I've been trying to up my host game lately, especially in the drinks department. Solid glassware, proper bar tools, and better presentation go a long way towards concocting a quality experience. That's why I was excited to come up with a great gift project for those that want to ditch the cheap plastic in their classy mixed drinks. These simple straws are hefty enough to really stand out as a stocking stuffer, or on their own as a solid holiday gift.
I have gone on record, in this publication and elsewhere, about why the hot toddy is the perfect cocktail to be sipping in December. It's warm. It's spiced. And at least according to folk wisdom, it's good for your health, and can help to heal a nasty wintertime sore throat. But, to be honest, until last Tuesday evening, I didn't actually like a hot toddy.
They were fine, but not delicious, and not really an improvement over a simple glass of neat whiskey. (You could make a hot toddy with rum, brandy, or tequila, but why would you?)
Hot toddys (toddies?) always disappointed: never quite hot enough to truly enjoy, and somewhat ... harsh. There was something I never liked about adding acidic lemon juice to a healthy glug of bourbon, then heating the whole thing up. It seemed to bring out all the rough, grain-y flavors, and hide the tastier warm and spicy barrel-aged notes that make whiskey, well, whiskey.
Friends, it's time to step up your home cocktail game. But it's not about procuring a special bottle of small batch spirits, or some crafty house-made infusion, or even an obscure, esoteric bitter liqueur made by monks in the mountains of Europe. In fact, it's not about the ingredients of the drink at all. It's about texture.
Carbonating cocktails adds effervescence, tingling the tongue and bringing out new flavors and drinking experiences. Club soda is traditional, and it works, but waters down the drink, and often just floats on top, never fully integrating with the heavier alcohol.
Looking to add a little of the "roasting on open fire" flavor to some of your seasonal libations? Check out this cool technique for making smoked cocktail garnishes to add some toasty, earthy notes to your drinks.
Look, we love a solid cocktail bar. It's an awesome experience to meet up with some co-workers for happy hour, or connect with a friend or date over something shaken or stirred and served in a quality glass. But there's something to be said for sipping at home. Most importantly, it's much less expensive. Bar and restaurants try to keep their food and liquor costs to 20-25%, which means that $12 martini is actually made up of only $3.00 of ingredients. But we also can't argue with the value of staying home, whipping something up for your partner or friends on the fly in the warm, quite confines of your own living room. (Pajama pants optional).
And while we have no problem dropping some serious change on a truly elegant whiskey or craft spirit, the truth is: most mixed drinks don't actually require the highest end of spirits. So, if you're looking to experiment with crafting your own drinks, but don't want to invest mega bucks in a full fleet of top-shelf spirits, it's time to learn how to stock your home bar or bar cart on a budget.
Need another drink to warm you up like you're sitting by a campfire, but you're actually stuck inside cause it's freaking freezing out? Check out ManMade's very own rosemary and smoke infused cocktail!
We have absolutely zero reservations about hanging onto the summer season as long as possible. With temps outside the ManMade HQ topping 99° today, it seems Mother Nature is on our side, regardless of what all the back-to-school sales say.
And as far as ways to enjoy the season and keep cool, we have but three words for you: Frozen. Whiskey. Lemonade.
Around here, we've moved past the short glass - the whiskey in a tumbler, the shaken 3 oz. cocktails of spring -and opting for the long and tall. With sunshine comes all-day drinks: those mixed with plenty of ice and fresh ingredients to keep you cool.
Of course, it's ice that keeps 'em cool, and when your glass sits around in the heat...well, ice melts. So, this summer, make that a good thing. We're sharing our technique and recipes to allow the ice to actually contribute to the flavor of a drink or cocktail, not just its temperature or dilution. Check it out!
These days, the Bloody Mary game is all about oneupsmanship. The goal in bars and brunch spots has become to adds so savory complements to the drink that they turn it into both a snack and a cocktail: spears and spears of pickled veg, whole shrimp, fried bacon, charcuterie, chicken wings, antipasti, mini cheeseburgers, firecrackers, tiny pizzas, everything.
Which is fine, and fun, but takes away from the essence of the drink. Sure, it's a canvas for complementary flavors, but that canvas isn't blank in the first place...it's actually a perfectly balanced cocktail.
So, here are the basics on the Bloody Mary. If you're not one to drink vodka, well, then it also makes a darn fine amped-up tomato juice.
Some guys have their go-to libation: no matter the time, no matter the place, they want this beer or that drink, and the matter really isn't up for discussion. Others are constantly switching up their poisons, perusing the menu for familiar flavors, taking the advice of the bartender, or simply having what everyone else at the table ordered.
Keeping the home bar stocked with the recommended staples takes a bit of planning, but even the best stocked cabinet is useless without the tools to make them right. Here’s our list of 10 essentials to outfit your bar with everything you need to make those drinks right.
Getting out of town for the weekend makes a difference. It's not just a change of scenery from the rest of week, but there's also that subtle thrill of simply being away. Of going outside. Of spending time in a different location, seeing different sights, hearing different sounds.
You've heard of smokey flavored cocktails before... but how about a smoke bomb cocktail that actually explodes? Well not actually explodes, but with a flourishing crack to the ice cube mold from a tiny hammer or utensil, billowing smoke will pour out into the rest of your Black Manhattan (or other smokey drink of choice)...
Have you hit 90 degrees yet where you live? We have (yep - 92 on May 6 in Minneapolis, crazy), and I loved it. After months of snow and cold and slush and sweaters, I absolutely revel in the warmth. Maybe later in the summer I'll be crouched down inside next to the air conditioner, but not now. Right now, when it's warm out, I want to soak my bones in it.
The warm weather also means a change in the beverage seasons. Out with the heavy, comforting drinks of winter, and in with the light, bright, refreshing stuff. As part of our series of posts celebrating tequila (one, two), we've teamed up with Olmeca Altos to show you how to perfect the perfect drink for summer: the margarita.
Oh, Summertime. The best time of year for delicious drinks made with fresh ingredients. In doing my research for this piece, I had a hard time not wanting to just make up a drink for each herb!
Now that the days are warming up the thought of a hot latte with milk and cinnamon sure adds a drop of sweat to my brow. It's usually this time of year, I swap my typical addiction to hot coffee to sweet, syrupy iced coffee. I just can't get enough of the stuff!
Regular ManMade readers know we love a good cocktail. Whether it's a simple highball, a classic gin and tonic, a bright and fresh French 75, or a smokey Swedish Flame, we think knowing how to make and enjoy a high-quality drink at home is part and parcel of the ManMade ethos. So when Olmeca Altos Tequila reached out to us to celebrate this awesome time of year — late spring and early summer — we were pretty excited about the chance to team up and create some tasty cocktail and food recipes.
Any time of year, gin is a favorite spirit. It mixes well while retaining its character, and its aromatics complement a great range of flavors. But there's something so special, so obvious, about gin and springtime. If flavors had colors, gin's would be green, and it's a perfect chance to start putting ice back in our cocktails because the external temperatures are finally bearable.