Game, set…SMASH! It’s official, Spring has sprung, and with it all of the fresh fruits and blossoms and herbs are bursting at the seams here in California. And my severe seasonal allergies to it all can prove it!
You know what I’m not allergic to? Sipping on delicious rum drinks whilst playing table tennis in the sunshine with some of my favorites. Oh, springtime…you just GET me. Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Rum, a dark golden Venezuelan rum, happens to be one of these favorites. Not only is it fabulous on its own, it is surprisingly versatile in cocktails.
So I was thrilled when they contacted me for a challenge to create an original Diplomático cocktail using peak-season ingredients unique to Los Angeles. Strawberries are in season and are especially sweet right now, and basil also seems to be everywhere. I love the combo of strawberries and balsamic and thought a sweet reduction would work really nicely with the aged Diplomático. Here is the result of those springtime flavor inspirations: The Strawberry Basil Smash!
Strawberry Basil Smash
2 oz Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
1/4 oz Lime Juice
1 tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Balsamic Reduction
2 Sprigs Basil
1 oz Seltzer
Garnish: Strawberry & Basil
In a mixing glass, muddle all ingredients except rum and seltzer. Add rum and shake with ice. Add a splash of seltzer and stir. Double strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with strawberry and basil sprigs.
When Kim Wiseley, Editor-in-Chief of Flutter Magazine reached out to me about featuring three spring-time cocktail creations for their Spring Issue, also their 2017 Astrology Edition, I was totally on board. Sparkly, floral, love-inspired cocktails? I can do that!
And when she mentioned that instead of a photoshoot to capture the drinks I created, she was working with an artist who would turn my cocktails into beautiful watercolor paintings…I knew this was the beginning of a lovely relationship!
Sara Fitz is the talented artist behind these watercolor creations, and the stunning brush lettering is the work of Nicole Miyuki. I couldn’t be more impressed with these ladies’ work. They’ve all turned out so beautifully! I cannot wait to frame these over my home bar!
While these recipes have all been featured on the Bit by a Fox blog, I encourage everyone to pick up a copy of this magazine, which is truly a piece of art, and see these beauties in person! The issue is on newsstands now, in Barnes & Noble and other major news retailers, but you can also order it online here. What a fun collab this has been!
All of the artwork featured here is copyrighted to the artists for Flutter Magazine.
Piña Coladas are one of those guilty pleasures that pretty much EVERYONE likes. Unless you are allergic to pineapples or coconut or fun, DO NOT TELL ME YOU DON’T LIKE A PIÑA COLADA. I’ll just end up calling you a lying liar. Because they are happy making. They are dessert with booze. They are vacation. They are worth every calorie. Seriously.
Created in San Juan, Puerto Rico in the early 1950s, their national drink since 1978, the traditional Piña Colada recipe called for white rum. But over the years, bartenders and home mixologists alike realized that aged, dark and spiced rums had the potential to add a depth of flavor…and next level yumminess!
With the recent release of Don Q’s Oak Barrel Spiced Rum, I thought it was a great opportunity to spice up one of my favorite blended drinks.
This is the first foray into the spiced category for the brand and they wanted to do it right by creating an elevated version of what currently dominates this segment in most bars and liquor stores at the moment. Don Q’s Oak Barrel Spiced Rum is a blend of Puerto Rican rums that have been aged for a minimum of three to six years and is slightly higher in alcohol, coming in at a healthy 90 proof – ideal for cocktails.
The Spicy Chai Piña Colada recipe came together once I tasted this rum on its own. The warm kitchen spices, most notably the clove and black peppercorn notes, reminded me of the spices in Masala Chai. A creamy coconut chai drink with BOOZE?! Uh…YEAH!
Because I wanted to make a chai spiced syrup, I decided NOT to use the traditional, already sweetened Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut, and opted to use the slightly lighter, unsweetened coconut milk in its place. It was just as creamy and lush but it also allowed for the rum and spices to truly shine.
Spicy Chai Piña Colada – makes 2 drinks
3 oz Coconut Milk
3 oz Don Q Oak Barrel Spiced Rum
5 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Chai Spiced Syrup*
1/4 cup Fresh Pineapple
Juice of 1 Lime
1 1/2 cups of ice
Garnish: pineapple wedge, rum soaked cherry, chai spices
Add all ingredients including ice to a blender and blend until frothy. Pour into well chilled glasses and garnish with pineapple, cherry and a pinch of spices.
Chai Spiced Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 Chai Spice teabags
Heat water in a saucepan until boiling. Remove from heat and add in tea bags. Infuse for about 5 minutes. Once the tea has fully steeped, remove the tea bags and return saucepan to stove to bring to a slow boil. Stir in the sugar until completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Let stand at room temperature until cool and then refrigerate. Will keep for 2-3 weeks.
Sponsored: This post was made possible by Don Q Rum and was fueled by Spicy Piña Coladas! All opinions are my own.
Ah, St. Patrick’s Day. That hallowed day of green beer, shamrock everything, and shots! shots! shots! I don’t know about you, but I’m just not up for that craziness anymore. I mean, some shades of green can be very flattering, and I can get down with a whisk(e)y shot on occasion – as long as it’s the good stuff! But I’m fairly certain that come tomorrow, I won’t be getting sloppy in a pub or playing green beer pong in honor of St. Paddy’s Day. Do you know what I will be indulging in? A wee bit of Irish Whiskey AND Irish Cream…in the form of Irish coffee cocktails. Because that’s what grown ups do on the Feast of Saint Patrick!
The traditional Irish Coffee is a very basic recipe – coffee, sugar, whiskey and heavy cream. But for some reason, it is difficult to ever get a very good one. Even in Ireland, Irish Coffees are served in nearly every pub, but the drink isn’t taken very seriously and that pub coffee has most likely been sitting on a burner for an entire day. It’s even purported that the drink was invented to mask the taste of bad coffee.
But with the cocktail renaissance came an appreciation for this cozy drink, and interpretations of it using the best ingredients. Strong, quality, fresh made coffee is key, as well as hand whipped cream, and an Irish whiskey that won’t overpower the rest of the flavors. For this, I chose to use a whiskey that I tried for the very first time just this past Monday, (it literally launched in the states last week) – a brand new expression from Bushmills Irish Whiskey, Bushmills Red Bush.
Bushmills, Ireland’s oldest distiller, makes very approachable whiskies. And this new expression is no exception. Created with the bourbon drinker in mind, Bushmills Red Bush is matured exclusively in American white oak bourbon barrels. While it has those familiar notes you might find in a bourbon, toasted oak and vanilla, it is subtle and balanced and decidedly Irish!
I found this to be a lovely addition to Irish Coffee. It had just enough punch to make it boozy but didn’t overpower the coffee at all.
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 oz Irish Whiskey
heavy cream, whipped
Pour hot coffee into a warmed mug until it is about 3/4 full. Add sugar and Irish whiskey, stir until blended. Gently top with the whipped heavy cream by pouring over back of spoon.
In much of the country, winter is not letting go and Irish Coffee is still very much in season. But if you’re in a warmer climate like Los Angeles for instance, (it was nearly 90 the other day!) you may want to opt for something with a little bit of a chill tomorrow. However, I can pretty much drink an Iced Irish Coffee in any season!
Kerrygold, a company you may be familiar with specializing in Irish Dairy Products, has now created their very own Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur. It is a blend of natural Irish cream, Belgium chocolate and oak-aged Irish whiskey.
Soon after launching, they won World’s Best Cream Liqueur at the 2016 World Drinks Awards, and you can see why. Rich and velvety, with a subtle hint of whiskey at the end, it is an ideal partner with a strong, cold brewed coffee in this Iced Irish Coffee.
Iced Irish Coffee
6 oz Cooled Strong Coffee (or cold brew)
2 oz Kerrygold Irish Cream
In an ice-filled shaker, add ingredients and shake until well chilled. Pour into a tall tumbler or jar with ice. Enjoy!
Let me be mad, then, by all means! Mad with the madness of Absinthe, the wildest, most luxurious madness in the world! Vive la folie! Vive l’amour! Vive l’animalisme! Vive le Diable!”
― Marie Corelli, Wormwood: A Drama of Paris
The Green Fairy, La Fée Verte, Absinthe – One of the most misunderstood elixirs ever created and consumed. Made all the more mysterious by a worldwide ban of the stuff for nearly 100 years. After the ban was finally lifted in the states ten years ago now, some myths are still perpetuated by a few brands capitalizing on its mystique.
Most likely, you’ve heard the dark stories…about how “real” absinthe will make you hallucinate, turn you violent and drive you mad if you have too much. Well known writers and artists such as Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, and Edgar Allan Poe were all said to have benefited creatively and yet suffered negatively from the effects of their consumption of absinthe. But what is the real story of absinthe? Can we get an authentic version in the states? And why was it banned for so long if it is truly harmless?
Absinthe, for those of you unfamiliar, is a highly alcoholic distilled spirit, (not a liqueur as it is often mistaken for, because it is not traditionally sweetened with added sugar) made with macerated herbs – primarily aniseed, sweet fennel and wormwood – the main flavor components in the spirit. The various botanicals is what also gives absinthe its famous natural green color, inspiring the nicknames “Green Fairy” and “Green Goddess”. At its height in popularity, towards the end of the 19th century, when the French were drinking up to 36 million litres of absinthe per year, the nearly 30,000 cafés in Paris were transformed every day at 5:00 p.m. into l’Heure Verte, the Green Hour.
Absinthe’s rise in popularity coincided with a rise in alcohol consumption in general. Cheap, poorly made “bathtub” versions were being produced, and alcohol-related injuries and crimes were being blamed on the popular spirit, leading the way to a prohibition of absinthe internationally. The temperance movement as well as the wine industry, threatened by the massive popularity of the drink, leveraged the moral panic against absinthe in Europe at the time, and pushed the idea that it was especially dangerous and led to violent behavior.
But is there any truth to the dangers, the highs, the hallucinogenic qualities that have been rumored and written about and spread throughout the centuries? The truth is, absinthe is indeed potent. It is not to be taken straight as it is so concentrated. It is traditionally bottled at a high alcohol by volume – usually 110-144 proof versus whiskey which is about 80 proof. This is because it is to be diluted with ice-cold water prior to being consumed.
Ted A. Breaux, a scientist, researcher and leading authority on absinthe, had a major role in overturning the ban in America ten years ago. Lucid Absinthe, his creation and the first absinthe in the U.S. market, is still considered one of the top brands in the world. According to Breaux, “pre-ban absinthes contained no hallucinogens, opiates or other psychoactive substances”. The only drug in absinthe is alcohol.
Thujone, a compound found in wormwood, is often referred to as the hallucinogenic component in “real” absinthe. But according to the experts and extensive studies, there just isn’t any truth to this. In extremely high doses, thujone is known to be a dangerous neurotoxin, but pre-ban absinthe and the nearly identical recipes made today have always only had trace amounts. The truth is, there may very well be more wormwood in the vermouth you’re having in your next martini than a glass of absinthe. Aside from being its hallmark ingredient, the name “vermouth” is in fact the French pronunciation of the German word Wermut, meaning…wormwood.
So, how come, even after ten years of it being legal in the states, there are still so many misconceptions about this botanical beverage? Perhaps we prefer holding onto these romantic notions of madness and drug-induced achievements from some of our most notable creative geniuses. It surely doesn’t help when certain brands market themselves in a way that takes advantage of their naughty past, advertising thujone or wormwood on their bottles in an inauthentic way.
That’s not to say we haven’t come a long ways since that 95 year ban. There are a lot of really wonderful brands that are making quality absinthe, each one, with their specific recipe, slightly different from the next. So, what brands should you be buying?
According to absinthe educator Kellfire Bray, seen here at the monthly Green Fairy Party produced by Don Spiro in NYC, here are his recommendations to get you started:
Meadow of Love Absinthe from Delaware Phoenix Distillery – American Hidden Gem
Made in the Catskills in upstate New York, Meadow of Love has a floral aroma and flavor interacting with the anise. This absinthe has a powerful louche of rolling, milky cloud banks, and it coats the tongue with flavor.
Lucid Absinthe Superieure – Traditional, Easy to Find
Lucid is the first genuine absinthe made with real Grande Wormwood to be legally available in the United States in over 95 years. Lucid is prepared in accordance with the same standards as pre-ban absinthes. It is historically accurate in EVERY detail.
“Vieux Pontarlier” Absinthe Francais Superieure – Mid-range, Workhorse
Very anise forward and fairly sweet, this absinthe is made in small batches using alambic stills that were specifically designed to make absinthe. Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe evolved from the research and experience of professional Absintheur Peter Schaf, using historic protocols, distilling techniques and equipment from the 19th Century.
Kubler Absinthe Superieure – Mid-range, Swiss style
Clear and colorless in the Swiss style. Along with Lucid, was crucial in petitioning the government to lift the absinthe ban. Anise and fennel dominate but get more complex post louche.
Jade 1901 Absinthe Superieure – Top Pick, Harder to Find
From Ted A. Breaux’s high-end absinthe line, Jade Liqueurs, this bottle was recreated as a tribute to a widely studied pre-ban absinthe, as it appeared circa 1901. A classic vintage-style absinthe, balanced and crisp, with a stimulating herbal aroma and a smooth, lingering aftertaste.
The preparation to drink absinthe may seem intimidating. Do you need the correct tools? Is there sugar AND fire involved? How much is the right amount? It is all pretty simple, really. In fact, according to Bray, you don’t even really need the sugar. You’ll just need to slowly dilute 1 part absinthe to 3-5 parts iced water from a specially made absinthe fountain or even by hand with a carafe. As the water dilutes the spirit, the botanical oils are released, herbal aromas “bloom” and the clear green liquid turns cloudy, a result that is called the “louche”.
The traditional French Method, however, does involve placing a sugar cube on top of a slotted spoon over a glass of absinthe and pouring iced water over the sugar in order to slowly dissolve it and mix with the absinthe. Since absinthe is not made with added sugar, some people prefer to sweeten it up this way. But according to nearly all authorities on absinthe, DO NOT soak that sugar cube with liquor and then light it on fire. This “Czech Method” is not traditional and was actually started in the late 90s as a spectacle for tourists and to mask inferior spirits. We’re all better than that!
So, go ahead and celebrate the progress we’ve made this last ten years and get acquainted with the Green Fairy! Raise a glass to the magical, herbal delights of this cloudy wonder…without going completely mad! Vive la absinthe!
All photos provided by Rose Callahan, of the Dandy Portrait fame, and our photography partner on the Bartender Style series.
You know that magic that happens when something just comes together so perfectly you can’t imagine a time when it wasn’t a thing that existed in the universe? Like kindred flavors that seemingly compliment one another in a bewitching way – like coffee & chocolate, for instance (relevant to this post). Or kindred spirits that make everything around them better just by the mere fact they’ve found one another…like food blogging duo, #relationshipgoals, and life partners giving me life, The Husbands That Cook (also relevant).
This post is brought to you by all of that – a marriage of complementary flavors and humans. Adam and Ryan, the lovely gents behind the delightful food blog, Husbands That Cook, have been KILLING it this year. They have a large following on Instagram, a devoted and receptive fan base, and were finalists in this year’s Saveur Magazine Blog Awards for Best How-To Food Blog. Amazingly, they agreed to partner with me for a sexy Valentine’s Day post!
Both of the cocktails featured here came out of me playing around with a homemade coffee liqueur. They’re both very different from one another but, real talk, I’m EQUALLY OBSESSED with them. The first one is an equal parts cocktail, ala Negroni or Boulevardier and sounds, on paper, like an odd combo of flavors – bourbon, Aperol and coffee liqueur . But I promise, it totally works! And I don’t want to make any rash proclamations or anything but this just may be a new instant classic! You may just fall in love…
Amore Mio “My Love”
1 oz bourbon
1 oz coffee liqueur
1 oz Aperol
Fill a mixing glass with ice and all ingredients. Stir mixture until well chilled. Strain into chilled coupe glass. Garnish by floating espresso beans on top.
This second cocktail was another sort of happy accident when I decided to cross a White Russian with a chocolate Egg Cream soda. I know I’ve said this before but ZOMG SO GOOD. Seriously, why has this never existed before? I’ve looked on the internet! This recipe does not exist! If you could trademark cocktail recipes, this is the one that would make me rich and famous, I just know it. Right now, it’s just making me drunk and happy and I cannot stop.
2 oz Vodka
1 oz Coffee Liqueur
1/2 oz Half & Half
1/2 oz Chocolate Syrup
In an ice-filled shaker, add vodka, coffee liqueur, half & half and chocolate soda. Shake until well chilled. Strain into an ice-filled collins glass, top with soda and stir.
Adam and Ryan decided to complement these buzzy drinks, and continued the coffee/chocolate relationship, by making oozy gooey, Chocolate Mocha Lava Cakes.
CHOCOLATE ERUPTING MINI CAKES. If that doesn’t scream V-Day, I don’t know what to tell you. You might be dead inside. Head over to Husbands That Cook to see this in action and get the full recipe. And then make all of these treats and spoil your lover so hard. And when I write “lover” that could totally mean yourself. Self love is v. important during times like these, foxy friends. Make it a double!
Homemade Coffee Liqueur
1/4 cup fine ground espresso
2 1/4 cup water (divided)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tbsp bourbon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups light rum
Make a cold brew of the coffee by combining the espresso grounds and 1 1/4 cups of the water into a sealable glass jar, shaking it, then refrigerating the mixture for 12 hours. Strain through a coffee filter into another sealable glass jar. Combine the sugar and 1 cup of water in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let this syrup cool to room temperature. Combine the cooled syrup and cold brew coffee, add rum and vanilla extract. Let that mixture steep for 3 days. Enjoy!
A few weeks back I was asked to design a couple of signature cocktails for two intimate dinners hosted by the innovative wedding registry site Zola.com in the luxurious Parachute Hotel in Venice Beach.
Because the theme of these dinners was inspired by LOOOOOVE, and with names like Honeymoon in Havana and La La Love, I thought these cocktails would be perfect to share right before Valentine’s Day to get y’alll in the mood…
For our first dinner with wedding industry insiders, we made a vodka based gimlet with hibiscus syrup and elderflower liqueur and a ginger-y take on a mojito.
For the Garden Party Gimlet, we used Our/Los Angeles Vodka as its base and made a hibiscus syrup to give it an especially vibrant fuchsia hue. The addition of St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur added warm floral notes, and in keeping with the flowery theme, we topped this all off with edible blossoms.
Garden Party Gimlet
2 oz Our/Los Angeles Vodka
1 oz St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1/2 oz Hibiscus Syrup*
1/2 oz Lime Juice
Garnish: Assorted Edible Flowers
Shake all ingredients until chilled. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with edible flowers.
The Honeymoon in Havana cocktail was inspired by the ever popular mojito.
Because we designed these cocktails with a wedding in mind, we wanted to elevate the traditional mojito recipe by swapping out sugar as the sweetener with BBAF fave Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur and using sparkling wine in place of club soda.
You’ll need a light, clean rum like Don Q Cristal for the base of this drink and fresh lime and mint are key!
Honeymoon in Havana
2 oz Don Q Cristal Rum
1 oz Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur
1/2 oz Lime Juice
3 Mint Leaves
1/2 oz Sparkling Wine
In a small Collins glass muddle lime juice and 2 mint leaves. Add ice, rum, ginger liqueur and sparkling wine. Stir with straw and garnish with mint.
For the second intimate Zola dinner, we created cocktails for recently engaged bloggers and social media influencers.
These were both simple but delicious cocktails with some added flourishes like edible glitter and orchid garnishes.
The Stars in the Garden, while fairly simple – with pink grapefruit juice, St-Germain and sparkling wine, was an instant hit.
Besides going down a little too easy, it literally sparkled! Edible glitter was added to make the drink shimmer, and floating edible stars were placed ever so delicately on top with tweezers!
Stars in the Garden
2 oz Pink Grapefruit Juice
1 oz St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
3 oz Sparkling Wine
Garnish: Edible Glitter, Edible Stars
In an ice-filled shaker add 1/2 tsp edible glitter, pink grapefruit juice and St-Germain. Shake until well chilled and strain into a coupe glass. Top off with sparkling wine and place about 2 dozen tiny edible stars on top.
The La La Love is probably the most Valentines-y cocktail of the bunch. With this drink we brought back Our/Los Angeles Vodka, hibiscus syrup and edible flowers.
We used fresh squeezed meyer lemon juice (plucked from a friend’s tree just the day before!) and topped this all off with club soda. This is like a refreshing boozy hibiscus lemonade. Also perfect for a summer wedding!
But it’s the orchid garnish that really sexes this drink right up. When looking for edible flowers for this event, I was surprised by how many grocery stores actually carry an assortment of edible blossoms in their produce department. Apparently, these can also be very good in salad greens!
La La Love
2 oz Our/Los Angeles Vodka
1/2 oz Hibiscus Syrup*
1/2 oz Meyer Lemon Juice
Garnish: Edible Orchid
In an ice-filled shaker add vodka, syrup and lemon juice and shake until chilled. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass and top with soda. Stir with straw and garnish with orchid.
* Hibiscus Syrup
1 cup of sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup dried hibiscus flowers
Tbsp lime zest
Pinch of salt to taste
Combine sugar, water and hibiscus over med-high heat in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring until all sugar is dissolved. With the heat off, let steep for another 20 minutes. Add lime zest and pinch of salt. Double strain through wire mesh and let cool. Will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.
Unmarked photos by Katie Gibbs Photo, all others by Bit by a Fox.
Sunsets seem to get all the glory, with all their Instagram ‘likes’ and devoted hashtags and people gathering at piers and promenades to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ and clap like dorks (I’ve totally done this, btw) when that fiery ball of light finally disappears on the horizon. But there’s something particularly magical about a sunrise – the birth of something unfamiliar, a fresh start, the promise of a new day. It’s sort of how I feel about a new year…but like on a much bigger scale.
With that in mind, I thought a Tequila Sunrise would make for a fantastic New Year’s cocktail! Everyone seems to know about this drink but I’m guessing you haven’t actually sipped on one of these old timers unless you’ve attended some sort of 70s disco party recently…oooor you actually drank through the 70s and 80s (for that, I’m sorry). I would also hazard the guess that it wasn’t that great. But what happens when you use top shelf ingredients, fresh squeezed juice, and then add Champagne for good measure? Something delightful, that’s what!
With the recent release of the Patron Silver 2016 Limited Edition – a beautiful 1 liter bottle inspired by Mexico’s rich heritage with art deco design, I had my special tequila.
And by using the juice from tiny, sweet mandarins instead of reg ol’ OJ, homemade grenadine, and topping it all off with Champers, we kicked this baby up so many notches. Not to mention those Love & Victory highball glasses made this Tequila Sunrise really Sparkle!
Tequila Sunrise Sparkler
1 1/2 oz Patron Silver 2016 Limited Edition
3 oz Freshly Squeezed Mandarin Juice
1/2 oz Grenadine
1 oz Champagne
In an ice-filled highball glass add the grenadine, juice and tequila. Top with Champagne and garnish with brandied cherry and mandarin slice.
Here’s to a beautiful fresh start in 2016. May your fancy highballs always be filled with hope and dreams and top shelf tequila!
Are we really less than a week away until Christmas? Argh! How do I let this happen every year – where I’m scrambling those last few days to get all the stuff in that I should have been doing the weeks prior?! Good thing there’s booze!
With the release of Mount Gay’s Limited Edition XO Cask Strength last month in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Barbados Independence from the British Crown, I was inspired to make some festive rum old fashioneds.
For classic cocktail enthusiasts, the Old Fashioned cocktail remains a mainstay. And when you come across a quality spirit, you don’t want to mess with it too much with a variety of convoluted ingredients. This is the go-to cocktail to have that spirit really come through, and have its qualities remain intact.
Mount Gay Distilleries, the makers of the world’s oldest rum which has been distilled, blended and bottled in Barbados since 1703, released just 3,000 bottles of XO Cask Strength, a limited-edition of its award-winning spirit XO. While I got a sampling of this to play with recently, the actual, full-sized bottle will come in a beautiful keepsake wooden box with a booklet that will take readers through the history of rum’s inception in Barbados. A portion of the sales of every bottle sold will be donated to the Barbados Museum and Historical Society to support its efforts in conserving the significant and inspiring history and culture of Barbados.
If you have a rum enthusiast in your life, this collector’s item is THE gift to give for the holidays. But at a price around $185, they better be deserving! Talk about a top shelf Rum Old Fashioned!
The raw brown sugar in this old fashioned amps up the rich oak and caramel flavors in the XO. The orange bitters highlights the over ripe fruit, vanilla and spice. And the cranberries add a certain acidity that a citrus peel might lend in a traditional old fashioned. And, most importantly, with such a simple cocktail as this one, it will leave you free to stress about all the other things you have to do before the holidays hits you head on! I’ll take a double!
Cranberry Rum Old Fashioned
2 oz Aged Rum (Mount Gay XO Cask Strength recommended)
3 dashes Orange Bitters
4-5 fresh cranberries
1 raw brown sugar cube
Splash Club Soda
Garnish: 3-4 fresh cranberries
Add the cranberries, brown sugar, bitters and soda to a mixing glass. Muddle well. Add the rum and fill with ice. Stir mixture until well chilled. Strain into an Old Fashioned or rocks glass over large ice-cube. Garnish with skewered cranberries.
Samples of Mount Gay Rum were provided for this post.
Whiskey, lemon juice, honey…maybe a cinnamon stick. That’s the recipe for a classic hot toddy. Simple, straightforward, and let’s be real, a little boring. I’ve never been crazy about straight up hot toddys unless I’m sick. And even then I tend to doctor it up with ginger or a little cayenne pepper (that’ll put some hair on your chest when you’ve got the sniffles!)
So, I was excited when the fine folks from Maker’s Mark reached out to me to be part of their #MakeItTealicious Hot-Tea Toddy Blogger Challenge. Also, I’m pretty into puns and that hashtag is 100! (I’m like an old person and a tween all at the same time!)
Maker’s Mark and Harney & Sons Teas have joined forces for this challenge (today is International Tea Day, by the way guys!!) and it was so fun to experiment with all of their different sachets…with bourbon, of course! There was a lot of boozy tea toddys made this past week, all in the name of recipe testing!
I’m a huge fan of using tea in cocktails, and earl grey is one of my favorites. With its heady bergamot flavors and dark, rich characteristics, it tends to pair well with spirits. And Harney & Sons has a delightful Winter White Earl Grey that makes for an amazing hot bourbon cocktail.
The addition of maple syrup, a little cream, and freshly ground nutmeg makes this feel just like the holidays! I hope you find this as TEAlicious as much as I did! 😉 Cheers!
Grey Gardens Hot Toddy
1 oz Maker’s Mark
1 cup of Harney & Sons Winter White Earl Grey Tea
1 tsp maple syrup
1 TSP half & half
garnish: freshly ground nutmeg
After brewing the Harney & Sons Winter White Earl Grey tea sachet in a cup of hot water, stir in the maple syrup, Maker’s Mark and half & half. Garnish with freshly ground nutmeg.
Bit by a Fox received these samples without payment.