All You Need to Know About Rum
What’s better than a great Piña Colada, sipped on a warm beach in some lovely tropical area? If your answer is two great Piña Coladas, then this article is definitely one you want to read. The main type of alcohol used for this cocktail is the world-famous rum, a distilled liquor that’s produced mainly in the Caribbean made from sugarcane by-products such as molasses or sugarcane juice. Known as one of the world’s best mixers, rum can be added to hot and cold cocktails and is also delightful on its own, either taken neat or served over ice cubes. Every good bar in the world, whether a commercial bar or home bar, will have at least two varieties of rum to make a wide range of drinks. Here is all you need to know about rum.
Rum is basically distilled fermented sugar cane juice or molasses which has been aged in oak barrels. Spanish terminology is usually used: ron viejo is “old rum” and ron añejo is “aged rum. Most of the world’s rum-producing nations are found in Latin America and the Caribbean, and include the Dominican Republic, Belize, Nicaragua, Martinique, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Columbia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Grenada, St. Vincent, Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, Guyana, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Other countries that produce rum on a lesser scale include Spain, Canada, Australia, and Mexico.
Light rums, which are clear in color, are usually used for mixed drinks, while darker and golden rums are taken neat or iced; however, in recent years this has been changing as more bartenders are finding good mixer combinations.
Rum features heavily as a cultural element in the Caribbean as well as in Canada’s Maritimes and Newfoundland. Rum is also associated with the Royal Navy were it was mixed with beer or water and called “grog”, and is also forever associated with piracy that occurred over the centuries in the Caribbean Sea. The name for rum depends on the country of its origin: for example, in Spanish-speaking areas of production, the label will say ron; in French speaking countries the label will say rhum. Nick-names for rum include “Nelson’s blood”, “kill-devil”, “demon water”, and “Barbados Water.”
Rum has been around in some form or another for thousands of years, with evidence of distilling being found in ancient Indian and Chinese archaeological sites. Marco Polo described something similar to a rum which was given to him while he was travelling in what is now known as Iran. However, modern rum and rum producing techniques were discovered in the New World in the 17th century; slaves on plantations discovered that molasses could be distilled. The popularity of the drink expanded to so an extent that in the United States before the Revolutionary War, every person in the colonies was drinking about 14 liters of the beverage per year.
Rum is a little bit difficult to classify as each rum-producing country has its own rules and regulations. However, rums can be classified according to the language spoken in the country where it is produced. However, due to the popularity of Puerto Rican rum in the United States, most of the rums produced in the U.S. will be done in the “Spanish-speaking” style rather than the “English-speaking” style.
Spanish-speaking regions and islands will make añejo rums that are smooth. Cuba, Guatemala, Panama, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic make this type of rum; the U.S. Virgin Islands also make “Spanish-speaking” rum. The Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa, make a rum from honey; it carries a geographical designation.
English-speaking regions make darker rums with a fuller, more pronounced taste. The rums keep their underlying molasses taste. Grenada, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Guyana, St. Kitts, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica all make these darker, richer rums.
French-speaking regions of the Caribbean produce rums that are “agricultural” and are made from sugar cane juice only and have a pronounced sugarcane flavor. Rhum is generally more expensive than molasses-based rum. Martinique, Haiti, and Guadeloupe produce this style of rum.
Cachaça is a Brazilian spirit which is similar to rum and is in fact classified as a rum in the United States. Panama produces a beverage called seco, which is triple-distilled rum that is more like vodka in character.
Light rums are usually clear in color and are not aged for long in order to keep them light, slightly sweet and somewhat neutral in flavor.
Gold rums are aged for varying amounts of time in charred oak barrels in order to give them a medium body, a darker, amber color, and a stronger “caramel” type of flavor.
Dark rums are aged longer in deeply charred barrels and can be brown, red, or black. They taste strongly of molasses or caramel and have a fuller body. Spice tones can also be detected in dark rum.
Spiced rums are usually dark rums that have been infused with spices. Cheaper varieties are usually light rum that has been spice infused and artificially colored.
So, the next time you feel like experiencing rum, try something a little different rather than the usual rum and coke or Piña Colada. Try a rhum on the rocks, a neat gold rum, or even try spiced dark rum in this beautiful, age-old drink for cold winter days: Hot Buttered Rum.
Hot Buttered Rum
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 oz spiced rum
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 inch piece of lemon rind
1 squeeze of lemon
In a pan, boil water and spices along with the lemon rind for two or three minutes. In a mug, mash the brown sugar into the butter until it forms a paste. Pour the hot spiced water into the mug, and add the rum. Give everything a stir, and add a small squeeze of lemon. Heaven in a mug, and the best way to add a bit of brightness on days that are bitterly cold.
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Kahlua, Mexico’s Finest Liqueur
Liqueurs belong to the group of after-dinner alcoholic beverages that can almost take the place of a dessert; not only are they sweet, satisfying and rich, they can also help digest a heavy meal. Liqueurs have been around for a long time, with some of the most famous originating from European monasteries during the medieval times, which explains why the liqueurs that have been on the market for centuries have religious-themed names, such as Benedictine or Frangelico.
One of the world’s most beloved liqueurs however, is not European at all and is a bit of a newcomer in the millennia-old liqueur industry; Mexico’s finest liqueur Kahlua. This coffee flavored, rum-based liqueur has almost become synonymous with the country and is usually taken by itself neat or is mixed in a variety of cocktails; one of the most popular ways to drink it is to add a shot or two of it to a nice hot cup of coffee. Both coffee and liqueur experts agree that Kahlua amplifies the flavour of coffee and can turn plain coffee into a flavor experience.
Kahlua isn’t really an old beverage; it fact production started in the mid-1930’s by Pedro Domecq. As most people familiar with the Spanish language will have noticed, the name of the liqueur isn’t particularly Spanish; the name Kahlua comes from the Veracruz Nahuatl (the language of Mexico before the Spanish Conquest in the late 1400’ and early 1500’s) words which mean “House of the Acolhua People”.
Kahlua has an alcohol content of 20%; however there are some areas where it can contain up to 21.5% alcohol by volume. There is also another version of the famous drink which is available in the United States, Canada, Australia and some select duty-free shops called Kahlua Especial. This version is made only with Veracruz-grown Arabica coffee beans, has an alcohol content of 36%, has less of a syrupy consistency and is less sweet.
Kahlua is no ordinary coffee-flavored liqueur; other companies have tried to produce a liqueur that is comparable, but almost all Kahlua aficionados can tell when their cocktails or after-dinner digestifs have been replaced with an imitator. The flavor of competing products is less intense, tastes more sugary, and at times the taste can even be a bit bitter due to the coffee used to make the liqueur. Simply put, Kahlua is the best and that is the reason why it can be found around the globe.
As mentioned earlier, there are several ways to enjoy Kahlua: a drop in a cup of coffee or a cup of nice hot chocolate can make a miserable, cold and rainy day seem much more enjoyable. However, Kahlua makes for some great cocktails, and the recipes that follow are just a few of the hundreds that are out there.
1 short glass, full of ice
1.5 oz Kahlua
2 oz milk or half & half cream
Simply pour the ingredients over ice, stir and enjoy.
1 short glass full of ice
1.5 oz Kahlua
1 oz Crème de Bananes liqueur
2 oz milk
Pour the ingredients over ice, stir and enjoy
1 tall glass, full of ice
1 oz Kahlua
½ oz crème de cacao (can be white or dark)
½ oz rum
Milk or cream.
Pour the Kahlua, crème de cacao and rum over ice, then fill the glass almost to the top with Coca-Cola. Top with milk or cream.
1 short glass, full of ice
1.5 oz Kahlua
1 oz vodka
Pour ingredients over ice, and give a quick stir. To make a Black Mexican, simply substitute tequila for the vodka.
1 short glass, full of ice
1.5 oz Kahlua
1 oz vodka
3 or 4 oz of milk or cream
Pour all ingredients over ice, and give a quick stir. To make a Cool Russian, substitute mint vodka for the plain vodka.
1 shot glass
½ oz Kahlua
½ oz Grand Marnier
½ oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
Pour the Kahlua in the drink first, then slowly pour in the Bailey’s Irish Cream, but pour it over a spoon so that it layers on top of the Kahlua. Pour in the Grand Marnier, but remember that this also needs to be poured over a spoon so that it will float on top of the Bailey’s. To make a B-52 coffee, simply pour the ingredients into a cup of coffee.
1 coffee mug with a sugar rim
1.5 oz Kahlua
½ oz rum
Whipped cream and an orange slice for garnish
Pour the ingredients in a coffee mug with a sugar rim, and place two or three spoonfuls of whipped cream on top, and place the orange slice on the rim.
The Polar Bear
1 coffee mug with a sugar rim
1.5 oz Kahlua
1 oz mint vodka
Whipped cream and an orange slice for garnish
Pour the Kahlua, and mint vodka in a mug with a sugar rim, and add hot chocolate. Top with whipped cream, and garnish with a slice of orange on the side of the mug.
Kahlua has become an essential ingredient in bars that specialize in cocktails the world over. From Beijing to Quintana Roo, from Vancouver to Vladivostok, it is perhaps the most famous liqueur and once you have a try of it, you’ll see why it’s beloved by so many people. If you haven’t tried it, there’s no time like now to have a taste of the planet’s best coffee liqueur.
Are “Unfashionable” Cocktails Become the New Thing?
In many of the world’s trendy markets like those found in big cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Paris and London, cocktails suffered a bit of a decline in the last couple of decades as bar and pub patrons took to drinking high-quality beers, wines, and scotch whiskies while out for a night on the town. However, in the past few years, customers and clientele are demanding a wider range of alcoholic beverages, and in response, many bartenders have gone back to the industry’s 1920’s roots and have been bringing back classic cocktails and inventing new drinks with modern twists.
However, while there were a few cocktails that were very popular between the 1930’s and 1960’s, they have almost dropped off the map of alcoholic beverages and have only been slowly creeping back in to cocktail bar menu lists. The reason? The drinks either contain raw eggs or heavy cream, two ingredients that North Americans have grown averse to due to health or weight-gain concerns.
Raw Eggs and Heavy Cream: pros and cons
Raw egg white, when added to a cocktail, adds another flavour and texture dimension and can transform a mediocre drink into a velvety-smooth, frothy flavour explosion. Egg whites also act as an emulsifier: when all ingredients of an egg white-based cocktail are shaken together and strained, the egg white brings all of the flavours together, beautifully melded and making the drink much greater than the mere sum of its parts.
Heavy cream also ties ingredients together well, and gives cocktails a smooth, dense, almost dessert-like character. Classic and still popular cocktails like the White Russian, the Paralyzer, and the Brandy Alexander were originally made with heavy cream, but are now made with whole-fat or even partially skimmed milk.
Do raw eggs = food poisoning?
Raw egg whites have gained a bad rap over the years because they can apparently contain the salmonella virus, meaning that if you eat a raw egg, you can get food poisoning. Many health inspectors will not allow cocktails to be made with raw eggs; however, in most cases this doesn’t really present a problem because of public perception that raw eggs are bad for you. The truth of the matter, however, is slightly different. While most people think that all eggs are potentially salmonella-laden, only one in 20,000 eggs will contain the germ. Some bars in New York City have picked up on this fact and have started to slowly introduce the old-fashioned egg-based cocktails in their drink lists, and health departments will allow the use of the eggs as long as the customer is made aware of the fact the drink contains raw egg.
Calorie-packed heavy cream
Heavy cream is packed with calories, making it an ingredient that most people don’t like and in the past twenty or so years, because so many clients asked for milk in the drinks instead of cream, it became standard practice for bars, pubs and restaurants to use milk as the standard creamy-drink ingredient. The result is that delicious, sinfully rich and delightful “indulgence” cocktails became thin, reedy ghosts of their former selves. Higher-end bars have started to buck the “Skim Milk Paralyser” trends and have also gone back to the original, luxuriously creamy recipes for their cocktails.
The Drinks Making a Comeback
While these drinks may not be on everyone’s “hit list”, some people from the older generation will recognize them as staples of the industry, and younger adults might see these on the drink lists of higher-end drinking and eating establishments. Here are the egg-based and heavy-cream based drinks that are making a comeback.
The Pink Lady
Known as the ultimate genteel, girly-drink for decades, genteel and “girly” women knew that this drink packed a punch that is just as powerful as any “macho” cocktail. The egg white in this recipe gives the drink its famed bubbly foam on top and fabulous textures, ensuring that the Pink Lady will reign supreme once again.
1 martini or cocktail glass
1 egg white
1.5 ounces gin
1.2 ounce applejack or sour apple liqueur
1 tablespoon grenadine
1 splash lemon juice
1 maraschino cherry for garnish
Shake all of the ingredients except for the maraschino cherry in a cocktail shaker that is full of ice. Because the drink contains an egg white, remember to shake the drink longer and more vigorously than you would for a regular cocktail. Strain the liquid into the martini glass, and garnish with the maraschino cherry.
The Ramos Gin Fizz
Developed in Prohibition-era New Orleans, this drink is making such a strong comeback that people are attempting to make it at home. The sad thing is, they are failing to make good gin fizzes; this is because one must shake the drink in the cocktail shaker for a full five minutes in order for the egg to emulsify. Here is how it’s made:
1 Collins glass or champagne flute
2 ounces gin
1 ounce cream
1 fresh egg white
3 drops orange flower water
1/2 ounce sugar syrup (sugar dissolved in water)
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1 orange slice for garnish
Put all ingredients in except the club soda in a cocktail shaker that’s full of ice. Shake everything for about five minutes. Strain and pour into a tall glass, and top up with club soda.
The humble Flip is making people go flipping crazy because it combines the two ingredients: an egg and heavy cream. Flipping delicious, and different varieties can be made by simply changing the liquor used.
1 wine glass
2 ounces of desired liquor (brandy, sherry, port, rum, spiced rum, vodka but DO NOT USE TEQUILA)
1 teaspoon of fine granulated white sugar
½ ounce heavy cream
Freshly ground nutmeg
In a cocktail shaker full of ice, add all of the ingredients except the nutmeg and shake well for a long time, at least a few minutes. Strain and pour into the glass, and garnish with a slight dusting of nutmeg to give a warm spicy touch.
Last but not least on our list of cocktails that look like they’ll be making a comeback is the famous Grasshopper. The bright green, rich and creamy drink was a common sight in cocktail lounges until sometime in the 1980’s; the Grasshopper is simply too good to die.
1 martini or cocktail glass
1 ounce white crème de cacao
1 ounce green crème de menthe (do not use Minttu or Koskenkorva because they are clear and a grasshopper must be bright green in colour)
1 ounce heavy cream (do not use milk)
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker that’s full of ice, shake well, strain and pour into the martini glass.
The Beginner’s Guide to Absinthe
Absinthe, after having disappeared from the cocktail and beverage scene for several decades, is making a comeback. It is a highly alcoholic distilled beverage ranging from 45% to 74 % alcohol by volume, and is a spirit mainly flavoured by the herb Artemisia absinthium which is also known by its English name grand wormwood. In Morocco, the herb is known as chiba and is commonly used as a flavouring agent for tea consumed on cold days in the winter. Absinthe is also flavoured with green anise and sweet fennel, and traditionally it is green coloured but colourless varieties exist.
Absinthe is also known as “The Green Fairy”; in the 1800’s it was thought that thujone, a substance found in trace amounts in the spirit, was present in sufficient quantity to produce psychoactive hallucinations. Absinthe ended up being banned in most countries in 1915, however, in the 1990’s studies showed that absinthe basically had the same effects as alcohol and the bans prohibiting its sale were removed in Europe. The drink is now becoming quite popular, with over 200 brands available.
Absinthe is not drunk straight; since it has a very high alcoholic volume and contains no sugar, water and sweetener must be added. However, there is a method to doing this correctly; it is not just a question of grabbing a sugar spoon and placing a glass with a shot of absinthe under the faucet and giving everything a shake. Here is how to drink absinthe the old-fashioned way, which also happens to be the best way.
To prepare a proper absinthe beverage, you’ll need an old-fashioned or highball glass, a spoon, something for measuring quantities such as an ounce glass, water, sugar, and of course, absinthe. Traditional equipment for absinthe includes a sort of footed, short-stemmed glass called a reservoir and a slotted absinthe spoon, which looks like a flat spoon with slots punched out of it.
Next, pour between one or two ounces of absinthe into the glass. The recommended ratio of absinthe to water is 1:3, meaning that two ounces of absinthe will require six ounces of water, making for an eight-ounce drink. Less absinthe can be used if you want a lighter flavoured beverage.
The next step is to add sugar. Because the “Green Fairy” is far too bitter for most people, this is a step that cannot be ignored or omitted. In fact, if you’re not going to take sugar, it’s best to not drink absinthe at all and it’s better to get something else instead.
Preparation using a traditional absinthe spoon
Adding sugar in the traditional fashion is a little tricky and takes practice. A sugar cube is placed on the old-fashioned, flat, slotted absinthe spoon, then the spoon is placed on top of the glass. Cold water (preferably iced water in a carafe) is then slowly trickled through the sugar cube, dissolving it. Remember this step must be done slowly; if the water is poured over too quickly, the sugar won’t dissolve and the water might splash, causing a mess and a watered-down, bitter drink. The resulting milky-coloured and somewhat opaque liquid which occurs when prepared correctly is called the louche, and the beverage is ready to drink. This method of preparation is known as the French Method.
Once some proficiency has been acquired with the use of traditional absinthe preparation tools, if you want to show off your bartending skills, instead of pouring water over the sugar cube, pour a little absinthe over it, and light it on fire. This will melt the sugar, caramelizing it, and will add a very interesting dimension to the entire absinthe experience. This method is also known as the Bohemian Method and is a fairly recent innovation; drinkers should also be aware that “cooking” the absinthe by the use of this method will destroy the alcohol content, which evaporates with heat.
Preparation using a plain spoon
If you don’t have a fancy absinthe spoon, you can use a regular spoon and granulated sugar. Once the absinthe and water have been poured into the glass, simply add a spoonful of sugar and give everything a stir until the sugar has dissolved. While everything will taste good, you must remember that stirring a drink will add oxygen to the mix and will change the characteristics of the beverage. It is highly recommended to use an absinthe spoon in order to experience the full complexities of the spirit.
Once everything has been mixed together, you should start drinking the absinthe immediately; it’s not a beverage that needs to “breathe” or have the flavours “meld”. As the saying goes, absinthe is best when consumed in moderation; remember that the alcohol percentage is rather high and this is what will affect you if you have too much rather than the trace amounts of thujone. However, there are some absinthe fans who will claim that the effects of thujone are strong.
Storage of Absinthe
What often gets ignored in other “how to drink absinthe” guides is the subject of storage. Naturally green coloured absinthe, if stored incorrectly, will turn yellow and over time will turn a very unappealing brown. Chlorophyll present in green absinthe will not change colour if it is not exposed to air or light; therefore it should be stored in a cool, dark place but not refrigerated. However, if the absinthe does change colour after proper storage, it is not a problem because the flavour will remain unchanged. As mentioned above, absinthe must never be refrigerated; this will cause the polymerization of the anethole in the bottle, resulting in a precipitate which will adversely affect the absinthe’s flavour and aroma.
Absinthe is a wonderful drink, and if possible, you really should make the effort to prepare your drink with the French method and experience absinthe rather than just drink it. Bottoms up!
Clearing Up the Confusion about Rye Whiskey
When the word whisky or whiskey is mentioned, the first thing that most people will think of will be Scotch whisky, and some people might mention that whiskey comes from Ireland as well. However, what must be explained is that Scotch whisky and Irish whiskey are only two varieties of whiskey, and there exist many more types from all four corners of the world.
First of all, whiskey/whisky is a general term for a distilled alcoholic beverage that is made from fermented grain mash and typically aged in a wooden cask. The types of grain used in whisky production vary; corn, rye, malted rye, barley, malted barley and wheat can be used, and each grain variety makes a very unique style of whiskey.
The word whisky/whiskey itself has a very interesting history: originating from the Gaelic word for water uisce|uisge, it became anglicized. Furthermore, linguistics researchers have found that the Gaelic word in turn was a direct translation of the Latin word for distilled alcohol aqua vitae meaning “water of life”. In 1581, the word describing present-day whiskey was first published in English as “uskebeaghe”.
Therefore, as we can see, not all whiskeys are the same, nor will they present with the same flavours or characteristics; they only things they have in common are the preparation of ingredients, distillation, and aging in wooden barrels.
Rye whiskey, when spelled with an “e” between the “k” and “y” at the end of the word, generally refers to American rye whiskey, which, by law, must be distilled from at least 51% rye, but can also refer to Canadian whisky which can also be labelled as rye whisky without an “e” although it may not contain any rye at all. Canadian whisky, according to Canadian labelling laws, may advertise itself as a rye whisky as long as it possesses the general character, taste and smell of a rye whisky. However, for the sake of this article and for clarity, only American rye whiskey will be discussed.
American rye whiskey must be made from a mash of at least 51% rye, and other ingredients composing the mash are usually corn and malted barley. Distillation can be no stronger than 80% alcohol by volume, or 160 proof in the American alcoholic beverage industry terminology, and aging must be done in new oak barrels that have been charred. The maximum abv or alcohol by volume percentage of the whiskey when it goes in the barrels to age is 62.5 %. “Straight” rye whiskey is a rye whiskey that has been aged in a charred oak barrel for a minimum of two years.
Rye whiskey in the United States was very popular before the Prohibition era, especially in the country’s north eastern states of Maryland and Pennsylvania. However, most of the rye whiskey distilleries disappeared during Prohibition and only a handful survived the era. Old Overholt is one of the only American rye whiskey brands that is still around from back then; however a growing interest in American whiskeys is fuelling a revival with new brands and distillers trying their hand at distilling and marketing rye whiskey. Brands involved in the revival are Jim Beam, Four Roses, Heaven Hill, and Catoctin Creek, with a Mount Vernon distillery attempting to produce the same sort of rye whiskey that George Washington may have possibly made at his home during the era of America’s war of Independence.
Experts in different types of whiskeys compare the quality of American rye whiskey to that of an Islay scotch whiskey, meaning it is a very good variety indeed with highly unique characteristics. While bourbon, which is made of corn, is a bit sweeter and has a fuller body than rye whiskey, has long overtaken rye whiskey in the popularity game, connoisseurs claim that only rye whiskey can provide a fruity yet spicy flavour and is actually much more complex. While many bartenders will use bourbon for classic bar cocktails such as a whiskey sour or Manhattan, these recipes were originally intended to make drier, less sweet drinks and were specifically tailored for rye whiskey; cocktail aficionados will state that the bourbon substitution makes the beverages too sugary for their liking.
In fashionable circles, as mentioned previously, rye whiskey is making a comeback, and the flavour has been described as “dry, bold, and spicy, with greener, floral flavours from the grassier grain”. Further making those in the know happy is the fact that American rye whiskey ages exceptionally well, becoming smoother and spicier the older it gets. Brands that are getting more national and international attention are Sazerac Rye from the Buffalo Trace Distillery, Hudson Manhattan Rye from the Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery, and High West Double Rye! (there is an exclamation mark in the brand’s name apparently because it is that good) from the High West distillery.
More and more American rye whiskeys are coming on the market every day, and thus far, due to the tight regulations concerning labels, critics have not been able to find one that is bad. With options becoming more varied by the week and ranging in price from $25 to $55, trying a good rye whiskey is affordable and is a beverage which must be experienced. In fact, there are some who say that a person hasn’t really lived until they’ve had a proper Sazerac cocktail.
To make the legendary Sazerac cocktail, simply pour a little bit of Pernod in a chilled glass, making sure to pour the Pernod down the insides of the glass, thinly coating as much of the inner surface as possible. In a separate cocktail shaker, combine a teaspoon of sugar, a few dashes of bitters, and a drop or two of water. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then add plenty of ice and two ounces of Sazerac rye whiskey. Stir for about half a minute, until everything is well mixed, and then strain the liquid into the chilled glass containing the Pernod. Add a lemon twist, and enjoy the American rye whiskey life experience.
Vodka is one of the most versatile spirits available on the market and is unique in that a truly astounding variety of mixed drinks can be made with it; cocktails can be sweet, sour, salty, or dry, served neat, on the rocks or served blended with ice. In fact, an entire catalog can be made of drinks that are vodka-based and there will be at least one or two cocktails that will please even the fussiest of party-goers. Here’s our Top Ten list of the best vodka drinks.
As the name implies, this cocktail rules supreme in Canada and is very similar to the Bloody Mary cocktail familiar to Americans. This salty drink is perfect to drink as an aperitif or when one is having a fun night out. To make a Bloody Mary, simply use plain tomato juice instead of Clamato.
1 Highball glass rimmed with celery salt, full of ice cubes
1.5 oz vodka
1 squeeze fresh lime juice, not syrup
3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2-3 drops Tabasco sauce
celery stick (if available) or Matt and Steve’s Extreme Beans
Pour vodka over ice cubes. Add lime juice, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce, stir. Fill glass with Clamato juice, stir again. Add some salt and pepper. Garnish with a lime slice and celery stick.
An old-time classic drink that never gets old. This is the perfect cocktail for those who don’t like sweet or salty beverages and enjoy a very dry sipping experience. This can also be made with gin.
1 chilled cocktail or martini glass
¼ oz dry white vermouth
Pour the vodka and vermouth in a shaker full of ice cubes. STIR with a long spoon for approximately thirty seconds and do NOT shake. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist or 3 olives on a toothpick. To make the martini even drier, only use two drops of vermouth, and add a tiny drop of a blended scotch whisky.
This is another classic North American cocktail that’s finding its way across the world; whether it’s summer or winter, this drink is sure to be a hit.
1 Highball glass, full of ice cubes
1 oz crème de café
1 oz vodka
Milk or half-and-half cream
Pour crème de café and vodka over ice cubes; fill glass almost to the top with coca cola. Top with milk. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
#4. The Chi-Chi
For those who love Piña Coladas but don’t like the taste of rum, a Chi-Chi is basically the same drink, only milder tasting.
1 Cocktail or wine glass or Highball glass
1 cup crushed ice
¼ cup coconut milk
1/3 cup pineapple juice
1 Tablespoon sugar syrup
1.5 oz vodka
Pour vodka into glass. Put ice, coconut milk, pineapple juice and sugar syrup into blender or shaker. Shake well, do not strain. Pour into glass. Garnish with an orange slice and cinnamon stick.
To make a strawberry Chi-Chi, simply add a handful of strawberries to the ingredients and blend well.
#5 and # 6. The Russians
These two are standard cocktails the world over and although they are simple, both men and women will emphatically state “Da!” when either a Black or White Russian is offered.
1 Old Fashioned glass, full of ice cubes
1oz crème de café
Pour the crème de café and vodka over the ice cubes. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
1 Old Fashioned glass, full of ice cubes
1oz crème de café
Pour vodka and crème de café over ice cubes, top with milk. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
#7. Sea Breeze
Absolutely delightful to drink during the hot summer days and evenings, and is particularly nice to drink if one happens to be close to the ocean.
1 Old Fashioned glass, filled with ice cubes
1.5 oz vodka
lime wedge for garnish
Pour vodka over the ice cubes, and fill the glass with equal parts grapefruit juice and cranberry juice. Garnish with a wedge of lime.
#8. Salty Dog/Greyhound
This standard drink is great for those who want something a little sour, a little bitter, and a little bit salty and don’t want the heaviness of a clamato-based Caesar.
1 Old Fashioned or highball glass, rimmed with salt and NO ice
1.5-2 oz vodka
some ice for the cocktail strainer
Place a good amount of ice, the vodka and grapefruit juice in a cocktail shaker, shake vigorously. Strain and pour into a glass with a salted rim. Do not put ice into the glass.
To make a Greyhound, simply omit the salted rim on the serving glass.
#9. Cape Codder/Crantini
A highly refreshing cocktail which is great when the weather is hot, or can be made into a sophisticated evening drink for a fancy soiree in elegant surroundings.
1 Highball or Old Fashioned glass filled with ice
1.5 oz vodka
squeeze of lime
lime wedge for garnish
Pour the vodka over the ice cubes and fill the remainder of the glass with cranberry juice. Add a squeeze of lime, and garnish with the lime wedge. To make a crantini, use a martini glass, and pour all the ingredients except the garnish over ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Stir for about 30 seconds, strain and pour. Use the lime wedge as garnish. Remember that a crantini is neat, meaning it is not served with ice.
#10. Hazelnut Chocolate Martini
A favourite on special occasions, this sweet martini is crystal-clear and tastes very rich and smooth with a hint of hazelnut from the Frangelico liqueur.
1 chilled cocktail or martini glass
1 oz vodka
1 oz white crème de cacao
¼ oz hazelnut liqueur or amaretto (optional)
Pour vodka, crème de cacao and Frangelico into a cocktail strainer with plenty of ice. Stir with a long spoon for approximately 30 seconds. Strain into glass. No garnish.
The World’s Most Expensive Scotch Whisky
A good single-malt scotch whisky will always be sought after by aficionados; the smoky, peaty flavour of the clear to amber liquid can turn anyone into a devotee. Correspondingly, fans of Scotland’s most famous product are willing to pay heavily for the opportunity to own a bottle of and perhaps even taste the rarest and oldest whiskies in the world.
It is a fact that the longer a whisky is aged in an oak cask, the more complex and smooth its flavours will become. Scottish regulations require that anything labelled as “Scotch” must be aged for a minimum of three years and must be distilled in Scotland; scotch connoisseurs say that the spirit goes from good to great after it has been aged for at least ten years.
There are two single-malt whiskies that are in the competition for being considered the world’s most expensive: in 2010 a bottle of The Macallan 64-year-old single malt, housed in a specially-made “Lalique: Cire Perdue” crystal decanter sold at auction for a staggering $460,000 US, making it the most expensive whisky ever sold. On October 10, 2012, a bottle of 54-year-old Bowmore was expected to fetch $240,675 USD; however the whisky failed to sell as buyers were not prepared to meet the minimum asking price. Therefore, the bottle of 1957 Bowmore is considered to be the whisky with the world’s highest asking price.
The Macallan: Most expensive ever sold
The Macallan brand of whisky is distilled in the Speyside region of Scotland and is labelled according to Scottish regulations as a Highland Single Malt. Speyside whiskies are distilled in Strathspey, the region around the River Spey in north eastern Scotland, and are known to be the lightest and sweetest of the single malts. This is due to Speyside lacking the peat that is present in regions such as Islay, which gives some single malts their heavy, smoky notes, and also due to the lack of salinity and ozone which is characteristic of single malts which come from the coastal areas. Speyside whiskies further distinguish themselves by not having the floral, dry aromas and taste hints that are typical of Lowland whiskies. When Speyside whiskies are aged in sherry oak barrels, they become quite powerful and incredibly complex with subtle notes that many whisky lovers all over the world will willingly spend a fortune for.
Speyside is home to the world’s three top-selling single-malts: Glenlivet, Glenfiddich and The Macallan all call the region home, and year after year, all brands of The Macallan, from the 12-year aged whisky to older variants, are deemed to be the world’s best. In fact, The Macallan is known for being the “gold standard” of scotch.
The 64-year-old The Macallan whisky which is in the Guinness Book of World Records as being the most expensive ever sold is available for those who’d like to try it: for a mere $64,000, one can have “a wee dram” at the £10, a bar at the Montage Beverly Hills hotel. The amount paid is then given to the charity of the buyer’s choice.
1957 Bowmore: The whisky with the world’s highest asking price
The 1957 Bowmore, which failed to sell on October 10 is expected to sell for more than its asking price the next time it is offered at auction; Bowmore is another single malt that is more than well-respected in whisky aficionado circles and has extraordinary tasting features that are preferred by those who enjoy a darker, smokier, and almost medicinal tasting dram.
The Bowmore distillery is found on Islay, an Inner Hebrides island off the west coast of Scotland. Having been in operation since 1779, older whiskies from this company are highly prized. Although Islay whiskies are known for being heavily peated and smoky with notes of seaweed, iodine and salt due to the distilleries being on the ocean’s shoreline, but Bowmore produces a more balanced product using only a medium-heavy peating process (25 ppm) and aging the whiskey in sherry casks. Other famed Islay single malt whiskies include Laphroaig which is the favourite beverage of fictional Edinburgh detective Rebus, Ardbeg, an award-winning scotch, and Lagavulin.
The 1957 Bowmore, which was bottled in 2011, is only one of a dozen bottles that are in existence. A second bottle is scheduled to go to auction in the United States on October 28 this year. According to whiskey specialist Martin Green of Bonhams, the auction house responsible for the attempted sale of the special bottle of Bowmore, “the skill and patience that has gone into the production of this product has not been appreciated by the market.”
The single malt was presented in a visually stunning hand-blown decanter encrusted with platinum, and according to the tasting notes given to the potential buyers at the auction, the primary flavours hinted of blueberries, figs, cassis, eucalyptus and sea salt with secondary flavours of dark chocolate and grapefruit. Aftertastes of star anise and bergamot were also noted. Bowmore stated that the proceeds of the sale were to go to five Scottish charities.
While The Macallan and Bowmore make the most expensive whiskies in the world, a whiskey lover need not despair if he or she cannot afford the asking price for the exquisite variants mentioned in our article; the Speyside distillery and the Islay company produce the world’s best entry-level 12 –year-old whiskies which are also deemed as outstanding by experts. Fortunately for those of us who enjoy a drop of whiskey in the evening after dinner, these younger single malts are an affordable luxury and can give us an authentic taste of the high life.
Mezcal and Tequila: The Facts You Need to Know
A mistake many in the beverage industry make is that of confusing tequila and mezcal, two types of alcoholic spirits that are made from cactus plants in Mexico. Some will claim that mezcal is a stronger, more potent version of tequila. However, tequila and mezcal, while both are indeed made from agave cactus hearts, they are made from two very different types of agave cactus that give very distinct flavours and aromas that cannot be confused once tasted.
Mezcal has its origins in a very old pre-Hispanic fermented drink called pulque, which was made from the juices of the roasted maguey agave cactus, which grows primarily in the Mexican state of Oaxaca but also grows in the semi-arid regions of Guerrero, Guanajuato, San Luís Potosí, and Tamaulipas. After the Spanish Conquest of the area, colonists discovered that the maguey heart mash could be distilled into a very potent liquor.
Mezcal has changed very little over the centuries; even in present-day distilleries mezcal is only distilled once and the only major change has been the addition of the iconic “worms” in the bottles which occurred in the 1940’s as a possible marketing ploy. While the rumour exists that the worms, which are actually moth larvae, contain mescaline, this is nonsense. The larvae, which may or may not add flavour to the alcohol, do not contain any hallucinogenic substances at all.
Mezcal is very smoky, and to some first-time drinkers, it is disagreeable. Mezcal has a flavour which is very strong and generally will not mix well in cocktails; therefore, mezcal is traditionally taken “neat”, with no ice, water or other liquid added to it. The most traditional or “authentic” way to drink mezcal is to sip it slowly from a shot glass, after first placing a pinch of sal de gusano on one’s lips. Sal de gusano is the fried larvae, ground into a powder, mixed with chillies and salt with some fresh lime squeezed over it.
Mezcal is generally mass produced, but according to Mexican laws governing the name mezcal, a product sold as “mezcal” must contain at least 60% distilled maguey spirits. Some producers sell flavoured mezcal; however mezcal purists and aficionados claim that unadulterated, 100% distilled maguey spirits are best.
The best mezcal, according to some experts, is one that has been distilled at someone’s home or in a micro-distillery. While these are not available on the market, if one gets the chance to visit Oaxaca, the opportunity to taste a smooth, home-made mezcal should not be missed. However, there are very good mezcals with relative degrees of smoothness to be enjoyed. A person who wishes to try mezcal should look for an añejado or aged mezcal which has been aged for at least three years and is 100% pure maguey agave-based.
Tequila, the more famous of the two spirits, is one of the most well-known and beloved drinks in the world. Made from the highly unique blue agave cactus, it is distilled twice, unlike mezcal which is only distilled once. Mass production of tequila began in 1608, and Mexico has since claimed exclusive right to use the word “tequila” internationally.
Tequila made from blue agave harvested in the highlands surrounding the city of Tequila in Jalisco state is considered to be of the highest quality; the spirits produced will be sweeter and fruitier in taste and aroma. Tequila from other regions such as Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit and Tamaulipas will have an herbal, earthy smell and flavour.
While mezcal is rumoured to be “stronger” in alcoholic content than tequila, in reality both are about the same when it comes to potency; tequila often has an alcohol content of 38 to 40 percent, which translates to 76-80 proof, but can come in a stronger version with an alcohol content up to 55 percent, which roughly translates to 110 proof. Mezcal is also available in the exact same potencies.
Tequila seems to be a bit more regulated than mezcal, and comes in two basic categories; mixtos which must contain at least 51% blue agave and some sort of sweetener such as sugar making up the remainder, and 100% pure agave. After, tequila is then sorted into five groups; blanco or plata meaning white or silver and signifies the tequila is unaged, bottled immediately after the distilling process; joven or oro meaning young or gold, and is the term used when blanco tequila is mixed with reposado tequila; reposado or rested, and is for tequila that has been stored in oak barrels for over two months but less than a year; añejo or vintage, aged for more than a year but less than three years in oak barrels; and extra añejo or extra vintage, which is the designation for a tequila that has been aged for a minimum of three years in oak barrels.
With 100% agave tequilas, the more they are aged, the smoother and more complex they will become; however the flavour that most characterizes tequila is that of agave and makes tequila a more complex spirit than other distilled spirits available on the market.
A bottle of tequila, unlike some mezcal products, should never contain a worm, and furthermore, unlike mezcal which can only be drunk “neat”, tequila, while delicious by itself with no mixers added, can also be an ideal mixing drink and is actually the base ingredient for two of the world’s most famous cocktails, the margarita and the tequila sunrise.
When it comes to spirits, Mexico produces two which are among the world’s most highly rated. Mezcal and tequila, although both are Mexican and both are made from agave cactus, are separate entities with their own qualities but are both equally delicious.
Top 10 Drinks with Tequila, Best Tequila Drink Recipes
Tequila is one of the most versatile spirits in the world; made from the Blue Agave plant in Mexico, its earthy, potent yet highly agreeable flavour make it a favourite for drinking neat or blended with other ingredients into a tasty and appetizing cocktail. While many tequila novices may believe that tequila is only taken in shot format with some lime and salt or is only blended with sub-standard “sweet’n’sour” prefabricated drink mixes for chain-restaurant margaritas, the truth is that tequila, when properly paired with good-quality mixers, can make for some mind-blowing drinks. Here is our list of the top ten drinks with tequila.
1. The Margarita
When prepared with fresh ingredients and made with care, this drink is the Queen of All Cocktails. Bars and restaurants that serve premixed, slushy margaritas do a grave disservice to cocktail lovers the world over; a proper margarita highlights the subtleties of the tequila and is so flavourful that a person drinking one should feel like dancing with joy.
Margarita La Reina
1 cocktail or wine glass with SALTED rim
1 cup crushed ice
1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1.5 oz tequila (use silver, 100% pure agave tequila)
½ oz cointreau
Put all the ingredients into a blender or a cocktail shaker and either blend or shake well. Do not strain, pour into glass. Garnish with lime slice.
Variation: Fruit Margaritas
Instead of using a glass with a salted rim, fruit margaritas have a sugared rim. Prepare the margarita in the exact same fashion; if using a cocktail shaker add a fruit flavoured syrup, but if using a blender fresh fruit can be added with the rest of the ingredients. Fruits that work best are strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and mangoes. Garnish with a slice of orange.
2. The Paloma
This simple yet incredibly tasty drink should be the national drink of Mexico due to its huge popularity south of the U.S. border. Try the classic version or the spicy version called the Paloma Pícara.
1 tall glass, filled with ice cubes
2 oz silver tequila
grapefruit-flavoured soda like Fresca or Squirt
squeeze of lime juice
Pour the tequila over the ice cubes and fill the glass to the top with the grapefruit-flavoured soda. Add the squeeze of lime juice, give a quick stir, and serve.
Made exactly the same way as above, but with an added dash of Tabasco sauce and once crushed mint leaf.
3. Tequila Sunrise
This is the cocktail that people sing songs and make movies about, it is so good. Try it out and you will see why.
1 tall glass filled with ice cubes
2 oz silver tequila
4 oz good quality orange juice
2 tbs grenadine
1 orange slice
1 maraschino cherry
Pour the tequila and orange juice over the ice cubes, and stir. Add the grenadine by slowly pouring it down the inner edge of the glass; this will make it sink to the bottom. Garnish with the slice of orange and cherry.
4. Tequila Sunset
The lesser known cousin of the Tequila Sunrise is equally delicious.
1 tall glass, chilled beforehand
2 oz gold tequila
2 oz good quality orange juice
2 oz lime juice
2 tbs liquid honey
Pour the tequila, orange and lime juices in the empty, chilled glass and stir well. Add the honey, and afterwards fill the glass with ice cubes.
In this cocktail, pineapple and tequila complement each other to make a “killer” drink.
1 cocktail glass
2 oz silver tequila
4 oz pineapple juice
1 squeeze of lime juice
Blend the tequila, pineapple juice, lime juice and ice in a blender until everything is slushy. Pour into the cocktail glass.
6. Bloody María/Mexican César
Not all drinks with tequila need to be sweet; tequila provides a lovely twist for the classic Bloody Mary and Caesar cocktails.
1 tall glass rimmed with celery salt and filled with ice cubes
some Tabasco sauce
some Worcestershire sauce
dash of lime juice
celery stick for garnish
lime wedge for garnish
crushed black pepper
2 oz silver tequila
Pour all the ingredients except the garnish ingredients and black pepper over the ice cubes. Stir, place the celery stick in the drink and garnish with the lime wedge. To make a Mexican César, replace the tomato juice with clamato juice or add some clam juice to the tomato juice.
7. Long Island Iced Tea
This is a beloved American cocktail that people in many countries also enjoy.
Long Island Iced Tea
1 tall glass filled with ice cubes
½ oz vodka
½ oz tequila
½ oz rum
½ oz gin
½ oz cointreau or triple sec
½ oz lime juice
Pour all ingredients over ice, and fill the remainder of the class with Coca-cola, stir and serve.
A simple drink enjoyed by party-goers; it is simply a shot-glass of silver tequila dropped into a ¾ full mug of beer and drunk quickly. Do not pour the tequila into the beer; drop it in, shot glass and all.
9. Black Mexican
A perfect after-dinner drink and is the feistier version of the Black Russian cocktail.
1 short glass, filled with ice cubes
1 oz silver tequila
1 oz Kahlua or other high quality coffee liqueur
Pour the ingredients over the ice cubes, stir and serve.
10. Tequila with Sangrita Chaser
Although it’s at number 10 on our list, tequila purists declare that this is the best way to enjoy a high-quality tequila. The tequila is poured into a shot glass and gently sipped; after each sip a small sip of sangrita is taken to highlight the flavour.
1 short glass
2 oz tomato juice
1.5 oz orange juice
½ oz lime juice
generous dashes Tabasco sauce
pinch of salt
Pour all ingredients in the glass and stir, add ice if desired.
The days of thinking that tequila is only good for shots or sickly-sweet margaritas are over once these recipes are tried. Tequila is the King of Spirits and a taste of one of our top ten choices will have even the most skeptical tequila critic convinced.
Top 10 Liqueur Brands and Best Liqueur
Liqueur is an alcoholic beverage that’s usually flavored with assorted flavors. Liqueur is bottled with added sugar. This added sugar is what defines it.
You can’t simply go by a spirit being flavored to be classified as a liqueur because many spirts are flavored such as rum, vodka, etc. Like stated above, what really sets a liqueur apart from a spirit is that it contains the added sugar, which spirits do not.
Liqueurs usually range from 14% to 35%. Desset Wines are not liqueurs, while cordials have become synoumous with liquers.
1. Arran Gold Cream Liqueur
Winner of the World’s Best Whisky Liqueur back in 2007 so is deserved of being on this list. The color is a light brown that immediately makes a drinker think of chocolate which would be correct because one’s nose immediately carries that idea through the senses. Smelling of a chocolate milkshake, Arran Gold is great to mix with Whiskey because it is able to envelope the bold taste of the liquor and produce something both tasty and warming. If you try it on the rocks, you’ll realize just how creamy and smooth this treat is, but you’ll also be surprised to taste a hint of malt on the backend. Arran Gold finds a way to make a great Whiskey even smoother with its light body and full taste. Try it in: A glass with or without ice. Simple enough.
2. Chartreuse Yellow VEP liqueur
Chartreuse is undoubtedly the healthiest liqueur on the list. But don’t think it loses any of its tastiness. Chartreuse is made by French monks who have been working on the brand for over 500 years. Chartreuse is more bold than the others on the list, stepping it up at 42% alcohol by volume. Off the nose, you’ll gather mainly licorice and fennel, but don’t be surprised if you begin picking out one or two of the 130 herbs used for this drink. The only liqueur to use oak castes to age the product, Chartreuse will give your tongue a bit more floral taste, pushing some of its other herbs like sage, saffron and thyme. Chartreuse is a popular liqueur, but understand that this is something you should use sporadically or when you’re dying to impress. At $123 a liter, the VEP is a hefty drink with awesome taste. Cocktails include: April Shower, Yellow Bird and the Torii Toddy
First, can I just say this bottle reminds me of Aunt Jemima Syrup. Anyone else see it? It makes sense since the bottle is supposed to look like a monk in his habit. This Italian liqueur is popular already and I’m sure you’ve heard of it. Frangelico owns a light caramel coloring and is a hazelnut and herb flavored drink. When you open the bottle, wafts of hazelnut, vanilla and cinnamon enter your nose, giving you a dynamic and strong idea of what is to come. The body is more light weight then most liqueurs and also differs in the fact that while its smooth, it doesn’t leave that feeling of cream or syrup on your tongue after a swig. Its flavors sit on the tongue quickly, producing chocolate, hazelnut and spice to your taste buds. Again, the smell is so delicious that you’ll want to keep inhaling this drinks aromas, even while you’re pouring some down your throat. An easy finish, and its easy to see why Frangelico is such a popular liqueur. Here are the cocktails to try: Chocolate Cake Shooter, Friar Tuck #2 and Procrastinator Shot
4. Tia maria
Tia Maria is a liqueur made from Jamaica that encompasses two of my favorite things: Jamaican Rum and Blue Mountain Coffee. Ok, the Blue Mountain might be a stretch, but it actually is the finest coffee produced in Jamaica. Mix that with a rich Jamaican Rum and you have a thumbs up. The alcohol percentage is at 20% which makes this a great liqueur for adding to coco, coffee or sipping over the rocks. Tia Maria is a smoother blend with a hint of spice that can add a hint of something different to any drink you make it with and since it’s not made with cream, its perfect for those out there watching their caloric intake. Want to try it but not sure how? Here are a few options you can throw together at your next party to introduce everyone to an internationally known liqueur: Dark Indulgence Cocktail, Mike Tyson Cocktail and Ciel Recipe
Coming from the Japanese word for “green”, Midori is a must-have in any home bar. Its easy to see why this liqueur is popular to begin with. Most everyone enjoys something flashy and the bright green color of this liqueur is as aesthetically pleasing as it is aromatically and tasting wise. Again, a liqueur with a 20% alcohol by volume, its a drink that can easily mixed and added to practically any real liquor. When you open a bottle of Midori, you’ll be hit with the obvious scent of melons; but the smell of bananas and strawberries also follows. Midori on the rocks doesn’t disappoint either, with a slightly more fruity taste than some of the other liqueurs you’ll find on this list. Don’t worry though, Midori isn’t too sweet, but it certainly will ensure that you taste it throughout the entirety of your drink. Cocktails that everyone should try with Midori: Midori Berry Bliss, Carpet Licker and Frozen Midori Sour
You might not know what Amarula is, but you should. Its best description could be simply this: a thinner and milkshake. I don’t know about you, but I will drink anything that reminds me of ice cream deliciousness. But I’m getting a touch ahead of myself. Lets start with how it smells. This African treat brings one word caramel into play. It smells, looks and tastes like a butterscotch dream, creating a slight layering on the glass and gently coating the tongue with each sip. While it can become a bit sweet, Amarula is a perfect after dinner sipper and can be added to drinks much the same way Baileys Irish Cream can. Amarula is quickly become a favorite for its taste, but you might also enjoy it for its aphrodisiac powers. The drinks to make with it: French Toast, Amarula Dusky Decadence (complicated but worth it) and Elephant Shake
7. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
This is a liqueur you need to try. It is hard to keep since it produced in small quantities and stores can go weeks without carrying it, but once you get your hands on a bottle of St. Germain, you’ll want to keep tabs on its delivery dates. A liqueur with a medium body, it is like our other liqueurs on the list with a 20% abv, making it great for drinking on the rocks for a great deal of time. Unlike the other liqueurs on this list, its coloring is lighter (and more normal than the green of Midori) with a golden hue. Its smell also differs because it doesn’t hold that punch of spicy or deep flavorfulness, but rather, introduces a citrusy and light aroma to the drinker. You’ll smell flowers and pears and you’ll receive slightly sweet mix with a slight tart. Ultimately an amazing mix. St. Germain Elderflower won’t overpower any cocktail you add it to, but it will bring about a freshness that would be perfect for this summer. Cocktails to try are: The St. Germain Cocktail, Sangria Flora and Cuzco Fizz
8. Aperol liqueur
This Italian liqueur is a good transition here, with an alcohol content of 11%. Aperol is a younger liqueur, only being around since 1919, but its found a way to differentiate itself rather quickly. Aperol looks simple, with a simple bottle and a simple label, but it certainly hold more complex contents. A mix of orange, rhubarb, gentian and other herbs, Aperol finds a way to mix all the above together for something that is surprisingly subtle and delightful. A refreshing liqueur, it is owned in almost every Italian home and is quickly making its way into most of America’s homes as well. Cocktails to try: Aperol Royal, Aperol Betty and Aperol Sour
9. Domaine de canton ginger liqueur
The name holds the main key to this awesomely tasty liqueur. Made in France, Domaine de Canton begins with baby Vietnamese ginger which is then macerated with various herbs. Hand made, it can be difficult to get your hands on a bottle of times due to its small quantities, but along with its awesome bottle…it proves to be a uniqueness you want on hand. Domaine de Canton Ginger also mixes with VSOP Cognac, Grand Champagne, vanilla and orange blossom honey to give it both an inviting and aromatic smell. Pop open the bottle and you’ll be intrigued by its vanilla and citrus smell. The body is medium with 28% abv and yields a golden coloring. On the tongue, you’ll certainly taste the ginger, but its evenly balanced with the subtleness of the cognac and champagne. Cocktails you should try include: El Diablo Martini, Ginger Cosmopolitan and The Gold Rush
10. Bols Advocaat
To understand how this liqueur is different, you need to understand what makes an advocaat different first. Made from eggs, sugar and brandy, Bols Advocaat is a decently simple receipe for a liqueur which proves to be versatile. Because of its simplicity, Bols has created a various array of liqueurs from Bols Watermelon to Bols Strawberry to garshdarn Bols Coconut. Each liqueur has its definitive characteristics. For example, the Bols Banana proves true to its name by pushing the banana taste into your mouth, but also follows up with vanilla and hints of almonds. The color is true to the name as well with its bright yellow liquid sitting in the clear glass bottle. While it would be great to try every one of these, it would be also incredibly difficult. So while you might want to start with some of the more moderate flavors, you have to admit the Bols Parfait Amour looks pretty inviting. Drinks to try for the Bols Banana: Bols Banana & Orange, Banana Banshee and a Banana Colada.