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
1 1/2 oz Moonshine
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
Pour over ice in a rocks glass, and stir well.
“Don’t tell ennyone but ah’s a spy”
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
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.
“You don’t know jack!”
Here’s another cocktail that I’m shocked I haven’t reviewed yet. The “Dark and Stormy” is one of only a few cocktail that is actually copyrighted. The specific copyright in this case requires you to use Gosling’s Black Seal Rum in order to actually call it a Dark and Stormy. Everything else is in violation of the copyright. So of course here at MoM we have to do it right.
Now because this drink specifies for Gosling’s Rum your options for “making it your own” are limited to your choice of ginger beer. For myself, I always go for the Fever Tree as it’s both smooth and potent with its gingers. If you’re looking for something comparable, I’d suggest Reed’s Stronger Ginger Brew.
As for the drink itself, it’s a rather inviting modern classic. The mix of fresh ginger and lime garnishes pair well with the dark amber of the rum. On the nose it leads with a the sweetness of rum and a familiar ginger (of what you might expect from a ginger ale). The taste begins mild and sweet, moves to a primarily ginger beer flavor, and finishes with a pleasantly aged rum with a subtle hint of the lime.
If you’re not super familiar or fond of ginger beer this drink might take some time to grow on you, but it is worth making for a bartender of any level as it will be requested at least once. This is a tough drink to judge as it’s so well known, but it does have it merits and faults. While you do get a nice simple cocktail that’s perfect for small party setting, it’s sharper taste can shy even experienced tasters away with the strong ginger flavor. While I wouldn’t keep it on my regular menu as a standard “go to” cocktail, I would certainly keep the ingredients on hand if I or any guest would be looking for something both mellow and adventurous at the same time.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 7/10
Overall Rating: 8/10
Dark and Stormy
2 oz Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
1/2 Tablespoon (about 1/4 oz) Simple Syrup
3/4 oz Ginger Beer
2 Lime Wedges
2 Slices Fresh Ginger (Optional)
Fill a rocks glass with ice. Add fresh ginger, rum, and syrup. Top with Ginger Beer. Squeeze limes over drink and drop them in. Stir well.
“…’Twas a Dark and Stormy Night!”
Not so much a cocktail this time as much as an event. Highlighted as Rita’s favorite drink in the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day,” the simple Sweet Vermouth on the Rocks with a Twist, has become a staple drink to make for every enthusiast out there. Finally getting my timing right this year I decided I was overdue.
For a good “Groundhog Day” cocktail it’s important to get a good sweet vermouth. Raise your eyes off of the bottom shelf and spend more than 8 dollars on a bottle. Trust me for this, and a good Manhattan, you’ll thank me later.
For my day to day needs I go with the Dolin Rouge vermouth as it’s a nice mixer and actually does wonders in various dishes in the kitchen. This French Vermouth will run you around $16 per 750mL bottle, and it’s well worth it.
As for the drink itself it’s been debated on whether or not to use a twist of lemon or orange, but really I’d say the difference is negotiable and adds more aroma than anything else. A good vermouth will have a spicy nose, and a balanced and slightly “sweet” flavor for the deep red/copper color. The after taste brings warm notes of citrus and a slight smokiness.
If you were living the same day over and over this drink might get boring, but for something different on a friday night, why not give it a try.
The Groundhog Day
1 1/2 to 2 oz Sweet Vermouth
Lemon or Orange Twist
Straight build in a rocks glass over ice. Rub the twist around the glass’ rim and drop it in.
“Sweet Vermouth, rocks, with a twist please. For you miss? The same.”
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.
“Hell in a Glass…it’s better than it sounds.”
This is a great example of a very STUPID drink! The only way a drink like this will impress your friends is if they’re looking for the cocktail equivalent of a bottle of knockout drops. That said this IS a surprisingly well balanced cup of citrusy rum.
A visual spectacle (as any layered drink is) the Piranha Club Initiation (or just The Initiation) certainly seems like a “dare” awaits you for your first sip. With the aroma at the front of your choice dark rum, you can only imagine the layers of flavor to come. Deciding to go with a Black Seal over my usual Kraken, you start with a strong and rich rum flavor and move to a smooth citrus blend with a sweet finish inviting you back for more (which isn’t a good idea at all). Overall it’s actually a fairly well balanced drink if not a little strong on the edges (and in the middle too for that matter).
The Initiation is actually worth a try for it’s great blend of rum and juice…provided you don’t drink more than one of them in a night.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 8/10
Overall Rating: 8/10
Piranha Club Initiation
1 1/2 oz 151 Rum
1/2 oz Peach Schnapps
3/4 oz Blue Curacao
1 1/2 oz Sweet/Sour Mix
Fill with Orange Juice
3/4 oz Dark Rum
Straight build in an iced tumbler. Float the dark rum on top.
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!
“Frameshift Drive Charging…”