June Apple

Photo: Gregory Harned

June Apple:

1.5 oz. Apple Brandy (Laird's) 
2 dash Angostura Bitters 
.25 oz gum syrup 
1 tsp lemon juice

Shake all ingredients over ice. Strain into glass filled with ice. Top with Dry Juniper Berry soda. Wipe rim of glass with lemon slice.

One of my favorite recipe reference guides is The Flavor Bibleby by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. The book encourages creativity as flavors are broken down and reassembled in intersting pairing reccomendations from tried and true combinations to unexpected new favorite

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Hop Toad Cocktail

Hop Toad Cocktail:

1. 5 oz. Dark Rum (Ron Zacapa Centanario 23)
1 oz. apricot brandy (Rothman and Winter)
.5 oz lime juice
Angostura bitters to taste

Shake with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. 

The recipe listed above is from Gary Regan's classic "The Joy of Mixology", which itself is an adaptation from A.S. Crockett's, "The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book" (Gary adds bitters), which is most likely an adaptation from Tom Bullock's Ideal Bartender, where it was called a Leaping Frog* (recipe below) before rum was added. How's that for evolution of a cocktail? Provided you start with high quality ingredients, all variations are delicious and it will take a bit of experimenting to find the version that suits your taste. Many fine classic cocktails call for apricot brandy making it a great addition to any home bar. Cocktail Historian David Wondrich insists that a true Hop Toad* (recipe below) is made with Hungarian Apricot Brandy, but Rothman and Winter is a fine choice, a blend of a true apricot eau-de-vie sweetened with apricot fruit juices harvested at their peak ripeness in Austria.

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1.5 oz Old Tom gin (Ransom)
Dash Angostura bitters
3 Dash orange bitters (Urban Moonshine)
Lemon zest

Stir over ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Express oils over cocktail and garnish with lemon twist.

This recipe is from Modern American Drinks:How to Mix and Serve All Kinds of Cups and Drinks by George J. Kappeler, published in 1900. Ransom Old Tom Gin is one of the best offerings from Ransom Spirits, as it is very unique and delicious. With no addtional sweeteners, this cocktail is not for the faint of heart (though the Old Tom Gin does contribute more sweetness than a tradtional London Dry, a result of it's brief stint spent in barrels) The gin is citrus forward with grapefruit, lemon peel, ajowain, peppercorn, cardamom, cedar, pine, and juniper notes. In the same vein as the flavor profile of Ransom Distillery Small's Gin, cardamom takes the lead role. Thanks to brands like Urban Moonshine and Ransom Distillery, the ability to authentically make this classic cocktail with modern ingredients has become a reality. What's your favorite recipe with Old Tom Gin?


Harvest Moonlight- 1.5 oz @DeathsDoor White Whiskey, dash cinnamon agave simple syrup, 2 dash Angostura bitters

Harvest Moonlight:

1.5 oz white whiskey (Death's Door)
dash cinnamon spice agave simple syrup (homemade)*
2 dash Angostura bitters

Like all of Death's Door Spirits from Madison, WI, they are classic in nature and stay true to the belief that high quality ingredients will yield high quality spirits. Their whiskey is comprised of 80:20 ratio of wheat to malted barley. While "white dog" or unaged whiskey has caught a bad rap as many craft distillers have prematurely (no pun intended) released white dog whiskeys with compromised results, there are a few that are worth seeking out, and Death's Door White Whiskey can be included in that exclusive set.
Cinnamon infused agave syrup adds to the viscous mouthfeel of the white whiskey, but should be kept at a dash as the white whiskey holds a sweetness of it's own that can be easily overpowered. There is definatlely some heat on the back end from the lack of aging (the whiskey is rested in uncharred oak barrels for a total of only 72 hours). As the drink waters down the malt and vanilla flavors become even more forward and blend well with the warm spices of the Angostura.

*Cinnamon Spiced Agave Simple Syrup:
Heat raw blue agave syrup with spring water at a 1:1 ratio with 1-2 medium broken Ceylon cinnamon sticks in microwave or stovetop until fragrant. Bottle. Stores 7-10 days.