cocktails

Chillin...

Who would have guessed our combination of cocktails and classical music would land us a cover with Metallica? 😮🤘🍸 Check out our full interview and Musical Mixology recipe on the Chilled Magazine website. Cheers!

The Brandenburg

We’re commemorating the dedication Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos in true A&R fashion: with a cocktail (and score)! On March 24, 1721 Bach gave us six concertos that would become benchmarks of Baroque music. On March 24, 2019 we’re returning the favor with a delicious Black Forest twist on a classic Manhattan.

The Brandenburg is a hearty and festive triumvirate of cherry, chocolate, and bourbon inspired by German Black Forest cake and Doppelbock beers, as well as Bach’s penchant for all things “three.”

Velvety, bittersweet crème de cacao and Kirshwasser (a cherry brandy from Germany’s Black Forest region) were selected to add subtle chocolate and cherry undertones to the sweet, oaky bourbon base. These three spirits combine to create a cocktail delightfully reminiscent of a Black Forest cake, without entering into dessert cocktail territory. Like a rich and weighty German Doppelbock, the Brandenburg’s sweetness is perfectly balanced by a touch of bitterness, provided here by the chocolate and cherry liqueurs, resulting in a joyous and robust blend of flavors.

Chocolate bitters were added to entice the nose, hinting at vanilla and cinnamon, and a dash of Cherry Heering for an extra pop of sweet cherry flavor. A brandied cherry garnish was the perfect finishing touch to harken back to the classic Manhattan cocktail and complete another Bachian set of three.

The Brandenburg is a simple, everyday cocktail that (much like the music of Bach) is timeless, sophisticated, and spirit forward.

THE BRANDENBURG

Yield: 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces bourbon

  • 1/2 ounce crème de cacao

  • 1/2 ounce Kirschwasser

  • 1/4 ounce Cherry Heering

  • 1 dash chocolate bitters

  • 1 brandied cherry garnish

Instructions:

Stir ingredients with ice until well chilled, strain into a small coupe glass, and enjoy while listening to one of the joyous and hearty Brandenburg concertos!

Note: much of the drink’s sweetness comes from the Cherry Heering. Tread cautiously if you happen to be sweet-adverse; you can always add more after testing.

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The Tango Amargo

Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us and Musical Mixology is back with a brand new recipe to meet all your (anti-)Valentine’s needs. The Tango Amargo is a rich, complex, and blissfully bitter drink concocted especially for all the sexy singles, cynics, and contrarians out there. It also pairs perfectly with the music of Astor Piazzolla and our seductive new music video featuring our arrangement of his Oblivion.

We spent many evenings searching for just the right cocktail to complement the dark, sexy undercurrents of Piazzolla’s endlessly passionate music. His tangos conjure up a complex mix of emotions and we wanted a recipe that captured all the contradictions of yearning. We also sought to incorporate Italian and Argentinian liquors in homage to Piazzolla’s roots. The chamomile, bitter orange, and myrrh-infused Fernet Branca (an Argentinian staple) came instantly to mind, but also presented a challenge given its bold flavors. Cue the voluptuous red hue and sapid bitterness of Campari! To that we added artichoke-based Cynar, an herbal gin, and the elegant Dolin Blanc Vermouth for balance. The Tango Amargo begins sweet, then turns dark and bitter; it’s the perfect cocktail for your anti-Valentine’s Day fete this Singles Awareness Day (Isn’t that… S.A.D. for short? 😜).

(For those who can stomach this happy holiday "straight up,” our sweet and bubbly Elixir of Love is the quintessential Valentine’s Day cocktail. Lovebirds and spurned lovers alike will also adore a batch of The Rachmaninoff Heartbreak.)

THE TANGO AMARGO

Based on “Eeyore’s Requiem” by Toby Maloney of Chicago’s Violet Hour

Yield: 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Campari

  • 0.5 oz gin

  • 0.25 Cynar

  • 0.25 Fernet Branca

  • 1 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth

  • 15 drops or 0.2 oz orange bitters

Instructions:

Stir with ice until well chilled, then strain into a serving glass (coupe or cocktail glass). Drink yourself into Oblivion.

The Mambo!

Musical Mixology is back with a fun and festive Caribbean cocktail in honor of Leonard Bernstein's 100th birthday (this Saturday, August 25, 2018)! A zesty twist on a classic rum punch, we crafted The Mambo's big flavors to match the bold rhythms and sassy kick of the "Mambo" from Lenny's West Side Story.

The sweetness of fresh tropical juices reside at the forefront of this cheery tribute, and they're perfectly balanced by the subtle heat of homemade ginger syrup and Puerto Rican spice. Whether you're looking for a little liquid courage (to help make your way to the dance floor!) or extra pep in your step, a couple quick shots are the perfect accompaniment to your favorite rendition of Bernstein's "Mambo."

THE MAMBO!

Yield: 1 full cocktail (or 3-4 small “shooters”)
 

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Bacardi White Rum (or another Puerto Rican white rum)

  • 1.5 oz orange juice

  • 1.5 oz pineapple juice

  • 0.5 oz lime juice

  • 0.5 oz ginger syrup (see below)

  • dash grenadine

  • pinch adobo seasoning (Puerto Rican spice blend)

Instructions

Combine the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into an ice-filled glass (or shot glasses, if making shooters!) and sprinkle with a pinch of adobo seasoning. A store-bought bottle of this Puerto Rican spice blend provides plenty of punch, but you can also easily whip up a homemade blend from equal parts of these common ingredients: black pepper, onion powder, oregano, cumin, coriander, and turmeric.
 

Ginger syrup recipe

Add 1/2 cup fresh ginger juice with 1 cup superfine sugar to a blender and blend until sugar is dissolved. Make fresh ginger juice with a juicer or by finely grating fresh ginger, wrapping it in a thin cotton towel or cheesecloth, and squeezing out the juice.

This is the perfect recipe for summer entertaining! It's a breeze to prepare in a big batch for parties and is also delicious as a family-friendly virgin cocktail. By simply replacing the rum with coconut water, you can craft a zippy juice cocktail that everyone can enjoy.

Bottoms up!

-Greg

Bellini's Legacy

My cocktail blog has suffered of late (mostly due to my indecision regarding the forthcoming "Rite of Spring" cocktail), but there's nothing like the romance of Valentine's Day to rekindle one's inspiration. Today, I present not one, not two, but THREE cocktail recipes, all inspired by the simple and magnificent "Bellini." 

A Bellini cocktail is the perfect combination of white peach puree and Prosecco. Most classical music aficionados instantly assume the cocktail is associated with Vincenzo Bellini, an Italian composer known for his impossibly gorgeous (and endless) melodic lines. (The drink, sadly, has nothing to do with the composer—it's inspired, rather, by a 15th century artist—but I still like to think that the two are indelibly linked.) As such, and after MUCH taste-testing, I propose three new cocktails inspired by early-nineteenth century bel canto opera:

Donezzeti

In theory it's a stretch, but in taste, it's perfect:

  • 1 part pineapple purée (or juice, if you're in a hurry)
  • 2 to 3 parts Prosecco (or sparkling wine)

Pour the pineapple purée into a chilled champagne flute, then gently (GEN-T-LY!) add the sparkling wine. If the "gentle" addition of sparkling wine results in a lava flow of froth, try adding the sparkling wine with a baster, inserted below the surface of purée. Drink flamboyantly while careening about your living room to the "Mad Scene" from Lucia di Lammermoor.

The Elixir of Love

Um. Yes. Since an "elixir" (especially the love variety) ought to be complicated to produce, this drink adds a fussy, but delicious step to the "Donizetti" recipe listed above:

  • 2-4 sage leaves
  • 1.5 ounces pineapple purée/juice
  • 4 ounces Prosecco/sparkling wine

Lightly muddle the sage leaves with the pineapple purée/juice. (Vigorous muddling can make a bitter mess of sage leaves, so try to stay calm. Experimentation is key.) Remove the bruised leaves. Pour the infused pineapple mixture into a chilled champagne flute, then gently (GEN-T-LY!) add the sparkling wine. Share with a lover while listening/crying to "Una furtiva lagrime" from Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore.

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Rossini

I know, I know, for years (centuries, actually) the bubbly music of Rossini has been compared to champagne, but I'm going to go out on a limb with the following:

  • 3/4 ounce limoncello
  • 1.5 ounces vodka
  • 4.5 ounces Pompelmo(a grapefruit-flavored variety of San Pellegrino)

Mix together in a collins glass with plenty of ice.

With the inclusion of limoncello (from Sorrento) and San Pellegrino (from northeast of Milan), the drink is undeniably Italian and "bubbly." BUT, there's something to this drink that's even perkier, more joyous, and less pretentious than even champagne. Opera's rom-com master, Rossini, now has a new drink to celebrate his glittering carouses of the stage. :-)