Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Glad Eyes

What a simple and weird drink. It's going for that crisp cooling effect that peppermint schnapps and Pernod are known to have. The flavor is instantly cooling in the mouth and in the body. Interestingly, this drink is nearly clear in the mixing glass, but as soon as you stir it with ice it becomes a cloudy yellow-green, which is a cool trick if you are making it for someone.

But I don't really recommend making it for anyone. Americans have a hard time with anise flavors and don't appreciate overwhelming mint flavors either. I thought it was a good way to use up my peppermint liqueur that I made two years ago. The stuff is a little harsh, but nothing stands up to two ounces of Pernod. It covers all.
  • 2 oz. Pernod
  • 1 oz. peppermint schnapps
Mix all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Baltimore Bracer

What's up with Baltimore that it gets so many egg drinks to its name? There's the Baltimore Bracer and the Baltimore Eggnog (one I'm looking forward to making this winter.) The Bracer is pretty simple and rewarding. Pernod goes great with cognac and egg white, it is a changeable liqueur that is thick but also light and easy to whip into a froth if there are proteins in the drink. It is a clear green shade but it becomes opaque and yellow when mixed with ice. This drink takes advantage of all of that and the anise flavor of Pernod to give you this classically French colonial style cocktail.
  • 1 1/2 oz. brandy (I recommend cognac like Remy Martin 1738)
  • 1 oz. Pernod or anisette 
  • 1 egg white
Shake all ingredients in a shaker without ice until frothy. Add ice and shake to cool. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  

Shanghai Cocktail (Revisited)

One of the reasons why I have returned to do this drink again is because I got a bottle of Pernod from my mother when she was in town. In the past, I've used absinthe when a recipe called for Pernod, keeping in mind that the flavor of absinthe is much harder to dilute and the liquor is much drier than Pernod. This means I've had to keep the portion a little smaller at times or add sugar syrup, but mostly I just avoided making Pernod drinks when the recipe called for a large portion of Pernod.

The other reason I'm re-doing the drink is I'm having fun with the Chinese-themed cocktails--how they are mostly exotically spiced dark rum drinks. This one is no exception. I went with a spiced rum with good vanilla and cinnamon presence and the Pernod actually gave the drink the needed sweetness. It has an air of incense to it, which I liked a lot, and though I used completely different ingredients the first time I made it, the flavor was instantly familiar.
  • 2 oz. dark rum
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. Pernod
  • 1/4 tsp. grenadine
Combine all ingredients with ice in a shaker. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Green Dragon

The Green Dragon seems to be associated with Chinese and Asian restaurants. This could be because of it's lovely jade color that perfectly matches the bottle Jagermeister. (What is it about drinks that match the liquor bottle color?) Also: It's a dragon cocktail. This means that it is linked with the Rocky Green Dragon and Golden Dragon--the latter is one I haven't tried because I lack the yellow Chartreuse. All of these dragon drinks are herbal cocktails that have almost overwhelming root and herb bitterness. If you can get past the creme de menthe flavor of the Green Dragon, there's plenty of citrus and spice in there to enjoy. I used the rye-forward Commonwealth Gin to reduce the likelihood of the juniper clashing with all the spice in Jagermeister.
  • 2 oz. gin (Commonwealth Gin used)
  • 1 oz. creme de menthe
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. Jagermeister
  • 3-5 dashes orange bitters (Hella orange bitters used)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cuban Special

This is one of those "special" drinks like the Knickerbocker Special that use a pineapple spear to accent the cocktail. I'm especially partial to the pineapple leaves as a top with a chunk of fresh fruit in the drink. Other than that, this is basically a Havana Cocktail with slightly different juices and proportions.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. triple sec
  • 1 tbsp. pineapple juice (pineapple nectar used)
  • pineapple spear
Combine all ingredients except pineapple spear in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with pineapple spear.

Jocose Julep

I've been interested in trying this drink with creme de menthe and bourbon as a more intense sort of Mint Julep. I used to think of it as a quick and dirty way of making a julep, but when you use fresh mint anyway, I was unsure of the point. I guess the thinking is that a Mint Julep has an odd color and presentation when its not served in a julep cup with crushed ice. It has mint bits and uneven brown coloring from sugar and water, so it is kind of unappetizing.

But the name itself implies that this drink is done as a joke, and it sort of is. Whether it is a joke on the drinker or the bartender is up to interpretation. I've never used a blender without ice. I've never used creme de menthe in addition to real mint, and I've never poured a warm mess from a blender over fresh ice. (I did all that and more for this drink--I strained out the mint bits so that the drink remains an attractive and brilliant green.) It makes you laugh when you taste it because you can tell what has been done. It's a Mint Julep with a cold mint snap and a wacky color.
  • 3 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. creme de menthe
  • 1 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 5 mint leaves
  • sparkling water
  • sprig of mint
Blend bourbon, creme de menthe, lime juice and mint leaves in a blender with no ice. Pour into a Collins glass full of ice and top with sparkling water. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Peach Blow Fizz

This is a cocktail that almost didn't happen. The recipe seemed unmakable and the drink itself sounded undrinkable. The problem was that it calls for one ounce of lemon juice and one ounce of half-and-half. This is a disaster waiting to happen! You can imagine the ball of curd that would form in the shaker when the lemon and cream mix and solidify. So I considered avoiding the drink altogether or substituting egg white for the cream. But I asked master mixologist Max Hill at 701 Restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue about how he would approach the drink.

"The thing is, most people would start adding the cheapest ingredients first," Max says. "You start with lemon juice, then, oh, a little cream and 'ahh!'" His advice to me was to make the drink without the cream first. Shake it and then add the cream and shake it again. He was right! It worked like a charm and there was a beautiful layer of creamy foam and fizz that floated to the top with a lovely strawberry and cream scent next to that huge peach slice.

I enhanced the peachiness of this drink with the addition of peach syrup that I made from peach nectar. I had a lot of peach nectar left over from the Georgia Peach, so I put it in a saucepan and cooked it down with sugar, just adding it to the pan and letting it dissolve while stirring it until it turned into a rich and thick sugary peach syrup. 
  • 3 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup (homemade peach syrup used)
  • 5 ripe strawberries (hulled and slice)
  • peach slice
  • club soda
Muddle strawberries and sugar (peach) syrup in a shaker until well mashed. Add gin and lemon juice with ice and shake until chilled. Add half-and-half and shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled highball glass. Top with soda and garnish with a peach slice.

Gin Aloha

The Gin Aloha is a triple sec-heavy version of the Hawaiian Cocktail, which is a gin, triple sec and pineapple juice drink. A full 1 1/2 oz. of triple sec means that much of the alcohol in the drink comes from what is typically a cheap, low proof liqueur on the bottom shelf in bars and stores. But using such a sugary spirit would ruin this drink, not to mention make it taste very bitter from the weak alcohol and artificial flavor.

That is why I recommend a quality triple sec like Cointreau, or in this case, Luxardo Triplum. It's twice as strong as cheap triple sec (80 proof), meaning it is about as strong as your gin. That makes this a 3 1/2 oz. 80-proof drink.

I used unsweetened pineapple juice squeezed from the fruit itself and a cinchona heavy orange bitters that tastes more tropical than a spice bitters for this Hawaiian cocktail.
  • 2 oz. gin (Bombay Sapphire used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. triple sec (Luxardo Triplum used)
  • 1/2 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice
  • dash orange bitters (homemade orange bitters used)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Hawaiian Orange Blossom

So there's the Orange Blossom, and then there's the Hawaiian Orange Blossom. It's a gin drink that has a little sourness and orange juice, but then adds pineapple juice. For this drink, I used fresh pineapple juice by pressing the fruit pulp with the muddler and straining it into the shaker. See the photo below.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled sour glass or wine goblet.


What's with the garnishes on this drink? The Pollyanna looks like a tropical drink, but it is really a sweet Martini with grenadine surrounded with tropical fruits. The interesting thing is that the scent of all those pineapple and orange slices really changes the drinking experience. The cocktail itself is pretty bitter, with gin and Antica Formula vermouth, so sipping next to sweet fruits balances things out. Why three of each piece of fruit? So you can bite one for every sip you take. And I really recommend it to readers: bite an orange slice and sip; bite a pineapple slice and sip again and see how the drink changes. You're no Pollyanna if you can make and consume this drink.
  • 3 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 tsp. grenadine
  • 3 orange slices
  • 3 pineapple slices
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass garnished with 6 pieces of fruit.


Chapala is a city in Jalisco, Mexico. It is also a nice cocktail to pair with Mexican food. (Check out the taco platter in the backgroung.) Orange juice changes it up from a standard Margarita. Using grenadine for sweetness instead of sugar syrup  also makes it more tropical. Ole!
  • 2 oz. gold tequila
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a highball glass. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Hotel Plaza Cocktail

Simple, elegant, rich: the Hotel Plaza Cocktail is a throwback to times when people really loved vermouth but wanted to drink something a little stronger than fortified wine. It is also one of those cocktails that rely on the quality of the ingredients to pass muster. I believe that one of the reasons why people dislike vermouth--and the diminution of vermouth from Martinis can be taken for evidence of this--is because we've grown accustomed to bad vermouth. This is the equivalent of some duffer in the '80s saying he doesn't like wine when the only wine he can get easily is cheap, sweet rose like Riunite d'Oro. But the truth is that quality vermouth has only very recently been available, so you can't blame today's Martini drinkers.

With Antica Formula for the sweet vermouth and Mancino dry vermouth, this drink was subtly spicy and very rounded. There's almost no juniper from the 1/3 part of gin. I get the feeling that it matters little what gin you use, but gin was the main white spirit of the time when this drink was popular, so there it is.
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1 oz. gin
  • maraschino cherry (Omit for simpler Plaza Cocktail)
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the cherry.

Long Island Iced Tea

I've made so many of these in my three years of bartending, and never have I added creme de menthe, nor have I bothered to photograph the drink and use it on my blog. That must be because it is a code drink for people who want to signal that they want to get drunk as painlessly and as covertly as possible.

Yes, you can add whiskey to your coke or coffee, but you can only get so much of it in the glass before it becomes obvious that the stuff in the glass is not just Pepsi. The Long Island Iced Tea has no tea in it, but the tea color from the cola is a crafty camouflage for all the alcohol--about two drinks worth--in the same glass that iced tea should be served.

For this drink, I'm providing my recipe and the NY Bartender's guide recipe. The reason for this is because most people expect the drink to be the recipe I follow at the bar rather than the older one represented in the book. I think, sometime, I will try the NYBG recipe at home to see how it compares.

My typical Long Island Iced Tea recipe:
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. tequila
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  •  lemon wedge
  • splash of cola
 The New York Bartender's Guide recipe:
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. white tequila
  • 1 oz. white rum 
  • 1/2 oz. white creme de menthe
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • lime wedge 
  • cola
Combine all juices, spirits, and sugar (or sugar syrup) in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass full of fresh ice. Fill (or just splash with) cola and garnish with fruit.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Hoffman House

Is this a Martini? According to my standards for the drink, I'd say yes. It is a gin drink with a smaller portion of dry vermouth and an olive, so it's a Martini in everything except in name. But there's the addition of orange biters that changes things slightly. You get a fruity and spicy bite that gin doesn't quite provide and seems at odds with olive brine.

A couple of things made this drink exceptional. One was the use of Bombay Sapphire gin, which is dry and has a lot of citrus botanicals. So it was bright. I used Mancino vermouth, which is complex while still dry. My homemade orange bitters make use of cinchona laden amari like Meletti and Picon Bierre, so it is less like a spice cabinet and more like bitter fruit zest. Then the Tipsy Olives, soaked in vermouth, are so richly flavored and sweet (not bitter or harsh like so many olives) you can taste it on the first sip, and you'll be swooning with the last swallow when you take down the olive and all of it's dry vermouth brine.

If you're tired of the regular dry Martini, try the Hoffman House for something different from the dirty and sweet variations of the drink.
  • 2 oz. gin (Bombay Sapphire used)
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth (Mancino used)
  • 3 dashes orange bitters
  • cocktail olive (Tipsy vermouth olives)
Combine all ingredients except olive in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with olive.  

Gin And It

If you are going to make a Gin And It, you need to make sure that the gin is good quality and your "It" is a flavorful vermouth. With only two ingredients, this almost isn't a mixed drink. There's potential for a bland and uninspired sipper if you use pedestrian spirits.

I chose the richly flavored Bluecoat Barrel Reserve gin for its oak character and botanical spice. A gin that is good enough on its own, like Bluecoat, is a very smart move for the Gin And It. Then there's Antica Formula Vermouth, which is like a sweet vermouth with bitters included.

Despite its simplicity, this cocktail was outstanding,  I can imagine this cocktail as a flagship barreled and top shelf offering in a classy bar. I'd pay $20 bucks for it, easily. Good ingredients made it one of the best I've tried.
  • 3 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a cocktail glass. 

Jamaica Mule

This is a deadly strong rum version of the Moscow Mule. The classic vodka version of the drink is downright mild by comparison. Rum: 151, dark, light and falernum make up 70 percent of the liquid in the glass. That's fine since ginger beer is pretty flavorful and rounds things out. But think of this cocktail as a Zombie version of the Moscow Mule.

I love that candied ginger is a recommended garnish. A pineapple spear is also suggested, but there's no pineapple in the drink and this is a Jamica Mule not a Hawaiian one.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. dark rum
  • 1 oz. 151-proof rum
  • 1 oz. falernum (Velvet Falernum used)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • ginger beer
  • candied ginger
  • pineapple spear
Combine rums, juice and falernum in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass full of fresh ice. Top with ginger beer and garnish with candied ginger and pineapple spear.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Gin Smash

The Gin Smash is probably the most simple of smashes, involving the muddling of only mint (the most common smash ingredient.) The Sadie Smash and the Scotch Smash have more going on. Mint makes the gin cocktail taste a lot like a Mint Julep and the preparation of it is pretty much the same.
  • 3 oz. gin
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 oz. sparkling water
  • 4 mint sprigs
  • lemon twist
In an Old Fashioned glass muddle mint leaves, sugar and sparkling water to release the mint aromas and dissolved the sugar. Add ice and gin and stir until ingredients are well mixed. Garnish with lemon twist.

Judge Junior

I'm doing a mini-series on "judge" drinks, which might be a subset of the "professions" cocktails that could include The Journalist and Fireman's Sour. I'm still not sure that this category of cocktails is even a thing as much as the Monkish drinks and Opera cocktails clearly are.

One thing that's unclear is that there is a Judge Junior and a Judgette, but no Judge cocktail. I've made this one before and knew it to be strong and great tasting. It's zippy and beautifully colored. There's nothing junior about these proportions:
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


The Judgette is a pretty serious cocktail, despite the cute name. It is not the feminine version of any cocktail, but stands alone. Peach brandy is the central flavor and dry vermouth and lime juice add a bitter and sour balance. It is like a drier Lugger or a peachier Darb.

I have had peach brandy before and it is slightly distinguishable from other fruit brandies. Some have more peach flavor than others. I don't have any peach brandy, however; so I made some like this: 2 parts apple brandy, 1 part cognac, 1 part American brandy, 1 part peach schnapps. I bottled this mixture and used it to make the Georgia Peach as well. I will probably continue to use use the recipe in the future rather than buy an expensive peach brandy when I have plenty of expensive cognacs and brandies.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 1/2 oz. peach brandy
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1/2 tsp. lime juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Georgia Peach

The Georgia Peach makes use of real fresh peaches in a boozy slushy. The recipe calls for peach preserves as well, though, and I know why. Peaches don't have enough sugar to balance the drink when you blend them with ice. Peach preserves are packaged in sugar.

I opted to use more real peach flavor to sweeten this drink by using peach nectar. This is just peach juice (about one ounce) but is sweet and not watery. I also recommend peeling the peach slices you use to blend the drink because they tend to be bitter.

This was a really nice smoothy drink with real peach flavor and a little aged brandy zip from peach brandy.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. peach brandy
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. peach preserves (1 oz. peach nectar used)
  • 1 2-oz. slice of peach pealed and diced
Combine all ingredients with ice in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a highball glass.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Port Antonio

I was looking for a rum drink that "puts hair on your chest." I found it with the Port Antonio. It came to my attention because the recipe calls for falernum, which I could make--and I think I will--but didn't have when I decided to mix the cocktail. I grabbed Velvet Falernum instead.

Falernum is a Barbados lime cordial used in making rum drinks a little more flavorful. It's made with a lot of lime zest, cloves, cinnamon, sugar--it's a tropical spice syrup! It comes in alcoholic varieties that use white rum to keep it shelf stable. Velvet Falernum is one of the alcoholic types, more of a liqueur than a cordial.

So the Port Antonio is a very Jamaican cocktail, and I made it with the country's most distinctive rums. Hamilton Pot Still rum is a gold rum with a lot of cane sugar flavors and a whiff of banana peel on the nose. Appleton Estate rum is an aged rum with a lot of oak and sugary character of its own. They play very well with Kahlua, which is also a rum based liqueur. Coffee is another of Jamaica's exports, so this drink has all the rum, lime and coffee of the tropical nation.
  • 1 oz. gold rum (Hamilton Pot Still used)
  • 1 oz. (Appleton Estate rum used)
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. Kahlua 
  • 1 tsp. falernum (Velvet Falernum used)
  • lime slice
Combine all ingredients except lime slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice in an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with lime slice.

Friday, September 9, 2016


I'm tempted to see a representation of Allied World War II countries in the recipe of this drink. But it's not there. British gin and German liqueur are more opponents in the context of that war. Italian vermouth could just as well make this cocktail the Central Powers of World War I, but then what about the gin?

I think that what is going on here is that many German liqueurs like kummel (with cumin flavor) and Jagermeister (with 56 root, herb and spice ingredients) are similar to gin in the they are flavored by botanicals. So they are allies in this way if nothing else.

I'm interested in doing this drink with kummel, which I have at work, but this is not the kind of drink you can foist on someone unsuspecting. I can think of only one guest who will go for it, and I need to do this drink at some point this year, so I decided to do the other option on the recipe: Jagermeister.

But I also didn't want to miss out on cumin flavor that the original recipe recommends. To get it I made a tea sachet of cumin and soaked the gin in it for a few minutes. The flavor came through immediately. The drink when made was very spicy and savory. It was unlike any other cocktail I've made except for maybe the peppery bite in a Bloody Mary. But there's no tomato and it is a rocks glass sipper. I'll do this cocktail again with kummel, but the cumin tea sachet solution is the next best thing, which is still really good.
  • 1 oz. gin (infused with cumin if using Jagermeister)
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • 3/4 tsp. kummel or Jagermeister
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an Old Fashioned glass with fresh ice. 

Silver Bullet

Another "silver" Jagermeister drink, the Silver Bullet is probably named because it is the mythologized weapon that can kill the werewolf. That is to say that this drink hits the spot.

That's really a matter of opinion, though. Not many people find Jagemeister's dark and root herb flavor appealing. This cocktail really plays up citrus notes in the gin, in this case it's Bombay Sapphire with its lemon zest botanicals. The cocktail is much brighter and a strongly flavored gin cuts through more with a smaller portion than the Silver Streak.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. Jagermeister
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Silver Streak

There's a few drinks involving Jagermeister that are associated by the word "silver." If you pour a shot of Jagermeister in a shot glass, the concentrated liquid looks gray. But when you dilute it with gin or water, it is clearly brown. I can't think that the name is therefore a comment on the color of the drink like it is with the Silver Fizz (Gin Fizz with egg white.) It seems more likely that someone mixing with Jagermeister wanted to commemorate the 1976 film Silver Streak, or give it the name of a high speed train or their own hotrod. Who knows.

One of the reasons that cocktails are awesome is that you take a strongly flavored and often expensive liqueur and spread it out with a base spirit like gin. When you use a more expensive gin like Commonwealth Gin, that defeats the purpose a little. But Commonwealth gin is really great with Jagermeister. It adds maltiness without covering it up with juniper. This way you can really appreciate the rootiness of Jagermeister and the German liqueur's herbs and spices flavor the gin, rather than the other way around.
  • 3 oz. gin
  • 1 1/2 oz. Jagermeister
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Green Devil

At last, the final drink in the series of Devil cocktails! The Green Devil is on par with the strength of the other "colored" Devils: The Blue Devil, Red Devil, Black Devil. It is not as strong as the infamous Little Devil, but beats the hell out of the Devil's Cocktail and Diablo in terms of strength.

When it comes to flavor characteristics, the port cocktails (Devil's and Diablo) and the Rum Martini-like Black Devil are more like colonial cocktails, made with pre-classical ingredients that were deemed really strong and somewhat sinister during their time. The Blue, Red and Green Devils have more modern and colorful ingredients that they take their name from. As a consequence, they have the associated flavors of these liqueurs. The Red is bitter from Campari, the Blue is citrus from Blue Curacao, and the Green is minty (oh, God is it minty) from creme de menthe.

The Green Devil is a robustly mint drink that isn't a bad as it sounds. It tastes like a mint Martini with a noticeably lime center. I actually liked it a little. There's something awesome about the cooling effect of the creme de menthe and looking at the creepy green color while it kicks your butt.

Creme de menthe and brightly colored cocktails became popular in the early 20th century when artificial coloring became available for liqueurs. Modern literature records this rise in the novels of the 1920s and 30s. A chapter of D. H. Lawrence's Women In Love is titled "Creme De Menthe," and shows London gentlemen drinking the spirit with prostitutes in a bar.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 2 oz. creme de menthe
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 


I am usually wary of creme de menthe drinks designed to make use of the color with no thought to the flavor of the cocktail, like the Greenback. A greenback is an antiquated term for American paper dollars, which used to be very green. Now only ones, fives, and twenties are green (and other colors as well) so the term is losing its relevence.

The Greenback cocktail runs the risk of becoming a Christmas cocktail with gin and creme de menthe making a minty and piney drink that reminds one of a Christmas tree. I countered this with the use of Commonwealth Gin, which is a less junipered American gin. The effect was that you experience the drink as a gin sour with a minty finish. The maltiness of Commonwealth Gin made it almost like having a whiskey drink like a mint julep, so it was actually very pleasant. There are, however, some horrid combinations of cheap gin and cheap creme de menthe that could go really wrong.
  • 2 oz. gin (Commonwealth Gin used)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. creme de menthe
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. 

Rum Swizzle (Revisited)

My idea of a swizzle involves lots and lots of stirring, no soda, and plenty of bitters--preferably made by a swizzle hawker with a stick of brush found on a beach in Barbados. This is more of a layman's swizzle that takes the name simply by having a swizzle stick. That doesn't mean it is a bad drink at all. The classic swizzle is a challenging cocktail to drink as well--it is tart, bitter, and very strong. You are better off drinking it down in a single draft and wincing through it. This is a much more approachable (touristy) swizzle.
  • 2 oz. dark rum
  • 1 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters (Hella Aromatic Bitters used)
  • sparkling water
Combine sugar, rum, juice and bitters in a Shaker with ice Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water. Serve with a swizzle stick.

**Alternative and more authentic preparation. Combine all ingredients except sparkling water in a highball glass full of ice. Stir with a swizzle stick until the ice is melted down by half. Top with ice again and stir until the glass freezes over. Serve with swizzle stick and a side of sparkling water to drink after you shoot down the entire cocktail.

Imperial Fizz

One is tempted to try to make a connection between the spirits used in the Imperial Fizz and the scope of 19th century empires. You can say that rum and whiskey were the spirits that colonized America, for instance. On the other hand, the word Imperial denotes a drink that is stronger than others, like Imperial IPA. It is a highly fortified drink and probably more suited to Biggie Size drinkers or, in the past, royalty.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey
  • 1 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • sparkling water
Combine all ingredients except sparkling water in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass full of ice. Top with sparkling water. (Lemon twist recommended).

Gin Fizz & Gin Cooler

There are a lot of similar gin cocktails out there since the beginning of the Fizz, Collins, and Fix assimilation of the late 19th century. These are two that are nearly identical. A Fizz is exactly what it sound like: drink with gin, lemon and soda. It is less potent than the Tom Collins, which has three ounces of gin and is designed to get you drunk quickly.

The Gin Fizz (left) is a nice refresher on a hot day. Made almost like the Tom Collins according to the recipe below.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • sparkling water
Combine gin, lemon juice and sugar in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water.

The Gin Cooler (right) is part of a more nebulous group of drinks (some that use mint and some that use sparkling water or juices) designed to chill the blood on hot days. Make it like this, without a shaker.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • sparkling water
  • lemon peel
Mix gin and sugar in the bottom of a Collins glass without ice until sugar dissolves. Add ice and top with sparkling water. Garnish with the lemon peel. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Bossa Nova

A nice tropical passion fruit smoothie, the Bossa Nova is one of the more unusual Galliano cocktails. My impression though is that passion fruit is very bitter and sour and needs more than Galliano--in its recent more bitter branding--to balance it out. Add about 1/2 oz. sugar syrup just to keep it on the sweet-ish side.
  • 2 oz. dark rum 
  • 1 1/2 oz. Galliano
  • 1 oz. apricot brandy
  • 4 oz. passion fruit juice (add 1/2 oz. simple syrup to sweeten)
Pour all ingredients in a blender with ice. Blend on low for 15 seconds. Pour into a highball glass.