December 12, 2020

12 Warming Whiskey Cocktails to Slow-Sip This Winter

Before I’d ever tried a cocktail, I knew my future with whiskey was bright. It was the prom after-party, and everyone was smashed.I, still in my rumpled prom suit, was taking swigs from a full bottle of Laphroaig Scotch I had borrowed from my parents’ liquor cabinet—I figured they wouldn’t miss it. I remember—just barely—my friend Justin’s dad (hosting on some “chill parenting” or harm-reduction tip) approaching me at the party and telling me, “son, you have good taste in whiskey. All these other kids are gonna have terrible hangovers in the morning, but you’ll be just fine.” With those reassuring words still lingering in my mind, I lay down in the middle of the dining room floor, and passed out. Ever since this Laphroig-fueled experience, I’ve been a lover of whiskey. Scotch, yes, but also bourbon, rye, Japanese, Canadian, and Irish. Though I will still happily sip a fine whiskey straight or on the rocks (occasionally I’ll even take a swig from the bottle), I now consume most of my whiskey in cocktail-form. As the first snow settles on the eaves, there’s really nothing better than a rich, bone-warming whiskey cocktail or two as you watch the world go by. Read More > >
December 4, 2020

A Wintry Rum Cocktail to Sip Beside the Fire

We’ve partnered with Santa Teresa 1796—a dry, refined rum crafted in Caracas, Venezuela—to share a winter-ready sipper you’ll want to stir up all season long: a rum-forward riff on the classic Martinez cocktail from Maine-based bartender Harper Fendler. With the temperature dropping here in Maine, I’m beginning to layer up. The boots and heavier jacket are a given, but come winter, I like to have something to warm the soul, too. We all have a go-to cold-weather drink—maybe a hot toddy or mulled wine, hot chocolate or Irish coffee—for when clutching a piping-hot mug is preferable to letting your fingers freeze. But for me, I tend to keep my drinks cold, and let the inherent heat from the spirits themselves keep me warm. Instead of the typical cold-weather bottle—bourbon, rye, cognac—my go-to every year around this time is rum. (Yes, rum.) My rum of choice: Santa Teresa 1796. From Our Shop Metallic Rimmed Champagne Coupes (Set of 6) $44 More Colors Yarai Mixing Glass Cocktail Set $78 Founded in (you guessed it) 1796 near Caracas, Santa Teresa produces rum via the Solera method. Originating in Spain for the production of sherry, the Solera method is, for all intents and purposes, a blending method. Imagine barrels stacked one atop the other: the rum that is ultimately bottled will come from the bottom-most barrel, which is regularly topped off by the barrel above it, and so on, with the youngest, most recently distilled rum going into the topmost barrel. This is a contentious topic in the rum world, but here’s an argument for it. With Santa Teresa, that topmost barrel actually gets topped off by their in-house blend of light, dark, and pot-still rums, ranging in age from four to 35 years old. By adding a combination of different spirits from older barrels and moving them down, barrel by barrel, the rum develops a lovely balance of aged notes. Think: chocolate; tobacco; and a young dryness that finishes clean with notes of plum and vanilla. They produce this consistently—and for me, consistency is key. While there is a sense of romance and exclusivity in the idea of a “single-barrel” or “small-batch” spirit, there’s no formal definition for either term. I like to depend on spirits that I know will present the same nose, body, and taste from bottle to bottle. That's what makes this rum not only a great sipper, but also a wonderful spirit to make cocktails with. Speaking of, one of my favorite drinks to stir up with this spirit is a rum-forward riff on the classic Martinez. Photo by JULIA GARTLAND. PROP STYLIST: MEGAN HEDGPETH. FOOD STYLIST: LAUREN LAPENNA. While some declare it the proto-martini and others cite it as a Manhattan variation, it is generally agreed that a Martinez requires Old Tom gin. But does it? There are a few different opinions on what exactly an Old Tom-style gin is. Charles H. Baker Jr., a legendary 20th-century food and cocktail writer, says it has “an oilier texture and a slight orange taste” in Jigger, Beaker and Glass: Drinking Around the World. The Mr. Boston Deluxe Official Bartender’s Guide states that it is “an English gin that has been sweetened with sugar syrup.” Some say it requires aging, while others balk at such an idea. Both Harry Craddock and O.H. Byron—seminal barkeeps of the late 19th and early 20th century—say that the Martinez requires simply "gin." At its simplest, the Martinez is gin, sweet vermouth, bitters, Luxardo, a cherry, and some citrus. The reason I love this particular rum in a Martinez riff is simple: It’s a versatile, complementary spirit with a profile that ranges from leather and smoke to stone fruit and honey. All of which, much like an American spirit or an aged gin, pair wonderfully with sweet vermouth. Rum Martinez View Recipe Ingredients 1 1/2 ounces Santa Teresa 1796 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth 1/4 ounce Suze 1 teaspoon Luxardo 2 dashes orange bitters 2 dashes Angostura bitters Fresh rosemary sprig, for garnish Luxardo cherry, for garnish 1 1/2 ounces Santa Teresa 1796 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth 1/4 ounce Suze 1 teaspoon Luxardo 2 dashes orange bitters 2 dashes Angostura bitters Fresh rosemary sprig, for garnish Luxardo cherry, for garnish Instead of an equal parts spirit-to-sweet vermouth ratio as is so often the build in a Martinez, we’re going to drop the sweet vermouth volume and include one-quarter ounce of Suze—a floral, French liqueur that acts as a nod to the now-absent gin. The Santa Teresa 1796, with its honey and vanilla notes, welcomes the bright liqueur with open arms. A teaspoon of Luxardo adds a subtle roundness to the drink, while the Angostura bitters complement the baking spice elements of the rum and sweet vermouth. Orange bitters aid in a dry finish to the drink. The torched rosemary may seem a bit over the top, but let me tell you, when that smell fills your nostrils before the first sip, the plum from the rum absolutely sings. Whether you try this cocktail for yourself or not, I encourage you to drink rum this winter. Santa Teresa 1796 works alone and it works in cocktails. Swap it out for your favorite brown spirit the next time you want to sip, or experiment and see where it takes you. What's your go-to winter spirit? Tell us in the comments! In partnership with Santa Teresa 1796, we're highlighting winter-ready cocktail recipes to stir up this season. At the top of our must-sip list: this crisp Rum Martinez starring Santa Teresa 1796—with its fruity aroma and notes of leather, vanilla, and honey—plus a smoky rosemary and sweet-tart cherry garnish. Want to make this cocktail at home, or simply stock up your bar cart? Have a bottle of Santa Teresa 1796 delivered straight to your door here.