Jack-in-the-Box

So earlier in the week I found myself craving some apple brandy (or at least the blend that is Applejack). It’s been almost 4 years since I last had some, and despite being a little over my current budget I decided to pick some up. After trying a few new brandy cocktails from my recipe book, this one jumped off the page as a good choice for a hot summers day (when it’s still spring).

Like most drinks shaken with pineapple juice the final pour creates it’s own unique frothy garnish. The drink begins with a light and sweet apple aroma, but it is very subtle. For the taste profile it begins with a similar light apple flavor that the aroma presents with, moves to complex pineapple juice on the mid palette, and finishes with the “grain spirits” flavor from the Applejack’s blended component. The finish is really the most complex and re-inviting flavor. Applejack as a whole doesn’t actually contain a ton of apple brandy, and it instead feels almost like a weak whiskey than a complex flavored brandy. I have found that in other recipes that add a little syrup and a little more citrus bring out the apple flavor a lot more, so a variation on this with a half ounce of lemon juice and a half of simple syrup could round out the cocktail a bit more. As is though it’s not a bad cocktail, but it does have room to improve. At the very least it needs 3 dashes of bitters rather than 1.

Alcohol Taste Rating: 6.5/10
Overall Rating 7.2/10

Jack-in-the-Box

1 1/2 oz Applejack (or other apple brandy)
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
Dash of Lemon Juice (1 fresh wedge)
Dash of Aromatic Bitters

Shake all with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, or over ice in a rocks glass.

Jack in the Box

“You don’t know jack!”

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Blood and Sand

I’m both proud and ashamed to say that this is the first cocktail with scotch that I’ve featured. I was privileged last year to be able to try a friend’s single malt scotch and it was one of the best things I’ve ever had! However it’s sort of a crime to mix it with anything, so that’s why we have blended scotch. My bottle of Teacher’s Highland Cream is a unique scotch due to its strong use of “peated malt.” A flavor that can really only be described as tasting like “burnt grain,” which is no where near as bad as it sounds. The scotch (while far from the quality of a nice single malt) does make for a fantastic whiskey sour.

So, flipping through my book of cocktails I was surprised to find this well balanced drink among many of the overly sweet or strong recipes. This particular cocktail had two other variants, but I felt that the one I chose to make represented the best of all three in terms of balance and presentation.

The cocktail itself is visually saved by the orange twist as its opaque and deep sandy brown isn’t the most inviting of colors. The aroma is a strong blast of fresh orange, which opens the imagination for what’s to come. The drink opens on your palette with a mild orange and whisky flavor. It moves to a sweet cherry and vermouth in the middle (however most of the cherry seems lost in this cocktail), and it finishes with the malt of the scotch beneath the complexity of the vermouth.

This is a uniquely complex cocktail which (at least for me) is overpowered by the use of the Teacher’s Scotch. I think by exploring other blended scotchs (likely with a more balanced flavor) a better cocktail may emerge. It’s certainly worth trying and I think worth making again, especially if you’re into whiskies. A dash or two of some orange bitters may also make this drink more well rounded, and a bit less sweet.

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

Blood and Sand

1 1/4 oz Scotch
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Cherry Brandy or Liqueur (Cherry Heering)

1 oz Orange Juice
Orange Twist

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

blood and sand

Toro Toro!

 

I should also mention that I tried an alternate version of this cocktail which uses 3/4 of an ounce of the four ingredients and calls for a stir and strain. Apparently with a quick google search this is the “classic” version of the drink. It sports a darker color and slightly more balanced flavor, but the tasting notes are very much the same. The use of more fruit though makes for a better finish to the drink (having a bit to munch on).

Variation: Stir and Strain 3/4 oz of all ingredients into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.

Witch’s Brew

So I thought I should throw something quick together for the holiday, and what I came up with was actually pretty solid! The Witch’s Brew is loosely based on the Rainbow Road Cocktail, but with a bit less red and yellow and more violet.

As with any layered cocktail the Witch’s Brew has a killer presentation with three distinct layers and multiple flavors for your cackling palette. As for the flavor, again you’re looking at traditional layered drink fare. So the flavor will change the more into the drink you get. It starts with the melon and sweet rum both in flavor and aroma. The back flavor once it settles leans to the citrus of the juice, but then you get pulled back into overproof rum territory quickly as it settles in. As the upper layer slowly disappears, you begin to get a sweet and floral flavor creeping in. Overall it’s a simple drink, but complex in its ingredients list…I’d say that’s perfect for a true brew.

Alcohol Taste Rating (8/10 then 4/10)
Overall Rating (7/10)

Witch’s Brew

1/2 oz Blue Curacao
1 1/2 oz OJ
1/4 oz Grenadine
1/4 oz Creme de Violette
1/2 oz Midori (Or other melon liqueur)
3/4 oz 151 Rum
Maraschino Cherry

In an iced mixing glass stir Blue Curacao and Orange juice to chill. Strain into a cocktail glass. Then stir grenadine and Creme de Violette with ice, and strain pouring on the side of the glass (should sink to bottom). Finally stir Midori and 151 rum with ice, and strain on the side of glass (or with a spoon) layering mixture on top. Garnish with a cherry (with stem).

DSCF7471

“Cold Hot Fresh Witch’s Brüe only 10 bucks a pop! ” -Homestar Runner

Au Currant Sidecar

Today we’ve got a tasteful and tasty spin on the classic sidecar recipe. Although given your working set of ingredients you may have to substitute here and there (as I did).  I want to start by highlighting my use of a VSOP Brandy in place of Metaxa (a Greek Brandy with a stronger “winey” flavor). You MAY be able to use both Brandy and some Sweet Vermouth to achieve a similar flavor to the Metaxa. The former being much easier to find than the later depending your your location, and that difference will give you a slightly different flavor profile. In addition my use of Cassis Syrup over Creme de Cassis will make my overview of it lean sweeter than it would be normally. A common variation also calls for Chambord rather than Creme de Cassis.

So, I love this drink for 2 main reasons. First is the use of the sugar rim (which is something I wish I saw in more cocktail recpies); and second is the incredible finish that keeps you going back for more. With its deep red color, you’re greeted with an incredible forward aroma of what almost smells of agave nectar. With a sip from the sugar rim you begin with a sweet and simple flavor, move to a subtle currant and lemon, then finish with a richly sweet and oaky finish. The finish is what really caught my attention with this drink. Early in your sip is just feels like a fruity sweet drink, but the complexity of the oak from the brandy to the subtle orange of the Grand Marnier makes this damn near perfect! I do wish there was more to the front and mid palette here, but I’m willing to compromise for something this good!

Alcohol Taste Rating: 7/10
Overall Rating: 9.8/10

Au Currant Sidecar

1 1/2 oz Metaxa (or VSOP Brandy)
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Creme de Cassis (or Chambord)

1 oz Grand Marnier
1 tsp Superfine Sugar
Granulated Sugar
Lemon Wedge
Lemon Twist

Rub the edge of a cocktail glass with the lemon wedge and rim with granulated sugar. Shake liquid ingredients and superfine sugar with ice (approx. 15 seconds). Strain into prepared glass. Garnish with a Lemon Twist.

Au Currant Sidecar

“Au Perfection!”

The Classic Manhattan

Looking back through the blog recently, I was shocked to find that I hadn’t made a single Manhattan in the nearly 4 years since starting this page. I have had no excuse to ignore this quintessential classic cocktail, so I apologize for my oversight.

The Manhattan is said to have first been made (or at least) introduced in the United States by the request of Winston Churchill’s Mother in a bar in NYC. Since those days the drink has become a true classic recipe known by even the most humble of bartenders. Plus it’s a great example of how a truly masculine drink can be presented in a fancy cocktail glass.

For a drink this simple if you’re not using quality ingredients you’ll be doing yourself and your guests a disservice. A cheap whiskey (traditionally bourbon or rye) will be far too harsh on the palette, while a cheap vermouth will leave quite literally a bad taste in your mouth. No, a good Manhattan is all about the right ingredients all coming together beautifully.

With a deep reddish brown color and garnished cherry this drink feels both classy and intimidating at the same time. With sweet vermouth on the forward aroma, it’s is as inviting to the senses as such a simple cocktail can be. Masked by the mixing of flavors you’re greeted with a pleasant mellow bourbon on the front of your palette. It quickly moves into the vermouth (again get a good one, you’ll thank me), and leads to an oaky bourbon and bitter finish. If you chose rye over the bourbon I imagine you’ll get of its flavor than you do the oak of your favorite bourbon.

The bite is strong, but the flavor keeps you coming back for more! It’s hard to hate a drink like this (unless of course you’re not a whiskey lover).

Alcohol Taste Rating: 8/10
Overall Rating 9.5/10

The Classic Manhattan

2 oz Bourbon or Rye Whiskey
3/4 oz Sweet (Red) Vermouth
2-3 Dashes of Aromatic Bitters
Cherry

“It puts the MAN in Manhattan”

Stir with ice for about 45 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Queen Elizabeth’s Wine

Well, at this point I think it’s safe to say that I can’t keep up with last year’s schedule of “a new drink every Monday,” but I will certainly try to keep getting drinks out to you guys. So, you may see a surplus of new recipes over the next week, then a bit of a break. Just remember to check back here occasionally for a new drink or two.

Ok so down to business. Today’s cocktail is certainly of a different caliber than most of the fruit based drinks you’ll find me making. The “Queen Elizabeth’s Wine” is appropriately named for both it’s color and taste. The cocktail’s main aroma comes from the dry vermouth in the drink, but unlike some other vermouth cocktails the flavor doesn’t overpower the drink. You’ll start off with a sweet wine taste (something like a Pinot Grigio), but it quickly moves to the lead liqueur of Benedictine. The finish has a nice mild vermouth taste and keeps you going back for more. It’s a rather small drink and fills a traditional small cocktail glass perfectly, but for a modern variation you could easily bump up the Benedictine to 2.5 oz and the lemon juice to 1.25 with a dash of citrus bitters. Even if you’re not huge on the taste of vermouth, this might be worth a try.

Overall Rating: 8/10
Alcohol Taste Rating: 5/10

Queen Elizabeth’s Wine

1 1/2 oz Benedictine
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
Lemon Twist

Stir and strain with ice into a chilled cocktail glass. Garish with a lemon twist (rub over edge of glass)

Queen Elizabeth's Wine

(Insert generic offensive Queen of England joke here)

Blood In The Water (Original) Cocktail

Today comes a brand new MoM Original Cocktail. A tropical smelling and tasting sweet drink with a great overall look. Red, then blue, then red again. I couldn’t quite get a good photo of it, but trust me it’s a great looking (and tasting) drink. What’s even better is you don’t even need a shaker for this drink, so it’s pretty simple to make even for the first time mixologist.

Blood in the Water

1 oz Tropical Rum (3/4 pineapple 1/4 coconut)
Splash of Light Rum (Optional, extra space filler for larger glasses and adds extra kick)
1 oz Maui Blue Hawaiian (Or Island Punch Pucker)
1 oz Sweet/Sour
Ice Cube
Dash Grenadine
Dash Sloe Gin

Start with a single ice cube to a cocktail glass. Add Rum(s), Blue Hawaiian, and sweet/sour directly over ice cube. Stir Gently. Add dash of Grenadine (should sink to bottom). Add Dash of Sloe Gin slowly over ice cube. Should swirl and sit on top of the blue mix. Serve and enjoy responsibly.

blood in the water

“Blood is thicker than water…and thinner too”