Friday, April 30, 2010

The Mint derby...

Who said high society isn't fashionable?

It is Kentucky Derby weekend; which means putting on your best Sunday dress and head down to the races, or in Las Vegas, the Sports Book. Perhaps you prefer to enjoy the day at home relaxing in the spring weather with a classic mint julep in your hand.

The mint julep has been a Kentucky Derby staple and this year Woodford Reserve Bourbon is going all out. Now you may not be using a pure silver Tiffany Julep cup to enjoy this classic beverage but the original should always use crushed ice.

The true debate is sprung by the floral herb, mint. Experts have put all egos on the line claiming at which point the mint should be added to this drink to keep it a "classic." Some argue just a garnish should suffice whiles other steep the leaves in their simple syrup to add flavor. I personnally think the best solution is a gentle muddling of about 6 leaves to extract just enough of the oil to flavor your beverage. Here's my version, of course you can adjust the sweetness as you wish of just drink the bourbon neat!

6 Fresh Mint leaves
1 1/2 ounces simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)
2 ounces Woodford reserve bourbon
Crushed Ice

In a high ball glass; add the mint leaves and simple syrup and gently muddle for 5 seconds. Add the Woodford reserve bourbon and stir. Top the glass with crushed ice, garnish with a sprig of mint and enjoy.

To really get in the spirit, pull out a Julip strainer and use it to sip the drink without touching the ice ;)

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Leblon Brazillionaire

Congratulations to LeBlon Cachaça, the WINNER of the 1st Annual WSWA Mixology Competition sponsored by The Tasting Panel MagazineLeblon Cachaça is produced at their distillery in Patos de Minas, Brazil where Leblon combines traditional approaches with creative European winemaking techniques  to create a Cachaça that is extra special.

The winning cocktail is called LeBlon Brazillionaire and was created by Mixologist Tobin Ellis of BarMagic, It's a delicious concoction made with Leblon Cachaca, Cherry Heering, Passion Fruit Puree, Fresh Lime Sour, Cilantro Leaves and drops of Spicy Sriracha Sauce.
As promised, here is the recipe for the winning cocktail so you can make it at your bar, restaurant or home bar.

2 speared Marasca Cherries
1.5 oz Leblon Cachaca
3/4 oz Cherry Heering (a Danish cherry liqueur)
1 oz Passion Fruit Puree (The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley)
1 1/2 oz Fresh Lime Sour (3:2 ratio of Lime to simple syrup)
8-10 fresh cilantro leaves
2 drops Sriracha Sauce

Combine ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Vegas to allow Drive thru wine and beer at "Starbucks"

Las Vegas, The city of sin and the true wild wild west is now pushing the limits on the beverage world and your local morning routine.

According to the New York times and as some have discovered, Starbucks the "wal-mart" of the coffee world has begun expanding their empire in some select cities to include a selection of brews and wines.

It may not have the "Starbucks" name but if you look at the fine banner print you sure can see its logo. Their location in Seattle which is up and running is named "Roy Street" and besides offering the regular Starbucks goodies, Roy street brings alcoholic drinks, up-scale bartistary (yes I invented a new world, sometimes you just have too) and lush decor.

The next state said to launch will be Nevada, with a few of these "boutique" stores popping up with drive through beverage service. Yes, thats right. "Can I get a poppyseed muffin and a Coors light to go please, I'm running late for work" It took a while to jump through the county hoops but it was no problem for a corporation of Starbuck's size.

I am interested to see how this operation works out. It will either be a much needed change if done right or a sorry attempt to improve a now aging brand.


Friday, March 12, 2010

The classic Irish Coffee

As we begin to prepare our green attire and livers for St. Patrick's day there is no better way than curling up next to a fire with a warm cup of hot Irish Coffee.

The "Irish Coffee" was invented in the 1940's in Ireland (who would of thought.) It soon migrated to the United States and landed in the heart of San Francisco. The Buena Vista in San Francisco is said to be the heart of Irish Coffee and has sold more than 30 million glasses! Now that's a lot of caffeine...

Here is the perfect recipe for this classic drink by Drew Levinson:

  • 1 1/2 oz Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey
  • 4 oz Coffee
  • 1 Tbs Sugar
  • 1 oz Fresh Whipped Cream (unsweetened)

In a glass or mug combine the coffee, whiskey and sugar. Shake the cream to aerate and gently poor on top of the coffee to create a 1 inch layer of fresh cream on top.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Top Chef's Chef loves Markers and Hendrick's Gin

This was a great article thanks to

After six seasons of judging reality show Top Chef, we all know what celebrity chef Tom Colicchio likes to eat and what he certainly doesn’t like. But when he’s not on TV or behind the stove at one of his many Craft restaurants, what does he like to drink? Bourbon. “Current favorite is Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old,” he says. When we recently spoke to him, the liquor cabinet in his New York City home was full of Kentucky’s finest, including bottles of Black Maple Hill, Buffalo Trace and George T. Stagg. “There’s always Maker’s Mark in here, that’s what I prefer to mix with,” he says. Usually he drinks bourbon with one giant ice cube or in a Manhattan on the rocks. “I don’t like it up,” he says.

He also doesn’t care for vodka. “I don’t drink it at all,” he says. “I never liked it.” (Note to all future competitors: under no circumstances should you ever serve the judges a vodka cocktail.) Up until recently, Colicchio didn’t even drink gin and was reintroduced to it on the first day of the first season of Top Chef. He was understandably a little nervous. “I just figured a little drink to take the edge off might be helpful,” he remembers. The bartender at the restaurant where they were shooting made him a Hendrick’s Gin and tonic. The Scottish spirit has now become his favorite gin. (But for the record, the judges “don’t get drunk” on the set.)

With eight restaurants, 14 ‘Wichcraft sandwich shops and a young family he doesn’t go out often. “When I’m working, usually after I’m done with a shift, I’ll grab a cocktail,” he says. But he’s careful not to overindulge. “The problem with cocktails is the next day,” he says. “I’m 47 now, so I don’t bounce back like I used to.”

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The perfect winter elixir to celebrate the US gold medals

Xania Woodman of the Las Vegas Weekly wrote a great article on Wirtz Beverage Nevada's master mixologist's take on a classic...

While it might seem intuitive to curl up on the couch with something hot and spiked to watch the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, I have another suggestion. Mixological forefather Harry Craddock included in his Savoy Cocktail Book (1930) one called the Olympic Cocktail, which employed one-third each orange juice, curaçao, and brandy, served up.

Mixologist Drew Levinson’s updated creation swaps fine Cognac for generic brandy, Clement’s rum-based and Creole-spiced orange liqueur for simple curaçao, and introduces orange bitters for an even more complex, sophisticated orange flavor. An homage to Craddock, 80 years later.

“I just liked the idea of twisting and modernizing a vintage cocktail,” says Levinson. “The Courvoisier Exclusif was the first cognac designed to be utilized specifically in cocktails. The Creole Shrubb is a version of a classic product that was created by Clement Rum from Martinique. It utilizes a rum base with Creole spices and essence of orange zest to bring a beautiful, complex orange flavor to the cocktail. The dash of orange bitters further integrates the flavors creating a sophisticated cocktail. I’ve always thought of bitters as the ‘salt and pepper’ of the cocktail world. It enhances and integrates the flavors that are already present in the dish/cocktail.”

2010 Olympic Cocktail:

1 oz. Courvoisier Exclusif Cognac

1 oz. Clement Creole Shrubb liqueur

1 oz. freshly-squeezed orange juice

Dash of Angostura Orange Bitters


Shake over ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Classic Cocktail Series: The Pear Martini