Cocktail Hacker

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Homemade Orange Bitters

Posted by Reese on 2014-11-04 @ 05:27pm

Lately I’ve been drinking a lot of carbonated water at work and at home.  My favorite way to drink it is with quite a few dashes of bitters.  While I like the flavor of aromatic bitters (and I’ve been using a previous batch frequently), I prefer fruit bitters.  Having barreled through a couple bottles of Fee Brothers bitters I decided to try making my own orange bitters.  Here is the recipe from my first batch.

Orange Bitters Steeping

Reese's Orange Bitters (Batch 1)
Peel of 2 Oranges (including pith) sliced thin
Zest of 2 Oranges
3 Cinnamon Sticks Broken into Pieces
15-20 Cloves
2-3 Cups Vodka
1) Combine the above  in a jar and let it steep for a week
2) Strain through a metal sieve
3) Re-strain through a clean paper towel to get the fine particulate out

Okay, so that was batch 1 which netted about 20 oz of really tasty orange bitters.  They were lightly sweet, with a really fresh orange flavor.  The spices were there but not overpowering.  They lasted all of about 2 months.  Sooo…wanting a little more output and some additional flavors, I moved on to batch 2.

Reese's Orange Bitters (Batch 2)
Peel of 3 Oranges (including pith) sliced thin
Zest of 1 Orange
8 Cinnamon Sticks Broken into Pieces
15-20 Cloves
15-20 Allspice Berries
2 Cups Vodka
2 Cups Water
1) Combine the above  in a jar and let it steep for a week
2) Strain through a metal sieve
3) Re-strain through a clean paper towel to get the fine particulate out

This batch netted about 3.5 cups (30 oz) but the flavor isn’t as robust.  The orange flavor is more subtle (and the color is notably lighter).  The bitter notes are a bit more pronounced, likely from the extra pith.  Finally the spice qualities are about the same.  Going to be good for water flavoring, but not as powerful as I was hoping.

So, for batch 3, I’ll definitely be going back to something closer to batch 1.  I think the extra zest (versus whole peel) gives more orange punch and the lower quantity of liquid made the end product more concentrated.  Go figure, right?  Though, I’m liking the additional spices.  Likely my next batch will retain the allspice and possibly add ginger or cardamom to the mix.

What I’m Drinking Now: Autumn Sour

Posted by Reese on 2014-10-30 @ 05:34pm

Autumn is upon us good hackers and what better way to celebrate the season than with a cocktail!  Wanting a drink reminiscent of fall with flavors to match, I reached for whiskey, apple and a touch of cinnamon and came out with a cocktail that’s easy to drink and very tasty.

 

Autumn Sour


Autumn Sour
1 1/2 oz Whiskey *
1 oz Lemon Juice
2 oz Apple Cider
1/2 oz Cinnamon Liqueuer **
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
1) Combine everything in a shaker with ice
2) Shake until well chilled and strain into a cocktail glass
3) Garnish with a dried or fresh apple slice

* I went with a blend of 1 oz Johnnie Walker Red Label and 1/2 oz Rye. I wanted a light smokey note from the Scotch with the spiciness of the rye. However, you can (and should) use whatever suits your taste.

** If you can track down Fyr from J&L Distilling in Boulder, CO DO IT!  So tasty.  If not, I’d recommend using a more complex cinnamon liqueur like Original Cinn from Hiram Walker.

Dickel Dozen Introduction

Posted by Reese on 2014-10-27 @ 05:20pm

I’m happy (seriously bordering on giddy) to announce that I’ve been asked to participate in the Dickel Dozen program. Brand Ambassador Doug Kragel will be selecting a special barrel of George Dickel whiskey that I’ll then get to sample. The video included below is a quick introduction to the George Dickel distillery, their process and whiskey.

Once the bottle arrives, I’ll be posting some tasting notes and more of my thoughts. If you’re local and want to help me analyze (fancy word for drink) the special bottle of George Dickel, definitely let me know!

 

What I’m Drinking Now: Wildfire Sunset

Posted by Reese on 2014-10-06 @ 04:48pm

I love mezcal.  It’s like tequila’s rougher, somewhat crazy cousin.  I love the smoke, the sharpness and the depth of flavors.  I had some orange juice in the fridge and decided to try a Tequila Sunrise with some smokey mezcal in place of the tequila.  Behold, friends, the Wildfire Sunset.

Wildfire Sunset

Wildfire Sunset
2 oz Smokey Mezcal
3 oz Orange Juice
Splash of Grenadine
1) Combine the mezcal and orange juice in a rocks glass with ice
2) Drizzle the grenadine into the center of the drink

Note: We have more than a few forest fires here in Colorado (thankfully few this summer). When one is burning the sunsets are frequently deep red and you can smell smoke in the air. Seems rather fitting for this cocktail.

Review – Chila ‘Orchata

Posted by Reese on 2014-10-01 @ 05:00pm

Chila 'OrchataThe horchata I’m familiar with is a Mexican rice drink flavored with cinnamon and really quite tasty.  When a sample of Chila ‘Orchata arrived I was suprised to see it wasn’t rice based at all.  Intriguing.  Having done a bit more reading, thank you Wikipedia, I was a bit more educated and even more excited to sample.  Chila ‘Orchata is a rum based, cream liqueur with a “sprinkle of exotic cinnamon”.  I’d agree with that.

The aroma speaks of fresh cream, rum and a light touch of cinnamon.  The flavor follows suit but adds a light hint of vanilla, no doubt from the rum.  Speaking of the rum, it is clearly present but not prominent.  The cream truly tastes fresh and, well, creamy. The mouth feel is silky and slightly thick.  The sweetness level is, expectedly, high, but not cloying.  Though, it was a touch too sweet for my taste to drink straight.  For me, the best mix is 1/3 spiced rum and 2/3 Chila ‘Orchata.  The rum and spices work great with the cream and cinnamon and the rum cuts the sweetness just enough.  Overall, a very good cream liqueur that I would drink on its own or mixed in something tasty.

This is a great liqueur that, the more I contemplate, seems like it will be a great ingredient for warm, fall drinks.  Think boozy hot chai, orchata spiced hot chocolate or simply a glass of Chila on the rocks.  I know, not really warm, but still tasty, I promise.


† The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy.