Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Pink Panther

This is a sweet drink with creme de cassis and vodka as well as dry vermouth and orange juice. It's not as citrusy as the Clover Club which has a similar look to it. Done right it has a nice egg white foam and a sweet liqueur center that's not at all tangy or spicy but a bit like blood orange juice.

So the Pink Panther is a vodka drink, but I chose Belle Isle moonshine. Triple distilled and bottled at 80 proof, the white spirit is all but vodka in name, and the distillers sometimes refer to their flagship spirit as vodka. The only difference is a slightly sweet scent and flavor like cereal grains.
  • 2 oz. vodka (Belle Isle moonshine used)
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. creme de cassis (G. E. Messenez used)
  • egg white
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Bourbon A La Creme

The idea here is to infuse your bourbon with vanilla flavors and then thicken it up with a sugary chocolate liqueur. This is one of the prettier flavored bourbon drinks, though, and I had a chance to do it properly.

First, the recipe asks that you prepare some bourbon by placing 2 vanilla beans in bourbon for an hour before drinking the cocktail. Whether you make the cocktail first and refrigerate it with the beans in it or just in the bourbon is a little unclear.

It says to put all ingredients in a shaker and refrigerate--with ice. Shake it and put it in the fridge for an hour. What? All the ice will melt. But I see where this is going. Of all the cocktails in the New York Bartender's guide, this is the only one that hints at making an infusion. And the idea is sound, if not the method.

So I infused the bourbon first with the vanilla. But then I used MurLarkey's cocoa infused whiskey and a little sugar for the creme de cacao for real bittersweet chocolate and whiskey flavors. This was a good move. MurLarkey's infused white whiskey allows you to control for sweetness. You can add enough simple to really make a creme out of it, or drink it neat for dryness. It's up to you.
  • 2 oz. bourbon (infused with vanilla)
  • 1/2 oz. creme de cacao (MurLarkey cocoa whiskey and 1/2 tsp. sugar used)
  • 3 vanilla beans
Set bourbon aside in a shaker without ice. Add vanilla beans and allow to infuse for an hour. Add chocolate spirit and shake. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Clover Club Cocktail

This is a wonderfully light and zippy cocktail with gin, lemon juice and egg white. I really enjoyed the aromatics of this drink when made with Vitae gin, a rum-based gin from Charlottesville, VA. The color is attractive as well, with white foam and a pink liquid in the glass.

Clover Club is one of those illustrious and forgotten clubs of bygone days. Now the cocktail itself is more famous and there is even a cocktail bar in New York that bears the name. Why am I not surprised?
  • 2 oz. gin (Vitae used)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. grenadine
  • 1 egg white
 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Cowboy Cocktail

Just because you might like rye and cream separately doesn't mean you should combine them. This was a bad idea all around.

And I get where it is coming from. This much strong rye is hard on the stomach. Why not coat it in cream and turn the whole thing into a cold creamy mess that still tastes like jet fuel? Then I consider the name, and more than the idea that cowboys are never far from milk at its source, they are not expected to be picky or show an abundance of taste.
  • 3 oz. rye (Sazerac used)
  • 2 tbsp. half-and-half
 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Mountain Cocktail

Ireland has mountains. Virginia has mountains too. So the Mountain Cocktail should be made with an Irish-American whiskey like MurLarkey Heritage. It's a mash blend reminiscent of the Old Country, with corn, barley and rye. At 100 proof, its spicy notes come through a lot of silky and bitter flavors provided by this big foamy drink.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey (MurLarkey Heritage used)
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Resolute Cocktail

The name of this drink sometimes gets stuck in my head. It just has a ring to it. But I've been putting it off for a while until I worked up the appetite for it. Not resolute.

Here is another one of those gin cocktails that are the signature drink of some club or hotel. And I'm not surprised that there's apricot brandy and lemon juice here. There must be a dozen gin drinks like this that use apricot brandy this way, just like there are dozens of variations on the Brandy Manhattan. Expect to see more of these types in future posts.
  •  2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Fancy Whiskey

There's a few "Fancy" themed cocktails that are really close to an Old Fashioned served up. No stirring though, this is a shaken drink. And the portion is a little small for a cocktail glass. I say use a cordial glass like this Sour glass.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey (Filibuster Boondoggler used)
  • 1/2 tsp. Cointreau
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • lemon twist
Combine all ingredients except for the twist in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass (cordial glass recommended). Twist lemon peel over the drink and garnish with it. 


Not a great cocktail, the Bennett. Much of it has to do with the choice of ingredients, but there's a proportionality issue with this one. Mostly that a half ounce of lime juice and three dashes of Angostura bitters will blow anything out. With that in mind, a dry and powerfully flavored gin would stand up better here.

As it was, I chose the mellow Catoctin Creek Watershed gin. This gin is fine in most circumstances, and I only wonder if it was somewhat at fault here. But the Bennett is itself a tropical drink. Any gin you choose would still just be the base behind the lime and tropical spice of the bitters. So why use gin at all. Rum maybe?
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Claret Punch

Claret or another full-bodied wine is needed to make the Claret Punch. This is really a brandy based punch with juices and fruit. The wine provides the "weak" component that spreads the flavor out better. I had this bottle of Michael Sharps merlot that was 10 years old--high time to use it.

You can make the punch for a large number of guests in a punch bowl or pitcher, or work out the single serving possibilities by scaling down the ingredients.

For this, I recommend 1.5 ounces of lemon juice, a tablespoon of sugar, 3 ounces of brandy and 1.5 ounces of Cointreau.Then stir in red wine with ice in a wine goblet. For parties of 15-20 people, make the drink like this:
  • Claret or Cabernet Sauvignon (3 bottles)
  • 16 oz. brandy
  • 8 oz. Cointreau
  • 24 ounces lemon juice
  • 1/2--1 cup to taste
  • sliced seasonal fruits (oranges, lemons, apples use)
Stir all ingredients except fruits in a large punch bowl. Add a large block of ice and garnish with fruit pieces. 

Banana Rum Frappe

I see where this drink is going. There's something wonderfully tropical about it, this sort of banana rum sour you can do blended or with crushed ice. It is all very refreshing.

I did what I could to avoid that fake creme de banan flavor and to get real banana into the drink. MurLarkey makes an unsweetened banana whiskey from tiny bananas. There's a lot more of a brown sugar or vanilla scent to it and no actual sugar. If you want it, and I suggest you add at least a half teaspoon, you should do it yourself. At least you know your banana flavor is real.

If I were to do this drink again, I'd use more banana whiskey to make the flavor even more intense. Up the proportion to equal parts light rum and MurLarkey.
Combine liquid ingredients in a blender with ice (or with crushed ice in a shaker). Blend or shake quickly but not until smooth and pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with banana slices.

Three Stripes Cocktail

Super easy and straight-forward for a Martini/ Bronx Cocktail variation, the Three Stripes is so easy to drink that it is dangerous. Vigorous shaking changes the color of this orange juice drink to a cloudy white, which is awesome! And dry vermouth keeps it from turning into a lollypop.

I've used Battle Standard gin by KO distillery before and it is usually a good call. It is dangerously strong, so it goes a little farther in a cocktail with a lot of low or non-alcoholic ingredients like this.
  • 2 oz. gin (Battle Standard used)
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1 oz. orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Beauty Spot

I really liked this cocktail, and I don't usually like juicy drinks. The proportion of gin to orange juice is perfect, and I like that, while there are two dashes of grenadine, the real sweetness comes from the sweet vermouth. And that is a little bitter as well.

So I don't usually drink Hendrick's gin because I think it is slightly overpriced for a gin. There are plenty of New Western style gins out there that do much the same thing for a lot less money. Then again, you pay for advertising and the brand Hendrick's created. And yet it was almost the perfect gin with lots of floral notes and not so much juniper. So Hendrick's fans can rejoice in this cocktail.
  • 2 oz. gin (Hendricks used)
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 2 tsp. orange juice
  • 2 dashes grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Stars And Stripes

This is another Pousse-Cafe layered drink. It is actually one of the easier ones to do and I might recommend it as an introduction to making Pousse-Cafe. That is because the ingredients are all very different and tend to stack with the help of a half-teaspoon measuring spoon.

The problem I had is that the recipe is wrong, and I knew it before I started. To get a red-white-and-blue cocktail for Independence Day or President's day celebration, you need to have the cream in the middle. But cream is fatty and I already knew it was lighter than both other liqueurs that have so much sugar in them. So after trying and failing at the recipe, I did it again in the order shown below. This might make a better drink for Bastille day, but at least it works.
  • 3/4  oz. Cherry Heering
  • 3/4 oz. blue curacao
  • 3/4 oz. half-and-half
Pour each layer carefully over the back of a measuring spoon into a Pousse-Cafe glass so that they remain on separate layers. Refrigerate for a half hour before serving.

Halley's Comfort

This drink is pretty gross. It doesn't surprise me to find bad Southern Comfort and peach schnapps cocktail in the New York Bartender's Guide published back in 1997, but it surprises me with just how bad this one is.

The Halley's Comfort is just too sweet. It would be one thing if the Southern Comfort, a peach liqueur, were the sweet part and a stronger whiskey was used. But the worst part is that in stead there's equal parts of peach schnapps. The best you can do is squeeze that lemon wedge into the drink as soon as possible and hope that the acid balances all that peach liqueur.
  • 2 oz. Southern Comfort
  • 2 oz. peach schnapps
  • sparkling water
  • lemon slice
Pour liqueurs into a Collins glass full of ice. Top with sparkling water and stir gently. Add lemon slice as a garnish. 

Olympic Cocktail

I'm not sure exactly what makes this drink an Olympic Cocktail. I really had fun trying to turn the orange twist into Olympic rings in honor of this years Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Then I found it was much better to use the magic of television. I love this photo. I also love that I found a use for that bottle of Asbach Urbrand I got on the flight home from Munich.
  • 2 oz. brandy
  • 1 1/2 oz. white curacao
  • 1 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • orange twist
Combine all ingredients except for the orange twist in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist the orange peel over the glass and drop it in.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Ten-Gallon Cocktail

Break out your big hats, 'cause we're off to the rodeo with the Ten-Gallon Cocktail. This is one among many cow and cowboy cocktails that involve coffee liqueur. But I'm not convinced that the Ten-Gallon is a dessert drink just because there's egg white.

If you have your own infusion of coffee and spirits, this is the time to use it. Kahlua is too sweet and you need bold coffee flavor here.

MurLarkey coffee whiskey is a cold brew of coffee and white whiskey. There's no added sugar so you can control for that. Use MurLarkey coffee whiskey with at most a half teaspoon of sugar. The sweet vermouth takes care of the rest. And again, Imagination gin is here because too much juniper would make this drink British. It's not. So drink American gin.
  • 2 oz. gin (Imagination gin used)
  • 1 oz. coffee liqueur (MurLarkey coffee whiskey used)
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth (Cocchi de Torino used)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar optional
Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice. (Alternatively try shaking with crushed ice.) Blend and pour into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. 

Twin Six

There's something very classic about this cocktail. It has a bitterness and a lovely foam that reminds me of a whiskey cocktail. I'm a little puzzled why it is named after a pair of gunfighter's guns, but this cocktail is classic old style American.

It makes sense to use an American gin like Imagination, a New Western style gin. Juniper is not welcome in such a silky drink with vermouth bitterness. This gin is made in Bristow, Virginia.
Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Shake vigorously. Add ice and shake to chill. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 


The Thunderclap is a wallop of a cocktail, as the name suggests. It's four ounces of booze and it comes across as a whiskey cocktail since that is the main ingredient. To make it I used MurLarkey spirits.

MurLarkey in Bristow, Virginia, gave me both their whiskey and gin to play with. Their Heritage whiskey is a bourbon-style mash with some barley in it. It tastes like a mix of Irish and bourbon whiskey. They also make Imagination gin, a New Western style gin with less juniper but fun flavors like kafir lime leaves, lemongrass, ginger, rosemary, celery gentian root and szechuan peppercorns.

With all that spice, a round Christian Brothers brandy calms the thunderclap down.
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Monday, February 19, 2018


This is the penultimate Pousse-Cafe recipe as listed in the New York Bartender's guide circa 1997. You have to be really patient with layering six ingredients, and you need a good Pousse-Cafe glass. Most narrow cordial or dessert wine glasses will work.

I was not patient, nor were my ingredients standard to 1997 liqueurs. My triple sec is way stronger than the budget triple sec that has a lot of sugar. As such, it absorbed some of the green creme de menthe above it and became green. Also, my creme de cacao was very close in sweetness to the grenadine and became orange. Now that I think about it, dark creme de cacao would have been better for visuals.

But what worked was the creme de menthe, the cream and brandy. And look, there's a clear stripe below the center that is the Luxardo maraschino liqueur refusing to budge.

For all this effort, it is a strange drink with no unifying flavor. Pousse-Cafe are all cocktails that have the failing of being all about the look and the skill--a pretty dessert drink--but they don't have the drinker's taste in cocktail in mine. Rather you are supposed to drink coffee and sip off each layer at a time to flavor each sip of coffee.

Pousse-Cafe was a thing of the 1890s that re-appeared again in the 1990s as the bar scene came up with outlandish and bad tasting drinks for several years before dying down again until the late 2000s.
  • 1/2 oz. grenadine
  • 1/2 oz. creme de cacao
  • 1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. white curacao
  • 1/2 oz. green creme de menthe
  • 1/2 oz. half-and-half 
  • 1/2 oz. brandy
Carefully pour each ingredient in the order they are shown over the back of a spoon into a Pousse-Cafe glass. Refrigerate for half and hour before serving.

Vodka Sour

I guess the only way to differentiate a Vodka Sour from a Vodka Fix is that the sour is served in a sour glass with no ice. The garnish, a lemon slice and a cherry, are also different from the Fix's twist. Unlike a whiskey sour or some brandy sours, there is no egg white, which I am starting to view as a deal breaker.

But the Vodka Sour is a nice introductory into classic cocktails for the vodka drinker. They sometimes need a push beyond dry Martinis, tonics and sodas.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • lemon slice
  • maraschino cherry
Combine vodka, lemon juice and sugar in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled sour glass. Garnish with the lemon slice and cherry.

Ostend Fizz

Ostend is a Belgian coastal city where you might find some of these liquors, though I doubt they even know about this drink. It is too much an American thing to mix like this. That is because the French like their creme de cassis in wine or even beer. And the Germans like to take shots of kirschwasser after dinner. Just because Belgium is between the two countries, doesn't mean they would mix their spirits like this.

The Ostend Fizz is a light and refreshing drink for all the flavor of the main ingredients. That is because lemon and sparkling water and the nature of a fizz means good warm spring day drinking.
  • 2 oz. kirschwasser (Kammer Kirsch used)
  • 1 oz. creme de cassis 
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • sparkling water
  • lemon slice
Combine all ingredients except sparkling water and lemon slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water and stir. Garnish with the lemon slice. 

Harvard Cooler

Among "Ivy League School cocktails," a series of drinks named after schools like Princeton, Harvard and Yale to name a few, Harvard is the only university that has a soda drink as well as an "up" drink. It is super refreshing with Laird's Old Apple Brandy, a rich and sweet sipping apple brandy. There's not much to this recipe, and its simplicity is part of its smarts.
  • 2 oz. apple brandy (Laird's Old Apple Brandy used)
  • 1 tsp. sugar    
  • sparkling water
  • lemon twist
Dissolve sugar in the apple brandy at the bottom of a chilled Collins glass. Add ice and top with sparkling water. Stir and squeeze the lemon twist on top and use it as a garnish. 

Angel's Tit

A glance at the name, and you know that this rich cocktail belongs to the series of "breast"drinks like the Slippery Nipple and the Bosom Caresser. Take a look at the drink itself, and you see it is one of those layered drinks known as Pousse Cafe. It is designed to look like a nipple on the bottom with a creamy breast above it.

Difficulty with the specific weights of each liquor may determine the exact order you can put the ingredients. The recipe, though is mostly accurate in that it calls for white creme de cacao first because it is heavier, maraschino liqueur next because it is more alcoholic and less sugary, and half-and-half last because it is fatty and floats on top.

My maraschino liqueur is clear, so it is indistinguishable from white creme de cacao. I combined the creme de cacao with grenadine to make it visible and to give more of a nipple impression for the bottom of the glass.

(Now that I think of it, the maraschino cherry is probably intended to be the tip of the breast, so put it in the bottom of the glass, or do as I did with the grenadine and creme de cacao.)
  • 1/4 oz. white creme de cacao (colored with grenadine if you wish)
  • 1/4 oz. maraschino liqueur (Luxardo used)
  • 1/4 oz. half-and-half
  • maraschino cherry
Layer the ingredients in order they are listed by pouring over a spoon into a cordial glass. Refrigerate for a half hour before serving. Serve with a maraschino cherry.

Pink Lady / Pink Rose

The Pink Lady is among several "pink" themed drinks that are pretty much the same combination of gin, egg white, cream and grenadine. The concept is kind of complex. It isn't a dessert drink, exactly, but it has a texture to the egg white foam that is fattier with cream, and grenadine produces these firm, pink bubbles on the sides of the glass as you drink it down.

These are photos of the two drinks done at different times. The look is strikingly similar, as are the recipes. They only difference is how much grenadine you use. The recipe I've provided is for the Pink Lady. The Pink Rose, below can be done by using the recommended change in grenadine proportions in the recipe. This is a good drink overall, if a little too pink and fluffy for there to be more than one of them.

  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 tsp. grenadine (1/4 tsp. for Pink Rose)
  • 1 tsp. half-and-half
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into another shaker tin. Discard ice and re-shake for foam. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Bittersweet Cocktail

This drink is so well named. It's much more than a vermouth cocktail that's light on alcohol and a good drink to finish the night with. It has bold flavors because of the orange and Angostura bitters. It really is bitter. Then I also noticed that the rich sweetness and herbal traction of Cocchi vermouth coming through. It made me want to take long sips, smelling the orange peel and bitters.
  • 1 1/2 oz. sweet vermout (Cocchi used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. dry vermouth (Sole used)
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 3 dashes orange bitters (Hella used)
  • orange twist
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into an Old Fashioned glass full of fresh ice. Twist orange peel over the glass and drop it in. 

Dubonnt Cocktail

I caught an error in the NY Bartender's Guide when I made this drink. The recipe calls for a cocktail glass, which makes sense. The image displaying the type of glassware shows an Old Fashioned glass. But the directions say to strain the drink. Not what you'd do with an Old Fashioned glass.

But back to the drink itself. Dubonnet Rouge does a lot to make this gin drink taste like a rich whiskey cocktail. It is a fortified wine with gentian that's spicy and bitter as welly as sugary sweet. That and the bitters mean that whatever gin you pick will be well supported.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 1/2 oz. Dubonnet Rouge
  • dash Angostura bitters
  • lemon twist
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist lemon peel over the glass and drop it in. 

Claridge Cocktail

The best I can guess, Claridge refers to a hotel brand in London and around the world. That satisfies me, as many drinks like the Manhattan are named after hotels. There's something wonderfully international about this cocktail. It's flavor is at once iconic and very familiar. It feels very luxurious to drink.

The combination of gin and apricot brandy is so oft repeated in cocktails, it appears to be many bartender's secret crutch cocktail. And for many drinkers, having a Claridge or one of its family is memorable.
  • 2 oz. gin (Caorunn used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec (Luxardo used)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Opal Cocktail

You'd think that a drink named after a multi-colored stone would be more than just orange, but the flavor, depending on the gin you use, is more than the flavor of oranges. Green Hat gin really helped take this cocktail in an herbal direction. The juniper presence was strong, as well as other citrus fruits and spices.
  • 2 oz. gin (Green Hat used)
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar syrup
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Wedding Belle Cocktial

I really appreciated how aromatic this drink is. Yes it is a dry gin cocktail, but the other spirits also shine. Kirschwasser has this dry brandy scent and Dubonnet Rouge does a lot to ground the drink with bitterness and sweet wine. Taken together, it is a perfect marriage.
  • 2 oz. gin (Caorunn used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. Dubonnet Rouge
  • 1/2 oz. kirschwasser
  • 1/2 oz. orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Income Tax Cocktail

I love this photo. I don't love taxes. But this cocktail will definitely make you feel a little better about them. This one is in the vein of the Bronx Cocktail--those alluring series of orange juice, gin and vermouths. The difference here is that a specific amount of Angostura bitters is specified. And because of this, there is an appreciable bitter center to this appropriately named drink.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. sweet vermouth
  • 1 tbsp. dry vermouth
  • 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Pink Almond

The Pink Almond has a few unusual liquors in it that really attempt to make a rich almond flavor shine. Amaretto is a sweet cookie-tasting almond liqueur from Italy. Creme de noyaux is a sweet French almond liqueur that is famous for being bright pink. I'm showing off a bottle of Tempus Fugit Creme de noyaux here! And kirschwasser is a German cherry brandy that has a faint scent of nuts. Put these all together, plus whiskey and lemon juice and you have the Pink Almond.

Which is a little funny because this drink really comes down to being a nutty Whiskey Sour, whatever pretensions it may have. And it is really terrific, if not a little overblown, especially with the amount of alcohol. The whiskey you choose is less important here than the other ingredients, but avoid Bourbon or anything smoky. MurLarkey Heritage with it's own nuttiness on the palate is appropriate.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskehy (MurLarkey Heritage used)
  • 1 oz. amaretto (Lazzaroni used)
  • 1/2 oz. creme de noyaux (Frangelico and a dash of grenadine used)
  • 1/2 oz. kirschwasser (Kammer Kirsch used)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • lemon slice
Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour (don't ask me why, but it's ok) into a chilled sour glass. Garnish with the lemon slice.

Apricot Sour

Like so many sours, most notably the Amaretto Sour, the Apricot Sour relies heavily on the sweetness of the liquor to balance lemon juice. And it is about as simple as a sour can get. Not the most potent of this category, but there's no worry over egg whites. My one stipulation is to use a sour glass and not a cocktail glass. The proportions just don't warrant the big cocktail glass.
  • 2 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar syrup
  • lemon slice
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail (or sour) glass. Garnish with the lemon slice. 

Almond Cocktail

I see what is going on here and I like it. While the Almond Cocktail is not a drink you can show up at a bar and order, it is something that can be enjoyed at home with a little preparation.

Among all the drinks in the New York Bartender's guide, this one had some of the most cryptic instructions. There was no mixing or shaking. Heat might have been involved. Also some chilling, you just can't tell from the directions at all.

The idea is to get a gin drink to approximate the dry almond flavor from almond oils and warm nuts. A few of the ingredients, the peach brandy and kirschwasser accentuate this flavor, since both come across more like almond than peach or cherry.

And this is a good, strong drink with lots of interesting flavors. I used Filibuster's Dual Cask Gin for its simplicity and herbaceousness. No citrus flavors, just juniper and lemon verbena and few other botanicals. And the whole thing really shines. Now I've gone and made sense of the directions.

  • 2 oz. gin (Filibuster Dual Cask used)
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. peach brandy
  • 1 tsp. kirschwasser
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar syrup
  • 6 almond slices
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and warm the contents of the glass by placing the entire glass in a saucepan full of warm water. Allow flavors to mellow together for ten minutes. This allows the almonds to release their oils into the cocktail. Remove the mixing glass from the water and refrigerate it for at least an hour. Pour all ingredients into an Old Fashioned glass full of fresh ice.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Charlie Chaplain

I've been looking forward to doing this cocktail ever since I had apricot brandy and sloe gin on my bar. That's been a long time. But you have to be in the right mood for such a sweet cocktail. Then I was nervous that an ounce and a half of lemon juice would turn it into an extremely tart drink to give you heartburn.

I was glad that my fears were unfounded. That on a night when you want a lot of rich brandy and sugary gin flavors, the lemon juice is just enough to cut through and give you a hefty portion.

The drink is named after the famous film star, of course, which makes me wonder. Did Chaplain like sloe gin and apricot brandy? But he's associated with modernity, as are these two spirits, the combination of which evokes black and white film and urban bar scenes in Europe where such a cocktail would be enjoyed. This is still a hearty pour. You'll need a lot of each ingredient or a friend to help you get this one down.
  • 2 oz. apricot brandy
  • 2 oz. sloe gin
  • 1 1/2 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled (double) Old Fashioned glass full of fresh ice. 

Bosom Caresser

A nice bosomy wine glass is perfect for this rich egg, Madiera and brandy cocktail. The impression you get from a sip of the Bosom Caresser is a warm and silky drink with lots of candied grape and orange flavors. This is definitely a dessert drink. Use brandy or cognac, but don't skip out on the Madiera, it adds the needed wine component.
  • 2 oz. brandy (Hennessy used)
  • 1 oz. Madiera
  • 1 oz. triple sec (Vitae orange liqueur used)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a red wine glass.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Lil Naue

This drink's name comes from a Spanish Expression "Lil Naue," which translates directly to Little Nave. The meaning is a backhanded term of endearment, like calling a cute kid a "Little Devil."

The three dessert spirits, brandy, apricot brandy and ruby port (plus an egg yolk) mean that this drink is sweet and fluffy, yet plenty strong for the serious cocktail drinker. It is also a flavor combination that is a little unrecognizable in the U.S. We're not brandy drinkers usually, and mixing with porto is mostly out of the question.

I strongly suggest this one, though. Keep the proportion of ice down to the amount you would put in a glass and you get a nice thick frappe that is rewarding and not to icy. The boozy center is the best.
  • 2 oz. brandy
  • 1 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1 oz. ruby port (Sandeman used)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ground cinnamon
Combine all ingredients except cinnamon in a blender with cracked ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a red wine glass. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. 

Port Wine Sangaree

As I've discussed before, the word Sangaree refers to a (usually sparkling) punch of wines and spirits that is the colonial American equivalent to Spanish Sangria.

The Port Wine Sangria (and it sounds redundant to call port a wine in the title, but so is the way of this and other drinks like the Port Wine Cobbler) is a refreshingly light and two-layered drink that starts out dry and boozy and ends sweet and fizzy. This is because of the float of brandy on top that a cocktail drinker is thankful for--that stiff backbone that keeps a drink like this from going completely sugary.
  • 3 oz. ruby port (Sandeman used)
  • 1 tbsp. brandy (Christian Brothers VSOP used)
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • sparkling water
  • 1 tsp. water
Dissolve sugar in the tsp. of water at the bottom of a chilled highball glass. Add port and ice and fill almost to the top with sparkling water. Stir and float the brandy on top.

Golden Daze

Golden Daze lives up to its name by giving off a golden sheen from peach brandy and orange juice, and a warm fuzzy feeling from the gin.

Two things about my concoction of this recipe: one is that I used actual peach brandy by Catoctin Creek, not peach schnapps, which makes drinks taste like pie. No, Catoctin Creek brandies are 100% organic and not overly sweetened. This liquor is made from real peach juice that's fermented and distilled. It doesn't taste like sugar.

The other thing about this cocktail rendition is that I used a new local gin: Imagination from MurLarkey. This gin is dry and downplays its juniper only a little so that the grain presence is appreciated. MurLarkey makes all kinds of flavored whiskies, so grain composition is important in their products and it shows.
  • 2oz. gin (MurLarkey Imagination used)
  • 1 oz. peach brandy (Catoctin Creek used)
  • 1 oz. orange juice
 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Port Milk Punch

Another winter cocktail in the vein of "everything can be made into a Milk Punch" category. Port makes for a very sweet Milk Punch and its rich grape nature lends itself well to a holiday spiced milk. It isn't as strong as brandy, bourbon, whiskey and gin.

You'll want to up the dusting of nutmeg on top if you like stronger tasting milk punch. The heat of the ground nutmeg really does a lot to give the drink that swooning winter spice warmth that you are looking for from the liquor, but which it doesn't always provide.
  • 3 oz. ruby port (Sandeman used)
  • 1 cup or 8 oz. of milk
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • grated nutmeg
Combine all ingredients except nutmeg in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Collins glass. Grate nutmeg on top. 

Tamarindo (Non-Alcoholic)

Tamarind syrup adds a nice thickness that matches the tartness of grapefruit juice in the only non-alcoholic tamarind syrup drink in the New York Bartender's Guide. I appreciate the benefits of the thick and citric acid zip of the tamarind pod when its make into a syrup. For alcoholic drinks, use it in an Old Fashioned instead of sugar (especially with a Rum Old Fashioned) and in Tiki cocktails that involve grapefruit or lots of lime.

For the Tamarindo, though you only need three ingredients. To make this syrup, follow this recipe. To make the drink, follow this one.
  • 2 oz. tamarind syrup (1 1/2 oz. if using ruby red grapefruit juice)
  • 1 oz. grenadine (1/2 oz. if using ruby red grapefruit juice)
  • grapefruit juice
Combine syrup and grenadine in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a chilled Collins glass. Top with grapefruit juice and stir. (These overly complicated steps can be omitted, however. Build the drink in a Collins glass with ice and stir. Then you won't have syrup sticking to the insides of a shaker that needs cleaning.)

Negus Punch

The term "Negus" is archaic and refers to Ethiopian royalty back at a time in Europe when Ethiopia represented the exotic. And you can see why this royal hot punch is equated with the "Orient" with its use of cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg. It is certainly a treat fit for a king.

The recipe in the New York Bartender's Guide circa 1997 serves 10 to 12, but this is not an especially strong punch and really just extends a single bottle of ruby port into hot water diluted portions. Much better is the mix of spices and the presentation of making the punch in a pitcher as the directions state.

You can, of course make a single serving following a scaled down version of the recipe. Do this with 4 oz. of port, 2 cloves, one lemon twist, 1/2 allspice grated, 1 cinnamon stick and more sugar than you think. Keep the water portion under half a cup.
  • 1 bottle ruby port
  • zest of one whole lemon
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 8 sugar cubes
  • 1 whole crushed nutmeg
  • 7 whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • boiling water 
Put lemon zest, spices and sugar in a large pitcher. Add enough boiling water to dissolve the sugar while stirring. Add the port and stir well, you may wish to keep the mixture warm to allow for the spices to mull. Just before serving add 2 cups of boiling water. Serve in heat-resistant punch mugs or coffee mugs.