The Friday Tipple: The Coffee Killer

Holy drinking games, Boozers. We are still wiped out from the excesses of The Presidential Pivot game, not to mention a little debate bingo, so we know what we need to help us recover: something hot, sweet, and strong.

Drag your minds from the gutters, Boozers. We’re talking here about a classic Ammazzacaffè, or “coffee killer”, an Italian tradition where a hot demitasse of strong sweet espresso is followed up with a liqueur, to “kill” the taste of the espresso. In Italy, you might partake of this little digestive after lunch or dinner, but we’re Americans, which means we’ll do whatever we damn please, and with a Vice Presidential debate looming in a few days, we may need a few coffee killers in order to steady our nerves. Have it with a boiled egg and call it brunch if it makes you feel better.

Our coffee killer is sweetened with our own Maple Sugar Simple Syrup — we picked up maple sugar from the Amish folks at the farmer’s market the other day and it makes a gorgeous simple syrup when lightly kissed with cinnamon and orange. You could try substituting a good quality maple syrup instead, such as Langdon Wood Maple Syrup aged in Catoctin Creek’s rye whiskey barrels, but don’t succumb to Mrs. Butterworth’s. We added fruit in the form of apple brandy; you could go for some French calvados, but the Italians would hate that, and, besides, we urge you to go local. There are some amazing American apple brandies on the market now — we are, after all, the home of Johnny Appleseed.

Drink up, Boozers — three more debates to go.

Coffee Killer

2 ounces hot strong coffee, preferably served in a demitasse (no espresso machine needed, just filter 2 heaping teaspoons of ground coffee with 2 ounces of hot water and add a smidge of cinnamon if you like)

1 teaspoon Maple Sugar Simple Syrup (recipe below)

2 ounces apple brandy, served in a small liqueur glass or a shot glass (Laird’s Apple Brandy is a tasty option; we prefer younger varieties so that the apple flavor is more prominent)

fresh orange twist

Here’s how to properly kill your coffee: stir the maple syrup into the hot coffee, throw in the orange twist, and drink the coffee down in one or two gulps. Suck down about half the apple brandy, then pour the remainder into the espresso cup. Swirl to capture the last dregs of coffee and maple, then swallow it down. Now you’re ready to face more questions about slow economic growth.

Maple Sugar Simple Syrup

1 cup maple sugar

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

fresh orange peel (one hefty piece, not zest)

Set sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until sugar liquifies, being careful not to let it burn. Add water slowly and stir. Add cinnamon and orange peel and allow to simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Remove orange peel and cool completely. Yields about a cup; can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three months.

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The Friday Tipple: The Hipster

Boozers, we’re hip. As if we didn’t know that already, it was confirmed this week by Forbes Magazine, which named our ‘hood as number 6 on their list of America’s Hippest Hipster Neighborhoods. Imagine that.

Whether you’re hitting the hotspots in FishtownEcho Park, or Montrose (and since you’re a hipster, we’re sure you’ve got the down-low on these hallowed hangouts), it’s critical that you have an ironic twist on a classic cocktail to complement those vintage “Revenge of the Nerds” eyeglasses. We’ve got it, and we call it The Hipster, a modern update on The Boulevardier (what they called the most elegant of cool people at the turn of the last century).

In DC, the hipsters will be heading in droves this weekend to H Street, hopping from the Rock and Roll Hotel to Little Miss Whiskey’s while sampling the Epcot-themed delights of The Queen Vic and Biergarten Haus.

With a resurgence of interest in the beverages consumed by our forebears, this Friday’s Tipple features rye whiskey — we prefer to go local and use Catoctin Creek’s Organic Roundstone Rye, which has a rich caramel undertone perfect for that first crisp fall day when you get to pull on Grandpa’s argyle cardigan with your BDG cigarette jeans — and Italian sweet vermouth. And while we know that hipsters shy away from calling themselves by that moniker (because it would be, well, unhip), it’s okay: just have the drink. Your secret is safe with us.

The Hipster

Since the hip are always looking to spice things up, we muddled some peppercorns into the mix and added a smidge of our own Wicked Pickled Ginger Syrup. The result is a perfect sipping cocktail — sour, sweet, spicy, just like a real hipster.

2 ounces rye whiskey (we like Catoctin Creek’s Roundstone Rye)

1 ounce Italian sweet vermouth (add more if you like a sweeter drink)

1/4 teaspoon black or pink peppercorns, crushed

1/2 teaspoon Wicked Pickled Ginger Syrup (optional — we like the kick)

juice of 1/2 fresh lime

club soda

1 lemon wheel

Place first 5 ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously, then strain into a wineglass. Top with 1 or 2 ounces of chilled club soda and lemon wheel. Enjoy.

The Friday Tipple: Birthday Cake Shot

Happy birthday, Boozers! Well, maybe it’s not your birthday yet, but we had a birthday here at Good Booze this week, and we are still celebrating. You may enjoy a little special libation on your own birthday, and we couldn’t agree more. So, we went trolling around on the glorious Google world looking for the legendary Birthday Cake Shooter. It’s purported to taste like a birthday cake — who could resist?

The basic recipe calls for either citrus or vanilla vodka, paired with Frangelico and a sugar-coated lemon slice on the side. However, with apologies to Frangelico, we find it a bit too sweet, so we went for Nocello instead — an Italian walnut liqueur that is slightly more subtle. And, while there are plenty of vanilla vodkas on the market, it’s a breeze to infuse your own, and, because it was our birthday, we wanted a really good vodka, not just some run-of-the-mill variety. We recently came across Boyd & Blair Vodka in our quest to drink local first; they are not exactly right around the corner, but their distillery is close enough to fall into what we like to call the Mid-Atlantic Liquor Watershed.

While we’re not quite sure that the Birthday Cake Shot tastes exactly like a slice of birthday cake, it is certainly a tasty little morsel that may help distract you from your advancing age. Just don’t forget to blow out the candle first. Many happy returns!

Birthday Cake Shot

1 ounce Vanilla Vodka (we like to infuse Boyd & Blair vodka —instructions below)

1 ounce Nocello liqueur

1 lemon slice, coated in sugar

Shake vodka and Nocello in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a shot glass, with the lemon on the side. Shoot down the Birthday Cake, then suck on the lemon. Yum.

How to infuse vodka with vanilla:

It’s embarrassingly easy. Put a cup of vodka in a mason jar. Add a vanilla bean that has been split down the center. Let sit in a cool dark place for a few days, remove the vanilla bean, and enjoy.

The Friday Tipple: The Hipster

Boozers, we know you’re hip. Whether you’re hitting the hotspots in Fishtown, Echo Park, or Montrose (and since you’re a hipster, we’re sure you’ve got the down-low on these hallowed hangouts), it’s critical that you have an ironic twist on a classic cocktail to complement those vintage “Revenge of the Nerds” eyeglasses. We’ve got it, and we call it The Hipster, a modern update on The Boulevardier (what they called the most elegant of cool people at the turn of the last century).

In DC, the hipsters will be heading in droves this weekend to H Street, hopping from the Palace of Wonders to Little Miss Whiskey’s while sampling the curried delights of Fojol Bros. Traveling Culinary Carnival and shoveling down blueberries at the Dangerously Delicious pie-eating contest — all during the hoopla of the annual H Street Festival.

With a resurgence of interest in the beverages consumed by our forebears, this Friday’s Tipple features rye whiskey — we prefer to go local and use Catoctin Creek’s Organic Roundstone Rye, which has a rich caramel undertone perfect for that first crisp fall day when you get to pull on Grandpa’s argyle cardigan with your BDG cigarette jeans — and Italian sweet vermouth. And while we know that hipsters shy away from calling themselves by that moniker (because it would be, well, unhip), it’s okay: just have the drink. Your secret is safe with us.

The Hipster

Since the hip are always looking to spice things up, we muddled some peppercorns into the mix and added a smidge of our own Wicked Pickled
Ginger Syrup
. The result is a perfect sipping cocktail — sour, sweet, spicy, just like a real hipster.

2 ounces rye whiskey (we like Catoctin Creek’s Roundstone Rye)

1 ounce Italian sweet vermouth (add more if you like a sweeter drink)

1/4 teaspoon black or pink peppercorns, crushed

1/2 teaspoon Wicked Pickled Ginger Syrup (optional — we like the kick)

juice of 1/2 fresh lime

club soda

1 lemon wheel

Place first 5 ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously, then strain into a wineglass. Top with 1 or 2 ounces of chilled club soda and lemon wheel. Enjoy.

 

Last Gasp of Summer Liqueur

In the past week, the Good Booze kitchen has made it through both an earthquake and a hurricane. Since bad things tend to come in threes, we think the last thing to threaten us will be… the end of summer. Labor Day is on the way and, with it, the end of juicy fresh raspberries, peaches, tomatoes, and cantaloupes. Don’t get us wrong, we’re looking forward to apples, pears, and pumpkins, but in this bittersweet time of year, we are holding on to summer with a vengeance even as it slips through our fingers.

The hurricane blew down a few plants in the old vegetable plot, leaving us with an assortment of peppers, both hot and sweet, that need to be consumed right away. Add to that the enormous piles of almost-overripe peaches being sold at rock-bottom prices at our local farmer’s market, and we knew what we needed to do: make an infusion for this Friday’s Tipple.

A lot of cocktail recipes call for really beautiful liqueurs; we often covet them at the local liquor emporium, where they beckon to us in their glistening bottles clad in designer labels. But making your own infusions gives you the chance to be really creative while using seasonal products — and it’s much less expensive. We still buy the occasional artisanal liqueur — in fact, we’re seeking out Catoctin Creek’s Pearousia right now, with autumn cocktails in mind — but, for now, we’re sealing our summer memories in a jar.

Last Gasp of Summer Liqueur

There are no rules to this, make what you like. Use any fruit, vegetable, or herb combination and use with brandy, vodka, gin, bourbon, or whatever. Here’s what we did, because we wanted to make something to specifically complement this Friday’s Tipple recipe:

One ripe peach, sliced

One hot Italian pepper, split

1 tablespoon lavender honey

Triple Sec

Place peach slices and whole pepper into a 12-ounce mason jar; cover with triple sec and let sit in a cool place for a few days, or even a few weeks. Add to cocktails to taste.