I picked up The One-Bottle Cocktail by Maggie Hoffman when it came out at the beginning of March. Each cocktail recipe in the book only contains a single spirit, so you only need one bottle to make a cocktail. I loved it so much that I sent a copy to my friends Tyler Machovina and Erin Carlson, who garden and make cocktails as much as we do. (They had significant input on this post!)
This book is great for home cocktail makers. How many times do you say, “I have a bottle of gin. What else can I make besides a G&T?” or “What can I do with this tequila besides more margaritas?”
I love cocktails. I write about them a lot here. The reason I love this book is that it taught me a new way of looking at them: Focus on the non-alcoholic ingredients primarily for the flavor (fresh juices, spices, herbs, fruit, and teas) instead of liquors. I’ve learned a ton from this book about which flavors work together, how certain flavors interact with certain liquors, and how much the flavor of certain herbs and fruits can vary from plant to plant and piece to piece.
The other thing I love about this book is that it has bonus drinks at the end of each section, noting where you can substitute the same liquor from that section into other drinks in the book.
So far, our favorite cocktails are The Gincident, Barkeep’s Breakfast, and Midnight in the Garden.
It isn’t quite blueberry season here, but we had some wild blueberries in the freezer and we have fresh basil and rosemary growing in pots on our windowsills. The botanicals in the gin, fresh basil, and fresh rosemary give it a deep forest flavor, and the blueberry syrup balances out the tart lemon juice. This cocktail is fantastic. Amanda requested that we make this a new house regular.
I love Earl Grey, so this stood out to me immediately. I went a little off-recipe, though. Instead of using Rye, I used barrel-aged gin as the base spirit. I had a bottle from a Hudson Valley Distillers (http://www.hudsonvalleydistillers.com/) that I’d been itching to use, and I had a hunch that the botanicals might work well with Earl Grey. I was right. This was a great drink for a cold day.
Midnight in the Garden
I think this drink will be fantastic in the summer when the local strawberries come in. The late-winter grocery store strawberries just weren’t sweet enough to properly balance the balsamic vinegar. My fault for not having the patience to wait until summer to try this. Definitely making this again as soon as we get fresh strawberries.
Erin and Tyler liked Newton’s Law and Rose of all Roses. Here is what they had to say:
Even though it’s a little out of season we chose to make the Newton’s law because we had all the ingredients and were so excited to try something out of our new cocktail book. Also, I used the last of the apple butter that Chuck and Amanda gave us for Christmas! Overall, this a tasty drink but was a little bit thin. If I were to make it again I’d probably use maple syrup instead of brown sugar. I think it give it a thicker mouthfeel, so something to keep in mind when the fall rolls around.
Isn’t the pictured dish towel fantastic? Erin makes them. Check her work out on Instagram.
Rose of all Roses
This is a great drink! I used Aviation gin, my favorite for martinis, but I think this drink would be even better with Hendricks. It was pretty cold out when I made these, but I’m looking forward to remembering this drink for afternoon barbecue. (Kiko approves.)
Back to Chuck:
The next cocktails I want to try: Newton’s Law, Sassy Flower, French Canadian, and Spanish Penny. We’re looking forward to drinking our way through the rest of this book. It will really be great this spring and summer when we will have easy access to edible flowers and herbs. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, you need to.