Friday, July 29, 2016


It's a little mysterious, the name. Roselyn could be the name of the inventor of the drink, or a famous drinker of the drink. It might be, and it's a stretch, a corruption of the name of Romeo's unrequited love. I like to think that the cocktail refers to the high-rise community in Northern Virginia.

(Roselyn as seen from the Potomac is a towering skyline West of Washington D.C.)

If indeed this drink is a shout out to this part of Arlington county, then I picked the perfect gin. Commonwealth Gin is a Virginia original made in Richmond. Is an American gin in its style--very far from dry British gin. It has an odor (an this might not be a bad thing) of ethanol and a funky and almost nutty or malty flavor that's more common in Old Tom style gins. I don't want to call it citrus-forward, because it's not, and the juniper is really toned down as well. It has a thicker feel on the palate, and feels like it is stronger than its 40 percent ABV. It really stands out and would make a nice sipper on the rocks. 

I also took this opportunity to select Mancino vermouth for my new dry vermouth. Mancino secco is an Italian dry vermouth that packs a lot of flavor into a fortified wine. The manufacturer lists sage, marjoram, oregano as Italian herbs that are added, and citrus, lemongrass, and pimento and nutmeg are some of the detectable flavors. When you use this vermouth with a subtle spirit, expect to taste it. 

So the Roselyn is a good drink depending on your ingredients. I really noticed both the gin and vermouth and lemon zest. What you won't notice is the grenadine. The portion is so small that it only affects the color and sweetens a little. You are not going to taste pomegranate. 
  • 2 oz. gin (Commonwealth Gin used)
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth (Mancino secco used)
  • 1/2 tsp. grenadine
  •  lemon twist
Combine all ingredients except lemon twist in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. 

Pink Gin

I'm not sure this is a cocktail, just like I'm not sure having vodka shaken and strained into a cocktail glass makes it a cocktail. Either way, Pink Gin has more going for it than chilled booze. It has bitters!

Sloe gin is known as purple gin because of the addition of sloe berry liqueur. But Pink Gin comes from adding Angostura bitters. It is a beautiful color that comes from the proprietary blend of citrus zest, cinchona bark, (maybe angostura bark?) and a ton of secrecy that the FDA has not been able to penetrate.

The recipe asks only that you add as much bitters as you like to taste. A small amount will make the gin pink without changing the flavor much. I have several kinds of bitters, but for a pink color, I prefer Peychaud's bitters. The flavor they give is light and very dry. Not so much kitchen spice as other bitters. Angostura tends to add a brown color that Peychaud's doesn't have. Do as you wish: that seems to be the theme of this cocktail.
  • 2 oz. gin (dry preferred)
  • several dashes Angostura bitters to taste (Peychaud's recommended)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with cracked ice. Mix until chilled and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or Old Fashioned glass.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Slow Comfortable Screw

The Slow Comfortable Screw is from the family of increasingly humorously named cocktails based on the Screwdriver. The Screwdriver (vodka and orange juice) becomes a Slow Screw when sloe gin is added, and sexual innuendo is implied. Southern Comfort makes the drink even more "comfortable."

Take this recipe and add Galliano (the key ingredient in a Harvey Wallbanger) and you get the Slow Comfortable Screw Against A Wall (Not yet on my blog.) But here is the strong but approachable (and comfortable) beach classic.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. sloe gin
  • 1/2 oz. Southern Comfort
  •  orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass full of ice. 

Sloe Tequila

There are a few things that are strange about this cocktail. One is that there's sloe gin in it. Another is that there's tequila and sloe gin used together. Then, it is a slushy blended cocktail. Finally, cucumbers?

What I liked about the drink though was how well sloe gin and tequila have a bite to them. It is fruity and herbal. And somehow cucumber slices soak their mellowing and vegetable flavor into the slush to make for an interesting scent and a chilly slurp. And hey, it is a tequila drink that's not a Margarita spin off. Made this one just to prove that it can be done.
  • 2 oz. white tequila
  • 1 oz. sloe gin
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • cucumber slice
Combine tequila, sloe gin and lime juice in a blender with cracked ice. Blend on low until slushy and pour into an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with cucumber slice.

Gentle Ben

I was wondering before I made this cocktail, why it gets the kind moniker of Gentle Ben. Who is this? Why is the drink named after someone whom this adjective is applied. I found after drinking it, however, that the drink is very gentle to your senses, but delivers more than four ounces of liquor. It was gone very quickly and I felt like I could have another drink.

An hour later I was buzzed out of my mind off this one cocktail. When you see the proportions, you will know why, but the magic of orange juice makes it so you hardly notice the level of toxicity sneaking in behind it. Everyone needs a Gentle Ben from time to time.
  • 2 oz. white tequila
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. gin
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp. sloe gin
  • orange slice
Combine all ingredients except sloe gin and orange slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a highball glass. Float sloe gin on top and garnish with an orange slice.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Juicy Julep

Hot days sometimes call for refreshing non-alcoholic drinks. And sometimes you want to lay off the booze without looking like you need to lay off the booze. This one fits the bill. Anybody who sees the mint in this drink will assume you have some kind of Mojito. And mint and ginger ale give the cocktail an almost-alcoholic zing. Raspberry syrup is what makes it work, though, and it is responsible for the brilliant pink color. This non-alcoholic drink is perfect for using up all those tiki ingredients before they go bad.
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. raspberry syrup
  • 5 crushed mint leaves
  •  mint sprig
  • ginger ale
Combine juices, crushed min and raspberry syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a highball glass. Top with ginger ale and garnish with mint sprig.

St. Mark's Place Lemonade (Non-Alcoholic)

I guess I am becoming a blogger on all home-made drinks, not just alcoholic ones. This lemonade is very tart, with passion fruit syrup and lime juice and not a lot of sugar for balance. Of course make it to your liking, but that tartness is pretty key to the idea behind the St. Mark's Place Lemonade.
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. passion fruit syrup
  • orange slice
  • sparkling water
Combine all ingredients except sparkling water and orange slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass almost full of ice. Top with sparkling water. Garnish with orange slice.

Amaretto Sour

So this is the first bottle of Amaretto I've owned in my 20 plus years as a mixologist. I guess I was just waiting to build knowledge and live an an area where there's greater selection. Otherwise I would have bought an American knock-off without thinking. So this is the first Amaretto Sour I've made for the blog as well.

With only a sweet, cookie-like liqueur and lemon juice it was a little sugary and the flavors were very concentrated. But I didn't have to add sugar either, so the drink is simple and takes advantage of the sweetness of amaretto. Of course you have to try it--it's a classic!
  • 2 oz. amaretto (Lazzaroni used)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • orange slice
Combine all ingredients except orange in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a sour glass (poured into a rocks glass shown). Garnish with orange slice.

Port Wine Flip

An oldie but a goodie! Yes a port cocktail, especially a whole egg flip with nutmeg, is better suited for winter, or at least dessert, but I think it was excellent after a day of colonial-style cocktails. First, it was not overly heavy, as you might expect. There was a lot of interesting nutmeg and nutty flavors from the port, and of course it was deep and darkly fruity. Another bonus is that it was not too strong, so having it at the end of a series of drinks won't set you over the edge. This should be the first flip you try.
  • 2 oz. ruby port
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp. half-and-half
  • 1 whole egg
  • ground nutmeg
Combine port, sugar, half-and-half and egg (beaten) in a shaker. Shake until egg becomes foamy. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or sour glass. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Man O'War

You get the idea that British sailors needed this hefty lime boost in bourbon while sailing around in their 30-gun frigates known as man o'war. I was really reluctant to waste the flavor of bourbon with so much lime juice, which tends to wash out all richness with citric acid. I'm glad it was a hot day when I finally did make a Man O'War, because it was refreshing and juicy, but also woody and bitter, a fitting taste for this swashbuckling cocktail.
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz. lime juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


Sometimes a simple drink deserves a simple name. It doesn't take much to make a Palmer, just good rye, a squeeze of lemon and bitters. Angostura is the recommendation, I have Hella Bitters. Their aromatic bitters have more clove and root flavors, I'm not sure what kind. The result when mixed with Catoctin Creek 96-proof rye, is a spice cake bouquet cocktail that tantalizes the senses.
  • 2 oz. rye
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • dash Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Albermarle Fizz

So I am running out of gin, and it is only halfway through the summer! What am I to do? For this gin fizz drink, I was forced to chose my select bottle of Bombay Sapphire East, and I'm not sure the peppercorn and lemongrass infusion did justice to my homemade framboise and raspberry syrup. But then, it was complex--more so than if I had made the drink with a substandard gin.

Fresh raspberry and raspberry flavor is what this cocktail is all about. The recipe doesn't call for berry garnish, but it doesn't hurt.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. raspberry syrup
  • dash of framboise
  • club soda
Combine gin, lemon juice, framboise and syrup in a Collins glass full of ice. Top with soda. Garnish at will.

Sloppy Rudy's Cocktail

So there's pineapple juice, grenadine, and it's served up--where's the light rum? Nope, this is an all grape spirits drink. Port and brandy totally change the character of this drink, which uses the pineapple juice to create that lovely foam and grenadine to maintain the brilliant color of port beneath.

This is also a potent colonial style cocktail, in flavor and in ingredients. It has the taste of so many "Royal" drinks that invoked the king's territories from which the spirits and pineapple juice could be obtained. The finish was interesting, too. Nutty port and unfiltered brandy heat rose up in the back palette like some scotches are known to do. I can't tell you how pleasing this drink is, despite the name and the list of ingredients below.
  • 2 oz. brandy (Catoctin Creek 1757 Reserve used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. ruby port
  • 1/2 tsp. grenadine 
  • 1 1/2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 tsp. triple sec
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Pineapple Fizz

I'm sure this drink was a simple solution to a beachside bar's need to provide tropical rum drinks to patrons. The recipe is so basic, I felt it needed the addition of a pineapple spear and special pineapple syrup just to hold my interest. But if you have pineapple juice, soda and light rum, by all means, make this and enjoy it.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 3 oz. pineapple juice
  • soda
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup (pineapple syrup recommended)
  • Pineapple spear optional
 Combine juice, rum and sugar syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a Collins glass. Top with soda and garnish with pineapple spear.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pineapple Sparkler (Non-Alcoholic)

Going out with friends, but you can't drink. Get a Pineapple Sparkler and look like you are enjoying a lush tropical cocktail. This is easy to order up or make at home. If you have pineapple syrup at home, then it is even better.
  • 4 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. sugar syrup (pineapple syrup recommended)
  • sparkling water
  • lime slice
Build drink in a chilled Collins glass with juice, syrup and sparkling water in that order. Stir gently and garnish with lime slice.


Another drink from the Caribbean's Gulf of Mexico is the Pina. It combines two great flavors--gold tequila and pineapple. The recipe calls for honey as the sweetener, but I came up with a more tropical substitute that did not detract and probably enhanced the flavor. I made pineapple syrup from the shell and core of the pineapple I used in the Batida de Pina. By cooking the shell and core with 3/4 cup of brown sugar until it is soft, then smashing the shell with a potato ricer and straining the syrup from the pulp, I got a rich tropical tasting syrup. Try making pineapple syrup and adding it to your favorite cocktails, like the Old Fashioned or Margarita or Mojito instead of sugar. Remember to save the leaves of the pineapple to make pineapple spears.
  • 2 oz. gold tequila
  • 3 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp honey (pineapple syrup used)
  • lime slice (and pineapple spear if you have it.)
Combine all ingredients except fruit in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Collins glass. Garnish with fruit.

Mister Pip's St. Thomas Special

So the verdict is still out on whether Mister Pip was a real person. My guess is that he was a St. Thomas island inkeeper or bartender and had this recipe to his name. And I must say it is a really good drink to be associated with for perpetuity. There's a lot of colonial trappings in this drink. Dark rum, nutmeg, and tropical fruit, to name a few. Lyon rum really shines with the nutmeg dusting on top. I was very impressed with how well the flavors tied together to make one solid, if a little dessert-like, drink.
  • 2 oz. dark rum
  • orange juice to top
  • 1 tbsp. passion fruit syrup
  • ground nutmeg
Combine rum and syrup with ice in a mixing glass. Stir and strain into a Collins glass over ice (or crushed ice in a tiki). Fill with orange juice. Sprinkle nutmeg on top.

Passionate Daiquiri

Passion fruit syrup makes this daiquiri the exotic drink that it is. And out of all daiquiris I've made this summer, this was my favorite. It has that certain something that's hard to identify--good rum and fresh squeezed fruit juice. If you get your hands on a passion fruit or puree or juice, you must do this!

  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. passion fruit syrup
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


Borinquen may be the old Spanish name for Puerto Rico, but Plantation rum comes from other Caribbean isles. Passionfruit syrup makes this drink as exotic as it sounds. I used 2 oz. of passion fruit puree and 2 tablespoons of sugar to create the syrup--by bringing it to a quick boil and dissolving the sugar by stirring. This sweetened the passion fruit puree, as it was almost too tart to drink.

I don't have 151-proof rum, but I used Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Passion Fruit to further bolster the drink and solidify the passion fruit flavor. Here's how it works out.
  • 2 oz. light rum 
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. passion fruit syrup
  • 1 tsp. 151-proof rum (Parrot Bay Passion Fruit used)
Combine all ingredients with cracked ice in a blender. Blend at low for 10 seconds. Pour into a chilled Old Fashioned glass (or tiki!)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

New Orleans Buck

I'm not sure what make's this Buck "New Orleans." Maybe it is the addition of orange juice, since that is the only variation to the Rum Buck recipe: New Orleans drinks tend to be juicier and orange is an American and Southern flavor, for sure.

The recipe calls for light rum. I'm glad I chose Plantation 3 Stars. It has an interesting flavor of its own that stands apart from cheap white rums (that taste like alcohol and burning!) For all of it's 41.7% alcohol, Plantation has a lot of sugar cane character similar to cacha├ža.

There's no sugar added, so all in all, an easy drink to make.
  • 2 oz light rum
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • lime slice
  • ginger ale
Combine all ingredients except ginger ale and lime wedge in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass full of fresh ice. Top with ginger ale and garnish with lime slice.

Klondike Cooler

So the Yukon region of Canada has to have a drink featuring Canadian whisky. The higher quality, the better in my opinion. Some may scoff at my Black Velvet 8-year-old reserve, but it is quite tame and plenty smooth for a ginger ale drink.

As the name suggests, it is a cooler for hotter days--something handed down from the great white North. The preparation of this drink is a little counter-intuitive. There's no shaker needed.
  • 2 oz. Canadian whisky
  • 2 oz. club soda
  • ginger ale
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • long lemon peel
Combine ginger ale (about 1 ounce) and sugar in a highball glass and stir gently until sugar is dissolved. Add whiskey and ice and stir until chilled. Add more ice and top with soda. Garnish with long lemon peel.

Flying Dutchman

At first look, this drink appears like a halfhearted attempt to make a cocktail. It's really only two ingredients with strong herbal flavors thrown together. No twist, no bitters. Nothing. Then you try it and see that it is indeed harsh and potent (Pernod tops out at 80-proof, but most absinthe is as high as 110!

The thing is, that the Flying Dutchman is really a gin drink with hints of wormwood flavor. It's really like having augmented gin. And for that reason, I chose Bluecoat Barrel Reserve gin for it's sipability on ice. Like I tend to demonstrate again and again, the amount of Pernod the recipe calls for is small enough to get by with a substitution like real Absinthe. If it were a Pernod Flip, I would definitely reconsider. But Absente Refined was perfect. I found myself topping the ice off with more Absente Refined whenever the flavor got too diluted from my giant ice balls.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. Pernod
Combine ingredients in a rocks glass with ice and stir.


Sometimes I'm just in the mood for a liqueur cocktail--one that is very strong and complex, anyway! The Lollypop is no weak girl drink. The flavors, by themselves, are harsh and off-putting. There's the extreme herbal and citrus zest flavors of Chartreuse mated with the funky black cherry distillate (that's similar to mezcal) in the kirschwasser. Then bitter and sweet orange of triple sec and maraschino liqueur send this drink over the top.

What happens is remarkable: the flavors are so well balanced. No one overwhelms and you move from one pleasant experience to another with anticipation. My gut tells me that this is the doing of the triple sec. As a much derided liqueur, triple sec doesn't get the credit it is due for taming harsher flavors in drinks. No wonder it is present in Margaritas as well as drinks like the Chapel Hill and  Champ Elysees. Gin, bourbon and tequila have some funky edginess that triple sec manages to tame nicely.
  • 1 oz. green Chartreuse
  • 1 oz. kirschwasser
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 1 tsp. maraschino liqueur
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 


I've been waiting for the right conditions to make this cocktail. It couldn't be too hot outside; I had to be in a gin mood; and sometimes a new ingredient pushes me over the edge. For the latter part, it was Hella Bitters orange bitters. These are more spicy than my homemade orange bitters. They taste a lot more like clove and cinnamon--real holiday spice rack stuff. I still like them for this cocktail, but I'll use my bitters for more citrusy drinks.

Green Chartreuse really makes the Alaska what it is, and orange bitters ensures that the flavors come together. But the base of the drink is gin. My pick of Blue Coat Barrel Reserve gin seemed fitting. It is 47 percent alcohol, and Green Chartreuse is 55 percent. The effect of this drink is pretty staggering.
  • 2 oz. gin (Bluecoat Barrel Reserve used)
  • 1/2 oz. green Chartreuse
  • 3 dashes of orange bitters (Hella Bitters used)
  • lemon twist
Combine all ingredients except twist in a mixing glass with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the twist.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Fraise Fizz

I was really excited to discover this recipe just when I was wondering what to do with my strawberry liqueur and raspberry syrup. What a combination! Imagine a Collins with fresh summer flavors. It is a great time of year to preserve fresh fruit in alcohol and use it in cocktails.

For the strawberry liqueur, I simply made a cooked strawberry syrup and added alcohol. See my recipe for the Belmont Stakes for this. In fact, if you have strawberry syrup on hand at all, just add a little rum or vodka and you have something like liqueur fraise in no time at all.
  •  2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. strawberry liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • club soda
  • lemon twist
  • whole strawberry
Combine gin, lemon juice, sugar and strawberry liqueur in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Collins glass full of ice. Top with soda and stir. Garnish with lemon twist and whole strawberry.

Acapulco (NY Bartender's Guide version)

Who says you can't use egg whites in a tiki drink. This Acapulco version is a light rum and lime cocktail that demands a tiki mug. The egg makes for a frothy daiquiri mouthfeel.

Plantation 3 Stars rum is a blend of light rums from Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad. It is complex with grassy and sugarcane notes, not just alcoholic fire. By itself, or a little sugar dissolved in the glass, it is delightful for sipping on ice. I could see doing a clear Old Fashioned cocktail with 3 Stars, for sure.
  • 2 oz. light rum (Plantation 3 Stars used)
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • egg white
  • mint sprig
Combine all ingredients except mint in a shaker and shake without ice until the egg white is frothy. Add ice and shake again until chilled. Pour into a tiki mug or highball glass almost full of fresh ice. Garnish with mint sprig. 

Royal Matador

I'm kind of obsessed with pineapple shell drinks right now. For one thing, it is amazingly easy to core a pineapple and freeze the shell. Then just pull it out and fill it with a drink that will stay cold in an icy pineapple.

This time I was following the recipe and made a saw-toothed bowl deep enough for two drinks--perfect for sharing. The word "royal" in a drink name usually denotes the use of pineapple or Chambord or both. Anyway, I get the idea that anytime someone goes all out and makes a pineapple shell or spear cocktail. It's the royal treatment!
  • 4 oz. gold tequila
  • 1 1/2 oz. Framboise (homemade raspberry syrup + vodka used but Chambord is a good standard)
  • 1 tbsp amaretto
  • 2 oz. lime juice
  • fruit of one whole ripe pineapple
Cut off the top of a pineapple and save the top. Scoop out the pineapple, being careful not to damage the shell, and liquefy the chunks in the blender. Strain the pineapple juice from the pulp and put the juice back in the blender with remaining ingredients. Blend with ice until smooth and pour into the pineapple shell. Put the top back on and serve with two straws. (Garnish with whatever floats your boat.)

Fern Gully

The Fern Gully is a fanciful drink that seems to recall European romance of the tropics. Here Italian amaretto and rums from the Caribbean and American colonies are combined for an exotic experience. There is an immistakable nuttiness to the drink that comes from amaretto and coconut cream, that when put in a tiki mug like this one, evokes a shady place to rest and contemplate romantic notions. If you have amaretto, don't rule out going the tropical route with this ordinarily continental liqueur.
  • 2 oz. dark rum (Lyon Bijou Batch used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. light rum (Plantion 3 Stars used)
  • 1 oz. amaretto (Lazzeroni used) 
  • 1/2 oz. coconut cream
  • 1 oz. orange juice 
  • 1 oz. lime juice
Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice and blend until smooth. Pour into a grim-faced tiki and garnish at will, or just put it in a chilled wine goblet.

Batida de Pina

In Spanish, Batida means to beat or smash. So this drink is really a pineapple smash cocktail with rum. The recipe calls for fresh pineapple, not canned, and if you have fresh pineapple, you also have a shell. I carved out the top half of this pineapple to make a single serving cup; and the nice thing is that the fruit around the edges gains a rum sweetness and alcohol from holding the drink.
  • 3 oz. light rum
  • 2/3 cup fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • mint sprig
Blend all ingredients except mint sprig (and tiny umbrella) in a blender with ice until smooth. Pour into a highball glass (or pineapple shell). Garnish with the mint sprig.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Tutti Fruity

On the surface, Tutti Fruity is a tropical fruit drink with spice and exotic flavors. In fact, it is a very Italian drink with amaretto and maraschino cherry liqueur. I used Lazzaroni amaretto and Luxardo liqueur brands, so no domestic knock offs here.

But "tutti" in Italian (especially in orchestral direction) means to combine voices following a solo. That is what you have here, a combination of fruit, each doing a counterpoint to each others' melodies that we already know so well. There's summery peaches and winter pears and apples. There's cherry (and I dropped some of my wishniak soaked cherries into the blender to up the alcohol content and dark fruit flavors for bass effect), and there's apples for juiciness.

Peels are pureed and give the drink texture and flavor as well. Then there's the funky interplay between gin spice with Bombay Sapphire East in my recipe (with lemongrass and black pepper botanicals) and almond and maraschino liqueurs that are a little bittersweet. If you have a lot of fruit and the liquors on hand, this is a "must do!"
  • 2 oz. diced apples
  • 2 oz. diced pears
  • 2 oz. diced peaches
  • 3 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. amaretto
  • 1 oz. maraschino liqueur
  • 1 oz. pitted Michigan cherries (optional but recommended)
Combine all ingredients in a blender with 1 cup of cracked ice. Blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled highball glass. (Makes two servings.)

Alabama Slammer

I love the assonance in the name of this drink. Makes me want to call it Alabama "Slamma!'" It is strong and sweet too. Don't be fooled--it's no Negroni. What we have here is an all-liquour drink that is nutty and fruity. There's a hint of gin spice, too, from the sloe gin, but it is mostly cover over by sugar.

Lazzaroni Amaretto is an Italian amaretto from the town of Saronno, where they make cookies with the almond cordial flavor. The spirit is supposedly an infusion of these cookies in the spirit. Sounds like a "chicken and egg," situation when it comes to determining which was first.
  • 1 oz. Amaretto (Lazzaroni used)
  • 1 oz. Southern Comfort
  • 1/2 oz. sloe gin
  • squeeze of lemon wedge
Combine all ingredients in a rocks glass with ice. Stir gently and squeeze lemon wedge over the drink before dropping it in.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Matador (NY Bartender's Guide version)

This is the drink I think of when someone says a Bullfighter's cocktail. Something that refreshes but tastes like gold tequila. Sauza has a rooster on all of their bottles, my picture has this awesome Mexican chicken that my wife named Zia. Shaking this cocktail results in a nice foam without having to resort to egg white.
  • 2 oz. gold tequila
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 3 oz. pineapple juice
Shake all ingredients with ice in a shaker and strain into a chilled sour glass. 

Gringo Swizzle

I'm not sure that this drink really qualifies as a swizzle. It's really like a Mexican Singapore Sling. I was thrilled to be able to put a cute little umbrella on it, because gringos can't handle the sun.

I was also interested to try a drink that combines creme de cassis and tequila. And because it is a swizzle, I did my best to prepare it in the glass with a swizzle stick and not in a shaker.
  • 2 oz. silver tequila
  • 1/2 oz. creme de cassis
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • ginger ale
Combine liquor in a highball glass with plenty of ice. Stir rapidly until ice melts half-way down the glass and the liquor has risen to meet it. Add more ice and stir again until the outside of the glass is frosted. Add juices and stir slowly. Top with ginger ale. 


I've been waiting for summer peach season to do this drink. Delta refers to the mouth of the Mississippi and the state of Louisiana, where Southern Comfort is from. SoCo--as it's called in the bar scene is not bourbon, it's a peach brandy or liqueur made from a secret recipe. It's Americas proprietary spirit like Irish Mist is for Ireland or Yukon Jack is for Canada.

The Delta is a summery but very strong rocks drink. Lots of peach and lime aromas make it taste very fresh, but there's plenty of hooch in there. I could also see the drink being done frozen or as a tiki...hmmm.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey
  • 1/2 oz. Southern Comfort
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • orange slice
  • peach slice
Combine all ingredients except fruit slices in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with fruit.

Wishniak Gin & Tonic

The Wishniak G & T makes use of the wishniak I made for the Lady Finger in the previous entry. It is a way to up-class a G & T and give it some cherry flavor that's not too sweet. If you make the wishniak yourself, save a cherry for a garnish--it looks really impressive.
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin
  • 1 1/2 oz. wishniak
  • tonic water
  • lime slice
  • black cherry
Combine gin and wishniak in a highball glass with ice. Stir and top with tonic. Garnish with fruit.

Lady Finger

This is a kirsh drink that might be named after the thin tea cookies or it might be connected to those Chinese fireworks that go off in a chain explosion. Either way, this is not a very lady-like drink. It calls for wishniak, which is a Russian cordial made from cherry juice and vodka. It also was a flavor of Canada Dry a while back--sort of like a dark cherry ginger ale. I'm sure that this cocktail calls for the former ingredient, though.

So I set out to make an infusion to approximate wishniak. Like many eastern European spirits, it's the kind of thing that people do at home with their vodka anyway. I removed the pits and stems from a cup of Michigan cherries and soaked them in 100-proof vodka for two days. Then I added 1/2 cup tart cherry juice (store-bought and sweetened with apple juice). This gave the mix a juicy but rich cherry flavor. Along with kirsh, you really couldn't tell that the base of this cocktail was gin.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. kirschwasser
  • 1 1/2 oz. wishniak
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Friday, July 8, 2016


This is one of the best scotch sour type cocktails I've had. It's pretty new, having only been around for the last few years. Bartender Cole Burger at the Blue Duck Tavern tells me that it has been used as a test to see if a bartender knows what's going on. I obviously didn't know what was going on, but I know I've had this drink before, I just didn't know its name. The recipe that follows is an approximate of Sam Ross' original recipe.

The trick with this drink is to float the Islay single malt scotch on top to give the drink a peaty and nutty scent. 
  • 1 1/2 oz. blended scotch
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz. Islay single malt scotch 
  • lemon twist
Combine blended scotch, lemon juice and sugar syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into an Old Fashioned glass. Float Islay malt on top and garnish with a lemon twist. (Squeeze the zest of the twist on top and drop it in the drink.)

Thursday, July 7, 2016


I've always thought that the Kir was a bad idea looking for good wine to ruin. Adding sugary sweetness to a white wine could only result in a warm, overly sweet fiasco. But with G. E Massenez creme de cassis, you can transform a soft white wine into a dessert drink that's palatable like a ruby port with lots of real black currant flavor. I think I liked it more than the Kir Royale.

I still think its a good idea to reduce the amount of creme de cassis a little and use plenty of white wine. This will keep the drink from warming up too quickly. Even better, you might want to chill the creme de cassis, especially if you want to use the full portion of creme de cassis in the recipe.

For this one I used a nice sauvignon blanc that was a little sweet to begin with. I squeezed the twist over the wine, which imparted a really pleasant lemon oil that lasted through the entire drink.
  • 2 oz. creme de cassis
  • white wine
  • lemon twist
Combine creme de cassis and wine in a chilled wine glass. Twist lemon peel into drink and drop in.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Tom Collins

The original Collins is the gin fortified Tom Collins. This cocktail was known in the old days to be a very potent drink--though now it is regarded as gentle summer sipping. That is because it used to be part of a family of cocktails known as fizzes and flips. These drinks were served without ice and were intended to be drunk in one gulp: eggwhite, soda, lemon and all. This practice continued when egg white was ommited, ice was left in and the glass was filled to the top with soda. So people used to down a Tom Collins on command (when people at the bar ordered you one as a bit of a joke), and the three ounces of gin and all that soda made sure you were pretty tipsy.

Nowadays people seldom do the cherry and orange slice for garnishes, partly because it is a lemon juice drink and doesn't require orange or cherry in the cocktail itself. The Tom Collins has always been about simplicity and speedy drink making, so do what suits you according to your bar requirements and preferences.
  • 3 oz. gin
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. sugar syrup
  • club soda
  • maraschino cherry
  • orange slice
Combine gin, juice and sugar in a highball glass full of ice. Top with soda and stir. Garnish with fruit (lemon slice shown).

Rum Buck

Probably the most popular of the "Buck" series of drinks, the Rum Buck gets its name as a drink made at the Buck Club in London at the turn of the 20th century. For this cocktail, I chose dark rum, which incidentally is the same recipe as the Dark and Stormy except with ginger ale instead of ginger beer. I used Maryland's Lyon Dark Rum, and this rum is the 53% abv Sailor's Reserve batch that Lyon ages in ex-bourbon barrels. This makes the caramel rum taste more like whiskey and the high alcohol content keeps the drink tasting very dry and potent.
  • 2 oz. rum
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • ginger ale
  • lime slice
Combine rum and lime juice in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a highball glass and top with ice to fill. Top with ginger ale and stir. Garnish with lime slice. 

Whiskey Rickey

This is an all-American favorite for summer sipping. The original Rickey called for bourbon whiskey, but for ages, the most common whiskey in America was blended. Seagrams 7 Crown is a rich oaky blend at a good price--very hipster! Making the drink without sugar means that it is tart and very cooling on a hot day.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • club soda
  • lime slice
Combine juice and whiskey in a shaker full of ice. Shake and pour into a highball glass and add ice to fill. Top with soda and stir. Garnish with lime slice.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Port Wine Cocktail

Such a simple cocktail, you can see why the founding fathers enjoyed it so much. Port, a fortified wine that was popular at the American revolution, gets a little help from American brandy--Catoctin Creek 1757 Distiller's Reserve brandy made from Virginia grown grapes. The alcohol content is light in this drink, so have more than one.
  • 3 oz. port
  • 1 tsp. brandy
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass (or coupe).

Danish Gin Fizz

I love a gin fizz in the summer. I also love all things Danish. That includes Peter Heering's cherry liqueur. Additionally, this drink has more black cherry flavors from kirschwasser and a fresh cherry. When I try this one, I think of it as very similar to the Singapore Sling but with lime and kirsch.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. Cherry Heering
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. kirschwasser
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • club soda
  • lime slice 
  • maraschino cherry (Michigan used)
Combine all ingredients except soda and fruit in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a chilled highball glass. Top with soda and garnish with fruit.

Port Wine Cobbler

I'm finding that I enjoy most cobbler drinks as they are similar to punch. They are also very colonial-style cocktails with ingredients that were available to our forefathers who first came to America. In this way, cobblers impart a sort of fun sense of "period" cocktail when you are enjoying one. This cobbler is sweeter than most, but a nice alternative to a wine spritzer.

Notice that I used a Michigan cherry rather than maraschino. I felt that this also accompanied the colonial flavors of the drink.
  • 3 oz. port wine
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 oz. sparkling water
  • orange slice
  • maraschino cherry
Dissolve sugar in sparkling water in a wine goblet. Add port and crushed ice and stir gently. Garnish with fruit.


There's not enough grenadine in the recipe (thankfully) to really make this drink actually crimson. And port tends not to be a bright red. What you have here is an old-school tasting gin cocktail that I wasn't especially fond of. It was still a nice summer drink with plenty of fruit flavor and port sweetness. You see my hand adding the port as a float, however, port tends to sink into juice, so you are left with a big gob at the bottom of the glass.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. ruby port
  • 2 tsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
Combine all ingredients except port in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Float port on top.