Monday, February 27, 2017


This marks the last of the beef bouillon cocktails in the New York Bartender's guide. In my memory, it was not one of the best of these drinks, but then a lot must be said about the mood you are in. Rum is an interesting selection for a spirit when tequila or vodka might make more sense, but that wouldn't be Creole.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 3 oz. beef bouillon 
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in an Old Fashioned glass with ice. Stir and serve. (Steak rub spiced rim optional.)

Steaming Bull

What do the Bloody Bull, the Bull Shot and the Steaming Bull have in common? Beef bouillon! This is a hot Bloody Mary drink that is prepared in two parts, one the tequila, and the other ingredients heated in a saucepan.

Tequila is a flavorful ingredient and perfect when done with hot juices and spices. I tried to capture the steam from the mug in the photo, but it was nearly impossible to see on camera, though I could see clouds billowing above the mug with my own eyes.
  • 2 oz. silver tequila
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 3 oz. beef bouillion
  • 3 oz. tomato juice
  • 1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • Celery salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients except tequila in a saucepan and warm until nearly boiling. Add tequila to a heat-resistant mug and pour the heated mixture into the glass. Stir and enjoy!

Friday, February 24, 2017

One Ireland

A lot of minty St. Patrick's Day drinks are a little gross because the creme de menthe is cheap and tastes bitter. I could see this being done with no sugar and some vermouth or green Chartreuse like in the Everybody's Irish. I can't cite that recipe enough as the worst example of a green drink for the sake of being green on St. Patrick's Day.

On the other hand, this one is actually pretty nifty. It's not my style: a mint ice cream flavor that I'm sure some women will like. And it isn't really a great drink to waste good whiskey in, because it would work equally well with vodka. The point is that it is green and really creamy and doesn't offend anyone.

Which is funny, because the name suggests a stridently political outcome. I'm not taking sides, but this strangely ameliorating cocktail probably got its name because no one can disparage this drink for not being Irish enough.
  • 2 oz. Irish whiskey (Donegal Estates used)
  • 1 oz. green creme de menthe
  • small scoop of vanilla ice cream
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass. 

(Irish) Whiskey Flip

While I'm drinking Donegal Irish whiskey, I thought I'd make a Whiskey Flip. I've said before that you can flip anything; meaning you can add an egg, cream and sugar to any spirit, wine, or even non-alcoholic drink like coffee or tea and shake it up into an eggnog.

Whiskey seems to be one of the main choices for a flip because it adds a little vanilla flavor from the barrel aging. Blended whiskey is specified because you don't want something with too much character sticking out and detracting from the dessert-like quality of the drink.

This is thick and and luxurious, the kind of drink you want in the winter: and it is still technically winter, though a warm one. Fresh nutmeg makes it even more of a treat.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey (Donegal Estates used)
  • 1 oz. half-and-half
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • grated nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake until foamy. Add ice and shake to chill. Strain into a sour glass and garnish with grated nutmeg to taste.

Boston Sour

Boston has a bunch of cocktails to its name. It is currently one of the world's cocktail hotspots, as well. I wonder if the Boston Sour has made a comeback in recent years. I hope so; it's a good drink for this time of year.

The Boston Sour is a very sweet and silky sour owing to the large portion of sugar and egg white. It isn't a standout among many sours that include egg white, however. To make it more regionally specific, I picked an Irish whiskey, Donegal Estates, which is a good blended whiskey for mixing. With all the Irish-American influence in Boston, it seems like a good choice.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey (Donegal Estates used)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
  • lemon wheel
  • maraschino cherry (green for St. Patrick's Day used)
Combine sugar, whiskey, lemon juice and egg white in a shaker and shake well until foamy. Add ice and shake again to chill. Strain into a chilled sour glass and garnish with lemon and cherry.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Emerald Isle

What a stunning drink for St. Patrick's Day! I've said before that a drink isn't good just because it is green. You have to think about the flavors involved and whether or not they clash. That's why drinks like Everybody's Irish and the Irish Flag fall short. They somehow think that Irish whiskey, creme de menthe and Green Chartreuse will fit together well. They don't, but gin and green creme de menthe do, especially with a heavy dose of Angostura bitters.

So my verdict on this St. Patrick's Day cocktail is it is better than most. A little bracing, however. It's just strong on mint flavor and gin, the other Irish spirit.

I wanted to point out that the cherry in the photo is green. It took me a good while and many shops to find green maraschino cherries, but, unlike other drinks that call for them, I couldn't use anything but a green cherry for the Emerald Isle. I know that they are full of dye and nearly toxic, but so is the celebration of St. Patrick's Day in America.
  • 2 1/2 oz. gin
  • 2 tsp. green creme de menthe
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • green maraschino cherry
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish only with a green maraschino cherry.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Bronx Cheer

Ever read the instructions on a Whoopee Cushion? It says, "emits a Bronx cheer." This is another word for a fart sound, also known as a raspberry. And raspberry is the key, or most conspicuous, ingredient here. This Bronx Cocktail series outlier, has no juice or gin, so it doesn't fit the family. But someone had to make use of such a funny name!
  • 2 oz. apricot brandy
  • raspberry soda
  • fresh raspberries
  • orange peel
 Build drink in a highball glass with ice by adding apricot brandy and topping with soda. Stir gently and garnish with berries and orange peel. 

Bronx Terrace Cocktail

This is the driest and most tart of the Bronx Cocktail series. It's like a pissed off gimlet with no sugar except what is stuck on that cherry and that which comes in small proportions in dry vermouth. This makes it an excellent drink to have if you are dieting or craving vitamin C!

I don't really know why the drink is called a "Terrace." I have to think that a Bronx terrace might be a little loud and uncomfortable, just like this drink.
  • 2 oz. dry gin
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • maraschino cherry
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the maraschino cherry. 

Bronx Silver

The Bronx Silver belongs to the Bronx Cocktail series of drinks involving gin and juice. I used fresh squeezed orange juice in this one because it is clearer than store bought juice somehow and it will give you the requisite silver sheen on top.

Egg white is responsible for the opaque quality of this cocktail, and its richness. But don't let that fool you. This is a dry tasting drink despite the juice. There's only dry vermouth and gin otherwise, so it is more tart and stiff tasting than the original Bronx Cocktail.
  • 2 oz. dry gin
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 oz. orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake to chill. Use a fine strain mesh to strain out orange pulp while pouring into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Bronx Cocktail

This is the first and original of the Bronx series of cocktails. It is also known as a gateway cocktail. Those too gentle-palated for a dry Martini will find the wetness of this gin cocktail a nice starter course on gin served up. Sweet vermouth really adds complexity to what would simply be a gin and juice drink.
  • 2 oz. dry gin
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz. orange juice
Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker full of ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Turf Cocktail

I really like the concept of this cocktail, an herbaceous and zesty gin cocktail with anise flavor. This time, though, I opted to omit the Pernod (which can be too overpowering even in small proportions.) In its place I used Don Ciccio & Figili's Finnochietto, a fennel and dill infusion with a softer anise flavor and less sweetness. Vigilant gin makes this a D.C. local spirits cocktail.

The result was really enjoyable. I even recommend using a whole ounce of Finnochietto in place of the dry vermouth, since it plays that role well, too. Just make this about the gin, lemon juice, and dry fennel liqueur and you have a mouth puckering cocktail with complexity.
    Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

    Monday, February 13, 2017

    Mount Gay Extra Old Swizzle

    With Mount Gay Extra Old rum and these cool swizzle sticks, I wanted to make a classic Dark Rum Swizzle. There's no shaking involved, no blending, no special mugs or garnishes, just good rum, sugar and lime juice. Also, you need plenty of ice.

    A good Swizzle is built in the glass with the liquid only filling the glass one quarter full and the ice going all the way to the top. Stir like mad and the drink chills as the ice melts. The sugar dissolves and you have a drink that is half-full of liquid and ice. So top with more ice and stir some more and that level of liquid rises to the top of the glass while the whole glass freezes.
    • 2 oz. dark rum (Mount Gay Extra Old rum)
    • 1 oz. lime juice
    • 1 tsp. sugar
    Build drink in a Collins glass full of ice. Stir until ice melts half way. Add ice and stir until the glass freezes on the outside.

    Mr. Nate's St. Thomas Special

    So there's this Mr. Pip's St. Thomas Special drink that has its roots on the island, but as I can tell, isn't really attributed to a real person. Since I'm not a real person either, in that nobody knows who I am, I have my own contribution to St. Thomas Island's cocktail culture.

    St. Thomas is all about boat drinks, tiki drinks that are simplified for quick production and consumption. They don't require tiki mugs, and are often served on the beach in plastic cups. I'm at least trying to bring back a little tacky class to this type of cocktail.

    This is a dry tiki with more juice than spice than the Mr. Pip's. It is also less desert-like. See what you think.
    • 2 oz. light rum
    • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
    • 1/2 oz. lime juice
    • 1/2 oz. orange juice
    • 1/2 oz. guava nectar
    • 1/2 oz. sugar syrup
    •  mint sprig
     Build drink in a tiki mug full of ice and stir. Garnish with mint sprig.

    Frozen Mint Daiquiri

    By extension, the Frozen Mint Daiquiri is also a Mojito. The recipe says to put it in a Collins glass, but let's not be too hasty. There's plenty of pretty mugs that will disguise what's in them, particularly that messy blended mint. A parrot or hula girl tiki mug like these I found in our apartment on St. Thomas Island are perfect for this kind of thing and give the right tropical vibe that's necessary for beach drinking.
    • 2 oz. light rum
    • 1 oz. lime juice
    • 6 mint leaves
    • 1 tsp. sugar
    Combine all ingredients in a blender with cracked ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a Collins glass or tiki mug. If you have more mint and lime slices on hand, garnish at will. 

    Frozen Pineapple Daiquiri

    As long as I'm going through all the Daiquiris, I might as well finish the Frozen Pineapple version. The Funny thing is that this drink is so similar to the Pineapple Daiquiri that I'm sure it developed on a parallel line from the Daiquiri, but one that didn't cross. For instance, an American bartender realized that one can easily transform a Frozen Daiquiri in to a pineapple one by adding juice and a pineapple spear. Someone in the tropics came up with a recipe involving pineapple chunks, not juice, and pineapple syrup, not sugar, to get the same effect. And it is pretty much the same thing, really.

    How did I distinguish them on my blog? I put it in a pineapple tiki mug. No pineapple spear, use a whole pineapple (in ceramic form)!

    Pineapple syrup is easy to create. Just make a simple syrup using chunk pineapple and pineapple juice and adding equal parts of sugar. You'll have to heat the mixture in a pan to near boiling and stir while adding sugar until it all dissolves. Then strain the syrup and store it in an airtight container.
    • 2 oz. light rum
    • 1 oz. lime juice
    • 2 oz. fresh pineapple chunks
    • 1/2 tsp. pineapple syrup
    • pineapple spear
    Combine all ingredients except for pineapple spear in a blender with cracked ice and blend until smooth. Pour into a cocktail glass and garnish with pineapple spear. (Alternatively, use a tiki mug!)

    Frozen Daiquiri

    The NY Bartender's Guide shows this drink served in a champagne flute. I have reservations about this. The first being that this hacienda on St. Thomas Island didn't have any champagne flutes, and second; who sees Frozen Daiquiris served in such small containers nowadays? Nobody. They're always in a cocktail glass (Margarita pictured) or a Hurricane glass. So while this drink is less traditional and more mainstream, it is as it should be. A big and rewarding boat drink riff on the classic Daiquiri.
    • 2 oz. light rum
    • 3/4 oz. lime juice
    • 1/2 tsp. sugar
    • lime slice
    Combine all ingredients except lime slice in a blender with 1/2 cup cracked ice. Blend slowly until smooth but not watery. Pour into a champagne flute (cocktail glass recommended) and garnish with lime slice.

    Daiquiri / Cubano

    Here's another drink like the Cuba Libre that has two names, depending on if you are just feeling like a rum drink or you want to make a statement about your Cuban heritage. The Daiquiri is a very old drink that has its origins in Grog, the mix of lime juice and rum that sailors used to prevent scurvy. The rum was the incentive for the crew to drink the Grog, since they were unlikely to take regular doses of just lime juice.

    The NY Bartender's Guide shows that this recipe was intended to be served up and neat. I like this format for the drink. It is more formal and less finicky than a Frozen Daiquiri.
    • 2 oz. light rum
    • 1 oz. lime juice
    • 1/2 tsp. sugar
    •  lime wedge
    Combine all ingredients except lime wedge in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime slice. 


    For some reason the NY Bartender's Guide shows the Mojito double strained and served up. I've no doubt that this was the recipe ages ago. In fact, replace the club soda with sparkling wine and you have The Old Cuban, which is supposed to predate the Mojito.

    Nowadays, though, all you see with a Mojito is a bunch of mint and lime in a Collins or pint glass. Do it like this for a more refreshing long drink.

    Cruzan light rum is especially flavorful. They don't even make a distinction between their light and dark rums on the labels. Both are called "Aged Rum." There's plenty of sugar and vanilla flavor in these rums, unlike Bacardi, which is hotter and thinner on the palate.
    • 2 oz. light rum
    • 8-10 mint leaves
    • 1 oz. lime juice
    • 1 tsp. sugar
    • club soda
    • dash Angostura bitters optional
     Muddle mint, sugar and lime juice in a shaker until mint is lightly macerated. Add ice and rum and shake. Pour into a pint or Collins glass. Top with soda and more ice if necessary. Dash angostura bitters on top. (Save some mint and a lime slice for garnishes.)

    Cuba Libre / Rum And Coke

    Take a Rum & Coke and add a lime slice and you have the classic Cuban spy thriller cocktails, the Cuba Libre. It was the signal flag of reporters and spies meeting in the Havana Hotel to discuss the end of the Spanish occupation of Cuba.

    It's so simple to make and really so basic that it is beautiful. I found it to be especially good for afternoon beach drinking in the Caribbean, where you really need to pair down ingredients and tools to keep things simple.
    • 2 oz. light rum
    • cola
    • lime slice
    Build cocktail in a double Old Fashioned Glass with ice. Top with cola and stir. Garnish with lime slice. 

    Thursday, February 2, 2017

    Vermouth Cassis

    A fizzy dessert drink with the flavor of black currant and European herbs, I'm still trying to wrap my head around why people like creme de cassis in just about everything. The likely truth has to do with how Europeans tend to drink. Euro cocktails are rarely stronger than a glass of wine. The love vermouth because it is stronger than wine, but they tend to have to water it down with soda. Creme de cassis just makes everything gooey like blueberry pie. So drinking a pie flavored soda that you can sip on all day makes sense, as long as you realize that drinking in Europe is a marathon not a sprint.
    • 2 oz. dry vermouth (Mancino used)
    • 1 oz. creme de cassis (G. E. Massenez used)
    • sparkling water
     Pour all ingredients in a highball glass full of ice and stir. 

    Claret Cobbler

    This proves you can make a cobbler with anything; here is a case of a wine cobbler. Cobblers are sweeter and fizzy rocks drinks with a little fruit to change the scent of the base liquor. They tend to not be as strong as a Martini, or any of those Prohibition era cocktails. Cobblers predate Prohibition, a time when people openly drank punch outside, unafraid of Prohibition officers.

    Apothic Red is as good as a Cabernet Sauvignon: it is a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Shiraz and Cab. I like how creamy it is on the tongue, and sugar and soda bring out this creaminess. The truth is that you don't want to use your best wine. This isn't a strong drink, but I can see it as a way to enjoy your red wine a little faster, say on a hot day. A rich Cab or Claret becomes pretty refreshing in a cobbler.
    • 4 oz. full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon or Claret
    • 1 tsp. lemon juice
    • 1 tsp. sugar
    • 2 oz. sparkling water
    • orange slice
    Dissolve sugar in lemon juice and sparkling water in a red wine goblet. Add red wine and ice and stir gently. Garnish with an orange slice. 

    Tainted Love

    This is a specially designed cocktail for Valentine's Day. I'm using D’USSÉ VSOP to make the ultimate silky smooth drink with the flavor of cognac and raspberries. For this one you can make two (double the recipe) and the whites of one egg. It goes best in a coupe or cordial glass. Dash angostura bitters on the egg white foam on top and give it a swirl with your bar spoon.
    • 2 oz. D’USSÉ cognac
    • 1/2 oz. raspberry liqueur (my homemade raspberry liqueur used, but Chambord works)
    • 1/2 egg white 
    • 1/2 tsp. Goya guava jelly
    • 1 tsp. lemon juice
    • several dashes grenadine
    • several dashes Angostura bitters
    Add cognac, lemon juice, grenadine and guava jelly in a shaker and muddle until jelly is dissolved. Add egg white and shake vigorously. Add ice and shake until chilled and strain into cordial glass. Add Angostura dashes on top of egg white and swirl the foam with a spoon.

    Wednesday, February 1, 2017


    At the end of the night, I want a Pernod cocktail to settle my stomach, but sometimes a Pernod based cocktail is a little much. The Duchess is really well balanced, though and sweet enough to remain soothing and not to gripping. I felt over and over that this drink took me to a Paris cafe in the Montmartre village of the 18th arrondissement.

    I also decided that a Pousse Cafe glass (or cordial glass) would be better suited to the smaller proportions of this cocktail than a full blown cocktail glass. It's pretty, isn't it?
    • 2 oz. Pernod
    • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
    • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
    Combine all ingredients in a shaker (which really makes the Pernod turn cloudy green) with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 


    Tired of those fizzy Daisies? Drink a Tulip. This is a very rich and dessert-like drink, or at least one for after dinner. There's a gooey wallop of apple brandy and sweet vermouth in here. There's also Angostura bitters, so it is interesting. It doesn't change much as it warms up, though far from a one-note drink. Apples and wine are the dominant flavors, not apricot, as you might think. The lemon juice doesn't do much to take it in a tart direction, only enough to reinforce the apple pie flavors.
    • 2 oz. apple brandy or calvados (Laird's Old Apple Brandy used)
    • 1 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
    •  1/2 oz. apricot brandy
    • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
    • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
    Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 


    What a pleasant fortified wine cocktail. Sherry and vermouth add a characterful flavor to this slightly less alcoholic drink (though the proportions are pretty hefty.) Supposedly you can drink these all night, but more importantly, you will want to.

    The recipe calls for Pernod, but I kept it drier by substituting Absente Refined absinthe. This was a pretty good move. There was plenty of spice flavor and wine texture from start to finish.
    • 2 oz. dry sherry
    • 1 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
    • dash Pernod (Absente Refined used)
    • dash Angostura bitters
    • lemon twist
    Combine all ingredients except lemon twist in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist.


    The Gazette is a French companion to the Journalist, with brandy or cognac (please) and lemon juice. It's a little sweeter with a half ounce of sweet vermouth and a half tsp. of sugar. D’USSÉ VSOP cognac (a new product in the US) is well balanced and suited to cocktailing as it is taken neat. It's dry and oaky with that round fruit flavor you expect from good cognac. 
    • 2 oz. cognac (D’USSÉ VSOP used)
    • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
    • 1 tsp. lemon juice
    • 1/2 tsp sugar
    Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


    Newspaper writers have to grab a drink from time to time. This is a recommendation, perhaps? I can see a reporter bellying up and ordering this cocktail with its very tropical twists on a gin Martini. Lime juice, triple sec, bitters, all in small enough proportions to keep the Martini-ness intact, really change the drinking experience.

    I felt that a lime wedge garnish was appropriate, but it is completely optional. Of course a good reporter must always remain vigilant. Therefore, Vigilant gin was a perfect pairing for this cocktail.
    • 2 oz. gin
    • 1 tsp. dry vermouth
    • 1 tsp. sweet vermouth
    • 1 tsp. triple sec
    • 1 tsp. lime juice
    • 1 dash Angostura bitters
    Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

    Buckeye Martini

    Of course this Martini variation is just trying to point out the interesting look of a cocktail made with a black olive as a garnish. It has nothing to do with The Ohio State Buckeyes. That didn't stop me from breaking out my OSU paraphernalia for this photo.

    I used Magnus & Co. Vigilant gin and Mancino vermouth, which made this gin Martini extremely spicy and interesting. The last sip involving taking down the olive was wonderfully rich and very different from a green olive's flavor.
    • 3 oz. gin (Jos. A. Magnus Vigilant used)
    • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth (Mancino used) 
    • black olive
    Stir liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with black olive. 

    Lady Be Good / Cold Deck

    One drink with two names; one feminine, one masculine. Perhaps it has to do with the sex of the person you are selling it to. A man wants an allusion to harsh maritime conditions. Women just want to know if the drink will pacify.

    Whatever you call it, this cocktail is an improvement on the original Stinger, which is 2 to 1 brandy to white creme de menthe. A half ounce of vermouth almost makes this cocktail taste like a spicy and smooth brandy cocktail with only a hint of minty finish so as not to overpower the drink.
    • 2 oz. brandy (E & J XO used)
    • 1/2 oz. white creme de menthe
    • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
    Stir all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.