Based on recent data, Virginians’ top three cocktail choices include the Manhattan, Sazerac, and Martini, with the Manhattan reigning supreme in 23 states! In honor of National Cocktail Day (3/24), we’re giving these beloved cocktails a fresh twist. While each retains its classic composition, we’ve mixed up some of the base ingredients to add flavor complexity and a little bit of gusto to your gulp.

Tiki Tango Manhattan

Ingredients:

  • Ice
  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1 ounce pineapple liquor
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 1 maraschino cherry and an umbrella to garnish

Directions:

  1. Fill a pint glass with ice. Add rye, pineapple liquor, and bitters. Stir well.
  2. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with maraschino cherry and umbrella.

Sazerac Royale

Ingredients:

  • Absinthe, to rinse
  • 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 2 ½ ounces rye whiskey
  • 4 teaspoons Earl Grey tea, divided
  • 1 ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 ½ cup sugar

Directions:

  1. Make an Earl Grey simple syrup: Steep 3 teaspoons Earl Grey in boiling water for six minutes. Add the steeped tea into a point with the sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes until thickened. Allow to cool. Store syrup in a glass container in the refrigerator.
  2. Infuse the whiskey: Infuse the rye whiskey with the remaining 1 teaspoon of Earl Grey for 2-4 hours.
  3. Make the cocktail: 
    1. Rinse a chilled rocks glass with absinthe, discard any excess, and set aside.
    2. In a mixing glass, mix 1-2 teaspoons of simple syrup and bitters.
    3. Add the tea-infused whiskey, fill the mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
    4. Strain into the prepared rocks glass.
    5. Twist the lemon peel over the drink’s surface to capture the peel’s oils and garnish with the peel.

Fire and Ice Martini

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces vodka or gin (your preference)
  • ½ ounce dry vermouth
  • 2-3 slices of fresh jalapeno (adjust to your preferred spice level)
  • Ice cubes
  • Jalapeno slice or pepperoncini, for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Begin by placing the jalapeno slices in a cocktail shaker. Use more or fewer slices depending on how spicy you want your martini to be.
  2. Muddle the jalapeno slices gently to release their spicy flavor into the cocktail.
  3. Add ice cubes to the shaker.
  4. Pour in the vodka or gin and dry vermouth.
  5. Shake the mixture vigorously for about 15-20 seconds to chill and combine the ingredients.
  6. Strain the cocktail into a chilled martini glass using a fine mesh strainer to remove any jalapeno pulp or seeds.
  7. Optionally, garnish the martini with a slice of jalapeno or a pepperoncini for a decorative touch and an extra hint of spice.
  8. Serve immediately and enjoy your spicy martini!

Feel free to adjust the amount of jalapeno slices based on your spice tolerance. You can also experiment with different types of spicy peppers or add a dash of hot sauce to customize the heat level to your liking. 

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