Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Peach Margarita

More than a Margarita with peach schnapps, this variation on the classic has real peach syrup made from cooked down peach nectar. But this is a 90s recipe, so it is basically the familiar Margarita with Peachtree Schnapps. Nothing to get excited about--until you taste it.
  • 2 oz. silver tequila (Sauza blanco used)
  • 1/2 oz. peach liqueur
  • 1 tbsp. triple sec
  • 2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. peach syrup (optional)
  • coarse salt
  • peach slice
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with salt. Garnish with a peach slice. 

San Sebastian

The San Sebastian is pretty much a gin drink with juices. Triple sec means that no sugar is needed, which makes this cocktail pretty dry and fruity. You only get a half ounce of rum in the recipe, so make a statement. Use a flavorful rum like Buzzard Point or Plantation 3 Stars so that it stands out and lends a tropical air to what would be only a gin drink.
  • 2 oz. gin (Strange Monkey used)
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • 1/2 oz. light rum
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

San Juan

This blender drink has a lot of potential. You could make it with a flavorless white rum like Bacardi, and the coconut and brandy would carry the sweetness along. But when you have a lightly aged white rum like Buzzard Point, with a funky panela sugar base, you can enjoy the exotic taste of rum and grapefruit juice.

I fresh squeezed all the juice but used coconut puree rather than coconut milk. The flavor is sweeter and more intense. But it is still pretty natural seeming if you just use less coconut puree.
  • 2 oz. light rum (Buzzard Point used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1 tbsp. coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. brandy (Cognac please)
Combine all ingredients except brandy in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled wine glass. Float brandy on top. 

El Draque (Smuggler's Cove Recipe)

Cachaça is pretty new to the American cocktail scene. It wasn't there before prohibition, so the golden age cocktailists didn't use it. Its not in a classic book like The New York Bartenders Guide circa 1997. So I went to Martin Cate's book for a good cachaça recipe. 

This cocktail is much like the South Side, which is mint and lemon juice shaken with gin and double strained. El Draque is a tribute to Francis Drake's expedition to the Americas. The cocktail is a forerunner to the Mojito (AKA Old Cuban) with cachaça instead of unaged rum. 
  • 2 oz. cachaça (Avua used)
  • 3/4 oz. lime juice
  • 3/4 oz. demerara syrup
  • 5 mint leaves
  • lime slice
Combine all ingredients except lime slice in a shaker with ice. Shake to break up the mint and chill and double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lime slice speared with a cocktail pick. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Blended Comfort

So Southern Comfort is a peach liqueur, and peach is the dominant flavor of this SoCo inspired cocktail that resembles a Hurricane. It's good. Really good. Because bourbon--the actual base of the drink.

But since I had homemade peach syrup, it was fitting to use a sweetener that adds concentrated peach flavor, not just fake peach flavor found in Southern Comfort.

The result is a cool bourbon drink that tastes like summer. Here's the recipe.
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. Southern Comfort
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. bar sugar (1/2 oz. peach syrup used)
  • fresh peach slices
Combine all ingredients except peach slices in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled Collins glass. Garnish with peach slices.

Kamehameaha Punch (Non-Alcoholic)

This is probably the most work I've put into a non-alcoholic drink. Between all the juicing--and I actually juiced a pineapple--and making the blackberry syrup, I probably put an hour of work prepping for this one drink. No one said that making tiki cocktails was easy.

The blackberry syrup is a non-alcoholic substitute for the blackberry brandy in the Kamehameaha Rum Punch, an alcoholic tiki cocktail that I might want to do again now that I have tiki mugs.

Make it by boiling a cup of blackberries in a cup of water. Use a potato ricer to crush the berries into pulp and strain them out with a fine mesh. Return the remaining juice to the heat and dissolve 1/2 cup of sugar by stirring continuously until the solution reduces to a thick syrup.

Then you have the cocktail: here's the recipe.
  • 3 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. orgeat syrup
  • 2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. blackberry syrup
  • pineapple spear
Combine all ingredients except pineapple spear in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a grim-faced tiki mug. Garnish with pineapple and fruit. 

Peach Daiquiri

It's peach season and a perfect time to blend peaches into every drink, including a classic Daiquiri. I've used peach syrup to further augment this classic, to keep it tasting peachy when peaches themselves don't do the trick. I also used a stemless wine glass because it looks like a fruit when full of blended cocktail.

To make the peach syrup, heat 1/2 cup of peach nectar or juice in a saucepan and dissolve 1/4 cup of sugar in it while stirring. Here's the drink recipe.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. bar sugar (3/4 oz. peach syrup used)
  • 1/2 peach, pealed and diced
Combine all ingredients in a blender with cracked ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled wine goblet.

Nutty Cola (Non-Alcoholic)

I don't think that Coke gets enough credit for popularizing a tropical drink made from the kola nut in the U.S. Now that kola is no longer an ingredient in cola, it is more citrusy with lime, lemon and orange notes, despite the artificial brown color.

A Nutty Cola does the trick of reminding us that Coke is tropical. Add lime juice and the balance goes way too sour to stand, so orgeat or hazelnut syrup are needed to add sweetness and nutty flavor.

  • 2 oz. orgeat or hazlenut syrup
  • 2 oz. lime juice
  • cola
 Combine juice and syrup in a Collins glass with ice. Top with cola and stir. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Rum Martini

The standard Rum Martini with 3 oz. of dry light rum and 1/2 oz. dry vermouth is very much like a vodka Martini. If you want your Rum Martini to taste more like a gin Martini, use 1/2 oz. of Cotton & Reed Dry Spiced Rum. This rum has a lot of botanicals similar to those found in craft gins like orris root, angelica root, and fenugreek. It also has clove, cumin, ginger, peppercorn, and nutmeg--a lot like the ingredients in orange bitters that is also called for in the original recipe.

This is the first cocktail I've used Cotton & Reed Dry Spiced Rum for, mostly because it is so unusual that it doesn't fit in typical boat drink cocktails or tropical recipes you find in old bar books. Use it as an amaro, though to spice up a Manhattan or Martini, and you have the right idea.
  • 3 oz. unaged white rum
  • 1/2 oz. Cotton & Reed Dry Spiced Rum (optional)
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • dash orange bitters (Hella used)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Little Princess

This is basically a Sweet Rum Martini. It has all the Martini characteristics right down to the glassware. So the trick to this drink is using an interesting sweet vermouth like Cocchi di Torino and a boring rum like Bacardi Superior. It is basically a vermouth drink that is made stronger by the addition of twice as many measures of rum.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth (Cocchi di Torino used)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass full of ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Southern Bride

It's lightly pink and a bit like a dress turned upside down. The Southern Bride is lovely and tropical, another one of those southern gin cocktails, whether this is actually a thing or not.

It is like so many other grapefruit and maraschino liqueur cocktails like the previous post. Go with it when you don't have mint to make the Seventh Heaven.
  • 3 oz. gin (Strange Monkey used)
  • 2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1 tbsp. maraschino liqueur
 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Seventh Heaven

I've had this drink before only it wasn't a gin drink. It was a dark rum or rye drink, like the Blinker, but the flavor is familiar and tropical. Strange Monkey gin makes it even fruitier with the mint sprig there as a whiff of class.
  • 2 oz. gin (Strange Monkey used)
  • 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur
  • mint sprig
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a mint sprig. 

Kolsch God

This is an original cocktail idea I had when I got this can of Fairwinds Kolsch. Grapefruit juice and grapefruit vodka are great with the hoppy and crisp taste of Kolsch beer. Do it on ice, because you want it as cold as possible, and use fresh squeezed grapefruit juice.

The name comes from the DC entrepreneur, now incarcerated, who started a marijuana delivery business called Kush God. Check it out!   But definitely check out this recipe.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Absolut Ruby Red vodka
  • 2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • Kolsch beer
Combine grapefruit juice and grapefruit vodka in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a kolsch glass full of fresh ice. Top with beer. 

Peachy Melba (Non-Alcoholic)

It's peach season and I'm using fresh peaches and peach nectar to make the Peachy Melba. It's more tart than it looks and does not require additional sweetener, despite the listed ounce of grenadine. There's the feeling that it's a rich drink all the same and it would be better with a little sparkling water. That's a preview of what's to come in future posts.
  • 3 oz. peach nectar
  • 1 oz. grenadine (use just a dash or it will be too sweet)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. lime juice 
  • peach slice
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with the peach slice. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

James Bond Martini (AKA Vesper, AKA 007 Martini)

In a way this is a repeat post. I've already posted the Vesper with gin, vodka and Lillet blanc. This is the same drink with Tanqueray 10 gin and Ketel One vodka. I had this drink at The Gin Joint in Woodley Park. It is the downstairs bar of the New Heights Restaurant, which is totally devoted to the wondrous variety of gin out there now. They have as many as 150 gins at one time, and the selection rotates, it seems. 

This Vesper was made by bartender Ravi Kukadi, who has a deep love of gin. He changed the recipe a little to include Cocci sweet vermouth. I appreciated the change-up.

Lillet blanc is a sweet Bordeaux wine that is flavored with bitter green oranges from North Africa. It plays well with dry gins like Tanqueray and keeps the drink looking clear. Drinkers nowadays want more richness and flavor, and a sweet vermouth does that in spades if it is Italian. 
  • 2 oz. gin 
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. Lillet blanc
  • lemon twist
Combine all ingredients except lemon twist in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist lemon peel over the drink and drop it in. 

Cajun Martini

All things Cajun were a big hit back in the 80s and 90s. I can understand why. The spicy world cuisine had just become recognized for the amazing thing that it is. Cajun restaurants obviously wanted to create cocktails that represented their spicy theme.

Still, this recipe has a few oddball things going on. Pepper vodka like Absolut Pepar hare all heat, and not much flavor. It is not the flavor of Cajun food alone. It needs chili peppers as well as black pepper to get the style right.

This Martini variation tries and falls short with pickled jalapenos as the garnish. For the vodka, I made a whole peppercorn infused vodka. It was so hot that I proofed it down with 80-proof Aylesbury Duck vodka. It is just ok. The sliced pickled jalapenos give the drink enough vinegar and spice to keep it interesting until the end.
  • 3 oz. pepper flavored vodka (homemade pepper infusion used)
  • several dashes of dry vermouth
  • sliced pickled jalapeno
Combine vodka and vermouth in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the jalapeno slices.

Hep Cat

This Martini variation uses berry flavored vodka and dry vermouth. Other flavors include Cointreau and sweet vermouth.

For the berry vodka, I used my strawberry infused vodka that I made at home. Sole dry vermouth is refreshing enough to go with strawberry vodka. Triplum is a great (and strong triple sec) that is on par with Cointreau.
  • 3 oz. berry flavored vodka
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • dash sweet vermouth
  • dash Cointreau (Luxardo Triplum used)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Orange Oasis (Tiki Version)

There's something about the name and ingredients of the Orange Oasis that calls for a tiki mug. It doesn't require any changes in how the drink is prepared except for the form of the ice, which is obviously better when crushed.

Adding Cherry Heering to orange juice makes a brown swill. You don't really want to see that through the glass, and it doesn't fit with the Orange theme of the drink. It isn't orange, its brown!

So the Tiki Mug saves the day!

Use crushed ice to shake and a strainer with an open finish to pour the ice and liquid into the tiki mug. Top it with more crushed ice and you have a tropical escape in a glass.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. cherry brandy (Cherry Heering used)
  • 4 oz. orange juice
  • ginger ale
Combine juice, cherry brandy and gin in a cocktail shaker full of crushed ice. Shake and open pour into a tiki mug. Top with more ice and ginger ale. Garnish at will with orange slice or whatever is on hand. 

Orange Joey (Non-Alcoholic)

Who says you can't add cream and orange juice to a drink without making a curdled mess? The Orange Joey is a great non-alcoholic drink that holds up because it is blended. The effect is like a creamsicle, orange ice cream that you can sip through a straw. It's pretty awesome, really and great for drinking poolside.

The recipe calls for vanilla syrup, which is either simple syrup infused with vanilla beans or extract, or it is sold in bottles like those found in coffee shops. For mine, I used a honey syrup that I flavored with vanilla extract because I had been using honey syrup for rum drinks. Either way, use less than 2 ounces listed in the recipe. Too much sweetness is unhealthy as well as off-putting.  

Blend this drink in two stages to avoid curdling the cream. Do the syrup and orange first, then add the cream after the ice has mixed with the orange juice.
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 2 oz. vanilla syrup (1 oz. if you don't want a sugar high)
  • 2 oz. half-and-half
Combine syrup and orange juice in a blender with ice. Blend until combined, then add half-and-half and blend until smooth.

Orange Blossom

So I've done about every variation of this drink but the original one (The Kentucky Orange Blossom and the Hawaiian Orange Blossom) . The Orange Blossom is so simple, it is even more basic than the Bronx Cocktail by having no vermouth. It is just orange juice and gin shaken and served up. And sometimes simple is very nice.
  • 2 oz. gin (Sunset Hills used)
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • orange slice
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the orange slice. 

Orange Buck

We should recognize by now the origin of this cocktail series, The Buck. This is a gin, lime juice and ginger ale drink. Add orange juice and you have the Orange Buck. Here I went with Sunset Hills gin because of its softness and citrus notes.
  • 2 oz. gin (Sunset Hills used)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • ginger ale
  • lime wedge
Combine gin and juices in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a chilled Collins glass. Top with ginger ale and garnish with the lime wedge.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tradewinds (Glendalough Gin Version)

Gin is an unlikely ingredients in a Tiki cocktail. But the Smuggler's Cove recipe book recommends doing the Tradewinds with gin. Now this is a heavily sweetened and coconut puree cocktail. It hardly matters what the spirit is when the drink is so thick its unlikely that anyone can taste it.

Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin is a wonderfully bold gin with spice notes that really come through. There's heather flower and elderflower, pine shoots, and woodruff, daisies and rose petals, in addition to standard gin ingredients. This will be a deluxe gin for such special occasions as this one I made on Bloom's Day, 2017.
  • 2 oz. gin (Glendalough Wild Irish Botanical)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 oz. coconut cream
  • 1 oz. apricot liqueur
  • lemon wedge speared by a tiny umbrella (turned inside out)
Combine all ingredients except wedge garnish in a blender with ice. Blend briefly until ice is crushed and pour into a Collins or pilsner glass. Garnish with lemon wedge and umbrella.

Chartreuse Swizzle (Smuggler's Cove Recipe)

Let's face it. You love Chartreuse. You need at least 130 botanicals in your alpine spirit. To top it off you need falernum with all that spice and citrus just to make your drink.

Remember to used crushed ice and to put a napkin wrap on the glass. I can't understate how satisfying it is to drink from a frozen glass while holding it by a dry napkin.
  • 1 1/2 oz. green chartreuse
  • 3/4 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. falernum (homemade falernum used)
Combine all ingredients in a Collins glass wrapped with a napkin. Fill with crushed ice and stir with a Swizzle stick until half the ice melts and the liquid is cooled. Top with more crushed ice and stir again until the glass freezes over.

Prairie Oyster

This is the most awful drink I've ever made! Really! And I knew it would be. It must be a bit of a joke or perhaps a hangover cure.

The joke is that there are no oysters on the prairie. The substitution here is egg yolk. Why brandy is even an ingredients, I don't know. I can think of many other spirits that would go down better, but that doesn't seem like the point of this drink.

Take it all down in one gulp and that egg yolk slides down your throat. Then you get vinegar and Tabasco sauce burn. It's a sensation drink, and almost none of them are good.
  • 2 oz. brandy
  • 1/2 oz red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 oz. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. ketchup
  • dash Tabasco sauce
  • ground cayenne pepper
  • egg yolk
Combine all ingredients except egg yolk and cayenne pepper in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Float egg yolk on top and dust with cayenne pepper.

(Dark) Rum Screwdriver

You could do this drink in the way that the vodka cocktail was intended, an easy way to make orange juice alcoholic. But a dark rum Screwdriver means that you have the option to taste something great. Pusser's Navy Rum is probably the best choice because its funky flavor will stand out. I used a mix of Dark rum and 151-proof rum just so that I wouldn't be wasting as much of my good dark rum in an orange juice drink.
  • 2 oz. dark rum (Pusser's and Cruzan 151 used)
  • Orange Juice
Build drink in a Collins glass with rum and ice. Top with orange juice and stir. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Expedition (Smuggler's Cove Recipe)

This is one bold and richly flavored Tiki. It suggests an expedition that involves the Americas as well as the exotic east with its spices, honeys, rums and syrups. As an example of the care I took to make it, the bottles displayed in the background are all the liqueurs and syrups I made to pull this cocktail off.
  • 2 oz. black blended rum (homemade blend used, but Goslings Black Seal will work)
  • 1 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. cinnamon syrup (cinnamon added to demerera syrup)
  • 1/2 oz. honey syrup (honey and water mixture)
  • 1/2 oz. vanilla syrup (vanilla extract added to demerera syrup)
  • 1/4 oz. coffee liqueur (homemade coffee liqueur used)
  • 2 oz. club soda
Combine all ingredients in a blender and briefly blend. Pour into a tiki mug and top with more crushed ice. Garnish with flowers.

The Undead Gentleman (Smuggler's Cove Recipe)

Ever wonder what a Zombie would be like served up? That's the aim of the Undead Gentleman. This drink has all the complexity of a Zombie without the soda or crushed ice. It is unbelievably layered! For this I made cinnamon syrup, which was really just a matter of adding ground cinnamon to demerara syrup and straining it through a coffee filter. I also made my own black overproof rum with black strap molasses, 151 rum and white unaged rum.

Pampero Anejo rum is well aged and especially smooth. It is not one of those molasses-added dark rums. It is more sophisticated and suited for sipping, so it is fitting for a gentlemanly drink.

If it wasn't for all the work, I'd say this is a great drink to enjoy a Zombie cocktail at home. At a restaurant where all of these syrups and rums are available, it is a no-brainer...
  • 1 1/2 oz. blended aged rum (Pampero Anejo)
  • 1 oz. black overproof rum (homemade recipe used)
  • 1/2 oz. falernum
  • 1 dash absinthe (Absente Refined used)
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz. cinnamon syrup
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • intertwined grapefruit and lime twists
Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe. Garnish with intertwined twists.

Brandied Apricot

This is one cocktail I've been waiting all year for apricot season to make. It's actually good but a bit rich. I recommend cognac here because an American brandy can be too sweet and lack complexity. And I was right to wait. Don't bother with this drink without the fresh apricot as proof that you can own this drink.
  • 2 oz. brandy (Dusse VSOP used)
  • 1/2 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • fresh apricot slice
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the apricot slice. 

Captain's Grog (Smuggler's Cove Recipe)

This is another drink credited to Beachbum Berry's research to recover lost cocktails. There's a lot going on in the Captain's Grog. Interestingly there's vanilla extract and almond extract--not syrups or liqueurs--used in the recipe, which I think are intended to give off strong tropical notes without taking up space in the glass. Kind of like using the extracts as bitters.

I'm using Pampero dark aged rum as one of the rum ingredients in the cocktail. The reason you don't see black rums in my pictures is that I make them to order with blackstrap molasses, aged overproof rum and unaged white rum. I just throw this together when a drink calls for black rum because that is pretty much what black rum is.
  • 3/4 oz. black blended rum (home blend used)
  • 3/4 oz. blended lightly aged rum
  • 3/4 oz.blended aged rum
  • 1/2 oz. dry curacao
  • 1/2 oz. falernum
  • 1/2 oz.lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • maple syrup
  • 3 drops vanilla extract
  • 3 drops almond extract
  • 1 oz. club soda
  • mint sprig
Add all ingredients, except mint sprig, with ice into a blender. Blend briefly and pour into a chilled Double Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with mint.

Imperial Cocktail

When it comes to Martini-like cocktails that involve gin, dry vermouth, and maraschino liqueur, the expression Imperial is often used. This may be because Luxardo maraschino has the ability to add a different texture and a kind of bitterness that's a very appreciated change from a dry Martini.

Here's Strange Monkey Gin shines with all its strangeness. You notice it popping through the wine and bitter sweetness with its own fruit bouquet that is not unlike a stick of Juicy Fruit gum.
  • 2 oz. gin (Strange Monkey used)
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth (Trader Joe's) used
  • 1/2 tsp. maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Tradewinds (Smuggler's Cove Recipe)

This is a 1970s tiki cocktail that the famous mixologist Beachbum Berry adapted. It certainly is tropical with coconut cream and falernum. Apricot liqueur also makes the drink sweet and complex. You can put this in a tiki mug or a Collins glass, or substitute dry gin for the rum.
  • 1 oz. black blended rum
  • 1 oz. blended lightly aged rum
  • 1 oz. apricot liqueur
  • 1 1/2 oz. coconut cream
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • lemon wedge
Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice. Flash blend and pour into a Collins glass or tiki mug. Garnish with a lemon wedge speared by an umbrella that's turned inside out as if it was blown open by the wind.

Southside Cocktail

This is a Chicago cocktail that stands opposed to the city's less-popular Chicago Cocktail, a cognac drink. The name refers to Chicago's South Side. The drink and part of town are experiencing a revival.
  • 3 oz. gin (Strange Monkey used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. bar sugar
  • mint sprig
Combine all ingredients except mint sprig in a shaker with ice. Shake and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a mint sprig.
(Alternatively I like to throw a few mint leaves in the shaker and strain them out to get more mint flavor into the drink.)

Falinum (Smuggler's Cover Recipe)

There's a beautiful drink in a gorgeous tiki mug. Falinum is a made-up word, I'm thinking. Perhaps it is Falernum spoken with an accent. This cocktail is supposed to show off spicy falernum flavors of cloves, cinnamon, anise and allspice. The recipe calls for an aged, column still rum. Buzzard Point holds up well here--it's a panela sugar rum!
  • 2 oz. column still aged rum (Buzzard Point used)
  • 1 oz. coconut cream
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. falernum (hommade version used)
  • 1 dash orange bitters
Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice and flash blend. Pour into a grim-faced tiki mug and add more ice. Garnish at will with flowers. 

Southern Gin Cocktail

There's something to the idea that a gin cocktail in the South may be too dry for the warm weather. One should try the burst of orange flavor that you get from adding triple sec and orange bitters. I used Sunset Hills Virginia Small Batch gin to get a very soft American style gin that's more citrus and less bite. It plays right with the strong Triplum from Luxardo and allows orange bitters to stand out.
  • 3 oz. gin (Sunset Hills Virginia Small Batch)
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec (Luxardo used)
  • 3 dashes orange bitters (Hella used)
  • lemon twist
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist lemon peel over the drink and drop it in. 

Kaiteur Swizzle (Smuggler's Cove Recipe)

The Kaiteur Falls in Guyana are a Niagra-scale waterfall on the Caribbean island. The Swizzle may have some of its origins--at least its preparation--in the island itself. The important part of the recipe, however, is the use of Guyana rum like Pusser's. This is a small batch pot still rum with lots of character. It's further spiced by falernum and Angostura bitters.

It is key to a Swizzle to use crushed ice and to stir using a Swizzle stick or bar spoon. Keep up the stirring and adding ice until the glass freezes over.

Another important part of preparation is the napkin wrap. Open a beverage napkin and fold two opposite corners to make an obtuse isosceles triangle. Fold the top of the short side down to create a band. Wrap and tie this band around the glass.

You can see my napkin wrap has chickens on it. Not at all inappropriate when considering that this is a Guyana drink.
  • 2 oz. Pusser's Navy rum
  • 1/2 oz. Falernum
  • 1/2 oz. maple syrup
  • 3/4 oz. lime juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters 
Combine all ingredients with crushed ice in a Collins glass. Stir with a Swizzle stick and add more ice. Continue stirring until the outside of the glass frosts over. Garnish with a mint sprig. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hula Hula

As the name suggests, this is a tropical-themed drink. For some reason orange flavor is associated with Hawaii or the Pacific. More than likely this is a 1930s drink that used a commonly available fruit and triple sec to make a classic cocktail that tasted a little exotic.

Strange Monkey gin is pretty exotic too. There's a burst of fruit flavor behind the usual juniper gin flavor that reminds me of Juicy Fruit gum. I'm glad I picked this gin up!
  • 2 oz. gin (Strange Monkey used)
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. triple sec
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Vermouth Cocktail

Plenty tasty and low ABV means that this cocktail is enjoyable all evening. It looks like a Manhattan but is very sippable and even refreshingly herbal.

This is a swap of the traditional nationalities of vermouths here in this photo. I am using an Italian dry vermouth, which the French are better known for making. Conversely, I'm using a French sweet vermouth that usually is the specialty of Italian vintners.
  • 1 1/2 oz. dry vermouth 
  • 1 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
  • dash Angostura bitters 
  • maraschino cherry
Combine all liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry. 

Smiler Cocktail

I think of the "Smiler" as an insult used on people who don't have anything to say but stand around enjoying the comedy of life. Someone will call them out as a "ga'damn smiler." This is really a very old abasement, though. And I image this is an old drink.

It's bitter, it's sweet, and it really feels like a classic variation of a Martini created at a hotel trying to use available ingredients to do something unique. Try it, you'll be a smiler too.
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz. gin
  • 1/2 tsp orange juice
  • dash Angostura bitters
 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Russian Coffee

This is a blended cocktail that's for dessert. Apparently there was a time that people associated vodka and Russian people with sexiness and desserts--not at all kidding, either. Vodka became quite the dessert spirit in the 90s and this is one of the results. Coffee liqueur makes this drink like a White Russian smoothie.
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 2 oz. coffee liqueur (homemade coffee liqueur used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice. Blend until slushy and pour into a snifter or wine goblet.

Russian Rose

Another Russian cocktail. I might even want to re-name it the Russian Ros-e because of the pink color and the wine-like flavor.

Rather than buy strawberry vodka, I made an infusion with fresh strawberries. These berries turned white and leached their color into the vodka. They also absorbed vodka and became potent snacks.

This is the first drink I'm experimenting with Trader Joe's dry vermouth. It lacks character, but that's ok for these purposes. I'm finding that you can skimp on your dry vermouths, but for sweet vermouth, get Italian or good French ones.
  • 3 oz. strawberry infused vodka
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • dash grenadine
  • dash orange bitters (Hella used)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Sexy Devil

I found one more Devil series cocktail to include on my blog. I would say that besides the name, the Sexy Devil also has a unique color and the presence of grain neutral spirit that link it with most of these other Satanic beverages.

One thing that makes this version different from the 90s version of the recipe I followed is the development of juicy vodkas. I couldn't find a cranberry vodka on the market, and I wasn't about to make one. Then I saw that Smirnoff makes the Sourced vodka, a vodka plus juice.

Something about this really works for me. Cranberry and apple juice at 60 proof is just what this drink calls for. That and fresh fruit.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. cranberry flavored vodka (Smirnoff Source cranberry apple used)
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • fresh strawberry
  • lemon twist
Combine all liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with strawberry and twist of lemon. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Russian Quaalude

Quaaludes or "ludes" were muscle relaxant drugs used in the 60s and 70s in dance clubs. They helped many people trip out to lights and sounds at glam rock shows. This is a similarly dated drink, as the name suggests. The idea is that a lot of vodka and Irish cream liquor and hazlenut liqueur will mess with your head and totally relax you.

This cocktail totally belongs in the category of Dark Ages cocktails of the 70s when a panty dropper like this, easy to drink and very addictive, was intended to compete with hard drugs of the time. It still has its appeal. I'm happy to report it isn't as filling as a half-and-half drink or a flip. It really is strong, and that's the point.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. frangelico
  • 1 oz. Irish Cream liqueur
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. 

Mother's Milk (Non-Alcoholic)

A nice nightcap for the non-drinker. Can't sleep, this works as well as warm milk for insomnia. I think because it is soothing, not because it has any sedative effect, Mother's Milk comes across as a comforting and familiar flavor.

I had trouble with getting the honey to dissolve in cold milk. Try heating the honey in the microwave for ten seconds just to help it move when you add it to the mixture. Alternatively, I like to have honey syrup around that I can just drop into drinks. Make this by taking honey and equal parts hot water and combining in a container with a lid and shaking. You'll have to use more of the syrup, but it pays off as a time-saver when you have lots of honey drinks to make.

Here's the recipe.
  • 4 oz. milk
  • 1/2 oz. honey (1 oz. honey syrup)
  • 1/4 oz. vanilla extract
  • grated nutmeg
Combine all ingredients except nutmeg in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Sprinkle nutmeg on top. 

Sun Tea (Non-Alcoholic)

Sun tea is made with loose leaf black tea (works better than green tea, which gets bitter as it steeps). You put a sealed jug of tea leaves and water in the sun for a few hours and you have a nice tea that's good for icing.

And it's not even necessary to get loose leaf tea, except that the quality is usually better and it is easier to strain out whole leaves. So make it with your favorite bag tea if you like--just be aware that not all bag tea makes good iced tea.

I got Tazo berry trifle because the dried fruit would add something interesting to the iced tea and would certainly hold up well in a slow steep.

Here's the recipe.
  • 2 tbsp. black tea
  • 30 oz. water
  • peel of one lemon
  • sugar to taste
  • lemon wedges
Combine all ingredients except sugar and lemon wedges in a large clear container with ice. Place in the sun for 4 hours or more. Strain into a pitcher and sweeten to taste. (I used demerara sugar syrup, but the pink stuff is fine.) Garnish with lemon wedges. 

You can also make Refrigerator Tea using the same method, but you should leave it overnight. It's a lot slower. The same recipe works, though. Add mint leaves--I tried it and it is very cooling--instead of lemon peel.

I garnished mine with a fresh strawberry! Do as you wish. It's all about relaxing and taking your time.

Sweet Martini

A Sweet Martini is a great drink in its own right. Not as sweet and vermouth heavy as a Martinez, this drink developed off the older cocktail to the similar proportions of Dry Martinis consumed today.

Dolin sweet vermouth is very French, but I used Hella Orange Bitters to give the cocktail a spicy bite. The orange twist is mandatory!
  • 3 oz. gin (Strange Monkey used)
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (Dolin used)
  • dash orange bitters (Hella orange used)
  • orange twist
Combine all ingredients except twist in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist orange peel over the glass and drop it in.


Sometimes simple is exactly what is called for. You want orange juice that gets you drunk, right? That's the screwdriver. Easy to make. Easy to drink. Go for it with breakfast or on hot days. Or, you know, when you want orange juice that gets you drunk.

  • 2 oz. vodka (Aylesbury Duck used)
  • orange juice
Build drink in a Collins glass full of ice with vodka and top with orange juice.