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.


Two Veterans and a Rookie

  

Well, I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day holiday weekend.  I sure did!  Today was my first day back to work after a really nice, long 5 day weekend.  I really didn’t make many new cocktails over the holiday weekend however, instead focusing more on drinks best suited for brunches and do-nothing relaxation such as the Bloody Mary and Mimosas.  Now that I’m no longer just lounging around with nowhere to be at any certain time, and back to keeping a schedule, I need drinks better suited for enjoying after a long day of work, unwinding in the evening time.

In this post, I have 3 good cocktails to share with you… two of them, the “Blinker” and the “Xanthia Cocktail”, being very old drinks from books of mine and the 3rd being one of my own creation, named 5 minutes ago after my St. Louis neighborhood – the “Clifton Heights Cocktail”.

“Blinker”

I found the Blinker in my PDT Cocktail Book, which coincidentally comes from a book I just recently picked up at a used book fair, Patrick Gavin Duffy’s “Official Mixer’s Manual”.  The Blinker’s a pretty good drink, and a very easy one to drink.  It’s a cocktail that’s heavy on the fruit flavor, but in a very smooth, subdued and subtle way.  The raspberry preserves add a real big fruit punch, while the simple syrup tones it down and keeps the fruitiness in check.  The grapefruit also keeps the fruitiness in check with its light characteristic mellowing it all out.  And as you may or may not have picked up along the way, reading my blog, I love rye whiskey and I also love a drink with grapefruit juice!  All-in-all, a pretty darn good drink.

2 oz. rye whiskey

1 oz. grapefruit juice

1/4 oz. simple syrup

1 bar spoon of raspberry preserves

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

(“PDT Cocktail Book” and “The Official Mixer’s Manual”)

“Xanthia Cocktail”

The Xanthia Cocktail is not one of my favorite drinks, but it’s a decent one.  I picked this one out of “The Savoy Cocktail Book”.  The yellow Chartreuse definitely takes center stage in this aromatic drink with a kick.  The cherry brandy and gin hang in the background, blending nicely and both slightly mellowing and propping up the Chartreuse front and center.  If you want a Chartreuse drink, this is it for you.  If you’re not in the mood for a Chartreuse drink, this is not it for you.

1 oz. Cherry Heering

1 oz. yellow Chartreuse

1 oz. dry gin

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

(“The Savoy Cocktail Book”)


“Clifton Heights Cocktail”

Last but not least… actually this one’s my favorite of the three.  I’ve been experimenting lately with modifying one of my favorite cocktails, the “Blood & Sand”, by tinkering with its 4 ingredients (1:1:1:1) and switching out different ingredients a couple at a time.  Rather than starting a completely new drink totally from scratch, this tinkering method is a nice, easy and safe foray in to creating my own cocktails.  The “Blood & Sand” is made of equal parts scotch, Cherry Heering, orange juice and sweet vermouth.  In follow-up to my recent reminder of the fact that I love rye and I love grapefruit, surprise…  I worked those two favorite ingredients of mine in to the classic B&S recipe!  I swapped the scotch with rye whiskey and the orange juice with grapefruit, keeping the Cherry Heering and the sweet vermouth.  And it turns out to be a really great drink!  It’s still got the rich, dark sweetness of a Blood & Sand because of the Cherry Heering, but because of having grapefruit instead of orange, it’s not quite as sweet.  It’s less of an “out there” flavor combination than the Blood & Sand, and more of a familiar, common sense flavor mix.  While I love the Blood & Sand because it’s kind of a crazy mixture of unique, vibrant flavors, I like this drink a lot because it’s got some of the same elements while being a really great balance of a smooth, no-nonsense flavor combination.  I’m proud to say that I really like this cocktail.  And since I couldn’t think of a clever name that’s a fun twist on the Blood & Sand moniker, I stuck with just naming the drink I made up, derived from one of my favorite cocktails, after the St. Louis neighborhood I live in and love, Clifton Heights.

Equal parts…

-rye whiskey

-Cherry Heering

-grapefruit juice

-sweet vermouth

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


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!


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


Yellow Chartreuse

Well, I did it… I bought my first bottle of Yellow Chartreuse.  Green Chartreuse is one of my favorite things, so I’ve been intrigued by it’s yellow sister for a while now and knew that sooner or later, I’d bite the bullet and need to reunite these siblings.  I must say, I really like the yellow Chartreuse as well.  But not nearly as much as it’s powerful counterpart of the green variety.  Chartreuse is a pricey liqueur (around $55-60 a bottle).  While I really like the yellow Chartreuse, a milder, sweeter, less potent (80 proof, as opposed to the 110 proof of the green) version of the liqueur, I don’t know if it’s really worth the price for my budget.  The green variety is worth every penny, plus some, in my opinion.  I’d probably pay $100 a bottle if I needed to, and for some context, I’ve never paid more than the price of green Chartreuse for any other liquor.  But to be quite honest, I don’t know if I’ll rush to the booze merchant, to pony up the money for another bottle of the yellow stuff, when I run out.  I don’t think that this’ll be the only bottle I own, but I also won’t be heartbroken if my bar goes some months without it.  At this point at least (and I’ll be the first to admit that my mind might completely change, 360 degrees, by the time I reach the bottom of this bottle, as often my taste does during the course of just a 3 ounce cocktail), I don’t think the price tag justifies treating it as a staple in my bar.  Nevertheless, I’m enjoying it quite a bit while it lasts.  And I’ve mixed up 4 drinks using the yellow stuff, and 2 of which I love!  So, who knows what the future holds!  Following, are four drinks that call for yellow Chartreuse, one drink I made just because I loved the name, one 100% classic cocktail, and the last one just because I wanted a drink that called for Benedictine and the drink’s named after one of the best cocktail towns in the world.  Enjoy!

“3, 2, 1 Cocktail”

I found this drink, and “Aurora’s Bed” and the “Cloister”, all from a blog called “Cocktail Virgin Slut” (http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/) – what a great wealth of cocktail recipes!  This drink, the 3, 2, 1, was the first drink I tried with my new yellow Chartreuse.  This was a nice and smooth drink, and I did notice that the yellow Chartreuse was indeed sweeter, more floral and smoother than the kick, bite and punch of the green Chartreuse.

1.5 oz. rye whiskey

1 oz. yellow Chartreuse

1/2 oz. dry vermouth

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

(http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/)

“Mujer Verde”

This drink was delicious! It reminds me a lot of the “Last Word” (https://scientistmcgee.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/trips-back-and-forth-to-the-booze-merchant/), one of my favorite cocktails! I must love the combination of green Chartreuse with lime juice – they go so well together!

1 oz. gin

1/3 oz. lime juice

1/4 oz. simple syrup

1/2 oz. green Chartreuse

1/4 oz. yellow Chartreuse

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

Garnish with a lime.

(“The Art of the Bar”)

“Aurora’s Bed”

For this drink, I made my first infused simple syrup – a saffron-infused simple syrup.  To make this, I followed the basic recipe for making simple syrup… equal parts sugar to water, and boil (https://scientistmcgee.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/dashes-and-splashes/).  But the water I used had saffron left in it overnight.  What I did was use 6 threads of saffron for a quarter cup of water.  I placed the saffron threads in the cup of water and let it sit out overnight.  The next day, I used this water to combine with sugar and boil to make the simple syrup – very easy!

I then used this saffron-infused simple syrup to make the “Aurora’s Bed” cocktail. It was a very good drink… sweet, sour and herbal.  But even though making the saffron-infused simple syrup was easy to make, it took some time, and so I don’t know if I can honestly say that this drink was worth the effort.

2 oz. gin

1 oz. saffron-infused simple syrup

1/2 oz. lemon juice

1/4 oz. yellow Chartreuse

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

Garnish with lemon or orange.

(http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/)


“Cloister”

Here’s yet another fantastic drink!  I love this one!  The herbal taste of the yellow Chartreuse mixed with the tartness of the grapefruit is delicious.  A top notch cocktail!  (I am a huge fan of grapefruit juice in my cocktails though.)

1.5 oz. gin

1/2 oz. yellow Chartreuse

1/2 oz. grapefruit juice

1/4 lemon juice

1/4 simple syrup

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

Garnish with a lemon.

(http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/)

“Fine & Dandy Cocktail”

This drink was OK.  I only made it because I was attracted to its name.  It’s just a very sour drink with an orange twist (kind of tangy though unfortunately).  A little simple syrup might help out, but still a decent drink.

1.5 oz. gin

3/4 oz. lemon juice

3/4 oz. triple sec

1 dash of Angostura bitters

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

(“Savoy Cocktail Book”)

“Old Fashioned”

One of the most classic of all classic cocktails – the “Old Fashioned”.  It’s pretty wonderful… a very nice way to drink whiskey as an alternative to just whiskey and water.  Sugar, bitters, water and bourbon – excellent!  This recipe is based upon the one Matt Seiter featured in Feast magazine last month.

2.25 oz. whiskey

1/2 oz. water

1 sugar cube

2 dashes Angostura bitters

3 ice cubes

Muddle the water, sugar cube and bitters.  Add whiskey and 2 ice cubes, stir.  Add 3rd ice cube and serve.

(http://www.feaststl.com/recipes/article_29fd5cc4-ffe4-11e0-902b-0019bb30f31a.html)

“San Francisco”

This is just a random drink I found in my “Bartender’s Bible”, as I was looking for a new drink that called for Benedictine.  It’s an OK drink… a bit too sour for me, but then again, I’d be totally content to have another one if someone made another one for me.  Ha!

1.5 oz. whiskey

1/2 oz. Benedictine

1 oz. lemon juice

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

(“The Bartender’s Bible”)


The Off-Season


It’s been nearly a month since my last post, and I don’t have a lot to show for it.  I wondered today why that was.  And it’s pretty much because our hometown baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals, have been in post-season play… October baseball.  As you may have heard, the Redbirds won the World Series.  In St. Louis, virtually all of every day life slows down a bit and takes a back seat to post-season baseball when the Cardinals are playing in it.  Restaurants that aren’t pizza joints or bar and grills take a hit because people aren’t going out and spending time enjoying nice dinners.  Evening meetings and classes either get cancelled or they get cut very short, by speeding up the agenda.  Weekend chores get delayed to free up afternoons in front of the TV.  And me taking the time to look through books for new cocktail recipes and spending the time in the kitchen preparing them and taking a photo of them takes a backseat as well.

St. Louis is historically a beer town, and the Cardinals are one of the only things that trumps beer around here.  So as the days went on and games continued, my beer drinking did the same.  So if I wasn’t cracking open a beer, I certainly wasn’t spending the time necessary to find new cocktails to try.  I was instead mixing up the quick and easy standards that I’d made many times before.

So now that October baseball is finished, we all find ourselves with a lot more time on our hands.  We have our evenings and weekends free again, so to speak.  There’s no more rushed, quick 2-minute commercial breaks while watching the game.  I once again have the time to peruse cocktail books while relaxing in the evening.  I have time to pause the TV and mix up a special drink.  I have time to sit down and post these drinks on to the Scientist McGee blog.

“Jewel Cocktail”

I found this drink in “The Savoy Cocktail Book”, and under its entry, Harry Craddock added a note that said, “A medium-dry, fast working cocktail.”  “Fast working cocktail” can be used to describe any drink that calls for the 110-proof Chartreuse, and this is a great drink for lovers of the liqueur. The Chartreuse definitely takes center stage, while just being “watered down” by the gin and vermouth.  If you love Chartreuse, as I do, you’ll like this drink.  The Chartreuse is balanced nicely with the flavors of the orange bitters and lemon peel, with the gin and vermouth rounding it out with some extra body.

1/3 green Chartreuse

1/3 gin

1/3 dry vermouth

dash of orange bitters

garnish with a lemon peel and a cherry

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

(“The Savoy Cocktail Book”)

“Bobby Burns”

The Bobby Burns is a classic cocktail that can also be found in the Savoy Cocktail Book, but I took this recipe from Dale DeGroff’s “Essential Cocktail”.  To be honest, it’s not one of my favorite drinks, but then again, scotch isn’t really one of my favorite spirits.  But some times I am in the specific mood for the smoky flavor of scotch, and when I am, this drink is a good one.  With the scotch and the Benedictine, it almost coats your mouth like a syrup with a smoky, buttery flavor.

2 oz. scotch

3/4 oz. sweet vermouth

1/2 oz. Benedictine

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

(“Essential Cocktail”)

“Can-Can Martini”

 

I got this drink from the St. Germain company, and it’s a great way to enjoy the elderflower liqueur.  It’s nice & sweet, but dry… like a floral martini.  It’s a nice, simple cocktail.  It’s good when you want a straight forward gin drink that goes down easily, with the sweet, delicate taste of St. Germain.

2 oz. gin

1 oz. St. Germain

1/4 oz. dry vermouth

lemon peel for garnish

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


Some more monks enter the scene.

I’m back to write about some new friends for the old bottles in my liquor cabinet.  And wouldn’t you know it, they’re another bunch of monks.  In addition to the great Carthusian monks that make Chartreuse, my cabinet is now home to my latest addition, the Benedictine liqueur, originally made by the monks at the Benedictine abbey in Normandy, France.  While Benedictine is not made up of as many herbs as Chartreuse, it is made from 27 different herbs & spices, and its recipe dates back to more than 500 years ago.  But don’t be mistaken, other than its ties to monks from centuries ago and its wonderful use of herbs and spices, there is no other similarities between the two wonderful liqueurs.  Benedictine is a strong, 80-proof sweeter liqueur.  I first heard of Benedictine because of the drink called the Bobby Burns (scotch, sweet vermouth and Benedictine).  For quite some time, I’ve wanted to obtain my own bottle, and now, just in time for the colder months, I have my own.  I actually haven’t made a Bobby Burns with it yet, but have experimented a little with two very top-notch cocktails featuring the liqueur – the Monte Carlo and a Vieux Carre.  In addition to these two cocktails featuring Benedictine, I’ve thrown in a random, unassociated cocktail called the Millionaire, a rye whiskey drink that uses an egg white, eggs being something rather new for me to use in drinks.  While I didn’t care for the Millionaire all that much, the two Benedictine drinks are up there among some of my favorite drinks I’ve ever made.  Enjoy…

Monte Carlo

This is one of my new favorite drinks!  I love drinks that have just a couple or a few ingredients, quick and easy to make, that are just simple and good.  The Manhattan for example, one of my favorite drinks, and this drink reminds me very much of a Manhattan, but quite different tasting.  Just 2 main ingredients with some bitters – simple and perfect!  Here’s a drink that’s perfect in the evening time, when you come home from a hard day at work.  It’s no fuss at all to make, and it’s a soothing, stiff drink.  It’s got the kick of rye, with the sweetness of the Benedictine that’s reminiscent of the vermouth in a Manhattan, with the nice taste of bitters, and the refreshing zing of the lemon twist.  It’s a very well-crafted, simple cocktail.  I highly recommend it!

2 oz. rye whiskey

3/4 oz. Benedictine

1 dash of Angostura bitters

1 lemon twist for garnish

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

(“The Art of the Bar”)

Vieux Carre

Here’s another really nice drink featuring Benedictine, the Vieux Carre.  I first tried this drink at my local bar, Sanctuaria, and then later recreated it at home using my new bottle of the Benedictine.  I don’t typically make a lot of drinks on the rocks, but more and more I’m becoming fond of these drinks.  And the Vieux Carre is a good one to add to my rotation.  It’s got a lot of different flavors going on in the mix – brandy, rye, vermouth, Benedictine, and even two kinds of bitters.  It’s another stiff drink with a refreshing note because of the sweetness of the brandy, Benedictine, Peychaud’s bitters and vermouth.   It’s another really nice stiff drink.  I guess that’s another selling point of Benedictine for me… Just like Chartreuse, it’s a liqueur with a high alcohol content.  Not nearly as alcoholic as Chartreuse, but high enough so that it gives a cocktail a real kick.

3/4 oz. brandy/cognac

3/4 oz. rye whiskey

3/4 oz. sweet vermouth

1/4 oz. Benedictine

1 dash Peychaud’s bitters

1 dash Angostura bitters

Garnish with a lemon twist

Stir well with ice, then strain in to a rocks glass with ice.

Millionaire

This cocktail’s kind of a strange one to me.  For one, there’s a few different recipes out there for drinks all called a “Millionaire”.  All the different recipes refer to this drink as an old classic, but the recipes are about as different from each other as night and day.  I generally find a drink that sounds good to me in a book or online somewhere.  Before I make it however, I usually look up a few other recipes online to kind of see the variations of different recipes and look for the one that sounds best to me.  Usually I find small variations, that probably don’t even make that much difference, but still, one may sound better to me than another due to one using more or less of a particular ingredient.  So anyways, I looked up this drink, comprised of rye, triple sec and egg white, and was surprised to find other recipes (still referred to as an old classic) that don’t feature any of these ingredients, but instead call for sloe gin, apple brandy and rum!  There apparently is two old classic drinks, both called a Millionaire, that are two completely different drinks!  If anyone knows the story behind this, let me know, because I’m very interested in hearing what it is.  So anyways, below is a recipe for what perhaps some people call a Millionaire.  It’s completely different from what some other people also call a Millionaire.  Either way, at the end of the day, whether this is the true Millionaire cocktail or the other one is, or there’s two drinks with the same name, I didn’t care for this drink all that much.  It did not have a strong taste of anything really, but rather a cooled down, light taste of rye, with a frothy and silky texture.  There weren’t really any other strong flavors jumping out in the drink either, but just a light silky, watered-down taste of rye.  I don’t know if it’s because this is a really old drink, and perhaps it has not stood the test of time due to Americans’ tastes having possibly changed over the years or not, but it does seem to have a very “old fashioned” sensibility about it, kind of like an egg cream drink.  An egg cream drink was quite a treat for people back in the day, but to me it’s just not that flavorful.  But people used to really enjoy it.  This is what I imagine is the case with this drink.  I don’t know… maybe it’s just me, but I’m not a big fan.

2 oz. rye whiskey

1/2 oz. triple sec

1-2 dashes grenadine

1/2 oz. egg white

Shake vigorously for about 60 seconds (because of the egg white), and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.


A Crisp Chill in the Air

Summer’s winding down and there’s now a nice, crisp chill in the air during the evening time.  Pretty soon, it’ll be chilly or cold enough to warrant some drinks to really warm the soul.  But for now, it’s nice to savor the last few chances we have to enjoy the remnants of summertime.  Summertime’s a magical time with long, bright evenings and lots going on around the city.  That’s why September-October’s the best time in St. Louis… You get to savor the final fleeting moments of summer, while also enjoying a nice, chilly breeze in the evening time.  A perfect balance between the fun summer and the cold winter.

So while an almost unbearably cold time of the year is right around the corner, and soon I’ll be reaching for some cozy whiskey and scotch drinks inside the heated home… For now, I’m enjoying holding on to summer and being on the back porch for as long as I can.

That’s why you’ll only find one “sneak peek” at winter drinks in this post (the Brigadier).  For the most part, the drinks featured in this latest post are about as summery as you can get – The Americano, Planter’s Punch (meaning an actual punch shared by friends on a good ole St. Louis back porch Labor Day barbeque), and the Ramos Fizz.  It really doesn’t get much more summery than these cocktails.  And it really doesn’t get much better in general, no matter what time of the year, than these 3 cocktails.  So shake and stir ’em up while you can, because winter’s almost here, and pretty soon we’ll all be sitting on our couches wrapped up in sweatshirts, wrapping our hands around some hot toddies or maybe a Brigadier.

“Americano”

What a tasty drink!  Here’s a drink that’s light & refreshing, while still definitely tasting like an adult beverage with its dryness.  It’s nice and bittersweet, but not quite so bitter as a “Negroni”.  This is definitely a back porch cooler.

1.5 oz. Campari

1.5 oz. sweet vermouth

3 oz. club soda

1 orange slice for garnish

Pour into an ice-filled highball glass and stir, topping with club soda.

(“The Essential Cocktail”)

 

“Ramos Fizz”

Also known as the “New Orleans Fizz”, this amazing drink dates back to 1888.  It was invented by its namesake, Henry Ramos, and I must say it’s a pretty decadent drink!  It’s decadent in its appearance, it’s decadent in its taste and it’s decadent in its preparation. This drink calls for 2 things I’ve never used in a cocktail before – 1. orange flower water, and 2. an egg.  While using egg whites in cocktails is not uncommon, this is the first time I’ve gotten around to actually using them myself.  (I must admit, I was kind of intimidated by the thought of it, but that’s all behind me now.)  Since we’re using egg white to add body to the drink, we need to shake it with all our might… much longer than a regular cocktail.  Some recipes say “shake it long & hard”, some say “shake it viciously”, some say “shake it for at least one minute, preferably two”.  Like I said, I was a little weary of drinking raw egg, so I shook it intensely for about a minute and a half.  I shook it so long that my hands were frozen and arms quite tired by the time I was done.  A tip for next time would be to wrap a towel around the shaker before beginning.  Also, I’ve read some where that one should not be so weary of the raw egg in cocktails because the alcohol, and the citric acid of lemon/lime called for in many drinks, diminishes the chances of salmonella.  Anyways, enough about the egg… this drink is quite a drink!  It’s a fantastic decadent drink!  It’s thick & creamy, sweet & citrus-y!  You feel like you’re on top of the world when you’re drinking one of these fellas!  I highly recommend treating yourself to one of these.  I just wouldn’t recommend mixing it up when you have multiple guests, unless you lift lots of weights and have very strong arms to handle the amount of shaking needed for multiple drinks of these.

1.5 oz. gin

1/2 oz. lemon juice

1/2 oz. lime juice

1.5 oz. simple syrup

3/4 egg white

2 oz. heavy cream

2 dashes orange-flower water

club soda

Shake vigorously for 1.5-2 minutes, and then pour in to a highball glass with no ice. Top with club soda.

 

“Planter’s Punch”

I finally bought my first punch bowl set!  I’ve wanted one for quite some time, and a Labor Day barbeque seemed to be just the justification I needed to track one down.  To break in my new punch bowl, I turned to one of the most famous punches, a classic rum punch called “Planter’s Punch”.  I’m especially partial to the Planter’s Punch because one of the legends of its origin points to the early twentieth century in St. Louis.  Many people think the punch was created at the Planter’s Hotel in St. Louis in the early 1900’s.  Others think it was created by actual planters in Jamaica much earlier.  Who knows for sure… I’m content to compromise and hypothesize that perhaps it was originally created by actual planters in Jamaica, and then later popularized in the U.S. at the Planter’s Hotel in St. Louis.  That’s good enough for me!

Anyways, it’s a really good drink.  Good enough that I could see myself enjoying a whole punch bowl to myself if need be.  So I mixed up a batch to bring to our friends’ home, transporting it in a plastic pitcher, and planning to take a photo once I assembled the punch at their home… but it slipped my mind!  So unfortunately, I’m sad to say that I do not have a photo of my very first punch.  I do however have a picture of the making of the punch, the packaging of the punch and a picture of my new punch bowl set, along with a picture of a Planter’s Punch solo-style in a highball glass.  So below, for the mathematically challenged, I’ve listed two separate recipes – 1. a recipe for a single-serving drink, and 2. a multiplied recipe suitable for an 80 oz. punch bowl.

Now since this was my first attempt at a punch, and I was also transporting it to a location in which I wasn’t sure of the set up, I did something I’m not sure I needed to do… Instead of just mixing all the ingredients together in the bowl and then adding a big ice chunk, I shook two servings in a shaker to get the right proportion of water added to the drink from the ice, and then poured them in to the jug.  I did this 6 times I think.  This way, I knew that whatever the circumstances turned out to be, the drink would taste just right.  I’m not sure if this was totally necessary, but it turned out well, so it was worth the extra work of shaking.  Again, I guess the theme of this blog post is being exhausted from shaking so long.

Single serving:

1 oz. dark rum

1 oz. light rum

2 oz. orange juice

2 oz. pineapple juice

1/2 oz. lime juice

1/4 oz. simple syrup

1 maraschino cherry or orange slice for garnish

Shake well and strain in to an ice-filled highball glass.

Punch bowl:

11 oz. dark rum

11 oz. light rum

22 oz. orange juice

22 oz. pineapple juice

5.5 oz. lime juice

2.75 oz. simple syrup

Orange and lime slices for garnish

Totals 74.25 ounces, plus the water added from shaking with ice (or an ice chunk added later).


“Brigadier”

And last but not least, the sign of winter coming…  The nice, crisp chill in the air that’s such a relief from the hot summer right now will soon turn to blustery, cold winds and ice storms.  Let us be prepared – Stock up your cupboards with hot cocoa, whiskey, scotch and Chartreuse!

The final drink of this post is definitely a warmer-upper on a cold winter night.  Not only will the hot cocoa warm you up, but there’s quite a kick right away that’ll heat you up…  The Chartreuse hits you right away with quite a hot & spicy note, and then fades away in to a dark, rich cherry-chocolate flavor with the Cherry Heering and hot cocoa.  This is definitely a drink that’ll keep you company when you’re staying inside to escape the assault of the cold.

1 oz. green Chartreuse

1 oz. Cherry Heering

4 oz. hot cocoa

Stir and enjoy.

(created by San Francisco bartender, Neyah White)


A random assortment of drinks, tied together by nothing more than time.

This latest post is a random grab-bag of cocktails.  There’s no overarching theme.  There’s no prominent new ingredient used in all of the drinks.  They’re not all from some new book I bought.

These four drinks have nothing in common other than the fact that I’ve made and drank each of them in the last couple of weeks, since my last post.  Each of them comes from its own, unique source as well… the Loop Tonic from a blog I read called “Spirited Cocktails”, the Plantation from one of the first cocktail books I ever bought called “The Art of the Bar”, the Sitarski from the actual first cocktail book I ever bought, Gary Regan’s “The Bartender’s Bible”, and the “Blue Devil” from a book that I picked up at a used book fair called “The New York Bartender’s Guide”.

Loop Tonic

The Loop Tonic has knocked my socks off!  It's a drink I just happened to read about in a blog called "Spirited Cocktails".  When I read about this drink, I was shocked by the idea of putting tequila and green Chartreuse together (I'd never tried that), but looking at all of the ingredients together, I thought it looked really, really good, and had the potential to be amazing.  I was intrigued... especially by the notion of celery bitters.  And that's the only thing I needed to go out and buy to make this drink that seemed so exotic to me.  So that day, I went out and got some celery bitters, and made up this drink.  I'm so glad I did because this drink is super delicious!  I flip, and grin ear-to-ear, when I think about making this drink, because it's so tasty and such an interesting drink!  All of the ingredients meld very nicely together, and the celery bitters add a really nice bite to the drink. If you like Chartreuse and you have 6 bucks to spare, I highly recommend going out and buying the celery bitters to try this drink.  

2 oz. white tequila

1 oz. dry vermouth

3/4 oz. lime juice

1/2 oz. simple syrup

1/2 oz. green Chartreuse

dash of celery bitters

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

(“Spirited Cocktails” – http://spiritedcocktails.com/index.php/2011/07/29/beautiful-combinations-tequila-chartreuse/ )

The Plantation

This is a really great drink as well.  I found this drink while flipping through the pages of perhaps my favorite cocktail book I own, “The Art of the Bar” by Jeff Hollinger & Rob Schwartz.  I was bored and wanted to try something new, when I stumbled across this drink which called for basil.  Since the basil plant on our back porch had just recently begun to look healthy and good, I figured this’d be a fun one to try.  It was a good call, because this drink is really good!  The fresh taste of the basil, mixed with the lime and gin, make this a really refreshing summer cocktail.  I love basil in general… I love its taste and I love its smell… basil makes me happy.  So this drink, incorporating fresh basil, makes me happy too.

5 fresh basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 oz. gin

1/2 oz. triple sec

1/2 oz. lime juice

1 oz. grapefruit juice

1 basil leaf for a garnish (the original recipe calls for a slice of grapefruit as the garnish)

Muddle the basil and sugar in the bottom of your cocktail shaker until it’s like a paste, then add the rest of the ingredients and ice.

Shake well and then strain, using a fine-mesh sieve, in to a chilled cocktail glass.

(“The Art of the Bar”)

Sitarski

Again, an evening where I was a little bored of my standing drink menu, I started flipping through the pages of the very first cocktail book I ever bought, Gary Regan’s “The Bartender’s Bible”.  I wanted to make a drink using dark rum in order to try the Jamaican rum my wife and I had won a couple of months ago, while on vacation, playing “Name That Tune” on a stormy day at our resort in Montego Bay.   This bottle of rum holds a special place in my heart for two reasons… 1- It reminds me of one of the most fun vacations I’ve ever been on, and 2- It reminds me of the victorious, proud feeling I had when my wife and I schooled a bunch of youngsters by knowing more music from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s than they did.  I always love when music comes up in trivia games, as it lights the biggest competitive fire in my belly.  But I digress, that’s neither here nor there.  I wanted to try the rum, and so I picked out this drink, the Sitarski.  This drink’s pretty good when you’re looking for big ole drink with rum that’s easy to kick back and enjoy.

1.5 oz. dark rum

2 oz. grapefruit juice

1/2 oz. lime juice

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon simple syrup

Shake well and strain in to an old-fashioned glass filled with ice cubes.

(“The Bartender’s Bible”)

The Blue Devil

This last drink was purely made because I wanted to try a bottle of blue curacao that I’d just bought.  So I flipped to another cocktail book’s index and looked under “B” for blue.   Sure enough, there were 12 drinks with “blue” in the name, and 9 of them contained blue curacao.  This drink’s nothing special, but if you really need a blue drink, it’s good enough.

2 oz. gin

1/2 oz. lime juice

1 tablespoon maraschino liqueur

1 teaspoon blue curacao

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

(“The New York Bartender’s Guide”)


Maraschino! The humble, unassuming supporting actor steals the show…

I recently made a drink called the Martinez.  The Martinez is thought to be the precursor to the modern day Martini.   One of the most widely accepted stories about the drink’s origin points to the famous bartender, Jerry Thomas.  Jerry was tending bar at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco and made the drink for a gold miner who was on his way to the town of Martinez, CA.  The recipe for the Martinez first appears in print in Jerry’s 1887 book, and called for Old Tom gin, sweet vermouth, a dash of maraschino and bitters, as well as a slice of lemon and two dashes of gum syrup.  Today, many recipes for the Martinez call for a mix of gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur and bitters.  And apparently, the great Martini evolved from this drink, to the drink we love of just gin and dry vermouth.

Very interesting story and piece of history, yes, but the thing that struck me the most when making and enjoying this drink, however, was just how important of a role maraschino liqueur plays in the world of cocktails… especially in the world of my favorite cocktails.  I originally bought some maraschino liqueur because I’d noticed it in quite a few older drink recipes.  I thought of it originally as an essential, but minor character in my drinks.  But as I sipped on the Martinez drink I’d just made, I realized how much I’d come to rely on this great liqueur to make what would be an average drink become amazing.  I realized that when perusing drink books, the ones with maraschino would jump out at me subconsciensly, because when I see a drink has maraschino, it’s almost certain that I’ll enjoy it.  It’s definitely never the leading ingredient, but it’s often the backbone of a great drink.  I always seem to compare it to some of the great supporting actors, like Philip Seymour Hoffman.  I know that when Philip Seymour Hoffman’s in a movie, chances are I’m going to like it, because he’ll add so much to the movie and sometimes become my favorite character.

That’s what maraschino liqueur is to me!  It’s the one consistent through many of the drinks I love and crave.  It appears in the Last Word, the Colonial, Harry Craddock’s Manhattan and the Aviation.  These drinks are all near the top of my list for favorite drinks, and maraschino liqueur is definitely up there near the top of my favorite liqueurs.  So, to celebrate this wonderful liqueur and give it its just deserts, I’m posting one new recipe for my blog (the Martinez), along with all of the drinks that have appeared over the last 9 posts of mine that feature the wonderful Luxardo maraschino liqueur.

Cheers to the maraschino liqueur!

 

“The Martinez”

A good ole all-alcohol cocktail, that’s indeed nice and heavy on the taste of gin, while being sweeter, because of the vermouth, like a Manhattan.

2 oz. gin

3/4 oz. sweet vermouth

1/4 oz. maraschino liqueur

dash of orange bitters

Stir well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

“The Last Word”

from “Trips back and forth to the booze merchant…” at https://scientistmcgee.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/trips-back-and-forth-to-the-booze-merchant/

In the top 3 of my favorite cocktails – an amazing drink!

Equal parts…

gin

green Chartreuse

maraschino liqueur

lime juice

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass

 

“Colonial Cocktail”

from “95 degree nights” at https://scientistmcgee.wordpress.com/2011/07/15/95-degree-nights/

This is my go-to simple, summer evening drink.  It’s quick’n’easy to make, and a perfect cocktail.

2 oz. gin

1 oz. grapefruit juice

3 dashes maraschino liqueur

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

(from “The Savoy Cocktail Book”)


“Harry’s Manhattan”

from “Harry Craddock says your father smells of elderberries!” at https://scientistmcgee.wordpress.com/2011/07/03/harry-craddock-says-your-father-smells-of-elderberries/

 This is one of the best Manhattan cocktail recipes out there!  It wasn’t quite as sweet as a Manhattan made with maraschino cherries, and it tastes silkier and smoother.  (The Savoy Cocktail Book suggests shaking the drink.)

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)

 

“Aviation” 

from “Trips back and forth to the booze merchant…” at https://scientistmcgee.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/trips-back-and-forth-to-the-booze-merchant/

This is a great, simple showcase and use of the maraschino liqueur.  Very good drink.

2 oz gin

3/4 oz maraschino liqueur

1/2 oz lemon juice

 

“Aviation II” (w/ creme de violette)

from “Back in St. Louis” at https://scientistmcgee.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/back-in-st-louis/

A nice twist on the classic Aviation.  The creme de violette adds a strong, floral component.

2 oz gin

1/2 oz lemon juice

1/2 oz maraschino liqueur

1/4 oz creme de violette

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

 

“Mary Pickford”

from “Back in St. Louis” at https://scientistmcgee.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/back-in-st-louis/

This is a classic drink, perfect for summertime.  It’s sweet & refreshing without being “candy sweet”, due in large part to the nutty element of the maraschino liqueur.

2 oz light rum

2 oz pineapple juice

1 t maraschino liqueur

1 t grenadine

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

(recipe from “The Cocktail Hour”)

“Club Cocktail”

from “Trips back and forth to the booze merchant…” at https://scientistmcgee.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/trips-back-and-forth-to-the-booze-merchant/

Great drink!  It’s a refreshing, summertime drink that’s not too fruity or sweet, thanks to the brandy and the maraschino.

2 oz brandy

1/2 oz maraschino liqueur

1/2 oz pineapple juice

2 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters

lemon peel for garnish

Shake well with ice, and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass… garnish with the lemon peel

 

“Hemingway Cocktail”

from “Harry Craddock says your father smells of elderberries!” at https://scientistmcgee.wordpress.com/2011/07/03/harry-craddock-says-your-father-smells-of-elderberries/

This drink is named after Ernest Hemingway, as it was one of the drinks he would enjoy at the El Floridita bar in Havana, Cuba.

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.