Thanks to everyone that participated in this month’s theme, From Crass to Craft, as well as Fred Yarm for doing a great job running Mixology Monday. I hope everyone was able to get a little bit more perspective on how and what we consider “craft”, and perhaps even gained a little respect for some ingredients we initially sneer at. I’m sure a few of us, if not all, had a part of us die a little inside while measuring out that bottle of Buttershots, cheap schnapps or artificially flavored vodka. Sure, some things no matter how you mix them will never be considered craft (yes glazed donut vodka, I’m speaking of you…), but to me, a true mixologist “crafts” a cocktail based on flavor profiles and how ingredients will play off one another to create something harmonious and tailored to the imbiber. Also, making homemade infusions, liqueurs and reinventing ingredients is what being a craft mixologist is all about.
Perhaps you’ve been inspired on a few new cocktails for that herbaceous and anise laden bottle of Galliano? Or, maybe Fred helped shed some light on how Jagermeister was originally intended to be imbibed and not just what all the shotty marketing and college students have done to sully its name? I think most of us, especially those whom work in the beverage industry, started our intro into this wondrous cocktail world using and/or consuming what most of us consider to be low brow ingredients now days. And, hey, I had a lot of fun experimenting and it brought back some fond (and not so fond) memories. Well, without further adu, here are this month’s entries. Cheers!
Cocktail author and blogger Kevin Liu from Craft Cocktails at Home created The Craft Strawberry Daiquiri which featured rum, strawberry preserves, orange flower water. These subtle variations elevate a classic cocktail, and with no blender in sight.
Tiki expert and Christmas MxMo host JFL from Rated R Cocktails dared to show me that coffee deserves to be craft and I bow to his ideology after having his interpretation of a classic Jamoca with his Daybreak Daiquiri. JFL, I will never speak of coffee and non-craft in the same sentence ever again.
Next up Raul at Death to Sour Mix (a perfect blog for this theme I might add) came up with the Babylon Station, which is crafted from Malibu Rum, Aperol and homemade Pina syrup. A beautiful looking drink that showcases how fruit forward cocktails can be made with great care and not taste one note.
We may have history in the making with Dan Chadwick at Kindred Cocktails using flavored vodka, coconut for that matter, in a cocktail…Though, he does make up for it with a full ounce of Campari. But thanks so much Dan for being a good sport and making a great drink. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) I don’t have coconut vodka so I’ll try a little coconut rum and vodka mixture and try his Painmaker. Love the name.
Next up, Mark over at Cardiff Cocktails boasts a nice tipple called The Journeyman that uses Amaretto and apricot preserves mixed perfectly with vodka, cloves and freshened up with some lemon juice. I’ve been following his blog for a while now and I’m never disappointed with his creations, this one included.
901 Very Good Cocktails author and enthusiast, Stew Ellington, proudly gives us one of his first, and still one his favorite, cocktails the Christmas Baby. Rumpleminz (real schnapps by the way), creme de cacao, Frangelico, cream and Baileys… Crass? Yes. Delicious? Damn straight. If you’ve read his book, you know you can trust Stew to not steer you the wrong way. Great job.
Hailing from Italy, Raffelle Bellmoi at The Shorter Straw brought us an innovative twist on a classic cup, The Redemption Cup, that uses a strawberry and lemon ice ball that slowly melts into Belvedere Vodka and his honey, black pepper and chamomile infused Cointreau. I’ve always loved chamomile and honey and it paired perfectly with the strawberry and triple sec. Cheers Raffaelle.
Fresh back from Australia, Todd Yard at Concocktails serves up a little Tiki craft in the form of the Tapu, a Polynesian word from which we get Taboo from. I love how he takes a great theme like Tiki, and uses one of my favorite brown spirits, rye, and makes it work with coffee liqueur, coconut rum and a tsp of bitters.
I don’t know how Aaron Knoll at The Gin is In did it, but he somehow elevated Pinnacle Whipped Cream vodka into his Halja Cocktail…I’m still perplexed…It took some gusto to put it with barrel aged gin and Creme de Violette. But I tip my hat to you sir. Well played.
Cocktails, Guns & Confederates threw together a lovely gin and vermouth long drink, the Little Elizabeth Cocktail that was refreshed with Izze Grapefruit soda. I’ve used Izze in the past so I know how great this stuff is and it’s perfect to showcase how soda can be craft.
The venerable Putney Farm gave us a classic cocktail, The 20th Century Cocktail to be exact, that is by far a craft drink but it does use creme de cacao, which usually is made poorly and thus throws its name into the dark realm of crass liqueurs. Thanks Stewart and Carolyn for providing a true craft classic that we still enjoy today.
Nathan Hazard of The Chocolate of Meats gives us a variation of the classic Pegu Club Cocktail called Road to Mandalay. Nathan uses the eponymous blue curacao that brings back memories of often poor interpretations of true “Tiki” drinks you might find at your local Applebee’s. It’s refreshing to see him remind us that true curacao is derived from the lahara fruit on the isle of Curacao and is in fact a wonderful ingredient when used properly, this one just gets hit with loads of food coloring, but does lend a beautiful color to cocktail, as seen here.
The Boo Lion went retro and amped up that bottle of Galliano we all have sitting on our bars with the, Harvey Cherrybanger. They balance a sweet, Kirshwasser forward cocktail with some herbaceous Cynar and bitter grapefruit juice. A delicious concoction.
Our Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Frederick Yarm of Cocktail Virgin Slut, took us on a tasteful lesson in herbal digestifs, namely Jagermeister. Probably the most famous of “crass” perception of a truly fine herbal, bitter liqueur, due to all the countless Jager Bombs in our college years. His riff on the classic Algonquin, which he names after a ritzy German hotel, the Adlon Cocktail, tames the sweet German liqueur with pineapple juice and dry vermouth.
The Muse of Doom took on some Buttershots, much like Booze Nerds, but takes us into the realm of punch with her Butterscotch Punch. I love how she points out her take on being cocktailian but not “craft”. You wouldn’t know from her excellent cocktails, and her view is right on theme.