Pisco Sour

Cocktail Recipe Ideas

It’s Friday night, I just put the kids to bed and I am flipping through the Death & Co cocktail book to see if I can get inspired. My go to drinks lately have been Boulevardier’s and Negroni’s (likely because I recently got a bottle of Carpano Antica vermouth which is so god damned delicious).

I remembered we had some lemons I needed to use up, so my first thought was either a Sazerac or a Whisky Sour, but then I flipped the page and saw “Pisco Sour” and I remembered my brother had brought me back a little mini bottle (2 oz) of Soldeica Pisco from his trip to Peru a few years ago. The bottle has just been sitting on my bar shelf, so I figured what the hell, let’s do it!

Pisco Sour Recipe

Pisco Sour Cocktail

The recipe itself I used is my go to whiskey sour recipe, I just swapped out the Whisk(e)y for Pisco.

-2 oz Pisco
– 0.5-0.75 oz simple syrup – depending on how sweet you like it
-Juice from half a lemon
– Egg white (1 oz)

Dry shake (no ice). Add ice and shake again. Strain into whatever glass you prefer – I like the coupe for most shaken drinks without ice cubes. Add a few dashes of Angostura bitters on top.

Drink & Enjoy.


Being a bourbon man, I still prefer the classic Whisky sour – but this was a nice change of pace, and I’d definitely make it again – all I need is my brother to take another trip to Peru and bring me some Pisco back…haha

Cheers

Black Manhattan: A Twist On a Classic

Classic Cocktail Twist: Manhattan

The Black Manhattan is one of my new favourite drinks.  If you are a cocktail person, you are most likely familiar with a classic Manhattan.  If you are not a cocktail person a classic Manhattan is Rye, Sweet Vermouth & Bitters.  It’s a very boozy drink, but absolutely delicious.  I love a classic Manhattan, but I have to say, lately I’ve definitely been preferring a Black Manhattan.

Black Manhattan Vs Classic Manhattan

So what’s the difference between a regular classic Manhattan & the Black Manhattan?

Manhattan Cocktail Black Manhattan Cocktail

As you can see, the only difference is swapping the vermouth for Averna.  As far as ingredients go, these drinks are VERY similar.  That said, don’t let it fool you, the flavour profile is completely different.  Aside from the dark complexion, the Averna gives the drink a more herbal/medicinal feel – but in a good way.  I like to make mine with a hint of sweetness ( I add a spoonful of Maraschino syrup).

Ingredients:

2 oz Rye Whiskey (You can substitute with Bourbon but traditionally a Rye).

1 oz Averna Amaro

2-3 Dashes Angostura Bitters

1 barspoon Luxardo Cherry Maraschino Syrup

*Garnish with 3 Luxardo Cherries.

 

Directions: 

Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice.  Stir for 20 seconds.  Strain into coupe glass.  Garnish with 3 cherries.  Enjoy.

This drink will go down fast and smooth.  Don’t let that fool you. It is a boozy one.  Take your time, enjoy it.  That said, if it goes down too fast – no worries, make yourself another one…after all it’s only a few ingredients!

 

Cheers!

My Favourite Beer, Cocktails, Whiskey & Spirits of 2019

Now that 2019 is behind us, I though it would be fun to put together a list of some of the favourite drinks I enjoyed throughout the year. So here we go…some of the drinks I enjoyed most in 2019.

Top 3 Cocktails of 2019

3. Whisky Sour

Whiskey Sour

This year I started experimenting and using egg whites a lot more in my cocktails, and there isn’t a more classic egg white drink than the Whiskey Sour.  Lemons are pretty much always available, it’s strong yet super easy to drink, good in the summer or winter and even my wife likes them, so they were a staple in our house year round.  Another thing I like about a whiskey sour is that although you would typically shake this with ice, I find you can make them just as delicious by dry shaking with no ice, then straining over crushed ice.  I like making them this way if the kids are asleep because it’s silent and there is no chance of them waking up 🙂

To make a Whiskey Sour, all you need is:

  • 2-3 Oz Bourbon (depending on your mood)*
  • Juice of half to 1 full lemon (depending on how much bourbon you used, and how tart you like them)
  • 1 oz Egg White
  • 0.5-1 oz Simple Syrup (depending on desired sweetness)

Mix all ingredients into a shaker and shake your ass off.  Then either add ice and shake again- then strain into glass…OR strain directly into a glass full of crushed ice.  Top with a few dashes of Angostura bitters.

*Another variation is an Amaretto Sour, a traditional Amaretto sour is WAY too sweet for me, but a mix of Amaretto and bourbon is nice. When I make these I typically use 1 oz Amaretto, 2 oz Bourbon and reduce the simple syrup because Amaretto is really sweet.

 

2: Old Fashioned

Lot 40 Rye Old Fashioned

Nothing is more classic than an old fashioned.  It is strong, easy to make, and lets me showcase some of my better bourbons.  To make an old fashioned, all you need is:

  • 2 oz bourbon (or rye)
  • Teaspoon of simple syrup (or demerra syrup, or maple syrup)
  • 3-4 dashes of bitters

Mix all ingredients with ice, strain over a large ice cube.  Twist an orange over top and enjoy.  There are multiple variations you can make (Rum, Mezcal, Rye, Bourbon, etc) and can play with the syrups as well.  In 2019 my two favourites were:
– Rum Old Fashioned using Diplomatico Exclusiva Rum, and just a dash of Maple Syrup

-Eagle Rare Bourbon old fashioned, using demerra syrup.

My most enjoyed cocktail of 2019 was….

1 Negroni:

Negroni

2019 was the year of the Negroni for me.  In previous years, I would have said my go to cocktail was an old fashioned, however this year, the Negroni won me over, and it is by far the cocktail I made/drank the most.  What I love most about a Negroni is the contrast of: bitter, sweet & strong.  Another beautiful thing about the Negroni, is it’s simplicity.  The drink consists of just 3 ingredients, one ounce of each: Gin, Campari & Sweet Vermouth.  Mix with ice, strain over large ice cube, twist an orange or grapefruit and you are done.  You can make a Negroni in a minute or two (or even make big batches, and just pour over ice).

Honorable Mention: Pimms Cup

In the summer, it’s hard to beat a Pimms cup.  I’ve written about them before, and how great they are, which you can see HERE.

Top 3 Beers of 2019

My new found love of bourbon and cocktails over the last couple of years has greatly reduced the amount of beer I have consumed (my beer belly says thanks).  That said, I still enjoyed some great beers in 2019, and below were my top 3.

3. Nonsuch Brewing Company: Baltic Porter

NonSuch Baltic Porter

This is made by a local brewery, which makes it pretty awesome that it made it onto my top 3 list for the year.  The Baltic Porter is a nice blend of bitter coffee and sweet chocolatey goodness.  It has an ABV of 6.5%, so it’s heavy, but not so heavy you can’t have more than one or two!

2. Saugatuck Brewing Company: Neapolitan Milk Stout

Neapolitan Milk Stout Top Beer

This was definitely one of the most unique beers I’ve ever had, not just in 2019, but ever.  There is no other way to describe it, except it’s like drinking a bowl of Neapolitan ice cream.  You can distinctly taste all 3 flavours, and although it sounds gimmicky, it’s absolutely delicious. The only downside is you can’t buy it here in Winnipeg regularly.

1. 4 Hands Brewing: Absence Of Light Peanut Butter Chocolate Milk Stout

Peanut Butter Milk Stout

Yet another beer I cannot get here in Winnipeg, but that I was lucky enough to try on my trip to St. Louis.

This is a heavy stout (7.1%), and the brewery was recommended by many of the fine people of St. Louis.  I am so glad I tried this, since (as you can tell) Stout’s are my favourite, and who doesn’t like peanut butter.  This beer has a nice mix of heaviness, creaminess and of course peanut butter goodness.  If I ever get the chance, I’ll definitely buy this one again!

Honorable Mention: Tom Green Cherry Milk Stout

And finally….

Top 5 Spirits of 2019

I decided to save the best for last.  Here are my top 5 “sippers”, in other words…booze straight up that I enjoyed the most in 2019.

5. Eagle Rare Bourbon

Eagle Rare Buffalo Trace

I had heard great things about Eagle Rare for some time, and in 2019 was finally able to not just try it, but snag 2 bottles.  This is basically an “upgraded” Buffalo Trace, as it is the same recipe, but uses better barrels.  I find it to be a bit sweeter and a lot smoother than regular Buffalo Trace, and it works amazingly well in an old fashioned.  I didn’t open my first bottle until near the end of 2019, however it’s already almost gone, so that should give you an idea of how much I enjoy it.  This is available in Manitoba once or twice a yer for a limited time, and sells for about $60/bottle.  I will buy again.

4. Diplomatico Exclusiva Rum

Diplomatico Exclusiva Rum

While the Diplomatico Reserva is a nice sipping rum, the Exclusiva (pictured above in the middle) is a special treat.  This Venezuelan rum is aged up to 12 years, distilled from molasses in a copper pot and is one of the sweetest smelling rums I’ve ever had the pleasure of sniffing.  It’s extremely sweet, but in a good way, and sometimes I love pouring a glass, and letting it sit on the chair or my lap just to periodically get whiffs of this stuff.  It also works great in a rum old fashioned, however I prefer it on it’s own.  This bottle is available year round in Manitoba and typically goes for about $60, however sometimes you can find it on sale.

3. El Dorado 12 Year Rum

Eldorado

This Rum is the perfect blend of sweet and smooth.  A tad less sweet than the Diplomatico, but extremely smooth – it tastes like candy for adults.  There is no burn, hints of caramel and spice and the price is unbeatable.  This can be found year round in Manitoba for $37!

1&2: Weller Antique & Blantons Single Barrel

Weller Antique Blatons Bourbon

I just couldn’t do it – I couldn’t pick between these two.  All year I’ve been going back and forth between which one was my favourite…and I’m still undecided.  I’ve yet to do a blind side by side comparison, perhaps I will need to to finally once and for all determine which one I like better.

Weller Antique is 53.5% but doesn’t feel like a higher proof bourbon, it’s a bit softer (since its a wheated bourbon) and has nice hints of brown sugar and caramel. This unfortunately is not available in Manitoba, and is rarely available in Ontario.  The price used to be unbelievable $36, however they recently raised it to closer to $60 (if you can find it) which is still fair in my opinion.

Blanton’s Single Barrel – which may have the most iconic and awesome bottle of all time, is as equally easy drinking.  While it’s not currently available in Manitoba (sold out) we do get a decent amount of Blanton’s throughout the year, and a bottle will cost you about $80.  Much like the Weller, this has no hot burn, and an amazing aroma of caramel and vanilla, with just a bit more spiciness than the Weller.

Both are extremely easy drinking, smooth and sweet, with some heat(in a good way). If you haven’t tried either of these – do yourself a favour and get yourself some (if you can find it)!

Honorable Mention: Glenlivet 21 Year Archive.  I just recently tried this, and have always told people I am not really into Scotch – however after tasting this, it seems that perhaps I just had never found a scotch that met my flavour profile.  I am looking forward to broadening my horizon and adding scotch to my repertoire in 2020.

Cheers.

The Old Fashioned: Tinkering with a classic cocktail.

The Original Cocktail

The “old fashioned” is probably the most classic cocktail there is – and has always been one of my favourites.  There are a few reasons this drink has stood the test of time, and why I like it so much:

  • Easy to make
  • Easy (and fun) to tinker with
  • Stiff – but smooth (that’s what she said)!

So what exactly is an old fashioned?  Technically it’s any cocktail that mixes a base spirit (typically rye or bourbon), with bitters and a sweetener.  The most common recipe would be:

  • 2 oz Bourbon/Rye
  • 2-4 Dashes bitters
  • 0.25-0.5 oz Simple syrup (or a sugar cube)

Once the drink is mixed with ice, you give it a citrus twist(usually orange) for some extra flavour, and more importantly an unbelievable aromatic experience.  Some people also add a dash of water – or top it off with club soda, however I prefer it with neither.

When I am feeling fancy, I’ll mix the drink in a mixing glass, with ice, then strain it into a rocks glass over a large ice cube (like in the top image).  Other times (most often) I will just make the drink in a glass with ice cubes.  It’s not as pretty, and gets slightly more diluted, but tastes just as good, and is a lot quicker.

Rye, Bourbon or something else?

Now that you know how easy it is to make the Old Fashioned, the fun part is experimenting with different variations – depending on your preference.  Are you more of a Rum gal?  No problem.  Swap out the Whiskey for a nice dark rum. The base spirit isn’t the only thing you can toy with either.  When I make a Rum old Fashioned, I like to to swap the simple syrup for a demerra syrup.  You can also play around with the bitters and citrus too!

Here is a variation of a Rum Old Fashioned I made:

Old Fashioned Cocktail

Following the “classic” recipe from above (a base spirit, bitters and a sweetener) I made a few substitutions.  Here is what I used:

  • 2.5 Oz Diplomatico Exclusiva Rum*
  • 3 Dashes Abiding Citizen Manitoba Aromatic Bitters (local company)
  • 0.25 oz 100% Pure Canadian Maple Syrup

*If you like Rum, and haven’t tried the “Diplomatico Exclusiva” – I HIGHLY recommend it! It’s great in a spirit forward cocktail like an old fashioned, but also a great sipper.

Rye, Bourbon, Rum, Mezcal – Doesn’t matter – but use the good stuff!

In most cocktails, or if you are having a rum and coke, you won’t notice much of a difference between your “Top Shelf” stuff vs the cheap stuff.  This is not one of those.  Certain cocktails deserve the good stuff and the Old Fashioned is a prime example.  If you have a nice Rye/Bourbon or Rum, or whatever your favourite poison is – treat yourself!  The Old Fashioned is meant to showcase whatever base spirit you are using, so find one you enjoy sipping on its own, and see how the bitters and syrup can help make it pop.  I was lucky enough to score a few bottles of Weller Antique a few months ago, and although it is not the most expensive bourbon around (in fact it’s actually pretty cheap), it is rare/hard to find.  I was able to get my bottles for under $40 Canadian, however they resell for over $200 USD in a lot of places.  Weller Antique is a wheated bourbon, and higher proof (107), although when you sip it, it’s very smooth, you wouldn’t think it’s 53.5% ABV.  I had mostly been sipping my bottle neat, however I decided to finish off the bottle and treat myself.
Weller Antique Bourbon Old Fashioned

As usual, I mixed things up a little bit when I made this drink.  Here is what I used:

  • 2.5 oz Weller Antique Bourbon
  • 2 Dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
  • 2 Dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
  • 0.5 Oz Home Made Demerra Syrup (2 Parts Demerra to 1 part water)
  • Orange Zest & Peel in glass*

*When in season, I really like to use a grapefruit instead of an orange.

I made this one in the glass.  It doesn’t look as pretty without the big ice cube, but I assure you it tasted just as good!

Anyways, it’s the weekend!  Hopefully this inspires a few of you to try making your own at home.  Aside from a great tasting drink, and a bit of a buzz you are sure to get, if you can master the art of a good old fashioned, you can also save yourself some $$$ by not having to order them at the bar…this is a personal finance website after all 🙂

In the comments, let me know your favourite Old Fashioned recipe!

Cheers!