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Kentucky Bourbon Adventure

It’s been a long while since I last posted. What have I been doing in the mean time?IMG_4676 Drinking  a lot of bourbon. This past week I took my first ever trip to Kentucky to do nothing but tour distilleries and taste whiskey. What a fantastic trip it was. First stop was to the Maker’s Mark distillery in Loretto. The distillery was originally owned opened by Charles Burk in 1805. It was later owned by the Samuels family with Bill Samuel’s Jr. eventually taking over the distillery in the 1950s. Bill did not like the original recipe that was handed down through the generations in his family so he burned it, and set out to create a new recipe. Bill’s wife, Marge, is credited with the square bottle, red wax, and the paper labels (which are perforated and torn by hand!) Also, the writing on the label was done my Marge as well. But enough history, on to the tasting. The tasting consisted of the White Dog, Maker’s Mark, Maker’s Mark Over Matured, and the Maker’s 46. White Dog is the white distillate is bourbon before it goes into the oak barrels. It’s the oak barrels that give bourbon it’s rich amber colour. Anyway, white dog, yes… Very potent. Being that bourbon is primarily corn based (at least 51% to be considered bourbon), the nose, the taste, the after taste was basically corn. It really has that sensation of burning all the way down. The Maker’s Mark of course is the matured, aged bourbon that’s bottled and sold. The over matured Maker’s is not something they sell, rather they use it so patrons can compare what it would taste like if it stayed too long in the barrels. It tastes much like the regular Maker’s, but it’s definitely got more of a buttery, oak-y, toffee taste. Also, it warms your mouth, literally. Lastly, the Maker’s 46. It’s a special recipe that Bill Samuels had wanted to create and it took 46 tries to get the taste profile he wanted. Definitely a smooth bourbon and well balanced. Vanilla, toffee, caramel, a hint of chocolate, variety of spices, and oak. What a way to kick off my bourbon tour.    IMG_4687


Corpse Reviver #3

It’s alive! By that I mean my blog. It’s been quite a while since my last post so sorry for the radio silence. I haven’t been making anything in the last couple months, just drinking a lot of whiskey. However, to “revive” the blog, I present to you the Corpse Reviver #3. There are several Corpse Revivers, and each of them are different. The drinks are actually a class of drinks intended as hangover cures, to revive you so to speak. They actually have nothing in common when it comes to the ingredients. The recipe is:

  • 1 oz brandy
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz triple sec
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice

Corpse Reviver #3

Pour ingredients into a shaker, give it good hearty shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. And now it is time to drink up!


St. Patty’s Day

This is a little belated for a St. Patrick’s day post since it was last weekend. Generally, when people think of St. Patty’s day drinks it the usual Guinness, Jameson, Irish car bombs, green beer, or any drink that’s green for that matter. I like to venture away from the usual fare and get a little more creative since this is my experimentation playground/lab. The first drink is not so creative or unusual. It’s simply a Manhattan made with Irish whiskey (Jameson or something like that) and vermouth. Now, if you remember or have gone all the way back to one of my first posts, I talked about making a Manhattan. Recipe is simple enough: two parts whiskey, one part sweet vermouth, and a dash of Angostura bitters. However, everyone likes their Manhattan a little different and tastes change after time. The recipe I used for this occasion is:Image

  • 3 oz Jameson Irish whiskey
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • garnish with an orange slice

But that’s not all folks. A successful dinner party, especially a St. Patty’s day party, is not made with only one drink. Second on the menu also uses Irish whiskey as it’s base liquor. This one is lighter for those who don’t want to get punched in the nose by a shot of Jameson. It’s a variation on a whiskey smash. The whiskey smash was created by the father of mixology, Jerry Thomas, in 1862 and consisted of fine white sugar, mint, water, and whiskey. The mint and sugar were muddled together in the water. Once well mashed, fill the glass with ice and top off with whiskey. The modern whiskey smash takes several lemon slices, mint, 2-3 dashes of bitters muddled together in a shaker before shaking it with simple syrup and whiskey. The recipe here is along the same vein with small changes to go with the flow of the holiday.


  • 3-4 lemon wedges
  • 7-8 leaves of mint
  • several dashes of Angostura bitters
  • one sugar cube
  • 1 oz water
  • 2 oz Jameson Irish whiskey

I’ve always liked to use a sugar cube instead of simple syrup, and Angostura bitters over other types. Peychaud bitters is also a fine substitute but I love the aroma of Angostura bitters. So simply muddle the lemon, mint, sugar cube, bitters, and water in the bottom of a shaker. Don’t be polite here. Mash everything together well so the flavours and oils are expressed from the mint and lemon. Next, fill the shaker up with ice and pour in the whiskey. Give it a vigorous shake to mix everything together and strain into an old fashioned glass over ice. Traditionally, it’s spruced up with a sprig of mint, however I used a lime wheel to garnish instead to give it a little more of a citrus nose.

And last but not least, St. Patrick’s day would not be complete without something green. So this drink made it to the menu purely on its colour. There’s nothing remotely Irish about it. The recipe is simple:Image

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 3/4 oz blue curacao
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz orange juice

Shake all the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange slice and a cherry. It’s a sweeter drink because of all the fruit juices, and vodka does not have the strong bite that whiskey does. It’ll leave you “green with envy.”

At the end of the night, if these drinks have not left you feeling just a little luckier than you started out, then a round of Jameson on the rocks is in order. And there you have it folks, a couple of drinks that are sure to be a crowd pleaser at your next year’s St. Patrick’s day party, or at any party for that matter.

Margarita Madness!!

I know it’s been a while since the past post but I wanted to find something interesting and unique. So I present to you the Mango-Jalapeno Margarita. I read the recipe in the March/April 2013 issue of Imbibe Magazine. The original recipe comes from Takoba taco shop in Austin, TX and consists of reposado tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, mango puree, and habanero-infused simple syrup. I couldn’t find habanero peppers when I went to the market (and frankly, I was lazy and didn’t want to drive to anotherImage store) so I decided to use jalapeno’s instead. Nevertheless, it has a good little kick to it. The recipe is simple:

  • 1.5 oz tequila
  • 0.5 oz orange liqueur, i.e. triple sec
  • 1.25 oz lime juice
  • 0.5 oz mango puree
  • 0.5 oz jalapeno infused simple syrup

Blend w/ ice in a blender or just simply shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass. Again, the thing to remember is fresh ingredients. Use real lime for the lime juice, not the bottled stuff. The mango puree is a little more work but instead of going through the whole process of boiling and mashing, I simply used a food processor to turn it into pulp. Finally, the jalapaneo-infused simple syrup… Everyone makes their simple syrup a little differently which means you tailor yours to your taste preference. I generally use a 1:2 water to sugar ratio. This means for every 1 cup of water, I use 2 cups of sugar, give or take. Bring the water to a boil and dump in the sugar. As it’s dissolving dump in a chopped jalapeno pepper. As soon as the water starts to boil, take it off the heat so the syrup doesn’t get too thick. Once the syrup is cooled, strain into a bottle and voila! You now have jalapeno infused simple syrup. Now mix all the ingredients together and turn an ordinary taco and tequila night into an awesome taco and tequila night.

**Just as an aside, Miami Sound Machine’s “Conga” seems to be appropriate background music.**

Cranberry Splash

This is a little number I hope you’ll really like, especially for all you cranberry and vodka drinkers out there. Yeah, I know who you are. First, make sure you have really good vodka because there is only one alcohol in this, and frankly you never want to use cheap liquor. Grey Goose is always a good choice. Since I don’t drink vodka often, I use Russian Standard as my mixing vodka. Also, you will need some fresh cranberries. Frozen work too but again, fresh is always better.

  • 8-10 cranberries
  • 3 oz vodka
  • 4 oz cranberry juice
  • splash of pomegranate juice

Muddle the cranberries in the vodka in a mixing glass using a muddler or the back of a spoon. This is when having a Boston (two piece) shaker makes the drink prep easier. Make sure to get the berries crushed really well especially if you’re using fresh cranberries. Fill the mixing glass with ice cubes, and pour in the cranberry and pomegranate juices. Give the mixture a good shake and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a couple of cranberries.

Side note: I actually used pomegranate soda. Obviously, you don’t want to shake soda so shake the vodka, cranberry juice, muddled cranberry mixture. Strain into your glass and then top off with pomegranate soda. Turns it into a nice little bubbly.

Cider Smash

Cider. Gotta love it. Something about hot apple cider with a stick of cinnamon just shouts, “Holiday!!!!” I remember growing up and having Martinelli’s Apple Cider every year during the holidays. It was the one time of the year I could drink something that resembled Champagne (or sparkling wine), and of course what better way to celebrate apple cider than with a cider inspired drink.

  • 2 oz bourbon whiskey
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 4 oz apple cider
  • apple slices for garnish

Mix by pouring each ingredient over ice into a Collin’s glass. Add the apple slices and stir with a bar spoon. What’s kind of funny is that this is actually quite a refreshing almost summer drink, but the idea of apple cider makes it okay and complementary for Thanksgiving.

American In Paris

This sounds like nothing to do with Thanksgiving or the holidays but it goes very nicely with the traditional turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce dinner. I snagged this little recipe from the Martha Stewart website. Yes, that’s right Martha Stewart. It’s basically a variation of a perfect Manhattan which is whiskey, sweet and dry vermouth, and Angostura bitters. This variation adds a little holiday flair by substituting the sweet vermouth with cassis liqueur and adding lemon juice to cut down the sweetness.

  • 3 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz cassis liqueur
  • 1 oz dry vermouth
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • cranberry garnish

Combine all the ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker and shake. Normally, a Manhattan is stirred so as to not muddy the clarity and the presentation but in this case it doesn’t really matter because the cassis liqueur makes the drink dark and you can’t see through it anyway. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with two cranberries.