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Deceptive Drinking -- The Part-Time Lover

"Part Time-Lover" was a huge hit for the great Stevie Wonder.  Truth be told, if you're going to talk about 1980s pop songs with the word "lover" in the title, I prefer "Easy Lover" from Phil Collins and Philip Bailey (from Earth, Wind, and Fire; he also happened to sing backup on "Part-Time Lover").  Stevie Wonder didn't create this cocktail.  Instead, the Part-Time Lover is a creation from Jon Weimorts in Los Angeles.

Part-Time Lover1.5 ounces blanco tequila
.5 ounces Aperol
.5 ounces elderflower liqueur or super simple syrup
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Combine in a shaker with ice, shake with the passion of a (you can figure out the metaphor, right?), and strain into a chilled glass.  Lemon garnish optional.

Just as the catchy upbeat vibe of the song belies its sad substance, the smooth taste of the Part-Time Lover belies its strength.  The tequila provides the subtle kick beneath the bitterwsweet Aperol (a lighter, less potent amaro with an orange taste) and the sweeter elderflower liqueur, e.g. St. Germain (a key ingredient in the Flower of Normandy), or super simple syrup. Weimorts uses elderflower liqueur because it adds more flavor to the Part-Time Lover.  If you don't have or want to get that, super simple syrup does quite well.

Have a full-time fun cocktail and drink a Part-Time Lover.

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.

Hail to the Cocktail Chief -- The El Presidente

El Presidente 1Even though the U.S. Presidential election is 11 months away (don't you wish the campaign was over now?), there's never a bad time to have this liquid tribute to a commander in chief. 

The El Presidente comes from Cuba.  An American bartender in Havana created it during Prohibition in honor of the Cuban president at the time (obviously this occurred well before Fidel Castro took over).  In terms of its genesis, the El Presidente is like the Daiquiri, which a different American created in Cuba. In addition, both cocktails share the same base spirit, but the similarities end there.

El Presidente 21.5 ounces light rum (Cuban if you have it)
.75 ounces dry vermouth
.75 ounces Cointreau
1 dash of glorious grenadine

Combine in a shaker with ice, stir with the pomp and circumstance of a state dinner, and strain into a chilled glass.  Orange peel garnish optional.

Technically this recipe is for the El Presidente #2.  Originally it consisted of equal parts light rum and a particular vermouth, but the recipe evolved over time.  If the cocktail is too sweet for you, add more vermouth and/or cut back on the Cointreau.  In comparison, the El Presidente #1, which pertains to a prior Cuban president, essentially is a Manhattan that substitutes dark rum for bourbon or rye.  Thankfully, neither version of the El Presidente has any connection to the Dominican beer with the same name.

Now that you have the proper cocktail, raise your glass and toast your favorite President!

Bliss In A Glass -- The Tranquilo

This is what George Costanza from Seinfeld meant when he insisted on having "Serenity now!"
This is what George Costanza from Seinfeld meant when he emphatically insisted on having "Serenity now!"  Of course, he didn't get what he wanted.

Want to relax?  Take the edge off?  Has someone told you to "chill the (rhymes with duck) out" and you know they're right?

When (not if) you answer yes to any of these questions, have a Tranquilo.  I adapted this from a cocktail at the Sanctuary Cap Cana resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, which is the site of many blissful moments for me and my far better half. 

2.25 ounces light rum
Juice from 1/4 lime
.75 ounces glorious grenadine

Combine in a shaker with ice, shake with the rhythm of rolling waves hitting the beach at sunset, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The Tranquilo is a simple cocktail, so I guess in this instance simplicity equals serenity. You can use a gold or dark rum instead of light rum. Regardless of the rum you use, psychologically speaking the Tranquilo will get you to where you want to go.  Isn't that the point of cocktails? 

Liquid Ecstasy -- The Intense Ginger Sutra

We've all heard of the Kama Sutra, the ancient Indian treatise on sex and love.  Kama Sutra roughly means "love manual" in Sanskrit.  Barrow's Intense ginger liqueur (full disclosure -- I am a very small investor) created this cocktail.  Just as the Kama Sutra spread its teachings to people all over the world, I'm happy to share my knowledge of the Intense Ginger Sutra to drinkers all over the world.

Were you expecting an erotic photo?  Although I guess this is boozerotica.
Did you expect an erotic photo? Consider this boozerotica.

2 ounces vodka
.75 ounces Barrow's Intense
.5 ounces glorious grenadine

Combine in a shaker with ice, stir with the passion of (use your imagination), and strain into a chilled glass.

In 2014 I discovered Barrow's Intense and had the privilege of meeting the people behind it.  If you can't get your hands on a bottle of Barrow's Intense, there are other ginger liqueurs on the market, but they pale in comparison. 

Will this cocktail put you in a state of ecstasy?  There's one way to find out.  Will it help you and your spouse/partner/significant other achieve a state of ecstasy?  That's your business, not mine.

A Princely Cocktail -- The Raspberry Beret

Elmer Fudd says: "This a gwate dwink if you wike waazbehweez or yowah going to kill da wabbit!"  It's also a good drink if, as in the classic Prince tune, you happen to work part time in a five-and-dime (Younger readers -- you may need to Google the term five-and-dime.  If you need to Google who Prince is -- don't tell me because then I will feel really old).

Pink can be powerful.
Pink can be powerful.

Sorry Elmer, but it's Prince who provided the inspiration for the name of this cocktail.  There are other cocktails with the same name.  What makes this one unique is that it uses Lupo lamponecello.  Lampone is the Italian word for raspberry, and lamponecello is a raspberry liqueur made with raspberries, grain alcohol, and simple syrup.

2 ounces vodka (I recommend Zyr)
1 ounce Lupo lamponecello

Combine in a shaker with ice, stir as if you're riding down by old man Johnson's farm, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a raspberry.

This is a good drink for warm weather or if you're dreaming of warm weather.  If it to sweet for you, just add a little more vodka. While the cocktail may not be fit for a king, it's definitely fit for a Prince.

Mediterranean Citrus -- The Italian Sunrise

Varenna on Lake Como
Varenna on Lake Como

Like cocktails, travel is one of my other passions.  I've had the good fortune to be able to travel around the United States and around the world.  I also have the good fortune to be a married to a lady who occasionally travels for business.  This means I can play the role of freeloading husband.  If there was an Oscar for such a role, I would have won the award many times.

A few years ago she had a business trip to Milan.  We explored the city and nearby Lake Como.  Milan is Italy's commercial capital and is not as tourist friendly as other places in Italy (I actually respect that).  The Lake Como area is simply stunning. After I went to one part of Lake Como with my wife and her co-workers, I liked it so much I went back to a different part while she was stuck in a meeting that was straight out of Dante's Inferno.

The Duomo in Milan (taken from the roof of the Duomo) at sunset
The Duomo in Milan (taken from the roof of the Duomo) at sunset

I did not see an Italian sunrise in Lake Como or Milan (I did in Venice on a different trip), but the namesake cocktail is perfect for warm weather, or if you're just dreaming of warm weather.

1.5 ounces vodka (I recommend Zyr)
.75 ounces Lupo limoncello
.5 ounces Campari
Juice from 1/8 lemon or orange

Combine into a shaker with ice, shake like you're on a boat in choppy water outside of Bellagio (the lovely picturesque town, not the casino in Las Vegas), and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

If the cocktail is too sweet, I suggest adding a dash or two of orange bitters.  Conversely, if the cocktail is too tart, I suggest adding half an ounce of super simple syrup.

My Favorite Bond Girl's Drink -- The Pussycat

IMG_20140927_173719957 PussycatCocktails are by no means my only interest and passion.  I am also a big fan of the James Bond franchise.  I probably could write a blog about James Bond related things, but there are far more cocktail fans in the world than Bond fans.  Of course, there is a lot overlap between these two groups.  In addition, the literary and cinematic character himself is a prodigious drinker, and according to this tongue-in-cheek study from The Lancet (the British counterpart of the American Medical Association Journal, click here to read it) a very high functioning alcoholic.

Every James Bond fan has their favorite movie, and I am no exception.  My favorite is Goldfinger, which is the third one in the franchise.  It has the just the right amount of everything – the rough and tumble version of the hero (the archetypal Sean Connery played him), a resonant title number (sung by Shirley Bassey), a classic line from the villain (“No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!”), and a memorable Bond girl (thank you Honor Blackman) – Pussy Galore.

I must give credit to where it is due, so thanks to Beer Barrel bourbon to introducing me to this cocktail at the Tales Of The Cocktail conference.  Here is how you make it:

That cocktail looks much tastier than fish!
That cocktail looks much tastier than fish!

1.5 ounces bourbon (I love Willett Pot Still)
.5 ounces Campari
.5 ounces Cointreau (or orange liqueur of your choice)
Juice from 1/8 grapefruit (the original recipe calls for 1/2 ounce)

Combine in shaker with ice, shake like you’re a cat who knows it is on its way to the vet (you thought I was going to say something much dirtier, didn’t you?), and strain into a chilled glass.

Those of you who follow the Den will notice that there are some similarities between this cocktail and the Siesta, part of the Grapefruit Triad.  More specifically, both drinks contain fresh grapefruit juice and Campari.  Of course, the big difference is that this cocktail has bourbon as its base, and tequila is the base of the Siesta.  To me it is fitting that bourbon is the base spirit of the cocktail with which I associate Goldfinger.  James Bond drinks bourbon in the movie; he does it in the scene where Goldfinger explains why he wants to break into Fort Knox (spoiler alert -- he doesn't plan to steal the gold).

If you like tart cocktails, then this one is right up your alley (cat).

The Grapefruit Triad, Part One -- The Siesta

Citrus juices are an important part of many cocktails, and of course you can use the fruits as garnish.  Lemons? Without them the Frisco wouldn’t have a little edginess.  Limes? They turn a fine ginger martini into a perfect Ginger Lime Martini.  Oranges?  They taste great, and the peel works wonders in a Manhattan (forget the Maraschino cherry).

But what about grapefruit?  It has just the right balance of tartness and sweetness, but you don’t see them in cocktails very often.

It’s time to change that.  For the first part of what I deem the Grapefruit Triad, I give you the Siesta.  I first read about it in the Men’s Journal magazine. Apparently a bartender at PDT in New York (excellent cocktails but a surprisingly limited selection) created it.  Here is my barely modified version of the original recipe:

A girly cocktail, or just girly looking?  Keep reading.
A girly cocktail, or just girly looking? Keep reading.

1.5 ounces tequila
Juice from 1/2 lime
Juice from 1/2 grapefruit juice
.25 ounces simple syrup 
.25 ounces Campari

Combine in shaker with ice, shake, then strain into chilled cocktail glass.  Grapefruit garnish optional.

The Siesta is not much different than a Paloma, which is another part of the Grapefruit Triad.  The Siesta has some Campari in it, but the Paloma does not.

I must address the (pink) elephant in the room. Many men who see the picture of the Siesta are thinking: “No way am I drinking a girly looking cocktail like that.”  Gentlemen – be man enough to try a girly looking cocktail, and if you like how it tastes, be man enough to have one.  Keep in mind there is a distinction between a girly looking drink and a girly, i.e. weak, drink.  Like a well made Cosmopolitan with good ingredients, the Siesta is a “girly” cocktail if by “girly” you mean “looks cute, tastes great, and will knock you on your ass if you have more than two.”