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Sensi Magazine

Icy + Toasty

Dec 13, 2018 05:42PM ● By Dawn Garcia
Drinking the good stuff with Trevor Schneider.

Somewhere in the far-off volcano-powered coastal town of Borgarnes, Iceland, exists a small distillery that produces a crisp, beautiful vodka we lovingly refer to as Reyka (REYKA.COM). With a beautiful mouth feel that makes it a little too easy to go down, Reyka tastes icy, clean, majestic, and simply refined, much like the elements its made in. While, sure, there’s a fun tale about it being made in the land of elves and trolls, the best person to learn about the versatility of a good vodka from is the mixologist with personality for days, Trevor Schneider, known as the Cocktail Ninja.

Schneider, a passionate cocktail slinger, is also quite an ice fanatic, often exploring ways to serve up cocktails using ice and his homemade herbal elixirs. He travels the country educating others in the industry about Reyka’s icy nectar and feeding strangers cocktails.

With his ear-to-ear grin, Schneider will tell you that one of his favorite moments as a mixologist was in Iceland, where he literally made cocktails on a glacier. “I’ve made cocktails in some really unbelievable places,” Schneider says, “but that one is definitely up there.”

In the words of Reykjavik-born singer-songwriter, Björk Guðmundsdóttir, “You can’t say no to hope, can’t say no to happiness!” That totally applies to drinking.

Icelandic Grapefruitini
The Icelandic Grapefruitini is another great wintertime cocktail. “This cocktail offers some seasonal flavor combined with a refreshing finish,” proclaims the Cocktail Ninja.

• 1 ½ oz Reyka vodka
• ½ oz maple syrup
• 2 oz pink grapefruit juice
• Pinch of pink Himalayan salt

GLASS: Martini.
GARNISH: Rosemary.
METHOD: Shake.
POUR: Combine all the ingredients into shaker with ice. Shake, strain, and garnish.

Iceland Dill Martini
This is a variation on a dirty martini with pickle brine instead of olive juice. Both are equally amazing, but this offers something unique. “This is a fantastic cocktail to have in the winter, as it offers a lighter martini experience,” mixologist Trevor Schneider says.

• 2 oz Reyka Vodka
• ½ to 1 oz kosher pickle brine
• Rinse dry vermouth
• 10 mustard seeds

GLASS: Martini.
GARNISH: Kosher dill pickle and sprig of dill.
METHOD: Shake.
POUR: Combine all the ingredients into shaker with ice. Shake, strain, and garnish.

Keeping that winter chill nice and toasty.

In downtown Los Angeles at the underground, mid-century modern bar Birds & Bees (BIRDSANDBEESLA.COM), the most interesting cocktails are being made. Infused with liquors and tinctures that transport drinkers to simpler times, this throwback bar offers all the comforts of home were you to have a 1950s house with iconic cues letting happy drinkers know they’re among friends.

Mixologist Jake Larowe is the brains behind the operation. Spending his days making concoctions like date-infused Mezcal, homemade Tiki bitters and tonic syrup, and whatever else he feels like experimenting with, Larowe pours exceptional drinks. He treated us with an extra toasty recipe that will warm you this winter. You’ll be tipsy on eggnog before you know it.

by Jake Larowe
This recipe is honestly best when it is about four or five days old. The high-proof rye whiskey and mezcal keep the yolk from going bad and helps the flavors blend well while perfectly thickening up the eggnog. With the amount of booze in it, this recipe could realistically last at least two to three weeks.

• 6 egg yolks
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 cups whole milk
• 1 cup cream
• 8 oz rye whiskey
• 4 oz mezcal
• 1 whole nutmeg
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 vanilla bean (or ¹⁄₄ tsp vanilla extract, see note*)
• 1 dried arbol chili pepper (or ¹⁄₈ tsp chili powder, see note*)


STEP 1: Split vanilla bean down the middle and place it in a jar with rye whiskey, seal it, and let it sit overnight. Do the same with the chili in the mezcal. *NOTE: If using the vanilla extract and chili powder, wait to add them at step 4.

STEP 2: Separate egg yolks from whites.

STEP 3: Use a whisk (like a mad man), a stand mixer (fancy), or an egg beater with a whisk attachment (recommended) to whisk egg yolks while adding sugar. Whisk until yolks turn a light yellow similar to a lemon peel and are smooth and creamy.

STEP 4: Slowly add milk and cream while continuing to whisk. Carefully add whiskey and mezcal. If using vanilla extract and chili powder, add them now. Whisk until well combined.

STEP 5: Rest in the refrigerator at least 24 hours.

STEP 6: Serve in your best-etched crystal punch bowl/pitcher/bucket. For garnish, grate nutmeg and cinnamon and if you like it hot, a pinch of chili powder overtop while humming your favorite holiday song.