Harry & Ida’s Bacon Fat Bourbon

I am very excited to add fat-washing to my array of home cocktailian ventures. It all started when I had the leftover carcass of a delicious Harry and Ida’s smoked chicken. I thought to myself, what better way to use a leftover carcass than soak it in booze? That isn’t quite how the process goes, but sort of. I melted the fat off of the carcass and followed the process in the PDT Cocktail Book for bacon-fat infused bourbon to make a lovely smoked-chicken-fat infused bourbon. It was good, but not that good. So, I decided the next step was to play by the rules and hop on the bacon train (smoked-chicken-fat tequila will be the next chicken venture).

Step 1: Obtain delicious bacon fat.


Go to a restaurant or sandwich place and ask for some fat. I’m pretty sure they’ll have extra. Of course you can make bacon and save the fat, too.

Step 2: Melt dat fat.


I used about a third of a cup for about 600ml of bourbon. The PDT recipe says less, but I had a lot of fat so…

Step 3: Combine fat and bourbon.


In something glass, not plastic. Non-reactive is the official term, I would say. Also, make sure the opening has enough room to pull fat off top with a spoon. I was tempted to use the bottle, I don’t think that would work very well.
Continue reading Harry & Ida’s Bacon Fat Bourbon

Hemingway Daiquiri with Black Pepper Pizzazz

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0.75 oz Lime
0.5 oz Grapefruit juice
0.5 oz Luxardo
1 oz white rum (Banks 5 Island)
1 oz Black Pepper Pizzazz i.e. black peppercorn and grapefruit peel infused white rum (and in the Pellegrino bottle)

I’ve been infusing lots and lots lately. Particularly since I had that bottle of Byrum River Rum that I am officially not excited about. That’s a Life Pro Tip, as a matter of fact: if you don’t like a spirit, put some stuff in it and let it sit for a day or so. Then it’s no longer that spirit, and something you can use to compliment more delicious booze.

The Black Pepper (and Grapefruit) Pizzazz

Which leads me to this “Black Pepper Pizzazz” business. You can make it like this:

  • A few ounces of white rum (don’t use anything too nice)
  • Twenty-odd whole black peppercorns
  • A few slivers of grapefruit peel

Add it to a glass container and let sit for a day or two, then pop an ounce of that in with your Hemingway Daiquiri and … wow. Let me pat myself on the back for a moment.

Continue reading Hemingway Daiquiri with Black Pepper Pizzazz

A Last Word in Lancaster

Me drinking a Last Word in Lancaster (with a talented photo-bomber to boot!).
A Last Word at the venerable Horse Inn in Lancaster (+ a talented photo-bomber!).

That’s right folks…there are cocktails in Lancaster, PA!

This weekend I visited my very, very dear friend Erika Jiggerfingers Joyner in York, PA. She’s developing the bar program at Otto’s Kitchen and Cocktails which opens later this summer. Until then though, cocktails are non-existent in York so one must imbibe in the neighboring village of Lancaster. I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised*. Here’s where we went:

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Raspberry Collins

Oh, the weekend. I’ve been teaching a class on Saturday mornings for the entire summer, so haven’t exactly been enjoying the nice (read: lately exceptionally hot and uncomfortable) weather. To be honest, I’ve been really bored on the weekends. That aside, in celebration of my class ending I made a delicious summer time cocktail for myself this afternoon – well, I’d probably have made one anyway, but let’s call it a celebratory beverage.


I got this idea from a video in BarSmarts. When they demo making a Gin Fizz, Mr. Wondrich mentions stepping it up a notch by muddling in a few raspberries. Now, this is a summer time drink if there ever was one! A proper Fizz is served in a highball glass without ice, which is the difference between a Fizz and a Collins: a Collins (Tom Collins in the case of gin) has ice and is in a Collins glass (duh) that is larger than a highball glass. Although I followed a Fizz recipe, my drink is technically a Collins as it’s on ice and in a larger glass. Also, it’s 2pm so I want something that will water down a bit. So responsible!

3/4 Lime juice (although a classic Collins calls for lemon)
3/4 Simple syrup
1 1/2 Plymouth gin
6ish raspberries

Muddle the raspberries a bit before you fill the shaker with ice. Then shake everything (including raspberries) and double strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top off with some yummy soda water. Use a barspoon to pull up the drink from the bottom – don’t stir so much that you water it down, be gentle.

No Rose Nick

I’m not one for super stupid shows. And The Bachelor is a super stupid show. However, my roommate – who is cool – watches it and was up for some cocktails, ergo now I’m a huge fan. NOT. But I did get some super awesome new bottles the other day and went wild. The best of the batch was what ended up being a Jack Rose variation (I like those). Naturally, the name should reference my new favorite show (Nick was the loser).


1 oz Lime
3/4 oz Grenadine
1 1/2 oz AppleJack
1/2 oz Bäska Snaps med Malört (like an aquavit – an anisey, bitter liquor from Scandinavia – but infused with some different stuff by a guy from Bittermens)

Shake, double strain into coupe. No ice chunks in this baby.

A particularly refreshing daiquiri

I mean, all daiquiris are refreshing, but trade simple for cucumber and mint syrup? Yum.

First off, I bought some cute, new rum. It’s from Port Chester, Long Island, uses “a specialized wine yeast”, and is dubbed Byram River white rum. I can’t say my palette is so refined I can make a value judgement, but I will say Plantation 3 Star is still my go-to. Either way, it’s booze; I made a drink and drank it and it was delicious.


2oz Byram River white rum
3/4 oz Mint cucumber 1:1 simple syrup
3/4 oz fresh lime juice

A quick note about simple syrups. They sound fancy, but they are actually incredible simple (whomp whomp) to make. I’ve been using slightly thicker cane sugar and heating it on the stove until the sugar dissolves, then adding the flavorful goods. In the case of cucumber and mint, I added them after the stuff cooled down a bit then bottled it up and put it in the fridge. No problemo.

Negroni Week

This Negroni week was celebrated with some delicious Negroni variations at one of my all time favorites, Dutch Kills. The evening begin with:

White Negroni

I had been trying to track down a White Negroni all week. It requires Suze to be done properly, a French apertif that is nice and woody, very unique flavor (as they all are) and not always in stock. Suze takes the place of Campari and white vermouth for sweet vermouth. I’m a fan.

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1 1/2 Gin – I think they have Citadel for their well gin but I’m finishing this post 2 months after the fact, so can’t be sure.
3/4 Suze
3/4 Dolin bianco vermouth

Proportions referenced here. I believe this drink is often made with Lillet Blanc rather than Dolin bianco here – either is a fine choice for me.

Continue reading Negroni Week

Joan Rose


2 oz AppleJack
1 oz Lime juice
1/2 oz Grenadine

A small variation on the Jack Rose, the same drink above but with lemon. But I didn’t have lemon, so the Joan Rose is made with lime. Proportion-wise it’s pretty much your standard sour, but with a little less sweetener because you are using grenadine rather than simple (which I made with 1:1 Pom pomegranate juice and cane sugar, btw).

Blackberry/Cucumber Infused Daiquiri

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2 oz White rum infused with blackberries and cucumber
1 oz Lime
3/4 Cane sugar syrup

It’s infusion time! My debut is a blackberry/cucumber in Brugal Extra Dry white rum. I had about 1/3 bottle left and threw everything into a container, let it sit a few days and enjoy! Looks like this:

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More soon!

Chipotle Margaritas

A delicious undertaking! It requires a bit of preparation. Apart from spirits you will need:

  • Dried chipotle peppers (purchased at Dual Spices on 6th and 2nd Avenue. Super fun spot.
  • Chipotle spice. Mine was from Penzey’s spices in Pittsburgh. I’m sure there’s an equivalent in NYC. You could probably fun something like this at Duals, actually. An alternative mixture (for next time) could be smoked paprika, cinnamon, and cayenne.
  • Agave nectar, available at pretty much any grocery store.
  • Salt, of course.

To prepare the syrup:

Mix 1:1 agave nectar and water in a sauce pan. Cut up and add a handful of the dried peppers. Bring to a boil and let sit for like, 20 mins. Or until it’s about room-ish temperature. Looks like this:2015-04-18 19.33.13

Then bottle it and squeeze lots of limes! Wear-ever press for the win.

2015-04-18 20.06.35For the salt, mix about 3:1 salt and chipotle spice. Put it in a container that will be easy to dip a glass into. The salt should be really pretty. Like this:

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Before you mix the booze, salt the rim of a rocks glass. According to Barsmarts, the proper way to salt a glass is to wet half to 2/3 of the glass with a lime. Then roll it in the salt. Tap it a bit after that to remove any excess. Then put the glass in the freezer.

After your glass is done is chilling and the syrup is room temp, time to make your beverage!

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1oz fresh lime juice
3/4oz Chipotle syrup.
1oz Cointreau
2oz Espolon Blanco tequila

Shake it up, strain into the glass (with some rocks). I used 4 small standard kitchen cubes, but a big rock wouldn’t go amiss here. Yum! It’s just about summer time.

Jonnie Apple Collins

Spring is so close! It was warm today and I went for a long run, so it’s time for something lovely and lightweight. Enter a new invention: Jonnie Apple Collins.

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.75 oz Lemon juice
.5 oz Demerara Syrup (2:1)
1.5 oz Bourbon (Benchmark)
4-6 1in chunks of apple
Sliver of apple for garnish Soda to top it off (2-ish oz)

Build glass in small tin/pint glass of shaker, then drop in apples. Fill with ice and shake hard, strain into collins glass filled with ice. Top with soda.

Then, of course, eat the apples out of the shaker 😉


A John Collins is a Tom Collins with American whiskey. The drink was originally called John Collins after the headwaiter at Limmer’s (some restaurant I could find much more about) and made with Dutch genever. It shifted to using Old Tom gin and branched out to be a Tom Collins while a bourbon version maintained the John Collins name.

The apple part was inspired by a variation David Wondrich shows in the Barsmarts video (I’m almost finished!) where he adds a few raspberries to a Gin Fizz. Since there isn’t really a whiskey fizz (or is there?) and I want to use up this Benchmark, so I went for the John Collins and thought, well, throw some apples in there! Thus the Jonnie Apple Collins. Some potential improvements:

  1. Muddle the apples, and try some different apples, maybe Granny Smith for more tart or a Fuji for sweet. The apple component could be a little more prominent I think.
  2. Try 3/4 oz honey syrup (1:1) instead of Demerara.

A note about the television in the background: it’s Veep. There are ads all over NYC for it and I thought, give it a go! I didn’t get through the first episode, back on Curb. So there’s that.

The Last Daiquiri

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2 oz. White Rum (Plantation 3 Star)
1 oz. Lime juice
3/4 oz. Maraschino liqueur (Luxardo)
1/4 oz. Green Chartreuse

Shake, strain into cocktail coupe.

I was at Attaboy the other night and had a delicious Daiquiri and successfully guessed the bartenders proportions. Not a huge deal, but monumental for me in my learning about cocktails endeavor. Anyhow it was 3/4, 1 and 2. So I tried that here, but with Luxardo. Wait, why Chartreuse?

The first sip or so I took of this was like, ew. Then I added a 1/4 oz of Chartreuse and shook it for a few more seconds and was again like, ew. But after I let it exist for a few minutes, it seemed to settle in and is kinda tasty now. I actually wish I didn’t add the Chartreuse – I think it’s lost in that much lime, and sort of shows itself at the end but ends up being a little bitter and weird.

Anyhow, it’s not bad. White rum is fun – so versatile, and I really like Plantation (not that I would actually be able to differentiate from Brugal side by side). My shaking technique leaves much to be desired, however. I get none of that nice froth, and am never sure if there’s enough or too much water in the result. Working on that 10,000 hours for sure (except, maybe that’s a fallacy?).

P.S. Isn’t it funny that OkCupid is on the screen? Just pointing that out.

Where to buy cocktail coupes


Fishs Eddy. Period. They are a perfect 5.5 oz (don’t want those big ones) and are a steal at $6/each, though they call them “Champagne Bowl Glasses”. Get them online or in a store. I’d been trying to find some on Amazon, but I like to see things first and saw this mentioned in a blog post. Take it from me, these are perfect. Go for it.

And get your rocks glasses at Salvation Army or Goodwill. At least there was a set of like, 8, when I went. Also lots of fun tasting glasses…needless to say I got a big carried away.

Jiro’s Last Word

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3/4 Mezcal, Del Maguey Vida
3/4 Campari
3/4 Maraschino Liqueur, Luxardo
3/4 Lemon juice

Shake well, strain into coupe, garnish with lemon twist if you like.


Yum. I feel like you can’t go wrong with a Last Word variation if you stay true to the role of each ingredient. The Mezcal and Campari work well with lemon, and the Luxardo makes it like candy. It’s slightly drier than a classic LW, but I’m a fan. Also, this would be a nice “intro to Campari” drink.


Other than the amazing nature of a Last Word itself, this variation was inspired by a drink I had at Pouring Ribbons. It was similar to this, but I can’t remember the name – something with Campari, Mezcal and Lemon, but I think was more like a sour. This is exactly a Last Word, but Campari for Chartreuse, Mezcal for gin, and lemon for lime.

Why Jiro?

Good question. I am watching the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi and I couldn’t think of a better name. It’s cool, I just hope he doesn’t die at the end of it. Even though it’s not really one of those dramatic documentaries. But holy moly, I did not not realize tuna were that big!

You’ll also notice I got some legitimate cocktail coupes. Fishs Eddy is the way to go – $6/coupe. I’ll make a separate post about that actually.