Confessions of a Mixologist: 3 Rocking Mojito Cocktails

Originating from Cuba, the Mojito is traditionally a five ingredient cocktail that consists of white rum, sugar, lime juice, sparkling water and mint. The mint, sugar and citrus combined amplifies the rum flavor. Take a break from your summer garden work, sit back and enjoy a few of these refreshing highball classics.

 

Orange Basil Mojito

Orange Basil Mojito
 
Photo and cocktail recipe courtesy of Dine and Dish. Continue reading

7th Annual Binny’s Homebrew Contest Winners Recognized

Another 2014 Binny’s Homebrew Contest has come to an end. We’re blown away with the incredible homebrew talent and beers that we had the chance to judge this year. We expanded the contest to four locations with a total of 200 entries. The first five to place at each location went on to the final judging at Binny’s in Lincoln Park. Congratulations to Sean for winning two tickets to the Great American Beer Festival and to all of the homebrewers who placed or took the time to handcraft and homebrew their entries for the 7th Annual Binny’s Homebrew Contest sponsored by Samuel Adams.

 

Binny's Homebrew Contest

Winners announced after the jump! Continue reading

Confessions of a Mixologist: 5 Sangria Recipes You Need To Try

Wine + Fruit = Perfection.

 

There really is nothing better than a warm summer night, a chilled cocktail and good company. Next time you’re hosting or want to whip yourself up a refreshing drink, try one of these exciting sangria recipes. Share ‘em with your friends and let us know what you think online. Click here to see more of our favorite cocktails.

 

Tropical Frozen Sangria

Sangria
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Confessions of a Mixologist: Cocktail Ice Cubes

Have you ever thought about dressing up your ice cubes? They are the boringist (it’s a word) part of the cocktail and it’s time to step up your game. Try these ice cube substitutes in mixes ranging from sangria to wine spritzers to mojitos.

 

Minty Ice Cubes

Fruit Ice Cube

via designlovefest.com
 

Simply just slice and dice your fruit, mint or herbs and add them to water in your ice tray. Freeze over night and voila – fun and colorful ice cubes that will add an extra spark of flavor to any cocktail.
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Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Cedar Ridge

Ever heard of Swisher, Iowa? It’s home to Cedar Ridge Vineyards Winery & Distillery and most importantly, where we picked our latest batch of Handpicked bourbon barrels. Yup, plural. We just couldn’t pick one. But more about Cedar Ridge first.

 

Owners Jeff and Laurie Quint have built quite the distillery/winery. Located in eastern Iowa, it’s just a short drive from Cedar Rapids or Iowa City. Jeff serves as Master Distiller and Master Winemaker. In addition to crafting award winning small batch spirits (like our Handpicked barrels), Cedar Ridge produces wines from their own estate-grown grapes. Fun fact: Cedar Ridge is the first licensed distillery in the state of Iowa since the age of prohibition.
 

Cedar Ridge

 
Pictures and more after the jump! Continue reading

Wild Turkey and Anderson Valley Extravaganza!

Here is your chance to talk shop and have a drink with Jimmy Russel himself. Yes, that Jimmy Russel.
 
Meet Wild Turkey Master Distiller and living legend Jimmy Russel, plus owner of Anderson Valley Brewing Company, Trey White. Why these two? Anderson Valley has an exclusive partnership with Wild Turkey, making them the only brewery getting Wild Turkey’s gently used bourbon barrels for beer aging. And let us tell you, they make for some tasty beer.

 

Info after the jump…

Jimmy Russel Wild Turkey
 
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Confessions of a Mixologist: Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is a cocktail staple and has stayed the most consistent since its origin compared to other long standing cocktails. In the early 1800′s when the word “cocktail” was defined as a “potent concoction of spirits, bitters, water and sugar,” the Old Fashioned was called a bittered sling. The only slight change we’ve seen over the past 200 years or so is the popular switch from rye whiskey to bourbon.

 

We won’t judge your choice of bourbons, but it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t recommend Wathen’s for your Old Fashioned. Not too long ago, the Whiskey Hotline went to Kentucky and picked out our own single barrels of Wathen’s. Our Handpicked Wathen’s are full of sweet characters like maple, vanilla and raisins, and also open up with some spice notes that make for a pleasant bourbon with flare. The bottles are somewhat limited, but definitely still around and at a very good price if you want to get your hands on some. Otherwise, stop in to our Lincoln Park Tasting Room and give it a try in your Old Fashioned. Check out the recipe after the jump!
 

Wathen's Bourbon

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Confessions of a Mixologist: Wild Strawberry

This is one for the books. The Wild Strawberry was handcrafted by Caitey, one of the lovely bartenders you should visit at our new Lincoln Park Tasting Room. This cocktail is essentially the adult version of a strawberry limeade. It’s a bright, sour and tart mix that will have you salivating for more. Its main spirit ingredient is cachaca. If you’re not familiar with the sugarcane spirit, we highly recommend you try it. Very similar to rum, cachaca has two varieties, unaged (white) or aged (gold).
 

National Cachaca Day falls on September 13th. If you feel like celebrating, this is the cocktail we recommend you try. Also try the caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail. Recipe after the jump!

 

Wild Strawberry Cocktail

 

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Confessions of a Mixologist: Lion’s Tail

Never heard of it? All you need to know is that it’s another cocktail with bourbon, and it’s fantastic. There’s not much history on this mixology masterpiece besides the fact it was probably created before prohibition, as it was first published in the Cafe Royal Cocktail Book by W.J. Tarling in 1937 at a time when bourbon was scarce.

 
The cocktail includes a liqueur called Pimento Dram. It’s an herbal liqueur with a rum base, and is flavored with a spicy berry of the pimento tree. It mixes well with the bourbon in the Lion’s Tail and creates a sweet and spicy cocktail. The Angostura bitters add a level of spice. Recipe after the jump.

 

Lion's Tail Continue reading