Cocktails, week of 10 December 2012

Cachaça Sour

Cachaça Sour

3 oz. Pitú Cachaça
1 oz. lime juice
1 oz. simple syrup
1 egg white

Shook everything but the cachaça without ice.  Added the ice and cachaça and shook, then strained.  Nice and smooth.


Strawberry's Revivial

Strawberry’s Revivial

1  1/2 oz. Bulleit Rye
3/4 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. strawberry simple syrup
1/2 oz. Lucid Absinthe
2 dash Angostura bitters

Shook all but the bitters with ice.  Double strained into a glass.  I think I’d like this better with a little less absinthe, although it grew on me…anise taste at the front, finishes with the strawberry.


Fresa Catrina

Fresa Catrina

2 oz. Grand Patron Platinum Tequila (this is overdoing it, but it was the only silver I had)
1/2 oz. lemon juice
3/4 oz strawberry simple syrup
10 black peppercorns

Muddled the strawberry simple syrup and the peppercorns, then added the rest of the ingredients and shook over ice.  The Fresa Catrina was tasty…the pepper and the sweetness went really well together.


King Vittorio's Cobbler

King Vittorio’s Cobbler

2 oz. Averna Amaro
3/4 oz. lemon juice
3/4 oz. strawberry simple syrup

Shook all over ice, double strained into a glass.  The strawberries mellowed out the bitterness of the Averna (which is already relatively mellow as far as Italian bitter liqueurs go).  I liked this one.  Simple and tasty.


Lion's Tail

Lion’s Tail

2 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
3/4 oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1/2 oz. lime juice
1/2 spoonful of simple syrup
2 dash Angostura bitters

Shook all ingredients over ice, double strained into a glass.


These cocktails were based on the recipes found at Cocktail Virgin:

Pisco Sour

Strawberry’s Revival

Fresa Catrina

King Vittorio’s Cobbler

The Lion’s Tail recipe was posted by Derek Brown of The Passenger and Columbia Room over at The Atlantic.

Tiki Mixology with Jon Arroyo, 10 July 2012

On Tuesday I went to yet another great LivingSocial 918 F Street mixology course.  Jon Arroyo, chief mixologist of Founding Farmers, went over the basics of tiki cocktails, followed by a tasting of four drinks from the genre.

The LivingSocial 918 F Street Bar…decked out with tikiness.

Arroyo did a great job of explaining the cocktails and the history behind them, as well as some other useful cocktail bullets:

  • Cocktails are spirit, water, sugar, bitters.
  • Mojito is a swizzle vs a tiki (see also Queen’s Park Swizzle).
  • Pour sweet, sour, then spirit so if you mess up and have to pour out you won’t waste spirit.

On to the evening’s cocktails.

  • Zombie – a cocktail with eleven ingredients invented by Don the Beachcomber.  This one had 3 different rums, Falernum, bitters, absinthe, grenadine, fruit juices, cinnamon syrup, and was topped off with a mint sprig.
  • Mai Tai – one of the best known tiki cocktails…this one created by Trader Vic.  Rums, curaçao, orgeat, and lime juice.
  • Scorpion – A smaller version of the scorpion bowl….rums and brandy (or cognac) with triple sec, lime, and orange juice.
  • Painkiller – a creamy tiki cocktail that includes coconut milk (Arroyo makes his own), orange juice, pineapple juice (in this case we used pineapple syrup – I’ll have to try making that) and, of course, rum.  The drink was garnished with nutmeg.

Fantastic class taught by a master mixologist.  Definitely worth the while.  I’ve been very impressed with the two mixology classes that I’ve attended thus far at 918 F Street, and I heard good things that night about others that I, unfortunately, missed.  I’d encourage others to attend if they’re in the D.C.-area.  See below for some more photos of the evening.


Mai Tai


Painkiller – the other drinks were prepared by Arroyo and his team, but we made these ourselves.

Queen’s Park Swizzle – they made one of these to demonstrate how to make a swizzle utilizing an actual wooden swizzle stick (not the plastic straw most are familiar with).

Jon Arroyo (center) and team. They certainly set the tiki mood that evening. Apologies for the blurriness.

NH Cocktail Party, 30 June 2012

My friends hosted a cocktail party the other night in New Hampshire where I got to put some recipes (tried and true and a couple new ones) to the test.  Sources for the recipes included Andres Aleman (Dragon’s Kiss), Gina Chersevani (Black White and Tiki, Beety Bastard), and The Passenger (Hot as Girl on Girl, Monk’s Mule, Obamacare Sling, Milton’s Stapler).


The menu isn’t fully correct – we made it up at the last minute – but it’s close.

We whipped up several different types of simple syrups that we hadn’t tested out before, including strawberry syrup (great stuff – see Andres Aleman’s recipe for that one here), mint, cinnamon/nutmeg (really good – I think I used one large stick of cinnamon and a few dashes of nutmeg, then strained through cheese cloth), habanero, ginger (used my recipe from before, minus habaneros, and plus a little more ginger), and beet.  I need to work out a good recipe for the beet syrup…mine was not beety enough for what I was gunning for.


Some simple syrups being prepped.

Most of these cocktails came out pretty well…I wouldn’t do the last item on the menu larger than a shooter though.  Way too sweet.  I’ll also need to tweak future menus a little bit..too little variation in the drinks (e.g. too many gin drinks, and too many with ginger beer – oops).

This was my first time being the bartender for a group this size (15-20).  It was definitely an experience that I’ll need to repeat…I need more opportunities where speed is important and stress exists (I don’t get that mixing drinks at home, obviously).  I’ve certainly got a ways to go to get out of novice status.


My office that evening.

Cocktails, Early June 2012

Sorry for the hiatus…was tied up with some professional stuff.

Here’s a few cocktails that I’ve made in the last couple of weeks:

El Diablo:

Ingredients for the El Diablo…

  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 oz tequila (I used 1800 Reposado.)
  • 1/2 oz crème de cassis
  • Ginger Beer (I used Fever-Tree, which is excellent.)

Squeeze the lime and drop the shell in the glass, then add the tequila and crème de cassis.  Stir, then top off with ginger beer.

(Based on recipes from The Webtender Wiki)

I tried this a couple weeks ago at The Passenger…thought I’d try making it myself.  Came out pretty well…I’d throw it together again.

El Diablo…

My version of Alex’s Sour from The Passenger:

The ingredients for my version of Alex’s Sour…

The Passenger’s version calls for white whiskey, lemon, and Yellow Chartreuse…I went off this and used the following:

  • 2 oz Johnnie Walker Black
  • 1 oz Yellow Chartreuse
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice (and being out of lemons, I used the type from concentrate…meh.)

Shook the ingredients together with ice, strained over fresh ice in a rocks glass.  Not bad.  I’d say it’s better than a whisk(e)y sour.

Alex’s Sour #2…

Bully Boy:

Ingredients for my take on the Bully Boy…

I was looking for some ideas for my brand new bottle of Fernet-Branca and came across this page.  Naturally I had to try out the award winner for best Fernet cocktail, so I threw together the Bully Boy.  From the site:

  • 1oz bourbon
  • 1/2oz Fernet Branca
  • 1/2oz Canton ginger liqueur
  • 1/2oz lemon juice
  • 2t simple syrup
  • lemon peel, for garnish

Select dodecahedron shaped ice cubes out of your freezer (be very selective, the shape is important), and bash them with a baseball bat. Now shake it all up and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Of course, I am not yet fancy enough to have dodecahedron-shaped ice cubes (nor a bar baseball bat), so I did not follow some of the directions.  I used Woodford Reserve bourbon, and swapped out the plain simple syrup for my homemade ginger-habanero variety.  Because of the new flavors that my simple syrup lends to this drink (and because I didn’t have any real lemons…) I garnished this with an orange twist.  This came out great…very tasty.  You don’t get much of the medicinal taste associated with Fernet, but you can still tell it’s in there.  This one was definitely a winner.

The Bully Boy. Good cocktail…

Consolation Prize:

The ingredients for Consolation Prize…

I was looking for a good Chartreuse cocktail for this evening, and came across Last Frontier at both cocktail virgin slut and The Passenger.  Using this as a base, I made the following:

  • 2 oz Hendrick’s Gin
  • 1.5 oz Yellow Chartreuse
  • 3 dashes Angostura Bitters

Shake and bruise all ingredients with ice, then strain into a martini glass (keep small ice shards) and garnish with orange peel.

The Passenger’s version called for unknown proportions of Tanqueray, Green Chartreuse, and (unknown) bitters, while cocktail virgin slut called for 3 parts Beefeater, 1 part Green Chartreuse, and lemon oil.

I blew an interview earlier in the day, so I’m naming this one Consolation Prize.  Cheers.

My Consolation Prize…

Bacon Cocktail?

This was so good that I have to repost it here…just came across the photo on my phone and was reminded of it.

Founding Farmers in DC has a cocktail called “Bone”, made with Knob Creek Bourbon, fresh lime juice, Tabasco, and a Bacon Lolli garnish.  This garnish makes the drink.  Bacon Lollis, also on FF’s appetizer menu, are cinnamon-brown sugar glazed thick-cut slices of bacon.  So good.  I show it to you here, in all its glory.  Enjoy.


Founding Farmers
1924 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
(202) 822-8783
Book on OpenTable

New Additions…

The latest additions.  I’ll try a couple recipes for each over the next week.

The latest additions to the collection…

Allspice (Pimento) Dram – Makes me think “Christmas”.  Goes into one of my favorites – the Lion’s Tail.

Cynar – Italian artichoke liqueur with other plants and herbs.  Has a sweet start, bitter finish.  Less bitter than Campari (and interestingly is manufactured and distributed by the same company).

Fernet-Branca – another bitter liqueur with a medicinal taste (and from the 1840’s to at least the 1960’s it was used as a medicine).  This has seen a rise in popularity…I’ve noticed it in a number of cocktails at the more creative bars in town.

Creme de Violette – A sweet liqueur made from alpine violets.  A main ingredient of the Aviation cocktail and a few other classics.

Cocktail Night, 28 May 2012

Made an evening out of trying some cocktail recipes.  Here’s two of the ones that stood out:

The Sour Hass cocktail is based on the recipe from Las Canteras Peruvian restaurant in Adams Morgan.

Replaced plain simple syrup with homemade habanero-ginger syrup

Having enjoyed this drink a couple times at Las Canteras, I went searching for the recipe.  I located this recipe for it over at the Connect to Peru blog, courtesy of Las Canteras:

4 tsp ripe avocado

8 mint leaves

2.5 oz Pisco

2 oz pineapple juice

2 tsp simple syrup

Muddle the mint and avocado together, then add the pisco, pineapple juice, and simple syrup.  Shake with ice and strain into a glass.  Garnish with a mint sprig.

I changed up the recipe slightly by adding my homemade habanero-ginger syrup instead of plain simple syrup.  Came out smooth and spicy.  Goes great with Peruvian food.

It even looks smooth…

Next up is the Gunshop Fizz, created by some folks at Cure New Orleans, and posted at the Shake & Strain blog.  I learned about this one while researching the recipe for the Trinidad Sour (my current favorite).  Both drinks use bitters as a base (2 oz Peychaud’s and 1.5 oz Angostura, respectively), making them unique in the mixology world.

This one is a little complex…

This cocktail is complex:

2 oz Peychaud’s bitters

1 oz lemon juice

1 oz simple syrup

2 strawberries

3 cucumber slices

3 swaths of grapefruit

3 swaths of orange

San Pellegrino Sanbittèr apéritif

Muddle everything but the Sanbittèr.  Set aside for two minutes, then add ice, shake, and strain (recommended to double strain through a cocktail strainer and a tea strainer – liquid should be thin).  Top with Sanbittèr.  Garnish with a slice of cucumber.

For one of the versions I made, plain simple syrup got itself replaced by that of the habanero-ginger variety, and Sanbittèr apéritif got replaced with Campari and club soda (essentially the same thing, just with alcohol).

I tried this four ways with another guinea pig tester.  The first used the Campari and soda…very complex flavors between the bitterness of the Campari, the sweetness of the strawberries, the citrus of the orange and grapefruit rinds, and the freshness of the cucumber.  The second just used club soda…this wasn’t bad either, and if you are not a bitter fan it might be the way to go.  Third method replaced the Campari and soda with Schweppes tonic water with quinine…this was the favorite.  The quinine bitterness is lighter than Campari and goes very well with the citrus notes of the drink.  Fourth method was with nothing added after straining.  This was a little sweeter than I’d prefer, but I can see some people liking it.  I could also see this being good blended with ice, and that would lighten up the sweetness.

A tasty and complex drink. You put in some work for this one, but it’s worth it.