Category Archives: Cocktails

Cocktail Hour: The BMHC (Basil Mint Honey Cocktail)

I love getting a message like this:
“…you’re my go-to drink guru. Criteria: gin/vodka, herbal, smooth, only slightly sweet. thoughts?”
This came as a hearsay request from my friend Dani through my friend Allison, so I started thinking about what I had on hand at home and could whip up on the fly.

Because my container garden is bursting with mint and basil (and thyme, and oregano, and marjoram), I immediately decided those would be my herbal notes. Vodka: check. Slightly sweet? Honey. Smooth? How about lime and soda to cut the booziness?

Basil, mint, and honey await their bath of icy vodka and lime

There isn’t much to the prep. Throw basil and mint – just the leaves – into a shaker (I used about three sprigs each) and muddle with a tablespoon (or more) of honey and the juice of one big lime (or two smaller limes, if they are drier). Fill the shaker with ice, then top up with vodka (or gin) to the level you think is appropriate (more on Fridays, less on Mondays). Shake until it looks like this (all frosty):


Then, strain into cocktail glasses for an “up” version, or into ice-filled highballs that you top with club soda, like this:

Finished BMHC

Variations on herbs, booze, sweeteners, and the citrus are heartily encouraged! On the first crisp fall day, I am think grapefruit and rosemary!

I know the name isn’t all that clever, but with the autumn weather nigh, my thoughts often wander back to my college days. I was no BMOC, but I probably would’ve really appreciated this cocktail as an alternative to the swill I drank in blissful ignorance.

Anyway, Happy Friday early (I’m off tomorrow!) – enjoy this delicious libation while the summer lingers a bit longer!

Cocktail Hour: The Sidecar

Brandy Sidecar

I think Brandy gets a bad rap.

I am not really sure why, either.  I mean, it seems to be relegated to the smoking jackets-and-snifters crowd or drunks passed out on the sidewalk.  There is a middle ground, and I think it comes in the form of several old-school cocktails.  The first of these is the Sidecar, which has a sophisticated, yet accessible quality to it.  I am not sure where the name comes from (I read something about it being named for a US Army captain), but I like to think of it as a good, reliable vehicle for a good time. Something about the sweetness of the orange liqueur mixed with the deep flavors of the brandy, highlighted with the fresh spark of the lemon juice makes for a perfect concoction. I can’t guarantee that you’ll gain any stability from this sidecar, but after one or two, you shouldn’t be driving a motorcycle, anyway. Enjoy, and happy weekend early!

4 parts brandy
1 part triple sec
1 part lemon juice

Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a cocktail or coupe glass and garnish with a twist.

Cocktail Hour: Apples to Apples

I admit that I’ve tried a few “apple-tinis.”
You know, those unnaturally green cocktails made with artificially flavored sour apple schnapps and vodka, garnished with a maraschino cherry?  Any time I’ve tried one, I’ve always thought, “why am I not just eating a sour apple Jolly Rancher candy instead?”  I didn’t set out to make a better, more natural version of this cocktail, but I think I ended up doing so. Continue reading