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


Harry Craddock says your father smells of elderberries!

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

“French Gimlet”

2 oz. gin

1 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur

1/2 oz lime juice

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

“Le Jacques Strap”

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

2 oz. gin

3/4 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur

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

2 dashes orange bitters

2 dashes green Chartreuse

Stir and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

“Hemingway Daiquiri”

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

1.5 oz. white rum

1/4 oz. maraschino liqueur

3/4 oz. lime juice

1/4 oz. grapefruit juice

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

“Harry’s Manhattan”

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

2 oz. Rye Whiskey

3/4 oz. sweet vermouth

2 dashes maraschino liqueur

3 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

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

“Champs Elysees”

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

1.5 oz. cognac or brandy

1/2 oz. green Chartreuse

1/4 oz. lemon juice

1/8 oz. simple syrup

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

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

“Remember the Maine”

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

2 oz. Rye Whiskey

3/4 oz. sweet vermouth

2 t Cherry Heering

1/2 t absinthe

Stir and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.


“The Gilroy Cocktail”

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

1 oz. gin

1 oz. Cherry Heering

1/2 oz. lemon juice

1/2 oz. dry vermouth

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.




Goin’ on down to New Orleans… in my mind

Hey everybody,

I’m back with a short blurb about cocktails in my home in the months of March and April.

Baseball’s back, and that means that the weather in St. Louis is warming up.  With hotter weather, that usually means lighter drinks, so that’s what I’ve been having a little more of these days.  Just a “little more of” though, because I really tend to enjoy whiskey on a regular basis much more than say gin or tequila.  But it’s hard not to crave some lighter, more refreshing drinks in the spring & summer time, so I’ve been making some easy-to-make tequila drinks on a warmer spring evenings – the Havana and the Tequila Sunrise drinks.  I’m sure my taste for lighter drinks will only increase as the weather in town becomes swelteringly hot and unbearably humid.

Also, I’m posting here some very basic cocktail recipes for 2 of the most classic cocktails of all time… the Manhattan and the Martini.  These two classics are such staples that I’ve neglected to post anything about them up to this point, I think.  So I’m honoring them with a little attention and a little of the spotlight, for good measure.  They are, after all, 2 of my favorite, go-to drinks.  When I don’t want to mess around, and I don’t want to think too much, and I want to just go for an easy-to-make drink that can’t go wrong… these are the drinks.  They’re perfectly simple.  When I’m in the mood for whiskey, it’s the Manhattan (even though, half the time I’ll make the drink’s variation, a Dry Manhattan with dry vermouth and lemon, and the other half of the time, I’ll go for the classic Manhattan); and when I’m in the mood for gin, it’s the Martini.  Both of these classic cocktails showcase the base spirit so perfectly and clearly, without having to drink either of the base spirits straight.  Vermouth plays the role of the red carpet in both drinks so perfectly, and lets the stars of the drinks shine through.

And last, but not least, I’m offering up a recipe for a drink that I’ve not yet tried, but I will be trying at some point this weekend.  I tend to get very intrigued by cocktails with a good history behind them.  Ever since I started enjoying making cocktails and reading about them, I’ve been intrigued by one called the Sazerac.  The Sazerac is apparently one of the first important cocktails.  It’s a signature drink of the great city of New Orleans.  It was created in the 1860’s and was originally made with cognac as its base.  Over time however, rye whiskey gained in popularity as cognac’s popularity with the public decreased, and now the Sazerac is a rye whiskey drink.  I think another reason I became intrigued and obsessed with trying this drink is the fact that it contains absinthe, and so it seemed to me that it’d probably be a while before I could make this drink myself, since absinthe’s pretty darn expensive.  However, it dawned on me this morning that my spirits store, Friar Tuck, sells miniature “sampling” bottles of many liquors, a couple of which I think were bottles of absinthe!  So, I’m going today to get get a little bottle for around $6.00 I think.  This is actually perfect too, because I’m really only buying the absinthe for this drink, and this drink only calls for enough absinthe to coat the inside of the glass.  So this tiny little bottle should last quite a while for the purpose of making Sazeracs.  Another item I need to pick up at the store today is a bottle of Peychaud’s bitters.  The Sazerac recipe calls for specifically Peychaud’s brand of bitters.  Apparently, Antoine Peychaud was a Pharmacist in New Orleans and he concocted this special blend of spices and botanicals, and using his bitters, his pharmacy was actually the birthplace of the Sazerac cocktail.  (His pharmacy seems alot better than my local Walgreens… The closest thing I can get to a Sazerac at my modern pharmacy is Four Loco.   Actually, I guess Four Loco is a good modern equivalent though to a drink that contains absinthe, since both Four Loco and Absinthe have reputations for seriously harming one’s physical health and possibly killing you, but I digress…)   Anyways, that’s my objective today… to purchase the Peychaud’s bitters, a little bottle of absinthe, and a lemon, and be on my way to trying a Sazerac for the first time this weekend.

Without any further ado… Here’s recipes and photos of the 5 cocktails discussed above:

“Havana”

1.5 oz  rum

3/4 oz  triple sec

1/2 oz  lime juice

1/4 oz  simple syrup

A splash of orange juice (I actually enjoy about a full 1 oz of orange juice)

A dash of orange bitters

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass (Optional: coat the rim of the glass with sugar)

http://www.theartofthebar.com/html/index.html

“Tequila Sunrise”


This drink is really easy to drink… it’s really easy to make and it’s really refreshing and tasty, and it looks really pretty too!  My wife loves it, and I agree.  It’s just a really fun, easy drink, that’s really tasty.

1.5 oz blanco tequila

4 oz orange juice

3/4 oz grenadine

Fill a highball glass (I prefer to use a good sized white wine glass, like the one pictured) with ice, and build (no stirring/shaking necessary) the tequila, followed by the orange juice, and then lastly pour the grenadine slowly through the drink to create the “sunrise” look.  Lovely!

http://www.amazon.com/Essential-Cocktail-Mixing-Perfect-Drinks/dp/0307405737

“The Manhattan”

2 oz whiskey

3/4 oz sweet vermouth

3 dashes of bitters (I prefer Fee Brothers’ Cherry Bitters in my Manhattan, from time to time)

1 maraschino cherry for garnish

Stir the whiskey, vermouth and bitters with ice, and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass

“The Martini”

There’s a million variations on how to make a Martini… this is my preferred recipe:

2.5 oz gin

1/2 oz dry vermouth

1 or 3 olives for garnish

Stir the gin and vermouth with ice, and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass

Most people remember James Bond ordering his martini “shaken, not stirred”.  However, the general rule is that a bar tender stirs drinks with ice when all of the ingredients are alcohol based, and shakes drinks when the recipe includes fruit juices and other non-alcoholic ingredients.  So, the general rule is that a Manhattan and Martini should always be stirred to mix with ice, rather than shaken.  However, there is no right way and wrong way to drink… One should do whatever they want to get the drink however they like it.  I’ll stir a Manhattan and Martini 95% of the time, but every now and then, I do tend to enjoy the frothier texture one gets by shaking a drink as a result of small ice chips breaking up in the shaking process.  So once in a blue moon, I will in fact shake the martini.  You can kind of see the difference in the picture below of a shaken Martini – it’s not quite as clear as the picture of a properly stirred Martini above.

(Martini, shaken)

And last, but not least, here’s the recipe of my next adventure… the Sazerac!  We’ll see if it lives up to the hype.

“Sazerac”

(no photo yet)

1 sugar cube

3-5 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters

2 oz rye whiskey

Splash of absinthe

lemon peel for garnish

Combine the sugar and the bitters, and muddle to dissolve the sugar.  Add the rye and some ice, and stir gently to combine.   Take the chilled serving glass and add a splash of absinthe… Swirl the absinthe around to just coat the inside of the glass, and then pour out the excess absinthe.  Strain the chilled rye, sugar and bitters in to this prepared glass.  If you’re a purist, rub the rim of the glass with the lemon peel, and then discard.  If you’re not a purist, twist the lemon peel over the top, or rub the rim, and drop it in to the drink for a garnish.  (This recipe is a combination of 2 slightly different recipes from 2 different sources – see references below)

http://www.theartofthebar.com/html/index.html and http://www.amazon.com/Essential-Cocktail-Mixing-Perfect-Drinks/dp/0307405737