Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hello There

1 1/2 oz. gin
1/2 oz. Pimm's
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. raspberry syrup
1/4 oz. green Chartreuse

Shake over cracked ice and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Naming drinks is tough; I think it should be something with at least a little relevance. For this one I took the easy way out. I did a Google search for raspberry, lemon, chartreuse, and somehow came upon a garden nursery page with this as one descpription:
Hello There: Ev, M-L
Light raspberry pink with a rose red halo and contrasting chartreuse centre. Distinctive eyed variety.
Works for me.

Smokey Mary

3 oz. vodka
2 1/2 oz. smoked tomato juice
2 1/2 oz. tomato juice
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/4 oz Worcestershire
pepper/celery salt to taste
dash of hot sauce (I used Sriracha)

Shake all ingredients over cracked ice and strain into an ice-filled collins or high-ball. Garnish with pickled vegetables or celery.

Smoked tomato juice
Halve tomatoes and smoke over indirect heat on a charcoal grill using hickory or mesquite wood chips for 20 minutes. If you happen to be cooking a steak at the time, even better. Remove and allow to cool. Transfer to a blender and process, then strain. 4 medium tomatoes will yield about 2 cups of juice.

This was inspired by the recent Imbibe's Smoke Signals article, and I thought if any drink could handle some smoke it would be the Bloody Mary. At full strength this has a pretty intense smoke flavor, which is good, but better diluted by half.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Deep Red

2 oz. Syrah, or similair
1 oz. brandy
1/2 oz. Canton ginger liqueur
1/4 oz. lemon juice
2 dashes peach bitters

Stir over cracked ice and double strain (Hawthorne or julep and tea strainer) into a cocktail glass.


Random cocktail experiment

Esquire magazine has one thing going for it: David Wondrich is a monthly contributor. This month, he gives a basic formula for creating cocktails: 2 oz. liquor, 1 oz. fortified wine, 1 tsp. liqueur, 2 dashes bitters. To this recipe I blindly contributed Jim Beam rye, Dubonnet rouge, parfait amour, orange bitters, and ended up with...

2 oz. rye
1 oz. Dubonnet rouge
1 tsp. parfait amour
2 dashes Regan's orange bitters

Not to say that any combination of the above formula would be worth drinking, but this ended up being pretty tasty, like a Manhattan with a sweet orange flavor. Wondrich is a genius.

Terms of Endearment

After Jerry Thomas' Bon Vivant's Companion (1862) and before prohibition (1919), drinks fell under a much more standardized classification. Although these distinctions were still used following prohibition, they had been mostly forgotten by the public. Back then, a cocktail was a cocktail (see below), not just a term for any mixed drink. And a martini was gin, vermouth, and orange bitters, not anything that is served up in a cocktail glass.

  • Buck = a highball made with ginger ale + lime/lemon juice.
  • Cobbler = base spirit or wine/sherry, stirred with sugar, poured over crushed ice with plenty of fresh fruit, served with a straw and a spoon.
  • Cocktail = base spirit, sugar, bitters, chilled and generally served up. The word "cocktail" first appeared in print 1803, but the first printed explanation of the word was in The Balance on May 13, 1806:
    Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters-it is vulgarly called bittered sling and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion...
    Later, especially with the introduction of vermouth, a cocktail could be any spirit with a sweetening and bittering agent, usually served up.
  • Collins = lemon juice, spirit, sugar, soda water built in a tall glass over ice.
  • Cooler = a long spiral of a whole lemon/lime/orange placed in a Collins glass, then ice, spirit, and soda built in the glass.
  • Crusta = a relative of the cocktail, but with a sugared rim, and garnished with the entire zest of a lemon or orange.
  • Daisy = a single-serving punch, using grenadine or raspberry syrup as sweetener, citrus and spirit, served over crushed ice and garnished with fruit.
  • Eggnog = spirit (usually rum or brandy) shaken with eggs, milk, and sugar.
  • Fix = another single-serving punch like the Daisy, but using pineapple syrup.
  • Fizz = lemon juice, sugar, spirit, (and sometimes egg) shaken and poured into a medium sized glass, topped with soda water.
    Golden Fizz = egg yolk
    Silver Fizz = egg white
    Royal Fizz = whole egg
  • Flip = wine, sherry, or spirit, shaken with sugar and a whole egg, served hot or cold.
  • Frappe = a cordial or sweetened spirit shaken and poured over crushed ice, then stirred until frost forms on the outside of a glass.
  • Highball = any spirit and carbonated mixer over ice.
  • Julep = mint and sugar muddled then combined with a spirit served over shaved ice.
  • Pousse Cafe = small amounts of spirits floated on top of each other. The higher the specific gravity, the lower in the layer it will be. Usually, higher alcohol means lower specific gravity. Good lists of weights here.
  • Punch = spirits, water, and sugar flavored with fruits and spices, usually made in large quantities.
  • Rickey = pretty much a Collins with lime instead of lemon. The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930) states that:
    Most Rickeys are made with the following recipe : Use medium size glass. 1 lump of ice. The juice of 1/2 lime. Then add 1 glass of any Spirit or Liqueur fancied. Fill with carbonated water and leave rind of lime in glass.
  • Sangaree = chilled, sweetened spirit or sherry, served over ice with nutmeg grated on top.
  • Shrub = spirit infused with sugar and fruit for several days, served over ice, sometimes with a carbonated mixer.
  • Sling = spirit, sugar, and sometimes lemon juice, often stirred with cold water to chill, and served over a small amount of ice.
  • Smash = mint, sugar, and sometimes lemon juice (muddled), and spirit served over ice. Jerry Thomas called this a "julep on a small plan", as this was usually a smaller, quicker drink.
  • Sour = from The Savoy again:
    A Sour is usually prepared from the following recipe: The juice of 1/2 lemon. 1/2 tablespoonful of sugar. Add 1 glass of Spirit or Liqueur as fancy dictates. Shake well and strain into medium size glass. One squirt of Soda water. Add one slice of orange and a cherry.
    ...though sours are often also made with egg whites.
  • Swizzle = the name of this drink refers to the old swizzle stick used to make it. The stick would have prongs around it's base so that when spun between the palms it would mix the spirit, citrus, and sweetener in an ice filled glass.
  • Toddy = spirit and water, usually hot, with sugar, citrus, and spices.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


1/2 oz. Scotch
1/2 oz. Parfait Amour
1/2 oz. Sweet vermouth
2 dashes absinthe
2 dashes orange bitters

Stir over cracked ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

The Trilby has been around since at least 1895, and has taken many different forms (great post on it here). These days a Trilby would be made as a Manhattan with orange bitters, a delicious drink but not as interesting as this version. This recipe most closely resembles Harry Craddock's Trilby cocktail no. 2 (1930), however I first came across it in the great literary work that is Easy To Make Maidens & Cocktails: A Mixing, Swingers Bar Guide (1965). The measurements listed make for a pretty small drink, but with the equal proportions it's easily adjusted. I use a blended scotch for this one, such as Johnnie Black.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


2 oz Plymouth gin
1/2 oz Canton ginger liqueur
1/4 oz Fernet Branca
2 dashes rhubarb bitters

Stir over cracked ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

This drink starts off sweet and finishes with the bitterness of the rhubarb and Fernet. The name Hullabaloo comes from the rhubarb (which is also probably one of the ingredients used to make Fernet). Apparently, extras in acting would repeat the word "rhubarb" to create a general "hubbub" or "hullabaloo".