Summer is here, allowing all of us who live in a four season climate to enjoy the things that only summer can bring. For me – bring on the shandy (or radler if you prefer) perhaps the greatest beer cocktail. Like so many drinks the origins of the shandy beer cocktail are fuzzy and hotly debated. Some have suggested that the drink’s origins are found with Henry VIII who enjoyed the beverage in times of marital discord. It’s hard to imagine this, since a few shandies could never leave one in the mood to separate your spouse’s head from her body. However, he may have had issues well beyond the mood lifting properties of the shandy.
Read more: Shandy beer cocktail: Refreshing summertime drink
This complex yet refreshing cocktail utilizes the deep and mellow flavors of blended Irish Whiskey in an unexpected way by marrying it with flavors from south of the border. I absolutely love the flavor of tamarind and the sodas created with this unique fruit. (Tamarind soda can be found in most every Mexican market.) Together, the ingredients combine to create unique flavors that won’t soon be forgotten.
Read more: Whisky cocktail recipe: Irish Siesta
As the mercury falls, the days get shorter. And we could all use a tasty cocktail to warm our toes and lift our spirits. For the seasonal transition, I chose to update two classic cocktails (in dire need of makeovers) which best deliver optimal autumn satisfaction: The Stinger and The Sidecar. Both of these refurbed cocktails are simple to produce in your home or pro bar.
Read more: Classic fall cocktail recipes with a twist: Brandy Stinger and Turkey in a SideCar
This great drink shows the versatility of whiskey in cocktails and the spicy appeal of rye. The Algonquin is proof positivethat you don’t have to have a dozen ingredients to have a dozen flavors in a cocktail. It makes a great aperitif. The Algonquin was named for the New York Hotel of the same name. The Algonquin Hotel is best known as the host establishment for the Algonquin Round Table, a group of prominent writers, actors, and playwrights who met daily for lunch in the 1920s. The core group included Robert Benchley, Heywood Broun, Marc Connelly, Jane Grant, Ruth Hale, George S. Kaufman, Neysa McMein, Dorothy Parker, Harold Ross, Robert E. Sherwood and Alexander Woollcott among others. It is not speculated that this group sipped this concoction of rye, Vermouth, and pineapple juice but it’s hard to imagine them turning it down.
Read more: Sweet rye whiskey cocktail recipe: Algonquin
A Session Beer is a beer that is relatively low in alcohol (5% or lower), balanced in character, and ideally suited for enjoying one after another. I’m getting just a little annoyed by extreme beers. Do you know what I mean? I’m talking about those striving to be the “hoppiest” or the “strongest” or the most peculiar. When I see brewers boasting that their new ale has more IBUs than ever recorded in history I simply can’t walk away fast enough.
Read more: Session beers: Desperately seeking moderation
An expected garnish to the cocktail renaissance is the great number of cocktail recipes being published in print, online, and on coasters! The up side is that more people are making cocktails at home as opposed to a decade ago. With exploration come the inevitable questions. At BevX our Cocktail of the Week feature is one of our top three weekly segments each week without fail. As you can imagine, we get a lot of questions regarding cocktail making. One persistent question — and a good one I might add — concerns the recipe itself. We are hardly the only publication to offer a recipe for a Mai Tai, Margarita, or Negroni. Occasionally a curious reader will ask why our recipe differs from another trusted source. “What is the right recipe for a Mai Tai?” is a common refrain. Unfortunately my answer is so vague, seemingly politic, and irresolute that it makes my teeth hurt. The best way that I can explain it is by making an analogy that many people can relate. “What’s the right recipe for jerk chicken, chili con carne, Bolognese, or coq au vin?” Surely great chefs across the globe don’t use the same exact recipe for these classic dishes. Does just one of thousands of award-winning chefs possess the right recipe? Of course not.
Read more: Cocktails: Getting the recipe right for the perfect drink
The iconic liqueur Grand Marnier has determined to follow their successful holiday release of last season, Quintessence, with another limited release liqueur that is just now hitting the shelves of fine bars and retailers. While Quintessence was aimed squarely at the luxury market, their latest creation Grand Marnier Cherry is in reach of the brand’s core following. I also suspect that this delicious and intriguing addition to the portfolio is ideally crafted to attract the savvy bartender.
Read more: Can Grand Marnier do cherry successfullly? A review of their new cognac.
The Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail whose base spirit is whisky, most often bourbon. However, in the modern bar many variations exist including the use of rye, blended Scotch whisky, or brandy. Despite the many different twists, the Old Fashioned always uses a brown, wood-aged spirit as its base and the maraschino cherry is ever present. This version showcases quality aged rum as it too has an affinity with bitters and fruit, the two, key supporting players.
Read more: Cocktail recipe: Aged Rum Old Fashioned
This classic drink has been a staple in cocktail recipe books for well over a century. The simple, but tasty “Collins” treatment of adding a fresh lemon and sugar to a spirit of choice will provide many happy cocktails hours at your home bar. Please promise to never buy those horrible and insipid Collins mixes!
Read more: Classic cocktail recipe: Tom Collins