Cocktail of the Week: Stone Fence

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I was listening to Mother Jones’ Inquiring Minds podcast last week and they had Amy Stewart on the show to talk about the science of turning plants into alcohol. A topic I was sure to be interested in. The podcast also happened to be released/recorded during the Fourth of July holiday weekend and so the topic of what the first “Americans” drank came up. Amy mentioned that both whiskey and cider, the hard variety, were very common and very popular with American colonialists. She then mentioned a drink that would be called a “cocktail” today, the Stone Fence. She described it as a mix of hard apple cider with rye whiskey or rum and that it was very popular. This was enough of a hook to get me digging!

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the ingredients

 Stone Fence

  • 2 oz. rye whiskey, whiskey, rum, or brandy
  • Angostura bitters
  • Hard apple cider
  • mint spring or lemon wedge (optional)

Pour spirits into a highball or Collins glass, add a dash of bitters, top with ice and fill to the brim with cider. Stir, garnish with mint sprig or lemon wedge.

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With the amount of cider and ice you’ll be putting into this drink the spirit is going to be subtle. My first impressions were that this drink was an odd and very dry champagne. Not a bad thing at all, but not really what I expect from a cocktail either.  Subtle would be the best one word description for the drink. The crisp dryness of the cider followed up with the soft aftertaste of bourbon. I didn’t think twice about finishing this cocktail in two or three swigs. But here I am 30 minutes or so later and I’m feeling it. Either I’m more dehydrated than I realize or this drink masks the hard alcohol phenomenally well. This cocktail  reminds me of a Dark and Stormy or a Moscow Mule without any of the kick or punch that the ginger beer gives those drinks. That’s not a bad thing, just different.

Cocktail of the Week: Peach, Ginger, and Bourbon Frozen Cocktail


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Fourth of July weekend was a scorcher! We decided to ditch the central valley and head someplace cooler: Santa Cruz. Where, I might add, we had a great time relaxing, enjoying the beach, running trails, watching the illegal fireworks, etc., etc. It was great! To cap it all off we picked up some fresh fruit and ginger and whipped up this frozen cocktail. I was a little leery about mixing peaches and ginger at first, but…

The ingredients, sans ginger
The ingredients, sans ginger

Peach, Ginger, and Bourbon Frozen Cocktail

  • 3/4 cup frozen peaches
  • 1/2 tbsp. finely grated peeled ginger
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup ice

Place all ingredients into a blender and pulse. Stop when the texture looks too thick when poured into a Collins glass. Garnish with rosemary sprig if desired.

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I’m glad I took the plunge and made this! Ginger and Peach work great together, the garnish complements the drink nicely as well. I’m thinking next time I make it I’ll squeeze some rosemary oil into the drink. Cool, crisp, clean. This was the perfect way to cool down after a hot 4th of July weekend.

Cocktail of the Week: Bourbon Sweet Tea

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Well, here it is July in California’s Central Valley and it is starting to get hot. Today it got up to 100° F, tomorrow it’s supposed to get up to 104° F?! What are you supposed to drink in that kind of weather? What could possibly be appropriate? Iced Tea wouldn’t be a bad idea, even better if it’s sweet tea. Sweet Tea, while being delicious, isn’t a cocktail though…

Until you add bourbon to it.

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The ingredients

Bourbon Sweet Tea
(makes 1 pitcher)

  • 3 cups of black tea
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 cup bourbon

Add sugar to tea. Put tea on stove and heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Let tea cool for a few minutes. While tea is cooling add, lime, lemon, orange, and bourbon to a large pitcher. Pour tea into pitcher. Chill. Serve in small glasses with a lemon wheel for garnish.

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This was a lot like drinking candy. Delicious citrus flavored sweet tea and with a little hint of bourbon on the way down. In the future, I’d pour the tea into chilled glasses or serve it on ice to really get it cold. This was so refreshing on a hot, California summer evening.

Cocktail of the Week: Winter Bourbon Smash

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It rained today. And if you’ve been following the news here in California, you’d know that rain is a pretty big deal right now. Besides alleviating, if only by a very little, the drought the state is experiencing the weather also made actually feel like Winter. To honor the rain, and the mood it established,I decided to make this winter smash that D had mentioned to me earlier this month.

I’d never made a smash before and this isn’t your standard anyway, playing on the rule that a seasonal fruit should be in the drink by using a jam or preserve. But, it did sound delicious and sitting on the couch, sipping this cocktail while comfortably wrapped in a blanket while listening to the rain fall outside was too wonderful an image not to make reality!

The ingredients
The ingredients

Winter Bourbon Smash

  • 1 oz. raspberry jam (any jam or preserve will do)
  • 1 oz. bourbon whisky
  • 1/2 oz. TripleSec
  • 1 to 1 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • splash of club soda

Add 1/2 cup ice, preserves, bourbon, triple sec and orange juice to a shaker and shake vigorously for 15 seconds.  Pour into serving glass with a few ice cubes and top with a splash of club soda. Garnish with orange slice.

PS – Depending on the size of the holes in your cocktail shaker you might have to use a jam that doesn’t have a lot of fruit chunks and seeds in it or be comfortable scooping infused jam out of the shaker after draining out as much of the cocktail as you can.

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Another wonderful drink! The bourbon and raspberry jam complement each other perfectly. The two work on each other smoothing out their rough edges, the bourbon’s bite and the jam’s sweetness, until you are left with something eminently drinkable.