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”)


“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”)


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.


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”)


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.