Cocktail Advent 11: Gingerbread Crunch


I was craving gingerbread just the other day, pondering how one would make a gingerbread syrup, perhaps, to add to their morning coffee. I’ll let you know if I actually give it a whirl. Until then, here’s a beverage more suited to winding down the day than beginning it!

Image via Kilbeggan

Image via Kilbeggan

Kilbeggan® Gingerbread Crunch
Recipe by Gillian Boyle of Fade Street Social in Dublin, Ireland.    

• 1 3/4 parts Kilbeggan® Irish Whiskey
• 1 3/4 parts Freshly Pressed Apple Juice
• 2/3 part Cinnamon Syrup
• 1/3 part Lemon Juice
• 1/4 part Brown Sugar Syrup

For Cocktail:
Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish rim with crushed gingerbread biscuit and brown sugar.
For Garnish:
Place gingerbread cookies/biscuits in a bag and use a rolling pin to crush. When fine, add brown sugar into mix.

Yup, that outta ’bout do it, don’t you think?

***This recipe was submitted by a representative of Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey. While I was not compensated for this post, I have reviewed Kilbeggan in the past. As always, we encourage responsible refreshment and the use of the Designated Driver. No drunken monkeys, please!***

Tuesday Reviews-Day: Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey



***This is a sponsored post. Product was provided for the purpose of review, no other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are my own. Now that we’ve got that out of the way…***

Do you change your spirits when you put away your seasonal wardrobe? Frankly, the thought never occurred to me, but I can see how some would be inclined.

Just the way summer is prime time for light and airy clothes, light and airy alcohols seem to follow course. Whisk(e)y and it’s darker brethren are often put away as the temperature raises, but not everyone agrees with that process.

On Friday I’ll have a cooling cocktail featuring Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey, but before we get to that, let’s talk about the whiskey itself.

The Kilbeggan Distillery is the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland. Their distilling tradition goes back over 250 years and the pot still they use is 180 years old. You’d expect after all that time they must have hit upon something that worked, right?

Opening the bottle, it smells like whiskey–no big surprise there. Rich and lightly smoky, there was nothing unpleasant about the nose. The color is amber, not too dark, not too weak. And the taste? Like most whiskeys it’s sharp at first and burns a bit going down. That burn is what some people enjoy and not necessarily my favorite part, but giving the whiskey a few more sips allowed me to enjoy the warmth that whiskey so easily spreads and the rich flavor the whiskey has. And afterward your left with a decidedly sweet flavor, which is perhaps the most surprising facet to me.

Unlike Scotch, Kilbeggan isn’t overly oaky or peaty, and I can easily see how this would work in a fruit-based cocktail for the summer. Still, I’d be more inclined to pull it out on a rainy summer day, but at least there’s no real reason to put it away until fall.


Episode 9: I Need a Drink


Whether it’s celebrating the new year, starting off the 12th Night celebration or congratulating yourself for getting the mammoth end-of-year to-do list, done, a drink with a kick can do wonders. After all, what we call cordials and liqueurs were once known as restoratives!

As I rambled mentioned on the show, one of my many sites is Sips & Shots, where I create a new cocktail a week and post about other beverage interests from time to time. And if my voice sounds a little rough on the recording, all I can say is it’s a good thing I recorded when I did as I woke up with practically no voice at all the next day!

Now, what you’re really here for, the music:

Pumpkin Pie–Russell Wolff
Alcohol–O Sweet Static
In the Bar Tonight–Dakota
Crazy When She Drinks–Lee Rocker
Sipping Tea–The Gentlemen Callers
Cold Beer–Jeff Ronay
Glass of Wine–The New Autonomous Folksingers
Wine of Her Lips–Billy Bourbon
Vodka Kosovo–On Wave
Martini Time–AirFerg
Ginned Up–John Hughes
Gin & Tonic–Sammy Barker
The Old Black Rum–Great Big Sea
The Saltee Tango–Stoat
Only the Tequila Talking (feat. John Popper)–Lisa Bouchelle
Sweet Tequila–Brain Buckit
Whiskey Time–The Whiskey River Band
Nancy Whisky–Murder the Stout
Drinking Like a Fiddler–Dust Rhinos

And that’s us for another month. Please, everyone, if you do imbibe, don’t be a drunken monkey–use a designated drive, take a cab, or drink at home and do so in moderation.

Fun’s better if you can remember it the next day!

50 Shots of America–Iowa



One day shy of a year after the admission of Texas via treaty, Iowa becomes the 29th state on December 28, 1846.

Though considered mainly agricultural (it is in the midst of the Corn Belt, after all), manufacturing makes up the greater part of industry in the state with food production being the largest portion of that–General Mills, ConAgra, Heinz, Hostess, Quaker Oats and Blue Bunny (just to name a few) are all headquartered in the Hawkeye State.

But if agriculture isn’t their main focus, what do they do with all that corn? Iowa happens to be the national leader in ethanol production and a strong proponent of renewable energy sources, be it in sustainable fuels or wind energy. Which is where our drink-of-the-week inspirations comes from.


1 oz Whiskey (Jack Daniels or Jim Bean, we’re going for the corn-liquor, here)
1 oz Honey
Caffeinated Soda

Combine the whiskey and honey over ice and shake like your settling a border dispute. Strain into a chilled cordial or tall shot glass and top with the ice-cold caffeinated soda of your choice. Swig it down and get ready to forge ahead and accomplish things!

You may recall that Iowa was on the other side of that border dispute known as the Honey Wars with Missouri. If not, it’s okay, I forgive you, and Iowa probably would, too. Iowans tend to be front runners in a lot of things–civil rights, women’s lib, renewable resources… it’s not a bad trait, you know? And, if (like me) you can’t have caffeine, substitute as necessary and call it Unleaded 😉

One last thing: the state is also home to Electrolux/Frigidaire who, along with Kelly Ripa, are raising awareness and funds to support ovarian cancer research through their Ultimate Banana Split campaign. Head over to Kelly Confidential to create your ultimate banana split by September 7, 2010. $1 for every submitted split will be donated to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.


Cocktails for a Cure badge

Cocktails for a Cure

And speaking of good deeds! Just a reminder that I’m participating once again in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk and, like last year, offering a couple incentives to my supporters. There’s this years print of a cocktail created in support of the walk plus I’m donating 22% of all Character Cocktails ordered by October 15, 2010, to the cause (and you get the print, too). More information can be found on my Cocktails for a Cure page.

50 Shots of America–Tennessee


The 16th state of the Union, Tennessee is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.

Well, wait, maybe it’s a lot of each as both musical genres found their feet with Nashville holding court at the Grand Ole Opry and Elvis recording his music in Memphis. Which makes their choice of the mockingbird as a state symbol entirely fitting.

Not that it’s been all song and dance for the Volunteer State (a nickname earned during the Way of 1812), it’s seem it’s share of downs as well as ups. In response to the end of the Civil War, the original Ku Klux Klan was formed in Pulaski in 1866 and copied throughout the South. In the 1940s this state was the site of the Manhattan Project’s uranium enrichment programs as well as the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King.

Of course, the planned community, Oak Ridge, built around the atomic bomb research is now known as the Energy Capital of the World thanks to the efforts of the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) before and the continued energy research after. And the site of Mr King’s death is now the National Civil Rights Museum, preserving a crucial–if incredibly tragic–part of our history.

Now, if you walked into this cocktail blog post about Tennessee and didn’t immediately think Jack Daniel’s, shame on you. Of course this week’s cocktail is going to have a Tennessee Whiskey base! The rest, though…

‘Nanner Puddin’

1/2 oz Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey
1 oz Banana Schnapps*
3/4 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk

Combine over ice in a cocktail shaker, shake to a chorus of “Jailhouse Rock” (hip gyrations optional but encouraged) and strain into a chilled cordial glass.

Skip the pretzels and serve this one with a side of Nilla Wafers and you’re good to go!

Obviously the banana flavor is in deference to another King, Elvis Presley, and his fondness for peanut butter-banana sandwiches and banana pudding.

*We used 99 Bananas which is bottled just over the border in Kentucky.