Steady Yourself for the Black Friday Madness!

It’s Thanksgiving, and that means we are just a few short hours away from what is known as the Holiday or Christmas shopping season. For the next 30 days the Western world will go a little crazy looking for bargains and the hottest items to buy for themselves, loved ones, friends, and family. To steady yourself against the claustrophobic crush of shoppers at the mall, you might want to partake in a stiff adult libation. Something to steady your nerves and give you the strength you will need to fight for that big screen TV you must buy on Black Friday.

My drink of choice is Bourbon, and the classic Manhattan is always a go to staple for cooler months and the holiday season. Most bar tenders these days make their Manhattan with bourbon, but I prefer Rye. The recipe below calls for some choice ingredients, but the payoff is worth it. Especially when you have to fight the crowds, at the local mall.

The Manhattan is one of the essential classic cocktails. Usually made with Rye, many prefer it to be made with Bourbon, and some with other whiskeys like Southern Comfort (to sweet for my taste). Bitters are essential to the mix, and they come in many forms from the standard Angastora, to the hand crafted kind your local bartender might make. I tend to use Fea Brothers Ornage Bitters for a more rounded taste. Like all classic cocktails the Manhattan inspires great debates about the ingredients, and proportions needed to make the true cocktail. The recipe below is my favorite for a dry Manhattan made with premium ingredients for a smooth dry taste that is well balanced and full flavored.

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice Stir Well (Do not shake. Shaking will bruise the booze. No one wants bruised booze). Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with Italian brandy infused cherries or a flamed orange peel.

Flaming an orange peel is simple. Cut a 3/4 inch wide by inch and half long piece of orange peel. Take out a lighter, and while holding the peel, ignite the lighter against the peel in a quick move of the wrist. You just want to heat the peel and release it’s natural oils. It’s quick, as in quickly pass the flame across the surface one time.



The 12 Cocktails of Christmas 2010.

As the Christmas season got into full swing a few weeks back, one night while out at Happy Hour with friends Kristy coined the phrase “The Twelve Cocktails of Christmas”, and a new tradition was born.

At that point, using a couple of apps for the iPhone and my original drink menu from The Oak Bar, I decided to try twelve bourbon based drinks. One a day from December 12 to the 25th. (Yes I know that’s thirteen days.)

Below are the thirteen drinks I tried and recipes on how to make them. ( I went for a baker’s dozen ). With New Year’s Eve approaching, you can use this list as inspiration for your upcoming festivities.


Click on the image for the Full Size Printable version.



Hudson Manhattan Rye. Hand Crafted Whiskey from New York.

Anyone that knows me, knows I like fine whiskey, and my drink of choice is a Manhattan. When I saw this I thought I need to let everyone that possibly reads my blog know about it. Why? Because it’s Friday, and I think we all deserve a tasty adult beverage.

Hudson Manhattan Rye, by Tuthitown Spirits is the first Rye whiskey to be produced in New York since the days of prohibition. Hudson’ Rye is made from whole grain rye, in single batches to ensure a true 92 proof rye whiskey. According to the distiller, it has a fruity, floral taste with the unmistakable edge that is the signature of a good rye whiskey.

Each bottle is hand filled, numbered, and capped with a hand dipped wax seal.

Ladies and Gentlemen, is it cocktail hour yet?

Manhattan Cocktail recipe

3/4 oz sweet vermouth
2 1/2 oz rye or bourbon whiskey
1 dash Fee Brothers West Indian Orange Bitters
1 brandy infused cherry (maraschino will work if you can’t find the other)
1 twist orange peel

Combine the vermouth, bourbon whiskey, and bitters with 2 – 3 ice cubes in a mixing glass. Stir gently, don’t bruise the spirits and cloud the drink. Place the cherry in a chilled cocktail glass and strain the whiskey mixture over the cherry. Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink to release the oils but don’t drop it in.