Archive for bitters

The Electric Screwdriver

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, What I'm Mixing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2014 by cocktailvultures

Electric S

Electric Screwdriver

What’s great about the Screwdriver? It’s easy to make, with readily-available ingredients: vodka and orange juice. But these can also prove its downfall: overly-medicinal vodka, and worse, fake OJ squirting out of a gun behind a bar, or glop-glop-glopping from a plastic bottle.

We say nay. The Cocktail Vultures like nothing more than a good home improvement.

Naturally, we turned to fresh fruit when we decided to make a better Screwdriver. We torqued it up a bit by adding zesty lemon and grapefruit. That lent it zing, along with floral notes. And we tossed in orange bitters because we just can’t leave well enough alone.

When choosing a vodka for this drink, open the bottle and take a deep whiff. If all you can think of is rubbing alcohol, chances are it will make your cocktail too medicinal and undermine all that fresh fruitiness you just squeezed into it.

To get the right amount of zest, which adds a wonderful fragrance, just grab your grater and draw it lightly a few times over the skin of the fruit, doing your best to only reap the colored part and not the white stuff.

To an iced shaker, add:

3 ounces freshly-squeezed orange juice
1/2 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice
2-3 ounces vodka (adjust to your personal taste)
2 dashes orange bitters
Zest of grapefruit
Zest of lemon
Zest of orange

Shake it vigorously, and strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Garnish with a cherry and some fruit wheels.

Want to use your Electric Screwdriver at its highest efficiency setting? Make a pitcher of these for that brunch table or deck party.

To a large, ice-filled glass pitcher, add:

12 ounces orange juice
2 ounces lemon juice
4 ounces grapefruit juice
8-12 ounces vodka, to taste or the drinking habits of your crowd
4-5 dashes orange bitters

Stir this thoroughly and throw in some slices of citrus or a few fresh mint leaves.

Always drink responsibly; always drink well.

Old Fashioned in ChinaTown

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, What I'm Mixing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2014 by cocktailvultures

chinatown new logoWe were comparing youthful experiences with alcohol and discovered that it was not uncommon to have your first mixed drink in a Chinese restaurant. Not a sleek, spare sushi bar or even a Szechuan café — no, it was a quasi-Polynesian Chop Suey Palace with tired décor and waiters in threadbare red jackets who didn’t ask for ID.

If we could walk back into that dark and dreamy place in the Chinatown of our youth and get behind the bar, this is the drink we’d put together. Serve it with a pu-pu platter or your next bag of take-out. Try ordering one in a good cocktail bar — we think your bartender will be intrigued when you ask for “an Old-Fashioned in Chinatown.”

To an empty shaker, add:

1 heaping teaspoon canned Mandarin Oranges
2-3 chunks canned Pineapple
2 Maraschino Cherries
1 barspoon maraschino cherry syrup
3 ounces Bourbon
1 ounce homemade ginger syrup (recipe to follow)
1 heavy dash Angostura Orange Bitters
Pinch 5 Spice Powder

Muddle well. Add ice.

Shake vigorously. Strain into an ice-filled glass. Top with club soda and stir. Garnish with a cherry and pineapple spear. Another tiny whisper of 5 Spice Powder over the top of the drink adds fragrance.

Homemade Ginger Syrup

Take a generous “hand” of unpeeled fresh ginger and chop it thoroughly — alternately, hack it up and throw it in a food processor. Measure the result and add it to a saucepan along with 1.5 times the same amount of water (for example: if you wind up with 1 cup of ginger, use 1.5 cups of water). Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes.

Let cool for a minute or two, then strain and measure the remaining water (I strain mine into a large heat-worthy measuring bowl). Add an equal amount of sugar (1 cup water gets 1 cup sugar) to the warm ginger-water and keep stirring until all the sugar is dissolved. If you’re not going to use it right away, add a jot of white rum or vodka as a preservative and refrigerate. Keeps for about a week.

(Quickie-Cheat: substitute  ginger ale for the club soda in the cocktail above and leave out the ginger syrup.)

Always drink responsibly; always drink well.

china

The Ghosts of Manhattan

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, What I'm Mixing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2014 by cocktailvultures

IMG_6815Ghosts of Manhattan

What to do with those interesting, un-oaked whiskeys hitting the market? They need taming if their flavors are to be enjoyed and not eliminated with an overabundance of sweet mixers. We took some Coppersea Raw Rye http://www.coppersea.com/blog/ and fashioned it into a dry, transparent Manhattan of sorts — cool and astringent, with an almost papery aftertaste. A couple of cocktail cherries won’t go amiss, as they add a touch of sweetness.

To an iced shaker, add:

2 ounces Coppersea Raw Rye
1 ounce Lillet Blanc
2 dashes lemon bitters

Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a few cocktail cherries.

Widow Jane’s “Older Fashioned”

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, Drink It Like a Man, Uncategorized, What I'm Mixing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2013 by cocktailvultures

older fashioned insta copy 2Widow Jane’s Older Fashioned

Today’s drinkers and distillers are changing their minds about rye, that very American booze formerly favored by older gentlemen with barroom tans and smelly sweaters. We recently sampled a great new rye with local provenance; Widow Jane Rye (http://widowjane.com/products/) is made with pure water from a limestone mine in nearby Rosendale, NY and distilled and aged in Brooklyn. An “Older Fashioned” seemed the best way to enjoy its smooth, dry flavor.  We call it an “Older” Fashioned due to the rich and robust flavor derived from the Cranberry and Plum compote which gives an elegant depth to the drink, as opposed to the candy counter sweetness of the standard maraschino cherries. This would be a great cocktail to hand around before or after the Big Holiday Dinner.  Cranberries aren’t just for turkey!

In a rocks glass:

Muddle an orange slice with a dash or two of Bitters (we used Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters)  and a heaping  teaspoon of Cranberry Plum Compote (instructions to follow).

Add 3 ounces Widow Jane Rye. Stir, stir, stir.

Add your desired number of ice cubes. Stir, stir, stir.

Top up with an ounce or so of club soda. Stir, stir, stir.

Test for temperature — it should be very cold — and add a swizzle stick. Another pristine piece of orange peel may be used as garnish.

 

Cranberry Plum Compote

To a saucepan, add:

2 cups fresh cranberries
1/4 cup dried plums or other dried fruit
3/4 to 1 cup light brown sugar
Water to cover berries

Keep stirring over medium heat until the cranberries start popping their skins. Remove from heat and let stand to cool. Store in refrigerator up to 3-5 days.

The Haunted Orchard

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, What I'm Mixing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2013 by cocktailvultures

horchard copy 2Haunted Orchard

A flavorful cocktail that combines those seasonal elements — apples and cinnamon — and makes a perfect accompaniment to an evening of ghost stories and crackling logs.  Enjoy your stroll through the Haunted Orchard…

To an iced shaker, add:

2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce Fireball Whisky http://www.fireballwhisky.com
2 ounces apple cider
1/2 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twisted strip of apple peel.

The Switchblade

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, Drink It Like a Man, What I'm Mixing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2013 by cocktailvultures

switch bladeThe Switchblade

At the end of a busy day, or when a flock of thirsty vultures descends suddenly upon your roost, it’s nice to be able to serve up a sophisticated yet two-fisted drink without ruffling your feathers. You can accomplish this easily by always keeping a supply of your own homemade sweet-and-sour mix on hand.

Sweet-and-sour is quick to prepare and can be put together while you’re prepping for other cocktails or even making a meal — hey, you’re messing up the kitchen anyway. To a clean bottle or jar, add:

One part freshly-squeezed lemon juice
One part freshly-squeezed lime juice
One part simple syrup

Shake vigorously and refrigerate. If you don’t know how long you may keep it, add a jot of vodka or white rum as a preservative. Throw it away after a week and make more. If you have more lemons than limes in hand, or vice versa, don’t sweat it — sweet-and-sour can stand a little fudging in its preparation and eventually you can adjust it to your own tastes.

Now, on to our manly cocktail!

The Cocktail Vultures love both bourbon and amaretto and have now put them together in this very American take on the Stiletto. It will nonetheless stand you in good stead when contemplating your next vendetta.

To an ice-filled shaker, add:

1.5 ounces Bourbon
1.5 ounces Amaretto
1.5 ounces sweet-and-sour
A hearty dash of Peychaud bitters

Shake vigorously and pour into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with lemon and lime peels and add a straw.

Mother Gin Sling ala Cocktail Vultures by way of “The Shanghai Gesture”

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, Girl Drink Drunk, Uncategorized, What I'm Mixing with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2013 by cocktailvultures

mother gin sling final

Mother Gin Sling

Inspired by “The Shanghai Gesture”

Originally a play set in a brothel in Shanghai, centered around a former debutante addicted to drugs, Shanghai Gesture was cleaned up for Hollywood and made into a quirky film by Josef Von Sternberg. How could we fail to love a film set in a casino, where the pretty hostesses are all named after cocktails, and managed by a woman named Mother Gin Sling?

The Cocktail Vultures have always had a thing for Chinese New Year and fake “ching-chong,” and decided to do a little transformation of our own. We give you the Mother Gin Sling.

To an iced shaker, add:

2 ounces dry gin (we used Plymouth’s www.plymouthgin.com)
1/2 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur www.stgermain.fr
3/4 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce Jasmine Syrup*
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Shake vigorously and strain into an ice-filled highball glass.

Note: This cocktail is very “gin-forward.” Any gin will work in it, but different gins affect it differently. We tried it with Plymouth, Warwick (http://wvwinery.com/warwick-gin/) and Bombay Sapphire (www.bombaysapphire.com), achieving a uniquely-pleasing result each time, and settling on Plymouth as our favorite.

* Jasmine Syrup:
Brew jasmine tea and add an equal amount of sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Store in refrigerator for up to one week.

shanghai gesture poster