The Ghost of Birthdays Past

When we host a party, my wife often tells me she wants a cocktail(s) that will pair with food “X” for which she can coordinate a name, even the colors she wants.  This time she wanted a cocktail with tequila and pineapple.  While there are a few delicious, classic pineapple/tequila cocktails, most of these drinks are sweet and poorly balanced.  Now I’ll digress!The Ghost of Birthdays Past

You can download this spread sheet, Pineapple Simple Sour, follow the directions and skip the explanation below.  Then just jump down to the recipe here.

The problem you encounter when you substitute one juice for another in a cocktail, especially if you swap a citrus for a non-citrus juice, is loss of balance.  The drink easily becomes too sweet, (the most frequent result), too sour (acidic), too bitter, too strong or too weak.  The example for this cocktail is pineapple juice, but this discussion is equally true of orange, strawberry, apple or practically any juice.  When you substitute all or part of lime or lemon juice with pineapple juice, you are decreasing the primarily acidic and not very sweet lime/lemon juice and adding the sweet and not as acidic pineapple juice.  Lime juice is 6% acid and 1.5% sugar, while pineapple juice is 0.8% acid and 10% sugar.  Let’s say that you have a cocktail that is:

  • 2 parts Spirit (45%  ABV)
  • 2 parts Lime juice

The above drink will have an ABV of 22.5% and will be 3% acid and 0.75% sugar … and will not be very good.  If you were to add 2 parts pineapple juice, your drink will have an ABV of 15%, and will be 2% acid and about 4% sugar.  While adding pineapple juice to the above drink would probably be an improvement, it will still be a completely different cocktail.  Now, think about the above with 1 part simple syrup.  Figuring out how to maintain the cocktails sweet/sour balance quickly becomes mind numbing.

Dave Arnold extensively covers all of this in his book, Liquid Intelligence.   A book I highly recommend.  His suggestion for solving the above substitutions is to add acid to the juice to make it equal in acidity to lime juice.  Then you can sub away.  I heard Dave speak at this year’s San Antonio Cocktail Conference.  In addition to discussing the above, Dave covered creating fruit juice syrup with the same sugar content by weight as 1:1 simple syrup.  It is not uncommon for a cocktail to be 20% simple syrup.  That means a 20% dilution.  If you use a fruit simple syrup, you will still be diluting the ABV and acidity, but you’ll at least be enforcing the fruit flavor.  This is all a whole lot easier than it sounds.

Acidifying Fruit Juice

Lime juice has both citric and malic acids.  So, to acidify a juice, you need only know the percent acid in that juice and subtract that from 6% (the acid content of lime juice).  Since pineapple juice is 0.8% acid, 6%-0.8% = 5.2%.  To acidify a liter of pineapple juice, you will add 32 gm of citric acid and 20 gm of malic acid.  Pineapple juice has a highly variable quantity of pulp, even if you filter it.  This means that 1 liter of pineapple juice will actually weigh more than 1 Kg.  However, it usually makes little difference, so you can just measure out 1 liter of juice and add 32 gm of citric acid and 20 gm of malic acid.  The spread sheet above, actually asks you to weigh 1 cup of juice because it also calculates your pineapple simple syrup.

Making Pineapple Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is made by dissolving 1 part sugar in 1 part water.  This should be by weight, though it’s frequently made by volume.  The issue with making a syrup from fruit juice is that the juice already contains sugar.  Adding the full quantity of sugar by weight or by volume will result in a syrup that is too sweet, thus easily unbalancing your cocktail.  To avoid this, you need to know the weight of sugar in the juice and the weight of the liquid – which will equal the weight of the sugar to make 1:1.  If you’re using bottled juice, pineapple-juice-nutritionaljust look at the label to see the weight of sugar in a “serving” of the juice.   The weight of sugar per volume will vary by brand.  The nutritional chart shown here indicates that 240 ml of juice contains 30 grams of sugar.  If you’re using fresh juice, consult the Google!  So to use this juice:

  1. Weigh 240 ml of juice in grams
  2. Subtract 30 grams (the weight of sugar in that juice) to calculate the weight of liquid.
  3. The weight of the liquid will equal the weight of sugar needed.  But you already have 30 grams of sugar.  So subtract 30 from the calculated weight of liquid to equal the weight of additional sugar needed.

So by example:

  1. Lets say the 240 ml of juice weighed 250 grams
  2. The liquid weight will equal: 250-30 = 220 grams
  3. You need 220 grams of sugar.  But, you already have 30 grams.
  4. Therefore, the weight of additional sugar needed will equal 220-30 = 190 grams.

Or you can use the spread sheet: Pineapple Simple Sour

The Ghost of Birthdays Past

The only extra tool you will need for this is a digital kitchen or postal scale that will measure in grams.  You can purchase one from Amazon here.  You will also need to purchase citric and malic acid, also available from Amazon.

The name of this cocktail is derived from Ghost Tequila and the fact that I made the drink for my birthday!  The flavors are pineapple and the tequila with the Ghost Tequila bringing just a touch of heat.  You can alter the amount of Ghost Tequila to adjust the spiciness to fit your taste.


  • 1/2 oz. Ghost Tequila
  • 1 1/2 oz. Silver tequila such as Milagro
  • 2 1/2 oz. Acid adjusted pineapple juice
  • 1 1/2 oz Pineapple Simple Syrup
  • 1/4 oz. Cointreau or triple sec
  1.  To make the Acidified Pineapple juice and the pineapple simple syrup, refer to the spread sheet: Pineapple Simple Sour
  2. Chill a large, stemmed glass with ice and water
  3. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice
  4. Shake to chill
  5. Double strain into chilled glass



MxMo CXV – Chocolate!

Mixology Monday

Mixology Monday

It’s Mixology Monday, hosted by Garnish Blog, and the theme is chocolate!  I absolutely love it: chocolate and booze are a match made in Heaven!  We have three cocktails to offer this month: the Chocolate Manhattan, the Chocolate Covered Rum and the Chocolate Rum Old Fashioned.

Chocolate Manhattan

Chocolate ManhattanI attended a seminar on tequila and chocolate at the San Antonio Cocktail Conference last year.  It was an epiphany!  Which statement is true: “Chocolate goes with everything” or “Alcohol goes with everything?”  Or both?  Anyway, I used Milagro Plata Tequila which blends with the Lillet and chocolate in surprising ways.  The touch of bitterness and complexity of the Lillet Rouge complements the bittersweet Godiva.  This cocktail is not too sweet, but balanced and intriguing.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Milagro Plata Tequila
  • 3/4 oz. Lillet Rouge
  • 1/2 oz. Godiva Dark Chocolate Liqueur
  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 glass and serve

 Chocolate Covered RumChocolate Covered Rum

Well, we have chocolate covered peanuts and chocolate covered espresso beans and chocolate covered everything else so why not chocolate covered rum? I made a chocolate simple syrup with coconut nectar and drinking chocolate.  It is really deeply chocolate and very thick.  This cocktail has the flavor of rum and coconut but the dark chocolate predominates.  The spice of the chipotle and bitters keeps the sweetness at bay.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Rum
  • 1/2 oz Coconut Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz. Chocolate Simple Syrup – see below
  • 2 pinches chipotle powder
  • 1 dash Fees Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters


  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and stir with a spoon to dissolve the chocolate syrup
  3. Add Ice to the shaker and shake to chill
  4. Double strain into chilled glass and serve

Chocolate Rum Old Fashioned

Chocolate Old FashionedI thought that a simple Old Fashioned with aged rum and bittersweet chocolate would work.  It does.


  • 1 1/2 oz. Barbancourt 12 yr old Rum
  • 1/4 oz. Chocolate Simple Syrup
  • Orange peel for garnish
  1. Chill an Old Fashioned glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and stir with a spoon to dissolve the chocolate syrup
  3. Add Ice to the shaker and shake to chill
  4. Double strain into chilled glass, express the orange peel over the glass and serve.

Chocolate Simple Syrup

This is like eating a 97% cacao chocolate bar.  Only a touch sweet.  If it’s too thick, add some hot water.

  • 1 oz. Water
  • 1 oz. Coconut nectar or sub honey
  • 4 tbls. Dagoba Drinking Chocolate mix.  You can substitute another brand but I used 130% of the amount to make 1 cup of drinking chocolate.
  • 1 tbls. Sugar or to taste.
  1. Heat all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat until dissolved
  2. Cool slightly before use.
  3. If it’s too thick, add some hot water.



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…




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



Jalapeño Margarita

This margarita is a new favorite because of its subtle taste of jalapeño with the slightest bit of heat on the finish.    It was popular at our last party…and we knew we had a hit when the rest of the cocktails went untouched!  The simple syrup takes only a few minutes to make, but does require time to cool.  So plan ahead!Jalapeno Margarita 1

The Jalapeño Margarita

  • 2 oz. Premium plata tequila such as Milagro
  • 2 1/2 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 2-3 slices of fresh jalapeño  – seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 oz Jalapeño Simple Syrup – see below
  • 1/4 oz. Cointreau or triple sec
  1. Chill a margarita glass with ice and water
  2. Add the lime juice and jalapeño slices to a shaker and muddle
  3. Add the remaining ingredients with ice and shake to chill – about 15-20 sec.
  4. Double strain into chilled glass
  5. You can rim the glass with salt and/or garnish with a lime if you wish
For a frozen variety – see below

Jalapeño Simple Syrup

Simple Syrup Jalapeno

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 jalapeño stemmed and coarsely chopped
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over med-low heat.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes (be careful, sometimes this will foam up and boil over)
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool
  4. Strain into a jar, bottle or squeeze bottle and store refrigerated – it will keep a couple of weeks.



Frozen Jalapeño Margarita

  1. Chill a margarita glass with ice and water
  2. Add the lime juice and jalapeño slices to a mixing glass and muddle
  3. Double strain the lime juice into your blender
  4. Add the remaining ingredients along with 8 – 10 oz. ice
  5. Whir it up and serve in your chilled glass



It’s International Margarita Day!!

Practically everyone who mixes drinks on any level has their own margarita recipe.  Without disparaging anyone’s favorite, here is our most requested version.  It is a simple but classic margarita on the rocks.  We make this as a sour, shaken and served straight up without a salted rim.

Margarita 2This is the only drink we make using Equal.  A lot of people love the idea of low calorie drinks.  Since the object here is to  offset the tartness of the lime, the simple sweet flavor of the Equal will work as well as sugar. Mouth feel is not an issue with this cocktail.  If you do use sugar it needs to be the superfine variety.  Regular granulated sugar will not dissolve well.

Beware: the sweetness hides the alcohol content.

  • 2 oz. Premium plata tequila – such as MilagroMargarita 3
  • 2 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 oz. Curacao – we use Cointreau or you can use blue curacao for some extra color
  • 3-4 tsp. Superfine sugar or 1-2 packets of Equal
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Chill a margarita glass with a few ice cubes and water
  2. To a shaker add all of the ingredients.
  3. Shake with ice until shaker is frosted, 10-15 sec
  4. Strain into  chilled glass


Happy Valentines Day!

I choose to ignore all of you anti-Valentine’s Day types, (which probably suits you fine today)!  Just FYI: Valentine’s Day was not started by Hallmark Cards.  Hallmark’s first Valentine’s Day card was sold in 1913, while the first official Valentine’s Day observance as a special day of romance was in 1537.  Anyway, how about a flaming, red drink!SA Cloud Flame Two

I have named this the San Antonio Cloud.  I 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.

San Antonio Cloud

  • San Antonio Cloud1 ½ oz. Milagro Plata Tequila
  • 1 oz. pomegranate juice
  • dash rhubarb bitters
  • dash 2:1 simple syrup
  • St. Germaine Elderflower Foam – see below
  • Misto of Chartreuse
  1. Chill cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Stir all ingredients, except foam, with ice
  3. Add St. Germaine Elderflower Foam to chilled glass
  4. Strain drink through foam into glass
  5. Flame drink with Misto of Chartreuse

SA Cloud Foam First 2

Add the Foam to the Glass

SA Cloud Pour thru

Pour the Liquid

SA Cloud Repair Foam

Repair the Foam







SA Cloud Foam Last

Float the Foam Last

You can either put the foam into the chilled coup first and pour the drink through it, or pour the drink first and float the foam on top.  Pouring the drink through the foam will incorporate some of the foam’s flavors into the liquid portion of the drink.  This will, however, make the drink slightly cloudy.  Pouring the liquid first and then topping it with the foam will give you the clear liquid with foam floating cloud like on top.  In the photo, the drink on the left had the liquid poured through the foam.  You can see the difference.


The Left Drink is Cloudy

The Left Drink is Cloudy

Still, in a matter of 3 or 4 minutes, the foam will begin to dissolve slowly and it will look like the other drink.

Flaming the drinks is a bit of theatrics.  The flavors will be very similar if you simply mist the tops with the Chartreuse.  HOWEVER, fire is cool!  First, practice in the sink.  Second, be certain that nothing flammable is near the drinks.  To flame the Misto, hold the match/lighter near the path of the spray and press the top.  You only want a quick short flame.  It will otherwise melt the foam and impart too much Chartreuse flavor.SA Cloud Flame 3

So, have a wonderful and romantic day.


St. Germain Elderflower Foam

  • 3 egg whites, 9 Tbl or 4 ½ oz. pasteurized egg whites (see note)St Germain
  • 3 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 dash lemon bitters
  1. Lightly whip egg whites
  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:  In this application, the fresh egg whites are not really superior to the pasteurized variety.

National Create a Vacuum Day!

shaker-girlFebruary 4 is National Create a Vacuum Day.  So, in cocktalian fashion, you need to create a vacuum today!  Ever wonder why your cocktail shaker is so hard to open after you’ve shaken your drink?  As you shake your drink with ice, the liquid and air in the shaker cool and contract – causing a vacuum to form.  This is what holds the shaker together and makes it hard to open.

Thus, you can make your very own vacuum.  Now try out a daiquiri, margarita, sour or something new, and SHAKE IT UP, BABY!!!  Here are a few suggestions:

The Z

The Z

The Z

This is one of our favorite daiquiris.  Simple, fresh ingredients and you can feel the warmth of the sun and the sounds of the surf!  Hemingway, here we come.

Get the recipe here

Ten Four

Ten Four

Ten Four

Combine fresh cinlantro and jalapeno with the magic of Chartreuse and Cinco Vodka.  Need a little Grover Washington to go with that?

Get the recipe here


The Mayahuel


The Mayahuel

Mayahuel was the Aztec Goddess of the maguey of which the agave is a type.  She was the mother of the “400 rabbit” gods of drunkenness.  This margarita plays on the agave with tequila, agave orange liqueur, and agave nectar.

Get the recipe here

Whiskey Sour

Belle Meade Sour

Belle Meade Sour

Smooth, vanilla, caramel, smoke and all of the other wonders of bourbon combined with sweet/tart lemon.  Now we’re talking!

Get the recipe here




So, honor the day and create a few vacuums!


Grapefruit 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.Grapefruit Tequila Sour

  • 1 1/2 oz. Melagro Plata Tequila
  • 1/2 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • 2 oz. Fresh grapefruit juice
  • 2 drops grapefruit bitters
  1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake 10-15 sec.
  2. Strain into chilled champagne flute.

Tequila Moonlight

Mixology Monday

Mixology Monday

This is my entry into the MixologyMonday LXXXIX, hosted by abarabove.   September’s theme is “The Unknown.”  The challenge is to venture out and do something new.  So I have chosen Kahlua Midnight and pecan infused tequila.

This drink is a testament to the fact that my wife and I are not good together in a liquor store.  Thus, not so very long ago in a liquor store not so very far away, she walks up to me and I point out a bottle of Ancho Reyes and say, “If you weren’t here, I’d buy this.”  Her response as she wonders down the aisle is, “Oh! We have to get this Hibiscus Liqueur.”  Then we both spot the Kahlua Midnight.  We ended up buying all three.  This is why I usually stop by the liquor store on the way home from work.  It’s less expensive.

The Ancho Reyes and Hibiscus liqueur were tried immediately with good results.  I’ve been thinking about the Kahlua Midnight.  Coffee, at least in my mind, goes with chocolate and pecans.  This led back to my thoughts of trying to infuse something with nuts.  Thus the Tequila Moonlight.

Tequila Moonlight

Tequila Moonlight

In the creation of this, I compared silver, reposado and anjeo tequilas combined with Cocchi Rosa, Dolan Sweet Vermouth, Punt e Mes, and Lillet Rouge.  The reposado and Cocci Rosa won with the sweet vermouth a close second.  The Punt e Mes was too bitter and the Lillet too mild.

I tried using nitrogen cavitation to infuse the tequila with pecan, cocoa and bitter orange.  The cocoa and orange came through but the pecan flavor was missing.  It took 7 days in a mason jar to adequately infuse the pecan flavor.

So here’s the drink:

Tequila Moonlight

Tequila Moonlight

  • 1 1/2 oz. Pecan Infused Milagro Reposado Tequila – see below
  • 3/4 oz. Cocchi Rosa
  • 1/2 oz. Kahlua Midnight
  • Garnish: brandied cherry such as Luxardo and an orange zest
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Stir all of the ingredients, except the garnish, with ice in a mixing glass.
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass
  4. Drop the cherry into the drink, express the oils from the orange zest over the drink and drop it in.

Pecan Infused Tequila

Pecan Infused Tequila

Pecan Infused Tequila

  • 8 oz. Milagro Reposado Tequila
  • 1/3 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tbs Cocoa nibs
  • 1/2 tbs Dried bitter orange peel (available on line)

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar and seal.  Store in a cool place, shaking daily, for 5-7 days.  Pass through a fine mesh strainer, followed by a gold coffee filter and finally a paper coffee filter.  Decant into a bottle.  Will keep indefinitely,  but the flavor will fade after a few months.