Chili O Caliente?

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‘Chili O Caliente?’ begins with aromas of cherry cola, dried flowers, light smoke that follows through on a round, supple entry to the pallet. The first sip introduces a fruity-yet-dry body with dried fruits, suggestion of nuttiness, currents, smoked honey comb, juicy cherries, and finishes with a long, elegant spicy fade.

  • 1.5 oz Tapatio Reposado
  • .5 oz Del Maguey Vida Mezcal
  • .5 oz Dolin Rouge Vermouth
  • .5 oz Caliente Cherry Syrup
  • .25 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake well. Fine strain into a chilled rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Caliente Cherry Syrup

Cascabel Chili’s have a wonderful nutty and slightly smokey flavor that paris well with ripe juicy cherries. When creating this recipe I experimented with Anchos, Chipotle and Cascabel chili’s. The Cascabel were by far my favorite chili because of the way they really showcase the nuttiness in reposado, ultimately balancing off each natural flavor Tapatio has to offer.

  • 1 cup cherries
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 1 dried Cascabel Chili
  • 1 small habanero – thinly slicked and seeded

Place Cascabel Chili in a small bowl covered with hot water. Place another bowl on top to keep pepper submerged. Let soak for 30 minutes. Remove chile from water. Remove stems and seeds. Tear into small pieces and place into a small sauce pan. Add a cup of cherries and habanero to the sauce pan along with a cup of water. Let simmer for 30 minutes until cherries become soft. Adding additional water as needed. Turn off heat. Let cool. Place syrup into a blender. Blend until smooth. Fine strain into an airtight container.

East Bound and Down

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I love the theme song from ‘Smokey and The Bandit’ almost as much as I love this cocktail. As I have mentioned in the past I run everyday. When its six o’clock in the morning and it feels like there are little weights on my eye lids, because I can’t seem to keep my eyes open, I put this song on my i-pod to get ‘amped’ up. It never fails, within a block or two I am sprinting down the street. Feel free to take a listen; East Bound and Down.

Sassy sarsaparilla adds a surprising element to maple forward George Dickel No. 12. Orange marmalade and Pekoe Sweet Tea soften the bite making ‘East Bound and Down’ not only great for some old-fashioned front porch sittin’ but the perfect cocktail for any occasion.

  • 1.5 oz George Dickel No. 12
  • .5 oz Stirrings Ginger Liqueur
  • 2 oz Sarsaparilla soda
  • 3 oz Pekoe Sweet Tea
  • 1 bar spoon Orange Marmalade

Add George Dickel No. 12, Stirrings Ginger Liqueur and orange marmalade into a collins glass. Stir until marmalade is dissolved. Add Sarsaparilla Soda and ice. Top with Sweet Tea, stir and garnish with a lemon wedge. Enjoy!

Pekoe Sweet Tea

  • Six bags of Orange Pekoe tea
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange blossom honey
  • 1 1/2 cup cold water

Bring water to a boil in a tea kettle. Add tea bags and sugar. Stir well until sugar is dissolved. Let steep for ten minutes. Remove tea bags and let cool completely.

Senorita Rose-Alita

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I had a moment last week of feeling so well-connected. Now it’s not what you might think in the way of being almighty, celebrity, Wall Street, swiss bank account, Prince Harry on speed dial connected. I have a friend in Napa with elegant house that has a hammock on her back porch that happens to overlook a beautiful vineyard. It’s rare, almost impossible to make this kind of connection. But once you have made it into the hammock and look out on the vineyard the feeling is bliss. I like to get cozy and read a good magazine, or take a nap and pretend I am on a vacation in the French countryside. Last Friday it was 75 degrees and as I am lying there hoping to get a little ‘color’, I came up with this cocktail. Senorita Rose-Alita is bursting with a fresh bouquet of bright apples, raspberries, wild flower, juicy melon and orange.

  • 1 oz Raspberry infused Coquerel Calvados Reserve
  • 1 oz Lillet Rose
  • 1/2 oz Benedictine
  • 1/2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 barspoon agave syrup
  • Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit Bitters

Combine all ingredients with ice in a shaker. Shake well. Fine strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a spring of mint.

Raspberry Infused Calvados

Place a basket of washed fresh raspberries into a 750 ml of Coquerel Calvados Reserve. Let sit for 24 hours, shaking occasionally. Fine strain raspberries out and Coquerel Calvados into an airtight container.

Southern Dignity

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The inspiration for this cocktail came from making flan one night with my mom. I like the sensation in my mouth when tasting flan that is made with rich caramel topping on silky custard paired with one of one of my favorite tequilas or whiskeys. I am always exploring new flavor combinations for cocktails. This time I took the flan caramel topping and added a pinch of tarragon to make a syrup. If mother nature could take the most divine notes of licorice, fennel, anise soften them into a sweet flavor, tarragon would emerge. ‘Southern Dignity’ holds true with burnt toffee notes and a suggestion of tarragon that pairs well with captivating rye, orange, and whiskey cask-aged sparkling cider which seems to ‘dance on your tongue.’ Cheers!

  • 1.5 oz George Dickel Rye
  • 1.5 oz Crispin Bird on a Wire Whiskey Cask-aged Hard Cider
  • .5 Caramel Tarragon Syrup
  • 2 dashes Fever Tree Orange Bitters

Combine everything in a beaker with ice. Stir well. Fine strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a flamed orange peel.

Caramel Tarragon Syrup

  • 1/4 brown sugar
  • 1/4 white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 cup water

Add all ingredients into a small sauce pan. Let simmer about ten minutes stirring consistently until liquid is golden brown. Let cool. Fine strain into an airtight container.

Will You Mari-achi Me?

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I am always finding inspiration in the Latin culture. I have fallen in love with the bright bold colors not just used in celebrations but in everyday life. I am constantly curious as well as fascinated with the spices and traditions found in Mexican cooking. I spent the past summer learning spanish and how to become a real Mexican cook. Trust me once you making tortillas from scratch, you will never go back to the store-bought rubbery ones. This lead to spending countless hours at Mi Pueblo asking the people who work there, “Qué es esto?” Ok.. well then “¿Qué hace con ello?” I came across tamarind last week. One of the friends I have made at Mi Pueblo Francisco, said “What are you going to do with that tamarindo Senorita?” When I told him I am going to make a syrup out of it and put it into tequila, he looked horrified. Not that it was a bad idea. I got the feeling Francisco doesn’t let anyone touch his tequila.

Salted tamarind syrup is amazing. The flavors in tamarind are sour, tangy with a prune fruit roll-up like sweetness. I took its natural sweetener and enlivened it by adding fresh ginger. ‘Will You Mari-achi Me?’ begins with toasted honey, butterscotch, and vanilla that hits deep on your palate, tamarind ginger syrup creates an intense sensation followed by the bold citrus in grapefruit that simply leaves your mouth begging for more.

  • 2 oz Don Julio Reposado
  • .5 oz Ginger Tamarind Syrup
  • 1 barspoon Elizabeth’s All Spice Dram
  • 3 oz Fresh Squeezed Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
  • 2 dashes Bittercube Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters

Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake well. Fine strain into a chilled rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Salted Tamarind Syrup

  • 1/2 lb fresh tamarind
  • 1 table spoon sugar
  • 1 table spoon agave syrup
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped ginger
  • one pinch salt

Peal the hard outer shell of tamarind. Place pods in a small sauce pan with just enough water to cover them. Bring water up to a boil for three to five minutes. Turn off heat and let cool. Carefully seperate tamarine from inside seeds. Bring back up to a boil for another five minutes stiring so that the seeds have a chance to seperate compltetly. Let cool again. Fine strain seeds out. Add freshly chopped ginger and a pinch of salt. Let cool. Place in a blender, blend until smooth.

 

Good Time Tease

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If you have ever joined me for a drink, then you already know. But if in the future if there is ever a reservation for us, there is something I should let you know. I have a genuine love for George Dickel. When I walk into a bar, before my bum even hits the bar stool, I try to make eye contact with him. George Dickel is my absolute favorite whisky. He toasted me last Saturday on my birthday. And on Sunday I toasted him right back to celebrate his birthday. George Dickel’s Master Distiller John Lunn made a simply irresistible rye. It’s maple charcoal filtered whisky spicy, caramel then oak, with cherry fruit notes that have a very dry finish. In this cocktail the Dickel Rye is amplified with a Five Spiced Pear Syrup made from fall spices paired with intense mexican chocolate, and the subtle smoke of black cardamom. The combination is intensely invigorating. It’s then backed up by just a touch of chamomile, bitter orange and exotic herbs found in Fernet Branca. All I can say is George Dickel Rye in this cocktail is simply one hell of a ‘Good Time Tease’.

  • 1.5 oz George Dickel Rye
  • 1/2 oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz Five Spiced Pear Syrup
  • 1/4 oz Fernet Branca
  • 1/4 freshly squeezed lemon juice

Add all ingredients into a beaker with ice. Stir well. Fine strain over ice into a chilled rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Five Spice Pear Syrup

Peel pears and cut into one half-inch cubes. Add them plus half a cup of water and all other ingredients into a small saucepan. Turn onto low heat and let simmer for half an hour. Fine strain into an airtight container.

Luxedo

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On a recent trip to Manhattan I had dinner reservations at one of my favorite restaurants, Balthazar. I often use recipes from the Balthazar cookbook at home. I take every chance I can get to have dinner at Balthazar so that I can compare my presentation with the actual dish. This may sound funny but I have a before Balthazar ritual. I get off the subway on Prince Street and make an a-line to Prada. The Prada in Soho is my version of a New York museum. I love to take half an hour to admire the handbags and shoes. I then find my way to Dean and DeLuca where everything always looks absolutely fresh. Each apple seems to have a the most bright shade of green imaginable and each peach has the most perfect, soft fuzz. I could spend an hour in their browsing though the unique jams, teas, and cheese. This particular evening, I came across Plum Smoked Tea Compote. It sounded so interesting that I had to purchase a jar. After I strolled though Dean and DeLuca, I realised that all of my senses were open and I was hungry. I walked like a proper New Yorker; on a mission, head down, brisk, not letting anything or anyone get in the way of me and my lovely date with Balthazar.

‘Luxedo’ takes your taste buds on a velvety voyage with Black Bush’s racy notes of dark caramel, toffee and bitter-sweet chocolate. The journey continues with subtle nuttiness in Amaro Nonino, Firelit’s rich coffee bean, followed by juicy plum with a lingering hint of smoke.

  • 1.5 oz Bushmills Black Bush Irish Whiskey
  • .5 oz Amaro Nonino
  • .5 oz Firelit Coffee Liqueur
  • 1 barspoon Plum Smoked Tea Compote
  • 2 dashes Regans orange bitters
  • brandied cherries

Add all ingredients to a beaker with ice. Stir well. Fine strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with brandied cherries. Cheers.

Plum Smoked Tea Compote can be found here.

Limited Addiction

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I chose Greenhook Ginsmiths American Dry Gin as the base for this cocktail because of its sweet elderflower, cinnamon, and peppery juniper notes. I then infused the gin with bold, bright, tangy hibiscus. Next I added ripe cherry juice and spiced orange liqueur. To finish off the drink I floated a thin layer of light anise, chocolate and coffee found in Amaro Ciociaro which ultimately makes for a delightful treat.

  • 1.5 oz Hibiscus infused Greenhook Ginsmiths American Dry Gin
  • 1/4 oz Amaro Ciociaro
  • 1/2 oz Benedictine
  • 1/2 oz cherry juice
  • 2 dashs Regans orange bitters
  • Bar spoon agave syrup

Add everything but the Amaro Ciociaro into a shaker with ice. Shake well. Fine strain into a chilled coupe glass. Using the back of a bar spoon, carefully float half an ounce of Amaro Ciociaro on top. Garnish with a blood orange peel. Enjoy.

Hibiscus infused Greenhook Ginsmiths American Dry Gin

Put a handful of hibiscus leaves into a bottle of Greenhook Ginsmiths American Dry Gin. Put the top back on and shake. Wait three hours if using fresh hibiscus or five hours if using dried hibiscus. Fine strain hibiscus leaves out. Put a cinnamon stick in, shake and leave for 24 hours.

Zacapa Rum Punch with Fried Apples

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I recently went on a snowmobiling trip. It was an incredible adventure filled with breath-taking views. After a full day in the snow we made our way back to our little cabin, started a roaring fire, enjoyed rum punch with fried apples while playing an exhilarating game of poker.

  • 5 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1 orange thinly sliced
  • 6 quarts unfiltered apple juice
  • 1/2 cup brown cane sugar
  • 3 teaspoons allspice
  • a pinch of freshly graded nutmeg
  • 3 cups Zacapa Centenario 23
  • 1 cup Lairds Apple Brandy
  • Cinnamon sticks

Stud the apples with the cloves. Place all ingredients into a sauce pan except for the Zacapa. Slowly bring to a simmer. Let simmer for ten minutes. Remove from heat. Add Zacapa and Lairds Apple brandy.  Ladel into mugs. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Fried Apples

  • 3 tbs. unsalted butter
  • 6 Fuji Smith Apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/8 rounds
  • 1/4 cup brown cane sugar
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Zacapa Centenario 23
  • Whipped Cream

Heat Butter in a skilled until melted and frothy. Add apples and cook until soft about 2 minutes. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, and 1/2 cup water. Let simmer for five minutes or until a syrup is formed and the pan is almost dry. Turn off heat and add Zacapa to the pan. Place apples on a small plate and top off with a dollop of whipped cream.

Empire State

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I recently discovered Black-Sesame Orange gelato and fell in love. I can’t think of the right words to describe it, it’s the Empire State Building, the Frank Sinatra, the Tiffany’s of desserts. There was a taste that I have never experienced before, black sesame.  I needed to re-create the taste so I made a Black-Sesame Orange syrup. I can’t express how well it pairs with Encanto Pisco, it might just be the Carnegie Hall of cocktails. ‘Empire State’ is a perfectly paired harmony with Encanto Pisco’s rich, velvety mouthfeel of jasmine, chocolate, and pepper. Hints of Cocchi Americano wine flavors the pisco with cinchona bark, spices and exotic botanicals, layered with black-sesame orange syrup that is nutty, vanilla-like with suggestions of candied orange. With this ‘Empire State’ my heart melts the same way Carrie Bradshaw’s did in a pair of Manolo Blahnik stilettos.

  • 2 oz Encanto Pisco
  • .5 oz Cocchi Americano
  • .5 oz Orange Black-Sesame syrup
  • .5 oz white grapefruit juice

Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake well. Fine strain into a chilled glass and garnish with an orange peel.

Black-Sesame Orange Syrup

  • 1/4 cup Agave
  • 1/4 cup spoons brown organic cane sugar
  • one table-spoon black sesame seeds
  • one table-spoon fresh squeezed orange juice
  • one cup of water

Place one heaping tablespoon black sesame seeds in the bottom of a small saucepan. Turn on heat to low and let seeds brown until black and shiny. Add all other ingredients. Let simmer for ten minutes. Let cool. Place in a blender and blend until smooth. Fine strain into an airtight container.