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.