French 75

Posted in Recipes on February 23rd, 2010 by Josh

French 75 CocktailLast week I told you about my trip to Rye House to celebrate Mardi Gras, New Orleans-style. I mentioned some of the cocktails we sampled, including the Sazarac and the Vieux Carre. I’d like to share one more staple of the Mardi Gras celebration – or any celebration for that matter – The French 75.

This cocktail is actually named after the French 75-mm field gun; a commonplace piece of artillery during World War I. Apparently this particular gun was known for its recoil system, which allowed for much smoother operation than had previously been possible. Once you try the cocktail, you’ll understand how appropriate that is. (History once again courtesy of Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails; a must-have for any bartender’s bookshelf.) Read More

Tags: champagne, cocktail, gin, lemon, simple syrup

The Sazerac

Posted in Recipes on August 19th, 2009 by Josh

Ingredients for a SazeracThe Sazerac is one of the oldest cocktails on record – and supposedly the first cocktail invented in America. It came into being in New Orleans, Louisiana in the 1830’s, and was originally made with cognac and Peychaud bitters (created by Antoine Amédée Peychaud). The Peychaud bitters are still a key ingredient, but the most common preparation of the cocktail is now with rye rather than cognac (even though our friend @halw likes to mess with bartenders by ordering it with cognac anyway.)

I came late to the Sazerac, but was introduced to it by another friend, @livethelushlife, who counts the Sazerac among her absolute favorite cocktails. And it really came to life for me when I had the chance to sample the cocktail in its native environment – New Orleans – where the Sazerac is still an institution. Read More

Tags: absinthe, cocktail, lemon, Peychaud bitters, rye, simple syrup

My Favorite Cocktail from TOTC09 – The Rosemary Gin Sour

Posted in Events, Recipes on July 27th, 2009 by Josh

Ingredients for the Rosemary Gin SourIt’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite cocktail from my week at Tales of the Cocktail. The choices were so varied and plentiful that narrowing down  the list was a difficult task in and of itself. However, if I’m really honest with myself, one cocktail in particular rises to the top. It was prepared for my by Erin Williams, the Cointreau Brand Ambassador (formally of Pegu Club). In actuality, I’m not certain of the name of the cocktail, as it was custom made based on a survey I completed about my cocktail preferences (Tales was just so awesome!) I think the Rosemary Gin Sour adequately explains it though. Read More

Tags: cocktail, cointreau, cucumber, gin, lemon, rosemary, simple syrup, summer

The Cruzan Silver Greyhound

Posted in Recipes on June 29th, 2009 by Josh

The recipe for this cocktail is long overdue. I’ve been wanting to reconstruct it since I first tried it at the Gramercy Tavern a few months ago. I’ll skip the excuses and get right down to business, with the exception of saying the following: make this cocktail. You won’t be sorry.

Ingredients for Cruzan Silver GreyhoundThe premise is simple: a Greyhound has long been recognized as a a spirit combined with grapefruit juice. The spirit is usually vodka, but you know we don’t use much of that here.

The Cruzan Silver Greyhound follows that premise with two minor variations: the addition of a little sugar, and the critical addition of grapefruit bitters. If you don’t have any grapefruit bitters, you can order them online (Amazon). They play a huge role in giving this cocktail the depth that sets it apart from the standard Greyhound. Read More

Tags: cocktail, cruzan, gramercy tavern, grapefruit, grapefruit bitters, rum, simple syrup

Queens Park Swizzle

Posted in Recipes on June 17th, 2009 by Josh

Ingredients for a Queens Park SwizzleLast week, I told you about a mistake I made in preparing the Queens Park Swizzle (I used gin instead of rum, but I learned a lesson!) Well, since I teased you with one of my favorite rum cocktails, I thought it was time we walked through it for real.

A quick aside: this is the first cocktail I ever had prepared for me at a “real” cocktail bar – Milk & Honey (of London and New York City fame). Milk & Honey is largely credited (and rightfully so) with reigniting the love for the classic cocktail in New York, and whether or not that’s true, they definitely lit the spark in me. The staff and Milk & Honey are infamous for matching their customers with their ideal cocktail. Before serving you, they ask insightful questions about preferred spirits, flavors, and even mood. The first time I went to Milk & Honey, this is the cocktail they prepared for me, so it will always hold a special place in my heart :-) Read More

Tags: angostura bitters, club soda, cocktail, lime, milk and honey, mint, rum, simple syrup

Celebrating International Cachaça Day with the Royalton Caipirinha

Posted in Recipes on June 12th, 2009 by Josh

Today is International Cachaça Day. Who knows where these things come from, but I’ll take any excuse to make a cocktail! (Actually we do know – International Cachaça Day was started by Sociedade Brasileira da Cachaça, a Brazilian government organization. It was created to commemorate June 12th, 1744: the day when Portugal, then the colonial authority in Brazil, outlawed the production and selling of cachaça. Duh.)

Ingredients for a Royalton CaipirinhaCachaça is a distillation of sugarcane juice, which makes it something of a cousin to rum. Most cachaça is produced in Brazil (where it is incredibly popular). The most common use you’ll find of cachaça is the Caipirinha. The caipirinha is the national drink of Brazil, and is to cachaça what the mojito is to rum (in that both contain the spirit, sugar, and lime, and both are very over-produced.)

So while I’m not a fan of over-produced drinks, I do like creative variations. The folks at Cabana cachaça suggested the Royalton Caipirinha, a cocktail developed at Bar 44 at the Royalton Hotel here in New York City. Read More

Tags: Cabana, cachaça, caipirinha, lime, simple syrup, St. Germain, stawberry

Why There’s No Such Thing as a Mistake

Posted in Editor's Notes on June 4th, 2009 by Josh

A King's Park Swizzle?Well sure, mistakes exist. But as far as I’m concerned, not when it comes to mixing cocktails. Just as in the culinary arts, recipes are templates. They’re guidelines that reflect the goals and tastes of the artist, but they’re never carved in stone. The purpose of the resulting dish (or cocktail, in our case) is to be enjoyed, and one must always adjust accordingly.

The other night, I set out to make a Queens Park Swizzle – one of my favorite rum-based cocktails – which I was preparing to introduce to you here. However, what I ended up making was a mixture of lime, sugar, mint, angostura bitters (all of which belong), and gin (which most certainly does not). I poured gin instead of rum by mistake. The funny thing about it is that I was already a sip or two into the drink before I realized it (I swear, I wasn’t drunk!) Read More

Tags: angostura bitters, experimentation, gin, lime, mint, mixology, simple syrup