Bottling cocktails to have on hand at home (or to bring to a party, or give out as baby shower gifts, whatever) is really very easy. Yes, like any project, you need to invest in some basic equipment. The internet is a great source for that (I’ll post some sources below), but if you’re in a town that has a beer supply shop you could also hop on down to one and very likely find these items. Let’s assume you have the booze on hand for a cocktail you’d like to bottle, then all you need are bottles, caps and a capper. And 2 out of the 3 items can be used over and over again.
Now what to bottle?
Last week Serious Eats published a recipe of mine that was a jumping off point to start bottling cocktails at home. I love single serving bottles that can be handed off to guests when they show up late to your house and demand that you make them a fancy cocktail. I’m not a night person, so my brain after 9pm is staticky at best (no one ever shows up for cocktails at 10am). However, if I have a small supply of varying fanciness in the fridge ready to go at a moments notice, then I look cool. And no one can tell I’d rather be in bed then entertaining (until I fall asleep mid-sentence on the couch).
Cocktails that work well in a bottled cocktail form have the standard rules of NO dairy and NO fresh juice due to stability issues (although I’m testing one of those out next week so check back in here!!). Instead of bottling the household standards of a Manhattan or a Negroni, likely choices since they’re all booze, I decided to riff on an Old Fashioned. It being summertime, I wanted a recipe that worked well both in terms of summer flavor and also would work in a bottle. Thus, the Salted Peanut Old Fashioned was born. Using peanuts in an Old Fashioned I’ve seen before, but I see it a lot on the sweet side. For this drink I wanted to cut back on the sugar, and create a more savory profile. The whole idea made me reminisce about late summer baseball games and eating peanuts and you can read all that in the original post. The summer 6-pack of beer was being replaced by a 6-pack of cocktails!
Couple facts to point out before we begin:
Water. Water is added to the base since we will NOT be stirring the cocktails. These are stand alone and can be poured right into your mouth and enjoyed from that bottle they’re living in. Or, if you want to get sophisticated, they can be poured into a chilled cocktail glass too. Also, the amount of dilution can be based on YOUR desire as well. Want it to be a tad stronger? Decrease the amount of water, but don’t forgo it altogether unless you want to stir these with ice when you crack them open.
Yes, there is an infusion in the recipe, but nut infusions tend to move rather quickly. 24 hours isn’t that long if you’re already dedicated to the project.
The amount of salt added is to MY taste, not your taste. So if you like things less salty, add less. More salty, add more. You should actually want to drink this.
Ready to start bottling? Let’s go!
Peanut Infused Rye
Note: the peanuts will soak up a few ounces of liquor, so you’ll start with more base rye than you think you’ll need.
16 ounces rye whiskey, such as Rittenhouse 100
1 cup (about 5-6 ounces) raw peanuts
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread raw peanuts on a baking sheet and roast in oven for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Let cool. Combine rye and roasted peanuts in an airtight container for 24 hours. Strain peanuts through cheesecloth over a fine strainer, and then strain liquid once more through a new cheesecloth. (If you feel like you’re not getting all the oils/fats/solids out, freeze the mixture for a few hours and scrape off any fats that rise to the top. Thaw, and then use below)
In a large measuring cup, combine all ingredients. Using a small funnel, pour 4 ounces of the mixture into each bottle. Using a capper, cap each bottle. Refrigerate if you’re using soon or you can store in a cool, dark place for several months.
The aroma is sweet and nutty while the cocktail has a rich, savory flavor that is complimented by the addition of salt. Bottling this will not change the flavors too dramatically (yes, they will meld a bit together) as we are not barrel-aging, we’re stopping the flavors in time. Summertime.
All of the materials to bottle cocktails can be found online and probably at your home brewer store. Want some guidance? Here’s where I got mine:Caps / Bottles / Capper
You guys might have noticed I’ve had a couple Smashes on here lately, reason being that summer is one of the best times for making these drinks because they highlight so many of the awesome seasonal ingredients that are around. I always love berries in these, but for this month’s challenge, I wanted to mix it up a bit. And right now sweet corn is in season.
Oh yeah, corn. In a cocktail. I only just heard of a few cocktails that use corn as an ingredient, but after poking around the internet for a little bit, I noticed that using corn isn’t SO new, it’s just not done that much. Here’s the trick though for getting this to work: please buy your corn from the farmers market where it’s in season and is super flavorful. Otherwise, it’s not going to pop in flavor and will just be a waste of time. You’ve been warned.
Strawberries are also in season and I just can’t help myself. So I’ve mixed them in this cocktail with the corn for a little sweet-tart flavor. Hey, it works in the salads I make, and it works here too.
So let’s embrace summer produce before it all goes away and we’re cursing the early setting sun and I try to tell you how awesome winter squash cocktails are. Get shuckin’!
2 ounces white rum, Caña Brava used here
1/2 cup fresh sweet corn kernels
1 small strawberry, sliced
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
2-3 drops Bitter Tears “Scarlet” strawberry chili bitters*
1 whole strawberry for garnish
In the bottom of a mixing glass, muddle together strawberry slices, lime juice and simple syrup. Add corn kernels and muddle until broken up (some kernels will remain whole). Add rum and bitters. Fill glass with ice and shake hard for about 30 seconds. Double strain into a rocks glass, fill glass with crushed ice, and add strawberry garnish.
The corn is sweet and subtle and pairs exceptionally well with the strawberry. Be careful not to use too large a strawberry so that there’s a balance of flavor. The strawberry can be overpowering if you use too much. Overall a light, refreshing cocktail that can be savored without feeling too watered down with all that ice. The bitters add some extra juicy strawberry sweetness with a kick of heat from the chili.
Thanks to Stacy for hosting this month and Fred for keeping this cocktail party going. Can’t wait to see what everyone came up with this month!
*Items generously given gratis and appear here because I like them. For more info on sponsored products, affiliate links, and gifted booze, please visit the About page.
In addition to me just generally being lazy, my family is coming to visit this week and already I’ve been hearing over the phone how they can’t wait to try my “fancy drinks”. Now, I now my mom’s inability to metabolize alcohol: one drink and she’s asleep. If I made her one of my regular “fancy drinks”, she might just sleep for a day. Which… well, as tempting as that sounds, she did fly across the country to see us, not sleep the day away. So that’s where some more low alcohol drinks come in. One whole highball and only a 1/2 ounce of liquor over 40 proof. Instead of making scotch here the star, I’ve turned to Zucca, an Italian amaro that only clocks in at around 16%.
Zucca leans more towards the sweeter end of the bitter amaro spectrum, without quite evoking the flavor of its namesake rhubarb (although I’ve been schooled on the fact that it’s Chinese rhubarb used in the making of this, which gives the amaro a bitter flavor). What makes this amaro particularly special is the slightly smoky flavor profile that complements its syrupy bittersweetness. For me, it’s a perfect companion to scotch, so I’ve put them together in this cocktail*.
With these two great ingredients, I’m still considering this fancy. Looking for something a little lighter for the summer? Try this!
1 ounce Zucca
3/4 ounce Scotch, such as Great King St. Artist’s Blend
3 ounces Bitter Lemon soda, I prefer Fever-tree’s
2 dashes grapefruit bitters
lemon peel garnish
In a highball glass filled with ice, add Zucca, scotch and grapefruit bitters. Top with soda and garnish with lemon peel.
Slightly sweet, with a lingering bitterness on the tongue. The bitter lemon soda lightens everything up while adding a different layer of bitterness. The bitters add a floral note both on the nose and the palate. The cocktail is seriously refreshing and an easy to drink summer libation.
My grandparents used to have cocktail parties when they were Mad Men-ing their lives back in the early 60′s, but now when I come to visit they mainly just have a hefty jug of red wine that gets brought out when we sit down to play dominoes. It’s my belief they ply me with jug wine so that I don’t have a chance of beating them. I can totally see them sipping a few of these, only, I think they’d make it with Lactaid.
Low Rent Cocktails do not always have to be the crappiest of what you have in your liquor cabinet; they can also be what you make do with. I guess for the Florida crowd, making do with with Licor 43 and cream is just something they’re Ok with. For this LRC I decided to inject some pep into it with Orange Crush because…well, it’s Orange Crush! Why the hell not?
Truth be told, it’s pretty Ok. Think about the last time you had an Orange Julius at the mall. Well, try and think that far back I guess. It’s a lot like that. But with booze. Not only does this seem a fitting drink for the Boca Raton crowd, but it’s a fitting drink for all you legal age kids trying to figure out how to make a creamsicle get you loaded.
So let’s make one!
1 ounce Licor 43
4-6 ounces Orange Crush soda pop
1 ounce heavy cream
In a highball glass filled with ice. Build the drink by pouring in the Licor 43. Add soda and cream. Stir to combine. Sit back and fan away the mosquitos and try not to think about alligators in your toilet.
Check back in next month for another late summer concoction, or check back through the archives for some more Low Rent Cocktails.