8 Classic Cocktails Reinvented

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Every seasoned drinker has a favorite classic cocktail — a go-to that every bartender, from the swanky craft cocktail lounges to the seedy dives, should know how to make. The even better bartenders, be they professionals or at-home amateurs, know how to transform these classics in a way that still celebrates the original recipes while giving them a modern twist.

We turned to bartenders, food bloggers, and home experimenters to round up our favorite reinventions of the following classics, including the Cosmopolitan, Manhattan, martini, and Negroni. Some get a slight update with fresh fruits and vegetables, while others are more provocative thanks to ingredients like squid ink and marijuana. (Yes, you read that correctly.) Read More

7 Washington Wines You Need to Try Now… At Every Price Point


Every year, the state of Washington celebrates its award-winning wine industry — widely considered to be one of the best in the country — with the annual Taste of Washington Wine Month. March is filled with events every day across the state from Woodinville to Walla Walla, including wine tastings, dinners, and winemaker retreats.

The month culminates with the massive Taste of Washington festival, a can’t-miss weekend for anyone interested in food and wine. (And really, who isn’t?) The event brings out more than 225 Washington wineries, all pouring tastes of their best vinos, as well as 65 local restaurants serving Seattle favorites like oysters and crab.

Seeing as how we’re not ones to pass up any reason to drink wine, we thought it was only appropriate to honor Washington Wine Month with a roundup of styles produced in the state that you should definitely be drinking. Thanks to higher temperatures and ample sun over the last few years (no, it doesn’t always rain in Washington), the region has churned out some increasingly warmer vintages that are accessible enough for wine newcomers, yet still feel like age-worthy creations to the connoisseurs. Read More

March Cocktail of the Month: The Irish Cocktail

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The Irish Coffee, the Blarney Stone, the Celtic Twilight — plenty of cocktails have originated in Ireland. But of all the countless drinks to come from this country, there’s only one known simply as The Irish Cocktail.

First appearing in the 1888 edition of Harry Johnson’s Bartenders’ Manual, The Irish Cocktail has certainly been around the block. Since then, its recipe has popped up in the likes of Harry MacElhone’s 1927 Barflies and Cocktails, Patrick Gavin Duffy’s 1983 Official Mixer’s Manual, and as recently as the 2013 Savoy Cocktail Book.

And there’s a reason this recipe has withstood the stand of time: The combination is unexpected yet decidedly delicious. Its blend of whiskey, absinthe, curacao, and maraschino liqueur is a bit like a Sazerac-meets-an-Old-Fashioned, but then it’s garnished with a flaming orange twist and — get this — a green olive. Read More

Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Vermouth

Cocktail facts & history / email

Much like that bit character who comes into a movie for just a few moments but has an indelible effect on the progression of the story, vermouth is in all-too-often forgotten player in the journey of a cocktail. Despite the fact that it’s a necessary ingredient to many classic drinks (martini and Manhattan, anyone?), vermouth is frequently pushed to the wayside — relegated to a dusty spot on your bar alongside bottles of creme de menthe and Chambord. (How long have those been there, anyway?)
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3 Sophisticated Hot Cocktails to Cure Those End-of-Winter Blues

Cocktail ideas / email / seasonal

Depending on where you live, the weather may be warming up or spring may even feel like it’s already arrived. But in other parts of the world, winter is alive and well (and there’s wallet-draining heating bills to prove it).

When nights are still chilly, there are few better things than cozying up on the couch with a mug of something warm — ideally something boozy and warm. Which is why we thought it was the perfect time for a roundup of the hot cocktails we’ve been turning to in order to get us through the end-of-winter blues.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with simply adding a shot of whiskey to a cup of coffee or tea, but why not approach your hot cocktail with a bit more sophistication? After all, just because a shaker and ice aren’t involved, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to overly simplify. So, without further ado, here are three of the hot toddies, spiced wines, and spiked ciders that’ll keep you warm through the end of winter — all in elegant style. Read More

February Cocktail of the Month: The Pink Gin Gibson Martini

Cocktail ideas / email / seasonal

It’s February and you know what that means — Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Whether you’re celebrating with someone special, kickin’ it with friends, or going solo on your couch, cocktails are definitely non-negotiable.

The question is: How can you create a Valentine’s Day drink that’s on-theme without being overly sweet or (dare we say it?) girly? Our answer: pink gin. Thanks to the addition of Angostura bitters, the botanical spirit maintains its backbone while boasting a blushing shade of pink.  Read More

Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Kahlua

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If you’re drinking with The Dude from The Big Lebowski, he’ll have nothing but a White Russian. He drinks glass after glass of what can best be described as chocolate milk for adults — a recipe that hinges on its use of Kahlua coffee liqueur.

Thanks in large part to the popularity of the 1998 film, it’s nearly impossible not to think of a White Russian when thinking of Kahlua. That said, if, like The Dude, you only consume the spirit with vodka and cream, you’re really missing out. In fact, the liqueur’s rich combo of flavor, history, and diversity make it a worthwhile addition to any home bar.

Here’s everything you need to know about Kahlua, from its humble beginnings and inception of beloved recipes, all the way to how to make it on your own. Read More

January Cocktail of the Month: The Horse’s Neck

Cocktail ideas / email / seasonal

It’s January — a new year, a time for making resolutions, and unfortunately, a time that many of us get hit with the cough, cold, or flu. Yep, we’re in peak illness season, and according to the CDC, it’s only getting worse.

While your doctor may prescribe a healthy dose of fluids to help get you better, we doubt they mean of the alcoholic kind. However, here at Cocktail Builder, we’re all about turning to our favorite spirits to aid us in our recovery. After all, many of our favorite elixirs started out as medicinal beverages before anyone thought about drinking them for fun. A little bug-killing booze plus a few soothing ingredients may be more effective than couch syrup — and it’s certainly more enjoyable.

So, you’re sniffly — what should you drink? Of course, there’s always the obvious Hot Toddy, a favorite for anyone feeling under the weather. But there may be something even more potent and powerful to sooth your sickly soul. Read More

3 Cocktail Trends to Look Out for in 2017

Cocktail facts & history / Cocktail ideas / email

Like fashion and food, the landscape of cocktails is largely predicted by popular trends. Thanks to the resurgence of tiki drinks like the Jungle Bird, refined disco sips like the Harvey Wallbanger, and concoctions that questioned everything you thought you knew about a particular spirit (hello,
Sherry cocktails!), 2016 was a fun time for liquor lovers. But with a new year comes new trends and new techniques. Here are three things to look out for in 2017. Read More

8 Easy Champagne Cocktails to Make on New Year’s Eve

Cocktail ideas / email / seasonal

What’s New Year’s Eve without a little Champagne? This year, instead of toasting with a plain ol’ glass of bubbly, get fancy with one of these Champagne cocktails that crank the holiday spirit into high gear. With each having four ingredients or less, they’re as fun and festive as they are easy to make, leaving you plenty of time to actually celebrate instead of crafting cocktails until midnight. Read More