July 3, 2020
This lesser-known (but awesome) drink from days of yore feels appropriate in many ways for this weekend (named after the sound bombs made and all that), and it is incredibly tasty (and sorta surprising when you look at the list of ingredients), and a drink if you haven’t made you sure should try, but, but, but, listen, I don’t want to soapbox, but I really am not a big 4th of July fan. Not the, oh, sentiment I suppose, but going overboard with the fireworks. As a long-time dog owner, and as someone with the belief that dogs are, actually, a higher species than humans (in the main), and knowing how said fireworks can drive, and do drive, dogs insane, then you can see why I don’t enjoy the holiday, or the days around it.
On the other hand, this is why I need a good drink, and why I’m having a Whizz Bang. A curiously explosive number, this time I’m starting with Woodinville Whiskey Co. bourbon, which is local (support your locals!), award-winning, and tasty. I’ve had this drink made with a smooth Scotch, and that’s not a bad idea. However, it being the fourth and all, wanted to stay more American, and the Woodinville is a treat. Next up: dry vermouth. You don’t see enough whiskey and dry vermouth combos, and even rarer (I think? I could be wrong) is that combo with anise-y Pernod! I believe this may have originally been made with absinthe, before the big silly oh-no-scary-absinthe moment in history, but I’ve grown to love the Pernod here, so we’ll stick with it. And we’re still going! Next up: grenadine. This drink only works with really good grenadine (it somehow brings it all together), so make your own, or have a friend make some good grenadine and convince them to give you some. That’s what I did! Our final sparkly addition is orange bitters, for those herbal undertones. I went with Scrappy’s orange bitters, cause it’s, well, sparkly! Altogether, the Whizz Bang’ll make any weekend shine. Maybe have one or two, with some pals, and skip exploding things and terrorizing pups? Just an idea!
The Whizz Bang
1-1/2 ounces Woodinville Whiskey Co. bourbon
3/4 ounce dry vermouth
1/4 ounce Pernod
1/4 ounce homemade grenadine
2 dashes Scrappy’s orange bitters
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the bourbon, vermouth, Pernod, grenadine, and orange bitters. Shake well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass and give your dog a pet.
April 14, 2020
Okay, okay, okay, I have to have one more Cocktail Talk from the bountiful holiday bounty that is The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries. If you missed the first two winter-holiday-in-spring Cocktail Talks, then roll back in time with Christmas Mystery Cocktail Talk #1 and Christmas Mystery Cocktail Talk #2. Good? Cheerful with holiday cheer? Good? Then it’s time for a little Santa bartender thanks to Rex Stout, his legendary detective Nero Wolfe, and the story “Christmas Party” – at this Christmas party, there’s some merriment, and then some murder, as you’d expect. And some Pernod! You probably didn’t expect that, but see the below (and get The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries).
“I can stand a sip, Al.”
“But you won’t enjoy it. Wait.” Kiernan put his glass on the bar and marched to the door on the left and on out. In five seconds, he was back, with a bottle in his hand, and as he rejoined us and asked Santa Claus for a glass I saw the Pernod label. He pulled the cork, which had been pulled before, filled the glass halfway, and held it out to Bottweill. “There,” he said. “That will make it unanimous.”
“Thanks Al,” Bottweill took it. “My secret public vice.”
— Rex Stout, Christmas Party
August 13, 2019
If you missed The Two-Penny Bar Part I
, be sure to catch up on your brandy – and reading – and for that matter, don’t miss a one of the many mighty Maigret Cocktail Talks
, cause they are full of boozy jolly-ness, and will point you to many a classic read by George Simenon. This book (as it says on the back) that goes into the “sleazy underbelly of respectable Parisian life,” is too good, too, for just one Cocktail Talk post, especially because this second one has the good Inspector Maigret a little over-indulged on one of his favorite tipples – but this book does center around a bar!
“What are you drinking?” he heard a voice ask. “A large Pernod?”
The very word was enough to remind him of the week gone by, the Sunday get-togethers of the Morsang crowd, the whole disagreeable case.
“A beer,” he replied.
“At this hour?”
The well-meaning waiter who had offered him the aperitif was taken aback at the force of Maigret’s response.
May 10, 2019
Do you go through phases in your cocktail-and-spirit-sipping? I’m sure you do, though admittedly I know some who have the same drink every time, year round, and I myself when younger probably had a lot of the same drinks. For some, it’s their signature I suppose. And then some have drinks via seasons, or occasions. And you know what? All those are fine, as long as you’re having fun! Fun is good! I, myself, now-a-days, often go through phases where I’ll have more of a certain spirit, or brand, even, sometimes solo, sometimes in cocktails. Recently, I’ve been on a bit of a Pernod jag, for example, having it over ice, or neat, or in drinks like this one!
In which, I took what may seem a step into the unknown, as I mixed it with underutilized (in the main, I’ve found, though perhaps here and there inroads are happening, and naturally this doesn’t go to the Nordic regions) spirit aquavit, specifically Wintersun aquavit, made out here in WA, specifically (again) in Everett, by Bluewater distillery. Wintersun has a swell balance, with that traditional caraway mingling with aniseed and orange, all on an organic grain spirit base.
That flavor profile seemed like it’d play well with Pernod, but something more was needed, and I went with French aperitif pineau de charentes, specifically (one more time!) Chateau D’orignac pineau de charentes, made from Cognac and lightly fermented Merlot and Cabernet Sav grapes, and aged in oak five years. The result is a citrus, floral, fruity delight, which goes (delightfully) with the other two members of our trio in this curiously-named drink, which is also curiously-light, with anise, orange, and spice undertones.
Now and Then a Porcupine
1-1/2 ounces Bluewater Wintersun aquavit
1/2 ounce Pernod
3/4 ounce Chateau D’orignac pineau de charentes
Wide orange twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything, and still well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with that wide orange twist. Drink up.
April 16, 2019
My love of, and diving into, the George Simenon Maigret canon has been well documented here on the Spiked Punch, with loads of Simenon Cocktail Talks
that you should go back and read and love. This one here, the newest as I write this at least, cause I’m sure they’ll be more, sees our man Maigret drawn into the wacky world of Parisian (and France, in general) politics, which he doesn’t always enjoy, but which it’s fun to see him navigate and he tried to unravel a corruption case. As usual, he and his team have an assortment of drinks along the way, starting with some sloe gin, but leaning heaviest I believe into Pernod.
And Maigret felt slightly guilty vis-à-vis his two colleagues. Lapointe too must have realized by now what it was all about.
“A beer?” suggested Maigret.
“No. A Pernod.”
And that too was out of character for Lucas. They waited for the drinks to be served, and then continued in hushed tones.
–George Simenon, Maigret and the Minister
January 8, 2019
When a new year begins, I always think of the below quote (which has been featured on here before, but I was just thinking about it, and it is
such a good quote, that I believe having it on here once more is only doing a service to the world, and, as such, is okay), because it reminds me that my life, while swell, could always be swell-er, and that until I find myself in a situation like the below quote details, I can always aim higher, do better, and keep working to make an even better life, starting this very year. Now if I can just find a monkey.
I remember, for example, being taken to see a neurotic Frenchman who was staying there with his wife, and vividly recall Sunday morning in his suite, the wireless resounding to a clergyman’s voice reading the Lesson, while we drank Pernod, and a Pekinese tried in vain to seduce a monkey.
–Anthony Powell, “A Bottle of Wine at the Cavendish,” from The Compleat Imbiber 6
May 13, 2016
This drink has one of the truly adorable classic-y drink monikers in my humble opinioning. Well, the original does, meaning Maiden’s Blush, the first. That coy cocktail (if you don’t know) features gin, orange curacao, grenadine, and lemon juice, and is a mixture surely fit for most maiden’s a-blushing. Which may be all, as I think maidens and young ladies (and perhaps not-as-young) do blush a little, even in these rough-and-tumble days. However, my lords and ladies and maidens and non-maidens, today we are sipping on, and blushing about, the lesser-known Maiden’s Blush #2. Actually, I think the name is just as good, as it calls to mind that second maiden, the one that’s a tad overlooked at first, because she’s a bit bookish, and not so la-de-da, and she wears her hair back, and her gown isn’t cut up the thigh, and she has a pair of cat’s eye glasses on. I sorta like her. And I like this drink, though admittedly it’s not for all, due to the decent-sized dollop of Pernod in it, alongside the gin and grenadine. It works, though, if you sway towards things like Pernod, as long as you use decent (and by that I mean: homemade) grenadine, which has a tangy berry-ness that balances everything. If all that wasn’t enough, the famous Harry Craddock (famous in an early-19th-century-bar-star way, plus the author of the Savoy Cocktail Book) said about this drink, “on the principle that if you first don’t succeed, cry, cry again.”
Maiden’s Blush #2
1-1/2 ounces gin (I say use Seattle Distilling Company gin)
1 ounce Pernod
3/4 ounces homemade grenadine
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything. Shake well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Begin the blushing.
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?