- John Lennon loved Brandy Alexanders and called them his "milkshakes".
- Mirroring John Lennon, Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show asks a bartender for a malt, "Do you know how to make a brandy Alexander? Just leave out the brandy and give us the Alexander!"
- The Brandy Alexander also made an appearance on the pilot episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
- It was featured in the movie The Days of Wine & Roses where Jack Lemmon buys Lee Remick the drink because she loves chocolate but doesn't like the taste of alcohol.
- The Brandy Alexander has been mentioned in numerous other television shows and movies from the first days of film to present day, including The Big Bang Theory, Mad Men, Cheers, Fantasy Island, the Rockford Files, American Horror Story 5, Three's Company, No More Orchids, Tattoo, Bedazzled, just to name a few.
- There are two songs entitled Brandy Alexander, including one by Feist.
I removed the absinthe and sugar cube altogether and replaced them with an anise, cardamom, fennel infused simple syrup. I also replaced the Peychaud's Bitters with Scrappy's Lavender Bitters. Absinthe and Peychaud's are really the defining elements of a Sazerac so just slap me now because I'm not done yet. I also added a wee bit of good blackberry brandy. These all work nicely with the spicy Templeton Rye for a version of Sazerac where, like in films, you have to practice a little suspension of disbelief.
I'll catch flack for this, but let's be fair, I'm not calling this a Sazerac either ....
2 Oz. Templeton Rye Whiskey
1/2 Oz. Blackberry Brandy
1 Tsp. Anise Cardamom Simple Syrup*
Dash of Scrappy's Lavender Bitters
GARNISH: Star Anise, Orange Twist
TOOLS: Mixing Glass, Bar Spoon
Chill your glass in the freezer.
Fill a mixing glass with ice.
Pour in the whiskey, the blackberry brandy, the anise cardamom simple syrup and the lavender bitters then stir until chilled.
Add a large ice cube to your glass then strain the cocktail over the ice, garnish and serve.
* My favorite Mardi Gras drink was, is and always will be the RAMOS GIN FIZZ.
Enjoy the Awards, don't have too many of these unless you have a limo to and from your festivities.
After doing the Robert Burns Cocktail, I thought I'd try the Drambuie with another whiskey and something with chocolate and coffee. The combination sounded appealing to me so I grabbed some Templeton Rye, Caffe Borghetti, and some Creme de Cacao and set about working out the balance. At the very end I added some orange bitters to counterbalance the richness and spices of spirits used and hit the sweet spot. Gaz Regan's Orange Bitters No. 6 are the best for this because they bring the most brightness from the orange to the party.
What I ended up with reminded me of a drinkable chocolate orange spice truffle spiked with whiskey, lots and lots of whiskey.
1-1/2 Oz. Rye Whiskey
1/2 Oz. White Cream de Cacao
1/2 Oz. Drambuie
1/2 Oz. Coffee Liqueur
2 Hearty Dashes Orange Bitters
2 large Ice Cubes
GARNISH: Orange Twist, Bordeaux Cherry
GLASS: Old Fashioned (Rocks)
Chill your glass in the freezer while you get your ingredients together. Add two large ice cubes to the glass then pour in the whiskey, the creme de cacao, Drambuie and the coffee liqueur and stir until chilled. Tap in the bitters, garnish and serve.
My little personal bit of Drambuie history:
When I first started drinking Drambuie the bottle looked like this:
Now it looks like this:
I like the old bottle much better, it looks like a good liqueur. The new bottle makes it look like cheap whiskey. I kept the last old one I had and I pour my refills into it. It's a little quirk that is an ode to my sister, who introduced me to Drambuie (as she did many other spirits) way back when. Dear Drambuie, go back to the old bottle, it's just classier.
WHAT IS BURN'S NIGHT?
Burn's Night, or Robert Burns Day, Robbie (Rabbie) Burns Day or Burn's Nicht, is an annual celebration in Scotland of their most famous poet and bard, Robert Burns who was born January 25, 1759. Burns, who wrote Auld Lang Syne, is the national poet of Scotland and every year they celebrate by having a Burns Supper, serving traditional Scots food and, of course, drinking Scotch.
2 Oz. Scotch Whisky
1 Oz. Drambuie
3/4 Oz. Sweet Vermouth
1 Dash of Peychaud's Bitters
GARNISH: Orange Twist
GLASS: Cocktail (Martini)
TOOLS: Mixing Glass
Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice until chilled, strain into the cocktail glass, garnish and serve.
Pair up with a few Scots shortbread biscuits (cookies) and you have the perfect Burn's Night treat.
Based on Murray Burnett and Joan Allison's play, Everybody Comes To Rick's, the classic movie Casablanca was released on January 23, 1943.
Ah, Casablanca. Classic film noir with that bittersweet ending. I wasn't even born when it came out, yet I rewatch it about once a year. Recently, on a rainy evening, I yanked out my DVD for a little Rick-Ilsa-Victor-Morroco fix. I love that movie, the film noir look, the era and especially the soundtrack. As Time Goes By is a beautiful piece of music and that classic piano scene where Sam (Dooley Wilson) performs it is my favorite part of the movie, and, of course, provides one of the film's most classic quotes:
"Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By'." ~ Ilsa*
I had also recently been working with Fernet Branca and "Casabranca" just popped into my mind. I put the disc on pause and headed to my bar. After all, what's a classic forties movie without a cocktail?
Though gin was a more popular liquor during World War II, the Diplomatico was my choice to pair with the Fernet because, of the pineapple juice and coconut honey. With the (bitter) herbal Amaro balancing the sweetness of the pineapple juice and honey, it turned out to be a "cocktail noir" of a pina colada.
Yeah, its a cocktail pun but, come on, it's a really good pun for a really good cocktail and "il est un cocktail parfait" for Casablanca viewing!
A Cocktail Noir
2 Oz. Dark Rum
1/4 Oz. + 1/2 Tsp. Fernet Branca
2 Oz. FRESH Pineapple Juice
1 Tbsp. Coconut Honey Simple Syrup*
GARNISH: Pineapple Chunk, Bourdeaux Cherry
TOOLS: Cocktail Shaker
Chill your glass in the freezer. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice then pour in the rum, Fernet Branca, pineapple juice and the coconut honey simple syrup (*warm 1 heaping tablespoon of Coconut Honey Creme with 1 HOT tablespoon of water) and shake until chilled. Pour into the cocktail glass, garnish and serve.
I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
This cocktail recipe is also available as a coloring page in my
Curious, I googled to see if there was a hug cocktail, and sure enough there is a cocktail called the Big Hug which consists of Irish Cream, creme de cocoa and hot cocoa. Like I always do, I changed that recipe slightly and added some coffee bitters to balance the sweetness and a cinnamon stick for a little spice.
YOU NEED A HUG
1 Oz. Irish Cream Liqueur
1 Oz. Creme de Cacao
2 Dashes of Coffee Bitters
GARNISH: Cinnamon Stick, Espresso Powder
GLASS: Irish Coffee Mug
Tap the bitters into the glass. Add the Irish cream liqueur and the creme de cocoa then pour in the hot cocoa and top with whipped cream. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and a dusting of espresso powder.
Happy Hug Day, go hug someone!
When my friends over at Wild Hibiscus sent me some lovely gifts which included a jar of Honey Ridge Farms' Honey Créme, Spiced ...
2 oz Hendrick's Gin
3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Spiced Honey Simple Syrup (ratio 2:1)
1 FRESH Egg White
2 Dashes Lavender Bitters
GARNISH: Lemon Twist, Lavender Sprig
TOOLS: Cocktail Shaker
Chill the glass in the freezer. To make the Spiced Honey Simple Syrup, warm 2 tablespoons of the spiced créme honey with 1 tablespoon of water in the microwave for 15 seconds, stir until the honey is dissolved and allow to cool.
Add the Hendrick's Gin, lemon juice, spiced honey simple syrup and egg white to a cocktail shaker without ice (dry shake) and shake for 30 seconds to emulsify the egg into the cocktail and aerate to create a foam. Add ice and shake to chill.
Strain into a chilled glass, tap a few extra bitters on top, garnish and serve.
Templeton Rye was originally a bootleg* moonshine produced in Templeton, Iowa. Called "The Good Stuff" it was said to be the favorite tipple of the above mentioned gangster, Al Capone. When Capone got nabbed, sent up the river for tax evasion, rye fell out of favor, nearly disappearing from the cocktail scene and by the sixties it became mistakenly viewed by many as an old, poor man's drink. Thankfully today's mixography scene is more knowledgeable and open minded and rye is slowly reemerging a very viable alternative to bourbon and scotch.
Spicier and fruitier than its bourbon descendant, rye whiskey gave birth to many classic cocktails, including the Sazarac, the Manhattan and the godfather of all mixed drinks, the Old Fashioned. Yes, these were all originally made with rye. Another great vintage rye cocktail was the Scofflaw, a drink I enjoy - probably because I really like the name.
According to Gary "Gaz" Regan (@gazregan), on January 15, 1924 prohibitionist Delcevare King had a contest to describe the lawless drinker and the term "scofflaw" was the winner. It was a pretty apt term for those who illegally drank hooch during Prohibition, thus "scoffing" the law from 1929 to 1933. Naturally, somebody had to make a drink with this name and someone did - not in poor old dry America but at Harry's Bar in Paris!
I decided an adaptation on the rye based Scofflaw was a perfect way to celebrate National Bootleggers Day, which also happens to be the birthday of Al Capone and the birthday of the son (Meryl) of the original creator of this famous rye whiskey, Alphonse Kerkhoff. Fortunately, today's new Templeton Rye Distillery kindly gifted me a bottle of their "good stuff" to help in all the celebrations.
The gift of the Templeton for Bootleggers Day is what steered me to the Scofflaw whose original recipe is comprised of rye, dry vermouth, some lemon juice and Grenadine with a few dashes of orange bitters. Now, you know me, I'm always messing with the classics and I've gone and done it again here. Because I'm a bit of a scofflaw myself, I switched out the dry vermouth with a favorite Amaro, Fernet Branca, changed the orange bitters to chocolate and replaced the sticky, sweet Grenadine with some tart, dark cherries.That chocolate cherry truffle with the rye combo really got me going, boy.
Here is my bespoke Bootleggers Day cocktail recipe based on the Scofflaw:
1/4 Oz. Fernet Branca
5 Dark Cherries
1/2 Oz. Bordeaux Cherry Juice
3/4 Oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Dashes Scrappy's Chocolate Bitters
GARNISH: Rye Soaked Bordeaux Cherry, Lemon Twist
TOOLS: Cocktail Shaker, Muddler, Strainer
At least 8 hours ahead toss a few cherries in the rye to get them nice and hammered.
Chill the glass in the freezer.
When you're ready to mix the cocktail, muddle the cherries with the lemon and cherry juices in the bottom of the cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice, pour in the Templeton Rye and the Fernet Branca then shake until icy cold.
Strain into the chilled coupe, tap in the chocolate bitters, garnish with a few rye soaked cherries, the lemon twist, touch your finger to the side of your nose and serve.
Created at Harry's New York Bar in 1915 by barman Harry MacElhone, the French 75 is made from gin, usually a London dry, lemon juice, dry or Brut Champagne, a wee bit of sugar and properly served in a Collins glass. It's definitely a bubbly version of the then very popular Tom Collins. It was named after a WWI French artillery gun, supposedly because both had a big kick. I don't personally know about the artillery gun (oh, come on, despite my advanced age, I was born WAY after the Great War), but I do know the French 75 has enough booze in it to kick you right into a Flanders Field of a hangover if you're not careful. (You young whippersnappers can Google Flanders Field for the reference.)
Harry MacElhone's version was published under simply the "75" and used Calvados, gin, grenadine, and absinthe while in Robert Vermeire's "Cocktails: How to Mix Them" lemon juice was added to the mix. The currently popular recipe version showed up in "Here’s How" in 1927, then in 1930 "The Savoy Cocktail Book" added "French" to the name. David Embury's "The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks" has a recipe that uses Cognac instead of gin, but, according to David Wondrich, that makes the French 75 a King's Peg and I'm not doing any king or peg thing on my birthday. Besides, I have that lovely Hendrick's Gin!
Like I always do, I got all crotchety and defiant and went my merry, old fart way by adding some cherries (cherries are a great preventative for arthritis) and a dash of rosemary (for memory loss) and lavender bitters (for the aches and pains of old joints.)
(Serves 1 in a Collins glass, 2 in a flute)
2 Oz. Hendrick's Gin
1/2 Oz. Lemon Juice
5 Oz. Brut champagne
3 Dashes Wigle Rosemary Lavender Bitters
GARNISH: Lemon Twist, Sprig of Rosemary and/or Bordeaux Cherry
GLASS: Collins or Flute
TOOLS: Cocktail Shaker
Chill your glass in the freezer.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice then add the Hendrick's, lemon juice and cherry simple syrup and shake until chilled.
Strain into a Collins glass half-full of cracked ice or divide and serve up (without ice) into 2 flutes, top off with champagne and garnish.
A couple of these make for a very Happy Birthday. More than a couple make for a very un-merry birthday or day after your birthday - that French artillery thing kicks in. I plan on being very cautious, as someone my age should ... ah, who am I kidding? Bring on the big guns, I only have so much time left!!
P.S. if anyone dares to nickname this cocktail The Old Fart 75, I will haunt you from beyond.
You might be surprised, I certainly was. Here you go and don't blame me, I'm just the messenger ...
2. Moscow Mule
5. Long Island Iced Tea
9. Sex on the Beach
As for Cosmopolitans, I suppose they will always be on the list as long as women are watching reruns of Sex in the City. Not one of my top 10, but it's an innocuous little pink drink made with cranberry and vodka that can't be totally ruined by amateurs.
Sangria in the number one spot? Hmmmmm. Yes, this fruit infused, sweet and often bubbly punch is seeing a resurgence from it's heyday in the seventies, but number one? Do people really have that much left over wine?
And speaking of the seventies, WTH?? Long Island Iced Tea and Sex On The Beach??? Both are cocktails that should have been buried under the sand along with disco balls and leisure suits. Their high alcohol content and ability to reach "I'm young and stupid and want to get drunk and stupid fast" can be the only factor adding them to the list.
What took me by complete surprise and made me do a little happy dance was seeing the Aviation, a beautiful cocktail that can only truly be made properly with a hard to find, rarely used Crème de Violette liqueur. It's a sophisticated gin drink with subtlety and balance and a thing of beauty. This gave me back some hope for the future drinking habits of humanity.
Happy New Year and here's to a more cocktail enlightened list for 2016! Cheers, M'Dears!