Sunday, June 20, 2021

Shruff's End

This scotch cocktail is really going for medicinal flavors. There's nothing wrong with it, but it is a little jarring to smell and taste something that has iodine and plastic notes in it like a hospital wing or a box of Band-Aid bandages.

All of the ingredients are designed to magnify the medicinal quality, from the Peychaud's bitters to the Islay scotch--Laphroaig 10 is specified--and even the Benedictine and apple brandy are a calculated ploy to add other properties to the nose and taste that strike one as a medicinal compound from a pharmacy. And let's face it, cocktails were born at pharmacies and were used as curatives for all sorts of things before Prohibition and the FDA. It just takes a little getting used to these flavors. After sitting with them for a while, you start to appreciate what this cocktail is doing with ingredients; and you do start to feel like it is having a healthful effect on you. 

I'm not sure what occasion warrants a dose of Shruff's End, but this is clearly not a drink for all occasions and more of a specific tool for scratching a particularly unusual itch.

  • 1 oz. Laphroaig 10 (Laphroaig Select used(
  • 1 oz. Laird's bonded apple brandy (Applejack 86 used)
  • 1/2 oz. Benedictine
  • 2 dashes Peychaud's bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Bristow Sling (Original Recipe)


This is what happens when you grab a flavored whiskey and just wing it with things you have on hand. I'm talking about the Sling and how the sling is one of the oldest cocktails around, yet we often overlook it as an easy formula that will please bargoers. 

So this whiskey sling is using naturally-flavored MurLarkey lemon whiskey, which is just dried lemons soaked in the barrel with their Justice white whiskey. The rest of this sling's ingredients are pretty standard, with Cherry Heering, lime juice and soda being the main ones. I changed things up by adding my own Mandarine Napoleon liqueur to add more richness from the cognac spirit and the spices and orange notes that it provides. 

  • 1 1/2 oz. MurLarkey lemon whiskey 
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. Cherry Heering
  • 1/2 oz. Mandarine Napoleon (homemade) liqueur
  • club soda
  • luxardo cherry and lime slice garnish
Combine all ingredients except soda and garnishes in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled highball glass full of fresh ice. Top with soda and stir gently. Add garnishes to the top of the glass.

Honshu Punch (Death & Co. Recipe)

Death & Co. keep a rotating Honshu punch for guests all year long. The recipe goes through variations depending on who is bartending, it seems. The settled-on recipe they put in the book involves Yamazaki 12-year-old whiskey. That all made sense back in 2008 when Japanese whiskey was still fabulous but inexpensive. Now it is just fabulous. 

This no-frills presentation is designed to keep your attention on the whiskey, which is a malted barley whiskey from Japan. That malt adds a tropical honey sweetness not unlike rum but with a more oat-like note. For this cocktail, I didn't use the expensive Japanese whiskey, opting for the slightly less expensive Catoctin Creek American Malt whiskey. This is a Virginia whiskey made from a Scottish wee heavy ale, so it has the malted barley component but no peat smoke. That makes it strikingly similar to Yamazaki single malt. 

  • 2 oz. Yamazaki 12-year-old whiskey (Catoctin Creek American Malt whiskey)
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. cane sugar syrup
  • 2 dashes Fee Brothers whiskey barrel-aged bitters (1 dash Angostura used)
  • 2 dashes Bitter Truth aromatic bitters (Hella aromatic used)
  • 1 oz. club soda

Combine all ingredients except soda in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled snifter full of two large chunks of ice. Top with club soda. 


London Dock Cooler

I might be just an alcoholic, but I'm not a big fan of hot drinks. They cook off a lot of the alcohol and get you feeling flushed, which is the point on cold days. I'm just saying I like feeling refreshed and tipsy from my drinks and hot drinks don't do that. 

That's why I'm all in on this summer version of the London Dock. It has all the same ingredients without the spice float on top. Falernum is the stand-in for cinnamon and nutmeg and the like. And it really works! I like it better than the hot version, even. More like a Sangria than a punch, which is why it works so well for patio sipping.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Jamaican rum (George Bowman's used)
  • 3 oz. Claret or dry red wine (Poppy Cabernet used)
  •  1/2 oz. falernum
  • 1/2 oz. kirschwasser
  • orange twist garnish
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass full of fresh ice. Twist orange peel over the glass and drop it in. 


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Doc Daneeka Royale (Death & Co. Recipe)

What is up with the Catch-22 reference in the name? This is the famous fictional doctor who gives name to the insanity catch underpinning the novel. Maybe this is a drink for paranoids, or maybe it is a balm for paranoia. Either way, it was an interesting take on a French 75 with maple syrup used as the sweetener and grapefruit bitters to provide a bitter lifting notes. 

This cocktail is an all-around fruity and bitter drink that is far more complex than the French 75. A squeezed grapefruit peel adds even more citrus bitterness on the nose, and dry sparkling wine (Aria cava) and herbal gin (MurLarkey ImaGination) do not let up on dry and spicy notes. The direction the flavors take on your tongue is up, only up. Sourness and tang give way to a bubbly tingle that isn't solely produced by the sparkling wine. What a fun and dangerous drink!

  • 2 oz. gin (MurLarkey Imagination used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz grade B maple syrup
  • 1 dash bittermen's hopped grapefruit bitters (Fee Brothers' grapefruit and celery bitters used)
  • dry champagne (Aria cava used)
  • 1 grapefruit coin

Combine all liquid ingredients except for champagne in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled champagne flute or coupe and top with champagne. Squeeze the grapefruit zest coin over the glass and discard. 

Julian Sorel (Death & Co. Recipe)


For some reason, Julian Sorel is called "the worst drink name ever," in the Death & Co. recipe book. I don't see why, exactly, though. It's named after the protagonist in The Red And The Black, by Stendhal. In my mind, that makes it a bit of a Scholarly French name. And Julian Sorel doesn't appear in the list of staff picks for worst names in "On The Naming of Cocktails" page of the bar book. Good name or no, Julian Sorel is a good idea.

It blends The Last Word with a champagne cocktail, which is an awesome idea--dare I even say "a genius-level move." If a Negroni can be crossed with a French 75, then why can't a Last Word be mashed-up with a classic French 75 with cognac. And it works surprisingly well. Best of all: it maintains the easy-to-remember proportions of The Last Word!

  • 1/2 oz. Courvoisier cognac
  • 1/2 oz. green Chartreuse (Dolin Genepy used)
  • 1/2 oz. Luxardo maraschino
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • dry champagne (Aria cava used)
  • 1 lemon twist garnish

Combine all ingredients except champagne and garnish in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish wtih the twist.


Dick and Jane (Death & Co. Recipe)


More champagne cocktails! I've been looking forward to using hibiscus flowers packed in syrup in a cocktail, and this cocktail presented itself as a likely candidate. It calls for hibiscus syrup, which provides sweetness and this lovely red color. The flowers themselves are chewy and sweet like brandied cherries, so I decided to use one as a garnish. 

There's something for everyone in this champagne cocktail. ImaGination gin and Peychaud's bitters for those New Orleans French 75 drinkers and St-Germain and hibiscus for a nice floral drink with bubbly. The nice thing is the recipe is not overly sweet and the color and garnish suggestion makes it look more royal than a Kir. 

  • 1 1/2 oz. gin (MurLarkey ImaGination used)
  • 1/2 oz. St-Germain
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. hibiscus syrup
  • 2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • dry champagne
  • 1 long, thin lemon twist (and optional hibiscus flower) garnishes

Combine all ingredients except champagne and garnishes in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Curl lemon twist and drape it over the glass.