Greetings cocktail lovers! First, I am sorry for not posting when I said I would…life took over this past week and so here I sit, 9:19pm on a Saturday night, trying to get this ready for your viewing pleasure as soon as possible! One thing I failed to mention in my last post, that when you are setting up a bar, it’s helpful to have some sort of bar recipe guide. I have a couple physical recipe books and probably my favorite one I have for my iPhone, it’s from Food and Wine, it’s free and you can get it here!
This week we talk mixers, cubes, fruit and more! Of coarse you’ll want the basics for your bar, when it comes to mixers. Sweet & sour, margarita mix, club soda, tonic water, and various other bubbly sodas etc. You’ll also want bottles of grenadine, tabasco, bloody mary mix if you are planning on making those. The recent explosion of “craft cocktails” has found the resurgance of “shrubs” and other delicious “craft” fruit & herb cocktail syrups. No, I am not talking about the shrub out in the front yard, but about the kind you can mix in a cocktail, taking it to yet another level. To learn more about what a shrub is, and how to make your own, visit the Serious Eats-drinks section and the “Cocktail 101: How to Make Shrub Syrups”.
One local favorite making all things fruity goodness, is those you’ll find at HeathGlen Farms. They offer several different varieties of both shrubs & fruit/herbs syrups, all which you can find listed on their website here. I’m thinking I need to pick up some of the Ginger Lime Syrup and the Blueberry Tarragon Shrub Syrup!
Probably one of the biggest movements within the craft cocktail phenomenon is that of the small but mighty Bitters. And locally, two gifted bartenders turned craftsmen led the way. Meet Bittercube. Not only providing unique Bitters, free from extracts & oils, using only “raw” ingredients, this creative duo provides consultation for food & dining establishments and “designs unique craft cocktail menus for bars, restaurants, weddings, anniversaries, corporate events, and private parties. We also create signature cocktails with event specific ingredients and names. Beyond cocktail menus, we offer libations expertise and execution for trade shows and other events.“
I am honored to belong to a community of local food bloggers called Fortify. The other night, I stalked a conversation that was happening in our private Facebook group about someone who was trying to figure out what to make with some orange bitters he recently acquired. The conversation eventually moved to making simple syrups, something that I had recently started experimenting with myself. I started off simple (no pun intended) with Mint Simple Syrup and then froze them (as much as they would) in ice cube trays for later use.
Then, feeling a little braver, I tried my hand at Lemon Thyme Simple Syrup. It was really good, and has left me inspired to try many of the other herbs I have bursting in my garden already. I envision an Oregano Simple Syrup you could add to sweeten a Bloody Mary or as basic as a Basil Simple Syrup that could be added to the kids Lemonade on a hot summer day!
Interested in making your own Simple Syrup? It’s easy! Take a cup of water and a cup of sugar, place in a small pot on the stove. Stirring constantly, once the mixture has boiled & the sugar has melted, remove from the heat. Take your cleaned & dried herbs and place into the pot, cover with a lid and steep for at least ten minutes or until your syrup has infused to your liking. While perusing one of my favorite cocktail blog sites, Imbibe, I found this great list of Simple Syrup ideas & recipes! Enjoy!
I tried my Lemon Thyme Simple Syrup with both Rum & Gin tonight, using Club Soda as my mix. I preferred the Gin, as I suspected I would. Both were better with a healthy squeeze of lemon and in the drink made with Gin, I felt I could taste the Thyme better.
And of coarse there’s always fun ice cubes you can use to add a bit of whimsy to your cocktails. I found these awesome bacon strip ice cubes trays at Target the other day! If you are on Pinterest, you can follow my Beverages & Cocktails board where I’ve pinned some really fun flavored ice cube ideas!
I hope you’ll expand your cocktail menu and try some of the great things I’ve listed here! When you do, be sure to share it with me either here in the comments, or by posting a comment on my Facebook Page!
As always, thanks for following along in this #summersippers cocktail series and until next time, cheers!