MxMo CII: Spooky Sips | The Black Julep


You know what we haven’t had a lot of around here, lately? Cocktails! And while I had something else in mind for today’s post, I was happily reminded that today is Mixology Monday and I have the perfect cocktail inspiration. So today we’re joining up with other mixologists around the web and our host for this round, Rated R Cocktails, to bring you my version of the Black Julep cocktail.

Black Julep

At Northside Pies a couple weeks ago I ordered a Black Julep from their cocktail menu and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. I’m not usually a big bourbon fan, though I’ve acquired a taste for the smoother ones over the years. One of my favorites is Tennessee Honey by Jack Daniels–I don’t generally sip spirits neat, but this one I will. The other component of a Black Julep is blackberry something–that’s where my memory got a little fuzzy (but I swear I only had one!).

For my version of the Black Julep I decided to make a syrup from blackberry wine in addition to muddling some blackberries in the bottom of the glass, like you’d do with mint in a normal julep. A semi-local winery in Defuniak Springs, Florida, Chautauqua Winery, makes a fabulous blackberry wine that we’ve been known to plan a weekend road trip around just to restock. It’s that good. If you don’t have a local favorite, Arbor Mist’s Blackberry Merlot would probably do in a pinch.

The blackberry syrup is 2 parts wine and 1 part sugar, boiled until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Now, when I say coats the back of a spoon, I mean you can run the back of your fingernail through it (or the tip of a knife, if you have short nails and don’t want to burn yourself) and the furrow doesn’t immediately fill. Let cool a bit, just so it won’t immediately melt the glass of ice. You can, of course, make this ahead of time and store it.

Black Julep

Fresh Blackberries
2 oz Tennessee Honey Whiskey
Club Soda
Blackberry Syrup

Muddle 2-3 blackberries in the bottom of a rocks or low-ball glass with a dash of sugar. Fill the glass with ice and pour in the Tennessee Honey. Top with club soda until almost full and swirl the glass to combine things a bit. Pour some of the blackberry syrup over the back of a spoon into the drink. Garnish with another blackberry on a cocktail pick and enjoy.

While I think the color of the drink is a little on the macabre side, the theme of this month’s MxMo is Spooky Sips. Frankly, the scariest thing about this cocktail is how sweet it is. That was my intention, of course.


If you’d like more spooky cocktail inspiration, head over to the host’s blog and check out the comments for more of this month’s participants.

MxMo LXXXVI: Southern Hospitality



I can’t swear it for sure, but it must’ve been more than just alliteration that made the powers that be decide upon Monday for their mixology blog-challenge. Some weeks, for sure, Monday is in severe need of a cocktail!

This month’s Mixology Monday is hosted by Thiago of Bartending Notes and our theme is pineapple!

I’m quite fond of pineapple in its many forms. Even more so now that my regular fruit consumption is limited by FODMAPs and pineapple is one of the few left standing, along with citruses and most berries. Pineapple juice makes a fabulous mixer for many cocktails and works great in marinades. In slices, spears, chunks, or tidbits it makes its way into many of our menus; sometimes taking center stage like my pineapple salsa, other times as a nice, tangy component to something larger like Sweet & Sour Pork or Bourbon Chicken.

The other thing that comes to mind when I think of pineapple is it’s long-standing status as a symbol of hospitality. Pineapple lamps and newel posts can still be seen in many hotel lobbies regardless of any other tropical themes (or lack thereof) and I just think it’s nice to have that symbol somewhere in your home, too. (Note to self: find something pineapple-y for the Dollhouse entryway.)

Since we’re moving to Georgia, shortly, and looking forward to opening our new home to friends and family once the dust quite literally settles* something I took our future-home-state’s favorite fruit (peaches) and combined it with this month’s theme ingredient and this is what I came up with:


Southern Hospitality

4″ pineapple spear, plus additional for garnish
3/4 oz peach schnapps
1/2 oz vanilla rum
2 oz pineapple juice
1/4 oz grenadine

In the bottom of a mixing glass muddle a pineapple spear with the schnapps and rum. Top with ice and the pineapple juice and shake to introduce the components to one another. Strain into a fancy glass and garnish with another pineapple spear. Add the grenadine as a float, but don’t be surprised if it sinks. Allow the guest to stir it in with the pineapple spear if they so desire.

Now, while Florida may be part of The South (and we’re here in northern Florida which is more southern-feeling than many of the cities the farther south you travel in the state) it’s not really what you think of when you say The South or the infamous southern hospitality that states below the Mason-Dixon line are famous for. [I feel comfortable in saying that especially since I still consider Louisiana–the state of my birth–my heart’s home even if it has been a few decades since I listed it as a residence.] Georgia, on the other hand, has already shown us quite a bit of hospitality and we haven’t even moved in yet!

This cocktail could easily go tiki-style–I considered adding amaretto but it would have taken it too far in that direction. Keeping it simple with the schnapps and a bit of rum made more sense in the long run. The grenadine float (aka sink, thanks to relative densities being against my desires), on the other hand, is in homage to our new-to-us, soon-to-be very pink house. There’s a good chance a pitcher or punch bowl’s worth of this will be made for the eventual housewarming party, and in that case it will just be stirred in with everything else.


*Seriously, there was pink sanding dust from the guys working on the exterior all the way up the bannister and staircase when we went up there this weekend. Still is, for that matter, since we didn’t have a chance to wet-mop anything other than the kitchen walls!

Mixology Monday: Pomegranate Star Sour


mxmologoWhat better way to start the week than with a twist on a classic. This month’s Mixology Monday theme (hosted by Andrea of Ginhound) is Sours, that class of drinks that is simply a spirit, a sour, and sugar. Usually the sour is citrus–it’s quite effective as far as sours go–but I had the better part of a bottle of pomegranate juice cooling its heels in my fridge and while some might describe pomegranate as tart, I’d say it does a good job of sour on its own.

So what to pair with it? Since the unsweetened pomegranate juice packs some serious pucker-power, I wanted to offset it with sweet without being too obvious about it. Enter Honey Bourbon, which does a wonderful job of being sweet and smokey all at once, without overpowering anything. Plus it’s a nod to the most celebrated version of this drink: the whiskey sour; there’s something to be said for keeping tradition alive and all that.

Now, you could say the bourbon would take care of the sugar aspect as well, but a 2-ingredient cocktail isn’t my preferred method. For the sugar element I pulled another staple in our fridge: the star anise sugar syrup that does so very well in my non-alcoholic punches.

Pomegranate Star Sour

Pomegranate Star Sour

Pomegranate Star Sour

1 1/2 oz Honey Bourbon
1 oz Pomegranate Juice
3/4 oz Star Anise Simple Syrup*

Combine ingredients over ice and shake. Strain into a chilled low ball glass (or, if you really want to step it up, an actual sour glass) and garnish with a twist of lemon and a spare anise star.

I admit, I prefer my drinks sweet, but mixing up a sour reminds me of the night I drove down to the coast to here a local band play. It was a questionable decision, at best, to go to an unknown bar alone, a good hour’s drive from home. A barefoot local sent me a drink, the bartender who delivered it cautioned me that while he was harmless that maybe it was better to sit at the bar rather than the corner of the room I’d chosen for the best view of the band. Some guys on a bachelor party outing also invited me out to their condo for an after party, and while they also seemed harmless enough, I stayed through the band’s final set, nursed my amaretto sour, and made it home without any additional adventures.

*For the Star Anise Simple Syrup, make a 1:1 simple syrup and simmer a couple of star anise pods in it for at least 5 minutes. I like to leave the pods in the mixture while storing it in the fridge to make sure the flavor doesn’t dull. Goes especially well with a glass of ginger beer.