Saturday, February 9, 2019


An Aviation is a classic American gin drink from the golden age of cocktails. Now, thanks to the availability of quality ingredients like creme de violette and maraschino liqueur (as well as a range of good gins both dry and otherwise) you can taste this classic as it was meant to be enjoyed.
  • 2 oz. gin (MurLarkey ImaGination used)
  • 1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur
  • 1/4 oz. creme de violette
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • maraschino cherry
  • lemon twist
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cherries and twist. 

(Virginia Local) Martinez

I love a Martinez, a very sweet gin Martini with sweet vermouth and Old Tom gin. This variation uses some ingredients local to Virginia.

MurLarkey ImaGination isn't an Old Tom gin exactly; it's sweeter than London Dry and has a lot of characteristics of the New American stye of gin going around. There's no malted barley in MurLarkey, but the botanical blend is rich and not overpowered by juniper or citrus. A Martinez made with ImaGination is pretty close to the ones made during the golden era of cocktails.

Mt. Defiance also makes a rustic sweet vermouth, an herbal fortified wine with lots of sweetness that I think comes from the residual sugar of the grape and not from caramel like Italian vermouths. These ingredients work well together in the classic Martinez.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Old Tom gin (ImaGination used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (Mt. Defiance used)
  • 1/4 oz. maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters (Hella orange--with its baking spice flavors--used)
  • orange twist
Combine all liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the orange twist. 

Monkey Picked Flower Collins

Monkey 47 gin makes an intensely floral Collins. My plan was to substitute Hibiscus Lavender syrup for the usual amount of simple syrup in a standard Collins. This was a good move: it makes the drink even more floral and gives it an attractive color that Collins drinks often lack. Monkey 47 is strong (with an intentional or serendipitous 47% alcohol) and in the full three-ounce pour for a Collins, it is pretty destructive. Feel free to go with a little less and stretch out what precious little Monkey 47 you have left in that tiny 375 ml. bottle.
  • 2 oz. Monkey 47 gin
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. RAFT Hibisucs Lavender syrup
  • sparkling water
  • lemon twist
  • maraschino cherry
Combine gin, lemon juice and syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Collins glass full of ice. Add sparkling water and stir. Garnish with the cherry and lemon twist. 

Krautini (Combo)

I was struck by inspiration when I was drinking a Dirty Martini after work. The olive brine in a cocktail is pleasing and appetizing and really goes well with salty food like nuts and pretzels. Why then, with the exception of the Gibson, are there so few savory Martinis?

The idea of pickled cabbage suggested itself as I fixed a bratwurst for dinner. Why not make a Martini with a little of the cabbage juice in it. I tried it two ways, a gin and a vodka drink, and with two kinds of sour kraut, the white and the red cabbage. The one constant was the Rivata dry vermouth with its heavy herbal notes and slight cabbage scent.

Both drinks worked out really well. the white cabbage juice with MurLarkey Divine Clarity vodka was a great combo. Divine Clarity already has a slight bitter dullness (I detect, but no one else seems to think so) that lends itself well to olive and wine cocktails. The white cabbage made this Dirty Martini variation sour with vinegar zip that was every bit as interesting as a standard Dirty Martini.

The red cabbage juice added to MurLarkey ImaGination gin was sweeter but earthy, a bitterness well suited to rosemary and basil notes you find in the gin. Here is the recipe with proportions that work as well for one as another.
  •  3 oz. gin or vodka (MurLarkey ImaGination gin or Divine Clarity vodka)
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth (Rivata Italian used)
  • 1 tsp. sour kraut juice (red or white)
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.