There’s just something about fall that I love, it’s basic and I don’t care. Growing up in Canada, fall is all cool days, changing leaves, and for most of my life, the beginning of a new school year. My university days were the best! Sleeping through lectures, living off of apples I stole from the cafeteria, drunken shopping cart races in the tunnels… Go Ravens! I hadn’t realized how much I was living through my children until I found out that they wouldn’t be going to school this year. Anyway, that is my incomprehensible explanation for why I decided to jump on the shoulder pad trend with a Harvard shirt from Zara. I’m still not sure how I feel about it… The jeans are from Everlane, and they are the best.
I was trying to figure out what cocktail I should pair with this look, and the Cosmo just seemed like the perfect choice. Don’t be alarmed though, this is not the disgusting vodka, cranberry and orange juice swill that we were foolishly ordering in the mid-2000’s, while trying to seem grown-up by channelling Sex and the City. Turns out a correctly made Cosmopolitan is a pretty tasty cocktail and doesn’t all involve orange juice…
2 oz. Hangar 1 Mandarin Blossom Vodka
1 oz. Cointreau
1/2 oz. lime juice
Splash of cranberry
Lime slice for garnish
Combine in a shaker until cold, strain into a chilled martini glass.
I know it’s technically still Negroni week, but it’s also the first day of Bee’s Knees week! I had to get in this submission for Home Bar Awards September Challenge to riff on the classic Bee’s Knees cocktail, which is perfect because this is one of my all time favorites. I actually riff off this cocktail on the regular, as you will see if you look back at my Hibiscus Blush specs from a few weeks ago. So you might think that I would be out of ideas, but the combinations are endless.
This cocktail takes its flavor cues from Nashville hot honey, I think I might have been eating Popeye’s at the time ( I know its Louisiana chicken)… I happened to have some appropriately named Bee’s Knees Spicy honey in my pantry, which is nice because it’s spicy without adding any vinegar. I am interested in trying this with Tabasco and honey, which is a little truer to the Nashville hot honey sauce that its based on. If you’ve managed to read this far and you’re wondering what Bee’s Knees week is all about you can find the link here, save the bees!
Hot Honey Bee’s Knees
2 oz. Highclere Castle Gin
3/4 oz. lemon juice
3/4 oz. hot honey syrup
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe, and garnish with some extra hot honey.
Hot Honey Syrup
4 parts Bee’s Knees Spicy honey
2 parts Honey
1 part hot water
What goes better with a Negroni than a velvet jumpsuit? Don’t answer that. This fancy number is Zara from about two years ago, and I had to get a little dressed-up. Why?Because it’s Negroni week! Everyones favorite time of year! No, just me? I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but if you don’t like a Negroni, you’re not trying hard enough. If you’re not ready for the traditional Negroni the internet is full of brilliant riffs that might be more to your liking. There’s really a Negroni for everyone.
1 oz. Citadelle Gin
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. Otto Athens Vermouth
Garnish with orange peel
Combine ingredients in a rocks glass with large ice cube and stir with a finger. Don’t forget to wash your hands you dirty animal.
This cocktail is a creamy, coffee and pumpkin spiced riff on a Ramos Gin Fizz that substitutes the Whiskey for gin. This is the perfect fall cocktail, and while I think that pumpkin spice has been taken a bit too far in the past, I can appreciate it in moderation. We made the decision to sell our house a couple of weeks ago, and since then my life has been taken over with packing, cleaning and fixing all of the broken things that we’ve been ignoring. Let me tell you, this is the perfect pick-me-up after a long day.
I am not a fan of creamy cocktails generally, but the combination of the whiskey and the coffee liqueur just works for me. The key to pulling off the pumpkin spice is to hold back on the sweetness, and the Mr. Black provides the perfect amount. This is made exactly like a traditional Ramos Fizz, I used the technique laid out in Meehan’s Bartenders Manual. Definitely let the foam rest for at least two minutes before pouring the remainder of the cocktail to help the foam rise over the top of the glass, or you risk having your drink pour over the side of the glass instead of standing tall.
PSL Ramos Fizz
2 oz. Mr. Black Coffee Liqueur
1.5 oz. Fever-Tree Club Soda
1 oz. Blackened American Whiskey
.75 oz. heavy cream
.50 oz. lemon juice
1 egg white
Dash of pumpkin spice, plus some for garnish
Pour club soda into a chilled high ball glass. Add the rest of the ingredients to a shaker and dry shake, add two to three ice cubes and shake until dissolved. Pour into the highball glass until level with the top, then let the foam settle for two minutes, don’t rush this or it won’t work properly. Once settled pour the rest carefully into the foam to make it rise above the edge of the glass. Sprinkle with pumpkin spice.
For some reason I find balancing hibiscus in a cocktail really difficult. I've been planning on using Big Heart Tea's beautiful Blushing Pink Hibiscus tea, one of my kids favorites, in a cocktail for a while. My challenge was to find a way to bring out the hibiscus flavor without the tartness that sometimes over powers everything, I think I managed it.
Sometimes, I randomly remember that I have a bottle of something sitting at the back of my bar, and then I just really need to make something with it. In this case, it was a long forgotten bottle of Liquor 43. Since I was also looking for a way to encorporate some Hibiscus tea, an infusion seemed obvious. While the end result of this infusion is something that tastes a lot like red children’s Tylenol, don't be scared. When mixed with the gin and lemon, and slightly diluted, you get a very spirit forward slightly sweet, slightly tart cocktail that showcases the hibiscus tea flavors in all the right ways.
2 oz. Highclere London Dry Gin
3/4 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. Licor 43 infused with Big Heart Tea Blushing pink Hibiscus tea
Place ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Pour into a coupe over a large ice cube.
Transitions! Who’s feeling it? Fall is coming, school has started (or is starting if you live in a more civilized part of the world), and we’re selling our house… We've finally had a break from the heatwave here, and I have been enjoying the last few overcast days. I had to take full advantage of the sweater weather and pull out this beautiful cable knit that my mom made for me.
Honestly, today just felt like a Boulevardier kind of day. For some reason Bourbon always packs a little more of a punch for me, and this drink means serious business. A Boulevardier is essentially the Negroni's bad ass cousin. It was created in the 1920's by American-in-Paris, Erskine Gwynne, and named after the magazine he founded. A Boulevardier is defined as one who frequents the Parisienne boulevards by Merriam-Webster, and if one of these doesn't make you feel fancy-as-fuck then I don't know what will.
Boulevardier (adapted from liquor.com)
1 1/4 oz. Heaven Hill Kentucky Bourbon
1 oz. Otto's Athens Vermouth
1 oz. Campari
Dehydrated orange slice
Pour everything into a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled. Pour into a low ball glass and garnish with orange slice.