May 5, 2023
This is a spring drink to me (taste it, and then you can see if it is for you, too), though it does have a hearty Cognac base, in case the temperature is still getting chilly where you are – it certainly still can on some spring nights over here in the 206. There’s a little extra work involved in this one, too, as this is the extra-work time of year for many, spring that is, as one plants plants so they deliver veg and flowers and such later in summer, but don’t, one hopes, freeze in a late spring cold night (as mentioned above – maybe give them some Cognac if it gets too cold. That’s a joke! Plants like water, not booze.) For this drink, no planting, but you will have to make a raspberry vinegar syrup (check the recipe on that link for this syrup recipe), which isn’t too tough, and which is tasty, in this drink and others, as well as just in soda (that’s a swell springtime drink if you need a night off the hard stuff).
The Flowering Grape
2 ounces Pierre Ferrand Cognac
1 ounce St-Germain elderflower liqueur
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 ounce raspberry vinegar syrup (I detail how to make raspberry vinegar syrup here)
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add everything. Shake well.
2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass. Drink to spring.
May 2, 2023
Thought I’d have another, another Cocktail Talk, that is, from this book by A.A. Fair, aka, Erle Stanley Gardner. I just can’t resist a good Benedictine quote! If you missed the Beware the Curves Cocktail Talk Part I, well, don’t miss it any longer (and you might as well catch all the A.A. Fair Cocktail Talks while you’re at it).
“I’m a hell cat,” she said.
She got up to pour more liquor. She was wearing some kind of a filmy white thing. The bottle was getting empty. She had another bottle in the kitchen. She opened the kitchen door to go get the bottle.
Bright lights were on in the kitchen. The lights flooded through the doorway and silhouetted every curve of her figure against the white gossamer.
Halfway through the doorway, she thought of something, turned, and said, “Would you prefer brandy and Benedictine to crème de menthe, Donald?”
I took a little time debating the matter. “You’ve got both?” I asked.
“Yes.” She shifted her position slightly.
The light behind her did its stuff.
“Brandy and Benedictine,” I said. “But just one, Stella.”
–A.A. Fair, Beware the Curves
April 25, 2023
I’ve had a fair (hehe) number at A.A. Fair Cocktail Talks, that being a nom de plume of Erle Stanley Gardner. In those past posts, I go on about how I feel about the author vs. his other self (if that makes sense), and how I feel about various characters and books and all that stuff I know you are dying to go read about. So, do it! Then when back come read this quote from Beware the Curves, a Cool and Lam book (the two detectives that the A.A. Fair side of the personality writes about), and while not my favorite starring them, fun stuff. There’s a murder in the past reopened, lots of double-dealing and lying, ladies, a trial (I sorta wanted Perry Mason to show in the co-mingling of the universes, but alas, no), dirty politics, guns buried in the dirt, and cocktails.
We had a couple of cocktails. She went through the motions of counting calories when it came to ordering dinner, but she surrendered easily to the waiter, the menu, and my suggestions. She had a lobster cocktails, avocado-and-grapefruit salad, cream of tomato soup, filet mignon, a baked potato, and mince pie ala mode.
We went to her apartment, and she brought out a bottle of crème de menthe. She turned the lights down because her eyes hurt after a long day in the office.
–A.A. Fair, Beware the Curves
April 21, 2023
Does one, when one is older, feel oldest in the Spring (as opposed to the other seasons)? I could see an argument being made for Winter, as the cold chills old bones, and perhaps Fall as well, as that’s the season when things (trees and their ilk) shed leaves and begin to go dormant, which points to getting old. In Summer, all are young, for some moments at least. I lean Spring, I have to say, as it’s when youth begins to be so evident after Winter, what with buds on the trees and shorts on or above the knees. Not to maudlin naturally, but mulling it, and placing that point as a reason why I’m having this delicious number today, a drink names after the explorer who went looking for the fountain of youth. Cause when the old bones yearn for being younger, that ol’ fountain sounds mighty fine. As it’s not, ya know, real, this drink (which will make you feel younger, for moments if not forever) will have to suffice, for now!
The Ponce de León, from Dark Spirits
1 ounce Cognac
1/2 ounce white rum
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
Chilled brut Champagne or sparkling wine
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the Cognac, rum, Cointreau, and grapefruit juice. Shake well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Fill the glass not quite to the top with the Champagne. Sip wisely.
March 17, 2023
Here’s something a little different for your St. Patrick’s Day revelry – today is St. Patrick’s Day, by the by, if you’ve forgotten! But you probably haven’t, being good with dates and reasons for gathering and tippling. Bit of a classic in the manner that it’s been consumed for a few fair years, though not in the manner that everyone knows about, so you can still add a little element of individuality to your St. Patrick’s party by serving it. It may look a little odd at first glance, but the slight berry notes of the framboise mingle with the stout’y Irish Guinness in such a swell way, with that hint of mint on the nose, trust me, you’ll be pleasantly pleased. Oh, one thing: Sometimes this is mixed using the French black raspberry liqueur Chambord, but I like the slightly stronger framboise (which is usually made from rgular red raspberries and has a bit more kick). But if you want to go the Chambord route, it’s not a bad way to travel, and still brings the spring into the stout, to get poetic about it.
Black Fog, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz
One 12-ounce can Guinness stout
1 ounce framboise
1 or 2 mint leaves, for garnish
1. Fill a pint glass almost to the top with the Guinness.
2. Slowly pour the framboise into the glass, swirling it as you pour. Garnish with a mint leaf (or two, if you’re feeling it).
March 10, 2023
March is a celebratory month (as is every month, I would hazard to hypothesize), and celebratory months deserve punches, as you can celebrate by your lonesome, but it’s not really the same as celebrating with a passel of pals or a flock of family. Is it? I don’t feel it is. Those sole celebrators, don’t get up in it. You can have your own stance. Anywho, following along the celebratory-and-punches track, here’s one to consider: Bombay Punch. I have to admit, I’m not sure why it’s called “Bombay,” as it doesn’t contain to my eye any ingredients from the Bombay region – though there are I believe some good brandies made in India, so you could go that route! Brandy being the base here, onto which grape-derived goodness is added nutty maraschino, orange-y Cointreau, apricot-y apricot liqueur, some tangy oj, and some bubbly bubbles. It’s a fruity, bumping, sparkling treat, one ideal for any celebration – though if it is a solo one (as we chatted about above), don’t drink this all at once by yourself.
Bombay Punch, from Dark Spirits
Serves 10 to 12
10 ounces brandy
5 ounces maraschino liqueur
5 ounces Cointreau
5 ounces apricot liqueur
10 ounces freshly-squeezed orange juice
2 750-milliliter bottles brut Champagne or sparkling wine
10 to 12 orange slices
1. Fill a large punch bowl halfway full with ice cubes. Add the brandy, maraschino, Cointreau, apricot liqueur, and orange juice. Using a ladle or large spoon, stir briefly.
2. Slowly, slowly, pour the Champagne into the punch bowl. Again, this time a bit more slowly, stir briefly.
3. Add the orange slices, stir once more, and serve in punch glasses, trying to get an orange slice in each glass.
February 10, 2023
Guess what – it’s Valentine’s Friday! At least I think it is, though conceivably that could refer to the Friday after Valentine’s Day (which itself is next Tuesday, dontcha know). But I’d like to think all the young and old lovers in the house are proper prior planners, and so if celebrating a Valentine’s Friday, do it the Friday before when the actual day doesn’t fall properly in line with a weekend. All of which is a roundabout way of saying – here, friend, I have a wonderful drink for your Valentine’s Friday. It’s got bourbon to set the stage and provide that solid base good relationships are based upon. It’s got Kahana Royale Macadamia Nut liqueur, which adds a smidge of sweetness and a lovely layer of roasted macadamia goodness. It’s got cream, which is just the kind of smooth one wants for a romantic eve. And it has maraschino cherries, hiding like a stolen smooch in the bottom of the glass. Yummy and sweet, just like Valentine’s Friday. Oh, this works great on the actual Valentine’s Day, too, if you wondered. And it is scaled up for 2, of course.
The Lover’s Moon, from Dark Spirits
3-1/2 ounces bourbon
3 ounces Kahana Royale Macadamia Nut Liqueur
2 ounces heavy cream
2 maraschino cherries for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the bourbon, macadamia liqueur, and cream. Shake well.
2. Add a cherry to each of two cocktail glasses. Strain the mix into the glasses, making sure each gets its full share. Sure, the cherries will vanish for a minute, but like the moon, they’ll reappear.
January 20, 2023
This pretty amazing gin drink is sadly not one you see around these days – a crying shame, as it’s delish. Let’s work together to bring it back! It’s from the legendary Patrick Gavin Duffy’s Official Mixer’s Manual (1940 edition), one of the big and necessary books from the early-middle of last century. A tome all cocktail lovers should have, me thinks, full of drinks and drink-making history and wisdom (and Duffy’s genial crankiness). This one features a heavy dollop of gin as the base, and then smaller amounts of maraschino, sweet vermouth, and Cointreau. So, you’ll want a gin you’re really fond of: I’m using Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin, whose smooth juniper, citrus, spice, pepper, botanicals, and berries balance is a treat. Add in the nutty maraschino, sweet and orange-y Cointreau, herbal vermouth, and a little lovely lemon oil and you end up with a cocktail fit for, well, a lord!
The Lord Suffolk
2-1/2 ounces Monkey 47 Schwarzwald gin
1/2 ounce Luxardo maraschino
1/2 ounce Cocchi Torino sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce Cointreau
Lemon twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything but the twist. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with the twist. Give a toast to the past, and then the future.