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.

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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

Bottle Swap Collabo Pt 5: St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur

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Decoder Ring

1 ½ oz Mezcal [Fidencio]
.75 oz Spiced Pear Liqueur [St. George Spirits]
.75 oz Licor 43

Stir with ice, strain into a cockail glass.  Garnish with pear slice.


Guess what? It’s time for our 5th (!) installment in the bottle swap series. As a brief refresher, the Bottle Swap ™ is that thing Garnish Girl and I do where we each buy a bottle of something, and then trade half of that bottle with the other person. So, for the price of one bottle, we each end up with two things on our wish lists. It’s a win win. Previous installments included ginger liqueur, Ancho Reyes, Suze (hers; mine), and banana liqueur. Now it’s time to get down with St. George Spiced Pear! Be sure to check out Katie’s Spiced Pear Punch before you read any further! Continue reading

Sukkot Sipper


Three Walls

1 1/2 oz Old Tom Gin [Hayman’s]
1 oz Etrog Liqueur [Sukkah Hill Spirits]
1/2 oz Gential Amaro [Lo-Fi Spirits]

Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with lemon leaf.


Monday was the start of one of the less splashy Jewish holidays, Sukkot.  It’s a holiday that celebrates the last harvest of the year, and the three walled structure, called a sukkah, represents the temporary dwellings constructed by farmers in the field.  The inside is decorated with, among other things, leaves from date, myrtle, and willow trees, as well as etrogs. These are fruits from the citron tree, and are one of the original citrus fruits from which all other citrus originated. Continue reading

Instructions or Suggestions?


Hop On, Hop Off

2 oz Rye Whiskey [Rittenhouse]
3/4 oz Grapefruit Liqueur [Giffard]
1/4 oz Hopped Elderflower Collins Syrup [Bittermilk]
Few dashes Hopped Grapefruit Bitters [Bittermens]

Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with hop flowers.


I’ve already talked about my love for tonic syrups, which can really take your G&T game to the next level.  Well the fun doesn’t stop there.  There are also syrups for other drinks, including the Tom Collins (aka G&T’s cousin).  Like this Hopped Elderflower number from Bittermilk.  It’s the same idea.  Grab some gin, citrus of your choice, and club soda, then combine all that with the syrup over ice.  Give a quick stir and your in for a real Collins treat.  But just cuz it’s labeled a Collins syrup, doesn’t mean you should only use it in a Collins. Continue reading

Perfection in Four Parts

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Denouement

3/4 oz Pineapple Rum [Plantation Stiggins Fancy]
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/4 oz Benedictine
3/4 oz lime juice

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


The Last Word.  You can almost consider it the poster child for resurrected classic cocktails.  Manhattans and Martinis never really went away, they just got the care and respect they deserve with the cocktail renaissance.  The Last Word?  Well, nobody even heard of it before it was revived in 2004, and it soon became the darling of the pre-prohibition era drinks. Continue reading