Slap Happy: 5 Great Ways To Use Fresh Herbs In Your Craft Cocktails

Nearly everyone has been to their local garden store and ogled over the varieties of fresh herbs that you can grow on your windowsill garden. Who knew there were so many different kinds of basil? And how about all that mint? Are there enough days of growing season left for every different kind of mint, pared with all those incredible bourbons on your groaning shelves?  Well, worry not. I’m going to make a few suggestions of which herbs you should be growing in your mixology garden and some simple ways to use them.

Read More at: https://thefreshtoast.com/cannabis/slap-happy-5-great-ways-to-use-fresh-herbs-in-your-craft-cocktails/amp

Photo by cookbookman17

 

The Savoy Taproom!

Let’s give a big welcome to Warren Bobrow author of Apothecary Cocktails, Cannabis Cocktails, Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails, and Whiskey Cocktails! This will be a great opportunity to pick the brain of one of the greatest minds cocktail culture has come to know. There will also be a special happy hour featuring cocktails from Warren’s books!

I’ll be signing books at the lovely Savoy Taproom, 301 Lark Street – Albany NY – 12210 3:00 – 6:00 pm Today, Sunday April 30!

Well look!

Muddle, mix, shake, stir, pour–whatever the method, you’ll learn how to create the perfect cocktail.

Whether you’re new to mixing drinks or have been creating your own cocktails for years, The Craft Cocktail Compendium © has everything you need to know to mix, shake, or stir your way to a delicious drink. With over 200 craft cocktail recipes, expert mixologist Warren Bobrow will help you broaden your skills and excite your taste buds with unique takes on timeless favorites and recipes you’ve likely never tried before.

AVAILABLE MAY 1, 2017!

To Purchase from Quarto Books

To Purchase from Amazon

The Mezzrole Recipe!

https://bevvy.co/cocktail/mezzrole/luhy

I’m a huge fan of Manhattan-style cocktails; they make great aperitifs. This one is named after Milton “Mezz” Mezzrow, a jazz musician who lived in Harlem in the 1920s. And, as Mezz himself would have known, the term for a well-rolled cannabis cigarette was a “mezzrole”—so I just had to commemorate both man and medicine in this elegant cocktail. It combines cannabis-infused sweet vermouth, handmade cocktail cherries, and quality bourbon into a small, but well-formed, libation that’s deeply healing.

Mezzrole_Cocktail_blog_title

When you’re infusing your vermouth, consider choosing a Sativa-Indica hybrid strain called Cherry Pie. It’s redolent of sweet and sour cherries, and it complements the toasty, oaky flavors inherent in the liquors. As for making crushed ice, it’s best to place the ice in a Lewis bag—a heavy canvas bag that’s made for the job—before whacking it with a wooden mallet or rolling pin.

This recipe calls for Greenish Cocktail Cherries.

  • 4-6 Greenish Cocktail Cherries
  •  0.5 oz (15 ml) cannabis-infused vermouth, such as Uncouth Vermouth’s Seasonal Wildflower Blend
  •  Handful of crushed ice
  • 1 oz (30 ml) bourbon whiskey
  •  Aromatic bitters
PREPARATION
  1. Muddle the Greenish Cocktail Cherries with a wooden muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon, then top with the vermouth.
  2. Continue to muddle for 30 seconds to combine the flavors.
  3. Cover with the crushed ice.
  4. Top with the bourbon, then dot with aromatic bitters.
  5. Don’t have two; one should be more than enough.

Tips for Substituting Ingredients Behind the Bar

https://talesofthecocktail.com/techniques/tips-substituting-ingredients-behind-bar

Bottles on a shelf.

Photo via iStock/Lisa-Blue.

When you reach for a bottle to find that it’s empty, it’s important to be ready to improvise.

Whether it’s fruit that’s out of season, that bottle of super rare aperitif that you’re dying to mix up, or you’ve simply run out of one of your bar staples in the middle of a rush, it’s important to have effective substitutions ready to take center stage.

Below you’ll find some handy suggestions on substitutions that could easily bail you out the next time you’re in a pinch.

1. Substitute fresh juices

Warren Bobrow, author of “Apothecary Cocktails, Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails, Whiskey Cocktails,” and “Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, and Tonics” relies on Fruitations Craft Soda and Cocktail Mixers when you need a quick — but still flavorful — stand in for fresh fruit juices.

Fruitations is currently available in three varieties — cranberry, grapefruit, and tangerine.

“It’s brilliant stuff,” Bobrow said.

2. Make your own liqueurs

Sometimes it’s harder than it should be to get your hands on a specific liqueur. Sometimes, it’s just cheaper to make them yourself.

Mike McSorley, Head Distiller and Brand Ambassador at Island Distillers, has a handful of quick fixes when behind the bar.

Cointreau substitute

  • 750 ml 100 proof vodka
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • Steep for 24 hours
  • 187 ml rich simple syrup

St. Germain substitute

  • D’arbo elderflower syrup
  • 100 proof vodka
  • Small pinch citric acid

3. When you need to MacGyver it

Sometimes it’s simply a matter of being put in a tough spot in the middle of a rushed service.

Izzy Ramos Foster, owner of Mixotica Cocktail Design, has had to make a handful of fast decisions in her time.

“For a Sidecar, using Tuaca and/or Licor 43 as a substitute when your orange liqueur unexpectedly runs out has worked every time,” Foster said. “Sometimes it works in a Margarita, depending the tequila. I’ve never had a complaint!”

Other off-the-cuff substitutions have been a bit more unique.

“I’ve also had to resort to using crushed Altoid breath mint powder (diluted in a bit water and strained) a couple of times when a sudden Mojito craze hit, fresh mint ran very low, but the cocktails needed to go out stat,” she said. “It’s not my proudest ‘professional bartending’ moments but it worked and the party went on!

4. All in the family

When it comes to replacing ingredients, remember that like replaces like.

For example, if you’re short on Cynar, you could easily swap out with a similar potable bitters like Campari (although it’s much fruitier than Cynar), Fernet Branca or Punt è Mes — a dark, bitter Italian vermouth produced by Carpano.

Consider the balance of your drink and its key features, and you can even create some unique cocktails by switching out key ingredients. For example, if you’re short on vodka when dying for a Moscow Mule but happen to have a silver rum in the house, replacing the vodka with rum leads to the heavier, richer Jamaican Mule.

5. Knowledge is your best substitute

Finally, have a working knowledge of how flavors relate to each other — and an even better understanding of what you actually have access to behind your own individual bar.

“Knowledge is key here,” said Matthew Biancaniello, owner of Eat Your Drink, LLC.

Specifically, while behind the bar one night Biancaniello noticed he had suddenly run out of fresh lime juice. What he did have, however, was fresh passion fruit juice.

“Instead of 2 ounces of lime juice, I did 3/4 ounce of passion fruit juice,” he said. “The passion fruit became the citrus in place of the lime juice. By reducing the amount I was able to keep the citrus there without making it painfully obvious that I wasn’t using the usual ingredient.”

The key to quick substitutions behind the bar is a deep knowledge and appreciation of similar flavors, a willingness to play around with different ingredients, and the ability to think on your feet.

Substitution quick tips:

Substitute liquors and liqueurs from the same family. In a pinch, rye can stand in for bourbon.

Take the time to play around with different flavors before you really need to punt. Having a knowledge of parallel flavors will keep your flavors relatively consistent.

Don’t be afraid to play around with different flavor combinations to create something new (so long as your patron knows that you’re being creative).

The Shrub; Ancient remedy to modern mixer!!

While the term “shrub” might call to mind a short, green plant in someone’s garden, it means something quite different in the mixology world.

A shrub is essentially an acidulated (read vinegar-based) beverage as old as history itself. In the days before refrigeration, it was pretty evident that without some means for food preservation, keeping items fresh was difficult at best. Food borne illnesses could be prevented or at least minimized by the use of an acid. In this case, the combination of vinegar and sugar when added to either fruit or vegetables contributed to a rudimentary food preservation system that has existed up to modern times. During the colonial era in particular, when daily labor was exhausting and folks needed something to cool off and reinvigorate themselves, shrubs were often drunk on their own. However, when a more festive mood took hold, shrubs were added to spirituous beverages, offering both a tart kick and a dose of healthy vinegar. Was the shrub the original health drink? Certainly it was used for good health, right up to the time when soda pop was invented, spelling the demise of the shrub. In recent years, however, a resurgence of old methods has taken the cocktail world by storm. In search of new and intriguing flavor profiles, bartenders have started making shrubs in house and, in doing so, creating a wealth of unique drinks. Shrubs are simply made with only three ingredients, a fruit (or a vegetable), sugar, and some type of vinegar. It does have to be aged after the mashing of fruit, sugar and vinegar, but that timing is really up to you. It can age quickly or over several weeks.

Below is a selection of shrub recipes and the drinks in which I’ve used them. You could easily customize your own beverage by adding a shrub to your favorite gin, vodka, and rum-based libations.

Colonial-Sour-Cherry-Shrub

Colonial Sour Cherry Shrub

Photo Courtesy of Glenn Scott

Colonial Sour Cherry Shrub

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. Jar of Sour Cherry Preserves
  • 1 cup Demerara Sugar
  • 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

Preparation: Place the sour cherry preserves in a nonreactive bowl, and cover with the sugar. Let them steep together for at least overnight (or for a few days) at room temperature. Then strain the cherry mixture through a non-reactive sieve, crushing the tender fruits with a wooden spoon to extract as much flavor and sweet juice as possible. Combine with the vinegar; let the mixture sit for a few hours, and then strain into sterilized bottles.

Benjamin-Gunn-Mystery-Cocktail

The Benjamin Gunn Mystery Cocktail

The Benjamin Gunn Mystery Cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. Colonial Sour Cherry Shrub
  • 2 oz. Dark Rum (a Molasses-Based Rum that’s Been Aged in Ex-Bourbon Oak is Ideal)
  • 1/4 oz. Dark Amber Maple Syrup
  • Splash of Seltzer Water
  • Lemon Twist
  • Dash of Cherry Bitters

Preparation: Place an ice cube in a rocks glass, and add 2 tbsp. of the sour cherry shrub. Add the dark rum and the maple syrup, and then top with a splash of fizzy seltzer water. Garnish with a lemon twist, and dot with cherry bitters.

 

Ginger-Lime-Shrub

Ginger-Lime Shrub

Ginger-Lime Shrub

Ingredients:

  • 4 Limes, Zested and Quartered
  • 1 cup Demerara Sugar
  • 6 tbsp. Freshly Grated Ginger Root
  • 1–2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar (Depending on the Height of the Ingredients when Placed in a Bowl)

Preparation: In a non-reactive bowl, combine the lime peels, lime quarters, sugar, and ginger. Stir to combine and coat all the fruit with sugar. Cover and leave at room temperature at least overnight or for 1 to 2 days. (Slow, cool fermentation gives a shrub its trademark bite.) Now prepare your shrub for aging. Set a strainer over another non-reactive bowl and pour the lime and ginger into the strainer. Use a stout wooden spoon to extract as much juice as possible from the limes and the softened ginger. Let the mixture sit for a few more hours.

Stir again, and discard the fruit chunks. Stir in the vinegar, and then use a funnel to transfer the shrub syrup to a sterilized bottle. Seal and then shake well to combine. Store the bottles in the refrigerator or at cellar temperature for 3 to 4weeks before using. Shake each bottle once or twice daily to help the sugar dissolve. When it’s mostly dissolved, your shrub is ready to use. Makes 1 1/2 cups. Keep refrigerated, and use within about 6 months.

Ginger-Lime Shrub with Rhum Agricole and Salty Lemonade

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. Ginger-Lime Shrub
  • 2 oz. 100-proof Rhum Agricole Blanc
  • 3 oz. Freshly Made Lemonade, Sweetened with Raw Honey or Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 oz. Seltzer Water
  • 1 pinch Fleur De Sel
  • 2–3 drops Lime Bitters

Preparation: Add the Ginger-Lime Shrub to an old fashioned glass. Then add an ice spear. Top with the Rhum Agricole Blanc, the lemonade, and a splash of seltzer water. Sprinkle a pinch of fleur de sel into the drink, and finish with a couple drops of lime bitters.

 

Strawberry-Rhubard-Shrub

Squire’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Shrub

Squire’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Shrub

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Roasted Strawberries and Rhubarb, Equal Parts
  • 1 cup Demerara Sugar
  • 1 cup Light Balsamic Vinegar

Preparation: Add the roasted strawberries and rhubarb to a non-reactive bowl. Cover with the sugar, stir to combine, and cover it with plastic wrap. Leave at cool room temperature for 24 hours. Stir frequently during this time to combine as the berries and rhubarb give off their liquid.

Place a non-reactive strainer above a second non-reactive bowl, pour the fruit-sugar mixture into the strainer, and use a wooden spoon to mash the mixture in order to release as much liquid as possible. (Reserve the mashed fruit to use in cooking or baking, if you like.) Add the balsamic vinegar to the liquid, stir, and let the mixture sit for a few hours. Funnel into sterilized bottles or jars, and age for 3–4 weeks in the refrigerator. This shrub will last nearly indefinitely, but if it begins to quiver, dance, or speak in foreign languages, throw it out.

Squires-Shrub-Cocktail

Squire’s Shrub Cocktail

Squire’s Shrub Cocktail

  • 1 Brown Sugar Cube
  • Several Dashes of Lemon Bitters
  • 1/2 oz. Botanical Gin
  • 2 oz. Squire’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Shrub
  • 1 1/2 oz. Champagne, or Dry Sparkling Wine
  • 1 Long Lemon Twist

Preparation: Add the sugar cube to a Champagne flute (see below), and moisten with the lemon bitters. Then add the gin and the Squire’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Shrub, and top with Champagne. Garnish with a long lemon twist.

Note: To prepare this flute, combine very finely chopped lemon zest and sugar, wet the rim of the glass with lemon, and dip the glass into yellow-colored sugar.

The Squire’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Shrub

It’s true, the Squire’s Shrub does require a couple of extra steps, but I promise it’s worth your while: Your patience will be rewarded with a lush, crimson colored syrup that’s straight out of the eighteenth century, when America was in its infancy and early pharmacists would have relied on their gardens to supply the basis for their healing tonics. (Rhubarb has been used as a digestive aid for thousands of years.) There’s nothing difficult to it, though, beyond a little extra mixing, and roasting your fruit before making the shrub. The vinegar’s high acidity cuts through the sumptuous, charred, caramelized flavor of the roasted strawberries and rhubarb, making it a seductive addition to gin, vodka, and rum-based libations.

2 cups (340 g)
Roasted Strawberries and Rhubarb
1 cup (200 g) Demerara sugar
1 cup (235 ml) light balsamic vinegar

Time: 3–4 weeks. Add the roasted strawberries and rhubarb to a nonreactive bowl. Cover with the sugar, stir to combine, and cover it with plastic wrap. Leave at cool room temperature for 24 hours. Stir frequently during this time to combine as the berries and rhubarb give off their liquid. Place a nonreactive strainer above a second nonreactive bowl, pour the fruit-sugar mixture into the strainer, and use a wooden spoon to mash the mixture in order to release as much liquid as possible.

(Reserve the mashed fruit to use in cooking or baking, if you like.) Add the balsamic vinegar to the liquid, stir, and let the mixture sit for a few hours. Funnel into sterilized bottles or jars, and age for 3–4 weeks in the refrigerator. This shrub will last nearly indefinitely, but if it begins to quiver, dance, or speak in foreign languages, throw it out.

Excerpted from Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails Restorative Vintage Cocktails, Mocktails, and Elixirs by Warren Bobrow (Fair Winds Press, 2015).