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.
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