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London and Melon Cocktail

by Joe Shotkus April 18th, 2014| Cocktails, Mixed Drinks
green-166842_640I've got an original cocktail here for this week! I'm over the cold weather and ready to jump into warmer weather. As such, here is a cocktail recipe that's beckoning summer. For this, I did a watermelon reduction and threw some coriander and lavender in to spring it the hell up. A reduction is simple, you literally just boil a substance until it thickens up naturally through evaporation. A lot of complexities come out of a substance when you let it naturally thicken by taking most of the water out. Coriander makes anything better in my opinion, so I
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Bee’s Knees Cocktail

by Joe Shotkus April 11th, 2014| Cocktails, Mixed Drinks
honey etcToday's cocktail feature is a classic inspired by honey, the Bee's Knees. This is an incredibly simple cocktail, a true sour in three parts: Gin, lemon and honey. With all sours, I always suggest you squeeze your own juice or move on. It really does make that big of a difference. Lime juice squeezed and left in the refrigerator for a few hours calms some of the citric bite down and allows some of that delicious flavor to become more apparent, making lime sours that much more enjoyable. Same with lemon. Taming citrus is what makes simple sours so
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Honey Champagne Cocktail

by Joe Shotkus April 10th, 2014| Ask the Bartender
honey dropsI ordered a champagne cocktail at a bar recently.  The bartender told me that their version was made with honey instead of sugar.  It sounded intriguing, so I ordered it.  It was tasty. . .until the last few sips, which were thick and syrupy.  Is there a way this drink can be made with honey and taste better?

Honey is one of the best sweeteners on the market for cocktails. There are so many varieties, local and otherwise, and each add really cool subtle flavors. In PA we have access to a lot of local honey, and I've tried my
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Papa Doble

by Joe Shotkus March 28th, 2014| Cocktails, Mixed Drinks
grapefruitHemingway has many merits, and regardless of what you think of him as a writer he changed drinking for the better. He brought the daiquiri to America, and is credited with a few classics of his own. Many of his characters drank, and the drinks he gave them were not randomly chosen, but carefully mixed for the scene. One of his drinks, Death in the Afternoon, is just absinthe and champagne. It is also one of my favorite cocktails. Today we are going to talk about a drink he made while in Cuba called either the Hemingway daiquiri or Papa
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by Joe Shotkus March 21st, 2014| Cocktails, Mixed Drinks
cinnamon stixWhile looking for a cocktail feature for the bar I often look to see what we have a surplus of, usually an item we have several uses for whose original drinks have become under ordered as the seasons change. As winter began to fade people became less likely to order our hot cider drink which uses cinnamon and other spices. It occurred to me that we have all of this cinnamon laying around and that it compliments pineapple so well. Seriously. Grill pineapple rounds with cinnamon this summer and then talk to me.

I am not one to waste perfectly
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by Joe Shotkus March 14th, 2014| Cocktails, Mixed Drinks
drink on barThe Classic cocktail the Rosita is one of those only now resurfacing from the golden age of cocktails, a blend of tequila, Campari and both dry and sweet vermouth with just a dash of bitters. It's more complex than everyone's favorite, the margarita, more similar to an Italian cocktail such as the Negroni, with the bittersweet notes of sweet vermouth and Campari being massaged by the pepper of golden tequila.

While I love the Rosita as it is, I was writing about the liqueur Grand Poppy from California today and realized it would make a fantastic take on the Rosita.
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by Joe Shotkus March 7th, 2014| Cocktails
secaucusThere are many variations on the Manhattan, possibly more than any other drink out there. Equal are the number of cocktails named after neighborhoods of New York City. There's the Greenpoint, the Bronx, an East Side Sling, the New York Sour, the Red Hook, the Brooklyn, Bensonhurst, Cobble Hill, Carrol Gardens and Bushwick. I'm sure there are a few I'm missing, but that's okay. This isn't about them, but my own addition to the cocktail boroughs list. With no neighborhoods left to choose from, my friend suggested we call it the Secaucus, after the town in New Jersey. After
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Sidecar- What Is It?

by Joe Shotkus March 6th, 2014| Ask the Bartender
lotus cocktailsMy husband and I were at a bar last night.  I ordered a drink off of the menu, and my husband ordered a sidecar.  The bartender asked him to repeat his order.  After saying sidecar again, the bartender said he didn't know the drink.  He also said that he'd been bartending for over a decade.  Is the sidecar really not ordered that often anymore?

Hello brave drinker! The answer to your question is yes and no. The sidecar gets ordered at my bar a lot, but I also work in a speakeasy style saloon where people expect the bartender to
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Long Island Iced Tea

by Brendan G February 21st, 2014| Cocktails, Mixed Drinks
ice teaThe Long Island Iced Tea has always been a favorite of patrons wherever I have worked. First for the fact that it is a tasty drink when made properly. The second thing that makes it so popular is that it packs quite a punch. You definitely want to keep track of how many of these you order, because they will sneak up on you.

The L.I.T., as it is commonly called, looks like a non-alcoholic iced tea, but contains five alcohol ingredients and a small amount of mixer, making it perhaps the strongest mixed drink one could order. The makeup
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Rum and Coke

by Brendan G February 20th, 2014| Ask the Bartender
pouring bacardiWhenever I return home, I meet up with friends at a neighborhood bar.  It's nothing fancy, so I always stick with a rum and Coke, which definitely tastes (and feels) like a RUM and Coke.  I know their drinks are stronger, but what is the proper ratio for this drink? 

A Rum and Coke, or Cuba Libre, is one of the most basic cocktails a bartender can make.  The proper ratio, however, is very important in one-liquor drinks like this.  Too much alcohol, and the drink is too boozy and hard to drink.  Too little, and you get little to
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by Brendan G February 14th, 2014| Cocktails, Mixed Drinks
kamikazeThe Kamikaze is a popular citrus flavored cocktail that can be served in a variety of ways, either as a cocktail, a shot, or on the rocks. Similar to both the Margarita and Daiquiri, the Kamikaze uses lime juice as its main flavor component. Vodka is the primary alcohol in this drink, making it a nice option for those who would like to try a Margarita, but don't like tequila.

One of the interesting things about the Kamikaze is the different twists you can put on it. This cocktail is ideal for flavored vodkas. When someone orders a Kamikaze from
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Blue vs. Orange

by Brendan G February 13th, 2014| Ask the Bartender
curacaosIs there any difference between blue curacao and orange curacao?  I have a bottle of blue in my liquor cabinet, but the recipe I want to try specifies orange. I understand the drink will look different, but will the taste be the same?

Curacao is an orange flavored liqueur available in, as you mentioned, blue, orange and green colors.  There is no difference between the three flavor wise.  The different colors are used to add a desired color to specific cocktails.  So, if you have a recipe that calls for orange curacao and all you have is blue, the only
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