portrait of a cocktail // fig manhattan

It’s the time of year when brown spirits come out to play and really make autumnal cocktails shine! Can you imagine getting through fall & winter entertaining without a bottle of whiskey on hand? The layered spices, rich vanilla, and toasted grains from bourbons, ryes and scotches add a nice depth to whatever concoction you want to whip up for yourself or a crowd.

portrait of a cocktail fig manhattan // jojotastic.com

I tend to mix up cocktails that require some skill (which I gladly like to share with others), but once in awhile I want something that’s more of a no-brainer, something to mix after a loooong day. When I want an easy peasy cocktail, I turn to the classics. They’re usually simple — I have the spirits on hand already and have come across them enough that I can make them in my sleep.

Recipes for classic cocktails vary greatly (who decided a muddled, fruit cocktail mess was o.k. in an Old Fashioned?!) and are just as easy to screw up as they are to make, so I always turn to the International Bartenders Association for the right proportions and recipes. It’s also a great source for those wanting to learn the craft of the cocktail!

portrait of a cocktail fig manhattan // jojotastic.com

Although I love a good classic (Old Fashioneds & Mai Tais being my favorites), sometimes you gotta mix it up a bit! Recently I was craving a Manhattan with a twist, so I perused the farmer’s market for in-season produce to jazz up this traditional tipple.

Figs are my go-to fruit at the moment for their versatility in savory and sweet dishes or cocktails. This particular cocktail does require planning ahead – about two days for the infusion – but then takes just seconds to put together when you want a fruit-filled boozy beverage. It’s definitely worth it and your future-self will thank you!

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portrait of a cocktail // Fall French 75

Aaaaand just like that, we must say “au revoir” to summer. Although there’s still a couple weeks left of summer, everyone’s mind has switched to fall mode (guaranteed there will be PSLs spotted left & right starting today, ugh). Days spent lounging at the pool in our bathing suits must now be traded in for cozy sweaters by the fire, as sandals at the beach make way for comfy boots.

Fall French 75 // jojotastic.com

My favorite part about the transition from summer to fall? All of the delicious cocktails! Fragrant berries and ripe watermelon have had their time in the spotlight the past few months, but I’m so ready for fall libations. Aromatic spices, rich, complex liquors instead of subtle, floral notes, and piping hot concoctions rule cocktail menus while helping us keep warm through the increasingly chilly evenings. Many fruits fade away with the long summer nights, but one that holds on tight through the fall are pears! Crispy, tart and sweet, this fruit is perfect for making into syrups, juicing, and infusing into spirits.

Fall French 75 // jojotastic.com

Combing the local farmers market, I love to come across fruit or vegetable varieties I’ve never had before. During one of my recent trips, I found what I thought were yellow apples, but were in fact were Asian Pears! This semi-tart fruit has a slight honeydew flavor and remains crisp, which is perfect for salads and cocktails.

Fall French 75 // jojotastic.com

I brought my tote full of ripe Asian Pears home and put them through my juicer. I then added the fresh juice to one of my go-to spirits for this time of year: Spiced Pear Liquor. I love the light pear flavor with cinnamon and clove notes that pair so well (pun most definitely intended) with other cool weather ingredients. I decided to go out on a bit of a limb and jazzed up a classic French 75 with these delicious fall flavors. The cinnamon with champagne and the other citrus flavors meld together perfectly for the perfect autumnal sip. I replaced some of the gin with the pear liqueur and added pear juice for a more prominent flavor.

Fall French 75 // jojotastic.comFall French 75 // jojotastic.com

The first drink I tested was leaning too far on the sweet side. On the second go around, I decided to whip up some pink peppercorn syrup to swap out for the sugar called for in the original recipe. It helps balance the sweet flavors while the peppery bite compliments the other spicy notes.

Pink peppercorns aren’t related to black pepper in any way, but are actually dried pink berries that contain powerful peppery flavor for their small size with a subtle fruitiness. I love using them in place of black pepper in recipes, and for topping desserts as well as spicing up a cocktail without the harsh flavor the usual pepper brings to the table.

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portrait of a cocktail // the aviation

It’s only Wednesday, but I’m here to give you a hand… in the form of a cocktail! Booze was basically made for days like Wednesday (and Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday!)

Meet The Aviation, a classic that has flown under the radar for years, but seems to be emerging from obscurity with the comeback of traditional cocktails (like The Jungle Bird and Bee’s Knees). Thankfully, many liquor stores are starting to stock long-lost spirits that haven’t been prevalent since before the cocktail dark ages of the 70’s – 90’s.

portrait of a cocktail // the aviation @jojotastic jojotastic.com #recipeportrait of a cocktail // the aviation @jojotastic jojotastic.com #recipe

Simple to put together, to make this beautiful, amethyst hued drink, it requires the use of a couple obscure liqueurs.

You should be able to find the Maraschino liqueur at your local liquor store due to it’s popularity with at home bartenders. When most people hear the word Maraschino, those saccharine neon cherries come to mind. This could not be more different! It’s derived from cherries, but the sour Marasca variety it’s made from gives it a mostly tart flavor with a slight sweetness followed by bitter almond notes from the cherry pits. In my opinion, Maraschino is essential to any home bar. It’s a spirit that once you have it, you will wonder how you ever lived without! Continue reading “portrait of a cocktail // the aviation”

portrait of a cocktail // the pimm and proper

When it comes to cocktails, you have your base liquors that are like your basics in your closet (think jeans, white tees, flats). Then there are specific liquors and liqueurs that you can mix in that can bring your outfit — I mean cocktail — to the next level and add oomph! But sometimes, it can be a little impractical because, really, who wants to buy an expensive bottle of booze they use once a year?

portrait of a cocktail // the pimm and proper recipe jojotastic.com

I have a cocktail today with just such a sprit that you will want to grab, but will quickly be added to the rotation in your home bar! Have you ever heard of Pimms? Even the most novice of cocktail sippers have probably come across the Pimms Cup.

portrait of a cocktail // the pimm and proper recipe jojotastic.com

If images of garden parties, polo matches, and high tea come to mind when you hear Pimms, you wouldn’t be mistaken! This drink is practically the national drink of Summer in England. No, really… they drink it like water during the warmer months!

portrait of a cocktail // the pimm and proper recipe jojotastic.comportrait of a cocktail // the pimm and proper recipe jojotastic.com

Despite the refreshing qualities of this drink, how often are you to crack open the bottle of Pimms to make these drinks? Rather then pass up this delicious spirit, I have an alternative concoction for when you can’t handle one more Pimm’s Cup — meet the Pimm and Proper. And yes, pun is fully intended.

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portrait of a cocktail // grapefruit fennel fizz

When the weather heats up we tend to retire our scotch-laden drinks and spirit-driven libations for those with seasonal fruits, juices, and more neutral spirits (like tequila and vodka). Margaritas come to mind immediately when hosting summertime get-togethers. That being said… you should always have a few good cocktail recipes in your repertoire to rotate through for entertaining — one can only have so many margs. Meet the Grapefruit Fennel Fizz!

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portrait of a cocktail // blood orange and sand

We are just about half way through 2015, can you believe that? So far this year I got married (what?!) so I’m excited to see what else this year has in store! For surviving making it this long, we deserve a drink! I have a great onetoday that’s peeerfect for Spring. It contains lingering flavors of Winter along with the fruity notes that dominate Summer time libations. Meet the Blood Orange & Sand!

portrait of a cocktail // blood orange & sand www.jojotastic.com

It is a twist on the delicious and classic Blood & Sand. I don’t mean Lemon Drop or Cosmo kind of classic (let’s not get into that right now), but created-over-a-century-ago kind of a classic. This drink has staying power and for good reason.

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This cocktail is a great intro to drinking Scotch, if throwing an ice cube in a glass and pouring a finger or two of smokey whiskey seems a little daunting your first go-round. It also is a tasty merger of fruity yet beautifully smokey flavors for seasoned Scotch drinkers, ahem, like Joanna and me. Adding in a splash of blood orange soda to the traditional cocktail gives it some added citrus flavor and bubbles. Bubbles are always fun (right?!).

 

 

portrait of a cocktail // blood orange & sand www.jojotastic.com

Ingredients

Makes 1 drink

  • 1 oz Scotch
  • 3/4 oz Cherry Heering
  • 3/4 oz sweet vermouth (Dolin is a favorite of ours)
  • 3/4 oz blood orange juice (substitute orange juice if blood orange is not available)
  • 1/2 oz blood orange soda
  • 2 all natural maraschino cherries (such as Luxardo)
  • orange peel

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker (we love this shaker and this one) except for blood orange soda. Shake with ice. Strain into 6 oz cocktail glass and top with blood orange soda. Garnish with maraschino cherries and orange peel.

portrait of a cocktail // blood orange & sand www.jojotastic.com

It calls for one component that may be unfamiliar to some: Cherry Heering. Don’t even think about replacing it with another cherry brandy, kirsch, or liqueur! I mean, you could, and it may be just as good, but you would have a whole other drink on your hands. Instead, invest in a bottle of Cherry Heering — a little goes along way.

portrait of a cocktail // blood orange & sand www.jojotastic.com

This staple liqueur is made with cherries and spices that give it it’s unique flavor profile that works here to balance the smokey notes from the Scotch. It is actually a very usefully bottle to have on hand for your home bar. Many traditional cocktails can be made with it and it makes for great experimenting to create new concoctions!

portrait of a cocktail // blood orange & sand www.jojotastic.com

The Blood Orange & Sand is a pretty sexy drink that would be great for a dinner for two at home to impress your date or partner (they don’t have to know how simple it is!). Top with more orange juice and — et voilà — you have a fun and pretty drink thats suitable for a brunch with your friends or fam!

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Happy imbibing!

p.s. I also shared another perfect springtime cocktail over on Sugar & Cloth this week!

Photos and recipe via Ashley Rose Conway for Jojotastic.

portrait of a cocktail // the thai chili colada

You put the lime in the coconut and drink ’em bot’ up!” This song has found itself firmly planted in my head lately (maybe because the warm weather has finaaally decided to come out and play!) I can’t help but think of lounging on the beach, toes in the sand, with a tropical drink in hand whenever I hear this song! I found myself singing this as I waltzed down the produce aisle, grabbing coconuts, pineapples, and limes with out even thinking! And what do you think I made with all of these? A cocktail! What else does one do with such beautiful and tasty ingredients?

portrait of a cocktail // thai chili colada www.jojotastic.comKnowing there needed to be something else to marry these citrusy and creamy ingredients together and give it some oomph, I searched for the perfect accompaniment. I came across one small, but mighty item that seemed perfect, albeit unconventional for cocktails: Thai Chilies!

portrait of a cocktail // thai chili colada www.jojotastic.comThese little guys may look harmless, but pack quiiiite a punch. Sticking a whole one of these into a drink would surely cause a 5 alarm fire in your mouth, not exactly what I am look for when I’m parched on a Friday at 5 o’clock. Steeping a few chilies in a brown sugar syrup mellows out the overpowering burn, while maintaining some of the heat and flavor that gives the drink so much depth!

portrait of a cocktail // thai chili colada www.jojotastic.com

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