GSN Alert: February 22nd – National Margarita Day

69d0d254b7bc1eb5dc9af1b0782ea373The middle of February is a perfect time to be drinking Margaritas.  Why?  Because the flavor instantly conjures up the feeling of warmth, sunshine, and good times.  So, why not make some tacos, burritos or enchiladas and a mess of Margaritas this Sunday for dinner?

The Margarita has been around for about 85 years and although there are several legends as to its creation, I’m of the opinion that it is what was previously known as a Tequila Daisy.  The word “daisy” translates into “Margarita” in Spanish.  Why a daisy?  It was yet another of those old-school terms for cocktails along the lines of fizzes, eye-openers, flips, crustas, etc…

Anyway, the great folks at Casa Noble Tequila asked me to come up with an original take on the venerable Margarita using their Crystal Tequila.  So, in keeping with the summer weather theme, I decided to break out the grill and see what I could come up with.  This recipe makes enough for a party, so make sure to invite over some friends when putting this together.

Pina Margarita (makes six cocktails)
Ingredients
1 medium pineapple (about 3 pounds)
6 oz Crystal Casa Noble
3 oz Cointreau
3 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
House-made saline solution*

First, peel the pineapple and cut it in half lengthwise.  Then cut the halves into 1/2 inch thick pieces.  Put them on a grill that’s been heated to about 400°F.  Grill uncovered about four minutes per side.  Then remove and let cool for 15 minutes.

Take three pieces of pineapple and muddle in a mixing tin.  Add 1 ounce of tequila, 1/2 ounce Cointreau and 1/2 ounce lime juice.  Fill with ice and shake until well chilled.  Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Add a dash (3-4 drops) of saline solution.  Garnish with a chunk of grilled pineapple and a lime wheel and serve.

Saline solution
Mix 1 tsp kosher salt and 1 tbl mineral water until dissolved.  Either use an eye-dropper to dispense or store in an empty bitters bottle.

GSN Alert: Equiano Rum Celebrates Tom Bullock

Olaudah Equiano was an 18th century freedom-fighter, abolitionist, and author whose autobiography shaped history and whose spirit is honored with every bottle made of Equiano Rum. To celebrate Black history, Ian Burrell, the Global Rum Ambassador and Co-Founder of Equiano Rum is partnering with four Black bartenders to showcase cocktails using Equiano Rum, Tom Bullock’s “The Ideal Bartender” book and Olaudah Equiano’s autobiography. The bartenders were invited to attend a virtual masterclass with Ian to learn about the spirit, how to use it and why it’s unique.

Equiano then challenged each bartender to select a recipe from The Ideal Bartender, pick an inspirational figure in black history and create an Equiano version of their Tom Bullock cocktail, telling the story of why they picked that person. The cocktail needed to be mindful of Equiano and its tasting notes, the significance of Tom Bullock as well as the inspirational figure they’re spotlighting.

In 1917, Tom Bullock was the first African American bartender to write and publish a cocktail book which has since been republished in an exact copy of its original form, showcasing favorite pre-Prohibition cocktails with an introduction penned by Ian Burrell. The original foreword of The Ideal Bartender was written by George Herbert Walker, George W Bush’s great grandfather – in those days, a white man was needed to endorse a black writer. Equiano will continue highlighting people like Olaudah who challenged the narrative and the brand is committed to bettering the bartending industry of tomorrow and the black bartenders who help craft it.

Additionally, Equiano Rum started the Equiano Rum. Co Foundation to help, aid, share, and create awareness of various injustices around the world that Equiano, as a brand, can shed light on. During Equiano Rum’s inception in 2018, Co-Founders Oli Bartlam, Aaisha Dadral, Ian Burrell, and Amanda Kakembo pledged to donate five percent of global company profits to ground level freedom and equality projects, annually. In addition, two dollars from each bottle sold directly through the website are automatically added to the grant-giving fund. Equiano Rum Co. Foundation’s first ever 2021 grant recipient is Anti-Slavery International, an organization that works to eliminate all forms of modern slavery throughout the world.

Bartender: Sargent Black, Washington DC
Cocktail Name: ‘What’s The Deal?’
Inspired by: Louis Deal
Recipe: 2 Drops of Fire Water
Bar Spoon of Sfumato Amaro
.25oz Lemon Juice
.75oz Hibiscus Syrup
2oz Equiano Rum

Build in Highball glass over pebbled ice. Top with Soda.

Garnish with Fruits & smoked cinnamon

Here’s why: “Fashioned after the ‘Bliz’s Royal Rickey,’ created by the first published black bartender, Tom Bullock. This cocktail was inspired by the experience of 1890s black bartender, Louis Deal. Living in a “separate, but equal,” Cincinnati, Deal was praised for his work ethic and hospitality, yet faced a segregated bar community with patrons threatening to boycott daily until he was removed from the bar. Through the fire and the smoke, diversity and inclusion can only take place when we know what the “Deal” is.”

Bartender: Thandi Walton, Atlanta
Cocktail Name: ‘Soweto Blues’
Inspired by: Zenzile Miriam Makeba AKA Mama Africa
Recipe: 1 1/2 oz Equiano Rum
3/4 oz Aperol
1 oz Mandarin orange juice (fresh)
1 oz Grapefruit Juice (fresh)
1/2 oz Champagne syrup
1 oz soda/sparkling water
10 dashes of Angostura Atop

Shake all ingredients except for soda water and Angostura bitters.
Strain into an iced white wine glass add soda/sparkling water stir/
swivel with bar spoon. Add dashes of Angostura atop

Garnish with dehydrated blood orange slice and edible flower.

Here’s why: “Miriam Makeba is my inspiration because while she was exiled from South Africa in the late 50s, she continued to evolve and never forgot her roots. She will always be an image of strength, beauty and courage to me.”

Bartender: Kim Hunter, Texas
Cocktail Name: ‘Miss Kitt’
Inspired by: Eartha Kitt
Recipe: 1.75 oz Equiano Rum
1 oz Yellow Chartreuse
.25 oz Agave Syrup
.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
6 Raspberries

In a shaker, muddle 4 of the raspberries with the lemon juice. Add in
the agave syrup, yellow chartreuse & Equiano rum. Add ice and
shake vigorously for about 10 seconds, or until the shaker is very
cold. Double strain the cocktail into a coupe glass. Garnish with the
remaining raspberries & edible rose petals on a garnish stick. Cheers!

Here’s why: “This cocktail was inspired by the talented Eartha Kitt because she was much more than what we saw on the surface. Much like Eartha, my cocktail has layers that are unique, and it just works! Eartha showed us how delicate she could be while serenading the world with “Santa Baby”, just like the sweet and delicate raspberry. On the flip side, Ms. Kitt was fierce, strong, and quick to speak her mind on social and racial issues. She was not to be played with! Similarly, to Equiano rum and the spiced herbaceousness that yellow chartreuse lends. Just like Eartha, this cocktail will take your taste buds on a journey around the world!”

Bartender: J’Nai Angelle Williams, New Orleans
Cocktail Name: ‘Carlotta Highball’
Inspired by: La Negra Carlota
Recipe: 1.5 oz. Equiano rum
1 oz. muscat wine
3/4 oz. pear juice
1/2 oz. orange juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
3 dash rhubarb bitters
grapefruit soda
Sage

Add all ingredients except soda to a highball glass. Add ice and stir to mix.

Top with grapefruit soda. Garnish with sage.

Here’s why: “La Negra Carlota was an enslaved Yoruba woman in Cuba. She led a slave rebellion at the Triunvirato plantation, where she burned down the slave master’s plantation and sugar mill. She helped spread the rebellion to other
nearby plantations, which amounted to a total of 5 by the end of the revolt. The planning and execution of slave revolts was seen as highly masculine and too violent for a woman to plan, making her an anomaly.”

“This cocktail is based after the Admiral Schley Highball, which has a whiskey base. I chose Carlota for this cocktail to challenge the masculine nature of the original cocktail name, asserting that gender plays no role in battle planning abilities, similar to how flavors are not limited to any cocktail style.”  

“I took this whiskey highball and made it lighter and more aromatic by adding rum, muscat wine, and bright fruit notes.”

“Admiral Schley was an admiral in the US Navy and the hero of the Battle of Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish American War. I thought it apt that Admiral Schley’s life is so heavily documented – and the recount of his historic battle is incredibly detailed – while little is known about the details of Carlota’s life, and the description of the slave rebellion she spearheaded is full of most generalizations. This goes to show that history is written by the victors and people of power.”

GSN Alert: February 19th – National Chocolate Mint Day

IMG_7831-800One of the things I miss about traveling these days, are the chocolate mints that I would find on my hotel room pillow at the end of the day.  So, when I was challenged by Fratelli Branca to create a drink for National Chocolate Mint Day using Brancamenta, I jumped at the chance.
Brancamenta is the lesser known cousin to Fernet Branca.  Branca is heavily herbal, intense and is an acquired taste for most.  Menta on the other hand is nearer to creme de menthe, except that it is dark brown in color as opposed to green or clear.
In trying to recreate the flavor profile of milk chocolate and mint, I chose dark creme de cacao, heavy cream and Brancamenta for the recipe.  And as with the tiny treat of a small candy, I decided to make a shooter instead of a cocktail.  I think it’s a winner.

Cioccolato alla Menta Shooter
0.5 oz Dark creme de cacao
0.5 oz Brancamenta
0.25 oz heavy cream

Instructions: Carefully layer each ingredient in order over the back of a bar spoon into a shot glass.  When done properly, it should look like a miniature glass of Guinness stout.

GSN Alert: January 17th – National Bootlegger’s Day

41cf7728141719b1ff5ab0cf6d1ce999When Prohibition outlawed the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages on January 17, 1920, many enterprising residents of a small town in Iowa chose to become outlaws – producing a high-caliber and much sought-after whiskey known as Templeton Rye, or “the good stuff” to those in the know. Alphonse Kerkhoff (seen at left) was one of those Templeton outlaws. Over the course of its storied history, Templeton Rye became Al Capone’s whiskey of choice, quickly finding its way to the center of his bootlegging empire. Templeton Rye is based on the original Prohibition era Kerkhoff recipe. January 17 is not only the birthday of Templeton Rye, but it’s also the birthday of Al Capone as well as the original Bootlegger’s son Meryl Kerkhoff.  Please join our community of enthusiasts at the Bootlegger’s Society: www.bootleggerssociety.com

Here’s an original cocktail created by Blair Frodelius of Good Spirits News to celebrate National Bootlegger’s Day.

Kerkhoff’s Payoff 

1.5 oz Templeton rye
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
1 tsp green Chartreuse
1 small egg white

Shake vigorously with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into ice-filled Collins glass and top with soda water. Add lemon wheel garnish and a straw.

#TempletonRye #BootleggersDay #TheGoodStuff

GSN Original Cocktail: Ciderpress Punch

Photo by Courtney Rae Kasper

Now that autumn is just around the corner, time to start thinking about fall cocktails. We’d like to share an original cocktail with you to kick things off right.  Enjoy some spiced apple cider punch!

Ciderpress Punch
4 1/2 cups fresh apple cider
6oz Cointreau
4 bags organic earl grey tea
750ml Captain Morgan spiced rum
Garnish: orange wheels
Optional garnish for punch cup: orange twist with a clove in the end

Directions: Heat cider in pan to boiling, take off heat and add teabags for four minutes.  Remove teabags, then add liqueur and rum and stir.  Add orange wheels, and then either reheat or chill and serve cold.

Cocktail created by Blair Frodelius

GSN Suggests: Cinco de Mayo Cocktails

cinco-de-mayo-cocktailsWe were blown away this year with cocktail suggestions sent to us by brand representatives, bartenders and mixologists.  Here are just a few that caught our eye at the GSN offices.  Salud!

Amante Picante Margarita
By LA’s Juan Martinez (Toca Madera)
2 oz. DeLeón Platinum Tequila
.75 oz. agave
1 oz. lime juice
Serrano pepper
Cilantro
Muddle two pieces of Serrano pepper and clap 5 pieces of cilantro in a tin. Rim a highball with Tajin/Ghost pepper salt, shake all ingredients together and strain into a the highball glass. Garnish with a Serrano pepper and sprig of cilantro.

Bandera de Puebla
Created by Rob Krueger, Extra Fancy, Brooklyn
1 oz. Patron Reposado
1 oz. Patron Citronge Lime
.5 oz. Coconut Cream
.75 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
.75 oz. Pomegranate Juice
Mint Sprig for Garnish
Combine the Patron Reposado, Citronge Lime, Coconut & Lime Juice in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Gently pour the Pomegranate Juice so it settles to the bottom half of the drink creating two equal layers of white and red. Garnish with a sprig of mint to represent the three colors of the Mexican flag.

Cactus Bite
1 part DRAMBUIE®
2 parts Milagro Reposado Tequila
Juice of ½ Lemon
½ tsp. Sugar
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Add all to a mixing tin half-filled with ice. Shake until tin is frosted, strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice; Garnish with a Lemon or Lime Wedges, serve with a straw.

DaHouse Margarita
By Miami’s Eddie Fuentes (27 Restaurant & Bar, Broken Shaker)
2 oz. DeLeón Platinum Tequila
.75 oz. Homestead lime
.75 oz. pineapple sage infused agave syrup
Shake and serve over ice. Garnish with Half Moon Spicy salt rim, a spray of Mezcal, fresh pineapple, sage and a lime wheel.

Drambuie® Margarita
1 part DRAMBUIE®
1 scoop of cubed ice
1 part lime juice
1 lime wedge
1 orange twist
2 parts Reposado Tequila (we recommend Milagro)
Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into a chilled salt and black pepper-rimmed coupette. Garnish with a lime wedge and a twist of orange.

Herradura Vesuvio
2oz Herradura Silver
¾oz Red pepper juice
½oz Lime Juice
¼ oz Cholula hot sauce
¼ oz Agave nectar
Rim a coupe glass with cayenne pepper and salt mix Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake hard and pour into the chilled coupe glass.

The Highland Margarita
½ part Drambuie
2 parts Milagro
½ part triple sec
Juice of 1 Lime
Add all to a mixing tin half-filled with ice. Shake until tin is frosted, strain into a margarita glass over fresh ice; Garnish with a fresh Lime wedge, serve with a cocktail stirrer.

The Horseshoe Margarita
2 parts Tequila Herradura Silver
1 parts Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/2-3/4 part Agave Nectar (to taste)
Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake hard so that some of the ice melts, then strain over fresh ice.  Garnish with a lime wedge.

 Jimi Punch
(20 servings)
1 Bottle el Jimador Silver
1 bottle Korbel Champagne
6 oz Campari
6 oz Agave Syrup
1 liter Orange juice
¼ liter lemon juice
1 orange cut into slices
1 tray of Raspberries
Add all ingredient to a large punch bowl, add lots of ice stir, cover and leave to sit 20 mins before serving. Stir occasionally during service.

La Perla
1 ½ oz Partida Reposado Tequila
1 ½ oz Domecq Manzanilla Sherry
¾ oz Mathilde Pear Liqueur
Lemon twist
Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

Las Flores de Mayo
By New  York City’s Brian Matthys (The Gander, Corkbuzz)
2 oz. DeLeón Platinum Tequila
1 oz. Verjus
¼ oz. Velvet Falernum
2 dashes cacao bitters
Add all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir well over ice. Strain into a chilled couple and garnish with a thin lime wheel.

Partida Breakfast Margarita
Created by Jacques Bezuidenhout
1 3/4 oz Partida Blanco Tequila
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz Cointreau
2 tsp. orange marmalade
1/2 oz agave syrup (1 part Partida Agave Nectar, 1 part water)
Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange slice.

Partida Paloma
2 oz Partida Blanco Tequila
1 Pinch Salt
Half a Lime
Grapefruit Soda (such as Jarritos or Squirt)
Fill a highball glass with ice and add the tequila and salt. Squeeze the lime half into the glass and drop into the drink and top with grapefruit soda.

Spice of Life
Created by Damian Windsor, DC Berridge LLC group (Warwick, Firefly, Tiki No, Power House, Dark Room), LA
1 oz. Roca Patron Silver
1 oz. Patron Citronge Lime
1 oz. Frangelico
2 Strawberries
.5 oz. lime juice
2 Slices of jalapeno
Muddle strawberries to a paste, add liquid ingredients and cubed ice, shake and strain onto fresh ice in a double old-fashioned glass and garnish with a half strawberry and jalapeno slices.

Spicy Raspberry Margarita
1 ½ oz. el Jimador Reposado
½ oz. Chambord
1 oz. Sprite
2 oz. Sour mix
3 dashes of Tabasco
In a shaker filled with ice, add ingredients and shake to mix. Pour into margarita glass rimmed with spicy salt. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Tamarind Paloma
5 oz of el Jimador blanco
5 oz Bohemia
5 oz of fresh lemon juice
5 oz of tamarind syrup
2 Dashes of orange bitters.
Shake all ingredients except the Bohemia beer with ice and pour over ice.  Fill rest of glass with Bohemia beer.  Served in a Collins glass.

Tomar Bueno
Created by Damian Windsor, DC Berridge LLC group (Warwick, Firefly, Tiki No, Power House, Dark Room), LA
1 oz. Patron Roca Silver
.75 oz. Patron Citronge Lime
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. grapefruit juice
Top with Squirt
Add ice and liquid ingredients to a highball glass, garnish with a grapefruit peel twist, alternately take a big sip out of a can of Squirt soda and add the liquid ingredients directly to it.

The Yuzu and Thai Chili Margarita
Created by Annelise McAuliffe, PAIR Magazine
1 ½ oz ounces Yuzu Juice
1 ½ oz Partida Reposado Tequila
½  Triple Sec or Cointreau
½ – 1 oz honey (adjust to your preference of sweet)
Garnish:
Thai chili pepper
*Thai chili salt
Fresh Thai basil
Rim the glass with yuzu juice and the chili salt. Shake all the ingredients, except fresh Thai basil, Thai pepper and the salt with ice in a cocktail shaker until the outside of the shaker is cold. Strain into a glass over rocks, or “up”.  Garnish with a Thai chili and fresh Thai basil if desired. Enjoy with the pepper in the drink for great spicy flavor. *Thai chili salt – this spicy salt is super easy to create at home, crush dried pepper and mix with salt!

GSN Review: Shaker & Spoon Cocktail Club Subscription Boxes

Shaker & Spoon was founded in October 2015 in Brooklyn, NY. Unlike other cocktail subscription boxes, Shaker & Spoon sends its original recipes and cocktail ingredients while allowing subscribers to buy the liquor themselves, according to their budget and preferred brands. Shaker & Spoon currently produces house-made specialty syrups—and will soon be expanding into other branded lines of ingredients—while aiming to source the best of everything else. Each month, subscribers receive a box with three new, unique recipes developed by various bartenders along with everything they need to make a total of twelve drinks, besides the alcohol. Shaker & Spoon also provides supplemental content on its website for those who want a deeper dive, including how-to videos, a glossary of bar terms, and a blog featuring tips and tricks, food pairings, bartender interviews, and more.

GSN received the Austin Without Limits Box. Here’s what the company has to say about this kit.

“The public television music program Austin City Limits (the only TV show to ever be awarded the National Medal of Arts) helped the city of Austin earn the title of “Live Music Capital of the World” and then spawned an annual festival that happens each October—a very busy time for Austin and its bartenders. We hope that this month’s box will give you a taste of Austin’s drinking culture and make you feel like part of the action. All three of this month’s bartenders work and play in Austin and have infused these drinks with their love for their town and everything that makes it unique. We’re inviting you to choose between two spirits for this box: bourbon or aged tequila, both popular in Texas. While these two are often placed in very different spirit categories, they carry a similar oaky sweetness that makes it possible to swap them in (properly formulated) recipes. So pick your poison and have at it (or try both!) with the Austin Without Limits Box.”

GSN’s thoughts: We really liked the idea of trying regional cocktails, especially ones that feature the most popular spirits from the area,  Even though bourbon and aged tequila seem to be entirely different animals, they are similar in that they both have a sweet oakiness in their character.

The three cocktails featured in this box (Huarache Nights by Chris Bostick/The Beat Goes On by Jessica Sanders/Ma Sour by Caer Ferguson) vary in style, complexity and difficulty. You’ll be making collins, highball and a coupe drinks, so make sure you have the proper glassware.  I especially liked the inclusion of bespoke syrups, which saves a whole lot of time at home. Bitters and garnishes are also included in small portions if you don’t happen to have the proper ones on hand. All of the ingredients are tied together with recipe cards that give clear instructions, even for the drink calling for a fat-washed spirit (it’s easier and tastier than it sounds).

Overall, if you are a fan of 21st century cocktails, “of-the-month” clubs, or even travel, then you will be pleased by the Shaker & Spoon cocktail subscription boxes.

GSN Rating: A

GSN Alert: Bols’ “Red Light Negroni” Debuts During Negroni Week: June 4-10, 2018

Lucas Bols USA announces that it will be a supporting sponsor of Imbibe Magazine’s Negroni Week 2018 through its Bols Genever brand, featuring the Red Light Negroni. The sixth-annual event will be held June 4-10 and raises funds for charitable causes around the world.

Over the course of Negroni Week, bars nationwide will serve the Red Light Negroni – Bols Genever, Campari, and sweet vermouth presented in a custom light bulb decanter. The drink is a cheeky homage to the Red-light District in Amsterdam, the birthplace over 350 years ago, of Bols Genever.

“A Drink for Your Cause”

Bols Genever has also created “A Drink for Your Cause,” a charitable fund of up to $15,000 that will benefit the charities chosen by participating bars across the country. Here’s how it works:

  • Bars register at www.NegroniWeek.com and select an official Negroni Week charity.
  • During Negroni Week, every time a guest posts a photo to Instagram of their Red Light Negroni with the hashtag #RedLightNegroni and the account’s handle, Bols Genever will donate $1 to the account’s chosen charity.

“Watching the classic Negroni grow in popularity over the last handful of years has been an absolute revelation,” said Gilles Bensabeur, Bols Genever USA Brand Manager. Imbibe has obviously been instrumental in that growth and we’re extremely proud to sponsor Negroni Week and, hopefully, introduce Bols Genever, the original spirit of Amsterdam, to an even broader audience. That we get to do so to the benefit of such worthy charitable organizations makes it all the more worthwhile.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Bols Genever on Negroni Week 2018 and are grateful for their commitment to donate up to $15,000 in support of Negroni Week’s mission to raise money for charitable causes,” says Karen Foley, publisher of Imbibe Magazine. “Their support is yet another testament to the generosity of the hospitality world.

RED LIGHT NEGRONI Recipe

  • 1 oz Bols Genever
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice and stir well. Strain into the lightbulb decanter, serve it next to a rocks glass filled with ice and garnished with an orange twist.

About Bols Genever

Bols Genever, the original spirit of Amsterdam, is made with the knowledge and craftsmanship of over four centuries of distilling by Lucas Bols, the world’s oldest distilled spirits brand from Amsterdam since 1575. Bols Genever is made according to the authentic 1820 recipe that is on display at the House of Bols in Amsterdam.

About Negroni Week

Negroni Week launched in 2013 as a celebration of one of the world’s great cocktails and an effort to raise money for charities around the world. From 2013 to 2017, Negroni Week grew from about 100 participating venues to over 7,700 venues around the world, and to date, they have collectively raised nearly $1.5 million for charitable causes.

For one week every June, bar and restaurants mix classic Negronis and Negroni variations for a great cause. To participate, each venue signs up at negroniweek.com, chooses from our list of official charity partners, and makes an immediate donation to that charity. Then they can return during and after Negroni Week to make additional donations to their chosen charity. After Negroni Week is complete, we tally up how much was raised collectively by all of our participating bars, restaurants and partners.

GSN Presents: Kentucky Derby Drinks by Mark Addison

Tradition goes a long way in the South and recipes are no laughing matter. Passed down from generation to generation, the sanctity of some recipes is often more carefully maintained than antebellum architecture and more heavily guarded than Fort Knox. So, you might think no recipe would be more revered and remain more rigidly unchanged than the official drink of the Kentucky Derby: The Mint Julep. But hold on to your fascinators! The bourbon-based iconic cocktail of “the most famous two minutes in sports” isn’t as sacred as you might think. As a matter of fact, from 2006 through 2015 the Mint Julep served at Louisville’s majestic Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May wasn’t even made with bourbon: it was made with Early Times Kentucky whiskey. Oh, the scandal!

As a horse-owner and lover, the Derby is especially thrilling for me. Each year I look forward to the race and have friends and family over for a proper viewing-party. I love a traditional Mint Julep but this year I’m serving my own frosted interpretation of the classic and surprising my guests with two new Julep-inspired drinks to keep them happy and hydrated as we kick-off the summer season in style. While my friends have to wait until Saturday, I’m giving you a head start — recipes included — so you can plan a Derby party of your own that is guaranteed to land you in the winner’s circle!

Frosted Julep­

Mint Juleps at the Derby are enjoyed over crushed ice, which is not easy to come by. This recipe creates a similar icy consistence without the hassle.  The mint syrup imparts a strong mint flavor the classic can sometimes lack.  The addition of brandy is a nod to President Teddy Roosevelt, who enjoyed Mint Juleps on the White House lawn served in these distinctive glass cups that resemble the pewter mugs of Churchill Downs tradition. 

Mark Addison Frosted Julep recipe

Louisville

Barrel-aged bourbon is the pride of Kentucky, the residents of which often claim its invention. This riff on the Manhattan uses a semi-dry white vermouth, a slightly sweet herbal liqueur, in place of the traditional red vermouth and the dashes of mint bitters are a hat tip to the classic julep.  If the Mint Julep and the Manhattan had a lovechild, it would be the Louisville…

Mark Addison Louisville recipe

Southern Sangria

To some Southerners, the julep is sacred as is, but in this recipe, I’ve switched it up and infused it with another point of Southern pride: peaches. Topped-off with Champagne, the delicious result is a sparkling cocktail that transcends its inspiration and is sure to become a new classic in the years to come.

About Mark Addison

Mark Addison’s entertaining expertise, along with his dynamic personal style, has made him a sought-after authority on cocktails and cutting-edge entertaining. His book, Cocktail Chameleon, features 144 signature re-interpretations of classic cocktails and was recently named “Best in the U.S.A. – Cocktail Book” by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. He has shared his ideas on, mixing signature cocktails and cooking for guests in more than 100 television appearances on national and regional TV shows as well as a being a regular contributor to print and on-line publications.

For the next three months we will be sharing recipes and ideas from Mr. Addison and we will be giving away a copy of his book (a $50 value) at the end of it.

To enter send an email to: goodspirits@frodelius.com with your contact information.

GSN Original Cocktail: Captain Grey

Now that the temperatures are dropping here in Central New York, it’s time to start thinking about warming drinks. Taking inspiration from the classic whiskey-based Hot Toddy, the Captain Grey uses spiced rum to add sweetness and complexity. This is the perfect after dinner drink to enjoy in front of a fireplace.

Captain Grey
4 oz piping hot organic Earl Grey tea
1.5 oz Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
0.25 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp organic honey

Pre-warm a cognac glass with warm to hot water. Steep Earl Grey tea for 3-5 minutes in a mug with water just off the boil. Empty cognac glass, then add tea, rum, lemon juice and honey. Gently stir and garnish with a lemon wheel if desired.

GSN Original Cocktail: The 1626

1626
2.5 oz. Woodford Reserve Bourbon
0.75 oz. Hiram Walker Gingerbread Liqueur
1/2 tsp Cherry Heering
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Pour ingredients into mixing glass, stir with cracked ice for 20 seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a Luxardo cherry.

(1626 was the year the very first Manhattan was purchased, albeit about 250 years before the cocktail came to be. Prof. Jerry Thomas was the original king of cocktails during the golden era of the late 1800’s.  The first bar he opened was in the same building as P.T. Barnum’s American Museum in Manhattan  If you happened to go through the museum’s egress thinking it was another attraction, you could always console yourself with a cocktail made by the “Professor”.)

GSN Original Cocktail: The Powderkeg

Looking for a fantastic tiki-style rum drink to chill with this summer? The Powderkeg will blow your socks off!  Featuring three rums, Campari and bitters, this drink is an explosion in your mouth.

Crafted by Blair Frodelius (editor of Good Spirits News) as a tribute to the iconic Barrel O’ Rum served at the venerable Mai Kai restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this drink hearkens back to the sultry and exotic days of 1950’s tiki culture.  Make one this week and enjoy a trip to the tropics, no matter where you are!

1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 ounce Campari
3/4 ounce Goya passion fruit cocktail
1/2 ounce rock candy syrup
2 ounces Montanya Platino Rum
1 1/4 ounces Montanya Oro Rum
3/4 ounce Cruzan Black Strap Rum
2 dashes Fee Brothers whiskey barrel aged bitters
1 ounce Orangina

Add all to barrel-shaped mug filled halfway with crushed ice. Top off with more crushed ice as needed and garnish with a straw and a lit candle (to represent a fuse).

Cocktail created by Blair Frodelius

GSN Suggests: Springtime Cocktails!

I'll Have What She's HavingSpring is finally here!  What better time than to try some new floral and herbal cocktails?  Here are a few that the GSN staff have been enjoying over the past week.

I’ll Have What She’s Having
By Ian Hardie (Huckleberry Bar, Brooklyn)
1 1/2 parts Caorunn Gin
1/2 parts St. Germain
1/2 parts Aperol
3/4 parts lemon juice
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Shake all ingredients and add to a coupe glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

Sandeman SpirtzSandeman Spritz
By Jim Meehan (Please Don’t Tell, NYC)
1 1/2 parts Sandeman Founders Reserve Port
1 1/2 parts Grapefruit juice
1 1/2 parts Pellegrino Chinotto
Combine the first two ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake with ice and strain into a Douro spice (write to info@laboiteny.com for more info) rimmed rocks glass filled with ice.Top with Pellegrino Chinotto. Garnish with half a grapefruit wheel.

Day SpaDay Spa
By Clint Rogers and Harrison Ginsberg (The Dawson, Chicago)
1 1/2 parts Caorunn Gin
3/4 part Camomile Cucumber Syrup
3/4 Lime juice
1/2 part Cocchi Americano
1/2 part Grapefruit juice
3/4 part Suze
3/4 part Chareau
Two dashes Jamaican #2 Bitters
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice. Strain into a rocks glass, then fill with fresh ice. Garnish with cucumber slices.

Sandeman Sangree revisedSandeman Sangree
By Peter Vestinos (Wirtz Beverage Group, Chicago)
1 1/2 parts Sandeman Porto Founders Reserve
3/4 parts Plymouth Gin
3/4  parts Lemon Juice
1/2 parts Simple Syrup
2 parts Soda water

Combine all ingredients, except the soda water into a cocktail shaker. Shake briefly with ice. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Add soda water. Add a lemon wheel and grate nutmeg across top.