From gifts to seasonal cocktails, here’s how a whiskey pro prepares for the holidays

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Felicia Corbett is one of the most exciting faces working in the whiskey industry and cocktails today. he is a Angel’s Envy Whiskey Guardian and the “master of potions” at Trouble Bar, a whiskey bar run by a woman in Louisville. Esquire Magazine’s 2021 America’s Best Bars list.

The cocktails he helped create at Trouble demonstrate a masterful sense of taste as well as a passion for fun. For example, their autumn menuWith drinks like Practical Magic (honey, lemon juice mixed with gin, peanuts and cardamom) and Hey Mister, We Are the Weirdos (tequila, prickly pear syrup, lime juice, lime juice, orange liqueur).

RELATING TO: Here’s how to add apple butter to your decadent holiday cocktails.

Ahead of the holiday season, Corbett spoke with Salon about tips for beginners to create better cocktails at home. accessible whiskeys to sip and gift and what for he makes it at home for groups of guests.

The philosophy behind creating seasonal cocktails:

I look at many trends and see what people appreciate in their flavor profiles. Next, I try to develop a weird twist on it. For example, you can factor in very traditional fall spices and flavors like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, pumpkin – but then you can find a way to add a funky twist to it. I also really like to animate other local businesses.

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The last few menus we’re working with FOKO (A Mexican-inspired breakfast and lunch counter at the nearby Logan Street Market food court) Chef Paco Garcia and co-owner Josh Gonzalez will make us horchata, I use it on my pumpkin spice latte in my game. It begins by mixing 100-proof whiskey with vanilla beans, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Then I made cold brew and pumpkin puree syrup.

You know, when you taste it”pumpkin spice” it can be overly sweet in drinks – and I’m not a fan of sweet drinks. So, cold brew has the bitterness and then brewing the whiskey takes the sweetness, then we put the horchata on it.

Corbett’s big tip for amateur home bartenders:

I taught my mom to do this, so if I can teach it, anyone can. I told him to work perfecting a simple syrup. There is room for experimentation – figuring out your sugar to water ratio for a thicker or thinner syrup. Once you master it, you can enjoy adding herbs and other things to it. Many are just playing games and you can even make maple syrup or honey if you don’t want to make sugar.

Once you’ve calculated your proportions, thickness, and sweetness, you’re also adept at getting the cocktail started. Then, saying, “Oh, I grew my own lavender and used it to make lavender simple syrup,” might sound good and look very fancy.

While Corbett is personally a fan of rye whiskeys—which can be a little intimidating for those new to the spirit—there are a number of accessible whiskeys he’s excited about right now:

I’ve worked for them for a few years so I’m a bit partial, but Angel’s Envy is a great, accessible whiskey that’s easy to sip and good for a gift. If you want to stick to the finished whiskey but try something a little different, I’m a really big fan. cask bourbons. They feed in all the liquid and then finish it off in different iterations and it feels like there’s a million. I haven’t met anyone I didn’t enjoy. Seagrass and Armida are two species that I consider fixed.

later Willett He made a line where wheat bourbon is finished in Chardonnay barrels, high rye is in a Cabin, and rye is finished in port; These are really fun if you’re looking for something that isn’t very popular yet but will be.

Here’s how he Makes cocktails for groups at home:

For the most part, I will have people and experiment on them. It’s only if I’m feeling good because I have cancer and I’ve had chemotherapy, so when my taste buds are totally hit, I’ll do it because when I do something it gives me joy to see people’s faces and say, “How did you do that?” they say. When I’m entertaining a larger group though, then I’ll usually make my own twist cider or something like twist toddies!

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