Tuesday, July 27, 2021

A Coffee In Manhattan (Original Recipe)


Another original recipe, here: this time I'm playing around with flavors that aren't often paired together to create yet another Manhattan variation. The theme I'm going with is breakfast--coffee enjoyed with half of a grapefruit. I love this combination of acidic flavors. They don't go together at all. Coffee is so dark and bitter and grapefruit juice is so tart but also a little bitter and sweet. Having them together is jarring, but not unpleasant. I recommend it.

But I really recommend this Manhattn variation because of its lifting grapefruit bitters that set it apart from other coffee Manhattans. Lifting bitters bring essences up to your nose and provide a palate lift that breaks up heavy tasting ingredients. This is opposed to binding bitters that help join disparate flavors like whiskey and vermouths. This cocktail still has whiskey and vermouth, but it the use of Fee Brothers grapefruit bitters puts a burst of acidity right in the middle of that bitter depth of MurLarkey Coffee whiskey and bittersweet vermouth that normally a Manhattan drinker looks forward to. It essentially causes you to wake up from the boring slumber of drinking the same kind of Manhattan, and it does this with the flavors I enjoy at breakfast. 

  • 2 oz. MurLarkey Heritage whiskey
  • 1 oz. MurLarkey coffee whiskey
  • 1/2 oz. Cocchi Dopo Teatro sweet vermouth
  • 4 dashes Fee Brothers Grapefruit Bitters
  • 1 Luxardo cherry garnish

Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the cherry stuck on a cocktail pick. 

Summer of '69 (Original Recipe)


Okay, this is a '60s nostalgia cocktail and one that is doubly nostalgic because I named it while the Brian Adams song was playing. I'm referencing 1960's flavors to give you an impression of cocktails from that era. One must remember that grapefruit juice was huge back then. Grapefruit juice and any spirit of choice including moonshine were popular combinations, so I created a liqueur with the bitterness of grapefruit peels and the sourness of the juice. This simple recipe is as follows:

  • 1 cup 100-proof vodka
  • peel and juice of 1/2 grapefruit

 Allow to infuse for 7-14 days: juice will taste fresh for one month. Store someplace cool and dark. 

The other thing to keep in mind is that Byrrh was a popular cocktail ingredient in the '60s as it is now, but for a long time in between it had nearly disappeared from American bars. So I brought together the bittersweet Byrrh with grapefruit spirit and pitted it against honey. The drink required more acidity so lemon juice brought it back on balance. The review was great! Complex but easy to drink. It helps if you don't think about it too much and just go with it, like the way most Americans survived the 1960s.

  • 1 1/2 oz. grapefruit liqueur (Deep Eddy's ruby red grapefruit vodka is a fair substitution)
  • 1 oz. Byrrh
  • 1/2 oz. honey syrup
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice

Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Pour directly into an Old Fashioned glass, but something quirky and vintage is also appropriate. 

Imperial March (Death & Co. Recipe)

This cocktail is nearly the same as a Martinez served in a "fancy Fizz glass." I think that this vintage glass will do. I made two small adjustments to the recipe: first because I am only using MurLarkey ImaGination gin as my dry gin right now and, second, I had to find substitutions to the fortified wine because I cant find Alvear Festival Pale Cream Sherry. I'm using Oloroso instead; and, while it is darker in color, it has the sweet nuttiness I'm looking for. In such large portions, it is important for the taste of the sherry to fit the style of the drink.

On tasting this Death & Co. recipe, I discovered that I was correct--this is a Martinez with sherry and a bit of grapefruit flavor. Not bad, and the change of glass does affect your impression of it, but orange (and grapefruit) bitterness blends well with sherry richness and all of it is lifted by Luxardo.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Martin Miller's Westbourne Strength gin (MurLarkey ImaGination used)
  • 1 oz Alvear Festival Pale Cream Sherry (Faraon Olorso used)
  • 3/4 oz. Cocchi Americano
  • 1 tsp Luxardo maraschino liqeur
  • 1 dash orange bitters (Hella used)
  • 1 grapefruit twist garnish

Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into the fancy Fizz glass and twist a grapefruit zest over the glass and drop it in. 


Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Little Birdy (Death & Co. Recipe)

This is a wonderfully approachable cocktail. This is one case where I am not lamenting my purchase of Chileanl pisco, because I was glad that its relative tastelessness took on the infusion flavors so well. 

It starts with strawberry and pineapple pieces soaking in pisco for about a week. This is a perfect flavor combination that is a little bit tropical and a little familiar. Interestingly, the pineapple in the pisco still has a slight foaming effect that pineapple juice tends to provide--like a vegetarian foam. 

Then St-Germain and citrus juices balance out to make for a candy-like cocktail that is really a different taste experience. A little sweet, but so many changes in the waves of flavors you detect as they wash over your tongue. I would do this one again with a different spirit, maybe with a fruitier Peruvian pisco.

  • 2 oz. strawberry and pineapple infused pisco
  • 1/2 oz. St-Germain
  • 3/4 oz. Grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. simple syrup

Shake all ingredients with ice, then strain into a coupe. 


Peachy Pachacuti (Death & Co. Recipe)


Yogurt is a great addition in mixed drinks, whether or not they are alcoholic. Consider the Mango Lassi, for example. This is similar to the Mango Lassi, but with peaches and pisco. The Death & Co. bartender who invented it said he came up with it in a cocktail competition in Peru and used the name of one of the Inca emperors to sway the judges. 

You be the judge of this one: I loved the proportions--not a milkshake or a sour bomb. Ripe peaches are all natural and there is no fake flavor there. Pisco is a strange choice of spirit and if one is not in Peru, I could see almost any spirit except for absinthe (and that's still a maybe in my book) as a good choice for this very cosmopolitan cocktail.

  • 3 ripe peach slices
  • 2 oz. pisco (Capel used)
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. honey syrup
  • 1 tsp Greek yogurt

Muddle peach slices in a shaker tin. Add the remaining ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain into a snifter with one large ice cube. 

Friday, July 16, 2021

Manhattan Transfer (Death & Co. Recipe)


I'm still in a Manhattan mood and trying new variations of that classic, this time with rye, Ramazzotti and dry vermouth. It turns out that Ramazzotti is one of the ingredients in my homemade Amer Picon, which is mostly an infusion of oranges in MurLarkey Justice white whiskey. So I used Amer Picon to carry off the Ramazzotti flavor needed for the drink and inadvertently made a variation of the Brooklyn cocktail. 

I'm sure the Brooklyn was the inspiration for the Manhattan Transfer, but having no Amer Picon, they used Ramazzotti and the rest is history. 

  • 1 1/2 oz. Catoctin Creek Distiller's Edition rye
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth (Dolin used)
  • 1 oz. Ramazzotti (homemade Amer Picon used)
  • 1 dash orange bitters (Hella used)
 Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Eagle Eye Cherry (Death & Co. Recipe)

I loved the taste of this cocktail. I was worried it would be too sweet, like a cordial, or too fruity as its name suggests. I was wrong. The flavor was more bitter and Manhattan-like than rum and sherry cocktail. This is because of many small touches in the recipe that keep the drinker's interest with their bitter notes holding down the sweetness of rum and cherry liqueur. 

These bitter elements were my homemade cherry blossom bitters--still going strong--and Suze gentian spirit (in addition to a hearty sweet vermouth like Cocchi Dopo Teatro). 

One note about the chocolate flavors in this cocktail: I was unsure what substitute to use for Alchemia chocolate vodka (1/4 oz. in the original recipe). I don't have it and I wasn't sure that coco whiskey or chocolate mole bitters would be the right substitute. I almost used Godiva dark chocolate liqueur, but reasoned that it would make the cocktail cloudy. I opted for creme de cacao, which in such small proportions was unlikely to add too much sugar.

  • 2 oz. Flor de Cana 7-year rum (George Bowman used)
  • 1/2 oz. Cherry Heering
  • 1/2 oz. Alvear Festival Pale Cream Sherry (Alexandro Amontillado used)
  • 1/2 oz. Lustau East India Solera Sherry
  • 1/4 oz. Alchemia chocolate vodka (creme de cacao used)
  • 1/2 tsp. Suze
  • 1 tsp. Antica Formula vermouth (Cocchi Dopo Teatro used)
  • dash cherry blossom bitters
  • orange twist
  • brandied cherry (Luxardo used)

Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a port glass and twist the orange zest over it. Garnish with the cherry on a cocktail pick. 


Black Market Manhattan (Death & Co. Recipe)


I was in the mood for a Manhattan, or at least something like one. That is where the Black Market Manhattan (or my version of it) was born. The concept by Death & Co. seems to be an attempt to make a Manhattan without rye and changing a few other ingredients and still pull off something nearly like a Manhattan--hence the black market moniker. It's as if the normal ingredients are unavailable, either because of legislation or by pure happenstance, but a crafty bartender still comes through with a satisfactory knock off.

So Death & Co. use a wheat whiskey called Bernheim. I actually don't have that, so my rationale is the latter necessity. I chose corn whiskey as my base--three of them in fact. A big part of the original recipe is orange tea infused sweet vermouth. I, instead, went with orange and tea infused whiskies. It was a good call and one that mimicked rich barrel aging of whiskey by using only unaged spirits. I supplied the fruit and vanilla of MurLarkey orange whiskey and the bitter tannin of their three tea whiskey and only a hint of their cinnamon whiskey to round out a cocktail that is almost like the real thing. 

  • 2 oz. MurLarkey orange whiskey
  • 1/2 oz. MurLarkey three tea whiskey
  • 1/2 oz. Cocchi Dopo Teatro sweet vermouth
  • 1 tsp. MurLarkey cinnamon whiskey
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • lemon twist garnish

Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist lemon zest over the glass and drop it in. 

Monday, July 5, 2021

Soul Clench (Death & Co. Recipe)


This grape and grapefruit spirit cocktail has everything but juice. There's pisco and vermouth for the main notes, but accents of elderflower and spice from St-Germain and falernum. 

There is also an unusual ingredient known as Combier Pamplemousse Rose Liqueur. This is made from the juice and peel of grapefruit steeped in cognac--and it's lovely. I knocked it off with the peel of one grapefruit and one ounce of its juice infused into 2 oz. of vodka and one oz. of cognac for about twelve hours. A lovely taste and very brilliant, but I only made enough for two drinks. 

  • 2 oz. pisco (Capel used)
  • 3/4 oz. Dolin dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. Combier Pamplemousse Rose Liqueur (homemade used: see above)
  • 1/2 oz. oz. St-Germain
  • 1/4 oz. falernum (homemade used)
  • 1 grapefruit twist garnish

Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass full of ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist the grapefruit peel over the glass and drop it in. 

Poire Man's Cobbler (Death & Co. Recipe)

This little bon mot of a drink is a Pear Cobbler (a type of sweetened brandy cocktail on crushed ice). The joke comes from Poire (French for pear), which is used in the garnish and muddled into the spirits. It is one of the better Cobblers out there (keeping in mind that there are some sub-par Port and Sherry Cobblers fit only for consumption on winter holidays and even then in the privacy of your own home.

Peychaud's and Benedictine take this drink in a fun, spicy direction. But apple brandy is the main ingredient that thrusts the pear juice into relief. I don't have Calvados, but Laird's Applejack 86 is more than up to the task.

  • 2 oz. Busnel VSOP Calvados (Laird's Applejack 86 used)
  • 1/4 ripe Bartlett pear, cubed
  • 1/4 oz. Benedictine, 
  • 2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • 1 pear slice

Muddle the cubed pear in the shaker, then add the remining liquid ingredients and ice and shake. Strain over crushed ice in an Old Fashioned glass and garnish with the pear slice. 


Mucho Picchu (Death & Co.)


This cocktail name sounds like a bar inside joke--a pun on Machu Picchu. I don't get the reference, but it's ingredients are sound, as are most of the champagne cocktails in the Death & Co. recipe book. Unusual for a champagne cocktail, the juice is grapefruit and there are no bitters other than the maraschino, which is more sweet than bitter. The grapefruit twist is both attractive and aromatic with the bubbles coming up all around. 

This is one of the better ways to use Pisco (a grape spirit itself) by putting it in a sparkling wine. The number of ingredients is small and easy to prepare. All that is required is an open bottle of Chandon. 

  • 1 1/2 oz. pisco (Capel used)
  • 1/4 oz. Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • dry champagne (Chandon used)
  • grapefruit twist garnish

Combine all liquid ingredients except champagne in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled champagne flute and top with champagne. Twist grapefruit zest over the drink and drop it in. 

Joker's Wild (Death & Co. Recipe)

This cocktail contains an unusual spirit that gives it this pretty red glow. Zoco Pacharan Navarro liqueur is a Spanish sloeberry, anisette, vanilla and coffee infusion. I don't have any way of getting it, but I figured I could pull off a replica with Aguardiente topped up with Galliano, and sloe gin and infused with whole coffee beans. This ingredient makes up the bulk of this cocktail, so I made enough for two. The recipe for the Pacharan Navarro knock off is as follows:

  • 2 oz. Agurdiente
  • 1/2 oz. Galliano
  • 1/2 oz. sloe gin
  • 10-15 coffee beans

The infusion only takes about 12 hours and is not a big deal to pull off ahead of serving the drink as long as you have the ingredients and the time. I will say that this is a pretty sticky-sweet liqueur, like an anise and sloeberry amaretto. The coffee comes through ever so subtly and adds bitterness, and the sloe gin doesn't completely overpower. The pisco, however is simply an afterthought that gets lost in the mix and the final result is little more than a spicier Sloe Gin Collins of some sort.

Lastly, there is a little foam from the liqueur and absinthe that is produced by shaking. It is, however, short lived and didn't stand up to being photographed. I'm still a little confused about this cocktail and what it is going for, but sometimes a drink is simply a method of enjoying a strange liqueur. And in that case Joker's Wild has that is spades.

  • 1/2 oz. pisco (Capel used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. Zoco Pacharan Navarro Liqueur (homemade recipe used)
  • 2 dashes absinthe
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 1/4 oz. vanilla syrup (vanilla-infused vodka used)
  • club soda

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass full of fresh ice. Top with soda and garnish with a spoonful of foam left over in the tin. 



Morfeo (Death & Co. Recipe)


This cocktail is named after the god of sleep and dreams. The name is fitting because this champagne cocktail uses chamomile-infused rye in a combination that would already make one drowsy in the afternoon (See Death In The Afternoon: an Ernest Hemingway cocktail that is guaranteed to make you pass out if consumed with lunch.)

My version is especially soporific because I used a blend of chamomile tea from Republic of Tea called Chamomile Lemon. This blend includes skullcap and valarian, which are herbal sleep aids. I don't know if any of the properties of the herbs actually make it into the rye infusion, but given the nature of this cocktail and the added punch from the tea, let's just assume that you will sleep well after having a nightcap of Morfeo.

  • 1 1/2 oz. chamomile-infused Rittenhouse rye
  • 1/4 oz. Galliano
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. acacia honey syrup
  • dry champagne

Combine all ingredients except champagne in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top with champagne. 

Little Miss Annabelle (Death & Co. Recipe)


This cocktail is very light and French tasting--more of a Normandy cocktail with Benedictine and pear notes than the excessively absinthed cocktails of Paris. I like the balance that the small bit of Benedictine brings to this cocktail. It adds herbs and sweetness but doesn't overwhelm the brandies. 

Catoctin Creek pear is in there in a small proportion and you notice it because it is a bit of a distraction from the grape notes of the cognac. This is an excellent cocktail for someone who is new to French spirits because it is well rounded and shows off cognac and Benedictine without hitting you over the head.

  • 2 oz. of cognac (Meukow VS used)
  • 1/4 oz. pear liqueur (Catoctin Creek pear brandy used)
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz. Benedictine
  • 1/4 oz. cane sugar syrup
  • 1 dash Peychaud's bitters

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Miss Behavin' (Death & Co. Recipe)


I'm going back to Death & Co.'s amazing champagne cocktail list because every one of their recipes is a good idea and works well with champagne.

This time I'm using Moet and Chandon champagne with two American spirits to make this champagne drink taste like ripe pears. Catoctin Creek distillery makes this awesome pear brandy that has a whiff of ripe pears because it is distilled from fermented pear juice. It also has the nose of a calvados or fruit eau de vie. Laird's Applejack 86 is just a burst of apple flavor throughout because it comes from cider. The two read as pears when you add the bread-like bubbles of real champagne and some lemon juice.

  • 3/4 oz. pear brandy (Catoctin Creak used)
  • 3/4 oz. Laird's Applejack 86
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • dry champagne
  • 1 anju pear slice garnish

Combine liquid ingredients except champagne with ice in a shaker. Shake and strain into a chilled champagne flute and top with champagne (take care to add it slowly because it reacts to the lemon juice and can bubble over easily.) Garnish with the anju pear slice.