Celebrate Season Three with the Orange Is the New Black Cocktail Recipe

Calling all Litchfield lovers! If you’re looking for the perfect cocktail to enjoy while binge watching the latest season of OITNB, we’ve got you covered!

Orange bell pepper meets black rum: the tastiest duo since Piper and Alex.

Orange Is The New Black

Orange is the New Black

  • 3 slices of orange bell pepper
  • 2 oz. black rum
  • 1 oz. fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 3/4 oz. poblano simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice

Muddle two slices of orange bell pepper in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add rum, grapefruit juice, poblano syrup, lemon juice and shake with ice. Double strain into a coupe, garnish with your remaining bell pepper slice.

The End of An Era: 3 simple cocktail recipes to toast the series finale of Mad Men

We’re just hours away from the series finale of Mad Men. Whether you love it, you hate it, or love to hate it, the Emmy-award winning AMC series has undoubtedly contributed to the resurgence of cocktails in recent years. Here are three simple recipes to help you celebrate the end of an era:


Betty Draper-Francis’ go-to beverage, whether entertaining as Don’s wife or drinking alone at the bar.

  • 2 oz. vodka (or gin)
  • 3/4 oz. lime juice

Betty prefers it with vodka, but gin is perfectly acceptable. Shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe and reminisce about the early years of Don and Betty’s marriage.

7 & 7

Although I don’t recall anyone actually drinking a 7 & 7 on Mad Men, we did catch a glimpse of Seagram’s Seven Crown whiskey in Don’s apartment.

  • 1.5 oz. Seagram’s Seven Crown American Whiskey
  • 6-8 oz. 7 Up

Start with a highball glass with ice and add whiskey. Fill with 7 Up, stir, and toast to the last 7 episodes.

Roger & Peggy’s Last Hurrah

If your liquor cabinet is looking a little light, you can always take a tip from Roger and Peggy and grab what’s available. Bonus points if it’s vermouth!

  • 1 bottle of whatever’s handy, such as Vermouth
  • 1 or more friends

Roller skates optional.

Between an Old Fashioned & Manhattan: She Likes it That Way

She Likes it That WaySomewhere in between an Old Fashioned and a Manhattan lies this concoction, which I refer to as She Likes it That Way. While on occasion, you may be able to skip the orange peel & bitters, the two cherries are non-negotiable. Because she likes it that way.

  • 1.5 oz. bourbon
  • 0.75 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 0.75 oz. Luxardo maraschino liquor
  • 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • sprinkle of Sugar in the Raw
  • orange peel
  • 2 maraschino cherries

Drop an orange peel skin side down into an old fashioned glass. Sprinkle the raw sugar and bitters and muddle into the peel. In a mixing glass or tin, stir the bourbon, vermouth and Luxardo with ice. Put an oversized ice cube into the serving glass and strain the chilled liquid over the frosty cube. Garnish with an orange peel and two cherries.

Cheer on the Seahawks with a “12th Man Gimlet”

gimletJust in time for Superbowl XLIX, get ready to cheer on the Seattle Seahawks with this hawktail recipe for a 12th Man Gimlet. Add a few drops of blue food coloring to your simple syrup- it won’t affect the taste but looks great next to a lime wedge.

  • 2 oz. gin
  • 0.5 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 0.5 oz. blue simple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Strain into a coupe glass, garnish with a football lime, and Go Hawks!

A Lazy Hike

Lazy Hike

I was inspired by the Camden Hike, a recipe from Maine bar manager Tom Laslavic, featured in Imbibe’s The American Cocktail. I’m not a huge vodka fan, but was intrigued by the use of blackberries and lemon. I took a few shortcuts on the original recipe- hence the name A Lazy Hike- but the result was still delicious. If I ever have the energy to puree blackberries again, I might try this with gin.

  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. blackberry puree (throw berries into a food processor, then use a fine mesh strainer. 1/2 c. blackberries yields roughly 1 oz. of puree)
  • 0.75 oz. lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz. honey
  • 0.5 oz. creme de cassis

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Strain into a double old fashioned glass with ice. Garnish with lemon peel and blackberry.

Absinthe, Rye & Barrel Aged Gin Among 2015 Releases from Detroit’s Two James Spirits

Two James Spirits, distillery darlings of Detroit, are celebrating the end of a stellar year while looking ahead to grow their menu as well as their footprint in the national and international cocktail scene.

Since they opened their doors in late 2013, Two James Spirits is now available in four states and two international cities. They hosted their inaugural Ceilidh celebration on St. Patrick’s Day, further cementing their status as a Corktown institution. Their un-aged Rye Dog debuted in early 2014 and took double gold at the San Francisco Spirits Competition. Johnny Smoking Gun debuted in the fall, coinciding with the opening of Johnny Noodle King in Detroit’s West Side Industrial neighborhood. Soon, you’ll be available to find Two James Spirits on shelves in New York and New Jersey and they just added Bloody Mary’s to the tasting room menu (Saturdays & Sundays only).

Here are a few new spirits we’re looking forward to in 2015:

  • Absinthe du Nain Rouge
  • 100% Michigan Rye Whiskey
  • Barrel Aged Old Cockney Gin

In the works:

  • Calvados (Michigan Apple Brandy)
  • Bourbon
  • Single Malt Whiskey

For more info, check out www.twojames.com

Cheers to a new year!

Now Open: Detroit’s Gold Cash Gold

Gold Cash Gold, Detroit’s latest venture into the cocktail/foodie scene, opened to the public last Saturday just in time for Noel Night. Housed in a former pawn shop of the same name, Gold Cash Gold is just a few doors down from established Michigan Avenue favorites such as Slows Bar B Q and The Sugar House. The stained glass panes in the entryway carry throughout the bar and main dining room; just don’t forget to look up as the detailed wood patterns make it one of my new favorite ceilings of Detroit.

The host and hostess greeted us with smiles and were more than happy to direct us to the bar while we waited a few minutes for a table to open up.

Sidewinder Watch

Sidewinder Watch

Boom Box from Gold Cash Gold

Boom Box

I started with the Boom Box, featuring bourbon, ginger-fennel syrup, orange bitters and Vernors (Detroit’s ginger ale of choice since 1866). Garnished with a fresh sprig of fennel, the Boom Box is a nice take on a bourbon buck. The house-made syrup balanced the sweetness of Vernor’s.

Dad’s Trophy is a reimagined smoky Manhattan, featuring rye and Zucca, an Italian apertif similar to vermouth. The kicker in this drink is the Laphroaig rinse- one of the peatiest islay single malt scotch whiskys. For the non-scotch drinkers, Laphroaig can be described as smelling like a crocodile smoking a cigar, a burning hospital or a band-aid.  NB: Laphroaig’s #opinionswelcome campaign fully embraces that they are an acquired taste. I’m not a scotch person myself, but since the amount is so minimal, it merely provides a scent of smokiness but the flavor of the drink is untouched.

The Sidewinder Watch was beautifully presented in a coupe garnished with a star anise. With black rum, autumn shrub, sourwood honey and lime it felt almost like a rum sour with a spicy finish. It wasn’t too overpowering so even if you’re not a fan of lime, I’d recommend giving this a try since the shrub and honey help sweeten the edges.

After we migrated from the bar to our table, we enjoyed a fabulous dinner. Since this blog focuses on libations, I’ll let the foodies give the low-down on the farmhouse fair; however, I must pass along this pro-tip: Get the farmer’s bread and the fried chicken. Save some marmalade butter for the cornbread- you won’t be sorry!

Gold Cash Gold
2100 Michigan Avenue, Detroit

3 Places to Celebrate Repeal Day in Detroit

Friday, December 5, 2014 marks the 81st anniversary of the 21st Amendment. While there’s likely no Google Doodle to celebrate this milestone in American history, we encourage you to celebrate your constitutional right to purchase and consume intoxicating liquors.

Educate yourself on Detroit’s underground history during prohibition, or stop by Out on the Town exhibit at the Detroit Historical Society.

Here are just a few places to imbibe in Detroit:
The Sugar House
2130 Michigan Avenue, Detroit, MI 48216
Havana inspired cocktails and attire

Public House
241 West Nine Mile Road, Ferndale, MI 48220
Vintage movies, secret menus, classic craft cocktails and all that jazz! Era clothing encouraged.

Cafe d’Mongo’s Speakeasy
1439 Griswold Street, Detroit, MI 48226

Bitter, bubbly and herbaceous: The Raven’s Club is in pursuit of the perfect cocktail

I had never been to the Raven’s Club before, despite many years gallivanting down Ann Arbor’s State Street. Primarily known for their cocktails TRC is finding their place in the ever changing restaurant scene in a city mixed with college students, townies and a slew of transient imbibers. My preconceived notions of TRC being strictly a highfalutin speakeasy were quickly extinguished when beverage director Zack proclaimed “to hell with pretentiousness”. He’s been there since the beginning when TRC opened their doors in 2011 with the goal of “creating the bar I wanna hang out in”. After an evening at TRC, I wanna hang out, too!

Zack’s passion for cocktails was energizing- he explained his love of using great American spirits like bourbon and gin. He was most excited about the Vieux Carre, named for the French Quarter in New Orleans, which they blend in five gallon batches of rye, sweet vermouth, cognac, benedictine, aromatic wine and Peychauds bitters. Draught cocktails can be tricky to pull off, but I found the Vieux Carre to be quite balanced. I could tell it was a little strong for the others in the group but as a lover of the brown liquor, I thought it was great.

In addition to perfecting large batches, TRC is also paying attention to the little details that can make or break a cocktail. They make their own bitters, ginger beer and tonic, which Zack insists should be “bitter, bubbly and herbaceous”. I tried the Five Parts with Two James, a grapefruit and gin concoction garnished with a surprisingly aromatic grapefruit peel. It was indeed refreshing and felt like a burst of spring, despite it being a rainy autumn night.

With over a hundred whiskies available, including two dozen bottles of rye, I’m sure I’ll be back to try what else Zack and the gang have in store. Check them out yourself:

The Raven’s Club
207 S. Main Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Whiskey Business tasting event coming to the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market 11/7/14

Whiskey Business

Tickets are still available for Whiskey Business this Friday, November 7 at the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market. For $50, you get a cup and 10 tasting tabs to sample over 100 whiskey brands from around the world. If 10 samples isn’t enough for you lushes, consider the VIP option at $70 which gets you 15 tasting tabs with the bonus perk of getting in an hour early for a meet and greet with your favorite whiskey peddlers.

The whiskey list includes distilleries from around the world, but also includes some local-ish craft spirits from Two James, New Holland and Grand Traverse. We’re crossing our fingers that Two James will bring their new Johnny Smoking Gun!

Additional servings can be purchased when you run out of tabs; food will also be available for purchase.

Last year’s event sold out so get your tickets before they run out and see whiskeybusinessmi.com for more info.

What: Whiskey Business
Where: Royal Oak Farmer’s Market
When: Friday, November 7, 2014 (VIP admission 6:30pm; general admission entry 7:30pm)
Tickets: $50 general admission; $70 VIP