Tag Archives: bourbon cocktails

Drink of the Week: Paper Plane

This modern classic was created by New York-based bartender Sam Ross. These days, it’s rare to come up with a brand new cocktail that becomes so popular everyone starts putting it on their list, but that’s what’s happened with the Paper Plane.

Simple, balanced and delicious. The easy-to-execute Paper Plane is a must-duplicate at home.

Simple, balanced and delicious. The easy-to-execute Paper Plane is a must-duplicate at home. Photo courtesy Earls.67.

I discovered it at the new Earls.67 on Stephen Avenue. It’s a perfect transition drink for fall — the lime and Aperol are bright and sunny, while the bourbon and Amaro hint at cooler days.

I also like its simplicity. Like The Last Word and the Negroni, it’s a drink where you mix the ingredients in equal parts; so, it’s almost impossible to mess up — an important consideration if you’re shaking up more than two!

Paper Plane

  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz Aperol
  • 1 oz Nonino Amaro
  • 1 oz Buffalo Trace bourbon

Method: Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Fine strain into a coupe glass.

— Recipe courtesy Earls.67

The Hall of Fame

We finally made it to Anju. Not only does this Korean small plates restaurant on 17th Ave. S.W. have tasty bites to eat (the Crispy Tofu is amazing!), the cocktails are good, too. Many have an Asian bent, thanks to the use of ingredients such as black sesame syrup, yujacha (a Korean citrus tea) and ginseng bitters.

I loved The Hall of Fame, a bourbon-based cocktail with lemon juice, dry curaçao and Yellow Chartreuse. The game changer is the Korean Plum Syrup; it adds a unique sweet flavour that rounds out the drink. It’s a bit complicated to make at home (recipe below), but now you know where to order it!

Another great winter cocktail, with bourbon and Korean plum syrup.

Another great winter cocktail, with bourbon and Korean plum syrup.

The Hall of Fame

  • 1.5 oz bourbon
  • .5 oz dry curaçao
  • .25 oz Yellow Chartreuse
  • .5 oz fresh lemon juice
  • .75 oz Korean Plum Syrup*
  • Lemon twist garnish

Method: Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

*Korean Plum Syrup

  • Korean plum tea (available at Korean markets)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup marmalade-like jam (available at Korean markets)

Method: Steep tea in hot water. Add jam and combine until a syrup-like consistency is achieved (you may have to add a bit more hot water).

— Recipe courtesy Anju

Boston Derby

This smooth and tart winter delight is basically a Boston Sour, where the bourbon has been infused with grapefruit peel. I sampled this drink in Vancouver at West Restaurant, where the bar program is ably commanded by award-winning mixologist David Wolowidnyk.

As you know by now, I really like sours, and it’s neat to see more bartenders playing around with grapefruit in this style of drink. This version is light and lemony, with a lip-puckering kiss from the grapefruit and an affectionate slap from the bourbon. Be careful though — after one sip you might end up in a race to the bottom of the glass.

Grapefruit meets bourbon in this tasty twist on a Boston Sour.

Grapefruit meets bourbon in this tasty twist on a Boston Sour at West Restaurant in Vancouver.

Boston Derby

  • 2 oz grapefruit peel-infused bourbon*
  • 1 oz honey syrup (2/3 honey to 1/3 water)
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • Egg white
  • Garnish: lemon twist

Method: Combine ingredients and shake quickly with ice to chill. Remove ice and shake again to maximize foam. Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with a lemon twist set atop the foam.

*Grapefruit-peel infused bourbon

  • The peels of two grapefruits, with as little pith as possible
  • A bottle of bourbon of your choice

Method: Pour the bourbon into an infusion jar, such as a large 1 L mason jar. Add the grapefruit peels. Seal and let sit at room temperature for two days. Strain out peels and enjoy.

— Recipe courtesy David Wolowidnyk, West Restaurant

Drink of the Week: Hashtag Boom (redux)

I first wrote about this cocktail two years ago after it won a Beam Global competition at Vine Arts. Its creator, Matt LaRocque, formerly of Taste, moved over to Charcut and brought this drink with him. In the intervening years he’s played with the recipe a bit and I got to sample the updated Hashtag Boom at an event at Charcut last night.

LaRocque has switched bourbons to Bulleit, added a half ounce of New Deal Ginger liqueur and traded Fentiman’s for Grizzly Paw ginger beer. Most significantly, the drink is now served in a tall glass instead of a short one and tastes longer on the ginger beer and less spirit-forward on the bourbon. I could taste the bourbon, it just wasn’t all-powerful. The gastrique adds a nice spicy, sightly vinegar-y taste that’s subtle but still noticeable. Best of all, the drink was delicious paired with Charcut’s famous charcuterie (love the mortadella!).

This strong and spicy cocktail complements Charcut's charcuterie.

The Hashtag Boom, a strong, long and spicy cocktail, complements Charcut’s delicious charcuterie.

The evening was hosted by Maui tourism folks, so we talked a lot about the island, food and cocktail culture, and one of its upcoming food and wine festivals, Ka’anapali Fresh. I easily pictured myself on a lanai drinking a Hashtag Boom, which happens to be the exact colour of a Hawaiian sunset.

This warming, ginger-imbued winter sip is the colour of a Hawaiian sunset.

This warming, ginger-imbued winter sip is the colour of a Hawaiian sunset.

Hashtag Boom

  • 1.5 oz Bulleit bourbon
  • .5 oz New Deal Ginger
  • 1 oz red pepper gastrique
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 2 dashes peach bitters
  • Top Grizzly Paw ginger beer
  • Garnish: lemon twist

Method: Shake all ingredients except ginger beer with ice. Strain into a tall glass over fresh ice.

— Recipe courtesy Charcut

Drink of the Week: Amaretto Sour

A change in the weather calls for a change in cocktails, from tall to short, and from light to dark. My gig as a judge at the Luxardo Maraschino cocktail competition earlier this week at Raw Bar by Duncan Ly provided me with the inspiration for just such a drink: an Amaretto Sour.

Smooth, sweet and Amaretto Sour.

Smooth, sweet and Amaretto Sour.

As I’ve mentioned ad nauseum, I really love sours, so I was excited to see that all of Luxardo’s liqueurs were in play for the competition, including amaretto. Some say amaretto is so 1980s, but I say, wait a minute! It really helps to mix it with something beyond Coke; for example, bourbon, lemon juice and an egg white.

Isn't that a cool bottle?

Isn’t that a cool bottle?

In fact, One of my favourite cocktails from the competition was a twist on a sour, using amaretto and maraschino liqueur, by Tony Migliarese from Cilantro. I didn’t manage to get his recipe, but I did come home with a bottle of amaretto. Then, I turned to The Google and found this great recipe online.

Amaretto Sour

  • 1.5 oz Luxardo Amaretto
  • .75 oz bourbon (I used Knob Creek)
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp “English” simple syrup (2 parts sugar, 1 part water)
  • .5 oz egg white, beaten
  • Garnish: lemon twist and brandied cherries

Method: Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and dry shake. Add ice and shake again to chill. Strain into an old fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lemon twist and brandied cherries.

— Recipe comes courtesy of Portland mixologist Jeffrey Morgenthaler, as contributed to Liquor.com.

Drink of the Week: Cowboy’s Breakfast

One thing I love about the Calgary Stampede is that it’s okay to have booze for breakfast. Not every morning, mind you. But guaranteed, there will be at least one break of day during yyc’s annual rodeo drunk-fest where a little hair of the dog will be just what the doctor ordered.

In anticipation of this yearly event, Bar C on 17th Ave. S.W. has come up with an appropriately breakfasty (and naturally, very boozy) cocktail called the Cowboy’s Breakfast, available daily through July 13.

“The cocktail was inspired by the essentials for any good Stampede breakfast – bacon, eggs, maple syrup and bourbon,” says Andrea Espinoza, bartender at Bar C. “Synonymous with cowboys, rodeos and the old west, bourbon was my starting point for creating this cocktail.”

The Cowboy's Breakfast is a Stampede cocktail available at Bar C through July 13, 2014.

The Cowboy’s Breakfast is a Stampede cocktail available at Bar C through July 13.

The Cowboy’s Breakfast features Buffalo Trace bourbon, Cazadores tequila, egg whites, bacon-infused maple syrup, cherry bark bitters and liquid smoke (evidently you can buy this, for that campfire taste) shaken together dry to emulsify the egg white, and then shaken with ice. The cocktail is garnished with candied bacon.

I love how smooth and silky this drink is, and how it warms up an empty belly with bourbon and the sweet notes of maple, cinnamon and bacon. Its only downside is that, coupled with the bacon garnish, you may just order a second and third cocktail and skip breakfast altogether. Giddy up!

Cowboy’s Breakfast

  • 1.5 oz Buffalo Trace bourbon
  • .5 oz Cazadores tequila
  • .5 oz bacon-infused maple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 shakes Cherry Bark bitters
  • 2 shakes liquid smoke
  • Garnish with strip of candied bacon

Method: Combine all ingredients except garnish in a shaker and dry shake. Add ice and shake again. Fine strain into a chilled martini or coupe glass and garnish with a strip of candied bacon.

— Recipe courtesy Bar C


Drink of the Week: Lawnmower

Today’s weekly libation, the Lawnmower, is a plea for spring, a desperate attempt to conjure green grass to trim instead of snow to shovel. Spring is coming, right? Right?? Well, if it snows again you’ll at least have this boozy spring-inspired cocktail with which to drown your endless-winter sorrows.

With just a touch of mint the Lawnmower hints of warmer days to come.

With just a touch of mint the Lawnmower hints of warmer days to come.

The Lawnmower recipe comes courtesy of Calgary foodie-turned-cocktailian Wade Sirois, of Infuse Catering. Sirois is also the dapper, fedora-wearing fellow behind Crowbar, the occasional pop-up lounge that brings craft cocktails and small plates to unique, speakeasy-style locations that are only revealed two days prior to the event. Crowbar is by invite only, but you can get on the list for the May 5th and May 31st pop-ups by emailing info@crowbarcalgary.com.

The Lawnmower is a strong, sour and spicy sip that will leave you yearning for spring.

The Lawnmower is a strong, sour and spicy sip that will leave you yearning for spring.


  • 1-1/2 oz bourbon (I used Knob Creek)
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 oz ginger syrup*
  • 5 leaves fresh mint
  • Mint garnish

Method: Put ice in a rocks glass for chilling. Place all ingredients in a shaker. Add ice and shake for 10-15 seconds. Dump the ice from the chilled glass. Strain the cocktail into the glass. Garnish with mint.

*Ginger syrup

  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh ginger, shredded

Method: Bring the sugar and water to a boil over medium heat. Add the ginger and boil for one minute. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain the ginger from the syrup. Store in a clean glass jar for up to one month in the refrigerator.

— Recipe by Wade Sirois, inspired by Coco 500