Thursday, November 8, 2012

5 Essential High-Proof Cocktails

We all know how much booze warms you up. 

So it makes sense that the colder the weather, the boozier the drinks! 

Wine spritzers and sangria are great for a hot summer evening, but when you're snuggling by the fire--or radiator, for us city folk--something a smidge stronger is in order. 

Michael Dietsch, at Serious Eats--our go-to for boozy inspiration--put together a list of Five High-Proof Cocktails for winter.   Let's see what they are! 


[Photograph: Jennifer Hess]

Higher-Proof Old-Fashioned

Take an old-fashioned glass and fill it with ice; then, splash in some simple syrup, dash in yer bitters, and add a healthy three ounces of whatever nice high-proof bourbon or rye that you can find. Then maybe add a small splash of water. George T. Stagg is a great choice if you can find it. This year's release tops out at 142.8 proof, or 71.4 alcohol by volume. Sip it slowly and savor it, and then go take a very long nap. If Stagg is intimidating or too expensive, or if you simply can't find it, there are several great options in the 100–110-proof range.

[Photograph: Jennifer Hess]

Higher-Proof Martini

Martinis made with high-proof gin kick ass, and not in just the obvious knock-you-under-the-porch way. Several brands now offer high-proof gin; depending on where you live, you may be able to find Plymouth Navy Strength, Martin Miller's Westbourne, Junipero, New York Distilling Company's Perry's Tot, or Royal Dock Gin. Even if you use a healthy amount of vermouth (I like a 4:1 ratio of gin to vermouth), you still get get a boozy cocktail with a rich flavor.


You build this one right, and ain't nothing in it but 100-proofers and up. Start with rye; I like Rittenhouse 100 in this. Add some applejack, preferably Laird's Bonded, also 100 proof. Finish with 110-proof green Chartreuse. Stir and strain and stand back.

[Photograph: Jennifer Hess]

Negroni / Boulevardier / Etc.

Another family of drinks that's all booze. The Negroni, of course, is gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari. The Boulevardier is similar, with bourbon (or rye), vermouth, and Campari.
Another variant is the Kingston Negroni, from Death & Co. in NYC. The Kingston Negroni is even boozier than the original. It calls for Smith and Cross Jamaica Rum, a rich Navy-strength rum bottled at 57% alcohol by volume. This gets mixed with Campari and Carpano Antica sweet vermouth.

[Photograph: star5112 on Flickr]

Last Word

Another drink that capitalizes on richly herbaceous (and boozy) Chartreuse. This one blends gin (a high-proofer here will work nicely, but it's not necessary), lime juice, green Chartreuse, and maraschino liqueur.

Read more about high-proof cocktails!
About the authorMichael Dietsch approaches life with a hefty dash of bitters. He resides, physically, in Brooklyn, New York, and digitally on Twitter at @dietsch.                                        

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