Summer weekends are the perfect time to test out a new cocktail. Stop by the store on the way home from work, grab a new bottle and some citrus, and spend the rest of the weekend gathering with friends and nailing it down, just right.
This weekend, I'll be trying out an update on my number one, very favorite, easy-to-order-cause-its-hard-to-mess-up-unless-they-shake-it cocktail, the Negroni, by cocktail blogger Emily Arden Wells.
A sour is one of the original families of cocktails, and, done properly, is pretty straight forward: base spirit, an acid to create complexity and brightness, and a little sweetener to tame the sourness and round things out. Which means: a whiskey sour is a perfect cocktail to make at home, without any need to buy an overly sweet commercial sour mix.
Studies have shown that a well-stocked liquor cabinet increases the chance of feeling awesome (studies conducted by ourselves over the weekend). This includes having several custom, home-infused spirits: one bottle suddenly has multiple options and flavor profiles.
These cold winter months, with their insane wind chills and 5:00 p.m. sunsets, are the season of curling up with a tumbler of, as Don Draper says, "something big and brown." No mixers, shakers, or bar tools required - just a heavy glass, and a quality whiskey that can stand up on its own for some serious sipping. And if you know what you're looking for, there's no reason you have to spend more than $40 a bottle. Single malts included.
As far as hot chocolate fans go, I'm among the biggest. Especially during December. I like it all kinds of ways - thick Mexican drinking chocolates with a churro, the powdered milk-cocoa mix from the stand at the holiday light show at the zoo, and the fancy versions from my local coffee shop. And marshmallows? I'm for 'em.
Especially if they're homemade. Like lots of food crafts, the difference between a who-knows-how-old factory made 'shmallow and the pillowy complexity of a homemade version are simply incomparable. And while I like storebought marshmallows just fine, I love a homemade one. Especially when it's infused with holiday
If you love the idea of the Whiskey Advent Calendar, but can't quite justify the (fair but not inexpensive) $240 price tag, why not try a DIY version with something you can easily procure single samples of: beer. Cause there are few things better than candy, and winter ale is definitely one of them.
Whisky fan, consummate actor, and proud Scot Brian Cox shares a intro guide to pronouncing more than forty-five different Scotches. Though it's possible the liquor store owner might not know any better, a good bartender certainly will, and perhaps you'll get a few extra drops for pronouncing it correctly. Maybe.
Pop Chart Labs, who make cool, highly organized graphic posters about nearly everything ManMakers like, have released their latest effort, "The Triple Distilled Diagram of Alcohols," a "A boozy chart of every variety of alcohol, from fermented concoctions
Candy and cocktails. Not just cocktail-flavored candies, but sweet little chewy guys, full of actual spirits and the classic flavors of the mixed drink that inspired them. In short: Best. DIY Project. Ever.
There's an ice cream shop in my neighborhood with a "margarita sorbet." I tried it once. By "margarita," they mean lime. Perhaps a bit of orange...but basically only one of the essential flavors that make this classic cocktail continue to stick around.
This recipe for salted margarita cream pops, on the other hand, has all the goods: lime, yes, but also plenty of tequila and salt.
It's May 2nd today, so you've got a cool three days to whip these up for Cinco de Mayo.
When architecht Eric Schiller was inspecting the oak staircase in his Victorian-era home in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY, he noticed a curious rectangle on the landing, an out of place solid slab amidst the planking of the floorboards. He located a small thumbhole, and lifted the slab to discover
High-end, underlit, swanky joints and well-worn, leathery pubs alike have it in common: a lot of bottles of spirits. On first glance, even the smallest restaurant with a liquor license will seem to have just a few selections, but start counting, and you'll realize that most bartended spots have, on average, around 35-40 bottles, with many going up to into the hundreds.
For the home mixmaster, that can be intimidating. You're interested in creating classic and contemporary cocktails alike, but have neither the budget, the space, nor the use for even an average restaurant-style selection.
A few weeks ago, we featured a few how-tos for making "bachelor's jam," a preserving method that fuses alcohol and fresh fruit. The technique there, basically, is to fill a jar with fruit and cover it with alcohol.
Last week, the New York Times featured a few more thorough recipes, designed to take advantage of complimentary flavors and general tastiness. "Perhaps the best example of following seasons in a boozy fruit mix is rumtopf — a German preserve that spans the entire growing season. Classic recipes have you start in June by mixing strawberries with sugar and rum. As other fruits ripen, they are added in layers, then the whole thing is left to mellow until Christmas.
Last summer, I took the plunge into home canning, and while I'm getting the hang of it, it's complex. It only makes sense when doing LOTS of goodies at one time, and there are particular recipes to make sure the produce is properly cooked for preservation.
So, we're loving this idea: bachelor's jam (or officer's jam) employs the bacteria-preventing power of liquors and spirits to preserve fresh fruit, resulting in two wonderful things - alcohol soaked fresh fruit, and fresh fruit soaked alcohol. :)
"[One] recipe calls for one pound of sugar per pound of fruit,layering the sugar atop the fruit in a nonreactive container and covering the
I have a friend who hasn't quite outgrown that terrible habit of taking small, human or animal shaped things (toys, action figures, gingerbread men...) and placing them in compromising positions. Like...every time.
I'm certain he's done it with gummy bears, though I'm not sure if I was present for that one. But next time the opportunity presents itself, I'll now have this trick to encourage him to create a different sort of "Adult Gummy Bears"...by soaking them in alcohol.
I've seen Skittles-flavored vodka before, but the emphasis there was on infusing the liquor itself. This how-to from Cut Out and Keep one ups that technique, as at the
I know, I know...It's June 1st, and Cocktail Party Month has just finished up, but this round up of great, inexpensive liquors and spirits is too great not to share. Master food blog Chow has created a great list of tasty and quality liquors that are great for mixing drinks or for entertaining. They'll beat the pants off of the diluted, toxic junk they sell in the grocery store, and are great options for those spirits that you don't generally prefer, but want to keep in your home bar for guests, cooking, etc. A couple bourbons, a few ryes, two tequilas, a rum, and gin, all clocking in under $20.
Limoncello is a sweet, lemon-flavored liqueur that originates from the southern regions of Italy. It's usually served chilled and straight up, as a lovely after dinner digestif. It has a strong lemon flavor, but contains none of the sourness associated with lemons, since its made by infusing the peel of the lemon, rather than the juice.
And SiNCE its merely lemon peel infused into high proof alcohol, it means you can make it at home! In bulk! It only takes three ingredients - lemon peels, sugar, and grain alcohol, and about three months.