Thursday, September 29, 2011

Big Yellow Curry

A banana was sitting around the kitchen for days trying to talk to me but I couldn’t understand what it was saying. Finally I recognized the accent and away we went.

Big Yellow Curry
  • 3 oz gold Jamaica rum
  • 3 oz pineapple juice
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp yellow curry powder
Blend with a cup of crushed ice about 20 seconds at high speed and serve in a tall glass. Mint garnish.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tamarind Tamarin

One of my favorite pastimes: wandering the shops eyeing everything as a potential drink ingredient. The tamarind paste is a brand called Neela’s. It’s 100 percent tamarind without seeds. Tamarind is something that grows from a tree. Tamarin is something that lives in a tree.

Tamarind Tamarin
  • 2 oz resposado tequila
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste
Combine pineapple juice and tamarind paste in a shaker with a barspoon. Add tequila and ice, and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

MxMo LXI: Local Color

Warm thanks to Lindsay of Alcohol Alchemy for hosting this month’s Mixology Monday. Her theme is Local Color, drinks based on regionally made artisanal spirits. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we’re home to some of the most distinguished craft distillers, Anchor Distilling in San Francisco and St. George Spirits in Alameda among them. I could go on about all the delicious things from both companies, but this post is about their specialty gins, featured here in two classic recipes.


That’s not a Cosmo in the picture, folks. As David Wondrich points out in Imbibe! Hollands gin, or genever, responds quite well to the Sazerac treatment, and while the results may look like candy from the bitters, this is serious drinking. Here I’ve used Anchor’s Genevieve, an unaged genever in the antique style.

Genever Sazerac
  • 2 oz genever (Genevieve)
  • 1/2 tsp absinthe (St. George—what else?)
  • 4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Lemon twist.


Two of my neighborhood bottle shops less than a block apart have each decided on a different St. George gin to stock. Fine with me. The Terroir is the offbeat one: inspired by the botanicals of California wilderness, it has notes of Douglas fir, fennel, bay laurel and sage along with the juniper—a forest spirit. The housemate and I dig that kind of thing, and stood around the patio in the blowing mists, wearing our magic helmets and nipping the gin out of shot glasses. “Mm—arboreal!”

Whenever I get an unusual gin, I like to try it in a Corpse Reviver No. 2. It has the right degree of mildness to take on the personality of the spirit, and a botanical edge from the gin balances the sweet.

Corpse Reviver No. 2

  • 3/4 oz gin (St. George Terroir)
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau (Seniors Curacao)
  • 3/4 oz Kina Lillet (Cocchi Americano)
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1 drop absinthe (St. George Absinthe Verte)
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

There seems to be agreement that this is an equal parts cocktail (except for the absinthe, of course), but the volume tends to vary with the editor. Dr. Cocktail gives a full ounce, which makes for a fine bucket of booze, though maybe more than you’d want to suck down on a hangover. The CocktailDB, gaz regan and Erik Ellestad give it 3/4 of an ounce, which makes up to a nice size if a bit light for general purposes.

With an assertive gin like the Terroir, it doesn’t make much difference if it’s one drop or two (or three) of absinthe.

The Terroir is very successful here—slightly savory, which is nice with the lemon. Don’t wait until your next drinking misadventure to freshen up your corpse.

I guess I oughta finish this thing off, but I can’t stop playing.

Over dinner, my housemate remarked that the St. George Dry Rye Gin I urged him to make a Martini with for himself last night turned out kind of odd. We had both tasted it neat, and it seemed like a suitable kind of juniperous stuff with which to make a Dry Martini Cocktail. “Like it had a splash of rye in it,” was how he put it. Like that’s a bad thing? I sniffed again: almost like a dry genever. The light came on: Eureka! I knew what to do.

El Camino Real

  • 2 oz St. George Dry Rye Gin
  • 1 oz Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Creole Bitters
Sitr with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Lemon twist.

This gin, with its splash of rye, as the housemate put it, has an intense juniper wallop that rings out clear over sweet vermouth and who knows what else you might throw at it. A great cocktail ingredient.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mr. Keith

Gonna find my way to heaven, ’cause I did my time in hell
I wasn't looking too good but I was feeling real well
Before they Make Me Run, M. Jagger/K. Richards

Tiki time again, or in this case, tikibilly cuz there’s definitely some rock and roll in this one. Inspiration came from the mug below, Ye Olde Treasure Mappe, found on a recent trip to Portland, Oregon. (There’s just something tikibilly about Portland, one of the many reasons I keep going back.) The Mappe is one of a numbered edition designed by Katie Mello of Rum Demon.

Mr. Keith
  • 1 oz Bacardi 151
  • 1 oz Averna
  • 1/2 oz Cruzan Blackstrap
  • 1/2 oz allspice dram
  • 1 tsp absinthe
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice
Shake with a cup of crushed ice, and pour into a 12-oz mug or glass. Crushed ice to fill, straw.

Dark, spicy, intense. This one made me think right away of a certain guitarist, but shares a name with my housemate’s dad as well. This drink is for him.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Aquavit and French

There are a few variations of the Dry Martini recipe remixed with aquavit. Here I’ve decided to follow the Martini proportions from the 1906 version by Charlie Mahoney that appears in David Wondrich’s Imbibe! So far, this is my favorite classic cocktail with aquavit. The spirit really shines, and the drink seems more assertive than the gin version. I have to say that for this particular ratio of spirit to vermouth, I actually like aquavit better than the original.

Aquavit and French
  • 1 1/2 oz aquavit (Aalborg)
  • 1 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters (Angostura Orange)
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Lemon twist.

The gin one calls for an orange twist. I had a lemon. The drink’s a bit small for the glass in the photo but it was the best one I had to capture the turn-of-the-century feel of this.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Last Will and Testament

A drink for summer’s end: green and gold notes, hints of spice and smoke. There are some finicky little measures, but it has several things that could easily overpower it so I’ve specified the amounts to keep it under control.

Last Will and Testament
  • 2 oz gin (Tanqueray)
  • 1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
  • 1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Ardbeg single malt
  • 1/4 tsp allspice dram
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sunday Morning

Sunday morning, praise the dawning
It's just a restless feeling by my side
Early dawning, Sunday morning
It's just the wasted years so close behind
—Lou Reed and John Cale

One of my favorite wine cocktails. I’ve never liked ordinary Mimosas much but enjoyed them with Campari. It gives the drink an edge and there’s that nice sunrise color. I’m not sure when I started drinking them that way, though I remember sitting around with my friends in New York one morning and we all knew what to do without having to discuss it really, beyond saying how much we liked them. Here’s a version with a couple of dashes of other bitters besides.

I should remember this as a use for oranges I’ve peeled for twists.

Sunday Morning

  • juice of a Valencia orange
  • 1/2 oz Campari
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 4 oz dry sparkling wine or to taste (prosecco)
Shake all but sparkling wine with ice and strain into a chilled wine glass. Add bubbles, orange twist.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pear 75

As you might guess, this is a variation on the classic French 75 that’s made with pear brandy. I like Poire Williams a lot but it’s very assertive, so I tend to use it in conjunction with some other base to keep the pear from becoming too dominant.

Pear 75
  • 1 oz Poire Williams eau-de-vie
  • 1 oz old tom gin
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  • brut champagne to fill
Fill an 8-10 ounce glass halfway with crushed ice. Combine all but champagne with ice in a shaker and strain into the prepared glass. Fill with Champagne and stir gently. Lemon twist.

I did two versions: one with crushed ice, one without. I could go either way. The ice one was very cold. The up one was soft and velvety.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Reverse Martini

You sometimes see an article that attempts to persuade people who think they don’t like gin that they’ve just had a bad drink. (Usually the case.) The Reverse Martini might do the same for the reputation of vermouth. I doubt many people in so-called Martini bars have any idea what vermouth tastes like. If they do, it was a nip of the stuff they picked up cheap and tasted warm, then left open in the cupboard to oxidize for the next several years. All those customers who are told they want a Martini made with that goofy atomizer should try a decent vermouth drink with a reliable brand that’s been stored they way you would an open bottle of wine, which is what vermouth is.

Reportedly, Julia Child liked this cocktail. She had taste and liked a bit of booze as much as the next, so she ought to have known.

Reverse Martini

  • 2 oz dry vermouth (Dolin)
  • 1/2 oz dry gin (Tanqueray)
  • 1-2 dashes orange bitters (Angostura Orange)
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Lemon twist.

I’ve taken my standard Martini recipe and just inverted it. The housemate and I tried a Cocchi Americano one too, which was richer and very different. He liked the Cocchi a little better than I did, though both were good pre-prandial cocktails.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.