Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Vampire Blues (Death & Co. Recipe)

This is it! This is just about as Halloween as a cocktail can get, at least at Death & Co., and about as sweet and fall spiced as I want to go. This is thanks to the addition of pumpkin butter and East India Solera Sherry--two very rich and yummy ingredients that make this drink taste like pumpkin pie. I love how bourbon adds the vanilla notes and cinnamon grated on top has that fresh spice scent you expect at this time of year. Everything about this drink, including its color, is perfect for fall.

  • 1 1/2 oz. bourbon 
  • 1/2 oz. East India Solera Sherry
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin butter
  • 2 dashes Angostura
  • 1 cinnamon stick garnish

Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a double Old Fashioned glass full of ice cubes. Grate cinnamon stick over the glass and garnish the drink with the cinnamon stick. 


Blue Run Sling (Death & Co. Recipe)

This bittersweet Sling is a little less exotic than the Singapore Sling, keeping its ingredients more or less grounded in apple pie notes rather than citrus. And you don't see bourbon Slings everyday. I think of this as a fall cocktail for those who need to keep things on the light and refreshing side. And it's great: you don't feel bogged down with sweetness or pumpkin spice. 

I don't have Amaro Averna, but I know that it has a bitter orange peel flavor that I tried to replicate with a mix of Don Ciccio & Figili Ambrosia and my homemade Amer Picon (which has Ramazzotti with its orange flavors in it as well). The rest was made simply by combining ingredients and preparing the orange flag with the cherry target center. 

  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1/4 oz. Amaro Averna (Ambrosia and Amer Picon used)
  • 3/4 oz. fuji apple juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. vanilla syrup
  • 1 dash orange bitters (Hella used)
  • 1 orange flag with cherry  and barrel-aged bitters dashed on it as garnish

Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass full of ice cubes. Garnish with the orange flag and dash bitters on it.


Fix Me Up (Death & Co. Recipe)

I remember when trying this rich and beautiful drink that a Fix is any way to take a spirit into a more comfortable zone with sugar and juice. This was a departure from most Fixes that are sort of crushed ice and pineapple variations on a Sour. In fact, I feel like the overarching flavor is nuttiness from almond orgeat and amontillado sherry. 

Catoctin Creek Roundstone rye is pretty nutty and dry itself. I'd make a Fix with it anytime. This was an excellent use of a high-proof rye as I've ever seen. The presentation is very simple but elegant, and that is why Death & Co. is regarded as a pioneer in reviving the classic cocktail-serving speakeasy.

  • 1 oz. rye (Catoctin Creek Roundstone used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. amontillado (Alexandro sherry used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • 3/4 oz. orgeat (Fee Brothers used)
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 3/4 oz. club soda

Combine all ingredients except club soda in a shaker with three ice cubes. Shake and strain into a snifter with one large ice cube. Pour the soda in on top. 


Crane Kick (Death & Co. Recipe)


Another Karate Kid cocktail because of the presence of Japanese whiskey. Not very original, but this combination of flavors is--and that is all we really ask for from Death & Co. 

This is an intense Tiki recipe that mashes up smoky scotch, malty whiskey, orange and orgeat and coconut notes in an adventure that nearly tells you a story with flavors. I imagine that the story goes something like this:

You are climbing a volcanic mountain in Hawaii and can smell the burning ash in the air from a recent eruption. On the way up you pick an orange and a coconut to enjoy at the top, but on the way you skin your knee and use a Band-Aid to mend the wound. 

In short, that is what this drink experience is like. I recommend everyone try it. It's not super approachable--I think of it as a stretch drink (smoky scotch doesn't appear often in tikis and the medicinal flavor is off-putting to some, but worth the try in this case.) Some drinkers just aren't as adventurous, but I encourage this kind of thrill seeking in cocktail recipes. 

  • 2 oz. Yamazaki 12-year whiskey (Catoctin Creek Colossal X used)
  • 1 tsp. Laphroaig 10-year scotch
  • 2 tsp. coconut liqueur (Malibu used)
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. orgeat (Fee Brothers used)
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with three ice cubes. Shake and strain into a pilsner glass filled with crushed ice. 

Wicked Kiss (Death & Co. Recipe)

Not all fall drinks have cinnamon and apple juice. This one is a wicked kiss because of 100-proof Rittenhouse rye and Laird's applejack 86-proof apple brandy. Angostura ties these flavors together with Dolin Genepy (my stand-in for Yellow Chartreuse) and Benedictine, which are very herbaceous and spicy without the cinnamon. This is a simple stirred drink that hits you quickly, so you don't have to overdo the cider drinks that proliferate at this time of year.

  • 1 oz. Rittenhouse rye
  • 1 oz. Laird's applejack 86
  • 1/4 oz. Yellow Chartreuse (Dolin Genepy used)
  • 1/4 oz. Benedictine
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

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


Doc's Dram (Death & Co.)

I get it. "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," as the saying goes. Well, this is a prescription for happiness. Another cocktail making use of apple butter (I am using a local grower names Shawnee for my butters and jams.) This is a fall drink to end them all, I think. Solera sherry, rye, maple syrup and apples? What could be better?

But before you start to think this drink is all sweetness with no depth, I'll point out that Ransom Old Tom gin (my homemade Schiedam gin used) is some funky stuff. That and Angostura make this an exceedingly rich and interesting cocktail. Not a one-note fall sipper.

  • 1 1/2 oz. rye (Catoctin Creek used)
  • 1/2 oz. Ransom Old Tom gin (homemade Schiedam used)
  • 1/2 oz. Lustau East India Solera sherry
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. apple butter
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 1 apple fan garnish

Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled double rocks glass with a single cube. Garnish with the apple fan. 


Little Engine (Death & Co. Recipe)


Some fun ingredients in this cocktail make it a sweet dessert drink, or something to enjoy on a fall day. Apple butter makes great spiced and sweetened cocktails and lends a little richness of color and flavor. Maple syrup, though, is almost necessary to balance the acids in this cocktail. 

I love how a mild scotch and port come together to make for a fruity spirit drink that almost feels like a sweet Sling. 

  • 2 oz. Famous Grouse scotch
  • 1/2 oz. 10-year tawny port
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. apple butter
  • 1 apple fan garnish
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with three ice cubes. Short shake and strain into a double rocks glass full of crushed ice. Garnish with the apple fan.