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holiday cocktails

5 Holiday Cocktails to Wow Your Dinner Guests

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We’ve all heard the songs about how “Christmas comes only once a year” and how it’s the “most wonderful time” and all that jazz. While it’s true that Christmastime is magical for so many, it’s also a time full of traditions, which can make hosting a little bit daunting. Of course, as a host, you want to honor the expectations of the time of year, but providing guests with an outstanding experience is a natural aspect of having people in your home. A simple way to put your gathering over the top is through the use of cocktails. Providing top-quality, unique holiday cocktails honors the magic of the season while adding that little bit of edge that every host seeks.

The process of providing these drinks doesn’t have to be complicated. There are endless options of pre-batched cocktails for larger parties, unique options for the adventurous, and fun and sweet cocktails for those who want to drink their dessert. In short, there’s a cocktail for everyone.

1. Homemade Eggnog

This recipe for homemade eggnog is perfect for folks who love the traditional drink. It’s sweet, creamy, and absolutely delicious while avoiding the need for preservative-pumped boxed nog. The portions are already locked down for a large party, making this an ideal choice for the Christmas party purist.

2. Mulled Sangria

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s easy to daydream of beach climes during the winter months. This recipe is ideal for those who want to blend their love for beach drinks with their love of Christmas. Boasting fresh dark fruits such as pomegranate and cranberry, this cocktail keeps it fruity and bright without feeling out of place for the season. The mulling spices push it over the top into the ultimate cozy winter drink. Plus, it’s ideal for a premade batch. What’s not to love?

3. Cinnamon Bourbon Old-Fashioned

Boy, oh boy, it’s hard to get cozier and more midwestern than a good Old-Fashioned. This pre-batched version packs an extra-festive punch with cinnamon and rosemary, making this drink a perfect complement to turkey dinner and pumpkin pie. If your gathering is smaller or not particularly bourbon-crazy, it’s an easy drink to make by the glass as well.

4. Vanilla Chai White Russian

If you love spice but don’t want to put in the time to make a pie, this cutie’s for you. Boasting all the creaminess of eggnog without the actual eggs, this drink checks all the boxes of an ideal Christmas beverage: sweet and spicy, chilled but warm-tasting, and oh so very unique. If you want to serve it with pie, we won’t tell.

5. Buddy the Elf Cocktail

There’s no denying it; this cocktail is sweet. If you, like Buddy the Elf, love to indulge around the holidays (or all the time, we don’t judge), this cocktail is definitely for you. Boasting heavy cream, maple syrup, molasses, and candies to top, this baby makes all your childhood dessert dreams come true while satisfying the very adult need for booze at Christmas. Win-win.

Payless Liquors is stocked and ready to help you serve up these fabulous cocktails. Check out our online form to order your ingredients today and rest easy knowing that the holidays’ boozy aspect is covered.

Thanksgiving Cocktails

4 Thanksgiving Cocktails That Are Sure to Please Your Palate

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Thanksgiving is almost here, and it’s time to start preparing for the festivities with Thanksgiving Cocktails. If you are hosting family and friends for the occasion, you know that you must have all the usual suspects—turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and succotash, but don’t forget the drinks. With the stress of preparing a huge meal and entertaining, you’re sure to need a few. However, keep in mind that you need to have a great selection for your guests, too. On your trip to the liquor store, you should pick up a nice selection of beer and wine, but you can avoid the expense of stocking up on every variety of spirits by including a holiday cocktail on your menu. Consider these popular ideas.

1. Apple Pie Sangria

You will want to prepare this one the night before so that the flavors can fuse properly. Start with two cinnamon sticks, a few diced red and green apples, pears, and an orange cut into wedges. Pour a bottle of your favorite white wine over the fruit, then add a cup of caramel vodka, three cups of apple cider, and a quarter cup of simple syrup (made by boiling one part water with one part sugar), allspice, cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon to taste. Serve with a cinnamon stick garnish.

2. Cranberry Margarita

This is an easy concoction that is sure to get rave reviews. Mix a cup and a half of cranberry juice, ¾ cup tequila, ¾ cup lime juice, and a half cup of Cointreau. Serve over ice in glasses that are rimmed with salt or sugar. Garnish with some cranberry and lime, and wait for the compliments. Keep an eye on your guests, though. These go down easy!

3. Apple Cider Mimosa

If your Thanksgiving “dinner” is more of a brunch event, as it is in many families, this twist on the classic is sure to be a hit. You’ll need champagne flutes for the true effect, but the only ingredients you need are apple cider and champagne. Pour the cider (as much or as little as your guest would like) in the flute, and top off with chilled champagne!

4. Low-Stress Mulled Wine

Many mulled wine recipes get a little complicated and time consuming, but this one is quick and easy and doesn’t require an extensive shopping list. To make this delicious holiday favorite, pour a bottle of Syrah or Beaujolais into a large saucepan, add four shots of brandy or bourbon, four star anise pods, orange peels, and two teaspoons of sugar. Cook over low heat until warm, but not boiling, then let stand for 5 minutes. Serve the warm cup of goodness in a mug with a cinnamon stick garnish.

Don’t wait till the last minute to do your Thanksgiving beverage shopping. Remember that you need to get the beer nice and cold, and you will want all the ingredients on hand for your signature cocktail of the day. Payless Liquors has everything you need to create a memorable occasion for your loved ones. Stop in today and cross this task off your list.

10 Interesting Alcohol Facts That Are Sure to Surprise You

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You may not think about it every time you crack open a beer, shake up a cocktail, or pour a glass of wine, but alcohol has played an enormous role in our cultural experience for 10,000 years. Humans have cultivated the production of beer, wine, and spirits as staples for celebrations and rites of passage, essential cooking ingredients, medicinal tonics, and enjoyable beverages when we need to unwind. So, is it any surprise that there are hundreds of quirky alcohol facts that many people don’t know? Read up on some of this surprising information and share it with friends the next time you get together for drinks.

Alcohol Facts

10 Interesting Alcohol Facts

  1. The ancient Romans are responsible for the term “toast”.  Now it is a term to describe raising a glass to good health and fortune. However, in the days of Old Rome, they dropped a piece of toast into the wine.
  2. Francis Scott Key’s poem that became our beloved national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner,” wasn’t sung until it was set to the tune of a popular drinking song.
  3. How many bubbles are there in a bottle of champagne? Funny you should ask—the general estimate is that there are 49,000,000 bubbles. This would be a fun alternative to “guess how many jellybeans are in the jar” at your next family reunion.
  4. You will find a cloud of alcohol in the depths of space with a density to produce 4 trillion beverages. Imagine standing beneath that cloudburst!
  5. The pressure in an average car tire is 30 PSI; it is 90 PSI in champagne bottles. Therefore, the cork shoots out of the bottle at about 55 miles per hour. Its signature celebratory “pop” is a staple of New Year’s Eve parties, but sadly champagne corks kill about 24 people every year.
  6. Tired of having to settle for just a handle of vodka? Until 1885, the only size you could buy was a 12.3-liter bucket. Why did we ever downsize?
  7. Now that we’ve established the number of bubbles in a bottle of champagne, how many grapes do you think it takes to make a bottle of wine? According to winemakers, it takes between three and 10 bunches, or 600 to 800 grapes, depending on the size and varietal.
  8. Have you ever heard the shortest sentence that contains all the letters of the alphabet? Most people think it’s “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.,” but we bet that you haven’t considered “Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs!”
  9. Are you a gin drinker who is interested in using some slang from the 1800s? Well, the next time you order, try monikers like “Mother’s Ruin,” “King Theodore of Corsica,” “Parliamentary Brandy,” “Royal Poverty,” or “Ladies’ Delight.”
  10. When visiting Scotland, be sure to try Snake Venom Beer. However, you may not want to have more than one. At 67.5% alcohol, that snake is sure to bite you back!

If these facts don’t help you win your next round of trivia, at least they were fun to read. And maybe they made you thirsty. When you need to stock up on wine, beer, or liquor, Payless Liquors has everything you need. Come by and check out our great selection today.

3 Halloween-Themed Cocktails to Turn Your Night From Tricky to a Treat

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Halloween-Themed CocktailHalloween-themed cocktails are what everyone needs this spooky October. Halloween is a favorite time of year for many Americans. However, current lockdown policies in place throughout the country may make it feel like you may not be able to enjoy Halloween the way you would prefer this year. It’s important to stay upbeat and to connect with your family and friends during difficult times, so do your best to have a safe and enjoyable gathering if you have festivities planned for the Halloween season this year.

One of the best additions to any Halloween party is a good party cocktail. This year, try one or two of the following Halloween-themed cocktails that are sure to refresh and delight the guests at your Halloween parties.

The Apple Butter Old Fashioned

Halloween-Themed Cocktail
Photo Credit: Tieghan Gerard from Half Baked Harvest

The Old Fashioned is one of the most time-tested cocktails that has seen countless iterations and interpretations over the years. If you’re looking for a touch of class and timelessness with your Halloween party this year, the Apple Butter Old Fashioned is an excellent option for your party’s drink of choice.

Rim a glass with coarsely ground sugar if you like, and then start the Apple Butter Old Fashioned with one-quarter cup of apple cider, the juice of half a lemon, a dash of orange bitters, a tablespoon of apple butter, and two ounces of your favorite bourbon mixed in a shaker cup. Strain into a glass over ice, top with a float of ginger beer, and garnish with cinnamon and apple slices.

Jekyll & Gin

Halloween-Themed Cocktail
Photo Credit: Candace Braun Davison from Delish

If you have ever enjoyed a Gin Daisy, you’ll love this color-changing take on it. The Jekyll & Gin appears pink under normal light, but under a black light, it glows an eerie white. If you’re planning a glowstick party, you will want to add this Halloween-themed cocktail to your menu.

Start this delightful mix with three ounces of your favorite gin, one-half ounce of lemon juice, and just a teaspoon of Grenadine mixed in a shaker with ice and then strain into a glass with ice. Top with tonic water and garnish with a glowstick—perfect in any black-lit party venue.

Jack-o-Lantern

If you’re all about presentation but not too keen on pumpkin-flavored cocktails, this Jack-o-Lantern could be the perfect option for this year’s costume party. You’ll need some old-fashioned glasses, orange slices, and a few pieces of lime peel to complete the look of this perfect Halloween cocktail, but the extra work garnishing will be worth it.

Make your Jack-o-Lantern by combining an ounce of orange juice, half an ounce of orange liqueur, and one and a half ounces of cognac in a shaker cup over ice. Strain over fresh ice into an old-fashioned glass and then top with ginger ale. Poke a piece of lime peel into the center of an orange slice and float it on top to create miniature pumpkin-shaped cocktails.

 

Make the most of Halloween this year by creating a memorable experience. As the country reels in the face of lockdown restrictions, a safe place to enjoy the Halloween season with friends is a welcome comfort for just about anyone. If you need to supply your costume party this year, Payless Liquors can help you find the finest alcohols and mixers you’ll need for cocktails that are sure to please. Contact us today to see what we have available.

Keep the Football Spirit Alive With These Fresh Takes on Tailgating Cocktails

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Tailgating Cocktails

As we inch closer to another football season, it’s time to learn how to make tailgating cocktails. Sadly, we must deal with the bleak prospect that some local football may not happen as planned this year. Still, it’s important to keep the football spirit alive no matter what league you’re watching.

Traditionally, of course, the tailgating drink of choice is none other than inexpensive beer. However, this being the season of change, we’ve decided to roll with the punches and provide you with a list of alternative cocktails that truly honor area teams. Try these cocktails for your next tailgate experience:

Boilermaker

Built to honor none other than the Purdue Boilermakers up in West Lafayette, this relatively simple drink is perfect for a tailgate party. All you’ll need are two ingredients any self-respecting tailgater should have readily on hand:

  • 1 lager beer, poured into a mug
  • 1 ½ oz bourbon (preferably Wild Turkey) poured into a shot glass

Then, simply drop your shot of bourbon into your beer and race to the finish!

Hoosier Heritage

While this drink was designed to incorporate Indiana heritage and regional ingredients, IU fans can appreciate the name as well as the unique autumn flavor. You’ll need:

  • 1 ½ oz Knob Creek bourbon
  • ½ oz maple syrup
  • ½ oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz apple cider
  • 1 sprig of rosemary

Pour syrup into a cocktail shaker and muddle with rosemary. Add ice and remaining ingredients, shake well, and strain over ice in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a slice of apple.

Return to Glory

Developed to depict the heritage of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and their return to a storied football program, the Return to Glory is as tasty as it is descriptive. Gather these ingredients:

  • 2 oz Irish whiskey
  • 2 oz ginger ale
  • ½ oz Peach Schnapps
  • Splash of orange juice

Pour ingredients over ice in a tall glass. If desired, garnish with an orange slice and toast to the Fighting Irish’s return to glory.

Blue Stampede

Aside from smaller, more regional programs, the NFL may be the area’s one remaining hope of a full-scale football schedule this year. As a result, we’ve included this recipe crafted specifically for Indianapolis Colts fans – signature blue color and appropriately named tequila (Herradura means “horseshoe in Spanish) aside. We adore this play on a margarita. You’ll need:

  • 1 ½ oz Herradura Blanco (or other white tequila)
  • 2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz agave nectar
  • ½ oz blue curaçao

Pour all ingredients over ice into a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a martini or cocktail glass.

Tailgate Tea

If your team isn’t well-represented in Indy (or if football is delayed once again), there’s no reason to fret. This Tailgate Tea is a crowd-pleaser we’d be happy to sip anytime, football or no. Gather these ingredients:

  • 1½ parts Svedka Strawberry Lemonade
  • 1 part tea
  • ½ part simple syrup
  • ½ part fresh lemon juice
  • Splash of Corona Extra

Pour the first four ingredients into a tall glass filled with ice. Top off with a splash of Corona Extra, stir, and enjoy.

No matter what happens with this year’s football season, Payless Liquors is here for you. Stop in to see how our wide selection of beers, wines, and spirits can help you stock any social distancing tailgate party. Alternatively, call ahead or place an online order for pickup any night of the week.

Our Essential List of Beach Cocktails You Can Enjoy at Home

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Beach CocktailsIt’s summertime, which usually means beach cocktails, long weekends at the lake, and even excursions to tropical destinations abroad. Unfortunately, summer travel plans—including tropical fun—seem to be on hold this summer with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Many Americans are choosing to partake in simpler, at-home vacations instead of heading to the surf and sand and dealing with the travel restrictions and quarantines that are sometimes required upon return.

No Beach Vacation Doesn’t Have to Mean No Tropical Drinks

One of the aspects of a beach getaway many of us will miss the most are the exotic, tropical drinks so often found at vacation destinations. Fortunately, they’re also one of the easiest parts of your vacation to recreate right here at home. Check out our list of beach cocktails from some of the most popular tropical destinations and corresponding recipes you can enjoy in your backyard.

Blue Hawaiian

This classic Tiki beach drink from one of the only domestic tropical locations is a must-have for any backyard luau. You’ll need:

  • 1 1⁄2 ounces vodka of your choice
  • 3⁄4 ounce blue Curaçao
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1⁄2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1⁄2 ounce simple syrup
  • Splash of half-and-half
  • Pineapple for garnish

Combine all ingredients except pineapple into a cocktail shaker and shake with ice—strain into a tall glass of crushed ice and top with pineapple.

Bahama Mama

As you’d expect, this tropical drink hails from the Bahamas. This fruity drink is best blended, but some swear by serving it over crushed ice instead. Round up these ingredients:

  • 1/2 ounce coconut rum
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • 1/2 ounce cherry grenadine
  • 1/2 ounce white rum
  • 1 ounce orange juice

Pour all ingredients into a blender, along with 1 cup crushed ice. Blend until smooth, and serve in a tall glass.

Mojito

Originating in Cuba and the Florida Keys, depending on which type of lime you prefer, this citrusy, minty drink is a refreshing twist on tropical. Gather up these essentials:

  • 1 1/2 ounces white rum
  • 1/2 ounce fresh key lime or traditional lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 1/2 ounces club soda
  • 8 mint leaves

Muddle mint leaves in a shaker, then add 2/3 cup of ice. Shake vigorously before adding club soda and pouring into a tall glass. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Michelada

This classic Mexican drink is a great sipper inside in the AC or the backyard by the pool. You’ll need:

  • Mexican lager beer, like Modelo or Tecate
  • Clamato juice
  • 3 splashes hot sauce, preferably Tapatio
  • 2 splashes Worcestershire sauce
  • Juice of one lime
  • Tajín seasoning

Rub a lime around the edge of the glass and press Tajín seasoning onto the rim. Fill the glass 1/3 full with Clamato, add the hot sauce, Worcestershire, lime juice, and fill the rest with cold lager. Season with Tajín and salt as desired.

Get Your Tropic On at Payless Liquors

While there are a host of other popular tropical drinks out there—from the Sex on the Beach and the Mai Tai to the Pina Colada—we think the four listed above are a great representation of the different styles you’ll find on beaches around the world. For all the best spirits, mixers, and even a recipe suggestion or two, stop into your nearest Payless Liquors location today.

How Well Do You Know Your Sparkling Wines?

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sparkling winesThink you know your sparkling wines? If you’re a fan of celebrations and all that goes with them, you’ve likely been exposed to the glorious sparkling cocktail concoctions often served alongside. From the familiar mimosa and the rare and delicious Bellini’s at brunch to the joyous Champagne toasts at weddings—and even the odd refreshing glass of Moscato after dinner—sparkling wines are present at some of the world’s most pleasant occasions. However, whether they’re flying solo or mixed into a tasty cocktail, all sparkling wines are not created equally.

Not All Sparkling Wines Are Champagnes

While many people refer to all sparkling wines as Champagne, a true Champagne can only be produced in the Champagne region of France. While some sparkling wines produced outside the European Union bear the name of Champagne, they’re not subject to the same production standards or regulations as European sparkling wines. Here’s a brief guide to the different types of sparkling wines:

  • Champagne.

    As mentioned, sparkling wines using Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier grapes and produced in the Champagne region of France can legally bear the name of Champagne. Champagnes range from dry (Brut Nature, Extra Brut, Brut, and dry) to sweet (demi-sec and doux) and often have notes of almond, orange, and cherry. Typically, they are around 12% ABV and have very fine, persistent bubbles due to the second fermentation they undergo in the bottle.

  • Crémant.

    Crémants can adhere to the same production methods as Champagnes. However, they are produced from a wider variety of grapes, including Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and others. Most are produced in Alsace, Burgundy, and the Loire Valley, but share many of the same properties as Champagnes.

  • Proseccos

    Proseccos are produced mostly in Veneto, Italy, primarily with Prosecco grapes. Prosecco is fermented a second time in a tank instead of in the bottle. This results in lighter bubbles that don’t last as long. Most Proseccos are sweeter than Champagne and can have tropical fruit, banana, vanilla, or hazelnut aromas.

  • Cava.

    Cava is the Spanish version of sparkling wine. It is produced almost exclusively in Catalonia. Most Cavas use Spanish grapes like Parellada and Macabeo, but some may add French grapes to the final mixture. Cavas have a distinctive sour taste, but can also have a toasty profile as well; Cava producers use the traditional method of secondary fermentation in the bottle. So, its bubbles are similar to those of Champagne.

  • Moscato d’Asti.

    Sometimes referred to simply as Moscato, this sparkling wine is produced from Muscat grapes. They have been cultivated since ancient Greek and Roman times for premium sweetness. As a result, Moscato is much sweeter than the other types of sparkling wines. It has a lower alcohol content as well. The best Moscato d’Asti grapes are picked at peak ripeness. It results in sparkling wines that have notes of orange, peach, apricot, and rose.

Find the Ideal Sparkling Wine for Your Occasion

Whether you’re hosting a wedding, a mimosa brunch, or simply want a refreshing bottle of sparkling wine after dinner, it’s essential to choose the right bottle for your tastes. The experts at Payless Liquors can help you find a dry, sweet, or moderate sparkling wine of any variety in our extensive wine selection. Stop in or call ahead to find a new favorite today.

How to Stock Your In-Home Bar

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home barStocking your home bar with all the essential tools, glassware, mixers, and—of course—spirits will give you the ability to mix classic cocktails and invent new ones without rushing out to purchase missing ingredients each time the urge strikes. This checklist can help ensure you have all the items to make all the most essential drinks:

  1. Liquors. To make most classic cocktails, you’ll need a solid stock of basic liquors, including:

    • Vodka—used in more mixed drinks than any other spirit, vodka is necessary. Choose one affordable and one high-end vodka for your home bar.
    • Whiskey—as there are numerous types of whiskey, go with your preference. Choosing one great, sippable bourbon and one blended rye allows you the ability to serve whiskey on the rocks or in a cocktail.
    • Rum—white rum is most commonly used in mixed drinks, so choose one quality white and one darker or spiced rum to round out your home bar.
    • Tequila—most margaritas are made with tequila blanco, so choosing an inexpensive version for blended drinks and a top-shelf version for sipping is a good strategy.
    • Gin—although gin is a divisive spirit that seems to be either loved or hated, you should choose a quality gin to have on hand behind your home bar.
    • Liqueurs—these flavored liquors should be stocked according to your taste. However, starting with triple sec, Amaretto, and vermouth will allow you to make most classic cocktails.
  2. Mixers. Unless you’re serving your liquors straight up, you’ll need essential mixers to make your cocktails, including:

    • Juices—keep lemon, lime, tomato, orange, pineapple, and cranberry juice on hand.
    • Sodas—be sure to have a cola, a lemon-lime soda, and a club soda behind your bar.
    • Blended mixers—store-bought mixers like sweet and sour, grenadine, and even bloody Mary mix are helpful (you can make simple syrup yourself).
    • Bitters—one bottle of Angostura bitters should work for most cocktails.
  3. Glassware. While there are seemingly endless types of bar and beer glasses, you’ll need just a basic few to get started. Then, increase your bar glass selection as your mixology skills improve. Start with:

    • Beer glasses—the pint glass is the most versatile, however they can be used for mixed drinks, too
    • Rocks glasses—these short glasses are a staple for any drink served straight up or on the rocks.
    • Wine glasses—stock both red and white wine glasses, or purchase a medium-sized glass suitable for either.
    • Martini glasses—mixed drinks like Manhattans, martinis, and even the odd margarita can be served from a martini glass.

Bar tools. To make most mixed drinks, you’ll need a cocktail shaker, a durable mixing glass, a jigger to measure liquor, and a bar spoon to stir your mixed drinks. Also, most home bars include a beer opener, a corkscrew, and a cutting board and citrus knife or zester for garnishes.

Don’t worry if you aren’t able to check off all the items on this list right away. Simply begin with a bar stocked with your preferred liquors, and add spirits as you go. For more information about spirit selection, mixers, or equipment, inquire at your friendly neighborhood Payless Liquors.

tequila

Don Julio Tequila Drink Recipes For Any Occasion

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Tequila is most famous for being the prime ingredient in a margarita. However, this Mexican liquor made from agave plant is extremely versatile and can be used to make other delicious tequila cocktails. On National Tequila Day, ditch the salt and lime and try these drink recipes with a premium tequila like Don Julio.

Don Julio Blanco Margaritatequila

  • 2 oz Don Julio Blanco Tequila
  • 1½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 oz Agave Nectar
  • 1 oz Soda
  • Lime Wedge for Garnish

Combine Don Julio Blanco, fresh lime juice, and agave nectar into a cocktail shaker with ice.

Shake well, strain into a rocks glass over ice, top with soda, and garnish with a lime wedge.

Don Julio Blood Orange Palomatequila

  • 1½ oz Don Julio Blanco Tequila
  • 1 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
  • ½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • Seltzer
  • Chili Powder for Garnish

Combine Don Julio Blanco, fresh lime juice and fresh grapefruit juice into a cocktail shaker with ice.

Shake well. Then strain contents into a glass over fresh ice. Top with seltzer. Garnish with chili powder.

Don Julio Lemonadatequila

  • 1½ oz Don Julio Blanco Tequila
  • 3 oz Cold Water
  • ¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 8-10 Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 1-2 tsp Sugar
  • 10-15 Ice Cubes

Add lemon juice, mint leaves, and sugar to blender. Pulse a few times until mint leaves are chopped.

Add tequila and cold water and pulse again to mix.

Add ice cubes and blend into slushie. Pour and garnish with mint leaves.

Don Julio Rosa Primaveratequila

  • 1½ oz Don Julio Reposado
  • 1 oz Coconut Cream
  • ¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 Muddled Strawberry

Add all ingredients in a shaker. Strain into rocks glass over ice. Garnish with half a strawberry.

Reserve Your Bottle Today

For a limited time only, Payless Liquors is pleased to offer bottles of Don Julio 1942 and Don Julio Real to our customers who truly enjoy fine sippable tequilas. Reserve your bottle at our East Street location and arrange for in-store or curbside pickup today.

 

 

The Long, Strange History of the Moscow Mule

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Moscow MuleOnce long forgotten, the Moscow Mule rose from the ashes of its status as a cocktail has-been to become a modern cocktail of choice. Now, it seems like practically every establishment has a slew of Mules on the menu – great news for those of us that enjoy this zippy all-season cocktail.

However, with the sheer amount of Mules available today, seemingly covering every fruit, liquor, and carbonated alternative known to mankind, we have a few questions. Where did this drink come from in the first place? What makes a mule a Mule? And – perhaps most importantly – how can we drink more of them?

The Original Mule

Liquor lore is full of coincidences, and the series of events that led up to the original Moscow Mule is no different. In 1939, the Smirnoff brand was a tiny, struggling vodka company that had just been bought out by John G. Martin for $14,000. To promote sales, Martin approached a number of business owners, including the owner of the Cock N’ Bull bar in Hollywood. Unfortunately, neither the vodka or the bar’s house-brewed ginger beer sold according to expectations and by 1941, both were desperate.

Depending on who you ask, either Martin or the Cock N’ Bull’s bartender at the time – a man by the name of Wes Price – got the idea to clear out the bar’s storeroom and push a concoction of ginger beer and vodka. Around the same time, Sophie Berezinski – a Russian immigrant – came to Hollywood with a stash of 2,000 copper mugs crafted at her father’s copper shop. The cocktail received both a name and a preferred vehicle, and the traditional Moscow Mule was born.

What Makes This Cocktail a Mule?

While the name “Moscow Mule” is attributed to the spicy kick of the ginger beer and the origins of the associated vodka, what truly makes a mule a Mule? After all, it’s possible to find mules made with all sorts of ingredients and a wide variety of liquors. Purists will tell you that a drink isn’t truly a mule unless it’s made with Smirnoff, Cock N’ Bull ginger beer, and served in a copper mug – but we believe variety is the spice of life.

To us, it’s the overall combination of ginger notes, the citrusy zest, the bubbly finish, and the punch of liquor that makes a cocktail a true Mule. If you can find a copper mug to serve it in (the copper really does add a unique taste and serve to chill your drink in a way glass just can’t match), all the better. To celebrate your newfound freedom to try all the mules you can get your hands on, consider these aptly-named alternatives:

  • Mexican mule – try using a splash of tequila instead of Smirnoff

  • British mule – take a break from gin, tonic, and lime and use your gin in this similar flavor profile

  • Caribbean mule – swap out your vodka for some dark, spiced rum

  • Irish mule – forego the traditional Smirnoff for your favorite Irish whiskey

No matter which Mule you’ve decided to start with, Payless Liquors has a wide selection of liquors and ginger beers perfect for your next Mule experiment. Stop in today, call ahead, or order online to ensure your selections are ready for limited-contact pickup.

cork a watermelon

How To Cork A Watermelon – Your Guide to Making Summer’s Most Refreshing BBQ Cocktail

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Watermelon is the official fruit of summer. Perform an internet search for cocktail ideas, however, and you’ll soon be inundated with suggestions for watermelon mint lemonade coolers, blueberry watermelon granitas, and the like. While each of these recipes likely results in a delicious, refreshing drink, when you have adult family members poolside or are partaking in a social-distancing neighborhood block party, the last thing you want to do is stand behind a counter and muddle mint leaves. Instead, we suggest taking the direct route: simply infuse your watermelon with liquor, slice, and serve. The process, known as “corking a watermelon” by some and “hairy buffalo” or “drunken watermelon” by others, results in a refreshing, flavorful treat that doesn’t even require a glass. Just follow these simple steps:

1. Select your watermelon. The average size of a watermelon is about 20 pounds and can be divided into 30 or so 1 ½ inch slices. Depending on the size of your gathering, you may need a larger or smaller melon. In addition, you’ll want a watermelon that’s a bit flat on one side for stability.

2. Select your liquor. Traditionally, a corked watermelon is made with vodka – we suggest a fun, fruity vodka to amp up the refreshing, fruit flavors. However, you’ll have just as much success with any plain or fruit-flavored white rum or tequila blanco. For larger melons, you’ll need a 1.75L bottle; 750mL should be sufficient for average-sized melons.

3. Prep your melon. Place your melon on a table, surrounded by towels to stop it from rolling, if necessary. Using your liquor bottle as a guide, trace a circle on the melon’s top using a permanent marker. Be sure to make the circle slightly larger than the widest part of the bottle’s neck.

4. Cut your hole. Using a sharp knife, cut around the circle you traced. Make certain to cut through the rind and into the top layer of watermelon flesh. Remove the circle and use a spoon to scoop out enough melon so your bottle will fit inside the hole.

5. Place your bottle. Open the bottle of liquor and quickly overturn it into the hole you’ve created in the melon. Push it in far enough so that it will stay securely in this position for several hours. If you find you need to widen your hole slightly with the knife, do so gradually.

6. Infuse your melon. Allow your melon to rest for 4 to 12 hours – the liquor will slowly seep into the watermelon flesh during this time. Depending on the size of your melon and liquor bottle, as well as the overall juiciness of the watermelon you chose, the melon may not absorb all of the liquor. If you have room in the fridge, this is an excellent time to

begin chilling your watermelon.

7. Chill and serve. Once the melon flesh is infused with liquor, remove the bottle and use a paper towel or cork – if you can find one that’s a similar size – to prevent liquor from sloshing out. Chill until cool, slice as normal, and serve.

Payless Liquors has a large selection of flavored vodkas, rums, and tequilas perfect for your next melon corking as well as an extensive beer and wine assortment for your everyday needs. Stop in or complete an online order form to schedule an easy pickup.

5 Boozy Iced Coffee Recipes You Don’t Want to Miss

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The current state of the world has undoubtedly increased our coffee consumption. It’s hard to get motivated while sheltering in place, but a big mug of java certainly helps. However, spring is here and temperatures are rising, so it’s time to move on to iced coffee drinks for the warmer months. With the popularity of quarantine happy hour at home, boozy iced coffee is the next logical progression, right?

Take a look at a few of our favorite iced coffee cocktails for the season and try a few at home. Some of these recipes may even amaze those strange folks who claim they don’t like coffee.

1. The Wanderlust Kitchen’s Boozy Iced Coffee

This one is pretty basic and very easily adaptable to any palate. To create this refreshing cocktail with a kick, you simply start with a cup of strong chilled coffee, add a shot of your favorite booze, and serve over ice. If you like cream in your coffee, add enough to suit your fancy.

2. Patrick Smith’s Espresso Martini

To create this martini, you will have to make a little demerara syrup. Simply combine equal parts hot water and raw sugar, stir until dissolved, and then chill. Mix a half shot of the syrup with a shot of vodka, half a shot of vanilla liqueur, ¾ shot of espresso, and ¾ shot of coffee liqueur. Shake the ingredients over ice and serve straight up in a martini glass. Top the drink off with a garnish of three coffee beans for health, happiness, and prosperity.

3. The Spruce Eat’s Vanilla Latte Cocktail

If you are a fan of fancy coffee drinks in general, this one may be for you. A twist on a traditional latte, this recipe is served cold and boozy – perfect for a spring afternoon. Start with a glass of ice and two shots of cream liqueur. Build the next layer with a shot of vanilla vodka, then top off with two shots of chilled coffee. Give it a stir and enjoy!

4. Dorda Cafe Cocktail

If decadence is your thing, this cocktail may find a forever home with you. Dorda Double Chocolate Liqueur is the base for this delicious beast. Start with an ounce and a half of that, toss it in a shaker with an ounce of espresso and a half ounce of amaretto, and ice. Shake until well chilled and pour over a glass of ice. For the final touch, top the drink off with steamed milk foam or whipped cream. This cocktail is every bit as rich and wonderful as it sounds.

5. The Cookie Rookie’s Tiramisu Martini

The concept for this cocktail comes from one of the most popular desserts ever. Its smooth, rich taste is nearly as rich as the last one, but certainly with its own unique properties. To construct this drink, mix equal parts Kahlua, Rum Chata, Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, and heavy cream. Shake the ingredients on ice and pour into a martini glass. This tasty treat wouldn’t be complete without a garnish of whipped cream, chocolate shavings, ground coffee or cocoa, and lady fingers.

Payless Liquors is the only name you need to know when you are stocking up on ingredients for your coffee cocktails or just restocking your adult beverage inventory. We have everything you need. Please use our online order form to make your selections and schedule a social distancing pickup time.

old fashioned

2 New Twists on an Old Classic: Spring Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipes

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The Old Fashioned is a cocktail that never seems to go out of style. One of the oldest known recipes for the drink is from a bartender’s guide published in 1862. The recipe in this book is similar to the “modern” Old Fashioned but was actually not a whiskey-based drink at all. The story of the recipe we know today dates back to 1880, when a bartender in Louisville, KY created the drink and took it on the road – right to the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, to be exact. This is said to be the birthplace of the Old Fashioned. The cocktail is mentioned in other books and periodicals over the years, but the basic recipe has always remained the same.

In today’s competitive bartending scene, it seems like such a simple recipe would fall by the wayside, forgotten in the sands of time as artisan cocktail creations move to the forefront of the bartending world. But its classic ingredients and familiar taste never goes out of style. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t change it up a little and add a modern touch to an old school cocktail. Take a look at these two new versions of the Old Fashioned as you hone your bartending skills while social distancing.

1. Gin Old Fashioned

If you are not a fan of whiskey and bourbon or you’re simply looking for something a little lighter and more refreshing for spring, this twist on the classic recipe is going to be a game changer for you. It bears some resemblance to a classic Negroni, but the unique characteristics that compose an Old Fashioned really come through and make this new creation stand out from the crowd. Build your drink with a two ounce gin base and a splash of simple syrup. A splash of bitters and some muddled orange and lemon rind complete the drink, as you stir it up and pour it over ice to cool your warm spring and summer days.

2. Coffee Old Fashioned

This one is for the coffee connoisseurs out there. Espresso martinis are played out, and hot coffee drinks are more suited to chilly autumn nights than golden summer evenings. This cocktail will definitely change the way you think about the traditional Old Fashioned. Start with two ounces of coffee liqueur and add a few splashes of orange bitters. No need for sugar in this one, as the liqueur adds a touch of sweetness. Stir over ice and then pour into your favorite beverage glass or serve it straight up with a lemon twist if you prefer the feel of a martini. Either way, you are sure to love it!

When you need a few ingredients for new cocktails like these, Payless Liquors is your go-to spot. We have everything you need for happy hour, including a great selection of domestic and import beers and wines. Whether you’re still or quarantine or just like the convenience of easy pick up, we can help. Use our online order form to make your selections today and pick them up with minimal contact.