Monthly Archives: August 2014

Fresh Berries Make A Drink Better

Every Thursday I check out the local farmers market for fresh fruit and other ingredients.

This week I made a simple syrup with blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. And with that syrup, I made this:

For the syrup I followed this recipe from the site Geeks With Drinks.

That recipe linked above is for a blueberry simple syrup, which I used as the base for my syrup — modifying it to include raspberries and blackberries.

•2 cups mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries & blackberries)
•2 cups sugar
•2cups water
•2 tablespoons vodka (optional, but it will last longer with it)

•Bring sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat.
•Once it begins to boil reduce heat and add the berries. I let simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes. When I made a ginger simple syrup, I let that simmer for about 45 minutes. The recipe on Geeks With drinks only called for about 15 minutes for the blueberries, but I was more than pleased with my results.
•Finally, pour the water and berries through a strainer or colander lined with cheesecloth. And if you’d like, add a tablespoon or two of vodka to the liquid (it’ll extend the life of the syrup, allowing you to save it for a while). Read more about that here.

I used two cups of everything because that’s how many berries I had leftover after making shrubs. You can easily make this recipe with only one cup of berries, water and sugar, just similarly keeping the ingredients all in equal parts. Also, I used a nice cane sugar in place of regular sugar.

It’s the perfect time of the year to be making simple syrups and if you want some more ideas, just posted an article with some tasty syrup recipes.

With syrups you can do so, so many wonderful things, but here’s the recipe for the simple dessert drink in the picture:

•1 oz vodka
•1 oz whipped vodka
•1 oz mixed berry simple syrup
•Splash heavy mixing cream
•Whipped cream for garnish

This drink is fairly straightforward. I took the two vodkas and the simple syrup and shook them over ice with the heavy cream. I made sure to shake it extremely well, as I wanted to water down the mixture as well as make it as frothy as possible. Then I strained the drink over new ice in a rocks glass and topped it with whipped cream.

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Hawaii Admission Day

Hawaii was admitted to the U.S. as a state on Aug. 21, 1959.

Admission Day, or Statehood Day, is a legal holiday in Hawaii and is celebrated annually on the third Friday in August.

This year’s Admission Day has already happened, as Aug. 15 was the third Friday of the month. But for the sake of posting about the Blue Hawaii and other Hawaiian cocktails, I’m making note of it here today.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation making Hawaii the 50th state on August 21, 1959.

(Photo from link)

A quick Google search will yield tons of results for “Blue Hawaii” and “Blue Hawaiian,” with some small differences between the recipes — some use sours mix and some don’t, some use coconut rum while others use another coconut flavor. The one common factor, of course, is the fact that the drink is blue (or blue-green as a result of the pineapple juice).

Here’s the recipe as printed on AMC’s Mad Men site

•1 oz blue curaçao
•1 oz light rum
•1 oz cream of coconut
•2 oz pineapple juice
•1 cherry
•1 slice of pineapple
•1 cup of ice

Put all ingredients into blender. Blend. Pour into highball glass. Add a cherry and pineapple to garnish.

As I mentioned, Google this drink and I’m sure you’ll find variations and recipes with different proportions… And is it a Blue Hawaiian if it’s not blended, but served on ice? I’m not gonna fret too much. If it’s blue and it tastes like vacation, I’m probably not going to complain. Sure, I’m a stickler for certain rules and traditions associated with other cocktails, but this? Not so much.

From Wikipedia:

The Blue Hawaii was invented in 1957 by Harry Yee, legendary head bartender of the Hilton Hawaiian Village (formerly the Kaiser Hawaiian Village) in Waikiki, Hawaii when a sales representative of Dutch distiller Bols asked him to design a drink that featured their blue color of Curaçao liqueur.

After experimenting with several variations he settled on a version somewhat different from the most popular version today, but with the signature blue color, pineapple wedge, and cocktail umbrella.

The name “Blue Hawaii” is related only indirectly to the 1961 Elvis Presley film of the same name, and apparently derives instead from the film’s title song, a hit composed by Leo Robin for the 1937 Bing Crosby film Waikiki Wedding.

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Dry Wild Lime Soda

I’m slowly trying out every flavor of Dry Soda.

They just keep tasting better and better. This is easily the best one I’ve had yet:


These sodas are great in their own and are even better when mixed with a spirit, nothing too complicated or fancy.

From their website:

DRY Soda is a less sweet, all natural soda made with just four ingredients, including a little bit of pure cane sugar. Each of DRY’s eleven unique flavors is perfect to sip on its own, pair with a meal or mix into cocktails.

Their 11 flavors are: Blood Orange, Ginger, Vanilla Bean, Apple, Cherry, Rhubarb, Lavender, Juniper Berry, Cucumber, Wild Lime and Pear.

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Bourbon Plum Smash

Mojitos have been a popular summer drink for many years now, becoming thee go-to summer drink for many bars and patrons in recent years.

However, in the last year or two, as that cocktail has — I dunno — maybe hit critical mass or become tired and familiar to some people, there’s been an uptick in talk about smashes.

I only ever had my first smash a year ago and it’s been my drink of choice this summer.

Imbibe Magazine published this history of Smashes last summer and it continues to be an article I go back to from time to time.

In the piece, the Imbibe writer retraces the history of the drink to its first published recipes. What’s interesting about this history of the Smash is that those first recipes varied in terms of the base spirit used, the type of ice used and the style of glassware.

After retracing the history of the drink, the writer builds up to this point:

Though there are often more variables these days—sometimes the ice is crushed, sometimes shaved, sometimes the fruit is added to the drink, sometimes it’s just a garnish—the basic elements remain consistent: a spirit base, ice, sometimes a splash of water, mint (or other herb), sugar, and the ever-present seasonal fruit.

I feel like I’ve really only seen the basic lemon-flavored Whiskey Smash on cocktail menus, and that’s fine… It’s a delicious drink. But it’s sort if the gateway Smash, or at least it was for me. Once you read about the Smash formula (spirit, ice, fruit, mint & sugar), then you begin to realize the nearly endless possibilities.

I posted last week about a bourbon Smash I’d made with black raspberries, but today I’m focusing on plums:


About This Cocktail
This “Bourbon Plum Smash” is a variation on the basic whiskey smash with fresh plums from the Downtown Jamestown Farmers Market.

•2 oz Knob Creek
•1/2 oz lemon juice
•1/2 oz simple syrup
•1/2 small sweet red plum
•1/2 small tart prune plum
•6 mint leaves

Place mint leaves and quartered plums in a pint glass with the simple syrup and lemon juice. Muddle. Add ice and bourbon then shake aggressively and double strain the drink into a chilled martini glass.

A quick search of the internet is going to turn up a lot of recipes. Here’s one that uses a ginger syrup. Here’s another which swaps mint for sage and adds some orange bitters.

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Chicago Cocktail

The Chicago Cocktail is only three (or four) ingredients, depending on how you make it.

Chicago was incorporated as a town on Aug. 12, 1833. It was incorporated as a city on March 4, 1837.

The recipe online at the Internet Cocktail Database calls for only three ingredients: Brandy, Bitters & Orange Curaçao.

(Photo from

Here’s a basic recipe for the Chicago Cocktail:

•2 oz brandy
•1/4 oz triple sec
•1 dash biters
•Top with champagne (optional)

Stir in a mixing glass with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel or slice.

From Wikipedia:

Some versions call for sugaring the rim of the glass. It can be served on the rocks in a double old-fashioned glass or, especially in the champagne variation, straight up in a champagne coupe or flute or a cocktail glass.

Imbibe Magazine’s recipe calls for Cointreau and sparkling wine.

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Missouri Mule

Missouri became the 24th state in the Union on Aug. 10, 1821.

Years later, bartender Joe Gilmore created the Missouri Mule for President Harry S. Truman. The drink commemorates Truman’s homestate of Missouri.

(Photo from the web)

What’s interesting about this cocktail is that it doesn’t have the one ingredient typically associated with “Mule” cocktails, which is ginger beer.

Instead, this drink takes the “Mule” portion of its name from the fact that the mule is the state of Missouri’s official animal. Plus, Truman was a Democrat (and that party’s animal is the donkey — which is the product of a mule and horse).

Joe Gilmore has a number of cocktails credited to his name. But this post is specifically about the Missouri Mule.

You can also find a variation of the recipe in ounces online at Kindred Cocktails.

•2 parts Bourbon
•2 parts Applejack
•2 parts Lemon juice
•1 part Campari
•1 part Cointreau

Combine with ice, shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Google the phrase “Missouri Mule” and you’ll find another drink with the same name, but a different recipe — gin, lemon juice and creme de cassis.

Still, this bourbon recipe from Joe Gilmore seems to outpace the gin variation 5 to 1.

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Ginger Candies

A sweet and spicy treat for a Saturday afternoon:


Newman’s Own Ginger Mints:
The Newman’s Own brand has four varieties of mints: Cinnamon, Ginger, Peppermint and Wintergreen, with the ginger ones pictured above being simply amazing.

Chimes Ginger Chews:
Indonesian ginger chews from ginger grown in the mineral-enriched soil of Mt. Bromo.

From the Chimes website:

In 1935, a young couple decided to open up a modest café in a town near Mt. Bromo. One day, an herbalist stopped by the café, and ended up giving the couple a recipe for a chewy ginger candy to help supplement their meager income.

Three generations later, Chimes Ginger Chews are made by the same family in the same town where the café was 70 years ago! Today, Chimes employs hundreds of local villagers, and we are privileged to make a difference in the lives of our employees, their families and the community in which they live. Our production has been so notable, that East Java celebrates our ginger chews as a “Heritage Industry.”

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by | August 9, 2014 · 1:25 pm

Whiskey Smash On Esquire Network

I know, I know… I write too much about the show “Best Bars in America” on the Esquire Network.

I said it last time though and once again this week, the show’s cocktails overlapped with what I’m mixing up in my personal life.

Case-in-point: The Whiskey Smash.

I just posted the other day about a smash I’d been making. And last night one of the guys got served a smash at a hotel bar.

Here’s the cocktail as it was served last night at Bemelmans Bar:

Whiskey Smash
•Maker’s Mark
•Fresh Lime Juice
•Simple Syrup
•Dash of Bitters
•Garnish with Mint

Last night’s episode was focused on hotel bars. The theme of next week’s episode will bedive bars.

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Yes, But What About The Rum?

It’s Jamaica Independence Day today, marking Jamaica’s independence from the United Kingdom.

A little history: On August 6, 1962, the Colony of Jamaica became an independent country, the Union Jack was ceremoniously lowered and replaced by the Jamaican flag throughout the country.

Celebrate with a Jamaica Swizzle!

I took the follow recipe from a 1947/1950 cocktail book published by Angostura:

Jamaica Swizzle

•6 dashes Angostura Bitters
•1.5 oz Jamaica rum
•Juice of 1 fresh lime
•1 teaspoonful fine granulated sugar

Pour ingredients into a glass pitcher, add plenty of shaved ice, churn with a swizzle stick until pitcher frosts. Strain into a cocktail glass and serve.

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Farmers Market Black Raspberry Bourbon Smash

Pictured below is a Black Raspberry Bourbon Smash I made the other night with black raspberries I bought at the Downtown Jamestown Farmers Market:


About This Cocktail
This “Black Raspberry Bourbon Smash” is a variation on the basic whiskey smash. Want to know more? Read this piece about the history of the Smash which Imbibe Magazine published last year.

•2 oz Knob Creek
•1/2 oz lemon juice
•1/2 oz simple syrup
•6 black raspberries
•6 mint leaves

Place mint leaves and black raspberries in a pint glass with the simple syrup and lemon juice. Muddle. Add ice and bourbon then shake and double strain into a chilled martini glass.

This Thursday will be a big day for the Downtown Jamestown Farmers Market.

The Farmers Market has been held each Thursday this summer on Cherry Street between West 2nd & West 3rd streets. This Thursday, though, will be something special, as this week is the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival. If I have time to maneuver through the masses, I’ll swing by for some more fruit for cocktails.

Bored with whiskey and bourbon? Looking for something a little more “out there” to mix up? Well, click this link. The Cocktail Virgin Slut has a recipe for a Cocoa Puff Smash with Green Chartreuse!