Tag Archive: Bourbon


Halekulani Cocktail

The tiki experiment continues. Researching drinks it is amazing the variety of ingredients included in tiki recipes. Almost as impressive is the care with which contents are selected. I mean, you can’t just call for simple syrup, you must use the demarera version for added punch. It makes it challenging to stock a bar with everything, but overall the effort rewards you with some fun tasting, and generally very strong, beverages.

  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • 0.5 ounce Demarera syrup
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine
  • 3 ounces bourbon
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Throw everything in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a Martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Lots of juice and lots of sugar in here – this is in no way a diabetic friendly drink.
  • You have to like sweet, but leaves you with a tart finish.
  • No one will ever guess that there is liquor in here unless they watch you make it… Or drink more than one.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 7/10
  • Strength: 2/10 (but it’s hiding)
  • Sweetness: 10/10
  • In the tradition of a good tiki cocktail… Lots of juice and plenty of liquor to sneak up on you!
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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!

French Twist

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I was harassed today about the lack of posts to the blog of late, so I need to rectify this. One of our great partners signed up a deal, and there is not much better news than that needed to raise a glass to. So cheers to you both Jim and Liz – and now on to my cocktail!

Always a sucker for a bourbon drink – tonight’s foray is the French Twist.  I tried to get creative with the picture in front of the fire, although it came out a little blurry, I think the effect was still worth it!  If you don’t enjoy the picture – try the drink on for size.

  • 1.5 ounces bourbon (Makers Mark of course)
  • 1.5 ounces of brandy
  • 0.5 ounce Grand Marnier
  • 0.25 ounce fresh lemon juice

Throw everything in a shaker over ice and serve it up in a chilled martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • After a few sips I am not sure how to describe it, in some ways it’s sort of flavorless.  I can taste it, it just doesn’t jump out at you and certainly doesn’t stay with you.
  • For a drink that is almost all liquor, it is surprising how smooth it is.  No one will mistake this for a non-alcoholic drink though…
  • The drink has a pleasing sweetness as you sip, you can taste the orange of the Grand Marnier for sure.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 6/10
  • Strength: 7/10
  • Sweetness: 7/10
  • I am having a hard time saying that I enjoy it, I just can’t say I don’t like it.  I give it a “meh”.

Little Colonel

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There’s a new addition to the bar and its time to make something from Southern Comfort.  I have never tried this stuff before, and my only knowledge of it is that it was the favorite of my grandfather when he was younger.  I distinctly remember him drinking it, which is bizarre because I couldn’t tell you anything about any of my family’s other drinking habits.  I take that back, my uncle likes Bacardi… a lot.

What is SoCo anyway?  I looked it up, and now I am none the wiser.  Its apparently “an American liqueur made with neutral spirits with fruit, spice and whiskey flavorings”.  Hmmm.  I figured it was some type of whiskey… but apparently its some type of “whiskey flavoring”.  I guess in the near future I’m going to have to try some neat so I can tell you if the drink even tastes like Southern Comfort, whatever that is!

  • 1.5 ounces bourbon (Makers Mark)
  • 1 ounce Southern Comfort
  • 0.5 ounce lime juice

Shake everything over ice and pour into an ice filled rocks glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • There’s lime in here for sure, but its hiding, just behind the liquor.  Gives a nice hint of sweet to the drink.
  • With each successive sip, I enjoy this one a little more, a Little Colonel more.
  • Not for the faint of heart, but not so strong that you can’t enjoy the flavor.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 8/10
  • Strength: 6/10
  • Sweetness: 6/10
  • When you need a fix of “whiskey flavorings”, this might just be the ticket.

Presbyterian

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I missed you. Really, I did, and more so when I checked the stats and I am still getting great traffic!

So its Christmas time, and my original goal of publishing a book for friends and family was unfortunately not realized, so we have another long year ahead of us of sampling new and interesting cocktails. Since our last installment, I have read a history of rum in the new world and I have become an official Makers Mark ambassador – so it’s not like I forgot how to drink!

Today, it’s the Presbyterian. Apparently this was originally a non-alcoholic concoction, giving it a temperance flair, but the 18th Amendment couldn’t prevent a happy marriage with bourbon. Lets see how this goes…

  • 3oz bourbon (Makers Mark)
  • 1oz ginger ale
  • 1oz club soda
  • Mix everything over ice in a rocks glass, stir and serve.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Unsurprisingly, the bourbon comes through, the other ingredients are just there to soften the blow.
  • I never have been a fan of club soda, to me it just has a flat taste, and there is a hint of that here.
  • Very drinkable, especially as the ice melts and continues to mellow the flavor.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 8/10
  • Strength: 7/10
  • Sweetness: 3/10
  • Proving once again why the 21st Amendment was passed.

The Gold Rush

What have I done when the wine drinker starts moving on to cocktails?  I am at a loss, but when searching for drinks made with ginger liqueur this evening, Kathryn piped in “that sounds good” so we made her one too.  Even after serving her a martini in a big boy glass, she still was ready to dive in.  This is a strange day indeed.  In honor of this momentous day, see Kathryn’s comments below in addition to my own!

  • 3 ounces Canton Ginger Liqueur
  • 2 ounces bourbon (Makers Mark)
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice

Shake over ice and serve into a chilled martini glass (heard that before?).

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • A very well balanced cocktail, the ginger and the lemon can both be tasted, but they soften each others flavors.
  • There is a sweetness in here, which is surprising given what’s in it… delicious.
  • The aftertaste is a little spicy – no complaints here.

Kathryn’s Thoughts:

  • This is a great cocktail.  Lately I’ve been thinking about switching it up and a drink like this could do it.
  • The spicy ginger flavor blends beautifully with the bourbon, I can’t stop sipping.
  • I doubt these were available during the real Gold Rush!

Tasting Notes (Dave – Kathryn):

  • Rating: 8/10 – 10/10
  • Strength: 4/10 – 6/10
  • Sweetness: 6/10 – 5/10
  • There’s bourbon in here? –  Now I can drink bourbon with my Hubby!

Have you been to a new restaurant lately?  I’ve been to a few.  Let me guess – a twist on classic comfort food with farm to table ingredients?  I’m not sure, but I would guess that 98.2% of new restaurants are using this formula and I just don’t get it.  There are only so many burgers made from a cow raised on a green hill in paradise, with cheese from France, onions from a local farm and heirloom (a.k.a. ugly) tomatoes.  But don’t forget to charge $18 for it.  Then there is the propensity for duck tacos and short ribs… don’t get me wrong – I like them – but its been done.

I just wish that restauranteurs could just grow a creative gene in their body and come up with something new.  Some new concept, some new cuisine, some new way of doing it!  I’m pretty sure that there would be less competition than trying to make an $18 burger and $15 Mac and Cheese (hey, let’s add lobster or truffles and charge $16).  Don’t forget the sweet potato fries!

Speaking of, the following are a couple of drinks from a new restaurant I went to – Sessions Public in Point Loma.  While it does meet the stereotypes above, I have to say the food wasn’t half bad, and the drinks were awesome.

Drink 1: The N0. 2

  • Crusoe Spiced Rum
  • Ginger Liqueur
  • Fresh Apple
  • Jalapeno
  • Lager

Served in a short glass over ice.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • A cocktail with beer… interesting.  Tastes like it was made with a Belgian wheat – not one of my favorites.
  • There is a real Jalapeno kick in the aftertaste – I like it!
  • I have to say, not a drink that you are going to want to drink when you need a refresher.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 4/10
  • Strength: 2/10
  • Sweetness: 1/10
  • This is a very different cocktail… not my first choice.

Drink 2: Berry Mint Mule

  • Bourbon
  • Berry
  • Mint
  • Lime
  • Ginger Beer

Can’t tell you what “berry” actually means, but served in that same short glass over ice.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Unlike the No. 2, this drink was definitely N0. 1 at the table – it was a hit.
  • Sweetness and flavor of berries over spicy ginger beer.
  • A great refreshing cooler – this is a winner.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 8/10
  • Strength: 4/10
  • Sweetness: 6/10
  • This is no generic farm-to-table recipe – this is a unique winner.

Churchill Downs

Help!  I’m so far behind.  After 4 full months of making drinks I have to say that it is a challenge to keep up.  One drink a day sounds so easy until you try it.  This drink is from April 26.  It fell to the cutting room floor as a result of me not having anything creative to say that day.  It’s really a shame, because this is a great drink, I guess its just not inspirational!  Enjoy the Churchill Downs – maybe your horse will come in!

  • 1.5 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounces brandy
  • 0.5 triple sec
  • 4 chilled ginger ale

Combine in a tall collins glass over ice, stir gently and serve.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • This is a boozy drink, but not a strong one.  The bourbon and the brandy make this a classic cocktail.
  • A nice sweetness up front, but the flavor of the brandy is clear in the aftertaste.
  • The triple sec adds an interesting flavor to the liquor, softens and sweetens.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 8/10
  • Strength: 6/10
  • Sweetness: 6/10
  • A pleasant cooler to enjoy with a good movie.

Bourbon Smash

With the wife frolicking around in upstate New York, it was the perfect time for a guys night.  I don’t get together enough with my old friends from high school, but every time I do it’s always fun.  Tonight had some special news – our buddy Matt got engaged!  Even more importantly, at the bar he has all grown up and in lieu of his normal Jack & Diet he order a drink close to my heart – a Maker’s & Coke.  Matt, you are now a man.

Let’s get back to my drinking.  Turns out the bartender at Jaynes Gastropub had a past life as a bartender at Noble Experiment and all the good recipes that entails.  So it was dealers choice for a bourbon drink, and she served up a Bourbon Smash.  She even was kind enough to share the recipe.

  • 2 ounces of bourbon (Makers Mark, of course)
  • 0.5 a lemon
  • 9-10 mint sprigs
  • 0.75 ounces of simple syrup (bartender demanded 1:1 mix)

Muddle the lemon and the min leaves in the bottom a shaker, add ice and the liquids, shake it up and strain in a rocks glass over ice, garnish with mint sprig.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Well, her training served her well, this is a damn good cocktail.
  •  It has a great citrus flavor and is well-balanced.
  • Nice sweetness with a minty finish.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 9/10
  • Strength: 5/10
  • Sweetness: 7/10
  • Perfect drink to celebrate a buddy’s pending nuptials.