Thursday, December 21, 2017

Spanish Moss

Look at that brown-green color on those large rocks. That's the effect the Spanish Moss is going for. Now a minty coffee and tequila drink sounds pretty disgusting on paper. Really it was one of the best creme de menthe drinks I've had because it avoids using citrus like you find in too many mint drinks, especially ones involving tequila.

What you have is a cool visual effect and a sipper of a cocktail that has mint on the nose and the tongue at first sip. That gives way to a rich and grainy coffee flavor that lasts long in the finish. So this drink is really a winner on several fronts. I used my homemade coffee liqueur--vodka based this time with lots of creme de cacao for richness. Dabbling in combining coffee or infusing beans in your neutral spirit and adding sugar is what is so fun about making coffee liqueur. There's no wrong way to do it, but creme de cacao is almost necessary to avoid too much bitterness.
  • 2 oz. silver tequila 
  • 1 oz coffee liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. green creme de menthe
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass full of fresh ice (large rocks recommended.) 

Betsy Ross

A good colonial cocktail for a American colonial figure, the Betsy Ross has a lot of the spirits that we associate with old world cocktails. Cognac, egg yolk, port and nutmeg are the driving flavors, but they get help from a good bit of Angostura bitters and triple sec. These have the effect of tropicalizing the cocktail a little, or at least anchoring it in the new world scheme of the spice trade and the Caribbean islands.
  • 1 1/2  oz. brandy (cognac please)
  • 1 1/2 oz. ruby port
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3-5 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 3-5 dashes triple sec
  • ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients except nutmeg in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. (For best results, shake the chilled ingredients without ice to achieve more egg yolk foam before pouring into the cocktail glass.) Dust with grated nutmeg. 

Fuzzy Navel

A classic out of the late 20th century, the Fuzzy Navel (orange) is a bit of a pun for a name and kicks off many other peach and "fuzz" themed cocktails using peach schnapps. For all the silliness, the drink has aged well despite that most bars and bartenders shy away from doing this dinosaur. That may be because experienced drinkers taste peach schnapps (a liqueur that even gets bashed in The Walking Dead series) and they reject it out of hand. New drinkers will welcome it as pleasant. 

I can see that a nice peach brandy could up the game of this oldie but goodie.
  • 2 oz. vodka 
  • 1 oz. peach schnapps
  • 8 oz. orange juice
  • orange slice
Combine vodka and schnapps in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass full of ice. Top with cold orange juice, stir,  and garnish with an orange slice

Quiet Passion (Non-Alcoholic)

This is one of the most exotic and rewarding mocktails I've made over the years. Passion fruit juice has a way of doing that. The combination of it with grapefruit and grape juice leaves you wondering what it is you are tasting, which is really the point of a good cocktail. The fact that there's no alcohol almost doesn't matter and makes this Passion even more impressive for that.
  • 4 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 4 oz. white grape juice
  • 1 oz. passion fruit juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass full of fresh ice. 

Cherry Daiquiri

There's not much more to this cocktail than the original Daiquiri, but what a difference it makes. The recipe calls for cherry liqueur, and black cherry Heering fits the bill. There's also a dash .25 tsp. of kirschwasser, which seems unnecessary but adds that dry fug of a clear and strong (and rum-like) brandy to elevate flavors above the expected sweetness.
  • 2 oz. light rum 
  • 1/2 oz. cherry liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp. kirschwasser
  • lime twist
Combine all ingredients except lime twist in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lime twist. 

Billy Taylor

The Billy Taylor is named after the jazz pianist and composer and shares a strong resemblance with the Gin Rickey with one exception--there's a little sugar added to warm things up. It's good, still tart and strong, but good for winter as well as summer drinking.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • sparkling water
Combine all ingredients except sparkling water with ice in a shaker. Shake and strain over fresh ice in a Collins glass. Stir gently. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Amaretto Coffee

Another simple drink, taking a liqueur like amaretto and dumping it into a cup of coffee, becomes more elegant with spice and whipped cream. Dress up an everyday almond-syrup tasting coffee with a quality amaretto like Lazzaroni Amaretto can feel like an especially decadent treat.

Ground coriander on whipped cream lends a whiff of dried citrus to the nose of this special drink. The whole experience feels appropriate for the holidays when we expect to find richer and more extravagant drinks. This recipe does all of that right.
  • 1 1/2 oz. amaretto
  • 8 oz. hot black coffee
  • whipped cream
  • ground coriander (optional but recommended)
Add amaretto to a warm coffee mug. Fill with hot coffee and stir. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle coriander on the whipped cream topping.

Cherry Rum

Not a bad dessert rum drink when you look at it. Something about white rum and cream seems counter intuitive but cherry brandy or Cherry Heering make up for all of that. Try this drink. You don't have to repeat it, but you'll probably like what you have here.
  • 2 oz light rum
  • 1 oz. cherry brandy (Cherry Heering used)
  • 1/2 oz. half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. (Cherry garnish pictured recommended.)

Amaretto Mist

Sometimes a spirit is so good you don't need to mix with it. Simply serving it in a particular way achieves a cocktail in a way that serving it neat does not. I'm thinking of the Snowball series of drinks with anise liqueurs and the Scotch Mist, which I realize is a brother of this drink and one I would have done better with crushed ice, which I didn't do the first time I made this drink.

The effect of this quickly melting ice and the lemon zest is that the flavors brighten considerably and the spirit opens up with the cold water. You can better appreciate something like amaretto, which is usually too thick and sugary to get a handle on when taken warm and neat.
  • 2 oz. amaretto (Lazzaroni used)
  • crushed ice
  • lemon twist
Build the drink in an Old Fashioned glass with crushed ice. Twist lemon peel over the glass and drip it in. 

Eggnog / Baltimore Eggnog

When it comes to this winter drink, there's Eggnog and then there's Eggnog. I mean that everyone has their own recipe for choice of spirits or batch sizes. You can make a standard whiskey eggnog to order (a single serving) or you can make a huge batch. And whatever recipe you settle on will be pretty good, more or less. It's really a matter of taste.

In Baltimore they do it this way:
Baltimore Eggnog
  •  2 oz. brandy (cognac please)
  • 1 oz. dark rum (Kopper Kettle chai spice rum recommended for eggnog flavors)
  • 1 oz. Madiera
  • 6 oz. half-and-half
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • grated nutmeg
Combine all ingredients except nutmeg in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass and sprinkle nutmeg on top.

This recipe is especially festive. It has all the colonial imports and local spirits used from the days when Baltimore was a new coastal town involved in the rum trade. It is strong and awesome! Virginia Kopper Kettle chai spiced rum actually provides the traditional spice component found in eggnog.

The general accepted spirit for eggnog time out of mind has been brandy. Brandy was the strong stuff in the U.S. back when the only thing you could get locally was beer or cider (see General Harrison's Eggnog for an example of one of these colonial low ABV drinks.)

So brandy or cognac was necessary to thin the eggnogs of colonial balls without making the drink too watery or warm. These old eggnogs were served like punches with ball-goers scooping out a serving into punch glasses. It is thick and creamy and must be kept chilled.

This recipe serves 25:
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) brandy
  • 1 1/2 quarts of milk
  • 1 pint whipped heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 12 eggs
  • freshly grated nutmeg
Separate the egg yolk from the whites and beat the yolks in a large punch bowl with sugar to combine. Stir in milk and whipped cream and add brandy. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Before serving whip the egg whites stiff and fold into the eggnog.

Vanderbilt Cocktail

The name Vanderbilt suggests stately bearing and richness of character, if not pocketbook. This drink delivers with brandy (cognac please) a good helping of cherry liqueur and Angostura bitters.

Cherry Heering is the right choice here because it has an old-world black cherry flavor. It's not as candy-like as wild cherry brandies. Cognac is also the right choice, though a smooth American cherry brandy would be appropriate. This drink is sweet enough you could omit the sugar, but I wouldn't. You miss the rich experience without it.
  • 2 oz. brandy (cognac please)
  • 1 oz. cherry brandy (Cherry Heering used)
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Bermuda Highball

There's a handful of Bermuda named drinks that, in addition it being strong, have a helping of apricot brandy in them. This is not one of them. The Bermuda Highball is strong though.

Brandy, dry vermouth and gin make up the spirits, and only soda spreads it out. I can see this being a great beach cocktail--long in the drinking but strong enough that you don't have to get out of your beach chair to get another one.
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin (Catoctin Creek Watershed gin used)
  • 1 oz. brandy (Cognac please)
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • sparkling water
  • lemon twist
Combine brandy, gin and vermouth in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water and garnish with a lemon twist.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

General Harrison's Eggnog

At first I thought of this drink as a low-ABV eggnog cocktail. I considered that this cocktail named for President and U.S. Army general William Henry Harrison took into account the man's penchant for sobriety by using less potent liquors like wine and hard cider over brandy and rum. Then I looked at the glass size, the fact that there's no ice in this eggnog, and the directions saying to top up with either cider or dry red wine.

Any way you cut it, that's a lot of wine or cider in one drink when there's only an egg and a bit of sugar in the drink. So my guess is that General Harrison made his eggnog with what he had available in an army camp. Cider or wine? Check. Eggs and sugar? Check.

This was an easy nog to make considering. I chose Angry Orchard Cinnful Apple cider because cinnamon would only go along with the winter spices in this drink. I also wanted to avoid a bruit cider that would be awkwardly dry in such a rich cocktail.

The effect was pretty awesome! The bubbles in the cider forced the egg foam to rise half way up the glass and force cinnamon and nutmeg scents toward your nose. Underneath is a silky but not overly rich cider nectar.
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • dry red wine or hard cider (Angry Orchard Cinnful Apple used)
  • grated nutmeg
Combine egg and sugar in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Collins glass. Fill with wine or cider and grate nutmeg on top. 

Cafe Diablo

The Devil's coffee is fiery, spicy and black. That's the point of the Cafe Diablo. It is a punch that serves four people and should be made in a medium sized punch bowl. Warming the brandy, curacao and Cointreau a little and lighting it on fire to scorch the cinnamon, cloves and coffee beans before adding the hot coffee will excite your guests and possibly start a fire in your dining room. But oh, well! That's the price you pay for messing with the Devil.

The other point is to achieve an orange-like aroma in a black coffee drink that is pleasing if not too strong on liqueur. You don't even need fresh fruit. The burned liqueurs do all the work.

Besides the fire issue, you may also have trouble finding four people who can agree to drink the same drink. These days, everyone wants to be the man out. Between arguments over decaf versus regular, and hot and cold punches, you're probably better off just using 1/2 oz. of brandy and 1 oz. of orange liqueurs, reduce the number of cloves and cinnamon sticks significantly, and make a single cup of coffee. Here's to drinking your hot drink alone.
  •  2 oz. cognac
  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 1 oz. white curacao
  • 16 oz. black coffee
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 cloves
  • 6 coffee beans
Put all ingredients except coffee in a chafing dish and warm contents on low, direct heat. Ignite (and really keep your face and limbs away from the dish. This stuff burns brightly with intense heat. Have a long spoon for stirring and hot coffee at the ready to extinguish the flames.) Add coffee and stir until the flames are out. Pour into warm coffee mugs. Serves four.

Classic Cocktail

You read the name right: this is the original classic cocktail. Well, at least it purports to be classic. If you think about it, this drinks is somewhat modern. It brings together liqueurs and brandy in ways that taste familiar to brandy cocktail drinkers of the 19th century. Lemon and lemon zest keep it tart while a sugar rim means you can choose how sweet each sip will be.

The look and feel of the drink are certainly classic; the crust of sugar and three parts of lemon (the juice, the wedge and the peel) reminds me of last century architecture that possesses such ornate beauty for no other reason than appearing beautiful or prestigious. That's this drinks to a tee.

So I did a few unusual things with my liquor choices here. First, cognac please. You don't use ordinary brandy when you are making a classic drink. Use cognac. Next, I thought a half ounce of maraschino liqueur (which tastes like bitter marzipan) would be too intense, so I cut the proportion of it in the drink down and replaced that portion with Cherry Heering, which darkened the drink and made it sweeter with a more rich dark cherry flavor. Finally I chose Vitae orange liqueur because of its rum base. It is much closer to real Curacao, which is rum based, than cheap triple sec.
  • 2 oz. brandy (Cognac, please.)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur (half Cherry Heering and half Luxardo used)
  • 1/2 oz. curacao (Vitae orange liqueur used.)
  • sugar
  • lemon wedge
  • lemon twist
Rim a cocktail glass with sugar by coating it with juice from the lemon wedge and dipping it in a bowl of sugar. Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into the cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon wedge and peel.

Hot Milk Punch

There are lots of Milk Punches: from bourbon, to brandy, to gin. But there is only one Hot Milk Punch, and this one calls for blended whiskey. I like how the whiskey adds vanilla to an already sweetened milk drink. Then there's that thing that happens when the fat from the milk solidifies into a sweetly spiced skin as you drink down into the mug.

This is a great bedtime cocktail that is soothing in winter. It is also a great way to try a whiskey that maybe lacks character when had on ice. Warm booze is easier to taste, and a very vibrant whiskey when it is cold can be overpowering when it is hot. Stick with bargain blends for this hot punch.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey
  • 8 oz. milk
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • cinnamon stick
  • grated nutmeg
Warm all ingredients except nutmeg and cinnamon stick in a saucepan on medium heat. Do not boil, but stir until well heated and pour into a warm coffee mug. Dust with nutmeg and stir with cinnamon stick. 

Jamaican Coffee

You have to love these tropical coffee drinks in the wintertime. They are so exotic, with rum and spices, and yet so festive here at home. The Jamaican Coffee is no exception here!

My homemade coffee liqueur and Cruzan white rum make this a rich treat. And I know that the recipe says that whipped cream is optional, but it clearly is not. Not once you try it with the whipped cream. You can do an Irish Coffee without the whipped cream--that's just sensible. But a Jamaican Coffee is luxurious.
  • 2 oz. coffee liqueur (homemade used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. white rum (Cruzan used)
  • hot black coffee
  • whipped cream (not optional)
  • freshly ground allspice
Pour rum and coffee liqueur into a mug that's nearly full of hot coffee. Stir and top with whipped cream. Sprinkle allspice on the whipped cream. 


Gluhwein is a traditional German drink made in large batches and served at those popular Christmas market squares during the holiday season. Many an Alpine skier can receive this warming beverage in the slopeside lodges.

This is a milder hot wine drink, the Germans would say fit for children and adults. Compared with British mulled wine with brandy and the Swedish Glogg with fiery akvavit, it is pretty tame. But it does warm you in more than one way.

This recipe is designed for a single serving, but make a bottle or two of it by increasing the proportions. 
  • 6 oz. dry red wine
  • lemon peel
  • orange peel
  • cinnamon stick broken in pieces
  • 5 whole cloves
  • pinch grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. honey
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat and stir until honey is dissolved. Do not boil. Serve in a heated coffee mug. 

London Dock

Londoners are fond of hot spiced wine cocktails in the winter. This hot drink is popular among these, with a good gob of dark rum to situate it perfectly among the docks where sailors to the Caribbean islands come and go.

Pusser's British Navy rum is an excellent choice for this hot drink because of its British nautical heritage and rich wooden still flavor that is noticeable under all that wine and spice.
  • 3 oz. dry red wine
  • 2 oz. dark rum (Pusser's British Navy used)
  • 1 oz. honey
  • cinnamon stick
  • grated nutmeg 
  • boiling water
Dissolve boiling honey in boiling water at the bottom of a warm coffee mug (Check my London mug!) Add rum, red wine and nutmeg and top with boiling water. Use the cinnamon stick to stir. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Cafe Royale

I really like the wake-up kick and rich brulee cognac flavor of the Cafe Royale! This drink requires the slightly risky step of flaming sugar cubes covered in brandy over a hot cup of coffee.

The coffee has to be pretty hot and you need to leave the cognac and sugar cubes balanced above the coffee on the rim of the mug so that the alcohol begins to evaporate. Wait about 2 minutes before igniting. It is pretty and rich and just makes you swoon!
  • 2 oz. brandy or cognac (D'usse cognac please)
  • 1 sugar cube (I used 3 small ones.)
  • 1 cup black coffee
  • half-and-half to taste
Pour coffee and cognac into a warm mug and balance a spoon over the coffee with sugar cubes soaked in cognac over it. Wait for the cognac to warm up, then ignite it and allow the sugar to melt. Drop the flaming cognac and sugar into the coffee and stir. Float half-and-half on top.

Mulled Wine

A tradition in the British Isles, a hot Mulled Wine is part of any Anglo holiday celebration. This drink is pretty much a hot punch with wine being the main ingredient, but port, brandy, and honey are there for sweetness and the selection of spices is there for flavoring.
  • 6 oz. dry red wine (Ravens Wood zinfandel used)
  • 1 oz. ruby port
  • 1 oz. brandy
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • grated nutmeg to taste
  • 3 cloves
  • lemon twist
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Warm, do not boil, while stirring and pour into a warm coffee mug. 

Canadian Pineapple

This is a strangely Christmas-like tropical drink. I guess it has to do with the whiskey being the spirit of America's cold north country, Canada.

Pineapple, like most tropical things, is also associated with the holiday celebrations that are marked by their excess--both in drinking and in consumption of distant and exotic things like fruits and spices. Do this any time of the year, but a smooth whiskey and pineapple drink seem especially decadent for a pool cocktail.
  • 2 oz. Canadian whiskey (Black Velvet Special Reserve used)
  • 1 tbsp. pineapple juice
  • 2 tsp. maraschino liqueur
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • pineapple spear
Combine all ingredients except pineapple spear in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the pineapple spear. 


Glogg is a Swedish hot wine drink with lots of booze and tasty roasted snacks served in it. It differs from English mulled wines in having akvavit in it, as well as port, and the raisins and nuts that are cooked in it are left in the mug to be eaten with a small spoon. 

This recipe is strong and meant to serve 10, but feel free to make an individual portion. One tricky thing about the large recipe is how to scorch a pound of sugar cubes over a steaming pot of potentially combustible liquor. It is logistically hard to do over such a large surface (using a mesh screen of some kind, the recipe says.) It is also dangerous, as lighting a bottle of high test akvavit is likely to blow you right out of the kitchen and burn your house down. I'm not kidding!

Better and safer to put sugar cubes on spoons over individual servings. That way the fire is small in size and can be enjoyed by each person who gets a glass of Glogg.

  • 2 bottles of dry red wine
  • 1 bottle of brandy (cognac please)
  • 1 pint or 16 oz. akvavit (also spelled aquavit)
  • 25 cloves
  • 20 crushed cardamom seeds
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 oz. dried orange peel
  • 2 cups blackened almonds
  • 2 cups of raisins 
  • 1 pound or 16 oz. of sugar cubes 

Braise almonds in a large kettle for several minutes and allow to cool Add all other ingredients with brandy being the last to prevent fire. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Using a mesh strainer over the kettle, spread the sugar cubes over the liquid and coat them with akvavit. Ignite and let the sugar and allow it to melt into the kettle. Stir again and serve in heated mugs. (Alternatively, ignite several sugar cubes over each individual mug with a good helping of akvavit.)


I really like this cocktail despite its being a minty cognac drink. The thing is, there's very little mint and a good bit more cognac in proportion than there is in the Stinger. It is well rounded, dry, and thick tasting without adding sugar. The mint is more of a cool suggestion of herbs rather than a candy cane. Do this one in winter when a good cognac drink is all that will do.
  • 2 oz. cognac (Remy Martin VSOP used)
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • 2 tsp. maraschino liqueur
  • 2 tsp. white creme de menthe (peppermint schnapps used)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Cafe Brulot

Brulot refers to a coffee cocktail served with liquor and certain spices. The term is French comes from Quebec. It also means a scathing (scorching?) report, and is used to describe a fire ship, a ship loaded with explosives and set on fire to be directed toward an enemy fleet.

It's very fitting when referring to this most fiery cocktail. The liquor, spices and sugar are set fire before being extinguished by coffee. The effect is a nice charred flavor imparted to the liquor and coffee, like burned spices.

It goes without saying that making a Brulot is dangerous. Hot liquor on a stove can combust at any time and it will spread quickly as evaporation is causing more alcohol vapor to leave the liquid and ignite. This is part of the fun, but part of the danger as well. Make this your first drink of the evening, just to be safe.

This recipe makes 6-8 servings:
  • 8 oz. cognac (Remy Martin 1738 used)
  • 2 oz. curacao
  • 32 oz. black coffee
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 12 cloves
  • 2 lemon peels
  • 2 orange peels
  • 4 sugar cubes (8 small cubes)
Combine cinnamon, cloves, fruit peels and sugar in a saucepan. Stir in cognac and curacao and warm on medium heat. Ignite the mixture and allow it to burn for several seconds, carefully stirring with a long spoon (bar spoon recommended). Slowly fill with coffee and stir while the flames are extinguished. 

Mulled Cider

This cider drink is the quintessential hot mulled cider cocktail. It is colonial and rich, with gold rum, cider and spices. While you can make it with any brown spirit and cider, there's something about the old world taste of rum that clinches it.

Interestingly enough, "gold rum" does not denote a particular category. It refers vaguely to the color of the rum, which may be lighter or darker depending on age and blending. To prove this point, Cruzan labels all their rums, light, gold and dark as simply aged rum. The color, not the label is the only visible difference between them and is a result of the blending decisions. In fact, gold rum is created by blending light and dark rums--but it also may contain caramel as a cheap way to achieve the color of an aged rum.

I blended Cruzan aged rum with the very dark Pampero Venezuelan rum. Both are aged and contain no added caramel. You can chose to blend yourself, or open a bottle of brownish (not-spiced) rum to go with your home-spiced cider.
  • 2 oz. gold (aged blended) rum
  • 6 oz. apple cider
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • cinnamon stick
  • grated nutmeg
  • lemon peel
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until well heated but do not boil. Pour into a heated coffee mug. 

Blue Mountain

It's not a Tiki drink, exactly. It's not even a "Boat Drink," those sweet rum cocktails passed around on the decks of cruise ships. It is, however a quick and dirty trick to showcase what Jamaica does best.

The Blue Mountain range is a beautiful row of rounded peaks where some of the best coffee in the world is grown. These jungle-strewn heights can be seen as a hazy humid blue from any part of the island country.

Jamaica also makes some of the most characteristic flavors of rum in the Caribbean sea. It is funky, sugary and dark with lots of oak and earthiness that comes from the humid climate where it is aged. Appleton Estate 12-year-old is so rich, it makes this drink decadent.

(A quick note: I've tried this cocktail as the directions say--"strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass." But it is impossible to fit all of this into such a small glass. Instead, use a Collins glass full of ice, which will keep this drink cold on hot days.)
  • 2 oz. Jamaican rum (Appleton Rare Blend used)
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. coffee liqueur
  • 4 oz. orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. (See note above and photo on a better serving method.)


This drink belongs to the "(Naval) Bomb" category of cocktails that often involve brandy. Drinks like the Depth Charge or Depth Bomb are designed to hit you hard with flavor and alcohol. The main component is apple brandy, as you can see from the bottle of Laird's in the foreground. In the background is this funky aged gin from Filibuster. Only a quarter tsp. of gin is in there, but lots of flavor pops out from it, particularly that aged and prohibition style gin spice flavor. Two thumbs up for the Torpedo!
  • 2 oz. apple brandy (Laird's used)
  • 1 oz. brandy (American brandy used)
  • 1/2 tsp. gin (Filibuster Dual Cask used)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Miami Cocktail

It's pretty. But the Miami cocktail is really a bad idea for a lot of reasons. One bar guest described it as "That feeling you get when you have citrus after brushing your teeth." That's a bad sign. And it should be a signal that any mint schnapps and lime drink is a bad idea from the outset. Then again, there's a time and a place for drinks like this.

Picture a Daiquiri drinker during the holidays looking to sweeten his drink with peppermint. Not convinced? I'm not either.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. peppermint schnapps
  • 1/4 tsp. lime juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. (Note: a mint garnish as shown looks pretty.)

Hot Brick Toddy

The Hot Brick Toddy is a soothing warm cocktail made with whiskey. It resembles the Hot Toddy except that there is butter in it, which makes it more like a buttered whiskey hot drink.

There's something special about enjoying this drink by the fire or Christmas tree in winter. Black Velvet special reserve is my go-to smooth whiskey for these kinds of drinks where a funny, smokey flavor would be out of place. This should taste more like a butterscotch candy than actual scotch.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey (Black Velvet Special Reserve used)
  • 1 tsp. sugar (light brown used)
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • boiling water
  • cinnamon to taste
Add all whiskey, sugar, butter and cinnamon to a coffee mug. Top with boiling water and stir gently.

Monday, December 4, 2017


The Bentley is a part of the luxury car series of cocktails, along with the Monte Carlo, Rolls Royce, and Ferrari. Although these cars and car drinks are kind of worlds apart from each other.

The Bentley uses Dubonnet rouge as a spicy aperitif wine to blend with the apple brandy. Laird's good stuff makes this cocktail especially rich and spicy.
  • 2 oz. apple brandy (Laird's used)
  • 1 oz. Dubonnet rouge
  • lemon twist
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon twist. 


There's little of South America about this cocktail. Rather, I choose to see it as a drink honoring the discovery of the New World, if not Washington D.C., which I'm pretty sure it is not for the latter.

Therefore, American brandy was called for. I appreciate that this drink had some lemon acidity but vermouth and brandy kept things on the sweet and boozy side.
  • 2 oz. brandy (Christian Brothers VSOP used)
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth (Cocchi di Torino used)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
  • dash Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Italian Soda (Non-Alcoholic)

A drink like this sounds unnecessary if you have a SodaStream. Good for you if you do.

Now we will make this syrup and a drink from scratch.

The New York Bartender's Guide says you can buy any Italian syrup and combine it to make a soda drink of your choice. I had cherry juice, so I cooked down two cups of it with the juice of one lime and added sugar until it thickened and sweetened to my taste. You can do this with any fruit juice.

You can make vanilla soda the same way with extract and sugar water. The possibilities are pretty endless. Take your flavor and add it to sugar to make a syrup.
  • 1 oz. Italian syrup of your choice
  • seltzer 
  • lemon or lime slice (optional)
Build drink in a highball glass full of ice and top with soda. Stir gently and garnish. 

Coffee Cocktail

This is another one of those misleading cocktails like the Chocolate Cocktail. Both are port and brandy drinks. In this case, I opted for American brandy. The topping of this misleadingly non-caffeinated drink is nutmeg sprinkles, not coffee, and there is no yellow Chartreuse.

What there is, however is an egg yolk. Good for texture and thickness. Don't over-ice this cocktail in the blender. It stands up nicely like a smoothie if you don't. You'll freeze the egg white, however, with too much ice.
  • 3 oz. ruby port
  • 1 oz. brandy (Christian Brothers VSOP used)
  • 2-3 dashes white Curacao
  • 1 egg yolk 
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • grated nutmeg
Combine all ingredients except nutmeg with light ice in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled wine glass and sprinkle with nutmeg. 

Chicken Shot (Non-Alcoholic)

The Chicken Shot is a cute name for a spicy non-alcoholic drink that uses beef and chicken bouillon to imitate the Cock and Bull shot that's made with vodka. So if you do this drink, it makes you "chicken?"

Still, the flavor is exactly the same and no one need know that you are just drinking soup. The thing is, the soup cocktail is actually pretty brave.
  • 2 oz. chicken bouillon
  • 2 oz. beef bouillion
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • celery salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • Worcestershire sauce to taste
Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Pour into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. 

Subway Cooler (Non-Alcoholic)

Tart cherry juice or cider lends a sort of exoticism to this sort of basic mocktail. The Subway Cooler might be the non-alcoholic version of the Trolley Cooler, which is bourbon, grapefruit juice and cranberry juice. They look the same outwardly, but the taste of the Subway Cooler is actually more complex.

Q ginger ale appears again on my site because I like how much spice gets into the drink and holds up against the juices. Most other ginger ales just make drinks taste watery and sweet.
  • 2 oz. cherry cider
  • 4 oz. orange juice
  • ginger ale (Q used)
  • maraschino cherry
Combine juices in a highball glass with ice. Top with ginger ale and stir gently. Garnish with the maraschino cherry. 


This vermouth cocktail is light and dry. With vermouth as a base, the Combo is lower proof, more like a glass of wine than a spirits combo. It is spicy too, with vermouth's herbs and Angostura bitters. Do this as a wine cocktail for any of your vermouth-loving friends.
  • 2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1 tsp. brandy
  • 1/2 tsp. Cointreau (Triplum used)
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • dash Angostura
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Cock And Bull Shot

Like a Bloody Mary without the tomato juice, versions of bouillon drinks with vodka like this one are found in both hot and cold styles. This cold shot has both beef and chicken bouillon in it, which allows for the name Cock and Bull.

A "cock and bull" story describes a tale that is far-fetched and fanciful. It comes from, most likely, Aesop's Fables of animals or the Arabian Nights sequence.

Not a bad drink, especially if you are feeling a little under the weather. The spice really helps with the sinuses, as does the broth.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 2 oz. beef bouillon 
  • 2 oz. chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • celery salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • Tabasco to taste
  • Worcestershire sauce to taste
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice (do not shake, it gets foamy!) and stir. Pour into a double Old Fashioned glass. 

Lallah Rookh

The whole aim of this cocktail is to be exotic, and it succeeds on a few levels. First off, the curious name comes from the romantic poem by Thomas Moore, written in 1817. It is the story of a Persian princess married off to a prince she doesn't know, who has to travel by caravan to the distant palace. Whilst on the journey, she falls for one of the troupe in the caravan. The romance ensues.

But back to the drink. A simple blending of rum, cognac and sugar with a little vanilla extract means you have a smooth ice slush that tastes like creamy vanilla without cream. The whipped cream topping accentuates the texture and smell of this cocktail.

I really like how the Lallah Rookh doesn't use any fruit juice and relies on the texture and flavor of the spirits to come through.
  • 2 oz. light rum (Cruzan used)
  • 1 oz. cognac (D'usse used)
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • dash vanilla extract
  • whipped cream
Combine all ingredients except whipped cream in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled wine glass. Top with whipped cream.