Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Oasis

Another very simple, very straightforward drink with some interesting layers.

2 oz London Dry gin (a good strong one: Tanqueray, Beefeater, etc.)
2 oz mango-peppercorn-ginger syrup (not quite the standard procedure with this one; this is nothing more than 4 cups of mango juice, simmered with two tablespoons each of black peppercorns and roughly chopped ginger until it's reduced to about 2 1/2 cups, or roughly 2/3 of its original volume)
1/4 oz Luxardo
1/4 oz lime juice

Pour into a Collins glass over copious ice and stir.

This is aimed at the highball crowd - slightly aromatic, moderately sweet, and very approachable.  Since we change our cocktail list every 3-4 months, I also expect that this will remain on our list until the early days of summer, and will definitely get more appealing as the weather gets warmer.

Prince of Saud Cocktail

This is a modified version of a classic cocktail that I found in Imbibe! and promptly fell in love with, the Prince of Wales Cocktail.  In terms of construction, it's similar to one of our current best-selling cocktails (though stripped-down for speed) and thus fills the bubbly cocktail slot on our menu nicely.

3/4 oz rye whiskey
1/2 oz pineapple juice
4-5 dashes ras-el-hanout bitters
4 oz brut cava

Drop a sugar cube into a champagne flute and soak with the bitters; add a little ice, top up with whiskey, and then cava.

I don't think this really needs any more explanation - it's a remarkably simple drink which successfully marries the luxurious flavor of the Prince of Wales with the crispness of a champagne cocktail.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Final Vindication

I once found in Imbibe magazine a recipe for a "Bubbly Manhattan" wherein the bitters normally used were replaced with a few ounces of hoppy, bitter IPA, and have been obsessed with creating my own beer cocktail ever since.  I tried a few iterations out over our last couple menus but have always been shot down by both our chef and head bartender.  Finally, I found the missing link (celery bitters!) and came up with one they liked, and if it winds up on our menu, this will be its rightful name.

1 oz spicy bourbon or rye whiskey (I've used both Maker's Mark and Bulleit Rye with great success)
1 oz apricot liqueur (Rothman & Winter is good, or you could always make your own)
1 dash lime juice
3 dashes celery bitters (Bitter Truth's version is most effective and Fee Brothers' is to be avoided)
2-3 oz IPA (or similar hoppy, bitter beer)

Combine the first four ingredients over ice; top off with beer and raise aloft in victory.

I am fucking proud of this one, as you can probably tell.  Something about the synergy of spicy bourbon, round apricot, sharp lime, and grassy-vegetal hops - it's an intriguing combination, even if it's not for everybody.  If you can't decide between cocktail or beer, this manages to bridge the gap.

La Plaza Vieja (redux)

I've done a version of this drink before, but this is a somewhat more subtle take.

1 oz aged rum (3 years old at least, preferably 5+)
1 oz aged tequila (either a resposado or a young-ish anejo seem to work)
1 oz sweet vermouth (preferably Italian)
2 dashes aromatic bitters (we'll be using a fantastic ras-el-hanout bitters at the restaurant)
2 dashes orange bitters
2 dashes celery bitters
2 drops liquid smoke (yes, drops)

Stir and strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a lime wheel.

The recipe for this version is a little more complex, but if making a bunch of them you can premix the last five ingredients.  Better yet, use a good embittered vermouth like Carpano Antica or Cocchi Torino, adding only celery bitters and liquid smoke.


Sorry for the absence.  I've been working on a long, long post that will publish once I find a little time to finish it - maybe tomorrow.  For now, it's new menu time at my resident restaurant.  Three bartenders will submit six cocktails each, and we'll pick the best of them as our new cocktail list.  The following are some of my submissions.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Turf Club

I have been repeatedly disappointed in approaching a bar, ordering a Turf Club, and having to explain how to make one.  This is a wonderful and classic recipe, people!  It's basically the missing link between the Manhattan and the Martini, held together with orange bitters; subtle and potent and complex, all in one.  Should I ever own a bar, this will be on my "Classics" list.

2 1/2 oz gin (you want something round and slightly sweet here; Damrak, Old Tom, and Plymouth all work well)
1 oz sweet vermouth
4-5 dashes orange bitters

Stir well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass; garnish with an orange or lemon twist, depending on your gin.

I especially like this with Old Tom, as it's an old-school recipe and the stuff is most certainly authentic.  It will make your drink sweeter, so depending on your preference you may like to increase the bitters or reduce the vermouth.  Alternately, you could use a dash of simple syrup with Damrak or Plymouth.  I don't recommend a London dry here, nor anything as light as New Amsterdam or Bombay Sapphire.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Red Light District

I'm sure there are a million drinks that go by the same name, but I wanted to add my contribution.

2 oz Damrak gin (I don't usually like to specify brands, but it's part of the namesake)
1/2 blackberry syrup
7-8 dashes Peychaud's bitters
1 dash red wine vinegar

Stir over plentiful rocks in a small barglass.  Garnish with a brandied cherry if you like.

Damrak calls itself an "Amsterdam Gin", whatever that means, named after a city famous for its red light districts.  Peychaud's is found in many New Orleans cocktails, a city equally famous for revelry (less so since the disastrous hurricane, sadly).  The red wine vinegar is present to tart things up a bit.  Together they produce a delightfully dark and sultry red hue.