Saturday, February 29, 2020

Danish Borscht

Borscht is a mild tasting beet soup common in Eastern and Northern Europe. It is the perfect ingredient to add savoriness as well as sweet notes to a cocktail made with aquavit. It also creates a beautiful red color.

This blender drink (and I do recommend using a blender for the right texture) is a lot like having a cold soup with alcohol at the same time. The effect of the sour cream gives it additional texture that is so enjoyable, you forget that it is a cocktail you are drinking.
  • 1-2 oz. aquavit
  • 4 oz. cold beet borscht
  • dash Tabasco sauce
  • dash lemon juice
  • sour cream
Combine aquavit, borscht, lemon and hot sauce with cracked ice in a blender. Blend until thick, not watery, and pour into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Add a dollop of sour cream on top as a garnish.


It only stands to reason that akvavit would make a fine savory cocktail. Add to it the pickled flavor of anchovies and you have something very Scandanavian!

I've not been a big fan of anchovies until now. It seems that you have to adjust your palate to them, and part of that comes with proper pairings. Akvavit is the key, I think. It's hard to find anchovy-stuffed olives, so I just did it myself. No big deal.
  • 2-3 oz. Akvavit
  • 1 dash to 1/4 oz. dry vermouth
  • anchovy stuffed olives
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with olives. 

Fenneltini (Original Recipe)

The flavor of fresh fennel is unlike most other root flavors like licorice or anise. It is more subtle and vestigial, a good quality to have in a Martini. I've thought this for some time, but now I was able to make this drink a reality with fennel fronds and Don Ciccio and Figili Finnocchietto liqueur. It is sweet and fresh tasting, just like the fronds. You can experiment and try gin with this cocktail, but I rather prefer the clean taste of vodka as the background for a drink that already has a lot going on.
  • 2 oz. vodka (MurLarkey Divine Clarity used)
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth (Carpano dry used)
  • 1/2 oz. Don Ciccio and Figili Finnocchietto 
  • fennel frond
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the fennel frond. 

The Oresund

The Oresund refers to the strait that separates Denmark from Sweden. The use of aquavit or akvavait is what separates this Bloody Mary variation from many others.

Aquavit is a Scandinavian herbal infusion in vodka. It is savory, with lots of caraway as the principal ingredients, but also extending to coriander, fennel, and anise seed. That's what I added to my homemade aquavit. You can buy yours from the liquor store if its available where you live, but it is a lot of fun to experiment with flavor combinations. Learning to love aquavit is its own pleasure.
  • 2 oz. akvavit (aquavit)
  • 2 oz. V-8 juice
  • 2 oz. tomato juice
  • 2 oz. clam juice
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 
  • pinch of finely chopped dill
  • pinch finely chopped parsley
  • sprig of fresh dill for garnish
Combine all ingredients except for garnish in a Collins or highball glass full of ice and stir. Garnish with the dill sprig. 

St George Spritz (Original Recipe)

There's so much orange flavor with MurLarkey Orange Whiskey and Lillet Blanc, not to mention the many citrus peels found in Don Ciccio and Figili's Ambrosia, that this light and boozy cocktail needs the name of a powerful historical figure.

St. George is the patron saint of England, which is not so important as the fact that one of his symbols is the orange tree. Legend tells of how after George's battle with the dragon, he was healed by oranges. Other stories tell that the tree shielded him from the dragon's flames.

What it all comes down to is a spritz that uses soda to fizz up flat ingredients; no sparkling wine required!
  • 1 oz. MurLarkey orange whiskey
  • 1 oz. Lillet Blanc
  • 1 oz. Don Ciccio and Figili Ambrosia
  • club soda or sparkling water
  • orange slice and mint for garnish
Combine alcoholic ingredients in a chilled highball glass full of ice and stir to combine. Top with soda water and stir gently. Garnish with orange slice and mint.

Sumatra Planter's Punch

A Planter's Punch is always delicious and easy to drink. If you have friends over, it is easy to batch as well. But the many ingredients in these punches make them hard to whip up quickly at the bar, which is where this photo was taken. Luckily this recipe uses Swedish Punsch as a shorthand for other ingredients to make your life easier.

Swedish Punsch is a rum-based spirit flavored with lemon, cardamon and clove. It is commercially available in Scandinavia, but not easy to find in the states. I have a homemade recipe, though. The rest of the drink falls out in much the same order as a typical Planter's Punch.
  • 1 oz. Swedish Punsch
  • 1 oz. Gold Rum (Vitae used)
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. 151-proof Demerara rum 
Mix all ingredients except Demerara rum with cracked ice in a shaker or blender. Shake or blend briefly to combine and pour into an Old Fashioned glass or large balloon goblet. Drizzle 151-proof rum on top and garnish at will. 

Friday, February 7, 2020

Pimlico Special

Preakness is one of the main events during the horse racing season in America. This drink is a nod to the thoroughbred race track, Pimlico Field, in Baltimore. This is an overly sweet cocktail that will take you a while to finish. The sugar makes for added richness on the tongue and the flavor is somewhat like chocolate chip cookies. If that's your thing, try this drink. Better yet, try it while watching the race in the stands at Pimlico Field or at home.
  • 1 1/2 oz. brandy
  • 1/2 oz. amaretto
  • 1/2 oz. white creme de cacao
 Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Ricard Satin

I really enjoyed this cocktail for it's relative dryness and silky texture due to egg white and a splash of cream. Despite those heavy ingredients, it wasn't exactly a dessert drink. You could easily start your evening with it; I imagine the setting: a cafe table along the Seine. This drink is so traditional cafe drinking, you'll think you are in Paris.

Ricard has some sugar in it to help create the egg white foam, but you'll need to add a little more. Ricard is pretty dry for all that flavor, so it helps to add a bit. I recommend a teaspoon of simple syrup.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Ricard
  • 1 oz. gin (MurLarkey used)
  • 1/2 egg white or thereabouts
  • 1/2 oz. cream
  • sugar syrup to taste (1 tsp. recommended) 
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain to remove ice. Dry shake without ice to add foam and pour into a chilled cocktail glass. 


What this drink has to do with macaroni noodles, I don't know. Maybe it is a last name of someone, but I doubt it. I rather think it is related to how good this drink tastes with good Italian vermouth like Cocchi Dopo Teatro. This is no ordinary sweet vermouth. It is bitter with added smoothness from an oakey vanilla presence. It stands out just fine against the herbaceous Pernod absinthe substitute.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Pernod
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (Cocchi Dopo Teatro used)
Combine both ingredients in a mixing glass and stir (and watch the herbs express out out of the Pernod when it gets diluted.) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Copenhagen Cocktail

Scandanavia meets Virginia with this locally made Martini variation. Swapping some of the gin of the traditional Martini for aquavit makes for a spicy treat that is excellent in winter. The Danes like their aquavit with beer and pickles, I included pickled tomatoes, but olives or gherkins will do just fine.

This is an all MurLarkey cocktail with ImaGination Gin and an Aquavit made from MurLarkey Divine Clarity vodka and Justice white whiskey, and bottled with a label from a defunct Danish distiller. It is especially dank. Try it to shake things up with your Martini.
  • 1 oz. gin (MurLarkey ImaGination gin used)
  • 1 oz. Aquavit (Homemade Akavavit used)
  •  dash dry vermouth
  • stuffed olives or pickles (pickled tomatoes used)
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with pickles or olives. 

Step-Father (Original Recipe)

The Godfather family of cocktails has a new member--the Step-Father. Amaretto and Ricard pastis taste great together, so I don't know why this hasn't been tried before. I was inspired by the French Connection in this cross-nationalities cocktail that is just as simple to make and easy to order, if you are at a French restaurant that carries Ricard or some other pastis.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Ricard
  • 1 oz. amaretto
Stir ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

French Connection (Larressingle Armagnac and Lazzaroni Amaretto)

The French Connection is one of those easy and great tasting classic drinks. It is pretty standard in its execution, but sometimes changing out the ingredients makes for an interesting experience. Here is Larressingle armagnac and a different amaretto, Lazzaroni. The drink is more complex and less silky when you don't use cognac. Lazzaroni gives it more of a fresh-baked Serrano cookie taste too!
  •  1 1/2 oz Cognac (Larressingle armagnac used)
  • 3/4 oz. Amaretto (Lazzaroni used)
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass full of fresh ice (or a large format ice.)