Tag Archives: cocktail

How To Make Simple Cocktails That Taste Anything But

No muss no fuss.

That’s our mantra in these torrid times, which is why we’re crushing hard on locally-owned and operated Bootblack Brand’s line of all natural cocktail/soda syrups. They’re made by Paul Kubiski out of Hope & Main, the culinary incubator in Warren. His roster currently consists of two killer flavors, both of which are deeply layered with sweet, savory and citrus ingredients that meld into one complex cocktail or mocktail when mixed with a beverage of your choice.
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Paul launched Bootblack Brand with the super popular Ginger, Cardamom & Lime syrup, which is great when mixed with bourbon or rum. With vodka it’s a heady Moscow Mule. When splashed into tequila it makes a spicy riff on the basic margarita. We also love it plainly mixed with iced-tea, and with selzer, it makes an outrageous ginger ale.

He recently released his second flavor: Cranberry, Jalapeno & Lime, which is a true treat with tequila and/or mezcal. It also sings beautifully with whiskey, vodka and gin. At its most simple, we love splashing it into a tall glass of ice-cold lemonade.

Both make quick work of a Monday night cocktail at home, and really shine when used in a welcome/signature cocktail for gatherings of a handful or more of friends.

For a truly simple, one-minute cocktail/mocktail, Paul suggests mixing 3 parts spirit or seltzer to 1 part syrup, and adjusting amounts to suit your taste.

And for the days when you have a touch more ambition, Paul recommends the following two recipes (both of which are included on their respective bottles).

3 Compadres
2oz bourbon
.75oz Ginger Cardamom Lime syrup
.5oz Ferent-Branca
3 dashes orange bitters
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Orange twist

Add bourbon, syrup & Fernet to a shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a double old fashioned glass over a large cube. Float with the bitters and the twist.

Smokey Summer
1.5oz Tequila Reposado
.5oz Mezcal
1oz Cranberry Jalapeno Lime syrup
.5oz Lime Juice
Splash of seltzer
Salted lime wheel

Add tequila, mezcal, syrup and lime juice to a shaker filled with ice and shake well. Strain into a double old fashioned glass filled with ice. Add seltzer, stir gently, then add lime wheel.

Cheers to another local Rhody success story!

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The Irish Mountain Marma

We loved the Irish Whiskey-based cocktail that Lily created for us last week so much so we asked her to do another.

To complement the whiskey, Lily used a pantry staple – marmalade. The drink is sweet & tart, with wonderful aromatics from rosemary and a slightly bitter finish thanks to the addition of Montenegro amaro. It’s delightful anytime of the year, not just on St. Patty’s Day.

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The Irish Mountain Marma
makes 1 cocktail

2 oz Powers whiskey

3/4 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz Montenegro
1 tbsp marmalade*
1 small, 1″ sprig of rosemary
1 larger sprig (for garnish)

*For this recipe, orange marmalade was used but lemon grapefruit marmalade is also quite nice.

Place small sprig in shaker, add Montenegro and gently muddle once with a muddler or wooden spoon to release the rosemary flavor.
Add whiskey, lemon, and marmalade.
Fill shaker with ice and shake until frost forms on the outside of the tin.
Double-strain into a tumbler, garnish with remaining sprig of rosemary and ice.

Enjoy!

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Drink Your Chocolate

Skip the chewable chocolate this Valentine’s Day and give your sweetie the sippable sort. We’re crushing on a few bottles made with real chocolate and genuine skill, those that are good enough to be enjoyed year-round.

Meletti Cioccolato
Thick, dark, creamy, this Italian liqueur is pure pourable decadence. It’s made in Italy with milk and Dutch chocolate, sugar and alcohol, and is intensely rich and smooth with a balanced sweetness. We’re crazy for the Cioccolato any way it’s served: cold & neat (think adult pudding pop), warmed, over ice cream, or as a mixer in any number of cocktails.
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Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
This full-flavored dark beer made with chocolate malt and real chocolate is luxurious without being overtly sweet. It’s certainly a satisfying treat on its own, but for something special, consider combining it in a frosty mug with vanilla ice cream and bourbon for the ultimate grown-up float.
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Nickle Creek Decadence
A Rhody original, from Foster! This beautiful bottle, reminiscent of Port, has warm flavors of cherry and plum that make way for a dark, bittersweet chocolate finish. It’s a delicious way to end a romantic dinner.
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Cheers and Happy Valentine’s Day!

A Pair of Pear Cocktails

This time of year we’re always on the lookout for easy-drinking, flavorful cocktails that don’t pack a killer wallop, i.e., those that we can sip on all weekend long. This pair of pear cider cocktails make great companions for strenuous Sunday relaxation activities such as marathon sessions of book-reading, Netflix binge-watching, and backgammon-playing.

The following recipes were created by our newest team member, Lilian Rogers, a truly skilled cocktail-crafter whose passion for the culture of cocktails is infectious. Enjoy these, and stay tuned for more from Lily!

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The Smoking Mule (photo above)
This drink is earthy, smokey and creamy with tart pear notes. The ginger beer ice cubes take their time to melt, making it a great slow-sipper. Makes 1 cocktail.

4oz Sonoma Cider’s “The Pitchfork” Pear Cider (hard cider)
1oz mezcal
.5oz freshly-squeezed lime juice
.75oz vanilla simple syrup (or, regular simple syrup with 2 drops of vanilla extract)
4 – 6  ice cubes made from ginger beer
1 fresh pear, for garnish

Fill a high-ball glass with the ginger beer ice cubes. Pour in mezcal, lime juice, and vanilla simple syrup, and stir once gently to combine. Top with the pear cider, and garnish with a slice of ripe pear and a straw.

 

The Garden Trowel
Ethereal with beautiful, complex botanicals, this cocktail is creamy and balanced by crisp pear notes. Makes 1 cocktail.

4oz Sonoma Cider’s “The Pitchfork” Pear Cider (hard cider)
1oz botanical gin (such as Uncle Val’s Botanical, Hendrick’s, Farmer’s Organic Botanical)
.75oz freshly-squeezed lemon juice
.75oz vanilla simple syrup (or, regular simple syrup with 2 drops of vanilla extract)
1 fresh pear, for garnish

Combine gin, lemon juice, and vanilla simple syrup into a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until slight film of condensation forms on the outside of the shaker. Strain into a rocks glass (8oz or larger), top with 4 oz pear cider. Garnish with a slice of ripe pear.

Cheers and Enjoy!

Party Math: A Guide to Buying – and Serving – Booze

The good news is the party’s a raging success and your guests are having the time of their lives. The bad news is the party’s a raging success and you’re about to run out of booze. Here’s how to never let that happen again.

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Now that you have that down, ensure your party’s a smash by following these 8 Tips for Entertaining from team Bottles:

1. Don’t forget mixers & garnishes. Figure 1 liter of soda water/tonic/juice for every 3 guests; plan on 1 lemon/lime/orange for every 3 guests as well.

2. Have on hand at least 1 lb. of ice per person for storage & drink-making purposes. Which means your ice trays aren’t enough. Just go buy ice already, and put it in a cooler on the back porch. Trust us.

3. White wine is to be served chilled, not ice cold. Take your whites out of the fridge 10 minutes before serving. Most red wine is to be served a touch cooler than room temp. So don’t store it in direct sunlight, or, gasp, near the oven.

4. Worried about temperature fluctuations when buying cold beer? Fear not. Too much light and extreme heat (think noon heat in an un-airconditioned-car in August) are what will damage your brews. Subtle temperature changes are fine.

5. Always serve food alongside alcoholic beverages.

6. Place pitchers of water near the bar – and keep them filled.

7. Have a designated driver – or your Uber account – queued up for over-indulgers.

8. Reduce party stress by ordering your bottles in advance either in-store or via phone, and Bottles will deliver to your door day of!

Cheers!

 

 

Masko’s Manhattan Recipe

Masko's Manhattan - Cocktail Recipe

Looking for a magical Manhattan cocktail recipe? John Masko (a friend of Bottles) has concocted this special drink that features White Ginger Infused Simple Syrup from Sonoma Syrup Company.

To make their White Ginger Simple Syrup, Sonoma Syrup Co. infuses fresh white ginger in pure cane syrup, resulting in a peppery, sweet taste. It can enhance loads of cocktails, but is especially ideal for Masko’s Manhattan, a combination of Knob Creek Bourbon, Ramazzotti Amaro, and the amazingly delicious Luxardo cherry.

MASKO’S MANHATTAN

Ingredients:
— 3 oz Knob Creek Bourbon
— 3/4 oz Ramazzotti Amaro
— 1 1/2 teaspoons (1/4 oz) White Ginger Infused Simple Syrup from Sonoma Syrup Company (shake the syrup well before dispensing)
— Luxardo cherries

Directions:
Add the three liquid ingredients to a shaker 2/3 full of ice.  Shake longer than usual with ice (I shake to a slow count of 40) and strain into a chilled cocktail glass; because of the intense flavors of all of the ingredients, prolonged shaking is necessary.  Garnish with one or two Luxardo cherries and lightly pull a Luxardo-syrup-coated fork through the cocktail after you place the cherry, leaving a fading swirl of syrup.

 (The measurement of Bourbon and Ramazzotti is not as critical as that of the ginger syrup: under or over-measuring the syrup can give a very different character to the cocktail.)

Recipe by John Masko

Cocktail Recipe: How to Make a Caipirinha

Need a different drink idea, yet something still simple and summery? Try cachaça, a popular spirit in Brazil that is made from distilled sugarcane juice.

Well, what should you do with cachaça, you say? Make a caipirinha! It’s a refreshing combination of limes, sugar, and cachaça.

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Pick up a bottle of Boca Loca Cachaça for $19.99 (reg. $24.99) for the month of June! One bottle of Boca Loca Cachaça makes around 12 cocktails.

Caipirinha Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients
– 2 oz. Cachaça (we recommend Boca Loca)
– 1 lime
– 2 tsp. sugar

Directions
Cut a lime into 8 wedges. Place the lime and sugar into a rocks glass and muddle the ingredients together. Fill your glass with ice; then add the Boca Loca Cachaça. Stir vigorously to mix the sugar well before adding a lime wheel to garnish.

Download & Print Caipirinha Cocktail Recipe Card > 

 

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Cheers!

Plant Your Cocktails! Herbal Infusions with Southside Community Land Trust

Bottles is pairing up with Southside Community Land Trust to help you create garden-fresh cocktails!

If you’re in the midst of planning this year’s garden, don’t forget to incorporate herbs to infuse your vodka, whiskey, tequila or gin. It’s a great way to add a personalized twist to classic cocktails, like a vodka martini or vodka tonic.

Learn how to infuse your booze here, and keep a look out during the SCLT Annual Plant Sale for the free cocktail recipe cards!

Download & Print Cocktail Recipe Cards >

sclt-basilrecipecard

Make a Batch of Basil Infused Vodka:
– 1/2 750ml bottle of Prairie vodka
– 1 cup lightly packed basil leaves, rinsed and towel dried
Infusing directions >

Thai Basil Vodka Martini
– 2 oz Thai Basil Infused Vodka
– 1 oz Dry Vermouth
– Splash of lime juice
– Lime Wedge

Directions: Pour vodka, vermouth, lime juice over ice in a cocktail shaker, shake and strain into glass. Garnish with lime wedge.

 

sclt-lavenderrecipecard

Make a Batch of Lavender Infused Vodka:
– 1 750ml bottle of Prairie vodkavodka
– 1 tablespoon lavender buds
Infusing directions >

Lavender Vodka Tonic
– 2 oz Lavender Infused Vodka
– 3 oz Tonic
– Splash of lemon juice
– Lemon Wedge for garnish

Directions: Fill half of glass with ice, pour vodka, tonic and lemon juice into glass. Garnish with lemon wedge.

Cheers!
– Joanna

 

Learn How to Infuse Your Booze (A Helpful Infographic)

Learn how to infuse! Infusions are a great way to personalize cocktails, use fresh ingredients, and create fantastic handmade gifts. Just follow this infographic!

infuseyourbooze

Though it’s easy to experiment with different combinations of herbs, fruit, and alcohol, here are our directions on how to make a basil infused vodka. It’s perfect in a martini!

BASIL INFUSED VODKA

INGREDIENTS & SUPPLIES
– 1 cup lightly packed basil leaves, rinsed and towel dried
– 1/2 750ml bottle of Prairie vodka
– swing top bottles or mason jars (stop by Bottles for swing top bottles)
– mesh strainer
– cheesecloth
– cool, dark cupboard to store infusion

DIRECTIONS

Wash basil leaves and lightly dry with a towel. Pour vodka into swing-top bottle or mason jar. Add basil leaves. Attach cover and shake. Place in cupboard. Let it sit a day, and after the first day of infusion, open up your infusion and pour yourself a sample. The longer you leave the basil in, the stronger the flavor will be. If you’re satisfied with the infusion on the second day, strain away! Strain once with mesh strainer, strain twice with mesh strainer, strain third time with cheesecloth.

Note: Extracting (straining) is the most laborious part about infusing. The herbs or berries do most of the work by imparting their delicious nature into the vodka. The key to straining is multiple passes and patience. Put an episode of the Barefoot Contessa on as you strain your infusions and start brainstorming your next dinner party!

Infusing is actually a process called osmosis (remember from middle school science class?). Placing an object in alcohol encourages the herb or fruit’s flavor and color to move outside of the fruit into the alcohol.

 

ADDITIONAL TIPS & TRICKS

Herb, Citrus & Fruit
– Wash fruit or herbs before infusing.
– Experiment and pair strong flavors with cooling flavors (e.g. jalapeño cucumber vodka) to create a well balanced infusion.
– Citrus piths will create a bitter infusion, make sure you only use the zest.
– For pulpy fruits, strain with a coffee filter after the mesh strainer and cheese cloth step.

Alcohol
– Use a mid-level spirit, one that you would make cocktails with and serve to friends.
– Forget about higher proof alcohol, 90 proof vodka (most spirits are 90 proof) infuse just as well as spirits with higher alcohol content.

Making the Infusion
– Keep your infusions away from sunlight and heat.
– Make sure the seal on your infusion jar is air tight (otherwise your infusion will ferment!).
– Make small experimental batches, infusing is a trial and error process.

– Label your infusions and extraction date, and mark it on the calendar.

 

HERBAL COCKTAIL RECIPE: Thai Basil Vodka Martini

– 2 oz Thai Bail Infused Vodka
– 1 oz Dry Vermouth
– Splash of lime juice
– Lime Wedge

Pour vodka, vermouth, lime juice over ice in a cocktail shaker, shake and strain into glass. Garnish with lime wedge.

Cheers & Happy Infusing!

– Joanna Laird

Jo’s Drink Menu for New Year’s Eve

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Personally, New Year’s Eve has evolved from a whirlwind of party hopping to a quiet evening with a few friends and neighbors at home. I’ve substituted long bar lines and waiting for cabs in the frigid cold with a home cooked meal, a selection of ridiculous board games, and a few crowd-pleasing drinks.

Download & Print the Drink Menu >

new-year-drinks-final

THE COCKTAIL

For cocktails, I am loving the Bittermilk Tom Collins with Elderflower & Hops, a fantastic syrup from South Carolina that has a permanent home in my fridge. I pair the St. George High Rye Gin with the Bittermilk to create a quick cocktail that is light and citrusy with a nice bitter, hoppy note. For a non-alcoholic version, substitute the wonderfully tart Fentiman’s Victorian Lemonade in place of the gin.

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Tom Collins with Elderflower & Hops

Ingredients
1 part St. George High Rye Gin
1 part Bittermilk No. 2 – Tom Collins with Elderflower & Hops
1 part soda water

Directions
Combine all ingredients in a tall glass filled with ice. Stir, and garnish with a cucumber.

THE BEERS

Instead of wines, I like to switch up the menu and use a small gathering as an opportunity to share a few bottles of delicious craft beers. Last year I served a magnum of St. Bernardus Abt 12 vintage 2012 – a wonderful Belgian Quadrupel that is dark, strong and malty. Once the bottle was drained it became a lovely photo prop! We also had Arrogant Bastard 3 Liter bottles and Corsendonk Christmas Ale 3 Liters.

newyearsbeer-600-2

Since we started with a Belgian beer, let’s continue the trend in this year’s menu:

De Glazen Toren Saison d’Erpe Mere
A Belgian beer to the core, saisons are my favorite because of their effervescence, malt and spice notes. The Glass Tower brewery is dedicated to crafting only a handful of beers and their attention to detail is present with every sip. Check out their website’s food pairing section – especially a fondue recipe that includes a splash of saison to this triple crown of cheese heaven – Gruyère, Appenzeller and Emmental!

Houblon Chouffe Belgian Tripel IPA
My lovely gnome friend will satisfy your hop head friends and remind your guests about David the Gnome’s fantastical adventures with his friend Swift. A Belgian tripel with banana esters and a backbone of hops, the slightly bitter finish will leave you smiling and wondering how the gnome did it again!

Brasserie Dupont Monk’s Stout
Known for their saisons, Dupont created a stout that is not at all heavy like some of it’s friends on our stout shelf. By December 31st, I have almost reached my dessert quota so a rich, creamy stout is the last thing on my mind. Instead I turn to this enjoyable dry, low ABV stout to pair with the last of the holiday cookies and pies.

Allagash Curieux
Once upon a time at Allagash brewery, a whole batch of Allagash tripel was ready to be bottled, but sadly due to a customs delay, the empty bottles from Belgium were held up in transit. Not wanting to waste the beer, Allagash decided to place the tripel in some Jim Beam casks that were waiting to be used to age a darker beer, like their popular dubbel. The result – a fantastic tripel with caramel and vanilla notes, aged for eight weeks and then blended with some fresh tripel.

THE CHAMPAGNE

Okay, okay, what’s New Year’s Eve without Champagne? At midnight, or 11:30 pm, I’ll be cracking open a bottle of Moët & Chandon Imperial to toast to 2015!

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Cheers & Happy 2015!
– Joanna