LIBACIOUS OR HOW TO CONQUER HEARTS WITH ELEGANT COCKTAILS

Libacious

My friends know that I love to wear my torn jeans, a striped button-down shirt and Birkenstock *. Everything is always neat and tidy, but it’s definitely not a big fashion statement. Contrary to me, the three wonderful bartenders Casey, Jesse and Amanda from the Cocktail Catering Libacious always look elegant and chic.

I met the wonderful Libacious team this summer at the Tomato Jam. There, the three competed against nine other bartenders from the area of Knoxville. Their gorgeous tomato cocktail “Vine and Dandy” didn’t win the first place but they found a new, huge fan in me.

Lovely Cocktail Catering

It’s almost a pity that we have nothing major to celebrate because Libacious would be the perfect match for us. Casey, Jesse and Amanda are exactly what I’m looking for when I try to find a cocktail catering: a source of information about delicious spirits, a bit nerdy when it comes to the facts behind all of that, and free spirited gourmets with a strong penchant for aesthetics. Their cocktails do impress everyone and so it doesn’t surprise me that the trio has been conquering the hearts of the Knoxvilleans since 2017.

Those three really know what they are doing. Casey grew up as a child of a restaurant owner and a sommelier, so it’s not surprising that she worked as a bartender, barista and event manager at various times. Jesse also stood behind bar counters in England and Manhattan and wrote a column about the latest cocktail trends and bar culture until 2011. Amanda is, just like me, a food blogger (Market Street Vegan), so this girl knows how to create and enjoy tasty food and drinks.

Funnily, even the Libacious mascot, the golden peacock Paloma Karwinskii, has a high-proof history: her first name is borrowed from Casey’s, Jesse’s and Amanda’s favorite tequila drink and her surname, well, let’s say it has something to do with a trip to Mexcio during which Mezcal (made from the Karwinskii agave) played a significant role.

Events, parties and workshops

Two weeks ago I had the chance to photograph the Libacious team at their workshop “Mix it yourself: INFUSING VODKA with Libacious Cocktail Catering”. In the beautiful setting of The Hive, the boys and girls enjoyed mixing cocktails according to Casey’s instructions, listening to Jesse’s spirit knowledge, and starting an own flavored liqueur with Amanda. I would really love to join the three for one of their next workshop. But then, I won’t come with my camera just with a huge bottle of vodka.

Libacious

Libacious cocktails are so much fun, whether at the food event in a chic cup, at a wedding, birthday, etc. in elegant glass or mixed in a shiny shaker at one of their workshops. Casey, Jesse and Amanda are doing a great job and I’m looking forward to see and drink more of and by them. Now, it only remains for me to send them a huge Thank you and a happy “à votre santè”!

PS: As a small treat the three agreed to share two original Libacious recipes for home-made liqueur with us. Have fun making and drinking it yourself!

* I really like what I wear, don’t get me wrong. It has a lot to do with comfort and convenience, but I would also say that, combined with a good posture, it has something elegantly casual. Let’s just say it’s hipster chic, even though I would never call myself a hipster 😉.

Libacious

GINGER LIQUEUR

yields about 12 oz – preparation 15 minutes + 2 – 4 weeks+ preparation 15 minutes

250 ml vodka

2 oz ginger, scrubbed

1 tsp dried chamomile flowers

peel from one-quarter orange

1/3 cup water

2 tbsp plus 2 tsp agave nectar (or sugar)

PREPARATION

Add scrubbed ginger to a small food processor and chop finely.

Steep minced ginger, chamomile, and orange peel in vodka for two weeks in a cool, dark place, shaking daily. Taste. If a stronger flavor is desired, continue to steep for another week or up to two (for a total of four weeks).

Strain. Heat water and agave, stirring frequently, until dissolved (do not boil). Let cool completely before adding to infused vodka. Liqueur can be sweetened further, if desired, using the same method.

Serving suggestions _1 oz liqueur poured over ice, topped with club soda _1/2 oz liqueur topped with 5 ounces dry sparkling wine

Libacious

WARMING SPICE LIQUEUR

yields about 24 oz – preparation 15 minutes + 1 week + preparation 5 minutes

1 1/2 cup water

3/4 cup turbinado (raw sugar)

250 ml vodka

1/4 cup whole allspice berries

1/2 tsp whole cloves

1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns

1 three-inch cinnamon stick

1 star anise (optional)

PREPARATION

Heat water and sugar, stirring frequently, until dissolved (do not boil). Let cool completely. 

Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestle (or the back of a spoon in a mixing bowl) to lightly crush allspice berries, cloves, and black pepper. Add all spices to vodka, including cinnamon stick and star anise, if using.

When turbinado syrup has cooled to room temperature, add to the vodka and spices. Let steep, shaking daily, in a cool, dark place for one week.

Strain. Liqueur can be sweetened further, if desired, by making additional syrup in the same ratio and adding to taste.

Serving suggestions _add to coffee or tea, to taste(variation: add liqueur-spiked cold-brew espresso to tonic water over light iceand garnish with lemon peel) _substitute half the coffee liqueur in a WhiteRussian with spice liqueur

Here is a printfriendly version of both Libacious recipes. Enjoy!

GINGER LIQUEUR

12/05/2018
: yields about 12 oz
: easy

By:

Ingredients
  • 250 ml vodka
  • 2 oz ginger, scrubbed
  • 1 tsp dried chamomile flowers
  • peel from one-quarter orange
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp agave nectar (or sugar)
Directions
  • Step 1 Add scrubbed ginger to a small food processor and chop finely.
  • Step 2 Steep minced ginger, chamomile, and orange peel in vodka for two weeks in a cool, dark place, shaking daily. Taste. If a stronger flavor is desired, continue to steep for another week or up to two (for a total of four weeks).
  • Step 3 Strain. Heat water and agave, stirring frequently, until dissolved (do not boil). Let cool completely before adding to infused vodka. Liqueur can be sweetened further, if desired, using the same method.
  • Step 4 Serving suggestions _1 oz liqueur poured over ice, topped with club soda _1/2 oz liqueur topped with 5 ounces dry sparkling wine

WARMING SPICE LIQUEUR

12/05/2018
: yields about 24 oz
: easy

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup turbinado (raw sugar)
  • 250 ml vodka
  • 1/4 cup whole allspice berries
  • 1/2 tsp whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 three-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise (optional)
Directions
  • Step 1 Heat water and sugar, stirring frequently, until dissolved (do not boil). Let cool completely.
  • Step 2 Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestle (or the back of a spoon in a mixing bowl) to lightly crush allspice berries, cloves, and black pepper. Add all spices to vodka, including cinnamon stick and star anise, if using.
  • Step 3 When turbinado syrup has cooled to room temperature, add to the vodka and spices. Let steep, shaking daily, in a cool, dark place for one week.
  • Step 4 Strain. Liqueur can be sweetened further, if desired, by making additional syrup in the same ratio and adding to taste.
  • Step 5 Serving suggestions _add to coffee or tea, to taste (variation: add liqueur-spiked cold-brew espresso to tonic water over light ice and garnish with lemon peel) _substitute half the coffee liqueur in a White Russian with spice liqueur

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