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The Blackberry Malt: 4-5 fresh blackberries, 3/4 oz. simple syrup, 1 3/4 oz. Irish whiskey (recipe calls for a single malt, but N used the Jamieson's we have), 3/4 oz. lime juice, and seltzer.  In an

My neighbors have been consistently impressed by the variety of cocktails that I'm drinking. It seems I'm developing quite the reputation. Thanks to you all.

Whiskey Smash. As much as I love trying new things, I have my handful of cocktails that never disappoint. This is one of them.

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Apple Snap

1.5 oz Gin (Opihr)
.75 oz apple cider
.75 oz lemon juice

Shake with ice. Pour into Collins glass with fresh ice, add 3 oz ginger beer.  Apple peel garnish. Spicy profile of the Opihr works nicely in this. Quite dry.

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I cut this out of the newspaper yesterday, and it's a lovely drink--sweet and tart and easy to drink too quickly.

Cranberry-Bourbon Citrus Smash (serves one)

Cranberry-Orange Simple Syrup
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick (~2 inches)
2 strips orange peel

3-4 fresh or frozen cranberries
3-4 mint leaves
1 lime quarter
1 orange slice
1 1/2 oz. bourbon
1/2 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. Cranberry-Orange simple syrup
1 ounce fresh lime juice
Ice cubes

First, make the simple syrup. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the cranberries break down, about 15 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve, pushing down on the pulp. Discard the solids and let the syrup cool to room temperature.  (Can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 month.)

Muddle the cranberries, mint, lime, and orange together in a cocktail shaker.  Add the bourbon and Cointreau and then add the remaining ingredients.  Shake vigorously and strain into a rocks glass or a tall cocktail glass.  Serve with additional whole cranberries, lime wedges, and mint sprigs.

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Cobbled together a cocktail menu of seasonal drinks for a couple of virtual events by my choir (and Stephanie's former choir), held over the past two days. I've been partaking of each of:

Glüwein (standard prep -- bring a 1:1 simple syrup to a simmer with a cinnamon stick added, squeeze in juice of a medium orange, stud the orange with a dozen cloves, reduce at a low simmer for 30 mins, add bottle of dry red wine, heat till warmed, serve with a fortifying shot of whatever suits you -- PF 1840 cognac worked nicely for me)

Winter Gin and Tonic -- a gin and tonic with spiced simple (cinnamon, clove, star anise, allspice). Barspoon of simple, 2 oz gin (Monkey 47 worked phenomenally well here), top with tonic to taste. Garnish with apple slice and float star anise.


And the bespoke option I came up with, a Vieux Carré riff:

Silent Night

1 oz jamaican rum (Smith+Cross)
1 oz cognac (PF 1840)
1 oz Cocchi Americano
scant 1/2 oz Benedictine
3 dashes Angostura

Build over a rock, stir to chill. Garnish with fat orange twist.

Mmmm. Good stuff, all.


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Fall Back

This Sasha Petrarske Manhattan variant is superb.  (Only one week left for it to remain in season!)

Pour 1 oz. each of Rye and Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy, and 1/2 oz. each of sweet Vermouth and Amaro Nonino, with 2 dashes of Peychaud's bitters, into an ice-filled cocktail shaker.  Stir.  Strain into a chilled Martini glass or coupe.  Garnish with a lemon twist.

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Our local tiki bar, back to having to do takeout only, has expanded their drink offerings (as well as selling bottles of expensive rums).  We bought their Hot Buttered Rum mix: two scoops of batter and two 2-oz. bottles of Whaler's Dark Rum.  The batter was basically butter, brown sugar, and whatever spice mix they used (we tasted allspice and star anise).  You put a scoop of batter and the contents of one bottle into an 8- or 10-ounce mug, fill the mug to the top with boiling water, wait a minute, then stir to mix.  It was really, really good.  I went to my vintage Trader Vic's book to see if they had a recipe; if you want to make something similar, here it is.

Trader Vic's Hot Buttered Rum
1 lb. brown sugar
1/4 lb. butter
Pinch salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. each of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves

Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the salt and spices.  You can also omit the ground cinnamon and cloves, and instead add whole cloves and cinnamon to the drink.  This will make a lot of batter.  For one HBR, preheat a 6-ounce mug with boiling water.  Drop a heaping teaspoonful of batter into the mug, add 1 1/2 oz of Puerto Rican rum, and fill with hot water.  Some variations include:

Northwest Passage: Put 1 heaping teaspoonful batter into a 10-oz. goblet, add 1 oz. 151 overproof Demarara rum, stir in boiling water, and top with a lemon rind.

Coffee Grog: 1 teaspoonful batter, 1 strip each of lemon rind and orange rind, and 1 1/2 oz. of Puerto Rican or Cuban rum in a preheated 6-ounce mug. Add 1 oz. cream and fill mug with hot coffee.

Hot Buttered Rum Cow: 1 teaspoonful batter, 1 1/2 oz. of Puerto Rican rum, 1/2 oz. Jamaican rum in preheated mug. Fill with hot milk, stir thoroughly, and serve with grated nutmeg on top.

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