November 9, 2018
I’m just gonna quote one of my favorite headnotes here (I know, I know, vulgar to quote myself, but what the heck), from Good Spirits:
“It’s as if I never left. In a canoe. On the longest river in Europe, the Volga. Ice in every direction. Bears and bear-like animals along the banks. A storm railing against that canoe for every one of the 2,300 miles. Crazy birds circling, waiting for the canoe crash to pick the remains clean from splinters. Water splashing over the sides like a curse. And then the sturgeon with their beady eyes tracing my progress from the deep pockets. The banks birthing jagged rock after jagged rock, taunting me with possible capsize after capsize. But did I worry? No sir, and no ma’am. I poured a Volga and sat backed and smiled. If you’re every stuck on a long river, I suggest doing the same.”
This is made even better if you use Sidetrack Distillery’s Cassis, which is tarty, fruity, and awesome-y.
2 ounces vodka
3/4 ounce cream de cassis
1/2 ounce heavy cream
Two raspberries for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker half way with ice cubes. Add the vodka, cassis, and cream. Shake well.
2. Add the two raspberries to a cocktail glass. Strain the mix into the glass. Za vashe zdorov’ye!
October 26, 2018
Here’s a haunting favorite I hadn’t made recently – which was foolish of me, because it’s a Halloween hit that’s good year round. But, especially due to the headless nature of the eerie moniker, it’s a chillingly good choice this time of year. Luckily, it’s not scary to make, and the taste isn’t scary at all, and your spooky party pals will love it. Heck, they might even say it’s boo-tiful. Hahaha!
Sleepy Hollow, from Good Spirits
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
2-1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce apricot liqueur
1. Add the mint, lemon juice, and simple syrup to a mixing glass or cocktail shaker. Using a muddler or hefty wooden spoon, muddle well.
2. Fill the cocktail shaker or glass halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin and apricot liqueur. Shake well, but don’t lose your head.
3. Strain into a large cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a swizzle stick topped with a plastic head. Or other appropriate Halloween fun.
July 17, 2015
The Princess (created by my wife, Princess Nat) is one of my favorite summer drinks. It clicks all the hot weather boxes: super easy to make, super refreshing, super tasty. Just super. I suggest having one right now, if your locale has temperatures that have risen above, say, 75. Make a bunch, have some friends over, and kick up yer summertime heels. Just don’t forget the suntan lotion. Oh, wait, one thing! Originally, and usually, the Princess has raspberries, but as you’ll see in the below picture, today I’m making it with blueberries. Because they looked better than the raspberries! Hence the Princess B moniker. You can go either way and be assured of loving this drink. Trust me, friends, trust me.
The Princess B (using the recipe from Good Spirits)
1-1/2 ounces limoncello
5 or 6 fresh blueberries
Chilled club soda
1. Fill a Collins glass (or another glass – don’t sweat about it, just adjust the amount of limoncello if needed. You’ll know) three quarters full with ice cubes. Add the limoncello.
2. Fill the glass to about a half-inch from the top with the club soda. Add the fresh blueberries. Stir slowly, but with purpose. Don’t be afraid (actually you’re encouraged) to bust up the berries a little. You want to stir until every ingredient is well combined.
March 21, 2014
I found this beast (in the best way) of a drink in David Embury’s classic The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. However, he doesn’t say where the name is from, and I’ve never managed to track it down in Bible, Talmud, Blake, Milton, Hobbes, or other spot (those all seemed like they could have a Leviathan 477). Where the name comes from is a secret that Mr. Embury may have taken to the big bar in the sky.
One thing on our side, though, that Mr. Embury sadly missed, is Westland Distillery’s new First Peated American single malt whiskey. And probably so will most others (hah) as it’s a limited release. But, the distiller’s regular peated whiskey is soon to follow, and I’ll bet it will also be amazing in this drink. The First Peated has a deep smoky peatedness, but also an underlying chocolate, leather, shortbread mix with little hints of citrus and cherry. It’s a fine whiskey, and one that is delicious solo. You might not even think of it as a spirit to have in cocktails, but let me tell you, mixed into the below it shines and helps deliver a drink worthy of the monstrous name (in the best way, of course).
The Leviathan 477, from Good Spirits
2 ounces Westland First Peated American single malt whiskey
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the remaining ingredients. Shake smoothly.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Sip. Sip. Sip.
March 14, 2014
If you want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a fashion that truly honors the St. and the Irish (and you should), then I have the ideal drink for you: The Dublin 8. This Irish special (by way of the Midwestern U.S.) owes its birth to Jeremy Sidener, bartender extraordinaire and manager of the 8th Street Taproom in Lawrence, KS. It’s a fantastically refreshing drink, one that won’t weigh you down, but it also boasts a ton of flavor. Especially when made with Clontarf 1014 Irish Whiskey.
If you don’t yet know it, Clontarf 1014 Irish whiskey is a triple distilled, bourbon-barrel aged blended beauty. It’s amazingly smooth and sippable, but still carries a solid honey and nutty flavor with hints of oak and citrus, all of which mingles perfectly with the citrus and ginger in this recipe. It’s also named after a famous battle, and carries the slogan “Live Like a Warrior” – which is pretty cool I think. You should definitely try it solo as well as in this drink. (Oh, one last thing – it’s freakishly reasonable on price. Which is a bonus).
Clontarf 1014 is also one of the brands behind the Irish to the Core contest, where you can win a trip to Ireland or $10,000 – both of which sound great to me. So, enter up.
The Dublin 8, from Good Spirits
2 ounces Clontarf 1014 Irish whiskey
3 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice
3 ounces chilled ginger ale or ginger beer
Lime quarter for garnish
Lime slice for garnish
1. Fill a highball glass, or similarly-sized glass, three quarters up with ice cubes. Add the whiskey.
2. Add the orange juice and ginger ale, at the same time, so that we don’t have any arguments over who’s more important to the effort.
3. Squeeze a lime wedge over the glass, and then drop it in. Stir gently. Garnish with the slice of lime.
October 25, 2013
Pals, it’s getting chilly. No way to escape it, in the general sense. But in the specific sense, the best way to escape it is to cuddle up with someone cuddly and have this very drink, which is a warmer meant to be had while cuddling. And yeah, it uses both Drambuie and schnapps, which may bother your snootier sensibilities. But if so, no one wants to cuddly with you anyway and you can ignore this whole thing.
The Late Date, Recipe from Good Spirits
2 ounces Drambuie
1/2 ounce cinnamon schnapps
3-1/2 ounces hot water
1. Add the orange wheel and lemon wheel to a sturdy mug. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, gently muddle the rounds.
2. Add the Drambuie and cinnamon schnapps to the mug. Stir briefly. Add the hot water, and stir again.
June 28, 2013
It’s late June, a sleepy sort of summertime, full of days where waking up early and going to work seems downright silly. Though maybe you have these feelings all the time? Anyway, a good suggestion* for overcoming that feeling is starting things off right with a London Fog – this very drink. For celebrity endorsement, Burgess Meredith used to swear by this concoction as a morning pick-you-up. And Norton Pratt, who edited the Boston Telegram once up a time, says this will cure you when you feel “like a basket of busted bungholes.” I can’t think of anything to say that would top that, so just go make the drink whydontcha?
London Fog (from Good Spirits)
2 ounces gin (something London-y, of course, like Voyager)
1/2 ounce Pernod
1. Add about a cup of cracked ice to a mixing glass or cocktail shaker. Add the gin and Pernod.
2. Stir well (so well that it seems you’re frappe-ing the mix). Pour everything into an Old Fashioned glass. Drink quickly, before the body realizes what’s going on.
*The actual validity of the “good” here varies depending on the job naturally. I’m sure not suggesting you drink before operating heavy machinery. But if you’re just heading to the cubicle farm? Why not?
April 26, 2013
If you didn’t read The Old Curiosity Shop, Part I, you might want to, or just check out all Charles Dickens Spiked Punch posts. Cause I don’t want to take a lot of pre-amble, as this post will have a quote from that classic book, as well as a recipe that relates to the quote (cause I like to have Friday Night Cocktail recipes on Fridays, and wanted to somehow tie it all together. Make sense?). So, here’s the Cocktail Talk, Dickens’ style.
Presently he returned, followed by the boy from the public house, who bore in one hand a plate of bread and beef, and in the other a great pot, filled with some very fragrant compound, which sent forth a grateful steam, and was indeed choice Purl, made after a particular recipes which Mr. Swiveller had imparted to the landlord at a period when he was deep in his books and desirous to conciliate his friendship. Relieving the boy of his burden at the door, and charging his little companion to fasten it to prevent surprise, Mr. Swiveller followed her into the kitchen.
Now, to follow that up, here’s a recipe for Purl from Good Spirits, so you can make your own to sip on while reading Dickens on a cold spring night. Or, to have with friends while you’re acting out scenes from your favorite Dickens’ books. This is something you do, right?
6 ounces porter
6 ounces ale (a pale ale works)
1 ounce gin
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1. Add the porter, ale, and ginger to a small saucepan. Heat over medium-heat, until warm but not boiling.
2. Carefully pour the porter-ale mixture into a pint glass that has been slightly warmed (by running it under warm water).
3. Add the gin. Stir once with a spoon. Sprinkle the freshly grated nutmeg over the top.