Blood Orange Old Fashioned

It’s that time, ya’ll. The resident photographer finally gets his fave drink highlighted on the blog. The Old Fashioned! A tried and true cocktail for the hardiest of drinkers. There is no hiding behind fruity juices or syrups in this one. The bourbon is in your face and ready for a fight.

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While he may be a purist here – I am not. I always find a way to add some pizzazz to a stuffy old classic. Remember my love for blood oranges in my last post about sangria? Well I found a use for all those delicious little spheres in this new and improved Old Fashioned! This cocktail includes the juice from half a blood orange, burnt rosemary, and bitters from our fave local spot, Crude Bitters. Charred rosemary is my new favorite trick. Drinking a cocktail should tap into all of your senses and the smell of this smokey rosemary just before taking a sip is **kisses fingers like an Italian talking about pasta**. Not to mention the fantastic bitters with rosemary, grapefruit, and peppercorn. It matches with the blood orange and bourbon perfectly. You can certainly use Angostura bitters to be traditional, but again, I like PIZZAZZ.

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This cocktail is the perfect way to impress your fam at Thanksgiving and show them how refined your cocktail tastebuds are. Plus, it takes a whole 60 seconds to whip this drink up – so procrastinate your recipe planning all you want and know you will have a delicious cocktail no matter what! Happy turkey hunting.


Blood Orange Old Fashioneddsc01079

Total Time: 2 minutes

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces high quality bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 blood orange
  • Rosemary sprig
  • 6-8 drops rosemary, grapefruit, peppercorn bitters (“Rizzo” Crude Bitters)
  • Large ice cube

Instructions:

Add sugar and juice from from 1/2 blood orange to empty old fashioned glass. Muddle together until sugar is mostly dissolved. Add bourbon and single large ice cube to glass. Top with bitters and gently swirl. Garnish with peel of blood orange and charred rosemary sprig. Sip and serve!

Maple Bourbon Sours

Nothing screams “mountain vacation” like maple syrup-spiked alcohol in a mason jar. This is exactly what I had in mind this weekend while visiting my parents in the Blue Ridge Mountains. They have this gorgeous log cabin with excellent views of the mountains and a HUGE back deck. This deck is what dreams are made of and it begs you to sit back, relax, and enjoy a morning coffee or an evening cocktail (or two). As I packed up my cold weather gear for a balmy 75 degrees, I made sure to bring along my trusty cocktail supplies and mason jars for these maple bourbon sours.

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I love everything sour. Sour beers, sour cocktails, sour candy – I can’t get enough. I will choose a bag of sour patch kids over a chocolate bar any day. The only place where I DO NOT want artificial sour flavoring is in my cocktails. Sour mixers out of plastic jugs should be banned forever. Fresh lemon juice is the ONLY way to go. I balanced out my lemon juice in these drinks with a little bit of maple syrup. The maple goes wonderfully with bourbon and provides a more complex flavor than regular simple syrup. I recommend using high quality, dark maple syrup in these cocktails to really let the flavor shine.

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I also throw a sprig of rosemary in these drinks to bring some freshness. This is not required, but I think you will appreciate another layer of flavor to brighten up the sweetness. Now go forth and climb a mountain with your maple bourbon sours!

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Maple Bourbon Soursdsc07447

Total Time: 5 minutes

Serves: 4 (in small glasses)

Ingredients:

  • 7-8 ounces bourbon
  • Juice from 2 1/2 lemons
  • 2 ounces maple syrup
  • 3 rosemary sprigs
  • Cubed ice

Instructions:

Measure out your bourbon, lemon juice, and maple syrup into your shaker. Add ice and one full rosemary sprig. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds until frothy and ice cold. Add ice to 4 small old fashioned glasses and strain mixture into each glass. You can use mason jars here, but know that you might not get large portions in the regular pint jars. Try the 8oz. half pint jars if you are committed to the look. Nothing is wrong with a stronger drink if you need to top them off with more bourbon! Add small sprig of rosemary as garnish.

 

The Honey B Smash

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! The unofficial start to summer is starting off a bit rainy here in the south, but we make do by drinking colorful cocktails indoors. I also feel a bit ill-prepared for this summer season and would rather continue living my life in leggings, a sweatshirt, and full-powered AC for a few more weeks. Who needs shorts and sundresses and bare shoulders? You can find me snuggled into the couch, binging on Wild Wild Country with a blanket on my toes, a cold cocktail in my hand, and happy as can be for the rest of May.

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Recognizing that I am the odd-ball in my Memorial Day celebrations, I will pretend that I am fully adjusted to North Carolina summers and present to you a fruity summer beverage! I always lean in to fruit-forward drinks during the warmer months and anything with a berry or a ton of lime will always get my attention.

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This little concoction is lovingly called the Honey B Smash. The B represents blackberries and bourbon. Blackberries are some of my favorite summer treats because they can make your mouth pucker up just in the slightest and then finish off sweet. They can also hold their own in a cocktail and compete with other flavors without getting lost. Bourbon is a great liquor to use here because it has vanilla and caramel notes, which compliment the tart berries. I also mellow out the cocktail with some honey simple syrup. I prefer honey simple syrup here over a granulated sugar-based one because we are using bourbon. I think you get a more complex flavor rather than just added sweetness!

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The trick to this cocktail is the combination of muddled fruit and stirred liquor. First, you want to slice up some thin rounds of lime for each glass and place them in the bottom with a few mint leaves and whole blackberries. Then use a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon to crush the berries into the leaves and lime slices. Muddle until the berries are just broken down, but do not crush the mint into little pieces. We just want to release some of the juices from the fruits and really smell that mint. Then in a separate glass, you want to combine the honey simple syrup and bourbon with ice and stir for 10 seconds or until the glass is cold. Add crushed ice over your muddled fruit and then pour in your liquor mixture! And yes, please please please crush your ice. This is a smash after all. Lastly, add a lime round and mint leaf and you have the perfect Honey B Smash.

As a note – I do not strain my blackberries and I leave the muddled fruit in the bottom of the glass because I prefer it this way and do not find the few seeds that may come through to be unappealing. If you absolutely HATE berry seeds, you can strain out the liquid from your muddled berry/mint/lime mixture and just use that in combination with the honey and bourbon.

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The Honey B SmashDSC06458

Total Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2 (can easily be adjusted for more)

Ingredients:

  • Handful of blackberries
  • 2 limes
  • 1 bunch mint leaves
  • 4 ounces bourbon
  • 2 ounces honey simple syrup*
  • Crushed ice

Instructions:

*See note at bottom about making your own honey simple syrup before you begin creating your cocktail.

Slice six rounds of lime and place three in the bottom of each glass. Add 4-5 blackberries and 2-3 mint leaves on top. Lightly smash/muddle the fruit and leaves together until the berries are just broken down. Fill glasses with crushed ice. Set aside.

Mix two ounces of honey simple syrup and four ounces of bourbon in a separate glass with ice and stir for 10 seconds or until the glass is very cold. Strain the liquor mixture into your prepared glasses of fruit and ice. Garnish with a squeeze of lime juice, a lime round, and a mint leave. Do a little stir, suck it down, and feel refreshed enough to make another!

*I make my own honey simple syrup and it stores in the fridge for about one month. I usually make one cup at a time and combine 1/2 cup good-quality honey and 1/2 cup water. Any 1:1: ratio works so you can scale up or down as needed. Set the mixture on top of the stove and stir until hot. Remove when the mixture is completely liquid. Do not allow it to boil, you only want to heat everything up. Then, set aside to cool before adding into your cocktails and store remaining liquid in the fridge. This same process can be used with white granulated sugar to make a regular simple syrup.