In last month’s issue of What’s Up Yukon, I brought you the second instalment of the series, and now, as we continue to physically distance ourselves during this unprecedented time, I give you the third instalment. As the days get longer, we yearn for fresh cocktails that may be sipped al fresco.

There are a couple of recipes here that are, quite literally, muddled. 

What is muddling, anyways? A muddler is essentially a bartender’s pestle – it looks like a tiny baseball bat – that is usually made of wood, but it may also be made of metal or plastic. To muddle is to press the ingredients against the side of the mixing glass, in order to break them down somewhat, and to release their flavours. The flavours will then infuse the alcohol and other mixers more efficiently.

Highbush Cranberry Mojito

Highbush Cranberry Mojito

Here is a lovely Yukon take on a classic muddled cocktail, the mojito.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz white rum
  • 5-6 large mint leaves
  • ¾ oz lime juice
  • ½ oz highbush cranberry syrup*
  • 3-4 oz soda water
  • 5 drops FPJ Highbush Cranberry & Grapefruit Bitters
  • Lime wheel, mint sprig, and /or several highbush cranberries
  • HIGHBUSH CRANBERRY SYRUP

Instructions

Chill all ingredients. Muddle the mint leaves and lime juice together in a tall glass with no ice (if you don’t have a muddler, you can use a small wooden spoon). Add rum, syrup, soda water, and bitters, stirring to blend. Add several ice cubes, and then garnish as desired. (You may substitute lowbush cranberries, or store-bought cranberries in both the syrup and garnish. In this case, substitute FPJ Cranberry Bitters. The cocktail will look and taste quite different, but it will be equally delicious!

Notes

Highbush Cranberry Syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
¼ cup highbush cranberries

Place all syrup ingredients in a small saucepan; heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a simmer. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat, and let the syrup cool completely. Strain into a clean jar, label, and store in the refrigerator. The syrup will keep for up to two weeks. You may substitute lowbush cranberries, or store-bought cranberries, for the highbush cranberries.

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Lemon Thyme Smash

Lemon Thyme Smash

Another muddled cocktail that is perfect for backyard sipping

Ingredients

  • small handful of fresh thyme (fine stems and leaves)
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • ½ oz Cointreau
  • ½ oz simple syrup (see note)
  • 1 ½ vodka
  • 3 oz soda water
  • 4 drops FPJ Orange Bitters
  • thyme sprig

Instructions

Place thyme, lemon juice, Cointreau, and simple syrup in a mixing glass with no ice (if you don’t have a mixing glass, you can use the bottom of a cocktail shaker, a 500ml mason jar, or other large cup). Muddle the ingredients together, and then add the remaining ingredients to the mixing glass. Add several ice cubes, and stir until chilled. Strain into a tall glass or a double Old Fashioned with some fresh ice. Garnish with a thyme sprig or two. You can serve the cocktail with a metal or paper straw if you like!

Note: To make simple syrup, follow the Highbush Cranberry Syrup recipe above, but leave out the berries (ie. just add sugar and water).

Simple syrup


1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Put in a small saucepan; heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a simmer. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat, and let the syrup cool completely. Strain into a clean jar, label, and store in the refrigerator. The syrup will keep for up to two weeks.

Notes

Mocktail Variation of Lemon Thyme Smash

Omit Cointreau and vodka. Follow instructions as above, but increase soda water to 4 oz. Now you have a booze-free, kid-friendly version!

Birch New York Sour

Birch New York Sour

Adapted from the circa 1880s classic New York Sour – the cocktail was also known at that time as a Claret Snap. This sour is the only cocktail in this series that is not muddled!

Ingredients

  • 2 oz rye or bourbon
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp birch syrup
  • 6 drops FPJ Limited-Edition Haskap Bitters
  • ½ oz fruity red wine

Instructions

Place all ingredients except the wine in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake hard for 30 seconds, and strain into a double Old Fashioned glass containing a large/oversized ice cube. Slowly pour the wine over the back of a spoon held just over the drink’s surface, to create a “float.”

Notes

A few notes on alcohol consumption

These cocktails are strong, and they should be consumed in moderation; one serving of spirits is 1 ½ oz. A good rule of thumb is to have a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage. Cheers!

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