Bust Out Your Liqueurs for #BackBarChallenge

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Happy October to all y’all! Ready for a fun challenge? For the entire week of Oct 3-9, @mmydrinks and I will be hosting the #BackBarChallenge on Instagram.

This whole thing came about when I was perusing Instagram a couple of days ago and ran across this amazing recipe from mmydrinks:

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It was a Midori Sour with a modern angle. Mike said Midori was his “spirit/liqueur that must not be named.” It’s the one you have but don’t really get around to using very often. The recipe included delicious ingredients like: Cucumber Mint infused St. George Gin, Honeydew infused Greene Chartreuse, Matcha Honeydew Syrup, Midori, and the garnish was two Matcha Marshmallows. UH-MAZING RIGHT?

Totally incredible! I left a comment saying, “Yarrrrr, this is a damn inspiration! My liqueur is Frangelico and now I’m inspired to use it!”

So I hit up Mike and said, “Hey, why don’t we do a challenge where we get everyone to dust off their old bottles of Liqueur, aka their ‘Back Bar’ and make some cocktails with those ingredients?” #BackBarChallenge was born!

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From Oct 3 – 9 @mmydrinks and I will be making drinks with our infrequently touched Liqueurs and other modifiers from our Home Bars. But so will you!

Be creative! Be super creative. Make sweet drinks, make weird drinks, make drinks you’d never expect to make cause you’ve been too afraid to make them, create some wild garnishes, put flavors together that you’d not normally expect to put together! Someone please make a Pousse-Café! Above all – experiment and have tons o’ fun!

We’ll be reposting our fave recipes on Instagram so be sure to use the hashtag #BackBarChallenge so we can find your drinks and give them the love they deserve!

Cheers and happy Liqueur times to youuuuu!

National Liqueur Day 2015

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Today is National Liqueur Day, so I figured I’d just feature all the Liqueurs I have at the moment! When I set the bottles up on the table, I had a flashback to many great and glorious drinks I’ve made with these Liqueurs. You see, the key to being a good Home Bar Gurrrrl/Dude, is to have good ingredients. If you have good ingredients they will speak to you and tell you what they want to do in your drinks.

The easiest way I could think of to categorize these Liqueurs was by region, so we’ll admire them in their appropriate groups.

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France: I’ve always got the Chartreuse sisters, Cointreau, Pernod, and St-Germain on hand. I’ve only recently acquired Bénédictine, and am terribly excited to use it with Whiskey, Cognac, and Gin. Giffard Banane, is of course excellent in anything it touches. I tend to use Salers & Bonal in the same way that I would Italian Amari, though French Apéritifs tend to be lighter and have more gentian/cinchona bark flavour.

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Italy: Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur is an absolute staple for classic cocktails. Must have. Frangelico provides a wonderfully nutty flavor that goes very well with Rum, Whiskey and Cognac. You may know Aperol from the Aperol Spritz and because it is a very drinkable bitter Liqueur.

And then there’s the great Italian category of Amaro, aka Bitter Herbal Liqueurs. I have have at least five Amari on hand at all times, because the variances between them may seem small to the untrained palate, but make a world of difference in cocktails. Currently, I have: Fernet Branca, Branca Menta, Amaro CioCiaro, Amaro Montenegro, and Cynar. Once we get back into winter-times, I’ll definitely re-stock Averna Amaro and Santa Maria Al Monte Amaro.

For those of you who are fans of the House of Campari, here’s an excellent infographic showing which region in Italy their brands come from:

Campari Portfolio Brands

#DrinkItalian for real!

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Austria & Germany: From Austria, Rothmann & Winter Violette and Orchard Apricot are staple ingredients for some very famous classic cocktails. From Germany, the Haus of Berentzen makes incredible Liqueurs whose flavors have unbeatable clarity and usefulness. Jägermeister has recently changed it’s tune and is now pushing itself not just as something to take shots of, but as a VERY useful Cocktail ingredient. I absolutely love Jäger in drinks, and am glad for their new direction.

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The West Indies: St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, Velvet Falernum, and Senior Blue Curaçao are absolutely essential for any good Home Tiki Bar and I use all three of these Liqueurs rather frequently.

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USA: hahahaha, y’all. Fernet Francisco is the only Liqueur I currently have from the USA! In the past I’ve had St. George NOLA Coffee Liqueur (holy hell, it’s good!), and a Maple Liqueur from Vermont.

What would I like to have from the USA? 1. Anything from St. George Spirits (cause I luv them), especially the Spiced Pear and Raspberry Liqueurs. 2. Bittermen’s Amer Sauvage and Citron Sauvage, 3. Clear Creek Cherry and Cassis. Any suggestions?

National-Liqueur-Day-Vintage

Vintage: Y’all, a lovely friend of mine gave these Vintage Liqueur bottles to me. (Thank you so much Ms Perl for these treasures!) Two bottles of Cusenier Creme de Menthe from the 1950s and one bottle of Marie Brizard Anisette from the 1960s. Freez-O-Mint, such amazing packaging! People, when you design a new bottle, you need to look at these for inspiration!

Cheers to Liqueurs and all the tasty Cocktails we put them in!

Golden Banana Grog with Giffard Banane

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Y’allllllllll, I’m back from vacation in the Berkshires and I am ready to talk about Giffard Banane du Bresil! A couple of weeks ago, I posted on Instagram that I had acquired this most magnificent of liqueurs from Duke’s Liquor Box. (If you’re ever in Greenpoint, Brooklyn you must go, they have the best stuff ever!) Then around 10 days ago, I posted two recipes called Blame it on the Monkeys No. 1 & 2, which included a recipe with Banane du Bresil. Now here we are and I feel like I haven’t quite addressed the incredibleness of this Liqueur.

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To be frank, Banane du Bresil is Banana Bread in a bottle. Now that might sound hilarious, but this flavour has such a huge world of possibilities! “Banana Bread” would go well with Cognac, Bourbon, Rum, Cachaça, Añejo Tequila, loads of Amari/Aperitif/Digestif (Byrrh, Montenegro, Aperol), fortified wines (Carpano Antica, every type of Sherry), other Liqueurs (Domaine de Canton, Apricot, Falernum) and so many fruits that I can barely wrap my head around what to do with it.

This liqueur is literally everything.

Tasting Notes:

  • Nose: Banana Bread, Banana, baking spices, tropical notes like you’d get from Falernum
  • Tongue: Buttery Banana, Cognac, spices, nutty, Banana Bread, ginger
  • Finish: Banana Bread, short, wide finish with spices lingering for a while

Gooooooodness, it’s just so damn amazing.

What do we do when we get a new Liqueur that might possibly go with Rum? That’s right, we make a Daiquiri. I chose Denizen because it has Grassy, Banana notes and thought it would pair well with the Banane du Bresil.

Banane du Bresil Daiquiri

  • 1 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
  • 2 oz Denizen Aged White Rum
  • 1 oz Lime Juice

Shake over ice and strain into coupe.

To be honest, this definitely is my new fave Daiquiri and will probably be my go to til the end of the summer.

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Now let’s get to this Golden Banana Grog. Again, I chose Denizen for its Banana, Grassy notes, and Smith & Cross for it’s funky, fruity notes. Banana & Orgeat are a natural match (didn’t even have to consult the Flavor Bible for this!) and Lime juice is the perfect acid to round out the drink. Hope you Enjoy!

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These lil Banana slices are totally snoozin under the Tiki Umbrella.

Golden Banana Grog

  • 1 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
  • 1 3/4 oz Denizen Aged White Rum (Sub any Trinidadian Aged White Rum)
  • 1/2 oz Smith & Cross Navy Strength Jamaica Rum (Sub any funky Jamaican Rum)
  • 1 1/4 oz Lime Juice
  • 1/2 oz Orgeat
  • Club Soda
  • Garnish: 3 Banana slices & Umbrella

Combine ingredients over ice and short shake. Strain into Collins glass over ice. Top with Club Soda and garnish.

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Yesssss. Luv it. Luv it forever.

You’re So Kind + Recent Acquisitions

Just a quick post to update y’all on all of the new booze I’ve gotten recently. No recipes this time, but I wanted to get everyone excited about all the things I’ll be posting on during the Holidaze and Winter Times! Cheers to you all!

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Berentzen Icemint Schnapps: Look at it? Isn’t it beautiful? It’s also 100 proof and the mint flavor is so clean that I have to say…I like it even more than Wondermint! I’ve been sipping Icemint Schnapps neat, on the rocks and am working on a few cocktails!

Berentzen Pear Liquer: In the same way that the Bushel & Barrel is fruit forward, crisp and clean, the Pear Liqueur kills it! Very fresh and bright pear flavors! I’ve been using it a lot with Gin.

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Today in the mail, I got these four beautiful bottles of delicious possibilities courtesy of MBooth Marketing. Aren’t they kind? I think they’re pretty kind. YOU’RE SO KIND MBOOTH! Y’all I’m gonna make a LOT of Holiday Cocktails with these!

Campari: You know it, you know I love it. Negroni for life! But Campari isn’t just Negroni, it’s the best citrus bitter Liqueur! I’m gonna use it in punches!

Brugal Especial Extra Dry: This is a totally tasty dry Rum and such a bang for your buck! Toasted marshmellow, vanilla, coconut and citrus. I’m gonna use it in ALL the hot cocktails I possibly can!

NOLET’S Dry Gin Silver: I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS AND IT WAS EVERYTHING I IMAGINED! Seriously though, such a fabulous gin. Raspberry, Turkish Rose and Peach notes are happening and NOLET’S is super smooth. I’m gonna use this every day? In every cocktail? Maybe! Definitely going to make some Martinis and a Martinez with it.

Patrón Cafe Incendio: I’ve been wanting a Chocolate liqueur and with my endless quest for spicy foods and drinks, Incendio fulfills my every need! Chocolate first, Chili spice next and the spice sits nicely on the tongue. I’m definitely planning to use it in Coffee Cocktails, with Añejo Tequila and with Rum.

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And then, here’s the recent acquisitions that I bought from the store!

Corralejo Añejo: I LUV Corralejo. Their Reposado is my favourite one to sip and so now that it’s Añejo season, I simply had to get this bottle. I’ll be using it in Old Fashioneds, with the Patrón Cafe Incendio, and sipping it neat.

St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram: Holiday spice in a bottle! So much Allspice! Like the NOLET’S gin, I’m probably going to use this every day in every cocktail I possibly can: Rum, Gin, Bourbon, Añejo, Apple Brandy. All of it. Allspice Dram forever!

Santa Maria al Monte: This is my favourite Amaro and I just couldn’t wait any longer to have it! I feel like Santa Maria is somewhere between Averna and Fernet but drier and less intimidating. Easy to sip neat. If you can have a taste, do it. If you can buy a bottle, do THAT instead. I’ll be sipping this all winter long!

Thanks for reading! The cocktails will be coming soon!

Homemade Raspberry Liqueur

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Freshly made Raspberry Liqueur. Sexy.

I know, I know, everyone and their best friend Shoshanna is “hand-making” something right now in ‘merica. Whatever, I am not deterred by this trend! In fact the whole reason I decided to make Raspberry Liqueur was because I had nearly a whole bottle of Vodka to get through and I really DON’T drink Vodka. Plus, I mistakenly bought some Raspberries out of season and though eating them wasn’t the greatest idea, I knew I could extract their supreme Raspberry flavour with a lil’ sugar and alcohol.

This is literally the first time I’ve ever made liqueur so deal with my janky-ass recipe. If you’d like to read some really legit articles about making your own liqueur, go here. If you don’t care and like to fly by the seat of your pants, here we go!

Ingredients:

  • 1 750ml Bottle of Vodka (don’t get terrible Vodka, you will taste the nastiness)
  • 6 oz of Raspberries
  • 1 1/2 cups Turbinado Sugar
  • 1 Medium sized Mason Jar

Instructions:

Day 1: add 3 oz Raspberries to Jar and cover with approx 1/2 cup sugar, then nearly fill jar with Vodka. Shake several times that day.
Day 2: strain, add remaining Raspberries to jar and cover with sugar. Shake a bunch again.
Day 3: strain again, add more sugar and vodka to cover Raspberries. Keep shaking. Never stop shaking.
Day 4: strain again and mash berries to get all liquid out. Add more sugar, Vodka or Water to taste.

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Mashed Raspberries with all of the goodness leached out of them. 

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Sensational. You did it! 

Yummmm. There you go. One sad looking bottle of wilted, pale looking Raspberries later and one hefty, luxurious bottle of Homemade Raspberry Liqueur.

Happy leaching!