Monday, December 17, 2018

Three Tea Old Fashioned

I'm still having fun with this MurLarkey three tea whiskey; this time it is in an old standard--The Old Fashioned. Three tea whiskey is especially intense. It tastes just like real tea: floral, earthy, and dry. I like to add it to Heritage, the good stuff, to scent this cocktail with the notes of real tea.

One crafty ingredient I made that really accentuates this cocktail is tea bitters. These bitters are easy to make. Simply wash some tea (Earl Grey or floral scented tea recommended) with vodka or neutral spirit so that the scented oils of the teas end up in the liquor. I recommend doing this with a drip pour coffee filter and room temperature spirits. Don't worry about straining out solids if any make it through. They will continue to add to the bitterness and darken the bitters over time.
  • 1 1/2 oz. whiskey of choice (MurLarkey Heritage used)
  • 1/2 oz. MurLarkey three tea whiskey
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
  • 1-3 dashes tea bitters or aromatic bitters
  • orange twist
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass with fresh ice and express orange peel over the drink before dropping it in.

Newport Cooler

Is this a Rhode Island or Virginia Drink? Where is Newport anyway? It doesn't matter. I made it with Vitae Modern Gin and that settles the issue. This is now a Charlottesville, VA cocktail.

The Newport Cooler is a summer drink designed to cool you down. These long drinks have a lot of ice and liquid that make them easy to drink. There's also a lot of flavors going on in this cocktail. Besides the juniper and orange you get from the gin, there's peach and brandy and the richness of sugary ginger ale.

I used Bird Dog peach whiskey instead of peach liqueur with not problems. There's enough sweetness here that you don't miss in in that small portion of peach flavor.
  • 2 oz. gin (Vitae modern gin used)
  • 1/2 oz. brandy (cognac please)
  • 1/2 oz. peach liqueur (Bird Dog peach whiskey)
  • 1/4 tsp. lime juice (just a pinch from a slice)
  • ginger ale
 Combine liquors and juice in a Collins glass full of ice. Top with ginger ale and stir.

Irish Tea

Black tea is used in many hot winter cocktails. This makes a lot of sense, because it warms whatever liquor you use and often the flavor of the liquor provides a sweetness that makes the whole experience more enjoyable.

But what if the point of the liquor is to taste like the tea? What if it tastes so much like tea that you almost can't tell that the tea is spiked?

MurLarkey makes this really cool three tea whiskey (so new it's not on their website yet) that infuses white whiskey with Darjeeling, Earl Grey and English breakfast teas. It makes a great breakfast cocktail that goes perfectly with toast and jam. The Irish enjoy especially strong black tea, and I recommend it as the namesake of this boozy breakfast drink.
  • 5 oz. hot Irish breakfast tea
  • 1 oz. MurLarkey three tea whiskey
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 oz. milk (warmed)
Combine all ingredients in a teacup and stir. 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Silver King

There are many "Silver" cocktails, most of them having something to do with egg white and gin. The title of King goes to the one that uses excellent gin and fresh ingredients for a hands-down winner of a cocktail that is elegant and simple.

Monkey 47 is beautifully aromatic with 47 uncommon botanicals. It is very dry and light, so that an egg white cocktail can be both bracing and not weighed down by the notes of the spirit. A king, after all, is graceful.
  • 2 oz. gin (Monkey 47 used)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
  • egg white
  • dash Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake remove the ice to shake the liquids and increase the foam. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass, preferably from a foot or more above the glass to encourage more egg white foam and to aerate the spirit.

Biscayne Cocktail

It's been a long road to this cocktail. The New York Bartender's Guide of 1997 includes a drink of this name made with one ounce of Forbidden Fruit, a spirit that has been defunct since the middle of last century. That meant I had work to do. I'm not opposed to faithfully recreating a spirit for the sake of this blog, and I've been known to travel to Paris or Iceland to get something I'm looking for, but this spirit is probably my greatest success--and not undeserved.

A lot of things went right about the Biscayne Cocktail, as it turned out. Firstly, that I chose a full-bodied gin like ImaGination by MurLarkey. It is tempting whenever rum and gin are listed in the same recipe to use Vitae gin to match their rum, but I wanted that rosemary and grains of paradise (not to mention barley) to stick out and ground things. Vitae rum, however was a good call because it has a noticeable tropical taste.

But what went off splendidly was the Forbidden Fruit liqueur I made from this recipe I found on Three Points Kitchen. This recipe perfectly balanced the ounce of lime juice and was actively present in the taste throughout. It was a three week process (and months before that of scanning Asian markets for pomelos, which are in season in the winter here in the U.S.), but well worth it to make this spirit.

Once I had these fruits in hand (or by the armload) it was about juicing and peeling. I assembled and crushed the spices according to the recipe and was sure to include blood oranges and orange blossom honey. These items aren't available just anywhere at any time of the year.

Vanilla beans, cardamom pods, coriander, vanilla, cinnamon--this was a challenge. I picked out Meukow VS cognac for the infusion. This turned out to be a good choice because this young cognac had a heavy honeyed nose, but being aged in French oak, was smoother than American brandy, which hews closer to whiskey. 
After two weeks of infusing the juice, fruit peels, cognac, and spices, I removed the solids and added the orange blossom honey. And I'm glad I took the recipie's advice and looked for this specific organic honey. The scent and particular sweetness is exactly what this exotic liqueur needed. After another week, I used a coffee drip filter to remove fine particles and bottled the Forbidden Fruit in a cognac bottle.
Now, at long last, I could make the Biscayne Cocktail!
  • 2 oz. gin (MurLarkey ImaGination used)
  • 1 oz. light rum (Vitae Platinum used)
  • 1 oz. Forbidden Fruit (see recipe link above)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  •  lime slice
Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lime slice. 

Forbidden Monkey

There's a lot of exotic things going on in this cocktail. For one, Monkey 47 brings together a German Schwartswald recipe with a British dry gin style using botanicals from all over the world. There's something legendary about monkey-picked herbs and spices from the tropics. Whether true or not, trained monkeys are said to gather precious ingredients from the higher branches of jungle trees. This is the image I am conjuring.

The other bit is my very exotic Forbidden Fruit recipe, an attempt to piece together the original French recipe of pomelo and honey liqueur that dates back to the 1950s. This was spot on, so do it if you want to recreate this masterpiece, I'll have a post up in a few days explaining the nearly month-long process and all the difficulty of procuring the ingredients. As yet, there is no mass-marketed equivalent, but that didn't stop me.

The best thing about this drink is that it lets two very complex ingredients speak for themselves. Monkey 47 and Forbidden Fruit are made for each other: they are so densely flavored and yet light. The orange blossom honey of Forbidden Fruit negates the use of sugar, so an ounce of lemon juice goes right in without the need for simple syrup.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Monkey 47 gin
  • 1 oz. Forbidden Fruit liqueur (recipe forthcoming)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • lemon twist
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Pour into a stemless wine glass and garnish with a lemon twist. 

Mocha Mint Latte

This is an improvised hot drink for the winter season, a hot version of the Mocha Mint that was so successful in combining the same flavors in a cocktail glass. If you like a latte, though, this is unbeatable.

I used MurLarkey cocoa whiskey for its real cocoa nibs infusion in whiskey. This is the brunt of this drink besides hot coffee, which is plenty flavorful on its own. Then just a bit of white creme de menthe (really sweet stuff) that negates using sugar.

Just a note: I have a ton of failed chocolate curls that I was able to garnish the whipped cream with. If you don't, just grate some chocolate on top. This was especially decedent, as it should be.
  • 1 1/2 oz. chocolate liqueur (MurLarkey cocoa whiskey used)
  • 1/2 oz. white creme de menthe
  • 4 oz. hot coffee
  • whipped cream
  • chocolate shavings
Warm chocolate liqueur and creme de menthe in a mug. Top with coffee and garnish with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. 

Sloe Gin Flip

This is the most festive-looking Flip I've ever made, and I had a feeling it would be. Sloe gin is a fruity gin made with sloe berry liqueur and gin. It is an old world delight native to Northern Europe and Britain where the berries--much like plums--can be found and added to spirits much like Eastern Europeans do with vodka or rakia.

The Flip is a classic colonial cocktail that is perfect for holiday drinking: it's like a more condensed and potent Eggnog because, unlike Eggnog, Flips aren't mostly milk. Flipping sloe gin is especially pretty with that pink color, but it is even more rewarding to drink. The nose of the cocktail is of nutmeg, and the mouthfeel is creamy like a dessert. But there's a fun fruity finish that comes through when you use sloe gin that you don't get from brandy or whiskey.
  • 2 oz. sloe gin (Mr. Boston used)
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • freshly grated nutmeg
Combine all ingredients except nutmeg in a shaker with ice. Shake to chill and strain out the ice. Return the liquid to the shaker and shake again (dry shake) for body and pour into a small white wine glass. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Alexander's Sister

It was bound to happen. The creamy Alexander cocktail needed a spin-off dessert drink with mint flavor. The good news is that this gin drink, which is usually great to enjoy in the winter months, is even more festive with creme de menthe.

Juniper in gin and mint make for an amazing holiday cocktail to be enjoyed with cookies. A good creme de menthe makes all the difference. I like it with higher proof stuff. So if you are shopping and see a 15-percent alcohol creme de menthe, pass it up and get one closer to 40-percent. It keeps the drink drier and less cloying.

The recipe says to use either the green or the white creme de menthe, but if you have green and it's almost Christmas, then flaunt it.
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin (Filibuster dual cask used)
  • 1 oz. green or white creme de menthe (Dekuyper green used)
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
  • freshly grated nutmeg
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Sprinkle with nutmeg. 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Santa's Helper

Forget Eggnog! Santa needs his coffee. This is a free-form cocktail I went with when trying to make a richly spiced and creamy coffee drink for the holidays.

It's not everyday you can get a hot cocktail with both cinnamon and coffee flavors to play well together. MurLarkey Distillery's flavored whiskeys are not sugared down or made with artificial flavors. There's just coffee and cinnamon soaking in whiskey. The flavor is intense, so you have to add sugar to taste and measure carefully, because a little goes a long way.

But that's a good thing when it comes to home bartending. I love it when a dash does as much work as an ounce. That's the case with Santa's Helper. The small amount of cinnamon whiskey is plenty to give your coffee spice. And when you are adding whiskey to coffee, you might as well use coffee whiskey with real, intense cold brew coffee. It blends so well together, you'll feel like you had it made by a barista at a fancy coffee shop.
  • 1 1/2 oz. MurLarkey coffee whiskey
  • 1/2 oz. cinnamon whiskey
  • 2 tsp. sugar syrup
  • 4 oz. hot black coffee
  • whipped cream
  • ground cinnamon
Combine coffee and cinnamon whiskey and sugar syrup in a small sauce pan and warm on low heat. Add it to a warmed coffee mug and top with hot coffee. Top with whipped cream and dust with ground cinnamon. 

Old Pal

I know I've done the Old Pal cocktail before, but it was using different ingredients than the typical recipe: rye, Campari and sweet vermouth. This recipe in the New York Bartender's Guide is especially rich when it is made with Copper Fox rye with it's apple wood smoke.

The old recipe really hits you with almost a double dose of liquor with a full measure of Campari, that brilliant red and bitter Italian aperitif. It's not exactly a holiday cocktail, but it is more enjoyable in the winter months when richness seems to hold back the cold weather.
  • 2 oz. rye (Copper Fox used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth (Punt E Mes used)
 Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Three Tea Whiskey Fix

It's not enough to call this drink a Sour. It breaks off of the Sour family early on and sits somewhere more tropical with tea syrup and MurLarkey Three Tea Whiskey. This is a bit of a preview of MurLarkey's newest product that I can tell will be a handy tool in the craft bartending scene in Virginia. Three Tea Whiskey is made from infusing their white whiskey with Darjeeling, English Breakfast, and Earl Grey teas. It has a strong, earthy, and in the case of Earl Gray, floral scent that adds so much to a drink.

I thought a simple drink would then be to sweeten a basic Sour or Fix with MurLarkey whiskies with a black tea and demerara sugar syrup. See how to make this on my Swedish Punsch recipe page. 
The rest of the recipe follows:
  • 1 1/2 oz. whiskey (MurLarkey Heritage used)
  • 1/2 oz. MurLarkey Three Tea Whiskey 
  • 1/2 oz. black tea and demerara sugar syrup 
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • orange and lemon twists and a maraschino cherry garnishes
Combine all ingredients except garnishes in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with fruit peels and maraschino cherry.

Hot Swedish Punsch

This hot black tea cocktail is perfect for winter with its clove and cardamon spices and exotic rums. Swedish Punsch is a Scandanavian treat that was once available commercially worldwide, but now can only be found in its home country. The Hot Punsch is simply that, heating and serving the liquor hot. But if you have to make this drink from scratch as I did, there are a lot more steps to it than that. You'll need Batavia Arrack.

Batavia Arrack is one of the main ingredients in many punches of yesteryear. It is difficult to come by, but it is finding its way back to prominence with the cocktail and punch fad of late. Once you have it and some gold rum you can make the recipe that I posted a while back.

Now it is simply a matter of heating the entire punch and serving it in warm mugs with a lemon slice garnish. I did a nifty clove studded lemon slice that worked out nicely.

Coffee Eggnog

This is my final Eggnog post of the New York Bartender's Guide. It may be my final Eggnog post of the year. That has yet to be seen. As it stands I've done all of the other Eggnog drinks on the list, and I have to say that I think this is better than most, particularly the ones that use brandy, sherry, or cider. I guess I'm just partial to coffee. And there is something to that feeling that you are getting your coffee with your liquor in this holiday drink. That and the fact that this cocktail is blended for extra fluffiness, and you have your cold Coffee Eggnog Latte right here.

The original recipe calls for instant coffee. That seems a little basic nowadays, but I can see the logic. A coffee liqueur back in the 90s didn't have the real coffee taste of cold brew coffee. It would be mostly rum and sugar, so adding instant coffee would just accentuate the real coffee flavor. But you are blending this drink, so there's no harm in using a pinch of real coffee. Better still, substitute MurLarkey Coffee Whiskey for the coffee liqueur, and you will have an all-whiskey Eggnog that tastes more like real coffee. Nothing else needs to change in this recipe except that you can add more sugar syrup to taste.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey (MurLarkey Heritage used)
  • 1 oz. coffee liqueur (MurLarkey Coffee Whiskey used)
  • 6 oz. milk
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
  • 1 tsp. sugar syurp
  • 1/2 tsp. instant coffee (or fine ground coffee as I did)
  • 1 egg
  • ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients except nutmeg in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled Collins glass. Sprinkle nutmeg on top. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

DIY Aquavit/ Akvavit With MurLarkey Spirits

Aquavit or Akvavit is a Scandanavian spirit that's enjoyed during the winter holidays. It is easy to make, and inexpensive. All you need is vodka and a few herbs and spices.

The primary flavor in Aquavit is caraway seed, but cumin, coriander, fennel and dill are common ingredients. The best thing about making your own Aquavit is the fun of experimenting with your botanical blend and ageing times.

I usually use about three tablespoons of caraway, cumin, coriander and fennel in a bottle of vodka like Smirnoff 57, which is 100-proof and can really absorb flavors quickly. Store this in a sealed container in a cool dark place. I remove the solids after about two days to a week.

This is my third batch of Aquavit and I'm doing things differently. First I wanted to get away from an entirely neutral grain base. MurLarkey Divine Clarity vodka is pretty tasteless, but it is made from potato. I used two cups of this vodka. (Note: any clear distilled spirit can be used to make Aquavit as long as it is not already flavored.) Then I used a cup of MurLarkey Justice white whiskey. It has a grassy taste of a young whiskey that I think will compliment my botanicals.

Speaking addition to the usual caraway, cumin, coriander and fennel, I added Icelandic birch leaves for dry earthiness and angelica seeds for floral spice. This should be an amazing batch this winter and I am excited to see how it turns out!

Bee's Kiss

If you're turned off by the sound of the sweetness or milkiness of this cocktail, don't be. It's quite harmless. The name Bee's Kiss is apt, because it is only a kiss of honey and cream that makes this drink work. A rum with a bit of character helps as well. That is why Vitae Platinum rum is used here. You get that soft sugar notes of molasses from Vitae that you won't find in heavily blended white rum.

I went for organic honey because you don't know what you're getting these days in the plastic bottles that look like bears. The rest is surprisingly easy.
  • 2 oz. light rum (Vitae platinum used)
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Tom and Jerry

It's not the overtly violent kids cartoon of analogue television days. The Tom and Jerry is a hot Eggnog drink that dates back to the 1820s. The idea is intriguing. Eggnog is quintessentially Christmas, when it comes to drinking. But in the winter, at least in most places, a hot drink is desired. Tom and Jerry meets both needs.

The trick, which this recipe addresses, is making a hot milk/ egg cocktail without turning it into a hard boiled mess. Some of that involves separating the egg and heating the milk with sugar. I can't explain why beating a yolk separate from the white helps, but someone came up with it and who am I to second guess them. The drink came out pretty good, too.
  • 1.5 oz. light rum (Vitae platinum used)
  • 1 oz. brandy
  • hot milk
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 egg separated
  • grated nutmeg
Warm milk with sugar in a saucepan on low heat, stirring occasionally. Separate the egg yolk from the white and beat them. Pour brandy and rum into a warmed mug. Recombine eggs with the spirits and whisk. Pour in hot milk and sugar mixture and whisk. Top with grated nutmeg.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

White Lilly

This is a floral cocktail that is designed to be strong and herbal. The herbal notes are very subdued and are replaced by an extremely potent combination of liquors.

I took the White Lilly as another invitation to combine a number of Vitae Spirits, as I've done before. The recipe calls for gin, rum and triple sec, all of which Vitae makes at their distillery in Charlottesville, VA. The gin and orange liqueur are dry and use the Virginia hardy orange as one of the flavors. It is bitter and a little funky, a unique taste in the gin world. Their rum is rich for a white rum, with a little toasted or warmed sugar scent. Together these spirits and a dash of Pernod make an unusually deep drink that will take a moment to appreciate but about an hour to finish.
  • 2 oz. gin (Vitae modern gin used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. triple sec (Vitae orange liqueur used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. light rum (Vitae platinum rum used)
  • 1/4 tsp. Pernod 
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Ulanda Cocktail

The idea behind the Ulanda Cocktail is a spirit-forward herbal cocktail with bitter spice and orange flavors. It was very well balanced and easy to drink, though having no fruit juice means it packs a punch and requires a good bit of slow sipping to get through it.

MurLarkey ImaGination gin gave the Ulanda a classic gin cocktail taste--very American, with rich botanicals to balance the richness of the splash of Pernod's anise. The recipe calls for triple sec, and I can see using a sweet one like Leroux, but Cointreau is cleaner tasting. I have even drier triple sec than Cointreau, and I am certain that it wouldn't be sweet enough to carry the drink off.
  • 2 oz. gin (MurLarkey ImaGination used)
  • 1 oz. triple sec (Cointreau used)
  • 1 tsp. Pernod
 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

London Fog

This dainty cocktail is a combination of one ounce of Pernod, one ounce of white creme de menthe, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Blend these together, but I recommend doing it with a whisk in a mixing glass or shaker. My feeling was that using a blender without adding ice would only make the ice cream watery. I wasn't wrong.

The recipe will make about two pousse cafe glasses full of the drink, so feel free to offer it to a second person if you have takers.
  • 1 oz. Pernod
  • 1 oz. white creme de menthe
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream
Combine all ingredients in a blender (shaker tin recommended) and blend (whip recommended) until smooth and pour into a chilled pousse cafe glass. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


Creme de Noyaux is an important part of making the Nutcracker nutty. It is made with almonds, stone fruit pits, and herbs and is more bitter than amaretto. I am using Tempus Fugit's excellent Creme de Noyaux, which is great to sip by itself--something you can't say about those bargain cremes.

The other ingredient the recipe calls for is coconut amaretto. I'm not sure that this spirit ever existed, or if it did, it was a limited run. My guess is that the New York Bartender's Guide includes this drink as a way to showcase liquors that existed at some time in the past, but I doubt that you'll find a commercially available coconut amaretto now.

So to make it I used cream of coconut, vodka and amaretto. (Note: I really only made enough coconut amaretto for one cocktail, but the basic process and proportions should hold true for a larger batch if you wish to make it.) I especially liked how this homemade spirit was reminiscent of amaretto but with a cloudy white color and coconut sweetness. Put one part coconut cream in a jar and add an equal part of vodka to it. Add several dashes of amaretto to the mixture, seal the jar and shake it until the coconut is suspended. Store it in the refrigerator for a few hours and the thicker, white and fatty parts of the coconut will float to the surface, leaving a cloudy coconut vodka underneath. Skim off the white coconut fat and you have a coconut amaretto underneath!

The cocktail itself is much simpler to make.
  • 2 oz. coconut amaretto
  • 2 oz. creme de Noyaux (Tempus Fugit used)
  • 2 oz. half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Sherry Eggnog

This is one of the mildest and probably most classic versions of Eggnog that you can make. Unlike distilled spirits Eggnogs that need cream and a lot of sugar to carry off the sweet thickness we expect from this holiday cocktail. Cream sherry, Lustau Capataz Andres in this case, is a dessert sherry that has a sugary thickness that tastes creamy. It is good enough of a substitute for cream in itself. And using it cuts down on the amount of sugar the drink needs because the proportion of sherry you can use to other ingredients is like fifty-percent more than if you used a distilled spirit like rum or brandy.

Capataz Andres is a Lustau blend of Palomino and Pedro Ximenez grapes from Jerez. It is super creamy and sweet with notes of figs, prunes, walnuts and cinnamon and it really lasts long in the finish. It is dark and will color your Eggnog more than the darkest rum!
  • 3 oz. cream sherry (Lustau Capataz Andres used)
  • 1 egg
  • milk 
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • grated nutmeg
Combine sherry, egg and sugar in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Collins glass and fill to the top with cold milk. Sprinkle nutmeg on top. 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Bull's Milk

This is a funny nightcap cocktail with both brandy and dark rum, and a ton of milk. There's a ton of rich "Milk" or "Cow" named drinks that all have this same rich profile. See the Tiger's Milk and Mother's Milk as examples--the Irish Cow and Liebfraumilch for others. Most of them are pretty bad--just saying. This one is at least strong and cold, though I could see it done hot. The nutmeg sprinkles are really a feature of most of these "Milk" drinks, which also makes them suitable for winter drinking as well as nightcaps.
  • 2 1/2 oz. brandy
  • 1 1/2 oz. dark rum (Appleton Estate special blend used)
  • 5 oz. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients except nutmeg in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a chilled highball glass and sprinkle with fresh ground nutmeg.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Vieux Carre

The Vieux Carre is a great New Orleans historical cocktail. It refers to the "Old Square" in the city's French Quarter. Like most New Orleans drinks, it combines distinctly American ingredients with old French spirits. This cocktail is made with rye, cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine and a few dashes of Angostura and Peychaud's bitters.

There's lots of ways to do this drink in terms of glassware and garnishes. In New Orleans these days, they do it on the rocks with no garnish. I like it up with an orange twist or a sprig of rosemary if you are feeling festive. A rocks serving is enjoyable if you let it soften a while, because it brings out the herbaceousness of the liqueurs.
  • 3/4 oz. cognac (Courvoisier used)
  • 3/4 oz. rye (Filibuster Boondoggler used)
  • 3/4 oz. sweet vermouth (Cocchi di Torino used)
  • 1 tsp. Benedictine
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or pour over ice in an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with citrus or herbs. 

Jockey Club Cocktail

I feel like this drink has the making of a classic and I can see why it was a club favorite back in the heyday of social clubs and cocktails. But this recipe seems unbalanced and a little blown out. If the goal was to make this drink unique among social club cocktails, it succeeds. But as written, the cocktail is too tart and bitter for it to have mass appeal.

At issue is its out-sized amount of lemon juice with only a hint of creme de cacao to balance it. It is unfortunate and disappointing when you don't get any richness from what would be a great tropical drink with just a bit more liqueur. The Angostura bitters almost seal the deal by themselves, but using more than a dash--which normally would bring the flavors together--just blows everything out and all you can taste is bitter lemon.
  • 2 oz. gin (MurLarkey ImaGination gin used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. white creme de cacao
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Brandy Flip

A flip is a dessert drink that takes any spirit and shakes it up with a whole egg, sugar, and cream and is topped with a sprinkle of nutmeg. The Brandy Flip, by nature of its being a primogenitor of early Industrial Era spirits, is likely to be the first kind of flip--unless you count sherry or porto. Let's say that this drink goes way back to the first mixing of distilled spirits with eggs, sometime in the early 1700s.
  • 2 oz. brandy (Copper and Kings used)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tbsp. half-and-half
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • fresh ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients except nutmeg in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled sour glass. Garnish with sprinkles of nutmeg.


I've been waiting for a long time to make this cocktail, weighing making my own ginger wine or using a store-bought liqueur being part of my hesitancy. But a cold snap finally made up my mind and I went with a homemade ginger liqueur to pull this one off. The reason for my hesitancy is that the recipe calls for ginger wine, a spirit you brew yourself like a beer but with sugar water and fresh ginger using wine yeast. Who does that? Even I was daunted by the process.

I felt that the flavor of ginger wine, however would be more authentic, and funky tasting than a store bought ginger liqueur. My solution of a homemade liqueur was a good compromise.

Ages ago, I set aside some ginger slices in vodka. After a few days I strained out the solids and added sugar syrup. This ginger liqueur was hot and sweet, but less strong than the vodka was itself. I had just enough of it left to make this drink. I bought candied ginger and used it to good effect to flavor the drink even further.
  • 3 oz. vodka (MurLarkey Divine Clarity used)
  • 1 oz. ginger wine (homemade ginger liqueur used)
  • sparkling water
  • slice of candied ginger
Combine vodka and ginger wine in a Collins glass with ice. Top with sparkling water and stir gently. Garnish with candied ginger. 

Suissesse Cocktail

This cocktail is a nod to Switzerland's love and history of making absinthe. It also uses the French spelling of Switzerland or Swiss to honor Pernod's contribution to dessert absinthe drinks. After drinking Pernod or absinthe by itself, this drink seems very light and spaced out, much more approachable for the after dinner drinker. This is the first egg white cocktail that I've done with Pernod, thought the Pernod Flip is a good example of something even heavier with its whole egg, if you want to move in that direction.
  • 2 oz. Pernod
  • 1/2 oz. half-and-half
  • egg white
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Froth Blower

The point of this drink is to look pretty. Blending egg white and gin together makes such for such a creamy foam with all that air beaten into it. Despite the crushed ice, it is light and fluffy and the small amount of grenadine helps to keep it balanced and a pretty shade of pink.

I used a bold gin in this recipe because there are so few ingredients and crushed ice can spread most gins pretty thin. I like that Icelandic Vor has a bold barley taste that is so prominent that it is listed on the bottle as one of the botanicals.
  • 2 oz. gin (Icelandic Vor used)
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
  • egg white
Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. 

Silver Cocktail

What a classic tasting gin cocktail! All the bitter and sweet flavors are in perfect balance in the Silver Cocktail. The maraschino liqueur, though in small quantity, really goes well with the bitterness of the dry vermouth and gin. Orange bitters, also in small quantity, link up with the lemon twist to send the drink in a citrus direction. It's bold and interesting, yet not so strong as to cause you to wince. All evenly spaced. Maybe that is why this cocktail is called "silver," despite there being no egg white to affect the color.
  • 2 oz. gin (MurLarkey ImaGination used)
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth (Rivata used)
  • 1 tsp. maraschino liqueur
  • 3 dashes orange bitters (Hella used)
  • lemon twist
Combine all ingredients except lemon twist in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel twisted over top. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Toasted Almond

Coffee liqueur is supposed to add a toasty flavor to amaretto in this dessert drink with a kick. And it does this very well. Even though amaretto tastes more like cookies than almonds, there is more of a nutty note in this drink due to the roast of coffee in the liqueur.

The only coffee liqueur I keep on my home bar is MurLarkey coffee whiskey, which I sweeten with a teaspoon of sugar syrup to get it closer to a dessert ingredient that will work in a creamy drink.
  • 2 oz. coffee liqueur (MurLarkey coffee whiskey and 1 tsp. sugar syrup used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. Amaretto (Lazzaroni used)
  • 2 oz. half and half
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into an Old Fashioned glass. 

Cara Sposa

This dessert drink is named after an Italian romantic comedy from the seventies. The name translates to "dear wife."

The intended drinker must like coffee, because Cara Sposa is a coffee and orange liqueur cocktail with an ounce of half-and-half. But to keep it a little drier, I used Belle Isle cold brew coffee moonshine. This spirit is heavy on real coffee taste and stronger than coffee liqueurs. I relied on the Cointreau to do the sweetening, as it should. The effect was a rich cocktail that tasted a little like a holiday treat with fresh oranges and real coffee with cream.
  • 1 1/2 oz. coffee liqueur (Belle Isle coffee moonshine used)
  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Friday, November 9, 2018

New Orleans Buck

I've not been a big fan of the Buck series of cocktails (like the Peach Buck, Gin Buck, Brandy Buck and Rum Buck, that usually include a spirit, lime juice and ginger ale.) But I think my lack of enthusiasm for these drinks comes from using Bacardi rum and cheap ginger ale.

Q Ginger Ale really resurrects these drinks. I'm a huge fan of this cocktail when made with Vitae Platinum Rum, which has a lovely sugary, marshmallow flavor of its own to add. In addition to these, there's lime juice and orange juice--which I think is what makes this cocktail "New Orleans." I'm not surprised at this. Often a bit of orange juice sneaks into a location-specific drink to make it more special (read less tart). This is one long drink that you can enjoy at any time or any place, however. It is rich enough for winter weather, but cooling enough for Mardi Gras celebrations.
  • 2 oz. light rum (Vitae Platinum Rum used)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • ginger ale (Q ginger ale used)
  • lime slice
Combine all ingredients except ginger ale and lime slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled highball glass full of fresh ice. Top with ginger ale and stir gently. Garnish with the lime slice. 

Tiger's Milk

There are a few "Milk" drinks like the Bull's Milk and Irish Cow that use a lot of cold milk to hide a strong dose of liquor. The Tiger's Milk is the only one that is blended, however, which makes it seem more of a special occasion drink than just a nightcap.

The milk really tames the spirits down, as does the crushed ice. Because of this, I wanted a noticeable gold rum like Appleton Estate's signature blend. D'usse cognac is the only cognac I have on hand at this time, but it works perfectly as well. The cocktail is rather bland for all that, and I felt that a heavy pinch of cinnamon was necessary to carry the flavor throughout. This gave me another idea. Do the drink again with cinnamon whiskey instead of cognac to spice things up even more. This becomes the Jolly Bartender original holiday dessert drink the Cinful Delight with MurLarkey cinnamon whiskey.

First the Tiger's Milk recipe
  • 2 oz. gold rum (Appleton Estate Signature Blend used)
  • 1.5 oz. cognac (D'usse VSOP used)
  • 5 oz. milk
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
  • ground cinnamon
Combine all ingredients except cinnamon in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled wine glass. Sprinkle cinnamon on top.

Now, the Cinful Delight:
  • 2 oz. gold rum (Appleton Estate Signature Blend used)
  • 1.5 oz. MurLarkey cinnamon whiskey
  • 5 oz. milk
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
  • ground cinnamon
  • whipped cream
Combine all ingredients except cinnamon in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled wine glass. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle cinnamon on top.

Little Dix Mix

This strong Southern cocktail may not have you whistling Dixie, but you may strut in a second line. That is because the Little Dix Mix a rum drink, which puts it in the way south territory of New Orleans. New Orleans cocktails make more use of Caribbean rums and liqueurs like creme de bananes

In fact banana liqueur is listed as an ingredient that is intended to sweeten the drink against a half ounce of lime juice. But I used MurLarkey banana whiskey, reasoning that a whiskey and rum drink is even more New Orleans style than a cheap liqueur.

I also am relying on the real banana flavor that lies closer to the heart Jack Daniels, than the banana candy flavor that you find in most creme de bananes liqueurs. It is a ripe and rich flavor that doesn't overpower the other fine ingredients. I also went with Pampero dark rum, which is really rich and dark but not overly sweet or funky. It made for a nice sipping rum cocktail that lasted me a long time. (Note: when using MurLarkey banana whiskey, you have to substitute one teaspoon of sugar syrup because the whiskey is not sweetened like a creme.)
  • 2 oz. dark rum (Pampero Aniversario used)
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. creme de bananes (MurLarkey banana whiskey and 1 tsp. sugar used)
  • 1 tsp. triple sec
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into an Old Fashioned glass. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Happy Apple

This is one of the best fresh cider cocktails, and one of the easiest drinks to make to celebrate the fall season. You don't need much. Gold rum, unfiltered apple cider, and some citrus.

I decided that Jamaican rum is best used here. The appropriately named Appleton Estate rum is very characterful with brown sugar and spice notes. It lends mulling spice flavors to your cider.
  • 2 oz. gold rum (Appleton Estate Signiture rum used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 3 oz. apple cider 
  • lime twist
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into an Old Fashioned glass. Twist lime peel over the glass and garnish with it. 


The Brandy Alexander is the mother of dessert drinks. It's creamy chocolate and silky brandy taste is well known. What is less known is that the original Alexander is made with gin, as were most cocktails in the old days before Prohibition.

Filibuster dual cask gin is still my favorite dessert gin. It is very unassuming, round and oaky. It plays well in creamy drinks where the flavor of juniper is offputting underneath sweet flavors.

MurLarkey cocoa whiskey is my other modification to this drink. It is less sweet than dark creme de cacao, but I kind of like that more anyway. For this one, I didn't even need to modify the cocktial with sugar syrup. It came out nice and dry, but still very dessert drink-like. Just the kind of nightcap that I would like to drink.
  • 1 oz. gin (Filibuster dual cask used)
  • 1 oz. dark creme de cacao (MurLarkey cocoa whiskey used)
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
  • fresh ground nutmeg
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Sprinkle nutmeg on top.


This cocktail is designed to damage you. It is shockingly tart, like many brandy-heavy drinks are. It is also super strong. In fact it is like having two sour cocktails in one glass. You'll need a big cocktail glass to make all of this fit.

Of course a brandy cocktail is better if you use cognac, and this case is no exception. The important thing, I feel, is to use an equally smooth gin. That means avoid London dry gins with all of that heavy juniper. An aged gin, to go with aged brandy will be even better. Filibuster fits the bill. They use only four botanicals and far less juniper than London dry style gins. It is also aged in oak so it is very soft and round. Nothing sticks out, which is a good thing here.
  • 2 oz. brandy (Courviosier used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin (Filibuster Dual Cask used)
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec (Cointreau used)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Leap Frog Highball

I have to admit that I really doubted that this cocktail would be balanced. An ounce and a half of lemon juice seems overkill for tartness. The trick, however is to use a tall highball glass with plenty of room for the ginger ale. This adds the sweetness that balances. By no means can this be done in an Old Fashioned glass. There's just not enough room.

But leave room for the 2 ounces of gin. MurLarkey's very herbal ImaGination gin was a good choice. As was Q ginger ale, because it is really fresh tasting as well as sweet.
  • 2 oz. gin (MurLarkey used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • ginger ale (Q ginger ale used)
Build cocktail in a tall highball glass with gin and lemon juice first. Add ice and top with ginger ale. Stir gently.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Old Etonian

I'm reposting the Old Etonian cocktail as one of the rare classic drinks that use creme de noyaux. This is not even one of the cocktails in the New York Bartender's guide, but it is one of my favorites and I wanted to try it with my new bottle of creme de noyaux by Tempus Fugit. This creme is very classic itself. It goes back to the days when cremes were consumed by themselves--they were twice as strong then, as Tempus Fugit cremes are today--and were not thought of as cheap liqueurs that seldom get used.

This cocktail had its origins in England and pays tribute to Eaton College, a boys boarding school for those with wealth and influence.
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin (MurLarkey ImaGination used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. Lillet blanc
  • 2 dashes Creme de Noyaux (Tempus Fugit used)
  • 2 dashes orange bitters (Hella used) 
 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Brandy Alexander

This is the most common cocktail of the Alexander family of dessert drinks, the original Alexander being made with gin. It is an easy recipe to remember because it is equal parts brandy, chocolate liqueur and half-and-half and topped with nutmeg sprinkles.

I'm making this Brandy Alexander very American by using east coast ingredients: namely, the Copper & Kings brandy and MurLarkey chocolate whiskey. As I often state with MurLarkey flavored whiskeys, there is no sugar. If you want your drink to be sweet, and you do with the Alexander drinks, you have to add sugar.
  • 1 1/2 oz. brandy (Copper & Kings used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. dark creme de cacao (MurLarkey coco whiskey and 1 tsp. sugar)
  • 1 1/2 oz. half-and-half
  • freshly grated nutmeg
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Sprinkle nutmeg on top. 

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.