What’s New at Medley Drink Designs HQ?

Mystery SyrupThere are some exciting developments coming down the pipes that concern not only this webpage, but anyone potentially interested in trying out some of the recipes developed and debuted here, as well!

Featured in this photo is a special new simple syrup currently under development in the Medley Drink Designs Lab. So far it stands up wonderfully to bourbon, vodka, coffee, hot tea and actually everything into which our scientists have thrown it.

Very soon, curious drinkers just may be able to get their hands on a sample of this mysterious ingredient!

Homemade Coffee Liqueur: Vanilla, Cinnamon, or Chocolate?

img_6141I know where the whiskey is, and sometimes after work my feet take me directly to its spot on the shelf, make an about face, and bee-line it for the checkout lane. Last visit, however, my feet were in a meandering mood and stopped me in front of the Coffee Liqueur section. It was at this point I discovered the abundance of coffee-flavored liqueurs—which was followed immediately by an upwelling of curiosity as to what undiscovered means of enriching your basic Kahlúa.

Luckily the internet abounds with recipes to replicate this classic, and my first step is to find one that can stand up to the original. My second step should be to modify that recipe with other exciting flavors that would pair well with Coffee. But since these recipes take 2-3 weeks (it’s an infusion of Vanilla & Coffee Crystals into a Simple Syrup & Vodka solution) and I don’t care to abide patience where I can help it I’m attempting Vanilla, Cinnamon, and Cocoa separately and simultaneously.

In mid-September they’ll be ready to sample, and as soon as I have a suitable recipe worked out I’ll make it available here, and begin working on more flavors!

Homemade Coffee Creamer (Amaretto Version!)

Amaretto Coffee Creamer:

  • 3.5 Cups- Water
  • 1.0 Cup- Granulated Sugar
  • 0.5 Cup- Brown Sugar
  • 2 TBL- Almond Extract
  • 2 tsp- Vanilla Extract
  • Milk or Heavy Cream


  1. Combine Water, Sugar, and Brown Sugar in a pot on the stove and heat until all sugar has dissolved, and a hot syrup results
  2. Let syrup cool
  3. Add and mix Almond and Vanilla Extracts
  4. Brew your favorite mug of coffee and add Amaretto Syrup and Milk/Cream to taste!

Like many Americans willing to be honest about it, my girlfriend and I sometimes love a good dram of flavored coffee creamer in our coffee. However, we at the same time dislike spending the seemingly $937 that one must shell out to stock our house with a single week’s worth of delicious flavored coffee creamers.

Thus, a quick check of the internet revealed that it can be exceptionally easy AND economical to make flavored coffee enhancements at home! Above is the recipe for Amaretto Coffee Creamer that I have tweaked and developed. Stay tuned for the Irish Coffee Creamer version next week!

Plum Wine Sangria

Plum Wine Sangria_sc_244x325Plum Wine Sangria:

  • 1.5 litres Gekkeikan Plum Wine
  • 6.0 ounces Raspberries (halved)
  • 2.5 ounces Lychee (peeled & sliced)
  • 1 naval Orange (cut into quarter slices)
  • 2 Star Anise pods
  • Dry Sake
  • Club Soda
  1. Combine Plum Wine and prepared fruit in a large serving pitcher
  2. Let sit 24 hours
  3. Cut level of sweetness with a dry Sake to taste
  4. Scoop fruit into serving glasses, fill with ice, pour 3/4 full with sangria, top with soda water.

Plum Wine Sangria_ing_sc_433x325

Madeira: the Drink of Nationmakers

File Jul 04, 08 50 28Violet Madeira:

  1. Shake Madeira and Violet Jelly vigorously, and strain into coupe glass.
  2. Garnish with dollop of Violet Jelly

And here’s the story behind it!

America’s founding fathers could hardly get enough Madeira. It is a wine fortified with neutral grape spirits, which boosts its alcohol content to almost 20%, and comes from an island bearing the same name off the coast of Portugal.

Early colonists arriving to America from Europe naturally liked to bring as much of their former lives as they could fit onto a cramped ship. Who wouldn’t want the comforts of home when establishing a new life on a wildly different continent?

While architecture, livestock, and cultural customs transposed nicely, European wine-grapes did not. Thus, anyone thirsty for wine in the early days had to import it, and adding liquor to the wine casks (as was done for Madeira) helped it survive the long hot trans-Atlantic journey. By the time July 4, 1776 rolled around the likes of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin were drinking Madeira daily.