Happy Holidays from Scientist McGee! (2012 SMcG Cocktail Book)

Happy holidays, everyone!  Tis the season to raise a glass and toast our friends and loved ones!

My gift to you, to help with your toasts, is a new & improved 2012 edition of the “Scientist McGee Annual Cocktail Book”.  Last January, I posted the very first edition of the collected recipes from the Scientist McGee blog. That edition collected nearly every recipe I had posted over the lifespan of the SMcG blog, with just a couple awful drinks removed to spare your taste buds.  This new & improved 2012 edition includes those same recipes with another year’s worth on top of it.  Plus a revised table of contents with a special “key” noting particular ingredients with “big personalities”, such as Chartreuse, Campari, absinthe and creme de violette.  Basically “supporting actors” that can “steal the scene”, and for which some folks may not be particularly huge fans of (although others may “stand in line to get a ticket just to see this over-the-top supporting actor”).  I figured these ingredients warrant a heads-up or a come hither note for my readers and imbibers.  Once again, the “book” is posted in two parts that can be downloaded and printed, and then put together to create the finished product.

Download the book here:

Scientist McGee’s Cocktail Menu – 2012 Edition COVER &TABLE OF CONTENTS & THE BASICS

Scientist McGee’s Cocktail Menu – 2012 Edition THE DRINKS AND BOOKSHELF

The “Scientist McGee’s Annual Cocktail Book: 2012 Edition” also features some “last minute cocktails”, just in time for pressing.  These 6 new drinks are featured below and showcase some new ingredients for my home bar – swedish punsch, orgeat, Plymouth Gin and IMG_2785Fernet Branca.  The latest 2 cocktails, the Hanky Panky and the Wellington, came from a brand new cocktail book, hot off the presses a couple of weeks ago, called “Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars”.  This book was written by Matt Seiter, a high school buddy of mine and all-around good guy, who happens to be the bar manager of Sanctuaria.  Sanctuaria is a tapas and cocktail bar in the Grove neighborhood of St. Louis, MO.  This book is the tale of that bar and its cocktail club, and features the recipe of every single drink on the cocktail club menu – all 150 of them!  It features the story behind each of the 70 original drink creations along with beautiful photos of each drink.  I definitely and highly recommend picking up a copy at http://www.sanctuariastl.com .  I guarantee that there will be many, many drinks from this book that will grace the future pages of this here blog, and I look forward to drinking each and everyone of them!

So I hope some of you enjoy the drinks – Happy holidays, and thanks to all of you who enjoy reading this blog, enjoy following my day-to-day imbibing on Twitter (@ScientistMcGee), and enjoyed some glassware from the “Scientist McGee’s Cocktail Glass Emporium” (http://www.etsy.com/shop/scientistmcgee) – it’s been quite a busy and fun year!

IMG_2646“The Hesitation”

This is a very good drink.  This was the first drink I tried my new bottle of swedish punsch out with.  I wanted to really taste the swedish punsch when I tried it for the first time, so I chose this very simple drink that’s equal parts rye and punsch.  This recipe makes for a rich, fragrant, slightly sweetened rye whiskey drink.  Very good.

Equal parts…

Rye whiskey

Swedish punsch

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

“Have a Heart Cocktail”IMG_2500

This drink wasn’t anything super unique or magnificent, but very good for what it is… which is a very good sour. It has a little bit of something special with the complexity of the Swedish punsch.

1.5 oz. gin

3/4 oz. Swedish punsch

3/4 oz. lime juice

1/4 oz. grenadine

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

Garnish with a lime

(“Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails”)

IMG_2522“Hoop La!” Cocktail

This is a good, easy-goin’ sour.  It’s nothing that special either, but it’s good nonetheless.  I like the gentler side of the Lillet and triple sec, against the strength of the brandy and lemon.

Equal parts…

brandy

Lillet Blanc

triple sec

lemon juice

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

(“Savoy Cocktail Book”)

“Trinidad Sour”

Now here’s a VERY SPECIAL sour!  What a unique and delicious drink!  My friend Jack recommended this drink to me when I put a plea out for suggestions for a pre-Thanksgiving stay-at-home cocktail.  His recommendation prompted me to go to the store the next day or so and pick up my first bottle of orgeat (an almond cordial syrup).  This drink is amazing.  This drink is thick and creamy, frothy in fact! IMG_2632 This is a tough drink to describe for me.  I had never had Angostura bitters in this large of quantity before.  Plus it was my first taste of orgeat too.  So two “firsts”, I guess.  This drink is like a typical cocktail turned on its head… Instead of the bitters and the syrup adding the finishing touches, the rye whiskey adds the finishing touch on a drink featuring a full ounce of Angostura bitters.  Don’t worry folks, it’s not actually that bitter of a drink either…  It actually reminds me a lot of a “Blood & Sand”, oddly enough.  You all owe it to yourself to try this drink.  Thanks Jack, for the gift of the “Trinidad Sour”.

1 oz. Angostura bitters

1 oz. orgeat

3/4 oz. lemon juice

1/2 oz. rye whiskey

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

“Hanky Panky”IMG_2797

This was the first drink I made at home from Matt Seiter’s “Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars”, and it was very interesting and really good.  The gin and sweet vermouth alone would be too sweet, shallow and light, but the Fernet Branca grabs them both and pulls ’em back down, keeping them grounded.  The Fernet comes in at the end and is a bitter bite that pulls the gin and vermouth back to reality, and rounds the drink out.

1.5 oz. Plymouth gin

1.5 oz. Italian vermouth

1/4 oz. Fernet Branca

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

garnish with lemon

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

“Wellington”

This drink is really good… a really interesting sour with the mellow Swedish punsch ending that lingers.  I love the very small amount of Heering.  Actually, I think this drink really has the perfect balance of all the ingredients in the right proportions.  Really damn good!

IMG_28041.5 oz. gin

1/2 oz. lime juice

1/4 oz. Swedish punsch

1/4 oz. Cherry Heering

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

garnish with a lime

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


“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”)


Springtime Splurge Activated!

            

In my last post, I declared winter to be officially over and introduced some new ingredients that I splurged on to inspire some new springtime drinks.  Well, these ingredients are gleefully being used!  I’ve got four new great cocktails for you featuring anejo tequila, Aperol, Rothman & Winter orchard pear liqueur and rhubarb bitters!  All four of these cocktails are top notch, and so fortunately, I’m now sitting back, enjoying the beautiful weather and feeling very good about my bulk booze purchase.

(Side note: In my last post, I mentioned how I don’t normally drop that kind of money to buy this much alcohol all at once.  So to see how I’m digging myself out of the debt I now owe to the household budget, see my new business venture selling vintage cocktail glasses at http://www.etsy.com/shop/ScientistMcGee?ref=si_shop)

“Eclipse Cocktail”

The first cocktail, and definitely my favorite of the four, is the Eclipse Cocktail.  This drink is SOOOO good!  It kind of reminds of me of the Blood & Sand cocktail (one of my favorites!) in that the smokiness of the anejo tequila reminds me of the B&S’s scotch with lemon instead of orange, Aperol instead of sweet vermouth, and of course the Cherry Heering as Cherry Heering.  This drink is mighty good. It’s got a fresh kick of tequila shrouded in a velvety curtain of citrus and cherry… mmmm.

2 oz. anejo tequila

3/4 oz. Aperol

3/4 oz. Cherry Heering

3/4 oz. lemon juice

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with a lemon peel.

(“The PDT Cocktail Book”)

“Rhubarb & Rye”

This next drink is an interesting one for me.  It’s very heavy on the rhubarb, which at least in my town of St. Louis, is not the most common flavor.  Yes, I see a rhubarb pie from time to time, but when I do it’s usually a pleasant surprise and seems like a rare opportunity.  In fact, I’d never tried rhubarb until I was an adult.  I like rhubarb though.  Something… maybe its obscurity, maybe the fact that it’s a vegetable but it tastes like a fruit, I don’t know… but something about it kind of freaks me out in a good way.  I like it though, and I like this drink that is definitely heavy on the rhubarb… an entire half-ounce of the rhubarb bitters in fact!  The first time I made this drink, I scaled the use of the bitters back to 5 dashes (which is still typically a liberal amount of bitters).  The second time I made it, I went for the entire half-ounce, as the recipe calls for, and it was a good call.  The rhubarb definitely takes a front seat, but that’s the point I guess.  It’s a very refreshing, springtime whiskey drink.  The rye definitely plays in the distant background and the rhubarb, along with its citrus friends of lemon and orange, takes center stage. Very nice!

1.5 oz. rye whiskey

1 oz. Aperol

1/2 oz. lemon juice

1/2 oz. rhubarb bitters

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with a lemon peel.

(http://www.kindredcocktails.com)

“Statesman”

This was an interesting drink too.  It reminded me of a Martini.  It was good, and had the crisp bite that a Martini delivers.  The Chartreuse, oddly enough, takes the place of the Martini’s olive(s), and the pear liqueur smoothly and effortlessly takes the place of the dry vermouth.  If you like a Martini, but are open to something new, give this one a try.

2 oz. gin

1/2 oz. Rothman & Winter orchard pear liqueur

1 bar spoon of green Chartreuse

1 dash of orange bitters

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

Garnish with a lemon peel.

(“The PDT Cocktail Book”)

“Improved Whiskey Cocktail”

Last, but definitely not least, is the “Improved Whiskey Cocktail”.  This is a very good drink!  The maraschino and absinthe rinse add a real depth and very subtle complexity to the nice and smooth whiskey base.  The whiskey’s nice and smooth because of the simple syrup.  This is a very good whiskey drink that goes down very nicely.

2 oz. rye whiskey

1/4 oz. maraschino liqueur

1/4 oz. simple syrup

2 dashes of Angostura bitters

Stir well and strain in to a chilled, absinthe-rinsed rocks glass.

Add a few ice cubes and garnish with a lemon peel.

(“The PDT Cocktail Book”)

Money well spent indeed!  Spring is here!


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)


Introducing “Scientist McGee’s Annual Cocktail Menu: 2011 Edition” – Now you can play along at home with the Scientist!

Welcome to 2012, the second year of Scientist McGee!  This blog was created on March 6, 2011.  It’s hard to believe that it’s only 10
months old.

I’ve had a lot of fun along the way, trying new drinks and sharing them with all of you!  All of you have been really nice and supportive, excited to see what new concoctions the Scientist would post next.  It’s fun enjoying the drinks and it’s also fun to document them so that I can refer back to them later on, but it’s obviously a whole lot more fun to do, knowing that my friends and some like-minded strangers are actually reading it and getting a kick out of it too!

So thanks a lot for having fun with me, and I hope you tag along for some more cocktails in 2012 as well.

To celebrate the close of the first year of the Scientist McGee blog, I’m starting what will hopefully be an annual tradition – a recap of the cocktails shared on the blog in that year, in “Cocktail Book” form!

Click on the 2 links below to access a printable version of all the cocktails (except for one bad vodka drink I choose to forget, and therefore removed) from the Scientist McGee blog in 2011.  The book is separated in to two documents, and put together make a very handy guide that I hope you all will enjoy.  (Makes a great gift too – ha! ha!)

Scientist McGee’s 2011 Cocktail Menu COVER, TABLE OF CONTENTS and MEASUREMENTS

Scientist McGee’s 2011 Cocktail Menu

Thanks, and cheers!

SMcG


Sherry makes an appearance…

I decided to pick up a bottle of Sherry finally.  I’ve been tempted to buy a bottle of Sherry ever since I tried a “Jabberwock” at the St. Louis bar, Sanctuaria.  The “Jabberwock” was the first drink I had at this bar, and it’s made up of sherry, caperitif, and gin.  It was a fantastic drink.  Like vermouth, sherry is a fortified wine.  Sherry’s fortified with brandy, giving it a slightly caramely taste.  The kind of sherry I bought is a fino sherry, which is a light and dry sherry.  I feel like cocktails with sherry have a very delicate and light character.  I have to say, I’m not totally in love with sherry, but it’s definitely a nice change of pace.

Four of the five drinks listed below were ones I tried using my new bottle of sherry, and the fifth is just a classic cocktail (the Monkey Gland) that I wanted to try.  Three out of the four sherry drinks were quite good, with only one being a dud. *  That’s pretty good odds based upon the fact that there aren’t really that many drink recipes out there calling for sherry.  In addition, it’s really good odds considering the fact that the search for the drink recipes came after my buying the sherry.  Usually, if I find the drink recipe before buying a bottle of something new, the drink’s almost guaranteed to be good.  This is typically the case because the recipe tends to speak for itself.  The combination of ingredients sounds so good that I’m compelled to buy a new ingredient.  On the other hand, when an ingredient has piqued my interest first, and then I have to scrounge up recipes to use it in, often times it’s easier for me to fall short.

So here they are, a few sherry drinks, plus an old classic stand by…

“Seville Cocktail”

This drink was probably my favorite of all the sherry drinks I tried. It was really good and made me question my theory that I don’t care for drinks combining gin & orange juice.  I’m now open to the idea!  This was a really good drink because of all the extra ingredients in addition to the gin/orange combo… the lemon, the sherry and the sugar.  The sherry really adds a nice flavor and some substance.  I often think the gin/orange combo tastes hollow, but the sherry adds a worthy element, and it also cuts through and softens the intensity of the juices.  Very good drink!

1.5 oz. gin

1/2 oz. fino sherry

1/2 oz. orange juice

1/2 oz. lemon juice

2 t simple syrup

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

“Sevilla”

This was quite an elaborate drink for me to make.  (especially on a weeknight – ha! ha!)  I’ve never used ground cinnamon in a drink before, and I’ve never even tasted hot pepper jelly until this drink.  I found this drink in Dale DeGroff’s “The Essential Cocktail” book, and I have to say, it’s quite an interesting drink.  It’s a spicy drink, a quite spicy drink!  Overall, I like the idea of the drink.  However I would say that the texture of the ground cinnamon was a little off-putting.  It’s got such a dry texture, it kind of made me thirstier each time I’d take a drink.  I actually think it’d be a better drink without the ground cinnamon rim.  Also, I personally liked the spice of the hot pepper jelly, but that too could be removed based on personal preference or your mood at the time.  It’s great if you want a drink with some heat, which is definitely fun, but I think a drink with just the rum, sherry, orange and lime might be quite a good drink.  With the cinnamon and jelly, the drink resembles an actual meal (and that was DeGroff’s point, I think), but without the cinnamon, it’d be more “drink-like”.  Try it, and see for yourself!

1 oz. white rum

1/2 oz. fino sherry

3/4 oz. orange juice

1/4 oz. lime juice

1 t hot pepper jelly

ground cinnamon to rim the glass

1 flamed orange peel for garnish

Shake well and fine strain in to chilled cocktail glass.

(“The Essential Cocktail”)

“Poppy Variation”

This drink was the dud of the group.  It was OK, not terrible, but not great.  It’s like a slightly sweeter dry martini.

1.75 oz. gin

3/4 oz. dry sherry

1 dash orange bitters

1 dash Angostura bitters

Stir well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

“Adonis Cocktail”

This was a very nice cocktail.  It’s silky & light.  It’s sweet, but also a bit deep & dry, with notes of caramel from the sherry.

2 oz. dry sherry

3/4 oz. sweet vermouth

1 dash orange bitters

Stir well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

“Monkey Gland”

My original notes on this drink are pretty funny to read, because I started off not liking the drink much, but as I drank it, I liked it more and more.  I don’t know if that’s the best characteristic for a drink- to be bad at the beginning but good by the end, but who knows… it is what it is.  Here’s my actual notes, written as I drank the cocktail…

               1- I don’t know… the anise and OJ tastes a little medicinal.

               2- It’s OK, not great, not bad.

               3- It’s kind of a nice, fruity absinthe drink, which is a bit unusual.

               4- It’s kind of grown on me.

Ha ha! This drink got the best of me!  Hats off to it for that!

1.5 oz. gin

1 oz. orange juice

1/4 oz. grenadine

1 splash of absinthe

orange peel for garnish

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

* As I was writing this post, I actually remembered a 5th sherry drink I tried, which was terrible. It was such a dud, that I didn’t even want to write about it, so beware… BEWARE the “Quarter Deck”.  It was terrible!


Harry Craddock says your father smells of elderberries!

I’m somewhat obsessed with liqueurs.  Often, I get obsessed with the idea behind a liqueur.  Something about one will pique my interest… maybe it’ll be an intriguing recipe for a drink it’s in (i.e. Cherry Heering and the “Blood & Sand”), maybe it’ll be the story and legend behind it (i.e. Chartreuse and the legend that only 3 monks know the true recipe at any given time), or maybe it’ll be the curiosity of a flavor I’ve never tasted in my life, along with a bottle that’s nearly as pretty as an old European church.  This last example is what caught my attention and began my curious obsession to try St. Germain’s elderflower liqueur.  The bottle alone should get anyone excited to at least try a taste.  And when I finally got a bottle of my own, I was very pleased with how this fancy liqueur tastes.  I was a little worried that it was going to be another liqueur as floral as creme de violette (nothing against creme de violette, I just wanted something different).  It was different.  I saw a description somewhere online that was spot on… this person said that it’s floral, but not too floral, sweet, but not too sweet.  This is true – I was really happy with its unique flavor.  True, it’s floral, but only in a subtle way.  It also has quite a few other flavors going on as well, to make a very complex flavor.  It’s got tastes of pear, peach, honey and citrus, and probably many more.  It’s damn good, and it really spruces up a drink.  It’s a great way to take a very traditional cocktail that you’re used to having, and that’s good, but that you want to make a little more special.  For example, the first drink I made was the “French Gimlet”.  I made this very simple drink because I wanted the St. Germain to stand out, so that I could taste the liqueur I’d just purchased.  And this is a perfect example of taking a very simple drink and making it something a little more unique and something special by adding the St. Germain.

“French Gimlet”

2 oz. gin

1 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur

1/2 oz lime juice

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

“Le Jacques Strap”

The second drink I tried with my new St. Germain was one I found online with a silly french play-on-words for a name.  Paired with the creme de violette, this drink was very floral, but in a very soft manner.  I find creme de violette to have an intense floral character, whereas the St. Germain has a nice, soft floral aspect.  So mixed, it was a nice balance.  This was a fun drink with its many different notes of flavors, all held together with the old, familiar background of gin.

2 oz. gin

3/4 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur

1/4 oz. creme de violette (original recipe calls for Creme Yvette)

2 dashes orange bitters

2 dashes green Chartreuse

Stir and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

“Hemingway Daiquiri”

The reason I picked up a bottle of St. Germain a few days ago was because I had a thirst for a cocktail using grapefruit juice.  I stopped by the ole grocery store to pick up some grapefruit juice, and that’s when I spotted the bottle of St. Germain being discontinued at this store and at a bargain price.  This drink is named after Ernest Hemingway, as it was reportedly one of the drinks he’d drink at the El Floridita bar in Havana, Cuba, in which he frequented.  Apparently, Hemingway enjoyed his drinks a bit stronger though, so he’d order it as a double, using twice as much rum.  This gave way to the drink also being referred to as a “Paba Doble” (“doble” meaning double).  I thought this drink was just OK… really nothing special.  Maybe next time I’ll make it as a double, with 3 ounces of rum, and maybe I’ll like it more too?

1.5 oz. white rum

1/4 oz. maraschino liqueur

3/4 oz. lime juice

1/4 oz. grapefruit juice

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

“Harry’s Manhattan”

In addition to my recent acquisition of the St. Germain, I’ve been spending time flipping through the pages of my newest cocktail book, “The Savoy Cocktail Book”.  This is a great old book with hundreds of recipes, compiled by Harry Craddock and published in 1930.  Harry Craddock was the bartender at the American Bar inside the Savoy Hotel in London, England.  Harry Craddock left the U.S. for England to continue bartending, when Prohibition struck.  I’ve made the following two cocktails from the book.  I was not very fond of the latter (Champs Elysees), but the former was magnificent!  In his book, it’s just referred to as the classic  “Manhattan”, but I refer to it as “Harry’s Manhattan” because I thought it was neat that he suggested using a couple dashes of maraschino liqueur rather than the modern tradition of using a maraschino cherry.  (This is my first and only old cocktail book, so maybe this practice wasn’t just Harry’s, but rather the old way of doing it?  I’m not sure.)  The modern maraschino cherry is pretty much sugar and red food coloring, whereas the maraschino liqueur is true to the marasca cherries it’s made from and even features a nutty taste that comes from the pits of the cherries.  This was one of the best Manhattan cocktails I’ve ever had!  It wasn’t quite as sweet as a Manhattan made with maraschino cherries, and it tasted almost silkier and smoother.  It’s unusual that Harry suggests shaking the drink as well.  Most drinks that consist of all alcoholic ingredients call for being stirred.   I don’t know, but I’m converted… this is my new way of making a Manhattan.  Thanks Harry!

2 oz. Rye Whiskey

3/4 oz. sweet vermouth

2 dashes maraschino liqueur

3 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

(based on the “Manhattan Cocktail No. 1” recipe in the Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock)

“Champs Elysees”

Whereas I loved the drink above, I was not a fan of this drink.  I’m not too sure of the brandy & Chartreuse combo.

1.5 oz. cognac or brandy

1/2 oz. green Chartreuse

1/4 oz. lemon juice

1/8 oz. simple syrup

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

(based on the recipe in the Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock)

“Remember the Maine”

I can’t remember how or why I found this drink, but I stumbled across it online somewhere.  What a lucky stumble!  This drink was really good!  It’s a nice stiff drink, with an interesting, complex taste.  The absinthe in the forefront made the drink quite intense, while the Cherry Heering hung out in the background offering a nice subtle base.  Very tasty indeed.

2 oz. Rye Whiskey

3/4 oz. sweet vermouth

2 t Cherry Heering

1/2 t absinthe

Stir and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.


“The Gilroy Cocktail”

This drink too… I don’t know how or why I found this one, but I did so online as well.  And again, I really liked this one too.  It’s nothing fancy, just a good, solid drink.  If you ever want a solid, good cherry cocktail, this is it.

1 oz. gin

1 oz. Cherry Heering

1/2 oz. lemon juice

1/2 oz. dry vermouth

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.