Cracking the Cider Code

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Leaf Blower

1 oz Apple Cider
1 oz Cognac [Camus VSOP]
1/2 oz Becherovka
1/2 oz Honey Liqueur [Barenjager]

Shake with ice. Strain into an ice filled rocks glass. Garnish with apple slice (freshly gathered leaves optional).


First off, apologies for the extended radio silence. I’v admittedly be focusing more on the instagram stuff, but I figure it’s time to get back to where it all started. It may not be on a weekly cadence, but my plan is to recommit to firing off more blog posts for a while.

Now, with that out of the way – let me tell you about Fall. It’s hands down one of my favorite things about living in New England. The foliage certainly helps matters, but Fall in New England just feels right. Besides the leaf peeping, my other favorite Fall activity is drinking apple cider. It fits the season so perfectly – fruity, brisk, and warming all at the same time. We literally go through gallons at my house between Sept and Dec. For some reason though, whenever I go to make a drink with it, I’m left a bit wanting.

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Performance Enhancers

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Stingy Brim

1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey [Cali Distillery]
3/4 oz Grapefruit liqueur [Giffard]
3/4 oz Honey liqueur [Barenjager]

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with grapefruit twist.


There are lots of ways I come up with cocktails.  The ol’ switcheroo, mashups, and even actual food dishes.  Today I’d like to talk about another method we’ll call cocktails on steroids.  The idea is simple, take a drink that usually has some elements of fruit juice and/or syrups, then replace those with actual liqueurs to make a boozy version of the original. The first time I can remember doing this is when I turned my guilty pleasure, the Bay Breeze, into the Offshore Wind.


This time around, we’re starting with the Brown Derby.  This classic was created at the Vendôme on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, named after a nearby restaurant that was actually built in the shape of the namesake hat.  It combines bourbon, grapefruit juice, and honey syrup, and is a lovely throwback drink on its own.

However, I decided to beef it up.  Instead of bourbon, it’s 100 proof Rye (courtesy of my friends at Cali Distillery).  Out went the soft drink elements of grapefruit juice and honey syrup – replaced by grapefruit liqueur and Barenjager honey liqueur, respectively.  What was already a formidable drink now really packs some punch.

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The nose is full of floral aromas from the grapefruit and honey, but more concentrated than the original.  On the sip, more grapefruit and plenty of sweetness, all of which is nicely balanced by the spicy rye.  Don’t overlook a strong rye here, even with swapping in a honey liqueur instead of honey syrup, there is still plenty of sweetness in the glass.  The rye does a great job of cutting through it all, and the spiciness compliments the zesty citrus notes nicely.  The finish is silky smooth, with one last punch from the base spirit.

Next time you’re looking for some inspiration, just think of some shaken drink and see if you can make a stirred version.  Even if the flavors aren’t one to one (as was the case here) switching one out can make a difference.  The point is, find a drink you like, and try to make another (stronger) version.

Flowers in a Glass

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Bouquet Spritz

2 oz Vermouth [D’Pampe]
3/4 oz Rose Liqueur [Wild Moon]
.5 oz Elderflower liqueur [St. Elder]
.25 oz lemon juice

Shake with ice.  Strain into an ice filled rocks glass.  Top with ~2 oz of Prosecco.  Garnish with lemon “rose”.


A week or so ago I was out somewhere and got a Spritz, and was reminded of how deliciously simple they are.  Right then and there, I decided this was going to be the #summorofspritzes.  After all, they are best enjoyed outside, ideally with the sun on your face.  While the weather hasn’t quite turned the corner here in New England, I decided to kick things off anyway. Continue reading

Better Know a Classic: Gimlet

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Vodka Gimlet

2 oz Vodka [Bradford]
3/4 – 1 oz Homemade Lime Cordial

Combine in a tin, shake with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime twist.


My father-in-law is going to be very excited about this post. I’d have to say the gimlet is his go-to drink. Like most people with their preferred tipples, he’s very particular about them too. When he orders one, he expects the classic tart sweetness of Rose’s Lime Cordial. According to him, fresh lime and sugar just isn’t the same – and since this is his drink, I’ll follow his lead. But we can do better than the high fructose laden Rose’s.

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A Sip of Vermont

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Bee’s Skis

2 oz Barrel Aged Gin [Caledonia Spirts Tom Cat]
1/2 oz Maple Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist.


A few weeks ago I went on a ski trip with some friends for the weekend to Jay Peak in Vermont. Knowing that I enjoy a good cocktail now and then, one of them suggested I come up with a drink we could all enjoy. Having to manage a range of tastebuds can sometimes be challenging, so I often start with the classics. In this case, the Bee’s Knees was my inspiration.

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Better Know a Classic: Daquiri

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Toasted Coconut Daquiri

2 oz Dark Rum [Havana Club 7 yr]
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz house toasted coconut syrup

Shake with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with lime twist.


I’m headed down to Florida on Friday, so I figured it’s a great time to dust off my semi-recurring Better Know a Classic series with an entry on the humble Daquiri (the Fightin’ Daqs).  Now, we’re not talking about the frozen, fruity, sweet concoctions served on a cruise ship or the beach of an all inclusive resort.  No, we’re talking about the more refined, and just as flavorful combo of rum, citrus, and sugar. Continue reading

A Gift from the Heart

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Brandy Hopper

1 1/2 oz Brandy [Monteru]
3/4 oz Creme de Menthe [Short Path]
1/2 oz Homemade Bailey’s
1/4 oz Creme de Cacao [Tempus Fugit]

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, and stain into an ice filled rocks glass.


Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and I have the perfect gift idea. Sure, flowers or chocolates are pretty traditional, but booze is way more fun. DIY gifts are always more personal and meaningful, so what if I told you there was a way to create a delicious, sweet, boozy gift for your SO that could be ready RIGHT NOW.

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