Saturday, March 24, 2018

California Lemonade

So-named California cocktails usually have rye or blended whiskey and a combination of lemon and lime juice. I don't know why, but it seems to be a thing. Check out the Frisco Sour and the Los Angles Cocktail if you don't believe me.

For this drink, I wanted to land somewhere between rye and bourbon with my whiskey choice. Luckily Filibuster Distillery from Virginia makes The Boondoggler. It's a blend of their dual cask bourbon and rye. This drink goes down easily, and is made even prettier with that orange slice.
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey (Filibuster Boondoggler used)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. bar sugar
  • sparkling water 
  • orange slice
Combine juices, whiskey and sugar in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled highball glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water and stir. Garnish with the orange slice. 

Buddha Punch

This photograph is of Buddha Punch made as a single serving. This is my punch of the week at work and the large batch doesn't look that appealing in a large plastic container. But if you do choose to make this punch, it will come out fine according to the recipe from the New York Bartender's Guide from the 90's, which is for a crowd of about 20 people.

The fun thing about this punch is that it involves, among other things, a sweet wine base and champagne or sparkling wine top. It's pretty much a white wine punch with fizz, but there is a lot going on underneath. There's light rum, cherry brandy, triple sec and orange bitters. It's really a fruity punch!
  • 16 oz. sweet white wine like Riesling (Fox Run used)
  • 8 oz. light rum
  • 8 oz. orange juice
  • 4 oz. lemon juice
  • 4 oz. triple sec
  • 1/2 oz. cherry brandy
  • 1/2 oz. sugar syrup
  • several dashes orange bitters
  • 1 bottle of champagne or sparkling wine
  • lime slices
Pour all ingredients except champagne into a large punch bowl and refrigerate. Before serving, add a block of ice, stir and top with champagne.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Fare Thee Well

Fare Thee Well is the name of an old Celtic love song with the title repeated at the end of each verse. In it the singer is going away, maybe never to return, and he wishes his "Honey" a goodbye.

This bittersweet song is a great name for a cocktail that's made best with Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin from Ireland. This gin is so bright and fresh that it's floral notes are the main sensation in this Martini variation of a cocktail.

The blue-ish color of the liqueur is a result of the botanicals releasing into the ice-melt from mixing, as this non-chil filtered gin will do.
  • 2 oz. gin (Glendalough used)
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • dash sweet vermouth
  • dash Cointreau
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 


This funny named cocktail is bizarre and pretty disgusting. You can tell that something bad will happen when you add so much lime juice and cream with creme de cacao and shake it. It will curdle into a brick, or so I thought.

The interesting thing about Liebfraumilch is that making the cocktail in the shaker does cause curdling, but on the micro level. The whole drink becomes like a foam. When you taste it, it reminds me of Greek yogurt with a chocolate and lime finish. It's actually not terrible.

But then I would never drink a whole one of these, and the idea that this drink being so mildly alcoholic makes it seem unthinkable. It is more of a treat that Europeans might give a child back in the old days when strange alcoholic formulas were given to colicky babies.

Which leads me a new understanding of the name: Liebfraumilch. This means the "beloved wife's milk" or, loosely translated as Mother's Milk. I'm almost certain that this is an old cocktail given to children.
  • 2 oz. lime juice
  • 2 oz. half-and-half
  • 2 oz. creme de cacao
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 


A fun tropical drink, the Chi-Chi is no more than a rum and pineapple juice mixer. The thing that stands out here is blackberry brandy used as a floater. For some reason you see blackberry brandy in tiki cocktails, used almost exclusively as a floater.

There are really no brandies made from blackberry juice. The flavor come from natural or artificial additives in a brandy or sugary liqueur. You can use these store bought versions; I made my own blackberry brandy by cooking a blackberry syrup and adding it to cognac. It's pretty smooth and fruity, and it is at least made from real stuff.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1/2 oz. blackberry brandy
  • pineapple juice
Pour light rum into a highball glass full of ice (crushed is preferable) and add pineapple juice until it is almost full. Stir lightly and float blackberry brandy on top. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Anatole Coffee

You can't go wrong with this list of ingredients used with iced coffee and prepared perfectly. This coffee drink is mild on alcohol and strong on caffeine, so enjoy it in the afternoon as a nice treat.

I did a few things that made Anatole Coffee especially nice. One was I used MurLarkey coffee whiskey, which is dry with no sugar. There's enough sugar in there anyway, but the coffee whiskey has a lot of real cold brew coffee flavor. Then I used coffee chocolate shavings that give off a great mocha scent and flavor in the whipped cream.
Combine liquid ingredients in a blender with cracked ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled wine glass. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle chocolate shavings on the whipped cream. 


This cocktail comes across as a misguided attempt to combine a Strawberry Daiquiri with a Martini. Something like this could only happen in the 80s, I'm betting. I'm glad I tried it with Filibuster gin with it's unassuming presence--very mellow when you need it to be, rich when served up.

The thing is, I don't want blended ice or strawberry puree in my Martini, thank you. And there's this issue with the seeds...the Bloodhound is just wrong on many levels. The name, though is fitting.
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • 3 strawberries halved and stemmed
Combine all ingredients in a blender with cracked ice and blend until slushy but not watery. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Golden Slipper

Egg yolk and sweet liqueurs often blend well together--in a blender with ice. This is true of the Golden Slipper, which really uses golden ingredients to get a silky texture to a dessert drink.

I can't help but think that it would be even better with a little milk, though. As it was, the egg yolk was still very present and yellow Chartreuse just wants to stand out too much here. So this was a case of a blender drink with the ingredients fighting each other rather than being as silky smooth as advertised.
  • 2 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1 oz. yellow Chartreuse
  • egg yolk
Combine all ingredients with cracked ice in a blender. Blend until slushy and pour into a chilled Old Fashioned glass.


Amer Picon is an extinct liqueur. I was able to re-create it as best as I know how with one of the remaining Picon liqueurs known as Picon Biere. It is sweeter and not as strong, so I used only a quarter portion of this orange bitter liqueur for the total amount of Amer Picon called for in this very old drink.

So 1/2 oz. of Picon Biere, 1/2 oz. Amaro Meletti and a whole ounce of 100-proof vodka sufficed to make a bitter orange liqueur with the potency of the original Amer Picon. It's the closest thing I can come to an original that I've never had a chance to try.
  • 2 oz. Amer Picon (See substitute above)
  • 2 oz. sweet vermouth
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Amaretto Sour

This is probably the quintessential amaretto cocktail--the one at the forefront of everyone's mind. That's why I've been putting it off for some time. I like the more obscure, the arcane.

But as far as sours go, it is really easy. Take care to serve this up in a sour glass. Otherwise it will just be a Fix of some sort. There's only two ingredient and a garnish, so it's hard to screw up.
  • 2 oz. amaretto (Lazzaroni used)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • orange slice
Combine juice and amaretto in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a sour glass. Garnish with the orange slice. 

Fairy Belle Cocktial

A belief in fairies is necessary when reading Yeats Celtic Twilight. It may be inspired by Glendalough Wild Irish Botanical gin in the Fairy Belle Cocktail. This drink is unusual among the many apricot brandy and gin cocktails in that it it has egg white but no lemon juice. It also has grenadine, so it is an Easter egg pink color.

I really liked how the Glendalough gin is so floral and fresh. There's a lot going on in this drink, and the last thing you want is for it to taste like a Christmas tree when it is going for spring scents.
  • 2 oz. gin (Glendalough Wild Irish Botanical used)
  • 1 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
  • 1 egg white
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Farmer's Cocktail

What would be a spicy and herbal cocktail turns out to be a subtle "Perfect" Martini with bitters when you use Catoctin Creek Watershed gin. Catoctin makes a mild gin that is more suited to summer drinking, whether in tonic and soda or in a Martini. Here it mattered less what gin I chose, but I wanted to circle back to Watershed gin because I've been doing such heavy-hitting American gins. While lots of distilleries are using barley and barrel aging their gins for a flavor punch, Catoctin still makes this soft 100-percent rye gin that tastes very clean.
  • 2 oz. gin (Catoctin Creek Watershed gin used)
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth (Cocchi de Torino used)
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth (Dolin used)
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Lone Tree Cocktail

Ooh, I like this photo. The Lone Tree is pretty much the same style of gin and vermouth drinks like the Martinez, and so it is a Martini variation.

I decided to go with an aged gin, though. Filibuster Dual Cask gin fits the bill here. And the rest is pretty simple. I did opt to use my own orange bitters here instead of Hella orange bitters. This is because my orange bitters are extremely orange zest flavored with much less of the baking spices that Hella uses. I made these bitters so long ago--they keep forever--that I forgot what I used in them other than lots of orange peels.
  • 2 oz. gin (Filibuster Dual Cask used)
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (Cocchi de Torino used)
  • 3 dashes orange bitters (homemade used)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Slippery Nipple

I imagine that before there was the shot that was popularized in the 90s, this cocktail must have existed. It is harder to make than the shot, though, because it requires floating Bailey's on top of cold Sambuca. This works, though if you use the back of a spoon resting in the Sambuca. And if you chill the Sambuca in the refrigerator, it will be more dense than if you add water from shaking or stirring. (Don't do that.)

Rose's grenadine--and I'm sorry to say that there is a lot of chintzy 90s appeal to this cocktail that can only be replicated with chintzy 90s ingredients--is the only option to make the nipple tip. It sinks to the bottom of the glass, giving you a clear breast shape above it, coated with a creamy skin-colored float of Bailey's.
  • 2 oz. Sambuca
  • 1 oz. Bailey's Irish Cream 
  • dash Rose's grenadine
Pour chilled (refrigerated) Sambuca into a cocktail glass and float the Bailey's on top by pouring over the back of a spoon. Drop the dash of grenadine in the center. 

Plaza Cocktail

This is another of those heavily vermouthed cocktails. This one has equal parts of all three ingredients. I was going for a particularly Italian tasting drink, here. Cocchi sweet vermouth is the star. Italians are not known for good dry vermouth, or at least any that stands out so take your pick in that department.

The gin will be very downplayed at only one third proportion. So you can play it safe or use something with more character like MurLarkey.
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Marsalatini (Original)

I was struck by a good idea to use dry Marsala in a Martini. It's not part of the NY Bartender's Guide, but it was too good to pass up. Hopefully this concept will catch on at Italian restaurants because it was amazing.

First, a little dry Marsala goes a long way. Not as grape-like as a sherry, Marsala is bitter and savory without the herbaciousness of vermouth. I used MurLarkey ImaGination gin and it lent a meatiness to the drink that I think comes from their white whiskey base. It almost has the feel of a fresh cane rum...I don't know. It's just a little more pungent than dry vermouth.

Then I used these great garlic stuffed olives. The effect was like having steak! Very satisfying.
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with olives skewered on a cocktail pick.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Homestead Cocktail

I thought Smooth Ambler Stillhouse Collection barrel aged gin would be a nice gin to use in the Homestead Cocktail. This drink is basically like a Martinez, with gin and a large portion of sweet vermouth. I thought that the aged gin was a good move in terms of flavor and also because of the pioneer-style of distilling that Smooth Ambler represents in this rare bottling of American gin.
  • 2 oz. gin (Smooth Ambler barrel aged gin used)
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth (Cocchi de Torino used)
  • orange slice
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the orange slice. 

Fifth Avenue

Another layered drink, the Fifth Avenue is a nice and easy Pousse-Cafe style cocktail that really would be nice with coffee.

The recipe calls for dark creme de cacao, but I used white because I wanted it to stand out against the layer of apricot brandy, which is also brown. This gives it a sort of candy-corn look, too!
  • 1 1/2 oz. creme de cacao (white used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. apricot brandy
  • 3/4 oz. half-and-half
Pour each ingredient in the order given over the back of a spoon into a Pousse-Cafe glass so that each layor does not mix.

Fallen Angel

The Fallen Angel is very different from other "Angel" family cocktails in that it is very dry and tart. It does have peppermint schnapps like many of its siblings, though. I'd say that Angel drinks have very little in common other than there being some sweet and almost imperceptible element in its flavor profile--that being the Angel.

In this case there is the botanicals of gin and peppermint. With so little peppermint schnapps, there's no sweetness. You get overwhelming amounts of lime acidity and booze. I thought that combination would be unbearable, but this drink demands a second sip. There are delicate floral notes from the gin and bitters that are worthy of note. It's not a terrible drink, it's actually just an squired taste like very tart drinks like the Rickey. If you do chose to make this drink, use a dry gin like Tanqueray, not some low-juniper wet gin from America. You want something dry and firm as the base.
  • 2 oz. gin (Tanqueray used)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. peppermint schnapps
  • dash Angostura bitters
  • maraschino cherry
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the cherry. 

Chocolate Tier Cake

Just like a baker makes a tier cake, this cocktail is layered with a distinct flavor on each floor. You can really see the definition between these layers here because of a technique I perfected; pouring each ingredient down the back of a measuring spoon handle while the spoon rests in the bottom of the glass.

I again had to change the order in which the spirits are poured because I used half and half. I'm sure that the heavy cream that the recipe calls for will work whether floated on top or nestled in the middle because it is fatty and hot brandy will rise over it or lay beneath it. But I wanted to use dark creme de cacao and use the cream layer to help contrast two brown spirits.
  • 1/4 oz. creme de cacao (dark used)
  • 1/4 oz. heavy cream
  • 1/4 oz. brandy
Pour each ingredient in the order given over the back of a spoon into a Pousse-Cafe glass so that each layer doesn't mix. 

Amaretto Stinger

The Amaretto Stinger is the sweetest of the stinger cocktails. Like the others, it is pretty good considering that there is a whole ounce of peppermint schnapps, which tends to ruin drinks.

My only criticism of this cocktail is that it is as sweet as it is. Brandy, gin, vodka: these all are drier and cut down on the sugar. But the up side is that Disaronno is mellow and tamps down sharp peppermint flavors. The amaretto flavor blends with the mint and turns this cocktail into a cordial with a cold finish.
  • 2 oz. amaretto (Disaronno used)
  • 1 oz. peppermint schnapps
Combine both ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Angel's Kiss / Angel's Delight

I got these lovely cordial glasses and have been using them to make these pretty drinks known as Pousse-Cafe. These drinks are very difficult to pour without having the layers mix, especially with certain liqueurs.That has required me to adjust the positioning of layers because the specific weights of liqueurs are different than those in the original recipe. Getting them out of order causes them to flip their positions and mix.

This post is a two-for-one because these drinks are both "Angel" drinks and Pousse-Cafe, which puts them on the same page of the New York Bartender's Guide.

First the Angel's Kiss (left). It begins with white creme de cacao. But sloe gin, which follows is lighter than even fatty half-and-half, it has to come third. Sloe gin is a blend of sloeberry liqueur and gin, so it tends to break up by the weight of its ingredients. You'll see it blend down into the cream and up into the brandy in the tall glass. So the recipes that follow take this into account.

Angel's Kiss
  • 1/4 oz. creme de cacao
  • 1/4 oz. half-and-half
  • 1/4 oz. sloe gin
  • 1/4 oz. brandy
Pour each ingredients in the order given over the back of a spoon into a Pousse-Cafe glass so that each ingredient forms a layer that does not mix.

Angel's Delight
  • 1/4 oz. grenadine
  • 1/4 oz. triple sec
  • 1/4 oz. half and half
  • 1/4 oz. sloe gin
Pour each ingredients in the order given over the back of a spoon into a Pousse-Cafe glass so that each ingredient forms a layer that does not mix.

Creamy Orange

Sherry from the source in Spain is always special. This drink is counter to the Creamsicle drink with orange juice and half-and-half and some vanilla liqueur. Instead there's a hint of brandy and one ounce of cream sherry, known for its high sugar and soft thick mouthfeel.

Creamy Orange makes for a good dessert drink, like a milk chocolate orange bar. There are hints of chocolate and the juice factor is actually low. It's also low in alcohol, so a nice light dessert indeed.
  • 1 oz. cream sherry (Lustau East India Solera used)
  • 1/2 oz. brandy (Hennessy used)
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.