The Boulevardier

Hero_Boulevardier.png

The Boulevardier

Classy, Sophisticated, Foolproof

A good cocktail is one that you can easily whip up…even haphazardly. It should require only a few readily available ingredients and be delicious every time. It's for these reasons that the Boulevardier cocktail is one of our favorite drinks. Similar to The Negroni cocktail in proportions and style, The Boulevardier is made with three ingredients–whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Campari. Instead of relying on light & herbal gin as the base spirit, this drink calls for an oakier whiskey–preferably bourbon. But swapping bourbon for gin is more than just a simple substitution, it's a game-changer! The hardier base spirit adds remarkable depth to the grapefruit forward Campari and spice heavy sweet vermouth, making it smooth & perfectly balanced.

The first mention of the Boulevardier cocktail appeared in 1927 in bar legend Harry McElhone's bartending guide, Barflies and Cocktails. One of those barflies Harry mentions was Erskine Gwynne, a wealthy New Yorker turned ex-pat Parisian who edited The Boulevardier–a monthly magazine self-described as "the magazine that is read before, between and after cocktails." Sounds like our kind of magazine! Apparently Gwynne’s love of boozy cocktails and Parisian nightlife earned his drink of choice a spot in the mixology canon. History lesson aside, after making up a batch of Boulevardiers it's obvious why this cocktail has stuck around. It's freakin' tasty!

Here's how to make a Boulevardier cocktail:

Ingredients:

In a mixing glass, combine bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth with a large scoop of ice. Gently stir for 20-30 seconds and strain into a chilled coupe glass. To garnish, squeeze a fresh orange peel over the cocktail to express the orange oils.

Our go to bourbon for this cocktail is the Burnside Oregon-Oaked Bourbon for its perfect balance of oak and sweet vanilla notes. For a more robust cocktail, try it with our Burnside Goose Hollow RSV Bourbon or our 10 year Burnside Buckman RSV Bourbon. This cocktail is also perfect for pre-batching. We love mixing up a big pitcher of Boulevardiers to keep in the fridge for those busier post-work night. Just pour into a glass with a large ice cube, stir a few times, and garnish with an orange peel!


The Brunch Line

Hero_BrunchLine.png

The Brunch Line

Breakfast in a glass…basically

Forget extreme obstacle courses, Brunch is the truest test of your grit and endurance. When you take your place in the brunch line, you're hungry, tired, possibly hungover, and if you're in the Pacific Northwest, you're also cold and wet 9 out of 12 months. Ahead of you is a queue of fellow poor souls each facing a grueling, seemingly infinite, 90 minute wait. The kicker? You get to stare into a warm DRY dining room filled with smiling four-tops sipping their Bloody Marys and casually nibbling their benedicts. Wear comfortable shoes and remember not to lock your knees, you’re in for the marathon because avocado toast IS superior to regular toast.

We have a love/hate relationship with this weekend ritual. The dedication so many people have to late breakfast inspired us to create a cocktail that pays homage to their tenacity–The Brunch Line. This drink brings together some classic brunch ingredients into one glass. The foundation of this cocktail comes from our Hue-Hue Coffee Rum. A blend of cold brewed single origin coffee, premium silver rum, and a small amount of demerara sugar, it's a no BS avenue to a clean bold coffee flavor without excess sugar or artificial flavors/syrups.  And don’t call it a liqueur, cold brewed Hue-Hue is about the coffee, not about dessert.

Coffee base secured, we then incorporate a small amount of Grade A maple syrup, a whole egg white, and Averna–a bittersweet amaro that adds herbal notes and highlights the chocolatey qualities of Hue-Hue. The drink is topped off with bubbly water resulting in a delicious creamy coffee cocktail that's virtually breakfast in a glass. Avoid the lines, dust off your toaster and make this brunch-in-a-glass at home.

Here's how to make The Brunch Line cocktail.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Hue-Hue Coffee Rum

  • .75 oz Averna

  • .5 oz maple syrup

  • 1 egg white

  • 3-4 oz sparkling water

  • lemon twist


Combine Hue-Hue, Averna, maple syrup, and egg white in an empty shaker. Shake hard without ice for 25-30 seconds to really froth up the egg white (this is called a dry shake). Then toss in a few ice cubes and shake again for 10-15 seconds to chill the mix. Strain into a chilled Collins glass filled with ice, and top with sparkling water. If you're fancy you can even sub Prosecco in for the sparkling water. Garnish with a lemon twist, and enjoy!

The Bloody Mary

Hero_BloodyMary.png

The Bloody Mary

Hardy, Layered, Filling

On any Sunday here in the Pacific Northwest, hoards of bleary-eyed brunch goers reach for one of the most popular "hangover cures"; the Bloody Mary. This drink breaks pretty much every cocktail convention we know. To start, it's unapologetically savory, typically spicy, and is often accompanied wish a garnish that would make a salad bar blush. But it's all these unusual qualities that make the Bloody Mary justly distinguished, and a staple on brunch menus across the US.

For home bartenders, the Bloody Mary can be an intimidating cocktail at first. Recipes for the perfect Bloody mix are shrouded in mystery, with many bars keeping it a tightly guarded secret. Pre-made mixes are readily available at most grocery stores but they’re never as satisfying as the freshly made real deal. While these mixes truly simplify the process of making a Bloody Mary–just add vodka–they limit your ability to make a drink that fits your unique tastes and cravings.

The history of the Blood Mary dates back to prohibition times...go figure, like almost every other classic cocktail. While Americans were coping with forced sobriety, fun loving Parisians and their expat companions were blending cultures and copious amounts of spirits to push the cocktail world forward. The Bloody brought together Russian vodka, a new spirit on the scene after the Russian Revolution, and canned tomato juice "cocktail" from America. It didn't take long for this combo to gain popularity for its hair-of-the-dog qualities; staying on the cusp of inebriation while consuming your vegetables and vitamins. In the hands of American bartenders nearly a decade after its inception, the Bloody Mary was refined with the addition of fresh citrus, savory Worcestershire sauce, and a heavy dose of spices. Not much has changed since.

Bringing it back home, the basic Bloody Mary recipe is easy to whip up with minimal prep. We recommend making a large batch of the mix to keep in your fridge. The building blocks for a great mix are basic; good tomato juice, fresh lime and lemon juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and a simple spice mix.

Here's how to make the perfect Bloody Mary.

Ingredients:

  • Portland Potato Vodka

  • 32 oz Organic Tomato Juice

  • 2 oz fresh lime juice

  • 2 oz fresh lemon juice

  • 2 oz Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tsp hot sauce (we like local Secret Aardvark, but Tabasco brings a nice vinegar quality)

  • Spices

    • 1 Tbsp celery salt

    • 1 Tbsp black pepper

    • 1 tsp salt

    • 1 tsp cayenne

  • Celery stalk for garnish

To make the mix, add tomato juice, citrus juices, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and spice mix to a large pitcher. For best results, make the mix the night before and let the flavors combine in the fridge overnight. When you're ready to make a Bloody Mary, pour 2 oz of Portland Potato Vodka into a chilled collins glass filled with ice. Top with your mix, and give it a couple stirs. Garnish with a celery stalk and enjoy!

Once you've mastered this basic Bloody Mary recipe, the real fun comes in developing your own unique mix that's perfect for your taste and occasion! Want something a little more complex and savory? Try adding in a large scoop of pickled horseradish and an ounce or two of your favorite pickle juice. Sweet and smoked paprika are also great additions to your spice mix, and can really help round out the acidity from the citrus.

Another fun variation to play around with is infusing your own vodka. A couple tablespoons of whole black peppercorns added to your bottle of Portland Potato Vodka will create a delicious peppery vodka after infusing for two to three days. Same goes for garlic cloves, habanero or jalapeno peppers, fresh dill, grated ginger, etc. Better yet, save yourself the infusion time and pick up a bottle of our Hot Potato Vodka. Don't be afraid to get creative, experiment, and develop your own secret Bloody Mary recipe!

The Corpse Reviver #2

Hero_CorpseReviver.png

The Corpse Reviver #2

Complex, Herbal, and Undead

The hangover does not discriminate. It is true that every one of us has individual limits. Should those limits be crossed with a few too many drinks you've secured yourself a one-way ticket to Feeling-like-garbage-ville. The symptoms of overindulgence in spirits were first recorded more than 3000 years ago, with the acknowledgement that there was no known cure. Despite the reality that there isn't a surefire rebound and very likely never will be, it hasn't stopped people throughout the centuries from overconsumption. Creative day after therapies include pickled everything for breakfast, burying yourself in cold sand, consuming more of what made you ill(!) and even a little voodoo. But as we’ve all likely experienced, it seems the only guaranteed way of getting better is to wait it out with lots of rest, some nutritious food to settle the gut, and rehydration.

In the short term, it is possible to delay the full brunt of a hangover by drinking a bit of the "hair of the dog that bit you." And sure, you'll feel slightly better for a brief moment, but we don't condone this "remedy". At some point you'll have to pay the price. It was this very thinking though that led one of the cocktail greats, Harry Craddock, to develop a series of drinks potent enough to wake the dead...or nearly dead. These so called Corpse Revivers became widely popular, with the Corpse Reviver #2 earning its way into cocktail canon. After trying one, it's obvious why.

Each Corpse Reviver cocktail featured a different base spirit, with the #2 based on gin. Comprised of equal parts gin, Cointreau, Lillet, and lemon juice, this cocktail is easy to make correctly with very little technique required. Oh, and there’s a dash of absinthe in case you thought it was too PG. And while this drink was originally developed to cut through the morning fog, we think this sipper is best after a good meal in the early evening. Beware how easily this one goes down; it's perfectly balanced and very delicious, hence the warning with the original Savoy Cocktail book recipe, "Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again."

Here's how to make a great Corpse Reviver #2.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce Big Bottom Navy Strength Gin

  • 1 ounce Cointreau (triple sec)

  • 1 ounce Lillet Blanc

  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice

  • 1 dash of Absinthe

  • 1 lemon twist

Add 1 dash of Absinthe to a chilled coupe and swirl to coat inside of the glass. Add gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, and lemon juice to a shaker filled with ice. Shake hard for 20-30 seconds. Strain shaker into absinthe rinsed glass and garnish with a lemon twist.


The Cuba Libre

Hero_CubaLibre.png

The Cuba Libre

Simple, Tropical, and Classic

The Cuba Libre is a true guilty pleasure drink for us. At its most exalted, it can be described as having subtle vanilla and cinnamon notes, supported by baking spices, banana peel, and raisins, rounded out with bright acidity and tang from fresh lime juice. At its most basic, you can think of it as a fancy rum & Coke. But while it shares the same building blocks as the heavily binged club favorite, the Cuba Libre is a bit more grown up and better suited for casual escapism than reckless intoxication.

The origins of this drink are a little murky, but popular lore places the creation around the turn of the century during Cuba's fight for independence from Spain. Literally translated to "Free Cuba", Cuba Libre was a common rally cry–one that would certainly raise spirits in the form of a toast. It didn't take long before the mix of local lime juice, Cuban rum, and Coca-Cola made the 90 mile journey north to the Florida Keys along with the moniker Cuba Libre.

So does a fancy rum & Coke mean that you have to make your own cola syrup from scratch like The Greatest Japanese Bartender? Not at all! Used sparingly in a cocktail, cane sugar based colas like Mexican Coca-Cola are readily available at most grocery stores, and provide the same complex spice and sweetness you could hope for from any decadent simple syrup. It also makes for an incredibly easy drink to build correctly without having to carefully prepare ingredients.

Here's how to make the perfect Cuba Libre:

Ingredients:


Fill a tall collins glass with ice. Add rum and squeeze 2-3 lime wedges worth of juice into the glass. We also like to toss in the whole squeezed lime wedges for extra zest. Top it off with Mexican Coca-Cola and give it a brief stir with a bar spoon to mix it all up. Take your time with this classic and enjoy!

The Classic Whiskey Sour

Hero_WhiskeySour.png

The Whiskey Sour

Creamy, Tart, and Delicious

The Whiskey Sour, as indicated by its name, falls squarely in the "sour" family of cocktails. The building blocks of a sour are familiar if you've explored our recipes for The Gimlet and The Classic Daiquiri: spirit + sugar + citrus. In a Whiskey Sour, fresh lemon juice meets whiskey, with added support from a rich simple syrup and an egg white. That's right, an egg white right in the mix.

Pastry chefs in the 1600s started experimenting with egg whites and discovered that by whipping them with sugar, they could create a light and fluffy meringue that added a decadent texture to cakes and pastries. By whipping egg whites, you start to break down their tight protein structure while incorporating air. Added to a cocktail, egg whites create an airy foam that helps elevate the texture and highlights the individual ingredients of the drink.

Unfortunately, the history of the Whiskey Sour is fraught with tragic tasting sour mixes, unskilled bartenders, and growing fears about consuming raw egg whites–all of which resulted in decades of terrible drinks. But don't let this dissuade you–creating a perfect whiskey sour at home is easy and safe if you just pay attention to a few key steps. The biggest factor to consider is freshness. Fresh ingredients taste better, and in the case of eggs, safeguards you from foodborne illnesses. Luckily, there's a fool-proof way to test if your eggs are fresh!

Here in Portland, where there's a farmers market every day of the week, it's easy to get your hands on incredibly fresh eggs. But if you're looking for a way to test your store bought eggs, just place a whole uncracked egg into a glass of water. If it floats, the egg is too old. If it sinks to the bottom of the glass, you're good to go.

Here's how to make a classic whiskey sour:

Ingredients:

To make this drink, start by adding your separated egg white to a clean cocktail shaker. You'll then want to dry shake the egg white (shaking without ice) for about 30 seconds to start breaking down the proteins. Once the egg white starts to froth up, add your whiskey, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and a scoop of ice, and shake again for 15-20 seconds until the shaker is cold. Strain the mix into a cocktail glass or a rocks glass with a large cube. You should see a nice thick layer of foam form at the top of the glass. Next, add a couple dashes of Angostura bitters on top and garnish with a brandied cherry .

A whiskey sour can be made with any whiskey, but we particularly love ours with Burnside West End Blend. This blended American Whiskey has sweet corn and peach skin notes with a light finish that works really well without being overpowering. For a slightly more complex taste, opt for a straight bourbon like our Burnside Goose Hollow RSV.


The Gimlet

Hero_Gimlet.png

The Gimlet

Bright, British, and Tart

The Gimlet is a peculiar cocktail. Its origins can be traced back to 19th Century British officers who were prescribed a mixture of gin and citrus juice as a way to fight off scurvy while out on the high seas. Similar to the classic daiquiri, the popularity of this cocktail can be credited to swarthy sailors looking for a comforting cocktail after they regained their land legs. But whereas the daiquiri was invented behind a bar, the Gimlet came into existence on ships where fresh citrus was hard to come across. In lieu of fresh lime juice, ships started carrying shelf stable lime cordials–the most common, and still readily available being Rose's Lime Cordial. The taste of this cordial is completely unique, with an almost unnatural green tint, intense citrus flavor, and a syrupy sweetness. When the recipe for the Gimlet made its way behind the bar, it originally called for equal parts Rose's Lime Cordial and gin.

Over the decades, and in the hands of some very talented bartenders, popular recipes for the modern Gimlet have tweaked the proportions and ditched lime cordial for fresh lime juice and simple syrup. While the flavor is slightly different from the version served to sailors, we applaud the substitution of fresh ingredients in place of artificial coloring and high-fructose corn syrup. Modern Gimlets are bright, refreshingly easy sippers. Still, there are some purist who believe that without the inclusion of lime cordial, it's not really a Gimlet. Cocktail guru Jeffrey Morgenthaler took on the challenge of reverse engineering a lime cordial recipe using fresh ingredients. While it's nice to have a homemade cordial on hand, we've come up with a recipe you can build without a bunch of prep that gets you pretty darn close to the original. We've also paid homage to the drink's naval origins by using our Big Bottom Navy Strength gin.

Here's how to make a classic Gimlet.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces Big Bottom Navy Strength Gin

  • .75 ounce fresh lime juice

  • .5 ounce 2:1 simple syrup

  • 1 tsp fresh lime zest

  • lime wheel

This drink is best served in a chilled coupe glass. Before you get started, place a couple ice cubes in a coupe glass, or place the glass in the freezer for about 10 minutes. To build, add your simple syrup and zest from about half a large lime into a shaker. Then, add lime juice, gin, and a large scoop of ice. Shake hard for 20-25 seconds and double strain into your chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

The addition of the lime zest in this recipe helps give the drink a classic green hue and adds a little extra citrus zing you'd expect from a lime cordial. For the springtime, we've also really enjoy a Cucumber Gimlet variation. For that recipe, after you add your simple syrup and lime zest, drop a couple of large cucumber slices into your shaker and muddle slightly before adding your lime juice, gin, and ice. The cucumber adds a lovely garden freshness to this classic.

The Hue-Hue-Tini

Hero_HueHueTini.png

The Hue-Hue-Tini

Chocolatey, Bold, and Smooth

The 80's were a pretty grim time for cocktail culture. This decade soft rocked itself into creating some pretty horrendous cocktails made with mass manufactured mixes and Tom Cruise style tin flips. But it wasn't all bad. Some true gems came out of that bar scene; chief among them, the Espresso Martini. The origin story of this drink involves a supermodel, weird sexual innuendos, and vodka (sounds like the 80's). But like all great things born in the 80s, it grew up, got a better haircut, and refined itself into something truly remarkable. The Hue-Hue-Tini is our way of paying respect to the padded shoulder days, with a refreshed focus on the true star of the show: coffee.

To understand a drink like the Hue-Hue-Tini, it's important to first learn a bit about coffee. Up until the mid 90's, coffee was treated by most as a non-perishable pantry item. You'd buy it when you needed it, and hang onto it until the tin was empty. The coffee "beans" were roasted incredibly dark until the only flavor left was something similar to burnt oily toast. A shot of espresso in the 80's was likely a concentrated cup of bitter char and coffee oils. Not exactly the most appetizing thing to add to a cocktail...and pretty apparent why they covered this flavor with an overly sweet coffee liqueur.

Fast forward some 30 years, we find ourselves in a completely unrecognizable culture of coffee aficionados. It's now possible to find excellent fresh coffee in nearly every corner of the US. Here in Portland, there's a craft coffeehouse sourcing and roasting the best coffees in the world practically every 3 blocks. We sought out the best coffee to compliment the taste profile of our signature silver rum used in our Hue-Hue Coffee Rum. The true rich flavor of light roasted coffee shines through without the need to cover up imperfections with a ton of sugar and artificial flavors–like most coffee liqueurs on the market.

The Hue-Hue-Tini takes the bright & bold qualities in Hue-Hue and builds upon them with vodka, bottled cold brew, and a small amount of 2:1 simple syrup. Lemon oil expressed over the top is a delightful addition that brightens up the nose of this cocktail and allows the chocolatey notes to shine through. Simply put, it's the perfect cocktail to enjoy after a delicious dinner or to get your weekend started at brunch.

Here's how to make a Hue-Hue-Tini.

Ingredients:

Before you start building this cocktail, chill a coupe glass with a couple ice cubes or by sticking in the freezer for 10 minutes. To build, add Hue-Hue, vodka, simple syrup, and cold brew to a shaker with a large scoop of ice. Shake ingredients hard for 20-25 seconds. Strain into your chilled coupe glass, and squeeze the lemon peel over the glass to express the lemon oil into the cocktail. Serve immediately and enjoy!

8 Simple Syrup Recipes for Your Home Bar

BarEssentials_Hero.png

Bar Essentials: Simple Syrups

Similar to how a pinch of salt added to any meal can help flavors shine, a little sugar in a cocktail can be transformative. In fact, sugar is one of the 4 key ingredients in an Old Fashioned–the drink that helped define all cocktails. Sugar adds depth, smooths harshness from citrus and ethanol, and can give a cocktail a silky mouthfeel. Adding granulated sugar straight into your shaker or mixing glass, however, is almost guaranteed to disappoint. In cold liquids and alcohol, sugar has a tough time dissolving properly. Hence the need for liquid sugar, commonly known as simple syrup.

If you've never made simple syrup before, or are intimidated with anything having to do with a stove top, you may be tempted to go out and buy a bottle of simple syrup from the store. Don't. It's typically more expensive pre-made, and drastically limits your flavor and sugar concentration options. We'll walk you through how to make 8 easy & essential simple syrups perfect for your home bar.

Types of Simple Syrup

At its most basic, simple syrup is made using two ingredients: sugar and water. Seriously, that's it! Sugar is dissolved in water in a small pot on the stove top, and then cooled to create a clear and consistently sweet syrup. Here's how to make 8 essential simple syrups.

1. Basic Simple Syrup (1:1)

This is the most common simple syrup you'll come across. It's light and sweet without being cloying. Use this syrup for most drinks where you want to add sweetness and don't mind having a little extra dilution–like sparkling drinks or cocktails served in a collins glass. This syrup is also perfect for sweetening up your coffee or tea!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated white sugar

  • 1 cup water

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat on a stove top over medium heat stirring regularly until all of the sugar is dissolved. Cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.

2. Rich Simple Syrup (2:1)

Rich 2:1 simple syrup is a syrup made with a ratio of 2 parts sugar to one part water. We love this syrup for stiffer cocktails or drinks where we want to add sweetness without having to worry about diluting it too much. This rich syrup also adds a silkier mouthfeel to any cocktail. Plus, you can use a smaller amount of this concentrated syrup in your drinks.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups granulated white sugar

  • 1 cup water

To make this syrup, combine two cups sugar with one cup water in a small saucepan. Heat on the stove top over medium heat stirring regularly until all of the sugar is dissolved. It's done when all of the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is clear. Cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.

3. Honey Simple Syrup

Honey is an amazing natural sweetener. It's also chock-full of antioxidants and health benefits like easing digestive issues and soothing a sore throat. Since honey on its own is a bit too thick to blend well in a cold cocktail, it's important to thin it out by making a simple syrup. There's also a wide variety of honey available to create unique syrups to enhance your cocktails. Experimenting with different honeys is a great way to introduce floral complexity into your drink.  It's worth checking out your local specialty market or farmer's market to find interesting honeys collected from bees in your area.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup honey

  • ¼ cup hot water

We prefer our honey simple syrup to be rich to avoid diluting the honey flavor too much. We also like making smaller batches of honey syrup since it's easy to make and not as common in recipes as other simple syrups. To make, combine honey and hot water in a small pitcher. Stir until all the honey is dissolved. Cool and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

4. Demerara Simple Syrup

Demerara sugar is a light-amber hued unrefined sugar. It has a toffee like quality to it, and is a great way to add extra depth to cocktails made with bolder spirits like bourbon and rye whiskeys. We even use a little demerara sugar to add rich sweetness to our Hue-Hue Coffee Rum. Speaking of rum, demerara simple syrup is perfect for almost all tiki and tropical drink recipes. This syrup is definitely a must in any home bar setup.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup demerara or turbinado sugar

  • 1 cup water

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat on a stove top over medium heat stirring regularly until all of the sugar is dissolved. Cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.

5. Vanilla Simple Syrup

Of all ingredients and flavors to be associated with sweets, perhaps none is more common than the ubiquitous vanilla bean. And for good reason! Vanilla is fragrant and enticing, adding a floral and slight warming quality to any dessert, baked good, or beverage it's added to. Vanilla beans are actually the collected pods from vine like orchids grown in remote places of the world. Each "bean" is filled with thousands of small seeds that pack a concentrated punch of flavor. Homemade vanilla syrup is a game-changer for anyone who likes to dabble in home baking. It's also great to have on hand for creating decadent hot chocolates, DIY morning vanilla lattes, and delicious bright cocktails. We love adding vanilla syrup to summery cocktails involving fresh fruit juices and purees.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white granulated sugar

  • 1.5 cup water

  • 1 whole vanilla bean

Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat on the stove top. With a small paring knife, slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the pulp and seeds, and add them to your saucepan. Place the empty vanilla bean in the airtight jar where you'll keep your syrup. Stir the sugar, water, and vanilla seeds until all of the sugar is dissolved. Let cool slightly and transfer the syrup into your airtight jar with the vanilla bean. As the vanilla bean sits in the syrup, more and more flavor will be extracted. Store in the fridge, and use within a month.

6. Rose Simple Syrup

Rose is a powerful scent that when used in moderation can add a delicate floral brightness to simple syrup. We're lucky to call Portland Oregon home, a place where stopping to smell the roses is a real past-time. Our signature Rose City Cocktail combines Burnside Oregon-Oaked Bourbon with a little rose simple syrup to create a cocktail worthy of late summer porch sitting. Try adding this subtly aromatic syrup to cocktails using dark spirits or drinks that call for fresh citrus.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white granulated sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 2-3 drops rose water

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat on a stove top over medium heat stirring regularly until all of the sugar is dissolved. Let the syrup cool slightly and add 2-3 drops of rose water. Rose water is commonly available at most grocery stores, and a small bottle will last you a very long time. Once fully cooled, store your syrup in an airtight container in the fridge and use within a month.

7. Chamomile Simple Syrup

Chamomile is another great flavor to experiment with in cocktails. It's incredibly aromatic, and is great for digestion and calming the nerves. It also marries well with fresh citrus and cocktails that call for mint. Sounds like the perfect springtime ingredient to us!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon dried chamomile

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 cup water

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a slow boil. Reduce heat and add the dried chamomile. Let the chamomile steep in the water for about three minutes, then add sugar. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Let the syrup mixture cool, then strain syrup into an airtight jar. Store in the fridge and use syrup within one month.

8. Spiced Simple Syrup

By now, it's probably obvious that simple syrup is a great way to extract different flavors and essences you want to add to any culinary project. With all the sugar, spices, and extractable ingredient choices available, your options for simple syrups are nearly limitless! When it comes to spices, the technique for infusing your simple syrup is essentially the same for all spice options. Some of the most common are cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, clove, black pepper,  and star anise. Spiced simple syrups are also perfect for fall and winter cocktails, and add a nice robust depth to drink recipes. Try experimenting with single spices or by creating a mixture of your own.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 Tablespoon of roughly ground dried spices

Combine sugar, water, and your spice mixture into a small saucepan. Cook on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring regularly, until all the sugar has dissolved. Let cool slightly and transfer your syrup and spice mixture into an airtight jar. Dried spices need a bit of time to fully infuse into your syrup, so let the mixture sit in your fridge for 1-2 days. Shake and check your syrup daily until you are happy with the flavor of the infusion. Then, strain out your spices and store your filtered syrup in an airtight container for up to one month in the fridge.

The Manhattan

Hero_Manhattan.png

The Manhattan

Bold, Timeless, and Warming

Like many classic cocktail recipes, the history of The Manhattan is mired in differing accounts of its origin. Of the many stories, our favorite is the one linked back to the historic Manhattan Club in New York. The legend suggests that the cocktail was created for a party thrown by Lady Jennie Spencer-Churchill (mother of British PM Winston Churchill) for Samuel Tilden. Tilden is famously remembered as the 1876 presidential candidate who won the national popular vote, but lost the electoral college. Some of the details in this story don't quite add up, but we like to imagine many people were cooling the sting of a political defeat with Manhattan cocktails...kinda like we were in 2016.

Origin stories aside, the long-lasting nature of this recipe speaks to just how good the combination of rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters truly is. The spicy bold rye is tempered with the gentle mouth feel and sweetness of vermouth, and the whole thing is supported from the additional spice of Angostura bitters. The short & stout nature of this cocktail makes it the perfect after dinner sipper. Oh, and they're incredibly easy to make!

We love making our Manhattans with our Burnside Oregon Oaked Rye Whiskey. At 92 proof, it's the perfect whiskey to cut through most vermouths and gives this classic a more modern and approachable flavor. Also, being a simple three ingredient cocktail means that the quality of each ingredient really matters. Do yourself a favor and opt for a higher quality vermouth like Carpano Antica or Cocchi di Torino.

Here's how to make a Manhattan Cocktail.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces rye whiskey

  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth

  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters

  • 1 thick orange peel

  • 1 brandied cherry

Add your bitters, vermouth, and whiskey to a mixing glass. Add a large scoop of ice and stir gently with your bar spoon for 20-30 seconds. Strain contents of mixing glass into a coupe or small cocktail glass. Squeeze the orange peel over the drink to express the orange oil into the cocktail. Finish it all off by dropping a brandied cherry into the bottom of the glass.

For some fun variations, try swapping out the Angostura bitters for any bitters of your choice. For a more pronounced rye whiskey flavor, try making one with Big Bottom Delta Rye. It's also good to know that rye isn't your only choice. While a nice spicy rye whiskey is classic, try making one with an oakey bourbon or even our Cherry Bomb Whiskey!

The Negroni

Hero_Negroni.png

The Negroni

Iconic, Aperitif, and Very Italian

The Negroni is a classic cocktail that enjoys an almost cult-like status amongst its fiercest loyalists; to the extent that some have exalted this drink with claims that it is the best cocktail in the world! The Negroni even has its own dedicated swag and week of celebration. So it must be something special, right?

While we do agree that this seemingly benign concoction of equal parts gin, Italian bitter liqueur, and sweet vermouth is undeniably delicious, slightly bitter, and perfect for sipping on sunny bistro patios, we stop short of claiming that it's the best. The simple fact is that some people really don't like anything bitter in their cocktail. For those who do enjoy the complexity that comes with a bitter liqueur like Campari or Aperol, the Negroni is hard to beat.

So what makes it so great? It's balanced, it's refreshing, and it's super easy to build. Equal parts of three different ingredients makes creating a delicious Negroni almost foolproof. As with all simple cocktails, the best thing you can do to set yourself up for success is to start with high quality ingredients. After some rigorous testing and comparison of many different variations, we can confidently say that this recipe makes a damn fine Negroni.

Here's how to make a great Negroni.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce Big Bottom Navy Strength Gin

  • 1 ounce Aperol

  • 1 ounce Carpano Antica sweet vermouth

  • Large orange peel

This drink can be built directly in your rocks glass. No fancy preparation needed. To build, place a large ice cube in your rocks glass and add gin, Aperol, and vermouth. Stir with a bar spoon for 15-20 seconds. Squeeze your orange peel over the drink to express the orange oils into your cocktail. You can then toss the orange peel or stick it right into the cocktail.

Aperol is a delightful substitute for the more traditional (and slightly more bitter) Campari. Blended with our higher proof Navy Strength Gin, the subtle bitter and grapefruit qualities of Aperol really shine through without being overpowering. The first sip is floral and botanical with a nice spice from the vermouth in the middle before mellowing beautifully to a mild bitter citrus zest on the finish. It's balanced, bold, and incredibly refreshing.


The Vodka Martini

Hero_VodkaMartini.png

The Vodka Martini

Bracing, Clean, and Smooth

When it comes to martinis, there seems to be a perpetual debate about which base spirit to use – vodka or gin? We believe there are merits for both, but they create two very distinct cocktails. As opposed to the more savory and herbaceous Classic Martini made with gin, the Vodka Martini is elegant, clean, and just a little sweet. Made correctly, it's a true celebration of vodka; the most consumed spirit on Earth.  

Vodka is legally defined as being a neutral spirit, "without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color." However, anyone who has tasted different types of vodka knows that there are many different tastes and characteristics to each brand. They're subtle, but they're real. Vodka distilled from potatoes, like our Portland Potato Vodka, is incredibly crisp, smooth, and a bit cleaner tasting than a corn or wheat based vodka. It all starts in the ferment but we’re not going down that rabbit hole in this post.

To highlight the purity of a good quality vodka, it's paramount to use a good quality vermouth. Like all simple 2 or 3 ingredient cocktails, it's nearly impossible to cover up the taste of a bad ingredient. While a traditionalist approach to choosing vermouth would be to stick with a bone dry vermouth like Noilly Prat Extra Dry, we've enjoyed variations that use a slightly sweeter vermouth like Dolin Blanc, Lillet Blanc, or Cocchi Americano. The sweetness of these fortified wines plays off the softness of potato vodka, and is best with a bit of lemon oil expressed over the top.

Here's how to make the perfect vodka martini.

Ingredients:

*This drink is best served in an ice cold coupe glass, place a couple cubes of ice into your glass before you start to make the drink to pre-chill.


Add vodka and vermouth to a mixing glass with a scoop of fresh ice. Stir gently with a bar spoon for 25-30 seconds (only secret agents are allowed to shake their martinis). Strain into your empty, chilled coupe glass and squeeze the lemon peel over your glass to express the oils into your cocktail. Garnish the rim with your lemon peel.

The Old Fashioned

Hero_OldFashioned.png

The Old Fashioned

Venerable, Balanced, and Stiff

Ah, the Old Fashioned Cocktail–perhaps one of the most widely known cocktails in the world, and for good reason. The history of this combination of bitters, water, sugar, and spirits dates back to the early 1800's, and has since become a classic. At that time, this concoction was simply referred to as a "cocktail", and has persisted as the basic template for all cocktails since. The name Old Fashioned emerged about a century ago when bar patrons started ordering their cocktails made the old fashioned way. The name stuck, and even became associated with the straight sided rocks glass the drink was commonly served in.

While you can make an Old Fashioned using any spirit as the base (it’s true!), we prefer the traditional interpretation with a Southern inspired whiskey like our Burnside Goose Hollow RSV Straight Bourbon. The oakiness of a straight bourbon paired with a spicy bitters like Angostura, a spoonful of 2:1 simple syrup, and a bit of fresh citrus is an unbeatable combination. The water in this recipe comes from the dilution of ice when gently stirred for about 20-30 seconds.

Once you've mastered the basic Old Fashioned, it's fun to experiment with other variations using different types of bitters, sugars, and even base spirits. For a fruity twist, try making one with our Marionberry Whiskey!

Here’s how to make a great Old Fashioned Cocktail.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces bourbon whiskey

  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters

  • .25 ounces 2:1 simple syrup

  • 1 thick orange peel

Add your bitters, simple syrup, and bourbon to a mixing glass. Add a large scoop of ice and stir gently with your bar spoon for 20-30 seconds. Place a large ice cube in a short straight-sided Old Fashioned glass and strain contents of mixing glass over your large cube. Squeeze the orange peel over the drink to express the orange oil into the cocktail. You can then toss the orange peel or stick it into the glass for extra vibrancy. You've just made a perfect Old Fashioned cocktail!


The Classic Daiquiri

Hero_Daiquiri.png

The Daiquiri

Refreshing, Clean, and Crisp

In some of the darker corners of the cocktail world, daiquiris have emerged as syrupy frozen concoctions eager to give you brain freeze and a morning full of regrets. They're served in comically large styrofoam cups and come in exotic flavors like Banana Banshee and Red October. And while these concoctions born from flavored mixes and cheap rum have a place in dive bars and drive-throughs, they're now closer related to slushies than one of Cuba's contributions to classic cocktails. Made properly, a daiquiri is clean and crisp with balanced sweetness–a far cry from the Weekend At Bernie's version that bares the same name.

The classic daiquiri recipe consists of just three ingredients: good quality silver rum, fresh squeezed lime juice, and a touch of sugar. No pre-batched mixes or artificial flavors required. The 3 unadulterated ingredients are shaken vigorously together with ice until the resulting cocktail is nearly freezing.

Hailing from Cuba, this drink was thought to have been originally created as a way to fight off Yellow Fever (seems legit). Stationed Navy sailors then brought this drink stateside in the early 1900s, and was perhaps made most famous for being Ernest Hemingway's drink of choice in his Cuban vacation days. Whatever the exact history, we're happy the daiquiri has lasted the test of time.

Here's how to make a classic daiquiri.

Ingredients:

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add rum, lime juice, and simple syrup and shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds. Make sure to shake hard until the shaker is ice cold. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a lime wheel.