Crafting a Sweet Cocktail Kit

Crafting a Cocktail Kit with Truvia // stirandstrain.com

This post was made in partnership with Truvia®. Recipes and ideas are my own.

Halloween may have you thinking about those sweet treats filling up your jack-o-lantern buckets, but today we’re going to be talking about a different kind of sweetness…how we show a little sweetness to each other every day. And we’ve got a fun cocktail kit we’ll show you how to make when you want to give a little sweetness to a friend, partner, or yourself!

Crafting a Cocktail Kit with Truvia // stirandstrain.comWe’ve teamed up with Truvia® to find out “What motivates you to be sweet and kind.” Truvia and Upworthy.com are exploring what motivates individuals to be sweet. Some of the research might surprise you and they have a fun quiz you can take to find out what your sweetness personality type is too. There are four possible types: Purely Sweet, Reciprocally Sweet, Tactfully Sweet, and Graciously Sweet. Curious what kind of sweetness you are? Take the quiz and let me know! I am Graciously Sweet, which means I enjoy doing kind things with the goal of inspiring others to pay it forward. I admit I do love a teachable moment.

Crafting a Cocktail Kit with Truvia // stirandstrain.comSo, today I’m going to use this post as a teachable moment. I’m going to teach you all how to put together a simple cocktail kit to give to a friend, partner or yourself. This could be a thank you gift, a hostess gift, something to give for the holidays, or an extra special treat you can tuck away for yourself when you need a little self-care.

Crafting a Cocktail Kit with Truvia // stirandstrain.comTruvia Natural Sweetener packets now come with uplifting sweet phrases on each pack, the perfect little bit of sweetness to add to someone’s day. They are also a great size and amount to sweeten a cocktail with. Adding these single serve packets keeps everything neat and organized.

Ready to sweeten someone’s day? Let’s look at what we’ll need to create this cocktail kit.

Crafting a Cocktail Kit with Truvia // stirandstrain.comSmall box, tin, or basket
4 ounce amber bottle
1 ounce amber bottle
Whiskey of your choice
Aromatic bitters of your choice
2-4 Truvia Natural Sweetener packets
Label maker
Rocks glass
Mixing spoon
Jigger
Muddler
Index card and markers

For this cocktail kit, I’m putting together a Whiskey Old Fashioned recipe. For one reason, all the ingredients are easy to come by, and everything is shelf stable. Also, if your friend or partner is a novice when it comes to making drinks, this is super easy!

Crafting a Cocktail Kit with Truvia // stirandstrain.comFirst, find a container that will fit everything. A small box or tin works great. You can keep this simple by visiting a craft store or kitchen supply store to find small bottles and bar tools. Also, Amazon has lots of options. Label all the bottles so your recipient knows what’s inside and measure out the amount you’ll need for your recipes. You can choose to create 2 or more servings depending on the size bottles you get. Then create a recipe card with how much to measure from each bottle. You can optionally personalize the items too. Rocks glasses with initials are not hard to come by, and they show the person you went out of your way to find something unique. Finally, tuck the Truvia Natural Sweetener packets in the glass so they can see the sweet phrases on them. Package up everything and deliver to that special someone!

Crafting a Cocktail Kit with Truvia // stirandstrain.comI hope I’ve inspired you to show a little sweetness to someone in your life!

Fall Feelings Boozy Round Up 16 boozy ways to get in the fall spirit!

Put out some decorative gourds and make some cocktails! It finally feels like fall!The Apple-groni Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Apple-groni Cocktail

Apple Elixir Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Apple Elixir Cocktail

Caramel Apple Jellies with Everclear // stirandstrain.com

Caramel Apple Jellies

Sparkling Apple Sherry Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Sparkling Apple Sherry Cocktail

Apple Appetizers Three Ways with 90+ Cellars Lot 49 Sparkling Rosé // stirandstrain.com

Pairing Rosé with Apples

Make It: Black Licorice and Amaro Bat Jellies for Halloween // stirandstrain.com

Black Licorice and Amaro Bat Jellies

The Negroni Nero Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

The Negroni Nero

The Private Club Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Private Club Cocktail

Whiskey Round the World Cocktail with Cask and Crew Walnut Toffee Whiskey // stirandstrain.com

Whiskey Round the World

The Toasty Russian Cocktail with homemade toasted coconut milk // stirandstrain.com

The Toasty Russian

PS Coffee Old Fashioned Cocktail with Truvia // stirandstrain.com

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Old Fashioned

Spiced Pumpkin Bourbon // stirandstrain.com

Spiced Pumpkin Bourbon

Crustafied, a rye whiskey variation on the Brandy Crusta // stirandstrain.com

Crustafied Whiskey Sour

Vanilla Bourbon Caramel Sauce // stirandstrain.com

Vanilla Bourbon Caramel Sauce

The Royal Affliction Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

The Royal Affliction

Low Rent Cocktail of the Month: Fanta of the Opera & Fanta of the Paradise // stirandstrain.com

Fanta of the Opera & Fanta of the Paradise Cocktails

P.S. Coffee Old Fashioned

PS Coffee Old Fashioned Cocktail with Truvia // stirandstrain.com

This post was made in partnership with Truvia®. Recipes and ideas are my own.

Even though fall officially started last week, it feels like we’ve been in it for awhile now. Is it me, or is that certain pumpkin-spiced coffee drink arriving earlier and earlier each year? Now, while I LOVE all the pumpkin things, I really am not a fan of overly milky drinks (like those lattes). But I do love coffee, and it just happens to be #NationalCoffeeDay tomorrow, September 29! And what better way to marry pumpkin spice and coffee than to make a cocktail with them?!

PS Coffee Old Fashioned Cocktail with Truvia // stirandstrain.comWe’ve teamed up with Truvia® to create a Pumpkin Spiced syrup to use in the base of our coffee cocktail. It’s made with less sugar than what you’d get at your local coffee shop AND it’s made with real pumpkin too. So you end up with way fewer calories than a traditional sugar syrup. The Truvia Natural Sweetener comes in a spoonable jar for ease of use in the kitchen, and ½ teaspoon of Truvia Natural Sweetener is equal to 1 teaspoon of sugar. So you don’t need to drown your cocktail in syrup to get just the right amount of sweetness in there.

PS Coffee Old Fashioned Cocktail with Truvia // stirandstrain.comNow, when I say I love coffee, I mean I love it. My last thoughts before going to sleep usually involve me thinking about how good that first cup of coffee will be in the morning. And I cannot start my day until I’ve at least had one sip of that invigorating elixir. Naturally, then, I also will put coffee in my cocktails whenever possible.

PS Coffee Old Fashioned Cocktail with Truvia // stirandstrain.comAn Old Fashioned cocktail is a satisfyingly simple drink, and if you’ve been on this site before, you’d know it’s also one of my favorite drinks to use as a base for a new creation. At its most basic, an Old Fashioned is just spirit, sugar and bitters, and even those elements can change into whatever you’re in the mood for. And I’m in the mood for pumpkins and coffee.

PS Coffee Old Fashioned Cocktail with Truvia // stirandstrain.comThere’s a myriad of ways you can infuse coffee into cocktails but today we’re going the quick and easy way with coffee liqueur. We’ll spend our time instead on making a rich, spicy pumpkin syrup that will make your house smell AMAZING when you’re warming it on the stove. The syrup doesn’t take more than 15 minutes to make, so don’t worry, you’ll have your cocktail in no time! And what a flavor bomb! Bourbon forward but with deep coffee aroma and sweet pumpkin and spices in the finish. And don’t forget those bitters—they balance out the whole drink and prevent it from becoming too sweet.

PS Coffee Old Fashioned Cocktail with Truvia // stirandstrain.com

P.S. Coffee Old Fashioned

2 ounces bourbon
1/2 ounce coffee liqueur
1/4 ounce Truvia pumpkin spice syrup (recipe follows)
2 dashes aromatic bitters
orange zest and cinnamon stick

In a mixing glass filled 2/3 with ice, pour in bourbon, coffee liqueur, pumpkin spice syrup, and bitters. Stir 20 seconds and strain over a large ice cube into a rocks glass. Garnish with orange zest and cinnamon stick.

PS Coffee Old Fashioned Cocktail with Truvia // stirandstrain.com

Truvia Pumpkin Spice Syrup

1 cup Truvia Natural Sweetener
1 cup water
2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

In a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat, combine Truvia Natural Sweetener and water, stirring constantly until Truvia is dissolved. Add in pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and ground ginger. Stir until everything is well combined. Let simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit five minutes. Strain through cheesecloth over a strainer or use a nut milk bag (this one is my fav!). Syrup will keep refrigerated in an airtight container up to two weeks.

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.

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

Gift Guide: Father’s Day 2018

Dad does not want a tie this year…unless that tie is covered with tiki drinks.

Gift Guide: Boozy Father's Day Gifts for 2018 // stirandstrain.com

What kind of boozy Dad do you have? I’m sure we’ll find a gift for him! Mail order of the month club Dad? Now with Rum! Athletic Dad? Beer bike! Swinger Dad? Sexy coasters! DIY Dad? Mix your own cocktail! Grilling Dad? Hot Dickel! Nerd Dad? Vader-Stein! Gourmet Dad? Beer chocolates! Getting Dad a bad gift is not an option this year.

  1. Flaviar world of spirits members club 2. Whiskey Wood Engraving 3. Cocktail Crate Classic Old Fashioned Mixer 4. Darth Vader Stein 5. Sexy Legs Coasters 6. Tiki Cocktail Tie 7. Hot Dickel 8. Theo Beer Chocolates 9. Peroni Bike

Catch up on all the gift guides here!

Whiskey Round the World Walnut Toffee Whiskey - Amontillado Sherry - Sweet Vermouth - Coconut - Bitters

Whiskey Round the World Cocktail with Cask and Crew Walnut Toffee Whiskey // stirandstrain.comThis post was made in partnership with Cask & Crew. Recipe and ideas are my own.

My husband has this plate that hangs on the wall in our kitchen (yes, we have a decorative plate. Actually, there are two in the house. Laugh if you must but they’re pretty cool looking.). On the plate are two older gentlemen curiously hovering above a globe, one holds a magnifying glass and some papers while the other points at some uncertain location; it’s called Newfound Worlds. It’s also apparently a Norman Rockwell painting so you all can look it up and check it out too.

Whiskey Round the World Cocktail with Cask and Crew Walnut Toffee Whiskey // stirandstrain.comWhat’s funny about this is, and how it connects to today’s drink, is the fact that these men are stationed comfortably in a library somewhere, discovering from the comfort of their armchairs. Are they really discovering new worlds? Maybe it’s a discovery for them, even if they are not actually there. My equivalent would be browsing travel sites, for hours, and not actually going on any trips. Sometimes one just needs a mental vacation.

Whiskey Round the World Cocktail with Cask and Crew Walnut Toffee Whiskey // stirandstrain.comSo about today’s drink. Today we’re taking a tour around the world with our ingredients: we start in America, then head off to Britain, Spain, Italy, and then we dash down to some tropical islands. A delicious trip, but from the comfort of our armchair.

The star ingredient here is the Cask & Crew Walnut Toffee Whiskey, a lovely balance of buttery sweetness, bitter walnuts and a punch from the whiskey. It’s tasty on its own, with a blend of 51% Canadian rye and 49% American corn, but it’s also great mixed into drinks where the notes of vanilla and spice shine through. For this cocktail, I wanted to heighten the nuttiness of the whiskey with some Amontillado Sherry and round out those spice factors with bitters and sweet vermouth. For an unexpected twist, coconut syrup adds a freshness that lightens the drink a bit. Sipping it from your armchair you experience both the familiar and the exotic.

Whiskey Round the World Cocktail with Cask and Crew Walnut Toffee Whiskey // stirandstrain.comOh, and the other decorative plate…it’s a white tiger in a tuxedo.

If you’re ready to take a mental vacation, let’s mix up this drink already!

Whiskey Round the World Cocktail with Cask and Crew Walnut Toffee Whiskey // stirandstrain.com

1-1/2 ounces Cask & Crew Walnut Toffee Whiskey
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
3/4 ounce Amontillado sherry
1/4 ounce coconut syrup* (see note below about making your own!)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 dashes orange bitters

orange peel for garnish

In a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, add in Cask & Crew Walnut Toffee Whiskey, sweet vermouth, Amontillado sherry, coconut syrup, Angostura bitters, and orange bitters. Shake 20 seconds and then strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Express orange oils over the drink and garnish with peel.

*If you’d like to make your own coconut syrup, combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and 1 cup flaked coconut in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir and let mixture come to just under a boil. Turn heat down to low and stir to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 1 hour. Fine strain into an airtight container (I like wide mouth ball jars for these) and store, refrigerated, for up to one month.

 

For more information on Cask & Crew, please visit them at caskandcrew.com!

Crustafied whiskey - orange curaçao - lemon - angostura - notes on moving on from craft cocktails

Crustafied, a rye whiskey variation on the Brandy Crusta // stirandstrain.comAre you going to Tales this year? Can we meet at Tales? I’m reaching out to you about meeting up at TOTC… Sorry guys, I did not attend Tales of the Cocktail this year. I really don’t know when I’ll make that happen, if ever. However, I was able to bypass the crowds and the sweltering, miserable 105° heat with god-knows-how-high humidity and just look at everyone’s Instagram and Twitter and quite frankly that was great and totally enough, thanks.

Crustafied, a rye whiskey variation on the Brandy Crusta // stirandstrain.comLately though it’s been hard to muster up the interest to pretend everything is OK and go eventing and snap some ‘grams. Instead I’ve been compulsively scrolling through the news with an ever increasing knot in my stomach wondering what the hell is going on in the world. It makes all this social media and even this website seem, well…¯\_(ツ)_/¯

But I’ll save those thoughts and actions for offline, where I can actively do things and not just type type type on here. Anyways, to say the least, I’ve been pretty uninspired with drinks lately. I recently read on article on the End of the Craft Cocktail Movement, and while I initially wanted to get cocky and yell in an obnoxious manner no it’s not, I had to give the author a nod for touching on some truths. The truth being that, yeah, you can get a good cocktail practically anywhere and we as cocktail drinkers have come to expect that now. It’s not novel to be craft and to use fresh ingredients and make your own bitters and muddle in some cucumber. We ALL know how to do that and that’s a good thing. The scary part for people like myself is how do we move on from there.

When I was perusing the images from TOTC, one of the most intriguing things I saw was on Craft & Cocktails’ twitter. It was 4 images of weird stuff with the caption that they were “all cocktails”. You can see that post here and read my comments on it below. To sum up, I was most into the weirdest, the most wrong, the most confusing cocktail of the bunch that was a glass with what looked like dentures sitting in it.

Crustafied, a rye whiskey variation on the Brandy Crusta // stirandstrain.comSpectacle. We’re now moving onto spectacle. When we all expect what’s in the glass to taste great, you’re going to need a 3 ring circus to bring the audience in, at least when we’re talking about here in the blog/social media world. There has been a trend with the younger, newer drinking age audience to stop making drinks at home and to cease entertaining. Their eyeballs are glued onto their phones looking for the next great cat bar, not to necessarily go there, but to “like” the idea of it and quickly move on to the next strange idea.

Crustafied, a rye whiskey variation on the Brandy Crusta // stirandstrain.comThis is a weird spot to be in when you’ve been happily plugging along on your website, coming up in the (second? third?) craft cocktail movement and sharing a love of home bartending. The newer audience will not be home bartenders, and the audience you’ve been talking to is going to start getting home bartending fatigue. Even I see that in myself. I’ve stopped reading a lot of sites, even ones I’ve loved, and stopped browsing through a good chunk of the social media sites, and instead started reading more actual books again. I chuckle at the newest hashtag of #readafuckingbook and am actively giving my brain a break from the nonsense and just the relentless tragedy that coexist in the same feeds.

And so, here’s a little spectacle, wrapped around a good drink. The good folks at Copper & Kings just released an orange Curaçao that is pretty darn great and I added that into my variation here on a Brandy Crusta. First, I swapped some California rye whiskey in for the brandy and then instead of the sugar crusted rim and lemon peel, I made some lemon zest infused sugar and spun that around the glass. The sugar looked like amber when it hardened, and it made me happy to look at it. Like a little artwork on my glass.

Crustafied, a rye whiskey variation on the Brandy Crusta // stirandstrain.comI hope you all find a little something that makes you happy this week.

Crustafied!

2 ounces whiskey, Spirit Works Straight Rye Whiskey used here*
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce orange curaçao, Copper & Kings intense orange curaçao used here*
1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
Dash Angostura bitters
lemon-sugar garnish (recipe follows)

In a mixing glass 2/3 filled with ice, pour in the whiskey, lemon juice, orange curaçao, maraschino liqueur and Angostura. Stir to chill 20 seconds and strain into lemon-sugar crusted glass.

Lemon Infused Spun Sugar Garnish

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and lemon zest, stir to combine. When sugar starts to melt, stir constantly until sugar reaches a golden-brown color. Remove from heat immediately and continue to stir. As the sugar mixtures begins to cool, the liquid will thicken. Sugar is ready when a wooden spoon is dipped in and sugar pours off in a ribbon. Dip a coupe glass into the sugar and slowly pull out, twisting the sugar as you remove the glass. Hold upside down for about 30 seconds and then stand up to finish cooling. Set aside until ready to use.

What You Should Be Drinking on Super Bowl Sunday

Let’s get ready to foooooot balllllllll!!!! Right? Pretty sure that’s what they say at football games. Let’s make some drinks.

Hot Ward 8 Cocktails

 The Pineapple Hop Cocktail

Texas Tea Beer Cocktail

Rhubarb-Vanilla Beer and Pisco Cocktail

5 Spice Bourbon Punch Cocktails

Irish Coffee Jello Shots 2 Ways

And if you must….

Fireball Cider

Spooky (and not so spooky) Fall Cocktails

I’m back east right now visiting with family in New England and everywhere I go I am reminded of just how much more it feels like Autumn. Besides the fact there is an actual chill in the air, we drive by corn mazes and apple stands and people really deck out their houses for Halloween. Entire towns decorate for Halloween. I’m trying not to think about the 90° temps that we will be returning to in Southern California. For now, I’m just going to soak all this Autumn in and give you guys some of my favorite Spooky, and just plain seasonally appropriate cocktails.

The Royal Affliction Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

The Royal Affliction Cocktail

 Spiced Pumpkin Bourbon // stirandstrain.com

Spiced Pumpkin Bourbon

Apple Elixir Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Apple Elixir Cocktail

Mixology Monday: Night Call Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Night Call Cocktail

Winter Pear Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Fir Tree Pear Cocktail

green hell cocktail // stirandstrain.com

The Green Hell Cocktail

The Private Club Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

The Private Club Cocktail