The dark color of maple syrup goes so well with whiskies as they are darker spirits, and a barrel-aged syrup lends color and notes of the barrel to any cocktail. I love a great Black Manhattan, and in this case, with the maple and Foro amaro, I felt like the licorice taste of Herbsaint added some floral notes to the heavier chocolate and coffee overtones from the amaro. Together, you get a cocktail that sits between a Sazerac (which originated in New Orleans) and a Black Manhattan. So I decided to call it Midnight on the Bayou as a reference to both. What I love about this one is that you get the licorice up front on the start of the sip, but after a sip or two, the chocolate and coffee notes from the amaro start to shine through and really make it a well-rounded cocktail.
Midnight on the Bayou
0.25 oz Watson’s maple syrup
2 oz Rye whiskey
0.75 oz Foro Amaro
0.25 oz Herbsaint (a licorice-flavored liqueur)
Garnish: star anise and/or candied ginger
Add cocktail ingredients to a mixing glass, add ice and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled martini or coupe glass and garnish with the star anise and candied ginger.
I was never a fan of pears until I had a lemon pear tart. The combination of the earthy sweetness of pears and the tart lemon was a winner, and once I added a little drizzle of maple syrup, it tasted like heaven. I wanted to recreate those flavors within a cocktail and nailed it. I used a lovely pear brandy which had tons of floral notes and added the @watsonsbarrelagedsyrup Watson’s maple syrup to it along with lemon juice and some bourbon. I added an egg white for a lovely foam on top, but you can omit that if you like. It softens the flavors and melds everything together to recreate that taste of a bite of lemon pear tart.
The Brillet pear brandy makes the cocktail very floral, not as much as a gin cocktail, but you definitely get good bit of floral aftertaste with each sip. If you're not a fan of floral cocktails, you might use a less floral brandy or liqueur, but still, the pear flavor is a wonderful match with the maple and bourbon.
Maple Pear Sour
0.5 oz pear liqueur or brandy - I used Brillet
0.5 oz Watson’s maple syrup @watsonsbarrelagedsyrup
1 oz lemon juice
1.5 oz bourbon - I used New Riff Bourbon
1 egg white or 0.75 oz aquafaba
5 drops sassafras and sorghum bitters
Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker and add ice. Shake, shake and shake some more. Double strain into a chilled couple or martini glass and garnish with a few drops of bitters on the top. Use a garnish skewer to make a design with the drops. Enjoy!
There’s something magical about digging into a freshly baked cherry pie, and one that has a bit of bourbon in it is even better. I wanted to use the bourbon base-notes of the maple syrup with a fruit that wouldn’t overpower it and would marry well together as you sipped it. I found the perfect match in cherry liqueur and Watson’s Bourbon Barrel aged Maple syrup. Finished with a quality cherry garnish, some black walnut bitters and maybe a spiced pecan, you’ve got a cocktail in your hand that’s sweet, but not overpowering, and lets all the elements shine while you sip it.
Cherry Pie Old Fashioned
2 ounces bourbon
0.25 oz Watson’s maple syrup
0.25 oz cherry liqueur
2 dashes black walnut bitters
Garnish: spiced pecans and cherries
Add cocktail ingredients to mixing glass, add ice and stir until well-chilled. Strain into an old fashioned glass with ice and garnish with cherries and pecan (if desired). Cheers!
NYE cocktails at home tonight. We've got big plans. Finishing Dirty John, cuddling with the kittens and cocktails. FYI Dirty John is messed up! I put together two quick cocktails to celebrate having the most adultish NYE at home ever. The fun part was watching all my social media friends who were also staying in for NYE. Made me feel like I've found my tribe. Love you guys!
I'm the Favorite (his)
I put this together for him because I've been obsessed with coffee and amaro flavors lately and this Tiramisu liqueur had been gathering dust on the bar for a while. He loves sweet drinks if they're neat, but doesn't mind some of the bitter notes from the amaro. I did add some chocolate bitters to the mix because I thought the chocolate was getting lost under the more heavy amaro flavors.
(It's called "I'm the Favorite" because we joke that he's the favorite of two sons-in-laws. Although my mother refuses to admit it.)
2 oz New riff rye
1 oz Tiramisu liqueur
.25 oz cocchi vermouth di Torino
.5 oz Averna amaro
2 dashes Bitter truth chocolate bitters
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Stir until well-chilled and strain into a chilled coupe. We garnished this with cherries, but if I'd had a chocolate truffle or some coffee infused cream to layer on top that would have been the way to go.
Yes, Dear (mine)
For my cocktail I wanted to see how the Michter's Toasted Bourbon played with the peach liqueur. I added a tiny amount of Cardamaro because I love the way the harsher notes of cardamon blend in with the toast from the bourbon and the sweetness of the peach.
2 oz @michterswhiskey toasted bourbon
.75 Giffard's peche
.25 Montenegro Amaro
8 drops Crude Bitterless marriage bitters
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Stir until well-chilled and strain into a chilled coupe. Again, I garnished with cherries, but in season a fresh or dehydrated peach or candied ginger would work out just as well and tie in with the other ingredients of the cocktail even better.
The Christmas Eve cocktail is ready, courtesy of @watsonsbarrelagedsyrup (they generously sent me some samples to play with) and the richness of the maple syrup was an incredible asset to the mouthfeel and smoothness of the cocktails. I'm not a huge fan of overly sweet drinks and amaro is an ingredient I love to add because of the bitterness and complexity. I started with the idea of a black Manhattan and did a gingerbread twist.
2 oz bourbon @willettdistillery Johnnie Drum
0.75 Foro Amaro
0.5 Watson's barrel-aged maple syrup
0.25 Allspice Dram
0.25 barspoon molasses
8 drops gingerbread bitters
Garnish: dried orange slice or a piece of candied ginger
Combine bourbon, amaro, maple syrup, allspice dram, molasses and bitters in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a dried orange or candied ginger.
You can set one out for Santa if you like, or just sip on that second one while you finish last minute preparation before gifts, whether you're celebrating Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, the Solstice or any of the hundred other winter festivals. Stay warm and Happy Holidays to you all.
I'm known for bringing batched cocktails to parties. A holiday get together this Sunday was no exception. I'd had the Faretti biscotti for quite a while and hadn't really been happy with any of the results, but I paired it with the Solerno Blood Orange liqueur and some black walnut bitters and it tasted like a plate full of holiday cookies. The Biscotti liqueur has a very buttery and pastry-like mouth-feel on it so it doesn't always play well with others, but paired in this combination, it works wonders.
Here's instructions for a single cocktail. To make a batch for an empty boubon bottle, just convert the ounces to cups and multiple the bitters by 6.
Santa's Cookie Plate
1.5 oz bourbon
1 oz Faretti biscotti
0.5 oz Solerno blood orange liqueur
2 dashes black walnut bitters
5 drops Tiki bitters
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Stir to combine until well-chilled and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange slice, a fancy cherry or your favorite holiday cookie. If you leave one out for Santa, chances are he won't leave. Cheers!
I'm a sucker for the Allspice Dram. It's too strong to use in large quantities, but in small amounts, it can set a drink on fire with a mouth full of baking spices. While the primary flavor is allspice, when I nose or sip it, I get ginger and a little nutmeg and some sweet molasses/vanilla flavors. Pair that with a maple liqueur we found in Nova Scotia last year (The Canadians KNOW how to do maple liqueur - no US brand can compete as far as I'm concerned) and it's a little sweet, a little spicy - in all the right ways. It's like your best friend that has your back, but will definitely kick your ass if you fall down on the job.
Bitter & Spice & Everything Nice
1.5 oz Michter's bourbon
.75 oz Maple Liqueur
.5 oz St Elizabeth's Allspice Dram
Candied Ginger Garnish
Combine cocktail ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Stir until well-chilled, then strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with candied ginger. Or a gingerbread cookie, if you have one on hand.
The first week back from a vacation is always the longest. I tried to open my horizons after recovering from our epic hikes in Banff and Jasper, BUT. But I tried a gin and tonic and it was so disappointing. I may have become the truest of all whiskey girls because I used to love gin and tonics.
In any case, Saturday is my Friday. In order to recover from the gin and tonic, I looked to a newly opened bottle, my Michter's Toasted Bourbon Release. It's this vanilla, caramel, toast bomb that's fabulous neat. I needed to redeem myself with an amazing Manhattan riff, and I think I succeeded.
Keep the Change
2 oz Michter's Toasted
1 oz good quality vermouth (I used Cocchi di Torino)
1 dropper Fig and Orange bitters
Garnish: orange rose
Combine cocktail ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Stir until well-chilled and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with an orange rose and sip as slowly as you can. You'll want another. I can promise you. The orange rose garnish is MUCH harder after that first cocktail.
Saturday is my Friday. Tried a gin and tonic, but had to sneak some whiskey.
Keep the Change
2 oz Michter's Toasted
1 oz good quality vermouth
1 dropper Fig and Orange bitters
You know how every once in a while a cocktail just comes out right the first time. And this was one I wasn't really looking for. I had a standard Manhattan recipe, but we've always got an open bottle of Johnny Drum, so I wanted to see how it matched with the vermouth I had open - Cocchi's Vermouth Di Torino. To match with bitters, I stood in front of the bitters box in the bourbon cabinet and alternatively nosed the Johnny Drum and the bitters until I found two that matched. And Oh, My God.
This Manhattan is perfect for me. It's got a great balanced of sweet from the vermouth and bourbon nose and taste. The bitters heighten all the baking spices I get from the bourbon. It's so good members of my family who never drink Manhattans will ask for this one any time they visit.
I'll add the batch instructions at the end. In case you've got a Manhattan lover who needs a gift.
The Contessa's Manhattan
2 oz Johnny Drum
1 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
5 drops Woodford's Sorghum and Sassafras bitters
3 drops Old Forester's Bohemian bitters
Garnish: orange peel and/or cherry
Add the ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir until well-chilled and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with an expressed orange peel and/or cherry.
The Contessa's BATCHED Manhattan
2 cups Johnny Drum
1 cup Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
35 drops Woodford's Sorghum and Sassafras bitters
20 drops Old Forester's Bohemian bitters
1/2 cup water
Pour ingredients into a 30 oz container, stir and place in the fridge until well-chilled. I keep a bottle in the fridge for those last minute visitors needing a cocktail. Mix for a house-warming or hostess gift for those bourbon-lovers in your house. This makes 8 cocktails.
PSA: Keep your Vermouth in the fridge at all times!
Ever had a whiskey you just knew you had to put into a cocktail? That's how I felt about Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey when I tried it. We'd gone into the Village Anchor for an anniversary dinner and got there early enough to have a few cocktails and talk to the bar manager. He let us try a sip of Skrewball. All I could think of was getting that in a cocktail that made me think of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Now, this isn't my final draft of the cocktail. I still need to figure out a way to get the grape jelly taste in there without using actual jelly, but this was a damn good cocktail. Not pretentious, not anything you'd find in a fancy place, but it's a fun front-porch on a warm night kinda cocktail. You can thank me later.
Pb & J
1 oz bourbon
1 oz Skrewball peanut butter whiskey
1 T grape jelly at room temperature
1 dash of black walnut bitters
Place ingredients in a cocktail shaker, fill with ice and shake. Strain into a rocks glass filled with large cubes of ice. Garnish with a strawberry or just a swipe of grape jelly on the rim. Enjoy.
Heather Wibbels is a whiskey enthusiast (Executive Bourbon Steward, no less) with a passion for cocktails. She loves researching cocktails, making cocktails and drinking cocktails. Mostly whiskey cocktails, given her Kentucky location. For more information about her favorite whiskey group, head over to Bourbon Women and join the women's whiskey revolution!