A New Day

Y’all may have notice a bit of a time gap (a bit = 3 years) on my posting to this here blog, and those who follow along on social media have witnessed some crazy sh*t going down for this Bourbon Gal in real time. IMG_3828

We bought a house a bit further south in the Salt Lake Valley, sold our tiny Sugar House cottage, and started a major renovation/addition project on the new place which is still in progress some two years later. For several months we lived in our pop-up camping trailer — yeah, two adults, two teenaged boys and two goofy chocolate Labs — taking some big road trips and fly fishing up through Wyoming, Montana and western Canada. Then we parked our home-on-wheels in the side yard of our new home and lived out of it for waaaaayy longer than anticipated. Here’s a story I wrote for Devour magazine about kitchen remodel projects that was influenced heavily by our family’s experiences. It reads a lot more up-beat now than I felt at the time (e.g. overwhelmed and about to lose my ever-lovin’ mind on an almost hourly basis). IMG_6563

In the meantime, I’ve been writing like gangbusters at my other paid gigs all over the Beehive State, and will drop some links to those stories soon, along with my backstage cocktail pairings to go with them.

Cheers, all y’all, and thanks for your patience!

 

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The Belle and Bull: a Bourbon Bloody Mary

Pick a rye-forward bourbon with a bit of spice instead of vodka for your next Bloody to take the character level of this go-to day drink to the next level. All the cool kids are doin’ it. 

Rub the rim of a heavy pint glass with the cut side of a lemon. Dip the rim into 1 Tbs. of your favorite steak seasoning mix to coat (I like McCormick Grill Mates Smokehouse Maple – the molasses and brown sugar elements make for a nice sweet note

The Belle and Bull: a Bourbon Bloody Mary with a kick

The Belle and Bull: a Bourbon Bloody Mary with a kick

under the bourbon’s spice).

To a tall mixing glass add:

4-5 ice cubes

2 oz. bourbon whiskey

1.5 oz. strong beef stock

a generous pinch of steak seasoning mix

1/8 tsp. prepared horseradish

juice of ½ lemon (about ½ oz.)

a generous pinch of coarse-ground black pepper

5-6 oz. tomato juice strained through very fine mesh to remove most of the pulp

Stir thoroughly with a long-handled bar spoon until combined; pour all contents into the prepared serving glass. Add more ice if needed to fill the glass.

Garnish with a bigass slice of smoky beef jerky.

The story behind the drink….

This burly bloody brings a bit of umami to the flavor profile of the traditional bevvy with the addition of both hearty beef stock and bold bourbon. It makes for a satisfying stick-to-your-ribs version of the classic, especially with an addition of steak seasoning to the rim and beef jerky for the garnish. This “Beauty and the Beast” match-up was inspired during a slope-side brunch tailgate last ski season when we ran out of vodka for mixing. Fortunately, I had some whiskey tucked away in a flask and it made for the perfect addition to the mix on that blustery day. Go for a spicy rye-forward bourbon such as Woodford Reserve or Belle Meade to add a bit of kick and balance to this savory medley. Although most citrus cocktails work best in a shaker, take the time to stir this one thoroughly, instead; shaking it makes for a pale pink frothy mess. Definitely not the vibe we’re going for in this bold bourbon Bloody Mary.

(c) 2016 Darby Doyle, http://www.aBourbonGal.com

 

10 AM Green Drinks

SNAP Dragon A zippy flavor bomb for any time of day.

SNAP Dragon
A zippy flavor bomb for any time of day.

Snap Dragon

2 oz mezcal

1 oz snap pea shrub*

2 dashes lime bitters

0.5 oz chilled white tea

Thai basil garnish

To a shaker filled with ice, add mescal, snap pea shrub, bitters and tea. Shake it like a Polaroid picture. Add a bigass ice cube to the prepared glass, and strain the mezcal mix into the glass, and garnish with a big sprig of Thai basil. I also made this beaut of a bevy with vodka and tequila blanco in place of the mescal with great results.

*Snap pea shrub: to a blender add 6 oz. each whole sugar snap peas, white sugar, and champagne vinegar. Zap it until the mixture is smooth and evenly ground up. Place snap pea slurry into a lidded jar and place in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove solids, and keep refrigerated until ready to use (up to 4 weeks). Shake well before using.

The story behind the drink….

Veggie nachos and a zippy jalapeño margarita at Zest Kitchen & Bar. Check out Instagram with the hashtag #10AMcocktails to see what all of us ate and drank for brunch at Zest! YUM.

Veggie nachos and a zippy jalapeño margarita at Zest Kitchen & Bar. Check out Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #10AMcocktails to see what all of us ate and drank for brunch at Zest! YUM.

I’ve been inspired by some really delightful green cocktails around town lately! The lovely folks at Zest Kitchen and Bar invited a group of local food bloggers (who also happen to be some badass lady-friends) over for brunch, which starts at 10am at Zest with cocktails- something that in Utah only happens that early with a bar license (21+ only). So, leave the kiddos at home and head on over there for some really delicious beverages. You’ll never know the menu is vegetarian and gluten-free! I felt so healthy for the rest of the day, right up until I made pulled pork for dinner.

I included Zest in my Top Six Picks for great sips for my feature in this year’s SL City Weekly Dining Guide “Sip Well” along with favorites Bar X, Under Current Bar, O.P. Rockwell in Park City, Lucky 13 Bar & Grill, and BTG Wine Bar.

It’s a Long Way to Tipperary

The love-child of a classic American Manhattan and the pre-Prohibition Tipperary cocktail, in this case made with Malt Whisky.

The love-child of a classic American Manhattan and the pre-Prohibition Tipperary cocktail, in this case made with Malt Whisky.

ImageWest Temple Tipperary

1.5 oz Sugar House Distillery Malt Whisky

1 vial Spiced Orange Beehive Bitters

0.5 oz green chartreuse

0.5 oz sweet vermouth

To a mixing glass, add all ingredients over ice. Stir for 50 revolutions with a long bar spoon. Strain into a coupe glass over an ice cube. Garnish copiously with narrow orange and lime zest twists.

 

The story behind the drink…

Almost a year ago, I was fiddling around with Tipperary — a WWI-era classic named after the Irish lament “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”– recipes and made a “MacHattan” cocktail for our annual St. Patrick’s Day party using Irish whiskey. It’s a combo that also works really well using a not-super-peaty Malt Whisky. The spiced orange bitters give a nice zip to the drink, with the vegetal qualities of chartreuse making for a great base note.

Note: This cocktail was featured by the talented guys at Sugar House Distillery in a recent article in The Utah Review (check it out! Lots of great stories about Utah products and producers), for which I was compensated by SHD as a writer and photographer. 

© Darby Doyle (2016), aBourbonGal.com

The Resolution

The Resolution Get more fruit and veggies in your glass along with that gin!

The Resolution
Get more fruit and veggies in your glass along with that gin!

Juicy, light, and fragrant. This cocktail at least gives a nod to getting more fruit and veggies to the table in the New Year. Wishing all y’all the best in 2016!

The Resolution

2 oz. gin

juice of one small blood orange (about 2 oz)

1 oz. cucumber shrub*

Stir in a bar glass with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass over a bigass ice cube. Garnish with a wedge of blood orange and a big long narrow shaving of cucumber.

*This is a refrigerated light shrub made with 4 oz. cucumber juice, 1 oz. granulated sugar, and 1 oz. champagne vinegar. Not as tart as most shrubs to allow for the cucumber flavor to come through, otherwise it just tastes like pickles. Which is okay in some applications, but not what we’re going for in this drink.

© Darby Doyle, aBourbonGal.com

Repeal Day Bourbon Punch

During the crucial taste-testing process! Most cocktails started as punch recipes, so this can also be scaled down to make individual drinks with 0.5 oz shrub, 1.5 oz bourbon, and top with bubbly.

During the crucial taste-testing process! Most cocktails started as punch recipes, so this can also be scaled down to make individual drinks with 0.5 oz shrub, 1.5 oz bourbon, and top with bubbly.

A boozy punch for a crowd!

The key to making this very old school-style punch is making the oleo-saccharum, basically a process for releasing all of the goodness and zing of the lemon oils from the zest, which then gets made into a shrub to balance the fruit/acid/sugar. This is a technique of pre-Civil War era origins which I’ve messed with a bit (see sources below), popular with booze slingers from the Early American Republic through the early cocktail era. It’s a pain in the ass, for sure, to peel all those lemons, but get to work: it’s totally worth it after you’ve completed making the shrub base a couple of days later. I made this punch by request for my friends over at Sugar House Distillery for a private event they held to celebrate the release of their first bourbon whiskey. All grains sourced within 200 miles, then fermented, distilled, barreled and bottled in house! This recipe makes a quart of shrub concentrate, which when combined with three bottles bourbon and three bottles sparkling wine makes enough generous drinks for 40-60 people. Or a dozen of my friends. Collect erry’body’s keys upon arrival, just sayin’. This punch is some potent stuff!

Bourbon made in Utah! Who'd have thunk it? My buddy Jake from Sugar House Distilling and I are pretty dang excited!

Bourbon made in Utah! Who’d have thunk it? My buddy Jake from Sugar House Distillery and I are pretty dang excited!

Repeal Day Punch

1 quart lemon shrub*

3 bottles bourbon

3 bottles sparkling wine (err towards brut profile)

Combine well and serve over ice

 

*Shrub ingredients:

6 big juicy lemons

2 1/4 cups demerara sugar (divided use)

6 allspice berries (or 1/8 tsp. ground allspice)

½ of a whole nutmeg grated finely

6 whole cardamom seeds (or are they pods? whatever, the small green things)

4-5 whole white peppercorns

1″ of a cinnamon stick (more if you really like cinnamon)

To make the shrub:

Prepare an oleo-saccharum (oil-sugar) by completely removing zest (just the peels without any white parts – a swivel potato peeler is the perfect tool for this job!) of six large juicy lemons. In a big bowl, combine the lemon peels with 1 cup demerara or raw turbinado sugar. Stir to combine, smash peels a bit with the back of a wooden spoon to grind in the sugar. Lightly cover with plastic wrap, and move to a warm spot out of direct sunlight- this bowl’s gonna be living there for a while so get used to it! Reserve all those whole peeled lemons in the refrigerator; you’ll be needing them later. Every time you remember (every 3-4 hours or so), stir and smash the sugar and peels some more. Do this for at least 12 hours and up to two days. You’ll eventually have a nice pool of lemony oily, syrupy goodness in your bowl of curly lemon peels.

Image capture from my new friend Amanda (well, new IRL; we've been Instafriends for forever!) So many great folks out supporting the distillery.

Image capture from my new friend Amanda (well, new IRL; we’ve been Instafriends for forever!) So many great folks out supporting the distillery.

While that’s going, you can prepare the spice syrup. To a quart or other large heat-proof lidded jar, add 1 ½ cups demerara or raw turbinado sugar, bring 1 ¼ cups water to a boil, and pour hot water over the sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add up to another 1/4 more hot water to dissolve sugar, if needed. Add the following spices to this simple syrup: 6 allspice berries (or 1/8 tsp. ground allspice), ½ of a whole nutmeg grated finely, 6 whole cardamom seeds (or are they pods? whatever), 4-5 whole white peppercorns, and a 1″ piece of a cinnamon stick. Stir well to combine, then let sit until the syrup reaches room temperature. Remove the cinnamon stick (really, or the entire brew will taste only of cinnamon). Put a lid on that jar, and refrigerate until you’ve got your oleo-saccharum nice and runny.

When the oleo-saccharum is ready, juice the reserved 6 lemons over the lemon oil (it’s great if some pulp and pips end up in the bowl, no worries! You’ll be straining this, anyway). Stir well to combine. Add the spice syrup to the bowl with the lemony goodness. Stir well again, and let sit at room temp to meld for a few hours. Stir again, then strain through a sieve with a couple layers of cheesecloth to catch all the woody bits. Decant into another lidded jar (this should make about a 4 cups/1 quart of shrub, if it’s not quite 4 cups, add enough water to fill the quart jar) and refrigerate until ready for use, up to two weeks.

PUNCH! By David Wondrich. Put it on your booze geek reading list today!

PUNCH! By David Wondrich. Put it on your booze geek reading list today!

For booze geeks wanting to explore the delights of historic punch recipes, I highly recommend picking up a copy of David Wondrich’s treatise on the subject, “PUNCH: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl” (Penguin, 2010). Therein he discusses the roots and uses of various recipes for making oleo-saccharum and other alcoholically alchemical wonders. The Repeal Day Punch recipe I made is loosely based on Wondrich’s historic research on the Chatham Artillery Punch, and old Georgia recipe that featured bourbon, rum, brandy mixed with lemon oil and juice in horse buckets.

Full disclosure: the guys at Sugar House Distillery paid me to curate this punch recipe for them. Which I did gladly, since their booze kicks ass and they’re fantastic fellas. -abg

Fall Fandango

The Fall Fandango Silver rum, Applejack, stout beer syrup, cardamom & chocolate bitters, and apple Pok Pok

The Fall Fandango
Silver rum, Applejack, stout beer syrup, cardamom & chocolate bitters, and apple Pok Pok

This rum based cocktail combines my favorite flavors of fall: apples, coffee, chocolate, and rum. Yum!

The Fall Fandango

1.5 oz white rum (I used Sugar House Distilling’s Silver Rum)

0.75 oz Laird’s Applejack

0.75 oz chocolate-coffee stout syrup*

0.5 oz Pok Pok apple sipping vinegar

2 dashes cardamom bitters

2 dashes chocolate bitters

tiny splash of seltzer

To a mixing glass filled with ice, add all ingredients. Stir for 50 revolutions. Strain into a highball glass over a bigass ice cube infused with some cacao nibs (about ¼ tsp per cube). Splash in a teaspoon or two of seltzer. Garnish with thin apple slices. Drizzle apple slices with a little more of the beer syrup.

Chocolate coffee stout beer syrup

Chocolate coffee stout beer syrup

*To make beer syrup: to a heavy non-reactive saucepan, add 2 cups of beer. For this cocktail, I used Epic Brewing’s Big Bad Baptist, a stout beer made with cacao and coffee and finished in whiskey barrels. I know, it seems a shame to make syrup out of this amazing beer, but it’s worth it! Bring the beer to a slight boil over med-high heat, then reduce heat to med-low, stir often to prevent scorching, and simmer until the beer is reduced by half (about 30 minutes). Remove from the heat, and cool for about 5-10 minutes at room temp. Add 1 cup raw (turbinado or demerara) sugar and keep stirring until all the sugar is dissolved. Cool completely to room temp, pour the syrup into a lidded jar, and refrigerate until ready to use. It’ll keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge.  

 

The story behind the drink….

About a year and a half ago, I got a call from a colleague who works in philanthropy for a local museum. They were putting together live auction items for their annual gala, and for one item they were planning an “Ultimate Chocolate Experience” private VIP dinner, since the museum had just launched a wildly successful visiting Chocolate exhibit (for which I’d written a promo piece for my other gig at cityhomeCOLLECTIVE). They asked if I’d be willing to create a chocolate-themed original cocktail for the event, to which I replied “Hell, yes!” That’s right up my alley: kind of a H.O.A.G.Y (Help Out a Gal/Guy, Yeah?) assignment on a meta level.

Long story short, some of my dear friends bid on the item and won. With everyone’s crazy busy lives, we finally saw all the stars align and had the dinner for 16 guests last weekend. It was amazing! The talented and generous folks at Millcreek Cacao Roasters provided some of their superb chocolate (really, the quality and sourcing are top notch) for the building blocks of many of my recipes. Luckily, there was a bit left over for me to eat straight from the bar!

This lucky duck is looking over my Oaxaca Old Fashioned during the very important R & D phase of my chocolate cocktail assignment

This lucky duck is looking over my Oaxaca Old Fashioned during the very important R & D phase of my chocolate cocktail assignment

I made the “Fall Fandango” rum-based cocktail using a lot of locally sourced ingredients, and it was far and away the crowd favorite. I also offered a “Oaxaca Old Fashioned” using a shot of cacao nib infused rye, ½ tsp raw sugar, a barspoon of pomegranate grenadine, and 3-4 dashes mole bitters; served over a bigass ice ball, and garnished with a candied orange slice drizzled with some Millcreek Cacao 70% chocolate (and yes, those chocolate candied oranges are insane on their own. Only 2 out of 3 made it into my cocktail kit – the others ‘mysteriously’ disappeared during my kids’ quality control check).

There are always folks who appreciate a non-alcohol option, and it’s been my point as a host to make some effort to serve a drink made with as much detail and care as the boozy crowd gets on the regular. I made a zingy and refreshing spritzer (recipe below).

Me serving up the NA spritzer. Finish it up with a straw and a chocolate drizzled candied orange slice for garnish.

Me serving up the NA spritzer. Finish it up with a straw and a chocolate drizzled candied orange slice for garnish.

Blood Orange & Chocolate Spritzer

To a tall glass filled with ice add:

0.5 oz Pok Pok blood orange sipping vinegar

3-4 dashes chocolate bitters

1 barspoon pomegranate grenadine

Stir well to combine all ingredients, and fill to the rim with seltzer (about 3-4 ounces). Serve with a straw. Garnish with a chocolate drizzled candied orange slice.