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.