Low-Proof February? Yeah gurrrrrl.

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Alright y’alllllllll. Hot on the heels of Tiki The Snow Away comes my newest obsession: “Low-Proof February.” I think this is funny cause Tiki The Snow Away was my visceral reaction to the incredibly heavy and rich drinks we have during december (I’m looking at you Egg Nog!) and now Low-Proof February is my reaction to having so many overproof Rums in Tiki drinks. Ahhhh, it’s a silly world we live in.

So, y’all probably have questions. Questions like, “why are there so many bottles of fortified wine n such on your table gurrrrrl?” I’ll answer you with another question: What has an ABV lower than 20% and still has tons of flavor? Fortified wine, that’s what.

The goal of Low-Proof February is to use all of the things you have in the Aperitif & Digestif category as the main ingredients and to use Spirits as modifiers. Think of it as making inverted cocktails. For example: You’re could to use 2 oz of Vermouth and maybe just 1/2 an ounce of Brandy.

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Here’s a really good example of what I’m talking about. This drink is still very satisfying because Atxa Vermouth Amurrio is herbaceous, fruity, wonderful in a spritz, and a good Armagnac has tons of flavor even when used in small amounts.

Grandma’s Spritz

  • 2 oz Atxa Amurrio Vino Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz Chateau de Laubade VSOP Bas Armagnac
  • Soda Water
  • Garnish: Lemon Wheel

Combine ingredients in double rocks glass, add ice, top with Soda water, and garnish.

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Here’s another example that I made while at work at Duke’s Liquor Box. It’s a take on an Americano (Campari, Vermouth, Soda Water) where I used the brand-new-made-in-Brooklyn Forthave Spirits RED Aperitivo in place of Campari and Cocchi Rosa in place of Vermouth.

The Red Rosa

  • 1 1/2 oz Forthave Spirits Red Aperitivo
  • 1 1/2 oz Cocchi Rosa Aperitivo
  • Soda Water
  • Garnish: Orange wedge

Combine ingredients in double rocks glass, add ice, stir briefly, and garnish.

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Here is some inspiration for other low-proof ingredients: Tawny Port, Amontillado Sherry, and War + Rust (a Quinquina made in the USA and fairly similar to Byrrh Aperitif).

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Now for those of you who are like, “Girrrrrrl, I can’t handle only drinking Aperitivi/Digestivi for a month”, you could make yourself a Highball with Japanese Whisky or some other kind of light and wonderful Whisky.

Akashi White Oak Highball

  • 1 1/2 oz Akashi White Oak Japanese Whisky
  • 7 drops Scrappy’s Celery Bitters
  • Soda Water
  • No garnish

The instructions for how to make a proper Japanese Highball are somewhat complicated because in Japan, cocktail making is treated more like a tea ceremony. I do not purport to be an expert on how to make a proper Japanese Highball but here is roughly how to do it:

  1. Use a chilled glass and carefully add ice so it stacks properly
  2.  Pour 1 1/2 oz Japanese Whisky down the side of the glass, making sure not to get any Whisky on the top of the ice.
  3. Pour Soda water down the side of the glass, again making sure not to get any on the top of the ice, until there is approximately 1/4″ space left at the top of the glass.
  4. Put a long barspoon down the side of the glass and swizzle until you have combined the ingredients and created a bit of a frothy head at the top of the glass.
  5. Serve immediately with a straw.

In the case of this particular Highball, I’d recommend adding the bitters before adding the soda water.

Well that’s it! May your Low-Proof February be satisfying and creatively inspiring! I’ll be posting most of my recipes on Instagram, feel free to follow along there.

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Cocktail Crate Grapefruit Daiquiri & Maple Sour

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HELLOOOOO NEW COCKTAIL CRATE MIXERS! As y’all probably know, I’m really into these mixers. I’ve written several articles about Cocktail Crate mixers and 100% of the time, they’ve been awesome. I’m not sure what kind of magic Alex uses to make his stuff, but damn son!

This time, he sent me a Grapefruit Daiquiri mixer and a Maple Whiskey Sour mixer, so break out the bottles and let’s goooooo!

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Always follow the recipe y’all, you will not be disappointed.

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As the good bottle says, use one part clear spirit and one part Cocktail Crate Grapefruit Daiquiri Craft Mixer. The bottle recommends: Rum, Gin or Vodka but this is also really great with Blanco Tequila!

Cocktail Crate Grapefruit Daiquiri

  • 1 1/2 oz White Rum, Gin, Blanco Tequila, Cachaça (or whatever!)
  • 1 1/2 oz Cocktail Crate Grapefruit Daiquiri Mixer

Combine ingredients over ice and shake it like a rocket. Double strain into coupe. Aaaaaah, yes.

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Delicious.

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Once again, follow the ratios, this mixer makes an excellent Whiskey Sour.

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The suggestion is for Bourbon or Rye, but I’ve tried Maple Whiskey Sour mixer with Berkshire Ragged Mountain Rum (aged in Bourbon casks), Yamazaki Japanese Whisky, Rye and as a bonus…

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…this White Pike Whiskey from upstate NY. Wow. You have to try Maple Whiskey Sour + a White Dog Whiskey (unaged Bourbon), cause it’s totally AMAZING.

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Now this mixer is made with Maple Syrup, Lemon, some other stuff, and Bitters. Personally, I wanted a tad more Bitters, so I’ve been adding one dash of either Hella Bitters Citrus Bitters or Angostura Bitters.

Cocktail Crate Maple Whiskey Sour

  • 1 1/2 oz Whisky, Whiskey, Bourbon, Rum aged in Bourbon, (or whatever Whiskey you want!)
  • 1 1/2 oz Cocktail Crate Maple Whiskey Sour Mixer
  • Garnish: Lemon peel, Lemon wheel, or Cinnamon bark

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

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Hell yes.

Thanks to Alex for sending me these delicious mixers! Cocktail Crate is supreme above all other mixers!

Brunch Bonanza: Philosopher’s Breakfast

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Welcome to Brunch Bonanza, the segment where we talk about Brunch Cocktails!

Today’s BB is very special and dear to my heart y’all. “Why girl? Why is this one so special?” you may ask. Well, it’s the first time I’ve ever made a cocktail with Yamazaki 12 Year and THAT is a huuuuuuge deal. I always drink Yamazaki 12 neat or on a single rock. I always drink it with a heavy amount of ceremony. I always drink it with my girlfriend.

For me to break these traditions and use it in (of all things) a Brunch Cocktail caused me quite a panic! I was literally panicked! “Ok, girl, okokokok, calm down.” Phew, ok, I’ve calmed down. You see, I bought some Dundee Orange Marmalade and have been formulating a drink with it for quite some time but nothing was quite speaking to me until I looked over at my fancy glassware cabinet and the Yamazaki 12 Year was just STARING BACK AT ME.

So I said, “Ok Yamazaki 12, I’ll give you a try.” Obviously it was incredible. I actually can’t really talk about how incredible it was cause some of you would probably stop reading!

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Hello Marmalade, you delicious blob of pith. Pithy.

Philosopher’s Breakfast

  • 2 oz Yamazaki 12 Year
  • 1/2 oz Bonal Aperitif
  • 1 tsp Dundee Orange Marmalade
  • 1/2 oz fresh Orange Juice
  • 1/4 oz fresh Lemon Juice

Garnish: small bit of Orange Marmalade with Pith.

Dry shake ingredients to incorporate Marmalade, then add ice and wet shake. Double strain into rocks glass over rocks. Garnish with Orange Marmalade.

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Why Bonal you ask? Why not? It’s herbaceous and citrusy at the same time. Totally compliments the Yamazaki 12 and Orange Marmalade.

Happy Brunching to you all!