Saturday, July 14, 2018

Maiden's Prayer

This is a tropical tasting gin cocktail that could easily be done with rum, and it probably has. I wanted to keep that sense of the exotic and use an unfamiliar gin flavor of Vitae Modern Gin as the base for my example. It takes you out of the mode of thinking that gin tastes like juniper  (though this one does) and gives you a lot of other fresh botanicals to consider while sipping. And Vitae is molasses based, just like their Orange Liqueur. This liqueur enhances the hearty orange flavor that is already present in the gin.
  • 2 oz. gin (Vitae Modern Gin used)
  • 1 oz. curacao (Vitae Orange Liqueur used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Manhattan Cooler

What is it with New York drinks and dry red wine? This cocktail reminds me of the New York Sour without the blended whiskey. This, then, is a low ABV cocktail that makes a red wine more palatable for summer drinking. I can't figure out why the gold rum is called for in such a small quantity. I can see using fresh-pressed cane juice rums instead for their distinctive sugar flavor that would add richness to a dry red wine. The one I picked is the Breaux Vinyard cabernet franc.
  • 4 oz. dry red wine (cabernet franc used)
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. gold rum (Cruzan 151-proof used)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass (or in a chilled highball glass for simplicity's sake). Stir well (and strain into the highball glass if you opted for the mixing glass.) 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Velvet Hammer

I've made this drink before with vodka and dark creme de cacao. Everyone I made the Velvet Hammer for enjoyed it as a strong dessert drink, as the name suggests. Using MurLarkey cocoa whiskey changes it a little (add a tsp. of sugar syrup if you do this). The flavor of cocoa nib whiskey adds more traction that I liked. The drink is less velvety (which I take it to mean smooth and soft like a creamy dessert.) I think that cocoa whiskey works here for the whiskey drinkers who like to taste the spirit in the drink.
  • 3 oz. vodka (MurLarkey Divine Clarity used)
  • 1 oz. creme de cacao (MurLarkey cocoa whiskey and 1 tsp. sugar syrup used)
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Anna's Bannana

This is a very approachable tropical cocktail that tastes a lot like a frozen Banana Daiquiri. It is a simple blender smoothie with vodka as its power and lime juice and banana as its base. There's no artificial flavor used here, which is nice, and the drink is pretty tart. Honey adds richness, though and is another natural ingredient. No fake bananas!
  • 2 oz. vodka (MurLarkey Divine Clarity used)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 small banana slice
  • 1 tsp. honey or almond syrup
  • slice of lime
Add all ingredients except the lime slice in a blender with cracked ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled wine glass. Garnish with the lime slice.

Georgia Peach Fizz

Here comes another Fizz variation, this one is a mash up of a Brandy Fizz and a Georgia Peach. I used Bird Dog peach whiskey here instead of peach brandy, which is a fine substitution. Most peach brandy is flavored brandy, not a brandy made from peaches, so the flavor is mostly the same.

Strangely, and very fitting in a culinary sense, creme de bananes is also in the recipe. Which is fine. I love that banana can add richness without tasting like a different fruit. My change is to use MurLarkey banana whiskey--probably their most versatile flavored whiskey. The rest is typical Fizz ingredients, lemon, soda and sugar.
  • 2 oz. brandy (Christian Brothers VSOP used)
  • 1 oz. peach brandy (Bird Dog Peach Whiskey used)
  • 1 tbsp. creme de bananes (MurLarkey banana whiskey used)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
  • sparkling water
  • peach slice
Combine liquors, lemon juice and sugar syrup in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and pour into a chilled Collins glass. Top with sparkling water and stir gently. Garnish with the peach slice.  

Fuzzy Martini

Not a real Martini (with dry vermouth). Just sayin'! But that aside, this is a pretty good cocktail in much the same spirit of the Martini. The recipe calls for three kinds of flavored vodkas: vanilla, peach and coffee. I am not someone who keeps flavored vodkas around; I flavor them myself, which I did in the case of the vanilla vodka. I happened to have two whiskies that are flavored, however. This changed the character of the original 90's era cocktail to something a little more pioneer-style with young whiskey notes on top of rich vanilla vodka. This cocktail had all the hallmarks of a craft drink, not some fake Martini.
  • 3 oz. vanilla flavored vodka (homemade infusion used)
  • 1/2 oz. coffee flavored vodka (MurLarkey Coffee Whiskey used)
  • 1 tsp. peach schnapps (1/2 oz. Bird Dog Peach Whiskey used)
  • peach slice
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the peach slice.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Red Lion

I've been waiting to do this cocktail since making it's brother, the White Lion, a few years ago. It is really awesome and especially tasty when it's constituent parts are local and share the same base spirit.

O.K. It is really only possible to use Curacao and gin from the same distillery with the same base if you use Vitae Modern Gin and Vitae Orange liqueur. The effect, though was strong. The orange liqueur is twice as strong as most triple sec and contains almost no sugar. It is flavored with natural oranges, including Virginia's hearty orange--so it is bitter, not sweet. That's a positive change for this drink, which I imagine would be very sweet with a sweet triple sec or Curacao.
  • 2 oz. gin (Vitae modern gin used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. orange liqueur (Vitae orange liqueur used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. grenadine 
 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Apricot Cocktail

At my restaurant, I get to play around with fresh, local ingredients. That was the point of doing this cocktail here! I made this apricot brandy using pitted apricots soaked in brandy for a few days. After pressing the soggy fruit into the brandy, I added sugar and cognac and strained out the pulps.

The difference a homemade apricot brandy makes is very important to a cocktail in which the main ingredient is apricot brandy. You wouldn't want to do this with some cheap sugary liqueur.

I'm also showing off Cirrus, a potato vodka produced locally in Virginia. It is a great sipping vodka on its own, but it is super in a cocktail like this. Here's to summer!
  • 1 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1 tbsp. vodka or grain neutral spirits (Cirrus used)
  • 1tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. orange juice
  • 1 apricot slice (optional)
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the apricot slice. (optional)

Grand Royal Fizz

Now that I'm focusing on Fizzes right now, there's no reason not to do the Grand Royal Fizz. It's been so hot and a Fizz, even a creamy one, will cool you down and relax your brain quickly. This Fizz differs from many others by having no egg. Instead there is half-and-half and orange juice. I fresh squeezed all the juice for this drink so it was amazingly fresh tasting!
  • 2 oz. gin (ImaGination gin used) 
  • 1 tsp. maraschino liqueur
  • 1 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. half-and-half
  • sparkling water (Perrier used)
Combine all ingredients except sparkling water in a shaker with ice. (Hint: add half-and-half last to avoid allowing it to curdle in the citrus.) Shake and strain into a chilled highball glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water and stir gently. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Coronado

This tropical cocktail is all about cherry, tropical scents and garnishes. It looks like a rocks sipper and a tiki cocktail rolled into one.

I wanted to choose spirits that did the drink justice to Coronado's tiki roots. First I used real kirschwasser over cherry brandy or liqueur because it tastes exotic and boozy. The small amount in this drink is noticeable and does not change the color like a cherry brandy would.

The other thing I did was use America's only molasses based gin, Vitae Modern Gin. I also threw in Vitae orange liqueur where the recipe calls for Curacao because it is also rum based like a Curacao and very dry. I figured that the pineapple juice was all the sweetness this drink needed and I was right. People don't like sugary tropical drinks anymore, for good reason. The Coronado is reclaiming tropical drinks when made this way.
  • 2 oz. gin (Vitae modern gin used)
  • 1/2 oz. white Curacao (Vitae orange liqueur used)
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 3-5 dashes kirschwasser
  • maraschino cherry
Combine all ingredients except cherry in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass full of fresh ice. Garnish with the cherry.

Golden Fizz

The Golden Fizz fits in the spectrum of Fizz cocktails exactly where the word "golden" typically applies. Silver Fizzes have egg white. Golden ones have the yolk. And since lime is the citrus here, i'm guessing the lemon slice garnish is really about aesthetics more than flavor.

You have to use an interesting gin here to stand up to the citrus (lime juice) and that funky thickness of egg yolk that can take on a smell of its own if your gin doesn't add flavor to it.

Here's MurLarkey ImaGination--a deep and satisfying gin with 12 botanicals that take charge of your tongue throughout the sip.
  • 2 1/2 oz. gin (MurLarkey ImaGination used)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • sparkling water (Parrier used)
  • lemon slice
Combine all ingredients except sparkling water and lemon slice in a shaker with ice. Shake to chill and strain out the ice. Shake again to add foam and pour into a chilled highball glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water, stir gently and garnish with the lemon slice.

Pink Veranda

With a pink umbrella and pink flowers in the background, my veranda is very colorful. This drink gets its color from cranberry juice, an unusual ingredient in the world of tiki and rum cocktails. It is also unusual (not in the tiki sense but in the cocktail sense) to have have more than one kind of rum in it, and that it is in an Old Fashioned glass. See what you think. I happen to like it a lot.
  • 1 oz. gold rum (Cruzan 151-proof used)
  • 1 oz. dark rum (Pampero Aniversario used)
  • 2 oz. cranberry juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 egg white
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake to chill and strain out the ice. Shake again to add froth and pour into an Old Fashioned glass full of fresh ice (large cubes pictured).

Silver Stallion

This is the strangest Fizz I've ever seen. It's blended, it includes ice cream, it is packed with lime juice too! And it is also so good, I can't even describe that tangy frozen cream flavor.

I wondered a bit about going full-flavored with the gin selection. With Copper Fox Vir Gin you could have a real flavor bomb of a creamy Fizz. But usually when gin and cream are involved, I err on the side of mellowness. So Filibuster Dual Cask gin gets my vote. It has oak and really subdued botanicals. They don't stick out or draw your attention when you are enjoying a dessert drink. I wouldn't use it in a majority of Fizzes where it gets lost against so much citrus, but here it was quite good.
  • 2 oz. gin (Filibuster Dual Cask used)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream
  • sparkling water
Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice. Blend until thick and smooth and pour into a chilled highball glass. 

Apricot Fizz

This is a basic Fizz recipe using my homemade apricot brandy that I made at work. It's probably the best spirit infusion I've made because it tastes like ripe apricots and the cheapness of the brandy is completely fixed. Now it tastes like fine cognac spirit.

You can pretty much do a Fizz with anything, so it stands to reason that apricot brandy would work well. The whole recipe seems designed to make it easy to do for bar service with minimal tools and ingredients, with sugar syrup and stirring. There's no egg in this drink, but you could do that...[plans for the future].
  • 2 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
  • sparkling water
  • lemon peel
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a highball glass full of fresh ice. Top with soda and stir again. Twist the lemon peel on top.

Bachelor's Bait

You have to love the name of this cocktail. For one, It's my drink when I have the place to myself. And then there's the pink fluff...

But the real beauty of this cocktail is bitterness with no citrus tartness. You get orange bitters on the nose and gin in the sip. Copper Fox Vir Gin is a very intense single malt gin, so the grain is present as well as anise, coriander, cardamon, and rosemary and basil. So many bitter botanicals that this drink takes on the flavor of an old world spiced candy. It may look pink and frilly, but it demands your attention and appreciation.
  • 2 oz. gin (Copper Fox Vir Gin used)
  • 3 dashes orange bitters (Hella Bitters used)
  • 3/4 tsp. grenadine
  • 1 egg white
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake to chill and strain out the ice. Shake liquid again and pour into a chilled cocktail glass.

Strawberry Colada

This cocktail is a fruity improvement on the Pina Colada. And it really is an improvement except that it adds a good amount of fruit. The recipe calls for gold rum and I used Cruzan 151 proof, which is dangerous but also great to keep the alcohol presence high. However I did not use a full three ounces since I don't have a death wish. Instead I did split the serving by doing it half 151 and half white rum.
  • 3 oz. gold rum (Cruzan 151-proof rum used)
  • 1 oz. coconut cream
  • 4 oz. pineapple juice
  • 6 strawberries
  • pineapple spear
Core the strawberries and set one aside for a garnish. Combine all ingredients except pineapple spear in a blender with cracked ice. Blend until slushy and pour into a chilled hurricane glass. Garnish with the strawberry and pineapple spear.

Tahoe Julius

This can't be a common cocktail. Something about a blended creamy egg and orange juice and vodka drink just says that it is oft overlooked, and making it well is challenging. The effect, if you get it blended very smoothly like I did, it goes down like an orange ice cream. The vodka is sort of an afterthought, however this Divine Clarity is itself very creamy.
  • 2 oz. vodka (Divine Clarity used)
  • 4 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. half and half
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tsp. sugar
Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice (like a whole cube tray) and blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled wine glass. 


Saturday, June 30, 2018

Pancho Villa

The raider of New Mexico was deadly and so is is namesake drink. There's so much booze in this cocktail that I wondered if it was a misprint. There's 2 oz. of rum, one of gin and about another 1.5 oz. of miscellaneous spirits and almost no juice, that you know not to mess with Pancho.

I took the opportunity to try out the new Vitae spirits I bought from Charlottesville, Virginia. Vitae makes a platinum rum with great flavor that tastes much like fresh cane juice. It is an excellent tiki cocktail addition. Then they have the only molasses-based gin in the U.S. with a fun aromatic scent and the flavor of local hardy oranges. The drink is further exoticized with apricot brandy and cherry brandy. I opted for kirschwasser for the latter for color consistency and the rummy flavor of kirsch that sweet cherry brandy doesn't have.
  • 2 oz. light rum (Vitae platinum used)
  • 1 oz. gin (Vitae modern gin used)
  • 1 oz. apricot brandy 
  • 1 tbsp. cherry brandy (Kammer Kirsch used)
  • 1 tbsp. pineapple juice
 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Havana Banana Fizz

It's very rare when a Fizz is also a blended cocktail. It is even rarer when the drink involves real banana and Peychaud's bitters. This wild combination comes together brilliantly in the Havana Banana Fizz, which is just so much fun to say.

Tips for this drink include using a tall glass, like the one pictured in the New York Bartender's Guide and not the Old Fashioned Glass that the recipe calls for. Inconsistencies like these are more common than you would think, as I can attest to having done most of the recipes in the 1997 edition.

The other tip is to use more ice than you think you will need and to make sure to chill that bottle of bitter lemon soda. Mine was Perrier lemon, in case you were wondering. I forgot to include it in the photo.
  • 2 oz. light rum (Buzzard Point colonial style rum used)
  • 2 1/2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 3-5 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • 1/5 banana sliced
  • bitter lemon soda (Perrier lemon used)
Combine all ingredients except lemon soda in a blender with cracked ice. Blend until slushy and pour into a chilled highball glass (about half way) and top with lemon soda then stir. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

After Dinner Cocktail

I realize that showing this drink in the afternoon daylight goes against its recommended serving time. The After Dinner Cocktail is a rich and very tart drink that has simple proportions. It is too sweet to use as an aperitif, and if anything comes across as tropical, like a fruit brandy Daiquiri.

Still it is a good beginning for other offshoot cocktails, should you wish to change the proportions.

A note on the ingredients. First, the recipe calls for triple sec or Cointreau, but since there's only two ounces of liquor in the drink in total, I opted for the stronger Cointreau. This was also necessary because the sweetness of the apricot brandy. Which brings me to my second point. The apricot brandy I used is an infusion of real pitted apricots in brandy. After pressing them into the brandy, I strained out the solids and added simple syrup to taste. I later added cognac to round out the flavor. This makes for a decadent cocktail ingredients that is getting a lot of use at my bar.
  • 1 oz. apricot brandy (house made apricot brandy used)
  • 1 oz. triple sec or Cointreau (Cointreau please)
  • juice of one lime
  • lime slice
Combine all ingredients except lime slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lime slice. 

Rum Cooler

For what it is worth, the Rum Cooler is an easy, build-in-glass cocktail that can be made with minimal preparation. This is a good thing because it is also a very strong drink, and its simplicity means that you can make a second one after the first has completely sapped your fine motor skills.

The point of this drink is to make a strong and long rum cocktail with ginger ale. The orange twist is actually a nice touch. Expressing the twist gives the cocktail an orange flavor that becomes more pronounced as you drink it down.

If you have these ingredients on a hot day, by all means, enjoy this drink.
  • 3 oz. light rum (Cruzan aged used)
  • ginger ale (Q used)
  • orange twist
Build drink in a highball glass with rum and ice. Top with ginger ale and stir gently. Twist orange peel over the drink and drop it in. 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Saffron (White) Witch

I love the look and taste of this cocktail. It really plays up two flavors present in Strega, the Italian Alpine liqueur with saffron and mint in abundance. Additionally it has a touch of Meletti Amaro, a saffron amaro with a bittersweet herbal flavor. Meletti is mild and lightly colored, so it doesn't really bitter this drink up too much, but allows the saffron color to shine through.

With all these intense herbal flavors going on, you are likely to miss the whiskey flavor. This is my first up drink with MurLarkey Justice white whiskey. This unaged whiskey has a lot of character, much like tequila or a Martinique rum. It is spicy and sticks out of your cocktail, however you use it, but it is much tamed by all this saffron and mint.
  • 2 oz. MurLarkey Justice
  • 1 oz. Strega
  • 1/2 oz. Meletti Amaro
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • mint sprig
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the mint sprig.

Italian (Heritage) Job

Looking for a twist on the classic Italian Stallion? Punt E Mes really punches up this stirred drink with more bitterness and a thick-tasting sweet vermouth flavor. I've done this drink (Italian Stallion) with Carpano Antica Vermouth, but never with a dry Irish-American whiskey. The usual recipe calls for Bourbon, which MurLarkey Heritage is not. But this particular combo is the strongest and most bitter iteration of the Italian Stallion I've made.
  • 2 oz. Heritage Old Country Whiskey 
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1/2 oz. Punt E Mes sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • lemon twist
Combine all liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon twist. 

Giuseppe's Red Shirt

This is not a Star Trek or Babylon 5 themed drink. This cocktail is similar to a Boulivardier but sweeter in that it achieve's it's red color from Cappelletti Vino Aperitivo Amaro, a bitter sweet liqueur with an unusually bright red color. It is not as bitter as Campari, however. I named this drink for Giuseppe Garibaldi, hero of Italy's wars of unification. Giueseppe also happens to be distiller Cappelletti's first name.

Italy of the 19th century was a brutal place, So Brutality Battle Strength whiskey is called for. This whiskey is dry and strong. It is also fairly young and can work well in bitter cocktails where the whiskey itself cannot be counted on for the sweetness.

The final ingredient is Zucca Amaro. This Milan liqueur is a rich combination of bitter herbs and rhubarb that is proofed up to 30 percent alcohol. Finally the Italian cocktail is unified by a smacked basil leaf.
  • 2 oz. American whiskey (MurLarkey Brutality used)
  • 1 oz. Cappelletti Vino Aperitivo
  • 1/2 oz. Zucca Amaro
  • smacked basil leaf
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass with fresh ice. Smack the basil leaf in between both hands and garnish with it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Woodstock

I usually have my doubts about cocktails that go for a maple syrup sweetener, especially ones calling for a whole tablespoon of the stuff. I was more then pleasantly surprised when this turned out to be an amazing combination. Not only that, I felt that this really highlighted some of ImaGination gin's darker notes like rosemary and grains of paradise.

I'm sure it helped that I used real Vermont maple of a slightly darker grade as well. Tasting this drink, though really made me feel like I was enjoying an amazing culinary experience that I wanted to repeat.
 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Diamond Fizz

The Diamond Fizz is pretty similar to the London French 75 except that it is served long and on the rocks. The concept is the same. I think that the cocktail is good simply because it is stronger than you  expect, which may be why it rates as a "diamond." It is also sparkly.

I picked Hendrick's gin for no other reason than it's diamond-shaped label, but it did help to class up this cocktail a bit. The sparkling wine, this dry Circova, is really the dominant flavor though. It almost doesn't come across as a gin drink anyway. It is like a sparkling lemonade with a huge punch.
  • 2 oz. gin (Hendrick's used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • sparkling wine (Circova used)
Combine gin, lemon juice and sugar in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled highball or Collins glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling wine and stir gently.

(White) Whiskey And Tonic

When is it O.K. to make a Whiskey and Tonic? When you use white whiskey and Q Indian Tonic or some other high-juniper tonic. That is because you get all the flavorful corn and tequila-like notes of a white whiskey like MurLarkey's Justice and the juniper flavor you usually associate with a gin.

There's lots of drinks you can make with white whiskey. It plays well with citrus in drinks like Margaritas, but you can also go sweet like an Eggnog or some kind of rum punch.

This is a simple recipe you can make if you don't feel like thinking too much about making cocktails, or it turns out that you don't happen to have any gin on hand.
  • 1 1/2 oz. white whiskey (MurLarkey Justice used)
  • Q Indian Tonic or high-juniper tonic
  • lime wedge
Build drink in a rocks glass with whiskey and ice and top with tonic. Stir and garnish with a lime wedge.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Strawberry Daiqurir

A Strawberry Daiquiri made with real strawberries is pretty amazing. Look at that almost creamy texture of the blend of fruit and ice! This drink is purely 80s vintage, those tropical drinks that made their way up from Miami and rum hot spots along with Caribbean music that really fueled a craze for the exotic at places like TGI Friday's all over the country.

The problem was that the cocktail was bastardized with strawberry sour mix to make them easier to pump out. A real Strawberry Daiquiri is sour with strawberry seeds! Too much sweetness be overkill.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 7 large strawberries cored and chopped
Blend all ingredients with cracked ice (about 2 cups) except one strawberry saved for garnishing. Pour in a chilled cocktail glass or wine goblet. Garnish with the strawberry.

Frozen Brandy And Rum

The drink needs a more creative name. This is a really good dessert drink that goes down like a custard. There's lots of raisin flavor from brandy. I chose Martell Single Distillery VS, however because it is dry and not overly fruity. There's some citrus and oak, but it's not a fruit bomb like American brandy. I also used Buzzard Point rum for its toasted marshmallow flavor. Then an egg white and some lemon juice just turn this cocktail into a blended creme brulee.
  • 2 oz. brandy (Martell Single Distillery VS used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. light rum (Buzzard Point used)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
Combine all ingredients in a blender with cracked ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. 

Creme De Menth Frappe

Not so much a frappe as a rocks drink, but it is beautiful this way. Crushing the ice first and pouring the green creme de menthe in makes each of the ice crystals look like emeralds. This is the main effect of the drink. The taste itself is not great.

You really have to like creme de menthe to like this drink. Actually, I've decided I don't dislike it, and in fact I like it served this way more than mixed with lime juice or Jagermeister like I've often endured. For one thing, it is strong. 30 percent alcohol in this Dekuyper brand is not too shabby. Also, it tastes like fresh mint and sugar. Not like peppermint sticks or mouthwash. If you get one of those designer creme de menthes I bet this is even better!
  • 2 oz. creme de menthe
  • shaved ice
Fill a chilled Old Fashioned glass with shaved ice. Pour creme de menthe on the ice and stir gently. Serve with a short straw.

Frozen Apple

It's nearly a dessert drink with its egg white foam whipped up into lime juice and apple brandy. I used some bootleg apple brandy that has been infused with actual winesap apples. It was really fruity and rich. The texture was perfect, like a foam, not a slushy, so this is definitely a good cocktail to do. I recommend using apple brandy, not calvados or applejack. You want that rich apple flavor to come through since it is the only source.
  • 2 oz. apple brandy
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 egg white
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • apple slice
Combine all ingredients except the apple slice in a blender with cracked ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with the apple slice. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Derby Daiquiri

This is a Daiquiri with orange juice served frozen in a champagne flute. I'm not sure what justifies this cocktail being distinct from a frozen Daiquiri, but my sense is that it is used to placate country club members looking for the tropical drink they had in Havana (Yes, that long ago!) with something that wouldn't look to exotic on their white table cloths. It's the cocktail equivalent to a popular white singer covering a Cuban song so that the original remains unknown to white audiences. I'm not accusing this cocktail of racism, though the name Derby has other connotations. I'm just saying that the history of cocktails is like the history of America. It is what it is.
  • 2 oz. light rum (Cruzan aged rum used)
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice. Blend until slushy and pour into a chilled champagne flute. 

Chamborlada

The idea behind this drink is a Pina Colada with Chambord raspberry liqueur added for color and flavor. I don't have Chambord because I make my own with fresh raspberries, rum and sugar. But this drink is indicative of a time when tropical-themed hotels and bars were trying to differentiate the most popular cocktail in the American South--The Pina Colada!

Another note: I'm not sure what actual Chambord does, but my natural raspberry liqueur just sinks to the bottom of the glass. Look at the photo. I didn't start by putting the liqueur on the bottom as the instructions said. I put it in half way and again on top. What I got was a raspberry bomb at the bottom, which was really tasty.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. dark rum
  • 2 oz. cream of coconut 
  • 3 oz pineapple juice
  • 2 oz. Chambord (homemade raspberry liqueur used)
Combine all ingredients except Chambord in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth on low speed. Add a little of the Chambord to the bottom of a cocktail glass or balloon wine glass. Pour the blended cocktail on top. Top with the remaining Chambord.

Jungle James

This is a simple cocktail that was designed for vodka drinkers who are leery at using fresh ingredients--dive bar drinkers, I think. That is because dive bars don't usually have fresh ingredients. They have vodka and a bunch of cremes like creme de bananes.

I've classed this drink up a bit with quality vodka and banana whiskey from MurLarkey distillery. This is made with an infusion of real dried bananas and it tastes like a rich aged rum. So kinda nice, really.

I also dig the name. It's like: "The name's James. Jungle James."
  • 2 oz. vodka 
  • 2 oz. banana liqueur (MurLarkey banana whiskey and 1/2 tsp. sugar used)
  • 2 oz. milk
Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. 

Banana Daiquiri

If by Banana Daiquiri, you mean a banana smoothie with a bit of lime and rum, than this is the drink you asked for. First, I don't hold that all Daiquiris must be frozen. Second, If it is a Daiquiri it should be tart. What the hell is this creamy banana thing?

Laying all that aside, this is a pretty good drink. It is truly 90s vintage or related to resort beach drinks of the 80s where the word Daiquiri meant frozen tropical drink, not a tart juicy rum sipper. You can make this cocktail in a balloon wine glass if you like. I wanted it in a Hurricane glass because it belongs on a cruise ship.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • 1/2 oz. half-and-half
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 sliced banana
  • lime slice
Combine all ingredients except lime slice in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a balloon wine glass. Garnish with lime slice. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Kingston Cocktail

Most Jamaican-themed cocktails make use of the richly flavored local rum as well as Jamaica's cash crop, coffee. There's plenty of instances where no rum is used at all, and just coffee liqueur or coffee are used. This happens in hot and cold drinks alike.

I wish I had Appleton Estate rum for this cocktail, but Pusser's Rum is probably the closest match for Jamaica's funky and flavorful well aged rums. Wooden stills and long again make Pusser's Guyana rum very similar to the older Jamaican rums. The amount of coffee liqueur, and I used my homemade coffee liqueur with cold brew coffee, rum and vanilla and coco flavors, is pretty minimal, so this turns out to be a cocktail that really features and plays well with a tasty rum.
  • 2 oz. dark rum (Jamaican rum recommended, Pusser's Rum used)
  • 3/4 oz. coffee liqueur (homemade coffee liqueur used)
  • 2 tsp. lime juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Cantaloupe Cup

This is the only alcoholic cantaloupe cocktail in the 90s vintage NY Bartender's guide. It's a solid drink. In a pinch, blending is just about the only way to get cantaloupe into a cocktail in a meaningful way, not just as a garnish. There's lots of water in it, and the flavor is light. I felt that an interesting rum like Buzzard Point would be helpful to accentuate the melon flavor.

Buzzard Point is a colonial style rum. It has a fresh sugar cane flavor similar to cachaca, but its yeast creates a toasted marshmallow flavor that comes through in this cocktail, which is just what you want with a cantaloupe boat drink.

I like the look of melon slices standing on end. The directions are vague, and this is probably the most practical and attractive use of "melon slice" garnish.
  • 2 oz. white rum (District Distilling Co. Buzzard Point used)
  • 1/3 cup ripe cantaloupe
  • 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • cantaloupe slice(s)
Combine 1/3 cup of cantaloupe and liquid ingredients with ice in a blender. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with the cantaloupe slices. 

Outrigger

Outrigger canoes like those used by native Hawaiians have a secondary hull for stability. This recipe, however may make you less stable after you finish it. The recipe calls for gold rum, which is vague since color is not a good way to classify rums. When I see gold rum, I take it to mean a blend of aged and lightly aged white rum. I split the amount called for with equal parts 151-proof rum and white lightly aged rum.

Apricot liqueur and curacao are also nice tropical additions to this drink that, besides lime juice, is all hard liquor.
  • 2 oz. gold rum (1 oz. Cruzan 151-proof rum and 1 oz. Cruzan aged white rum used)
  • 1/2 oz. apricot liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. curacao
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • lime slice
Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass full of fresh ice. Garnish with the lime slice. 

Pilot Boat

It is summer, at least according to the calendar. But in Virginia it doesn't feel very warm. Good thing there's rum.

This drink is named after the pilot boat that meets up with cruise ships. The pilot boat captain takes the cruise ship's wheel and brings the ship to the harbor safely.

The Pilot Boat is a tart drink that is mostly lime juice. Dark rum, in this case Pampero Aniversario blend from Venezuela. This is a rich but not overly sugary dark rum that gets its color and vanilla flavor from barrel aging. Mixed with Cruzan banana rum--which tastes like banana Runts candy--and you have a tart drink with a mellow center.

I'm sure it would have been sweeter if I used creme de bananes, but I don't use it. Instead I added 1/2 oz. simple syrup to sweeten the drink a little. 
  • 2 oz. dark rum (Pampero Aniversario used)
  • 1 oz. creme de bananes (Cruzan banana rum and 1/2 oz. simple syrup)
  • 2 oz. lime juice.
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Rose Hall Nightcap

Rose Hall, a grand estate in Jamaica seems to have a few cocktails dedicated to it's memory. The most memorable being the White Witch, who's ghost still haunts the mansion since colonial days. Unsurprisingly, the drinks devoted to this spooky place are white. The Nightcap is no exception. Nightcap cocktails are usually strong and milky and are served either hot or cold. Pernod is one unusual ingredient that adds a lot of sweet and bitter herb flavor. Another unusual ingredient, though not for nightcaps, is dark creme de cacao.

I don't have the dark, but MurLarkey cocoa whiskey allows me to make it. I added a half teaspoon of sugar to the cocktail and the sweetness of the Pernod also helped keep this sweet drink from being too dry.
  • 2 oz. cognac (D'usse VSOP used)
  • 1 oz. Pernod
  • 1 tbsp. dark creme de cacao (MurLarkey cocoa whiskey and 1/2 tsp. sugar used)
  • 2 oz. half-and-half
 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Beverly Hills

It is a cognac day for me and here I've used Martell single distillery cognac in another California-themed drink. Everybody knows Beverly Hills. But the drink is little known. It is a strange combination of triple sec base, brandy and a taste of coffee liqueur. I chose Cointreau over plain triple sec because it is stronger and less sweet. There's plenty of sweetness in my home made coffee liqueur.

Martell single distillery VS is a solid cognac, much drier than its competitors. It is a new product designed to feature the craft of a single distillery, and therefore doesn't have the roundness, that chewy flagship brand taste, of a Hennessey or Remy Martin. You do get a nice traction on the tongue that is similar to apricot juice and lemon zest. I wouldn't call it smooth, though. And maybe that is the point.

Anyways, I liked this drink as a slow and luxurious sipper that combines bold fruit flavor with a little coffee, vanilla and chocolate bitterness--a real luxury.
  • 2 oz. triple sec (Cointreau used)
  • 1 oz. brandy (Martell single distillery VS used)
  • 1/2 oz. coffee liqueur (home made version used)

La Jolla

La Jolla is a San Diego neighborhood known for high end houses and beautiful beaches. It kind of makes sense that this tropical cocktail has a brandy base. It makes even more sense to use cognac when suggesting luxury. For this cocktail I used Remy Martin's 1738 cognac blend.

The cocktail also calls for creme de bananes, which I don't use and refuse to buy. Instead, I grabbed MurLarkey's banana whiskey and added a half tsp. of sugar to sweeten the drink since banana whiskey doesn't have sugar like creme de bananes.

It worked out well. I especially liked how much stronger La Jolla tasted with the banana whiskey and the whiskey notes it gave off. You can't miss the cognac either.
  • 2 oz. brandy (Remy Martin 1738 used)
  • 1 oz. creme de bananes (MurLarkey banana whiskey and 1/2 tsp. sugar used)
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Soul Kiss

I know I've done this drink before. It's a great one, the cocktail that I bought my first bottle of Dubonnet Rouge just to do. I remember being excited to try it. But now when I search for it on my website, it is not there. All the other Dubonnet drinks I've done are there, but not this one. I guess I'll just have to have it again. Sigh!

Soul Kiss is another word for French kiss. It is the title of a lesser-known Olivia Newton John song, by the way, and I think of it as a French cocktail in the Kiss series with the French Kiss, another bourbon drink, and the Kiss Me Quick.

I've got better ingredients this time around. Fresh squeezed orange juice helps a lot. So does Filibuster dual cask bourbon aged in oak and French sauvignon blanc casks. Then the spicy notes of Rivata dry vermouth are really interesting. This drink is foremost a bourbon drink, but Dubonnet Rouge gives it this bright red color and an herbal and sweet flavor that is hard to miss.
  • 2 oz. bourbon (Filibuster dual cask used)
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth (Rivata used)
  • 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. Dubonnet Rouge
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Melon Medley (Nonp-Alcoholic)

It's melon season and this mocktail does it right! Blended with orange juice and lemon (and a touch of sugar for my taste), this is an easy non-alcoholic drink to make that will really impress your friends.

There are two cantaloupe cocktails in the New York Bartender's Guide of 1997, the other is alcoholic, which is really impressive for those dark ages. Try this one. Add vodka or white whiskey as I've done at times and you'll find it's great for sipping poolside.
  • 4 oz. cantaloupe chunks
  • 4 oz. orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • (optional tsp. sugar)
  • (optional cantaloupe slice garnish)
 Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled Collins glass. Garnish at will.

White Spider

This is such a simple recipe and one that will impress people who like mint and candy canes. It is simply two parts vodka to one part white creme de menthe. When you shake it hard you get a cool white translucent effect in the liquid that gives the drink this fitting name.

People complain that mint liqueurs give drinks a mouthwash flavor, but I think that compared to vodka alone, the mint flavor is nice. More like a breath mint, which can come in handy if you are in need of a mint.
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

(Heritage) Whiskey Sour

The New York Bartender's guide circa 1997 has many sour recipes, some with egg white and some without. The Whiskey Sour in this edition is without, but at least it is served in a sour glass. I've decided to update the recipe. This time doing it in a sour glass and with egg white using a great local whiskey. MurLarkey Distillery's Heritage old country whiskey is young and rapidly aged and finished in French wine casks. This is a dry and very strong whiskey that really does well when mixed with egg whites.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey (MurLarkey Heritage used)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
  • 1 egg white (optional but recommended)
  • orange slice
  • maraschino cherry
Combine whiskey, lemon juice, sugar and egg white in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain out the ice. Shake the liquid ingredients to increase the foam and pour into a chilled sour glass. Garnish with the orange slice and cherry.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Silver Cocktail

This is another cocktail that is similar to an Aviation. It is that trusty gin and maraschino liqueur combination that keeps coming back in a good way. In this instance, there's a lot more dry vermouth to enjoy in here. I also liked spicing things up with Vigilant gin from Joseph Magnus Distillery in D.C. Their gin is dry and loaded with interesting botanicals like tarragon, sesame, grapefruit and sumac. This is one cocktail that stands out with a good gin base but would fall flatly otherwise.
  • 2 oz. gin (Vigilant used)
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth (Dolin used)
  • 1 tsp. maraschino liqueur
  • 3 dashes orange bitters (Regan's used)
  • lemon twist
 Combine all ingredients except lemon twist in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon twist.

Floradora


Floradora is a nice gin long drink that is similar to a Rickey but sweetened with grenadine. That accounts for the pretty pink color that is rightly described by its name. I was saddened to see that no garnish was suggested for a drink that just asks to be dressed up. I went with mint, but a flower or fruit slices would be acceptable as well.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. grenadine
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • sparkling water
  • Optional garnish of mint sprigs or a flower recommended.
Combine all ingredients except for garnish and sparkling water in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled highball glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water and stir gently. Garnish at will.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Verona Cocktail

I'm always happy when good ingredients take what could be an overly sweet cocktail in an interesting direction. In the case of the Verona cocktail, that is almost every one of the ingredients I chose. This quintessentially Italian cocktail shows off flavors of northern and southern Italy.

First a good amaretto like Lazzaroni is less bitter and has more of the Sorrono cookie flavor than the mainstream brands. Punt E Mes is a very bitter sweet vermouth. There's so much packed into it that it doesn't even resemble other sweet vermouths. Finally, Copper Fox VirGin is a gin spiced like no other gin. All together this is one of the most flavorful and equally light and interesting rocks cocktails you can make with these same ingredients. It's totally luxurious and at the same time, simple. The ingredients really make the difference.
  • 2 oz. gin (Copper Fox VirGin used)
  • 1 oz. amaretto (Lazzaroni used)
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (Punt E Mes used)
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon juice
  • orange slice
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass full of fresh (large) ice. Garnish with the orange slice. 

Allen Cocktail

So who is this Allen guy? Someone messaged me on Instagram to tell me that this drink is like an Aviation. Yes, it is. An Aviation with no creme de violette, anyway. It is a very classic drink with a good portion of gin and maraschino liqueur, as it should be.

I'm trying to use more local gins so today I'm featuring K.O. Distillery's Battle Standard Navy Strength gin. It packs a broadside of alcohol at 114-proof. That makes this diminutive cocktail go a little farther for sure.
  • 2 oz. gin (Battle Standard Navy Strength used)
  • 1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur
  • 1 1/2 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.