I received a sample bottle of Clyde May's Alabama Style Whiskey for a promotion and, like I always do, popped that bottle open and took a sip. Nice way to jump start your day, trust me. Later that afternoon I went back in for a closer experience. The nose was spicy with a hint of fruit, then caramel and chocolate chimes in and surrounded my palate with a very nice soothing note.
After that hit of chocolate I decided I was heading into having a Manhattan and, since National Chocolate Day was coming up, I decided I'd go the chocolate route by adding a bit of creme de cacao and replacing the standard Manhattan bitters with some chocolate bitters. I skipped the cherry garnish and added a hit of orange by twisting some orange peel over the top.
Quite a nice and easy cocktail but with a satisfying complexity and perfect for the start of fall.
2 Oz. Clyde May's Alabama Style Whiskey
1/2 Cinzano Rosso
1/4 Oz. White Creme de Cacao
2 Dashes Chocolate Bitters
Garnish: Orange twist
Tap the bitters over ice in a chilled Old Fashioned glass.
Pour in the Cinzano Rosso, Creme de Cacao and whiskey.
Twist some orange over the top, drop in then serve.
When I received this bottle of Nemiroff Honey Pepper Vodka I was imagining a flavor infusion of honey with black peppercorns for some reason. That might have been because here in Arizona we call any hot pepper a chile or a chile pepper, not just a pepper. And to be honest, if I hadn't gone to the website and checked out what this vodka was made from, I would still be under the impression it was a mild black pepper because the heat from the chile pepper is extremely subtle, literally almost not there until the finish. Mostly I enjoyed a heavy honey flavor with a tinge of fruit and a bit of herbal flavors in the background, then the heat came as a surprising and pleasant afterthought. The honey gives this vodka it's color and I suspect it also gives it body. There was an almost aged whiskey-like mouth feel that surprised me. If I was allowed to say only one thing about this vodka, it would be that it had substance.
I felt the vodka carried its own weight in the flavor department and decided that a cobbler style cocktail was a great way to feature that flavor without interfering too much. I also wanted to accentuate the fruit flavor a bit more so, instead of using simple syrup, I used a strawberry liqueur as my sweetener while sticking with the addition of the traditional orange slices of a typical cobbler.