Beverages 2017-01-12T16:05:19+00:00

You can walk into almost any bar and enjoy a perfect old fashioned or mint julep. But when you’re entertaining at home and want to mix up something other than liquor with a splash of soda, it can get overwhelming. San Francisco native Max Messier, along with his wife, New Orleanian Lauren Myerscough, are making it easier for people to create classic cocktails at home with Cocktail & Sons, their line of cocktail syrups.

“We wanted to demystify mixology and make it much more approachable for the home bar,” Max says. “These are complex syrups for simple drinks. It really enables you to become a bartender at your home using fresh citrus and good liquor.”

The New Orleans-based couple have worked as bartenders for years, creating their own cocktail syrups. They noticed that throughout the country, people by and large were drinking classic cocktails, so they tweaked their syrup recipes to match those flavor profiles.

The four core syrups are a bold Spiced Demerara, which is designed for old fashioned cocktails; a citrusy Oleo Saccharum, for Tom Collins cocktails; a sweet and spicy Honeysuckle & Peppercorns, for margaritas and agave products; and a refreshing Mint & Lemon Verbena, for Mojitos or mint juleps. Although the syrups are crafted with specific cocktails in mind, they also work well with various types of spirits.

Max and Lauren still produce the syrups, employing methodologies that bartenders used in the past. “We’ve tried other methods, and we found that the old ways are the best ways,” Max says. Lauren adds, “These are a labor of love, but in the end, we’re making a product that we’re very proud of.”

Each Cocktail & Sons syrup is made using local ingredients, including raw sugar from Three Brothers Farm in Youngsville. “We find the terroir of this state when it comes to sugar is pretty amazing,” Max says. “We really want to involve the Louisiana agricultural output.” The four core syrups are available year-round with seasonal flavors introduced periodically, such as King Cake and Fassionola during Carnival season and strawberry season, respectively.

Rosy Citrus Punch
Yields: 12 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ice block (see tip)
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle whiskey
  • 1 (8-ounce) bottle Cocktail & Sons Oleo Saccharum
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice (see note)
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle sparkling brut rosé wine
  • Garnish: lemon slices
Instructions
  1. Add ice block to punch bowl. Top with whiskey, Oleo Saccharum, and lemon juice. Stir gently to combine. Ladle into punch or rocks glasses and top with ice and wine. Garnish with lemon.
Notes
For a bigger citrus pop, add some more fresh lemon juice, to taste.

WHERE TO FIND IT:

Cocktail & Sons syrups can be purchased at cocktailandsons.com. Visit their website for an updated list of national vendors.

MAKE AN ICE BLOCK:

To make an ice block, freeze water in a square or rectangular container, or whatever sized container will best fit your punch bowl.

Whimsical bundt pans make beautiful ice blocks.

Whether it’s a Sazerac, Ramos gin fizz, or a daiquiri, a cocktail is a combination of alcoholic spirits and flavorings—and in the mid-19th century that usually meant water, sugar, and bitters. That is until Italian immigrant Joseph Santini added citrus to the mix to create the Brandy Crusta at New Orleans’ Exchange Hotel.

Santini also made use of the cutting-edge technology of the time, manufactured ice, which had only recently become widely available enough to be used at a hotel like the Exchange (which later became the illustrious St. Louis Hotel).

The Brandy Crusta, named for the crust of sugar on the rim, was one of the first cocktails to include ice, simple syrup, and, surprisingly enough, citrus juice (which was previously relegated to the punch bowl). All of those elements came together to illustrate the height of the bartending craft.

In present-day New Orleans, bartenders Neal Bodenheimer and Kirk Estopinal run a few of the most admired cocktail dens in the city, where they pay homage to the classics and mix up fresh ideas all the time. Their empire of potent potables started with Cure on Freret Street in 2009 and has since expanded to  Cane & Table (a Caribbean-inspired bar and restaurant).

Here, they demonstrate the classic, bracing-yet-balanced Brandy Crusta, and a Caribbean variation by the venerable cocktail writer Charles H. Baker Jr., combining sweet, grassy rhum agricole and lime juice. While the garnish of coiled whole citrus peel looks complicated, it is actually quite easy to achieve with a y-shaped vegetable peeler. And make sure to rim the glass with a generous coating of sugar, it not only looks gorgeous but also balances out the tart tipple.

Brandy Crusta
Yields: 1 serving
 
Ingredients
  • Sugar (for rimming glass)
  • 1 orange, rinsed and dried
  • 2 ounces brandy
  • ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ½ ounce dry orange liqueur*
  • ¼ ounce Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
  • Dash maraschino liqueur
Instructions
  1. In a small shallow bowl, place sugar. Fill another shallow bowl with water. Dip the rim of a coupe glass in water, then into sugar.
  2. Using a Y-shaped vegetable peeler, peel orange in one piece, starting at the top. Reserve orange flesh for another use.
  3. In a cocktail shaker, combine brandy, lemon juice, orange liqueur, Simple Syrup, and maraschino liqueur. Add ice, and cover; shake until cold, and strain into prepared glass. Coil the orange peel, and carefully add to glass.
Notes
*We used Curaçao.

Simple Syrup
Yields: 1 cup
 
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool completely.

 

Martinique Crusta

 

Martinique Crusta
Yields: 1 serving
 
Ingredients
  • Sugar (for rimming glass)
  • 1 lime, rinsed and dried
  • 2 ounces rhum agricole blanc*
  • ¼ ounce Martinique cane syrup*
  • Dash maraschino liqueur
Instructions
  1. In a small shallow bowl, place sugar. Fill another shallow bowl with water. Dip the rim of a coupe glass in water, then into sugar.
  2. Using a Y-shaped vegetable peeler, peel lime in one piece, starting at the top. Set aside peel, and juice lime.
  3. In a cocktail shaker, combine rhum, ¾ ounce lime juice, cane syrup, and maraschino liqueur. Add ice, and cover; shake until cold, and strain into prepared glass. Coil the lime peel, and carefully add to glass.
Notes
*We used Neisson Rhum Agricole Blanc 50%. A Louisiana cane syrup, such as Poirier’s, may be substituted. Combine ¼ cup syrup with 2 tablespoons water; cover and refrigerate until using.

For more fascinating New Orleans cocktail history, lore, and more, check out Lift Your Spirits: A Celebratory History of Cocktail Culture in New Orleans by Elizabeth M. Williams and Chris McMillian (Louisiana State University Press, 2016).

Located near the Southern Food & Beverage Museum on the quickly developing Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard corridor in Central City New Orleans, Primitivo is coming into its own. The restaurant by Adolfo Garcia and Chef Nick Martin has an inspired cocktail menu that includes barrel-aged cocktails, seasonal specials, and drinks like the Nuevo Tango, which use a house-made spiced rum.

Nuevo Tango
Yields: 1 serving
 
Courtesy of Primitivo, New Orleans
Ingredients
  • 1½ ounces Spiced Rum (recipe follows)
  • ¾ ounce Ginger Syrup (recipe follows)
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
  • Garnish: lime wedge, Amargo-Vallet bitter liqueur*
Instructions
  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine Spiced Rum, Ginger Syrup, and lime juice. Add ice; cover and shake until cold. Strain into a Collins glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a lime wedge and 4 to 6 dashes Amargo-Vallet bitter liqueur, if desired.

*Angostura bitters may be substituted.
Spiced Rum
Yields: 4 cups
 
Ingredients
  • black peppercorns
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa nibs
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 cardamom pod, split
  • 2 (4x1-inch) pieces orange peel, pith removed
  • 1 (1-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 (1-liter) bottle Puerto Rican gold rum*
  • 1 handful Jim Beam wood chips
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, combine peppercorns, allspice, clove, cocoa nibs cinnamon, and cardamom; heat over medium heat until fragrant. In a large glass jar, combine toasted spices, orange peel, ginger, rum, and wood chips; cover and let stand for 2 days.
  2. Strain through a double-layer of cheesecloth, discarding solids. Add vanilla. Store in a cool, dark place.

*We used Don Q Gold Rum.
Ginger Syrup
 
Instructions
  1. Peel and chop a 4- to 5-inch piece fresh ginger, and place in the work bowl of a food processor; process until smooth. Transfer ginger to a piece of cheesecloth and squeeze out 2 ounces of liquid, discarding solids. In a small saucepan, heat ¾ cup water and ¾ cup sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, and let stand until cool. Add ginger juice, cover, and refrigerate until cold. Ginger Syrup will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.

You can find more Louisiana inspired drinks in our newest issue of Louisiana Cookin’.

This Hemingway Cocktail from Palace Café is a classic!

Palace Café’s Hemingway Cocktail
Author: 
Yields: 1 serving
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 1½ ounces white rum*
  • 1½ ounces Simple Syrup
  • ½ ounce Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
  • 1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • Garnish: grapefruit twist
Instructions
  1. In the container of a blender, place ice, rum, Simple Syrup, liqueur, and juices; blend at high speed until smooth. Pour into a glass, and garnish with a grapefruit twist, if desired.
Notes

Simple Syrup
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Let cool to room temperature before using. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Makes 1½ cups.

 

The Sweet Tea Simple Syrup really makes this icy Hurricane cocktail. 

Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter
Author: 
Yields: 1 serving
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups ice
  • 1 ounce Old New Orleans Crystal Rum
  • 1 ounce Jasmine Earl Grey Sweet Tea Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
  • ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ½ ounce passion fruit purée*
  • ½ teaspoon Peychaud’s bitters
Instructions
  1. In the container of a blender, place all ingredients; blend at high speed until smooth.
Notes
* We used El Sabor frozen passion fruit purée. If fresh passion fruit is available, process with a juicer, discarding solids.

Jasmine Earl Grey Sweet Tea Simple Syrup
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 Jasmine Earl Grey tea bags
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water and sugar to boil; stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let stand until cool. Add tea bags; cover and let steep for 12 hours at room temperature. Remove tea bags. Cover and chill up to 2 weeks.

 

You’ll want to make this frosé by the gallon.

Willa Jean’s Frosé Y’all
Author: 
Yields: 2 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups ice
  • ¾ cup rosé wine
  • ¼ cup Simple Syrup
Instructions
  1. In the container of a blender, place all ingredients; blend at high speed until smooth. Pour into glasses, and serve 
with straws.

Simple Syrup
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Let cool to room temperature before using. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Makes 1½ cups.

 

This Frozen Negroni is the perfect treat to cool off your summer.

Henri’s Frozen Negroni
Author: 
Yields: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces Luxardo Bitter liqueur
  • 4 ounces Oryza Gin
  • 4 ounces sweet vermouth*
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 6 cups crushed ice
  • Garnish: orange peel
Instructions
  1. In the container of a blender, place Luxardo Bitter liqueur, gin, vermouth, and sugar; blend at high speed until sugar is fully incorporated. Add ice, and blend until smooth. Garnish with expressed orange peel, if desired.
Notes
*We used Miro Vermut Rojo.

 

This Georgia O’Keeffe Daiquiri belongs on your summer bucket list.

Georgia O'Keeffe Daiquiri
Author: 
Yields: 1 serving
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried hibiscus
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½ cups crushed ice
  • 2 ounces rosé wine
  • 2 ounces brewed hibiscus tea
  • 1 ounce Cathead Honeysuckle vodka
  • ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice
  • ½ ounce St-Germain
  • Garnish: fresh sage
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine dried hibiscus and 1 cup hot water. Let stand for at least 20 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding solids. Add sugar, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Let hibiscus syrup cool to room temperature before using. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
  2. In the container of a blender, combine ice, wine, 2 ounces hibiscus syrup, tea, vodka, lemon juice, lime juice, and St-Germain; blend at high speed until smooth. Pour into a glass, and garnish with sage, if desired.