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.



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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.