Water Tribe’s Frozen Vodka Blizzard

I had thought for sure I had lost this recipe, and then I found it sitting in the drafts for the blog and I was pleasantly surprised. So picking up another bottle of bottom shelf blue raspberry vodka, I knew it was time to remake this drink for a new post.

In my continued efforts to create a set of 4 distinct cocktails based on the Avatar: The Last Air Bender series. Previously I brought you Uncle Iroh’s Pai Sho Earth Tea, and today the series continues, with the “Water Tribe’s Frozen Vodka Blizzard”. Designed to feel like an iceberg floating onto of cartoon blue waters this is a great summer drink to cool off and get tipsy at the same time.

A refreshing blue color makes for an inviting modern style cocktail. The smell is strong of the candy blue raspberry flavor of the vodka. Your first sip will begin with the cool ice on top (not a lot of flavor comes through initially). The cocktail hits to a tart flavor on the mid-palette thanks to the cranberry and lemon juices. Then the finish is where you’re punched with the candy blue raspberry with very little alcohol burn (as it seems more sweet).

Like the other drinks I’m working on for this series it’s mostly about the look and a bit less about the taste. That said however, this is a great starter for the 4 cocktails.  Despite the volume of vodka it’s a very sweet and refreshing cocktail and is easy to toss together larger batches for a party. Just be sure you bring your trusty boomerang with you.

Alcohol Taste Rating: 3/10
Overall Rating 8/10

Water Tribe’s Frozen Vodka Blizzard

3 oz Freezer Chilled Blue Raspberry Vodka
1 oz Cranberry Juice
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Blue Curacao
1 oz Simple Syrup
2 Dashes Orange Bitters
(Optional: Additional 1/2 oz Blue Vodka)

Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice. Blend until ice is broken into very small pieces. Serve in a pint glass. Optional Float additional 1/2 of Blue Vodka

Frozen Vodka Blizzard

“It’s the quenchiest!”

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Dark and Stormy

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.

Dark and Stormy Cocktail

“…’Twas a Dark and Stormy Night!”

East Side Smash

For the past month I’ve been wanting to highlight this cocktail, not only because it’s a strange combination of Mint and Cucumber, but it’s also quite possibly one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had (and knowing this blog, that’s saying something).

So as is the case with many of my favorite drinks, this one comes courtesy of Common Man Cocktails. Their more classic rendition of the East Side shakes the ingredients and strains out any of the vegetable partials, which to me seemed a bit wrong. So I opted for creating a smash style variation that I feel is far superior. Smash drinks in general will contain less common ingredients and will often leave the renaming chunks in the glass after muddling (hence the name).

This cocktail is really something amazing though. It’s taste reminds me of summer. It’s refreshing, colorful, and goes down smooth (regardless of your choice in gins). The mystery of handing someone a glass with cucumbers mashed into it is both inviting in it’s color and it’s curious differences. It has a strong smell of cucumber and gin, with very small hint of the mint (if you didn’t know it was there you wouldn’t know what you were smelling). The drink starts off sweet, moves quickly to a mild sour, and finishes with the complex blend of the gin, cucumber, and mint. I should really note here that the mint (while vitally important) doesn’t add a ton of it’s own flavor to the drink. Instead it acts as a way to cut through the more intense sour of the lemon, and round out the more “green taste” of the cucumber.

This cocktail goes well beyond just a “make it again” recipe, it now belongs on the menu. In fact it might be one of the highest rated cocktails I’ve ever reviewed! Although now I guess I need to start buying cucumbers on a regular basis now.

Alcohol Taste Rating: 6.5/10
Overall Rating: 9.8/10

The East Side Smash

2 oz Gin
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
3 Cucumber Slices
5-6 Mint Leaves
3 Dashes Aromatic Bitters (Optional)

In a rocks glass muddle together mint, cucumber, lemon juice and simple syrup. Add ice and top with gin and bitters. Stir well. Enjoy!

“Hulk Smash!”

New York Sour

Today’s cocktail is a whiskey sour variant with a really interesting look! The New York Sour, is a very interesting name for a drink that builds on the classic whiskey sour but adds…red wine to it? That’s right, and it really delivers!

This is an impressive cocktail both in flavor and in visual presentation. The mysterious and inviting red float over the gold whiskey sour makes serving it a true pleasure in and of itself. The aroma mostly of your red wine with subtle citrus notes. Like with any layered cocktail the flavors come in multiple parts. For the first half of the drink you’ll experience a wine with a whiskey sour finish, and the second half of the drink will be a classic whiskey sour with a unique fruits element.

Alcohol Taste Rating: 5/10
Overall Rating: 9/10

New York Sour

2 oz Blended Whiskey
¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
½ oz Simple Syrup
½ Dry Red Wine
Lemon Slice

 Shake whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup with ice and strain into a chilled sour glass (or lowball). Float ½ ounce of dry red wine and garnish with a lemon slice.

“What’s that floating in the east river?”

Cocktail Fruit and Garnishes

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

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.

 

2 for 1: Torani Frozen Daiquiri

So, a few months back I was starting to make and review enough drinks for another blended cocktails week, but things got in the way and I ended up with only a couple daiquiris and a bunch of banana drinks (banana cocktail coming next post). Around that same time I also picked up a number of the Torani flavor syrups to supplement flavors in the bar. Among the few I got 2 of them created very unique and interesting variations on the traditional frozen Daiquiri. For these recipes I used the traditional Daiquiri recipe, but replaced the simple syrup with one of the Tornai Syrups, and of course blended with a handful of ice.

Frozen Strawberry Torani Daiquiri
Taste Profile: Equal parts sweet and sour. Tastes like concentrated springtime!

Frozen Green Apple Torani Daiquiri
Taste Profile: Strong candy flavor. Sweeter than what you’d expect from a Sour Apple Pucker. Tangy and sour.

Red berry goodness!

Red berry goodness!

 

Green Machine!

Green Machine

The Classic Mint Julep

I’m back in the new year for a classic cocktail that in many ways isn’t even a cocktail. The Mint Julep is basically just an excuse to drink 4 ounces of Kentucky straight bourbon. Not that you really need a good excuse, but either way it’s one of those drinks that’s perfect as long as you buy the right product. Pick up your favorite bourbon and make this sometime. Need a suggestion on which one? Old Granddad, Wild Turkey, or Makers Mark. Ok? Good. Now drink up.

Alcohol Taste Rating: 10/10 (it’s basically straight bourbon anyway)
Overall Rating 9/10

Mint Julep

4 oz Bourbon
1 tsp Simple Syrup
12-14 Mint Leaves
1-2 Mint Springs

Muddle mint leaves and simple syrup in the bottom of a tumbler glass. Add ice and bourbon. Stir well. Garnish with 1 or 2 mint springs.

mint julep

“A classic southern sipper”