Top Ten: Cocktails we love!

(posted by Emily) 

**Disclaimer: I am in no way an expert wine and spirits writer. The information we are sharing today is solely based on our new-found appreciation for a good drink, following a month spent in Europe last summer!**

If you want to check out my favorite expert on the subject, visit Kelly's gorgeous website--an amazing woman, and so incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about all things wine, spirits, and gourmet!

So, there are many things to love about a European vacation. The sights, the smells, the food. Our particular favorite? The embrace of a good cocktail as a part of the daily routine. 

To share our love of the cocktail with you, we're rounding up ten of our favorites with this latest top ten list. Salud! 

Top Ten: Cocktails we love!

1) Pimms - Most of you know our time in London has firmly cemented Pimms into our regular repertoire of most-enjoyed drinks. However, if you are new around here, you should definitely try some yourself! There are multiple varieties of summer cup style liquors, but Pimms No. 1 and Sipsmith's Summer Cup are probably our favorites. We've been known to stop at a bar solely because they offer a Pimms Cup on the menu

2) Aperol Spritz - Another favorite discovered in Venice last summer. Most common in Northeast Italy, a spritz combines prosecco, a bitter liqueur like Campari or Aperol, and sparkling mineral water. We save them for special occasions at home, since opening a bottle of prosecco means committing to drinking the whole thing before it goes flat! 

3) Martini - Rick got a cocktail shaker for Christmas and has enjoyed experimenting with martinis, finding the exact amount of vermouth and olive juice he prefers in his drink. Our Trader Joe's has started carrying both dry and sweet vermouths, which keeps the process affordable, too! Be cautious when ordering abroad however--many bars in SE Asia have "Martini" on the menu, but they really mean Martini brand vermouth! That is quite a surprise when it shows up to your table :)

4) Negroni - My experiments with said cocktail shaker have been of the Negroni variety, since it combines my favorites, Aperol or Campari and Gin. I do usually top mine off with sparkling water at home, since the 3 parts of pure alcohol can be a bit much. 

5) Sweet Tea Vodka - My dad is a sweet tea vodka fan and has always raved about it. Well, we finally took his suggestion for ourselves and gave it a try. We were not disappointed! It's perfect with lemonade, for a John Daly spin on the Arnold Palmer!

6) Scotch/Whiskey/Bourbon - Again, Rick's area of expertise. He likes his scotch/whiskey/bourbon on the rocks, and always finds the best deals on bottles at Costco of all places! 

7) Belgian beer (Delirium Red or Frambroise Lambic, to be specific) - Thanks to our time in Belgium, we now know for a fact that Belgian beer is the best in the world. We were so excited to find Delirium Red in Chicago at Thanksgiving, and have a few bottles saved for special occasions! I am the lambic fan in the family, since sour beers are my favorite!

8) Port - Another Dad suggestion, port pairs perfectly with cigars. We haven't enjoyed the two together yet, but have enjoyed port on the plane and at home! 

9) Gimlet - Made with gin and lime juice, the gimlet is a simple drink that has all the things I like--sour, a bit of sweet, gin, and some bubbles!

10) Anything on the cocktail menu at Hudson House - A local gastropub from Top Chef runner-up, Brooke Williamson, Hudson House has great artisanal food and cocktails. Rick' favorite is the Smoky Bourbon (HOUSE SINGLE BARREL BOURBON, HOUSE CHIPOTLE SYRUP, BITTERS, COFFEE ROCK, ORANGE TWIST) while I usually order the Provence (GIN, JASMINE LIQUOR, LAVENDER BITTERS, LEMON). 

Honorable Mention: Two Buck Chuck - yes, I know it's borderline awful, but the Nouveau red and Shiraz are good enough for us once they've gone through the aerator! For a once a week bottle of wine, it doesn't break the bank! 

Don't know about you, but I'm ready for a drink! :) 


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