#NegroniWeek 2015

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Negroni. It’s a word uttered rather often on Home Bar Girl. It’s perhaps one of the best classic cocktails of all time and definitely a drink I like to riff on. Well, did y’all know that there is an entire week dedicated to the Negroni? Each year for the past few years, Campari and Imbibe Magazine have put on Negroni Week as a charity drive for bars and restaurants to participate in. You can read all about it here.

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I love the Negroni because it’s simple, supremely well balanced, bitter, and sweet all at the same time. It’s made with equal parts Campari, Sweet Vermouth, and Gin, served on the rocks, and usually has an Orange peel garnish. It’s great in the winter, excellent in the summer.

Here’s how I like to make it: I use Carpano Antica because it has a wonderful spice set and is very supple in the mouth. Same goes for Plymouth Gin, very smooth and easy in the mouth and not too much bite.

Home Bar Girl’s Negroni

  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Carpano Antica Formula
  • 1 oz Plymouth Gin
  • Garnish: Orange peel rose

Combine ingredients over ice and stir. Strain into double rocks glass over one big rock. Express Orange peel, curl into a rose, and garnish.

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Now since it’s #NegroniWeek, I like to have a lot of Negroni on hand so I can mix it with other things. Actually, I usually keep Bottled Negroni in my home bar because it actually seems to mellow a bit as all those ingredients sit together in the bottle.

This recipe is for a 375ml bottle. I used an old bottle of Carpano Antica, that way if any residual flavours are still lingering about, they would just mix with the Negroni Ingredients.

Home Bar Girl’s Bottled Negroni

  • 125 ml Campari
  • 125 ml Carpano Antica Formula
  • 125 ml Plymouth Gin

Combine ingredients in bottle. Let it sit for as long as you like. It will get more awesome the longer it sits. I promise.

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Now that we’ve got our Bottled Negroni all ready for #NegroniWeek, I encourage everyone to start thinking of things you’d like to mix it with. I’ll be posting recipes for Negroni variations from June 1-7, so keep checking in!

Cheers!

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Happy St Patrick’s Day!

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Happy St Patrick’s day to you all with a Teeling Irish Whiskey cocktail: The Bookseller!

On my way to creating the above cocktail, I read through a bunch of classic Irish Whiskey recipes for inspiration. A couple of them are too good not to post so here they are! I will definitely be making one of them at home today!

Belvedere Cocktail (The Wine and Spirit Bulletin, Louisville 1917)

  • 1/2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz Dry Gin
  • 1/2 oz Red Vermouth
  • 2 to 3 dashes Absinthe

Shake with cracked ice and strain into cocktail glass. This cocktail is attributed to the Hotel Belvedere in Baltimore, MD. (source: Martin’s New & Improved Index of Cocktails & Mixed Drinks.)

Black Thorn (Harry Johnson, 1900)

  • 1 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1 oz Dry Vermouth
  • 3 to 4 dashes of Absinthe
  • 3 to 4 dashes of Boker’s Bitters (or Aromatic Bitters)

Stir with cracked ice and strain into a wine glass. (source: Harry Johnson’s New and Improved Bartender’s Manual.)

Irish Cocktail (Harry Johnson, 1900)

  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 2 to 3 dashes Absinthe
  • 1 dash Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1 dash Orange Curaçao
  • 2 dashes Boker’s Bitters (or Aromatic Bitters)
  • Garnish: Lemon Peel and an Olive

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Express Lemon Peel and garnish, try it with the Olive. The salt and brine from the Olive will balance out the sweet. (source: Harry Johnson’s New and Improved Bartender’s Manual.)

Shamrock Cocktail (Hugo Ennslin, 1917)

  • 1 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1 oz Dry Vermouth
  • 3 dashes Chartreuse Vert
  • 3 dashes Crème de Menthe
  • Garnish: Olive

Stir over cracked ice and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with an Olive. (Source: Martin’s New & Improved Index of Cocktails & Mixed Drinks.)

Cool right? I love that back in the early 20th C the answer to balancing out sweetness was to add an Olive garnish. Brilliant. I am really into the Irish Cocktail btw.

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Now, back to St Patrick’s Day 2015: I decided to make a Manhattan Variation with Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey and Averna. I knew that I wanted to use Carpano Antica as the vermouth because it goes so well with Averna. Who am I kidding, Carpano Antica goes with everything! I was looking for a finishing touch and a way to bring out all those Rum notes in the Teeling and St Elizabeth Allspice Dram called to me from on top of the fridge*.

The Bookseller

  • 2 oz Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz Carpano Antica
  • 1/4 oz Averna Amaro
  • 1 dash St Elizabeth Allspice Dram
  • Garnish: Orange peel

Combine ingredients and stir over ice until proper dilution has been achieved. Strain into coupe. Express Orange peel and garnish.

*Yes, a lot of my liquor is kept in a nice red tray on top of the fridge. Remember, 500sq ft apartment y’all!
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It’s like you and your bottle of Teeling took a trip to the Caribbean and ordered a Manhattan. Yes.
Thanks again to The Baddish Group for the delicious bottle of Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey!

Improved Negronis are for Chinese New Year

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Gung Hay Fat Choy to you all! It’s Chinese New Year! Growing up in the SF Bay Area meant many a fun trip to Chinatown for New Year festivities and I totally loved the parades! My darling girlfriend is Chinese American and so this celebration has taken on a whole new meaning for me! I’ve noticed that no other culture wishes that everyone has Luck as much as the Chinese culture. So to you all I say, “May you be prosperous and full of luck!”

Trivia? Which drink goes perfectly with the rich and varied flavours of Chinese food cause it cuts right through the mix? NEGRONI! Bing, Bing, Bing! You did it! The citrus and bitter notes of a Negroni pair well with the heavy foods in a traditional Chinese New Year dinner and Red is the color of the celebration.

This is not just any Negroni though, this is An Improved Negroni. You may be thinking, “this bitch, why does she think she can ‘improve’ a Negroni?” But I’m not such a crazy bitch! “Improved Cocktails” are actually a category of drink. If you look back on the grand history of cocktails, the original ones were in an Old Fashioned format. The “improvements” meant adding things like a dash of Absinthe or two dashes of Maraschino.

My improvements are: adjusting the ratios, adding Maraschino and using Blood Orange peel in the drink for added Citrusness. Sun Ye Fai Lok!

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An Improved Negroni

  • 1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin
  • 3/4 oz Campari
  • 3/4 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • Garnish: Blood Orange Peel

Combine ingredients and stir over ice until proper dilution has been achived. Strain into rocks glass with ice. Express Blood Orange Peel and Garnish.

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An Improved Negroni in the wild at Chinese New Year 2014. I have switched vermouth since then y’all! 

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Let’s just look at this drink again. Campari, you make me turn red all over. Remember #EveryWeekIsNegroniWeek

Rothko 1957 with 18.21 Tart Cherry + Saffron Bitters

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I would say that creating a cocktail is rather similar to creating a work of art or a piece of music. Cocktails begin in the mind, are tinkered with in the mixing tin (often several times over) and then presented to the public to behold, taste, feel and enjoy. When I make a piece of music, it always begins in my mind, then I go to my instrument, work on the main theme over and over until it is ready for supporting layers. Finally, upon completion, I present my piece of music to the public for them to hear, feel and enjoy.

For this drink, I began, in my mind, with the 18.21 Tart Cherry + Saffon Bitters. The profile of these bitters is Cherry on the bottom and in the back, Saffron up front and on top. I wanted to bring out the Cherry a bit more, so I added the syrup frrom Luxardo Maraschino Cherries. Then I knew that I wanted a complex set of modifiers, which came in the form of Carpano Antica and Inocente Fino Sherry. The hardest ingredient was actually which spirit to use for the base. After much trial and error, I decided that I wanted a spicy Bourbon and Elijah Craig 12 Year was perfect.

What is Rothko 1957? The name is a reference to a painting by Mark Rothko, Saffron 1957. Yeah man, we’re making art, man.

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Rothko 1957

  • 2 oz Elijah Craig 12 Year Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
  • Heavy 1/4 oz Inocente Fino Sherry (just slightly more than 1/4 oz)
  • 2 droppers 18.21 Tart Cherry + Saffron Bitters
  • 1 Barspoon Luxardo Maraschino Cherry Syrup*
  • Garnish: Luxardo Maraschino Cherries*

Combine ingredients, add ice and stirrrrrr until proper dilution has been achieved. Strain into Rocks glass with Ice. Garnish with three Luxardo Maraschino Cherries.

*In my mind, if you’re not getting some snooty pooty Brandied Cherries, these are the only cherries to buy. Never get the bright red ones, so gross.

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Tasty times, artful minds. #SnootyBooty

Thanks again to 18.21 Bitters for their sensational Tart Cherry + Saffron Bitters!

Dr Joe aka Let’s Get Surgical, Surgical

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If y’all follow me on instagram, you’d know that I recently had surgery on my left arm and would have seen this photo:

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This was obvi taken before surgery: Two gowns on my body, one oxygen measuring thingamabob on my 4th finger of my right hand and a hat for my Top Knot. #TopKnot4Lyfe 

The surgery was for a compressed Ulnar Nerve in my left elbow, aka Cubital Tunnel, which occurred in March 2014 after an elevator door accident. (Don’t ask.) Since that time, I’ve had very limited use of my arm & hand, lots of pain and tingling + numbness in my 4th & 5th digits. To be frank, it sucked.

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Image via http://www.surgicalnotes.co.uk/files/images/ulnar_nerve.jpg

But now, NOW I’ve had surgery and things are already better than they were before! I had an amazing experience at Columbia Presbyterian where everyone from the Nervously-Singing-Resident-Surgeon to the Uses-Crystals-And-Practices-Reiki-Nurse were so kind, helpful and totally on top of things. And then, there’s my hero, my surgeon, my salvation: Dr Joe.

That’s not his real name and I didnt ask permission to use his name, so for now, he’s Dr Joe. He is a brilliant but kind and forthright surgeon. Most of the surgeons I’ve interacted with during my injury have been total assholes. But not Dr Joe! He’s the best! The kindest! And he has dark curly hair like I do! I’d even say he’s a “Hot Doctor”.

This is the last drink I made the night before Surgery and it was incredible: dry, smooth, sophisticated, completely classy. I want to live my life as if it were this drink.

Dr Joe

  • 2 oz Hayman’s Old Tom Gin
  • 1/2 oz Santa Maria Al Monte Amaro
  • 1/2 oz Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
  • Around 14 drops of Maraschino Cherry Liqueur
  • 2 dashes Dr Adam Elmegirab’s Boker’s Bitters*
  • Garnish: Lemon Peel

Combine ingredients, add ice and stirrrrrrr until proper dilution has been achieved. Strain into coupe, express Lemon Peel and garnish.

*A quick note about these sensational bitters: THEY’RE SENSATIONAL! Made with a 19th century recipe, they are intended to reproduce what were perhaps the Original bitters. They shine with Old Tom Gin, like raise the banners and wave the flags. Buy some and make yourself a Martinez immediately!

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Auntie Edna

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Y’all, we’re getting pretty close to Xmas and I know errrybody’s Aunties are making ALL the desserts. In fact, Auntie Edna is making so many desserts that even when she’s not making dessert, she’s thinking about dessert. So she took a break from making fruit cakes, made this drink and then went right back to making more cakes! Auntie Edna is so crazy! But damn she does make some sensational cakes and drinks!

Auntie Edna

  • 1 1/4 oz Calvados
  • 3/4 oz Pineapple infused Plymouth gin
  • 1/2 oz Chartreuse Vert
  • 1/2 oz Berentzen Pear Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz Cranberry infused Dolin Rouge
  • 1/4 oz Carpano Antica
  • 3 drops Black Walnut Bitters
  • Clove studded Orange peel

Combine ingredients over ice and stir. Strain into coupe and garnish with Clove studded Orange peel.

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Boots & Flannel

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It’s Friday, it’s Wintry out and it’s time for Boots & Flannel. Winter Uniform is here y’all: I’ve been wearing some J. Crew lady flannel and Mono black Dr. Martens 1460s with black Jeggings. I feel cozy and ready for this chilly weather.

I was in debate about which bitters to use and nearly went with Orange bitters. However, Peychaud’s works really well here because it adds another level of flavour to this cocktail. Also, you can’t stop the Santa Maria. It cannot be stopped! It won’t let me stop! I’ve been taken over by Santa Maria!

Boots & Flannel

  • 1 1/2 oz Rye
  • 3/4 oz Santa Maria al Monte Amaro
  • 3/4 oz Carpano Antica
  • 1/4 oz Cinnamon Bark Syrup
  • 1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Orange peel
  • Freshly grated Nutmeg

In tin, combine Rye, Amaro, Carpano, Cinnamon bark Syrup and Peychaud’s over ice and stirrrrrr. Strain into Rocks glass over ice. Garnish with freshly grated Nutmeg and Orange peel.

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Holiday Bottled Cocktail: I Just Called To Say I Love You

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I thought to myself, “I have all this leftover Bourbon from ThanxG, why don’t I just turn it into a Bottled Cocktail to give as a gift for the Holidaze!” Then I added more ingredients from all those Holiday Infusions I just did et voilá! Something that should have been a Boulevardier is now the most complicated and magical Holiday Bottled Cocktail ever.

*Note to self: Dear Self, next year, just make a Boulevardier or Negroni and MOVE ON WITH YO’ LYFE. #NegroniWeek

**This recipe is for one Cocktail and these particular bottles hold two Cocktails. Therefore, I doubled the recipe.

I Just Called To Say I Love You

  1. In tin, combine ingredients, express and add Orange peel, add ice.
  2. Stir until proper dilution has been achieved. Strain into Bottle and give it to someone you like a lot!
  3. I would recommend that the recipient chill the bottle, possibly serve on the rocks if they feel the drink is too strong.
  4. I would also recommend a fresh Orange peel in the glass they drink from.

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Cheers to you and all your friends! 

A Fashionable Fellow

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Awooooohoooo, this is a damn tasty cocktail if I do say so myself. I was playing with Boulevardier variations and trying to make a more wintry/holiday version. Here we are: Campari, Sweet Vermouth, Bourbon and Apple Brandy in equal parts. YES!

Note: the Boulevardier is a variation on a Negroni and you all know how much I love Negroni! #EveryWeekIsNegroniWeek

A Fashionable Fellow

  • 3/4 oz Campari
  • 3/4 oz Carpano Antica Formula
  • 3/4 oz Laird’s Apple Brandy
  • 3/4 oz Elijah Craig 12 Year Bourbon
  • Lemon peel

In tin, combine Campari, Carpano Antica, Apple Brandy and Bourbon over cracked ice. Stir and strain into coupe. Express Lemon peel and garnish.

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Boozy and delicious. I almost made two of them but decided to be safe. SAFETY FIRST.

Just Look at This List: Dudley’s

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The other night some friends and I went to Dudley’s in the LES for cocktails and it was pretty sensational. I mean, just look at this list! Each drink we had was so delicious that I nearly re-ordered a drink. We chatted a lot with the very nice barman who’s name is Tom Roughton, very fun and very topknot. He was kind enough to share two of his recipes from that night’s menu with us: Keat’s Apothecary and the special drink of the night Hail Mary.

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Keat’s Apothecary

  • 3/4 oz Apple Brandy
  • 3/4 oz Rye
  • 3/4 oz Carpano Antica
  • 2 dashes Fernet Branca
  • 2 dashes Chartreuse Vert
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Orange peel

Combine ingredients in tin over ice and stir. Strain into ice filled rocks glass, express Orange Peel and garnish.

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Hail Mary

  • 1/2 oz Chartreuse Vert
  • 1/2 oz Averna Amaro
  • 1/2 oz Honey Syrup
  • Pernod Absinthe rinse
  • Doc’s Cider float

Rinse rocks glass with Absinthe and chill. In tin, combine Chartreuse, Averna and Honey syrup over ice and shake. Strain into rinsed glass, add rocks and float cider.

Tasty tasty times!