HBG Video: Gin & Orange No. 1

Hey y’alllllll! Welcome to my first cocktail video! My friend, the incomparable Julian Franco came over to my lil apt, and shot this video of me making Gin & Orange No. 1. Hope you enjoy and here’s the recipe!

Gin & Orange No. 1

  • 1 1/2 oz London Dry Gin
  • 1/2 oz Carpano Antica Italian Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • Two dashes Orange Bitters
  • Garnish: Orange peel

Stirrrrrr & Strain. Express Orange peel and garnish.

Cheers!

Denizen Merchant’s Reserve + Mai Tai

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Back in July, Nick Pelis, the founder of Denizen Rum, emailed me to say thank you for using their Denizen Aged White Rum in so many of my cocktails. He then offered a bottle of Merchant’s Reserve if I’d like to use it in some recipes. I replied with, “oh my gosh, no, thank you!” because y’all, I LOVE DENIZEN RUM! I’ve used it more than all other Rums cause it plays well with others and is so damn tasty.

Well, after a couple months of email-tag, I’ve got my bottle of Merchant’s Reserve and it’s just as wonderful as the Denizen Aged White!

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BEHOLD! FEAST YOUR EYES ON THE GLORY!

The first and perhaps most important thing to note on the label are the words, “Rum” and “Rhum”. Both at the same time, on the same label…do you catch what I’m getting at? It’s both aged Jamaican Rum & Martinique Rhum blended together!

The flavor profile is out of the world: funky and grassy, sweetly caramel and dry, fruity and herbaceous. It’s the best of both worlds at the same time and it totally works.

In one of my emails with Nick, he referred me to this Cocktail Wonk review, (highly recommend) that contained a very important bit of info down in the comments section by one Martin Cate. Namely, Denizen Merchant’s Reserve was created to be akin to the Rum in one of the original Trader Vic Mai Tai recipes!

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With that bit of information in mind, I thought, well the very first drink I make with this Rum will most definitely be a Mai Tai!

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And it’s the best damn Mai Tai I’ve ever made! The complexity, dryness, grassy and funky notes make the Merchant’s Reserve the best Rum for a Mai Tai. Like soooooo, so, so the best.

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I don’t have Curaçao at home, so I used Cointreau instead. Killer. Supremely delicious. Tears of happiness.

Denizen Merchant’s Reserve Mai Tai

  • 2 oz Denizen Merchant’s Reserve
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau or Dry Curaçao
  • 1/2 oz Orgeat*
  • 1 oz Lime Juice
  • Garnish: Lime shell, Mint sprig

Combine ingredients over ice and short shake. Strain into double Rocks glass over cracked or crushed ice and garnish.

*Depending on the kind of Orgeat you have, you may want to use 1/4 oz Orgeat & 1/4 oz Cane Simple Syrup. My Orgeat the BG Reynolds kind and isn’t very creamy.

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There will be many more Denizen Merchant’s Reserve cocktails in our future. Stay tuned! Thank you Nick for the supremely delicious bottle!

The Wedding Planner

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A week ago, I went to the Farmer’s Market during the peak of Pepper season and got my hands on some picante goodness in the form of a Serrano Chile Pepper. I also picked up one of the largest Cantaloupe’s I’ve ever seen. Having just returned from the SF Bay Area, and having had a delicious Cantaloupe Margarita at Tacolicious, it was time to get to werk.

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I was inspired by Tacolicious’ use of Cantaloupe purée and decided to make my own with the aforementioned Serrano Chile Pepper and some Lime Juice.

Serrano Cantaloupe Purée

  • 4 handfulls of Cantaloupe chunks
  • 1 oz Lime Juice
  • 1/2 Serrano Pepper, seeded

Combine ingredients in blender and blend baby, BLEND!

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You did it? You Blended? Supreme! Next we make a tasty Margarita.

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We make this Margarita to be specific. Isn’t it beau-tiful? Don’t you wanna sit outside/poolside/beachside with this one?

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Why is this drink named The Wedding Planner? Well, I asked my brilliant friends if they had any good names for a Marg with Cantaloupe and Seth said, “The Wedding Planner, cause you can’t elope.” HA HA HA.

Also appropriate for a Wedding Planner, is that this is a recipe for two. I didn’t want any of that Serrano Cantaloupe goodness to go to waste.

The Wedding Planner

  • 4 oz Casa Noble Crystal Blanco Tequila
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz Agave Nectar (if your Cantaloupes are really sweet, you can omit this)
  • 4 oz Serrano Cantalope Purée
  • Pinch of Salt shaken into drink
  • Garnish: Cantaloupe chunks and Tiki Umbrella

Combine ingredients over ice and shake. Strain into double Rocks glass over ice and garnish.

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Cheers to y’all and may all your Melon Marg dreams come truuuuuue.

Twirlin’ A Lady + Cilantro & Serrano infused Tequila

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Ok everyone, it’s officially Summer in New York City. It is hot as hell outside, I’m constantly covered in sweat (ewww) and the Tequila is flowing! #TequilaSeason has us in the grip!

As I’ve stated in a certain podcast (Episode 10), I don’t like to do tons of infusions because I really want y’all to be able to make these drinks at home. However, when I do, there is usually a really good reason. The good reason here is freshness.

I swear to the stars this infusion smells and tastes super extra fresh! On the nose, chile spice and cilantro notes happen before the Tequila comes through, thereby creating the illusion that everything was muddled in the glass right before you. The taste is just as exciting and very complex. It’s really quite an experience!

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I like to use Espolón for infusing anything (as well as mixing in cocktails) because it just plays very nicely with other ingredients. I already have a Jalapeño infused Espolón Blanco Tequila, so I decided to go with Reposado for this infusion. Besides, I sort of missed this particular Reposado. (Reunited and it feels so good.)

Cilantro & Serrano Chile Infused Reposado Tequila

  • 250 ml Espolón Reposado Tequila
  • 1/4 bunch of Cilantro with the stems cut off
  • 1/2 of 1 Serrano Chile, seeds and all

Combine ingredients in jar or measuring cup, stir, and cover for *40 mins. Fine strain into sealed jar or bottle.

*If you want more heat, I highly recommend removing the Cilantro at the 40 minute mark or you’ll lose that super fresh taste. You can keep the Chili going for another 30 minutes or so but you will have some SPICY ASS Tequila!

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Hello pretty, fragrant leaves. I could smell you forever.

So, what should we make with this tasty infusion? Grapefruit Juice was the first thing that came to mind. Then Cointreau. Then I just decided to make a Margarita served up and named it Twirlin’ A Lady.

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¡Muy, muy refrescando!

Twirlin’ A Lady

  • 1 1/2 oz Cilantro + Serrano Chile infused Espolón Reposado Tequila
  • 1 1/2 oz Red Grapefruit Juice
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau
  • 2 dashes Dutch’s Spirits ProhiBitters (sub Orange Bitters)
  • Garnish: Pink Salt rim and 1 Cilantro leaf

Combine ingredients over ice and vigorously shake. Seriously, shake it like you’ve never shaken anything before for around 10 seconds. This way you get that lovely foam on top. Garnish with Pink Salt and Cilantro leaf. ¡Salud!

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If only #TequilaSeason were forever!

Cocktail Crate Sriracha Margarita

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Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow! Get ready to shake it up with Sriracha Margarita!

Once again, I have the IMMENSE pleasure of doing a post about a Cocktail Crate Craft Mixer! If you recall, I’ve written several posts about Cocktail Crate Mixers because they are THE BEST! Alex Boyd does not cut corners on the ingredients and you can totally tell! I’m not sure exactly what magic he uses to get such freshness out of a bottled Mixer, but seriously this Sriracha Margarita is FRESH and flavourful!

Obviously the first thing I did was to follow the instructions on the back and make a Margarita. Always follow instructions y’all.

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Cocktail Crate Sriracha Margarita

  • 1 Part Mixer
  • 1 Part Tequila
  • Garnish: Lime wheel

Shake Vigorously with ice. Strain into glass over Ice.

Well, it’s totally delicious and refreshing. I could seriously drink a million of these and I have made one for nearly every person who’s come to hang out at my apartment.

HINT: BUY THIS MIXER FOR ALL YOUR #TEQUILASEASON PARTIES!

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If you feel like you wanted to spruce up the Cocktail Crate Sriracha Margarita or if you are missing the taste of Orange in your Marg, I recommend the following recipe.

Cocktail Crate Sriracha Margarita No. 2

  • 1 1/2 oz Blanco Tequila
  • 1 1/2 oz Cocktail Crate Sriracha Margarita Mixer
  • 1/4 oz Cointreau
  • 2 dashes Regans’ Orange Bitters
  • Garnish: Lime wheel, pinch of Salt

Combine ingredients over ice and shake. Strain into double Rocks glass over ice. Garnish with Lime wheel and drop a pinch of Salt into the glass. Salud!

Wasn’t that easy and tasty? Head over to Cocktail Crate now and order several bottles of this delicious mixer! Thanks to Alex Boyd for the bottle!

It’s Pimm’s Season

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Well here we are, together in the bright cheer of spring. And what do we drink in this most thrilling of seasons? We drink Pimm’s No. 1!

For those of you who haven’t had the supreme pleasure of sipping a Pimm’s Cup yet, it’s divine. Pimm’s No. 1 is a Gin based Liqueur which was originally envisioned as a “bottled cocktail”. There used to be six different Pimm’s Cups each with their own base spirit. Today there are the orginal Pimm’s No. 1, Pimm’s Blackberry & Elderflower, Pimm’s No. 3 Winter Cup, and Pimm’s No. 6 with a Vodka base. In the NYC area, I’ve only seen the No. 1 and Blackberry & Elderflower.

Pimm’s No. 1 tasting notes:

  • Nose: Ginny & juniper, coriander, delightfully fruity and herbaceous bouquet, Orange, Strawberry, spices
  • Taste: Gin, vegetal, citrus
  • Finish: short and wide

So essentially, we’re talking the greatest spring/summer Liqueur for anyone who loves Gin!

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Pimm’s No. 1 Cup (official recipe)

  • 60 ml / 2 oz  Pimm’s No. 1
  • 150 ml / 5 oz  Lemon Soda (the dry British sort)
  • Garnishes: Mint, Strawberry, Orange Slice, Cucumber

Combine ingredients in a Collins glass over ice and stir. Serve with a straw and fabulous garnishes.

Now, you know this wouldn’t be a Home Bar Girl post without some variations, so here we go!

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Pimm’s Collins

  • 2 oz Pimm’s No. 1
  • 1 oz Hayman’s Old Tom Gin
  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
  • Top with Soda Water
  • Garnishes: Mint, Cucumber, Strawberry, Orange Wheel

Combine Pimm’s, Gin, Lemon Juice and Simple syrup and stir. Strain into Collin’s glass with ice and garnishes. Top with soda water and serve with a straw.

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Caribbean Pimm’s Cup

  • 2 oz Pimm’s No. 1
  • 1/2 oz Denizen Aged White Rum
  • 1/2 oz Flor de Caña 7 Aged Rum
  • 1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
  • 3/4 oz Lime Juice
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Garnishes: Mint, Pineapple, Cucumber, Strawberry, Orange slice

Combine Pimm’s No. 1, Rums, Falernum, Lime Juice and stir. Strain into Collins glass with ice and garnishes. Top with Ginger Ale and serve with a straw.

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Mexican Pimm’s Cup

  • 2 oz Pimm’s No 1
  • 3/4 oz Casa Noble Blanco Tequila
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau
  • 3/4 oz Lime Juice
  • Soda Water
  • Garnishes: Cucumber, Orange Wheel, “Mexican Flag” of Lime Wedge, Banana Slice and Strawberry

Combine Pimm’s, Blanco Tequila, Cointreau, Lime Juice and stir. Strain into Collins glass with ice and garnishes. Top with Soda.

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Let’s just look at this again cause this “Mexican Flag” garnish is my fave thing ever. Also, yummmm.

Cheers to you and yours during Pimm’s Season! Thanks again to the Baddish Group for the Casa Noble Tequila!

MxMo + Santa Monica Sunrise

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Well, happy Monday to y’all! I’ve decided to participate in another Mixology Monday cause the theme for this month is “Drink of Shame”. Hah! The description for this Shameful Cocktail was something to the effect of, “You know how to make a great cocktail nowwww, but what about when you were young? What was your favourite drink from back in the day but something that you’d be too embarrassed or ashamed to drink/make now?”

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Whitney Munro over at Tipicular Fixin came up with this brilliant idea and gave suggestions such as Mudslides, Jello Shots and Jolly Ranchers. Then we were encouraged to update the drink or make a variation which we would be unashamed to order in a bar. For me, this Drink of Shame is a Tequila Sunrise.

Tequila Sunrise Kitchen Riffs

Image via Kitchen Riffs

Tequila Sunrise (IBA Recipe)

  • 1 1/2 oz Tequila
  • 3 oz Orange Juice
  • 1/2 oz Grenadine
  • Garnish: Orange slice & Maraschino Cherry

Yesssssss. When I first started going dancing in my twenties, this was my Drink of Shame but at least it’s a really pretty drink! Unfortunately, most of the time it was made with bottom shelf nasty Tequila (blech), canned orange juice (gag me) and terrifying candy tasting Grenadine (kill me now). I know this is a classic Disco Era drink which is why I thought it was perfect for dancing. I mean, it IS totally perfect for dancing but goodness, let’s get some REAL ingredients up in this bitch.

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When I decided to update the Tequila Sunrise, I thought, “let’s skip the OJ all together and substitute the grenadine with something else.” The something else was Campari and the OJ became Ruby Red Grapefruit juice, Cointreau and Orange bitters. This is now a really damn tasty drink!

I named it Santa Monica Sunrise cause that’s where I was born, this actually does look like a West Coast sunrise and it totally seems like something you should order in LA.

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Note, the drink fades and so does the Grapefruit peel. That natural fade gurrrrrrl.

Santa Monica Sunrise

  • 2 oz Casa Noble Blanco Tequila
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • approx 1/2 oz Campari
  • 2 oz Grapefruit Juice
  • 2 dashes Regans’ Orange Bitters
  • Garnish: Grapefruit Peel

Combine Tequila, Cointreau, Grapefruit Juice and bitters over ice and short shake. Double strain into double Rocks glass with Cracked, Crushed or Pebble ice. Slowly pour the Campari down the side of the glass so it doesn’t mix with the other ingredients and forms a layer on the bottom. Garnish with a Grapefruit peel and serve with a straw.

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Yummmmmy. I ain’t ashamed of this!

Thanks again to the Baddish Group for the Casa Noble Tequila!

Drinking with Mad Men Season 7: Tiki Cocktails

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Blue Hawaii & Mai Tai

To celebrate “The End of An Era”, welcome to a series of drinks from the television show Mad Men. Each week I’ll be featuring different cocktails from the show, so we can all drink along with our favourite Madison Avenue Ad-men and women.

By now, y’all should know that my love for Mad Men is deeeeep. It’s a meticulously filmed show with fabulous fashion, the story has me in the grip, and the cocktails are beauuuuutiful!

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Don’t you just love Megan’s hat? Beach hat perfection!

In the opening scenes of S6E1, Don and Megan are in Hawaii. (I want to be in Hawaii RIGHT NOW!) As Don reads an incredibly ominous passage from Dante’s Inferno, Megan’s second (third, fourth?) Blue Hawaii is delivered by one of the Hotel Staff. It’s almost like Don and Megan are in totally opposite worlds in these scenes. She, lost in her tan and tropical cocktails, Don in a brooding haze.

If I had to choose between those two temperments, I would totally be #TeamMegan in this scene. Give me the next Blue Hawaii!

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When it comes to making classic Tropical and Tiki drinks, I like to be accurate! I use the Beachbum Berry Total Tiki app to look up recipes and then make them as closely to the original as possible. Blue Hawaii was created in 1957 by Harry K Yee of the Hawaiian Village Hotel in Waikiki to promote Bols Blue Curaçao. Personally, I like to use “The Genuine” Senior Curaçao cause this shit is tastyyyyyy.

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Blue Hawaii

  • 3/4 oz White Rum
  • 3/4 oz Vodka*
  • 1/2 oz Blue Curaçao
  • 1 oz Sweet & Sour Mix**
  • 3 oz Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish: Not specified but usually Pineapple & Maraschino Cherry

Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a glass filled with Cracked, Crushed or Pebble ice. Garnish with fruit.

*I’m a Gin Gal and ususally swap the Vodka for Gin. Ginny, Gin, Gin. This drink is even tastier with Gin. (shocking!)

**Sweet & Sour Mix is 1 part Simple Syrup and 2 Parts Lemon Juice. Make your own, never ever buy it pre-made. Freshness is key.

Rachel Menken Mai Tai

RIP Rachel Menken, you were such a serious lady.

Now let’s go back to the beginning. Yes y’all, there is a Tiki drink all the way back in S1E1!

Don has made a mess of things with Rachel Menken and is asked by the partners to patch things up. They go for drinks that same evening. Don orders a Whiskey Neat while Rachel orders a “special Mai Tai” and what a Mai Tai at that! Look at that Pineapple “Firebird” garnish! It’s totally fabulous! Someday I will achieve such garnish greatness. However, I’ve noticed that the Mad Men props people forgot one key element to a Mai Tai garnish, the Mint sprig.

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If it be a Mai Tai, there shall be a Mint Sprig in the garnish!

Once again, I’ve referenced the Beachbum Berry Total Tiki app for this Mai Tai. The original Mai Tai was created by Trader Vic in 1944 for his famous Trader Vic’s restaurant in Oakland, California. According to legend, Trader Vic created the drink for some friends of his who had just flown in from Tahiti. One of the friends tasted the drink and exclaimed: “Maita’i roa ae!” or “Out of this world!”

Mai Tai (Trader Vic’s Original Recipe)

  • 1 oz Jamaican Rum
  • 1 oz Aged Martinique Rhum
  • 1/2 oz Curaçao
  • 1/4 oz Orgeat
  • 1/4 oz Simple Syrup
  • 1 oz Lime Juice
  • Garnish: Mint Sprig

Now, I’ve had to make some substitutions because I don’t have clear Curaçao or Martinique Rhum. I also would rather have a bit more Orgeat in my drink than add 1/4 oz Simple Syrup.

Mai Tai (this is what Home Bar Girl has in her apartment Recipe)

  • 1 oz Smith & Cross Navy Strength Jamaica Rum
  • 1 oz Denizen Aged White Rum
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau Triple Sec
  • 1/2 oz Orgeat
  • 1 oz Lime Juice
  • Garnish: Mint Sprig, Pineapple, Maraschino Cherry

Shake ingredients over ice and strain into Double Rocks glass on Cracked, Crushed or Pebble ice. Garnish with Mint Sprig, Pineapple and Maraschino Cherry.

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As far as the Mai Tai goes, there are a million variations so, have fun! I just recommend that you start with two kinds of Rum, some kind of Curaçao or Triple Sec, Orgeat, Lime Juice and a Mint sprig. Once you’ve got a feel for how these things taste together, get creative!

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed these Tiki drinks from the Mad Men series. I’ll be doing this until the bitter end. See you next week!

National Margarita Day with Casa Noble Crystal

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February 22 is National Margarita Day and I have been #blessed y’all, #BLESSED with this fabulous bottle of Casa Noble Crystal to make Margaritas. I was totally blown away by how tasty this Blanco Tequila is and will try to describe it in a few words.

  • On the Nose: Pineapple, Strawberry, Grasses
  • On the Tongue: Banana, Citrus, Chocolate, Nutty, Agave
  • In the Mouth: Smooth and velvety, almost no “Tequila burn”

In other words, Casa Noble Crystal is a truly special Tequila. It’s definitely unlike any other Blanco Tequila I’ve ever tasted and therefore, the first thing I did was make a classic Margarita with it. I highly recommend taking this approach when testing a new Spirit. Like, when I get a new Rum, I always make a Daiquiri with it. This way I know how the Spirit is going to interact with Citrus, sweetness, etc.

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Casa Noble Crystal Margarita

  • 2 oz Casa Noble Crystal Blanco Tequila
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau (yes, that is Cointreau in a jar cause I live in a tiny apartment)
  • 1/2 oz Organic Agave Nectar
  • 1 oz Lime Juice
  • Garnish: Hawaiian Pink Salt and Lime Wheel

In tin, combine Tequila, Cointreau, Agave Nectar and Lime Juice over ice and shake it baby! Rim Rocks glass with Salt, add ice and strain drink into glass. Lime wheel at the end. Fabulous, classic, yum.

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Once I knew how this beautiful Tequila interacted in a classic Margarita, I got fancy. Mint and Grapefruit fancy to be specific.

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Pample-Menthe Margarita

  • 2 oz Casa Noble Crystal Blanco Tequila
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz Organic Agave Nectar
  • 3/4 oz Ruby Red Grapefuit Juice
  • 1/2 oz Lime Juice
  • 2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
  • 5-6 Mint Leaves
  • Garnish: Hawaiian Pink Salt, Mint Bouquet

In tin, muddle Mint leaves, Grapefruit Juice, Lime juice and Agave Nectar. Dry shake to incorporate ingredients. Add Tequila, Cointreau, Orange Bitters, Ice and short shake again. Rim rocks glass with salt, add ice and double strain drink into glass. Lastly, add Mint Bouquet.

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Hello Pineapple Spear Bunny Ears. 

Then I decided I wanted to bring out the Banana and Pineapple notes from the Casa Noble Crystal Tequila. I recalled that whole month of #TikiTheSnowAway and said to myself, “I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna make a Tiki Margarita”. This is also the first drink that I consulted The Flavor Bible and learned Coconut Milk and Vanilla Bean syrup go very well together!

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Island Time Margarita*

  • 2 oz Casa Noble Crystal Blanco Tequila
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz Vanilla Bean Syrup
  • 1 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 1/2 oz Lime Juice
  • 3/4 oz Coconut Milk
  • 5-6 Banana Slices
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish: Hawaiian Pink Salt, 2 Pineapple Spears

In tin, muddle Pineapple Juice, Lime Juice, Coconut Milk, Vanilla Bean Syrup and Banana slices. Dry shake until ingredients are incorporated. Add Tequila, Cointreau, Bitters and Ice and shake again. Rim rocks glass with salt and add ice. Double strain drink into glass and garnish with Pineapple Spears.

*Honestly, this is the best Margarita I’ve ever made. It might even be the best Tiki drink I’ve ever made.

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Let’s just look at this again, shall we? Sooooo dreamy, so tasty. 

Thanks to Casa Noble for their magical Crystal Blanco Tequila and thanks to the Baddish Group for the opportunity to use it for National Margarita Day!