Holiday cocktails includes major holidays such as Christmas & Halloween, but also includes those obscure daily holidays that get thrown in for fun like National Vodka Day and National Coffee Day. The list could go on forever.
The Champs Elysées Cocktail is a classic cocktail that is beginning to make a comeback on more bar menus. It tucks in rather nicely with other classic cocktails such as the Sazerac, Blue Moon, Last Word, Blood & Sand and Aviation. When time is taken to measure and blend these classic cocktails correctly, they are superb!
I was pleasantly surprised to find the Champs Elysées Cocktail recently on the I.O. Speak cocktail menu at Indian Oven. It reminds me a little of a Sidecar without the obvious sugared rim. Chartreuse is an interesting diversion from the Sidecar’s usual Cointreau inclusion. I’ve altered the drink recipe below just slightly to my taste. The cocktail recipe I found calls for 1/2 ounce simple syrup and 1 dash Angostura bitters. I preferred a little less sweet and the peach bitters complemented the flavors in this cocktail perfectly in my opinion.
Champs Elysées Cocktail
1-1/2 ounce Cognac
1/2 ounce Green Chartreuse
3/4 ounce Lemon Juice
1/4 ounce Simple Syrup
2 dashes Peach Bitters
Combine liquids in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to blend and chill. Strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with lemon twist.
Some recipes include an optional 1/2 egg white in the drink recipe for texture. If adding egg white, include egg white with other liquids to shaker before ice. Dry shake to blend. Add ice and then shake again vigorously to blend and chill. Strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with lemon twist.
The Champs Elysées cocktail is named after the touristy northwestern Parisian boulevard; Avenue des Champs-Elysées. This classic cocktail is an ideal cocktail to celebrate Bastille Day, July 14, or the world famous bicycle race, Le Tour de France.
Interesting to note, the average child consumes 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before reaching graduation. There doesn’t seem to be a statistic surrounding the consumption of Peanut Butter and Jelly shots, but there should be one. Perhaps there should also be a statistic for the number of shots consumed before the average person finishes college. Then again, maybe not.
The PB&J shot recipe (and peanut butter and jelly flavor combination) is so popular there are vodkas flavored to taste similar to the brown bag sandwich many of us grew up eating in elementary school. In fact, there are numerous shot and cocktail recipe variations to the classic Peanut Butter & Jelly flavor combination.
It’s time to put down the brown bag. Pick up the shaker and pour a snack.
The classic Negroni cocktail recipe is always a personal favorite go-to drink for summer or winter sipping enjoyment. When it was time to review the SKYY Infusions Blood Orange Vodka, a variation of the Negroni instantly came to mind. Blood orange and grapefruit flavors both go rather nicely with the Negroni flavor profile. They seem to thin the drink recipe out a bit for warmer weather sipping. This makes the drink a great refresher. The cocktail recipe variation below just might be the ticket for soaking up a little sunshine.
By the way, March 31 is Oranges and Lemons Day. A Vodka infused with orange or blood orange would be perfect for the day!
Blood Orange Negroni
1 ounce SKYY Infusions Blood Orange Vodka
1/2 ounce Campari
1/2 ounce Sweet Vermouth
2 ounces Club Soda
Orange Slice Garnish
Fill highball glass two thirds full with ice. Add liquids to glass in order given, topping with club soda last. Garnish with orange slice.
If you feel like sipping something a little different (Orange Sorbet, Prosecco, SKYY Blood Orange Vodka and Orange Juice), then check out the Blood Orange Sgroppino drink recipe photographed and described in great visual detail on the Italian La Bella Vita blog. This cocktail looks amazing and sounds delicious!
2 ounces SKYY Infusions Blood Orange Vodka
1/2 ounce Pineapple Juice
1/2 ounce Cranberry Juice
1/2 ounce Lemon Juice
Orange Twist or Orange Slice Garnish
Combine liquids in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to blend and chill. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist or orange slice garnish. (More drink recipes like this one provided by Campari America on flickr in the SKYY Infusions Blood Orange tag.
What is SKYY Infusions Blood Orange Vodka?
Vodka infused with natural blood orange flavors. SKYY Infusions Blood Orange is made with real blood oranges and SKYY Vodka. It is carefully infused with all-natural ingredients with the goal of irresistibly crisp, fresh taste and lusciously sweet blood orange. – Information printed on bottle label
70 Proof / 35% alcohol
Suggested Retail Price:$15 to $19 range depending on area
Availability: Main market area is United States and Canada.
SKYY Infusions Blood Orange Vodka Tasting Notes
Aroma: Reminds me of opening a fresh bag of candy sweet tarts. Powdery sweet with bit of sugary tartness. Makes my mouth water a little. No burn.
Tasted Neat: Sweetness, though it is minimal. Very little burn. Orange with hint of bitter, like the oily skin of orange. Not lush. Bit fruity like you might expect from cocktail fruit juice, but not as sweet. Definitely reminds me more of candy flavor rather than natural fruit flavor. Slightly artificial tasting as it doesn’t seem to roll over the tongue with layered lushness. Seems a bit one dimensional in its streamlined flavor.
Time to celebrate! March 16 is National Artichoke Heart Day!
Dashes, splashes and dabs of bitters have become quite the growing trend in cocktails. Bitters add the faintest hint of nuance to drinks beyond garnishing. Flavors meld together in balanced harmony. Reluctant flavors that might otherwise get lost in the shuffle are given a breath of life by a few robust drops of precise flavor essence. But the small batch specialty bottles of bitters wafting about on back bars and marinating in mason jars with secret recipes aren’t the only bitters mixing magical cocktails.
The flip side to the pungent world of bitters is the potable or drinkable one. Campari is a well-known potable bitter used often in the classic Negroni. Cynar is another. Cynar is a complex Italian digestif often associated with the artichokes it is made from. It contains great depth of flavor from the many botanicals included in the creation process, making it an incredibly complex spirit to work with in cocktails. It works exceedingly well with citrus such as orange juice, grapefruit juice and lemon flavors. The richness of flavor is versatile enough to balance well whether you’re a gin or bourbon fan. Don’t let the category of potable bitter fool you. This isn’t unpleasant bitterness. There’s sweetness, spice, depth and strength of character in the spirit.
The Picket Fence – Ba’sik, Brooklyn
1 ounce Flor de Cana 7 Year Rum
3/4 ounce Cynar
1/2 ounce Lime Juice
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
Combine liquids in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to blend and chill. Strain into chilled cocktail glass.
Amer Mousseux – Bouchon, Yountville, CA
1 ounce Cynar
1/2 ounce Campari
1/2 ounce Fresh Orange Juice
3 ounces Brut Champagne
Combine Cynar, Campari and juice in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to blend and chill. Strain into chilled champagne flute. Top with champagne. Garnish with orange twist.
St. Patrick’s Day celebrates one of Ireland’s patron saints; St. Patrick. But honestly most U.S. merrymakers are more focused on wearing green and making certain they are on the party bus with the most Irish pub stops. Though St. Patrick’s Day is not a federal holiday, it is a national phenomenon. It’s also a day (or evening) some significantly call “amateur night.”
St. Patrick’s Day tradition brings to mind corn beef and cabbage, leprechauns, green beer, Irish soda bread and of course Irish Coffee. Irish Coffee started in the early 40’s in Ireland and was introduced in America in 1952. It has since become synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day.
John Concannon,Brand Ambassador to Concannon Irish Whiskey and 4th Generation Vintner, met up with Larry Silva, the general manager of Buena Vista Café in San Francisco, the birthplace of Irish Coffee in America, to see how a true Irish Coffee with Concannon should be made. Watch the video for Larry’s suggestions and watch how easy and fast multiple Irish Coffees can be whipped up just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.
Concannon True Irish Coffee
6 ounce coffee glass – preheated. 2 sugar cubes. Couple ounces fresh hot coffee – stir to dissolve sugar. Generous helping of Concannon Irish Whiskey. Top with lightly blended heavy cream.
But St. Patrick’s Day goes on all day. Pace yourself! You’re going to want even more recipes. Keep reading!
Concannon Irish Whiskey is an independent spirit of Ireland developed as a joint collaboration between Livermore Valley-based Concannon Vineyard and Ireland’s Cooley distillery.
Concannon Irish Whiskey is a refined blend of malted barley and corn, craft distilled for proper balance of character and purity. It is matured in bourbon barrels for a minimum of four years, then mellowed in Concannon Petite Sirah wine barrels for four months before blending. John Concannon refers to this as the “Concannon Effect.” This process gives Concannon Irish Whiskey its unique fruity character and full, clean balanced taste. ~ Information from product facts
80 Proof / 40% alcohol
Suggested Retail Price: $25 range / 750ml
Availability: Nationally distributed in the U.S. since 2012.
Concannon Irish Whiskey received Best New Irish Whiskey of the Year in 2012 from the International Spirits Competition (NYISC).
Concannon Irish Whiskey Official Brand Tasting Notes
Visual: Light golden wheat
Aroma: Toasted malt, red fruit and vanilla
Palate: Balance of honey sweet, spice and citrus
Finish: Medium-length. Warming and round, with hint fresh oak
Possible Uses, Pairings and / or Cocktails: Concannon Irish Whiskey recommends the following cocktails for St. Patrick’s Day and year round sipping enjoyment.
An Old Fashioned Concannon
2 ounces Concannon Irish Whiskey
2 Spoons Vanilla Infused Sugar
3 dashes Orange Bitters
Lightly muddle sugar, orange zest and bitters in bottom of tumbler style glass. Add 1/3 of whiskey and a few ice cubes. Stir, ensuring sugar has lifted from base of glass while mixing. Add another 1/3 of whiskey with few cubes of ice. Stir, mixing whiskey and sugar. Repeat with remaining whiskey. Photo provided by The Baddish Group
By the way… If you want to see something that looks really delicious, visit the Concannon Irish Whiskey website (website & Facebook link at the end of post) and click on the Mix It Up link for more cocktail recipes. Find the Roses & Oranges cocktail created by Master Mixologist Gillian Boyle. She used Orange Marmalade and fresh Rosemary. Her cocktail creation simply looks divine!!!
Concannon Raspberry Basil Smash
1-1/2 ounce Concannon Irish Whiskey
5 to 8 Fresh Raspberries
1/3 ounce Simple Syrup
3 to 4 Basil Leaves
1/4 ounce Lemon Juice
Basil Sprig & Fresh Raspberries Garnish
Muddle raspberries and basil in cocktail shaker. Add remaining liquids with ice. Shake to blend and chill. Strain into rocks glass over fresh cracked ice. Garnish with basil sprig and fresh raspberries. Photo provided by The Baddish Group
This year Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey celebrates an “Irish True” year with the opening of the new Tullamore D.E.W. Visitor Centre in Tullamore, Ireland. The new Tullamore D.E.W. packaging highlights the brand’s history, founder and namesake, Daniel E. Williams, with the initials, D.E.W., placed prominently on the bottle.
Daniel was a distillery worker who had a vision and stayed true to that vision. He became the general manager and brought modern conveniences and technology of the day to the distillery so he could make his whiskey his way. The Irish True way.
Tullamore D.E.W is a unique blend of three types of Irish whiskey; pot still, malt and grain whiskey. It was the first and remains the only international Irish whiskey to pioneer this unique blend of three. The malted and unmalted barley used in the whiskey is dried in enclosed kilns, rather than over peat fires. This creates a smooth, yet complex taste rather than one of peated smokiness.
The original Tullamore D.E.W. blend is recognized for its smooth, gentle flavor. It has also won numerous awards including the much-prized trophy at the International Spirits Challenge, the highest accolade in the drinks industry.
Tullamore D.E.W. Official Brand Tasting Notes
Color: Medium amber gold
Aroma: Mild blend of spicy, lemony and malty notes, with charred wood and vanilla undertones
Body: Light bodied, sweetish spices, buttery and rounded with light citrus fruitiness
Palate: Warming, pleasant maltiness with toasted wood and vanilla hints
Finish: Smooth and gentle, the complex flavors lingering
Reference Price: $24
“St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time – a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic.” ~ Adrienne Cook
You can be Irish True too. Toast St. Patrick’s Day with Tullamore D.E.W straight, on the rocks or in these St. Patrick’s Day themed cocktails.
1 ounce Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey
1 ounce Orange Juice
1 ounce Lillet Rouge
1 ounce Cherry Brandy
Orange Slice or Orange Twist Garnish
Combine ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to blend and chill. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with fresh orange slice or fresh orange peel twisted over drink and dropped in. Notation: Bols or Heering Cherry Liqueur can be used as Cherry Brandy. Flavor profile was not designed to fit with Maraschino Liqueur flavor. (cocktail photo provided by Susan Magrino Agency)
The Irish Ward
1-1/2 ounce Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey
1/2 ounce Grenadine
1/2 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 ounce Fresh Orange Juice
Lime Wheel Garnish
Combine liquids in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to blend and chill Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with lime wheel. (cocktail photo provided by Susan Magrino Agency)
For many a day doesn’t get much better when it begins as National Oreo Day. It doesn’t matter if you eat them directly from the package. Who can do that by the way?! If you’re a twist, lick and dunk in milk sort of person. Or if your must have Oreo is the super double stuffed kind. *Raising hand* on that one. The honest to goodness truth is there isn’t a wrong way to consume an Oreo. And yes, that includes enjoying the Happy Hour kind.
Dip rims of two shot glasses coffee liqueur. Dip into crushed Oreo cookies. Set aside. Place liquids in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to blend and chill. Strain into prepared cookie rimmed shot glasses. Alternative: Shake and strain into chilled martini glass. Serve with Oreo cookie on the side.
Oreo Cookie Shot
1/2 ounce Kahlua Coffee Liqueur
1/2 ounce Crème de Cacao
1/2 ounce Baileys Irish Cream
Splash of Vodka
Layer liqueurs in order given. Layer by gently pouring each liqueur over back of bar spoon one on top of the other. Top with thin layer of vodka.
Pull out all the stops (pans, graters, measuring cups and timers) to make an old fashioned traditional mulled wine in an hour or so, or cut right to the chase and enjoy a satisfying and enjoyable cup of Easy Barefoot Mulled Merlot in a few minutes. The choice is yours. Cheers!
Easy Barefoot Mulled Merlot – created by Cheri Loughlin
3 ounces Barefoot Merlot Wine
2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
1/2 ounce Orange Juice
Pinch Ground Cloves and Ground Nutmeg
Cinnamon Stick Garnish
Place liquids and spices in heatproof measuring cup. Microwave for 30 to 60 seconds to warm. Stir with cinnamon stick. Recipe can also be multiplied and slow heated in sauce pan over low heat for multiple serve.
Traditional banana cream pie calls for buttery graham cracker crust or flaky baked dough crust, layers of freshly sliced bananas, topped with creamy custard and fresh whipped cream or meringue. But quick fix Banana Cream Pie served in a shot glass is way more my speed. Dessert in a glass. Sipping dessert. Just the way I like it. How about you?
Keep in the spirit of a traditional layered Banana Cream Pie with a layered shot.
Layered Banana Cream Pie
1/2 ounce Coffee Liqueur
1/2 ounce Licor 43
1/2 ounce Banana Liqueur
Layer chilled spirits in large shot glass or shooter glass. Layering can be achieved by gently pouring spirits over back of bar spoon one on top of the other. Order heaviest weighted spirits to lighter weighed spirits.
It’s always more fun to share dessert. It’s even more fun to share a shot of dessert. This Banana Cream Pie shot recipe is slightly different, shaken rather than layered and built for sharing. Party on!
Banana Cream Pie – Serves 2
1/2 ounce Banana Liqueur
1/2 ounce White Crème de Cacao
1/2 ounce Vodka
1/2 ounce Half & Half
Combine liquids in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to blend and chill. Strain into two shot glasses.