Recipes

Tequila And Cinco de Mayo...

Tequila has come a long way from the days when every college kid did a shot of Cuervo or was the spring breaker’s drink of choice. It is now one of the favorite spirits used by top mixologists around the country. The selection of brands and premium brands has tripled in the last decade. But there are still so many misconceptions about this mysterious liquor.  So with Cinco de Mayo just a week away, I decided to set the record straight with facts and not-so-facts of the agave-based spirit. Salud!

There’s a worm in the bottle.

Seasonal Infusions

This is a repeat post from the Fall in case you missed it...Many great spring cocktails utilize these spirit and liqueur infusions by taking advantage of the many fresh ingredients available at the peak of the spring season. I will start out with fruit infusions that are perfect right now. Keep in mind that some of these fruits are not in season now, but will be in the summer and fall. It is not an exhaustive list, but the more common fruit infusions are listed.

Seasonal Flavor: Rhubarb

Rhubarb is an obscure plant and doesn’t get the recognition it deserves as far as being unique flavor ingredient in cocktail.  Rhubarb’s long, spindly stalks are a good sign that spring has arrived. The spring is the time of the year that mixologists get excited about the plethora of harvested herbs, berries, grapefruit, stone fruits, and the little known, rhubarb that are available. It allows for much creativity, innovation, experimentation, and flavor contrasts in your cocktail shakers.

Seasonal Flavor: Grapefruit

The humble grapefruit is a very under-rated fruit. Now is the time to appreciate its simplicity since we are at the time of season where it starts to peak. Often looked upon as a flavorless and boring, the grapefruit has a lot to offer in terms of cocktail balance and flavor.  To cocktail enthusiasts and gurus, it has many applications and has been used in cocktails since the turn of the century. The grapefruit isn’t ‘hip’ and the terms ‘exotic’ and ‘esoteric’ doesn’t apply to this fruit in today’s cocktail vernacular, like passion fruit, plum, acai berry, etc…

Seasonal Spotlight: Whiskies of the World, Part 3 - Rye

Bourbon and Scotch may be the most popular, but the drink of choice for many whiskey connoisseurs is increasingly a glass of classic rye whiskey.

Up until recently, this historic American spirit was fading into obscurity. Liquor stores and bars usually stocked just a few old, dusty bottles. But there has been a miraculous rebirth of the rye category, and drinkers now prize its big, spicy and brash flavors. Distillers are now struggling to keep up with demand.

Seasonal Spotlight: Whiskies of the World, Part 1 - Scotch

The end of March/early April is unofficially "Whiskies of the World" season with many festivals around the globe celebrating all kinds of whiskey, whether you're into Scotch, Bourbon, Rye, Irish, Canadian, or Sour Mash...There's something for everyone...Stay tuned this week for a discussion on the plethora of whiskies out there and the brands that made the 'cut' for being the 'best' by readers' choice this past year (official results will be available first week of April)...Also, I will list some new and innovative cocktails that can be mixed up using these fine and undiscovered spirits...

St. Patrick's Day Cocktails & Lore

Forget about green beer, Guinness, and shots of Jameson this St. Patrick's Day. Live on the edge and try good old-fashioned Irish whiskey. Contrary to popular belief, Irish whiskey isn’t good only in shots, Pickle Backs or the traditional and tragically named Car Bomb - It also makes a fine cocktail. The typically smooth and incredibly drinkable whiskey is one of the most popular spirits on the planet right now. Many of these cocktails can be drank all year long.

Here is one that is hot, creamy, and classic. Irish Coffee will warm you up in spirit and body temperature.

Spirit Spotlight: Absinthe

National Absinthe Day is March 5. Absinthe is an anise-flavored spirit that was originally 136 proof and made with grande wormwood. It is typically made by distilling neutral grain spirits with herbs, predominately anise, florence fennel and grande wormwood. Other herbs such as angelica root, coriander, dittany leaves, hyssop, juniper, nutmeg, melissa, star anise, sweet flag, and veronica are also used.

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