I seriously received no less than 6 emails from PR companies pitching me “Labor-less cocktail ideas” over the past two weeks. Eye rolling aside, I get it. No one wants to spend time outside at their Labor Day BBQ making single drink requests for every person that stops by. It’s time for PITCHERS OF COCKTAILS! And I have a few ideas for you guys. Check them out below.
This post is brought to you by Everclear. Recipes and ideas are my own.
Figs were never eaten around my house growing up. Unless you count that ubiquitous yellow box of cookies that I feel every 80’s parent was forcing on their kid because it might be seen as healthy. Fig Newtons were so weird. They had those crunchy bits and they weren’t that sweet, and yet they were called cookies. I probably couldn’t recognize a fig until I reached my twenties when I started working for a company that imported gourmet food. And then came the chocolate covered figs at holiday time. OH man–SO many people calling asking for those. The figs were not just covered in chocolate, they were enrobed. Which somehow just that word made them the most sexiest thing on the shelf. Enrobed in chocolate… I’d like to be enrobed in chocolate.
So, one word of marketing and suddenly figs were a delicacy, not an unidentifiable fruit. Now they’re a common farmer’s market item. They’ve lost a little of their sultry shine but I still find them a touch exotic. And this past week I received a whole basket of them in our CSA box and decided they were ripe for a cocktail.
Today I’m mixing up this cocktail with Everclear as part of their Make It Your Own campaign. We’ve been using Everclear on the site for years to make everything from infusions to liqueurs to tinctures. And now we’re using it to make cocktails too! Let’s be clear, Everclear on its own is 190 proof, but when you mix it with non-proof ingredients like syrup and water, then the final proof will significantly reduce. Here we’re only looking at a total of 27 to 32 proof depending on how much tonic water you desire–the less tonic the higher the proof.
Why mix with Everclear? Because I wanted to taste the ingredients and not so much another liquor flavor in the cocktail this time. It also makes for a stronger cocktail that doesn’t get watered down from the tonic. And what a complex tasting cocktail this is!
Letting the muddled figs steep in the Everclear for a bit makes the honeyed juice more prominent. Then to complement the figgy flavor, I created a vanilla syrup that gets some extra warming spice from black pepper, green cardamom, star anise and cloves. The vanilla really comes through but is much more complex in flavor from this spice blend. To offset some of the sweetness, a good dose of tonic water incorporates some bitterness into the cocktail while its effervescent bubbles distribute the flavors and bring out some aroma to your nose. The resulting cocktail is complex and yet clean tasting, refreshing and packs a punch. Ready to try one out?
Fig and Tonic Cocktail (27-32 proof)
1 ounce Everclear
2 figs, roughly chopped
3/4 ounce Spiced Vanilla Syrup (recipe below)
4-5 ounces tonic water
In the bottom of a shaker, muddle Everclear and figs. Let steep for 5 minutes. Add syrup and ice and shake for 20 seconds. Strain into a collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top with tonic water. Garnish with fig slice.
Spiced Vanilla Syrup
2 vanilla beans cut into 2″ pieces
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
3 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 star anise
4 whole cloves
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
Scrape seeds from the vanilla pieces and add to a small sauce pan. Then add in the vanilla pieces, peppercorns, cardamom pods, star anise, cloves, sugar and water. Stir to combine and turn heat to high. Bring to just a boil and lower heat to a simmer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, strain syrup into an airtight container. Syrup will keep up to one month in the refrigerator.
This post is brought to you by Jackson Morgan Southern Cream. Recipes and ideas are my own.
By the time August rolls around I can see Fall off in the horizon and all I can think about is WHY CAN’T SUMMER BE DONE WITH?! The sad reality is, it’s still going to be hot in Southern California for like, two more months. And it was relentless this year. I find it funny that in an area where seasons aren’t too distinct, I just can’t help but go on and on about the weather. Gosh, I’m getting boring.
But you know what’s not boring? Today’s cocktail!
Back in April while I was at the WSWA show in Vegas, and happily sipping on some great–and, let’s be honest, not so great–liquors, I happened across the Jackson Morgan Southern Cream booth. They had some really fun flavors and after I tried out their Whipped Orange Cream…mmmm; I was in a happy place. The flavor was just heads and tails better over the usual batch of flavored cream liqueurs–they didn’t taste artificial.
So, I nabbed a bottle of the Salted Caramel and concocted a recipe today that is halfway in Fall but still lingering in Summer.
Salted caramel! Cinnamon! Fall! I’m more than happy to put these flavors in all my cocktails come September, but to keep it just a bit summer-y (I mean, it’s still only August), I’ve infused some whiskey with roasted peanuts. Combined, the resulting flavors are rich and warm with a fun pop of savory from the peanuts. It’s not too sweet with just enough creaminess in the mouthfeel. And since we’re serving it over ice, you can enjoy sipping on this cocktail even while the sun’s still out.
If the thought of infusions is giving you second thoughts, hold tight! There was the old way, where you combined your ingredients into a jar and agitated it every day, for like a week. Or a month. But some smartypants discovered the quick infusion using a whipping canister. Now, yes, this means having to acquire another piece of equipment for your home bar. However, it will save you a lot of time if making infusions and tinctures is your thing. Also, it’s a whipped cream canister. So, you get to have instant whipped cream any time you want!! Yay! I have my preferred brand which I noted in the recipe below, but seriously, any quality grade canister will do. Just remember you’ll need N2O cartridges for this, not CO2!
Some notes on infusions:
- When I do infusions I tend to make them in smaller batches unless it is for an event, then I’ll usually go with an entire 750 ml bottle or two. Here I’m using 200 ml because I find the flavor dissipates over time and I don’t want to waste an entire bottle of whiskey if it’s not going to get used up immediately.
- Another reason you want to keep this batch smaller is due to the oils the peanuts impart to the whiskey. It just gets a bit gunky if you let it sit for too long. You can remedy this to a point by fine straining a few times, but this is not necessary if you’re doing a small batch and using the whiskey up.
- With quick infusion in a whip cream charger, always use N2O chargers, never use CO2 as you’ll get a metallic taste in your infusion–yuck!
- Also, do not use soda siphons to do this as they are manufactured to be used with water only.
For the cocktail:
2 ounces Jackson Morgan Salted Caramel Liqueur
1 ounce roasted peanut infused whiskey (recipe follows)
1/4 ounce cinnamon tincture (or large pinch of ground cinnamon, recipe for tincture follows)
ground cinnamon for garnish
- In a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, add Jackson Morgan Salted Caramel Liqueur, roasted peanut infused whiskey and cinnamon tincture or ground cinnamon. Shake hard for 20 seconds to chill. Strain over fresh ice into a double rocks glass. Garnish with grated cinnamon.
For the quick infused roasted peanut whiskey:
200 ml whiskey of your choice
1 cup roasted peanuts
- Into a whipping canister (I use the ISI brand canister), add whiskey and roasted peanuts. Screw on the top and charge with one charger of N2O. Discard charger and let the mixture sit for one minute. Release pressure, open the top and strain whiskey into a clean vessel for storage. Discard peanuts or let them dry and snack on the whiskey flavored peanuts later. Use whiskey immediately or keep sealed in a cool, dark place for up to two weeks.
For the quick infused cinnamon tincture:
1 cup vodka
6 4″ cinnamon stick, crushed slightly
- Into a whipping canister, add vodka and cinnamon. Screw on the top and charge with one charger of N2O. Discard charger and let the mixture sit for one minute. Release pressure, open the top and strain tincture into a clean vessel for storage. Tincture will keep up to one year in a cool, dark place.
Hey guys! We’ve been enjoying a summer break around these parts (read: preparing for termite tenting and urging my husband to dispose of years of saved New Yorker magazines). But now we’re back with you today with a cocktail AND some awesome news!
First up, the awesome news.
Stir and Strain is a finalist AGAIN this year for Saveur’s Best Blog awards in the Drinks Coverage category. We are now up against some beer and wine folks and not just cocktails. Third time’s a charm? Or always a bridesmaid never a bride? We’ll see in September. For now, if you want to vote for Stir and Strain to win, you can do that today (and actually, they are allowing you to do that every day until August 31st. But I won’t pressure you guys either way.).
And now here’s a cocktail.
I’ve been digging Montenegro Amaro for a few months now, but mainly just as a digestif. It’s not new–it’s been around since 1885, but it was new to my line up this year and I couldn’t be happier. Looking for a new way to enjoy this but still keeping it at a low ABV, I thought about that kooky combination of cold brew coffee and tonic water I heard about last year. I don’t keep up with coffee trends, but I do enjoy putting coffee into my cocktails.
So I decided to pair Montenegro, with its super flavorful and wonderfully bittersweet taste, with a robust coffee and slightly bitter tonic. I finished the cocktail with a touch of grapefruit oil in the garnish–don’t skip that folks, it makes the drink with a light floral aroma. It’s hard to nail down exactly all the flavors you get with Montenegro, but there’s citrus and dried cherry and gentian root and just a lot of herbal notes. It provides enough sweetness along with the tonic water so there is no need to add any further sweetener.
You could have this as your digestif, or maybe a Sunday early afternoon drink. Up to your preference. I’ve been enjoying them in the late afternoon when I need a pick-me-up, but also, you know, want a little cocktail too.
5 ounces tonic water (Fever-Tree Indian Tonic used here)
1 ounce Montenegro Amaro*
3-1/2 ounces cold brew or chilled espresso (we have a Nespresso machine at home and for this I used one Lungo capsule of their Fortissio)
grapefruit zest for garnish
- In a collins glass, fill with ice cubes and pour in tonic water. Add in the Montenegro and coffee. Express the grapefruit oil over the drink and add the peel to the cocktail. Stir gently to combine.
Fire up those grills and break out your blocks of ice.
This post is brought to you by White Claw Hard Seltzer. Recipes and ideas are my own.
I could drink green tea all the live long day. I’ve convinced myself it’s a cure all drink; tired: drink tea. Feeling like I’m about to catch a cold: drink more tea. Stressed: GREEN TEA. But it’s also my secret cocktail ingredient. Green tea adds an earthy layer of flavor that gives a touch of savory to whatever drink you add it to.
- Get to know some Canadian whiskies before you pack it up and move to Canada.
- The world’s smallest bar has only a two week waiting list?! Time for a trip to Italy.
- Boozy whale popsicles, cotton candy, bourbon gummies—and this is just ONE Tiki drink!
- Negroni Week starts today. Here are a few of my Negroni variations from last year and one of my favorite photos.
- I only knew the Shotski from Bravo TV, but apparently it’s been around a LOT longer...
- Come for the steak, stay for super soakers filled with champagne they’ll shoot into your mouth.
- Not only do Bavarians drink beer before noon, they also have a SECOND BREAKFAST!
- Not all Rosé wines are created equal, but someone’s weeded out the good ones to try!
- I think threatening the bartender is what actually got her thrown out. Not by ordering cheap gin.
- Some Chicago bartenders have pretty awesome Instagram accounts.
- And lastly, with Father’s Day coming up, and graduation (from college! Not for you high schoolers who shouldn’t be here.), and what else is this month? Flag day? Your wedding? For all your holiday needs, go buy some booze. Here’s my picks!
Give me a single good piece of chocolate and I am usually good for dessert. No need to make it into a fancy cake (although I’d eat it), or melt it into some ice cream (I’d eat that too), just by itself I’m usually satisfied. Now, pair it with a good cocktail and I’m golden…
Which brings us to today’s post. I was recently introduced to Taza’s organic dark Mexican style chocolate discs and a single piece was not enough this time. The rich, crunchy chocolate has started to become my dessert ritual and I figured it was time I made a cocktail to pair alongside it.
So what might become a semi-regular thing around these parts, I’ve decided to create some cocktail and food bite pairings that shouldn’t break the bank. But, at the same time, seem pretty decadent, well thought out, and most importantly DELICIOUS. First up is dessert (which is the way it should be).
It’s summer. It’s hot. You don’t want a cocktail or dessert to weigh you (and anyone you happen to be entertaining) down. This cocktail plays it light with an unexpected main ingredient, Bauchant. I first tasted Bauchant at the WSWA this year and was all goggle-eyed at how delicious this was just on its own. But what is it you ask? Bauchant is an orange liqueur with a cognac base that uses 3 different orange varieties: Andalusian, Mandarin, and Tangerine. It’s complex and lovely and on its own quite sippable, but on the heavier side. I combined it with a splash of gin, another splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a heavy glug of club soda to transform it into a refreshing long drink that’s not too sweet and super flavorful. The sweetness of the Bauchant gets a nice contrast of tart from the lemon, with a few juniper notes from the gin, and mellows out with the club soda. Delicious.
And the pairing for this sipper? Taza’s Coffee Chocolate Mexicano Discs. Their Classic collection has a lot to choose from: Cinnamon, Vanilla, Guajillo Chili, Salted Almond, Cacao Puro, and Coffee. The coffee won me over for this pairing though. The dark, roasted coffee and chocolate flavors contrasted with the sharp effervescent cocktail are a perfect pair.
Are you hungry yet? Let’s get mixing!
1 ounce Bauchant liqueur
1/2 ounce Beefeater London Dry gin
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
2-3 ounces club soda, Q-Club used here
lemon peel for garnish
In a highball glass (or if you have it, Delmonico style chimney glass which is around 5-8 ounces), fill with crushed ice. Build the cocktail by adding in the Bauchant liqueur, Beefeater London Dry gin, and lemon juice. Give it a stir or two and top with club soda. Garnish with a lemon peel and break off a big piece of Taza’s Coffee Chocolate Mexicano Discs, sit back, and savor summer.
*This cocktail pairing post was inspired by Taza Chocolate and Drizly, the on-demand liquor delivery company. I hope I’ve inspired you to make a drink and treat yourself. For more info on sponsored products, affiliate links, and gifted booze, please visit the About page.
Fassionola. You might be wondering what that word is, or whether or not I am misspelling something. But if you’re not familiar with that word, you’re making your Hurricane cocktail all wrong.
Wrong?! Well, we’ve had to swap out ingredients for a long time since Fassionola, a syrup made from a blend of strawberries and tropical fruits, hasn’t been on the market for, oh… 30+ years now. The syrup is one of the original ingredients in the famed Hurricane cocktail as invented at Pat O’Brien’s in the French Quarter. It has a history, and now Cocktail & Sons have resurrected it, and one lucky Stir and Strain reader can score a bottle. And since everyone is in a generous mood, they’re also giving away bottles of their Mint & Lemon Verbena and the Spiced Demerara Syrups. All superb fits for your summer drinking needs.
Since Cocktail & Sons prides themselves are only using the best seasonal ingredients in season, the Fassionola syrup will only be available until June 30th (strawberries don’t grow in October…)! So stock up if you can. And in the meantime, enter below to win your own bottle: you get up to 8 entries to help you along (open to US residents only)! Giveaway ends at 11:59pm PST Sunday May 29th, 2016. For more information on Cocktail & Sons, check out their website at cocktailandsons.com today! Good luck!
And once you do get a bottle of the Fassionola, you can craft the BEST Hurricane cocktail to sip all summer long:
1.5 oz. Rum (Cocktai & Sons recommend aged rum or rhum agricole, nothing too dry)
.75 oz. Cocktail & Sons Fassionola
.5 oz. Fresh lime juice
Garnish: Lime wheel
Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a tall glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.
This post is brought to you by Thatcher’s Organic Artisan Spirits. Recipes and ideas are my own.
Several years ago, when I was still working at a 9 to 5 job, I flew into Chicago for a boring conference. This was one of those conferences that not only had a floor devoted to awkward introductions and sweaty handshakes, but hours and hours of mandatory workshops. After 4 days I was exhausted in every way, but, thankfully I lopped on an extra day for sightseeing—I had never been to Chicago before.
*For more info on sponsored products, affiliate links, and gifted booze, please visit the About page.