Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mix It Up

Ben and I love well-done mixed drinks and often frequent our local (let me have this Portlandia moment) mixologist who makes insane combinations like lavender, coconut milk, and lemon or rum, coffee, cocoa and cayenne... So we decided that we wanted to take an evening, and our entire bar cupboard to make our own signature cocktail. Guess what looked pretty, was a ton of fun, but tasted terrible? Our drinks. Turns out it's not so easy.

This entire venture was inspired by Ben's proclamation that he liked martinis the other day. I am not a huge fan as they always feel like really HUGE shots. In the mixing spirit, Ben wanted to try making a hop-tini by infusing vodka with fresh beer hops but it tasted too bitter, so he shifted to a traditional gin martini. A minute later, he promptly mixed the martini with tonic water and squeezed in some lime, called it a gin and tonic, and we're never speaking of martinis again.



We took turns "crafting" our cocktails. I first made a peach tea simple syrup (easy and awesome and one win from this experiment). It tasted sweet, peachy, and perfect, but when mixed with prosecco... it didn't really taste like anything. Not a total bomb, but kind of disappointing. I'd try a stronger tea and less sugar. Ben then made a horrifying drink out of red wine, club soda, tequila, and orange zest. Ick! He thought it tasted okay, but I am telling you that it tasted like drinking watery tequila with a red wine chaser.

The final drink crafted was mine and I thought I was onto something. We often (very good) drink lemon drops in our house and started adding honey as a sweetener to give them some extra flair. I was interested in making a spearmint, honey, lemon-drop but the grocery store was out of mint so Ben suggested basil. I've seen a bunch of basil cocktails and love basil in all foods so I gave it a shot. But what happened was not pretty. I muddled basil and added it to a honey, fresh lemon juice, and citron cocktail. It smelled like a fart. And it tasted like muddled basil in lemon juice... at first interesting, and then not good.

We ended up tossing the entire batch (of all the cocktails) and settling in with the bottle of prosecco. The end result was that we decided it was time to start making drinks that have already been perfected by others. Suggestions? We've already got the gin and tonic, lemon drop, and old fashioned down pat.


  1. It's so fun to play though! t's kind of a pain because it is trial and error - and I totally love that epsiode of Portlandia!! It's HILARIOUS

  2. Great post! I never knew how to do this, now I know.


  3. i am a huge gin drinker, and love traditional, classic cocktail recipes (so, rely on other recipes). for a martini, yes, it truly is the gin that shines through; i find the trick is to ensure the martini is really, truly chilled. also, it helps to make a smaller size. in the 1960s, the martini was served in a much smaller cocktail glass and was maybe 2 ounces, not a huge four or five ounce concoction. by making it smaller, it stays chilled, and more delicious, longer.

    i recommend the book "how's your drink?" by eric felton, who used to write a column of the same name for the WSJ. excellent history of the art of drinking, and the best recipes for classic drinks. personally, i love the bronx and the aviation, lesser popular gin drinks.


  4. I wish I had something for you.. I haven't been super creative in this area in a while... I do love a good lemon drop or gin & tonic.. see? Not super exciting..

  5. This sounds fun even if they didn't turn out great. A backup bottle of prosecco is definitely a must-have ;)


    Kristina does the Internets

  6. I'm into the post..sounds pretty good and fun to try..



  7. Sounds pretty good and I want! lol

    What camera do you use?
    Your pictures look great!! <3


  8. Whoa, what a great variety of drinks! They all look great, I love red wine and tequila. My best friend got me hooked on it last year at her birthday party. What an adorable little accomplice! Hi kitty cat! I'm stopping by from bloglovin & I hope your having a great evening.


  9. What a fun idea to experiment with drinks! And I agree, they are hard to make! I am terrible at it!

    - Kaitlyn

    Boardwalks & Boulevards

  10. what great combinations! especially the basil honey lemondrop, i have to try it! following you on bloglovin :)


  11. I love the idea! So fab:)


  12. That peach sparkler looks awesome! Actually...most of these look awesome :)

    The Other Side of Gray

  13. these look/sound delicious!!! thanks for sharing a new drink!


  14. These look so good! My boyfriend and I love making cocktails together. My favourite are a Lychee Martini and a Pina Colada! Great photography in this post x

  15. look at you! little kitchen chemist!! love it!

    check out an eShakti deal on my blog today!

  16. My cousins love mixed drinks and are always trying new mixes :)


  17. so beautiful . i like all pics .

  18. Great pics and great post! :-) Holly xx



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