Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Lemonade (Non-Alcoholic)

Fresh Lemonade is easy to make, if just a little time consuming. You'll need a lot of lemons, so its the kind of thing you do when you get a big bag of citrus and you have plenty of sugar around. Lemonade is also a great ingredient in many alcoholic cocktails. This recipe makes a pitcher that serves eight.
  • 2 cups lemon juice (About 10 lemons)
  • 2 cups of sugar syrup (add to taste)
  • 10 cups water
  • lemon slices
  • mint sprigs
Pour lemon juice into a pitcher and add sugar syrup in stages while tasting to get the sweetness to your liking. Add water until lemonade while tasting to determine if it is diluted according to taste. Refrigerate with lemon slices in the pitcher. Serve in glasses garnished with mint.

Wonderful Town (Non-Alcoholic)

Like sparkling mint Yoo Hoo, the Wonderful Town is a really good idea for a soft drink. Ever had a vanilla soda. It's like that but chocolate mint. I used my own min syrup I made by steeping mint tea in warm simple syrup. Chocolate syrup is not hard to make at home, but a more significant challenge. I bought Hershey's syrup to simplify things in the kitchen.

Use a swizzle stick to stir the syrups and soda, these syrups are thick and don't move fast in a cold solution.
  • 2 oz. peppermint syrup
  • 1 oz. chocolate syrup (Hershey's)
  • club soda
  • mint sprig
Build drink in a highball glass with syrups and ice. Top with soda and stir well to combine. Garnish with a mint sprig. 

Salander's Smile (Ruby Red version)

This is my original cocktail recipe for the Steig Larson character Lisbeth Salander. It is a cherry and vodka drink served up with only Swedish ingredients. Absolut vodka was always an important ingredients, as was Swedish Cherry Herring liqueur. Now I'm making it with Absolut Ruby Red vodka, which makes the drink far brighter and more complex--more like a gin cocktail.
  • 2 oz. Absolut Ruby Red
  • 1 oz. Cherry Heering
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • lemon twist
Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon twist. 

Sea Breeze

This drink takes me back to the 90's. A simple tropical cocktail needs only a few fruits juices that, when combined, give the illusion that you didn't just get this from the cash bar at your little cousin's wedding. Crack open a can of grapefruit juice and a can of cranberry (canberry?) and mix with vodka in a highball glass.

To upscale this drink some, use fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and Absolut Ruby Red vodka. This makes for a juicier and far more complex cocktail that still keeps its 40-proof strength vodka. Absolut flavored vodkas are as strong as plain vodka.
  • 2 oz. vodka (Absolut Ruby Red used)
  • 3 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 3 oz. cranberry juice
  • grapfruit slice
Build drink in a highball glass with vodka and ice then top with equal parts of both juices and stir. Garnish with a grapefruit slice.

Ruby Red Vodka Tonic

I'm not a big fan of flavored vodka for the sake of flavored vodka. I'm of the opinion that plain vodka plus fresh ingredients is really the way to go. But your typical cocktails like a Vodka Tonic can be greatly enhanced with grapefruit vodka.

Absolut Ruby Red is a flavored vodka with a collage of citrus flavors. It has many levels of richness, which makes it a great ingredient in a tonic drink. Grapefruit is becoming a popular botanical in gin lately, so this version of a Vodka Tonic is pretty close to a G&T, at least without the juniper.
  • 2 oz. Absolut Ruby Red 
  • tonic water
  • grapefruit slice
Build drink in an Old Fashioned glass with ice and vodka. Garnish with a slice of grapefruit.

7 & 7

This is the original cocktail known by the shorthand 7&7. Only two ingredients, Seagram's 7 Crown and 7up, and it's a winner, a culinary masterpiece on par with Moon Pies and Cheer Wine, chocolate and peanut butter, and bacon and eggs.

The thing is, nobody drinks 7up anymore. Am I right? When is the last time you were at a restaurant and the lemon-lime soda they had was 7up? But it wasn't always so. 7up used to be the big soda on the block. So much so that I'm sure that Seagram's 7 marketed this drink to latch on to the much more popular soft drink's ubiquity. While I'm sure that the cocktail developed organically, the folks at Seagrams had a good run until 7up went by the wayside.

Now that you can find Seagram's 7 at almost every bar, as it is an extremely popular whiskey, I'm betting that 7up is getting most of its market share as a mixer with whiskey.
  • 2 oz. Seagram's 7 Crown whiskey
  • 7up
Build drink in a Collins glass with whiskey and ice. Top with 7up and stir.

Whiskey Sling

So that Whiskey Sour you love and always order at the bar? It's really a Sling. A Sling is spirit, citrus and sugar served on the rocks. A Sour usually has egg white in it and it should be served up in a Sour glass.

I only saying this to point out that the Sour is a little harder to do, so it has devolved into the simpler Sling. Do what you wish with this information.

I got an inexpensive bottle of whiskey to do some of those summer cooling cocktails. Seagram's Seven Crown boasts that it is made with 75 percent grain neutral spirit. That's like vodka. Then there's the blend of aged whiskies, which may add some color, but Seagram's 7 is pretty pale. It doesn't explain where that rich wood taste comes from, and the blend is pretty smooth. Careful not to drink too much, it is known to give headaches.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey (Seagram's Seven Crown used)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. water
  • orange twist
Combine sugar and water in a shaker and mix to partially dissolve. Add whiskey, lemon juice and ice and shake. Pour into an Old Fashioned glass and garnish with an orange twist. 

Quick Pick (Non-Alcoholic)

Quick Pick is the mocktail of the vodka drink known as the Ice Pick. It imitates the way vodka changes an iced tea with a peppermint syrup that sweetens and creates a chilling effect. I made the syrup by cold brewing peppermint tea in simple syrup. There's a dash of food coloring in the jar in the photo to give it a green look, rather than the brownish color that tea gives syrup.
  • Iced tea
  • 2 oz. peppermint syrup
  • lime wedge
  • mint sprig
Build drink in a Collins glass with syrup and ice. Top with iced tea and garnish with a lime wedge and mint sprig.

Lemon Lime Cooler (Non-Alcoholic)

Ever want to make your own Sprite with fresh ingredients? This is your chance. It's just about the best lime soda I've ever had. Natural sugar and fresh lime juice make it hard to beat.
  • 3 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • bitter lemon soda
  • lime slice
Build drink in a Collins glass with juice, syrup and ice. Top with soda and stir. Garnish with lime slice. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Kaptain Kirk (Non-Alcoholic)

No, I didn't spell captain wrong. The alliterative name of this mocktail may be an attempt to avoid infringing on the copyright of the Starfleet captain with the similar sounding name. Funny enough, the yellow color of the drink in the slim Hurricane glass reminds me of Kirk's stretchy yellow Starfleet uniform. It gives me an excuse to show off my banana hammock as well.
  • 1 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 2 1/2 oz. pineapple juice
  • half a banana sliced
  • lime slice
  • bitter lemon soda
Combine juices and banana slices in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled highball glass or Hurricane glass. Top with lemon soda and stir. Garnish with the lime slice.

Safe Sex On The Beach (Non-Alcoholic)

You have to love this mocktail's clever name. Safe Sex On The Beach tastes a lot like the peach schnapps cocktail with the similar name. Peach nectar replaces the schnapps and there's no vodka, but nobody would notice. This is a great way to have your beach drink and stay sober.
  • 2 oz. peach nectar
  • 3 oz. cranberry juice
  • 3 oz. pineapple juice
  • maraschino cherry
Combine liquid ingredients in a highball glass full of ice and stir. Garnish with a maraschino cherry. 

Zesty Cooler (Non-Alcoholic)

You almost don't miss the vodka from a Moscow Mule when you have the non-alcoholic version, the Zesty Cooler. And why would you? Vodka doesn't add flavor like lime juice and ginger beer.

The trick to this cocktail is the crushed ice in a Mule Cup or metal mug. After all, that's all that the Moscow Mule had going for it when it was introduced in the 1950s. The cup makes the drink.
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • ginger beer (Fever Tree used)
  • lime wedge
Build drink with lime juice in metal mug or Mule Cup and top with crushed ice. Top with ginger beer and garnish with a lime slice. 

Minor Madras (Non-Alcoholic)

Another just-like-the-alcoholic-version mocktail, the Minor Madras is a Madras minus the vodka. More than that, it compensates with an ounce of lime juice to give it more acid, which makes one think of vodka even if it isn't there. This is a good go-to mocktail because the ingredients are basic and the procedure is swift.
  • 4 oz. orange juice
  • 4 oz. cranberry juice
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • lime slice
Build drink in a highball glass full of ice and stir. Garnish with lime slice. 

San Juan Capistrano (Non-Alcoholic)

Sometimes a mocktail is just as good as the alcoholic drink it is trying to imitate. Virgin Bloody Mary's and blended mocktails tend to have an advantage. This is the case with the San Juan Capistrano--the mocktail of the San Juan, a rum and brandy frozen drink.
  • 2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. coconut milk
  • lime twist
Combine juices and coconut milk with ice in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a wine goblet and garnish with a lime twist.

Peachy Cream (Non-Alcoholic)

Kind of like a peach fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt. It's sweet and creamy--almost too sweet and peachy for my taste. In the photo, I left the two liquids combined but not well stirred so you can see the peach nectar and the cream. If you stir well, though the lumpiness works itself out into a smooth and, yes, peach yogurt-like drink.
  • 2 oz. peach nectar
  • 2 oz. half-and-half
Combine both ingredients in an Old Fashioned glass full of ice and stir well.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Fruit Juice Spritzer (Non-Alcoholic)

A Spritzer is a wine or sparkling wine cocktail that has a soda fizz and fresh fruits and juices for flavor. You can do something very nearly the same with just juice and club soda.

This may be one of the most popular non-alcoholic drinks or mocktails made at bars. It happens when a ticket comes up for a "Fruit Juice Punch," leaving the bartender to use whatever juices are on hand to come up with something that tastes good. Here's the trick. There's little guidance in the recipe so this can turn out lots of different ways depending on the juices you use.

First, don't add sugar. Orange and pineapple juice are sweet enough to balance other juices. For a more sour drink, use lime and lemon juice and only add cranberry juice (about twice as much as the citrus juice) to add color and sweetness. This will be very tart.

My version pictured is lemon juice, orange juice and pineapple juice.
  • 3 oz. fruit juice of your choice
  • sparkling water
  • lemon twist
Build drink in a wine goblet with ice with juice and ice. Top with sparkling water and stir gently. Garnish with the lemon twist. 

Hawaiian Lemonade & Heavenly Days (Non-Alcoholic)

I've got another two-for-one post on non-alcoholic drinks. On the left there's the pretty simple and tasty Hawaiian Lemonade, which is just fresh squeezed lemonade and pineapple juice. The recipe calls for a pineapple spear, but I made this with canned juice, so there's no spear.

Then the Heavenly Days, the more complicated drink on the right, turned out to be a sugar bomb. The recipe calls for two ounces of hazelnut syrup, which is way too much, but that is used to counter the two ounces of lemon juice. So you begin with a sweet hazelnut lemonade, add some grenadine for color and top with soda and an orange slice. It would be good--and it is rich--like a waffle-cone or ice cream soda. It's just too sweet. After a few sips the sugar rush was far more overpowering than anything alcoholic in the same proportions. The headache that followed was worse than a hangover from half a drink.

So my fix for the Heavenly Days is to use 1 1/2 oz. lemon juice and 1 oz. hazelnut syrup. You'll see the recipe below.

Hawaiian Lemonade (Non-Alcoholic)
  • 3 oz. pineapple juice
  • fresh lemonade (1 1/2 oz. lemon juice, 1 oz. simple syrup, 2 oz. water)
  • pineapple spear (mint sprig used)
Build the drink in a highball glass with ice and stir. Garnish with pineapple spear.

 Heavenly Days (Non-Alcoholic)
  • 2 oz. hazelnut syrup (Modify to 1 oz. for less sweetness.)
  • 2 oz. lemon juice (Modify to 1 1/2 oz. for less sweetness.)
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
  • club soda
  • orange slice
Combine syrup, lemon juice and grenadine in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass full of fresh ice. Top with soda and stir. Garnish with orange slice.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Anchors Aweigh

Anchors Aweigh refers to the moment the hoisted anchor clears the sea floor, indicating a ship's departure. It is when the weight of the anchor is suspended by the ship, not the sea floor, so it is "aweigh."

This drink may refer to this term directly, or it might be named after the U.S. Navy's march the popular musical of the same name. Still, its nautical origin puts it in league with other Maritime cocktails like the Seaboard. It is fairly sweet and dessert-like with its primary flavors being peach and orange cream.

The recipe calls for cherry liqueur and peach brandy, but I opted for Bird Dog peach whiskey, which matches up with the drink's base spirit, bourbon. Bird Dog peach whiskey was a good choice. It has oak and vanilla flavors of whiskey but a funny artificial peach flavor similar to peach schnapps. It is less sweet than Southern Comfort, which is good, considering that sweet Cherry Heering is my go-to cherry liqueur for this drink.
  • 1 1/2 oz. bourbon
  • 2 tsp. triple sec (Luxardo Triplum used)
  • 2 tsp. peach brandy (Bird Dog peach whiskey used)
  • 2 tsp. cherry liqueur (Cherry Heering used)
  • 2 tbsp. half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a shaker (or blender) and shake (or blend) and pour into a double Old Fashioned glass. 


The word seaboard refers to the direction toward the coast, so it is fitting for such a light and tropical punch drink. And when I say punch, don't assume that this drink is weak by any means. It belongs to a maritime family of cocktails that include Navy Grog, the Poop Deck, Any Port In A Storm, and a number of Admiral themed drinks. You see that these drinks are pretty stiff with a combination of gin (always presents) and maybe a rum or whiskey. The liquors don't always suggest the tropics, but they imply the presence of stiff English gin and other colonial spirits consumed by sailors on those trans-Atlantic voyages.
  • 2 oz. whiskey (Black Velvet Special Reserve used)
  • 1 oz. gin (Vigilant London Dry used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • mint sprig
Combine all ingredients except for mint sprig in a shaker full of ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass full of fresh ice. Garnish with the mint sprig. 

Sleepy Head

Sleepy Head is a very appropriate name for this and just about any brandy cocktail. They make you tired, for sure. I'm using my mint today, so you can see where this is going--a mint smash of a drinks. Brandy can actually become a very refreshing cocktail when spaced out with ginger ale and flavored with fresh produce. I really recommend chilling all the liquid ingredients if you are making this on a hot day since ice melt is the enemy of this cocktail.
  • 3 oz. brandy (Christian Brothers VSOP used.)
  • 5 mint leaves
  • ginger ale 
  • orange twist
Lightly muddle mint and brandy in the bottom of a highball glass. Fill with ice and top with ginger ale. Stir gently land garnish with the orange twist. 

Mint Collins

I didn't realize that this cross between a Collins and a Mojito existed. My first inkling came when I made the Cool Collins, non alcoholic cocktail a week ago. The idea of muddling mint in lemon and sugar for a gin and soda drink was sound. Then I came across this recipe and had to do it. I also had to include the cherry--green--as a staple of most Collins everywhere.
  • 3 oz. gin (Sunset Hills used)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 7 mint leaves 
  • lemon slice
  • sparkling water
  • mint sprig
Add mint leaves, sugar and lemon juice to a Collinst glass and muddle gently to release mint essence. Add gin and ice and top with soda. Stir gently and garnish with the lemon slice and mint sprig. 

Friday, May 19, 2017


The Presbyterian might just fit into the religious class of cocktails like the Bishop and the Cardinal. But this mix of bourbon, soda and ginger ale is really hinting at a broader appeal, the simple tastes of a sect of Christians who take their bourbon with soda and ginger ale.

In the photo is a painted depiction of an academic building at the College of Wooster, a formerly Scottish Presbyterian college and my alma mater. I have Cleveland Bourbon featured in memory of those late night trips from Wooster to Cleveland where we learned about life in a real city.
  • 3 oz. bourbon 
  • club soda
  • ginger ale
 Build drink in a highball glass with bourbon and ice. Top with soda and ginger ale and stir gently. 

Frozen Mint Julep

I'm not a big fan of frozen drinks. You get a lot of ice melt for all that talk of the drink being frozen. So it's not like this cocktail is especially strong when compared to a classic Mint Julep. There is a bit of charm to it though, and I could see doing it in a cocktail or Hurricane glass to show off the cool color of the blended mint in the ice.

And so I have to say that the frozen preparation of the Julep is not a bad one. The mint blends far better that I thought it would--and it really doesn't if it is blended only in liquid with no ice--and the flavor is pretty true to classic cocktail. Lemon juice changes it a little but is necessary to give the drink thinness.
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 6-8 mint leaves
  • mint sprig
Combine all ingredients except mint sprig with ice in a blender. Blend until smooth and pour into a highball glass (I found a double Old Fashioned glass looked more attractive given the amount this recipe produces.) Garnish with the mint sprig.


The Preakness race is this weekend in Baltimore and this is the cocktail with the same name. So the Preakness is in the same league as the Belmont Stakes and the Mint Julep Something about big horse races just requires bourbon. That's why I chose Basil Hayden's straight bourbon instead of the blended whiskey that the recipe calls for. 

Sweet vermouth is a prominent feature of this drink. Benedictine is a good friend to bourbon, and the teaspoon of this French herbal liqueur really caps the whole experience.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey (Basil Hayden's straight bourbon used)
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1 tsp. Benedictine
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • lemon twist
Combine all ingredients except twist in a mixing glass full of ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist lemon peel over the glass and drop it in. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Green Summer Cooler (Non-Alcoholic)

This drink is exactly as advertised. It is green and it definitely cools you down. Chalk that up to green peppermint syrup. I would caution against trying to make this syrup yourself as I have tried it with mint tea and it tends to take a brown color and the flavor always seems a little burned. Further experiments using a cold infusion of fresh mint in simple syrup are forthcoming, but not unlikely to produce a color like the commercially available syrups used in coffee shops like Monin.

But as part of a fruity drink, this syrup just gives a chill effect, and doesn't taste like mint ice cream. Instead you get fizzy bubbles, cucumber scents and a tropical fruit punch of a drink.
  • 2 oz. lime juice
  • 3 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. green peppermint syrup
  • ginger ale
  • cucumber slice
  • lime slice
Combine lime juice pineapple juice, and peppermint syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Collins filled with ice. Top with ginger ale and garnish with cucumber and lime slices. 

Pepper Pot (Non-Alcoholic)

The Pepper Pot is one of my favorite mocktails. It makes canned pineapple juice seem exotic again with curry powder, Tabasco sauce, ground red pepper and non-alcoholic orgeat. Fee Brothers orgeat is creamy and full of that maraschino bitterness that just screams tropical treat.
  • 4 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. orgeat (Fee Brothers used)
  • 3-5 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • curry powder to taste
Combine all ingredients except curry powder with ice in a shaker. Shake and pour into a highball glass. Sprinkle with curry powder.

Shirley Temple (Non-Alcoholic)

The Shirley Temple is a pretty bastardized non-alcoholic cocktail--one I would never order at a bar because you're likely to get a Sprite loaded with tons of cheap grenadine. It's like diabetes in a glass.

What if there was a good recipe for the Shirley Temple that revived and vindicated the young actress' favorite bar drink? Turns out there is. And when you use fresh juice and serve it in an Old Fashioned glass, you have a mocktail that looks like an Old Fashioned and tastes like summer.
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz. pomegranate syrup (or grenadine if you must)
  • ginger ale
  • maraschino cherry
  • lemon wedge
Combine lemon juice and syrups in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an Old Fashioned glass full of ice. Top with ginger ale and stir gently. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and lemon wedge. 

Iced Tea (Non-Alcoholic)

Aah! What a lovely sight. This isn't an alcoholic cocktail, but it is still craveworthy. Consider a finely crafted Iced Tea as a luxury. If you haven't tried it, you really should--it will make a convert out of you.

What most people overlook with iced tea is that quality tea makes a difference. The assumption that poor quality tea should be used for icing is as misinformed as making iced instant coffee. With all the cold brew coffee going on out there in coffee houses and farmer's markets, you can bet that teas of this nature are soon to arise.

The trick is to use a GTFOP (like brandy, the more letters denotes higher quality in tea) loose leaf tea. I'm partial to golden Yunan variety because of the maltiness and herbal notes. It doesn't get bitter when it is chilled, so I don't add sugar. Smack that mint garnish and you'll be sniffing it while you sip.
  • 2 tsp. GTFOP loose leaf tea
  • 6. oz. water
  • sugar to taste
  • mint sprig
  • lemon slice
Steep tea in boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain out tea leaves and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Pour over ice cubes in a Collins glass and garnish with mint and lemon slice.

Algonquin Bloody Mary

The Native American Algonquin tribe's name comes up frequently in the cocktail lexicon. Sometimes it indicates that there are North American fruits or liquors present in the drink (apple, or blackberry brandy, for instance.) At other times, it is used to signify that a drink recipe comes from Canada or Up-State New York regions, which is most likely for a Bloody Mary Recipe.

As I've said before on this blog, Canadian cocktails show that Canadians don't waste time when making drinks. It must be something about the cold weather, but it seems like they want to get their results quickly, perhaps to speed the warming intake of alcohol. With a shaken Old Fashioned and this stripped down Bloody Mary, I continue to press this assertion.

What we have here is a pretty basic Bloody Mary minus the emphasis on garnishes. Make the recipe exactly as follows and don't worry yourself about getting hungry for celery.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 4 oz. tomato juice
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • juice of half a lime (don't bother taking time to measure)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Worcester sauce
  • 6-8 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 1 lime wedge
Combine all ingredients except lime wedge in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice in a highball glass. Garnish with lime wedge. 

Red Snapper

So if you start with a Bloody Mary and just leave out the spiciest stuff like Tabasco sauce, celery salt and horseradish, you pretty much have the Red Snapper. This is a very tomato-forward drink and as such it feels a little thicker on the palate. There's no lime juice, either, just a dash of lemon juice. So really this is an alcoholic tomato puree drink with a pinch of paprika--not that there's anything wrong with that.

The important thing is that this is a branch of the Bloody Mary family tree that includes the celery rib, like the Bloody Caesar. To do the drink correctly you must include it, if only to distinguish which type of Bloody Mary the Red Snapper is.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 3 oz. tomato juice
  • 3-5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • dash lemon juice
  • celery rib
Combine all ingredients except celery rib in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled highball glass (with optional salt rim as shown.) Garnish with the celery stalk.

Tomato Cocktail (Non-Alcoholic Pitcher Drink)

The Tomato Cocktail has no alcohol and, as a friend put it, is really an excuse to drink vinegar. Yes, there's no alcohol in red wine vinegar, but it is mighty tasty. Vinegar gives a sour twist to what would seem like a Virgin Bloody Mary, but without any of the heat of Tabasco in a Bloody Mary. This is actually a pretty thirst quenching cocktail that would be fun to serve at a picnic.
  • 16 oz. tomato juice
  • 1 oz. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 whole cucumber peeled and pureed
  • 4 lime wedges
Combine all ingredients except lime wedges in a glass pitcher and stir well. Chill and serve over ice cubes in highball glasses garnished with lime wedges.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Black & Tan (Non-Alcoholic)

At first I entertained myself with trying to keep the ginger beer and ginger ale from combining, to pour them so carefully that one would float on the other. This worked, to the extent you could see it, if not photograph it (the line is along the triangle of the WAMU logo.) But it didn't matter. You can try to pour these separately over a spoon and be as careful as you can, but you still get a drink that is more interesting than ginger ale and more tame than ginger beer.

Cock And Bull ginger beer makes for an interesting ice-free cocktail as well. It looks like you're having a beer, which is sort of the point.
  • ginger ale
  • ginger beer
  • lime slice
Pour liquids into a pint glass and float the lime slice on top.


Get a good look! That's Aylesbury Duck vodka, there.

This is a fine drink for a beginning drinker or cocktail maker. Its easy to make, not too strong, and it has an air of tropical escape to it, even though it is probably made with store bought juice. I'm not sure what the drink has to do with Madras, as a city, but the name also imparts some of that exotic charm.
  • 2 oz. vodka (Aylesbury Duck used)
  • 3 oz. cranberry juice
  • 3 oz. orange juice
Build drink in a Collins glass with ice first. Add vodka and juices and stir. 

Virgin Mary (Non-Alcoholic)

This is one of the best names possible for a mocktail. It is a Virgin Bloody Mary! So simple compared to the many variations of Bloody Mary, you don't even need vodka.

But really, there's much less going on with this version all together. No celery, celery salt, or salt rim. (I added bacon salt because I'm used to certain things anymore.) Just a lime slice and you are ready to go. Follow these instructions, of course.
  • 8 oz. tomato juice
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp. horseradish
  • 3-5 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 3-5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • ground black pepper
  • lime slice 
Combine all ingredients except lime slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a Collins glass. Garnish with lime slice. 

Cool Collins (Non-Alcoholic)

This is the virgin version of the Tom Collins and it is made pretty much the same way except without the gin. The taste is pretty good, too, like a sparkling lemonade with mint. The original recipe calls for muddled mint and sugar in the shaker which is poured into the highball glass. I think that this trick ruins the illusion of the minty lemonade. I strained out the mint with a fine strainer and poured the remaining liquid over fresh ice. You get a cool bite from this sparkling lemonade that is similar to what it was like to drinking the original hard liquor drink.
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 7 mint leaves
  • sparkling water
  • lemon slice
  • mint sprig
Muddle mint and sugar in a cocktail shaker before adding lemon juice and ice. Shake and fine strain into a Collins glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water and stir. Garnish with lemon slice and mint sprig. 


Another tequila dessert drink--it seems tequila is well suited to this kind of thing--the Ole is like a White Russian from Mexico. I used coffee liqueur made from Starbucks Pike Place for this but Kahlua is the standard coffee liqueur.
  • 2 oz. silver tequila
  • 1 oz. coffee liqueur
  • 1 tsp sugar syrup
  • 1 tbsp. half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Silk Stockings

Silk Stockings are an old fashioned identifier of wealth or high class. They are also very smooth and soothing on your feet. This tequila cocktail is a dessert drink with chocolate and cinnamon flavors that sooth your soul. Not a tequila fan? Don't worry. You won't notice the liquor under all that cream and cacao.
  • 2 oz. silver tequila
  • 1 oz. white creme de cacao
  • 2 oz. half-and-half
  • dash grenadine
  • ground cinnamon
Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. 

Sangrita (Shot)

Make that Sangrita (recipe here) and pour yourself a shot of tequila. Take the shot of tequila and follow it with a sip of the spicy Sangrita to experience this unusual taste combination.

Sangrita Seca (Non-Alcoholic)

Sangrita is a Mexican juice mix that is supposed to be tart and spicy. It is typically taken with tequila, but the juice mix itself is great for sipping. This recipe makes a whole pitcher.
  • 16 oz. tomato juice
  • 8 oz. orange juice
  • 3 oz. lime juice
  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and chopped fine
  • 1/2 oz. Tabasco sauce
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • celery salt to taste
Pour all ingredients in a large pitcher and allow to chill for at least an hour. When ready to serve, strain into another pitcher and pour into glasses. 

Guacamole Cocktail (Non-Alcoholic)

The idea here is that guacamole is so good you just want to drink it straight out of the bowl. But it is usually too thick for this to work. Try this cocktail with tomato and lime juice to help thin it out. There's no ice, so you have to chill it before drinking.
  • 2 oz. lime juice
  • 5 oz. tomato juice
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 small green chili chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • lime wedge
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth but not watery. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Serve in an Old Fashioned glass. 

Suffering Bastard

It's a hangover cure, a gin drink, a brandy drink and a ginger beer cocktail. But we should note that Angostura bitters is the main ingredient when it comes to taste. A tablespoon of bitters has an outsize effect on a drink.

My new ginger beer is Cock and Bull, a funny label that indicates that this product is a Moscow Mule mixer. What about a Bastard mixer?
  • 2 oz. gin (Strange Monkey used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. brandy
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
  • 1 tbsp. Angostura bitters
  • ginger beer
  • cucumber slice
  • mint sprig
  • lime slice
Coat the inside of a Collins glass with Angostura bitters. Combine gin, brandy, lime juice and sugar in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into the highball glass and top with ginger beer. Garnish with cucumber, mint and lime. 

Cape Cod Sunrise (Non-Alcoholic)

Here's an easy juice drink that looks pretty special. And fresh lime juice does waken the senses and make you think that there is something special going on in your drink. There's no alcohol here, but if you have non-alcoholic orgeat, I strongly recommend adding a few dashes to take it beyond the level of juices and garnishes.
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 3 oz. cranberry juice
  • mint sprig
  • lime slice
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled wine goblet. Garnish with mint and lime slice.

Sweet Jane & Rosey Dawn (Non-Alcoholic)

This is a two-for-one post on two great non-alcoholic drinks. Both have similar ingredients and I was able to pull them both off within minutes with a single blender. These would be fun drinks to have with kids, because they are like snow cones, and there's so much healthy juice, it makes up for the sugary syrups.

Orgeat gives these cocktails that tropical maraschino zip of alcoholic tiki beverages. And if you get Fee Brothers orgeat, there is no alcohol involved. (Make it yourself, and you might have to include vodka as a preservative.)

Sweet Jane (pictured left)
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. coconut cream
  • 1 oz. orgeat
Combine all ingredients with ice in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a wine goblet.

Rosy Dawn (pictured right)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. coconut cream
  • 1 tsp. orgeat
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
Combine all ingredients with ice in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a wine goblet.

Hot Pants

This is one of those drinks that sounds awful, but in reality it is quite good. I attribute this success to fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and coarse ground salt. But peppermint schnapps and tequila are not so bad together and they might seem.

The effect of drinking this cocktail over the salt and sugar rim is that this spicy and cold liquid seems almost to taste like chili pepper, not peppermint. The flavors are surprisingly complimentary with tequila.
  • 2 oz. silver tequila
  • 1/2 oz. peppermint schnapps
  • 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • salt
  • sugar
Mix salt and sugar on a plate. Coat the rim of an Old Fashioned glass with grapefruit juice and dip into the sugar and salt mixture. Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into the Old Fashioned glass. 

Clam Digger (Non-Alcoholic)

There's a few Clam Digger cocktails out there with alcohol and Clamato. They go by names like Connemara Clammer for Irish whiskey or Acpulco Clam Digger with tequila. This is the mocktail version of all of these drinks.

Clamato is a great cocktail in itself. It has dried clam powder and seasoning in tomato juice. It is my favorite Bloody Mary base before the spices go into it. Use it in place of tomato juice for an interesting twist on your Bloody Mary.
  • 8 oz. Clamato
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 3-5 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 3-5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. horseradish
  • celery salt to taste
  • celery stalk
  • lime wedge
Combine all ingredients except celery stalk and lime wedge in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a Collins glass. Garnish with celery and lime wedge. 

Mary Pickford

I've done this cocktail before but was not satisfied with the photo or the drink itself. More than a year ago, I used a cut rate rum and canned pineapple juice. Now I went with fresh all the way. A good white rim is the secret to this one, but avoid any funky pot still rums. You don't want to taste the rum too much. This drink is about the juice and the tangy zip of maraschino.

Mary Pickford was a Canadian actress, the first "America's Sweetheart" and a girl with the curls. She went on to produce films and pave the way for women in the film industry. This is no Shirley Temple, though.
  • 2 oz. white rum
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 tsp. maraschino liqueur
  • 1/2 tsp. grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Blue Grass Cocktail

There's something wonderful about bourbon and pineapple juice. The Blue Grass is an upgrade from the Kentucky Cocktail which doesn't have maraschino liqueur and just makes due with bourbon and pineapple juice. Once you have all four ingredients, you will find that this one satisfies bourbon fans and creates an addictive flavor that you will remember long afterward.
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. maraschino liqueur
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Salty Puppy (Non-Alcoholic)

This is the virgin version of the Salty Dog with grapefruit, salt and vodka. Just leave out the vodka and add a little sugar to that salt rim and you have a refreshing grapefruit cocktail that looks like the real deal when you are drinking it at a bar. And that is the whole point of mocktails, isn't it? Getting something that looks and feels like an alcoholic beverage when you can't have alcohol, whether you are the designated driver, underage, or just trying to be healthy.
  • grapefruit juice (fresh squeezed is a real treat)
  • salt 
  • sugar
  • grapefruit slice (lime wedge if you don't have fresh grapefruit) 
Combine salt and sugar on a plate and wet the rim of a Collins glass with grapefruit juice. Dip the glass rim into the salt and sugar mixture to coat the rim. Fill with ice and grapefruit juice. Garnish with fruit. 

Gazpacho Cocktail (Non-Alcoholic)

If you can make a cold soup out of it, why not put it in a glass and drink it with a straw? It only makes sense with the Bloody Mary culture out there that a drink like this exists.

Gazpacho is different from Bloody Mary in that it is less savory and more juicy. It is a cold soup, with spices that shouldn't overwhelm the senses. Some of the main differences between this non-alcoholic drink and a standard Bloody Mary without the vodka include garlic, oregano, scallions and avocado.
  • 6 oz. tomato juice
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 cucumber slices chopped
  • 1 scallion (the white part only)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 3-5 dashes Tabasco sauce
  •  black pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
  • cucumber slice
  • avocado slice
Combine all ingredients except cucumber and avocado slices in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled Collins glass. Garnish with the cucumber and avocado slices. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Texas Virgin (Non-Alcoholic)

This is the non-alcoholic version of the great Smokin' Texas Mary, a Bloody Mary variation with pickled jalapeno peppers and barbecue sauce. With no alcohol or any other recommendations, you can feel free to garnish at will and up the heat all you like. 

For this one, I chose Jack Daniel's barbecue sauce to give it that smoke, and the woody taste I like from their whiskey. Finding whole pickled jalapenos is harder than it sounds, but using a bunch of sliced ones fits the bill. Then I rimmed the glass with barbecue salt rub that usually goes on pork in the slow cooker. 
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. barbecue sauce (Jack Daniel's used)
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • 3-5 dashes Worcestershire sauce 
  • ground pepper
  • tomato juice
  • pickled jalapeno pepper
  • lime slice
Combine all ingredients except jalapeno and lime slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a highball glass. Garnish with jalapeno and lime slice.