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Bourbon Iced Tea

bourbon_sweet_tea

 

Is there anything more Southern than sweet tea and bourbon? Well, what if you were to mix these two together that make the  ultimate Southern sipper. Pretty ingenious, right? Well this cocktail is prefect for a Sunday brunch or just simply enjoying it on a porch on a summer day…..but remember you must be over 21 to enjoy this refreshing cocktail.

 

 

Makes 1 large pitcher, serves 6 – 8

Ingredients:
Mint Simple Syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

For the tea:
3 cups water
2 or 3 black tea bags of good-quality black tea, such as City Harvest Black Tea

For the Cocktail:
1 lemon, sliced into wedges
1 lime, sliced into wedges
1 orange, sliced into wedges
1 cup Woodford Reserve® Bourbon
Orange slices
Ice cubes, for serving
Fresh mint sprig, for garnish
Lemon wheels, for garnish

Directions:
For the mint syrup: Combine the sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar has melted. Stir in the mint and let steep 30 minutes. Strain the mint leaves and set aside.

To make the tea: Combine the water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the mint syrup into a large jar. Add the tea bags to the jar and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how strong you want your tea. If you like your tea very strong, leave the bags in the tea for 8 to 12 hours or overnight in the refrigerator, if desired.

Remove the tea bags and add the lemon, lime, and orange wedges. Pour in the bourbon. Cover the jar and chill.

For the cocktail: Rub the orange slice around the rim of highball glass and fill with ice. Pour the cocktail over the ice and garnish with the mint sprig and a lemon wheel.

A note on serving: Avoid adding ice directly to the pitcher, as it will dilute the cocktail.

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Captain Marryat’s Mint Julep

The Mint Julep is an iconic Southern cocktail mostly associated with the Kentucky Derby and bourbon. The drink seems to have originated in Maryland or Virginia, where it was made with either brandy, rum or rye.

However, the name of the drink is derived from the Arabic word “julab”, meaning rosewater. It was believed that the julep may have originated in Persia and traveled to Europe, most likely to Southern France, during the Crusades where the rose petals were substituted from indigenously grown mint. The drink is then believed to crossed with Atlantic with Western European colonists where the cognac was replaced with peach brandy and later by whisky.

The first known written reference to a cocktail-style julep appeared in 1787, a publication called The American Museum described the julep as a sugared rum drink that Virginians would quaff on rising in the morning. In 1803, John Davis, an English traveler, described a julep as “a dram of spiritous liquor that has mint in it.” This description closely resembles the cocktail many enjoy today.

Another Englishman, Captain Frederick Marryat (1792 –1848), was a former British Royal Navy officer, novelist, and an acquaintance of Charles Dickens. He is noted today as an early pioneer of the sea story, particularly for his semi-autobiographical novel Mr. Midshipman Easy (1836), for his children’s novel The Children of the New Forest (1847), and for a widely used system

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Captain Frederick Marryat
(1792 –1848)

of maritime flag signaling, known as Marryat’s Code. During his travels through out the United States in the 1830s, Captain Marryat took a liking to mint juleps and he perfected the art of making them. His recipe called for equal parts peach brandy and unflavored brandy. And by way of introduction from Captain Marryat, the United States version of the mint julep crossed over to Great Britain in 1837. While visiting friends in the United States, Captain Marryat wrote in his journals complaining of being awaken at 7 am in the morning by a house slave greeting him with a Julep.

Marryat popularized the drink through his description of the American Fourth of July celebrations and praise the drink in the following manner:

“I must descant a little upon the mint julep, as it is, with the thermometer at 100 o, one of the most delightful and insinuation potation that was ever invented, and may be drunk with equal satisfaction when the thermometer is as low as 70 °……as the ice melts you drink. I once overheard two ladies from the room next to me, and one of them said, “Well, if I have a weakness for any one thing, it is for a ‘mint julep!’— a very amiable weakness, and proving her good sense and taste. They are, in fact, like the American ladies, irresistible.”

The earliest written accounts of what appears to be a recipe was published in Captain Marryat’s 1840 book, Second Series of A Diary in America in which he describes the “real mint julep”:

There are many varieties [of Mint Julep], such as those composed of Claret, Madiera, & c.; but the ingredients of the real mint-julep are as follows. I learnt how to make them, and succeeded pretty well. Put into a tumbler about a dozen sprigs of the tender shoots of mint, upon them put a spoonful of white sugar, and equal proportions of peach and common brandy, so as to fill it up one-third, or perhaps a little less. Then take rasped or pounded ice, and fill up the tumbler. Epicures rub the lips of the tumbler with a piece of fresh pine-apple, and the tumbler itself is very often incrusted outside with stalactites of ice. As the ice melts, you drink.”

In Jerry Thomas’ 1862 book, “The Bartenders Guide: How to Mix Drinks”, the recipe calls for cognac, a dash of Jamaican rum and a garnish of berries and orange slices. He also list two julep variations of the cocktail: one made with gin and the other which calls for ripe pineapple and whisky.

Makes 1 Drink
Ingredients:
A quarter slice of fresh pineapple
12 fresh mint leaves
2 ½ fl oz cognac
1 ounce peach brandy
¾ fl oz simple syrup (2 parts sugar 1 part water)

Directions:
Rim the edge of a chilled julep cup or high ball glass with the pineapple and discard. Add the mint to a cocktail shaker and muddle the leaves to release the oil. Add the remaining ingredients and the crushed ice and shake vigorously for at least a minute. Fine strain into a julep cup or a high ball glass half filled with crushed ice. Stir the drink with the crushed ice using a bar spoon. Top the cup or glass with more crush ice and stir again. Repeat this process until the drink fill the cup and glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint and serve immediately.

mint-julep-cocktail-bartender

Bartender’s Note:
In these modern times, the Mint Julep is best made with fresh spearmint leaves and pre-chilled shaker and glass. The traditional julep cup is made of silver or pewter to help it to retain its coldness. Very important when late spring and early temperature reach 80 degrees.

It is also important to note that one should discard the stem of the mint, as this will produce a bitter residue when muddled, and ensure that you are only bruising the mint leaves and not pummeling them to a bitter slush at the bottom of the cup or glass.

To serve as traditional Kentucky Mint Julep, chill the julep cup or the glass for several hours in the refrigerator. Remove the cup and add a heaping mound of crushed ice to the cup. In making the drink, substitute the cognac with Woodford Kentucky Bourbon. Remove the cup from the refrigerator and add a heaping mound of crushed ice to the cup. Pour the drink of the ice and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint, lightly dusted with confectionary sugar.


Pomegranate and Blood Orange Margarita

Today is National Margarita Day 2019 and it could not fall on a better day, being that it is Friday!

 

National Margarita Day is a day celebrated on February 22nd every year and is a day used to honor the cocktail that is usually made of a combination of tequila, triple sec and various fruit juices (such as lemon or lime). While the drink – and to a lesser extent the holiday dedicated to it – is widely known not only in the United States but around the world, no one really knows the origins of either one.

The fact of the matter is that no one really knows when the margarita was invented – or National Margarita Day for that matter, but the drink is believed to have been invented sometime around World War II. One of the most common origin stories associated with this drink is that it was invented by Rancho La Gloria restaurant owner Carlos Herrera in 1938.

However, a recipe for a tequila-based cocktail first appeared in the 1930 book My New Cocktail Book by G.F. Steele.

Hotel-Garci-Crespo-Mexico-en-Fotos-copy-511x300And then there’s Bartender Danny Negrete, who legend has it, created a signature wedding cocktail  in 1934 at the Garci Crespo Hotel in Puebla which was one of the most luxurious hotels at that time, and christened it “Margarita” in honor of his future sister-in-law. Or maybe Negrete was really inspired by a stunning young dancer named Margaret Cansino who performed at the glamorous Agua Caliente Racetrack in Tijuana where he also worked. That 16-year-old beauty later  became the legendary Rita Hayworth.

                       Rita Hayworth at 16 (left) and at the height of her career in the 1940s.

 

Without noting a specific recipe or inventor, a drink called the Tequila Daisy was mentioned in the Syracuse Herald as early as 1936. Margarita is Spanish for Daisy, which is a nickname for Margaret.

According to cocktail historian David Wondrich, the popular Mexican drink was remade with tequila instead of brandy, which became a sensation during Prohibition as people drifted over the border for alcohol. There is an account from 1936 of Iowa newspaper editor James Graham finding such a cocktail in Tijuana, years before any of the other margarita “creation myths”.

 

 

MEXICO-EN-FOTOS-RANCHO-LA-GLORIA-RESTAURANT-AND-BAR-458x300The 1937 Cafe RoyalMargarita 4 Danny Herrera Cocktail Book contains a recipe for a Picador using the same concentrations of tequila, triple sec and lime juice as a margarita. One of the earliest stories is of the margarita being invented in 1938 by Carlos “Danny” Herrera at his restaurant Rancho La gloria, halfway between Tijuana and Rosarito, Baja California, created for customer and former Ziegfeld dancer Marjorie King, who was allergic to many spirits, but not to tequila. This story was related by Herrera and also by bartender Albert Hernandez, acknowledged for popularizing a margarita in San Diego after 1947, at the La Plaza restaurant in La Jolla. By then it was known as the ‘Margarita.’ San Diego newspaper editor Neil Morgan was a friend and made sure Hernandez’ story appeared locally.

Danny Herrera

 

 

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Albert and Helen Hernandez at La Plaza in 1947. Chef Washington at left.

 

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However, there are many people who claim that it was invented by Don Carlos Orozco in October of 1941. As the story goes, Mr. Orozco was working as a bartender at Hussong’s Cantina – a restaurant in Mexico – when the daughter of the German ambassador named Margarita Henkel walked into the restaurant and asked for a special drink. He then whipped her a drink that was equal parts tequila, an orange liqueur and lime. This concoction was then placed in a salt rimmed glass and served to her. Since this lady’s name was Margarita, that is the name that he decided to give the drink.

 

There are also claims that the margarita was first mixed in Juárez, Chihuahua at Tommy’s Place Bar on July 4, 1942 by Francisco “Pancho” Morales. Morales later left bartending in Mexico to become a US citizen, where he worked as a milkman for 25 years. Mexico’s official news agency Notimex and many experts have said Morales has the strongest claim to having invented the margarita.

 

Others say the inventor was Dallas socialite Margarita Sames, when she concocted theMargarita2.jpg drink for her guests at her Acapulco, Guerrero vacation home in 1948. Tommy Hilton reportedly attended, bringing the drink back to the Hilton chain of hotels. However, Jose Cuervo was already running ad campaigns for the margarita three years earlier, in 1945, with the slogan, “Margarita: It’s more than a girl’s name.” According to Jose Cuervo, the cocktail was invented in 1938 by a bartender in honor of Mexican showgirl Rita de la Rosa.

 

Jose Cuervo Tequila bottle (1930s)

 

Another common origin tale begins the cocktail’s history at the legendary Balinese Room in Galveston, Texas where, in 1948, head bartender Santos Cruz created the margarita for singer Peggy (Margaret) Lee. He supposedly named it after the Spanish version of her name, Margarita.

While all of these origin stories may or may not account for when this drink was created, it is known that the first published recipe of this drink occurred in the December 1953 issue of Esquire. This recipe called for an ounce of tequila with dashes of triple sec and the juice of half a lime or lemon.

 

Margarita6 Trader VicThe person credited for really popularizing the Margarita was Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron, who owned California’s Señor Pico chain of restaurants. In the 1960s he went to Mexico to do research on a cocktail containing tequila, but discovered that Mexicans drink tequila straight. So he collected recipes for tequila cocktails from other restaurants around the States, and settled on the Margarita. By 1973 his restaurants sold more tequila than any other restaurant in the world.

Victor Bergeron

 

 

 

 

frozenAlthough many consider the  frozen Margarita an abomination,  it should be mentioned that the world’s first frozen margarita machine was invented on May 11, 1971 by a Dallas restaurateur named Mariano Martinez. He modified a soft-serve ice cream machine into the first frozen margarita machine to create a consistent, mass produced beverage. He got his inspiration from a frozen slushee machine he saw at a convenience store. Frozen Margaritas and Piña Coladas were all the rage back then, but they had to be made in a blender, which was time consuming, loud, and didn’t make for a very consistent product. His invention popularized the bar and the frozen Margarita at his Dallas TexMex restaurant, El Charro, and the category of frozen drink machines has gotten ever more popular through the years. His original machine now resides in the Smithsonian Institute.

 

Margaritaville-West_German7_SingleCover

At this point in time, the margarita began to spread across North America, but it wouldn’t really gain mass popularity until  a musician named Jimmy Buffett released a song called Margaritaville on February 14, 1977, from the album Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes. This song was written about a drink Buffett discovered at Lung’s Cocina del Sur restaurant on Anderson Lane in Austin, Texas, and the first huge surge of tourists who descended on Key West, Florida around that time. He wrote most of the song that night at a friend’s house in Austin, and finished it while spending time in Key West. In the United States “Margaritaville” reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and went to number one on the Easy Listening chart, also peaking at #13 on the Hot Country Songs chart. Billboard ranked it number 14 on its 1977 Pop Singles year-end chart. It remains Buffett’s highest charting solo single.

Named for the cocktail margarita, with lyrics reflecting a laid-back lifestyle in a tropical climate, “Margaritaville” has come to define Buffett’s music and career. The relative importance of the song to Buffett’s career is referred to obliquely in a parenthetical plural in the title of a Buffett greatest hits compilation album, Songs You Know By Heart: Jimmy Buffett’s Greatest Hit(s). The name has been used in the title of other Buffett compilation albums such as Meet Me In Margaritaville: The Ultimate Collection and is also the name of several commercial products licensed by Buffett. The song also lent its name to the 2017  Broadway musical Escape to Margaritaville, in which it is featured alongside other Buffett songs. Continued popular culture references to and covers of it throughout the years attest to the song’s continuing popularity. The song was mentioned in Blake Shelton’s 2004 single “Some Beach”.

“Margaritaville” has been inducted into the 2016 Grammy Hall of Fame for its cultural and historic significance.

With all that being said, it’s still not clear when National Margarita Day was invented. Like the drink it is named after, it’s origins have been buried in history. Whichever story is true, one thing is certain…Americans have an ongoing love affair with the margarita. According to a 2016 biannual survey of cocktail consumers conducted by Nielsen CGA, tequila was everyone’s go-to base spirit, and the margarita was their favorite cocktail.

The best way to celebrate National Margarita Day is by choosing your favorite recipe and whipping one up, or by going to your favorite bar and ordering one of these icy cold concoctions. See our recipe for a version of this famous cocktail, given that blood oranges are in season.

This is not your ordinary margarita. Combine fresh pomegranate and blood orange juice to create this unique concoction that’s as tasty as it is beautiful — perfect for “wowing” guests at your next party or get-together!

 

Makes Two 12 oz drinks

Ingredients:

8 oz Fresh Pomegranate juice
4 oz Fresh Blood Orange juice
8 oz Tequila of your choice
2 oz Cointreau
1 oz Key Lime juice
1 oz Simple syrup

Directions:
Combine ingredients in shaker and shake well. Serve over ice in salt rimmed glasses and with a twist of orange.

 


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