- First, time to pick some flowers and grab a bottle of amaro. We’ve got a low ABV sipper you’ve gotta try.
- For everyone who tries to shame you about adding a splash of water to your whiskey… science says they’re wrong.
- Looking for a new brew? Try these picks from Biercraft!
- Not your ordinary cocktail (menu).
- California is producing sake. And it’s good!
- A new way to be sustainable in your bar: citrus stock.
- Browsing through the Mueller Report? Here’s what you should drink (I like the Redacted Manhattan)!
- Familiar with Sotol? Me either, let’s read about this Mexican spirit!
- I’ve heard a lot of good things about this Mezcal book. As an often misunderstood spirit, it’s worth taking a look!
- And finally, if you’re looking to speak at Bar Convent Berlin, now’s the time to put in that application!
This post is made in partnership with Amaro Lucano. Recipes and ideas are my own.
If you’re looking for a springy cocktail to serve for your Easter weekend that’s bursting with flavors, fruit and flowers: look no further! We’ve teamed up with Amaro Lucano, one of our fav amari for mixing up cocktails, to show you how you can create a low ABV cocktail that is a sheer delight to look at and to drink!
The flowers here in SoCal are everywhere (I’m sure you caught a poppy or two on Instagram)! But did you know some of those gorgeous blooms are edible? And today our cocktail is brimming with a whole bunch of colorful spring flowers that are safe for cocktail garnishes and also super pretty to look at. While you may not want to taste all of them, if you do, you’ll find tastes ranging from cucumber (borage) to raw green beans (bachelor’s buttons) to slightly bitter and spicy (chrysanthemum). All of these can add to the flavor and aroma of this amaro-based cocktail, a Strawberry-Rhubarb Amaro Cobbler Cocktail.
Isn’t cobbler a dessert?! Well, yes. Many people will be familiar with the cobbler as a baked good, but a cobbler cocktail is like a fancy dessert… in the cocktail world! I go into the cobbler a bit in this post, but for brevity, a cobbler is a very old style of cocktail that is made with crushed ice and garnished by decorating the drink in a fanciful manner with seasonal fruits (and here we’re adding flowers as well). Usually it is served with a tiny spoon to eat the fruits with as well. Sherry is often the spirit used most with this drink, but I thought an amaro would be a great base.
Amaro Lucano has been a staple in my home bar for awhile now (and that 93 point rating from Wine Spectator would tell me some of you enjoy it a lot too!). Amaro Lucano has a mild, bittersweet taste that is great on its own, but lovely in cocktails. There are some citrus and herbal notes here too (which isn’t surprising as it’s blended with over 30 herbs!) and I thought they’d pair really well with the strawberry-rhubarb syrup as well as the flowers in the garnish. Since I wanted an easy drinking, low ABV cocktail to pair with my Easter brunch, Amaro Lucano fits the bill with an ABV of 28%.
And what does it all taste like? Well, you get a bittersweet start to the drink with a nice sweetness from the strawberry-rhubarb syrup. I included a float of Lucano’s Anniversario Limoncello for a sharp note of citrus and to further enhance the citrus profile. The finish has some herbal notes to it but I like the surprise subtle licorice flavor that ends your sip.
I really love that people are so into flowers, and gardening, and just taking some time to enjoy nature; this is one current trend I can get behind! Maybe we could all do it with a lot less handheld devices though… but still, at least everyone’s getting outdoors.
If you’ve been following along on Instagram and my Stories this past month or so, you’ve heard me talk about how easy it is to grow a few essentials in a “Cocktail Garden” whether you’ve got a whole back yard to work with, or just a windowsill. Currently I’m growing in a windowsill (cilantro, basil), on a porch (chives, strawberries), and I have an entire front yard area overrun by rosemary (if you’re in SoCal and need some send me a DM). Plans are underway to start some landscaping and garden building in my backyard but that’s going to take awhile. Until then though I am fortunate enough to have my friend Kristin, who runs DineXDesign.com, and her wonderland of a garden who generously provided all of these edible blooms for me to garnish drinks with. All of these flowers you could easily grow in containers so you too can have a variety of blooms to garnish your cocktails with.
Ok, let’s mix some drinks!
Strawberry-Rhubarb Amaro Cobbler Cocktail
1 tablespoon reserved strawberry-rhubarb compote from syrup
1-1/2 cups crushed ice, divided
2 ounces Amaro Lucano
1-1/4 ounce strawberry-rhubarb syrup (recipe below)
1/4 ounce Lucano Anniversario Limoncello
fresh fruit and edible flowers for garnish
In a double rocks glass or goblet glass, build your drink by spooning in fruit at bottom of glass. Add in about one cup of crushed ice. Pour in Amaro Lucano and strawberry-rhubarb syrup. Pack glass with additional ice, leaving about 1/2″ from top of glass. Drizzle Limoncello over the ice. Stir gently to combine. Garnish with fruit and edible flowers and enjoy with a straw (or eat fruit first, your choice!).
Strawberry-Rhubarb Syrup – yields about 1 cup
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup rhubarb chunks (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan over high heat. Stir to dissolve sugar. When sugar has dissolved, add in rhubarb (if using frozen no need to defrost) and strawberries. Stir to combine and let the mixture come to a boil. Once a boil is reached, lower to a simmer, cover, and let simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes. Strain solids and set aside. Let syrup cool to room temperature before using. Once cool, use immediately, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to two weeks.
- First, did you check out our Spring Cocktail Book Essentials post from last week? We’re loving these two books right now!
- OH SF, so many new reasons I just don’t want to drive up the 5 to visit you anymore...
- Whisky! Good for your heart, says very old person. (I can get behind this science!)
- I always, always tip 20%. Unless they spill hot soup on me and then it’s 18%.
- Fruity gins are a thing! Are you drinking any? Luxardo Sour Cherry is calling my name...
- I don’t know if I’d advise your failing bar to start doing $1 Margs, but it seems to be working for Applebees.
- If you find yourself in NYC soon, go find these drinks!
- Looking for a hard-to-find bottle of champagne? Head to Portland, OR!
- Disney fans, you’re getting a swanky new bar over in FL!
- And finally, Stir and Strain is walking the CHOCWalk for the Children’s Hospital of OC. We’ll have more info as to why we’re participating over the next few weeks, but for now, check out our page, consider joining a team if you’re here in SoCal (like my team!), or donating any amount—every dollar counts (and every dollar goes directly to CHOC).
Sun’s out. New cocktail books are out. Everything’s fine.
Throw open the windows, grab a chair, maybe some light up ice cubes, and indulge yourself with a new cocktail book. Making drinks for a crowd? You’ll need a pitcher, and upgrade those plastic straws already. Rather get whisked away to a tropical island? Tiki it up with some new glassware and a place to put all your tiny umbrellas. You’ll find me under a giant umbrella outside, bookmarking recipes with my new to-go drink container.
- Why Morgenthaler’s Amaretto Sour is, like, a thing.
- Winter is coming… well, in the southern hemisphere. But we can still drink all the GOT booze out there.
- To pre-batch or not to pre-batch? That is the question. Weigh in with your thoughts!
- When the alt-right shows up at your bar...
- Time to get your passports and go on a GIN holiday!
- Agreed, keep the cocktails cold in a small glass PLEASE.
- Bees in the vineyard! Why they’re important.
- Need a drink for spring? Try the Rose cocktail!
- If this wine really is a “Prosecco killer”, it needs a much more metal name.
- And finally, another reason to visit Costco… boozy popsicles!
- First, if you can boil water you can make coffee liqueur. It’s true and we’ve got a brand new recipe ICYMI this weekend.
- Grab your flapper dress and a bottle of wine, hop on a train and solve a murder.
- Feeling crafty? Here’s a few things you can do with that whiskey bottle besides recycle it when you’re done.
- There’s a gorgeous new tiki cocktail book out and you need to take a look!
- There’s going to be a lull in Japanese whisky for awhile. Be prepared.
- What the hell is going on in NJ that so many people have decided they’d rather have a garage bar than go to a real bar?
- Um, hello, can Los Angeles get a dog bar PLEASE?!
- What would your last drink be?
- Is it time for wine cocktails? It’s always time for wine cocktails.
- And finally, make some popcorn, pop over to YouTube and watch a couple fight over the correct way to pronounce Cynar in this new web series on the more obscure ingredients in the cocktail world!
Squeeeezing in here at the end of the month (and what a month…. so glad it’s over), this might just be our easiest DIY of the bunch so far. If you can boil some water, you can make… Coffee Liqueur.
For today’s post, we’ll be comparing coffee liqueur made with cold brew coffee. I have seen some infusions with coffee beans, and while we’ve done something similar for cocktails around here before, since the coffee liqueur that can be bought is made with cold brew, it made sense to match apples to apples. Also, since many of these posts have some content that is repeated in the pros and cons, I’ve decided to bullet point each to make it a bit easier to read and streamlined. Let me know what you think in the comments or through social; I’m here for you.
- Available to purchase at a liquor store near you
- Strong coffee taste
- Minimal ingredient list
- Only available to buy in CA, NY, the UK, and Australia
- Flavor is singular in that you’re only getting a coffee flavor and nothing else
- Cannot adjust sweetness level
To Make: Homemade Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur (aged rum base)
- Very few ingredients
- Super easy to make for a DIY project, just make a rich simple syrup and get some cold brew coffee
- You can adjust the flavor to your liking
- You can adjust the sweetness level
- Scales up or down depending on how much liqueur you’d like
- It takes a minimum of 3 days to make, plus more if you brew your own cold brew
- Flavor may not be consistent from batch to batch
- You have to make it
And how do they compare in a cocktail? When I think coffee in cocktails I immediately think of a White Russian, so that’s what I compared both in today. Mr. Black stands out with a bold coffee taste and a rich flavor profile. My home brew coffee is lighter not only in color, but also in flavor. I wanted a coffee liqueur that had layers of other flavors in it like vanilla and spice, so the base is an aged rum. This also means that the coffee is more subdued.
Notes: If you want a stronger coffee taste I would suggest using a cold brew concentrate and playing around with the flavor until it suits your preference. Also, you could switch to a vodka base and cut the vodka back to 1-1/4 cups.
So there you are, two choices when it comes to a coffee liqueur. Will you make it or buy it? Let us know!
Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
1-1/2 cups cold brew coffee (brew your own or buy your favorite unsweetened brand)
1 cup demerara sugar
1/2 cup water
1-1/2 cups aged rum
If brewing your own cold brew, do that at least 24 hours before starting to make the liqueur. Next, in a small saucepan, combine demerara sugar and water. Bring to a boil, whisking to combine. Turn the heat down to a simmer and continue to whisk until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. In a liter jar, combine cold brew coffee, syrup and rum. Seal and shake gently to combine. Let the liqueur sit for three days in a cool, dark place, agitating it every day. After three days, liqueur will be ready to consume.
This post was made in partnership with Kerrygold Irish Cream. Recipe and ideas are my own.
This past Monday, in our Monday Booze News, I referenced that the newest wave of tiki cocktails and culture is turning down a darker road (I joked that it had become a moody teenager). This new turn, which is apparently referencing a much older version of tiki… just proves that the fantasy can be whatever you’d like it to be in your head.
What I’m getting at is this, Tiki cocktails have come a long way and these new modern nods are just as interesting, and sometimes, much more complex and delicious, than the originals. And today I have a very out there, very delicious, addition to this new wave, the Port Dues Cocktail.
If you’re a familiar reader around here you may have noticed that I partnered with Kerrygold Irish Cream a few months back and I have been experimenting with this Irish cream liqueur to show how versatile (and OMGGGGG so good) it is. There’s a lot of times people see a liqueur and box it into a known and familiar category, and I feel part of my job here is to break those rules. Sure, I made frozen Irish Coffee cocktails with it and Grasshopper brownies, but did you check out the edible cocktails and the egg cream??
So I’m super excited about this cocktail, with nods to some of my favorite tiki drinks and especially to the Missionary’s Downfall with the herbal, minty notes from the fernet. You’d be surprised, but there are actually quite a number of tiki drinks out there that incorporate a hint of chocolate in them too. Using the creamy, rich Kerrygold Irish Cream here gives this dry, rum forward cocktail with a sour punch an unexpected twist with a hint of chocolate at the end.
Could the Port Dues be the dark, brooding cousin to the bright and poppy drinks of the midcentury? Try one and find out!
1-1/2 ounces aged rum, Haitian 8 year used here
1/2 ounce tawny port
1/2 ounce Kerrygold Irish Cream
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 ounce fernet
1 dash Angostura bitters
Garnish: mint and brandied cherries
In a shaker filled 2/3 with ice, combine rum, port, Kerrygold Irish Cream, lemon juice, fernet, and bitters. Shake 20 seconds and strain over a rocks glass filled with fresh crushed ice. Garnish with mint and brandied cherries.
- First, have you checked out our Hot Buttered Rum that is a little bit winter and a little bit spring?
- Go to Scotland. Stay at this hotel. Drink all the whisky.
- I dunno… my one glass of wine at the Cheesecake Factory for lunch would disagree with this.
- Want your bar business to succeed? Here’s some tips from a seasoned pro!
- Has the renewed interest in Tiki bars and culture been around long enough that it’s now a moody teenager?
- I see Cooking Light is jumping on the kombucha cocktail train.
- How to do bitters in cocktails correctly.
- You can now enjoy your cocktails in AUGMENTED REALITY…ooOOOoohhhh.
- Drink wine and save an ecosystem. It’s that easy.
- And finally, this is what a spirits tasting competition is like. Hope they all ate a big breakfast!
This post was made in partnership with Truvia®. Recipes and ideas are my own.
Last month I celebrated eight years writing here on Stir and Strain. Eight years gets you past the seven year itch, but not as weighty as the big TEN. It feels significant to still be writing in a landscape where quick, fleeting snapshots are the norm. And also, I always really liked the number eight.
My very first post on this site was for a Hot Buttered Rum, and it’s been almost that long since I’ve made one again. Today I thought I’d change that and bring you all something with a hint of spring, but that’s still warm and cozy. If the idea of florals in your cocktails makes you a bit wary, I can assure you, this isn’t going to taste like someone dumped your grandmother’s potpourri in your cup.
We’ve teamed up with Truvia to add some sweetness to your cup today. The Truvia Natural Sweetener packets make recipe time so easy and we’ve got two uses for them in our recipes below. The pre-portioned packets mean one less measuring spoon to wash as we’ll need one packet per cup. We’ll also use the packets to crystalize a few rose petals and make the most gorgeous garnish for your cocktail.
Adding butter to a hot drink feels way more common today than it did when I first started writing on there. Now, everyone is putting butter in their coffee or tea… they’re just learning how rich and delicious it makes sipping their drink. In much the same way adding an egg white to a chilled cocktail gives a silky mouthfeel to the drink, adding butter to a hot cocktail has a similar effect. It also feels slightly indulgent, but since we’re using Truvia to sweeten the drink, it’s made with less sugar than if we used ordinary cane sugar.
And the taste? There are lots of warm baking spices mixed in from the aged rum and the butter mix. The roses give a very subtle aroma to the drink when you lean in to take a sip, and the flavors mingle well together with those spices. Make this an indulgent cup to have for a “High Tea” or make a batch for a weekend afternoon get-together.
And definitely don’t wait eight years to make another one of these. Let’s mix one up!
Rose and Spice Hot Buttered Rum
1-1/2 ounces aged rum
1 Truvia Natural Sweetener packet
1 tablespoon rose butter batter (recipe follows)
3-4 ounces hot water
garnish with crystalized rose petals (DIY follows)
In a heat proof mug, add in butter batter and sprinkle Truvia Natural Sweetener over the top. Pour in rum and then hot water. Let sit one minute and then gently mix to combine. Garnish the glass with a crystalized rose petal.
Rose Butter Batter
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon dried rose petals
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
4 green cardamom pods
First, open cardamom pods and scrape out seeds. Grind them in a mortar and pestle or with a spice grinder. Next, combine butter with rose petals, ginger and ground cardamom. Use immediately or refrigerate up to a month.
Crystalized Rose Petals
1 egg white
3 Truvia Natural Sweetener packets
6 fresh rose petals, organic and pesticide free
In a small bowl, add a dash of water to the egg white. Stir to combine. Empty Truvia Natural Sweetener packets in another small, shallow bowl. To crystalize, use a small paint brush to brush egg white thinly onto petals in desired location (edges, corner, the entire petal, etc…). Lightly dip the rose petal into the Truvia to coat. Gently shake off excess Truvia and place on a drying rack. Let dry an hour before use, or until hardened.