Cocktails with friends

This past weekend I was invited to attend a fully-vaccinated, outdoor event by Camp Shameless, a burn theme camp who pretty much lives up to their charming name. I took cocktails for the happy hour before dinner on Saturday night, and they were a hit. Here, for those who are interested, are the recipes, with advice.

(Note: I served these on the rocks at the burn, but the first three are usually served without ice.)

No photos, alas.

Naked & Famous

  • ¾ oz mezcal
  • ¾ oz Aperol
  • ¾ oz yellow Chartreuse
  • ¾ oz lime juice
  • garnish lime slice

Shake with ice; pour into glass. Adorn with lime slice.

Thunderer

This one is a little complicated, but worth it. The Honey Arbol Ginger Syrup is an extra step, but not hard.

  • 1 ½ oz bourbon (or gin/tequila/rum)
  • 1 oz grapefruit juice
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • ½ oz Honey Arbol Ginger Syrup
  • garnish: slice of arbol chile

Shake with ice; pour into glass. Adorn with the slice of arbol.

Honey Arbol Ginger Syrup

  • ¾ c orange blossom honey
  • ¼ c boiling water
  • 2 oz fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped (about ½ cup)
  • ½-inch piece chile de árbol (I use dried)

Directions

Put the honey and water in a blender and stir until the honey dissolves. Add the ginger and chile and blend on high speed until the ginger is pulverized. Strain through a chinois or cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids. Let the syrup cool to room temperature. Transfer to a small jar or bottle and refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Charlie Chaplin

  • 1 oz apricot liqueur
  • 1 oz sloe gin
  • 1 oz lime juice

Shake with ice; pour into glass.

Cedar & Sorghum

(This is one of my inventions, essentially a Manhattan with stuff in it.)

  • 2 oz rye
  • ¾ oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 barspoon cedar tincture*
  • 1 barspoon bourbon-barrel aged maple syrup
  • 2 dashes Woodford Reserve Sassafras & Sorghum bitters
  • garnish: orange peel

*To make the cedar tincture, char cedar wrap/paper (the kind you use for grilling) with your flame, then soak it in vodka/Everclear until it is a dark amber.

Stir with ice; pour over ice. Express the orange peel over the drink, toss it in.

[notes: When do you shake vs. stir? Cocktails with citrus juices, milk, and/or egg whites are shaken; otherwise stir. James Bond was asking for a more-diluted martini when he asked for his “shaken, not stirred.” To “express” a citrus peel, simply hold it over the drink and squish it suddenly. You’ll be surprised and delighted at the oils that spurt out. Finally, I tend to add the bitters after the pour so that the aromas are foremost, but feel free to add them to the mixing.]

Rose-Colored G

(This is another invention of mine.)

Again, an extra step, but this one is so easy that it hardly counts.

  • 1 ½ oz gin
  • tonic water
  • hibiscus-infused gin floated*
  • allspice bitters floated*

*For the hibiscus-infused gin, soak a handful of dried hibiscus blossoms in gin for 2–4 hours. Strain, store. For the bitters, I’ve used both Dale DeGroff’s Pimento Aromatic Bitters and Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters. Other bitters with predominant allspice notes would also work. Or play with other bitters — that’s the fun of cocktails.

Make yourself a gin & tonic, leaving room in the glass. Carefully pour the hibiscus-infused gin on top. Add 3–5 drops of bitters on top of that. You may add a lime slice if you wish.

New-Fashioned

An Old-Fashioned is one of the granddaddies of cocktails: bourbon with simple syrup and bitters. This is a twist on that.

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • ¾ oz banana liqueur
  • 1 dash Jack Rudy bitters (or other aromatic bitters, like Angostura)
  • garnish: orange peel or cherry

Stir with ice; pour over ice. Garnish at will.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

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