Category Archives: Cocktails

gift ideas

Craft A Brew kit arrived!

Craft A Brew kit arrived!

I’ve got two great gift ideas for the beer lover in your life.  First, Craft A Brew has produced a home-brew system that comes with everything you need to brew a whole gallon of beer at home.

Comes with everything you will need to create a gallon of home brew!

Comes with everything you will need to create a gallon of home brew!

Craft A Brew is a great gift idea because it comes in a variety of styles and has really simple instructions for first timers to use. Also, it’s under $50! I’ve never brewed beer before so I will follow up on this post to share how it turns out.

Additionally, Govino has released a portable shatter-proof beer glass as well! These could go with the Craft A Brew kit or serve as a nice gift all on there own. They’re great for outdoor parties or picnics where things tend to get dropped… and a set of 4 costs less than $15!

Govino beer glasses are a great gift idea and won't break the bank.

Govino beer glasses are a great gift idea and won’t break the bank.

Also love these shatter-proof Govino Champagne flutes.

Also love these shatter-proof Govino Champagne flutes.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR! CHEERS!

irish cream posset

Not your usual Irish Cream!

Not your usual Irish Cream!

As a bartender (and I think most bartenders would agree), I’ve never been a huge fan of Bailey’s Irish Cream. Sure, it’s ok in coffee or a milkshake but it’s never something special that I would even think of stocking in my home bar. In fact, the process used to manufacture Bailey’s is just as contrived as the fictional signature on the bottle: R.A. Bailey. The product wasn’t released until 1974 and served to solve the “problem” requiring a bartender to actually mix fresh, good, quality ingredients together in a mixing tin. In other words, Bailey’s is merely a time saver.

It wasn’t until I began learning about possets and we made the original recipe for an Irish Cream Posset, that I understood what was sacrificed by creating processed versions of this classic for reasons of convenience and marketability. If you want to really impress your guests with an after dinner drink or simply experience something great that most bars don’t provide, try mixing your own Irish Cream Posset! It’s not hard or even time consuming and the reward far exceeds on-the-shelf products. I’m guessing it will change your opinion about this classic as it did my own. Let me know what you think.

icposset

In a mixing tin (shaker) goes:
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ounce organic heavy cream
1 teaspoon fine white sugar
2 ounces Irish malt or pot-stilled whiskey  *I used Powers

Fill the shaker with ice, seal and shake vigorously to mix, chill, dilute and aerate. Strain into a goblet and finely grate fresh nutmeg on top. You won’t believe how good this is! Cheers!

*Powers Irish Whiskey, unlike Jameson or Bushmills, uses 70% pot-stilled whiskey in their gold label, yielding a much more complex and true expression of the malt even though it is still a blend.

bacardi legacy cocktail competition

Bacardi rum daiquiri.

Bacardi rum daiquiri. Photos by Wade Hammond and Deniz Durmus

I had a great time with my friend Deniz at Monday evening’s Los Angeles regional BACARDI Legacy Cocktail Competition held at No Vacancy in Hollywood. Such a cool event space with a fun secret entrance! There were a wide array of drinks presented such as Possets, punches and cocktails all made with Bacardi rum of course. Here are some highlights from the evening as well as some recipes to consider.

Mixologist Kalani Ben along with the other contestants had 9 minutes to share their story and present their entry.

Mixologist Kalani Ben along with the other contestants had 9 minutes to share their story and present their entry.

San Francisco’s Andrew Meltzer, Jessica Sanders of Austin, TX, and Chicago based bartender, Kalani Ben were awarded a spot in the national finals. Sanders, Ben and Meltzer will join regional winners from the Portland Cocktail Week and in New York competitions at the U.S. finals in Miami, Florida, next February. They will compete for a chance to present their “legacy cocktail” at the BACARDÍ Legacy Global Cocktail Competition in Sydney, Australia, in May of 2015.

One of my favorite drinks of the evening was a clarified-milk posset which was handed to me in a small bottle along with a glass of ice with citrus zest.

One of my favorite drinks of the evening was a clarified-milk posset which was handed to me in a small bottle along with a glass of ice with citrus zest. Premixed drinks can be a gooood thing…

Bacardi rum daisy.

Bacardi rum daisy.

"El Presidente" and "Gauyaba Arabica" with freshly grated Arabica beans on top.

“El Presidente” and “Gauyaba Arabica” with freshly grated Arabica beans on top.

Award Winning Cocktail Recipes:
Jessica Sander of Austin, TX –  LA GRANDIFLORA

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ parts of BACARDÍ Superior
  • ¾ part of Hibiscus Puree (Perfect Puree)
  • ½ part Miele Amaro (Bitter Honey) Syrup
  • ½ part Martini Gran Lusso Vermouth
  • ½ part Fresh Lime Juice
  • 3 drops of Almond Extract

Method:

  • Ingredients are combined in a cocktail tin with ice and shaken until chilled and properly diluted.
  • The cocktail is fine strained into chilled cocktail coupes and then garnished with a thin lime wheel that has been pierced with a dried hibiscus flower and a sprig of fresh tarragon.

Kalani Ben from Chicago, IL – FAMILY TIES

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ parts of BACARDÍ Superior
  • 1 part Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
  • ¾ part Clove Syrup
  • ½  part Luxardo Amaro Abano

Method:

  • Using a hand juicer/press, squeeze 1 part of lime juice and add it to your shaker along with one half of the already juiced lime shell.
  • Then add all other ingredients to your shaker.
  • Add ice, shake vigorously, and double strain into your coupe.

Andrew Meltzer of San Francisco, CA – CUBAN COBBLER

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ parts BACARDÍ Gold
  • ¾ part Palo Cortado Shery
  • ½ part Pear Williams Liqueur
  • ½ part Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ¼ part Honey Simple

Method:

  • In a mixing glass or tin, combine BACARDÍ Gold rum, sherry, pear liqueur, lemon juice and honey syrup.
  • Add ice, shake, and strain over fresh ice into a chilled collins glass or large tumbler.
  • Insert a straw.
  • Garnish with a thin slice of pear on the inside of the glass and top with seasonal berries and mint sprigs.

cocktail water

cocktailwatersplashwmHaving fun photographing the process of making “cocktail water”. Cocktail water is simply sugar in cube form, 2 dashes of petite bitters and 1/4 pony (1/4 ounce) of water muddled together with the flat back end of a bar spoon. This is the basis for a great old-fashioned whiskey cocktail. This is how all old-fashioned cocktails were made at one time and they involved any spirit a patron would desire. It is not strictly a whiskey cocktail.

*Note – You don’t actually create aggressive splashes when combining these ingredients. I was simply trying to create some drama!

prickly pear punch

Prickly Pear Punch has a unique color and flavor.

Prickly Pear Punch has a unique color and flavor.

The other night at the bar, one of the cooks had brought an abundance of cactus pears and subsequently challenged me to make a drink out of them. I decided to approach this from the cactus angle and chose tequila as the base spirit. Basically, I made my own version of a prickly pear margarita which already exists. (And margaritas are actually punches) I used orange flavored brandy instead of curaçao liqueur or triple sec which gave the drink a bit more complexity. I think it was successful enough to publish here. I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients
1.5 Ounces Tequila
.5 Ounce Orange Flavored Brandy
3/4 Ounce Fresh lime Juice
1 Bar Spoon Agave Nectar
1 Cactus Pear

Cut of the ends and make an incision down 1 side in order to remove the flesh of the cactus pear.

Cut of the ends and make an incision down 1 side in order to remove the flesh of the cactus pear.

Muddle the cactus pear in the bottom of your shaker or mixing tin. Add the remaining ingredients and stir the agave nectar into the mixture prior to adding ice. Add ice to the tin and shake vigorously. Strain through a mesh strainer (to avoid getting the hard seeds into the punch) into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lime wheel and suck it up!