Tag Archive for cocktail

Bourbon Old-Fashioned

Things have been roller coaster-ish in the last couple of weeks. Some pretty good highs, some devastating lows.

And, while I’m not one to advocate drinking away your sorrows, suffice to say that there were a couple of nights when I got home from work and really felt like I could use a cocktail.

Bourbon Old-Fashioned I

Lately, I’ve been loving the classic Bourbon Old-Fashioned. I had a couple at National back in December, raising a few eyebrows among the group I was with.

“That smells like my dad’s liquor cabinet,” said one friend after taking a sniff.

She may have a point, but I really love this cocktail. So, since then, I’ve kept ordering them. Like at Charcut a couple of weeks ago.

Later, out of curiousity, I looked up the recipe and saw how easy they are to make.

So when the cocktail urge struck, I bought a bag of ice, made some simple syrup and stirred myself a drink.

Bourbon Old-Fashioned III

Bourbon Old-Fashioned

Typically, the recipe calls for straight orange, but I happened to have a couple of blood oranges lying around, so I used slices of that. Of course, use what you have on hand. Although I usually have Maker’s Mark, I recently bought a bottle of Buffalo Trace, which I’m enjoying a lot.

  • 1 sugar cube
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 orange slice
  • splash of soda water
  • ice cubes
  • 2 1/2 fl. oz. bourbon

In a double old-fashioned glass (or, in my case, whatever glass I have lying around that is clean), combine the sugar cube, bitters, orange slice and soda water and muddle together. Add a handful of ice cubes, then the bourbon. Stir well.

Makes 1 drink.

 

Blackberry Gin & Tonic

It is unclear to me when I realized I liked gin.

I remember having some in high school – and we’re well past the statute of limitations on that incident, I’m sure – and not being entirely enamoured with the juniper flavour.

At some point between then and now, however, it’s become my preferred liquor. (Though, admittedly, the brand has changed in the intervening years.) Gin and tonics are now my preferred highball.

Although lime is traditional, I like mine with a squeeze of fresh lemon. Sometimes I add in some rhubarb bitters I found at a small shop in Portland, Ore. But even with these minor tweaks, the recipe is essentially the same.

Every favourite can benefit once in a while from a little change, however, so when I stumbled on this recipe for a Blackberry Gin and Tonic while cruising Serious Eats – an excellent online resource for recipes, cooking tips and, perhaps most important to me, reviews of hamburgers all over the U.S. – I bookmarked it immediately.

Blackberry Gin & Tonic I

The scorching heat over the past weekend that had me wilting in my apartment seemed like the perfect time to give it a try. Gin and tonics are a good way to beat the heat, in my opinion, and adding the juicy, sweet and tart summer flavour of blackberry only adds to that.

With my ice and wee clamshell case of some of the juiciest blackberries I’ve ever seen in the grocery store, I set to work.

While I do have a cocktail shaker and set, I don’t have a muddler – a long-handled, often wooden pestle used by bartenders to pound at fruit and herbs to release their flavours. I’m sure a real bartender would balk, but let me assure you that the back of a large spoon pressed against the inside of the cocktail shaker seemed to do a very nice job squeezing out that deep purple juice from the ripe berries.

A little squeeze of lime, some tonic and a large handful of ice then get all shaken up. (I love watching the shaker fog over from the cold as it’s shaken.)

The resulting liquid is berry bright in the glass, even after the tonic is added.

Blackberry Gin & Tonic IV
(P.S. How sweet are these glasses? My little sister has very good taste.)

It tastes of summer and refreshment and of a welcome change to my old favourite.

Blackberry Gin & Tonic III

Blackberry Gin and Tonic

This recipe comes from Serious Eats.

  • 6 ripe blackberries, plus 2 more for garnish
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup (see Cook’s Note)
  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 2 to 3 oz tonic water

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the blackberries and lime juice. Fill with ice and add simple syrup and gin. Shake vigorously for about 10 seconds.

Fill a Collins glass with ice. Double strain into serving glass using a cocktail strainer and its strainer or a mini fine-mesh strainer to prevent the blackberry seeds from going into the glass. Add tonic water and stir gently. Garnish with a few blackberries on a skewer.

Cook’s Note: To make simple syrup, combine equal parts water and sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring, until all the sugar is dissolved. Cool before using. It will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to five days.

Edited to add: At a friend’s request, I made these again the weekend this story first appeared in the Calgary Herald. It would be an understatement to say they went over well. This is, hands down, my new favourite summer drink.)

Sidecar

I love a good retro cocktail.

Sidecar III

Though, truth be told, some times I like just about any kind of cocktail. At Milk Tiger Lounge — where, let me tell you, they make a mean cocktail — I’m particularly prone to ordering the Champs-Élysées. Or, uh, several.

Ahem.

And sometimes I’ll order a Sidecar.

Sidecar IV

But, where the Champs-Élysées is made with ingredients I’m unlikely to ever have in my liquor cabinet — yellow chartreuse is a good example — those in the Sidecar are pretty standard: Cointreau, Cognac and lemon juice.

The thing I don’t usually have is, strangely, ice. My freezer sucks all the moisture out of it and leaves tiny, misshapen cubes with a disgusting aftertaste. So, I rarely make shaken cocktails at home, since it seems a bit silly to buy a giant bag of ice for a drink or two and then have it take up valuable space in my freezer. But I had friends over for dinner last weekend and I knew that gin and tonics would be in order and that would mean ice. And that meant some leftover ice. And that meant it was cocktail time.

Enter the Sidecar.

It’s tart, yet sweet, citrusy and smooth.

And it goes down dangerously easy. Please consider yourself warned.

Sidecar I

Sidecar II

Sidecar

  • 3/4 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 1/4 ounces Cognac
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice
  • sugar and additional lemon juice for sugaring the rim

Rub the rim of the glass with lemon juice and then dip in sugar.

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the Cointreau, Cognac and lemon juice. Shake well and strain into prepared glass.

 

Juice of a Few Flowers

Last year was one of celebrations: plenty of new babies and a wedding or two.

That, inevitably, meant many a shower.

Some involved sipping tea out of dainty china cups, others a glass of wine or two, perhaps a tipple of Champagne.

This year is gearing up to be slightly slower showerwise. No weddings on the calendar and only a few friends expecting to add to their families.

Which is too bad, because I’ve just discovered a lovely multi-purpose cocktail.

Juice of a Few Flowers

It’s a drink with a tart citrus punch and a nice kick of vodka. An ice-cold glass, a sugared rim, a sprig of mint.

It’s downright civilized.

So, it’s no surprise then that Juice of a Few Flowers was apparently created in the 1920s by a couple said to give glamorous parties in the East Hamptons.

The original version used gin, but Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten, in her book Back to Basics (Clarkson Potter, $40), has updated the recipe to use vodka.

She notes, though, Gerald Murphy often mixed up the drink without alcohol, pouring it into martini glasses and serving them to the children.

And that makes it a great mocktail for mothers-to-be.

Shower guests and the guest of honour can all sip (relatively) the same thing.

With puckery grapefruit and tart lemon and lime juices, this drink could head toward sour territory, but it’s mellowed by the addition of sweet orange juice, then tempered further with the sugared rim.

Shaken until ice cold (freeze the martini glasses in advance to keep it even further chilled), the drink is smooth and oh-so sippable.

So much so that I don’t think I’ll be waiting for a shower or other celebration to be pulling out this recipe again.

Citrus

Juice of a Few Flowers II

Juice of a Few Flowers

Ina Garten notes if your juicer doesn’t strain the juice, use a sieve to remove the pulp, otherwise it will clog the holes of the cocktail shaker.

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice (1 grapefruit)
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
  • 1 cup (250 mL) vodka
  • extra lemon juice
  • granulated sugar
  • fresh mint sprigs

Combine the orange juice, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, lime juice and vodka in a pitcher.

Dip the rims of 4 martini glasses first in a dish of lemon juice and then in a dish with sugar. Set aside to dry.

Pour the cocktail mix into the glasses, garnish with mint and serve.

This story first appeared in the Real Life section in the Calgary Herald. For more delicious recipes, visit CalgaryHerald.com/life.