Bartender Takeover with Dan Rek

Bartender Takeover is a new blog series by Litchfield Distillery aimed to help support our local bartenders during the Covid-19 crisis. Since the launch of Litchfield Distillery, bartenders have been there for us, now it’s our turn to support them. The way it works is we invite a bartender to take over our social media for a few days. They can post recipes, videos, tips…whatever they want. We pay them a stipend and we invite the broader community to “tip ’em.” The way to do that is by visiting the Go Tip Em website, scroll down to Connecticut and click on your bartender’s payment method. We invite you to rally around the bartender community during this time and reward their Spirit of Hard Work!

Post #1: An Introduction

Hello all! I hope this post finds everyone well during a trying time. The folks at Litchfield Distillery were kind (and brave) enough to let me take over their social media for short stint and I plan on making the most of their generous offer.

On a similar note, young folks who have a keen interest in alcohol and are budding bartenders should keep up the passion, and if winds are in your favor, you may try making a business out of it such as a cocktail bar where you can experiment with sprits and make people happy at the same time. Well, setting up a business is no joke and may require a lot of effort. A lot of things need to be kept into consideration such as location, setup, business capital, etc. One of the most important factors in a spirit business could be the payment methods. You may need an easy and safe way to accept payments. For such requirements, you may check or other websites like it that can provide payment gateway solutions for your business. That said, I hope people who are already in the business continue to thrive and enjoy as well.

Well well well, coming back to me, to keep things fresh, and in the hopes that you will find use for my recipes, I’m going to cover a wide range of spirits and recipes. I’ll try to share a diverse selection of interesting drinks that aren’t too alike. This way, you’ll have a cocktail in your back pocket for any occasion.

Before I share my first recipe, I thought you’d like to check out the Mixology Spirit interview I did with Litchfield Distillery back in December 2018. As you’ll see, I shared two cocktail recipes that you might like to try.

The first is called Rapper’s Delight and features Litchfield Distillery’s Coffee Bourbon.

1 oz. Small Hand Foods Pineapple Gomme Syrup*
0.75 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
2 dashes of Scrappy’s Aromatic Bitters

* You can find Pineapple Gomme Syrup here.


Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin with ice. Shake hard to chill and dilute. Double strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Express the oils of a lemon peel over the top for aroma and drop in.

The second is called Diamond Cutter and features the distillery’s Apple Vodka. I know that their Apple Vodka is seasonal, but if you search around, you can still find some on shelf at some Connecticut wine and spirit shops.

1.5 oz. Litchfield Distillery Apple Vodka
0.50 oz. Mizu Lemongrass Shochu
0.75 oz. Yuzu Juice
0.25 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
0.75 oz. Simple Syrup

Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin with ice, shake hard to chill and dilute. Double strain into a decorative coupe glass. Express the oils of a lemon peel over the top for aroma and discard.

If you like what you see, check out the full interview on the original blog post. Cheers!

Post #2: A Classic Clover Club

Today, I am sharing a refreshing classic cocktail whose recipe isn’t too heavy on prepared items and is easy to build while maintaining a high level of quality and balance. The Clover Club is a pre-prohibition cocktail with Philadelphia roots. This drink also allows you to support your local community as you can source the raspberries and farm fresh eggs from a local farm or market. It’s an excellent way to spread some love, albeit a small amount, as well as making sure that you’re getting the freshest ingredients possible. When approaching cocktails, think like your favorite chef… the better and fresher your ingredients, the better your final product will taste.

Clover Club Ingredients
-2 oz. Litchfield Distillery Gin
-0.75 Simple Syrup
-0.75 Lemon Juice
-1 Egg White
The method here is fairly simple. Put the simple syrup and three fresh raspberries (or four, because why not…) in a shaker and muddle the raspberries to a pulp. The syrup is there to give the raspberry juice another liquid to seep into. Combine the rest of the ingredients in the tin with two pieces of ice or a small handful of crushed ice and shake until emulsified and then add more ice and shake thoroughly to dilute and chill further. Strain into a cocktail coupe and enjoy.

Post #3: Coffee Liquor

Today’s recipe is more of a cocktail “in a bottle” than it is a “build, shake, and strain” cocktail. It takes a little more work and effort, but hey, isn’t that what Litchfield Distillery is all about?
The recipe calls for a hot water bath but if you don’t have one of these you can use a slow cooker or crock pot full of water on medium. The goal is to maintain a steady temperature of 150 Fahrenheit.
I highly recommend enjoying this drink in a location where you can relax and savor its complexity…like your porch or patio while the sun slowly fades beyond the horizon. I also scaled down the recipe to be “homemade friendly.” If you want the full-size recipe, just triple the quantity of each ingredient and use one whole bottle of Litchfield Distillery Straight Bourbon. Hope you enjoy!
-250 ml (8.45 oz) of Litchfield Distillery Straight Bourbon
-160g (0.8 cups) Organic Cane Sugar
-14g (0.56 oz) of Whole Bean Coffee, I prefer lighter roasts from local roasters. I specifically use Perkatory Roasters Sinister House Blend for this recipe and it came out phenomenal!
-120 ml (4 oz) Local Cold Brew coffee, I used Perkatory for this as well.
-1/3-1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
Method: Combine all of the ingredients in an airtight (ziplock) or vacuum sealed bag and immerse in the hot water bath for two hours at 66 degrees celsius (150 Fahrenheit), agitating the liquid periodically to dissolve all of the sugar. Remove from bath, making sure that all of the sugar is completely dissolved and let settle to room temperature for 8-10 hours. Strain everything through a super fine mesh strainer or coffee filter (something with a grade fine enough to remove all of the vanilla seeds) and pour over ice in rocks glass. Cheers!

Post #4: Batchers’ Blood Orange Punch

As I looked through the posts I’ve shared so far, I realized I’ve been somewhat singleminded by only offering recipes for single-serve situations. So, for this next drink, I’m going to teach you how to make a stellar punch.
The word “punch” is derived from the Hindu word “panche,” meaning “five,” which attests to the five main ingredients that make up any great punch: Spirit, Sugar, Water, Citrus and Spices. Traditionally, punches were made specifically for celebrations or special events where numerous friends or loved ones could gather and partake in drink without being singled out as overly bibulous. Did you know that a handful of founding members of our country had their own signature punch recipes for entertaining guests?
So, in The Spirit of Hard Work and in the hopes that you’ll enjoy this recipe “post shift” with close friends (while remaining socially distant, of course), I give you the Batchers’ Blood Orange Punch!
-500 ml (~17 oz.) Litchfield Distillery Gin
-150 g (3/4 cup) Sugar
-2 Blood Oranges
-1 Lemon
-3 Cups Matcha Tea
– Freshly Grated Nutmeg for garnish
Method: Begin by peeling the skins of the citrus fruit and combine them in a medium-sized container with sugar and muddle until the sugar sticks to the peels. Set this aside for at least an hour, if not more. While that’s resting, brew the tea following the manufacturer’s instructions, then set aside. While the tea is steeping, measure out the Gin. Juice the citrus fruits and combine with the tea. After the peels have sat and turned into a very syrupy liquid (see photo below), combine all ingredients together, mix well. Strain out the peels and serve in a large bowl with slices of blood orange and grate fresh nutmeg over the top.
This punch is best enjoyed fresh, but due to the alcohol content, it can be refrigerated and saved for future enjoyment. Hope you enjoy this soon! Let me know how you like it.

Post #5: Cold Brew Martini

For the Coup de Grâce for my Bartender Takeover time with the awesome and generous folks at Litchfield Distillery, I’m going to throw it back a bit. Two posts ago, I shared a recipe for a coffee liquor using Litchfield Distillery Straight Bourbon. Since I’m sure you all made that and now have a large quantity on hand, I figured the least I could do is show everyone how to utilize it in a cocktail.
.Litchfield Distillery Bartender Takeover
Seeing as this post is kind of like the “dessert” at the end of a meal, I’m going to share a great Espresso Martini cocktail because, after all, what dessert cocktail is more iconic than an espresso martini? To switch things up a bit, instead of espresso, we’re going to use Cold Brew Coffee as an alternative because it’s a little more “home friendly.” We’ll combine it with the Coffee Liquor that we made in Post #3 and Litchfield Distillery’s Coffee Bourbon. Here’s how to do it:
-1.25 oz. Coffee Liquor
-1.25 oz. Cold Brew Coffee
-1 oz. Litchfield Distillery Coffee Bourbon
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice until well chilled. Strain into a coupe glass and enjoy!
Thanks again to the folks at Litchfield Distillery for giving me this opportunity. I appreciate it!
Cheers, Dan.



To help Dan Rek out during this time, please consider leaving him a tip at Go Tip Em. Thanks, Dan! We appreciate your Spirit of Hard Work!