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. 

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.