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

French 75

Posted in Recipes on February 23rd, 2010 by Josh

French 75 CocktailLast week I told you about my trip to Rye House to celebrate Mardi Gras, New Orleans-style. I mentioned some of the cocktails we sampled, including the Sazarac and the Vieux Carre. I’d like to share one more staple of the Mardi Gras celebration – or any celebration for that matter – The French 75.

This cocktail is actually named after the French 75-mm field gun; a commonplace piece of artillery during World War I. Apparently this particular gun was known for its recoil system, which allowed for much smoother operation than had previously been possible. Once you try the cocktail, you’ll understand how appropriate that is. (History once again courtesy of Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails; a must-have for any bartender’s bookshelf.) Read More

Tags: champagne, cocktail, gin, lemon, simple syrup

Maple Plum Sparkler

Posted in Recipes on October 12th, 2009 by Josh

Ingredients for Maple Plum SparklerI’m long overdue for new cocktail posts; fortunately a friend has provided inspiration.

The other day I sent an e-mail to our friend Jonathan Pogash, renowned bartender, beverage director for Hospitality Holdings (World Bar, Campbell Apartment, et al), and head of the USBG chapter here in New York City. I was writing just to ask Jonathan a quick question, and as it turns out, he’s out of town this week. But Jonathan – never one to let a customer go thirsty – left cocktail recipes in his out of office message! Needless to say, this was one of the best out of office messages I’ve ever seen (and that’s after more than a decade working in the tech industry.) Read More

Tags: champagne, cocktail, lemon, maple syrup, plum

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