Thursday, June 26, 2014

Black Jack David

Several cocktails had denuded an orange of all its peel and it was time to squeeze before it went bad. I could’ve made a Bronx or a Ward Eight but kept thinking about the allspice dram from the previous post. Here it is with rye and rum, a beautiful combination.

cocktail, stem glass with a film of frost, faceted stem, neutral background

Black Jack David
  • 1 1/2 rye (Rittenhouse)
  • 1/2 oz Lemon Hart 151
  • 3/4 oz orange juice
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz cherry brandy (Heering)
  • 1/4 oz allspice dram
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Rich, spicy and fruity without being heavy or very sweet. Nice with last night’s summer fog.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cerrito Cocktail

This is a gin sour I’ve been kicking around with a friend. The combination of maraschino and allspice isn’t one I immediately think of so I’m glad for the inspiration. Here’s my current variation.

cocktail, bar, evening garden in background 
Cerrito Cocktail
  • 2 oz gin (Junípero)
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz maraschino
  • 1/2 oz triple sec (Combier)
  • 1 dash allspice dram
  • 1 dash absinthe
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Orange twist.

The twist disappeared in the drink I photographed but it’s in there.

I’m always at a loss to describe the profile of maraschino. It has a bitter almond component but it’s more complex than that, drier than most cherry flavors and floral at the same time. And in this drink it seems to shimmer with the dashes of allspice and absinthe. The orange twist is the perfect top note. It points up the triple sec and helps bring the flavors together.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Norway by Way of Portland: Two Krogstad Cocktails

I wish more choices in aquavit were available locally in San Francisco but I’m happy to enjoy Krogstad. It works in places where I’d reach for gin, but Krogstad is earthier, a thing of pleasant malty bitterness like horehound candy. I particularly like the star anise.


Lagoon of the Moon
  • 1 1/2 oz aquavit (Krogstad)
  • 3/4 oz Meyer lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau
  • 1 dash absinthe
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Since I had the Krogstad out, I thought I’d try an aquavit Negroni. You see various iterations of this idea on the web with the bitter component substituted. Mr. Lauer over at Tempered Spirits has a nice looking one, the Norwegian Sunset.

Anyway, here goes a basic solution.


Aquavit Negroni
  • 1 1/2 oz aquavit (Krogstad)
  • 1 1/2 oz Campari
  • 1 1/2 sweet vermouth
Stir with ice and strain into an old fashioned. Fresh ice cubes to fill. Orange twist.

Friday, May 23, 2014

More Rooting Around

I’ve been experimenting with Root, the highbrow root beer spirit from Art in the Age. This round focuses on rum and its natural accompaniments: lime, brown sugar, absinthe—all of which go so well with Root too. I busted out the Lemon Hart 151 for this. You definitely could use the regular strength but like Mae West said, too much of a good thing can be wonderful.


Back to the Swamp
  • 1 oz Lemon Hart 151-proof Demerara rum
  • 1 oz Root
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1 dash absinthe
  • 1 dash Jerry Thomas’ Decanter Bitters
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
Stir brown sugar in lime juice until dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and ice; shake well. Strain into an old fashioned and add fresh ice cubes. Mint sprig.

Rich and earthy with flavors of molasses and herbs. Remember to spank that mint.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sarsparilla Whiskers

I finally broke down and bought Root by Art of the Age. A fan of root beer as a kid, I thought Root looked delicious, but I didn’t really have an idea for it. Each time, I just smiled at it and remembered a camping trip in my early 20s with some friends and a bottle of schnapps.

Root isn’t much like root beer schnapps. For one thing, it’s much, much drier. And it’s the real deal: thirteen botanicals including the cane sugar, illustrated beautifully on the back label. And it is indeed delicious, calling to mind other herbal blockbusters like absinthe and Fernet Branca. I thought right away of a rye cocktail.


Sarsparilla Whiskers
  • 2 oz rye (Dickel)
  • 3/4 oz Root
  • 1 dash absinthe
  • 1 dash Bittercube Jamaica Bitters #2
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Lemon twist.

People seem to feel strongly one way or the other about herbal digestifs. Root beer is polarizing as well. (The English people I’ve asked don’t seem to care for it. “Almost spat it out.” Maybe you have to be born in North America.)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Steady Freddy

One afternoon, my buddy suggested we turn his fresh mandarin oranges into Harvey Wallbangers. That sounded like a job for Freddy Fudpucker, Wallbanger’s tequila variation and my preferred version of the drink. It’s unbelievably good with fresh mandarin juice. I feel a little guilty posting this at the end of mandarin season—or so it is here in Northern California—but maybe it’s the perfect excuse for using up some fruit you have around. Proportions below are approximate. Don’t hold back on the juice.

long drink

Fresh Mandarin Fudpucker
  • 2 oz tequila (we used blanco)
  • 4 oz freshly squeezed mandarin juice
  • 1/4 oz Galliano
Combine spirits and juice with ice in a tall glass, roll into a tin and back. Carefully float Galliano. (And if it sinks, so what? Sip and smile.)

Hm—I guess the Fudpucker’s a classic. (Again, just sip and smile.)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Reviving the Corpse

OK—maybe I’ve been a little preoccupied with other projects of late. However, I assure you that they have all been beverage-related. (You probably knew that.) While doing some research in the East Bay, a friend and I hit upon the happy idea of remaking a Corpse Reviver #2 as a scotch cocktail. The CR2 is a classic hair-of-the-dog gin concoction meant for those days when you’re still a little shaky from the night before. Whether you think chasing a hangover this way is really a good idea is a matter of personal discretion but CR2 is a fine thing all the same. And this scotch version is very quaffable.


Banquo’s Ghost
  • 1 oz scotch (used Black Grouse)
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz Cocchi Americano
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 dash absinthe
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The original Corpse Reviver #2 appears in the venerable Savoy Cocktail Book, edited by Harry Craddock, and turns up in a number of other good bar books as well. Since the amount of absinthe varies slightly from author to author, I turned to the acknowledged authority on Craddock’s book, Erik Ellestad of Savoy Stomp to see what he did with it. I swear I didn’t look at his photo before icing that glass. Clearly the thing to use.
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