November 7, 2014

What I’m Drinking: Royal Cocktail #4

royal-4Many say 3 is a magic number. Then there’s the rule of 3. 3 rings to bind them. Etc. Etc. 3 must have an awfully big head. Even in Patrick Gavin Duffy’s Official Mixer’s Manual (1940 edition) there are 3 Royal Cocktails. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for 3s. But c’mon! Doesn’t anyone feel bad for 4? I did, and so I concocted the Royal Cocktail #4. And if that wasn’t enough, I used the lovely Sidetrack Blueberry Liqueur to do it. Deliciously 4.

Royal Cocktail #4

Cracked ice
1 ounce Sidetrack Blueberry Liqueur
1 ounce Voyager gin
1 ounce Dolin dry vermouth

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything. Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Drink royally.

July 25, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The McCutcheon Cocktail with G’Vine Floraison Gin

applegreensRecently, I was browsing again through Applegreen’s Bar Book, a book sized to fit in your vest or shirt pocket, by a guy named John Applegreen, printed first in 1899. I’ve gone through it many times before, but like a lot of old bar books, I still love looking it over. And sometimes I find gems I missed or didn’t make before. The McCutcheon Cocktail is one of those very gems.

It’s a gin-based drink, and I decided to go with G’Vine’s Floraison gin, which is a small batch gin made in the Cognac region of France, and crafted from neutral spirits distilled from grapes. The juniper is there, but subtle, and mingling with a strong grape-ness (in a good way) and other floral notes leading into spices (chamomile and ginger and a few more). It’s has enough going on that it can play well with other herbal mixers (though really, try it solo, too), which is why it seemed – and is – an ideal gin for this unburied treasure of a cocktail, a cocktail which also contain both dry and sweet vermouth (I went with Dolin for the dry, and Carpano for the sweet) and a bit of maraschino and orange bitters. I went with Scrappy’s on the bitters, in a local shout out. It’s a beauty of a drink, and here’s a toast for Mr. Applegreen for introducing me to it, at whatever afterlife bar he’s shaking and stirring at.


The McCutcheon

Cracked ice
1-1/2 ounces G’Vine Floraison gin
3/4 ounce Dolin dry vermouth
3/4 ounce Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
1 dash maraschino liqueur
1 dash Scrappy’s orange bitters

1. Fill a mixing glass or cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything (be careful on your dash of maraschino, you don’t want to go too heavy). Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Dream of the late 1800s, and France.

May 30, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Foppa

Another in the get-yourself-ready-for-summer-drinking category, this bubbly number is from the Italian book Cocktails: Classici & Esotici (Demetra, 2002), and definitely gets around, thanks to its thirst-quenching-but-still-strong mix of Scotch, Italian amaretto, dry vermouth (sometimes known as French vermouth), and ginger ale. That’s a trip in a glass people. The original version of this recipe suggests single-malt Scotch, but I like using a nice blended version, which I think works well with the other ingredients (something like Dewar’s is a dandy choice). It also suggests using Disaronno amaretto, which traces its secret recipe back to 1525. This is a suggestion you should follow.

The Foppa (from Dark Spirits)

Ice Cubes
1-1/2 ounces Scotch
1/2 ounce Disaronno amaretto
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
Chilled ginger ale

1. Fill a highball glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Add the Scotch, amaretto, and vermouth. Stir with a long spoon.

2. Top the glass off with ginger ale. Stir again.

February 14, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Rose

It’s Valentine’s Day – let me give you a little quoted advice*:

Showing up with a dozen limp red roses picked up last-minute on Valentine’s Day garners only a thumbs-down from a romantic dearest (if not a door slammed in the face, or a slap, or an invitation to spend the night on the couch). However, you can show that love how much you care and start the evening right by swapping the limp flowers for a liquid Rose and having it ready when he or she walks in the door (or when you show up at his or her door).

This Valentine’s Day maker-better is from Ginger Bliss and Violet Fizz, too!



Cracked ice
2 ounces dry vermouth
1 ounce kirsch
1 ounce Chambord
Maraschino cherry, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the vermouth, kirsch, and Chambord. Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass and add the cherry.

*Funny enough, I’m quoting myself. But hey, I’m funny.

November 8, 2013

What I’m Drinking: Perfect

perfect2Sometimes, a drink name says it all. In this case: Perfect. Does that mean I think this is the perfect cocktail, always and for every situation and second? Nah. But I do think it carries a kind of perfection, and for those days when you feel neither 100% sweet or dry, it certainly matches the mood. For those reasons, and during those seasons, sure, this one’s vermouth balance does indeed equal the name: Perfect.

Perfect Cocktail (recipe from Good Spirits)

Ice cubes 1-1/2 ounces gin (Voyager gin is pretty swell here)

3/4 ounce dry vermouth (might as well double up and go Dolin for both vermouths)

3/4 ounce sweet vermouth

Orange or lemon slice for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker half way with ice cubes. Add the gin first, and then the vermouths. Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with either an orange or lemon slice (I’ve seen it both ways, and go depending on my mood).

September 13, 2013

Cocktail to Cocktail Hour V4, One, The Kick-Off Cocktail

Holy Toledo! Everyone who’s been holding your breath can now exhale – the new season of the Cocktail to Cocktail Hour is finally upon us. They (those bastardos) said it couldn’t be done, said that the Cocktail to Cocktail Hour was too radicool, too awesome, too tasty for modern T.V. – but they were wrong. To prove it, the first episode of the new season, where I teach you have to make the Kick-Off, a combination of gin, dry vermouth, anisette, Benedictine, and Angostura. Get to it, y’all!

August 30, 2013

What I’m Drinking: Marguerite

A week ago today, I put up a Friday night drink called the Portofino, which was a drink I made for my mother’s 75th birthday party. One of the other drinks (there were three) was the Marguerite. As mentioned in that earlier post, I was slightly angling the drinks the Italian way, and the Italian connection here is anisette – specifically Meletti anisette, which is one of the finest sippers I know. I blogged more about it on a specific Meletti post, so go catch up if you missed it. Then, when back, make this drink. It has an interesting balance, as it’s equal parts gin and vermouth, but the end result is awfully wonderful (oh, the recipe is from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz, if you wondered).


The Marguerite

Cracked ice

1-1/4 ounces gin

1-1/4 ounces dry vermouth

1/4 ounce anisette

Thin lemon slice for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the gin, vermouth, and anisette. Stir well.

2. Strain the mix into a cocktail glass or comparable glass

3. Give the lemon slice a small squeeze over the glass then drop it in.

April 12, 2013

What I’m Drinking: The Trocadero

Sometimes, you can’t improve on genius. You can try, sure, but, well, you’ll fail. Which is why instead of writing some new post about the Trocadero, I’m just going to quote myself, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz:

We think often of dry and sweet vermouth of being like Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier fighting it relentlessly in Zaire, or like two large dogs gnawing on one big bone in the backyard (the bone here would equal a bar, if you don’t mind following a thinly stretched metaphor). This train of thought though, is out of wack. We should think of the vermouths more like A.J. and Rick Simon, brother detectives who are very different in style, dress, and tone of voice, but working together to solve a crime (the crime here is, as you might guess, the crime of a bad drink).

The Trocadero

Cracked ice

1-1/2 ounce dry vermouth

1-1/2 ounce sweet vermouth

1 dash orange bitters

1/4 ounce grenadine (I suggest making your own – there’s a recipe in the book by the by)

Lemon twist for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the vermouths at the same time to show no favoritism, and then the bitters and the grenadine. Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon twist.

PS: Sure, I just called my own writing genius. But I was being silly, silly.

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