This cocktail is similar to Between the Sheets but lighter and more citric—closer to the Daiquiri. I tried it with Cruzan and with 10 Cane. The latter was more successful, and very tasty, though I’d like to keep experimenting.
I don’t know if the Prince George Hotel actually served the Prince George, though if the figures in the illustration were typical customers, it definitely would’ve been popular.
1 1/2 oz light rum 3/4 oz Grand Marnier 3/4 oz lime juice
Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
I enjoy aquavit and like exploring its range. Tonight, the bottle I happen to have around the house is Linie from Norway. It travels by ship around the globe, past the Equator (the Linie) to Australia, and back to Norway. The flavor is soft, elegant and well-suited to shots (snaps). I’ve tried it in a few cocktails and find that its mildness is easily overpowered, but this Old-Fashioned lets the spirits come through.
2 oz Linie aquavit 1/2 tsp sugar, dissolved in a small splash of hot water 2 dashes Regans’ orange bitters lemon peel
Muddle the sugar, water, lemon peel and bitters together. Add an ice cube or two and spirits.
I just got back from a great trip to Portland, Oregon, where my buddy Matthew and I dropped in at the cocktail hour to say hello to Jeffrey Morganthaler at Clyde Common. He and Ansel, the other gent behind the stick, showed us a great time.
As usual in a fine cocktail bar, I wanted everything on the menu, but happily settled on the Norwegian Wood, an aquavit-applejack combo with Cinzano Rosso, Chartreuse and bitters. A mellow, complex, herbal fusion that seemed like a classic member of the French-Italian family and yet distinctly original.
As for Matthew, who knows what he likes, he ordered a Singapore Sling. Ansel sprinkled a little coarse sea salt on the Amarena cherry garnish, which made me want one too.
Jeffrey came over and smiled at my empty glass and asked what I wanted. Next up for me was the Yellowjacket, a dangerous long drink with Appleton 12-Year, lavender-honey syrup, lime, their house orange bitters and soda. Since Matthew was still savoring his Singapore Sling, I tried to drink slowly—sort of.
For the final round, Matthew, true to his own taste, ordered a Sidecar. I was feeling more experimental, and asked Ansel to surprise me, which he did. He made a John Ford, which if I remember in spite of the previous two potations is Old Tom gin, dry vermouth, Benedictine and orange bitters. It had something in common with a Martinez, and the citrus oils were pronounced. Of course, by then my tipsiness was getting pronounced, so we settled up and took a walk.
Many thanks to everyone at Clyde Common for a memorable evening.
My housemate thinks this drink is misnamed because it seems more Chinese than Japanese, and in a way, he’s right. But I was thinking of Ginza, the jazz number. (What is it about Vince Guaraldi that inspires cocktails?)
1 1/2 oz Junípero gin 3/4 oz Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur 1/2 oz lime juice
Stir in an iced shaker and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Cynar is interesting stuff. It’s described as an artichoke liqueur, which sounds exotic, though I’m not sure I’d know the artichoke was in there unless you told me. It seems of a type with bitter aperitifs like Campari and Torani Amer.
This cocktail is a simple one. Today was warm and sunny in San Francisco—a day for taking it easy.
2 oz gin 1/2 oz Cynar 1/2 oz orange juice
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. I garnished it with an orange wheel, though an orange twist is nice too.
This is a riff on the venerable Dr. Funk, though I wasn't conscious of that when I set out to create it. I was listening to the other Doctor Funk, Vince Guaraldi, and just picked up a bottle of Mount Gay Eclipse. Didn't occur to me in the least. So when the light bulb finally came on, it was pretty funny.
Not surprisingly, the Doctor makes an outstanding straight-up drink. I call it the North Beach for the Doctor Funk of my inspiration.
North Beach Cocktail
2 oz gold Barbados rum 1/2 oz lemon juice 1/4 oz grenadine 1 tsp Pernod
Shake with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
One afternoon between Christmas and New Year’s, I walked into a Financial District bar and ordered an Old-Fashioned, no fruit.
“An Old-Fashioned,” said the bartender. “That’s like a Margarita with bourbon?”
I talked him through the drink. He was game. Nice guy.
When I started drinking bourbon Old-Fashioneds with my friends in my 20s, I liked them, at least as much as any other mixed drink I had ordered, anyway, though some of the elements seemed to come together a little oddly. There was that mishmash of muddled orange and denatured cherry, and the grainy sugar crust on the bottom. And often there was so much soda that the drink seemed waterlogged.
I've since learned that what seemed weird there wasn’t really part of the drink in the beginning, and that the Old-Fashioned actually started out as a Margarita with bourbon. Kidding.
David Wondrich explains in his great book Imbibe! that to 19th-century Americans, the Old-Fashioned was a way of asking for the most basic sort of cocktail: spirits, bitters, maybe a citrus peel, a little sugar, a little water to melt the sugar but only that much. The Old-Fashioned customer liked booze and wanted to taste it. (Me too.)
The Old-Fashioned is a formula with variable ingredients: the base, bitters and citrus peel can change, but the drink is made the same way. In the case of all Old-Fashioneds, they're cocktails by the ancient definition, a bitters thing with no sour element. (Sorry, bourbon Margarita fans.) And for me, a citrus peel isn't essential, but you might as well have it. Old-Fashioneds still seem like themselves with a splash of soda water, but they should be kept boozy. They're not highballs. Technically, Wondrich tells us, a teaspoon of curacao would make it a Fancy Cocktail, though in place of the syrup and with no lemon or orange peel on hand, this seems close enough (old fashioned enough?)--especially after two or three of them.
Ever wish there were another flinty, Martini-like libation? Well, then you may have already found some incarnation of the Gordon, a gin-sherry combination that responds well to the various Martini treatments. The sherry is usually given as amontillado, though I happened to have a bottle of fino, which reminds me a little of Dolin dry vermouth. You can use a fair amount of sherry, though its nuttiness, especially in the case of amontillado, can overwhelm the gin.
3 oz gin 1 oz fino sherry 2 dashes orange bitters
Stir briskly in an iced shaker and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. A lemon twist is great with this, though here I've used a garlic-stuffed olive.
Some notes on my cocktail life in San Francisco—mostly thoughts about classics or an idea I’m working on. Once in a while, I even go out and drink someone else’s liquor. (I try to take pictures to prove it.)