Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Ink Street

Sometimes it is hard to imagine what a cocktail will taste like until you make it and see what the inventor had in mind. That was the case with the Ink Street. There's so much citrus and no sweetness added with the addition of rye. It sounds gross, but really it is bitter and tart like a kid's sour gummy candy and the rye pops out in the finish as bitter and rough. So it is totally different from more balanced and whiskey forward cocktails that are popular. Don't try making this with a blended whiskey, you will taste nothing but juice if you do.
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 2 oz. rye
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Star Daisy

One is tempted to see this as a cross between a Daisy and a Star Cocktail. It does have apple brandy like the Star Cocktail, but there's not much to link it with the Daisy. Another thing not to be fooled by is the potency of this drink. It's not weak, despite the flowery name. It has at least three and a half ounces of liquor in it. It's also bright and citrusy with apple and orange flavors.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 1/2 oz. apple brandy
  • 1/2 tsp. triple sec
  • 1 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar syrup
Combine all ingredients in a shaker or blender with ice. Shake or blend until chilled. Pour into a wine goblet.

New York Sour

There's something kind of "holiday" about the New York Sour. It's the only sour with red wine, and it is rich and warming on cold nights. It is not a bourbon drink, so blended whiskey is required. I have my go-to Black Velvet Special Reserve for these occasions. Too bad it is hard to find on the East Coast.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey (Black Velvet Special Reserve used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
  • 1 tbsp. dry red wine
Combine all ingredients except wine in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a sour glass (lowball used) and top with red wine.

Genoa Vodka

This was way better than I expected. Grapefruit and orange flavors predominate with sweet and bitterness interplay. Plus it is refreshing as ever. So one trick I did for this one was fresh squeezed orange juice, which made it sweeter and more bright looking than that harsh store bought juice.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 3 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a highball glass. (Orange twist optional)

Three Miller Cocktail

I'm not sure what is up with the name of this drink. Three Miler sounds more appropriate for a drink because it is strong and sweet, maybe a pick-me-up after a walk. But three millers as a name for a drink that doesn't include grain alcohol seems misplaced. Still I've never seen such a brilliant red drink since I had that bottle of Dubonnet Rouge and the grenadine actually provided a terrific pomegranate flavor.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. brandy
  • 1/2 oz. grenadine
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  

Third Rail

There's a few drinks that are designed to have a powerful effect on the body, and this one is one of them. "Don't step on/ pee on a third rail," we're always told. That's where the power is channeled. This is a powerful drink with lots of aged oak brandy flavors to keep you interested. I loved that as strong as it was (all 40 proof alcohol, not juices) it was complex and balanced. I also like the moderate amount of absinthe that keeps it from being a brandy bomb.
  • 2 oz. apple brandy (Catoctin Creek used)
  • 2 oz. brandy
  • 1/2 oz. light rum
  • 1/4 tsp. Pernod
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

San Juan

A tiki-like hit at a party, the San Juan is a Puerto Rican daiquiri. This would be best prepared in a blender with not too much ice, as that tends to make the drink watery. And besides citrus, there's subtle brandy flavors.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1 tbsp. brandy (Catoctin Creek 1757 Virginia brandy used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. grapefruit 
  • 1 tbsp. coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
Combine all ingredients except brandy in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a wine goblet. Float brandy on top.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Rolls Royce

This is a "Luxury Car" cocktail series drink I have been planning to make since I got Antica Formula vermouth. It isn't luxury without good vermouth, after all. You can see the Golden Cadillac and I will soon make a Bentley. Like the Monte Carlo, it also uses Benedictine, but I wanted to feature Bada Bing cherries in this entry.

The Rolls Royce doesn't call for a cherry garnish, but Bada Bings aren't maraschino cherries. They are rich and plump bing cherries, a flavor that goes well with this herbal Martini variation. Bada Bing are organic with no artificial coloring, so if you have issues with maraschino cherries, these won't bother you.

The Rolls Royce recipe according to the NY bartender's guide is as follows:
  • 3 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1/4 oz. Benedictine
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Fin de Siecle

The name implies that it is the End of The World! But it's just another bitter orange cocktail with Amer Picon. I used Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, which made this drink rival the best Manhattans while using a sub-standard gin. In that sense it might just be the end of the world, or just a beginning.
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin
  • 3/4 oz. sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica used)
  • 1/4 oz. Amer Picon (Picon Biere used)
  • 1 dash orange bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 


Not as deadly as it sounds, the Guillotine is a sweet and herbaceous drink from the Benedictine marketing team. Most of their drinks are either creamy desserts or sours of a sort, and this is the latter. I've taken a few weeks off from my French liqueurs and it is nice to be using them again. Sometimes I get a taste for Benedictine that I can't ignore and I find myself going back to it often.
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. Benedictine
  • 1/2 tsp sugar syrup
 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


The name refers to the northern region of France, and an easy combination of London dry gin and French orange liqueur. The Brittany is fruity and bitter with a lot of orange zest flavor. It's a great before dinner drink. Here Picon Biere is used instead of Amer Picon which is impossible to find now. It is sweeter and less bitter. It's also less alcoholic, but it makes for a fine additive all the same.
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. Amer Picon (Picon Biere used)
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar syrup
  • orange twist
Combine all ingredients except orange twist in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the orange twist.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tequila Old Fashioned

Sauza has redesigned their bottles to emphasize the rooster in their coat of arms. I think it is an inspired label with a giant cock to look at while you drink tequila. Camilla, our chicken ornament, has made an appearance to add colorful fluff for the occasion. In case you are wondering, this is nothing like the Old Fashioned with whiskey. It is solidly a gold tequila drink with bitters and cherry, and there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, it goes with the mariachi music you can hear playing on the streets in Mexico, so ask for this next time you are south of the border.
  • 2 oz. gold tequila
  • several dashes Angostura bitters
  • cherry
  • table sugar
  • club soda
Combine a tablespoon of club soda, bitters, and sugar at the bottom of an Old Fashioned glass. Add ice and tequila and stir. Garnish with the cherry.

Blue Shark

This drink is squarely in the 90s era of tequila shots and shark-themed drinks consumed by cougars  with Ricky Martin's "La Veda Loca" playing in the background. It is also disturbingly similar to those blue gummy sharks that were popular with kids at the time. I was always grossed out by the flavor of those sharks, because the flavor was tequila. That is essentially what you get with this drink. It is all liquor and ice and it all tastes like tequila. Things get better once the ice begins to melt, and the vodka is actually a pleasing ingredient that prevents you from having a double of tequila with a few drops of blue curacao for color.
  • 2 oz. white tequila
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • several dashes blue curacao
 Build drink in a highball glass with ice. Stir until chilled.

Viva Villa

So what if you don't have triple sec at home. You might have one bottle of tequila on hand, preferably a white tequila, and a lime and some salt. You have the basic ingredients to make a Viva Villa!
  • 2 oz. white tequila
  • 2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. simple syrup
  • lime wedge
  • coarse salt
Using the lime wedge to dampen the edge of a highball glass, rim the glass with coarse salt. Combine tequila, lime juice and simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into the highball glass. 


The Bamboo, a recipe that Proof revived from 1890'€™s menu of the Grand Hotel in Yokohama, Japan. Sherry is one of the first wines brought to the U.S. and one of the earliest cocktail and punch ingredients. This drink is dry like a Martini, but lower in alcohol so you can have more than one. The photo is of a Bamboo from Poste! cocktail menu.
  • 2 oz. dry sherry
  • 1 1/2  oz. dry vermouth
  • dash of orange bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. (Orange peel garnish shown.)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Tequila Manhattan

So I've said that I wouldn't entertain remaking a Manhattan just to feature a different base liquor. But I've done it with Applejack to good effect and at times I've entertained using Jim Beam Red Stag or Black Velvet Toasted Caramel. These turn out to be very different drinks--not at all like a traditional Manhattan. So I got on board with gold tequila and Carpano Antica vermouth. One difference with this cocktail was the addition of an orange slice, which was in keeping with the style of the base liquor.
  • 3 oz. gold tequila
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 tsp. lime juice
  • dash of Angostura bitters
  • orange slice
  • maraschino cherry
Combine all ingredients except fruit in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the cherry and orange slice.

Tequila Cocktail

Much like the Rose and Jack Rose, not to mention the New York Cocktail a grenadine and lime juice cocktail looks good and tastes very tart. This disguises the tequila flavor, but I still could tell that it was gold and not silver tequila. I guess it is as good as any, if you have to have a standard drink representative of an entire liquor category. Then again, tequila has the Margarita and nothing is likely to altar that drinks popularity. Anyway, in case you get tired of your Margarita, here's the recipe:
  • 3 oz. gold tequila
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp. grenadine
  • several dashes of Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Kentucky Orange Blossom

Not really like an Orange Blossom made with bourbon, this drink has more bourbon flavors than sweetness or orange juice. It's just enough to make it more refreshing for sipping on a warm day.
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1/2 oz. Cointreau
  • 1 oz. orange juice (fresh squeezed)
  • lemon twist
Combine all ingredients except twist in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with the twist. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Miami Beach Cocktail

It's unseasonably warm in D.C. right now, so I am doing more and more drinks that have fall-ish ingredients but are good hot weather coolers. The Miami Beach Cocktail is a strange one, and close to a Brigadoon (the Scottish appellation of the drink: equal parts scotch, vermouth and grapefruit juice strained in a cocktail glass.) Depending on the scotch you use, and I recommend a lightly peated blend, you can adjust the richness of the drink.
  • 2 oz. scotch
  • 1 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 2 oz. grapefruit juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a highball glass (wine goblet shown.)


I've been having a lot of sherry and tequila/ mescal drinks lately at Mockingbird hill and I thought it was time to return to a drink I failed to make well more than a year ago. The Montezuma caught my eye because it sounds disgusting and I thought it might work out well with luck and fresh ingredients. It didn't. Egg yoke drinks require a blender; there's really no other way to do it and make something taste good. The result is a rich smoothie with grape notes, not unpleasant but not a before dinner drink by any stretch of the imagination.
  • 2 oz. gold tequila
  • 1 oz. Mediera 
  • 1 egg yolk
Combine all ingredients in a blender with cracked ice and blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass (Margarita glass shown).


So you can do a tequila and tonic drink just as easily as the gin variety, and it's not too different. Tonic is the dominant flavor here. I happen to like lemon with my tequila, so that also changed the flavor profile a bit.

  • 2 oz. white tequila
  • tonic water
  • lime slice
Build drink in a highball glass with ice. Stir gently and add lime slice (lemon slice optional substitute).


 The Tequini is basically a tequila Martini. It's not a bad idea for all that, and it is a nice stand in for gin, anyway. There's more wine flavor, and I do recommend using the large portion of vermouth.
  • 3 oz. white tequila
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • dash bitters
  • lemon twist
Combine all ingredients except twist in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Chilcano de Pisco

At first I thought that a ginger ale drink with pisco would be a waste of good single grape pisco, much like a ginger ale and single barrel bourbon drink wastes good whiskey. It turned out not to be true since I had good ingredients. Bruce Cost ginger ale is my go to ginger ale. It's sweet, unlike really spicy ginger beers, but it also has fresh ginger pieces and a fresh natural flavor. I was very surprised and pleased to enjoy a tall drink that was sufficiently strong and exotic tasting for a soda drink.
  • 2 oz. pisco
  • 6 oz. ginger ale
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
Build drink in a highball glass with lemon juice and pisco at the bottom. Add ice to the top and and fill with ginger ale. Stir gently and enjoy.

Monday, November 2, 2015


I have to say that this was enjoyable, and I knew it would be. I was just drinking Evan Williams Single Barrel on the rocks and loving it, but I have grown so accustomed to cocktails and the different ways you can bend flavors, I kept wondering if I could get the single barrel bourbon to bend a little more toward bitter and get it away from alcoholic spiciness. This did the trick.
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • dash of Pernod
  • lemon twist
Combine all ingredients except twist in a mixing glass with ice.  Stir and pour into an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Sweet and Sour Bourbon

I was looking to change up my usual Bourbon Sour for something more fruity today. This turned out to be a fine cocktail and would be even better if I could hand squeeze three ounces of orange juice. Sadly, I didn't have enough fruit for that, but that's something to consider for the next time I make this.
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 3 oz. orange juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar syrup
  • cherry
Combine all ingredients except cherry in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a highball glass. Top with cherry.

Loch Lomond

Sometimes I find it hard to sip a scotch neat anymore. I don't know what this says about me, except that I think a cocktail speeds ingestion and cools the body. Warm alcohol heats the blood, I guess. This one is like a nice dip in the pool, but it is equally fine and pairs well with figs, dark chocolate and Walker's shortbread cookies.
  • 1 1/2 oz. blended scotch (Barrelhound used)
  • 1/2 oz. sugar syrup
  • several dashes bitters
Combine sugar syrup and scotch in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Float bitters on the top of the drink.