The Drinks of Spring

I do believe there’s nothing finer in life than arriving home from work early enough to enjoy a refreshing drink and nice spring weather in a lawn chair in the backyard with a baseball game on the portable radio, before our little one wakes up from his nap and dinner is ready to eat. 

“Pimm’s Cup”

2oz Pimm’s No. 1, 1/4oz lemon, ginger beer, a cucumber twist and ice

  
 

“Spring Training Fizz” (working title?)

1 1/2 to 2oz blanco tequila, blood orange soda, grapefruit bitters and ice

 
A “Mojito” with cachaca (a “Cachacito”?) 

Muddle 8-10 mint leaves with simple syrup, add 2oz cachaca, 3/4oz lime, crushed ice and top with club soda

  
“Paloma”

1 1/2 to 2oz blanco tequila, grapefruit soda and ice

  

Unnamed drink

Muddle mint leaves with a few dashes of Peychaud’s bitters, add 2oz rye whiskey, 1/2oz Averna, 1/2oz lemon, ice and ginger beer

  

“Gin Rickey”

1 1/2oz gin, 3/4oz lime, 2d Bittermens “Boston Bittahs”, crushed ice and club soda

“Americano”

1 1/2oz Campari, 1 1/2oz Italian vermouth, ice and club soda 

 


Scientist McGee’s Cocktail Glass Emporium

Thank you for reading my ramblings about cocktails here on WordPress.

As a way to thank you, please enjoy a 10% discount off all my cocktail glassware in my Cocktail Glass Emporium at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ScientistMcGee?ref=pr_shop_more with coupon code WORDPRESSCOCKTAILS

IMG_7077


Another year, another cocktail menu… 5th Edition of the “Scientist McGee Cocktail Menu”!

Happy new year, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s Eve, and enjoyed a nice tipple to say ‘goodbye’ to 2014. Looking forward to this new year of 2015, what better way to say ‘hello’ than an updated and revised edition of the “Scientist McGee Cocktail Menu”.

The “Scientist McGee Cocktail Menu” is essentially a documented collection of all the new drinks I’ve mixed up and enjoyed since the last edition. This newest version adds about 25 libations or so to the mix, and they’re all featured at the end of the book.  In addition to the newly added drinks, this edition also sees an updated cover, table of contents, bibliography, index, and even some updated photos of old drinks sprinkled in here and there.

So pull up a chair, chill some cocktail glasses, and measure some pours, because this book will be your best friend in the upcoming cold and wretched winter months.

Just click on the two pictures below to download the book in 2 parts.

Cheers to all of you, and may you have the best year of your life!  To 2015! Cheers!

Cover 5th Edition

Contents 5th Edition


2013 = 1 ; 2014 = 1+?

Happy new year everyone! I only posted one new blog entry in 2013, but I’ve stayed active on Twitter (@scientistmcgee) and Instagram (@scientistmcgee), as well as peddling vintage cocktail glasses on Etsy (www.etsy.com/shop/scientistmcgee).

My only 2013 post followed the birth of my first kid and introduced the “Little Man” drink I rolled in tribute to him.  As I assumed, from that point on I really have not set aside the time to write lengthy blog posts. That does not mean in any way that I have not been enjoying the art of drinking well and reading worthwhile cocktail books and literature this past year. I have certainly been doing that! In fact I think I’ve had more fun sharing my experiences on Twitter and Instagram, because it’s afforded me the opportunity to meet and interact a lot more with new friends and interesting folks who enjoy cocktails as well… such as Cori Paige (Under My Host), Dave Weglarz (StilL 630), Sara Graham (Dishcrawl St. Louis), Bill Foster (The Big O), and others on Twitter and Instagram such as @DrinkDMV, @WorthyBar, @AmuseDouche11, @The_Warthog and @TheDuke001.  Twitter and Instagram offer such an interactive forum, where there’s so much more back-and-forth and sharing between others I can learn from and enjoy with.  So much so that I got my first opportunity in 2013 to sell my Etsy vintage glassware in a face-to-face public setting because I met Sara Graham through posting pics on Twitter.

So needless to say, I’m certainly grateful for the role WordPress has played in this fun hobby of mine.  Without WordPress, there would be no “Scientist McGee”.  This is where my alter-ego and hobby persona was born.  It’s what encouraged me to foster and grow my interest, by allowing me to connect with others in the first place.  The cool thing is that according to my “annual WordPress report” below, my blog brought in 6,400 visitors, although I only had one new post.  That’s because what I write about and share isn’t “breaking news”… it’s got no “limited shelf-life” or “expiration date” of relevancy.  I write about a time-honored tradition that has been around for over 100 years, and hopefully will never go away… the cocktail.  And although new drinks will be concocted, and new spirits and cordials invented, as well as new methodologies in which to make new libations will be tried, the basics and fundamentals of making a good drink will outlive me.  That’s why I’m happy that what I’ve written about on this world wide web will always serve as a decent resource to others when googling subjects such as “chocolate bitters”, “yellow chartreuse” and “how much is a ‘dash’?”.  I love it when I myself google a drink recipe for reference, and my own blog pops up as a good resource!

So although 2013 has not been a busy year for me in regards to WordPress, it has in fact been a very busy year in my personal family life, as well as my drinking life over on Twitter, Instagram and Etsy.   So if you only see me on WordPress occassionally, thanks, and I’ll see you from time to time.  But if you want to join me over on these other sites, and enjoy drinks together much more often, it would make me very happy as well.

I can promise you one thing about WordPress, and that’s that I will have at least one new post in 2014.  Once a year, I post my updated “Scientist McGee Cocktail Menu” for my home bar, updating editions annually to include all the new drinks I’ve tried in the prior year.  Although I’ll need to find the time to do so, I do plan to post an updated year-end “cocktail menu” within the next month or so.

So stay tuned and keep your glasses chilled!

Thanks, SMcG

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,400 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Where to begin…

6-11-13 The little man 6-11-13 billiken Summer Relief 6-11-13

Where to begin this SMcG post?  It’s my first post since December of last year, and a lot’s happened and changed since then.  Most significantly, I’m a dad now!  My wife and I had our first baby on May 23rd, and his name’s Elliott.  If you do the math, he’s not even 3 weeks old yet, and I’ve been off on leave of absence from work this whole time (I go back to work this Friday).

So although I’ve got numerous new cocktails I’ve tried since December 2012 to write about, I guess it’s only fitting that I start with an original one I created specifically to mark the occasion of our little man Elliott’s birth… It’s called “The Little Man”.  In addition to this drink (the most important one to me), I’ve got 19 other new drinks I’ve mixed up for the first time, and one delicious punch on top of that, since my last entry.  There’s no way though that I’d want to even write about that many all in one post, nor could I even do so if I wanted to, what with the 3-week old baby in the house and all.  So I’m going to keep this post really short and sweet, in hopes that by doing so, I’ll be more inclined to write more frequently than I’ve been doing recently.

So for sake of brevity, I’ll keep this post to two drinks – two cocktails that I invented in fact… “The Little Man” and “The Billiken”.  Although the Little Man is the drink closest to my heart, the Billiken is the original creation that I’m most proud of simply because it’s a damn good drink (if I do say so myself).  The Billiken was created back in March during the NCAA March Madness college basketball tournament in tribute to my hometown school and alma mater college basketball team of Saint Louis University.

“The Little Man”6-11-13 The little man

1.5 oz Still 630 rye whiskey

3/4 oz lemon juice

1/2 oz Meletti amaro

2-3 dashes of simple syrup

1 dash orange bitters

1 dash lavender bitters

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

Garnish with an orange twist

Many of these ingredients play a specific role in the characteristics of a drink created in homage to my baby boy Elliott…

The Still 630 rye whiskey because his dad loves rye whiskey and this particular rye because it’s a great St. Louis whiskey.  I love my hometown of St. Louis, and I’m excited to share my love for this town with little Elliott.  The lemon and amaro because when Elliott’s throwing a fuss, he can be a bit sour and bitter.  But then you add the simple syrup and lavender bitters because in the end, he’s just a sweet little baby who happens to smell like flowers (at least to his parents).  (The orange bitters and garnish don’t have any special meaning.)

But above all cheesy symbolism, the drink’s a fun one to drink.  It’s a refreshing drink that I think would appeal to many different folks… it’s a sour while still being a mellow, smooth drink.  I think that the variety of ingredients, from the amaro to the simple syrup to the lavender bitters to the lemon create a few different layers of subtleties, and offer a little bit of something for everyone’s tastes.  A good drink for a great time in my life.  Cheers to Elliott!

6-11-13 billiken“The Billiken”

1 1/2 oz Plymouth gin

3/4 oz Lillet Blanc

1/4 oz St. Germain

1 dash of Boker’s bitters

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

Garnish with a lemon peel hugging 3 blueberries

Of all the spirits to choose from, I figured gin spoke to me most when it came to basketball.  (Whiskey just doesn’t seem like a basketball liquor.)  The particular ingredients in this drink are fitting because, like SLU, none of them are particularly cheap (inexpensive).  Also, these specific ingredients (ie. Lillet, St. Germain) tend towards the fancier and “less rugged” persuasion, I guess you might say… also similar to SLU and its student body.  Lastly, the blueberries fit the school colors and may serve as a loose reference to basketballs.  But most importantly, it’s a well built and tasty drink.  I think of it as sort of an “elegant Corpse Reviver”… light, fancily delightful and delicious… like a ballet or a good game of college basketball.

“Summer Relief”Summer Relief 6-11-13

Why not throw one more drink in to this post for good measure, now that I’m on a roll (and the kid’s being good and napping)!  (kind of like a bonus hidden track on a ’90’s cd, eh?)

I don’t want this post to be only drinks I made up, so here’s a good one as we hit our summer stride… the “Summer Relief” from Matt Seiter’s book “Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars”.  This drink is downright delicious! It’s one of the heartiest gin drinks I’ve ever had.  The grapefruit, honey syrup and surprisingly the St. Germain all add up to provide a substantial body for the drink.  It’s a substantial and hearty drink, but also kind of a “girly” drink.  But I don’t use the adjective “girly” to mean anything but awesome.  I mean it in the highest form of praise that I can… like a fashion model with great style and amazing perfume.  (I know that that is probably the absolute weirdest description of a drink that you’ll find in this entire Scientist McGee blog, but it’s in my notes and I trust my notes and my seemingly tipsy self from February, and it does ring a bell and I remember feeling strongly about this, so there you go! ha! ha!)

1 1/2 oz gin

1 oz grapefruit juice

1/2 oz honey syrup (1:1 water:honey)

1/4 oz St. Germain

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

Garnish with grapefruit

(“Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars”)


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.


“Mamie” was a “Liberal”, used to throw “Paper Planes” off the “South Slope”. One day, tuckered out, she laid down for a “Siesta” and slept like a “Corpse”. (You’ll have to pardon me… I had no good title for this post.)

The conclusion that you might draw from the lame title of this post is that there’s no real overarching them to this post’s drinks.  You’d be right!  I present to you 6 random drinks that feature random ingredients, with nothing in common with each other, other than the fact that they’re all pretty damn good.  A couple of them feature Lillet Blanc, which is a new ingredient for my home bar.  Lillet is a delicious French aperitif wine.  It’s rather sweet and fruity, consisting of a blend of mostly Bordeaux wines and some citrus liqueurs.  One of its most famous roles being that of a key player in a cocktail with one of the best names ever, the “Corpse Reviver #2”.   (I actually went out to get my first bottle of Lillet Blanc, specifically so I’d be able to make this drink.)  Another new ingredient featured in this post is ginger beer.  I love ginger ale, but this is the first time I’ve ever tried true ginger beer.  Ginger beer is what ginger ale used to be like, back in the olden days.  Ginger beer actually has ginger in it, and quite the spice you’d expect from a soda made with real ginger.  A lot of classic cocktails call for ginger beer, so I picked up a bottle of “Lewis Osterweis & Sons” ginger beer, made by The Saint Louis Brewery (aka Schlafly).  It’s not something I’d necessarily want to drink every day, but it’s definitely worth keeping a bottle or two in the house for when you do want one.

“Corpse Reviver #2”

What a delicious drink!  I love the taste of the lemon with just a slight underlying flavor of absinthe, mmmm!  I might actually think this drink is a little heavy on the lemon, and I might like it more with a little less, but nonetheless, it’s delicious!  It’s very smooth and easy to drink, but also a bit complex in its flavor mixture, with the Lillet and a little bit of the absinthe (Note: 3 drops means just that, 3 small drops, not 3 dashes).  Love it!

1 oz. gin

1 oz. Lillet Blanc

1 oz. lemon juice

1 oz. triple sec

3 drops of absinthe

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

Garnish with a cherry

“The Liberal”

I’ve been wanting to try this drink for some time, as I love its name too.  It’s a pretty good drink.  It’s got a unique taste.  The amaro wrestles with the sweet vermouth, pinning the vermouth’s sweetness and adding a bittnerness, while the orange bitters and bourbon stand on the side lines cheering and encouraging the fight.  Good drink indeed.

1.5 oz. bourbon

1.5 oz. sweet vermouth

6 dashes amaro

2 (healthy) dashes of orange bitters

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

Garnish with a cherry

The good version of “The Liberal” from “Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails” by Ted Haigh (above)

There’s another recipe for “The Liberal” that’s actually more common on the Internet.  I, for one, am not a fan of this version.  I highly recommend following the recipe above instead.

More common recipe (echh):

1.5 oz. rye whiskey

1/2 oz. sweet vermouth

1/4 oz. amaro

2 dashes or orange bitters

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

Garnish with a lemon twist

The not-so-good version more commonly found on the Internet (below)

“South Slope”

This drink is delicious! It’s dry, citrusy, bitter and smooth, all in one!  It’s a really nice cocktail, a perfect blend of tastes and senses.  

3/4 oz. gin

3/4 oz. Aperol

3/4 oz. Lillet Blanc

1/2 oz. orange curacao

1/2 oz. lemon juice

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

Garnish with a lemon twist

(“PDT Cocktail Book”)

“Mamie Taylor”

This is a good drink, with quite a unique flavor combination with the smokiness of the scotch and the spiciness of the ginger, pulled together by the unifying lime juice.  It works very well together though!  It’s quite a unique summer-time refresher.  Ted Haigh writes in his book that this drink was considered a fancy drink back in its heyday, and I understand why… the scotch soothes the soul while the ginger excites the heart, and the lime keeps it all in perspective.

2 oz. scotch

3/4 oz. lime juice

ginger beer (not just ginger ale)

Pour the scotch and lime juice into an ice-filled highball glass, and fill to the top with ginger beer, and then stir gently.

Garnish with a lime wedge

“Paper Plane”

This is a pretty good drink.  It’s a bit too lemony perhaps, but a nice flavor, all in all.  All the different flavors (a little bitter meets a little tart) blend very well in to a good single, unified flavor.  Definitely not a bad drink (but nothing that special either).

3/4 oz. bourbon

3/4 oz. amaro

3/4 oz. Aperol

3/4 oz. lemon juice

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

“Siesta”

And last but not least… Definitely NOT least!  This drink is absolutely AMAZING!  This is one of the best drinks around.  This drink is so good and delicious!  The smooth, sweet tequila, with the tart grapefruit juice and the bitter Campari, smoothed out in relief of the simple syrup… Mmmmmm… a perfect mix of flavors!  It’s a complex drink that’s both an “easy goin’ summer-time drink” and a “sophisticated cocktail” at the same time.  Write this one down, then drink it down, folks!

2 oz. silver tequila

1/2 oz. Campari

1/2 oz. lime juice

1/2 oz. grapefruit juice

1/2 oz. simple syrup

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

Garnish with a grapefruit twist (I used a lime twist)

(“PDT Cocktail Book”)