29 May Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Blood x Sweat x Tears Vodka with Shaker & Spoon’s Steeped in Vodka Box and Three Tea-Based Cocktails
If you like to make cocktails at home (and who doesn’t?), one of the most frustrating parts is when you are missing one ingredient. Perhaps that one ingredient, such as orgeat, is not something you use a lot. So, instead you buy a bottle, use 1oz and then the bottle sits, perhaps for too long. That is how Shaker & Spoon was born. Designers Mike and Anna got tired of buying random ingredients they would use only once and they got frustrated needing a particular hard-to-find ingredient at the last minute. Shaker & Spoon is a monthly cocktail subscription box for at-home cocktails. Join the club for $40-$50 per month (you can skip or cancel anytime) and each month you get 3 recipes and everything you need (teas, bitters, oils, tonics, syrups, and more) to make 12 drinks (4 from each recipe). All you have to supply is the alcohol.
The cocktail recipes that come in a monthly Shaker & Spoon box are created by top bartenders from around the country, many of whom are award winning mixologists. It is pretty satisfying to make a good cocktail at home and even better to drink a cocktail you would enjoy out at a bar.
The April Shaker & Spoon box was the Steeped in Vodka 2 Box. It included ingredients for three cocktails – the Dragon Tears cocktail by Sother Teague, beverage director of award-winning New York bar Amor y Amargo, co-host of The Speakeasy on Heritage Radio Network, and Wine Enthusiast’s “Mixologist of the Year” for 2017; the Citrus Paradisi cocktail by Kellie Thorn, beverage director at Empire State South in Atlanta, Georgia, Les Dames d’Escoffier winner in 2017, Wine Enthusiast’s “40 Under 40” in 2018; Forbidden Fruit cocktail by bartender Chelsea Santos of Raleigh, North Carolina.
The recommended spirit to use in these cocktails is vodka and I used the Blood x Sweat x Tears Vodka, a Gold Medal winning vodka at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition from Eugene, Oregon. Blood x Sweat x Tears Vodka was created by self-taught distiller Ben Green who put his “blood, sweat, and tears” into creating his labor of love. The vodka is made from 100% soft winter wheat from Hamilton Ranch on Rattlesnake Ridge in Washington State and purified water is sourced from the Cascade mountains in Oregon. The vodka is triple distilled in small batches and then freeze filtered, similar to clarifying chicken soup in which the cold is used to separate out the fatty acids. The resulting vodka has notes of earth and spice and is smooth on the palate with a clean finish. And if quality ingredients and smooth flavor doesn’t sell it for you, Blood x Sweat x Tears Vodka partners with Best Friends Animal Society and its “no-kill” mission.
What I needed to provide to get started:
The Shaker & Spoon box came with the ingredients as well as recipe cards. In addition to providing my own Vodka, the cards explained what tools I would need at home which included a few different jiggers, a strainer, a fine mesh strainer, a bar spoon, a citrus juicer, and a shaker. I also needed a coupe glass, a rocks glass, and a collins glass. Lastly I needed ice, as well as an egg for egg whites.
The instructions were very straight forward and easy to follow and the resulting drinks were delicious!
My first cocktail was the Citrus Paradisi, a shaken drink served in a collins glass, by Atlanta-based Kellie Thorn.
My second cocktail was the Forbidden Fruit by Texas-based Chelsea Santos. I had to brew tea first, add the sugar rim, and do a dry shake with the egg yolk. Making this cocktail made me feel like a real professional!
My third cocktail was the Dragon Tears, a classic stirred drink served in a rocks glass, by New York based Sother Teague. To make this cocktail, I first had to infuse the vodka with oolong tea.
The Blood x Sweat x Tears Vodka was versatile and worked well with each cocktail. I was so impressed with the quality and flavors of each cocktail. These were some of the best cocktails I have enjoyed at home and I was so proud to have made them. But the true credit goes to the bartenders who created the cocktails. I love the idea that I could enjoy three cocktails made in my own home from bartenders located in different cities. I love that I did not have to scour the shelves to find every ingredient, nor did I have to waste money on full sized bottles. I loved the packaging and clear instructions. Shaker & Spoon’s Monthly Cocktail boxes are a great way to explore new cocktails and flavors in your own home!