August 28, 2020

What I’m Drinking: The Effervescent Snake at the Dentist

Effervescent-Snake-at-the-DentistI gotta admit straight up front that as I’m typing this my dog Ainsley is licking my ear. I also have to admit that this drink is a variation of a drink from Dark Spirits called The Serpent’s Tooth, and while we’re admitting things (or at least while I am), I’ll admit that I can’t quite recall where I first found said Serpent’s Tooth, and while I could go to the library-of-booze-books and look it up, that would then wake up said dog (who has gone from licking my ear to napping), and, well, she needs her rest. So, there we are!

However, I can tell you that this is a some odd assortment of ingredients in a way, and I ended up making it for a Friday Night Cocktail partially because it’s good, but also partially cause I was doing a bit o’ liquor shelves organizing (which can be daunting, between us), and found a couple bottles with just a sip or splash or small stream or two in them, including a bottle of Combier Kümmel. Kümmel, if you don’t happen to know, is the caraway, fennel, cumin (in the main) liqueur that kicked off in Holland way back in the 1500s, and went on to become an Eastern Europe, parts of Western Europe, UK golf club favorite. It hasn’t seen the meteoric rise in the US yet as other once-obscure liqueurs, but I have a fondness for it (along with most things boozy I suppose), a fondness not evidenced by the fact I forgot I had this particular bottle on the shelves nearly empty, but a fact evidenced by me instantly taking a sip and then making this drink with it.

A drink where our nearly-orphaned Kümmel is mixed with an array of items: Irish whiskey (this time, The Quiet Man), Italian vermouth (this time, Punt e’ Mes), and aromatic bitters (this time, The Bitter Housewife). All those ingredients are also in The Serpent’s Tooth, unlike the next one: club soda. As it’s summer, and heated, wanted to turn this into a cooling cooler type of cool, and soda and ice did it. Oh, went with a lemon twist, too, as opposed to the original tooth’s lemon juice. Lighter lemon, I suppose, and it worked a treat. Lots of flavor in this one, bubbling under the surface like an anaconda (with a toothache, if you want to take it there), while still having those, well, bubbles to refresh.

The Effervescent Snake at the Dentist


Cracked ice

2 ounces The Quiet Man Irish whiskey

1 ounce  Combier Kümmel

1/2 ounce Punt e’ Mes vermouth

2 dashes The Bitter Housewife Aromatic bitters

Ice cubes

4 ounces chilled club soda

Lemon twist, for garnish


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


2. Fill a highball or comparable glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Strain the mix from step 1 into the glass and over the ice.


3. Top with the club soda. Stir briefly. Garnish with the twist.


PS: Yes! Those are porcupine quills in the image. I wanted to the use a snake, but couldn’t track one down. A failing, I know.

July 2, 2019

Cocktail Talk: Maigret in Retirement

Paperback A Maigret Christmas BookAnother from our series of Maigret Cocktail Talk posts featuring famous stoic, tall, Parisian Inspector Maigret, created by the celebrated author Georges Simenon, who wrote said Inspector as one who is not shy about having a sip of something boozy here and there. Even when he’s in retirement and not an Inspector (well, really, he’ll always be the tops to his past police pals, and the world at large, which is how he gets involved in this particular post-police case, which a matriarch of a family brings him in to look over a supposed suicide — it’s a sort-of extra long story, which I read in the Maigret’s Christmas collection) at all. Also, he still has some drinks. Including some kümmel with the landlady of a very down-in-the-mouth hotel he is staying at.

“I wouldn’t mind a glass of something,” he had said, sitting down or rather straddling a chair beside her. “What about you Madame Jeanne. What will you take?”

“Nothing, Monsieur. I’d better not drink. Everything upsets me.”

“A tiny drop of liquor?”

“Well, just to keep you company … some kümmel, then. Will you help yourself? The bottles are on the shelf. My legs are so terribly swollen this evening.

Kümmel was her tipple then. And he, too, had drunk kümmel out of politeness. It had left him still feeling queasy. He vowed never to touch a drop of kümmel again in his life.

— Georges Simenon, Maigret in Retirement

January 9, 2015

What I’m Drinking: The Stomach Reviver

A classic cure for gastronomical distress, I’ve featured this favorite on the Spiked Punch blog before. But as it’s such a fine remedy for curing your post-holiday internal ills, and as one or two of you may have missed the earlier post, here it is again, starting your new year off in a fine, tasty, gut-happy way.


The Stomach Reviver

Ice cubes
1 1/2 ounces brandy
1 ounce kümmel
1/2 ounce Fernet Branca
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything, and stir well.

2. Strain the mix into a cocktail glass. Think less full thoughts.

July 2, 2009

The Stomach Reviver Cocktail: In Case You Stuff Yourself This Weekend

It’s a holiday weekend, and you wanna get to it (hopefully yours starts on Friday, like mine), and I wanna get to it, but before then, I wanna drop a quick bit of holiday party science on you. You’re gonna eat too much this weekend (I’m also going for as many “nna” words a possible), but don’t wanna feel like the Blob (the fatty super villain, not the bubbly asteroid spin off). Which is why you should have the fixin’s for a Stomach Reviver on hand, cause it’ll cure your aching tummy, and let you have more fun-na. It goes like this:


Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounce brandy

1 ounce Kümmel

1/2 ounce Fernet Branca

2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters


1. Fill a cocktail shaker half way with ice cubes. Add everything. Shake, strain into a cocktail glass or straight down the ol’ feed hole.


It’s the double bitters (FB and Peychaud’s) I believe, that alleviates that over-full feeling. At least it did for me the other night, after I’d consumed like six pieces of pizza, some salad, a few bread sticks, and probably some ice cream. Who can remember everything? Anyway, I was out of Kümmel (that caraway-and-sometimes-fennel-flavored treat), and so used homemade fennel liqueur, and it went down like a good date gone south. Wait, that sounded bad. I meant that it was really a touch sweet (but not too much) on the front end, and then a touch bitter at the end. I like that. You should too. If you don’t have Kümmel, play around with subbing in another sweetish spiced liqueur, and let me know how it treated you, and what you’re gonna call it (besides wonderful relief, that is).

PS: Check out that rad antique’y shaker I picked up not long ago. It pours like a little teapot. That got tall.

Rathbun on Film