National Bourbon Heritage Month | Rosemary-Peach Julep


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September is National Bourbon Heritage Month and Four Roses Bourbon contacted me to see if I’d create a cocktail with their Single-Barrel Kentucky Bourbon. Of course I would!

Now, back when I was doing the AlcoHOLidays series, we talked a lot about how many of these so-called “National” days of what have you were trumped up by special interest groups or a marketing ploy by companies. Not so with National Bourbon Heritage Month, I’m happy to report, as the US Senate designated September for the celebration of “America’s Native Spirit” back in 2007, the title Congress bestowed upon Bourbon back in 1964.

Fact is, Bourbon really is our own little claim to spirits fame as far as the base spirits go. While it’s similar to whisk(e)y in production, Bourbon’s majority-corn mash and oak cask-aging set it apart from the wheat, rye, or barley-heavy mashes of other countries. It began in the 1700s in Kentucky and is still going strong throughout the region.

Now, I admit, Bourbon has never been my go-to beverage; I’m more a clear-spirit girl. But I’ve come quite a long way in appreciating it since my first, burning experience with it back in the early aughts at a wine tasting. The more I learn about it and the more I taste different brands, I’m happy to discover those slow sipping bourbons that I read about in dusty old books and can appreciate the flow of warmth that a smooth bourbon can bring.

When sampled neat, Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon left my lips and the tip of my tongue tingling but offered no burn around the edges of my palate the way harsher spirits would. You can feel the warmth travelling down your throat, it’s flavor not overly woody, but the aftertaste is pleasantly earthy–like the umami of mushrooms or Brie. Since I happened to really like those foods, I consider that a good thing! Having been laid low by a recent head/chest cold, a friend reminded me of the soothing power of the toddy, so one night I added a splash of Four Roses to my evening cuppa and let me assure you that this bourbon mingles nicely with chamomile-based herbal teas, making its presence known without overpowering.

Nose: Fruity, spicy, floral, cocoa, maple syrup, moderately woody.
Palate: Hints of ripe plum & cherries, robust, full body, mellow.
Finish: Smooth & delicately long.

But a cocktail is what was requested and a cocktail is what I shall deliver!

You can pair a hundred flavors with a good spirit but I like traditions and I like to keep things simple while playing off familiar stories. What could be a more classic treatment for bourbon than the deceptively simple julep?

When a drink has so few ingredients, it’s vital we choose them with care. The classic mint julep uses spring of fresh mint and sugar or simple syrup along with the bourbon and ice. In deference to Four Roses and my current relocation to Georgia’s Rose City, I opted for a peach liqueur in place of the simple syrup, and my favorite, fragrant savory herb–rosemary–for muddling and garnish. The combination is both contradictory and complementary and I find it delightful!

Rosemary-Peach Julep

Rosemary-Peach Julep

Rosemary-Peach Julep

2 3-inch sprigs of fresh Rosemary
1 oz Peach Schnapps
2 oz Four Roses Single Barrel Kentucky Bourbon
crushed ice
short straw

Into a lowball or julep cup, strip the leaves off one rosemary sprig and muddle with a splash of the schnapps. You don’t need to pulverize it, just release some of the fragrant oils. Add the rest of the schnapps and the bourbon, fill the glass with crushed ice and stir with the straw until the outside of the glass or cup is nice and frosty. Garnish with the remaining sprig of rosemary.

Details are almost as important as ingredients for a julep. The ice must absolutely be crushed–cubed ice just won’t do. The increased surface area of the crushed ice both chills the beverage and mixes down into the beverage more quickly than larger pieces of ice. Creating crushed ice is no more work than gathering ice cubes in a (clean, obviously) bar towel and beating it with your muddler until sufficiently broken up. The short straw is also crucial for two reasons: this is a drink to be savored over a period of time, not chased down in a hurry; the short straw also brings your nose in the range of the fresh herb garnish, adding to the overall flavor of the beverage (flavor being comprised of both taste and aroma, after all).

And remember, experiences are only as good as the memories they leave behind. Enjoy responsibly so you’re around to remember!


***I received a sample of Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon for the purpose of review and cocktail creation. This was a sponsored post, but all opinions expressed are my own.***

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!

AlcoHOLidays | Cow Appreciation Day | Sweet Bessie Brown



So plenty of folks out there complain about manufactured holidays, especially those by corporations, often in a serious case of sour grapes. Well, today’s holiday appears to be 100% corporate but listen up: I. Don’t. Care.

I don’t care that Chick-fil-A seems to a have thought up a cute, fun, customer appreciation idea that takes place on the second Friday of July: Cow Appreciation Day. (Please note: this is not a sponsored post. Neither I nor this post is affiliated with the Georgia-based company that is awarding free food to customers who arrive dressed not in their dignity but in cow costumes.) Frankly, it just sounds like a lot of fun, and that’s excellent marketing on their part.

Also, I really do appreciate cows!

I think cows are, most of the time, beautiful creatures with big, sleepy eyes and soft, soft skin. I am a Taurus, so the bull/cow thread runs astrologically deep, along with my fascination with the Egyptian goddess Hathor (a mother-goddess often represented by a cow). In their less-than-living state I very much like my steaks medium rare, same goes for a really good burger. I also appreciate their milk (especially when companies like Lactaid make it safe for me to drink without tummy upset), butter, cheeses, and–of course–ice cream!

Because when I first found Cow Appreciation Day on a list (totally separate from anything Chick-fil-A related) what I immediately thought of was the soda fountain classic: a Brown Cow. And until I had to cut out honey, I used to get a Soy-Kreme Brown Cow at my local toy store/soda fountain, Lofty Pursuits, made with Sprecher’s Root Beer.

And, you know, those cute, English-challenged cows predate lolcats by 11 years!

Sweet Bessie Brown

3/4 oz Vanilla Rum
1/4 oz Peach Schnapps
3 small scoops Vanilla Ice Cream
Root Beer

Stir together the rum and schnapps over ice to chill. Scoop ice cream into a footed glass and top with the spirits, then fill with root beer to the top of the glass, jiggling a spoon in the mixture to get the liquids starting to play nice.

Optional garnishes could include chocolate syrup, malt powder, or some freshly whipped cream.

The only thing you’ll be tipping is your head back to get the last of the creamy float out of the glass!

I know we’ve been a bit rum-heavy, lately, so I was all set to use vanilla vodka for this one but it betrayed me. I don’t know what kinda chip it had on its shoulders but it did not want to play nice with a single other ingredient. First time that’s ever happened!

Of course, for the underage and the non-drinkers, the classic goes down just as well.

Cheers! (And moo!)

AlcoHOLidays | National Iced Tea Day | Hospitality Suite



Ah, Iced Tea. It got it’s start here on American soil when an English tea merchant set up a booth at the St Louis World’s Fair in 1904 but it was far too hot for anyone to want warm tea. Even though I’ve heard it said that hot tea can can cool you off, and supposedly does so faster than drinking a cool beverage, you’d be hard-pressed to convince most of the folks I know of that.

Saturday, June 8, 2013, is National Iced Tea Day.

I’m sure you can come up with plenty of ways to enjoy your iced tea, but I’m going to pull out a particular favorite from my 50 Shots of America series: South Carolina’s Hospitality Suite. Sure, sure, sweet tea vodka blends are all over the prepared drink market, but I still think my combination of peach schnapps and strong tea is far and away better. And while you can certainly shake it and serve it as a diminutive drink as originally devised (all the better to share with), you can also stir the ingredients below together and pour them over ice and enjoy this one all on your own.

Hospitality Suite

3 oz Brewed Tea, strong
2 oz Peach Schnapps
1 oz Tan Sugar Syrup (simple syrup made with half white and half brown sugar)
1/2 barspoon Vanilla (the real thing, no imitation extracts!)

Combine over ice in a large shaker and give it a firm handshake to a count of ten. Strain into 2 chilled cordial glasses. (Or combine over a full glass of ice in an Old Fashioned glass and sip for 1.)


AlcoHOLidays | Peach Cobbler Day | Early Summer Peach


Early Summer Peach cocktail for Peach Cobbler Day, April 13On the south side of my town there’s a butcher shop cum lunch counter that features different entrees each day of the week. It is a haven to southern comfort foods and on Fridays we used to go there to pickup meatloaf and mashed potatoes with cornbread and okra (or greens) for lunch. Used to because it was very rich and easily enough for two meals if you could restrain yourself.

We weren’t very good at restraint.

You had to go early–if you waited too much past noon to swing by they might be out of meatloaf for the day and you’d have to settle for fried chicken or some such. And if you were really lucky they’d have some containers of peach cobbler still.

We used to say that it was so rich it might kill you, but at least you’d die with a smile on your face.

Let me just revel in the memory of it for a moment, okay?

Since peaches are naturally high in fructose (which makes them high-FODMAP) and the doughy topping is, of course, full of wheat (another high-FODMAP ingredient), the peach cobbler from Early’s Kitchen is not something I’m likely to be savoring again any time soon. But in the spirit of Peach Cobbler Day, April 13, I thought I’d concoct a spirited version of the delectable summertime dessert instead.

Early Summer Peach

1 oz Whipped Cream Vodka
1 oz Pineapple Juce
3/4 oz Peach Schnapps
1/2 oz Cranberry Juice
1/4 oz Butterscotch Schnapps

Combine all ingredients over ice and stir until combined. Not too vigorously, think of it like a lazy summer Sunday afternoon and you’ll get it juuust right. Serve over ice in a low-ball or old fashioned glass.

I could have used peach nectar, true, but the point wasn’t to emulate biting into a ripe peach, it was to inspire the flavor of dipping into a gooey, sticky-sweet bowl of peach cobbler, maybe with a little ice cream on top. That’s what this combination does, quite handily. True, I added the bit of cranberry juice primarily for color, but the little bit of tartness doesn’t go amiss, either.

Whether you celebrate with the real thing or a cocktail version, celebrate something this weekend, okay?