Monday, March 1, 2021

Monet's Moment (Difford's Guide Recipe)

This cocktail was created by Eric Lorincz at the Savoy Hotel in London. But it is quintessentially French--from cognac to absinthe to Byrrh grand quinquina and Peychaud's bitters. It is like something straight out of New Orleans at the beginning of the 20th century! 

I'm always impressed with French spirits: how flavorful and yet refreshing they are. This cocktail comes across as light and aromatic. You almost get the feeling that it is good for your health. And after doing so many cognac cocktails in coupes, the change of format to large ice really means a more social experience. The flavor doesn't weigh you down. Instead, you get herbal high notes right under your nose and the complexity of cognac that is chilled, not warm, doesn't pull you away from the dazzle of Byrrh bitterness and grape notes. 

  • 1 1/2 oz. cognac (Martell single distillery used)
  • 1 oz. Byrrh grand quinquina
  • 1/6 oz. absinthe (Ricard used)
  • 1/4 oz. sugar syrup
  • 1 dash Peychaud's bitters
 Stir all ingredients and strain into a large glass with a large format ice cube. 

Port Authority (Death & Co. Recipe)


This cocktail needed to be made. The name, the ingredients, even the look all should have happened a hundred years ago. Luckily Death & Co. made this amazingly rich blackberry and port cocktail come true. I love it. I love the chocolatey port accentuated by chocolate bitters. I love how creme de cassis reinforces blackberry and cognac with a Dijon black currant spirit. And of course the fresh ingredients--these are all hallmarks of cocktail revival that Death & Co. ushered in.

Presentation is everything, and the beautiful chocolate grape color and blackberry garnish only add to the experience. Not one ingredient distracts from this purpose. I have to say that even though this is still essentially a Sour or Daisy variation, you wouldn't know it because you can't remove any ingredient and have it be as good. 

  • 4 blackberries
  • 2 oz. cognac (Martell single distillery used)
  • 3/4 oz. tawny port (Porto Morgado ruby used)
  • 1/2 creme de cassis (G.E. Massenez used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon bitters
  • 2 dashes Aztec chocolate bitters
  • 1 blackberry garnish

Muddle blackberries in a shaker. Add the rest of the ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with the remaining blackberry. 

Black Magic (Death & Co. Recipe)


A Stinger is a beautiful thing. Usually served on ice and a simple pairing of cognac and creme de menthe, Stingers are surprisingly satisfying and balanced. This cocktail is Death & Co.'s attempt to add depth and quality to what often is thought of as a low-brow cocktail or a waste of good cognac. 

Quality comes from from Marie Brizard white creme de cacaco (which I've never tried, but I'm sure my mass-produced creme de menthe doesn't match up. Depth comes from the Fernet-Branca, which is earthy and mentholated. In small proportions, Fernet adds a dark chocolate note rather than overwhelming the drinker with bitterness. An absinthe rinse often is lost in a coupe glass, but this recipe is necessarily short so that the sides remain coated. Absinthe in this situation complements the cognac and gives an herbal high note to counter Fernet's bitter low notes.

That is the philosophy of this drink. You will find that Stinger fans will love it, and Fernet drinkers will enjoy it before asking for a Fernet-Branca chaser. 

  • Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe (Ricard used)
  • 1 oz. cognac (Martell single distillery used)
  • 1 oz. Angostura 5-year rum (Rhum Barbancourt 5-year rum used)
  • 1/2 oz. white creme de cacao 
  • 1 tsp. Fernet-Branca
  • 1 tsp. simple syrup

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

Legend (Death & Co. Recipe)


Going through the Death & Co. stirred brandy cocktail chapter section, I realized they have many drinks that follow this same format: brandy and rum, and bitter aperitifs and sweet fortified wines, served in a coupe with no garnish. 

And this is truly one of the best of them. I love this one because it is light and balanced, yet contains some really deep flavors. No wonder it's called Legend. In something like this, small differences can mean noticeable changes, so Legend may be one to try again with different rums, amari, or bitters. I went with aromatic bitters by Hella (not Bitter Truth) and Angostura. And I don't have Appleton estate rum or Amontillado, but I do have Caribbean rum and solera reserve from Lustau. Finally, I have a local amaro by Don Ciccio and Figili that has to stand in for Amaro Nonino. It doesn't quite cut it, so I used a splash of my Amer Picon to give it the bitter orange peel notes of Nonino.

  • 2 oz. cognac (Martell single distillery used)
  • 1/2 oz. Appleton Estate V/X rum (George Bowman used)
  • 3/4 oz. Lustau Amontillado (Lustau East India Solera sherry used)
  • 1/2 oz. Amaro Nonino (blend of Ambrosia and Amer Picon used)
  • 1 dash Bitter Truth aromatic bitters (Hella used)
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

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

Martica (Death & Co. Recipe)


This is one of those no garnish needed, all-booze drinks that Death & Co. does to show off their most intensely flavored liquors. This one takes the richness of Jamaican rum and the dry but deep taste of cognac and balances them with sharp maraschino and exotic bitters. 

These kinds of cocktails were part of the revival movement in the early 2000. Once upon a time, we were just discovering how to actually use bitters to tie flavors together, and we learned that Luxardo maraschino is indespensable. It's the duct tape of cocktails. This drink is so straight forward--and good, definitely good--that it doesn't need water or juice and can still be satisfyingly complex.

  • 1 oz. cognac (Martell single distillery used)
  • 1 oz. Appleton V/X rum (George Bowman used)
  • 3/4 bitter Italian sweet vermouth (Cocchi di Torino used)
  • 1/4 oz. Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

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

Sloe Scibyville Sling (Death & CO. Recipe)

Not too many drinks are made with sloe gin. It is kind of an old world thing and the sweetness is really only appreciated in winter. I'm sure that the Plymouth sloe gin is much better than this Mr. Boston variety, but it is what I can afford. 

Still, not a bad drink, with the berry liqueur that makes a Sling a Sling coming in the form of sloe gin. There's also an apple note from applejack. Scobeyville is in New Jersey, home state of the Laird's apple brandy distillery.

  • 2 oz. Laird's apple brandy (Applejack 86 used)
  • 1 oz. Plymouth sloe gin (Mr. Boston used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • club soda
  • fuji apple slice as garnish

Shake all ingredients except soda and garnish and strain into a highball glass full of ice. Top with soda and stir gently. Garnish with the apple slice.

Lillywhacker (Death & Co. Recipe)


Is it possible I've exhausted all of Death & Co. apple brandy cocktails? Not quite. This silly sounding cocktail calls for Laird's and a bitter vermouth in what amounts to an Apple Brandy Manhattan with chocolate, cinnamon and orange notes. Not bad, considering how much Laird's Applejack 86 tastes like real baked apples. Now we have the makings of an apple pie in one drink. 

  • 2 oz. Laird's apple brandy (Applejack 86 used)
  • 3/4 oz. Carpano Antica (Cocchi di Torino used)
  • 1/2 oz. Cointreau (triple sec used)
  • 1 dash Bittermen's Xocolatl Mole bitters (Fee Brosthers Atec Chocolate biters used)

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