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Groundhog Day Cocktails – The Ones We Come Back to Again and Again

Groundhog Day - the day Punxsutawney Phil predicts whether winter will stick around for another six weeks. It’s a uniquely American tradition, beloved almost as much as the 1993 Bill Murray Comedy, of the same name.

Groundhog

Yep, this post is about the comedy. Kind of. Groundhog Day is a modern classic, not just because it’s funny and sweet, but because it’s thought-provoking. What would you do if you could live the same day over and over?

And the question we asked ourselves and our friends: What cocktail would you drink over and over?

It turns out that the most beloved drinks tend to be simple, classic, and comforting.

Whiskey

Whiskey

The Old Fashioned has been the best-selling cocktail for 4 years in a row (and counting) according to Business Insider – and that’s global. The Old Fashioned can be made with bourbon for a sweeter, rounder flavor, or rye whiskey for a more peppery profile.

Old Fashioned

  • 2 oz rye or bourbon
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 sugar cube (or ½ tsp sugar)
  • Orange peel

Directions:

  1. Muddle sugar cube and Angostura together in a lowball glass.*
  2. Add a large ice cube (or a handful of ice).
  3. Pour in the rye whiskey (or bourbon).
  4. Garnish with an orange peel, gently squeezed and wiped around the rim to maximize the aromatics.

*You can also muddle the orange peel with the sugar for a stronger orange twist, and add a cherry as an additional garnish.

But we also love the Manhattan. Not just any Manhattan: The Perfect Manhattan (named for the equal amounts of sweet and dry vermouth). The twist on this recipe (which is usually made with bourbon and Angostura bitters) is courtesy of food writer George Yatchisin at George Eats.

Perfect Manhattan

  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • ½ oz sweet vermouth
  • ½ oz dry vermouth
  • 2 dashes Amaro

Garnish with a Luxardo Maraschino cherry

Bourbon

Bourbon

While many bourbon lovers might blanche at adding anything to bourbon but ice or a drop or two of water (we fall into that camp), if we had to put it in a cocktail, the Mint Julep is our pick.

Mint Julep (1 serving)

  • 10 mint leaves + more for garnish
  • 1 ½ tsp superfine sugar
  • Seltzer water
  • Crushed ice
  • 2 ½ oz bourbon

Muddle mint leaves and sugar until leaves begin to break down. Add seltzer water, fill the glass with ice, then add the bourbon. Stir and serve with a sprig of fresh mint.

Scotch

Scotch

The Blood and Sand cocktail has been around for a while – it was named after Rudolph Valentino’s 1922 bullfighter movie, Blood and Sand, and appeared in printed form first in Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book (1930). It’s not a very common drink now, but it’s far from forgotten. The original proportions call for equal parts Scotch, Cherry Heering liqueur, blood orange juice and sweet vermouth, but this drink rewards playing around. We like this version that’s a little more Scotch-forward.

Blood and Sand

  • 1oz Scotch (choose a smoky one)
  • 1oz blood orange juice (sure, you can use any OJ, but then it wouldn’t be BLOOD and sand!)
  • ¾ oz sweet vermouth
  • ¾ oz Cherry Heering
  • Orange peel garnish

Shake all ingredients together with ice. Pour into a lowball or coupe glass. Garnish with an orange peel. Enjoy the surprising complexity of this very simple drink.

Gin

Gin

There are so many delicious gin cocktails, but when you have to narrow it down to one you can drink over and over again… the dry gin martini is it. Simple, elegant, a show-stopper of a drink. But be careful – as MFK Fisher wrote of the martini, “One is just right, two is too much, and three is never enough.”

Dry, Dirty Martini

  • ½ oz dry vermouth
  • 2 oz gin
  • A dash of olive brine

Pimiento stuffed olive or lemon twist to garnish

Vodka

Vodka

There are so many vodka-based cocktails – and cocktails that weren’t vodka-based, but are now. But before the 1940s, very few people drank Vodka in the US. It was too foreign, too “red.”  But then a little lady from Russia walked into a bar on Sunset Boulevard in 1941, with a lot of copper mugs to sell. It’s a long story, but the end result is a cocktail that won’t take you very long at all. Either to make, or to drink.

The Original Moscow Mule

  • 2oz vodka
  • 6oz ginger beer
  • 1/4th oz fresh sqeezed lime juice
  • Lime wedge for garnish
  • Serve in a copper mug

Pour vodka, ginger beer and lime juice into a copper mug. Stir. Add ice. Garnish with a lime wedge. Enjoy!

Rum

Rum

Daiquiris, mojitos, Pina coladas, rum and coke, hot buttered rum… rum-based cocktails are some of the best, and best-known. But, because they’re so popular, they also tend to be made badly. Cheaply. En masse. According to Martin Cate, owner of Smuggler’s Cove tiki bar in San Francisco, “The mai tai stands historically as the most debased cocktail of all time.” If you’ve had a version that uses sour mix, pineapple juice and cranberry juice – none of which are in the actual recipe – you’ll know exactly what he means.

Even now, when tiki mixologists are bringing back the glory of the Mai Tai, it’s hard to find a really good recipe. But if you’re going to Groundhog Day a rum-based drink, this is the one. Recipe courtesy of food writer Lauren Van Mullem.

The Perfectly Proportioned Mai Tai

  • 2oz aged Jamaican rum (Appleton Estate Rare Blend, 12 years works well)
  • ½ oz orgeat syrup
  • ¼ oz simple syrup
  • ½ oz orange curacao
  • ¾ oz fresh squeezed lime juice
  • A dash of root beer bitters (optional)

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled and pour.

Garnish options: Trader Vic, the originator of the Mai Tai, garnished his with the unbroken skin of half a lime and a sprig of mint, but we still like it with a wedge of pineapple. No umbrellas.

Tequila

We know some people who only drink margaritas whenever they go out, and you can’t argue with them – it’s a solid choice. But there are margaritas, and there are Margaritas. Here’s a margarita recipe you’d want to drink every night (at least if someone hid the rest of your booze).

Agave Margarita

  • ¼ cup tequila blanco
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tb agave syrup
  • Kosher salt for the rim
  • Lime wedge for garnish

Dampen the rim of your glass and coat with salt.

In a shaker, combine tequila, lime juice and agave syrup with ice. Shake until frosty. Pour into glass. Garnish with lime wedge.

Or…

A Tequila Old Fashioned (shared with us by Minna Ramos as her Groundhog Day cocktail of choice!).

Tequila Old Fashioned

Muddle agave nectar, bitters, and blood orange slice; add tequila, ice, and stir until chilled. Strain over a large square ice cube in an old fashioned glass, garnish with blood orange peel.

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