Drink Recipes Feed

Nordic Beauty -- The Amber Aquatini

With its yellow and orange hues, amber can be a stunning gemstone. Ms. Cocktail Den and I saw a lot of amber jewelry when we traveled in Scandinavian countries. You know what else there's a lot of in Scandinavia? Aquavit. My original Amber Aquatini pays homage to the spirit and the stone.

Amber Aquatini2.5 ounces aged aquavit (I used Linie here)
.5 ounces dry vermouth
2 dashes bitters (see below)

Combine in a mixing glass with ice, stir with the cool crispness of a Scandinavian summer breeze, and strain into a glass, preferably martini or coupe. Lemon peel garnish optional.

Think of the Amber Aquatini as an older cousin of my Danish Road Rage, a twist (pun intended) on a Martini. The Danish Road Rage uses clear, young aquavit. For the Amber Aquatini, you really need aged aquavit to give it the right color. The bitters are the real variable. First I used cardamom, then I found orange bitters also work well. Don't have either of those? No problem. Most botanical or citrus flavored bitters should complement the aquavit and vermouth.

It doesn't matter whether or not you're nuts about Norway, fond of Finland, delighted by Denmark, or swooning over Sweden -- the Amber Aquatini will satisfy your eyes and tongue.


France and NYC -- The Cassis Manhattan

New York City is one of the world's great cities, and the Manhattan is one of the world's great cocktails.  The Cassis Manhattan injects creme de cassis, the blackcurrant liqueur commonly associated with France, into this variation of the cocktail icon. I discovered the Cassis Manhattan on the Instagram feed of flos.drinking.spirit.

Cassis Manhattan2 ounces rye
.5 ounces sweet vermouth
.5 ounces crème de cassis
2 dashes molé bitters

Combine in a mixing glass with ice, stir with some New York City energy and French style, and strain into a chilled glass. Orange peel and/or amarena cherry garnish optional.

Rye provides a solid foundation for the Cassis Manhattan. Using a less robust whiskey will make the drink on the sweeter side. Speaking of sweet, the crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) gives the Cassis Manhattan the other part of its name. If you like crème de cassis, try the classic Kir or the less well known Parisian. Flos.drinking.spirit called for Punt e Mes as the vermouth. I suggest using whichever sweet vermouth you prefer. Last but not least are the molé bitters, which you can use in drinks such as the Left Hand, a variation on the Paris born Boulevardier. They bring a subtle chocolate undertone into the mix.

Put it all together and what do you get? The Cassis Manhattan -- transatlantic and tasty.

 


A Marxist (not that one) Cocktail -- The Horsefeathers

Think Groucho and comedy, not Karl and communism. Along with his brothers Chico, Harpo, and Zeppo, Groucho Marx starred in the 1932 comedy film "Horse Feathers" (horsefeathers is old American slang, sort of a polite version of the word that rhymes with "wool mitt"), one of their many comedic cinematic ventures. Benny Roff included the Horsefeathers in his book Prohibition Cocktails, and I learned about it from My Dad Made a Cocktail on Instagram.

Horsefeathers1 ounce cognac or brandy
1 ounce aged rum
.5 ounces Benedictine DOM
.5 ounces maraschino liqueur

Combine in a mixing glass with ice, stir with some Marx Brothers madcap hilarity, and strain into a chilled glass. Orange peel garnish optional.

The Horsefeathers is sort of sweet, which isn't surprising considering it includes rum (a sugar cane based spirit) and two liqueurs. You see the Benedictine DOM in drinks such as the Monte Carlo, and maraschino liqueur in drinks such as the Last Word, which predates the Marx Brothers movies by more than a decade. The cognac kicks in at just the right moment. Don't let the sweetness of the Horsefeathers fool you, because every spirit in it is strong. If you want a drier Horsefeathers, try adding .5 ounces of cognac and subtracting .5 ounces of rum. Go with aged rum here because it has more liquid gravitas.

The Horsefeathers is a solid and delicious drink. No horsefeathers.


B Is For Bravo -- The Boulevardier

The Boulevardier was an English language literary magazine in Paris in the 1920s. Erskine Gwynne, the editor, was a loyal customer of Harry McElhone, who founded the eponymous Harry's New York Bar. Even though it's not clear if Gwynne or McElhone created the Boulevardier, McElhone mentioned it in a footnote in his 1927 book Barflies and Cocktails.

Boulevardier1 ounce bourbon
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce Campari

Combine in a mixing glass with ice, stir with some American je ne sais quoi, and strain into a chilled glass. Lemon or orange peel garnish optional.

Fundamentally a Boulevardier is a Negroni with bourbon instead of gin. Another way of viewing it is that it's a modified Manhattan with Campari instead of Angostura bitters. Like other cocktails such as the Old Pal (which McElhone created for another one of his loyal customers), the Bijou, and the Last Word, the Boulevardier is a bartender’s dream because of its simple ratio and short ingredient list. If you want to emphasize the bourbon, a variation I like uses one and half ounces of bourbon and .75 ounces each of the sweet vermouth and Campari. The Boulevardier lends itself to tinkering. For example, add some molé bitters, and you have a Left Hand.

Looking for a simple and laudable cocktail? Have a Boulevardier and look no further.


Milestone Birthday Drink -- The Ron's Four Score

Ron's Four ScoreRon, my father-in-law, recently commissioned an original cocktail creation for his 80th birthday (four score is old way of saying 80; think of the beginning of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address). His request? A drink that is scotch based, dry, and nutty. So I brought forth upon this world, a new cocktail, conceived in the Wulf Cocktail Den, and dedicated to the proposition that all drinkers are created equal (see below for the non-alcoholic version).

2 ounces scotch
.5 ounces dry vermouth
.25 ounces amaretto
2 dashes hazelnut bitters

Combine in a mixing glass with ice, stir with some matter of fact festiveness like the drink's namesake, and strain into a chilled glass, preferably rocks. Amarena cherry garnish optional.

Ron's Four Score #2The Ron's Four Score takes its place in my pantheon of commissioned cocktails such as the Cancer Killer #1, the Ray's 619, and my personal favorite, the Whiskey Queen. As Ron requested, this cocktail is pretty dry. If it's too dry for you, add a quarter ounce of amaretto or serve it on the rocks. The amaretto and the hazelnut bitters give the Ron's Four Score a hint of nuttiness. If you can't find hazelnut bitters, use chocolate or Angostura, but then of course the drink will taste a little different. Using ingredients Ms. Cocktail Den found online, I also created a non-alcoholic (what I call a 3/4 cocktail) version with Spiritless Kentucky 74, Roots Aperitif Bianco, and Lyre's Amaretti (use the same proportions as the alcoholic version).

You don't have to be named Ron, be 80, or be celebrating a birthday before you can have a Ron's Four Score. What do you need to have? Some spirit (pun intended)!


Flying Old School -- The Pan Am Clipper

Pan American World Airways was one of the major players in commercial aviation, and its Clipper flying boats were known around the world. In 1939 Charles Baker mentioned the cocktail in his book The Gentleman’s Companion, or Around the World with Jigger, Beaker and Flask. Unlike the Clippers (which stopped being used shortly after World War II) and Pan Am (which went out of business in 1991), the Pan Am Clipper continues to soar thanks to articles such as this one in Punch. Here's my adaptation:

Pan Am Clipper2 ounces apple brandy
.75 ounces lime juice
.75 ounces glorious grenadine
Absinthe

Coat the inside of a chilled coupe glass with absinthe, discard the excess, put the other ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake as if you're hitting some turbulence on the way to a fascinating new destination, and strain into the glass.

Fundamentally the Pan Am Clipper is a Jack Rose with a little absinthe. Absinthe presents one of the many variables in the Pan Am Clipper, as you can either coat the inside of a glass (as you would with a Sazerac) or put a very small amount directly in the mix (as you would with a When Ernest Met Mary). Similarly, you could use applejack instead of apple brandy; if you compare apples to apples you'll know they are similar but not the same. Regardless of your attack angle (pilots know what I'm talking about), the Pan Am Clipper belongs on the aviation cocktail itinerary along with drinks such as the Paper Plane, the Burnt Fuselage, and of course, the Aviation.

So are you ready to take cocktail flight on the Pan Am Clipper?


Straight Outta Brooklyn -- The Greenpoint

Greenpoint is a neighborhood in Brooklyn. In 2006 Michael McIlroy created the Greenpoint, a variation on the Brooklyn.  I wasn't in Greenpoint when I was introduced to its namesake cocktail. That happened in the Lower East Side in Manhattan, specifically at Attaboy, where McIlroy and Sam Ross (who created the Paper Plane and the Penicillin) operate.

Greenpoint2 ounces rye
.5 ounces yellow Chartreuse
.5 ounces sweet vermouth
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash orange bitters

Combine in a mixing glass with ice, stir with a bit of Brooklyn hustle, and strain into a chilled glass. Lemon peel garnish optional.

Spirits and bitters converge to make the Greenpoint a balanced and spirit forward cocktail. The rye stiffens the drink's spine. To me the Chartreuse is the key element separating the Greenpoint from other variations on the Manhattan or the Brooklyn. Joining rye and yellow Chartreuse works well here, just as it does in the Diamondback. If combining rye and green Chartreuse intrigues you (it should if you like strong drinks), try the Final Rye or the Purgatory.

To paraphrase the Beastie Boys song, no sleep 'til Greenpoint!


Rise From The Dead Again -- The Corpse Reviver #2

Does the name make you think of Dr. Frankenstein (or if you're a fan of Mel Brooks, "Frankensteen")? Corpse Revivers were a group of cocktails dating back to the late 19th century. Their purpose was to reinvigorate you (revive your corpse) the morning after a night of drinking. In 1930 Harry Craddock included the Corpse Reviver #2 in The Savoy Cocktail Book.

Corpse Reviver No. 2.75 ounces gin
.75 ounces Lillet Blanc
.75 ounces triple sec (I suggest Cointreau)
.75 ounces lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
Absinthe

Coat the inside of a chilled glass with absinthe, combine the other ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake with the jolt of a renewed lease on life, and strain into the chilled glass. Lemon twist garnish optional.

Bearing no resemblance to the Corpse Reviver #1, the Corpse Reviver #2 is the best known survivor of the group. Its four equal parts format makes it like the Last Word, which also includes gin. Just as it does in the Vesper, the Lillet Blanc, a French aperitif wine, melds nicely with the gin. Using a clear triple sec such as Cointreau will give the Corpse Reviver #2 a light, refreshing look to match how it tastes. Some versions of the Corpse Reviver #2 call for putting a small amount of absinthe directly into the cocktail (as you would with an When Ernest Met Mary) instead of using it to rinse the glass (as you would with a Sazerac). Do what you prefer.

As Craddock remarked, "Four of these taken in swift succession will un-revive the corpse again." Now you know about the Corpse Reviver #2's deceptive power, have fun reviving!


A Thinking Drink -- The Brainstorm

Coming up with a brilliant idea is the purpose of a brainstorm. First appearing in 1930 in Harry Craddock's The Savoy Cocktail Book (the source of other drinks such as the Champs Élysées), the Brainstorm is the liquid realization of a brilliant cocktail idea. I discovered it in Difford's Guide.

Brainstorm2 ounces Irish whiskey
.5 ounces Benedictine DOM
.5 ounces dry vermouth

Combine in a mixing glass with ice, stir as you contemplate something mind blowing, and strain into a chilled glass, preferably a coupe. Orange peel garnish optional.

Interestingly, Craddock specifically called for Irish whiskey in the Brainstorm, but other whiskey based cocktails in his book are silent about the whiskey's provenance. I'm certainly not complaining. I love Irish whiskey on its own, or in a drink such as a Tipperary or a Good Cork. The Benedictine DOM, a key part of cocktails such as the Honeymoon, adds a bit of sweetness to the equation, and the dry vermouth keeps the Brainstorm from being too sweet. Whiskey and dry vermouth make a nice combination in the Algonquin and my adaptation of the Brown Bomber, and it's the same here.

To quote a line from Madonna's song Vogue, strike a pose (imagine Rodin's The Thinker) as you sip the Brainstorm. So what's your brilliant idea?


Cocktail Friend -- The Old Pal

Do you have a friend you've known for much of your life? Many people do. If you're one of them, it's unlikely your friend is as old as the Old Pal. Dating to the 1920s, the Old Pal is the brainchild of Harry McElhone, the proprietor of Harry's New York Bar in Paris. Reputedly he named it for William "Sparrow" Robinson, the New York Herald's sports editor in Paris.

Old Pal1 ounce rye
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce dry vermouth

Combine in a mixing glass with ice, stir with the familiarity of an inside joke you share with a you know who, and strain into a chilled glass. Lemon peel garnish optional.

The Old Pal's three ingredient equal proportion formula is a bartender's dream. The same goes for other drinks such as the Bijou, the Luck of the Irish, Corpse Reviver #1, and of course, the Negroni. The Old Pal really is close cocktail kin of the Boulevardier, which McElhone made famous. It simply swaps in rye for bourbon, and dry vermouth for sweet vermouth. No surprise the Old Pal has a spicier, drier taste than its cousin. Depending on the preferences of you or your guest, you can tweak the traditional 1:1:1 ratio of the ingredients.

Old can be great. It's true with an Old Fashioned. It's true with Old Tom style gin. So say hello to your new cocktail companion, the Old Pal.