Eric, this update is for you! Apparently you actually check my site and see if I have anything new. Well, today's your lucky day! I added recipes for two of my favorite summer 2018 cocktails. It's time you bought some more rum. You'll be happy you did.
I've added two new cocktails to the drinks page today. First is a Campari based sipper from the fine folks at Violet Hour, called Eeyore's Requiem. Second up is the Montego Bay, which is a classic tiki cocktail that highlights Smith & Cross rum.
I added five cocktails to the drinks page last month, all of which I enjoyed multiple times. First up are three tiki drinks: a classic (Saturn), a riff on a classic (The Undead Gentleman), and something new (Cthulhu Punch):
This last week I came across two new drinks (to me at least) that I'm really liking. First is a Negroni variation using the amazing Plantation Fancy Stiggins' Pineapple Dark Rum, and the second is a mezcal tiki drink. Both are super tasty! I've added both of 'em to the Drinks menu at the top, and direct links are provided here too. Enjoy!
Last week the mrs and I and a couple friends headed over to Chicago for the weekend. We hit the museums, wandered the city, and sought out good bars and restaurants. Here's a quick rundown of the boozy highlights.
Our first stop turned out to be Green River where we had lunch and a couple drinks. Green River is a pretty swank place with tasty food and very nice drinks. They have one of the most interesting and thoughtful drink menus I've seen. The drinks are laid out by base spirit, and each cocktail is named after an Irish Chicagoan of significance who's personality typifies the qualities of the base spirit. It's pretty deep and educational and amazing. I really wanted a copy, but alas our waitress said 'no'. We liked the place enough that we visited again later in the weekend.
I'm a big fan of all the tiki action these days, and so we had to stop by both Three Dots and a Dash and Lost Lake. The Three Dots space is big and amazing. It's a seriously done up joint. The menu of drinks is pretty traditional, but everything is done spot on. The garnishes and glassware are first rate, and we especially enjoyed the dolphin in the banana daiquiri.
Lost Lake is a much smaller, neighborhood tiki bar in Logan Square. We had to wait our turn to get in, since it was Friday night. While the place was packed and loud, the drinks (and wallpaper!) were great. The tiki cocktails here are a bit more adventurous, which was fun. I'd imagine Lost Lake would be amazing during the week when all the riff raff, like us!, weren't messing up the place.
We also hit up The Violet Hour and the Game Room at the Chicago Athletic Association, and had an amazing meal at Momotaro. Momotaro had the best food of the weekend, no question. And I'd be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to Broken Shaker, which happened to be our hotel bar. Broken Shaker was really hopping on Friday and Saturday night, but things were nice and chill when I swung by on Sunday evening. I sat at the bar and had the Campfire Boulevardie, which was a nice sipper. My second drink was an old fashioned using the Zafra 21 year old rum, which my bartender, Scott, recommended. It was a perfect last drink of the trip.
Last month, I took a trip up to Alaska. Our first stop on the way up was Vancouver, BC. While on the train ride up, I started looking for a decent place to have lunch. By decent, I mean a place with solid cocktails and good food that'd be walking distance from our hotel. All signs pointed to Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar.
The signs were not wrong. We had great food and seriously great drinks at Uva! Their drink menu is really quite impressive: interesting and complex cocktails, great wines and beer, and they even offer flights of wine or booze. With my lunch I had the Sour Rose and the Cricket Old Fashioned cocktails. My drinking partner, Glenn, started with a porter and then moved on to the Peater Rabbit.
I really liked the Sour Rose, and I asked our bartender, Jasmine, about the details. She revealed the secret ingredient is Harvest Song's Tea-Rose Petal preserves. The preserves smelled amazing, and I'll be picking some up soon. Glenn found his new favorite cocktail in the Peater Rabbit. He talked about that drink the whole trip, and now I'm on the hook for trying to recreate it the next time we meet.
And if this experience wasn't already good enough, after finishing lunch, I realized they also sell bitters! Uva's bar manager, Lauren Mote, produces her own line of bitters, called Bittered Sling. Lauren happened to be sitting at the bar, and she gave us the full rundown: flavor profiles, production methods, you name it. She really was most accommodating to our questions, and you could tell this was a passion for her. I ended up choosing the gift pack, which netted me 6 small bottles, because how can you choose just one? Importantly, the gift pack included the Plum & Rootbeer bitters that were in the Cricket Old Fashioned, so I can recreate that drink at home.
Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar was a stellar first stop on our trip, and I can't wait to get back there the next time I'm in Vancouver.
Ok, it's time for my favorite Mai Tai variant, the Bitter Mai Tai. In this version, a healthy dose of Campari is added to the mix. This drink, when served up with a load of crushed ice, is a full on heat buster. Here's the rundown:
1.5 oz Campari
0.75 oz Jamaican Rum
0.5 oz Orange Curaçao
1 oz Lime Juice
0.75 oz Orgeat
Shake all ingredients and serve over crushed ice. Crushed ice really helps make this drink a heat buster, so don't be lazy and try to make it happen. Mint is always a lovely garnish, but if your mint is burnt to a crisp because it hasn't rained in a month (like me), it'll be ok.
Now I do need to give credit, where credit is due. I read about this drink a few years ago via my Imbibe Magazine subscription. Jeremy Oertel gets the credit, and it'd be cool to meet and congratulate him someday on making such a fine beverage. Here's the recipe page at Imbibe Magazine, and here's a nice blurb on Punch too. Punch suggests using Smith & Cross Rum, which I heartily endorse. Smith & Cross is some tasty stuff.
It's summertime, and that means it's time for refreshing drinks that'll help provide some relief on hot days. Definitely one of my favorite summertime cocktails is the Mai Tai. It's a lovely blend of tart and sweet and rum. My goto recipe pulls from the Employee's Only Guide to Classic Cocktails:
1 oz Lime Juice
0.75 oz Orgeat
0.75 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Orange Curaçao
1.5 oz El Dorado 12 Year Old Rum
Shake all ingredients, then serve over ice and garnish with a mint sprig. The mint sprig is nice, and serving over crushed ice might be even nicer, but neither is required.
Also, if you don't have the fancy orange curaçao, don't sweat it. While that stuff is super tasty, and I really recommend it, Cointreau or triple sec will work here. I'm a big fan of El Dorado rums, but you might not have that either. While I like using a rum with some age on it, just use whatever you've got. If the result doesn't do it for ya, then try a different rum. Part of the fun of a Mai Tai is that you can mix and match ingredients to find your favorite combo. A Mai Tai is also a great base to experiment with, and I'll provide a couple options for doing just that next time.