52 Weeks of Cocktails Recap: Update #3 with New Cocktail Recipes
When I started my cocktail project several months ago, I wanted to take on something new that'd be both challenging and rewarding. The goal: To meet up with 52 people this year to buy them a drink and ask them what their story is. In turn, I’d create a cocktail based on their story and interests. As it turns out, coming up with 50 new cocktail recipes is harder than it sounds. Perhaps I should rename it 78 Weeks of Cocktails.
However, what’s certain is that this has been one of the most rewarding years of my life, and I truly believe that this project is part of that reason. I’ve met such interesting, inspiring, exceptional humans, and I’m not even halfway through. Some have turned into friendships, others have strengthened existing friendships, others I’ve ended up working with, and others I’ve gone traveling with.
Yes, an invitation of drinks, and the challenge of making recipes may be what has underlined the project, but at the heart are human stories. At the end of the day, it’s been about two people—some strangers, some acquaintances, some friends—coming together over drinks, to listen and share stories, that otherwise wouldn’t be had over email, happy hour, or dinner with friends.
And I'm sorry gentleman (I'm really not), but this recap is all about the female power. In my latest project round-up, I'm featuring the inspiring women I've recently met, such as Ashby, who along with her husband, went from sailors on environment research ships, to starting a Sonoma County Distillery, Spirit Works, and Lauren Patz, their head distiller. Others include a television actress-turned-travel writer and two best friends, who quit their nursing jobs in the Midwest to travel around South America, and who I met while trekking Patagonia’s Torres del Paine in Chile.
The people from this post really drive home why I started this in the first place. And that’s to have one-on-one conversations that I wouldn’t typically have in passing or over coffee, while leaving inspired, and if luck would have it, even leave with new friends.
Below, see the latest new cocktail recipes and the women's stories behind them.
These first two cocktails, take us halfway across the world, to Patagonia's Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. It's here where I met Alyssa and Bekah, two best friends, who met as nurses in the Midwest, and were currently traveling around South America together. When I met them, they had just trekked Machu Picchu in Peru before our five-day trek of Torres del Paine, and the following week were trekking Monte Fitz Roy in Argentina. Bad-ass, right? We connected over our mutual loves for cocktails, whiskey, and photography, naturally. As such, when Bekah mentioned how much she loved being in the mountains, I knew I wanted to do a mountainous whiskey cocktail. So why not create a cocktail that tastes like the mountains? BOOM! Roasted.
- 2 oz. bourbon
- .5 oz. Dolin Genepy des Alpes
- .25 oz. honey syrup
- Dash of bitters
- Absinthe rinse
- Flamed orange peel, for garnish
The secret-ish ingredient to this is a liqueur I discovered last year, Dolin Genepy des Alpes, which is an herbaceous liqeur popular in the alpine regions of Europe. And it actually tastes alpiney. Winner, winner whiskey dinner! So to make this cocktail, I made it much like an Old Fashioned. Add a couple pieces of ice to a mixing glass and 1 oz. of bourbon, and stir. Then add more ice, 1 oz. bourbon, bitters, honey syrup (equal parts honey and water), and Genepy, to stir. Take a chilled rocks glass, swirl .5 oz. of absinthe to coat the sides, and discard. Then strain the drink into the absinthe-rinsed glass over a big ice cube, garnishing with a flamed orange peel.
Similarly, for Alyssa, I wanted a cocktail recipe that was unique to her and where we met. The wheels started spinning after she mentioned that she was from Minnesota, and that in addition to whiskey, she liked rum cocktails. And did you know that Minnesota has an official state cocktail? It's called The Bootleg, and it's kind of like their version of a mojito, but made with vodka, rum, or gin, and that uses both lemon and lime juice. So a Patagonia Mojito it is!
- 2 oz. pisco
- 1 oz. calafate syrup
- .5 oz. lemon juice
- .25 oz. lime juice
- 8 mint leaves
- .5 oz. club soda
Two things make this Patagonian: Chilean pisco (pisco can come from either Chile or Peru) and calafate syrup. Calafate is a Chilean Patagonia berry that looks much like a blueberry, and that is used in a cocktail dubbed the Calafate Sour, similar to the Pisco Sour. Patagonia legends says that once you taste a calafate berry, that you're guaranteed to return to Patagonia (genius marketing!). So to make the Patagonia Mojito, you make it just like a mojito, muddling the mint leaves in a cocktail shaker before adding ice and everything but the club soda. Give it a quick shake, and then strain into an ice-filled glass, and stir in club soda. Garnish with mint.
World Traveler's Margarita
Naturally, a drink called the "World Traveler's Margarita" would have to be for an intrepid world traveler. And that's exactly how I would describe Juliana Dever. While we have mutual friends, we originally connected over social media because of our mutual love for mezcal. I was stoked when she reached out, wanting to meet up to share stories. And after meeting, I was so inspired to discover how she seeks out such far-flung destinations that many people don't even know about, let alone travel to. For example, she had recently just spent time exploring the wine region of Georgia! That's Georgia, as in the country, not the state. With her love for far-flung destinations, mezcal, and wine, I wanted to tie in all these elements into a cocktail. So here we have perhaps my favorite margarita of all time. Meanwhile, check out Juliana's awesome travel blog Clever Dever Wherever.
- 1 oz. mezcal
- 1 oz tequila
- .75 oz. lime juice
- .75 oz. Mathilde Orange XO Liqueur
- .25 oz. dry red wine, floated on top
- splash of agave
- Lime, to garnish
With this version of a margarita, I wanted to take elements of places that Juliana has traveled to, and combine them with one of her favorite spirits/drinks. So here we have two of Mexico's foremost spirits, tequila and mezcal, orange liqueur from France, and a dry red wine, which could arguably be from any number of destinations, from California to Europe destinations that Juliana has visited recently. It's largely made just like a margarita, adding the mezcal, tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur, and splash of agave to a cocktail shaker with ice to shake. Strain the drink over ice into a rocks glass before adding the red wine float. To do this, take a small spoon, turn it over, and hold it over the top of the drink. Then slowly pour the red wine over the back of the spoon. Garnish with a lime, and voila.
Sonoma Sloe Gin Fizz
The theme of bad-ass females continues with the story behind the Sonoma Sloe Gin Fizz. While recently spending a month in Sonoma, I spent an afternoon at Spirit Works Distillery, with Lauren Patz, head distiller, and Ashby Marshall, who owns the Sebastopol distillery with her husband, Timo. Having grown up with two sisters who blazed their own paths at a young age, I was inspired all afternoon, spending time with two women blazing their own path in what's a male-dominated industry. Prior to starting a distillery in the heart of California wine country, Ashby spent years working as a sailor on environmental research vessels, where she met her husband, while Lauren came from renowned San Francisco-based TCHO Chocolate, where she was a chocolate pairings expert. Yes, they were all just as cool as they sound.
While tempted to make a cocktail with one of their great whiskies, I was up for a challenge, and picked out their sloe gin. Sloe gin is essentially a gin liqueur, made with sloe, or blackthorn, berries. We don't see it often in America, because the berry is more native to other parts of the world, and especially Europe, where it's popular in sloe gin in England. In fact, Ashby's husband, Timo, comes from a small village in England, where his family has been making sloe gin for generations. As such, I wanted the challenge of making a cocktail with an ingredient I've never used, while making something that tasted like wine country. And so here we have the Sonoma Sloe Gin Fizz.
- 1 oz. gin
- 1 oz. sloe gin
- .5 oz. blackberry-infused simple syrup
- Juice of half of a fresh lemon
- Rosé sparkling wine
- Mint, for garnish
I'm just going to be honest, this is fruity, refreshing, and awfully dangerous. To make it, add the gin, sloe gin, blackberry syrup (blackberries steeped in equal parts sugar and water), and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Strain into a champagne flute (or less froufrou glass) and top with Rosé sparkling wine, which obviously in this case was a Sonoma County Rosé. Garnish with a mint leaf, kick back on your porch, and call it a day.