Category Archives: Spirits

8 Cool Whisky Cocktail Recipes

Written by: Roy Hansen

Whisky remains one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in the world, with millions of people enjoying a tipple each week. While purists will usually drink whisky “neat” or with a small amount of water, it can also be used to make some delicious cocktails. Whisky’s unique combination of flavors can add a lot of colour to drinks and make them much more interesting than vodka or gin cocktails.

If the idea of a whisky cocktail sounds appealing, this is the article for you. We’ve scoured the Internet to find the 8 coolest whisky cocktail recipes. These drinks are exciting, delicious, and very different from a boring Martini or Margarita.

Know your whisky

Before we jump in and start making whisky cocktails, it is important to understand that the type of whisky you use and the quality of the whisky will dramatically influence the taste. To research which whiskies are the best have a read of our favourite whisky review site Whiskeybon to get an idea. As for the type, have a read of these:

American whiskey
You may already be familiar with American whiskeys like Jack Daniel’s, Wild Turkey, Woodford Reserve, and Maker’s Mark. They are very sweet whiskey’s that are distilled in America and aged in barrels. The most common flavors in American whiskey are vanilla, citrus, oak, caramel, berries, spices, and cherries. There are 3 subcategories of American whiskey:

Bourbon Whiskey
Distilled from at least 51% corn, with the remainder usually consisting of rye and malted barley

Rye Whiskey
Distilled from at least 51% rye, with the remainder consisting of corn and malted barley

Tennessee Whiskey
Bourbon Whiskey that is filtered through charcoal to achieve a smoother flavour. It must be distilled in Tennessee to be given this name.

Scotch whisky
Scotch whisky must be created in Scotland. It is created using malted barley and water and aged for at least 3 years. It has a complex flavor palette which may include vanilla, nuts, cedar, oak, smoke, malt, tobacco, earth, and various fruits. It tends to be less sweet than American whiskies and is smokier. Most Scotch whiskies are double distilled. There are two main categories of Scotch whiskies:

Single malt Scotch whisky
Distilled at a single distillery using malted barley

Blended Scotch whisky
A blend of different single malt Scotch whiskies

Canadian whiskey
Canadian whiskey is distilled and aged in Canada for at least 3 years. It is usually made using 51% or more rye. It is a very light and smooth whiskey, even lighter than Irish whiskey.

Irish whiskey
Irish whiskey is distilled in Ireland and aged for at least 3 years. It is not peated, so is less smokey than Scottish whisky. Irish whiskey is triple distilled, which give is a smoother taste. They tend to be less sweet than American whiskies.

Australian and Japanese Whiskey
There have been many award-winning whiskeys from distilleries in Australia and Japan in recent years. The style of whiskies produced in Australia and Japan varies greatly — from delicate floral whiskeys that taste similar to Irish whisky through to strong single-malt whiskies that taste similar to Scotch whisky.

Cool Cocktail Recipes

Manhattan cocktail
This is a classic cocktail recipe that is delicious and presents well. It is also simple to create, which makes it a good place to start.

60 ml of Canadian/Irish whiskey, bourbon or rye whiskey
30 ml sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Cherries and a toothpick

Pour liquid ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cherries skewered with a toothpick.

Whiskey Sour
This drink is another classic cocktail that oozes class. It has been around since at least the 1870s and has seen a big resurgence in popularity in recent years. The combination of sweet and sour makes it a delicious drink.

45 ml of whiskey (any type)
20 ml simple syrup
45 ml fresh lemon juice
(optional) Egg white
Maraschino cherryfor garnish

Pour liquid ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into chilled glass with or without ice. Add egg white (optional) and Garnish.

Irish Coffee
This cocktail is sweet, indulgent, and will give you a nice boost of energy! It is one of our favourite coffees for drinking while sitting around a fire on a cool winter night.

120 ml of hot coffee
45 ml of Irish or Canadian whiskey
2 teaspoons brown sugar
30 ml lightly whipped cream

Brew the coffee, then combine it with sugar in a mug or heat proof glass. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the whiskey and stir again. Add some cream on top.

Espresso Old Fashioned
This is another stimulating coffee themed cocktail. It works will with almost any American whiskey and is very easy to make.

60 ml of espresso coffee
30 ml of bourbon or rye whiskey
10 ml simple syrup
Dash of Peychaud’s bitters
1-inch lemon peel

Shake all of your liquid ingredients in a shaker. Pour into a glass containing ice and stir for 30 seconds. Rub lemon peel on edge of glass.

Carthusian Sazerac
This cocktail is sophisticated, delicious, and has a very cool name! It’s the perfect whisky cocktail to make for any house guests you are trying to impress.

75 ml rye whiskey
Dash of green Chartreuse
15 ml simple syrup
Absinthe
Lemon twist
2 dashes lemon bitters

Place a small amount of absinthe into a coupe glass and swirl it to coat the glass. Discard excess absinthe. In a separate glass mix the whiskey, Chartreuse, and simple syrup with ice. Strain into the coupe glass, topping with lemon bitters. Garnish with lemon twist.

Manhattan
There is something about the Manhattan that makes it a cool cocktail. Perhaps it’s the many movies where famous characters stroll into a smokey bar and order one. You’ll be happy to learn that this classic cocktail is simple to make.

60 ml bourbon whiskey
60 ml sweet vermouth
1 to 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Orange peel
Maraschino cherries

Shake ice, whiskey, vermouth and bitters in a shaker. Rub orange peel around rim of glass. Pour into class and add cherries.

Hard Cider Spritz
This is a fantastic drink on a warm summer afternoon — refreshing and delicious.

30 ml rye whiskey or bourbon whiskey
120 ml hard cider
45 ml apple cider
Dash of Aperol
Dash of fresh lemon juice
Club soda
Apple slices

Combine all of the liquid ingredients into a glass filled with ice. Gently stir and garnish with apple slices.

Mint Julep Cocktail
The mint julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. It is a sweet drink that works well in the warmer months, which is why so many people living in the southern United States enjoy it.

75 ml bourbon whiskey
2 sugar cubes of 15 ml of simple syrup
10-15 mints leafs

Add the mint and simple syrup to a collins glass or julep cup. Muddle well to dissolve the sugar and release the aroma of the leaves. Add bourbon and crushed ice. Stir well and garnish with a mint sprig.

 

Tequila Patrón—the Spirits

I always feel bad for characters that are misunderstood.  I mean, the Bumble in “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” wasn’t a bad dude … he just had a toothache.  That said, I thought I knew all about Tequila Patrón … a big company that makes a great product.  I drank it, I mixed cocktails with it, I enjoyed it … I left it at that.  After being invited to see Hacienda Patrón at the end of 2016, I have a much deeper appreciation not only for the tequila, but the craft behind it and the company that makes it.

I was invited by Patrón to take a few days to explore Jalisco and tour the distillery, and I’d be an idiot not to go, right?  Right.  I went (with some shiny, noisy AF) bells on—I was fucking stoked.  After my immersive experience, I learned some remarkable things that took me from a consumer to a loyalist.

First I’ll say this, Patrón not only produces their own spirits, but they do it expertly.  For those of you claiming that Patrón is “fake” … go suck a piña.  Yes, when the company was founded 1989, they produced their spirits in a facility they didn’t own, but they did so while adhering to their strict standards and following their exacting recipe.  In 2002 they opened The Hacienda and have been producing their own product since.  And yes, the company was started by a beauty product mogul, but he knows enough to have hired people that know the industry.

**UPDATE: Patrón Spirits was sold to Bacardi in January 2018.**

QUALITY.  To ensure perfection in every bottle, everything is done on-site with one exception.  Every one of their products is distilled with great oversight by the best in the business.  Many distilleries in Jalisco will produce multiple brands under one roof (there are 1700+ brands of “tequila”, but only 140 distilleries), but NOM 1492 only produces Patrón.

CONTROL.  The distiller behind the spirit, Francisco Alcaraz, has been the artisan who has helped the brand maintain the integrity of the product while meeting the ever-growing demand.  He has a really difficult job (I’m only kind of kidding) … he tastes every single batch of product before it’s bottled to ensure consistency and quality.  If he’s out?  It takes four expert tasters to take his place.

They don’t stop there.  Patrón claims that at least 60 hands will touch the product before it leaves The Hacienda.  That’s 60 hands checking every step of the process and ensuring that every step of their painstaking process is followed to the letter–from distillation to packaging.

INGREDIENTS.  The only part of the aforementioned process that doesn’t happen on The Hacienda’s property is the growing of the agave itself. Since it takes more than seven years to hit the sweet spot (pun intended) for the maturity of the agave piñas used in distillation, they decided that, instead of trying to own every step, they’d simply ensure they had the very best ingredients possible.  That meant reserving (and paying for) “first dips” on the best Blue Weber Agave from carefully selected fields in the Highlands of Jalisco.  Only the best.  Since Patrón only produces 100% blue weber agave tequilas, they obviously need quite a bit.  (Other brands that don’t call it “mixto”, which only had to be 51% agave)

No flavors, dyes, etc added to any tequilas

PROCESS. After harvesting, the agave is taken to the Hacienda where jimadores remove the leaves the old fashioned way (with a coa) to get to the heart of the agave, the piña.  The piña is then baked in their ovens for 79 hours for the perfect sweetness.  From there, the agave is either taken to a tahona or the roller mill–the tahona is a two-ton volcanic rock that painstakingly crushes the agave to remove the juices.  Patrón’s core line utilizes tahona and roller mill (more modern and efficient) distillates and blends them (55%/45%, respectively) to create the flavor we all know so well.

Why the mix?  Agave macerated using the tahona tends to be slightly sweeter since it allows more of the agave’s fibers themselves to lend flavor, giving the spirit more complexity.  (There are only four other tequila distilleries making tequila with a tahona, none of which operate the wheel daily.)  After tasting distillates from each production method, I love the flavors of the tahona-produced tequila. Lucky for me, Patrón’s newer line, Roca Patrón, is 100% tahona-produced.

INNOVATION. You may have seen a few new Patrón bottles popping up at your local bars–Roca, Piedra, Bordeos, Sherry Cask, XO, Citrónage, Platinum, Patrón en Lalique, etc.  The beauty of that is that they’re never done exploring new ways to make an incredible product even better.

Stay tuned for more about Patrón in upcoming posts!

Picnic with Ponies

What goes better with sunshine than a delicious rosé cocktail and a spectacular view of horses galloping in a field? I’m a little hard pressed to come up with anything else. That’s why I visited Black Star Sport Horses in Rockwall, Texas with a bottle of rosé in-hand!

Black Star Sport Horses is a full service training, show, and sales facility featuring an International Federation of Equestrians trainer. They offer riding lessons for all ages and skill levels, so no worries if you don’t know the tail end from the nose, they’ll help you figure it out!

The rosé I brought along is the Inspiration Rosé from Château de Berne,  a 1,235 acre vineyard in Provence, France originally built by the Romans. On the CDB property is an 18th century 5-star château-style hotel, a Michelin Star restaurant, and an award-winning spa and visitor center. Oh, and they make some really fantastic wine. I’ll take a one-way ticket, please!

 

Château de Berne Inspiration Rosé is one of three bottles from the Provencal range of classics, only recently brought to the US. This dry rosé, with fresh strawberry, cherry, cranberry, and pomegranate notes has been awarded the 2018 Bronze by Texsom International Wine Awards and the 2018 Silver by the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of American Competition. At 12.5% alcohol, it pairs well with light cheeses and a side of fruit.

The day we made it out to Black Star, it was pretty warm, so we decided to batch out a rosé cooler to cool us off a bit more. Picnics can also get messy, so it’s best to batch any cocktails out before heading out.

SUMMER PEACH ROSÉ COOLER
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups frozen peaches
4 cups rosé (I chose Chateau de Berne’s Inspiration Rosé)
1 liter club soda
Rosemary for garnish

Puree the peaches with water and sugar.


CHATEAU DE BERNE
Château de Berne
Facebook | Instagram
Featured: Inspiration Rosé, ~$20

BLACK STAR SPORT HORSE FARM
BlackStarSportHorses.com
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5565 FM 549, Rockwall, TX 75032

How to Cinco Better

This year, Cinco de Mayo and Derby Day land on the same day. (God, help us all.) Since I love big hats and margaritas, I wanted to give each its own parties. So, we Cinco-ed early so I could show you all the shortcuts to get your Cinco party done early to give the evening to the Derby!

Since I get a little crazy sometimes making two or six batched drinks for parties, I decided to let my guests play bartender a little. I batched out a traditional margarita recipe and made fresh purees—blueberry, strawberry, and mango—then put out mason jars so everyone had their own “shaker”. Then, all you need is festive, paper straws and lime wheels for garnish, and tada … the easiest margarita bar ever. (I also put out freshness basil and a muddler for an extra flavor.

CLASSIC MARGARITA
1.5 oz Pura Vida Tequila Silver
1 oz Pura Vida Naranja orange liqueur
0.75 oz lime juice
0.25 oz simple syrup

Since Cinco de Mayo celebration seems to be all about tequila, I also gave my guests three expression of Pura Vida Tequila to taste. This tequila is a new favorite of mine. Made in Jalisco (as it must be to be be called  tequila), the brand has Texas roots and is incredibly smooth.

The biggest thing to remember is: less prep means less dishes. Since I tend to be a messy cook, I opted to cater our little meal. La Ventana, a Dallas-based taco shop that makes authentic Mexico City tacos and goodies and now has five locations across DFW. I’ve always loved their breakfast tacos, so I started my party at 11am so I could be sure there were breakfast tacos on the table!

Since their breakfast tacos aren’t the only thing they do well, we stocked up on their traditional options like steak, pastor, lengua (beef tongue), and barbacoa. There was a little something for everyone, and since their tacos are made on corn tortillas, even my gluten-free guests could dig in.

The tacos were, of course, amazing, but their signature dessert, churros con cajeta, took the cake. (Pun only kind of weirdly intended.) These things are addictive, and I’m OK with it.

And what’s a party without favors? Last year, I made my own adult pinata, but this year … I found someone to do it for me. This fun website, Nipyata, has themed pinatas for every holiday FILLED WITH BOOZE AND CANDY, and it even comes with a papier-mâché bat, blindfold, and rope. Starting at $69.99, it’s a fun addition to a fiesta, bachelorette party, etc. (Even cooler, you can add custom fortunes and even a hand-written note—think gender reveal, people!)

We had a blast whaling away on it. Give some “adults” a few margaritas and the chance to take out some pent-up aggression on an inanimate object with no repercussions and the goal of unlocking more boozy goodness … it’s on.


PURA VIDA TEQUILA
puravidatequila.com

LA VENTANA
taquerialaventana.com

NIPYATA
nipyata.com

Scout & Cellar: Taking the Headaches Out of Great Wine

Over the years, I’ve had friends attempt to sell me a variety of products—leggings, skin care, oils, makeup, kitchen knick-knacks, nutritional supplements, weird nail stickers, and smelly candles. Sadly, I have never had a friend attempt to sell me anything I actually really want—or need—until I met Erin Gerner. Erin sells wine. Erin Gerner is a consultant for Celina based wine club Scout & Cellar.  Erin would love to help arrange for a box of wine to appear on your doorstep on a monthly basis. Erin is also my new favorite person.

Scout & Cellar was founded by local attorney Sarah Shadonix with a very specific goal in mind: curating an amazing collection of clean-crafted wine. “What is clean-crafted wine?”, you might ask. Clean-crafted wines contain no synthetic pesticides, no added sugar, zero added chemicals, and low sulfites. They are never mass-produced, ensuring quality control. Clean-crafted wines also remove one other thing from the wine drinking experience: the dreaded wine headache. Scout & Cellar, where have you been all of my (21+) life?

The great news is, you can choose to purchase from Scout & Cellar’s Clean-crafted wine collection without any membership, simply by shopping online. However, if you want, or, ahem, *need*  more wine in your life, you definitely want to consider a club membership. How does it work? When you sign up, you get to customize your experience; you decide what kind of wine you’d like to receive, and how often. Whether you want to receive all whites, all reds, or a mixture, and whether you’d prefer to receive shipments monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly, they’ve got a plan for you. Members receive additional perks as well, like product discounts, and an invitation to visit the winery, which isn’t open to the public. Erin is an amazing consultant, and she will steer you towards wines you will love that you might not have tried on your own. I can personally attest to this, as she brought me two bottles she recommended, which were right up my alley … and as promised, no headache. Swoon.

Speaking of Erin and her wine savvy: she is also available for tastings, and you could be her next host! As a Host, you arrange a Scout & Cellar wine tasting and handle the guest list; Erin handles the rest. You get to earn cool host perks, and you also earn cool points for throwing a “party” your friends actually WANT to attend. (Hint: overpriced eye serum does not a party make.) Also, Erin is sweet as pie; the consummate hostess. A fun evening is all but guaranteed!

Finally, if clean-crafted wine speaks to your soul, definitely reach out to Erin about becoming a consultant. Scout & Cellar consultants spread the good news about clean-crafted wine … all while making money in the process. They host wine parties, they explain the collections, and they manage a team of other Independent Consultants who do the same things.

Thank you Erin, for sharing your fabulous Clean-crafted wines with me!


SCOUT & CELLAR
www.scoutandcellar.com
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Erin Gerner, Scout & Cellar Consultant
eringerner@gmail.com
www.scoutandcellar.com/eringerner

 

Grey Goose Ducasse

Grey Goose is a classic spirit. The classic Grey Goose expression is made with soft winter wheat and spring water which make for a simple, clean taste. The liquid is bright and its sweetness isn’t overpowering, making it a quality option for sipping and mixing.

While the well-known Grey Goose bottle has been seen on bars for many years, the brand ventured into flavored vodkas. While these expressions are different for the classic, French brand, the newest of their expressions, Grey Goose Ducasse, doesn’t need to rely on flavors, it simply changes the ingredients to create a new flavor that’s just as easy to drink

Grey Goose Ducasse is the product of a partnership between the Grey Goose’s Cellar Master, François Thibault, and French Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse. Using “single-origin French wheat from Picardy and natural spring water from Gensac-la-Pallue”, the simplicity of the expression remains with a bit heavier, full-bodied flavor.

The liquid is clean with slight hints of brioche and toasted bread thanks to the toasted wheat used in distilling. You can find notes like almonds, light florals, and even espresso in the clear-as-it-could-be expression . It’s clean enough to sip on its own or stands up nicely in a cocktail. The finish is long and can virtually take you though layers of flavor.

This is a vodka for food. It’s perfect home? A gastronomy bar.

Being a well-known name, Grey Goose could rest on its laurels and keep creating expressions like pear and cherry, but they challenged themselves and created a beautiful, simple liquid. It’s truly a beautiful partnership.


GREY GOOSE DUCASSE
greygoose.com
Proof/%: 80, 40%
Price: ~$99/750mL

Jackson Family Wines + Harwood District Wine Dinner

The Harwood District has given Dallas some of (my) favorite new restaurants and spaces in the last few years—Mercat Bistro, Marie Gabrielle, Magnolias: Sous Le Pont, etc.—so it was surprise to me when I realized I hadn’t yet visited Dolce Riviera when I was invited to a wine pairing dinner there. I couldn’t say no. If it was anything compared to the other restaurants in the district, I was in for a treat. Bottom line: the food, the wine, and the “show” were all incredible.

The wine dinner featured Jackson Family Wines and was led by none other than Julia Jackson herself, daughter of the famed winemaker, Jess Jackson who began the brand in 1974. Each course got an introduction from someone from the restaurant, an overview of the paired wine and a colorful anecdote from Julia, and a step-by-step demonstration by Executive Chef Michele Scarpa.

Jackson Family Wines is a family-owned and operated wine company that owns vineyards, wineries, and brands throughout the world with brands spanning price ranges and various winemaking techniques. They continue to product incredibly wines and push teh envelope when it comes to innovation—both in winemaking and in eco-friendly practices. Well-known US brands include Freemark Abbey,  Kendall-Jackson, and La Crema.

The.meal.was.amazing. Each course was beautifully prepared and the paired Jackson Family Wines were exquisite and paired flawlessly. The risotto and Valodorna Supertuscan pairing was, by far, my absolute favorite. I’ve never been much of a risotto fan, but Chef Scarpa’s was life changing. Not kidding. The Supertuscan pairing was perfect as its bold notes of black cherry and spices cut the creaminess and richness of the risotto.

The food at Dolce Riviera is inspired by Chef Scarpa’s roots in southern Italy and dishes are authentic, but with a slight French slant. Everything is made with fresh ingredients from scratch to finish and is beautifully and intricately crafted to not only taste authentic, but to be presented beautifully as well. Dolce Riviera aims for simple, yet elegant.

ANTIPASTO: Half Crispy Quail over Green Asparagus with Quail Eggs and Sauce Mornaise
Paired with Cambria Clone 4 Chardonnay (Santa Maria Valley, USA)

CRUDO: Venison Carpaccio with Wild Herbs, Late Radicchio Salad with Dried Apricot and Fresh Red Currant in White Balsamic Dressing
Paired with Yangarra Grenache (McLaren Vale, Australia)

PRIMO: Risotto Carnaroli with Pomegranate
Paired with Valodorna Supertuscan (Tuscany, Italy)

SECONDO: Veal Tenderloin Rollatino with Truffle Heart, Mix Wild Mushroom Sauce
Paired with Cardinale Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, USA)

Harwood District gives diners incredible opportunities to dine delightfully with various events like these wine dinners, DJ Brunches, and more. Make sure to watch the Harwood District events page and their social channels to be up on all of the offerings coming from the district.


JACKSON FAMILY WINES
jacksonfamilywines.com

DOLCE RIVIERA
dolceriviera.com

HARWOOD DISTRICT
harwooddistrict.com

The Bloody Buddy

Do you love Bloody Marys but hate the hassle of having to find the perfect mix to alcohol ratio? Fear no more, because The Bloody Buddy has arrived.

TBB is Texas’ first and only ready-to-drink Bloody Mary. (Yes, alcohol included!) Straight from Dripping Springs, TBB is a corn-based (gluten free, hollaaa!) vodka infused with real chili peppers for about a week. Their house Bloody Mary recipe contains organic tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, lime juice, and other secret spices.

Not only does this mix taste good, it does actual good, too. There are no artificial flavors, additives, or preservatives, and they use recycled plastic bottles which make TBB perfect for golf courses, lakes, beaches, hikes, pools, hotel mini-bars, the symphony … ya know … anywhere. And at 10% ABV, there’s just enough booze to hit the spot.

The Bloody Buddy is the easiest and tastiest way to get your Bloody Mary fix in a flash. Just open, poor over ice, and serve.


THE BLOODY BUDDY
TheBloodyBuddy.com
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TBB is available at most Spec’s locations.