Tag Archives: let’s make bad decisions

The Hot Tommy

Hot and soothing, just like our voices.

Cold weather and cold symptoms should not impede your ability to throw a couple back. In fact, it provides you with a perfect excuse to have a cocktail in the name of therapeutic benefit. This version of the hot toddy uses Irish whiskey (and Thomas’ name) to mix things up a bit but the general idea is the same: a warm drink with soothing flavors and a decent buzz.

Equipment Needed: Mason Jar or Mug or Thick Walled Glass, Shot Glass, Spoon, Tea Kettle (optional)

Ingredients:

  • 1 shot Irish whiskey (we stuck with Jameson)(about $20/750 ml)
  • 1 tea bag (no need to get fancy, just use a generic tea bag or black tea for this application)(about $5/box of 100)
  • 1 TSP honey ($4.39/12 oz)
  • 1/4 lemon wedge ($0.50/lemon)
  • 4-8 whole cloves (about $3/1.75 oz jar)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks ($3.59/2 oz jar)

Preparation:

  • Heat up some water for your tea; you can either do this in a tea kettle or in the microwave (or over an open fire if you’re the rustic type). When it’s just short of boiling add the tea bag to your glass and pour in the hot water. Let it steep (or soak for you lay people) for about 3 minutes; 5 if you want it stronger.
  • Once the tea has gotten to your desired level of strength remove the bag and stir in the honey and whiskey. Drop in your cinnamon sticks.
  • Squeeze in the juice of your lemon wedge. Take the whole cloves and push them into what’s left of the lemon and toss the flavor bomb into the mix. Stir, sip and repeat until your cold is gone (or you’ve passed out and don’t care anymore).
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The Drunken Pilgrim

In case of turkey emergency, drink glass.

Our friends Josh and Nette have an annual Pre-Thanksgiving dinner where they feed an apartment full of friends way to much food for the mere price of a signature cocktail to share. In addition to The Gobbler we wanted to pay homage to some classic holiday flavors: cranberry, cinnamon and…bourbon. Make sure to let your guests know if you make a pre-mix, though. We whipped up a big batch and stored it in the cranberry juice bottle, ultimately exacerbating fellow party goers drunkenness as they kept trying to dilute their drinks but ended up pouring themselves double after double. Good, if slightly slurred, times were had by all.

Equipment Needed: Rocks Glass or Highball Glass, Shot Glass, Spoon or Cocktail Mixer

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 shots honey bourbon or whiskey (we used Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey with positive results)(about $25/750 ml)
  • 3 shots cranberry juice ($3.99/64 oz)
  • 1 TBSP whole cranberry sauce ($1.89/14 oz can)
  • 1 cinnamon stick ($3.59/2 oz jar)
  • 1 orange ($1.99/lb)
  • Ground cinnamon ($3.59/3.5 oz jar)
  • Ice (free)
  • Black pepper

Preparation:

  • Wash your orange off and slice it crosswise into thin discs. Remove any seeds if you need to and cut a slice from the center to the edge so you can set each disc on the rim of a glass.
  • Add a couple of ice cubes to your glass and scoop in a healthy spoonful of cranberries.
  • Pour in the bourbon and cranberry juice, toss in a cinnamon stick and give it a good stir.
  • Garnish with a dash of ground cinnamon, a grind of fresh black pepper and an orange slice.

The Gobbler

Like a holiday for your mouth.

This seasonal homage to the shandy makes your taste buds feel like they’re jumping into a pile of leaves on a sunny fall day (e.g., awesome). Works great as a crisp and refreshing pre-dinner drink or as a fruity counterpart to dark poultry. Try different darker beers like pumpkin ale, brown or autumn ale to change the flavor profile.

Equipment Needed: Glass, Spoon, Paring Knife, Cutting Board

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz dark beer (we tried Southampton Pumpkin and Fire Island Pumpkin Barrel. No, not at the same time.) (price varies)
  • 4 oz apple cider ($3.49/gallon)
  • 1 Rosemary sprig ($1.50/sprig or small bunch)
  • 1 apple (about $2/lb)

Preparation:

  • Wash your apple thoroughly and cut it crosswise into thin discs. Slice out the core of your disc and make a cut from the center to the edge (yes, geometry  nerds, the radius of the disc).
  • Pour your beer into the glass and add in the apple cider. Stir gently.
  • Garnish with the rosemary sprig as a swizzle stick and put one of your apple discs on the rim of the glass. Quaff by the fire or while cutting your celebratory meat of choice.

Kentucky Wake Up

Like getting kicked in the face by a boozy flavor horse.

Why let the Irish have all the fun with their coffee? Last time we checked this was the good old U-S of A and we don’t let anyone outdo us, especially when it comes to combining stimulants and depressants in one convenient vessel (*ahem* Four Loko anyone?). Use bourbon and as your preferred poison then sweeten and lighten to taste.

Equipment Needed: Coffee Mug, Spoon, Jigger or Shot Glass

Ingredients:

  • 3 ice cubes (optional)(free)
  • 12 oz brewed coffee ($5/10 oz can)
  • 2 oz bourbon (about $34.99/750 ml bottle)
  • 2 TBSP half & half ($1.99/PT)
  • 2 TSP sugar ($2.39/2 lb box)

Preparation:

  • Brew your coffee up. You can either mix things hot or put it in the fridge until it’s cooled if you want iced coffee.
  • If you’re going with iced, add your ice cubes. Then add the sugar and bourbon.

Steel yourself for the day/afternoon/night!

  • Add half & half if you prefer or drink it black to put some hair on your chest, wuss.

Lighten things up a bit with some half & half.

Blood Orange-Infused Vodka

A little jar of sunshine to fight those winter blues.

Our friend, Nette over at Late Night Jam turned us on to the whole infused liquor thing when she started experimenting with vanilla, jasmine tea, etc. to add some more flavor to her potato juice. It being blood orange season and all we decided to give it a whirl and let’s just say that the results were much tastier than anything with a marketing budget.

Equipment Needed: Airtight Jar or Bottle, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Strainer

Ingredients:

  • 1 750 ml bottle of vodka (this is no time to prove you’re a baller, just get something that’s triple distilled to avoid any funkiness)(about $13/bottle)
  • 2 blood oranges ($2.49/lb)
  • 2 TBSP honey ($4.39/12 oz)

Preparation:

  • Wash the oranges thoroughly and cut off the ends where it’s nothing but skin and pith (the white part). Slice each orange as thinly as possible crosswise. You want to make sure each piece has as much surface area as possible to help speed the infusion process.

Cut the slices slightly thicker than the width of your knife for perfect infusion width.

  • Put the orange slices in the bottom of your container (we recommend a large mason jar or a swing top with a rubber seal). Squeeze in about two tablespoons of honey, douse everything with vodka and close the container tightly. Viola! That’s it.

Honey helps break down the fruit and keep things slightly sweet.

  • The hardest part of this recipe is waiting, which you should do for 5-7 days to get optimal flavor. After a certain point the orange skins will turn the alcohol bitter, which negates why you did this in the first place so you’ll have to test it (aw shucks). When the vodka has absorbed the right amount of flavor you’ll want to strain out the pieces before serving.

Strain out the fruit, you can snack on the pieces if you want (they're now vodka-infused fruit).

The Kilted Caroler

A winter warmer with a brogue.

By now, when the thought of another holiday party sound as appealing as a root canal you’ve probably had it up to here with winter ales, spiked egg nog and hot toddies. No? Yeah, we didn’t think so and that’s why we like you. Warm your cockles with this delicious tea and scotch libation to keep the carols loud and the line for the mistletoe long.

Equipment Needed: Tea Kettle, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Mug or Glass, Spoon

Ingredients:

  • Water (free)
  • 1 earl grey tea bag ($3.29/box of 20)
  • 1 generous shot of scotch (around $40/750 ml for the good stuff)
  • 1 1/2 TSP blood orange bitters (about $7/4 oz)
  • 1 blood orange ($2.99/lb)
  • 1 TBSP sugar ($2.39/2 lb box)

Preparation:

  • Fill your tea kettle with water and put it over high heat. While the water’s boiling cut the end off your blood orange until you get to the inner flesh. Slice two thin discs off, cut one in half and cut one halfway through for garnish.
  • Once the water has boiled add about a cup’s worth to your mug and put the tea bag in. Let it steep (read: soak in) for about 3-5 minutes depending on how pronounced you want the Earl Grey flavor to come through.
  • Add in the sugar, bitters and scotch and stir thoroughly. Squeeze in the juice from your halved orange disc and toss in the remains. Put the other disc on the rim of the mug, sip and go build an anatomically correct snowman for the neighbors to enjoy.

New York Craft Beer Week Bar Crawl

We’re not quite sure how we’ve managed to miss the other two New York Craft Beer Week celebrations but suffice it to say we will not be missing them again. To kick things off we headed to Hell’s Kitchen/Midtown West to test out some watering holes and brews that don’t see much playing time in our normal rotation. The overall verdict? Go west, young man, go west.

Stop 1: The Pony Bar; 45th Street & 10th Ave

  • The Beer: Ithaca Beer Company,  Super Friends  SFTO Wine Barrel; ABV 8%
  • The Verdict: Being the most un-timid of souls we started the day strong with this ale that was conditioned in red wine barrels. It had a lighter amber color with medium body and a slightly bitter start. This one continued all over the flavor spectrum with notes of sour that turned to sweet with hints of caramel playing back up. The beer finished with a slightly smoky, tannic taste which we assume to be the influence of the vino.  Overall, this brewmasters’ collaboration is a good sipping beer with a complex taste profile that should satisfy oenophiles and hop heads alike.

Small glass, big flavor.

As for the venue, while the location is more out of the way than usual, The Pony Bar makes it more than worth your while. This is a beer-drinkers’ bar with a regularly rotating draught menu that includes some slightly more obscure styles (they had two cask ales when we stopped in). Menus with tasting notes, knowledgeable staff and functional decor (there are benches and stools: pick one) make this an eminently enjoyable place to quaff a brew or two.

Stop 2: Delta Grill; 48th Street & 9th Ave

  • The Beer: Abita Beer, Pecan Harvest Ale; ABV 5%
  • The Verdict: This seasonal offering from the Louisiana brewer is on the lighter-bodied side as far as ales go, which is quite the accomplishment considering the pecan-flavored thunder that it brings. Seriously, this beer is like drinking a carbonated bowl of pecans, which is good if you’re into that kind of thing but could get a little too nutty if you’re looking for more complexity or even subtlety. necessarily a bad thing. With a decent finish, Abita Pecan is good for making your palate pause and think about all the things it’s done before you continue your beery journey.

The pecan is strong with this one.

We’ve never been to New Orleans (or greater Louisiana for that matter) but we hope it’s like the Delta Grill. This easygoing bar (editor’s note: it was also three in the afternoon) is drenched in N’awlins kitsch but is totally redeemed by a breezy, open front and a great draught beer selection. Posted happy hour specials that included Abita and hurricanes also made us ponder when we could return for a little southern hospitality.

Stop 3: Shorty’s; 42nd Street & 9th Ave

  • The Beer: Brewery Ommegang, Abbey Ale; ABV 8.5%
  • The Verdict: A perennial heavy hitter with Belgians up to here, subtlety is not Ommegang’s strong suit. All doubt was erased when our Abbey Ales came in goblets and we readied ourselves for a full on taste bud smackdown. This classic brew hits you with a malty, sweet taste with caramel and even notes of brown sugar. A full mouth feel and long finish make this one a definite sipper. As with most of the beers we tried this one was delicious but anything over two glasses will fill you up and seriously affect your ability to stay vertical.

Ommegang: big flavors, traditional brewing background, nice glassware.

Shorty’s gets the “hidden gem” award for this crawl. An unabashedly Philadelphia bar, this small space cranks out great beer and great food. We didn’t sample everything but we strongly recommend making the trip solely for the roast pork sandwich with broccoli rabe and sharp provolone. The ingredients are mixed together to ensure you get a bit of everything in every bite; the results are in-f**king-credible. We seriously contemplated getting hoagies to go, but alas, there was more beer to be had.

Stop 4: The Long Room; 44th Street between 5th Ave & Broadway

  • The Beer: Blue Point Brewing Company, Rastafa Rye; ABV 7.5%
  • The Verdict: Blue Point is a beer we normally drink when it’s around but don’t actively seek out. This may change after trying the Rastafa Rye. A full bodied, malty, hoppy rye this potable keeps you on your toes with citrus and floral notes as it lingers. A long, balanced finish makes this beer a thoroughly enjoyable sipper. We had a second just to check for consistency and let’s just say we stopped taking tasting notes after that.

Yes, we started forgetting to take pictures of the beer at this point.

The Long Room was a great place to throw back a couple on a Saturday afternoon but our friendly barkeep, Kieran, informed us that it was a corporate zoo on weeknights. We highly suggest sneaking in on the weekend to marvel at all the marble, stained glass and wood work. Irish accents and a good pour help add to the ambiance.