Tequila is, undoubtedly, the spirit of Mexico. Tequila’s sophisticated and continuously increasing quality is the result of blending native agricultural techniques and modern technology, all held together with tradition.
Being Mexican, this traditional backbone inevitably includes one of the most spiritual celebrations in the human world: Dia De Los Muertos.
Dia De Los Muertos, or the day of the dead (DOTD), is a celebration that grips the entirety of Mexico on the 1st & 2nd of November. To pay homage to this spiritual celebration I’ve gathered three of the best 100% agave tequilas available to me here in the UK.
Taking one cocktail from each brands’ website, I will recreate them, aiming to not only showcase brand used but to really help you get a traditional Mexican celebration going this Dia De Los Muertos.
But, before we delve into the recipes, let’s take a little look a what Dia De Los Muertos is, and why it is so widely celebrated across the country Tequila calls home…
Whilst predominantly celebrated in the central and southern regions of Mexico, DOTD has spread to most of the northern regions as well, no small part due to the Mexican Government declaring it a national holiday.
DOTD takes place on the 1st & 2nd November every year and even though this coincides with the catholic holidays of All Souls and All Saints day, the Mexican population has managed to blend both religion and tradition together, culminating in this very spiritual event.
DOTD rests on the belief that, for the 1st of November, the spirits of deceased children will be allowed passage to Earth, from heaven. During this 24hr period, the children return to their loved ones and enjoy the festivities laid out for them by their friends and families.
On the 2nd of November, adult spirits also return down to their loved ones, enjoying the singing, dancing, and other festivities laid out especially for them.
Almost all houses will contain a homemade altar decorated with marigold flowers, candles, sugar skulls, and pictures of the deceased loved one(s) along with their favourite food and drink. This is all done by the deceased’s families and friends and can come at a great personal expense. But, as this holiday is all about celebrating the lives of their loved ones, the economic cost is not a driving factor – it just serves as an example of how important to the Mexican people this tradition is.
On the 2nd, festivities are taken to the cemeteries and there the individuals will sing, dance, and care for their loved ones’ gravestones. Stories are told of their loved ones and families, friends, and others, all gather to celebrate the lives of their deceased.
Dia De Los Muertos is an upbeat celebration that captures the spirit of joy and ultimately shows a true acceptance of death in everyday life. This tradition celebrates the life of the deceased rather than simply mourning the dead.
Dia De Los Muertos is such a celebration that tequila brands jump at the chance to share it with the world. Of course, it acts as a great selling point for their brands but, ultimately, they also share this celebration with the world.
Simply put, Tequila brands make Mexico’s most famous alcoholic beverage and they make it in the traditional way. Part of this tradition is celebrating Dia De Los Muertos. That is why most tequila brands (especially the 100% agave ones) will really kick things up a notch around the end of October…
Now for what you’ve all been waiting for, the 3 gloriously delicious Dia De Los Muertos cocktails…
Patron – Fresas En Fuego
(45ml) 3 measures Patron Silver
(15ml) 1 measure Ginger Liqueur
(15ml) 1 measure Fresh Lime Juice
(15ml) 1 measure Sugar Syrup
4 x Hulled Strawberries
2 x Jalapeno coins (slices)
Garnish: Strawberry & Jalapeno Skewer.
In a shaker, muddle the strawberries, jalapeno coins, and sugar syrup.
Add the tequila, ginger liqueur, and lime juice.
Shake well over ice.
Double strain into a chilled coupe cocktail glass.
Garnish with the strawberry & jalapeno skewer.
Patron Tequila is as beautifully crafted as they come. It is a premium brand in that it does cost a small fortune to sample some of their high-end products but, as with all alcohol brands, you pay for what you get. All their products are handmade, from Pina to Cork, and this is evident in the high quality taste their products are renown for.
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: If you love spice in your cocktail, try infusing your Patron Silver tequila with some sliced Jalapenos.
Add the tequila, Cointreau, Campari, and juices to an ice-filled shaker.
Shake well (10-15 seconds should do it)
Strain into a chilled rocks glass.
Garnish with the kiwi, strawberries, and mint sprig.
Herradura produce 100% agave tequila and they pride themselves on slowly aged uncompromising tequila. They barrel age their Tequila longer than the standard required and the quality of their products show through. I had the pleasure of sampling their range at Imbibe Live 2016 and believe me, they are sublime in their quality.
Ocho – El Diablo
50ml Ocho Blanco
25ml Fresh Lime Juice
10ml Fresh Ginger Syrup
10ml Creme De Cassis
Top Up Ginger Ale
Garnish: 2 x Lime wedges
Combine all ingredients over ice and shake well (again, 10-15 seconds should suffice).
Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass.
Garnish with a lime wedge. Or two.
The El Diablo Is a cocktail I’ve been excited about for a long time. It’s simple, yet tremendously satisfying to drink. Its balance of heat and sweet is sublime and it brings out the playfulness of the tequila!
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: If you want a higher hit of heat to this drink, muddle some fresh root ginger in the bottom of the glass with the lime juice. It will add a little raw heat to the overall taste!
So there you have 3 stunning cocktails, using 3 rather eloquent 100% agave tequilas, and what’s more, they’ll all help you kick off your Dia De Los Muertos celebrations with a bang!
Do you have any parties planned for this spooky weekend? Try turning them into a celebration and revel in the spiritual togetherness Dia De Los Muertos stands for!
Disclaimer: the Herradura Tequila was provided as a sample by the grace of Mangrove, a drinks distributor here in the UK. The sample was free, but that in no way biases y statements. Any comments made in this post (or any other) is strictly of my own opinion and will always be so.
Are you a celebrator of the spiritual Dia De Los Muertos? If so, what is your cocktail of choice, if you choose to drink one?
If you enjoy your tequila in other ways this time of year, why not share them in the comments?
The year is 2013. It was a summer of love and torrential downpours – what do you expect? I live in England!
On one rainy afternoon (or two) I sat down and went through some great cocktails that all had one ingredient in common: Cointreau.
This delicious liqueur, seen below, is a stunning, zesty little number that has been used to create some of the most celebrated cocktails ever imagined.
Cointreau, in a grasp at a perfect USP that is craved by most spirit companies these days, created their own style of cocktail: The Cointreau Fizz. The idea was to show the world the versatility to this rather fragrant French liqueur.
I worked. So brilliantly that 3 years on people are still enjoying Cointreau Fizz’s out and about. However, this post, first published by me 3 years ago, aimed to celebrate all that
However, this post, first published by me 3 years ago, aimed to celebrate all that was is classic about this traitionally out of the box liqueur…
So summer is on its way, albeit in the traditional British ‘stealth mode’ way. As I write this it’s a slightly overcast day. The trees are rustling and yet my hand is cold… It’s because I have a fantastic “Cointreau fizz” cocktail (see below) in it! That’s right ladies and gentlemen, summer is here and that can mean only one thing: Cointreau cocktails rule supreme!
The following are, in my opinion, the best Cointreau cocktails you can order:
10ml Lemon Juice
Strong and volatile in the wrong hands, this cocktail should be feared as well as enjoyed. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.
45ml Mount Gay Rum
10ml Agave Nectar
A slight tweak on the classic recipe. The Mount gay rum lends its golden hue to this delicious drink. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass for the best results.
8. Cointreau Cobbler
80ml Chardonnay White Wine
2 orange slices
1 lemon slices
Shake all the ingredients and strain into a wine glass. Top up with a bit of Prosecco if you fancy a touch of class.
30ml Lemon Juice
30ml Remy Martin VSOP cognac
Pure class in a glass; Shake and strain the ingredients into a martini glass and enjoy thoroughly.
10ml Lime Juice
20ml Cranberry Juice
Cointreau special: Cointreaupolitan
30ml Cranberry Juice
20ml Lemon Juice
Whichever recipe you choose one thing is certain: Enjoyment. Shake and strain the ingredients into a cocktail glass. Add ice if you wish.
20ml Lime Juice
40ml Silver Tequila
A classic cocktail for a classic liqueur; Shake and strain the ingredients into a coupe glass and garnish with a lime wheel.
4. Cointreau Caipirinha
Half a lime (quartered)
A slightly sweeter take on a Brazilian classic; shake and strain all the ingredients into a small ice-filled rocks glass and drop in a couple of lime wedges for garnish.
3. White Lady
20ml Lemon Juice
This classy little cocktail is extremely simple: shake and strain into a cocktail glass. For added class garnish with an edible flower (Try some different coloured rose petals).
50ml Pineapple Juice
30ml Yellow Grapefruit Juice
A deliciously sweet Caribbean cocktail; perfect for those summer evenings. Shake all the ingredients and strain into a long glass filled with crushed ice.
1. Cointreau Fizz
The reason this is my number one is for the pure versatility of the drink. If you head over to the Cointreau website, you’ll find a list of cocktails both famous and lesser known. If you look carefully you’ll find 9 different recipes for ‘Fizz’ cocktails. The only difference (generally at least) is the garnish. As many of you know the garnish is extremely important to the taste of some cocktails, and none more so than with the Cointreau Fizz.
With recipes such as; Strawberry & Mint, Mint Tea, Cucumber & Basil and Passion & Pepper, the Cointreau fizz is, literally, a cocktail for all tastes.
Here are my 3 favourite recipes:
Cointreau Fizz – Simple but stunning…
½ fresh Lime Juice
100ml Soda Water
Cointreau Fizz, Passion & Pepper – Spicy, with a splash of passion…
15ml fresh lime juice
2 fresh passion fruits
1 thin slice of thai chilli pepper
50ml soda water
Method: add all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker (only use the juice of the passion fruits). Shake until the metal is frosted and then strain over ice into a glass. Top up with soda water.
Cointreau Fizz, Strawberry & Mint
15ml Lime Juice
4-5 fresh strawberries
3 fresh mint leaves
50ml soda water
Method: Muddle the strawberries and mint leaves in a Boston shaker. Add the Cointreau and lime juice and shake until the metal becomes frosted. Strain into a glass, over ice and garnish with a strawberry slice and a fresh mint sprig.
Hopefully, these cocktails help you enjoy your evenings, summer or no. If you have a penchant for Cointreau then why not take a peek at my other Cointreau related posts? Click here to see more!
Disclaimer: All of the views and opinions on this post are my own and have not, in any way, been influenced by Cointreau or any other party.
A selection of the recipes in this post (as well as much more) can be found under the ‘cocktails’ section of the Cointreau website.
I wrote a plethora of posts about Cointreau in my very first year of blogging, and even revisited the spirit when I attended a garden party back in 2013, further to that I also wrote a collection of summer cocktails themed on the orange beauty of a spirit.
Those posts have held their own with the latter mentioned consistently hitting high daily views. Because of this I thought I’d revisit one of my favourite liqueurs once more. This time I’ll share several collections of cocktails that are based on, or use as a focus, Cointreau.
With this post, I’ll aim to look at several original Cointreau cocktails, the new collection of Cointreau official cocktails, new summer cocktails, Cointreau classic cocktails, as well as a few little single recipe posts.
So with the above in mind, let’s look at 3 original, or different, Cointreau cocktails…
1. Winter Sun Cocktail
60ml Clementine Juice
15ml Fresh Lemon Juice
Garnish: Sprig of Rosemary, Lemon Zest & Sugar
Moisten the rim of a large rocks glass with the lemon.
Grate the zest of a lemon into some sugar and mix. Upturn the glass and dip into the lemon sugar to garnish the glass.
Fill the glass with ice, add the ingredients and stir well.
Garnish, finally, with the rosemary sprig.
2. Awaiting Grace
50ml Absolut Vanilla
1 Tsp Brown Sugar
Top up Cloudy Apple Juice
5 basil leaves
Muddle the basil with the sugar in the bottom of a Collins glass.
Add a lime wedge and pour in the spirits.
Add ice and stir well.
Top up with the apple juice.
Stir once more and serve with a straw.
3. Bourbon Sidecar
1m Lemon Juice
Shake ingredients, for around 10-15 seconds, over ice.
The idea behind this new theme system is that it should allow me to write more posts more often. Recent months, for one reason or another, have not been good for my writing. So to help me write, as well as schedule, posts better I’ve decided to restrict myself to a certain theme every month. This means every month you’ll get a post (like this one) that introduces the theme, as well as giving you decent selection of themed cocktails. You’ll also get another 3 or 4 posts spread over the month also themed to that particular topic. Using this month’s theme: Marvel Superheroes as an example; you can expect another 3 or 4 posts showcasing cocktail recipes themed towards a particular Marvel superhero. Depending on the theme, you may also get a few other themed posts about spirits or events. If, for example, the theme is pirates you could be forgiven for thinking a rum brand might get a little piece during that particular month.
Please understand that whilst 90% of the posts from now on will show a connection to that particular month’s theme, I will still continue to post about relevant events, spirit brands and other interesting things I come across.
Why superheroes? Why marvel?
I love cocktails, but I also love superheroes, and I’ve been a child of Marvel from the very beginning of my comic-hood (the first comic I ever read was Spiderman).
So to kick off this whole theme idea I thought starting with superheroes would be perfect. With the recent blockbuster success of Avengers: Age Of Ultron meaning Marvel have kept up their consistent strength-to-strength success of their avengers world films (films like Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and the soon to be released Ant Man), I thought it would be a fitting tribute if I gathered up some great Marvel superhero themed drinks; perfect for those silly fancy dress parties or just a good old geeky Marvel film-a-thon. What’s more, these cocktails are all pretty simple to make, all you need is the ingredients.
As a pre-curser to these cocktails please note:
Most of ingredients for these cocktails can be found at your local supermarket or corner shop.
However some of the harder to find ingredients, like the Viniq or flavoured vodkas, can be found online through various merchants. I’ll leave a few links at the end of the post for those interested in having a look around some of the better sites (please be aware this is only really worth it for UK readers as the sites are UK based).
So let’s begin with some of the cast from one the biggest films of the year: The Avengers: Age of Ultron…
The Hulk(From the Tipsy Bartender)
1 measure Viniq Vodka Liqueur
½ measure Grape Vodka
½ measure plain Vodka
½ measure Blue Curacao
1 measure Orange Juice
Splash Sprite (Lemon & Lime Soda)
Garnish: Black sugar rim
Fill a blender with cubed ice.
Add in the Viniq Liqueur, Grape Vodka & Sprite.
Blitz until the mixture is the texture of a slushy.
Fill a blender with cubed ice.
Add in the plain vodka, blue curacao & Orange juice.
Blitz until the mixture is the texture of a slushy.
Combine some granulated sugar with black food colouring and pile onto a plate.
Rim a tumbler glass with the black sugar.
Fill the tumbler half way with the purple slush.
Then top up with the green slush.
Garnish with the black sugar rim.
This cocktail is probably the most time intensiveCheck out the Tipsy Bartender for more great cocktails like this Hulk themed one.
1 measure Grenadine
1 measure Drambuie
2 measures Orange Juice
1 measure Scotch whisky
Build/layer the ingredients, in order, over ice in a tall Collins glass.
Serve with a glowing ice cube if you have one, use two straws either way…
Thor – Shooter
½ measure Whisky
1 measure Rum
1 measure Vodka
2 measures Orange Juice
Stir together the Whisky, Vodka & Rum.
Strain into a shot glass and set aside.
Pour a glass of orange juice and top it with soda.
Serve by dropping the shot glass in the glass of orange juice and enjoy…
Like the immovable Mjolnir itself, this cocktail will thump you like a hammer and then make sure you don’t remember it afterwards. Try sharing this serve with several of your friends, that way no one will think less of you, I promise!
1 measure Kahlua
1 measure Vodka
2 shots espresso
Combine in a glass and stir in.
The only hot cocktail on this list, the Black Widow tastes amazing but let it and it will make you wish you’d never heard of it…
Hawkeye – Purple Rain
1.5 measures Vodka
1.5 measures Blue Curacao
3 measures Cranberry Juice
Top up Soda Water (Optional)
Build the ingredients over ice in a tall glass.
Top up with Soda water and serve with a straw.
Captain America – Frappé
1 measure Grenadine
1 measure Crème De Cacao
1 measure Blue Curacao
Layer the ingredients into a fancy shot glass in the order written above. Handy tip: Use the back of a spoon to slow the liquid down and allow it to settle on top of the previous liquid.
Fill a tall collins glass 1/3 of the way full with crushed ice and add in the Grenadine.
Now fill it another 1/3 with crushed ice and then add the Crème De Cacao.
Finally fill to the brim with the crushed ice and then top with the Blue Curacao.
This layered shot is stronger than most cocktails on this list, but not only is it fitting for the theme but it also shows off all that was great about the great Captain America: The United States of America, via their flag of course…
Quicksilver – Kamikaze, Shooter
1.5 measures Vodka
0.75 measures Triple Sec
0.75 measures Lime Juice
Combine all 3 ingredients in a cocktail shaker and add ice.
Shake well, for around 10-15 seconds, and then strain into a fancy shot glass.
Serve with a slice of lime for a real kicker.
This cocktail is not so much a themed cocktail as it is a fitting cocktail. SPOILERS.
This suits Quicksilver’s character to a tee. Short, fast and it sure does pack a punch when it hits you. Share these out as they taste surprisingly great for a shooter.
Keep an eye out over the next 3-4 weeks for more marvel superhero themed cocktails right here, on this blog!
This month’s theme is perfect for summer evenings with your mates because the cocktails are bound to be fun, bold and simply delicious!!!
So, regardless of whether you’re a DC or Marvel, suit up and be ready for anything. Enjoy the cocktails, have fun, but most importantly drink responsibly!
Carrying on from last weeks Summer themed post, this post supplies you with 5 more delicious summer themed (and inspired) cocktails… Whilst they are all based on a different liqueur or spirit they are all refreshing, relatively simple and perfect for BBQ’s or Beaches. Whatever your fancy…
Recipe #6: Midori – Midori La Pomme
30ml Cognac (Brandy)
15ml Lemon Juice
Top up – Apple Cider
Garnish: Apple wedge
Fill a tall glass with ice cubes.
Build the ingredients as listed in the glass.
Stir well and serve with a straw and garnish with an apple wedge.
This is one of the stranger cocktails on the list, as it combines Midori, Cognac and Cider… Whilst most people would assume Calvados would be a better fit, I find it to be too sickly combined with the Midori & apple cider. Using Cognac helped balance the cocktail and results in a crisper more refreshing cocktail…
Recipe #7: Cointreau – Cointreau Fizz
25ml Lime Juice
Top up Club Soda
Fill a glass with ice and squeeze in (and drop in) 4 lime wedges.
Pour in the Cointreau and stir very gently so as to mix the ingredients with the ice.
Top with the Club Soda and garnish with a wheel of lime and a straw.
This cocktail is a new classic just waiting for the official nod. This became Cointreau’s signiture cocktail a few years back when they wanted to show off how versatile their spirit was, and that you could use it as a standalone spirit. “Much more than just a Triple Sec…”
As simple as can be, it just uses 3 ingredients, this cocktail delivers a crisp slice of summer in a glass. Whilst this particular blend might not seem very adventurous, check out the following link to see what other tweaks on this base cocktail Cointreau have created (I particularly like the Cucumber & Mint version)…
Fill a Collins glass with ice cubes and add the club soda – leave to one side.
Combine the remaining ingredients in an ice filled cocktail shaker.
Shake well for around 5-10 seconds* and then double strain into the tall glass.
Garnish with a piece of candied ginger on a skewer and serve with a straw.
Recipe #9: Southern Comfort –Blackout Special
50ml Southern Comfort
12.5ml Fresh Lime Juice
25ml Cranberry Juice
Build in a tall glass over ice, start with the SoCo.
Then add in the lime, Sprite and cranberry juice.
Garnish with a sprig of cranberries and a wedge of lime.
This refreshing cocktail is a little simpler than most, but it has that refreshing fizz to it that also has a little sugary hit. The Blackout Special is perfect for those long summer evenings and BBQ’s with neighbours. Hell it’s even a fitting perk up if a blackout actually hits…
Recipe #10: Passoa – Passoa Rosa Fizz
100ml Grapefruit Juice
Top up club soda
Combine the first 2 ingredients one at a time over ice in a tall glass.
Top up with the soda and garnish with a passionfruit husk float*.
This is another build-it-yourself cocktail and that means it’s brilliant for gatherings. You can make them in bulk and relatively quickly so it’s a perfect drink for BBQ’s, Parties etc… However if this drink is your own and you want to make it a little more special why not turn the garnish into a ‘bomb’ float?
Simply fill half a passionfruit husk with Triple Sec, or another similar liqueur (to be fair most liqueurs work here) and sink it just before drinking…
So there you go! 10 fabulous cocktails for your summer Party/BBQ/Evening… What’s more why don’t you try infusing some Vodka and try out a few tweaks on these classic recipes:
So I just got paid, and I promised myself that I’d spend around £10-£20 on some quality fresh ingredients for some lovely little infused simple syrups; you know fresh rhubarb, quality oranges, some ripe figs etc…
Whether they’re used in cocktails or simply as an ice-cream topper is up to the consumer but I started with something I’ve been wanting to recreate for a long time…
The Grapefruit Simple Syrup
100g granulated sugar
2 tbsp finely grated red-grapefruit zest
Combine the zest and sugar in a bowl and mix vigorously.
Combine with water in a tall sided saucepan.
Simmer on a medium-low heat for around 10 minutes, stirring well the entire time.
After around 10 minutes the sugar should have dissolved. If not leave for another 5 minutes.
Once the sugar has dissolved, turn down to a low heat and leave to thicken a little.
Once thickened, remove from the heat and pour into a metal bowl. Cover and leave to cool for at least 30 minutes. Go away and enjoy a nice episode of your favourite TV show.
Once cooled, fine strain (using a muslin cloth if possible) the mixture to remove the grapefruit zest.
Funnel the liquid into the required amount of sterilised stopper bottles (see the picture above for the bottles I used).
Label and store in the fridge. If this is done right, it will keep for 1-3 weeks, although you should use it within 3-5 days after first opening. Tip: split high volumes up into smaller amounts so you don’t have to throw a lot away.
This syrup is a little bitter, but bursting with flavour. It really packs a grapefruit kick and is lovely on a dessert (ice-cream, rice pudding etc…), breakfast (porridge anyone?) and of course beverages including cocktails!!!
Here’s the reason I made this syrup in the first place; my long way around Paloma…
Build ingredients one by one in a tall, ice-filled, Collins glass.
Top up with the soda water and stir gently, to mix the ingredients.
Garnish with a lime wedge/slice and serve with a straw (or two).
For an added twist though why not try out a Cointreau Bomb: Using a mexican elbow; Squeeze the lime juice out of a lime half and then turn the lime the other way around and press the elbow together again. Tie the elbow and leave while you prepare the drink. Once the drink has been prepared the fun begins. Sit the now ‘hollowed-out’ lime half on top of your drink and fill with Cointreau.
Just before drinking push the lime half under and then enjoy…
This ‘long-way-around’ version of a great tequila cocktail is a little more bitter than it’s more simple cousin but it’s also got a greater depth in flavour and allows the drink to come across a little fresher.
I also think that creating a drink like this also adds the sophistication that using canned grapefruit soda removes. A classy little cocktail made In a loving, yet sophisticated way.
Not to mention the self-satisfaction you’ll get from creating your own infused simple syrup!
Give both of these recipes a go and let me know what you think, if you’re feeling a like a party try comparing this version of the Paloma to one made with grapefruit soda and see which you prefer…
Offers on Alcohol everywhere: You just need to know where to look…
Alcohol is getting more and more expensive, no better example than sharp increases that are showcased by Angostura Bitters & Cointreau, especially over the last 3 or so years. It’s averaged that the price of alcohol per unit has risen by 6.5% in comparison to last years’ prices (3.5% more than the 3% inflation rate). This information is taken from the WSTA an organisation for the wine and spirits industry here in the UK.
Roll back a few years and you could buy a 70cl (700ml) bottle of Cointreau for around £14.99. That might sound like a bargain in today’s money (and it is) but you would expect a small increase. However what you really get is the fact that any bottle of Cointreau in a supermarket you try and buy will now be around £17-£20 at full price, and what’s worse is that the bottle will only be a 50cl (500ml) one! Not to mention Angostura Bitters have double in price over the last 12 months (although that’s a HMRC issue, not the company Angostura itself).
But where can you get good products at a cheaper price?
Basically anywhere that sells the things you want… I work at a supermarket and can tell you that offers are periodical, usually on 2-4 week rotations (depending on the products). Alcohol in particular is a range highly discounted on a regular basis. Whether you prefer the cocktail spirits, beer or wine there will always be a way of saving, as long as you don’t mind changing your choice every month…
Let’s use my shopping habits for example: I love rum, it’s as simple as that. I am willing to purchase and try any rum, as that’s the only real way to find the ideal style/product that suits me (or you).
The best way for me to do this, and spend as little as possible, was to only buy the rum on offer (there’s always rum on offer). This could be any rum, and is also part of the allure, but mainly the bigger brands (such as Havana Club, Mount Gay & Bacardi). So as you can see you can, sometimes, get a proper bargain.
The savings can be anything from £1-£10 depending on the product and time of year. So again I reiterate the importance to looking for a good deal where you can.
Anyway moving on to the main point of this post; saving money on Alcohol.
The Drink Shop is a favourite online source of mine and along with the Whisky Exchange they offer several products at a discount price (like you’d expect a supermarket would). So here below are some links, allowing you to take full advantage of these offers, after all why pay full price when you don’t have to?
This weeks special offer on the Drink Shop is Calvados, which coinsides with National Calvados Week. Calvados, in simple terms, is an Apple Brandy made in the French region of Lower Normandy. Dating back to 1554, apple based distillation is an ancient tradition and can result in a wonderful spirit perfect for drinking straight, cooking with, or – you guessed it – cocktails!
The one thing key to saving money is not to be set in your ways. If you go looking for a particular brand of spiced rum but find it’s out of your price range, then look at other brands of spiced rum and find one that is. This method is compounded by you shopping around; if you’re lucky you’ll find the product you want cheaper somewhere else…
OK, so that may be a little dramatic, but this cocktail came to me recently in a vision I can only describe as genius… Combining two great Tequila based drinks (the Tequila highball & Margarita) this cocktail creates a balanced Mexican themed cocktail with a crisp finish to it.
There are those out there who will be sick at the prospect of changing a margarita so much and still use the name, and to them I say only this: Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it…
1) Using the lime wedge, wipe the rim of the glass and dip in sugar. Place the cherry on the rim (leave the stem on and have it lean away from the glass.
2) Fill the glass with ice.
3) In a shaker combine the tequila, lime and Cointreau.
4) Shake well over ice and double strain into the glass.
5) Top up with ginger ale.
6) Garnish (finally) with the Angostura and cherry brandy.
The brandy should drift gently to the bottom of the glass, but should also pull the Angostura down with it, creating a cascading effect. The sweetness in this drink comes from both the Cointreau and cherry brandy, but what really sets it apart is that it’s lengthened by the ginger ale, adding a slight spice to the drink, not to mention the Angostura weighing in with its trademark flavour.
This drink is a great little fusion that may not win all of you over but try it with your favourite brand of ginger ale and try different cherry liqueurs (or even take out the cherry and try an actual brandy instead, either way that’s the bit that adds the richness to drink).
Hopefully you like this cocktail as much as I do, leave a comment should you have any about it.
Until next time here’s a little something:
Fervent Shaker Fact of the Day:
There is a significant different between Fresh Lime Juice and Lime Juice Syrup. The fresh lime juice is always freshly squeezed from the fruit (the fresher the better). Whereas the syrup is a blend of water, juice and sugar (kind of like a lime flavoured sugar syrup). The best known brand of lime juice syrup is ‘Roses’ and is popular both here in the UK and across the pond in the USA.
5 scalable sparkling drinks, perfect for your end of Summer BBQ…
This post is a bit pre-emptive. It’s not the end of summer just yet, but with the slightly cooler weather we are getting, it’s only ever around the corner. With these concoctions you can hang on to what remains of this weather for as long as you feasibly can. There is even a non-alcoholic one at the bottom…
Without further ado I present to you the 5 pitcher drinks you simply cannot be doing without this autumn!
1) Vodka Knockout
175ml Lime Juice
500ml Triple Sec
1L Cranberry Juice
1L Bitter Lemon(ade)
1L Classic Lemonade
Mix all of the still ingredients into a bowl/jug and stir well. Add your choice of slice/chopped fruit then cover and place in the fridge for 2-12 hours. Then top up with the carbonated ingredients and serve. If preparing without the 2-12 hours’ notice use large blocks of ice to keep the drink chilled.
2) Rum Juggler
500ml Southern Comfort
50ml Sugar Syrup
150ml Lime Juice
1L Apple Juice
1L Ginger Ale
Mix together the alcohol, lime juice and syrup. Then add your selection of prepared fruit. Cover and leave to chill for around 4-5 hours, then add the apple juice, cover and chill for up to a further 8hrs.
Serve straight from the fridge, and top up with the ginger ale. If prepared at short notice, again use large lumps of ice to chill the mixture, stirring in the ice to begin with.
3) Gin Garden
150ml Lemon Juice
1L Tropical/Passionfruit Juice
1L Soda Water
Mix together the alcoholic ingredients and lemon juice in your serving bowl/jug. Cover and chill for up to 5 hours. Then mix in the chosen fruit juice. Cover and chill for up to a further 7 hours. Serve straight from the fridge, topping up the drink with soda water, but only when it’s in their glass. DO NOT put the soda in the bow as, it will go flat extremely quickly.
4) Orchard Liqueur Especial
250ml Licor 43
250ml St. Germain Liqueur
350ml Plum Liqueur
500ml Apple Schnapps
350ml Cranberry Juice
1L Apple & Pear Juice
1L Ginger Ale
Pour all of the ingredients into a large serving bowl. Then stir in your selection of chopped/slice fruits and stir well. Cover and leave in the fridge to cool for 2+hrs. Then remove and add the fruit juice and stir again. Leave for another 2hrs and then serve, topping up with Ginger ale at the last moment.
If you have less time on your hands, put all the ingredients (except the ginger ale) in the bowl with large ice cubes. Then stir in the fruit, and add the fruit juice and stir again. Top up with the Ginger ale just before serving.
This mixture is perfect as it is, but should you like to tweak it try and stick to Orchard/Forest fruits. A selection of apples, pears, plums, peaches and various soft berries work wonders chopped up and served in the mixture.
5) Mocktail Monster
700ml POM pomegranate juice
350ml cranberry juice
350ml Apple Juice
150ml Lime Juice
1L Bitter Lemon
Mix all the ingredients up and serve with ice. The bigger the ice cubes the better, as they will melt slower. Serve with various sliced/chopped fruit and plenty of lemonade to top.
This recipe works well as a non-alcoholic alternative but can easily be made alcoholic if you wish; Vodka or rum make good bases, with liqueurs like SoCo and Cointreau working equally well. For a special little kick why not try adding 500-700ml of Tequila?
Or you can go for a more elegant touch and swap the lemonade out for Sparkling Wine/Champagne. It’s all up to you!
I’ve tried to make these recipes as crowd friendly as possible, you’ll notive that I’ve refrained from the use of Orange and Pineapple Juices, this is because I’ve found more people than you may think are allergic to them. That’s not to say you cannot add them in at all, just find out who’s allergic beforehand! – we want everyone to get the most enjoyment out of your drinks after alll!
These recipes are easy to prepare in bulk, and show clear volumes of each ingredient so you can scale them up (or down) to order.
All recipes are my own creation, so please ask me if you would like to use them on your own websites/blogs. Otherwise feel free to use them at your events , and even play with the ingredients to suit your tastes. The ingredients used are such that there is a certain amount of tweaking allowed before they taste unbalanced. Hopefully you enjoy them as much as we do here at the Fervent Shaker Co. Your BBQ’s will never be the same…
For commercial purposes (i.e. what you’re able to go out and buy yourselves) I’ll only be including liqueurs you can purchase on the UK market. Although this does not really reflect the list, as I do come from the UK and therefore am limited to these myself…
Possibly the sweetest liqueur on this list, Chambord Liqueur has one of the most ‘Royal’ beginnings too. It is said that King Louis XIV (that’s 15th for anyone who doesn’t know) visited Chateau Chambord and was presented with a Raspberry Liqueur that he loved. Well it is this liqueur that has inspired the spirit we all know and love: Chambord Liqueur. This world renowned black raspberry liqueur is a favourite of many of the modern mixologists ingredients.
This raspberry liqueur screams quality, and even the process shows it:
Using only the best raspberries (among other raspberry like berries) the fruit is then double infused and married with the other ingredients (and cognac wouldn’t you believe).
If this doesn’t scream enough quality the shape and design of the glass it comes in certainly covers any excess. Let’s face it, the French do romance and beauty better than any other country in the world and this liqueur is no different. From the minute you open a bottle you’re hit with the strong ‘raspberry jam donut’ fragrance supplied by the black raspberries. This to me makes it one of the best liqueurs, not just in Europe, but in the world.
Cocktail O’Clock: The Chambord French Martini
50ml Raspberry Vodka
15ml Chambord Liqueur
100ml Pineapple Juice
1) Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a large martini cocktail glass.
2) Garnish with some fresh raspberries.
9)Agwa Bolivia (coca)
I make no secret about my love affair with liqueurs/spirits with great stories. And why should this one be any different? Hint – it’s not.
Agwa De Bolivia is a dangerous and controversial liqueur. Dangerous in that What makes it so controversial is what it is made from: The Coca Leaf (that’s right, Coca as in Cocaine). There is nothing illegal about the use of the leaf, nor the consumption of this liqueur, however when it first came to be, it’s safe to say there were some shamefully shaking heads. But ignore them, because this liqueur is something special indeed.
Hand-picked to extremely high standards, the coca leaves are then transported (by armed guard) to Amsterdam where they are processed and infused until we get this almost florescent bottle of magic.
This liqueur is just a little different, a little crazy and a little controversial enough to not only be an instant hit across the globe, but to also interest people into making cocktails with it.
And that’s why it makes it onto this list.
Cocktail O’Clock: Agwa Berry Kiss
45ml Agwa de Bolivia coca leaf liqueur
150ml Italian Prosecco
Fresh Lime Juice (1/2 lime or round-abouts)
Fresh black berries and raspberries
1) Fill a fancy champagne flute with the chilled Prosecco.
2) Shake the lime juice and Agwa in a shaker, over ice.
3) Strain into the glass, over the Prosecco, watching it ripple through the sparkling wine.
4) Garnish with some fresh berries however you prefer (we like to skewer them, slicing them and putting them on the glass’ rim works too!)
That cocktail was courtesy of someone who’s had the pleasure of sampling and reviewing the liqueur first hand… Liquor Chick.
As the story goesLeonardo Da Vinci’s apprentice ‘Bernardino Luini’ was commissioned to paint a picture of ‘Madonna of the miracles in Saronno’ and in return for choosing an innkeeper to model as Madonna the young maiden innkeeper gave him a bottle of ‘golden liqueur’. Then later on this recipe was rediscovered and eventually sold as Disaronno.
Today Disaronno is among the most recognized of liqueurs across the planet. With a sweet Almond taste (imagine concentrated liquid marzipan being loosed upon your tastebuds) Disaronno is both perfect for drinking as is, or in well balanced cocktail.
Due to its carefully smooth texture and taste it can blend well with both the Neutral vodkas and white rums, but also well with the more flavourful tasting spirits like aged rum, Tequila and Gin.
Now this is something you do not often find in liqueurs, at least not an amaretto. Usually they are just good for aperitifs or as the base of a cocktail (where the other ingredients work around them). This however is different, and it’s for this reason it is my 3rd favourite liqueur.
A drink worth trying disaronno out with would be:
Cocktail O’Clock: Disaronno Jazzy Hour
½ measure Disaronno
1 measure Vodka
½ measure Tangerine Liqueur
1 measure Pineapple Juice
¼ measure Lemon Juice (about 5ml)
Shake all the ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail (martini) glass.
Pisa Liqueur is one of my all time favourite drinks, and was discovered purely by accident. I remember it well, I was looking for a new amaretto I saw in a shop window (a luxardo one, but I couldn’t remember the name) and stumbled across this on the drinkshop. I fell in love with the bottle design and it sounded good, so I bought a bottle for around £13-£14. Since then it’s become no longer available on the drinkshop, but I’m sure that within the next year or so they will break back onto the international market.
How do I know this? Well as recently as January this year (2013) this liqueur was show during an American tv’s superbowl cocktail segment. This alone makes me think they are branching out and it shouldn’t be too long for them to hit the UK commercially again (if they haven’t already)… For all you American reading this: You lucky buggars you, I’m extremely jealous. And would appreciate a few bottles sent my way!!
Here’s what the Pisa Liqueur official website has to say about their history:
“Liquore Pisa was born long ago from a domain steeped in history, rich in flavour and character. Its flavours come from a distant past, a history of intrigues of the renaissance. Therefore Liquore Pisa is aged and wise and imparts the feel of another world. Pisa has been bottled since the beginning in Italy at two Italian owned companies; Franciacorta which exists since 1901, and Torino Distillati.”
Cocktail O’Clock: The Pisa Sour
1 ¼ oz measure Pisa Liqueur
1 ¼ oz measure Stetson Bourbon
¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 egg white (optional)
Fresh grated nutmeg for garnish.
1) Shake ingredients over ice and double strain into a coupe cocktail glass.
2) Garnish with a grating of nutmeg.
6)Prucia Plum liqueur
Prucia is a bit of an enigma when it comes to liqueurs. However whilst it may be half Japanese and half French it is, after all, 100% Plum. This wonderful liqueur is something I discovered after originally falling in love with Brentzen Plum Liqueur. After trying the Brentzen liqueur, I found Prucia and thought I’d spend out the extra £££ for a little extra quality (or so I thought at the time). What I received for my £26 was a liqueur that, quite literally, blew my mind. I cannot shout enough good things about this Liqueur. My only problem is it’s slightly higher price tag – then again you are quite literally paying for the quality of the product, after all the Japanese part of this liqueur cannot come cheap.
“When bored by a splurge of poncey spirit brands, it’s a relief to taste something different…” – The London Paper.
This Liqueur is something a little special, and I wish I could have placed it higher, this with a splash of pepsi cola is just sublime, it’s simple yes, but so good.
Cocktail O’Clock: Prucia Formula
25ml Prucia Plum Liqueur
20ml Antica Formula Vermouth
Top up Champagne
Cherry & orange twist to garnish
1) Shake the Prucia & Vermouth together over ice and strain into a chilled champagne flute.
2) Top up with the Champagne.
3) Garnish by dropping the cherry in the glass and squeezing the twist over the glass and dropping that in too.
Created jointly by Giffard, the mighty Liqueur Giants, and Simon Difford (author of Difford’s guide to cocktails), this curious but elegant blend of agave nectar and Curacao Triple Sec elbows its way onto the world market. It gives Cointreau a run for its money when it comes to a unique and rather floral triple sec brand. Clocking in at 40%, the same as Cointreau, this triple sec fills a niche some bartenders were craving: A triple sec that go toe to toe with Tequila.
The obvious thing that sets this triple sec apart is in the name: Agave Nectar. Using 100% Mexican agave nectar; this triple sec blends the Curacao orange peels, that triple sec are renown for, but without losing the quality in the process.
There are only two things that keep this ‘triple sec’ from bettering Cointreau:
1) Exposure: basically Cointreau has this triple sec beat on popularity. Cointreau has been around for hundreds of years and it has a brutal stranglehold on all things triple sec. I mean face it, would you swap out that Christmas favourite for something you’re not sure about? No me either (I would for this but hey that’s me).
2) Cointreau’s combination of bitter & sweet orange peels is still that missing ingredient from every other triple sec out there. Sure this one has Agave Nectar for sweetness, but Cointreau is still on another level. And rightly so, as said above, it’s been around for several hundreds of years, you’d have thought they’d done well in that time right?!
Cocktail O’Clock: The Agave Sec Margarita
40ml Tequila Blanco (choose your favourite brand)
20ml Giffard Agave Sec
20ml Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1) Combine ingredients in an ice filled shaker.
2) Shake well and strain into a margarita cocktail glass.
3) Garnish with a lime wheel.
Check out Giffards Agave Sec product page for a little bit more about its history and for some more cocktails, including:
Fun fact: “Agave Syrup is 90% fructose, which has a very low glycemic index – this means that it’s a much healthier alternative to cane sugar and you need far less to achieve the same level of sweetness.” – Mangrove UK
A list of my favourite liqueurs would not be complete without this beauty. It misses out on the top 3 by literally the smallest of margins. I couldn’t decide between this and the next and I had to flip a coin for it. Not very scientific but let’s face it: drinking rarely is.
As you know from the whole host of Cointreau blogs I’ve written before Cointreau is a premium grade Triple Sec made using both bitter & sweet orange peels (most other triple sec brands use just the bitter peels). I won’t go into too much detail as that will negate the point of all the other Cointreau post’s I’ve written. However below I shall leave link’s to all my other Cointreau posts.
Fun fact: Cointreau turns opalescent when added to water, it shows the liqueur is pure and of good quality.
Cocktail O’Clock:The Cointreau Fizz, Original
½ lime (cut into wedges)
100ml Club Soda
1) Fill your glass with ice.
2) Add in the Cointreau.
3) Squeeze the lime wedges into the glass and drop in when done.
4) Top up with Club Soda
3)Domain De Canton Ginger liqueur
Domain de Canton Ginger Liqueur is another one of those French enigmas (like Prucia), in that it uses an interesting process and flavour to create something that truly is unique.
I tried this liqueur at university, having more money than I knew what to do with, when I bought and tried several expensive liqueurs. At around £30, it’s quite expensive all though these days that’s not far off some of the more established liqueurs.
Using the best Vietnamese baby ginger macerated with a blend of herbs and spices, unlocking it’s fresh essence.
“Domaine de Canton made in small batches and by hand, therefore mass quantities are not possible.” – partial descritption from the Domaine de Canton website.
This liqueur blends a whole collection of ingredients, including:
– Fine Eau de Vie,
– VSOP cognac
– XO Grande Champagne Cognac
– Tahitian Vanilla Beans
– Provencal Honey
– Tunisian Ginseng
If these ingredients are not enough for you, this liqueur is made naturally without preservatives, or colourings.
It’s worth a try if you have the monies knocking about, or even if you find a bar selling it. It’s perfect for cocktails, but even better with champagne, not to mention its use in food recipes.
Cocktail O’Clock: The Canton Cocktail
2 ½ mesures Domaine de Canton
½ measure Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
8 mint sprigs
Top up Club Soda (optional)
1) Shake all the ingredients over ice.
2) Strain into a rocks glass.
3) To make this drink slightly longer, top up with club Soda.
4) Garnish with a mint sprig and a slice of caramelised Ginger.
2)St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
What makes St-Germain my 2nd faviourite liqueur? Well apart from the heavenly taste, which by St-Germains own words “is a curious mixture that rivals Paris’ culture”, it’s all about the process St-Germain go through to create their signature liqueur…
Picking only the best fresh elderflower blossoms over the course of a few spring time weeks, the men that gather these blossoms then transport (by bicycle) the blossoms to the collection depot.
It is here that the fresh blossoms are then macerated using St-Germain’s secret method. Further to this the process they employ created the exceedingly fresh and complex elderflower liqueur we all know. With hints of pear, peach and even grapefruit zest, St Germain truly is a unique and superbly special liqueur. And it is for this reason it beats the other liqueurs in this list to 2nd place. The only liqueur to beat it, is one that holds a special place in my heart…
“Neither passionfruit nor pear, grapefruit nor lemon, the sublime taste of St-Germain hints at each of these and yet none of them exactly. It is a flavour as subtle and delicate as it is captivating. A little like asking a hummingbird to describe the flavour of its favourite nectar. Tres curieux indeed, n’est-ce pas?” – Exerpt from the St-Germain website.
Cocktail O’Clock: The St-Germain Cocktail
2 measures Brut Champagne (or dry sparkling wine)
1.5 measures St-Germain
2 measures Club Soda
1) Stir together the ingredients in an ice filled Collins glass.
2) Garnish with a lemon twist.
1)Licor 43 (aka Cuarenta Y Tres)
Repeat readers of this blog may or may not be surprised by this choice. Either way to me it was the easiest place to decide. I don’t think I could ever willingly go back to not knowing what this liqueur tastes like. Also I will not be going too much into its history or the cocktails, seeing as I have several posts dedicated to this…
A little re-cap of my introduction and history of this liqueur starts with my university life (once again, surprise, surprise). In my first year I was staying in halls which were situated 10 minutes walk away from the local Asda supermarket (a UK company owned by WallMart – a reference all you Americans will get). One time I went out with the intention to purchase a vanilla liqueur and was going to buy Galliano, until I saw this little Gem on the bottom shelf. It looked stunning in its unique little bottle, its black label and that golden liqueur.
So I gave in and spent the £16 (then, it’s around £18-£25 nowadays) and it was probably the best £16 I ever spent. I tried to find what it went best with, and strangely found that Pepsi (rather than coca cola) made the best mixer. Although it works well in plenty of cocktails, just look here for the best ones.
Another nail in the coffin of love I have for this liqueur was when I was on a Geography (University) Field trip to Southern Spain. At the hotel we stayed in, Licor 43 was one of most consumed liqueurs, and I got a lot of approving looks from the people at the bar for asking for it. Even the lady behind the bar seemed rather happy I’d asked for it (it probably helped me asking it using its Spanish name).
A little fact I want to end on it something not a lot of people know: Licor 43, also known as Cuarenta Y Tres, is a descendent of the Mirabilis liqueur made in the Cartangena region of the Mediterranean. And was originally founded by four Spaniards, and that company, Diego Zamora, is still completely family owned.
Cocktail O’Clock: The Power of Cuarenta Y Tres
7 measures Licor 43
1 measure Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
8 measures Cranberry Juice
4 measure Passion Fruit Nectar
1 measure Caramel Syrup
Fervent twist: Top up Ginger Beer
1) Shake all the ingredients into a shaker and strain over ice in a hurricane glass.
2) For a slightly longer drink, use our Fervent Twist and top up with Ginger beer.
3) Garnish with the in-season fresh fruit, and a lime wheel.
This cocktail is the one that, for me, really brings out what Cuarenta Y Tres stands for, both in name and taste.
Keep a look out for an on-going set of posts sharing (and celebrating) Licor 43’s current cocktail of the month initiative.