Archive for the ‘vodka’ Category


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.


Aged Vodka?

March 14, 2013

First taste: Absolut Amber, barrel aged vodka.  @absolutvodka_us (at Tomarps Gårdshotell)

I go away for 2 and 1/2 days and the whole world turns upside down! It seems Absolut is hoping to cash in on the growing preference for aged spirits (specifically bourbons, ryes, and other whiskeys) and are set to start selling their own version of brown liquor, in Absolut Amber. A little digging (although there isn’t much info out yet) suggests that this aged vodka will have seen a variety of wood (Swedish / American / Bourbon) barrels before being bottled at a pretty high 94 proof. One comment that scares me a bit is the mention of the familiar “vodka finish”.

For those of you who came to the Night Cap, you can already start to imagine how the wood will impart some interesting flavors on the alcohol, but to me, at least in my experience, so much of the final product in aging depends on what you are putting in. A high quality vodka has very little complexity, so I wonder how much nuance the Amber will actually have. But of course once I find it, I plan on trying it. More details to come!

What about you? Have any of you heard anything about Absolut’s Amber?

Just a quick side note of advice. When googling for further info, make sure you don’t end up searching for Absolutely Amber. She’s got a lot more content online, but it doesn’t exactly pertain to aged spirits…if you know what I mean…


Gluten Free?

September 20, 2012

This weekend, Cow Thieves Brewery, is back at it again, this time working on our very first wheat beer batches. We’ve got a few interesting flavor profiles we will experiment with (Coriander / Bitter Orange and Lemongrass / Grapefruit), but one thing is for sure, our wheat free friends will have to hold off until the next round of brewing. Sorry Wheat Free Sarah…

But this got me thinking. I’ve been hearing more and more about gluten-free beers that are coming into the market place to capture up the ever-growing market of gluten avoiding beer lovers. If you aren’t familiar with the gluten-free on-goings these days, the majority of the awareness has come from the more readily diagnosed Celiac disease. Celiac disease is essentially an auto-immune response to certain peptides (found in gluten) that has some pretty nasty symptoms. The only real remedy is to completely avoid gluten.  An important distinction however, is that Celiac Disease and a wheat allergy are not interchangeable. So…there are some folks out there that avoid wheat, but eat other sources of gluten without problem.

So with my handy-dandy chemistry background in tow, I had always assumed that those that did suffer from Celiac, should skip the beer and go straight to liquor. And after a little double checking, confirmed my suspicion that all distilled products are indeed gluten-free. That in fact, the distillation process leaves behind those nasty proteins causing all the problems. But then I went back to my Google search and found a few interesting rebuttals. There are quite a few folks who claim to have had not so great reactions to wheat based distillates like many vodkas on the market. So maybe this isn’t so clear after all…

One important comment I read was essentially “why risk it?”. With so many alternative choices out there producing non-wheat based vodkas for example, Chopin from potatoes and Ciroc from Grapes, what’s the point in drinking the others.  But that still limits you at weddings, happy hours, dinner parties, and I’m not so sure I’m convinced one way or the other. So I’m leaving it up to you Gluten-Free readers. What do you do when choosing liquor? Have you ever had a bad reaction to a wheat based vodka?


Clams and Plums

August 13, 2012

If you ever hear someone utter the words “there is no such thing as a sure thing”, I give you permission to kindly tell that person he or she is a moron. Because without fail, our annual weekend trip to Southampton ends up being the most ridiculous, most enjoyable, and most satisfying weekend of my year. And that my friends, is a sure thing.

But without going into much unnecessary detail about BMXing off of the dock (after all this isn’t an adventure sport blog) or the fresh caught seafood gumbo whipped up by the Queen of Creole herself (you can read her blog over here), there is one item you should take away from our weekend immediately: run to your nearest farmers market/grocery store and get soaking…

Much like the peaches soaking in gin from a few weekends ago, I knew that we needed something crisp and refreshing to enjoy with our bounty of clams. And while the Cow Thieves Saisons were flowing plenty, it’s nice to have something a bit more simple to break up all the beer drinking. These plums were some of the freshest I’ve seen this summer and when it comes to liquor infusions, fresh and ripe is the key. Unlike the peaches that took a good week or so to really soak in the flavor, this vodka seemed to latch on to not only the plum flavor, but the color as well. After only a few hours we were sipping on this straight, with a little ice, a wedge of lemon and a heck of a lot of laughs!

The beauty of this basic technique is how many varieties you can make. I used 3 plums for about a quart of vodka but honestly, there’s no real recipe here. Change up the fruit, add some herbs, switch up your liquors and you can already start to see the number of possibilities. As a basic guideline however, don’t go too cheap or too fancy on the booze. A pretty standard liquor will do the trick!


The Honoré Palmer

May 25, 2012

This isn’t the first time you’ve seen me adding in some fresh brewed tea to a cocktail, and that’s for good reason. Particularly in this case, the flavors of the green tea crave a little acid and some sweetness and the ensuing balance is the ultimate refresher.

So here we are, at the official kick off to the summer, Memorial Day Weekend, and you better believe it’s going to be full of drinking. I’ll be down in AC for a fellow Nobler’s bachelor party weekend and I’ll probably need some of the antioxidants from this drink to keep me going (see my packing list above). But regardless of your weekend plans, this green tea cocktail acts as a perfect compliment to the Bertha Palmer. Having a bourbon centric black tea blend to pair with this lighter, sweeter green tea mix will ensure everyone at the party has something to enjoy. Even better, this base recipe is a delicious non-alcoholic homemade “soda” for those that don’t drink (do these people exist?) and, maybe more appropriately, for the kids in the crew. Bertha would have happily served this one to her first son Honoré. See that, I even got all family friendly on you here at the Nobler! Enjoy the weekend!

The Honoré Palmer:

6 oz Green Tea Base

2 oz Lemon or Citrus Vodka

2 oz Seltzer to finish

1 Lime wedge

In a large glass filled with ice add all of the ingredients and serve with a lime wedge for garnish!

Green Tea Base Recipe:

4 Green Tea Bags

32 oz Boiling Water

5 tbsp of Honey

1 Lime

In a mason jar, pour the boiling water over the green tea bags and the honey. Let steep until cool and remove the tea bags. Add the juice of one lime and keep refrigerated for use.


The Bertha Palmer

March 14, 2012

One of my favorite spots to enjoy a bourbon, is the Ninth Ward in the East Village. The New Orleans inspired bar has a ridiculous outdoor patio which I can only imagine will be packed day after day now that spring has sprung. One of their signature cocktails is the Laura Palmer, which is simple and delicious. Sweet tea vodka and lemon juice: you can literally drink a million of these (I think we’ve only ever made it to 4) but please be sure you stand up slowly.

Well I’d like to now introduce you to Bertha. Bertha, born in Louisville, Kentucky, knows that while vodka may get the job done, bourbon is where it’s at. Seriously, I plan on drinking these all spring/summer. Kicking it all off last night, I paired it with some spicy and refreshing fish tacos. So damn good!

The Bertha Palmer

2/3 cup unsweetened tea

1 tbsp honey

Juice of half a lemon

2 oz bourbon

In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice and honey to create your lemon syrup. In a tall glass with ice, add the bourbon, tea, and lemon syrup and stir to combine. Garnish with a lemon and proceed to feel great.


Juice Bar Blends as “The Remedy”

March 9, 2012

Last night, we had the pleasure to bring the Juice Bar Blends to the AFA for Jason Mraz’s Instagram / CanvasPop fan contest gallery show. The winning imagery was showcased via CanvasPop’s amazing transformation and Jason was on site to chat, mingle, and overwhelm a few of his biggest fans. Our mission? Provide some ridiculously delicious social lubricant…

Our two fresh juices were huge hits. We pride ourselves in developing fantastic flavors from fruits and vegetables that will pair fantastically with alcohol. The carrot, ginger, and cardamom is one of my new favorites. The color is wild! And why not work on your eye sight while you get a little tipsy. Acting as it’s compliment (after all we were in an art gallery), the vibrant green “elixir” (as one of our biggest fans has dubbed it), our cucumber cilantro and lime cocktail, continues to be a huge success. I’m always a bit shocked as so many people seem to be turned off from cilantro, but I’m going to have to make some back up of this guy next time. It just flies off the bar!

But I think what I am most proud of, is the connection we are making with our drinkers. In a city where “interesting” or “fancy” too often equates to the number of male models on staff, or the amount of ingredients in your cocktails, or even worse the number of “miniature” food items in your repertoire, we are clearly not emerging from that mold. The dialogue and energy that has surrounded our events is as much a part of our brand, as the drinks we serve. For fuck’s sake, you can’t take yourself that seriously serving food and drink. And I think the reaction has spoken for itself. Thanks to all involved with last night’s event and for the opportunity to connect over some delicious Juice Bar Blends!

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