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.

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.

MxMo LIX: Beer Cocktails and a Return of the Glazed Doughnut


Glazed Doughnut Cocktail and Props

Ever since I started cocktail-blogging I’ve meant to participate in the Mixology Monday meme but always remembered too late. This time I was smart and actually put it on my calendar as one of my to-dos for today.

It also helps that this MxMo theme, hosted by Frederic of Cocktail Virgin Slut is cocktails made with beer. If you followed my 50 Shots of America series you know that I’ve made quite a few beer cocktails over the last year and a bit, some tastier than others, but none better than the first one, in honor of North Carolina and the Krispy Kreme doughnut that began there.

The Glazed Doughnut

2 oz Honey Wheat beer*
1 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
1/4 oz Vanilla Vodka

Combine over ice in a sturdy mixing glass and shake as if the fryer’s broken and the pre-church crowd is about to descend. Strain into 2 small cordial glasses (or 1 martini glass) and steel yourself for the oncoming rush.

Shortly after creating this cocktail I was at the rehearsal dinner for my brother’s wedding and explaining some of what I do to my beer-connoisseur of an aunt. When I said I’d made a fabulous cocktail out of beer the look on her face could not have been more disbelieving. Once I explained about the need for that yeasty flavor in certain drinks and the only good way of getting it being beer, even she agreed that it made sense and even sounded pretty doggone good! The fact that the original recipe for Krispy Kreme doughnuts is said to have been purchased from a pastry chef from New Orleans, and we’re from that area of Louisiana, well, let’s just say our love for those pillowy breakfast confections is no longer a mystery.

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I’m happy to report that this cocktail still makes me do a little happy dance and is still the perfect remedy to a late-night doughnut craving when you can’t quite justify heading to the doughnut drive-thru in your pajamas.