Cocktails Drink Recipes Whiskey

Happy National Whiskey Sour Day!

Shake ingredients with ice, then strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.

Here's another of those National XYZ Days that I love so much. This time it's the Whiskey Sour's turn, a classic cocktail and one of the easiest drinks to make. I made mine with Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon and it was quite tasty. (I did alter the ratio from the above recipe, though, instead using equal parts lemon juice and simple syrup. I don't like my sours quite that sour.)


Cocktails Drink Recipes Rum Spirits

Celebrating National Rum Day

Everything under the sun has its own day. And today is rum's chance! (Apparently August is also National Rum Month, but that seems to be pushing it a little.)

Rum is probably my favorite spirit. It encompasses so many different possibilities. Sweet, spicy, dry, fiery, toasted, smoky, mixed in a cocktail, or enjoyed on its own. If there's something spirituous you have in mind, rum can probably make it happen.

El Dorado 12 Year OldMy favorite rum to drink neat is El Dorado 12 Year Old. I have many more expensive rums in my collection, but this remains a favorite. It's affordable, versatile, and delicious. Costing under $30 a bottle, it makes a great cocktail, but is also a pleasure to sip like a fine whiskey or brandy.

El Dorado is a demerara rum from Guyana, so it has a rich flavor of brown sugar, along with fruit and spice. It's not overly sweet, though, and some find it slightly smoky (although it's very subtle). It's easily one of the best rums around.

My favorite mixing rum is probably still Appleton Estate V/X. I adore Jamaican rums in general, and the V/X works well in so many different drinks. Plus it costs less than $20 a bottle.

There are dozens of rum cocktails I love, including the Mai Tai, Daiquiri, Mojito, Planter's PunchScorpion, Hurricane, and so many more.

It's hard to beat the classics, but if you're looking to try something new, here are a few recipes that you might want to explore further.

All drinks

For a twist on a classic, try substituting an aged rum for bourbon in a Manhattan.

Rum Manhattan

2 oz. Ron Zacapa 23 Rum
1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Stir ingredients with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Another classic with a slight difference.

Deck Hand Daiquiri
Adapted from a recipe by Tony Abou-Ganim

2 oz. Shellback Silver rum
3/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz. Simple Syrup
Fresh, seasonal fruits and berries

In a mixing glass, muddle fresh fruits with simple syrup. Add lime juice and rum, then shake with ice. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a thin slice of lime and fruit of your choice.

Looking for something savory? Try this.

Garden Mojito
Adapted from a recipe by King & Grove

1 1/2 oz. Brugal Extra Dry Rum
1/2 oz. Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
4 Cucumber Slices
6 Basil Leaves
Club Soda 

In a mixing glass, muddle cucumber and basil with simple syrup. Add remaining ingredients (except soda) and shake with ice. Strain over crushed ice, then top with club soda. Garnish with a cucumber slice.

Do you like sweet and easy? Here you go.

Port Royal Punch

1 750 ml bottle Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
1 32 oz. bottle Pineapple Juice
3 cups Mango Juice
4 1/2 oz. Grenadine
3 Oranges (sliced thin and quartered)
1 cup Soda Water

In a punch bowl or large serving vessel, add the ingredients and stir. Serve over ice in a punch glass.

Happy Rum Day!

Cocktail of the Day Drink Recipes Gin Liqueurs

Cocktail of the Day: Limoncello Cooler

Limoncello Cooler

Limoncello Cooler

1 1/2 oz. Limoncello
1 oz. Gin
1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
8-10 Mint Leaves
Club Soda

Gently muddle the mint leaves with lemon juice in the bottom
of a mixing glass. Add the limoncello and gin and shake with ice. Strain into
an ice-filled highball glass. Top with club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig.


Cocktail of the Day Drink Recipes Whiskey

Cocktail of the Day: Bourbon Milk Punch

Bourbon milk punchBourbon Milk Punch

1 1/2 oz Bourbon Whiskey
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 Bar Spoon Vanilla Extract (a couple dashes)
3 oz Whole Milk or Half and Half
Garnish with freshly-grated nutmeg and/or cinnamon.

Shake well with ice, then strain into an ice-filled Old Fashioned glass.

Mardi Gras is coming, and this classic New Orleans brunch cocktail is the perfect way to start off a day of revelry. Or any day, for that matter.

The Milk Punch is often made with brandy instead of bourbon. (That's the way they make it at Commander's Palace.) I like bourbon better, though, so I make it this way. You can also substitute rum or spiced rum.

Cocktail of the Day Drink Recipes Rum Tiki

Cocktail of the Day: Cherry Daiquiri

Cherry daiquiriCherry Daiquiri

2 oz Shellback Silver Rum
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
2 Maraschino Cherries
1 tsp Maraschino Cherry Syrup

Muddle the cherries in the bottom of a mixing glass along with the juice and syrups. Add the rum and shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a glass filled with crushed ice.

I used Shellback Silver Rum for this because it has a sweet, vanilla taste that really complements the cherry. But you can substitute any silver rum.

Cocktail of the Day Drink Recipes Wine

Cocktail of the Day: Sandeman Harvest Sour

 Sandeman port cocktail
In an effort to help make one of my 2013 predictions come true, I offer a tasty cocktail made with Port wine.

I know this one's a little complicated, but if you feel ambitious, it's worth the effort.

Sandeman Harvest Sour

1 1/2 oz Sandeman Founders Reserve Porto
1/2 oz Apple Brandy 
3/4 oz Raspberry Syrup
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
2-3 oz Dry Apple Cider

Shake all ingredients (except cider) with ice, then strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top with cider, garnish with raspberries and dust with nutmeg.

Cocktails Drink Recipes

Some Holiday Cocktails to Try

The bars are closed on Christmas, but that doesn't mean a festive cocktail wouldn't hit the spot. You just have to mix it up yourself. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Highball Holiday hiro cocktail 
Carte blanche  Gin peppermint fling

Whiskey Highball

2 oz Bourbon or Rye Whiskey
Lemon-Lime Soda or Ginger Ale
4 Dashes of Aromatic or Angostura Bitters

Build over ice in an old-fashioned or highball glass, depending on how much mixer you want. The bitters give it a nice Christmas-spice taste that I find festive and delicious.

Holiday Hiro Cocktail

One part Hiro Sake Red (Junmai)
One part Spiced Rum
One part Apple Cider
Sprinkle of Cinnamon

Combine equal parts sake, rum and apple cider. Either heat together in a saucepan over medium heat or in the microwave. Pour into a mug and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Carte Blanche

1 1/4 oz Crown Royal Maple Whiskey
1/3 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Orange Bitters

Shake with ice, then strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Cozy Christmas Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Spiced Rum
3/4 oz Amaretto
1 oz The Perfect Purée Coconut Puree, thawed
4 oz Hot Chocolate

Combine ingredients into a mug. Top with whipped cream, if desired. Serve hot.

Gin Peppermint Fling

2 oz Citadelle Gin
1 oz Heavy Cream
1/2 Egg White
2 oz Peppermint Simple Syrup (see below)

In a shaker, build cocktail in order of ingredients listed. Dry shake (without ice) vigorously until egg white becomes frothy and heavy cream is incorporated. Add ice and shake again. Strain into a chilled, peppermint-rimmed cocktail glass.

Peppermint Simple Syrup

1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Water
10 large Red/White Peppermint Candy Canes

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Dissolve sugar and candies on medium heat, stirring continuously. After sugar and candy has dissolved, heat the syrup to just short of boiling, until it begins to thicken, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow syrup to cool.

Peppermint Garnish

Red/White Peppermint Candy Canes
Peppermint Simple Syrup

Crush candy canes and place on a flat plate. Moisten the edge of the cocktail glass with the peppermint syrup. Dip the edge of the martini glass into the crushed candies and allow rim to dry for one minute.

Cocktails Drink Recipes

Christmas Party Cocktail Recipes

Here are the recipes for the specialty cocktails we served at our Christmas party. They all seemed popular with our guests.

Poinsettia Punch
Adapted from a recipe by Frank Cisneros, Gin Palace in NYC

1 1/2 oz Gin
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Grenadine
1 tsp. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice, then strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

Spiced Pear Margarita
Adapted from a recipe by Piero Rodriguez, Zengo in Washington, DC

3/4 oz Reposado Tequila
3/4 oz Pear Liqueur
1 1/2 Spiced Pear Puree
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a pear slice.

Spiced Pear Puree

2 whole pears peeled and diced
1 quart of water
Cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to taste

Place all ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Blend all ingredients and strain. Cool before use.

Grand Cherry Tiki
Adapted from a recipe by Jonathan Pogash, The Cocktail Guru 

1 1/2 oz Grand Marnier Cherry
3/4 oz Lime
3/4 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
2 Dashes Angostura or Tiki  Bitters

Shake with ice, then strain into an ice-filled double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a lime wheel and a maraschino cherry.

Maui Mai Tai

1 1/2 oz Gold Rum
1/2 oz Orange Curaçao
3/4 oz Orgeat 
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with crushed ice, then pour (unstrained) into a double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.

Christmas cocktail

Drink Recipes

What to Drink for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is tomorrow in the U.S., that national holiday in celebration of overindulging. Millions of turkeys will be devoured, along with enough sides to make a new set of Dungeons and Dragons dice. But we're not here to talk about the bird.

Wine is the traditional accompaniment for the Thanksgiving feast. Pinot Noir and Riesling make good choices, and Champagne is perfect. I always drink plenty of the latter when I'm cooking. But it's important not to overlook the cocktails. Here are some suggestions for libations you can mix up.


Cranberry Old-Fashioned

2 oz Bourbon
8 Cranberries (Fresh or Frozen)
2 tsp Sugar (Preferably Caster or Superfine)
Piece of Orange Zest
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

In an old-fashioned glass, muddle the cranberries, sugar, orange zest and bitters with a small amount of water. Add bourbon and ice.

Thanksgiving Special

3/4 oz Gin
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth
3/4 oz Apricot Brandy
1/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry. 

Pilgrim Cocktail

1 1/2 oz  Rum
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
1/4 oz Allspice (Pimento) Liqueur
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Can also be served warm. Dust with freshly-grated nutmeg.

Mayflower Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Brandy
Splash of Pernod
Splash of Triple Sec 
2 dashes Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Apple Crisp

2 oz Applejack
1 oz Triple Sec
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a thin slice of apple.

You might also consider a Caramel Apple Cosmo or Hot Buttered Rum.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cocktail of the Day Drink Recipes Vodka

Cocktail of the Day: Caramel Apple Cosmo

AppleCaramel Apple Cosmo

1 1/2 oz Van Gogh Wild Appel Vodka
1/2 oz Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka
1/2 oz Licor 43
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Cranberry Juice

Shake with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

A lot of cocktail people look down their noses at vodka, especially flavored vodka. I don't get it myself. I've always been a fan of vodka, and I enjoy experimenting with the flavored variety in different drinks. They're certainly not the first thing I reach for, but that doesn't mean they should never be used.

This was based on a recipe I found in Gaz Regan's book. It has delicious fall flavors and has quickly become one of my wife's favorite drinks.

You don't need to use the Van Gogh brand vodkas, although I've found these varieties to be very tasty. The Sobieski Karamel is also good.

If you don't have any Licor 43, you can replace it with a little simple syrup. It's not going to taste quite the same — the Licor 43 has a very nice sweet vanilla flavor — but it'll give you the general idea.