Category Archives: MIXERS

Simple Syrup With Coconut Flakes

Another day, another coconut experiment!

Today I blended coconut flakes into a simple syrup which I made with coconut water and a small amount of coconut milk:

  

So that’s a mini-mason jar filled with sweetened coconut flakes in the foreground of the above picture.

And here’s another pic of the mix — blended coconut water, sugar, coconut flakes and a small amount of coconut milk:

 

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Filed under COCONUT, NEW TO ME, SIMPLE SYRUP

Experimenting With Coconut

Summer is starting to feel like it’s here and now that Negroni Week is over, my mind has started to wander toward tropical rum drinks.

At the bar where I work, we do a big trade in Mojitos every summer. We have a dozen different flavored rums… And we bring in watermelon every summer to muddle with the mint and lime. That’s easily one of our most popular drinks this time of year:

  
One thing which we don’t have at the bar where I work is a blender. Thats’s never really been a problem though. We are not a beach bar. We’re located in the city of Jamestown. And moreover, all those typical neon-colored cocktails served at beach bars are always so sugary and sticky sweet — which I’m guessing comes from all sorts packaged syrups and canned juices.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think there is a proper place and time for all that. One of the best drinks which my wife and I enjoyed on our honeymoon in the Dominican Republic was something called a Miami Vice — which was equal parts piña colada and strawberry daiquiri. It was exactly the sort of thing we wanted at the time, while sitting by the resort pool looking at the ocean.

Aside from that there was a lot of straight rum and a local liquor called Mamajuana.

In the city though, those sorts of beach drinks aren’t an immediate “go-to” for us or any of our customers. We do serve plenty of rum drinks — like daiquiris, Hurricanes, fake Caipirinhas and Dark and Stormy by the ton. But without a blender, we’ve never seen need to bring in any cream of coconut — which is probably why anytime anyone wants anything with coconut flavor, that flavor always ends up coming from Parrot Bay.

So, yeah, that’s where I found myself this past week — with an interest in making tropical drinks that no. 1, aren’t blended and no. 2, don’t use Coco Lopez or any other store-bought syrup or mixer.

Add to all this the fact that a recent episode of Best Bars In America showed a bar which used its own house coconut mix — comprised of equal parts coconut milk and coconut water. 

Seeing that half-and-half blend behind a high-end cocktail bar got me thinking about what I could do to incorporate coconut into our drinks (while still only shaking them and not incorporating a blender).

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Filed under BEST BARS IN AMERICA, BRANDS, COCONUT, IN PROGRESS RECIPES, NEW TO ME, RUM, SIMPLE SYRUP, WORK-RELATED

Strawberry-Rhubarb Simple Syrup

The prep work:  

 The process: 

The result:

  
Pictured above is a strawberry-rhubarb Tom Collins!


INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 oz Strawberry-Rhubarb simple syrup
  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice 
  • Soda water to finish
  • Strawberries for garnish


PREPARATION

Chill a Collins glass. Shake all ingredients except the soda over ice and strain into the Collins glass over fresh ice, top with soda water and garnish with strawberries.

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Lemon Raspberry Bourbon Smash

Last night I made myself a Pink Smash to drink:

 
I’ve written about smashes before. A few times, in fact.

About This Cocktail
This “Raspberry Lemon Bourbon Smash” is a variation on the basic whiskey smash with fresh raspberries and lemon juice.

Ingredients
•2 oz bourbon
•1/2 oz lemon juice
•1/2 oz lemonade
•1/4 oz simple syrup
•6 mint leaves
•6 raspberries

Preparation
Place mint leaves and raspberries in a pint glass with the simple syrup. lemonade and lemon juice. Muddle the ingredients and then add both ice and bourbon. Shake the drink aggressively and double strain it drink into a chilled cocktail glass.

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Filed under BOURBON, SIMPLE SYRUP, SMASHES, WHISKEY

IPA Simple Syrup

When I woke up this morning, I had the itch to make beer cocktails tonight — so I reduced some IPAs and made simple syrup.

I’ll be making drinks with these simple syrups tonight only at Forte.

   

The first one I made was, of course, Southern Tier.

I also had a bottle of Sierra Nevada’s new single hop IPA — the Idaho 7 varietal.

According to Sierra Nevada, this newly developed hop has a fruit-forward nose. Expect complex fruity aromas of orange and apricot with hints of black tea-like character and a pleasant fresh herbal bouquet. 

Sierra Nevada kicks is doing a whole series of IPAs this year, all exploring different hopping methods: single hop, fresh hop, wet hop and wild hop.

  
Beer Simple Syrup

Want to make your own beer simple syrup?

Read more about it online herehere and here.

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Filed under BEER, BRANDS, CRAFT BEER, SIMPLE SYRUP

The Birth Of New Orleans

I love New Orleans.

I first went to the city as a freshman in college and I’ve since been back twice, but all those trips were before I was a bartender — and long before I had an interest in classic cocktails and modern mixology.

Today marks the founding of the city of New Orleans.

New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville.

Many of the cocktails we associate with the city came some time later, but any reason to celebrate is reason enough!

SAZERAC

The Sazerac is sometimes referred to as the oldest known American cocktail, with origins in pre–Civil War New Orleans, though there are much earlier published instances of the word cocktail.

 

Before rye whiskey, the drink was made with cognac. When absinthe wasn’t allowed, a liquid called Herbsaint was used for the absinthe rinse.

Some recipes call for equal parts cognac and rye whiskey with whatever rinse is available, a blending of the original recipe and how it’s now come to be made.

INGREDIENTS

  • Sugar (or simple syrup)
  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Absinthe rinse

PREPARATION

Chill a rocks glass. Give it an absinthe rinse, using only a few drops of absinthe!

Stir the following and strain into the absinthe-rinsed glass: 2 oz rye whiskey, .25 oz of simple syrup and 2 or more dashes of Peychaud’s bitters.

Rub a lemon peel around the rim of the glass and discard. The drink does not get a garnish.

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Filed under ABSINTHE, ANNIVERSARIES, BITTERS & TINCTURES, BITTERS BRANDS, BRANDS, COCKTAIL HISTORY, COCKTAIL RECIPES, RYE WHISKEY, SIMPLE SYRUP

On The Bar — Dark ‘n’ Stormy

Using the “On The Bar” app.

I downloaded it a long time ago, when it was mostly all just Boston-area bartenders who were using it. But it looks like it’s spread far and wide, so hopefully we can get a bunch of people using it in Jamestown!

  

Further Reading:
— Recipes for a Dark ‘n’ Stormy

A link to something similar, but different.

— And I know, I know… It’s gotta be Gosling’s.

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Filed under APPS, BARS, GINGER BEER, RUM

Bittermens Available At Five & 20

Need a little something extra to take your mixology game to the next level?

Well, whille I was tasting spirits and craft beer at Five & 20 in Westfield yesterday, I noticed that they’re selling several Bittermens products alongside their in-house products and other merch.

Here’s a picture I took of their selection:

  

More than just bitters, Bittermens makes Citrates and Shrubs. More on those in a minute, but first, here’s a list of the bottles I saw on display at Five & 20 yesterday:

BITTERMENS AT FIVE & 20:

  • Boston Bittahs
  • Burlesque Bitters
  • ‘Elemakule Tiki Bitters
  • Hopped Grapefruit Bitters
  • Orange Cream Citrate
  • Orchard Street Celery Shrub
  • Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Small batch bitters have become extremely desirable in recent years as the ongoing renaissance in craft cocktails and mixology continues to boom.

Bittermens makes all its products by hand at its New Orleans facility from primarily organic ingredients. The company was founded by Avery and Janet Glasser and dates back to early 2007, when the pair were trying to make an extract of a traditional Mexican cooking sauce — which became their Xocolatl Mole Bitters.

There’s more info about the company and their products online at Bittermens.com.

CITRATES & SHRUBS:

For their Orange Cream Citrate, Bittermens uses citric acid instead of phosphoric acid to create an orange tincture that’s a riff on the classic sodajerk orange cream soda syrup.

A “Shrub” is also known as “drinking vinegar,” a beverage that dates back to colonial times and is made by combining vinegars with sugar and either fruits or vegetables. I made raspberry and blueberry shrubs last summer, as I posted here. And Bittermens produces a celery shrub, which Five & 20 is currently selling.

Where else can you get bitters in Chautauqua County?

BAG & STRING — If you’re looking for even more craft bitters, check out Bag & String. Last time I was in the Lakewood shop, they were stocking four flavors by The Bitter Truth — as well as a sampler pack which the company offers.

WEGMANS — Wegmans usually has both Angostura and Fee Brothers. Most all the other supermarkets in the county only have Angostura as far as I’ve seen.

CHAUTAUQUA RESTAURANT SUPPLY — Located down by McCrea Point in Jamestown is Chautauqua Restaurant Supply — where last time I checked, they stock Fee Brothers.

FORTE — Lastly, if you come see me at Forte in Jamestown, we currently have The Bitter Truth’s grapefruit bitters and Peychaud’s in addition to Angostura, Fee Brothers and Angostura Orange. Of course, unlike the avove mentioned locations, our bitters aren’t for sale. We just keep a variety in house for shaking up cocktails.


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Filed under BARS, BITTERS & TINCTURES, BITTERS BRANDS, BRANDS, CITRATES, MIXERS, SHRUBS, WESTFIELD

Fat-Wash Duck Whiskey

My chef at the restaurant where I work is pretty damn awesome.

She’s a constant supporter of us bartenders furthering our craft, and is always quick to help out in any way she can.

Her encouragement fuels my excitement for stepping up our cocktail game and vice-versa. The two of us can geek out pretty hard over obscure drink recipes, new techniques and vintage barware… So when I started telling her about how some bartenders have fat-washed whiskey with flavors like bacon and duck fat, it was only a matter of time before we had to try it ourselves.

From all that I’ve read about it so far, fat-washing just seems like a fancy name for infusing liquor in a certain way — a process where we add the fat and then later put the booze in the freezer to solidify the fat for removal.

This recipe for a Duck Sazerac was what we followed when making our own bottle of fat-washed rye whiskey, which is pictured below:

  

So, first and foremost I should say that this was an experiment for ourselves — and not anything we’re serving.

But in terms of the end result, I think we were both pretty impressed with the way the duck fat softened the rye whiskey — sweetening it and smoothing it out.

I’ve seen recipes online using bourbon, but I’m glad we went with rye. So much of the heat and pepper was softened, but the spirit still comes through. 

The rye recipes I’ve seen online for this fat-washed duck rye were basic drinks like the Sazerac and the Manhattan. My intent is to do a Smoked Duck Julep (and just in time for the Kentucky Derby no less). I’ve still got to test out making a smoked simple syrup and weigh it against a scotch rinse and other smoke options.

And I hope Jim Beam doesn’t mind my modification of its label in the picture above!

Further Reading:

— Here’s an article entitled The Science Of Fat-Washing.

— Another How To” post, but this one has a video.

— A recipe for a Smoked Duck Manhattan.

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Filed under BRANDS, FAT-WASH, IN PROGRESS RECIPES, NEW TO ME, RYE WHISKEY, SIMPLE SYRUP, TRENDS, WHISKEY

Queen City Shaken & Stirred

Last night I saw Neil Diamond at First Niagara.

It was a whirlwind 24-hour trip with my wife and her mother, but we managed to do quite a bit of drinking, dining and shopping during our overnight stay.

Photo by The Buffalo News

First up was some spiced rum in the hotel room and then an Ithaca Flower Power IPA and a Sierra Nevada Torpedo at the show.

There was more beer to follow, much more… But everything after “Cracklin’ Rosie” was pretty much a hot mess and, most importantly, what I really want to write about here is Queen City Shaken & Stirred.

Before I get to that though, here’s what The Buffalo News had to say about the concert.

At some point when I was writing my post Monday about Buffalo Proper, I stumbled upon info about Queen City Shaken & Stirred — a boutique supply shop for bartenders and home mixologists.

If you like barware and craft cocktails, then Queen City Shaken & Stirred is going to be your new favorite store. If you’re in Buffalo, just remember that the shop’s not far from Elmwood — and is located at 1455 Hertel Avenue. Look ’em up online here.

It’s not hyperbole or even cliche of me to write that I was like a “kid in a candy store.” I wanted everything I saw, even the things they were selling which I already own. The only thing that kept me from grabbing everything I saw was making a promise to myself that I’ll return as soon as possible.

I was politely greeted when I entered the shop, and the two people working gave me enough personal space to browse comfortably — checking up on me only once or twice and even offering helpful info about out-of-stock items.

Everything about the experience was very chill. The items in the shop are perfectly displayed, almost in a minimalist sort of way. When I had questions, staff had answers. We chatted briefly about the vintage and unique booze bottles on display… And had I known then what I know now from checking out the shop’s Instagram page, I would’ve asked about the occasional classes and speakers they host.

What specifically was there to buy? Well, pretty much any fancy glassware a person might need, but also an impressive selection of bitters and flavored syrups (not to mention tools like jiggers, bar spoons, ice molds, Hawthornes, julep strainers, shaker tins and mallets).

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Filed under BARWARE, BOUTIQUE SHOPS, BUFFALO SHOPS, INDUSTRY APPRECIATION, MIXERS