So it’s been nearly 4 Months since you heard from me last and I thought it was about time for an update. Since early December I’ve been in the process of moving which as you may have guessed has put a damper on the bar considerably. I went from a strong 36+ bottle set, to a set of 1 (and some extras that no one uses anyway…like Campari.) In the process of moving from July to December I scaled back the home bar significantly, and now I’m starting from (near) scratch once again. The time in between however has allowed me to both learn and expand what I want this blog to contain.
While I started this blog with the intention of introducing a new cocktail every week, it has become more of an outlet for culinary creativity in the “craft cocktail” realm. My exploration of good and near perfect cocktails, has lead me to pursue a set of drinks that is both fine in its quality of ingredients, as well as in its creation. From about 2015 on it has been less about “new” drinks and more about ones that I feel are worth highlighting.
This concept of the “craft” cocktail is something that has stuck with me throughout though. Part of the artistry of the drink is more than just a new recipe, but also about the ingredients that you use. Subsequently one of my favorite YouTube channels – Common Man Cocktails expand their branding into a new channel called “The Craft Cocktail” There seems to be a trend of those that make cocktails, calling their art “craft” to mimic the exponential growth of the craft beer industry. That said, I think this blog is a unique reflection on that concept. In short I think a new tagline for the blog should be “Craft cocktaisl with an artist’s touch”
[Food for thought] But I digress…
Classic with a Twist
I want to talk briefly today about the garnishes in cocktail, specifically the use of mint or fruit in some drinks. I have found over time that I really relish the maraschino cherry, or lemon wedge in a cocktail, as it adds not only color and contrast to a drink, but a unique bit of sweetness before or after finishing the cocktail. Finishing a whiskey sour (as I type) and having an orange or lemon slice and a cherry to finish the drink feels oddly satisfying. Fruit garnishes go a long way to making a drink both presentable as well as making it more well rounded.
Sucking on a lemon peel, or eating the pulp of an orange can make the taste of a drink really come to life! The “artistry” of craft cocktails is more than just spirits and bitters, but the garnishes as well! Don’t forget my fellow mixologists, that the garnish can be just as important as which whiskey you choose in your sours.
Yes, ok there’s tons of Bourbon Slush recipes out there, but I doubt you’ve ever had one like this! Instead of something from one of my regular cocktail books this is an old family recipe.
Sweet, a little sour, and a whole lot of bourbon this drink is the perfect summer drink for a crowd. You can’t make these in a smaller batch so get out a solid gallon tub to make this in! I’d talk more about the taste, but it’s just something you have to try for yourself. FYI though, don’t waste good bourbon on this, the cheap stuff works just fine.
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Can (6 oz) of Frozen Orange Juice
3/4 Can (9 oz) of Frozen Lemonade
2 Cups of Hot Tea
2 Cups of Bourbon
6 Cups of Water
Mix ingredients in a large bowl. Be sure that sugar and juice concentrate have all dissolved. Freeze overnight. Scoop out with a spoon or ice cream scoop into the glass of your choice. (Optional) Tops with Coke or another soft drink of your choice (Sprite and Ginger Ale are great options). Garnish with Orange Slice and a Cherry.
*Note do not use liquid or fresh juices. It’s designed to work with frozen concentrated juices.
“Summer time turkey (and some hidden Evan Williams)”
Taking a bit of inspiration from The Drunken Moogle once again, this is my first original video game cocktail. The game if you are unfamiliar with it is a large open world space simulator. While there is some trading, bounty hunting, and exploring, most of the time you’re enjoying the soundtrack while flying through empty star filled space. The inspiration of this drink was the basic cockpit view of mostly orange over the darkness of space. I played quite a bit with the idea of an orange liqueur floating over the drink, but decided to use an actual orange slice as a garnish to get the right balance of color for the drink.
So on to the drink’s flavor and presentation. The drink itself is a deep purple color, but if you weren’t holding it up to the light all you’d call it was “black.” The orange on the drink gives bit of mystery as to exactly what flavors are in play here. The drinks has an inviting juicy aroma, with a subtle bit spiced rum. The drink starts with a nice sweet start, a strong rum taste on the mid-palette, then finishes to a complex fruity taste of the mix of juices and moonshine. It should be noted that the grenadine you use will be very important here. Don’t use a cheap bottle of Rose’s but instead look for something that actually gives you the natural pomegranate flavor. I’m also not usually one to specifically recommend a brand name alcohol, but I think anything other than Kraken would ruin the cocktail.
This drink is to give you the idea of life in a large galaxy of traders, explorers, and pirates. It’s a drink that inspires the makeshift alcohol of space living (thanks to the moonshine) but the complexity of 1000 years of cocktail evolution. Take a sip and jump into hyperspace with this MoM Original!
Alcohol Taste Rating: 8/10
Overall Rating: 9/10
Perpetual Midnight (Elite Dangerous Cocktail)
½ oz Grenadine
1 ½ oz Cranberry Juice
1 oz Blackberry Moonshine
½ Blue Curacao
Dash of Cherry Bitters (Optional)
½ oz Kraken Dark Spiced Rum
Orange Slice or Thin Wedge
Mix all liquid ingredients, but the Kraken in an iced tumbler or lowball glass. Float Kraken Rum by pouring it slowly over the ice. Slowly add in orange (as to not break the rum float). Enjoy!
Today’s blending cocktail is probably my favorite thus far for the week. The Mediterranean Freeze is an interesting color, but is well complemented by the garnishes. The opening aroma is very orange-y making for a very inviting drink. It starts off with the taste of a basic screwdriver (vodka and OJ), then moves to a sour citrus, then finishes with a subtle melon that keeps you going back for more. I wouldn’t say that the peach schnapps is lost in this drink, but it does lend itself to the overall sweetness in the first few sips. This is really solid blending cocktail and worth making again, perhaps in a larger quantity for a party.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 2-3/10
Overall Rating 9/10
1 oz Vodka
3/4 oz Midori
1/2 oz Peach Schnapps
2 oz Sweet/Sour
3 oz Orange Juice
Orange Slice and Cherry
Blend liquid ingredients with ice, pour into a pint glass. Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.
Well it had to have happened sooner or later the first mediocre cocktail of the year. The Simply Crimson just lacks something interesting and tries to replace it with something bitter…and it just doesn’t really deliver. The drink smells a bit like oranges thanks to the Cointreau, but also a bit like a generic brown soft drink which isn’t super inviting. The drink starts sweet and pleasant moves quickly to a orange and cranberry mix, and finishes with a harsh bitter taste that just doesn’t belong at all. It is a drinkable cocktail, but it certainly isn’t one I’d choose to drink (or even make again).
Alcohol Taste Rating: 6/10
Overall Rating: 4/10
1 1/2 oz Cointreau
4 dashes of Bitters
1 1/2 oz Cranberry Juice
Splash Club SodaOrange Slice and Cherry (Garnishes)
Stir Cointreau, bitters, and juice with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, top with club soda.
Possibly one of the more interesting names for a drink I’ve come across and it certainly didn’t disappoint on taste. The Sassafras Sunset has a pleasant citrus aroma and starts with an equally light citrus flavor with a bit of fizz. Mid palette it hits you with a nice juicy mix and finishes off with a mild rum and hit of raspberry. The shift in flavors in this drink are exactly what I like to find in a drink, and the addition of club soda makes this a perfect drink for any occasion. The taste of alcohol in the drink in minimal sitting at around 3/10 and overall it’s a solid 7/10. I do wish the juice and club soda was a bit more balanced, but that is something that can easily be tweaked depending on which type of tall glass is used.
1 oz Light Rum 1 oz Gold Rum 3/4 oz Triple Sec 1 oz OJ 1 1/2 oz Cranberry Juice 1 1/2 Sweet/Sour Club Soda 3/4 oz Raspberry Schnapps Orange Slice and Cherry
Shake Rums, triple sec, and juice ingredients with ice. Strain into an iced pint or highball glass. Top with Club soda and float raspberry liqueur (sinks to bottom). Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.
Well it’s after midnight, but I haven’t been to bed yet…so it still counts as Monday right? Ok then.
Today’s drink is called “A Day at The Beach” and for good reason as it’s a very tropical themed cocktail. I didn’t have the necessary ingredients for the garnish, but the color still delivers here. A powerful red-orange makes for a brilliant presentation. Smelling of amaretto and OJ it’s a very inviting cocktail. The drink starts sweet with orange, moves quickly to a little almond/amaretto flavor and finishes on the great taste of coconut rum. It certainly reminds me of a relaxing day at the beach as there is hardly any bite at all. This is a perfect drink for those looking for a sweet summer cocktail.
Overall Rating 8/10
Alc. Taste Rating: 2/10
Make it again? Yes, actually a little too sweet for the menu, but a great one to suggest on a hot summer day.
A Day At The Beach
1 oz Light Rum
1 oz Coconut Rum
1/2 oz Amaretto
1/2 oz Grenadine
4 oz OJPineapple Wedge and Orange Slice Garnish (not used in photo)