Inspiration struck earlier this week. There was a perfectly petite 200 ml bottle of Hiram Walker Creme de Cassis, coupled with a bottle of Brut and a relatively sunny New England afternoon, and the muse struck. It was time for a Kir Royale!
For what this drink (photographed) lacks in proper glassware and twist garnish, it makes up with flavor. The vibrant, deep-red color and sweet profile of the Cassis come from the blackcurrant berry. I measured one part Creme de Cassis with four parts of a dry Brut sparkling wine; the combination of the two made for a very well balanced drink, not sickly sweet.
Champagne cocktails are perfect for a variety of occasions. Give this one a try for when inspiration strikes you next!
Here’s one of the delicioso margaritas that I made for the boyfriend and myself, using the recipe in my previous blog post. Paired with a super fresh dinner of homemade fish tacos, this slightly sweeter version of the classic margarita recipe was perfect to celebrate the occasion!
While yesterday was a National (read: Bank) Holiday, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t far more interested in celebrating today’s special engagement – National Margarita Day. Perhaps I should have traded around my day off this week? Ok, ok, all kidding aside…
The margarita – as a result of its many of its varying forms: frozen, flavored, the works – continues to be the most popular drink ordered in America. Maybe it’s my Southwestern roots, but the margarita is undoubtedly among my most favorite cocktails, too. However, even when the general masses try to get me on the blended margarita bandwagon, mixing a classic margarita from the recipe below is usually a go-to drink at my own home bar.
So the QotD: What do you consider to be the best margarita recipe? And how do you prepare your favorite variation (rocks, blended, with or without salt)? I would love to hear your feedback in the comments section below or on Twitter.
2 parts blanco or plata 100 % agave tequila
1 part Hiram Walker Triple Sec (my go-to Triple Sec over Cointreau, especially if I’m planning to make drinks for a large group)
3/4 part fresh lime juice
1/4 part (or two bar spoons) agave syrup (Optional, but in my mind, quite a delightful addition)
Combine first three ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled salted cocktail glass. Salting the rim: Frost the edge of the cocktail glass by rubbing a lime wedge on the outside rim of the glass, then dipping it into a saucer of coarse salt. Salt only half the glass if you are being
“calorie conscious” “high blood pressure phobic” (as Fred so aptly phrased it in the comments section).
Even with the given title of this particular blog post, I promise this is no more matter related to Valentine’s Day! Rather, we are talking about the cordial that captures on the all-natural flavors of the super food almonds, Amaretto Liqueur.
I came across the following 1977 Hiram Walker ad on Vintage Booze which is written with oh so much affection (“sensuous flavors of exotic almonds!”). Who wouldn’t want to go and grab a bottle of Amaretto after seeing this?! The advertisement got me thinking of what recipes called for Amaretto in the 1970s. Ironically enough, I have a copy of “The Complete World Bartender Guide – The Standard Reference to 2000 Drinks” in my desk – a pretty basic cocktail guide given to me as a reference item from my boss. It has an original copyright date from…1977!
Straight to the index I went and was disappointed not to find an Amaretto category. That’s fine – maybe it just isn’t a primary liqueur ingredient. They have “Italian Liqueurs” as an index category; however, all those recipes checked out to be mainly either Galliano or Strega. I checked for the words “almond”, “toasted”, “godfather”, “godmother” and none of them could be found in this bartender guide!
So the question I’m posing today is this: What drinks were being made with Amaretto in the late 1970s?
Although the label has changed over the years, Hiram Walker is still making their all-natural Amaretto Liqueur today. There are literally thousands of recipes in cocktail forums online calling for this product ranging from the Amaretto Sour to the Alabama Slammer and more. Today, I’ll share the Amaretto Rose, a drink so simple to build with common ingredients you already have in your bar. Enjoy!
- 1 1/2 parts Hiram Walker Amaretto
- 1/2 part Lime Juice
- Fill with Club Soda
Pour Amaretto and lime juice over ice in a collins glass. Fill with Club Soda.
I’ll keep this post short and sweet, just like those beloved candy hearts.
However, for those of you who may fall into that category of, well, forgetfulness… please go and give my monthly column at Bar None Drinks a read where I offer up one more Valentine’s-inspired cocktail that may help to keep you out of the doghouse. There is also a link to an entire Valentine’s Day drink guide with plenty of cocktail options for you and your sweetheart.
Wishing you a special and memorable Valentine’s Day.
Chocolate candies, truffles, and all of the like are Valentine’s Day staples. So why would cocktails be left out of the mix? Incorporating Crème de Cacao, or chocolate liqueur, into your Valentine’s cocktail menu is a boozey way to achieve this cocoa-inspired flavor profile.
In other slightly related/slightly unrelated news, it also happens that today is Peppermint Patty Day. As an homage to that minty chocolate delight from York, here is the recipe. Great for both this Friday’s Feature cocktail and for a sweet Valentine’s dessert drink. To make it lean on the more romantic side, try switching up the garnish; instead of a candy cane, why not float candy hearts on the top of the drink? It’ll add a more personal touch.
- 2 part Hiram Walker White Crème de Cacao
- 1 part Hiram Walker Peppermint Schnapps
- 2 part ABSOLUT Vodka
Shake all ingredients and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a candy cane on the rim (or candy hearts for Valentine’s Day).
A Strawberry Kir is a beautiful cocktail to serve for Valentine's Day with 1 part Hiram Walker Crème de Strawberry and topped with your favorite sparkling wine.
The Champagne Cocktail is a quintessential romantic drink.
Serving a glass (or two!) of your favorite sparkling wine is a great addition to a Valentine’s Day meal planned at home. By adding a splash of of liqueur to that champagne flute, you can transform your drink from classic effervescence to lively refreshment. Here are a few options to consider as you plan your Valentine’s Day menu:
- Crème de Cassis – Hiram Walker’s currant liqueur is a must have for the popular Kir Royale
- Crème de Strawberry – The beautiful red color and all-natural flavors in Hiram Walker’s product will undoubtedly make you think “love”
- Peach Puree – Freshly blended is best to make a classic Bellini
- Pomegranate Liqueur- Pomegranate essence with champagne will make a girl feel truly pampered, and Hiram Walker’s product is a cost-saving alternative to some other pricey liqueurs on the market
- Elderflower liqueur – This floral component in St. Germain is a classic reminder of summer
- Homemade syrups – Although these aren’t infused with alcohol, making a homemade syrup with floral notes is sure to pack a punch to your champagne cocktail. Rose and Lavender are among some favorites I’ve tried in cocktails before.
What other liqueurs do you recommend pairing with champagne or sparkling wine? Please, share your suggestions.