You guys, winter has come, and it just won’t stop. After the snowstorm of the decade last week in California, it’s dumping snow again in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Powder day for days! Needless to say, powder hounds are full-on stoked.
But being the beach bum at heart that I am, I’m going to need something to keep me warm beyond just a parka and the box of hand warmers I have. Hello, whiskey! And having launched my new 52 Weeks of Cocktails project last week, it seemed like a great time to share a few of my own favorite cocktail recipes. Because let’s be honest, we’re going to need something to get us through this winter (and inauguration, and presidency).
As I mentioned, last week I launched a new project, dubbed, “Cocktail Chronicles: 52 Weeks of Cocktails.” The goal is to meet 52 different people during the year, buy them a cocktail, and chat about life, asking them, “What’s your story?” In turn, I’ll create a cocktail for them. While I’ll be sharing those cocktail recipes, today I’m coming to you with a few of my favorite cocktail recipes from the last couple years. See them below.
(Interested in taking part in 52 Weeks of Cocktails? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hot Apple Pie Punch
- 10 oz. hard apple cider
- 4 oz. bourbon
- Ginger beer
- Several Cinnamon sticks
- Half a lemon, sliced
- Several thin red apple slices
- 8 cloves
- 2 tbsp. honey
This is hands down my favorite winter cocktail recipe. For this warm cocktail recipe, I made a big batch, quadrupling the servings. As such, you may want to give or take from the numbers I include above based on how sweet, cidery, and bourbony you want it. To make it, I added everything but the ginger beer and bourbon into a slow cooker and heat on a low temperature for a couple hours. While it’s heating, I pressed the lemon and apple slices with a muddler to release the juices. I then turn the slow cooker to warm and top with bourbon and ginger beer (which for this serving, amounted to about three to four ounces). What I found, however, was that the longer I let it sit and keep warm, the more flavorful it became.
A Fine Mess
- 2 oz. anejo tequila
- .5 oz. orange liqueur
- .5 oz. sweet vermouth
- .25 oz maple syrup
- 2 dash orange bitters
- 2 dash bitters (such as Angostura bitters)
I actually made this cocktail by accident, trying to recreate the Another Fine Mes cocktail from cocktail expert Gary Regan. But then this guy forgot to add bourbon and added too much anejo tequila. But what resulted was a fine cocktail even still. To make it, you’ll add all of the ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange.
The Blackberry Fizz may just be my favorite, easiest cocktail. And that of some of my friends, too, who have sent me more photos of this cocktail they’ve made at home than any other. It’s really just so delicious, refreshing, and fruity. To make the Blackberry Fizz, you’ll want to first muddle the blackberries in a cocktail shaker good enough to break up the berries and release the juice. Next you’ll add the rest of the ingredients (except for the champagne) with ice to the shaker and shake. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and top with champagne.
- 2 oz. Pimm’s
- .5 oz. gin
- .75 oz. lemon juice
- .75. oz. agave
- Ginger beer
- Optional for garnish: Strawberries, cucumber, basil
So this marries one of my favorite summer bbq punches (Pimm’s) with one of my new favorite spirits (gin). What I love about Pimm’s (the one pictured here from Searsucker in San Diego) is that it’s one of the oldest, yet most versatile spirits (officially a liqueur), but with far less alcohol than your everyday spirit. So you can really add sweeteners, fruits, and vegetables to taste as you’re making it. In other words, it’s a great big batch drink. While Pimm’s No. 1 is already gin-based, I turned things up a notch and added more gin. To make it, you’ll mix all the ingredients together (except the ginger beer) in a glass with ice before topping with an ounce or two of ginger beer. Then add slices of your favorite fruit and herbs.
It may not feel like beach weather, but let’s drink as if it does! I had no idea what to call this, so since “Pina Colada” simply means “strained pineapple” in Spanish, and since mezcal is much more Spanish than rum, I decided on Pinamezcalada. Let’s live a little, shall we? To make this cocktail, you’ll add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Strain it into a rocks glass filled with ice and if you’re feeling saucy, garnish with a small piece of pineapple.