Friday, September 29, 2017

Sazerac Rye Sazerac

I've been wanting to re-do the entry on the granddaddy of the cocktail, the Sazerac. For one, I felt that I hadn't quite figured out the presentation, the use of Pernod or absinthe rinse, and the mixing of the bitters. That is in part due to the directions in the recipe saying to build this drink entirely in the glass that it is served in. This means mixing the liquid and sugar in the glass with ice while washing off the absinthe rinse. And if you do it in a small Old Fashioned glass you tend to muddle the whole mess, ruining the distinct parts of the drink.

A Sazerac needs to have some ingredients mixed in and others left to contribute their scents independently. The liquor must be sweetened and bittered, but the absinthe or Pernod needs to cling to the sides of the glass to give it dimension. The lemon twist needs to be expressed on the ice, so the citrus scent has to be sipped past (and through the walls of anise scent) to get to the sweetened rye.

To make the drink this way, you really need to combine the liquid ingredients except absinthe or Pernod in a mixing glass and pour it into a double Old Fashioned glass with oversized ice. I've been doing Old Fashioned Cocktails this way for a while to keep them looking clean without bits of muddled fruit in them. Now Sazerac Rye has given me the excuse I need to update this post.

The Sazerac is the quintessential New Orleans cocktail, and Sazerac Rye and Peychaud's bitters are quintessentially New Orleans spirits. Originally the Sazerac was made with cognac, due to the French influence in Louisiana. The sweetened and bittered rye has the effect of turning rye into a rich and silky cognac-like spirit with the right hints of anise from the other French spirit, Pernod.
  • 3 oz. Sazerac Rye
  • 1/2 tsp. Pernod or absinthe (Absente Refined used)
  • 2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • 1 tsp. water
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • lemon twist
Combine water, sugar and bitters in a mixing glass and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add Sazerac Rye and ice and stir to chill. Strain into a double Old Fashioned glass coated with the Pernod and add oversized ice cubes. Twist lemon peel over the ice and drop it in the glass. 

Egg Cream (Non-Alcoholic)

This non-alcoholic chocolate drink tries to imitate the way egg drinks fizz up with a protein-rich foam. There's actually no egg in this mocktail. What you will find is chocolate syrup, milk and club soda.

Now before you write off any milk and soda drink, keep in mind how good cream soda actually is. This just happens to be a chocolate flavored cream soda, not a vanilla flavored one.

The effect is good and the taste takes me back to childhood when bottled fizzy chocolate drinks were available at the drugstore or soda fountain.
  • 1 oz. chocolate syrup
  • 3 1/2 oz. chilled milk
  • chilled seltzer or club soda
Combine milk and chocolate syrup in a Collins glass and stir to combine evenly. Top with seltzer and stir until a frothy foam head appears.

Sober Strawberry Colada (Non-Alcoholic)

I appreciate the name of this mocktail that takes after the Strawberry Colada. Now I know I can easily make coconut cream, and I've done it before with simple syrup and coconut milk, but I don't have any coconut milk. A quick smoothie helper is this Real Gormet Creme of Coconut puree. It's yummy!

So is this great mocktail that feels like an alcoholic beach drink. Pineapple, coconut and strawberry make it look and taste great, and no one need be the wiser.
  • 1 oz. coconut cream (Real Puree used)
  • 5 oz. pineapple juice
  • 6 fresh strawberries
  • pineapple spear
Combine all ingredients except pineapple spear in a blender with ice and blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled Collins glass or a hurricane glass if you have it. Garnish with the pineapple spear.

California Smoothie (Non-Alcoholic)

Everyone loves a good smoothie. It turns out that this tropical non-alcoholic drink is fairly sweet with lots of fruits that lend texture. The recipe calls for one and a half ounces of honey to sweeten the drink, but I don't think that this is necessary. It is plenty sweet already with strawberries, orange juice and bananas.

Dates are a nice touch, and also add sweetness and texture when blended into this smoothie.
  • 1 banana sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1 1/2 oz. honey (or to taste)
  • 8 oz. orange juice
Combine all ingredients with cracked ice in a blender. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled pint glass. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Gin Swizzle

I love a good Swizzle on a hot day. The Gin version of this typically rum drink is no less refreshing. Note the napkin wrap designed for easy gripping when the glass is so cold that it frosts over. Note also the swizzle stick. This is yet another gin cocktail that is built in the glass and requires a lot of stirring, as any Swizzle should.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitter
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • sparkling water
Combine sugar and lime juice in the bottom of a chilled Collins glass and stir to combine. Add ice and gin and stir to melt ice. Add more ice as necessary to top off and also top with sparkling water. Serve with a swizzle stick.

Gin Sangaree

Sangaree is exactly what it sounds like (we know it by the Spanish pronounciation, Sangria.) A Gin Sangaree is strong, however, and a punch-like soda drink that doesn't back down, unlike wine Sangrias.

There is wine, however, in the tablespoon of porto spooned on top. You can see the porto passing around the ice cubes after it was added. This drink is slightly sweet and winey, but it is also pretty strong.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 tbsp. ruby port (Sandeman used)
  • 1 tsp. water
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • sparkling water
Combine water and sugar at the bottom of a chilled highball or Collins glass and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add gin and ice and stir. Top with sparkling water and float ruby port on top. 

Gin Fix

As I've said before, a fix is what we have come to understand as a Sour--a lemon and sugar drink that should have egg white in it and served up. The Fix is served on the rocks. It's built in the glass and it should be in an Old Fashioned or rocks glass.

The NY Bartender's Guide recipe seems to have a misprint, showing a highball symbol for the recommended glassware. This won't work with a built in glass cocktail. The liquid will only go halfway up! I'll print the recipe below with the proper glassware.

Glendalough Wild Botanical gin is one of the new and excellent Celtic Gins to land in the U.S. and cause a stir. It is unbelievably fresh and is probably my favorite gin right now. Glendalough is a whiskey distillery, and I have to say that this is by far their best product, and one that will be well received in D.C. where gin is very in.
  • 3 oz. gin (Glendalough Wild Botanical gin used)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. water
  • lemon slice
Combine sugar and water in an Old Fashioned or rocks glass and stir to partially dissolve the sugar. Add lemon juice, gin and ice and stir until chilled. Garnish with a lemon slice. 

Gin And It

The simple and cryptic name is perfect for a cocktail with only two ingredients, and one that is even more unusual in that it is not even chilled. While the idea of drinking a warm gin cocktail sounds pretty bad, a good gin will carry the day with a good sweet vermouth. Caorunn is a Scottish gin from the Balmenash distillery in the highlands. It contains a few Celtic botanicals in addition to traditional ones, including dandelion, bog myrtle, rowan berry, heather and coul blush apple.

The effect of the Gin and It is like having a red wine, where each of the flavors are more pronounced when they are not chilled. You really seem to be able to pick out floral notes in the gin or the bitterness in the sweet vermouth. Don't shy away from this drink if you have the good stuff.
  • 3 oz. gin (Caorunn used)
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth (Cocchi used)
Combine both ingredients in a mixing glass and stir. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass.


This is the original snowball. It is strained into a cocktail glass, not served on crushed ice like the Roman Snowball. The Pernod does cloud up in a yellowish precipitation of herbs, so half-and-half is needed to keep this drink looking white.

I am enjoying the richness of Mt. Defiant absinthe superior when it comes to making the Snowball stronger and drier than it would be with Pernod. Do as you wish, but if you have a good absinthe, you should consider using it.
  • 2 oz. gin (Plymouth used)
  • 1 oz. Pernod (Mt. Defiance absinthe used)
  • 1/2 oz. half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Beachcomber (Non-Alcoholic)

Like the Polynesian Sweet and Sour, the Beachcomber is a great tropical mocktail that really fools you into thinking that it is an alcoholic treat. That happens because  the lime tang is sweetened by raspberry syrup and thick guava nectar. The drink doesn't call for a garnish, but I had these plump strawberries on hand when I served these to two minors who visited the restaurant.
  • 2 oz. guava nectar
  • 1 oz. raspberry syrup
  • 2 oz. lime juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a chilled Collins glass.

Gin Cobbler

Cobblers are just a way to sweeten and showcase the flavor of a base spirit. You enjoy these with a little soda and sliced citrus to give the drink a whiff of juice. But it is really just spirits and soda. And even a dry gin like Broker's comes out tasting rich and rewarding in this very old recipe.
  • 2 oz. gin (Broker's used)
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup 
  • sparkling water
  • orange slice
Build cocktail in a highball glass with sugar syrup and gin. Fill with ice and stir. Top with sparkling water and garnish with the orange slice. 

Polynesian Sweet and Sour (Non-Alcoholic)

Not a bad tropical mocktail with plenty of tangy flavors. You'll feel like you got the Polynesian Sour, the light rum drink from which this virgin version originates. It is definitely sweet, though. Orange juice and guava nectar are all the sugar that this mocktail needs to balance the lemon juice.
  • 2 oz. guava nectar
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. orange juice
 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Gin Buck

As all Buck drinks are ginger ale, lime juice, and the named spirit, the gin buck is simple and straightforward. But wait! This recipe calls for lemon juice. Why? It doesn't matter, really, but in keeping with the standards for Bucks, I opted for lime juice. And you can't see it, but there's a lime slice in there as well. Do as you wish, but I disagree with or consider the lemon juice as an error or misprint.
  • 1 oz. lemon juice (lime juice used)
  • 2 oz. gin
  • ginger ale (Q used)
Build drink in a Collins glass with lemon juice and gin. Fill with ice and top with ginger ale. Stir gently. 

Carrot Cocktail (Non-Alcoholic)

This non-alcoholic drink is for anyone who loves carrots so much that they want to drink them. I'm surprised by how much carrot flavor comes through when the only other ingredient is pineapple. Carrots win out and even are small enough to fit through a straw in this thick carrot smoothie.
  • 3 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup crushed pineapple juice
  • 2 small or one large carrots chopped
Combine all ingredients with cracked ice in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Pour into a chilled highball glass.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Lawhill Cocktail

This is a very nice dry and herbal whiskey cocktail. I'm not sure that I'd have appreciated it as much years ago as I do now that I am drinking more Pernod and anise liqueurs. It is really well balanced, and I think that the recipe calling for blended whiskey is a good move. You don't want a whiskey with too much character to stand out in this drink. The real stars are the bitters, maraschino and Pernod in this cocktail, so Black Velvet Special Reserve was appropriately reserved as stated.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey (Black Velvet Special Reserve used)
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1/2 tsp. maraschino liqueur
  • 1/2 tsp. Pernod
  •  dash Angostura bitters
 Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Roman Snowball

The Snowball cocktail takes advantage of anise liqueurs' tendency to cloud up, and the Roman Snowball counts on sambuca's bright white color when it is diluted with water. It's a very pretty drink and super tasty if you like anise liqueur. Compared to absinthe, sambuca is pretty sweet, like a dessert liqueur.

The trick to getting the look right is to use crushed ice. Fill a champagne flute with crushed ice and use more crushed ice to shake the sambuca. Then strain it in. The five espresso beans are some kind of New York thing, and you are supposed to eat them after they soak in the sambuca a while, according to the New York Bartender's Guide.
  • 3 oz. sambuca
  • 5 espresso beans
Shake sambuca in a shaker full of crushed ice and strain into a champagne flute full of more crushed ice. Garnish with espresso beans. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Yellow Parrot

This enormous cocktail has a pretty name. And I can see the resemblance to a parrot's plumage. But that's where the similarities between bird and beverage end. This is one of those self-destructive cocktails designed to wipe you out with one drink. It is three drinks in one!

The recipe calls for Pernod, an absinthe substitute. You can just as easily do it with real absinthe like Mt. Defiance. The reason is that yellow Chartreuse is milder and sweeter with honey and herbal flavors. But the sugar in yellow Chartreuse settles the strength of the absinthe a little. With Pernod you may consider switching your Chartreuse to the green label because it is less sweet, but Pernod has sugar of its own.

Here's the recipe as written:
  • 2 oz. Pernod
  • 2 oz. Brandy (cognac please)
  • 2 oz. Yellow Chartreuse
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Coco Cola (Non-Alcoholic)

Turn your Coke into a tropical dessert drink with the Coco Cola. It's non-alcoholic and good any time of the day. It is on the sweet side, but fortunately the coconut milk balances out the lime and changes the texture of the cola a little.
  • 2 oz. coconut milk
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • cola
  • lime wedge
Combine coconut milk and lime juice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass full of ice. Top with cola and stir. Garnish with the lime wedge.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Brazilian Chocolate (Non-Alcoholic)

If you've ever wanted to try making hot chocolate at home, you know it isn't as simple as melting chocolate in a pan or the microwave and adding milk. This was tough, but worth the effort.

Brazilian hot chocolate involves coffee, rich dark chocolate and cinnamon. There's vanilla extract (or real vanilla bean if you like) in there as well, which makes this a spicy and tropical breakfast drink, or a drink for anytime, actually. But you have to get your stuff together to do this one.

Melting dark chocolate is a pain. Put it in the microwave or on direct heat and you get a hard, burning mess. The recipe calls for a double boiler, but I don't have one. Fortunately I have two sauce pans that stack tightly on top of each other. Boiling several cups of water in the pan beneath gave the right indirect heat to melt the chocolate.

Taza chocolate is a rich stone-ground chocolate with grainy cocoa nibs. It actually melts well but gives a thick texture to the hot chocolate drink.

The recipe is for four servings, which is good. If you go through this much trouble, you should have something to show for it.
  • 1 oz. unsweetened dark chocolate (Taza used)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • dash salt
  • 8 oz. boiling water
  • 8 oz. hot half-and-half
  • 12 oz. hot coffee
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Heat water in the bottom of a double boiler on medium high heat. Add chocolate, sugar and salt to the top sauce pan of the double boiler and melt it. Pour heated water on the chocolate and stir to dissolve it. Add coffee, and half and half and continue to stir while heating on the burner. Add vanilla extract and cinnamon and transfer to coffee mugs to serve. 

Glad Eyes

This is a great Pernod cocktail, and not too tarnished by its use of peppermint schnapps. I was concerned, and rightly, that Pernod would be too sweet to blend with schnapps. It wouldn't even be drinkable. I had the idea to use Mt. Defiant absinthe, which is real absinthe, as the base and use the schnapps to sweeten the bitter licorice of real absinthe.

The effect was awesome. The peppermint schnapps did add sweetness and a minty finish but the flavor remained strong and bracingly alcoholic. The shaking aerated the absinthe and made it turn white and spaced the flavor out so that it became a cool absinthe liqueur similar in flavor and thickness to Pernod. Do it this way if you do it at all.
  • 2 oz. Pernod (Mt. Defiance absinthe superior used)
  • 1 oz. peppermint schnapps
 Combine both in ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Apple Frazzle (Non-Alcoholic)

This is a pretty sweet apple mocktail that finds balance with lemon juice. You hardly notice the lemon, though. It's a bit like an apple soda when you get down to it. For mocktail newbies, this one is easy to make with readily available ingredients. You can even order it at most bars.
  • 4 oz. apple juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • sparkling water
Combine all ingredients except sparkling water in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a Collins glass. Top with sparkling water. 

Gin Rickey

The Rickey is a D.C. classic. The Gin Rickey is a little more prevalent as more people are likely to associate gin and lime juice than bourbon and lime juice. Both are good and low sugar drinks that purportedly cool you down on hot days.
  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • sparkling water
Combine gin and lime juice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Collins glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water and stir.

Cranberry Cream Cocktail (Non-Alcoholic)

This is a creamy and juicy cocktail that is satisfying and low sugar and fat. Its darn good too. Cranberry is a bit of an afterthought, used for color, when lime juice and apple juice take over the palate. But there's great lacy foam from coconut cream that shines through as you drink down the slush.

Coconut cream is easy to make if you add equal parts coconut milk and simple syrup to a blender and blend on high speed. I add a dash of almond extract to increase the nuttiness.
  • 2 1/2 oz. cranberry juice
  • 2 oz. apple juice
  • 1/2 oz. coconut cream (homemade used)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 2 dashes grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice. Blend until slushy and pour into a wine goblet.

Morning Cocktail

This is one of many Corpse Reviver cocktails that use brandy and sharp flavors to shock a hangover out of your system. As far and I can tell, it would work if you can stomach such a rich cocktail. I recommend using cognac for more smoothness. Orange bitters, maraschino liqueur and Pernod spice things up quite a bit. I love the complexity of this cocktail that is as good in the morning as before or after dinner.
  • 2 oz. brandy (D'usse cognac used)
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1 tsp. curacao
  • 1 tsp. maraschino liqueur
  • 1 tsp. Pernod
  • 3-5 dashes orange bitters (Hella used)
  • maraschino cherry
Combine all ingredients except maraschino cherry in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry. 

Bite of the Apple (Non-Alcoholic)

It's apple season and a cinnamon and apple slush seems very appropriate to the cooler weather. It's the mocktail version of the Big Apple. The "Bite" is non-alcoholic and comes from orgeat, which makes this drink pretty tropical tasting. Apple sauce and juice, though seem like familiar flavors for fall.
  • 5 oz. apple juice
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. orgeat
  • 1 tbsp. apple sauce
  • ground cinnamon
Combine all ingredients except cinnamon in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled pilsner glass. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. 

Gin Daisy

The Daisy is a sweet grenadine and lemon fizz drink. The booze you use is up to you, so it is named after the choice of liqueur. Everyone loves a Daisy, it's stronger than it looks with 3 ounces of hard liquor. The gin version is more approachable than other ones.
  • 3 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. grenadine
  • 1 tsp. sugar syurp
  • sparkling water
  • orange slice
Combine gin, lemon juice and syrups in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Collins glass. Top with sparkling water and stir. Garnish with an orange slice.

Coconut Cooler (Non-Alcoholic)

This mocktail is pretty exotic! Put equal parts lime juice in coconut milk and shake to chill. The coconut milk foams up beautifully. There's little sugar in it so it is a lot like a lime soda with milkiness.
  • 2 oz. lime juice
  • 2 oz. coconut milk
  • sparkling water
  • mint sprig
Combine lime juice and coconut milk in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water and stir. Garnish with mint sprig. 

Kiss Me Quick

What a nice Parisian cafe-style cocktail with lots of fizz and anise cordial flavor! This would be a green cocktail except for the Angostura bitters that turn it orange. It is flavorful, sweet and fizzy. A good drink for the afternoon before moving to stronger stuff.
  • 2 oz. Pernod
  • 1/2 tsp. curacao
  • 3-5 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 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 and stir gently.