Boulevardier

IMG_2074Crocuses and cherry blossoms are starting to bloom, and it's finally beginning to feel like spring. But since the nights will still be chilly for at least a couple of months, I love nothing more than kicking back to watch Netflix (we're currently burning through Deadwood) with a good cocktail. IMG_2078 This classic drink, which I first had at my favorite neighborhood spot, Long Island Bar, is a slightly bitter take on the Manhattan (my other favorite). I wasn't a big fan of Campari until recently, but now I'm loving the bitter, complex notes it adds.

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Boulevardier (makes one, recipe from PUNCH)

1 1/2 oz whiskey or bourbon

1 oz Campari

1 oz sweet red vermouth

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass or cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice and shake well, about 10 seconds. Strain into a coupe or over ice in a rocks glass, and garnish with orange peel.

Classic Manhattan

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 11.47.04 AMWhen I turned 21 and started going to bars, I never knew what kind of drink to order. I'm pretty sure there was a period of time where I drank exclusively flavored vodka and soda (I've tried to block it out of my memory) or I would panic and just order a beer. Gradually, I started to try new things and moved from whiskey sours to Sidecars to Old-Fashioneds, and now, I'm currently in a Manhattan phase (can you tell that I'm a whiskey fan?) and when I was home in December, this was the cocktail of choice once 6 o'clock rolled around. If you can't tell by the bar cart, I do love a good cocktail – and to me, a well-shaken Manhattan is pretty much the perfect winter drink: strong enough to warm you up, but with only a few ingredients and easy enough to make in minutes. Manhattan (adapted from Food & Wine)

2 oz whiskey

1 1/2 oz sweet vermouth (the classic proportion is 1 oz, but I like mine just a little sweeter)

2 dashes bitters (Angostura is recommended, but I have been loving the Cherry-Vanilla Bitters I got from my sisters as a birthday present!)

1 brandied cherry

Add first three ingredients to a cocktail shaker, then add ice. Cover and shake well for 10-12 seconds, until very cold. Strain into a coupe glass, then garnish with cherry.

Peach-Bourbon Smash

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_MG_4949You probably know from previous posts, that I enjoy a glass of wine every so often. But sometimes during the summer, nothing tastes better than a crisp cocktail. A good cocktail doesn't need to be complex (some of my favorites, like Mint Juleps & French 75's only have a few ingredients) but while produce is at it's best, why not switch it up a little and use those peaches for a before-dinner drink instead of a pie? I would recommend using especially ripe peaches, as they are the main flavor you taste (besides the bourbon, of course). Next time, I might try switching out the mint with basil, and adding a float of prosecco on the top instead of club soda for a little more interest.

And while starting off Monday morning with a cocktail recipe may seem like cruel and unusual punishment, doesn't it make you excited to go home and try it? Not a bad way to start off the week, in my opinion.

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Peach-Bourbon Smash (adapted from The Kitchn), makes 1 cocktail

1/4 - 1/2 peach, cut into thick slices 3 or 4 fresh mint or basil leaves 1 lemon wedge 1 ounce water 1/2 ounce simple syrup 2 ounces bourbon or whiskey 1-2 ounces club soda 1 peach slice, for garnish

Muddle all ingredients except whiskey in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and whiskey. Shake and strain into an ice-filled old fashioned glass and top with club soda. Garnish with a peach slice.