Sunday, October 23, 2016

Original Cocktail: The Red Handed

This is a cocktail that I originally created specifically with St. George Spirit's Breaking & Entering Bourbon, and the Red Handed made its debut on my very first full menu at Revival Bar + Kitchen. Alas, that brown nectar is no longer available, but this Manhattan variation will nonetheless work well with your favorite bourbon or rye whiskey.

-Red Handed-

2 oz bourbon
1 oz Barolo Chinato
1-2 dashes Peychaud's bitters 
1 dash Angostura (or other aromatic) bitters

Stir all ingredients with ice, strain into a stemmed, chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Barolo Chinato

Barolo Chinato is a lovely thing to have in your cocktail arsenal. Like vermouth, this fortified wine is seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices, the most notable being quinine. Yes, the same quinine used in tonic water. Quinine in Italy is called china, so when you see Chinato or China while perusing your liquor store's selection, you know to expect a bitter component.

Another thing that makes Barolo Chinato so special is the region where it's made. Barolo Chinato must be made by wine produced in the Piedmont region of Italy where Nebbiolo is grown, the grape that's used to produce Barolo and Barberesco.

You can also enjoy this Chinato on its own, as either an aperitif or a digestiv. Before dinner, serve on ice with an orange peel, or even add a splash of soda water. After, serve it neat as you would a port.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Original Cocktail: Decorative Gourd Season Old Fashioned

Let's be clear, there is no shame in being a fan of the pumpkin; it is, after all, Decorative Gourd Season. The season formerly known as Fall. There will be people who don't share your views, who will scoff at pumpkin spiced delicacies, while no doubt stashing away Pumpkin Joe-Joes in the shopping cart under whatever kale item is large enough to hide it. Don't let them keep you from your happiness. Haters gonna hate.

You should know however, that the Pumpkin "spirit" used below is not sweet. It is not syrupy or pie flavored, or artificial. This is distilled pumpkin lager brewed by a neighboring brewery (Milwaukee’s Lakefront Brewery) of the Great Lakes Distillery, aka whiskey. Overall it's subtle and dry, with the spice arriving on the finish. It's the booze you'll want to use to spike just about everything leading up to ye olde Turkey Day.

-Decorative Gourd Season Old Fashioned-

2 oz Great Lakes Pumpkin Spirit
scant .25 oz Bittermilk Gingerbread*
2-3 dashes aromatic bitters**
1 lemon peel, 1 orange peel

In an old fashioned glass (aka double rocks or tumbler) add the citrus peel, bitters and syrup. With a muddler, gently press the peels to extract the oils. Add the pumpkin spirit and ice, then stir until chilled. 

This is a good time to use that giant ice cub tray you bought months ago and forgot about.

*If you don't have this particular syrup, a rich gomme syrup or a spiced simple syrup is perfectly acceptable.

**For the bitters, I chose 5x5 Barrel Aged Vanilla, but any aromatic variety will work. If using Angostura bitters, go light. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Original Cocktail: Kind of Blue

Yes, Miles Davis. Yes, blueberry gin. Goodbye Summer. That is all. 

-Kind of Blue-

.75 oz Cocchi Rosa**
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
.25 oz Creme de Cassis
seltzer water for topping

Shake and pour everything into a Collins glass, top up with a little extra ice and a nice splash of seltzer.

For a sweeter drink, add a touch more Cassis.

**My original recipe at the bar called for Cocchi Rosa, but if you don't have it on hand then a fruity, sweeter style rouge vermouth can also be used.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Original Cocktail: Front Porch Punch

I wouldn't really call this a white sangria, but I suppose you could describe it that way. A low proof punch is a better way to sum it up, and there's plenty of room for creativity here. It's fruit forward, but not sticky sweet. Just an easy drinking, refreshing patio drink that won't put you under the table before dinner. A nice way to say farewell to summer and hello to decorative gourd season. 

-Front Porch Punch-

1 lemon, sliced thinly into half wheels
1oz peach shrub*
1 oz Dimmi liqueur
1 oz apricot liqueur
2 oz Pisco**
1 bottle chilled white wine (CA or New World style Chenin Blanc, Sauv Blanc, Gruner Veltliner work well, or try a lightly sparkling Vinho Verde.)

In a cambro or other large container that you can comfortably fit in the fridge, marinate the lemon wheels in the shrub, Dimmi, apricot, and pisco for about an hour. Add the wine, then let sit for several hours or overnight. If you want bubbles, a splash of soda water when you serve the drink will do the trick. 

For a large party or guest list, multiply amounts as needed. My last batch for a large cocktail party was x 5. 

*Shrub & Co makes a tasty one if you don't feel like making your own.

** I used Quebranta, but certainly feel free to experiment with pisco based on a grape that's a bit more aromatic.