Recipe: The Smoking Gun

whiskeyAs noted earlier, Barrel Aged Bitters from Fee Brothers have arrived back at our store. This recipe makes good use of them, pairing them up with two more of my favorite things: smoky scotch and Fernet Branca!

The Smoking Gun

Two notoriously assertive ingredients—scotch and Fernet Branca—balance each other out in this flavorful after-dinner sipper. “It’s a drink you can hunker down with,” says Mark Allen. “I love how it has such a warming effect, even though it’s served ice-cold.”

2 oz. Islay or other peaty scotch (Allen uses Laphroaig 10-year)

3/4 tsp. Fernet Branca

1/2 tsp. brown sugar cordial (see below)

2 dashes Fee Bros. whiskey barrel-aged bitters

Cracked ice

Tools: mixing glass, barspoon, strainer

Glass: small scotch or cocktail glass

Garnish: mint leaf
Stir all ingredients and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish.

To make the brown sugar cordial, heat two parts brown sugar and one part water until sugar is dissolved and solution has slightly thickened. Allow to cool and stir in an ounce of demerara rum (Allen uses Lemon Hart) per every 10 ounces of syrup. Keeps for a month in the refrigerator.

Mark Allen, Red Feather Lounge, Boise, Idaho

Drink Recipe: All Betts are Off

all-betts-are-off1Matt Lanning, from the Bitter Bar in Boulder Colorado, came up with this intriguing cocktail featuring Sombra Mezcal, Dolin Vermouth, and Yellow Chartreuse.

  • 1.5 oz Sombra Mezcal
  • .75 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
  • .75 oz Yellow Chartreuse
  • 2 dashes Grapefruit bitters (The Bitter Truth)


Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze a grapefruit twist over the drink and use as a garnish.

This drink was named one of Gary Regan’s list of 101 best cocktails. The full list can be found here:!101bestnewcocktailsindex.html

Apple Brandy

lairds_bondedI know I’ve declared March as ‘Mezcal Month,’ but I have been on an apple brandy kick lately. Apple brandy isn’t so commonplace anymore, but it has a tradition in this country going all the way back to our founding fathers. George ‘the Man’ Washington himself was a fan, and if it’s good enough for him…

Of the few actually producers of apple brandy left in the US, Laird’s, from New Jersey of all places is the oldest and most widely distributed. The spirit they label ‘Applejack’ is a cheaper blend of apple brandy and neutral grain spirits, and that’s not really what we’re here to talk about today,

What we want to discuss is Laird’s 100-proof Bonded Apple Brandy. This is only slightly more expensive than their Applejack, but is 100% pure apple brandy. They claim that 20 pounds of apples are used for each bottle. On its own, the high alcohol content tends to overshadow all them apples, but when its mixed into a cocktail it makes for one rich drink.

The classic apple brandy cocktail is the jack rose, mixing apple brandy with lemon or lime juice and grenadine.

Jack Rose
1.5 Laird’s 100 proof Bonded Apple Brandy
.5 oz Grenadine (or 1oz if you like it sweeter)
.5 oz Lemon or Lime Juice (I prefer lime, personally)
Shake over ice and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.