This post is dedicated to my dear friend and apprentice, Sam, who has impressingly become, in a very short time, a masterful liquid chef and home mixologist. I am proud to have taught him many of my trade secrets and he is well on his way to serving me a quality and well-balanced cocktail. I hope to impart more wisdom onto Sam in the coming months. Also, to Ann, his romantic assistant, and friends Julia, an aspiring mixologist and Christie, a friendly, neighborly imbiber, who have all found a better appreciation of good drink-making skills and cocktails.
With the fall harvest and upcoming Thanksgiving feasts, it’s the perfect time of year for fall/winter cocktails incorporating seasonal shrubs (sweetened vinegar-based syrup). Made with respect from seed to glass, my friends over at Prairie Organic Spirits are using their fine spirits to create seasonal fall/winter cocktails made with homemade shrubs.
National Liqueur Day is October 16th. It’s never too early to begin thinking about the holidays, and Thanksgiving is—deep breath—just over a little over a month away. Many liqueurs/cordials are perfect to be sipped in the winter months so why not make some of your own and gift to others for the holidays or even make some for a holiday party.
The classic citrusy Italian liqueur limoncello, almond-flavored amaretto, and cocoa cream-flavored Irish cream are always crowd-pleasers and are great anytime.
One of my favorite things to do is Do-It-Yourself (DIY) infusions and batched cocktail projects. I've been experimenting in the laboratory for quite a while now and I still learn something new every time. The fun thing about infusing spirits, liqueurs, syrups, and waters is that there aren't a lot of rules and complicated techniques to employ. Plus, it allows for using fresh ingredients and healthier, low sugar content, less expensive, and adds a personal touch. Most of the time it's just mixing things together, taste testing and experimenting, and seeing what happens.
In celebrating “World Cocktail Week” from May 6-13, this third episode of cocktails from around the globe focuses on Spanish and Mediterranean cocktails leading up to “World Cocktail Day” on the 13th. This week was selected for the prestigious holiday because it marks the first time the word ‘cocktail’ was published back in 1806. The definition appeared in “The Balance and Columbian Repository” and read, “Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters." I can drink to that!
Spain and the Mediterranean.
(Cover photo - courtesy of liquor.com)
Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd and to honor what it stands for I am offering up truly "green", farm-fresh, organic ingredients and cocktails for spring. As an added bonus, I list the best fruits, veggies, herbs, spices, and florals to be used in cocktails, infused spirits, syrups, purees, and juices for the season, best way to prepare them, and what base spirits pair best with them.
(Cover photo courtesy of Ping Pong Dim Bar - revamp.com)
If you ever walked in to an American bar and asked for an Asian cocktail you would probably get a blank stare from the bartender. It’s a pretty vague request, but so is asking for an “American” cocktail. If you say that you would like a cocktail that uses Asian ingredients or flavors, such as ginger, jasmine, or lychee, you may experience the same result.