Thursday, October 18, 2018

Aztec Punch

This is a fabulous punch and an excellent example that Tequila is for more than Margaritas. It balances somewhere between a citrus cocktail and a dessert drink. Orgeat is a good choice for the sweetener since spiced almond milk called horchata is a common drink in central and South America.

I used Liber & Co. orgeat, a very thick and rich orgeat. It really sweetens well and carries the almond flavor better than most homemade orgeats I've made.

When blending the punch I mixed the cinnamon--dry powder--with the thick orgeat to prevent it from clumping and floating when combined with the liquor and juice.

The recipe calls for white or silver tequila: there's no difference, it's just a descriptor. But Tres Agaves rightly makes the claim that an un-aged tequila is the true expression of the spirit. You can more easily taste the bright and herbal flavors of a good tequila if it isn't hiding behind oak.

  • 64 oz. white teqila (Tres Agaves used)
  • 64 oz. grapefruit juice (100% white grapefruit juice recommended)
  • 32 oz. cold black tea
  • 4 oz. lemon juice
  • 6 oz. orgeat (Liber & Co. used)
  • 1/2 oz. orange bitters
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Mix all ingredients in a large punch bowl with a block of ice. (Serves 40)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Mocha Mint

I was afraid that this cocktail would be too much like a dessert. It was far from that, though. A combination of liqueurs that add coffee, chocolate and mint in equal measure, what's not to like about the Mocha Mint?

Even better, since there's plenty of sugar in the cremes, I could use MurLarkey coffee whiskey without having to add more sugar to balance it. If anything the coffee whiskey was the balance.
  • 1 1/2 oz. coffee liqueur (MurLarkey coffee whiskey used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. white creme de menthe
  • 1 1/2 oz. white creme de cacao
 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Peppermint Patty

Not the shot version, this cocktail is actually a pleasant sipper that not too rich to enjoy any time. It's also easy to make, with equal parts white creme de cacao and white creme de menthe. It is chocolatey, minty and attractive with a little creamy whiteness, not that fake green color of most creme de menthe.
  • 2 oz. white creme de menthe
  • 2 oz. white creme de cacao
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
Shake all ingredients with ice and pour into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. 

Kahlua Toreador

The original Toreador is a blended dessert drink made with tequila. It's pretty amazing in itself if you go all out with whipped cream and cinnamon.

This Toreador is more of an excuse to make a coffee flavored cocktail that's strong and slightly sweet. Not quite a dessert drink. Gone is the cream, whipped or otherwise, and in the place of Tequila, there's Kahlua. Holding it all together is a half of an egg white.

In place of Kahlua, I used a combination of MurLarkey coffee whiskey and sugar syrup to sweeten this liquor to the level of Kaluah. Copper and Kings brandy was also a good choice for this cocktail for its strength. You can't make a Toreador without something stronger than coffee liqueur at it center.
  • 2 oz. brandy (Copper and Kings used)
  • 1 oz. Kahlua (1 oz. MurLarkey Coffee Whiskey and 1/2 tsp. sugar used)
  • 1/2 egg white
Combine all ingredients in a blender with cracked ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Egg Sour

The whole egg sour recipe in the New York Bartender's Guide is a brandy drink. Go figure. I'm finding that egg and brandy drinks are great if you use Copper and Kings brandy, which is strong and clean tasting. That's useful when the rest of the cocktail is so rich.

The fun thing about a whole egg sour is that it is so rich and creamy as well as tart. This is an egg cocktail lover's drink. Of course freshness of ingredients really counts here. For the drink and the photo I used Andean blue eggs. You can almost see the blue tint of the shell. But a fresh and healthy chicken egg makes a big difference when a raw egg is the main ingredient in a drink.
  • 2 oz. brandy (Copper and Kings used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Cointreau
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • whole egg
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled sour glass. 

Brandy Gump

This cocktail a dry, tart drink that really shows off your brandy. I opted for cognac here, because if you are going to be drinking a lot of brandy it might as well be cognac.

Now "gump" has no meaning in terms of cocktail recipes. As far as I know, it is the only use of this term in the name of a cocktail. It does, however, mean a dim-witted person in Scottish, so there's that. With three ounces of brandy, this drink will make a gump of anyone.
  • 3 oz. brandy (cognac please)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Biffy Cocktail

This cocktail was an epic journey for me. I had to acquire the ingredients to make Swedish Punsch, a cocktail in itself that used to be sold bottled and can now only be found in Scandinavia. 

I got the recipe from several I found online and made adjustments for the strength of the flavors I was working with. Central to this recipe is Batavia Arrack--a rice yeast cane sugar infusion from Indonesia that is itself difficult to find. The recipe for this is already posted earlier. Then I went about making this cocktail several times.
The first Biffy Cocktail I made was with Icelandc Vor, a heavily barley tasting gin from Iceland (shown above.) This might have been overkill, and I feel it covered over the flavor of the Swedish Punsch. On second go, I felt that Vitae Modern Gin (right) with its rum base and funky sugar smell did the drink the best justice. I also added a touch of sugar to balance the lemon juice, which also has a way of covering things, especially since it was a lot of work getting the lemon essence into the Swedish Punch without using juice.

Lastly, I don't know why such a good drink has such a bad name. Biffy is the old fashioned term for the outhouse. That's cute, but it doesn't speak well of what is really a complex cocktail. 
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. Swedish Punsch (homemade used)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar (recommended)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Thunder Cocktai

This is an incredible recipe. I mean that if you see it written out you won't believe it. Tasting is believing though. This is a brandy cocktail with egg yolk and cayenne pepper. It is sweet and spicy and not at all what you'd expect.

I tried it out with Copper and Kings American brandy aged in bourbon barrels, and it worked very well. I attribute the success to Copper and King's being a dry and stronger then average brandy. Keep in mind that it is a grape spirit that gets most of its flavor from barrel aging.

The result is a drink that creates a sweet suspension with egg yolk--which when sweetened comes across as creamy. The chili was hot! I recommend using cayenne pepper and not just any powdered chili. The finer the grind, the better.
  • 2 oz. brandy (Copper and Kings used)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Monday, September 24, 2018

White Way

The White Way is an outmoded term describing the main business strip, the street of a city that is electrified at night. The term could only be used seriously in the early Twentieth Century as cities were switching to electric power.

The cocktail is still true to it's name--brilliantly white and fresh. It also makes use of white creme de menthe, a liqueur that was very fashionable in the metropolises of the19th and 20th century.
  • 2 oz. gin (MurLarkey ImaGination used)
  • 1 oz. white creme de menthe (Leroux used)
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously to stir up air bubbles and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Coffee Grasshopper

This is a final instillation of the Grasshopper series of cocktails that use creme de menthe and cocoa flavors in cream to make a creamy dessert drink. This time I'm using white creme de menthe to blend mint flavor into the mix without turning the whole thing a mucky green color that green creme de menthe would create when mixed with coffee liqueur.

Here again is MurLarkey coffee whiskey, a good stand in when the sweetness of creme de menthe is enough to balance. And again the rich roasted taste of real coffee infused into the whiskey makes for an interesting twist to this old cocktail. This recipe makes the original drink even stronger.
  • 1 1/2 oz. coffee liqueur (MurLarkey coffee whiskey used)
  • 1 oz. white creme de menthe
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass full of fresh ice. 

Coco Chanel

This cocktail is named after the famous fashion designer. I have trouble believing that Coco Chanel would drink such a rich cocktail, however. The recipe is simple, almost too easy, with almost three ingredients. I changed it up, however because I chose MurLarkey coffee whiskey instead of Kaluah. Since the coffee infused whiskey has no sugar, I added a tsp. of black tea and demerara sugar simple syrup that I had left over from making Swedish Punsch.

Since I've not posted the Punsch recipe, I'll give a description of my syrup: Make a cup of hot black tea and dissolve a half cup of demerera sugar into it. Allow it to cool and store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin (MurLarkey ImaGination used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. coffee liqueur (MurLarkey coffee whiskey used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. half-and-half 
  • 1 tsp. black tea demerara suger syrup (optional)
 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Yellow Fingers

This is a fun, funny dessert drink cocktail with a tropical accent. Banana liqueur and blackberry brandy are the sweetener for this creamy cocktail. But banana liqueur tastes so fake and sugary. I was glad to use the richly flavored MurLarkey Banana Whiskey. Coupled with their gin, you get a dessert drink with traction. Whiskey flavors as well as real dried banana and a mouthful of gin botanicals bombard your senses.

For the blackberry brandy, I used my homemade blackberry brandy by dissolving blackberry preserves in cognac and fine straining out the liquor.
  • 2 oz. gin (MurLarkey ImaGination used)
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
  • 1 oz. blackberry brandy (homemade used)
  • 1 oz. creme de bananes (MurLarkey banana whiskey used)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Boston Cocktail

I feel I've had this drink before. It comes from this example being another one of those gin and apricot brandy recipes that keep coming back in different proportions. Also it is another one of a long line of Boston-named drinks like the Cooler, the Sidecar, and the Sour.

Just for kicks I used the distinguished Plymouth gin which is known as its own style of gin complete in itself. It's not London or Old Tom, but it's an old recipe that has been around since the Plymouth colony in Massachusetts began, or at least soon after. This is the gin of Plymouth, England and the industrious people who sailed from there to find a better life.
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin (Plymouth used)
  • 1 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. grenadine 
Combine all ingredients in a shaker full of ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Rose and White Rose

I thought it fitting to do both the Rose cocktails together in a single post with the same gin. Equally fitting is the choice of Boodles, a traditional London style gin to go with these two British houses that the cocktails signify.

It is interesting that apart from gin these cocktails have nothing in common. The Rose is one of those apricot brandy, gin and lemon juice combos that you find everywhere in old bar books. It might be the most common combinations behind gin and vermouth!

The White Rose is completely different. It is the first egg white and orange juice cocktail I've come across. There's a ton of maraschino liqueur in there too! The texture and flavors are so opposite each other that it was fun to have both at once.

Here's how to make them:

  • 2 oz. gin (Boodles used)
  • 1 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth (Rivata used)
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. grenadie
  • lemon wedge
  • sugar
Coat the rim of a chilled cocktail glass with sugar by using rubbing a lemon wedge around it and dipping the glass in sugar. You can discard the lemon wedge or use it as a garnish (and rightly so, to control the acid level in the cocktail. just squeeze more in if you find the drink too sweet as I did.) Shake all liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker full of ice and strain it into the glass.

White Rose
  • 2 oz. gin (Boodles used)
  • 1 oz. maraschino liqueur (Luxardo used)
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup 
  • 1 egg white
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake to chill and strain to remove the ice. Shake again to add foam and pour into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Red Cloud

There are storm clouds brewing, but this cocktail is a lovely red cloud. I'm not sure if the name of this cocktail comes from the influential Oglala Lakota chief, or just a description of the drink's color. I happen to think that the use of apricot brandy, lemon juice, and gin produces a light, cloudlike cocktail.

So here is MurLarkey distillery's ImaGination gin, with rosemary, celery, grains of paradise--dark flavors that ground things. Then sweet apricot brandy and grenadine to cut the lemon juice, but not by much. Angostura bitters distinguish this cocktail from many of these red cocktails with gin and apricot brandy--a very common classic trend.
  • 2 oz. gin (ImaGination used)
  • 1 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
 Combine all ingredients in a a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Swedish Punsch

I have only just assembled the ingredients for Swedish Punsch, a rum-based lemon and spice cocktail that is designed to be enjoyed warm. This isn't surprising because the Scandinavian countries have a lot of hot drinks to battle the cold climate. What is surprising is that a Duch and East Indian spirit is integral to this particular punch drink.

Batavia-Arrack isn't a North African Arrack like those anise flavored grain spirits similar to Metaxa and Ouzo. Batavia-Arrack is a cane sugar distillate that uses fermented rice to kick off the fermentation. It is close to cachacas from Brazil, which are also cane sugar rums, in that it is a little funky and sweet. There's almost a rice-like bitterness in the Batavia-Arrack which I have to think has to be a part of the reason it is included with Jamaican rum, which is also very flavorful.

Batavia-Arrack is hard to find. I searched many specialty shops before finding this bottle.

So after looking at a lot of recipes that vary in size from a single serving to a whole liter, I decided to go full on and make a big batch with lots of Arrack because I'm not going to use the Arrack for much else. Swedish Punsch is useful in many recipes that will appear soon.

This is my recipe, a combination of the strong points of three I looked at:
  • 1 1/2 cups Batavia Arrack
  • 1 cup Appleton Estate rum
  • 1 cup strong black tea (Trader Joe's Irish Breakfast used)
  • 2/3 cup demerara sugar
  • 2 lemons sliced and de-seeded
  • 12 cardamon pods crushed with shells removed
  • 5 cloves
  1. Make 1 cup of strong black tea and dissolve the sugar into it until it is a thick black tea simple syrup. Refrigerate until well chilled.
  2. Slice lemons and place them in a large container that can be sealed air tight.
  3. Add crushed cardamon and cloves and pour Arrack and rum and tea simple syrup over the ingredients. Seal and store for 24 hours. 
  4. Remove the lemons from the container and strain the liquid to remove spices. Store sealed for up to five months.

Friday, September 7, 2018


Limey is the ultimate lime cocktail. It's like a Daiquiri that uses a lime liqueur, lime zest and juice to really get an intense lime flavor. I used Vitae platinum rum for the rum and Vitae orange liquor for triple sec. This triple sec is made of Virginia bitter hearty oranges and other sweet orange flavors in a rum base that tastes the same as the platinum label. 

Since there are few lime liqueurs available, I made my own. My experience making falernum came in handy here, since falernum is a lime and spice liqueur. I just made it without the spices. Instead of rum, this time I used MurLarkey Justice white whiskey. This is unaged barley and corn spirit that tastes a little like a cane juice rum. I made the liqueur by soaking the zest of two limes in six ounces of Justice for a week. When you are ready to use the liqueur, add the juice of one lime and simple syrup to taste and shake it. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. 
  • 2 oz. light rum (Vitae platinum rum used)
  • 1 oz. lime liqueur (homemade MurLarkey Justice lime liqueur used)
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec (Vitae orange liquor used)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • lime twist. 
Combine liquid ingredients in a blender with ice. Blend until slushy and pour into a chilled wine glass. Garnish with the lime twist.

Jamaica Hop

Jamaica Hop is a dessert drink that's not very strong, and more sweet and creamy than anything. The idea is to feature another one of Jamaica's exports: coffee.

You do get a hit of coffee, especially with natural homemade coffee liqueur. I made mine a while ago with fresh coffee and rum as well as a whole bean steeped simple syrup. The only other ingredients are Creme de cacao and half-and-half. This is a relaxing drink for any time of day because of its low proof.
  • 2 oz. coffee liqueur
  • 1 oz. white creme de cacao (but dark would be fine too.)
  • 2 oz. half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Limbo Cocktail

Calypso music, dancers trying to bend beneath the limbo stick and tropical drinks on the beach all scream Caribbean vacation. This light rum cocktail has banana flavors to make it tropical. It has banana rum from Cruzan instead of banana liqueur, which can sometimes taste like banana candy. I like that this is an all rum cocktail, with Vitae platinum rum to give the drink a heady scent of rum with real flavor.
  • 2 oz. light rum (Vitae platinum used)
  • 1/2 oz. banana liqueur (Cruzan banana used)
  • 1 oz. orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Jamaica Egg Cream

The point of an Egg Cream is to have a thick and tart drink that tastes like you used egg white to create foam. Most egg creams don't have egg in them, though. This one uses half-and-half. It is an unusual combination of rum and gin: dark rum specifically.

The dark rum you use in a Jamaican themed drink should be rich and flavorful like those of Jamaica. I had the next best thing on hand, Pusser's Guyana rum is pretty close. Then I chose Vitae modern gin because it is rum-based and will keep the spirits profile consistent. This is a rich and rewarding tropical drink that is unlike most I've ever tasted. It really lets the flavor of the rum shine.
  • 2 oz. dark rum (Jamaican recommended but Pusser's British Navy used)
  • 1 oz. gin (Vitae modern gin used)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
  • sparkling water
Combine all ingredients except half-and-half and sparkling water in a shaker with ice and shake to chill. Add half-and-half and shake again to combine. Strain into a chilled Collins glass full of fresh ice and top with sparkling water.

Peaches and Cream

This is a simple dessert drink that you can make with only two ingredients. Peach liqueur, whether it's peach schnapps (which I don't recommend, or some other kind of peach brandy or whiskey will work. Then all you need is equal parts half-and-half. I added the peach slice because I have it.
  • 2 oz. peach liqueur (Bird Dog Peach Whiskey used) 
  • 2 oz. half-and-half Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. 
 Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass full of fresh ice. 

Friday, August 31, 2018

South Pacific

There's no liqueur that represents the Pacific Ocean in the way that Caribbean rum or Scotch represent the Atlantic. That opens the door to vodka (mainly) or brandy, which comes in handy as the brown spirit in exotic drinks.

I really like this cocktail. That may be because I like brandy and Martell cognac is the clean tasting spirit that a punch-like drink needs. But I also appreciate the need for vodka to control for color and also to keep the drink strong. It wouldn't do to just add more brown spirit in this instance when vodka can thin out the richness and keep the drink bright.
  • 2 oz. brandy (Martell VS used)
  • 1 oz. vodka (MurLarkey Divine Clarity used)
  • 3 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz. grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled sour glass. 


Capri is a beautiful island on Italy's coast, full of high end shops and terraced houses. What the hell does this drink have to do with that. I could see using Galliano in this to make it Italian, but this is just a chocolate banana dessert drink.

On the bright side, you don't have to use a really sweet creme de bananes--the creme de cacao is sweet enough. MurLarkey makes a banana whiskey that is not sweet, has natural banana flavor, and a great whiskey taste that gives dessert drinks more traction.
  • 1 oz. creme de cacao
  • 1 oz. creme de bananes (MurLarkey banana whiskey used)
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass full of fresh ice. 

Fish House Punch

The name is self-explanatory. It must be a house punch at a restaurant named Fish House, right? I was a little mystified by the ingredients. It teeters between a rich dark rum punch of colonial times and a fresh, bright summer punch for beach drinking.

In practice, when you add as much water as dark rum and basically make lemonade in the punch bowl, you are making a summer punch that is very drinkable and more than a little suggestive of summer peaches.
  • 2 liters dark rum (Pampero used)
  • 1 liter cognac (Martell VS used)
  • 4 oz. peach brandy (Bird Dog peach whiskey used)
  • 1 liter lemon juice
  • 2 liters bottled spring water
  •  peach slices
Add sugar, lemon juice, and spring water to a large punch bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then add rum and brandies. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving. Then add large block ice and peach slices for garnishes.  

Pacific Pacifier

I think that as far as dessert drink names go, this cocktail acts exactly as advertising. There is no spirit that represents the Pacific Ocean, but anything tropical tasting, like banana and orange, will suffice. There's also the pacifier part of the name. It could just be calming, a nightcap for adults, but one can't help think of baby pacifiers and a baby's love of milk.

Here Cointreau is a must to prevent the cocktail from being overly sweet, which cheap triple sec will do. Then the drink calls for banana liqueur, and I thought that banana rum (which is just as sweet) would do fine. It did!
  • 1 1/2 oz. Cointreau
  • 1 oz. creme de bananes (Cruzan banana rum used)
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass full of fresh ice. 

Saturday, August 25, 2018


This is one huge drink, and a strong one. This would seem appropriate--the name Frankenjack seems a bit threatening, like it's the name of some old world monster. And the portion size here is monstrous.

I used MurLarkey ImaGination gin, which was a good call because you can still taste some of the earthier botanicals through all that liqueur. Rivata vermouth was also pleasingly present alongside the cheap Jacquin's apricot brandy (I'm out of my homemade stuff.) And I opted for cheap, sugary triple sec over Cointreau or orange spirit because I figured that either would be wasted here.

The result was a surprisingly easy cocktail for drinking, despite the power of all the spirits. In addition, the dry vermouth cut through the liqueurs very nicely and made for a sweet, but not too sweet, rocks sipper.
  • 2 oz. gin (MurLarkey ImaGination used)
  • 1 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth (Rivata used)
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • maraschino cherry
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass full of fresh ice. Garnish with the cherry. 

Jersey Lightning

I'm not a big fan of this drink. It is another example of an apple brandy cocktail that is completely unbalanced with lime juice and no sugar. It's as if the bartender decided that apple brandy was sweet enough to handle two ounces of lime juice, which it is not.

I get where it is going, though. Lightning implies a shockingly tart drink, and this one is. Jersey is the home state of Laird's distillery. That was why I had to use the last of my Apple Jack 86 (100% apple brandy) for this cocktail. Punt E Mes blew the drink out in the other direction, adding so much earthy bitterness. I broke down and added a half teaspoon of sugar syrup because I just couldn't take it.

Here is the recipe as it is printed with notes to help fix the problems that this cocktail has.
  • 2 oz. apple brandy (Laird's Apple Jack 86 used)
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth (Martini and Rossi recommended, but Punt E Mes used)
  • 2 oz. lime juice (1/2 tsp. sugar syrup recommended for balance)
 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Vodka Grasshopper

This is a simple recipe intended to strengthen the potency of the famous Grasshopper, but here vodka takes the place of the cream. I rather liked the change. While I would still consider the Vodka Grasshopper a dessert drink, it no longer resembles a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream. If you make the drink according to the original recipe, be careful to have a large cocktail glass--its a whopping six ounces! It's also strong. Feel free to scale it down to your liking as I did.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 2 oz. green creme de menthe
  • 2 oz. white creme de cacao
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 


This pretty drink is designed to taste like those European sandwich cookies flavored with almond, cocoa, and orange zest. The recipe calls for chocolate liqueur. I used MurLarkey cocoa whiskey--which is not a liqueur. I added a half teaspoon of sugar to sweeten the half ounce of cocoa whiskey in the drink.

My Macaroon turned out very good, rich but not too sweet. Cocoa whiskey has a little more rawness of cocoa nibs and grain liqueur--it's not as smooth as creme de cacao. A large orange zest twisted over the drink and rubbed on the rim really helps cut the surgery ingredients.
  • 3 oz. vodka (Divine Clarity used)
  • 1/2 oz. chocolate liqueur (MurLarkey cocoa whiskey and a half tsp. sugar syrup used)
  • 1/2 oz. amaretto
  • orange twist
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist orange peel over the drink and drop it in the glass. 


There's lots of ways to get the vanilla flavor into a Creamsicle cocktail. You can add vanilla extract or use a vanilla liqueur. I infused Divine Clarity vodka with a vanilla bean and added sugar to it to make a vanilla vodka.

The cocktail is designed to taste like an orange ice cream pop, and it does. More or less of any ingredient throws off the balance and you notice that it is actually alcoholic or that it is too sweet.Follow this recipe to get the exact flavor that was intended.

For making the vanilla vodka: infuse one vanilla bean in a cup of vodka for two weeks. Remove the bean and add 1 oz. of sugar syrup and store it in an airtight container. Now here's the recipe.
  • 2 oz. vanilla liqueur (vanilla vodka used)
  • 4 oz. orange juice
  • 2 oz. half-and-half
  • orange slice
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass full of fresh ice. Garnish with the orange twist. 

Flying Grasshopper

There's no cream in this blended version of the Grasshopper, that famous mint chocolate dessert drink we all know, love, or hate. Blended ice changes the dark green color of the creme de menthe into the bright, creamy look of the original.

I like that the proportion of vodka is greater hear then the cremes. I'm showing off the Divine Clarity vodka in its MurLarkey distillery glass. This is the only Grasshopper served in an Old Fashioned glass and the only one with four parts vodka to one of each liqueur.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. creme de menthe
  • 1/2 oz. white creme de cacao
Combine all ingredients in a blender with cracked ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Bermuda Rose

This lovely photo by Ned Drummond shows off this interesting combo cocktail. I call it that because there are two families of drinks involved. The Rose family of drinks (or the broader flower category including Orange Blossom drinks.) These are usually served up.

The other family of drinks is the Bermuda themed drinks. These always include brandy or apricot brandy. It must be a thing. The Bermuda Rose has the pinkness of the Bermuda Bouquet and Rose cocktails but it also has a limey citrus and gin center. Apricot brandy only sweetens it a bit, as does the grenadine.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tsp. apricot brandy
  • 2 tsp. grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Satrain over ice cubes in a chilled Old Fashioned glass. 

Maiden's Blush

(Photo by Ned Drumond)
As you'd expect, the Maiden's blush is a pink drink. It is part of the family of Maiden drinks that have gin and orange liqueur. For this drink I used Rose's grenadine to make sure it had the right pink shade. Instead of triple sec, I used Vitae orange liqueur because it is stronger and a little goes a long way with aromatics.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 tsp. triple sec (Vitae orange liqueur)
  • 1/2 tsp. grenadine
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Damn The Weather

This is a potent and tongue lashing cocktail for heavy weather. I've been waiting to make it when the mood or the spirits were right. When I got Icelandic Vor gin, I knew the time had come. Iceland is known for its chilly weather and pure water. They make delightful gin too!

Icelandic Vor is made with barley and locally grown juniper. These two flavors dominate this spirit, especially the barley. I don't know if it is malted, but the base is very close to how Copper Fox Vir Gin tastes--like it's not a neutral spirit at all. There's a bit of whiskey funk in it, and the higher proof (47%) means that there's a lot of intensity too.

One last note, I made this with Punt E Mes vermouth and the cocktail was mouth-smashingly bitter and herbal. You could do the same to get the effect, which was nice. But a London dry gin and French sweet vermouth would make a much tamer drink. Then again, when the weather is bad, why would you want to do that?
  • 2 oz. gin (Icelandic Vor used)
  • 1 tbsp. sweet vermouth (Punt E Mes used)
  • 2 tsp. triple sec
  • 1/2 oz. orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Apricot Lady

I made this cocktail at work where I keep my house made apricot brandy. The other bartenders agree that the apricot flavor needs to be front and center, so after making a first go I added a little more apricot brandy.

What I like about the Apricot Lady is that it is very light and drinkable, easy to make, and probably satisfying to those guests who are not big drinkers. The egg white foam on top is a nice touch, but it is the simplicity of serving it on the rocks that won't turn off men looking for a strong drink with a feminine name.
  • 1 1/2 oz. light rum (Bacardi used)
  • 1 oz. apricot brandy (homemade apricot brandy used)
  • 1/2 tsp. triple sec
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 egg white
  • orange slice
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain out the ice and re-shake for foam. Pour into an Old Fashioned glass full of fresh ice and garnish with the orange slice. 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Savoy Hotel (Revisited)

I was writing about the Brandy Melba earlier--a drink named after a recipe at the Savoy Hotel--and I recalled that I wanted to take another try at the Savoy Hotel layered cocktail. I have dark creme de cacao, which is necessary for building the heavy sugar bottom layer. Benedictine is less sweet and can sit on top of it.

Martell single distillery cognac is dry and clean tasting, but it isn't much stronger than Benedictine. A lot of care is necessary with this final layer. You really have to be careful. Use a half teaspoon held upside down and placed inside the second layer to do this right. Then pour the cognac down the handle so it spreads out onto the Benedictine. It also helps to up the quantity of the alcohol to make the layers more visible.
  • 3/4 oz. dark creme de cacao
  • 3/4 oz. Benedictine
  • 3/4 oz. brandy (cognac please)
Pour each liquor over a spoon into a pousse cafe glass, gently layering them in the order that they are listed.

Diamond Head

I'm not sure if this cocktail is named after the Hawaii volcano state monument on Oahu, but it is monumental. Look at that head of foam that tops this potent drink! Gin and apricot brandy with lemon  juice are a perfect combination you see over and over. Then there's egg white, which makes this cocktail a lot like a gin sour with apricot.

MurLarkey ImaGination gin is a good choice for this drink because it has a hefty botanical load that keeps things interesting where other gins would get overwhelmed by egg white and lemon juice.
  • 2 oz. gin (ImaGination used)
  • 1/2 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Chelsea Sidecar

A drink named after the posh London neighborhood of Chelsea requires a posh London gin. Boodles is the much-asked-for classic dry gin from London. You won't see it in the U.S. that much, and much less now that American gin is all the rage. But there is something to be said of an old standard. And while the Gin Sidecar is slowly giving way to it original brandy forebears, a Boodles Sidecar is still smashing, baby.
  • 2 oz. gin (Boodles used)
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Apple Annie's Fruit Punch

This punch was delicious, fun and easy to make. It is the perfect punch for summer afternoons and picnics. I was afraid at first that it would be too strong for my guests, but it was very balanced once the sodas were added. The fresh fruit is also a nice touch. In addition to oranges, lemons, apples and raspberries, I added farm fresh blueberries.

The spirit I used here was Laird's Applejack 86. It was strong enough to taste under all the juice, but a real apple brandy and not some jacked cider, weak with no taste.
  • 1 bottle or 1 liter apple brandy (Laird's used)
  • 3 oz. raspberry liqueur (Chambord used)
  • 10 0z orange juice
  • 8 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 liter ginger ale
  • 1 liter sparkling water or lemon lime soda
  • 1 apple sliced thin
  • 1 lemon sliced thin
  • 12-15 raspberries
Combine applejack, raspberry liqueur and fruit juices in a large punch bowl and stir well. Refrigerate for an hour and add a large block of ice before serving. Add the sodas and fruit just before serving and stir again. Serves 20.

Pendennis Club Cocktail

I was surprised at how elegant this cocktail was. Tart, yet bitter, a bit harsh but well balanced--sort of like on the edge of comfort that is more exciting than unpleasant. If that's not an endorsement, than it is just best to say that the Pendennis Club is classic and requires appreciation and the right ingredients.

The recipe calls for Peychaud's bitters, and I used the maximum amount, five dashes, to provide the pink color and the dry bitterness it is known for. I also wanted a strong and less juniper tasting gin, so Battle Standard Navy Strength it was. My own apricot brandy made up the sweetness.
  • 2 oz. gin (Battle Standard Navy Strength used)
  • 1 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 3-5 dashes Peuchaud's bitters
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Creamy Screwdriver

The Screwdriver is as common as dirt. Not that it's bad. It serves a function of being easy to make and refreshing. But the more uncommon Creamy Screwdriver has egg yolk and is blended. It doesn't get more unusual than that.

And it's good. Blending egg yolk adds a thickness that is hard to identify. It is creamy, helped along by a creamy vodka like Divine Clarity. It is the perfect early afternoon smoothie that doubles as lunch and a drink.
  • 2 oz. vodka (Divine Clarity used)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 6 oz. orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice and blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled highball glass.