Sherry makes an appearance…

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

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

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

“Seville Cocktail”

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

1.5 oz. gin

1/2 oz. fino sherry

1/2 oz. orange juice

1/2 oz. lemon juice

2 t simple syrup

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

“Sevilla”

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

1 oz. white rum

1/2 oz. fino sherry

3/4 oz. orange juice

1/4 oz. lime juice

1 t hot pepper jelly

ground cinnamon to rim the glass

1 flamed orange peel for garnish

Shake well and fine strain in to chilled cocktail glass.

(“The Essential Cocktail”)

“Poppy Variation”

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

1.75 oz. gin

3/4 oz. dry sherry

1 dash orange bitters

1 dash Angostura bitters

Stir well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

“Adonis Cocktail”

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

2 oz. dry sherry

3/4 oz. sweet vermouth

1 dash orange bitters

Stir well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

“Monkey Gland”

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

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

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

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

               4- It’s kind of grown on me.

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

1.5 oz. gin

1 oz. orange juice

1/4 oz. grenadine

1 splash of absinthe

orange peel for garnish

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

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


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.



95 degree nights

With summertime being in full, full swing in St. Louis, the lighter, fruit-juice cocktails have really taken center stage at my house.  With temperatures rising above 100 and hanging in the 90’s after sunset, the Gimlet is a great refreshing back porch quencher.  And so are the Colonial, the Gypsy and the Nevada… all drinks I really enjoyed over the last couple of hot weeks.  These cocktails aren’t just great drinks because of the summer heat and their refreshingness, but also because each of these drinks is a stand-alone hit.  Each of them had very well-balanced flavor combinations and were as fun to sip and savor, as they would have been to gulp down whole.

“Colonial Cocktail”

This drink was so good… a tarter tasting “fruit juice cocktail”.  I really haven’t had grapefruit juice in a long time, and one day, got the itch to start making some grapefruit cocktails.  I guess it was flipping through “The Savoy Cocktail Book”… there’s several drinks in there with grapefruit.  I’m glad I got the itch… it’s such a great taste for a cocktail.  There’s something unique about grapefruit juice to me… always has been… it’s not like other juices.  That’s why I think it lends itself so well to cocktails.  It’s such a unique taste to begin with, that it makes a perfect partner to the unique taste blends of cocktails.  This drink grew on me so much that I think I made it four nights in a row.  And that rarely happens.  I like having different drinks almost every night, very rarely ever making two of the same drink, two nights in a row.  So four nights in a row was quite the confirmation that this was a drink would become a regular in my rotation.

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”)

 

“The Gimlet”

The Gimlet, in its original recipe… with the Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice.  So simple… so good… so refreshing!  I wish I had a jumbo Gatorade Cooler full of it.  I guess it’s for the best that I don’t.

2 oz. gin

3/4 oz. Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

 

“The Gypsy”

Even though, my favorite Chartreuse cocktail, The Last Word, is one of the most refreshing drinks I can think of, I don’t normally think of Chartreuse when I’m thinking of a “refreshing summertime quencher”.  However, it once again works well in this refreshing, sour cocktail.  The St. Germain really balances out the Chartreuse, sweetening up the drink by muting the Chartreuse a little.  In fact, the St. Germain mutes both the Chartreuse and the lime juice, making for a very nice, balanced and refreshing cocktail.

1.5 oz. gin

3/4 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur

1/2 oz. green Chartreuse

1/2 oz. lime juice

1 lime wheel for garnish

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

(from St. Germain Cocktails: http://stgermaincocktails.wordpress.com/ )

 

“Nevada”

I’m very lucky to have stumbled across four such great summertime cocktails in the past couple of weeks.  The fourth great cocktail that I loved is called “Nevada” and is in one of the first cocktail books I bought, called “The Art of the Bar”.  The recipe may not look like much on paper, but again, the balance between the ingredients is so good!  Or maybe, I just really, really like grapefruit juice in my cocktails?

1.5 oz. rum

1/2 oz. grapefruit juice

1/3 oz. lime juice

1/4 oz. simple syrup

1 dash of Angostura bitters

1 lime wedge for garnish

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

(from “The Art of the Bar”)


Back in St. Louis

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted an update to the ole Scientist McGee’s blog… a really long time.  It seems like ages in fact.  Since my last post, over a month ago, I took a trip to Jamaica.  It was a wonderful and restful time away from the daily grind.  My wife and I stayed at an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay… all you can eat, all you can drink.  I had a lot of tropical drinks, from morning to mid-morning, to lunch, to afternoon, to dinner, to after dinner and so on… repeat for 7 days.  It was great… the drinks were very nice and easy and thirst quenching… lots and lots of Tequila Sunrises and an occassional Margarita thrown in there, amongst random others like the Bob Marley, Rum Punch, Pina Colata, etc.  I even got some classic drinks mixed in as well, like a Rusty Nail, a Harvey Wallbanger, a Manhattan, etc.  The people in Jamaica are amongst the nicest I’ve ever met, and the bartenders were no exception.  They were happy to oblige and make a few drinks for me that weren’t on the menu because you can only take so much rum and tropical drinks after a few days.  I even tried a new drink that I’d read about in the book I brought along to read on the beach.  (Which reminds me… I’ve added a new piece to the side bar of my blog, on the right-hand side… It’s a list of books that I own or have read, and a brief rating of what I thought of them… check it out.  And if you have any recommendations for me, please let me know.)   The book I read on the beach was called “The Little Green Book of Absinthe”, and as the title suggests, it’s a book dedicated entirely to Absinthe.  Pretty fun read, with little anecdotes, quotes and tales of the history of Absinthe.  I was even happier to notice that the bartenders at the resort had in fact a bottle of Pernod behind the bar.  A lot of the drinks in the book had too unusual of ingredients for me to order them, but one in particular struck my fancy on the 5th day of our stay.  My wife had gotten hooked on Mimosas while we were there, and so I thought that the “Death in the Afternoon” cocktail sounded like a perfect companion to hers.

A “Death in the Afternoon” was a classic Ernest Hemingway drink and is…

1/2 oz. Absinthe

4.5 oz champagne

Stir together in a champagne flute.

(recipe from “The Little Green Book of Absinthe”)

And now for all the different drinks I’ve tried since my last post, in no particular order…

“Aviation” (w/ creme de violette)

Shortly after a post of mine a couple back, called “Trips back and forth to the booze merchant…”, in which I had just recently acquired some maraschino liqueur, I got a great tip from a reader who recommended me trying it with some Creme de Violette (some times referred to as Creme Yvette).  Thank you to him, because it’s a great addition and a serious twist on the drink itself!  As you might imagine, the creme de violette is very floral and a very strong flavor… a little added to a drink goes a long way, and definitely “blues” up the color of the drink, which is kind of fun.  In the Aviation, it definitely adds another dimension.  In this drink, using only 1/4 ounce is nice as then it’s somewhat subtle, as opposed to its strong presence in the “Blue Moon” coming up next.

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.

“Blue Moon”

Fresh in to my creme de violette kick, I attended a wonderful wedding reception with a very nice open bar and I spotted a bottle of the creme de violette behind the bar… but no maraschino liqueur.  I asked the bartender what he’d recommend for the creme de violette, and he made me a “Blue Moon”.   Pretty great drink, I must say.  The violet melds wonderfully with the lemon, and it seems to almost bond with and transform the gin.  It’s a drink of 3 really good flavors working really well together.  Each flavor seems very clear and distinct, but also blend nicely to make an overall flavor greater than the sum of its parts.

2 oz gin

1/2 oz creme de violette

1/2 oz lemon juice

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

“Mary Pickford”

This drink was one I found in the book “The Cocktail Hour”, which is a book celebrating the old fashioned drinks and their history, and I wound up really liking this one.  It’s a great summertime drink.  It’s sweet & refreshing without being “candy sweet”, due in large part to the nutty element of the maraschino liqueur.  The recipe looks very simple, but its taste is surprisingly complex… again, thanks in large part to the maraschino liqueur, which leads me to my revelation that – the maraschino liqueur is king! (in my book anyway)

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”)

“The Stork Club”

Another drink I grabbed from this same book was “The Stork Club”, named after a famed nightclub in New York.  I didn’t care much for this drink, and after this one and “The Bronx Cocktail” from my last post, I’ve decided that I don’t care for the gin and orange juice combo in drinks.  It tastes like watered down OJ to me, and similar to Tang… which is never good in my opinion.  Oh well.  The lime juice made it a little better, but still the gin and OJ combo tastes flat & hollow to me, leaving me wanting something more.

1.5 oz gin

1/2 oz triple sec

1/4 oz lime juice

1 oz orange juice

Dash of Angostura bitters

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

(recipe from “The Cocktail Hour”)

“Cherry Vodka”

I made this drink on a whim because I wanted to try a new drink using Cherry Heering.  I found this one online, and I did not like it.  But full disclosure, I don’t like vodka (as you may have noticed, there are very few vodka drinks in any of my posts).  Since vodka doesn’t have much of a taste, this drink tasted like I was drinking just lime juice with some Cherry Heering, and a noticeable “hole of nothingness” where the vodka was.  I won’t be making this one again ever.

1.5 oz vodka

3/4 oz lime juice

1/2 oz Cherry Heering

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

“Galliano Margarita”

I bought my first bottle of Galliano yesterday (along with 2 new glasses, pictured here)! To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from the Galliano, as I was sort of just buying it because my wife likes “Harvey Wallbanger” drinks, so I bought a half-bottle (375 ml).  But boy was I in for a very pleasant surprise!  I love it!  I was under the wrong impression that Galliano was strictly a vanilla liqueur.  I hadn’t realized how it has quite a bit of an herbal undertone as well, and a strong anise secondary flavor too.  I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed this on the prior occassion when I had tried it before, but I hadn’t.  I have to say, I think that Galliano is very good indeed.  Plus I lucked out by stumbling upon a recipe for a drink that I just loved.  When I brought the bottle home, I didn’t want to just make another Harvey Wallbanger, so I looked online for what I could make and figured I’d give a Galliano Margarita a shot.  What the hell, eh? It was around 95 degrees out, so perfect, right?  Oh my, what a treat!  What a good drink!  I highly recommend this to everyone.

1 oz tequila

1 oz Galliano

1/2 oz lime juice

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.  Salt rim.

(As you can tell from the picture, I wasn’t in the mood for a salted rim.)

“Limon Sunrise”

And last but definitely not least, is a drink I looked up also online when I  found myself reminiscing about the endless Tequila Sunrises in Jamaica and also re-discovered a bottle of limoncello I’d forgotten we had in our house.  This one’s a very fun drink for the summer time.  Very refreshing and the orange & lemon combo is very good.

1 oz limoncello

3 oz orange juice

Splash of grenadine

Fill a highball-sized glass with ice, and build the limoncello, followed by the orange juice, and then add the grenadine.



Trips back and forth to the booze merchant…

Greetings friends & patrons!

I’ve made a few too many trips to Friar Tuck’s over the last week or two, and picked up some Peychaud’s bitters, Grande Absente absinthe and Luxardo maraschino liqueur…  Great purchases if you ask me!

The mini bottle of absinthe was the way to go (pictured in the Sazerac photos) because it was only $12 or so, and so I didn’t have to fork out around $70 for a regular sized bottle.  It was a great way to go to since absinthe is so strong, most drinks I’m finding recipes for only call for a splash of it to coat the inside of a glass.  So this little bottle will last me a long, long time.  But even if it doesn’t, I now know how highly I think of this green elixir, and won’t mind shelling out the big bucks for a big bottle.  I’d tried absinthe several years ago, but just straight (well, with water and sugar and what not, but still…).  At that time, I thought it was just OK.  But now, using it in cocktails, I think it’s the tops!  Like I said, a little goes a long way, and the anise flavoring of absinthe really lends a cool and refreshing note to any cocktail it’s added to.  It makes a whiskey drink seem summery!  And that’s something to sing about!

The Peychaud’s bitters was a pre-requisite to buy in order to make the Sazerac.  Peychaud’s bitters is from New Orleans and its creator is credited as the creator of the Sazerac cocktail.  So, there wasn’t much choice there.  But it’s really good too.

The Luxardo maraschino liqueur is something I’ve wanted to buy ever since I fell in love with Peter Heering CherryLiqueur (for a photo of Peter Heering, see my blog’s gravatar image… What a guy!).

Once I got the Cherry Heering, I started noticing that there weren’t all that many recipes that called for it’s rich, tart flavor, and instead most drink recipes called for maraschino liqueurs, which are made from the Marasca cherries and are lighter and bitter-sweet, and have a note of almond flavor from the crushed cherry pits.  One of the most revered maraschino liqueurs is the Luxardo brand.  At first taste, I wasn’t that thrilled because it was quite different from the CherryHeering which I love.  But after a few tries and a few different recipes, I’m hooked on it too.  It’s typically used in very subtle ways in drinks, and it plays more of a background role, lending a nice support to the ingredients in the forefront.  It’s the Steve Buschemi of the cocktail world.

In addition to the acquisitions of these new ingredients, I also picked up a great book from the library… “The Craft of the Cocktail” by Dale DeGroff.  I already have a great book by Mr. DeGroff, called “Essential Cocktails” which has been featured many times in this blog with recipes pulled from it.  This book however, is a nice compliment to that book.  I think it came out before “Essential Cocktails” and is more of a “complete and everything” guide to cocktails, from basic explanations and histories of each type of liquor, to a guide to unique measurements, to recommended websites and further reading, to an alphabetical list of tons of cocktail drinks.  Where as “Essential Cocktails” is like a greatest hits album which nicely organizes all the best drinks in to their proper categories (Classics, Moderns, Sours, Highballs, etc.), this book is more like the “Bartender’s Bible” which is almost like a dictionary which lists tons of drinks alphabetically, but has much nicer pictures and descriptions than the “Bartender’s Bible”.  Each book is unique to itself and offers a benefit, and so I’d recommend both books if you have the time and money to spend, or a library where you can borrow it for a few weeks.  The nice thing is that there are drinks featured in “Essential Cocktails” that aren’t in “The Craft of the Cocktail” and vice versa, and even some drinks that are listed in both have slightly different recipes and therefore you can select which one fits your palate better.  Both are top notch books and great resources to have… Reading them is so fun that they inspire me to run to the kitchen to mix one up!  That’s why I recommend reading them in the evening time, rather than in the morning before going to work.  They can be frustrating if read when you can’t go mix a drink.

Well, enough dribble-drabble… On to the drinks you can make for yourself at home in your bar, or call me up and come on over and I’ll mix one up for you myself…

“Sazerac”

What a drink!  I love it!  It’s perfect for when you want the nice, stiff taste of a whiskey drink served up, but it’s hot outside and you need some refreshing thirst quenching.  The rye whiskey adds spice, but the lemon and absinthe make it cool and refreshing.  Plus the sugar makes it a little sweet.  When preparing, you only coat the inside of the glass with absinthe, but it’s surprising how much you can taste the absinthe in the drink.  Top notch!

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 in one old fashioned glass.  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 (in to my mouth) 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

“Captain’s Table”

Here’s a drink that features Campari, an aperitif bitters made with herbs and fruits.  It’s often described as an “acquired taste” due to its bitter taste.  I’m still not a huge fan, but this was one drink I did really enjoy.  It’s perfect for when you want a refreshing and summery, back porch drink without wanting a “sweet & fruity” drink.  All the flavors are very muted.  The drink’s refreshing with the gin, orange juice and ginger ale, but it’s dry at the same time because of the Campari.  Very good – Campari… you’ve served your purpose in life well.

2 oz gin

1/2 oz Campari

1 teaspoon grenadine

1 oz orange juice

4 oz ginger ale

1 maraschino cherry

Combine gin, Campari, grenadine and OJ… Shake well and pour in to a collins or a highball glass filled with ice cubes, and top with the ginger ale… Garnish with the cherry.

http://www.amazon.com/Bartenders-Bible-Mixed-Drinks-Everything/dp/0061092207/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1299558901&sr=8-1

“Aviation”

This is a great, simple showcase and use of the maraschino liqueur.  Very good drink.  It has a very unique, nutty taste that you don’t taste everyday in most cocktails.

2 oz gin

3/4 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur

1/2 oz lemon juice

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

“Club Cocktail”

Great drink!  I found it to be very delightful to drink while sitting on the back porch on a lazy Sunday afternoon…  Initially, I thought it was a little too heavy on the taste of the brandy.  The caramel taste of the brandy surprised me being side-by-side with the maraschino liqueur and the pineapple juice.  But by the second glass, I really began to love its unique flavor.  It was another refreshing drink that’s not too fruity or sweet.  I guess that’s almost the them of this particular blog post… refreshing drinks that aren’t sugary sweet and fruity.

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

http://www.craftofthecocktail.com/

“Waldorf”

This is an awesome alternate take on the classic Manhattan!  This drink’s perfect for when you want a Manhattan, but want a more refreshing drink… The absinthe livens it up a bit, adding a fresh kick.  Very good cocktail.

1/8 oz absinthe

2 oz bourbon (or rye whiskey)

3/4 oz sweet vermouth

2 dashes of Angostura bitters

The recipe I found said to swirl the absinthe in the glass to coat the inside and then pour out the excess, before adding the remaining ingredients… I was, however, in the mood to have some more absinthe in the drink, so I actually just mixed in about an 1/8 oz of absinthe with the bourbon, sweet vermouth and bitters, and then stirred with ice, leaving all of the absinthe in the actual drink, and then strained in to a chilled cocktail glass.

http://www.craftofthecocktail.com/

“The Last Word”

Now that I’ve got my maraschino liqueur, I was able to taste what this drink was supposed to properly taste like.  (I’d originally only had Peter Heering Cherry Heering to use, and in one of my previous posts talk about how it didn’t work well and how it actually led to me creating my own variation called “The Counter Argument”.)  This classic cocktail was reportedly brought back to life by a bartender in Seattle (Zig Zag Cafe) who disovered it in some old cocktail recipe books.  Since it’s re-discovery, it’s enjoying quite a revival in popularity all across the country.  It is indeed a good drink.  It too has some really unique flavors and the Chartreuse really shines through and takes center stage, with a really nice accompaniment of the maraschino liqueur.

Equal parts…

Gin

Green Chartreuse

Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

Lime juice

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/restaurants/2008837441_zres11lastword.html

Cheers!


The road to the present…

Welcome back to Scientist McGee’s!  This is my second blog, and I’m glad you could make it.

Well, like I mentioned in my first post, I’ve been taking photos of each cocktail I make.  Well, not each and every one of them… I think maybe about a third of the cocktails I’ve made… I don’t always think to do this.  Like I don’t have a picture of a Martini or a Manhattan or a White Russian or a Gin & Tonic, so I guess I mainly remember to take a picture when I’m trying a new cocktail for the first time.

To catch up to present day, I wanted to post all of the pictures I have thus far.  Some of these I actually only made once.  Not because they’re not good necessarily, but well… I don’t know why.  I guess they just didn’t strike a chord with me enough to return to.  Most likely it’s because they were just average.  I didn’t fall in love with them… but I didn’t hate them either.  (If I hate one, I’d remember it… like the Long Island Iced Tea.)  So some of them I don’t have a strong enough memory of them to say much about them, so I’ll just list the recipe.

Anyways, this is the 2nd and I guess last post that’s more about catching you, the readers, up to speed to where I am today… starting with last summer and my Schnucks gift card, to early Spring 2011 today.  Now, with my first post being an introduction and this second post being a gallery of my “hits and misses” over the last 3/4 of a year, this brings us to modern day… and you know what “modern day” means, right?  That’s right – my first very own bottle of Chartreuse only 4 days away!

Remember, as you walk through my gallery of 2010/2011 cocktails, and later on through new ones I try… If anyone has any suggestions, recommendations, questions, comments, etc., please by all means, let me know… I’d love to hear what you suggest!

So now, in chronological order, they are…

“The Bronx Bomber”

1.5 oz gin

1/4 oz sweet vermouth

1/4 oz dry vermouth

1/2 oz orange juice

1/4 oz lemon juice

1/4 oz simple syrup

orange twist for garnish

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

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

“Old Pal”

This is one I made when I bought my bottle of Campari, an Italian aperitif that’s an infusion of herbs and fruit which is pretty damn bitter.  The jury’s still out on what I really think of Campari.  When I tried this drink, the Old Pal, I was not thrilled.  It was pretty bitter if I recall correctly.  However, I did like the Negroni (gin, Campari, sweet vermouth) I tried, in addition to the Venetian I tried about a week ago (gin, Campari, dry vermouth, amaretto, and a lemon twist).  However, like I said the jury’s still out on Campari.  I am indeed warming up to it, and finding that I do crave it some times, but it’s just so bitter, that it’s not always satisfying to me.  Only time will tell, I guess.

1 oz whiskey

1 oz Campari

1 oz dry vermouth

orange twist for garnish

Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

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

“Rob Roy”

I do like a Rob Roy.  This has become one of my favorites, up there I think with the Manhattan.  I like a regular Rob Roy, a perfect Rob Roy (sweet & dry vermouth) and a dry vermouth. Here’s the recipe for a regular Rob Roy:

2 oz blended scotch

1 oz sweet vermouth

bitters to taste

lemon peel for garnish

Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

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

“The Knit Knot”

This is a cocktail that I made up for my wife to toast the launch of her new online business, “The Knit Knot”.  I made this drink with her in mind, based upon a combo that she’s loved for a long time – vanilla and orange juice.  She says it tastes like an Orange Julius from the mall.  I think it’s actually quite better than that.  It’s pretty damn tasty, I must say.  And I add a maraschino cherry to add one more note and an extra cute color.

1.5 oz Absolut Vanilia Vodka

3 oz orange juice

1 maraschino cherry for garnish

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

“Stiletto”

2 oz whiskey

1/2 oz amaretto

1/2 oz lemon juice

1 teaspoon lime juice

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

http://www.amazon.com/Bartenders-Bible-Mixed-Drinks-Everything/dp/0061092207/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1299558901&sr=8-1

“Dry Rob Roy”

2.5 oz scotch

1.5 teaspoons dry vermouth

lemon twist for garnish

Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

http://www.amazon.com/Bartenders-Bible-Mixed-Drinks-Everything/dp/0061092207/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1299558901&sr=8-1

“The Blood & Sand”

Perhaps my favorite drink right now.  It’s such a great blend of tastes that creates an all-new flavor all its own.  Plus, it’s such an easy drink to remember how to make because it’s all equal parts, an ounce of each.  Nice and easy and delicious!  Mmmm… the smokiness of the scotch meeting the delicious blend of tart cherries and oranges, and with all being equal parts, none of the flavors take over… they blend perfectly, in harmony, to make a knock-out flavor.  I can’t say enough good things about this drink.  It’s so good, I think it would appeal to all.  Go out and ask your local bar tender if they have Cherry Heering, and if they do, ask them to make you a “Blood & Sand”.  Most likely, you’ll have to tell them how to make it, but again, it’s one of the easiest drink recipes to remember. It’s perfect!  (Plus it’s got a cool history… named in tribute to a silent film starring Rudolph Valentino about a bullfighter)

3/4 oz blended scotch

3/4 oz Peter Heering Cherry Heering

3/4 oz sweet vermouth

3/4 oz orange juice (freshly squeezed juice of a blood orange preferably)

orange peel for garnish

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

(Most of the recipes you see for this drink, it just calls for orange juice, but one I found somewhere, called for the juice of a blood orange which makes perfect sense with the name and it tastes really good.  So if you feel like going to the trouble of buying blood oranges, I highly recommend them, but if you’d rather make this more of an everyday drink, like myself, just use some orange juice in a carton that stays good for quite some time.  That makes it nice and easy, but for a treat, I highly recommend blood orange juice.)

“The Move Over”

1.5 oz gin

1/2 oz dry vermouth

1/4 oz sweet vermouth

1/4 oz Cherry Heering

dash of bitters

Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

“Margarita”

(the 2nd photo is with one of my new glasses!)

This is a drink I never had much interest in.  When it came to ordering a drink at a Mexican restaurant, I always tended to opt for a Mexican beer instead…  Until we had 70 degree weather in February in St. Louis, a few weeks back… I wanted to enjoy the perfect weather with a drink on the back porch, so I made a margarita and now I really like this drink!  Now I love the Mararita in fact…

1.5 oz silver tequila

1 oz triple sec

1/2 oz fresh lime juice

splash of simple syrup

Shake and strain into a chilled, salt-rimmed cocktail glass.

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

“Long Island Iced Tea”

One of my least favorite drinks to date… I just thought that this drink tasted like a muddled, sweet sugary mess.  I’m not a fan.  Maybe I just made a bad version of this drink?  I don’t know.

1/2 oz vodka

1/2 oz gin

1/2 oz rum

1/2 oz tequila

1/2 oz triple sec

3/4 oz simple syrup

3/4 oz lemon juice

3 oz Coca-Cola

lemon wedge for garnish

Stir and serve in a large glass with ice.

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

And my cocktail menu for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards (“Oscar Night!”) was all champagne-based cocktails:

“Champagne Cocktail”

(no photo available)

Originally appeared in “How to Mix Drinks” by Jerry Thomas in 1862… This was a very good drink!

1 sugar cube soaked in Angostura bitters

champagne

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

“French 75”

(no photo available)

Legend has it that this drink was improvised by an American soldier out in the French countryside during WWI.

1 oz gin or cognac

3/4 oz simple syrup

1/2 oz lemon juice

3 oz champagne

lemon peel for garnish

Shake and strain gin/cognac, simple syrup and lemon juice in to a flute, and then top with champagne.

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

“Buck’s Fizz”

(no photo available)

Invented at the Buck’s Club in London in the 1920’s, this was the inspiration for the Mimosa.  This was delicious and top notch!

2 oz orange juice

splash of gin

splash of Cherry Heering

3 oz champagne

orange peel for garnish

Shake OJ, gin and Cherry Heering with ice and strain in to a flute, topping it with champagne.

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

“Mimosa”

(no photo available)

If I’m not mistaken, the Mimosa was invented a few years after the Buck’s Fizz, in Paris, and “mimosa” means “mimic” in french(?)

2 oz orange juice

4 oz champagne

1/2 oz triple sec float on top (optional)

orange zest for garnish

Pour OJ in to a flute, fill gently with champagne and the drink will mix itself.  Optional: Top with a 1/2 oz float of triple sec for an extra kick.

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

Notes:

-While I credit the books/websites I got the recipe from, sometimes I modify the way the recipe’s written.  For example, obviously freshly squeezed juice of any sort is better tasting than juice from a carton.  But hey, I don’t need to specify “freshly squeezed” vs. not.  That’s up to you, eh?  If you want to take the time, squeeze the juice yourself, if not, then pour the juice you have in the fridge.

-Also, I may modify the recipes in different ways too. I don’t own any Cointreau, so usually, I’ll substitute triple sec for where most recipes specify Cointreau.  Maybe some day, I’ll own some Cointreau, and I’ll know what I’ve been missing, but until then, I’ll specify triple sec, and if you want to use Cointreau, go right ahead.

-Also, the pictures shown here are usually ones from a week night, so the chances of seeing a garnish that it calls for are slim to none.