News Flash – Sweet Basil

I’ve been traveling a lot recently, which leads to many more reviews and many fewer actually created cocktails. For that I apologize, and the good news is I’ll be back home for at least one weekend this month and so should have time to stock up on some new recipes. Until then, let’s talk about Vail.

We had the opportunity to visit Vail, CO, at the end of March. You may have already seen my post on Vail Brewing Company but what, you might say, about the cocktails? Well, we had a spectacular meal at Sweet Basil (which you can read more about at the PiC’s blog) which was accompanied by some equally fantastic cocktails.

Re-Fig-Ured Manhattan

Re-Fig-Ured Manhattan – George Dickel Whisky, Amaro Spiced Fig Jam, Orange Zest

This was a very tasty drink. I’ve had a fig Old Fashioned before, and to be honest it wasn’t great. However, this blended the elements together in a much better way (no clot of jam at the bottom of the glass) and was refreshingly sweet and flavorful. It was just bitter enough, just sweet enough, had just enough alcohol bite.

Beso del Diablo

Beso Del Diablo – Habañero Silver Tequila, Cointreau, Lime, Blood Orange Puree, Licor 43

This was the star of the meal (so much so that, after the PiC ordered one as her first drink, I ordered one as my second). It was a great margarita-esque drink, but with a few important differences. For one, Licor 43 is mostly vanilla flavored, and so that plus the blood orange gave good body to the drink, but not enough to be a creamsicle. And, more importantly perhaps, the tequila was insanely spicy. This forced you to sip and savor this drink, more so than you might have otherwise. And, like any good spicy salsa, the habañeros actually lent a fair bit of their flavor to the mix, too, resulting in a perfect accompaniment to an amazing meal.

In sum, if you’re ever in Vail, please check this place out. If I’m ever back, I will definitely go again, if only to sit at the bar and drink a few more cocktails.

134. Whiskey Toddy

134. Whiskey Toddy - Hero

Ol’ Jerr-Jerr is playing fast and loose with these cocktail names. First a Flip that doesn’t seem to be a flip. Granted, I don’t really know what a flip is supposed to be, but still. Now, it’s a… cold toddy? Since a hot toddy is basically any alcohol with water, sugar, and maybe citrus, I guess this is an acceptable cold toddy but who really wants to drink that?

Neither of these words lends itself to even a vague connection with the news, so instead, a top story today. A shooting at a mosque in Quebec yesterday left six dead and many others wounded or in critical condition. However, they’ve now detained two people in connection with the attack, one a suspect, and the other a witness (the man who dialed 911). To me, though, it seems odd to detain a witness, is that a typical procedure? I don’t know much about police work, and I know even less about police work in Canada, but hopefully it will lead to resolution quickly and effectively. I should have made this drink with Canadian whiskey, in solidarity.

134. Whiskey Toddy - Ingredients

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The No Thanks – Scottish Referendum

Header Image

“Hey, wait a minute,” you might say, “wasn’t the whole point of this blog that you would craft cocktails around current events and news stories? Why haven’t you actually done that at all yet?” Fair point, dear reader. But now things are changing! It’s a news story, that’s happening right now, and now I have a cocktail! Hurray!

As you may know, tomorrow (the 18th) is the date of a potentially historic vote that’s going to be taking place in Scotland. They’re deciding whether or not to remain as part of the United Kingdom, or split off into their own country. This of course has all sorts of geo-political ramifications, from currency exchange to energy rights and so on. Last time I checked, the poll was at 51% for independence and 49% to stay together. So we’ll see what happens!

In the meantime, I’ve made a cocktail. Now, I don’t know where I stand on the actual issue, but in terms of ingredients, Scottish and English are better together. To that end, I’ve made a quick and simple cocktail with scotch (what else can you pick?) to represent Scotland, and Earl Grey tea (which is apparently named after a British prime minister) to represent England. The campaign slogan for sticking together is apparently “No Thanks,” hence the name of the cocktail. Here it is!

No Thanks Ingredients

The No Thanks

    • 2 oz single malt scotch (I picked the Balvenie Doublewood because a) it’s good and b) it’s smoky but not too much so)
    • 1.25 oz Earl Grey simple syrup (I used this recipe though it makes a very large amount)
    • 1 oz lemon

Easy enough preparation: mix together, serve with a big ice cube in a rocks glass. (But see the notes below…)

No Thanks Hero

Tasting Notes:

BN: I really liked this. My only issue was that the Earl Grey flavor didn’t quite come through as much as I wanted in the actual drink. The syrup was very flavored, but I couldn’t put any more in the cocktail without making it too sweet. Perhaps a blended scotch might overpower the light tea flavor a little bit less. The lemon was good to add a little acidity and balance to the palate (don’t I sound fancy). I think the syrup also had a tendency to sink to the bottom, despite a lot of stirring. Perhaps a shaken preparation might work better, if you’re allowed to do that with scotch.

PiC: I don’t normally like scotch, and I actually like this! Well done!

So we’ll see what happens with the vote. Whatever side you’re on, pour yourself a nice big glass of scotch when you watch the results!

No Thanks Composed