FALL COCKTAIL ~ MAPLE BACON OLD FASHIONED

We’ve accepted the fact that fall is here and are ready to cozy up with warm sweaters and festive cocktails. But we aren’t suggesting you only sip Irish coffees for the next three months. This season brings a new roster of autumn-appropriate cocktails for your sipping pleasure.

This lovely libation contains a special ingredient – bacon infused bourbon – which is so easy to make you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can ramp-up your Fall cocktail menu with such an easy recipe. You can find the recipe HERE. Once you’ve got that done and proudly sitting on your home bar, mix up this cocktail, surround yourself with friends and relish in the bright foliage of the changing season.

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MAPLE BACON OLD FASHIONED
The savory and smokey flavor of our bacon infused bourbon mixes with velvety maple syrup for this unbelievable fall twist on an old-school cocktail.

TOOLS ::  Cocktail mixing glass, barspoon and strainer
GLASS :: Old Fashioned
EXTRAS :: Orange twist for garnish
SERVINGS :: 2 cocktails

INGREDIENTS :: 

  • 4 oz. Bacon Infused Bourbon
  • 1/2 oz. Grade B maple syrup
  • 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Twist of orange

HOW TO MAKE IT ::
Combine bourbon, maple syrup and bitters in a mixing glass with ice. Using barspoon, stir gently until well chilled. Strain mixture into ice filled glasses. Twist orange over glass and use as garnish.

FALL INSPIRED SPIRIT INFUSIONS – BACON BOURBON

This is the first week of Autumn and I’m so ready to dive into the new flavors of the season. Admittedly, I’m a huge fan of bourbon so this recipe has become a personal favorite so I’m happy to share it as part of our Fall inspired infusion line up.

I’ve decided to start this Fall season with a series of infusions that will have you enjoying the season’s best flavors: warm vanilla, inviting pumpkin and even savory smoky bacon. If you like the creativity of cooking and combining flavors–and, like me, you mix a few cocktails now and again – then infusions are a great place to play around and have fun personalizing your home bar. So for the next few days we’re introducing a series of fall-inspired spirit infusions (and a few cocktails too!) for you to kick off the season.

Spirit infusions are very simple. You soak ingredients in a base alcohol until you like the taste. Sounds fun and easy, right? Infusions require a waiting time to properly yield the best results and most robust flavors. Get these infusions started now and your patience will pay off in a few weeks.

BACON INFUSED BOURBON

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This combination of flavors is just as delicious as it sounds and the infusion process is simpler than it sounds. With the recipe below and a bit of patience, you’ll be enjoying bacon in your beverage in no time.

TOOLS ::  Large glass container with sealed lid, skillet, mixing bowls (2), cheesecloth

INGREDIENTS :: 
4 slices of smoked bacon (get fresh-cut bacon from your butcher if possible)
750 ml Bourbon

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HOW TO MAKE IT ::

In a large skillet cook bacon until done. Remove bacon slices and set aside. Allow bacon fat to cool slightly. Using a small mixing bowl and cheesecloth, strain bacon fat through cheesecloth to remove all bacon or cooked bits. Once strained, measure out 1.5 oz of bacon fat and set aside. In a large glass bowl combine the bottle of bourbon, reserved bacon fat and 2 slices of bacon.

Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 4-6 hours. After the 4-6 hour infusion, move bowl into the freezer and freeze for about 8 hours or until the fat has frozen solid. Carefully remove solidified fat and bacon slices from bowl and discard. Strain the bourbon through 2 layers of cheesecloth back into your original bottle or other storage container.

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The key to all infusions will be to choose a decent quality brand for your base spirit. There’s no need to break the bank for a premium variety, but avoid the cheapest ones because no amount of spice will take away the harshness of cheap alcohol. So get in your kitchen and have fun adding a twist to fall’s scrumptious flavors.

Check out our other Fall Inspired infusions – Spicy Pumpkin Vodka and Vanilla Bean Vodka for more infusing fun!

TIPSY ARNOLD PALMER ~ A SUMMERTIME CLASSIC

Have you ever noticed that as soon as summer hits, most things in life become less complicated? Life in the summer simply slows down a bit. Meals during the summer equate to anything quick on the BBQ, grilled veggies and a salad. Summer simplicity even takes over my wardrobe. I just reach for that light and flowing summer dress, slip on my jazzy sandals and I’m out the door, ready for the day.

Even when our family schedule boasts errands and to-do lists, there’s always an undercurrent of an upcoming vacation to calm me, or the promise of summer evenings that go on forever that beckon me back into that slower summertime pace.

For those uncomplicated summer get-togethers and impromptu afternoons on the front porch watching the sunset, I’ve got a drink for you that partners well with the effortless mood of the season. Enter the Arnold Palmer, a classic cocktail made by combining equal parts of tea and lemonade with ice.

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While I think we can safely say that the combination of lemon and tea have been enjoyed for centuries, it was golfing great Arnold Palmer who made the mixture famous during the 1960s and we’ve been enjoying his namesake ever since. When you think about it, there’s nothing better to quench your thirst and cool you down more than either ice tea or lemonade so combining the two is sheer genius!

Even though it’s tough to enhance a true classic like iced tea or the Arnold Palmer, I’m going to add a little booze to the mix for a truly delicious — and simple — summer cocktail that you can have at the ready to enjoy on one of those awesome summer evenings.

TIPSY ARNOLD PALMER

Get started by making your Arnold Palmer base of tea and lemonade. Once you’ve got these key ingredients made and chilling in the fridge, simply grab a glass, add a little booze and you’re ready any time for celebrating or just satisfying that summertime thirst. Besides, I think spiked tea is the best tea of all!

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TOOLS ::  Saucepan for boiling, measuring cups, pitcher for chilling and muddler
GLASS ::  Mason jar in any size
EXTRAS :: Oranges, lemons (make wheels, wedges, or spirals) and mint for garnish
SERVINGS ::  1 pitcher

INGREDIENTS ::
Iced tea
6 cups water
8 bags of black tea
1/2 cup sweetening agent (honey, turbinado sugar, crystals, or granulated sugar)

Lemonade
The bonus of making your own lemonade is you can control the level of sweetness — or tartness — by adding more lemons or sugar to your liking. If you’re short on time and just want to get your party started, a good quality pre-made lemonade is perfect!
For all you DIY’ers out there, check out our Classic Gidget+LaRue Lemonade, check out our recipe HERE.

For each cocktail
1.5 ounces Wild Turkey American Honey Bourbon

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HOW TO MAKE IT ::
Iced tea
 – Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
– Remove from heat, add tea bags and let steep for 5-10 minutes.
– Remove tea bags and add sweetening agent of your choice, stirring until dissolved.
– Taste for your desired level of sweetness, adding sweetener until you’re happy with the       flavor and set aside.

Tipsy Arnold Palmer
 – In a pitcher, combine equal parts of sweetened tea and lemonade and let chill for at least 1 hour or refrigerate overnight. Stir again before serving.
– Garnish pitcher with citrus slices.
– Place a few slices of lemon and orange in bottom of each cocktail glass and muddle gently to release flavors of citrus.
– Add bourbon and fill glass to top with ice.
– Fill glass with Arnold Palmer tea/lemonade mixture and give it a good stir.
– Garnish with mint and additional citrus.

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TIP :: The “Vodka Hack”

If you aren’t willing to dive into the sweet deliciousness that is Wild Turkey American Honey Bourbon (even though I really think you should try this!), you can always keep your tipsy Arnold Palmer more on the lemony side of things by using only lemons and Citrus Vodka instead of the oranges and bourbon.

This version keeps the flavor very refreshing and you’ll be amazed at how you can’t even tell you’re drinking spiked tea!

TIP #2 :: The “Life is Busy Hack”

While making fresh lemonade and black iced tea will make this cocktail epic, sometimes we need to embrace the simplicity of summer and cut some corners to keep life easy.

I found Arizona Sweet Tea in jugs at the dollar store nearby and when added to some store-bought lemonade, it did the trick in a pinch.

The mixture will certainly be sweeter than making your own tea and lemonade, but you can balance that out with fresh lemons and oranges muddled into the drink or added to your chilled pitcher.

GARDEN FRESHNESS IN A COCKTAIL GLASS

Weekends during the spring and summer are often filled with trips to the farmers market or harvesting the wonders of your newly planted garden. Both locations offer a bounty of fresh herbs that just beg to be mixed into an array of cocktails. Herbs can add so much flavor to your cocktails whether they are muddled into the drink, cooked into a syrup or used simply for garnish for a fragrant hint of garden goodness. Follow us on a cocktail journey through your garden and you’ll be thrilled at how quickly you’ll be running out for that last snip of mint during a friend-filled Friday night bash!

Sometimes the simplest of things can bring the utmost of pleasure. Take this 3 ingredient wonder which transitions your winter bourbon into summertime brilliance. The addition of St. Germain brings the honey-scented elderflower into your cocktail, catapulting your bourbon into the flavors of summer.  All you need to add is a few fresh sprigs of lavender from the garden which, when combined with a lemon twist, create the perfect herbal swizzle stick for this delicious drink.

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SPRINGTIME SMASH

TOOLS :: Mixing glass, bar spoon, strainer
GLASS :: Highball
EXTRAS :: Fresh sprig of lavender, lemon peel, large ice cubes {they minimize melting}
SERVINGS :: 2 cocktails

INGREDIENTS ::
5 oz. Bourbon {we used Knob Creek here}
1 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
4 dashed Angostura bitters

HOW TO MAKE IT :: Add bourbon, St. Germain and bitters into an ice-filled mixing glass. Using barspoon, stir until very well chilled, approximately 30 rotations. Strain cocktails into ice-filled glasses. Using lavender sprigs and lemon, swizzle cocktail gently to release flavors. Leave garnish in glass.

TASTE THE SEASON :: HOLIDAY LIQUEURS

When the holiday season comes around, we can’t help but indulge in food and drink spiced with classic holiday flavors like gingerbread, peppermint, vanilla and the ever-sweet cinnamon. This time every year, drink manufacturers introduce their long-awaited seasonally spiced products. In order for you to take full advantage of these flavor wonders, we’ve found a number of holiday liquors that may help you to step away from that Pumpkin Spice Latte and embrace the flavors of December with a few delish cocktails! Three holiday liqueurs, eight cocktail choices. For a full list of cocktails visit The Good Stuff, and get your holiday imbibing started with the cocktail we created below. Oh, joyful yuletide!

THE QUEEN’S MEN
The first gingerbread man is credited to Queen Elizabeth I, who knocked the socks off visiting dignitaries by presenting them with one baked in their own likeness. Cheers to all the Queen’s gingerbread-men!

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TOOLS :: Cocktail shaker, bar spoon
GLASS :: Martini or coupe
EXTRAS ::  cinnamon stick for garnish
SERVINGS :: 2 cocktails

INGREDIENTS :

  • 4 oz. Aged Rum {you can substitute with Bourbon if you’d like}
  • 2 oz. Hiram Walker Gingerbread Liqueur
  • 1 oz. Tuaca
  • Good splash of Cointreau
  • 1 heaping barspoon of Fig Butter {Trader Joe’s has a great one}

HOW TO MAKE IT ::
In an ice-filled cocktail shaker, add all ingredients. Shake well {shake it like you mean it!} and double strain mixture evenly between two cocktail glasses. Garnish each drink with a cinnamon stick.

BLACK BETTY TO THE RESCUE

Quite frankly, I’ve had a rough day. It’s been one of those days when, as you power down your laptop, all you can think of is “Uncle…I’m done!” Well tonight I decided that I needed a nice little cocktail to ease into my evening. I needed something comfort-driven…something dark. So I had a mini-Test Kitchen moment and invented a delish, comforting wonder…BLACK BETTY. Sounds a little adventurous, a little darling but with a name like Betty, a happy friend. So as we head into the stressful holidays, may you also find the joy of Betty. Black Betty to the rescue. Bam-ba-lam!

BLACK BETTY

Feeling better already. Thanks Betty!

Feeling better already. Thanks Betty!

TOOLS :: Cocktail shaker
GLASS :: Martini {or an ice-filled Old Fashioned if you’re into the ice thing – both work}
EXTRAS ::  thin string of orange peel for garnish
SERVINGS :: 2 cocktails

INGREDIENTS ::
4 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
1 1/2 oz. Cassis Liqueur {blackcurrant liqueur}
1 1/2 oz. Brown Sugar simple syrup {brown sugar-to-water, 1:1}
4 good shakes of FEE Brothers Black Walnut Bitters

HOW TO MAKE IT ::
In an ice-filled cocktail shaker, add all ingredients. Shake well {shake it like you mean it!} and strain mixture evenly between two cocktail glasses. For garnish, twist orange peel over drink to release oils and add to cocktail.

NOTE :
Cassis is a great addition to your home bar. The Blackcurrant flavor is robust and yet light at the same time and a nice break from other seasonal flavors. Besides, it’s the only ingredient you need to make a Kir Royale cocktail! That’s right! Add a half shot of this to champagne and voila! Kir Royale. Delish!

HALLOWEEN COCKTAIL ~ MIDNIGHT SPELL

There’s something magical about the perfect blend of flavors in a cocktail. This libation provides that spark with the rich simple syrup blending subtly with the natural spices of the bourbon and the pumpkin ale. We launched this on TheGoodStuff – the online magazine we contribute our cocktails to {check them out here}. ENJOY and Happy Halloween!

MIDNIGHT SPELL

The Midnight Spell ~ CraftBeer cocktail to keep handy all Fall + Winter long
TOOLS :: Cocktail shaker
GLASS :: Old Fashioned/Highball
EXTRAS ::  thin slice of orange + candied ginger for garnish
SERVINGS :: 2 cocktails

INGREDIENTS ::
4 oz. Bourbon {we used Bulleit}
6-8 oz. Pumpkin Ale
2 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. Ginger syrup {The Ginger People – Ginger Syrup is perfect}
1.5 oz. Brown Sugar Simple Syrup {recipe below}

HOW TO MAKE IT :: 
Brown Sugar Simple Syrup :: In a high-sided saucepan over medium-high heat combine 1 cup water with 1 cup brown sugar. Bring to boil, stirring constantly to ensure sugar is dissolved. Turn heat to low and simmer 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain syrup into container and keep refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

In an ice-filled cocktail shaker, add Bourbon, Cointreau, ginger syrup and Simple Syrup. Shake well {shake it like you mean it!} and split mixture between two ice-filled cocktail glasses. Top each with beer, stirring to combine. Garnish with orange slice and candied ginger.