Come Fly with Me! A Flight of Gin Cocktails for thanksgiving and beyond.

Left to right, the Spuyten Duyvil, Moondog, and I Hung It Up.

I put together a Gin Cocktail Flight, a way to afford the drinker the opportunity to sample 3 different cocktails, without being brought to one’s knees. I did so knowing that the poet has a preference for gin. Each drink is no more than 3 ounces in total, with approximately 1.5 oz of gin each. Each cocktail is served in a different (vintage) glass, and in a progression from lighter to more full flavored.
As to not be a slave to a cocktail shaker when serving them to friends, I prepared the mixes in advance and kept them in the freezer. They are well chilled when it comes time to serve. There are several steps involved in each (with some parts being made a day or 2 ahead) but I always find it worthwhile to proceed in this way. Like any recipe, the results of advance efforts contribute to a memorable conclusion.
I have tried not to use any spices/foods or machinery that are difficult to find, but I do have a small coffee grinder that I purchased just for use with herbs, etc. Substitutions and variations are something that should be encouraged. As for juices, fruits, & herbs, the fresher the better.
The recipes shown are for one drink and as with all recipes, they can be adjusted to your taste for sweetness/tartness/strength.

Moondog  (A nod to the Viking Poet)

1.5 oz Gin
Juice of half lemon (approx. 1 ounce)
¾ oz. Juniper/Rosemary Syrup*
Lavender Dust Rim+

Place the gin, lemon, and syrup together in a small pitcher, stir well with a barspoon and place in the freezer until ready to serve.
Moisten the rim of the glass with the remains of the squeezed lemon and dredge it  through the lavender dust. Carefully pour in mixture and serve.

* Juniper Rosemary Syrup
1 c. sugar  added to 1 cup of water with 10 Juniper berries/and a handful of rosemary. Brought to a boil until the sugar dissipates. Remove from heat and let cool before using. Maybe made up to a week in advance and stored in the fridge.

+ Lavender Dust
Grind 2 T. of dried organic lavender in a small (coffee) grinder or a mortar & pestle, then add it to ½ cup of superfine sugar. Store in a jar.

I Hung It Up

1 oz. of Roasted Orange/ Peppercorn/Clove Syrup*
Juice of half a lime
.5 oz, unsweetened Cranberry Juice (not cocktail, fresh if possible)
1.5 Gin
Several dashed of Orange Bitters
Roasted Orange dust+

+Roasted Orange dust
Remove the peels from 2 oranges with as little pith as possible, save the orange for making juice. Stud the peels with 10 or so cloves and place on a small cookie sheet into a pre-heated 300 degree oven. Roast for about 15 minutes. You are trying to dry out and crisp up the peels without burning them. Often I find that turning off the oven after that time, and just leaving them in really does the trick. Crispy but not burnt. Let cool, remove cloves (save them for the syrup), and place into a small grinder until pulverized. Add to about ½ cup of super fine sugar and keep in a airtight jar.

*Roasted Orange Syrup
Squeeze the juice from the 2 oranges and place it with 1 cup of sugar, ½ t. each of crushed black and pink peppercorns, and the roasted cloves, into a pan and cook until sugar has dissolved.  Set aside, cool and strain. May be kept in the fridge for several days.

Place the syrup, lime juice, cranberry juice, and gin into a mixing glass. Store in freezer until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, moisten the edge of the glass with remains of the lime and dredge it through the roasted orange dust. Remove the cocktail from the freezer, add several dashes of orange bitters and stir. Pour gently into the dredged glass.

Spuyten Duyvil

1 oz. Spiced Port Syrup*
1 oz.  Campari
1 oz. Gin
Angostura Bitters

In a small vessel, place the Syrup, Campari, and Gin, stir and keep in freezer until ready to serve. Before serving, stir in a good dosing of Angostura Bitters.

*Spiced Port Syrup
4 thin oval slices of Ginger
4 Crushed Juniper Berries
4 Cloves
Seeds from 2 Cardamom Pods crushed
1” of a cinnamon Stick
1/3 c. raw sugar
1 c. of Ruby Port (such as Sandeman’s)
Place the above ingredients in a small pot, bring to a boil then reduce heat and let gently boil until reduced by ½ . Approx. 15 min.

Let cool and strain. May be made in advance and stored in the fridge.

Thanksgiving Sangria

An Autumn Spiced Sangria
perfect accompaniment to a Thanksgiving Meal

Heat  together
2 cups of fresh cranberries
2 cups of turbinado sugar
peel of an orange 
2 cups of water
Once the sugar has dissolved 
add to it
1 t. black peppercorns
1 t. juniper berries
6 cloves
1 small cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 1/2 inch of a vanilla bean
1.5 inches of fresh ginger sliced
simmer for 20 minutes
Remove from heat and cool
 (outdoors perhaps, the deck,
 the fire escape, the window sill) 
Strain the cranberry syrup, and add the juice from the orange previously peeled,
3-4 cups of Brandy (a Spanish one will do nicely)
and a bottle of dry red Wine
 (again Spanish is the way to go)

Garnish with fresh cranberries and orange slices

Negroni Twist

O I love a Negroni. A definite go to Cocktail for me. I also believe variety is the spice of life, so I do like to throw a curve.
Tonight I fiddled about (Uncle Ernie) and added some flavor notes. 
 I have not named this concotion and frankly, I don't intend to! I just drink. 

I squeezed 1orange, 1 pink grapefruit and strained them into a pitcher. I added 4 oz. of Bombay Sapphire, 3 oz. of Sweet Vermouth, and 2  oz. of Campari. Gave a mice twirl, swirl, stir with an orange peel spiked ice ball and poured into my preferred new drinking vessel 
(thin edge, 3-4 oz bowl, nice hand).

The Belmont Jewel -the latest Cocktail in the Triple Crown

Did you know that the Belmont Stakes has its own official Cocktail?
In fact each of the three races that make up the Triple Crown of Horse racing has one.
We are all wildly familiar with the Mint Julep. official libation of the Kentucky Derby.
The Preakness has its Black Eyed Susan named after the flower that comprises the blanket draped over the winner.

The Black Eyed Susan 2015 (Preakness)
1.5 oz. Vodka
.5 oz of St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
2 oz. of pineapple juice
.25 oz. of lime juice
.75 oz. of orange juice
While the official site gives no directions, (shame on them!)
 I imagine, mix in a shaker,
 and serve in a hi-ball glass over ice.
 Garnish with an orange slice 

The Belmont Stakes has actually had a few different cocktails, (the White Carnation and then the Belmont Breeze) but the latest as of 2015, is
the Belmont Jewel.

The Belmont Jewel
1.5 oz. of Bourbon
2 oz. of lemonade (I would interject here that you make your own using fresh ingredients)
1 oz. of pomegranate juice
Shake vigorously and served up over ice in a rocks glass
 garnished with a cherry and a lemon twist

Tropicalia! Tropical Cocktails

I have been lucky enough to escape the Northeastern US 
Winter of Discontent.
I have spent some weeks in the warmth of sunshine doing some private events
and rejoicing in my good fortune! 
Here are some snaps of various potations and pick me ups I have concocted or partaken of.

The North Pohl - A Rum, Pineapple, Fennel and Key Lime Daiquiri

I am in warm climates these days,
 thank goodness not in the North, where winter has clenched its icy grip.

I am in the land of Rum, pineapples, and key limes!
I am not reinventing the wheel with this recipe
 but giving you a recipe that I think everyone can follow,
to make a delicious, well crafted cocktail at home.
Tonight I am drinking my creation I have dubbed,
The North Pohl
A slightly more evolved Daiquiri

Recipe is for one cocktail
2 ounces of white Rum
I went with  Panamanian 
1 ounce of FRESH pineapple juice ( a must!)
1 ounce of key lime juice 
.5 ounce of pineapple fennel syrup* 
several dashes of Peychaud's Bitters
Please begin by chilling your glass. Either place it in the freezer or fill with ice and water, while you prepare the cocktail.
Place the rum, juices, and syrup  in a shaker with ice.
Shake well and strain into your chilled glass.

*To make the pineapple fennel syrup
As I made fresh pineapple juice, I used a large piece of the pineapple skin.
If you do not have any peel, place several chunks of fresh pineapple
 into a small sauce pan with 
1/4 teaspoon of toasted fennel seeds,
1 cup of organic whole cane sugar
and 1 cup of water
Place on medium low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Remove from heat and let it cool.
Strain off and discard the skin and seeds.
Pictured above is the fresh pineapple juice with the bitters.


And Another Thing - The 1st Cocktail of the New Year - Genepy and Gin

My first cocktail to ring in the new year.
"And Another Thing" involves the spirit that everyone is talking about, Genepì or Genepy, from the Savoy region (French/Italian Alps) 
an herbal liqueur with similarities  to Chartreuse.
 A heady and herbal taste.

I mixed
 2 oz. of Warwick Gin ( a Christmas gift) from the Hudson Valley
.75 of Genepì from Valle Soana procured in Torino, Italy (NA in USA)
.75 of Meyer lemon juice
A splash of Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
A couple of barspoons of Vanilla infused simple syrup 
All into the shaker filled with ice.
 A good shaking until the frost appears on the outside and poured in a Martini vessel. 
The orb was strictly for fun!

My predictions and Ruminations on the Eve of the New Year 2015

As the New Year is rapidly approaching, (only a matter of a few hours) 
let me take this opportunity to thank each of you for your interest and lively support.
It has been a great year for Nata's Cocktails.
 Plenty of work, lots of new and interesting booze, and the amazing trip to Torino for the Slow Food Speakeasy.
I hope in my humble way, for those who are not professionals, that the recipes here
 inspire you to mix a few at home.

What trends do I see in 2015?
Well, I am biased but I do firmly believe that Cocktails in general, 
will keep getting slow (as in Slow Food).
The ingredients will continue on getting more and more locally sourced.
 The plethora of new distilleries everywhere will attest to that.
The fruits, sugars and spirits will speak to not only local, but fairly and sustainably produced (like sweet potato Vodka from North Carolina)
 All kinds of Organic Spirits.

All kinds of herbal based spirits will keep increasing in popularity, (i.e. Genepi),
 as well as 
the "discovery" , continuing exploration
 and development of spirits from
 around the World. Indigenous liquors.
 (i.e. Sake, Sochu, Mezcal, Sotol, etc)

 Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey.

Cocktails with lower ABV (alcohol content).

MORE WOMEN in the Industry!

 As for me you can look forward to my 
Cocktails inspired by Music Series coming in the next Month.
And who knows what else!

  Now I wish each and everyone of you  a 
Happy & Healthy New Year.
As we used to say in Spain,
Amor, Pesetas, y el tiempo para gustarlo!


To help you decide what you may need for New Year's Eve,
 I am posting my annual Public Service Announcement.
 You can thank me with a Magnum, just kidding!
Did you know that bottle sizes are named after Biblical Kings?
If you want a history of Champagne, it's production, and bottle sizes,
Wikipedia does a great job.

The Grand Finale A punch for 50 Laetitia Vineyards, Appleton Estate, Harvest Spirits Farm, and E and J Brandy

The joy of any Holiday is being with those you love.
 So in this spirit, is a recipe for many, 
 to be shared and enjoyed by you and yours. 
Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it 
 and for the rest of us
 Peace, Love, and Bubbles!

Champagne Celebration Punch for 50
Into the bosom of a mammoth punch bowl put:
1 tumbler of simple syrup
1 tumbler of lime juice
Mix thoroughly and now add:
1 1/2 bottles of superior Appleton Estate Jamaican Rum
1 bottle of deluxe E and J Brandy XO    
1 tumbler of Harvest Spirits Farm Peach Brandy
3 quarts of Laetitia Brut Cuvee (cuveed within our shores)
Bergs of Ice
Sleeping accommodations for all who partake

Imbibe in a celebratory fashion.

The Penultimate Baker Day 23 Novo Fogo Cachaca, Ty Ku Sake, & Cono Sur

Need to temporarily check out?

If you need some help, this will do the trick.

2 parts Novo Fogo Cachaca Silver

2 parts Lychee Juice

a good squeeze of lemon

Shaken over ice and strained into a highball glass with rocks

Finish off with Cono Sur Brut from Chile. 
Nodding to our neighbors in the Southern Hemisphere.

Garnish with a stalk of lemongrass

Lift it to your lips and get lost

Happy Birthday Chet .

Day 22 The Poinsettia - a respite to the bustle with Thienot Champagne & Combier

The final Days of the Champagne Cocktail Advent Calendar 

are here. Seemed apropos to do a real Holiday sparkler.

Simple, to keep down the stress level, yet in the spirit.

A perfect moment for the Poinsettia!

Always chill everything! The glass, the ingredients.

1/2 oz. of Combier Triple Sec
 with 3 or so ounces of Cranberry Juice,

and ultimately, the beloved Bubbles.
Tonight, Champagne Thienot.

What would life be without them!

Day 21 The MioNata - An Award winner! with Mionetto, Campari, & Strawberry Shrub

1 ½  oz. of Strawberry Black Pepper Shrub Syrup*
½  oz. of Campari
½  oz. of freshly squeezed Pink Grapefruit Juice
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Assemble the Strawberry Shrub Syrup, Campari, and juice in a cocktail shaker and shake well with ice.
Strain into a chilled Coupe glass (6 oz. glass).
Top up the glass with the Mionetto Prosecco D.o.c Treviso Brut.
Garnish with black pepper (2 turns of a pepper mill) and a skewered strawberry.
Lift glass to lips and drink (while thinking about how wonderful life is!)
*Strawberry Pepper Shrub Syrup
To be made several hours ahead (I know, but aren’t great things worth waiting for!)
1 cup of fresh strawberries – hulled and sliced
1 cup of pure cane sugar
2 teaspoons of coarsely ground fresh black peppercorns (I used Tellicherry
2 tablespoons of the best Balsamic Vinegar from Modena you can afford (I used a 25 year old aged)
In a bowl, add the strawberries, sugar, and pepper together. Cover and let sit several hours or overnight
Stir once or twice to bring up the sugar from the bottom. Stir and strain, discard solids. Add vinegar and it is ready to use.

Day 20 The Ludwig Van Chandon Brut Classic & Canton Ginger

It had been a wonderful evening and what I needed now,
to give it the perfect ending,
was a little of the Ludwig Van.

1 spat of Domaine de Canton Ginger liqueur
1/2 bleep of of Pear Nectar
Into the glass and finish off with a globby of Bubbles,
Chandon Brut Classic (indeed!)
A bit of the Ol' bubbly to wish 'em a Happy B.!

Day 19 Isadora's Downfall created withh Mumm's, Remy Martin, & Luxardo

1 ounce of impossibly Delicious 

1/2 oz. each of Cointreau and Luxardo (Maraschino Liqueur)

1/4 of freshly squeezed lemon juice (nectar of the Gods!)

Shaking it all in a cocktail shaker with ice,

Poured into a coupe worthy of Kings!

Then filled to a frothy frenzy with  G.H. Mumm Champagne,

 throwing all caution to the breeze!

The Cockney Cowboy Day 18 involving Ridgeview and Los Siete Misterios Mezcal

Our little tale of the Cockney Cowboy involves Mexcal, a Brit named Mark, and a ranch deep in the heart of Texas.

Suffice it to say, the Texas Highway Patrol was involved!

So here is a recipe to get your bronco busted.
  Into your champagne glass

1/2 oz. of Cardamom simple syrup 

(cracked cardamom seeds infused into a 1:1 simple syrup made with agave) 

fill with a British (yes, British) bubbly,

And finish off with a dash or two of  Bitters (optional)

Imbibe and hang on to your horses!

The New Seelbach Day 17 with Denning's Point Whiskey and Lenz Cuvee

 The Seelbach Cocktail
named after and created in 1917 by the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky.
Later on it fell into obscurity during Prohibition.
Revived in 1995 and published for posterity (by Gary Reagan)
but I have decided to kick it up a notch 
and switch it off.
Whiskey instead of Bourbon from
Denning's Point Whiskey (104 proof!!),
 distilled locally in Beacon, NY. 
And the bubbles are from 
Lenz Winery on the North Fork of Long Island. 

The NEW Seelbach
1 oz Dennings Point Distillery Whiskey
.5 oz Cointreau
7 dashes Angostura bitters
7 dashes Peychaud bitters
Stir Whiskey, Cointreau and bitters briefly over ice.
  Strain into a Champagne flute
 and top with Lenz Winery Cuvee

 Garnish with an orange twist.

The Bellini Day 15 of the Champagne Cocktail Advent Calendar with Villa Sandi Brut

When in Venice, or anywhere else in the world,
 do as the Venetians do.
A classic the world over
Simple, elegant, always in fashion (but not always in season) 
and always delicious!
Here is the simple version due to the lack of fresh white peaches.

Fill 1/3 of a chilled mixing glass with Peach Puree,
preferably white
and then slowly add Villa Sandi Brut Prosecco,
 give a good shake and into a flute.
Y basta
Chin Chin!

The Geminid Day 14 of the Champagne Cocktail Adevnt Calendar with Piper Sonoma Brut & Widow Jane Bourbon

While you are waiting for the Meteor Shower to begin you can pass the time by preparing a Geminid Sparkler.
You will need a Vanilla syrup for it
(Combine 1/2 cup of sugar with equal amount of water, and a 1/2 of a split vanilla pod in small pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool to room temperature, then discard the vanilla bean).
Once done, pour a healthy shot of Bourbon (we went local with Widow Jane 7 Year Straight Bourbon
one tablespoon of the Vanilla syrup and topped with
 Piper Heidsieck Champagne!
I guarantee you'll be seeing stars, lots of them.

The Pardon Punch - a real winner! Day 13 Nicolas Feuillatte & Campari

The Pardon Punch

Another Punch for your cache of Champagne Recipes
(are you getting tired of this yet?)
Well this one is a winner, really.
3/4 cup of Honey
3/4 cup of Campari
mix these two ingredients together
Add to them 2.5 cups of fresh Orange Juice
Place into a bowl with ice (preferably a block)
and finish off with 1 bottle of
 Nicolas Feuillate Rose Brut NV!

Day 12 The KNOCKOUT PUNCH Roederer Estate & Martin Miller's Gin

As we get hip deep into the Holiday season,
it never hurts to have a 
Champagne Punch recipe or two in your arsenal.

You will need
3 lemons
small bunch of fresh mint leaves chopped
1/2 cup of sugar
1 cup of excellent Gin,  like Martin Miller's
a lovely bottle of Roederer Sparkling Wine from California
To begin, zest the lemons (set aside) and then juice them.
Make a simple syrup with 1/2 c. sugar and 1/2 c. of water
Once boiled, into it place the zest and chopped mint
let it cool and strain.
Now pour into a bowl, the syrup, the lemon juice,
 the Gin and the sparkling wine.
 A Punch with a Punch.

The Dom Bomb! Day 11 Champagne Cocktail Advent Calendar

We are on a roll and how can you stop a good thing!
An explosive combination of 
2 ounces of Bombay Sapphire Gin 
and topped to the brim with 
Dom Perignon Champagne.