My passion for cocktails started more than 10 years ago, as a manifestation of the frustration that there wasn’t any kind of cocktail culture in my country. I had a deep fascination for different tastes, and, although I heard in movies about classic cocktails like an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan, I had nowhere to try them. I started purchasing a couple of bottles and, for almost five years, I’ve done classic cocktails almost exclusively.
Those mixes help you tremendously with regard to developing a palate and understanding flavour balance. Nowadays, I create original cocktails almost 90% of the time.

Although I have done a couple of gigs in the last year, I still consider mixology as being my passion, the most amazing hobby and a great trip through flavours, experiments and knowledge. During the week, for close to 13 years, my job involves writing articles, tutorials and reviews in the field of technology.

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About Alexandru Puiu

Budding mixologist during the weekend,
tech writer during the week.

My name is  Alexandru Puiu and I live in the middle of Romania, in a region called Transylvania, that was made famous by Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Vlad Tepes, who inspired the story of Dracula, was born in my city, Sighisoara.

Alexandru Puiu

The Mix

Jaune Sentiment – original

1.5oz Cognac Ile de Ré CAMUS

0.5oz Becherovka

0.75oz Amaro Vermouth Dopo Teatro Giulio Cocchi

1oz Lemon Juice

1oz Elderflower Syrup Pivnita Bunicii

Jaune Sentiment - original

A cognac sour variation, this one is a slight departure from the original, and Becherovka is an awesome addition

Surprisingly, is a bit on the sour side. Although, I usually go for a 75% syrup to lemon/lime juice, these lemons seemed much more acidic than usual

It’s still nice, and interesting, but because of moments like this, I think I’ll start using my PH Meter, that I bought from Amazon a while back. It’s the perfect toy to be much more precise when it comes to acidity and, implicitly, perfect, identical drinks

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Alexandru Puiu

The Mix

Blinded by the coffee – original

1oz Dry Gin Unfiltered

1.5oz Ice Wine

0.5oz Yellow Chartreuse

0.5oz Creme de Cacao Blanc liqueur

1oz Espresso

Stir everything without the coffee with ice, strain over fresh ice, add the very hot fresh espresso. It will chill instantly and stay separated. You can also build it in the glass, if you want.

Blinded by the coffee - original

This is my second mix around a theme delivered by a friend of mine. The idea was to build a cocktail with wine, in one of its many forms, and coffee

I think coffee is a very versatile cocktail ingredient, but it’s mostly forgotten in its most original form, because of the very awesome coffee liqueurs and cold brew liqueurs that have shown up over the last couple of years

In any case, I think this is a very nicely balanced cocktail, one that touches on a couple of very particular flavours that you might identify individually

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Alexandru Puiu

The Mix

Justified Blunder – non-alcoholic/original

0.5oz Pimento Tonic Syrup

1oz Lemon Juice

1.5oz John Ross Virgin Distilled Botanicals

3oz SanBitter San Pelegrino

1.5oz Tonic Water Imperdibile

Justified
Blunder
non
alcoholic

I don’t know how much this habit will hold, but I’ll try to make an interesting non-alcoholic mix every Sunday

This was inspired by the wonderful pimento syrup, a flavor that I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of. It works great in non-alcoholic cocktails

The botanical notes that shouldn’t be missing from most cocktails come from the John Ross non-alcoholic distilled spirit. Originally from South Africa, this has dominant notes of honeybush, a local plant with a very particular bitterness. In any case, it works great even just with tonic

I completed my creation with Sanbitter, a great replacement for Campari in a non-alcoholic Negroni and some tonic water. I probably should’ve used a much better looking ice, maybe next time.

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Alexandru Puiu

The Mix

0.75oz Rose Liqueur Lanique

0.75oz Yuzu Liqueur Marie Brizard

1oz Bitter Riserva Martini

4oz Dry Rose Wine Lejereanu

2oz Rose Lemonade Fentimans

3ds Bitters Peychaud’s

Build in a large cognac glass over ice, give it a quick stir and garnish with a rose flower, sage and mint.

Considering the rose aspect of the original wine, this time, I went for a mix of la Lanique and Bitter from Martini. The Yuzu liqueur is there for a bit of acidity and a pinch of complexity. Peychaud’s also helps in that regard. Rose Lemonade from Fentimans it’s just awesome with both gin or dry wine.

 

Burning Rose Spritz - original

Although great to sip on its own, this is my second attempt at creating something original with the help of Lejereanu, the wine of two Romanian comedians and friends, Viorel Dragu and Dan Frînculescu.

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Alexandru Puiu

The Mix

Experiment in layering nr.3 Negroni Variation

1.5oz Campari @campariofficial well chilled

1.5oz Dry Vermouth @maisonnoillyprat

1.5oz BPT Infused Gin

Tsp Green Chartreuse @chartreuse_uk

Tsp Galliano @gallianomoments .

Experiment in layering nr.3

This is another experiment that I managed to create at one of my favorites restaurants in Romania, @noua.bucatarieromaneasca .

@alxionita is the bartender mixologist at this wonderful location and he does some amazing stuff

The concept behind this was to recreate the Romanian flag in a glass, and if it’s tasty, even better, this happened here.

Chilling the Campari in advance is fundamental for the layering process

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Alexandru Puiu

The Mix

Droplets Experiment No. 2

1oz Butterfly Pea Syrup Homemade

1oz Cointreau @cointreau

1oz Absinthe 40Abv Pernod

Drops of Bailey’s and homemade beetroot syrup

Droplets Experiment No. 2

As I mentioned in one of my recent posts, although drinkable shots or drinks, these are experiments that help me understand the interaction between potions

Much more drinkable than my last experiment with suspended droplets, this also ended up in a tumbler with a large cube of ice

These creations fascinate me tremendously, and I want to get better at making them and, certainly, faster. They are definitely great for impressing friends

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Alexandru Puiu

The Mix

Feels like home – original

1.5oz Kaspers Elderflower – Local Gin @pivnitabunicii

1oz Campari Cask Tales @campariofficial

0.5oz Luxardo Maraschino @luxardoofficial

1oz Lime Juice

0.5oz Butterfly Pea Tea Syrup Homemade

Feels like home - original

This one is very close to my heart because of the idea behind it. At the same time, because I spent the entire day in the car during the day, I thought about what I’m going to drink when I get home. This is where the name comes from

Another great thing about it is the actual glass in which I built the cocktail. This a glass cut from a bottle of Kaspers Gin, one from a set of six that was gifted to me by the amazing team behind the Pivnita Bunicii brand, led by Jim Turnbull and his wonderful wife

When it comes to sustainability and caring about the environment, nothing beats recycling your old bottles that look great and turning them into glasses. I was also missing some long drink glasses, so everything came together nicely

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Alexandru Puiu

The Mix

Arpeggio original

1.5oz Quince Gin @whitleyneillgin

1oz Lime Liqueur @patron

0.5oz Licor 43 @licor43global

0.5oz Suze @suzeofficial

0.5oz Raspberry Liqueur @edinburghgin .

Stirred with ice, strained, garnish with an orange peel

Arpeggio original

A very interesting mix of flavours, I thought it would be a bit more on the sweet side, but the lime liqueur from Patron balanced everything nicely, along with the bitterness from Suze

Something of a nightcap drink, this brings back memories of quince jam and fresh raspberries.

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Alexandru Puiu

The Mix

Remember the Summer original

1.5oz Kaspers Elderflower @pivnitabunicii

1oz Campari @campariofficial

1oz Ginger Syrup

1oz Lime Juice

1.5oz Pineapple Juice

3 sprays Elderflower Liqueur @edinburghgin

Remember the Summer original

This is one of three cocktails for an event that I’ll be having at Pivnita Bunicii, built around their local elderflower gin

A quite powerful mix of flavours, when I developed this, I thought about having sort of a Tiki vibe, but around gin and ginger

I really enjoyed it, and I felt like all the different tastes came together nicely, while not overpowering one another

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Alexandru Puiu

The Mix

Droplets Experiment

1.5oz Blanc Creme de Cacao @monin_europe

1oz Amaretto @luxardoofficial

1oz Irish Creme @baileysromania

0.75oz XO Cafe Incendio @patron

Drops of homemade beetroot syrup and homemade butterfly pea syrup

Droplets Experiment

Although drinkable and tasty, though a bit sweet, this was meant to be a learning experience

I discovered a couple of weeks back the profile of Zimplex Mixology Laboratory , a cocktail bar in Phuket, Thailand and they create some insane looking shoots

Sadly, I couldn’t find any kind of info with regard to the mixes they are using, the chemical products, if any, or the actual potions

Because I love a challenge, over the next couple of weeks I will try to understand what happens there through experiments. Something good must come out of this

With regard to the drink in the glass, in the end, I poured it over ice in a tumbler, mixed it and enjoyed it

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Alexandru Puiu

The Mix

Think of a lemon- Original

1oz Old Tom Gin @tanqueraygin

0.75oz Rosolio di Bergamotto @italicusrdb

0.75oz Yuzu Liqueur @mariebrizardfr

0.75oz Citronge Lime Liqueur @patron

0.75oz Lime Juice

0.75oz Lemon Juice

1oz Elderflowr Syrup @pivnitabunicii .

Think of a lemon
Original

This was inspired by an episode of Masterchef Professional on BBC, when one of the contestants created a dish around textures of cauliflower .

Having that concept in mind, of having the vegetable prepared in different ways, I thought about mixing every variety of lemon that I have in my bar in one drink, while going for some form of balance

I started with yuzu (Japanese lemon), bergamot (Italian lemon), Mexican lime from the Patron Citronge, fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice with some gin and my favorite elderflower syrup

The result is amazingly fresh, a bit on the sour side, but wonderful and with a floral background from the elderflower

The caramelized lemon wheel on top acts almost like a bitter, giving the mix a burnt sugar smell that’s perfect. Thanks to @deeapuiu for the effort behind carefully cooking these slices in the oven

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Alexandru Puiu

The Mix

Spicy Salad  – original

1.5oz/45ml Chilli Gin Ginifer
0.5oz/15ml Ginger Liqueur Domaine de Canton
0.5oz/15ml Pimento Dram
0.75oz/22ml Lovage Syrup Homemade
0.75oz/22ml Verjus
8 drops Aceto Balsamico 20 years old

Spicy Salad
Original

A savoury cocktail through and through, in this particular case, the chocolate garnish is meant to be deceiving

When creating a savoury cocktail, I really enjoy a spicy kick. In this case, you get that interesting spiciness of cloves and cinnamon from the pimento dram, while the chilli aftertaste is delivered from the very complex South African gin

Depending on where you live, the lovage might be a complete mystery, but it’s a very special leafy condiment, like a mix between parsley and celery.
I balanced the syrup with Verjus, unripped grapes juice that shouldn’t be missing from your fridge.

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Alexandru Puiu

The Mix

Chilling the Bitter fire – original

1.5oz/45ml Linie Aquavit
1.5oz/45ml Lemon Juice
0.75oz/22ml Blueberry Syrup
1oz/30ml Campari
1oz/30ml  Marendry Bitter
0.25oz China L’Amaro Martini

Chilling the Bitter fire
Original

The right half consists of butterfly pea syrup with water frozen for 3-4 hours

This is another experiment that I found it’s worth trying. I love the colours and I enjoy every chance of playing with my light bulb glass

A lot on the bitter side, this was meant to be a play on the color red, with the only sweet element being the blueberry syrup. It becomes more balanced as the time passes, with the ice melting

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Alexandru Puiu

The Mix

Beetroot Margarita – original

1.5oz/45ml Silver Tequila
1.5oz/45ml Mezcal
1oz/30ml Cointreau
1.5oz/45ml Ancho Reyes Verde
1oz/30ml Lime Juice
1.5oz/45ml Homemade Beetroot Syrup

For the syrup, I used 200g of sugar, 200g of water and 200g of fresh beetroot juice. Create the simple syrup first, by melting the sugar, then add the beetroot juice and let it start boiling. Strain it in a bottle, keep it in the fridge

 

Beetroot Margarita
Original

I love the red of beetroots, and they make an amazing red syrup that’s flavourful and perfect for a Margarita variation.

If you love a margarita that’s spicy and sweet, with just a bit of freshness from the lime juice, this is a great mix of flavours

 

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Alexandru Puiu

The Mix

Autumn Sunset – original
1.5oz/45ml Saffron Gin Gabriel Boudier Dijon
0.5oz/15ml Strega Liquore
0.5oz/15ml Maraschino Luxardo
0.5oz/15ml Tonic Syrup Kofi Ti
0.75oz/22ml White Port Delaforce
3ds Peach Bitters The Bitter Truth
2 sprays Green Chartreuse

Autumn Sunset
Original

This is a mix of flavours built around the very interesting saffron gin
I thought about creating a simple martini variation, with white port instead of vermouth, but I deviated
With Luxardo Maraschino and Liquore Strega, you get a bitterness and almost a sense of a classic drink, whatever that might mean

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Alexandru Puiu

The Mix

Walk’er Home – original
1.5oz/45ml Blended Scotch Whisky Gold Label Johnnie Walker
0.75oz/22ml Aperitif au Quinquina Tempus Fugit
0.75oz/22ml Lillet Rose
0.5oz/15ml Cynar
0.5oz/15ml Celtic Honey
2ds Angostura Bitters
2ds Orange Bitters Angostura

 

 

Walk’er Home
original

A predominantly spirit drink, this has it’s basis in a Boulevardier, but I went quite far from that mix of whiskey, vermouth and Campari

I replaced the bourbon with a scotch whisky that has quite a bit of smoke.
For vermouth, I went for a split base of Lillet and Tempus Fugit Kina L’Aero d’Or

Cynar gives me those much needed botanicals and bitter component, while the rarely used Celtin Honey tames a bit of the smokiness in the equation, but just a bit

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Alexandru Puiu

The Mix

Rhubarb Chillstorm – original
1.5oz/45ml Rhubarb Vodka
0.75oz/22ml Rhubarb & Ginger Liqueur
1oz/30ml Amaro Lucano
5oz/148ml Bitter Lemon
1oz/30 Dry Gin
Spray of Absinth

Rhubarb Chillstorm
original


Almost ten years ago, my favorite cocktail was vodka and bitter lemon with a lot of ice, maybe a splash of lime juice.
This is inspired by that.

The initial thought process was mixing vodka with bitter lemon. Because I recently bought a great bottle of rhubarb vodka, I wanted to amplify the rhubarb flavor with a great liqueur from Edinburgh Gin

The Amaro Lucano is there to add a significant botanical element, while the dry gin on top cuts a bit of the sweetness from the bitter lemon

This still reminds me of my yesteryear passion, but it’s updated for my nowadays palate, a tiny bit more complex

#capellilavita #savourlavita #savourwithalexandru

Alexandru Puiu

The Mix

Jalapirihna – original
2oz/60ml Pitu Cachaça
1oz/30ml Ancho Reyes Chille Verde
1oz/30ml Lime Juice
1oz/30ml Blueberry Syrup

Chilli wires for garnish

Jalapirihna
Original

Caipirinha is a very famous cocktail, depending on where you live, or where you spent your latest holiday. Some might even call it more popular than a mojito
My caipirinha variation involves some Jalapeño liqueur that I enjoy tremendously. Ancho Reyes have done an amazing job with both their liqueurs
The blueberry syrup adds that much needed sweetness to this mix of flavors. The tiny wires of dehydrated chilli work great as garnish

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