Matcha Maker

We've been asked what makes a cocktail worthy of being on our website. It's pretty simple... knowing what it tastes like, would we order it in a bar? If the answer is "hell yes" it makes to the page. Despite the crazy color of this one, it's most definitely a hell yes.

Distilled from cacao (yes, that fruit that chocolate comes from), Solbeso has flavors reminiscent of brandy, rum, tequila and even grappa, yet it's none of those. For this reason, we've taken to seeing just how far we can stretch the surrounding ingredients and still get something worthy of sharing (we haven't failed yet). 

For this one, we've worked to compliment the flavors of Solbeso while also highlighting another current obsession: matcha green tea. Available here in Nashville at K&S World Market, it is a finely-ground powder of specially-grown green tea leaves, which results in a bright green hue from the chlorophyll. Packed with promises of health and wellness, it's a great way to add a little conscience to your drinking habit.

 

equipment

cocktail shaker
strainer
fine mesh strainer
cocktail glass

ingredients:

2 oz Solbeso
.5 oz lemon juice
.75 oz simple syrup
1/4 tsp matcha green tea powder
2 dashes orange bitters
1/4 tsp orange flower water
strip of orange peel and edible flower petals for garnish (optional)


method:

Add the Solbeso and matcha green tea powder to your cocktail shaker and dry shake (without ice) for a few seconds to combine. Add lemon juice, simple syrup, bitters and orange flower water and fill with ice before shaking to chill. Double-strain into a cocktail glass, garnish and serve. 

Tiki Takedown

An artist friend recently told us the story about a buddy who would get drunk on Tiki Drinks and set up a makeshift bowling alley in the back yard. He used a series of Tiki heads as the pins and called it Tiki Takedown. 

It sounded like fun to us, but we don't have any Tiki heads. Oh well, apparently we'll just have to get drunk and not worry about the game.

We made this with some fine-ass rum that will be at our October 3st of the Month - Papa's Pilar Rums. These rums are aged and blended in what's called the Solera process. They are aged in bourbon and port wine barrels before being blended and finished in sherry casks. The result? Fine ass rum. Didn't we already tell you that?!

 

equipment:

cocktail shaker
strainer
bar spoon
crushed ice
tall glass

ingredients:

1.5 oz Papa's Pilar 3 Blonde Rum
1.5 oz Papa's Pilar 24 Dark Rum
1 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 oz fresh-squeezed orange juice
1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
.5 oz cinnamon syrup
1 barspoon orange flower water
3 dashes bitters
fresh lime and flower garnish

 

method:

Fill serving glass with crushed ice. In your cocktail shaker, add all ingredients except bitters and garnish. Shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds and strain into serving glass. Add bitters on top, garnish and serve.

Hothouse Flower Tequila Cocktail

Tequila is much more versatile than people think. Yes, it's great in shots and margaritas, but if that's all you're doing with your tequila, you are missing out.

This slightly spiced and very floral cocktail gets the flavors from a few key ingredients. One of our favorite cocktail additions these days is Ancho Reyes. We put it in our Prickly Puebla cocktail a few weeks ago and love the slightly spicy notes it imparts. We paired it with Korean chili powder. Different from the typical chili flakes you shake on your pizza, Korean chili powder has a slightly smoky flavor with more depth and less heat in the forefront. 

The floral flavors came from a combination of St. Germain elderflower liqueur, homemade hibiscus syrup (see our recipe in the Hibiscus Breeze cocktail) and orange flower water. Once combined, it made for one hell of a delicious cocktail!

 

equipment:

cocktail shaker
rocks glass

ingredients:

1.5 oz El Jimador Tequila
.5 oz Ancho Reyes
.5 oz dry curaçao 
.5 oz St. Germain
1 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
.5 oz hibiscus syrup (see recipe here)
1 dash orange flower water
Pinch of Korean dried chili peppers for garnish


method:

combine all ingredients except garnish in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake 15-20 seconds to chill. Transfer to rocks glass and sprinkle chili power on top.

Rum Pomander

An early form of aromatherapy, the pomander was a an ancient way perfuming one's self or environment. These days, it often refers to those oranges studded with cloves you see Martha Stewart making. Either way, it seemed a fitting title for this cocktail full of flavor and spice. 

The spice comes from the tasty 92 proof Spiced Rum from Sugar Island Rum Co. and a pinch of cardamom. The orange comes from the flavors of Aperol, orange bitters and orange flower water. 

It's a boozy, complexly-flavored cocktail, but one worth trying. 

 

3st of the Month presents: the Rum Pomander Cocktail

equipment:

cocktail mixing glass
bar spoon
strainer
collins glass

ingredients:

1.5 oz Sugar Island Spiced Rum
.75 oz Aperol
1 oz fresh lime juice
pinch ground cardamom
2 dashes orange bitters
2 dashes orange flower water
strip of orange peel for garnish


method:

Fill mixing glass with ice and add remaining ingredients (except the garnish of course). Stir to chill for 15-20 seconds. Fill collins glass with ice and strain cocktail into glass. Garnish with twist of orange peel. 

Rose Water Boulevardier

Yes, you should know by now how much we love a good Negroni. A classic cocktail made from equal portions of sweet vermouth, gin and Campari, Negroni is like the classy uncle that always brings gifts. Well, one simple swap of bourbon for gin and you've got the Boulevardier. Think of it as the drunk uncle who invites himself to dinner. 

After experimenting with flower waters a while back, we loved the subtle differences a few dashes could make. While this cocktail would be damn tasty without it, you will be amazed at how so little of one ingredient can add so much. The floral notes from the rose are an excellent friend to the vermouth and Campari and we'd be missing an opportunity to be cheesy if we didn't make this one with Four Roses Bourbon. C'mon, really? How could we resist?

Besides being perfect for a rose-themed cocktail, Four Roses is actually pretty damn tasty. We made it with their Yellow Label variety, but their Single Barrel or Small Batch bourbons would also be outstanding.

 

equipment:

cocktail mixing glass
bar spoon 
strainer
rocks glass

ingredients:

1.5 oz sweet vermouth
1.5 oz Campari
1.5 oz Four Roses Yellow Label
2 dashes rose water
strip of lemon or orange zest for garnish


method:

Fill cocktail mixing glass with ice and add bourbon, vermouth, Campari, and rose water. Stir to chill for 20-30 seconds before straining contents into a chilled rocks glass (with or without ice - your call). Express the oils from citrus over glass and drop in to garnish.

Blackberry Pickin' Moonshine Cocktail

Summers in the south mean more than cutoff jeans and farmer's tans. To us the mean wild berry pickin' and moonshine. At least for the case of this cocktail they do! 

Many folks don't know, but berries are actually closely related to roses. Alisa Huntsman, the pastry chef at the Loveless Cafe taught us that a little rose water in her berry pies brings out the fruity floral notes of fresh berries. Since we've been experimenting with flower waters and had some fresh blackberries on hand, this seemed like the perfect occasion to bring these ingredients together - over some smooth American Born Moonshine nonetheless. Follow the steps below and you'll have a drink so good that you'll never guess that stuff packs a walloppin' 103 proof! 

While this may not be the most simple cocktail we've ever created, it has a few simple steps that are key to making it as damn tasty as it is. Don't just muddle the berries - strain out the seeds and pulp. 

 

equipment:

cocktail shaker
muddler
fine mesh strainer
collins glass or tumbler 

ingredients:

9 fresh blackberries, divided
4-5 fresh mint leaves
2 oz American Born Moonshine
.5 oz Domaine De Canton Ginger Liqueur
.25 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz simple syrup 
4 dashes rose water
seltzer
fresh mint and blackberries for garnish

 

method:

Muddle 6 blackberries (save 3 for garnish) with fresh mint in the bottom of your cocktail shaker until fully smashed. Add lemon juice, moonshine, simple syrup, ginger liqueur and rose water. Fill with ice, cover and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Fill your glass with ice and strain cocktail into glass through a fine mesh strainer. Fill glass with seltzer and garnish with a skewer of remaining blackberries and fresh mint sprig. 

 

Jalisco Bloom

When we started our flower water cocktail experiments, tequila was the first spirit we reached for. A good blanco tequila is much more mixable than folks give it credit for. It's a perfect vehicle for the subtle flavors of orange flower water.

A by product of the distillation process used to produce orange flower oil, orange flower water can be found at many Middle Eastern markets or online at Amazon. Outstanding in cakes and desserts, it's one of our favorite ingredients in cocktails as well. Best known for its inclusion in the classic Ramos Gin Fizz cocktail, it adds a floral bitterness. While it might smell a little like blue-hair old lady perfume, the flavor is significantly more complex with pleasant soapy and bright bitter notes. A little goes a long way, so if you're experimenting, try adding less before you add more. Deal?

 

equipment:

cocktail mixing glass
bar spoon 
strainer
rocks glass

ingredients:

2.5 oz blanco tequila
.25 oz orange flower water
.25 oz orange liqueur
.5 oz fresh-squeezed orange juice (fresh is best!)
strip of orange peel for garnish

 

method:

In a cocktail mixing glass filled with ice, add tequila, orange flower water, orange liqueur and orange juice. Stir for 20-30 seconds to chill. Place a few ice cubes in a chilled rocks glass and strain cocktail into glass. Express oils from the peel above the cocktail and place into glass to garnish.

Orange & Brandy Re-Daiquiri

Daiquiris have gotten a bum rap. Originally as simple as rum, lime juice and sugar, they've been kidnapped by beachfront resorts and turned into sugary-sweet neon concoctions. But they don't have to be. We've taken it on to reclaim the daiquiri - and rum, for that matter. The original American spirit, rum has been overshadowed by bourbon and whiskey, but shares some of the same characteristics thanks to barrel aging.

In this version, we've shaken it and served it on the rocks, but you could also strain it into a chilled coupe glass for a more classic daiquiri presentation. The substitution of fresh-squeeze orange juice for lime juice is key in this - don't use bottled orange juice. Grab a fresh orange and squeeze it. It's not that damn hard. 

In addition to the orange juice, this one also includes orange flower water. The floral quality of the flower water is further enhanced by the sweetness of the peach brandy, but any brandy will do. If you don't have one on hand, just swap it out with simple syrup - it won't be quite as good, but we doubt that you'll let it go unconsumed! 

 

equipment:

bar shaker
strainer
cocktail glass

ingredients:

2.5 oz dark or black rum
.75 oz fresh-squeeze orange juice
.25 oz peach brandy
4 dashes orange flower water
2 dashes orange bitters
orange segment for garnish

 

method:

In a cocktail shaker full of ice, add rum, oj, brandy, orange flower water and bitters and shake for 20-30 seconds to chill. Strain into a chilled glass (with or without ice) and garnish with a fresh orange segment.

Lavender & Lemon

While some flower waters are easy to purchase, some are easy to make. Lavender water is essentially made with either a few drops of extract into water or, like we did, by steeping a tablespoon of organic (food quality) lavender blooms in boiling water for five minutes. The floral notes of lavender are a natural pairing with gin - making a little cocktail orgy of sorts. Trust us.

To help round out the flavors of this one, we've added a touch of fresh lemon for acidity and a little Eli Mason gomme syrup for sweetness and mouthfeel. Like with many boozy drinks, you want to stir this rather than shake it, as shaking will rapidly dilute the drink and the aeration from shaking can dull the flavor. With that in mind, we've also served this with an ice ball to add chill but cut down on the surface area that the drink comes in contact with. Ours was made from the spherical ice maker from the Whiskey Ice Co. in Dallas, Texas. We'll elaborate on the difference some day soon in our booze blog, but until then trust us when we say an ice ball maker is NOT the same as an ice ball mold, which produces inferior ice balls that crack and split (making the whole point of using one pointless if you ask us).

 

equipment:

cocktail mixing glass
bar spoon
strainer
ice ball or large ice cube
rocks glass

ingredients:

2.5 oz Prairie Organic Spirits' Gin
.25 oz Eli Mason gomme syrup
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz lavender water
strip of lemon peel for garnish

 

method:

In a cocktail mixing glass with a 5-6 ice cubes, add the gin, gomme syrup, lemon juice and lavender water. Stir for 20-30 seconds to chill. Place ice ball in your chilled rocks glass and pour cocktail over the ice into the glass. Express oils from peel over glass and place in the drink. Sip and enjoy responsibly. 

The Rosey

Flower waters have been around for centuries. Originally used for their fresh fragrances, they started making their way into food and drinks as early as the 16th Century. While they may not be commonplace in most kitchens, keeping a few flower waters on hand will surely lead to a future of more flavorful cocktails and desserts.

Rose water, also called rose flower water or rose blossom water, is the by product of the distillation of roses for rose oil. While the oil goes into perfumes, the water is used for everything from baklava to religious ceremonies. Look for it online at Amazon or in your local Middle Eastern market. 

In this cocktail, we paired it with bourbon, Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon to be precise. The existing floral notes of the bourbon pair exceptionally with this boozy cocktail. While we chose to make it with splash of seltzer, you could also enjoy it more 'old fashioned' style with a single large ice cube or strained and served neat.

 

equipment:

cocktail mixing glass
bar spoon
strainer
double old fashioned glass

ingredients:

2 oz Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon
.25 oz Rose Water (easily found in Middle Eastern markets at Amazon)
.25 oz Lemoncello liqueur
.5 oz sweet vermouth
2 oz seltzer
Luxardo Maraschino cherry (with syrup) for garnish

 

method:

Chill glass and start making the cocktail by filling your cocktail mixing glass with a few ice cubes. Pour bourbon, rose water, lemoncello and vermouth into glass. Stir for 30 seconds to chill. Place a few ice cubes in your chilled double old fashioned glass and strain cocktail into glass. Pour seltzer on top and garnish with delicious Luxardo cherry or two and a few drops of the sweet cherry syrup.