What inspired you to create this cocktail? “Given the strange times we are in, I was looking for something to help us escape from the stresses around us. Here in Houston, people are actively spending more time on their patios and generally outdoors, so a Collins-style drink seemed the best fit. I wanted to make something fun, interesting, and easy to make at home with things you might have already. I love working with brandy and think it’s an underused spirit, which is why it’s the base of this drink.”
When would you serve this drink? “This drink would be best served late afternoon, as you’re winding down your day and sitting on the porch enjoying the cooling of the afternoon heat. Best enjoyed with friends and family just as with any drink.”
What music would you pair it with? “Pairing music and cocktails is a hard one for me as my taste in music is more punk rock, alternative reggae and hip hop. (I know it’s a strange combo.) So, I would say it should be something that helps you escape and relax for the day. For me, I would play ‘Dirty Heads Radio’ on Spotify. It hits all the types of music I like while being easier listening, much like the drink.”
What food would you pair it with? “I think some cured meats and cheeses with crackers or bread. I love all cured meats and cheeses, so I would say something sharp, something creamy, and something funky as far as cheese is concerned. I love well-made chorizo, prosciutto and salami.”
Name the person (dead or alive) you’d like to make this cocktail for. “I would love to make this drink for my late father. He was a crazy old man and I missed a lot of time with him later in life. He loved to have a drink to wind down the day and loved everything I made. It would be nice to have this drink with him enjoying a patio and catching up.”
By Justin Ware
- 1.5 oz Sacred Bond Brandy (Order on Drizly)
- 1oz Red Bell Pepper Syrup*
- .75 oz Fresh lemon juice
- .5 oz Pama Pomegranate Liqueur (Order on Drizly)
- 2 oz Soda water
- Glass: Collins
- Garnish: Lemon wedge and a red bell pepper spear
Add all the ingredients, except the soda water, to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a Collins glass. Add fresh ice to the glass and top with soda water. Stir, and garnish with a lemon wedge and a red bell pepper spear.
- 2 cups Sugar
- 1 cup Water
- 1 Red bell pepper, chopped (about 1-and-a-quarter cups)
- .5 Tsp Kosher salt
De-stem and de-seed the bell pepper. Cut it into half-inch by half-inch squares. Add the sugar, water, salt and bell peppers to a 2-quart pot. Bring the pot to a boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes to soften the bell pepper and extract some of its juice. While it’s hot transfer the mixture to a blender. (Please be careful!) Blend on high for 1 to 2 minutes until the pepper is well broken up. If you have a fine strainer, Chinois or cheesecloth, strain the liquid through it for a smoother syrup. Chill the syrup in the fridge until it’s cool enough to handle. For best results refrigerate it overnight. Use within one week and store in the refrigerator. This recipe yields 18 oz (2.25 cups).
Justin Ware is a talented Houston bartender. In 2019, he won Heaven Hill’s Bartender of the Year competition.
Thank you Heaven Hill Bartender of the Year for partnering with Half Full on the Bartenders At Home cocktail video series.
Interview has been condensed and edited.