One thing about keeping up a cocktail blog is that one can never have enough glassware. With so many different types of drinks, we need a wide variety of glasses—and of course we want them to be stylish and durable, too.
Ravenhead is a family glass business founded in 1892 in St. Helens, England. They began making art deco-style domestic glassware in the 1930s. We love supporting companies with such long and interesting pasts, and were delighted to receive a sampling of Ravenhead’s party glasses.
The designs are classic. We love having good-looking glassware that doesn’t distract from the look of the drink itself. The glass is well weighted in the hand and we can attest to its sturdiness, since we accidentally knocked two against each other when washing them and they didn’t break or scratch.
Even though this post was sponsored by Ravenhead, we will always review products honestly. Contrary to popular belief, free products aren’t automatically better.
It is Meyer lemon season and we’re looking for any chance to use the mild, juicy lemon. This recipe is heavily based on one created by Mike Ryan at Sable Kitchen & Bar.
Power of Love
¾ oz. Bourbon
¾ oz. Meyer lemon juice
¾ oz. Sweet vermouth
¾ oz. Ginger simple syrup
Shake all ingredients together with ice and strain into a coupe glass.
This cocktail is deceptively smooth with a silky depth provided by the sweet vermouth. The Meyer lemon adds a citrus zing, but without the acidity that a more common lemon would contribute. Delicious!
Jenny Park and Teri Lyn Fisher write Spoon Fork Bacon, one of our favorite food blogs that always features delicious recipes and beautiful photographs. Their new book Cocktails for the Four Seasons is a pocket-sized book that matches the quality of their blog. As the title suggests, the book is broken into four sections based on the seasons and the ingredients usually available during those months. Before all the recipes though, are some helpful tips like which glasses to use for what drinks and why, suggestions for variations of simple syrups, and tips on making simple but elegant garnishes. One of the most interesting aspects of the book is the number of cocktail recipes that include roasted fruit, such as the “Roasted Strawberry and Jalapeño Freezer.” You might imagine some of these drinks take quite a bit of preparation or require ingredients you wouldn’t normally have on hand. Those are really my only complaints about this book, but the recipes seem to be catered toward drinks you might serve at a dinner party—most recipes are calculated to make at least four drinks—so maybe you’d be shopping for special ingredients anyway. We’d be foolish not to make one of the bourbon drinks included in Cocktails for the Four Seasons, so we made their variation of the old fashioned.
Thyme Old Fashioned
2 oz. Bourbon
1½ oz. Thyme simple syrup*
1½ oz. Fresh orange juice
½ oz. Pomegranate juice
*Make the thyme simple syrup by heating a half cup sugar and half cup water with a few sprigs of fresh thyme until the sugar dissolves, then let it cool.
Mix the bourbon, thyme simple syrup, and orange juice in an old fashioned glass and stir. Add ice and top with pomegranate juice. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.
Admittedly, we hesitate to call this an old fashioned as we’re used to the classic whiskey, sugar (or simple syrup), and bitters old fashioned. But we knew just by looking at the ingredients this was going to be delicious. It’s dangerously tasty. It’s so smooth, but also has a slight tartness to it from the pomegranate. The thyme simple syrup does wonders for balancing all the other ingredients and leaves a freshness lingering after each sip.
Cocktails for the Four Seasons is available here for about $10.
We were thrilled to receive a copy of Greg Henry’s Savory Cocktails. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know we are not huge fans of overly sweet drinks, so this recipe book has quickly become our go-to for creative inspiration. (Confession: I read Savory Cocktails straight through, as if it were a novel. It’s really interesting!)
The book is organized by flavor categories: sour, spicy, herbal, umami, bitter, smoky, rich, and strong. It also includes recipes for bitters, syrups, and shrubs. Other than a few quibbles with the indexing, we found this recipe book to be exceedingly well researched and accessible, with interesting introductions and notes on nearly every page. The recipes are straightforward and the instructions are thorough.
We made the ginger and black pepper agave syrup, which is an infusion of fresh ginger and black peppercorns into warm water and agave syrup. We’ve made ginger syrup before, but the addition of black peppercorns grounds the ginger zing with some mild spice. We mixed the syrup into the cocktail below, and we could also imagine it pairing well with herbs.
2 oz. Bourbon
½ oz. Lemon juice
¼ oz. Ginger and black pepper agave syrup
2 dashes Whiskey barrel-aged bitters
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a lowball glass with ice and garnish with a lemon peel.
Even though this post was sponsored by Ulysses Press, we will always review products honestly. Contrary to popular belief, free products don’t automatically taste better.
Sometimes we see recipes with directions that have just enough ambiguity to lead to minor disasters. While this isn’t usually a problem with cocktail recipes, we still got excited when we learned about the Cocktails Step-By-Step cookbook by Parragon Books. We love the photography and simple, clean, and organized photos.
The book includes recipes for a wide variety of cocktails using different types of liquor, including a cosmopolitan, Manhattan, caipirinha, and highland fling.
More info on the Cocktails Step-By-Step book can be found here.
We recently received a package from Thomas Henry, a culinary company based in Germany that makes sodas, tonics, and assorted gelées. One of the most intriguing items in this package was a jar of Horse’s Neck gelée. Since we don’t speak or read German, we couldn’t find very much information about this product (though their website provides an English version for their other products). What we do know is that Horse’s Neck is cocktail of bourbon and ginger ale, and that the Thomas Henry gelée is made with Maker’s Mark. That’s pretty much the only words we could read in the product information. Unsure of what to do with this product, we opened it up to sample it. Sure enough, it tastes remarkably like a perfectly mixed bourbon and ginger ale cocktail.
Pleased with the flavor, we did what any self-respecting bourbon lover would do: we put it on waffles. In case you weren’t aware, waffles that taste like bourbon are even more delicious than normal waffles. We highly recommend trying this gelée if you can get your hands on some. (It seems that all their products can be ordered via the worldwide interwebs.) Thomas Henry also makes gin & tonic and earl grey & vodka gelées, in case you want a whole spectrum of breakfast cocktail concoctions.
OK, now for a silly question: is gelée any different from jelly? We noticed at least one of the gelées is slightly more liquid than we’re used to seeing with jellies. Other than that, we didn’t see a difference. Is a gelée used differently from a jelly? Please advise!
Also, feel free to throw out any more ideas for how we might use this Horse’s Neck gelée.
Even though this weekend’s breakfast was on Thomas Henry’s dime, we will always review products honestly. Contrary to popular belief, free stuff doesn’t automatically taste better.
As someone who has lived in the South and whose mother is an avid canner, I have a huge affinity for Mason jars, so when we saw the Mason Shaker, we knew we had to try it out.
We love the look of the Mason Shaker. It’s a part industrial, part home craft look that fits right in to our home bar. But perhaps its main advantage is that it gives you the ability to mix a larger volume of liquid than usual. You could mix up to four drinks in this at once, which is a major plus in our opinion. We also appreciate that it makes less noise during shaking than a standard cocktail shaker.
The Mason Shaker we received did leak a little bit around the lid during shaking and pouring, but we thought that just added to its rugged quality. Overall, this is a very welcome addition to our home bar.
In case you’re interested, we mixed a couple of Lucien Gaudins to test the Mason Shaker. Shocker alert: it doesn’t contain whiskey.
Even though W&P Design sent their product to us on the house, we will always review products honestly. Contrary to popular belief, free things aren’t automatically better.
We are running out of maraschino cherries, a crucial garnish for several bourbon cocktails, so we decided to try our hand at making our own substitute. Mighty Girl provided guidance.
8 oz. cherries
⅓ cup bourbon
Pit the cherries using a cherry pitter or by hand. We happen to have a grapefruit spoon that works well to scoop out the pit from the top of the cherry. Place the cherries in a canning jar (or any jar with tightly fitting lid) and fill with bourbon. Store the jar in the refrigerator for about a month, gently agitating it every day or so. That’s it!
Please note that the measurements above are approximate and can be adjusted depending on how many jars of bourbon cherries you want to make. We are really looking forward to using these cherries in cocktails, as an ice cream topping, and even just eating them straight from the jar.
Next time we may try mixing it up a bit by adding some Luxardo maraschino liqueur.
Sometimes Sunday comes around and the only thing to do is make waffles and drink mimosas. When an emergency of this sort arises, it’s of the severest importance that some high quality maple syrup is on hand (along with freshly squeezed orange juice and good champagne, duh). BLiS Bourbon Barrel Natural maple syrup had been on our wishlist for a while, and we were lucky enough to find some on a recent shopping trip.
The first thing we noticed about BLiS is (obviously) its packaging design and bottle. Not only is it a simple and classic design, but the red wax top and maple leaf imprint seem to pay homage to Maker’s Mark, easily one of the most recognizable bourbon brands around. We have no idea if that’s on purpose or a hint at where their barrels come from. All we know is that the bottle says it’s “aged several months in 12-18-year-old single barrel bourbon casks.” This aging process creates a maple syrup with a light hint of vanilla flavor and a mellower, smoother sweetness than most pure maple syrups. It even paired well with the homemade fig and cherry compote with ginger sauce that Rachel prepared for brunch.
While the BLiS syrup was tasty, if you’re looking for a stronger bourbon flavor in your syrup, we suggest the Noble Bourbon Maple Syrup. Noble sneaks a bit of bourbon into the syrup during the aging process to make the spirit more evident, whereas the barrel notes of BLiS are more background details. It’s all a matter of preference since both are yummy.
Bourbon can be infused with pretty much anything, and though we’re not always keen on drinking a glass of infused bourbon on its own, it can be very useful for cooking or baking.
We have a little something up our sleeves for later in the week, so this weekend we combined some strawberries with Basil Hayden’s. Stay tuned to see how it turns out.
*Update: Here’s the final strawberry-infused bourbon in all its pretty pink glory. We used to make tasty ice cream.