Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Pink Pussycat

The name alone will make this a hit on a cocktail menu, with people tripping over themselves to order it. And this kitty is easy to make with stuff you might have around at home or any bar, except for the pineapple spear. That's why I am making it now. Fresh pineapple only keeps so long!
  • 2 oz. gin (Vigilant used)
  • 4 oz. pineapple juice
  • dash grenadine 
  • pineapple spear
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a chilled Collins glass. Garnish with pineapple spear.

Golden Glow

Golden Glow belongs to a semi-tropical series of "Glow" drinks that seem more about the color and enjoying your whiskey or gin than drinking Caribbean rum. They are nice, if slightly sweet, cocktails that will please many punch drinkers offended by a heavy liquor presence like those in Manhattans.

Golden Glow is juicy and fruity, and it relies on dark liquors for their vanilla character that might otherwise be provided by almond extracts, should you want to make this non-alcoholic. But lets try not to offend serious drinkers either and make it with the full liquor portion for now.
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. dark rum
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp sugar syrup
  • dash grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Whiskey Cooler

Cleveland bourbon makes a rich backbone to this Fizz style of drink. I used demerara syrup to sweeten the cocktail and the lemon twist really added a lot on the nose--as you can imagine. The fresh lemon scent and oils in the soda contrasted perfectly with dark whiskey and cane sugar sweetness for a drink that does as advertised on a hot day.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey (Cleveland bourbon used)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (demerara syrup used)
  • club soda
  • lemon twist
Build drink in a Collins glass with ice, whiskey and syrup. Top with club soda and stir before twisting the lemon peel on top.

King Cole (Blood Orange variation)

Save this tiki-like Old Fashioned for the winter holidays when rhymes about Old King Cole being a merry soul are more appropriate. Or make it instead of an Old Fashioned if you happen to have pineapple pieces left over from other recipes that need using.

The recipe calls for a typical orange (like a naval orange) and blended whiskey. For more richness, I used Cleveland bourbon, which has a debatable status as bourbon anyway. It is rich compared to many blended whiskies and suited to a rocks sipping cocktail like this one. Blood orange, just because it is good, is another wonderful addition.

One last change, or enhancement, to this recipe includes the use of demerara syrup instead of sugar. A syrup is already dissolved and does not require as much stirring, but demerara still imparts a rich flavor, too. See how I made this along with D.I.Y. falernum and you'll know why I love this stuff.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey (Cleveland bourbon used)
  • orange slice
  • pineapple slice
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (demerara syrup used)
Add fruit and sugar to an Old Fashioned glass and muddle fruit to extract juices from pulps. Add whiskey and ice and stir. 

Virgin Island (Non-Alcoholic)

Another great non-alcoholic tiki cocktail with a great name, the Virgin Island sounds like it would be full of white rum. Instead, it is a rich and dessert-like drink with pineapple juice and creamy almond syrup. I was in a hurry when making this drink, so the impatient (flower garnish) while not edible seemed very fitting and beautiful.
  • 3 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. coconut cream
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. orgeat
  • pineapple spear
Combine liquid ingredients in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a grim-faced tiki mug. Garnish with pineapple spear.

Xanadu (Non-Alcoholic)

Xanadu or Shengdu is the mythical realm in China where Kublai Kahn supposedly created a pleasure palace and stored untold treasures. One could supposedly receive enlightenment by entering there. This is such a good name for a non-alcoholic tiki cocktial.

Key to this drink is awesome falernum, which adds spice as well as sweetness. Guava nectar is also that bit of tropical fruit that is hard to identify and exotic when you taste it. This is a blended drink, and as such, it is entirely possible to combine acids and cream as long as you are careful when adding ingredients to the blender.
  • 2 oz. guava nectar
  • 2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. falernum
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
Combine all ingredients except half-and-half in a blender with ice and blend to crush ice. Add half-and-half and blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled champagne flute.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Walking Zombie (Non-Alcoholic)

Fee brothers orgeat syrup allows me to make this complicated non-alcoholic drink a little easier. Soaking almonds and pressing the oils from them all day makes for a long bar prep for a home bartender.

The Walking Zombie is a super exotic tiki drink with all the juices and syrups of a Zombie without the rum. You'll be able to walk too after drinking it.
  • 2 oz. lime juice
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 2 oz. guava nectar
  • 1 oz. grenadine
  • 1/2 oz. orgeat syrup
  • pineapple spear (and leaves as shown)
  • mint leaves (recommended garnish)
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a grim-face tiki mug. Fill with crushed ice and garnish with pineapple spear and leaves.

Ocho Rios (Revisited)

I wanted to return to the Ocho Rios because I didn't have falernum the first time I made it. I wanted to try it as it was intended and not bastardized and dumbed down like so many tiki drinks often are over time. My own falernum is key here, as is guava nectar. I recommend blending all ingredients except the cream first, then adding the cream and blending again to combine.
  • 2 oz. dark rum (Lyon rum used)
  • 1 oz. guava nectar
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. falernum
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice and blend on mix until smooth. Pour into a wine glass.

Trade Winds

Another unlikely tiki cocktail, the Trade Winds gets its sweetness from falernum and Slivovica, Croatian plum brandy. The flavors are super floral and spicy. You notice the tropical spices of falernum and funky pot still flavors from Pusser's (which is made in a wooden still, if you can believe it.) You get the feeling that the Trade Winds is going for a world-wide cocktail with European, Asian, Pacific and Caribbean ingredients.
  • 2 oz. gold rum (Pusser's Navy rum used)
  • 1 oz. Slivovica or slivowitz
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. falernum
Combine all ingredients with ice in a shaker. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Key Club

What is it with all those clubs and their gin drinks. This one differs from the Jockey Club and the Racquet Club by having falernum and being very tropical. Give it a go! You need a fun dark rum and a fresh pineapple spear to do it proper.
  • 2 oz. gin (Sunset Hills gin used)
  • 1/2 oz. dark rum (Pusser's Navy rum used)
  • 1/2 oz. falernum
  • 1/2 oz. oz. lime juice
  • pineapple spear
Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the pineapple spear.


Calypso is a very spicy tropical drink that needs fresh nutmeg in addition to falernum to achieve the potent flavor. Like the demigoddess of Greek myth, It is enchanting enough to waylay Odysseus--just look what it did to my bottle of Mad River demerara rum!
  • 2 oz. gold rum (Mad River demerara used)
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. falernum 
  • dash angostura bitters
  • freshly grated nutmeg
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Dust with nutmeg. 

Dr. Funk (Smuggler's Cove recipe)

Smuggler's Cove is magnificent San Francisco tiki bar that's raised the bar for the tiki experience. I'm using owner Martin Cate's recipe for a Dr. Funk, a Tahitian cocktail that goes back more than a century.

Dr. Funk was Robert Lewis Stevenson's persona physician. The cocktail, which includes a spicy herbal liqueur, herbsaint, is supposed to cure people of laziness or lack of aspiring to greatness. Trader Vick attributed the recipe to a fictional Dr. Fong, who he credited for all the Trader Vic's restaurant's recipes. Whatever the ailment or the doctor, Dr. Funk is still a great drink. Spicy and fizzy and so tropical.

Smuggler's Cove has very particular ingredients for recipes, so I've included some extra preparation instructions for this one.

First, you'll need demerara syrup, which you can see on my recipe for falernum. Then you will need an unaged black pot still rum. I could only find aged pot still rum, but it wasn't black. So I added 1/4 oz. of black strap molasses to the syrup to achieve the right color and molasses flavor.

The important thing is to use a pot still rum with a funky character. I used Pusser's Navy Rum, because it is really interesting and balances the herbsaint.

For herbsaint, an absinthe substitute made in America, I used French Absinte Refined, which is also an absinthe substitute. Finally, I'm ready to do the recipe.
  • 2 1/4 oz. unaged pot still black rum (Goslings is acceptable, but add a little pot still Pusser's for character.)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. demerara syrup
  • 1/4 oz. herbsaint (Absinthe Refined used)
  • 1/4 oz. grenadine
  • 1 oz. club soda
Combine all ingredients except soda with ice in a shaker. Shake and strain into a double Old Fashioned glass packed with crushed ice. Top with soda and garnish with pineapple leaves and lime slices. 


This cocktail is pretty self-explanatory. You take tequila and add cola. But it is even more Mexican when you have Mexican coke, made with real cane sugar instead of corn syrup. This is rich and more authentic. The cool bottle makes the drinking experience even more awesome. Do this. Don't just mix your tequila with any cola. It's not the same.

Thanks to Oyamel for making this possible. They have a great tequila menu and lots of Mexican soft drinks. 
  • 2 oz. silver tequila
  • Mexican Coke
Build cocktail in a highball glass full of ice with tequila first. Top with cola and stir gently.

Tequila Gimlet

The gimlet always seemed to me to be a poor man's Margarita. Even when made with gin, the recipe only called for liquor and lime cordial. No real lime juice or additional sugar was needed, just cheap syrup. I've even heard stories of people collecting snow because they didn't have a freezer for making ice.

Nowadays, no one would do a gimlet without fresh lime juice and simple syrup. The Tequila Gimlet is still simple, like a Margarita without triple sec.
  • 3 oz. silver tequila
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Bunny Bonanza

This cocktail transforms your tequila into a rich and autumnal sipper similar to an Old Fashioned. I made it--because of its name--for Easter. I used Sauza anejo, a very smoky and scotch-like aged tequila--and Laird's apple brandy, which is very old and rich. This is aided along with real maple syrup (which is actually very in season now!)
  • 2 oz. tequila (Sauza anejo used)
  • 1 oz. apple brandy (Laird's used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp. maple syrup
  • 3 dashes triple sec
  • lemon slice
Combine all ingredients except lemon slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass and garnish with the lemon slice.


What a lovely Easter egg of a drink to find in the NY Bartender's guide. It was a great way to have an egg cocktail with tequila with a hint of cherry flavor. The sour glass makes the pink colored liquid and foam look like an Easter egg as well.
  • 2 oz. silver tequla
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1tbsp. maraschino liqueur
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
  • egg white
  • lime slice
Combine all ingredients except lime slice in a shaker and shake vigorously to create foam. Add ice and shake to chill. Strain with a gated strainer into a sour glass. Garnish with the lime slice.


Sometimes a dessert drink is all about having a little bit more than just a scoop of ice cream: a Tidbit! This is a rich and creamy cocktail with gin and dry sherry, which I found a long time ago goes great with ice cream. You wouldn't think gin makes a good dessert drink, but it adds spice that's not baking spice of fall and winter foods. You can feel ok doing this one any time of year.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. dry (fino) sherry 
  • large scoop vanilla ice cream
Add all ingredients to a blender and mix until smooth. Pour into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. 

D.I.Y Falernum (Alcoholic)

Falernum is a spiced and citrus flavored sugar syrup that includes rum flavors if not actual rum. This recipe has rum and adds alcohol as well as flavor to tiki cocktails like the Calypso and Trade Winds.

For the home bartender, making your own falernum is a Jedi's making a lightsaber. It is the completion of training with lesser things and a sign that more difficult challenges are on the horizon. Once you make falernum, you can move on to spicing your own rum or making allspice dram.

I got this recipe from a guy I work with who's really into cocktails and may have already tried making falernum. It's here below:

  • 1/2 cup 151-proof rum
  • 1/2 cup aged rum (Mount Gay recommended)
  • 20 cloves
  • 5 allspice
  • 4 anise stars
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • zest of 4 limes
  • 1 oz. pealed ginger (1 tsp. powdered used)

Combine all ingredients in a seal-able jar and allow to steep for 24 hours.

Strain mixture through a coffee filter and add the following ingredients:
  • 14 oz. simple syrup (demerara sugar used)
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 3 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
Shake and refrigerate.

NOTE: A couple of changes were made when I did this recipe, partly because of what I had on hand and also because of preference.

First, I didn't have fresh ginger, but dried ginger is fine as long as you don't use half as much as the fresh because it is stronger.

Second, there is something great about demerara sugar syrup. I wanted that raw cane sugar flavor in my falernum. Make it by heating a mixture of equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and mixture is slightly reduced.

Finally, for the rums, I had Cruzan 151 rum, but not an aged rum that didn't have spices already added. For this used an unaged panela sugar rum that had a similar character. This worked really well, but Mount Gay is more widely available for most home bartenders.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Plum Fizz

What a refreshing and different cocktail. The Plum Fizz is actually close to a Rickey or a Kirsh Rickey, anyway.

The difference is slivovitz, or slivovica as it is called in Croatia. This plum spirit is easy to mix with and it makes some very refreshing cocktails with a nice floral nose of fruit juices. I had to wait until plums were available in order to do the garnishes. It was a long time in coming, but well worth it.
  • 2 oz. slivovitz
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
  • club soda
  • plum slice
Combine slivovitz, lime juice, and sugar syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass full of fresh ice. Top with club soda and stir. Garnish with a plum slice. 


Who is this Nevin guy and what did he do with my bourbon? Nevins is a sharp citrus cocktail under-girded by the grainy bite of bourbon. I used Jim Beam white label because of its rye component that allows it to stand up to grapefruit juice.

Normally you need some sugar to soften the citrus juices, but apricot brandy does this and adds additional fruit flavors that go well with bourbon. I used a grapefruit slice to garnish the glass because it is especially beautiful.
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. apricot brandy
  • dash Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Jamaica Glow

This is not a Caribbean cocktail. It comes across more as a colonial style cocktail that makes use of liquors on hand in order to create a tropical experience. You don't taste the gin much in this drink, which I think is the point. Rather you get a grape-like full-bodied wine flavor backed up by molasses from the rum.

I had an open bottle of Wild horse pinot noir on hand, and it is dry enough to qualify for the recipe. This cocktail feels as if it is trying to fortify wine and juice for those for whom wine itself isn't strong enough.
  • 2 oz. gin (Sunset Hills used)
  • 1/2 oz. dry red wine (pinot noir used)
  • 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. dark rum (Lyon used)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Midnight Sun

Aquavit is a Scandinavian liqueur that's made from infusing cumin, coriander and fennel in grain spirits like vodka. It is a little more herbal than gin, not as bright or peppery, but far more savory. These flavors work great with grapefruit juice, almost like having a Salty Dog with herbs rather than salt. Add an orange slice to make it look like a low-hanging sun on the horizon.

Drinking Midnight Sun makes one wonder what the world would be like without gin. Think about it. If Dr. Sylvius had never experimented with distilling herbal infusions with juniper, or even if he had and the idea just never caught on to become the base spirit of half the cocktails out there, aquavit might have risen in its place.

And it is good, but it takes some getting used to. This Osterlenkryddors kit is making about a dozen cocktails for me just from filling the bottle with 100-proof vodka.
  • 2 oz. aquavit
  • 2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 tsp. grenadine 
  • orange slice
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange slice on the rim.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Piscola (Chilean with Mexican Coke)

At China Chilcano I tried the Piscola, a Pisco & Coke, with Mexican Coke. Pisco Control C is Chilean pisco that is unaged and drier than some piscos. It is made from muscatel and Pedro Ximenez grapes. It stands out more than a Coke and Bacardi, with its floral nose.

Mexican Coke is another find at China Chilcano because it is made with real sugar. This tastes less bitter than the U.S. formula and is very suited to mixing with pisco.
  • 2 oz. pisco (Control C used at China Chilcano)
  • Coke (Mexican used)
  • lime wedge
Build drink in a Collins glass with pisco and ice. Top with coke and garnish with the lime slice. 

Chufly (China Chilcano)

Singani is the national spirit of Bolivia, and the Chufly is the main cocktail they do with it. Singani is an all grape juice spirit that is made from muscat grapes grown at a very high altitude. It is not aged in oak, so it is clear in color, but has a wonderfully floral and sometimes spicy flavor. Singani is sweet, usually sweeter than pisco, the grape spirit made in neighboring Peru and Chile.

So the Chufly is not a Spanish word. Nor is the cocktail something that the Spanish would have drank when they introduced distilling to Bolivia hundreds of years ago. As with many South American traditions, there's a bit of a rivalry between countries who claim they started them. The Chufly is nearly identical to the Chilcano of Chile, a pisco, lime juice and ginger ale drink. The difference is that the Chufly is not served long but in a rocks glass with less ginger ale so you can taste the singani. I had a bartender make this one with Rujero Singani
  • 2 oz. Singani (Rujero used at China Chilcano)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • ginger ale
  • lime slice
Build drink in an Old Fashioned glass with singani and lime juice first. Add ice and top with ginger ale. Stir gently and garnish with lime slice.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Million-Dollar Cocktail

Apparently adding egg white, grenadine and pineapple juice to a Sweet Martini makes it a Million-Dollar cocktail. This goes along with the thinking that pineapple makes drinks "royal" or "special," and egg white makes a drink "silver" and "royal," as seen in the names of so many versions of these classic cocktails. There's never an ingredients that really costs much, but I think that the froth and the silkiness of this cocktail give off the impression that it is worth a chunk of change.
  • 2 oz. gin (Sunset Hills used)
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
  • 1 egg white
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake vigorously to create foam. Add ice and shake to chill. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Mimosa (Pamplemousse Rose at The Source)

A Mimosa is probably the easiest champagne cocktails to make. Just fill a champagne flute half full with orange juice and top with the bubbles.

It also doesn't taste that great, isn't very strong, and is a massive waste of champagne. Just sayin'.

Pamplemousse liqueur by Combier is a fun way to punch the Mimosa up a bit. A half ounce turns it in to a bright and citrus treat (especially if you are using store bought juice--and now I'm wondering if anyone has ever made a fresh-squeezed Mimosa. The thought boggles the mind).
  • 1/2 oz. Pamplemousse Rose
  • 1 oz. chilled orange juice
  • champagne or prosecco 
Build drink in a champagne flute with Pamplemousse rose and orange juice before topping with sparkling wine.

Kremlin Cocktial

Another Russian-themed drink with creme de cacao. This really shows the limited thinking people once had about mixing with vodka and Soviet Russia in general. I think the idea was that the drink would be for dessert (vodka being easy to sweeten and enjoy with cream) and that the color would look like snow. Stolichnaya is used here simply for authenticity as a real Russian vodka.

This was pretty good as far as old-school dessert drinks go. I'm really finding ways to enjoy creme de cacao because of this Russian series of drinks.
  • 2 oz. vodka (Stolichnaya used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. creme de cacao
  • 1 1/2 oz. half and half
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Melon Ball

What else do you do with Midori besides a Kyoto Cocktail? Make a Mellon Ball!

This is a less adventurous and very fruity vodka drink that just tastes so good and tropical that, even if you don't like it, you have to admit is pretty good.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 2 oz. Midori
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • slice of honeydew melon
Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass full of ice. Garnish with melon slice.

Kyoto Cocktail

Midori is the Japanese word for green. The melon liqueur was launched by Suntory in the late 70s. This cocktail was one of the first to appear using Midori.

While Midori is becoming less popular in the U.S. with all the natural ingredients getting attention at bars, a bright green drink is still popular in Japan where you might say people drink more with their eyes. An attractive color in Japanese society is very important. And just look at how that cocktail glows!

Sunset Hills gin has a great citrus balance to it, which does much to keep this cocktail tasting more natural, as does fresh honeydew melon.
  • 2 oz. gin (Sunset Hills used)
  • 1 oz. Midori
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • green melon pieces (optional)
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktial glass. Garnish with melon pieces. 

Aquavit & Tonic

What if gin never caught on? Think about it. How unlikely was it that a Dutch doctor experimented with infusing herbs into alcohol and his results ended up being the base spirit for nearly half the classic cocktails in the books.

What if a Swedish liqueur had been used? Aquavit and gin are nearly the same, an infusion of herbs in grain neutral spirit. Aquavit does not have juniper, though, and the fennel and cumin flavors are pretty dank. Use them in a Aquavit & Tonic only if you are sure you can handle the switch, and imagine that there's no such thing as a Gin & Tonic.
  • 2 oz. aquavit
  • tonic water
  • lime wedge (orange slice recommended)
Build drink with aquavit in a Collins glass full of ice. Top with tonic water and stir. Garnish with lime wedge or orange slice. 

Moscow Mule

This isn't a drink invented in Russia, but that's true of most Russian-themed cocktails. Rather it is a marketing tool for Smirnoff back in the 1950s. Back then no one drank vodka in the U.S. The newly re-settled company came up with this great ploy to have a great drink served in a noticeable mug, a copper Mule Mug so that everyone knew you were having a vodka drink.

It's funny to think there was a time when drinking vodka made you seem exotic or an individual among many who drank only beer or whiskey. This simple recipe still stands and still requires a copper mug.
  • 2 oz. vodka (Sobieski used)
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • ginger beer
  • lime wedge
Pour vodka and lime juice in a Mule Mug full of ice. Top with ginger beer, stir gently, and garnish with a lime wedge.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Ninteen Pick-Me-Up

One of the most spicy and bitter Fizz drinks I've ever tried. The recipe calls for a ton of bitters, more Pernod than is usually healthy, and a little gin to give the ingredients room. This might be a great hangover drink as the words "Pick-Me-Up" imply. And I can see the appeal of so much flavor as well as fizz.

Being a Pernod drink with lots of anise flavor makes this drink related to the Nineteen, a spicy "up" drink. This was stronger, though, and soda helps push the alcohol along and make it easily crushable.
  • 2 oz. Pernod
  • 1 oz. gin
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar syrup
  • 3-5 dashes orange bitters
  • 3-5 dashes Angostura bitters
  • club soda
Combine all ingredients except soda in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top with soda and stir gently.


This is pretty much a very Sweet Martini. I'm not sure it deserved a different name except that there is the addition of 1/4 teaspoon of triple sec (which is a way of adding sweet orange bitters to a Sweet Martini).

Vigilant gin is so bracing in a Martini, so a sweeter variation did the spirit justice. You can taste the tarragon, grapefruit, and juniper of the gin behind the soft caramel sweetness of Dolin. Since I rarely have the same drink twice anymore, a Martini variation like this one was nice to return to.
  • 2 oz. gin (Vigilant used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (Dolin used)
  • 1/4 tsp. triple sec
  • lemon twist
Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze the twist and drop it in.

Road Rummer

Very impressive despite its diminutive size, just like the real road rummer. It is spicy and strong with the sweetness and color coming from a teaspoon of grenadine and a quarter teaspoon of Pernod.

The original recipe of this drink calls for 2 oz. gin and 1/2 oz. dry vermouth in a cocktail glass, but the glass is way too big for the amount of liquid. I used my sour glass instead. But this drink is more spicy and I felt it did it justice to substitute Don Ciccio & Figili finocchietto liqueur for the dry vermouth since the finocchietto plays very well with gin and Pernod--if anything it adds other herbs to the Pernod.
  • 2 oz. gin (Vigilant used)
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth (Don Ciccio & Figili finocchietto substituted)
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
  • 1/4 tsp. Pernod
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Royal Gin Fizz

More special than the Gin Fizz and thicker and less floral than the Ramos Gin Fizz, the Royal Gin Fizz has a whole raw egg in it to make it thick and silky. Its a perfect drink for the Easter season. A light and floral gin like Sunset Hills from Fredericksburg, VA, just tastes like spring.

I use organic, cage-free eggs to get the rich yellow color. These eggs have a harder shell and a flavor and texture that holds up better to the changes that take place in drink form.
  • 2 oz. gin (Sunset Hills used)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • club soda
To get this great foam top I shake all ingredients except the soda very hard with no ice. Then I add ice and shake hard again. Pour into a Collins glass and top with soda. Stir gently so as not to disturb the foam.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Fort Lauderdale

A Florida cocktail needs to represent orange, and this one is no exception. Ripe and juicy naval oranges fresh squeezed and used as a garnish make a big impression. This is a rum drink and very similar to the Florida cocktail I posted a few days earlier.

As a side note, the recipe calls for sweet vermouth but I have Byrrh Quinquina, which is pretty much the same thing except it has more quinine and sweet berry and lavender notes as well. What better combination to show off the sunshine state.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth (Byrrh used)
  • orange slice
Combine all ingredients except orange slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the orange slice.

Russian Cocktail

Like the Ninotchka, the Russian Cocktail is a vodka and creme de cacao drink. I'm finding that this combination is very pleasing (especially when it comes to the clarity of the drink) if not a little sugary. Gin, like Vigilant, adds spicy flavors that make drinking it more interesting.
  • 2 oz. vodka (Stolichnaya used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. creme de cacao
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin (Vigilant used)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


Ninotchka comes from the Latin/ Hebrew word for "little girl," and is applied in Russian as "great-granddaughter." The name itself and the use of vodka puts it in what I'm styling the "Family" category of sweet cocktails like the Godmother and Godchild. It's pretty good for all that, and as a Russian drink, I thought it appropriate to use Stolichnaya vodka.
  • 2 oz. vodka (Stolichnaya used)
  • 1 oz. creme de cacao
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 


I feel like I've had this cocktail before. It's not the first time that lime juice and Jagermeister have been used together and the taste is strikingly familiar. But I've never had both lime and Jagermeister in such large proportions.

I was steeling myself for an awful experience, and this is coming from someone who actually likes Jager a little. It is more that an ounce of lime juice is often super tart and there's no added sugar in this cocktail to calm that down. It relies solely on the Jager. Turns out that it all works much better than I thought.

The other puzzling thing about this drink is the name. It is Russian for "comrade" and suggests a friendly relationship between Russin vodka and German Jagermeister. This is a lot like the Allies (Jager and English gin) cocktail and equally puzzling because Russians and Germans were seldom allies (likewise with Russians and Brits) so I'm not sure what that says. Offhandedly, there was a museum sailing ship in Germany named Tovarisch, so that's something, I guess.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 1/2 oz. Jagermeister
  • 1 oz. lime juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.