Cocktail of the Day: The Slam Dunk

(I may not be making a bracket, but I could get into March Madness if it was made entirely of cocktails like this.)

Created by Dana Richardson, TAG Restaurant, Denver

Ingredients:

  • 13 oz. The Famous Grouse
  • 6.5 oz. The Famous Mint Tea
  • 1 bottle Bordeaux Red Wine
  • 3.25 oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
  • 3 Naval or Blood Oranges
  • 13 Whole Star Anise Pods

Method:  Using a microplane grater remove the zest from 2 of the oranges over a pot or slow cooker.  Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.  As soon as it begins to simmer, lower the heat to the low setting.  After 5 minutes, serve into punch or tea cups. 

Use a channel knife to cut the orange into twists and add 1 to each drink with a star anise pod.

(Makes 13 servings)

Cocktail of the Day: The Leap Year Margarita

Created by Stephen Halpin, Parliament (Dallas, TX)

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Gran Patrón Platinum
  • .75 oz Patrón Citrónge Lime
  • .75 oz Key Lime Juice
  • .25 oz Yuzu Juice
  • 2 Barspoons Key Lime Zest

Method: Combine all ingredients in a stainless steel bowl and add liquid nitrogen. Stir consistently for 7 – 10 minutes until the liquid becomes a sorbet consistency.  Add to a chilled coupe glass and top with a pearl of Patrón Citrónge Orange caviar*.

*Trade secret to Parliament.

Photolog: Asheville Beer Expo 2016

Last Saturday, the Asheville Brewer’s Alliance had their first (and hopefully annual) Asheville Beer Expo, a beer fest meant to showcase and educate about the liquid that makes most of Western North Carolina run.  Over 30 area breweries were on hand to showcase some of their best wares. In addition, other local businesses, like Roots Hummus and French Broad Chocolates, were there, allowing expo-goers to sample their delicious, delicious wares.

Some of the beers of note for me: Innovation Brewing’s  Green Tea IPA, Oskar Blues (Asheville)’s Bourbon Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy, and Wicked Weed’s Triple Double Freak IPA.

What was of particular enjoyment to me at this festival (aside from the friends, the great beer, and the friendly atmosphere) was that it didn’t feel like a typical beer fest. In that, I mean that there weren’t people (and I have been one of them at various points) simply getting drunk on trying to sample as many things as possible. Instead, with five tokens, you took your time with your beers, you sipped and discussed and sipped again. You tried the food, you talked to the vendors, and you got some more beer after that. This kind of atmosphere, plus the four panel sessions open to anyone on a variety of topics, made the day incredibly enjoyable from beginning to end.

(Some photo credits to Molly McGowan-Gorsuch)

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Oscar-Worthy Cocktails

Are you happy with the results from last night? Pissed off beyond belief? Either way, you could probably use a drink, so you’re in the right place. Check out these Oscar-worthy cocktails and keep the party going because, let’s face it, who really likes Mondays anyway?

Grey Goose Femme Confidante

  • 35ml GREY GOOSE L’Orange
  • 20ml cold Lady Grey tea sourced from the Rare Tea Company
  • 10ml Grand Marnier
  • 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • 1 dash of Peychauds bitters

Method: Stir and strain into a coupe glass and garnish with both a lemon and orange peel.

Basil Hayden’s Golden Spice

  • 1 part Basil Hayden’s Bourbon
  • Sparkling Apple Juice

Method: Add Basil Hayden’s Bourbon to a champagne flute. Fill the remainder of the glass with sparkling apple juice. Garnish with a sliced apple.

The Lowlands Highball

  • 1 1/2 ounces Haig Club Single Grain Scotch Whisky
  • 1/3 ounce Breckenridge Bitters
  • 3/4 ounce Yuzu (mixed with lemon – 3 parts lemon: 1 part yuzu)
  • 1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
  • Port-Pomegranate Ice*
  • 1 – 1 1/4 ounces Bitter Lemon Soda

Method: Combine all ingredients, except soda, in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake gently. Strain into Collins glass over flavored ice. Top with bitter-lemon soda. Mist with oil from orange twist, place twist on glass for garnish.

*Port-Pomegranate Ice Cube: Combine 1/2 ounce water, 1/4 ounce pomegranate juice and 1/4 ounce ruby port. Pour into ice trays and freeze overnight.  

Courvoisier One-Two Punch

  • 2 parts Courvoisier VS Cognac
  • 1 part Fresh Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
  • ½ part Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • ½ part Honey Syrup

Method: Mix all ingredients in punch bowl with sliced grapefruit & lemon wheels. Serve over fresh ice.

The Redmayne Rouge (pictured)

  • ½ part St-Germain French Elderflower Liqueur
  • ½ part Martini & Rossi Sparkling Rosé

Method: Pour St-Germain into a chilled fluted glass, and top with Martini & Rossi Sparkling Rosé. Stir lightly. Float half a strawberry or garnish with an edible flower.

Cocktail of the Day: Gran Affair

Celebrate the Oscars in style, with booze! If you’re like me and have no clue what’s going on, this is the best way to watch the show.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ parts Bacardí Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron
  • ¾ part Lemon Juice
  • ½ part Pineapple syrup (1:1 sugar to pineapple juice)
  • 1/4 part Honey syrup (1:1 honey to water)
  • 1 sprig dill

Method:

Shake vigorously with plenty ice, double strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a sprig of dill

Celebrating National Margarita Day with Jay Schroeder

If these drinks are any indication, visitors to Logan Square in Chicago are about to have a new favorite spot to go for mezcal-based drinks. Mezcaleria Las Flores, which will be connected to Johnny’s Grill, is set to open later this month and in preparation for that—and in celebration of National Margarita Day—Jay Schroeder, one of Chicago’s preeminent spiritual leaders when it comes to Mexican spirits, shared with us two ways to celebrate the holiday.

Traditional Mezcal Margarita
(Sin humo mezcal, lime, agave syrup)

With Schroeder’s traditional mezcal margarita, he uses fresh lime, agave syrup, and a sin humo mezcal. “Sin humo means without smoke,” Schroeder said. “The smokey flavor can sometimes be off-putting to Mezcal neophytes.” Jay’s keys to successfully executing this drink at home include mixing the agave syrup with a tiny amount of warm water. “It’s way easier to measure and find the balance of the drink when you mix the agave syrup with the warm water.” He’s also fond of straining the lime juice to remove the pulp before mixing, which, in addition to imparting the libation with a smooth texture, also keeps the glassware from clouding with bits of lime. “Straining the lime juice just makes the drink a lot more attractive,” Schroeder said.
Magnetic Pole Reversal*
(Sotol, cucumber pureé, coriander, gentian liqueur, fresh basil)

An option for more adventurous palates, Schroeder’s second drink selection is a throwback to his days as Rick Bayless’s Chief Mixologist, called Magnetic Pole Reversal, which earned its pedigree as a selection in Food & Wine’s 2015 cocktail guide “This one features Sotol,” Schroeder said, “It’s a different agave spirit from the north of Mexico.” Sotol, while similar to mezcal, is made from a plant called desert spoon and has an herbaceous, almost grassy flavor. Schroeder expertly pairs Sotol’s unmistakably green flavor with cucumber puree, coriander, a gentian liqueur, and fresh basil. “The result is bright and delicious, just in time for our (hopeful) early spring,” Schroeder said.

*Cocktail pictured above

Cocktail of the Day: Basil Hayden’s Presidential Manhattan

It’s President’s Day, so what way to honor the Founding Father’s memory than a new twist on a classic cocktail?

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 parts Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon
  • 1/2 part Sweet Vermouth
  • 1/2 part Dry Vermouth
  • 1/2 part Maple Syrup
  • 2 dashes of Bitters

Method:

Stir together Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, vermouth, maple syrup and bitters over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a cherry and serve.

Cocktail of the Day: Blue Smoke

Inspired by the man, the myth, the legend himself—Derek Zoolander—this cocktail will will have you really, really, ridiculously ready to strut your stuff on any catwalk. (Cocktail Created by Rob Krueger, Extra Fancy, Brooklyn)

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. The Famous Grouse Smoky Black
  • 3/4 oz. King’s Ginger
  • 1/2 oz. Senor Blue Curacao
  • 3/4 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Hot Water

Method:

Build in a pre-warmed mug and top with hot water. Garnish with a half slice of orange.

A little about Getting Lit

Getting Lit started as a series of author interviews about new books over at Entropy. In the series, I talked about the authors’ new books and then crafted custom cocktails to go with the books. For the time being, those ventures will stay at Entropy, where I will continue to curate the series.

My motivation for starting this site was two-fold. First, I work as a spirits writer and the amount of good, boozy stuff that comes through my inbox on a daily basis is too much for the amount of pieces I write for the magazine. Countless cocktails fall by the wayside because I simply don’t have room for them.

Second, eventually, I want Getting Lit to be a podcast. I want to sit and talk with authors, bartenders, and anyone else that wants to talk with me about about books and booze.

This site, then, is where that will all, hopefully, start. I’m going to post cocktails I like/come across, links to bookish stuff, and anything else I find remotely interesting in those two realms. For the time being, I’m going to keep it casual and just attempt to post when I can. As I free up more time, I’ll start posting more frequently and expanding on some other ideas I have puttering around in my head.

For now, though, welcome. And cheers.