Thursday, June 23, 2016

Original Cocktail: The French Connection

This is about as simple as it gets. Three ingredients, nice and clean. That means use a quality rum and fresh lime. Always use fresh citrus. Keep in mind that agricole rhum (notice the spelling) is made with the juice of the sugar cane rather than molasses, so it's a bit lighter and grassier and has a bit of funk to it. Try tasting it at a bar first to see if it's your cup of... well, rum. 

-French Connection-

1.75 oz Rhum Clement white agricole rhum
.75 oz Giffard banana liqueur*
.75 oz fresh lime juice

Shake with ice, strain into a double rocks glass with fresh ice and garnish with a lime wheel or large twist of lime.

*I've tried a few banana booze products and this one is the only one you should be using. Real bananas were macerated in alcohol to make this, not some weird flavoring. If you see something called "99 Bananas" at the liquor store then you should run the fuck away.  

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Original Cocktail: Pineapple Pimms Cup

This might sound like an odd combo, but it's really not. Just an elevation of the classic Pimms Cup, but like a million times better. Refreshing and pretty simple to make, this is a great summer cocktail.

-Pineapple Pimms Cup-

1.5 oz Pimms #1
1 oz Plantation Pineapple rum
heavy .5 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz mint simple syrup
1.5 oz Bundaberg ginger beer*

Shake all ingredients together (including ginger beer!), strain into a pilsner or collins glass and top with fresh ice. Garnish with 2-3 cucumber slices.

*Bundaberg ginger beer is widely available and really hits the sweet spot at finishing this cocktail. It's not over sweet, spicy, or funky. I tried a few ginger beers in this cocktail and it works the best.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Mango Infused Rum

Reduce, recycle, reuse, Rhianna. AmIright? So why toss the mango pit when it still has so much potential? All that tasty flesh just hanging on...wait, that sounded creepy. Anyway, don't toss it in the compost until you've made mango rum. Or mezcal. 

If you have a lot of mango bones, go ahead and infuse an entire bottle. You'll be glad you did later after you've discovered how delicious it is. If you have only a couple, just do a baby batch in a larger mason jar.

For my latest mango rum I used about 10 mango pits and a liter bottle of high proof rhum agricole. Play around with different styles of rum and different proofs.

-Mango Infused Rum-

1  750ml bottle of white rum
7-8 fresh mango seeds/pits

1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Put the fleshy pits into a large container--a cambro or very large mason jar would work. Cover with white rum or spirit of your choice and let sit for 5-7 days in a cool dark place. Agitate every couple of days.

For a spicy version, when you're happy with the mango flavor, add one teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the infusion and let sit for 4-6 hours. Strain everything through a mesh strainer or tea strainer. For the prettiest result, you can filter out the murky stuff that tends to settle to the bottom with a coffee filter. Unless I'm giving it as a gift, I usually don't bother to strain with a coffee filter and instead I just shake well before using it.

For long term storage, keep it in the fridge. If you're going to consume it over the next couple of weeks, room temp is fine.

straining a small batch 

finished product

Monday, June 13, 2016

Beyond Campari: The Bitter Aperitivo

Let's be clear, I love me some Campari. It's bitter, it's aggressive, and it's very, very red. This list of Campari alternatives is not about which one is better, it's just here to give you some options. Maybe Campari isn't quite your thing, or perhaps you want something a bit more artisanal. Something local? Maybe you're like me and you just have to try everything because you can't help it.

Leopold's Aperitivo

Of this list, it's my favorite for a classic Negroni. The mouthfeel is light, but not thin. Bitter, but not palate wrecking. I get a lot of rhubarb and citrus, with a dry finish.

Bruto (St George)


Hot off the presses, this one is not at all what I expected. Like their Terroir gin, the Bruto ends up in a class on its own. Every time I taste it the color throws me off, as I expect it to be green. Yep. Tastes like green to me. Very Christmasy. Rosemary and doug fir and those tree lights that look like candles. On that note, it plays well with Chartreuse, they might turn out to be best friends.



Sweet, viscous, closer to Aperol than Campari. Strong hints of bubble gum and mixed fruit cocktail. Maybe my least favorite of the bunch overall, but certainly an interesting study. I recommend this in an Americano with a very spicy vermouth.


Super low in alcohol, sweet and fruity, heavy on the orange and tangerine notes. Needs a bit of citrus to pick it up in cocktails. Classic in the aperol spritz, which is having its day in Europe and starting to pick up here.


New to the US, this has the fruit of Aperol, the body and sweetness of Capelleti, but a finish that is bitter and takes the spirit full circle. Pretty versatile overall and worth seeking out. Makes a damn fine spritz, so stock up on Prosecco.

Gran Classico (Tempus Fugit)

The gateway to loving Negronis. This is complex, with burnt sugar and caramelized citrus, and has weight to throw around. This leans sweet, so keep that in mind when choosing cocktail ingredients to complement the spirit.

Amer Picon

Sadly, not available in the States, so pick up a bottle the next time you're in Europe. This French spirit has a bitter orange flavor profile, and it's cheap and usually comes in liters. Always bring an extra suitcase.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Classic Cocktail: The Americano

This is an unsung hero for so many reasons. It's easy to make. I mean it's EASY. Light, refreshing, and low in alcohol. It's a patio drink, but a classy patio drink. Great before a meal without putting you under the table if you're also going to be drinking a lot of wine with dinner. And of course, you have plenty of choices if you don't feel like using Campari or sweet vermouth. Both the classic and a little twist on it are below. 


1.5 oz Campari or similar
1.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
Seltzer water to top

Build in a collins glass, add ice, top with seltzer and garnish with a nice big wheel of orange. 

-Americano Bianco-

1.25 oz Campari

1 oz Carpano Bianco
Seltzer water to top

Build in a collins glass, add ice, top with seltzer and garnish with a nice big wheel of orange. 

**A note on presentation. When you add the seltzer water, it's going to rest on top of your other ingredients, creating a dramatic effect. If you choose to leave it this way when serving, you'll need to remind your guests that they need to stir the drink so that it's integrated before consuming. Otherwise, stir before adding the garnish.