Tag Archives: tequila

Dia De Los Muertos – A Mexican Celebration

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.

 

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Dia De Los Muertos is tradition across Mexico!

 

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

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Recipe:

(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.

Method:

  • 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.

Herradura – Agave Seco

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Recipe:

1 measure Herradura Silver Tequila

1 ¼ measure Cointreau

½ measure Campari

1 measure Fresh Orange Juice

1 measure Fresh Grapefruit Juice

Garnish: 1-2 slices Kiwi, 1-2 slices strawberries, and 1 sprig Mint.

Method:

  • 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

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Recipe:

50ml  Ocho Blanco

25ml Fresh Lime Juice

10ml Fresh Ginger Syrup

10ml Creme De Cassis

Top Up Ginger Ale

Garnish: 2 x Lime wedges

Method:

  • 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?

Tequila: why 100% Agave is always better…

Tequila comes in two main types: Mixto (blended) and 100% agave. The former is the type you’re likely to find at a college party. It’s cheaper than 100% agave and can leave you with a nasty pile of regret in the morning. The latter, on the other hand, is as pure as tequila gets…

That said, here are three reasons you should always reach for 100% agave tequila…

#1: No hidden surprises:

100% agave tequila is pure agave and nothing else. Mixto, on the other hand, contains up to 49% non-agave ingredients. These usually consist of sugar cane, or other distillable products, but can include additives such as flavourings and colourings.

What makes things worse is that producers are not required to tell you what they use! So you’re never going to know, completely, what is in your bottle. If you’re the sort of person who likes to know what they’re drinking, always choose 100% agave!

#2: No hangovers:

When you drink a mixto tequila you’re literally mixing your drinks from the very first sip. With only 51% agave, mixto tequilas have a range of other ingredients, including various distillates. That means you’re consuming more than one type of alcohol at the same time, which is why mixto tequila has earned such a bad reputation.

However, if you choose 100% agave tequila, your hangovers will be a thing of the past. This is because they are made using only the Blue Weber Agave and nothing else!

Responsible drinking clearly speaks for itself; but if you were to swap your mixto tequila for 100% agave tequila, you’d notice the different immediately – especially when you have work in the morning!

#3: Better taste:

There are more premium tequilas than ever before and for good reason: It simply tastes better than its mixto counterpart.

Each brand has their unique flavour profile, which creates a vast array of great tasting tequila. Whilst the species of agave used in tequila has to be the Blue Weber by law; the location of the distillery in which it is made will drastically affect its flavour.

Whether you prefer yours fruity, spicy, or earthy, there’s a 100% agave tequila out there for everyone!

As outlined here, premium tequilas are superior in taste and quality, but that doesn’t mean mixto brands haven’t played an important part in the 100% agave boom coming out of Mexico. This boom has been made possible, in large part, thanks to the path laid down by mixto brands, with the industry rethinking its method and creating some truly stunning premium products.

There are strict regulations in relation to both Mixto and 100% agave tequilas. If you’d like to know more about these, information can be found here.

Now you know which tequila to choose, why not check out these 100% Tequila Paloma cocktail recipes I made? 

3 Paloma cocktails to restore your Faith in Tequila…

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If I had a £1/$1 for every time someone told me how much they dislike Tequila, I’d have retired and lived happily ever after in my grand-cabin the woodlands of Arizona.


As it is, I don’t get a single penny – which really does make it hard to listen too. Tequila has a bit of a bad rap and, whilst this is slowly being repaired by some of the artisan brands out there, it still needs a little helping hand to get people falling in love with it.

The biggest hurdle is that of the ‘cheap’ brands creating below-par tequila with shots and heavily mixed drinks the aim. To avoid any uneasy feelings by naming those brands, let’s just say anything less than 100% agave is considered by this blog to be ‘below par’.

The best way to get over the hurdles surrounding Tequila is to share the best ways to re-introduce yourself to this earthy and unique spirit. Tequila is, in my opinion, always a difficult spirit to simply sip. Whilst there are brands that specialise in ‘sipping’ quality tequilas, I am not a straight drinker and prefer my spirits lightly mixed into long summer-perfect drinks. Think about the Mule category for a snapshot of my preferences.

So, when it comes to tequila, what is the best way to mix it so you can really enjoy its complex flavour? Yes, there are literally hundreds of cocktails out there that contain tequila, some are classic (for good reason) and others are, at best, dreadful. All too often these ‘poorly created’ cocktails add to the stigma around the spirit.

The best way, by far, is the cocktail known as the Paloma. I’ve written a few posts that have included Paloma recipes before, and it is my favourite cocktail containing Tequila. A lot of people prefer a margarita but I find it to be a little savoury and have had far too many bad margaritas for my own liking.

All you need for a Paloma is 3 things: Tequila, Grapefruit Soda, and Lime.

There are more complex recipes out there, and the 3 recipes I want to share with you will show the differences between easy, medium, and difficult recipes.

The tequilas used are all high quality and whilst you can choose your own brands please try to make sure whatever Tequila you buy is 100% agave. Click here to find out why this is important.

Scroll down for the 3 recipes that I believe, will restore your faith in Tequila…

 

Easy – Paloma

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Recipe:

50ml Ocho Tequila

12.5m Lime Juice

125ml Grapefruit soda

Method:

  • Build the ingredients over ice in a tall Collins glass.
  • Top up with the grapefruit soda, swizzle and top with more ice.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge/wheel or some zest peelings.

 

Medium – Paloma

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Recipe:

50ml Aqua Riva Reposado Tequila

25ml grapefruit juice

15ml grapefruit syrup

Top up soda water

Method:

  • Combine the juice, syrup, and tequila in an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake well. Around 10-15 seconds should do it.
  • Strain into a tall ice-filled glass and top with the club soda.
  • Garnish with a lime wheel/wedge or a selection of zest peelings.

 

Difficult – Paloma

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Recipe:

50ml Patron Blanco Tequila

15 ml sugar syrup

15 ml fresh lime juice

25ml fresh grapefruit juice

Top up sparkling mineral water

1 lime wedge

Salt

1 lime wedge / zest peel, for garnish

 

Method:

  • Optional: Moisten the rim of a tall glass with a cut lime wedge and dip into a fine salt powder.
  • In an ice-filled shaker, combine the tequila, sugar syrup, fruit juices and shake well. For around 10-15 seconds – until the shaker tin ices over.
  • Strain into your ice-filled serving glass (the one you garnished with a salt rim earlier).
  • Top up with the mineral water and garnish with a lime wedge or zest peel.

Easy – This is a basic Paloma cocktail. Combining lime juice, tequila, and grapefruit soda; this cocktail is simple yet highly effective at giving you a new found liking for the quality tequila you use.

Medium – This is a slightly more difficult recipe in that it involves a home-made grapefruit sugar syrup (the recipe can be found here). This version of the Paloma is slightly heavier on the grapefruit’s bitterness but is counterbalanced by the sweetness of the sugar and dryness of the soda water. This cocktail brings together a rather more complicated version of a simplified cocktail and delivers a higher depth in flavour for a little extra work. This cocktail is, by far, full of more flavour than its simplified form.

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Difficult: This is where the Paloma cocktail really comes into its own. Once broken down into its many parts, this cocktail can become a thing of true magnificence. Combining a home-made sugar syrup with one of the best tequila’s on the market (not merely opinion, but fact) and by using sparkling mineral water [instead of soda water] this cocktail is elevated from simple pleasure to a true summer evening delight.

The difficult recipe is by far my favourite version of this cocktail [so far]. I love its increased flavour profile, the quality of the tequila is outstanding and to top it all off, the use of mineral water adds to the earthy feel of this long, sweet summer cocktail.

I hope this post has helped you resume your potential love affair with, tequila. Tequila truly is a stunning spirit that has so much to offer. It’s versatile and with so many high-quality brands now available, it would be blasphemous not to give it a second chance!

I trust these 3 Paloma recipes have restored your Faith in Tequila and with luck, you’ll be drinking a lot more of it in the future!

What’s your favourite Tequila cocktail? Do you have a preferred straight drinking tequila? Why not leave a comment below and help me spread the word: Tequila isn’t all bad!

March Cocktails: 3 For Spring

It’s March… The month of my birth, the peak of spring, and the start of the summer solstice. I thought I’d start my return to this blog with some classic ‘me’ cocktail. So below you’ll find 3 long, fruity and rather gorgeous looking cocktails. All of which will naturally be sweet.

I have been looking for a cocktail that really matches how I’m feeling this march. I’ve been off alcohol for so long that I just want something to really hit home. I looked for cocktails with a well-balanced yet complicated cacophony of flavours and, where possible, cocktails that had a little something special.

I eventually settled for a Tropical Tequila Cocktail: The White Peach Tequila Cocktail, a Pisco sour flavoured with thyme: The Pisco Thyme, and finally a favourite I’ve yearned to make myself: The Canon Cocktail.


 

Cocktail #1: White Peach Tequila Cocktail

white peach tequila cocktail

Recipe:

2 ripe white peaches

60ml silver tequila

60ml peach liqueur

60ml lime juice

2 tbsp. sugar syrup

Garnish: Sliced Peaches & mint sprigs.

 

Method:

  • Pit, peel, and chop the peaches before blending them and then sieving the puree into a bowl.
  • Combine the puree, and all other ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Serve over ice in a large rocks glass and garnish with the sliced peach and mint sprig.

pisco thyme

Cocktail #2: Pisco Thyme

 

Recipe:

60ml Pisco

30ml Lime Juice

30ml Thyme Simple Syrup

Method:

  • Shake all ingredients over ice until well chilled. Around 20seconds.
  • Double strain cocktail into a coupe glass and garnish with a sprig of thyme.

 


 

Cocktail #3: The Canon Cocktail

jamie boudreau canon cocktail

Recipe:

1 measure Rye Whisky

½ measure sweet vermouth

½ measure Ramazzotti Amaro

Cointreau Foam

Bitter Truth old time aromatic bitters

Method:

  • Stir first 3 ingredients over ice.
  • Strain into a chilled rock glass and top with a Cointreau Foam
  • Using a dropper, place a few drops of bitters on top of the foam.

This final cocktail is the signature cocktail of the Canon Bar, Seattle. Canon is a bar owned and run by a legend in the bartending world: Jamie Boudreau. It’s a great cocktail I’ve always wanted to try. Sure it’s a whisky cocktail, and whisky is not my favourite, but this Manhattan-old fashioned style hybrid cocktail really has an air of class about it.

To give some idea of how the legend himself makes this cocktail please refer to the attached video below:

Tomato & Basil Vodka, And A Bloody Nose To Boot…

The third of my infused vodkas is the only savoury one I’m sharing. I have a sweet tooth, well several actually, and therefore it is extremely hard to find savoury infusions that I actually like…

This infusion is mainly for those who like their bloody mary mixtures a little more home-made and flavourful. Infusing Tomato and Basil into a quality Vodka will, if done correctly, add a completely new layer of depth in flavour. Sure Bloody Mary Cocktails are great, but you can always do it better…

Tomato & Basil Vodka

Recipe:

6 large tomatoes

Handful of fresh Basil

70cl (700ml) High-quality Vodka

Method:

  • Cut each tomato up into 8 pieces put into a sterilised glass jar with the fresh basil.
  • Add the vodka, seal the bottle and gently shake to mix the ingredients.
  • Store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight for up to 7 days.
  • Fine-strain into the original vodka bottle, and discard the solids.
  • Re-seal the original bottle and store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight or in the fridge.

Whilst I don’t usually go for such a savoury concoction, this one works rather well in a particular type of vodka based cocktail: Bloody Marys.

Basil Bloody Mary

tomato and basil bloody mary
Image taken from A Beautiful Mess (see below for link)

Recipe:

50ml Tomato & Basil Infused Vodka

150ml Fresh Tomato Juice

2 sprigs Fresh Basil

1/2 Lemon

1/2 tsp Tabasco Sauce

1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

Garnish: Olives & peppered cheddar skewers, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper..

Method:

  • Muddle the basil leaves with half a lemons worth of juice.
  • Half fill the glass with ice and then the same again with the Bloody Mary Mix.
  • Add in the vodka, stir and then add the tabasco and worcestershire sauces.
  • top up with ice and then garnish with a skewer comprised of the olives and cheddar squares, and a sprig of basil.

Combined with various other savoury ingredients the tomato and basil flavour really shines through and even takes away some of the alcohol burn associated with a strong drink…

To visit the ‘A Beautiful Mess’ – the site home to the recipe upon which i based my own, please click here.

Fervent Shaker Top Tip: If you have any vodka cocktails that involve tequila, you should definitely give this infusion a try. It pairs well with tequila and especially spicy cocktails!

Winter Warmers: Cocktails for Christmas!

Up-cycling Tequila (and its friends)


So I always end up with half empty bottles. Left right and centre. A lot of them take up space I need and shamefully I’ve been guilty of throwing out more than a few of these ‘casualties’ of war.

So what can we, as responsible adults, do to combat the shameful wasting of perfectly good alcohol? Well let me share with you some recipes that are perfect for using up old ingredients and opened bottles of booze you might have lying around the house.

There are four (4) recipes in this post, all of which make use of the odd amounts of alcohol you may have lying around. Even if you don’t have the particular type of alcohol available you can gather ideas from how the recipes are put together and tweak them to suit your available spirits!

Without further ado, let’s look at those recipes:

#1 Homemade Fruity Winter Punch

orange winter punch

Recipe:

500ml Vodka

250ml Gin

250ml Lemon

2L Orange

2L Sparkling Wine

Garnish: Citrus Fruits, Winter berries & star anise

Method:

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a large punch bowl.
  • Add sliced fruit and chill well.
  • If serving with ice fill up shortly before serving.
  • If serving chilled without ice, take out of the fridge at the last second.

 

#2 Winter Pimms

winter pimms

Recipe:

500ml Pimms #1

500ml Brandy/Calvados

1.5L Apple Juice

Ice

Garnish: 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 apples, 2 oranges

Method:

Cold:

  • Add all one by one and stir well.
  • Leave for 30 minutes for cinnamon flavour to develop more.

Hot:

  • Heat all ingredients – except the ice and fruit.
  • Add fruit after.

 

#3 Belvoir Spiked Mulled Winter Punch

belvoir mulled punch

Recipe:

1.5L Belvoir Mulled Winter Punch

500ml Vodka

500ml Gin

Ice

Garnish: blackcurrants, oranges, apples, limes, lemons etc…

Method:

  • Combine in the punch bowl.
  • Add sliced fruit and ice.

Serve immediately.


#4 Aromatic Spiced Winter Punch

mixed punch

Recipe:

300ml Gin

200ml Vodka

200ml Tequila

2L apple juice

250ml Ginger & lemongrass cordial

Garnish: 6 cinnamon sticks, 12 star anise, 12 cloves, 4 lemons

Method:

  • Slice lemons into wedges and squeeze a few into a punch bowl.
  • Add other ingredients and stir.
  • Leave for 30-45 minutes (cover and chill in the fridge for faster cooler).
  • Add ice just before serving.

Halloween Cocktails: Spooky Shooters!

So my last post was geared more towards those who like their cocktails classic, simple, and giving them the opportunity to try something they may have overlooked before.

That is all well and good (I’m one of those people after all) but let’s not forget the important thing this weekend: It’s Halloween!!!

Halloween means over the top fancy dress, lots and lots of candy, and of course some great alcoholic beverages (for those of us over the legal drinking age of course!).

And that usually means shots! – Not just simple flavoured vodka shots either. I’m talking spooky, scary, and downright wrong looking shots!

So here below are 5 shots that tick all of those boxes and more! Just remember to enjoy them responsibly!


The Classic Brain Haemorrhage

brain hemorrhage shot

Recipe:

1 measure Peach Schnapps

½ measure Irish Cream liqueur

1 tsp Grenadine

Method:

  • Pour the peach schnapps into a shot glass and layer the Irish cream on top.
  • Drop the grenadine in on top of the Irish cream and serve.

Pumpkin Margarita

pumpkin margarita

Recipe:

2 measures Repsado Tequila

1 measure Lemon-Lime Mix

Splash pumpkin puree

Method:

  • Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a well-chilled, large shot glass.

Green Ghoul

green ghoul

Recipe:

1 ½ measure Anejo Tequila

½ measure Melon Liqueur

Method:

  • Pour the Tequila into a chilled shot glass, then drop the Melon Liqueur into the middle of the tequila. Down in one.

Candy Corn Shooter

candy corn shot

Recipe:

1 measure Banana Liqueur

1 measure Coconut Rum

1 measure Cream

1 measure Orange Curacao

1 measure 80proof Vodka

Whipped cream

Method:

  • Combine the vodka and banana liqueur with ice and shake well.
  • Layer into the bottom of the glass.
  • Combine the Cream, Orange Curacao, and Coconut Rum with ice and shake well.
  • Layer this on top of the first layer and top with whipped cream

Green Goblin:

green goblin

Recipe:

1 measure TY KU Premium Liqueur

1 measure Coconut Rum

Splash lemon-lime soda

Method:

  • Stir the rum and TY KU liqueur together over ice. Add into a shot glass and add a splash of soda.

There you go, 5 spooky Halloween themed cocktails that are perfect if you want to impress your friends and family this weekend. Some are scarily strong and will need to be handled with care – the 80 proof vodka should not be handled near an open flame – and as stated many a time: Please Drink Responsibly!

Halloween Cocktails – Without a Twist…

This coming weekend, if you didn’t already know, is Halloween! And just in time here are some spooky cocktails that are on most cocktail menus all year round. Although you may not have tried them before!

The problem with Halloween, with any seasonal event really, is that it’s easy to buy into novelty drinks that taste super-sweet and contain ingredients don’t actually do anything for the drink they’re in, except maybe mask the taste of too much alcohol…

So for this post I’ve tried to keep away from novelties and go for 5 cocktails you will be able to order in any good cocktail bar at almost any time of year, but by the same token they’re cocktails you may not have tried at all…

So let’s begin with arguably the most themed of the lot…


El Diablo

Spicy and evocative, this cocktail is perfect for your Halloween parties...
Spicy and evocative, this cocktail is perfect for your Halloween parties…

Recipe:

1 ½ measures Reposado Tequila

½ measure Crème de Cassis

½ measure Fresh Lime Juice

2 or 3 measures ginger beer/ale

Method:

  • Combine the tequila, lime juice, and cassis liqueur and shake well, for around 10-15 seconds (or until the tin ices over).
  • Fine (or double) strain into a collins glass filled with cubed iced.
  • Top up with the ginger beer/ale (whichever you prefer) and garnish with a wedge of lime.
  • Serve with a straw.

The Last Word

Strong and fragrant; this cocktail is perfect for the cocktail geeks!
Strong and fragrant; this cocktail is perfect for the cocktail geeks!

Recipe:

1 measure Gin

1 measure Green Chartreuse

1 measure Maraschino Liqueur

1 measure Fresh Lime Juice

Method:

  • Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker, over ice, and shake well.
  • Strain into a well-chilled martini glass and garnish with a lime twist.

Blood & Sand

Not as brutal as the name makes out; this cocktail is a classic whiskey cocktail and tastes pretty darn good!
Not as brutal as the name makes out; this cocktail is a classic whiskey cocktail and tastes pretty darn good!

Recipe:

1 measure Scotch Whiskey

1 measure Sweet Vermouth

1 measure Cherry Heering

1 measure Orange Juice

Method:

  • Add all the ingredients to an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake well for about 10-15 seconds.
  • Strain into a well-chilled cocktail coupe glass and garnish with an orange peel.

Black Velvet

Simplicity is king in this 2 ingredient cocktail. Give it a try, you might be surprised!
Simplicity is king in this 2 ingredient cocktail. Give it a try, you might be surprised!

Recipe:

Guinness (Stout Beer)

Champagne

Method:

There are two ways to make this drink, neither are right nor wrong. It’s personal preference:

  • Pour the beer into the chosen glass and then gently layer the champagne on top.
  • Pour the champagne into the chosen glass and then gently layer the beer on top.

Simple no? Well this cocktail is sublime in its simplicity and is a cocktail everyone should try at least once. You may not like it if you don’t like the beer (like me) but, also like me, you may be surprised at how smooth and drinkable this cocktail actually is!

Chartreuse Smash

A really fun way of using a rather undervalued liqueur...
A really fun way of using a rather undervalued liqueur…

Recipe:

10 mint leaves

1 measure fresh lemon juice

2 measures green chartreuse

2 tsp turbinado sugar

Method:

  • Place sugar, mint and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker and muddle well.
  • Add the chartreuse to the shaker and add ice.
  • Shake well and strain into a small rocks glass filled with crushed ice.
  • Garnish with a sprig of mint and, if you’re feeling it, a sprig of sage…

These cocktails are not only my tip for great drinks this Halloween, but they’re perfect if you’re looking to try something new the next time you head to that swanky cocktail bar, or spend the weekend at a nice hotel (they all have great bars nowadays right?), and they’re also perfect if you plan on a Christmas themed party with a difference…

But don’t think I’ve forgotten all of you that are looking for something a bit novel – the next of my Halloween themed posts is just for you: 6 Spooky Cocktail Shooters!

Have fun and please, as always, drink responsibly – no one enjoys a night in A&E!

Further Reading & original recipes:

El diablo – imbibe

Last word – saveur

Blood & sand – Liquor.com

Black velvet – Liquor.com

Chartreuse smash – saveur

Sweet, Sweet Infusions: Sugar and its Syrup!

One of the infusion types I mentioned in my introduction post was that of sugar syrup infusing.

Every bartender will tell you that sugar syrup is an essential part of their arsenal and that a well-prepared syrup has the potential to raise a cocktail above the realms of normality.

Below you will find the recipes for 4 very different sugar syrup infusions, including a special spicy concoction that is perfect for those heat lovers out there!

Disclaimer: although usually I’d offer up a complimentary cocktail recipe for each of these syrups, to make the post less cluttered I’ve simply stated the spirit(s) they pair with the best!

#1 Rhubarb Simple Syrup

A stunning red hue, this rhubarb syrup is perfect for adding a little colour to your cocktails...
A stunning red hue, this rhubarb syrup is perfect for adding a little colour to your cocktails…

Ingredients:

400 grams fresh Rhubarb

100 grams sugar

100ml water

Method:

  • Add ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to the boil on a medium heat. Stirring consistently.
  • Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Turn heat down to low and simmer.
  • The rhubarb will begin to soften around 5/6 minutes in (this is normal so don’t panic!)
  • Allow mixture to thicken a little (around 2-5 minutes) and then remove from heat.
  • Strain* mixture into a sterile container and allow to cool.
  • Seal and keep refrigerated.

*when straining gently press the fruit pieces to gain a little more juice (flavour) but be careful not to press to hard as it will make your syrup go cloudy!

This is the most versatile of the 4 recipes and works brilliantly with vodka or gin. It is particularly good in a bramble (in place of the blackberry liqueur!) and also pairs well with light mixers or those non-drinkers out there! – Homemade Rhubarb Lemonade anyone?

#2 Honey & Rosemary Sugar Syrup

Infusing honey with rosemary is a quick way to make this syrup. Although it tastes better with the cooked method...
Infusing honey with rosemary is a quick way to make this syrup. Although it tastes better with the cooked method…

Ingredients:

2-3 Rosemary Sprigs

100ml Honey

50ml water

Method:

  • Mix the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil – on a medium heat.
  • Once boiling reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Turn off heat after 2 minutes and leave to cool (covered).
  • Strain out rosemary ad store in a sterile container.

Once this item is cooled seal it and keep it refrigerated. It should keep for up to 4 weeks (although if it looks spoiled at any point please don’t risk it – bin it and make some more!)

This particular syrup is a little more to taste and less sweet than the blueberry syrup but that just means it’s that perfect herbal addition to your favourite Whisky/Bourbon cocktail. It also mixes well with more savoury vodka and gin cocktails and does make a mean G&T.

#3 Cucumber & Mint Simple Syrup

Cucumber & mint - Perfect in your next G&T
Cucumber & mint – Perfect in your next G&T

Ingredients:

100 grams Sugar

100ml Water

½ Cucumber (Diced)

10 leaves fresh Mint

Method:

  • Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  • When the sugar has dissolved turn the heat off and allow to cool.
  • Once cooled add in the cucumber and mint. Leave in for at least 1hr but for a more concentrated flavour leave it in for longer (Keep refrigerated at all times).
  • Strain away the cucumber and mint and store accordingly.

This syrup has an odd aftertaste but is still a great tasting mix regardless. It mixes well with Gin and Vodka (as you’d expect) but also makes a great twist on the classic mojito – blending well with White rum.

#4 Spicy Jalapeno Simple Syrup

The striking green colour is what gives this syrup its WOW factor...
The striking green colour is what gives this syrup its WOW factor…

Ingredients:

100 grams sugar

100ml water

1 Jalapeno (sliced lengthways)

Method:

  • Simmer the water and sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Take of the heat once the sugar has dissolved and cover to cool.
  • Once cooled add the Jalapeno slices and leave for at least 1hr*.
  • After the infusion time has passed, sieve out the jalapeno and store in a sealed container in the fridge.

*as with the cucumber and mint recipe, the longer the jalapeno is in the syrup the more concentrated the flavour profile (and heat). You might want to try creating several different concentrations of this mixture and making a note of which is which – this way you can cater for different palates…

Whilst this mixture blends well with vodka (and surprisingly gin) it is best kept for the most obvious choice: Tequila. Try adding a little bit of this to your next shot of quality tequila. Try with Habanero’s or Cazadores Tequila should you have either in your possession…

So there you go! 4 rather brilliant, and yet rather different simple syrup recipes. They’re all a perfect with their own particular spirit(s) but all have room for a little versatility.

I hope you enjoy them, and if any are not quite to your tastes, feel free to tweak them. That’s the best way to improve them. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these recipes if you try them, especially any cocktails you find them to particularly effective in…

Cocktails O’Clock: I WANT SPIDERMAN!!!

“He doesn’t want to be famous? Then I’ll make him infamous” – J. Jonah Jameson


Marvel Themed Cocktails: Spiderman

The soon to be Avenger (rumoured) and his token cocktail…

Spiderman has long been my favourite superhero. I grew up reading the kids comic-magazines, watching the 90’s cartoon (yeah the one where Spidey goes full mutant-spider). This is the first if my themed cocktail post’s and I wanted it to be special. To me the epitome of a superhero is Spiderman. He’s young when he first gets his powers and abuses them somewhat. However through various tragedies he learns the truth behind that famous marvel line “With great power comes great responsibility”. Some say that phrase has since been overused but to me it’s all about a boy becoming a man, a super-heroic man.

So this post needed to be special, and the cocktail needed to be special. So I through caution to the wind and tried to create something perfect for the summer…

Here in the UK we’re having a bit of a torrid time of things, that’s my opinion on it anyway. Whilst everyone loves the lovely skin-crisping heat the summer sun brings and given our position geographically, we tend to end up having a sweat-pouring muggy month or two. The best type of cocktail during summers like these is one pack with ice and flavour. Below is something that, prepared properly, will rock your Spidey-loving world!

This is a ½ & ½ cocktail and will take some preparation. You will need a food processor/smoothie maker/blender to create this cocktail in all its glory…

The Spectacular Spiderman

Combining alcohol with a child favourite: the slushy drink... Genius I believe!
Combining alcohol with a child favourite: the slushy drink… Genius I believe!

Recipe:

Blue half – Blue Margarita:

1.5 measures Tequila

1 measure Blue Curacao,

1 measure Lime Juice

Red half –Red Set Punch:

1.5 measures Grenadine

1.5 measures Raspberry Vodka

1.5 measures White Rum

Method:

For the blue margarita half:

  • Blend the Tequila, Blue Curacao & Lime Juice with ice until the mixture is like a slush-drink.
  • Pour this into a tall sling glass, filling it halfway.

For the red set punch half:

  • Blend the grenadine, vodka and rum together with ice until the mixture is like a slushy-drink.
  • Top the sling glass up with the red mixture and garnish with a gummy spider and serve with a straw.

This cocktail is a bit of a blend of two fantastic cocktails. The blue half of the drink is a tweaked margarita cocktail, the tweak being the replacement of the triple sec with blue curacao. Using Blue Curacao instead of the triple sec merely tints the colour an electric blue…

The second half is red and the grenadine is the obvious colour additive here. This mix of Raspberry vodka and rum, combined with the grenadine adds a slightly fruity edge to the top of the drink.

This cocktail, made from two halves, starts off fruity and sweet and is relatively easy on the throat. However the blue section hides the kick and as you progress through the drink you’ll start to taste the blue margarita more and more. This is no coincidence. The drink is built for you to drink from the top to the bottom. You can do the reverse, and the drink will get easier the more you drink – but where’s the fun in that!?

Flip to reverse it... This cocktail works well with either red or blue on top...
Flip to reverse it… This cocktail works well with either red or blue on top…

This cocktail is a great little number for themed cocktail parties or for impressing your friends on a night in…

Until next week, drink well but drink responsibly!!!