So good! This was voted the best drink ever at the 2017 informal Wibbels Derby gathering. I think the best part was 1) using a kitchen torch to make individual toasted marshmallows to use to garnish each drink. 2) Eating the toasted marshmallows once you finished the drink! The only bad part was my husband kept sneaking into the kitchen to the eat the extras I'd toasted.
1 1/2 oz Kentucky bourbon 90-100 proof
1/2 oz Ballotin chocolate whiskey
3/4 oz Toasted marshmallow syrup (see below)
3 dashes Fee Brothers chocolate bitters
Mint for garnish
Toasted Marshmallow for garnish
Put the first four ingredients into the mixing glass and add ice. Stir until combined and strain into a julep cup filled with fresh crushed ice. Take a sprig of mint, spank it across the back of your hand and put in in the drink right next to the straw. Impale the marshmallow on a cocktail straw and put it next to the drinking straw. Try not to eat the marshmallow right away.
Toasted Marshmallow Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
10-12 large marshmallows (Must be toasted - use the stove or a kitchen torch. Or a fire if you have one)
1 tsp vanilla
Heat the water and sugar on the stove until it is dissolved and starts to simmer. Add the toasted marshmallows and let them dissolve. Simmer for 3 minutes. Watch it carefully because it WILL boil over. Take it off the stove and let it cool completely. Add the vanilla extract. If you want to know how good it's going to taste, you can taste-test it. But it will be hard to stop. Strain the mixture through a fine metal sieve or cheesecloth and keep in the fridge. Add a bit of vodka to make it last 4-6 weeks.
It's Derby week, y'all. Finally, one week out of the year where juleps can be enjoyed and celebrated! Juleps get a lot of hate, and at the track, they aren't particularly tasty, but when you think about it, a mint julep is a riff on on old fashioned.
Think about it: a classic old fashioned is about 2 ounces of bourbon or rye and small amount of sweetener, say 1/4 to 1/2 ounce. This is very similar in proportion to the mint julep. They traditionally start with two ounces of bourbon and add in about 1/2 ounce of simple syrup, getting some of the mint flavor by muddling the mint leaves in the bottom of the glass. But an old fashioned thrives on its bitters, and I wanted to do the same here.
Ballotin Whiskey makes a chocolate mint variety and it tastes just like you're eating a thin mint. So why not put it in a julep, and feel like you're sneaking a girl scout cookie while at the track or enjoying a Derby party?
Thin Mint Julep
1.5 oz Old Forester bourbon
1.5 oz Ballotin Chocolate Mint
15 drops Scrappy's chocolate bitters
Garnish: Sprig of fresh mint.
Combine all ingredients except the garnish in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until well chilled. Strain and pour into a julep cup filled with crushed or cracked ice. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint that you've spanked across the other wrist. Spanking the mint wakes up the mint, lightly bruising some of the leaves, making them more aromatic. Next, put the straw into the drink right at the mint so that your nose dips into the mint every time you take a sip. Try to drink slowly.
Yes, Virginia, you can make a cocktail without bourbon. Just in case you need a little pre-Valentine cocktail that hints of that romantic favorite chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne, I've got you covered.
I've kept the chocolate taste in this light, not heavy, since creme de cacao is so sweet. Even Venus would fall for a few a these. If you prefer a less sweet drink, choose a dry champagne to counter the syrup and cacao.
1 oz strawberry simple syrup
1/2 oz creme de cacao
4 - 6 oz Champagne
Garnish - fresh strawberry
Combine the strawberry simple syrup and creme de cacao in a mixing glass. Add ice, and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a champagne flute and top with champagne. Garnish with fresh strawberry.
After enjoying a tasty Boulevardier, I asked myself what could make it better. And the answer? Chocolate. Of course.
And what better chocolate to add than Ballotin's Original Chocolate Whiskey. While I love all their products, the Original Chocolate stands in well for creme de cacao and other chocolate flavored liquors (as long as it's not a lighter colored cocktail).
I wanted to take the edge of the Campari off by dialing down the bitterness with an Aperol substitution and added Scrappy's chocolate bitters to enhance the depth of the chocolate flavors. For this particular cocktail, the chocolate bitters needed to be dark and well-rounded. More fudge brownie than chocolate syrup.
So I give you a sweeter take on the Boulevardier. Maybe I should have called it the Wonka Boulevard.
The Chocolate Boulevard
1 oz Ballotin Original Chocolate Whiskey
1 oz Aperol
1 oz Carpano Antica Formula sweet vermouth
15 drops Scrappy's Chocolate bitters
Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass and full with ice. Stir until well-chilled and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an excellent cherry and enjoy.
Heather Wibbels is a cocktail enthusiast who spends her time thinking about cocktails, researching cocktails and making cocktails. Mostly whiskey cocktails, given her Kentucky location.