Category Archives: Viva Original Cocktails

Original cocktail recipes created by Viva la Cocktail.

Smoky Sunset

This cocktail was created to address two common questions:

  1. What other kind of cocktail can you create with tequila besides a margarita?
  2. What can you make with añejo tequila?

If you don’t know, añejo is the darker tequila that is aged in an oak barrel. The amber color and flavor is picked up from the oak, and the oxidation that takes place contributes to the unique bouquet and taste.

Adding grilled pineapple and fresh sage plays nicely off of the smoky quality of the añejo tequila.

Smoky Sunset
2 + 1/2 oz Don Julio Añejo Tequila
1/2 oz agave nectar
2 chunks fresh, grilled pineapple
4 fresh sage leaves

Gently muddle 2, one-inch chunks of fresh grilled pineapple with 3 fresh sage leaves in the bottom of a shaker. Add the tequila, agave nectar and ice. Cap the shaker and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Double strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a wedge of grilled pineapple and a fresh sage leaf.

Tip – You can grill the pineapple garnishes up to a day ahead of time and store them in the fridge until you are ready to use them. You can also substitute any 100% agave añejo tequila.

smoky sunset anjeo tequila cocktail

The Kitchenette

This cocktail is long overdue. I created this drink in honor of my friend Chris, who has been a big supporter of my efforts with Viva la Cocktail. She lives just north of San Francisco, so I wanted to create something that would be fitting of her California lifestyle. I turned to organic vodka and fresh herbs and started to work around that. I also wanted to create a cocktail that was fitting of her personality—something sophisticated but not too formal. With some trial and error, The Kitchenette was born.

The name comes from her passion for good food and drink, which was embodied in her website called Kitchenette. It was an online magazine dedicated to “celebrating experiences of the palate.”

While this cocktail does not include everything but the kitchen sink, I did want to add some subtle complexity to the drink. I turned to Bols Genever, which is a unique gin from the pre-prohibition era that has been brought back by Bols.

The Kitchenette
2 oz Square One organic vodka
1/2 oz Bols Genever
1/2 oz simple syrup
1/2 fresh lime
4 fresh basil leaves

Cut 1/2 lime into 3 wedges. Muddle limes with 3 basil leaves in shaker. Fill shaker with ice. Add the vodka, Genever and simple syrup. Cap the shaker and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Double strain into a 6 oz chilled martini glass. Garnish with a fresh basil leaf.

the kitchenette organic vodka cocktail

Spicy Tango

Even though I really enjoy wine, I often like to pair cocktails with food. This drink, the Spicy Tango, complements Latin food because it’s a nice balance of spicy and sweet, with just enough heat. But it also works well on its own—my wife and I recently enjoyed these during our happy hour with Cheeze-Its! This is proof that there are no rules to drinking cocktails.

Spicy Tango
4-6 cilantro leaves
1 oz Absolut Mango
1+1/2 oz Absolut Peppar
1/2 oz Harlequin Orange Liqueur
1 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
2 tablespoons fresh mango puree

Fill a shaker 1/3 full of ice. Muddle the cilantro leaves. Fill rest of shaker with ice. Add the vodkas, orange liqueur, lime juice, simple syrup and mango puree. Cap the shaker and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Double strain (to remove large cilantro pieces) into a 10 oz chilled martini glass with a sugared rim. Garnish with a fresh sprig of cilantro.

Every Friday at our office, we have a happy hour party that we call “Snacky,” and this past week’s theme was “heaven and hell” which inspired the creation of this drink. I hastily threw a version of this together to capture both heaven and hell in a single cocktail. While it was drinkable, I refined it later at home by adding the cilantro and adjusting the proportions.

spicy tango mango pepper vodka cocktail

Asian Peartini

asian peartini ginger vodka cocktail

I was inspired to make this drink one day because I ran across a bottle of Yazi Ginger Vodka (made in Portland by Hood River Distillers) in the back of my liquor cabinet that I forgot I had bought a couple of years prior. I like the taste of ginger, but found this vodka to be pretty intense on its own (which is why it sat so long). So I started experimenting with other ingredients in my home bar to come up with a way to both complement the ginger flavor and to smooth out its spiciness. The result is a really drinkable cocktail that showcases the Yazi.

Asian Peartini
1 oz Yazi Ginger Vodka
1+1/2 oz Absolut Pears vodka
1/2 oz Harlequin Orange Liqueur
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
1 tablespoon fresh pear puree
Fresh nutmeg

Fill a shaker with ice. Add the vodkas, orange liqueur, juices, simple syrup and pear puree. Cap the shaker and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Strain (or double strain if you prefer a smoother cocktail) into a 10 oz chilled martini glass and garnish with a pear slice and a light dusting of fresh nutmeg.

Tip: You can substitute triple sec for the Harlequin, but I prefer Harlequin because of the richness of the cognac.