Monday, January 30, 2017

Double Standard Sour

This is a great drink and a strong one too. I have a feeling I've made it before, but I have no evidence to prove it.

An equal measure of whiskey and gin give this sour the punch for both a gin and whiskey sour combined. I chose Common Wealth gin because of its whiskey-like flavor and soft botanicals. Not much juniper in this gin to make it off-putting in a sour cocktail.

There's so much hooch in this cocktail that I was sure it wouldn't fit in a sour glass. I used a double Old Fashioned glass, which fits the name pretty well, and gave it to my wife. Will anyone notice a woman enjoying what amounts to a double-size cocktail? Probably not. Must be a double standard.
  • 1 1/2 oz. blended whiskey (Black Velvet Special Reserve used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin (Common Wealth used)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
  • orange slice
  • maraschino cherry
Combine all ingredients except cherry and orange slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled sour glass (pour into a double Old Fashioned glass optional). Garnish with cherry and orange slice. 

Smokin' Texas Mary

Another Bloody Mary Variation, and one that really has a right to exist as a distinct cocktail, is the Smokin' Texas Mary. This cocktail has smoke from barbecue sauce, and the tangy flavor of the sauce really changes the dynamic of the tomato juice drink.

I picked Jack Daniel's barbecue sauce, which adds the flavor of the whiskey to the drink that is only fortified by flavorless vodka. I quite liked it and found that a bacon shot rim from Dimitry's Bacon Bloody Mary mix was a useful addition. The only other change to the classic Mary is the addition of a jalapeno pepper.
  • 3 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. barbecue sauce (Jack Daniel's used)
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • 3-5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • freshly ground pepper
  • tomato juice
  • pickled jalapeno pepper
  • lime slice
Combine all ingredients except tomato juice, jalapeno pepper and lime slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a highball glass. Fill with tomato juice and stir. Garnish with lime and pepper (celery stick optional.)

Bull Shot

You could see this one coming as I am trying out Bloody Mary variations with beef stock. Take the tomato juice out of a Bloody Bull and you get this Bull Shot, which is not really a shot. I imagine that some early form of the drink was served warm in a shot glass, but this is more refined.

No salt rim on this cocktail, but celery salt is included inside. When the salt dissolves, you are left chewing the celery seed. But that is ok, since this cocktail tastes like cold soup that slowly gets you tipsy.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 4 oz. cold beef bouillon
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • several dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • celery salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
Build drink in a highball glass with ice and stir. 

Bloody Bull

As the name suggests, this cocktail is a mashup of a Bloody Mary and a Bull Shot. A lot of ingredients overlap and you can see why these two cocktails are made for each other.

What's missing in this drink is the horseradish and celery (and celery salt) of the Bloody Mary. And just like the old NY Bartender's Guide Bloody Mary, there's no mention of a salt rim. I used kosher salt this time, though because I like how it adds saltiness to the broth when you sip from the glass.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 4 oz. tomato juice
  • 4 oz. chilled beef bouillon 
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • lime wedge
Shake all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Pour into a highball glass rimmed with salt. Grind pepper over the top and garnish with a lime wedge.

Bishop

The Bishop belongs to the clerical "Monkish" class of cocktails like the Cardinal, the Abbey, and the Cloister that usually use French spirits and fresh juices. Bishop is unusual in that it is a red wine cocktail and therefore very much weaker.

I've never seen a Bishop drink, but mixing juice and wine is very much the thing among priests, it seems. One in particular used to top a glass of lemonade with merlot. The Bishop is more sophisticated. It calls for cabernet sauvignon or full bodied red wine. Apothic Red fits the bill.
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 4 oz. cabernet sauvignon or full bodied red wine
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • lemon slice
  • orange slice

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Bacon Bloody Mary / Virgin Mary

Bacon is a great flavor to add to the world's favorite breakfast drink. This one is a real meal of a cocktail, too. With or without vodka, you can enjoy this craft cocktail at home, and it is as good as your favorite brunch hangout's best Bloody.

Dimitri's Bacon Rim Shot bacon salt tops off this cocktail and provides the taste and scent of bacon while you sip. I don't usually do cocktail kits, but I did make the whole drink according to recipe. Never buy pre-made Bloody Mary mix, you can always scale up and batch for multiple servings.

Bloody Mary Mix
  • 2 oz. vodka (optional for Virgin Mary)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 4 oz. tomato juice
  • 1/4 tsp. white horseradish
  • 3-5 dashes Tobasco sauce 
  • 3-5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • dash celery seed
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  Garnishes
  • Dimitri's Bacon Rim Shot (Optional for Bacon Mary)
  • celery stalk
  • green olives
  • crispy cooked bacon slice
Rim a hurricane or highball glass with Bacon Rim Shot (use a blend of kosher salt, ground black pepper and celery seed as an optional rim) by wetting the glass rim with lime juice and dipping it into salt blend.

Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into the rimmed glass. Garnish with a combination of garnishes on the list.

Picon Tonic

Picon Biere is a strange French amaro that is intended to be put into beer or soda with a dash of grenadine. It's dark and thick but has great bitter orange flavor. It came to me that tonic would be perfect for pairing with this amaro. The orange slice is a suggestion that this drink is going to taste like oranges.
  • 2 oz. Picon Biere 
  • tonic water
  • orange slice
Build drink in a highball glass full of ice. Stir and add orange slice. 

Grenada

I'm not sure how this drink represents the Caribbean island in the Grenadines chain, except that the drink is decidedly Spanish in its leanings. I still don't get it, but I understand the appeal. Brandy makes the drink strong and rich, but curacao and dry sherry make it fruity and tropical. Throw in tonic and you have something exotic.

Just a side note, I've been using this same tile coaster for all these sherry drinks. It is a reproduction of a floor tile designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi, and it is there to represent Spain. The brandy I used is very American, though. E & J XO added a ton of vanilla notes to this cocktail and gave me a wicked headache in the morning.
  • 1 1/2 oz. brandy (E & J XO)
  • 1 oz. dry sherry
  • 1/2 oz. white curacao (Luxardo Triplum used)
  • tonic water
  • orange slice
Combine all ingredients except tonic and orange slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled highball glass. Top with tonic water and stir gently. Garnish with orange slice.

Seville

I get what this sherry and gin cocktail is trying to do. It packed with fresh orange juice and tastes like as Seville orange. I used fresh squeezed orange juice here and a bit less simple syrup that the tablespoon the recipe calls for. (My syrup is really thick.) This is one sherry cocktail that really hits hard but is super slammable.
  • 2 oz. gin (Vigilant used)
  • 1/2 oz. fino sherry
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. simple syrup 
  • orange twist
 Shake all ingredients except twist in a shaker full of ice. Pour into an Old Fashioned glass and garnish with the orange twist. 

Knockout Cocktail

This cocktail will knock out your taste buds. With a full ounce of Pernod, it is strong on herbal anise flavor, but white creme de menthe cools the spiciness, as does a heaping gob of dry vermouth.

I like the color of this cocktail, absinthe green. That kind of glowing nuclear radiation color that tastes just like it appears--and tastes great with that glowing maraschino cherry. Don't substitute absinthe for Pernod here, it's too dry and you need that sweetness to give you some relief from the powerful spices and herbs.
  • 2 oz. dry vermouth (Mancino used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin (Bombay Sapphire used)
  • 1 oz. Pernod
  • 1/2 tsp. white creme de menthe
  • maraschino cherry
Shake all ingredients except cherry in a shaker full of ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cherry. 

Kup's Indespensable Cocktail

In what is increasingly likely to become a Martini Week, we have another variation in which a bartender, supposedly named Kup, came up with a unique Martini variation. This one has a huge vermouth component and requires a little more heft from its gin. Vigilant gin should do the trick, with one of the most robust and dry spiced gins profiles out there. This turns out to be a very rich and rewarding Martini.
  • 2 oz. gin (Vigilant used)
  • 3/4 oz. dry vermouth (Mancino used)
  • 3/4 oz. sweet vermouth (Dolin used)
  • orange twist
Stir all ingredients except orange twist in a mixing glass full of ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of orange peel.

Knickerbocker Cocktail

Knickerbocker cocktails are Martini variations that supposedly came from the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York. Not sure if this hotel still stands, nor its relation to Washington Irving, but it is pretty much a Perfect Martini that is a little lopsided toward dry vermouth and stirred. Common Wealth gin gives this drink a wet and whisky-like base from which to enjoy the Dolin vermouths.
  • 2 oz. gin (Common Wealth used)
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth (Mancino used)
  • 1/2 tsp. sweet vermouth (Dolin used)
  • lemon twist
Stir all ingredients except lemon twist in a mixing glass full of ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist. 

Fino Martini

As I am constantly discovering, sherry, with its infinite variety, can be substituted for any fortified wine. In this Martini it is taking the place of dry vermouth. You don't notice so small an amount of sherry in a gin cocktail, but you can choose to do this with vodka as well. I like how this cocktail is non-specific about base spirits. It's still a Martini, right? Aylesbury Duck vodka makes a great base for the Fino Martini.
  • 3 oz. vodka or gin
  • 1/2 oz. fino sherry
  • lemon twist
Stir liquid ingredients except lemon twist with ice in a mixing glass and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist lemon peel over glass and drop in.

Cadiz

This is a nice citrus and cream dessert drink made with sherry and blackberry brandy. Fino sherry is designed to be dry and light to counter the sweetness of the triple sec and blackberry brandy.

Cadiz is the name of the province from which sherry is made in Spain. I'm not sure how the rest of the drink fits with the name, though. I like how strong it is, and how well the orange and blackberry flavors balance with sherry. For this I used my apple brandy into which I infused blackberries and mixed with sugar.
  • 1 1/2 oz. dry sherry
  • 1 oz. blackberry brandy (home made blackberry flavored brandy used)
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • 1/2 oz. half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Lafayette

I can see where this drink is going, and it all looks good on paper. Like the French martial hero in the American revolutionary war, this drink was supposed to combine French and American spirits. Dubonnet rouge and bourbon pair well together, so it would seem that a rich egg white bourbon cocktail would be the perfect combo.

Sadly, like actual wars, things are not always so clear cut, nor are all the best laid plans the most successful. Egg white covers the scent that Dubonnet gives to cocktails, making it smell a little too much like dairy and not enough like spice. Doing the drink on the rocks also means that the foam on the drink is obscured, defeating the point of the egg white. I can see trying this with half an egg white, or one for two drinks, and serving it up in a coup glass. That way there would at least be a foam to sip through without pushing around ice cubes with your lips.
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. Dubonnet rouge
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • egg white
Shake all ingredients on ice and pour into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

B-52 / Pousse Cafe

Just killing time at the bar this week and playing with layering sweet liqueurs as a way to practice. The B-52 had its heyday during the mid-90s, I remember. It has all the ingredients that would make it popular, Kahlua, Bailey's and Grand Marnier. Come to think of it, why did it ever go out of style? Probably because bartenders got sick of making them. Then, of course, they were warm shots. Yuck.

Incidentally, while I was taking this photo, someone ordered a Bombay Sapphire up. So this B-52 had a Bombay door (as we used to call it when Bombay gin was consumed along with a B-52, not always by the same person.)
  • 1 oz. Kaluah
  • 1 oz. Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 1 oz. Grand Marnier
Carefully pour over a spoon into a pousse cafe glass in the order given. 

Brandy Swizzle

The only thing I love more than making swizzles is drinking them. A good swizzle is a complex arrangement of rums, lime juice, and spices stirred until it is freezing cold. Sparkling water is sometimes omitted, but most of the swizzles in the New York Bartenders Guide leave it in.

This however is a Brandy Swizzle, which oddly isn't stirred in the glass but is shaken first and strained over fresh ice. I do recommend using the swizzle stick to give the drink a turn once you add the sparkling water. It needs a little attention.
  • 2 oz. brandy
  • 1 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • several dashes Angostura bitters (Hella aromatic used)
  • sparkling water
 Shake all ingredients except sparkling water with ice and strain over fresh ice in a Collins glass. Top with sparkling water and garnish with a swizzle stick.

Bourbon Cooler

From the look of this drink, you really have no way of telling how it tastes. It looks juicy and that you're likely to get a cranberry or sloe gin sweetness. Actually the Bourbon Cooler is pretty spicy and dry. This comes from it being mainly a Bourbon & Soda with dashes of orange bitters and peppermint schnapps. It all adds up to a more intensified bourbon flavor, with the peppermint and baking spices of orange bitters accentuating what bourbon already tastes like.

Even after sipping a while, it is hard to fathom this cocktail. Why the pineapple spear? Why is is pink? That's grenadine, by the way. But why? Coolers, as the category goes, are a loose form of highball drink that usually has a small component of peppermint schnapps to give you that chilly afterbreath. They almost always have soda in them as well. The pineapple spear reminds me of the Japanese Fizz, and there is something to taking an American whiskey and making it seem more exotic in a cocktail. That's what the Tiki movement is all about, after all.
  • 3 oz. bourbon
  • 1/2 oz. grenadine
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 3-5 dashes peppermint schnapps
  • 3-5 dashes orange bitters
  • sparkling water
  • pineapple spear
Combine all ingredients except pineapple in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Collins glass. Top with soda and stir gently. Garnish with the pineapple spear. 

Pineapple Daiquiri

I don't really get the difference between a Pineapple Daiquiri and a Frozen Pineapple Daiquiri when both are frozen drinks. All I can see is that this simple Pineapple Daiquiri does not require that you use pineapple chunks, only the juice, for the cocktail. This might be good if you have only one pineapple and lots of drinks to do (say you're bartending and you ran out of pineapple for the blender, but you have juice cans and a handful of pineapple spears for garnishes.)

I'm always thinking about the contingencies when it comes to fresh fruit. For me, though, I have to plan how to use up all the fruit that comes with one pineapple.
  • 2 oz. light rum 
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • 3 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • pineapple spear
Combine all ingredients except pineapple spear in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with pineapple spear.

La Bomba (Tiki Version)

I can't think of this drink without reflecting on the 90s Ricky Martin sensation. This drink is accurately named "The Bomb" because of its intense herbal and liquor flavors. Making any cocktail with an ounce of Pernod, triple sec, and one of apricot brandy, not to mention a full pour of light rum, is really like mixing gasoline and TNT. That's why it is a tiki, in my mind.

This is the first time I used this mug I got from Archipelago on U Street. They have cool mugs for sale for anyone who wants to tiki at home.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 1 oz. Pernod
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • pineapple spear
Combine all ingredients except pineapple in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a grim faced tiki mug full of crushed ice. Garnish with pineapple spear.

Aloha



Does this cocktail say "Hello," or "Goodbye?" We'll never know. What I do know is that vanilla ice cream looks great on top of a hurricane glass. I also know you don't need Amarula or a rum cream liqueur to make the Aloha. I just combined aged rum and half-and-half. The other rums and coconut do the rest of the work. 

The recipe also calls for ice cream to be added to the blender, but this is unnecessary and wastes the look of a scoop of ice cream. Putting it on top makes it like a garnish, and a good one for a frozen drink.
  • 1 1/2 oz. rum cream liqueur (equal parts Cruzan aged rum and half-and-half used)
  • 1 oz. dark rum 
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. coconut syrup 
  • small scoop vanilla ice cream
  • pineapple spear.
Put all ingredients except pineapple spear (and ice cream if you want to use it as a garnish) in a blender with ice and blend until smooth. Pour into a hurricane glass. Garnish with pineapple spear (and ice cream scoop.) Pro tip: save pineapple leaves for the garnish as well.



Friday, January 13, 2017

Brandy Cobbler

Cobblers are sweet and fizzy drinks with lemon juice. They are slightly different from Fizzes by being sweet and using sweeter liquors like rum, port, sherry, etc. and often a liqueur. Rich E & J XO needs nothing but a little sugar to taste like an after dinner drink. The fruit garnish is a nice touch, though.
  • 2 oz. brandy (E & J XO used)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • sparkling water
  • maraschino cherry
  • lemon slice
Combine brandy and sugar and a little sparkling water in a Collins glass and stir until sugar dissolves. Add ice and top with sparkling water. Stir and garnish with fruit.

Brandy Fizz

Like the much lauded Gin Fizz, the Brandy Fizz, the Brandy Fizz is a refreshing drink you can have with food or on a hot day. Brandy, being a brown liquor, is also rich enough to appreciate in the winter, and the sparkling water really accentuates all the different flavors of brandy you might not notice were it sipped neat.
  • 2 oz. brandy (E & J XO used)
  • 1/2 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 Collins glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water. 

Brandy Sour

A sour is always a good drink to try on beginners. This is no exception. If you didn''t like brandy before trying the Brandy Sour, you will after you drink this. Garnishing a sour glass is tricky. I like a swizzle stick stabbed through the fruit. You can pull it out and bite the orange slice or push the fruit into the glass with the stick.
  • 2 oz. brandy (E & J XO used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • orange slice
  • maraschino cherry
Combine all ingredients except fruit in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled sour glass. Garnish with orange slice and maraschino cherry.

Brandy Fix

This drink does more than fix what ails the Erk & Jerk XO I used to make the cocktail. Lemon juice and sugar tend to do that. Now a very rich and smooth brandy is a quick and social drink. This is an easy one to make at a party without even breaking off from conversation.
  • 3 oz. brandy (E & J XO used)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • splash of mineral water
Combine lemon juice, water and sugar in an Old Fashioned glass and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add brandy and ice and stir gently until chilled.

Brandy Daisy

Like all Daisies, this one has lemon juice and grenadine. The only difference I can see, and it might be a typo, is the omission of sparkling water. The Canadian, Whiskey, Rum, Bourbon, Vodka and Star Daisies all have soda among other special ingredients. Still, it is a great drink, perhaps more like a Brandy Sour than a Daisy.
  • 2 oz brandy (E & J XO used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • maraschino cherry
Combine all ingredients except for cherry in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with cherry. 

Saucy Sue-Sue

This is an amazing cocktail with a funny name! Apple brandy has an interesting flavor that lasts long after the sip. Laird's apple brandy has a sweet and bitter traction that you notice under the other flavors. Pernod in a small proportion gives hints of licorice and herbs, and apricot brandy really is there to provide a thickness and sugar sweetness that is hard to identify as apricot.

Mr. Boston apricot flavored brandy is cheap and not a bad option when faced with searching endlessly for a brandy that's actually made of apricots. Furthermore, since I'm doing every cocktail in the NY Bartender's Guide of the 90s, Mr. Boston is most definitely the spirit the recipe is calling for.
  • 2 oz. apple brandy (Laird's used)
  • 1 oz. apricot brandy (Mr. Boston used)
  • 1/4 tsp. Pernod
  • orange twist
Combine all ingredients except orange twist in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist. 

Savoy Hotel

The Savoy Hotel's cocktail is a pousse cafe, a drink that uses the different viscosity of the liqueurs to stack them in a narrow glass with well defined layers. It didn't really work with my house made creme de cacao, however. The Benedictine was heavier and sank to the bottom. If you do have a creme de cacao that is dark, it should be heaviest, since Benedictine has more alcohol than creme de cacao (except for mine).

The problem with the drink is the look. If you are using dark creme de cacao, it really will look like a brown layer, not easily distinguishable from a brown liquor like brandy. Benedictine will make a slightly green layer between two brown rings, not pretty even it it is well made.
  • 3/4 oz. dark creme de cacao
  • 3/4 oz. Benedictine
  • 3/4 oz. brandy (cognac please)
Pour each liquor over a spoon into a pousse cafe glass, gently layering them in the order that they are listed.

Princess Mary's Pride

A deliciously complex cocktail with apple brandy and Dubonnet. The recipe calls for 1/2 oz. dry vermouth, but I have Dubonnet blanc I need to use. The quinine bitterness of Dubonnet, especially the blanc means you don't need to have bitters for this cocktail to be interesting.
  • 2 oz. apple brandy (Laird's used)
  • 1 oz. Dubonnet rouge
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth (Dubonnet blanc used)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Bob Danby

Unlike other cocktails named after celebrities and artists, Bob Danby seems to be famous for having been named after the cocktail. I can find no remarkable Bob Danby's in an internet search, but the cocktail remains. As it should, too. It is a brandy (cognac please) cocktail with Dubonnet rouge, a aromatized wine from France.
  • 3 oz. Dubonnet rouge
  • 1 1/2 oz. brandy (Courvoisier VS used) 
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Brandy Cocktail

A great cocktail for such a nondescript name. The Brandy Cocktail is the classic mixture of spirits, sugar and bitters that has become the definition of a cocktail. There are sherry, port wine, and rye whiskey cocktails with the same patent name and set of ingredients.

None of these cocktails make a great impression in a cocktail glass, however, if they only call for two ounces of spirit. The Rye Cocktail for one, does have plenty of heft to it, so it is beautiful. For the Brandy Cocktail, I chose to use a pousse cafe glass, which is pretty much a cocktail glass of smaller dimensions.
  • 2 oz. brandy
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • lemon twist
Combine sugar and liquid ingredients in a shaker and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add ice and shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Hot Toddy / Hot Tot Toddy

Another guest request, this time while snow was falling heavily outside the bar. I had already set up for ingredients and glassware giving the weather conditions. I just knew this one would be a hit.

I didn't have cloves, but that was no bother. Star anise and nutmeg sprinkles did the trick all on their own. It is great seeing this drink served in a clear hot cocktail mug.

After this, I made Hot Tot Toddies (non-alcoholic) for my co-workers because it was so cold standing around the bar while the temperature outside kept dropping. 

Hot Toddy
  • 3 oz. chosen liqueur (Bulleit bourbon used)
  • 1 oz. honey
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 5 whole cloves
  • ground cinnamon to taste
  • lemon slice
  • boiling water or hot tea (Earl Grey used)
  • grated nutmeg
  • cinnamon stick
Add all ingredients except cinnamon stick and boiling water to a warmed coffee mug. Add boiling water and garnish with cinnamon stick. (Note: it is fun to toast an end of the cinnamon stick with a torch lighter to get it to smoke as you deliver the drink. The small chimney of smoke curls off the mug in a very welcoming way.)

For the Hot Tot Toddy, leave out the alcohol. Be sure to use tea as a substitute for flavor.

Nuts And Berries

This was a drink I made to a guest's specifications. It is rather a dessert drink, but I can't fault him for wanting one on such a cold night in D.C. The cocktail is a combination of Chambord raspberry liqueur and Frangelico, which is a hazelnut and berry liqueur. That's got to be where the drink gets its name. An equal part of heavy cream and you have a dessert drink bar none.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Chambord
  • 1 1/2 oz. Frangelico
  • 1 1/2 oz. heavy cream
Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Bourbon Satin

The name is appropriate: this is a silky cocktail fit for dessert. I like how bourbon and milk tastes together, but this time it was cream and creme de cacao. This makes the drink more nutty than chocolaty, part of the way that Jim Beam adds that rye spice and oak. This is a dessert drink, but it is strong and very welcoming. My only problem with it is that it lacks a garnish, so it looks pretty pale in a cocktail glass.
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. creme de cacao
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
Shake all ingredients in a shaker full of ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Bourbon Milk Punch

I couldn't get enough milk punch, and since I can't do the same drink twice for the purposes of my blog, I made this one with bourbon. The Bourbon Milk Punch is a little more complicated than the Brandy Milk Punch. It has honey and a dash of vanilla extract just to make it a little more sweet. It was a good thing too. I used rye-heavy Jim Beam, which was spicy, but needed the honey to round things out.
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • 3 oz. milk 
  • grated nutmeg
Combine all ingredients except nutmeg in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Dust with nutmeg.

Brandy Milk Punch

A milk punch is just the thing to drink after dashing through the snow. It's really simple and milk, brandy and nutmeg make for a frothy but light dessert drink. The star anise was just an afterthought when I was trying to come up with a garnish that would tie everything together in terms of presentation and flavor.
  • 2 oz. brandy (E&J XO used)
  • 5 oz. milk
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • grated nutmeg
Combine all ingredients except nutmeg in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Dust with nutmeg. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Brandy Crusta

The Brandy Crusta belongs to that category of sweet--almost dessert--drinks that put a little sugar texture on the rim of the glass. They are usually cocktail glass servings but are sometimes on the rocks.

This cocktail calls for brandy, but I opted for all European ingredients, and better quality at the same time. Courvoisier VO, Luxardo maraschino and Triplum, triple sec. This was a good move. 3/4 oz. of triple sec can add so much sweetness that a drink's mouthfeel goes off the mark. Triplum is 40 proof, so it balances sweetness and thickness with firm alcoholic presence.

This is definitely a cocktail for people who love sweet and showy drinks. The sugar on the rim is the only added sugar to the drink and it pairs well with the lemon sourness. Then the orange and cherry liqueurs create a lot of interest and complexity. It's still very sweet, but most people who don't drink cocktails all the time won't mind.
  • 2 oz. brandy (Courvoisier VO used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. triple sec
  • 2 tsp. maraschino liqueur
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • lemon slice
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with sugar. Garnish with a lemon slice.

Brandy Cassis

This is a sweet brandy cocktail that finds an interesting use for creme de cassis, that black currant liqueur. A good creme de cassis is key to making this taste at all elegant. Otherwise it will be syrupy and sort of cheap tasting.

When it comes to choice of brandy, use cognac please. You need a dry but also somewhat complex brandy to stand up to the sweetness of the cassis.

For glassware, the recommendation is a cocktail glass, but I don't find the proportions sufficient to warrant such a big glass. A sour glass will do well, and is much closer to the glass recommendation of the Kir and Byrrh Cassis cocktails, which are the major creme de cassis drinks.
  • 2 oz. brandy (Courvoisier VO used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. creme de cassis (G. E. Massenez used)
  • lemon twist
Combine all ingredients except lemon twist in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass (sour glass pictured) and garnish with twist.

Brandy Buck

So I would expect any Buck made with brandy to adhere to the ingredients specified for all Buck class drinks: spirit, lime juice, ginger ale. This is completely off the mark. For one, there's soda rather than ginger ale, then creme de menthe, and finally there's the grapes.

For some reason I imagined that the recipe calls for white grapes. And it might. But its not so specific. The grapes themselves add sweetness to a pretty dry fizz drink, if you eat them while sipping. Then the grape skin has tannin bitterness that goes with the crispness of the mint liqueur.

Look, I don't recommend making this cocktail to impress anyone. There's a time and place for it, or maybe it's the confluence of having the ingredients on hand and the willpower to drink this down. Certainly it doesn't rank using a good brandy, and any base spirit, it would seem, will suffice.
  • 2 oz. brandy (E & J XO used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. creme de menthe
  • sparkling water
  • seedless grapes (white used)
Combine all ingredients except soda and grapes in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a highball glass. Top with soda and garnish with grapes. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Mulled Cider

I love a good mulled cider in winter, but I've never made one before. When you get a store brand, you never know what ingredients go into them, but there's almost never a decent rum in the mix.

Making your own mulled cider is easier than it looks and requires little prep time. This recipe is for a single serving. If you scale it up, you might want to put the spices in a sachet to prevent them from filling up the last glass you pour with a spicy mud.
  • 2 oz. gold rum
  • 6 oz. apple cider
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • lemon twist
  • grated nutmeg
Combine all ingredients except cinnamon stick in a saucepan and warm it on low heat while stirring. Bring it almost to boiling and pour into a warm mug. Garnish with the cinnamon stick. 

Cider Cup (Punch)

This is an apple cider punch cocktail that is pretty easy to make on the fly. I put it in a pitcher and had a lot of apple and mint garnishes around to fill each glass.

You can make the Cider Cup with non-alcoholic cloudy cider (the brandy still makes it mildly alcoholic, though not much, or do it with hard cider, but then you get some of that fizz from fermentation. I used North Gate Vineyards cider wine, which is stronger than hard cider, clear and not overly sweet.

Preparation for this cocktail includes dicing apples and having mint picked into leaves, with the tops of stems saved for sprig garnishes.
  • 4 oz. brandy (cognac is appropriate)
  • 2 oz. Cointreau or triple sec
  • 16 oz. apple cider
  • 8 oz. sparkling water
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • apple pieces
  • mint leaves and sprigs
Stir all ingredients except apple pieces and mint in a large pitcher full of ice. Pour into wine goblets and garnish with apple pieces and mint.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Brandy Sangaree

The Brandy Sangaree is not a wine and brandy punch. In fact it is a lot like an Old Fashioned but it uses fresh grated nutmeg for bitters. This is my first drink made with E & J XO brandy and from the outset this brandy is very rich and dessert-like. It is perfect for these holiday-style warmers and eggnogs. I'm looking forward to doing more milk and egg punch cocktails with it.
  • 2 oz. brandy (E & J XO used)
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • splash of water
  • fresh ground nutmeg
Build in an Old Fashioned glass beginning by muddling sugar and water until the sugar dissolves. Fill with ice and brandy and stir thoroughly. Top with grated nutmeg.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Brandy Old Fashioned

This is yet another rendition of the most popular cocktail of 2016. The Old Fashioned has taken bars by storm. What's next? A Slivovitz Old Fashioned? Maybe!

I got these Angostura bitters from my sister on Christmas. These are very spicy and add a lot of character to the brandy. Catoctin Creek 1757 Reserve brandy is a very whiskey-like brandy already. The recipe calls for several dashes of the bitters. I recommend three or more, because you can have a brandy that really goes soft on you if you don't. I also recommend using an American brandy, not Cognac. You don't need a velvety smooth brandy here. Something with character stands up better.
  • 3 oz.  brandy (Catoctin Creek 1757 Reserve used)
  • sugar cube
  • splash water
  • several dashes Angostura bitters
  • lemon twist
Add sugar, bitters and water to an Old Fashioned glass and muddle until the sugar dissolves. Add brandy and stir. Squeeze lemon twist over the glass and drop it in.