National Hazelnut Month with Frangelico

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Did y’all know that September is National Hazelnut month? Neither did I, but I’m so happy I found out about it! What delicious Liqueur is made with Hazelnuts and comes in a bottle shaped like a monk? Frangelico!

Frangelico has been leading the charge to get the mighty hazelnut on our collective consciousness. This liqueur hails from the Piedmont region of Italy, using inspiration from centuries old recipes. It has warm, sweet prominent Hazelnut notes, followed by Vanilla, and Cocoa.

Let’s get to the cocktails!

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I decided to start with a Rum sour cause to me, Nuttiness + Rum = hell yes! I didn’t want to go full Tiki, but the Pineapple wedge gives a little island feel to the drink.

Angelica in the West Indies

  • 2 oz Plantation Barbados 5 Year Rum
  • 3/4 oz Frangelico
  • 1/2 oz Honey Syrup
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura
  • Garnish: Pineapple wedge

Combine ingredients over ice and short shake. Strain into double Rocks glass with ice. Garnish with Pineapple wedge.

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Next I decided to get spice-y and desert-y, cause I had a feeling that Frangelico + Jägermeister + Carpano Antica would be a great flavour set. It was. It was such a great flavour set that I keep thinking about it. To dry things out, I added Hine H Cognac as the base and topped it off with a couple dashes of Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters. DESSERT!

The Road to Turin

  • 1 3/4 oz Hine H Cognac
  • 1/4 oz Frangelico
  • 1/2 oz Jägermeister
  • 1/2 oz Carpano Antica
  • 2 dashes Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters

Combine ingredients over ice and stirrrrrrr. Strain into chilled coupe and serve.

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Cheers to MBooth for including me in National Hazelnut Month!

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The Arborist’s Nightcap

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Here’s a nice slow sippin’ Friday night Nightcap with Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey. My girlfriend had a taste and said it tastes like “climbing a tree”. I think she’s right! It also tastes smoky, seductive, raisin/prune/grapey, saline-y, briney, fig, nutty. Enjoy!

The Arborist’s Nightcap

  • 1 3/4 oz Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz Inocente Fino Sherry
  • 1/2 oz Punt e Mes
  • 1/4 oz Cinnamon Bark Syrup
  • 2 dashes Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters
  • Garnish: Maraschino Cherry

Combine ingredients over ice and stir until proper dilution has been achieved. Strain into coupe, garnish with Maraschino Cherry.

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Thanks again to The Baddish Group for the delicious bottle of Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey!

Branca Menta & National Chocolate Mint Day

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Hello Minty fresh and decadently fabulous people! Let’s talk about Branca Menta.

For Valenspoons I did a post on Fernet Branca and the Hanky Panky, an excellent amaro in an excellent cocktail. Well, have you heard of and/or tasted Fernet Branca’s little brother? Branca Menta has the flavour profile of Fernet Branca but with the added power of Mint. It is lower proof, sweeter yet still bitter, has a greater viscosity and is just perfect as a digestivo. I’ve been drinking it frequently after dinner or with dessert.

What goes better with a Mint Amaro than Dark Chocolate? Nothing. Absolutely Nothing. National Chocolate Mint Day is 19 February, so let’s get going! I’ve got two tasty cocktails for us to celebrate.

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I wanted to make a Mint Chocolate drink which was neither very sweet nor anything like a “mint chocolate Martini” (hint, not a Martini, quit calling it a Martini). I turned to my fave aged rum, Flor de Caña 7, added the totally awesome St George NOLA Coffee Liqueur and Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters instead of Crème de Cacao. The result is a bitterly chocolate mint cocktail, powerful enough to get us through the frigid winter, yet tasty enough to ask for another.

A.C.M. (Amaro Ciccolata alla Menta)

  • 1 3/4 oz Flor de Caña 7 Year Aged Rum
  • 1/2 oz Branca Menta
  • 1/2 oz St George NOLA Coffee Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters
  • Garnish: grated 70% Dark Chocolate

Combine ingredients and stir over ice until proper dilution has been achieved. Strain into chilled coupe. Grate Dark Chocolate on top. Santé!

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Secondly, I JUST WANTED SOME CIOCCOLATA DENSA WITH BRANCA MENTA! This is where we can all just shout “WOOOOOO”! Yes y’all, it’s my fabulously thick Hot Chocolate with aged rum and Branca Menta.

I have a bit of a history with Cioccolata Densa and Chocolat Chaud. Back in 1999, I went to Italy for the first time where I experienced the awesomeness which is Italian Cuisine. Nothing compares to real Italian food and it is definitely my favourite type of cuisine to cook. I also had Cioccolata Densa and it blew my notions of “Hot Chocolate” out of the water. Soon after that, I tried the French version, Chocolat Chaud and have never turned back. I always make my drinking chocolate very dense and not very sweet. Cheers to THAT!

Branca Menta Cioccolata Densa

  • 10 oz Whole Milk (do not use reduced fat Milk, ever, just don’t do it)
  • 4 heaping tbsp Dark Chocolate Chips (70% or above)
  • 2 tbsp Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix (70% or above)
  • 2 oz Flor de Caña 7 Aged Rum
  • 1 oz Branca Menta
  1. In pot, combine Mlik and Dark Chocolate Chips over very low heat stirring constantly.
  2. When the Chips start to melt and mix with the Milk, gradually add the Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix until everything is smooth and fabulous.
  3. Turn the heat off, add Rum and Branca Menta. If you don’t find the above amounts to be enough Rum and Branca Menta, add some more until you like it.

*Recipe should create approx 4 servings in Espresso cups.

Branca-Menta

Where you at? You sexy thang. 

Thanks again to Branca Menta and the Baddish Group for giving me the opportunity to participate in this totally delicious Chocolate Mint experience! Tasty times, happy minds.

Valentines & the Hanky Panky

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So, it’s the week of Valentines, or as I like to call it, Valenspoons. I have no idea why I started calling it Valenspoons, perhaps it was because I like the way it sounds, it’s a silly sounding word. Perhaps I changed the name during one of those years when I did not have a sweetheart and was frustrated that this holiday even existed! Perhaps it was to mock the notion that there should be a Hallmark Holiday which encourages people to hit one another up on Tinder and have a dinner date + some Hanky Panky.

Speaking of Hanky Panky…

Do you all love Fernet-Branca as much as I do? Do you get that “Bartender’s Handshake” after a long night out? Do you drink Fernet-Branca after meals to savour the incredibly complex flavours and help settle your tummy? Do you think the Toronto is the best Manhattan Variation? Cause I do!

The Hanky Panky is one of my fave classic Gin cocktails, right up there with a Martinez, French 75 and Martini. Bonus: this drink was invented by a lady! Wooooo! Laaaaady! Ada Coleman was the head bartender at the Savoy American Bar in the early 20th C and the story goes that she created this cocktail for Sir Charles Hawtrey. When he had his first sip, he drained the whole glass and said, “By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!”

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Hanky Panky

  • 1 1/2 oz Hayman’s Old Tom Gin or London Dry Gin
  • 1 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Fernet-Branca
  • Garnish: Orange peel

Combine ingredients and stir with ice. Strain into coupe, express Orange peel and garnish.

Dirty-Puzzle

And since it’s Valenspoons, I’ve got a little variation for y’all! I decided to dry it out with Plymouth Gin, different specs, swap out the Orange peel for a Blood Orange peel and add some Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters. Totes a Valenspoons drink now y’all! Fire up the Tindering!

Dirty Puzzle (Hanky Panky variation)

Combine ingredients and stir with ice. Strain into coupe, express Blood Orange peel and garnish.

Fernet-Branca

Luv u Fernet-Branca. Luv y’all. Happy Valentimes. 

Thanks to The Baddish Group for giving the opportunity to make these delicious drinks!

Picante Chocolate

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Back 1999, I went to Northern Italy for my high school graduation/birthday present. The first thing I noticed was that everyone was better dressed than anyone I’d ever seen in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sensational fashion, such effortless elegance. I went shopping.

The second thing I noticed was the food. Even though California is renowned for its fresh and delicious cooking, real Italian food was actually more fresh and flavours more supreme. At some point during my trip I had Cioccolata Densa, the very thick Italian version of French Chocolat Chaud both of which are SO MUCH BETTER THAN AMERICAN HOT CHOCOLATE.

European drinking chocolate is thick, delicious and served in smaller cups, not watery, gross, underflavoured and served in giant styrofoam mugs. When I returned to California, I started making my Chocolate Chaud with: Whole Milk, Dark Chocolate chips, a bit of Hot Cocoa Mix and Salt. Later, I added Cinnamon and Chillies cause the Latina in me wanted a lil’ spice.

Once again, this Patrón XO Cafe Incendio is perfect in hot drinks. The Chocolate and Chili really turn this drinking chocolate into a Mexican Mouth-Party. Yep, I did just say that: Mexican Mouth-Party.

Picante Chocolate

  • 6 oz Organic Whole Milk
  • 2 tbsp Dark Chocolate Chips (add more for increased thickness)
  • 1 tbsp Hot Cocoa Mix
  • 1/2 oz Cinnamon Bark Syrup
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 1/2 oz Patrón XO Cafe Incendio
  • 1 oz Corallejo Añejo Tequila
  • 2 dashes Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters
  • Finely Ground Cinnamon
  1. Combine Hot Chocolate ingredients in sauce pot and heat on LOW until chocolate has dissolved and ingredients have mixed well
  2. Just as liquids begin to boil, turn heat off
  3. Add Café Incendio, Añejo Tequila, Chocolate Bitters and stir
  4. Serve in Espresso cups or similarly sized cups, dust with ground Cinnamon

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