Monday, September 10, 2012

DLDGLG and CasaKCD Launched Our Not-So-Simple Syrups Event!

The Do-It-Yourself Simple Syrups event at One Lounge last week rocked. Dana Onyewu and I mixed up drinks that left attendees' imaginations swimming.  

Photo courtesy of DeVonia Singleton

Our sponsors - Bluecoat Gin, High West Whiskey, and Chairman’s Reserve Rum - were put to some really good use.

The Old Fashioned was the opening for our three cocktails. The strongest of the trio, Dana and I felt it would be a great introduction to the "cocktail" and an great opportunity to talk a little history. 

The format of the event was fairly simple - talk about sweetening agents like syrups, shurbs, grenadines and such. 

Then, once all of the attendees had their drink, I'd step from behind the stick and explain the medley of booze they were holding. 

Towards the end, everyone had a chance to mix their own flavored syrups using essential oils and a personal bottle of plain, neutral simple syrup. 

The involvement of the attendees wasn't just entertaining - it took the application of knowledge from my hands to theirs.

The three drinks featured at the event were:

1) Old Fashioned made with High West Double Rye and a maple/star anise shrub

Photo courtesy of Megan McGrath of Pamela's Punch

2) The Wascally Wabbit Flip made with Bluecoat Gin and carrot/allspice syrup

Photo courtesy of DeVonia Singleton

3) Beach Grog made with Chairman’s Reserve Rum and cinnamon/clove syrup

Photo courtesy of DeVonia Singleton


Old Fashioned
2 oz High West Double Rye
1/2 oz maple and star anise shrub*
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
3 dashes orange bitters
Stir ingredients with ice in an old fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

*Maple and star anise shrub
1 cup natural maple syrup
3/4-1 cup water
5-10 star anise (depending on how much anise flavor you want)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Roast star anise on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add maple syrup and water to a pot and cook on medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Add star anise. Cook on medium low heat for 10 minutes. Let cool. Strain out star anise. Add 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar and bottle.

We picked High West Double Rye because of its rich caramel and anise flavor profile. The spiciness of rye whiskey has rendered itself so well to old fashioneds over the generations that cocktailians deem it “classic”. The High West product was a natural fit for this tipple.

Wascally Wabbit
1 3/4 Bluecoat Gin
1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
3/4 oz carrot and allspice syrup*
1/2 oz simple syrup
1 spoonful St Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1 eggwhite
Dry shake ingredients (i.e. without ice) then shake with ice. Double strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a mint sprig.

*Carrot and allspice syrup
1 cup fresh carrot juice
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
10-15 whole allspice (or 2 tablespoons)
Juice carrots and strain liquid. Mix ingredients together and cook on medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce by 1/4. Let cool. Then blend on high for 3 minutes. Strain and bottle.

I’ve written about the Wascally Wabbit before. The floral, citrusy notes of Bluecoat Gin couldn’t have worked out better for this flip. The danger with using a vegetable ingredient is that the cocktail can taste too... well, vegetal. The citrus profile here breaks that flavor down to a palatable state with a very smooth finish of allspice.

Beach Grog
2 oz Chairman’s Reserve Rum
1 oz fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice
1 oz cinnamon and clove syrup*
Shake ingredients with ice. Double strain into an old fashioned glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.

*Cinnamon and clove syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3-5 cinnamon sticks
10-15 whole cloves (or 2 tablespoons)
Roast cinnamon and cloves on medium heat for 5 minutes. Mix sugar and water together and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add cinnamon and cloves. Cook on medium low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool. Strain out spices and bottle.

Who doesn’t love tiki drinks? Chairman’s Reserve has that delightful rummy blend of spice that we thought would mix well with own cinnamon and clove syrup. The combination had our attendees hearing seagulls and seeing palm trees.

It was a pleasure to work with Dana and I was extremely proud of our event. Keep your eyes peeled for future events from Casa: Kitchen. Closet. Dining. I, of course, will have my hands in a number of things as I always do. 

Happy cocktailing!


  1. Hey there ! these are some wonderful recipes that you have posted here. They look really promising. I will give these a try and totally expect them to be awesome!