Saturday, September 4, 2021

Silver Monk (Death & Co. Recipe)


It's no secret that cucumber and mint makes a tequila cocktail amazing. Death & Co. has no fewer than three cucumber and tequila recipes, most having some kind of alpine spirit in the mix. Besides Strega, which I wouldn't use in this drink, I rely on Genepy as my alpine spirit stand-in for Chartreuse. It isn't as honeyed as the yellow Chartreuse or as bitter as the Green, but it has a mild flavor that pushes all the right buttons that Chartreuse does without being too recognizable in the way that Benedictine and Strega are. 

This is one of those early 2000s cocktails where the real highlight is the fresh ingredients: the juice, cucumber and mint, that makes this drink memorable.

  • 2 cucumber wheels
  • 8 mint leaves
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 oz. blanco tequila (Sauza Hacienda used)
  • 3/4 oz. yellow Chartreuse (Dolin Genepy used)
  • 3/4 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup

Muddle mint and cucumber in a shaker before adding ice and the remaining ingredients. Shake and double strain into a chilled coupe glass. (Garnish pictured is not part of the original recipe but too tempting not to use.)

Sweet And Vicious (Death & Co. Recipe)


Muddled fuji apples makes a great start to a whiskey drink. This is the first time I've done a muddled apple cocktail in a mixing glass. It works, but you have to use a fine strainer. 

I especially liked the way that apples and rye play together with a mild amaro and Dolin dry vermouth, which has a little bit of a green apple flavor itself. 

One note when stirring this cocktail is that you have to make sure you stir a lot. Apple pieces tend to slow down the swirl and that prevents a lot of chilling from happening. The ice doesn't melt as quickly, so stay with it and stir longer and a little harder than usual.

  • 2 fuji apple slices
  • 2 oz. rye (Catoctin Creek used)
  • 1/2 oz. Dolin dry
  • 1/2 oz. Amaro Nonino (1/4 oz. each Amer Picon and Ambrosia Apertivo used)
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1 apple fan garnish

Muddle apple slices in a mixing glass before adding the remaining liquid ingredients and ice. Stir and double strain into a coupe and garnish with the apple fan. 

Tom Bomb (Death & Co. Recipe)


This cocktail is pretty sweet with orgeat, Donn's spices (allspice dram) and honey syrup. I think that was what was needed to overpower the rank nose of Ransom Old Tom gin. Yes, this cocktail takes an acquired taste like Ransom and turns it into a "bomb" drink that will easily destroy anyone. All it took was three forms of sugar and some pretty wild flavors.

Donn's Spices is a mix of St. Elizabeth allspice dram and vanilla syrup. I used my own allspice dram and vanilla vodka mixed with cane sugar syrup for this recipe. My homemade orgeat spoiled, however, so I bought Fee's from my local wine shop. While it isn't my cognac orgeat, I had said before making the last batch that I was done squeezing almonds to make syrup; and their slogan is "Don't squeeze use Fee's." So I did.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Ransom Old Tom (Homemade Schiedam gin used)
  • 1/4 oz. Donn's Spices (50/50 vanilla syrup and allspice dram)
  • 1/2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz. orgeat (Fee's used)
  • 1/4 oz. acacia honey syrup

Combine all ingredients in a shaker whit ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktial glass. 

B.A.F. (Death & Company Recipe)

The story goes that when trying out this recipe on a Death & Co. guest, the response was, "That drink is bitter as fuck!" I don't know how bitter this was, given that Campari wasn't in the mix, but I know Gran Classico and it is sort of bitter. 

I also didn't have it, so I used the closest gentian spirit I did have: Suze. Now Suze is bitter AF. I also used Ambrosia as a stand in for Aperol (both of which are pretty sweet) and that allowed me to make this drink without needing a simple syrup or honey. That and the Oloroso sherry are the sweet part of the drink. There is still a lot of bitterness even without dashes of bitters. One of those things--the final step--is the twist of lemon over the glass. This gives bitter lemon oil scent on top without any of the acid in the juice or even the pith from dropping it in the glass. 

  • 1 oz. MacCallan Fine Oak (Highland Park Spirit of the Bear used)
  • 1 oz. Lustau Oloroso (Faraon used)
  • 1/2 oz. Aperol (Ambrosia Apertivo used)
  • 1/2 oz. Gran Classico (Suze used)
  • 1 lemon twist

Combine all liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled coupe. Twist the lemon over the glass and discard.


Honshu Punch (Death & Co. Recipe)


According to the Death & Co. book, Honshu punch was a regular offering with an ingredient makeup that changed depending on who was bartending when it is ordered. The recipe the book provides, however, is one that intentionally makes use of Japanese Yamazaki 12 whiskey. This was a great idea back in 2008 when demand for this fabulous whiskey was low, but not at the prices it is going for right now. 

I've been using Catoctin Creek Colossal X--a barley malt whiskey--which is not too different from the barley whiskies of Japan. They are like scotch without the smoke, and this is also true of Colossal X. The rest of the cocktail is necessarily simple, given that it is a punch that is batched before each shift. 

  • 2 oz. Yamazaki 12 (Catoctin Creek Colossal X used)
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. cane sugar syrup
  • 2 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters (Angostura used)
  • 2 dashes Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters (Hella Aromatic bitters used)
  • 1 oz. club soda

Combine all ingredients except soda in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a large snifter with a single large format ice cube. Top with club soda. 

La Vina (Death & Co. Recipe)


The inventor of this drink says they like to use an amaro in a Manhattan to surprise guests. I'm not so surprised by this as I am with the use of a rich sherry like East India Solera. The idea for this drink may have begun as a Manhattan variation, but it became a lower ABV cocktail when amaro and sherry make up two thirds of the ingredients. 

To make Amaro Nonino, I use half my homemade Amer Picon, which is really loaded with orange and herbal notes and half Ambrosia cordial from Don Ciccio & Figili. Together you get something approximating the bittersweet Nonino. 

I have the rest of the ingredients as they are specified in the recipe, however, and the final product is pretty and very nice either before or after dinner.

  • 1 oz. rye (Catoctin Creek used)
  • 1 oz. Amaro Nonino (1/2 oz. each Amer Picon and Apertivo used)
  • 1 oz. Lustau East India Solera Sherry
  • 1 dash orange bitters (Hella used)

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled coupe. 

Friday, September 3, 2021

Moon Cocktail (Death & Co. Recipe)


I must be mistaken, but aren't "moon" themed drinks supposed to have apple brandy in them? Anyway, this cocktail was that kind of rich version of a Bamboo, which is a variation itself of a Martini. It is terrific for all of that boozy warmth with a lot more going on with it than a bone-dry Martini with a twist. 

I made use of Bloom dry gin and Alejandro amontillado sherry for this cocktail, which kept things on the lighter, floral side. It was when I got to creme de peche (peach flavored whiskey in my drink) and honey syrup that things get a little heavier. And that's not a bad thing. Altogether this was a grounded drink. You may have been asking for the moon, but you got something just as good. 

  • 2 oz. Plymouth gin (Bloom used)
  • 3/4 oz. amontillado sherry (Alejandro used)
  • 1 tsp. creme de peche (peach whiskey used)
  • 1/4 oz. acacia honey syrup
  • lemon twist

Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Squeeze lemon twist over it and discard (or keep it as pictured.)

Pink Elephant (Death & Co. Recipe)


It is a little fitting that this cocktail reminds the drinker of Dumbo. It tastes like an Aviation crashed into a Hemingway Daiquiri. For this I used Bloom gin, which is fabulously floral and my own blackberry brandy (pictured left). The rest reads like a classic recipe from Harry Craddock's book. You might even convince someone that it was named back in the 30s when Dumbo was a new film.

  • 2 oz. London dry gin (Bloom used)
  • 1 tsp. Luxardo maraschino
  • 1 tsp. creme de mure (homemade blackberry brandy used)
  • 3/4 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. simple syrp

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

202 Steps (Death & Co. Recipe)


I'm not sure about this cocktail's name. It certainly wasn't complicated, so the name can't refer to the recipe or difficulty. Maybe it has something to do with New York, or the distance from the bar to office or something very Death & Co. 

Tangerine is just different enough that you don't know what gives this drink its exotic flavor. Bourbon and citrus are fabulous together, so it is a wonder that this recipe hasn't been tried before except that tangerines are not typical bar ingredients, and I wonder about that when tasting this drink. Every bit of this is good. Now that I'm looking at the recipe, it is supposed to be served on the rocks, but I was in a coupe mood. I'm sure that having it one way or another wouldn't detract from the enjoyment. It is easy for any novice drinker to handle, but for those insecure guys who require a rocks glass to preserve their manhood, maybe this is a winner all around. 

  • 1/4 tangerine peeled
  • 2 oz. bourbon (Four Roses used)
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 2 dashes orange bitters (Hella used)
  • 1 orange twist

Muddle the tangerine in a shaker and add ice and the remaining liquid ingredients. Shake and strain into an Old Fashioned glass with a large ice cube and garnish with the orange twist.

Blazing Saddles (Death & Co. Recipe)

Blazing Saddles is a funny title for a pretty serious cocktail--not at all like the movie by the same name. I guess that the original recipe's calling for High West whiskey has something to do with the inspiration for the drink. 

High West silver oat whiskey is something I've never tried and I fear I could be a long way off on flavor with my substitution of Catoctin Creek Colossal X malt barley whiskey. Maybe I'm not, though.

I made other changes to the recipe with my knockoff Combier Pamplemousse liqueur (a grain spirit infusion of grapefruit peels and juice) and my easy cinnamon syrup (which is basically a dash of MurLarkey cinnamon whiskey in my demerara syrup. 

The overall effect is less blazing cinnamon and more just a balanced cinnamon and grapefruit sour with a malty whiskey center. This is one of Death & Co.'s more approachable recipes both for bartenders and drinkers. It won't challenge either of them. 

  • 2 oz. High West silver oat whiskey (Catoctin Creek Colossal X malt barley whiskey used)
  • 1/2 oz. Combier Pamplemousse rose liqueur (homemade used)
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. cinnamon syrup (MurLarkey cinnamon whiskey and simple used)
  • 1 dash Bittermen's Elemakule Tiki bitters (Angostura used)
  • 1 grapefruit twist garnish
Combine all ingredients except garnish in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with the twist of grapefruit.

Sweet Hereafter (Deat & Co. Recipe)

This is an unusual pisco cocktail: it is sweet, stirred and aromatic. Nothing like the pisco cocktails you find in South America or California. Some people think the only thing pisco is good for is punch or Sours. Well, Capel pisco is dry and fairly neutral. It functions a lot like a vodka or gin and, therefore, makes a good Martini variation. 

I loved the elderflower and grapefruit nose that this cocktail brings upfront. It melts into rich aromatic wines like Dolin blanc and Cocchi Americano. It's a sweet Martini, and the name fits it perfectly.

  • 1 grapefruit twist 
  • 2 oz. pisco (Capel used)
  • 1/2 oz. Cocchi Americano
  • 1/2 oz. Dolin blanc
  • 1 tsp. St-Germain
  • 1 dash hopped grapefruit bitters (Fee Brothers grapefruit bitters used)

Squeeze the grapefruit twist over a mixing glass and discard (or keep as shown). Combine the remaining ingredients in the glass and stir with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.