Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Barnes & Noble Sale


Get your copy of The Jolly Bartender's Guide to Home Bartending at 25% off at Barnes & Noble this week from April 26--28. (That's Wednesday--Friday.)

Follow the link and pre-order your copy today!

This offer is good on all books coming out in May or after. If you've been waiting get my book, now is a great time to pre-order! 

Friday, February 24, 2023

Virgin Sweetheart (Original Recipe)


This is a non-alcoholic cocktail that mimics the flavor of candy hearts. The basic format is the Clover Club but with lavender syrup and a float of DHOS Bittersweet aperitif  This recipe calls for two shakes and a gated pour with your Hawthorne strainer. 

To make the heart-shape float, scoop or flatten the shape with a spoon before floating the Bittersweet into the space. 

  • 1 1/2 oz. Spiritless Jalisco 55
  • 1 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. grenadine
  • 2 tsp. lavender syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • DHOS Bittersweet aperitif float

Shake all ingredients except Bittersweet float in a shaker before adding ice. Then add the ice and shake again vigorously until the tin is ice cold. Strain with an open gate into a coupe glass. Carve a heart shape into the foam with a a spoon and float Bittersweet inside. 

Cherry Bomb (Original Recipe)


I wanted a rich Manhattan that would strike you as a winter-into-spring type of drink. My idea was to mash up a perfect Manhattan with a brandy cocktail similar to the KGB but with black cherry as the dominant flavor. 

It works really well with 99 Black Cherries and my homemade cherry blossom bitters (Yes. Made with steeped cherry blossoms.) There's no trick to this drink. Make it like a perfect Manhattan and add the additional ingredients.

  • 3 oz. rye whiskey (Founding Spirits Rye used)
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (Punt E Mes used)
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth (Dolin used)
  • 1/2 oz. 99 Blackcherries
  • 3 dashes of cherry blossom bitters
  • Luxardo cherry garnish

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Drop the cherry and a little of the syrup into the drink.

Rosita the Virgin

One of my favorite tequila cocktails is the Rosita--a kind of Mexican Negroni. Doing an all-spirits cocktail non-alcoholic used to be impossible, but now there is help with Spiritless and DHOS. 

Spiritless Jalisco 55 is a tequila substitute. It is a distilled water and agave syrup infusion with a very woody and herbal flavor that isn't really like tequila, but has all the mouthfeel and tingle of tequila. Use it sparingly in tequila cocktails like a Margarita or dillute your alcoholic ingredients with equal parts Jalisco 55 for a milder cocktail. 

DHOS makes non-alcoholic wine-like liquors. The Bittersweet is similar to Aperol and is a perfect stand-in for an apertivo in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. I'm so impressed that I won't replenish my bar with Aperol until I've finished my bottle of DHOS Bittersweet. DHOS also makes sweet vermouth, which finishes out this cocktail.

  • 2 oz. Jalisco 55
  • 1 oz. DHOS sweet veromuth
  • 1/2 oz. DHOS Bittersweet
  • Orange twist garnish

Stir liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass with a large ice cube. Twist the orange peel over the drink and drop it in. 


Thursday, January 12, 2023

Swedish Punsch Manhattan (Kronan Recipe)


Kronan contacted me and wanted me to be clear that their Swedish Punsch is made exclusively from rums and blended with arrack from Java where it is aged in teakwood. It has all the sweetness to be a cocktail unto itself, but mixed in a Manhattan, it is stellar. Here's to a great way to do a winter Manhattan.

The Belmont Farms bondied whiskey is extremely oaky when served neat. Mixing with it may be the best way to enjoy it because it is bold and hangs on with some of the most pungent flavors.

  • 2 oz. American whiskey (Belmont Farms Bonded Virginia Whiskey used)
  • 1/2 oz. Swedish Punsh (Kronan used)
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (Cocchi di Torino used)
  • Luxardo cherry garnish

Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a Luxardo cherry. 

What The Kirsh? (Original Recipe)


It may look like a Cosmopolitan; it may even taste a little like one, but that pink citrusy drink with a lime wedge is not a vodka a and cranberry served up. 

Kirschwasser is a German cherry brandy that has fruity, ether-like notes of black cherries. It is clear and strong and great as a base for a stiff cocktail. The pink comes from the creme de noyaux, an almond liquor. Creme de cacao rounds out the sweetness of the drink with Tootsie Roll notes. This balances just a kiss of lime acidity. See where this is going? Make it and find out.

  • 2 oz. Kammer-Kirsch
  • 1 oz. Tempus Fugit creme de noyaux
  • 1/4 oz. creme de cacao
  • squeeze of 1/8 lime wedge
  • lime wedge garnish

Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lime wedge.

Winter Cocktails Trio


Winter Mule

Sometimes you want a refreshingly light and juicy cocktail with crushed ice even when it is cold outside. Sometimes a cocktail in pretty Mule mugs is also a must. That's where this recipe hits the spot. 

Simple Times Mixers makes a cranberry apple cider mule mix that is perfect for winter sipping (and making non-alcoholic cocktails as well.) The recipe on the back recommends using whiskey or rum, which is nice, but I also enjoy the taste of Laird's Applejack 86 since this is going for apple flavors as well. 

The only downside to using this Simple Times product and spirit alone is that the ginger flavor is very understated, while apple and cranberry are in the foreground. I miss a spicy ginger mule taste, so I augmented the recipe further with my own ginger-infused brandy. You can use King's Ginger or a  ginger brandy from one of the economy flavored brandy producers like Jacquin's. It is best if it is a brand-based flavor to give the drink a nice gingersnap taste. 

  • 1 1/2  oz. Laird's Applejack 86 or apple brandy
  • 1 oz. ginger brandy
  • 3 oz. Simple Times Mixers apple cranberry mule

Shake all ingredients and strain into a chilled mule mug full of crushed ice. Stir with stir straws and add more crushed ice. (This will get a nice frost on the outside of the mugs.) Garnish with a lime slice and serve with two stir straws.


Highland Cream Cocktail--Scotch and sherry are excellent mixing companions. Whether it is McCallan 12 and a bone-dry fino or a blend and cream sherry, there is a range of sweetness you can control with the addition of sherry. Scotch is often finished in sherry casks, oloroso and PX make for some of the richest flavors we have come to appreciate in scotch. This cocktail does that with a bourbon finished scotch and an especially rich sherry: Lustau East India Solera.

Bourbon finished scotches like Speyburn Bradan Orach are becoming more popular because bourbon barrels can only be used once for bourbon. Scotch has no such rule, and Scottish distillers are snapping up these American oak barrels to finish their beautifully dry and oaky tasting whisky. But I still miss the sherry finish of some of the oldest scotches--you pay a premium for it. Nowadays, the price of a sherry cask finished scotch is between ten and fifty dollars more than a bourbon finished scotch. That's the beauty of adding that sherry flavor back to the whiskey yourself. Round it all out with Aztec and aromatic bitters and a Luxardo cherry, and you have an especially rich treat for winter sipping.

  • 1 1/2 oz. bourbon finished scotch like Speyburn Bradan Orach
  • 1 oz. Lustau East India Solera sherry
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 3 dashes Fee Brothers Aztec bitters
  • Luxardo cherry garnish
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a Luxardo cherry.


Agave Old Fashioned

It's not whiskey or tequila, but Mt. Defiance anejo agave spirit is somewhere in between. It has loads of vanilla and oak and not much bitterness at all. That's what makes it an excellent ingredient in an Old Fashioned. 

For this cocktail, I used simple syrup and not agave syrup, which might sound a bit like a mistake. Trust me, agave syrup is way sweeter and thicker. It's fine for citrus drinks where the sweetness is cut with acid, but it makes Old Fashioneds taste like rock candy. 

Outside the classic recipe, I used a squeeze of a lime zest rubbed on the rim and a flamed orange peel dropped into the glass. In addition to Angostura bitters, I used one dash of Fee Brothers Aztec bitters for a cinnamon and cocoa note appropriate for the holidays. Cheers!

  • 2 oz. Mt. Defiance anejo agave spirit
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash Fee Brothers Aztec bitters
  • lime peel zest
  • orange peel flamed as garnish

Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into an Old Fashioned glass over a large ice cube. Twist lime peel over the glass and rub it around the rim before discarding. Flame orange peel over the glass and drop it in as a garnish.