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Mocha Mint

One of my maxims when making cocktails is that creme de menthe doesn’t work with anything. A second maxim that I have is that I don’t like coffee, in cocktails or out. So what better combination than to have Kahlua and creme de menthe together, maybe throw some creme de cacao in there for fun. Today Dave is drinking on the edge, seving minty coffee drinkers everwhere at great personal cost.

  • 1 ounce Kahlua
  • 1 ounce creme de menthe
  • 1 ounce white creme de cacao

Shake over ice and serve up in a Martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Creme de menthe has a distinctive nose about it – its like cheap candy more than a refined cocktail ingredient.
  • I am surprised, this is not as bad as I was expecting, the cool mint is a pleasing aftertaste and the coffee is only hinted at.
  • Best served as cold as possible.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave Rating: 6/10 – really?!?
  • Strength: 4/10
  • Sweetness: 6/10
  • Best approximation is a chocolate peppermint candy – not bad.
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Paradise

Do I make some pithy comment about living in paradise… or maybe quote Phil Collins… but you don’t want that. Instead I’ll drink in honor of one of my favorite paradises – Sint Maarten. Seeing the devastation caused by Irma this past week saddens me as it is truly one of the most amazing paradises that I have been fortunate enough to visit. Knowing the people of the island, I’m sure not only, will they rebuild, but they will do so with a smile! Maybe while they are at it, they could consider unifying the cell phone grid – making an international call to the other side of a small island may be charming, but I think it’s time!

So paradise in a glass it is.

  • 2 ounces Apricot Brandy
  • 1.5 ounces Gin
  • 1.5 ounces Orange Juice

Shake everything over ice and serve it up in a chilled Martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • This is surprisingly balanced, certainly on the sweet side, but the gin helps mellow things out.
  • The apricot flavor dominates with an orange compliment, but the flavor is actually quite complex.
  • Don’t be afraid of the gin, it’s not the dominant flavor.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 8/10
  • Strength: 3/10
  • Sweetness: 7/10
  • Consider stocking the bar with apricot brandy so you can serve this fun cocktail to your friends.

Melon Ball

Enjoying a late summer day in San Diego inspired me to make a refreshing traditional cocktail. There was some fresh squeezed orange juice in the fridge just begging for some mixing.

I have not documented too many of the classics on DaveDrinks, but this falls into that category. Making a Melon Ball feels like I am back in the 1980s!

  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce Midori
  • 4 ounces fresh orange juice

Shake everything over ice, serve into a wine glass filled with crushed ice. Enjoy.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • The Midori turns the classic Screwdriver into a sweeter, funner libation.
  • Very refreshing – great easy drinking cocktail to beat the heat.
  • At your next brunch, make a pitcher to enjoy with friends!

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 9/10
  • Strength: 1/10
  • Sweetness: 8/10
  • Just because it’s from a time gone by, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy it today.

Tequila Ghost

Sometimes you have to jump in with both feet to see if the water is warm. Sometimes you have a sense that something is about to go terribly wrong. Sometimes you say “what the hell, it can’t be that bad”. And only very rarely do you say screw it, I’ll make a Tequila Ghost.

I really should have known better. Pernod has never been my favorite, but I was curious how it’s liquorice flavor could be enhanced by tequila and some lemon juice. Turns out, not well.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • I guess that if you have a strange combination of taste buds, that this could be an attractive melody on the tongue. My taste buds respectively disagree.
  • I can honestly say that none of the ingredients seem to work against the other. I mean lemon and tequila is a classic, but adding Pernod seems like it was a dare.
  • The worst part is the odd liquorice lemon aftertaste.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating – 2/10
  • Strength – 5/10
  • Sweetness – 5/10
  • Uh, nothing to see here, move along.

Blackberry Gin Fizz

How can I let delicious fresh blackberries go to waste… Time to have some creative license and make a cocktail. I took some inspiration from a recipe I found online, but tweaked the proportions a little too my liking. I have to say, my ice smashing mallet that a friend gifted me is the perfect implement for these fruity summer cocktails – helps the garnish sit on top!

Here’s the lowdown on my creation:

  • 2 large fresh blackberries
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 0.5 ounce simple syrup
  • Splash of soda water

Muddle the blackberries, simple syrup and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Add the gin and strain into a Collins glass. Fill half the glass with crushed ice and stir. Add soda water and fill the glass with more ice. Garnish with a blackberry.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Lots of blackberry flavor, but not as sweet as I would have expected.
  • Soda water adds some summer fizzy fun to the drink – could skip and serve up as a desert drink!
  • There is a dry finish from the Gin, but overall this is a well balanced cocktail.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating – 8/10
  • Sweetness – 7/10
  • Strength – 3/10
  • A refreshing summer alternative to the classic Gin and tonic.

San Francisco Cocktail

What is Sloe Gin? I’ve always wondered… What makes it sloe? Is it really a type of gin? Who knows. Turns out the internet has answers. It’s made of sloe berries, that are a relative of the plum. It’s very red and looks like it could place a nice bright stain on your beige carpet!

Next job is to determine what this goes with. Tonight’s cocktail is the San Francisco Cocktail.

  • 2 ounces Sloe Gin
  • 1 ounce Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 ounce Dry Vermouth
  • Dash of Peychard’s Bitters

Shake everything over ice and strain into a chilled Martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Is red, very red. And frothy – an attractive presentation for sure.
  • The mouth feel is syrupy, but it’s not as sweet as you would think, the gin and the dry vermouth help tone it down.
  • Interesting flavor, not too fruity, but lots of interesting flavor.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating – 7/10
  • Strength – 3/10
  • Sweetness – 7/10
  • Unique cocktail, to enjoy the flavor, probably best not to mix with food. Enjoy the subtlety.

Blueberries & Bourbon

Time for another installment of DaveDrinks. Over the weekend we had friends over for a dinner party, and I broke out the old bar books to offer some drinks of the day. The hit of the party was the Bramble Smash – which I’ll cover in another post, but tonight I bake with the leftovers to make the cripticly named Blueberries & Bourbon.

So what do we find within…

  • 6 blueberries
  • 1.5 ounces Bourbon (Basil Hayden this evening)
  • 0.5 ounces lemon juice
  • 0.5 ounces simple syrup
  • Splash of soda water

Start by muddling the blueberries with the simple syrup and lemon juice. Add the bourbon and fill the shake with ice. Shake and serve over ice in a collins glass. Top off with a splash of soda water and garnish with some blueberries.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • All comes together quite well -berry flavor to start with a lemony bourbon finish. Smooth.
  • The soda water helps muffle the sweetness and add a little refreshment.
  • I have to say, this was a pleasant surprise – tasty – even a non-bourbon drinker can enjoy.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 8/10
  • Strength: 4/10
  • Sweetness: 7/10
  • Nice fruity way to enjoy your bourbon.

Bourbonball

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Happy president’s day!  My wife asked me today – who is your favorite president?  I didn’t have a good answer off the top of my head, and neither did she.  It makes you realize that we probably are not the students of our own history that we should be.  I could play the English card, but I have been living here since the late ’80s and I did take AP US History in high school.

We could go with the original GW, as in George Washington (nobody is going to seriously consider Bush Jr), but after reading “The History of Democracy” recently, I realized that he was pretty much just a figure head, a disaster of a president, and basically yearned for a form of monarchy to return.  Hard to root for a guy that thinks he’s smarter than the rest of us.

Then there is Jefferson – he had a cool house as I recall and was quite the renaissance man.  Wrote the declaration of independence – definite plus.  However, he was also the ultimate hypocrite as he was unable to reconcile opposition to slavery with owning hundreds of them himself.  He even had kids with one of them.  I guess we need to move on to another.

We could make an argument for Harding – the original Warren G.  Unfortunately, I think he was best known for his rap song hit “Regulate”…  Bonus points if you have any more trivial on him!

So what do I think really?  Lincoln, who freed the slaves?  John Adams, who had an HBO series about him (that must count for something)?  Nah.  For me I am going to go with King Roosevelt II, more commonly known as FDR.  Led us out the Great Depression and guided us through the most of WWII – his passion for his job accomplished much – and his unprecedented 4 terms proved it.  So, feel free to argue, but that’s what I think.

Damn it – I almost forgot this was a drink blog!  Tonight for my new book “The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book” courtesy of my brother in law, is the Bourbonball.

  • 1.5 ounces bourbon
  • 1.5 ounces Tuaca
  • 1.5 ounces crème de cacao

Shake over ice and strain into  a chilled martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Whoa – this is sweet.  The orange and the chocolate flavors really take over the drink.
  • After the initial shock, I would call this a complex sweet martini.  The bourbon adds a dimension that vodka never could.
  • After a couple of sips, its readily apparent that this should be a desert cocktail.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 6/10
  • Strength: 6/10
  • Sweetness: 9/10
  • A great alternative desert cocktail, when a boring vodka martini won’t do!

Elegant Without Number

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This is the beginning of a big week in the Dave Drinks world.  Today is Dave’s sister’s birthday, then we have my birthday on Wednesday, followed by my “first meeting” anniversary on Friday and culminating with Valentines Day on Saturday.  Is there such a thing as too much celebration?  At least there is the three day weekend at the end of it to help soften the blow.

So as we try tonight’s drink, I can’t help but wondering, what the hell the name of this drink even means… any ideas?  No?  I guess let’s just start the drinking!

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 0.75 ounces calvados
  • 0.5 ounce Grand Marnier
  • Maraschino Cherry for garnish

Shake over ice and serve in a chilled martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • I’m having a hard time getting behind this one.  The Calvados is the dominant flavor, but the taste is a little off.  I cannot call this a well balanced drink.
  • While there is a hint of sweetness from the Grand Marnier, ultimately this drink is rather dry, and if I am being honest, a little flat.
  • I kept hoping that each sip would help make the taste get better, but unfortunately it just felt like a slog to get through this.  Oh well.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 4/10
  • Strength: 7/10
  • Sweetness: 3/10
  • I don’t think that I would serve this to someone unless they really knew what they were doing.

Rumrita

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Ah, it’s the weekend.  Time for another cocktail to start the evening off.  As you may have noticed, this has been quite the alcohol assisted week, so it would be disappointing that after a series of weeknight concoctions that Saturday was left out in the cold.

So tonight it’s the “sort of a margarita” drink, except that it’s made with rum instead of tequila.  The original recipe calls for Mount Gay rum, but that doesn’t feature in my bar right now, so I had to make do with some “soon not to be contraband” Havana Club.  I’ve been savoring the Havana Club for years, always picking up a bottle in Europe or the Caribbean, enjoying the fact that it is an exotic addition to my bar unavailable at the liquor store.  Now that the embargo seems to be moving towards extinction, I just want to make something clear – Havana Club is ok.  Just ok.  I wish so very much that my exotic addition to the bar was also exotic tasting, and I can serve a Cuba Libre to my friends as an exotic alternative to a rum and coke that elevates the flavor to new levels.  It doesn’t.  I’m not saying it’s bad, in fact I would say it is above average, it’s just not as fantastic as I would hope.

So now if you find that I am missing, go look for me in Guantanamo Bay, because ,if I didn’t offend Cuba, I most certainly have offended US Customs.

  • 1.5 ounces gold rum (Havana Club!)
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 0.5 ounce lime juice

Shake over ice and serve in a chilled cocktail glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • This is a great drink, and honestly I am surprised that it is not a more popular combination.  The rum makes a great substitute to the traditional choice of tequila.
  • Very well balanced, both tart and sweet simultaneously.  The rum is perfect compliment.
  • If you are a margarita fan, you owe it to yourself to try this tasty alternative.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 9/10
  • Strength: 5/10
  • Sweetness: 5/10
  • I am surprised it took me this long to discover this great alternative to the margarita.