My Top 10 Specialty Cocktails Of All-Time
By: Michael Nagy
(Images with cocktails posted at http://www.thefoodiehub.com.au)
Below are my Top 10 specialty cocktails with recipes and preparation instructions in no particular order. Many of them can be sipped during all seasons of the year. I tried to highlight different flavors, tastes, and nuances using fresh, homemade, and hand-crafted ingredients. Some are classic, some are modern, and some are a combination of both. In many cases, you can substitute different spirits and liqueurs for the stated the brands, especially if they are unavailable in your area or country.
1. Asian Pear Bubbly
1 oz Pear Vodka, preferably Grey Goose La Poire Vodka
½ oz Ginger Liqueur, preferably FRUITLAB Ginger Liqueur
½ oz Caravella Limoncello or homemade limoncello
¼ oz Sugar Syrup (1:1)
½ oz Freshly-squeezed Orange Juice
Float Dry Prosecco on top
Garnish – 1 Asian pear slice
Glass – Cocktail
Prep – Add all ingredients, except Prosecco, to an ice-filled mixing tin. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Float a generous amount of Prosecco. Garnish an Asian pear slice.
2. Honey Espresso
1 oz Vodka or Vanilla Vodka, preferably Stoli
½ oz Wild Turkey American Honey Liqueur
½ oz Starbucks Coffee Liqueur
¼ oz Arvani Vanilla Liqueur (optional, use only with straight vodka)
½ oz Fresh Orange Blossom Honey Syrup (1:1 honey to water)
1 oz Freshly-brewed Espresso coffee
Garnish – 3 espresso beans
Glass – Cocktail
Prep – Add all ingredients to an ice-filled mixing tin. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktails glass. Garnish 3 espresso beans.
3. Cucumber Rose
2 oz Gin or Cucumber/Rosemary-Infused Gin
¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
½ oz Rich Sugar Syrup (2:1 sugar to water)
½ oz Fresh Cucumber juice (extracted from food processor)
2 English hothouse cucumber slices 1/8 inches thick cut into fours & 1 sprig of rosemary
Garnish – Cucumber ribbon on a skewer or float round cucumber slice
Glass – Coupe
Prep – In a mixing glass without ice, muddle rosemary sprig and cucumber chunks (leave skin on) with lemon juice and sugar syrup. Add half ice and the remaining ingredients. Shake well and double strain into a chilled coupe glass using a hand-held strainer and Hawthorne strainer. For garnish, slice the third layer of a cucumber lengthwise (should have a little skin remaining) and intertwine on a skewer and lay across rim of coupe glass.
4. The Hemingway
1 ½ oz Papagayo Organic Sliver Rum
½ oz Giffard Premium Curaçao Triple Sec (orange liqueur)
½ oz Fresh lime juice
¾ oz Fresh white grapefruit juice
¼ oz sugar syrup
Garnish – lime wheel
Glass – Cocktail Glass or coupe
Prep – Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Add large ice cubes. Shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe or glass.
5. Ginger Flower
1 oz TRU Organic Lemon Vodka
½ oz St. Germain Elderflower
½ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
½ oz Sugar Syrup
Splash of unfiltered Apple Juice
Fill with Ginger Beer
Garnish – Lemon peel
Glass – Collins or Sour
Prep – Add all ingredients, except ginger beer, to an ice-filled tin. Shake well and strain into an ice-filled Collins glass to about 2-3 fingers from top. Top with ginger beer. Garnish lemon peel.
6. Peach Caipiroska
2 raspberries, 2 lime slices, 2 lemon slices, 2 frozen peach slices thawed
2 oz "Enchanted Rock" Peach Flavored Vodka (or Absolut Apeach) or regular vodka
1/2 oz Mathilde Peach Liqueur, if using reg vodka
1/4 oz Light simple syrup (2:1 water to superfine sugar to almost watery consistency - don't
want too sweet)
Top with soda water
Garnish – fruit dropped in
Glass - Tumbler
Prep - In a mixing glass (no ice), place 2 lime slices, 2 lemon slices, 2 thawed peach slices, 2 raspberries and simple syrup and muddle lightly (don't want to overly press lime because of bitter oils in peel). Pour in vodka and stir well. Add crushed ice and stir to melt some of the ice and mix. Pour mixture into an old fashioned glass or rocks glass. Add crushed ice to top. Top with Pellegrino sparkling water. Garnish lime or peach with raspberry on a skewer.
7. Blueberry Mojito
12 blueberries (6 for garnish) and 12 mint sprigs (4 for garnish)
1 ½ oz Bacardi Black Razz Rum
½ oz Crusoe Organic Silver Rum
½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
½ oz Blueberry puree or syrup (slightly mash blueberries and shake with sugar syrup)
Top with Badoit sparking mineral water
Garnish – 6 blueberries dropped in
Glass – Highball or large rocks
Prep - In a mixing glass (no ice), place blueberries, mint (smack it first to release aroma), lime juice, and blueberry simple syrup and muddle lightly (don't want to overly press or tear mint. Pour in other ingredients and stir well. Add crushed ice and stir to melt some of the ice and mix. Pour mixture into an old fashioned glass or rocks glass. Add crushed ice to top. Top with Badoit sparkling water. Garnish blueberries and a handful of mint.
8. Modern Aviation
1 ½ oz Bloom Gin
¼ oz Caravella Limoncello
1 barspoon of Creme Yvette
¾ oz Freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
¾ oz *lavender syrup
2-3 dashes of BAR KEEP lavender bitters
Garnish - Lemon wheel and fresh lavender sprigs
Prep - In an ice-filled shaker, add all ingredients. Shake and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel and a sprig of fresh lavender.
*To make the lavender syrup - Bring 8-10 sprigs of fresh lavender, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and cool.
9. Cable Car
1 ½ oz Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
½ oz Marie Brizard Orange Curaçao
½ oz Fresh-squeezed Lemon Juice
½ oz Sugar syrup
Cinnamon and sugar rim
Garnish – Flaming Orange twist
Glass – Cocktail
Prep – Rim glass with mixture of sugar and cinnamon by moistening it with lemon juice and set aside. Add all ingredients to a mixing tin with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish orange peel or twist over the glass by holding a flame underneath it (skin side down) to release the oils. Don’t let the flame touch the peel.
10. The Boulevardier
1 oz Templeton Rye Whiskey
1 oz Carpano Antica vermouth
1 oz Aperol Aperitif
2 dashes of Chocolate bitters
Garnish – Orange peel
Glass – Old Fashioned
Prep - In an ice-filled shaker, add all ingredients. Shake and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with an orange peel.
Michael Nagy is a freelance spirits and cocktail writer, liquid bar chef, spirits sommelier and bar consultant based in Harrisburg, PA. He is owner and operator of ‘Raise Your Spirits’, an elite bartending service, top shelf cocktail service, and bar/cocktail consultation service providing specialty cocktail menus to individuals, businesses, bars and restaurants. Michael’s blog and website is located here. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @mixitup42. He contributes regularly to Chilled Magazine, The Culture Trip LA, and other trade publications. Feel free to contact him anytime.