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.

mixed drink

4 Sweet Mixed Drink Recipes – Equal Parts Spring and Quarantine

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The spring season is finally here. With it comes warm sunny afternoons outside with a nice sweet cocktail. The unusual days we’re living in have made things a little different than past years, as most bars and restaurants around the country are not open for sit-down service. Never fear, spring happy hour will just have to move to your backyard patio!

Perhaps you have tried some of the cocktails from our previous blog on drinks you can make for quarantine happy hour. If so, you know how fun and rewarding making your own adult beverages can be. Give these four new cocktails a try, as you enjoy the afternoon sun on the veranda.

1. Garibaldi

This classic cocktail is named in honor of Guiseppe Garibaldi, a 19th century Italian general, who contributed to the unification and creation of the Kingdom of Italy. The ingredients are simple and elegant: 1.5 parts Campari liqueur to 4 parts orange juice, served over ice. This one is easy to make, easy on the eyes, and easy to drink. The vibrant red is symbolic of Garibaldi’s freedom fighters, dressed in red, and the orange represents Sicily. This cocktail is one you can wow your friends with, while giving them a bit of a history lesson as well.

2. Ginger Beer Margarita

If you love the subtle bite of ginger beer, but you’re growing tired of the same old Moscow mule every time you have a cocktail, this drink is for you. There is nothing like an icy cold margarita on a spring or summer afternoon, and the ginger flavor is a perfect complement to the lime juice, salt, simple syrup , and tequila. This may quickly become your signature drink.

3. Grapefruit Martini

The spunky pink of a ruby red grapefruit martini practically screams spring. This martini is quick and easy to whip up. It satisfies the taste buds without overwhelming the senses. It is sweet, but not overdone, and tastes like a drink you would get at a 5-star restaurant. Simply combine 2 parts ruby red grapefruit juice with 1 part vodka, 1 part triple sec, and a tablespoon of sugar over ice in your shaker. Then, give it a hefty shake and pour it into your martini glass. You won’t regret it.

4. Fig and Bourbon Fizz

If you love the uniquely sweet flavor of ripe figs, try adding the zing of fresh mint. This simple addition means you’ve got a spectacular cocktail unlike anything else you’ve tried. Some would say it’s a twist on a traditional mint julep, but the unique flavor combination here really sets it apart. Place one fig, a small handful of mint leaves, and a few raw sugar cubes into your shaker and muddle them together. Add a shot of bourbon and shake until well chilled. Pour the mixture onto a glass filled with ice cubes, top off with a hefty splash of ginger ale, and enjoy.

No matter what your tastes are, Payless Liquors has you covered this spring. You can get the ingredients for these drink recipes, along with a vast selection of your other favorite wine, beer, and spirits while social distancing by using our online order form. Place your order today and get to mixing

Check Out These Easy Cocktails You Can Make for Quarantine Happy Hour

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The self isolation of COVID-19 stay-at-home guidelines has added a great deal of stress and anxiety to our daily routine. Many Americans are out of work due to business closures, restricted hours, and children being home from school. When you add financial strain to the cabin fever everyone is experiencing, it is easy to understand why many of us need a drink to relax and unwind once in a while.

Getting Creative

One of the positive effects of the shelter in place orders is that people are learning to make the most of what they have. Grocery store shelves are missing items we usually buy, and we are learning to make new recipes with the ingredients we have on hand. Quarantine cocktails are trending, so what better way to make use of some of those things in the liquor cabinet that need a little attention. You may need to pick up a few additional items when you venture out, but these quarantine cocktails will ease your mind and stay in your bartending repertoire for years to come!


This soothing drink is perfect for warming up on a cool evening or even a breakfast treat if you aren’t a bloody mary fan. The best part is, you most likely already have all of the ingredients right at home. Cinnamon, black or chai tea, honey, and lemon are all you need to create a base for this delicious cocktail. Add a bit of rum or whiskey, and enjoy a tasty treat.

Morini Classico Negroni

If you enjoy taking your time sipping a cocktail and savoring its complexity, a classic negroni is sure to please. This drink has made a bit of a comeback in recent years but is still not something that you see on a drink menu every day. Gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth are some of the bottles that are likely gathering dust in your liquor cabinet, so get them out and mix one up. If you love it, consider keeping a larger batch on hand. It doesn’t go bad, so save yourself the trouble of mixing a new drink every time.


There’s nothing like the refreshing zing of a daiquiri, and we’re not talking about the frozen strawberry chain restaurant concoctions (although they are refreshing, too!) This classic cocktail uses the basic ingredients of white rum, simple syrup, and lime juice to build a perfect beverage to enjoy on your deck on a spring quarantine afternoon. They go down easy, so be sure to pace yourself and avoid that morning headache.

These are strange times we’re living in, but you don’t have to sit at home bored. It’s ok to treat yourself to an occasional quarantine cocktail and let off a little steam. Consider reaching out to a

few friends you haven’t seen in awhile and organizing a Zoom happy hour to reconnect and catch up on each others’ lives. If you’re missing any ingredients, check out the Payless Liquors pickup order form and get your spirits the easy way while practicing social distancing.

bloody Mary

All About the Bloody Mary

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The Bloody Mary is one of the most unique cocktails in history, and not just because it uses some very unconventional ingredients that you’re unlikely to find in most other cocktails. It’s because if you were to ask 10 different bartenders to make you a Bloody Mary, you would probably have 10 very different cocktails.

History of the Bloody Mary

The Bloody Mary originally appeared at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, France, concocted by bartender Fernand Petiot. A patron who sampled the drink suggested the name “Bloody Mary,” named after a girl he knew named Mary from the Bucket of Blood Club in Chicago. The original mix was equal parts vodka and tomato juice. After moving to the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City, Petiot adapted the recipe and gave it a kick: He added black pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and a dash of Tabasco hot pepper sauce to create the signature cocktail known and loved today.

How to Make a Bloody Mary of Your Own

While Petiot’s original Bloody Mary recipe became the standard and the basis for the wildly popular Tabasco Bloody Mary Mix from the McIlhenny Company in 1976, you can find countless different recipes at bars across the nation today. You can also mix your own Bloody Mary at home, adding a unique spin to make your own special version of this timeless classic.

Bloody Mary is typically enjoyed as a breakfast cocktail. It’s great for relieving a hangover and pairs perfectly with a breakfast of bacon and eggs, so salty, spicy, and savory additions are great choices when it comes to perfecting your Bloody Mary recipe. If you want to make your own Bloody Mary mix, it’s a good idea to combine everything but the alcohol the night before you plan on drinking your Bloody Mary. This gives the spices and flavors time to blend. Aside from the standard black and cayenne pepper, you can experiment with other spices like lemon pepper, celery salt, and chile powder for a spicier Bloody Mary.

Choosing Your Alcohol

Vodka is the standard for a Bloody Mary, but you can find lots of different vodkas that create different flavors in your drink. Absolute Peppar is a fantastic option that contributes beautifully to the spiciness of the Bloody Mary. You can also make a great Bloody Mary with mezcal, tequila, or rye whiskey.

Putting It All Together

Presentation is a big part of the appeal of the Bloody Mary. The traditional garnish is a stalk of celery with the leaves intact on one end, but you can take this much further depending on your mix and your preferences. Pickled jalapeno peppers, olives, and lemon slices are great choices for garnishes. For something a bit saltier and savorier, add a whole strip of crisply cooked bacon!

The Bloody Mary can be a great way to kick off your first day on vacation or the perfect remedy for a weekend hangover. It may take some experimentation, but eventually you can make a Bloody Mary that’s perfectly suited to your tastes with a bit of patience. Payless Liquors has all the top-shelf liquors you’ll need to make the perfect Bloody Mary, so contact us today to see if we have what you need in stock.


5 Best Cocktails for Easter (or Any April Party)

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Whether you’re planning a big family celebration for Easter or simply have entertaining plans this April, a few spring cocktails are great additions to your recipe collection and will delight and refresh your guests. Try these for yourself and see which ones would complement your spring party menus the best.

  1. Iced Sparkling Honey Lime Red Tea

Cool tea is one of the best spring drinks, and you can add a delightful kick to your favorite red tea with this light and crisp recipe. Start by brewing a few bags of your favorite red tea, enough to make a full pitcher. Brew the tea according to the package directions and then add honey to taste. Let the mixture cool, then add lime juice to the pitcher. Pour the mixture into drinking glasses over ice and top with club soda, garnish with lime slices, and serve.

  1. The Classic Champagne Cocktail

A signature celebratory cocktail that’s great for springtime, the Classic Champagne Cocktail is a great way to add a bit of fun and class to your next April gathering. You’ll need a sugar cube for every champagne glass, your favorite bitters, and of course, champagne. Start by soaking each sugar cube in bitters. The best way to do this is by opening the bottle of bitters, placing a sugar cube over the open top, and then holding the cube with your thumb as you tilt the bottle upside-down, soaking the cube in bitters in just a second or two. Place each soaked cube in a champagne glass and then pour your champagne. Add a twist of lemon peel as a garnish and serve.

  1. Spiked Strawberry Lemonade

Few drinks are as reminiscent of the springtime as homemade strawberry lemonade. If you’d like to try a more grown-up version of this classic spring drink, start by adding your favorite vodka, lemonade, and sliced strawberries to a metal shaker. Shake well, then strain into drinking glasses over ice. A lemon wedge and a sprig of mint make the perfect garnish for this light and fruity cocktail.

  1. Moscow Mule Punch

Looking for a big batch cocktail to serve at your next Easter or spring party? Start with a large punch bowl and combine ginger beer and your favorite top-shelf vodka over ice. Mix in freshly squeezed lime juice, mint leaves, and limes cut into thin slices. Serve with a ladle into copper mules and garnish with more lime slices.

  1. Creamsicle Punch

Orange Creamsicles are some of the most beloved spring treats, and now you can capture that amazing flavor in a cocktail for your next April party! Start by combining pulp-free orange juice, ginger ale, vodka, and prosecco in a large punch bowl. Very carefully add small scoops of vanilla ice cream and thin orange slices. Ladle into drinking glasses to serve.

These are just a few examples of fantastic cocktails that are perfect for Easter parties or spring gatherings of any kind. Payless Liquors has all the top-shelf alcohol you need to make these amazing drinks for your next party, so contact us today to find out what we have in stock.

3 St. Patrick’s Day Drinks to Celebrate (No Matter What Day It Is)

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The time of the year again – bagpipes, Irish dancers, and folk bands parade the streets in cities across the country, filling restaurants and bars with the sounds that make us all feel a bit Irish. When celebrating this festive holiday, we often enjoy a pint of Guinness Stout or a warm Irish coffee, but these drinks lose their lucky charm after a while, and we need to mix it up. Green beer may be great for a St. Patty’s fraternity party, but it just doesn’t do it for those of us with a more discerning palate.

This St. Patrick’s Day, why not try something a little different? These green drinks may inspire you to start a new Irish tradition or, at the very least, give you a chance to sample something a little out of your normal realm.

The Last Word Cocktail

What better way to create a green drink for St. Patrick’s Day than using the classic liqueur, Chartreuse, for color. This botanical liqueur is made by two Chartreuse monks who are the only people in the world who know the exact combination of plants (over 130 of them) and distilling techniques used to produce this delicious liqueur. An ingredient with a true “secret recipe” just seems kind of magical and appropriate for St. Patty’s Day. To enjoy this complex cocktail, gather the following ingredients:

  • ¾ oz Gin
  • ¾ oz Maraschino Liqueur
  • ¾ oz Green Chartreuse
  • ¾ oz freshly squeezed lime juice

Add these ingredients to a shaker full of ice and shake it until well chilled. Serve the drink up or strained over a glass of ice, and garnish with a slice of lime.

Irish Buck

If whiskey is your lucky liquor of choice, this may be the drink for you. With a similar flavor profile to the “mules” that have gained popularity in recent years, this cocktail is sure to please many palates. Martha Stewart recommends serving it with her Leek and Cheddar Dip, which would be wonderful served with Irish Soda Bread for dipping. To make this one, combine these ingredients in a glass of ice:

  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 3 oz Ginger Ale
  • 1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
  • Garnish with a slice of lime and serve!

Green Apple Ginger Martini

If you’re a fan of the festive green but prefer the crisp taste of Granny Smith Apples over the punch of whiskey or the herbal blast of Chartreuse, this martini is for you. It takes the best qualities of fruity martinis you find on most restaurants’ signature cocktail lists but improves upon them by doing away with the artificial flavors and replacing them with real fruit and a real artisan preparation that will wow your guests. If you like preparing something special for your friends and family to celebrate the holiday, this drink won’t disappoint. Check out this recipe from Gourmande in the Kitchen today.

If you are looking for the ingredients for these cocktails and many others to liven up your St. Patrick’s Day party, visit Payless Liquors to stock up. We have everything you need to bring the luck o’ the Irish to your table this year.

crockpot-warmed cocktails

It’s Hot Toddy Season: Try These 3 Crockpot-Warmed Cocktails

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The crockpot is a staple appliance in most American kitchens, but did you know you can use yours to make much more than slow-cooked meals? Your crockpot can help you make some of the most unique and delicious hot cocktails. Check out the following recipes and visit Payless Liquors to purchase all the ingredients you’ll need to enjoy them in your own kitchen.

Temple Toddy

This unique spin on the classic Hot Toddy is sure to please, especially if you’re suffering from a cold or sore throat. Peel and chop one lemon, one mango, one Granny Smith apple, and a two-inch piece of ginger and add everything to your crockpot with 32 ounces of water. Cook for one hour and then muddle all of the solids. Strain the mixture with a fine strainer for about six ounces of your Temple Toddy mixer. Combine two ounces of Jameson Irish Whiskey with a half ounce of honey in a hot toddy mug and then fill it up with your strained fruit mixture. Garnish with a lemon wheel and a cinnamon stick.

Spiked Crockpot Apple Cider

Hot cider is a classic winter drink, and you can make an adult version easily in your crockpot with a few additions. Start with six to eight cups of your favorite apple cider, half a cup of caramel ice cream topping, and two cinnamon sticks combined in your crockpot. Heat on high for at least two hours. At this point, you can serve as-is or add your favorite vodka, bourbon, or whiskey for a spiked cocktail. Pour one ounce of your liquor of choice into a mug, then top with the spiced cider. Whipped cream, caramel sauce, and miniature shortbread cookie make for a delightful topping.

Cranberry-Orange Mulled Wine

Mulled wine is a winter favorite all over the world. You’ll need one 750ml bottle of your favorite Cabernet Sauvignon or red Zinfandel, two cups of orange juice, one third of a cup of sugar, and one cup of fresh or frozen cranberries poured into your slow cooker. Wash a whole orange thoroughly and then use fresh whole cloves to stud the surface of the orange; just use the prickly end of each clove to poke directly into the peel. Add the orange to the slow cooker and warm the mixture on low for two to three hours, or until the cranberries are tender, just make sure not to let the mixture boil.

Fish out the orange and cinnamon sticks and then very carefully strain the wine through a heatproof fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl. Next, use a wooden spoon to carefully press the cranberry juices through the sieve into the bowl. Once you’ve drained all the juice out of the cranberries, return the wine mixture to your slow cooker and add half a cup of brandy and more sugar to taste. Set the slow cooker to the warming setting and then serve by ladling into mugs and garnishing with cinnamon sticks and orange slices. You can also skewer some cranberries on cocktail sticks for extra flair.

The possibilities are endless with a good slow cooker when it comes to warmed cocktails. Try a few other recipes for yourself and get creative. Remember that you can come to Payless Liquors for all of the ingredients you need for perfect warmed cocktails.

January cocktails

3 January Cocktails You Don’t Want to Miss

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January might be the coldest month of the year in most of the country, but it’s a great time to try some fantastic wintry cocktails that can warm the spirit and liven your January gatherings. Payless Liquors offers a fantastic selection of spirits, mixers, and bar equipment that you can use to make the following must-try January cocktails.

Winter Mojito

The mojito is often considered a summer drink, with a crisp and refreshing bite that’s perfect for beating the heat. However, the winter mojito can provide the same kind of perk-up during the winter weather with a few modifications. Two ounces of house-spiced rum, three-quarters of an ounce of lime juice, and a half ounce of Demerara syrup form the base of this multilayered drink in a shaker cup with ice. After blending, strain the drink into a glass with a mint sprig and ice.

To add your own house-spiced rum, simply add one whole cinnamon stick, 5 ground cloves, and one star anise pod to a bottle of your favorite spiced rum and allow it to steep for at least 12 hours before straining out the solids.

Fennel Countdown

If you’re in the mood for a drink with warmth and complexity, this is it. The Fennel Countdown is one and a quarter ounces of The Real McCoy 12-year-old rum, one ounce of Père-Magloire V.S.O.P. calvados, three-quarters of an ounce of 291 Distillery The DECC citrus clove liqueur, a half ounce of homemade fennel syrup, three-quarters of an ounce of apricot puree, one fifth of an ounce of fresh lemon juice, and two dashes of Strongwater Wildfire bitters. Blend everything in a shaker cup with ice and then strain over a glass with ice. Garnish with a clove-studded lemon square.

To make your own fennel syrup at home, toast about four ounces of fennel seeds and then add them to a pot with eight ounces of sugar and eight ounces water, bring the mixture to a boil before simmering 15 minutes and then straining.

Lazy Sunday

Have you made a New Year’s Resolution to live healthier in 2020? You’ll be happy to learn the Lazy Sunday cocktail has a bit of a health bonus with the inclusion of turmeric, a natural anti-inflammatory. Mix yourself a Lazy Sunday by combining one and a half ounces of your favorite tequila with an equal measure of fresh grapefruit juice, one ounce of cinnamon syrup, and a quarter ounce of turmeric tea in a shaker cup with ice. Strain the mixture into a highball glass with ice, top with soda water, and garnish with a slice of grapefruit peel.

You can make turmeric tea easily at home by combining one teaspoon of ground turmeric powder and two cups of water, bringing the mixture to a boil, and then simmer for ten minutes. Once done simmering, strain the mixture and use it for your Lazy Sunday cocktail!

These are just a few of the fantastic winter cocktails you can try this January. No matter what your plans for the New Year might be, Payless Liquors has all the essentials to make them more memorable. Visit us online to check out our selection and arrange a pickup of your must-have cocktail ingredients.

healthy cocktails

Try These Healthy Cocktail Recipes for the New Year

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The beginning of a new year often inspires people to begin making healthy dietary changes – from better snacks to better cocktails. Now that the decadent food and drink of the holiday season is behind us, January is the perfect time to commit to a healthier you, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up the drinks you love.

New Year, New Cocktails

If you enjoy imbibing with friends and family, you’ll be happy to know you can still indulge in the occasional drink while remaining faithful to your new healthy eating regime. However, in many circles, “healthy drinks” translates to little more than liquor with a splash of seltzer. Fortunately, the following cocktails are low-calorie, refreshing, and tasty enough to keep you coming back for more. Check out our top five here:

  1. Skinny Spicy Tequila Cocktail. This tart, sweet, and spicy cocktail is a play on a spicy margarita – only without the loads of calories brought to the table by sweet and sour mix. Instead, the Skinny Spicy Tequila uses fresh-squeezed orange and lime juice and just a hint of pineapple juice to provide the citrusy kick, then a hint of pineapple juice for the signature sweetness. Add a jigger of jalapeno tequila, and you have a skinny cocktail that will only cost you about 150 calories.
  2. Rosemary Grapefruit Vodka Spritzer. The winter season is the perfect time for this cocktail, featuring fresh herbs and the plump seasonal grapefruits you’ll find in local grocers. Equal parts savory and zesty, this drink is best started by muddling rosemary, grapefruit or grapefruit juice, vodka, and lime juice in a shaker. Strain into a cocktail glass, top it off with grapefruit sparkling water, and you have a classy 150 calorie cocktail at the ready.
  3. Keto-Friendly Moscow Mule. The Moscow Mule is an excellent cocktail for any time of year – it’s refreshing enough for summer, but the herbaceous ginger kick tastes like fall and winter to many others. Whether you’ve recently started Keto or are simply looking for a full-flavored substitute, this recipe has you covered at just 110 calories. Start with a chilled copper mug, then add vodka and fresh lime juice; the secret ingredient is diet ginger beer, which has all the taste of the original without sacrificing the signature flavor of ginger beer for the much less spicy ginger ale.
  4. Skinny Strawberry Mojito. If you’re accustomed to mojitos, you know the reason it’s on most dieters no-lists – simple syrup and full-sugar soda ramp up the calorie counts in the minty, tasty original. This Skinny Strawberry version of the classic forgoes both in favor of Stevia, flavored soda water and strawberries for sweetness. As always, be sure to muddle the mint, Stevia, strawberries, lime and rum in your glass to release the mint flavor, Then, add soda water and stir for a 112-calorie refreshing cocktail.
  5. Pomegranate Champagne Spritzer. What would a low-cal cocktail list be without champagne? A frequent recommendation of dietitians everywhere, champagne is a diet-friendly drink on its own. However, consider spicing it up with some lemon and fun pomegranate ice cubes for a sweet-tart surprise. Or, add your own preferred fresh-squeezed juice for a burst of flavor with minimal added sugar.

These are just a few of the best healthy cocktail recipes out there. However, many popular cocktails can be altered to cut calories without sacrificing taste. Ask our friendly staff for more information about skinny versions of some of the most popular spirits and cocktail mixes on the market.


Impress Your Guests With Your Knowledge of the Martini 

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Have you ever wanted to order a martini with the confidence of James Bond? It might be difficult if you don’t have a grasp of basic terminology. The ways in which you can customize a martini are virtually endless. However, knowing the foundation of a good martini – and the most common ways that people enjoy them – can make you a better host at your next get together. Here is what you need to know about mixing the perfect martini.

Start With the Base

There are two main types of martinis – vodka and gin. Historically, the original martini was created from gin and named a Martinez. During the San Francisco gold rush, a miner came into a bar and asked for a cocktail in exchange for a gold nugget. An enterprising bartender mixed a combination of dry gin, a dash of bitters, maraschino (cherry liquor), and sweet vermouth. He named it for the city in which the miners found gold, and a cocktail was born.

The idea of a vodka martini would not come around until an author named Ian Fleming would have a certain British special agent order one – half gin, half vodka, and Lillete – inspired by his love interest, Vesper. Today, this concoction is still called a Vesper Martini.

Shaken Versus Stirred

Shaken or stirred – is there a difference? A true bartender might tell you that stirring is the only way to have a true martini. Shaking the martini will make the vermouth less oily, and ice fragments in the glass will naturally dilute the drink. In other words, James Bond was asking for a weaker martini.

Wet Versus Dry

Whether a martini is “wet” or “dry” depends on the amount of vermouth you use. The more vermouth in the recipe, the “wetter” the cocktail will be. A dry martini, by contrast, has little vermouth and more vodka or gin.

Straight Up or On The Rocks

This one is pretty simple: when a drink is “on the rocks,” it’s served in a glass with ice. When it’s straight up, it is shaken or stirred with ice to bring it to temperature, then poured in a glass, leaving the ice behind.

Common Martini Variations

Today, the customization options for martinis are seemingly endless. Try one of these variations to impress your guests:

  • A naked martini. In this variation, there is no vermouth or dilution with ice. It is simply a thoroughly chilled, high quality gin or vodka, garnished with a twist (generally of lemon peel).
  • A Gibson martin. This dry martini calls for a garnish of pickled or pearl onion.
  • A dirty martini. You make a martini “dirty” when you add a splash of olive juice to the mix, complete with an olive garnish. To really wow you guests, consider offering olives stuffed with garlic or cheese.

Though martinis are historically made with gin and sweet vermouth, today there are several different ways to make them. No matter how you choose to mix, make sure you chill the glass and the liquor thoroughly before serving. Stop by Payless Liquors to find your perfect martini combination today!