June 1, 2018

What I’m Drinking: The Beach Bubble

June 1st is not the first day of summer, according to any calendars I can find. However, in my mind, June is a part of summer, and that means the first day of June is also a part of summer (this is math, I believe), and so in some ways not on the calendar, today, the first of June, is the first day of summer. Best to celebrate the many sunny days full of sunshine and short shorts that are on the sunny horizon with this bubbly and fruity and rum-y drink. You wouldn’t want summer mad at you, right?

The Beach Bubble

Ice cubes
2 ounces dark rum
2 ounces pineapple juice
1 ounce mango juice
Chilled ginger ale
2 pineapple chunks for garnish

1. Fill a Collins glass or large goblet three-quarters full with ice cubes. Add the rum and juices. Stir, but with respect for the beach’s mellow demeanor.

2. Fill the glass up with ginger ale. Stir, but again, mellow-ly.

3. Spear the pineapple chunks on a toothpick, and float them in the glass (watch out for that toothpick when drinking).

September 5, 2014

What I’m Drinking: Punt e’ Mes Highball

If you’re lucky enough to be sitting outside under some late-summer sun, feeling a wee bit warm, even, and wondering how in the world life could be any finer . . . well, pour yourself one of these and you’ll see how. This is, for sure, in my top ten list of sitting-in-the-sun drinks, one that manages to cool you down without sacrificing any flavor – it has oodles of flavor, actually, an amazing amount thanks to the two ingredients, Italian bitter-kissed sweet vermouth stalwart Punt e’ Mes (from all the way in 1870, for you history buffs), and ginger ale or ginger beer (I used to use the former, but have tried the latter recently with outstanding results). The herbal and spice layers in here are only a wee bit less amazing than the drink’s power to refresh you, when you’re under that sun alluded to earlier.


Punt e’ Mes Highball

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces Punt e’ Mes
3 ounces ginger ale or ginger beer

1. Fill a smallish highball glass or a big rocks glass three-quarter-ish up with ice cubes. Add the Punt e’ Mes.

2. Top with the ginger ale. Stir. Be happy.

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.

May 16, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The ASAP

It’s getting nearer and nearer to summer (which some dread, some pine for, and some – like me – are happy when it’s here but don’t miss it when it’s gone). My advice in these pre-summer days (outside of buying some new short shorts)? Get ready for the rising of Mercury by putting a few new new drinks into your hot-weather repertoire. A good start would be the ASAP. It contains the requisite bubbly, tangy, refreshing nature, and also has a heck of a shot of rum in it – which I find helps summer trot smoothly through its paces as well.


The ASAP (from Dark Spirits)

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces dark rum
1/2 ounce Falernum
1/2 ounce Tuaca
1/2 ounce fresh pineapple juice
Chilled ginger ale
Lime slice for garnish

1. Fill a highball glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Add the rum, Falernum, Tuaca, and pineapple juice. Stir, but only twice.

2. Top the glass off with ginger ale. Stir once more. Garnish with the lime slice.

December 17, 2013

Cocktail Talk: The Case of the Velvet Claws

velvet-clawsMy wishy-washy-ness with Erle Stanley Gardner, and his version of Perry Mason, as well as my love of Perry Mason-as-played-by-Raymond-Burr, have been detailed on this blog in the past. So, I won’t weigh into them here (no need for me to get haunted anyway). But I still can’t stay away from his books when I find them in their pocket-sized printings, cause the covers tend to be so darn swell. And the insides certainly aren’t bad, and usually contain nuggets of joy like the below.

He went to the room, pulled the curtains, ordered four bottles of ginger ale, with plenty of ice, and got a quart of whiskey from the bell boy. Then he sat in the overstuffed chair, with his feet on the bed, and smoked.

The Case of the Velvet Claws, Erle Stanley Gardner

August 23, 2013

What I’m Drinking: The Portofino

It was recently my mother’s 75th birthday (yay mom!), and she had quite the wing-ding to celebrate, with oodles of friends and family in attendance, and lots of delicious edibles, and some piano playing, and some singing, and some toasting. I also made drinks for everyone, and we went with a little Italian-styled, or at least Italian-touched, menu of three drinks. One of those was the Portofino, a drink I hadn’t had since putting together the recipes for Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz. It ended up being the favorite of the evening, I think because, well, it’s a tasty drink, sure, but also because it’s such a fine, fine bubbly beauty for August, when the weather is hot. The Italian part of the drink comes out in the name (which is a small port city in Genoa), as well as the addition of Italian aperitif champion Aperol. The neat thing – I believe – is that the drink also has a dose of Pimm’s No. 1 Cup in it. That’s not only neat because it references the days when English sailors used to dock in the port city the drink’s named after, but also because the day before my mom’s 75th birthday party, I returned from a two-week sojourn in jolly old England, where Pimm’s, of course, is from.


The Portofino

Ice cubes

2 ounces Pimm’s No. 1 Cup

1 ounce Aperol

Chilled ginger ale

Orange wedge, for garnish

1. Fill a highball glass three quarters up with ice cubes. Add the Pimm’s and Aperol and stir briefly.

2. Fill the glass almost to the top with ginger ale. Stir again and garnish with the orange wedge.

March 15, 2013

What I’m Drinking: The Snow Ball

As we’re leaving winter in the rear view mirror, it’s become less painful to think about – and easier to consume the brandy-y sipper that’s called the Snow Ball. What’s funny about it, really, is that this drink is a very refreshing bubbly bit of beauty, suited for the springtime (and summer, too, but that’s still a few months away) like flowers, romance, and crackerjacks. Because it has an egg in it, you can also feel good serving this up for breakfast, as long as you use this recipe from Dark Spirits.

Snow Ball

Ice cubes

2 ounces brandy

1 ounce Simple Syrup

1 egg

Chilled ginger ale

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the brandy, simple syrup, and egg. Shake very well.

2. Fill a Collins glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Strain the well-shaken mix over the ice.

3. Top the glass off with ginger ale. Stir, but calmly.

December 17, 2010

What I’m Drinking: Punt e Mes Highball

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: most times (that makes it sound sort folksy), most times I say, the simple things are the finest. Example A: I picked up a bottle of Punt e Mes (you probably know this, but it’s a particular Italian vermouth, fragrant and citrus and herbal in action) at one of my local stores here in Italy recently, and instead of getting all jiggy with it, poured it simple over ice, and then topped it with ginger ale (the Conad, which is a line of stores here, house brand, which is quite dandy, dry and ginger-tastic). An orange slice might have made it better, but you know what? It was a fine aperitif even without said slice. And so simple. You should make one yourself. Right now:

Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounces Punt e Mes

3 ounces ginger ale


1. Fill a highball glass three-quarter-ish up with ice cubes. Add the Punt e Mes. Top with the ginger ale. Stir. Be happy for simple things.


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