Akvinta: Holiday Tipples

Looking for a new cocktail to try out for the holidays? Here's a few new drink recipes to give a go-from the basic to the ambitious. Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Akvinta Espresso Martini

1 ½ oz. Akvinta Vodka

¾ oz. Espresso

¾ oz. Simple Syrup

Fresh Espresso, Akvinta Vodka, & Simple Syrup, shaken to perfection and served straight up & foamy, shaken & strained into a martini glass.

Akvinta Spice-Tini

1 oz. Akvinta Vodka

1 ½ oz. White Cranberry Juice

¼ oz. Goldschlager

Mix all ingredients, strain into a cocktail glass and serve.

Akvinta Swizzle

1 ½ oz. Akvinta vodka

1/3 oz. Honey

Ginger Beer

2 lemon wedges

2 lime wedges

2 orange wedges

1 clove

Grated nutmeg

Grated cinnamon

Muddle one wedge of each fruit, the honey, and the clove at the base of a tall glass. Add Akvinta and stir well. Add crushed ice and start swizzling. Squeeze the juice of remaining wedges, add some grated nutmeg, add more ice. Swizzle again and then repeat with more ice. Top with Ginger Beer, then garnish with extra citrus wedges and grated cinnamon.


Drink This: Akvinta Cherry

Looking for a quick, tasty, lovely little cocktail to serve up for your holiday guests later this week? Try the Akvinta Cherry.

Akvinta Cherry

1 1/2 oz. Akvinta Vodka
¾ oz. Cherry Brandy
Splash of Cherry Juice
Dash Bitters

Shake Akvinta Vodka, Cherry Brandy, a splash of juice from the Maraschino cherry jar (I suggest Tillen Farms’ cherries), and a dash of bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a Maraschino cherry.


Happy Halloween from Akvinta!

Happy Halloween Ladies & Gents!

Entertaining friends this Halloween? Well then, you’re going to need a cocktail recipe or two, no? Give these “treats” from Akvinta a try:

Liquorice Affair by Giulio Amodio

1 oz. Akvinta Vodka
¼ oz. Liquorice liqueur
¼ oz. Sambuca
¼ oz. Vanilla Liqueur
¼ oz. Espresso Coffee
1 tsp. Simple Syrup

Shake and serve in a cocktail glass. Garnish with a Liquorice Roll and Star of Anise.

Smooth Operator by Joel Constantino

4 fresh Strawberries
6 fresh Raspberries
2 fresh Blackberries
4 heaped tablespoons Vanilla Yoghurt
3 oz. pressed Apple Juice
¾ oz. Akvinta Vodka
½ oz. Acacia Honey
2 tablespoons Oat Flakes
3 Ice Cubes

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend for 45 seconds.Pour into a large hi-ball glass and garnish with an apple fan and berry kebab.


Kahlua Coffee Cream Hosts Thursday Drink Night

Have you heard about Kahlua’s brand new cream-based liqueur—Kahlua Coffee Cream? Well, if you were curious about what to do with it or how to mix with it, we will definitely have some answers for you soon. Tomorrow night (September 10th) Kahlua Coffee Cream will be sponsoring Thursday Drink Night at the Mixoloseum. Participating members will be among the first to experiment with this brand new product, which won’t officially hit shelves until later this month.

In addition to the online action, which you can become a part of by logging in to the Mixoloseum chat room, Kahlua Coffee Cream will also be hosting a live event out in Los Angeles, with yours truly! We’ll be setting up at Malo Restaurant with more than a couple of La-La Land’s cocktail enthusiasts on hand to share in the fun. Of course, we’ll have a web cam set up, but we’re also having a video of the event made so we can share it all online! I’ll be updating here with photos and drink recipes, but if want to really be a part of the event, you need to join us tomorrow, beginning at 7pm EST (we’ll be live from LA beginning at 9pm EST). See you there!


Summer Time Lime

Because it's a refreshing citrus drink that's perfect on sweltering days...

Mata Hari Lime Cooler

1 1/2 oz. Absinthe Mata Hari

1 oz. Triple Sec

3 oz. Fresh Sour Mix

Soda Water (to top)

Combine first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly and strain into an iced Collins glass. Top with soda water and garnish with a lime slice.

And if you have a minute--check out what Hal Wolin had to say about Mata Hari over on A Muddled Thought.


Dave Wondrich on The Colbert Report

If you haven't seen it already, check out cocktail historian Dave Wondrich on The Colbert Report, as he fixes up a new signature drink for Stephen.

You can watch the video on Cocktailnerd.

Dave is a key member of The Bar LLC, which has partnered with Pernod Ricard to offer a great new bartender training program called Bar Smarts. More on that later.



Serendipity in Athens

Just back from vaca in Greece (but as many of you know, my vacations always include a little bidness...we did do some wine stuff...more on that in later posts). I have been speaking with David Rosengarten, noted food writer and host of the TV show "Taste", and as we were coordinating schedules at breakfast in a NY Deli a couple of weeks ago, we realized we'd both be passing through the Athens airport at the same time. So we decided meet up with the folks from All About Greek Wine for a few Frappe's and Cappucino Frededo's.

Sharing a laugh is David on the left, then Sophia Perpera and George Athanas of AAGW, and me.


Infusion Cocktails!

As promised, I’ve got some wonderful new cocktail recipes to share with you—all of them part of entries in the OVAL vodka infusion contest. Read up on what the contest was all about in my last post.

Just one quick note—to give credit where credit is due, all the drink photos put up here were taken by the participants themselves.

Chipped Tooth Cooler by Blair Reynolds of Trader Tiki:

2 oz CHiP OVAL Vodka Infusion
1.5 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime
1/2 oz Ginger Liqueur (Domaine de Canton)
1/2 oz Falernum (Taylor's Velvet Falernum)
dash Fees O.F. Bitters
6 drops Herbsaint

Shake briefly with crushed ice, and pour into Double Rocks glass, add a splash of soda water and top with a float of 151 proof Demerara Rum.

The Howlin' Oval by SeanMike Whipkey of Scofflaw’s Den:

2 ounces jalapeno-infused OVAL vodka
1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
3/4 ounce orgeat

Shake over ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. The garnish is a thin slice of red jalapeno with a lime twist around it.

Rosemary Lemon Fizz by Stevi Deter of Two at the Most:

1.5 oz rosemary infused Oval vodka
0.5 oz limoncello
0.5 oz lemon juice
2 oz cream
soda water to top
cinnamon for garnish

Add all ingredients but soda water to shaking tin, dry shake for 1 minute, add ice, shake for at least two more minutes, strain into collins glass, top with soda water and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Leafy Lilly by Matt Robold of Rumdood:

2 oz Cilantro/Peppercorn/Honey Oval Vodka
1 oz Lillet Blanc
.5 oz Lime
.5 oz Agave Nectar
2 dashes bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass.

Viennese Vixen by Cheri Loughlin of Intoxicologist:

2 ounces OVAL Vodka Lavender Infusion
1/2 ounce Hiram Walker Crème de Cassis Liqueur
1/4 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice
1 ounce Freixenet Brut Champagne
Lemon Peel Garnish

Slice a thin piece of lemon peel lengthwise over a cocktail glass and twist so the essential oils zest into the glass. Place peel along the edge for garnish. Place OVAL Vodka lavender infusion, Hiram Walker Crème de Cassis Liqueur and fresh lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled (approximately 10 to 12 seconds). Strain into cocktail glass. Top off with Brut Champagne.

The Inchworm by Ted Munat of Le Mixeur:

1 ½ oz. Calendula/Rose Hip infused OVAL vodka
½ oz. Dolin Blanc Vermouth
½ oz. lime juice
¼ oz. Saffron Syrup (recipe below)
Dash angostura bitters

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme.

Saffron Syrup (a la Anu Apte of Vessel in Seattle):

1 ¼ cups water
2 cups sugar
¼ cup rose water
Generous ¼ tsp. saffron strands
1 tablespoon water

Make a saffron extract by heating the tablespoon of water near boil. Crush the saffron strands between thumb and finger. Add the crushed saffron to hot water. Let is rest about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add water and sugar in a heavy bottom pan. Heat till all the sugar is dissolved. Let it come to a boil. Ideally, reach 220 degrees. Add the Rose Water to the saffron extract, then add all to the sugar syrup. Cook about five minutes. Turn off heat and let it rest. After it cools it may be stored in a jar or bottle. Ted suggests leaving the saffron threads in the syrup.


OVAL Vodka's Homemade Infusion Contest

You might have seen my mention about OVAL vodka’s infusion contest in an earlier post and wondered what the heck I was talking about. I got some ‘splainin’ to do.

Earlier this summer, OVAL vodka asked several cocktail bloggers to accept the challenge of creating a unique infusion using a bottle of OVAL and whatever other ingredients they like. The prize? Two nights stay in New Orleans, during Tales of the Cocktail. Many bloggers jumped at the chance to experiment and create and have some of their expensive hobby paid for!

Participants were asked to submit an 8 oz. sample of their infusion, the infusion recipe, and a cocktail recipe that called for their infusion. We got a number of great entries (you’ll see several featured below) and a judging panel (Gabriel Szaszko of Cocktailnerd, Rick Stutz of Kaiser Penguin, and mixologist Chantal Tseng of the Tabard Inn, met at the Mixo House in New Orleans to taste all the submissions and rate them on the following criteria:

infusion aroma

infusion taste

infusion creativity

cocktail taste

cocktail balance

cocktail creativity

One entry stood out among the rest and the judges’ scores showed agreement that Marshall Fawley’s Thai Infusion was the clear winner. Marshall, a DC blogger at Scofflaw’s Den, clearly put a lot of hard work into the process of creating this complex infusion & will now reap the reward! Check out his entry:

Marshall Fawley’s Thai Infusion:

16 oz. OVAL vodka

1 9-inch stalk of Lemongrass, cut into small rounds

Peel of 2 limes

2 quarter-sized rounds of fresh ginger

1 2-inch cinnamon stick

4 cloves

Place everything in a sealed container and infuse for one week, shaking the container once a day. After one week, strain through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth.

And his fantastic cocktail….(seriously I love this one!)

Andaman Sun: (picture by Marshall Fawley above)

1 ½ oz. Thai-Infused OVAL vodka

1 ½ oz. Coconut water

1 oz. Piloncillo Syrup* (1 ½: 1 strength)

½ oz. fresh lime juice

¼ oz. Coconut milk

Shake all with ice and double strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

*Substitutions for Piloncillo syrup- 1 oz. of Dark Brown Sugar Syrup (1 ½ : 1) or ¾ oz. simple syrup & ¼ oz. molasses.

Congratulations Marshall! You created the perfect cocktail for a creative infusion!

I want to thank everyone who participated in the contest, as well as Chris Stanley, who lent a great hand and made all the cocktails for the tasting. Check out a few featured infusion recipes below. I’ll also post featured cocktail recipes later this week.

Cilantro, Peppercorn & Honey Infusion Recipe by Matt Robold of Rumdood:

Steep a handful of cilantro leaves in a 750ml bottle of OVAL vodka for 24 hours.

Strain out the cilantro and then add ¼ cup of peppercorns (uncracked) to the vodka, along with ½ cup of honey and shake vigorously. Steep for 48 hours and then strain through cheesecloth and/or a coffee filter.

Jalapeño Infusion Recipe by SeanMike Whipkey of Scofflaw’s Den:

Slice up three jalapenos, removing the ribs and seeds. Place in a jar with twelve ounces of OVAL vodka. Let sit for twenty four hours, then strain out the slices of jalapeño.

Rosemary Infusion Recipe by Stevi Deter of Two at the Most:

Take leaves from 1 oz. fresh rosemary, add to 8 oz. OVAL vodka, and allow to infuse for one day. Double strain

to remove leaves.

Chip Infusion Recipe by Blair Reynolds of Trader Tiki: (This one’s extremely complex but great tasting-it was ranked #2 by our judging panel—check out the great cocktail recipe that accompanies it on my next post)

750ml OVAL Vodka

2 large brown coconuts

6 oz. Orange Blossom Honey

1 large Plantain

½ vanilla bean

Pinch demerara sugar

Pinch cinnamon

Drill holes in both coconuts, replace coconut water with OVAL vodka. Let sit for three days. Strain OVAL out of coconuts and into a glass container. Open and slice the coconut, being sure to remove the woody inner skin. Briefly chop the coconut and Plantain in a food processor until at a rough chop. Start a pan at medium temperature, and once at temp, add coconut and plantain. Throw sugar and cinnamon over the cocnut and plantain mix while toasting. Toast until coconut is golden brown. Let the coconut and plantains sit until cool (so as not to boil off the alcohol) then add toasted coconut & plantains and ½ a vanilla bean to the OVAl vodka. Let sit for three days.

Strain the vodka into a separate glass container. Add 6 oz. orange blossom honey and shake heartily. Strain through a Brita filter.

Lavender Infusion Recipe by Cheri Loughlin of The Intoxicologist:

1 ½ cup OVAL Vodka

2 teaspoons lavender flowers

Place 2 level teaspoons of lavender flowers and 1 ½ cup of OVAL vodka in a glass container with a lid that will seal. Allow to sit out of direct sun at room temperature for 20 hours. Strain lavender flowers from liquid and return to glass container.

Calendula & Rose Hip Infusion Recipe by Ted Munat of Le Mixeur:

750ml OVAL vodka

1 cup dried calendula

4 tbsp dried rose hips

Combine in a jar and let sit for 24 hours. Strain out calendula and rose hips.