Outfitting a Home Bar Under $50: Whiskey Edition

Outfitting a bar under $50: The Old Fashioned Edition // stirandstrain.comOver the next week we’ll be giving some guides on how to outfit your home bar under $50 (and that’s including booze!) depending on what your house cocktail is. These guides are meant to be used either as is, or as a starting point to at least get the essentials in order so you’re not stuck with guests and no cocktails. If you have some extra change we’re also including one way to upgrade it as a bonus at the end of the guides!

Today’s home bar surrounds the classic Old Fashioned cocktail. You don’t need much in the way of tools or liquor to get this set up quick, so it’s an easy way to start!

Old Fashioned Home Bar Under $50 ($49.07)

  1. Large ice cube tray: a basic large ice cube tray makes enough cubes for you and a guest plus another round.
  2. Sugar cubes: save your granulated sugar for syrups and the kitchen. Place a few of these out in a glass to have them at the ready.
  3. Bar spoon: for stirring cocktails!
  4. Bourbon: you don’t have to invest in large bottles to start your home bar. Get a 375ml to try and you’ll still get 6+ drinks out of it!
  5. Angostura bitters: you need bitters for an Old Fashioned so get an all purpose aromatic.
  6. Jigger: sure you could eyeball it but this way you know exactly how much booze to make the perfect cocktail.
  7. Muddler: a basic muddler will crush those sugar cubes as good as a really fancy one.
  8. All purpose glass tumbler: these are my GO TO glasses right now for cocktails to water to wine. And they’re cheap so you won’t worry when a guest (or, *ahem* you) break one.

Upgrade to a Manhattan ($24.39)

 

**Prices on products are subject to change and we cannot guarantee that you’ll still be able to score all this under fifty bucks come holiday season. Or two years from now. Pricing not including shipping and local taxes.

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Orange Marmalade Whiskey Sour

Orange Marmalade Whiskey Sour // stirandstrain.comThe Whiskey Sour cocktail is an easy drinking, very delicious cocktail; it is a cocktail that is also very riffable. For awhile my favorite was the Yuzu Whiskey Sour recipe, but since I used a hard to find ingredient, Sqirl’s yuzu marmalade, making it whenever I wanted proved to be a challenge. So I raided the fridge in search of a more “everyday” ingredient: orange marmalade.

Orange Marmalade Whiskey Sour // stirandstrain.comLately I’ve been trying to get more quick recipes up on the site to balance out the more “complicated” or multi-step drinks. Both have their place, but these cocktails are ready to be whipped up in a flash. And bonus, this recipe qualifies as a brunch cocktail too!

If you’re making this at brunch and already have the eggs out, add in an egg white for that silky mouthfeel. Did you know that adding an egg white into a Whiskey Sour recipes actually makes it a “Boston Sour”? See? Very adaptable to what you’re wanting to drink on a given day.

Orange Marmalade Whiskey Sour // stirandstrain.comWhy add in the marmalade? Orange marmalade gives the drink a bitter punch and a more floral aroma. It also adds another flavor of sweetness to just the straight sugar. My preference here is to not double strain, as I like a peel or two in the final drink, but you can double strain if you don’t want them floating around. If you’re really into peels you can always add in an extra 1/2 teaspoon of jam. Keep in mind it will alter the final sweetness of the drink.

Ok, let’s jam on it!

Orange Marmalade Whiskey Sour // stirandstrain.comOrange Marmalade Whiskey Sour

2 ounces whiskey
1 ounce freshly squeeze lemon juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup (1:1 ratio)
1 heaping bar spoon orange marmalade, Bonne Maman used here
1/2 ounce egg white, optional

If using the egg white, add all ingredients into a shaker and dry shake 20 seconds. Add ice and shake again 20 seconds. Strain into a small rocks glass or coupe.

If not using the egg white, add ice into a shaker, pour in all ingredients, and shake 20 seconds. Strain into a small rocks glass or coupe.

Other options:

  • Strain over a large ice cube
  • Garnish with 1/2 teaspoon orange marmalade
  • Make it vegan: use Aquafaba, or Instafoam to replace egg whites in the cocktail

The Negroni Nero

The Negroni Nero Cocktail // stirandstrain.comIs there a store you go into that, once there–even with a list in hand, you always come out with WAY more than you intended (and I’m not counting Target, because, really, that’s everyone on the planet.)? My downfall is World Market. I love to shop there for props. I will go in with a very specific list, and leave with several bags of stuff. And when I say “stuff” I mean candy from their food section. I’m sorry, but if you put me in a room with a pack of Hobnobs and some tortilla flavored Ritter Sport I am just not passing the marshmallow test (shout out to all you Early Childhood Development Majors).

It was no surprise then when I stopped into World Market a few weeks back, with my very rambunctious preschooler, so pretty much one-handed, that I still managed to leave with a several large bags of stuff. There were the prop glasses I needed, and some random textiles, and a giant chocolate orange because she had never had one so of course I was going to buy it and give her a piece, but also a 6 pack of Chinotto.

The Negroni Nero Cocktail // stirandstrain.comChinotto is a generic term for a soft drink produced by several companies in Italy, but mostly known here in the states from San Pellegrino. I first happened upon it when I was creative director at a company that imported it but refused to try it because I was told it was “bitter” and didn’t like the dark brown color. This was in the early 2000’s before it was cool to drink bitter things by the way. Also, I was young and still developing a palate.

The Negroni Nero Cocktail // stirandstrain.comBut now, hey, it’s cool to drink all the bitter things! So I picked up a 6 pack of this sparkling fruit drink, thinking I’d make something with it. Fast forward a few weeks and after having a week long happy hour habit of dinner time Negroni cocktails…I ran out of Campari. Usually when this happens (and it’s more frequent than you’d think) I turn towards a White Negroni, but this time I thought I’d replace the Campari with Chinotto. It’s less bitter, more sweet, but I find that the bubbles cut the sweetness back a bit.

If you find a regular Negroni too bitter, this might be more to your liking. And if you’ve figured out how to stick to your shopping list, please leave me some tips.

The Negroni Nero Cocktail // stirandstrain.comThe Negroni Nero
1 ounce London dry gin, like Beefeater
1 ounce sweet vermouth
2-3 ounces Chinotto (one bottle is good for two cocktails)

orange zest for garnish

In a rocks glass, add ice and pour in gin and sweet vermouth. Stir 10 seconds. Then pour in Chinotto. Stir gently again to combine. Garnish with an orange peel, oils expressed over the drink. Then, if you’re trying to be cute, cut some flowers out of the peel and pop them in your drink too (I used these cutters).

Glasses: Tom Dixon

The Negroni Nero Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

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Cocktail Quickie: Suze and Soda

Cocktail Quickie: Suze and Soda // stirandstrain.com

Here in Los Angeles I’ve been downing frozen cocktails with abandon, but there are even those days when I just can’t drag out the blender. So, in steps the two ingredient cocktail.

These “cocktail quickie” recipes migrated over to Instagram a few years back, but now with the influx of users, and that oh-so-annoying algorithm there, recipes get lost in the crowd. Now I’m back to keeping them on both sites. So, if you happen to miss a recipe on Instagram, you can always catch up here on the site.

Today we’re pouring some liquid sunshine with one of my favorite bitter liqueurs, Suze. Suze is a French apéritif flavored with fresh gentian and aromatic herbs. The taste is slightly bitter, very herbaceous (for me, bordering on vegetal), that ends on a sweeter, citrus note. It’s WONDERFUL.

Cocktail Quickie: Suze and Soda // stirandstrain.comWhile you could make this a one ingredient drink and have it poured over ice, I like to make this a highball (or lowball depending on the glass type I’m using) by mixing it with soda water over ice. It’s really an any time kinda drink: before going out, after a meal, during your kid’s nap…

Stretching the Suze out with the soda water does mellow out the flavor a lot, which, if you’re not looking to be hit in the face with all the gentian, could be the drink for you. Optionally, if you’d like a little extra sweetness with this, you can add in a 1/4 ounce to 1/2 ounce honey syrup (honey/water 1:1) as I love the way honey works with this liqueur. Enjoy!

Suze and Soda

2 ounces Suze
soda water to top
1/4 – 1/2 ounce honey syrup, optional

Pack a highball (or rocks glass) glass with ice. Build the drink by pouring in Suze, optional honey syrup, and topping with desired amount of soda water.

Vinho Verde Spritz Cocktails with Wine Candied Lemon Peels for Pastéis de Nata

Vinho Verde Spritz Cocktails and Egg Tarts // stirandstrain.comThis post was made in partnership with Vinho Verde Wines. Recipe and ideas are my own.

Labor Day will soon be here. The end of summer is in sight…sigh. But I’m going to stretch these last few weeks of warm days and cool nights the best way I know how! With a picnic!

Vinho Verde Spritz Cocktails and Egg Tarts // stirandstrain.comPicnics sure have changed a lot since I was little, obviously. There’s definitely wine now. However, the bugs are still there in droves. But I get to stay out a lot later so…win!

Vinho Verde Spritz Cocktails and Egg Tarts // stirandstrain.comToday I’ve partnered with Vinho Verde Wines from Portugal to help you find an easy, breezy way to celebrate summer’s last hoorah. The Vinho Verde wine region has been producing these young wines for over 2,000 years and is home to Portugal’s largest wine region. While 86% of their wines are white, they also produce some red, rosé and sparkling wine as well as brandy. These wines are also super affordable, and pair well with food. In other words, a great picnic wine! Don’t think of these Vinho Verde wines as a summer sipper only though; they transition from Summer right into Fall and are the versatile wine to keep around all year long.

For our Labor Day picnic I’m bringing along this Avesso wine from the Vinho Verde region. This refreshing wine has aromas of citrus, peach, and almond with a slight acidity and touch of minerality. You can enjoy it on its own, but it’s also wonderful in a spritz cocktail, which we’ll make and take along.

Vinho Verde Spritz Cocktails and Egg Tarts // stirandstrain.comYou can’t have a picnic without some great picnic food too. And if we’re drinking Portuguese wine, we are definitely eating Pastéis de Nata (Portuguese egg tarts). These light, slightly sweetened tarts hold up well outdoors. I have a few bakeries here in Los Angeles that I like to buy mine from, although I’m linking to a solid recipe below if you’d like to bake yours. I do like to dress mine up a bit for the picnic with some wine-candied lemon peels which I DO have a recipe for below using the same wine we’ll make spritzes with.

I’m feeling so ready to spread out a blanket, have a few spritz cocktails, and snack on some yummy tarts. I can feel that warm, late summer breeze now. So let’s open that wine and start putting this picnic together!

Vinho Verde Spritz Cocktails and Egg Tarts // stirandstrain.comA picnic should not be a stressful affair. Here’s some tips to help make your day go off without a hitch!

  • Pre-batch the spritz mix! The night before, measure out all the ingredients minus the soda water. Refrigerate the mix, and the next day bring along some ice, portion out the drinks, and top with the soda water!
  • No time to bake egg tarts, but want this transportable, delicious picnic snack? Buy them! Both Portuguese and Chinese bakeries are home to wonderful egg tarts.
  • You don’t need a picnic basket! Sure, they’re cute, but if you don’t have the space, or the desire to buy one, some reusable bags, a cooler, or even an old Amazon box will do. If it holds stuff, use it!
  • A combination wine opener/pocket knife. I’m a big fan of Opinel knives and they have a beautiful combo one. Get that wine open, zest a lemon, and cut up some tarts. Maybe whittle some sticks for marshmallow roasting later. It’s a like a picnic swiss army knife, but with only the most important tools.
  • And speaking of gadgets to have outdoors, I really love a double insulated wine chiller. If I’m going to be hanging out in the sun for a few hours at a picnic, I want to keep my wine cool.

Vinho Verde Spritz Cocktails and Egg Tarts // stirandstrain.comVinho Verde Spritz (makes one Spritz)

2 oz Avesso Vinho Verde DOC Wine
1/2 oz Elderflower liqueur
1 oz Bitter Bianco
1/4 oz Lemon syrup from candied lemon peels
3 oz Soda water
Lemon wheels

In a shaker filled with ice, pour in Avesso Vinho Verde DOC Wine, elderflower liqueur, Bitter Bianco, and lemon syrup. Shake 20 second and strain into a wine glass. Add fresh ice and pour in soda water. Stir gently to combine and garnish with lemon wheel.

Vinho Verde Spritz Cocktails and Egg Tarts // stirandstrain.comWine Candied Lemon Peels for Pastéis de Nata (Egg Tarts)

2 medium sized lemons
2/3 cup sugar, divided
2-1/3 cups water, divided
1/3 cup Avesso Vinho Verde DOC Wine

Using a wide vegetable peeler, zest the two lemons into wide strips making sure not to include of the white pith. Cut strips into quarter inch wide strips. Place strips in a small sauce pan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes uncovered. Drain. Rinse in cold water.

Return the lemon strips to the pan. Add in 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup water, and wine. Bring to a boil and continue to cook until a syrup forms. About 8-10 minutes. Turn to a simmer and simmer 5 minutes until peels are translucent. Remove from heat. Pour remaining sugar onto a sheet pan and spread evenly around. Using a slotted spoon or fork, remove peels and place on sugar. Toss to coat peels in the sugar. Separate peels so none are sticking together. Move to a drying rack and let sit about one hour. Store in an airtight container. Will keep several months refrigerated.

Save syrup from pan into an airtight container. Refrigerate. Will keep up to one month.

Garnish tops of Pastéis de Nata with a few strands of the wine candied lemon peel and a few drops of their syrup.

**Feel like making your own tarts? Check out this recipe from Tasting Table for Pastéis de Nata.

Vinho Verde Spritz Cocktails and Egg Tarts // stirandstrain.com

For more information on the Vinho Verde wine region, please visit them at winesofvinhoverde.com



Monday Booze News COCONUTS! Amaro Parties! Aperol Spritz Deliveries!

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Welcome to your August Booze News. Enjoy.

Cocktail Pin Collections

Cool Sh*t: Cocktail Pin Collections // stirandstrain.comThere’s a trend gaining momentum right now that has me feeling nostalgic, and maybe you’ve seen it pop up in your Instagram too: cocktail pin collecting.

Pin collecting always seemed akin to baseball card collecting, kids mostly, or adults geeking out on some fancy pins. But right now you can get your favorite tiki drink (or mug!!) in pin form, or favorite cocktail! You can even show your love of Angostura with a teeny tiny bottle pinned to your collar.

I’ve rounded up a few small shop artisans and a few more commercial makers of pins to highlight some really cool and unique concepts that are out there right now.

Are you into pins? How do you display yours? Or is this trend not for you? Comment below!

1. Gin and Tonic Pin 2. Aperol Spritz Pin 3. Tiki Ti Bar Pin 4. Angostura Trio Pin 5. Beer Pin 6. Rosé Pin 7. Zombie Pin 8. Alien Tiki Mug Pin

Angostura Rum & Black Cherry Soda Float

Angostura Rum & Black Cherry Soda Float // stirandstrain.comThis post was made in partnership with The House of Angostura. Recipe and ideas are my own.

I live in an old house. I’m in Southern California, so not that old like New England, or like, Rome. Ok, actually it’s only 50 years old so by those standards it’s pretty new. But anyways, when the house was bought it included things like appliances, and central air; these too were all old. 1980’s kinda old. And since they all did their jobs without much complaint not many were replaced. As the decade wore on they slowly started to die and everything now except the air conditioning unit, which is over 30 years old, has been replaced. This beast makes me tremble when the summer electric bill statement appears. I know the bill will be high. It’s always high this time of year. However, this thing just WILL.NOT.DIE. Every summer, usually when we hit peak highs and the thing is running 24/7, it breaks down. Home insurance gets called, 3 to 5 days later the machine is up and running again. Repeat the next summer.

I keep waiting for the repair man to finally come over and tell us, Sorry, this unit is done for and the home insurance to cough up the money to replace it. Because really, we’re not spending 10k+ ourselves on a whole new unit anytime soon. So when it gets this hot out, I simultaneously hope that it won’t blow out on us and cause the internal temperature of the house to go over 90 (that has happened to us a few times now) and also sorta want it to just DIE ALREADY so we can get a new, energy efficient model. The joys of home ownership…oy!

Angostura Rum & Black Cherry Soda Float // stirandstrain.comWell, I don’t know whether to chalk these scorching summer days up to climate change or just admit that Los Angeles is the desert and this is part of the package you get when you move here. Sure, you get warm, sunny days in January, but then you have to take those 100+° days in the summer (and early Fall). To help ease these heat-aches, I partnered with The House of Angostura for a chilly, boozy treat this week (and yes, just in time for #NationalIceCreamDay on 7/15).

Did you grow up eating/drinking ice cream floats? We didn’t get them all too often, but I do recall stopping by an A&W when I was a kid and having a root beer float. In retrospect, whichever family member took me and my sister there and gave two small children ice cream floats in the car to eat was a rather brave soul. Today we’re not only refining that childhood treat with some black cherry soda and super premium vanilla ice cream, we’re also adding in RUM. And bitters. And Luxardo cherries! All the good adult stuff but with enough kid stuff to still have a whiff of nostalgia.

The Angostura 7 Year Rum has lots of cinnamon and vanilla flavors that make it a great match for this boozy adult treat. I’ve added in the Angostura Bitters and their Orange Bitters to punch up the spice of the cherry soda and to cut through some of the sweetness. The orange aroma in the nose is an unexpected and pleasant surprise when you take your first sip. For something so fun like an adult ice cream float, I found this combination to be much more complex with lots of subtle flavors. It was also a great way to forget about the heat for just a little bit too. Fingers crossed that air conditioner makes it through one more summer.

Angostura Rum & Black Cherry Soda Float // stirandstrain.comReady to dive into your own float? Let’s make one!

Angostura Rum & Black Cherry Soda Float

2 ounces Angostura 7 Year Rum
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
2-3 scoops vanilla ice cream
4 ounces Black Cherry Soda, chilled
2 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
Orange slice and Luxardo cherries for garnish

In a mixing glass filled with ice, pour in rum and bitters. Stir to chill 20 seconds and strain into a soda glass. Add ice cream to glass and top with black cherry soda. Dash orange bitters on top and garnish with orange slice and cherries.

 

If you’d like to learn more about Angostura and their products, please visit them at www.angostura.com