Saturday, August 15, 2020


2 oz London Dry Gin (Martin Miller Westbourne)
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
2 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a pickled onion.

Two Saturdays ago, I felt like ending the night with a Martini, and then I remembered the pickled onions in the refrigerator and opted for a Gibson. In Imbibe, David Wondrich quoted the Oakland Tribune as declaring that, "The Gibson is a blend peculiar to San Francisco," and San Francisco bartender William Boothby described how it was named after Charles Dana Gibson. There were also other possible histories such as San Francisco financier Walter D.K. Gibson who drank alongside Charles at the Bohemian club and claimed to be the impetus of its creation circa 1898. Boothby's 1908 recipe was equal parts Plymouth Gin and French vermouth without bitters or garnish. Surprisingly, early recipes were unadorned with the onion that defines the modern day Gibson. Robert Simonson in The Martini Cocktail placed the garnish's timeline as, "By the 1930s, the onion had begun to sneak into the drink. By the 1940s, it had a permanent home." Alas, my favorite lore of how Gibson's bartender utilized the onion to demarcate the chilled water alcohol-free "Martini" so that he could be sober during business deals as his cohorts got a bit tipsy is mostly like just a barroom fable.
Normally, the mid-century Gibson Cocktail is garnished with a pickled pearl onion, but I figured that my lactic ferment onions (see below for more information) would work well here. This sort of naturally fermented style was what we used in our Martinis at Loyal Nine, and one of the regulars' favorites were the yearly batch of pickled ramps fermented in this style. The Gibson recipe that I utilized was the one from A Spot at the Bar which was a bit more dry vermouth forward than the one in Simonson's book. Once prepared, the cocktail wafted to the nose pine melding into onion aroma along with orange accents. Next, a clean, crisp sip marched into juniper, citrus, licorice, and cucumber-vegetal flavors on the swallow with an onion finish. Definitely some of the notes from the cut onion ring had pleasantly entered into the drink.
Since we had bought into a farm share (besides our own vegetable garden plot) as we are cooking more at home, we receive a bounty of vegetables. One of the early boxes contained a green cabbage and the next one a Napa cabbage. The green cabbage went into sauerkraut and the Napa into kimchi, and the ferments utilized the lactobacillus microbes naturally on the cabbage's leaves. The magic here is the addition of salt (generally in the 2-6% by weight) which inhibits other bacteria from acting on the vegetables; moreover, a weight of some sort to keep the vegetables under the brine and away from the air seals the deal. Within 7-10 days, the bubbling stops and the lactic pickles are ready to be refrigerated. To make the onions, I cut up two medium onions along with their green stem, added 2 ounces of sauerkraut brine as a lactobacillus starter, and filled it with 3.5% salt brine. The end result is a tangy and crisp vegetable without the harshness of vinegar's acetic acid used in the quick method; moreover, that vinegar generally requires a substantial sugar content to balance the zing, while my lactic pickles end up rather bone dry.

Friday, August 14, 2020

frozen sherry cobbler

3 oz Amontillado Sherry (Lustau)
1 oz Oleo Saccharum (Lemon & Orange Peel) (*)
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 cup Crushed Ice (8 oz)

Blend until smooth, pour into a 12 oz glass, and garnish with an orange slice and cherry (orange slice and mint sprig).
(*) Sugar steeped with lemon and orange peels for a 1-2+ hours and dissolved in hot water (equal volume to the amount of sugar added). Here, it was 3/4 oz sugar, peel 1/4 lemon, and peel 1/6 orange; after a 3 hour incubation with a few shakes in between, the sugar was dissolved in 3/4 oz boiling water. The 1 oz for the recipe was fine strained from this syrup and peel mix.
To beat the heat two weeks ago, I decided to make the Frozen Sherry Cobbler by Rob Kruger of Brooklyn's Extra Fancy that was published in Punch. While it recommended a commercial oleo saccharum, I decided to start a few hours early and made my own from lemon and orange peels and sugar (see instructions above). Once prepared, the Cobbler proffered orange and mint aromas from the garnishes over a nutty sherry note from the Amontillado. Next, grape and lemon on the sip slid into nutty sherry and a citrus brightness from the oleo saccharum on the swallow.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

martinez no. 7

2 oz Plymouth Gin (Beefeater)
1/2 oz Carpano Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
15 drop Bittercube Orange Bitters (1 dash Angostura Orange)
1 slice Cucumber
1 pinch Salt

Muddle the cucumber slice with the salt. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir with ice, double strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a cucumber wheel.
Two Thursday ago, I spotted the 2012 North Star Cocktails book on my shelves that I last touched in early April and began flipping through the pages. The one that caught my eye was the Martinez No. 7 by Nicholas Kosevich and Ira Koplowitz which varied from the classic recipe by splitting the vermouth with dry as well as adding a cucumber element and a pinch of salt. Once prepared, the Martinez No. 7 welcomed the nose with a cucumber, orange, and nutty Maraschino aroma. Next, grape and cucumber mingled on the sip, and the swallow proffered gin, herbal, and nutty cherry flavors.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

prizefighter no. 3

1 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Pedro Ximenez Sherry (Oxford 1970)
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
6-8 leaf Mint
3-4 wedge Lemon
1 pinch Salt

Muddle the lemon, mint, and salt. Add the rest, shake with ice, double strain into a double old fashioned glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish lavishly with mint.
Two Wednesdays ago, I returned to Nick Jarrett's Prizefighter series. The one I decided upon was the third one that varied from the first Prizefighter by calling for Pedro Ximenez instead of Carpano Antica vermouth, and I was curious to see how it turn out as it headed in the Sherry Cobbler direction. Once prepared, the Prizefighter No. 3 donated a raisin, menthol, and mint bouquet to the nose. Next, lemon, grape, and caramel notes on the sip swung at raisin, mint, and menthol flavors on the swallow. Indeed, the great depth of flavor from the Pedro Ximenez sherry made for a more complex drink than the sweet vermouth original albeit with a less herbal focus.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

brave companion

2 oz Bourbon (Old Grand-Dad Bonded)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao (Tempus Fugit)
1/2 oz Vanilla Syrup

Shake with ice, strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice, and garnish with a lemon wheel.
Two Tuesdays, I pulled Paul Clarke's 2015 The Cocktail Chronicles off the bookshelf to see if there were any glossed over gems. The one that I latched on to was Erick Castro's Brave Companion that he crafted for the 2013 opening menu at Polite Provisions in San Diego. Once prepared, the Brave Companion met the nose with a lemon and whiskey bouquet. Next, lemon with a caramel-roast note on the sip marched into Bourbon, chocolate, and vanilla flavors on the swallow. When I thought about the combination of Bourbon and cacao, I realized that this was one that I had enjoyed in the past in both classic recipes like the Commodore No. 2 from the 1935 Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book and modern ones like the Transatlantic Giant.

Monday, August 10, 2020

arkham kula

1 1/2 oz Plantation Xaymaca Rum
1/2 oz Plantation OFTD Overproof Rum
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Don's Mix (1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice + 1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup)
1/2 oz Honey Syrup
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup

Whip shake with crushed ice, pour into a Zombie glass (Tiki mug), fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a mint sprig.

Two Mondays ago, I was feeling a tropical vibe so I opened up Matt Pietrek and Carrie Smith's Minimalist Tiki and selected the Arkham Kula from Jason Alexander. The recipe seemed like a riff on Don the Beachcomber's Sumatra Kula with two heavier rums instead of one light one and with the addition of cinnamon and passion fruit syrups to the mix. The passion fruit when combined with the honey reminded me of the Don's Special Daiquiri, and the cinnamon syrup took the Sumatra Kula closer to Zombie riffs such as the Zombie at Park South. As for the name, Jason explained on Instagram that it was a reference to the fictional city in Massachusetts created by author H.P. Lovecraft that has been surmised to be Salem with elements of Danvers such as their state asylum blended in.
The Arkham Kula proffered a mint, passion fruit, and caramel aroma to the nose. Next, the caramel continued on into the sip to be joined by orange, honey, and lime notes, and the swallow reached out with funky rum, tropical flavors, and cinnamon spice. Indeed, the addition of rum complexity, tropical fruit elements, and spice made for a pleasing expansion of the Donn Beach original.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

st. regis mint julep

1 jigger Rye (1 1/2 oz Sazerac)
1/2 pony Rum (1/4 oz Smith & Cross + 1/4 oz Appleton Signature)
12 leaf Mint
1 dash Grenadine (1/4 oz)
1 tsp Sugar (1/4 oz Simple Syrup)
1 tsp Water (omit)

Muddle the mint leaves in the bottom of a julep cup or double old fashioned glass. Dissolve the sugar in water (use simple syrup instead) and add the rest of the ingredients (I also removed the muddled mint leaves). Fill with crushed ice and garnish with mint sprigs.

Two Sundays ago, I saw a mention of the St. Regis Mint Julep from Stanley Clisby Arthur's 1937 book Famous New Orleans Drinks & How to Mix'Em and was in the mood for a Julep. I, therefore, hunted out my reprint which provided the history that it was created by John Swago at the St. Regis Restaurant bar, and the split base reminded me of the American House and Prescription Juleps except here it was rye and rum instead of rye and brandy. The rye aspect instead of the more traditional Bourbon always makes me think of the quote from Richard Harwell's The Mint Julep book where Kentucky humorist Irvin S. Cobb declared, "Any guy who'd put rye in a mint julep and crush the leaves would put scorpions in a baby's bed."
The St. Regis Mint Julep began with an elegant mint bouquet presented to the nose followed by malt, caramel, and berry on the sip. Next, rye, rum funk, and mint on the swallow ended with a pomegranate and mint finish. Indeed, the inclusion of grenadine as part of the sweetener was delightful with its fruit notes akin to the peach element in the Georgia Julep.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

planter's punch (improved)

2 oz Dark Jamaican Rum (Plantation Xaymaca)
1 1/2 oz Black Tea chilled (English Breakfast)
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Sugar

Dissolve sugar in the lime juice and tea. Add the rum and crushed ice, swizzle to mix and chill, and garnish as you see fit (mint sprig and freshly grated nutmeg).
Two Saturdays ago, I read a reference for an improved Planter's Punch recipe that included tea in the mix. I soon found the recipe in Jeff Berry's Potions of the Caribbean with the history that it was Colonel A.R. Woolley of Lemon Hart's 1957 revision of Fred Myer's 1920 recipe that swapped in tea for the water in the "parts of weak" aspect. Once prepared, this Planter's Punch welcomed the nose with mint and woody spice aromas. Next, a semi-dry lime and caramel sip glided into rich rum dried out by elegant black tea notes.

Friday, August 7, 2020

px sherry mudslide

1 1/2 oz Pedro Ximenez Sherry (Oxford 1970)
1 1/2 oz Coffee Liqueur (Kahlua)
1 oz Half & Half
1 pinch Sea Salt
1/2 cup Vanilla Ice Cream
1 cup Crushed Ice

Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled milkshake or Collins glass. I added a freshly grated coffee bean garnish.

After utilizing my purchase of vanilla ice cream a few days before in the Glorious Fourth, I considered making Jeffry Morgenthaler's Grasshopper variation. However, in that search, I was more smitten by the Mudslide recipe that he posted back in May given the sherry component. When Morgenthaler opened Pepe Le Moko in 2014, he wanted to have a rotating seasonal milkshake drink and had developed a few to begin the series. The problem was that when he opened with the Grasshopper milkshake with a hint of Fernet Branca, it was such a hit that he decided that the slot was filled and thus would not be revamped every few months. Left behind was this gem; the classic Mudslide of coffee liqueur, Irish cream, and vodka got transformed here into coffee liqueur, Pedro Ximenez sherry, and vanilla ice cream that he described as "a wonderful, creamy milkshake built around flavors of coffee, rum raisin, vanilla, cinnamon, and dark chocolate. It's... kind of out of this world."
The PX Sherry Mudslide greeted the nose with a coffee and raisin aroma that led into a creamy and roast-filled sip. Next, the swallow continued on with coffee and raisin flavors with an elegant vanilla note from the ice cream.

Thursday, August 6, 2020


2 oz Vodka (Barr Hill)
1/2 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1/2 oz Cucumber Syrup (*)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
5 dash Absinthe (1/8 oz Kübler)

Whip shake with crushed ice, pour into a Tiki mug, and top with crushed ice. Garnish with a pineapple frond, pineapple half moon, and cucumber rosette (mint sprigs and a cucumber slice).
(*) Equal parts cucumber juice and sugar. While the original used a juicer, I muddled cucumber chunks followed by a fine straining step. At one bar I worked at, we used a blender followed by fine straining.
With a beautiful cucumber from our farm share (my garden's cucumbers will be ready by the time this post airs) in my possession, I returned to a recipe from Brian Maxwell's quarantine drinks on his Shaker of Spirits blog. The recipe was the Yoi-Yoi-Comber which was he posted on the eleventh day of lockdown, and I did not have a cucumber at the time but marked the page for future reference. The concept was a tribute to Joe Scialom's Cou-Cou-Comber as well as to Myron Cope, the voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers who used the word "Yoi!" a lot during his announcing. The Yoi-Yoi-Comber greeted the senses with an anise, mint, and cucumber aroma. Next, lime, vegetal, and pineapple notes on the sip announced the arrival of pineapple, cucumber, ginger, and anise flavors on the swallow.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

exit club cocktail

1 1/2 oz Dry Gin (Beefeater)
1/2 oz Cocchi Americano or Lillet Blanc (Cocchi Americano)
1/2 oz Blanc Vermouth (Dolin)
1/2 oz Jeppson's Malört
2 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Wednesdays ago, I wondered what a Martini riff would be like with malört as a modifier? Would it be elegant as well as tasty? Therefore, I started with the Poet's Dream and besides swapping the liqueurs, I exchanged the dry vermouth for a split of Cocchi Americano and blanc vermouth since I figured that a little extra sweetness would round out the edges here and I recalled how well malört paired with Lillet in the Destreza. For a name, I paid tribute to a punk club in Chicago (given the Chicago-loved herbal liqueur) called Exit where I had been taken years ago.
The Exit Club Cocktail presented orange and piny juniper aromas leading into wormwood notes on the nose. Next, a light apricot and peach sip slid into juniper and coriander leading into surly wormwood on the swallow with an orange finish. Overall, it was elegant with the malört working akin to the Fernet in the Hanky Panky.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

tchoupitoulas punch

750 mL Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon (3 oz)
1/2 cup Benedictine (1/2 oz)
1 2/3 cup Sweet Vermouth (1 1/2 oz Cocchi)
1 1/2 cup Orange Juice (1 1/2 oz)
1 1/2 cup Lemon Juice (1 1/2 oz)
2 cup Earl Grey Tea, strong and cooled (2 oz)
1/2 cup Rich Simple Syrup (3/4 oz 1:1)
1 tsp Peychaud's Bitters (2 dash)
3 Peach or 1/2 Pineapple, sliced as garnish (1/2 Peach)

Combine in a bowl with a large ice block. Garnish with the peach or pineapple slices.
Two Tuesdays ago, I was in the mood for something refreshing, so I turned to Dan Searing's The Punch Bowl book. There, I was lured in by the Tchoupitoulas Punch that Scott Baird and Josh Harris of the Bon Vivants created for their yearly charity event at Tales of the Cocktail called Pig and Punch. The charity is two pronged with an early part bringing bartenders to do manual labor to fix up a school in New Orleans and the second part being a fundraiser bash held out in a park in the Marigny district where this punch was served. In the cup, this punch proffered Bourbon, orange, and cherry aromas to the nose. Next, grape, orange, and lemon notes on the sip led into Bourbon, black tea, and peach flavors on the swallow.

Monday, August 3, 2020

golden glove

2 oz Jamaican Gold Rum (Plantation Xaymaca)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 tsp Cointreau
1 tsp Sugar

Dissolve the sugar in the lime juice, add the rest of the ingredients, and blend with 12 oz crushed ice (5 oz). Pour into a chilled cocktail glass (rocks glass) and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Mondays ago to beat the heatwave, I searched for a blender drink to enjoy on our deck. The one that I selected was the Golden Glove from the 1935 Bar La Florida booklet via Beachbum Berry's Potions of the Caribbean book. This Cuban drink was Constatino Ribalaigua Vert's boxing tribute riff of the La Florida Daiquiri No. 2, and I opted for Plantation's Jamaican rum as the base as a middle point between Appleton and my higher ester offerings. Once blended with a reduced amount of ice, the Golden Glove squared off with an orange and caramel aroma. Next, tangerine and lime notes on the sip jabbed into a slightly funky rum melding into orange peel flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

something tequila

3 oz Añejo Tequila (Cimarron Reposado)
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup

Whip shake with crushed ice, pour into a barrel-shaped Tiki mug, and top with crushed ice. Garnish with mint, citrus wedges or wheels, flowers, and swizzle sticks (mint sprigs and honeysuckles).
Two Sundays ago, I spied the Something Tequila in Chloe Frechette's Easy Tiki book. The recipe was crafted by John Bernard at Cleveland's Porco Lounge & Tiki Room in response to requests for "A Margarita? Or something tequila?" by merging aspects of the Margarita with the 1960s era Rum Barrel. In the glass, the Something Tequila welcomed mint over orange and passion fruit aromas to the nose. Next, tropical fruit notes from the lime, pineapple, orange, and passion fruit filled the sip, and the swallow began with vegetal tequila flavors followed by passion fruit and mango-like elements.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

the glorious fourth

1 drink Brandy (2 oz Courvoisier VS Cognac)
1 dash Jamaican Rum (1/4 oz Smith & Cross)
Juice of 1 Lime (3/4 oz)
4 dash Gomme Syrup (1/2 oz Simple)
1 large tablespoon Ice Cream (1+ oz Vanilla)

Shake and strain into a fancy glass.
The Glorious Fourth was one of the fancy drinks created by William Schmidt in his 1891 The Flowing Bowl, and the recipe came under discussion on Kindred Cocktails due to an early July post on Punch Drinks. Therefore, two Saturdays ago, I picked up some vanilla ice cream on my shopping expedition to test out this Brandy Sour taken in a dessert direction. Once prepared using the ice cream as the only cooling agent, the Glorious Fourth conjured up a Cognac and vanilla aroma with a hint of rum funk. Next a creamy lime sip with a touch of caramel notes proceeded into brandy, funky rum, and vanilla flavors on the swallow.