We’ve been thinking a lot about Cynar lately and how it pairs so well with bourbon. This recipe is a variation on a manhattan, a classic bourbon cocktail.
Game Set Match
2 oz. Bourbon
½ oz. Cynar
½ oz. Sweet vermouth
4 dashes Bitters
2 dashes Orange bitters
Stir all ingredients together with ice for about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry and lemon twist.
This cocktail is well balanced with enough bitterness to satisfy sophisticated palates. The orange bitters are the key to brightness here, and if you’d like more, feel free to dash a couple more times than called for. We used a lower proof bourbon as directed in the original recipe so that the whiskey didn’t overpower the more delicate vegetal notes of the Cynar.
Our love of homemade baked doughnuts has been well documented, so when we saw this recipe from Chasing Delicious, we were excited to try this slightly different take on the traditional doughnut. This recipe is like a pound cake baked into doughnut shapes.
Lemon Oat Bourbon Cake Doughnuts
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. bourbon
½ tsp. vanilla extract
8 oz. butter, soft at room temp.
8 oz. sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
5 oz. all-purpose flour
3 oz. oat flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1. Preheat an oven to 350°F.
2. Mix the eggs, egg yolks, bourbon, and vanilla in a small bowl until everything is broken up. Take care not to beat any air into the mixture.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until broken up and soft, about 2 minutes on medium.
4. With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (nearly white in color), about 4-5 minutes.
5. Add the lemon zest and mix in well.
6. With the mixer running (medium-low), very slowly pour the egg mixture into the butter and sugar mixture. This step should take you about five minutes.
7. Sift the flours, baking soda, and salt together in a separate bowl. Slowly fold the flours into the egg mixture, ¼ at a time. This will form a stiff batter.
8. Place the batter in a large piping bag. Cut the end of the bag so the width matches the width of the rings on the doughnut pan.
9. Carefully pipe the batter into the doughnut pans, careful not to fill each form too high (the batter should only come up about ½-¾ to the top).
10. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden on top and the dough springs back when pressed lightly.
11. Let cool slightly before glazing and topping.
This is one of those rare recipes that we didn’t alter at all. We followed these directions to the T, and recommend you do the same to achieve the crumbly, light texture these doughnuts are intended to have. The bourbon taste was a little lost due to the strong lemon flavor, but make no mistake: these doughnuts taste really good.
Continuing the blood orange theme while they’re still in season, we came across this cocktail that includes ginger, which is one of our favorite ingredients with bourbon. We adapted it slightly to suit our tastes and what we had on hand.
2 oz. bourbon
1½ oz. blood orange juice
½ oz. lemon juice
1 oz. rye simple syrup
4 oz. ginger ale
Fresh grated ginger for garnish
Add first four ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake to combine. Strain into a highball glass with ice, add the ginger ale, and stir gently. Grate fresh ginger on top to taste. (We recommend using a liberal hand with the ginger; it’s delicious.)
This drink is really tasty. The ginger adds just enough zing to balance the sweetness of the syrup. We loved the additional smokiness from the rye simple syrup, but if you don’t have that on hand, regular simple syrup would do just fine. Because of its high juice-to-alcohol ratio, we think this would make a great brunch drink.
We are enamored with blood oranges and were really happy to find this cocktail recipe from Domestic Fits combining blood orange, bourbon, and jalapeño.
1 cup blood orange juice (from 3-4 blood oranges)
2 Tbsp. agave nectar
¼ cup bourbon
1 jalapeño, chopped with stem and seeds removed
Place all ingredients except peppers into a cocktail shaker with ice and stir to combine. Add the jalapeño pieces and shake three times, then strain into highball glasses with ice. Garnish with a citrus twist if desired.
This cocktail is really tasty. The agave nectar adds a caramel sweetness that balances the blood orange juice and bourbon really well. The jalapeño spice is noticeable but not overwhelming, and it adds an herbaceousness that takes the drink to the next level.
Even though a pepper recently attacked my eyes, this drink just may force me to get over my fight with jalapeños.
There’s no better way to start Valentine’s Day week than by kicking it off with a cocktail called Courting Rachel. (We promise this will not be a Valentine’s Day-themed week, though.) Created by Andrew Bohrer and first featured in Saveur, this cocktail has a number of aspects that drew us to it. We always love variations on the old fashioned. The fact that rye simple syrup and smoke is involved are just cherries on top. We don’t have a smoke machine, so we had to come up with some other way to infuse smoke flavors into our cocktail. We decided using a flaming orange peel was the best option. We’ve done it before in the boulevard cocktail and liked the effect it had on the drink. Here’s a video of how to flame an orange peel.
Courting Rachel (Smoked Old Fashioned)
2 oz. bourbon
¼ oz. rye simple syrup
Make rye simple syrup with 1 cup rye and 1 cup sugar. Heat over a low flame until the sugar dissolves.
Combine bourbon, rye simple syrup, and bitters in a lowball glass over ice and stir until mixed. Garnish with a flaming orange peel and coat the inside of the glass with the orange peel.
The courting Rachel is a wonderful adaptation of an old fashioned. While we’re still curious about what this cocktail would taste like if we were able to infuse actual smoke into the drink, the orange peel and rye simple syrup added more than a hint of smokiness to the flavor. It’s also so easy to make that we’re sure it’s going to break into our regular cocktail rotation.
It’s no secret that bourbon and honey go well together. They share many of the same types of flavors, like vanilla, spice, and floral. We recently ran across an exceptional honey at our local honey boutique (this is a real place, we promise), and once we tasted it, we knew it had to be paired with bourbon.
The honey is from the Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana, where the hives are kept on a boat in a swamp. The bees have access to a host of interesting plants and transfer these unique flavors to the honey. Also, because of their remote location, the nectar doesn’t have as much exposure to pesticides and other contaminants. The resulting honey is seriously delicious.
¼ cup honey
1 oz. bourbon
Combine the honey and bourbon over low heat until the bourbon is well incorporated. Cool completely before using.
Bourbon honey will be delicious in a number of applications. We tried it first on top of some Scottish shortbread and we’ll also be using it in hot toddies. We can imagine it would make a wonderful accompaniment to pork and chicken, as well as roasted vegetables.
Every so often we come across a spirit or cocktail that seems so strange that we absolutely have to try it. The beer fashioned from The Kitchy Kitchen is one of those cocktails. It’s an old fashioned, but with beer. We can never get used to beer cocktails for some reason. Our curiosity got the best of us though, and we’re glad it did.
1 oz. bourbon
2 oz. wheat-style ale
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 tsp. brown sugar
In an old fashioned glass, add brown sugar, then a few dashes of Angostura bitters. Add the bourbon, then muddle until the sugar dissolves. Put an ice cube or ball in the glass, then add the beer. Squeeze the orange twist over the mixture and wipe the inside of the glass with the twist.
We were pleasantly surprised by how good this cocktail is. We used Ommegang Witte, a Belgian-style wheat ale that, on its own was very light and flavorful, with a slight orange note. In the cocktail, the bitters, bourbon, and sugar add a little deeper complexity to the beer while highlighting the orange. The carbonation of the ale also makes the beer fashioned similar to a bourbon and soda. We highly recommend this cocktail. Experimenting with different beers gives the beer fashioned infinite possibilities.
We have awesome readers. We often receive fun messages and comments from you guys, and recently we got such a great email that we wanted to share it here. The following text and photo are by Randy Lieberg of Grand Forks, North Dakota, who recreated a bourbon infusion he tasted at Bourbon House in New Orleans.
750 ml. Quality small-batch bourbon whiskey
10 oz. Package Dried Figs (used California Mission)
1 tsp. Dried Nutmeg
2 oz. Cranberries (used whole frozen)
½ oz. Triple Sec
½ t. Cinnamon
¼ t. Allspice
4-5 Whole Cloves
Combine ingredients in airtight container, preferably glass bottle. Store in cool dark place while infusion occurs. Some people quarter the figs before infusion for a greater dispersal of flavor, but this will allow seeds to free themselves and require straining.
Suggested infusion time ranges from a few days to one month. See individual batch notes below.
BATCH 1: Bottled 12.4.12/Opened 12.22.12
Woodford Reserve Whiskey as base
• Notes: Checked and stirred weekly. Infused in plastic Ziplock bag and then kept in plastic container with plastic wrap and rubber band. Stored next to large amounts of stored pipe tobacco—likely no transfer of flavor from this but bears noting.
• Tasted 12.15.12—Very strong fig taste, bordering on a tongue bite/burn. Instant flavor burst, slightly spicy notes over the fig taste, finish is smooth with slight orange/citrus hints. Very smooth palate and almost no “whiskey burn” going down the gullet. Overall extremely strong infusion flavor, and not much natural bourbon flavor left.
• Final tasting 12.21.12—Overall taste still very strong but mellowed slightly. Spices have come through a bit more on the immediate aftertaste. Final required mixing with straight bourbon to achieve finished product.
• Final opening/bottling—Strained through kitchen colander, some sludgy spices left in infusion container. Mixed ratio for final bottling. Mixed gently in pitcher and poured into original bottles.
o 750 ml. infused
o 750 ml. straight Woodford Reserve
o 250 ml. Maker’s Mark (approx.)
• Final Thoughts: Matches my recall of initial version we had in New Orleans. Pleasant nose, easily noted fig and sweetness. Smooth on the tongue, infusion flavors very noticeable. Taste reaction was “this is a great tasting drink,” not “this is bourbon with extra flavors.” Body is smooth; palate is very flavorful and sweet; finish is extremely smooth.
It’s been a very hot week in Boston, so we were looking for a cold, refreshing drink to make when we ran across this recipe by the always wonderful Smitten Kitchen. It just so happened that we’ve had a nip of Vermont maple syrup sitting in the pantry for ages and this presented the perfect opportunity to use it.
Bourbon Maple Lemonade
3/4 cup lemon juice, from about 6 lemons
2 cups water
1/4 cup Vermont maple syrup
Juice the lemons and strain the juice into a pitcher. Add the water and maple syrup and stir until well blended. Add ice to the pitcher. Fill a glass at least halfway with ice and add 1.5 ounces of bourbon (or to taste). Fill with lemonade and stir to combine. Slap a sprig of mint against your palm to release its aroma and garnish with it.
This makes enough lemonade for four glasses. I prefer to mix the bourbon glass by glass so that you can store the lemonade without bourbon in it. Super fresh lemonade is the only kind of lemonade I will drink, and the addition of maple syrup adds a welcome complexity to the flavors. We haven’t been shy about how much we love maple and bourbon together, and this iteration is no different. The flavors blend so well, and the mint aroma as you’re drinking adds an extra freshness.
Sometimes you come home on a Tuesday night and you just need a cocktail. Is Tipple Tuesday a thing? Anyway, if such an occasion arises in your house, give the ex-pat a try. Thanks to Jigger and Flask for the inspiration.
2 oz. bourbon
1 oz. lime juice
¾ oz. simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Place a small bunch of mint into the bottom of a cocktail shaker with lime juice. Muddle gently. Add the rest of the ingredients together with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled martini glass.
This cocktail is very refreshing. It’s like a more nuanced mojito. I love the hint of fresh mint in both aroma and flavor, and the Angostura bitters really round out the whole thing. We used Maker’s 46 for no other reason than that it’s a solid bourbon whose oakiness would be complemented by the sour lime.