Easy Peasy Drinks to Make for Thanksgiving and All Your Other Holiday Parties

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It’s that time of year again. Not only is it Thanksgiving, it’s Thanksgiving during a election year, meaning that you’re probably feeling salty towards at least some of your friends and relatives or perhaps they’re feeling salty towards you! What will ease the anguish you’re experiencing as you mentally prepare yourself to share a meal with your loved ones?

A drink that’s what!

Ok, so now you realize you have to make drinks for a whole bunch of people, AND you’re feeling salty. What to do?

Keep it easy man! Today, I’m gonna give us a few large-format cocktails that will work for all the upcoming holiday parties and give you a lil peace of mind. Ready? Let’s go.

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Firstly, you could set up an Old Fashioned Station for your guests to help themselves. This is a great idea cause build-your-own-drinks tend to be a hit at parties! You could get a couple different kinds of spirits (Bourbon, Rye, Aged Rum, Apple Brandy, Añejo Tequila, Mezcal, Brandy, etc), different types of sweeteners or a mixer like the excellent Cocktail Crate Spiced Old Fashioned Mixer, an assortment of Bitters, garnishes and let the people do what they want!

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A sparkling wine cocktail: This one is easy cause you can batch your modifiers (like Apple Brandy + Cinnamon Syrup, Angostura Bitters) ahead of time, pour them into the glass and top with prosecco. Donezo!

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Bottled Negroni: This one is almost a no-brainer. Make a bottle sized Negroni, let it hang out in the bottle for a few days and serve as an aperitivo. Super duper easy and the Negroni is a perfect drink to cut through all those heavy foods you’re about to consume.

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4. Punch. Duh. This is by far my fave format for large parties cause Punch is the most communal cocktail of them all. I’ve created many Punch recipes but my two favorites are…

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Winfred Bumbry Punch: This Punch uses Irish Whiskey, two kinds of Rum, Ruby Port, Lemon Sherbet, and Nutmeg. It’s fabulously tasty and was a home run at last year’s Friendsgiving.

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DD’s Cider Punch: this Punch features mulled apple cider, two kinds of Rum, Allspice Dram, Benedictine, and Lemon Sherbet. (If you haven’t noticed, Sherbet is essential in a proper punch.)

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See, that was so easy! Cheers and hope y’all have loads of fun during the holidays!

 

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Cocktail Crate Mixers are Perfect for your Labor Day Soirée

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Hey y’all, pumped today to talk about one of the best things to happen to home bartenders who like to throw parties: Cocktail Crate. If you’ve been reading Home Bar Girl for a while, you’ll know that I’m awfully fond of these well crafted mixers. But let’s get real real, not only are these bottles mad tasty, they make throwing a party really easy!

Cocktail Crate sent me their Grapefruit Daiquiri & Ginger Bee for some Labor Day celebrations. I decided to make two cocktails per mixer so, here we go!

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We’ll start with the Ginger Bee. Made with Honey, Ginger, and a bit of Clove this mixer is sweet, gingery spicy, flavorful, and goes really well with all sorts of aged spirits.

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I decided to go with a Whisky cocktail for the first one. Since I’ve been obsessed with my bottle of Grand MacNish Blended Scotch lately, I used it in a split base with Rye. Feel free to use whatever Whisky or Whiskies you want!

Ginger Bee Whiskey Cocktail

  • 1 1/2 oz Cocktail Crate Ginger Bee
  • 1 1/2 oz James E Pepper 1776 Rye
  • 1/2 oz Grand MacNish Blended Scotch Whisky
  • Garnish: Lemon studded with Cloves

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

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Now for this second one, I made literally the same drink but added my fave Summer Ale, Bell’s Brewery Oberon, as a float. Super tasty stuff! Perfect for a BBQ.

Ginger Brewmaster

  • 1 1/2 oz Cocktail Crate Ginger Bee
  • 1 1/2 oz James E Pepper 1776 Rye
  • 1/2 oz Grand MacNish Blended Scotch Whisky
  • Bell’s Brewery Oberon Summer Ale float

Combine ingredients over ice and short shake. Strain into Collins glass over ice and top with your fave Summer Ale.

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Next up we’ve got the Grapefruit Daiquiri: sweet and refreshing with Lime, Grapefruit, and a bit of Jasmine Tea!

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So, duh, I made a Daiquiri but I used my new fave Rhum, Neisson Blanc 105 proof and it was uhhhhhmazing.

Grapefruit Daiquiri

  • 1 1/2 oz Cocktail Crate Grapefruit Daiquiri*
  • 1 1/2 oz Neisson Blanc 105 (or your fave White Rum)
  • Garnish: Grapefruit peel rose

Combine ingredients over ice and shake it like a rocket. Double strain into chilled coupe and garnish.

*If I were you, I’d start with Equal parts Rum and mixer and taste. You may need to adjust the cocktail based on how sweet you want it.

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For the second one, I decided to swap out the Rhum for Gin Lane 1751 London Dry Gin and added a lil Ginger Beer for extra funnnnnn. Again, perfect for BBQ times.

Grapefruit Buck

  • 1 1/2 oz Cocktail Crate Grapefruit Daiquiri
  • 2 oz Gin Lane 1751 London Dry Gin (or your fave London Dry Gin)
  • Fever Tree Ginger Beer float
  • Garnish: Grapefruit Rose, Tiki Umbrella

Combine ingredients over ice and short shake. Strain into Collins glass over ice, top with Ginger Beer and garnish.

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Excellent. May your Labor Day festivities be tons of fun, tasty, and easy breezy with Cocktail Crate Craft Mixers! Cheers!

Capone’s Curse

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I was totally ready to share a stirred drink with y’all, when suddenly it snowed again here in Brooklyn! This change of weather has me feeling pressed to post another Tiki The Snow Away drink (and this one uses Templeton Rye ). MAY THE GODS FAVOR US WITH BETTER WEATHER!

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Warmer climates! Warmer climates! Oh how I wish I was in a warmer climate!

Seriously though, doesn’t the sight of this drink make you wanna get on a plane to Central America/Hawaii/The Caribbean/Southern California? Me too.

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Here are your cast of characters:

  1. If y’all can’t tell, I’m on a bit of a Templeton Rye kick: “The Good Stuff” is so smooth and plays so well with others. It works extra well with Rum!
  2. Speaking of Rum: Smith & Cross + Templeton Rye is a great split base. Highly recommend.
  3. Orgeat, Piña, Lemon: These three make for a really killer Tiki “punch base”
  4. Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters: Tiki in a bottle. Seriously, the spices are perfect.

 

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The name of this one is a play on the fact that Al Capone was obsessed with Templeton Rye during his bootlegging days. I imagine that Capone took a vacation to the Caribbean, and though surrounded by Rum, still couldn’t get Templeton out of his head.

Capone’s Curse

  • 1 3/4 oz Templeton Rye
  • 3/4 oz Smith & Cross Navy Strength Jamaica Rum
  • 3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 oz Orgeat*
  • 10 drops Bittermen’s Elemakule Tiki Bitters
  • Garnish: Pineapple Spear Bunny Ears, pineapple chunk, Luxardo Maraschino Cherry

Combine ingredients over ice and short shake. Strain into tall Tiki Mug over crushed ice and garnish.

*Every Orgeat is different, adjust according to the sweetness of your Orgeat.

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Cheers to y’all in this strange February weather!

Temple of Clarity

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Ahhhhhhh, a stirred drink. It’s been a hot second since I posted about a cocktail in a Coupe and now that Tiki The Snow Away is over, I’ve got one for y’all.

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Seriously, after a month of shaken and blended drinks, I feel like I almost forgot how zen it is to just STIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Yes, that’s a lot of “R’s” but I like stirring, it makes me feel relaxed.

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Here are yer cast of characters:

  1. Templeton Rye: I wanted the base spirit to be Rye cause I was in the mood. “No lie, she wanted Rye.” I’m really digging the smoothness and mixability of Templeton.
  2. Grand Marnier: I may have mentioned that someone gave this to me as a holiday gift, and I’m so into it! I’ve never had it in my Home Bar before, but the viscosity, spices, dryness, and depth of flavor in Grand Marnier is REALLY doing it for me.
  3. Amontillado Sherry & Dolin Dry: since I added Grand Marnier (sweet, Orange), I wanted to add things to dry it out and compliment. Both the Sherry and Vermouth are dry with the Sherry giving nutty, raisin, briney notes and the Dolin Dry doing that magical thing it does.
  4. Pernod Pastis: last but not least, a bit of Pernod Pastis gives an excellent boost of bright Anise to this boozy drink.

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Express and discard the orange peel, we just want the oil. No distractions in the Temple of Clarity.

Temple of Clarity

  • 2 oz Templeton Rye
  • 1/2 oz Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
  • 1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
  • 1 Barspoon Pernod Pastis or Absinthe
  • Garnish: Orange oil, discard peel

Combine ingredients over ice and stirrrrrrrrrrrr. Strain into yer favorite chilled Coupe, express Orange peel and discard.

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Clear, simple, complex, rewarding. Cheers to you in this relaxing moment!

 

Red Sunset with Templeton Rye

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Happy National Bootlegger’s Day to all you scoundrels and scallywags. To celebrate, I’ve made a Tiki The Snow Away drink with Templeton Rye and yes, it’s REALLY DAMN TASTY.

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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Today, January 17th marks the birthday of Templeton Rye and its most famous patron, Al Capone. Back during Prohibition, an enterprising group of farmers from Templeton, Iowa began secretly making some really killer Whiskey. Soon afterwards, “The Good Stuff” as it was called by those in the know, made its way into the hands of Al Capone whose bootlegging network helped Templeton reach many a dry mouth.

Since it’s Winter and I’m in total-Tiki mode, I thought I’d pay homage with a Tiki-Rye drink. The inspiration for this cocktail comes from Blood Oranges (SEASONAL Y’ALL) and how well they pair with Rye Whiskey.

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The sun sets in a vibrant hue, enticing us to drink up and celebrate the night.

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Here are your cast of characters: Templeton Rye, Jägermeister (such excellent spice), Cinnamon Bark Syrup (goes really well with Blood Orange), the aforementioned Blood Orange, Lemon Juice, and of course a Luxardo Maraschino cherry.

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Since this is the reddest drink I’ve ever made, and I’ve got the Cherry positioned like a setting sun in the circular sky, the name “Red Sunset” hit me like a flash. If only all drink names were so easy and so…obvious.

Red Sunset

  • 2 oz Templeton Rye
  • 1/4 oz Jägermeister
  • 1/4 oz Cinnamon Bark Syrup
  • 1 oz Blood Orange Juice
  • 1/4 oz Lemon Juice*
  • Garnish: Blood orange wheel, Luxardo Maraschino Cherry speared with Tiki Umbrella.

Combine ingredients over ice and short shake. Strain into double rocks glass or short Tiki mug over crushed ice and garnish.

*Needed the extra tart-acidity to balance the sweetness of the Blood Oranges.

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Cheers to you and yours on National Bootlegging day! May your Templeton Rye drinks be tasty!

 

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!

Fernet Francisco: the Great American Amaro

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I am really pumped to write about this superb bottle of Fernet Francisco! I have been waiting to get my hands on this stuff for months y’all!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I just went to the San Francisco Bay Area to visit my dad and have a nice, relaxing holiday. While I was there I took a lot of Dramatic Landscape Photos, drank ALL of the Wine, and got the incredible bottle of Fernet Francisco that you will have the privilege of looking at in the following photos.

Isn’t the label great? Totally dig it.

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Fernet Francisco is made with 12 plants native to the San Francisco Bay Area in California. This makes me truly excited because: 1. I am from the Bay Area (duh, we get it gurl), 2. Using plants from a specific area will give a strong sense of Terroir, 3. I knew it had to be super complicated and tasty!

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Due to the fact that I was taking my bottle on an airplane, I wasn’t able to taste it until I got back to Brooklyn. When I cracked it open, I was totally expecting to have a similar experience to that time I first smelled a bottle of St. George Spirits Terroir Gin (also made with botanicals from where I grew up. I cried.)…

…I didn’t cry but I was instantly transported back to the Bay Area through the wonderful aroma of Fernet Francisco!

Tasting Notes:

  • Nose: Mint hits you in the face with a really fresh and pleasant aroma, not like menthol, but more like you just spanked a Mint bouquet. Super duper fresh! This awesome Mint experience is followed by Eucalyptus, Bay Laurel, grasses and spices.
  • Taste: Chamomile, dryness, more Mint, Wild Fennel, Eucalyptus, Cinnamon, some other spices I can’t figure out.
  • Finish: very dry, very wide, woody somehow. I LOVE THE FINISH. Why do I love this dry-wide finish? Because I am always looking for a way to dry out Cocktails and Fernet Francisco is really going to do that.

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On the back, the recommended cocktail is The Francisco with 2 parts Fernet Francisco, 1 part Ginger Beer, and a squeeze of Citrus on the rocks.

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The first Cocktail I made with Fernet Francisco was what I like to call an “Amor y Amargo” type drink, where the only ingredients are Amari, Liqueurs, Vermouths, Bitters, etc. I knew I wanted to use Dolin Dry as the second ingredient, and from the back of my brain the word “CYNAR!” came shooting forth like a lightening bolt!

The Full Winona

  • 1 1/2 oz Fernet Francisco
  • 1 oz Dolin Dry
  • 1 oz Cynar
  • 2 dashes Regans’ Orange Bitters
  • Garnish: Lemon Peel

Combine ingredients over ice and stirrrrrrrr. Strain into double Rocks glass over ice. Express Lemon peel and garnish. Dark and complicated just like Winona Ryder and everyone’s relationship to her. Luv u gurl.

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Next I knew that I wanted to make a Black Manhattan variation, swapping out the Averna for Fernet Francisco and adding some of those super complicated Hella Bitter Citrus Bitters. Y’all, this drink is MAGNIFICENT! It’s truly one of the greatest Manhattan variations I’ve ever tasted because the flavor arcs keep going and changing and oh my god! You take a sip and just sort of sit there for awhile, so your brain can process all the stuff that just happened.

Russian Hill

  • 1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
  • 3/4 oz Carpano Antica
  • 1/2 oz Fernet Francisco
  • 1 dash Hella Bitters Citrus Bitters
  • Garnish: Lemon twist

Combine ingredients over ice and stirrrrrrrr. Strain into coupe. Express Lemon peel and garnish. Why Russian Hill? Manhattan variations are usually named after a neighborhood/boro and Russian Hill is a San Francisco neighborhood where Fernet Francisco comes from.
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You can’t wait to get your hands on this Fernet Francisco, right? I can’t wait to drink another Russian Hill! Cheers to Fernet Francisco for creating a truly great American Amaro!