Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Grand Autumn

So a visit with family in Columbus gave me the opportunity to work with some different liquors and make a new cocktail. This is a very refreshing drink that is made even better with Canada Dry Cranberry Ginger Ale. It turned a Grand Autumn into a Merry Christmas!

2 oz. rye
1 oz. lime juice
1 oz. St. Germain
Ginger ale

Combine all ingredients except ginger ale in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass full of ice. Top with ginger ale.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Shanghai Cocktail

The Shanghai Cocktail is an odd pairing of Pernod and dark rum. It doesn't sound like it would be a good idea, but, as I am finding out, absinthe can be the ingredient that sets a drink apart from its familiar cousins. It makes sense then that this is named after an Asian city and not some Pacific or Caribbean island. The French liquor influence is both bitter and distinctive.

  • 2 oz. dark rum
  • 1/2 oz. Pernod
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz. grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Grand Hotel

The Grand Hotel is a French liqueur drink that really features the sweet orange flavor of Grand Marnier. It's pretty stiff as most classics are. Here's how to make it.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • dash of lemon juice
  • lemon peel
Combine all ingredients except lemon peel and juice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel over the glass and drop it into the drink.

Roy Howard

This was a nice, sweet, and mildly alcoholic cocktail. It looks attractive, too, owing to the dashes of grenadine. A good afternoon drink for any season.

  • 2-3 oz. Lillet blanc
  • 1 oz. brandy
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • several dashes of grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Linstead Cocktail

I am often surprised how well blended scotch can make amazing tropical flavors. I am also learning that while a lot of absinthe can overwhelm, a little serves like a bitters or perhaps even gives a tart crispness just like cherry liqueur. You could use it in a tiki in place of orgeat syrup and no one would be the wiser.

The Linstead Cocktail is a great anytime of the day drink with lots of fruit and frothiness, it feels really luxurious.

  • 2 oz. scotch
  • 1/4 tsp. Pernod
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. bar sugar
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Affinity

A very drinkable before-dinner cocktail. It seems primarily a vermouth drink with lots of wine flavor and a good scotch bite at the center. Here's what you need to make it.

  • 1 1/2 oz blended scotch
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Saratoga

It's a rich drink with sweet fruity flavors. I think I would be in favor of serving this in a highball glass rather than up. It has all the hallmarks of a tropical drink, albeit a rich one.

  • 3 oz. brandy
  • 1/2 tsp. Luxardo
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. pineapple juice
Combine all ingredients with cracked ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Sazerac

This is an oldie and a goodie. It's dark and bitterly spicy with complex flavors. It really serves you well to make it with flavorful rye that will balance the Pernod and bitters.
  • 3 oz. rye
  • 1/2 tsp. Pernod
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • 1 tsp. water
  • lemon twist
Pour Pernod into an old fashioned glass and swirl it to coat the inside of the glass. Add sugar, water and bitters. Muddle until the sugar is dissolved. Add ice and rye to the glass and stir. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Tennessee Cocktail

There must be a lot of rye in Tennessee because there's a lot of rye in the Tennessee Cocktail. A spicy rye perfectly balances the Luxardo, which sweetens and changes the drink into a classic tasting drink.
  • 2 oz. rye
  • 1 oz. maraschino liqueur
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Cherry garnish optional.

Melon Cocktail

There's no melon in the drink and no melon liqueur, but there's no complaints about this bright and tart drink either.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. Luxardo
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • maraschino cherry and lemon wedge or twist
Combine all ingredients except fruit in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cherry and lemon.

Matinee

The Matinee is a bit rich for most gin drinkers. It is unusual (not in the classic cocktail sense, but in terms of up drinks today) in that it includes a full ounce of sweet vermouth. Not many cocktails use that much sweet vermouth anymore. Still, it is a slow sipping pleasure that tastes much like a whiskey drink and suitable for special occasions.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. green Chartreuse
  • 1/2 oz. orange juice
Combine all ingredients with cracked ice in a shaker. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Pago Pago

A splendidly refreshing tiki drink, the Pago Pago is a pleasing combination of gold rum, juice and Chartreuse. There's just enough spice and sweetness to negate the need for sugar. Drinkers say that it has a hallmark dryness of classic tikis.

  • 3 oz. gold rum
  • 1 tsp. white creme de cacao
  • 1 tsp. green Chartreuse
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice in a tiki glass or highball.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Killdrummy

I've been working on a drink to appease my bourbon drinking friends who can't stand scotch. This might do the trick. It was less scotch and more a bouquet of flavor. Here's how it's done.

  • 2 oz. scotch
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
  • several dashes of Pechaud's bitters
  • several dashes of absinthe
Build in an old fashioned glass full of ice. Garnish with an orange peel.

Blood, Sand and Smoke

Every once in a while, the right ingredients and conditions combine and you have an example of a stroke of genius. This is one. In an attempt to level-up a Blood And Sand, I hit upon a recipe that is unbeatable. You have to see this.

  • 1 oz. Lagavulin 16 single malt scotch
  • 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. Luxardo cherry liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
Shake all ingredients on ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lightly singed orange peel.

Scotch Holiday Sour

The holidays require something extra. A sour isn't enough without that extra additive. In this case it is Cherry Heering. Here's how to make this drink.

2 oz. scotch
1 oz. Cherry Heering
1 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. sweet vermouth

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a sour glass rimmed with sugar. Garnish with a lemon slice.

Hoot Mon

"Hoot Mon" is a Scottish greeting. Kind of like "Hooot, mon. Seh grrrreet to see ye." This was a great drink, too. Like a Rob Roy but sweeter. Here's how to make it.

  • 2 oz. scotch
  • 1/2 oz. Lillet blanc
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
Combine all ingredients in a shaker full of ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Cosmopolitan

  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. cranberry juice
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

The trick to getting this drink right is in the balance of vodka and cranberry juice to lime and triple sec. If you change the proportions of lime juice, the triple sec must be altered in kind. The same is the case with the vodka and cranberry. Ideally, a cosmopolitan should be a fruity drink, not a vodka Martini with juice. It should be faintly pink with a lot of lime and orange flavors--more interesting than strong. For a guide to the appropriate color, see the nebula image on the opening scene of Cosmos.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Presto

Another cocktail with orange juice and French liquor. This one has an unappetizing color because of the sweet vermouth and juice. Orange juice is like a double-edged sword. It makes drinks taste great but it can wreak havoc with the color of the drink. I recommend using an orange liqueur like Cointreau and a little lemon juice in place of the orange juice to get beyond this problem. Here's the recipe:

  • 2 oz. brandy (Courvoisier V.S. pictured)
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1 tsp. absinthe
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
Shake on ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. (Cherry garnish optional)

This drink is delicious and evenly balanced between sweet and bitter. Very aromatic with just a touch of liquorish flavor from the absinthe, which comes across as maraschino in the orange juice. Just a rich and sweet cocktail that pleases the taste buds if it offends the eyes.  

Abbey

I really liked this cocktail as a tropical drink. It was light and refreshing and still had a strong kick to it. I could see making it as a tiki in a tall glass with ice. Bitters helped round out the flavor, too. I was afraid it would be too sweet, but it had a certain charm from the Lillet that made it very enjoyable and pretty to look at.
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin
  • 1 1/2oz. Lillet blanc
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 3-5 dashes of angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel and cherry.


International Cocktail

This was a rich, full-bodied cocktail that took me a long time to finish. I had to put it in the freezer to save for later. That may be because 2 ounces of cognac is a hefty pour or it might be because I don't like absinthe very much. Still, it seemed in perfect proportions (which is what the vodka is intended to preserve so as not to be overly flavorful like the Four Score) and it was mighty strong to boot.
  • 2 oz. brandy or cognac (Corvoissier V.S. pictured)
  • 1/2 oz. absinthe 
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • 2 tsp. vodka
Combine all ingredients in a shaker full of ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Bijou

As promised, here is my own recipe for a Bijou. I have to say that I enjoyed the on-tap version I had at the Iron Gate restaurant better than this one, but that may be because I used green Chartreuse instead of yellow. You be the judge.
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin (Old Tom or Plymouth recommended)
  • 1 oz. yellow Chartreuse
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • dash of orange bitters
  • cherry or lemon peel garnish
Combine all ingredients except bitters and garnish in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add bitters and garnish.

Hoopla

  
A pleasant before dinner cocktail, the Hoopla is based on a few ingredients that are very complimentary in equal proportion. Check out what the Hoopla is all about with this recipe!  
  • 3/4 oz. cognac
  • 3/4 oz. Lillet blanc
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. triple sec
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Lemon wheel garnish optional.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Four Score

This is a case of a cocktail trying to do too much. Between the unhealthy color from the blend of cognac and Chartreuse and the overwhelming wave of flavors from the Lillet and Chartreuse, I am having trouble enjoying this. That said, I love each ingredient independently. They just don't mesh as well as they do in the Loraine. It wastes the Corvoisier that I used in this as a base. All ingredients are complex. It needs a vodka thinner just so one can come through.
  • 1 1/2 oz. brandy (cognac)
  • 1 oz. Lillet Blanc
  • 1/2 oz. Chartreuse
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon rind.

I don't know what to make of the allusion to Abe Lincoln. Of course all three ingredients were available during his life--proprietary labels, not just ingredients--which in itself is impressive. But it feels like a Gettysburg in my mouth with all the liquors vying for dominance at the same time. In the end the Chartreuse wins, but in a way all of them lose. The best thing I have to say about this is that I got a great photo and a buzz from this drink.

 

Loraine

I love this photo. That blip of light in the window is a crescent moon over Aurora Highlands.
OK. Back to the drink.

1 oz. gin
1/2 oz. Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz. Grand Marnier

Shake all ingredients on ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

I appreciate what is going on here in this simple French cocktail. I taste wine and oranges, it is the rich Cabernet grape flavor with dry orange mixing with the sweet cognac and orange of the Grand Marnier. The paring of the two French liqueurs is amazing. It is akin to my discovery of Grand Marnier paired with Appleton Rum. Once you taste them together, you know what heaven is.

20th Century

  • 1 1/2 oz. gin
  • 3/4 oz. Lillet Blanc
  • 3/4 oz. creme de cacao
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add a lemon rind as garnish.

My take on this pretentious cocktail is that it is accurate to the tastes of the early 20th Century. I mean, anyone you asked about what liquors were tops in the Age of Modernism (circa 1921) would say Lillet Blanc and gin. Still, the drink is a little tart and the lemon covers the Lillet too much. The gin sticks out too much. Even Bombay Sapphire is too aggressive here. I recommend upping the creme de cacao (against my better judgement) and the Lillet. Make it equal parts everything except lemon. 1 oz. gin, Lillet, and creme de cacao and leave the lemon at 3/4 or even 1/2 and you have something interesting.

French Forténight

I recently picked up these French liquors and I want to feature drinks that include them in the next week of posts. Just after tasting the Lillet, I can understand what Balzac meant of the older Black Sheep brother--"he wasted his money developing a taste for fine liquor." So French ForteNight might be my undoing, but I will at least come off better than the art-collecting brother in the short term.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Red Stag Manhattan


So you know how I feel about flavored whiskey. You don’t need it if you have full bar with plenty of liqueurs. I could have easily made the drink with Cherry Heering, and if I wanted to I could have made my own cherry bourbon. There was something simple about getting a mini of Red Stag and trying it in a cocktail, though. It was rich and warming, not overwhelmingly sweet, with a lot of flavors to keep you interested.
  • 1 1/2 oz. bourbon
  • 1/2 oz. Red Stag
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
Combine all ingredients in a shaker full of ices. Shake and strain in a child cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Manhasset

  • 2 oz. rye (Catoctin Creek Roundstone)
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1/4 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1/4 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake or stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with lemon juice. Garnish with a lemon twist.
This was a darn good classic cocktail when made with 100 percent rye. My previous versions using Canadian whiskey fell flat, but this is something do do over and over. And with the 90 proof Roundstone Rye, it was pretty stiff too.

Barbary Coast


This is a remake of the Barbary Coast I posted last month. The photo and drink were much better.
  • 1 oz. creme de cacao
  • 1/2 oz. scotch
  • 1/2 oz. rum
  • 1/2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. heavy cream
Combine all ingredients in a shaker full of ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Devon Gin

  • 3/4 oz. gin
  • 2 oz. cider
  • 1/4 oz. triple sec
Build the cocktail in a glass full of ice. Add gin and triple sec. Top with cider and stir.

Casino


  • 2 oz. gin (Old Tom)
  • 1/2 oz. Luxardo Cherry Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and a cherry.

Singapore Sling (Bombay Sapphire East Recipe)

  • 1 1/2 oz. Bombay Sapphire East
  • 1 oz. Cherry Heering
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • club soda
Mix all ingredients except soda in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a tall Collins glass. Top with soda and garnish with a lime wheel and cherry.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cadillac Margarita


  • 2 oz. tequila
  • 1 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. bar sugar
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a margarita glass or cocktail glass rimmed with salt. Garnish with a lime wheel. Additional float of Grand Marnier on top is recommended.

The Blanche Devereux (From a recipe provided by Barritts Ginger Beer)



  • 1 oz. blanco tequila
  • 1oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz. ginger liqueur (I use my home made ginger vodka)
  • Barritt’s Diet Ginger Beer
Shake tequila, juice and ginger liqueur in a shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass or mason jar. Garnish with a lime wheel and jalapeno slice.

Virginia Stone Fence


As promised, here is an easy drink to make with cider (the soft kind).
  • 2 oz. Virginia rye
  • Cider
Add rye to glass of ice. Top with cider. I garnished with an apple slice for good measure.
Here’s the interesting thing about the Stone Fence. Whatever liquor you choose (rye, whiskey, rum, scotch, vodka…) insert the origin of the liquor in front of “Stone Fence” so you can have a Canadian Stone Fence, an Irish Stone Fence, or a Jamaican Stone Fence. Have fun with this.

Tuxedo


  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1 oz. gin (Old Tom)
  • 1/2 tsp maraschino liqueur
  • dash of absinthe
  • 3 dashes orange bitters.
Stir all ingredients except absinthe and bitters in a shaker. Strain into a cocktail glass and add dashes of bitter and absinthe. Garnish with a lemon twist and cherry.

This is surprisingly interesting and refreshing. I like how it tastes like a mash up of my favorite skittles flavors and makes your cheeks pucker. Because of the name I photographed it with Hugo, my tux cat.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mary Pickford


  • 1 1/2 oz. rum
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur (Luxardo)
  • grenadine
Combine all ingredients into a shaker full of ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass garnish with a drizzle of grenadine and a cherry.
 
Ok. I am going to comment on this drink because in most respects it meets the requirement of a good drink. (A cocktail solves a problem; this problem was a woman who didn’t like the taste of alcohol.) I’ve also made it before without the cherry liquor and enjoyed it. Something about adding an additional sweet liquor made it taste like fruit punch college kids make in garbage cans. That may have been because I was just enjoying a semi-dry drink beforehand and this one is so sweet. But I can’t help but think that Luxardo made this one too rich and my modification would be to use only a dash of it and grenadine.

More advice, if you know the drinker doesn’t want too sweet of a drink, shake all ingredients including grenadine in the hope of distributing the sweetness throughout so there is no syrupy bottom. Just go easy on the sweet stuff and use more rum.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bombay Sapphire East G+T


  • 1 1/2 oz. Bombay Sapphire East
  • Tonic water
  • juice of 1 lime wedge
  • Lemon wedge and lemongrass stalk
Fill a highball glass with ice and gin. Top with lime juice and tonic. Garnish with lemongrass and lemon wedge.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Aviation


  • 1 1/2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur (Luxardo)
Shake all ingredients on ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

St. Patrick’s Day (AKA Everybody’s Irish)


So I decided to make this drink out of season because I have the ingredients and I assumed that it would be a tragedy like most St. Patrick’s Day themed drinks. I wasn’t wrong. Of course the color of the original recipe would be a deeper green because of the real creme de menthe, but it would have also made the drink an even more awful. I used my own homemade creme de menthe with real mint, and that might have saved this cocktail from wasting my good liquor.

So this drink falls into the “Things I don’t want to waste my Irish whiskey on” category. The best drinks are made as solutions to a problem—like “how can I find a way to make this base liquor taste better by adding stuff to it?” kind of problem. The worst drinks are made with no consideration to what each component tastes like and proportions are judged in order to create a desired appearance. These can be dreadful, thought they might look attractive. This drink belongs to the latter category, because who doesn’t like a little Chartreuse or Irish whiskey, just not in the same drink.

It began almost too herbaceous with the Chartreuse standing out too much as I thought it would. The creme de menthe gave a similarly herbaceous cool in the finish. The problem was that I couldn’t taste the whiskey at all and that made adding bitters a bit of a mistake. It was already pretty bitter.
Then about midway through, I started to enjoy it because I was getting drunk. The mix of liquors was strong and a drinker can rightly say that they are Irish after drinking this cocktail—but then they might admit to a lot of things as well. Here’s the recipe if you want to experience it yourself:
  • 2 oz. Irish whiskey
  • 1/2 oz. green Chartreuse
  • 1/2 oz. creme de menthe
  • several dashes of bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add several dashes of bitters.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Peppermint Patty


I don’t usually do shots, but I also don’t like to drink large quantities of liqueurs at one go either. This was a test of my uncolored homemade creme de menthe. I am pleased to find that when mixed with creme de cacao it tastes just like the original Peppermint Patty cocktail minus the color.
  • 1 1/2 oz. creme de menthe
  • 1 1/2 oz. creme de cacao
Combine all ingredients in a lowball glass with ice. Stir well.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Corpse Reviver #2


It was a nice morning visiting Dupont Circle to try the Corpse Reviver #2. I could feel myself more energized just drinking it. Interesting how 3/4 is the rule of thumb here so it is easy to remember when you are hung over. Here’s how they make it:

  • 3/4 oz. Lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. Hendricks gin
  • 3/4 oz. Lillet Blanc
  • 3/4 oz. Cointreau
  • dash of absinthe 
Combine all ingredients except for absinthe in a shaker full of ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cherry.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Green Chartreuse Martini



  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. green Chartreuse
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth 

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

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Last Word




  • 3/4 oz. green Chartreuse
  • 3/4 oz. gin
  • 3/4 oz. maraschino liqueur
  • 3/4 oz. lime juice
Combine ingredients in a shaker with cracked ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

How To Make A Mojito

This video shows a Mojito made in real time.

video

Make Your Own Fresh Mint Liqueur

Making your own mint liqueur is a great way to preserve mint to use in cocktails well past the herb's shelf life.

You'll need:
  • 6-10 Mint stems
  • 1 cup or more of 100-proof vodka
  • 3 tsp. of sugar
1. Pick leaves from the stems and place them on a wood or plastic cutting board (not glass).

















2. Cover mint with a paper towel or plastic wrap and pound with a meat tenderizer. This releases oils without cutting up the mint.




 3. Place mint in a small saucepan and add vodka. Heat covered on high until boiled.



 4. Use a slotted spoon to remove mint leaves from the vodka while it is still hot.

















 5. Add sugar and stir until it is dissolved.



























6. Strain the liquor into a bottle with a cap for storage.