Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Red Apple

More pink than red, the Red Apple is still a fine drink using grapefruit juice and applejack. There's not much else to it, so I added a wafer-thin apple slice as a garnish.
  • 2 oz. apple brandy
  • 2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 3-5 dashes of grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Caruso

This drink belongs to the family of "opera" drinks because it is named after Enrico Caruso, the famous opera singer. Most of these drinks have gin in common, like the Cabaret, Bijou and Opera, and linked only by topic to the Calypso and Maime Taylor. The thing about the gin opera drinks is that they all have brilliant colors, and this emerald wonder is no exception. I was going to say something else positive about the drink, but that all ends here. While it is better than mouthwash, it had better be Enrico Caruso's own favorite recipe. Otherwise, it suffers from the fate of so many drinks that try to achieve a color with no attention to the flavor.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. green creme de menthe
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Bullfrog

This called for limeade, which I thought was silly because you can make your own limeade with juice and sugar. It differs only a little from a Caiprioska in having a little triple sec added to change the flavor.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 tsp. triple sec
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • lime slice (quarters shown)
Combine juice and sugar with ice in a highball glass. Stir and add vodka, triple sec, and lime quarters or slices. Stir again until evenly mixed.

Aperitivo

A cool Italian name for a cocktail suited for after dinner drinking. Sambuca makes this a rich and cooling drink with lots of anise flavor and interesting bitterness.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 1/2 oz. Sambuca
  • 3-5 dashes of bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Cloister

I have been wanting to do this "monkish" drink for a long time and finally decided to tackle it after juicing a grapefruit. It belongs to the same series as the Abbey, Nightmare Abbey, Sanctuary, and Culross. It's pretty spicy, and since Chartreuse comes from a monastery, the name is very fitting.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. yellow Chartreuse
  • 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. simple syrup
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Sea Breeze

I've taken a long time to get to  some classic and easy drinks, and this is one of them. I recommend it to all beginning drinkers or bartenders.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 2 oz. cranberry juice
  • grapefruit juice
Pour vodka and cranberry juice into a chilled highball glass filled with ice cubes. Fill with grapefruit juice and stir.

Greek Martini

This attractive looking drink is my own creation. I am using ouzo because it is drier than Pernod and it is actually Greek. That's right, that's a kalamata olive, and if that sounds gross, then consider that the whole drink is mildly anisette flavored and very dry. The olive fit right in with the spice.
  • 2 1/2 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. ouzu (Meltemi used)
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • kalamata olive
Combine all liquors in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with olive.

Button Hook

This is one of those gross sounding drinks that exists because it is used as a restorative for drunks. You can bet that the presence of creme de menthe means that someone was trying to freshen their breath and recover from a hangover with this drink. If you doubt me, then consider this. If a button hook is like a shoe horn, than this drink is the tool that helps you get dressed back in the days when you needed button hooks and shoe horns to put on your clothes.
  • 1 oz. brandy
  • 1 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1 oz. white creme de menthe
  • 1 oz. Pernod (1/2 oz. Absente used)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake or stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Sledgehammer

The name reminds me of that 80s police comedy and might be something that Sledgehammer would drink in a single gulp. Really, though, it was quite rich and interesting and probably best had before dinner.
  • 1 oz. apple brandy
  • 1 oz. brandy
  • 1 oz. gold rum
  • 1/4 oz. Pernod
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Braemar Cocktail

Let's face it: I only wanted to make this cocktail because it combined scotch and Benedictine. This drink is named after a small town in the highlands, Speyside region, known for having the third coldest winters in Scotland behind Dalwhinnie and Leadhills, some other godforsaken place. This was rich and complex and complimented my evening's reading of Sir Walter Scott's Antiquary.
  •  1 1/2 oz. scotch
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. Benedictine
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Banchory Cocktail

This drink is named after a medium-size town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It seems to be a bit of a commercial center that has grown over the centuries. The scotches in this region are known for their sherry cask flavoring and especially smooth texture.

I also felt that this drink could use the addition of a singed orange zest to go with the tsp. of orange juice. (Follow the instructions for the previous drink.) It's really just a matter of having a lit flame and giving the zest a pinch directly above the flame's highest point.
  • 1 oz. scotch
  • 1 oz. medium sherry
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar syrup
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Gleneagles Aerie

A sweet, pleasant scotch cocktail that I made with Famous Grouse. Port makes for a richer color and flavor and almost makes up for the fact that blends lack the wine-like quality of single malts.
  • 1 1/2 oz. scotch
  • 1/2 oz/ dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. port 
  • Dash Orange Bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Bairn

Bairn is Scottish for kid. Like, "Look at all of McGregor's bairns on that cart!" Johnnie Walker Red made for a more rustic tasting cocktail that would have otherwise been a bit too much citrus. I modified the recipe to include a torched orange zest to highlight the orange flavor of the drink.
  • 1 1/2 oz. scotch 
  • 3/4 oz. Cointreau
  • several dashes orange bitters
  • singed orange zest
Combine all ingredients except orange zest with ice in a shaker. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze the zest over an open flame and drop it in the drink.

Argyll Cocktail

There's a bunch of scotch drinks I've been wanting to make from John J. Poister's New American Bartenders Guide. He has really developed a rich section on scotch cocktails that deserves a second or third exploration.

The name of Argyll Cocktail reminds me of the patterned socks, and the drink made with Barrelhound Scotch lives up to this reputation as a warming amalgam that is also soft on the tongue.
  • 1 oz. scotch (Barrelhound pictured)
  • 1 oz. calvados (Captain Applejack used)
  • 1/2 oz. dry gin
  • 1 tsp. heather honey or sugar syrup (lavender honey used)
  • lemon twist
I had problems with the recipe instructions as written so I recommend these steps in order to get the honey to dissolve into the drink.
  1. Add honey and scotch to a room-temperature highball or Old Fashioned glass. 
  2. Stir the honey mixture until the honey dissolves completely into the scotch. 
  3. Add ice and other liquors and stir gently until cooled.
  4. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Buttafuoco

I've been wanting to try this drink for some time. The name is sweet and the ingredients sounded like they would be great together, and they are. The thing that turned me was when I combined the spirits themselves with an ounce of lemon in the shaker before I added ice. They looked and smelled like stomach acid. That really turned me off, and I might have stopped there. But I didn't want to waste this opportunity to try something different. Let me just say that a little sugar and half as much Luxardo would have made the drink much better, but here's the recipe as it is written.
  • 2 oz. white tequila
  • 1/2 oz. Galliano
  • 1/2 oz. Luxardo
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • club soda
  • cherry
Combine all ingredients except soda and cherry in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a highball or Collins glass. Top with soda and garnish with cherry.

Blackthorn

A nice stiff scotch drink for summer? Really? Flavors of citrus, and mint mellow the funkiness of funkier scotches in this highball drink.
  • 1 1/2 oz. scotch
  • 1/2 oz. curacao
  • 1/2 oz. brandy
  • lemon slice
  • mint sprig
Combine scotch, curacao, brandy and ice in a highball glass. Stir gently and add lemon slice and mint garnish.

Sadie Smash

 Sadie Smash is a lot like a Mint Julep but with soda and a bunch of other fruit. It packs a punch because of the three ounces of bourbon though. Here's how to make it.
  • 3 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. club soda
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  • 4 mint leaves
  • orange slice
  • cherry
Muddle mint leaves in the simple syrup and soda in a highball glass to release mint oil. Add ice and top with bourbon. Garnish with orange slice and cherry.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Genoa

My version of the Genoa was a little bit more Greek than Italian. I substituted Skinos for grappa and hoped that the sambuca would even everything out--which it would have done had I remembered to include it. This called for a "do-over." Skinos was very assertive, but anise flavor rules this drink. The recipe called for an olive, and I opted for a lemon zest, which again made it less Italian. Not a bad drink but it has identity problems. If I do it one more time, I'll use grappa and an olive to see what it is supposed to taste like.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 1/2 oz. grappa
  • 2 tsp. dry vermouth
  • green olive (lemon zest pictured)
Combine all ingredients except olive in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the olive.

Via Veneto


I really liked how thick and tropical tasting this drink was--Not at all what I expected, either. A little Sambuca goes a long way, and it is sweeter than ouzo, I've found. Via Veneto is a nice dessert drink with rich flavors that linger in a creamy eggnog liquor.
  • 2 oz. brandy
  • 1 oz. white sambuca
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 egg white
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled highball glass.

Skinos Dry

Skinos is a Greek liqueur from one of the small islands. It is probably grape based, like grappa, but it is flavored with masthia. I think that this flavoring comes from the sap of a mashtia tree. It's not strong tasting like ouzo, but it has a definite spiciness that reminds me of incense, pumice, and pine.

Skinos dry is a vodka or gin Martini that uses Skinos as in place of vermouth.
  • 2 oz. vodka or gin
  • 1 oz. Skinos
  • lemon twist
Combine all ingredients except twist in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Puerto Apple

I like how Captain Apple Jack gives this drink a chintzy pirate quality. This is a nice poolside sipper for the summer.
  • 2 oz. apple brandy or apple jack
  • 1 oz. light rum
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. orgeat syrup
  • lime slice
Combine all ingredients except lime slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a highball glass and garnish with the lime slice.

Liberty Cocktail

This is a simple cocktail with applejack that tastes like a classic. Simple recipes and simple syrup make it so.
  • 2 oz. applejack or apple brandy
  • 1 oz. rum
  • 1/4 tsp. simple syrup
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Vodka Daisy

Another of the "Daisy" drink series, (see Whiskey Daisy and Applejack Daisy) this one with vodka. I used Titos for no good reason other than I had it, but it is a very popular vodka because it is wheat-free or something. Anyway, this is another great beach drink with plenty of fizz and alcoholic kick.
  • 3 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. grenadine
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • club soda
  • orange slice
Combine all ingredients except soda and orange slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour over new ice in a chilled highball glass. Top with soda and garnish with the orange slice.

Bermuda Bouquet

So there's a series of "Bermuda" drinks that all involve apricot brandy. For some reason this is a very popular brandy for cocktails, and I think it is because it is sweet and unlike anything else you will find. This was a perfect poolside punch drink for the summer.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • 1 tsp. simple syrup
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
  • 1 tsp. cointreau
  • orange twist
Combine all ingredients except orange twist in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain over new ice in a highball glass. Garnish with the orange twist.



Saturday, July 11, 2015

Grand Occasion


Like the Grand Hotel, this cocktail follows the format of Grand Marnier, gin, and lemon juice. It's just a little more rummy. Creme de cacao adds a richness that actually plays with the lemon juice flavor and gives it a sort of tropical feel. This is a grand cocktail for any occasion.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 oz. creme de cacao
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Alfonso Special

I remained on a cognac kick the other night and made the Alfonso Special, a rich and liqueur-heavy cocktail that was very pleasing and good for slow sipping. Bitters and a quality sweet vermouth make it even more interesting. Try this if you have a craving for Grand Marnier.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 3/4 oz dry gin
  • 1 tsp. dry vermouth
  • 1 tsp. sweet vermouth
  • several dashes of bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Carmen Cavallaro

 If you notice over my last few posts with Bluecoat Barrel Reserve gin, I've been stirring the cocktails rather than shaking them. People say you can bruise gin by shaking ice crystals that melt into the cocktail. The effect is that it tastes watered down. Stirred cocktails are best when they are liquor heavy, which means you can do them with wines like vermouth and sherry.

Carmen Cavallaro is the famous pianist known for his light piano soloist style. That and the likelyhood that he enjoyed sherry are the only two links I can find between him and this drink. Sherry and oak notes are the stars of this cocktail with just a hint of orange from the curacao.
  • 2 oz. gin (Bluecoat Barrel Reserve used)
  • 3/4 oz. dry sherry
  • 3/4 oz. dry vermouth
  • dash curacao
Combine all ingredients in a shaker or mixing glass with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass while listening to piano music.

Victor


I am looking for cocktails that really do justice to Bluecoat's Barrel Aged Reserve gin. And while the Philly Flyer is an excellent drink to do with Bluecoat's London Dry style gin, you want to have less juice and richer spirits that play well with brown liquor in your Barrel Aged cocktail. Victor is one looked like it fit the bill. I made it with Courvoisier, which had the effect of making it extremely silky, but with two ounces of gin, there was plenty of flavor too.
  • 2 oz. gin (Bluecoat Barrel Aged used)
  • 1 oz. brandy (Courvoisier used)
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Racquet Club Cocktail

I just received Bluecoat's limited edition Barrel Finished Reserve gin and decided to make a cocktail that did it justice. No juice, no garnish:--just you and the gin. That's where barrel aged gin shows it's merits. You can taste the vanilla from the oak and lots of pepper, which goes well with vermouth.

I'm really liking the craft American gin revival with the pre-prohibition styles. Bluecoat's barrel aged version is not as malty as some, but works perfectly in a classic Martinez or (nix the sweet vermouth for) drinks like this one. A barrel aged gin is a luxury to have on a small bar. It occurred to me that there are products out there that are necessary--an easy-mixing blended whiskey, or a crisp dry gin for your tonic. Then there are real luxuries that come in small barrels. Bluecoat's Barrel Reserve is one of the latter. A perfect opportunity to take us back to lost gin styles and forgotten cocktails that called for them.

Here's the Racquet Club Cocktail recipe:
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 3/4 oz. dry vermouth
  • dash orange bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Apple Brandy Cocktail

Focus. It's hard to focus when you are serving drinks and trying to photograph--while enjoying one of your own. This one is mostly a twist on a Jack Rose and a pleasing drink for someone who is looking for fruity UP drinks.
  • 2 oz. apple brandy
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Brandied Maderia

I'm just going to keep "brandying" everything while I'm at it. This is another fortified wine from Cossart Gordon. Follow the recipe! Oh. But I was out of lemon twists at the time. Shame!
  • 1 1/2 oz. brandy
  • 1 1/2 oz. Madeira
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • lemon twist 
Combine all ingredients except lemon twist in a shaker with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Brandied Port

Apparently you can "brandy" anything, even other liquors. This one rocks with "the duct tape of cocktails" Luxardo.
  • 1 oz. brandy
  • 1 oz. port
  • 1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • orange slice
Combine all ingredients except orange slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Caipiroska

Yandee agrees that this is the bomb after a long night shift. Is there any such thing as too much vodka? That's the situation I am finding myself in right now, so I invited friends to help me drink it. This is an easy pleaser.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice (squeezed quarters of lime)
  • 2 tsp. fine grain sugar
Muddle lime and sugar in an Old Fashioned glass. Fill the glass with crushed ice and then add vodka.

Culross

Ok, so there's a village in Scotland with this drink's name and it's not a scotch drink. But more importantly there is an abbey in the village, so I'm thinking this one belongs to the "Monkish" category of Lillet and Dubonnet drinks along with the Abbey, Nightmare Abbey, Sanctuary, and Cloister (coming soon). Definitely do this one. A note on the garnish, I love how dried apricot tastes with apricot brandy cocktails, so if you have any Turkish apricots, garnish away.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1/2 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1/2 oz. Lillet blanc
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Gradeal Special

I've actually been wanting to make this drink for years but just never had the apricot brandy to do it with. While I might be setting myself up for disappointment, I found that this drink was just a nicely balanced party cocktail that tames the gin and apricot with white rum--flavor-wise, that means that there was space between the competing liquors so that you could appreciate them.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. apricot brandy
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Granville

This is a nice, light French cocktail that makes your dry gin taste a little wine-like. Not too pushy with its flavor, it will keep you from being lugubrious at a party.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 tsp. Grand Marnier
  • 1 tsp. Calvados
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Cabaret #2

I had thought there was only one Cabaret but it turns out that this sequel to the "Opera" drinks (with the Caruso, Calypso, and Maime Taylor to name a few) is pretty fine. I love how a little Benedictine goes a long way and makes for and interesting sipper.

  • 1 1/2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. Benedictine
  • several dashes Angostura bitters
  • Maraschino cherry
Combine all ingredients except cherry in a shaker and stir gently until chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Highland Fling #2

I've often considered this recipe to be a disaster waiting to happen. The idea of a sweet scotch drink with a Spanish olive sounds disgusting and I was steeling myself for what was to come when I ordered it. Luckily for me Eric Christiansen, the bartender at Irish Whiskey Public House on 19th Street, didn't bat an eye at this unusual order. He's obviously seen stranger things than olives in whiskey.

It also helped that Barrelhound is the most versatile scotch I've ever worked with. If you consider how it can melt away into the background like vodka--and I contest that it could be used in a Bloody Mary--then you can think of this drink as a lot like a Martinez. It's something of a vermouth cocktail and not really a sweet scotch drink. Then you can understand how this drink turned out well.

Barrelhound scotch is extremely forgiving for mixers, and that alone might make it a hit in the cocktail scene and with new home bartenders.

  • 2 oz. scotch
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 3-5 dashes orange bitters
  • Spanish Olive
Combine all ingredients except olive in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the olive.


Scotch Cobbler

This is a pretty rich drink as the name suggests, but it wasn't bad considering that it was a hot day and the drink was well chilled. It really helps to use Cointreau or white curacao to get the effect of light orange flavors that tame the liquor. The bartender at Bar Dupont suggested a fired orange peel to go with the orange liqueur in the drink.
  • 2 oz. scotch
  • 1/2 oz. honey
  • 1/2 oz. white curacao or Cointreau
  • mint sprig or singed orange peel (shown)
Combine all ingredients except mint and orange twist in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into an Old Fashioned glass with large ice cubes. Garnish with mint sprig, or squeeze orange peel over an open flame to singe the fruit oils and drop it in the glass.

Scotch Smash

This is a typical smash drink that's been strained in this photo to make it look a little classier. For this one I used Johnny Walker Red Label and it came out sweet and minty with very little bite from the peat. This is good because it became a perfect summer cocktail.
  • 2 oz. scotch
  • 6-8 mint leaves
  • 2 orange slices
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • dash orange bitters
Muddle mint, honey, and orange in an Old Fashioned glass. Add ice and scotch and stir. Top with dash of bitters. (Strain into an Old Fashioned glass with a large ice cube to make it look like the photo or enjoy it with all of the muddled mint and fruit.)

Scotch Sangaree

I had this one made with Barrelhound scotch at Bar Dupont in Dupont Circle. It is possible to add too much nutmeg, so don't go overboard. Otherwise this is the perfect light cocktail for summer scotch drinking.
  • 2 oz. scotch
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • sparkling water
  • lemon twist 
  • nutmeg
Combine scotch and honey in an old fashioned glass and stir until mixed. Add ice and sparkling water and stir gently. Garnish with lemon twist and nutmeg.

Highland Cooler

Shana Steele, bartender and events planner at Rebellion on 18th Street came up with this cocktail to turn her guests on to Barrelhound scotch. It turns out that it is the same recipe for a Highland Cooler, although she chose to serve it up in a coupe glass and use ginger beer. The original is served in a highball glass. But the drink was done in spirit and probably better after having been stirred and strained.
  • 2 oz. scotch
  • 2 oz. club soda
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
  • ginger ale
  • lemon twist
Combine all ingredients except ginger ale and lemon twist in a highball glass full of ice. Stir and top with ginger ale and lemon twist.