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 Tempus 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 (Tempus 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.