Articles

Margarita Flights

Want to throw a fun Margarita Party? Try Margarita Flights, mix up a few margaritas in advance and store in the freezer. Spoon them into small glasses, we used the trays they use for beer flight, and hand them out to guests.  We used fresh ingredients both fruit and juices as they make for a much better drink.  With all the wonderful fresh fruit available now it is just fun to play!  Just click on the pictures to see the recipes.

 

If you want your friends to have more input try putting together trays of fruits, tequila and supply liqueurs, ice and blenders.  Let them create their own personal margarita!

 

 

 

Or make a select few of our really interesting margaritas - like the Grapefruit Ginger Margarita.  Not as sweet with a bite of ginger, this margarita is great for summer.  Very refreshing and tart.

 

 

 

 

With the Moscow Mule all the rage now we made a Moscow Mule Margarita.  Fun and light the tequila and the ginger beer go great together and the lime kicks it into high gear.

 

 

 

 

The Blood Orange Margarita is one of the best looking of our new margaritas.  We juiced about 15 blood oranges added them to tequila, organic blood orange liqueur and more for an amazing margarita.  The blood orange wheel really sets off the color!

 

The Elderflower Margarita is very calm, the elderflower makes the tequila take a back seat making this a smooth and slightly sweet cocktail.  If you like a margarita that is a little on the mellower side with a refined taste this is the one for you.  We made our's with a silver tequila but it could be even better with a high end tequila.

 

 

Now this is fun, a chocolate margarita, the Mole Margarita uses a chocolate chili liqueur along with tequila as a base of a very interesting margarita.  Rimmed with chocolate it is both tasty and visually interesting.

 

 

It wouldn't be Midnight Mixologist unless we had something tropical.  The Mai Tai Margarita is fun and playful with lots of fruit notes. 

 

 

 

Blue Curacao and Blackberry Liqueur gives this margarita it's unique look.  The Black and Blue Margarita is Blackberry Liqueur on the bottom topped with a Margarita made with Blue Curacao instead of Grand Marnier.  Garnished with a strawberry for even more color it is a very cool looking drink. 

 

 

We like a combination of sweet and tart.  If you do as well try the Lemoncello Margarita.  It's fun like a lemon slushie with a bite, well maybe a strong bite!  If you are a lemoncello fan you'll be a huge fan of this drink.

 

 

 

We juiced some key limes for this drink.  While they are small they have a very distinct flavor.  More sophisicated than your run of the mill margarita this may turn into one of our favorite ones this summer.

 

 

Bourbon and Whiskey Review

In my early day as an aspiring connoisseur of whiskey I thought that whiskey was whiskey and that no matter whether it was scotch whiskey, bourbon whiskey, or Tennessee whiskey it all had about the same flavor profile.  Then I moved to Louisville, Kentucky.  Luckily I was smart enough to keep my mouth shut long enough not to make a fool of myself right away.  It was there that I got my first introduction to the distinction between the breeds, so to speak.  Of course, being in Kentucky I learned that it was the only place that true bourbon comes from, anything from anywhere else was simply a pretender.  I sat there in awe at my local bar as an old timer spouted his hard earned bourbon gospel between sips of his chosen bourbon of that day, Woodford Reserve if I remember correctly but it was quite some time ago.  Since that day I have embraced the finer differences between each breed and decided to go out and discover the draw of each in its own right.  As for my own journey it started with Jack Daniel’s usually in a Jack and Coke, no fruit, why taint something so wonderful with something as unnecessary as a garnish.  Then one day someone told me to try a Jack on the rocks with a twist, since that day I have not looked back. 

Once I started drinking my whiskeys straight I decided that it was time to start venturing out into those “expensive” brands and from there I started to appreciate the fine differences between each of the different small batch distillers and the care they put into their craft.  Since then I have discovered my favorite bourbon, Pappy van Winkle 15 year Family Reserve, which I could pick up at just about any liquor store in Louisville but never outside of the state, I recently discovered that they reason for this is that they only release very limited quantities a few times a year. 

Today I have a section of fine bourbons and one whiskey, the whiskey comes from Washington state so according to my friends from Kentucky is not a true bourbon but it shares some of the underlying characteristics in my mind so I’ve added to this list.  First let’s get the whiskey out of the way.  This is Dry Fly Washington Wheat Whiskey, a hand crafted small batch distiller out of, you guessed it, Washington.  With a light airy scent this whiskey belies its power, then once it hits your tongue you get just a hint of sweetness and a great corn flavor ending a smooth clean finish that leaves you reaching back for a second sip.  While this whiskey is tasty enough to stand on its own, it also has the smooth taste and flavor profile that would make it perfect for a classic cocktail such as a Whiskey Old fashioned.  By this I mean not the overly sweet concoction you are likely to get from some new bartender but rather the more traditional incarnation with just bitters a sugar cube and perhaps a garnish of orange. 

Second up is Jefferson’s, a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey made in very small batches.  This bourbon has a very faint sweet scent which is almost disconcerting, no smell usually means no taste, but then you taste it and things get really interesting.  Aged in lightly charred barrels so as to allow an assortment of flavors to show through making for a smooth clean taste that appeals to both the novice taster and the seasoned veteran.  Having hints of the char that is distinctive of whiskeys this bourbon also has the traditional sweetness that one would expect from a fine bourbon, a smooth finish leaves you with a multitude of flavors that will keep you going back for seconds searching for words to describe each and every one.  The wonderful finish and smooth taste of this bourbon make it perfect for sipping, with perhaps just one ice cube to chill it and help to unlock all of those intriguing flavors, or in a traditional bourbon drink such as a Mint Julep. 

Next up on the block is Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey finished in port wine barrels, a microblend which they are constantly “tinkering” with, as they call it, to produce the finest quality bourbon they can possibly offer.  With a distinctly port aroma, for a bourbon, Angel’s Envy has a smooth slightly sweeter than average taste that distinguishes it from other bourbons.  The sweetness is not at all saccharine or cloying but rather a different variety than more traditional bourbons, and the smooth rich flavor definitely conjures up memories of a glass of port after dinner, but with so many other layers this bourbon is perfect replacement for that port after dinner.  I would recommend this bourbon either on the rocks or up with a true twist of lemon, just the rind no actual fruit, to help accentuate the sweetness giving something it to play off of. 

Last but by no means least, is Blanton’s the original single barrel bourbon whiskey, proudly proclaimed on the label.  Each bottle is hand labeled with the date it was “dumped” and the batch from which it came from as well as the proof at which it was hand bottled.  This particular bottle was dumped on 2-16-13, from barrel no. 113 stored in warehouse H at 92 proof.  This bourbon has a very traditional essence, with a subtle sweet scent leading to a clean bourbon taste.  This bourbon is a no frills liquor that makes it stand out in its simplicity.  The flavors that you taste are exactly what you would expect from a bourbon, just a hint of a sweet molasses flavor followed by an incredibly smooth finish that leaves you completely content, that is until you realize that you have more and then you cannot wait to experience this all over again.  I would recommend this bourbon to be enjoyed straight, possibly with whiskey stones if you have them, so as to not diminish the wonderful flavor profile that they so painstakingly create. 

Overall each of these whiskeys have wonderful flavors and each is unique in its own way and therefore I do not have a favorite, however if I was going to make a whiskey cocktail I would choose the Dry Fly simply because it has a flavor that would coincide well with other ingredients, for a traditional bourbon drink I would choose the Jefferson’s due to its solid stand up flavor that wouldn’t be hampered by mixing, and if I wanted a bourbon to sip I would have to choose between the Blanton’s and the Angel’s Envy depending on my mood.  Lucky for me I have a bottle of each so that I don’t have to pick just one but if you are out and need just one I hope this has given you some insights into what each brings to the table.

 

For more information on each of these fine spirits please visit their websites:

Dry Fly:

http://www.dryflydistilling.com/

Jefferson’s:

http://jeffersonsbourbon.com/

Angel’s Envy:

http://www.angelsenvy.com/?/home

Blanton’s:

https://www.blantonsbourbon.com/#

Church and State LA

Who would have thought that a snack foods factory would one day get upgraded to a gourmet French bistro? In the newly re-commercialized Arts District of Downtown LA, you can find Church & State, housed in the old NABISCO factory, built in 1925. For the past five and a half years, Church & State has been offering “seasonal produce of the highest quality, and products from 100% humanely raised, treated, and naturally fed animals: 100% grass-fed, pasture raised beef and lamb, cage-free poultry, sustainable seafood.”

 

Their menu of seasonals and classics is complemented by a full bar of French wines and craft cocktails.

The décor of Church and State is charming. A rainbow of Edison lights are strung from corner to corner. Tea lights give a warm glow to each bistro table. Chalk boards line the walls. The bustling, brightly lit kitchen is visible from the rows of tables in the dining area.

No matter your alcohol of choice, Church & State has a cocktail for you. There's the Vesper Martini, for those inspired by James Bond's signature drink in Casino Royale. Or the intriguing Stumble & Fall, a bourbon cocktail containing the unique flavor combinations of walnut liqueur, pear, lemon, and rosemary. The Tap Out features El Jimador tequila and Tapatio-infused honey. These craft cocktails are nicely paired with a diverse hors d'ouevres menu which includes, as any French Bistro worth its salt should, escargot.

I had only eaten snails once in my life before this. At Le Bec Fin in Philadelphia, in 2001. I am of the opinion that escagot are basically a rubbery vehicle for garlic butter. But done right, they are a garlicy, buttery, briney treat. Church & State's Escargot get an A+ for presentation. The appetizer arrives on a plate of 6 white ceramic egg cups, each topped with a ballooning puff pastry crust. Pierce the golden-brown pastry crust with your fork and it steams, they are that fresh out of the oven. Inside is a single snail marinating in hot garlic butter. Get it all in one bite – flaky pastry, escargot, and garlic and spices. A perfect little appetizer.

Another hors d'ouevers that must be tried is the crostinis served with lavender honey goat cheese. The latter is served in a 4 oz ball jar that seemed to be bottomless. The waitstaff kept bringing us more crostinis and bread and still there was more sweet fragrant cheese to be scooped up.

My cocktails of choice to pair with these appetizers were two whiskey drinks, shared between me and my dining companion. The aptly named Fireside Chat is a warm spicy cocktail with chocolate bitters, orange oil, and firelit coffee liqueur. It tasted like Christmas. The earthier, darker Charro Negro is a Scotch cocktail that features nocino walnut liqueur and orange zest.

 

 

For entree, I chose the Coq Au Vin, paired with a garrigue red wine whose dry, earthy finish complemented the rich and fruity sauce, fragrant pearl onions, and dark, very meaty chicken. My companion ordered the Saint Jacques et Choux Fleurs seared scallops, which were so light and tender they tasted like they had been scooped out of the ocean an hour earlier and placed immediately in the frying pan.

 

There was so much more to try, but alas, our stomachs or livers do not have infinite capacity. Had we not been too full for dessert, I would have tried the crème brulee, the chocolate coffee custard with crème chantilly, or the chocolate tart with salted caramel. 

 

Ward III in TriBeCa

 

 

 

 

 

Ward III in TriBeCa has a section on the menu that is Bespoke Cocktails. Your choices are Spirit, Texture, Flavor Fruit and Spice. You tell the bartender what you like and they will craft you a custom cocktail that will be named by you and kept in the permanent archives. So you could request Vodka, Clean, Herbacious, Cucumber and Mint that they would know the proportions to make you a cocktail that would meet your flavor profile. They also have a small bar menu that offers Duck Nachos and Duck Sliders... Did we mention they serve duck, yummm. Bartenders are great and really know there stuff. You can either order off the drink menu, which is extensive, have them craft you a Bespoke Cocktail or pick something simple from their impressive list of spirits. There were many of their whiskeys that would be excellent on the rocks just to sip, no need to bespoke. The atmosphere is cool and hip, the staff dresses to fit the speakeasy atmosphere and they were pleasant and helpful both times we went. The music is a bit of a disconnect but since we really did go for the music, not, we had a great time anyway. Suggestions, if you like the mixology idea and want to go for a Bespoke Cocktail, look at the lists before you get there and have a general idea. We had one young woman down the bar that took quite a bit of time to choose. Hey we're thirsty here people...

http://www.ward3tribeca.com/menu/bespoke

111 Reade Street, New York, New York

212-240-9194212-240-9194

Events e-mail

Virgil

Among the pupuserias and donut shops of East Hollywood sits The Virgil, an intimate, darkly lit lounge  catering to those who crave unique and unusual cocktails.

Bartenders dressed in garb just slightly reminiscent of the 1890s (vests and collared shirts, but no ridiculous mustaches) take to microwave-sized blocks of ice with a chisel to chip off perfect glassy cubes. (Drinks are served “on a rock,” according to the menu) Brushed steel vases of raspberries and limes line the bars, at the ready for the skilled mixologists searching for a garnish.

For atmosphere, you've got some options. For a quieter evening, hit The Virgil on a Sunday with friends for drinks and a round of Backgammon. But if you prefer dueling jazzhouse and “funkmosphere” Djs in two lounges packed with the young hunting singles of Silverlake, your best bet is a Friday or Saturday night. Pick a side when you enter. The Stage Side on the left, often featuring live musical acts or Djs, or the B-side on the right, a smaller lounge room with a stack of board games, a jukebox, and a photo booth. Happy hour runs from 7 – 9pm nightly, and all night on Tuesdays. Show up for $15 whiskey flights on Whiskey Wednesdays and take advantage of the free jukebox. There's a monthly variety show called The Victory Lap, a weekly comedy show called Hot Tub, board games and/or movie showings on Sunday nights, as well as literary readings, and musical performances.

The drinks are reasonable priced. Craft cocktails run from $10 - $12, only $6 at Happy Hour. 

Room and Board is a gin and cognac drink, sweetened with lavender honey and finished with saison and lemon. Intrigued by the combination, I ordered it. The saison gave it a forward bitter flavor, which overpowered the rest of the hints. It wasn't overwhelming, but the citrus notes were strong enough to make it difficult to detect the lavender honey, which I found a little disappointing. I was intrigued by the Llama to Lima, however, which featured Peruvian Brandy and lime. Not a combination you see very often, and I was glad to have tried it. Next time I go, I plan to try the Frostbite (fire-roasted jalapeno tequila, cantaloupe, agave, lime).

But if you ask me, the standouts on the menu are the Wu-Tang Fizz and the Uncle Weeber's Old Fashioned. Wu-Tang boasts a dreamy roster of ingredients: bourbon, vanilla, cream, egg white, orange bitters, citrus, soda. Like an antique egg cream soda grew up and rebelled against its parents. The egg whites are whipped to creamy frothy perfection, making this drink a true treat. Uncle Weeber's Old Fashioned hits you with the spiciness of barbecue bitters that linger and expand on the palate long after you sip. Since two of the listed ingredients are “smoke and magic,” we can only assume that the bartenders work some voodoo behind the counter to make it so delicious.

Lauren Eggert-Crowe (laureneggertcrowe.com)

@laureggertcrowe on Twitter

Honey, I Need You!

 

 

Here are some facts you might not have known about honey:

 

  1. It's the only food that never spoils. The incredibly high sugar content sucks the life out of bacteria. This is another reason why honey is excellent sweetener when you're sick. It has antimicrobial properties.
  2. Honey is best stored in dry places, because it has a tendency to suck excess moisture from the air. Too much moisture and it will ferment.
  3. Despite its delicious taste and healing properties, honey is not what bears are after when they dive for the hive. Pooh-Bear and his cousins are actually hunting for the protein-rich bee larvae.
  4. Different plants produce different honey – whether it's clover, mesquite, sage, or beet – with a variety of textures and flavor notes. Honey has an earthier, fuller flavor profile than cane sugar. And that's why . . . .
  5. It's GREAT in cocktails!

 

The science on sugar is out; it's not very good for us. If you're already making a slight health transgression by imbibing a boozy cocktail, you might as well swap the simple syrup for a richer, tastier substitute: honey. Not to mention it's a relatively inexpensive way to make your drinks feel fancier, more gourmet, more crafted. Experiment with different types of honey from varying sources. Make sure you use honey that's been stored well and hasn't fermented. And remember that because of its strong, distinct flavor, a little goes a long way. Also, because honey's viscosity and density are so different than water and alcohol, it can be difficult to mix it into cold drinks. Best to create a honey syrup first by dissolving it into warm water. Here are a few great recipes to try out:

 

The Bee's Knees

 

Named by flappers in the old days, no honey-cocktail is complete without this classic.

 

2 oz. Gin

¾ oz  Honey Syrup made with Raw Organic Honey and Water

½ oz fresh lemon juice

Lemon Twist
Ice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Shake, strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

 

 

Honey Gingerbread

 

What a great drink! If you like gingerbread you will love this Honey Gingerbread. Smooth, sweet and flavorful it is a great drink to serve with food and for parties. It will go with anything! The lime cuts the sweetness a little and adds a tart after bite.

Ingredients: 

2 oz Jack Daniels® Tennessee Honey

1 oz Ginger Liquor

1 oz Gingerbread Syrup

2 oz Limeade or juice of one large lime

Preparation: 

In a shaker with ice add all ingredients and shake well. Strain into highball glass over ice and garnish with a lime wedge.

http://midnightmixologist.com/Honey-Gingerbread

 

Whiskey The Pooh

The punny name alone should be enough to draw anyone in to this simple cocktail from Bar None Drinks:

 

2 oz Scotch Whisky

½ oz Sour Mix

1 tsp Honey

 

Mix and serve up.

http://www.barnonedrinks.com/drinks/w/whiskey-the-pooh-5469.html

 


If you live in LA, check out the newly opened Honeycut, a speakeasy-inspired bar by the folks behind Varnish and Seven Grand, offering dozens of vintage gourmet cocktails. Or order an Andalusia Crash at Bow & Truss in North Hollywood.

 

The next time you mix some cocktails, ditch the sugar and open a jar of honey for a sweet and healthy surprise. Make a honey drink for your friends; they'll think you're the bee's knees.

 

And check out Holly Bishop's fascinating book Robbing the Bees for more facts about the history and science of honey.

 

Lauren Eggert-Crowe (laureneggertcrowe.com)

@laureggertcrowe on Twitter

Oscars

 

We put together a bunch of drinks to celebrate the nominees for the top movies and best and supporting actors. So have a party and see if your friends can figure out which drink goes with which! We picked out some tongue and cheek or maybe a few literal drinks but feel free to let us know your ideas.

Best Picture

Big Short

Four outsiders to Wall Street use what are sometimes perceived as eccentric insights into the U.S. financial markets to predict the meltdowns of the housing market and big banks in 2008. Betting together on the coming catastrophe, the quartet manages to invest shrewdly and amass a fortune, all while exposing the corruption of several large financial institutions.

 

Bridge of Spies In 1957, in the midst of the Cold War, New York insurance lawyer James Donovan is enlisted to provide a pro-bono defense for Rudolf Abel, who is accused of spying for the Russians. The CIA then sends Donovan to East Berlin to conduct precarious negotiations with the Soviets to exchange Abel for a recently captured U.S. Air Force pilot, Francis Gary Powers. A couple of 50's cocktails could be the ticket.
 

 

 

 

For Brooklyn In 1952, Eilis Lacey leaves Ireland to immigrate to Brooklyn, where she has a better chance of finding work. Crushed by homesickness, Eilis finds her spirits lifted by an Italian-American suitor with whom she falls in love. When she must return to Ireland, Eilis is courted by a hometown boy and finds herself torn between two countries and the two men who love her.

 

 

 One of the most visually stunning films in years and a tour de force, Mad Max: Fury Road has everything a good film should have suspense, terror, loss, overcoming fear and learning the meaning of really wanting to live again. We think the Point of No Return or Nuclear Ice Tea suits the bill.

 

 

 

 

The Martian: Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead and left behind when an unexpected storm hits Mars, forcing his crewmates to abandon their mission. Watney, a botanist, must engineer ways to feed himself and survive the harsh environment, and after he reestablishes communication with NASA, scientists around the globe race against time to rescue him.  We think Newton's Fall is the perfect drink.  

The Revenant:

While on a danger-laden journey through the American wilderness in the early 1800s, frontiersman Hugh Glass is badly mauled by a grizzly and abandoned by his fellow trappers. Barely surviving his wounds, Glass is driven by thoughts of his family and a desire for revenge as he endures the frigid winter and pursues the men who left him for dead.

The Spotlight:

In 2001, the journalists of The Boston Globe's Spotlight team begin investigating Father John Geoghan, who is accused of molesting more than 80 boys. As they dig deeper and acknowledge their paper's own failings, the team uncovers a conspiracy of lawyers and government officials who helped the Boston Archdiocese hide the pedophilia of many priests and deny justice to the victims.  Their premise seemed to be the name of this drink - Catch me if you can.  Looks like they finally did.

 

Room:

A young woman who has been held in captivity in a small shed for seven years tries to make as normal a life as she can for her five-year-old son, Jack, who knows her only as "Ma." When Ma and Jack escape their captor, Old Nick, they must cope with the outside world and forge relationships with Ma's conflicted family.  We picked something to help make playing catchup a little easier.

 

Great movies are great fun! Have your own screening party and cocktails. If you don’t see any you like here, well there are plenty more around the site. Just take a look.

North Shore Distillery

How do you become named the best local distiller by Chicago Magazine in August 2013?  North Shore Distillery, out of Lake Bluff, IL, did it by slow controlled growth, attention to detail and crafting small excellent batches.  As the first artisanal distillery in Illinois, Sonja and Derek Kassebaum put their passion into each of their company’s spirits.  Their Distiller’s Gin No. 6 has received 95 pts Gold Medal/Exceptional Rating by the Beverage Testing Institute in 2008 and 91 pts by American Craft Spirits in 2011.  They were even rated the Best Gin by Chicago Magazine over Bombay Sapphire, Hendrick’s and Tanqueray 10 back in 2007.  They also produce Distiller’s Gin No. 11 which came in with 94 pts by the Beverage Testing Institute in 2008.  North Shore Vodka and Sol Chamomile Citrus Vodka are their answers to small batch Vodkas and have been well received by Time Out Chicago, the New York Times, Cooking Light and Epicurious.com. 

They also produce Aquavit Private Reserve.  Aquavit is Scandinavian in origin where it has been produced since the 15th century.   Aquavit means water of life and is an important part of the Scandinavian drinking culture.  Aquavit is usually served at important holidays and events like weddings.  In the US you can find Aquavit regionally in areas where there is a large population of Scandinavians.  North Shore Distillery won a Gold Medal in the 2007 San Francisco World Spirits competition and accolades in multiple publications for its warm color and herb flavors that run to cardamom and cumin with lemon grass and pink peppercorn.

In talking with Sonja, she and Derek came to the distillery business through Derek who was looking for a venture that would allow him to follow his passions.  Derek who was a chemical engineer by training and Sonja a human resources lawyer split up the duties based on their strengths.  She runs all the marketing and communications and he runs the day to day operations.  They start with an idea of where they want go in terms of flavor profiles and ingredients.  They use the best and freshest ingredients available sometimes even peeling fruit themselves.  When asked how they decide when a spirit is perfect Sonja said there are three people that have input, all with very different palates, and when they all decide its perfect then its right.  Then they have a tasting room and do marketing events to hear back from their customers.  Sonja and Derek believe in quality over quantity and producing world class spirits for people who value the art of a master distiller.

What is next for them?  They believe in long term slow steady growth by focusing on their core customers, people who have come to count on the quality and taste of North Shore Distillery.  There are areas that they would like to explore next around aged spirits like rum and whiskey.  Whatever they approach they are sure to bring their passion for producing the very best in spirits along.  We can’t wait to see and taste what they do next.

Take a look at their event calendar:

http://www.northshoredistillery.com/calendar.htm

Or stop by for a tour and tasting:

North Shore Distillery, LLC, P.O. Box 279, Lake Bluff, IL 60044
Phone: 847-574-2499

http://www.northshoredistillery.com/about.htm

Interested in purchasing take a look at the retailers that carry North Shore's Products:

http://www.northshoredistillery.com/buy.php

New Years Eve Cocktails

We can take planning the perfect New Years Eve Party to a whole new level. From great punches to stand alone cocktails we can provide recipes that are tried and true. We mix all of our recipes, classic and our own and make sure the proportions and taste will appeal to a broad range of tastes. Go with what you like and see which ones work for you. We recommend pretesting, oh darn, the cocktails before the party and then putting out all the ingredients for just a few.

Oh be Joyful is the perfect elegant New Years Eve Cocktail. A step above most cocktails this works best is small gatherings or parties where there is a bartender present. The sound of ice in the shaker, frozen cocktail glasses and the wonder taste of an elegant drink elevates your party to something special.

 

Orange Cardamon Gin And Tonic is a great winter drink for Gin lovers. The Root liqueur gives it a botanical spicy flavor like root beer and the Dry Fly Gin has just the right balance, not too much juniper, to blend it all together. Adding notes of orange citrus makes it the perfect winter drink. Experiment with the Gins if you prefer a London Dry style but we really liked the smoothness of this drink. It could convert a few non-Gin drinkers!

 

Partridge In A Pear Tree rocks, we love winter pears and this cocktail is amazing. The Pear Cinnamon Italian Soda, (purchased at World Market), pairs up with the liqueur and pear flavored Vodka with a hint of cinnamon.This could be one of those drinks that become your go to drink for both fall and winter!

 

 

 

Fresh, clean and with a great fall to winter taste. Turkey Cinnamon Sour a Wild Turkey drink will please the whiskey cocktail drinker. Not too sweet with a fair bit of sour from the lemon and a touch of sweet from the soda this is a great entry level cocktail. Easy to make and even easier to drink.

 

 

 

Elegant and sophisticated in both looks and taste the Enlightened Martini is pretty amazing. We started by using organic Dry Fly® Gin, a light clean gin with a smooth taste and just the barest hint of juniper. This drink combines that with substituting the vermouth with another botanicals, Elderflower Liqueur. We used Thatchers® which is also organic for one of the smoothest takes on a martini we've had in a while.

 

The blend of dark rum, chocolate and honey make Sweet Yulea warm cozy drink. Great for after dinner or sipping with your pals it has enough taste to hold up to dessert as well. This drink in one hand and a bowl of ice cream in the other... HEAVEN

 

Bourbon and citrus make the perfect holiday blend. Boxing Day is an easy going cocktail that keeps a party going and can be sipped over a long evening. The blood orange and lemon are a perfect balance to the sweet of the bourbon and simple syrup. This could easily turn into a year around favorite.

 

A fun twist on a Margarita Xmas Margarita that's red and green for Christmas. The ginger beer goes well with the Tequila and adds a nice tang. A pretty fun take on the classic Margarita on the rocks!

 

Spiced Coconut Eggnog is a tropical twist on an eggnog drink with dark rum and coconut. To add a little more kick it is paired with some coconut Vodka. Too high proof for your party? Go to 1 oz Dark Rum and 1/2 oz Coconut Vodka. Love the addition of the Coconut and Cinnamon for a fun holiday taste. Anyone for a Christmas Luau?

 

If you like gingerbread you'll like Cinnamon And Spice Gingerbread Martini. It is a fun holiday drink with a comfort food taste. We used this amazing, albeit expensive, maple syrup. There are times when using the best of something pays off. A very different unique cocktail that will be a hit at your holiday bash!

 

Nothing says the holidays like a little sparkle! We made a kickin' Devils Food Chocolate Martini and added chocolate stars and real editable gold flakes. (available on Amazon) This is a fun girly drink and one of the few that when you finish the drink well you have to eat the chocolate stars. Oh darn! Holiday cocktails should be fun and that's just what this one is, fun.

 

Christmas Citrus is perfect for the holiday season from Thanksgiving through Christmas. It makes up in a great batch punch for larger groups. Colorful, tasty and beautiful. Everything you want to have for a cocktail party.

 

Earthy botanical, Santas Mule drink with the combination of the sweet of the cranberry Vodka and the spicy notes of the Green Chartreuse and Ginger Beer, this is a different kinda cocktail that could make Santa trade his reindeer in for this mule. Move over Rudolf!

 

For the Rye drinkers in your group a fun and festive approach to a holiday cocktail is the Salty Caramel Sour. You omit the candy if you want as the caramel syrup does most of the work but that little hint of chocolate is really quite tasty. Your preference.

 

We have to admit that we really have fun making up the names of these drinks! The Crazy Elf is a wonderful play off the flavors of the Tennessee Honey and sweet and spice notes. The Rosemary makes this drink. It also makes a beautiful holiday presentation for your cocktail event.

 

Santas Ice Tea is a great iced tea drink that could also be served warm. We preferred it chilled but either way its a great cocktail. The whiskey and the chai tea really complement each other and the cherry liqueur off set the spice notes and sweetened up the tea. Yum is all we have to say. Great winter drink!

 

A creamy holiday cocktail that looks as pretty as it tastes. Candy Cane Martini is a yummy holiday drink. Add a candy cane tied with a holiday ribbon for a festive presentation. Cocktail glasses can be prepared/chilled in the fridge the day before the event. The syrup will swirl better if both the glass and syrup are chilled.

 

 

Angel's Kiss is a sweet layered drink that has been around since the 80's. Too fun but just one can go a long away.

 

Two of my favorites Champagne and Vodka. Just a tip to make this the best tasting brunch drink, chill the Vodka in the freezer before mixing your Arctic Kiss while the chilling over ice works it introduces water into the drink through the shards of ice!

 

Bacardi Cocktails were originally a Daiquiri served straight up just Rum and lime juice. As the drink became Americanized it included grenadine which gives it a sweeter taste and red color.

 

There have been whole blogs books and articles written on the Martini and if it should be shaken or stirred. Stirring is recommended for all drinks that do not contain fruit juice as it keeps the ice pieces created when shaking from diluting the drink. Martini people take their gin very seriously. So let’s break it down, Martinis = Gin and Vermouth. Modern Martinis use dry or white Vermouth. Now a days a dry Martini is one that has very little Vermouth, the dryer the smaller the portion of Vermouth to Gin, those with more Vermouth are wet. A dirty Martini is one where the brine from the olive jar is poured into the drink adding a salty taste. When you move into Vodka Martinis these are not true Martinis but are part of the drinks that are called Martinis or fill in the blank – tinis. Since we are more interested in what tasted good, a personal choice, we have a variety of Martinis including some that are tini’s called that more because of the glass they are served in as opposed to being a classic Martini. So have yours shaken or stirred, it’s up to you! Just enjoy. Like all spirit only drinks this is where you want to spend you dollars on the good stuff. Have a Gin tasting party with everyone bringing different brands and you’ll find that the tastes vary wildly. Have fun and bottoms up.

 

Black Russians first appeared in 1949, and is ascribed to Gustave Tops, a Belgian bartender, who created it at the Hotel Metropole located in Brussels in honor of Perle Mesta, the US ambassador to Luxembourg. The cocktail name stems from the use of vodka, a stereotypical Russian drink and the blackness of the coffee liqueur. The drink remains popular even today with its strong taste and great kick.

 

Classic is good, Champagne Cocktail fits that description. Perfect for almost any celebration, easy to set up and serve. Classics are classics for a reason!

 

One theory on the origin of the Gibson has Charles Dana Gibson responsible for the creation of the Gibson, when he supposedly asked Charley Connolly, the bartender of the Players Club in New York City, to improve upon the martini's recipe, so Connolly simply substituted an onion for the olive and named the drink after the patron. Another story given by Charles McCabe of the San Francisco Chronicle states it is from San Francisco. A.P. Gibson remembered that when he was a boy, his great-uncle, prominent San Francisco businessman Walter D. K. Gibson (1864–1938), was said to have created it at the Bohemian Club in the 1890s. Whatever the origin the drink remains a classic twist on the martini. Simple and clean usually served with a single onion it remains a standard.

 

A great cold weather drink, the Nutty Irishman, we think ski lodge good, sitting before a roaring fire with a great book and your feet propped up. Rich and decadent a perfect guilty pleasure.

 

OMG, this is like drinking your favorite candy bar! Salted Caramel Martini is awesome if you you want something sweet and yummy. Vanilla Vodka, Frangelico and Kahlua along with some salted Caramel Syrup blend to perfection.

 

The perfect after dinner drink or fun drink to share with the girls S'mores Martini is yummy. This drink is sweet, strong and smooth. Not to mention it tastes just like S'mores!

 

A very interesting the Volcano looking drink as it layers itself as you pour. Lots of fun for a brunch or baby shower it tastes great and looks really fun

 

 

 

 

New Years Eve Punch

 

 

A light fun Punch drink that works up well in a batch. This punch has a fairly low proof but lots of flavor. Nice punch to serve to make sure all your guests have an option to stronger libations. Tastes a lot like citrus fruit punch with just a little tang from the sake. Very tasty. 

 

Ingredients:

2 Cups Sake

1 Cup Maraschino Liqueur

4 Cups Fresh Pineapple Juice

4 Cups Fresh Orange Juice

2 Cups Fresh Lemon Juice

Makes about a gallon and a half of punch.

Prep:

Mix up the spirits ahead of time and put in the fridge. Slice oranges and lemons and place them in the punch bowl along with 1 jar of strained whole maraschino cherries. Cut fresh pineapple spears or flags and set them up with the glasses.

Bahaman Breeze

 

Very Tropical with a nice kick, this punch will be sure to make your party like a day at the beach. Light on mixers and higher proof make sure to serve this with food.

Ingredients:

2 cups Dark Rum

2 cups Coconut Rum

1 cup Apricot Brandy

1 cup Banana Liquor

1/2 cup grenadine

1/2 cup honey

2 cups Orange Juice

2 cups Pineapple Juice

Makes about a gallon and a half of punch.

Prep:

Mix up in advance and chill. Make ice cubes from a mixture of orange and pineapple juice flavored with enough grenadine to turn the ice to a reddish gold. These look so pretty floating in the punch bowl. Prepare sliced oranges and pineapple flags for garnish. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Spice:

 

This is the perfect Thanksgiving drink. It goes well before during and after dinner, is low proof, can be served as a punch for a large group.

Ingredients:

2 cups Brandy

4 cups Apple Cider (half gallon)

1/2 cup Aperol

1 cup Cranberry Juice

Makes about 1 gallon of punch.

Prep:

Thin slice apples and drop those into the punch bowl. Pre-freeze Apple Cider in an ice cube tray to use as ice to keep the punch from watering down. Makes approximately one gallon. Add cinnamon sticks as a stirrer if desired.

Stiff Upper Lip:

 

A stronger more adult cider drink Stiff Upper Lip will give you just the opposite if you drink too many. The lemon and gin along with the apple cider makes for a refreshing fall drink. Be aware it packs a punch but doesn't taste like it!

Ingredients:

3 Cups Gin

4 Cups Apple Cider

1/2 Cup Triple Sec

Lemon Slices

Sliced Apples

Makes about 1 gallon of punch.

Prep:

Mix all ingredients together and chill. In a punch bowl over ice add more sliced apples and punch. Serve in prepared punch glasses with thin lemon slices and cinnamon sticks.

Christmas Citrus:

 

 

This drink is perfect for the holiday season from Thanksgiving through Christmas. It makes up in a great batch punch for larger groups. Colorful, tasty and beautiful. Everything you want to have for a cocktail party.

 

Ingredients:

2.5 Cups Cranberry Vodka

3.5 Cups Lemonade

1.5 Cups Cranberry Juice

1 Cup Aperol

Prep:

Mix all liquids together and chill for at least 4 hours. Make ice from equal parts of lemonade and cranberry juice. Thin slice lemons and limes and add fresh cranberries. Place all sliced fruit in the punch bowl and add prepared ice and punch. So beautiful and festive.

Amaretto Cider

 

 

Perfect for a holiday punch bowl and a great fall drink Amaretto Cider hits all the right party vibes. Light, clean not too strong. Add a bowl of sliced apples and set up glasses with a cinnamon stick in each one and let the party begin.

 

Ingredients:

3 Cups Amaretto

1 Cup Triple Sec

4 Cups Apple Cider

Sliced Apples

Cinnamon Sticks

Prep:

We used Cointreau for a Triple Sec and added apple slices for a wonderful warm punch. Warm your Apple Cider in a crock pot until just before the party starts. Add Amaretto and Cointreau along with the apples. Stir well. You can add a little simple syrup if you need to sweeten. Garnish punch glasses with lemon wheels and cinnamon sticks.

Batches and Punch Drinks

Punches are a great way to have a party without the expense of daunting task of putting together a full bar.  You can also control the proof and offer guests alternative to traditional mixed drinks.  From fun and fruity and warm and tasty we have something for every event!

 

Brandy Punch:

 

 

 

Ingredients:

1 750lt bottle of Champagne or Sparkling wine

2 Cups of Brandy

1/2 Cup of Port

1/4 Cup Maraschino Liqueur

1/2 Cup Fresh Lime Juice

1/2 Cup Pineapple Juice

Sliced Oranges, Limes and Lemons

Cubed Pineapple and whole Maraschino Cherries

Prep:

Mix all fruit, juices and spirits except sparkling wine together and chill for 4 hours.  Right before serving add sparking wine.  Garnish the glasses and leave next to the punch.  Don't add ice, place bowl on ice to keep the punch from watering down!

Hibiscus Punch:

Ingredients:

2 Cups Absolut Hibiscus Vodka

1/4 Cup Hibiscus Simple Syrup - Made by soaking dry hibiscus in simple syrup over night

2 bottles of Prosecco Sparkling Wine

Sliced Lemons Oranges and Limes, Fresh Raspberries, Blue Berries and Stawberries.

Prep:

 Slice limes, oranges and lemons and place them in the pitcher along with ice made from lemonade and fresh fruit.  Add in Vodka, Simple Syrup and berries, stir well.  Add Prosecco or Sparkling wine of your choice.  Pour over ice more berries in a glass.  Garnish with fresh strawberries on the glasses and serve!

 

 

 

 

Pink Lemonade:

Ingredients:

2.5 Cups Citron Vodka

1/2 Cup Chamborg

5 Cups of Lemonade

Sliced Lemons and Limes

Prep:

Mix up the spirits ahead of time and put in the fridge. Slice limes and lemons and place them in the pitcher along with ice made from lemonade and fresh fruit.  Put lime or lemon wheels on the glasses and serve! 

 

 

 

Carolina Peach Sangria:

Watch out for this one, you'll never see the Vodka coming.  I was drinking this at a party and wondered why I was talking so much then I stood up and realized why.  This one is sneaky good!

Ingredients

Make about 9 cups

1 bottle rose wine
3/4 cup lemon vodka
1/2 cup peach nectar
6 tablespoons thawed frozen lemonade concentrate
1 pound ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
1 (6-oz.) package fresh raspberries
2 cups club soda, chilled

Prep:

Combine first 4 ingredients in a pitcher.  Stir in peaches and raspberries.  Cover and chill 8 hours.
Stir in chilled club soda just before serving.

 

 

 

White Summer Sangria:

Ingredents:

1 bottle 750lt White Wine

1/4 cup Passion Fruit Juice

1 cup Lime Juice

Fresh Strawberries, peaches, pears, grapes lemons, limes raspberries and mint.

Prep:

In shaker pour all liquid ingredients into pitcher with ice.  Stir well and add fruit.  Chill overnight.  Add ice and serve.  Trick to keep it from watering down.  Use some of the sangria and put it in an ice cube tray.  Freeze and use as ice.  The ice will not water down your sangria and people drink.  Add fruit and garnish to each glass and serve.

 

New Years Eve Punch:

 

A light fun Punch drink that works up well in a batch. This punch has a fairly low proof but lots of flavor. Nice punch to serve to make sure all your guests have an option to stronger libations. Tastes a lot like citrus fruit punch with just a little tang from the sake. Very tasty. 

 

Ingredients:

2 Cups Sake

1 Cup Maraschino Liqueur

4 Cups Fresh Pineapple Juice

4 Cups Fresh Orange Juice

2 Cups Fresh Lemon Juice

Makes about a gallon and a half of punch.

Prep:

Mix up the spirits ahead of time and put in the fridge. Slice oranges and lemons and place them in the punch bowl along with 1 jar of strained whole maraschino cherries. Cut fresh pineapple spears or flags and set them up with the glasses.

 

 

Bahaman Breeze

 

Very Tropical with a nice kick, this punch will be sure to make your party like a day at the beach. Light on mixers and higher proof make sure to serve this with food.

Ingredients:

2 cups Dark Rum

2 cups Coconut Rum

1 cup Apricot Brandy

1 cup Banana Liquor

1/2 cup grenadine

1/2 cup honey

2 cups Orange Juice

2 cups Pineapple Juice

Makes about a gallon and a half of punch.

Prep:

Mix up in advance and chill. Make ice cubes from a mixture of orange and pineapple juice flavored with enough grenadine to turn the ice to a reddish gold. These look so pretty floating in the punch bowl. Prepare sliced oranges and pineapple flags for garnish. Enjoy!

 

 

Thanksgiving Spice:

 

 

This is the perfect Thanksgiving drink. It goes well before during and after dinner, is low proof, can be served as a punch for a large group.

Ingredients:

2 cups Brandy

4 cups Apple Cider (half gallon)

1/2 cup Aperol

1 cup Cranberry Juice

Makes about 1 gallon of punch.

Prep:

Thin slice apples and drop those into the punch bowl. Pre-freeze Apple Cider in an ice cube tray to use as ice to keep the punch from watering down. Makes approximately one gallon. Add cinnamon sticks as a stirrer if desired.

 

 

Stiff Upper Lip:

A stronger more adult cider drink Stiff Upper Lip will give you just the opposite if you drink too many. The lemon and gin along with the apple cider makes for a refreshing fall drink. Be aware it packs a punch but doesn't taste like it!

Ingredients:

3 Cups Gin

4 Cups Apple Cider

1/2 Cup Triple Sec

Lemon Slices

Sliced Apples

Makes about 1 gallon of punch.

Prep:

Mix all ingredients together and chill. In a punch bowl over ice add more sliced apples and punch. Serve in prepared punch glasses with thin lemon slices and cinnamon sticks.

 

 

Christmas Citrus:

 

This drink is perfect for the holiday season from Thanksgiving through Christmas. It makes up in a great batch punch for larger groups. Colorful, tasty and beautiful. Everything you want to have for a cocktail party.

 

Ingredients:

2.5 Cups Cranberry Vodka

3.5 Cups Lemonade

1.5 Cups Cranberry Juice

1 Cup Aperol

Prep:

Mix all liquids together and chill for at least 4 hours. Make ice from equal parts of lemonade and cranberry juice. Thin slice lemons and limes and add fresh cranberries. Place all sliced fruit in the punch bowl and add prepared ice and punch. So beautiful and festive.

 

 

Amaretto Cider

 

Perfect for a holiday punch bowl and a great fall drink Amaretto Cider hits all the right party vibes. Light, clean not too strong. Add a bowl of sliced apples and set up glasses with a cinnamon stick in each one and let the party begin.

 

Ingredients:

3 Cups Amaretto

1 Cup Triple Sec

4 Cups Apple Cider

Sliced Apples

Cinnamon Sticks

Prep:

We used Cointreau for a Triple Sec and added apple slices for a wonderful warm punch. Warm your Apple Cider in a crock pot until just before the party starts. Add Amaretto and Cointreau along with the apples. Stir well. You can add a little simple syrup if you need to sweeten. Garnish punch glasses with lemon wheels and cinnamon sticks.

 

 

Tropical Lifesaver

 

The Tropical Lifesaver tastes just like what it sounds like. Sweet and smooth it is perfect for pool parties and summer outings. Mixes up great as a punch.

 

Ingredients:

4 Cups Absolut® Citron

2 Cups Malibu® Coconut Run

2 Cups Melon Liqueur

1 Cup Sour Mix

1 Cup of Pineapple Juice

Makes a little over a gallon of punch.

Prep:

Mix all ingredients and chill well. Add sliced pineapple and orange slices in the punch bowl. Garnish with a flower or Hawaiian umbrella!

 

 

Zombie

 

The Zombie is a cocktail made of a variety of fruit juices, liqueurs, and various rums, so named for its perceived effects upon the drinker with the amount of alcohol in them turning them in essence into a Zombie. It first appeared in the late 1930s, invented by Donn Beach of Hollywood's Don the Beachcomber restaurant. It became very popular after an appearance at the 1939 World’s Fair. Legend has it that Donn Beach originally concocted the Zombie to help a hung-over customer get through a long day. According to the original recipe, the Zombie cocktail included three different kinds of rum, lime juice, falernum, Angostura bitters, Pernod, grenadine, and “Don’s Mix,” a combination of cinnamon syrup and grapefruit juice.Due to the popularity of the cocktail during the Tiki craze and the fact that Beach both kept his recipe secret and occasionally altered it, today there are many variations of the Zombie made at many restaurants and bars, some showing few similarities to the original cocktail. We have 2 of our favorites, the Zombie and The Zombie Returns. We suggest drinking these with friends during an evening of watching Walking Dead or any of your favorite Zombie movies, Zombieland!!! They are much more scary or funny depending. Either way it good to make sure you don’t have much to do the next day.

 

Ingredients:

1 Cup White Rum

3 Cups Golden Rum

1.5 Cups Dark Rum

1 Cup 151 (hold to the side)

1 Cup Pineapple Juice

2 Cups Lime Juice

1 Cup Paypaya Juice

1/2 Cup Super Fine Sugar

Prep:

In a punch bowl stir together all these ingredients except the 151. Slice up limes, oranges and use about 1 jar of maraschino cherries and add to the punch. Reserve 151 for adding to the top of each drink as you add them to a glass with ice. Garnish with mint (either straight or dipped in lime juice and then superfine sugar) and/or fruit. Makes about 1.5 gallons.  This one needs a designated driver!  

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