Spiced Cherry Cobbler Cocktail

Spiced Cherry Cobbler Cocktail // stirandstrain.comThe Willet line of whiskeys are a hardy bunch. By that I mean when I drink them my throat feels like hot oil is being poured down it. Not a bad thing mind you, just one of those types of booze that I have to remember that fact about. Now, some of you might ‘tsk me about this, especially since Willet isn’t cheap, but you know what? I will use it as a base sometimes.

*ducks as rocks are thrown*

Look, I enjoy my whiskeys neat, but sometimes I taste something and I think to myself, this would go well with X. And in this case, a couple ounces of Willet go well with the cherry syrup I made last week. And all those lonely cherries that were left behind.

When I started reading about cocktails and really starting delving deeper into their history, I came across the concept of ‘cobblers’. Not the dessert, but a drink in which you decorate a mound of ice with booze and fruit among other things. Kinda like a tarted up adult sno-cone. I loved the idea of these ‘beverages’; they seemed so old fashioned to me. I have been making notes for almost 2 years now on doing this, but just never got around to it. Until now.Spiced Cherry Cobbler Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

After making that cherry syrup I found that I had a bag of sugary, smooshed cherries that needed some love. So I decided now was the time to start tinkering with cobblers. I’m marking this post as a good starting place, but already I’ve thought of some ways to improve upon it. Here’s a big tip: don’t go too fine with the ice. It melts too quick and you find all your cherries and liquid will start quickly plopping over the side of your dish. For presentation’s sake I made this in a shallow dish, thinking that I could mound the cherries on top, however, they all sank due to my ice crusher’s overzealous attempts to pulverize the ice and thus resulting in quickly melting ice. You would be better off to pile the ice in a collins glass and stick the fruit on top. Also, go easy with the ice! Too much and it waters your drink down too quickly.Spiced Cherry Cobbler Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

If you follow those guidelines you’ll be on your way to enjoying this summery, refreshing cocktail. So, grab a spoon and a straw and let’s get started.

2 oz. Willet, Straight Rye Whiskey
1 oz. Spiced Cherry Syrup (recipe found here)
1/4 cup Cherries from the syrup batch (can sub out with Luxardo cherries if you’ve ditched/eaten the cherries from the syrup batch)
1 cup Crushed Ice (not too fine)
Cinnamon Stick
Sprig of Mint

In a shallow dish, place the cherries in the bottom (if using a Collins glass, reserve for the end). Mix whiskey and syrup with half of the crushed ice gently to combine. Pour into dish. Pack more ice on top. Slap your mint to release the oil and garnish the drink. Grate fresh cinnamon on top.

Now, here’s the fun thing about the cobbler: do you eat the fruit first? Or do you stick your straw in (go to the very bottom where the syrup, juice and whiskey have collected) and drink up? Your choice. You can even alternate if you’re not a weirdo like me and need to choose one or the other (I was that kid who only ate one food group at a time off their plate and never combined anything, occasionally this annoying trait finds its way back into my life once in a blue moon).Spiced Cherry Cobbler Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Enjoying this cocktail is like having a more subtle version of an icee, with alcohol. The ice tones down the heat of the whiskey and it mixes with the cherries for a sweet and lightly spiced flavor combo. This is not your convenience store cherry flavor mind you. Don’t go in thinking it’s like that or you’ll be disappointed. It’s a fresh cherry flavor, and in a way more muted. This has been enjoyed with the extreme heat we’ve been having this summer, and this has helped cool me down, sans the uber-sugary fake flavor you’d find elsewhere. Next time though I think I’ll pre-make a snowball with a hole in it to keep the ice-melting at bay.

Instagramming Some Cocktail Quickies

So definitely for sure I can promise a recipe coming at you this week.

 

gt-tikidarkstormymint

 

But until then, you should head over to my Instagram account where I’ll be adding some photos of quick drink ideas. This is pretty much my “Cocktail Quickie” section, which I’ve now deemed not enough content for the blog (watch that change in two months…). However, I see it more like, you want a cocktail, but you want it NOW and you don’t need to pull a jigger out and make a mess. I’ll tell you how to be quick and dirty.

I don’t know how to make this super easy for you to click a link and it makes Instagram pop up in your phone. Just type out stirandstrain and you’re there.

Also, if you want more fun things to look at check out EVERYONE ELSE WHO WRITES A COCKTAIL BLOG attending Tales of the Cocktail right now. I’m trying to keep up with them at home, but if I keep at it I won’t make it into work tomorrow. For everyone there, be safe, have fun, hydrate. You lucky SOBs.

 

 

 

 

 

Red Ruth Cocktail

Red Ruth Cocktail // Stirandstrain.comLos Angeles over the past few years has become laden with some of the best craft cocktail bars in the country (deal with it New York). But where will you find me come Happy Hour on a Tuesday? Probably bar-side at the Tonga Hut out in the Valley. A darkly lit Tiki Bar nestled in-between a model train shop and a store front bridal “boutique”, this place sees my face almost weekly. Why? Currently I am trying to complete the Grog Log along with fellow drink/food blogger Nathan Hazard so that after completing the imbibing of all 90-something drinks on the list (within one year), a plaque with my name will be placed on the wall of this darkly lit Valley bar. But still, why bother you ask? I love having goals. But really, it’s a great way to become VERY familiar with Tiki drinks and all the ways the flavors come into play. This bar does a lot of in-house mixes and syrups and the woman running the beverage program, Marie, takes it all to heart and is adamant about making Tiki drinks taste the way they were meant to taste from way back in the heyday of Tiki days. I appreciate it. If you’ve trolled around my blog long enough now, you would see that I share the same sentiments when it comes to cocktails. Even tiki cocktails can be craft.

So why am I writing about this? Besides needing something to write about for an intro, I was over at the Tonga Hut the other night completing my list and tasted the Cruzana cocktail. Its ingredients were modest: grapefruit, maraschino syrup, rum. It was not very sweet, and had a lovely bitter quality to it that I enjoy in cocktails, which got me thinking… how could I expand on this? Twist it into something my non-Tiki drinking friends would like to have? Take the rum out and make a syrup!

And so I did just that.

Let’s ignore the beige walls and countertop in the photo. This was perfected over the 4th Holiday at my in-laws, who love beige. Let’s just focus on how tasty and refreshing this drink is when temps are soaring over 90 lately.
cherry-syrup //stirandstrain.com

The first ingredient I sought to improve upon was the cherry syrup, or rather, the dredges from the kool-aid colored cherries. Cherries are in season right now, why not make a super-tasty syrup from them? It barely takes any effort other than pitting them. But that’s what a cherry pitter is for. Bam, done in two minutes.

Fresh Cherry Syrup

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup pitted cherries
1/2 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 oz. freshly squeezed meyer lemon juice
1/2 oz. grenadine (home made is best!)

Combine first three ingredients in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for two hours. Strain solids from liquids and add next three ingredients to mix. Stir to combine. If not using immediately, add 1/2 ounce of vodka to mix, or leave out vodka if using within 2 weeks.redruth-cherry

The syrup produces a fresh cherry flavor with light syrup. It’s more juicy than syrupy. The citrus and grenadine balances the syrup out from being too subtle in flavor. They act almost like bitters in that it rounds it out to a fuller flavor. And on a side note, I could totally pour this all over some pancakes. Just FYI.

And then there was the drink.

2 oz. St. George Botanivore Gin
2 oz. freshly squeezed white grapefruit juice
3/4 oz. home made cherry syrup (recipe above)
2 drops of Miracle Mile Chocolate Chile Bitters

3 Luxardo cherries for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, shake and pour unstrained into a Collins glass. Garnish with Luxardo Cherries.

Like I said, I took the rum out, and the flavor profile completely changed. That sweetness and spice from the rum took a backseat in the cherry syrup, and a more botanical, herbaceous flavor moved to the front. The bitters tone down the sweet just enough. Citrus flavors are complimented by the bright, herbaceous gin. I specifically used this gin from St. George spirits to create a more interesting layer with the fruits and in the end, a refreshing summer drink that moves away from the realm of Tiki.

This past weekend I was asked “what makes a drink tiki?”, and admittedly, I was stumped to have a concrete answer. Is it a drink with rum? Well, no. There are drinks in the Grog Log with vodka, whiskey and gin. Is it the tropical flavors? Again, not necessarily. And at that point I realized I couldn’t give a concrete answer. Maybe it’s all in the garnish, the presentation…the state of mind! Regardless, here, by switching out the gold rum with a gin, and having some softer fruit flavors, the cocktail no longer is a tropical drink and more in line with just something for summer. Thoughts are always welcome on this subject….

The Little Pink Sombrero

Little Pink Sombrero Cocktail // stirandstrain.comWell, after a break I think some of you might be groaning to hear that I’m coming back with yet another Tiki drink. But wait! It’s so much more than that! It’s…. got Mezcal in it. Oh yeah I did.

In making this drink I realized that Mezcal on its own CAN work with the world of Tiki, and also, when you add Cruzan Black Strap Rum to the drink, it’s total magic.pinksombrero-2

I’m happy I took a little break, I feel like I cleared out the cobwebs and have some great ideas I want to work with. You should do that too. Go take a mental break.

Admittedly the name came WAY before the drink. I have an Evernote notebook filled with just names of drinks I should make some day because at the time I thought they were clever. I clear it out frequently. Cause a lot of the times I’m drinking coming up with these and you know, it’s not the same the next day. Why would you name your drink the Canine Chasm? What the hell does that even mean?

This cocktail started as a variation on the Jungle Bird, but then flew off in another direction. Campari, with its bitter citrus flavor seemed a good candidate to start mixing with Mezcal. It is, FYI.

The only issue I ran into here was trying to photograph a flame; a liquor flame. It’s blue and in daylight fades, and at night, you can see it but not the drink. Frustrating, but after some tips from a bartender the other night, I will have to go at it again with some minor adjustments to my camera (I’ve unlearned a lot of my photo skills from college apparently). For this post you’ll have to just accept the shaky garnish and Oh and AH at the only picture to come out IN focus WITH a flame in it. But really, the drink will more than make up for any displeasure the image causes you.

If you are interested in creating a drink there are several techniques for creating a flame that lasts a bit while you imbibe. One method is to use a toasted cube of bread doused in 151 rum, another is to soak a sugar cube in the same 151. I chose the later; it smells good. Also, if you want to really create a WOW effect, sprinkle some cinnamon on top, it will crackle and pop a bit. And also smell good.pinksombrero-1

1-1/2 oz. Del Maguey Vida Mezcal
3/4 oz. Campari
1 oz. pineapple juice
1/2 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 oz. Cruzan Black Strap Rum

For garnish: pineapple wheel, spent lime shell (with pulp removed), sugar cube, 151 rum

Combine all ingredients except garnish in a shaker 2/3 filled with ice. Shake well to combine and pour, strained, into a chilled coupe. Garnish with pineapple wheel with flaming sugar cube on top (either way above will work). Try not to burn eyebrows.

This cocktail blends in a very interesting way flavors you associate with tropical, but with a more savory base from the Mezcal. Very dry, slightly sweet with an added molasses depth that I’m finding hard to explain HOW AWESOME IT TASTES. Fruit flavors are subtle with a balance of smoke from the Mezcal.

In the first variation of this, I left out the Cruzan Black Strap rum and the drink definitely had a much stronger punch of smoke. However, when it was added to the cocktail, it balanced everything out in a way I wasn’t prepared for since I was expecting more sweet.

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In Other News…

I was interviewed! Listen to the webcast on Break Thru Radio here! (Click the blue play button at the top next to the DJ to listen)

Check out the Death to Sour Mix site for the post on MY SITE. It was badgers, not weasels. FYI.

And if you like music, you should follow my twitter feed, as I’m doing a song a day for the next year. Committed, that’s me.

Mixology Monday: Fruit & Dagger Cocktail

fruit and dagger cocktail // stirandstrain.com
mxmologo

Every month I feel like the deadline for Mixology Monday creeps up on me faster and faster. And just like that, it’s time once again for a post. This month, Mark at Cardiff Cocktails has given us the theme of “Witches’ Garden”. For the full announcement post, please click here.

Here’s the back story for my submission this month…

I’ve had this bottle of Sake taking up room in my fridge for months. Possibly more than five. Looking for an excuse for using it up, I thought I would try something a little lighter in the ABV, as this bottle clocks in at around 15-16%. Shirakabe Gura Tokubetsu Junmai is a dry-ish sake that has a light melon/pear taste, but not much body. I figured it could use some bulking up via a cocktail.

My herb of choice for this drink was Rosemary. I have so much growing around my house that I filled up two green bins when just ‘trimming’ it last month. If you ask me for some, I will gladly hand over a shopping bag filled to the brim to you, which you will silently curse me for, wondering how in the hell you will use all of it. So, any time I can stick it in a drink, I will. Rosemary gets closeted into winter-time drinks much too much. It’s woodsy profile though pairs really well with citrus, and, as I have discovered this week, passion fruit.fruitdagger-3

So I married those two with a hint of grapefruit and came up with this low-alcohol cocktail. The final ingredient is tonic. The drink had the right flavors when I first tried it, but fell flat in my mouth. The tonic perked the whole thing up, giving it a much needed lightness and fizz.fruitdagger-2

3 oz Shirakabe Gura Tokubetsu Junmai Sake
1/2 oz Passion Fruit syrup (recipe here)
1 sprig of rosemary, about 5″ long
3 dashes Fee Brothers Grapefruit Bitters
2 oz Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water

sprig of rosemary and grapefruit slice for garnish

In a mixing glass, place the sprig of rosemary in the bottom, add syrup and muddle gently, just enough to release the oils. Do not crush or tear the herb (5-7 presses with a muddler should do). Add ice 2/3 of the way up the glass, then pour in sake and bitters. Stir to combine. Fill a highball glass with ice and strain liquids over the ice. Top with Tonic water. Gently stir to combine. Garnish with rosemary sprig and grapefruit slice. A straw is also a welcome addition.

As I stated earlier, the rosemary and passion fruit are a great combo, earthy and tart. The grapefruit bitters offer a citrus nose and a sweet and bitter layer to the drink. The sake itself is pretty mild tasting, and I found it a nice canvas to play off of here. Overall clean and refreshing.

Make It: Passion Fruit Syrup // The Hurricane Cocktail

hurricane cocktail // stirandstrain.comDid you know that passion fruit had a season? Neither did I until earlier this week. Big thanks to Nathan from the Chocolate of Meats blog for hipping me to this fact.

If you are a lover of Tiki drinks you know that passion fruit is a major component in many of those elusive Grog Log drinks. If you’re not familiar, now you know. Pretty much though you’re stuck with commercial flavored syrups that taste more like sad kool-aid than anything resembling a fruit derived substance. Until now. My passion fruit did not come locally unfortunately, they were flown in. I thought that was the only way I would get them until I found out a local catering company, Heirloom LA, were growing them in their backyard. Note to self, plant that ASAP.passionfruit // stirandstrain.com

So before we get to the drinks, lets get to making the syrup. If you don’t raise your hand to the question Who’s going to use this syrup up in a month? Then you can either add a 1/2 oz of vodka to the mix to prolong it up to 3 months, or make a large batch and freeze up containers to use when passion fruit is not in season.

Although a basic recipe, credit goes to Tiare from the Mountain of Crushed Ice blog for some of the tips to making this syrup.

Passion Fruit Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Just under 1/2 cup of Passion Fruit seeds/juice (about 7 smallish fruit)
2 passion fruit

Combine first 3 ingredients in a sauce pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. As soon as the mixture reaches a boil, cut the heat and remove from the stove. Add the juice and seeds from the last two passion fruit to the mixture, stir to combine and cover. Let this sit for two hours, then strain and bottle.passionfruit-2 // stirandstrain.com

Let’s ease into the Tiki now with the Hurricane cocktail. With just 3 simple ingredients this is where quality really counts. And perhaps your garnishes too.

I always associated the Hurricane with a red/pink color, in fact, I assumed that passion fruit were this color too (I seriously had no idea). So to my surprise, this Hurricane really is the color of a passion fruit, yellow-orange. Dealing with the fresh passion fruit also has taught me what I smell in a lot of Tiki drinks I’ve had out of the house. The point I’m trying to make is that if you want to be serious with drinks, or food even, get to know the fresh stuff, not just what comes in a can at a grocery store, you’ll very quickly start to favor the fresh ingredients. I’ll probably be heading back to the market to buy a couple pounds of passion fruit this week just so I can make enough syrup to freeze a sizable stash. God, I just hope they’re not out of season by Tuesday.

Hurricane Cocktail (adapted from the Grog Log)
4 oz dark rum (I chose Goslings Black Seal Rum)
2 oz freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
2 oz passion fruit syrup

large sprig of mint and pineapple cubes for garnish

In a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, add first 3 ingredients and shake well. Fill a hurricane glass or large tiki mug with about 20 ounces of crushed ice. Strain drink over the ice and add more crushed ice if desired. Garnish with mint (give it a good slap between your hands to release some of the oils from the herb) and 3 pineapple cubes on a cocktail spear.

Don’t forget that mint! The mint adds an aromatic nose that is a perfect compliment for this sweet-tart drink. The Goslings was chosen because it gives a nice deep spice layer, while the Meyer lemon balances out the passion fruit tartness. Overall this was not what I remember a Hurricane tasting like, and that’s probably a good thing. Enjoy!

The Parker Misfire

The Parker Misfire // stirandstrain.comIt must be spring. I’m sneezing and dreaming of my mini Palm Springs vacation coming up in the summer (I’m always planning ahead, way ahead). Also, pineapples are popping up all over the place. For example, this new beauty:pineapple-bronze2

It was listed as a possible ice bucket on Etsy, but I don’t think standing water would be so great in the brass. For now I’ll just let it hang out with the liquor bottles.

I love the flavor of pineapples but they always get the rap of being put into a tropical drink. While I have no problem with that whatsoever, I really wanted to try a pinapple drink that wasn’t tiki.

This drink is a good base. It’s not pow-bam terrific but it’s getting there. The first incarnation came straight from the Joy of Mixology. And immediately I knew this was not really great. It tasted… weird? So I tried to think up what it was missing and came up with the recipe below.

The name, The Parker Misfire, is based off of the original recipe name, The Algonquin. I associate that with the name of the hotel where the Algonquin Round Table was housed. While many notable names sat there, I remember it fondly for Ms. Dorothy Parker, whose acerbic wit I strive for in my daily life. While this drink has some bite, it doesn’t deliver quite the zing it needs. Suggestions, as always, are welcome.parker-miss2

1-1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye 100
1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice, unsweetened
1/4 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur
2 dashes of Miracle Mile Yuzu Bitters

Combine all ingredients except for bitters in a shaker 2/3 filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add two dashes of Yuzu bitters on top.

Sweet and savory with a surprisingly creamy mouthfeel. The apricot balances the sweetness and cuts through the dry vermouth to prevent it from becoming ‘too savory’, which I found to be a real problem with the first version of the drink. The Yuzu adds a subtle bite of acid while providing a clean citrus nose to the drink. The rye is not a powerful flavor here as the pineapple covers up a lot of its bite.

So, there you go. Feel free to try this recipe out and let me know what you did differently to make it appeal to your palate. 

Orange-Pecan American Triology a.k.a. “The Clusterf*ck”

american-cluster-3Apologies are in order first, as these bitters used here you can’t actually buy anymore. Clusterf*uck bitters were named after a kitchen mishap from Miracle Mile Bitter’s owner Louis Anderman where he accidentally mixed a batch of pecan bitters with orange bitters creating this delicious one-off. I, of course, ran as fast as I could to a local shop to pick up a bottle before they sold out. Which they did. Quickly. But fear not, you can mix your own at home to pretty much replicate the same flavor. 2:1 pecan to orange bitters.

american-cluster-2Ok, now that the caveat is out of the way. Here’s the cocktail. It’s actually Anderman’s way of enjoying these bitters in a simple, straight-up cocktail, the American Trilogy. More apologies are in order I guess if you’ve read this far thinking I might start talking about the Elvis song. I’m not going to, except maybe to say it’s a decent song. And possibly wonder how far up the google ladder this post would have to climb in order for it to have some relevance to Elvis. Anyway, this recipe comes via the Looka! Blog, a fellow Los Angeles cocktail lover, and lover more so of all things New Orleans. Check him out.

Via Looka! via Caroline on Crack with respect to Miracle Mile Bitters
1 oz Rittenhouse 100 rye whiskey
1 oz Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy
1 barspoon rich Demerara syrup
3 dashes Miracle Mile Clusterf*ck bitters (sub out 2 dashes pecan bitters and one dash orange bitters)
Orange peel for garnishamerican-cluster-1

Combine all ingredients except peel in a mixing glass filled 2/3 with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Express orange oil from the peel over the drink and around the rim then drop it into the glass.

Fresh orange fills your nose as you get into the glass, while that first sip, expecting fire from the rye and applejack, is actually soft and nutty. There’s a touch of sweetness, but not overpowering. The rich syrup works well with the liquors to balance out. Lovely, simple and solid.

Mixology Monday: Lazy Sunday Punch

lazy sunday punch // stirandstrain.com

mxmologo

Sundays should be lazy. You shouldn’t have to think that far ahead in your day; events should just roll in and out. And no one judges you if you stay in your soft clothes until Monday morning. This drink came about in that lazy Sunday way. There was definitely a driving force behind it. Mixology Monday was due the next day, and clearly I had to produce something to show for it. Not to knock this month’s theme Drink Your Vegetables, hosted by Fogged In Lounge (whose blog name is so fantastic by the way). This month has just been particularly hard for posts due to outside circumstances, any other month I could have been running wild with fennel and kohlrabi and other vegetables. But here I am on Sunday with a couple cucumbers, and a blender, in my yoga pants.

Mainly when I think of cucumbers I think light, refreshing, and I wanted this drink to come off that way. And it does. It’s not very sweet, although it is sweet enough for me. There is an overwhelming taste of cucumbers, which is the point since we are highlighting veggies here, but it’s not like drinking a V-8. The citrus gives a nice sweet-tart bite, while the elderflower and rose water take away some of the ‘green-ness’ of the drink with a peppery finish from the mint. The tequila is very soft in the background, cucumbers are surprisingly overpowering in flavor. I chose to blitz it all with ice since it seemed like a perfect way to imbibe it on this warm afternoon.

If you find the need for a bit more sweetness, a 1/4 to 1/2 ounce of simple syrup should do the trick.lazysundaypunch-2

4 oz Cazadores Tequila Blanco
1-1/2 oz St. Germain
4 oz freshly squeezed oro blanco grapefruit juice (or sub white grapefruit)
3/4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 oz rose water
2 small cucumbers, peeled and seeded
small handfull of mint leaves

1 cup of crushed ice
cucumber spear for garnish

Add all ingredients except ice to a blender and blend for 15 seconds to combine. Add ice and blend for another 15-20 seconds. Pour into chilled margarita glasses or oversized martini glasses. Garnish with cucumber spears.

I am just realizing that this post is also killing two birds by getting a MxMo post up and getting another round of drinks for two into the mix. Although this makes more like drinks for two and then some.

Burnt Sage and Blackberry Sangria for Two

sage blackberry sangriaCocktails are rarely a solitary experience in my household. Many of the cocktails you find on this site are created in duplicate because they are shared among two or more people in one sitting. Which got me thinking, why don’t I have more cocktails for two on here? So, I’m going to try and have more of those around in the next few months.

First up, Sangria. Except, this is way more complex of a Sangria than I thought I would be able to get out of it. This is due to an extreme case of being flustered, tired, and combatting a cold. To sum it up, I was too lazy to check in on it after the first day and just let it sit for two days in the fridge. Result: a sangria for cocktail lovers.

Sangria holds a special place in my memory. I remember the first time I drank it. At the office going away party that was thrown for me when I turned 21 and moved out to Los Angeles. Let’s get our story straight though; turning 21 had nothing to do with moving West. It was a passing fancy when a friend of mine decided to move out here and I decided I would too. It was a last minute decision. Rarely did I make well thought-out decisions at that age. Anyway, since there was a table of us, and technically, we were at lunch and people would be returning to the office, a pitcher of Sangria was ordered. At 21 this seemed exotic and fancy, the same way that seeing someone bring out a flaming bowl of liquor at a Chinese restaurant was exotic 10 years prior. I don’t remember how it tasted, only that it was red Sangria. Since then, I’ve been spectacularly disappointed by this drink many a time.

But now something in me wanted to make this again, and make it good. Thankfully procrastination made this work in my favor.sageblackberrysangria-1

Burnt sage? YES. Just lightly torch the edges, don’t try and burn up the whole leaf. If you find you’ve charred it too much, just break that part off. This was also an excuse to use more of the black pepper syrup I have stored up in the fridge, it’s really much more versatile than I thought and adds a peppery bite to the syrupy blackberries and wine.sageblackberrysangria-2

This drink is for two but can easily be adapted into a larger batch. If you have a third of a bottle laying around it’s a good way to use that up.

4-1/2 oz Red Wine (Malbec used here)
3 oz Four Roses Bourbon
1 oz black pepper syrup (recipe here)
3/4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
4-5 burnt sage leaves
8 blackberries

4 slices of blood orange

Burn the edges of the sage leaves and let cool for a few seconds. Add the leaves to the bottom of a mixing glass, add syrup and lime juice. Lightly muddle. Add blackberries and crush, leaving some pieces more intact than others. Pour in wine and whiskey, add orange slices, stir to combine and cover (I used the other half of the Boston Strainer for a cover). Let sit for two days refrigerated to steep. After two days, stir gently. Fill two rocks glasses with ice cubes. Carefully pour the contents of the mixing glass between the two glasses.sageblackberrysangria-3

Don’t be afraid of the overpowering smell of whiskey you will have when you first make this. It needs to sit and steep. What you get at the end of two days is a sweet and sharp elixir.  On the nose are orange and berry followed by more berry on the palate with subtle layers of tart and pepper with an earthy undertone. It’s rich, which is the one characteristic that I find lacking in most Sangrias. There is a heavier body that the whiskey contributes to overall making this seem almost more like a rather large cocktail than just a ‘wine’ drink.

Now I somehow need to do this with a white wine. Wish me luck.