Three Cocktails

This past weekend I got to go to Transformus, the regional burn formerly close enough to actually go to (near Asheville, NC) but now way out of reach in the northern wilds of West Virginia. My fellow burner (and 3 Old Men co-founder) Craig and I made the trek, and lo! it was good.

We were hosted by the wonderful theme camp Raised by Rabbits, whom I had encountered at our own burns, Alchemy and Euphoria. They were warm and welcoming, and I contributed to the camp by bartending at the Leadership Social on Saturday afternoon and on a bit into the Fancy Date Night that followed.

I brought about a gallon each of the three following cocktails and served them appropriately, i.e., shaken, stirred, or built, with bitters, with garnishes, thank you.

They were a hit, and that’s what this post is really about, thanking my hosts by sharing my recipes.

Prickly Pear Daiquiri

  • 2 oz rum

  • 1 oz lime juice (fresh is best; don’t use Rose’s Sweetened!)

  • .5 oz prickly pear syrup

  • 2–4 drops lime bitters

  • lime slice as garnish

Shake the first three ingredients with ice; strain into the glass. Shake 2–3 drops of bitters onto the surface; garnish with lime slice. Note: I served this over ice at the burn BECAUSE IT WAS TOO DAMN HOT, but usually it’s served straight up.

I encountered the prickly pear syrup in a margarita while out at Grand Canyon a couple of weeks before the burn. I haven’t checked at my local groceries; I ordered a large bottle from Amazon while still out west just to make sure it was in my hand before the burn. My suspicions were correct: It makes a fabulous daiquiri.

(Sidenote: to make a killer regular daiquiri, use .75 oz simple syrup instead of the prickly pear syrup, and cut the lime juice to .875 oz—that’s right, 7/8 oz.)

Smoky Manhattan

A Manhattan is 2 oz of rye or bourbon, .75 oz of sweet vermouth, and bitters, but in today’s space science future you can do wonderful things to the mixture and still be called a hero.

  • 1.5 oz rye

  • .75 oz sweet vermouth (if you can tolerate the Gallo et al., great, but I really recommend Punt e Mes or Carpano Antico)

  • .25–.5 oz peaty scotch blend (I used Famous Grouse Black; Isle of Skye is great, but hard to find)

  • 2 dashes bitters: either black walnut or chocolate/mole

  • orange peel as garnish

Stir the first three ingredients over ice. You may add the bitters to the mix at this point if you wish. Strain into glass with ice. Add bitters if you didn’t before. Garnish.

For those who found it too bitter/dark, I added a dollop of Bourbon Barrel Flavored Maple Syrup, available at a Kroger near you.

The Rose-Colored G

  • 1.5 oz gin

  • tonic water

  • hibiscus-infused gin

  • 2–4 drops allspice bitters (e.g., Dale DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters or Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters)

Make a gin and tonic, leaving room at the top of the glass. Dribble the bitters onto the ice. Float a layer of the hibiscus-infused gin on top.

Hibiscus-infused gin: Throw a handful of dried hibiscus flowers into a glass container; pour in the gin. Let it sit for two hours. Strain. And that’s it.

This is a spectacular drink, and it’s stupid simple. If you want an over-the-top beautiful drink, use a single sphere of ice.

I found dried hibiscus flowers at my local Kroger, loose in the produce section, but that was probably a fluke due to the poor management at said Kroger; they’ve disappeared. You can order them online, but mostly that’s expensive. Your best bet is an international farmers market. (I got a large bag for under $10 at the Buford Hwy Farmers Market here in Atlanta.)

Again, thank you Rabbits for the great weekend—enjoy!