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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You Can Take the Man Out of NJ…


Take a Number

2 oz Everything bagel shake infused rye whiskey
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Lemon juice
Few Dashes Black Cloud Bitters Garden Party Bitters
Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray celery soda

Rim Collins glass with everything bagel shake, set aside. Add everything but soda to a mixing glass with ice. Shake, strain into ice filled Collins glass. Top with ~3 oz celery soda, garnish with lemon spiral and celery.


After 15+ years of living in Boston, there are tons of things I love about this part of the country. The history, proximity to skiing, abundant seafood, and such. But there is one thing this Jersey boy still misses desparately…Bagels. Even the best bagel in Boston is a mediocre NJ/NY bagel at best.

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From Manhattan to Southie


Nexus of the Universe

1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey [Rittenhouse]
1/2 oz Cranberry Liqueur [Grand Ten]
1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth [Dolin]
Few dashes Black and Blue bitters [Black Cloud Bitters]

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


One of my favorite things about making cocktails is inspiration can come from anywhere.  Maybe a drink I had at a bar, or something from out of one of the books on my shelf.  As my network of fellow drinkstagrammers and bloggers continues to grow, I can barely keep up with all the drinks I bookmark for later consumption.   Continue reading

Better Know a Classic: Algonquin Cocktail


Algonquin Cocktail

1 1/2 Whiskey (rye is traditional, here I used bourbon) [Woodford Reserve]
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth [Dolin]
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice

Combine ingredients, shake with ice.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with charred pineapple wedge


Well here we are, the final installment of my Bar Starter Kit series.  In the previous posts, we covered a gin and orange liqueur via the Pegu Club, and a few other supporting players (Aperol, maraschino liqueur and sweet vermouth) in the Cherrycano.  Now we turn to bourbon and dry vermouth to bring it all home.  And just like we started this whole thing with the Pegu Club, I’m going to focus on a classic once again – the Algonquin Cocktail. Continue reading

Mixology Monday CXII – Playing Cocktail DJ


Maxi’s Ward

1 oz Rye Whiskey <Rittenhouse>
3/4 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz Mezcal <Del Maguey Vida>
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Punt E Mes

Shale with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass


Hey everyone, it’s Mixology Monday time!  Doing the honors this month is the MxMo mxmologoGrand Puba himself, Frederic Yarm.  The theme he chose is Mashups, and you can read the full announcement post here.  At the heart of it, according to Frederic, mashups are what happens when”you fuse two cocktails often (but not always) with overlapping ingredients.”

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Away Game


Brandt’s Billables

1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey <Rittenhouse>
3/4 oz Chocolate Liqueur <Godiva>
3/4 oz Grand Marnier
Few dashes Angostura bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


An interesting thing has happened since I started this blog.  When I go to people’s homes for a get together, whether it’s just a few people or a large family gathering, I often become the defacto bartender (first world problems, amirite?).  I mean, I get it, and I certainly don’t mind it.  However, usually I end up working with unfamiliar inventories of varying sizes, and will resort to making things up on the fly. Continue reading