Four Cocktails for the Summer....
We just had a most disgustingly humid heat wave. The warm weather has come and gone and come again, yet if there is one thing for certain- I'm getting thirsty. I’ve been working with flavors that although grounded in the warmer weather, they still offer the cooling abilities of late summer sippers. I’ve been drinking a bit of bourbon whiskey these days. Four Roses Bourbon has taken my cocktailian musings to new boundaries and beyond. It’s so easy to make a fine drink with Four Roses. The assertive mouth-feel and soft finish allow the mixologist to create simple drinks with robust flavor. One drink that I’m working on right now uses Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey. This is augmented by a frozen cube of Mavea “Inspired Water” ice that has sweet vermouth frozen into the cube. I use a scant amount of Punt e Mes Sweet Vermouth along with the filtered water, and then finish the cocktail with a few ounces of Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water.
The fizzy nature of Perrier lifts the bourbon to a higher place in the food chain of mixed drinks. To make the sweet vermouth ice cubes, purchase a two quart Tupperware container. Filter your water using the Mavea “Inspired Water” Pitcher (the ice comes out nearly crystal clear) and then add a few shots of sweet vermouth to the water. Let this freeze overnight, then cut with an ice pick and hammer to the desired size. The sweet vermouth cubes as they melt into the bourbon will change the dimension of the cocktail over time. And the Perrier? It will keep your attention because of the fizzy nature of the natural sparkling water!
I call this cocktail the Middle Creek Cocktail.. It’s super easy to make.
Ingredients for one nice intoxicating beverage
Several Hand Cut Sweet Vermouth Ice Cubes
2-3 shakes Angostura Bitters
Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
To a glass cocktail mixer- fill ¾ with plain ice
Add the Four Roses Bourbon
Stir to cool
Strain into an Old Fashioned glass with a couple Sweet Vermouth Ice Cubes
Finish with a few splashes Angostura Bitters and 1 oz. Perrier Sparkling Water
Finally, pinch an orange zest over the top and rub the rim of the glass with the zest
The second cocktail is equally as refreshing, but it works best on a weekday morning when you have a cocktail party to attend to. If you said weekday morning (?) you’d be correct. This cocktail was the signature cocktail for the Architectural Digest Home Design Show held in NYC. I created it to sate the thirsts of about two hundred design bloggers before the show opened. The cocktail is quite simple indeed. The only true prerequisites are the bloody mary mix (I used Hoosier Momma) and of course the tequila. I used the magical Casa Noble Blanco Tequila. There were bitters in there- you can purchase Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Bitters on the web or you may use the easily found- Angostura. Citrus is important with lemon chunks making their way into the mix. This drink is usually served in a Collins glass that is tall and narrow. The choice of the glass is important because the shape forces you to drink it slowly.
I like the use of hand cut ice in my Bloody Mary. I think the size of the cube chills the cocktail, not diluting it. This is important in my opinion.
The Jalisco Bloody Mary is savory and perky in a way that helps the imbiber slowly experience the sensuality of tequila for more than lime and salt. Tomatoes, spices and that “thick as paste” texture of the Hoosier Momma Bloody Mary Mix enrobe the Casa Noble Tequila into something truly memorable. I like to use lemons of the Meyer variety because it is important to balance the spicy and alcoholic with something tangy and sweet. I like to sprinkle some sea salt into this cocktail instead of on the rim of the glass. The sensation of the crunchy salt in your mouth is mesmerizing.
The Jalisco Bloody Mary
Ingredients for two Bespoke cocktails:
¼ teaspoon Fleur du Sel
1 Meyer Lemon, cut into wedges
Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Bitters or Angostura
In a Boston Shaker filled ¾ with ice, add:
Hoosier Momma mix
Fleur du Sel
Shake and strain into a Collins glass with several wedges of Meyer Lemon squeezed inside before adding the ice
Finish with a couple drops of the Fee Brothers or Angostura Bitters
Garnish with a pinwheel of Meyer Lemon and serve to an appreciative friend who may not know that Casa Noble is only one of three tequila brands that are certified organic by the USDA.
I very rarely review vodka and I even more rarely drink it but imagine my delight when I received a new bottling of vodka from Italy. The brand is named Punzoné and it is certified organic by the USDA, made with organically grown Italian wheat. The packaging is gorgeous, tall and frosted in color, in a style reminiscent of Grey Goose or Belvedere or even Chopin. This is ultra-luxury stuff that calls out for simplicity. The clear section of the bottle is a visual cut-out in the shape of the Italian country. Tucked in the back a Tuscan scene of verdant fields and grand homes framed by mountains. It’s gorgeous looking from a visual perspective. The neck is tall and narrow in a shape appreciated by bartenders because it’s easy to hold and pour. I recommend drinking Punzoné with as little as possible. The aromatics are far too good to cover up with sugary soda or even fruit juices. This is ultra-sophisticated, ultra-prestigious stuff. I could never see mixing it with ice cream. That would just be wrong. Even if you were as wealthy as an oil baron, I’d still drink it simply.
My drink exemplifies this desire for simplicity. I’ve frozen lemon zests into ice cubes made from Mavea filtered water in a Tupperware two quart size. Then I cut them into cubes and placed them in an Old Fashioned style glass. As the ice melts, the lemon zest is exposed, gently scenting the vodka with the crisp aromatics of the citrus fruit. Simple? Absolutely. Can you do it at your restaurant or home? Of course, if you can freeze water, you can make this cocktail.
The Punzoné Lemon Cocktail (will blast the mind of one very thirsty friend)
Ingredients for one very intense drink that has all the stuffing…
Lemon Zests frozen into a two quart Tupperware container overnight
3 oz. Punzoné vodka
Several lemon zests
Rub the inside of an Old Fashioned glass with a lemon zest
Add a couple cubes of the lemon zest infused Mavea water filtered ice
Add the Italian Vodka
Gin is uniquely geared to the spring season. I like the idea of gin mixed with the gorgeous Q-Drinks in the Orange flavor. Made with loving care by my friend Jordan Silbert in New York, this is soda that defies your imagination of soda just as a quick energy drink. Here is what they use to make this sparkling soda of the highest quality. Q Orange is made from real oranges – Valencia oranges from Florida, Peras from Brazil, and tangerines from Mexico. And only a dash of organic cane sugar. I’m proud to use in in this cocktail that calls for gin. I used the Barr Hill Gin from the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Barr Hill is distilled from grain and finished with raw honey. The health benefits of raw honey are well established. This is a unique product and it calls out for simplicity and grace when mixed. In this case I took some oranges and sliced them into thick rounds. I scored them on a cast iron grill pan to char deep grill marks into them. Then I placed each orange round at the bottom of a “Rocks” glass. I added a few hand cut chunks of Mavea filtered “Inspired Water” ice. Then I added over the ice 2 oz. of the Barr Hill Gin. Finally I added 3 oz. of the Q-Drinks Orange soda. That’s it!
Orange Inspirational Cocktail
2 oz. Barr Hill Gin
3 oz. Q-Drinks Orange Soda
1 thick slice of orange (grilled deeply)
Filtered Water Ice – I recommend the Mavea pitcher to filter my ice…
Grill the orange round to set deep grill marks, let cool
Add several cubes of hand cut ice to a Rocks glass
Add the Barr Hill gin
Top with Q-Drinks Orange soda
Serve with a wedge of lemon or orange (an un-grilled slice, please)
Sip and enjoy!