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Mixology Monday

Mixology Monday

Apple Shrub Cocktail

MXMO Apple Shrub Cocktail-5

This month’s edition of Mixology Monday is hosted by none other than our fearless leader, Fred Yarm, of the Mixology Monday website and the Cocktail Virgin blog. It’s great to see the man behind it all take the wheel and play host this time around.

We are right smack dab in the middle of my absolute favorite time of the year, and I think apples are largely the reason. I love them in just about every way.

MXMO Apple Shrub Cocktail-1

I experimented quite a bit this round: Mario Batali tweeted a recipe from his Babbo bar crew for a spiced apple shrub earlier last week, so I made his version with some leftover apple butter I already had in the fridge. I also managed to find the time to fat wash some cognac with a blend of unsalted butter and apple butter.

Being one that never wastes anything, I used the apple peels to whip up a batch of Apple bitters. They turned out pretty fantastic.

I came up with this cocktail after enjoying a Vieux Carré the night before. This cocktail is different in a lot of ways, but it’s similar in some ways too. The apple washed cognac and shrub really shine here.

MXMO Apple Shrub Cocktail-3

Apple Shrub Cocktail



  • 1 ounce apple butter washed cognac
  • 1 ounce rye whiskey
  • ½ ounce spiced apple shrub (recipe follows)
  • ½ ounce Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
  • ¼ ounce Bénédictine
  • 2 dashes Apple bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Spiced Apple Shrub:

  • 4 tablespoons ginger-infused simple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon spiced apple butter



Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously until the ingredients are well distributed and chilled to the touch. Strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass. Enjoy.

Spiced Apple Shrub:

Mix all ingredients together well and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.



Mixology Monday

Noilly Cassis Shim

Shim Cocktail-3This month’s Mixology Monday is all about us counter-balancing the classic November mantra of overindulgence. Our host, Dinah of the blog and published Shimmaster, is asking all of us to think about low-spirit cocktails that will keep us level. Something I think we can all benefit from while we’re trying to pull off dinner for a group of people.

I knew I wanted vermouth to be the star. I attended a fantastic seminar about vermouths and aromatized wines earlier this year at TEXSOM. My opinions of TEXSOM are simple: if you like wine and want to learn something about it you should go. We tasted some incredible stuff. Shelley Lindgren of A16 was a great guide, and I learned three very important things in that class…

  1. Vermouth is seriously delicious all by itself.
  2. Cappelletti is the next aperitif of the moment (if it isn’t already).
  3. Barolo Chinato is the stuff my dreams are made of.



One vermouth I really developed a huge crush on was Noilly Prat. A classic French vermouth well known amongst the dry martini club, it had this great briny, slightly oxidized flavor. It kind of reminded me of my beloved Sherry in a lot of ways.

I combined Noilly Prat here with some Créme de Cassis, lemon juice, simple syrup, and sparkling water. It was dry and refreshing, with the Noilly Prat shining through.

Shim Cocktail-2

Noilly Cassis Shim


    • 1½ ounces Noilly Prat Extra Dry Vermouth
    • ½ ounce Crème de Cassis
    • ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
    • ¼ ounce 2:1 simple syrup
    • 1 dash Angostura bitters
    • 2 ounces sparkling water


Combine the vermouth, cassis, lemon juice, simple syrup, and Angostura bitters in a Boston Shaker. Fill with ice, cover, and shake vigorously until the contents are chilled and distributed. Remove the lid, add the sparkling water, and strain the contents over fresh ice into a glass. Garnish with a lemon slice and a straw.


Mixology Monday

The Perfect Black Manhattan

This month’s Mixology Monday theme is all about splitting. No, we’re not talking about the all-or-nothing line of thinking my mother is famous for. We’re talking about symmetry in the glass. The spirit version of yin and yang. A strike of balance.

This month’s host is none other than Joel of the always dapper Southern Ash blog, and his theme really brought me back to modern interpretations of classic cocktails. I initially attempted to bring symmetry  to a Boulevardier by splitting it in a bunch of different ways, and the outcome was something I never want to drink again.

Then one of my favorite fall cocktails came to mind. The Black Manhattan. I first wrote about this cocktail last fall, when I had tried it at Hibiscus here in Dallas. Their version, made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, was absolutely fantastic. It was the one cocktail that patrons would ask for the recipe over and over again.

Sometimes I use only bourbon, and other times I use only rye. I decided to split them down the middle this month, and I loved the result. While rye’s spiciness really shined through, the bourbon left just the perfect amount of sweetness to keep me coming back for more.

Black Manhattan-2

The Perfect Black Manhattan


  • 1 ounce Bourbon whiskey
  • 1 ounce Rye whiskey
  • 1 ounce Averna
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash orange bitters


Combine ingredients in a steel cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Stir mixture until exterior of the shaker is very cold, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. The drink is properly stirred when the exterior develops frost and is cold to the touch. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with an Italian amarena cherry (splurge for these, they’re expensive but there is no substitute for them). Enjoy.


Mixology Monday

Mixology Monday Smash Roundup


I really just want to thank everyone who smashed (and got smashed) during July’s Mixology Monday. I really had no idea this classic cocktail could be so fun, versatile, and refreshing.

We came, we smashed, and we concocted recipes. This month we saw various stone fruits, lots of different herbs, foraged wild berries and fruit plucked straight from farmers market stands and backyard gardens. Cocoa puffs, tomatoes, and sweet corn even made an appearance.

There are a lot of great drinks to cover, so let’s begin, shall we?

Christopher from Another Cocktail Blog really took the smash theme to heart and constructed his rendition of the Hulk Smash using Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa, a traditional Chinese throat and cough syrup. He even went a step further and offered a Winter Toddy version.


The Gin Is In created a drink called the Midnight Sun containing gin, aquavit, fresh thyme, mint leaves, and some lime for a refreshing yet herbaceous cocktail. This one seems bound to whet your whistle.


Mike at Sweet Tea and Bourbon wrestled up some beautifully plump nectarines and basil from his home garden and used bourbon to develop his Nectarine Basil Smash. If that doesn’t perfectly resemble fruits of the season, I don’t really know what does.


Marius of Arcane Potions came up with the Macassar Smash with pineapple, honey, spiced rum and tea. A refreshing and beautiful combination. I always love a pineapple drink that uses the leaves as a garnish.


The very kind man behind what continues to make this all possible, Fred of Mixology Monday and Cocktail Virgin Slut, basically made my dreams come true by infusing my adored breakfast cereal of choice with green chartreuse in his Cocoa Puff Smash. A truly original combo that will forever pleasingly taunt me in my food and beverage dreams.


Next up we have Shaun and Christa of Booze Nerds, who came up with two refreshing cocktails for this month’s theme. The first is the Hail Notos, a lovely beverage containing lemon basil and white rum. Tasting notes describe it as being light and refreshing.


They also doubled down on the botanicals and crafted a cocktail around lemon verbena and barrel aged gin called the Waggle Dance.


Nancy at The Bartenderess created the impossibly beautiful Bourbon Plum Smash with ginger simple syrup and fresh mint. I can’t wait to try this combination once plums hit the farmers market stands this summer.


Amanda at Mandibleblog created a Caribbean inspired Esperanza Smash containing Dominican rum, coconut water, limes, and mint. This drink sounds perfect, and I envision myself enjoying one while lying in a hammock and reading a good book.


Whitney at Tipicular Fixins hit the streets of Ontario for this month’s theme, and created a beautiful Foraged Mulberry Smash with mint, and white rum. I can’t remember the last time I saw mint so perfectly green. Oh, Texas.

m smash 6

The very lovely Andrea at Ginhound fresh off the plane from Tales of the Cocktail created a Lemon Cherry Cachaca Smash. Cherry liqueur, lavender syrup infused fresh lemon, and Pellegrino Limonata are just some of the ingredients that come out to play here. A great cocktail indeed.


Laura of the awesomely named Sass and Gin  created the Sylvan Smash with eucalyptus bitters, cucumber, thai basil and barrel aged gin. A cooling, refreshing cocktail perfect for the hot weather that lies ahead.


Joey at Rated R Cocktails came up with the Caribe Smash using demerera rum, pineapple syrup, sage, and orange bitters. While this is a departure from his usual Tiki fare, I really love the end result complete with perfect crushed ice.


Tartines to Tikis came up with the Gascon Smash. I was sold once I read Armagnac. Then there were plums. And an adorable frosty julep cup. Happiness and a trip down memory lane back to Southwestern France in a frosty glass.


The always dapper Joel at Southern Ash went savory and created the Marinara Smash with peak season tomatoes, basil, and garlic infused vodka. Think a refreshing Bloody Mary with tons of aromatics. What’s not to love about this?


Let’s all take a moment and give a warm welcome to Kate from Snowflake Kitchen. This is her first time participating in Mixology Monday. She crafted a beautiful Shiro Plum Rye Smash that straddles the sweet-sour fence and contains rosé wine, homemade rhubarb syrup, and sweet annie pollen. You had me at rosé, Kate!


Another first timer is Erin of the A1SeaChange blog. She created a Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub Smash and provided recipes for the Thyme Syrup, Rhubarb Puree, and Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub. Thanks for participating Erin, and welcome to the MxMo club!


Chris from A Bar Above  crafted The Silk Road, a smash that celebrates ripe pears, brandy (in his case cognac), shiso leaves, and Rooibos Chai tincture. In lieu of an image Chris has an awesome video on his site showing the finished drink. About 50 seconds in while providing the history behind the smash he had me truly panicking when I realized his story didn’t resemble my own. I really thought I got the history of this drink all wrong. Well played Chris. Well played.

Dinah from created a variation on the modern classic The Gin Basil Smash called the Lion’s Nose. Her variation contains gin, basil, clove, and Cremé de Cacao.


K.Muse over at Feu de Vie came up with the aptly named The Gussied-up Rye-pirinha. Rye stands in for the cachaca with muddled blueberries, mint, and lemon. The tasting notes mention it’s a bit earthy and moody for a smash, which made me love it all that much more. 


The lovely Elana at Stir and Strain came up with a Sweet Corn and Strawberry Smash made with white rum. I love corn and fruit together, and it’s great to see it take form in a cocktail for this theme. Thanks for the great idea Elana!


Over at the egullet’s spirit and cocktail forum thread we had a couple of great submissions:

Haresfur in Australia created a Fizzy Raspberry Rosemary Smash for Two with anejo tequila.


KD1191 from New York created the “Who Needs Tales of the Cocktail?” Smash after being stuck at home while everyone else on his Twitter feed was in New Orleans having too much fun. A bright and bold combination of mescal, yellow chartreuse, blueberries and mint.

Finally, yours truly. I tried a lot of different combinations, and finally settled on this one for being not only beautiful, but also pretty delicious. The Fig and Rosemary Smash. I originally made this with bourbon, but fully intend to make it with cognac before summer’s end.


And there you have it ladies and gentlemen – one very successful smash roundup! I just want to thank all who participated and I want to give a huge thank you to Fred for keeping the dream alive and allowing me (a relative newbie) to play hostess this month!

This is the best online cocktail party on the planet! Now if only we could reach through the screen and drink all the things! I’m already looking forward to August. Until then, take care and keep creating and drinking great cocktails.

– Stacy Markow

Mixology Monday

Fig and Rosemary Smash

Fig and Rosemary

I’ve had so much fun this week letting my mind run wild with flavor combinations for this Mixology Monday challenge. Between crushing ice with a mallet and smashing figs, rosemary, and brown sugar together in a glass the entire process felt very cathartic.

I loved this drink’s appearance when I first created it, so I decided not to strain it for the photos. About two sips in it ultimately became cumbersome to drink. Thanks to hindsight my recommendation is to strain the contents over lots of fresh ice and enjoy immediately.

This drink would work exceptionally well with some cognac and/or rye.

Fig, Rosemary, and Bourbon Smash


  • 1½ fresh black mission figs, stemmed 
  • ½ sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed from stem
  • ½ teaspoon light brown sugar
  • ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • 2 ounces Bulleit Bourbon
  • crushed ice


Add rosemary leaves and brown sugar to bottom of a cocktail glass and muddle until the rosemary leaves are aromatic and begin to tear apart. Add figs, lemon juice and simple syrup and press together until the figs are completely smashed. Add bourbon and ice and shake well and strain into a rocks glass. Enjoy.


Mixology Monday

Mixology Monday Announcement: The Smash

After a fun few weeks getting to know the pineapple, July will be my very first foray into hosting the only consistent blog topic on this site, Mixology Monday.

I’m proud to announce that July’s theme is all about the Smash, those ice-laden, refreshing concoctions designed to celebrate my favorite things about life: stiff drinks and warm weather.

It’s no surprise that in 1862 Jerry Thomas was the first to declare that “the Smash is simply a julep on a small plan.” The drink originally gets its name from the way mint was smashed up in the shaking process.

Fast forward twenty-five or so years later and barman Harry Johnson addresses the Smash as a separate cocktail from the julep entirely and expands the components to include “fruits in season.”

What little was originally written about the Smash can lead most to believe it wasn’t a terribly popular beverage, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. According to David Wondrich, the author of Imbibe!

“From it’s first appearance in the mid 1840’s until after the Civil War, the Smash was just about the most popular thing going. In the 1850’s, at the height of the Smash’s popularity, all the “pert young men, ” the Broadway dandies, San Francisco swells, and junior New Orleans grandissimes, seemed to spend the warm months of the year with a Smash glued to one hand and a “segar” to the other. In fact, the Smash rather became an icon of dissipation”

Johnson’s smashes resemble many modern interpretations found on cocktail menus today. With that said, the basic elements of the drink have remained the same over the years: they always include a spirit base, lots of ice, fresh herbs (the most popular being mint), sugar, and seasonal fruit.

Let’s get ultra creative, smash things, and then drown them in alcohol and ice. Allow your creativity take flight and concoct sweet and/or savory combos to remember using any fruit or herbs you can get your hands on. Make your Smash and share it one of three ways with us!

Here’s how to participate:

1.   Create an original Smash cocktail.

2.   Post the recipe on your blog, or if you don’t have one, you can post it on the egullet’s spirit and cocktail forum thread here with a photo, recipe, and thoughts of your drink.

3.   Add the MxMo logo to your post with a link to both the Mixology Monday website and back here at Stacy Markow.

4.   Submit a link to your post here in the comments of this announcement post.

5.   Posts must be submitted by midnight on Monday, July 28, 2014.

I really can’t wait to see what all of you come up with. Without further adieu, let’s get smashed!


*featured image courtesy of


Mixology Monday

Pineapple Infused Daiquiri

DSC_0229This month’s Mixology Monday hosted by Thiago of Bartending Notes has us considering the pineapple as a potential ingredient in summer kickoff cocktails.

I decided almost immediately that I wanted to play around with some pineapple infusions. The first idea that came to mind was a chile de arbol infused tequila for a pineapple margarita recipe. I also threw a few pineapple chunks into some white rum at the same time.

I ended up letting the chili de arbol over infuse and the first margarita I made with it had the potential to melt my face off. I let the rum hang out as long as I could (just shy of two weeks), but I could easily see myself letting it go for a full month next time.


I played around with a pineapple basil mojito, but I never managed to get the balance of the ingredients just right (that and I think mojitos are annoying as shit to drink, as they plug up my straw with every sip). Then I made a daiquiri. I did loads of online and textbook research before attempting to create a balanced daiquiri.

The lime and sugar balance the rum, and the pineapple comes through ever so slightly on the nose and on the finish. If a daiquiri isn’t the most refreshing cocktail on the planet I don’t really know what is.


Pineapple Daiquiri


  • 2 1/2 ounces pineapple infused white rum
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup
  • Ice


Add rum, lime juice, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker and taste for balance, and adjust if necessary. Add ice and shake vigorously until the ingredients are cold and the shaker is frosty. Double strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a lime wheel.


Mixology Monday

Cucumber Mint Cooler

This month’s Mixology Monday hosted by Scott of Shake Strain & Sip initially threw me since I’m one who abstains from water because it gets in the way of enjoying an alcoholic beverage.

The theme is Temperance, and we were given the task to create a beautifully balanced beverage that doesn’t contain liquor or bitters. The spring season greenery led me to manifest a refreshing beverage full of cool cucumbers and mint, balanced by the tartness of Rockefeller priced fresh limes and spicy ginger beer.
I got the combination balance where I wanted it on the first round (which never happens). I muddled cucumber slices and mint leaves together and then added an ounce of fresh lime juice. I double strained the mixture over a glass full of ice and topped off with Fever Tree ginger beer. It’s both tart and sweet and incredibly refreshing. I now know that alcohol is not necessarily needed to enjoy a great beverage. Well played Temperance themed MXMO, well played.


Cucumber Mint Cooler

  • 4 cucumber slices
  • 8 mint leaves
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 4-5 ounces Fever Tree ginger beer


Muddle cucumber slices, lime wheel, and mint leaves together with simple syrup until well  macerated and aromatic. Add fresh lime juice and ice and shake until well combined. Double strain over a glass with cucumber wheels, whole mint leaves, and fresh ice and top off with ginger beer. Taste for balance. Serve with a cucumber, lime, and fresh mint garnish.