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By Brack Johnson

 

This is the year of the cocktail. At restaurants, clubs and bars from Raleigh to Durham and towns all around, mixologists are bringing new concoctions to the party.

 

Why not take the renaissance home? From recent books, here are spirited drink recipes for the family bartender.

 

 

Southern Living No Taste Like Home

Oxmoor House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sparkling Charleston Cosmopolitan
1 cup crushed ice
3 tablespoons vodka
1-1/2 tablespoons peach nectar
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
1 tablespoon white cranberry juice
2 lemon wedges
2 tablespoons sparkling white wine
Garnish: orange slice (optional)

 

Combine crushed ice, vodka, peach nectar, orange liqueur and white cranberry juice in a cocktail shaker. Squeeze juice from lemon wedges into shaker. Place wedges in shaker.

 

Cover with lid, and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled (about 30 seconds). Strain into a 6- to 8-ounce glass; discard lemon wedges and ice.

 

Top with sparkling white wine.

 

Makes 1 serving

 

 

 

Beer 'Garitas
One 12-ounce container frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
1-1/2 cups tequila
Two 12-ounce bottles beer
Crushed ice

 

Stir together first 3 ingredients in a large pitcher until blended. Serve immediately over crushed ice (in salt-rimmed glasses, if desired).

 

Makes 6 cups

 

 

 

 

 

101 Tropical Drinks
Kim Haasarud, photography by Alexandra Grablewski
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mango Madras
1-1/2 ounces Cruzan mango rum
4 ounces fresh
orange juice
1 ounce cranberry juice
Orange wheel, for garnish

 

Fill a Collins glass with fresh ice. Add the mango rum and orange juice. Top with cranberry juice.

 

Garnish with orange slice. Serve.

 

Makes 1 serving

 

 

Hot Buttered Rum
1 stick butter, unsalted, softened
2 cups light brown sugar
8 ounces rum (can also use a spiced rum)
1 ounce mezcal
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Pinch allspice
Pinch mace (optional)

 

Heat a kettle of water. Preheat coffee mugs with hot water from the faucet and let sit.

 

Meanwhile, add all the ingredients to a blender cup. Blend on high for 45 seconds to 1 minute. The ingredients will actually start to heat up in the blender cup.

 

Once the water in the kettle comes to a boil, turn the blender to its very lowest setting and slowly add the hot water. Keep adding until the blender cup is almost full.

 

Discard the hot water in the mugs. Turn off the blender and pour the mixture into the mugs.

 

Makes 4-5 servings

 

 

Bourbon


The University of North Carolina Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mint Julep Tea
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 cups fresh mint leaves
3 cups strong brewed tea, cooled
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup bourbon
Mint sprigs

 

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

 

Remove from the heat, stir in the mint leaves and let stand for 30 minutes.

 

Strain the mint syrup into a 2-quart pitcher. Stir in the tea, lemon juice and bourbon. Chill. This can be made up to 24 hours in advance, but the tannins in the tea get bitter after a day or so.

 

Serve over ice and garnish each glass with a mint sprig.

 

Makes 1-1/2 quarts, or about 8 servings

 

 

Hot Toddy
2 ounces bourbon
4 ounces hot water
1/2 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 lemon slice
1 clove
1 cinnamon stick

 

Place the bourbon, hot water, brown sugar and honey in a mug and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

 

Add the lemon slice, clove and cinnamon stick and serve. (If it's not hot enough, microwave it for 30 seconds.)

 

Makes 1 serving

 

 

The Artisan Soda Workshop

75 Homemade Recipes From Fountain Classics to Rhubarb Basil, Sea Salt Lime, Cold-Brew Coffee and Much Much More


Ulysses Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kahlùa Egg Cream
1/4 cup Kahlùa or other coffee liqueur
1 tablespoon Chocolate Syrup (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon cream
3/4 cup seltzer

 

In a tall glass, combine the Kahlùa, chocolate syrup and cream, and stir to thoroughly combine. Top with the seltzer. Gently stir again if needed.

 

Makes 1 serving

 

 

Chocolate Syrup
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup good-quality natural-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup raw cane sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a medium, heavy pot, combine the water, cocoa powder, sugar and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil over high heat. Let boil until thickened, 2 to 4 minutes, whisking vigorously to combine. Remove from the heat, and let cool. Refrigerate in a covered container for up to 7 days.

 

Makes 3/4 cup

 

 

Apple Cider Rum
1 tablespoon Apple Cider Syrup (recipe follows)
1/4 cup gold rum
Ice, as needed
1/2 cup seltzer

 

In a lowball glass, stir together the syrup and rum to combine. Add the ice and top with seltzer, gently stirring again. Serve.

 

Makes 1 serving

 

Apple Cider Syrup
3 cups apple cider
2 tablespoons mulling spices
1/3 cup maple syrup

 

In a medium, heavy pot, combine the apple cider and mulling spices, and bring to a boil over high heat. Let boil until reduced to 1/2 cup, 15 to 20 minutes. (As when reducing any juice into a syrup, make sure to watch closely in the last few minutes of cooking to prevent over-reducing and burning.)

 

Add the maple syrup, and stir to combine, then remove the mixture from the heat.

 

Use a fine-mesh sieve to strain out the mulling spices, and let the syrup cool.

 

Refrigerate the syrup in a covered container for up to 5 days.

 

Makes 1/2 cup

 

 

Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits


Storey Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Lightening
1-1/2 cups vodka (80-100 proof)
1-1/2 cups reposado tequila (80 proof)
3 large tomatoes, chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled and coarsely shredded
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 fresh red chile, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon celery seeds
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup Simple Syrup (recipe follows)

 

Combine the vodka, tequila, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, chile, celery seeds and lemon zest in a half-gallon jar. Stir to moisten everything.

 

Seal the jar and put it in a cool, dark cabinet until the liquid smells and tastes strongly of vegetables, about 7 days.

 

Strain the mixture with a mesh strainer into a clean quart jar. Do not push on the solids to extract more liquid.

 

Stir in the simple syrup.

 

Seal and store in a cool, dark cabinet. Use within 1 year.

 

Makes about 1 quart

 

Simple Syrup
2-1/4 cups water
2-1/4 cups granulated cane sugar

 

Mix the water and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar is all moistened. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved, then remove from the heat and let cool. Refrigerate for up to 3 months.

 

Makes 3 cups

 

 

Honey Pistachio
12 ounces shelled pistachio nuts
1-1/2 cups vodka (80-100 proof)
1-1/2 cups dry vermouth (18% ABV)
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 cup honey

 

Chop the nuts finely; it's easiest to use a food processor. Put the nuts into the work bowl of the processor and chop using 3-second pulses until uniformly finely chopped, like coarse sand.

 

Combine the vodka, pistachios, vermouth, lemon zest and honey in a half-gallon jar. Stir to moisten everything. Seal the jar and put it in a cool, dark cabinet until the liquid smells and tastes strongly of pistachios, 7 to 10 days.

 

Strain the mixture with a mesh strainer into a clean quart jar. Do not push on the solids to extract more liquid.

 

Seal and store in a cool, dark cabinet. Use within 1 year.

 

Makes about 1 quart

 

 

Savory Cocktails

Ulysses Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breeder's Cup
Six (1/8-inch) English cucumber slices, divided
1/2 shot (3/4 ounce) freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 shot (3/4 ounce) agave syrup*
1 barspoon beet horseradish
2 pony shots (2 ounces) dry gin
1 pinch smoked sea salt, as garnish
* Mix agave nectar and water in a 1 to 1 ratio

 

Line the sides of an old-fashioned glass with 3 slices of the cucumber in an attractive pattern. Fill the glass with medium ice cubes.

 

In a sturdy, thick-bottomed pint glass from a Boston shaker, use a bar muddler to crush the remaining cucumber slices with the lime juice and agave syrup until fragrant.

 

Add the beet horseradish and gin, stirring to combine and to remove all the horseradish from the spoon.

 

Fill the metal part of the Boston shaker 2/3 full with ice. Pour the muddled gin mixture (including pulp) over the ice. Cap the shaker with the pint glass and shake vigorously until well chilled. Using a Hawthorn strainer, doubleain the cocktail through a wire-mesh sieve into the prepared glass. Garnish with a pinch of smoked sea salt.

 

Makes 1 serving

 

 

Campari Alexander
2 pony shots (2 ounces) Campari
2 tablespoons dark crème de cacao
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Unsweetened cocoa powder, to taste, as garnish

 

Add the Campari, crème de cacao and cream to a cocktail shaker 2/3 filled with ice. Shake vigorously until frothy.

 

Using a Hawthorn strainer, doubleain the cocktail through a wire-mesh sieve into a double old-fashioned glass.

 

Allow the foam to rise, then garnish with a sprinkling of unsweetened cocoa powder (if using).

 

Makes 1 serving

 

 

Cordials From Your Kitchen
Easy, Elegant Liqueurs You Can Make & Give

Storey Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Butter Pecan Liqueur
1 cup vodka
1 cup brandy
3 teaspoons concentrated pecan
flavoring extract
3/4 teaspoon butter flavoring extract
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/3 cup white sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water

 

Combine vodka, brandy, pecan flavoring, butter flavoring and orange zest in clean 1-quart jar. Make a simple syrup by bringing white sugar, brown sugar, salt and water to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. When clear, remove from heat and let stand until just warm. Combine with alcohol mixture. Let age for at least 1 month in a covered container.

 

Makes approximately 1 fifth

 

 

Amaretto Coffee Liqueur
2-1/2 cups water, divided
6 tablespoons Colombian coffee
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups 80-proof vodka
1 cup brandy
3/4 teaspoon almond flavoring oil
1-1/2 teaspoons glycerin (optional)

 

Combine 1-1/2 cups water and coffee to make a very strong brew. Set aside. Make a simple syrup by bringing remaining 1 cup water and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. When clear, remove from heat and let stand until just warm. Add vanilla and coffee. Combine vodka, brandy, flavoring and glycerin (if using) in a clean 2-quart container. Add coffee mixture. Cover and let stand in a cool, dark place for at least 1 month before serving.

 

Makes approximately 1-1/2 quarts