60 ml Soyombo Mongolian Wheat Vodka
10 ml Pineapple Thyme Shrub
5 drops Brooklyn Hemispherical Rhubarb Bitters
1 Coupe washed with St. George Absinthe
Combine vodka, shrub and bitters in a stirring vessel. Add ice, stir until well chilled and strain into coupé that has been washed with absinthe. For best absinthe coverage, spray with an absinthe filled atomizer into a cold coupé.
To make the Pineapple Shrub you will need
1 cup raw sugar
1 cup water
1 cup Pineapple (fresh cut)
1 bunch Fresh Thyme
Apple Cider Vinegar
Combine water and sugar in a pot. Simmer until the sugar dilutes into the water. Add chunks of fresh chopped Pineapple and whole Thyme. Allow to steep until the flavors and aroma of pineapple and thyme permeate mixture. Pour ingredients into large canning jar. Top with apple cider vinegar, seal and let sit in fridge overnight. Use a tea strainer to isolate liquid into serving vessel. (Fact: Leftover Pineapple Thyme is amazing on pizza)
It is a challenge to create cocktails that celebrate the subtlety of vodka as a flavor and not cover it up.
This cocktail has fun with that challenge, creating a drink that is approachable by many palates while still complex enough to appeal to the toughest cocktail critic.
Soyombo Vodka is made from the wheat that grows on the Mongolian-Manchurian Steppe. It uses organic, non-GMO grain and sees no high fructose corn syrup or glycerin added to its last bottling to give the artifice of smoothness. The distiller is forced to use the best of ingredients and mind his craft carefully. The Soyombo symbol is the first letter of the Mongol alphabet and means ‘enlightened‘ or ‘created out of itself’.
A fascinating fact about St. George is that they’ve produced their absinthe since well before the U.S. ban was lifted in 2007. That’s because while it was illegal to sell, it was not illegal to produce, and so they worked for the 11 years prior to the ban being lifted to perfect their recipe. And perfect it they did. Their recipe calls for a first infusion of brandy with wormwood, fennel, and star anise. The second infusion calls for mint, tarragon, opal basil, lemon-balm, hyssop, meadowsweet, and stinging nettles.
The result is a drink that has the complex herbaceous nose of the absinthe. Every sip has subtle flavors of pineapple and thyme and the finish has the lingering character of the vodka with a faint bite of rhubarb bitters.
The Kollar Club
2 parts Double Cross vodka
1 bar spoon Yellow Chartreuse
1 bar spoon Fireweed Honey
5 drops Bittermen’s Boston Bittahs (Chamomile Lemon)
Garnish: Lemon Twist
Combine ingredients in stirring vessel. Stir to combine honey with other ingredients and then add ice to stir and chill. Serve in a chilled coupe. Express lemon oil on top and garnish with lemon peel.
Double Cross Flag & Coat of Arms
Double Cross is an ultra premium winter wheat vodka in a bottle designed to honor Slovak nationalism, poetry and history. The name is a playful reference to their nation’s flag
The Double Cross bottle has a piece of poetry on the back of the bottle in Slovakian. Translated it reads:
‘And she came to me softly garbed in lillies
As unassuming as a skylark song and the snowy wings of a dove
And knocked on my door…’
The cocktail, designed to pay homage to the alpine character of the vodka, careful to preserve its distinct nose and to keep its distinct spice notes present through to the finish. Not a common task for a vodka drink.
The name Kollar Club, taken from Jan Kollar. He was a Slovak poet, writer and thinker who passionately fought for Slovakian national unity in the mid-1800′s. The Kollar Club is also a Slovak community club and live music venue in Pittsburgh that started its life as a library named after Jan Kollar.
For those that love to imbibe better, we salute you – “na zdravie!”
2 Parts Okanagan Spirits Poire Williams
1 Part Lillet Rose
1 Part Luxardo Prugna
Dash Ginger Shrub
1 Bar spoon orange oil
Combine all ingredients into a boston shaker and shake with ice. Double strain into chilled cocktail glass.
It was a pleasure to meet Jacob Sweetapple yesterday and be introduced to the Absolut Elyx, the latest in the Swedish Vodka line. Absolut has taken the most well marketed product, in the biggest category, and put it into the darling of the spirits industry….the copper still, the result is delicious.
For anyone who has been under a rock since 1979 when it all started for Absolut. The bottle shape has become an international symbol for the largest selling distilled spirits category, and not just the brand. Here is the Advertising Story, equally delicious.
The Absolut “Citron” and “Raspberri” are the top flavours sold here in North America and Canada respectively. [UPDATE: HERE is an Economist Article on the Consumption per person]
Along the way I have used a lot of Absolut, arguably the Citron was in the original Cosmopolitan and is frequently in mine. Also my first “french kiss martini” combines Chambord, pineapple and Raspberri with a little Jäger for bite and has been a hit on a few bars I have tended.
Vodka is a complex place, riddled with confusing advertising. In a sea of vodka, how do you stand out?
Absolut has always stood out, and they don’t need to put anything else on the label to do it.
- Hire the best in disruptive advertising from the beginning in TBWA, check.
- Hire creative professionals like an Aussie/Canadian to rep the brand, check.
- Be organic and “bio-diverse” before organic or BD was cool, check.
- Sit back and laugh when “local” movements start, because you always have been local, check.
- Be transparent about everything, check.
- Use as flavourful and as natural a process that you can for “flavours” without Maceration. Check!
What set’s Absolut apart?
Absolut employs all its farmers, all 450 of them exclusively farm for Absolut and they are all within 80 km from the distillery. The water is the next interesting point, the same well that is used for the original mash is the same water they blend the bottle with.
Little known fact that most Vodka companies blend with water away from the original “terroir” of the producer, and with 60% or more of the bottle water, it shows how important it can be.
If organic, local, and bio-diverse isn’t enough for you, there is a historical tale to be told.
Lars Olsson Smith, the man credited with the original recipe of “Absolut Rent Brännvin“ was forced to make it in on a small island in the Baltic Sea after stringent production and sales laws forced him to create an island system and a fairy for patrons to consume the pure spirit. After years of success and public outcry Lars Olsen Smith was allowed to move production and sale of the liquid to main land.
In short, the Absolut story is one worth knowing, and one that makes it sellable and original.
Jacob was charismatic and spoke from a bartenders perspective, which was nice. He even offered a welcomed twist on the classic tasting style. Offering chilled Vodka Martini’s with four different brands, combined with Noilly Pratt Vermouth. It was a nice change on classically “straight consumption” booze tasting.
Grey Goose, Kettle One, Belvedere and Absolut Elyx were compared, all had notes to like and dislike, depending on your context and palate. I enjoyed them all, and noticed a definite “smoothness” and “roundness” to the Elyx.
I am a purest and will say that it is hard to compare these brands in anything more than “marketing and category”, they are all top-notch, and the flavour preference is up to you, not me.
It was a pleasure to have a global (Aussie/Vancouverite) in to speak about the brands.
But, let’s just say it…
As you may tell, we always love the experience. BUT, I have to say something to the Vodka world….and every ambassador of the fine spirit.
Get over the classic “big brother” Vodka story….We, as bartenders, know about the 4X production, we know about the BIG Business that Vodka is. We even know how pure the distillation is compared to all the others, but it doesn’t help us sell it.
Most of us are even past the whole weird hate for vodka and vodka cocktails. It is time to just tell your story, not vodka’s.
It is time to put this to bed me thinks, and just be the champion of spirits. Absolut, you are a champion of champions.
Just be the cool older brother of the industry (where whiskey is the father), and do cool things, throw bartenders off a cliff with a bungee cord, pay for the BIG bar tab that we over do it on, all while staying classy.
I think it is great to be the role model for other spirits sometimes and just your BAD ASS self other times. Stop apologizing for being what everyone wants, the hipsters will forgive you.
I hope I speak for the bartenders in CANADA; that the chip on our perfectly carved ice shoulder has melted off.
Let’s get to the inspiring stuff.
4 parts Belvedere Earl Grey
1 part Frangelico
3 parts Fresh Lime Juice
3 parts honey syrup (1:1)
3 dashes Teapot bitters
Grate fresh nutmeg
Add ingredients without nutmeg into cocktail shaker. Shake hard, single strain into chilled coupe. Add single ice cube, grate nutmeg and serve
1 oz Roasted yellow pepper puree
1 oz Hibiscus and Ginger syrup
1 egg white
Hibiscus flower and Roasted yellow pepper sliver
Roasted yellow pepper puree:
Char outside of entire pepper until all yellow has turned black, place in a zip lock bag and refrigerate until cool. Remove seeds and charred skin.
Puree the flesh with just enough water to liquify. Strain through chinois.
Hibiscus Ginger Syrup:
Add two larger thumbs of julienne’d ginger and 1 1/2 cups water to a sauce pot and reduce by half, drain syrup from hibiscus flower jar into sauce pot.
Remove the flowers and rinse, place in freezer to hold shape. Add 1 Tbsp of wild flower honey to hibiscus and ginger reduction. Dissolve and bottle.
Add Ultimat, Cointreau
, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and puree along with egg white to a mixing glass. Hard dry shake, ice, and re shake.
Using the spirals of a bar spoon, drip the hibiscus syrup down the spoon to the bottom of the glass for a layered effect.
Garnish with a frozen hibiscus flower with a sliver of roasted pepper.
1 part Grey Goose Cherry Noir
1/2 part Cherry Brandy
1/2 part Carpano Antica
1 part lime juice
1/2 part Maple Syrup
2 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
Put rosemary and lime juice into shaker and muddle 8-10 times. Add rest of ingredients into shaker, shake well with ice, double strain into coop glass and garnish with rosemary sprig.
3 parts Yukon Midnight Sun (Espresso Stout)
1 part Yukon Solstice Botanical Vodka
1 part Yukon Lead Dog Ale Syrup *
5 drops Bittered Sling Moondog Bitters
2 pieces unsweetened organic dark chocolate
* To create syrup – reduce Yukon Lead Dog (Old English Ale) in a saucepan, on simmer. Stir in equal parts (1:1) demerara sugar with beer reduction. Add 1 piece dark chocolate and dissolve it thoroughly. Allow to cool to room temperature and use.
Combine all ingredients except Espresso Stout in shaker. Shake extremely vigorously and double strain into rocks glass.
Top with Espresso Stout.
Garnish with fresh grated dark chocolate. Imbibe.
3 parts Belvedere PURE (Lime Infusion)
2 parts Belvedere PURE (Carrot Infusion)
2 parts Lillet Blanc
4 Fresh Thai Basil Leaves
2 wedges of lime
1/2 part agave nectar
2 dashes Twisted & Bitter Black Pepper bitters
Add ingredients to ice filled mixing glass, shake hard, double strain into chilled coupe, dash bitters
2 Parts Skyy ginger infusion vodka
2 Parts Chambord
1 Part Cinzano Bianco Vermouth
1 Part Sweet Lemon Shrub
1 Part Rose’s Lime Cordial
Dash Angostura Bitters
Dash Lemon juice
Add all ingredients in a Boston shaker and shake hard with ice. Double strain into chilled cocktail glass.
3 parts Absolut vodka
5 parts grapefruit juice
2 parts eggwhite
Squeeze 1/2 an orange with 1 measure simple syrup (1:1) in a mixing glass.
Add remaining components and shake over ice. We won’t dry shake the egg whites because of the acidity of the grapefruit. The extra agitation and cold temperature ensures no seperation. Double strain into rocks glass with no ice. Garnish with orange in any manner you like
3 parts New Deal Gin
1 part Carrot Infused Belvedere PURE
1/2 part Lillet Blanc
2 dashes Rosemary & Grapefruit Bitter & Twisted
Add ingredients to chilled mixing glass. Stir over ice, add rind oils to glass first then strain into chilled coupe.
The Carrot Infusion;
Infusions like this are easy, you just need to set your reminders. Start with 3-4 organic carrots, (This is one case where organic is a MUST, as the other stuff is tasteless).
Grate them down and add them to a large mason jar, fill with a quality vodka and let it rest out of the fridge for 2 weeks. Shake it daily, put it beside the Salt so you don’t forget.
In 2 weeks, strain it out and start the process again. I typically do this for 4 cycles (cause I LOVE carrot), most infusions of “hard” veg and fruit take a little longer, and I like to keep it Fresh
and vibrant with the flavours and colours. As you get into the second cycle you can consider placing it in the fridge to keep it nice and BRIGHT ORGANGE.
at the end of it all, simple CHEESECLOTH strain it and put it in your favourite bottle.
4 Parts Genmaicha infused Ultimat Vodka
1 Part Gekkeikan plum wine (reduced by half)
1 Barspoon of cherry infused Cointreau
1/2 Barspoon rice wine vinager
Cointreau Cherries to Garnish
Combine ingredients in mixing glass, add ice and shake. Double strain into snifter and garnish.
4 parts Ultimat vodka
2 parts Cointreau
3 parts Pineapple juice
1 part egg white
1 part simple syrup
Squeeze 1/2 an orange with the egg whites and simple syrup(1:1). Add the spirtis and juice, shake over ice and strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with flamed orange peel
2 parts Belvedere PURE
1 part Kings Ginger
2 parts fresh Red Grapefruit Juice
1/2 part Martini Rosso
2 dashes Bitter & Twisted Orange Bitters
1 lime slice
1 thin Red GF Slice
Add ingredients without lime into shaker, shake vigorously, strain over ice in chilled Collins squeeze lime on top and toss, add ice to top, add GF slice.
2 Parts Skyy Pineapple Infusion Vodka
1 Part Cointreau
1 Part Cinzano Bianco Vermouth
1 Fresh egg white
Dash fresh Meyer lemon juice
Dash house made lavender bitters
Dry shake all ingredients vigorously to emulsify egg white. Shake again with ice. Double strain into chilled glass.
2 parts No.3 Gin
1 part Belvedere Pink Grapefruit
1 part Lillet Blanc
2 dashes Fee Brothers Gin Barrel Orange Bitters
1 part fresh blood orange juice
3 Orange slices
Add ingredients to mixing glass, stir well, julep strain into chilled coupe. Top with fanned orange slices (thin).
3 parts Belvedere Red
1 part King’s Ginger liqueur
2 parts Vanilla syrup
1 part lemon juice
1 orange zest
Add ingredients to mixing glass, add ice, shake, and double strain into chilled cocktail glass. Express orange oil over cocktail and serve.
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