Archives for category: Bourbon


We’ve been known to have large parties a few times a year.  The sound of dozens of liquor bottles hitting the recycling is our way of letting the neighbors know what they missed.  In other words, we go through a lot of booze when we entertain, and yep, it does get expensive.

We know that buying liquor for our house can be a bit intimidating, so if you’d like to bring a bottle next time you visit, here’s a quick guide to stuff we’ll always appreciate a bunch.  It’s also a pretty good cheat sheet for reliably good booze to bring anywhere.  Most of these should be too difficult to find locally.

Around $20:

In the $20-40 Range:

In the $40-60 Range:

Impractically Expensive Shit:

We’re grateful for anything you want to bring, of course!  If you want to be creative and pick up something not on this list, here are some types of liquor we generally avoid – they just don’t get used, and we don’t mix with them:

  • Vodka
  • Flavored vodka
  • Flavored anything, really
  • Canadian whiskey
  • Irish whiskey

Now back to your regularly scheduled booze news.


Now that you’ve got the hardware to mix, time to get into spendin’ money proper.  There is no one right answer to the question of what liquor you should buy to start.  The best way to decide is to ask yourself what kind of drinks you’re likely to be making.  Suggestion:  start by making what you like.

One from Column A…

Cocktails tend to be a mixture of base spirit (gin, bourbon, rum, etc.), sweetness (sugar, syrups, liqueurs, etc.), bitters (like Angostura or Peychaud’s), and sometimes sour / citrus.  Vermouth also adds to the character of a drink.  If you want to get really technical about it, bitters define a cocktail, but we’re all friends, right?  So trust me on this.  It’s a good way of thinking about classes of ingredients you’ll need to stock your bar.

Let’s look at groups of ingredients you’ll want to have based upon the drinks you’d like to make for yourself.  I’m using for price references.  It’s a great place to get your booze if you don’t have an easy way to buy locally.  Your state allows delivery of alcoholic beverages to your home, right?  RIGHT?  (The correct answer is YES THEY DO.  Now go order.)

#1:  I Like Bourbon.  And Rye.  And Rusty Nails.  No, Not the Drink.  Nails.

I like you already.  Here’s your shopping list.  Everything’s in order of priority, and you can see what drinks you can make with everything below the list.

  • Base Spirits
  • Vermouth (don’t forget to refrigerate after opening)
  • Bitters
  • Liqueurs
    • Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao – $26.99  (cheaper than, and better than Cointreau)
    • Campari – $26.99 (if you’re not scared of bitter.  You’re not scared of bitter, are you, little girl?)
    • Amaretto – $22.99 for Luxardo, but get Lazzaroni if possible
    • Fernet Branca – $29.99 (optional, but great for street cred and manly drinks)
  • Citrus (look for fruit with a firm peel)
    • Lemon
    • Orange
  • Other
    • Cherries in Kirsch brandy – $29.99
    • Simple syrup – 2/3 sugar to 1/3 water, shake
    • Sugar (baker’s sugar is best)
    • Fresh mint (if you roll in the Julep direction)
    • Bottle of dry sparkling wine (Cava or Prosecco is fine – don’t spend more than $12)
    • Eggs
    • Club soda

What Can I Make with This Crap?

Oh, lots.  Including…

  • Manhattan:
    • 2 oz rye
    • 1 oz sweet vermouth
    • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
    • Brandied cherry garnish
  • Perfect Manhattan:
    • 2 oz rye
    • .5 oz sweet vermouth
    • .5 oz dry vermouth
    • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
    • Brandied cherry garnish
  • Old Fashioned (my variation):
    • 3 oz bourbon
    • .5 oz simple syrup
    • .25 oz dry curacao
    • 2 dashes Old Fashioned bitters
    • Brandied cherry / orange wedge garnish
  • Sazerac:
    • 3 oz rye
    • 3 sugar cubes or .5 oz simple syrup (to taste)
    • 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
    • Lemon peel garnish
  • Mint Julep
    • 3 oz bourbon
    • 2 tsp sugar
    • Mint
  • Seelbach
    • 1 oz bourbon
    • .5 oz dry curacao
    • 7 dashes Angostura bitters (really.  man up.)
    • 7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters (again.)
    • Sparkling wine to top of champagne flute
    • Orange twist garnish
  • Toronto
    • 3 oz rye
    • 1 oz Fernet Branca
    • .5 oz simple syrup
    • Dash Angostura bitters
    • Orange peel garnish
  • Whiskey Sour
    • 2 oz bourbon
    • 1 oz simple syrup
    • .75 oz lemon juice
    • egg white
  • Amaretto Sour
    • .75 oz bourbon
    • 1.5 oz amaretto
    • 1 oz lemon juice
    • 1 tsp simple syrup
    • egg white
  • Americano
    • 1 oz Campari
    • 1 oz sweet vermouth
    • club soda to taste
    • orange twist
  • Boulevardier
    • 1.5 oz bourbon
    • 1 oz Campari
    • 1 oz sweet vermouth
    • brandied cherry

So that covers a lot of classic cocktails.  If this is your cocktailian wheelhouse, we need to drink together.  But let us not forget our rum, gin, and brandy drinking brothers and sisters.  Up next:  gin.

Yeah, my job is so awesome that they pay for the entire company to go see The Avengers at the Cinerama on opening day.  It’s not a spoiler to say that Loki eventually finds himself in need of a good drink.  Here’s a little something something that sounds all girly and innocent with the amaretto, but will kick your ass if you don’t walk around swinging a really big hammer.  And by hammer, I mean…

Loki’s Revenge

3 oz Bulleit bourbon
.5 oz amaretto
.5 oz Becherovka
2 dashes Bittermen’s Mole Bitters

Stir everything with ice in a Tesseract.  Realize you don’t have a fucking Tesseract.  Go for the Yarai mixing glass instead.  Realize you’re really pretentious for requiring one of these and go for a pint glass.  Do a few scritcha-scratcha motions with the barspoon and tilt a little on the ground for MCA.  Pour it all into an old fashioned glass (because yes, it’s an old-fashioned, basically), then go all Hulk on an orange with the vegetable peeler to get yourself a really nice piece of peel.  Express the oil over the drink and on the rim.  Try to get that fucking Madonna “Express Yourself” song out of your head.  Drop in the peel, add a Les Parisiennes brandied cherry on a stick, and try to figure out what to name this thing on the blog.

I think it should be mandatory to have a couple of these before being asked to believe that Scarlett Johannsen is a master assassin.

Hello, holiday spirit.  Hello, finding innovative ways to get fat.  Let’s just get right down to it and start with the most efficient blubber generator known to humankind.

Egg Nog with Rum Caviar

What wacky new recipe did I invent for this?  Um.  I’m not even going to pretend I can do better than this one from Alton Brown.  It’s quick to make, too.  If you’re going to drink any of it, have someone else make it.  You don’t want to know what goes into it.

Now about this rum caviar.  A friend pointed me at this site, which introduced me to the concept.  And bless the person who thought of this.  It’s like boozy, succulent bubble tea.  Unfortunately, following the instructions on the site explicitly will render you some sugary, alcoholic goo floating in the bottom of a tumbler-full of vegetable oil.  So if you’re going to try this, here are a few suggested modifications:

  • Add a lot more agar agar than they call for.  Like ten times more.  Seriously.  I’m still working on exactly how much – overshot it a little this time – but too much is better than not enough in this case.
  • Put the tall glass of vegetable oil in an ice bath while you eyedropper the rum into it.  Otherwise, the oil is going to heat up too quickly, and, well… goo.
  • Get someone else to do this for you.  Bribe them.  Whatever it takes.  This is a serious pain in the ass.  But hey.  Thanksgiving.

The little glass of eggnog with rum caviar pictured here was almost worth all the effort.  But then again, I got someone else to do most of the caviar work.  Thanks, honey!  And happy Thanksgiving, all.


Ok, hifallutin’ way of saying “sun of the south”.  Got an urge to be fancy in the pants.  I’m not responsible for whatever urges you get after one of these.  #highoctane

Le Soleil du Sud

1.75 oz Bulleit bourbon
1.75 oz Calvados
.5 oz amaretto
.5 oz Becherovka

Stir it all up in a mixing glass with ice.  Strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish it with a nice star anise.  If you believe, as I do, that the only way this could be better would be to set it on fire, pour a little Stroh 80 on the anise and ignite it.  Set a bad example for your kids in multiple ways.

My only regret is that the fire was pathetically miniscule.  Perhaps next time we can find something that’s more than 80% pure alcohol to torch.

Thursday Drink Night challenge from this website!  Mission:  make a tiki drink with one German ingredient.  Bonus points for FIRE.  Bonus points?  Hell, why else would you even spend time trying this?

Mary Ann’s Revenge

1 oz bourbon (I used Bulleit)
1 oz Kümmel (It SOUNDS German.  But my bottle’s from Philadelphia.)
1 oz orange juice
.5 oz Trader Tiki’s passion fruit syrup
.5 oz Trader Tiki’s orgeat
two dashes Absinthe Duplais (It IS German.  It COUNTS.)
two dashes Regan’s #6 orange bitters
two thin slices fresh ginger
three brandied cherries
.25 oz 151 proof vodka or rum (I used Galen’s cheap, nasty-ass vodka)

Put everything except the ginger, cherries, and overproof vodka / rum in a cocktail shaker.  Ice and stir.  Strain over cracked ice into a rocks glass.  Skewer alternating cherries and fresh ginger slices with a cocktail pick and balance it on the glass rim.  Pour a little of the overproof booze over the skewer and IMMEDIATELY light on fire.

Why ‘Mary Ann’s Revenge’?  Because it’s fun to set ginger on fire.