Check out these cocktails from Pour & Lore 2020 and mix yourself something fantastic for the first day of the new year!
Orange liqueur is often mistreated by professional and home bartenders alike. Often when people think of this cordial, they immediately think of the cheap triple sec of $1 margarita specials from their college days. Orange Liqueur has a bad reputation similar to vermouth—it’s not going to be good anyway, so you might as well spend as little as possible when you’re shopping for one.
Luckily for cocktails and drinkers everywhere, the myth that no orange liqueur is worth the money is just that—a myth. While there are certainly cheap, low-quality bottles on the market, there are also plenty of brands that will greatly improve the flavor of your margaritas, sidecars, and any other cocktail you love!
Grand Marnier is one of the most popular orange liqueurs in the world. While the version we think of as Grand Marnier today was first created in 1880 in France, the first distillery was opened in 1827.
This liqueur is a blend of cognac and and bitter-orange making it much richer and denser than a triple sec or dry curaçao. It also sits at 40% ABV, making this bottle much closer to acting as a spirit than a modifier. Because Grand Marnier has more sugar and is much thicker than other orange liqueurs, when adding it to certain cocktails (such as sidecars and margaritas) be prepared to adjust sugar and acid levels accordingly.
Cointreau is one of the oldest orange liqueurs in production, winning its first spirit award in 1857. The modern version of Cointreau was released in 1885 and immediately became wildly popular because it was much less sweet and more concentrated than other brands available at the time.
Cointreau uses a mix of fresh and dried orange peels to create their signature flavor. Cointreau is the signature liqueur in a cosmopolitan and is the favored bottle for a traditional margarita. This liqueur is ideal for any citrusy cocktails that use a lighter spirit such as vodka, tequila, or gin.
Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
While the Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao is also blended with cognac, it isn’t nearly as rich or viscous as Grand Marnier. Based on the traditional method of making French triple sec, this dry curaçao is triple distilled with spices, bitters, orange peels, and a blend of Pierre Ferrand Cognac and brandy.
Pierre Ferrand Curaçao is more bitter and leans heavier into bitter orange peel and dried spice flavors than other bottles. This creates a complex curaçao that is especially suited for complex tiki drinks such as the Mai Tai. Less sweet, more zesty, and more bitter, this orange liqueur is my recommendation for the ultimate bottle to keep at home for a wide range of drinks.
Scotch is a special whiskey for special people. And yes, you are a special person, and yes, scotch is for you! This peaty whisky hails from Scotland and has a rich taste marked by fermented, peated barley. This whisky is known for being enjoyed straight and being expensive. So does that mean the scotch cocktail is a waste of time? Absolutely not! However, we don’t always want to spend $70 on a bottle to mix into a cocktail. Use this guide to help choose the best brand for you cocktailing needs without blowing your budget on one bottle.
Blended scotch comes in a few different forms: Blended Scotch, Blended Malt Scotch, and Blended Grain Scotch. We’ll go over the differences in these later, but just know that they all make great cocktails. here are a few of my favorite bottles for mixing into Rob Roys and Penicillins.
The Famous Grouse
The Famous Grouse is one of the most popular bottles out there, and it is particularly well loved in its home country of Scotland. Founded in 1800, the Famous Grouse has been perfecting its product for a long time, and it shows. This bottle is my favorite for mixing into cocktails because it has a unique character that stands firm by itself, but it plays well with other ingredients from fresh citrus to spicy vermouth to rich cordials.
Full and golden, this whisky has tasting notes of citrus peels, warm spices, and candied fruit. With only a hint of oak and peat, this version is extremely approachable to new Scotch drinkers because it lacks the aggression of more heavily aged styles. This scotch is ideal for any cocktail that calls for a blended whisky, and I particularly like it in a scotch sour.
This scotch is supposedly “smooth as a pig’s nose” which is why it bears the name. I’m admittedly not familiar enough with pig noses to confirm the truth of that statement, but this scotch is a truly good bottle for cocktailing and enjoying in a highball with soda water and lemon.
Pig’s Nose is certainly a beautiful scotch, and it is smooth, but it’s not what I would classify as a beginner’s blended scotch. It still packs a nice smokey punch, making it a great choice for someone who is already a scotch “neat” drinker who is looking to start making scotch cocktails. Young and clean with notes of salt and butter, this bottle is one of my favorites and not just because of the wonderful, very regal looking fella on its logo.
Monkey Shoulder Batch 27
Monkey Soulder is a favorite of bartenders everywhere, and for good reason: it’s the product of some seriously great products. Single malts from the Balvenie, Glenfiddich, and Kininvie distilleries are sourced and matured in different oak barrels until master distillers taste each individually. They then select 27 barrels to be blended together to create this magnificent bottle fo scotch.
This scotch is wonderful for cocktails, especially sours that use heavy ingredients such as bitters and Amari. Creamy and woody, this scotch is ripe with vanilla and butterscotch, finishing strong with candied fruit and cinnamon notes.
Single Malt Scotch
Single Malt scotch is exactly what it sounds like: scotch that has been made from a single malt at one distillery. Single malt scotch tends to be a high quality whisky that can sit on the more expensive end of the price range. However, there are more affordable versions of this style, especially in smaller bottle sizes.
Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year
The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 year is one of my favorite scotches to drink by itself. Called DoubleWood because it’s aged in two different kinds fo oak casks, this scotch is rich, peaty, and complex.
This scotch has a slightly sweet body that is enriched by spice and oak. Buttery, strong, and deliciously smooth, this is my first choice of bottles to introduce whiskey drinkers to the Scotch family. It has a nutty flavor complemented by dried fruit and apples with a long finish.
Macleod’s Islay Single Malt Scotch
Macleod’s Islay Single Malt Scotch is admittedly not my favorite scotch to drink by itself, but there is no denying its value. This medium bodied single malt has the characteristic smokey notes of a single malt, which makes it ideal to float on top of a penicillin.
This scotch is medium bodied with a strong nose and lighter finish. It has a prominent peat flavor that is underscored by nutmeg and dried cranberry, however the flavor drops away in the second half of the taste. For the value, this is an excellent single malt to use for cocktails, especially citrus based scotch cocktails that need a stronger nose.
Crushable cocktails are your ideal summer drinks. They’re simple to make, don’t have too much booze, and they go down easy. These are the cocktails designed to be enjoyed in the heat of summer, sipped after a run around the block or chugged while mowing the lawn. Enjoy these three crushable cocktail recipes this August!
Two Italian vermouths and a Spanish sherry come together with Campari and citrus over crushed ice to be the low proofed backyard pool party (with your pod only!) cocktail.
3/4 oz Cocchi Americano Vermouth
3/4 oz Cocchi Rosa Vermouth
3/4 oz Delicate Cream Sherry
1 1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
2 dash Lemon Bitters
1/2 oz Campari
- Combine vermouths, sherry, grapefruit juice, and bitters in a cocktail shaker tin with ice. Shake well.
- Strain over crushed ice. Top with Prosecco and lightly swizzle with a bar spoon to mix sparkling into the cocktail.
- Pour Campari over the top of the cocktail and add more crushed ice.
Brunch With Garibaldi
Normally just Campari & Fresh OJ, this Garibaldi is a little softer and more tropical, splitting a pineapple & hibiscus infused Campari with Aperol. Some lemon bitters give it brightness, and a blend of peychaud’s bitter, delicate cream Sherry, and Cappelletti dropped on top make this one pumped up drink without adding too much extra booze.
1 oz Pineapple & Hibiscus infused Campari
1 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Cappelletti
1/2 oz Delicate Cream Sherry
2 oz Fresh Orange Juice
1/2 oz Lime
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
4 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
- Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker tin with ice. Shake well.
- Strain into a Collins glass with ice. Garnish with an orange slice—or just drink it without anything extra added!
98º and Sunny
I have a hard rule that when it’s over 90º outside, I drink tequila. This crushable cocktail is anything but a margarita—sfumato amaro and strawberry puree work summer cocktail wonders with Aqua di Cedro, a limoncello-esque liqueur from Nardini.
2 oz Tequila
1/2 oz Narini Acqua Di Cedro
1/4 oz Sfumato Amaro
1/2 oz Lime
1 oz Strawberry Puree
- Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker tin with ice. Shake well.
- Pour over ice and garnish with a fresh sprig of rosemary.
1 cup Strawberries
1 cup Granulated Sugar
- Wash and dry strawberries. Hull the strawberries and discard tops.
- Combine strawberries and sugar in a blender and process on high until all sugar has dissolved and whole berries have been completely liquified.
- Pass puree through a fine sieve (I find that using a large sieve and soup ladle is much easier than a small scale cocktail fine strainer) and press out any residual juice from the solids. Discard.
- Immediately store in the refrigerator. Will keep up to 10-12 days.