Cocktail of the Week: Mint Julep

2014-04-22 20.34.27We had plenty of mint left over after making Planter’s Punch. D experimented with putting it in some of our food dishes but it’s a notorious difficult flavor to pair with. I had the bright idea of making Mint Juleps with the remaining, I mean it is Spring and all. The first step was getting a handle on what exactly goes into a Mint Julep, and like a lot of things that have been around for a while, there are quite a few varieties of the cocktail. Some call for white sugar, some call for brown sugar. Some insist that you use only powdered sugar, some mention soda water others leave it out. I decided to go with the most basic recipe I could find with the assumption that it’d be the closest to the original. Just bourbon, brown sugar, fresh mint, and a lot of ice.

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Mint Julep

  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 4 cups of ice

Crush the ice. In a cocktail shaker muddle 8 mint leaves and brown sugar. Add bourbon and stir. Pack a cocktail cup with crushed ice until overflowing. Strain bourbon into cup. Stir until sides of cup frost over. Top with more ice and garnish with remaining mint leaves.

2014-04-22 20.34.47 Not really much to look at is it? It wasn’t really much to drink either… I suppose if I was at the Kentucky Derby under a hot sun, sipping on a Mint Julep might not be a bad idea. Or if I had a porch to sit on during a long warm, summer evening than a Mint Julep might make sense. There just isn’t much to talk about here. Sightly sweetened bourbon with a hint of mint that gets more and more watered down as you drink it. If I tried this again I think I’d crush the ice a little finer and see if club soda adds anything to the drink. In all likelihood though, the next time I have mint lying around I’ll make a Mojito.

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.

Cocktail of the Week: Elderfashioned

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The Godfather really didn’t turn out well… I’m still disappointed in how much I didn’t like that drink.  This week we’re going for something a really simple. Almost as simple as the very first cocktail, the Old Fashioned, except we’ll be putting in a little St. Germain to sweeten it up.

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Elderfashioned

  • 2 parts whisky bourbon/rye
  • 1/2 part St. Germain
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir and serve in a old fashioned glass on the rocks (I like the one big square ice cube); garnish w/ an orange twist

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A note of caution: St. Germain’s is sweet, really sweet. You might be thinking, “only 1/2 a part to two parts boourbon?!” Yes, only 1/2 a part! D wanted more St. Germain in her cocktail and it turned out too sweet! If you follow the recipe you’ll end up with a sweet twist on an Old Fashioned, if you go any further you’ll end up with dessert! D and I really like the Elderfashioned. Especially, since it takes some of the edge off of the traditional Old Fashioned, mellows it a bit. Owing to its sweetness this would make an excellent digestif, you can skip dessert even!

Cocktail of the Week: Southern Godfather

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What a crazy holiday season! D and I have been attending so many parties, events, and get togethers that making cocktails at home was superfluous! With the New Year in swing though our social calendar has cleared up and making cocktails at home makes sense again. I’m starting the 2014 with a variation of the Godfather, a scotch whisky cocktail. I don’t have any scotch whisky, and I’m not really a fan of scotch whisky it tastes too much like peat smells, or what I imagine much of the moors of Scotland smell like. Instead I’m using good ol’ American bourbon!

I need more Amaretto!
The ingredients

Southern Godfather

  • 1 1/2 oz. Whisky bourbon
  • 3/4 oz. Amaretto

Build over ice in a rocks glass. Stir to combine.
*Add splash of cream to the drink to make it a Godson.

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I was initially excited about this cocktail. Bourbon and Amaretto are two of my favorite liquors. I was hopeful that they’d be two great tastes that taste great together! But, it didn’t turn out that way. These were two great tastes that had me pursing my lips… I tried to salvage the drink by adding some milk, turning it into a Godson and the cream did make it more palatable. It also left me thinking of how better the cocktail would have been if it had been a completely different cocktail.