Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Averna-Gin Sling

Collins or sling, collins or sling? This is pretty much the same thing as the previous post but made with gin for a much drier effect. The dry cherry-gin combo puts it in Singapore Sling territory. The edgier gins I like for Martinis and Negronis seem to me too abrasive for certain sours. Bombay is just right.

Averna-Gin Sling

  • 2 oz Bombay gin
  • 1 oz Amaro Averna
  • 1/2 oz maraschino liqueur
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • soda
Shake all but soda with ice and strain into an ice-filled tall glass. Fill with soda. Cherry and lemon.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Averna-Rum Collins

OK—maybe I could’ve come up with a clever name, but the Yuletide makes me lazy, and at least you have some clue what to expect. It’s tempting to call this a sling instead since it’s got a slightly tiki-like ambiance, but slings aren’t what they used to be and I’m not in the mood for semantics.

Averna-Rum Collins
  • 2 oz 10 Cane rum
  • 1 oz Amaro Averna
  • 1/2 oz maraschino liqueur
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • soda water
Shake all but soda with ice and strain into an ice-filled tall glass. Fill with soda. Cherry and lime.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Punch

Unfortunately, there was no time for a photo of the punch before it was gone. That’s OK—I don’t feel like bothering with the camera when we have this anyway. It’s served at the end of the caroling at the high point of my housemate’s Christmas party. While he has most of the company gathered around the fireplace in the front of the house, a couple of my homies and I are in the kitchen singing along with them (sort of) and making this punch.

The recipe I use is adapted from one for English Christmas Punch I first found in John Poister’s New American Bartender’s Guide, one of the first things I read on mixed drinks. The original recipe calls for flaming the rum in the sugar, which sounds amazing but too much to manage in a narrow San Francisco house packed to the rafters with guests and antique Christmas decorations.

English Christmas Punch
  • 2 bottles dry red wine (Chianti)
  • 750 ml dark Jamaica rum
  • 3 c strong black tea (5 bags English Breakfast)
  • 1 lb sugar
  • juice of 2 Valencia oranges
  • juice of 2 lemons
Melt the sugar in the red wine on the stove. Add the rum. It takes a while to get it to the desired warmth while heating it gently. (I’m always trying to time this to coincide with the end of the caroling, and I just never know.) Combine juice and tea in a heat-proof punch bowl. Pour booze mixture into the tea and citrus and serve immediately.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sour on the Holidays?

Nothing says Christmas like a bedraggled escape with a Whiskey Sour. Sometimes I find myself in one of those downtown bars—Irish bars, the smaller hotel bars, neighborhood bars. They can make a Whiskey Sour. Of course there’s a lot of packaged sour mix out there. I guess sometimes a person’s desperate enough. The holidays can make a person do crazy things. But if you’re not out shopping or trying to find an adult entertainment establishment or something, you can turn on the colored lights and a little music, squeeze your own citrus, and make a really good Whiskey Sour right at home.

For the whiskey, you can use anything. I like them all—scotch especially. (By the rules of spelling, that’s a Whisky Sour.) The one I show here is an Irish Whiskey Sour.

Whiskey Sour
  • 2 oz whiskey
  • 1 oz lemon juice, or a combination of lemon and lime
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
I like mine stirred with ice and strained into a chilled glass. Some like it on the rocks. Cherry and orange or lemon.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

MxMo LIII: Like That? You’ll Love This!

Abraxas Margarita

A big Fogged In thank-you to Chris Amirault at eGullet for hosting this Mixology Monday, and for suggesting the theme Like That? You’ll Love This! Nowadays there’s a lot of call for drinks that are essentially a pile of esters and sugar in a neutral alcohol base, and Chris challenges us to present a recipe to appeal those who already enjoy the fun of mixed drinks but have not been exposed to a cocktailian cocktail.

This seems as good a moment as any to do one that’s dyed funny colors, and this Margarita has been a guilty pleasure of mine for a while. I used to make it with the lower-proof Galliano, which I swear had a different specific gravity, and didn’t even have to pour all that carefully to get a layered drink. Regrettably, that product is going away, but you can still get a nice sunrise effect.

Abraxas Margarita

Liquid ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 oz reposado tequila
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 tsp blue curacao
  • 1/4 oz Galliano
  • several pinches unsweetened cocoa (Green & Black’s)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • cayenne, to taste
Assemble the powdered ingredients in a saucer. (The measures for the rim are given loosely. Not too much cayenne or you lose the flavors of the drink to the heat.) Rub outside edge of chilled cocktail glass with a cut lemon and roll carefully in plate. Combine liquids except Galliano in glass with ice and shake. Pour Galliano in the bottom of the glass. Strain the Margarita mixture, pouring gently over the back of a spoon and down the side of the glass for a sunrise effect.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Time Out of Mind

Cherry is one of my favorite flavors for tequila cocktails. The first time I did this one, I used Herradura. I did it again it very successfully with Hornitos, but the Herradura gave it an interesting funk.

Time Out of Mind

  • 2 oz reposado tequila
  • 1/2 oz Cherry Heering
  • 1/4 oz maraschino liqueur
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

MxMo LII: Forgotten Cocktails

A big Fogged In thank you to Dennis of Rock & Rye for hosting this month’s Mixology Monday: Forgotten Cocktails. It’s hard to say what could have been forgotten at this point, as I seem to find myself in a veritable crowd of cocktail archaeologists. But classic brandy and champagne combos seem to get far too little play for my taste, so that’s a good place to start.

The Blue Train Special turns up in the Savoy Cocktail Book, in the CocktailDB and who knows where else. It’s a pineapple royale with brandy. What’s not to love? This would be a natural for brunch, and more to my taste than a Mimosa—certainly more so than any of the nasty, sticky, red variations that are starting to turn up. (’Tis the season for revolting wine cocktails.)

Blue Train Special

  • 1 oz cognac
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • brut champagne to fill
Shake cognac and pineapple juice with ice and strain into a chilled champagne glass. Fill with champagne.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Heart of the Chartreuse Beast

At a stream somewhere in the Sierra Madre, a large animal laps the water. It makes low, growling, purring sounds that travel through the forest and stop all other creatures in their tracks. It licks its whiskers and speaks a little French.

This latest drink in my current exploration of Mexican spirits is, in outline, a Chartreuse Swizzle transformed by mezcal. (The incomparable Tiare has fun with this too in her Del Maguey Vida review.) For a fan of smoky single malts like me, mezcal is a very exciting ingredient to work with. Like scotch, it has not just smoke but intensity and mystique. And it’s a great pairing for the sweet herbal complexity of Chartreuse.

I based this swizzle on yellow Chartreuse, which tends to inspire me more often than green. I dunno—maybe it’s that I never know when the green plus a lime, delicious though that can be, is going to give me heartburn. Or maybe it’s that I just love the color of the yellow one so much. Yellow Chartreuse is particularly good with pear, and I busted out the juicer again for this one just cuz I could. It’s worth doing a whole bunch of pears at once and storing the juice in the refrigerator.

Heart of the Chartreuse Beast
  • 1 1/2 oz yellow Chartreuse
  • 1/2 oz mezcal
  • 1/2 oz cognac
  • 2 oz pear juice (about 1 small-medium pear)
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • Black pepper, for garnish
  • Mint, for garnish
Swizzle with plenty of crushed ice and pour into a large glass. Garnish with mint and coarse cracked pepper.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Improved with Tequila

Another one from Imbibe!—David Wondrich’s great romp through the 19th century in the footsteps of the legendary barman Jerry Thomas. The “Improved” is one of a family of drinks, and like the Old-Fashioned Whiskey, Brandy or Gin Cocktail, a template with which one might use any of those spirits—or even something that would’ve been unusual for the customer in the time and place when these drinks were first consumed. As it happens, the Improved treatment really suits tequila. It’s almost a Holland gin effect but with an edge reminiscent of black pepper.

Improved with Tequila

  • 2 oz tequila
  • 2 dashes gum syrup (1/2 tsp simple syrup)
  • 1/2 tsp maraschino
  • 1 dash absinthe (1/2 tsp)
  • Small lemon twist
  • Piece of lemon to rim the glass
Moisten the edge of a chilled cocktail glass with a piece of lemon. Combine liquid ingredients with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and do the twist.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Inspired by the most recent New York sessions, your intrepid bartender here at Fogged In Lounge went off in search of mezcal, tequila and new tastes to play with via the recently acquired juicer.

Walking into the liquor store, I had to admit that I didn’t know what I was doing, but Sombra mezcal was not prohibitively expensive for cocktails. For tequila, I settled on Hacienda Vieja Reposado since I knew I liked it already and it was reasonable.

At the greengrocer, every piece of produce I saw had the potential to wind up in a cocktail. Having read Rick’s Chartreuse Swizzle post, I was hoping to find a pineapple, but didn’t see one. And I reflected that broccoli and chard, while nutritious, probably wouldn’t lend much excitement to mixed drinks. Settling on a couple of sweet peppers, I headed back to see what could be made of them.

Two average-sized peppers yielded about 6 oz of very bright red juice. The taste was pretty mild, so I chose lemon over lime for some acidity without being too assertive as I felt my way along. And it seemed as good a time as any to play with my new Sardinian bitter honey, so that went in too. Two ounces of pepper juice overwhelmed the other stuff and made the drink too watery. One ounce was about right.


  • 2 oz reposado tequila
  • 1/4 oz mezcal
  • 1 oz red sweet pepper juice
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 tsp bitter honey
Dissolve honey in lemon juice. Add remaining ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Croton Cocktail

Dry and elegant, the Croton is a great sleeper of a classic bourbon cocktail. But without bitters, it seems a little unfocused—not quite a cocktail. I first experimented with Regans’ No. 6 on the premise that the Croton is essentially a bourbon version of the Gordon, but the bitters and the sherry repelled each other. My next attempt was with Fee Bros Whiskey Barrel Aged, and everything came together.

Croton Cocktail
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 3/4 oz sherry (Amontillado)
  • 1-2 dashes Fee Bros Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Lemon Twist.

Very sherry at first, but gradually opens up to vegetal notes from the bourbon pointed up by the lemon peel.

If you prefer a simpler beverage, try another drink of the same name.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Carnage: Whole Lime Margarita Massacre

My friend Wanda told me about how she puts limes through her juice extractor to make Margaritas. All the flavor of the aromatic stuff in the lime shell goes into the drink, making for mind-blowing citrus excitement. Of course I had to try it.

So I bought a juicer, and boogied down to the health food store and got a bunch of limes. (I had some around but they were looking leathery. You want the perky limes.) And it’s pretty much what it sounds like: halve or quarter some limes and annihilate them in the slasher movie manner with a juice extractor.

The freaky part is that this procedure leaves an almost dry pile of green cellulose from the indigestible parts of the lime in the juicer’s bin. So to be strictly accurate, it’s an almost whole lime Margarita, but who really cares about the part you don’t wanna eat anyway? And there’s enough of the zest in the resultant juice to turn it bright green and crackling with electric lime goodness. The texture from all those bits of lime shell was a bit weird for my straight-up Margarita recipe though, so I ran the juice through a fine strainer. It takes a moment to strain, so you might as well make enough lime juice for several drinks. In fact, you could juice dozens of the things in minutes, so you could make ’em for all the ghouls that drop by this weekend. Knock ’em dead with a powerful whammy of lime oils!

Whole Lime Margarita
  • 2 oz tequila
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz lime juice from sinister juice machine, strained
  • Salt rim
Rub the outside rim of a chilled cocktail glass with lime, and rim with salt. (I like kosher salt for texture, but only had sea salt.) Shake booze and freaky lime juice with ice and strain into prepared glass. Lime wheel garnish.

My aged gold tequila brought the green down a few decibels. Next time I’m going with a blanco.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Redeemed Leftovers: Peach-Rum Syrup

Hey—maybe not my most innovative, but it’s a small triumph when my leftovers don’t actually creep me out. One summer Sunday evening, I was trying to be seasonal and also not end dinner with a huge blob of fat for dessert. So I poached peaches. They were pretty cool, as that sort of thing goes. I added some gold Jamaica rum to the syrup—maybe a quarter to a half a cup. So at the end there was this slightly peach and rum flavored byproduct that was too good to discard. It was so subtle that a recipe didn’t immediately come to mind, but I figured I’d stick in anything that called for simple syrup. No longer would it be That Weird Thing I Made but an actual ingredient—one that plays well with brown booze. I’ll be poaching fruit for dessert again soon.

Savannah Sazerac
  • 2 oz rye (Sazerac)
  • 1/2 tsp leftover peach-rum syrup
  • 1/4 tsp absinthe
  • 6 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 2-3 drops Angostura bitters
  • Lemon twist
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Express the lemon oil from the twist along the rim of the glass and over the drink, and drop it in or discard it.

Brugal Old Fashioned
  • 2 oz Brugal Añejo rum
  • 1 tsp leftover peach-rum syrup
  • 1-2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1-2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Splash of water
  • Strip of lime peel
The lime peel only works with a fairly fresh, perky lime and a sharp vegetable peeler. Take a good-sized strip of green off the outside of the lime and bruise it well with a muddler in a glass with the syrup. Add the bitters and a piece of ice or two. Add the spirits and the splash, and give it a stir.

I’d give you a recipe for poached peaches, but I don’t really remember exactly, and c’mon, it’s not brain surgery: peeled peach halves, sugar, water, rum at the end so you don’t cook it too much. Y’know—poached peaches.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Autumn In New York: Pegu Club and Mayahuel

Life seems pretty crazed lately here at Fogged In Lounge. It seems like there has been no time to write with all the running around and tasting new things. But I should report on my recent trip to New York, which included visits to Pegu Club and Mayahuel.

My friends and I were due in Chinatown for a birthday party but turned up at Pegu for a quick session. The folks at Pegu Club are celebrating a birthday of their own with a fifth anniversary cocktail menu featuring the creations of their bartenders. Scott James (“Scotch”) Teague was behind the bar, and just by coincidence, I picked his Red Pepper, Red Pepper, a big, juicy, lightly sweet concoction of blanco tequila, bell pepper and subtle herbal notes served straight up in a large Champagne punt.

Scotch let me take his picture though the light wasn’t too cooperative. Low light in bars, while good for the desperate, is a challenge to the cocktail blogger.

Our trip to Mayahuel was exciting if a little hazy by the end of four amazing rounds, but there was so much to try on our first visit.

We were meeting my buddy’s wife there, and by the time the good lady joined us, we were already a few drinks in. But I remember the Division Bell, a bracing mixture of mezcal, Aperol, Maraska and lime, with special fondness.

And I got a sip of my friend’s unusual and wonderful Herb Alpert, a green one with jalapeño-infused tequila blanco, mezcal, fresh oregano and lime. Tequila as well as herb and vegetable cocktails are in my future.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Secrets of the Sea

One day, he was found in the Palais-Royal, leading a lobster at the end of a blue ribbon (because, he said, it does not bark, and knows the secrets of the sea). —Arthur Symonds, of Gérard de Nerval

Brugal Añejo has a touch of the ocean, of salt and iodine. While this drink would not be out of place in a tiki bar, it seems more Atlantic than Pacific.

Secrets of the Sea
  • 2 oz Brugal Añejo
  • 1/2 oz Firelit coffee liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp Malibu
Shake with ice cubes and pour unstrained into a double old fashioned. Garnish with a cherry and an orange.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Nineteenth Century

Having been brought up in a mystery cult of the Very Dry Martini, I was braced for a shock from my first sip of genever-style gin, but anything in the name of science. Even so, it was way weirder than I had expected. Really? Is that what it’s like? REALLY? Well, it’s, um, REALLY?

Then I had a few drinks it worked with, thanks to David Wondrich, and genever became part of the routine.

The maltiness of genever combined with lemon juice reminds me a little of the lemon-cacao of the Twentieth Century, a Depression-era cocktail named for a then state-of-the-art passenger train. Genever is a spirit that returns us, at least for a moment, to a slower, more contemplative pace.

Nineteenth Century
  • 1 1/2 oz genever
  • 1/2 oz Swedish punsch
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz Cointreau
  • 2-3 dashes Regans’ No. 6 orange bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Doctor Funk

We’re off on a mysterious island adventure again. (Pack your Somerset Maugham.) As Mr. Bali Hai notes, there are a lot of recipes out there for this classic. Most of ’em have a lot of lime juice for my taste and sit cold on my liver. (Shudder.) Below is my own version with the citrus scaled down to half an ounce. It is friendlier with lemon, though lime gives it more bite. I like Mount Gay Eclipse for the Doctor.

Doctor Funk
  • 2 oz gold Barbados rum
  • 1/2 oz lemon or lime juice
  • 1/4 oz real pomegranate grenadine
  • 1 tsp pastis
  • soda to fill
Shake all ingredients except soda with ice cubes and pour unstrained into a chimney glass or slender mug, adding more ice cubes to fill if necessary. Top with soda.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Banana Daiquiri

San Francisco is having one of its infrequent hot spells. It’s actually the whole area, and during our warm season besides, but we’re least used to it here. Forget about saving that banana for breakfast—it’s time for a frozen tropical drink.

The Banana Daiquiri in Beachbum Berry Remixed, created by Mariano Licudine of the Mai-Kai restaurant in 1971, looked a little light on the spirits for the loungers here so I added a little Charbay vanilla rum. And a batch of Jamaica rum-flavored syrup happened to be handy, so that went in too.

Banana Daiquiri
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup (rum flavored syrup)
  • 1 1/2 oz gold Puerto Rican rum (subbed Flor de Caña 5 year)
  • (1/2 oz Charbay vanilla rum)
  • Half a ripe banana, cut into thin slices
  • 4 oz crushed ice
Pour everything into a blender. Blend at high speed for at least 30 seconds until smooth. Pour unstrained into a cocktail glass.

This has no crème de banane, just banana, so it’s subtle and not candied. There’s a delicate interplay between the fruit and the rum. That said, a whole blender of it could lead to trouble in short order.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Royal Bastard

I based this Martinique rum cocktail on Saint James Royal Ambre: bright, dry and assertive, and a favorite of mine for mixing. The aldehyde and woodsy notes combine well with the ginger of Domaine de Canton. I’ve tried this drink with other dry ambers and it’s OK, but Martinique rum makes this one come alive.

Royal Bastard
  • 2 oz amber Martinique rum (Saint James Royal Ambre)
  • 3/4 oz Domain de Canton
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Firelit Coffee Liqueur

St. George Distillery’s Firelit is truly coffee brandy in the sense that it is a coffee-flavored, brandy-based liqueur, and a fairly dry one at that. There are no vanilla or cacao notes. Sampled side by side with Kahlúa, it’s clear that Firelit would be strange in a White Russian. Simply put, it tastes like brewed coffee—at first, anyway. It’s got the strong vegetal note of a plain black iced coffee but with the warmth of brandy under it. This liqueur has obvious applications in after dinner drinks and tropical fantasy items like Mr. Bali Hai, but it also makes me think of the all-too-neglected category of Brunch Cocktails for Serious Drinkers. Yeah, let’s have some gin with that French toast.

All Lit Up

  • 2 oz Junípero gin
  • 1 oz medium sherry
  • 1/4 oz Firelit
  • 2 dashes chocolate bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Lemon twist.

Good any time of day except maybe before dinner. Coffee before dinner just seems weird. Hm—during dinner?

Mr. Bali Hai

  • 1 1/2 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz sugar syrup
  • 3/4 oz coffee brandy
  • 1 1/2 oz light Puerto Rican rum
  • 1 oz dark Jamaican rum
Shake with crushed ice. Pour into a Mr. Bali Hai mug. Or if you’re like me and pathetic enough not to have the desired mug, a large snifter or something will be fine.

While I still prefer Kahlúa in my cocoa, Firelit is more successful for Mr. Bali Hai. I tried the updated instructions in Beachbum Berry Remixed, and the drier quality of the Firelit is exactly right. It also works a little better visually with this recipe.

Monday, August 30, 2010

MxMo XLX: Brown, Bitter and Stirred

This Mixology Monday is hosted by Lindsey Johnson of Brown, Bitter and Stirred, and the name of her blog is also her theme. Would any of us here at the Fogged In Lounge know anything about brown booze and bitterness? Would we, ladies and gentlemen? Would the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune make us want now and then to climb down the neck of a Wild Turkey and not come out until Thanksgiving? Would some of us feel so buffeted by the Winds of War—or even Whoopie—that we might occasionally want to sip slowly on a glass of Zwack in which had steeped a bunch of rue and a couple of filthy pennies? Well, maybe not that bad. Life can’t be as bad as all that—right, ladies and gentlemen? Here—try this nice drink. It’s not half as bitter as all that.

The Brown Study
  • 1 1/2 oz single malt Scotch
  • 1/4 oz Averna
  • 1/4 oz Campari
  • 1/4 oz maraschino
  • 4 dashes Regans’ No. 6 orange bitters
Stir gently with ice until the mixing glass frosts and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

For the malt, I happened to use the end of my Highland Park, though something with a little more iodine would be good too.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Nutty Rooster

Other cocktailians must get asked this a lot too: What’s your favorite drink? I dunno—the one in my hand? I wouldn’t even be able to decide on a favorite Martini recipe, though this variant of my own is up there. The inspiration seems a bit hazy at the moment though I must’ve been making a lot of Gordon Cocktails at the time cuz there was a bottle of dry sherry open. And I remember that a bottle of Beefeater, an old favorite, made a major contribution too.

Oddly, nobody ever asks me what my favorite gin is, though I wouldn’t be able to answer that either.

The Nutty Rooster
  • 2 oz London dry gin (Beefeater)
  • 1/4 oz Amontillado sherry
  • 1/4 oz Cocchi Americano
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a generous orange twist.

Cocchi Americano has reappeared in San Francisco and not a moment too soon. Besides the giving me the pleasure of the drink in this post, my Twentieth Centuries and Vespers are a little brighter from Cocchi’s subtle but distinct cinchona edge. And I love the two apéritif wines, the Cocchi and the sherry, together. Orange oil makes a major contribution to the Rooster in its own right, so the twist should be nice and big.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dreamy Dorini Smoking Martini

The Dorini is the creation of Audrey Saunders, the Libation Goddess, and named in honor of a friend who loves whisky. I first heard of it from Gary Regan. It is not actually a Martini, though I’m not going to be too adamant about this because:
  1. It is very, very good.
  2. It is a dry, extremely grown-up cocktail analogous to a Martini.
  3. I’m pretty sure Audrey wouldn’t beat me up, but don’t like to risk it.
In the photo below, the Dorini only fills about half the large cocktail glass I used, but the drink is so big in other ways that it seems right in a large glass. The Laphroaig single malt makes it huge. It’s said that Laphroaig is among the most intensely flavored of the malts. It’s also said that people who are unused to drinking Scotch should start with something mild. On the other hand, people who are unused to drinking Scotch might start with Laphroaig on the theory that if they can learn to handle that, they can drink anything.

Dreamy Dorini Smoking Martini
  • 2 oz Grey Goose vodka (any good brand will work)
  • 1/2 oz Laphroaig single malt whisky
  • 2-3 drops Pernod
  • lemon twist
Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer Pub Crawling: Pegu Club

It’s a cool, foggy night in San Francisco, and time for the last of my New York posts as the feeling of the trip slips away. But I can still remember sitting at the bar at Pegu Club with an old friend, looking at the purple orchid garnishes and wondering casually what I needed to order to get one in my drink. To ask seemed like cheating.

Going with impulse, I started with the famous Earl Grey MarTEAni—sort of an Earl Grey meringue pie in a glass, with all the rich atmosphere of that particular tea amplified by the gin.

Next up was the Honeydew Daiquiri, a little summer-green pool of light rum, honeydew nectar, absinthe, honey, and lemon and lime juices, with two frozen melon balls for flotation.

Last was the Coconut-Kaffir Fizz, which used both gin and light rum, one of my favorite combinations for tropical drinks, plus coconut cream, kaffir essence, pineapple, orange and lemon juices, syrup, Angostura and soda. This was really elegant, and I got my orchid besides.

Warm thanks to Kenta Goto, who was behind the bar that evening and graciously took time to pose while pouring. We had a blast.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Crème Yvette

I have my bottle of the reincarnated Crème Yvette. It is flower and fruit, and every shade of purple. It surpasses all expectations of richness, complexity and beauty. It is royal. The color is elusive and hard to photograph. While the prevailing hue seems to be from its four berry constituents, making a Blue Moon a lilac one, it picks up any hidden flashes of blue light in the room like an amethyst. A touch in a cocktail transforms it, refracting through gin, citrus, vermouth, even cacao. A deep and mysterious spirit.

Of course, after a small glass of awestruck wonder, I whipped up some pretty sweet drinks.

First up was the Blue Moon, so good with Rothman & Winter’s awesome lavender-blue Crème de Violette. As noted, Yvette made for a warmer purple than the Violette. Dr. Cocktail says that an egg white is a nice touch, so I added one white for two drinks, which gave it a lunar translucence. Maybe if I upped the egg, it would have foamed interestingly too. The proportions, minus the egg, came from the version on the official site.

Blue Moon
  • 1 1/2 oz London dry gin
  • 3/4 oz Crème Yvette
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
Dry shake until egg is blended, then add ice, shake and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a chilled cocktail glass.

After that, I tried the Dr. Cocktail version of 2 oz gin, 1/2 oz Yvette or Violette, 1/2 oz lemon, but I think I prefer those proportions with Crème de Violette. As my housemate notes, there’s something over-the-top about the first version that suits the Yvette better.

We also tried a vermouth version from the CocktailDB. Really elegant.

Blue Moon Variation

  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 3/4 dry vermouth
  • 1/4 Crème Yvette
  • 1 dash orange bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Last but not least was one adapted from the Crème Yvette site and also found in the CocktailDB, the Perpetual. This is all vermouth and liqueurs and begged for some gin, so I gave it some. It was the standout, don’t-miss, surprise hit drink of the set.

The Perpetual Fog
  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz Crème Yvette
  • 1/4 oz light Crème de Cacao
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Very warm thanks to the awesome Robert Cooper for bringing this great liqueur to us, and thanks to all the cocktailians who kept plugging for its return.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer Pub Crawling: Clover Club

The New York weather had eased off a little by the time my friends and I were walking down Smith Street to Clover Club, but it was still a night for summer drinks. I read through the whole list before going with my first impulse, Summer Thyme, a subtly rich sour of cognac, Licor 43, lemon juice, fresh thyme and Angostura orange bitters.

More conspicuously rich was the Gold Coast: aged rum, pineapple, lime, allspice, Champagne. As I tried not to slurp it down too greedily, it was hard not to think that it was the best thing I had tasted in my life. (I want one right now.) Sorry to say the photo shows it almost half consumed and not in the full glory of Tom the bartender’s artistry when he set it down in front of me, but it was so delectable that I had to drink first and take pictures later.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Summer Pub Crawling: The JakeWalk

For many reasons, I was not in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail but in New York, and didn’t even have much consolation in the weather, which was oppressive from the moment I stepped off the plane. But at least I was able to drink some really good things. One evening, I met a friend for a couple of rounds at The JakeWalk, a groovy Carroll Gardens restaurant and bar featuring a first-rate cocktail list.

It was difficult to choose from all the tasty-looking drinks so I followed my practice of ordering what seemed most challenging, and went with the Violent Bear, which contained genever, Punt e Mes, stone pine liqueur, honey syrup and Xocolatl Mole bitters, and probably had nothing to do with Jeffrey Morganthaler’s Geek or Bear quiz.

Next up was the Dudebro, a rum, white vermouth and Aperol combo. This went perfectly with the New York summer: heady, aromatic, complex, off-dry. I’m really getting to like rum cocktails that feature amaro-type aromatics and have no sour component.

A friend ordered the Tequila Gumption, which contained reposado tequila, mezcal, maraschino, Angostura and orange bitters, and I mooched a light, smoky sip. The Tequila Gumption was billed as a “Special Guest Cocktail, created by Katie’s Boyfriend, Mayahuel, NYC.” As I never got to Mayahuel this trip, it was cool to taste this, especially as they just won World’s Best New Cocktail Bar at Tales.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Summer Pub Crawling: The Alembic

There is usually a white carnation in the Colonel’s buttonhole, and almost invariably, when he is seen in public, a beer glass in his right hand. For a period before lunch, which is customarily his first meal of the day, he devotes himself to gold gin fizzes, which are made with the yolk of the egg. During this process of remedial imbibition he is morose and does not appreciate company. “I met a villain last night,” he will say in explanation of his mood, “and he led me down the path of dalliance Gambrinian.” If the bartender in setting down the shaker bangs it against the wood, the jangled Colonel will say, “Doctor, don’t cut too deep! I have been riding the magic carpet.”
—A.J. Liebling, The Honest Rainmaker

Drinking in the afternoon is one of the great pleasures of the liquor lifestyle. I’m often too busy to indulge the taste these days, which is probably a good thing, but this has been one of those weekends. There was tiki night with friends and someone’s new test batch of bitters to try, resulting in a spirited march over hill and dale in the middle of the night from which I finally floated home at 4 o’clock the following morning, decks awash. And then a wedding the next day. It was hard to work up to anything like a serious state of mind today, so I wandered over to The Alembic shortly after noon for the hair of the dog. Timothy Zohn was behind the stick, and I knew right away that I was in good hands.

The first item on the menu to catch my eye was the rye-based Evergreen, another libation featuring Zirbenz Stone Pine liqueur. I’m getting to like that stuff a lot. The Evergreen was fairly dry, refreshing, and as the menu said, bracing. Almost beer-like.

For the next drink, it wasn’t hard to decide. Timothy had made a summer punch with nectarines, raspberries, lime and mint, and I wasn’t about to pass that up. Light, elegant, a little bubbly, quaffable as a punch should be. Very quaffable.

Since I had been spending a little too much time riding the magic carpet, as the Colonel put it, I asked Timothy if he could produce a Gold Gin Fizz. It sounded sorta kill-or-cure but I was ready. If it had worked for the Colonel’s delicate condition, it seemed worth the risk. And it was. The Gold Gin Fizz could restore anyone. The egg yolk made it silky, the lime and the sugar did a dance with the gin, and the siphon brought it all together. The Colonel was a genius.

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