A Cocktail of Cocktails (?)

On 10/26/14, the world lost a young baseball superstar of great promise, Oscar Taveras. Baseball fans learned of this tragic loss during the 2014 World Series, when it was announced over the air.

Shocked and in disbelief from this unexpected, terribly sad news, I needed a drink to sit back, take in the news and reflect on young Oscar and his saddened families (both his real family as well as his Cardinals family). Too saddened and shook to worry about mixing up a drink from ground zero, I just took the little bit of pre-mixed Manhattan I had already on hand and added cognac to it to make it a better-sized drink. Although the “technique” was unorthodox, the result was certainly tasty. Which begs the question…

Although the excuse for this concoction of mine was due to my lack of motivation to mix a drink from scratch, has anyone ever seen this technique in use before? Perhaps not just a Manhattan plus the addition of one other spirit (like mine was), but maybe two or three complete cocktails put together – A cocktail made of a combo of other cocktails? A “cocktail of cocktails”, so to speak.

I’d be interested to know.

Either way, at the end of the day, we’ll miss Oscar Taveras, and I hold his family and friends and his memory in my heart. This sad excuse for a drink is dedicated to the memory of Oscar Taveras, a tragic loss for St. Louis and the game of baseball…

1 part Manhattan
1 part cognac

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Pimm’s Cup

I really enjoy a good Pimm’s Cup. So much so, that I really should find myself drinking them much more often than I do.

Oddly enough, I usually find myself enjoying them on the most American of holidays… 4th of July, Labor Day, etc. Mainly I guess because these holidays are summer ones where I find myself kicking back on the porch without a care in the world (other than the St. Louis heat and humidity).

However, I usually do feel a bit weird drinking these on the 4th of July for instance. Oh well, they’re a great summertime refresher, so who really cares about tradition and what’s proper anyway, right?

A 2014 Independence Day Pimm’s Cup

2oz Pimm’s No.1
1/2oz lemon
A couple ounces of ginger ale
Garnish w/ a cucumber

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A 2014 Labor Day Pimm’s Cup

2oz Pimm’s No. 1
1/4oz lemon over ice
A bit of ginger ale
A cucumber garnish

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And what a Pimm’s Cup looks like when for some reason, you forget that a Pimm’s Cup has Pimm’s in it and accidentally use gin instead. It’s actually not a bad drink, and I wouldn’t object to someone handing me one.

2oz gin
1/4oz lemon
A bit of ginger ale
A cucumber garnish

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Fernet Branca’s Cocktail of the Week

In February of last year, I was contacted by Fernet Branca, and asked if I’d like to be featured as one of their “cocktails of the week” on their social media sites. Obviously, I jumped at the opportunity! I came up with this variation of a drink I’d created almost a year earlier called “The Little Man”. With this variation, I emphasized the Italian origin of the famous amaro digestif, with the name “The Ragazzino”.

The Ragazzino

1.5oz Still 630 rye whiskey
3/4oz lemon
1/2oz Fernet Branca
3 dashes simple syrup
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash lavender bitters
shake/strain
garnish w/ an orange twist

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Ferguson, MO

This past year has been a trying one for St. Louis and specifically our neighboring suburban town of Ferguson.

With everything that’s happened in the area and the social unrest it led to, it also led to unrest in the minds of everyone who loves our town. It caused many of us to examine ourselves and our city, and recognize and embrace how much better we can strive to become.

Despite the positive outcome these unfortunate circumstances will hopefully result in, i.e. a better, more united St. Louis, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who would disagree that St. Louis could use a stiff drink.

That is why I created this drink during the peak of the unrest, back in September of 2014.

A “Ferguson

2oz brandy
1/2oz Cherry Heering
2d Fortune Teller Bar lemon hopped bitters
Stir with ice, then strain or serve over a large ice cube
Garnish with an orange twist

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The Risky Lives of Elegant Cocktail Glasses

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Two of My Favorite Drinks

They’re like twins… sometimes hard to tell apart, but definitely different.

A “1794” cocktail

2 parts rye whiskey
1 part Italian vermouth
1 part Campari

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A “Boulevardier”

Equal parts rye whiskey, Campari and Italian vermouth.

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Death & Co.

One of my favorite cocktail books from 2014 was the book of NYC’s Death & Co. Not only is it a gorgeous book with superior drink recipes, the drinks are also refreshingly unique. This book opened my eyes to making drinks with multiple base spirits. Some drinks with both rye and brandy, other drinks with one type of calvados and another type of apple brandy.

Little Sparrow

2oz Busnel VSOP calvados
1/4oz Laird’s apple brandy
3/4oz Italian vermouth
1/2oz St-Germain
2d house Peychaud’s bitters (2p Peychaud’s / 1p Bitter Truth creole bitters)
1 lemon twist for garnish
Stir with ice and serve up.

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Lilywhacker

2oz apple brandy
3/4oz Italian vermouth
1/2oz Cointreau
1 dash of Bittermens xocolatl mole bitters
Stir with ice, and serve up.

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Sidewinder

2oz cognac
1/2oz calvados
1/4oz Benedictine
1/4oz yellow Chartreuse
1d absinthe
1d Peychaud’s bitters
Stir with ice and serve up.

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Holiday & Winter Communal Drinks

One of the best parts of the holidays and the cold, cold winter is getting together with friends and trying to stay warm. The best way to do that is with strong drink, and it’s much more fun to share one communal drink with a punch or a nog. These two recipes come from two celebrities, and I think they’re both solid drinks to remember for future holiday seasons.

Amaretto-Bourbon Punch

(Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart)

20oz of seltzer water
16oz bourbon
8oz lemon juice
8oz sparkling apple juice
4oz simple syrup
3oz amaretto
Totals 60 ounces of delicious punch

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Egg Nog

(Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown)

4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pint whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 ounces bourbon
1 1/4 ounces dark rum
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites

In the bowl of a stand mixer beat together the egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar until the yolks lighten in color
and the sugar is completely dissolved.

Add the milk, cream, bourbon, rum, and nutmeg and stir to
combine.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks.

With the mixer still running
gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold the egg whites into the
mixture. Chill and serve.

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Ringing in the new year with mezcal

My first cocktails of the new year, courtesy of a bottle of Mezcal having recently been purchased with a birthday gift card from a friend to the Wine Merchant.

Division Bell

1oz mezcal
3/4 oz Aperol
1/2oz maraschino
3/4oz lime
-shake/strain-

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Maguey Sour

2oz mezcal
1/2oz Benedictine
3/4oz lemon
1/2oz orgeat
1/2 of a large egg white

Shake with ice, strain into an ice filled glass, garnish w/ a pinch of nutmeg and an orange twist.

(From http://www.foodandwine.com)

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St. Louis Sorghum Whiskey

Earlier this month, local distiller Still 630 released his new whiskey made of sorghum. Still 630 is one man, David Weglarz, and what a guy he is. Single-handedly running his distillery and making sure his whiskeys (ryes “Rally Point” and “Maple Sunset”, as well as white dog “Big Jake”) and rum (“Soulard Island Rum”) are available at nearly every respectable drinking establishment and spirits shop in St. Louis, Mr. Weglarz is one of the hardest working people I know.

Distilling his first-class spirits in a modestly small building (a former Hardee’s) in the heart of our city on 4th Street, just a stone’s throw from Busch Stadium, Still 630 is quintessentially St. Louis. I believe that Mr. Weglarz is as honored to have his spirits embraced and enjoyed by so many St. Louisans, just as much as so many St. Louisans are proud to consider his spirits our own.

So I, being such a big fan of this local distillery, didn’t have to think twice about heading down to the distillery the morning after first hearing of his latest product, “S.S. Sorghum” whiskey. When I think of sorghum, I think of a type of molasses because of some syrups I’ve purchased in old-fashioned Americana-type shops, but although I find science fascinating, I’m terrible at knowing anything about it and/or anything earth or plant-related. (I feel proud that I can identify a Bradford Pear or an Oklahoma Redbud tree, and that’s about the extent of my botany knowledge.) So I really didn’t even know what sorghum really is, but Wikipedia tells me it’s a type of grass maybe? Who knows?

But I know that Dave made a whiskey out of it, so I headed downtown first thing in the afternoon. In fact, my little man and I found ourselves in the position to purchase the very first bottle of this new whiskey (see picture)! Obviously that’s a photo of a proud dad and son.

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This is good drink, and a nice something that’s unique to add to one’s home bar. Below is the official tasting notes on the back of the bottle, and in my humble opinion it reminds me of a slightly rum-ish bourbon. Very interesting flavor and very good.

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To enjoy the full flavor of the sorghum whiskey, I’ve been enjoying it so far simply in an Old-fashioned cocktail…

2.25oz Still 630 “S.S. Sorghum” whiskey
1/4oz simple syrup
1/2oz water
2d Angostura bitters
Served over ice, with a lemon twist

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“S.S. Sorghum” can be purchased at the distillery on 4th Street. Learn more about Still 630 here.