Drinks by the Dram

Posted in Reviews on December 20th, 2010 by Josh

Broadening your whisky horizons is an enriching experience. To develop your palate, learn to discover the subtleties of flavor based on ingredients, aging, regions, and so on – that’s a noble effort. But also an expensive one.

The folks at Master of Malt contacted me about their Drinks by the Dram program, which aims to help lower the cost of broadening those horizons. They offered to send me a sample shipment, and I’ve never been known to turn down an offer of whisky, especially when it’s free (and even when it’s not). Read More

Tags: Drinks by the Dram, samples, whisky

Tis the Season for Punch

Posted in Books, Recipes, Reviews on December 9th, 2010 by Josh

There are two categories of drinks that, through their intrinsic qualities, conjure the holiday spirit. The first are hot toddies – cocktails made with whisky, citrus, baking spices, and hot water or tea. They warm the soul, stir the spirit, and – I’m convinced – cure the common cold. (Also considered within this category might be ski chalet-esque cocktails like Hot Buttered Rum.)

The other category is punch. And this is why cocktail luminary and historian David Wondrich’s new book, “Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl” could not have come at a better time.

I’m throwing a small (well, it’s become rather large) holiday soiree this coming weekend, and both for its holiday spirit-inducing qualities, and its ability to serve a crowd, punch will be the focus of the bar. So I’ve been buried nose-deep in Mr. Wondrich’s book looking for ideas, and the real difficulty now lies in narrowing down the choices! Read More

Tags: book, bourbon, champagne, cognac, david wondrich, lemon, nutmeg, punch, rum

A Taste of Harlem

Posted in Reviews on December 12th, 2009 by Josh

Harlem750BL_00054CMYKgradient_LOWRESThe best part of writing a blog about spirits and cocktails is the opportunity that it creates to taste lots of new spirits and cocktails! Seems obvious, I suppose, but it means more than you might think. The opportunity to try something new is great, but the opportunity to do so along with other people whose company you enjoy and whose opinion you respect – that’s much more meaningful.

This past week, I joined some of my favorite people – fellow bloggers @nybarfly, @lincolnwrites, @selenawrites, and @sweetblogomine – to taste Harlem, a new spirit distilled in Holland (named after the Dutch town Haarlem), and based on an herbal blend that the Dutch call Kruiden. At first blush, one might notice some similarities to Jagermeister, in that Harlem is definitely a dark, herbal spirit, intended to be poured as a shot, and definitely best served ice cold. Read More

Tags: Harlem, herbal, shots

Tiki and Dalmore Tweetups

Posted in Editor's Notes, Events, Reviews on July 28th, 2009 by Josh

I love a good tweetup. As you probably know, I’m a Twitter addict, and I’ve met so many great people on the Twitter machine. Every once in a while though, it’s nice to crawl out of one’s cave and actually hang out with people in person!

Last night, we were lucky to have two amazing tweetups back-to-back. The first was the evolution of what has become our awesome monthly event (which began with our brown liquor tweetup in Brooklyn, followed by our clear liquor tweetup at Double Crown last month). The Black PearlThis month’s tweetup focused on Rum – Tiki-style cocktails in particular. @Sweetblogomine was kind enough to get things organized at Elettaria in the West Village, which has a Mahalo Monday tiki special. My favorite of the evening was the Black Pearl – a twist on the Old Fashioned which includes Old Forester bourbon, Curzan black strap rum, demerara sugar and bitters. Outstanding. Read More

Tags: dalmore, rum, scotch, tiki, tweetup, twitter

TOTC09: The Beauty of Tasting Rooms

Posted in Events, Reviews on July 14th, 2009 by Josh

tales While the sessions at Tales of the Cocktail are wonderfully interesting and informative, another big draw at TOTC are the tasting rooms. At any given time over the course of the day, there are usually 3-4 rooms running simultaneously, and there are usually at least 3 sessions per day per room. So when you do the math, there ended up being about 40 different tasting rooms over the course of the event. Of course, not every tasting room is dedicated to one individual brand, either. There was a cognac tasting room, a scotch tasting room, and so on.

So here are some of the new (or particularly noteworthy) things I tried at Tales: Read More

Tags: averna, cognac, cointreau, Events, gin, martin miller, pierre ferrand, sambuca, Tales of the Cocktail, ty ku, xante

Friday I’m In Love (With Gin)

Posted in Recipes, Reviews on June 26th, 2009 by Josh

I’ve been on the hunt lately for new summer cocktails. I’m hoping that, in a tribute to mind over matter, the imbibing of summer cocktails will actually cause summer to materialize (which, as those of you enduring the incessant rain along with me in New York know, is long-overdue).

Ingredients for Friday I'm In LoveSo recently when the folks at Bulldog Gin sent me their list of new summer cocktails, Friday I’m In Love jumped out at me (you’ll see why in just a moment). It also gave me a good opportunity to give Bulldog a try.

Bulldog itself is very well suited to summer cocktails. It’s on the drier side with some nice hints of citrus and pine. It’s also got some interesting ingredients like poppy and Dragon Eye (which is related to lychee). I’ll admit though, I had trouble picking out the Dragon Eye in the flavor, but hey, I’m still an amateur taster :-) Read More

Tags: club soda, cocktail, gin, lemon, summer, white cranberry juice

Cruzan Rum at Gramercy Tavern

Posted in Editor's Notes, Events, Reviews on May 29th, 2009 by Josh
orange

Here, Andrea is holding up the Orange Blossom – made with Cruzan rum , champagne, St. Germain, lemon juice, a sugar cube, and orange peel.

You know I don’t really do much in the way of brand-specific work here at Spirited Cocktails. I haven’t done many brand reviews (though I’ve had a lot of requests, so I may start), and I very rarely call for a specific brand of spirit in any of my recipes. I think it benefits the consumer to try different brands on their own and determine what suits their own tastes.

Earlier this week, though, @NYBarfly (whom you should be following on Twitter) was gracious enough to invite me to join him in meeting Andrea, an educator at Cruzan Rum, at Gramercy Tavern. Many brand ambassadors claim to be “educators”, but Andrea is the real deal. She knows more about rum than I think she cares to admit, and I couldn’t help but truly respect her once she went all “spirits geek” on us and the bottles of molasses came out at dinner! Read More

Tags: bitters, champagne, cruzan, gramercy tavern, grapefruit, rum