A Cocktail of Cocktails (?)

On 10/26/14, the world lost a young baseball superstar of great promise, Oscar Taveras. Baseball fans learned of this tragic loss during the 2014 World Series, when it was announced over the air.

Shocked and in disbelief from this unexpected, terribly sad news, I needed a drink to sit back, take in the news and reflect on young Oscar and his saddened families (both his real family as well as his Cardinals family). Too saddened and shook to worry about mixing up a drink from ground zero, I just took the little bit of pre-mixed Manhattan I had already on hand and added cognac to it to make it a better-sized drink. Although the “technique” was unorthodox, the result was certainly tasty. Which begs the question…

Although the excuse for this concoction of mine was due to my lack of motivation to mix a drink from scratch, has anyone ever seen this technique in use before? Perhaps not just a Manhattan plus the addition of one other spirit (like mine was), but maybe two or three complete cocktails put together – A cocktail made of a combo of other cocktails? A “cocktail of cocktails”, so to speak.

I’d be interested to know.

Either way, at the end of the day, we’ll miss Oscar Taveras, and I hold his family and friends and his memory in my heart. This sad excuse for a drink is dedicated to the memory of Oscar Taveras, a tragic loss for St. Louis and the game of baseball…

1 part Manhattan
1 part cognac

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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.


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


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.



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


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.