Bloody Brain Shot

Talk about some Halloween goodness right here! This scary-looking shot is achieved through the magic of curdling. Yup, curdling. 

With a little acidity in the Pickers Vodka base, the cream of the Blue Chair Bay Banana Cream Rum creates the look of a brain sitting at the bottom of the shot glass. But, despite the look, it's actually pretty darn tasty!

The trick to the look is using a straw to slowly drop the rum into the glass. When done, a few drops of grenadine add the remaining 'gross factor' perfect for any spooky occasion. 

equipment:

cocktail shaker
strainer
shot glass

ingredients:

1 oz Pickers Vodka
.5 oz Barsmith Lime Juice (or Rose's Lime)
.5 oz Blue Chair Bay Banana Cream Rum
a few drops of grenadine

method:

Combine the vodka and lime with ice and shake briefly to chill. Strain into shot glass. Using a straw, drop the banana cream rum into the glass to create a 'brain' in the glass. Add a few drops of grenadine and serve.

Harvey Headbanger

A crisp, refreshing vodka cocktail is pretty hard to beat. Of course you need to start with the proper spirit, and we think that Reyka Vodka fits the bill perfectly. Made in Iceland, where people know their vodka, Reyka is made in small batches with pure arctic spring water, filtered through lava rocks, and distilled in one of the world's only Carter Head copper stills. And because it's Iceland, the entire distillery runs on geothermal energy from volcanoes! The resulting vodka is clean, pure, fresh, and mixes perfectly with just about anything. So let's make a drink with it!

Now we've all seen the tall, skinny bottle of bright yellow booze behind the bar, covered in dust, and wondered; what is that, what do you make with it, and who drinks it? The answers are Galliano, lots of things, and probably your grandparents long before you were born! You might have heard of the classic cocktail called a Harvey Wallbanger, which is basically a vodka-OJ with a splash of Galliano. With that inspiration, we made a modern cocktail suitable for all you drink snobs out there who would never dare order a screwdriver. (Don't worry that's us too)

Equipment:

cocktail shaker
strainer
coupe or cocktail glass

Ingredients:

1.5 oz Reyka Vodka
.75 oz Galliano
.5 oz triple sec
.5 oz lemon juice
.5 oz simple syrup
3 dashes orange bitters

Method:

Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

Pears Well With Others

Vodka might just be the most mixable spirit out there. Well, let us rephrase. Good Vodka might be the most mixable spirit.

The favorite booze of college kids, vodka is best known for being that thing you can mix with anything and not taste it. Mountain Dew? Check. Five Alive? Check.

But if you're simply picking vodkas based on what you bought in college, you're doing it wrong. There's actually a lot that goes into making any vodka a great vodka. The key is all about reducing impurities. Many vodkas will do this through all sorts of filtration and multiple distillations. 

But with Reyka Vodka (the stuff that was sitting in the ice block at August's 3st of the Month), there aren't any impurities that need removing. It's made in a remote village of Iceland where the environment is so pristine the CO2 levels are actually falling. Seriously. Water is the most important ingredient in vodka production and the water used for Reyka is pristine arctic spring water that passes through a 4,000 year old lava field. Those lava rocks naturally filter the water, making it some of the purest in the world.

So, for this cocktail, we figured we would compliment the exceptional smooth Reyka Vodka with a few other ingredients to make a cocktail that could take us from summer into fall.

equipment:

cocktail mixing glass
bar spoon
strainer
cocktail glass

ingredients:

1.5 oz Reyka Vodka
.75 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
.5 oz Lillet Blanc
.25 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Pear Liqueur
2 dashes (approx 16 drops) clove tincture (see recipe below)
1 oz chilled sparkling wine

method:

Combine first five ingredients in a cocktail mixing glass. Fill with ice and stir to chill. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and top with sparkling wine.

To make clove tincture:

Combine 2 parts whole cloves, 3 parts Reyka Vodka and allow to sit for 2-3 days. Strain and place in glass bottle for future use.

Green Chile Martini

California jalapeños, serrano chiles, habaneros, red and yellow bell peppers, lime peel and cilantro are all infused into St. George Green Chile Vodka, one of the biggest hits at this month's 3st. 

When you have a spirit that is this delicious, you really don't have to do much to showcase it. Such is the case with this simple recipe. Not too spicy, but full of fresh pepper flavor, it's no wonder folks were going back again and again to sample this delicious cocktail. 

Equipment

shaker
martini glass 
cocktail strainer

Ingredients

2oz St. George Green Chile Vodka
.75oz fresh lime juice
.75oz simple syrup 

method

Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice, shake and strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass. Garnish with lime wheel.

California Citrus Smash

If you were one of the lucky ones that came to Juniper June, you might remember St. George Spirits. They brought all three of their gin expressions out from California and seriously blew some damn minds that night. 

But if you thought their gin was amazing, just wait until you taste their vodka! Yes, seriously, their vodka. They make three different versions and will be sampling cocktails at our August anniversary bash. Hopefully you're one of the lucky few that got a ticket in the 2.5 hours it took to sell out. If not, we're seriously sorry, but there's always next time. 

Okay, back to their vodka. For this cocktail, we're using their California Citrus Vodka. It's not a flavored vodka - it's infused. Instead of simply adding a flavor, they actually infuse peels from three different types of California-grown citrus before distilling. The mix of Valencia oranges, Seville oranges and Bergamot citrus is absolutely mouth-watering. And this recipe is a great way to enjoy it. . . though we could really just drink the stuff on the rocks. It's that good.

equipment:

cocktail shaker
strainer
collins glass

ingredients:

1.5 oz St. George California Citrus Vodka
1 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz simple syrup
.25 oz agave nectar
slice of orange for garnish


method:

Combine everything but the garnish in a shaker with ice and shake to chill. Strain into a glass with fresh ice and garnish with orange slice.

Blue Flame

We couldn't make cocktails for the 4th of July weekend without making a blue one, could we? Of course not.

Though it's not actually blue, Pickers Blueberry Vodka is made with real fruit, so the blueberry (which we notice is really more like a purple berry) is definitely the star of the show with this one. Pickers is made right here in Nashville with non-gmo corn, so it's naturally gluten free (and also really delicious). They also have the original and a really tasty Blood Orange Vodka, also made with real fruit. 

But the color had to come from somewhere, so we put a full ounce of blue curacao in this puppy. But don't go thinking just because it's bright blue that it's going to be too sweet. Pickers is just lightly sweetened and we mixed this simple drink with plenty of club soda, so it's light and refreshing - just what you need for a summer cocktail!

 

equipment:

cooler or tumbler glass

ingredients:

2 oz Pickers Blueberry Vodka
1 oz blue curacao
6 oz club soda or seltzer
cherry for garnish


method:

Add the Pickers and blue curacao to your glass filled with ice. Top with club soda and stir lightly to combine. Garnish and serve.


Molotov Cocktail

We're gearing up for the 4th with fireworks-inspired cocktails. And before you go saying "that's not a firework, it's a Russian bomb" check this out. See?

Now that we've settled that, let's talk about the drink. It starts with Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka. Made in Texas with real lemon juice, it's kinda perfect for the heat of the summer. And it's vodka, so it's kinda Russian, right?

But the fire of this cocktail comes from something you might just have a bottle of sitting in your freezer right now. Fireball. Yup, that Fireball. Believe it or not, the cinnamon and lemon taste pretty good together. See, it's not just for shots.

And like the original Molotov cocktail, this drink might just knock you on your ass. 

 

equipment:

cocktail shaker
rocks glass

ingredients:

2 oz Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka
1 oz Fireball Cinnamon Whisky
.25 oz grenadine


method:

Shake the Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka and Fireball with ice. Hard. Strain into a rocks glass with ice (we like a single jumbo cube for effect) and pour the grenadine on top. 

Negrini

If you're checking out our recipes you've probably noticed our love for the classic Negroni. Sometimes folks get all caught up in 'classics' and think that means you can't reinvent them. Bullshit. 

Just by using different styles of gin, vermouth and substitutes for Campari, you can discover an whole range of versions of this classic for a new era. This cocktail is one of those. 

After tasting the Square One Botanical Vodka, the first thing that came to mind is a Negroni. It's a bold (90 proof) organic rye spirit infused with the essence of eight organic botanicals: pear, rose, chamomile, lemon verbena, lavender, rosemary, coriander and citrus peel. Though it lacks the key ingredient of gin (juniper), it has a robust flavor that makes it ideal for mixing into tons of cocktails.

For this one we decided to play off the fruit elements of the vodka by swapping out standard sweet vermouth with Cocchi Americano Rossa. Like vermouth, it is an aromatized wine - but it's slightly sweeter and more floral. You should have a bottle in your bar at all times. It's that good.

 

equipment:

cocktail mixing glass
bar spoon
strainer
rocks glass

ingredients:

1.25 oz Square One Botanical Vodka
1.25 oz Campari
1.25 oz Cocchi Americano Rossa
orange zest for garnish


method:

Add the spirits to a cocktail mixing glass. Fill with ice and stir to chill. Strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice before garnishing with twist of orange peel.

The Earl of Grey

Said to be named after Lord Charles Grey, a British Prime Minister in the 1830's, Earl Grey tea is black tea flavored with oil extracted from the bergamot orange

This 'orange' is a funny thing really. The size of an orange, but yellowish green in color, the fruit itself is actually inedible. But that prized oil from its peel is spectacularly flavorful and used in more than just tea. 

Luck for us, Square One Organic Spirits decided to use it in their vodka! With Square One Bergamot, the vibrant taste of bergamot is layered with the essential oils of pressed mandarin, navel and tangerine oranges and finished with the botanical essences of ginger, coriander and juniper. Unfiltered, the essential oils stay in the bottle and showcase the exceptional fruit, floral and herbal qualities of the other botanicals. Square One Bergamot is a surprisingly complex, yet not overwhelming. It begs to be made into creative cocktails - like this one!

 

equipment:

cocktail mixing glass
barspoon
strainer
rocks glass (or tea cup if you want to be cheeky)

ingredients:

2 oz Square One Bergamot Vodka
1 oz Earl Grey tea, brewed double strength and chilled
1 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
strip of orange peel for garnish


method:

Combine the vodka, tea and curacao in a cocktail mixing glass. Add ice and stir to chill before straining into a glass with fresh ice. Express the oils from the orange peel into the glass before dropping it into the cocktail for garnish.

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.

Scarlett O'Hara

Folks who came to our "Drink Local" event in March had a chance to get the first taste of a yet-to-be-released local product, Pickers Vodka. It was presented in true top-secret format, without a label on the bottle, as it was not released until earlier this month.

Made right here in Nashville with non-gmo corn, it's distilled 11 times with a state-of-the-art column distillation process that allows the folks over at SPEAKeasy Spirits Distillery to fine-tune the temperature within half a degree. That might seem trival, but it helps make sure that the final result is clean and pure. And since it's made with corn, it's also naturally gluten free. 

But what really got our attention about Pickers Vodka is the FLAVOR! Made with real fruit, the two flavors they've release so far, Blueberry and Blood Orange, redefine the category of flavored vodkas. The taste is of fresh fruit (not chemicals like many others!) and is barely sweetened. 

Lucky for us, they're bringing back their Blood Orange vodka to our "Tres de Mayo" 3st of the Month. And this time, it has the label on it.

 

equipment:

cocktail shaker
strainer
martini glass

ingredients:

3 oz Pickers Blood Orange Vodka
.5 oz Collins Cordials Triple Sec
1 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 oz simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)
strip of lemon zest for garnish


method:

Pre-chill your martini glass before getting started. Combine all liquid ingredients in an ice-filled shaker and shake for 15 seconds to chill. Strain into chilled martini glass. Express the oils from the lemon zest over glass before adding to the rim to garnish.

 

Lemon & Cuke

Spring is almost (finally!!!) here. That means front porch cocktails and warm weather drinking! The folks at Deep Eddy are no dummies. They released their new Deep Eddy Lemon just in time...

Flavored with real lemon juice, Deep Eddy Lemon (and all their flavors, for that matter) should not be lumped in with most other flavored vodkas. That's because, unlike most others, Deep Eddy flavors their vodkas with real fruit juice. It means it tastes like the real thing, not like some scented candle shit like the rest of the cake, whipped cream and donut-flavored ones out there.

Like their other flavors, Deep Eddy Lemon can be drank simply - with just soda water. But if you want to add a little spin, and make it green for St. Patrick's Day, add a little fresh cucumber juice. It's easy to make (we told you how before), and adds even more freshness to the flavor of the lemon.

equipment:

jigger
collins glass

ingredients:

2 oz Deep Eddy Lemon
1 oz fresh cucumber juice
3-4 oz soda water
strip of cucumber for garnish


method:

Build the drink in the glass by filling with ice and adding the vodka and cucumber juice before topping with soda. Give it a light stir and garnish with a strip of cucumber. 

Vodka Dori

When it comes to simple drinks, a vodka soda is hard to beat, especially when using a good quality vodka. It's light, drinkable and does the trick of supplying a good buzz. Of course, in the day and age of flavored vodkas popping up like weeds, a "vodka soda" can sometimes taste sweeter than it should. So, instead of using a flavored vodka, what about just adding a small amount of liqueur to your vodka soda - you'll get great flavor and less sweetness than if using many of the flavored vodkas out there. 

And, if you're looking to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, you can even make it GREEN!

 

equipment

a glass. can you fucking handle that?

ingredients

2 oz Vodka (like Deep Eddy)
1 oz Midori
soda water
lime wedge


method

Fill glass with ice, add vodka, Midori and top with soda. Garnish with wedge of lime.

Basil Lemonade

Flavored vodkas have gotten a bum rap. And when you see the assortment of shit like wedding cake, whipped cream and crap that would be better suited for a scented candle than a bottle of booze, you can understand why.

But luckily there's folks out there making great flavored vodkas. Square One Organic Spirits is just such a company. With flavors like bergamot, cucumber and basil, it's clear that their leaving the scented candle-flavored vodkas in the dust. 

We recently got our grubby little hands on a bottle of the Square One Organic Basil Vodka. They're one of many great brands coming to our January "Holiday Hangover Brunch" 3st of the Month event. And while it's obvious that basil vodka would be perfect for making Bloody Marys, we decided to try some other cocktails with it instead. The first of these - and most simple for certain - is below.

 

equipment:

cocktail shaker
strainer
collins glass

ingredients:

2 oz Square One Organic Basil Vodka
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz rich simple syrup (2:1 sugar to water ratio)
4-6 oz seltzer


method:

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add vodka, lemon and simple. Give it a quick shake and add seltzer before stirring lightly and straining into a prepared glass filled with crushed ice. 

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.

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 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.

Nuts & Berries

We've talked about Cathead Vodka's Pecan Vodka before - it is one of our favorite southern flavors artfully crafted into a damn tasty vodka. When working on the Blackberry Cobbler cocktail, it was the addition of the black walnut bitters that made us ponder swapping out the whiskey with Pecan Vodka. 

Boy, were were thrilled with the result. The black walnut bitters did some serious magic with the pecan flavors in the vodka, and this thing tasted like something grandma would have baked on a Sunday afternoon. 

 

equipment:

cocktail shaker
muddler
rocks glass

ingredients:

2 oz Cathead Pecan Vodka
.25 oz Eli Mason Gomme Syrup
.5 oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes black walnut bitters
6 fresh blackberries
strip of orange zest for garnish

 

method:

Start by muddling the blackberries in the cocktail shaker. Add vodka, gomme syrup, sweet vermouth and bitters. Place 4-5 ice cubes in shaker and shake for 30 seconds before transferring entire contents to a chilled rocks glass. Express oil from orange peel over cocktail and drop in the glass for 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.