Why You Should be Barrel Aging at Home

Barrel CropBarrel aging at home is fairly simple, not ridiculously expensive and seriously worth doing.  The in’s and out’s of getting started are covered in our Barrel Aged Cocktails page.   While simply barrel aging cocktails is reason enough to get started, the real magic occurs when you age something in a barrel previously used for a different cocktail or spirit.  For instance, tequila aged in a barrel previously used to age sherry, bourbon, Manhattans and gin.  Or White Whiskey aged, first in a new charred barrel, then aged further after Negroni’s and a Martini.   Each of these take on flavors far beyond those found in a charred barrel alone.  Thus, the fun!

Here are some examples of what we’ve been putting in our barrels.

Hudson White WhiskeyNegroni Aged White Whiskey

We used Hudson White Whiskey to flavor a new, charred oak barrel.  It went in, first for 1 month, then back into the barrel for 2-3 week stents between Negroni’s.  A Martini also spent some time in that barrel as well.  The Whiskey came out with a nice color.  The nose is caramel, vanilla, clove, herbal with a touch of corn whiskey.  The flavor is slightly sweet corn whiskey with the oak, caramel, vanilla and herbs.  There is a background of gin with a touch of bitterness on the finish.  We used it to make an excellent Boulivardier:

Boulivardier with Negroni Aged White Whiskey

Aged Whiskey Boulavadier Bottles

  • 1 oz. Negroni Aged White Whiskey
  • 1 oz. Dolen Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • Fat orange peel for garnish
  1. Chill an old fashioned glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients, except the garnish, in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into chilled old fashioned over fresh, large ice
  4. Express orange peel over drink and float the peel

Barrel Aged Sherry

We used Lustau East India Solera Sherry to flavor a second new, charred oak barrel.  The barrel was then used to age Bourbon Manhattans.  These were aged alternating with the Sherry 3 or 4 times.  The barrel was then used to age bourbon, a Tequila Manhattan and gin.  The sherry revisited the barrel for 2 – 3 weeks between each cocktail or spirit. The sherry has a bit of color added.  The nose is sherry with vanilla, clove and a bit of caramel.  The flavor is dried fruits: current, apple, apricot and raisin.  I have used it in a number of cocktails that call for sherry.  It imparts a slightly mellow flavor along with the sherry you’d expect.  Here is our Sherry’d Manhattan:

Manhattan 2.0 with Manhattan/Bourbon/Tequila Barrel Aged Sherry

For the the bourbon in this cocktail, we tried Basil Hayden and Belle Mead.  Both were excellent.  The bourbon brings flavors of maple, tobacco, smoke and vanilla.  This blends well with the rich, earthy Carpano Antica’s tastes of herbs, spice and slight bitterness.  The aged sherry intermingles with the Italian Vermouth, smoothing the bitterness and adding to the richness.  Here is the recipe:

Manhattan 2.0

Manhattan 2.0

  • 1 1/2 oz. Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz.  Carpano Antica
  • 1/4 oz. Manhattan/Bourbon/Tequila Barrel Aged Sherry
  • 1/8 tsp. Grand Marnier
  • 1 dash Angostura Orange  Bitters
  • Garnish: Luxardo Maraschino Cherries and an orange peel
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Add the ingredients, except the garnish, to a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass
  4. Add the cherries, (or place them on a pick), and express the orange peel over the drink and discard.

Sherry Cask Aged Bourbon

Sherry Barrel Aged BourbonThis is one of my favorites.  The Sherry Cask Aged Bourbon alone makes barrel aging at home worth while!  I used Russel’s 10 yr Old Bourbon.  For an aged bourbon, Russel’s has a lot of spice.  Aging in a Sherry Cask which had previously been used to age Manhattans mellowed the spice.  There are significant flavors from the charred oak barrel: oak, clove, vanilla, and caramel.  You can also taste the sherry along with dried fruit, possibly from the Manhattans.

Manhattan 3.0 with Sherry Cask Aged Bourbon

This cocktail is similar in concept to a barrel aged Manhattan cocktail.  However, since the bourbon has taken on flavors from the Sherry barrel while the vermouth was not exposed to the barrel or allowed to oxidize, the flavor is significantly different.  As noted above, the Sherry Cask Aged Bourbon brings flavors from the charred oak barrel: oak, clove, vanilla, and caramel with a touch of aged Sherry.  The unaged Carpano Antica maintains its rich flavors of fruit and almonds with spice and a slight bitterness on the finish.  Together, they create a fabulous cocktail.

  • 2 oz. Sherry Cask Aged BourbonManhattan 3.0
  • 1 1/2 oz. Italian Vermouth (sweet)
  • 1 tsp Grand Marnier
  • 1 – 2 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
  • Orange peel and Maraschino cherries for garnish
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water.
  2. Stir to combine all ingredients, sans cherries, in a mixing glass with ice.
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass, express the orange peel and garnish with the cherries

Negroni/Whiskey Barrel Aged Tequila

Whiskey Negroni Barrel Aged TequilaI used Milagro Plata Tequila and aged it for 2 weeks.  The barrel was the one described above with Hudson’s White Whiskey alternating with Negroni and a one time Gin Martini.  With this aging, I had placed the aged White Whiskey in the barrel just prior to the Tequila.  I suspect that the flavor profile might be significantly different if the Tequila had followed a Negroni instead.  In the 2 week time, the Tequila took on a little color and a  lot of flavor.  I was aiming for a primary Tequila flavor with background barrel notes.  I was not trying to create Repasado from Plata.  After the 2 weeks, the flavor of charred oak was fairly prominent but it was still Tequila and it had picked up vanilla and clove from the oak and spice from the whiskey/Negroni.  There was also some dried fruit and herbs from the Negroni.  After a few weeks in the bottle, the charred oak flavor diminished some while the rest of the flavors remained.

Whiskey Negroni Barrel Aged Tequila Manhattan Bottles

Whiskey/Negroni Barrel Aged Tequila Manhattan

In our standard Tequila Manhattan, I use Lillet Rouge instead of vermouth.  This cocktail calls for a much lighter touch so Dolin Sweet Vermouth fits nicely.  Sticking with the Tequila theme, I used Agavero Orange Liqueur as the sweetener.  It has a nice orange flavor and is a little sweeter than Grand Marnier.  If you need to substitute, use more Grand Marnier or add a dash of simple syrup.  I wanted to keep the “Manhattan” flavors as much as possible so I went with Bitter Truth’s Jerry Thomas Own Decanter Bitters.  The maraschino cherry brings the last touch of sweetness while the bitters up the complexity.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Whiskey/Negroni Barrel Aged TequilaWhiskey Negroni Barrel Aged Tequila Manhattan
  • 1/2 oz. Dolin Sweet Vermouth
  • 1/4 oz. Agavero Orange Liqueur
  • 4 drops Bitter Truth’s Jerry Thomas Own Decanter Bitters sub Angostura
  • Maraschino cherry
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingedients but the garnish in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the cherry.

 Sherry Barrel Aged Gin

Sherry Barrel Aged Gin

The most distinctive thing about gin is the fresh, herbal flavor.  This is true whether you prefer a heavy juniper London Dry or one of the New American Styles.  In my use, barrel aging any gin cocktail flattens those herbal notes.  They are still there, but the bright, fresh aspect is gone.  What is added by the barrel aging process depends almost entirely on what was previously in the barrel and how long the gin is aged.  The process works very well for a Negroni – not so much for any type of Martini.

I have seen Sherry Aged Gin on the market, so I wanted to try this with my Sherry barrel.  I chose Ford’s Gin, one of my favorite London Dry’s.  The barrel had been used to age Sherry, several Manhattans, including a Tequila Manhattan and bourbon.  The Sherry went back into the barrel between each Manhattan and before and after the bourbon.  So, it had last been used for Sherry just prior to the Gin.  Of note, this barrel was reaching the end of its life.  Ultimately, you extract all of the flavors – just like a tea bag.  After the Gin, I put the Sherry back in the barrel for 4 weeks, then followed it with Bourbon.  The Bourbon required 8-10 weeks to achieve the flavors that previously had taken only 4 weeks.  After that, the barrel was done!

The Gin was aged for 4 weeks.  What came out was straw colored.  As noted earlier, the Gin looses some of the brightness of the botanicals but gains a touch of charred oak, a bit of bitterness, clove, cinnamon, dried fruit herbs from the vermouth in the Manhattans along with a bit of spice from the Bourbon.  There is a definite touch of Sherry.  All in all, aging the Ford’s Gin in the Sherry/Manhattan/Bourbon Barrel was one of our best outcomes.  Definitely worthy of a repeat!


Sherry Barrel Aged Gin Wet Martini

Sherry Aged Gin Wet MartiniI wanted to enhance all of the flavors of the aged Gin and you’ll notice that this goes very light on the sweet vermouth.  With so little sweetener, the bitterness of the charred oak comes through.  The overall nose is Gin with a touch of oak.  Flavors are London Dry Gin with a flattening of the herbal notes and a bittersweet background of Sherry/Charred Oak.  The barrels previous Manhattan occupants add some dried fruit, herbs and spice.  I tried this with and without expressing a lemon peel, but couldn’t decide which I liked better.  So, I’ll leave the garnish to you!

  • 1 1/2 Sherry Barrel Aged Gin
  • 1/4 oz. Dolin Sweet Vermouth
  • 4 drops Regan’s Orange Bitters
  • Lemon peel for garnish – optional
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass
  4. Garnish with the lemon peel if using

Well, these are some of my ideas for barrel aging.  In reality, and part of the adventure, is that none of these will be 100% reproducible!  I highly recommend that you try this at home.  The barrels are not expensive and the outcomes are definitively worth the little effort involved.  The process will require you to frequently sample some tasty cocktails and spirits as they age.  It’s a tough job…



Cocktails & Girl Scout Cookies?

Girl Scout Cookie PairingsIt’s Girl Scout Cookie season and the little girls, with Mom’s in tow, can be found in front of grocery stores and pharmacies across the Nation.  The ones I met were very pleased to sell me 2 boxes of each variety.  Of course I wasn’t purchasing all of those boxes just to fuel a cookie binge.  I was interested in a more scholarly pursuit:  What cocktail will go with my favorite Girl Scout cookie and which Girl Scout cookie will best pair with my favorite cocktail?

Once home with my boxes, I quickly realized that, with 8 different cookies and hundreds of possible cocktails, this was going to require more than one person’s liver!  So I assembled a tasting panel.  My panel was comprised of foodies and cocktail geeks.

First on the agenda was to taste and rank the cookies.  Not surprising, the Samoa was rated highest with 5 stars.  Tied for second were the Rah-Rah-Rasins and Thin Mints with 4 stars, followed by Savannah Smiles.  The Tagalongs, Do-si-dos and Trefoils rounded out the field.

Barbancourt Old FashionedPairing the cookies with cocktails came next. The cocktails, listed nearby, were served in the order shown.  The panel first rated each cocktail, then tasted the cookies with that drink.  The best parings for that cocktail were then noted.  This meant that each cocktail could pair with multiple cookies and each cookie might go with several cocktails.  When all of the cocktails had been served, the panel then went back and selected the best cocktail for each cookie.

Irish CoffeeThe highest rated cocktail was the Irish Coffee followed closely by the Irish and Tequila Manhattans.  The Bourbon Manhattan and the St. Hubertus’ Fix were also favored.  The remaining cocktails rated fairly equally except, on the other end of the spectrum, let’s just say this was not a big gin crowd!

Prior to the tasting, I spent some time figuring out what cocktails might work with these cookies.  It was immediately evident that fruit, citrus and sour weren’t working.  I included the Ten Four, Cynar Sour and Rakia Ximenez to see if the panel agreed.  While the panel liked these cocktails, they didn’t find much to pair them with.

Tequila Manhattan 2I was a bit surprised by a few of the results.  The Tequila Manhattan was a panel favorite, but paired with very little.  Except, it was the runaway favorite to pair with the Thin Mint.  I expected the Irish Coffee to pair with the Thin Mint, but only one panel member selected that pairing and then not as a favorite.  There were some other surprises, but let’s get on with the pairings.

The Cocktails

  1. Vodka Martini
  2. Gin Martini
  3. Irish Manhattan
  4. Bourbon Manhattan
  5. Old Fashioned Tent Revival
  6. Tequila Manhattan
  7. Barbancourt Old Fashioned
  8. Irish Coffee
  9. Tequila Old Fashioned
  10. Plymouth Old Fashioned
  11. St. Hubertus’ Fix
  12. Ten Four
  13. Rakia Ximenez
  14. Cynar Sour

The Cookies

  • Do-si-dos
  • Tagalongs
  • Rah-rah-raisins
  • Toffee-tastic
  • Thin Mints
  • Trefoils
  • Samoas
  • Savannah Smiles

Open the tabs below to see the results:


Grandfather McFly 55 SmallI made both the Gin and Vodka Martinis in a mid century style with very little vermouth.  As I noted earlier, none of the panel members are gin drinkers.  They did, however, like the Vodka Martini and thought that it paired well with the buttery Trefoil and sugar dusted, lemon of the Savannah Smiles.

Mid Century Vodka Martini

  • 1 1/2  oz. Premium Vodka such as Cinco
  • Premium Vermouth such as Carpano Dry
  • Garnish of your choice
  1. Chill a martini glass with ice and water
  2. Pour a dash of vermouth into a mixing glass and swirl to coat.  Discard the vermouth
  3. Add the gin to the mixing glass, fill with ice and stir to chill
  4. Strain into chilled martini glass and garnish

Mid Century Gin Martini

To make this, substitute Gin for the Vodka and proceed.  I used Ford’s.  Now, I like gin a lot and regardless of the tasting panel, I thought that the Gin Martini went very well with the Savannah Smiles!

The Manhattan

There were 3 different Manhattans: Irish, Bourbon and Tequila.  All were rated highly by the panel and paired well with several of the cookies.

Irish Manhattan

Irish ManhattanThis version of the classic received 4.5 Stars from the panel.  They chose it has the hands down favorite to pair with both the chocolate peanut butter Tagalong and the Oatmeal raisin Rah-rah-raisin.

While rye and bourbon are the classics in the Manhattan, I don’t see any reason not to try an Irish Whiskey.  Specifically the Tullamore Dew 10 year old Single Malt.  As I’ve noted before, the Tullamore Dew has the earthy, grassy flavors of Irish whiskey with the flavors of fruit, (apricot, pineapple, raisin) and wood.  Just the depth of flavors that blend with vermouth.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Tullamore Dew 10 year old Single Malt Irish Whiskey
  • 3/4 oz. Sweet Italian Vermouth
  • 1 dash Grand Marnier (1/8 tsp)
  • 1 – 2 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
  • brandied cherries for garnish
  1.  Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water.
  2. Stir to combine all ingredients, sans cherries, in a mixing glass with ice.
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the cherries

Bourbon Manhattan

Old No 5The panel paired this classic Manhattan with the Rah-rah-raisin as well but did not think it went as well as the Irish Manhattan.  They did, however, pair the Bourbon Manhattan as best cocktail with the coconut caramel Samoa.

For the bourbon Manhattan, I used Russell’s Reserve 10 Year Old.  This is a bit of a lighter bourbon, but still has the sweet and spicy notes you expect from a quality aged bourbon.  Note that in addition to using a higher ratio of vermouth, the recipe includes more Grand Marnier.

  • 2 oz. Russell’s Reserve 10 Year Old Bourbon
  • 1 1/2 oz. Italian Vermouth (sweet)
  • 1 tsp Grand Marnier
  • 1 – 2 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
  • brandied cherries for garnish
  1.  Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water.
  2. Stir to combine all ingredients, sans cherries, in a mixing glass with ice.
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the cherries

Tequila Manhattan

This cocktail was rated as the favorite match up with the Thin Mint.  As I noted above, I was surprised but have to agree that it pairs very well.

Definitely not a chocolate martini, this is a southwestern makeover of the Manhattan.

  • Tequila Manhattan 22 oz. Milagro Añejo Tequila
  • 1 oz. Lillet Rouge
  • bar spoon (1/8 oz.) of agave nectar
  • dash chocolate bitters
  • Orange zest
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir with ice
  3. Strain into chilled glass
  4. Garnish with a wide orange zest

Old Fashioned

I did not include a classic Old Fashioned.   Each of the 3 I did, have some significant variation.  The Old Fashioned Tent Revival has agave syrup and is spicy.  The Tequila Old Fashioned obviously switches the spirit and uses agave and molé bitters.  The Barbancourt Old Fashioned with aged rum was rated as the best pairing for the peanut butter sandwich Do-si-do.

Barbancourt Old Fashioned

Barbancourt Old FashionedThe spice of the habanero shrub and the touch of sweetness of the agave complement the dark complex flavors of the aged rum.

  • 2 ozs. 15 Year Old Barbancourt Rum
  • 1-2 dashes Bitter Truth Habanero Shrub
  • 1/8 oz. Agave Nectar
  1. Chill an old fashioned glass with ice and water
  2. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and stir with ice
  3. Strain into chilled old fashioned glass over fresh ice

Irish Coffee

This was the unanimous favorite of the evening.  The panel thought it went with everything except the Savannah Smiles.  It tied the Barbancourt Old Fashioned for best with the Do-si-do and the Bourbon Manhattan for paring with the Samoa.

Irish Coffee

I make these with strong coffee, Bushmill’s, very little sweetener and lightly whipped, unsweetened heavy cream.Irish Coffee

  • 1 1/2 oz. Bushmill’s Irish Whisky
  • 1-2 dashes 2:1 simple syrup
  • 4-6 oz. very hot dark coffee (I use Starbucks Sumatra Blend)
  • 2-3 Tbl. Lightly whipped cream
  1. Prepare the coffee
  2. Lightly whip a small amount of heavy whipped cream – about 1/4 cup, until it just peaks
  3. In an Irish Coffee mug or other mug of choice, add the Whisky, simple syrup and coffee.
  4. Stir gently and top with the whipped cream


St. Hubertus Fix

This was a bit of a surprise for me.  I wasn’t sure what my panel might think of this cocktail.  I found this drink at Cool Hunting. Its primary flavor is bitter coffee, but the aged rum and the herbal Jägermeister really balance that bitterness and the spice of the Pimento bitters rounds it all out.St Hubertus Fix

The panel paired this cocktail as best with the Toffee-tastic.  They also thought it went well with the Rah-rah-raisin.

St. Hubertus Fix

  • 3/4 oz. Aged Rum – I used Zaya
  • 3/4 oz. Jägermeister
  • 3 oz strong cold coffee – I used 1:1 cold coffee syrup and water
  • 2 dashes of Dale Degroff Pimento Bitters
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass

Rakia Ximénez

My tasting panel liked this cocktail and gave it 4 Stars.  They did not pair it well with any of the cookies.  In retrospect, it might have fared better if I had served it earlier.  I’m pretty sure everyone’s taste buds were getting saturated.  I think that the dry apricot brandy, the sherry and the touch of heat in this cocktail go well with the Toffee-tastic.  But that’s just me!

This cocktail combines the fruit flavors of Dorcol’s Kinsman Rakia Apricot Brandy with the sweet sherry flavors of Pedro Ximénez.  Then the dried chile notes of the Ancho Reyes weigh in.  Finally, on the finish, the slightest heat from the Habeñaro Shrub can be appreciated.Rakia Ximenez 2

  • 1 1/2 oz. Kinsman Rakia Apricot Brandy
  • 3/4 oz. Pedro Ximénez Sherry
  • 1/4 oz. Ancho Reyes
  • 4 Drops Bittermans Habeñaro Shrub
  • Orange peel for garnish
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients, except the garnish, in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass
  4. Express the orange peel over the drink and discard the peel

Well, there you have it.  You have a few more days to score some Girl Scout Cookies and try a few pairings for yourself.




Mixology Monday CV Roundup

Mixology Monday

Mixology Monday

The theme for January’s Mixology Monday CV was Brace Yourself: to create a cocktail that will fortify the will against that moment just before you step out into the cold.  Yes, I live in San Antonio where people bundle up because it’s 54 degrees.  However, I grew up in the frozen North, so I know cold.  Besides, we have winter in San Antonio.  It lasts for a week or two, but not all at once.  Usually a half day at a time!

Ok. Enough of that.  The thing I love about Mixology Monday is the creativity.  Keeping up with this crowd is a challenge unto itself!  Every month I am pushed to make a cocktail that not only fits the theme, but is a great drink on it’s own.  This month is no different.  The contributions are, once again awesome!  There are cold and hot drinks, smokey scotch, spice, herbs, tea, coffee and stout.  So here are 14 cocktails sure to warm your cockles, (whatever those are).

Blood and Smoke 1First up, Katie at garnishblog brings us the Blood and Smoke.  Since she is from Boston, where we know it’s not 75 degrees today, we can be pretty sure that Katie knows cold!  She “combined the bright taste of blood orange with the spicy and smoky flavors of rye whiskey and Scotch.”  Rye whiskey, blood orange juice, Angostura and a Scotch rinse: I think I might blow off the cold and sit down to have another!

Clementina CalienteSecond in, Andrea who blogs from Denmark at ginhound, gives us a rif on the Last Word with the Clementina Caliente.  She shakes up Ilegal Joven mezcal with yellow Chartreuse, Ancho Reyes chile liqueur and fresh squeezed clementine juice.  This should help prior to scraping your windshield at -15C!

carpathianhoneyNext, our German Mixologist, Pete Barmeister of Meticulousmixing brings us a recipe for homemade Rosemary Bärenfang, a honey liqueur.  He then combines the clove, vanilla, cinnamon and rosemary flavors of the Bärenfang with hot water and Tatratea, a tea liqueur, to create the Carpathian Honey.   Pete further encourages us to combine the Bärenfang with a German-style Pilsner for a “Lazy Man’s Braggot.”  The Bärenfang I need to try, but I’m not sure it will be enough to make me want to hunt bears in winter!

Coffee Milk PunchStacy Markow, our Dallas sommelier, brings us Coffee Milk Punch.  She combines a cold brew coffee simple syrup with Rye whiskey, whole milk and pecan bitters.  This should make Dallas’ next ice storm a little more tolerable!

Winter CapNext, Craig joins in with the Winter Cap.*  For this cocktail, Craig warms up Bonal with 151 proof rum then rounds it out with Calvados and the herbal Becherovka.  I’m always fond of amari and quin quina drinks, and this one sounds fascinating with the addition of the apple flavors of cider and Calvados.

*Depending on your browser, you may need to scroll up or down to find the post.  Just look for the Mixology Monday logo!

hottigermilk1440Frederic Yarm of Cocktail Virgin Slut,  Mixology Monday’s fearless leader and world famous cat herder, weighs in with Hot Tiger’s Milk.  Since he too hails from Boston, a certain level of experience with the bitter cold can be assumed!  His approach is to distract yourself and bring Don the Beachcomber to the rescue.  This 1937 hot Tiki drink combines the flavors of rum, coconut, cloves and butter.  As Frederic says, “The Hot Tiger’s Milk greeted the nose with a butter and honey-floral aroma. The rum’s caramel danced with the honey on the sip, and the swallow roared with rum, orange, and clove notes. The flavors, especially the orange and clove, built over time as they steeped into the Toddy.”  Just might cause one to forget where they are and try stepping out in surf shorts and sandals!

Hoar Frost's FallJoel DiPippa,of Southernnash, Mixology Monday’s resident Arkansas gentleman and scholar, brings us an Irish Coffee run a muck with his Hoar Frost’s Fall.  The fact that Joel can pull 100 proof bourbon, allspice dram and Becherovka out of his cabinet in the middle of a snow storm speaks to his mixologist bonafides.  Then, in true scholarly fashion, he creates the recipe while pondering shoveling the snow!  This hot coffee cocktail will definitely make snow shoveling a little less painful.

restaurateur-no-2-1-of-22The Le Restaurateur No. 2, brought to us by Ian of Tempered Spirits, is another cocktail with 151 proof demerara rum and Calvados, but this time with yellow Chartreuse and the spices of Angostura and 18-21 Black Currant-Cocoa Bitters.  This cocktail has the flavors of baked apple pie with a little funky rum notes thrown in.  I agree with Ian that the 18-21 Black Currant-Cocoa Bitters can be hard to find, but they are worth the search!

CorbieBoozenerds, Seattleites Shaun and Christa, bring us the Corbie.  This is an oatmeal stout based cocktail with the spice of rye whiskey, the complexity of amaro and the sweetness of maple syrup.  I’m not sure if the name “Corbie” is supposed to evoke thoughts of Northern France or of ravens but the cocktail sounds delicious and is now on my things to make list!

Sazarac Hot ChocolateI have always enjoyed Sazaracs, but a Sazerac Hot Chocolate?  Brilliant!  Dagreb at Nil Utopia creates an amazing cocktail by substituting a Sazarac for the milk in a hot chocolate and makes an absinthe whipped cream for the top!  Gunner, our Chesapeake Bay Retriever, will appreciate me having one of these, since I’ll probably decide to stay inside and have another thus enabling him to lie by my chair in front of the fire.  Which is where he’d rather be!

QuentãoThiago Ceccotti, our Brazilian mixologist who writes at Bartending Notes,  gives us a recipe for Quentão.  “Quentão (literally means:Very Hot) is a cachaça based Hot Toddy-style beverage which also resembles a cachaça based Mulled Wine.”  Made with ginger tea, cachaça, vermouth, vanilla liquor, lime juice and Angostura, it sounds like there is a good reason it is popular in Brazil!

32 DegreesAdam, aka Mr Muddle, joins Mixology Monday for the first time with his 32 Degrees.  Another Bostonian, he seems to be well schooled. not only on cold weather, but in cocktails, (check out his blog).  As Adam points out, this drink is a Scaffa, which is not technically a cocktail, but a mixture of alcoholic components, mixed in a glass and served unchilled, without ice.  The 32 Degrees, made with Dark Rum, Amaro Montenegro, Aquavit and an Absinthe rinse will decidedly “steel the will!”

sjorok-3Next in was Robin of the Kitchen Shamanism Blog.  Don’t believe Robin when he says he mixes cocktails with “low knowledge!”  He presents us this month with another interesting drink, the Sjörök.  Smokey Islay Scotch, sweet Cherry Heering, dark muscovado sugar syrup, Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters and hot Lapsang Souchong tea.  I may not be able to pronounce “Sjörök,” but this smokey cocktail looks like it will keep you warm and smiling!

Brace Yourself MxMo CVWell, there are 13 cocktails that should help get you through the winter.  Lastly, our contribution this month is two shots: Into the Wind and Frost Buster.  Both are made with barrel aged Fireball Whiskey!  Why, you might ask, would we do that to a barrel?  Well, click here to read and find out!


Mulled WinePS:  Marius Iordache who blogs at Arcane Potions and attends the Citadel, comes in with a late contribution: a delicious looking Mulled Wine.  That should keep you warm on a 0600 march, but then again, I’m pretty certain that drinking is worth at least 150 demerits!

We really have enjoyed hosting this month’s Mixology Monday.  Thanks, as always, to Frederik for keeping this most excellent online cocktail party on track and for allowing us to host.

So, until next month,



Christmas Libations circa 2015

We offered a number of libations this Christmas Season.  A few were favorite cocktails that we rechristened with seasonal names, we added some new ones that we found, and we created a couple of original recipes.  Some can be made Zero Proof so everyone can be in on the fun!

Berry Delicious

I got this idea from Porter’s Fire, which is a Canadian Whiskey with “cinnamon and hints of vanilla.”  I haven’t been able to find Porter’s Fire so I used Fireball.  The combination of cinnamon spice and the nutty Amaretto is awesome.Christmas Shots

  • 3/4 oz. Fireball Whiskey
  • 3/4 oz. Amaretto
  1.  Combine in a shot glass and serve

Blazing Prancer

If Amaretto works, why not Jägermeister?  Especially if the Fireball has been barrel aged.  I aged the Fireball in a small jar with a barrel stave for 2 weeks.  A little clove and vanilla to go with the cinnamon blends with the herbs in the Jägermeister.

  • 3/4 oz. Barrel Aged Fireball Whiskey
  • 3/4 oz. Jägermeister
  1.  Combine in a shot glass and serve

Three Wise Men

Three Wise Men 2Gold, frankincense and myrrh. Too many of these and you’ll act like Larry, Moe and Curly!

  • 1 1/2 oz. Ford’s Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Carpano Bianco Vermouth
  • 1/4 oz. St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur
  • Edible Gold Stars (available here) for garnish
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine gin, vermouth and St. Germaine in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass
  4. Gently float a few gold stars on the surface and serve

Elf Magic

Christmas Cream Green 2Better than dessert—Chocolate mint cream.  (Yes, it’s a Grasshopper)

  • 1 oz. Crème de Menthe
  • 1 oz. Crème de Cacao
  • 2 oz. Heavy Cream
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake to chill
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass

Christmas CosmoFrosty Night

A Holiday version of a Cosmopolitan. This cocktail is pretty and sophisticated.

  • 1 ½ oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. White grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz. Cointreau
  • 1/2  oz. Simple Syrup
  • 4-6 fresh cranberries for garnish
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients, except garnish, in a shaker with ice and shake to chill
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass
  4. Either float the cranberries on the drink or skewer them on a pick.
  5. Serve

Rudolph Bubbly

Christmas RedEven Champagne can use a little dressing up!  This is from Chris Tunstall at abarabove.  I am re-posting it here because making a syrup from jellied cranberry sauce is a great idea, (for other awesome ideas, you should check out their site).

  • 2 oz. Cranberry Syrup – see below
  • 4 – 6 oz. Champagne (or Sparkling Cider)
  1. Chill a cocktail glass champagne flute with ice and water
  2. Add Cranberry syrup to glass and top with Champagne or cider

Cranberry Syrup

The syrup is extremely easy.  It will take about 15 minutes, including time to cool.  You will need:

  • 1 – 14 oz can jellied cranberry sauce
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  1. In a quart sized microwavable container, melt the cranberry sauce on high in 30 second intervals, stirring in between.
  2. Meanwhile, using a small sauce pan on the stove, dissolve the sugar in the water.
  3. When the the sugar is dissolved, add the melted cranberry sauce and stir to combine.
  4. Allow to cool.  This will keep refrigerated in a sealed glass bottle for at least a week.

Santa Sparkle

Christmas GreenMint with a little sparkle!  Can be Zero Proof.

  • 2 oz. Crème de Menthe or Crème de Menthe syrup
  • 4-6 oz. Champagne or Sparkling Grape Juice
  • Chill a cocktail glass champagne flute with ice and water
  • Add Crème de Menthe to glass and top with Champagne or Grape Juice

 Holly Leaf

Creamy mint richness.Christmas Cream Green

  • 1 oz. Crème de Menthe or Crème de Menthe syrup
  • 2 oz. Heavy Cream
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake to chill
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass






Tepache is pineapple, top removed, chunked, unpeeled, juiced, then mixed with a few spices and sugar and allowed to ferment, uncovered, first at room temperature and then in the refrigerator, with whatever is in the air, for one week.  If pineapple juice and hard cider had a baby – it would be tepache.  This favorite street drink of Mexico is tropical and slightly pungent with a little funk.  Traditionally served alone or with Mexican beer, tepache is making its way onto cocktail menus all over the US.

It first came to my attention when I read a Bon Appétit post last Summer.  Then this past July, I spotted an article about a DIY tepache in Imbibe .  When I noticed that the recipe was from our friends at Victor Tangos, my curiosity was truly peaked.  Victor Tangos is one of the restaurants I try to visit when we’re in Dallas.  So, I absolutely had to head over there at my first opportunity.

victor-tangosWhen I had a chance to discuss Victor Tangos’ version with Manager Matt Ragan, he said their tepache is basically just the way Bartender Alejandro Galindo’s mother used to make hers.  According to Matt, they make their tepache in the restaurant and there is little, if any, variation between batches.  They have used it in several cocktails, mainly Tiki drinks, substituting tepache for pineapple juice.  During my visit a few weeks ago, they were offering the Tomar de los Muertes, which eschews the rum and combines mezcal and tequila.  Matt says that the tepache cocktails have been well received and will continue on the menu for awhile.

I used Alejandro’s recipe, which is simple and came out very similar to what I had at Victor Tangos.  It was good at the end of the seven days proscribed in the recipe, but got better when allowed to ferment another ten days.  You don’t have to make your own – just ask at your favorite liquor store. We tried it alone, with beer and in a few different cocktails.  I found that the cocktails are best if the amount of tepache is equal to, or less than, the volume of hard spirit.  Otherwise, it overwhelms the drink.  We settled on 3 favorites: a Tiki variation, a tequila/amaro combination and a gin cocktail.

The Potted Tepache Parrot

This is a riff on Trader Vic’s Potted Parrot using tepache rather than orange juice.  I also increased the orgeat.  The flavors of the ingredients all come through: the rum, the tart/funky tepache, the orgeat and a hint of lemon.  Here’s the recipe:Potted Tepache Parrot

  • 2 oz. Cruzan white rum
  • 2 oz. tepache
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. curacao
  • 1/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz. orgeat
  • 12 oz. crushed ice
  1. Chill a Double Old Fashioned glass with ice and water
  2. Shake all ingredients with crushed ice
  3. Pour unstrained into chilled  glass

Next up is:

The Tepache Tease

The bright flavor of the tequila adds to the tropical pineapple while the plum/cherry notes in the Bonal plays with the pungency of the tepache.

Tepache Tease

  • 2 oz. Tepache
  • 2 oz. Plata Tequila such as Milagro
  • 1/4 oz. Bonal
  • 1 dash 2:1 simple syrup
  1. Chill a Double Old Fashioned with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake to chill
  3. Strain over fresh ice in chilled glass



And finally:

The Tepache Cocktail

This proves you can have an elegant cocktail that uses pineapple!  Tepache Cocktail

  • 1 oz. Plymouth Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Tepache
  • 1/4 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 1 dash (1/8 tsp) 2:1 simple syrup
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake to chill
  3. Strain into chilled glass and serve



Mixology Monday CI – Orange Juice

remixmo_final1This month’s theme for Mixology Monday is Orange Juice, brought to us from the host of MxMo 101, DJ Hawaiian Shirt of the Spirited Remix blog.  And, not just “Orange,” but Orange Juice.  I think this month’s challenge is great because we love OJ!  The first drink I thought of is the Potted Parrot, and second is a cocktail I created a few years ago that, in addition to OJ, has Wild Turkey 101.  Somehow that number 101 seems appropriate as well!  I wanted to contribute something original but I’ll get back to that in a minute.  The first drink is:

Wild Turkey in Heat

This cocktail is a bourbon and orange sour with the almond sweetness of the orgeat and the kick of habanero.  The name originated during a family ski trip to Steamboat Springs a number of years ago.  We always ate dinner at the Tugboat Saloon on our first night and, so, cold and tired, I spotted a bottle of Wild Turkey behind the bar.  I asked the waitress if they had Wild Turkey 101.  She replied, “Yes.”  To which I said, “I’ll have that neat.”  She then repeated my order, “A Wild Turkey neat.”  Now, from the other end of the table, with great incredulity, our teenage daughter asked: “What’s a Wild Turkey in Heat?”Wild Turkey in Heat

  • 2 oz. Wild Turkey 101
  • 2 ½ oz. Orange juice
  • ¾ oz. Lemon juice
  • ¼ oz. orgeat
  • a dash of 2:1 simple syrup or ¼ oz. regular simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Bittermans Habanero Shrub
  1. Chill a Double Old Fashioned glass with ice and water
  2. Add all ingredients to shaker and shake with ice
  3. Add unstrained to chilled Double Old Fashioned

 L’Orange Indulgence

This is our cocktail especially concocted for MxMo CI.  I don’t often create desert drinks but I began by imagining the flavors of a chocolate covered, orange rum ball to be savored accompanied by a cup of coffee.  Here is the formula for this sweet orange indulgence:

L'Orange Indulgence


  • 2 oz. Premium white rum
  • 4 oz. Fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. Creme de Cacao – white
  • 1/2 oz. Licor 43
  • Coffee foam – see below (This drink does require a whipped cream maker.   If you don’t have one, you really should get one, for this drink and others!)


  1. Chill a fancy cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine rum, OJ, Creme de Cacao and Liquor 43 in a shaker with ice and shake to chill
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass
  4. Float foam over the drink and serve

For the Coffee Foam


  • 3 egg whites, 9 Tbl or 4 ½ oz. pasteurized egg whites (see note)
  • 3 oz. Tia Maria
  • 2 oz. orange juice double strained
  • 1 dash Regans Orange Bitters


  1. Lightly whip egg whites – be fairly aggressive if using fresh
  2. Add all ingredients to whipped cream charger
  3. Secure top and shake a few times to further break up the egg whites and combine ingredients.
  4. Double charge with N2O, shaking 4-5 times between charges.  Over shaking can cause ingredients to clump and clog charger.
  5. Chill for at least 1 hour before use.
  6. Keeps a few days refrigerated.

Note:  Pasteurized egg whites work best – the plain variety, not the yellow dyed brand.  The fresh egg whites will not keep as long and they can make a foam that clumps.  If you use fresh egg whites, beat them pretty well to break up the protein strands.

And last but not least, the Potted Parrot.  I like this Tiki drink and we usually include it as a choice for our guests when we break out the little umbrellas!

Potted Parrot


This is one of Trader Vic’s original’s.  Potted Parrot

  • 2 oz. Cruzan white rum
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • ½ oz. curacao
  • ¼ oz. simple syrup
  • ¼ oz. orgeat
  • 12 oz. crushed ice
  1. Shake all ingredients with crushed ice
  2. Pour unstrained into tall glass

That’s our MxMo for this month.



A Tonic Bar for Your Next Party

TonicBar HeaderAs busy host/hostess, anytime you can offer a fun, engaging, self-serve cocktail bar, expect your guests to rave about your entertaining prowess!  A tonic bar is a simple way to allow your guests open access to create their own drinks while you get to enjoy your party too.  Its versatility works great for casual outdoor gatherings and equally well for holiday festivities.

GinTonic 1Before we address the blue print for a great libation station, let’s look at the recent transformation of the venerable Gin and Tonic.  About ten years ago, the “Gin Tonic” became the rage in Spain.  Bars developed their own, proprietary Tonic Waters with which they prepared beautiful cocktails in over-sized, stemmed wine glasses, filled with colorful fresh citrus and herbs.  Drinking establishments take pride in featuring their version of the “Gin Tonic.”

The most important ingredient in gin, and the one necessarily present in all gins, is juniper. Beyond that, it’s the Wild West, because there is no minimum amount of juniper required for a spirit to be labeled ‘gin.’  A single juniper berry in a vat of spirit qualifies as ‘gin.’

Fords GinI had an opportunity to discuss Gin and Tonics with Jason Kosmas, Co-founder of The 86 Company, (Fords Gin among others), Co-founder of Employees Only and Co-author of Speak Easy. According to Jason, just about any premium brand of gin can be used for Gin and Tonics.  Jason prefers that juniper be an actual flavor present in gin, followed by citrus and various herbs.  When determining what will go best with any particular gin, Jason encourages us to “read the back label” and see what is in the gin.  With Fords Gin, he suggests creating a cocktail with the addition of grapefruit, coriander, lemon, and jasmine.

qtonic Fever TreeWhen it comes to tonic water, there are several good premium brands readily available.  Jason mentioned Fever Tree, East Imperial and Q Tonic.  He looks for natural ingredients and sugars.  The flavor should be quinine first and dry rather than sweet.

For garnishes, Jason looks to rosemary for “woodsy,” and he likes grapefruit, dries spices, star anise, aromatic berries such as strawberry, cucumber and/or fresh lavender.  For sweeteners, he recommends agave, dried flowers and even herbal tea blends.

Of course, as Jason says: “It can’t be a Gin Tonic without the big, stemmed wine glass!”

The Tonic Bar

To engage your guests with making their own Gin Tonics, set your Tonic Bar up in an easily accessible area where multiple people can be actively concocting.  Your actual tonic bar can be as minimalist or as expansive as you like.  You can offer only a single gin, vodka or rum, or multiple choices of each.  We include little tasting cups so that our guests can sample the spirits before selecting one.  (The plastic tasting cups were one lifetime supply purchase from Costco – approximately a thousand for $10!)

TonicBar Syrups

Fever Tree, Tonic Syrups for Rum and for Gin

Now for the tonic water.  We like to offer at least one house made tonic syrup.  A small amount of tonic syrup is added to carbonated water in the drink to make tonic water, (our recipes are here).  These syrups are designed for a specific spirit and make wonderful cocktails.  However, we have found that while our guests like it when we make one these for them, when left on their own, they will usually opt for bottled tonic water.   We continue to offer the tonic syrup, but we always include one premium brand of tonic water – usually Fever Tree.  We also use the small bottles so that there is no measuring required.

However many choices of spirit you offer, don’t skimp on the garnishes.  Arrange bunches of fresh herbs in single old fashioned glasses, with small bowls of sliced citrus and berries.  If some of your herbs are less than attractive, pinch off the leaves and present them in small bowels as well.  Release your imagination with the variety of flavors, colors and textures of garnishes and the containers in which you offer them.  The more inviting the presentation, the more your guests will be encouraged to experiment and enjoy their mixology talents. Here are some suggestions:

TonicBar Garnishes 1

  • Lemon & Lime Wheels
  • Lemon & Lime Peels
  • Grapefruit Peels
  • Sliced Berries
  • Cucumber Slices

  • Fresh Lavender
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Fresh Thyme/Lemon Thyme
  • Fresh Sage
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • Lemon Grass
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Pineapple
  • Coriander
  • Fresh Hibiscus Flowers


TonicBar 2

Set up your Tonic Bar where it is easily accessible

TonicBar Recipe

Little recipe placards make it easy for your guests

As noted above, set your Tonic Bar up in an easily accessible location.  We use a round table.  Set out your bottles of spirits, a few bottles of tonic water along with a bottle opener, and garnishes.  You might want to set your glassware and ice bucket on a separate counter.  This will minimize the chance that they get knocked over while someone is reaching for ingredients.  We always include a written recipe with suggestions of garnishes for each spirit.  This will eliminate any anxiety your guests may have over not knowing what to make.  You want to keep it simple and fun.

TonicBar GnT

A knife and cutting board allows guests to prepare their own garnishes

To get things started, make up a Gin Tonic so everyone can see how it’s done.  Those guests can then show any late comers when they arrive.  You will then only need to refresh any garnishes, tonic water bottles and ice.


Recipe for Gin, Rum or Vodka Tonics

  • 2 oz Spirit – either Gin, Rum or Vodka
  • 6 oz. Tonic Water (1 1/2 oz Tonic Syrup and 4 1/2 oz. Carbonated Water)
  • Optional dash of simple syrup for gin or vodka/demerara simple syrup for rum
  • Garnish – see below


  1. Add ice cubes to a large, stemmed wine glass
  2. Add garnishes except for any citrus peels for expressing
  3. Add your Spirit of choice
  4. Slowly add the Tonic Water (or Tonic Syrup followed by the carbonated water).
  5. Express any citrus peels and serve

Suggested Garnishes:

Gin or Vodka

  • Lemon & Lime Wheels
  • Lemon & Lime Peels
  • Grapefruit Peels
  • Sliced Berries
  • Cucumber Slices
  • Fresh Lavender
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Fresh Sage
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • Lemon Grass


  • Lemon & Lime Wheels
  • Lemon & Lime Peels
  • Sliced Berries
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Pineapple
  • Coriander
  • Fresh Hibiscus Flowers
  • Lemon Grass


Rum and Tonic

Rum Tonic with House Made Tonic Syrup

We have found that our guests enjoy the opportunity to experiment with the Tonic Bar.  By offering multiple choices of gin, vodka and rum along with a myriad of garnishes, you enable your guests to explore a range of Gin Tonics.  Our guests tend to lower the amount of spirit in each drink thus allowing themselves to try multiple variations.  If some of your guests may be a little more stayed or if you just wish to expand the offerings, set out a few old fashioned glasses so someone can make a standard Gin or Vodka and Tonic.  Throw in a bottle of vermouth and martini glasses and your guests can head down that road.  As always, we offer self serve wine and beer along with non-alcohol options.





MxMo C

mxmo_c_logoI’m a relative new comer to Mixology Monday, having contributed for only about a year.  So my twelve entries are a modest offering when one considers that this monthly online cocktail party is now 100 months old!  This month’s theme comes from MxMo’s dedicated leader Frederic Yarm at the cocktail virgin slut.  It is “Cocktail Chronicles” and is a tribute to Mixology Monday’s founder Paul Clarke.  Paul has written at the Cocktail Chronicles blog since 2005, and has now authored a book The Cocktail Chronicles: Navigating the Cocktail Renaissance with Jigger, Shaker & GlassThe book is an insider’s look at the cocktail “revolution” of the past decade.  While it is not really a history, it does give insight into where we were and where we are today.  He also highlights the classic yet simple cocktails that form the backbone of what we call “mixology.”

Cocktail ChroniclesThe theme, “Cocktail Chronicles” for this month’s Mixology Monday is, as described in the  announcement post, “what is timeless (or potentially timeless) and elegant in its simplicity.”  Wonderful yet uncomplicated.  I have interpreted this to mean, “highlight a cocktail that is an essential part of the current cocktail renaissance.”

In selecting our contribution for this month, I have focused on “timeless,” “simple” and “malleability,”  (a cocktail that can easily be made into something else).  In our focus on home entertainment, these three criteria: elegant, simple and easily modified are huge.  Cocktails that have these qualities enable the host to entertain with ease.

I think that a cocktail that has been around for 200 years meets the “timeless” threshold, and if it has three ingredients, it qualifies as “simple.”  Now if that cocktail can be, and has been,  easily turned into a myriad of famous drinks, it’s a winner.  So I have selected the Sour: spirit, juice and sweetener.  The Sour has been around since at least the early 1800’s, (check the sidebar for a brief history of the Sour), and it is the forbear of numerous cocktails.  From the humble Whiskey Sour has come Daiquiris, Margaritas, the Sidecar, The Aviation, the Pisco Sour, Ward Eight, the Cosmopolitan and many more.

One of my favorite Whiskey Sours is our Belle Meade Sour.  It does not follow the usual Sour Ratio of 2:1:1, (Spirit:Sour:Sweet), but I like my whiskey sours 1:1 bourbon and lemon sour.  For the lemon sour, I prefer 2:1 lemon to simple syrup.  This makes the ratio more like 2:1:2/3 or so.  I also like the mouth feel of egg white.  So here is our recipe:Belle Meade Sour

  • 1 1/2 oz. Belle Meade Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. Simple syrup
  • 1 large egg white (can use 3 Tbl. pasteurized egg whites but it will not be the same)
  1. Add all ingredients, in order to a shaker and shake for 30 sec without ice to emulsify the egg white.
  2. Add 3 regular sized ice cubes plus one large cube (1 1/2 – 2 inches)* to the shaker and shake to chill 10 – 15 sec.
  3. Double strain into a chilled coup and serve

* using a large ice cube creates a silky finish that complements the egg white.  The effect lasts for only a minute or two, so serve it quickly.  You can omit this and use regular ice but you should get a large ice cube tray!




Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is just one day away.  The Day was originally observed to commemorate the Mexican Army’s victory over the French at Puebla in 1862.  Today, it is usually celebrated in the US by indulging in chips, salsa and margaritas.  While margaritas are really, really good, we would like to offer a few additional tequila cocktails to enjoy.  (And maybe some food as well!)

Grapefruit Tequila SourGrapefruit Tequila Sour

This has just the right balance of sweet, tart and sour.  It will be prettier with white grapefruit juice, but we usually can only get ruby reds.  Just be sure to use fresh juice. Continue reading 

San Antonio Cloud

SA Cloud 2I found the recipe on a scrap of paper along with a bunch of other little “notes to self” hiding in my desk a few years ago.  There was no reference on it, so I have no idea where it came from.  Anyway, it’s a tequila based cocktail with the tartness and color of pomegranate.  The elderflower foam floating on top makes for a pretty as well as delicious drink.    Continue reading 


Tequila Old Fashioned

Tequila Old Fashioned 2This is another bitters forward old fashioned.  The tequila is perfectly complimented by the sweet, smoky agave and the  chocolate and spices of the bitters.  Continue reading 


Yucatan Old Fashioned

Yucatan Old Fashioned 2This is a smoky, spicy version of the Tequila Old Fashioned.  You can use an iSi Whipper for instant gratification, or give yourself a couple of days to let the tequila infuse with the chipotle.  Either way, this is an impressive, complex cocktail.  Continue reading 

Tequila Manhattan

Tequila Manhattan 1Definitely not a chocolate martini, this is a southwestern makeover of the Manhattan.  Continue reading 

Rosita Cocktail

Rosita 1I’m fairly certain that this is Robert Hess’s version, but the Rosita Cocktail first appeared in a Mr. Boston recipe book in the 1980’s.  The plata tequila blends nicely with the complex flavors of the sweet and dry vermouths and the herbal/bitterness of the Campari.  Continue reading 

 Tequila Moonlight

Autumn SpiritThis was our entry into MxMo, “The Unknown.”  The combination of Reposado Tequila, Cocchi Rosa and Kahlua Midnight makes a perfect after dinner drink.

Continue reading →

Now, how about some snacks to go with these drinks!

Smoked Gouda-Chorizo Jalapeno Poppers

Jalapeno Poppers

Jalapeno Poppers

These are easy and quick to make, and the filling can be made ahead of time.  Continue reading 

Fish Tacos

This is our version of the iconic street food.

Fish TacosThese are great with whatever fish you have on hand.  We usually use tilapia or mahi mahi.  The tacos can be made with flour or corn tortillas or with lettuce wraps.

Continue reading

Finally, if you really NEED a margarita, here’s our most requested:

Classic Margarita #1

Margarita 3A simple but classic margarita on the rocks.   Beware: the sweetness hides the alcohol content.  Continue reading 


Fat Tuesday is Upon Us!

Mardi Gras 1 - CopyHere we are with another excuse to party!  Fat Tuesday always means Mardi Gras and New Orleans. So to celebrate, let’s take a look at two iconic libations from the Crescent City, the Vieux Carré and the Sazerac.

Vieux Carré

The Vieux Carré dates to 1938 and was the creation of Walter Bergeron, the head bartender at the Monteleone Hotel.  This cocktail, which is similar to a Manhattan, combines the spiciness of the rye with the sweet and mellow flavors of the Cognac and vermouth.  Add to that the herbal notes of the Benedictine, and you have a smooth and complex drink.

  • ¾ oz. rye whiskeyVieux Carre 1
  • ¾ oz. Cognac
  • ¾ oz. sweet vermouth
  • ¼ oz. Benedictine
  • dash Peychaud’s Bitters
  • dash Angostura Bitters
  1. Chill either a cocktail glass or an old fashioned glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir with ice
  3. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass and serve up or over fresh ice in chilled Old Fashioned glass
  4. Garnish with thick lemon twist


Sazerac 3The Sazerac is, basically, a bitters forward, rye Old Fashioned with an absinthe rinse.  The history of this drink is somewhat clouded, but it does originate in New Orleans in the last half of the 19th century.  There is also supposed to be a ritual for making the Sazerac.  The ritual simply substitutes a second Old Fashioned glass for the mixing glass in the recipe below, (or you could mumble a line from Monty Python as well!)

Whatever ritual you follow this is a cocktail you need to try.  The flavors are the spices of the rye and bitters combined with the hint of anise and herbs of the absinthe.



  • 2 oz. quality rye whiskey such as Sazerac or Templeton Small Batch
  • 4 dashes Peychaud’s BittersSazerac 4
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • 1 tsp. 2:1 simple syrup
  • absinthe
  • lemon peel
  1. Chill old fashioned glass with ice and water.
  2. Combine all ingredients, except absinthe, to a mixing glass and stir with ice.
  3. Drain ice and water from chilled old fashioned glass and rinse with dash of absinthe.
  4. Strain drink into chilled, absinthe rinsed old fashioned over fresh ice.
  5. Twist lemon peel over drink and discard peel.

Laissez les bons temps roulez!!


Mardi Gras later - Copy

Later That Night….