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March 2016

Ol' Blue Eyes In A Glass -- The Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra 2The late Frank Sinatra was a great American artist and icon.  Among other things, he was a wonderful singer with a gifted voice, an ear for the nuance of language, and a captivating stage presence.  He also was a pretty good actor (watch the first Manchurian Candidate movie).  Thanks to Scott Deitche and his book Cocktail Noir for introducing me to the original cocktail, which I adapted.  In honor of Ol' Blue Eyes, and his son (a performer who I had the privilege of seeing) who recently died, drink this.

2.5 ounces vodka (hello Zyr or Belvedere)
.5 ounces blue curacao
Juice from 1/4 lemon
.25 ounces super simple syrup

Frank Sinatra 1Combine in a shaker with ice, shake as if you were swinging on stage like the Chairman Of The Board, and strain into a chilled glass.  Lemon garnish optional.

Jack Daniel's whiskey was Sinatra's alcohol of choice.   While I would have liked to incorporate it into this cocktail, it's impossible to have a vibrant blue cocktail using Jack Daniel's as the base.  Ol' Blue Eyes drank plenty of martinis over the course of his life, although I doubt he drank one that looked like this.

Just as Sinatra covered songs that other people made popular, I did the same with this cocktail.  I substituted vodka, lemon juice, and super simple syrup for the gin and sour mix in the original. 

When I perfected my version of the Frank Sinatra cocktail I put on some of his tunes and sang along.  Fortunately I've much better at making drinks than I am at singing. Making and drinking cocktails with another person can be a special form of dancing. As Sinatra sang in Come Dance With Me -- for what is dancing, making love set to music, playin'.


New Orleans Happiness -- The Antoine's Smile

Antoine's is a great old school restaurant in New Orleans.  Many years ago Lawson Rollins, my best friend in college who is now an award winning world class musician (click here for his website), introduced me to Antoine's when he lived in New Orleans.  I go there whenever I'm in town, and I've had many wonderful experiences in the restaurant and the Hermes bar.  I don't know the proportions Antoine's uses for this cocktail, so here's my version.

Antoine's Smile2 ounces Calvados or apple brandy
Juice from 1/8 lemon
1 ounce super simple syrup
.5 ounces glorious grenadine

Combine in a shaker with ice, shake with the joy of savoring some amazing food and drink, and strain into a chilled glass.

Calvados is an apple brandy from the Calvados region in France.  It's a key component in other tasty cocktails such as the Corpse Reviver #1.  If you can't find Calvados in a liquor store you can find it online.

The Antoine's Smile is a great brunch cocktail.  It is a little sweeter than many drinks in the Wulf Cocktail Den, even compared to other brunch drinks such as the Good Morning Manhattan.  Of course, the Calvados gives the Antoine's Smile some punch, and the lemon juice keeps it from being too sweet. 

Put a smile on your face and have an Antoine's Smile.


Hats And Horse Races -- The Derby

Want a well balanced drink that pretty much goes with everything?  Meet the Derby.  It has nothing to do with the hat (also known as a bowler), the city in England, or the type of horse race, the most famous of which is in Kentucky.  Like the Mint Julep, the cocktail associated with the Kentucky Derby, the Derby has bourbon as its base spirit. 

Derby1.5 ounces bourbon
.75 ounces Cointreau or Grand Marnier
.75 ounces sweet vermouth
Juice from 1/4 lime

Combine in a shaker with ice, shake as if you're off to the races, and strain into a chilled glass.  Lime garnish optional.

There are a number of versions of the Derby.  I like this one because it's simultaneously a little strong, a little sweet, and a little tart.  It is deceptively powerful.  The Derby won't smack you in the face when you taste it, but a couple of them might smack your liver.

Show your appreciation of a fine cocktail, and tip your hat to the Derby.


Shake, Shake, Shake .... Shake Your Egg Whites

You can shake your booty all your want, but this is about eggs (sorry KC and the Sunshine Band). Some really good cocktails such as the Pisco Sour include egg whites as an ingredient.  Last year I learned about dry shaking cocktails with egg whites.  Dry shaking means you put everything in the shaker except ice, shake away, then add ice, shake some more, and strain the libation into a glass. 

Thanks to my lovely wife, aka Ms. Wulf Cocktail Den, and the Tales of the Cocktail website, I recently learned about the reverse dry shake.  Why should you care about the reverse dry shake?  Because it will make your cocktails with egg whites even lighter and tastier. 

So how do you reverse dry shake?  Click here for the article.  Basically you put everything (except the egg white) and ice in a shaker, shake, strain into a glass, toss the ice, put the liquid back into the shaker, add the egg white, shake some more, and voila! I tested the process with the Black Hat.  Even though the result didn't look different, the taste difference was noticeable and quite positive.  So get some eggs, click on the protein category on the right, pick a cocktail, and reverse dry shake!


Another Cure For Cancer -- The Cancer Killer #2

Cancer KillerSometimes good things come in pairs.  Earlier this year I created the Cancer Killer #1 in honor of my friend Stephanie, who defeated breast cancer last year.  As my wife noted, breasts come in pairs, so it made sense to create a second Cancer Killer cocktail.  I wanted this one to be undeniably pink so there would be another way to drink pink to save the ta-tas.

2 ounces vodka (I like Zyr or Belvedere)
1 ounce Cointreau
.5 ounces Campari
1-2 dashes orange bitters

Cancer Killer #2Combine in a shaker with ice, stir with the conviction of giving cancer the fatal one-two punch, and strain into a chilled glass.

The Cancer Killer #2 substitutes vodka and orange bitters for the rye and Angostura bitters in the Cancer Killer #1.  Some people don't like rye or brown liquors in general, but chances are they will drink a cocktail with a vodka base.  Also, it's pretty much impossible to have a pink cocktail with a rye base.  That's not a problem with the Cancer Killer #2, as the bold red of Campari blends nicely with the clear vodka and Cointreau.

A word of caution -- be careful with the bitters. The first time I made the Cancer Killer #2 I used Regan's, which is quite strong and came close to overpowering the drink.  My suggestion is if you have strong bitters use one dash, and if you have something a little sweeter, e.g. Angostura orange bitters, use two dashes.

Want to cure cancer?  Have the Cancer Killer #1, the Cancer Killer #2, or both.  My friend Stephanie and others like her thank you.