Happy Hour, Anyone?

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March 28, 2013 by caitlinvaclark

Tomorrow is Good Friday, which translates to a Bank Holiday here in the UK, which also means tonight kicks off a four-day weekend for my British brethren. So for those of you looking for a way to relax this evening, or over the weekend if you’re not so lucky to have tomorrow off, I have some yum yum yummy cocktail inspirations.

Both of these cocktails are bourbon based and from Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook, which was gifted to me by my friend Danielle after my visit in January. Isn’t the guest the one who is supposed to give a hostess gift? She is too sweet.

It was actually on Danielle’s recommendation that I dined at Bar Americain back in September. Chris and I spent the week in New York City for his training before our move. Since he was working most evenings, I asked Dani, who travels frequently to NY for work, for recommendations of good places to “dine at the bar.” She correctly identified this restaurant as a great place to dine alone because the bar staff is so friendly and the people watching is great. Since I love Bobby Flay, it seemed like a no-brainer.

After a few drinks, including one on the house, I had talked to one couple about their recent move from London to Florida, learned all the bartender gossip, and became BFFs with a guy who used to work on The Wire. I love those nights where you think you’ll have a quick bite with your head in a book and end up meeting some really interesting characters. I equally hate the nights when all you want to do is quietly enjoy your meal and you end up with a Chatty Kathy who is a real pest. But that’s the chance you take when dining alone.

Anyways, on to the drinks! A lot of people (I used to be one of them) shy away from cocktail recipes when they see simple syrups on the list, but let me tell you, it’s so freakin’ easy!! It honestly takes about 30 seconds of actual work. Measure out equal parts sugar and water in a very small saucepan. Add your desired flavor – in this case cinnamon sticks – and simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is clear. Turn off the heat. You are done.

Cinnamon Simple Syrup: A Broad Cooking

After the syrup cools and you remove the cinnamon sticks, make the first cocktail by mixing some with your favorite bourbon, lime juice, and a few dashes of bitters.

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Also, why does Angostura Bitters insist on having a label that is too big for their bottle? Anyone?

American Eagle bourbon cocktail: A Broad Cooking

Shake. Shake. Pour. Garnish. Sip. Smile.

Bar Americain's American Eagle Cocktail: A Broad Cooking

This Blackberry Mint Cocktail that I made strikes me as a cross between a julep and a mojito. Since it’s made with bourbon it’s definitely in the classic kentucky cocktail family, but the fruity mint muddle and splash of club soda make it approachable for peeps who love mojitos.

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After your blackberries soak with sugar, strain the juice and then muddle with fresh mint.

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Whether you want to call these mojitos or juleps, they are the perfect refreshing spring drink. Add them to your next patio party or Kentucky Derby menu!!

Blackberry Mint Julep: A Broad Cooking

American Eagle

*adapted from Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook

Serves 2

4 oz. good bourbon

2 oz. Cinnamon Simple Syrup

Juice of 1/2 a lime

2 cinnamon sticks

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake the bourbon, cinnamon syrup, and lime juice. Pour over ice in 2 old fashioned glasses. Garnish with cinnamon stick.

Blackberry Mint Julep

*adapted from Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook

Serves 2

1/2 cup fresh blackberries, plus 4 to garnish

2 Tbs superfine sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

12 fresh mint leaves, plus 2 whole sprigs

2/3 cup bourbon

club soda, chilled

In a small bowl, mash together the berries, sugar, and vanilla. Allow to sit for 20 minutes, then strain the mixture through a sieve into a cocktail shaker, pressing with a rubber spatula to extract the juice.

Add the mint to the shaker and muddle until the mint is well incorporated. Add the bourbon and ice to the shaker. Shake vigorously.

Strain into cocktail glasses (julep cups if available) filled with crushed ice. Top with a splash of club soda and garnish with berries and mint sprigs.

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