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End Of Summer Post Labor Day Cocktails

Okay guys, I missed Labor Day. Who’s doing work over a holiday weekend? That would be me. But, I’m still seeing Labor Day sales commercials so I think I’m still in the clear. Plus, we’ve got a good solid week before it’s officially fall and there’s still some good fruit hanging out at the farmer’s market. So, what’s the best way to end summer? Tequila of course.

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I scored some super juicy and sweet mangos from the farmer’s market. Making a cocktail with said mango was the natural progression. So we’re going totally tropical with this first cocktail to end summer with a BANG! There’s just a quick weekend infusion to get us started.

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The pineapple infused Hornitos Plata tequila only takes up to two days. But, I leave the pineapples in the tequila until it’s gone. The flavor obviously increases over time. Fruit infused spirits also allow for more than 1 application. Pineapple margaritas you say? I’ll definitely have one!

For the cocktail, we’re using the mango in a purée. It’s super simple. Remove the skin from the mango, chop it up, put the chunks in a blender with a squeeze of agave (depending on the mango’s sweetness). Blend and you’re done. Add a splash of water if necessary.

Mango Cooler:

2oz. Pineapple Infused Hornitos Plata Tequila

2oz. Mango Purée

1oz. Lime Juice

3/4oz. Agave Syrup

6 Drops Bittermens Hellfire Bitters

*Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake until chilled and strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with pineapple spears and/or lime wheels.

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Next we have Hornitos Black Barrel. The tequila for whiskey drinkers. It’s so versatile and a good bridge between summer and fall with all of it’s warm agave and spice notes.

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2oz. Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila

1 1/2oz. Fresh Grapefruit Juice

1oz. Falernum

3/4oz. Lime Juice

5 Drops Bittermens Burlesque Bitters [Optional]

*Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake until chilled and strain into a fizz or rocks glass filled with cracked ice. Garnish with a grapefruit twist or lime wheel.

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Cheers and enjoy Hornitos Tequila!

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Spirit Review: Brugal 1888

I love rum just as much as the next pirate. Well, just as much as the next girl. Anything better than a tiki cocktail or a mojito? Maybe. The odds are slim however, the one spirit that I do like to sip is rum. It’s easy to take rum for granted with all of the ornamentation and sometimes blue colors. So, when you find a good one, you should savor it.

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We’ve got a good one here with Brugal 1888. A great one actually. This is a real quality rum.

Brugal is a rum from the the Dominican Republic with over 125 years of history. The unique characteristic of the Brugal rums is the dryness. The distilling process of Brugal yields it’s clean, dry and smooth taste. The 1888 on the other hand does have some sweetness on the palate. It’s very smooth with a bold velvety mouth feel and some spice on the finish. The 1888 is aged for 6 to 8 years in White American Oak casks and finished in Sherry Oak casks for 2 to 4 years. This Double-Wood aging gives the 1888 it’s distinctive smooth flavor. Some may think Brugal 1888 is the “rum for whiskey lovers” (Brugal). I don’t completely disagree but, I believe Brugal 1888 is a rum for rum lovers. It’s easy to appreciate.

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Brugal 1888 is a dark amber in color with many complex aromas on the nose. There’s a lot of spice with hints of cinnamon and cocoa, roasted and dried fruits. On the palate, 1888 is warm, smooth and full bodied. You get the light sweetness and spice up front with a long finish. This is a rum to be sipped and used in a select few cocktails. Try a pairing with some chocolates and almonds. This is a rum you want in your arsenal.

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For the cocktail, we’re making the spin on my favorite New Orleans style sour; the Sidecar. A New Orleans sour consists of a base spirit, citrus (lemon) and a orange liqueur. That’s the base of a New Orleans sour. The Outrigger is the lesser know rum answer to the Sidecar. Brugal 1888 works perfectly in this cocktail. You may use the French proportions of 1:1:1. I prefer 2:1:1.

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The Outrigger:

2oz. Brugal 1888 Rum

1oz. Triple Sec [Such as Cointreau]

1oz. Lemon Juice

*A sugared rim here is optional. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake until chilled and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist or wheel.

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Cheers and enjoy Brugal 1888!

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Two Scotch Cocktails For Fall

There was a chill in the air this morning. 65° to be exact. All of the peaches at the farmer’s market will soon be gone. (I better get some in the freezer!) Replaced with apples, pumpkins and other fall goodness. It’s a most welcomed sign of the changing seasons. One of the best parts of being from and living in the south and on the east coast, we get to experience all of the seasons. No offense to anyone but, I’m not looking for a nice, sunny holiday season. Break out the apple cider and hot coco people! It’s time!!

With that being said, the warm spirits are back. As if they ever really left. SCOTCH! There’s more than the single malt and there’s more than pops or some stuffy business guy’s drink of choice. A good, quality blended scotch makes for a great cocktail…in the right application. Also, you won’t have to break the bank to try a good scotch.

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Today we’re using The Famous Grouse. The perfect blended scotch for cocktails and sipping. It’s truly a well rounded whisky. (Not to be confused with whiskey) This clean and golden whisky yields the aroma of a well hand crafted oak with hints of citrus and spice. On the palate, FG is lightly sweet with a medium bold flavor with a clean finish. It should be easy for you to incorporate The Famous Grouse into your fall schotchtails.

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For our first scotchtail, we’re blending a little summer into fall with basil syrup and fresh apple juice to make “The Famous Buck”.

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The Famous Buck:

2oz. The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky

1 1/2oz. Fresh Green Apple Juice

3/4oz. Basil Syrup

1oz. Lemon Juice

Ginger Beer

*Fill a highball glass with cracked ice. Add all ingredients minus ginger beer. Stir to chill and top with ginger beer. Garnish with basil leaves.

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We’re taking a tiki approach for the next cocktail. Why? Tiki and scotch? Yes. Go with me, ok? Ok. I like to shake things up this way. This time we’re using Black Grouse. The Black Grouse is much smokier than it’s Famous counterpart. It has a peaty, rich fullness with hints of spice and dried fruit. The Black Grouse has a long aromatic finish that’s perfect in cocktails.

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The Black Grouse Swizzle:

1 1/2oz. The Black Grouse

1/2oz. Aged Rum

1oz. Fresh Pineapple Juice

3/4oz. Amaretto

3/4oz. Lemon Juice

2 Dashes Aromatic Bitters or Angostura

*Fill a fizz or highball glass with crushed ice. Add all ingredients and swizzle or stir to chill. Garnish with a thin lemon wheel and fresh grated cinnamon.

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Cheers and enjoy more Famous Grouse this fall!

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End Summer With 5 Ingredients Or Less

Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer. Though, fall hasn’t officially started, let’s ease out of the warm weather with some light and refreshing cocktails that are 5 ingredients or less.

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We have two simple and delicious cocktails with  the wonderful Grey Goose Le Citron and Perrier sparkling water.

First up is the Le Citron Smash. We’re all familiar with the Bourbon Smash. This is a fresh take on the classic.

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Le Citron Smash:

1 Lemon [Quartered]

5 Mint Leaves

1/2oz. Simple Syrup

1 1/2-2oz. Grey Goose Le Citron Vodka

Perrier Sparkling Water

*Muddle 1 quartered lemon and mint leaves with simple syrup. Top with crushed ice and Le Citron Vodka. Stir to chill and top with Perrier sparkling water.

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Of course, we’ve got to have a highball. The Lemon Verbena syrup (minus the ginger) adds a fresh twist to this cocktail. There’s only a minimal amount of manpower needed to make syrup. It’s definitely worth it.

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Le Citron Cooler:

1/2oz. Lemon Verbena Syrup

1/2oz. Lemon Juice

2oz. Grey Goose Le Citron Vodka

Perrier Sparkling Water

*This is a built cocktail so there’s no shaking required. To your highball glass, add syrup, vodka and lemon juice. Add ice and stir to chill. Top with Perrier sparkling water. Garnish with spanked Lemon Verbena leaves to release all of the fresh aromas.

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Enjoy and cheers to the end of summer!

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Celebrate National Rum Day With Some New England Flare

Ever feel like you’re being inundated with spirit holidays? Every time we look around there’s some National Holiday happening. This Sunday is National Rum Day. This holiday I’m happy to celebrate! When we think about Rum, our minds usually take us to the Caribbean. Some sweet or blended drink with an umbrella. And, that’s not a bad thing. Today, I’m taking you to Boston. Yep, Boston. Bully Boy Distillers is the city’s first craft distillery.  All of the spirits are handcrafted in small batches. Bully Boy produces White Whiskey, White Rum, Vodka, American Straight Whiskey, Boston Rum and Hub Punch. One of their aged spirits, the Hub Punch, is a unique Rum spirit that is inspired by a lost pre-prohibition era original Hub Punch recipe from the Hub House Hotel in NY in the late 1800’s. Their Boston Rum is steeped with orange and lemon peel, raspberry and a mix of botanicals. Don’t let the fruits and herbs fool you. Bully Boy’s Hub Punch comes in at 70 proof. It’s great on it’s own and can stand up as a base spirit in cocktails.

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When you first open the Hub Punch, you get a nice fragrance of the fruits and botanicals. There’s a sweet mellow aroma and we’re using it in one of our cocktails today. Hub Punch can be mixed in a number of ways. The Bostonians like it over ice, mixed with club soda or lemonade, ginger ale, iced tea and in cocktails. Because of the raspberries and citrus peels, Hub Punch is very fruit forward, in the best way possible.

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The Boston Swizzle is a little dangerous. It’s like the best fruit punch you could ever make in your adult life. Super easy to sip on a long hot summer day. It’s really refreshing and all of the raspberry flavors and botanicals shine through.

Boston Swizzle:

2oz. Hub Punch

1oz. Pineapple Juice

1oz. Fresh Grapefruit Juice

1oz. Lime Juice

3/4oz. Campari

*Add all ingredients to a hurricane glass and fill half way with crushed ice. Swizzle (or stir) to chill. Top with more crushed ice and garnish with raspberries and a lime wheel.

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Our next cocktail for National Rum Day features a really unique Spiced Rum from South Hollow Spirits. Twenty Boat Hand-Crafted Cape Cod Spiced Rum to be exact. South Hollow Spirits is the first legal distillery on Cape Cod since Prohibition. Pretty cool. Twenty Boat is the ultimate Rum Runner’s Rum. “As legend goes, 10 men were arrested near the Cape Cod coast. After posting bail, they reclaimed the boat and raced out of the harbor. Twenty harbor police and coast guard boats kept watch near the tip of Cape Cod. Eventually, the elusive motor boat was spotted and the chase commenced. The boat sped into Provincetown Harbor where it was abandoned and the rum runners fled on foot, never to be found. Twenty Boat Rum honors the bold spirit of independence embodied by these Cape Cod Rum Runners.”-South Hollow Spirits.

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What a story, huh? Don’t you want to try Twenty Boat now?? You should because this is a unique Spiced Rum. What stands out the most to me is the chai. I can’t recall a Spiced Rum with chai as one of the spices. It’s a great addition to the cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, rose hip, anise, lemon peel, orange peel, allspice, nutmeg and more. It gives a nice warmth, intensity and complexity to the Rum.

For the holiday, we’re celebrating with the “Catch 20” cocktail. It’s a nice mix of Twenty Boat Spiced Rum, Scotch and other complimentary flavors.

Catch 20:

1 1/2oz. Twenty Boat Spiced Rum

1/2oz. Blended Scotch

1/2oz. Falernum

1/2oz. Ginger Liqueur

1oz. Lime Juice

1 Dash Angostura Bitters

*Fill a fizz or highball glass with crushed ice. Add all ingredients and stir to chill. Top with more crushed ice and garnish with grated lime zest and cinnamon.

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Enjoy National Rum Day in style, cheers!

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Gin Cocktails For Mid-Summer

How about adding a little Gin to your next Swizzle? Sound good? I think so. The first step is starting with  really good Gin. Today we’re using No.3 Gin from Anchor Distilling. This Gin is great in cocktails. It’s a London Dry style which means it’s Juniper forward, balanced with six botanicals and distilled in copper pot stills. But, don’t be afraid. There’s a lot more going on with this Gin than Juniper. (Use No.3 in your next Martini) It’s light, smooth on the palate, floral and citrus forward. No.3 Gin is versatile and can stand up to any cocktail.

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Gin cocktails are  a summer essential. Especially late summer. (Yes, I’m counting the beginning of August as late summer. Too much heat. I’m trying to speak Autumn into existence.) No.3 Gin has a smooth and warming mouth feel like I’ve not had with any other Gin. And, it still makes for light drinking.

There are still some folks out there who don’t enjoy the Juniper spirit. I always say, “you haven’t had the right Gin.” They probably haven’t had the right cocktail. You definitely want to have No.3 Gin in your arsenal. It also makes for bright and crisp Gin & Tonics. Some classic Gin cocktails you should try with No.3 Gin are The Bee’s Knees, The Negroni, The French 75 and now, the Anchor Swizzle.

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The Anchor Swizzle has a little tiki twist. The Falernum in this cocktail pairs perfectly with No.3 Gin.

Anchor Swizzle:

1 1/2oz. No.3 Gin

1oz. White Rum

3/4oz. Falernum

1/2oz. Simple Syrup

1oz. Lime Juice

6 Mint Leaves

Club Soda

Angostura Bitters

*In a highball glass, muddle mint leaves. Fill the glass about half way with crushed ice. Add remaining ingredients minus bitters and club soda. Swizzle to incorporate, add more crushed ice, top with club soda and angostura bitters. Garnish with mint sprig.

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Enjoy out doors. Preferably while grilling with friends. Cheers!

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Two Tequila Cocktails For Your Next Beach Trip

Is National Tequila Day over?? Yes. However, it TEQUILA SEASON!!! We should not only sip responsibly but, also accordingly. Summer cocktails are about what’s in season. Well, all cocktails should be about what’s in season. During the warmer months, we want light and refreshing cocktails. This is when I like to bring in fresh fruits, herbs, tinctures and bitters. And, Tequila. Of course. How about a nice Reposado? The aged agave spirit is so versatile. You get the warmth and depth of a good aged spirit without losing the bright and crisp notes of agave.

For today’s cocktails, I’ll be using Hornitos Reposado Tequila. It’s versatile, wonderful served neat and holds it’s own in cocktails. For this particular post, I’m blogging from the beach. Oh yes. The beach! On the road from North Carolina to South Carolina, there’s all kinds of fresh produce on the roadside from local farmers. We probably passed 2 million watermelons and 4 million peaches. So, what do I pick up on the way? Rainier Cherries, Cilantro (the non-infected variety) and Pineapple. Duh. I’ve got my Hornitos and I’m ready to cocktail by the pool/beach!

Cherry Blossom:

2oz. Hornitos Reposado Tequila

3/4oz. Lillet Blanc

3/4oz. Lemon Juice

1/4oz. Agave Nectar

3 Rainier Cherries

*Muddle pitted cherries in your cocktail shaker. Add remaining ingredients and fill with ice. Shake vigorously and double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a cherry and enjoy.

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We’re about to smash and shake it up with this next cocktail. Smash cocktails are some of my favorites. I kind of have a thing for crushed ice. Smashes are typically made with Bourbon or Whiskey but, we make our own rules around here…

Pineapple Cilantro Smash:

2oz. Hornitos Reposado Tequila

2oz. Fresh Pineapple Juice

1oz. Lime Juice

1/4oz. Agave Nectar

Hefty Pinch of Cilantro

3 Dashes Jalapeño Tincture [Or a muddled jalapeño ring if you’d like]

*Tear some cilantro off the bunch (stems and all if you’d like) and muddle in your cocktail shaker to release the flavors. Add the remaining ingredients and fill with ice. Give the mix a hard shake and strain into a rocks glass. Fill with crushed ice and garnish with cilantro.

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A fresh cocktail like this puts fish tacos on the brain. Enjoy the rest of Tequila Season with Hornitos Reposado Tequila!!

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Celebrate National Tequila Day!!

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There are so many holidays but, are there any more important than National Tequila Day? The wonderful agave spirit is one of a kind. The holiday is falling on the weekend this year (everyone counts Friday as the weekend, right?) so you should seek the best tequila you can find. Today we’re shaking and stirring things up with Avion Tequila. I have two simple and delightful cocktails to get your celebratory weekend started!

First thing you might want to do is put the Margarita down. I know, nothing beats a good margarita. Let’s think outside of the box a little here. I love a good margarita but, there’s so much more that tequila can offer. Because tequila and lime were made for each other, I guess we could say the first cocktail has roots in the margarita. Some mint, a little Absinthe, let’s get this part started!! (Was that too corny? Should I have said Fiesta?)

Mint Daisy:

2oz. Avion Silver Tequila

1oz. Simple Syrup [1:1 sugar to water]

1oz. Lime Juice

3 Dashes Citrus Bitters [Such as Hella Bitters]

3 Mint Leaves

Absinthe

*Start by rinsing your coupe glass with Absinthe and place in the freezer to chill. Muddle mint leaves in your shaker. Add all remaining ingredients and fill with ice. Shake until chilled and double strain into chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with mint sprig.

**If you want to make a mint simple syrup, that will work just as well!

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Next up is the rested old fashioned. We’re using two aged tequilas from Avion; the Añejo and Reposado. A good tequila should be sipped and can be easily enhanced. And, that’s all we’re doing here. Adding bitters and agave nectar.

Rested Old Fashioned:

1oz. Avion Añejo Tequila

1oz. Avion Reposado Tequila

1 Barspoon Agave Nectar

3 Dashes Orange Bitters [Or bitters of your choice]

*Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and stir without ice to incorporate agave nectar. Add ice and stir to chill. Garnish with a lime wheel.

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Cheers! Enjoy celebrating National Tequila Day all weekend long with Avion Tequila!

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A Bitter Breakfast: Buttermilk Biscuits With Orange Bitters

We’re about to embark on a journey you’ve probably never thought of before. I’m sure you’re familiar with the biscuit. Buttery, flaky and sometimes served with bacon, eggs and cheese. BUT! Have you ever thought about adding bitters to your biscuits? No. You haven’t. In this recipe, Hella Bitters Orange adds a subtle essence of orange. It gives a nice floral note to the breakfast classic.

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The idea for a good biscuit is to not overwork the dough after mixed and have ice cold butter that will melt and yield some flakiness.

Buttermilk Biscuits with Orange Bitters:

1 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour

1 1/2 Cup Cake Flour

1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Salt

3/4 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar

1 Teaspoon Orange Zest

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter (1 Stick)

1/4 Shortening (Vegatable used here)

1 1/4 Cup Buttermilk

4 Teaspoons HB Orange Bitters

For the biscuits- Preheat oven to 450. In a large bowl stir together flours, baking powder, sugar, salt, cream of tartar and orange zest. Cut in butter and shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs (I use my hands here). Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in buttermilk and Bitters. Using a fork stir together until moistened. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough by folding and pressing until the dough holds together. Pat or lightly roll the dough out to about 1 1/4 inches. Cut dough into rounds using a biscuit cutter. Place rounds onto an un-greased baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.

*Recipe adapted from Southern Souffle.com*

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So, what shall we have with our biscuits? Peaches. Because it’s summer and it’s time for peaches. I suppose you could have strawberry shortcakes however, peaches are better. This peach shortcake is better than your Grandmother’s Peach Cobbler…sorry Grandma.

Sautéed Peaches:

2 Peaches [Peeled]

1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar

1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar

2 Tablespoons Butter

1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice [Or more to taste]

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon [Or more to taste]

A Dash of  Freshly Grated Nutmeg

A Splash of Vanilla Extract

A Pinch of Kosher Salt

1/2oz. Grand Marnier [Optional]

10 Dashes HB Orange Bitters

*Add sugars to a cast iron or sautée pan. Warm on medium-low heat until sugars begin to liquify. Add peeled and sliced peaches, butter and remaining ingredients to the caramel. If you want to get a little fancy and flambé the Grand Ma, feel free. Cook the peaches for 10-15 minutes or until the peaches are just soft and they’ve released some juices into the caramel. Let the mix cool (as we’ll be adding whipped cream) or serve slightly warm over biscuits.

Bitter Whipped Cream:

1 Cup Whipping Cream

1 Tablespoon Powdered Sugar

4 or 5 Dashes HB Aromatic Bitters

Whip chilled cream (a cold bowl helps, too), powdered sugar and bitters by hand or with a electric mixer until soft peaks form. Chill.

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A Bitter Breakfast: Aromatic Bitters Two Ways. Salted Iced Coco & Pour Over Coffee

Aromatic Bitters work particularly well with coffee and chocolate. The “aromatic” aroma (if you will) really adds complex flavors in the right application. Hella Bitters Aromatic Bitters have more than just a bitter flavor. These bitters are well balanced. HB Aromatic open up all of the senses with just a few dashes. On the palate you get notes of cinnamon, clove and Jamaican allspice with hints of spice from black peppercorns and caraway. Wormwood and Gentian root round out this potent bitter expression. So, naturally, all of these flavors compliment both chocolate and coffee.

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For this morning brew, we’re employing the use of the omnipresent pour over method. I have a chemex and I enjoy using it. (I also use it to strain booze infusions 🙂 However, a fresh brewed pot shall do. If you have a chemex or another pour over apparatus, I’m sure you know how to use it. What you need now is the Aromatic Bitters. Make your coffee how you like it and add 2 or 3 dashes of Aromatic bitters to the mix. Hot or cold, the bitters will take your cup of joe up a notch.

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Iced Coffee with HB Aromatic Bitters:

Freshly brewed and chilled coffee [Even better if you grind your own beans]

Cream & Sugar to taste

2-3 Dashes of Hella Bitters Aromatic

Ice

Think of all the money you could save making your own iced coffee and how much better it would taste with HB Aromatic bitters!! Unless you like drinking sugary milk with a touch of coffee. This needs to be your go-to for all of your coffee needs. Hot or cold!

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Up next is the Salted Iced Coco. Which is just hot chocolate with lots of crushed ice. Hot chocolate is wonderful. However, in 97º+ weather, I want something ice cold. Salted Iced Coco does the trick. It’s easy to make and travels well.

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You’ll want to use a quality coco here. Try to get something that has not been Dutch processed. We’re all natural here. Go for the 100% natural cocoa.

Salted Iced Coco:

3 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder [Scharffen Berger used here]

2 1/2 Tablespoons Sugar [Adjust to your sweetness]

2 Cups Milk

Maldon Salt [Or other flaky sea salt]

Add all ingredients to a sauce pot minus salt. Simmer (do not boil) until ingredients are combined. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add a hefty pinch (~1/2 tsp.) of a flaky salt. Maldon salt used here. Fleur de Sel will work as well. Taste and add more if needed. This is perfectly fine served warm. For the chilled  coco, fill a mason jar or double rocks glass with crushed ice. Top with salted coco and stir in 4 dashes of HB Aromatic Bitters. Garnish with chocolate shavings.

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!!!! BONUS !!!!

It wouldn’t be FoodieTails without a cocktail! A coffee cocktail of course.

1 1/2oz. Vodka

3/4oz. Simple Syrup

2oz. Fresh Brewed Coffee or Espresso

3 Dashes HB Aromatic Bitters

Add all ingredients to shaker and fill with ice. Shake until chilled and double strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with one coffee bean.

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Cheers!