This recipe comes courtesy of the folks who make the Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup, and it nicely showcases both the aesthetic and flavor-related strengths of their product; so far as the Bartender’s cocktail-learning quest is concerned, it also demonstrated the supreme importance of using good-quality spirits when mixing a drink. In this instance, she initially thought the drink interesting but a little bitter; when a bit of tinkering with the ingredients failed to produce something more palatable, she set the recipe aside.
Revisiting it some time later and with a far greater vodka selection, the Bartender decided to try making it with Kirkland Signature vodka. And lo and behold – a drink that had previously been mostly a novelty suddenly became extremely tasty. (For the record, plain Skyy is rapidly losing its place on her liquor shelf, although their citrus offering is still excellent.)
This is also an excellent example of how an unusual ingredient and a fancy garnish can really dress up a drink. If you ordered one of these in a nice bar, it’d probably come served by a uniformed attendant with a price tag bordering on the obscene.
Adam & Eve Martini
2 ounces good-quality vodka
3 ounces apple puree (stage 1 baby food works best)
1 ounce Wild Hibiscus syrup
1 hibiscus blossom + maraschino cherry for garnish
Take one hibiscus blossom and stuff it with a maraschino cherry. Shake the rest of the ingredients with ice, then strain into glass. Spear the flower/cherry garnish with a chopstick and lay across the top of your cocktail glass.
Funny thing about buying pomegranate juice to make grenadine – you end up with a lot of juice left over. Not one to waste perfectly good ingredients, the Bartender flipped back through some of her older recipes to see if there were any that might prove assistive in putting the stuff to use.
This particular recipe actually proved doubly helpful; a while back, she had also purchased a bottle of Cîroc, but it had proven too bitter for her initial “shake it up straight for a martini” idea. The fruity richness that sets it apart from other vodkas, however, both stands up to and complements the strong flavor of the pomegranate juice, while said flavor is more than enough to hide the vodka’s bitterness that otherwise comes out along the sides of the tongue.
Should you find yourself without grape-based vodka, however, your regular mixer should do the trick, if with a slight loss in depth of flavor.
1 1/2 ounces Cîroc vodka
1 1/2 ounces pomegranate juice
3/4 ounce triple sec
Pour first three ingredients into the shaker; add ice and squeeze lime wedge into it. Shake and strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime wheel, or something involving pomegranate seeds if you’re feeling extra-creative.
After the Bartender waved goodbye to the last batch of guests (Rebel Houseguests?), she discovered to her delight that they had left a present on her home bar; specifically, a bottle of Grey Goose La Poire. This particular spirit had been on her to-try list for a while – pear vodka is fairly unusual – but given its cost and her generally-unimpressed reaction to the classic Goose, it had never quite made it to an actual purchase. So what better way to try the stuff out than on someone else’s dime?
Fortunately, it’s a much more interesting spirit than plain Grey Goose. Surprisingly strong and non-sweet for such a fruity spirit, it could add an extra dimension to a number of drinks, and likely wouldn’t need to be used in large quantities to do so. This Peartini recipe is an exception, designed to complement and show off La Poire’s qualities. It comes originally from the Grey Goose website, although the Bartender has done a bit of tweaking to get the sweet-sour balance just right – hence the name.
2 ounces Grey Goose La Poire
1/4 ounce amaretto
3/4 ounce syrup
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1 ripe pear
Shake all (liquid) ingredients and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Cut a thin, nearly translucent slice of pear and lay it along the inside of the glass. Enjoy the rest of the pear with the martini – they’re tasty!
Vodka Nearly-Three-Weeks is officially over. The Bartender has enough of the stuff stocked to last her until Judgment Day. If she has to look at another vodka martini in the next six months she’s probably going to be ill. So what better way to celebrate than to have a drink based on her favorite underappreciated spirit?
In all fairness, the Bohemian Bicycle (creation of Doug Levy from the marvelous Feast in Tucson, re-creation mine and fairly close to the original) is not your typical martini-with-a-twist. And while it violates the Bartender’s usual rule of keeping to ingredients that cost $30-or-less a bottle, it’s well worth it: St. Germain runs about $40, comes in a beautiful art deco bottle, and is a remarkably versatile ingredient that’s excellent for adding a touch of herby-floral sweetness to any concoction. Not to mention the sheer class derived from including a French liqueur distilled from elderflower in your ingredients.
Two notes before we begin. First, this is a recipe that definitely depends on the subtleties of specific liquors for its flavor; ergo, substituting a different type of gin is not recommended. Also, note the range in the lime juice; the strength of the juice can vary significantly depending on the age of the limes involved (older limes have had much of the moisture evaporated out of them and therefore have a more concentrated flavor). The goal is for the lime flavor to give it an extra zing without being overpowering. Remember, the key word, as always, is experimentation – that’s the whole fun of it!
1 ounce Bombay Sapphire
1 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2 to 3/4 ounce lime juice
1 leaf fresh basil
Shake first three ingredients together and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Fill with club soda. Float shredded basil leaf on top. Garnish with a lime wheel, or a folded basil leaf and lime wedge on a pick.
Feeling a little tired of Guinness this St. Patrick’s Day? Want something similarly artificial and festive-looking but different from the standard green beer? Give this drink a go. It’s surprisingly tasty, in that FD&C Green-No.-5 kind of way. Plus the color is hilarious – the Rebel Spouse refers to it as a “Green Thing”, although that’s not technically its name. And it has the advantage of being incredibly easy to make, and thus less than intimidating even once you’ve downed a green beer or three.
1 1/2 ounces Midori
1 1/2 ounces Sour Apple Pucker
1 1/2 ounces sour mix
Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish options include the standard maraschino cherry or brightly colored soft candies – for a festive twist, see if you can find gummi shamrocks to spear on a pick.