Monday, February 11, 2013

Whiskey, Three Ways: Lovely Booze-y Cocktails for Valentine's Day ... or Anytime

When I was invited by the Four Seasons to participate in their Taste by Four Seasons Valentine's Day virtual cocktail class  it took me about thislong to say "yes!" After all, the featured ingredient was to be whiskey - in this case, Knob Creek Rye Whiskey. And you know me.

Bourbon, whiskey, Scotch ... I love it all, whether neat or in a well crafted cocktail, and given that participants would be learning recipes from three Four Seasons mixologists, I felt confident that these cocktails would be beautifully balanced. I was absolutely correct in that assumption.

Also. Just look at the booty I got. All that good stuff in the photo above arrived the morning of the webinar - the whiskey, bitters, Cointreau, Famous Grouse, blackcurrant liqueur,  champagne, wine, and my new favorite thing, Dale DeGroff pimento bitters. The possibilities!

And so, with these sweet bar supplies, also provided by the Four Seasons folks ...

... I sat down to follow along as each mixologist led the participants through their respective creation.

First up: the Adam & Eve from Duane Sylvestre of Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons in Washington, DC. This one is a two-for-one drink, as the Eve is actually made from the Adam, as per the biblical myth.
The addition of Champagne makes this, at first blush,  perhaps the most conventionally romantic V-day cocktail, but the pimento bitters give this a layer of complexity and interest that take it beyond the expected.

You will need: 
 Pint glass, bar spoon, strainer, paring knife, ice, rocks glass, Champagne glass

2 oz (60 ml) Knob Creek Rye Whiskey
1-½ oz (45 ml) Cointreau
3 dashes Dale Degroff’s Pimento Bitters
4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
Lemon peel
4 to 5 oz. of Piper Heidsieck Champagne

Add above ingredients (except the Champagne) into the mixing glass. Add ice and stir with the bar spoon. Place the strainer on top of the pint glass and strain about 1 ½ oz (45 ml) into chilled champagne flute (Eve) and strain the balance into a chilled rocks glass (Adam). Top Eve with Piper Heidsieck Champagne and garnish both Adam and Eve with a lemon twist.*

* Cutting one smaller twist from the larger twist with a cutter is optional.

Next up, something that sounds like it shouldn't work but really, really does - whiskey and wine. Yes. Really. Dubbed "The Seduction," the drink is the creation of Cory Cuff of the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis. While all of the drinks would work with the right food, this is the cocktail that (I think) would pair best with a meal -  think duck or any sumptuous game meat.  This was Poppa Trix's favorite of the three (poor Poppa, always testing).

You will need: Large mixing tin, pint glass, paring knife,citrus juicer,  ½ oz (15 ml) & ¾ oz (22 ml) jigger, 1 oz (30 ml) & 2 oz (60 ml) jigger, strainer, wine key, rocks glass, ice

1 oz (30 ml) Mission Point Pinot Noir
2 oz (60 ml) Knob Creek Rye Whiskey
½ oz (15 ml) Mathilde Blackcurrant Liqueuer
½ oz (15 ml) Lemon Juice
Lemon Peel


Take bar knife and make lemon twist. Cut lemon in half and juice. Reserve. Measure and combine all ingredients except for lemon twist in Boston Shaker and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds. Using the strainer, strain the beverage into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with lemon twist.

The final drink, "The Mad-Hatten," presented by Adrian Ross-Boon of Wit and Wisdom Tavern in the Four Seasons Baltimore, was my favorite, by a nose. Anything that's inspired by a Manhattan is going to make me happy, and I loved the addition of the blackcurrant liqueur and the pimento bitters. 
You will need: Large mixing tin, pint glass, bar spoon
strainer, ½ oz (15 ml) & ¾ oz (22 ml) jigger, paring knife, martini glass
1-½ oz (45 ml) Knob Creek Rye Whiskey
½ oz (15 ml) The Famous Grouse
½ oz (15 ml) Sweet Vermouth
¼ oz (7 ml) Mathilde Blackcurrant Liqueuer
2 dashes Dale Degroff’s Pimento Bitters

Pour ingredients into pint glass and add ice. Stir for approximately 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Take peeler or paring knife and cut lemon peels about 1/2 an inch (2 cm) wide. 5. Carefully hold the peel between the thumb and forefinger and twist over the glass, peel side down, to express the citrus oil into the drink. Rub the peel around the rim of the glass to provide extra flavor. Garnish with lemon peel.

Remember, kids: You don't have to celebrate Valentine's Day, or even be in a relationship, to appreciate the goodness of whiskey. 


  1. What fun. I have always appreciated the unexpected gift of Knob. If these photos are any indication these cocktails must must be sublime. I'm intrigued by the pimento bitters....must find pimento bitters...must find...

  2. What a fabulous event. All three cocktails look amazing. Pimento bitters? Blackcurrant liqueur? YUM!

  3. Sounds awesome! I'm with you re: anything Manhattan...I love whiskeys and bourbons. I'm going to have to try the Mad-Hatten. And "The Seduction" sounds like a perfect way to finish off yesterday's red wine.

  4. Really nice booty! I am jealous. And I'll have one of each cocktail please.

  5. What a cool post. You photographs are beautiful, and the libations sound divine. Complimenti,!