Desert Healer

The Desert Healer (also called Desert Cooler) is a refreshing cocktail and a great welcome back to posting here on the blog! After a (semi) dry 40 days I’m ready to share some great new recipes with all of you.

With temperatures continuing to rise as we reach closer to the middle of spring the Desert Healer will treat the wounds from those unseasonably hot days. The drink has a unique “sandy” color, it’s not the most appealing but the orange garnish certainly helps with that. The drink begins with a mild citrus and ginger on the nose. With the first sip you’re greeted with a little ginger, followed by a hint of gin, then a nice finish of citrus and mild cherry. As it settles you get a little more of the ginger beer fizz to round things out. Overall it’s a very mild drink without a ton of overpowering alcohol burn or biased flavors. It’s a great choice for a hot summer day, but not a day that you want to sacrifice on quality.!

Alcohol Taste Rating: 5/10
Overall Rating 8.4/10

Desert Healer (Cooler)

1 1/2 oz Gin
1/2 Cherry Brandy (Cherry Heering Preferred)
3 oz Orange Juice
3-5 oz Ginger Beer
Orange Slice

Shake juice and liquor ingredients with ice. Strain into an iced highball or collins glass. Top with ginger beer stir gently. Garnish with an orange slice

VARIATION: Add an extra 1/2 oz of Cherry Heering after stirring for a gradient effect and sweeter finish.

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“…Where it’s flat and immense
And the heat is intense…”

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Fire Nation Flaming Rum Punch

Let’s get one last cocktail recipe in before Lent shall we? I’ll be taking these 40 days before Easter to sober up and give my liver a break, but for today it’s party time! For today’s cocktail I’m finally ready to share the third cocktail in the Avatar Universe drink set. The “Fire Nation Flaming Rum Punch” is a kick in the gut in it’s intense volume of alcohol, but a wonderfully balanced mix of flavors similar to that of a classic Zombie.

The Flaming Rum Punch is a spectacle of color and real fire! If done correctly you’ll be able to ignite the cocktail and for your guests turn cinnamon into sparks with your fingertips. When the fire is out and the glass’ rim has cooled you’re greeted with a toasty cinnamon aroma and an inviting red-orange color. The first quarter of the drink is super intense as you sip off the layer of 151 rum, which hits hard but with a toasted cinnamon flavor with a simple fruity mix underneath. After you’ve gotten through initial shock layer, you’re left with a complex rum punch recipe. The drink starts sweet, moves to a smokey cinnamon on the mid palette with a little falernum and citrus creeping at the back end, and finishes with a “PUNCH” of rum on the back end with a sweet fruit tail as it sits.

Much like it’s predecessors in the series, this cocktail isn’t to be taken lightly. It kicks you from front to back, but is sweet enough to not be overpowering. Overall it’s a fun drink to pull out for a party, but not something I’d make everyday. If you’re got a well stocked bar, you might want to give it a try.

Alcohol Taste Rating: 8.5/10 (then 7/10)
Overall Rating 8/10

Fire Nation Flaming Rum Punch

3/4 oz Sloe Gin
1/4 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Falernum (or 1/4 Orgeat, 1/4 Lime Juice, pinch of clove, pinch of ginger)

3 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Sweet/Sour
1 oz Spiced Rum
1/2 oz Gold Rum
1 oz Dark Rum
3/4 oz 151 Rum
Powdered Cinnamon

Shake everything except 151 with ice. Strain into a highball or pint glass (no ice). Float 151 rum over the drink. Ignite. Sprinkle powdered cinnamon over as desired. Blow out flame and enjoy.

fnfrp cocktail

“Everything changed when the fire nation attacked!”

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).

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

Hell on Ice

I want to start by saying that “Fire Water” Liqueur is one of the single worst buys I have ever made. It tastes like liquid atomic fireballs wrapped in big red gum. I’ve had it pretty much since I started drinking and it’s not even 1/4 gone yet. That said, this is one of the VERY few uses of it that I found actually palatable, and very surprisingly so.

So, I knew I wanted to post a new drink to the blog, but I had NO IDEA that this would be it. This was the most surprising drink recipe I’ve had to date. I was fulling expecting a negative drink review for this one, but honestly after trying it I’m shocked!

A subtle orange color is all you really have to start with. No garnishes or anything to make it more inviting. The drink smells mildly of bourbon and cinnamon and not much else. You’re greeted with the sweetness of the orange juice, followed by a mellow rum, and then it finishes with a cinnamon burn, but not as harsh as pure Fire Water. This cocktail really took me off guard in that respect. Most of the time whatever Fire Water touches in less than a dash turns into cinnamon candy insanity that is flat out difficult to drink either in sips or all at once. This however is not only half decent, but it’s something that I might actually make again.

Perhaps if you’re looking for a “classier” (if you can call it that) version of this, you may want to use a cinnamon whiskey or some Aftershock for a more pleasant taste. However at that point I think you might miss the name of the drink being “hell.”

Alcohol Taste Rating: 4.5/10
Overall Rating: 6.5/10

Hell on Ice

1 oz Bourbon
1 oz Spiced Rum
1/2 oz Cinnamon Schnapps
Fill with OJ

Straight build in an iced rocks glass. Serve when hell freezes over.

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“Hell in a Glass…it’s better than it sounds.”

La Jolla

I felt today that after a long time I was due for a brandy based cocktail, and the La Jolla is both classy and refreshing all the same. It is simple in color and presentation, but a really impressive experience all around. The drink recipe itself doesn’t call for any garnishes (which is really a shame) so I’ve opted to add in an orange peel for my aroma and tasting notes.

To the nose you get a pleasant orange (mostly from the peel added, but some from the juice too). The slight oakiness of the brandy also comes through on the nose. Its taste begins light and sweet, moves quickly to a slightly sour (but not overpowering) lemon, and finishes with a unique battle of banana and brandy. The finish is really what stands out to me here. It’s banana, then brandy, then banana, then brandy again, and it goes back and forth 2-4 times as it settles. This is a surprising event while drinking and it really makes you want to go back for more.

If you’re looking for a diversion from the standard summer cocktails, you might want to give this a try.

Alcohol Taste Rating: 7/10
Overall Rating: 8/10

La Jolla

1 1/2 oz Brandy
1/2 oz Creme de Banane
1/4 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
(Optional Orange Peel Garnish)

Shake liquid ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

“I keep wanting to put in ‘i’ before the ‘a’ in Jolla”

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!”