The Campari Old-Fashioned

I have done such a complete 180 on Campari over the last few years... actually, sometimes I fear that it's not so much that I've done a 180 on Campari as I've suffered from a life-long brain-fart conflation between Campari and Pimm's. Because they're both russet-toned and from the other side of the ocean, just like Communists, and my memory really started going to pot when I hit 34. The point is, I will still look at you sideways if you tell me you really love Pimm's Cups and probably ask to see your papers because you're clearly a pond-jumping toffer, but I will toast with you the whole night through if you tell me you love Negronis and Americanos. (Which are from Italy, I realize... logic's not my strong suit today.)

It's clear I've also been on a bit of an old-fashioned kick lately, probably because whiskey drinks on the rocks are inherently winter-appropriate, to my mind, and not terribly elaborate to make. This Campari Old-Fashioned is super-easy to make and gives you a reason to pull the Campari bottle down from the shelf between the months of November and April.

Not much to it? I guess, maybe. I can't hit them all out of the park, people, nor do I necessarily want to. Maybe I've just got a case of the Mondays today, or maybe I'm mixocologically burned out from making my neighbor World's Greatest Cosmoplitans over the weekend. Whatever. C is for Campari, that's good enough for me.

The Campari Old-Fashioned

2 ounces Campari

1/4 ounce simple syrup

1/4 ounce honey syrup

2 dashes Peychuad's Bitters

Orange peel, to garnish

Build drink over ice in highball, stir briskly, garnish with orange peel.

Tasting Notes

Honey syrup is just equal parts honey and water cooked down, the way you'd cook down any simple syrup. Its purpose is mainly to make honey easier to work with since it's sludgy thickness makes it unwieldy.

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The Hot Cha!

In Montreal, Halloween's a very big deal. Like NO-SCHOOL-THE-DAY-AFTER! big (candy hangover NOMMMMM...).

We'll be spending tonight seated in front of our duplex with one of our upstairs neighbors, treats at the ready. (Smarties, the world's greatest candy, am I right?) He informed us that this is tradition around here, because it prevents us all from going crazy hearing our doorbells go off 300 times in one night. I swear to you, in my 15 1/2 years of postcollegiate adulthood, spent in 13 previous apartments, I have never had a single Halloween customer come to my door! I'm so excited!

Yes it is cold here in Canada on the day before November -- although, jeez, nothing like y'all are getting in the NYC <--> DC Eastern corridor; say hello to balmy Quebec! -- so after telling myself I must wear my Under Armour tonight, the second thing I told myself was to concoct a hot cocktail, something sippable from a Thermos.

When I worked at Redbook ages ago, I once edited a piece on healthy winter snacks. (Ask your Grandma if you're not sure what Redbook is.) One of them was to heat up a glass of cranberry juice in the microwave and sprinkle some cinnamon in it. It's actually quite good and for some reason I've always remembered that, so that's what came to mind for the Hot Cha! The rest pretty much wrote itself, almost as if I were possessed... by ghosts... OOOOoooooOOOOO!

The Hot Cha!

1 1/4 ounces Busnel Fine Calvados

3/4 ounces The Arran Malt Single Malt Scotch Whiskey

4 ounces cranberry juice

1/2 ounce honey lemon water

3 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters

1 cinnamon stick

1 orange peel

Heat the cranberry juice, orange peel and cinnamon stick in the microwave together for a minute-ish. While that's nuking, mix the Scotch, Calvados, bitters and honey lemon water in a separate vessel and stir vigorously without ice. Combine the two in a Thermos, or a baby bottle if you want to go as a drunk baby this Halloween.

Tasting Notes

We're fans of the Arran Scotch around here; we also don't keep many other Scotches in the house. Sean recommends Dewar's as a great pick for this recipe because of its bite.

To make honey lemon water, just stir honey, water and a couple lemon slices in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it's cooked down to a consistency somewhere between the honey and the water. I use two parts water to one part honey.

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The Collective

A fun perk of being a cocktail blogger is receiving tipsy texts from friends informing me of what they're drinking at that very moment. That's how I heard about The Collective, via a particular text that wound up kicking off an early-Friday, at-home happy hour for me, as it was sent by a teacher friend who starts a-drinkin' soon after the three o'clock bell.

As I've mentioned before, I've got issues with scotch. Besides the fact that I drank too much of it in my youth, I really never think about it for cocktails because, you know, why not bourbon? But the Collective's ingredients, as texted to me, seemed like something that my bartending acumen and my palate could handle. I love that its components are all non-fussy -- no need for a special trip to the liquor store, Other Friends Who Have Texted Or Otherwise Communicated With Me To Complain About Making Special Trips To The Liquor Store!

The Collective is smooth at the start and sour with a little friction on the finish. It's got a really nice body; my raw egg white seemed to enjoy being a part of this drink more than most, producing a lovely and long-lasting head (that's what she said). I highly recommend this one for novice and seasoned cocktailers alike.

The Collective

(Adapted from Ward III)

2 ounces Dewar's

3/4 ounces Stock sweet vermouth

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon honey water

About 1 tablespoon egg white

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake with great vigor for about a minute. Strain into cocktail glass.

Tasting Notes:

Making honey water is totes easy. It's just equal parts honey and steaming-hot water mixed together (I used my little finger-sized whisk) for all of 10 seconds.

On my first attempt at this recipe, I used a whole ounce of lemon juice. It wasn't too much; it was just a bit more lemon-forward than I would prefer. However, if you are at all scotch-phobic, an extra bit of lemon might make a nice entree into this drink.

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