Cranberry Shrub Cocktail, Cocktail of the Week

Cranberry Shrub

The Cranberry Shrub cocktail is a variation on a venerable cocktail that was popular in America during the colonial era! A shrub is a sweetened vinegar-based syrup that is often used as a mixer in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. For instructions on how to make the one I used in this recipe see here. I know, I know another cold drink!? But it’s winter! It is, but cranberries are seasonally appropriate and I’d drank a shrub cocktail, let alone make my own, before. Also, a good friend asked me to make this for them…

Cranberry Shrub
The ingredients

Cranberry Shrub Cocktail

  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 3/4 oz. cranberry shrub
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 3 drops bitters (your choice)
  • 1/2 oz triple sec (optional)

Add all to a shaker half full of ice. Shake well. Pour into a chilled glass. Garnish w/ cranberry or orange peel.

Cranberry Shrub

It’s hard to describe what this drink tastes like. Vinegar is not something people usually mix with their alcohol. It’s not something people use at all, except for making salad dressing. There’s this tangy, refreshing, sweet crispness to the drink. It’s very bright on the tongue. Then comes the mellowness and warmth of the bourbon. I’m glad I used orange bitters I think the citrus helped bring everything together. (Note: I made another cocktail and added triple sec to it which also does the job nicely) If you’re getting bored with traditional mixers or you just want to up your cocktail game give this a try. Or make a different kind of shrub and let me know hot it worked for you.

Cranberry Shrub

Cocktail of the Week – White Lady

White Lady

Remember the Sidecar from a couple weeks back? The White Lady is a lot like that. Except it has gin instead of brandy. Oh, and it has an egg white in it! A real Sidecar might have egg white in it as well, I don’t know. When I’m doing research on these drinks before picking which one to make the ‘egg white’ on the list of ingredients is always listed as optional. So, until now I’ve never put one in. Tonight was the night though. The White Lady seemed too simple, too plain, of a drink to omit the egg white and so I dove right in with only a few reservations! (If you are feeling queasy about using egg whites in your cocktails I found this post useful.)

White Lady
The ingredients

White Lady

  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 egg white

Combine all ingredients in shaker. Shake. Add cracked ice to shaker and shake well. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Lemon wheel garnish is optional.

Some bartenders strain twice when using egg white. Do what ever you are comfortable with.

White Lady

Oh, oh, oh! So silky, so smooth! I wish I had not treated the egg whites as optional before! I don’t know if I’d have anything to say about the White Lady if I had skipped the egg white. I have Tanqueray gin right now and it has a more robust flavor profile than Beefeater and despite the sour of the lemon juice and the sweetness of triple sec I can still taste the gin. It’s the only thing disturbing my palate as this drink goes down. It’s the only hiccup in what is a soothingly smooth cocktail.

White Lady

Cocktail of the Week – Sidecar

SidecarIt seems we’re finally moving into Autumn here in Northern California. The temperature during the day day isn’t rising into the 90s or 100s and the nights are cooling down into the 60s. (Edit: Of course as soon as I write this up the temperature shoots up into the 90s again…) With the move into Fall you can expect the cocktails to be less fruity and a little warmer. To welcome in the season I picked up some cognac and made that most classic of cocktails, the Sidecar.

The ingredients


  • 3/4 oz. triple sec
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 oz. cognac

Pour ingredients into a shaker with cracked ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The rim of the glass may be sugar coated and a lemon twist may be used as a garnish


The Sidecar is first mentioned in a book around 1907. It’s current form is believed to have taken shape around the end of the First World War in either London or Paris. I’m most reminded of a sour when drinking a Sidecar, the lemon juice providing most of the flavor with the cognac and triple sec mellowing out and sweetening the drink. Some of called the Sidecar the only good thing to come out of Prohibition. Which is a silly thing to say because the drink came out of Europe… The cocktail is a beautiful, glowing strawberry-straw color and it’s taste is a wonderful blend of citrus and brandy. Don’t be afraid to tweak with the amounts until you find the blend you find most please. Just be careful! So smooth is this drink that it can sneak up on. Two or three go by before you know it!


Cocktail of the Week: Winter Bourbon Smash

2014-02-02 19.56.54

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.

2014-02-02 19.56.37

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.

%d bloggers like this: