueur, strawberry-peppercorn infused agave, lemon, lime, bitters
Chonburi In The Summer:
Hendricks, cucumber water, lime, agave, sriracha, chili-cumin salt
Smoked Out In Paradise:
rum, chai tea smoked coconut cream, pineapple juice, cinnamon toasted coconut shavings

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Fun was had by all I’m sure. I also stuffed my face with unlimited sushi from Empire this night. Looking at these drinks now reallyyyy makes me wish I was doing this now but alas, this shovel aint gonna get to work by itself. Oh well! Time to fire up that sweet Nickelback/ICP playlist I’ve been working on.. See ya next time, lovelies and remember to stay safe!

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^ What’s so funny??!?

Pillar of Autumn (End Of Season)

Living in New England, you get rich flavors growing all over the place in random orchards and farms so we’re lucky to have a lot of variety, which works wonders when making cocktails. Like this one.

When I started writing this post, I had a terrible cold (probably not “terrible” but I’m a big baby when it comes to getting sick), it was a week before Thanksgiving (aka ‘the only time of the year you should openly be thankful of anything’) and that deep regret for what I and an unnamed turkey would do to my body was but a distant bridge far, far away. Well, November is done and the struggle is here. Fun fact, kids: if you eat enough cookies and caramel flan at a steady pace throughout the day, you become a grumpy asshole that swears you can communicate with animals small & large. It’s a bad look. I regret nothing.

Autumn recipes are done. I think the way that Labor day marks the end of me being able to wear some bitchin’ white linen capris, Thanksgiving marks the end of fall weather drinks and sadly, the end of socially acceptable drinking of pumpkin beer with sugar rims. I say fuck-that to all of those things because if I could, I’d kick back a Budweiser with a sugar rim (on the can!) while wearing my comfortable white linen. So today’s drink may come too late but I’ll leave that up to you. All I want is for you to get wasted.

A shaken drink with muddled apples & ginger, fresh lime juice that joins forces with the pressed juices, Averna amaro and cherry bitters to bring it depth and finally, Applejack and bourbon to give it strength. It’s sweet and refreshing. Exactly what I’d want to drink in between those tasty stirred cocktails I’ve recommended you sip:

I’ll have some new “WINTER” cocktails shortly, or what I like to call it: “Everything around me is cold & dead and all I want to do is drink Mexican hot chocolate under fur blankets until April”. I’m not above calling a cocktail “(Lil)Let It Go”, so expect that one. #sorrynotsorry.

Pillar of Autumn
1 oz bourbon whiskey (Berkshire Mountain Distillers)
1 oz Applejack (bonded if you roll like that)
1/2 Averna amaro
3/4 oz lime juice
2 dashes cedar cherry bitters (Apothecary Bitters)
1/3 of McIntosh apple, peeled + small piece of ginger, peeled
2 barspoons of real maple syrup

Take about 1/3rd of a peeled apple, chop it into smaller chunks and add to empty shaker. Add the peeled piece of ginger and muddle them together until you’ve extracted most of the juice.

Add the lime juice, bitters, Averna, bourbon & Applejack to the shaker, along with the maple syrup.

Fill shaker with ice and take it for a ride until chilled.

Double strain into a chilled glass. No garnish needed.

[ Enjoy ]

Initially I made this with Virgil Kane’s ginger-infused bourbon which is DELICIOUS and if you have the chance, definitely check them out, be it for this drink or simply to sip it on a leisurely walk at the park. I wasnt able to find enough of it around to make it the basis of this cocktail however, hence the muddled ginger.

Minty Dollar

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“Then comes the zenith of man’s pleasure. Then comes the julep”

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Today marks the start of the Kentucky Derby. And that friends was my extent of Derby knowledge. I could have wiki’d something on the matter, pretended I can point to where Kentucky is on a map or perhaps looked for horse pictures on the internet but that wont end well. When does it ever? All I know is that this time of the year, people start drinking Mint Juleps (and random variations of the classic drink/remedy) like they’re going out of style while speaking in southern accents (Oh, just me? You’re no fun).

So what is a mint Julep and how is it a craft cocktail? If anything, this is one of those deceptive drinks that look simple but to really enjoy one like it was intended, it does require some proper technique. At its most basic, it’s bourbon, water, fire, heart! …With your powers combined, I am Capt– No ‘Planeteers’ in the crowd?! I judged my audience wrong. Again. So yeah, at its most basic level, a Mint Julep is Bourbon whiskey, water, sugar and mint. That’s it. But its getting all those pieces to work together is where the craft comes in.

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  • Kentucky bourbon
  • Fernet Branca
  • Absinthe
  • Simple sirup
  • mint leaves

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The sip should be fragrant, slightly sweet and depending on the bourbon you’re using, it would then take its charming characteristics. Delicious. No wonder people were drinking this shit as a remedy back in the day.

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Some folks like using mint-infused simple syrup and that’s probably the easiest and best way to get the great mint flavor combined but if you want to be a fancy southern belle (and who doesn’t?!), a silver cup is the way to go, and that calls for rubbing/muddling the mint around the borders of the cup.

I don’t own any silver (It’s not like I’m hunting werewolves or some shit) so I took a red ‘Dixie’ cup and painted it silver. Problem solved.

Here’s how I make a classic Mint Julep + my preferred version of one, which reduces the amount of Bourbon but adds Fernet Branca & a hint of absinthe.

The Mint Julep

2 1/2 oz Maker's Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
1/2 oz simple syrup (1:1)
~10 mint leaves

Take the mint leaves in your hand and lightly rub them all around the inside of your cup.
Top up your cup with crushed ice.
Measure and pour the simple syrup over the ice.
Pour the bourbon over the ice in a circular motion to chill & dilute it as it reaches the bottom.
You’ll need to add a bit more crushed ice to the top, as in all likelihood it now looks like you dropped it.

The garnish being paramount in a Mint Julep, take a couple of the nicest mint sprigs you can find and slap them a bit before pinning them in the cup. Add a straw and you’re all set.

Minty Dollar

2 oz Maker's Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz simple syrup
1/8 oz St. George Absinthe Verte
~10 mint leaves

Take the mint leaves in your hand and lightly rub them all around the inside of your cup.
Fill your cup 3/4 of the way with crushed ice.
Measure and pour the bourbon, Fernet, absinthe and simple simple syrup into the cup.
Take a spoon and while holding the cup from the top, stir it in a fast up & down motion.
Now top up the cup with crushed ice to make it look nice and round.

Take a couple of the nicest mint sprigs you can find and slap them a bit before pinning them in the cup. Add a straw and done.

[ Enjoy ]

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With regards to ice, if you have an ice crusher, a) God bless you and b) Can I borrow it forever? If not, I find that a mallet and Lewis bag do the work just fine; With the added bonus of it being one hell of a stress relief.

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*Maker’s Mark generously provided the bourbon & julep cup for this post.

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Lion’s Tail

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If you’ve never been to Drink [in the now frozen tundra that is Boston], the place consists of connected bars where they tailor cocktails based on your preference and suggest different drinks in accordance to it. That’s probably an accurate, yet oversimplification of this place but if you know what you like or want to try new things, this is definitely the place.

Some of our libations from that evening:

a vodka Monkey Gland.
a Pegu Club style gin-gin mule(?) Warning: drinking this was like tasting chocolate for the first time.
Dead Man’s Mule (shutTheFrontDoor was this good)
Chartreuse tasting [I now know the difference between the 2, you guys!]
Allspice Dram sampling [This is what lead to the conversation on the Lion’s Tail]

…basically anything with their in-house ginger beer could not go into my mouth fast enough.

This cocktail, though not my “favorite of all time!” is special because it was given to me as a birthday gift. Not the drink itself, but the knowledge of it, in the form of a hand written recipe [taken from some old looking book from the back of the bar], along with a tiny bottle of St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram wrapped in tape with the words “happy birthday”. It was a night of first (I’ve never been 31 until that day. I think Im doing fine with this age. I could do without the peeing blood part but that’s normal, right?), I’d never been to Drink and I had never met such a bad-ass working the stick as Estrellita, our bartender for the evening.

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Bourbon whiskey
Allspice Dram
Lime juice
Demerara syrup*
Angostura

*I first tested this out with regular simple syrup (1/1) before making some Demerara syrup and I gotta say, it really is better with the Demerara, as it gives it a subtle difference in the sweetness along with reinforcing the rich color of this drink.

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The real point of focus here, where your drink will really excel is the Bourbon, as the cocktail itself can be slightly on the sweet side in itself, you’d want to stay away from sweeter tasting bourbons (Maker’s Mark for example. Though that is still my favorite for a whiskey sour) and just the same, you don’t want to kill it with something that’s gonna kick its ass (I’m looking at you 101 wild turkey).

1 3/4 part Wild Turkey 81 bourbon
1/4 part St Elizabeth allspice dram
1/2 part lime juice
1/2 part demerara syrup
2 dashes of Angostura bitters

shake it like it owes you money.
double strain into a martini/coupe glass and garnish with a lime wheel.
[Enjoy]

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The Pledge

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This is the drink that made me give a shit about Rye.

I try and be as honest as I can on here cause, well, I’m a horrible liar. Add to that my lack of filter and social awareness and you have a person that you should never ask things like ‘do these pants make my ass look fat?’ or ‘are you only dating me to get closer to my dad?’…but I digress… Rye whiskey; To me it was just “that other whiskey” that they sell next to old man bourbon at the store. And even though I’ve had a bottle of Bulleit Rye for about a year now, it was mainly to taste it and be able to hang with the cool kids.

I’ve been drinking a lot more whiskey lately (no reason. It just happened), specifically in more complex versions (Corpse Reviver #4, The Stranger, just to name a few) where the rye really comes out, does a little dance and then makes me say dumb shit. So having discovered that rye really can be enjoyable, I decided to make something where I steal take bits and pieces from recipes and really figure out how rye works, its complexity, when to use it, how much of it, etc. So if anything, I’d advise you to find or make a drink where it becomes a learning experience of how and when to use spirits that you don’t quite “get”. Not just with rye but anything really. Just know that you wont like everything that’s out there and not everything will be right for you but hey, that’s life.

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Rye whiskey
Averna Amaro
Yellow Chartreuse
Angostura Bitters

The green stuff is much too strong for my taste but its yellow little brother seems to work just fine here. As for the Averna, it’ll give it a nice soft caramel note, which you *could* swap out for some Benedictine [per se] and it will give you a great result, if slightly different.

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This drink reminds me a bit of cinnamon gum. Like one of those big red gumballs (fireballs?) that get real hot in your mouth. Yeah. Like that. But with a lot of booze.

1/2 oz Averna Amaro
1/2 oz YELLOW chartreuse
1 1/2 oz Bulleit Rye [Why Bulleit? Because its delicious! But I hear good things about Rittenhouse]
2 dashes of Angostura

Since it’s all liquor here, stir it for a bit.
Take a lemon peel, squeeze some of the oils onto the cocktail and dip it. Bam. You just made a garnish.
[Enjoy]

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Norma Jean

2 parts rye whiskey [ Bulleit ]
1 part ginger liquor [ Domain de Canton ]
1/2 part fresh lemon juice
2 orange slices [ cut a nice round slice and again down the middle ]
3 slices of fresh ginger
Grapefruit bitters [ Scrappy’s ]

I came up with this drink when thinking of old school Hollywood and the idea that they weren’t from there but rather migrated there (like geese. beautiful, majestic geese) from a much humbler setting. It’s also a riff on a simpler drink called ‘Alcatraz’ from The American Cocktail.
This isn’t exactly something one of those fancy ol’ gals would drink but it is something that i think the man sitting with them would. Unless they only have Bourbon, in which case they’ve probably ordered an old fashioned…er…but that’s a drink for another day.

How to:
Take the orange slices, the ginger and the lemon juice; Muddle them sensually real good.
Add the ginger liquor, whiskey and a couple dashes of grapefruit bitters.
Shake it to wake it up, not put it to sleep (as Chris Mcmillian would say)!
Pour into a rocks glass with a big block of ice and garnish with an orange slice…or whatever you want. Its your party.
[ Enjoy ]