mixed drinks

The Top 5 National Parks For Cocktails

When Teddy Rosevelt sat down to theorize and implement the idea of a National Park he knew it was going to be a hard fought road. One split down the middle. Preservation on one side and progress on the other.

Thankfully in the end Old Teddy won out, birthing a new era of land, designed and specifically set aside to be so wondrous, stupendous, aw inspiring, magnanimous, and worthy of our time, that we as humans couldn’t comprehend. 

These lands we call America's greatest treasures or simply put our National Parks.

For those who have been to one or even all of the National Parks you can completely understand where we are coming from.

Mountains, rainforests, glaciers, forests, rolling hills, waterfalls, animal life, adventure, climbers, hikers, trails, and cocktails. Wait,,,cocktails?

See Leisuremann's was founded in a National Park, (Didn't know this? Read our founding history story - here) The Great Smoky Mountains National Park to be more specific, and our love for the outdoors runs exceptionally deep.

So deep in fact that when positioned with the opportunity to go to a New National Park and enjoy a cocktail there, we inevitably drop everything and go.

So when we sat down to talk through the idea about this blog we wanted it to be special showcasing various National Park terrain as well as giving insight on where to go that would provide the most cocktail drinking bang for your National Park buck.

Without further ado, here are the top five National Parks to enjoy a cocktail at, in no particular order of course.

Olympic National Park

 
 

Washington State - 3hrs from Seattle, WA - 1,422 mi²

DESCRIPTION: Olympic is like no other national park in the United States. It boasts a diverse eco system showcasing temperate rainforest, mountains, old growth forest, glacial mountains, and coastal beach climates. This diversity makes it ideal for climbers, hikers, back packers, and the outdoor cocktail aficionado in you. 

IDEAL COCKTAIL SPOT: Hike to the coastline beach and enjoy a stroll while sipping a Cosmopolitan or be brave and explore the temperate rainforests with a double Margarita.

SUMMARY: With it's diverse ecosystem, Olympic is not the National Park for the faint of heart but the ideal national park for those who like to differentiate their adventure from the ordinary. 

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

 
 

Tennessee/North Carolina - 4hrs from Nashville, TN - 800 mi²

DESCRIPTION: The Smokies, as most hikers refer to them, boast something for everyone all four seasons of the year. The vast landscape of dense wooded forrest, switch back trails, hidden creeks, moonscape caves, and beautiful vegetation in the Spring & Summer months, provide the casual or even expert hiker with a sense of nature induced euphoria. Stay till the evenings and see why the Smokies got their name.

IDEAL COCKTAIL SPOT: Hike the Alum Cave trail up to the Le Conte lodge, where Leisuremann’s was conceived, and then take the side trail to either Myrtle Point or Cliff Tops. Both are positioned with a vantage point that only a stiff Sazerac could compliment.

SUMMARY: With it’s lush forrest landscape and something for everyone style of atmosphere, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the perfect place to relax, take it easy, and go to sleep at mountain midnight!

Yosemite National Park

 
 

California - 2hrs from Sacramento, CA - 1,169 mi²

DESCRIPTION: Iconic, surreal, majestic, orgasmic are words used to describe the feelings, places, and surroundings of one of our nations greatest national treasures. Sporting ancient Sequoia trees, cliff faces taller than modern sky scrappers, and views of mother nature that no one can comprehend, Yosemite is a true spectacle for those who want to see mother nature in here full beauty.

IDEAL COCKTAIL SPOT: With over 800 miles of trail, you won’t be left without any room for a great hike or view for that matter. First things first, check out the iconic valley view. Then find yourself wandering through Cooks Meadow enjoying a Bee’s Knees while listening to the breeze blow by.

SUMMARY: No matter who you are, Yosemite National Park brings you back to your natural roots, instilling back in you a sense of just how small we are in the universe.

Zion National Park

 
 

Utah - 3hrs from Las Vegas, NV - 230 mi²

DESCRIPTION: Described as one of America’s smaller national parks, Zion sure as hell doesn’t disappoint. Picture a sunset painting, beautiful, majestic, grand. Now picture that same painting in real life. This is Zion. Boasting red rock formations that are uniquely their own to a trail so dangerous people have died trying, Zion is something special and truly in a class all to itself.

IDEAL COCKTAIL SPOT: Cocktailing at Zion is unique and due to it’s small stature recommending a specific place would be difficult but if we did we would probably recommend Watchman Trail, taxing at times, this trail is worth it. Rounding off the hike with a Margarita or a Cosmopolitan and a view of Watchman Peak surly doesn’t disappoint!

SUMMARY: Zion is a quick park but a park that on the flip side one could get lost in for days, months, and years. With trails that seems to defy gravity and picturesque lookout locations, Zion is truly a gem among stones.

Redwood National Park

 
 

California - 6hrs from Sacramento, CA - 280 mi²

DESCRIPTION: Words cannot describe the true majesty of Redwood National. Words can only describe how you cannot describe it with words. If that makes any sense. Soaring 300’ into the sky and boasting diameters exceeding 15’ these gentle giants take every breath and word from your mouth. As you walk you experience a humbled feeling for being amongst the giants has made you feel small.

IDEAL COCKTAIL SPOT: ALL SPOTS. Emerge into Redwood National with an Old Fashioned in hand and by all means get lost. Lost in the beauty of these giants and the shear silent world they tower over.

SUMMARY: If you think you seen all the trees and majesty there is to offer think no further than visiting Redwood National. With an ample trail system and sprawling woods, make sure to run, jump, hide, nap and cocktail your way through!

Cheers and in the words of Teddy Roosevelt - “Adventure on dudes!”

Not your average Daiquiri... or is it?

190 Octane - Pina Colada - Strawberry - Mudslide - Jungle Juice - CAT 5 Hurricane - Rum Runner - Eye Candy - White Russian - Crawgator - Peaches & Cream - And on, and on, and on...

If you're unsure what these flavors are associated with, consider yourself a member of the LUCKY FEW. If you're in the "KNOW", like us,  you have indeed ventured to the dark side of the moon or at least your nearby Daiquiri shop, LOL!

With the Pink Floyd references aside, let's talk some history and fact.

Louisiana, where we are based,  is steeped in Cajun, Creole, and pretty much every other cultural influence under the sun. We have things like Cochon De Laits, Mardi Gras, Geaux Cups, and Drive-Thru Daiquiri Shops. Yes, you heard me correctly, DRIVE-THRU DAIQUIRI SHOPS. And, yes through is spelled "thru" on purpose. 

 
Jesters Mardi Gras Daiquiri - www.neworleansonline.com

Jesters Mardi Gras Daiquiri - www.neworleansonline.com

 

These shops are on most corners, intersections, and heavily populated parts of town designed to attract not repel potential patrons.

Louisiana Law states, it is 100% legal to purchase a Daiquiri via a drive-thru just as long as there is a lid on your beverage and the accompanying plastic straw does not break the lid/liquid barrier. Logical...right? Of course...two thumbs up!!!

Rewind for a minute, to the release of our Classic Daiquiri Mix. When we released our second mix we knew there would be a struggle as your average drinkers didn't know the original, Classic Daiquiri dates back to the mid 1930's Cuba with some curious men, some lime juice, some sugar, and a whole lot of Rum.

 
 

Fast forward to now, most Daiquiris from your local drive-thru shop, are fruit concentrate based, sweet, and served more as a slush than a straight up drink. (not sure what "straight up" means - check out our "Know What You're Ordering Leisure Log) 

Daiquiris, from a tasting note, tend to lend themselves to more of a portable hangover machine than what most people would consider as a outstanding cocktail experience. 

With that said, we felt challenged and sort of stumped; pondering the gargantuan question that loomed - How can our Classic Daiquiri mix become like a "Drive-Thru" Daiquiri that people love?

The answer was deceptively simple - ADD WHATEVER THE HELL YOU WANT TO IT!!! Sounds stupid simple but trust us it works.

::SHORT LIST::

ADD STRAWBERRIES & SPARKLING WATER - For a fruity slightly sweet refreshing style daiquiri.

ADD BLUEBERRIES - For a sweet & tart mouth organism.

ADD PEACHES & MINT - For a summer treat so mouth watering it will make you want more.

ADD DOUBLE THE RUM - To get super wasted! LOL!

ADD PINEAPPLE - For a island favorite.

ADD GRAPEFRUIT - Ernest Hemingway would be proud!

The possibilities are endless and the combinations will make your tastebuds spin.

So we challenge you The Colonel of Cocktails, The Lord of Libations, The Duke of Drinks, to come up with a Daiquiri Flavor, post it to social media @leisuremanns, and let the world know how you Daiquiri.

GOOD LUCK & COCKTAIL ON!

Cheers // CC

 

The Icy Truth

 
 

Whether cubed, sphered, squared, tubed, crushed, shaved, rectangular, conical, vanilla, or melted, ice is as pivotal of a component to a great cocktail as the booze itself. 

Ice dates back to the dawn of man. More specifically, ice was always here, we just didn't know how to use it to our advantage.  

Not until the early 1800's did ice really make it debut into beverage culture, being perceived more as a luxury than simply a winter nuisance. 

Throughout the years, the science of mixology has grown utilizing ice to enhance subtle flavors, draw out aromas, and simply boost most of our favorite cocktails. (Get a little more in-depth about ordering terms that revolve around ice with our blog - Know What You're Ordering?)

Cool stuff right? We sure think so.

With that said and with your best interest in mind, we figured it was a little easier to just let Adam Rogers, Articles Editor for Wired and Jennifer Colliau, Beverage Director, The Interval, explain the ins and outs of ice on a segment of Wired's Booze Science.

They REALLY know their stuff.

So take a break, mix a drink, and get your brain in gear from some booze science that will change the way you look at your next cocktail and ice altogether.

Cheers // Cliff

Flavor 4 | The Sazerac

THE WORLD'S FIRST COCKTAIL NOW GOES WHERE YOU GO!

 
 

So what happens when a prescribed remedy becomes a crowd pleasing toddy? 

You bring the idea of cocktails to the world!

In the late 1830's, Antoine Peychaud, a Haitian-French pharmacist, did just this in his French Quarter, New Orleans drug store. Already on the map with his popular Peychaud's Bitters, he would combine French Brandy, Absinthe, bitters, and a bit of sugar as a fix for any number of maladies. While it was not known as a Sazerac until the early 1850's, Antoine paved the way for a completely new approach to consuming alcohol, more for enjoyment than medicine.

Just like its younger brother, The Old Fashioned, there are copious variations of the Sazerac through the catacombs of cocktail history. Some uniquely their own while other stand apart. Congruent with this, we designed our Sazerac flavor's profile around the most common variation utilized throughout Louisiana: 

Rye Whiskey, Herbsaint, Bitters, sugar, & a lemon peel garnish.

 
 

As our standard mantra goes - Our mix enhances the the alcohol used. So in the case of a Leisuremann's Sazerac...There isn't any better way to drink rye whiskey!

So call your friends, host a vintage party, go on a camp trip, or just relax at home letting the subtle notes of anise, sugar sweetness, and herbaceous bitters warm your palate in this old world classic.

Cheers & see you guys at The New Orleans Bourbon Fest this weekend!

P.S. Antoine, GREAT WORK MAN!

ADVANCED TASTING NOTES - Notes of anise mellow the bite of a rye whiskey's high ABV content. Sweetness from the sugar lets the whiskey warm the palate calmly. On the tail, the herbaceous quality of the bitters comes through with a delicate finishing touch

 

Why isn't Happy Hour every hour?

Happy Hour as defined by dictionary.com is "a cocktail hour or longer period at a bar, during which drinks are served at reduced prices..."

Simply put - Who doesn't need a drink after a hard day at the office?

Most sources point to "Happy Hour" originating in the early 1900's with it becoming more mainstream in the late 1950's. Through the decades, Happy Hour, as we know it today, exploded in popularity. Most if not all bars and even some restaurants have Happy Hour drink specials. Some places even have live music or entertainment to help ease the stress of being cooped up in the office all day. It's a true liberating experience. 

Though liberating, Happy Hour, like all good things, has to comes to an end. Saddened by this proposition we asked ourselves the age old questions - Why isn't Happy Hour every hour?

 
Happy Hour Image - OF Leisuremanns
 

With some quick thinking and ingenuity, we realized our mixes could solve the world Happy Hour conundrum, extending Happy Hour to every, any, and even ALL hours of the day!!!

Using our mixes there are no lines at a bar, no crowds, no complex mixing steps, no extra bar ingredients, just combine WATER + MIX + SPIRIT  and you have a COCKTAIL! 

It's just that simple. We promise.

Don't believe us? Try it for yourself - OUR MIX SHOP

To wrap it up, next time you find yourself in a bar or restaurant during Happy Hour think for a minute about how with Leisuremann's every hour is Happy Hour.

Cheers!

- Cliff #leisurehour

 

What's your type?

Scanning the bar, your vision narrows... Tall, tan, delicious, and refreshing. Wait, what? ...Refreshing? Like a partner, everyone is attracted to and enjoys different libations. It doesn't matter if you're a cocktail novice or a drinking demigod, knowing which type of cocktail you prefer can make an ordinary night into an extraordinary one. 

Know What You're Ordering?

 
Know what you're ordering?
 

"Don't be afraid, it's just a cocktails"... Should be what most people say to themselves before placing an order for a drink at a bar, right?

Honestly, when asked, most individuals have limited knowledge of what they are actually ordering or the terminology behind drink orders. Though cocktail history is deeply rooted, having just an general knowledge of key terms and practices can not only aid but make your overall cocktail experience that much more enjoyable.

When ordering utilize the spirit first chaser second rule unless the cocktail/drink of your choice has an official name (ex. Old Fashioned or Dark & Stormy) or you prefer a single spirit, which we will get into later. Instead of telling your bartender you would like a cranberry vodka, use your confident voice and state "I would like a vodka cranberry". Also, don't be afraid to be specific. I would like a Ketel One and cranberry or an Absolut and cranberry. This shows your bartender that you didn't get off the 21 train yesterday and affords you the grand opportunity to make the "call" on your own cocktail. Hence the term "call" brands vs "well" liquors, but thats for a different blog.

In conjunction with proper ordering, knowing how you like your spirits served, is crucial. Though terminology varies from bar to bar, city to city, spirit to spirit, and even bartender to bartender, a few cocktail serving methods hold true.

Neat - A single spirit that is unmixed as well as not chilled. This is usually reserved for spirits that by their nature are best served and enjoyed at room temperature.

On the Rocks - A single spirit that is served on or over ice. This is usually reserved for drinks or spirits that are enjoyed cold and with the addition of melting ice brings flavor profiles not achieved neat.

Up or Straight Up - A libation that is shaken or stirred with ice, strained and served sans ice. This is usually reserved for specific spirits and cocktails and is either at the discretion of the bartender or the patron.

Cocktail or Mixed Drinks - An alcoholic beverage crafted of varying ingredients and spirits not limited to flavor or amount that is uniquely its own. Most are named. Refer to them by name and trust your bartender as they usually are the experts. Let your pallet for cocktails roam free!

At Leisuremann's we want you to have an excellent cocktail experience no matter where you go. We sample our mix on the rocks, as we find the slightly cold and mellow melting of an ice cube lends subtle flavor profiles not achieved when consumed neat. With that said, enjoy how you please. The beauty of our mix, as well as most cocktails, is that you can make them your own. Try new things, new spirits, new ratios and overall have the cocktail adventure you desire.

Remember Keep Calm and Cocktail On!

Cheers.

Cliff