3 Lost Cocktail Recipes of Prohibition Era

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For booze lovers living today, Prohibition may sound like one of the most terrible times in American history. But as Matthew Rowley explains in his new book Lost Recipes of Prohibition, the law — which went into effect in 1920 and lasted nearly 14 years — was anything but watertight. If you knew the right people, or the right place to be, you could certainly get a drink. Read More

How to Use Matcha in Your Cocktails

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For years, the wellness world (not us, obviously) has been going crazy about matcha. This finely milled green tea powder — the ingredient upon which traditional Japanese tea ceremonies were built in the 12th century — has been hailed for its health benefits, with claims ranging from improved mood to increased metabolism to prevention of disease.

Now if you know anything about us, you know we’re not exactly the first ones to run out and try the latest superfood. We will, however, be the first in line to try a new cocktail trend. So when we recently discovered the new book Matcha: A Lifestyle Guide, we have to admit it didn’t initially turn our heads — that is, until we realized that cocktails were part of the mix.

As the book reveals, this intensely earthy and bitter powder pairs well with the herbal and floral flavors of spirits like gin. However, matcha cocktails made with everything from mezcal to bourbon have been recently popping up in bars across the country. When it comes to using this bold ingredient, the most important part is balance. As Jason Eisner of the Block Party bar in LA explains, “Matcha works the same way that bitters work, but you can taste the earth where it came from. It has a sense of place. When you start dealing with things on the bitter side, you can end up with things that are a bit more murky. But matcha has none of those [sweeter, richer, denser] qualities; it can counteract those.” He goes on to explain that a drink of gin, triple sec, and lemon juice would be sweet and dense, but with the addition of basil and matcha, “the middle of the palate becomes herbal, kind of crisp and stimulating in a way that a simple citrus sugar balance can’t.”

So, how exactly do you use matcha? Well, first, it’s important to note that unlike brewed tea, matcha separates quickly in liquid form. Proper preparation of the tea involves using a bamboo whisk to break up the clumps in water and then drinking the tea before the powder can settle. In cocktails, an easier way to incorporate matcha is to use it in shaken drinks with a suspension such as egg white.

As Ben Mims, the cocktail recipe developer for the book, reveals, another great way is to create a simple syrup. Mix one tablespoon matcha with one cup of sugar and then pour in the hot water slowly. Whisk constantly until the syrup is smooth and the sugar dissolves. Mims explains that not only does the sugar prevent the matcha from seizing into globs, but it balances the bitterness so you don’t have to add more sweet ingredients to your cocktail.

Mims recommends putting a spin on classics by adding a half-ounce of syrup to drinks such as a Pimm’s Cup or a gin and tonic. He also suggests adding matcha syrup to drinks you may typically consider far too sweet, such as a minty, chocolatey Grasshopper.

So, what are you waiting for? Go on and get drinking — to your health.

Photo credits: Courtesy of Ramen San; Courtesy of Matcha: A Lifestyle Guide

Cocktails for the Boozy Bookworm: 4 Recipes From New York’s Literary Bar Scene

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to pull up a barstool next to Ernest Hemingway, or down gin with the likes of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald? Well, that’s exactly what author Delia Cabe explores in her new book, Storied Bars of New York: Where Literary Luminaries Go to Drink. Traveling around New York City to the spots that played host to the some most renowned writers of 20th century, Cabe presents a historical celebration of these writerly watering holes and their signature concoctions.

For all you boozy bookworms, we bring you four recipes featured in Cabe’s recently released collection. Allow yourself to be transported back in time as she takes you on a journey through the bars and taverns that fostered some of the century’s favorite writers, granting you a deeper understanding of their cultural place in New York City and the world as a whole. Read More

5 Boozy and Nostalgic Treats to Cool You Off This Summer

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When Mother Nature decides to crank up the heat, it can be tough to choose between a frosty drink and a cooling popsicle or ice cream cone. After all, there’s something about summer that takes us back to the days of our youth, when there was nothing more exciting than hearing the twinkling sound of the ice cream truck driving down the block.

Few things are better than an ice-cold treat on a scorching summer day, but that doesn’t mean you have to forgo your spirits in favor of refreshing sweet eats. We’re adults, after all, and we can have our liquor and eat it, too. In honor of the beginning of the warm-weather season, we’ve rounded up five our favorite recipes that blend sugary, childhood nostalgia with all the benefits of being a grownup (ie: booze). Read More

5 Recipes You Need for World Negroni Week 2017

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Since 2013, Campari and Imbibe Magazine have teamed up to present the annual Negroni Week, a celebration of the one of the world’s greatest cocktails and an effort to raise money all across the globe. What began with about 100 participating venues has turned into more than 6,000 bars and restaurants all across the world donating sales to charity, collectively raising more than $900,000 for causes ranging from supporting sustainable farming to ending childhood hunger to research for autism.

This year, Negroni Week takes place from June 5-11, 2017, with bars scattered across countless countries on six continents serving up both classic concoctions and new variations of the iconic drink. You can visit NegroniWeek.com to find a participating bar near you and learn about which charity they’ve chosen to support. Of course, even if there isn’t a venue in your area, you can still celebrate Negroni Week all on your own. Below, we’ve rounded up 5 of our favorite Negroni recipes, from the perfect classic to creations with a twist. Read More

All About Mezcal: What to Know and How to Drink It

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Recently, here at Cocktail Builder, we’ve been obsessed with everything mezcal — from finding new recipes that highlight and balance the spirit’s signature smoke to swapping it into cocktails that are classically made with its agave-based cousin, tequila.

Despite the similar obsession across the United States — sales have doubled over the last four years thanks in large part to its growing availability and appearance on craft cocktail menus all across the country — mezcal remains one of the most misunderstood spirits on the market. First of all, the notion that high-quality mezcal can and should come with a worm in a bottle couldn’t be further from the truth. What else do you need to know? Here, we break down the top facts about the spirit, provide tips for drinking it like a pro, and share three of our favorite mezcal-based cocktails. ¡Salud! Read More

5 Big-Batch Cocktails for Your Memorial Day Party (Or All Summer Long)

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Though the first day of summer doesn’t officially hit until June 20, Memorial Day Weekend is widely considered to be the beginning of the lazy, hazy, crazy season. The weather’s heating up, coats are coming off, and people all across the country are planning their first outdoor barbecue of the year.

Of course, no cookout would be complete without some booze, and that’s where we come in. When throwing a summer party, we can’t recommend enough pre-making a batch of cocktails the morning of or even the night before to serve right when your guests arrive. After all, who wants to be the person stuck in the kitchen mixing and muddling when everyone else is soaking up the sun and chowing down on ribs in the backyard? So, in honor of Memorial Day, and all the other parties taking place over the next few months, we rounded up five of our favorite big-batch cocktails that take the stress out of entertaining. Read More

Tiki Cocktails 101: How to Master the Mai Tai

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Of all the styles of cocktails — sours and Champagnes, fizzes and flips — perhaps no other has received a worse reputation than the tiki drink. First popularized in Hollywood in the mid-1930s, tropical-inspired sips were all the rage among sweltering LA locals for several decades. Come the ‘60s and ‘70s, however, bartenders who didn’t specialize in tiki recipes cheapened the drinks with processed juices and overly sugary syrups, making them more synonymous with tacky hotel bars and cruise ships than with craft cocktail lounges.

It wasn’t long before tiki went the way of the dodo, with many well-established bars eventually closing their doors. However, thanks to a man named Jeff “Beachbum” Berry — perhaps the world’s biggest tiki aficionado — the trend saw a resurgence in the mid-2000s and continues to grow to this day. Now, instead of cloying concoctions that are almost certain to give you a headache, tiki cocktails are back and more balanced than ever, having finally earned their due as a style worth respecting. And you no longer have to walk through a bamboo door toward a waiter wearing a Hawaiian-print shirt to get a tropical drink. Tiki creations can be found at many craft cocktail bars, listed right alongside other classics like the Manhattan and Negroni. Read More

World Cocktail Day 2017: 7 Recipes From Across the Globe

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May 13th is an important day for cocktail lovers — or at least it should be. Why? Because the date marks the publication of the very first definition of a cocktail all the way back in 1806. According to the New York tabloid The Balance and Columbian Repository, the libation was defined as “a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters.”

Since the 200th anniversary in 2006, the day has served as the final culmination for World Cocktail Week beginning on May 6, when bartenders from around the globe come together to promote the appreciation for the craft and culture of cocktails. In honor of the event, here are seven global cocktails you need to know, one from each continent. (Yes, even Antarctica is on the list.) Read More