Sunday, January 31, 2016


This is such a pretty sounding drink, and when I made Joulouville with the finest ingredients and fresh fruit, it was an extremely classy drink. I'm not sure the inventor of this (French?) classic intended it to be so grand, rather more like a sour version of a Martini, but I stick with my decision. I used only my best barrel aged gin, which I figured would go great with real oaky apple brandy. Carpano Antica vermouth is more bitter than sweet, but it fought the lemon tartness just like a bargain sweet vermouth should do while adding earthy complexity.

The whole drink was a swing between citrus tartness and earthy herbal flavors from the gin and vermouth. There was an apple barrel mellowness as well. I have to say that here is a cocktail that reminded me of the best of French liquors--oaked wine, calvados, bitter herbs and lemon in perfect balance. Bon appetit!
  • 2 oz. gin (Bluecoat Barrel Reserve used)
  • 1 oz. apple brandy (Catoctin Creek used)
  • 1 tbsp. sweet vermouth (Antica Formula used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Polynesian Sour

A pretty good sour as far as sour drinks go, but the Polynesian Sour has the added sweetness of guava nectar rather than plain sugar. This gives it an unmistakable tropical sweetness that, with light rum, means you have a very different drink than your typical Whiskey Sour. For guava nectar, I used Goya brand, which comes as sweetened nectar in cans. You don't have to reduce it from fruit juice. It is pink and thick and gives this drink an obviously pink color that is unique and natural. No fake grenadine here.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. guava nectar
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled sour glass. *Note on glassware: The original recipe according to the New York Bartender's Guide says to strain it into a cocktail (Martini) glass. That's not typical of most sours, and against the grain of how people are drinking them now. Sour drinkers really like their drinks on the rocks in a highball or Old Fashioned glass, which is how I have it pictured above. Polynesian Sour would do equally well in a wine goblet or sour glass, especially if you strained or blended it. But err on the side of making it the way you like rather than according to a formula that no one is happy with.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sherry Cobbler

You have to be in the right mood for this sherry drink. You want a rich sipper that is not too alcoholic and will last you a while? Go ahead. It's not great for multiple tipples in one night, and might be improved by the quality of sherry used. I do think it is worthwhile for a holiday occasion when it's cold outside and you are mingling in a large party. It won't make you too tipsy but it is attractive and sociable.

Cobblers are an old fashioned cocktail that make use of a wine spirit and sugar. I think of them as dessert cocktails like eggnog. Amontillado sherry is definitely good after dinner.
  • 4 oz. Amontillado sherry
  • 1/2 tsp. triple sec. 
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • lemon twist
  • pineapple spear
Add triple sec and sugar syrup to a wine goblet full of ice. Stir until the glass begins to frost over. Pour sherry over the ice and add lemon twist and pineapple spear garnishes.

Poop Deck Cocktail

Less of a pirate drink and more of a Royal Navy cocktail, the Poop Deck is reminiscent of old colonial wine based drinks. There's rich grape flavor and nuttiness from the American brandy and ruby port. The blackberry brandy doesn't register as much given how much fruity sweetness dominates the drink. I imagine George Washington tossing one of these back over his false teeth.
  • 2 oz. brandy (Catoctin Creek 1757 Reserve used)
  • 1 oz. ruby port
  • 1/2 oz. blackberry brandy
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Pisco Punch

I've seen many recipes for Pisco Punch. It's a San Francisco classic from the gold rush era. Historians like David Wondrich point out that gomme syrup with pineapple is an important ingredient. Other historical recipes point to cocaine as the secret ingredient, so it seems there's a lot of room for variations. I decided to make an instant version--not one that requires soaking the pineapple pieces, but not one so quick that you can just decorate with the pieces either. See what I did below.
  • 3 oz. pisco
  • 3-5 chunks of pineapple
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. pineapple syrup (from homemade recipe
  • pineapple spear or leaves
Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Muddle pineapple chunks until they are thoroughly squeezed into the pisco. Add ice and shake vigorously. Double strain, with a cocktail strainer and a mesh screen to catch large pineapple chunks, into a wine goblet full of fresh ice. Garnish with a pineapple spear or leaves.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Canadian and Campari

I like the alliteration of this drink's name, but I find that it is a little uninspired and not even as helpful of a reminder of its ingredients as, say, a Gin and Tonic. That's because dry vermouth and a lemon twist are essential ingredients. Beyond that, these two spirits seem made for each other. Campari, which is almost too bitter to enjoy on its own, is mellowed by soft whisky--Canadian whisky being some of the best brown liquors for mixing. I will probably make this for guests at the bar.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Canadian whisky
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • lemon twist
Combine all ingredients except lemon twist in a shaker or mixing glass with ice. Shake or stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

New Orleans Cocktail

This drink combines the best of New Orleans spirits in one fully packed, all liquor rocks drink. It is strong and demanding, the flavors constantly shifting between dry bourbon and bitters to citrus and orange peel, to anise and wormwood. I was really impressed with what would have probably been an overwhelming dose of Pernod (I used Absente Refined--which is stronger and more flavorful). The addition of an anisette seemed unnecessary, but I chose to use ouzo since it is basically a Greek anisette, not French or Italian. That didn't make it any less New Orleans in style, though, and I could taste the sweeter anise flavors in the background of the wormwoody Absente.

Peychaud's bitters is a New Orleans staple and I couldn't imagine why the recipe didn't call for them. You can see from the photo that I corrected that mistake.
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1/2 oz. Pernod (Absente Refined used)
  • dash angostura bitters (Peychaud's used for New Orleans effect)
  • dash anisette (Meltimi ouzo used)
  • dash orange bitters (home made bitters used)
  • 1/2 tsp. simple syrup 
  • lemon twist
Combine all liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and pour into an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.


This is a funny name for a bourbon drink. It does make for a nice long drink that is plenty strong to suit most bourbon drinkers. Despite the addition of a whole ounce of triple sec, the predominant flavors are bourbon and bitters. I used Basil Hayden's bourbon for its higher rye component that makes it drier and less sour than Maker's Mark.
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • several dashes Angostura bitters
  • club soda
Combine all ingredients except soda in a highball glass with ice. Stir until chilled and top with soda.

Sharkey Punch

Not so much a punch as an apple brandy rocks drink with rye and soda. I really do appreciate the craft distillery flavors of Catoctin Creek Roundstone rye and apple brandy together in the same drink. This was a pretty stiff drink and a great appetizer to get things started.
  • 2 oz. apple brandy
  • 1 oz. rye
  • 1/2 tsp. simple syrup
  • club soda
Build drink with apple brandy, rye and simple syrup in an Old Fashioned glass with ice. Stir gently until sugar is evenly mixed. Top with soda.


The Hurricane is typically associated with New Orleans and Mardi Gras season celebrations. I've heard that there are drive through bars where you can get Hurricanes made to go in paper cups. It's a different world down there.

Anyway, this is pretty much a tiki drink with the ever elusive passion fruit syrup. I used passion fruit puree from the restaurant I work at when I made this for a guest. A Hurricane glass is typically used, but we were doing tikis and this happy god looked appropriate for protection from natural disasters.
  • 1 1/2 oz. light rum
  • 1 1/2 oz. dark rum
  • 1 oz. passion fruit syrup (puree used)
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
Shake or blend all ingredients with plenty of ice and pour into a chilled Hurricane glass.

Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios is named after the touristy town in Jamaica, and is fittingly creamy like so many tropical drinks foisted on tourists. Blended like a creamy smoothie, there's really interesting fruit flavors that remind you that not all tropical drinks require pineapple juice.

Just a note, I intend to make falernum soon. It's an almond syrup that is flavored with lime zest and cloves. Since I have a nutty tasting tamarind syrup that has a citrus zip, I figured the substitution was easy enough. I may revisit this one once I make the falernum, but then again, there are plenty of falernum drinks out there to try.
  • 2 oz. dark rum
  • 1 oz. guava nectar (Goya used)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. falernum (tamarind syrup used)
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a champagne flute.

Knickerbocker Special

Not to be confused with the Knickerbocker Cocktail that resembles a dry Martini, this drink is far more tropical. I am finding out that it was a bit of a precursor to the tiki drink, as it appeared in the mid 19th century publication of the Savoy Cocktail Book. I wonder than if it refers to the Knickerbocker Theater in Washington D.C. If so it was a great choice to make with the current blizzard rolling over the district. The last storm this powerful was named after the Knickerbocker Theater that collapsed from the weight of the snow.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1/2 tsp. triple sec
  • 1 tsp. raspberry syrup (Chambord used)
  • 1 tsp. pineapple syrup (see recipe below)
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. orange juice
  • pineapple spear
Combine all ingredients except pineapple spear in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a pineapple spear.

I chose to use Chambord for the raspberry syrup because it is sweet, alcoholic and easy. For pineapple syrup, pineapple juice just won't do. You'll need a fresh pineapple cut in half like this so that you can make leafy spears for garnishes and use the base to cook down into syrup.

Core and peel the pineapple base and add all pieces (skin included) into a saucepan with 2 cups of boiling water. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes.

Strain the liquid into a small bowl using a mesh strainer. Press the fruit to release any juices. Discard the pulp. Add 1 cup of brown sugar to the liquid and whisk until it is a dissolved solution. Store in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.


Dinah was a popular woman's name in the 1940s, and this whiskey sour with mint would have been a popular, and similar to, ladies' night styled drinks. This however has the whiskey component much stronger than the sour lemon or sugar. Making it with blended whiskey ensures that there is less bite.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. simple syrup
  • mint sprig
 Combine all ingredients except mint sprig in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with mint. 

Ladies Cocktail

Somehow the ostentatious addition of the pineapple spear on a cocktail glass makes this a Ladies' drink. I'm not so sure that the unbalanced weight of so much fruit is a wise idea, but the drink itself is good and sufficiently manly.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey
  • 1 tsp. Pernod
  • 3-5 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • pineapple spear
Combine all ingredients except pineapple in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with pineapple spear.

Ward 8

The Ward 8 is a local derivative of a very sour whiskey sour. As far as I can tell it is related to Boston's Ward 8 beneral court, but D.C.'s Ward 8 seems to be more familiar to most east coasters now.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey
  • 1 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
  • 1 tsp. simple syrup
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a chilled wine goblet or sour glass.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pain Killer

This is a fairly anesthetizing tiki with three ounces of dark rum. It is really rich and thick and you won't notice how strong it is until it is too late. The garnishes specified are the orange slice and cherry, but feel free to throw anything on top of a tiki, that's where all the show belongs.
  • 3 oz. dark rum
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. cream of coconut
  • 2-3 dashes of nutmeg
  • orange slice 
  • maraschino cherry
Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a freakish tiki mug. Top with nutmeg, orange slice and cherry.

Waikiki Beachcomber

Guava juice is pretty incredible stuff. It is the heart of this tiki, which is really a pretty ordinary vodka and juice drink except for the fact that a lot of the juice is guava. It's not something people are very familiar with. The color is bright pink and the flavor is something like pulpy apple juice mixed with raspberries and melon. It's pretty unique.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. raspberry liqueur (Chambord used)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 5 oz. guava juice
Combine all ingredients except raspberry liqueur in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an intimidating tiki mug. Float liqueur on top. (Note: garnishes shown include lime slice, blackberry and mint leaf, but none are specified.)

Navy Grog

This punch was a pretty daunting task. Faced with the winter season and lack of store-bought ingredients, I went out of my way to make the tamarind syrup necessary to give the sweet, tacky flavor that holds the whole drink together. Without the tamarind syrup, this would be almost too limey to stand. That's what I love about tikis--they are tacky!--and they contain ingredients that most drinkers can't identify by themselves. Many times I've gone to the grocery store to buy fresh guava or tamarinds and the cashier has never seen anybody purchase these things before. By themselves, there's nothing special about the ingredients, but a good tiki brings them together in an instantly recognizable flavor profile and body that is unlike any other type of cocktail.
  • 1 oz. dark rum
  • 1 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. high proof rum (Bacardi 151 used)
  • 1/2 oz. guava juice
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. orgeat syrup (from homemade recipe)
  • 1 tbsp. tamarind syrup (homede recipe below)
  • lime slice
Combine all ingredients except lime slice in a blender. Blend until smooth and pour into an intimidating tiki mug. Garnish with the lime slice.

Here's a few quick steps for making the tamarind syrup!
Get a handful of tamarinds; about a quarter pound, a little goes a long way. They are fruits as well as beans, so they may be tricky to locate at the store. Shred the shells and roots away from the pod innards and seeds.

 Boil tamarinds in 1 1/2 cups of water for five minutes and allow to cool for a half hour.
Press the syrup through a strainer using a coffee filter and collect the dissolved fruit in a bowl. Try to squeeze the soft fruit dry, then discard the pulp. Add 1 cup of sugar and whisk until it is dissolved. Store in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.

Blue Hawaiian

The Blue Hawaiian is also one of those drinks that is too beautiful to cover up with an opaque mug. With no less than 2 oz. of blue curacao and the white color of cream of coconut, you get this awesome sky blue color. Cream of coconut makes anything taste good, like a dessert more than a cocktail. It has so much sugar in it that you crave the next sip. You do tend to fill up quickly, as this is a high calorie drink. But it's oh so good.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 2 oz. blue curacao
  • 2 oz. cream of coconut
  • 4 oz. pineapple juice
  • pineapple spear
  • maraschino cherry
 Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker or blender with ice. Shake or blend and pour into a chilled highball glass. Garnish with fruit.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Blue Devil

Not my favorite of the Devil drinks (that might be the Black or Little Devil) but a solid and interesting tasting drink. It's a gin Devil and perfect if you make it with Bombay Sapphire because the bottle goes so well with it. The color is more cobalt blue than the Blue Sapphire Martini and there's a more intense lime and curacao bitterness that goes great with Bombay Sapphire's lemon peel, iris root, and cubeb berry (tailed pepper) botanicals.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. maraschino liqueur
  • 1 tsp. blue curacao
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Blue Lagoon

I know I've made this one for the blog before. I'm so sure of it, and I can even find reference to it. Still, there was no picture. Without any evidence, who can be sure I made it at all?

This is an easy Hawaiian drink that is easy to make and will impress your friends with its blue color. The color is the reason I didn't use a tiki mug, and the pineapple juice gives you this nice blue froth on top when you shake it hard. So much fun and so easy, and it tastes like pineapple and bitter oranges. Nothing special, but don't tell your friends that.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. blue curacao 
  • several dashes triple sec
  • pineapple spear
  • maraschino cherry
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a highball glass and garnish with the fruit.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Canadian Dog's Nose

I get the feeling that this is not as much about the dog's nose as something that would overpower a dog's nose. It's a beer cocktail with whisky and I wanted to use Canadian varieties of both. It's not as refreshing as a Michelada, but it is much stronger. Unlike a Bloody Beer, it's not all salt and pepper sauce. Yes there's Tobasco, but there is also Canadian whisky sweetness somewhere in there. And the beer is bubbly and light, so it's not as thick as a Bloody Mary.

  • 2 oz. Canadian whisky
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Tobasco sauce
  • 4 oz. tomato juice
  • 6 oz. lager beer
  • salt and black pepper
Combine whisky, tomato juice, and sauces in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a beer glass. Add beer while stirring slowly. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top.

Whispers Of The Frost

I like the richness of the cream sherry in this cocktail. The tawny port I used was nutty, as was the bourbon, which went very well with the raisin flavors in the drink. So this was a big mouthful of dried fruits and nuts that was also appreciably strong as well. Perfect for a winter snowfall.
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. sherry
  • 1 oz. port
  • 1/2 tsp. simple syrup
  • lemon twist
Combine all ingredients except twist in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

Hawaiian Eye

Not all tropical drinks are rum-based. Here bourbon is the main ingredient, as is vodka and a plethora of other flavorful things. My cousin Rob gave me a set of tiki mugs just in time for plenty more tiki drinks. I was excited that this cocktail was the exact color of purple as this mug, which is appropriately named Big Al.

The Hawaiian Eye is a bit of an everything-including-the-kitchen-sink drink, which I think is the point of many tikis. Unlike the planter's punch, there's a lot going on in this cocktail and not much juice to mitigate the effects of alcohol--blending with cream gives the illusion that it is more dessert than cocktail. Don't be mistaken. There's enough in one recipe for two drinks. If you have both servings, don't say I didn't warn you.
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. coffee liqueur (homemade batch used)
  • 1/2 oz. Pernod
  • 2 oz. maraschino cherry juice (from cherry jar)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
  • pineapple spear
  • maraschino cherry
Combine all liquid ingredients with plenty of ice in a blender. Blend until smooth and pour into a tiki or highball glass. Garnish with pineapple spear and cherry.

Polo Dream

I was excited to try this drink that uses bourbon and orange juice. Fresh squeezed juice is less obtrusive than from concentrate. The standout ingredient was orgeat syrup, which combined well with the nuttiness of Evan Williams Bottled In Bond. There were great orange blossom notes from the orange blossom water used in the making of the orgeat syrup.
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. orgeat syrup
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnishes are not specified.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Gin Sour

I know that everybody is drinking Whiskey Sours now and that gin is kind of old hat. But the Gin Sour is really a splendid drink when you don't want to overthink things. It's just a sour, but with gin. You don't have to use the best gin, but a good dry one like Bombay Sapphire helps. You can have fun trying sweeter gins like Hayman's as well. The point is, this cocktail is just as nuanced as a whiskey drink.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. simple syrup
  • orange slice
  • maraschino cherry
Shake gin, juice and simple syrup on ice in a shaker. Strain into a sour glass or wine goblet and garnish with orange slice and cherry.

Polish Sidecar

So I assume that the word Polish in the title is an adjective not a verb, since all drink titles are capitalized. The inclusion of blackberries somehow makes anything Polish, as does plum brandy and sausage. But this drink uses blackberry brandy and lots of gin, which I'm sure some Polish people will enjoy. If nothing else, you can polish the glass before you make it.

I also recommend a tsp. of sugar to sweeten the drink. Unless you use a really cheap and sweet blackberry brandy, this will be way too sour.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. blackberry brandy
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • fresh blackberries
Combine all ingredients except berries in a shaker or blender with ice. Shake or blend and pour into a sour glass or wine goblet. Garnish with blackberries.

Little Devil

This little drink, that might be better named White Devil, is the most deadly of the Devil cocktails. It is a full 3 1/2 oz. of 80 proof liquor. Rum seems to be a common ingredient in Devil cocktails because of its potency and reputation for violence. Susan Cheever, in her book Drinking In America, says, "Rum was both a gift from God and an invitation to dance with the devil." Maybe the drink isn't the Little Devil of its namesake: drink more than one of these and you will become a minor imp.

The flavor is softer and sweeter than you'd expect. That much triple sec means that the lemon juice is balanced out and the gin less predominant. I don't know what this says about me, but I think this is my favorite Devil Cocktail.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 1/2 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 1/4 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Black Devil

I love the look of this cocktail. It's clear and creepy and totally sinister. The Black Devil is the first of the Devil cocktails that can actually get you drunk quickly, though the portions are somewhat diminished. It's stronger even than the Red Devil, which has an ounce of orange juice and is more wet and bitter. This imp is dry and the black olive does nothing for the flavor--it's all for the look. If you want to make it more interesting, use a kalamata olive for a drink that's a little more gourmet and a little less presentation.
  • 2 oz. white rum
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • black olive
Stir all ingredients except olive in a mixing glass with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the olive.


It makes sense that the white port version of the Devil's Cocktail would be named in Spanish. Port is a product of Portugal, except that mine was made in New York state. Like the Devil's Cocktail, this one is low in alcohol--about 17 percent. It is a great drink to have when you want to look like you are drinking Martinis, but you don't want to overimbibe.
  • 2 oz. white port
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon juice
  • lemon twist
Stir all ingredients except twist in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with lemon.

Devil's Cocktail

If this is the Devil's Cocktail, there's not much to fear from the Devil. It is a low proof drink made of port and dry vermouth. I think that it gets its name from the evil look of that much blood red port in a cocktail glass, like you'd expect to see bubbles of lost souls rising to the surface. Get this look from stirring rather than shaking, which would cloud the drink and overchill it. The Devil doesn't like things to be too cold.
  • 2 oz. ruby port
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
Stir all ingredients with ice in a mixing glass and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Sip while thinking sinfully.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Planter's Cocktail

Eventually punches became less fashionable. People didn't have time to sit around a punch bowl and ladle out cups to drink from. Single serving punches became common with all the floating fruit now used as garnishes. By modern times, they did away with the punch altogether and started making cocktails that gave you the alcohol in a stiff drink and no wait.
  • 2 oz. dark rum
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnishes optional. 

Pirate's Julep

Save this one for Talk Like A Pirate Day (September 19)! This is pretty much a mint julep with rum, but before you write it off as same-ole, same-ole, you should try it. Orgeat and triple sec make a big difference in the flavor. It is much more fruity than a bourbon julep and fitting for poolside drinking, whereas the other one is probably good for barbecues.

I love this photo, by the way. It makes me think of the land of El Dorado, where the streets run with gold rum. I think that's how the legend goes.
  •  3 oz. gold rum
  • 1 tsp. Curacao
  • 1 tsp. orgeat syrup
  • 10 mint leaves
  • fresh mint sprig
Muddle mint leaves in orgeat syrup in the bottom of a shaker. Add ice, rum and Curacao and shake. Pour into a julep glass if you have one, or a highball will do. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Fog Cutter Revisited

The Fog Cutter should really be done with a cream sherry, which I didn't have when I made it last. This time I also have my splendid orgeat syrup scented with orange blossom water. The difference is incredible. There's a lot of rum in this drink, but it is mixed down so you really notice the floral notes and even the warmth of the sherry before you say: "Arr. There's  rum in there' matey!" I enjoyed garnishing this drink with all the fruit I happened to have on hand.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. brandy (Cognac recommended)
  • 1 oz. gin
  • 1 tsp. sweet sherry
  • 1 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. orgeat syrup
Combine all ingredients except sherry in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a highball glass. Float tsp. sherry on top.


For a Spanish rocks sipper not unlike a scotch drink, the Polonaise is a sweet way to go. Sweet sherry and Catoctin Creek 1757 Virginia Brandy with its oakiness and wine flavors keep the flavors round and rich. For this recipe I made my own blackberry brandy by infusing muddled blackberries in a cup of brandy for two days. Then I strained them out and added a touch of sugar syrup. It's still a tart brandy with a rich red color. Not as sweet as storebought brandy made from real blackberries, but not as expensive either.
  • 2 oz. brandy
  • 1/2 oz. blackberry brandy (blackberry infused brandy used instead)
  • 1/2 oz. sherry (dry recommended but sweet cream used)
  • 3 dashes lemon juice
  • dash orange bitters
  • blackberry (optional)
Combine ingredients with ice in a shaker. Shake well and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass with fresh ice (large cubes recommended.)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Louisina Planter's Punch

This is my favorite of the Planter's Punch series of punches. Oddly there's no Southern Comfort in this punch, which is a New Orleans local spirit. It does do a very New Orleans cocktail tribute with bourbon, Pernod, Peychaud's bitters and cognac, which makes it taste a little like a Sazerac. Pernod in these small proportions just gives a tropical flavor that is hard to identify and passes as some strange bitter fruit or cherry juice. Guess what? It's wormwood flavor.

This punch recipe doesn't call for a pineapple spear or cherry, but when you've got it, flaunt it.
  • 2 oz. gold rum
  • 1 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. cognac
  • 1/4 tsp. Pernod
  • 5 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • club soda
  • lime slice
  • orange slice
Combine liquid ingredients except soda in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a highball glass or beer mug and top with club soda. Garnish with fruit.

Plantation Punch

Punches began as communal drinking experiences with participants doing their part to finish a large bowl of liquor, juice, wines and often spices. Soda and American individualism gave rise to single serving punches like Planter's Punch. The Planters/ Plantation punches make no apology for agrarian slavery that they ironically seem to romanticize. The rum and fruit are native to the southern United States and Caribbean islands where plantations and planters would have supplied ingredients to landlords. This cocktail is more Louisiana, than Caribbean with the inclusion of Southern Comfort.

You don't taste the rum as much as the Southern Comfort and the sweet wine notes of ruby port in the Plantation Punch. As far as garnishes go, there's less to worry about than with the Planter's Punch. This saves a little prep time but the drink itself is very rewarding and more flavorful than Planter's Punch. I think of it as a deluxe version that offers more "comfort" on a hot afternoon in Louisiana.
  • 2 oz. dark rum
  • 1 oz. Southern Comfort
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. ruby port
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • club soda
  • lemon slice
  • orange slice
Muddle brown sugar in a little club soda inside a shaker. Add rum, Southern Comfort, port and lemon juice and shake with ice. Pour into a highball glass or beer mug. Top with soda and stir gently. Garnish with fruit.

Planter's Punch

The Planter's Punch is all show. It requires a ton of fruit garnish, but little of this fruit is used in the cocktail itself. For this reason it is a complicated preparation for bars but a relatively simple drink--which means there's little benefit for the prep. It's pretty much a Rum Sour/ Rum Collins-like drink with a lot of fruit on top to convince drinkers that there's more to it than citrus juice, rum and soda.

  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 2 oz. dark rum
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. grenadine
  • 1 tsp. simple syrup
  • club soda
  • lime slice
  • orange slice
  • pineapple spear
  • maraschino cherry
Combine rums, juices, grenadine and simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass with fresh ice. Top with club soda and garnish with fruit.

Picon Biere

Another beer cocktail, and one that can only be done with the bitter orange liqueur Picon Biere. In a French cafe, you ask for the drink by naming the liqueur: "Un Picon Biere s'il vous plait." Picon Biere has a bitter, syrupy, and cola-like flavor with Algerian bitter orange notes. It was designed as a quick and easy way to change up the flavor and alcohol content of a cheap beer. You can see I used Labat Blue in the photo. Once the Picon is added, the beer gets darker and more bitter--so it's like insta craft beer. But the flavor is more orange and sweeter than an IPA, so think of it as a cocktail or liqueur augmentation.
  • 1 bottle of light lager beer
  • 1 oz. Picon Biere
Pour beer into a chilled pilsner glass. Pour Picon Biere into the beer and stir gently.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Mandy's Cure (Non Alcoholic)

This might be my first non-alcoholic drink on this site. It is certainly my first intentional one. At times I forget to add the rum or vodka when there's a lot of other ingredients involved. This time I was looking for something to do with leftover ingredients and I really wasn't feeling like drinking anymore. Mandy's cure is a pretty good way to get off the sauce. I don't know who Mandy is supposed to be, but you almost forget that there is no alcohol in this drink, it is so tart and fresh tasting.
  • 2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 2 oz. cranberry juice
  • lime slice
Combine all ingredients in a highball glass with ice. Garnish with the lime slice.


In Italian, Pompano means to "pump." There's also a Pompano beach in Florida. I wonder what goes on there, or if they enjoy these cocktails beside the ocean. Anyway, just another example of how fresh grapefruit juice and gin go together. This is like a Greyhound, only the bitters add a little dimension.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 2 oz grapefruit juice
  • several dashes orange bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Colonial Cocktail

There's some cocktails in the New York Bartender's Guide that I always swore I would never make. The Colonial Cocktail is one of these. The idea of an olive and grapefruit juice just didn't sit right with me. But I have to say that after my experience with the Highland Fling, which was pretty positive, I gave it a chance.

Lately I've learned that gin, grapefruit and maraschino liqueur are perfect together. The olive just grounds the flavor in earthiness. I still don't get the reason for the name, but in reading about early colonists, they often drank just about anything, including a spirit called cherry bounce, which may have been a gin with a flavor like this drink.
  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 tsp. maraschino liqueur (Luxardo used)
  • 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • olive (kalamata used)
Combine all ingredients except for olive in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the olive.

Trolley Cooler

Ever wanted to make a Sea Breeze with bourbon? A strong Sea Breeze? The Trolley Cocktail is basically that. The amount of bourbon in the drink means that you taste it throughout, despite the strength of the citrus juice. If you are missing summer, or bourbon, and want a tall drink to enjoy both, make this recipe.
  • 3 oz. bourbon
  • cranberry juice
  • grapefruit juice
Build drink in a chilled highball glass full of ice. Add bourbon and equal parts of both juices until full. Stir gently.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


This is a tiki that is similar to a Mai Tai, with citrus and orgeat, but also orange bitters. The pineapple spear really adds to the look of the drink. It makes me wish I had a grim-faced tiki mug to put it in.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. orgeat syrup
  • 5 dashes orange bitters
  • pineapple spear
Combine all ingredients except pineapple spear in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a chilled highball glass. Garnish with the pineapple spear.