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Cocktail: Worthy Park Swizzle

The only way to come back to the blogosphere is through a swizzle! So, let’s keep this short and sweet. I went to London in December (to study, actually) and while there, I had a few things on my mind. One of them being: “how much booze can I actually bring back?” I’ve done this before…when passing through Duty Free at the airport but, this time, I ventured out into the city on a hunt. Of course, the highly coveted Havana Club was a no-brainer. I keep an on-going “booze wish list” if you will and I was looking forward to crossing off a few items that I knew I wouldn’t find in the States. Well, I managed two of those (we can talk about that later). I’m not sure why I felt nervous to bring home the good this time. I was scouring the internet, trying to be extra careful because you know they’re going through your bags, right? The internet told me I could being home 1 Liter which is not even 2 whole bottles. Seriously.

On New Years Eve, my cousin and I made our way to the American Bar at the beautiful Savoy Hotel. While walking, we passed the Whiskey Exchange. By far, the very best store for booze shopping ever! Well, at least so far for me. Another favorite store of mine is in New Orleans, Keife &Co. The next day we headed back to The Whiskey Exchange, and there is where I got the best info on booze traveling. I spoke with about 3 associates at the store. One guy (who I spoke with the longest) tried to google Heathrow Airport policies and we even discussed ABV. And, it was all for nothing because the next guy (I obviously don’t remember their names, sorry) said I could bring back a suitcase full of booze!!!!!!!! That was enough for me! I did my shopping and made my way back to our room to configure the bags. I did at least bring my own bubble wrap. While my cousins bag was about 20 pounds overweight (LOL!!!!) I squeezed in 5 bottles. I’d done most of my booze (Rum) shopping by then but there was still one bottle on my mind. It was at the grocery store right around the corner from me, The Duppy Share. I had no idea if it was sold in the states, I didn’t know anything about it and it was a great price. But, alas, I didn’t bring it home. I thought maybe it would be a last minute decision at the airport in Duty Free but it wasn’t there so I was forced to buy 3 other rums.

When I got home I did some research on the Duppy Share and found that it’s a blend of Jamaican Rums from Worthy Park and Barbados Rums. The next logical step is a cocktail. I thought about the blend first and foremost. I went back and forth with the two Rums that I would use for my own blend in the swizzle. The other ingredients came easily. A well know Jamaican Rum comes from the Appleton Estate, I went with the Reserve Blend. For the Barbados Rum, there are a few options. Mount Gay Black Barrel would be marvelous here and is in fact one of my favorite Rums…ever. Plantation also produces a fine 5 year aged Barbados Rum. But, I wanted to bring something new to the Home Bar so I ventured out for Cockspur V.S.O.R. All of the elements came together in perfect harmony. Let’s get to the cocktail.

Worthy Park Swizzle:

1oz. Appleton Reserve Jamaican Rum

1oz. Cockspur V.S.O.R Barbados Rum

1oz. Lime Juice

3/4oz. Passion Fruit Syrup (Liber & Co.)

1/2oz. Licor 43 (or other vanilla liqueur)

1 Heavy Barspoon Campari

1 Dash Peychaud’s Bitters

1 Dash Orange Bitters (Regan’s used here)

Fill a Highball or Pilsner glass with crushed ice. Add all ingredients and swizzle until chilled. Top with more ice and garnish with a lime wheel and mint sprig or edible flowers if you have them. Feel free to use any blend of Rum you like. Cheers!

 

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Holiday Wine and Cocktail Recipes: 90+ Cellars

Turkey day is this week! Although, technically, it was already Christmas the day after Halloween. Give us a break America and let us celebrate one holiday at a time! All the leaves have changed, the air is cool and crisp and that means it’s time for some good Wine, Prosecco and Champagne. Especially for Thanksgiving. I’ve got two wines that will pair wonderfully with any kind of turkey, roast or chicken you may be having for the holiday; spicy or savory. The good thing about serving wine at your holiday gatherings is that you won’t have to stand behind your home bar making drinks all night or even have to make a punch. Just uncork the bottle and set it out for self service. If you want to feel super fancy, decant the bottle. That will impress your guests and you can feel like a Jr. sommelier.

90+ Cellars offers high-end wines that won’t break your wallet during the holiday season. The unique aspect of 90+ Cellars is what they bring to the wine market.  They have been able to convert market inefficiencies into better value for both winemakers and consumers. How you ask? They enable wineries to sell their oversupply without effecting the value of their brand. This way, 90+ can offer customers high-end wine for less! That means we win, guys. We win!

The first wine I’m recommending for Turkey day and beyond is the Pinot Noir.

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This is a fabulous Pinot Noir that you definitely want to have on your holiday table. It’s bold but not too bold. Slightly dry and fruity, this Pinot is rich and smooth. There are deep notes of cherry, dried fruits and there’s a certain earthiness that is pleasant on the palate and will keep you going back for another sip and that’s exactly what you want when you’re enjoying your roasted and brined meats and savory and sweet sides. There’s some nice spice notes of cinnamon on the end of this one and for $14.99, you can’t lose. Enjoy!

Next up is the Big Red Blend.

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For only $11.99, this one is BOLD. This is a good wine for the intermediate Red Wine drinker. There are a lot of dark fruit flavors in this wine. Such as blackberry, cassis and plum. It’s woody and has a definite spice. It’s a beautiful full-bodied wine with a rich dark color. The blend is of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Tempranillo and it’s wonderful. The Big Red Blend is the perfect cold weather wine and we’re going to do a couple of special recipes with it since we’re in the holiday spirit.

First is a whiskey sour. Yes, whiskey sour. Better than a New York Sour, we’re heading into Bourbon Renewal territory (a whiskey sour with Cassis) with our Big Red Blend reduction.

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The reduction is simple. Add 1 Cup of the Big Red Blend to a sauce pan and begin the reduction on medium low heat. You should have a very light simmer going to cook out the alcohol and reduce by half. You can use your nose for this process. Once the alcohol has evaporated, you’re left with the concentrated flavors of the wine. At this point, when you don’t smell anymore alcohol, you’ll want to add sugar. 3/4 to 1 Cup. Adjust to your likeness but keep in mind that we’re using this as a syrup. The whole process takes about 30 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when it coats the bottom of the pan, is syrupy and also leaves a light coat on a spoon.

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Big Red Whiskey Sour:

2oz. Rye (Or Bourbon)

1oz. Big Red Blend Reduction

1oz. Lemon Juice

1 Small Cinnamon Stick

*Add all ingredients to your shaker, breaking the cinnamon stick in half. Add ice and shake your life away. Double strain over fresh ice and garnish with a lemon wheel.

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Cheers!

Finally, we’re going to use the Big Red Blend reduction for dessert. You can get creative here. I’m doing my take on a cheese course. Roasted Figs, Marscapone ice cream and our wine reduction.

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The marscapone ice cream is extremely simple:

1 Package of Marscapone (room temp)

2 Cups Milk

1 Cup Sugar

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract (Vanilla Bean Paste if you have it)

Add all ingredients to a blender and mix. Adjust the sweetness to your liking and follow your ice cream freezer instructions. #SuperEasy

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You can add this reduction to any dessert or other recipe you see fit. Try adding some mulling spices to the reduction and drizzle over a cranberry tart, cheesecake or any seasonal fruit that pairs well with wine.

It’s time for some BUBBLY!

Tis’ the season for Champagne and Prosecco. It’s also time for you to stock up and get the home bar ready for your New Year’s Eve celebration. Start by ordering a case of 90+ Cellar Prosecco. The bubbles are perfectly intense in this Prosecco. Citrus, fresh stone fruit and a great balance of dry and sweet are what you get with this Prosecco. 90+ offers a Prosecco that is versatile enough for a pre and post dinner sipper as well as a cocktail ingredient.

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A nice seasonal cocktail is in order. A Cranberry Sparkler to be exact.

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Cranberry Sparkler:

3/4oz. Light Rum

3/4oz. Lime Juice

1oz. Cranberry Syrup

90+ Cellars Prosecco

Thyme or Rosemary Sprigs (Garnish)

*Add non-sparkling ingredients to a shaker and top with a few ice cubes. Shake and strain over ice in a nice cocktail glass. Top with 90+ Cellars Prosecco and garnish with a fresh, fragrant herb.

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Finally, we’re ending the show with Champagne.

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Le Cle de la Femme is a newely released Champagne (Nov.). Selected for Magic Door Vineyards, this Champagne is clean, crisp and refreshing. Bright and bubbly (obviously), de la Femme is from the Marne Valley and offers aromas of fresh apple and pear. It’s buttery like a Chardonnay and has some notes of cinnamon and anise. It’s incredibly easy to drink and perfect for The Champagne Cocktail.

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The Champagne Cocktail:

1 Sugar Cube (Demerara used here)

2-3 Dashes of your favorite Bitters (Peychaud’s used here)

Le Cle de la Femme Champagne

*Add a sugar cube to your Champagne flute or coupe glass and douse with bitters. Top with Le Cle de la Femme Champagne and serve.

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So, here’s to enjoying the best wines, champagne and prosecco that 90+ Cellars has to offer, the holidays, the new year and beyond. Cheers, friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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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How Well Do You Know Your Orange Liqueur?

Orange liqueur. We all know it well, But, how well do you know Mandarine Napoléon? Mandarine Napoléon is comprised of the finest mandarine oranges and 10 year old aged cognac. As you may be guessing, Mandarine Napoléon does refer to Napoléon Bonaparte. The orange liqueur was custom made for Napoléon by chemist Antoine-Francois de Fourcroy and not released to the public until after both of their deaths. This spirit is very unique. Not only because it’s the perfect blend of mandarines and cognac, but also because of it’s hue. Most distilled orange liqueurs are clear in color. Mandarine has an “aged” amber tone with hints of orange. Mandarine is distilled in Belgium where it was created in Arnold Holstein pot stills. Just a “stones throw away” from where Napoléon was defeated. Oh the irony! Enough about the history, how does it taste?

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As we’ve already noted, the color is an amber tone with hints of orange. Mandarine is surprisingly quiet on the nose but there are hints of fresh mandarine oranges. The aroma isn’t bright and crisp but rather suddle and smooth with hints of  spice. On the palate, Mandarine is smooth and sweet with a burst of orange up front followed by spice and even a tinge of licorice. At 76 proof, Mandarine is an easy sipper over ice.

For the first cocktail, I wanted to play on the spice notes found in Mandarine Napoléon. Mixing spiced rum and scotch we have the Emporer cocktail.

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1oz. Spiced Rum

1oz. Scotch

3/4oz. Mandarine Napoléon Orange Liqueur

1 Dash Angostura Bitters

*Add all ingredients to mixing glass and stir until chilled. Strain into coupe glass and garnish with an orange twist.

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Aged Margarita:

2 1/2oz. Anejo Tequila

1 1/2oz. Mandarine Napoléon Orange Liqueur

1oz. Fresh Lime Juice

1/4oz. Agave Syrup

*Add all ingredients to shaker and fill with ice. Shake until chilled and strain into double rocks glass over fresh ice.

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The Perfect Sidecar:

2oz. Cognac

1oz. Mandarine Napoléon Orange Liqueur

1oz. Lemon Juice

*Add all contents to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake until chilled and double strain into coupe glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

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Cheers!

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Not In Love With Fernet-Branca Yet? 2 Fernet Cocktails You Should Be Drinking This Spring

Fernet-Branca. I know you’ve heard of it before. But, have you tried it? These days in the cocktail world, this bittersweet Italian digestivo has a cult like following. Fernet-Branca liqueur is comprised of an aromatic blend of more than 40 herbs and spices that is rested in Slovanian oak barrels. The primary flavors are attributed to myrrh, pepermint oil, chamomile, cardamom and saffron. Fernet-Branca definitely has it’s own unique and distinctive taste. The ingredients for Fernet-Branca are soaked in alcohol and then centrifuged. My fellow scientist, you know what’s up. The mix is then aged for 12 months and in the final steps, sugar is added.

Fernet-Branca falls into the Amaro category. “Amaro” is Italian for “bitter”. An Amaro is an Italian herbal liqueur that is traditionally served post-prandial to aid in digestion. There are a number of digestives on the market currently but, Amaro refers specifically to the Italian variety. The Fernet style of Amari has more of an acute bitterness than the other styles. Other styles of Amari that you may be familiar with include China (Cinchona bark) and Vermouths.

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At 40% ABV (80 proof), Fernet-Branca’s flavor is powerful. The nose is full of licorice, mint and anise. On the palate you get strong notes of citrus peel, orange, licorice, menthol and some sweetness on the end.

With all of the complex flavors in Fernet-Branca, the spirit is very versitile. So, here we’re doing a Fernet and Ginger Beer pairing. Let’s get into some cocktails!

Fernet-Branca Smash:

1 1/2oz. Bourbon Whiskey

3/4oz. Fernet-Branca

3/4oz. Lemon Juice

3 Kumquats [split] (Or 1 Orange segment with peel)

3 Mint Leaves

Ginger Beer

Peychaud’s Bitters [optional]

*This is a built cocktail. Start by cutting the kumquats (lengthwise). Add them to a highball glass with mint and Fernet-Branca. Lightly muddle then add remaining ingredients. Fill glass with crushed ice and top with Ginger Beer. Garnish with a small bouquet of mint and peychaud’s or angostura bitters.

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And, for the hottest of days to come this spring and summer, a Fernet Float.

Fernet-Branca Float:

1oz. Fernet-Branca

3/4oz. Black Strap Rum

1 Scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream [Or Coffee Ice Cream]

Ginger Beer

*Start by adding the spirits to a rocks glass. Add your ice cream and top [slowly] with ginger beer. Enjoy on a warm day. Cheers!

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Cocktails With Element [Shrub]

What is a shrub? Maybe you’ve heard of them before but have been hesitatnt to try the drinking vinegar. Shrubs are typically a fruit based, sweetened vinegar that in modern times are added to cocktails. They date back to the colonial era ( probably older than that, I’m no shrub historian). The process of making a shrub can take a little time. Chopping, peeling and/or juicing fruit, letting said fruit sit with sugar then mixing with vinegar. We’re all about homemade goods here at FoodieTails. But, sometimes it’s so good to have a quality made product so that we can skip all the fuss. And, Element Shub[s] are quality, handmade products. The four flavors are Honeydew-Jalapeno,  Lemon-Mint, Blueberry-Rosemary and Chai-Pear.

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As the story goes, Charlie created these wonderful, flavorful shrubs for his pregnant wife. Obviously, she couldn’t drink alcohol at the time. How many great mocktails have you had? Me? I can’t think of any. So, to help “accomidate” his wife’s craving for a great mocktail came the concept for Element [Shrub]. A concept that I really love. Having studied the sciences in college, I spent plenty of time (too much time) with the periodic table. I could have used some of these shrubs! The good thing about Element is that all you need to add is club soda, your spirit of choice and you’ve got cocktails made easy!!

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Made with locally sourced products, the Blueberry-Rosemary and Chai-Pear are my two favorites. The BR is a great sipper for this upcoming Spring season. But, while we’re still clinging to Winter, snow and all, the Chai-Pear shrub is what we should all be drinking. right now. Amazing spiced flavors. It truly tastes like christmas in a bottle. All of the shrubs pack a real punch in flavor. They are full bodied with a smooth mouth feel. You won’t be disappointed.

Berry Fizz:

2oz. Blueberry-Rosemary Shrub

2oz. Blackberry-Rosemary Infused Vodka

1/4oz. Lemon Juice

1 Egg White

Club Soda

*Add all ingrendients to shaker minus club soda. Dry shake (without ice) until frothy. Add ice and shake vigirously. Double strain into fizz or highball glass. Add club soda from a high pour to creat a nice foamy head on the cocktail. Cheers!

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Winter Pear:

1 1/2oz. Chai Pear Shrub

2oz. Irish Whiskey

2-3 Pieces Diced Pear

2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

*Muddle diced pear in shaker, add remaining ingredients and shake with ice until chilled. Double strain into coupe glass. This shrub works just as well in a highball with bourbon, club soda and ginger ale.

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Honeydew-Jalapeno Mojito

2oz. Honeydew-Jalapeno Shrub

2oz. Light Rum [Cruzan Used Here]

Basil, Mint, Lime

Club Soda

*When you first open the jalapeno shrub, the aroma will be strong. Almost as if the jalapenos have been pickled. Don’t let this put you off. The spice is amazing!

*Muddle a few basil and mint leaves lightly in a highball glass. Add squeeze of lime juice (from about 1 wedge). Add remaining ingredients and stir. Garnish with mint and basil sprig.

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Lemon-Mint Refresher:

2oz. Lemon-Mint Shrub

2oz. Gin

2 Cucumber Wheels

Club Soda

*A no-brainer here. Muddle 2 cucumber wheels in a rocks glass or shaker. Fill glass with remaining ingredients and stir. I prefer to shake and strain. Top with club soda and garnish with lemon wheel and/or mint sprig. Cheers!

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Mezcal Mai Tai

My girl Dani (HomeBarGirl) and I want to take Tiki to new places. She featured a whole month of tiki over on her site. I bounced this idea off of her about a Tequila Mai Tai which then developed into the Mezcal Mai Tai. I was thinking smoke. The smokey notes would compliment the tropical, fruity flavors of a Mai Tai amazingly, I thought. I was correct. All of the elements of the traditional Mai Tai are here. The only thing is, I only have blue curacao. So, I had to use another orange liqueur (not the first time). Other than that, there’s Orgeat. Lime and a float of Myers Dark Rum. It’s probably time that I invest in a good quality Orange Curacao. As of late, I’ve been going through a little tiki obsession, particularly with Rum and Orgeat. Though I haven’t featured any real tiki drinks here on the blog, my little black [cocktail] book is full of tiki creations. I’m even thinking about investing in some mugs. Who knew they were so cheap?!

I’m anticipating having a summer full of tiki (don’t hold me to that). First, we must to our research. Other than the millions of ingredients that can go into one drink (ie. The Zombie Cocktail and so many others), what do we know about tiki? What should I blend? What should I shake? A stirred tiki cocktail? These questions must be answered before we embark on our tiki journey and attempt to take it to new heights. I feel some clarifications coming on…

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Mezcal Mai Tai:

2oz. Mezcal

1/2oz. Orgeat

1/2oz. Orange Curacao

1oz. Lime Juice

~1 1/2oz. Myers Dark Rum

*Add all ingredients to shaker minus Dark Rum and fill with ice. Shake until chilled and strain into rocks glass over fresh ice. Float about 1 1/2oz. of Myers (or other) dark rum. Garnish with pineapple or lime wheel.

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Spirit Review: Banks 7 Golden Age Rum

When you first open a bottle of Banks 7 Golden Age Rum, you’re in for a pleasant experience. Sweet spice aromas of blended rums fill your nose. Those distinct aromas from Jamaican and Barbados style rums are what greet you first. You can gather the complexities of this rum even before tasting. Banks 7 is a blen of 23 different rums from 8 distilleries from 7 different orinigs. A truly unique and one of a kind rum. The 7 origins are listed on the beautiful, sophisticated bottle. Trinidad, Jamaica, Guyana, Barbados, Guatemala, Panama and Java.

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From Trinidad, there are hints of blackstrap molasses. This gives the rum so much character. After all, most rums are made from molasses.

From Jamaica comes pot-stilled rums. Jamaican rums are famous for their distinct aromatic flavor. They brought those aromatics to Banks 7. The pot-stilled rum brings a “bite” to Banks 7.

From Guyana comes the earthy and tropical notes which you get on the forefront of your palate. We may not all be familiar with Guyana style rums, but it brings some depth to Banks 7.

From Barbados comes the zest of Barbados style rums. Adding to the brightness of Banks 7.

From Guatemala comes the sugar cane. The sugar cane yields a toasted nut flavor to the rum. The toasted nut characteristics pair well with the aged flavors.

From Panama comes the dry notes you get from aged rums. It blends well with the woodsy notes in the rum.

From Java comes Batavia Arrack which lends spice. Arrack is a distilled spirit made from the fermented sap of coconut flowers, sugar cane, grain (red rice) or fruit depending on it’s country of origin. The spirit is sometimes blended and then aged and filtered.

DSC_4665On the palate, you do get some sweet fruit and molasses notes followed by spice and a punch from the Jamaican and Barbados Rums. This medium-bodied rum is definitely a smooth, but light and easy sipper. Try it in your next Old Fashioned.

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The bottle is “sophisticated” and sleek with all of the 7 origins stenciled on the lower half and a beautiful purple label covering the upper half.

As far as cocktails go, this rum lends it’s self to the possibilities of many. Classic or original. The first one is an original. Mixing some banana infused rum and apricot brandy, I wanted to play on the tropical notes in Banks 7.

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The “7 Origins” Cocktail:

1 1/2oz. Banks 7 Golden Age Rum

3/4oz. Apricot Liqueur

3/4oz. Lime Juice

1/2oz. Banana Infused Rum

1/2oz. Simple Syrup [Or Demerara Syrup]

2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

*Add all ingredients to shaker and fill with ice. Shake until chilled and strain into chilled coupe or over fresh ice.

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The “Airmail” Cocktail:

1 1/2oz. Banks 7 Rum

3/4oz. Honey Syrup [1 Part Honey : 1 Part Water]

3/4oz. Lime Juice

2 Fresh Pineapple Chunks

1 Dash Angostura Bitters

Sparkling Wine

*Start by muddling 2 small chunks of pineapple in your shaker to release juice. Add remaining ingredients minus sparkling wine. Fill shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Double strain into champagne flute or fizz glass. Top with sparkling lime and garnish with lime twist.

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Cheers from Banks Rum!