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Cinco De Mayo Cocktails

If you just can’t stomach another sickeningly sweet frozen margarita or 2-for-1 Mexican beer special, we’ve got you covered. Leave the shots and sombreros for the masses and check out the surprisingly simple options below. From a convenient store-friendly two ingredient tippler, to more sophisticated agave twists on the classics, there’s no excuse to not step it up. Salud!

 

 Poor Man’s Paloma

(there are plenty of variations out there, so it’s hard to credit this one)

  • 2 ounces tequila blanco
  • 4 ounces grapefruit soda

In a highball glass with ice add your tequila and soda, and stir gently. Serve with straw (and a salt-rimmed glass and grapefruit twist for extra credit).

 

El Negroni

(there are plenty of variations out there, so it’s hard to credit this one)

  • 1 ounce mezcal
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth

In a mixing glass or pint glass filled with ice, add your liquors and stir thoroughly. Strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube, garnish with a lime twist, and serve.

 

Oaxacan Old Fashioned

(first created by Philip Ward at Death & Co. in 2007; we make ours with an even mezcal/tequila split)

  • 1 ounce mezcal
  • 1 ounce tequila añejo
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey syrup (1:1 honey to water mix)
  • 2-3 dashes Bittermen’s Burlesque Bitters

In a rocks glass add the syrup and bitters; stir to mix. Pour in the liquors and stir thoroughly. Add a large ice cube, garnish with a twist, and serve.

The One Trick Pony

Don’t get us wrong, we love a good mint julep, especially for Derby Day. After a couple, though, you may want to switch it up a bit. We rely on the green fairy for something a little different.

one-trick-pony

The One Trick Pony

  • 2 oz absinthe
  • 1 oz falernum
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup (1 part water: 1 part sugar)
  • 1 egg white

In a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice add your ingredients and shake it like the race depends on it for about 15-20 seconds to froth the egg well for a creamier drink.

Strain into a chilled coupe glass and serve neat.

Spring Stout Tasting

stout-tasting

Ah spring, the time to shed our winter coats and celebrate all things light and airy. While this can include beers, we respectfully posit that most breweries release their signature stouts around this time too, which are a much more beauteous thing to behold. We were fortunate enough to get a couple of bottles of the infamous Kentucky Breakfast Stout as well as a couple of Bourbon County, which we were able to compare to some bottles from Italian brewer Brewfist to see how the Americans stack up with some European counterparts. While we’re still chanting USA! USA! USA! we’re happy to report that the Italians held their own in a category traditionally dominated by big, bold American styles.

 

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (11.2% ABV)

This was Red’s favorite and it’s easy to see why people lose their sh*t over this beer when it’s released every year. With burnt sugar, vanilla, bourbon, and coffee notes on the nose it’s almost as pleasant to sniff as it is to drink. Almost. The taste hits on bourbon, baking cocoa, caramel, and espresso with a nice malty finish. You can age this one for a few years but good luck keeping it around that long.

Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (13.8% ABV)

You need to be sitting down for this one, not just for enjoyment and relaxation, but for your own safety. Clocking in at a heavy ABV over 13% you’ll know when you’ve finished a bottle. The nose is very bourbon forward but sweetly so, which gives way to chocolate, vanilla, and toasted malts. Taking your first sip is like drinking chocolate birthday cake with a bourbon coconut frosting, chased with a shot of bourbon. It’s delicious and the flavor becomes more fudge-y as the beer warms a bit. The sweetness and high ABV make this a sipper, but you’re unlikely to need more than one anyway. Sharing is highly recommended.

Brewfist/Prairie Artisan Ales Spaghetti Western Imperial Chocolate Coffee Stout (8.7% ABV)

We picked both Brewfist bottles up at Birra Piu in Rome (which you should definitely visit if your travels ever take you to the city) and were not disappointed. This collaboration with Prairie Artisan Ales was a little drier than the other stouts we tried. The nose was very earthy, with a strong coffee backbone and some good toasted notes. The taste leaned more towards coffee than chocolate (which was more baking chocolate than sweet) and had some almost red wine-like stone fruit flavor in the background. A solid offering, but a very different style than the KBS and Bourbon County.

Brewfist Spaghetti Western Grappa Barrel Stout (8.7% ABV)

This one was very unique. We’re not huge fans of grappa on it’s own, but aging a stout in grappa barrels yielded an almost wine-like hybrid. Grape must was very apparent in the smell, along with a yeasty note not often associated with stouts, and some more expected hints baking chocolate and minerals. The taste was unsweetened chocolate with more grape must and a slightly sour finish. Though this is another one that would be tough to drink multiple bottles, it was an oddly quenching foil to the heavier American brews. If you can find a bottle through trades or international travel, it’s definitely worth a try.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We’re Podcasting

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

We finally, after letting it collect some serious dust, pulled out our podcasting equipment and kicked it off with an alcohol-filled love letter to all things Irish.


Tune in for a recap on our Irish Whiskey tasting (with a few extras thrown in), Brown’s Irish-Tiki cocktail, Red’s homemade Irish Cream recipe and a frozen upgrade to the Irish-American guilty-pleasure: the Irish Car Bomb.

Subscribe to us on Soundcloud to stay up to date on all our drinking adventures.

Irish Cream Ice Cream

This comes from our Drinking…Again St. Patrick’s Day podcast where we added the addition of some Irish Cream Ice Cream for a frothy, frozen take on the Irish Car Bomb.

Irish Cream Ice Cream
Makes 1 Pint

3           Egg Yolks
1           Cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2       Cup Whole Milk
1           Cup Heavy Cream
1 1/2    Tbsp Irish Whiskey
Coffee Chocolate Sauce (recipe below)

Whisk together yolks and sweetened condensed milk in a medium-sized bowl. Set Aside.

In a saucepan slowly bring whole milk and heavy cream to a simmer.

Slowly add the dairy to the bowl of yolks, stirring continuously, until fully incorporated.

Return the ice cream base back into the saucepan and stir on medium-low heat, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Pour the ice cream base into a bowl, add the whiskey and let fully cool in an ice bath or in the refrigerator, stirring often.

Make the coffee-chocolate sauce and let cool.

Churn in an ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s directions.

In a pint container, swirl the coffee-chocolate sauce around the bottom and edges, slowly layer the fully-churned ice cream with the sauce and swirl with a thin knife or chopstick to create swirls.

Place in the freezer for at least an hour before using.
Chocolate Coffee Sauce
1/2 Cup + 2 TBSP        Sugar
1/4 Cup + 1/t TBSP     Water
1/4  Cup                         Heavy Cream
2      TBSP                      Butter
1 1/2 TBSP                     Instant Coffee
1        TBSP                     Cocoa Powder

In a liquid measuring cup mix the cocoa powder, instant coffee and heavy cream. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, add the sugar and a 1/4 a cup of water. Cook over medium-heat until the sugar becomes a golden-caramel color. Turn off the heat, remove from the stove, and add the butter and dairy, stirring to combine.

In a small bowl add the cornstarch and the remaining 1/2 TBSP of water, mixing with a small spoon or your finger until it’s a slurry.

Return the pot to the burner and turn the heat on low. Add the cornstarch slurry and mix until the sauce has bubbled up again.

Remove the sauce from the pot and allow to cool in the refrigerator before using.

Irish Whiskey Tasting

Irish-Whiskey-TastingQuick, name an Irish whiskey other than Jameson. If you can’t it’s understandable, Jameson is a behemoth and accounts for almost 70% of the worldwide Irish whiskey market (source). And with just cause. It’s easy to drink, easy to mix, and easy to spot on the shelf. We implore you, however, as you prepare for the year’s biggest imbibing holiday to look beyond the usual and try something different this year. There’s a big world of Irish whiskeys out there and you owe it to yourself to do a little exploring. Just so you’re not completely without a map we took it upon ourselves to try a few for you. This isn’t an exhaustive review by any means, we just tried to find a good mix of approachable bottles for whatever your drinking needs. It’s hard work but somebody’s gotta do it.

Note: all prices are estimates based on averages we found in liquor stores and online. 

 

Powers Gold Label (about $30, official website)

Smell: Sweet, honeysuckle, vanilla, and apricot. A few drops of water moved this to richer buckwheat honey/caramel territory.

Taste: Spicy, peppery, vanilla, honey, with a slightly cedar-like finish; the burn sticks with you on this one. Adding a few drops of water smoothed things out significantly and brought out softer vanilla and leather notes.

Thoughts: This is like Jameson’s badass older brother, Camaro, leather jacket and all. It’s a good all-purpose whiskey that works well for a quick shot, base for cocktails, or as a sipper with some water or ice.

 

Kilbeggan (about $25, official website)

Smell: White peach, pears, and hay. Stone fruits were amplified by adding a couple drops of water.

Taste: Unfortunately indistinct. There’s some burnt sugar in here and some maltiness but it’s a little muddled. Adding water smoothed things out but didn’t bring out any particularly different flavors.

Thoughts: We were ready to give up on this one until we substituted it for the rye in a Manhattan. This is a great mixing whiskey that works like salt and pepper to dial-up other flavors in a drink and maintains a middle ground that doesn’t overpower.

 

Knappogue Castle 12 Year Old Single Malt (about $40, official website)

Smell: Orange, lemon, and baking spices. A couple drops of water opened up some notes of honey and a little peppery spice.

Taste: Tastes like it smells; citrus, caramel, cloves and other spices. A splash of water smoothed the flavors out and brought out a little more of the wood from the barrel aging.

Thoughts: Good for sipping with some ice or a splash of water. Also adds good flavor as a base spirit in mixed drinks without being too complex.

 

Redbreast 12 Year Old (about $50, official website)

Smell: Sweet honey and vanilla with a woody background, hints of ripe apple and even a little melon.

Taste: Very smooth, hints of vanilla, caramel, toasted oats, toffee, hints of banana, creamy, slightly spicy at the end.

Thoughts: This is by far our favorite Irish whiskey and in our top 5 of all whiskeys. An extremely smooth sipper that, in our opinion, shouldn’t be wasted on mixed drinks. Pour yourself a couple of fingers worth, kick back, and relax while everyone else jockeys for position at the bar for a green beer.

Red & Brown Wedding Cocktails

Red & Brown Cocktail Menu

When we started planning our wedding, it was of critical importance that we make this ultimate party on the same level of all of our parties we’ve thrown over the years: personal and fun. We are so excited to have our wedding photos and be able to share them with friends and family and wanted to share our 4 wedding cocktails, which Brown developed.

Weddings can be expensive and in order to save costs and be authentic to ourselves (we are a cocktail business) we went an alternate route; instead of a full bar or just one signature drink, we offered 4 “signature cocktails”, plus 2 kinds of kegged beer and a red & white wine. For those of you wondering if any picky relatives complained or missed out on cranberry vodkas: our maple walnut old fashioned was gone after only an hour into the wedding and everyone remembers how memorable the bar was.

Here are our cocktails, straight from Red & Brown Get Married 11.15.14. Want to see more of our wedding? Check it out on Martha Stewart Weddings.

Classic Martini 
Maple Walnut Old Fashioned
Fall in Jalisco
The Red Heron

 

If you’re newly engaged, planning a wedding or are having another special event, we can help you develop a delicious, unique and cost-effective beverage program that all of your guests will remember for years to come. E-mail us for more information: shopredandbrown@gmail.com  

Photo Credit: Keira Lemonis Photography 2015

Fall in Jalisco

fall-in-jalisco-cocktail

From Red & Brown’s Wedding Cocktails. We wanted to please the tequila drinkers without going the margarita or shot route, but something that also stayed with the season and occasion. After much thought, we decided what could truly be better than fresh apple cider during a nice fall day except apple cider with the warmth of cinnamon syrup and some añejo tequila? 

Fall in Jalisco
Makes 1 Drink

In a cocktail shaker add the cider, syrup, and tequila.

Fill it with ice and shake for 10 seconds. Strain into a collins or highball glass filled with ice.

The Red Heron

The-Red-Heron-cocktail
From Red & Brown’s Wedding Cocktails. One of our favorite parts of traveling is getting to find new drinks in other parts of the country. Red stumbled upon a variation of this during a weekend in upstate New York and fell in love. It’s easy to be skeptical at first- really? Salted-Caramel vodka? But with one sip, you’re hooked. It’s like the adult Shirley Temple (a favorite of Red’s when she was a little girl). We switched it up with using one of our favorite sodas, the southern institution Cheerwine, for a drink that goes down easy and is great with some fried chicken and mac & cheese.

 

The Red Heron
Makes 1 Drink

Fill a collins or highball glass with ice and pour in the vodka. Top it with Cheerwine and stir gently to incorporate the ingredients. Garnish with a cocktail cherry and add a straw if desired.

Maple Walnut Old Fashioned

maple-walnut-old-fashioned-cocktail

From Red & Brown’s Wedding Cocktails. We are both huge old fashioned fans, but wanted to give it some new life and a nod to our business at our wedding. In November, nothing is more comforting than some maple syrup and with the addition of some walnut bitters, we created a drink that wasn’t just a crowd pleasure, it flew off the bar. 

Maple Walnut Old Fashioned
Makes 1 Drink

In a pint glass or mixing glass add the maple syrup, whiskey, and bitters. Fill with ice and stir thoroughly for 10-15 seconds.

Strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube (or 3 regular-sized ones) and garnish with a cocktail cherry.