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.


Creole Saz (Death & Co. Recipe)


I described this cocktail as a "dank rum Sazerac." This caused some confusion about whether I was describing the rum or the Sazerac as "dank." To clarify, both dank and rum modified Sazerac. Hamilton Demerara River rum is not overly rich for a dark rum. Unlike the banana peel and funk of Jamaican rums, this one really only hits lightly on brown sugar and woody notes. 

The rest of this cocktail is perfectly Creole, and right in line with something you would find in a New Orleans bar. 

  • absinthe (Absente used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. Haitian rum (Hamilton Demerara River used)
  • 1/2 oz. cognac (Meukow used)
  • 1 tsp cane sugar syrup
  • 3 dashes Peychauds bitters
  • 1 lemon twist

Rinse a rocks glass with absinthe and dump. Stir the remaining ingredients (except lemon peel) in a mixing glass with ice, then strain into the glass. Squeeze lemon twist over the drink and discard. 

Solera Sidecar (Death & Co. Recipe)


I have been waiting to do this cocktail for a while, hoping to source the exact ingredients for the recipe. Unfortunately, I used up the last of my East India Solera sherry during Halloween and I haven't seen it in stores since then. But I figured I could make this recipe with cream sherry, and it definitely works. 

The idea behind this craft Sidecar is to substitute excellent ingredients (and sherry) into a well-known cocktail recipe that is essentially a cognac sour with orange liqueur. Sweet sherry adds richness, as does ameretto and cognac-based orange liqueur like Grand Marnier. The problem remained that I had neither of the latter ingredients as well. Then it occurred to me that I do have a cognac-based orange liqueur and an almond liqueur, they just weren't the brand names the recipe called for.

So I substituted homemade Mandarine Napoleon for Grand Marnier--which is an easy solution. I also used Tempis Fugit creme de Noyaux, a French, rather than Italian, almond liqueur. It worked out well, and the effect of the craft Sidecar was pulled off. In addition I got to use my homemade orange liqueur.

  • 1 1/2 oz. cognac (Meukow used)
  • 1/2 oz. East India Solera Sherry (Dona Luisa cream sherry used)
  • 1/4 oz. Grand Marnier (homemade Mandarine Napoleon used)
  • 1/4 oz. Lazxaroni ameretto (Tempis Fugit creme de noyaux used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz. simple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and double strain into a coupe glass. 

Alembic (Death & Co. Recipe)


Alcohol my first have been made by Arabic alchemists in the middle ages, but it was the Dutch who invented Genever, the predecessor of gin. This spirit used juniper berries in the malted barley mash as well as juniper and other botanicals in the distillation to create a gin-like spirit with a rich nutty body and pale color. It is so much like whiskey, that you can use it in a Sazerac variation and it comes across as very much like the New Orlean's original. 

  • absinthe
  • 2 oz. Anchor Genevieve gin (Bols Barrel-Aged Genever used)
  • 1/4 oz. demerara syrup
  • 3 dashes Peychaud/s bitters
  • 1 lemon twist garnish

Coat a double Old Fashioned glass with absinthe (Absente used) and add one large ice cube. In a mixing glass, stir the remaining ingredients with ice and strain into a absinthe-coated glass. Garnish with the lemon twist.