Roman Candle

Yup, the 4th of July is right around the corner and we're working on a special batch of fireworks-themed cocktails. Enter the Roman Candle.

But it's not just a name that makes a drink good for the 4th. It needs to be relatively easy to make, refreshing and easy to drink. Well, the Roman Candle meets all those criteria. 

We've basically taken a gin and tonic and added a little zest with the Italian liqueur Aperol. Italy...Rome...Roman... get it? Okay, so it's kinda a stretch.

We've also used one of our favorite gins, Prairie Gin. Unlike our attempt to make this drink firework-themed, this gin is no joke. It's totally organic and made with a hint of juniper and has a light finish that you need for a summer cocktail. 

 

equipment:

cooler glass

ingredients:

1.5 oz Prairie Gin
.5 oz Aperol
tonic water
lime wedge for garnish

 

method:

Pour the gin and Aperol in the glass filled with ice. Top with tonic water and garnish with a lime. Think you can handle that?

 


Rhubarb Sour

Gin sours have a place in cocktail history and lore. A quick google search will bring up over a million references...and for good reason. It's a match made in heaven.

Gin has the robust flavor that can stand up to tart citrus, typically lime or lemon. So with this drink, we figured we should take the tartness up just a bit with everyone's favorite springtime sour - RHUBARB!

Made in Brookly, Morris Kitchen makes an outstanding Rhubarb Syrup. Similar to a shrub, it has a little apple cider vinegar to play off the natural tartness of the rhubarb. It also has cane sugar, which helps this cocktail from being completely face-puckering. If you're in Nashville, you can find a bottle at Hey Rooster General Store in East Nashville.

In order to not let the gin overtake the flavors of the rhubarb, we're using Prairie Gin. Some of you may recognize it, as they came to our very first 3st of the Month in August 2014 and we have used it in other cocktails ever since. It's a kinder, gentler gin. Not too intense with juniper and very smooth. Good stuff indeed. Check them out. They're a group of three family farms that not only grow the organic grains used in their spirits, but own the distillery as well. 

Okay, enough rambling...on to this tasty-ass cocktail!

 

equipment:

cocktail shaker
strainer
double-old fashioned glass

ingredients:

2 oz Prairie Organic Gin
.75 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
.75 oz Morris Kitchen Rhubarb Syrup
2 oz soda water/seltzer, chilled
fresh thyme for garnish


method:

Combine the gin, lime and rhubarb syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to chill and strain into your glass with fresh ice. Top with soda and garnish with a sprig of thyme.

Let's Make a Dill

Way back in August of 2014, we gathered with a group of about 200 people for our very first 3st of the Month. Since we were launching the concept, we really didn't have much of a theme, instead opting to bring together a variety of spirits. 

One of those spirits was Prairie Organic Cucumber Vodka. Ever since then, we've had folks asking us about it and when they would get to have it again. Well, good news! They're coming back (with their Gin too!) for Juniper June.

For a while there, flavored vodkas seemed to be heading the direction of scented candles with nasty flavors like wedding cake and whipped cream. Thankfully, folks like Prairie are reclaiming flavored vodka for those of us that prefer real flavors. Their cucumber vodka is subtle and natural - and perfect for summer! 

Playing off the fresh cucumber flavor, we decided to add a little extra freshness with fresh dill. Muddled, shaken and strained, it gives a unique edge to this notable spirit.

 

equipment:

cocktail shaker
muddler
strainer
collins glass

ingredients:

2 oz Prairie Organic Cucumber Vodka
1 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 oz simple syrup
2 sprigs fresh dill (one for garnish)
3 oz seltzer


method:

Muddle one sprig of dill in the bottom of your cocktail shaker to release aromatics. Add the Prairie Organic Cucumber vodka, lemon and simple before filling with ice and shaking like hell. Strain it into a collins glass with fresh ice and top with seltzer. Give it a light stir and garnish with the remaining sprig of fresh dill.

Violet Beauregarde Gin Cocktail

When you think of gin and crème de violette liqueur, you probably think of the classic Aviation cocktail. While we won't deny the delicious boozyness of the Aviation, that lonely bottle of crème de violette needs some other cocktails every now and then.

One of our favorite violet offerings is Rothman & Winter Crème de Violette. Made with a base spirit distilled from grapes and violet flowers from the Alps, it has an obviously floral flavor to it. But there is more than just flowers to the flavor. It is sweet, vegetal and slightly herbal. A little goes a very long way with cocktails, so use it sparingly - a bottle should last you for quite a while.

We've paired it with another obtuse bar staple: Velvet Falernum. Most often used in tropical tiki drinks, Falernum has a complex lime/spice/almond flavor profile.

Intended for sipping, we've made this cocktail with a spherical ice ball, so it will slowly melt while you take your time sipping little nips of this fragrant boozy beverage.

 

equipment:

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

ingredients:

2 oz Prairie Organic Gin
.5 oz Crème de Violette 
.5 oz Velvet Falernum 
.5 oz dry vermouth
2 dashes grapefruit bitters
strip of grapefruit zest for garnish


method:

Chill your glass with ice while preparing cocktail. Fill your mixing glass with ice and add gin, crème de violette, falernum, vermouth and bitters. Stir for 20 or so seconds to chill. Place ice ball in your prepared rocks glass and strain cocktail into glass. Garnish with grapefruit zest.


Heirloom Tomato Bloody Mary

As a good friend Kay West once said, Nashville is so full of homegrown tomatoes in August that you could put an empty bucket outside your front door and by the morning it would be full of tomatoes. While that may be somewhat of an exaggeration, it's certainly not that far of a stretch about how we Southerners feel about good, homegrown tomatoes. 

This weekend is the Tomato Art Fest, a free community event that draws tens of thousands of tomato-lovers to East Nashville for all things tomato. Now in its 11th year, we figured the time was 'ripe' for us to whip up an easy Heirloom Tomato Bloody Mary - made even more delicious with the addition of Prairie Organic Cucumber Vodka. C'mon, this stuff was MADE for Bloody Marys!

When it comes to the tomatoes, you can use any kind you like - as long as they are good. Each heirloom variety has different flavor elements, so adjust the seasonings to your preference for our recipe below.

 

Make your own Heirloom Tomato Bloody Mary - it's easy!

equipment:

blender
cocktail shaker
tumbler or pint glass

ingredients:

6 oz fresh tomato puree (that's what the blender is for)
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz pickle juice (dill)
.5 oz worcestershire
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh pepper
1 tsp ground horseradish (not horseradish sauce)
few dashes of hot sauce
2 oz Prairie Organic Cucumber Vodka
assorted pickles, herbs, celery, etc for garnish 


method:

Start by creating your tomato puree by washing and trimming a fresh heirloom tomato. Cut into chunks and place in blender and process until very smooth. Measure out six ounces and mix with lemon, pickle juice, worcestershire, salt, pepper, horseradish and hot sauce to make your 'mix.' Taste and adjust for seasonings to your preference. Fill glass with ice, add vodka and top with Bloody Mary mix. Give it a quick shake, garnish and serve.


Garden Pickle Martini

If you're like us, the idea of intentionally enjoying a martini did not settle in until after those infamous college party days. Why would you actually want to taste the booze when you can smother it under layers of sugary juices and sodas and chug it as quickly as possible?

But eventually, we all grow up and realize that a good martini is not only an excuse to really savor good booze, but perhaps also an opportunity to get some veggies into your liquid diet. 

It was a good friend Anita in Charleston, SC who deserves the thanks in this case. The entire door of her refrigerator was full of little jars of pickled veggies - all with one purpose - garnishing a martini. Be it pickled 'dilly beans' or a jar of Tomolives (tasty little pickled green tomatoes), her supply of pickled veggies was matched only by the pickled livers of her guests. 

Speaking of guests...our 3st of the Month members had a chance to taste Prairie Organic Gin for themselves at our August 3st kickoff event. Unlike some gins, the flavors of Prairie are subtle with soft juniper notes. It's the perfect vehicle for a spin on a classic gin martini - aka pickled salad bar - if you ask us. Just be sure you're using dill/sour pickles, not sweet ones. 

 

Garden Pickle Gin Martini recipe from 3st of the Month

equipment:

cocktail shaker
bar spoon
strainer
martini glass

ingredients:

2 oz Prairie Organic Gin
.5 oz dry vermouth
1 bar spoon pickle juice
assorted pickled veggies and olives
sprig of fresh dill (optional)


method:

Start by chilling down your martini glass with ice. You need a good, cold glass for a martini - this is not optional. Then fill your shaker with ice and add the gin, vermouth and bar spoon of pickle juice. Cover and gyrate to chill. You don't want to shake it, as this will water down the flavors. Discard ice from martini glass and strain cocktail into glass. Garnish with assorted pickled veggies and a sprig of dill.


Garden Beet Cocktail

It's hard not to think of the garden this time of year. There's farmer's markets on every corner and neighbors bringing you tomatoes by the dozen. What they should be brining you is a bottle of this Prairie Organic Cucumber Vodka.

Unlike some other flavored vodkas out there there, the flavor of Prairie's Cucumber Vodka is subtle and delicious. It also mixes exceptionally well with a variety of ingredients. (We'd place some bets that it might just make the best Bloody Mary you've ever tried)

And while we know there are some people out there who simply hate beets, we say mind your own damn business and leave this drink for us to have. Because the Garden Beet Cocktail might be on of our favorites yet. With a little sweet mint flavor from Eli Mason's Mint Julep Syrup, a zip of fresh lemon and complexity from dry vermouth, this summertime sipper will convert even the most avid beet hater into a lover.

 

equipment:

cocktail shaker
fine mesh strainer
highball glass

ingredients:

1.5 oz Prairie Organic Cucumber Vodka
.5 oz fresh beet juice
.5 oz Eli Mason Mint Julep Cocktail Mixer
.5 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
.5 oz dry vermouth
1.5 oz seltzer
fresh mint for garnish

 

method:

In a cocktail shaker full of ice, add all ingredients except seltzer. Shake to chill, add seltzer and strain through mesh strainer into glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint and resist the urge to gulp it down... sip, people, sip.

Prairie Peach Cocktail

Here in Nashville, we're fortunate to have The Peach Truck, a great little business that brings the best damn peaches you've ever tasted straight from the farm in Georgia to Nashville. Sadly, peach season will come to an end in a couple weeks, so we figured we better take advantage of it while we still can!

We've paired the juicy peach with fresh basil and Prairie Organic Gin. Like many muddled fruit cocktails, this one is shaken to help further release the flavors. But after that, we like to strain it. This keeps the bits and pieces out of the cocktail, allowing you to just get the best part - the flavor.

 

Muddled peaches and basil pair with gin for the Prairie Peach Cocktail from 3st of the Month

equipment:

cocktail shaker
muddler
fine mesh strainer
rocks glass

ingredients:

1.5 oz Prairie Organic Gin
.5 oz Peach Brandy
.5 oz Peachcello liqueur (or peach schnaps) 
2 dashes peach bitters
fresh peach
fresh basil
splash of club soda (optional)


method:

Add 2-3 basil leaves and 1/4 of a fresh peach to the bottom of your cocktail shaker. Muddle to release flavors before adding gin, brandy, peach liqueur and peach bitters. Fill with ice and shake vigorously to chill. Strain into chilled rocks glass with a few ice cubes and garnish with a slice of peach and bit of basil. If you prefer, top with a spash of club soda.

The Heartichoke

If you follow us on Instagram, you know we friggin' LOVE a good Negroni cocktail. The classic is made with equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari - and typically garnished with twist of orange. While some things can't be improved on, there's nothing wrong with trying a few variations every now and then.

When we tasted the subtle flavors of Prairie Organic Gin, the first thought was that it was perfect for a classic martini. Unlike a Negroni, a gin martini is made with dry vermouth. This got us thinkin' - what about trying out a Negroni with Prairie, working to make a softer palate of flavors? We're on that case like a hangover on Saturday morning.

This seemed like the perfect excuse to break out the Cynar. Actually owned by the Campari Group, Cynar is also bitter aperitif but gets its flavor from artichokes and about 13 other natural botanicals. 

 

equipment:

cocktail mixing glass
bar spoon
strainer
old fashioned glass

ingredients:

1 oz Prairie Organic Gin
1 oz Cynar 
1 oz dry vermouth
strip of lemon zest for garnish

 

method:

Place 4-5 ice cubes in your mixing glass and add the booze. Give it a good stir to chill before straining it into a chilled rocks glass (with or without ice). Express the peel over the drink and drop it in there to garnish. 

Watermelon Cooler

Ahh, summertime. This damn drink tastes just like it. 

We took one sip of the exceptionally smooth and subtle Prairie Organic Spirits' Cucumber Vodka and immediately thought of pairing it with fresh watermelon. The two flavors are natural bedfellows and while we're not saying drinking this will get you laid, it sure won't hurt.

To make watermelon juice, you can obviously run it through a juicer but you can also just puree it in a blender and strain through a mesh colander. It's called watermelon after all, so trust us when we tell you there's a lot of juice ready to harvest and it's  easy to do.

 

equipment:

cocktail mixing glass
bar spoon
highball glass or tumbler

ingredients:

2 oz. Prairie Organic Spirits' Cucumber Vodka
.5 oz. simple syrup
2 dashes lemon bitters
5 oz. fresh watermelon juice
watermelon wedge and cucumber for garnish

 

method:

In a mixing glass, chill ingredients over ice and stir. Transfer into highball glass, garnish and serve.

Grassland

We'll admit it. We're a big fan of booze that makes us feel good about ourselves as people. You know, when the proceeds from some bottle of wine go towards a great cause it makes you feel like a little less of lush. 

Prairie Organic Spirits is such a company. Like it says on their website, "Prairie is made 100% organic by farmers who own the land, the distillery, and the quiet respect of all around them. They are the craftsmen behind Prairie spirits, plowing a new road towards purposeful quality. And just like other craftsmen, they have names. Names that you can know. Names like Little Big Man. And this is how they grow corn to make spirits.

You can't help but think as you slurp this cocktail down that you just bought some farmer kid's way to ag school. Like we said, we're givers.

 

equipment:

cocktail shaker
strainer 
martini glass

ingredients:

2 oz Prairie Organic Spirits Cucumber Vodka
.5 oz Domaine De Canton Ginger Liqueur
.25 oz melon liqueur
.25 oz fresh lemon juice
6-8 leaves of fresh mint

 

method:

In a cocktail shaker, add all ingredients, reserving one mint leaf for garnish. Fill with ice and shake the hell out of it for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass and float a mint leaf on top to garnish.

Cherry on Top

We thought we were impressed with the Prairie Organic Spirits' Cucumber Vodka. Then. We. Tried. Their. Gin. Whoa. No wonder it won Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

One sip of it neat (the best way to try a spirit for the first time) revealed the care they put into this one. It was a delicate hand that crafted this, balancing aromatics of coriander and herbs with a subtle hint of juniper. Hard-core gin lovers might miss the heavy hand of some other gins, but we don't. This one has just enough complexity to let you know you're drinking gin, but it's so smooth that we really could drink this entire bottle neat. 

Since it's cherry season, we juiced up a few fresh cherries to balance the botanicals of this tasty gin. That, coupled with some floral notes of St-Germain Elderflower and the juicy flavors of Lillet Blanc, made this one perfect. And with the coriander aromas of the gin, it seemed only natural to garnish with a single fragrant leaf of green coriander (cilantro). The whiff of the herb on top kept the sweet cherry and elderflower from overtaking the gin and this drink was slurped down in a matter of seconds.  

 

equipment:

cocktail mixing glass
bar spoon
strainer
coupe glass

ingredients:

1.5 oz Prairie Organic Spirits' Gin
.5 oz cherry juice
.5 oz St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1 oz Lillet Blanc
eaf of cilantro for garnish

 

method:

In a cocktail mixing glass, add a few ice cubes, gin, cherry juice, St-Germain and Lillet. Stir for 20-30 seconds to chill and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Float a leaf of cilantro on top for garnish. 

 


Cucumber Collins

As we've discussed before, flavored vodkas have taken a turn for the worse over recent years, with cloying artificial flavors like whipped cream, wedding cake and salted caramel that are better suited for scented candles. But the only thing Prairie Organic Spirits' Cucumber Vodka has in common with a scented candle is that it makes you feel like you're in a damn spa. Besides being organic and crafted with the utmost care, the flavor itself is subtle and fresh - not overpowering. This makes is ideal for cocktails - so we're playing around with it.

It should go without saying that this stuff is perfect in a Vodka Soda, Vodka Tonic and all the other obvious vodka drinks, but we're suckers for alliteration, so Cucumber Collins was the first thing that popped to mind. Yes, we know the original Collins - Tom - is made with gin, but the simple recipe of fresh lemon, simple syrup and seltzer pairs perfectly with the sweet cucumber flavors in Prairie Organic Spirits' Cucumber Vodka.  

 

equipment:

cocktail mixing glass
muddler
bar spoon
collins glass

ingredients:

1.5 oz Prairie Organic Spirits' Cucumber Vodka
1 oz fresh lemon juice 
2-3 slices fresh cucumber
.5 oz simple syrup
seltzer
slice of lemon for garnish

 

method:

In a mixing glass, add lemon and cucumber slices. Muddle well. Add vodka and simple syrup and stir to combine. Fill Collins glass with ice, pour cocktail over ice and top with seltzer. Give it a light stir before garnishing with a lemon slice. 

 

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.