Summer Drink Diary

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I’ve been obsessed with PUNCH, an “online magazine focused on narrative journalism – both written and visual – about wine, beer and cocktails” (as taken from their website) for a while now and when I read this article I knew I wanted to do something similar here on Distillerista. Having been in or trying to break into the wine and spirits industry for a few years now, I’ve spent a looooot of time either loitering at or working in bars and restaurants. And since visiting popular cocktail bars and making friends with talented bartenders and beverage directors is all part of the “job” when you’re a start up distiller, I enjoy sharing their work! So on that note, I’m taking my beloved PUNCH’s lead and starting a new series, Drink Diaries! From time to time I’ll corral my amateur iPhone snaps and heavily filtered Instagrams and clue you in on what I’ve been sipping lately. I hope you enjoy!

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Weekend Brunch // These lovelies were from a fun weekend brunch at The Patio on Goldfinch in the Mission Hills neighborhood of San Diego. It’s been a while but pretty sure the one on the left was the Germain Champagne (St. Germain, mint and bubbles) and the right was the Brown Derby (Bourbon, grapefruit and honey).

Drink-Diary-Jaynes

Date Night // Thanks to our friend and fellow distiller Michael Skubic for introducing us to the ultra-charming Jayne’s Gastropub! Jayne’s has become our go-to date night spot thanks to their super cute outdoor patio, a gorgeous menu of updated British classics and some really solid cocktails and wines. Sipping on an Old Harbor Southwestern Gin Gimlet (front) of course, and a Pepino Ricardo (cucumber-infused tequila, lime juice, simple syrup and soda).

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Dinner in South Bay // This was probably my favorite cocktail of the summer, retro Manhattan Beach steakhouse Arthur J‘s The Long Goodbye. I hate carrots but am weirdly a huge fan of a carrot-lime-gin combo and this version was spot on. It was basically a gimlet of sorts with Ballast Point’s Old Grove Gin, lime, turmeric, fresh carrot juice and cardamom with a thyme sprig for garnish. So pretty and floral and refreshing. The perfect start to an indulgent meal.

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Drink-Diary-Bracero

Opening Night // As Little Italy residents and frequenters of the Valle de Guadalupe, we’d been counting the days until Baja’s current darling, Chef Javier Plascencia, opened his latest stateside establishment, Bracero, just a couple blocks away. We snagged a rez on opening night and were blown away by the service, decor and (most impressively) the consistency and flawless execution of nearly every dish we ordered. This is unheard of for a new restaurant on opening night, particularly in San Diego (sad but true), so Bracero deserves all the snaps for this one. I couldn’t resist the Agua Chile, made with fresh watermelon, Campari, St. George Spirits Green Chile Vodka and a sweet little watermelon radish on top.

Drink-Diary-Nobu

Post-Padres Snack // We usually stay away from Nobu considering Luke worked there for years, but it was just too tempting when craving a little bite to eat after a Padres game at Petco Park. I fell straight back into my old ways – Champagne 95 please and keep ’em coming (peach schnapps, orange liqueur, pineapple puree and bubbles).

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Drink-Diary-KEX

Kiwi Invasion // We had some of our favorite Kiwi friends in town for a long weekend this past summer and had a very blurry but incredibly fun few days showing them around our favorite spots.  We couldn’t resist taking them to Kettner Exchange‘s rooftop patio and partaking in a few Diego by the Bays (gin, grapefruit, lemon, rhubarb bitters and soda).

Drink-Diary-Puesto

Working Lunch // A particularly successful meeting called for a celebratory two-margarita lunch last month. Puesto at The Headquarters makes some of my favorite and the strawberry one is fruity and tart without being too sweet.

Drink-Diary-Barcon

Barçon Cocktail Co. Launch // I’ve been a MIHO Gastrotruck (San Diego’s coolest food truck) fan ever since they used to park next to the office I interned at in college every Friday! In addition to the famed truck they now have an incredibly successful catering company, The Vetted Table, and have recently launched a cocktail arm as well, Barçon Cocktail Co.! The team behind the parent company, A MIHO Experience, threw a brilliant dim-sum style cocktail hour last month at one of San Diego’s coolest bars, Sycamore Den. Our favorite was the Cracked Cucumber: Vodka, St. Germain, lime, soda and fresh cracked black pepper. We’ve been making them at home on repeat ever since!

 

I hope this Drink Diary was a fun read. Be sure to follow Distillerista on Instagram for more drink-related snaps and please tag YOUR cocktail ‘grams with #Distillerista so I can see what you’re sipping on too! 

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BEE STINGER Cocktail + Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book Review

Bee-Stinger-HeaderWe officially say goodbye to summer tomorrow and I just couldn’t let the season pass without one more calendar-appropriate drink recipe. This one, cleverly named the Bee Stinger, comes from The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book. I was fortunate enough to study under several incredible Kentucky distillers and other local industry professionals during the time I spent in Louisville last year, and one person in particular I loved meeting was Joy Perrine. Joy is the spunky, wildly knowledgeable co-author of The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book and was kind enough to give us a copy. She’s been bartending in Louisville, KY for more than five decades, was named Esquire magazine’s “Bad Girl of Bourbon,” and is an absolute legend in the Kentucky Bourbon world.

I learned so much from Joy beyond just how to make delicious Bourbon cocktails. She graciously clued me in on little things I hadn’t thought of before, i.e. why you should keep your bottle heights under a 11-12 inches so bartenders can easily fit them on their shelves, how you should avoid any hanging tags or neck hangers on your bottles (they only annoy bartenders and bar backs who need to restock quickly) and that you should have a heavy enough bottomed bottle so as not to knock over easily, but not so heavy that bartenders have trouble pouring from a fresh bottle. These small but super useful facts came in handy when picking out glass for our spirits.

Joy’s book is a Bourbon lover’s dream. It contains tons of seasonal Bourbon cocktails that run the entire flavor profile spectrum – sweet, tart, savory, bitter, and everything in between. She’s also a huge believer that cocktail recipe books for the home mixologist shouldn’t call for a ton of fancy or expensive ingredients i.e. hard to find liqueurs, mixers, etc. so if you have a relatively well stocked home bar, chances are you have everything you need to make most of the cocktails in this book (or could very easily find the missing ingredients).

The Bee Stinger caught my eye because it seemed like a simple summer-appropriate application for Bourbon, but also because it’s very similar to a drink Luke loves called a Gold Rush (recipe post here!). The recipe here calls for Wild Turkey 101 (I substituted with some Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon I had on hand but your favorite Bourbon will do just fine) and Wild Turkey American Honey Liqueur. I happened to have a baby bottle of Honey Jack laying around, most likely a straggling stocking stuffer from Christmas’ past, that I used in place of the Wild Turkey Liqueur, but any honey-flavored whiskey on the market will surely do the trick. Along with Limoncello (used my friend Jeramiah’s homemade limoncello!) the drink also calls for honey sticks to garnish. You can find these thin plastic tubes of honey at your grocer, or ideally your local farmer’s market, but a drizzle of honey over the final product is a simple short cut.

Bee-Stinger-What-you-Will-NeedBee Stinger | Makes 1 drink

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Wild Turkey 101 or your favorite Bourbon
  • .75 oz Wild Turkey American Honey Liqueur or your favorite honey-flavored whiskey spirit
  • .75 oz Limoncello check out Jeramiah’s recipe for homemade limoncello from his blog The Hungry Wandering Surfer!
  • Honey sticks to garnish
  • Lemon wedge to garnish

Directions:

Combine all ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously until the entire outside of the shaker is cold to the touch. Strain and garnish with lemon wedge and two honey sticks. Sipper will open sticks and pour contents into the drink. Include a small straw for stirring.

Bee-Stinger-KY-Cocktail-Book   { The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book by Joy Perrine & Susan Reigler }

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Bee-Stinger-Craft-Cocktail-Recipe

{ All photos by Megan Burgess }

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Indian Summer Cocktail + Shake Book Review

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You guys have seen The Mason Shaker, right? That Mason Jar – Cocktail Shaker hybrid every hipster and their mother seem to be using to craft delicious seasonal cocktail these days? Well, I’m a huge fan. The Mason Shaker is a huge improvement over my boring, seems-to-always-get-stuck basic silver shaker and is an aesthetically pleasing addition to my home bar. I was thrilled when I saw the designers and cocktail aficionados behind The Mason Shaker, Eric Prum and Josh Williams, were releasing a cocktail recipe book to accompany their wildly successful shaker, Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails. Much like the drinks you enjoy at your favorite neighborhood craft cocktail bar, the recipes in this book are broken up by season to reflect available produce and other seasonally appropriate liquors and liqueurs. I love that I can flip to a specific season and easily choose a drink, simultaneously skimming through recipes and cross referencing what I have in the fridge/bar. Southern California shows no signs of letting fall weather creep in so I thought this fall-inspired cocktail, aptly named The Indian Summer, was just the ticket for a particularly hot and sticky day.

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The Indian Summer (adapted from Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails by Eric Prum & Josh Williams)

Makes two drinks.

Ingredients:

  • 3 shots gin
  • 1 shot St. Germain
  • 1 shot fresh lemon juice
  • 8 fresh Concord grapes (plus 2 to garnish; or in my case, a mini-cluster!)

Indian-Summer-Grapes-Distillerista

Directions:

  1. Muddle 8 grapes in the bottom of your Mason Shaker until thoroughly crushed
  2. Add gin, St. Germain, lemon juice and ice to the shaker and shake vigorously for 15 seconds
  3. Strain into chilled coupes and garnish with remaining 2 grapes

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 { P.S. Great minds think alike! }

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{ All Photos: Megan Burgess of Shortography }

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Also a huge fan of Josh & Eric’s new design project (in collaboration with Punch, an online mag I’m obsessed with), the Carry on Cocktail Kit! Now available in Old Fashioned, Moscow Mule and Gin & Tonic.

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Late Summer Sangria

Sangria-Recipe-Distillerista

I love the concept of Sangria. Use up some leftover or not-so-good wine, add some fruit, maybe drizzle in some liqueur if you really want to spice things up and boom! – a batched drink for a crowd that’s easy and cheap as hell. (Hello0o00 Labor Day weekend!) I used a combination of red wine, cranberry juice and citrus for this casual get together at a friend‘s new backyard, but feel free to mix up your wine-and-fruit pairing to suit both your tastes and seasonal produce availability.

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(Recipe somewhat adapted from the infusion & cocktail recipe book, Infused. See my review and a sneak-peek here.)

Ingredients:

  • one 1.5L or two 750 mL bottles red wine. I used Barefoot Pinot Noir.
  • one 1L bottle good quality, no-sugar-added cranberry juice. I like Trader Joe’s brand.
  • 1 cup orange liqueur. I’m a big fan of Leopold Brothers’ American Orange Liqueur. It’s not too sweet and gives a great kick of true orange flavor but Cointreau or Grand Marnier would of course do the trick as well.
  • 2 apples, sliced
  • 2 oranges, sliced
  • 1 grapefruit, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 bottle sparkling water, optional

Directions:

  1.  Combine wine, juice, fruit and liqueur in a large pitcher or drink dispenser
  2.  Stir gently and let sit in the fridge for 2 hours or up to overnight
  3. Add sparkling water, if desired, right before serving

Craft-Cocktail-Sangria-Recipe-Distillerista{ BB&B Mason Jars (similar) & Drink Dispenser }

Extras:

  • If left sitting over night, I would recommend replacing soaked fruit with fresh for aesthetic purposes. Plus, the best part of drinking Sangria is eating the fruit and let’s be honest, no one wants a mushy slice of apple!
  • On the (exceptionally) rare occasion I actually have left over wine, I like to freeze it in ice cube trays and use it in place of ice when serving to guests. This prevents watered-down sangria and helps keep the drink colder longer. Win-win!

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P.S. A few other Sangria combinations I’m into for late summer or fall gatherings…

  • Pinot Grigio + Peaches + Basil
  • Rosé + Melon + Mint
  • Grenache + Red Berries + Concord Grapes

What’s your favorite Sangria recipe? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks to Megan Burgess for both the photos and your gorgeous new outdoor entertaining space!

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Simple Gin Punch

Gin Punch-Distillerista

It’s no secret we’re partial to the original flavored Vodka – a.k.a. Gin – here at Distillerista, so it should also come as no surprise that it’s one of my favorite spirits to create drink recipes with. When strolling through the Farmer’s Market a few months ago, deciding what to bring to a friend’s house for the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight that night (side note: I know I need to get over it, but what a waste of a perfectly good Saturday night), I picked up some citrus, trusted my old faithful spirit and came up with the idea for this delicious, honey-spiked juicy Gin punch. It has since become a summer entertaining favorite (even the guys loved it!) and I can’t help but think how perfect it’d be to sip poolside at flash Vegas day party. I’m betting (pun fully intended) Floyd and Manny wouldn’t have minded a cool glass of this post-fight. However Mayweather apparently only likes honey in tea, sooooo maybe not.

Juicy-gin-Punch-Recipe-Distillerista{ Target drink dispenser with spigot | Similar here }

Makes roughly 10-12 cocktails.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups citrusy Western-style Gin (I like Tanqueray No. 10 or a Homemade Infused Gin)
  • 4 Cups fresh grapefruit juice
  • 2 Cups fresh lemonade
  • 1-2 Cups honey simple syrup (recipe to follow), depending on desired sweetness
  • 1 bottle sparkling water
  • Several lemon, lime and/or grapefruit wheels for garnish (1 of each should do it)

Directions:

  1. Make the honey simple syrup: combine 2 cups each, water and raw local honey, in a sauce pan over medium heat and simmer until sugar is fully dissolved. Let cool completely.
  2. In a large drink dispenser or punch bowl carefully combine Gin, grapefruit juice and honey syrup. Stir gently and store in fridge if making ahead.
  3. Slice citrus into wheels and store in fridge if making ahead
  4. 10 minutes before guests arrive – or when you get to the party – add lots of ice, the sparkling water and float citrus wheels on top.
  5. Pour over fresh ice. Enjoy!

Distillerista-Gin-Punch

{ Crate & Barrel Bar Tool Set }

Extras:

  • Freeze citrus wheels with water or juice in a muffin pan for pretty – and effective! – ice cubes
  • Sub fresh orange juice and sparkling wine for the grapefruit and sparkling water and you’ve got a brunch-perfect riff on a classic Mimosa!
  • Steep 1 tbsp of culinary lavender in the simple syrup for 10 minutes for a fun floral twist.

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Thank you, once again, to Megan of Shortography for the shoot location and photos! How throwback-chic is her new kitchen?!

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Infused Book Review + Lavender Provençal Lemonade

Infused-Book-Review-Lavender-Lemonade-1{ Infused: 100+ Recipes for Infused Liqueurs and Cocktails | Susan Ella MacNeal, Leigh Beisch }

You know your parents have you pegged when your Mom and Dad – unbeknownst to each other I might add – gift you a spirit infuser contraption and Infused, a coffee table book full of different at-home infusion ideas, respectfully, for Christmas. As was the case this past holiday season, and I have to say, both gifts have come in very handy. I tend to come up with random ideas on a whim and not surprisingly, they don’t always work out well. (Candy Cane Vodka, Lime-cello *cough*, *cough*) Thankfully I can now just consult Infused and quickly reference the book’s tips on how long to infuse different ingredients in different spirits. It’d make a great gift for any budding mixologist (21 and over, of course) or even a bride and groom putting together their first home bar. In addition to pages and pages of infusion ideas, Infused also includes several chapters of customizable cocktail recipes in which to use your newly made flavored spirits. Get the book here, then whip up one of my favorite recipes, Lavender Provençal Lemonade, made with some Lavender-infused London Dry Gin. The perfect end-of-summer treat.

Lavender-Gin-Distillerista{ Sempli Spirit Incanter | Anthropologie Tumblers }

Lavender Infused Gin or Vodka (page 21)

Ingredients:

  • 1 750 mL Bottle Gin or Vodka
  • 3 Tbsp Dried lavender buds
  • 1/4-1 C Simple syrup, optional (I most often choose not to add sugar to my infusions, as it tends to mask the flavor(s) I’m trying to procure)

Directions: In a clean glass bottle or a spirit infuser such as the Sempli Spirit Incanter shown here, combine spirits and lavender. Seal tightly and let infuse, away from heat or direct sunlight, for 2-3 weeks, tasting every few days or so for preferred intensity. *I only left mine for 3-4 days and the lavender flavor was delicate but definitely there, so be sure to taste regularly!* Once the right flavor is achieved, strain out lavender and add simple syrup if desired. (Keep in mind the longer you let the lavender infuse, the more simple syrup you might want to add to balance the flavor) Using a funnel, store liquid in original or other glass bottle. Keep away from heat and direct sunlight and enjoy for up to 1 month!

Infused-Review-Lavender-Gin-Lemon

Lavender Provençal Lemonade (page 77)

Makes 1 drink

Ingredients:

  • 2 Oz Lavender-infused Gin or Vodka
  • 1/2 C Fresh lemonade
  • Ice
  • Dried lavender buds and/or lemon wheel to garnish

Directions:

  1. Pour Gin or Vodka into a chilled collins glass
  2. Add ice and top with lemonade
  3. Give it a few stirs and garnish with lavender and/or lemon
  4. Cheers & enjoy!

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Lavender-Lemonade-Gin-Cocktail

Infused-Review-Lavender-Gin-Lemon-Distillerista

 

Thanks to Megan of Shortography for the photos!

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José Andrés’ Mexican Gin & Tonic

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I have a somewhat mandatory tradition upon landing in Las Vegas of heading immediately to Chef José Andrés’ epic Chinese & Mexican food mecca China Poblano at the Cosmopolitan. A big boozy lunch with friends before hitting the pools is my idea of a perfect start to the weekend. On one recent trip, I was introduced to the cocktail perfection that is José Andrés’ Mexican Gin & Tonic. It seems simple enough on paper: Bombay Sapphire, some tonic water, a few garnishes and a splash of St. Germain. But don’t be fooled by the seemingly basic ingredient list… this is without a doubt the best G & T I’ve ever had. Not only is the drink impossibly beautiful and delicate, it has an intoxicating aroma – thanks to those gorgeous botanical garnishes – that grabs you as soon as the drink hits the table. Served in a gorgeous stemless wine tumbler, each sip is perfectly cool and effervescent, with just the right amount of sweet floral kick from the elderflower liqueur. Next time you’re in Vegas, it’s an absolute must. Until then, here’s my take on recreating the drink at home.

China-Poblano-Mexican-Gin-Tonic

Makes 1 drink.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin  – Although any citrusy Western-style Gin would be wonderful as well
  • 1 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • 4 oz Fever Tree Tonic Water
  • fresh Orange Peel
  • small Sprig of Cilantro
  • 1 whole Coriander Seed
  • 1 fresh marigold (Calendula) edible flower – special thanks to Specialty Produce for these beauties!
  • 1 large whiskey cube – or sphere-shaped ice mold – I like keep a couple of these in my freezer for such occasions.

Mexican-Gin-Tonic-Distillerista-Flowers

Directions:

  1. Place ice cube/sphere in a large stemless wine glass or DOF
  2. Gently pour in Gin, St. Germain and top with tonic water
  3. Quickly and carefully arrange botanicals – orange twist, cilantro, coriander seed, and marigold – in the drink, giving the orange twist and cilantro a little smack in your hands beforehand to release the oils.
  4. Give it a gentle swirl and enjoy!

Distillerista-Mexican-Gin-Tonic-Cocktail DSC_0268 Mexican-Gin-Tonic-MarigoldMexican-Gin-Tonic

P.S. The ‘When Pigs Fly’ steamed buns, Cochinita Taco and Twenty-Vegetable Fried Rice are also not to be missed! 😉

P.P.S. Photos by Megan of Shortography!

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Peach Rosé-a-ritas

Sparkling-Peach-Margarita-Distillerista

{ Glass Pitcher purchased on the side of the road in Baja }

My dear friend Caroline’s recipe blog, Colorful Eats, is a source of constant inspiration and eye-candy. Her easy to make and gorgeously captured grain- and refined sugar-free recipes are what prompted me to go Paleo Monday through Friday. Since switching to an 80% grain- and sugar-free lifestyle about a year ago, I have more energy and am naturally more focused at work. And incase you hadn’t noticed, thanks to Caroline, most of the drink recipes you’ll see here on Distillerista use only natural, unrefined sugars and as many fresh fruit and vegetable juices and purées as possible.

Needless to say, ever since I launched Distillerista I’ve been dying to collaborate with Caroline. I took full advantage of her extended summer stay here in San Diego last month and invited her over to help me come up with something new and paleo-friendly. (She lives in Hawaii most of the time where her husband – my cousin and bff! – is stationed in the Navy.) We got together on a particularly hot July day and mixed up these scrumptious sparkling peach margaritas in honor of prime peach season. While alcohol in general isn’t exactly paleo-approved, Tequila is a relatively low-sugar spirit and also happens to be Caroline’s go-to. As for the sparkling wine… well, what can I say… any opportunity to spend a little time with friends is something to celebrate!

Craft-Cocktail-Recipe-Sparkling-Peach-Margarita

Makes 8 Drinks

Ingredients:

  • 4 C Peach purée (see recipe below)
  • 3 C Good quality Tequila; Casamigos is a current favorite
  • 2 C Fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 Bottle good quality sparkling rosé; I like Lucien Albrecht (I get it here for just $15 a bottle!)

Directions:

  1. Make & chill the peach purée
  2. Combine peach purée, tequila and lime juice in a large pitcher or drink dispenser. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour, up to overnight
  3. As guests arrive, or when ready to serve, pour Tequila mixture into chilled margarita glasses and top with a splash of sparkling rosé
  4. Garnish with a fresh peach slice and wedge of lime
  5. Cheers & enjoy!

Peach Puree: Pit and dice 6 large or 8 small peaches and combine in a medium sauce pan with a splash of water. Simmer over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool, then blend well in a high-speed blender or food processor and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Chill for at least two hours, up to overnight. Makes roughly 4 cups.

Craft-Cocktail-Recipe-Peach-rose-Margarita

Extras:

  • As I mentioned before, Caroline avoids sugar so these margaritas are on the not-so-sweet side. If a sweeter drink is desired, add up to a half cup of raw honey when blending your peach purée.
  • These margaritas are a bit thick thanks to the fresh peach purée, so feel free to thin the purée out with a bit more water to achieve your desired consistency.
  • If you don’t have access to fresh peaches or want to make these Margaritas during another part of the year, feel free to use frozen peaches for an icier, frozen-style margarita

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{ Matching glasses stumbled upon excitedly at HomeGoods }

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P.S. Check out a few of Caroline’s paleo cocktail recipes: Blackberry Mojitos, Pink Grapefruit Sparklers & Sunrise Squeeze!

P.P.S. Since I can’t work a camera to save my life, Caroline thankfully snapped these drool-worthy photos for us. Download her food photography and styling guide, Scrumptious & Styled, here!

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Free E-Book! Classic Cocktail Recipes Vol. 1

So if you’ve been so kind as to sign up for the Distillerista email newsletter, you might be aware you were promised a free E-Book! Well… a couple months later, it’s finally here! Working on both launching a blog and opening a legal distillery at the same time is just a teeeenssyyy bit time-consuming and this E-Book project fell through the cracks. #Sorry!

EBook Cover final copy{ E-book Cover!}

But the good new is, 1. it should be in your inbox right this very minute! and 2. it’s FRIDAY! Print that baby out – or don’t, we love trees – and get to making some classic cocktails tonight!

P.S. If you haven’t already, sign up for the Distillerista Newsletter on the side bar to the right! –>

The cocktails in this debut Distillerista E-book include the perfect Moscow Mule, a fool-proof Martini and the best ever Manhattan. Each recipe is accompanied by drool-worthy photos à la Megan of Shortography, as well as some tips, extras and creative ways to make the drinks your own.

Enjoy, tell your friends and spread the love by following Distillerista on Twitter, Instagram and liking us on Facebook!

Cheers to the weekend!

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The Gimlet: Three Ways

Gimlet-Three-Ways-Header-Distillerista

A Gin gimlet has to be my favorite classic cocktail. For a couple of reasons… First, it’s so simple and yet so perfect. That blend of Gin (my most beloved spirit), tart lime and smooth sweetness just fits so perfectly into any imbibing mood I’m in. Second, it’s a genius way to introduce the Gin-averse to the error of their non-Gin-drinking ways. Simply put, it’s the perfect starter Gin cocktail. A gateway drug to the realm of Gin, if-you-will. (Ok, I’ll stop.)

However, when I first started ordering gimlets regularly I was always confused as to why I was paying craft cocktail prices for a half-ass mix of Gin and Rose’s Lime Juice… ?! Well, little did I know, that’s the way Gimlets were (sort-of) traditionally made!

First concocted as a way to encourage sailors to down scurvy-fighting lime juice, Gimlets were a common vehicle for daily Gin rations on British Naval ships. {Popular belief has it that the Royal Navy doctor during that time was Sir Thomas Gimlette.} Sailors quickly switched to Rose’s Lime Cordial – a blend of lime juice and sugar that made it easy to preserve the citrus on long oversea hauls – as it had recently been invented. All this time I’ve been scoffing at what I thought was a shitty excuse for a great classic cocktail when really I’d been drinking history! Sailors, forgive me!

While the Rose’s Lime Juice of today (corn syrup, artificial flavors, weird additives) is a far cry from what it originally was, I suppose the OG recipe is still worth including here. I’ve also added a recipe for what I consider the modern day Gimlet (The Contemporary), and a fun twist on a Vodka Gimlet for those who aren’t quite ready to come over to the Gin side (The Lime Hangar Gimlet). Mix up one of each this holiday weekend (Happy Independence Day!) and let me know which you prefer!

Each recipe makes 1 cocktail.

Gimlet-Three-Ways-Traditional-Distillerista

The Traditional

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Pour gin & juice into a cocktail shaker or tall glass
  2. Shake or stir with ice, whatever your preference
  3. Strain into a Martini Glass and garnish with lime wheel if desired

Gimlet Three Ways Comtemporary Distillerista

The Contemporary

Ingredients:

  • 2 Oz Traditional, London-Dry or New American Style Gin (I’m using citrusy Tanqueray No. 10)
  • Juice of 1-2 limes
  • 1 tsp superfine sugar
  • Lime wheel and mint for garnish

Directions:

  1. Dry shake (no ice) lime juice and sugar for at least 60 seconds to dissolve sugar.
  2. Add gin, ice and shake.
  3. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Alternatively, strain into a chilled coupe.
  4. Garnish with lime wheel and sprig of mint. (No garnish if you went with the coupe)

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Lime Hangar Gimlet (ever so slightly adapted from the famous Ivy Gimlet)

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. Hangar One Kaffir Lime Vodka a.k.a. the only lime vodka you ever need to know about
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 5-10 Mint leaves, muddled
  • 1 tsp Superfine sugar

Directions:

  1. Combine muddled mint, citrus juice and sugar in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Dry shake (no ice) for at least 60 seconds to completely dissolve sugar.
  3. Add Vodka, a handful of ice and shake.
  4. Pour into a sugar rimmed glass filled with crushed or cubed ice and garnish with a wedge of lime and sprig of mint. As an option, top with a splash of seltzer or sparkling water. Enjoy!

Photos by the delightfully talented Megan Burgess of Shortography!

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