Four years ago, I shared an introduction to making smoked cocktails on ManMade, exploring the techniques and ingredients that would allow you to create woodsy, rich drinks at home. I offered several ways to create and capture smoke, but admitted that I preferred a specialized, $100 tool designed for doing just that. Ever since then, at least once or twice a month, I've received an email asking me how to pull this off without buying any specialty gear.
To which I say: challenge accepted! I totally get not wanting to spend a large sum of money to make something you're not sure you're even going to like. I wouldn't either. So, let's break down the process and see what we can do to make some seriously tasty smoked cocktails using things you already have.
There are occassions to spend a little more on an investment bottle. But there's absolutely nothing wrong with looking for something to enjoy that cost less than an Andrew Jackson. None of these second-to-the-bottom shelf bottles are going to blow your mind and or cause you to use the word "revelation," but you know that already.
Though, seriously, if you're having fun and the evening is more about the conversation than what's in the glass, twelve servings of anything palatable for less than twenty bucks is money well spent.
Here's the kind peer-reviewed scientific study and journal article that we can all get behind: how to make your whiskey taste better. This year, scholars Björn C. G. Karlsson & Ran Friedman took a look at the molecular makeup of whiksey, and specifically, how dilution with water affects the presence of flavorful compounds that make the sipping experience even more enjoyable.
A few weekends ago, my wife and I went out for a special dinner to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. (Hi sweetheart!) We opted to enjoy a few beers with our meal, but the table next to us had ordered cocktails. They each showed up with the glass half full of color - slanted, and with the liquid on the top. Initially, I thought it was simply a triangular shaped glass, where the bottom angle was simply solid, but as I looked closer, I realized, in fact, it was a frozen wedge of solid ice, attached to the glass so it maintained the effect.
I asked the server how it was done, and she told me the bartender had a bunch of little rubber molds that fit the glass, and the whole thing goes into the freezer. She said they were cool, but only fit the certain glass they came with; so only a certain number of cocktail recipes are served in them, and they run out each night.
A few days later, I looked it up to see if I could pick up one or two. I found the product - it's a glass with a custom silicone insert that freezes the ice at a perfect 45° angle, cutting right down the center. They cost about $20 each, and are kinda cool.
But - they're also unnecessary. Because you can achieve the same effect without spending a dime, using any rocks glass you already have. Here's how to do it.
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.
And it came to pass that the season for sandals and gin subsided, leaving in its place jackets and layers, autumnal aromas, and whiskey season.
So, this is a collection not for the kind of guy who finds a label he likes and sticks with it. Cause, those sort of fellows already know what they're enjoying this season. Instead, these are the best-bang-for-your-buck bottles, those that have a great relationship between their price and their flavor.
And by that, we don't mean these are value whiskeys that are simply tolerable or "good for the price." Instead, they're solid, investment whiskeys; some of our favorites that will make you
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.
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)...
There are times to try new things. Times to taste different flavors, experiment with products, seek out something you've never encountered before...And sometimes, you just want to know what the best option is. The easy choice. The go-to. The everyday variety you know will work when you need it, and rely on every time.
Throughout the next few months, ManMade is seeking out the best affordable bottles of a variety of spirits that work well in your home bar, but know you can grab at the store the next time you head to a friend's house or a party.
If you know anything about bourbon, you've no doubt heard the fables of Pappy Van Winkle, one of the most hard-to-find and sought-after bottles on the market. It's become the stuff of legend, perhaps better known for its rarity than its flavor. Or, if reports are to be believed, perhaps not. People say it's pretty amazing.
By simply accenting the varietals in bourbon with similar ingredients you can easily move a bottom shelf brand up a level. All you need is three simple ingredients!
There are times to try new things. Times to taste different flavors, experiment with products, seek out something you've never encountered before...And sometimes, you just want to know what the best option is. The easy choice. The go-to. The everyday variety you know will work when you need it, and rely on every time. Throughout the next few months, ManMade is seeking out the best affordable bottles of a variety of spirits that work well in your home bar, but know you can grab at the store the next time you head to a friend's house or a party.
Enjoying a glass of something strong is a good way to end the night every now and then. But do you know how to actually get the best out of the experience? Here's a quick and dirty take on how to get the most fun, flavor, and enjoyment.
Who doesn't love information beautifully laid out into a colorful infographic? I've wrangled up some of the best charts regarding our favorite beverages of the adult kind for your viewing pleasure. Heck, you might even learn something!
Ever wonder how America's great bourbon is made? Like, from what it's made, and how does it become liquid, and if it's distilled, why is it brown?These guys went on a five-day blitz through twelve distilleries and cut together this video as a visual guide through the entire process.
Huh. The Daily Beast shares that most bottles of 'craft' whiskey - those determined by branding using phrases like "small batch," "handcrafted," "artisanal," and always with a local designation, probably come from a huge, macro distillery in Southern Indiana.
Some days are everyday cocktail days. Straightforward, two or three ingredient drinks that taste great and require little prep work.
But some days are special cocktail days... Days where a little extra effort makes for all the difference. Days like Fourth of July on a Friday that happens to make for three-day weekend. Which is totally happening this year.