Festive Cocktails from EFFEN Vodka

EFFEN_Cucumber-Cranberry Yuletide

If you’re looking for some spirits to spice up a party, flavored vodka can be a great choice. We recently discovered EFFEN Cucumber Vodka which is unlike anything we’ve tried so far. It offers a nice alternative to all the fruit-flavored vodkas out there with a more sophisticated taste. With holiday season in full swing and New Year’s Eve around the corner it’s a great option to serve or bring along to a party.

Here are some cool recipes the good folks at EFFEN shared with us.

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Holiday drinks with Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka

HOT CARAMEL BUTTERED RUMSo it’s the last weekend before Christmas, so it’s time to get serious about getting gifts.

We’re always fans about giving booze gifts, and if you’re buying for women in particular, you can’t go wrong with flavored vodka. Van Gogh has tons of great flavors, and we recently tried their delicious Dutch Caramel Vodka. Trust us – this stuff will bring a smile to her face. Even better, take some to the next holiday party you go to and you’re guaranteed to be a big hit.

While you’re at it, learn to make the cocktail picture above.

HOT CARAMEL BUTTERED RUM

Ingredients:
3 oz Ron Abuelo Añejo rum

1 oz Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka

1/4 stick Unsalted Butter, softened

2 Tbsp Brown Sugar

2 Tbsp Honey
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp Nutmeg

Cinnamon Stick

Directions:

Combine all ingredients (excluding rum and vodka) into a hot drinking cup or mug. Mix together with a spoon then add Ron Abuelo Añejo and Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka. Pour in hot water (1 cup or more to personal taste) and stir vigorously until the mixture has dissolved. Garnish with cinnamon stick.

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Weekly Web Series Review: Drunk History

Derek Waters’ “Drunk History” is one of the strangest, funniest, most absurd concepts in web series history. Playing on the inherent comedy of drunken incompetence and memory loss, each of the series’ six episodes takes a different comedic actor or writer, puts way too much booze in them, and then follows their muddled, profane accounts of important historical events. The episodes then cut between these slurred, rambling monologues and dramatic reenactments of the events, featuring famous actors such as Jack Black, Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel. The genius of these reenactments is how closely the actors follow the exact words of the inebriated nonsense that forms the basis of their script, lip-syncing the dialogue perfectly right down to the inadvertent sniffles and hiccups of the actual speaker.

The first episode features Mark Gagliardi recounting the story of Alexander Hamilton’s famous duel with Aaron Burr after drinking a bottle of Scotch. Though it is unclear how large the bottle was, it was clearly quite a bit of liquor, as he spends most of his segment reclined on a couch with a bucket nearby, just in case. Hamilton is played by a suitably innocent-looking Michael Cera in the reenactment, but the real show-stealer is Jake Johnson in a brilliantly shifty-eyed performance as the loathsome Aaron Burr. In episode 2, Eric Falconer takes on the famous story of Benjamin Franklin‘s discovery of electricity, expounding upon his theory that it was actually Franklin’s “bastard son,” William (Clark Duke), who actually flew the legendary kite with the key tied to it. This is also the series’ first instance of vomiting in the midst of the storytelling, but not its last, so be warned that the series is not for the weak-stomached. Jack Black portrays Franklin again in a special volume 2.5 episode, in which Falconer tells a hilarious tale of Franklin’s sexual deviance.

Episode 3 features Jen Kirkman‘s account of Oney Judge (Tymberlee Hill), a female slave of George Washington (Danny McBride) that is especially funny because of the way the actors incorporate Kirkman’s frequent hiccups into their performances. The fourth episode features J.D. Ryznar‘s unwise decision to drink vodka and beer together, which obviously leads to more vomiting, and his account of the U.S. president William Henry Harrison (Paul Schneider), who died after only 32 days in office. Jen Kirkman returns for episode 5, in which Don Cheadle gives a hilarious performance as Frederick Douglass; there is something especially funny about Kirkman’s slurred words coming out of this revered actor’s mouth. Finally, in episode 6, Duncan Trussell follows six beers with a half-bottle of absinthe, and more vomiting ensues. He also tells the story of Nikola Tesla (John C. Reilly) and his contentious relationship with Thomas Edison (the always intensely weird Crispin Glover).

These are the only official episodes of the series (plus a very special Christmas episode included below), so beware of the unofficial knockoffs, most of which are pretty terrible. In fact, the one I linked to there is pretty much the only one that’s watchable, and it’s still nowhere near as good as the real thing. In addition to the recognizable stars, look for Waters’ name and also that of series director Jeremy Konner to avoid being duped.

  

The Patriot Cooler with Van Gogh Cool Peach Vodka

With the Fourth of July coming up this week, it’s a good idea to prepare some summer cocktails for you and your guests at the cookout. The good folks at Van Gogh Vodka sent us some samples with their new vodka flavors to try out with some great drink recipes.

Our favorite by far was the Patriot Cooler made with Van Gogh’s new Cool Peach vodka with naturally infused peach flavor. This is one of over 20 flavored vodkas produced by Van Gogh. First we tried it on the rocks and it was delicious, and then we tried the drink recipe:

Patriotic Cooler

Mixologist: The Cocktail Guru Jonathan Pogash

1 1/2 oz. Van Gogh Cool Peach Vodka
1 oz. Pomegranate juice
2 oz. Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer

Directions: Build all ingredients over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

It’s a tasty and perfectly refreshing cocktail that will be a hit at any cookout or get together.

We then tried the PB&J flavor (that’s peanut butter and jelly), and frankly this one wasn’t nearly as good. Basically, PB&J is better off staying in the lunchbox and away from vodka. But that’s just our opinion. Hopefully next time we can try the chocolate flavor pictured below!

  

Drink of the Week: The Campari Cocktail

The Campari CocktailSo, you’re starting a new job requiring a long enough commute from your home that it will ultimately require a costly move. Then, the second day of your aforementioned lengthy commute, your car starts hesitating in stop-and-start cross county traffic. Next thing you know, you’re staring down the barrel of a big, big transmission repair bill while suddenly finding yourself with a rented Ford Focus in your driveway instead of your charmingly banged-up Buick.

When that happens, you don’t want a drink that requires a lot of fuss. It’s better if it trying it out helps finish up some nearly empty bottles, lightening your liquor load on your impending cross-megalopolis move.

So, I’ll spare you the usual classic cocktail history lesson as well as the tortured connection to current events or this weekend’s holiday. (Could any cocktail possibly be appropriate for Memorial Day, anyway?) This is clearly a time when you — by which I obviously mean “I” — want my evening cocktail to be simple, stimulating for the taste buds, and strong — which is why I’ve gone and doubled the amounts for my version of today’s DOTW. Feel free to halve it if you’re situation is different or if you’ll be driving anytime soon.

The Campari Cocktail

2 ounces Campari
1 1/2 ounces vodka (preferably 100 proof)
2 dashes aromatic bitters
Lemon or orange twist (fairly optional garnish)

Combine Campari, vodka, and bitters in a cocktail shaker. Shake as vigorously as you can manage and strain into — what else? — a chilled cocktail glass. If you like, throw in a lemon or orange twist — it can’t hurt and it might help. Sip and, if you you’re not likely to give a significant amount of your personal worth to a mechanic, thank your freaking lucky stars.

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I’ve praised the oh-so-sweet and then oh-so-bitter one-two punch of Campari before while discussing the hugely underappreciated Negroni as well as the oh-so-refreshing Americano. As the name implies, here’s a drink where the Campari flavor is really and truly front and center, perhaps too much for some folks. Certainly, replacing the gin in the Negroni with vodka (and actually using less of it), doesn’t do anything to complicate the drink or stand in the way of the Campari flavors, even if they could use a bit of leavening. That’s why I think I found adding in the stronger flavor of 100 proof Smirnoff resulted in a more satisfying taste experience as well as a more effective attitude adjuster.

Vodka-disliking cocktail snobs won’t be surprised that, while I’ve tried this drink with a number of brands, the results with the 80 proof vodkas, however, didn’t vary by much. Indeed, the very cheap Seagram’s and the much more high-endish Kettle One I used to make it didn’t really change the experience by that much. Still, since I like Campari, I’m declaring that a reason to like this drink. In fact, next week’s drink will also feature it, but it’ll be just a mite more complex…unless something else happens to my car.

  

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