A Muddled Thought

Category: Cocktail Recipe

Some new cocktails to pair with chocolate.

The Manhattan Cocktail Classic, a three day cocktail festival held every May in New York City, is coming up in a few weeks.The MCC ,as it’s referred to throughout the spirits industry, features three days of industry and consumer oriented seminars, tasting rooms, events and a black tie gala that launches the entire festival. As we’ve done the past several years, the Cocktail Guru Team of Jonathan Pogash, Jeffrey Pogash, Pamela Wiznitzer and myself are hosting a chocolate and cocktails Event.

See here for more information

“We’ve teamed up with some of New York’s finest bartenders and some of the best pastry chefs around the city to create cocktails and desserts to pair with an assortment of Valrhona Chocolates.

To pair with with Valrhona Dulcey’s chocolate I decided to work with Don Q Gran Anejo Rum and More Good Cassia Cream.

Valrhona describes Dulcey as being buttery, toasty and not too sweet, with flavors of freshly-baked shortbread and hints of salt.

For my first cocktail to be paired with Valrhona Dulcey I created “The Good Humor Man”.

“The Good Humor Man”

2oz Don Q Gran Anejo Rum

1/2 oz More Good Cassia Cream

2 Dashes Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters

2-3 Salt Crystals

Combine ingredients in mixing glass. Stir, strain into rocks glass over giant cube.

Garnish with Orange Twist.

The Good Humor Man. A combination of Don Q Gran Anejo Rum,More Good Cassia Cream, Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters, Salt.

The Good Humor Man. A combination of Don Q Gran Anejo Rum,More Good Cassia Cream, Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters, Salt.

For my second cocktail that would be paired with Valrhona Bahibe I decided to work with Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, which is bottled at 90% alcohol and Perfect Puree Coconut Puree.

Valrhona describes Bahhibe as having the smoothness of milk chocolate with intense notes of cocoa and a touch of dried fruit, before revealing its fruity tanginess and slight bitterness.

To pair with this I came up with a cocktail called “Wonka’s Vacation”.

Wonka’s Vacation

2 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac

1/2oz Pineapple Juice

1/2 oz Perfect Puree Coconut Puree

1/2 oz Tempus Fugit Spirits Crème de Cacao

1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup

2 Dashes Aphrodite Bitters

Combine ingredients in shaker. Shake, strain into coupe. Top with grated cinnamon.

Wonka’s Vacation. A combination of Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, Pineapple Juice, Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao,Cinnamon Syrup, Aphrodite Bitters

Wonka’s Vacation. A combination of Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, Pineapple Juice, Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao,Cinnamon Syrup, Aphrodite Bitters

Diageo World Class Entry:The Traveling Woodsman

For the past two years I’ve been privileged enough to participate in Diageo’s World Class competition here in the United States. The competition has continued to grow larger and more intense each year. The first year you had to submit a video of yourself making a cocktail featuring one of Diageo’s brands, and there was a 1-day competition for 20 lucky competitors. The second year you had to complete several online tests, submit a cocktail again highlighting one of Diageo’s brands and submit a video explaining why you loved bartending and it was two days of challenges that challenged all your skills, your ability to think your feet and your creativity. This is the third year that Diageo has held its World Class competition in the United States and they’ve changed up the game a bit. In addition to completing several learning modules on brand categories such as bourbon and scotch, vodka and gin, tequila and rum, you are also asked to review modules hosted by the 2012 winner Ricky Gomez on hospitality and creating a memorable guest experience as well as reviewing online modules presented by Jeff Bell (of PDT), the 2013 US World Class Winner that covers speed, planning out the most efficient way to make a round of drinks, and setting up your station as efficiently as possible. After all these modules there are several online quizzes to complete. Once this is done you are then asked to submit a cocktail featuring a minimum of one of Diageo’s Reserve brands which include Bulleit Rye and Bourbon, the Johnnie Walker family of scotch whiskies, Ketel One Vodka, Ron Zacapa Rum, Ciroc Vodka and Tanqueray Ten. In addition to creating a cocktail featuring at least one of these brands, you also had to provide the reasons why you felt your cocktail was World Class.

I’ve found in my experience that if there is a story or a bit of interesting knowledge tied to a cocktail it makes for an even more memorable imbibing experience. With that idea in mind I created the “Traveling Woodsman”.

The inspiration behind the name of this cocktail is the story of the spirits themselves. The base of the Traveling Woodsman is split between Bulleit Rye and Johnnie Walker Double Black, two spirits that are both aged in American Oak. In the case of the Bulliet Rye, new unused American oak is utilized to age the rye. In the case of Johnnie Walker Double Black, which is a blended whisky, American oak barrels that were previously used to age American whiskey are re-purposed to age scotch. The story of how a barrel can be used first to age one spirit in America and then re-used to age another spirit in Scotland gave me the idea behind the name of this cocktail.

The Traveling Woodsman. A combination of Bulleit Rye, Johnnie Walker Double Black, Meletti Amaro, Cocchi Americano and Creole Bitters.

The Traveling Woodsman. A combination of Bulleit Rye, Johnnie Walker Double Black, Meletti Amaro, Cocchi Americano and Creole Bitters.

The Traveling Woodsman

1oz Bulleit Rye
1 oz Johnnie Walker Double Black
1/2 oz Meletti Amaro
1/2 oz Cocchi Americano

2 Dashes Bitter Truth Creole Bitters

Directions:Combine Ingredients in mixing glass. Stir with ice.

Strain into coupe.

Garnish with Grapefruit Twist

Islay Ah Huh cocktail with featuring Johnnie Walker Double Black.

Recently I was working on a few new whisky cocktails and I decided to grab a bottle of Johnnie Walker Double Black to work with.

What’s the difference between Johnie Walker Double Black and Johnnie Walker Black you might ask?

In the case of Johnnie Walker Double Black and Johnnie Walker Black, it’s all about the smoke.

Johnnie Walker Black consists of a blend of malt whiskies with a minimum age of 12 years and grain whisky. You take that same formula and add in some whiskies from the Islay region of Scotland, known for peaty and smoky whiskies and you’ve got Johnie Walker Double Black.

Johnnie Walker Double Black
In creating this cocktail I decided to go with Johnnie Walker Double Black as I wanted a smoky component in the cocktail, In using the Johnnie Walker Double Black I also had notes of allspice, nutmeg, apple, tropical fruit and a touch of bitterness to play off.

Inspired by these flavors I wanted to create a scotch based tiki cocktail that could work in winter and also still work in summer. Continuing the concept of tiki, I named this cocktail “Islay ah huh,” which means “Island of Huh” and is a play on the gaelic word ah which translates to of.

Islay Ah Huh

2 oz Johnnie Double Black
1/2 oz pineapple juice
1/2 oz Busnel Calvados
1/2 Campari
1/2 oz Demerara syrup
2 Dashes Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters

Directions: Combine ingredients in shaker tin.Shake with ice. Strain or double strain into coupe or cocktail glass.