Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Elderflower Grapefruit Akvavit Sour (Moody Mixologist Recipe)


Let me go on the record that a list of ingredients in the drink isn't a name. At least we pretty much know how to make this cocktail just by reading the name. But I have to say that there is a lot of good things going on with this cocktail. A Sour is always a crowd pleaser, but the well-kept secret that akvavit and grapefruit juice, plus the elderflower notes of St. Germain, is a stroke of genius. 

Funny enough, I'm using my own akvavit, and even though this bottle of St. Germain is authentic, the liqueur is my own combination of elderflower syrup and raw spirits. It's a good substitution, however. For my raw spirit, I use Smirnoff #56 for hit 100-proof kick. It is also 2-1 with MurLarkey Justice white whiskey in my homemade akvavit. Even if you don't like the herbaceous flavor of akvavit, you should give this cocktail a try. It has a lot of things that will win over most people, even if they are shy about trying unusual spirits. 

  • 1 1/2 oz. akvavit (homemade used)
  • 1 oz. pink grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz. elderflower liqueur (homemade used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz. sugar syrup
  • lemon twist

Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist lemon zest over the glass and drop it in. 

Bristow Penicillin


I plan on doing a few variations on the Penicillin, a smokey whiskey cocktail that resembles a ginger and smoke Whiskey Sour. My first of these variations is made with MurLarkey Smokehouse whiskey. The raw spirit of this whiskey is a craft corn and malted barley mash with a lot of intense flavor by itself. It is later aged in oak that has been smoked with bacon! While the result is very far from scotch, Smokehouse is a Virginia whiskey with savory notes that are reminiscent of peat smoke.

The other fun ingredient in this cocktail (besides the unsmoked whiskey base) is my homemade ginger liqueur. This is an aged brandy ginger spirit with brown sugar, closer in flavor to King's Ginger liqueur than Domaine de Canton. This is the spice component that mixes well with the lemon juice and honey in the sour. For the whiskey base, use any American whiskey or bourbon you have on hand so long as it is mellow and won't overpower the cocktail. 

  • 1 1/2 oz. bourbon or American whiskey
  • 1/2 oz. ginger liqueur (homemade used)
  • 1/3 oz. MurLarkey Smokehouse whiskey
  • 2/3 oz. lemon juice
  • 2/3 oz. honey syrup
  • piece of candied ginger

Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an Old Fashioned glass with large ice cubes. Spear the piece of ginger and use as garnish.

Swedish Ale Punch (Difford's Guide Recipe)


This cocktail requires a hoppy ale like those pale ales of England. The grapefruit bitterness goes well with the grapefruit juice, but this is not a one-note cocktail. The Swedish punch and bourbon do a lot to sweeten the drink with oak and vanilla notes. My homemade Swedish punsch adds lemon and cardamon, as well as brown sugar syrup and smoky black tea. 

I want to point out that Einstok Brewery in Iceland also makes a pale ale that is very English in style with their glacier water source. It took me many tries to find an ale that would best represent this style of beer cocktail. And most American pale ales wouldn't work, but something familiar like Bass probably would. But Einstok pale ale was a good call, and it reinforces the Scandinavian theme of this cocktail. 

  • 2 oz. Bourbon (Ancient Age used)
  • 1 oz. Swedish punsch (homemade used)
  • 1 oz. grapefruit juice
  • English-style pale ale (Einstok pale ale used)
  • wedge of grapefruit

Combine bourbon, Swedish punsch and juice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a pint glass full of fresh ice. Top with ale and stir. Garnish with the grapefruit wedge. 

Friday, January 8, 2021

Winter (Difford's Guide Recipe)


Allspice, ginger, rich rum--what else do you need to make a cocktail taste like all the flavors we love in winter? I'm a big fan of this drink, mostly because it is another one of the great cocktails I've found on Difford's guide that combine tiki ingredients and a classic cocktail feel. You get the coup presentation with a simple piece of candied ginger garnish. Then there's the dark, colonial style rum and all the burst of the tropics from allspice dram and Angostura bitters. 

I'm showing off George Bowman's small batch rum in this cocktail. The Bowman distillery in Virginia doesn't make their own rum, but they bottle this blend from the Caribbean. It tastes a lot like Jamaican or Guyana, so very spicy and heavy oak and vanilla notes. It is the kind of thing you expect colonial Americans to pay top dollar for during the rum trade.

There's still a few months of winter left, so be sure to make this cocktail and enjoy it. Of course you could do it in the summer, but I'd rather make it a Swizzle with the same ingredients. That would absolutely work. 

  • 2 oz. dark Jamaican rum (Bowman's used)
  • 3/4 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. sugar syrup
  • 1/6 oz. (2 tsp.) ginger brandy (homemade used)
  • 1/6 oz. (2 tsp.) pimento dram/ allspice dram (homemade used)
  • dash Angostura bitters
  • piece of candied ginger

Combine liquid ingreients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with piece of ginger.

Je Suis l'Amour (Difford's Guide Recipe)


This is a cocktail that tastes rich but feels light: Cognac, ginger brandy and sweet vermouth give a ton of flavor up front. This is that rich stone fruit and herbal notes of the spirits. If I had chocolate bitters (which I understand to be a major part of the drink as the name suggests) I would have a drink with a chocolaty depth. As it was, I had Hella orange bitters with its baking spice notes. And that still does the trick for such a spicy drink in with ginger dominates. 

But when the sip finishes, you get such a light lift from all the heavy sensations. Firstly the grapefruit juice ensures that the body of the liquid itself is light. Your final impression is a citrus fruit cocktail (grapefruit often being associated with with ginger and cognac warmth. It is an expression of love, and very French at that.

  • 1 1/2 oz cognac (Martell single distillery used)
  • 2/3 rich sweet vermouth (Cocchi di Torino used)
  • 1/2 oz. ginger liqueur (homemade ginger brandy used)
  • 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 2 dashes chocolate bitters (Hella orange bitters used)
  • orange zest

Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Stir and Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze the orange zest over the glass and lay it on the rim.

Mediterranea Martini (Original Recipe)

I've already made a Greek Martini with kalamata olives and ouzo, so that name is taken. But now that I have feta cheese stuffed olives, I wanted to take another stab at a Mediterranean Martini with gin and Skinos masthia spirit. 

As far as Martinis go, this recipe is not too different from the classic: gin, a half ounce of dry vermouth, and olive garnish. The slight change--and I recommend doing this with gin for the simple reason that you don't exactly want your only note in the drink to be masthia--makes the drink herbal and bright with just a hint of the sweet piney flavor of Skinos. I really like Skinos, especially as a substitute for sweet amari in cocktails, but I don't feel that it needs to be prominent in a Martini. And when I want a Martini, I want spicy gin and herbal dry vermouth. 

This was a somewhat dirty Martini, but not in the traditional sense. The Divina olives are packed with sesame oil, not the usual olive brine. This makes them a little more useful for cooking than cocktails. (If you use olives packed in oil, be sure to rinse them off before putting them in a drink.) Even after rinsing them off, there was a delicious slick of oil floating on top of the glass, adding richness to each sip. 

  • 3 oz. gin (homemade dry gin used)
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth (Dolin used)
  • 1/4 oz. Skynos masthia spirit
  • 3 feta cheese stuffed olives (Divina used)

Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with olives on a cocktail pick.


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Oh, Cicilie! (Difford's Guide Recipe)

What a lovely rocks sipping cocktail! Part Negroni and part Old Fashioned, this drink combines the bitter citrus of sweet Italian Amaro and French Amer Picon with spicy angostura bitters and gin.  Of course I've made a lot of these ingredients, like the Amer Picon, of course, and a dry gin. I'm also showing off Don Ciccio & Figili's Ambrosia. This is a nice stand-in for Aperol, but has a more honeyed citrus flavor. 

The cocktail drinks like an Old Fashioned, but the richness and spice of that classic drink opens up in the sip to citrus bitterness and honey. I love the thoughtful addition of a grapefruit twist, which really offsets the bitter orange of the Amer Picon. As stiff as Oh, Cicilie! is, I can see it being a nice afternoon aperitif cocktail, something to wet your appetitie for dinner. 

  • 1 1/2 oz. dry gin (homemade used)
  • 3/4 oz. Aperol (Don Ciccio & Figili Ambrosia used)
  • 3/4 oz. sweet vermouth (Cocchi di Torino used)
  • 1/4 oz. Amer Picon (homemade used)
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • grapefruit zest

Combine all liquid ingredients in a mixing glass full of ice. Stir and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass full of fresh ice. Twist the grapefruit zest over the glass and drop it in.