November 17, 2017
This is not a spelling error (not that I don’t make those a lot); if you didn’t know, there really is a drink called The Zazarac. It wants you to know that it, while not renowned and legendary and all that, it in its own way is also worthy of your attention, much like its very distant cousin (though maybe not the same amount of attention, admittedly). It has a rare rye and rum combo, some friendly supporting players in anisette (go Meletti) and absinthe and Angostura and orange bitters (go Regan’s), and takes the edges off with a splash of simple, and tops things with a twist. Will it have you stopping your Sazerac consumption? Nope. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a sip.
The Zazarac, from Dark Spirits
1-1/2 ounces rye
3/4 ounce white rum
3/4 ounce anisette
3/4 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce absinthe
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash Regan’s orange bitters
Lemon twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rye, rum, anisette, syrup, absinthe, and both bitters. Shake well.
2. Strain into a large cocktail glass. Garnish with the twist and a nod to all the lesser-known family members.
January 6, 2017
Still thinking about what that perfect resolution for 2017 might be? Wavering between tired old standbys like losing weight, writing letters, wearing cooler socks, and reading more? Okay, wait, those are all great – do all of those. But also, let me propose another righteous resolution. Drink more vermouth. Vermouth, so often relegated to a sidekick or less, is making I believe a comeback, or in-roads, in a more serious way in the U.S. of A. Get on the train now, before the train is out of the station with all the vermouth in it. And a terrific way to tot up your vermouth-ing is with this very cocktail, The Trocadero, which uses both dry and sweet vermouths. It was never so easy to hold to a resolution.
The Trocadero, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz
1-1/2 ounce dry vermouth
1-1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
1/4 ounce homemade grenadine
Lemon twist for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the vermouths, bitters, and grenadine. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon twist.
June 17, 2016
This tequila champion takes its name from a quote from General Ignacio Zaragoza, who commanded the forces at the battle of Puebla (where he, in a massive upset, won the day, and that winning is what is celebrated on Cinco de Mayo, but just because that’s a fact, it doesn’t mean that you should only have this drink then. No, no, no! This drink is good anytime. Know that, and you can skip the whole upset thing, and just be happy). It uses the swell Corralejo Tequila Reposado as its base, a tequila crafted out of 100% blue agave, and then said tequila is aged in American oak for at least three months. The end result is a smooth agave-spice-caramel flavor that mingles dreamily with sweet vermouth, orange bitters, and a hint of citrus in this very drink.
The National Arms
1-1/2 ounces Corralejo Tequila Reposado
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1/4 ounce lemon juice
2 dashes orange bitters
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the tequila, vermouth, juice, and bitters. Shake well.
2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon twist.
June 19, 2015
I found this Scottish affair in an excellent little bound book called A Guide to Pink Elephants, Volume II (Richards Rosen Associates, 1957). It’s fairly close to a few drinks that are perhaps more famous – the Rob Roy of course, which has Angostura bitters instead of orange bitters, and a slightly different vermouth to Scotch ratio. As well as the Bobby Burns, though a little farther afield in cousinhood. But the taste here, because of those differences, is slightly sweeter and with a different bitter-and-herbal-y hint. It may seem an odd one during June, but, hey, I’m an odd one! I like a strong drink in summer sometimes, as well as the bubbly refreshing ones. Also, having a drink I found in a book with pink elephants in the title is never bad. Never.
The Highland Fling
2 ounces Scotch
1 ounces sweet vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the Scotch, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Stir well.
2. Strain the mix into a cocktail glass.
December 5, 2014
Sometimes you have bad days. Sometimes you have busy days. Sometimes you have busy weeks. Here’s hoping you don’t have bad weeks that combine all the above. But if you do, well, this may well be the drink for you. But it’s also just a darn good drink, one that has layers and layers of flavors happening, and depth galore. It utilizes a lot of Seattle-area ingredients, so stock up next time you’re out this way (though many are them are available in other areas, too, and more all the time, thankfully). And one key Italian pal, too.
The Mean Season
1-1/2 ounces Seattle Distilling Company whiskey
1 ounce Seattle Distilling Company coffee liqueur
1/2 ounce Cynar
2 dashes Scrappy’s orange bitters
1 dash Scrappy’s cardamom bitters
Lemon twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with ice cubes. Add everything but the twist. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the twist.
April 11, 2014
Argh, shiver me timbers, and yo-ho-ho. If the Captain’s Blood is flowing across the mizzenmast, it may be time to give up the ship. Or invite the marauders over, where you can splice the mainbrace in proper fashion–eye-patches, peg-legs, cutlasses, and black hats required. And if you think I know what that means, you are a very tipsy pirate. Which, I suppose, is the only way to be.
Oh, also, this makes a good drink if you’re watching any pirate movie, taking a bath with some sort-of floating ships in the bath with you, or watching BATTLESHIP, BATTLESHIP, BATTLESHIP. Heck, it’s just a good drink.
Captain’s Blood, from Good Spirits
2-1/2 ounces Sun Liquor barrel-aged rum
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
2 dashes orange bitters
Lime slice, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, bitters, and lime juice. Shake matey, shake.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the lime slice.
February 29, 2012
Sometimes, you have a little secret that you like to hold close like a puppy (one I have is that I actually don’t drink. Nah, I’m kidding. How does the fact that I’m a Martin Lawrence devotee work?). Sometimes, you have a larger secret that’s oodles of fun that you can’t tell but that you hold close to youself to like a favorite key (naturally I have these, but I surely can’t tell you about them). And then, sometimes you’re associated with a great big secret, like this recipe, or like when you get abducted by aliens and discover leap year is an alien plot, or when you wear a cape and fight crime at night using mystical powers. Of course, now this delicious recipe isn’t a secret at all, since I’m telling you it to you. But it’s still great. And we’re still sharing it. So, that’s something almost as good, right?
2 ounces gin
1 ounce Lillet Blanc
Dash of Angostura bitters
Orange twist, for garnish
Orange slice, for garnish (optional, used instead of above twist)
1. Fill a mixing glass or cocktail shaker with cracked ice. Add the gin, Lillet, and bitters. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Twist the twist over the glass and then drop it in. Shhhhh.
PS: Though this Great Secret is featured in Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz (a beautiful book you should really have), I found it in Patrick Gavin Duffy’s The Official Mixer’s Manual (Alta, 1934).
October 18, 2010
When we moved to Italy (and, for the almost last time, if you haven’t yet, check my blog Six Months In Italy out to find information on that), we naturally had to make stopping by a grocery store one of the first things we did. Since we’ll be here awhile, we (and our bank accounts) can’t treat it like a vacation and go out to eat every night. And since wife Nat and I both dig being at the stove, it’d be silly not to cook at home, too. And, we couldn’t go without stocking up our liqueur supply either, to start to create a little home bar. I’m sure it’ll expand quickly, but for this starter trip, we solely picked up bottles of our two favorites: Aperol (Nat) and Strega (me). Of such bold beginnings will cocktail history be made. For now, though, what was made and is being made is a drink I call the “Stock-in-Trade.” Cause it uses what we have in stock, and it’s what we’ll make for the Italians to trade for cheese. That at least sounds fun.
One note: I forget to mention in the Six Bar Tools I Took to Italy post below that I also brought what will become (and has become already, really) essential for the Italian home bar, a little traveler’s set of The Bitter Truth bitters. Pal Debbi gave it to me before I left, and it contains little bottles of celery bitters, creole bitters, Bittermens mole bitters, old time aromatic bitters, and orange bitters, which are utilized in the below recipe. The Stock-In-Trade may shade a tad much on the sweet side for some, but it’s a solid sunshine-day recipe, with herbal hints coming at the end of each sip.
1-1/2 ounces Aperol
1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 ounce Strega
1 dash Bitter Truth orange bitters
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the Aperol, orange juice, Strega, and bitters. Shake well.
2. Strain into a cocktails glass, or a pretty wine glass if that’s what’s handy.