Fresh Toast Fizzy


Behold the magic of raspberry shrub and cannabis simple syrup.

Real shrubs are for your cocktail glass. And no, they are not the kind that take up room in your front yard. Shrubs are an almost unheard-of combination of both vinegar and preserved fruit and cane sugar syrup. During the late summer months, they are especially delicious because they are cost next to nothing to make and quite thirst slaking. They also mix really nicely with Cannabis in a cocktail made with rum.

The history of shrubs dates back hundreds of years. They were most frequently used into the mid-1800s. The people who enjoyed them were amongst the working class and mostly because of the utter lack of refrigeration. No electricity, meaning no refrigeration for food preservation means all bad things to the gut.

But everything isn’t gloom and doom. Enter this homemade, vinegar-based fruit syrup. Shrubs were an inexpensive, sweet refreshment that could be added to a multitude of alcoholic liquids. People found that drinking certain kinds of acidulated liquids like these preserved fruit shrubs helped ease their aching bellies from the consumption of ‘certainly compromised foods and drink’.

Drinking these easy to make and easier to enjoy- sweet and tangy beverages were found to give the imbiber quick energy, too. Were they the first energy drinks? Possibly…

Fast forward to today, mixologists have rediscovered the magic of utilizing fresh fruit and vegetable shrubs in their craft cocktails. And now aficionados are starting to toy with them at home because of their ease in production.

Shrubs can be simply made with only three easy-to-purchase ingredients: raw sugar, some kind of vinegar and just over-ripe fruit, plus a bit of fresh water. They have a salty, sea-like undertone after they ferment for a few weeks, but are also sweet and tart. The fruit gives a deeply welcome hit of sweet perfume, the cane sugar (essential) sweetens naturally, and the unmistakable tang of your favorite vinegar makes your lips pucker, and few things are more salutary for the gut than naturally fermented beverages. Shrubs really were the original energy and health drink. And now it looks like this tangy combination of flavors have received their second wind!

Note: These shrubs will remain fresh for 1 to 2 months in the refrigerator, unless until they start to dance the jig and sing in Gaelic, then make a new batch immediately!

Summer Raspberry Shrub
(Makes about 1.5 cups)

This very basic shrub makes all kinds of refreshing combinations. Although the raspberry shrub starts out vividly red, in the end result, after a couple of weeks fermenting; the shrub will have a

pale coral hue. It’s delicious mixed with gin, vodka, rum, whiskey, Madeira, a smoky Scotch, Sherry, white wine, sparkling wine- and of course just plain water like they used to drink in the Colonial period!

Ingredients:

1 cup very ripe organic raspberries (they can be bruised and soft, but please, no mold)
1 cup raw cane sugar (Sugar in the Raw or like product)
1 cup raw cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s with the Mother Yeast intact)
Directions:

In a nonreactive bowl made of either ceramic or glass (or possibly stainless), add raspberries and pour sugar over the top.
Cover and let sit refrigerated for a few days, stirring and muddling often with a wooden spoon to combine. This mixture should expel lots of liquid, and this is good!
After a few days of gentle fermentation, add the apple cider vinegar. Let the vinegar combine with the sugar and raspberries for another week refrigerated. (Cellar temperature if you want to be absolutely authentic)
Arrange a fine-mesh strainer over a nonreactive bowl (one with a spout is handy). Pour the shrub mixture into the strainer and mash with a wooden spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.
Funnel the shrub into sterilized jars, this means submerged in boiling water for at least a minute and removed with sterilized rubber tipped tongs.
Cover and refrigerate (or cellar temp) for at least a week more, shaking well before using.
The assertive vinegar flavor will fade over time, leaving you a lightly thick- simple syrup that is tangy, sweet and very noteworthy!

Tip: A simple way to enjoy this raspberry shrub is with a glass of seltzer water and the addition of a few slivers of lemon zest. I also like to add it to gin!

Cannabis-Infused Simple Syrup
(Use strain of your choice)

Ingredients:

2 cups raw cane sugar – like sugar in the raw
3 cups filtered water
2 tablespoons vegetable glycerin (this helps supercharge the cannabis)
3 or more grams finely chopped, ultra-high-grade cannabis
Directions:

The first thing you have to do is measure out equal parts of sugar and water then bring the water to a boil.
Drop the heat down, just a bit- you’ll know when you see the sugar turning to caramel that it’s too hot!
Add in your finely chopped cannabis and stir in until the sugar has been completely dissolved.
Cover the pot and bring it to a quick simmer (do not boil!) for about 30 minutes.
Cool for ½ hour, bring back up to a simmer. Stir in the vegetable glycerin. Strain.
Let cool again, and refrigerate for up to two weeks.
Fresh Toast Fizzy

(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

large handmade ice cubes
4 ounces independent-producer rum
1 ounce Raspberry Shrub
1 ounce cannabis simple syrup (see above)
4 dashes Angostura Bitters
splash of fizzy water
Directions:

Fill a cocktail shaker three-quarters full with ice.
Pour in your rum, your handmade Shrub and the simple syrup (either cannabis infused or not) over the ice.
Cover, cap and shake hard for 15 seconds or until the shaker is really frosty.
Add a large ice cube to each of 2 coupe glasses. Strain cocktail into each of the glasses, dash the Angostura over the top of each glass (2 dashes each) and serve while icy with a splash of fizzy water of course!
Use the Thai spice principle. You can always add more spice- but you can never take it away!
NEVER more than one per hour…

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All the Cocktails and Spirits Books Published in 2016 for Reading or Gifting

I love books! Here are all the books on cocktails and spirits I know of (please do comment if I’ve missed something) published this year. Give some gifts or just stock up on your winter reading for the cold months. I’ve got stacks to get through myself.

 

Whiskey Books

6a00e553b3da20883401b8d22461da970c-200wiBourbon: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of an American Whiskey by Fred Minnick

More Kentucky Bourbon Cocktails by Joy Perrine and Susan Reigler 

The Big Man of Jim Beam: Booker Noe And the Number-One Bourbon In the World by Jim Kokoris  

Whisky Japan: The Essential Guide to the World’s Most Exotic Whisky by Dominic Roskrow 

Iconic Whisky: Tasting Notes & Flavour Charts for 1,500 of the World’s Best Whiskies by Cyrille Mald and Alexandre Vingtier

Whiskey: A Spirited Story with 75 Classic and Original Cocktails by Michael Dietsch

The Manhattan: The Story of the First Modern Cocktail with Recipes by Philip Greene 

 

Miscellany 

6a00e553b3da20883401bb09376999970d-200wiMade of Iceland: A Drink & Draw Book  by Reyka Vodka, Snorri Sturluson 

Inside The Bottle: People, Brands, and Stories  by Arthur Shapiro 

The Craft Cocktail Coloring Book by Prof Johnny Plastini

Drinking with Republicans and Drinking with Democrats by Mark Will-Weber

The Moonshine Wars by Daniel Micko

Drinks: A User’s Guide by Adam McDowell

Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times (Second Edition) by Michael Dietsch 

A Proper Drink: The Untold Story of How a Band of Bartenders Saved the Civilized Drinking World by Robert Simonson 

Colonial Spirits: A Toast to Our Drunken History by Steven Grasse 

DIY Bitters: Reviving the Forgotten Flavor – A Guide to Making Your Own Bitters for Bartenders, Cocktail Enthusiasts, Herbalists, and More by Jovial King and Guido Mase 

Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas by Brad Thomas Parsons 

Drink Like A Grown-Up by The League of Extraordinary Drinkers 

The Coming of Southern Prohibition: The Dispensary System and the Battle over Liquor in South Carolina, 1907-1915 by Michael Lewis

American Wino: A Tale of Reds, Whites, and One Man’s Blues by Dan Dunn 

Distilled Stories: California Artisans Behind the Spirits by Capra Press

Building Bacardi: Architecture, Art & Identity by Allan T. Shulman

Craft Spirits by Eric Grossman

 

Cocktail Books, General

6a00e553b3da20883401bb08fac9f3970d-200wiCocktails for Ding Dongs by Dustin Drankiewicz (Author), Alexandra Ensign (Illustrator)

Zen and Tonic: Savory and Fresh Cocktails for the Enlightened Drinker by Jules Aron

Pretty Fly For a Mai Tai: Cocktails with rock ‘n’ roll spirit  

Cocktails for Drinkers: Not-Even-Remotely-Artisanal, Three-Ingredient-or-Less Cocktails that Get to the Point  by Jennifer McCartney 

Aperitivo: The Cocktail Culture of Italy by Marisa Huff 

The Complete Cocktail Manual: 285 Tips, Tricks, and Recipes by Lou Bustamante and the United States Bartenders’ Guild 

 Shake. Stir. Sip.: More than 50 Effortless Cocktails Made in Equal Parts by Kara Newman

101 Cocktails to Try Before you Die  by Francois Monti 

Drink Like a Man: The Only Cocktail Guide Anyone Really Needs by Ross McCammon and David Wondrich

The New Cocktail Hour: The Essential Guide to Hand-Crafted Cocktails by Andre Darlington and Tenaya Darlington

Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau 

Eat Your Drink: Culinary Cocktails by Matthew Biancaniello 

Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks and Buzz-Worthy Libations by Warren Bobrow

Tiki with a Twist: 75 Cool, Fresh, and Wild Tropical Cocktails by Lynn Calvo and James O. Fraioli 

Cocktail Books from Bars or Places

6a00e553b3da20883401bb094fd3d5970d-200wiThe Canon Cocktail Book: Recipes from the Award-Winning Bar by Jamie Boudreau  and James O. Fraioli 

Regarding Cocktails by Sasha Petraske and Georgette Moger-Petraske 

Brooklyn Spirits: Craft Distilling and Cocktails from the World’s Hippest Borough By Peter Thomas Fornatale and Chris Wertz

Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki by Martin Cate and Rebecca Cate

 Cuban Cocktails: Over 50 mojitos, daiquiris and other refreshers from Havana

Brooklyn Bar Bites: Great Dishes and Cocktails from New York’s Food Mecca by Barbara Scott-Goodman

The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book by Frank Caiafa

Lift Your Spirits: A Celebratory History of Cocktail Culture in New Orleans by Elizabeth M. Williams and Chris McMillian

Science!


Shots of Knowledge
: The Science of Whiskey by Rob Arnold and Eric Simanek

Distilled Knowledge: The Science Behind Drinking’s Greatest Myths, Legends, and Unanswered Questions  by Brian D Hoefling 

 

Classic Cocktail Book Reprints

THE HOME BARTENDER’S GUIDE AND SONG BOOK {By Charlie Roe and Jim Schwenck}

AMERICAN BAR {By Frank P. Newman}

LOUIS’ MIXED DRINKS {By Louis Muckenstrum}

Beer (A few beer books slip through the cracks and come to me)

The United States of Beer: A Freewheeling History of the All-American Drink by Dane Huckelbridge 

The Beer Geek Handbook: Living a Life Ruled by Beer by Patrick Dawson 

 

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Ulysses Left on Ithaca Cocktail

Ulysses Left on Ithaca Cocktail

Excerpted from Whiskey Cocktails by Warren Bobrow

ulysses left on ithaca cocktailCome fall, my palate is already calling out for the heat and aroma from the fireplace. There is something about wood heat that fills me with warmth for the coming cold months. I love the snap of the fire and the brooding heat that fills the room.

 

The same holds true for my cocktails. I seek out brown liquors that speak of warmth like whiskey spun into a very seasonal cocktail.

Smoked American whiskey is a wonderful match for a citrus-oil–tinged tea like Earl Grey. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you start spiking your morning pick-me-up; this delicate cocktail proves that Earl Grey isn’t just for breakfast anymore. Bound together by homemade ginger simple syrup, the Ulysses delivers spicy, sweet, smoky, and even salty—all at once. This cocktail is named for the Greek hero of the epic poem The Odyssey. Reluctant to leave his homeland of Ithaca, he pretended to be insane by sowing his fields with salt instead of grain. In his honor, the final touch to the Ulysses is a pinch of sea salt, which adds an unexpected, crunchy kick. It’s a delicious finish. The ingredients for this cocktail are simplicity themselves, but the sum of the parts is truly bewitching.

 

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces (120 ml) freshly brewed Earl Grey tea, cooled
  • 3 ounces (90 ml) smoked American whiskey (like Balcones Brimstone or the salubrious and rare, limited edition- Knob Creek Smoked Maple Bourbon)
  • 2- ounces (60 ml) Spicy Ginger Honey Simple Syrup (see below)
  • 1-ounce (30 ml) club soda
  • 2 pinches of sea salt
  • 2 sprigs of thyme

Instructions

  1. Brew and cool the Earl Grey tea.
  2. Fill a mixing glass three-quarters full with ice.
  3. Pour the whiskey, tea, and the Spicy Ginger Honey Simple Syrup over the ice, then stir to combine.
  4. Taste for sweetness: If it’s not sweet enough, add a bit more simple syrup.
  5. Place a chunk of hand-cut ice into each of two short rocks glasses. (If you really want to bring out the gingery taste of the simple syrup, make ginger ice in advance: Freeze slices of fresh ginger root into your homemade ice.)
  6. Add the splash of club soda to each glass, and top each with a pinch of sea salt to add a welcome “crunch” to each sip.
  7. Garnish with the thyme sprigs—and get ready to pour a second round.

SIMPLE SYRUPS

Raw Honey Simple Syrup:

In a medium saucepan, combine 1-cup (340 g) honey with 1/2 cup (120 ml) water and simmer, mixing until the honey has dissolved. Let the mixture cool. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a month.

Ginger Honey Simple Syrup:

Make a batch of Raw Honey Simple Syrup. Add 1/4 cup (25 g) finely chopped fresh (preferably young) ginger. Pour the mixture into an airtight container, and let it steep in the fridge for a couple days. Strain before using. Use within 2 weeks. If it becomes frothy or speaks in pirate tongues, throw it out!

Spicy Ginger Honey Simple Syrup:

Make a batch of Raw Ginger Honey Simple Syrup, and add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Pour the mixture into an airtight container, and let it steep in the fridge for a couple days. Strain before using. Use within 2 weeks. This can also be added to a glass of seltzer water, making ginger beer that you’ve never tasted before! Can you say Dark and….. STORMY?

Gift Guide: 13 Great Cocktail, Spirits and Bartending Books from 2016

Books stacked on bookshelves

The cocktail book category seems to grow exponentially every year, and 2016 brought readers everything from bourbon to amaro to tiki. (Photo: David_Ahn via iStock)

Another year, another slew of smart, thought-provoking and entertaining cocktail books. Tomes about spirits, bar ownership, drinking cultures and more filled the shelves as bartenders and cocktail experts put pen to paper. The category of cocktail books is ever-growing, and this year brought readers everything from bourbon to amaro, from minimalist equal-parts drinks to over-the-top tiki builds, from drinking to your health (literally) to the goings-on behind the scenes of a World’s Best Bar.

Because we’re in peak gift-giving season, because a certain holiday is mere days away, and because books are equal parts thoughtful gift and handy last-minute solution for shopping procrastinators, here’s just a smattering of the titles published this year that any bartender would be lucky to sport on their shelf.

For Your Open-Minded Friend in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Nevada, Massachusetts or Maine: “Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics” by Warren Bobrow

“It adds very green tasting notes and aromas, and I find that to be quite beguiling,” Warren Bobrow told us earlier this year. That “it” is referring to cannabis, which makes its way into cocktails in the form of tinctures and infusions dreamed up by Bobrow for his guide to more, ah, herbacious drinks, “Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics.” Though the concept of adding THC to alcohol has catalyzed some debate in the mixology community, Bobrow’s stance is more apothecarist than bong-ripping bro: he cites the historical precedent of cannabis-infused elixirs and views them more as a health tonic than a one-way ticket to outer space. Just use common sense: don’t try these at home if recreational marijuana’s illegal in your state, never experiment with these at a bar or other commercial establishment, and remember, if you go too far, a glass of lemonade with three to four black peppercorns will set you straight. According to Bobrow, at least.

For everyone on your list: “Regarding Cocktails” by Sasha Petraske with Georgette Moger-Petraske

Perhaps one of the most anticipated releases of 2016, this beautiful book is both tribute to and legacy of one of the world’s greatest bartenders, who passed away unexpectedly last year. Sasha Petraske’s subtle wit, revered wisdom and timeless recipes are preserved in these pages thanks to the efforts of his wife, spirits writer Georgette Moger-Petraske, who lovingly and generously worked to complete the book. From Milk and Honey devotees to young bartenders interested in gleaning the wisdom of a legend, this book will suit any reader interested in cocktail culture and the man who helped to catalyze it.

For the aspiring owner of the next World’s Best Bar: “The Canon Cocktail Book” by Jamie Boudreau

Jamie Boudreau’s drinks helped to solidify Canon’s status among the world’s best bars, so it’s no surprise that the recipes in this book would appeal to advanced cocktail connoisseurs. But where this tome really shines is through Boudreau’s own insights, observations and advice for opening a bar, keeping operations running smoothly and elevating every detail along the way. Expect a refreshingly honest take on what it really takes to run a world-class bar like Canon — and, of course, no shortage of equally world-class recipes.

For the Pappy hound: “Bourbon: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of American Whiskey” by Fred Minnick

With the great bourbon revival, many lay claim to the title of expert. But few have chops quite like Fred Minnick’s. The whiskey historian has multiple titles under his belt already, including a history of women in whiskey and an interactive guide to tasting whiskey. His latest promises an in-depth, colorful retrospective of bourbon’s role in America, dispelling a few myths and uncovering some little-known truths along the way.

For the bartending minimalist: “Shake. Stir. Sip. More Than 50 Effortless Cocktails Made in Equal Parts” by Kara Newman

In a world of twelve-ingredient cocktails and sub-sub-sub recipes, Wine Enthusiast spirits editor Kara Newman’s take on drink recipes is a breath of fresh air. Each cocktail listed here is equal-parts, straightforward, quick to mix, and very, very difficult to mess up — making it a perfect fit not just for home bartenders, but also professional bartenders who just want a good drink without, you know, feeling like they’re at work.

For the aperitivo aficionado: “Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes” by Leslie Pariseau and Talia Baiocchi

This homage to Italy’s culture of low-ABV, easy drinking came from an editor at Saveur and the editor-in-chief of PUNCH, meaning it was destined from the start to be masterfully executed (and beautiful to look at). Leslie Pariseau and Talia Baiocchi combine a little history, a bit of travel and culture, and a slew of delicious recipes from bartenders around the world for their love letter to all things bubbly and refreshing. The rigorous research process involved the duo embarking on a road trip to seven different Italian cities to explore each community’s unique spritz culture, making the book just as much a wanderlust-inducing travelogue as it is a cocktail book.

For the Hawaiian Shirt-Wearing, Orgeat-Making, Rum-Swilling Tiki Fan: “Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki” by Martin Cate

The culture of tiki is so much more than syrupy sweet drinks, tiny umbrellas and vintage Hawaiian shirts. And few people understand this quite like Martin Cate, proprietor of San Francisco’s renowned Smuggler’s Cove and devoted student of the deep, rich history rooted in Polynesian pop culture. In Cate’s expansive book, he looks at the history of tiki and how it was revived, how bars and home aficionados can recreate the tiki experience on their own, how he built that experience at Smuggler’s Cove, and over 100 recipes from their award-winning bar program (plus a few new ones created specifically for this book).

For the Friend Who Hits the Bar on Their Way Home from Yoga: “Zen and Tonic” by Jules Aron and “The Thinking Girl’s Guide to Drinking” by Ariane Resnick and Brittani Rae

Can you live a healthy lifestyle and regularly enjoy a good drink at the same time? This year, a few books set out to prove that yes, you can.

Bartender-turned-author Jules Aron published “Zen and Tonic,” her guide to cocktails “for the enlightened drinker,” earlier this spring. The book sets out to bring readers back to the old-school philosophy of cocktail as conduit of the medicinal properties of plants, focusing on florals, herbs, fresh fruits and natural sugars. While we have a long way to go before a cocktail can truly be “guilt-free,” Aron imbues hers with healthy alternatives to mass-produced mixers and syrups — think kombucha concoctions, herbal tonics and fruits front and center, all with a nice kick of booze.

2015 Speed Rack champion Brittani Rae isn’t just formidably fast behind the stick; she’s also incredibly creative when it comes to cocktail creation. In “The Thinking Girl’s Guide to Drinking,” Rae teamed up with nutritionist and bestselling author Ariane Resnick to offer a comprehensive guide to home bartending that eschews artificial flavoring agents, high-sugar ingredients and other nasty add-ons. Instead, you’ll find drinks that use ingredients boasting antioxidants and other wellness benefits, from greens to coconut cream. For home bartenders, the book also includes a helpful crash-course on prep, glassware and techniques.

For the Embittered: “Amaro” by Brad Thomas Parsons

The follow-up to Parsons’ 2011 “Bitters” compendium, “Amaro” picks up the mantle and explores the production, categorization, and history of the storied bittersweet liqueur. (Complete with a slew of recipes, of course.) Parsons describes it as a companion piece to the James Beard Award-winning “Bitters,” and “a love letter to Italy filtered through my American point of view.” As bartenders continue exploring the category and more guests dip a toe in the waters, “Amaro” makes for essential reading for anyone on either side of the bar.

For the Bartender Who Rolls Her Eyes When Someone Calls a Drink ‘Girly’: “Drink Like a Woman: Shake, Stir, Conquer, Repeat” by Jeanette Hurt

The sexist history of bartending culture; the laughable concept of “manly” or “girly” drinks; the many powerful women making huge moves behind the bar — it’s all up for discussion in Jeanette Hurt’s girl power cocktail guide (plus, all the techniques, recipes and tips a home bartender might need to know). “Drink Like A Woman” features the life stories and recipes of feminist heroes, including noted bar matrons like Marcy Skowronksi, the feisty nonagenarian helming the bar at Milwaukee’s Holler House, and Ada Coleman, the first female celebrity mixologist who rose to fame at The Savoy around the turn of the 19th century (and invented the classic Hanky Panky).

For Your Cocky Young Barback Who’s Never Had to Make a Fuzzy Navel: “A Proper Drink: the Untold Story of How a Band of Bartenders Saved the Civilized Drinking World” by Robert Simonson

My, how far we’ve come. In the past two decades, cocktail culture has evolved by leaps and bounds thanks to the grit, determination, and good taste of a select few pioneers who endeavored to resurrect the classics and bring us back to a more thoughtful way of drinking. That’s the story as told by Robert Simonson, the New York Times drinks writer who profiles the hard-won gains made in the cocktail world over the last two decades, and the people we have to thank for them. Buy a copy for yourself to remember your roots; give another copy to a young whippersnapper who’s never used prepackaged sour mix and deserves to understand why.

For the Lovable Dingus in Your Life: “Cocktails for Ding Dongs” by Dustin Drankiewicz

Why so serious, cocktail books? In a time of leather-bound tomes espousing complex recipes and in-depth treatises on single spirits, it’s refreshing to see one take a lighter approach. With its doodle-esque line drawings and goofy title, “Cocktails for Ding Dongs” may look and sound like pure whimsy. But with know-how from Chicago bartender Dustin Drankiewicz, the book is actually packed with practical insight and solid recipes for classics, drinks resurrected from the “tini days,” and boozy drinks with aged spirits, all supplemented with hilarious illustrations. (Adjacent to the Lemon Drop recipe, two organic lemons watch from a farmstand as a third lemon jauntily struts by. “He’s just cocky because he’s going to The Aviary,” says one.)

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10 Curative Cocktails

Favorite tipples from the book, Apothecary Cocktails

Tipsy tinctures

Give your merry-making a healthy makeover with these 10 healing drinks from Apothecary Cocktails: Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today. From a buttery hot toddy to a gin-and-basil tonic, these curative drinks have roots in the era when pharmacy-mixed potions were prescriptions for what ailed you.

Warren Bobrow is a mixologist and creator of the Cocktail Whisperer.

 The Deep Healer

The Deep Healer

Chiles may set your heart racing and make you break out in a sweat, but eating them should leave you feeling cleansed and purified in both body and soul. Historically, pharmacies may have concocted products combining chile peppers with magnesium. When these ingredients were combined with grain alcohol and used either as an external salve or an internal elixir, they offered sufferers relief from painful ailments, such as lower back pain, muscle cramps, and fibromyalgia. Today, a chili-laden cocktail is a great way to relieve headaches caused by overindulgence.

Like the classic Bloody Mary, its tomato base is jam-packed with the antioxidant lycopene, but the addition of onions, chiles, and leafy magnesium-rich green vegetables make this cocktail super-healthy, closer to a salad in a glass. A Deep Healer with a protein-packed brunch, such as a veggie omelet, will fix that pesky hangover in no time.

Serves 2

1 c (250 g) tomato purée
½ c (125 g) onion purée
¼ c (65 g) hot chile paste
1 oz (28 g) spinach, kale, or other dark leafy green
5 oz (150 ml) vodka

1. ADD all ingredients to a blender, and blend on regular speed until thoroughly combined.
2. SERVE over ice cubes in two tall glasses, and wait for the pain to evaporate.

Chartreuse Curative

 
Chartreuse Curative

Saffron has been used in Ayurvedic medicine and Asian and Mediterranean cooking for thousands of years. Derived from the crocus flower, this precious spice has been praised for its healing qualities: It’s reputed to be an antiseptic, antidepressant, antioxidant, digestive aid, and anti-convulsion restorative. And it’s been used in the production of herbal liqueurs like Chartreuse, something French imbibers enjoy as an after-dinner drink. Of course, saffron is astronomically expensive, but never fear: As with most good things, a little goes a long way.

This mood-lifting prescriptive combines top-quality Chartreuse with vermouth and egg white for a colorful, frothy little cocktail that’ll brighten up even the greyest day. Top it off with a thread or two of saffron as a nod to Chartreuse’s luscious color.

Serves 1

3 oz (90 ml) Chartreuse VEP
1 oz (30 ml) dry vermouth
1 egg white
2 to 3 saffron threads
Ice

1. ADD the Chartreuse, vermouth, and egg white to a Boston Shaker; then fill the shaker three- quarters full with ice.
2. SHAKE vigorously for 20 seconds until frothy. Strain the mixture into a coupé glass, and garnish with the saffron. Then sit back and watch sinking spirits rise.

 
Cold Cure #1001

While you may not be able to actually cure a cold, it’s certainly possible to relieve its symptoms. Peppermint has analgesic qualities, which means it’s known to ease cold-related pain like headaches. Peppermint infusions can also relieve ailments of the stomach, such as nausea, indigestion, and seasickness. It’s also used in Bénédictine, one of the main ingredients in this insomnia-banishing drink. Be sure to crown your Cold Cure #1001 with Jamaican bitters, which are said to contain ingredients widely used in folk healing, such as allspice, ginger, and black pepper. Breathe deeply before taking a sip of this curative: If that pesky cold makes breathing feel like snorkeling with a drinking straw, a few whiffs of these aromas will alleviate congestion and speed snoozing.

Serves 2

12-oz (355 ml) pot of hot peppermint tea
5 to 6 oz (150 to 175 ml) Bénédictine
3 to 4 oz (90 to 120 ml) sweet vermouth
10 drops Jamaican bitters

1. PREPARE the pot of peppermint tea; then remove the teabags.
2. PREHEAT two large mugs by filling them with boiling water; discard the water after a few seconds.
3. ADD the Bénédictine, followed by the vermouth, to the pot. Mix gently, and let the mixture sit for a few minutes.
4. ADD the bitters, pour into the mugs, and serve immediately. Inhale, soothing those grumpy sinuses.

Hot Buttered Rum: The Sailor’s Cure-All

The hot toddy cocktails we know and love today have their roots in the days of yore, when apothecaries might have prescribed them for relief against the aches and pains the Siberian-strength cold weather brings on. Hot toddies are cocktails in which hot or boiling water is added to spirits and other ingredients, and many of these tasty, warming tipples were created to ease cold and flu symptoms. Ships’ doctors may have delivered doses of this classic hot buttered rum to sailors to relieve aching bones and flagging spirits. Four magic ingredients—hot tea, sugar, butter, and rum—shore up every sailor who’s ever headed face-first into a full gale. Today, this curative is a treat that goes down smoothly after a long day of skiing, hiking, or just sitting by the fire.

Serves 2

Hot black tea
6 oz (175 ml) rum
Dark brown sugar to taste
2 tsp butter (9 g or about 2 acorn-sized lumps)
Freshly grated nutmeg

1. BREW a pot of strong black tea. While the tea is steeping, preheat mugs by filling them with boiling water; discard the water after a few seconds.
2. ADD 3 oz (90 ml) of rum to each mug. Fill each mug with tea and mix gently.
3. SWEETEN to taste with dark brown sugar. Add an acorn-sized lump of butter to each mug, and dust each drink with fresh nutmeg. Anchors aweigh!

Green Tea Tonic

Green Tea Tonic

Genever, the botanical gin that hails from Holland and Belgium, has been used as a curative for more than 500 years, and it’s packed with healing ingredients like nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander, angelica, thistle, sweet orange peel, and grains of paradise. It’s a natural match for citrus juices, like oranges and lemon—although in the early days of the apothecaries, citrus fruits were so exotic that you’d rarely catch a glimpse of them outside of the tropics. Nonetheless, pharmacists may have prescribed a combination of fruits, spices, and grain-based spirits as a speedy antidote to pain. This warm tonic unites citrus, fresh ginger, green tea, and mineral-rich Brazil nuts, which are meant to reduce inflammation and relieve pain, into a gently warming prescription that eases all sorts of aches.

Serves 1

3 oz (90 ml) genever
1 oz (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 oz (30 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp (15 g) powdered Brazil nuts
Warm green tea

COMBINE all ingredients in a small saucepan and warm over low heat until the ginger releases its perfume (about 10 minutes). Pour into teacups and serve.

Herbal Sleep Punch

Herbal Sleep Punch

When it comes to curatives that enhance restful sleep, hot drinks aren’t the only answer. A punch made from herbal teas and botanical gin can relieve sleeplessness, even when it feels as if nothing could bring you closer to the Land of Nod. This cocktail combines infusions of herbs known to relax the sleep-deprived, and traditional apothecaries would have been well-versed in their benefits. Chamomile, an anti-inflammatory, has been used as an antidote to anxiety for centuries, while lavender is said to gently ease irritating sleep disturbances. Fennel helps to keep digestion on track. A dose of botanical gin and lime juice bind the infusions together into a gentle tipple that will help turn off the lights for even the most dedicated insomniac.

Serves 1

1 tea bag each chamomile tea, lavender tea, and fennel tea
Juice of 1 lime
Honey simple syrup (1 c boiling water + 1 c honey, mixed and dissolved), to taste
3 oz (90 ml) botanical gin
Ice

1. INFUSE the teabags in 5 oz (150 ml) hot water for at least an hour and let cool.
2. PACK a tall glass with ice. Pour the tea over the ice; add the lime juice, and sweeten to taste with the honey simple syrup.
3. ADD the gin, and mix gently. G’night!

Fernet Branca with English Breakfast Tea

Fernet Branca was invented in nineteenth-century Italy to ease maladies of the belly, and it’s certainly retained its marketing mystique even a century and a half later. Fernet is easy to quaff on its own or mixed with cola—but it’s just as good served steaming hot. In the Caribbean, it’s often paired with English breakfast tea and honey, a combination that’s said to relieve stomachaches of all sorts. Plus, as any apothecary of auld lang syne would have agreed, both warm liquids and honey can aid digestion.

Nota bene: While it calls for English breakfast tea, I don’t recommend trying this curative for breakfast. You’ve been warned.

Serves 2

3 oz (90 ml) Fernet Branca
Pot of strong English breakfast tea (about 2 c, or 475 ml)
2 Tbsp (40 g) raw honey

1. PREHEAT two mugs by filling them with boiling water; discard the water after a few seconds.
2. ADD 1½ oz (45 ml) of Fernet Branca to each mug. Fill the mugs with tea, and stir 1 Tbsp of honey into each mug. Sip slowly, and let the healing begin.

Dr. Livesey’s Cocktail

Combining ginger—said to be an effective cure for a variety of ailments, including headaches, motion sickness, fatigue, and pregnancy-related nausea—with hot punches or beer is a classic way to use the root as a curative, as sailors of yesteryear would have known. Named after the honorable doctor in Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic, Treasure Island, this cocktail matches ginger beer with its natural partner, rum, into a tipple that rouses the mood and washes the doldrums away.

Serves 1

3 oz (90 ml) dark rum
4 oz (120 ml) ginger beer (non-alcoholic)
Lime wedge for garnish
Ice

1. FILL a Collins glass with ice cubes. Pour the ginger beer over the ice; then float the dark rum on top.
2. GARNISH with a lime wedge to keep scurvy at bay. Drink slowly, and let good cheer fill your sails.

Mead Refresher

Everyone knows that royal jelly, which is produced by worker bees and fed to their hive-mates, is an important curative in health preparations. But raw (unprocessed) honey is also deeply curative, and what’s more, the distillation of spirits using raw honey is an ancient, well-regarded technique. Honey has been used medicinally at least since ancient Egyptian civilization, and beverages produced from honey, such as mead, have been enjoyed since time immemorial. Raw honey may possess antibacterial qualities and is said to promote weight loss, reduce cholesterol, and relieve symptoms of intestinal disorders. This bubbly cocktail combines sweet mead with tart, refreshing lemonade and a dash of fizzy water into a prescriptive that is sure to cheer and heal at the same time.

Serves 4

6 oz (175 ml) mead
6 oz (175 ml) fresh lemonade
4 dashes of aromatic bitters (any kind)
4 oz (120 ml) seltzer water

1. COMBINE the mead, lemonade, and bitters in a mixing glass or pitcher.
2. STIR to combine, and pour into four short glasses.
3. TOP each glass with about 1 oz (30 ml) of seltzer water, sip, and start feeling like the bee’s knees.

Thai Basil Fizz

Basil, with its bracing, peppery taste, isn’t just good for pesto. It was said to mitigate the symptoms of malaria and was made into a liniment to soothe sunburns. Basil was also used as a nerve tonic against stress and anxiety, and it is even said to promote longevity. One variety of the herb, called holy basil or Thai basil, is used as an ingredient alongside other green herbs in both absinthe and green Chartreuse, due to its antiseptic and antibacterial qualities. Thai basil can be very effective when it comes to healing a sour stomach: Try a Thai Basil Fizz if you spent last night indulging in spicy food washed down by one too many cocktails.

Serves 2

1 sprig basil, finely chopped
2 oz (60 ml) botanical gin
¼ oz (7 ml) absinthe
3 to 4 shakes of Peychaud’s bitters
2 to 3 oz (60 to 90 ml) ginger beer
Lemon zest twist
Ice

1. TOSS the chopped basil into a Boston shaker. (Be sure to lean over the shaker for a restorative whiff of its crisp, spicy scent!)
2. ADD the gin and absinthe, and fill the shaker three-quarters full of ice.
3. SPRINKLE the bitters into the mix, then shake for 20 seconds, strain into a coupé glass, and top with the ginger beer.
4. GARNISH with the lemon zest twist. The heady combination of basil, ginger, and lemon is sure to brush the cobwebs away

All the Cocktails and Spirits Books Published in 2016 for Reading or Gifting

I am honored to be included with these wonderful authors.

Whiskey Books

Bourbon: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of an American Whiskey by Fred Minnick

More Kentucky Bourbon Cocktails by Joy Perrine and Susan Reigler

The Big Man of Jim Beam: Booker Noe And the Number-One Bourbon In the World by Jim Kokoris

Whisky Japan: The Essential Guide to the World’s Most Exotic Whisky by Dominic Roskrow

Iconic Whisky: Tasting Notes & Flavour Charts for 1,500 of the World’s Best Whiskies by Cyrille Mald and Alexandre Vingtier

Whiskey: A Spirited Story with 75 Classic and Original Cocktails by Michael Dietsch

The Manhattan: The Story of the First Modern Cocktail with Recipes by Philip Greene

Miscellany 

Made of Iceland: A Drink & Draw Book  by Reyka Vodka, Snorri Sturluson

Inside The Bottle: People, Brands, and Stories  by Arthur Shapiro

The Craft Cocktail Coloring Book by Prof Johnny Plastini

Drinking with Republicans and Drinking with Democrats by Mark Will-Weber

The Moonshine Wars by Daniel Micko

Drinks: A User’s Guide by Adam McDowell

Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times (Second Edition) by Michael Dietsch

A Proper Drink: The Untold Story of How a Band of Bartenders Saved the Civilized Drinking World by Robert Simonson

Colonial Spirits: A Toast to Our Drunken History by Steven Grasse

DIY Bitters: Reviving the Forgotten Flavor – A Guide to Making Your Own Bitters for Bartenders, Cocktail Enthusiasts, Herbalists, and More by Jovial King and Guido Mase

Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas by Brad Thomas Parsons

Drink Like A Grown-Up by The League of Extraordinary Drinkers

The Coming of Southern Prohibition: The Dispensary System and the Battle over Liquor in South Carolina, 1907-1915 by Michael Lewis

American Wino: A Tale of Reds, Whites, and One Man’s Blues by Dan Dunn

Distilled Stories: California Artisans Behind the Spirits by Capra Press

Building Bacardi: Architecture, Art & Identity by Allan T. Shulman

Craft Spirits by Eric Grossman

Cocktail Books, General

Cocktails for Ding Dongs by Dustin Drankiewicz (Author), Alexandra Ensign (Illustrator)

Zen and Tonic: Savory and Fresh Cocktails for the Enlightened Drinker by Jules Aron

Pretty Fly For a Mai Tai: Cocktails with rock ‘n’ roll spirit

Cocktails for Drinkers: Not-Even-Remotely-Artisanal, Three-Ingredient-or-Less Cocktails that Get to the Point  by Jennifer McCartney

Aperitivo: The Cocktail Culture of Italy by Marisa Huff

The Complete Cocktail Manual: 285 Tips, Tricks, and Recipes by Lou Bustamante and the United States Bartenders’ Guild

Shake. Stir. Sip.: More than 50 Effortless Cocktails Made in Equal Parts by Kara Newman

101 Cocktails to Try Before you Die  by Francois Monti

Drink Like a Man: The Only Cocktail Guide Anyone Really Needs by Ross McCammon and David Wondrich

The New Cocktail Hour: The Essential Guide to Hand-Crafted Cocktails by Andre Darlington and Tenaya Darlington

Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau

Eat Your Drink: Culinary Cocktails by Matthew Biancaniello

Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks and Buzz-Worthy Libations by Warren Bobrow

Tiki with a Twist: 75 Cool, Fresh, and Wild Tropical Cocktails by Lynn Calvo and James O. Fraioli

Cocktail Books from Bars or Places

The Canon Cocktail Book: Recipes from the Award-Winning Bar by Jamie Boudreau  and James O. Fraioli

Regarding Cocktails by Sasha Petraske and Georgette Moger-Petraske

Brooklyn Spirits: Craft Distilling and Cocktails from the World’s Hippest Borough By Peter Thomas Fornatale and Chris Wertz

Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki by Martin Cate and Rebecca Cate

Cuban Cocktails: Over 50 mojitos, daiquiris and other refreshers from Havana

Brooklyn Bar Bites: Great Dishes and Cocktails from New York’s Food Mecca by Barbara Scott-Goodman

The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book by Frank Caiafa

Lift Your Spirits: A Celebratory History of Cocktail Culture in New Orleans by Elizabeth M. Williams and Chris McMillian

Science!

Shots of Knowledge: The Science of Whiskey by Rob Arnold and Eric Simanek

Distilled Knowledge: The Science Behind Drinking’s Greatest Myths, Legends, and Unanswered Questions  by Brian D Hoefling

Classic Cocktail Book Reprints

THE HOME BARTENDER’S GUIDE AND SONG BOOK {By Charlie Roe and Jim Schwenck}

AMERICAN BAR {By Frank P. Newman}

LOUIS’ MIXED DRINKS {By Louis Muckenstrum}

Beer (A few beer books slip through the cracks and come to me)

The United States of Beer: A Freewheeling History of the All-American Drink by Dane Huckelbridge

The Beer Geek Handbook: Living a Life Ruled by Beer by Patrick Dawson

 

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A SIMPLE TYROL FIZZ

A SIMPLE TYROL FIZZ

by Warren Bobrow

Ingredients:
50ml Stroh Rum
100 ml broiled grapefruit juice (grapefruit and Angostura Bitters-broiled until caramelized, cooled then juiced)
25 ml Demerara Sugar Simple Syrup
25 ml Seltzer water
5-6 drops Angostura Bitters

Preparation:
To a Boston Shaker filled 3/4 with ice add the Stroh Rum
Add the broiled grapefruit juice
Add the Demerara Sugar Simple Syrup
Cap and shake hard for 20 seconds
Strain into 2 coupe glasses
top with a splash of seltzer and dot with Angostura Bitters

Cheers!

ACROSS COLLINS AVENUE RUMBA COCKTAIL

ACROSS COLLINS AVENUE RUMBA COCKTAIL

by Warren Bobrow

Ingredients:
1.5 oz. Stroh 160
2 oz. Saffron Simple Syrup
– combine 5 or 6 pistils from saffron into a small bottle of simple syrup. Let sit overnight in fridge covered.
1 oz. each: lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit (all freshly squeezed)
3-4 drops Thai Bitters from Bitter End Bitters

Preparation:
Add all the ingredients except for the bitters to a Boston Shaker filled 3/4 with ice
Shake hard for 10-15 seconds
Strain into coupe glasses and dot with the Thai Bitters.
Serve!

Orange Blossom Special

Orange Blossom Special

Ingredients
1  oz. Stroh 80 or Jagertree
½ oz. Monin Lemon Syrup
½ oz. Monin Orange Syrup
1  oz. Monin Coconut

Preparation
To a Shaker, fill ¾ with ice
Add all ingredients
Shake hard for 10 seconds
Strain into shot glasses and serve!