A cocktail called the rattlesnake doesn’t sound frightening at all. It doesn’t even sound the least bit scary, especially not even after you find out there’s absinthe involved. As much as absinthe scares us (or maybe because of it), we couldn’t help but be intrigued by the recipe we found on Saveur (originally from the Savoy Cocktail Book).
1½ oz. bourbon
1 tsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. absinthe (or anise-liqueur)
½ tsp. powdered sugar (or simple syrup)
1 egg white
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a lowball glass. Garnish with a lemon peel if desired.
We were pleasantly surprised by this cocktail. We expected the rattlesnake to pack a bigger punch, but it’s surprisingly smooth. The small amount of absinthe is as strong as expected, but the lemon juice and bourbon also get equal time. We used Bulleit 10 for a smoother flavor, but a whiskey with more bite would also complement the absinthe nicely.
Bulleit is a constant staple in our bar, both the bourbon and the rye. They are each are delicious on their own. The rye makes a great Sazerac, and the bourbon works well in just about any cocktail. This means we were very eager to try their newest release, which is the same high-rye mash bill as the standard Bulleit, but aged 10 years. (I believe Bulleit’s standard bourbon is aged 6 years.)
Those extra years really impart the barrel’s oak and char into Bulleit 10. With a light amber and slightly golden hue, its color is a bit lighter than its younger sibling. The vanilla flavor that comes from the wood is really strong in both scent and taste, though it’s not overpowering. We found Bullet 10 to be very balanced, with raisin and plum flavors, and a long, subtle but spicy rye finish. At its price point of $45, Bourbon 10 is comparable to other bourbons in this range. Some markets may have a hard time justifying the price jump from Bulleit to Bulleit 10, but that’s not really something we can attest to. While Bulleit 10 seems to stick around $45 everywhere (that we’ve seen), we’ve found Bulleit to range from $25 on the lower end to our up to $38 in our market. Either way, we think it’s delicious and worth every penny.
We are intrigued by the idea of using absinthe in cocktails. It has such an intense influence on your sense of smell and taste, just a tiny bit goes an incredibly long way. (Some bars take the absinthe rinse out of a Sazerac, turning it into a cheap knockoff of a Sazerac. If this happens to you, you should never return to that bar.) We found the improved whiskey cocktail on Cocktailia. Once we saw the small amount of absinthe in this cocktail, we knew we’d be making it at home.
Improved Whiskey Cocktail
2 oz. bourbon
½ tsp. maraschino liqueur
2 dashes Angostura bitter
1 dash absinthe
Fill a mixing glass with ice, then combine all ingredients and stir until cold. Strain into a glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
We enjoyed this cocktail a lot. Even though the absinthe is intense, it still combines well with the bourbon, giving a strong licorice aroma and flavor kick. The original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of simple syrup. Since we don’t really like overly sweet cocktails, we took the advice of Cocktailia and took the simple syrup out. If the absinthe is too overwhelming, you may want to keep the simple syrup in.
Chances are, if you’ve been reading this blog, you’ve noticed that we really love old fashioned cocktails. (Honestly, does anyone who likes bourbon not like old fashioneds?) So when Serious Eats posted the recipe to the Fancy Free cocktail, which is basically an old fashioned that subs out muddled sugar and water (or simple syrup) for maraschino liqueur and orange bitters. Also, no muddling makes this cocktail incredibly easy and quick to mix.
2 oz. bourbon
½ oz. maraschino liqueur
2 dashes orange bitters
1 dash angostura bitters
In a lowball glass with a large ice cube or ball, combine all ingredients and stir gently until well mixed. Garnish with a large orange twist.
This is very much like an old fashioned. The maraschino liqueur does add a new depth in addition to sweetening the bourbon. The orange bitters and the large orange twist brings a huge citrus element to the drink as well.
Still not over our canned champagne kick, we decided to feature it again this weekend. We ran across a recipe called the Devereaux that seemed worth a try.
1 oz. bourbon
½ oz. elderflower liqueur
½ oz. lemon juice
½ oz. simple syrup
3-4 oz. sparkling wine
Shake the first four ingredients together with ice and strain into a highball glass with ice. Top with sparkling wine and garnish with a mint leaf.
Let’s not beat around the bush here—this drink is tooth-achingly sweet, though we could see its potential. Next time we would increase the amount of lemon juice or greatly reduce or eliminate the simple syrup. The Sofia sparkling wine is fairly sweet, too, so that didn’t help.
With a few alternations this could be an excellent cocktail to enjoy during brunch.
Apple season in New England means apple cider season as well. It also means we’re probably going to be making a bunch of autumn themed cocktails. This time, we’ve made the ciderhouse whiskey cocktail, which we found on Saveur. We were mostly intrigued by the boiled cider, which we’d never heard of before.
Boiled cider is a substitute to maple syrup that’s found throughout Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. To make it at home, gently boil a gallon of apple cider in a heavy-bottomed pot, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced to ⅛ (making 2 cups syrup), about 2 hours. Let cool to room temperature and store, refrigerated, in an air-tight container.
So, like any responsible blogger, we bought some fresh apple cider and boiled it down. We also strained it before bottling to remove all of the apple pulp.
2 oz. bourbon
1 oz. boiled cider
Combine both ingredients over ice and mix gently. Strain into a lowball glass with ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.
This is a really simple cocktail with a refreshing flavor. The boiled cider lends the cider texture to the bourbon, and then the apple comes on strong in the aftertaste. We suggest using a bourbon that is not too sweet to avoid making the drink’s sweetness overpowering. We found that Bulleit worked perfectly.
Yesterday we posted about the cherry-infused bourbon that was the byproduct of making bourbon cherries. In that post, we mentioned that it would make a nice addition in some cocktails, and today we have just such a cocktail. The suggestion for this cocktail actually came from @TheCocktailGeek, who is a person you should be following if you are on Twitter and like tasty libations. The cocktail is also in Diffords Guide, which is a great resource for cocktail lovers. The original Sir Thomas calls for cherry brandy, which we switched out for our cherry bourbon.
2 oz. bourbon
½ oz. cherry bourbon (or brandy)
½ oz. triple sec
½ oz. dry vermouth
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.
The result is a delicious and pretty pink drink. It’s tasty and easy to drink, but don’t let the pink color fool you because the Sir Thomas is strong. The vermouth balances out the sweetness of the triple sec and cherry bourbon and then delivers the final kick through the aftertaste to remind you that this cocktail will in fact get you a little bit intoxicated. @TheCocktailGeek also suggests adding an absinthe rinse and a lemon twist. We’re definitely going to try that next time we say hello to Sir Thomas.
We love trying really old cocktail recipes. This one was invented at the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, KY in 1917. We were surprised to see the high volume of bitters called for in this recipe, so we knew we had to try it.
1 oz. bourbon
½ oz. Cointreau
7 dashes Angostura bitters
7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Stir bourbon, Cointreau, and bitters over ice. Strain into a champagne flute. Top with champagne and a lemon twist.
This cocktail is really well balanced with the subtle nuances afforded by the various ingredients. It is bitter, obviously, and reminded us of a Negroni (only better tasting because Negronis don’t have bourbon). I measured the 14 dashes of bitters to see just how much that is—turns out it’s just over a quarter of an ounce, so not too extreme, actually. We used Bulleit bourbon in this cocktail because we wanted to make sure the bourbon could hold its own against the bitters and champagne without being smothered.
Let’s talk about the champagne we used. We love this canned champagne (OK, sparkling wine) primarily because it is hilarious to open a can of champagne and even more hilarious that the cans have a straw attached to the side. The wine tastes decent enough to top a cocktail with, and, really, no one wants to open an entire bottle of champagne just to top their mixed drink. The cans are convenient and funny and contain decent-tasting bubbly, so we love them.
Did you know oranges can make fire? Oranges can make fire! The boulevard cocktail is a fairly common one, and there are a number of variations of the specific amounts of the ingredients. We particularly liked the recipe we found at That Sweet Burn, not only because it’s a tasty cocktail but also because it encourages the use of fire in things that we don’t normally associate with fire.
2 oz. bourbon
¾ oz. dry vermouth
½ oz. Grand Marnier (we used Cointreau)
Few dashes orange bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, stir until chilled, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Flame orange peel over the drink and garnish.
This is a tasty cocktail with wonderful depth. We used Bulleit because it’s a such a versatile bourbon. Some bourbons lend themselves to certain cocktails better than others, but we’ve found that Bulleit works in almost any cocktail. We also substituted Cointreau for Grand Marnier. The orange liqueur and bitters give the boulevard a lightness in its texture, while the vermouth comes through mostly in the finish of each sip.
I love peaches, and if you’ve been anywhere near a farmers’ market lately you know how bounteous they are right now. Since we had some friends over for dinner recently, I had the perfect opportunity to try making a bourbon peach dessert.
Bourbon Peach Cobbler
Adapted from a Tyler Florence recipe
5-6 peaches, peeled and sliced
¼ cup bourbon
¾ cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter
¾ cup heavy cream
1 egg white
1 pint vanilla ice cream, for serving
Preheat the oven to 375°. Combine the peaches, bourbon, quarter cup sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a large bowl and toss to coat.
Sift the flour, the remaining half cup sugar, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Cut one and a half sticks of the butter into small pieces; add to the flour mixture and cut it in with a pastry blender until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Pour in the cream and mix just until the dough comes together. Don’t overwork; the dough should be slightly sticky but manageable.
Melt the remaining half stick butter in the microwave. Add it to the peach mixture in a medium saucepan and cook gently until heated through, about five minutes. Transfer the mixture to eight four-ounce ramekins. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls over the warm peaches. There can be gaps because the dough will puff up and spread as it bakes. Brush the top with the egg white and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
Bake in the oven on a baking sheet (to catch any drips) until the cobblers are browned and the fruit is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
This recipe was uniformly appreciated, even by Patrick, who does not like peaches. Even though the ingredient list is long and the recipe looks complicated, it is actually super easy. The hardest part is peeling the slippery peaches.