Texas Gin from James Beard Award Winning Chef Robert Del Grande

By Aaron Walters

With summer in full swing I can think of nothing more appropriate to talk to you guys about than gin, glorious gin! One of my absolute favorites is Roxor gin. Roxor is made in Texas, but has Arkansas ties. It is made by a James Beard award-winning chef with ingredients I guarantee you will not see in any other gin.

In addition to having a James Beard award, Chef Robert Del Grande also holds a PhD in biochemistry!  Impressive, right?! Chef Robert uses 12 botanicals in his gin. Of course there's juniper and coriander, but he also uses Texas pecans and grapefruit peels, sarsaparilla, hibiscus, cacao nibs, cinnamon, cubeb peppers and grains of paradise. Crazy!

He soft steeps the whole botanicals, for 24 hours then re-distills for a clean, smooth taste.  Roxor is bottled at 90 proof so it has the umph to stand up in cocktails. This gin is fairly new to the scene but it is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the gin market. 

Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy Roxor gin:

Gin & Tonic

G&T, of course!
A little Roxor, some ice, lime and your favorite tonic water.
Refreshing as the day is long!


The Last Word

  • 3/4 oz Roxor Gin
  • 3/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino
  • 3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
  • 3/4 oz fresh lime juice

Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake until sufficiently chilled and strain into a martini or coupe glass. 


Roxor Negroni

  • 1 oz Roxor Gin
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Cocchi Dopo Teatro Vermouth Amaro

Add ingredients to a mixing glass with a little orange peel. Fill with ice and stir for 30 seconds. Strain into a coupe if up, or into a rocks glass with a large rock. 



The Mary Chapman

  • 1 green Thai chile
  • 2 oz Roxor Gin
  • 1 oz Cocchi Americano Vermouth
  • 1 stalk lemongrass

Make a lengthwise slit in the chile, but do not cut all the way through (chile should remain intact). Rub the rim of a coupe glass with inside of chile and drop chile into glass.

Lightly smash lemongrass with the back of a chef’s knife until split slightly and fragrant. Combine gin and Cocchi in a pint glass or cocktail shaker, fill with ice, and stir with lemongrass stalk until outside of glass is frosty, about 30 seconds. Remove lemongrass; discard. Strain drink into prepared glass with chile.


See what this chef-created gin is all about and give these refreshing cocktails a try this summer! Let me know what you think! I hope these have been "Ginspirational"! 

LARCENY HAS ARRIVED

By Aaron Walters

Larceny-Table&Glass-web.jpg

Larceny has arrived in Arkansas and it is delicious! Fresh copper in color with a great nose of toffee and butterscotch, this bourbon tastes of honey and buttery caramel. It has a full and rounded mouth-feel, and a long finish with a slight savory note. 

Larceny is a very small batch Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. It's hand selected by the master distiller to have a 6 year taste profile. It has a couple of things that set it apart from other bourbons on the market. First, it follows suit with the other John E. Fitzgerald bourbons, meaning it is a wheated bourbon. This means that wheat is the second most prominent grain used (behind the mandatory 51% corn). Having a higher wheat content makes for a smoother tasting bourbon. Secondly, it's bottled at 92 proof. The higher alcohol content in conjunction with the smoothness from the wheat makes this bourbon enjoyable in a number of different ways. It is easily sipped neat or over an ice cube, but with the higher proof this bourbon can stand up to cocktails as well. 

Here are a couple of recipes to try out:


JAILBREAK

  • 1 ½ oz. Larceny bourbon
  • 1 ½ oz. Lustau Oloroso "Don Nuno" dry sherry
  • ½ oz. lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. simple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice and shake until well chilled.
Strain cocktail into a coupe or cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.


HIGHWAY LARCENY

  • 1 ½ oz. Larceny bourbon
  • ½ oz. cherry Heering
  • ½ oz. lemon juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura® bitters
  • dry sparkling wine
  • 1 Luxardo Maraschino cherry

Shake all ingredients but the sparkling wine.
Strain into a cocktail glass and top with the wine. Garnish with a Luxardo cherry.

Drop by and try this delicious new-to-the-state bourbon and get ready to take home a new favorite!

COLD NIGHTS AND WARM TODDIES

By Aaron Walters

With colder temperatures (FINALLY) upon us, I thought it appropriate to talk about a few of my favorite warming, winter cocktails. 

My top three, in no particular order, are Snap! Hot Chocolate, The Barenjager Toddy and the Peppery Ginger Apple Cider. Any of these will definitely knock the chill off during those cooler evenings.

First up is the:

Snap! Hot Chocolate

For this cocktail I use Art in the Age's Snap! liqueur. It is an all-natural organic concoction of Blackstrap molasses, clove, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla and Rooibos tea. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp. dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1.5 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 oz Snap

DIRECTIONS

Put all dry ingredients into saucepan and add 2T of the heavy cream. Whisk together over low heat until fully incorporated then add the remaining dairy ingredients. Continue whisking until it reaches a low boil. Remove from heat and whisk in your Snap. Pour up and enjoy!


Up next is the: 

BARENJAGER TODDY

One of the quintessential cold weather drinks, the toddy is a mainstay classic. Here we simply swap out the honey for Barenjager Honey liqueur. This liqueur is imported from Germany and is absolutely delicious all on its own; however, when mixed with your favorite bourbon it becomes almost transcendent!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 sachet black tea (I prefer Twinnings selection of breakfast teas)
  • 2 oz Maker’s Mark Bourbon (substitute a Scotch like Glenlivet if you prefer) 
  • 1 oz Barenjager
  • lemon wedge
  • cinnamon stick
  • boiling water

DIRECTIONS

Place the bourbon, Barenjager and cinnamon stick in your favorite mug. Add boiling water and your tea bag and steep for 2-4 minutes. Squeeze the lemon wedge and stir with the cinnamon stick. Sure to cure what ails you...even if nothing ails you at all!


Peppery Ginger Apple Cider

Lastly, a deliciously spicy twist to the traditional Apple Cider. The Peppery Ginger Apple Cider is a unique take on cider to say the least. If you are a fan of ginger and spice and everything awesome this is the cider to carry you through those wintery nights! Here we use Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur. This is one of the most versatile liqueurs I've had. You can use it year round. Now, for the end all be all Apple Cider recipe!

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz apple cider
  • 4 oz of Knob Creek Bourbon
  • 3 oz Domaine de Canton
  • lemon juice to taste
  • 4 Luxardo cherries
  • freshly cracked black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Bring cider and bourbon to a simmer in small saucepan. Stir in ginger liqueur and add lemon juice to taste. Divide cherries between 2 heatproof glasses or mugs and pour in cider combination. Sprinkle with pepper and serve immediately.

None of these recipes will disappoint and all are guaranteed to warm you up and make those chilly nights far more enjoyable!

Cheers!