It’s almost Negroni Week and a perfect time to learn more about the classic Negroni cocktail. We share a fun bit of history on how it was created and how it got it’s name. Find recipes for the Negroni and a couple of it’s close relatives. Cheers!
Cocktails can be the perfect ice breaker or finish to a long day. A classic martini, a refreshing gin and tonic or maybe the sophisticated Old Fashioned but what happens when you are having a party and are planning out cocktails for your guests? For me, I often shake or stir cocktails to order, especially if it's a small gathering. For those times that the party includes 10-20 guests (or more), being behind the bar means you don't really get a chance to enjoy the party and mingle with your guests. To make your next gathering a little less stressful and a lot more enjoyable, I've put together a couple of cocktail recipes that will make your guests happy and let you enjoy the festivities as well (win-win!).
The measurements I provided are for 10 cocktails. These can easily be doubled or tripled for even larger gatherings. Following each batch cocktail, I've provided the measurements for one cocktail, so even if you're not having a party you can still enjoy these great cocktails!
Party tips: In addition to a few batched cocktails, I always have beer and a nice chilled wine for the hot weather months. A beverage dispenser with ice water and lemons will help keep your guests hydrated between cocktails. And for the non-drinkers, omit alcohol and add seltzer water to the recipes below.
Check out our Batched Cocktails for a Crowd segment on New Day Cleveland!
Peach Tea Bourbon Smash
makes 10 cocktails
1 -3/4 cups bourbon ( I used OYO Whiskey )
2/3 cups Lemon Juice
4-6 Peaches sliced into thin wedges
Roughly 1 1/2 tsp of Crude "Pooter" Smoke & Salt bitters (add more or less to taste)
Directions: In large pitcher, drink dispenser or punch bowl, add sweet tea syrup, lemon juice, bourbon, Crude Smoke & Salt bitters and peaches. if you're adding the basil, give it a whack against your hand before you add it to the pitcher and LIGHTLY muddle it (just enough to release the oils). Stir well and serve!
I recommend slicing the peaches and placing them in the bourbon at least a few hours prior to serving... this adds more peach flavor and makes those pretty little peaches a boozy treat. The bitters are pretty amazing in this drink they remind me of drinking a cocktail near a beach bonfire, adding a hint of smokiness and a wisp of sea salt.
To serve: Place an ice bucket and cups next to the premixed cocktail. You can add ice to the pitcher before serving but be aware that as the ice melts the cocktail will become watered down. A ladle or large spoon also comes in handy for your guests to fish out the boozy peaches.
(for one cocktail: 1-1/2 oz bourbon, 3/4 oz Jack Rudy Sweet Tea Syrup, 1/2 oz lemon juice)
For a non bourbon version, check out the recipe below.
For the non bourbon drinkers...
Recently my husband and I were invited to a get together with friends. I was asked to bring the cocktails, the twist... that they NOT taste like alcohol.... Say what?!?
Hmmm, a challenge for me, especially since I prefer boozy and oftentimes bitter forward cocktails. Sometimes you just do what you gotta do! After all, it's all about making sure your guests have a great time. I accepted the challenge and put together this peachy little gem :) They LOVED IT! I have a feeling that if you're not a bourbon lover, you'll enjoy it too!
That's Peachy -Peach Tea Cocktail
makes 10 drinks
1 3/4 cups vodka
1/4 cup peach schnapps (yes, I said schnapps)
2/3 cup lemon juice
2 peaches sliced into thin wedges
Fresh basil *optional
Follow the directions above. Be sure to soak the peaches in the peach schnapps for that extra little boozy treat. Add ice to your pitcher for even less boozy taste.
Passion fruit Cocktail - 3 ways:
makes 10 cocktails
2 -1/2 cups rum (preferably dark rum)
1 cups lemon juice
Directions: In a large pitcher or drink dispenser, add passion fruit syrup, lemon juice and rum. Add a cup of ice to help agitate the mix. Stir really well.
To Serve: Place an ice bucket and cups nearby and guests can help themselves. You can add ice to the pitcher before serving but be aware that as the ice melts the cocktail will become watered down.
Ultimately rum is the traditional spirit for this sweet, tart tropical cocktail but if you and your guests prefer a different spirit the following variations make a tasty summer cocktail as well.
(for one cocktail: 3/4 oz Liber & Co Passion fruit syrup, 2 oz dark rum, 3/4 oz lemon juice, serve with crushed ice)
Passion fruit Cocktail #2 Passion fruit Vodka Sour
Being that Vodka ranks as #2 for liquor sales in the world, I'd be remiss if I didn't include a vodka variation. Same recipe just swap the rum for vodka.
Passion Fruit Cocktail #3 Passion Fruit Margarita
And because margaritas are perfect for hot summer months, here's another variation ...swap out the rum for a nice silver or reposado tequila and use lime juice instead of lemon.
How much alcohol do I buy?
Good question! Here are a few simple conversions to help you out...
Most liquor bottles are 750 ml which is the equivalent to approximately 25 fluid oz
There are approximately 12 cocktails in one 750 ml bottle if the average pour is 2 oz
750 ml = 25 oz
8 oz = 1 cup
An important part of any get together is to ENJOY! Laugh with your friends and family and don't sweat the small stuff!
Even more important... no drinking and driving! Plan a sleepover or download one of those handy transportation apps before you imbibe.
Hope these recipes help make your next party fun & stress free!
Happy Hour Collection
What better way to enjoy the Season Premiere of Game of Thrones than having a Game of Thrones inspired cocktail party? I know that I'll be sitting on the edge of my seat with cocktail in hand watching to see who Arya Stark's next victim will be, who will be the next to sit on the Iron Throne and what does it mean for all of Westeros that Winter is here?
For this post, I once again partnered up with Nathan Hubble of Follow That Fork.
Nathan took his inspiration from the men on The Wall, The Night's Watch and from the original title of the book by George R.R Martin, "Song of Ice and Fire."
I took my inspiration from the White walkers and their icy blue eyes. I had a fun time creating this cocktail (a little too much fun with all the taste testing :) and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Each cocktail is pretty easy to make (minus the fiery flare and cinnamon sparks) and each tastes delicious!
As we all wait to see how "The Song of Ice and Fire" plays out, here are our Game of Thrones inspired cocktails...
2 oz gin (I used Ford's) non- gin drinkers can substitute w/ vodka
**1 oz lychee syrup
1 oz coconut milk
3/4 oz lime juice
3/4 oz Liber & Co Gum Syrup
*Make ahead: Blue Ice cubes made with B'lure
To make the White Walker, start by placing the cocktail glass in freezer for a nice frosty cold glass. In a cocktail shaker filled with plain ice add the ingredients and shake well. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass, garnish with B'lure Blue ice cubes.
**Make Ahead: The night before make the blue ice cubes. I used Tovolo's perfect ice cube tray. Each tray makes 15 - 1 1/4 inch cubes. In a glass measuring cup I added a cup of warm water and approximately 1 tablespoon B'lure Natural flower extract. Freeze overnight. The B'lure is a bright blue all natural flower extract, when citrus is added it changes from blue to purple and then to pink. As your cubes melt, the cocktail will change colors. Variation: If you like a little more tropical tartness, use Liber & Co's Passion Fruit Syrup. I originally made this cocktail using the passion fruit syrup but to make it turn out a littler whiter I switched to the gum syrup.
**Lychee Syrup: Here's my disclaimer... I used a shortcut! I went for quick results and just used the syrup from the can of lychee fruit. For me it worked great and wasn't as sweet as a homemade lychee simple syrup.
FYI: Lychee fruits are tropical fruits that when peeled resemble a water chestnut but have the texture of a peeled grape. The taste is a cross between a delicate rose and a pear. They've also been described as tasting like a flower and a melon or grape.
Gum Syrup? Gum syrup is a classic cocktail ingredient from the days of pre-prohibition. What it is: it's a rich simple syrup (2:1) with gum arabic added. Why use it? Gum arabic is an emulsifier and unlike regular simple syrup it creates a silky smooth cocktail. Here's an easier analogy, Simple syrup is like a heavily chaperoned, high school slow dance, whereas gum syrup is the Tango. SImple syrup interacts with the cocktail and is pleasant but holds flavors at arms length. Gum syrup is cheek to cheek flavors creating a silky smooth dance on your tastebuds.
The Night's Watch
2 oz espresso
2 oz black vodka (Blavod -can be ordered at select retailers online)
1 oz kahlua
6 drops of Crude Coffee & Cocoa Bitters
This cocktail comes with a warning... Playing with fire and booze is dangerous. Proceed at your own risk! Of course, this is a pretty tasty cocktail that doesn't actually require you to play with fire but it does look pretty cool in the photo!
In an ice filled cocktail shaker, add espresso, vodka, kahlua and the coffee & cocoa bitters. Shake and strain into cocktail glass.
If you can't find Blavod (which is the only black colored vodka on the market) You can add black food coloring or use your favorite vodka. A few Luxardo cherries on a cocktail pick are a perfect garnish. Their sweetness and red black color are a nice compliment to the cocktail.
Nathan achieved the fire and sparks by reserving 1 oz of vodka from the cocktail. After it was poured into the cocktail glass he layered the remaining ounce on top of the cocktail and carefully lit it. The sparks were created by throwing a bit of cinnamon towards the flame and the rest is camera magic!
As a mom, a safety advocate and the wife of a firefighter... I strongly suggest enjoying the photo, skip the fire and add the full 2 oz vodka to your cocktail shaker... after all why burn off a whole ounce of vodka when you could be enjoying it in your cocktail? :)
A huge THANK YOU to Nathan Hubble for his endless creativity and wonderful talent! If you don't already know this... Nathan is a food stylist, photographer and recipe developer. His blog is Followthatfork.com and he can be found on instagram @nhubble
Thank you also to the young lady who came into Happy Hour Collection a week or so ago looking for Game of Throne Cocktail ideas... I hope your party was a wonderful success! This post was inspired by you! Cheers!
What do you think off when you hear someone mention the Kentucky Derby? I'm going to guess that elaborate hats, red roses and mint juleps are a couple of the first things that come to mind, quickly followed by horses. You might also think of throwing your own Kentucky Derby party. Below we'll share recipes perfect for making your Derby party a hit but first, history...
The Kentucky Derby is steeped in tradition. Here are a few fun facts:
The Kentucky Derby has run continuously since 1875, even through the Great Depression.
The land was acquired by Colonel Merriwether Lewis Clark, grandson of William Clark, of Lewis & Clark fame.
1932: The first thoroughbred winner was draped in garland of roses
The Kentucky Derby was always a fashion forward event. Men and women were expected to dress up in their finest. However it wasn't until the 1960's that the wearing of elaborate hats took off.
1938: The Mint Julep became the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. The reason for the silver cup? Rumor has it that jockey's were awarded sterling silver julep cups as a reward for first prize (and they look a bit like a trophy cup).
Now that you know a little bit about the history of the Kentucky Derby, it's party time! Here we'll get the party started by sharing two great recipes. First, I'll share the recipe for the Mint Julep and here you can find an absolutely delicious Chocolate Bourbon cake recipe by Nathan Hubble, www.followthatfork.com.
1 oz Pope's Mint Syrup
2 oz Bourbon
Mint for garnish
First things first... crushed ice. There are a few ways to approach this ingredient... first the crushed ice setting on your fridge, a blender or my favorite a Lewis bag and ice mallet. Why the Lewis bag & Mallet? The canvas Lewis bag actually wicks away extra moisture from the ice making a drier ice and therefore not watering down your drink from the get go. It also seems to produce a finer crushed ice than many of the blenders out there (no large chunks of ice mixed in with the fine ones). Not to mention it's oddly satisfying to smack ice with a hefty wooden mallet.
Now it's time to make your mint julep! Add 1 oz Pope's mint syrup, 2 oz bourbon into your julep cup, at this point I'd give it a quick stir to incorporate the syrup and the bourbon. Add crush ice to the rim and stir again frosting the outside of the julep cup. Top with more ice creating a little dome. Give your mint a slap or two against your palm to release the oils (this adds to the drink by bringing the lovely aroma of mint right to your nose). Add the mint to your julep cup, don your fancy hat or smart bow tie (or cravat if you prefer) and cheer on your favorite horse!
*We did say Derby party, right? Here are few quick tips to make life simpler, after all who wants to spend the whole time crushing ice and mixing mint juleps? The night before or morning of, crush lots of ice and store in in a ziploc bag in the freezer. The day of: wash and cut your mint sprigs for garnish, place them stems down in a cup of water to keep them fresh. In a large pitcher, pre-measure and mix the bourbon with the mint syrup, store in fridge until ready to use. When it's party time fill your julep cups with ice, pour bourbon & mint mixture over top, garnish with mint, serve and cheer on your favorite horse!
**not a bourbon lover? sub your favorite vodka, no one ever needs to know ;)
Sources: "Kentucky Derby History," www.kentuckyderby.com/history/kentucky-derby-history. Churchill Downs Inc. Web 06 May 2017