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 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. 

Morning Joy

This cocktail belongs in the cannon of breakfast drinks. The Morning Joy is strong, sweet and tropical and accompanies a lot of sweet or savory breakfast dishes. I'll take it over the Mimosa any day.

The recipe relies on banana liqueur and orange juice for flavor and gin for strength. In actuality it is a very strong morning drink. Three ounces of orange juice simply mitigates the alcoholic burn and covers any unpleasant flavors. A creme de bananes will do here, but I used the natural banana flavor of MurLarkey banana whiskey.

There's no sweetness other than orange juice, though. So it might be helpful to sweeten this cocktail to taste. A teaspoon of sugar will help.
  • 2 oz. gin (MurLarkey ImaGination gin used.)
  • 1 1/2 oz. creme de bananes (MurLarkey banana whiskey used)
  • 3 oz. orange juice
  • (optional sugar to taste if using unsweetened banana whiskey.)
Combine all ingredient in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled sour glass. 

Angler's Cocktail

Sometimes it's nice to have a bitter gin cocktail on the rocks. There's no messing around with a lot of ingredients and really not much mixing at all. The shaking seems like an automatic move, not a requirement. That's the only reason I can see why this drink would be called an Angler's cocktail. It's not that there's anything fishy going on with the recipe or the presentation or that fishermen enjoy their gin this way. It's just that, like with fishing, an angler can't be bothered with superfluous steps or actions. Something simple and to the point--a decidedly bitter one--is the way to go.

The bitterness of Angostura and orange bitters is really pronounced here. It adds lots of tropical spices to your gin. For this reason, you want to let the bitters shine and you'll need a gin that is ok with that. Too much going on will crowd the drink. A wet American gin like Filibuster Dual Cask will do the trick.
  • 2 oz. gin (Filibuster Dual Cask used)
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 3 dashes orange bitters (Hella used)
  • 3 dashes grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass with fresh (large) ice cubes. 

Silver Fizz

There are many Fizzes out there. Most are gin and soda drinks and a lot of them use egg in some form to get a head of foam on them. Almost all the Gin Fizzes in the New York Bartender's Guide are served on ice, though this wasn't always the norm back in the busy heydays of the Fizz cocktail.

The thing to remember here is that gin used to be the main clear spirit and as such it didn't always have the extremely spicy characteristics of liquors we have now. Most had only a few botanicals, mainly juniper, and left it at that. Filibuster Dual Cask gin is great for a pre-Prohibition style gin with a smooth character. It makes for an extremely creamy Silver Fizz--a cocktail named after the fact that it is made with egg whites.
  • 3 oz. gin (Filibuster dual cask used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • sparkling water (San Pelligrino used)
Combine all ingredients except sparkling water in a shaker with ice. Shake to chill, then strain out the liquid into another glass to remove the ice. Shake again vigorously to create foam and pour into a highball glass full (or half full) of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water and stir gently. 

Favorite / Why Not?

This is one of many apricot brandy, lemon juice and gin cocktails--a combination that is so popular that a drink by the name Favorite is no surprise. These cocktails differ by proportion, however. This one leans more heavily on the apricot brandy and dry vermouth and less on lemon and gin.

Indecently, this is the same exact recipe for the drink called Why Not? except that that one calls for only a quarter teaspoon of lemon juice. It's basically the same thing, though. 

I always have MurLarkey ImaGination gin handy, so it was an obvious base. And I have to say that it is noticeably spicy and rich beneath all that fruitiness of the other ingredients. The other thing that helped was Rivata dry vermouth. With a whole ounce of the stuff, it adds character where this drink might fall flatly like a sugar bomb.

I didn't even bother to juice a lemon, and rather squeezed a wedge lightly over the shaker to get the half teaspoon required for the recipe.
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin (ImaGination used)
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth (Rivata used)
  • 1 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Velvet Kiss

I can see what this cocktail is doing. It is so much like a tropical smoothie, but it is easy to make in a shaker without crushed ice. So this must be a cocktail glass serving of a boat drink.

But then everything about the Velvet Kiss is unusual. You don't usually see gin in a banana flavored cocktail. You don't usually see pineapple juice and cream used together either. Then you taste it and realize that none of that matters. The spice of gin botanicals adds to the tropical spice notes. The banana spirit makes it exotic, especially if it is real banana flavor not some sugary creme de bananes. Even the little bit of grenadine is used for tropical sweetness rather than for color. So this is a cocktail that is all about the flavor combination that is more than the sum of its parts, almost to the exclusion of appearance.
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice (adding half-and-half last to prevent curdling). Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


This pretty cocktail is a favorite of mine from the 1980s. There's been plenty of versions of this drink, but it is pretty much a Bailey's cocktail with vodka and coffee liqueur. The recipe I used doesn't include chocolate syrup, but I feel like it is a nice touch. Chill the glass first, then add the syrup in fun patterns like the floral one above or swirls. Be imaginative.

I used two MurLarkey products for this drink in addition to Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur. First I needed vodka, and Divine Clarity fits the bill. Coffee liqueur is also necessary, but since Bailey's adds plenty of sweetness in itself. You don't need a sweet coffee liqueur, though. So MurLarkey Coffee Whiskey is perfect and keeps the cocktail strong when a sweet coffee liqueur would make for a weaker cocktail. So go strong with this recipe.
  • 1 1/2 oz. vodka (Divine Clarity used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 1 1/2 oz. coffee liqueur (MurLarkey Coffee Whiskey used)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass (with an optional chocolate syrup garnish.) 


MurLarkey's Heritage whiskey has a great corn scent and it is unbelievably dry with a whiff of wood and wine. It really likes egg white and lemon juice. But this is no ordinary sour. The Rattlesnake has a bit of the Sazerac to it with the addition of Pernod.

Anise flavor is pretty strong and turns some people off. Fortunately, this recipe uses such a low proportion of Pernod that it doesn't register as anything other than a bit of spice. Any Whiskey Sour lover will enjoy this variation.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey (MurLarkey Heritage used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 tsp. Pernod
Combine all ingredients with ice in a Shaker. Shake and strain into and Old Fashioned glass full of fresh ice. 

Wembley Cocktail

The Wembley Cocktail could be a Martini variation except of the proportions, which is lesson gin and more on dry vermouth. The thing that sets it apart, and makes it really stand out from other apricot brandy cocktails with gin bases, is the small amount of apple brandy. These small additions are really elegant and give the cocktail a fruitiness that's unexpectedly good and natural tasting.

The apple brandy I used is actual bootleg apple brandy at 90 proof and aged in oak. The gin is of a better pedigree.
  • 2 oz. gin (ImaGination gin used)
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1/4 oz. apple brandy
  • 1/4 oz. apricot brandy
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Chocolate Martini

Despite all the ways this cocktail is being prepared now, the Chocolate Martini is still a Martini. That means it is dry, clear, and strong. There's no cream, milk chocolate liqueur, added sugar, coffee liqueur or espresso. I know this will confuse people who have been drinking or serving Chocolate Martinis with all this other stuff. But the real confusion comes from people confusing a Mudslide and an Espresso Martini with the very simple Chocolate Martini.

So how do you do a Chocolate Martini right? First use a lot of good vodka. Treat it like a regular Martini. I am using MurLarkey Distillery's Divine Clarity potato vodka. Use whatever you like, but it's not a flavored vodka. I also used a teaspoon of MurLarkey Coco Whiskey. This is a brown liquor, so I want to use only a little bit of it for its dry coco flavor. A teaspoon of white creme de cacao adds sweetness without changing the color. Then you need the chocolate curl--and let me tell you: these things don't just make themselves.

A chocolate curl is a nice touch to dessert drinks. You can make them at home with bittersweet baking chocolate and a little cooking oil and a baking sheet.

Melt chocolate (about 3 large squares or 2 tablespoons on low heat in a saucepan with a teaspoon of canola oil. The chocolate should be thick and runny with no lumps in it when it is ready.

Spread it evenly on the underside of a baking sheet or bread pan using a spatula and store the pan in the freezer for about three minutes.

Use a sharp spatula to scrape the chocolate slowly to create curls. Test the firmness of the chocolate. The ideal firmness is when the chocolate is still soft enough that it doesn't crack as you scrape it but is firm enough that it rolls forward instead of piling up on the spatula's front edge. If the chocolate is too firm, leave out of the freezer for a few minutes to allow it to warm up.

Store the chocolate curls in a freezer bag in the freezer so that they are ready for use.

Ok. Now the drink recipe!
  • 3 oz. vodka (MurLarkey Divine Clarity used)
  • 1/4 oz. MurLarkey Cocoa Whiskey (recommended)
  • 1/4 oz. white creme de cacao or other clear chocolate liqueur
  • chocolate curl
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the chocolate curl.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Peggy Cocktail

There's something Mad Men and French at the same time about the Peggy Cocktail. Might be the name, but the french part is clearly from all the quintessential French liqueurs present in this drink. I like that the dominant flavors are spicy gin and bitter wine flavors. There's not much Pernod present to tip the scales, so it is very balanced for some of the more squeamish drinkers, particularly those with an aversion to absinthe.

So there's Dubonnet Rouge as well as sweet vermouth. And I bucked the Italian trend for sweet vermouth and grabbed my Byrrh. This floral and not too bitter wine aperitif is so French that it takes most ordinary drinks to an unrecognizable exotic place.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (Byrrh recommended)
  • 1/4 tsp. Dubonnet Rouge
  • 1/4 tsp. Pernod
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Pluggy's Favorite

Historically, the only Pluggy I know of was a Mohawk chieftain who allied with the British in the 1770's raiding settlements in the west from his base near present day Columbus, Ohio. While it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for a Mohawk to love absinthe in those days, I wonder if my conjecture about the origin of this drink are way off the mark.

More likely, Pluggy was a nickname for a guy who really liked his anise liqueur. The recipe I have calls for Pernod, which is all the sweetness this drink really needs. Then I chose MurLarkey distillery's ImaGination Gin for the other main spirit because it has a spicy coriander, cardamon, celery and szechuan peppercorns that add bitter spice to their botanical blend.

All that is left, and I have to think that this is intentional, is an equal measure of water to allow the botanicals to release from the liquor and create this milky color.
  • 2 oz. Pernod
  • 2 oz. gin (ImaGination used)
  • 2 oz. water
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an Old Fashioned glass full of fresh ice. 

Merry Widow Fizz

There's something very French and very cafe about the Merry Widow Fizz. It could be that it is a Dubonnet Rouge based cocktail, like a fizzy wine spritzer. But it could also be the low alcohol content and the way that such a fizzy drink can be enjoyed sitting outside on a boulevard cafe table in the afternoon. It is refreshing and rather satisfying and unlikely to make you feel tipsy. It is just so relaxing.
  • 2 oz. Dubonnet Rouge
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
  • sparkling water (Perrier for Frenchness)
Combine all ingredients except sparkling water in a shaker with ice. Shake to chill and strain out the ice. Shake again to add fizz and pour into a Collins glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water. 


As a Pernod drinker, I can't state how pleasant this "cooler" style cocktail is. There's something cooling about Pernod's sweet absinthe substitute flavor with soda and the Victory has it in spades. Grenadine adds a color change and a bit of fruit, and I opted for a cucumber garnish.

This last step really improved a drink that may have been all one note, or at least the many involved in Pernod. That fresh scent and watery taste of cucumber crunch went so well with the fizzy and licorice spice of the cocktail that I urge you to repeat it.
  • 2 oz. Pernod
  • 1 oz. grenadine
  • sparkling water (Perrier used)
  • cucumber slices (optional)
Combine Pernod and grenadine in a mixing glass with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water and stir gently. Garnish with cucumber slices. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

X.Y.Z. Cocktail

The name suggests a bookend to the A.B.C. concept to cocktail making. Yes, this is a simple recipe, but it isn't your usual ingredients. The X.Y.Z. is a light and refreshing sour drink made with rum, a little like a Margarita or a Daiquiri.

The thing that sets this cocktail apart is the large component of curacao, a rum based orange liqueur. In this case, I substituted Vitae orange liqueur because it is also rum based and stronger than triple sec. It has its own texture and scent that comes partly because of its aromatic rum distillate and mostly from its unusual use of hearty oranges that grow in Virginia. These bitter oranges really add character to this cocktail that is now my favorite new discovery. 
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. curacao (Vitae orange liqueur used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Fair And Warmer

The weather is fair and it is getting warmer. What a time to break out this cocktail. This is on an upstairs window ledge of my restaurant in Old Town Alexandria. The Fair And Warmer is a rum-rich Martini variation with lots of kick and flavor. The cocktail avoids falling to too sweet or too dry with the addition of merely a few dashes of curacao. I used Vitae orange liqueur from Charlottesville, Virginia. This bittersweet liqueur and classic sweet vermouth is all that is needed for this simple warmer weather drink.
  • 2 oz. light rum 
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 3 dashes white curacao (Vitae orange liqueur used)
  • lemon twist
Combine all ingredients except twist in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the twist. 

Continental Cocktail

As far as creme de menthe drinks go, this one is easier to stomach. I'll start with that. The color is attractive and the lime and mint foreground tastes about the same as it looks. The bonus here is a good colonial rum like Buzzard Point will stand out when needed to, and it does. There's that panela sugar funk that brings this cocktail closer to being a colonial drink.

So with that in mind, we are talking about a drink that represents old Europe in terms of its invention of creme liqueurs like creme de menthe, and the rum trade in the colonies, represented by Buzzard Point and accentuated by this map of the Caribbean.
  • 2 oz. light rum (District Distilling Co. Buzzard Point used)
  • 1/2 oz. green creme de menthe
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar syrup
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Sloppy Joe's Cocktail

This must be a recipe created at the Key West Sloppy Joe's restaurant or some such propitiatory thing. There are many drinks like this out there with a bartender or restaurant name and a twist on a classic. This classic beneath the classic is a Daiquiri, but this time it has the addition of dry vermouth and grenadine, so the color and spice profile is different. It's not just citrus anymore.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Monday, May 7, 2018

Golf Cocktail

The Golf Cocktail is really a Martini variation, and as such it is only different from the classic when you use different ingredients. A richer gin and vermouth will take you out of your comfort zone and make this cocktail more of an adventure.

For this I picked Copper Fox's Vir Gin for the gin. This product is not available in stores and can only be bought at the distillery locations in Speryville and Williamsburg. Vir Gin is a good choice for the Golf Cocktail because it is made from single malt barley, like scotch. And scotch and golf were invented in Scotland, so...

Vir Gin is really intense with black pepper, fennel, mint, rosemary, anise seed and lemongrass among many other typical gin botanicals. Rivata is an Italian dry vermouth with a lot of herbal flavors to it as well. A Martini with these ingredients and a dash of Angostura bitters is spicy and thick on the tongue, a far cry from your typical Martini.
  • 3 oz. gin (Copper Fox Vir Gin used)
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth (Rivata used)
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Gin and Sin

It's tart and juicy and you almost don't notice the gin hiding beneath it. Such a cocktail could exist now in today's cocktail culture. It is a good way to introduce people to gin and get them sinning along with the rest of us. The proportion of juice is very high, and the drink is an attractive color.

But I'm sure this is an old classic, a hangover from Prohibition when gin was dreadful and a lot of juice was necessary to drown out the flavor of bad booze. Notice too the suggestion that drinking is sinful. You won't hear that nowadays, though.

Local to the Virginia distilling scene, gin keeps getting better. I used MurLarkey ImaGination gin with its earthy botanical blend and firm grain flavor. This is the same gin that took bronze at the San Francisco Spirits Festival this year.
  • 2 oz. gin (MurLarkey ImaGination used)
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 oz. orange juice 
  • 2 dashes of grenadine (a little more of homemade grenadine used)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Bocce Ball

What a cute name for an Italian drink. I can see bocce players sipping these between bowls on a sunny lawn. That's where I got the inspiration for this photo. The bocce balls and oranges suggest that the game is afoot.

And this is a light and tasty drink that is well suited to outdoor drinking. It's not too strong or sweet. I really notice the quality of the biscotti-tasting Lazzaroni, and the subtle marzipan flavor that comes through the orange juice.
  • 2 oz. amaretto (Lazzaroni used)
  • orange juice
  •  orange slice
Add amaretto to a highball glass and fill it with ice. Top with orange juice and stir, then garnish with the orange slice.


The Godchild is part of the Godfather family of amaretto cocktails. When I made this I liked it better than I expected. Godchild is the only family member of these drinks that is blended and made with half-and-half. It retains that spike of vodka of the Godmother, however, and I was happy that this wasn't another of those weak amaretto dessert drinks.
  • 1 1/2 oz. amaretto (Lazzaroni used)
  • 1 oz. vodka (Divine Clarity used)
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a blender with cracked ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled champagne flute. 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Green Room

This cocktail refers back to the theater term for the room backstage where lesser actors mingle. The stars I assume have their private rooms. The Green Room isn't a green cocktail, just like the green room wasn't painted green. The drink, however, isn't extremely potent--which might be handy if you are about to go on stage with any hope of remembering your lines. It is in fact one of the drier vermouth cocktails that gets a little boost from brandy.

Here again is the early 80s vintage Christian Brothers brandy I found, lending oak notes and grape scent to an already orange-laden cocktail. Triple sec and the orange twist keep the orange notes light and sweet, as orange bitters don't. This is a classy old-school drink all around and I've heard that it is making a comeback.
  • 2 oz, dry vermouth (a French vermouth like Noilly Prat or Dolin is recommended)
  • 1 oz. brandy (vintage Christian Brothers used but cognac is acceptable)
  • several dashes triple sec
  • orange twist
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the orange twist. 

Roman Cooler

Try to keep this drink as Italian as possible if you can. Make the sweet vermouth a Cocchi di Torino or Carpano Antica, or even Martini & Rossi. The sparkling water has to be San Pellegrino. The Italianness of this drink is the important selling feature.

Punt E Mes is the main feature of this bitter sparkling cocktail. It is an especially bitter herbal sweet vermouth from Torino. An ounce of it floods the drink with flavor and color. In terms of bitterness, Punt E Mes is not as intense as Campari, but it beats out most other sweet vermouths, even Carpano Antica. This is the only drink in the New York Bartender's Guide of the 90s that calls for this vermouth specifically and that is extremely unusual when you consider how vermouth-adverse the 90s were.
  • 2 oz. gin (London dry recommended)
  • 1 oz. Punt E Mes
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. sweet vermouth (Cocchi di Torino used)
  • sparkling water (San Pellegrino
  • orange twist
Combine gin, vermouths, sugar and lemon juice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water and stir gently. Garnish with the orange twist. 

Waterbury Cocktail

I found this bottle of Christian Brothers Brandy that dates back to the early eighties at the latest. My mother-in-law says it is from a trip her parents took to California, so it could be even earlier. Anyway, this bottle is from an older time where even inexpensive products from distilleries were quite good when compared to today's standards.

This is because tastes were different back then. The flagship brandy of Christian Brothers was oakier and closer to whiskey, which I'm sure was its main competitor. Now the Christian Brothers VSOP is so much closer to cognac.

Now for the cocktail. Waterbury is grand, elegant egg foam cocktail that hits all the right notes. There's lime juice, but it's not overly sour. In addition to the oakiness of the vintage brandy, I also used a nice grenadine that's made with real pomegranate juice and cane sugar. It didn't change the color of the drink to an obnoxious pink like Rose's does, but the beige of this Waterbury Cocktail is classic like the Brandy.
  • 2 oz. brandy (vintage Christian Brothers used)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
  • 1 tsp sugar syrup
  • 1 egg white
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake to chill, then strain out ice and re-shake to add foam. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass (wine glass pictured).

Bannana Italiano

The question isn't what to do with MurLarkey banana whiskey, there's dozens of uses for that. It's what to do with that bottle of Galliano. This herbal and vanilla liqueur is strong on alpine flavor and alcohol and wants to be used in drinks that soften it up, usually with cream or sugar.

MurLarkey banana whiskey doesn't have added sugar. It is an infusion of dried bananas and white corn whiskey. It is rich and sometimes needs a little sugar for the flavor to stand out. I've substituted it for creme de bananes in this cocktail.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Galliano
  • 1 oz. creme de bananes (MurLarkey banana whiskey used)
  • 1/8 banana (optional)
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a blender with cracked ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled cocktail glass. 


I know I did this drink back in December, but a recent search for it turned up empty. I found it on one of my Instagram posts, however, and tracked it down from there.

The Diana really is a tingly and strong mint drink that is very suited to winter drinking like when I first tried it. I remember the experience well. It is all about the mint and crushed ice. The cognac float comes through as well. The whole experience is like a snow globe, which I think is the intention. Frosty on the glass, round, and very minty. I don't have white creme de menthe, but a cheap substitute (especially when cheap white creme de menthe is concerned) is peppermint schnapps. The point is that the drink can't be green.
  • 2 oz. white creme de menthe (peppermint schnapps used)
  • 1/2 oz. cognac
  • crushed ice
Pour creme de menthe (peppermint schnapps) into a snifter full of crushed ice. Float cognac on top.