A deceptively smooth cocktail with an ax to grind.
Yes, we’ve been posting a lot of cocktails lately but hey, Jake just set up a sweet-ass bar in his apartment and we’ve gotta practice. This fall-inspired potable derives its name from its ingredients and surprisingly innocuous taste. Burly bourbon gets tempered and sweetly complemented by apple cider and Aperol. Don’t be fooled by the smoothness though, too many of these will have you throwing on plaid and raring to chop down random objects.
Equipment Needed: Rocks Glass, Shot Glass, Spoon
- 1 1/2 shots bourbon (we used Knob Creek) (about $30/750 ml)
- 1/2 shot Aperol (you can use another aperitif like Campari if you want) (about $25/750 ml)
- 4 oz apple cider (about $3.50/half-gallon)
- 1 cinnamon stick ($3.59/2 oz jar)
- Ground cinnamon ($3.59/3.5 oz jar)
- Ice (free)
- Whole cloves (optional) ($3.99/1 oz jar)
- Pour the bourbon, Aperol and apple cider in your glass and stir everything together.
- Add a couple of dashes of cinnamon. Cloves add another level of taste complexity so add a couple now if you so desire (though you should keep it at 2-3 so you don’t overpower things).
- Pop in a couple of ice cubes and give the whole mix one last stir with a cinnamon stick, which you can either toss in the drink or use for garnish.
- Consume daintily (pinkies out!) and contemplate clearing a forest.
From here on out you will only want to eat things out of little meat cups.
Fall is awesome. It’s not too cold, not too hot, you have an excuse to start making heartier meals, and watching football all day totally counts as an activity. It’s the total package, just like these little babies. Prosciutto cups always seemed difficult to us until we actually tried them (hint: it’s easy). The salty richness of the pig is balanced nicely by the freshness of the ricotta, and the whole thing is lifted by the sweet and slightly acidic balsamic glazed figs. Better stocked grocery stores will have fresh figs into early November so get on it and up your appetizer/snack game forever.
Equipment Needed: Muffin Tin, Small Cup or Mixing Bowl, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Frying Pan, Spatula, Spoon
- 12 slices prosciutto ($14.99/lb)
- 6 fresh black mission figs ($4.99/pt)
- 1/3 C balsamic vinegar ($8.99/32 oz)
- 1 TBSP maple sugar (you can substitute brown sugar if you can’t find maple sugar; we got ours at Kalustyan’s)($3.99/3 oz)
- Roughly 2 C fresh ricotta ($5.99/lb)
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary ($1.49/sprig)
- 1/4 C honey ($4.39/12 oz)
- Preheat the oven to 425° F.
- Pull the rosemary leaves off the sprigs and mince them up. Sprinkle some salt over the minced leaves and scrape them against the cutting board as you would if you were making a garlic paste.
Crush up the rosemary a bit to make it infuse better with the honey.
- Dump the rosemary into a small cup or container and pour the honey over it. Let that sit on the back of the stove to draw ambient heat and meld flavors while you cook everything else.
- To make the cups, take each slice of prosciutto and line each muffin compartment in the tin making sure that the bottom is completely covered. The end result should look like a cupcake wrapper. The prosciutto will inevitably split several times when you first attempt this. Resist the urge to put your fist through a wall and just be gentle and patient when handling each piece. Pop these in the oven for about 8-10 minutes or until they’re crisp.
The first few will frustrate the hell out of you and fall apart. The last few you will be able to do blindfolded.
- While the cups are cooking place your frying pan over medium heat. Add the balsamic vinegar and maple sugar and stir everything together. Let the vinegar reduce for about 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.
- Keeping an eye on your vinegar while it reduces, remove the stems from the figs and slice them in half lengthwise. Once the sauce has thickened a bit place the figs in the pan, sliced side down. Let them sit and cook for 5 minutes; resist the urge to move them so they caramelize a bit.
The reduced balsamic will nicely balance the sweetness of the figs.
- Pull your prosciutto out of the oven when it’s crispy and set them aside to cool.
- Flip your fruit and cook for another 5 minutes to soften them through. Turn the heat off, pluck the figs out of the vinegar and set them aside to cool slightly.
- Carefully pull your prosciutto cups out of the tin and fill each one with a spoonful of ricotta. Place a fig on top of the cheese, sliced side up. Drizzle a little balsamic from the pan over top if you wish and then drizzle some of your rosemary honey over the whole lot for a sweet and earthy accent.
And rosemary honey because we said so.
A drink that’s refreshing and warming all at once.
This simple drink is perfect for the seasonal limbo that is September. Is it summer? Is it fall? Well, it’s still warm enough to need something refreshing but nice to have something with a little backbone should the wind pick up. The sweet tartness of the blood orange soda is a nice precursor to the rich warmth of the rye. Put on a cardigan, roll the sleeves up, and mix one up.
Equipment Needed: Rocks Glass, Spoon, Shot Glass
- 1 shot rye (we used Rittenhouse; about $25/750 ml)
- 8 oz San Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa soda ($4.99/6 pack)
- Add 4 ice cubes to your rocks glass and pour in a shot of rye.
- Top it off with soda and stir.
- Quaff and start hoarding acorns for the winter.
Jag! Myket läckra!
Being almost half Swedish we love most things Scandinavian. This drink was inspired by some of the brighter flavors Jake experienced while he was studying in Karlstad. Slightly sweet, slightly acidic, slightly piney, this herbaceous delight is the perfect summer cooler for whatever you’re in for. Also, since the Olympics are on even your drinking should have a little international flair.
Equipment Needed: Paring Knife, Cutting Board, Rocks Glass, Spoon (to stir) or Cocktail Shaker (to shake)
- 1 shot gin (we used Bombay Sapphire; about $25/750 ml)
- 1/2 shot St. Germain (about $30/750 ml)
- 1/2 shot Lillet (about $15/750 ml)
- 2-3 TBSP cardamom simple syrup (you can use regular simple syrup or honey if you don’t want to make ours)
- 7 dashes lemon basil bitters (use a couple dashes of your favorite bitter if you’re not cool enough to infuse your own)
- 1 lemon ($0.50/each)
- 1 fresh basil leaf ($2.99/oz)
- 1 fresh sprig rosemary (about $1.49/sprig)
- Tonic water ($1.79/L)
- Using your paring knife cut the lemon into discs and cut the rosemary sprig in half. Place a basil leaf and the rosemary piece in the center of a lemon disc (like a little lilly pad) and set aside for garnish.
- Put a couple ice cubes in your cocktail shaker and add the gin, St. Germain, Lillet, cardamom syrup and bitters. Pop the top on and shake vigorously.
- Pour over ice, squeeze in a little extra lemon juice and top the whole thing off with tonic.
- Garnish with your lemon herb disc and consume. Skål!
Fresh and bitter at the same time. Sip on that why don’t cha.
As you know we love getting freaky with our cocktails. While on a tear making all manner of bitters we wanted to think of something that had a slightly fresher flavor that we could pair with lighter spirits. Enter the lemon basil bitters, which pair well with gin and tequila. Try it in our Sloppy Swede or do whatever feels right (or wrong as the case may be).
Equipment Needed: 2 – 1 PT Mason Jars with Lids, Vegetable Peeler, Coffee Filter, Drip Coffee Filter Basket
- 3/4 C 160 proof vodka (we used Devil’s Springs; about $17.99/750 ml)
- 1 lemon ($0.50/each)
- 1/3 C basil (we used Gotham Greens for a little locavore flair; $3.99/1 oz)
- 3 pieces dried lemongrass (about $4.99/oz)
- 1/2 TSP black peppercorns ($3.69/2.25 oz jar)
- Break the lemongrass stalks in half and add them to one of the pint jars. Pour in the peppercorns and tear up the basil into smaller pieces and add them as well.
Tear the basil into smaller pieces but don’t shred them too tiny.
- With your vegetable peeler remove the peel of a lemon being careful to get as little of the pith (white part) as possible. Add this to the jar with the other dry ingredients and pour in the vodka.
- Seal the jar and give it a good swirl. Place it in the fridge and let it steep for one week, swirling the mixture every other day.
- After week one remove the basil pieces and place it back in your ice box. Infuse for another week with the same swirling schedule.
- At the end of the second week, place a coffee filter in the basket of a drip coffee maker and place it over the mouth of the other mason jar.
- Pour the liquid through the coffee filter to strain out the solids. Mix with 1/4 C of our base bitters recipe and let sit for at least a day for the flavors to meld.
Classic cocktailing made way easier than we thought it would be.
We’ve been enjoying our cocktails lately and were inspired by a recent libation featuring scotch and tobacco bitters. Yes, tobacco bitters. Inspired, we hit the interwebs to cull together the best of the best bitters recipes so we could start getting freaky with our flavors. The recipe below is a simple base which can be used on its own in cases where you’d use Angostura Bitters, or as a base for other flavors. The hardest part of making your own is patience but just remember that nothing’s more badass than rolling into a situation with home-infused party starters.
Equipment Needed: 2 – 1 QT Mason Jars with Lids, Meat Tenderizer (optional), Coffee Filter, Drip Coffee Filter Basket
- 2 C 160 proof vodka (we’ve heard people use Everclear but warning label scared us away so we opted for Devil’s Springs; about $17.99/750 ml)
- 1 1/2 TSP gentian root (you’re definitely going to need to order this online or go to a specialty spice shop like Kalustyan’s; about $4.99/oz)
- 4 star anise pods (about $4.99/oz)
- 1 TBSP green cardamom pods (about $6.99/oz)
- 2 small cinnamon sticks (about $3.59/2 oz jar)
- Crack the cardamom pods and put them in the mason jar.
Use a meat tenderizer to make things go faster.
- Pour the alcohol in add the rest of the ingredients. Secure the lid and give things a good swirl.
- Let the mixture sit for about 10 days, swirling it every other day to mix things up a bit. On the last day place a coffee filter in the basket of a drip coffee maker and place it over the mouth of another mason jar.
- Pour the base liquid through the coffee filter to strain out all the solids. To make flavored bitters add 1/4 C of the base to 3/4 C of the flavored infusion.
You may need to tilt the basket a bit to keep the flow once the smaller pieces start to amass around the drip opening.
So artisan you’re gonna have to grow a handlebar mustache and start charging your friends $15 a drink.
Simple syrup is just that; simple. Mix equal parts water and sugar, bring to a boil, et voilà, you’ve got a sweetener for cocktails, drinks, dishes, whatever. We had some green cardamom pods leftover from an earlier experiment and decided to complicate our simple syrup a bit. The results are spicy, herbal and slightly citrusy, mixing well with gin and vodka (hint, hint).
Equipment Needed: 1 QT Pot, Chef’s Knife, Whisk, Strainer, Jar/Squeeze Bottle/Vessel To Hold The Finished Product In
- 1 C water
- 1 C sugar ($2.39/2 lbs)
- 1/4 C green cardamom pods (the price varies but it will be significantly cheaper if you have an awesome spice store like Kalustyan’s nearby; about $6.99/oz)
- Add the water and sugar to your pot and whisk it together quickly to dissolve some of the sugar.
- Place the pot over high heat. Take your cardamom pods and break them open. Add the pods and their innards to the mix and whisk everything together. Bring it to a boil stirring occasionally. Turn the stove off and let the syrup cool.
Stir it up to make sure the sugar dissolves and the cardamom is at maximum absorption.
- Once your syrup has cooled to about room temperature place the strainer over your container of choice and pour the mixture in. Make sure you got all the cardamom pieces out, seal it up and pop it in the fridge. It should last a few months kept cool in an airtight container.
Use a strainer; no one likes chewy syrup.