Tuesday, April 27, 2021

19th Century (Death & Co. Recipe)


Trying to encapsulate a century in a cocktail sounds like a difficult task, but not when you consider that France made the cocktail what it is today before the 20th century. As spirits moved from punches of port and rum to single servings of cognac and whiskey mixed with juices and liqueurs, the French contributed with aromatized wines and cremes. 

This recipe works with Byrrh, Dubonet Rouge. or Lillet Rouge--all are brilliant ruby wines bittered up with quinine and citrus. These wine spirits give drinks their tannin traction on the tongue where otherwise they would feel extremely silky (which isn't always a bad thing.) 

Creme de cacao is more of a sweetener, but it adds a candy chocolate depth that makes the overall experience less acidic and better rounded.

  • 1 1/2 oz. bourbon (Ancient Age used)
  • 3/4 oz. Lillet Rouge (or other French red aromitized wine) 
  • 3/4 oz. white creme de cacao
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled coupe. 

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Broken Oath (Death And Co. Recipe)


Death & Co. has many Martini and Old Fashioned variations among their recipes. This is one of their Manhattan variations with Mezcal--a perfectly suitable substitute for whiskey. In addition to the vermouth and main spirit, they added Galliano and rich sherry. This takes this drink in a cordial direction, and that is fitting because they serve it in a Nick& Nora glass. (I'm using a cordial glass because I don't have a Nick & Nora.) Chocolate and cinnamon from the Aztec bitter is a perfect finishing touch to this new classic showing off the spirits coming to us by way of Mexico and Spain.

  • 1 1/2 oz. mezcal (Del Maguey Vida used)
  • 3/4 oz. Lustau Amontillado sherry (Lustau East India Soleara used)
  • 3/4 oz. cocchi vermouth di Torino
  • 1/2 oz. Galliano
  • 2 dashes Aztec bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass. 

Howlin' At The Moon (Death & Co. Recipe)


I was looking for a fun spring seasonal Old Fashioned that I had the ingredients for and it turns out I needed this. I was most intrigued that this cocktail is made with Bols Barrel-Aged Genever, which doesn't get a lot of attention in the cocktail world for its being very divergent from London dry gin. But that is all to Bols' advantage when making an Old Fashioned variation. 

I also happened to have cherry bark bitters since my early days of bartending. Making bark bitters is as easy as infusing bark in high-proof spirits. This little bottle of mine also includes blossoms and green tea and it is very bitter. There's also creme de cacao for some chocolate sweetness and the traditional orange twist. But the addition of the lemon twist in the mixing glass was new to me and gave the drink a refreshingly light nose. 

  • 1 lemon twist
  • 2 oz. Bols Barrel-Aged Genever
  • 2 tsp. white creme de cacao
  • 1/2 tsp. cane sugar syrup
  • 2 dashes cherry bark bitters
  • 1 orange twist garnish

Muddle lemon twist in a mixing glass before adding ice and the remaining ingredients. Stir and strain into an Old Fashioned glass with one large ice cube in it. Twist the orange zest over the glass and drop it in.

Tommy And The Ron-Dels (Death & Co. Recipe)


This is almost like having a Tiki redux cocktail in a handy Old Fashioned glass. It's got all the wild, exotic flavors of the Carbbean spirits mixed with the most herbaceous spirits of Europe. The Death & Co. recipe calls for Ron Del Barrilito Puerto Rican rum, which is where the name comes from. But it is also the base recipe for a Margarita by this bartender there named Tommy. 

Often enough, I find that I want to enjoy tequila and mezcal in ways that don't involve lime juice or take the form of a Margarita. This was different enough that I took it for what it was--something far richer than an ordinary Margarita.

  • 3/4 oz. reposado tequila
  • 1/4 oz. Del Maugey mezcal
  • 1 oz. Ron Del Barrilito 3-star rum (George Boman used)
  • 1/2 oz. Galliano
  • 1 dash absinthe (Ricard used)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. agave nectar
  • 1 dash tiki bitters (Angostura used)
  • 1 lime wheel garnish

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass over 1 large ice cube. Garnish with the lime wheel. 

Short Rib Death & Co. Recipe)


Just like the Caribbean Shrub in the following post, this cocktail is based on ingredients used in cooking food. The name Short Rib indicates that molasses and jalapenos used in a short rib recipe appear in in liquid form in this spicy tequila drink.

I didn't have or know how to make pomegranate molasses, but I have a bottle of blackstrap that really only gets used in tropical drinks. Knowing that pomegranate molasses is a much lighter and sweeter than blackstrap, which is really thick and salty, I thinned out my black strap. I used equal parts grenadine and blackstrap to approximate pomegranate molasses and I think it worked. 

The other homemade ingredients is jalapeno-infused blanco tequila. This worked almost too well with jalapenos left over from enchiladas. I infused the chopped peppers for four days, and the tequila was about as spicy as you can stand to drink by itself. (You never know how hot a chili is going to be until you try it, and even then your infusions can surprise you.) So it turned out that this was a very spicy, sweet and savory cocktail, just like short rib sauce.

  • 2 oz. jalapeno-infused blanco tequila
  • 3/4 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 3/4 tsp. pomegranate molasses (mixture of equal parts grenadine and blackstrap molasses)
 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled coupe. 

Caribbean Shrub (Death & Co. Recipe)

I've drank shrub cocktails before. I rather like them. This is the first I've made from scratch. A shrub is a mixture of vinegar, fruit and sugar. Some barenders keep living shrubs in jars, feeding them with leftover wine. This shrub is a balsamic gastrique, which is more like a dark, tangy sauce drizzled on cooked meats or vegetables as an accent flavor. 

The reception of this cocktail was tremendous. Sweet cocktails need balance with acid, and this acid (the strawberry balsamic gastrique) had barrel aged balsamic vinegar and strawberries cooked into it. The chemical formula of vinegar is different from citric acid, your typical lemon juice acid, and we take notice with our senses. But the drink works. It transports you to a colonial time when shrubs were used to preserve fruits and add acid to cocktails that haven't been in fashion for 200 years.

To make the strawberry-balsamic gastrique combine 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 1 1/2 cups of water. Cook over low heat stirring constantly the sugar is dissolved. Add 2 cups of cut strawberries and simmer for 30 minutes while stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 cup of balsamic vinegar and raise heat to a boil while stiring contiuously. Lower the temperatore and allow to thicken for 30 minutes, still stirring. Allow to cool and strain through a cheesecloth. This gastrique will keep if refrigerated for up to three weeks.

For the Caribbean Shrub recipe:

  • 1 oz. Appleton Estate rum (George Bowman used)
  • 1 oz. Rhum Agricole blanc (Barbancourt 4-year-old used)
  • 3/4 oz. strawberry-balsamic gastrique
  • 3/4 oz. cane sugar syrup
  • 1/2 strawberry garnish

Shake all liquid ingredients with three ice cubes in a shaker to chill. Strain into a highball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with the half strawberry.


Dangerous Liasons (Death & Company Recipe)


I just picked up a new bottle of MurLarkey Heritage whiskey from their distillery. I've really missed this craft whiskey on my bar. This batch seems to have been aged in barrels that previously held Cabernet or Merlot because it has a rich red color and the kind of tannin traction you'd expect from a full-bodied wine. I'm looking forward to their reading this post because they might let me know if I'm right about this. 

The only "dangerous" thing about this drink is that it puts a potent whiskey in sweet honey and tart citrus juices for a summery-tasting sour. It goes down all to easily. But I don't lament using my good whiskey--that "old country whiskey" comes through in the finish.

  • 1 1/2 oz. MurLarkey Heritage whiskey
  • 3/4 oz. Dolin blanc vermouth
  • 3/4 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. acacia honey syrup
  • 1 grapefruit crescent.

Shake all liquid ingredients with ice and strain into a highball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with the grapefruit crescent. 

The Joy Division (Death & Co. Recipe)

I'm often looking for a different take on a Gin Martini. The Joy Division appealed to me because I was feeling like enjoying French ingredients and you can easily make this cocktail without leaving the country of France with its gin, wines, and liqueurs. 

Here I've chosen Citadelle dry gin principally because it is French, but also because it is dry and of such a quality that you can replace Beefeater with it and only improve your cocktail. The recipe calls for Cointreau, and triple sec is a fair substitution, but I wanted Royal Combier for the spice and orange of this French liqueur. Finally absinthe and Dolin dry make this an herbal cocktail like no other.

  • 2 oz. dry gin (Citadelle gin used)
  • 1 oz. Dolin dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. Cointreau (Royal Combier used)
  • 3 dashes absinthe (Ricard Pastise used)
  • 1 lemon twist

Combine all liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with the lemon twist.


Hadley's Tears (Death & Co. Recipe)

I can't say that I've seen a lot of genever cocktails with dark rum and Galliano. The thing is, I've pretty much drawn the line just after rum-based Sazeracs and didn't consider what a great maritime spirit genever is and just how much it can influence a classic cocktail. 

Drinks of this proportion are all about the herbal presence of the absinthe and citrus bitters. Bols Barrel Aged Genever doesn't fight this trend with juniper and malty notes that melt right into the well aged rum. The recipe calls for Jamaican rum, and George Bowman's is a blend of Caribbean rums that hews closely to Appleton or Pusser's. I like featuring a local spirit as often as I can on this blog, so that is why its here.

But a Sazerac needs sugar. You get that from Galliano and simple syrup. More vanilla and anise isn't going to detract from the overall experience. Galliano and aromatic bitters just takes this drink closer to Itailian wedding cookies and away from carrot cake. 

  • 1 oz. Appleton Estate rum (George Bowman's used)
  • 1 oz. Bols Genever (Barrel Aged genever used)
  • 1 tsp. Galliano
  • 1/2 tsp. absinthe (Ricard used)
  • 1 dash aromatic bitters (Hella used)
  • 1 orange twist

Stir all ingredients over ice, then strain into a double rocks glass over 1 large ice cube. Garnish with the orange twist. 


Saturday, April 24, 2021

Mainland (Death & Co. Recipe)


Dense, boozy, and bittersweet describe this twist on a Martini. For its size it has a lot of power. First there's the craft ImaGination gin by MurLarkey that packs in more botanicals than a London Dry style in a spirit that isn't characterless. Galliano and two grapefruit twists add to the bitterness of the botanicals. Unusually, for a Martini anyway, there's a hint of sugar that adds body. Do this drink if you are looking for something unique and craft that doesn't pull any punches. 

  • 2 grapefruit twists
  • 2 oz. high botanical gin (MurLarkey ImaGination used)
  • 1/2 oz. Galliano 
  • 1 tsp. simple syrup
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Twist two grapefruit zests over a mixing glass and drop them in. Add the remaining ingredients and ice and stir. Strain into a chilled coupe with no garnish. 

Sure Shot (Death & Co. Recipe)

This is a winner of a recipe, for sure. Very few stirred cocktails go with chili infusions. This one is nice and smokey and plays up the rich, whiskey-like flavors of old Tom and genever. I've never infused chilis in sweet vermouth before, and I have to say it goes in faster than you expect. Only a few hours are necessary to make the infusion. It also tastes great, like adding smoke and heat to your bittersweet  vermouth. Why wouldn't this be great?

Gallian and orange bitters have their own role to play in Sure Shot. I like how the vanilla and anise of Galliano are more like spice additions than sweeteners. Galliano also adds a richness to the texture to support the vermouth. This is a hefty drink and orange bitters suggestion of baking spices makes it even that much more rounded. 

  • 1 1/2 oz. Old Tom gin (Vitae used)
  • 1/2 oz. Bols Genever (Bols barrel aged genever used)
  • 3/4 oz. ancho chile-infused Dolin rouge vermouth
  • 1 tsp Galliano
  • 1 tsp. demerara syrup
  • 1 dash orange bitters (Hella used)

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled coupe. 


Single Origin (Death & Co. Recipe)


I must admit that I was seeking a drink I could do with pineapple juice I had open and I didn't have cacao nibs or the time to infuse them. That's what bitters are for, actually. Sometime I'd like to try this drink again with cacao nibs. My experience tells me that it makes the base spirit extremely bitter. And that would be fine. With the sweetness of pineapple juice and Gallaino, you should be able to get by. Without the nibs, I felt that this drink was a bit on the sweet side despite the lemon juice.

But let's celebrate what a smack in the mouth such a cocktail brings. Here is a fresh squeezed fruit and light spirits drink also having huge body and a liquor-heavy boost of Galliano and tequila at once.

  • 2 oz. cacao nib-infused blanco tequila (El Jimador and a dash of Aztec bitters used)
  • 1 tsp. Galliano
  • 1/2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. cane sugar syrup

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Double strain into a coup. 

Village To Village (Death & Co. Recipe)

There's villages and boroughs in New York, where Death & Co. began its mission to bring about craft cocktails. Tequila and rum comes from villages, too. And look how pretty, how relaxed this cocktail is. It's the balm from the tropics that salves that weary city dweller. 

I've made my own ingredients in this cocktail as usual. This is my allspice dram, a rum based and brown sugar liqueur, and my own ginger brandy that I used to flavor my syrup for this drink. 

The overall effect is kind of a fall or winter drink with apple and allspice and ginger. Angostura bitters lift the scent and add more allspice and cinnamon to the nose and the first sips.

  • 1 1/2 oz. blanco tequila (El Jimador used)
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice dram (homemade used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. fuji apple juice
  • 12 oz. acacia honey syrup
  • 1/2 oz. teaspoon ginger syrup (simple and ginger brandy used)
  • garnsih 2 dashes Angostura bitters and mint sprig

Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with three ice cubes. Shake to combine and strain into a pilsner (rocks glass used) Garnsih with bitters and the mint sprig. 


Kew Gardens Cooler (Death & Co. Recipe)


Muddled cucumber and gin are excellent together, this we all know. But it takes a lot to get most folks beyond a Hendrick's and cucumber slices on the rocks. I prefer using a gin that doesn't have the cucumber in it already and then putting it in itself. That is the idea behind craft cocktails. 

Muddled cucumber adds a freshness and even a thicker texture to cocktails--I think it has to do with plant cell walls giving structure to flavors of the spirits (but I'm not sure). A sweet citrus liqueur like Aperol does wonders for the color and adding balance as well.

Scarlet Glow syrup is made from cooking the brand of hibiscus tea and sugar into a syrup. It is pretty and red. but doesn't do a lot for the flavor by itself. For mine, I used hibiscus syrup and tried not to worry if the flavor wasn't exactly right.

  • 2 cucumber wheels
  • 2 oz. Beefeater 24 gin (Citadelle used)
  • 1/2 oz. Aperol (Don Ciccio & Figili Ambrosia used)
  • 3/4 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz. scarlet glow syrup (hibiscus syrup used)
  • 1 cucumber ribbon garnish

Muddle the cucumber wheels in a shaker then add ice and the remaining ingredients. Shake and strain into a highball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with the cucumber ribbon skewered on a cocktail pick. 

Muddled Mission (Death & Co. Recipe)

You don't see too many muddled drinks strained and up and made with alpine spirits. There's something particularly intense about fresh fruit mixed with fruity and herbaceous spirits. Spicy gin like Citadelle or a fine quality London dry style keeps it on the lighter side, which means this mission is over way too soon.
  • 1 strawberry
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin (Citadelle used)
  • 1 oz. St-Germain
  • 1/4 oz. yellow Chartreuse (Dolin Genepy used)
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 strawberry garnish
 Muddle one strawberry in a shaker and add ice and the remaining liquid ingredients. Shake and double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with the strawberry. 


Get Lucky (Death & Co. Recipe)

There's a lot to like about Get Lucky. It is bountiful and pretty, to start with: crushed ice and muddled blackberries. Then there's sweetening ginger and honey syrup and orgeat. Balance all of that with citrus bitters and lemon juice. The flavor is familiar and comforting, the recipe is a little outside the ordinary, and I love it. 

Some fun changes I had to make include flavoring my simple syrup with ginger brandy that I made over the winter and using Mt. Defiance rum. This rum is as good as you can ask for in a small batch, colonial style white rum. It is rich on flavor but mixes well with a flavor of cooked brown sugar and a hint of ginger in the finish. 

  • 3 blackberries
  • 2 oz light rum (Mt. Defiance used)
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/4 ginger syrup (simple with ginger brandy added)
  • 1/4 oz. orgeat
  • 1/4 acacia honey syrup
  • peychaud's bitters garnish

Muddle blackberries in a pilsner glass. Fill with crushed ice. In a shaker combine the remaining ingredients except for bitters and shake until incorporated. Strain into the pilsner glass and dash Peychaud's bitters on top of the ice. 


Sunday, April 18, 2021

Gypsy Eyes (Death & Co. Recipe)


This play on the Gipsy cocktail with grapefruit juice and Aperol to make it pink. I figured that since any twist on a classic is fair game to twist a little more, I used Don Ciccio & Figili Ambrosia as my local Aperol and Dolin Genepy in place of Green Chartreuse. Furthermore, the dry gin used at Death & Co. is Beefeater, a London classic. Was going for something more French with Citadelle gin.

Citadelle gin is really on par with some of the most lovely gins I've ever had: closer to The Botanist than Beefeater if only in quality. So after making a modification to every ingredient in the recipe, I present to you Gypsy Eyes!

  • Green Chartreuse (Dolin Genepy used)
  • 1 1/2 oz. Beefeater gin (Citadelle used)
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. Aperol (Ambrosia used)
  • 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 oz. simple syrup

Coat the inside of a coupe glass with Chartreuse (or Genepy) and dump. Combine remaining ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into the coated coupe glass. 

Tenement Yard (Death & Co. Recipe)


I'm on the lookout for vegetable cocktails that really scream spring. This one really hits that mark. The recipe calls for snap pea-infused gin. I one-upped that recipe with asparagus-infused homemade gin. I made it according to my recipe for homemade bathtub gin with the addition of three asparagus stems. The asparagus adds earthy vegetable notes to the gin without overpowering the juniper and gin goodness.

The rest of this recipe is super straightforward. For once, I'm using Genepy because it is called for in the recipe. This French alpine liqueur has bright herb and citrus notes similar to Chartreuse. 

One final note: Death & Co. makes their own orgeat by cooking a syrup with almond milk and toasted almonds, which is a great method. Though I have a bottle of Liber & Co. orgeat, it is full of my homemade orgeat. (I couldn't make this without mentioning the hard work that went into it.) This orgeat is made from the soaked almond and hand-pressed method that takes days and a lot of almonds. I don't recommend doing this for restaurant work, but feel free to try it at home. It's kind of on the order of installing your own appliances or making your own shoes. If you do it right, you will have the satisfaction of having achieved something few others do.

The experience of drinking this cocktail is the enjoyment of fresh floral notes from the Genepy and orange blossom in the orgeat, then sipping and picking up toasted almond and green sprouting asparagus cleared away with bright citrus. It's kind of amazing, really, that so few ingredients pack so much flavor.

  • 2 oz. sugar snap pea-infused Plymouth gin (homemade asparagus gin used)
  • 1/2 oz. Dolin Genepy
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. orgeat

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled coupe glass. 

Prince's Coffee

 I don't know if there's a name for this drink, actually. It's an old classic since the invention of Drambuie, which, from what I can tell, came about sometime before the Jacobite Rebellion in 1745. It's not so much an issue as to whether Drambuie existed, (which it probably did in some form not unlike that which exists today) but whether or not coffee was at hand. It was probably difficult to score some Joe in the Scottish Highlands. 

So here is a cocktail that is so simple, you can make it while reloading a musket. 

  • 1 1/2 oz. Drambuie
  • coffee
  • whipped cream

Pour Drambuie in a warmed coffee mug and top with coffee. Stir and float whipped cream on the hot beverage.


Monday, April 5, 2021

Pete's Word


A simple and amazing twist on a the classic Last Word with scotch and Dolin Genepy in place of gin and Luxardo maraschino liqueur. Definitely try this with Laphroaig for the smokey peat of the Islay scotch. This flavor is similar to the smoke from mezcal that goes so well with lime juice. It's a great combination, and Luxardo just makes the whole thing work, tying together peat, alpine spice and a highly acidic fruit juice into one harmonious cocktail. You'd think Pete's Word is one of the cannon originals of the classic cocktails.

  • 3/4 oz Laphroaig single malt
  • 3/4 oz. Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
  • 3/4 oz. Dolin Genepy
  • 3/4 ozlime juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Faithful Scotsman (Death & Co Recipe)


A stirred drink with pineapple and lemon juice? Even weirder is the toasted whole cumin syrup. But how does it taste? Amazing. And yes, it all works.

Death & Co. has taught me that a rich syrup cocktail with juice can be stirred and swerved on the rocks like an Old Fashioned or, in this case, something very similar to the Harlem Cocktail. 

Again the tropical Island cocktail works well with scotch. Roasted barley whiskies like scotch also go well with savory notes as well. I'm talking about the cumin syrup. To make this golden syrup, toast 1 tbsp. of whole cumin seeds in a saucepan for about three minutes before adding 1/2 cup of water and sugar. Cook until it reduces and the sugar is dessolved. Then strain through fine mesh or cheesecloth. 

  • 1 1/2 oz. Compass Box Asyla Scotch (Speyburn 10 used)
  • 1/4 oz. Massenez creme de peche (1/4 oz. Evan William's peach bourbon used)
  • 1/2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz. cumin syrup 
  • 1 pineapple leaf garnsih

Stir all ingredients, then strain into a double rocks glass over 1 large ice cube. Garnish with the pineapple leaf. 

Grouse Rampant (Death & Co. Recipe)


"X" Marks the spot with the Grouse Rampant. This a spicy take on the classic egg white foamed Sours served in a coupe glass. There are some very specialized ingredients at work here: fuji apple infused Famous Grouse scotch is the main one, requiring a few days panning in advance. Then there's honey and cinnamon syrup (or cinnamon whiskey flavored honey syrup in my case.) Finally the Peychaud's bitters "X" makes this drink as fun to look at--almost, anyway--as drinking.

To make the infusion of fuji apples, I used one large fuji apple diced and a half bottle of Famous Grouse. Apples infuse quickly, so 24 hours is all that is really needed to get rich apple flavors from the fruit. But after a few days the scotch loses a lot of its smoke and pepper and you are left with something like a sweet apple whiskey.

I make my cinnamon syrups with MurLarkey cinnamon whiskey. A few drops per cocktail (added right to the jigger) is all I need to transform honey or ordinary simple into something similar to cooking cinnamon sticks into the syrup. So as long as I have this shortcut available, I'm taking it. 

  • 2 oz. fuji apple-infused Famous Grouse Scotch
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz. acacia honey syrup
  • 1/4 oz. cinnamon bark syrup (1/2 oz. honey syrup and 1/4 oz. MurLarkey cinnamon whiskey used)
  • 1 egg white
  • Peychaud's bitters

Combine all ingredients except bitters in a shaker and dry shake to create foam. Add ice and shake again to chill and strain into a chilled coupe. Use Peychaud's bitters to form an "X" on the foam in two swipes.

Vejk Sling (Death & Co. Recipe)

Slings are popular, tasty and easy to make. They are some of the oldest cocktails in history, and yet they are not going away anytime soon. Basically, you need only a base spirit, some juice and soda, and a dash of a flavorful liqueur or a garnish usually helps distinguish one sling from another.

This Sling is mostly distinguished by scotch. It needs little else to make it interesting, however Dolin blanc and orange bitters send it in an appropriately fruity direction. Furthermore, a chamomile infusion in the Dolin blanc adds earthiness and apple-like notes

  • 2 oz. Compass Box Asyla scotch (Spyburn 10-year-old used)
  • 1 oz. chamomile-infused Dolin blanc vermouth
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 dash Bittermen's orange bitters (Hella used)
  • club soda
  • lemon twist

Combine all ingredients except soda in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Collins glass full of fresh ice. Top with soda and twist the lemon zest over the drink and drop it in. 


Scottish Dram


Pretty much any cocktail you make with Drambuie will be good--and it will taste Scottish. That is because Drambuie is a liqueur with teroir. It is made from aged scotch, heather honey and Scottish botanicals. It's pretty amazing stuff. From putting it in your coffee to a few drops in your cocktail, it has the potential to change your whole experience.

This cocktail is a take on the Rusty Nail, a common drink for scotch enthusiasts from way back before the single malt craze. Usually an inexpensive scotch is used to spread the Drambuie flavor around in a rocks glass full of ice. This time it is up, neat and dry, in a recipe almost as simple as the Rusty Nail.

  • 2 oz. scotch (Speyburn 10-year-old used)
  • 3/4 oz. sweet vermouth (Cocchi di Torino used)
  • 1/4 oz. Drambuie
  • 1 dash Pechaud's bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled coupe glass. 

Straw Dog (Death & Co. Recipe)


The Straw Dog is Death & Co.'s update on the Bloodhound, a blended gin Strawberry Daiquiri with vermouth. Granted, the Bloodhound is kind of an anomaly of the Disco Era of cocktails where fresh fruit was used, but other ingredients were strange and often poorly matched with them. The Straw Dog un-does a lot of the harms of its predecessor.

Death & Co. used Compass Box Asyla Scotch as their base for its round scotchyness. I'd do the same, except I found a nice single malt from Speyburn--10 years old, even! And this was a good move because Speyburn's softness translates like mild whiskey. You really notice the Dolin Blanc more than the scotch.

The other change I made was out of necessity. I don't have, nor can I make, hopped grapefruit bitters. My substitute was two dashes rhubarb-lemon bitters (because these will do the lifting job of the grapefruit), and one of celery bitters (because of their binding earthiness). 

  • 1 strawberry
  • 1 1/2 oz. Compass Box Asyla Scotch (Speyburn 10-year old used)
  • 1 oz. Dolin blanc
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 dash Bittermans hopped grapefruit bitters. (2 dashes rhubarb-lemon and 1 dash celery bitters used)
  • 1/2 strawberry garnish

Gently muddle 1 strawberry in a shaker tin. Then add ice and the remaining ingredients except the half strawberry and shake. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with the strawberry half.

Tea in the Sahara (Death & Co. recipe)

Of all the infusions that I've made, I've never considered green tea and coconut infused scotch. But that is what is required for Tea in the Sahara. You need a dry, almost peppery infusion of Famous Grouse to pull this off. So I recommend getting dried coconut, not confectioner's coconut with all the sugar. It will really unbalance a cocktail like this that has no citrus except for the garnish. 

Besides the infusion, Strega is the only other spirit ingredient and honey syrup is the main sweetener. This drink is light but has body from Strega and honey. The scotch burns, but it has picked up earthy nuttiness from the green tea and coconut. (For my tea, I used sensha for its grassy notes.) The lemon coin (a thin slice of pith from the narrowest end of the fruit) hints at teatime with a cocktail that has a lot of exotic pastiche for a scotch drink.

  • 1 lemon coin with a bit of pith
  • 2 oz. coconut green tea-infused Famous Grouse scotch
  • 1 tsp. Strega
  • 1 tsp. acacia honey syrup
Squeeze lemon over a mixing glass and drop it in. Add the remaining ingredients and stir with ice. Strain into a double rocks glass with no ice. 


Eye of the Torino (Death & Co. recipe)


Scotch from Islay is still an island spirit. That's the thinking behind Eye of the Torino. Death & Co. is at it again, changing people's expectations of spirits like Scotch. No, even a single malt scotch like Bowmore 12 doesn't have to be trapped in a Glencairn glass or on the rocks. You can make an excellent Tiki cocktial with single malt from Islay because it has a rich profile similar to rum. 

Yes. Bowmore 12 (or in this case McClelland's Islay, which is my less expensive way to get Bowmore in a different label) is the main ingredient in this tropical drink that features huge coconut flavors. The title of the drink suggests the need to hide Cocchi di Torino in a fruity drink that resembles a Bahama Momma. With all the coconut, pineapple, cream and orgeat, it's hard to taste that sweet vermouth, but spicy scotch still stands out with peat notes and a bit of smoke. But don't tell your Tiki drinking friends it's in there, just pretend it is smoke from the Tiki torches. 

This drink is intended to be served in a coconut shell, which is a lot of trouble to get and cut. I figured a large Tiki mug would be fitting. 

  • 2 oz. Bowmore 12-year scotch
  • 1/2 oz. cocchi vermouth di Torino
  • 1/2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. orgeat
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. coconut cream
  • 1/4 oz. heavy cream
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash chocolate mole bitters
  • 1 pineapple wedge and cherry flag for garnish

Combine all ingredients is a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a coconut mug (or Tiki mug, as pictured) full of crushed ice. Use a pick to pin the stem cherry to the pineapple wedge and stick it on the rim.

Scotch Lady


The Pink Lady is a great gin cocktail that is at once classic and up-and-coming in the bar scenes. It's a descendant of the Fizz without soda. Now that gin is coming back, The Pink Lady is popular again. I think it is because it is so light and refreshing, and that means a change in the base spirit changes the drink. Any restaurant can swap out a unique gin, something like Old Tom or infused gins, and you have a drink that many will enjoy as if for the first time. 

This rendition, the Scotch Lady, is a simple swap out of ingredients that goes slightly richer with apple brandy and scotch as the main ingredients. When you first try it, you get mostly apple and lemon notes. A lot of the freshness of the Pink Lady. In the aftertaste, there is a throaty hum of peat and malt from scotch. Famous Grouse is a nice blend for this drink because it isn't shy. A rustic blend, the Grouse has character by itself but is tame with company like egg white and lemon juice. 

  • 1 1/2 oz. Famous Grouse scotch
  • 1/2 oz. Laird's Applejack 86 
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 1/4 oz. grenadine
  • 1 egg white
  • brandied cherry garnish
Combine all ingredients except garnish in a shaker and shake without ice. Then add ice and shake to chill. Strain into a chilled coup and garnish with a cherry. 

Friday, April 2, 2021

Green Hills Sling (Original Recipe)


This is a light and spritzy cocktail for spring. Asparagus and gin is the perfect flavor combination to captures the newly growing flowers and vegetables of the season, but asparagus is seldom used in cocktails and I've often wondered why. In a world where artichoke and elderflower liqueurs are not only acceptable, but found in nearly every bar, why not asparagus gin?

I made this asparagus gin by infusing vodka with gin botanicals and three asparagus stems (my old bathtub gin recipe modified slightly to make room for asparagus flavors. The botanical mix includes 1 tbsp. juniper berries and a half teaspoon of anise seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and caraway seeds with one long lemon zest. Then I added the asparagus stems and a bottle of 100-proof vodka and let it infuse for three days. (It is easy to over-steep bathtub gin and that makes the juniper more bitter, covering the other botanicals.)

Alternatively, you can take your favorite gin and infuse it with asparagus. I recommend doing it in a large jar rather than dropping the asparagus into your bottle. If you can't get the asparagus out of the bottle after three days, it will start tasting like bitter overcooked asparagus.

The rest of the cocktail is pretty straightforward. Asparagus gin, akvavit, and Dolin blanc for the herbal spirits, lemon juice and St-Germain to balance the acidity and add sweetness and a floral nose. 

  • 1 1'/2 oz. asparagus gin (homemade infusion used)
  • 1 oz. Dolin blanc 
  • 3/4 oz. St-Germain
  • 1/2 oz. akvavit (homemade used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • sparkling water
  • 3 fresh asparagus stems for garnish

Combine all liquid ingredients except sparkling water in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled highball glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water and garnish with asparagus. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Jesper Lind (Death & Co. Recipe)

Vesper Lind is James Bond's beau. This is the woman for whom he never married. And we all have had a Vesper or a 007 Martinii. This is different. In fact if I was to suggest a  Bond Enemy drink, this might be it. 

There is a lot of richness in the nose: vanilla and orange. When you sip it is full of raisin from the sherry and herbal notes from the gin and aquavit. And that last bit is where the name comes from: a common masculine name in Norway, Jesper. All of which hints at the addition of aquavit as a botanical ingredient. This is the dude drink to match Bond's woman. And I'm down with that. It's richer and more herbaceous. There's no vodka to tame it down. The flavor is full and ready. 

What it lacks is garnish, if that is even necessary. At a cool bar like Death & Co., I'd be surprised if that was even necessary. And truthfully, you don't need lemon oil from the twist or a cherry to throw off the perfection of the individual ingredients. 

  • 1 1/2oz. dry gin (homemade bathtub used)
  • 3/4 oz. Lustau East India Solera Sherry
  • 1/2 oz. Linie aquavit (homemade used)
  • 1 tsp vanilla syrup 
  • 1 dash orange bitters

Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a coupe glass.