Creative Cocktails Vol. 26 No. 02

Wondrous Winter Warmers


In an age where there is a day dedicated to pretty much everything, we enthusiastically turn our attention to February 22nd which is National Margarita Day. Created around 1938 (long before Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville gave the cocktail such lyrical prominence), the margarita was a simple, three-ingredient drink. With so many variations on the classic margarita, we had to dedicate this segment of winter warmers to the upcoming holiday so everyone can imbibe in the way they see fit.

CUCUMBER JALAPENO MARGARITAcreated by mixologist Eufemio Vega.

1.5 oz Blanco (white) Tequila
1 oz Agave Honey
.25 grams Cucumber
.25 grams Basil
1 oz Lemon Juice
.5 oz Pineapple Juice
10 grams Jalapeno
.02 grams Tajin

Prepare your glass:
Cut a slice of lemon, run the wedge on one side of the rim of the glass.

Put tajin on a plate and pass the glass over it.

With a peeler, make thin slices of the cucumber and intertwine them to form small mosaics to decorate the inside of the glass. Leave an extra slice for the garnish.

Combine the ingredients:
A cocktail shaker is ideal, although any container that you can close and shake will work.

Add the basil leaves, the seedless cucumber pieces, lemon and pineapple juice, agave syrup and a small piece of jalapeño pepper to the shaker. Macerate for 30 seconds.

Pour the blanco tequila and ice into the shaker and shake it for 10 seconds. If you have a cocktail shaker, shake it until icy cold on the outside.

Place a few ice cubes in the serving glass; strain the margarita over the ice.

To finish, use the cucumber slice that was separated. Insert a toothpick into it for a nice garnish.


Photo credit: The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley

1.5 oz 100 percent de Agave Anejo Tequila or tequila of choice
2 oz The Perfect Purée Carmelized Pineapple Concentrate, thawed
One fresh lime, juiced

Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into an ice filled rocks glass. Garnish with an oversized lime wedge.

MARG IZO PASTORInspired by the flavors of the delicious Al Pastor Taco, the Marg IZO Pastor offers an herbal kick with a sweet finish of pineapple spice.

Photo credit: Mixologist Joree Weatherly

1.5 oz IZO Mezcal
5 oz Ancho Reyes
1 oz Lime
.75 oz Pastor Syrup*

Mix all ingredients and pour into glass of choice over crushed ice. Garnish with lime wheel or pineapple wedge.

*Pastor Syrup – Blend 1 cup agave nectar, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup pineapple juice, 5 cilantro sprigs, 5 Thai basil sprigs, 5 parsley sprigs, 5 grams black cracked pepper, 1/2 de-seeded jalapeño. In a covered pot, bring mixture to a low simmer for 5 minutes. Strain solids and let cool. Once cool, bottle and refrigerate. Syrup will last for 2 weeks. To fortify add 2 oz of your favorite tequila to extend shelf life to 1 month. 

BLOOD ORANGE JALAPENO MARGARITAcreated by Casey Willis of Chelsea Corner in Dallas.

Photo credit: Brynna Ringling

1.5 oz of Jalapeño-Infused Casamigos Tequila
.75 oz Grand Marnier
.75 oz Blood Orange Agave
.75 oz Lime Juice
Halo Del Santo Salt for rimmer

For Blood Orange Agave:
.5 oz The Perfect Purée Blood Orange Concentrate, thawed
Agave Syrup

Combine 2:1 agave to water and dilute. Mix Blood Orange Concentrate with one ounce agave and stir to combine. Rim glass with salt. Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Strain into rimmed glass and garnish with blood orange wheel and jalapeño slice.


Photo credit: Fresh Victor

3 oz Fresh Victor Mexican Lime & Agave
1.5 – 2 oz blanco or reposado tequila or mezcal

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker full of ice, shake well, and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with a lime wedge (salted rim optional).


Photo credit: Tequila Cazadores

1.5 oz Tequila Cazadores Reposado
1 oz Bols Pumpkin Spice Liqueur
2 oz Orange Juice
.5 oz Lemon Juice
Dash of Cinnamon Powder

Mix all ingredients, pour over crushed ice and garnish with orange or lemon wheel.

Feature image by Walter Lee Olivares de la Cruz on Unsplash

Not only is love in the air, it can be in your glass as well. Whether or not Cupid has struck in your life, you can celebrate Valentine’s Day in style with these exotic cocktails that may make you feel both amorous and adventurous. Don’t worry – Prince (or Princess) Charming is not necessary for celebration.

BROCKMANS ‘PURPLE SPRING’ – Refreshing Light Sparkle & deep-rooted enjoyment

Photo credit: Brockmans Gin

1.0 oz Brockmans Gin
0.75 oz Beetroot juice
4.0 oz Wild Berry Cider

Combine Brockmans Gin and Beetroot juice in a shaker with ice. Strain into a stemmed Copa glass (bowl glass) filled with ice. Top with Wild Berry Cider and give it a gentle stir. Garnish with a very thin slice of dehydrated beetroot and edible flowers for a touch of spring.

BROCKMANS ‘FROSÉ’ – Aromatic, Cool & Crisp!

Photo credit: Brockmans Gin

1.0 oz Brockmans Gin
0.5 oz Rose liqueur
Freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
2.0 oz Sweet Rosé Wine
Crushed ice

Combine Brockmans Gin, Rose Liqueur, lemon juice and Rosé wine in a shaker with ice. Strain contents into a large, stemmed wine glass filled with crushed ice.  Alternatively combine all ingredients in a blender with ice. Blend until the ice is crushed and scoop into a large, stemmed wine glass. Garnish with sugared or fresh rose petals.

OLD FASHIONED VALENTINE – What you get when you marry your love for bourbon and your love for Old Fashioneds. Created by Mixologist Natalie Migliarini.

Photo credit: Four Roses Bourbon

2 oz Four Roses Small Batch
.25 oz Honey Syrup
2 dashes Chocolate Bitters

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice. Stir then strain over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish w/ expressed orange peel and salted chocolate truffle.

STRAWBERRY LOVE – Like Strawberry Wine with a bourbon twist. Created by Mixologist Natalie Migliarini.

Photo credit: Four Roses Bourbon

1 oz Four Roses Small Batch
.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
.5 oz Strawberry Syrup*
3 oz Sparkling Rosé

Add Four Roses Small Batch, lemon juice and strawberry syrup to a cocktail shaker. Shake then strain into coupe glass. Top with sparkling rosé wine.
Garnish with lemon twist and fresh strawberry.

*Strawberry Syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup sliced strawberries

Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan and simmer until sugar dissolves.
Remove from heat, cool & let strawberries infuse. Strain into vessel.


Photo credit: Spa Girl Cocktails

4 oz Spa Girl Cocktail Peach Vodka Cocktail
2 oz Cranberry Juice
.5 oz Lemongrass Jalapeño Simple Syrup*
Splash of Club Soda

Pour Spa Girl Peach, simple syrup, and cranberry juice into a shaker with ice. Shake for 10 seconds. Strain and pour into your cocktail glass of choice. Add a splash of club soda and garnish with fresh edible flowers, or pomegranate seeds.

*Lemongrass Jalapeño Simple Syrup:
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Filtered Water
½ cup chopped Lemongrass
½ seeded chopped Jalapeno

Add all ingredients to a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let stand for one hour. Strain syrup into a separate container.

CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRYCreated by students of the Institute of Culinary Education Cocktail Lab w/Jonathan Pogash.

Photo credit: The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley

1 oz Van Gogh Blue Vodka
1 oz Van Gogh Rich Dark Chocolate Vodka
1 oz The Perfect Purée Strawberry Purée, thawed
.5 oz POM Wonderful Juice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake, strain and serve in a coupe glass.

THE CRUSHABLE – Benedictine is a classic, full proof liqueur that adds botanical complexity and a touch of honey to this delicious combination.

Photo credit: Karina Finch

1 oz Fresh Victor Cactus Pear & Pomegranate
.5 oz Fresh Victor Lemon Sour
.5 oz Benedictine Herbal Liqueur
4 oz brut rose sparkling wine*

In a champagne flute or wine glass, add the Fresh Victor and Benedictine, then slowly top with sparkling wine.

*For a non-alcoholic version, omit Benedictine and use sparkling non-alcoholic apple cider in place of sparkling wine.

SPICED – Warm notes from the smoked cinnamon and the addition of aromatic tonic blend well with the sweet and spicy notes of Redemption High Rye Bourbon.

Photo credit: Redemption Whiskey

2 parts Redemption High Rye Bourbon
3 dashes apple bitters
1 cinnamon stick
Aromatic tonic water
Star of anise for garnish
Dried apple slice for garnish

Light a cinnamon stick on fire and put in glass, allow to burn until aromatic. Leave cinnamon stick in glass and build cocktail over ice in a steamed wine or brandy glass. Add a splash of tonic water and garnish with star of anise and a cinnamon dusted dried apple slice.

Feature image by Taylor Simpson on Unsplash

Ahhhh, winter. It’s a jackpot for those who love outdoor activities involving skates, skis or snowshoes. But for many others, the winter months are simply a cold void between the end of fall and beginning of spring. No matter your propensity for winter sports, we’ll keep you occupied with warming libations sure to delight whether you’ve spent your day out on the slopes or on the couch in front of the fire.


Photo credit: The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley

1.5 oz Gin
.75 oz Raspberry Vodka
.75 oz Chocolate Vodka
2 oz Coffee Liqueur
2 oz The Perfect Puree Red Raspberry, thawed
1 oz Creme de Cacao

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass. Garnish with fresh raspberries.


Photo credit: Megan Rainwater for Redemption Whiskey

2 parts Redemption Rye Whiskey
.25 part Cinnamon Syrup
.75 oz Sweet Vermouth
Rinse of Dry Curaçao
1 dash Angostura Bitters
3 dashes Pimento Bitters

Stir all ingredients in shaker with ice. Rinse chilled coupe glass with Dry Curacao. Strain ingredients over chilled coupe glass.


Photo credit: Nolet’s Gin

3 oz NOLET’S Silver Gin
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
1.5 oz Blood Orange Juice
1 oz Brut Champagne
2 sprigs of Rosemary

In a cocktail shaker combine all ingredients except Champagne with ice and shake vigorously until well-chilled. Pour into 2 chilled Coupe glasses and top with Champagne and a sprig of rosemary.

PINEAPPLE MULE MOCKTAILfrom Nomi Park – onsite restaurant at The Wayfinder Hotel in Newport, RI

2 oz Pineapple Juice
4 oz Ginger Beer
3 sprigs rosemary for garnish

Mix juice with ginger beer and shake with ice. Pour into tall glass and garnish with rosemary sprigs, lime wheel or pineapple chunks.

SMOKED NEW FASHION MOCKTAILfrom The Apothecary 330, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Photo credit: The Apothecary 330

1 oz Brewed Earl Grey Tea
1 oz Brewed Green Tea
1 tsp Demerara Syrup
4 dashes Fee Brothers Non-Alcoholic Bitters

Add ingredients over an ice sphere into a rocks glass and stir. Add orange and lemon expression and smoke with hickory wood.


Photo credit: Broken Shed Vodka

Apples aren’t just for fall time; they make a fragrant, festive drink any time of the year!

1.5 oz Broken Shed Vodka
½ cup of Hard Apple Cider
½ cup Apple Cider

Pour over ice into a copper mule tin cup and serve with apple slices and cinnamon as garnish.

Feature image by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash


Photo credit: Nolet’s Gin

Have leftover candy canes from the holidays? We have a great use for them!

1.25 oz NOLET’S Silver Gin
0.75 oz Lime Juice
0.75 oz Simple Syrup
Peppermint Leaves
Crushed Candy Canes

Shake all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and strain into a crushed candy cane rimmed Martini or coupe glass. Garnish with a sprig of peppermint.


Photo credit: Bib & Tucker Small Batch Bourbon

2 oz Bib & Tucker 6-Year-Old Small Batch Bourbon
.75 oz Sour cherries syrup
.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Dash of Angostura bitters
Lemon wedge

Mix all ingredients and serve in a double rocks glass over ice.


Photo credit: Redemption Whiskey

1.5 parts Redemption Rye Whiskey
2 parts apple cider
2 parts prosecco
½ part lemon juice
Bar spoon of cardamom honey*

*For cardamom honey: Add 5-10 cardamom pods to a ratio of 1:1 honey and water. Heat on low until honey is dissolved in water and cardamom is fragrant. Let sit for a few hours to cool.

Shake all ingredients (except prosecco) with ice. Pour into a champagne flute and top with prosecco.


Photo credit: Black Button Distilling

Whiskey and cream naturally go well together and this delicious spirit combines Black Button Distilling’s hand-finished Bourbon and local farm fresh New York State cream for a drink that delights. Bourbon Cream is similar in concept to that of an Irish Cream, but has a more complex flavor profile. The bourbon base creates a rich feel with sweet vanilla and smooth caramel taste.

1 ½ oz Black Button Distilling Bespoke Bourbon Cream
2 oz Black Button Distilling Bespoke Coffee Liqueur
½ oz Chai Simple Syrup
½ oz Maple Syrup

Shake all ingredients over ice and pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with 3 (or more) coffee beans.

GINGERBREAD OLD FASHIONED by bartender Millie Tang

As pictured above, this cocktail is served with Lebkuchen–a traditional German version of soft gingerbread.

50 ml Pure Scot Signature Blended Scotch Whisky
5-15 ml ginger & cinnamon honey* (to taste)
1 dash aromatic bitters

Stir down and serve on block ice with orange peel and gingerbread biscuit. 

*Ginger & cinnamon honey recipe ​(makes 350 ml)
1 part honey (250 ml)
.5 part hot water (125 ml)
4 cinnamon quills, broken apart
4 dime sized pieces of fresh ginger
Pinch of salt

Add hot water to honey in a saucepan and stir until honey and water are well mixed. Add broken up cinnamon quills and fresh ginger (can give the ginger a slight press to gently break apart). Heat on low until simmering, remove from heat and let stand until cool. Strain to remove ginger (cinnamon can be left in if a more intense flavour is desired). Store in an airtight food grade container in the fridge.


Photo credit: Mingle Mocktails

Mingle Mocktails is a line of Ready-To-Drink (RTD) effervescent, low calorie, alcohol-free mocktails, clean crafted with fruit juices and botanicals and no artificial ingredients. With only  20 calories per 4 oz serving,  Mingle contains natural ingredients, is low in sugar, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Non-GMO and Kosher.

Five fun flavors include Cucumber Melon Mojito, Blood Orange Elderflower (the newest flavor) Blackberry Hibiscus Bellini, Cranberry Cosmo and Moscow Mule.

Feature image by Galina N on Unsplash

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