Monthly Archives: April 2011

Friday’s Feature Cocktail: Your Chocolate Fix

So as I explained yesterday, I’ve probably eaten well worth my weight in chocolate eggs before Easter even rolls in to celebrate (I’m actually a “Member of the Tribe” so Easter is all about the candy for me 😉 ).

But to allow myself a sweet treat, I wanted to create a drink recipe that uses Hiram Walker’s Créme de Cacao with a lightly fruitful component – the Créme de Banana! Along with a small splash of Kahlua, this drink definitely called for the use of Cream to balance the otherwise immensely sweet flavors.

What resulted is what I would consider a Hiram “Simpletini” – a cocktail recipe using a minimal number of ingredients in an easy-to-deliver service method. I hope you’ll enjoy this one as you spend time with family and friends this weekend.

Chocolate Banana cocktail:

  • 1/2 part Hiram Walker Créme de Banana
  • 1/2 part Hiram Walker White Créme de Cacao
  • Splash Kahlua
  • 1-2 parts Cream

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with shavings of semisweet chocolate and serve.

1 Comment

Filed under Recipes

Gearing up for Easter

The Cadbury Creme Eggs have already been bought (OK, and already eaten, too. Fail.), and the pastel hues are emerging. But is your liquor cabinet stocked to properly celebrate Easter the adult-only way – with a great selection of cocktails!

Today’s recipes I find so simply replicate the warm pastel colors of springtime and painted eggs: we’ll be featuring The Grasshopper and The Pink Lady.


Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve.

Another cocktail all pretty in pink this creamy variation of the Sex on the Beach:

Creamy Sex on the Beach
  • ½ part Vodka
  • ½ part Malibu Coconut Rum
  • ½ part Hiram Walker Peach Schnapps
  • 1½ parts Pineapple Juice
  • 1 part Cream
  • 1 splash Grenadine
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice, shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

Enjoy celebrating this Easter weekend with your family, friends and a great cocktail in hand.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Old School Amaretto

The 1977 Hiram Walker ad that set off this whole Amaretto search. Couresty of Vintage Booze (click the photo to visit his site).

Remember back in February when I wrote about Hiram Walker’s Amaretto liqueur and asked how it was used in 1970s and 80s recipes?

Well on this most auspicious of National Amaretto Days, I thought it be only appropriate to share a few “Old School” recipes that came across my way. Whether or not you want to take the advice of a recipe book from the 70s or 80s (see Dr. Bamboo’s most recent post for further horrifying tales a la 1982…), I have presented you my warning and heed you to proceed with caution when making any or all of these cocktails. With that out of the way, I offer my many thanks to Greg from A History of Drinking for sharing these recipes unearthed from his library of cocktail books.

Gloria (1976 IBA Winner) by Giorgio Guida of Italy

  • 1/4 Bitter Campari
  • 1/4 Royal Stock
  • 1/4 Whiskey Old Crown
  • 1/8 White Special Carpano Vermouth
  • 1/8 Di Saronno Amaretto

Garnish: Maraschino cherry, Serve up in a Cocktail Glass.


  • 2 parts Dry Vermouth
  • 1 parts Amaretto (my recommendation is Hiram Walker)
  • Dash Orange Bitters

Shake with ice & strain into chilled old fashioned glass over fresh ice cubes. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Stilletto (I found another version of this drink online here)

  • 2 parts Bourbon
  • 1/2 part Amaretto
  • 1 part Fresh Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into chilled old fashioned glass over ice cubes.


Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

The $100 bar revisited

It’s the inevitable time of year that finds Americans scrambling to the post office to file their annual tax reports. If you find yourself among the fortunate bunch who have/will receive a refund this year, well, you’re in luck!

Rather than using that refund to splurge on one expensive bottle of booze, why not take Matt of A Jigger of Blog‘s advice and stock your entire bar for $100? Sourcing out products where quality can be found with a reasonable price tag to boot, Matt stocks his bar for $100 and has a slate of cocktails that can be made from the combination of ingredients.

Among those products featured (I’ll encourage you to visit his post to read the entire list) is Hiram Walker’s Triple Sec.

Used in many a popular cocktail recipe, such as the Cosmo, Sidecar and Margarita, among others,  I know I go through Triple Sec rather quickly at my home bar. As my go-to Orange Liqueur, I was excited to see Matt’s inclusion of the triple sec that makes for a great substitute of the more expensive Cointreau ($7 for Hiram Walker versus $30+ for Cointreau). So today’s questions are: What are the other affordable spirit products that you keep stocked at your home bar? Expanding our interests a bit: What’s your favorite $15 or under bottle of wine?

It definitely is possible to use less expensive ingredients to make a great tasting cocktail. Here’s some other posts from bloggers who have shared similar viewpoints.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Friday’s Feature Cocktail: Revisiting the Sour

I was elated earlier in April to read Paul & Steve’s “Buzzings” about the Whiskey Sour coming out from a long winter hibernation. But to politely disagree, I wasn’t convinced it was Whiskey Sour season again; after all, we received another tiny layer of the white stuff in Connecticut the day they put up their post (in fact, there still is a pile of snow in my office’s parking lot even today, although the pile has greatly shrunk down in size, thank goodness!).

It's a beautiful day to enjoy an Apricot Sour outside!

But I have finally put away the winter coat and am ready to start mixing up the Whiskey Sour, and all of its favorable variations once again. As Steve and Paul both note, fresh ingredients are the key to make this recipe a classic combination of sweet and sour. Along with a great-tasting base spirit, using homemade simple syrup and freshly squeezed lemon juice are necessary here.

While I suggest you visit their website to see their perfected Whiskey Sour and delicious food pairings, I am happy to share a variation that I think embodies that same feelings of sweet summer warmth, the Apricot Sour.

Apricot Sour:

Build in a glass and serve over ice. Garnish with orange and cherry flag.

Wishing you all a very Happy Friday and what I hope will be a glorious spring weekend!


Filed under Recipes

Friday Feature Cocktail: The Dude’s New Drink

"That rug really tied the room together."

WWTDD? What Would The Dude Do? Or, better yet, What Would The Dude Drink?

Seems I forgot myself that  WWTDD, is more commonly referred to “What Would Tyler Durden Do?” so I’ve changed the title to avoid any confusion!

That’s But it’s still the question I’m posing today for Friday’s Feature Cocktail. The most obvious answer would be the White Russian, the cocktail The Dude famously downs throughout his feature film, The Big Lebowski (1 1/2 parts vodka, 3/4 part Kahlua, 3/4 part cream built over ice in an Old Fashioned glass). But what if The Dude was having an “off day”? I think we can all fairly assume that The Dude has many particulars in his daily ritual, but I think this recipe may offer just enough of a different “pep in his step” to make it acceptable. Our friends at A History of Drinking featured the Liquid Caramel cocktail this week that holds many similar components to the White Russian: lose the vodka and sub in some Irish Cream and Butterscotch Schnapps. Click on the link to see his version of the recipe with his own tasting notes; I made a few tweaks to the recipe and have my own versions (oops, did I just give away too much?!) disclosed below.

Liquid Caramel (adapted by SJ)

  • 1 part Irish cream
  • 1 part Kahlua
  • 1 part Hiram Walker Butterscotch Schnapps
  • Top with chilled milk (I opted to use cream)

Pour the first three ingredients into an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice. Stir and slowly top with cream. Garnish with grated nutmeg.

Opening up my bottle of Hiram Walker’s Butterscotch Schnapps, I was immediately met with a nose of sweet butterscotch and caramel. Even among competing ingredients, the schnapps has a nice underlying presence in the final drink; it’s not a sickly sweet additive like some schnapps may tend to be. I can see this making for a great dessert cocktail or – better yet – here comes cocktail number two!! Here is a warm hot coffee beverage (because, yes, there still are amazingly some piles of snow on the ground here in Connecticut):

Hotscotch & Caramel

  • 1 part Irish cream
  • 1 part Kahlua
  • 1 part Hiram Walker Butterscotch Schnapps
  • Splash Milk (I opted to use cream)
  • 3-4 parts Fresh brewed coffee

Pour the first three ingredients into a Boston shaker filled with ice. Stir and strain into an Irish coffee mug. Fill with fresh brewed coffee and top with a splash of milk. Sprinkle grated nutmeg on top.

I think The Dude just may abide by these.


Filed under Recipes

21st Century Sevilla

Photo from Pernod Ricard, Pioneers in Mixology

Another delightful component from March’s Pioneers in Mixology program that needed a blog post all its own comes courtesy of Nick Strangeway and the amazing citrus he was able to incorporate into cocktail recipes during his presentation. A mixture of infusions, freshly squeezed juices, and syrups accompanied him up front alongside a collection of garden fresh herbs and seasonal California citrus (oh, west coast, how I miss thee!). Among the fresh produce was the Seville Orange, which falls a bit towards the ‘tart’ side of the most common oranges found in your grocery store; as it is nearing the end of its seasonal height, Nick decided to play upon that aromatic citrus with a play on the Twentieth Century cocktail.

Needless to say, I was getting pretty thirsty. And I now assume you are, too. So here is Nick’s recipe, incorporating the Seville orange.

Photo from Pernod Ricard, Pioneers in Mixology

  • 1 1/2 – 2 oz Olmeca Altos Blanco
  • 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 1/2 oz Hiram Walker Creme de Cacao
  • 1/2 oz Seville Orange Juice
  • Seville zest

Shaken with cracked ice and strained into a cocktail glass. Garnish with Seville zest on top.

Nick described this drink as being “nicely balanced”, “subtle”, and that it “takes advantage of orange”. And, sadly, I had to take his word for it. By the time the drink made its way around to me near the back, the liquid was already gone (and, hence, no photo. boo). All I had to go off was the amazing Seville aroma.

So of course I had to try and replicate, but this time around was having to opt for Hartford County’s collection of citrus that boasts nowhere near the magical tastes of California produce. The orange juice I had on hand did not balance with the spicy Olmeca Altos as I had hoped, but did manage more so when I opted to make the classic gin-version of the Twentieth Century.

I look forward to foraging for some quality citrus around these parts and giving this cocktail another go-around! In the meantime, I encourage you to give it a try yourself and let me know your personal taste test results 🙂


1 Comment

Filed under events, Recipes

NYC Stop: Pioneers of Mixology

Oh, hey there! I spotted myself in the crowd at the NYC seminar of the 3-stop roadshow. Photo from Pernod Ricard, Pioneers in Mixology.

As this lovely picture to the left demonstrates, I was very fortunate to be among the 120 bartenders attending the NYC edition of the Pioneers in Mixology roadshow, an exclusive program extended to graduates of the BarSmarts WIRED and Advanced certification programs. Sponsored by Pernod Ricard USA, the program for bartenders featured many of the industry’s world-class presenters speaking on topics of interest in advanced mixology and technique.

So what exactly does one get educated on when in the good hands of host Gary Regan at a Pioneers in Mixology program? Here are some of the highlights and key takeaways from my experience:

  • Starting the day with a 5-minute silent meditation led by Gary is the perfect way to brush all the day-to-day craziness aside and get in the zone (even after a hectic early morning commute of cabs, trains, and automobiles).
  • Aisha Sharpe (Contemporary Cocktails) and Dushan Zaric (Employees Only, Macao Trading Co.) taught us that a confident Bartender is a balanced union of three equally developed parts: sage, mixologist, and rock star. Each of these skills has a unique set of characteristics to make us more mindful of our performance behind the bar.
  • Molecular Mixology guru Tony Conigliaro (69 Colebrooke Row, London) taught us that you can in fact  infuse flavors into eggs, among my other progressive scientific techniques that are well over my head so please forgive my poor wording. In simplest terms, Tony explained that letting eggs sit in a sealed container with essential oils lets the eggs absorb the scent through its penetrable membrane.
  • A champagne cocktail is a lovely mid-afternoon treat amidst all this education. Do I really need to explain this any further?
  • Nick Strangeway gave us innumerable suggestions on incorporating local ingredients into our cocktails and the great sense of community it can influence as a result. Remember, way back, when the bar or pub was the center of the community? There’s lots of ways to start finding, or even growing yourself, local ingredients in your area, such as starting a community garden or even “guerrilla gardening”.

In addition, Pernod Ricard has indicated that proceeds from all Pioneers in Mixology events are being donated to the charity Wine to Water, an aid organization focused on providing clean water to those in need throughout the world.

Many thanks again to the fantastic presenters along with the team at Pernod Ricard USA for developing this phenomenal education program to continue bartender education. If you have not yet participated in BarSmarts, I highly encourage that you do so; more information is available on both the BarSmarts WIRED and Advanced programs online. Registration is now open for both programs.

Leave a comment

Filed under events