Archive for the ‘Cocktail Recipes’ Category


The Noblers Know Cocktails: Part 2

May 23, 2013


When the Noblers gather, it tends to be for a real purpose. And last night’s Gathering was no different. Because while we always share in the enjoyment of good drinking, sometimes you have to get back to the basics. The basics of delicious cocktails.

As I’ve said before, everyone should have an arsenal of drinks to pull from. Different cocktails work for different reasons, but knowing you have a few gold standards to draw upon is a wonderful feeling. And last night I think we came up with a new one to add to the list in the Ed Wood (see below for the recipe).

With a few basil juleps, some fantastic Old Fashioneds (with my new batch of bitters), and a couple of Manhattan’s rounding out the cocktail experience, I think it’s safe to say it was another successful Gathering. Thanks again to Mark and Kelly for hosting!

The Ed Wood

3 oz Gin (I used Bluecoat)

1 oz fresh lime juice

1.5 oz rosemary simple syrup (recipe below)

Ed Wood loved himself a few gimlets, and I think he’d love the woody addition of the rosemary. Mix all three ingredients and pour over ice. Garnish with a rosemary skewer.

Rosemary Simple Syrup

2 cups water

1.5 cups sugar

Half a lemon

3 bunches of rosemary skewers

Bring the water and sugar to a boil. Add the rosemary and lemon juice and lower heat to a simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool. Strain the rosemary and keep refrigerated.


The Grapefruit Margarita

May 20, 2013


Last Friday I posted about the appeal of the cocktail. And for real, I had full intentions of working on a few of my new ideas this weekend including some seriously spiced up spritzers, but the pull from one of my favorite and most simple drinks won the day. I figured I’d simply hold off on the next post thinking you’d be bored with a repeat and the basic, but then again, wasn’t I just the person who was touting simplicity?

The Grapefruit Margarita is one of the most refreshing cocktails out there. It takes the bright and delicious standard and adds some serious freshness and bracing acidity. It’s great for a weekend brunch or a summer BBQ and is surprisingly impressive to share with your friends and family. You see, we all claim to love margaritas, but the majority of us drink terrible versions of the margarita the majority of the time. The tequila and orange liqueur should be highlighted with the citrus and the sweetness should be balanced, dare I say subtle. No sugar bombs please!

So if you are still searching for your cocktail, the one that you can make your own, give this sucker a shot and try not to drink 4000 of them…

The Grapefruit Margarita

3 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice (or high quality bottled stuff, not from concentrate)

2 oz Tequila (I often lean on a silver tequila here but a reposado will work just as well)

1 oz Orange Liqueur (triple sec can work but if you haven’t tried some of the nicer options out there, I strongly suggest you do)

Lime Wedge for Garnish

Mix all of the above ingredients and pour over a rocks glass full of crushed ice. Yes, it’s that simple.


The Cocktail Classics

May 17, 2013

For those of you in New York and for those who have made the trip, tonight marks the opening of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. The Classic is a series of events, some educational, some experiential that celebrate the world of spirits and the enthusiasts that keep it interesting. Tickets have been on sale for many of the events for some time and most sold out pretty darn quickly but there may be a few events still open so check it out here…

But in honor of the classic, I thought I’d put together a little post about the cocktail. You know, the notion of the cocktail. Because when well executed the cocktail represents a confidence and an intrigue that no other drink can encompass. And most importantly, you can make your cocktail your own. Maybe you tweak a recipe, maybe you choose something historical or cutting-edge, but no matter what, having “your’ cocktail is a damn good feeling.

What perfect timing then, that the folks over at Serious Drinks put together this list of 25 classic cocktails to get us all started. I’ll tell you, it’s a great list with a lot of great drinks; but encourage you to make these your own. Choose your favorite spirit and brand, choose your favorite garnish, and be sure to recognize the fun in choosing. Next week the Noblers are gathering for a little cocktail creation of our own and I bet we’ll have a few more options to report back on. So enjoy the weekend, at the Classic or not, and most importantly, enjoy a cocktail!


Last Minute Derby Cocktail: Go Overanalyze!

May 4, 2013


Deep in derby day prep and I’ve got a last minute tip to share. Maybe you are worried some of your guests won’t like the basil julep you’ve perfected over the last 24 hours. Well don’t worry, the fix is simple. Kick them out of your house…

Okay just kidding. But for one of the world’s easiest cocktail recipes, perfect for summer days and derby victories, look no further than a few simple ingredients to make this green tea lemonade; a perfect companion for just about any liquor in your collection.

Just a few hours to go…I’ll be cheering for Overanalyze! So actually, that’s probably a better tip. Bet on any other horse, because I haven’t won anything since a $10 scratch-off at the age of 12. Good luck and Happy Derby!

The Overanalyze

2 oz vodka, gin, or bourbon (your choice)

5 oz green tea lemonade (recipe below)

Splash of seltzer

Lemon and cucumber to garnish

Mix all of the ingredients over ice and enjoy. Drink slow because these are damn drinkable.

Green Tea Lemonade

1 Liter of Boiling Water

3 tea bags of green tea

2 liters of lemonade (get something on the natural side, not too sweet otherwise this will be gross, or better yet make your own)

1 cucumber (sliced)

1 lemon (sliced)

Steep the tea bags in the liter of boiling water and let cool. Pour the tea and lemonade into a pitcher and fill with the slices of cucumber and lemon. Keep chilled until serving.


Atsby Vermouth – Redefining a Classic

April 23, 2013


It’s no wonder that when I first reached out to Adam Ford of Atsby Vermouth to set up a tasting for the Noblers, he offered to try to coordinate with the folks at Tuthilltown. After getting to meet Adam in person and try his two insanely delicious vermouths on Saturday, it’s clear he shares the passion and knowledge that make Tuthilltown and the spirit resurgence so exciting. 

Now you might be wondering, “Vermouth? Who the hell drinks that stuff?”. And if so you are not alone. In fact, up until recently, I myself had no real concept or appreciation for the history of this fortified wine and how through complacency and poor utilization, vermouth as a product had lost its way. You see, most of us know the stuff as that dusty bottle in our parents liquor cabinets used inconsistently and on a seriously limited basis. In fact, most of my experience with vermouth came from the bar at the French restaurant I worked at where vermouth was used to “flavor the glass” by pouring in and pouring out before a heavy dose of vodka or gin finished the job. Pair this with the fact that most folks don’t realize that vermouth, being the wine based spirit it is, goes bad, and goes bad a lot quicker than you’d think, and you’ve got yourself a pretty solid explanation for the lack of vermouth appreciation. So yes, if you or your parents have a bottle of 20-year-old open vermouth, it’s probably time to throw the crap out.

In our tasting with Adam, he mentioned noticing many of these same observations. But after experiencing the peak of vermouth in his travels overseas, he came back with a plan to change these notions. Honoring the historical production of infusing botanicals into a mix of wine, brandy, and sweetener but upping the ante by starting with high-end nuanced products instead of the traditional bland wines and neutral spirits, Adam has created two modern-day vermouths, utilizing New York based sourcing to re-invigorate and create recognition for a truly delicious product category.

Atsby now has two vermouths on the market in its Amberthorn and Armadillo Cake varietals. Vermouths often come as “dry” or “sweet” but Adam took a more middle ground approach to make two delicious and versatile offerings. By leaning closer to the middle of “dry” and “sweet” for each of his products, the real distinction comes in the use of the many botanicals like French lavender in the Amberthorn and cardamom and shitake mushrooms in the Armadillo cake. Both were delicious but my preference for the Armadillo Cake probably stems from my preference for whiskey. The Armadillo Cake and Tuthilltown’s Hudson Manhattan Rye are a match made in heaven.

I was excited to start experimenting with Atsby Vermouth in my own cocktail creation but last night, I decided to start with a classic. The Manhattan is by far one of the most famous whiskey based cocktails out there and while it might be simple in execution, the utilization of specific products is where the flavors can really take off. So being a bit inspired by Adam’s passion, I decided to use my own homemade spirits to make my version of the perfect Manhattan. Make sure you pick up a bottle of Atsby Vermouth and enjoy this delicious cocktail!

The Great Atsby

2.5 oz Bourbon or Rye (I used my own, but choose your favorite)

1.5 oz Atsby Armadillo Cake Vermouth

4 drops of Orange Bitters (I used my own here, but choose your favorite)

Lemon rind for garnish

Stir the bourbon, vermouth, and bitters in a whiskey glass. Add one large ice cube and garnish with the lemon rind. The classic recipes call for a maraschino cherry and an orange wedge but I prefer my drink a bit less fruity. Enjoy!


It’s Spring, Ignore the Crappy Weather

April 12, 2013


We had a glimpse of spring earlier this week so despite the crappy weather outside, I’m rolling with sunny evenings filled with refreshing cocktails for now on. I don’t care if it’s pouring outside either, it’s outdoor drinking season in my mind, so who’s with me?

So with the season swapping agreed upon, I’m eying up a few new purchases to refresh our liquor collection a bit. And I’m asking you all for some help. I’ve got room for one more bottle (yes, we have a seriously intense liquor collection) so I’m leaving it up to you all to decide what I buy. Of course, with that comes a series of spring related cocktail recipes coming soon so it’s like choose your own adventure…and who doesn’t love a little choose your own adventure.

Oh, and you need another reason to spend that little extra clicking energy to cast your vote. If you get in on the action, you are automatically qualified for the next Nobler giveaway contest starting next week with a bottle of my latest batch of bitters as the winner’s prize! Happy Spring everyone!


A Passover Cocktail: Charoset and Bourbon

March 25, 2013


It’s been a busy few weeks as you could probably tell which means I’ve been slacking in the cocktail department recently. Sure enough, all I needed was a weekend out in Sea Cliff with some Cow Thieves Brewing and some family time to get me back in the game. We had a bit of an alternative Passover dinner this year. And by Passover dinner, I mean we ate matzo ball soup and brisket and drank a lot of wine 24 hours before Passover started. So yeah, I like our version much better…

One of the mainstays of a traditional Passover Sedar is charoset, a sweet fruit and nut “chutney” meant to symbolize the mortar used by the Israelites enslaved in Ancient Egypt (I know, pretty heavy stuff for a Monday). It’s actually a pretty simple yet often variable mix of dried fruit, apples, cinnamon, nuts, and red wine and while I’ve never been charoset’s biggest fan, it was the perfect canvas for my first ever Passover inspired cocktail. I swapped out the wine for bourbon because well, I love bourbon. And honestly, you don’t need to be taking part in Passover festivities to enjoy this guy. It’s really delicious and a great balance of sweetness and acidity. Plus you end up with delicious sugary walnuts for snacking in the progress. And it’s strong, so whatever you do, don’t leave this out for Elijah as he might not make it to the next home.

One small issue: I’m pretty sure you aren’t supposed to drink bourbon on passover so, um, yeah….not sure how to help you with that one. Early afternoon cocktail before the holiday starts?

Charoset and Bourbon

3 oz bourbon (your choice)

3 (1/4 inch) slices of granny smith apple

1 large lemon wedge

4 tsp of cinnamon walnut syrup (recipe below)

Crushed Ice

In a rocks glass muddle the apple slices with the bourbon. Add the cinnamon walnut syrup and the juice from the lemon wedge and fill with crushed ice. Pour into a pint glass and then back into the rocks glass to serve. Garnish with apple slices and cinnamon stick.

Cinnamon Walnut Syrup

2 cups water

1 cups sugar

3 cinnamon sticks

1/2 cup toasted unsalted walnuts

pinch of salt

In a sauce pan, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Add the remaining ingredients and reduce the heat to med and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and simmer on low for another 10 minutes. Cool before using. Serve the walnuts as snacks along side of the cocktails!





New Cocktail: Gin and Juice

February 25, 2013


Grape is one of the hardest flavors to utilize correctly. Think about all of the awful examples out there. Grape cough syrup tastes like someone designed it to suck. Grape soda, while being sort of delicious, tastes nothing like grapes. And grape jelly…well okay, I kind of love grape jelly. But as I was thinking of new ways to utilize my juicer and dreaming of spring and summer days filled with fresh fruits and veggies, I found myself fixated on this childhood favorite: the red seedless grape.

It turns out, fresh “squeezed” grape juice is wonderful. Not at all cloying like the crap you buy in the grocery store and vibrant in its purple color. I added a bit of lemon to the juice once it was squeezed to preserve that color and balance a bit of the sweetness. But once I paired it with my rosemary simple syrup and some strong proof gin, that’s where some serious deliciousness took place. Lay back, put your mind on your money, and your money on your mind and sip some of my “gin and juice”.

Gin and Juice

1.5 oz strong proof gin (I love Bluecoat)

3 oz fresh squeezed grape juice (with a touch of lemon to preserve color)

1 oz rosemary simple syrup (see recipe below)

splash of seltzer

1 rosemary sprig and three grapes for garnish

In a rocks glass mix the gin, grape juice and rosemary syrup. Fill glass with ice and finish with a splash of seltzer and your rosemary skewered grapes for garnish.

Rosemary Simple Syrup

4 large sprigs of rosemary

1.5 cups water

.5 cups of sugar
Juice of half a lemon

In a sauce pan over medium heat, bring the water, sugar, and lemon juice to a boil. Add the rosemary sprigs and simmer for 10 minutes. Cut the heat and let sit for an additional half hour before removing the rosemary sprigs. Cool before using. This syrup is a bit less sweet than I would normally make as the grape juice carries the sugar for the drink.


New Cocktail Recipe: # 89

January 29, 2013


I was dreaming of summer yesterday. Despite the wintry mix and continued cold, I was drifting off to the months of cook-outs and outdoor drinking. When it comes to cooking, there may not be a good substitute for summer produce in January, but this seared skirt steak with baked black beans and quick pickled cucumbers certainly hit the seasonal nail on the head. But it’s this lemongrass, ginger, and brown sugar simple syrup that was really screaming summer, and the #89 is now officially my  favorite cocktail of Summer 2013.

Bold statement, huh? Yeah I know it’s not even February but try this sucker and then let me know what you think. It’s so damn good! As for the name? Well, nothing summarizes my love for summer cookouts more than our weekends in Sea Cliff and there’s no shortage of good drinking at 89…

# 89:

3 oz bourbon (I used Jefferson’s)

2 oz lemongrass, ginger, and brown sugar syrup (recipe below)

1 oz fresh lemon juice

sliced lemons and ginger for garnish

In a quality whiskey glass, mix all of the ingredients together and top with ice. Garnish with the sliced ginger and a lemon wedge and then drink a million of these.

Lemongrass, Ginger, and Brown Sugar Syrup:

2 cups water

1 cup brown sugar

3 lemongrass stalks

1 medium “knob” of ginger

With the back of your knife, “smack” the lemongrass stalks to help release flavor and oil. Slice them into large chunks. Slice the ginger knob into thin slices. Bring all four ingredients to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes on med/low heat. Remove from heat and let sit for an hour. Strain and keep refrigerated until use. This syrup could be used for so much. Over Ice Cream or in Seltzer if you aren’t drinking. Otherwise, it will work with so many types of liquor. Experiment and enjoy!


The Thai Basil Old Fashioned

January 25, 2013


From a cook’s perspective there are a few ingredients that you discover that change the game of culinary creation. No matter what your skill level, these ingredients tend to offer some reliable “pop” that jazzes up your frozen pizza or makes your 5 course tasting menu stand out among the rest. For me, thai basil is one of these ingredients.

We all know and love the sweet and fragrant basil so often paired with fresh mozz and summer tomatoes but thai basil for those who haven’t used it, has an intensity and complexity that I absolutely love. Less sweet and with almost a bit of anise I use the stuff whenever I can find it. And now I’m using it in cocktails.

Many of the cocktail recipes I’ve posted on the Nobler recently have highlighted the use of a variety of liquors: cacacha, rum, and gin for example. But I always find my way back to my bourbon and this thai basil old fashioned doesn’t disappoint. Because of the fragrance of the thai basil, I decided not to go with a simple syrup here and use the muddled stems and leaves to create this delicious concoction. It’ll warm you up in this winter cold.

Thai Basil Old Fashioned

4-6 leaves of thai basil with stems

1 lemon wedge

2 sugar cube

3 oz bourbon

2 drops of orange bitters

Muddle the juice from the lemon wedge with the thai basil and sugar cubes until the sugar is well dissolved. Add the bourbon and the drops of bitters. Drop in an ice cube or two (or an ice sphere if you have it) and sip and enjoy.


%d bloggers like this: