Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Brandy Alexander

There aren’t very many commonly called for cocktails that use brandy as the main liquor, but the Brandy Alexander is certainly included in that short list (others that come to mind would be the Stinger or the Sidecar).  But did you know that the classic Alexander recipe was originally considered a gin-based drink? I didn’t until I had read Gary Regan’s contributing article on Liquor.com earlier this month on the cocktail once known as the Alexander #2.

A slight variation on this classic cocktail, Hiram Walker adapts the Brandy Alexander using its Dark  Crème de Cacao and adds a splash of coffee to compliment the hints of dark chocolate and nutmeg.

Take a break from Martini Monday (or Margarita Monday, we’re not biased here!) and give the Brandy Alexander a try tonight for Brandy Alexander Day.

Hiram’s Brandy Alexander:

Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg.

Cheers!
SJ

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January Recap

My January in New England, in a nutshell...

How is it already the end of January?

Maybe it was all the snow blanketing New England. Yeah, that must be it. Mother Nature was teasing me and messing with my schedule that made this past month one big snowy-white blur.

Nevertheless, there was still imbibing to be had! Here is a brief rundown of a few other happenings that took place this month that haven’t yet made its way onto the blog:

You Can Have Your Cake…:

I have no inkling as to how this one slipped by me, but January 27th was National Chocolate Cake Day. That can only mean one thing – Chocolate Cake Shots! Allow me to stray from the classic cocktails for a moment to share this shooter recipe that some people I know swear by it tasting like chocolate cake.

Chocolate Cake Shot:

Fill a mixing glass with ice and add the liquors. Shake and strain into a shot glass. Enjoy, and immediately bite into a sugar-coated lemon wedge.

Image from CocktailTimes.com

A Toast to Hiram:

This month in 1899, the Hiram Walker passed away in Detroit, Michigan. Celebrate this weekend with a toast to Hiram’s products such as the Canadian Club-doused Quick Kick, from Drink of the Week. Or add a splash of your favorite Hiram Walker schnapps or liqueur (my picks would be Crème de Cassis or Pomegranate Schnapps) to a flute for an easy champagne cocktail.

Cheers!
SJ

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‘Tis the Season (Still) for Seasonal Cordials

Craft cocktail menus continue to reflect unique winter flavors (can anyone say maple syrup?) and January’s issue of Sauce Magazine shares the same sentiment. Pear, honey and rosemary were among those used in the mag’s featured cocktail recipes, but seasonal inspirations like Pumpkin Spice and Gingerbread also got a nod.

Among the recipes featured were a few Hiram Walker cocktails: Pumpkin Pie, Nutty Pumpkin, Gingerbread Cookie, and one I haven’t yet tried, the Gingerbread Cosmopolitan. The cold-weather cosmo looks to boast a nice profile of spices such as vanilla and brown sugar mixed with the citrus notes of the flavored vodka. Here is the recipe:

Gingerbread Cosmo

  • 2 parts ABSOLUT Citron Vodka
  • ½ part Hiram Walker Gingerbread Liqueur
  • 1 part Hiram Walker Triple Sec
  • 1 part Cranberry Juice
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

But just as the harsh winter will pass (gosh, I hope!), these liqueurs, too, will not be on liquor store shelves all year long.  Pick up a bottle or two for yourself this month before these seasonal products while you still can.
Cheers!
SJ

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Weekend Warmers

“Only Irish Coffee provides in a single glass all 4 essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, fat” ~Alex Levine

Irish Coffee will be the talk of the town on Tuesday in celebration of another foodie holiday; however, there are a varying number of other spirits and liqueurs, coupled with coffee, that make for a great winter “pick-me-up”.

As you prep your bar and stock up on Jameson for that traditional coffee pairing, be sure to round up some of these other liqueurs for a plethora of hot coffee cocktails. Try out a different recipe each day leading up to Irish Coffee Day and let me know what you think of each combination.

Hazelnut Coffee

Hazelnut Liqueur

The all natural flavor of hazelnuts is transformed into a 60-proof spirit from Hiram Walker and is a great flavor in coffee drinks. Try out the Hazelnut Coffee or the Nutty Irish Man, a generous cup of Joe with 1 1/2 parts each of Hazelnut Liqueur and Irish Cream.

Peppermint Schnapps

Peppermint Schnapps is a cool, refreshing counterpart to balance out a hot cup of coffee. Give the Alps-inspired Swiss Coffee a try – 1 part each of Hiram Walker Peppermint Schnapps and Kahlua Coffee Liqueur poured in with 4 parts coffee and garnished with chocolate shavings.

Cinnamon Schnapps

Stay away from the hot and spicy schnapps that occupy this category; instead, I would recommend reaching for Original Cinn, which has warming cinnamon and vanilla flavors that will complement any cup of coffee. As previously attempted in a hot chocolate recipe, I have found that simply one part of Hiram Walker Original Cinn with a splash of cream can enhance your cup of coffee, whether it be early in the morning or a simple evening dessert.

Stay warm, my friends!

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Friday’s Feature Cocktail: Apricot Sour

Although apricots are at their seasonal peak during the temperate summers months, someone in our fine nation designated a January date (January 9th to be exact) to honor this sweet and vitamin-rich fruit. So why not stir up an apricot cocktail to boot?!

One of my favorite cocktails to make at home is the classic sour for a few reasons: the flavor profile is simple, I always have the ingredients on hand in my bar,  and it takes no time at all to stir up. I’ve certainly come to appreciate these qualities when stirring up a drink. I also enjoy being able to switch up this recipe with a variety of base spirits and this variant below, using apricot brandy, is no exception to that rule.

Apricot Sour:

Serve over ice, garnish with an orange & cherry flag.

What is your favorite spirit to make a Sour with? Please feel free to share your favorites with me in the comment section.
Cheers!
SJ

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Whip Up Another Spiked Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate, Original Cinn, and alcoholic whipped cream - a winter match made in heaven!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that your holiday celebrations went off without a hitch.

Yesterday was National Whipped Cream Day and I decided to celebrate in a most boozey fashion (I’m not very good with new years resolutions, et. al… 😉 ) . Here is the step-by-step progression:

  1. Brew hot chocolate. Believe it or not, I made my hot chocolate using the Keurig and Green Mountain Coffee’s Hot Chocolate K-cups. It makes a surprisingly above-par hot cocoa!
  2. Add 1 part Hiram Walker Original Cinn to make it a “Cinnful Hot Chocolate”.
  3. Top with a hearty serving of alcohol-infused Whipped Lightning (given to me as a gift from a friend) to make what I’ve dubbed a “Cinnfully Whipped Hot Chocolate”.
  4. Garnish with a cinnamon stick, because why not?

My boyfriend and I found this to be an absolute delight for dessert last night, and the best part is that it took practically no time at all to make! The Whipped Lightning flavor my friend sent along was the Chocolate Raspberry, which I worried at first wouldn’t pair with the cinnamon bun-like profile of Original Cinn. Luckily, the flavor in the whipped cream was pretty muted – in fact, there really wasn’t much flavor at all – and didn’t interfere with the aroma of cinnamon and vanilla that the Original Cinn gives off.

Give this one a try this weekend if you’re looking for a quick and simple drink to make while cozying up by the fireplace.

Cheers and welcome to 2011!

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