Top 5: World’s Most Popular Cocktails

A good selection of cocktails always makes for an epic party. Today’s most popular cocktails are based on a combination of iconic drinks. Here are five of the most popular cocktails in the world.

1. Caipirinha

The national drink of Brazil. It’s made with cachaça (spirit from sugar cane) or white rum, brown sugar, and lime juice. Caipirinha’s origin goes back to 1918 and is based on a remedy that was commonly used to treat Spanish flu.

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Image source: epicuriius.com

2. Mint Julep

The Mint Julep is a symbolic cocktail of the South America and is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. The mixture of bourbon, a little bit of water, powdered and granulated sugar and plenty of mints has been the popular way of consuming drinks made with this whiskey. Mint Julep’s origin goes back as far as the late 18th century.

3. Mai Tai

This Polynesian0-style cocktail has a tropical fruit punch. This drink came from the indigenous people of the Western Region of the U.S. It’s made by mixing light and dark rum, orange curacao, orgeat syrup, and lime juice. It has since been a symbol of Tiki or Tahitian culture ever since it was concocted.

4. Mojito

It became popular because of its fresh minty taste. The concoction of white rum, mint, sugar, soda, and lime juice is perfect for those who want to take it slow with the alcohol intake.

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Image source : barmano.com

5. Cosmopolitan

A modern drink, cosmopolitan surged in popularity during the last 20-30 years. The tart taste is accomplished by mixing vodka, triple sec, lime juice, and cranberry juice.

Adam Quirk is the co-founder of Cardinal Spirits, a craft spirits distillery based in Bloomington, IN. Visit this blog for more on liquor.

Ways To Add Flavor To Vodka

The problem many people have with vodka is that they perceive it to be a “boring drink”, with very little flavor. But that need not be the case. There are ways for you to add flavor to vodka. Let’s check out the steps.

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Image source: hangoverprices.com

First things first, look for a cheap bottle – the cheaper, the better. Then secure the vessel. Look for wide-mouth mason jars, which are great for infusing alcohol. Plastic jars give off “funky” flavors to alcoholic drinks, and mason jars don’t. What’s more, the wide opening of these jars can allow fruits the size of apples through it.

Next, choose your flavor. There are a multitude of flavors to choose from. Citrus has always been good with vodka. Vanilla beans with syrup or maple adds a warmer, cozier feel. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can put in chili peppers. If you’re going for spices, go for whole spices. The ground variety makes for a murky and gritty vodka. If you’re aiming to combine flavors, do your research on the measurements so as not to shock your taste buds.

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Image source: walmart.com

Now, put these ingredients in the jar and fill it with vodka before covering it tightly. It should be covered for around 3 days to a week. Do taste tests every now and then to see if it’s achieved the taste you want. Also shake the jar to speed up the process. Keep in mind that fresh ingredients make the process go faster than dried ones.

Once you feel it’s good enough, strain it and store it.

I’m Adam Quirk, and I own Cardinal Spirits, and excellent place for liquor lovers. For more on the stuff I love, follow this blog.

Healthy Drinking: The Best Liquor For The Body

Yeah sure, alcoholic beverages have earned a bad rap, with research showing them causing a number of diseases. But there have also been a number of studies, which indicate that some alcoholic beverages can, in fact, be good for the human body. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.

Vodka soda: Vodka plus soda water can keep a person from gaining those unwanted pounds. It may not be the drink of choice because many seasoned drinkers find it bland and boring, but it has fewer calories than many of the drinks out there.

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Image source: hangoverprices.com

Gin, bourbon, and whisky: Gin, like bourbon and whisky, are a lot like vodka in the sense that the caloric range is around 90 to 120 calories for every 1.5 ounces. However, gin, bourbon, and whisky are much more preferred by people simply because they have more flavor.

Mimosa and bellini: These two drinks combine champagne with either orange juice (mimosa) or peach juice (bellini). They aren’t as low calorie like vodka soda, whisky, or gin, but they have more nutritional value. For example, champagne in itself is highly antioxidant. It makes up for its calories by protecting the body. Orange juice, of course, is loaded with vitamin C (immune system fortification), potassium (muscular function improvement and hypertension reliever), folic acid (good for red blood cells), calcium (bone development), and many other healthy nutrients. Peach juice has fewer minerals, but it too is packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, and folic acid, among others.

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Image source: youtube.com

Adam Quirk is the co-founder of Cardinal Spirits, a company specializing in producing premium spirits using local ingredients. Learn more about Cardinal Spirits and alcoholic beverages by checking out this blog.

Malting our way to the finest spirits

Malt is a central ingredient in making some of the finest spirits in distilleries across the world. Without it, we’d all probably be suffering from some of the most uneventful celebrations and cheers, if we’d be having them at all.

Malting is the process of converting raw grains into malt. Essentially, malt is germinated cereal grains that are activated by soaking in water. Later in the process, the germination is halted by means of aeration, or further drying with hot air.

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Image source: ecuadortimes.net

Malting grains develops the enzymes required for modifying the grain’s starches into various types of sugar, including sugar alcohols. This is why alcohols that result from malting tend to have a sweet taste. Timing is also key in producing the different types of fermentable sugars. Virtually any stage of the process has a unique yield.

Malted grain is utilized in malting beer, whiskey, and other alcoholic drinks. Essentially, a particular region’s produce is dependent on the endemic local farm produce that can come from it. Arguably, spirits are truly authentic if these are made from the best ingredients coming from a particular locale.

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Image source: farminguk.com

Today, the standard in the craft distilling industry is that production adheres to the authentic appeal that can only be provided by a chosen place’s naturally grown ingredients, malt most of all. This is the truly the only way to create the finest spirits in craft distilling.

A former operative a tech startup, Adam Quirk co-founded Cardinal Spirits, a distillery which is well-known for producing from locally available ingredients. Learn more about wines and spirits here.

A Beginner’s Guide To The Many Whiskey Varieties

Whiskey is one of the most popular drinks in the world. The distilled alcoholic beverage is made from grain and is typically enjoyed by older people. The grains used for the traditional whiskey variety are rather strong on the palate. What people need to recognize is that the type of grain used, along with the cask it is fermented in, determines the variety, taste, and overall note of the beverage. Listed below are some brief descriptions of the more common varieties.

Image Source: complex.com
Image Source: complex.com

Malt whiskey: As the name suggests, this is made from malted barley and is distilled in pot stills. Most manufacturers still use the traditional method of fermenting, which makes the process very long and physically demanding.

Grain whiskey: This drink can contain any type of grain and can be a mixture. Most grain varieties today contain wheat since it has a higher utilization than corn.

Image Source: Bloomberg.com
Image Source: Bloomberg.com

Blended whiskey: Most blended whiskies are differentiated not by their grain but from the distillery they come from. This is because each distillery has their own formulation and ratio.

Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey: Most bourbons are produced in Kentucky, USA. Bourbons must contain at least 51 percent corn. The rest can be a mixture of barley, rye and/or wheat. The drink must also be aged for at least four years in a fresh, toasted cask made from American white oak. Tennessee whiskey differs from bourbon in that it needs to have a charcoal-filter in the cask.

Unlike vodka, there are many taste differences among the various whisky varieties. In particular, how long the beverage matures in the cask impacts the later aroma of the whiskey. As such, distilleries say that there are many possibilities for variation. Those interested are suggested to try each variety at least once to see which one they prefer.

Adam Quirk is the co-founder of Cardinal Spirits and takes the extra measure to know his drinks. He posts a lot of his learnings on this blog.

A Spirited Discussion: The Cultural Differences Between Whiskies

What’s in a name? When it comes to whiskey, apparently, a lot.

That which is one letter off may seem like just another run-on-the-mill transatlantic spelling difference, and the English lexicon has many of them, so for those familiar enough with the transatlantic differences in English dialect, whisky may sound like an Americanization whereas whiskey is the one native to the British Isles. This is actually backwards.

Image source: scotchmaltwhisky.co.uk
                            Image source: scotchmaltwhisky.co.uk

Not only do these spelling differences refer to specific types of drink, the longer word “whiskey” is the one currently used in America. “Whisky” is native to the island of Great Britain (specifically Scotland, from whence it received its alternate name, Scotch) and has currency in Canada and Japan.

The spelling difference between whisky and whiskey is largely the result of a difference between how the spirit is spelled in the Scottish Gaelic and Irish languages. That which is spelled “whisky” refers to the Scottish variant whereas the ones spelled “whiskey” refers to an Irish derivative, which gained currency in the United States through Irish immigrants.

Image source: irelandwanderer.com
                                      Image source: irelandwanderer.com

The differences between the three main traditions of the spirit go beyond just a letter. Irish whiskeys tend to be smoother affairs due to being typically being distilled thrice (as opposed to American whiskeys and Scottish whiskies, which are distilled twice). Scotch whiskies use a wide variety of stills (and a more diverse set of flavors) whereas Irish and many American ones prefer rounded ones and have typically softer flavors as a result.

Moreover, whereas Scotch whiskies are based on solely on barley, Irish and American whiskeys use blends of grains unique to their nations of origin. Irish whiskeys incorporate barley and any number of other grains due to its historically poor agrarian economy, whereas American whiskeys use entirely different raw materials as a whole.

Former tech startup operative Adam Quirk is the co-founder of craft distillery Cardinal Spirits, which produces premium spirits using locally acquired ingredients. For more discussion about the distilled beverage industry, follow this Tumblr blog.

Engineering The Single Malt Whiskey

Image source: siphigh.com
Image source: siphigh.com

Scotland’s “other national drink” has many styles, depending on the type and preparation method of the grain used. There’s Scotch, Irish, rye, and bourbon. But the two different whiskies that divide some of the drinkers are single malts and blends.

While comparing the two will always be a subjective matter, those who prefer to have their palate touched by varying tastes and textures, single malt whiskey is the prime choice.

For five centuries, the basic ingredients of a single malt whiskey have been water and barley, a product of the expansive grain fields of Scottish Highlands. The barley grain, which contains starch or sugar, is steeped in water and allowed to germinate on malting floors to produce malt sugar.

The malt is then milled to flour while the sugar is extracted with hot water. The liquid solution is then fermented for two to four days resulting to a wash that contains eight to nine percent alcohol.

With the use of heat, the wash is distilled twice in long and slim copper pot stills to yield 65 to 70 percent alcohol. Some distilleries use a third pot still to make the alcohol even purer at more than 75 percent.

Image source: thewhiskycorporation.sg
Image source: thewhiskycorporation.sg

The spirit is matured in breathable and durable oak casks. Single malt whiskies are usually aged for at least 10 years – the longer, the better. The taste of the whiskey depends on the origin and type of the oak wood used for the cask.

Adam Quirk co-founded Cardinal Spirits, a Bloomington-based craft distillery that produced the Indiana’s first craft single malt whiskey using malted barley from Lebanon, Indiana. Subscribe to this blog for more interesting read about spirits and liquors.

Brewing Success: The Early Years Of American Craft Beer

The American brewing landscape started to take shape during the 1970s, when beer traditions and styles from other countries and imported drinks were losing ground in the market. Marketing campaigns at that time shifted Americans’ preference to low calorie light beer.

Corn-2Image source: blog.virginia.org

While the beer industry was effectively being remolded, a grassroots home brewing culture was emerging. What first started as a hobby to experience the said beer tradition and styles from across the world thrived to become what is now the craft brewery or microbrewery industry.

cropped-frontpageImage source: britman.riversideinnovationcentre.co.uk

It all started in 1965, when Fritz Maytag purchased and revived Anchor Brewing Company. He maintained the original beer traditions that consumers loved for its uniqueness. Several beer enthusiasts started to follow suit by starting their own breweries with the intent of introducing more beer flavors and styles to the public.

Craft brewing experienced a renaissance in the mid-70s when the New Albion Brewery in California was established. Though the company had to close after just six years, its operation inspired hundreds of home brewers.

By 1980s, the quality of craft beers continued to improve, gaining even more popularity and becoming the choice drink of a larger share of consumers. Even with challenging market conditions, the foundation was set for more than 2,500 craft breweries now in the country.

Adam Quirk is a co-founder of Cardinal Spirits, an Indiana craft distillery that is founded on a passion for American manufacturing and excellent spirits. Read more about craft brewery by visiting this website.

Bottoms Up: Easy Gin Cocktail Recipes

Light and versatile, gin is a juniper-based spirit that pairs well with pretty much anything from fruits and herbs to sodas, juices, and other more complex liquor. Here are some of the many ways to enjoy this classic spirit.

Cucumber Gin Lemonade
This refreshing recipe has a tart and semi-sweet flavor perfect for hot summer afternoons. To make this cocktail, combine lemon juice, cucumber juice, gin, and simple syrup in a tall glass. Top it off with club soda, lots of ice, and some lemon and cucumber slices.

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Image source: popsugar.com

Apricot Passion
Made with apricot glaze and passion fruit juice drink, this gin-based cocktail is very fruity and tangy. The recipe is very simple – just stir all the ingredients in a glass and add a little bit of lime juice and crushed ice.

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Image source: beautyandthedirt.com

Rhubarb Sour
This flavorful cocktail is made with gin, triple sec, rhubarb syrup, and lemon juice. One egg white is also added to create a frothy layer that complements the sweetness of the rhubarb and the sourness of the lemon juice.

Gin and Mint
This cool and refreshing gin cocktail is very easy to make. Simply stir gin, mint, and cucumber slices in a glass. Then, add chilled elderflower pressé, some ice cubes, more mint leaves, and a slice of lemon.

Adam Quirk is the co-founder of Cardinal Spirits, a craft distillery producing premium craft gin among many other craft liquors. Follow this Twitter account for more updates.