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January 28, 2016 |

NVDirty Martini

NVDirty Martini
Difficulty: Level 2

Ingredients  - Makes one 4 oz cocktail

2.5 oz Napa Valley Distillery -Napa Reserve*
.5 oz premium Dry Vermouth (we suggest Vya, or Imbue)
.5 oz Napastäk Pickle Brine*

Garnish:
Napastäk - Cocktail Pickle (of choice – onion, pickle, or greenbean)*

Preparation:
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake hard and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. For a Bloody Martini (Level: 3) omit Pickle Brine and add .5 oz water strained from Real Dill Bloody Mary Mix with fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth, and add 2 drops Napa Valley Distillery- Antique Chocolate Bitters.

Enjoy and repeat responsibly.

* Ingredients included in the September 2015 Bar Club Package

Time Posted: Jan 28, 2016 at 3:00 PM Permalink to NVDirty Martini Permalink Comments for NVDirty Martini Comments (1)
 
January 21, 2016 |

The Classic Bloody Mary

The Classic Bloody Mary
Difficulty Level 1

Ingredients - Makes one 8 oz cocktail
2 oz Napa Valley Distillery - Napa Reserve*
6 oz Real Dill - Bloody Mary Mix*
5-7 ice cubes

Garnish:
1 celery stalk
1 Napastäk - Cocktail Pickles
(one each – onion, pickle, green bean)*
1 lemon wedge
1 lime wedge


Preparation
Place ice cubes into a cocktail shaker, and add all ingredients (not garnishes), cover and shake vigorously for 13 seconds. Pour mixture into a chilled 12 oz glass (or pint glass). Arrange garnishes in glass and serve. For a Bloody Maria substitute premium Blanco Tequila (we suggest Siete Leguas) for the Napa Valley Distillery – Reserve Brandy.


Enjoy and repeat responsibly.

* Ingredients included in theSeptember 2015 Bar Club Package

 
December 10, 2015 |

Feliz Navidad

Feliz Navidad 
LEVEL: 2 

Ingredients 

• 2.75 oz Napa Valley Distillery -Brandy Rouge* 
• .25 oz Napa Valley Distillery -Ancho León* 
• 8 drops Underberg Bitters* 

Garnish: 
• 1 Luxardo Maraschino Cherry 
1 dried or fresh chile (optional) 

Preparation 

Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a Luxardo Maraschino Cherry and dried or fresh chile (optional). Enjoy and repeat responsibly. 

* Ingredients included in the December 2015 Bar Club Package 

Created exclusively for NVD by mixologist Aaron Lahey. 

Time Posted: Dec 10, 2015 at 10:00 AM Permalink to Feliz Navidad Permalink Comments for Feliz Navidad Comments (1)
 
December 10, 2015 |

Not Your Grandpa's Manhattan

Not Your Grandpa’s Manhattan  
LEVEL: 3 

Ingredients:
• 1.5 oz Napa Valley Distillery -Brandy Rouge Cocktail* 
• 1.5 oz Napa Valley Distillery -Napa Valley Cocktail* 
• 16 drops Napa Valley Bitters -Bitter Elegance (or other aromatic bitters) 

Garnish: 
• 1 Luxardo Maraschino Cherry 

Preparation:
Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice, stir well. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a Luxardo Maraschino Cherry. Enjoy and repeat responsibly. 

* Ingredients included in the December 2015 Bar Club Package 

Created exclusively for NVD by mixologist Aaron Lahey.

Time Posted: Dec 10, 2015 at 10:00 AM Permalink to Not Your Grandpa's Manhattan Permalink Comments for Not Your Grandpa's Manhattan Comments (1)
 
December 10, 2015 |

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Baby, It's Cold Outside 
LEVEL: 3 

Ingredients: 
• 1.5 oz Napa Valley Distillery - Apple Brandy 
• .75 oz Napa Valley Distillery - Brandy Rouge Cocktail* 
• .75 oz lemon juice 
• .75 oz Liber & Co. - Grenadine* 
• 16 drops Napa Valley Bitters - Bitter Elegance  (or other aromatic bitters) 

Garnish: 
• 1 lemon twist 
• 1 Luxardo Maraschino Cherry 

Preparation 
Add all ingredients but 8 drops of bitters to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Float with the other 8 drops of bitters. Garnish with a lemon twist and Luxardo Maraschino Cherry. Enjoy and repeat responsibly. 

* Ingredients included in the December 2015 Bar Club Package 

Created exclusively for NVD by mixologist Aaron Lahey. 

Time Posted: Dec 10, 2015 at 10:00 AM Permalink to Baby, It's Cold Outside Permalink Comments for Baby, It's Cold Outside Comments (2)
 
December 10, 2015 |

Caramel Nightcap

Caramel Nightcap LEVEL: 3 

Ingredients 
• 2 oz Napa Valley Distillery - Napa Valley Cocktail* 
• .25 oz Napa Valley Distillery - Ancho León* 
• .25 oz Liber & Co. - Grenadine* 
• .5 oz lemon juice 
• 3 oz boiling water 
• 1 teabag English Breakfast tea 
• 1/2 Sweet Jules caramel* 
• 6 drops Underberg Bitters* 
• 6 drops Napa Valley Bitters - Antique Chocolate Bitters (optional) 

Garnish: 
• 1 lemon wheel 
• 1 cinnamon stick 

Preparation 

Prepare a mug with the caramel, teabag, and cinnamon stick (if available). Add the first 5 ingredients to a mixing glass, making sure to add the hot water last. Stir briefly and strain into the prepared mug. Float with bitters. Garnish with lemon wheel and serve with swizzle stick. Note: Each of the four flavored caramels impart a unique character on this cocktail. It’s like four cocktails in one! Try all four flavors! Enjoy and repeat responsibly. 

* Ingredients included in the December 2015 Bar Club Package 

Created exclusively for NVD by mixologist Aaron Lahey.

Time Posted: Dec 10, 2015 at 10:00 AM Permalink to Caramel Nightcap Permalink Comments for Caramel Nightcap Comments (1)
 
November 12, 2015 |

Defined: Cocktail

What is a cocktail? I thought this would be easy, it’s any drink found on the happy hour menu for cocktail hour. A mixed drink with a kick… right, guys? ...guys?

No! The history is a lot more complex and flavorful, with a little bit of in-fighting between America and England.  The origins of the word are legends, even where the term comes from has 5 different stories. It could come from horseracing, French word for an egg cup, or even that a rooster’s tail was used to stir a Bittered Sling.#

The term today has come to mean any mixed drink, but back in the day, it referred to a specific recipe. It lived in the world of punches, sours, slings and other varieties of alcoholic libations. In the May 13th edition of the 1806 newspaper, Balance and Columbian Repository, the editor defined a cocktail as: “a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind – sugar, water, and bitters.” In my research, I learned that any time NVD refers to a cocktail, we are heralding the original meaning and it must include bitters.

So I decided to make a cocktail as a part of my research but there's no official name, the working title is Autumn Harvest. 

1.5 oz NVD Brandy Cordial
.75 oz NVD Apple Brandy
.5 oz Liber & Co. Grenadine
2 dashes Lemon bitters
 
Shake vigorously with ice in a cocktail shaker, strain into a glass, and put the two dashes of lemon bitters to float on top. 

What is missing from the picture?

Bitters of course! 

 

 I purchased the Berg & Haucks travel set because it offers a wide variety which adds versatility to any self-proclaimed cocktail aficionado. 

It comes with aromatic (think Angostura, but something unique), celery, orange, lemon, and creole bitters (think Peyshauds, but all natural).

So now, we (NVD) have the largest selection of bitters in the USA, and maybe the world, and the options are endless! Mix up me hearties!


*Napa Valley Distillery always recommends drinking responsibly.

#For more information, feel free to visit this site with some more fun facts about the cocktail: Today I Found Out

Time Posted: Nov 12, 2015 at 3:30 PM Permalink to Defined: Cocktail Permalink Comments for Defined: Cocktail Comments (1)
 
October 29, 2015 |

The Carpe Diem Excursion

Seize the day!* 

Or rather, seize the night. We had a reason to celebrate as the NVD crew. We've been making so many steps towards opening our new distillery and Arthur, our proprietor and master behind the curtain, invited all of us out for an evening of fun and good libations. Of course, we couldn't just go anywhere. Once you develop a palate for fine spirits, it starts limiting where you want to enjoy such beverages. 

Our reservation was at Carpe Diem, a classy wine bar and restaurant in downtown Napa. They happen to have more than wine; they have a select list of cocktails from which to choose. They also carry two bottles of our finest, Old Hollywood Ginn and the delectable Brandy Cordial. With these spirits, they created two delicious cocktails.

The evening started out nice, newer crew members including myself were able get to know the old salts of the team. We stepped into the back room where our table sat and were greeted by Mr. Buffalo. The great debate started about which wall he really should be on while we waited for our cocktails and tapas. 

The first round ordered was the Golden Fleece, a fantastic rendition of a Sidecar with made with the Brandy Cordial. According to Greek mythology, the Golden Fleece is the fleece of the gold-hair winged ram held in Colchis. It is a symbol of authority and kingship. This cocktail, made with San Francisco Co. Herculean Bitters, is aptly named for it is the has the kingship and authority of the Brandy Cordial. 

The second round was called the Old Hollywood Ginn Negroni, which is quite the mouthful. However, after one sip of this particularly dry and bitter cocktail, there isn't much left in your mouth. I had never had a Negroni before and wasn't prepared to feel like my mouth had become the Sahara desert. It was a unique experience, and one I will try again. My husband likes to say he'll try anything twice, and that's a maxim I am attempting to add to my life.

The origins of this cocktail are unknown. My favorite story is that it was invented in Florence, Italy in 1919. According to legend, Count Camillo Negroni invented it by asking the bartender to strengthen his favorite cocktail, the Americano, by adding gin rather than the normal soda water. The bartender also added an orange garnish rather than the typical lemon garnish of the Americano to signify that it was a different drink. We used to sell a barrel aged Negroni cocktail and on the label we had a picture of Count Negroni. Rumor has it, that cocktail might be making a comeback. Keep you eyes peeled!

All in all, we had a fantastic time together, and learned of a new place to get out of the house on a Friday night. 


*Napa Valley Distillery always recommends drinking responsibly.

Aaron Lahey
 
October 15, 2015 | Aaron Lahey

Happy Spooky Spirited Halloween!

Hello Booze Log Readers!

It's been a while. I'm back, for one night only, to talk a little bit about Halloween; as well as the spooky cocktails this holiday inspired me to create.

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. There's a natural creativity to it, between carving jack o lanterns, making haunted houses, and carefully crafting your costume. It's like the arts and crafts fair of holidays. 

For the last few years now this creatively charged holiday has compelled me to make creepy cocktails, inspired by things that go bump in the night.

Nightmare on Ginn Street

I recently watched Wes Craven's slasher classic for the first time, far overdue I may add. The goofy, yet still terrifying Freddy Krueger is more than deserving of a creepy cocktail namesake. 

The main color palette for the drink is green and red, reminiscent of Freddy's grubby sweater. The float of bitters mottles the foam on the top of the drink, making it look like burnt skin. Despite the intimidating visage, this drink is wonderfully refreshing. Full of spices from the Old Hollywood Ginn, with a strong raspberry note, dry botanicals, and more than a touch of rich Cocoa, this is a perfect cocktail for a warm fall night.

Nightmare on Ginn Street

2 oz Napa Valley Distillery - Old Hollywood Ginn
.5 oz Premium Dry Vermouth
.5 oz Small Hands Foods - Raspberry Gum Syrup
8 Drops Napa Valley Bitters - Antique Chocolate Bitters
Lime Wheel

Pour .25 oz Raspberry Gum Syrup into the bottom of a chilled cocktail glass. Add all other ingredients to cocktail shaker and shake hard with ice. Strain into glass. 

Garnish with a lime wheel and 4 additional drops of Antique Chocolate Bitters.


Tower of Terror

Ever since Napa Valley Distillery released the Grand California, something about it reminded me of being a kid and going to Disney's California Adventure theme park. Everyone knows the best ride in the park is the Twilight Zone's Tower of Terror, a creepy 1930's hotel, with quite the drop.

These memories are what inspired the Tower of Terror cocktail. A southern Californian play on a Moscow Mule, replacing vodka with 80 proof Orange Brandy and adding some south of the border kick with tamarind chili lime bitters. The look of the drink, from the Colin's glass to the cherry on top, is supposed to be reminiscent of an Art Deco hotel.

Tower of Terror

1.5 oz Napa Valley Distillery - Grand California
1/2 Lime, juiced 
6 oz Ginger Beer (or 1 oz. Pickett's #1 Ginger Beer Syrup, Medium Spicy & 5 oz soda water) 
8 drops Napa Valley Bitters - Tamarind Lime Chili Bitters
Fresh Orange Peel 

Fill Collins glass with ice. Add the Grand California first, then lime juice, topping with Ginger Beer. (If using Pickett's #1 Syrup and soda water together mix in a separate glass before adding to the cocktail). 

Garnish with flamed orange twist and float bitters on top.

 

I hope you enjoy these eerie libations as much as I enjoyed creating them. They are alive...ALIVE I SAY!!!

Until next time,
Your ever humble, mad mixologist

Aaron Lahey


*Napa Valley Distillery always recommends drinking responsibly.

Time Posted: Oct 15, 2015 at 2:40 PM Permalink to Happy Spooky Spirited Halloween! Permalink Comments for Happy Spooky Spirited Halloween! Comments (16)
 
October 1, 2015 |

TCA - The Minimalist Bar

Hello folks! We have been in the throes of moving, but setting up in our new place has been awesome! We can't wait to show it off to y'all. Here’s a sneak peak of our office, we have a noir/gumshoe theme going on right now.

This post is a little more technical than feeling the wind in your hair from the seat of a scooter racing through SF. Nonetheless, technical is often necessary. So here we go!

What does it take to have a minimalist bar? *

I've been trying to stock my home bar with the basic essentials so that whenever I want a common drink, it doesn't require a 20 minute run to the store and a $50 spontaneous grocery bill. I discovered the other night that I don't have a versatile bar. I can pour you any spirit on the rocks, but regarding the whole mixology fun, I don't have much in the way of cocktails from which to choose. (my next post should be about what makes up a cocktail) 

 
If you are like me, which is just starting out with a home bar and have limited storage space, it's a tricky deal to get the most out of your bar without sacrificing that much shelf space. I currently tuck my bar away on a shelf in my butcher block. The dishes that were housed there are trying to find a new home as we speak. Therefore, I have to keep it simple and this is something vital for me to figure out now before I have no more room for dishes...  
 
During my research, I discovered it can get quite opinionated and sometimes even heated in differing ideas. There are books written on it, blog posts spewing ideas with arguments in the comments. Even when I was talking to some of my colleagues, they had their own different ideas. The nitty gritty of it all is that our palate will dictate what we enjoy, or don't enjoy.

I have narrowed down that the decision stems from: is a personal bar or an entertaining bar? I'm currently leaning toward a personal bar with the option for a handful of well-known drinks for a handful of close friends. We will see how this evolves.  
 
I decided to follow my bartending friend's advice. She said, “Always be able to make a long island at any given time and have a form of whiskey.” It consolidated all the advice I was receiving. What spirits are in a long island you ask? Easy!  
 
Vodka 
Gin 
Light Rum 
Tequila 
Triple Sec 
 
Two things not included in a traditional long island I want to keep on hand: 
Whiskey, I was told to keep Bourbon, 
Dark Rum 

To have a bit more flexibility, add dry and sweet vermouth. I read that you should buy small bottles and keep it in the fridge if you won't go through it quickly. 

Something else I have been told is mandatory for a versatile bar is bitters. If you have ever been in the NVD bar shop, it's great if you know what you are doing. Otherwise, it’s overwhelming for beginners.  I didn’t even know where to start! After talking to Paul, our tasting room manager, he gave me a list to always have on hand.   


Aromatic
Orange 
Creole
Celery 
Lemon


I grabbed a travel pack of Berg & Haucks bitters set, it has all of the above. 

 
Next up is Mixers: Simple syrup, lemons, lime, sugar, and salt. Cherries and oranges if you like 

old fashioned’s, manhattans, etc. I always have lemons around, but the other stuff I only have raw cane sugar which doesn’t dissolve well. I want to make my own simple syrup, but for now I bought a bottle. I also will be looking for some flavored syrups and shrubs with fun tastes. The Bang Candy Peach Basil that was included In the June Bar Club shipment is awesome, I’ve had it in a mojito and margarita, and will definitely keep that around. 

 
Tools: 
Shaker, pint glass, hawthorn strainer, bar spoon, muddler (I have yet to buy a muddler. I use an ice cream scoop or wooden tart molder) 
 
Glassware:  
Rocks, tumbler, martini, and champagne flute. This is what I have on hand.  
 
Also anything that you know you love, for example, I love scotch. I can drink it neat. I make sure to keep a bottle of that around, especially for when my dad comes to visit. 

As you might have noticed, I don't have everything on that has been recommended to keep on hand. I now have my shopping list. Well this wraps up what I’ve learned so far. What have you found you like to keep on hand? Feel free to comment!
 
Until next time, 
Amanda


*Napa Valley Distillery always recommends drinking responsibly.

Time Posted: Oct 1, 2015 at 5:00 PM Permalink to TCA - The Minimalist Bar Permalink Comments for TCA - The Minimalist Bar Comments (17)