Mai Tai

Recipe courtesy of Ben Clemons

Invented (arguably) by Trader Vic in his Oakland, CA restaurant in 1944, the Mai Tai gets its name from from a friend of Vic's, who tasted his first ever concoction and remarked that the drink was "mai tai," a Tahitian colloquialism that roughly translates to "awesome." We can't argue there. 

You might hear Mai Tai and think of some drink you had at a Chinese restaurant somewhere that was extremely sweet and bright red, garnished with pineapple and cherries, but in actuality that drink couldn't have been further from the real thing. Sometime in the illustrious 70's the Mai Tai went off the rails in American restaurants, becoming bastardized into some sort of rum punch made with shitty, cheap liquor and finished with whatever sweet juice and grenadine was available. Of course they were popular! Your mom and her friends (and everyone else) loved sweet, fruity drinks of an unnaturally red hue! 

We want to put those days behind us and drink the real thing; which is a refreshing, boozy concoction straight from the beach.

Equipment:

Cocktail shaker
Crushed ice

Ingredients:

2 oz Afrohead XO Aged Dark Rum   (Appleton Estate is traditionally used)
.75 oz fresh lime juice
.75 oz orgeat syrup
.5 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao 
fresh mint
Luxardo Maraschino Cherry

Method:

Fill cocktail shaker and with crushed ice. In shaker combine rum, lime juice, orgeat, and curaçao. Shake vigorously and strain over crushed ice in a tall glass. Garnish with mint and cherry.

Cool Story, Bros.

Bartenders hear some of the most incredible stories. And perhaps few of the most lame stories. But the good bartenders will always pretend like it's a good one, regardless of how shitty the story may be. 

Some of the best booze also has great stories. Take Medley Bros. Bourbon, for instance. All you have to do is take one look at the label to know there's got to be a good story behind it. It is from Charles Medley and his son, Sam, who have been producing Wathen's Single Barrel for about 15 years now. Charles is the son of Wathen Medley, who is second from the right of the five brothers pictured on the label. 

Bottled at 102 proof, it's got some bite to the booze and is great for making cocktails, so we worked it into a cocktail that could lower the overall proof, yet showcase the flavors it got from aging 4 years in a barrel. 

equipment:

cocktail mixing glass
bar spoon
strainer
coupe or cocktail glass

Ingredients:

.75 oz Medley Brothers Bourbon
.75 oz Dolin Rouge Sweet Vermouth
.75 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
.25 oz Brandy
4 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
strip of orange zest for garnish

method:

Combine all ingredients (except the garnish of course) in a cocktail mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir to chill and strain into your chilled glass. express the oils from the peel into the cocktail and place on the rim to garnish. 

El Presidente

People think of classic cocktails and assume they're to be made with gin - or maybe even whiskey or bourbon. But there's some great drinks out there made with rum.

Like anything in life, a cocktail is only as good as the ingredients you put into it. For this one, we're using one of our favorite rums, Caña Brava. Made with wild sugar cane molasses from Panama, it's distilled in a 1922 copper and brass still and has the perfect rum flavor that makes and outstanding foundation for cocktails. 

The other key ingredients in this are a really good orange curaçao (we like Pierre Ferrand) and homemade (or at least good quality) grenadine. If you use that nasty bright red stuff, this drink will simply not be the same.  

equipment:

cocktail mixing glass
bar spoon
strainer
cocktail glass

ingredients:

1.5 oz Caña Brava Rum
1.25 oz Dry Vermouth
0.75 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
0.5 oz good quality grenadine (like Eli Mason)
1 orange twist, for garnish

method:

Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass. Add large, cold ice. Stir until very cold, strain and serve up in a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Tan Lady

The original classic cocktail White Lady, is made with gin, cointreau, lemon and egg white. Don't let the fu-fu name fool you. While she make look delicate, this is one strong woman.

Depending on who you ask, the cocktail was first created in either 1919 at Ciro's Club in London, who originally made it with creme de menthe and later replaced that with gin. Others claim it was created at the famous Savoy Hotel in London in 1930. Either way, it's really good.

When we first tried Bourbon Barreled Big Gin, we were blown away (as referenced by how little is left in the bottle in this photograph!). There are a few barrel aged gins on the market (three of which will be served at Juniper June), but each is distinct thanks to the base gin and the types of barrels used. Big Gin is obviously (as the name implies) aged in bourbon barrels. It's light amber color hints at the woody notes in the flavor profile. It's subtle - not fully woody like a whiskey - and the botanicals of the gin still shine through. 

Since we're using this gin, we figured we should embrace the color and go ahead and make this "Lady" tan. So a quick swap of Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao (one of our FAVORITE spirits to mix into cocktails) added even more hue to this tasty drink. Unlike most triple sec you'll find out there, this stuff actually has FLAVOR! It's made using a historical recipe that includes spices and peels of curacao oranges.

 

equipment:

cocktail shaker
strainer
champagne saucer

ingredients:

2 oz Bourbon Barreled Big Gin
.5 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
.5 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 egg white


method:

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker, fill it with ice and shake it to chill. Strain into a pre-chilled glass. 

Pompadour

We love tequila. Specifically, we love good tequila. This is part of the reason why we're psyched for our May event, Tres de Mayo. While it is going to be more than just agave goodness, we're anticipating 14 tables of tequila alone! 

One of our favorites is Casamigos. Yeah, this is the stuff commonly known as "the George Clooney tequila." The story is he and a buddy were importing bottles of it for friends and family (it's that good) when the ABC put a squash on that. So they decided to make it legit and create Casamigos. This stuff is so smooth that you really can just drink it straight...out of the bottle! But you know we like to play with our booze, so the Pompadour was born... 

Mixed with pomegranate juice and a little port wine, the flavor of the tequila still shines through, complimented by the complexity of these rich flavors. 

 

equipment:

cocktail shaker
double old fashioned glass

ingredients:

2 oz Casamigos Blanco
1 oz pomegranate juice
1/2 oz port wine
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao (ideal, but you can use triple sec if needed)
3 oz seltzer
twist of lime


method:

Combine tequila, pomegranate juice, port and curacao in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Roll it back and forth a couple times to chill it (a hard shake will just water this one down). Pour into a glass and top with seltzer. Garnish with twist of lime.


The Veneto

In preparation for our April 3st of the Month and a theme that's "all about the grapes," we're playing around with some grape-based booze. 

In this cocktail, we're using Alexander Grappa, one of our April booze partners, to make a damn tasty sipper. Grappa can pack a punch, with proofs ranging from 70-120. Luckily, Alexander Grappa is hovering right at 80 proof, which makes it ideal for mixing into cocktails. 

We've written about Grappa before, but the key is that it is an Italian spirit. We figured we'd stay with that theme and mix in a couple other ingredients from its native land - Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur and freshly-juice Valencia oranges. Okay, so maybe these oranges didn't come from Italy, but you get the point. Don't split hairs. 

 

equipment:

cocktail shaker
strainer
mesh strainer
coupe cocktail glass

ingredients:

1.5 oz Alexander Grappa
1.5 oz freshly-squeezed Valencia orange juice
.5 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
.5 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
granulated sugar for garnish


method:

After juicing the orange, rub the cut side of the orange on the outside edge of one side of the glass and dip it in sugar. Set it aside. Combine remaining ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake the hell out of it for about 15 - 20 seconds. Double-strain into the cocktails glass. Enjoy!

Nutty Family Cocktail

We all know them. The crazy cat lady, the smelly guy that refuses to take a shower more than once a season. Chances are, you're probably related to them. It's with that in mind that we present this Thanksgiving-friendly cocktail, the Nutty Family.

Cathead Vodka's Pecan Vodka defies what you think of flavored vodkas. It's not cloyingly sweet or overpowering and is very mixable. We paired it with a little citrus and the deep, rich flavor of pomegranate molasses to make this boozy beverage that might just help you deal with that family of yours. 

 

equipment:

cocktails shaker
strainer
rocks glass

ingredients:

2 oz Cathead Vodka Pecan Vodka
.5 oz pomegranate molasses (found in ethnic food stores)
1 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao (buy this stuff. it's good)
2 dashes black walnut bitters
cinnamon stick

 

method:

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice (except the cinnamon stick, it's for garnish, silly). Shake to chill and strain into rocks glass with fresh ice. Now you can add that cinnamon stick.