About byocks

I'm a visual artist with a passion for adventure stories, technology, and cocktails. When I'm not at my day job, I'm mixing drinks and working in my home art studio.

Mipha’s Grace Cocktail

Sometimes I’m just inspired and two original cocktails back to back area clear indication when something is going right. Continuing my journey into Zelda: Breath of the Wild Cocktails, I present Mipha’s Grace. In the game this power-up brings you back from the brink of death with the power of the Water Champion Mipha! I wanted to do a whiskey based drink for this particular cocktail as whiskey comes from Gallic meaning “water of life,” which is the perfect definition for this cocktail and the power in the game.

With a deep blue/green color and select lemon, cherry, and sugar garnishes this cocktail is a beauty in it’s presentation and it’s taste. The aroma is a neutral citrus and sweet, with a hint of apple on the back end. The drink starts with a cool and sweet flavor which moves to a sweet citrus, then finally finishes with a slight burn of apple, lemon, and cherry/berry. It’s not the best cocktail in the world, but it’s a great representation of the theme with a solid drink behind it. If you’re throwing a game themed party this might be a great choice for you. Outside of that it’s a fun novelty for an evening, but nothing special enough for a regular cocktail.

Alcohol Taste Rating: 6.5/10
Overall Rating: 7/10

Mipha’s Grace

1 1/2 oz Apple Whiskey
1/2 oz Blue Curacao
1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Orgeat (Almond Syrup)
1/4 oz Blackberry Brandy
Cherry with stem
Lemon Wedge
Sugar

Prepair a cocktail glass by rimming the edge with a lemon wedge and coating in sugar. Chill. Shake whiskey, curacao, gin, syrup, and brandy together with ice. Strain into prepared glass over a single cherry (keep stem on). Squeeze remaining lemon wedge over drink and drop it in.

Mipha's Grace Cocktail

“It was my pleasure.”

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Revali’s Gale Cocktail

I’ve been off and on returning to my “wandering around” in the game Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and I was struck with inspiration on the 4 “powers” you get in the game (Incoming SPOILERS). Revali’s Gale lets you glide upward with a gust of wind, making it easier to traverse mountains. For this original cocktail I wanted to play with both the visuals of the power and the flavors of the game’s region. Specifically using Grey Goose vodka to mimic the Rito (bird-like race) and the regional wheat flavor (wheat vodka); I played with various iterations of a mix of flavors to get the desired color and flavor. It had to be green, light, airy, and in a tall glass. Thinking about it more and more I wanted to also incorporate some mint to reflect the tall mountains and snow shown in the game. For that reason I decided to do a riff on the classic Mojito.

The “Revali’s Gale” is a light summer style drink, with refreshing flavor that will elevate you to new heights. The drink looks very similar to a classic Mojito, but is considerably greener and the bottom. It has a light minty aroma and paired with a few visual mint leaves a very inviting presentation. Like any Mojito you’re greeted with a light taste of your choice spirit and club soda which moves quickly to a little sweet lime. With this variation you get a finish of melon and mint which keeps you going back for more. As you drink to the bottom and start to mix in the darker liqueur components, you get more melon and citrus, but it’s not overpoweringly sweet. Overall this is a nice twist on the summer classic, and can really be enjoyed in any season. If you’re not a huge rum person and want to go for a vodka variant, this might be the cocktail for you!

Alcohol Taste Rating: 4/10
Overall Rating: 7.7/10

Revali’s Gale

2 oz Grey Goose Vodka (or other Wheat Vodka)
1 oz Lime Juice
2 sugar Cubes
6-8 Mint Leaves
Club Soda
Splash Blue Curacao
Splash Midori

Muddle Lime Juice, Mint, and Sugar in a mixing glass. Add ice, and vodka. Shake well. Strain into an iced collins glass and top with club soda. Add a splash of blue curacao, then a splash of Midori. Serve to a wandering hero.

Revali's Gale Cocktail

“Revali’s Gale is now ready!”

Vermouth Cassis

Well, after over 2 months I figured it was time for a new cocktail review. To start this is certainly one of those drinks that has a terrible name, because it does nothing to inspire and just tells you what’s in the drink.

Names aside we’re talking about a simple drink that leans to be a significantly sweet drink best used as a digestif cocktail. The aroma lends it self very much to the creme de cassis (black currant) but also hints to the earthiness of the vermouth. With an inviting deep burgundy color accented by the lemon twist, it’s certainly a beautiful drink. The flavor profile is surprisingly smooth. Based on the two ingredient list I was skeptical but it’s in fact a well balanced cocktail. While I can normally pull a; front, mid, and after taste to a cocktail this simply teeters between cassis and vermouth over an over in that order. The flavor is very cassis forward, but you get the warm earthiness of the vermouth under it.

To rebalance the cocktail and make it more than just an after dinner sipper, I’d like to remake this with 3/4 oz of lemon juice and a dash of simple syrup. It’s a good drink but is lacking more citrus than the barely noticeable aroma on the twist. If you’re making this one for yourself try the citrusy variant for a better tasting cocktail.

Alcohol Taste Rating: 3/10
Overal Rating: 6/10

Vermouth Cassis

1 oz Creme de Cassis
1 oz Dry Vermouth
Lemon Twist

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist (spiral)

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“Currantly needs improvement.”

Harvest Apple Smash

Every now and then I just happen to get a really good idea. Last night was one such example when I spontaneously was inspired by a bag of apples I picked up at the grocery store. For much of the warm weather this year I found myself making “smash” style cocktails which often feature an uncommon ingredient such as cucumber or basil and muddles it in a glass without straining off the extra chunks. Not everyone is fond of fruit or veggies floating in their cocktail, but as long as it tastes good I’m not complaining.

So, as mentioned earlier this year, I found myself picking up some Apple Crown Royal Whiskey and using it in a few choice cocktails, and I think my creating of the Harvest Apple Smash utilizes it perfectly with the changing of the seasons.

The unique presentation makes it look a bit like an “applesauce” drink, and that’s actually not that far off. With chunks of fruit and red skin floating throughout it just feels like you pulled a cup of cider off the press. The aroma is very apple-y with a whiskey forward and crisp fresh apple at the back of the scent. The flavor profile leans toward that a rich cider from a farmer’s market. The front of you palette is greeted with a little chunky fruit and a sweet apple flavor, mid palette it moves the apple whiskey, and finishes with a cinnamon and toasted apple finish. This is a cocktail right out of a fall festival, without the need for cider in the first place so it’s perfect for any time of year. If you’re looking to kick off your fall with a good cocktail, consider trying this new original cocktail!

Alcohol Taste Rating: 6/10
Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Harvest Apple Smash

2 oz Apple Whiskey
1/2 oz Cinnamon Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

1/4 Thinly Sliced Apple
Apple Slice (Optional)

In a rocks glass muddle thinly sliced apples and cinnamon syrup until you get a chunky apple sauce consistency. Add lemon juice and ice. Pour over Apple Whiskey and stir well. Optionally garnish with a thin apple slice.

Harvest Apple Smash

“Hot off the press!”

Ambassador

So it’s half way through the year, and I’m wondering why all of my time went recently. Thinking about making drinks I realized I’m about due to start curating my list of cocktails for my annual Christmas Party. I know what seems really far away for most of you, but building the right drink list for that party is everything to me, and it was recently that I tried today’s cocktail and it really stuck me as a strong contender for my party. If you yourself host guests around the holidays I highly suggest you work on your drink list now, and possibly include this one.

The Ambassador is the second rum cocktail listed in one of my recipe books, and I was shocked I hadn’t made it sooner. Granted I may have been looking for “Passion Fruit Liqueur” which it does call for, but I realized when it’s only about a 1/4 oz then it’s really not about the liqueur and more about the flavor, which can be done with juice or syrup, thus I’ve reflected that in the recipe below along with my substitution of Crown Royal Regal Apple for the Apple Liqueur (because apple pucker won’t cut it for this)

As for the cocktail itself, we’re looking at an inviting reddish color, and a rich apple and cranberry on the nose. The drink starts with a sweet and tart cranberry, moves quickly to a sweet apple, and finishes with a whiskey and passion fruit finish. The rum really feels lost in this drink, but I’m really not complaining here. It fills space in the glass and makes room for other great flavors! The Crown Apple is really the star of this drink. Granted it might be different if you can find an apple schnapps in your area, but I don’t feel it would really be worth it to cheapen out of this drink. From start to finish it’s a smooth and simple cocktail with rich flavors. It’s not perfect, but it’s really close. Perhaps some orange bitters or even a orange peel twist would make it just a little better.

Alcohol Taste Rating: 4/10
Overall Rating: 9.5/10

Ambassador

1 oz Light Rum
1/2 oz Apple Liqueur (or Apple Whiskey)
1 oz Cranberry Juice
1/4 oz Passion Fruit Juice or Syrup

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

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“Diplomatic Immunity”

Agent Jed

So back on the 4th I was looking to buy an alcohol that was “truly American” and while the generic response might be bourbon, I decided to take the less classy route and pick up some Moonshine, because nothing says low class than grain alcohol. Granted I had tried some “Midnight Moon” and “Old Smoky” flavored varieties in the past, but getting the pure distilled spirit was a new experience. As you might guess it’s a fairly harsh burn from start to finish, but does make a nice hard lemonade on a hot day.

So, one night I was relaxing and looking over some old recipes when I got the strange idea of making a refined hill-billy cocktail, which I’ve come to call the “Agent Jed.” Jed is a riff on the Vesper (as highlighted last week), and honestly I was pretty surprised by the result. This simple two ingredient recipe is the result of a very lucky guess, that shines forth from the old pot still.

Now of course to match the “low end” theme of this drink I have forgone all shaking and garnishes and just opted for a straight build over ice with a quick stir. Jed wouldn’t have it any other way. On the nose it has a bit of a white wine aroma from the Lillet, but other than that it’s very plain. The drink starts off smooth and cold with not much noticeable flavor. On the mid palette you get a wine taste creeping through, but not very overpowering until the end. The finish is this drink’s true “double agent” quality. You get hit with a strong flavor from the Lillet, and then as it settles you get punched with the burn from the White Lightnin’. Is it a great drink? No. But it’s not that bad for sipping on in place of vodka or gin (depending on your mood).

Alcohol Taste Rating: 9/10
Overall Rating 7/10

Agent Jed

1 1/2 oz Moonshine
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc

Pour over ice in a rocks glass, and stir well.

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“Don’t tell ennyone but ah’s a spy”

The Vesper

The Vesper is arguably the best martini you’ve never had. It’s origin is thanks to Ian Fleming’s famous character James Bond, in the 1953 Novel (and 2006 Film) Casino Royal. As Bond himself describes it the drink contains: “Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”

Now unfortunately for us Kina Lillet hasn’t been in production since the mid 1980s, and Gordons Gin has also changed since then as well (and is now known for being fairly low end). Bond also usually requests a Russian Vodka, which personally I’m not a fan of. So, for a modern Vesper it’s best to stick with your favorite of the harder spirits, and pick yourself up a bottle of Lillet Blanc. The remaining instructions hold true making for a truly classy cocktail.

The drink straight out of the shaker will be a cloudy white, but eventually will turn clear as it hits the air and settles. The thin waft of a lemon peel (best used a kitchen peeler for) brings a distinct lemony aroma to the nose. On the front of your palette you’re greeted with refreshing gin flavor, a lemon and Lillet hit you quickly after that, and you’re finished with a slight burn from the vodka (depending you your choice you may get a smoother flavor). This cocktail I’d say depends quite highly on the quality of your ingredients. Granted I’m using a mild American Style Gin here as well as a cheaper American Vodka, so the flavor profile will reflect the Lillet and Lemon more than the vodka and gin. If you’re looking for a stronger flavor try mixing with Beefeater or Bombay for the gin, and/orĀ  Boyd & Blair, Kettle One, or Absolut, for the vodka.

Alcohol Taste Rating: 8/10
Overall Rating: 7.4/10

The Vesper

1 1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Vodka
1/4 oz Lillet Blanc

Lemon Peel

Shake all with ice. Pour into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass. Squeeze lemon peel over drink (express the oils) and drop it in.

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“Gosh, that’s certainly a drink,” said Leiter