Monday, November 30, 2020

Napoleon Sidecar


If you are just flipping through your bar book, this recipe will strike you immediately as grand for a variation on a Sidecar. That is not to say that it isn't, but subbing in a liqueur called Mandarine Napoleon for orange flavored brandy sounds like an imperial move. 

I've read somewhere that after you have finished your Cointreau and are done with triple secs in general, the next bottle of orange liqueur you need to get is Mandarine Napoleon. It's just that I can't get it where I live. So I knocked it off with cognac, lots of mandarin orange juice and peels, sugar and a whiff of cardamon seeds. I don't recommend this approach, but it is lovely and, while it took a month of steeping, was almost worth the wait. 

I think what greatly helped this cocktail was the use of Martel single distillery cognac. I'm so happy to have found a good deal on this cognac, a littler wilder tasting than ultra smooth blends but a no-brainer buy when lesser quality brandies often cost more.

I found this recipe on Difford's guide 

  • 1 1/2 oz. cognac (Martel VS single distillery used)
  • 1 oz. Mandarine Napoleon (homemade used)
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
  • lemon slice

Coat the rim of a cocktail glass with sugar by rubbing it with a lemon slice and dipping it into a saucer covered with sugar. (Do this ahead of time so you can chill it.) Combine spirits, sugar syrup and lemon juice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into the cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon slice.

Apple Buck


Another Buck cocktail that eschews the use of lime juice for lemon. At least the ginger ale is still present as well as the addition of something very special: ginger brandy.

When I taste this cocktail, I can see why these variations were made to the usual Buck recipe of spirit, lime juice and ginger ale. For one thing, applejack isn't a clear spirit like light rum, gin or vodka--the main spirits used in a Buck. Applejack tastes better with lemon than lime--or at least the acidity of lemon juice does not detract from the aged fruit spirit taste in the way that lime juice does. 

Then, since we need to sweeten the drink a little, here comes ginger brandy, which tastes great with applejack as well. Top with ginger ale and you have a spiced apple fizzy drink that started as a Buck and is now something entirely different and perhaps better. 

  • 1 1/2 oz. apple brandy or calvados (Laird's Applejack 86 used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger brandy
  • ginger ale (Teddy's used)
  • candied ginger piece

Build drink in a Collins glass with juice and spirits. Add ice and top with ginger ale and stir gently. Garnish with the piece of ginger.

Ginger Jolt


I thought that a drink with "Jolt" in the name would involve cola or coffee--something with caffeine. Well this easy sipper has soda, and as such is good any time of the year. It is light in body and sweetness, but there's a rich ginger and vanilla flavor that you can't beat on a gloomy winter's day. 

It seems like you can get ginger wine now, at specialty stores like Total Wine, but I can't think it is readily available. The other option is to make it yourself, a sort of brewed sugar beverage flavored with ginger. I still don't trust myself, and as with my recipe for the Gingersnap, I decided to use my homemade ginger brandy instead. This brandy is so heavily spiced and sweetened, it is almost as if it is a proofed up, flat  ginger beer. The result is more than acceptable, and if you purchase Domaine de Canton, you can do this as easily as I have.

  • 1 1/2 oz. blended whiskey (bourbon used)
  • 3/4 oz. ginger wine (homemade ginger brandy used)
  • slice of ginger root
  • club soda

Build cocktail in a Collins glass with spirits and cracked ice. Top with club soda and stir. Garnish with the ginger root. 

Pusser's Pain Killer


There's not much difference between the standard Pain Killer and the Pusser's variety other than it is a proprietary recipe of the British Navy rum. And when you use Guyana rum like this, it is a major feature of the drink. It tastes more like fresh cane sugar than a heavy molasses rum, for one thing. The other is that a lot of it will have you feeling no pain. 

So adjusting for the difference in rum and pineapple juice, which is higher in this recipe than standard, there's just the question of nutmeg. The recipe doesn't call for it, but I feel it is an integral part of the Pain Killer experience, like salt on a Margarita. So while it is in the picture, because that is the way I like it, you don't need to use it if you don't. 

In fact, don't go out of your way to get nutmeg for this recipe, or spend time looking for the British flag you used to get with every bottle of Pusser's. Mine didn't come with a flag. I just made sure to use red and blue straws to signify the Union Jack. 

  • 4 oz. Pusser's British Navy rum
  • 4 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. coconut cream or syrup
  • orange slice as garnish
  • tiny British flag (optional, but go for some British symbolism in the garnsih)
Combine all ingredients except orange slice and other garnishes with cracked ice in a shaker or blender. Shake or blend briefly and pour into a chilled Collins glass. Garnish with orange slice and British Flag. (Note: nutmeg is pictured but not required for this recipe.)


Ginger Snap


Not to be confused with the vodka drink of the same name, (but written as one word) the Ginger Snap is a Whiskey and Cola variation. The major difference is the use of ginger flavored brandy (not ginger wine, as in the Gingersnap.)

Right now the most common brand of ginger flavored brandy is Domain de Canton. I have a passable substitute made from candied ginger infused Korbel brandy. By sweetening up the infused liquor to a cordial level, I've got a spicy spirit to slip in any drink to lift it above the basic spirit and mixer.

Speaking of not being basic, I thought I'd give Fentiman's Curiosity Cola a try and I was not sorry. Again, it is a matter of craft ingredients when they make up the majority of the drink. I can't say that I always do this, especially when social drinking, but right now, little things like craft cola go a long way to improving my drinking experience.

The recipe calls for blended whiskey, and you can feel free to use Canadian whiskey or Seagram's 7 Crown if you are a stickler. I had straight bourbon, but I felt that was acceptable, as is Tennessee whiskey. But I would draw the line at blended scotch and you might not want an Irish whiskey either. Cola, and this rich one in particular, wants to paired with vanilla notes from American oak, so an American style is preferable. 

  • 1 oz. blended whiskey (bourbon used, American recommended)
  • 1 oz. ginger flavored brandy (homemade used or Domain de Canton)
  • 6 oz. cola (Fentiman's used)
  • several dashes lemon juice
  • (optional cherry garnish pictured)

Build drink with liquors in a Collins Glass. Add ice and cola and stir gently. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and garnish if desired.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Golfe Juan


I'm breaking out the French-themed drinks, even though not all ingredients are French in and of themselves. Golfe-Juan is a seaside resort on France's Côte d'Azur. The place has an air of tropical paradise to it with all the trappings of French tourist sites. The cocktail blends these two attitudes perfectly with European liqueurs of the golden age of cocktails and pineapple and lemon juice.

Altogether, you can possibly have as many as three European nationalities represented in one touristy cocktail: French brandy, Italian maraschino liqueur, and German kirschwasser. Don't use an American sweet kirsch. It tastes like cherry candy and you already have maraschino for that. A true kirsch, however will easily float on this drink, kicking up the alcoholic nose and giving the whole drink the boozy beachside cafe feel you are looking for.

  • 1 1/2 oz. brandy (Korbel used but use cognac to make it more French)
  • 1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur like Luxardo
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. kirsch float (Kammer Kirsch used)
Combine all ingredients except for kirsch in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Use a bar spoon to float the kirsch on top of the drink.

Eve's Seduction


This French-style aperatif cocktail does not appear in any of my bar books. Instead, I found the recipe on Lee Spirits website for their revival of a liqueur known as Forbidden Fruit. It is almost winter, so I made a small batch of my own Forbidden Fruit recipe in order to try Lee Spirit's Eve's Seduction and other recipes. 

Forbidden Fruit is a brandy-based spirit that has bright citrus notes, particularly grapefruit (the original forbidden fruit, or so it is said). The liqueur itself is sweetened with honey, though this recipe calls for some honey as well. Since the amaro is not specified, I think Averna or Montenegro will suffice or maybe Amer Picon if you can make or find that. I had free choice to use Don Ciccio and Figili's Ambrosia. Now Ambrosia is the sweetest of their Italian bitters, with plenty of its own honey flavor, I felt justified in leaving out the additional honey for fear of creating a honey bomb. 

This drink turned out well. A perfect sipper before or after dinner. I was happy with the elegant look and color and put it in my cordial glass to show that off. Additionally, the flavor was a lovely blend of bitterness and sweet honey.

If you happen to buy a bottle of Lee Spirit's Forbidden Fruit, and I hope you do if you can get it, I'm including the recipe as it is printed on the website. I'm making a note, however, as to the use of a half ounce of honey. If you put that much honey in your shaker, it will solidify before you pour the drink. You should make a 1:1 ratio mixture of honey simple using honey and warm water. Then only use half an ounce of the honey simple in the cocktail. 

  • 1 oz. dry gin (homemade used)
  • 1 oz. Forbidden Fruit
  • 1/2 oz. amaro (Don Ciccio and Figili Ambrosia used)
  • 1/2 oz. honey syrup
  • (lemon twist or slice as garnish recommended but not included on the original recipe)

Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.