March 3, 2017
You know this, I know this, everybody knows this – I believe good drinks should have good names, and when creating drinks you need to create names too. Okay, that’s out of the way. But here, really, the change is so minor! The Cactus Berry is a favorite spring-and-early-summer drink of mine, from Wine Cocktails, and as I was dreaming of spring recently, I decided it would be a perfect fit for today. But, it usually uses Merlot (along with tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice), and I didn’t have such. But I did have a bottle of Donini Settegrappoli, which is an Italian red, rich, lush, full of body, perhaps I think the best red wine in the world. If I can go a little overboard (admittedly, Donini is my favorite winery in the world, too). So, I thought it might be perfect. And guess what? I was right! You can be right, too, if you try this drink.
The Italian Cactus Berry (mostly from Wine Cocktails)
1-1/2 ounces Donini Settegrappoli Italian red wine (or another amazing wine)
1-1/2 ounces tequila (blanc, usually)
3/4 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
Lime wedge, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the wine, tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice. Shake well.
2. Strain the mix into a cocktail glass through a fine strainer. Garnish with the lime wedge and serve.
April 29, 2016
It may have been eight years since I’ve sipped this particular refresher – that’s a long time and a long number of drinks. But we’ve had a bit of northwest spring heat wave lately, demanding that something effervescent like this be unveiled, and I was reading Justice Society (okay, I’m making an Hour Glass to Hour Man leap, but you get me, I know), and, well, one thing led to another. It’s a good drink, too, interesting without being affrontive. If you feel badly about Cognac-ing here, then I’d say don’t be so darn stuffy. Haha, but seriously folks, feel free to sub in a nice brandy as you will. Whatever doesn’t overheat you, friend, and whatever makes the hours pass in a lovely manner.
The Hour Glass
1 ounce Cognac
3/4 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce absinthe
Chilled club soda
Lemon twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the Cognac, Cointreau, and absinthe. Stir well.
2. Fill a highball glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Strain the mixture over the ice, and then fill the glass with club soda (unless it’s a large-ish highball, then just go up three-quarters of the way).
3. Squeeze the lemon twist over the glass and drop it in.
January 26, 2016
I don’t know much about pulp-y early-and-mid-1900s author Horace McCoy, best known probably for a book called They Shoot Horse, Don’t They?, and a few other hits. It’s always nice to delve into a new noir-y legend though – just opens up more lovely hours of reading. I started with his shorter book, I Should Have Stayed Home, which was maybe less noir-y then the title made me think, but a really good look at Hollywood from the less-bright-lights side in the 1930s-ish time frame. It made me excited for more McCoy’s, and the below made me thirsty.
She had coffee and brandy in the living room and she poured Cointreau for me. It was sweet and pleasant. She taught me how to drink this too. She was patient and quiet and very nice. I couldn’t believe this was the same woman who had been so wild that afternoon in Mona’s bungalow, that time with Lally.
–Horace McCoy, I Should Have Stayed Home
August 21, 2015
Before you say anything – I know I’ve featured this drink-named-after-an-Olympic-fencer on the Spiked Punch blog before! I know it, and that’s okay, me thinks, because it’s such a fine drink that naturally it would be What I’m Drinking more than once. Also, a reader and drinker named sassy Scott has been hankering after more Campari drinks (even if he hasn’t directly requested it, he has talked about his love of Campari drinks, and from that I surmised he probably needs some other options). So, with all that said, here we are, the Lucien Gaudin. En garde!
1 ounce gin
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce Campari
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
Orange twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the gin, Cointreau, Campari, and dry vermouth. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the orange twist.
March 31, 2015
We are now onto the third Cocktail Talk post featuring drinky talk from a book by Henry Kane. Please, please, for the love of all that’s dear to you, go back and read Part I and Part II, because you’ll only kick yourself when you miss them. Though the below may be my favorite, just cause you don’t see Sidecars come up in literature that often – and you need to savor them when they do!
I pursed my lips. I said, ‘Two sidecars.’
We sipped and looked at each other and set them down.
‘Let’s pay and leave,’ Edith said. ‘Mine stinks. And you look like yours does, too. Sacrilege. I’m going home. Got work.’
I put her into a taxi.
‘Bye, Red. Be seeing you.’
I walked home and went straight to the kitchen and fused lemon and Cointreau and cognac and in the living room I lapsed into beautiful beatitude.
–Henry Kane, Martinis and Murder
March 3, 2015
I’ve had three different Charles Williams Cocktail Talk posts, and you should go read them all. All of them! Both cause you’ll be able to learn a little more about this master of thriller/pulp/mystery writing, and cause then I don’t have to go through it all again. You don’t want me to be repetitive, right? Anywho, I have a fair amount of Charles Williams’ books, enough that I’m always worried I won’t be able to find more – but then super happy when I do, as I recently when I picked up The Wrong Venus. It’s a rollicking read, which starts on a high note and never really lets up until the last page. What does that mean? If you like books that move fast, this one’s for you. And it also has a great scene with both Cointreau and crème de menthe. Really!
‘Do you have any Cointreau?’
‘Cointreau?’ It was obvious she thought he was crazy.
‘You do sell liquor on these flights, don’t you?’
‘Yes, of course . . . But with this turbulence, naturally we couldn’t bring the cart through. And we don’t have any Cointreau anyway.’
‘Then crème de menthe?’
‘Y-e-e-s, I think so. But I’m afraid only the white . . .’
He was conscious again of time hurtling past him, but managed a reassuring smile. ‘It’s all right. I only drink in the dark.’
–Charles Williams, The Wrong Venus
October 10, 2014
This drink sounds ominous. Who is the they here? Aliens? Dogs? The people of Prince Namor who live under the sea? That young couple that lives up the block and gets just a little loud with their parties sometimes? I mean, jeez, it’s a residential neighborhood people, we don’t need to hear your love of Katy Perry at midnight, do we? And could you clean up those cans of cheap light beer for gawd’s sake. Make this cocktail instead. Trust me. It’ll make your eventual rule of earth much tastier.
They Shall Inherit the Earth, Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce Bénédictine
1 ounce brandy
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the Cointreau, Bénédictine, brandy, and lemon juice. Shake well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass.
August 1, 2014
This refreshing number with a kick will not make you younger, or provide you (after you drink, say, three) with a vision that takes you to the fountain of youth. However, however, however, if you do consume three, with a good friend or two, my guess is you’ll start acting a bit more youthful, and feel perhaps more youthful, and have a generally awesome time. Maybe we shouldn’t ask for more?
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 the elixir into a cocktail glass. Fill the glass not quite to the top with the Champagne. Serve with a youthful grin.