Black Cat Martini

October 30th, 2011

Using black vodka for Halloween is pretty obvious, but finding a pleasant tasting black vodka and creating a drink that tastes good as well as having novelty is more challenging. This cocktail uses the wild berry infused Eristoff Black vodka with dark Kahlua to achieve a tongue staining, squid ink black concoction with a truly unique flavor. The Hungarian herbal liqueur, Zwack, helps cut the sweetness and provide a slight black licorice aftertaste, but the dominant flavor is still cocoa, vanilla, and wild berry.

  • 2 oz Eristoff Black Vodka
  • 2 oz Kahlua
  • 1/2 oz Vanilla Vodka
  • 1/2 oz Zwack Herbal Liqueur
  • Orange

Chill an up glass with crushed ice and water. Shake the ingredients with ice in a shaker until it sweats. Garnish with an orange spiral.


Wendigo Martini

October 30th, 2011

It might have been a long time coming, but here's the final cocktail in my Minnesota series. One martini for each season.

Winter: Gunflint Martini - A unique martini reminiscent of a cold winter day up north.
Spring: Ladyslipper Martini - This martini has delicate flavors like the fragile new flowers of spring.
Summer: Wobegon Martini - A cool refreshing martini that reminds one of summer days on the farm and fresh cut grass.
Fall: Wendigo Martini - The final martini that heralds in the earthy aroma of falling leaves.

In this cocktail, I knew I wanted to capture the taste and aroma of the earthy smell of fall's dying flora. The Earl Grey infused gin* I created was definitely close but a bit overpowering for the rest of the flavors I wanted to include. After many experiments, I decided to create an apple based martini for color and flavor and add herbal liquors to create the earth tone. Applejack is good because the flavor is subtle. Combined with the Swedish liquor Aquavit, it's nearly perfect. Then a couple of hints of other earthy ingredients and I have another winner:

  • 2 oz Aquavit
  • 2 oz Applejack Brandy
  • 1/2 oz Green Chartruese
  • 1/2 oz Earl Grey infused gin*
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • Lemon

Chill an up glass with crushed ice and water. Shake the ingredients with ice in a shaker until it sweats. Garnish with a lemon spiral and a couple of small, fresh fall leaves.

* Create by steeping high quality loose leaf Earl Grey tea leaves in a bottle of gin overnight until the color is a deep nearly opaque brown. (At least 8 hours). I would use a lighter flavored gin such as Beefeater or Amsterdam. Strain through a coffee filter into a bottle.

Rose Martini

March 15th, 2011

I created this martini a while ago, but haven't been able to find a single rose to pluck petals from for the garnish. So today, I found a pack of edible flowers at the Wedge Community Co-op and was happy to see a few rose petals in the mix.

The inspiration for this cocktail was Shaker's Rose Vodka (which is not available anymore). But I've had a bottle of it around for nearly 4 years now. It smells so much like perfume, that I think it's pretty much undrinkable by itself. But I was determined to find some mixture that made the stuff not only palatable, but tasty. I think I've succeeded. The following recipe is pretty much a delicious lychee flavored drink, but the rose comes through in the aftertaste for an interesting finish. Also the lychee flavor is very conducive of "flower" flavored drinks.

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Soho Lychee Liqueur
  • 1 oz White Creme de Cocao
  • 1 oz Shaker's Rose Vodka*
  • 5 or 6 Drops of Grenadine
  • Rose Petal

Chill an up glass with crushed ice and water. Shake the liquid ingredients with ice in a shaker until it sweats. Garnish by floating an organic rose petal in the drink.

* Since Shaker's Rose Vodka is no longer available, you could substitute Sputnik Rose Vodka or even rose water.

Wobegon Martini

March 15th, 2011

I've been wanting to do a cucumber martini for a while now, and have debated whether I prefer Square One's variety of infused vodka or Hendrick's Gin which has a distinct cucumber taste. In the end, I decided that the vodka has much more pronounced cucumber flavor, but I really like the complex undertones of the gin. So we'll use both.

I addition, since creating the wintery Gunflint Martini, I've had the notion to invent four cocktails that reflect Minnesota's four seasons. (Even though natives will argue we have two: winter and potholes.) With the recent Ladyslipper Martini representing a flowery spring, I think this cucumber flavored martini does nicely for summer. Not too sweet, and with a nice green grassy aftertaste from the Zen Liqueur.

Stay tuned for my fall martini. ;)

  • 3 oz Square One Cucumber Vodka
  • 1 oz Hendrick's Gin
  • Splash of Zen Green Tea Liqueur
  • Juice from Half a Lime
  • Cucumber

Chill an up glass with crushed ice and water. Shake the liquid ingredients with ice in a shaker until it sweats. Garnish by floating 3 thin slices of peeled cucumber in the drink.


Tropical Martini

March 14th, 2011

Most tropical cocktails are overly sweet and mostly taste like pineapple as it's a pretty overpowering flavor. In this drink I wanted something with all the tropical fruit flavors, but without that overload of sugar. The following accomplishes that nicely.

  • 1/2 oz Vodka
  • 1/2 oz Midori Melon Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Peach Schnapps
  • 1/2 oz Malibu Coconut Rum
  • 1/2 oz Frangelico
  • 2 oz Orange Juice
  • 1 oz Half & Half
  • Kiwi Fruit

Chill an up glass with crushed ice and water. Shake the liquid ingredients with ice in a shaker until it sweats. Run a slice of kiwi around the glass rim and garnish with a kiwi wheel.


Powerpuff Martini

March 2nd, 2011

I've been waiting for the right garnish for this one for a while. After discovering Bubblegum Vodka, I knew another custom martini was in the works. Most of the Bubblegum martinis I've seen were more or less bubblegum flavored vodka on the rocks, so I endeavored to come up with something unique that complemented this flavor, but didn't distract from it. The result is mixing peach and bubblegum together.

Furthermore, I knew I wanted to add pop rocks to the rim, but had to find a way to add them without setting them off immediately. Using grease instead of liquid accomplishes this nicely. So buttering the rim allows the pop rocks to adorn the glass rim without "popping" right away.

This is most definitely the girliest cocktail in my mix of martinis, but yet it's completely delicious. :)

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Bubblegum Infused Vodka
  • 1 oz Peach Schnapps
  • Butter
  • Pop Rocks

Chill an up glass with crushed ice and water. Shake the liquid ingredients with ice in a shaker until it sweats. Run a slice of butter around the glass and rim it with the pop rocks.


Zen Martini

February 28th, 2011

This cocktail tastes like what I'd imagine fresh chlorophyll might taste like. Fresh, green, and alive. The green tea flavored Zen Green Tea liquor accomplishes this nicely while the other ingredients compliment without distracting from the fresh green flavor.

  • 2 oz Zen Green Tea Liqueur
  • 1 1/2 oz Ginger-Infused Vodka
  • 1 oz Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 oz Lime Juice
  • Lime Slice

Chill an up glass with crushed ice and water. Shake the liquid ingredients with ice in a shaker until it sweats. Garnish with a slice of lime.


Foxtail Martini

February 26th, 2011

The idea for this cocktail started with the concept of layering various liquors in an up glass for a stunning visual display. After having the moniker "Foxtail" pop into my head, (after all I am Slye Fox), I figured I'd come up with a black, white, and then a nice burnt orange color to simulate the colors on the tip of a fox's tail.

To layer a drink, you have to think about the liquor's various specific weights. Thick liquors like Grenadine and Kahlua stay at the bottom. Medium weights like Bailey's and most Schnapps stay in the middle. High alcohol content booze floats on top. This concept made choices pretty clear. Kahlua on the bottom for "black". Godiva White Chocolate in the middle for the "white" layer. And something orange to be on top.

I tried many cocktail combinations to come up with an upper layer that had the right color. Starting with orange juice, the color was always too light and the citrus acid from adding the juice tended to aid in mixing with the Godiva. So I started looking at the colors of the liquor in my bottle collection and decided to start with Jeremiah Weed as the base. To escape from the tea flavor and help it meld with the chocolate and coffee below, I added orange and herbs into the mix to make a very earthy, unique flavor that works well with the entire package.

The final result is a cocktail that still tastes very much like sweet tea, but with a complex undercurrent of flavors that subdue the sweetness and combine to form a tasty and very unique drink.

  • 2 oz Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea
  • 1/2 oz Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 oz Benedictine
  • 1 oz Godiva White Chocolate Liquor
  • 1/2 oz Kahlua
  • Orange Slice

Chill an up glass with crushed ice and water. Shake the Tea Vodka, Grand Marnier, and Benedictine with ice in a shaker until it sweats. Add the Kahlua to the bottom of the glass. Using a spoon, gently pour the Godiva over the top of the Kahlua. In the same manner, pour the shaker contents over a spoon to layer them over the Godiva. Garnish with a slice of orange.


Herbal Apple Martini

February 23rd, 2011

Various apple martinis are as common as Cosmos. The typical recipe is sour apple and butterscotch making it taste like the treats on a stick. Usually they're sickeningly sweet and taste more like a Jolly Rancher.

My effort was to replace the sweet with savory and bring out the apple flavor more. The herbal liqueur, Galliano, does that quite nicely. The result is a wonderful subtle cocktail that is definitely apple, but finishes with a nice fennel/anise aftertaste.

  • 2 oz Galliano
  • 1 oz Applejack Brandy
  • 1 oz Sour Apple Pucker
  • 1 oz Apple Juice
  • Green Apple

Chill an up glass with crushed ice and water. Shake all liquid ingredients with ice in a shaker until it sweats and strain into the glass. Garnish with a slice of tart apple.


Elvis Martini

February 22nd, 2011

A week after I concocted my rendition of the Bacon Martini, I picked up a bottle of Bakon Vodka. And now, a friend alerted me to the new NutLiquor peanut butter booze. Clearly there's an Elvis sandwich in there somewhere. ;)

Since the three bottles of flavored booze in this concoction are pretty clear, the focus here is in the fancy garnish. Little 1 inch Elvis sandwiches skewered on a stir stick complete this sweet drink. The King would be proud!

  • 1 1/2 oz Bakon Vodka
  • 2 oz NutLiquor
  • 2 oz Banana Schnapps
  • 1 oz Simple Syrup
  • Peanut Butter
  • Bacon
  • Toast
  • Banana

Chill an up glass with crushed ice and water. Shake all liquid ingredients with ice in a shaker until it sweats and strain into the glass. Garnish with miniature Elvis sandwiches* skewered on a stir stick.

*Create mini-Elvis sandwiches by slicing the toast and the bacon into one inch squares. The make a double decker sandwich by layering the toast, peanut butter, bacon, and a slice of banana.