GSN Alert: May 5th – Cinco de Mayo

Cinco_de_Mayo,_1901_posterMany people assume that Cinco de Mayo is the Mexican equivalent of the United States’ Independence Day.  Not so.  That originally happened on September 16, 1810.  Instead, Cinco de Mayo took place on May 5th in 1862 and is a day of remembrance for a key battle that took place in Puebla, Mexico.  For both Mexico and the U.S., it was a day that is significant for two reasons.  1) It was the first time that the French had been defeated in any battle in over 50 years, and by an army half its size, and 2) it was the last time a European country tried to invade North America.

Regardless of your nationality, any holiday is always a good time to have a drink or two.  So, in that spirit, GSN is happy to share a few non-Margarita recipes with you to mark the day in style.

Conquistador
Created by Milagro Brand Ambassador Jaime Salas
1 ½ parts Milagro Reposado
½ part Ancho Reyes
½ part Crème de Cacao
½ part Manzanilla Sherry
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Chill coupe glass with ice and water and set aside. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until well chilled and diluted. Discard chilling ice from the coupe. Strain ingredients into chilled coupe. Using a vegetable peeler, remove a long piece of orange peel. Express the oil over the cocktail, rub the peel around the rim of the glass, and place atop the cocktail.


Berentzen Apple Guava Rita
1.5 ounces of Berentzen Apple
1 ounce tequila
3 ounces guava nectar
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
Garnish with lime wedge.  Salt or sugar rim to taste.

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake vigorously.  Pour into margarita glass.  Garnish with lime wedge.


Thunder & Spice
Created by Thor Messer (The Rumpus Room, Milwaukee)
1 1/4 oz St. George California Agricole Rum
1 oz Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur
2/3 oz simple syrup
2/3 oz fresh lime juice
1 dash Bittercube Orange Bitters

Shake all ingredients well then double strain into a chilled coupe glass.


Destornillador
Created by Blair Frodelius (Good Spirits News)
1.5 oz. Hangar One Chipotle Vodka
1.5 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice
0.25 oz. Chartreuse Yellow
2 dashes Fee’s Aztec Chocolate Bitters

Add ingredients to mixing glass and shake with ice.  Strain into chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with dried red chipotle pepper lengthwise on bamboo spear and laid across top of the glass.


Shangra-lita
Created by Blair Frodelius (Good Spirits News)
1.5 oz Pama Liqueur
1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
0.75 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tsp simple syrup
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
0.5 oz Club soda

Mix all ingredients except club soda in ice filled shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and top off with club soda.  Stir gently and serve.

GSN Alert: Cocktail & Spirits Book Preview – Winter 2021

GSN presents our quarterly seasonal roundup of recommend spiritous books. If you’re beginning Dry January, you will find some ideas here, as well as some that call for fresh springtime ingredients from the garden, along with some foodstuffs from iconic Brooklyn bars (that hopefully will still be in business after the pandemic ends). Enjoy!

The Low-Proof Happy Hour: Real Cocktails Without the Hangover by Jules Aron Countryman Press (January 5, 2021) If your cocktail hour usually includes a martini or a manhattan, you may equate lower alcohol options with a dreaded light beer. But it doesn’t need to be that way! In this revolutionary new book, Jules Aron reveals the secret behind low-proof libations that satisfy all your senses without knocking you off your feet. By building your drinks with a delicious array of lower-proof alcohols, such as amari, sherry, herbal liqueurs, and shochu, you’ll balance out the high-proof components like gin and tequila. These tricks can also apply to traditionally lighter drinks, too. Aron embraces garden-to-glass trends with spice-infused vodka, sweet-and-sour shrubs, and other, more health-conscious drinks.

Zero Proof Drinks and More: 100 Recipes for Mocktails and Low-Alcohol Cocktails by Maureen Petrosky Robert Rose (January 15, 2021) Zero Proof Drinks and More offers delicious and mindful drinks for every guest and every occasion. Maureen Petrosky, an Entertaining and Lifestyle Expert who appears regularly on NBC’s Today Show and hosts multiple video series on Today.com, shares over 100 no-alcohol and low-alcohol recipes for cocktails, spritzers, ciders, coffees, shandys and radlers, and a whole lot more. 52 percent of Americans who drink alcohol report that they are actively trying to cut back. The choice for no- and low-alcohol drinking is as individual as the drinks themselves: health concerns; calorie reduction; religion; cultural trends; pregnancy… Zero Proof Drinks and More has the perfect flavor for every palate along with easy tips and tricks for creating the perfect on trend drink. Mindful drinking is no longer relegated to Dry January — this is now a year-round trend.

Distilling Whiskey: Your DIY Guide to Producing, Aging and Tasting Whisky & Bourbon by Wade Westbay Green (January 30, 2021) This comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know about distilling, from mashing your rye to fermentation and stills to aging ‘the water of life’. Become a craftsman and impress your friends’ taste buds. The book covers every step from picking ingredients to tasting and even mixing your self-made whiskey. Crafting your own Whiskey will save you tons of money, allow you to experiment with the best flavors, and get you gallons of gold. Learn how to make the perfect whiskey from Wade Westbay, an experienced distiller based in Minnesota. With this book, he brings over 12 years of distilling experience right to your hands. Get to know the insider secrets of crafting whiskey with just one click. This book covers every step along the way of both the process and after in detail. Understand what is happening in the still, the barrel, and how a perfect whiskey triggers your taste buds. Get inspired, creative, and make your own. Step into the art of distilling that will teach you a respected and sought-after skill set.

Gin O’clock: A Year of Ginspiration by Craft Gin Club HarperCollins (February 2, 2021) Whether you are a gin aficionado or simply gin-curious, this book from the experts at Craft Gin Club contains everything you’ll ever need to know about the juniper spirit. With recipes for refreshing ice-cold punches through to warming winter serves, marinated main courses to delicious desserts, Gin O’Clock proves it’s always a good time for gin, no matter the season. Packed with tips including: Hosting the perfect gin-tasting, Growing your own garnishes, Making simple syrups, and Creating your own gin truffles.

The Wildcrafted Cocktail: Make Your Own Foraged Syrups, Bitters, Infusions, and Garnishes; Includes Recipes for 45 One-of-a-Kind Mixed Drinks by Ellen Zachos Storey Publishing, LLC (February 16, 2021) Meet the natural lovechild of the popular local-foods movement and craft cocktail scene. It’s here to show you just how easy it is to make delicious, one-of-a-kind mixed drinks with common flowers, berries, roots, and leaves that you can find along roadsides or in your backyard. Foraging expert Ellen Zachos gets the party started with recipes for more than 50 garnishes, syrups, infusions, juices, and bitters, including Quick Pickled Daylily Buds, Rose Hip Syrup, and Chanterelle-infused Rum. You’ll then incorporate your handcrafted components into 45 surprising and delightful cocktails, such as Stinger in the Rye, Don’t Sass Me, and Tree-tini.

Cocktails, Mocktails, and Garnishes from the Garden: Recipes for Beautiful Beverages with a Botanical Twist (Unique Craft Cocktails) by Katie Stryjewski Yellow Pear Press (February 16, 2021) Step inside a bartender’s apothecary, forage for garnishes, and craft some of the most popular cocktails, mocktails, and beverages. This beautifully photographed compendium of craft cocktails includes examples of garnishes and interesting ingredients to give any drink a botanical twist. Creating your very own herb bar and garnish garden for craft cocktails. A cocktail recipe book from the wild; Cocktails, Mocktails and Garnishes from the Garden features examples of garnishes and general know-how. With a reference guide of herbal and floral flavors that complement different spirits, and details about what to plant and how to grow your very own herb bar, readers craft cocktail recipes alongside nature.

American Cider: A Modern Guide to a Historic Beverage by Dan Pucci & Craig Cavallo Ballantine Books (March 2, 2021) Cider today runs the gamut from sweet to dry, smooth to funky, made from apples and sometimes joined by other fruits—and even hopped like beer. In American Cider, aficionados Dan Pucci and Craig Cavallo give a new wave of consumers the tools to taste, talk about, and choose their ciders, along with stories of the many local heroes saving apple culture and producing new varieties. Like wine made from well-known grapes, ciders differ based on the apples they’re made from and where and how those apples were grown. Combining the tasting tools of wine and beer, the authors illuminate the possibilities of this light, flavorful, naturally gluten-free beverage. And cider is more than just its taste—it’s also historical, as the nation’s first popular alcoholic beverage, made from apples brought across the Atlantic from England. Pucci and Cavallo use a region-by-region approach to illustrate how cider and the apples that make it came to be, from the well-known tale of Johnny Appleseed—which isn’t quite what we thought—to the more surprising effects of industrial development and government policies that benefited white men. American Cider is a guide to enjoying cider, but even more so, it is a guide to being part of a community of consumers, farmers, and fermenters making the nation’s oldest beverage its newest must-try drink.

Brooklyn Bar Bites: Great Dishes and Cocktails from New York’s Food Mecca by Barbara Scott-Goodman & Jennifer May Rizzoli Universe Promotional Books (March 9, 2021) Brooklyn continues to be a food mecca known for its innovative restaurants and bars, drawing tourists and locals alike. Although several cookbooks have featured Brooklyn eateries, none have focused exclusively on the innovative bar scene. Food writer Barbara Scott-Goodman discovers amazing spots in her hometown of Brooklyn and presents their unique recipes for serving creative cocktails and artisanal beers, accompanied by small dishes. In this informative cookbook, well-known food writer Scott-Goodman celebrates Brooklyn’s happening bar culture–from the mixologists who craft classic and original cocktails, to the talented chefs who create delicious dishes made with fresh-from-the-market ingredients to accompany the drinks. Featured are over 110 recipes for cocktails, delectable snacks, sandwiches, and small plates. Their range of flavors is vast and extremely appealing for today’s urbane palate.

Negroni: More than 30 classic and modern recipes for Italy’s iconic cocktail by David T Smith & Keli Rivers Ryland Peters & Small (March 9, 2021) The Negroni has been a favorite with discerning cocktail drinkers for over a century but has perhaps never been as popular as it is today. What started off as a simple, equal-parts, three-ingredient cocktail (campari, gin, vermouth) has become a global sensation. Included here are recipes for classic Negronis from straight-up over ice to a sparkling aperitivo spritz. This basic formula is then played with in endless ways with Negronis designed for different seasons; bright and citrusy summer versions; cozier, spiced winter drinks; and celebratory cocktails for special occasions. These exciting variations make use of both dry, sweet, and aged vermouths, along with ports and sherries, and some truly experimental non-gin negronis (made using bourbon, rum or even mezcal) really open up the playing field.

Schumann’s Whisk(e)y Lexicon by Stefan Gabányi Rizzoli (March 16, 2021) A completely updated new edition of the classic guide to the whiskeys of the world by the whiskey expert from Charles Schumann’s famed Schumann’s bar in Munich. Featuring over a thousand entries, this handbook discusses the world’s leading and lesser-known whiskeys, making it an ideal source for the aficionado and the budding novice alike. Every traditional type of whiskey is included: Scotch single malt, blends, vatted malts, single grains, and Irish, as well as those from the new world (bourbon, rye, and Canadian). The book also takes a serious look at trendy new whiskeys emerging from Japan and continental Europe and explores how unique flavors are created through variations of ingredients, distilling techniques, and aging. Organized alphabetically in the style of a dictionary, the volume is rounded out with additional advice on serving, collecting, and storage. Every manner and nuance of whiskey is discussed between the book’s elegant covers.

Cocktails of the Movies: An Illustrated Guide to Cinematic Mixology New Expanded Edition by Will Francis & Stacey Marsh Prestel; Illustrated edition (March 16, 2021) Now available in a new expanded and updated edition, Cocktails of the Movies serves up the 72 greatest cocktails to have featured on film. Take a journey through Hollywood’s lifelong love affair with cocktails, celebrating the greatest characters and their iconic drinks through original illustrations and easy-to-follow recipes. From Marilyn’s Manhattan in Some Like It Hot to The Dude’s White Russian in The Big Lebowski, there’s something for everyone. Each cocktail is accompanied by the recipe, method, a history of the drink and a synopsis of its scene in the movie alongside full-color original artwork.

The Infused Cocktail Handbook: The Essential Guide to Homemade Blends and Infusions by Kurt Maitland Cider Mill Press (March 16, 2021) Pump up the flavors of spirits and mixers with The Infused Cocktail Handbook, the essential guide to homemade blends and infusions. The illustrated recipes explain which ingredients go best when infusing vodka, gin, tequila, whiskey, rum, and sherry and cover a range of globetrotting flavor profiles, from Earl Gray tea to lemongrass, cardamom, and walnuts, as well as gummy bears and bacon. With The Infused Cocktail Handbook not only will you know how to make your very own signature cocktails, you’ll save money doing it.

Tokyo Cocktails: An Elegant Collection of Over 100 Recipes Inspired by the Eastern Capital by Nicholas Coldicott Cider Mill Press (March 30, 2021) With over 13.5 million residents squeezed in to 845 square miles, Tokyo stands as one of the world’s most beguiling cities. On the surface it appears to be nothing but towering buildings and glaring lights. But once you get to know the city, its 23 wards reveal hidden alleyways, along many of which you can find singular drinking establishments. Tokyo Cocktails takes you inside the city’s best bars and introduces you to bartenders and mixologists conjuring up drinks that reflect the city’s essence, namely how thousands of years of tradition fuse with myriad contemporary influences. Featuring over 100 recipes that honor and reinvent classics and make the best of local ingredients, this book is the ideal cocktail enthusiast’s guide to drinking like a local, whether you’re making a trip to Tokyo or staying at home and simply wishing you were there.

The Artisanal Kitchen: Summer Cocktails: Refreshing Margaritas, Mimosas, and Daiquiris―and the World’s Best Gin and Tonic by Nick Mautone Artisan (March 30, 2021) Summer Cocktails is the newest addition to the Artisanal Kitchen series, adapted from Raising the Bar (Artisan, 2004) by master mixologist Nick Mautone. This is a handy guide to summer beverages, with information on everything from how to mix the perfect cocktails, prep drinks ahead of time, and choose the proper drinkware to how to use sorbet ice cubes for a burst of flavor and how to turn cocktails into punches for a larger crowd. It’s packed with easy‑to‑follow recipes for warm-weather favorites, including the mimosa and Tom Collins, as well as classics with a twist (think Pineapple Slings), icy drinks (Frozen Mango Smash), nonalcoholic options (Faux Margaritas), and so much more. Both home and professional mixologists can rely on the book for fail-proof cocktails recipes and will return to Summer Cocktails year after year for seasonal favorites.

 

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 Alert: Cocktail Book Preview – Summer 2016 (July-September)

89e6fabfa0dede96f74d048569e2d6f6Looking for some summer reading while you sip on a G&T, Margarita or Mai Tai?  

Here are some upcoming books to keep an eye out for.  Cheers!

51KQX8+7x5LDrinking with the Democrats: The Party Animal’s History of Liberal Libations by Mark Will-Weber (Regnery History) – This election year, celebrate the Democratic Party by drinking like a Democrat! Organized by president, this fun gift book is full of cocktail recipes, bar tips, and hysterical drinking anecdotes from all Democratic White House administrations. Which Southern man drank Snakebites? How did Jackie-O like her daiquiris? Drinking with the Democrats is the bar guide with a twist that all political buffs will enjoy!

51byvzMbAeLDrinking with the Republicans: The Politically Incorrect History of Conservative Concoctions by Mark Will-Weber (Regnery History) – This election year, celebrate the Republican Party by drinking like a Republican! Organized by president, this fun gift book is full of cocktail recipes, bar tips, and hysterical drinking anecdotes from all Republican White House administrations. Which president liked to mix whiskey, vodka, and orange juice? Who had a trick for hiding the labels of cheap wine? Drinking with the Republicans is the bar guide with a twist that all political buffs will enjoy!

41AZX1-uV+LShots of Knowledge: The Science of Whiskey by Rob Arnold & Eric Simanek (Texas Christian University Press) – Shots of Knowledge is a guidebook for whiskey lovers. Organized into approximately sixty illustrated essays, the book samples selected topics in whiskey production through the lenses of science and engineering. While the essays are subdivided into three sections—From Sunshine to Sugar, From Wee Beasties to White Dogs, and From Barrel to Brain—the reader is free to sip them in any order. The story commences with water, carbon dioxide, and sunlight; travels through the manufacturing process; and ends with the molecules that entertain the palate. Whether the topic is photosynthesis, bubble caps, oak speciation, or a mechanistic enzymology, the essays seek to reveal the simple beauty too often hidden in science and engineering. At approximately one page in length, each essay and accompanying artwork can be digested slowly at the rate estimated at three essays per bourbon or Scotch.

41gZ6X8AllLAquavit: Nordic Spirit by Heel Verlag (Heel Verlag Gmbh) – This stylishly-produced book describes the history of the famous Aquavit spirit and the way it is produced, also throwing a glance at the bar scene in Denmark, Norway and Germany. It contains about 30 recipes for drinks and cocktails based on Aquavit, all of them newly created by international bartenders, further 20 recipes from Danish and Norwegian top chefs using Aquavit as an ingredient for their stunning dishes. Finally the volume provides a comprehensive glossary and information on more than 70 different sorts of the famous spirit.

41XCZgsKAhLCocktail Infographics: A Visual Guide to Creating 200 of the World’s Best Cocktails by Jordan Spence (Carlton Books) – This is mixology made simple! Prepare a first-class cocktail with these fun, at-a-glance infographic recipes. Each one visually displays the precise measurements and ingredients in the correct type of glass, with easy-to-see proportions. More than 200 recipes feature old favorites and modern inventions plus garnishes, from the Manhattan and Negroni to the Green Tea Martini, from coolers and coladas to slings, sours, and screws. An informative introduction gives details on equipment, bar stocking, and basic techniques.

51UDA7dyqGLCocktails by Klaus St. Rainer (DK) – Learn the art of mixing perfect drinks with Cocktails, the third “Best Cocktail Book in the World.” Klaus St. Rainer, an award-winning expert voted “Bartender of the Year” in 2013, shares 70 cocktail recipes for all the key classics as well as his own signature creations. Whether you want to make a simple drink with just a few ingredients, prepare large quantities for a cocktail party, or even create a mocktail, this authoritative guide will have you mixing the perfect aperitif. The book’s classy design and evocative photography will inspire you to find what tickles your taste buds, from the classic Dry Martini and Old Fashioned to the unusual Red Beet Gimlet and Caramellow Royale. Professional tips and techniques are revealed—should it be shaken or stirred?—and clear instructions make it easy. Cocktails teaches you the science of mixology so you can make the ultimate cocktail every time.

81FNF02-tCLShake. Stir. Sip.: More than 50 Effortless Cocktails Made in Equal Parts by Kara Newman & John Lee (Chronicle Books) – Some of the best cocktails are the easiest to make, and author Kara Newman figured out the secret—using equal parts of the main ingredients and adding a dash of bitters or a splash of seltzer to gild the lily. Take the Cucumber Gimlet: Combine one part each vodka, lime juice, and lemonade; 2 cucumber slices; then garnish with a basil leaf! And beverages like this are a breeze to size up for parties—just double, triple, or quadruple the proportions. This book contains 40 simple recipes, from two-ingredient sips like the Bamboo Cocktail to timeless classics like the ever-popular Negroni, proving that great, artisanal cocktails don’t have to come from a bar.

51JVgEmKZQLA Proper Drink: The Untold Story of How a Band of Bartenders Saved the Civilized Drinking World by Robert Simonson (Ten Speed Press) – A narrative history of the craft cocktail renaissance, written by a New York Times cocktail writer and one of the foremost experts on the subject. A Proper Drink is the first-ever book to tell the full, unflinching story of the contemporary craft cocktail revival. Award-winning writer Robert Simonson interviewed more than 200 key players from around the world, and the result is a rollicking (if slightly tipsy) story of the characters–bars, bartenders, patrons, and visionaries–who in the last 25 years have changed the course of modern drink-making. The book also features a curated list of about 40 cocktails–25 modern classics, plus an additional 15 to 20 rediscovered classics and classic contenders–to emerge from the movement.

61ArUxQkBpLColonial Spirits: A Toast to Our Drunken History by Steven Grasse (Abrams Image) – In Colonial Spirits, Steven Grasse presents a historical manifesto on drinking, including 50 colonial era– inspired cocktail recipes. The book features a rousing timeline of colonial imbibing and a cultural overview of a dizzying number of drinks: beer, rum and punch; temperance drinks; liqueurs and cordials; medicinal beverages; cider; wine, whiskey, and bourbon—all peppered with liquored-up adages from our founding fathers. There is also expert guidance on DIY methods for home brewing. Imbibe your way through each chapter, with recipes like the Philadelphia Fish House Punch (a crowd pleaser!) and Snakebites (drink alone!). Hot beer cocktails and rattle skulls have never been so completely irresistible.

GSN Alert: Kentucky Derby Cocktails 2015 Edition

indexLooking for some interesting beverages to enjoy during the big race?  Here are a few to choose from.  If you make all three, you will have a triple crown.

Mumm Mint Julep
2 oz. Mumm Cordon Rouge
1.5 oz. Absolut Citron Vodka
1 oz. Fresh squeezed lemon juice
0.5 oz Simple syrup
1 pinch Fresh mint

Pour all ingredients, except Mumm Cordon Rouge, into a mixing glass. Add ice, cover and shake vigorously for 7-8 seconds. Pour Mumm Cordon Rouge into a chilled cocktail-martini glass and pour the cocktail over it.

Dead Heat by Spencer Elliott (Bounce Sporting Club)
1 oz. Jack Daniel’s Fire
5 oz. Mumm Napa Brut Prestige
1 oz. Fresh Orange Juice

Add Jack Daniel’s Fire and orange jucie to a mixing glass with ice.  Shake well, then strain into a Collins glass, top with Mumm Napa Brut Prestige.

The Mile High Julep by Shawn Chen (RedFarm’s Decoy)
1-3/4 oz Tincup American Whiskey
1/2 oz Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup
1/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
6 to 8 Mint Leaves

Combine all ingredients in a Julep tin, including hand-clapped mint.  Add crushed ice and churn until mixed thoroughly and the outside of the tin has frosted. Garnish with a large mint sprig and some sugar sprinkled over the mint and the ice.

GSN Review: Winter 2013 Cocktail Guides

With the holidays well under way, it’s once again time for the Good Spirits News annual round-up of new cocktail, spirits and bartending books.  You’ll be sure to find a few books to gift your favorite bartender or cocktail aficionado.

indexSchiller’s Liquor Bar Cocktail Collection by Keith McNally (Clarkson Potter)  An interesting publication composed of four small hardcover books in a slipcase, this set lists over 150 of the cocktails available at NYC’s Schiller’s Liquor Bar.  One book is devoted to barware and techniques of mixology.  The other three are filled with classic cocktail recipes, seasonal drinks and original drinks.  As well, each volume has a short introduction by Keith McNally, but I was left wanting more information on the bar itself and why it became the success it is.  The recipes are interspersed with photographs of the drinks and the bar itself, making this a miniature set of coffee table books.  You may not learn much here, but it will give you an idea of what drinks a successful bar should have on its menu.  GSN Rating: B-

indexUnder the Table: A Dorothy Parker Cocktail Guide by Kevin C. Fitzpatrick (Lyons Press)  Dorothy Parker penned the famous witticism “I love a martini, but two at the most.  Three, I’m under the table; four, I’m under the host.”  Of course, there is much more to her than these few lines, including a hefty dose of other prohibition era cocktails.  In this small volume, you will learn about her friendship with some of the leading literary lights of the day at the famous Algonquin Round Table; as well as archival photographs and illustrations from the era.  Many of the recipes are available elsewhere, but seeing them all clustered together one quickly realizes in spite of a lack of quality booze in the 1920’s, people still enjoyed a well-made tipple.  A book for fans of the roaring 20’s, Miss Parker or speakeasies.  GSN Rating: B

imagesWinter Cocktails: Mulled Ciders, Hot Toddies, Punches, Pitchers, and Cocktail Party Snacks by Maria del Mar Sacasa (Quirk)  Just what the title says.  This is a cookbook for wintery beverages and edibles.  Many of the recipes are variations on classic drinks such as hot chocolate, egg nog and sangria.  As well, this book definitely leans toward a sweet tooth.  Loads of color photos along with easy to follow drink recipes make up the majority of pages, but there is also a section on homemade infused liquors, syrups, sour mixes and tomato juice.  If you’re looking for dessert in a glass, you’ll find one here.  GSN Rating: B-

indexApothecary Cocktails by Warren Bobrow (Fair Winds)  There are literally hundreds of cocktail guides designed to inebriate, but next to none with the goal of restoring and reviving the imbiber.  Warren Bobrow has taken up the challenge with his book of historical and modern recipes crafted to revive the drinker’s corpse, as it were.  Spiral-bound (God bless him!) this book will have you on your feet in no time, whether you’re feeling under the weather, suffering from the common cold, or trying to recuperate from a night of too many drinks.  None of the recipes are difficult to make, and yet each is extremely flavorful and well thought out.  Most of the drinks are accompanied by artfully depicted photographs.  Overall, a well done book which you’ll find yourself reaching for whenever you’re feeling a little under the weather.  GSN Rating: A

imagesThe Long Pour by Adam McDonald (TheBarTenderBook.com)   We all have stories from behind the stick.  Most of them remain as personal memories shared with close friends.  Adam McDonald has done us the favor of collecting dozens of mind-blowing stories from bartenders around the globe.  These aren’t your typical “nudge, nudge” stories either.  Vivid descriptions of sex, drugs and truly idiotic patrons will have your jaw dropping and your eyes tearing up in laughter.  It makes you realize that most of life can indeed be seen while bartending.  I particularly enjoyed the story about the cocaine snorting bartender being hog-tied around a toilet by an undercover cop.  HBO, take note!  These episodes can be your next hit series!  GSN Rating: A-

indexRaise the Bar by Jon Taffer (New Harvest)  People either love or hate Jon Taffer’s television show Bar Rescue.  Personally, I find it interesting because it educates the public on what goes on behind the scenes of a bar, successful or not.  If you’ve seen the show, this book will fill in the banks and give you a less volatile (read, reality tv friendly) version of what Jon does in his makeovers.  I wouldn’t say this is required reading for bar owners or employees, but it does make you think.  The real substance of this book are the many practical applications to work ethic and presentation.  If you ever thought you could run the bar you work at, read this and you will at the very least have a better understanding of the business.  GSN Rating: B

indexDrink More Whiskey by Daniel Yaffe (Chronicle Books)  More than just a history of whiskey production and a treatise on the vast array of styles available, this small book also has several intriguing cocktails contributed by many of the most accomplished bartenders around the USA.  This is particularly worthwhile since, there is a dearth of non-bourbon and rye based cocktails in publication.  Broken down into country specific chapters including everything from unaged white dog to the latest Japanese styles, you will learn the basics of each style of whiskey.  An interesting blend of entry-level learning, along with leading edge cocktails.  GSN Rating: B-

indexShake: A New Perspective on Cocktails by Eric Prum & Josh Williams (W&P Design LLC)  A cocktail guide published by the duo who created the clever Mason Jar Shaker (reviewed by GSN here).  Their vision for this book is three-fold.  Cocktails should be 1) fun 2) simple, 3 social.  Keeping this premise in mind, don’t expect anything that will challenge Tony Conigliaro.  But, these are great original drinks anyone can make at home.  What is particularly engaging, is that each drink is placed within a seasonal section based on what is available in your local market.  You’ll find drinks calling for kale, caper berries, lilac flowers and even cava.  You don’t necessarily need their bespoke shaker to make these drinks, but it helps.  Oh, and the book is liberally filled with beautifully photographed pictures of each drink in a style reminiscent of blueprints.  GSN Rating: B

imagesThe Curious Bartender: The Artistry and Alchemy of Creating the Perfect Cocktail by Tristan Stephenson (Ryland Peters)  A fun and well researched volume on recreating the classic cocktails of the past 150 years using modern methodology.  If you’re a fan of Chef Heston Blumenthal’s creativity, you will find much here to whet your mixological appetite.  Techniques ranging from ageing to smoking cocktails with many stops along the way, will give you plenty of opportunity to experiment.  With 25% of the book devoted to techniques, the remainder is filled with beautiful photographs of both the original and re-envisioned versions along with histories, insights and recipes.  A one page section on resources is helpful, if you’re trying to track down hard to find ingredients and equipment.  GSN Rating: A-

Basics of Mixology: Texture

Early pioneering mixologists knew that great cocktails were more than just a collection of sweet, sour, strong and weak elements.  They used a holistic approach to their drink making, which included visuals (the Blue Blazer is a great example), scent (fresh-cut citrus peel sprays the surface with oils) and texture (the inclusion of egg white).  This time around we’re going to focus on texture.

Unfortunately, most bartenders ignore this important aspect of cocktails.  Martinis are shaken, Old-Fashioneds are a muddled mess of fruit and soda water, and Margaritas come out of a sour-mix slush machine.  I suppose one could argue that these relatively recent changes to the classics are what people expect when they order one from the bar.  But, these are not how they were originally intended to be made, nor are they improvements by any standard.

The texture of a drink means that it has a pleasantly smooth character and that it visually appears to have an elegant and somewhat sexy appearance.  Think of satin, and visualize how it feels in your hand.  Texture in a cocktail does much the same thing.

With PAMA liqueur, many drinks can achieve a smoothness which incorporates all of the above aspects in a cocktail.  Visually, it is a rich, and luscious garnet color.  The olfactory response is mouth-watering due to its intense fruit nose.  The tannins in the juice bring a perceived dryness (similar to what you find in dry red wines) creating a natural mouth-watering response, which in turn gives the drink extra texture.  But, most of all, the blend of pomegranate juice and spirits has a sleek and smooth texture which translates into the glass as pure sophistication and luxury.

Try the recipe below and see what I mean.  Make sure you use a good Cognac and not a brandy.  It makes all the difference.

50/50 Proposition
Glass: Snifter
Garnish: Dash Orange Bitters (I recommend Bitter Truth)
Ingredients:
1 1/2 oz. PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
1 1/2 oz. Cognac
Method: Combine all ingredients in a chilled mixing glass. Add ice and stir for 40 seconds. Strain into chilled snifter set with 1 large ice-cube.

For more recipes, click on the PAMA ad on the right of Good Spirits News.

Basics of Mixology: Modifiers

The craft of mixology is one akin to many popular card games.  Easy to learn, difficult to master.  If it were easy, we’d win every custom cocktail contest and make a name for ourselves in no time.   But, there really are just a few basics which everyone should know and understand when creating an original cocktail.   Let’s start with the ingredients.  Almost all cocktails can be broken down into three magic parts: 1) a base spirit, 2) a modifier, and 3) a visual or flavor enhancer, often both.

Base spirits are the easy part.  What will you use as the foundation of your cocktail?  In general you have brandies, whiskies, rums, gins, vodkas and agave based spirits.  The next step is choosing what to add to it.  This is called “The Modifier” or in simpler terms, what makes a cocktail, a cocktail.  If you were to take a base spirit and shake it with ice, then strain it into a cocktail glass and serve it; you would not have made a cocktail.  A modifier takes what you’re already working with, adds to and enhances it, until you have something more interesting and marvelous than either ingredient on it’s own.  A modifier not only takes the edge off an 80 proof spirit, but clarifies the character of the spirit in the same way spices work in cooking.  You can add additional modifiers, bitters, colored liqueurs, creams, herbs or what have you.  The first modifier is really what starts the whole ball rolling.

As this post has been sponsored by the good folks at PAMA liqueur, I’d like to focus on their product as a suggested modifier to work with this month.  I’ve been using PAMA myself for several years now and have recommended it to many people as a high quality and quite useful product.  Unlike many grenadine syrups you’ll find on the market, PAMA actually uses real pomegranates with a color and flavor both natural and enticing.  It’s also 34 proof, which adds a depth and richness to a cocktail, and also boosts the overall quality of the finished product. I often use a 50/50 mix of a real grenadine syrup (which is quite sweet) and PAMA (which has a bright, tart quality) to any cocktail calling for grenadine.

If your customers are looking for something which goes beyond the usual cloying sweetness of a Tequila Sunrise for instance, try using my 50/50 ratio and see what they say.  Watch for their facial reaction also.  It’s sure to start an interesting dialogue.  It also works especially well in the classic Jack Rose cocktail.

If you want to experiment even further, try using PAMA as an alternative to the usual citrus juice/simple syrup blend found in a sour mix or fruit based liqueur such as triple sec.  Remember, Pama is less sweet and more tart than most liqueurs, so you may want to begin by using a different amount than the recipe states.  The possibilities are only as limited as your imagination!  Have fun, and keep mixing!

Here’s a new cocktail for you to try, courtesy of PAMA:

PAMA & Rye
Glass: Rocks
Garnish: Orange Wheel
Ingredients:
1 oz. PAMA
1 oz. High Proof Rye Whiskey
1 oz. Orange Juice
1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
1/2 oz. Lemon Juice

Method: Combine all ingredients in a shaker.  Add ice and shake vigorously.  Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish.

GSN’s One For the Road: Ruby Tuesday Veev Cocktails

Normally,when I go out for an evening of drinking, I hit the local establishments which are known for their creative cocktails and/or local beers.  However, earlier this week my wife and I were invited to check out some new Veev cocktails at my local Ruby Tuesday.  There are five on the menu at the moment (this changes seasonally) including a Skinny Pink Lemonade, Superfruit Cooler, Acai Mojito, Pomegranate Margarita and a Watermelon Martini.  Settling in for a few hours, we decided to try them all.

Starting off with the Superfruit Cooler, I was impressed that the bartender jiggered everything and cut fresh slices of cucumber.  Another nice touch was a stand up card placed at each guests place at the bar with the bartenders name handwritten on it.  We ended up talking briefly about the ingredients in the drink, and I was again impressed that they use all fresh squeezed juices, fresh berries and mid to top shelf spirits.  In fact, their well includes Beefeater, Jack Daniels and Smirnoff to name a few.

Moving on to the Pomegranate Margarita, the bartender asked if I wanted the rim sugared or salted (I opted for the latter).  My only issue with this drink was that it called for a mixto tequila instead of the preferable 100% Blue Agave.  But, I was given an option of asking for a different tequila if I had wanted.  By this time, a few of the restaurant’s managers came over and we discussed their overall drinks program.  They were all long timers with Ruby Tuesday and were excited by the shift in their business to use fresh, organic and housemade food and beverage ingredients.  I said that I found this surprising for a major chain restaurant, but having recently had drinks at Chili’s and Red Lobster, I told them that I could tell the difference immediately.  I mentioned what Dale DeGroff had done for Marriott Corp. to turn their drinks program around, and also encouraged them to attend the BarSmarts program this fall.

I finished the evening with the Acai Mojito, which turned out to be my favorite.  Overall, each cocktail was well balanced and perfect for the summer.  I’ll be back in the autumn to see what new creations are on the menu.

Skinny Pink Lemonade (on left): Simple, and very much like lemonade with vodka.  GSN Rating: B

Superfruit Cooler (on right): Very refreshing, if a tad sweet.  The cucumber made for an interesting touch.  GSN Rating: B+

Acai Mojito (on left): Excellent and nice with the Veev and Pom addition!  I could drink these all day long.  GSN Rating: A

Pomegranate Margarita (on right): As I mentioned, the tequila was not up to par.  I also felt that the addition of pomegranate was lost in the drink.  GSN Rating: B-

Watermelon Martini: Oddly enough, this had the addition of a housemade watermelon syrup, instead of muddled watermelon.  I detected some herbal characteristics as well.  GSN Rating: B

Cocktail of the Week: Superbowl Cocktails

Superbowl Cocktails: The Steel Helmet & Cardinal Cocktail
The Steel Helmet is essentially a White Russian with, well, a helmet. The topper and distinguishing mark is a float of Galliano liqueur, a stunning liqueur with spicy tones, and this extra little touch adds a nice aspect to the favorite cocktail. Either milk or cream will work here and is a matter of personal preference. If you’re looking for a thicker drink, cream is the better choice and since it is served on the rocks that really is the best choice.

Ingredients:

1 oz vodka
1 oz coffee liqueur
milk or cream to fill
Galliano liqueur

Preparation:

Build the vodka, coffee liqueur and milk or cream in an old-fashioned glass.

Stir well.


The Cardinal Cocktail is simply a Kir made with red wine.
This is a simple way to dress up a less desirable red wine that you
don’t find your favorite but you couldn’t bear to see go to waste. The creme de cassis also adds some delicious sweetness to a Merlot or Pinot Noir that you
may find a bit too dry for your taste at the time. One thing is for
certain, for wine lovers a bottle of cassis is a fantastic and easy way
to spice up the average glass of vino.

Ingredients:

1 oz creme de cassis
red wine
Float Galliano on top by slowly pouring it over the back of a bar spoon.

Preparation:

  1. Pour the creme de cassis into a wine glass filled with ice.
  2. Fill with red wine.

Recipes courtesy of Colleen Graham