Performance Enhancers

stingy_brim5


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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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

Think Inside the Box


Under the Wire

1 1/2 gin [Ryan and Wood Knockabout Gin]
1/2 oz Grapefruit Liqueur [Giffard Pamplemousse]
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Grenadine [Powell and Mahoney]

Shake ingredients with ice.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with zigzaggy lime peel.


Last month, Al (who runs the @alsbarblog instagram account) started a recurring event of sorts.  At the beginning of each month, he would provide four paramters, and ask the drinkstagram community to come up with recipes based on them.  In July they were whiskey, grapefruit, stirred, bitters.  It was pretty fun to have a set of contstraints of sorts within which to work, and I came up with the Four to the Floor.  This month the four elements are gin, lime, syrup, shaken.  Surprisingly, I ran back the grapefruit, but in a totally different way.

Continue reading