An Inquisitive Q & A with Famed Mixologist Elliott Clark Accents This Special Spirits Guide
The wondrously festive yuletide season is here and thus holiday soirees and parties are kicking into high gear. As you plan to host your family and friends in your beautiful home for a special holiday gathering, you want to create spectacular cocktails to remember. Surely you would want intriguing ideas on not only the drinks themselves, but marvelous barware to complement them.
Enter Elliott Clark, an exceptional experimental mixologist, founder of Apartment Bartender, and a Cooper & Thief Cellarmasters mixology partner. The Apartment Bartender was established to curate and manage premium drink and lifestyle experiences through world class content, events, and recipes. Elliott developed a comprehensive process that would manage each facet of the drink experience from idea to execution. His years in the spirits industry and expert insight offers consumers and clients the most amazing experiences ever. As a person of influence, I asked Elliott to share why we so love entertaining and creating that special holiday cocktail as we segue into this special spirits gift guide for the season.
Can you share the concept of your trendsetting company?
Apartment Bartender is about Great Drink and Great Living. We focus on making the world of spirits and cocktails more accessible to our audience in a creative and positive way.
How can our readers find your great cocktail recipes to create at home?
I tend to share cocktail recipes and stories from my travels at ApartmentBartender.com. Please click on this link.- https://apartmentbartender.com/blog/
Why are wine cocktail recipes a good idea for the holidays?
People love creative drink options during the holidays, and wine cocktails never disappoint. For example, Cooper & Thief Red Blend is aged in ex-bourbon barrels, giving the wine a rich, jammy flavor that perfectly complements recipes like the Old Fashioned or Hot Toddy. Whether you’re making creative recipes with Cooper & Thief, or even low proof cocktails with fortified wines and aperitifs, there are options for everyone.
What is important to have when creating the best holiday cocktails?
Creating tasty holiday cocktails is also about your toolkit. Most bartender bags or bar roll-ups are functional, but they’re not stylish at all. On the flipside, the stylish bartender bags aren’t all that functional. The Billykirk x Cooper & Thief Bartender Bag fits both criteria. I’ll be using this bag for a long time to come.
Why is it fun to create cocktails at home for the holidays?
Creating cocktails for my friends and family is my way of bringing camaraderie, and contributing to the gathering. There’s no better time to do that than during the holidays! It’s important to stick to creative, but simple recipes though, because you don’t want to miss the entire party!
Cooper & Thief
For your holiday party, dazzle your guests with a Cooper & Thief Red Blend Swizzle. The blend itself includes Syrah, Merlot, Zinfindel, Petit Sirah, and Malbec. To make the Swizzle, start with these INGREDIENTS: 1 oz Cooper & Thief Red Blend Aged in Ex-Bourbon Barrels, 1 ½ oz Pisco, ¾ oz, Cinnamon Syrup, ¾ oz Lemon Juice, and 3–4 dashes of Angostura Bitters. Here’s the METHOD: Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake to chill. Strain into a Snifter Glass over crushed ice, and garnish with freshly grated cinnamon, mint, and an orange peel. Want to be a hit at the party? Take along your bottle and the stylish Billykirk x Cooper & Thief Bartender Bag. The company partnered with Billykirk to introduce this limited-edition leather carry-all. It has all of your essential mixology tools as well as a hidden compartment for storing your wine.
Having this wonderful brand of barware in your home is a great idea. The entire Viski line exudes class and elegance. Items to consider for your holiday gale include the Admiral Deco Liquor Decanter which holds wine or whiskey and its trendy companion tumbler set of four create from lead-free crystal. The Belmont Champagne Saber, inspired by 19th century French Tradition, has a curved stainless-steel blade and wood handle. Complete your barware set with the Viski Professional™ Lewis Ice Bag and Mallet and Muddled Cocktail Barware.
A super-premium vodka, Belvedere vodka has been produced since 1910 in one of the longest continuously operating Polish distilleries. Created using superior grade Polska rye and water from its very own pristine local source, it is 100% natural. For your holiday parties, you have a vast choice in that it features Intense, Single Estate Rye: Smogory Forest, Single Estate Rye Lake Bartezek, Limited Editions such as Night Saber, Bespoke Silver Saber, and Midnight Saber as well as Blends including Peach Nectar, Wild Berry, Mango Passion, Pink Grapefruit, Citrus, and Ginger Zes.
Moët & Chandon
Moët & Chandon, a French fine winery, is celebrating its 150th anniversary with the IMPÉRIAL BRUT 150TH Anniversary Limited Edition Bottle and Gift Box. The champagne was created in 1869 and named in honor of Napoleon, a close friend of the Champagne House’s Moët family. Having bright fruity aromas inclusive of apple, pear, white peach and citrus, it will be perfect for your holiday cocktail. Try this recipe. Add 15ml Agave Syrup, 2 Dashes Grapefruit Bitters, 1 Dash Orange Flower Water, and 100ml Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut. Pour all the ingredients into the Moët Impérial 150th anniversary Coupe and top with Champagne. Garnish with a sprig of “Queen Anne’s Lace” which is also known as “wild carrot”.
Created by Bruichladdich Distillery, this artisanal Islay gin has nine customary gin aromatics of berries, barks, seeds, and peels of 22 locally hand-collected wild Islay botanicals. When your guests drop by your home this Christmas, craft the Ginning for You cocktail especially for them. INGREDIENTS: 1.5oz The Botanist Gin, .5oz Fresh Lemon, .5oz Cinnamon Syrup, 2oz Hot Water, and 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters. Add all ingredients to mug. Stir with cinnamon stick and serve. To make Cinnamon syrup — 1:1 sugar to water. Add cinnamon sticks. Bring to Boil, then turn off and let sit for 10 minutes to infuse cinnamon. Serve when cooled.
Jeio by Bisol Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG
This wine was introduced by the iconic Bisol winery which dates back to 1542. With winemaking traditions going back 500 years, the company produces internationally renowned Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG crus. Inspired by Desiderio Bisol, whose wife affectionately referred to him as Jeio, the Jeio line also includes the Cuvee Rose and Prosecco Brut. The Prosecco Superiore TASTING NOTES include: Color ~ Brilliant, bright straw yellow with a fine and lively perlage. Bouquet ~ Elegant and pleasant with an enjoyable fruitiness and nuances of ripe yellow fruit. Flavor ~ Mellow, elegant, flavored and true to the bouquet provided by its marked fruitiness. Serve at a temperature of 8 C (46 F) in a flute. It is ideal as an aperitif.
There are numerous holiday cocktails you can create using Cointreau which contains all-natural sweet and bitter orange peels. In fact, the orange liqueur has been used in more than 350 cocktail concoctions created internationally. Popular drinks include the Margarita, Sidecar and Cosmopolitan. For this season’s celebration, create their Rasberry Thyme Margarita. The INGREDIENTS include: 1 oz Cointreau, 1.5 oz blanco tequila, 75 oz fresh lemon juice, 3 raspberries, and 2 sprigs thyme.
Appease the brewski lovers who visit your home for the holidays by serving Allagash Beer. The award-winning, independent craft brewery creates Belgian-style ales and has tastings seven days a week in Portland, Maine. The founder, Rob Tod received the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional 2019. Discover the unique taste of the Allagash White with citrus and spice, Curieux with aged Allagash Tripel in oak bourbon barrels, River Trip with hop-forward grapefruit and stone fruit, and Barrel & Bean with 2-row malted barley and hopped with Nugget and Hallertau.
The Cocktail Box Co
Cocktail creating life has never been easier with the ingredients of this premium cocktail kit. You can easily make a Moscow Mule, Gin & Tonic, Old-Fashioned, and Champagne Cocktail. The Home Mixology Bartending Kit includes Each ‘Home Mixology Bartender Kit includes a 550ml Shaker Cup, Hawthorne Strainer, 1oz/0.50oz Jigger, Muddler, Bar Mixing Spoon, Cork Opener Tool, 2Pouring Spouts, and The Cocktail Box Co. Signature Old Fashioned Cocktail Kit.
Fischer & Wieser Gewürztraminer
This year, Fischer & Wieser celebrates its 50th anniversary of “inspiring your culinary adventure”. Known for its award-winning sauces, condiments, and preserves, it recently launched its Culinary Adventure Wine Collection. It includes the Dry Riesling, Sangiovese, König Red, and Gewürztraminer. The latter’s name derives from the small village of Tramin in a German speaking locale in northern Italy. An aromatic wine with mango, lychee, and sweet ginger flavors, it can be paired with ingredients encompassing ginger, clove, or curry. For a unique holiday dinner, it will especially complement the delectable Red Curry Shrimp & Pineapple recipe made with Fischer & Wieser Dr. Foo’s Thai Red Curry Sauce. Create a Gewürztraminer Spritzer with a recipe for your guests with the following INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup Gewürztraminer, 1 tablespoon blueberry syrup, Ice, 6–8 blueberries, and 1/4 cup lemon-flavored seltzer. Combine wine and blueberry syrup in a cocktail glass. Stir. Add ice and blueberries. Gently pour in lemon seltzer and serve.
The Wand™ Wine Filter and The Wave™ Wine Filter
Each of your guests can enjoy wine at your holiday party with the use of these two products by PureWine Inc. Father and son duo Dr. David Meadows and Derek Meadows suffered from wine headaches and allergic reactions to red, white, rosé and sparkling wines. The filters they created removed the histamines and sulfites without altering the chemistry of the wine. The Wand™ is used in a glass of wine and The Wave™ for a bottle of wine.
HOST® FREEZE™ Glasses, Cups and More
Take the seasonal celebration outdoors and beyond with HOST® Wine FREEZE™ Cooling Cups and several other cooling products. Refrigerate the cup for at least two hours to keep your red wine between 58- and 60-degrees Fahrenheit. Freeze HOST® Wine FREEZE™ Cooling Cups for at least two hours to keep white wine between 43- and 53-degrees Fahrenheit. Each glass is constructed with an insulated silicone band for handling ease. The Cooling Pint Glasses feature a proprietary cooling gel to keep beverages chilled for hours. Other products include Bottle BubbleÂ® Freeze Ice Tote, Beer FREEZE™ Cooling Cups , Margarita FREEZE™ Cooling Cups, Martini FREEZE™ Cooling Cups, and Whiskey FREEZE™ Cooling Cups.
Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka
Cathead Distillery, founded by friends and blues fans Austin Evans and Richard Patrick in Jackson, MS in 2010, is the first legal distillery in the state of Mississippi. Master Distiller Phillip Ladner oversees the production of Cathead Original Vodka, Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka, Cathead Pecan Vodka, Bristow Gin, Bristow Barrel Aged Gin, Hoodoo Chicory Liquor, and Old Soul Bourbon Whiskey. Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka is produced in small batches using all-natural ingredients. As you host your Christmas soiree, consider preparing the Amber Leaf cocktail. The recipe is courtesy of High Hat Cafe in New Orleans, Louisiana. INGREDIENTS: 1oz Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka, .5oz Cathead Vodka, .75oz Apple Shrub*, Amber beer, Dash of Vanilla, Instructions: Combine ingredients and top off with an amber beer, a dash of vanilla. Garnish with 2 dried apples and sprinkle cinnamon on top. For Apple Shrub ingredients, combine .5 cup brown sugar, 1 cup sugar, 1.5 cup chopped apples, and 1.5 cup apple cider vinegar. Place all ingredients in a pan on low simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and blend in blender until smooth. Strain 3 times.
Collins Mixers and Garnishes
Your Holiday Happy Hour can get more exciting with Collins mixers, garnishes, and such. For the past 85 years, cocktail products such as mixers, syrups, olives, cherries, sugars, salts, and hot buttered rum has been produced. Signature mixers include the Frosé Mix, Jalapeño Margarita, and Grapefruit Margarita.
2016 Mullan Road Cellars Red Blend
Dennis Cakebread hails from a family of winemakers. His family founded Cakebread Cellars in 1973. A 40+ year veteran of Napa Valley, he formed Mullan Road Cellars. The Red Blend is a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Having dark aromas of black cherry, cassis, vanilla bean and juniper berry, deeper scents of sweet black cherry pie, blackcurrant and a touch of spice, this wine will make for a special touch at your special holiday party. Other wines include their 2012 Cabernet Franc, 2013 Merlot LIMITED and VINTAGE.
Yes Cocktail Co.
These natural ready-to-serve mixers and syrups have no artificial preservatives or ingredients. At your holiday party, add your favorite liquor to the likes of Hot Buttered Rum, Cranberry Spice, Ginger Snap, Sugarplum, Lavender Honey, Hibiscus Rose, and Passion Fruit mixers and syrups.
This holiday season, when the party’s over, conveniently protect your unused Chardonnay, Pinot, Cabernet or other wine with Wine Condoms . This wildly popular sensation has been featured on international television shows and in global publications. Differing from corks and decorative stoppers, its seal is flushed with the rim which allows for simpler storage in your cooler or fridge. Launched in 2013 by Mitch Strahan, a millennial, and his single mom Laura Bartlett, Wine Condoms make for great gifts for holidays, birthdays, bridal showers, and more. Bartlett, a Dallas area stand-up comedian and founder/exec producer of Four Funny Females, an award-winning all-female stand-up comedy troupe, and Mitch aim to make “the most uptight wine snobs smile — one condom at a time.”
Leslie E. Royal is an author, international freelance writer, product review expert, social media influencer, and global travel journalist. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications including: ESSENCE, Black Enterprise, FORTUNE.com, AAA Southern Traveler, Upscale, Upscale Living, and The Ashro Blog. She is the creator of the Leslie’s Lane consumer information blog and author of two books: Leslie Lane The Book!: Your One Stop Internet Resource Guide to Links for Jobs, Inspiration, Discounts, FREE Stuff, Scholarships, Travel & More ( $14.95) — How to Write and Self-Publish Your Book for FREE with Amazon’s KDP: An Easy Way to Complete Your Manuscript in Seven Stress-Free Steps (Leslie’s Lane Inc.) ($9.95) Follow Leslie! Instagram and Amazon Author page