Sullivan's Special

Sullivan's Special:

2 oz. Irish Whiskey (John L. Sullivan) 
2 dashes gum syrup 
3 dashes Blackstrap bitters (Bittercube) 
Lemon twist

Stir with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass.

This cocktail features one of our favorite Irish whiskeys, John L. Sullivan, which gets its name from the last bare-knuckle boxing champion of the world, a man whose catch phrase was "I can beat any son-of-a-bitch in the house", and a man who often did. He was a true sporting man, a hero to those who frequented dusty saloons, who would admire his many portraits that were sure to grace the walls of such establishments while enjoying their choice spirits. It's quite the challenge to make a whiskey to honor a man with such a reputation, but Cooley Distillery is a choice distiller for such a task. John L. Sullivan whiskey is a blend of 4-10 year single grain and single malt whiskeys that have rested in single use American white oak bourbon barrels. The barrels imbue the whiskey with a rich oaked honey nose, a touch of citrus on the mid palate, and a spicy vanilla finish. We thought this would make a fine pairing with Bittercube's Blackstrap Bitters, which have a flavor profile of molasses, sarsaparilla, and ceylon cinnamon. At three dashes, the bitters really get a chance to shine here, and adds cinnamon to the nose and a general warm spice throughout the drink, in a cocktail sure to help us get us through the last days of winter. A touch of gum syrup from Small Hand Foods balances out the cocktail, and the citrus zest helps to pull out some of the citrus hints in the whiskey, as well as adding a bit of brightness. On a related note, Small Hand Foods Jennifer Colliau will host a DIY Sodas, Syrups, and Bitters course here in Portland as part of Cocktail Camp PDX on Sunday April 10th. If you have not yet purchased tickets you can here. Hope to see you there!

Pink Baby Cocktail

Pink Baby:

2 oz gin (Plymouth)

1 oz Sirop de Citron (homemade)

1 oz pomegranate grenadine (Stirrings)

1 egg white

Shake all ingredients over ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with top with Bittercube Jamaica #1 bitters (opt.)

One of the major benefits of making candied citron for cocktail garnishes and other cooking purposes is the leftover syrup, a slightly obscure classic cocktail ingredient, "sirop de citron". We found our recipe for both from the always entertaining David Lebovitz here. This prompted a quick search in our files for classic recipes utilizing the citrus syrup and we came across the Pink Baby cocktail. The result is a wildly sweet and creamy cocktail reminiscent of a lemon-gin Creamsicle. It was appealing in a way, and a nice desert cocktail but needed some tinkering. The sirop de citron carries the pleasant bitterness of the fruit, but the sweetness is too concentrated to be desired by most at these proportions. We took a tip from DrinkGal who swapped the syrup for limoncello in her version of the Pink Baby. We took things one step further and came up with our favorite iteration that still nods it's hat to the Pink Baby, but is different enough that we'll call it the Pink Baby Improved.

 Pink Baby Improved:

2 oz. gin (Plymouth) 
.75 oz. limoncello (Ventura Limoncello) 
.5 oz grenadine (Stirrings)
.5 oz lemon juice 
1 egg white

Shake over ice. Double strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with *Rhubarb Bitters (opt.).

The lemon juice really helps to cut through the sweetness that is now toned down from the replacement of limoncello with the sirop de citron. It also assists in highlighting the brightness of the limoncello and allows it to pop through the mix, a greatly desired result as Ventura Limoncello is one of, if not the tastiest limoncello's currently on the market. Their limoncello is an example of a hand-crafted product and carries the true sign of an all natural Limoncello, “Il Collarino” (the little collar). This is formed by the citrus oils that gather at the top of the bottle. A quick shake before serving mixes everything back together in the bottle. A family run operation following a recipe handed down from the maker's Italian grandmother ensures her contribution to drinking culture will not be lost to history. Thanks Nonna!

*The Rhubarb bitters was a bit of an afterthought and can be substituted with a favorite bitters of your choosing.

Porch Swing

1.5 oz Vodka (Boyd & Blair)
.75 oz June Liqueur
.75 oz Bergamot orange juice (or use lemon)
Dash Cherry and Vanilla Bark Bitters (Bittercube)
Lemon zest

Shake over ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass.

This cocktail is named for it's easy going, delicate, and refreshing nature. We will be sipping many more of these come summertime, though bergamot oranges may be hard to come by so we wanted to take advantage of their unique tartness now. We opted for a regular lemon zest in place of the bergamot zest, as it can often be overpowering, and let the Bittercube Cherry Bark Vanilla serve as the aroma enhancer. This was our first time mixing with both June and Boyd and Blair Potato Vodka and were impressed with both products. The June liqueur is a delicate blend of botanicals similar to that of Dolin Blanc, but sweeter with a more sugary, cotton-candy flavor. Boyd and Blair Potato vodka is simply one of the best we've tasted. I would not consider myself a vodka fan and rarely find myself getting excited about vodka, but this elicited a true "wow" reaction. We look forward to many more cocktails with both products.