Friday, March 15, 2019

Banshee's Fix (Original Recipe)

Nothing like going tiki with whiskey, and evoking a malevolent Irish spirit while using an Irish spirit to boot! In truth, this cocktail is close to the Irish Fix--an attempt to make the most pleasing combination of juice and whiskey you'll ever find.

Unlike most Fixes, this the Irish Fix includes pineapple juice. I did the same, but added lemon juice, mint and a good helping of Virginia banana whiskey. That is a cocktail allusion to the Banshee banana dessert drink. In essence, this drink swings tiki when served on crushed ice, and I love the combined effect it produces when garnished with the mint and green maraschino cherry. You don't even notice that this is a whiskey drink and its hard to identify the banana as well. It just comes across as a perfect tropical escape--but the island it takes you to is Ireland.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Tullamore DEW Irish Whiskey
  • 1 oz. MurLarkey banana whiskey
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. orgeat syrup
  •  mint sprig and maraschino cherry garnishes
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass full of crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and a green maraschino cherry.

The Green And Orange (Original Cocktail)

I'm celebrating St. Patrick's Day with Irish and Irish-American whiskies. Tullamore Dew is the well-known Irish whiskey brand in this Old Fashioned redux. MurLarkey distillery makes an interesting orange whiskey that is well suited to Old Fashioned recipes on its own but benefits from the mellowing effects of its Irish forebear.

Here I was going for a color combination of a cocktail that would evoke the dispirit hues of the Irish flag and its problematic history. Interesting how the orange is supplied by the local Virginia distillers. The cara cara orange slice and green maraschino cherry accentuate the sweetness of this drink as well as the color scheme.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Tullamore DEW Irish whiskey
  • 1 1/2 oz. MurLarkey orange whiskey
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • Orange slice and green cherry garnish
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass full of ice. Stir and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with the cherry and orange slice.

Burgundy Punch

Not all punches are rum and fruit juice. A good number are wine-based. This punch is reminiscent of old world punch and cocktails that use European wines and spirits to create a balance between sweet, sour, tanic and earthy.

The result is a smooth punch with lots of depth. It is neither too strong, nor uninteresting. At first you notice the cabernet (the recipe calls for Burgundy, but I opted for Poppy, Paso Robles cabernet. This wine is not so much rich as it is flavorful. The addition of port softens this somewhat. In the center of the sip you notice the orange and lemon citrus burst. The finish is characterized by more port and a whiff of boozy Kammer Kirsch, one of the best examples of Kirschwasser--a black cherry spirit similar to white brandy.

  • 2 bottles of red Burgundy or cabernet sauvignon
  • 8 oz. kirschwasser
  • 8 oz. port
  • 16 oz. orange juice (fresh squeezed cara cara used)
  • 4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • orange slices
Combine all ingredients in a chilled punch bowl with a block of ice. Stir well and garnish with orange slices.
*Note: I chilled all the ingredients in the punch bowl for two hours before serving on ice. This prevents watering the punch down too much and even enhances the flavor combination as ingredients sit with each other and while the punch warms up. This punch serves twenty.

Imagine Espana (Original Recipe)

I've got a project underway to combine the local Virginia spirits from MurLarkey with international brands. How does one take liqueurs and whiskies from across Europe and Asia and turn them into great cocktails using a base spirit that is unknown overseas? It's easy when you consider that gin is a great base for refreshing spring cocktails.

Licor 43 is a Spanish cordial made from citrus, fruits, spices and brandy. It has a pleasing vanilla flavor and adds sweetness where sugar would usually go in a drink. But it is far more interesting than simple syrup in this twist on a Collins.  MurLarkey makes ImaGination gin, a rich botanical blend of a gin that can really outshine other American gins for its depth of flavor. Far from a juniper-heavy gin, MurLarkey goes for spice and herbs for an unexpected taste.
  • 1 1/2 oz. MurLarkey ImaGination gin
  • 1 oz. Licor 43
  • 1/4 oz. maraschino liqueur
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • sparkling water
  • cherries and orange twist garnishes.
Combine lemon juice and liquors in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water and stir gently. Garnish with cherries and orange twist. 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Pomelo Delta

It's more than a triangle wedge of citrus to garnish a triangular-shaped glass. This cocktail speaks of exotic lands and lush mouths of rivers where forbidden fruit grows--river deltas of the world's equatorial regions.

Pomelo juice is less bitter than grapefruit, far sweeter than lemon, and as honeyed as a mandarin orange but with a different flavor profile than any other member of the rue family. The peel is exceptionally pithy and useful for flavoring the Forbidden Fruit honey-citrus spirit with a cognac base.

In keeping with all the citrus theme, I chose MurLarkey lemon whiskey, which is a lemon zest infused white whiskey. It is one of MurLarkey's subtler infusions, easy to hide in a fruity cocktail that doesn't require whiskey flavors but benefits from the whiff of lemon zest. You could do this drink equally well with vodka or gin, but you might have to use lemon juice and adjust for the accompanying bitterness.
  • 1 1/2 oz. MurLarkey lemon whiskey
  • 1 1/2 oz. pomelo juice
  • 1 oz. Forbidden Fruit (See recipe here)
  • 1 dash RAFT hibiscus lavender syrup
  • pomelo sliced in a delta shape. 
Combine all ingredients except pomelo slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the pomelo slice.

Banana Lime Collins

Get ready for St. Patrick's Day! The Banana Lime Collins is exactly like it sounds, simple, approachable, and very refreshing. It's even a little bit green (natural colors of course) to make it festive.

I really like how such a simple change to a classic cocktail can come across as exotic. The whiskey-based John Collins is a refreshing way to enjoy your Irish whiskey. MurLarkey banana whiskey is an Irish-American treat made with an infusion of real bananas in white whiskey. It goes great with lime juice, so I opted for that over the traditional lemon. Then a lime wedge and a green maraschino cherry looked like a fitting garnish. It may not be spring yet according to the official calendar, but this drink will make you feel like the sun has come out.
  • 2 oz. MurLarkey banana whiskey
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • sparkling water
  • maraschino cherry
  • lime wedge
Combine whiskey, juice and sugar in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass full of fresh ice and top with sparkling water (I used lime flavored soda here for even more intense fruit flavor.) Garnish with cherry (green if you have it) and lime wedge.

To Damn Hot

This spiced brandy cocktail is perfect for cold nights. It is rich and satisfying to sip on. Asbach Uralt is a German brandy that has its own distinct flavor apart from French cognac. With aromatic bitters, sweet vermouth and cinnamon whiskey, it imitates an Old Fashioned or a Sazerac and yet remains wholly different.

MurLarkey cinnamon whiskey is definitely hot stuff. It puts Fireball to shame--and it is real whiskey. Use too much of it, though, and you can blow out your drink. The idea here is to coat the cinnamon whiskey in sweet rich flavors. I want to point out that I used Mt. Defiance sweet vermouth, made from apple brandy, herbs and spices, vidal blanc wine and brandy. This is a really special distillery and I recommend that Virginians check out this treasure in your back yard. For the cocktail, their superb sweet vermouth (ordinarily overly sweet for many drinks) is perfect for imparting an apple pie aspect to the brandy.
  • 2 oz. brandy (Asbach Uralt used)
  • 1/2 oz. cinnamon whiskey (MurLarkey used)
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth (Mt. Defiance used)
  • 1 dash aromatic bitters (Hella used)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. 

Icelandic Air

The name for this drink came to me during a late winter cold snap. I wanted to create a drink with the chill and scent of Iceland's landscape. There's sea air, dry grasses, glacial frost and flowers in every breath of Iceland's air in summer. Brennivin is Iceland's native spirit, an aquavit with a strong caraway seed presence and light, clean taste.

In addition to aquavit, there's pomelo juice, sugar, bitters and white creme de menthe. In small proportions, creme de menthe adds a crispness that is herbal but does not immediately give itself away to the drinker as mint. The tingle of chill is perfect and hidden in a tart and herbal cocktail that perfectly represents the country of Iceland.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Brennivin (or aquavit)
  • 1 1/2 oz. pomelo juice
  • 5 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. white creme de menthe
  • pomelo peel sliced thin as a twist
Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the pomelo peel.

White Whiskey Saketini

Is it a Martini if you make it with white whiskey instead of gin or vodka? Furthermore, does a Martini require dry vermouth? (I tend to think it does.) The Saketini, especially this one, is not a Martini at all, but it is a savory treat: especially with a pepper drop garnish like shown above.

MurLarkey Justice White Whiskey is an unaged corn whiskey that really features the distiller's main product. Unadulterated it is still bold and bracing, even when chilled. It takes a significant amount of sake to break through (which is why I can't call this a Martini. The spirit just isn't neutral at all.) I also added a little of the juice from the pepper drop jar for vinegar tang.
  • 2 oz. White Corn Whiskey (MurLarkey Justice used)
  • 1 oz. sake 
  • pepper drop garnish
  • drizzle of pepper drop juice
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the pepper drops.