I love a good artisan cocktail. These are twists on classic cocktails using fresh and/or unique ingredients. Learning how to make one at home can seem like a daunting challenge but after much experimentation and a bit of trail and error I have found some that are my go-to cocktails at home.
It started with the Cosmo. This is a great cocktail that is vodka, cointreau, lime, simple syrup, and cranberry juice. Although this is a perfectly fine cocktail I discovered somewhere along the way it is so much better with Raspberry Vodka, specifically Stoli. The sweetness of the raspberry just offset the tartness of the lime and cranberry just enough.
This then lead me down the road of is there a juice that might be better? Cran-raspberry was a good choice but the problem I was running into was that I only needed a couple ounces to make the two cocktails and high quality juices would go bad after too long. This lead me to the question. Could I make my own juice and can it in amounts that are meaningful? The answer ended up being yes. So now for my Raspberry Cosmo I use a juice blend that is Cranberry, Raspberry, and Strawberry. They were all purchased at our local farmers market at their peek of season and made into a juice that is ah-mazing.
Another cocktail I love is the Lychee Martini. This was simple enough. Vodka, lychee Juice, simple syrup and lychees for garnish. Well, OK, not so simple. Where do you get lychees and lychee juice? Especially when you live in the middle of nowhere? So I started with hitting up the Asian Food Store that we frequent and they had canned lychees, but the juice they had wasn’t quite right. I then went on to Amazon and found lychee juice boxes! I juice box is just the right amount to make two cocktails. So now I can have delicious lychee martini’s at home.
Where I really started thinking about artisanal cocktails was when I came across a recipe for a blood orange whisky sour. This was good but the recipe was not at all it was cracked up to be plus it had to be done in a blender and there was lots of futzing with segmenting the blood oranges but the idea was good and it was a whisky drink so it was getting me outside my comfort zone of, vodka, and getting me to try something that was more my husbands liking, bourbon/whisky.
At this point we decided a juicer was in our future. We wanted to start making our own juice. Not only that but we wanted to make interesting juice blends. This lead us to getting the Breville Juice Fountain Duo. Yup, that’s right we bought a juicer to make better cocktails!
The first juice blend we had true success with with our pear blend. It’s a combination of Bartlett Pears, Asian Pears, and Honeydew. We then added this to Absolut Pear Vodka, a little Apple Pucker, and Simple Syrup. It was perfect. I nice light pear cocktail, but what’s a cocktail without a name, and then it came to us… Au Pair!
After having such success with this recipe creation I went back to work on the whisky sour. I got Apricots, Nectarines, Oranges, and Limes and juiced them all together. I then took that blend and added Basil Hayden, a few drops of Bitters, and Agave Syrup. We ended up with a wonderful sweet and sour combination that played against the spiciness of the Basil Hayden and then it was just in need of a new name… With the wonderful orange hues, the warm spiciness, and just a touch of bitterness this seemed like the epitome of fall, which then lead me to my favorite fall term, and we call it The Leaf Peeper!
The key to all of our drinks was to come up with the juice mix, can it in the portions to make 2 cocktails each, and then to make the drinks all it would take is adding the booze, maybe a syrup, shake, and pour!