Crying over the end of Summer with a Blackberry Buck

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Tis a sad sad time over here at Home Bar Girl, for my favorite season, the season of my birth, the season with ALL the fruit, the season of heat, ice-filled Cocktails, swimming, and funnnnnn, is nearly over. I’m crying some real end-of-summer tears y’all.

However, there is one thing about late-August that I hold near and dear to my heart…

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…Blackberries.

When I was a small gurrrrrl growing up in Novato, CA, we lived next to a park with a creek. I spent every day in that park and when the weather was warm enough, I spent a lot of time “creek walking” and swimming in its murky waters. There was one patch of the creek that had a ton of Blackberry bushes, so in late August we’d pick a bucket full o’ berries, take them back home, and Mamoo would put them in a fabulous Blackberry cobbler.

Fast forward to 2016 and I’m city gurrrrrl who dreams, nay pines for freshly picked fruit. I get my fix by going to the Grand Army Plaza Farmer’s Market every Saturday. The minute Blackberries showed up at the market, my heart lept with joy, and I bought some.

Nostalgia, IT’S REAL!

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So dark, so luscious, so tasty.

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So, we’re doing this drink smash style and I’d recommend layering your items in the same order as the above photo. That way, when you put your straw into the bottom of the glass, you get a nice hit of mint.

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I was thinking of making a Bramble, but lack the Crème de Mûre, so I went with a Buck instead:

  1. I decided to use Bimini Gin cause it has a bunch of nice citrus notes which would pair well with this selection of fruit and still retain enough juniper backbone to shine through. If you can get this Gin, do so immediately. It’s the perfect summer Gin and I’ve made a million Gin & Tonics, Collins, and Negronis with it.
  2. Fever-Tree Ginger Beer is real real good y’all. Nice amount of ginger but not too spicy which in the case of this Buck, is juuuust right.

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Blackberry Buck

  • 2 oz Bimini Gin
  • ~3 oz Fever Tree Ginger Beer
  • Handfull of Blackberries
  • 2 Lemon Wedges
  • 5-6 Mint Leaves
  • Garnish: Mint bouquet

Build in Collins glass: Muddle Blackberries, Lemon Wedges, and Mint together. Add Gin, ice and stir til things have combined nicely. Top with Ginger Beer and a Mint bouquet.

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End of summer Cheers to all y’all, may you sip a Blackberry Buck and fight back the tears!

Mai Tai Find You In Compton featured on Sirius XM

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Hey y’all! My friend Madina Papadopoulos (who writes for Paste, Village Voice, and Sirius XM among other things) has included my Cachaça Yaguara Mai Tai in her Summer Sips & Sounds round up! She paired the Mai Tai with Ice Cube’s It Was a Good Day. Cool eh?

Head to Sirius XM to read the whole article and check out some of the other excellent pairings!

Cheers!

I Never Thought This Day Would Come

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Y’all, guess who actually went out and bought a bottle of Vodka? THIS GURL! I was at the farmers’ market in Prospect Park and Orange County Distillery was sampling some of their spirits. I tasted the Gin and Vodka, both of which were pretty tasty, but the Vodka was honestly better!

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“Gurl what? You liked a Vodka better than a Gin? Why?”

  1. It’s made from Sugar Beets.
  2. The viscosity is killer.
  3. It’s just straight up delicious with lots of citrus and floral notes.

Basically, this is the second coming of Vodka.

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So of course I wanted to put it in a spring themed drink with Lavender, Mint, Honey, and Lemon.

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And since the mint was so fabulous, I decided to turn this into a smash.

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The name of this drink comes from the fact that I honestly never thought I would like a bottle of Vodka enough to buy it.

I Never Thought This Day Would Come

  • 2 oz Orange County Distillery Vodka
  • 3/4 oz Honey Syrup
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1 dash Barkeep Lavender Bitters
  • 5 big Mint Leaves
  • Garnish: Mint Bouquet

Add mint, Lemon juice, and Honey syrup to Collins glass and muddle. Add Vodka, Lavender Bitters, and ice. Stir for a bit so the ingredients are all swimming together nicely. Top with soda water and garnish with Mint Bouquet.

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Damn straight y’all. I am now a fan of this really delicious Vodka. Cheers to all your adventurous purchases!

Barrell Bourbon & the BB Julep

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Y’all, I’ve got a killer cask strength Whiskey from Barrell Bourbon for us today! I found out about them from a friend of a friend who suggested that I might be interested in their bourbon and hoooo boy, I’M SO INTO IT! If you note the photo above, I’m already 1/2 way through the bottle!

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Each batch of Barrell Bourbon is sourced from Kentucky or Tennessee and bottled at cask strength. The vision of Barrell Bourbon is to provide a unique expression with every release and I can honestly say, I’ve never had a Bourbon like this! The mash bill for Batch 006 is 70% Corn, 26% Rye, and 4% malted Barley. It was aged for 8 years, 6 months in charred white oak barrels.

Barrell Bourbon Batch 006 Tasting notes:

  • Color: deep honeyed Amber
  • Nose: Initial notes of toasted nuts, buttery popcorn, summer wheat, and charred oak followed by caramel, strawberry, baked peach, minerals, dried vegetals, and baking spices.
  • Palate: Really welcoming and super delicious. Notes of orange peel, apricot, peach, strawberry, buttery popcorn, wheat, charred oak, cinnamon, and dry stones.
    Add water and the fruit notes really come out! More apricot. Lemon peel. Wow! Super fruity!
  • Mouthfeel: at cask strength it’s hot but the heat dissipates quickly making for a smooth and very flavorful dram. Really wide and pleasant stone fruit and citrus notes dance on the tongue.
  • Finish: really really lonnnnng finish with stone fruit, decadent popcorn, and cinnamon notes coming in waves.

I would highly recommend drinking this neat in a snifter, at least for the first few sips. Once you’ve experienced Barrell Bourbon at full strength, add a few drops of water and see how the bouquet just opens up! Such an incredible experience.

However, y’all know how I roll and I was dying to put all that fruity fun into a cocktail!

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My first thought was “how can I make this Bourbon shine like the star it is? What cocktail could I put it in where it isn’t covered up by other ingredients?” MINT JULEP! Yes y’all, a Mint Julep with Barrell Bourbon and some Peach Nectar. OOOOOOH MAN!

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Since we’re using more than just Bourbon and sugar for this Julep, I’d advise stirring things together ahead of time.

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BB Julep

  • 1 1/2 oz Barrell Bourbon batch 006
  • 1/2 oz Peach Nectar
  • 1 barspoon Rich Cane Syrup*
  • 4-5 Mint Leaves
  • Garnish: Mint sprig

Combine Barrell Bourbon, Peach Nectar, syrup  and stir until they’ve combined nicely. Grab your Julep cup or Mule mug and muddle some mint into it. Add liquids, ice, and garnish with a big Mint sprig.

*If you have peaches and can make fresh Peach juice, you may want to omit the syrup.

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Damnnnnn this drink is good. I mean, this Barrell Bourbon is so damn good that you don’t really have to do much to make a great cocktail with it. I will be making more drinks with it in the near future so stay tuned!

Cheers y’all!

Pérola Branca with Yaguara Cachaça

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Wooooah-ho-ho, y’all. Tiki The Snow Away + Yaguara Cachaça = a whole new world of tropical flavor! And this is my first ever Cachaça post! MAGICAL DREAMS DO COME TRUUUUE.

If you want to share a tropical drink during the month of January, use the hashtag #TikiTheSnowAway on Instagram and Twitter, or tag u/homebargirl on reddit.

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I’ve tasted Cachaça before, had a Caipirinha or two, but I’ve never been truly excited about this spirit until now. Yaguara is by far the best, smoothest, and tastiest of Cachaças with notes of Banana, Strawberry, Coconut, a bit of grassy funk, and a whole lot of YASSSS GURRRRL.

It’s divine and I’m putting it in everything I possibly can, including the following drink.

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Pearly, sensuous, giant mint hat.

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Here are your cast of characters: Yaguara Cachaça, Grand Marnier, Orgeat, Lemon Juice.

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Pérola Branca 

  • 1 1/2 oz Yaguara Cachaça
  • 1/2 oz Grand Marnier*
  • 3/4 oz Orgeat**
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
  • Garnish: the biggest Mint bouquet of all time

Combine ingredients over ice and shake like a rocket. Strain into double Rocks glass over crushed ice. Garnish with the biggest Mint bouquet of all time.

*Magically enough, dry Curaçao works just as well at 1/2 oz.

**Every Orgeat is different, some sweeter, some more dry, adjust accordingly.

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Cheers! May all your Tiki The Snow Away drinks be sensational and may you enjoy Yaguara Cachaça as much as I am.

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!

RTV & Tonic

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Happy July! Let the quest for low octane, fizzy Cocktails continue!

Remember that Rose Tea Vodka we made awhile back for the unbelievably complicated Flower Flower cocktail? If you still have any left (hard to believe, I know), I’ve got a really fabulous summery Vodka & Tonic for you!

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Hello pretty Mint leaf, how fragrant are thy scents!

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This is a very easy drink to make, my only encouragement is that you get the best Tonic you can possibly find. I highly recommend Fever-Tree Tonic Water or Tomr’s Tonic Syrup. You really don’t want an overly sugary Tonic for this recipe or the drink will be too sweet.

RTV & Tonic

Combine Rose Tea Vodka, St-G, and around 1 oz of Tonic Water. Gently stir for just a few seconds so everything is swimming together in harmony. Pour into a Collins glass over Ice. Garnish with Lemon slices and Mint. Top up with more Tonic Water.

Bonus: if you have the Fever-Tree Bitter Lemon, it makes an incredible substitution for Tonic in this drink!

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Summery Cheers to you all!