Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cocktail Recipes for You to Ponder (and Make) This Thanksgiving

The Biscotti Manhattan offers a hint of the famous Italian cookie, with notes of cocoa and cherries. Perfect with Bacon-wrapped Apricots.

We are the proud yet ashamed owners of cocktail recipes scribbled across stacks of mismatched scratch papers, napkins, business cards, index cards, menus, and the ubiquitous Post-Its. We call them strays. As Thanksgiving approaches, we decided to shed ourselves of things that do not or no longer give us joy. Scraps of paper are those things. So before tossing them into the wastebasket of thwarted dreams, we decided to publish a few recipes that actually sounded good. Invite one of these strays over for Thanksgiving. Feel free to substitute whatever you see fit, or better fits with what you have on your shelf. Don’t have Dubonnet rouge, then substitute a sweet vermouth or another quinquina. Try them all up or on the rocks with a splash of soda. We hope you enjoy experimenting behind the bar (and in the kitchen) as much as we do. Here’s to you and all the fun you bring to flavor.

Fall Pear Manhattan
(created by Cocktail Buzz)

Ingredients
1 ounce bourbon
1/2 ounce pear liqueur
1/2 ounce Dubonnet rouge
dash whiskey bitters
1/4 teaspoon Velvet Falernum
pear slice, as garnish

Method
Stir in ice for 30 seconds. Strain into chilled coupe or cocktail glass. Add garnish.

Biscotti Manhattan
(created by Cocktail Buzz)

Ingredients
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce Faretti Biscotti Famosi liqueur
1 dash mole bitters
1 dash cherry bitters

Method
Stir in ice for 30 seconds. Strain into chilled coupe or cocktail glass. Add garnish.

The Biscotti Manhattan pairs perfectly with Bacon-wrapped apricots with fresh sage. So easy to make, yet the rewards are infinite.

Bacon-wrapped Apricots with Sage
(created by Cocktail Buzz)

Ingredients
package quality bacon
package unsulfured dried apricots
bunch fresh sage

Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover baking tray completely with parchment paper, so that it hangs a little over the sides. If apricots do not seem bite-size, cut in half. Cut bacon slices into thirds. Wrap bacon slice around apricot piece and place on parchment, seam-side down. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bacon has reached desired doneness.

Pair them with any of the cocktails on this page, or with a William Tell All cocktail or a ’69 cocktail for a “Perfect Pairing.”

Maple–Rye Highball
(created by Cocktail Buzz)

Ingredients
1 1/4 ounces rye
1/2 ounce Sortilège maple liqueur
2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6
maple water, carbonated

Method
Shake for 15 seconds in ice. Strain into chilled glasses and top with maple water.

Dutch Negroni
(created by Cocktail Buzz)

Ingredients
1 ounce genever gin (we used Bols)
1 ounce Aperol
1 ounce sweet vermouth (we used Martini & Rossi)
dash camomile tincture
orange peel, expressed and rubbed around rim

Method
Stir in ice for 30 seconds. Strain into chilled coupe or cocktail glass. Add garnish.

Gin and Aperol
(created by Cocktail Buzz)

Ingredients
1 1/2 ounces G’Vine Floraison gin
1 ounce Aperol
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/4 ounce Galliano l’Autentico
1 dash Boker’s bitters

Method
Stir in ice for 30 seconds. Strain into chilled coupe or cocktail glass. Add garnish.


Golden Bees
(created by Cocktail Buzz)

Ingredients
1 ounce bourbon
1/ ounce Berentzen Bushel & Barrel
1/2 ounce goldwasser
dash Boker’s bitters

Method
Stir in ice for 30 seconds. Strain into chilled coupe or cocktail glass. Add garnish.

❤ ❤ ❤

Even if you never make any of these tantalizing concoctions or nibbles, we hope they inspired some of your own ideas. Share them with us.

photos © Cocktail Buzz

Monday, September 22, 2014

What’s More Apt Than Bourbon and Branch to Celebrate National Bourbon Heritage Month?

Welcome the new season with simplicity itself: Bourbon and Branch.

Autumn in New York. A time for reflecting summer’s end as the days darken more quickly, and for completing old projects and starting new chapters. It’s also the time of year when our tastes turn to earthier, deeper-seasoned flavors. So we reach for bourbon when we want to satisfy our fall-lust for darker spirits. Serendipitous, since we celebrate America’s “native spirit” in a thirty-day celebration known as National Bourbon Heritage Month.

One of our new favorite bourbons, Four Roses Small Batch, blends “four original & proprietary Bourbons . . . to reward you with a mellow symphony of sweet, fruity aromas and rich, spicy flavors.” They’re not kidding. Deep, sweet-oak wood char, and rich caramel swirl around your nostrils upon first whiff. It’s seductive. Pour yourself a little and add a few drops of water to open up the spirit; let its esters do their magic when they hit your nose and tongue. Now add a splash of water and an ice cube. Give it a little swirl. You’re on your way to making one of the simplest drinks out there. Bourbon and Branch.

The “Bourbon” part of the name is obvious, but what, you ask, is “branch”? Branch is actually plain, still water added to a mixed drink. In the South, some folks call a stream or creek a branch, hence the simple leap for branch to mean plain water.

Bourbon and Branch

Ingredients
2 ounces bourbon (try Four Roses Small Batch, perfect at 90 proof)
3 ounces still water (filtered would be best)

Method
Add to an ice-filled highball or double-rocks glass. Stir. Note: Sometimes we prefer our Bourbon and Branch with just one ice cube or no ice at all if were looking to warm ourselves up from a crisp night on the town.

❤ ❤ ❤

A note about water: How important is water to cocktails? Without it, you would have a warm glass of whatever it was you were mixing. Dilution is the essential step. It comes from shaking or stirring ice that’s commingling with the other ingredients. Close your eyes and think of a bartender. What is she doing? Most likely, shaking the drink she’s making for you. Naturally, you think of ice when you think about making drinks. You hear that unmistakable sound of clinks and clanks; involuntarily, you start to shake your torso to the rhythm of the bartender’s forceful yet graceful movements. All performed to make your drink explode with flavors and aromas that lay dormant until H2O introduced itself to the game. Water, therefore, is the paramount ingredient in your drink.

According to the Ultimate Dallas Web site, “JR’s favourite tipple was bourbon and branch. It was his drink of choice after a long day at the office to help him unwind.”

J.R.’s Bourbon and Branch

Ingredients
2 ounces bourbon whiskey*
4 ounces mineral water

Method
Pour the bourbon and water into a highball glass almost filled with ice cubes.

For a neat twist on Bourbon and Branch, we decided to use BetterSweet maple water for the “Branch” portion of the drink. If you’re not familiar with maple water, it’s all the rage, and for good reason. Its texture caresses your palate like velvet and tastes like red velvet cake (but just a hint). BetterSweet is only one ingredient: 100% organic maple sap, “sweetened by nature.”

Maple Bourbon and Branch

Ingredients
2 ounces bourbon (try Four Roses Small Batch, perfect at 90 proof)
3 ounces maple water (try BetterSweet)

Method
Add to an ice-filled highball or double-rocks glass. Stir. Note: Sometimes we prefer our Maple Bourbon and Branch with just one ice cube.

❤ ❤ ❤

There will be times when you’ll want something fizzy added to your bourbon. So we experimented with the BetterSweet maple water and turned it into maple soda to make a Maple Bourbon Highball. Make sure you use a self-contained soda syphon that requires a disposable single-use charger. Soda Syphons, once a staple of the American household, can handle liquids that contain sugar. Soda chargers that require you to screw a canister to the device will result in disaster because sugar plus CO2 produces a megaton amount of carbonation. But if a SodaStream is the only device you have to carbonate water, and you are hellbent on making soda water with maple water, make sure you only charge it a bit. Once you see water squirting out the top, it’s time to let go of the plunger.

Maple Bourbon Highball
(created by Cocktail Buzz)

Ingredients
2 ounces bourbon
3 ounces carbonated maple water (read about it, above)
ice

Method
Add bourbon to an ice-filled highball or double-rocks glass. Top with carbonated maple water. Stir.

photo © Steve Schul, Cocktail Buzz

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fruity Libations for a Long Labor Day Weekend

How about a red grape, strawberry, tarragon syrup in your highball this Labor Day weekend?

Ah Labor Day, the harbinger of summer’s end. Shindigs galore from sea to shining sea.

According to Wikipedia,
Labor Day in the United States is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.
It’s also better known as a guaranteed day off for those who work zombie-inducing 9-to-5 jobs, most likely in a beige environment.

Although beige has its moments, that moment is not now.

We imagine that cocktails will be a part of your Labor Day Weekend festivities at some point, so we have an idea whereby colorful and fruit-flavored syrups shine as the key ingredient in a tasty and tantalizing highball. It’s easy to make and, when added to your favorite booze and topped with soda or seltzer, easier to imbibe. You like the color red? May we recommend a raspberry syrup. Magenta get you excited? Then look no further than blueberries. Purple best defines you? Well, concord grapes should be on your grocery list today. And because of the extra day off you definitely have the time.

Demand color in your Labor Day Weekend cocktails or you might end up feeling a little beige.

Over the years, we have made some delectable syrups that have become the bases for cocktail experiments, both wild and tame. Here a few uncommon suggestions:
  • red or black currant
  • gooseberry (okay, we admit this can be a pale, almost beige, syrup if using green ones, but the flavor is one-of-a-kind)
  • red grapes, strawberries, tarragon (use twice as many red grapes to strawberries, and a handful of tarragon)
Fruit Syrup
(adapted from the NY Times recipe for Raspberry Syrup)

This is a classic fruit syrup recipe that can be halved.

Ingredients
2 cups colorful fruit, in any combination (berries and stone fruits work well)
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (optional)
herbs and spices (use your judgment here; strong herbs such as thyme may be overwhelming in large quantities whereas lighter herbs such as tarragon may be used in wild abandon)

Method
Combine berries, 2 tablespoons sugar, and a cup of water in a heavy-bottomed medium-sized saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring so that the fruit begins to break down and get mushy. (If you’re using a fruit with skins that resist easy breakup, such as grapes, you should mash them a little.) Now, to stop the cooking process, add a cup and a half of cold water to the fruit mixture. If you are using herbs and spices and lemon juice, now is the time to add them as well (for the lemon juice, you can just squeeze some from a half lemon into the fruit mixture). Bring to a boil, and then turn down to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. If a lot of foam collects at the top, you can try to skim it off. Now is the time to separate the fruit mixture. You’ll best be served by a cheesecloth-lined strainer here, as a strainer alone may allow little bits of skin and seeds into your syrup. Trust us, you don’t want that. Pour the mixture carefully through the lined strainer into a bowl. You’ll want to get as much syrup out of the mixture as possible, so use a masher, muddler, or any implement you can find and press on the fruit until you’ve extracted every last sweet drop of fruit syrup. Return the liquid to the saucepan (make sure you’ve rinsed the saucepan throughly) and add 1 to 1/2 cups of sugar (depending on your sweet tooth). Stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved, then turn up the heat until the liquid comes to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes. (If you want a thicker syrup, cook for about 6 minutes.) Remove from heat. Let cool. Add vodka and stir to incorporate (vodka will make the syrup last longer). Refrigerate in a clean container with a good seal or screw cap. This should last for two weeks, and with vodka up to a month.

Makes between 2 to 2 1/2 cups.

Fruit Syrup Highball

Ingredients
1 to 2 ounces fruit syrup (less if you like a drier drink)
1 1/2 ounces your favorite spirit (brown spirits will make your drink darker)
3 to 4 ounces soda or seltzer
slice of citrus, brandied cherry, or the fruit you used in the syrup, as garnish (optional)

Method
Shake syrup and spirit for ten seconds in an ice-filled shaker. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Top with soda. Add garnish. Sip. Do not even think about that beige office.

Fruit Syrup Soda

Ingredients
1 to 2 ounces fruit syrup (less if you like a drier drink)
3 to 4 ounces soda or seltzer
slice of citrus, brandied cherry, or the fruit you used in the syrup, as garnish (optional)

Method
Add syrup to an ice-filled rocks glass. Top with soda. Stir. Add garnish.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Casa Noble Tequila Delivers The Organic Goods in All of Its Expressions

Choose your favorite Casa Noble tequila expression: Crystal, Reposado, Añejo, Single Barrel Reposado, or Single Barrel Añejo.

July 24 marked National Tequila Day. No stranger to a celebration, Laura Baddish of the Baddish Group invited a selection of online media guests to sample the mighty fine Casa Noble Tequila in four of its expressions at the aptly named Agave in Greenwich Village. The staff delighted us with countless small bites — succulent albóndigas (meatballs); cheesy, savory quesadillas; piquant and rich guacamole. Honestly, there was too much good food being passed around the intimate back-room dining table, but who are we to turn down a fiesta, especially when accompanied by some of the smoothest and mixable tequilas on the market? Jay Silverman, Agave’s beverage director, after a few introductory words about the production of Casa Noble tequila, offered us a classic margarita made with the youngest expression, Casa Noble Crystal. The agave plants, from which tequila is distilled, are not harvested until they are at least twelve years old, so the plants have had more time to to grow and develop fuller flavors. Jay asked us to sip the Crystal by itself, so when we did, we discovered full-roasted agave flavor. It went down easy and was utterly delightful. The margarita allowed this agave flavor to shine through, and it paired perfectly with the guacamole and chips, only whetting our appetites for more cocktails. But until then, we sipped the other two standard expressions: reposado and añejo. We were shocked — in a good way — by the reposado’s natural candylike sweetness. This expression will be finding its way on our shelves so we can craft some original cocktails with it during the rest of the summer. What surprised us even more, though, were the sweet and smooth sips from the añejo tequila. This aged beauty makes for a wonderful after-dinner digestivo, and was a favorite among the reporters and writers present.

Casa Noble Organic Margarita
For those of you unfamiliar with Casa Noble, Jose “Pepe” Hermosillo Brooks, a co-owner and master distiller, had a mission. He wanted his tequila to, in Laura Baddish’s words, “speak of luxury, of refined pottery and architecture.” Many of us came to tequila downing shot glass after shot glass of the not-so-pure stuff. Casa Noble aims much higher. It is relatable to those in search of refinement, and flavor that’s not compromised by unthoughtful distillation and aging. The bottles, in their array of noble colors such as silver, purple, deep blue, black, and sky blue, glow with the promise of something very special. One limited-edition expression, an aged single-barrel extra añejo mind-blower, is sponsored by the one and only Carlos Santana, a board member who approached Casa Noble with the idea of selling this special tequila with profits going to Milagro, his charitable children’s foundation. Five hundred bottles were sold at $500 each. That’s a lot of dinero. Very special indeed.

By the way, our second cocktail proved to be a winner. Made with joven tequila (aged for six weeks in French white oak barrels), this collins-sized drink buzzed our taste buds with tangerine juice, chipotle, lime, and sage. We all wished we could have another, but by the end of the tasting, we could barely text and tweet.

Casa Noble Organic Margarita
(courtesy of Casa Noble)

Ingredients
2 ounces Casa Noble Crystal Tequila
1 ounce fresh lime juice
3/4 ounce La Sierra Agave Nectar
lime wheel, as garnish
salt rim (optional)

Method
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, strain and serve up or on the rocks, Garnish with a lime wheel. To salt rim, moisten rim of glass with lime, gently roll in a plate of kosher salt.


Casa Noble joven tequila, with tangerine,
lime, chipotle, and sage


Casa Noble Paloma
(courtesy of Casa Noble)

Ingredients
2 ounces Casa Noble Reposado Tequila
fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
splash of fizz (soda, seltzer)

Method
Pour the the Casa Noble Reposado Tequila into a glass and squeeze in the fresh lime juice. Add ice and fill with the fresh grapefruit juice and fizz. Stir and enjoy.


Casa Noble Añejo Casa Royal
(courtesy of Casa Noble)

Ingredients
2 ounces Casa Noble Añejo Tequila
1/2 ounce triple sec
2 ounces fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce champagne or prosecco

Method
Shake first three ingredients in ice and strain into a margarita or rocks glass filled with ice with an optional salt rim. Float champagne on top.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Meet Troy & Sons, Three New Expressions of Moonshine and Aged American Whiskey

We welcome you to the bar.

Recently, we attended the New York launch of Troy & Sons small batch moonshine at the neo-speakeasy Flatiron Room. Laura Baddish, PR spirits queen, hosted the event in the dining aerie that overlooks the main room and bar, where patrons flock to get their boozes on amid the din of other postwork-I-need-to-de-stress martini swillers. After some yummy small bites of mini pizza and meatballs, with middle eastern flavors, and sips of Manhattans, Laura presented Troy to us. Now, that image that pops into your head when you think of “Troy” the moonshiner — just throw it out the window. This Troy was blonde, beautiful, and much much younger than that grizzled man that just disappeared from your mind.

A former Texan, Troy Ball moved with her family to Asheville, North Carolina, to distill moonshine, namely the smooth stuff that the old-timer mountain men dub the “sweet spot,” the best-tasting, smoothest part from the distillation process. She distills three expressions at her Asheville Distilling Co., and all offer unique aromas, undertones, and mixing possibilities.

Blonde, Oak Reserve, and Platinum, three expressions of American whiskey.

You can smell the hushed sweet scent of heirloom white corn in the Platinum Whiskey. This smooth white ’shine, distilled from corn rescued from the brink of extinction, makes a mean Margarita-style cocktail [see Sons-Shine Margarita recipe below]. You can also make one with Troy & Sons’ Oak Reserve Whiskey. Deep whiffs of this expression will remind you of toffee and a small taste will bring you deep into the aging barrel with flavors of oak and caramel. Her Blonde Whiskey, although slightly darker than the Oak Reserve, reveals the meaning behind its name in its gentle caramel taste and velvety mouthfeel. This blonde is a softer “kinder spirit,” made from heirloom turkey red wheat and white corn. Even its aroma demurs, whispering to your palate that any drink made with The Blonde will guarantee a smooth ride.

Troy dubs herself the "First woman to found a distillery in modern times.” The spirits’ name comes from the closeness she shares with her three sons. [Check out her story.] As they got older, Troy felt the time was right to start a new venture. Enter “keeper moonshine,” the sweet-spot distillate that the moonshiners all kept for themselves. Now, Troy knew what her calling was: sharing this ’shine with the rest of the world.

We’re excited to visit her at her distillery some day. Maybe we’ll be lucky enough to taste some batches of her 4-year and 8-year reserve whiskey. Normally, it’s aged for two years in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels, but you never know what time will bring. If the taste of all three of Troy & Sons expressions is any indication, we’re predicting winners.

Sons-Shine Margarita
(courtesy of Troy Ball and Asheville Distilling Co.)

Ingredients
2 ounces Troy & Sons Platinum Whiskey
1 1/2 ounces fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce fresh orange juice
6 drops agave nectar or 1 ounce simple syrup
1 orange slice



photos © Steve Schul, Cocktail Buzz

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Cocktail Buzz Spicy Ginger Syrup Is Your Best Friend This Summer

Homemade ginger syrup is easy to make and will brighten up your cocktail hour. Try this Ginger Pear Highball, made with Berentzen’s light and fresh-tasting pear liqueur.

Crisp ginger ale and its spicier cousin ginger beer are tried and true mixers at your home bar, and for good reason. They combine so well with so much. We love ginger beer in our Zul Mule or in a simple fizzy Presbyterian. These are the perfect drinks for sunny, breezy days. But if we’ve run out of ginger beer, or have some fresh ginger lying around, we love to make ginger syrup to mix with soda. Our homemade spicy ginger syrup is versatile for both cocktails and nonalcoholic “mocktails.” The best part is it’s simple to make.




Cocktail Buzz Spicy Ginger Syrup

Ingredients
6 ounces fresh, unpeeled ginger, washed and diced (or sliced with a mandoline or pulsed in a food processor)
3 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of sugar
pinch of salt

Method
Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool completely. Strain mixture into a jar and store in refrigerator for about a week.


❤ ❤ ❤

Now you can start mixing. Combine the syrup with soda water, to taste, for your own homemade version of ginger beer. It’s really good with some fresh lime juice as well. Or add a little grenadine and the kids have a zestier version of a Shirley Temple we call the Shirley Temple Black.

Ginger Soda

Ingredients
1/2–1 ounce Cocktail Buzz Spicy Ginger Syrup (depending on how sweet you like your drink)
soda, chilled

Method
Fill rocks glass or highball glass with ice. Add ginger syrup, then soda. Stir. You can always add a lemon twist, or perhaps a spring of mint, if it pleases.

Shirley Temple Black
(created by Cocktail Buzz)

Ingredients
1/4–1/2 ounce Cocktail Buzz Spicy Ginger Syrup (depending on how sweet you like your soda)
1/4–1/2 ounce grenadine
club soda, chilled

Method
Fill rocks glass or highball glass with ice. Add ginger syrup, grenadine, then soda. Stir. You can always add a lemon twist, if it pleases.

❤ ❤ ❤

Now it’s time to make a cocktail. How about a Dark and Stormy: dark rum mixed with ginger beer and perhaps a little fresh lime juice in a tall glass of ice.

Cocktail Buzz Dark and Stormy

Ingredients
2 ounces dark rum (traditionalists use Gosling’s Black Seal)
1 ounce Cocktail Buzz Spicy Ginger Syrup (recipe above)
1/2 ounce lime juice (optional)
4 ounces soda water (to taste)

Method
Shake first three ingredients with ice and strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Top with club soda. Stir.

❤ ❤ ❤

If you desire something less alcoholic, use you’re favorite liqueur, like the light apple or pear versions that Berentzen sent us recently. Their flavors are crisp, not at all cloying. Add a little of our ginger syrup and soda water and you’re ready for some backyard barbecue festivities. Their low alcohol content makes them the perfect choice for when you want more than one cocktail; we’ll be reaching for these liqueurs again and again this summer.

Apple or Pear Ginger Highball

Ingredients
1 1/2 ounces Berentzen Pear or Apple Liqueur
1 ounce Cocktail Buzz Spicy Ginger Syrup (recipe above)
4 ounces soda
ice

Method
Stir first two ingredients in ice for 15 seconds ice and strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Top with soda water.




❤ ❤ ❤

We’ve also been adding ginger syrup, in lieu of plain simple syrup, to a lot of classic cocktails. One of our favorite iterations is the Ginger Whiskey Sour. Just add a warm summer night. We think it’s a winner.

Cocktail Buzz Ginger Whiskey Sour

Ingredients
2 ounces bourbon or rye
3/4 ounces Cocktail Buzz Spicy Ginger Syrup (recipe above)
3/4 ounces lemon juice

Method
Shake with ice for 15 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

❤ ❤ ❤

Pairing Suggestions
Halloumi with Fig Jam
Braunschweiger Spread
Smoked Eel
Sweet Potato Crisps
The Chick’s Peas
Smoked cheeses, such as gouda

photos © Steve Schul, Cocktail Buzz

Friday, June 6, 2014

Negroni Week Beckons You Until June 8

Enter Bar Now (or make one of these at home)

 This Whitish Negroni — on the rocks — sparkles with white vermouth and, of course, Campari and gin.

The following Negroni variations originated from other fellow travelers’ books and bars. Each is distinct but embraces the arresting flavors of the original and is perfect for these final days of Negroni Week, the seven-day celebration of the famous cocktail and all its variations. Remember, participating bars across America and other parts of the globe promise to raise money for their favorite charities for every Negroni-style cocktail ordered. If you cannot make it to a bar by Sunday, then by all means have a Negroni-style cocktail at home.

White Negroni
(from Dutch Kills, Queens, NY)

Suze, pronounced like siz, but with a French rounded vowel sound (think Inspector Clouseau), is an aperitif flavored with the bitter roots of the gentian plant. If you try it on its own, it is sweet, as well. It is not for everyone, but is definitely worth a try if you see some behind the bar. Ask your bartender to pour you a sip. In the White Negroni, white vermouth, red vermouth’s milder cousin, rounds out the flavors of gin mixed with Suze in this boozy concoction. Its layered flavors end with a nice bitter finish.

Ingredients
1 1/2 ounces gin (we used Beefeater)
3/4 ounce Suze (a bittersweet gentian aperitif)
3/4 ounce Dolin white vermouth (aka bianco, blanc, blanco)
lemon twist, as garnish

Method
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish.

Recipe reprinted from Imbibe Magazine.

Whitish Negroni
(created by Cocktail Buzz)

Since we’re big fans of Campari, we decided to do a riff on the White Negroni. But there’s nothing white about this cocktail. It’s actually a gorgeous pink–orange. Its smooth, slightly sweet, and layered flavors (think Aperol) pair perfectly with bacon-wrapped unsulfured dried apricots and a little sage leaf.

Ingredients
1 ounce Beefeater gin
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce Dolin white vermouth (aka bianco, blanc, blanco)
lemon twist, as garnish

Method
Stir in ice for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe. Add garnish.

❤ ❤ ❤

These next two cocktails are from two books from which we have made drinks over the years and are perfect for the warming months ahead:

Mistaken Negroni
(from The New Old Bar by Steve McDonough and Dan Smith)

Ingredients
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce orange juice
sparkling wine or Prosecco
orange peel, as garnish

Method
Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into a champagne flute and top with sparkling wine. Serve garnished with a flamed orange peel. [Express orange peel through a match flame by holding the match over the drink and, with your other hand, in one quick, sharp squeeze, pinch the peel (outside of peel facing the match) so the oils spurt through the flame, causing a gentle flare-up.]

Grapefruit Negroni
(from Sips & Apps by Kathy Casey)

Ingredients
1/4 large red grapefruit
1 1/2 ounces gin (we used Death’s Door)
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce Campari
small grapefruit wedge, as garnish
ice, if on the rocks

Method
Squeeze the grapefruit into a cocktail shaker and discard the squeezed fruit. Fill the shaker with ice. Measure in the gin, vermouth, and Campari. Cap and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass or an old-fashioned glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with small grapefruit wedge.

❤ ❤ ❤

So, when all is said and done, you don’t like gin. This is okay. One person’s taste buds differ from the next. here’s something that may stir your whiskey-loving loins:

Red Hook
(created by Enzo Errico, Milk & Honey, New York City)

Ingredients
2 ounces rye whiskey
1/2 ounce Punt e Mes vermouth
1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur

Method
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir well for 20 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Recipe reprinted from Imbibe Magazine.

To find out how to make a Punt e Mes Negroni, click here.

photos © Steve Schul, Cocktail Buzz