Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Ubecherovka (Original Recipe)

This is is an original cocktail using the Czech herbal liqueur, Becherovka, gin and honey syrup. It was dry and pleasingly herbaceous in nose and flavor.

Filibuster's Dual Cask gin is aged in whiskey and wine barrels. It has only four botanicals, but that makes it easily mixable with dry or dessert drinks. In this case it gets out of the way of the Becherovka, which is honeyed and sweet. Honey, therefore, is a perfect sweetener to balance the acid of the lemon juice. Just to punch up the herbal scent, I dropped an anise star on top.
  • 2 oz. Filibuster Dual Cask gin
  • 1 oz. Becherovka 
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. honey syrup
  • anise star
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Float the anise star on top. 


Nightmare and Nightmare Abbey (Revisited)


The Nightmare cocktail with its unusual mix of gin, Madiera and cherry brandy rises again from the recesses of lost cocktail lore. I've found no mention as to why the drink has this name. Nor is there a satisfying origin story that explains the darkness of this creation. For this iteration, I modernized it a little and tried to fit it into a Halloween theme.

The Nightmare is good; a wine and rich cherry brandy-forward kind of drink provided you use a dry gin like Roku as I did. This is a modern tasting gin with green tea and cherry blossom flavors. These play well with the aromatics of the drink. I also decided that the teaspoon of orange juice gave me license to make a bat-shaped orange twist garnish. This isn't hard with a little artistic vision and a sharp knife. I might have gotten carried away, but I encourage you to do so as well. It's not everyday we get to enjoy a nightmare.
  • 2 oz. gin (Roku used)
  • 1 oz. Madeira (a rainwater medium recommended)
  • 1 oz. Cherry Heering
  • 1 tsp. fresh squeezed orange juice
  • bat-shaped orange zest
Combine all liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir (yes, Stir! This drink looks better without cloudiness of shaking) and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the bat-shaped zest.

Nightmare Abbey:

It stands to reason that the unusual addition of Madiera in a drink like the Nightmare would have a derivative using Dubonnet Rouge, the bittersweet French wine aperitif with the bold red color. This drink very nearly approximates a mashup of the Abbey cocktail and the Nightmare but uses the Dubonnet in place of the Lillet Blanc.

It also turns out that this drink might be named after the 19th century Gothic comedy novel by the same name. There's something appropriate about a rich, red cherry and wine cocktail. Here, MurLarkey's ImaGination, even in its small proportion, stands out as herbaceous and bitter behind all that sweetness. 
  • 1 1/2 oz. Dubonnet Rouge
  • 1 oz. gin (ImaGination used)
  • 1/2 oz. Cherry Heering 
  • 1 oz. orange juice (pulp free recommended)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Abbey (with Battle Standard Barrel Finished Gin)

The Abbey is a pleasing drink with lots of bitter and sweet orange flavors. I love how balanced that it is, and Lillet Blanc and gin are just classic pairings that will please most cocktail drinkers.

For this cocktail, I chose K.O. Distillery's Barrel Finished gin. It has round citrus notes and an almost tea-like flavor. All of this perfectly complemented this Golden Age of Cocktails special, which I enjoyed at Vermilion restaurant in Old Town Alexandria.
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin (Battle Standard Barrel Finished gin used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. Lillet Blanc
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 3-5 dashes orange bitters (Regan's used)
  • orange twist (optional)
Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist orange zest over the glass and drop it in. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Pumpkin Spice Old Fashioned (Original Recipe)

To make this drink, I made a basic PSL syrup with turbinado sugar and spices. This was a quick solution to flavoring the syrup of a classic cocktail. The other special touch for this fall drink was the pumpkin-shaped orange zest. I'll deal with the instructions for these first.

Pumpkin spice is really a combination of lots of spices from the tropical regions of the world. Combine in a saucepan 5 allspice berries, 5 cloves, 5 cardamom pods, 12 anise seeds, and a half cup of dark sugar like turbinado or demerara. Add 1/4 cup of water and stir on medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Once the mixture comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool. (I added 1 tsp. MurLarkey cinnamon whiskey because it adds flavor and preserves the syrup.

To make the pumpkin-shaped garnish, simply use a peeler to cut a broad zest from a large naval orange. Be careful not to get any pith--that is a sign you cut the peel too deeply. Use a sharp knife to cut the shape of the pumpkin from the widest part of the zest. (using a pattern cut from card stock may be helpful for those lacking artistic skills.) Cut out a Jack-O-Lantern face of your desire and save for the cocktail.
  • 2 oz. whiskey (MurLarkey Heritage used)
  • 1 tsp. basic PSL syrup
  • 1 dash aromatic bitters (Hella used)
  • pumpkin-shaped zest garnish
Combine all ingredients except garnish in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain over large ice cubes in a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with the orange zest.

Virginia Moss (Original Recipe)

Like the Spanish Moss cocktail, this drink combines coffee and mint spirits for a rich sipping cocktail on the rocks. It occurred to me that MurLarkey coco whiskey and coffee whiskey would taste especially good together with mint, and that creme de menthe would be all the sugar that the cocktail would need.

The visual effect is pretty. This is a very dark liquid with a greenish tint around the ice cubes that looks like moss growing on rocks. The taste was good too. Not too sweet or overly minty. The coffee and chocolate come through.
  • 1 oz. MurLarkey coffee whiskey
  • 1 oz. MurLarkey coco whiskey
  • 1 oz. green creme de menthe
Combine spirits in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain over large ice cubes in an Old Fashioned glass. 

Savory Tart (Original Recipe)

I came up with this cocktail for a guest who wanted a savory cocktail with basil. I knew immediately I wanted to use aquavit. The addition of MurLarkey ImaGination gin was an afterthought when I considered that basil is one of the botanicals in the gin.

The key to keeping this cocktail savory was to add a pinch of sea salt to the mixing glass. You don't notice it when you drink the cocktail, but salt really amplifies the herbaceousness of the spirits.
  • 1 oz. Linie Aquavit 
  • 1 oz. MurLarkey ImaGination
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • basil leaf
Combine all ingredients except basil leaf in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain over a large ice cube in a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with the basil leaf.

Washington In-Cider (Original Recipe)

I needed a drink that would show off the flavors of Fall in Washington D.C., including local cider and spirits. MurLarkey cinnamon whiskey suggested itself quickly, but I also like the taste of rum with cider. Cotton & Reed dry spiced rum adds spicy flavor without overloading with cinnamon and baking spices. Between these two spirits, the farmer's market cider needed only a little sugar.
  • 1 oz. Cotton & Reed dry spiced rum
  • 1 oz. MurLarkey cinnamon whiskey
  • 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
  • non-alcoholic apple cider
  • apple slice
  • ground cinnamon
Build drink in a Collins glass with whiskey, rum and sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Then add ice and top with apple cider and stir to combine. Garnish with the apple slice and dust it with cinnamon.

Passionfruit Daquiri

Ron Venado is a Guatemalan rum that is mild on flavor and a little sweet. I used it to make a Daiquiri with a passionfruit syrup I picked up at a bodega. This cocktail was especially pleasing to those restaurant employees from South America. The passionfruit and the rum itself were a little piece of home.
  • 2 oz. Ron Venado light rum
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 3/4 oz. passionfruit syrup
  • dehydrated lime slice
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Float the lime slice on the surface of the drink.