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. 


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Big Announcement: Book available for pre-order!



Yes, I've been busy lately. If you're wondering what I've been up to, it was writing this book. The idea is to take what I've learned (and a lot of favorites from this website) and put them in book form for you to take home and read at your leisure. 

Available in June. Pre-order is now available at Amazon, as well as at Barnes & Noble. It's a "best-of" the Jolly Bartender and it is geared for you, the home mixologist.


Sunday, November 28, 2021

Peppermint Bark (Original Recipe)


This cocktail took several tries to get right. The first mistake I made was using any citrus juice. It was unnecessary--it made a good drink but not the drink I was going for. 

I guess I should explain that this original cocktail was an attempt at making peppermint bark in liquid form that can get you drunk. I imagined not only a dry-tasting, spirits-forward cocktail, but one that had the flavor of milk chocolate, mint and holiday sweets without using cream like so many dessert drinks tend to do. I wanted this drink to be an anytime of the day sipper, but especially on holidays. 

I came up with the solution of adding just a tsp. of simple syrup and several drops of Fernet Branca for a sweet and bitter balance that made this peppermint bark cocktail taste more adult than other candy-like versions. 

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

Saz Who? (Death & Co. Recipe)


Is it a Sazerac when it is made with rum and pear brandy? If you also use Peychaud's bitters and serve it with a hint of absinthe. 

The overall effect of adding pear brandy instead of the usual rye or cognac is the benefit of fruity softness. Catoctin Creek pear brandy is pretty strong stuff, but it has a soft nose and pear flavors that come from distilling fruit juice. That goes great with a soft Guyana rum like Hamilton 86. The rest of the recipe should look familiar to Sazerac fans. The one difference is that the glass is not rinsed with absinthe, but the liquor has several dashes of absinthe in it.

  • 1 1/ 2oz. aged rum (Hamilton 86 Demerara River used)
  • 1/2 oz. pear brandy (Catoctin Creek used)
  • 2 dashes absinthe
  • 1 tsp. demerara syrup
  • 4 dashes Peuchaud's bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • lemon twist

Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass. Twist a lemon zest over the glass and discard. 

Grape Spirit Cold Toddy (Original Recipe)

The idea behind this drink was to make the classic holiday hot cocktail with all of its fruity and spicy flavors in a cold form so it is easier to drink quickly. Unusually, I stuck with mostly grape spirits for the base and additional flavors, the one exception being MurLarkey orange whiskey, which comes across like a fruity orange peel and vanilla spice spirit.

But a neutral pisco, ginger brandy and Porto Morgado made this holiday cocktail as much about the juice of the grape as it was about apples and citrus. The spice combination on top was very important, including grated cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and anise.

  • 1 oz. MurLarkey orange whiskey
  • 1 oz. Capel pisco
  • 1 oz. apple cider
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. ginger brandy
  • 1/2 oz. honey syrup
  • 1/4 oz. Porto Morgado
  • cinnamon stick
  • anise pod
  • lemon twist
  • grated nutmeg, clove and cinnamon

Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an Old Fashioned glass full of crushed ice. twist lemon zest over the glass and drop it in. Grate spices and garnish with the cinnamon stic and the anise pod.