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The Cocktail Whisperer – Great Ice!

Mavea "Inspired Water" Ice

I’ve long held that the quality of your ice can either make or break your cocktail.  I’ve spoken to many experts about quality ice and we all agree.  You need to control the quality of the water to make better ice.  I’m fortunate to be on a well here in NJ.  Unfortunately, well water although very pure is highly acidic and highly mineral laden.  It’s a nightmare to filter and I use several preparations to get it to the tap.  Of course I’m a fan of this water for washing, but for ice- well it’s another thing entirely.  For this I rely upon my Mavea “Inspired Water” pitcher.  Oh, I’ve tried other systems with my specific kind of tap water but to no avail.  The Mavea system makes the ice soft and creamy on the palate.  It also freezes nearly clear.  That’s a pretty big task given the nature of the aquifer.

I was working with cocktail recipes that include E.H. Taylor bottled in bond Bourbon, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth and Tenneyson Absinthe this evening.  I also played with a bottle of Peychaud’s bitters and a bottle of Bitter End Curry Bitters.  Then I added a bit of blood orange juice and the zest to this drink.  I looked at the empty glass and said to myself that this drink was truly dangerous.

So here it is.  The quality is very high so you must measure out each ingredient carefully.  Too much and the drink will be ruined!  You can always start over, preferably by pouring out the mistake into your own stomach!

A boozy proposition indeed!

The Boozy Proposition Cocktail

2 oz. Bourbon of your choice- I used EH Taylor 100 proof Bottled in Bond

1 oz. Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth

A Wash….of Tenneyson Absinthe, 1 oz. added to water and ice in the glass to cool and coat

1 Blood Orange or regular orange in a pinch

3 drops Bitter End Curry Bitters

3 shakes Peychaud’s Bitters


Fill your old fashioned glass with ice and the Tenneyson Absinthe, set aside to cool


To a cocktail vessel, fill with ice

Add the liquors and the Blood Orange juice

Add 3 shakes Peychaud’s Bitters

Add 3 drops exactly Bitter End Curry Bitters

Stir briskly to combine but not dilute

Pour out the Absinthe and water/ice mixture into your mouth preferably…

Add 2 large cubes of “Inspired Water” ice from your Mavea pitcher (you have one by now, right?)

Double strain the liquors into the the glass and garnish with a flamed Blood Orange or regular orange zest.



Warren’s first book, Apothecary Cocktails is being published by Quayside/Rockport in November 2013 for the Xmas season. He has published over three hundred articles on everything from cocktail mixology to restaurant reviews in NJ Monthly Magazine. (Served Raw, Drinking in America, DrinkGal.com, Bluewater Vodka, Purity Vodka, Botran Rum, Orleans Apple Aperitif, Marie Brizard, Art in the Age: Root, Snap, Rhuby, Hendricks Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum, Tuthilltown Spirits, Bitter Cube, Bitter Truth, Bitter End-Bitters, Bitters, Old Men…etc. etc.)
He’s written food articles and news for Edible Jersey, Chutzpah Magazine, NJ Monthly, Serious Eats, Daily Candy (Philadelphia) Rambling Epicure (Geneva, Switzerland)
Warren is the cocktail writer/mixologist for Foodista. He is a former trained chef who began as a dishwasher/potscrubber. He has also bar-tended at the four star Ryland Inn, located in NJ.
Warren is the On-Whiskey Columnist for Okra Magazine in New Orleans.
He is also a Ministry of Rum judge.
Warren is a self-taught photojournalist and shoots with the venerable Leica M8.

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