Been a long, long time…

 

After what I think is the longest stretch of time without a new Scientist McGee post, I’m back with a fair share of new drink recipes.  It’s been nearly 3 months since I last wrote, and in that time I’ve mixed up 8 new drink recipes and also become the proud owner of an all-new bar in my home!  I had outgrown my old bar which was an old victrola record player.  The victrola was a good bar and did a good job, but with the accumulation of more and more ingredients, and more and more glassware, I was sort of taking over our dining room table and buffet.  I was getting sideways looks from my wife, and I knew something had to be done to organize my growing hobby.  Lo and behold, as I’m mowing my lawn one nice Saturday, I go out to the alley in the back of my house, and I find the answer to my problem… an old cupboard of some sort.  Problem solved!  I LOVE my new bar!  Plenty of space for all my glasses, punchbowls, books and ingredients, with room for growth to spare!  Did I mention that I LOVE my new bar?

Any ways, it’s been 3 long months since I’ve done a new post, so it’s about time I get on with posting some new drink recipes.  I’ve got 8 for you, so here goes nothin’…

“Water Lily”

From my most beloved cocktail book, The PDT Cocktail Book, comes the first of eight cocktails.  The Water Lily’s a very well-rounded drink, albeit a bit candy-ish.  “Buyer beware.”

Equal parts…

gin

creme de violette

triple sec

lemon juice

Shake well with ice, and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with an orange twist.

“Improved Gin Cocktail”

This recipe comes from David Wondrich’s wonderful Esquire magazine articles.  With my recently acquired first bottle of genever, the predecessor to gin, I was on the hunt for a good drink to introduce myself to this spirit.  I tried this drink with my new bottle of Boomsma brand genever, Oude style.  “Oude” meaning aged in oak barrels, and a bit of smokiness not typically associated with gin.

To be honest, my first taste of genever didn’t tell me if I loved it or not.  Maybe it’s an acquired taste? I’m not sure, but it was OK..  It reminds of me of Calvados or apply brandy actually…. smoky and whiskey-like, but with a little bit of a flat or shallow element and a lackluster sting at the end (?).  This one’s a simple drink, with just a nice taste of the maraschino.  With the smokiness and “woodsiness” of whiskey and the “bite” of gin, it’s a real go-between of the two.  Hmmm… time will tell, I guess.

2 oz. genever

.5-1t simple syrup

1t orange curacao, triple sec or maraschino liqueur*

2 dashes of bitters

(*I chose maraschino)

Stir well with ice and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

With a lemon peel, rub the rim, then squeeze and drop in to your cocktail.

“Rosebud”

From the great book, “The Art of the Bar”, comes this drink that all I can say is, “Ehh, not that great.”  I’m not a fan of the tequila and sweet vermouth combo.  Maybe you are?

1.5 oz. silver tequila

1/2 oz. sweet vermouth

1 dash of Campari

Rinse a chilled cocktail glass with a dash of rose water;

Stir the tequila and vermouth with ice and then strain in to the cocktail glass;

Flame an orange zest over the drink and then float it on top;

Lastly, add a few drops of Campari to the surface.

“Ehh”

“Junior”


This is a pretty solid cocktail.  I like it… It’s like a mellow sour.  The lime hangs in the background and gets pushed a little in to the shadows by the aggressive rye whiskey.  All four ingredients blend however in to a unique, unified flavor, almost a grapefruit-like flavor.  Interesting, and pretty solid.

2 oz. rye

3/4 oz. lime juice

1/2 oz. Benedictine

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake well with ice and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

(PDT Cocktail Book)

“Rosita”

This is a tasty, “sophisticated” old-fashioned-type tequila drink.  A good drink, with a lot of balance between the sweetness of the tequila and the Italian vermouth and the dryness of the French vermouth, Campari and bitters.  It’s a very smooth drink, with just a nice bit of bitterness and a slight smoky/sweet flavor of the reposado tequila.  Good!

1.5 oz reposado tequila

1/2 oz. sweet vermouth

1/2 oz. dry vermouth

1/2 oz. Campari

1 dash of Angostura bitters

Stir well with ice and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with an orange twist.

(“PDT Cocktail Book”)

“Weeski”

This drink surprised me… I thought it was very good.  This drink’s from the “PDT Cocktail Book” too.  However, the only reason I even tried this drink was because it came from David Wondrich, a man I respect and a cocktail expert I trust whole-heartedly.  Had it not been accompanied with Mr. Wondrich’s backing, I would’ve been too skeptical of the Irish whiskey – triple sec combo.  But I tried it, and I was pleasantly pleased.  It’s smooth, elegant and refreshing like a gin drink, but with the whiskey solid base.  It’s a damn good, easy-drinkin’ cocktail!

2 oz. Irish whiskey

3/4 oz. Lillet Blanc

1/2 oz. triple sec

2 dashes of orange bitters

Stir well with ice and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with an orange twist.

“Paddy Wallbanger”

Ehh again… Not a very good drink, in my opinion.  I think it was kind of flat and “emotionless”.  It was mainly the dry vermouth… The whiskey and Galliano were OK together, but I feel like the vermouth is just a flat and bland connector between the two.  I won’t be making this one again.  Oh well.

1.5 oz. Irish whiskey

1.5 oz. dry vermouth

1/2 oz. Galliano

2 dashes of orange bitters

Stir well with ice and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

(“PDT Cocktail Book”)

“Harvest Moon”

This drink is pretty good.  It’s nothing magnificent, but it is a good drink.  The ingredients make for a pretty unique, interesting flavor.  It’s a somewhat sweet drink, but with the slight aromatics of the green Chartreuse seeping through.

1.5 oz. rye

1 oz. Lillet Blanc

1/2 oz. apple brandy

1/4 oz. green Chartreuse

3 dashes Abbott’s (or in my case, Angostura) bitters

Stir well with ice and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with an orange twist.


Step-by-Step through Forgotten, Delicious Cocktails

Hey there everyone, I’m back.  After nearly 2 months of being MIA, I’m back to share the tales of 5 new cocktails and 2 new books!

That’s right.  I haven’t posted anything since May.  My lapse is owed to a couple things… 1, I’ve been really busy with my day job (less time to drink and write) and 2, I went to Ste. Genevieve, MO with my wife to celebrate our 10th anniversary in early June.  Ste. Genevieve is about an hour or so out of St. Louis and is one of the several regions of Missouri wine country.  The weekend trip basically rekindled my fondness of wines, and ever since, I’ve been back on sort of a wine kick.  It’s been a nice break from mixing up drinks, and just lazily pouring stuff out of a bottle and kicking back in the evenings.  The only problem with wine though is the fact that I tend to fall asleep on the couch at about 9pm, waking up, with the TV on, at midnight, and then dragging myself to bed in the middle of the night.  Wine’s great, but it makes me very, very lazy.

Even though I’ve been drinking much more wine lately, that’s not to say that I haven’t been replenishing and growing my spirits/liqueurs supply, as well as my cocktail books supply.  Since my last post, I’ve invested in a couple new types of rye whiskey (High West Double Rye Whiskey and Riverboat Rye Whiskey), a bottle of Calvados (apple brandy) and a bottle of amaro (Ramazzotti
brand).  I’ve also invested my time and attention in to Ted Haigh’s “Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails” (http://www.amazon.com/Vintage-Spirits-Forgotten-Cocktails-Alamagoozlum/dp/1592535615).  This is an awesome book, and apparently, one of the pioneering books of the current cocktail renaissance (originally published in 2004, “unearthing” these “obscure” drinks at the time, that are very well known today, just 8 years later).  Even though, 8 years has dated this book, it’s still an awesome book worth buying for the way it’s laid out and the entertaining writing of Ted Haigh, aka “Dr. Cocktail”.  Another book I’ve really enjoyed reading is the 1956 edition of Patrick Gavin Duffy’s (not to be confused with the curly-haired dad from the sitcom “Step by Step”) “The Official Mixer’s Manual” (http://www.amazon.com/Official-Mixers-Manual-Home-Professional/dp/B002CNKC7Y/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1343534430&sr=1-7&keywords=official+mixer%27s+manual).  I actually received this book as a surprise gift in the mail from my good friends in Lincoln, NE.  (I love any kind of fun mail, but receiving a cocktail book in the mail as a surprise?  It doesn’t get much better than that!)  Actually, I had picked up a copy of this book at a book fair back in April, but it was an edition from the late ’60′s or ’70′s (I can’t remember exactly) and I hadn’t really gotten in to it yet.  However, this earlier edition from the ’50′s is way more old school in its approach and references, and makes for a much more captivating read.  I’ve really enjoyed flipping through this book, which organizes its drinks by base liquor and liqueur.  Originally published in 1934, it’s definitely a great, classic cocktail book and really a “who’s who” of cocktails.  It features a huge amount of drinks that are very popular today.  It’s a very dependable, quality cocktail guide.

Anyways, I’ve gotten a bit off track.  Back to what I was saying… Yes, I’ve been a bit absent as I’ve been drinking the “lazy man’s drink”, but as I’ve been drinking my wine, I’ve been enjoying reading up and jotting down some new cocktails to try (at least for a few minutes before I’d fall asleep).  Here in this new post, I share with you the “East India Cocktail”, the “Calvados Cocktail”, the “Pegu Club Cocktail”, the “S.G. Cocktail” and the “Brooklyn”.  Enjoy!

“Brooklyn”

The Brooklyn cocktail is a cocktail I’ve been wanting to try ever since I got in to making cocktails.  For whatever reason, it caught my eye the moment I saw it online or in some book I was flipping through.  I think it caught my eye because it’s got a couple of my favorite ingredients – rye and maraschino.  It also caught my eye because of 2 other characteristics – I loved the name and also, my interest was piqued by an ingredient I’d never heard of… Amer Picon.  I’d never heard of Amer Picon and then as I started asking for it in stores around town, no one ever had it.  (?)  Come to later find out it’s because it’s a French liqueur that for some reason isn’t available in the U.S.  Well, I gave up on that idea, figuring I’d never get to try a Brooklyn cocktail, but at the same time, never really forgetting about the drink.  It was always in the back of my mind as a drink I’d love to try, and thought about from time to time.  Well, thanks to “Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails”, I learned today that there are in fact substitute ingredients that come close to matching Amer Picon that I could get my hands on.  He encourages the use of Torani Amer as a close substitute, but I can’t get my hands on that in St. Louis.  So the closest I could do was get a bottle of Ramazzotti.  Amer Picon, Torani Amer and Ramazzotti are all amaro liqueurs.  “Amaro” is Italian for bitter, and these are bitter aperitifs, made of a mixture of herbs, spices, roots, citrus peels, etc.  According to descriptions of Ramazzotti Amaro online, it’s a 200 year old recipe of 33 herbs and spices, with “notes of orange peel, cardamom, myrrh, galangal and cinnamon”.  Most of the amaros on the market are made in Italy, but Amer Picon is one of the few (if not the only one) made in France.  But alas, it’s not available here in the states, even though you’ll see it in many old recipes.  So, I’m not exactly sure how close Ramazzotti comes to Amer Picon, but from what I can gather from info online, it comes close enough.  I think it’s pretty damn interesting tasting, and this drink is pretty damn tasty!  The Brooklyn is similar to a Manhattan, but with a nice, heavy layer of the amaro adding some complexity and depth.  I love the healthy dose of maraschino.  Mmmm… it’s a very good drink – sort of a deeper, more herbal Manhattan.  Very good!

2 oz. rye whiskey

3/4 oz. dry vermouth

1/4 oz. Amer Picon (or Ramazzotti?)

1/4 oz. maraschino liqueur

Stir well with ice and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

“East India Cocktail”

This is a pretty good drink I found in the PDT Cocktail Book.  It’s a pretty mellow drink (albeit, pretty heavy on the “orangeyness”), and a nice cross between a “tropical drink” and a “real cocktail” (no offense, anyone… Some of my favorite drinks are tropical drinks).  The orange curacao/pineapple combo really lightens the drink up, while the dark rum and bitters brings it back down to earth.  Pretty good.

1 3/4 oz. brandy

1/2 oz. orange curacao

1/2 oz. pineapple

1/4 oz. dark rum

2 dashes of orange bitters

Shake well with ice and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with an orange peel.

“Calvados Cocktail”

This drink was decent.  At first, the drink tasted a little “medicinal”, but after a while, it grew on me and into a somewhat complex taste with its healthy dose of bitters.  I’ve never been a big fan of cocktails with OJ, but this one’s OK.  I’m not convinced however, whether I really like apple brandy or not.  I feel like I could like apple brandy, but I don’t know… Maybe it’s just that there aren’t many good apple brandy cocktails out there?  I don’t know… there’s not a ton of recipes calling for apple brandy or Calvados, but the ones I’ve tried, I’m not crazy for.  Hmmm… only time will tell, I guess.  I’m not ready to give up on it.

1 oz. calvados

1 oz. orange

1/2 oz. triple sec

1/2 oz. orange bitters

Shake well with ice and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

“Pegu Club Cocktail”

This is a very good cocktail!  As I’ve said a hundred times before, I’m not normally a fan of gin and orange juice, but I have to say… gin and triple sec and lime juice is great!  This drink is more of a daiquiri than anything else, and it’s a solidly well put-together summer drink!  I like how it’s a really refreshing summer drink, but the bitters tone it down a bit and make it more of a complex drink.  Recommended for sure!

1.5 oz. gin

1/2 oz. triple sec

3/4 oz. lime juice

2 dashes of Angostura bitters

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

“S.G. Cocktail”

This is a pretty good drink.  It’s nothing super special really, but just a nice drink for a sit on the porch after a hard day’s work in the summertime.  It’s just a nice and simple sour rye and juice drink.  The lemon actually packs quite a punch, if not a bit too much of a punch.  That being said, I was happy to find, just a few pages earlier in Duffy’s book, a drink called “Ink Street”.  The “Ink Street” is almost the same ingredients, but instead of an equal parts mix, it calls for 2 parts rye, and only 1 part orange and 1 part lemon (no grenadine either).  I think this proportion might suit my taste a little better.

1 oz. rye whiskey

1 oz. lemon juice

1 oz. orange juice

1 t grenadine

Shake well with ice and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.


A very, very good book

Hey everybody, I’m excited for this post because it’s sure to feature the first of many drinks from a new book I picked up called “The PDT Cocktail Book”.  I really felt like I had hit a lull of inspiration and needed a new, quality book to perk me up.  I tried buying a book that I’d really enjoyed flipping through at the bookstore called “The Four Seasons Book of Cocktails”, but it turned out to be just a very attractive book, a fun read and flip through.  But when it came down to wanting to make any of the drinks, I wasn’t inspired.  It’s nicely organized, and has some great pictures, but nothing too exciting.

Then a couple weeks later, at the bookstore again, I came across just what I needed… a book I had seen online before, but nothing I never really paid much attention to – “The PDT Cocktail Book”.  This book is pricey for a cocktail book at $25, but worth every penny!  It’s a book put out by Jim Meehan, head bartender at PDT (Please Don’t Tell).  The actual bar and locale of PDT is a pretty cool story, but I’ll leave that for you to read if you pick up a copy.  Basically, this is a modern version of the Savoy Cocktail book, in that it’s a manual of the day and features many cocktails from PDT, but also many classic cocktails, along with drinks from contemporary drink-slinging peers.  Just like the Savoy book, it’s a snapshot of what drinks are being drank at this time in history.  Also like the Savoy, it’s got no pictures of the drinks themselves, which may sound annoying but it’s not.  Instead it features illustrations inspired by the drinks.  That may sound like a negative to many, and I’m the first to admit – I usually need photos to get inspired, but trust me… these drinks are generally basic enough, with typically only 3-5 ingredients, that you don’t need a picture to get the idea.  Plus the illustrations are kind of more inspiring than a snapshot of the drink could be.  That’s another big reason I love this book… the drinks themselves.  Yes, there’s a few unusual ingredients that I’ll probably never have, and therefore never try, but for the most part, the drinks featured, some may be new, some may be old, but they all resemble the stripped down simplicity of all the classics.  Instead of having a list of 7-8 ingredients, 2 or 3 of which need to be infused or what not, like some current cocktail books… most of these drinks feature all classic, stand-by ingredients… brandy, rye, maraschino, orange juice, bitters, absinthe, simple syrup, etc.   Another great similarity to the Savoy is its simplicity in just organizing the drinks alphabetically.  Only the PDT fixes the one major mistake about the Savoy – it features an index by ingredient as well.  That’s the one annoying thing about the Savoy, it’s nearly impossible to look up drinks by ingredient.  I can’t say enough good things about this book.  It’s an instant classic, and I’m so glad I bought it!  Nearly every page is rabbit-eared because there’s a drink I want to try, and I’ve already started…

This post features 4 of the drinks I’ve tried since buying this book.  They come straight from the pages of the PDT.  Two of them feature apple brandy, I just realized that three of them feature Benedictine, and my favorite is a combo you can’t go wrong with – tequila and Chartreuse.

“East Village Athletic Club Cocktail”

I’ll start with my favorite of the four, the East Village Athletic Club Cocktail.  This is only the 2nd drink I’ve had that has both tequila and Chartreuse, and both drinks are up there in my favorites (the other being the Loop Tonic, made with the green stuff).  I need to scour the internet and books for more drinks with these two troublemakers in it.  (Anyone have any suggestions?)  This drink is a creation of Mr. Meehan’s and he explains it as as a variation on the “Last Word” cocktail (one of my favorite drinks), and it’s amazing!  Tequila and Chartreuse go so nicely together – they hit each other head on and create a real zip!  It’s also the first drink I’ve tasted since buying my first bottle of yellow Chartreuse where the yellow stuff really holds its own and steps up to the plate.  The curacao really adds a nice element too.

1.5 oz. white tequila

3/4 oz. lemon juice

1/2 oz. yellow Chartreuse

1/2 oz. orange curacao

Shake well with ice and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

(“The PDT Cocktail Book”)

 

“Honeymoon Cocktail”

This was a good sour with a nice orange and apple combo flavor, a really nice balance between the two.  I recently bought a bottle of Laird’s applejack, and often recipes will call for applejack specifically, but most call for apple brandy.  I know that applejack is not 100% apple brandy, but it was cheap and I like it.  Now that I know I like it though, I want to buy a bottle of apple brandy and give it a go.  I’m not sure how different the two will be from each other.  I’m assuming the 100% apple brandy will be much better, since the applejack is only 35% apple brandy (65% grain neutral spirits).  In the meantime, this $13 bottle of applejack was a nice introduction in to the apple brandy world.  I like it, and will be returning.  This drink’s almost like a daiquiri, but a little more “mature” in its taste… not as “childish” as rum (no offense to rum) but not as “manly” as whiskey.

2 oz. apple brandy

1/2 oz. orange curacao

1/2 oz. Benedictine

1/2 oz. lemon juice

Shake well with ice and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

(“The PDT Cocktail Book”, from Hugo Ensslin’s “Recipes for Mixed Drinks”, 1916)

 

“De La Louisiane”

This was a very good, warming drink with a hint of refreshing absinthe…

2 oz. rye whiskey

3/4 oz. sweet vermouth

3/4 oz. Benedictine

3 dashes absinthe

3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Stir well with ice and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with a maraschino cherry or 3

(“The PDT Cocktail Book”, from Stanley Clisby Arthur’s “Famous New Orleans Drinks”, 1937)

 

“Widow’s Kiss”

This was another good drink.  This drink wasn’t all that special, but it’s not bad if you’re looking for a nice, smooth stiff drink…

2 oz. apple brandy

1/4 oz. yellow Chartreuse

1/4 oz. Benedictine

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir well with ice and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

(“The PDT Cocktail Book”, from George Kappeler’s “Modern American Drinks”, 1895)


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