These are NOT normal times! At least we have each other … and vodka.
It’s no secret that bartenders, during all kinds of times, are an important source of camaraderie, creativity, hope, strength, and a lot of fun. Exploring new ways to give back to the bartending community, Chilled Magazine partnered up with Monkey In Paradise Vodka to help an industry that means so much. Bartenders are eager to work and mix up spirits while sitting at home, waiting for the hospitality industry to open back up. Chilled Magazine and Monkey In Paradise Vodka gave a group of bartenders a chance to ‘work from home.’ Chilled 100 Members were invited to create a cocktail using Monkey in Paradise Vodka. They were sent a bottle and swag package from Chilled Magazine. Chilled then sent $100 via Venmo to each of the participating bartenders for their recipes.
Monkey In Paradise Premium Vodka is distilled seven times, 100% American corn and only corn, sugar free, gluten free, carb free, vegan-friendly, and ultra-smooth. Based in Florida USA, Monkey In Paradise has won Double Golds and Best Vodka at World Spirits Competitions around the world.
In a series of articles, Chilled will feature the bartenders and their cocktails. Check out a few of these imaginative bartenders, their unique drinks, and what influenced their paradise!
Casa de Cocalero
By J.A Harrison – Chilled 100 Member, Nashville
“The avocado is believed to have been first cultivated by Mesoamerican civilization, centuries before it was introduced to the U.S. in the 1830s by way of Florid. According to Mesoamerican creation myth, after the Makers failed to make man in their image using mud as a building block, and later wood, they finally succeeded in the third attempt by fashioning man out of maize, the sacred food. So much of our food and beverage landscape has been inextricably informed by the pastoral culinary traditions of our neighbors to the South, carried to this country via migration through Florida and California. This unique, stirred vodka cocktail utilizes avocado and corn in a light, bright and delicate homage to the agricultural dexterity of pre-European Americans who knew far better than us how to husband this land.”
- 2 oz. avocado-infused Monkey in Paradise vodka*
- 1/2 oz corn-water simple syrup**
- 1/4 oz Suze
- 3 dash Scrappy’s celery bitters
- 1 dash Gazregan’s No. 6 orange bitters
- 1 large lemon peel, expressed and inserted
Preparation: Combine ingredients in rocks glass over ice.
*Avocado-infused vodka: add two halved, peeled and pitted medium-sized Hass avocados to a vacuum-bag with one 750mL bottle of Monkey in Paradise vodka and sous vide at 60°C/140°F for 60 minutes. Strain through a nut milk bag, then additionally strain through a paper coffee filter to remove all remaining residual matter.
**Corn-water simple syrup: strain the liquid from a can of sweet corn and add an equal part organic cane sugar by weight to the liquid volume of corn-water. Heat over low-medium heat on stovetop and stir until well-combined. In the meantime, use leftover corn kernels to make a pot of chili.
The Monkey Jam
By Joshua Gonzalez – Chilled 100 Member, Washington D.C.
“I looked through my fridge and I noticed I had a bit of strawberry preserves. I like to use jams and preserves when cooking and who doesn’t love the occasional PB&J. I took that as inspiration to make a cocktail with the strawberry preserves, although I recommend anyone using any kind of jams or preserves they have lying around.”
- 1 1/2 oz Monkey In Paradise Vodka
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- 2 tbsp. berry jam (strawberry)
Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake for 20 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass, garnish and enjoy.
Buena Vista Mule
By Peter Hannah – Chilled 100 Member, Orlando
“I always feel like vodka gets overlooked as an ingredient. I think bartenders shy away from using it, usually with a stack of bravado and the claim “it all tastes like nothing.” I think this is actually fear talking, you’re not relying on the spirit to get you out of trouble, you need everything to be balanced properly in a vodka cocktail in order for it to work. Monkey in Paradise vodka has that slight sweetness and creaminess that you get from corn distillates. That made it a perfect pairing for other ingredients found here in Florida. I used kumquats, coconut and Vango to make an easy tropical sipper. A touch of sherry lends a little complexity to it, whilst the ginger beer adds heat and effervescence.
- 1 oz. Monkey in Paradise Vodka
- 1/2 oz. Amontillado Sherry
- 2 oz. Kumkwats
- 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 oz coconut syrup*
- 1 dash Vango**
- Ginger beer
Preparation: Add kumquats to tin and muddle. Add other ingredients, except ginger beer, to tin. Add ice and shake for 8-10 seconds. Add ginger beer to tin and fine strain over ice into tall glass. Garnish with orange twist. *Coconut syrup: 1 part granulated sugar to 1 part coconut water. **Vango: 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract to 750ml Angostura bitters.
Will You Be My Quaran-tine?
By Megan Shaff – Chilled 100 Member, Washington D.C
- 1 1/2 oz. Monkey in Paradise Vodka
- 2 oz. coconut water
- 6 muddled blueberries
- 1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
Preparation: Put all ingredients into a shaker tin. Shake with fresh ice. Strain into rocks glass with ice. Top with extra blueberries. Enjoy!
By Ryan Herzog – Chilled 100 Member, Nashville
“My work at Porter Road Butcher Shop inspired several of the flavor components here: black tea, and fennel. Working at a butcher shop during a pandemic has given me a unique lens of customer’s irrationality- irrationality that’s usually met with a chuckle and eye roll, hence the name! I love to pair fennel with tangy and rich flavors; through the butcher shop I recently discovered unique pairings for black tea that I wanted to explore as well. Some of the flavor components I am working with are present in a Gordon’s Breakfast and I’ve successfully made riffs recently so that cocktail was fresh on my mind. Butcher, Please dilutes beautifully, so a dirty dump work perfectly to expedite that dilution!”
- 2 oz. Monkey in Paradise Vodka
- 1 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
- 3/4 oz. fennel-spiked black tea syrup*
- 1 small bar spoon Habanero Hot Sauce**
- 2 dashes Chocolate Bitters (Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate)
- fennel frond
Preparation: Add all ingredients into a shaking tin. Shake. Dump, do not strain, into a chilled rocks glass. Add more crushed ice, if needed. Garnish. *Fennel spiked black tea syrup: Boil 300g water, remove from heat, steep 30g fennel seeds and two bags of black tea for 10 min. Add 300g white sugar and dissolve. **Habanero Hot Sauce: submerge habaneros and garlic in water and salt then boil. Mix Habaneros and garlic with some brine and some white vinegar and blend.