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Emerald Isle Cocktail -- The Intense Irish

Intense IrishDrinking in Ireland means beer and whiskey, right?  Not always. As Ms. Wulf Cocktail Den and I recently discovered, the cocktail scene in Ireland is growing. The most common one you'll see is a combination of Jameson whiskey, ginger ale, and lime. Using Barrow's Intense ginger liqueur (full disclosure -- I am a small investor), the Intense Irish is my twist on this ubiquitous Irish cocktail.

2 ounces Irish whiskey (I used Jameson Caskmates)
1.25 ounces Barrow's Intense
Juice from 1/4 lime

Combine in a shaker with ice, shake with the thrilling intensity of speeding through an Irish roundabout on what seems to be the wrong side of the road (if you're American), and strain into a chilled glass.

Generally speaking Irish whiskey is a little smoother and less peaty than its more well known counterpart from Scotland. Find one you like and use it.  The Barrow's Intense is indispensable.  It packs a much stronger punch than ginger ale, both in ginger flavor and alcoholic potency. The Intense Irish is sort of similar to the Mamie Taylor, except it has fewer ingredients. 

To paraphrase Bono and Obi Wan Kenobi (yes, I can tie U2 and Star Wars together) -- you've found the Intense Irish, and it is the drink you're looking for.

 


Cold as Iceland -- The Icelandic Sour

The wonderful country of Iceland is the polar opposite of the person who's the subject of the Foreigner tune Cold As Ice.  As foreigners who recently traveled to Iceland, Ms. Wulf Cocktail Den and I had a great time seeing the sights and meeting people. The Icelandic Sour is my adaptation of the Whiskey Sour served at Loftid in Reykjavik.

With vitamin C and protein, the Icelandic Sour is a relatively healthy cocktail.
Containing Vitamin C and protein, the Icelandic Sour is a relatively healthy cocktail.

2.5 ounces rye
1 ounce super simple syrup
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 egg white
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash aromatic or Angostura bitters

Combine everything except the egg white into a shaker, add ice, shake with the force of water cascading over the majestic Gulfoss falls in Iceland, strain everything into a glass, toss the ice from the shaker, pour the contents of the glass back into the shaker, add the egg white, shake as if you're hustling to make your connection in Keflavik airport (don't ask), and strain into a separate chilled glass.

Why the complicated preparation? The reverse dry shaking process described above works really well for any drink with egg whites, e.g. the Pisco Sour (click on the Protein category for other examples) because it enhances the flavor and results in more foam.  If you don't want to reverse dry shake, just put all of the ingredients and ice into a shaker and shake away.

The Icelandic Sour is another example of the Whiskey Sour's versatility.  Other variations include cocktails such as the Midnight Train. All of the ingredients for the Icelandic Sour are easy to obtain, and you end up with a tasty and balanced drink. 

If you want paradise, pay the price with an Icelandic Sour.


A Smashing Success With Booze -- The Intense Smashed Julep

It's the time of year when many Americans briefly focus on horse racing.  And what cocktail is associated with the Kentucky Derby, the most famous race?  That's right -- the Mint Julep.  There's certainly nothing wrong with having a Mint Julep or two, but winners don't always stay with the pack. Break from the pack and try an Intense Smashed Julep.  

Intense Smashed Julep2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce Barrow's Intense ginger liqueur
1/4 lime cut into small pieces
4-5 mint leaves

Muddle the mint and lime at the bottom of the shaker, add ice and the other ingredients, shake like you're thundering down the homestretch, and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice.  Mint garnish optional.

There's no super simple syrup in the Intense Smashed Julep.  The Barrow's Intense (disclosure -- I am a very small investor) brings some sweetness and a noticeable ginger taste to the drink.  The Intense Smashed Julep is a mashup (smashup?) of the traditional Mint Julep, the Whiskey Smash, and the Intense Ginger Mint Julep.  If it isn't sweet enough for you, go ahead and add a little super simple syrup.       

Describing a cocktail as a smashed julep is sort of redundant.  Technically speaking a smash is a class of cocktails and a julep (the word derives from an old Persian word for rose water) is a subset of a smash.  As I understand it, a julep contains a spirit, sweetener, herb, and ice, and a smash contains all of those things and fruit.  In other words, all smashes are juleps, but not all juleps are smashes.  

But enough of this horsing around with cocktail semantics.  Have fun, get Intense, and get smashed. 


Liquid And Precious -- The Reston Pearl

Pearls adorn the necks and wrists of classy ladies around the world.  One evening two classy ladies (Ms. Wulf Cocktail Den and our friend Sonia), one fine gentleman (our friend Joel, who is Sonia's husband), and I (definitely not a lady and occasionally a gentleman) went into the Den to create a new gin based cocktail.  After experimenting with various gins, fruits, vegetables, and bitters, the Reston Pearl is the result of our very fun efforts.

Reston Pearl2 ounces gin (we used the Botanist)
.5 ounces honey syrup
4-5 small cucumber chunks
2 dashes Lem-Marrakech bitters from Bittered Sling

Muddle the cucumber and gin at the bottom of a shaker, add ice and the other ingredients, stir with the subtle strength of a pearl diver, and strain into a chilled glass.

You're probably wondering about the name.  Seems pretty random, doesn't it?  You'd be correct, except Sonia and Joel live in Reston, Virginia, and "Pearl" was Sonia's nickname when she was a girl.  

The gin and cucumber give the Reston Pearl a crisp taste, the honey syrup adds a little sweetness, and the bitters bring in a hint of tartness. Although the muddling process is the same as with a Mint Julep, you can use a little more force with cucumber than you would with mint.   The honey syrup isn't hard to make, and if you have any left over you can use it in a Cool Summer Breeze or A Thief In The Night.  If you can't get the specific bitters from Bittered Sling, another citrus flavor, e.g. orange, will work well.

So when will the Reston Pearl adorn your taste buds?


The Whiskey Queen

Who is the Whiskey Queen?  My lovely wife, aka Ms. Wulf Cocktail Den, aka the Den's taste tester and social media consultant.  The tradition of kicking the new year off with a new original creation continues.  My wife is a Whiskey Woman, Bourbon Babe, and Scotch Siren (I definitely would see superhero films with those characters).  She is particularly fond of bourbon and Scotch, so the Whiskey Queen incorporates both of them.

Whiskey Queen1.5 ounces bourbon (Bulleit or Willett is fit for a queen)
.75 ounces blended Scotch (Monkey Shoulder is regal)
.75 ounces Benedictine DOM
2 dashes Bittered Sling peach bitters or other peach bitters

Combine in a shaker with ice, stir with a true queen's combination of badass power and majestic grace, and strain into a chilled martini or coupe glass.

Use your favorite bourbon, but stay away from ones that are more than 100 proof.  The Whiskey Queen should be strong, not lethal.  Similarly, using a blended Scotch instead of a single malt Scotch (especially one that is smoky) will reduce the odds of the cocktail going the way of Anne Boleyn. I used Benedictine because, like the peach bitters, it is a component of the Royalist, a great similarly themed cocktail.  Don't let the herbal sweetness fool you -- Benedictine's alcohol content makes it almost as strong as bourbon or Scotch.  You can (and should) get peach bitters online, and Bittered Slling makes the best product.

Whether your taste runs towards queens of the Elizabeth II variety or the Freddie Mercury variety (get it?), the Whiskey Queen is a tribute to the queen or king in your life.

Celebrate their Majesty!


Malo Malo Man -- The Bad Hombre

Bad HombreDo you know a bad hombre?  During the last Presidential debate in which Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton a Nasty Woman he referred to "bad hombres" who crossed the border from Mexico into the United States.  Naturally Saturday Night Live made fun of the comment.  My friend Chuck suggested I make a Bad Hombre cocktail.  There are a couple of versions online, but none of them contain any ingredients from Mexico.  My original creation does.

2 ounces blanco or reposado tequila (me gusta Herradura)
1 ounce Kahlua (hecho en Mexico)
2 dashes molé bitters or Condesa bitters from Bittered Sling

Bad Hombre 2Combine a shaker with ice, stir with the satisfaction of being a bad (in a good way) cocktail maker, and strain into a chilled glass. 

The Bad Hombre is a Brave Bull (the tequila version of a Black Russian) with bitters. Considering the toxic nature of the Presidential campaign's political discourse, the Bad Hombre needs bitters.  The tequila and bitters you use will have an impact on the drink.  If you want a smokier flavor, use reposado tequila and Condesa bitters.  If you want a smoother flavor, use blanco tequila and molé bitters.  Use Angostura bitters as a last resort.

Do you want musical accompaniment for this cocktail?  Possible choices include diverse artists such as George Thorogood ("Bad To The Bone") and Michael Jackson ("Bad").  If you were supposed to shake the Bad Hombre (you shouldn't because it would violate the Hamlet Cocktail Conundrum), you could play "Macho Man" by the Village People (look at the post's subject title again).

Here's a question -- does this post make me El Lobo Loco (the crazy wolf), El Lobo Malo (the bad wolf), or both?


How About Them Apples -- The American Apple

Apples, cinnamon, and whiskey.  Any one of those flavors can evoke the autumn season.  Combine them into a drink, and you'll definitely fall (pun intended) for the result. You don't hear the phrase "how about them apples" much anymore (to my non-American readers -- it's an expression that means "what do you think about that?"), but as Matt Damon showed us in this scene from Good Will Hunting, sometimes it really hits the right note.

The American Apple is my variation on a Canadian whiskey based cocktail recipe that I saw on the barnonedrinks.com website.

American Apple2 ounces bourbon or rye (I like Bulleit and Willett)
.5 ounces apple brandy (Laird's is American)
Juice from 1/4 lemon
.5 ounces super simple syrup
2 dashes cinnamon

Combine in a shaker with ice, shake with Will's swagger, and strain into a chilled glass. Apple slice garnish optional.

Apple brandy also plays a prominent role in cocktails such as Antoine's Smile and the Corpse Reviver #1.  It is similar to applejack, but they're not the same. I mention this because Laird's, which I used in the American Apple, makes both kinds of spirits.  The American Apple will taste a little different depending on whether you use bourbon or rye.  Bourbon is a liquid example of American exceptionalism, and rye is a liquid example of an American comeback kid.

So how about them American apples?


The Other Sweet Science -- Pugilecello

"Sweet science" refers to boxing, a sport of brutal elegance.  Although the genesis of the term is unclear, it pays homage to the simultaneous focus on objective "science" (e.g. physics, leverage, power) and subjective "sweet" art (e.g. timing, finesse, drama).  The closest I get to boxing is going a couple of rounds on the heavy bag at the gym.  I do this with all the grace and ferocity of the Tasmanian Devil (the cartoon character, not the animal) having a seizure.

PugilecelloFortunately I'm much better at making cocktails and liqueurs.  "Pugile" is the Italian word for boxer.  Pugilecello is a combination of moracello (blackberry liqueur) and mirtillocello (blueberry liqueur).  Here was my thought process in naming it: "black and blue" --"bruiser" -- "boxer."  Making it is a lot easier than going a round with iconic American boxers such as Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, and Floyd Mayweather.

Round One -- Combine 12 ounces of blackberries (preferably organic), 12 ounces of blueberries (preferably organic), and one liter of 190 proof grain alcohol, e.g. Everclear, in a container.  Wait one week. 

Round Two -- Make super simple syrup with four cups of water and three cups of sugar.  Wait until it cools to room temperature.  Strain the berries from the Round One mixture and combine with the super simple syrup.   Store in a cool, dark place for four weeks.

Round Three -- Savor this sweet science while watching a boxing match, clips of classic fights such as the Thrilla in Manila, or a movie such as Rocky (the first one is a great film, and like any good sports movie, it's only about the sport on its most superficial level).

Before you step into the ring with pugilecello, here's some advice -- it may float like a butterfly, but it can sting like a bee.


A Tropical Tonic -- The Cocogin

Ready for an oddly refreshing clear and crisp cocktail?  Ready to expand your cocktail horizons? Of course you are.   The Cocogin is more or less exactly what it sounds like -- two of the three ingredients are in the name.  Pairing coconut water with something other than rum seems unusual, but this combination really works.

HawaiiSunset22 ounces gin (I used The Botanist)
1.5 ounces coconut water
.5 ounces super simple syrup

Combine in a shaker with ice, stir with the deceptively precise motion of an ocean tide, and strain into a chilled glass.

I'm not a fan of gin, but in recent years friendly bartenders have introduced me to some that I like in cocktails.  For the Cocogin I suggest using a gin that doesn't, to put it not so delicately, taste like you're sucking on a pine cone.

The Cocogin essentially is a riff off of the In The Dominican. I wanted to make something with coconut water, and the gin happened to be in closer proximity than the dark rum.  So enjoy the fruits of my laziness and experimentation, and make yourself a Cocogin.


Warm Weather Drinking -- The Cool Summer Breeze #1 and #2

Warm weather calls for refreshing drinks.  This original creation incorporates fresh peaches, a classic summer fruit, with strong liquor and sweet honey to cool you down and take the edge off.  The difference between the Cool Summer Breezes lies only in the base spirit -- the #1 uses vodka, and the #2 uses bourbon.

Cool Summer Breeze2 ounces vodka or bourbon
3 teaspoons peach puree (roughly 1/2 peach)
1 ounce honey syrup

Combine in a shaker, shake with the force of a very stiff breeze, and strain into a chilled glass.

Peach puree sounds fancy, but it really isn't. To make it, remove the skin and pit from the peach, and then run the fruit through the blender. Blend the hell out of it.  The honey syrup is the same stuff that you use in A Thief In The Night.  Heat equal parts honey and water in a saucepan over medium heat, stir until the honey dissolves, and cool to room temperature. 

A Cool Summer Breeze goes with all sorts of music.  It depends on your mood.  Classical?  Vivaldi or pretty much anything from the Baroque period.  Classic rock?  Allman Brothers.  Hard rock that goes with the theme?  "Summer Nights" by Sammy Hagar era Van Halen.  Hard rock that uses the word peach (not in the context of the fruit)?  "Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leppard or "Walk On Water" by Aerosmith.  Regardless of your musical tastes, a Cool Summer Breeze is just what you want on a warm day. So sit back and enjoy the Breeze!