Monday, July 22, 2019

Captain's Grog (Smuggler's Cove Recipe)

There's a lot going on in the Captain's grog, the signature drink from the Captain's Inn at Long Beach, CA. It is really rich, a little sweet, and loaded with intense flavors. On the sweet side, there's maple syrup, falernum, and black rum. There's spice from the vanilla and almond extract, and a ton of citrus with lime juice, grapefruit juice, and dry curacao. I've used Vitae's Virginia hearty orange spirit with a rum base to substitute for the curacao.

Curiously, there an ounce of sparkling water thrown in, which is odd for a blended drink. I believe it is to help in the blending of the ingredients rather than to add fizziness. That all gets wiped out when you blend. But the sparkling water could help with spacing out the extracts and sugars. It also seemed to help create a smooth blend with a consistency in the size of the ice chunks.
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz. maple syrup
  • 3 drops vanilla extract
  • 3 drops almond extract
  • 1 oz. sparkling water
  • 1/2 oz. falernum (homemade falernum used)
  • 1/2 oz. dry curacao (Vitae orange liqueur used)
  • 3/4 oz. black blended rum
  • 3/4 oz. blended light rum
  • 3/4 oz. blended aged rum
Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice. Blend and open gate strain into a double Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with swizzle sticks, umbrellas and fruit as you like. 


Avua cachaça mades an awesome Caipirinha cocktail, the native drink of Brazil. Though old recipes don't require lime hulls be poured into the glass, they do use them in the shaker with the sugar and spirit. The point, I think, is to make use of the bitterness of the lime zests and add chunky pulp to the drink. 

Originally, this cocktail would be built in the glass because bar tools would have been hard to come by in Brazillian cafes. Once the drink evolved to being shaken, the lime hulls would be shaken but caught by the strainer so that the drink could be served on fresh ice. But the revival of this cocktail and it's migration to the U.S. has meant that drinkers expect to see the lime hulls in the drink and bartenders still insist on shaking the cocktail to encourage the sugar to dissolve. 
  • 2 oz. cachaça (Avua used)
  • 1 lime juiced and its hulls
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
Juice a lime and add the juice and leftover halves to the shaker. Add sugar, cachaça and ice and shake. Pour into a double Old Fashioned glass.

Grand Royal Hotel

This is an unusual drink that combines rum, creme de cacao and light rum. The recipe for the Grand Hotel in the New American Bartender's Guide lists Grand Marnier as the orange spirit. Royal Combier is a similar cognac and orange spirit that also includes some complex exotic spices that distinguish it from Grand Marnier. Combier is less sweet, which is fine, and the spice notes match the flavor that this rum drink is going for: chocolate, orange, lemon and baking spice.
  • 2 oz. light rum (Flor de Cana extra seco used)
  • 1/2 oz. Royal Combier
  • 1/2 oz. white creme de cacao
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Jet Pilot (Smuggler's Cove recipe)

The Jet Pilot sounds a little mundane in the 21st century, But Martin Cate reminds us that in the 1950s, these pilots were modern day explorers who pushed the limits of machine and human ability. This cocktail is also designed to push the limits--coming out of nowhere with a full-force of flavor, and overwhelming the drinker with a powerful belt of strong rums.

For this cocktail I used my own falernum rather than John D. Taylor's. I also made black, overproof rum by adding black strap molasses (right).  

Cinnamon syrup is also a must. I simply made it by adding cinnamon sticks to my usual simple syrup recipe. This goes great with the ginger, allspice, clove, and cardamon I used in the falernum.

One final note: Aguardiente is an anise flavored cane spirit from Columbia, which makes it perfect for a rum cocktail. It is great by itself, it's taste sweeter and more mild than absinthe or Herbstura. I used a little more than a dash because of this. 
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz. cinnamon syrup
  • 1/2 oz. homemade falernum
  • 1 oz. black blended rum (homemade black rum used)
  • 3/4 oz. blended aged rum (Pusser's Navy Rum used)
  • 3/4 oz. black overproof rum (Homemade black rum used)
  • 1 dash herbstura (a drizzle of Aguardiente used)
Add all ingredients to a blender with ice and blend. Open strain into a double Old Fashioned glass with a gated finish to catch the large ice chunks. (No garnish stated, but flowers are lovely.)

Batida (de mango)

A Batida is a Brazilian cocktail that's similar to a Rum & Coke in that it is a simple rocks drink to mix. Beyond that, there are no similarities. Cachaça is a fresh cane spirit that is similar to rum except that it has a rich sugary taste. This drink adds a bit of tropical fruit juice and sugar to play up the Brazilian spirit's relaxed funkiness.
  • 2 oz. cachaça (Avua used)
  • 1 oz. fruit juice (mango/passionfruit used)
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a highball or Old Fashioned glass.

The Golden Gun

Sounding a lot like a James Bond film, this exotic cocktail from Martin Cate's Smuggler's Cove cookbook is an easy way to go Tiki with just a handful of ingredients. The key, of course, is good rum and fresh ingredients. Demerara syrup makes the sweet flavor taste more earthy and exotic. Apricot liqueur ups the fruitness, and the rum is all important.
  • 3/4 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz. demerara simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz. apricot liqueur (Jaquin's used)
  • 1 oz. blended aged rum (Pusser's Navy Rum used)
  • 1 oz. blended lightly aged rum (Flor de Cana extra seco used)
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Fill a Collins or highball glass with cracked or cubed ice. Add all the ingredients to the cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into the Collins glass. Garnish with your choice of fruits, stir sticks, and herbs. (I chose a peach slice as an appropriate pairing with apricot liqueur.)

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Grand Royal Hotel (Original Recipe)

This cocktail, based on the Grand Hotel is a much needed update on the original. I wanted to best represent the recipe for the Grand Hotel, which I pulled of so sloppily in my original post linked above.

In this post I'm addressing my failure to use crushed ice in the cocktail glass when I first tried the drink. It was in part the fault of an amateur bartender. It is also a flaw in the recipe I found in the Poister New American Bartender's Guide, which confusingly calls for either using crushed ice in the shaker or a blender and then pouring the whole thing into a cocktail glass. Is this a blender drink or not?

A few liqueur-forward cocktails I've done lately show off the character of a spirit like Amaretto or Creme de Menthe by serving it on crushed ice. I wanted to do the same thing for Royal Combier, which has orange and the north African spices of the Elixir Combier in it. MurLarkey's ImaGination Gin is a good match for these kinds of spicy and sweet flavors.
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin (MurLarkey ImaGination used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. Royal Combier (Originally Grand Marnier)
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • dash of lemon juice
  • lemon twist
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass full of crushed ice. Twist the lemon peel on top and lay it on the ice. 


I've made this cocktail before (I love this picture, too): the reason I'm bringing it back is that I love the ingredients I have on hand now. It completely changes the nature of this drink do do it with good brandy and Tempis Fugit Creme de Noyaux. This spirit is made with apricot and peach pits and almonds. It is very sweet and creamy, but it has a bitter and earthy notes that go well with a rich brandy.

Liber & Co. orgeat also makes this drink rich and nutty. I'm not sure what the flavor profile has to do with the faux Japanese-themed Gilbert and Sullivan opera, but I can better appreciate this drink as a complete, sweet and rich experience.
  • 3 oz. brandy (Asbach Uralt used)
  • 1/4 tsp. creme de noyaux (Tempis Fugit used)
  • 1/4 tsp. triple sec
  • 1/4 tsp. orgeat syrup (Liber & Co. used)
  • 3-5 dashes of Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


The Tantalus can be found in the Savoy Cocktail Book, but the spirit named Forbidden Fruit is no longer available for sale. You can get lucky and find a bar that has this extinct liquor hanging around, but you better believe that no one will let just anyone taste it. An original bottle of Forbidden Fruit is precious for research; bartenders comb over its color and flavor like archeologists, to try to figure out how it was made (see this article in Lost Ingredients.)

I thought at first that Copper Fox would be a good combination with my homemade Forbidden Fruit. I want to try it again with other gins to see how it plays with something more traditional. It was pretty good, however. I'm pleased with the balance between citrus and honey: Forbidden Fruit is very sweet with orange blossom honey and vanilla. And its unusual citrus flavor does stand out somewhat in this drink, but I think that the lemon juice overpowers the subtle notes of spice that I want to find in any drink that is intentionally crafted with a rare spirit.

Play around with this one; try different gins and proportions of spirits. I will continue to use Forbidden Fruit to find the best way to show of its merits.
  • 1 1/2 oz. dry gin
  • 1 1/2 oz. Forbidden Fruit
  • 1 1/2 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker full of ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 


Sangria is a classic wine punch that is enjoyable in warm summer months. It seems fitting that the Spanish with their hotter climate would have invented this drink as a way to enjoy a cold and refreshing glass of red wine with citrus juices and liquors. 

Now Sangria has evolved into many variations involving berries, white wine and even gin, but the basic recipe remains relatively unchanged. It is wine, orange spirit, sugar, juice and, in most cases, strong spirits.

For my recipe I used Campo Viejo Rioja (a real Spanish red) for authenticity, Asbach Uralt, a German brandy that doesn't taste like cognac, and Cointreau for the orange liqueur.

This is the recipe found in the Berk NY Bartender's guide, and it still holds up as an awesome sangria for porch drinks in the summer afternoon.
  • 2 bottles of dry red wine (Campo Viejo Rioja used)
  • 4 oz. triple sec (Cointreau used)
  • 3 oz. brandy (Asbach Uralt used)
  • 3 oz. orange juice
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 oz. lime juice
  • 4 oz. sugar syrup
  • lemon, orange, and lime slices
Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl and stir to combine. Chill for at least an hour before serving (but keeping in the refrigerator over night is even better). Before serving, add a large cake of ice. 

Pinstripe Suit (Original Recipe)

This was a moment of inspiration when I was enjoying local spirits used in Martini variations with local gin. I was looking for something that would use Copper Fox's Vir Gin, with its basil and anise flavors and malted barley presence, in a way that would enhance rather than try to downplay the unusual features of this gin. I settled on equal parts of gin, dry vermouth and Don Ciccio and Figli finocchietto liqueur. This infusion of fennel and dill is soft and rich and fairly sweet. It usually goes well with sodas and spritzes, but I wanted to taste it undiluted in this drink. Carpano dry vermouth suggests itself here too because of its bitter herbal flavor. Peychaud's bitters keeps the herbal, not spice, profile.

The overall effect is similar in scent and flavor to a new suit made of fine cotton. The experience of drinking it focuses only on these two senses--a drink to savor with your eyes closed.
  • 1 oz. Copper Fox Vir Gin
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth (Carpano dry used)
  • 1 oz. Don Ciccio and Figli finocchietto liqueur
  • 1 dash Peychaud's bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Dorchester of London Cocktail

This is one of those nearly extinct cocktails from the Harry Craddock cocktail book that was once served at the Dorchester of London Hotel in the 1930s. I found this recipe on an article about Forbidden fruit and wanted to try it with my own Forbidden Fruit recipe.

The Dorchester is my favorite Forbidden Fruit cocktail so far because it really shows off the complexity of the spirit without burying it in more citrus juice like the Biscayne Cocktail. Instead, a nice, floral gin like Roku is awesome in equal parts to the Forbidden Fruit. A smaller part of Cuban (I used Nicaraguan Flor De Cana) rum really helps to smooth the flavors out and add an round, aged mouthfeel.
  • 1 1/2 oz. dry gin (Suntory Roku used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. Forbidden Fruit liqueur (homemade recipe used)
  • 3/4 oz. Cuban rum (Flor de Cana extra seco used)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Friday, May 3, 2019

Bristow Brandy Bramble (Original Recipe for MurLarkey Distillery)

The Bramble has been a reliable summer sour drink for decades. Blackberry liqueur floated on gin and lemon juice in crushed ice is a refreshing combination. But it was rare that bars had blackberries back in the 80s when the Bramble was invented. Creme de Mure was the blackberry ingredient until the cocktail revolution occurred.

This a small break from tradition by using muddled blackberries and sugar for the natural blackberry flavor. The sherry is best when floated on top of the ice to add richness and oak.
  • 2 oz. MurLarkey ImaGination gin
  • 1 oz. E&J VSOP
  • 1 oz. cream sherry
  • 7 blackberries
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • mint sprig
Combine 5 blackberries, sugar and lemon juice in a shaker and muddle to break up the berries. Add brandy, gin and ice and shake. Double strain into an Old Fashioned glass full of crushed ice. Float cream sherry on top and garnish with mint sprig and three blackberries.

Banana Brandy Rose (Original Recipe for MurLarkey Distilery)

The most famous cocktail in the Rose series is the Jack Rose made with apple jack. These cocktails, which can be made with any spirit, are all sour drinks that are usually sweetened with grenadine. I thought that the unusual pairing of brandy with the rich flavor of MurLarkey banana whiskey would balance better than the Jack Rose. I wasn't wrong.

For one thing, I was going for the sweetness and pleasant flavor of the banana whiskey that makes it very drinkable by itself. The banana flavor pairs well with lime juice in an almost tropical combination. The brandy smooths out the whiskey notes and takes the drink in the direction of an aged brandy style of Rose cocktail. The drink was still sour, but far more interesting, providing in turns dried banana, spicy whiskey, and oak.
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lime slice. 

Tea Time (Original Recipe for MurLarkey Distillery)

This drink takes its inspiration from the Ice Pick, a cocktail with the dubious intent of hiding alcohol in an innocent looking glass of iced tea. Using flavored spirits and sparkling water enhances that basic recipe: I wondered what would happen if the liquor tasted like tea?

MurLarkey makes Three Tea Whiskey that is infused with Earl Gray, Darjeeling and English breakfast teas. I like a raspberry iced tea, so Chambord black raspberry liqueur suggested itself. My thinking was that a really enjoyable summer cocktail shouldn't feel like a basic iced tea. It should be a treat for a special occasion, or at least turn a typical summer afternoon into a special occasion. This was a very special recipe.
  • 2 oz. MurLarkey Three Tea whiskey
  • 1 oz. Chambord
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • sparkling water
  • blackberry, lemon slices, and mint sprig garnishes
Combine whiskey, Chambord and sugar in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Collins glass full of fresh ice. Place a lemon slice in the glass and top with sparkling water. Stir gently and garnish with mint sprig, blackberry and lemon slice.

Brooklyn Cocktail (Revisited with Homemade Amer Picon)

Manhattan has it's signature cocktail with rye. Brooklyn's is less well known, perhaps because it is more complicated and one of its ingredients has all but gone extinct. I've made this cocktail before with Catoctin Creek rye, but I used Picon Biere instead of Amer Picon--the hard to find ingredient. This time I did it with my homemade Amer Picon from a recipe that gets as close to the original as possible without going to France to get it.

The cocktail is exactly the same as the Quebec Cocktail (in slightly smaller proportions) but it is rye that centers the drink in New York not Canada. Using rye with such flavorful spirits is a good idea because it holds its own. You can taste the whiskey in concert with bitter cherry and orange flavors. The cocktail is rich but brighter tasting than a Manhattan, perhaps owing to the dry vermouth in stead of sweet vermouth.
  • 1 1/2 oz. rye (Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye used)
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth (Carpano dry used)
  • 1/4 oz. Luxardo Maraschino
  • 1/4 oz. Amer Picon (DIY Amer Picon used)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. (Maraschino cherry garnish recommended.)

Italian Orange Fizz (Original Recipe for MurLarkey Distillery)

This attractive drink is refreshing and herbacious. It relies on two spirits that have an underlying vanilla note. Galliano is a rich Italian spirit with a saffron color. It contains a vanilla liqueur as well as an anise and herb spirit reminiscent of Italian Christmas cookies.

MurLarkey makes their orange whiskey with an infusion of orange zest and vanilla. The only thing this cocktail needs is more fresh squeezed orange juice and more fresh herbs (i.e. mint). This was a memorable innovation you can see below.
  • 1 1/2 oz. MurLarkey orange whiskey
  • 1 oz. Galliano
  • 1/2 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 7-10 mint leaves
  • mint sprig
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • orange slice
  • sparkling water
Add juice, mint leaves and sugar to a shaker and muddle to break up the mint. Add Galliano, orange whiskey and ice and shake. Double strain into a chilled Collins glass full of fresh ice. Put the orange slice in the glass and top it up with sparkling water. Stir gently and garnish with the mint sprig.

Quebec Cocktail (Revisited with Homemade Amer Picon)

I'm almost done with my cycle using Amer Picon I made with orange bitters, Combier and Rammozzotti. This drink is intended to bring together a very French ingredient (Amer Picon) and Canadian whiskey. This time I picked Crown Royal as a quintessentially Canadian whiskey.

The rest of the cocktail is very international with Italian dry vermouth and maraschino liqueur. It is still a big drink (in terms of proportions) and huge on flavor with several of the most heavily flavored spirits like Picon, Luxardo maraschino and this amazingly bitter Carpano dry vermouth. With all of that going on, the Canadian whiskey gets completely lost. It is as if the whiskey is a vehicle for combining all of the other bodacious spirits--which is exactly what Canadian whiskey does. Crown Royal is such a mild whiskey. Any time you see Canadian whiskey in a recipe, it is chosen because of its smoothness and mixability.
  • 3 oz. Canadian whisky (Crown Royal used)
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1 oz. Amer Picon (DIY Amer Picon used)
  • 1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Monahan (Revisited with Homemade Amer PIcon)

Whoever this Monahan guy was, he had a brilliant idea for a bitter Manhattan made with Amer Picon. Though I've made this drink before with Picon Biere, I felt that it needed another try with the Amer Picon I made myself a few weeks ago. It is more bitter and stronger than the sweet-ish liqueur you add to a glass of beer.

Cocchi Dopo Teatro also keeps things bitter with its amaro sweet vermouth with big vanilla notes to offset the deep bitter herbal flavors. The recipe calls for either bourbon and rye, so I chose neither: MurLarkey Heritage is a whiskey made mostly of corn and finished in wine casks. It has a bittersweet note to match the other ingredients, and I was very pleased with the revisited drink all around.
  • 1 1/2 oz. bourbon or rye (MurLarkey Heritage old country whiskey used) 
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (Cocchi Dopo Teatro used)
  • 1/2 oz. Amer Picon (DIY Amer Picon used)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Grape And Grain (Original Recipe for MurLarkey Distillery)

The idea behind the Grape and Grain is encapsulated in the name: a refreshing Spritz using grain and grape juice spirits like MurLarkey lemon whiskey and E&J brandy. With a touch of lemon juice and sugar, the drink gets additional roundness and balance from cream sherry, another grape spirit. The garnishes are designed to exemplify the two main spirits represented in the cocktail.
  • 1 1/2 oz. MurLarkey lemon whiskey 
  • 1 oz. brandy (E&J VSOP used)
  • 1/2 oz. cream sherry (Lustau Capataz Andres used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • red grapes
  • lemon peel curl
  • sparkling water
Combine sugar, juice and spirits in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Collins glass. Add a few red grapes to the glass and top with soda. Stir gently and garnish with more grapes and a long curl of lemon peel.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Amer Picon Cocktail (With DIY Amer Picon)

This is my first attempt at this cocktail, not just the first one made with my homemade Amer Picon. I had been putting it off until I could make the Amer Picon myself rather than substituting Picon Biere, knowing that it would not be a balanced cocktail. If you can't make it with the real deal, it's just not worth bothering to make it at all.

There's a lot of lime juice in this drink, but it is perfectally balanced with sweetness and bitterness. Yes, it is still a sour cocktail in the style of a Jack Rose, but that doesn't make it a bad drink. In fact, I think it is a little better balanced than the Jack Rose because of the orange bitterness of Amer Picon.
  • 2 oz. Amer Picon (DIY Amer Picon used)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Picon Fizz (Revisited With Homemade Amer Picon)

This simple Fizz recipe is much tastier with my homemade Amer Picon recipe made from orange peels, Ramazzotti and Combier. It is easy to make, unlike many egg white Fizzes (a proper Fizz in my opinion) but some drinks, especially light and refreshing summer cocktails begin and end with a liqueur (or Amaro in this case) and soda.

That said, there's a lot happening in this long drink. There's a very herbaceous liqueur, grenadine and a brandy top that keeps the flavor of grape spirit strong. For this time around, I chose hibiscus lavender syrup in place of grenadine. This was a good choice. More richness made for a better cocktail.
  • 2 oz. Amer Picon (DIY Amer Picon used)
  • 1/2 oz. grenadine (substituted RAFT hibiscus lavender syrup)
  • 1/2 oz. brandy (Asbach Uralt used)
  • sparkling water
Build drink in a Collins glass full of fresh ice with grenadine and Amer Picon. Top with sparkling water and stir gently to combine. Float brandy on top. 

Monday, April 15, 2019

Prince Street Cocktail (Original Recipe)

Old Town Alexandria needs its own cocktail associated with its colonial history, something classic and regal to contrast it from New York's Manhattan and Chicago's Southside. I give you the Prince Street Cocktail, named after one of Old Town's more pristine cobblestone streets.

This cocktail is based on the Bonnie Prince, a gin, Lillet Blanc and Drambuie cocktail of similar proportions. For this cocktail, I really upped the amount of Drambuie to add richness--look at that honey color! The flavor then becomes one of spiced wine, heather and old whisky. For the gin, I chose northern Virginia's ImaGination gin from MurLarkey Distillery. There's so much spice (Drambuie and ImaGination) and orange flavor(from Lillet and the twist), that Prince Street tastes as decadent as the Royal name it carries. 
  • 2 oz. MurLarkey ImaGination Gin
  • 1/2 oz. Lillet Blanc
  • 1/2 oz. Drambuie
  • orange twist
Combine all ingredients except for orange twist in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist.

(Ketel One Botanical) Cucumber Mint Martini

Now that Ketel One is making this Botanical series with infusions of fresh ingredients, it's only fitting to tick off a few Martini variations using the new spirits. A Martini only requires a neutral spirit and vermouth, preferably vodka or gin, and some kind of fresh garnish. Cucumber and mint are a pleasingly fresh addition to the Martini cannon, and Ketel One's Botanical blend is a welcome helpmate in this regard. Open the bottle and you have everything you need. I do recommend using a large helping of dry vermouth with this cocktail--keep it wet--it is cucumber after all. And if you happen to have mint and a cucumber handy, so much the better.
  • 2 oz. Ketel One Botanical Cucumber and Mint Vodka
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • cucumber peel and or mint garnish
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Spear a peel of cucumber or use a mint sprig as garnish. 

Napoleon (DIY Amer Picon Recipe)

Lots of cocktails purport to be quintessentially French, which is to say they belong to a French tradition of drinking or use a selection of French-made ingredients. The Napoleon goes so far as to claim France's most notorious Emperor.

But setting all that bluster aside, Napoleon's namesake cocktail is an excellent mix of France's hard-to-find bitter aperitif wines. Amer Picon--so rare in its pre-prohibition form outside of Paris that we have to resort to making it ourselves--adds an orange bitterness to this classic gin drink. Dubonnet Rouge and curacao lend color and orange sweetness.

I could have picked a French vodka and used Cointreau if I wanted to go the full French, but I decided that a rum based orange liqueur like Vitae would work better as a substitute for curacao. Copper Fox Vir Gin is also a nice treat, it's star anise botanical gives it an absinthe-like flavor fit for cafe sipping. I'm glad I came back to this recipe to try it with these ingredients. Take a look at my attempt at this cocktail in 2015. It wasn't bad back then, but this is a surefire improvement on the concept.
  • 2 oz. gin (Copper Fox Vir Gin used)
  • 1/2 oz white curacao (Vitae orange liqueur used)
  • 1 tsp. Dubonnet Rouge
  • 1 tsp. Amer Picon (Homemade recipe used)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass full of ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

The Gherkson (Original Recipe)

Vodka and cornichons, those little spicy pickles that are often served with charcuterie, are a combination enjoyed all over the world. There's something amazing about dipping a pickle into a cold shot of vodka, shooting the vodka and finishing with the pickle. In Eastern Europe, vodka and onion is a common pairing. Drinkers enhance their experience by smelling a cut onion after taking a vodka shot.

All of this led me to the recipe for The Gherkson, a Gibson Martini with cornichons (gherkins) and cocktail onions. The garnishes are from Maille, makers of a very spicy Dijon style pickle brine that also includes these amazing cocktail onions and whole mustard. The vodka is MurLarkey Divine Clarity potato vodka, and I happily picked up Carpano Dry vermouth. This vermouth contains a lot of herbal echoes of their Antica formula and fits very well with a dry and savory Martini.
  • 3 oz. vodka (Divine Clarity used)
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth (Carpano Dry used)
  • Maille cornichons and onions
Combine vodka and vermouth in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cornichons and cocktail onions.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Picon (Revisit With Homemade Amer Picon)

This is a bitter cocktail akin to the Negroni, but with an overtly orange and herbal swing to it. A drink like this really requires the classic Amer Picon that is no longer available even in France. It has been sweetened and its alcohol content reduced so that it is now only available as an ingredient intended to be added to beer or wine. The Amer Picon that is available now is not the bracing bitter that it used to be in the golden age of cocktails. That is why making it yourself is so necessary. 

Cocchi Dopo Tetero is a bitter sweet vermouth that uses more cinchona and bitter herbs than many sweet vermouths which are losing their appeal in this era when drinkers really appreciate bitterness. I was surprised that the Dopo Tetero has deep roast notes similar to dark chocolate. It is rich! Doing a cocktail with it and equal parts DIY Amer Picon makes for a dark and bitter drink.
  • 2 oz. Amer Picon (DIY Amer Picon used)
  • 2 oz. sweet vermouth (Cocchi Dopo Tetero used)
Combine all ingredient in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Sanctuary (Revisit WIth Homemade Amer Picon)

The Sanctuary is one of the first cocktails I made for this blog when I thought I had a suitable substitute for Amer Picon--a very difficult to find French Amaro that bartenders now have to recreate in order to get the strength of flavor of the original recipe. All this fuss over the Amer Picon, one tends to overlook the Dubonnet Rouge, another seldom seen classic cocktail ingredient. In fact, at two ounces, the Sanctuary is really a Dubonnet Rouge cocktail more than an Amer Picon cocktail.

Dubonnet Rouge (Love the new label!) is an aperitif wine spirit that is fortified and flavored with a secret blend of herbs and spices. Unlike Lillet, it is not purely an orange flavored wine, though there is some citrus in Dubonnet Rouge. There are chocolate and roasted cabbage notes in the aperitif as well. So with that depth, this wine cocktail gets punched up with Cointreau, a 40-proof triple sec made with bitter and sweet oranges, and Amer Picon, a bitter orange liqueur. The result is a complex cocktail that keeps changing as you drink it. As it warms it takes on a chocolate orange character and continues to be extremely rich, despite having a lower ABV than most cocktails.
  • 2 oz. Dubonnet Rouge
  • 1 oz. Amer Picon (DIY Amer Picon used)
  • 1 oz. triple sec (Cointreau used)
  • lemon twist
Combine all ingredients except lemon twist in a mixing glass (The NY Bartender's guide says to shake, but I really think that makes the Dubonnet Rouge cloudy and it's unnecessary so I stirred) with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon twist. 

Brittany (Revisit With Homemade Amer Picon)

Brittany is the northwest region of France, known for it's rocky coastline and resorts that dot the English channel. It seems appropriate that an especially fruity cocktail using gin and a French Amaro would bring together the best of English and French qualities in a single drink.

I did not use an English gin for this second run of this cocktail on my site. I thought that the German Monkey 47, with it's dryness and super botanical blend would work well with the bitter Amer Picon and tart juices. It keeps the drink interesting when orange and lemon juices tend to flatten out the flavors of gin.

The other interesting aspect of this cocktail is the use of my DIY Amer Picon. This is made with MurLarkey white whiskey infused with cara cara orange peels, Ramazzotti amaro, and Royal Combier--which is a kind of cognac and orange liqueur with Mediterranean spices. The Amer Picon really adds a deep bitter orange floor to what would ordinarily be a tart and floral cocktail.
  • 2 oz. gin (Monkey 47 used)
  • 1/2 oz. Amer Picon (DIY used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • orange twist
Combine all ingredients except orange twist in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously to chill and dissolve sugar. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

(DIY) Amer Picon

I've done it! Finally, I have my own Amer Picon knock off. I got the recipe from PUNCH, which was easy except that finding Combier is pretty difficult depending on where you live. But that is all easier to get than Amer Picon--a bitter orange liqueur that hasn't been available in the U.S. for decades. Even the varieties available in France are no longer the same bitter boozy product that Amer Picon once was.

It all started with picking up a bottle of Ramzzotti amaro. I'd seen Combier on bar shelves in the past and figured that the other ingredient wouldn't be too hard to find. As it turns out, Elixir Combier (which may or may not be the ingredient listed in the PUNCH recipe) is not available in the Washingtion, Virginia, Maryland region. Elixir Combier is a biter French orange liqueur with spices from the Mediterranean like myrrh. It turns out that I could find Royal Combier, the same liqueur with cognac added so that it is a competitor to Grand Marnier. This, I assumed, would be a suitable substitute.

The small jar on the right of the photo is orange bitters. I made these using MurLarkey Justice White Whiskey--a version that is 110-proof so that it makes infusions better.

I takes 2 cups of Ramazzotti and one cup each of Combier and orange bitters. Add 1/4 cup of orange peels (I used bitter cara cara orange peels) and let the mixture steep for a week in the refrigerator. For my bottle, I used an old scotch bottle and printed one of the many images of this long-lost spirit

Regent's Punch

By far the largest punch in the New York Bartender's Guide from 1997, the Regent's Punch serves 80! It is the reason I had to get a dedicated punch bowl. It still wasn't large enough to handle the full size of the punch, so I served it in a half size (see how full that punch was!) and re-filled the bowl when it ran out.

The need of such a massive punch  comes from those colonial balls and large parties of societal figures including monarchs. Take a look at the ingredients to see the kind of royalty this punch caters to: champagne, riesling, cognac, dark rum and triple sec. It truly was intended for regents or the ruling class.

Besides settling on Gruet blanc de blanc sparkling wine over more expensive champagne, I did not deviate from the recipe.  I used Broadbent rainwater Madiera, Appleton signature blend rum, Meukow cognac (Because it tastes more French than brandy) and Combier Liqueur d'Orange as an expensive and high quality triple sec. Chilling all ingredients first was a major help to pulling off this huge punch in time for the party, and having two bundt pan ice cakes ready was critical. Just after I served the punch with the ice and sparkling wine included, I found a large spring flower to set in the center of the ring of ice.
  • 1 bottle riesling or dessert wine (Chateau st. Michelle riesling used)
  • 2 bottles Madeira (Broadbent rainwater used)
  • 1 bottle triple sec (Combier d'Orange used)
  • 3 bottles champagne or sparkling wint (Gruet blanc des blanc used)
  • 16 oz. dark rum (Appleton Estate special blend used)
  • 1 bottle cognac (Meukow used)
  • 16 oz. black tea
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 quarts sparkling water (2 bottles of San Pellegrino)
  • 8 oz. lemon juicee
  • 24 oz. orange juice
Combine all liquid ingredients except champagne and sparkling water in a large punch bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar. Refrigerate the bowl and liquid for at least an hour before serving. When serving, add a large cake of ice (I prefer a bundt pan rings) and top with sparkling water and champagne and stir.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Banshee's Fix (Original Recipe)

Nothing like going tiki with whiskey, and evoking a malevolent Irish spirit while using an Irish spirit to boot! In truth, this cocktail is close to the Irish Fix--an attempt to make the most pleasing combination of juice and whiskey you'll ever find.

Unlike most Fixes, this the Irish Fix includes pineapple juice. I did the same, but added lemon juice, mint and a good helping of Virginia banana whiskey. That is a cocktail allusion to the Banshee banana dessert drink. In essence, this drink swings tiki when served on crushed ice, and I love the combined effect it produces when garnished with the mint and green maraschino cherry. You don't even notice that this is a whiskey drink and its hard to identify the banana as well. It just comes across as a perfect tropical escape--but the island it takes you to is Ireland.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Tullamore DEW Irish Whiskey
  • 1 oz. MurLarkey banana whiskey
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. orgeat syrup
  •  mint sprig and maraschino cherry garnishes
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass full of crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and a green maraschino cherry.

The Green And Orange (Original Cocktail)

I'm celebrating St. Patrick's Day with Irish and Irish-American whiskies. Tullamore Dew is the well-known Irish whiskey brand in this Old Fashioned redux. MurLarkey distillery makes an interesting orange whiskey that is well suited to Old Fashioned recipes on its own but benefits from the mellowing effects of its Irish forebear.

Here I was going for a color combination of a cocktail that would evoke the dispirit hues of the Irish flag and its problematic history. Interesting how the orange is supplied by the local Virginia distillers. The cara cara orange slice and green maraschino cherry accentuate the sweetness of this drink as well as the color scheme.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Tullamore DEW Irish whiskey
  • 1 1/2 oz. MurLarkey orange whiskey
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • Orange slice and green cherry garnish
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass full of ice. Stir and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with the cherry and orange slice.

Burgundy Punch

Not all punches are rum and fruit juice. A good number are wine-based. This punch is reminiscent of old world punch and cocktails that use European wines and spirits to create a balance between sweet, sour, tanic and earthy.

The result is a smooth punch with lots of depth. It is neither too strong, nor uninteresting. At first you notice the cabernet (the recipe calls for Burgundy, but I opted for Poppy, Paso Robles cabernet. This wine is not so much rich as it is flavorful. The addition of port softens this somewhat. In the center of the sip you notice the orange and lemon citrus burst. The finish is characterized by more port and a whiff of boozy Kammer Kirsch, one of the best examples of Kirschwasser--a black cherry spirit similar to white brandy.

  • 2 bottles of red Burgundy or cabernet sauvignon
  • 8 oz. kirschwasser
  • 8 oz. port
  • 16 oz. orange juice (fresh squeezed cara cara used)
  • 4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • orange slices
Combine all ingredients in a chilled punch bowl with a block of ice. Stir well and garnish with orange slices.
*Note: I chilled all the ingredients in the punch bowl for two hours before serving on ice. This prevents watering the punch down too much and even enhances the flavor combination as ingredients sit with each other and while the punch warms up. This punch serves twenty.

Imagine Espana (Original Recipe)

I've got a project underway to combine the local Virginia spirits from MurLarkey with international brands. How does one take liqueurs and whiskies from across Europe and Asia and turn them into great cocktails using a base spirit that is unknown overseas? It's easy when you consider that gin is a great base for refreshing spring cocktails.

Licor 43 is a Spanish cordial made from citrus, fruits, spices and brandy. It has a pleasing vanilla flavor and adds sweetness where sugar would usually go in a drink. But it is far more interesting than simple syrup in this twist on a Collins.  MurLarkey makes ImaGination gin, a rich botanical blend of a gin that can really outshine other American gins for its depth of flavor. Far from a juniper-heavy gin, MurLarkey goes for spice and herbs for an unexpected taste.
  • 1 1/2 oz. MurLarkey ImaGination gin
  • 1 oz. Licor 43
  • 1/4 oz. maraschino liqueur
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • sparkling water
  • cherries and orange twist garnishes.
Combine lemon juice and liquors in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water and stir gently. Garnish with cherries and orange twist. 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Pomelo Delta

It's more than a triangle wedge of citrus to garnish a triangular-shaped glass. This cocktail speaks of exotic lands and lush mouths of rivers where forbidden fruit grows--river deltas of the world's equatorial regions.

Pomelo juice is less bitter than grapefruit, far sweeter than lemon, and as honeyed as a mandarin orange but with a different flavor profile than any other member of the rue family. The peel is exceptionally pithy and useful for flavoring the Forbidden Fruit honey-citrus spirit with a cognac base.

In keeping with all the citrus theme, I chose MurLarkey lemon whiskey, which is a lemon zest infused white whiskey. It is one of MurLarkey's subtler infusions, easy to hide in a fruity cocktail that doesn't require whiskey flavors but benefits from the whiff of lemon zest. You could do this drink equally well with vodka or gin, but you might have to use lemon juice and adjust for the accompanying bitterness.
  • 1 1/2 oz. MurLarkey lemon whiskey
  • 1 1/2 oz. pomelo juice
  • 1 oz. Forbidden Fruit (See recipe here)
  • 1 dash RAFT hibiscus lavender syrup
  • pomelo sliced in a delta shape. 
Combine all ingredients except pomelo slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the pomelo slice.

Banana Lime Collins

Get ready for St. Patrick's Day! The Banana Lime Collins is exactly like it sounds, simple, approachable, and very refreshing. It's even a little bit green (natural colors of course) to make it festive.

I really like how such a simple change to a classic cocktail can come across as exotic. The whiskey-based John Collins is a refreshing way to enjoy your Irish whiskey. MurLarkey banana whiskey is an Irish-American treat made with an infusion of real bananas in white whiskey. It goes great with lime juice, so I opted for that over the traditional lemon. Then a lime wedge and a green maraschino cherry looked like a fitting garnish. It may not be spring yet according to the official calendar, but this drink will make you feel like the sun has come out.
  • 2 oz. MurLarkey banana whiskey
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • sparkling water
  • maraschino cherry
  • lime wedge
Combine whiskey, juice and sugar in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass full of fresh ice and top with sparkling water (I used lime flavored soda here for even more intense fruit flavor.) Garnish with cherry (green if you have it) and lime wedge.

To Damn Hot

This spiced brandy cocktail is perfect for cold nights. It is rich and satisfying to sip on. Asbach Uralt is a German brandy that has its own distinct flavor apart from French cognac. With aromatic bitters, sweet vermouth and cinnamon whiskey, it imitates an Old Fashioned or a Sazerac and yet remains wholly different.

MurLarkey cinnamon whiskey is definitely hot stuff. It puts Fireball to shame--and it is real whiskey. Use too much of it, though, and you can blow out your drink. The idea here is to coat the cinnamon whiskey in sweet rich flavors. I want to point out that I used Mt. Defiance sweet vermouth, made from apple brandy, herbs and spices, vidal blanc wine and brandy. This is a really special distillery and I recommend that Virginians check out this treasure in your back yard. For the cocktail, their superb sweet vermouth (ordinarily overly sweet for many drinks) is perfect for imparting an apple pie aspect to the brandy.
  • 2 oz. brandy (Asbach Uralt used)
  • 1/2 oz. cinnamon whiskey (MurLarkey used)
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth (Mt. Defiance used)
  • 1 dash aromatic bitters (Hella used)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. 

Icelandic Air

The name for this drink came to me during a late winter cold snap. I wanted to create a drink with the chill and scent of Iceland's landscape. There's sea air, dry grasses, glacial frost and flowers in every breath of Iceland's air in summer. Brennivin is Iceland's native spirit, an aquavit with a strong caraway seed presence and light, clean taste.

In addition to aquavit, there's pomelo juice, sugar, bitters and white creme de menthe. In small proportions, creme de menthe adds a crispness that is herbal but does not immediately give itself away to the drinker as mint. The tingle of chill is perfect and hidden in a tart and herbal cocktail that perfectly represents the country of Iceland.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Brennivin (or aquavit)
  • 1 1/2 oz. pomelo juice
  • 5 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. white creme de menthe
  • pomelo peel sliced thin as a twist
Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the pomelo peel.

White Whiskey Saketini

Is it a Martini if you make it with white whiskey instead of gin or vodka? Furthermore, does a Martini require dry vermouth? (I tend to think it does.) The Saketini, especially this one, is not a Martini at all, but it is a savory treat: especially with a pepper drop garnish like shown above.

MurLarkey Justice White Whiskey is an unaged corn whiskey that really features the distiller's main product. Unadulterated it is still bold and bracing, even when chilled. It takes a significant amount of sake to break through (which is why I can't call this a Martini. The spirit just isn't neutral at all.) I also added a little of the juice from the pepper drop jar for vinegar tang.
  • 2 oz. White Corn Whiskey (MurLarkey Justice used)
  • 1 oz. sake 
  • pepper drop garnish
  • drizzle of pepper drop juice
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the pepper drops.

Saturday, February 9, 2019


An Aviation is a classic American gin drink from the golden age of cocktails. Now, thanks to the availability of quality ingredients like creme de violette and maraschino liqueur (as well as a range of good gins both dry and otherwise) you can taste this classic as it was meant to be enjoyed.
  • 2 oz. gin (MurLarkey ImaGination used)
  • 1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur
  • 1/4 oz. creme de violette
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • maraschino cherry
  • lemon twist
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cherries and twist. 

(Virginia Local) Martinez

I love a Martinez, a very sweet gin Martini with sweet vermouth and Old Tom gin. This variation uses some ingredients local to Virginia.

MurLarkey ImaGination isn't an Old Tom gin exactly; it's sweeter than London Dry and has a lot of characteristics of the New American stye of gin going around. There's no malted barley in MurLarkey, but the botanical blend is rich and not overpowered by juniper or citrus. A Martinez made with ImaGination is pretty close to the ones made during the golden era of cocktails.

Mt. Defiance also makes a rustic sweet vermouth, an herbal fortified wine with lots of sweetness that I think comes from the residual sugar of the grape and not from caramel like Italian vermouths. These ingredients work well together in the classic Martinez.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Old Tom gin (ImaGination used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (Mt. Defiance used)
  • 1/4 oz. maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters (Hella orange--with its baking spice flavors--used)
  • orange twist
Combine all liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the orange twist. 

Monkey Picked Flower Collins

Monkey 47 gin makes an intensely floral Collins. My plan was to substitute Hibiscus Lavender syrup for the usual amount of simple syrup in a standard Collins. This was a good move: it makes the drink even more floral and gives it an attractive color that Collins drinks often lack. Monkey 47 is strong (with an intentional or serendipitous 47% alcohol) and in the full three-ounce pour for a Collins, it is pretty destructive. Feel free to go with a little less and stretch out what precious little Monkey 47 you have left in that tiny 375 ml. bottle.
  • 2 oz. Monkey 47 gin
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. RAFT Hibisucs Lavender syrup
  • sparkling water
  • lemon twist
  • maraschino cherry
Combine gin, lemon juice and syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Collins glass full of ice. Add sparkling water and stir. Garnish with the cherry and lemon twist. 

Krautini (Combo)

I was struck by inspiration when I was drinking a Dirty Martini after work. The olive brine in a cocktail is pleasing and appetizing and really goes well with salty food like nuts and pretzels. Why then, with the exception of the Gibson, are there so few savory Martinis?

The idea of pickled cabbage suggested itself as I fixed a bratwurst for dinner. Why not make a Martini with a little of the cabbage juice in it. I tried it two ways, a gin and a vodka drink, and with two kinds of sour kraut, the white and the red cabbage. The one constant was the Rivata dry vermouth with its heavy herbal notes and slight cabbage scent.

Both drinks worked out really well. the white cabbage juice with MurLarkey Divine Clarity vodka was a great combo. Divine Clarity already has a slight bitter dullness (I detect, but no one else seems to think so) that lends itself well to olive and wine cocktails. The white cabbage made this Dirty Martini variation sour with vinegar zip that was every bit as interesting as a standard Dirty Martini.

The red cabbage juice added to MurLarkey ImaGination gin was sweeter but earthy, a bitterness well suited to rosemary and basil notes you find in the gin. Here is the recipe with proportions that work as well for one as another.
  •  3 oz. gin or vodka (MurLarkey ImaGination gin or Divine Clarity vodka)
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth (Rivata Italian used)
  • 1 tsp. sour kraut juice (red or white)
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Saturday, January 26, 2019

German Cocktail

I wanted to take another swing at the K.G.B. Cocktail, you know, that one that is supposed to stand for the three ingredients: kirschwasser, gin and brandy, but the ingredients are really kirschwasser, gin and apricot brandy (for sweetness). I guess that a K.G.AB doesn't sound as cool. But I figured, what if this drink could be done with all German ingredients?

Until recently, this wasn't possible. Then Monkey 47 came along and changed everything. I should warn the potential drinker or mixologist who tries this one out. Unlike the K.G.B., there is no sugar from the apricot brandy. That means that this cocktail is make of only overproof spirits. It is dry and strong and should take any normal person a little while to finish. This is good. Slow down and enjoy this drink. Good things take time.
  • 3/4 oz. kirschwasser (Kammer Kirsch used)
  • 2 oz. gin (Monkey 47 used)
  • 1/4 oz. brandy (Asbach Uralt used)
  • lemon twist
Combine all liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist.