Monday, August 31, 2015

Red Devil

There's a few "devil" drinks that I have made in the past and never documented. They are pretty harmless imps (black devil and little devil) that I think I should summon for my blog soon. This is probably the most unusual in that it doesn't include rum like the others. Here's how to make it.
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Savoy Corpse Reviver (Revisited)

Fernet Branca is like taking your medicine. You waffle between whether it soothes or makes you feel more ill. I don't recommend this drink unless you are really sick or hung over, but I was surprised at how much white creme de menthe makes the drink more palatable. It is my first experience with something like this, Fernet blending in in any shape or form. Fernet Branca is pretty minty itself, and creme de menthe occupies a lot of the bitter and unpleasant space that the Fernet usually takes up. I found that this drink improves dramatically when had with cookies.
  • 1 oz. Fernet Branca
  • 1 oz. brandy
  • 1 oz. creme de menthe
Combine all ingredients with ice in a shaker. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Hanky Panky

I really enjoyed this spicy cocktail that makes use of Fernet Branca as the bitters. Fernet Branca is a very bittier Italian aperitif with lots of rooty and minty flavors. It is almost too much to stand by itself, but as a few drops in an aged gin cocktail with its own bitter vermouth, it seems right at home. This is a pretty masochistic cocktail, and the first I've made since getting back from France.
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin (Bluecoat barrel aged reserve used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica used)
  • several dashes Fernet Branca
  • Orange peel twist
Combine all ingredients except twist in a shaker with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with twist.




Sunday, August 16, 2015

Bijou (Revisited)

I last made a Bijou (one of the "Opera" family of drinks) with Ransom gin. I felt it was missing something, and that was the vermouth. The first time I tried a Bijou was at Iron Gate in D.C. where they served it on tap made with Bols Genever and Dolin sweet vermouth. I have been trying to recreate the flavor ever since with little success.

This time I've done it! Blue Coat Barrel Reserve gin is aged like Ransom without the funkiness of their single malted barley (which I love in a Martinez but doesn't fit this drink.) Carpano Antica makes for a richer bitterness than my Martini & Rossi did. There really isn't a better pairing of these strong herbal spirits than a Bijou!

  • 1 1/2 oz. gin (Bluecoat Barrel Reserve used)
  • 1 oz. green Chartreuse
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica used)
  • lemon peel
  • Maraschino cherry
Combine all ingredients except fruit in a shaker with ice, but stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with fruit.

Pisco Sour

Man, there is really nothing like a Pisco Sour for something that tastes original. That's because pisco itself is only found in Peru (except Chilean knock-offs) and it is made with only fermented grape juice. So unlike brandy, cognac, grappa and marc, it is the only grape spirit that doesn't include peels and stems. It tastes so clean and spicy, but when mixed with egg white and citrus, it has a complex and lasting flavor that's good any time of the year.
  • 2 oz. pisco
  • 1/2 oz. lemon or lime juice (or a combo of both)
  • 1/2 oz. sugar syrup
  • 1/2 egg white
  • dash of Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients except bitters in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled sour glass (or pour into a highball glass). Top with bitters.

Campari-Soda

Like the Whiskey and Soda, but a little less strong and a lot more bitter, this is a good go-to drink at a bar with limited options. It also really calms your stomach and is a remedy for gas. Do as the Italians do and drink it following a heavy meal.
  • 2 oz. Campari
  • club soda
  • lime wedge (orange slice pictured)
Build drink with Campari in a highball or Old Fashioned glass full of ice.  Top with soda and stir. Garnish with fruit.

Apple Fizz

A nice drink for a hot summer day, Apple Fizz really tastes like apples and the alcohol presence is very muted but strong enough to feel rather than taste.
  • 2 oz. apple brandy
  • 4 oz. apple juice
  • 1/2 tsp. lime juice
  • club soda
  • lime slice
Build drink in a highball glass full of ice by adding juices and apple brandy. Top with club soda and stir. Add lime slice.

Italian Stallion

I've been wanting to make this drink for a long time, but required my own bottle of Campari to do it right. I selected Evan William's Single Barrel bourbon because of its spicy rye characteristics you won't find in Maker's Mark and Town Branch.

This turned out to be my most favorite Campari drink yet. The mellow bourbon notes with the extreme bitterness of Campari, plus the citrus and rich vermouth made this one taste like one of those $25 dollar barreled cocktails people are drinking in Georgetown lately. I mean this drink tasted so hand crafted and so perfectly balanced, it blew my mind that I could just throw it together at my home bar. I think that a lot of it was the quality of the bourbon and vermouth I chose, so I am including them in the recipe.
  • 2 oz. bourbon (Evan William's Single Barrel 2004)
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica)
  • dash Angostura bitters
  • lemon twist 
Combine all ingredients except lemon twist in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Americano (Revisited)

After opening my Carpano Antica and buying a bottle of Campari, I felt I needed to remake the Americano. It's just that certain drinks will be different when you use a bitter sweet vermouth with so much character. You get the sense that you are having the drink as it was originally recommended. I imagine that I will remake Negronis, Manhattans, Rob Roys and other vermouth dependent cocktails soon as well.

As for this drink, it is stronger than it looks with plenty of bitterness from Campari. But it is a soda drink and as so remains refreshing till the end.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Campari
  • 1 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
  • club soda
  • lemon peel

Vermouth Cocktail


I'm really enjoying fortified wines right now. Ports, sherries, vermouth--they are all a nice addition to the bar. But that said, it is important to store them correctly. All of these fortified wines will last for over a month if you keep them sealed and refrigerated. You should try to use them up in a few days if you don't refrigerate them. Experiments involving vacuum seals and nitrogen don't significantly preserve the flavor.

All of this is important if you buy an expensive vermouth or sherry. A poor quality vermouth kept in the fridge won't depreciate as much as a high quality vermouth you spent a lot of money on. And in that case, you don't want your money to go to waste when your Carpano Antica starts tasting like Gallo.

Make this cocktail to experience quality vermouth and use it up quickly after opening.
  • 1 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • several dashes of bitters
  • cherry
Combine all ingredients except cherry in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Genoa (Second Attempt)

With the proper ingredients and no mistakes, the Genoa is a solid and flavorful before-dinner drink. The flavors of liquorish, olive brine, juniper, and wine went very well together without any one taking over. That's because the amount of Sambuca was minimal compared to the rest of the ingredients. Watch out for this drink. All together it packs a huge alcoholic punch. I was like, "that bus is about to crash into my glass!"
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 1/2 oz. grappa
  • 1/2 oz. Sambuca
  • 1/2 tsp. dry vermouth
  • olive
Combine all ingredients except olive in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with olive

Golden Dream

I think I liked the Galliano-forward flavor of the Golden Dream over the Golden Cadillac. For one thing, I don't think that cream goes well with orange juice. I used a dash of coconut cream instead and it worked out fine without curdling. This drink reminds me of European Christmas cookies that are more bitter than sweet. Lots of vanilla, orange, and herbaceous flavors like anise.
  • 2 oz. Galliano
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 1 tsp. half-and-half (coconut cream used)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 
    Mix with ice in a shaker or blender. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass. 

    Golden Chain

    Galliano makes for a beautiful, bold color for this up drink. I really like how citrus blends with vanilla and anise here. Do this one if you have Galliano.
    • 1 oz. cognac
    • 1 Galliano
    • 1/2 oz. lime juice
    • dash yellow Chartreuse
    • lime slice
    Combine all ingredients except lime slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime slice.

    Monday, August 10, 2015

    Delmonico

    Carpano Antica Formula made for a very rich rendition of this cocktail named after Delmonico Steak in New York, which was a cocktail haven a century ago. It's basically a Perfect Martini with the addition of brandy, which makes it richer and more of a treat than a spicy dry drink. I was surprised how much I could taste both the grape flavor of the dry vermouth and bitter bite of the Antica vermouth.
    • 1 1/2 oz. gin
    • 1 oz. brandy
    • 1/2 dry vermouth
    • 1/2 sweet vermouth
    • 2 dashes angostura bitters
    • lemon twist
    Combine all ingredients except twist in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    Dixie Whiskey Cocktail

    I made this up drink for Meghan, who doesn't like up drinks as a rule. It turns out she didn't like it, but that was probably because it was very strong. That wasn't a problem for me, though. Dixie Whiskey Cocktail tastes like a liquor-only version of a Bourbon Smash, using Cointreau and creme de menthe as substitutes for real orange and mint.

    Town Branch is a Lexington Kentucky bourbon that is light and clean tasting. I use it in cocktails more than my Evan Williams Single Barrel and Calumet Farms, which are both very strong flavored bourbons. Sadly, when it is gone, I won't be able to get more of it in Virginia.
    • 2 oz. bourbon
    • 1/2 oz. Cointreau
    • 1/2 oz. white creme de menthe
    • 1/2 tsp. sugar syrup or to taste 
    • 1 dash bitters
    Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    Darb

    Darb is a drink I've been looking forward to trying for a long time. It's spicy and sweet with lots of wine and apricot brandy flavors. I don't know where it gets its name, but it is similar and yet better than most gin and apricot brandy cocktails. Very enjoyable.
    • 1 1/2 oz. gin
    • 1 oz. apricot brandy
    • 1 oz. dry vermouth
    • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
    Combine all ingredient with ice in a shaker. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

    Zanzibar

    I like that the most tropical thing about this drink is the relaxed recipe. You can use two ounces of dry vermouth, but use three if you feel like it. I mean, what difference does it make when you are having a dry gin drink in Tanzania? I really like how the cocktail has a lot of grape flavor from so much vermouth. It's like the lemon juice, gin and bitters are all additional flavoring for the wine in a very wine-heavy drink.
    • 2 or 3 ounces of dry vermouth
    • 1 oz. gin
    • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
    • 1 tsp. sugar syrup or to taste
    • several dashes of bitters (use a little or a lot. Or none at all. It's up to you. Whatever.)
    • lemon twist
    Combine all ingredients except lemon twist in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon.

    Invercauld Castle Cooler & Maime Taylor

    Two ginger ale and scotch drinks that are perfect on a hot day, the Invercauld Castle Cooler and Maime Taylor are fresh and light.
    Invercauld Castle Cooler
    • 1 1/2 oz. scotch
    • 1 oz. Benedictine
    • ginger ale

    Build drink in a highball glass full of ice and top with ginger ale.

    Maime Taylor
    • 3 oz. scotch
    • 1/2 oz. lime juice
    • ginger ale
    • lime slice
    Build drink in a highball glass full of ice and top with ginger ale. Garnish with a lime slice.


      

    Sunday, August 9, 2015

    Sidecar

    The Sidecar is a classic drink with many variations. This one I made on ice for a guest at McCormick & Schmick's. The original drink at Harry's New York Bar in London had no garnish and was served up.
    • 1 1/2 oz. brandy
    • 3/4 oz. curacao or triple sec (Cointreau used)
    • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
    Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain or pour into a snifter, stemless goblet, or cocktail glass. Orange slice optional.

    Liano

    Another Euro drink, the Liano reminds me of the Thundercats. It is a great golden color, too. This is a rich, after dinner drink.

    • 1 oz. cognac
    • 1/2 oz. Galliano
    • 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
    Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    Raffaello

    This was a very pleasing Italian liqueur drink that I was able to actually make according to the recipe, one that calls for pisco.

    Pisco is unaged brandy made in South American countries like Peru. This drink was a great combination of sharp pisco flavor and rich Galliano.

    • 1/2 oz. Pisco
    • 1/2 oz. Galliano
    • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
    • dash bitters
    • dash Grand Marnier
    Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 




    Friday, August 7, 2015

    Metropolitan, et al

    I like the name of this cocktail. It sounds like a forerunner of the Manhattan and suggests a certain modernity in the drinker. It also has a number of siblings that I intend to represent in a single post. I do this because the recipes are so similar that it makes no sense to treat them differently and because I don't want to drink that much brandy.

    Some of these differ only in name from each other and some require only a little more or less vermouth. I really enjoyed the Metropolitan with Carpano Antica and Courvoisier VS. Cognac tends to be so smooth that the Antica Formula has a way of keeping the drink interestingly bitter and sweet throughout.

    Since there are so many recipes below, I challenge anyone to do them with different vermouths and brandies to mark the different results.
    Metropolitan
    • 2 oz brandy
    • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
    • 1/2 tsp simple syrup
    • dash of bitters
    Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    Brandy Manhattan
    • 2 oz brandy
    • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
    • cherry
    • dash of bitters
    Combine all ingredients except cherry in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cherry.

    Brandy Vermouth Cocktail
    • 2 oz brandy
    • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
    • dash of bitters
    Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    Carrol Cocktail
    • 2 oz brandy
    • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
    • dash of bitters
    Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    Charles Cocktail
    • 2 oz brandy
    • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
    • 3-5 dashes of bitters
    Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

     Sink of Swim
    • 2 oz brandy
    • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
    • 3-5 dashes of bitters
    Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    Wednesday, August 5, 2015

    Leap Year Cocktail

    This is a rich pairing that comes along only once in a good while. In this one drink I combined several antique styled liquors. This is a perfect cocktail to use Bluecoat Barreled Reserve Gin and Carpano Antica vermouth. Both are spicy and rich and together they come closer to a Manhattan than a Martini. The addition of Grand Marnier and lemon juice makes for a richer and more citrus drink. It is interesting at every turn and addictive like The Last Word in that "nothing else tastes like this" way.
    • 2 oz. gin (Blue Coat Reserve used)
    • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (Antica Formula used)
    • 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
    • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
    Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake or stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    Applejack Manhattan



    So I said I was done with doing variations of Manhattans. One is enough; you don't need to do a Canadian and a brandy version, much less a pisco or tequila one. But I broke down when I got this bottle of Carpano Antica Formula vermouth. It is really bitter and rich. It should stand up to your funkier whiskeys and still be a key element. My guess is there is significant amounts of quinine in it and so it tastes like a rich red tonic.

    In that weird instance where you don't have whiskey but you happen to have Applejack, make this drink.
    • 2 oz. applejack
    • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
    • cherry
    Combine all ingredients except cherry in a shaker with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the cherry.

    Apple Brandy Highball

    So a highball is a glass, but like Martini, the glass can sometimes denote the drink. This doesn't fit my definition of a Martini (which excludes Apple Martinis) but you get the point. So this is a highball drink with Apple Brandy made by Applejack.
    • 2 oz. apple brandy
    • club soda
    • lemon twist
    Build the drink in a highball glass with ice. Top with soda and garnish with a lemon twist.