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 Gold and Best Vodka at World Spirits Competitions around the world.
Check out a few of these imaginative bartenders, their unique drinks, and what influenced their paradise!
The Jasmine Dragon
By Brandon McDonald, Chilled 100 Member, Denver
“It’s been a very strange world lately, and one of the places I’ve found an escape was watching Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix. The drink is named for Uncle Iroh’s tea shop, which was his life’s goal. Jasmine is also a scent that reminds me of home, so one I really enjoy using where I can.”
- 2 oz. Monkey in Paradise Vodka
- 1 1/2 oz. Jasmine Tea Syrup
- 1/2 oz. lemon juice
- splash club soda
Preparation: Combine ingredients in rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a lemon peel.
By Jonathan Mateer, Chilled 100 Member, Denver
“Personally I’ve never gone on the Keto diet, but I understand what it means to want to enjoy certain flavors when you can’t have them. I’m allergic to tree nuts and most fresh fruits. I’m always looking for ways to enjoy flavors that I can’t normally have. Cocktails are a perfect way to do that. Infusing and fat washing spirits can be a great way to get great flavor into your drinks in minimal quantities that wouldn’t have undesirable effects on a diet (unfortunately, not the case with allergies). This cocktail is great way to add some of those great tropical flavors while still enjoying something friendly towards the Keto diet. As always, sip responsibly!”
- 1 1/2 oz. Monkey In Paradise Vodka
- 3/4 oz. Coconut Infused Dolin Blanc Vermouth*
- 3/4 oz. Dolin Dry Vermouth
- 1 tsp. cinnamon syrup
- 1 dash Scrappy’s Black Lemon Bitters
Preparation: Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and stir until chilled. Strain up into a small coupe or martini glass. Garnish with your Monkey in Paradise cocktail marker.
*Coconut Infused Vermouth
Add 1/4 cup of unrefined coconut oil to 500mL of vermouth in a sealable container. Place in freezer for 4-6 hours. Remove solids from the container by running it through coffee filter. Store strained liquid in refrigerator until needed.
The Endless Summer
Ryan Puckett, Chilled 100 Member, Nashville
“My cocktail was inspired by my favorite southern-summer flavor combo; strawberry and rhubarb. I built the cocktail around that concept, but didn’t want to overly acidify it with lemon or lime. To me that detracts from a cocktail being sessional. So I lifted the cocktail and added acid by using a sour beer instead.”
- 1 1/2 oz. Monkey in Paradise Vodka
- 1 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
- 3/4 oz. strawberry rhubarb syrup
- Topped with Dogfish Seaquench Sour
Preparation: Combine all ingredients except for sour beer in a shaking tin. Shake until chilled and diluted. Pour over ice in a rocks glass and top with Seaquench or a similar sour beer. Garnish with a strawberry.
*Strawberry Rhubarb Syrup
Combine one chopped stalk of rhubarb, 4 sliced strawberries, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of water in a pot. Bring to a light boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Take off heat and allow to cool. Strain our solids. Keeps for 1 week.
My Virtual Hammock in the Trees
By Carol Donovan, Chilled 100 Member, Chicago
“When I set out to create this cocktail, I was reminded of my great experiences when I visited the Cloud Forest in Costa Rica. Everything in nature there is just a little more intense and yet the energy is exceptionally calming. Much of the area I got to visit in the center of the continent was lush and teaming with life. We had to be aware of everything around us because nature takes so many more forms there than we experience here, and almost every surface is alive. What looks like a leaf, or a stick is likely a living creature and may start moving at any time! I enjoyed using the giant pothos leaves (the same plant we grow in our homes but 100x as big) as an umbrella when it rained, and of course among all of the wildlife unique to that region there were plenty of monkeys!
Whenever I get to visit a place like that, I feel a strong compulsion to find a spot in the middle of everything and just hear and smell all of the things that are new to me. I definitely like to hang my head out of the window when driving through a new place and let the scents communicate to me. And, I especially love just sitting in a hammock in the dark and letting the environment and all of the local creatures sing to me and truly feed my soul. I learn more about the places I visit this way than I do from any guidebook. Thank you for the chance to remember those feelings of being in a true paradise! Therefore, I created this cocktail to celebrate those wonderful memories while sheltering in a much less idyllic location. May it help bring others a touch of paradise wherever they find themselves. Feel free to make an entire pitcher at once to maximize relaxation!”
- 2 oz. Monkey in Paradise vodka infused with blueberries*
- 1 1/2 oz. Apple-Hibiscus Green Tea**
- 3-4 fresh basil leaves
- 2 wedges fresh lime
- Frozen drunk blueberries, fresh blueberries and sprig of basil (for garnish)
Preparation: In mixing glass gently muddle basil leaves and lime wedges. Add Monkey in Paradise vodka infusion and Apple-Hibiscus Green tea. Add ice and stir just until chilled. Fine strain into chilled glassware (whatever vessel you feel like!). Drop in frozen drunk blueberries. Garnish with fresh blueberries and sprig of basil. Relax in your hammock (or just in front of a photo of your paradise) and enjoy! Let the color, aroma, and taste transport you. Exhale, sip, repeat.
*Blueberry infused Monkey in Paradise Vodka
Fill an airtight jar with fresh blueberries and cover with 8.5 oz. Monkey in Paradise vodka (makes 4 cocktails). Allow to soak for 24 hours, then drain off the vodka & retain for cocktails. Place berries in freezer-safe bag and keep frozen until ready to serve in your cocktail. These “frozen drunk berries” are deliciously boozy when you get to the bottom of the drink, and when used from the freezer they can take the place of ice to avoid further dilution while helping to keep your beverage cold.
**Apple-Hibiscus Green Tea
Bring 2 cups of apple juice and 2 tbsp. green tea to a boil. Remove from heat and add 3-4 dried hibiscus flowers. Allow to cool to room temperature. Strain out solids with a fine strainer and store.
Aloe My Love
By Julieta Campos, Chilled 100 Member, Chicago
- 2 oz. Monkey in Paradise Vodka
- 3/4 oz. lemon juice
- 3/4 oz. simple syrup
- 3 oz. barspoons fresh aloe
- 2 oz. soda water
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Preparation: In a shaker tin combine the Monkey in Paradise vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, and aloe. Shake vigorously and double-strain into a rocks glass. Top with soda water, and finally add two strong dashes of Angostura Bitters. The cocktail is inspired by light and refreshing ingredients that are also good for you.