As I'm preparing for a weekend away, and thinking / planning what drinks to make both for then, and for after I return to a Superbowl Party, I'd like to share the recipes for some of my favorite mixed drinks.
First off, the Old Fashioned, which was for quite a long time my personal signature drink. I still enjoy it from time to time, although it's a labor-intensive drink.
You start off with big ice in a lowball glass. Add a couple dashes of bitters and some simple syrup. Then, you've got to do the orange zest, which took me a while to get right. Clean an orange and peel a long strip of skin from the top to the bottom. Then folde that skin slightly lengthwise, peel out, and squeeze it into your glass. It looks like nothing has happened at all, but note how your fingers now smell like orange. A tiny amount of very potent orange zest has sprayed into the drink, and you will notice the taste. Add bourbon or rye, stir, and top it with a cherry - and maybe some cherry juice. Delicious.
Drink number two is my signature summer drink, which everyone enjoys - even folks who don't like bourbon. Of course, if you don't like ginger, you probably won't like it.
This one uses a shaker. Add 1.5 oz bourbon, 1oz ginger liquor, and .75oz lemon juice. You'll also need some "honey syrup", which I make by stirring a small spoonful of honey with a bit of lemon juice and water to thin it out and make it easier to mix. Add the honey syrup and a handful of mint, and shake well with ice. Pour it out and top it with ginger beer - the more ginger beer you add, the weaker the drink is. I use maybe a half a can, which I suppose is 6oz of ginger beer.
Third up, the Irish Cream I make every winter, which has come to be known as Howley's Irish Cream in my house. I've already posted that recipe on this blog, but it's good, so it bears repeating.
Add all the following ingredients to a blender: 1 cup light cream, 14 oz sweetened condensed milk (1 can), 1 teaspoon instant coffee, 2 tablespoons Hershey's chocolate syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and of course 1 2/3 cup of Irish whiskey, which comes out to exactly one half bottle. I use Concannon Irish whiskey because it's the least expensive one I can find.
Blend all those up until the chocolate syrup stops sticking to the side, and pour it into a bottle for refrigeration, because it's better cold. Be careful, because the result will probably be just barely more than will fit into a used rinsed-out wine bottle, and I've accidentally overflowed one before thinking it would fit. If you cover it and stick it in the fridge, it should keep for up to two months, not that the stuff has ever lasted that long in my house. Just make sure to shake it each time you pull it out.
Lastly, a drink I tried at a bar, and found to be delicious, but haven't yet ever mixed at home because I haven't bought the ingredients: rye, carpano antica, and cynar. I need to be on the lookout for those.