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”)


Step-by-Step through Forgotten, Delicious Cocktails

Hey there everyone, I’m back.  After nearly 2 months of being MIA, I’m back to share the tales of 5 new cocktails and 2 new books!

That’s right.  I haven’t posted anything since May.  My lapse is owed to a couple things… 1, I’ve been really busy with my day job (less time to drink and write) and 2, I went to Ste. Genevieve, MO with my wife to celebrate our 10th anniversary in early June.  Ste. Genevieve is about an hour or so out of St. Louis and is one of the several regions of Missouri wine country.  The weekend trip basically rekindled my fondness of wines, and ever since, I’ve been back on sort of a wine kick.  It’s been a nice break from mixing up drinks, and just lazily pouring stuff out of a bottle and kicking back in the evenings.  The only problem with wine though is the fact that I tend to fall asleep on the couch at about 9pm, waking up, with the TV on, at midnight, and then dragging myself to bed in the middle of the night.  Wine’s great, but it makes me very, very lazy.

Even though I’ve been drinking much more wine lately, that’s not to say that I haven’t been replenishing and growing my spirits/liqueurs supply, as well as my cocktail books supply.  Since my last post, I’ve invested in a couple new types of rye whiskey (High West Double Rye Whiskey and Riverboat Rye Whiskey), a bottle of Calvados (apple brandy) and a bottle of amaro (Ramazzotti
brand).  I’ve also invested my time and attention in to Ted Haigh’s “Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails” (http://www.amazon.com/Vintage-Spirits-Forgotten-Cocktails-Alamagoozlum/dp/1592535615).  This is an awesome book, and apparently, one of the pioneering books of the current cocktail renaissance (originally published in 2004, “unearthing” these “obscure” drinks at the time, that are very well known today, just 8 years later).  Even though, 8 years has dated this book, it’s still an awesome book worth buying for the way it’s laid out and the entertaining writing of Ted Haigh, aka “Dr. Cocktail”.  Another book I’ve really enjoyed reading is the 1956 edition of Patrick Gavin Duffy’s (not to be confused with the curly-haired dad from the sitcom “Step by Step”) “The Official Mixer’s Manual” (http://www.amazon.com/Official-Mixers-Manual-Home-Professional/dp/B002CNKC7Y/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1343534430&sr=1-7&keywords=official+mixer%27s+manual).  I actually received this book as a surprise gift in the mail from my good friends in Lincoln, NE.  (I love any kind of fun mail, but receiving a cocktail book in the mail as a surprise?  It doesn’t get much better than that!)  Actually, I had picked up a copy of this book at a book fair back in April, but it was an edition from the late ’60’s or ’70’s (I can’t remember exactly) and I hadn’t really gotten in to it yet.  However, this earlier edition from the ’50’s is way more old school in its approach and references, and makes for a much more captivating read.  I’ve really enjoyed flipping through this book, which organizes its drinks by base liquor and liqueur.  Originally published in 1934, it’s definitely a great, classic cocktail book and really a “who’s who” of cocktails.  It features a huge amount of drinks that are very popular today.  It’s a very dependable, quality cocktail guide.

Anyways, I’ve gotten a bit off track.  Back to what I was saying… Yes, I’ve been a bit absent as I’ve been drinking the “lazy man’s drink”, but as I’ve been drinking my wine, I’ve been enjoying reading up and jotting down some new cocktails to try (at least for a few minutes before I’d fall asleep).  Here in this new post, I share with you the “East India Cocktail”, the “Calvados Cocktail”, the “Pegu Club Cocktail”, the “S.G. Cocktail” and the “Brooklyn”.  Enjoy!

“Brooklyn”

The Brooklyn cocktail is a cocktail I’ve been wanting to try ever since I got in to making cocktails.  For whatever reason, it caught my eye the moment I saw it online or in some book I was flipping through.  I think it caught my eye because it’s got a couple of my favorite ingredients – rye and maraschino.  It also caught my eye because of 2 other characteristics – I loved the name and also, my interest was piqued by an ingredient I’d never heard of… Amer Picon.  I’d never heard of Amer Picon and then as I started asking for it in stores around town, no one ever had it.  (?)  Come to later find out it’s because it’s a French liqueur that for some reason isn’t available in the U.S.  Well, I gave up on that idea, figuring I’d never get to try a Brooklyn cocktail, but at the same time, never really forgetting about the drink.  It was always in the back of my mind as a drink I’d love to try, and thought about from time to time.  Well, thanks to “Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails”, I learned today that there are in fact substitute ingredients that come close to matching Amer Picon that I could get my hands on.  He encourages the use of Torani Amer as a close substitute, but I can’t get my hands on that in St. Louis.  So the closest I could do was get a bottle of Ramazzotti.  Amer Picon, Torani Amer and Ramazzotti are all amaro liqueurs.  “Amaro” is Italian for bitter, and these are bitter aperitifs, made of a mixture of herbs, spices, roots, citrus peels, etc.  According to descriptions of Ramazzotti Amaro online, it’s a 200 year old recipe of 33 herbs and spices, with “notes of orange peel, cardamom, myrrh, galangal and cinnamon”.  Most of the amaros on the market are made in Italy, but Amer Picon is one of the few (if not the only one) made in France.  But alas, it’s not available here in the states, even though you’ll see it in many old recipes.  So, I’m not exactly sure how close Ramazzotti comes to Amer Picon, but from what I can gather from info online, it comes close enough.  I think it’s pretty damn interesting tasting, and this drink is pretty damn tasty!  The Brooklyn is similar to a Manhattan, but with a nice, heavy layer of the amaro adding some complexity and depth.  I love the healthy dose of maraschino.  Mmmm… it’s a very good drink – sort of a deeper, more herbal Manhattan.  Very good!

2 oz. rye whiskey

3/4 oz. dry vermouth

1/4 oz. Amer Picon (or Ramazzotti?)

1/4 oz. maraschino liqueur

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

“East India Cocktail”

This is a pretty good drink I found in the PDT Cocktail Book.  It’s a pretty mellow drink (albeit, pretty heavy on the “orangeyness”), and a nice cross between a “tropical drink” and a “real cocktail” (no offense, anyone… Some of my favorite drinks are tropical drinks).  The orange curacao/pineapple combo really lightens the drink up, while the dark rum and bitters brings it back down to earth.  Pretty good.

1 3/4 oz. brandy

1/2 oz. orange curacao

1/2 oz. pineapple

1/4 oz. dark rum

2 dashes of orange bitters

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

Garnish with an orange peel.

“Calvados Cocktail”

This drink was decent.  At first, the drink tasted a little “medicinal”, but after a while, it grew on me and into a somewhat complex taste with its healthy dose of bitters.  I’ve never been a big fan of cocktails with OJ, but this one’s OK.  I’m not convinced however, whether I really like apple brandy or not.  I feel like I could like apple brandy, but I don’t know… Maybe it’s just that there aren’t many good apple brandy cocktails out there?  I don’t know… there’s not a ton of recipes calling for apple brandy or Calvados, but the ones I’ve tried, I’m not crazy for.  Hmmm… only time will tell, I guess.  I’m not ready to give up on it.

1 oz. calvados

1 oz. orange

1/2 oz. triple sec

1/2 oz. orange bitters

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

“Pegu Club Cocktail”

This is a very good cocktail!  As I’ve said a hundred times before, I’m not normally a fan of gin and orange juice, but I have to say… gin and triple sec and lime juice is great!  This drink is more of a daiquiri than anything else, and it’s a solidly well put-together summer drink!  I like how it’s a really refreshing summer drink, but the bitters tone it down a bit and make it more of a complex drink.  Recommended for sure!

1.5 oz. gin

1/2 oz. triple sec

3/4 oz. lime juice

2 dashes of Angostura bitters

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

“S.G. Cocktail”

This is a pretty good drink.  It’s nothing super special really, but just a nice drink for a sit on the porch after a hard day’s work in the summertime.  It’s just a nice and simple sour rye and juice drink.  The lemon actually packs quite a punch, if not a bit too much of a punch.  That being said, I was happy to find, just a few pages earlier in Duffy’s book, a drink called “Ink Street”.  The “Ink Street” is almost the same ingredients, but instead of an equal parts mix, it calls for 2 parts rye, and only 1 part orange and 1 part lemon (no grenadine either).  I think this proportion might suit my taste a little better.

1 oz. rye whiskey

1 oz. lemon juice

1 oz. orange juice

1 t grenadine

Shake 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.