At our readers’ request, we’ve assembled our cocktail posts into a single archive page. We’ll update as we go forward. Cheers.

COCKTAILS | A bouquet of Black Roses, Jan. 25, 2011
BlackRoseThe Black Rose, a variant of the Sazerac and the Jack Rose.

I have been, and will always be, a Scotch man. But I like the Highland amber neat or on the rocks. For cocktails, I find myself increasingly attracted to Bourbon, the most American of spirits.

Since the New Year, Evan Williams and I have gone on a journey. Along the way, we’ve rediscovered the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan and tried new tastes like the Ward 8. Tonight, I selected the Black Rose, a variant of both the Sazerac and the Jack Rose. Like the Sazerac, it calls for Peychaud’s. Like the Jack Rose, there’s grenadine. The end result: a tasty apertif well worth your effort.

• 2 ounces bourbon
• Dashes grenadine
• Dashes Peychaud’s bitters
• Flamed lemon peel

Fill up an Old-Fashioned glass with ice, adding the bourbon, grenadine and bitters. Flame the lemon peel and serve. Enjoy.

COCKTAILS | Drop into the Stork Club, Jan. 24, 2011
StorkClubCocktailThe Stork Club cocktail, a liquid relic of Old New York.

Stork Club barA couple of evenings ago, deterred from going out to dinner by the arctic cold, we turned to Dale DeGroff. No, we didn’t ring him up; we opened up his “Essential Cocktail.” From the extensive menu, we selected the Stork Club cocktail, a relic of one of New York’s greatest old night clubs.

The Stork, opened in 1929 by Sherman Billingsley, was among the most exclusive night spots in Old New York. A seat in the club’s storied Cub Room signaled your arrival. Among the cocktails sipped at the Stork Club, was its siganture, a gin, Cointreau and citrus and Angostura. It was one of countless cocktails mixed every night at the bar, left.

We were pleased — particularly because DeGroff’s recipe called for a flamed orange peel, which is accomplished by lightly seering a small peel of orange.

Billingsley’s daughter, Shermane, maintains a charming online archive of the place, which includes an adequate history, radio and TV clips and other electronic ephemera that document the famous 53rd Street haunt. Here’s a particularly entertaining video from the dawn of television:

Here’s the recipe for the cocktail:

• 1 1/2 ounces gin
• 3/4 ounce Cointreau
• 1 ounce orange juice
• 1/2 ounce lime juice
• Dashes Angostura
• Flamed orange peel

Combine your gin, Cointreau, orange juice, lime juice, Angostura in a shaker over ice. Shake over ice and serve up in a cocktail glass. Garnish with the orange peel.

COCKTAILS | Putting on the Ritz, Jan. 18, 2011
The RitzDale DeGroff’s Ritz cocktail.

Among the splendid Christmas loot I received this year was a copy of cocktail impresario Dale DeGroff’s “The Essential Cocktail.” The gift came from Mrs. F. and she’s been helping select and score its offerings.

DeGroff, who revived the cocktail menu during a stint as head bartender at the Rainbow Room in the 1980s, is arguably the father of the contemporary cocktail revival. In his volume, published in 2008, he includes lists of classics, adapted classics and some of his own adventurous creations. We’ve only dabbled in the first two categories so far. Among our favorite recipes is the Ritz, a cognac and champagne concoction DeGroff created in the 1980s. It graces the book’s cover and, while designed as a variation of the Champagne pick-me-up, it is definitely an evening cocktail.

For more of DeGroff’s work, go to his King Cocktail.

• 3/4 ounce cognac
• 1/2 ounce Cointreau
• 1/2 ounce Luxardo maraschino liqueur
• 1/2 ounce lemon juice
• Champagne
• Orange peel (optional: flamed)

Stir together the cognac, Luxardo, lemon juice and Cointreau over ice in a mixing glass. Serve in a cocktail glass, topping off with champagne and garnishing with the orange peel.

COCKTAILS | Alaska chills winter’s start, Dec. 9, 2010
AlaskaCocktailThe Alaska cocktail, which draws on Hendrick’s gin and yellow Chartreuse.

When we were last in Lake Placid, we spent a damp afternoon plying Main Street for various wares. As it happened, two stalwart Main Street businesses, Barnaby’s Liquors and Mirror Lake Liquors, were in the process of liquidating. As such, spirits were on offer at deep discounts. We made out like bandits.

Among our take was a bottle of Hendricks (scored for about $20) and a bottle of yellow Chartreuse, a rare find made rarer still by a $25 price tag. Both normally retail in Westchester at $40 or higher.

I’d not anticipated finding a cocktail that combines them both, but Robert Hess, host of The Cocktail Spirit, recently delivered with the Alaska. The cocktail relies on Hendrick’s gin as a foundation and adds in the yellow Chartreuse and orange bitters. It was not dissimilar to a gimlet recipe I put together for my mother-in-law last spring. I’ll blog about that separately.

Chartreuse is herbal, perhaps overwhelmingly so, but the bitters did a fine job of muting some of the liqueur’s pungency. A garnish of lemon peel added to the mix as well. This is a sophisticated and complex drink despite being so easy to construct. On these first cold nights of the long suburban winter, the Alaska deliver just the right amount of chill.

• 1 1/2 ounces Hendrick’s gin
• 3/4 ounce yellow Chartreuse
• Dashes of Orange bitters

Stir over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Serve with a garnish of lemon peel. Enjoy.

COCKTAILS | Fine and Dandy, indeed, Nov. 24, 2010
FineAndDandyThe Fine and Dandy, a very adequate gin cocktail.

On my way home from a conference last week in Tyson’s Corner, Va., I had a few hours to kill in Washington’s Union Station. I wandered into a Verizon store and, 20 minutes and a few dollars later, I wandered out with a HTC Droid Incredible.

The phone has many charms, I discovered on a New York-bound Acela. In addition to being connected to GMail, Tumblr, Foursquare and Facebook, I discovered I could also have a range of cocktail recipes at my finger tips. One app yielded the Fine and Dandy, a lovely gin cocktail Mrs. F. and I tried out last night.

In addition to gin — I’ve found recipes that call for Plymouth, but we used Gordon’s on this trial run — the cocktail calls upon Cointreau or triple sec and lemon juice. Angostura rounds out the recipe, though Mrs. F. tried a second with Stirrings’ blood orange bitters.

The result, which we enjoyed on the rocks, is not dissimilar to a Pegu Club. The gin and citrus flavors work together to form a refreshing harmony. We imagine the Fine and Dandy would be just as acceptable up and garnished with a seared lemon rind. Regardless, its utility is the real key — the Pegu’s complexities, drawn on the rustic flavor of curacao, make it a stronger drink — as the Fine and Dandy is easy to construct.

I’ve not found any real leads as to this cocktail’s origins, but I’ll keep looking.

2 ounces gin, London or Plymouth
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce Cointreau or triple sec
Angostura, orange or blood orange bitters (or a bit of all three!)

Combine all ingredients over ice in a shaker and shake vigorously. Serve on the rocks in a highball or up in a cocktail glass. Serve and enjoy.

COCKTAILS | Ransom Old Tom gin invigorates a highball, Nov. 1, 2010
RansomRansom Old Tom gin, our latest spirit obsession.

Once, it had been as common as a lark. Then, for reasons that I can’t fully understand, it went the way of the passenger pigeon.

Old Tom gin, a foundation of a legion of classic cocktails, was wildly popular both in the New World and the Old through the 18th, 19th and into the 20th centuries. Then, at a moment that isn’t entirely clear, it vanished.

But as mixology contributes more and more to the cultural conversation, Old Tom has been revived. Among the craft distillers manufacturing small batches is Sheridan, Ore.-based Ransom Wine Co. Founded in 1997, Ransom offers a full range of spirits and wines.

I came across a selection of the company’s Old Tom gin a week or so ago at Fairway and picked up a bottle. We gave it a whirl with our previously-enjoyed Mid-Ocean Highball, a drink with Bermudian origins we found in Charles F. Baker’s “Jigger, Beaker and Glass.”

Ransom’s offering is sweeter and more rustic than standard London dry gin. In the Mid-Ocean, it’s got some competition, chiefly from vermouth, which I don’t recommend you overdo. I paid about $40 for my bottle, but it’s well worth it.

The Mid-Ocean highball.

• 2 ounces Old Tom gin
• 3/4 ounce French vermouth
• 3/4 ounce cognac
• Dashes orange bitters
• Soda
• Twist of lime

Gather the gin, vermouth, cognac and bitters together over ice in a shaker and shake well. Strain into a highball glass and add soda and the lime peel. An alternate would be to serve sans ice and soda in a cocktail glass.

COCKTAILS | Blood orange juice adds to Caipirinhas, Oct. 11, 2010
BloodOrangeCaipirinhasBlood orange Caipirinhas, our latest obsession.

A couple of weeks ago, on a routine trip to Fairway in Pelham, we came across containers of blood-orange juice.

“This’ll make for a nice mixer,” Mrs. F. predicted.

Indeed it did.

Last week, she came across a recipe for blood-organge Caipirinhas — an adaptation of the classic Brazilian cocktail we’ve enjoyed previously. The recipe relied on freshly harvested blood oranges, which aren’t yet available, so we decided to substitute the juice.

We’ll revisit this one once the tasty citrus comes into season, but in the meantime, here’s a recipe:

• 2 ounces Cahaca
• 2 ounces blood-orange juice
• 1 ounce simple syrup (optional)
• 1 ounce lime juice

Gather all the ingredients together over ice in a shaker. Shake vigorously and serve over ice in highball glasses. We tried these twice — once with simple syrup and once without. It’s really not terribly necessary. You can substitute with a bit more juice.

COCKTAILS | Gin Daisy nods to Prohibition, Sept. 22, 2010
GinDaisyThe Gin Daisy, a Depression-era cocktail featured in Al Hirschfeld’s ‘The Speakeasies of 1932.’

A favorite book of recent years is the fabulous reissue of illustrator Al Hirschfeld’s “The Speakeasies of 1932.”

Speakeasiesof1932First published by E.P. Dutton and Co. as “Manhattan Oases,” the book captures Old New York in one of its darkest hours: the waning days of the Noble Experiment and the depths of the Great Depression. Hirschfeld and his collaborator, screenwriter Gordon Kahn, travel up and down Manhattan, profiling the great speakeasies that defined the Roaring 20s and then dressed the wounds of deep financial crisis. Hirschfeld illustrates a bartender and Kahn offers a few pithy paragraphs describing the patrons, the drinks, the food and the general despair of New York’s speakesies.

The book was rereleased in 2003 by Glenn Young Books.

Among the establishments they visited — and the only one still remaining so far as I can tell — is ‘21.’ Still known as Jack and Charlie’s in 1932, the place was rated the second-best speak on the Island by Hirschfeld and Kahn. The latter writes:

Frequented by writers of the better order; the cosmopolite; the men who go to the nearby picture galleries; understand Matisse, Ravel and Ernest Bloch; who know “canarad a la presse,” drink hock, and call for the whiskey by name. …

… The bar is spacious, comfortable, and meticulously operated. The back-bar is sightly with statuettes of the White Horse whiskey steed himself ad the Nicolas porter you’ve seen on the Continent The beer steins on the mantel weren’t turned out in gross lots either.

Probably the only place on the island where you can call for Dewar’s, Teacher’s, Walker’s Black Label or any other brand of whiskey and get just that.

Thank me.

Bill, the bartender, recommended the Gin Daisy, a sour that’s has a bit of a sweet spot. It’s a terrific cooler for these waning warm weather nights. We’ve had them a couple of times in the last few weeks and have been delighted again and again.

• 2 1/2 ounces gin
• 1 ounce Cointreau
• 1 ounce Lemon juice
• Dashes grenadine
• Lemon garnish

Pour the gin, Cointreau and lemon juice over ice in shaker. Shake vigorously and serve over ice in a low tumbler. Add the grenadine and the garnish. Serve and enjoy.

COCKTAILS | Homemade limoncello is easily done, Aug. 18, 2010
Maxwell Eaton III, a frequent contributor, set out to make his own limoncello. He succeeded.

Maxwell Eaton III Contributing Writer

A few months back, my sober half came home from work with two canvas bags full of lemons that a coworker had unloaded on the office. This is a common occurrence when it comes to grapefruit as the moldy oldies of Tucson have a penchant for the hardy citrus trees, an unbound willingness to water the hell out of them, but apparently no taste for the fruit as from one neighbor to another they’re about as welcomed as a bag of pine cones. Lemons, however, are a much harder to come by, so we jumped at the chance and took full advantage.

Of course, the first thing one ponders when faced with a kitchen full of lemons is, “How can I turn this into booze?” I was quickly led to my cocktail notebook where I dug up an unfortunately un-credited formula for the classic Italian liqueur, Limoncello. In the end, the effort was minimal and the payoff extraordinary. Here’s how it’s done:

• Using a mircoplaner or the finer gauge of a cheese grater, shave the yellow zest off of a dozen good-sized lemons. You’ll want to take them right down to the white pith, but no further. (Make sure to hold onto the lemons when you’re done, as they’re still good for cocktails.)

• Place your pile of citrus zest in a large jar (a thoroughly cleaned growler might do in a pinch) and add an entire 750 mL bottle of 100-proof vodka.

• Steep this mixture for two weeks, shaking vigorously daily.

• After two weeks, strain the mixture through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth and into a second jar or bowl. To avoid sediment, strain again, but this time through a coffee filter. I simply held one around the mouth of a jar with a rubber band and slowly poured the mixture through. It’ll take quite a few filters, and a lot of pouring and waiting, but it’s worth the clarity.

• Once you’re all strained and clear, add a second bottle of 100-proof vodka to keep the first one company.

• Now, in a pot, dissolve two cups of sugar into two cups of water. Briefly bring to a boil and then cool to room temperature. Add this to your vodka mixture and make sure everything is blended nicely.

• Finally, pour the mixture into clean bottles, seal, and let sit for another week. You’re now ready to distribute among friends or hoard aggressively. I was able to make four 16 oz. bottles with this recipe, and they were the perfect thing to pull out of the freezer and nurse on a hot monsoon evening. Also consider adding a bar spoon of the concoction to your favorite cocktail.

COCKTAILS | Take flight with the Aviation, Aug. 17, 2010
DSC_0714The Aviation cocktail.

Gin continues to be my muse — it worked for Cheever, too, as contributor Maxell Eaton III recently pointed out — and I’ve been itching to try the Aviation.

A classic that’s not much served in the mainstream, the Aviation is allegedly the creation of Hugo Ensslin, a bartender at New York’s late Hotel Wallick. The original recipe called for the addition of crème de violette, but a later, 1930 offering from Henry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book omits it. I opted for Craddock’s version and both Mrs. F. and I were pleased with the results.

The Aviation takes flight on energy borne from the marriage of gin and maraschino liqueur. The latter is not something everyone stocks, but I was able to find Luxardo at Westchester Wine Warehouse in White Plains. The drink can be viewed as either a refresher or an apertif. It’s well worth a try.


• 2 ounces gin
• 1/2 ounce lemon juice
• 1/2 ounce Luxardo maraschino liqueur
• 1/4 ounce crème de violette

Combine ingredients in a shaker over ice. Shake or stir vigorously and serve up in a cocktail glass. Garnish with one maraschino cherry. Enjoy.

COCKTAILS | This Bastard hardly suffers, July 29, 2010
The Suffering Bastard, a new fascination.

First concocted as a hangover cure at the old Shepheard’s Hotel in Cairo during World War II by Joe Scialom, the Suffering Bastard is a classic cocktail I stumbled across in the realm of Robert Hess earlier this week.

The eyeopener, originally dubbed the Suffering Bar Steward by its progenitor, calls for either brandy or bourbon, lime juice, Angostura and ginger ale. Scialom (pronounced Shalom) explained the drink’s origins to the Winnipeg Free Press in 1972:

“During the bleak war days, Shepheard’s ran short of cognac, gin and most imported liquors. “We had to make do with stuff that wasn’t so smooth,” he said, “and the British officers began to complain that they were getting bad hangovers”.

“I decided to seek a cure, and I finally dreamed up a drink that I named The Suffering Bar Steward. It consisted of gin we borrowed from the South African post exchange, brandy from Cyprus and bitters made by a chemist across the street from the hotel. To this we added lime juice made in Cairo and a local ginger ale provided by a Greek merchant of dubious character.

“The result was a drink with an unexpectedly pleasant taste and a delayed action effect.”

Scialom is something of a cocktail legend: his name pops up all over the Times’ archive. In 1957, when the new Shepheard Hotel opened (the original was torched during the fire riots of 1952), it was lamented that Scialom, who had decamped to Caribbean parts, would not be tending the plank. In 1971, a letter to the editor clarified that Scialom had invented the bastard and that he was working as the head of beverage service at The Four Seasons. In 1980, a lengthy piece on the origins of the Bloody Mary has him retired from Windows on the World and living in Fort Lauderdale.

But the drink. It’s a tasty one that gets billed as having tiki heritage, as Hess suggests in his presentation. Hess calls for bourbon, not the brandy I’ve found recommended elsewhere. The lime juice is a big player here and would probably temper the brandy in much the same way it does the bourbon. I can’t trace the gin, but it’s in there somewhere.

• 3/4 ounces of bourbon or brandy
• 1 ounce gin
• 1 ounce lime juice
• Dashes of Angostura bitters
• Ginger ale or beer

Combine the gin, bourbon (or brandy) and lime juice in a highball glass. Add ice and top with ginger ale. Stir and garnish with an orange slice (or other citrus — I used a lime) and a cherry. A mint sprig wouldn’t hurt either. Enjoy.

COCKTAILS | The Southside is a perfect summer choice, July 12, 2010
SouthsideCocktailThe Southside, a refreshing gin cocktail that draws on lemon and mint to hit a home run.

I was surprised last week when, upon doing a search of this blog, that I hadn’t yet written about Southsides. A variation, the JB Combine, had been covered, but we had not yet dabbled in the Southside proper, a summer classic enjoyed across the land.

Though its origins are unclear — Chicagoans take credit for its invention while Hamptonites also lay a claim — it is a terrific drink that continues my love-affair with gin. Reporting for NPR in 2004, East Hampton Star editor Laura Donnelly explored the drink’s heritage and its variations through a tour of Long Island’s private clubs. It’s well worth a listen.

A friend mentioned to me this morning that she was quite satisfied with the decision to substitute vodka for gin. I’ve also come across variations that employ rum and substitute lime juice for the lemon component. I think it’s a gin drink through and through.

Here’s a recipe:

• 2 ounces gin
• 1 ounce simple syrup
• 1 ounce lemon juice
• Sprigs of fresh mint

Muddle your mint — but not too roughly — at the bottom of a shaker, putting some aside for garnish. Add ice, simple syrup, lemon juice and gin. Shake vigorously and serve up in cocktail glasses, garnishing with that reserved mint. Enjoy.

COCKTAILS | Planter’s Punch, emperor of rum cocktails, July 8, 2010
PlantersPunchA recently-consumed and much appreciated Planter’s Punch, enjoyed aboard a friend’s boat on the Long Island Sound off Rye.

Ten years ago, I set off for a 10-day adventure with good friends Johnny and Sean. Besides getting epic sunburns and a good bit of sailing and boating in, we predictably did a bit of drinking.

If we had to pick one cocktail to sum the trip up, it would have to be the Pain Killer, concocted expertly by the bartender at the Colonna Resort, where we stayed. Another, equally enjoyed, was Planter’s Punch.

A complicated stew of rum, curacao, syrup and juices, it’s a perfect remedy for steamy days like those we’ve enjoyed in Cheever Country of late. I enjoyed one during a sunset cruise aboard a friend’s boat a week or so ago. It was glorious.

Mrs. F. and I are going to try to reprise the cocktails this weekend with this recipe from cocktail maestro Dale DeGroff:

• 5 oz. Dark Rum
• 5 oz. Light Rum
• 3 oz. Orange Curacao
• 6 oz. Fresh Orange Juice
• 6 oz. Pineapple Juice
• 3 oz. Simple Syrup
• 3 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
• 3 oz. of Grenadine
• 1 tablespoon Angostura Bitters

Mix all ingredients together in a large pitcher. To serve shake the drinks individually in a cocktail shaker with ice and a goblet filled 3/4 with ice. Garnish with pineapple orange and lime slices. Yields 1 liter and serves 6.

COCKTAILS | The Fourth Regiment, a British twist on the Manhattan, June 21, 2010
FourthRegimentCocktailThe Fourth Regiment Cocktail, another classic from Charles F. Baker Jr.

Mrs. F. was tied up with a work commitment well into Thursday evening and so, with the cat away, the mouse played. She’s not a rye drinker and so it seemed as good a time as any to experiment with the Manhattan.

Charles F. Baker Jr. offered one recipe that I thought was well worth a try. From his inestimable catalog I selected a cocktail with roots in the final hours of the British Empire.

The Fourth Regiment cocktail, which Baker writes, “was brought to our amazed attention by one Commander Livesey, in command of one of His Majesty’s dapper little sloops of war off Bombay in 1931,” is essentially a Manhattan adapted for equatorial palates. Of course, the whiskey and vermouth are present, as is the Angostura. Joining them aboard the Fourth Regiment are orange bitters, a twist of lime, and if you have them available, celery bitters.

I found the lime did wonders to this old standard, as did the additional varieties of bitters. It’s a wonderful cocktail and I recommend it strongly.

• 2 ounces rye whiskey (or whatever you prefer in your Manhattans)
• 3/4 to 1 ounce sweet vermouth
• Dashes Angostura
• Dashes orange bitters
• Dashes celery bitters
• Twist of lime

COCKTAILS | Mexican Firing Squad Special takes dead aim, June 16, 2010
Firing SquadThe Mexican Firing Squad Special, another classic from Charles F. Baker Jr.

The steamy nights of recent weeks have called for cocktails whose cooling effects are a bit out of the ordinary. We’ve turned again to Charles F. Baker Jr., whose travels took to him to equatorial destinations around the globe.

With a Mexican menu planned for dinner, we selected a Mexican entry from Baker’s cocktail diary.

“[The] Mexican Firing Squad Special … is a creation we almost became wrecked upon in — of all spots — La Cucuracha Bar in Mexico City in 1937,” he writes. “Now and again we found ourselves just a little fed up with rather casual Mexican mixes, and the guidance of two young Mexican caballeros whose parents mattered in official circles in that city of Mexico. We were herded into fancy, rather dull places, served too warm drinks. And finally on one occasion we broke quietly by ourself, sought out this bar — where an aristocrat native ought’n be seen! — and ordered things in our own way.”

Tequila was evidently rare north of the border when Baker’s “The Gentleman’s Companion” was published, as he goes on to describe the distillation’s background and advises his readers to “purchase a good brand, for there are many raw distillations.”

The Mexican Firing Squad Special is a nice mixture of tart citrus and tequila with the additional complications of bitters and grenadine added in. As I’ve written before, my palate has a deep appreciation for all things lime, so I was particularly keen on this cocktail.

• 2 jiggers tequila
• Juice of 2 small limes
• 1 1/2 tsp of grenadine or simple syrup
• 2 dashes Angostura bitters
• Garnishes: all optional: orange slice, lime slice, pineapple slice and a red cherry

Mix the ingredients together well in a shaker and serve over cracked ice in a collins glass. Garnish and take aim!

COCKTAILS | Corpse Reviver No. 2 breathes life into any cocktail hour, June 2, 2010
CorpseReviverThe Corpse Reviver No. 2.

The Vesper, which warms any winter night and is always my choice at Bar and Books, relies on Lillet, the French apertif.

So too does the Corpse Reviver No. 2, a classic pick-me-up Mrs. F. and I have been coming back to again and again these last few weeks. For some reason or other, I thought this was a Charles Baker drink, but I can’t find anything in my pieces of his canon to prove that point. The recipe Mrs. F. has been following comes from a relatively recent Food and Wine Cocktail guide.

Gin is the primary ingredient and, like the Pegu Club cocktail, it is our view that the Corpse Reviver No. 2 makes a good introduction to gin for those who’ve previously avoided this intimidating and important spirit.

Lemon juice brings a tropical taste to the table that makes this one a good choice for cocktail hours on warm days (It would, I imagine, warm on a cold day as well). Triple sec bears a bit of the burden too, and, should you have it on hand, so does a dash or three of absinthe.

Given its title and its ingredients, I’d recommend this cocktail early in the day or, at the latest, at the start of a good cocktail hour run. It will complete the job its title advertises!

• 3/4 ounce gin
• 3/4 ounce Cointreau or triple sec
• 3/4 ounce Lillet blanc
• 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice.
• 2 dashes absinthe, Herbsaint or other pastis.

Combine in a shaker with cracked ice; shake and strain. Garnish with a lemon rind or a cherry. Do yourself a favor and release the lemon rind’s flavor by lightly toasting the fruit’s exterior skin before adding it to your cocktail.

COCKTAILS | Harvard Cooler is a welcome sign of spring, May 8, 2010
HarvardThe Harvard Cooler, a cocktail comprised of either calvados or applejack, simple syrup, lemon juice and soda.

Picking up the pieces for a small, simple dinner at home the other night, Mrs. F. and I noticed the 2010 issue of Food and Wine’s Cocktail guide. Having had a number of successes with previous editions, we picked it up.

The guide, filled with recipes that require deeply esoteric ingredients I’m not sure I’ll ever get around to sampling let alone acquiring, there is a very nice opening chapter of classics, the recipes for which were assembled Hidetsugu Ueno, chief bartender at Tokyo’s Bar High Five. Ueno, considered the dean of the Japanese cocktail scene, has a number of drinks we intend to try: the Hunter, which mixes bourbon and cherry heering, the Matador, a tequila cocktail, and the Grasshopper, which combines creme de menthe, white creme de cacao and heavy cream.

First on our list, however, was the Harvard Cooler, which combines applejack, calvados or apple brandy with lemon juice, syrup and soda. It’s a very nice warm-season cocktail and proves to me that my bottle of Laird’s will get use the year round. I would like to try this with calvados, however.

I haven’t found much of anything on the genesis of this drink, but given that its base element is apple liquor, I would suspect it was born in either the 1920s or 1930s. Does anyone know?

• 1 3/4 ounce applejack, calvados or apple brandy
• 1/3 ounce lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon simple syrup
• soda


Combine the first three ingredients over ice in a shaker and shake well. Poor into a collins or highball glass and add soda. An optional garnish is a lemon peel. Serve and enjoy.

COCKTAILS | Versatile and classic, the Sazerac is a new favorite, May 2, 2010
Your writer consumed this Sazerac upon his arrival in the Grand Canyon State on Wednesday evening.

When my flight touched down in Tucson at 11:30 local time (2:30 Eastern) last Wednesday, I was ready for a drink. Meeting me at the airport were two of my favorite fellow cocktail aficionados: Mrs. F. and contributing writer Maxwell Eaton III. Max sensed my thirst and had a solution: the Sazerac.

Full disclosure: It is shameful, frankly, that I haven’t written about this drink before. Last weekend, it turned out, was the weekend of the Sazerac. I had at least five of them over the course of the four days we spent in the far southwest for the wedding of Max and his delightful bride, Kristin. Classmates of Mrs. F. (St. Lawrence ‘04), they threw one hell of a party.

Believed by many to be the oldest and first American cocktail — it traces its roots to New Orleans in the 1830s where it was allegedly conceived by Antoine Amédée Peychaud — the Sazerac is a fine drink. As welcome at cocktail hour as it is at last call, it’s one of the most genuinely versatile drinks I’ve written about to date. Refreshing at cocktail hour, the Sazerac is also a magnificent nightcap.

BarMax’s bar setup is quite complete.

Though the primary ingredient today is rye, the drink has, at one time or the other in its storied past, relied on cognac. Other key players are Peychaud’s bitters, simple syrup and Absinthe. The latter can easily be substituted with Herbsaint, Chartreuse or Pernod.

As luck would have it, Max had some absinthe on hand in his remarkably complete home bar. His treatment of our glasses was skilfull — the drink requires that the walls of an old-fashioned glass be lined with a thin blanket of absinthe — and his presentation was textbook (Though, given the late hour, we skipped the lemon-peel garnish).

Max and I agree that there is no such thing as too much Peychaud’s in the Sazerac. We had several rounds of Sazeracs over the course of the weekend at the Hotel Congress, including a rather poorly constructed drink just before he said “I do” to the lovely Kristin, and we kept asking the bartenders for extra bitters. So a bit of advice: be generous with your bitters.

One more idea: If you chose to garnish with a lemon peel, do what Keith, the genius bartender at the Congress does, which is to expose the outside of the lemon to a little flame before adding it to your drink.

• 1 1/2 ounces rye
• Dashes of Peychaud’s
• Sugar cube or 1 ounce of simple syrup
• 1/4 ounce absinthe
• Lemon peel

Line the walls of an old-fashioned glass with Absinthe, being sure to discard any extra liquid: you don’t need any puddling. Muddle the sugar cube and the bitters and add the rye. Put this mixture over ice and stir, serving neat in the old-fashioned glass. Add your lemon garnish and serve.

COCKTAILS | Baker’s Jimmy Roosevelt is a bubbly relief, April 7, 2010
JRsJimmy Roosevelts, champagne cocktails named for FDR’s son.

After a particularly stressful attempt to cross the Hudson to my native New Jersey, in which our car’s tailpipe became dislodged and in which we were stranded in a rain-soaked Fort Lee for the better part of a recent Sunday, it was time for a drink.

To ease our pain, we turned again to Charles H. Baker Jr.’s “Jigger, Beaker and Glass.” Mrs. F., who has never met a glass of champagne she couldn’t tolerate, suggested we look at recipes that relied on the bubbly. Baker offers a range of champagne cocktails, but we zeroed in on one: the Jimmy Roosevelt.

The drink was conceived during Roosevelt’s visit to Java Head, Baker’s Coconut Grove, Fla. residence in the spring of 1938. Baker writes:

“Last spring, we had the pleasure of turning our house into an oasis, between planes, for Colonel Jimmie Roosevelt and Grant Mason of the Civil Aeronautics Commission. No citizen — Republican, Democrat, Townsendite, or any other political breed, can meet Jimmie and not be at once taken with his smile, his sense of humor and hid affable charm. It was warmish and, being a sort of Nephew-in-Law of Paul Garrett, dean of American Vintners, and present “father” of Virgina Dare, we brought out 2 chilled bottles of Garrett Champagne, and created this one.

JimmyRoosevelt, pictured, was the oldest son of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Born in 1907, Jimmy attended Groton, Harvard and the law school at Boston University. His career included stints in the law, the insurance industry and politics. He served as an aide to his father in the 1930s and, at around the time this drink was created, he was working as a producer for Samuel Goldwyn in California. During the war, he served with distinction as a Marine in the Pacific. After the war, he returned to business and politics, running unsuccessfully for governor of California against Earl Warren in 1950. In 1954, he was elected to the House where he served until 1965. He died in Newport Beach, Calif. in 1991.

Back to the drink.

It’s a big one. We used our largest Collins glasses to bring it to life. These, we thought, were the best stand-ins for Baker’s “big 16 ounce thin crystal goblet.” I used cubes of granulated brown sugar as that’s all we had (and all the Bronxville A&P vends). It would seem any Champagne or dry bubbly would do, though I would be sure to use green Chartreuse.

• Lump of sugar, saturated in Angostura
• 2 jiggers of Cognac (3 ounces)
• champagne
• 1/2 ounce Chartreuse

Over the Angostura-saturated cube add ice, preferably semi-crushed, then the Cognac. Top off with champagne and float the Chartreuse on top.

“It is cooling, refreshing, invigorating, a delight to eye and palate,” Baker writes. Indeed it is.

COCKTAILS | Ms. Thomas’ Old Manhattan combines favorites, March 31, 2010
OldManThe so-called Old Manhattan, a hybrid drink concocted by the lovely Heather Thomas.

We gathered some of our closest friends for a session of conviviality to celebrate my recent promotion and schedule change. Among the group who joined us at 1 Cedar was the lovely Heather Thomas.

Mrs. F. had asked our guests to bring along their favorite drinks to share — Clarke brought some red wine, the future Mr. and Mrs. Milligan brought Poor Man’s Martinis (Cans of PBR wrapped in brown bags), Cortney brought along some glorious Russian vodka, Warner bore some Jameson’s and my sister-in-law, Leigh, brought a nice bottle of chardonnay. Heather, however, took the cake, walking in with a handle of Maker’s Mark, a bottle of cherry cordial and the largest bottle of Angostura I’ve ever seen.

With those ingredients, she created a hybrid cocktail the group elected to label the Old Manhattan, as it blended elements of both the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan. Two ingredients really set this very tasty cocktail apart: sour cherry cordial from Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery and Reed’s organic ginger brew.

Following up with me about the drink earlier this week, Heather writes:

“The Sour Cherry cordial is made by Warwick Valley Winery in Warwick Valley, New York. Jeremy Kidde, the husband of my dear friend Heather Lambert Kidde, is a proprietor of WVW. They produce the Black Currant Cordial, Bartlett Pear Liqueur, Sour Cherry Cordial, Bourbon Barrel Aged Apple Liqueur. I tasted each of them on the wine/cordial/whiskey tasting day I spent with Heather at the Winery back on Saturday, March 6.

“I ended up purchasing each of the cordial/liqueurs with the exception of the Barlett Pear Liqueur, which is also good. The Sour Cherry Cordial specifically won ‘Best in Show’ at the Hudson Valley Wine Competition. The description of the cordial, straight from the source, is ‘American Fruits™ Sour Cherry Cordial is an infusion of fresh Montmorency cherries and our own distilled spirit. The resulting cherry cordial boasts aromas and flavors of ripe cherry and cinnamon. Try it on its own, in mixed drinks or for an exciting twist on cherry pie, serve it a la mode with American Fruits cherry Cordial on top.’ They suggest three recipes: Sour Cherry Cosmo, Dirty Shirley, and Cherry Royale.

“WVW brands include the famous Doc’s Draft Hard Cider (which come in the apple, pear, and raspberry variations), and a selection of wines as well. If you’re looking for spots in NYC to purchase their product, you can find the list on their Web site.”

Back to the Old Manhattan. You could probably substitute or drop the cherry cordial and still be happy with this drink. Any cherry liqueur would probably work fine.

• 2 1/2 ounces bourbon
• 2 ounces organic ginger ale
• 1 ounce sour cherry cordial
• 4 dashes of Angostura bitters
• Marashino cherry
• orange peel to garnish

Gather the bourbon, cordial (or substitute) and bitters together and shake over ice. Deposit in an old-fashioned glass over ice and top with ginger ale. Add garnish and serve. Enjoy.

Here’s more on WVW:

Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery
114 Little York Road
Warwick, New York 10990
(845) 258-4858

COCKTAILS | Sail to Bermuda with the Mid-Ocean Highball, March 25, 2010
MOHballThe Mid-Ocean Highball, another classic from Charles F. Baker Jr.

Spring is here and with the welcome change in weather, I’m more interested in cocktails that rely on either tonic water or soda. Charles F. Baker Jr.’s aforementioned “Jigger, Beaker and Glass” offers a wonderful selection of cocktails from warm and exotic climes around the globe.

One such recipe comes from the Mid- Ocean Club in Tucker’s Town, Bermuda. The Mid Ocean Highball was discovered by Baker during a stay on Bermuda in the late 1920s or early 1930s. He writes:

“Not so long ago we went to this charming island with St. Georges as a base camp. We pedalled, sailed, fished and golfed. Swam naked as Adam off small isolated islands with beaches like faintly rose-tinted granulated sugar. The Mid-Ocean Country Club had a gentleman back of mahogany who, then at least, took his art seriously. Actually called it a ‘cocktail.’ Burt MacBride — Associate Editor of Cosmopolitant — who flew down on the first Bermuda Clipper with Pan-American Airways and first told us about the drink, called it a “highball,” but in spite of this odds-on risk, we call it a ‘fizz’ still.

I find the Mid-Ocean somewhere between the highball and the fizz but, regardless of how you choose to classify it, I imagine you’ll still enjoy it. Relying on cognac, French vermouth and gin, it adds soda and a twist of lime to amplify its refreshment. Should you not care for vermouth, as I generally don’t, you may choose to scale its role in the performance back.

• 2 ounces gin
• 3/4 ounce French vermouth
• 3/4 ounce cognac
• Dashes orange bitters
• Soda
• Twist of lime

Gather the gin, vermouth, cognac and bitters together over ice in a shaker and shake well. Strain into a highball glass and add soda and the lime peel. An alternate would be to serve sans ice and soda in a cocktail glass.


COCKTAILS | Blood-orange margarita celebrates citrus, March 15, 2010
MargoWith blood oranges in season, we whipped up some margaritas.

Apologies to regular readers for the long lull. We spent the better part of last week in Sarasota, visiting my brother-in-law and enjoying nominally warmer weather. When we returned, I started a new job as interactivity editor at the paper. On day three, I’m getting a hang of the schedule and am hoping to be posting with regularity this week.

Our equatorial exposure, though, prompted this drink. Blood oranges and Meyer lemons, in my opinion the Cadillacs of citrus, are in season and we stocked up in Sarasota. Once home last week, Mrs. F and I set to work devising a cocktail. The result was a lovely margarita we’ll definitely reprise as the promise of spring grows larger on the horizon.

Prepare yourself: Blood orange juice is tart. We added Meyer lemon to balance it a bit, but it is a margarita after all. To keep things slightly familiar, we added lime juice, too. With a salted rim in margarita glasses brought to us from Zihuatanejo, these were terrific.

• Juice of two blood oranges
• Juice of one Meyer lemon
• Juice of one lime
• 8 ounces tequila
• 2 ounces of either simple syrup or triple sec, depending on your tastes
(Makes 4, divide each element by four to make 1)

• Combine juices together in a mixer over ice and stir. Add tequila and triple sec or syrup, shake and serve over rocks in a salted margarita glass. Enjoy.

COCKTAILS | Green-Eye Daiquiri is hardly a monster, March 2, 2010
ChartreuseThe Green-Eye Daiquiri, a very nice rum refresher.

Last night, rooting around the liquor cabinet, I came across two bottles I don’t rely on all that often: Light rum and Chartreuse. With luck, Mrs. F. and I found a recipe that accommodated them in Kathy Casey’s recent “Sips and Apps.”

I’m not to big on daiquiris — they conjured images of slushie machines at faux tiki nightmares on the gulf coast — but this drink is sophisticated. Relying on the herbal complexities of Chartreuse, lime juice and thyme, the Green-Eye was a pleasant and refreshing surprise. It almost tasted like a gimlet that had been based on herb-infused gin. We thought it could be very nice served with some soda and also, despite my aforementioned disinclination, frozen.

2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 ounces white rum
1/8 ounce green Chartreuse
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
Fresh thyme sprig

Bend 2 thyme sprigs and drop into a cocktail shaker. Press the thyme with a muddler to release the flavor. Fill the shaker with ice. Measure in the rum, Chartreuse, lime juice and sugar. Shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with the remaining thyme.

COCKTAILS | There’s more than Roses for Applejack, Feb. 23, 2010
ApplejackThe Applejack Cocktail, made from a Pegu Club recipe.

The signature cocktail for Applejack is the Jack Rose, a favorite of my grandmother’s that’s enjoyed a nice revival in the last few years. But there are certainly other ways to use Applejack.

One we found was the Applejack Cocktail from the Pegu Club. Another Audrey Saunders miracle, the Applejack Cocktail gets right to the point: it’s all about tasting New Jersey’s finest contribution to the cocktail world. Smelling faintly of apple juice, this drink tasted a lot more like a whiskey cocktail than I’d expected. If you’ve got a bottle of Laird’s lying around for those occasional Roses, give this recipe a whirl.

2 ounces Applejack
1/4 ounce simple syrup
Dashes Angostura bitters
Lemon twist

Combine the Applejack, syrup and bitters in a shaker and stir briskly for about 30 seconds to chill. Serve over a lemon twist in a cocktail glass. Enjoy.

COCKTAILS | High West makes a case for quality Rye, Feb. 16, 2010
RyeHigh West Whiskey’s very excellent Rendezvous Rye.

We spent the holiday weekend in Lake Placid, where we visited with our very good friend and sometime correspondent Jamie Welsh. Welsh, an avid athlete and outdoorsman, has a wide range of interests that include American antiques and fishing. He also has good taste in booze. When we arrived at his lair for cocktails Sunday night, he offered me a glass of High West Whiskey’s Rendezvous Rye. As attentive readers know, I’m more of a Scotch man when it comes to whiskey, but I gladly accepted Jamie’s offer. He’d received the bottle as a gift from another of our friends who spends part of his year in Park City, Utah, the surprising origin for this very fine spirit.

Swell neat or on the rocks, Rendezvous Rye is remarkable in its complexity. Not your average, somewhat bland rye, it packs a powerful palate. The critically-acclaimed whiskey is the deeply complex child of a happy marriage of 16-year-old and 6-year-old ryes. According to High West, “Both contain higher rye content in their mashbills than almost any other rye whiskey you can buy today. While most of today’s rye whiskeys are ‘barely legal,’ with 51-53 percent rye in the mashbill, our 16-year old whiskey contains 80 percent rye, and our 6-year-old boasts an uncommonly high 95 percent rye.” Rendezvous

High West is based in what its owners claim is the only ski-in distillery and gastropub in the world in Park City. Founded by David Perkins, a whiskey aficionado who has a background in biochemistry, High West is definitely on my itinerary for a theoretical trip to Park City.

I strongly recommend Rendezvous, though it’s too complex to be tainted by any mixing. It appears to be widely available in the New York metro area.

See if it’s available near you.

COCKTAILS | Avoid target practice on the Gin-Blind, Feb. 9, 2010
Gin-blindCommander Livesey’s Gin-Blind, a classic from “Jigger, Beaker, and Glass.

After a spate of what might be called nouveau cocktails, it was time to get down to brass tacks. Brass tacks in this case meant a journey back to the 1930s aboard the vessel of “Jigger, Beaker, Glass: Drinking Around the World,” the classic cocktail compendium from Charles H. Baker Jr.

Baker’s menu is extensive, nuanced and downright brilliant. After hours of deliberation yesterday afternoon, I settled on a gin cocktail that draws on Cognac, curacao and orange bitters for support. Baker writes, with apologies to all our copy editors for the minimal punctuation:

“We shall never forget the courteous open-hearted wardroom hospitality of the British navy in Indian waters, and Commander Livesey — together with his charming Australian wife — least of all. Along with another very mentionable discovery Livesey’s head-bearaer — a High-caste high-binder in the Mohammedian priesthood on feast days, was a wizzard with the shaker … Livesey’s words were: “We don’t prescribe this just before target practice, gentlemen.”

Like the menu from which I ordered it, this drink is complicated. Cognac and gin have an interesting interaction that’s bolstered by the orange flavors of the curacao and the bitters. If you’re not interested in gin, in cognac or in orange, though, the Gin-Blind isn’t for you. On the other hand, should you judge your palate to be adventurous, you’ll definitely want to give the Gin-Blind a try.

• 2 1/2 ounces of gin
• 3/4 ounce Cognac
• 1 ounce curacao
• Dashes of orange bitters

• Mix with lots of ice, shake vigorously and serve in a Manhattan glass. A twist of yellow orange peel is optional, to add oil. Enjoy.

COCKTAILS | The Seelbach salutes a venerable Louisville hotel, Feb. 3, 2010
The SeelbachThe Seelbach, the signature cocktail of the eponymous Lousiville hotel.

In our household, your writer is normally responsible for selecting a cocktail recipe and bartending. The other night, however, the tables turned and Mrs. F. did the honors. She selected the Seelbach, a bourbon and champagne cocktail that relies on bitters.

Named for the famed hotel in Louisville, where Fitzgerald is purported to spent some time while writing “The Great Gatsby,” the drink was concocted before the dark hours of Prohibition, likely around 1917. When the shadow of the 18th Amendment descended over the land, the recipe was lost and was not recovered until 1995, when a manager at the hotel came across it. It’s subsequently become a signature drink at the venerable hostelry.

Being that its roots are in the bluegrass, the Seelbach is anchored by bourbon and complimented by both Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters. Champagne and an orange rind top the drink off. Given the connection to the bubbly, this seems to me to be the kind of drink that’d be appropriate at celebratory occasions.

• 1 ounce bourbon
• 1/4 ounce Cointreau
• 7 dashes Angostura
• 7 dashes Peychaud’s
• Champagne
• Orange twist

Combine the first four ingredients in a flute, top with Champagne, garnish with orange twist and serve. Enjoy.

COCKTAILS | Transport your Meyer lemons in a Sidecar, Feb. 1, 2010
MeyerLemonsMeyer lemons deliver an excellent sidecar.

Meyer lemons, a cross between Mandarin oranges and lemons, were brought to the United States from China in 1908 by Frank Meyer, an employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We picked a few up during a recent foraging expedition at Fairway and thought they’d be a terrific addition to a cocktail.

We picked the Sidecar, the Cognac-based classic, to experiment with. The results were wonderful, as the tangerine-tasting Meyer lemon played wonderfully with the cognac and the Cointreau. We strongly recommend this variation.

2 ounces Cognac or brandy
1 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce Meyer lemon juice

Mix the Cognac, Cointreau and Meyer lemon juice together over ice in a shaker and serve in a cocktail glass.


COCKTAILS | U.S., U.K. unity is Old Fashioned, Jan. 26, 2010
BritishOldFashionedThe English Old Fashioned, wherein Bourbon and Pimm’s celebrate the world’s greatest alliance.

Though the relationship has been rocky (There was that whole curfuffle in the 1770s over taxes and who can forget that dreadful War of 1812 incident?), there should be no doubt that when Britannic and American minds work together, civilization is generally preserved. Like so many other Yanks of British extraction, I too have a soft spot for the Old Country, with its royal pratfalls, rainy weekends in the country and affection for the drink.

So it should come as no surprise that I was immediately attracted to the English Old Fashioned, in which Bourbon and Pimm’s affirm the greatest alliance. The creation of Kathy Casey, whose “Sips and Apps” has been a welcome addition to our cocktail library this winter, the English Old Fashioned is definitely worth a try. The botanical flavors of Pimm’s mix well with the Bourbon’s earthy tones. The garnish — an orange slice, a cucumber slice and a cherry — also go miles in this cocktail. I did wonder if this might be a summer selection because of the Pimm’s, but it’s just fine for these colder months, too.

1 thin slice of cucumber
1 orange wedge
1 maraschino cherry
2 ounces bourbon
1/2 ounce Pimm’s No. 1
1 dash Angostura bitters

Muddle the orange, cherry and cucumber together in the bottom of an Old Fashioned glass. Add ice, Bourbon and Pimm’s. Stir thoroughly and serve. Should you take a sweeter Old Fashioned, add a sugar cube before stirring.

COCKTAILS | The Black Feather is worth plucking, Jan. 19, 2010
Black FeatherThe Black Feather, a Cognac-based cocktail, is a new favorite.

As my exploration of the mixology world continues, I’ve become more and more interested in apertifs. About 10 years ago, with the St. Lawrence boys, I went through a brief and undereducated port phase. I haven’t much cared for after-dinner stuff since. But getting into the cocktails this last year, I’m increasingly drawn to drinks that call upon liqueurs to serve as bases.

So I was very attracted to the Black Feather, a Cognac-based cocktail created by Robert Hess. No education in cocktails is complete without a course in Hess, a Microsoft software guru who’s also renowned as an expert on the art of American drinking. He’s the founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail in Las Vegas, had a hand in getting the Chanticleer Society going and is the host of “The Cocktail Spirit,” a wonderful little program on the Small Screen Network.

Created by Hess as his house cocktail, the Black Feather requires all-French ingredients: Cognac, dry vermouth and Cointreau. You’ll see below that there’s quite a bit of vermouth in this drink (Hess is a big vermouth advocate), but you can scale that as you like. Don’t forget your bitters, too.

• 2 ounces Cognac or high-quality brandy
• 1 ounce dry white vermouth
• 1/2 ounce Cointreau
• 1 dash Angostura bitters
• Lemon twist for garnish

Combine Cognac, vermouth and Cointreau in a shaker and stir thoroughly. Serve in a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist, rubbing the edge of the glass with the rind side.

COCKTAILS | The Montreal takes on the Manhattan, Jan. 10, 2010
MontrealA take on the classic Manhattan, the Montreal.

I like a Manhattan here and there, though as my cocktail selections demonstrate, I generally prefer gin- or Scotch-based drinks. That said, Mrs. F. and I both have long family histories with them — her grandmother drank them; my great aunt shook up hers in the back seat of her husband’s car on the way to Maine in the summers — and so we honor tradition from time to time.

Getting the itch to do just that and to use a bottle of Pernod, we took on the Montreal, a Fraco spin on the Manhattan. We used a recipe from Kathy Casey and were suitably impressed. The anise flavor of the Pernod played pretty well, we thought, with the whiskey. The orange rind also adds a welcome bit of flavor.

While we took these over the rocks, they’d probably be fine served up as well.

1 1/2 ounces rye or Canadian whiskey
3/4 ounce red vermouth
1/8 ounce Pernod
3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Orange twist

Fill a shaker with ice and measure in the whiskey, vermouth, Pernod and bitters. Stir and serve up in a cocktail glass or on the rocks in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with the orange twist.

COCKTAILS | Scotch, port take charge in the Chancellor, Jan. 6, 2010
ChancellorThe Chancellor, which is guaranteed to warm even the coldest January night.

As I grow more invested in the creation of good cocktails, I’ve become transfixed by bitters. Angosturra is a key ingredient in so many drinks but, the more time I devote to good drinks, I’ve found I haven’t been operating with all the supplies I need. I recently purchased bottles of both Peychaud’s and Regan’s Orange bitters so my drinks might be a bit more accurate.

With Peychaud’s on hand, I set out to find a good cocktail that required it. I found the Chancellor, whose origins are generally agreed on to be cloudy. Drawing strength from blended Scotch and ruby port, it’s not a drink for the meek. You’ve really got to have an interest in both flavors, I think, for the Chancellor to work. It turns out that I do have those interests and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It’s perfect for these arctic nights of January.

• 2 ounces blended Scotch
• 1 ounce ruby port
• 1/2 ounce red vermouth
• Dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Gather all ingredients over ice in a shaker and either stir or shake. Serve in a cocktail glass.

COCKTAILS | The Pegu Club, a classic gin drink from the east, Dec. 21, 2009
PeguThe Pegu Club Cocktail, a traditional gin cocktail whose recipe was invented at a British officers’ club in colonial Myanmar.

During my recent research on the Old Cuban, the champagne-mojito cocktail served at Bemelman’s Bar, I came across the Pegu Club Cocktail.

Audrey Saunders, who invented the Old Cuban for the Carlyle, named her SoHo joint for this very swell gin number. The drink and the club for which it’s named are legends in cocktail lore. The Pegu Club was an outfit for British officers serving in Burma from the late 1800s until the 1930s or later. Its signature cocktail was this gin drink that draws its strength from the combined and intimidating forces of orange liqueur and lime juice.

As Esquire reported some time ago, the recipe for the Pegu Club Cocktail was first disseminated in 1927 and was further popularized by master mixologist Harry Craddock in 1930.

No matter its storied history, this thing is a minor miracle. It’s really that good and, given the relative similarity of orange liqueurs, it can be produced from the ingredients available in most home bars.

Take a drink and let be a Pegu Club.

• 2 ounces London dry gin
• 3/4 ounce orange curacao
• 3/4 ounce lime juice
• dash Angostura bitters
• dash orange bitters
• Lime twist or wedge

Combine all of the above save the garnish wedge or twist in a cocktail shaker and shake until your fingers feel as though they might fall off. Serve in a cocktail glass and garnish. Word to the wise: Lime twists are minor miracles and require a better-than-average citrus peeler. Be patient and pull slowly down the length of a healthy lime. After you’ve extracted that perfect, dark green peel, twist it around a glass stirrer for an extra flourish.


COCKTAILS | The Old Cuban, a classic from Bemelman’s, Dec. 16, 2009
Old CubanThe Old Cuban, a staple at Bemelman’s Bar.

Bemelman’s at the Carlyle is perhaps my favorite hotel bar in the United States. While its prices make eliminate it from the running as an everyday bar, it’s terrific for special occasions. Decorated with murals painted by Ludwig Bemelman, creator of Madeleine, the place is an icon of old New York.

Among its signature drinks is the Old Cuban, a mojito variant we first enjoyed during an August 2007 visit. Mrs. F. and I reprised this cocktail a few days ago with very happy results. Conceived by Audrey Sanders (before she left the Carlyle to start Pegu . She is now working toward the opening of Tar Pit in Los Angeles.), the Old Cuban mixes dark rum and champagne to excellent effect.

Like so many drinks, the Old Cuban would be as refreshing in the depths of summer as it is in the throes of winter. Our recipe comes from “Meet me in the Bar: Classic Drinks from America’s Historic Hotels.”

• 1 1/2 ounce aged dark rum.
• 1 ounce simple syrup [or less, to taste]
• 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
• 1 dash Angostura [2 works well]
• 6 mint leaves
• Champagne

Muddle the mint, syrup and lime juice in a shaker. Add rum and bitters, and shake with ice, then strain into either a cocktail glass should you prefer it up or into a highball should you prefer it on the rocks. (We liked the latter.) Top with champagne, garnish with mint leaf or a sugar-coated vanilla bean.

COCKTAILS | The Knickerbocker adds a little red to the Martini, Dec. 9, 2009
KnickThe Knickerbocker, a variant of the classic gin Martini.

After a long haul at the paper, there’s nothing better to forgive the day’s various petty injustices like a dry Martini. That first cool whisper of gin sets aside all the aggravation and begins a cycle of well-deserved relaxation. It is a ritual I cherish.

It’s also a ritual that can use a little change from time to time. And so, last night, after slogging through a day on our business and sports desks, I turned to the Knickerbocker.

Essentially a dry martini with a splash of red vermouth, the Knickerbocker’s origins are mysterious. It seems like the kind of concoction that would have been enjoyed my journalistic forebears during Prohibition. I suspect it might be named for the Hotel Knickerbocker where an Italian bartender named Martini di Arma di Taggia allegedly gave birth to the holiest of mixed drinks.

There’s also another, older Knickerbocker recipe that calls for rum, curacao and raspberry syrup, but it seems a bit summery and will have to wait until 2010.

This Knickerbocker has its charms, especially for vermouth lovers. I prefer my martinis dry as a bone — I use atomizers to dust my glass with vermouth, if I use any at all. This may be my St. Lawrence roots speaking. There’s an old anecdote about some ancient alumni at Canaras, our Upper Saranac Lake retreat, who, at cocktail hour each summer night, are alleged to have waved their glasses east toward France and Italy to acknowledge the vermouth before diving straight in with beautiful, ice cold gin. Still, the Knickerbocker is worth a try to vary your routine.

2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce of dry vermouth (or less!)
Dashes of red vermouth

Add all ingredients to ice in a shaker. Shake, serve and enjoy.
KnickThe Knickerbocker, a variant of the classic gin Martini.

After a long haul at the paper, there’s nothing better to forgive the day’s various petty injustices like a dry Martini. That first cool whisper of gin sets aside all the aggravation and begins a cycle of well-deserved relaxation. It is a ritual I cherish.

It’s also a ritual that can use a little change from time to time. And so, last night, after slogging through a day on our business and sports desks, I turned to the Knickerbocker.

Essentially a dry martini with a splash of red vermouth, the Knickerbocker’s origins are mysterious. It seems like the kind of concoction that would have been enjoyed my journalistic forebears during Prohibition. I suspect it might be named for the Hotel Knickerbocker where an Italian bartender named Martini di Arma di Taggia allegedly gave birth to the holiest of mixed drinks.

There’s also another, older Knickerbocker recipe that calls for rum, curacao and raspberry syrup, but it seems a bit summery and will have to wait until 2010.

This Knickerbocker has its charms, especially for vermouth lovers. I prefer my martinis dry as a bone — I use atomizers to dust my glass with vermouth, if I use any at all. This may be my St. Lawrence roots speaking. There’s an old anecdote about some ancient alumni at Canaras, our Upper Saranac Lake retreat, who, at cocktail hour each summer night, are alleged to have waved their glasses east toward France and Italy to acknowledge the vermouth before diving straight in with beautiful, ice cold gin. Still, the Knickerbocker is worth a try to vary your routine.

2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce of dry vermouth (or less!)
Dashes of red vermouth

Add all ingredients to ice in a shaker. Shake, serve and enjoy.

COCKTAILS | Ice Blue proves a cool customer, Dec. 7, 2009
Ice BlueThe Ice Blue is a signature drink at the Fairmont Copley Plaza’s Oak Bar in Boston.

I love hotel bars. This may come from accompanying my parents to the bar at the Palmer House in Chicago as a young child. It just seemed all so sophisticated. Later, in college, during a train trip across Canada as part of a course, our group stayed in Fairmonts from Toronto to Vancouver. While we were sure to find top-notch pubs featuring the Great White North’s finest brews, we were also dedicated to the bars in each of the beautiful old places we stayed.

So when I started dating Mrs. F., I was particularly taken with a book she had, “Meet me in the Bar: Classic Drinks from America’s Historic Hotels.” Written by Thomas Connors, an editor at Playbill, and published in 2003, “Meet Me” is a wonderful little compendium of histories of and anecdotes about some of the great American hotel bars.

Among these is the Oak Bar at the Fairmont Copley Plaza. My parents stay at the Copley when they head to Beantown, though I’ve never been there. I asked my father today if he’d heard of this drink in any of the times he’s stayed there. He hadn’t. And, he asked, “blue curacao?”

Yes, blue curacao. I was just as skeptical. But we did have a bottle on hand, and so, when it came time to shake a few drinks up a few days ago, Mrs. F. and I settled on this recipe. Curacao, of course, is an orange-based liquor and, with that in mind, you can rest a little easy about using it. It adds a nice, if deep, citrus bite to drinks. Combined here with a bit of lemon-flavored vodka, it yielded a nice warmth for these increasingly cooler nights.

3 ounces vodka
3/4 blue curacao

Shake ingredients together and serve over lemon twists. Enjoy.

COCKTAILS | ‘Jigger, Beaker & Glass’ reviewed, Dec. 1, 2009
JBG“Jigger, Beaker & Glass,” a classic compendium of cocktail recipes from around the globe.

Editor’s Note: Maxwell Eaton III, our favorite childrens’ author and a member of the St. Lawrence Class of 2004, makes his debut as a contributor to with this post. A native Vermonter, he and his fiancee, the lovely Kristin Sadue, reside in the wilds of Arizona.

Maxwell Eaton III Contributing Writer

I recently picked up a copy of “Jigger, Beaker &Glass: Drinking Around the World” after seeing a brief piece on the author, Charles H. Baker Jr., in he Atlantic. Unfortunately, due to deadlines of the kiddie book variety, I was forced to shelve the book until this past Saturday when I finally found the opportunity to take a look. Of course, when thinking hard on one vice it can be useful to employ another for the proper perspective, so I grabbed a favorite Peterson pipe and made myself comfortable on the back porch for an extended Sonoran Desert sit.

Originally published in 1939 under the title, “A Gentleman’s Companion, Vol. 2″, “JB&G” is a sort of travelogue of mixed drinks written in a time when “cigarettes were smoked and martinis drunk, all in quick succession and with few apologies.” The recipes are thrown into the book with little or no organization — much like the author’s experiences — and each drink is accompanied by a brief anecdote about a run-in with a drunk Russian prince or how their steamer ran aground resulting in a five day bender. Think Mr. Boston meets “The Thin Man” and they’re bound for Ceylon with a warehouse full of booze on board.

Between many of the concoctions Baker finds room for his own brand of delicate declaration. Early on he reminds the reader that “…the American has invented, and always will invent more of the world’s good mixed drinks than all the rest of humanity lumped together…” If American writers can be divided into red skins and pale skins, then we know which camp Baker was mixing for. The author was doubtlessly writing while knee-deep in the field.

After a few hundred pages of crisscrossing the globe while seemingly in search of every drink that could possibly contain egg white and absinthe, Baker lays down a brief section on the more practical points of A Drinking Life. These include a traveling equipment list (don’t forget your mix-master and spice jars), how to clean up broken crystal (when your porter just can’t be found) and cures for routine occupational hazards like “amoebic alimentary disorders,” bloodshot eyes, hiccups, concussions, poisonings, and the odd attempted suicide by hanging. Not surprisingly at this point, most of the solutions involve either brandy or pure grain alcohol. But always one to play it safe, Baker likes to at least let his readers know what he or she might be in for. In the case of his Pink Lady No. 1 he advises “This is a drink of considerable shocking power, and after consumption keep out of the sun and in touch with friends.” Sound advice.

Despite the fact that every day of the week was a Morning After for Baker (half of his formulas are hangover cures) he maintains that “decent libation supports as many million souls as it threatens; donates pleasure and sparkle to more lives than it shadows; inspires more brilliance in the world of art, music, letters and common ordinary intelligent conversation than it dims…” Papa don’t got a problem. He just got sparkle.

After setting down “J,B&G,” you’ll either feel like beefing up the home bar or swearing the junk off for good. If it’s a case of the latter, you might first try mixing up a cup of Morning Doctor:

Take 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 jiggers of good brandy, a trifle over a cup of very fresh milk, and a teaspoon of sugar, and beat the whole business with an egg beater.

Here’s to decent libation. Cheers.

COCKTAILS | Gin fizz is a refreshing addition to the repetoire, Nov. 25, 2009
Gin FizzThe Gin Fizz, a cocktail classic since at least the 1880s.

Fan that I am of a Tom Collins, the Gin Fizz seemed a natural cocktail to attempt. Having all its ingredients on hand was also a boon, but all in all, Mrs. F and I enjoyed these classic American cocktails. Refreshing, they’d be swell day cocktails on the lake in summer or welcome after a long, hard ski in the winter.

Fizz recipes first appeared in Jerry Thomas’ seminal 1887 “Bartender’s Guide,” and have remained steady pillars of the cocktail community since. The Gin Fizz is also connected to the equally classic Ramos Gin Fizz, pioneered in 1888 by Henry Ramos at Meyer’s Restaurant in New Orleans. Ramos’ drink throws lime juice, orange flower water and egg white into the mix; the Gin Fizz is a simplified attempted at his concoction.

2 ounces gin
1 ounce lemon juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup
1 bar or teaspoon of powdered sugar

Combine the gin, lemon juice, syrup and sugar and a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake vigorously and serve into a Collins glass. Top with soda and serve. Enjoy.

COCKTAILS | Get yourself Between the Sheets, Nov. 23, 2009
BTWNOne of the better cocktails we’ve tried in the last few weeks is ‘Between the Sheets.’

Taken from an old recipe used in the 1930s at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, Between the Sheets is a very lovely Sidecar-inspired cocktail that happily adds gin into the mix.

Built of equal parts gin, cognac, Cointreau (or triple sec) and lemon juice, we thought the Sheets was a drink that really has no season. Obviously the climate in Jerusalem is considerably milder than the northeast’s, but we thought this drink would be as pitch perfect at a June garden party as it is at a November supper.

3/4 ounce cognac
3/4 ounce gin
3/4 ounce Cointreau
3/4 ounce lemon juice

Combine the four ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice, shake vigorously and serve in a cocktail class.

COCKTAILS | The Jack Rose and Antoine’s Smile both delight, Nov. 16, 2010
The SmileJerseywoman that she was, my grandmother had an abiding affection for Jack Rose cocktails. Coming of age during prohibition in the 1920s, the first liquor she might have tasted could have been “Jersey lightning,” or unaged applejack.

With this in mind, I’d been meaning to pick up a bottle of either applejack or calvados for the better part of a year. Two weeks ago, on a liquor run to Stew Leonard’s, I came across Laird’s and struck. The Laird family has been devoted to apples and their distillation since 1698, when William Laird first distilled applejack in Monmouth, N.J. In 1780, the Lairds became the first licensed distillery in America and today, they continue their family tradition at Scobeyville, N.J., a hamlet in Monmouth County’s Colts Neck Township.

With Laird’s added to the bar, we whipped up some Jack Roses with Charles Schumann’s recipe, which calls for a blend of apple jack, lime juice and grenadine. They were swell. Last night, we tried a variant, Antoine’s Smile, a specialty at Antoine’s, the New Orleans institution.

I’ve never been to Antoine’s — call me a Galatoire’s or Arnaud’s man — but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the place or its bar. After all, it’s the oldest family-run restaurant in the country. The Smile is allegedly the creation of Antoine Alcatoire, who founded the venerable restaurant on Rue St. Louis in the 1840. The Smile substitutes the Rose’s lemon juice with lime and yields a much subtler and frankly, more sophisticated result.

Still, we strongly recommend both.

2 1/2 ounces applejack
3/4 ounces lemon juice
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
Dashes grenadine

Mix all ingredients over cracked ice, shake thoroughly and serve into a cocktail glass. Garnish, if you like, with a slice of MacIntosh or Empire.

For the Smile, substitute the lemon juice with lime juice and drop the sugar.

COCKTAILS | Loch Lomonds summon Scotland, Oct. 20, 2009
llomondThe Loch Lomond is the latest addition to our fall cocktail repertoire.

“Oh, ye’ll tak’ the high road, and I’ll tak’ the low road,
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye;
But me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.”

For the uninitiated, those are the lyrics to “Loch Lomond,” the traditional Scottish tune that, after a couple of Scotches, might produce tears from even the sternest old Presbyterian.

Loch Lomond, the fabled Scottish lake, has also lent its name to the booze. It’s Captain Haddock’s favorite brand of amber in Hergé’s “Tintin” series.

It’s also a very decent Scotch-based cocktail. So decent that like the old tune it shares a name with, it summons thoughts of the old country.

More complicated versions abound on the interwebs, but Mrs. F. and I found satisfaction with this recipe, which calls a nice combination of simple syrup, bitters and good, old fashioned blended Scotch. The recipe comes from the “New York Bartender’s Guide,” which we picked up a few years ago when Mrs. F. was completing her graduate work in Albany.

The syrup and the bitters combine with the good stuff for a nice, warming fall drink.


2 1/2-3 ounces Scotch
1-1 1/2/ ounce part simple syrup
3-5 dashes bitters

Mix the three ingredients over ice in a shaker, shake vigorously and serve.

COCKTAILS | Scotch Sours kept us warm this week, Oct. 16, 2009
ScotchSourThe Scotch Sour, a favorite of the old times on Hayes Street in Lake Placid.

To combat the autumn chill these last few nights, Mrs. F. and I turned to an old and reliable friend, the whiskey sour.

A favorite of our very good friend Vince, who passed away a little more than a year ago, it’s a classic American cocktail that can trace its roots to the pioneering mixology magician Jerry Thomas. Vince mixed these up regularly in his Lake Placid kitchen, relying on Bourbon or Tennessee whiskey as his main ingredient Given our household propensity for Scotch, we called on a Charles Schumann recipe that’s a variant on the traditional.

2 ounces Scotch (use a blend — no need to waste the good stuff!)
1 ounce Lemon juice
1/4 ounce simple syrup
1 teaspoon or barspoon of powdered sugar

Mix ingredients in a shaker and stir or shake. Serve over ice in a tumbler, garnishing, if you like, with a cherry.

COCKTAILS | Boss Tweed may weed out corruption, Oct. 5, 2009
Boss TweedThe Boss Tweed, a hearty cocktail for the season.

This weekend, Mrs. F. was recovering from a particularly brutal week in non-profit world, one that included a whirlwind trip to our nation’s capital, and was fighting a cold.

She needed a drink that might soothe her persistent cough. She needed a drink that packed enough punch to knock out a phalanx of germs. She needed a stiff one.

So we turned to the Boss Tweed, a literal punch in the face from the late Blue Mill Tavern of Commerce Street. Blending Scotch and Rum (to destroy the germs) with the soothing powers of brandy, lemon juice, bitters and syrup, the Boss Tweed did the unexpected and weeded out corruption instead of predictably wallowing in it.

Perfect for fall nights with no plans, the Boss Tweed will set you at ease with speed.

• 1 ounce Scotch
• 1 ounce Brandy
• 1 ounce light rum
• 1 1/2 ounces fresh lemon juice
• 1 ounce simple syrup
• Dashes of Angosturra bitters

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and deliver to ice-filled highballs. Serve.

COCKTAILS | Highland’s Fall defends against autumn’s chill, Sept. 18, 2009
HFallThe Highland’s Fall, as prepared recently by Mrs. F.

Mrs. F. and I heartily endorse a cocktail recipe published in the October issue of Bon Appetit. The Highland’s Fall, conceived by Chicago mixologist, Peter Vestinos, fuses two of our favorite flavors: Scotch and elderflower liqueur. Lemon juice is added to this delicious mix and to brilliant effect. This is a perfect drink for the fast-approaching fall.

• Smoky, single-malt Scotch (such as Highland Park or Laphroaig; we used Dalwhinnie)
• 1/4 cup blended Scotch (such as Dewar’s, the Grouse or Cutty)
• 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1 1/2 tablespoons St-Germain (elderflower liqueur)
• Ice cubes

Rinse a coupe (or a cocktail glass, as we did) with smoky Scotch. Place all remaining ingredients in cocktail shaker. Cover and shake vigorously 20 times. Strain into prepared coupe and serve.

COCKTAILS | Honey Deuce celebrates the U.S. Open, Sept. 10, 2009
HDThe Honey Deuce, a vodka-based cocktail that’s the signature drink of the U.S. Open.

While we felt paying $13 for spiked lemonade was a bit much during our visit last week to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., we weren’t entirely opposed to recreating drink at home.

The Honey Deuce, the signature drink of the U.S. Open for three years now, is a very easy to drink summer beverage. While it’s sold with Grey Goose vodka in Flushing, any will do. The key ingredient, we found, was Chambord, the raspberry liqueur, of which only a splash is required. I don’t mind the honey dew-melon garnish; Mrs. F. said she could do with out it.

As the action in Arthur Ashe and Louis Armstrong stadiums heats up this weekend, you’ll do well to whip up a few of these as you watch Serena Williams do battle with Kim Clijsters and Djokovich take on Federer, all while mourning the ouster Melanie Oudin (whose father, John, graduated from St. Lawrence in 1981!).

Crushed ice
2 ounces vodka (Grey Goose or any other will do)
Dash chambord
Honey Dew melon balls

• Fill a Collins glass with crushed ice, topping with 2 ounces vodka and filling with lemonade.
• Add splash of Chambord, melon garnish, stir and serve.

COCKTAILS | A nostalgic cooler for the 140th running of the Travers Stakes, Aug. 29, 2009
TraversThe Travers Cooler, official cocktail of the Travers Stakes.

It’s Travers Day, the highlight of the annual Saratoga Race Meeting. The 140th Travers Stakes, the oldest American stakes race that’s run most years since 1864, will take off at 5:46 p.m. this afternoon. Mine that Bird and Rachel Alexandra, stars of this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, will not race in the 2009 Travers. Summer Bird, the Belmont Champion, will pursue the $1 million purse.

Despite a damp, cool forecast for the Spa City, thousands of people at the race course will be enjoying Travers Coolers, the race’s new official cocktail. The winner of a 2008 contest sponsored by the Times Union, the Travers Cooler, with its mint and lemonade flavors, strikes an almost nostalgic note for the summer that’s passed us by.

Easy to make, they’ll keep satisfy any thirst.

2 parts lemon vodka
1 part triple sec
Lemonade, preferrably homemade
7 mint leaves
Lemon wedge or slice for garnish

Muddle mint 5 mint leaves in bottom of glass. Add ice, vodka, triple sec and lemonade. Shake, pour into rocks glass and garnish with remaining 2 mint leaves and lemon.

COCKTAILS | Watermelon Smash offers refreshment on the dog days of summer, Aug. 13, 2009
SmashTo beat the recent heat, we jumped into a couple of Watermelon Smashes.

Mrs. F. likes having watermelon around the house in the summer and while she enjoys it more than I do — bad memories of subversive campers spitting seeds at me, their counselor, still haunt me — we’ve enjoyed putting the season’s bounty to work in a cocktail.

We modified a recipe from Seablue, the Las Vegas restaurant, and came up with a refreshing summer cocktail. One warning — be sure to use a seedless watermelon.

1 cup cubed, seedless watermelon
1 1/2 ounces vodka (pepper-flavored can work, too)
1/2 ounce simple syrup

Muddle the watermelon in a cocktail shaker, adding the vodka simple syrup and ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass. Enjoy.

COCKTAILS | Blood orange punch does the trick in any season, July 17, 2009
Blood OrangeA bottle of Blood Orange soda led to this rum punch.

You typically think of Blood Orange punches and cocktails around the holidays. Given the pleasure Mrs. F. and me have derived from Paloma Coolers, I thought it might be interesting to try a blood-orange cooler. In the end, though, we decided the soda was probably a bit more fit for a punch and so we ended up with a summerized version of the holiday classic.

2 ounces rum
1/2 ounce triple sec
1/2 ounce lime juice
Dashes bitters
Blood orange soda
Lime wedges

Fill a Collins glass or other tall cocktail glass with ice and add ingredients, topping off with as much soda as you’d like. Garnish with lime wedge and serve. Enjoy.

COCKTAILS | John Daly is a perfect foil for summer heat, July 7, 2009
John DalyThe John Daly, an alcoholic version of an Arnold Palmer, the classic summer combination of lemonade and iced tea.

Named for the tour veteran whose personal life has played out like the lyrics of a country music song, this drink proved popular over our weekend in Lake Placid.

Our dear friend Johnny, who loves experimenting with mixology, whipped a group of these together on Saturday to universal delight. If you like half-and-halfs, then you’re going to have an instant affinity for these hard versions.

2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce triple sec
3 ounces iced sweet tea
3 ounces lemonade

Add ice to a tall collins glass or to a pint glass, as seen above. Add ingredients, stir and serve with garnish of lemon and, if available, mint leaves.

COCKTAILS | The Buckingham packs a royal punch, July 1, 2009
The Buckingham
The Buckingham, a cocktail of yore.

After a long night at the paper earlier this week, I jumped into a Buckingham, a delicious combination of two of my favorite vices: Scotch and Gin. It never occurred to me to bring these titans of tippling together in a single, knockout cocktail. It had occurred, however, to Salvatore Bertocci, head barman at the old Savoy Plaza in the 1950s. (The Savoy Plaza, you’ll remember, figured in an episode of Mad Men last season.) I came across Bertocci’s recipe for a Buckingham, which is basically a martini with a splash of Scotch, in the Fall 1955 number of Gentry, my new magazine obsession.

I’ll admit that combining these venerable vices was intimidating me for much of the last week. It took a particularly difficult campaign at the shop to get up the gumption to fire up a Buckingham. The result, though, wasn’t as overpowering as I’d meekly anticipated. It’s a smooth, soothing drink that’s probably best for the fall — it’ll warm you right up — but that’s still a good cure for a long day in any season.

• 2 ounces gin
• Dash of scotch
• Vermouth (optional)


• Combine ingredients in shaker, stir or shake over ice, serve in chilled cocktail glass.

COCKTAILS | Schuylkill Rum Punch packs a good one, June 18, 2009
Schuylkill Rum Punch offers a taste of the islands that’s perfect for summer.

We gave this rum punch recipe a go the other night and both me and Mrs. F. were impressed. Named for Philadelphia’s major river, the drink comes from Jake’s, a restaurant in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia.

By accident and by good fortune, we inadvertently added grapefruit juice to the mix. It was a good decision. The drink benefits from a lively interaction of citrus flavors, all of which complement the key ingredient: good spiced rum.

Be warned: We’d only recommend one or two of these easy-to-drink-but-still high-powered bad boys.

• Ice
• 2 ounces spiced rum
• 1/2 ounce Cointreau or other triple sec
• 2 1/2 ounces fresh orange juice
• 1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
• 2 1/2 ounces pineapple juice
• 1/4 ounce grendadine
• Marachino cherry and orange slice (optional) for garnish

Gather all ingredients over ice in a shaker, shake vigorously and pour over ice in a tall highball or collins glass. Garnish and serve.

COCKTAILS | Basil-infused Sidecar ushers in summer, June 11, 2009
JB CombineThe JB Combine, a basil-infused Sidecar, combines gin, lemon and herbal flavors for an easy-to-palate summer drink.

Despite the gloom of the last week’s rain and mugginess, we’ve been thinking forward to a warmer, drier summer. With that in mind, last night Mrs. F. and I shook up a few JB Combines. The drinks, devised at Alto on East 53rd Street, are basically basil-infused Sidecars in which the brandy is substituted with gin. You might also interpret them as interpretations of Southsides, with basil subbed for mint.

They’re delicious, frankly, and well worth your time. If you grow basil, you should have no problem enjoying this drink all through the summer.

• 4 to 6 basil leaves
• 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
• 3/4 ounce simple syrup
• 2 ounces gin
• Ice

• In a shaker, muddle all but one of the basil leaves, reserving that last one for garnish, with simple syrip and lemon juice.
• Add ice, gin, shake and serve, adding the basil leaf and a lemon twist as garnish.

COCKTAILS | Pimm’s arrives for the summer, June 2, 2009
Pimm'sPimm’s Cup Cocktail and Pimm’s No. 1.

Mrs. F. and I had our first Pimm’s Cup cocktails of the summer season the other night and, as we are every summer, we were amazed at how refreshing these drinks can be. Topped with lemonade and ginger ale and garnished with cucumber as they are at Napoleon’s in New Orleans, there’s nothing better on a sweltering afternoon.

Pimm’s No. 1 Cup, a gin-based liqueur, has been produced in England since 1823. The firm once distilled six varieties of the concoction, marrying a mixture of quinine and herbs to whisky, rum, brandy, rye and vodka. The brandy version, No. 3, is seasonally available. No. 6, based in vodka, is allegedly available, if rarely, in England.

The gin-based version, No. 1, is obviously the most popular and is a signature at British events like Wimbledon and Henley. My mother, who spent summers in the old country in the late 1960s, has very fond memories of Pimm’s cocktails being packed not just with booze and soda but also with herbs and fruit. She prefers a very complicated version that features muddled lovage, lemonade, Seven-Up, orange slices and cucumber spears. She serves hers with straws of Lovage stalk, which is hollow.

A simpler version, I believe, yields the same result.

Ingredients and directions
• 2 1/2 ounces Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
• 1 ounce lemonade (optional)
• 4 ounces ginger ale or Seven-Up
• Orange, lemon and cucumber slices.

Combine ingredients in tall cocktail glass over ice. Add slices for garnish, stir and serve. Enjoy.

COCKTAILS | Tom Collins is classic cool, May 14, 2009
Tom Collins
The Tom Collins, left, was a favorite around my sophomore and junior years at St. Lawrence. Leifer and I went through a period where our recycling donations in the Sykes trashroom included an equal number of spent Holland House Tom Collins mixers and bottles of Blue. Our teeth surely suffered during this phase as the commercially-marketed Collins mixers are the tartest sugar water I’ve ever encountered.

Made correctly, though, with fresh ingredients, the Tom Collins becomes something altogether than the SweetTart smasher we drank in Canton. Realizing yesterday that all the essential ingredients were on hand — Gin, soda water, lemon juice and fresh fruit — we set to making legitimate Collinses. The result was a delicious and downright refreshing spring cocktail. While primarily made with Gin, the Collins formula can be applied to just about any libation: Vodka, Rum (both light and dark), all matter of whisk(e)ys, Cognac, Tequila and even Apple Brandy can be substituted.

The drink originated, per popular cocktail legend, in 1876 at the hands of pioneering American bartender Jerry Thomas.

I think garnish is particularly important and would recommend using both lemon and orange juices as well as the requisite Maraschino cherry.

• 2 ounces Gin (or literally whatever other poison you’d pick)
• 1 ounce Lemon juice
• 1 ounce simple syrup
• Soda
• Cherry
• Lemon and orange wedges

Combine alcohol, syrup and lemon juice over four to five ice cubes in a Collins glass. Top off with Soda, add garnish, stir and serve. Enjoy.

COCKTAILS | Chill out with Paloma Coolers, May 9, 2009
The Paloma Cooler.

Last spring, when ideas for this blog were still germinating, Mrs. F. and I happened upon Bunny Tomerlin. Chock full of style, Tomerlin’s site included posts on everything from rain boots to rum. Sadly, she threw in the towel last fall.

Among the gems she posted about was this cocktail, a refreshing twist on the stock margarita. The recipe, a Google search determines, comes from Martha Stewart. No matter. It’s a good one.

1 1/2 ounces tequila (any kind works; Martha recommends a silver variety)
3 ounces graperfruit soda (authentic Mexican sodas can be had in some areas of the metro area; we’ve used Izze)
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 lime wedge
Kosher salt

• Salt the rim of a large Collins glass, or, if you’re feeling particularly thirsty, a pint glass (If so, you’ll want to go up to 2 ounces or more of tequila and 4 ounces or more of gradepfruit soda).
• Add ice (at least four cubes), tequila, lime juice and soda.
• Add lemon wedge as garnish, stir and serve.

COCKTAILS | Hemingway’s gin and tonic, April 28, 2009
GT The mercury pushed past 90 here in Bronxville today for the third time in four days. With the uncomfortable warmth — I can’t abide the muggy days that so define metropolitan summers — came the decision to enjoy a seminal summer cocktail. Today marked my first gin and tonic and, for the sake of this feature, I elected to use a recipe favored by Thomas Hudson, the hero of Hemingway’s posthumous “Islands of the Stream,” published in 1970.

In the early pages of the novel’s first part, the book’s key character, an American artist named Thomas Hudson ducks into a Bimini bar for a cocktail:

Thomas Hudson went into the bar where it was cool and almost dark after the glare of the coral road and had a gin and tonic water with a piece of lime peel in the glass and a few dashes of Angostura in the drink. Mr. Bobby was behind the bar looking terrible. Four Negro boys were playing billiards, occasionally lifting the table when necessary to bring off a difficult carom. The singing had stopped upstairs and it was very quiet in the room except for the click of the balls. Two of the crew of the yacht that was tied up in the slip were at the bar and as Thomas Hudson’s eyes adjusted to the light it was dim and cool and pleasant. Louis came downstairs.

IslandsThat’s a great passage, no? Hemingway wrote much of the novel in 1950 and 1951 but only ever sought to publish its fourth part, “The Old Man and the Sea.” His wife, Mary Welsh Hemingway, located the first three parts of the novel, titled “Bimini,” “Cuba,” and “At Sea,” respectively, after the author’s 1961 suicide in Idaho.

At any rate, I first used this recipe in the spring of 2004 and served it to Mrs. F. on the night of our first date in Lake Placid. It’s so obviously simple that I’ve gone back to it again and again these last few summers.

2 ounces gin
3 ounces tonic
2 lime wedges
Dashes Angostura bitters

Add ice, gin, tonic, lime and bitters to Collins glass and that order. Serve.

COCKTAILS | Grapefruit-basil and Bullshots, April 13, 2009
Grapefruit-basil cocktail, taken from JSix in San Diego.

We’ve tried two new cocktail recipes this week. The first, the Grapefruit-basil concoction seen above, combined two flavors Mrs. F and I both enjoy. Served with shaken vodka and simple syrup, it’s an ideal drink for a spring or summer supper of salads and heavy hors d’oeuvres. The recipe comes from JSix, a lounge in San Diego’s gaslight district.

The second is a bit more of a classic, the Bullshot. I hadn’t had one of these in about four years — the last I can remember was at Station Street Grille in Lake Placid on an ugly spring Sunday. We made both the Bullshot, seen at left, and its sister, the Bloody Bull, during Saturday afternoon’s Masters action. We used recipes from “Tea Time at the Masters,” the classic cookbook assembled by the Junior League of Augusta, Ga.

Here are the recipes:

Grapefruit-basil cocktail
If you like basil and you like grapefruits, you’ll probably like them together. The herb-fruit combination seems a bit odd at the outset, but we were pleased with the result.

Warning: If you don’t care for pulp, you definitely won’t take to this vodka-based cocktail, as bits of grapefruit meat harbor little bits of juice and flavor.

• 1/4 fresh grapefruit, unpeeled and cut into pieces
• 3 basil leaves
• 2 1/2 ounces vodka
• 1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
• Ice

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the grapefruit with two of the basil leaves. Add the vodka, Simple Syrup and ice; shake well. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with the remaining basil.

Much loved by the playwright Noel Coward, whose “Blythe Spirit” is currently enjoying a revival on Broadway, the Bullshot is a morning or brunch drink that’s been a standard for years. As we sat down to watch Kenny Perry’s dazzling Saturday round, I had a Bullshot while Mrs. F. tried a Bloody Bull, which is a Bloody Mary with beef bouillon added to the mix.

• 3 oz vodka
• 4 oz strong, cold beef bouillon
• salt
• pepper
• celery salt

Combine vodka and beef bouillon with four ice cubes in a mixing glass. Add salt, pepper and celery salt to taste, stir, and strain into Collins glass. Be mindful to stir, not shake — shaking will yield an ugly froth.


COCKTAILS | Matadors, Salty Dogs and Basil Gimlets, March 26, 2009
The Matador, a rum cocktail from Taurus, a bar in Atlanta.

We experimented with three cocktails this week largely because Mrs. F. and I both felt like we needed a drink. News came on Monday that Gannett is asking all its employees to take a second furlough, or unpaid week off, between April 1 and June 30. To top that off, they froze wages until March 2010. Great times.

Mrs. F., an MTA commuter, is faced with the terrific fare increase everyone in the metropolitan area is grousing about.

This week, we felt we earned our cups.

The Salty Dog
While Bloody Marys are my go-to morning and afternoon cocktail, I do enjoy a Cape Codder or a Greyhound. I’ve been drinking a lot Grapefruit juice these last few weeks and felt the urge to try another cocktail that called for it.

The Salty Dog, left, differs from the Greyhound on two key points. It’s mixed with gin as opposed to vodka and it’s typically served with a salted rim. Served in a tall Collins glass, it can be prepared either by shaking or stirring.

5 ounces grapefruit juice
1 1/2 ounces gin
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh-squeeze lime juice

Salt the rim of a Collins glass with a lime wedge and fill it with ice, leave the lime rind in the bottom of the glass. Add gin, grapefruit juice and stir. Or add ice, gin, and grapefruit juice to shaker, shake and serve.

The Matador
The Matador, seen above, was our pre-dinner cocktail on Tuesday night. Neither Mrs. F. or I are big rum drinkers and that may be why we were left largely disappointed by this cocktail, which we felt tasted almost like water with bitters.

The drink comes from Taurus, a much heralded restaurant in Atlanta.

3 ounces light rum
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters
Olives (optional garnish)

Fill a shaker with the rum, vermouth and bitters, shake vigorously and serve over ice in a highball glass.

Worth a try, we concluded, it you love rum.

Basil gimlet
The basil gimlet, an Italian spin on the gin-based classic.

Last night, we happily dove into the basil gimlet, a drink concocted at Boston’s Via Matta.

Served with vodka or gin, this cocktail offers an excellent thoroughfare on which to drink your way into summer. We tried it with both vodka and gin in successive rounds and were impressed with the way both liquors interacted with the basil. The latter’s flavoring was definitely more prominent in the vodka version. It created a very interesting, herbal taste to the gin-based drink. Again, you’ll be happy either way.

4 large basil leaves
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
2 1/2 ounces vodka or gin
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice

Place three of the basil leaves in the bottom of a shaker, add simple syrup and muddle until leaves are torn. Add ice, lime juice and vodka or gin, shake and serve with the remaining basil leaf as a garnish.

COCKTAILS | Savannah’s on my mind, March 5, 2009
The Savannah.

We jumped into these refreshing, think-spring cocktails the other night and were very pleased with the result. They’re a Caribbean twist on the Caipirinhas with the addition of Coconut water which can mix with just about anything. We got on to the recipe through a 2006 Food and Wine cocktail guide my mother gave me when I was still living in Lake Placid. Unlike the Caipirinhas (Copy editors must love that word!), these are served up. The bits of coconut are wonderful little surprises.

The recipe comes from Firefly , a craft restaurant near DuPont Circle in our nation’s capital.

3 ounces cachaça
1 ounce unsweetened coconut water
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce Simple Syrup
1 lime wheel

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the lime wheel; shake. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with the lime.

COCKTAILS | Rosemary adds to an old standard, Feb. 28, 2009
Martini with shaken with Rosemary.

Earlier this week, in the process of organizing the household’s cookbooks, Mrs. F. uncovered a 2006 Food and Wine cocktail digest that includes a number of recipes we plan to try as the spring unfolds.

Among them was the Rosemary, a variation on the Martini that I tried tonight. It’s an easy assembly.

2 ounces gin
Dash of White vermouth

Prepare a cocktail glass as if you were serving Martinis, using an atomizer to dust the bowl with vermouth. Add ice, the gin and a two- or three-inch sprig of fresh Rosemary to a shaker. Shake or stir vigorously, depending on your preferred method of building a Martini. Serve, garnishing with a second Rosemary sprig, as seen above.

COCKTAILS | Thyme-infused lemon gimlet delights, Feb. 19, 2009
Lemon gimlet with thyme-infused gin.

Liz Johnson, the food editor at The Journal News, filed a drink recipe in Wednesday’s paper that we thought was well worth a try. Adapted from a Brookline, Mass. restaurant’s recipe, the drink calls for gin steeped in thyme that’s then mixed with the juice of meyer lemons. We didn’t feel like making a special trip to Whole Foods just for Meyer lemons, so we substituted them with regular lemons. The result was a fabulous gin drink with an incredibly tart edge. Liz advised adding simple syrup to cut the lemons’ tartness and we should have. All that said, it’s a nice drink that’s well worth another try. The recipe can be found by following the link above. For more of Liz’s work, follow her at Small Bites, her blog.

COCKTAILS | Getting Old Fashioned, Jan. 17, 2009
OF1Old Fashioneds.

As Mrs. F. and I continue to work our way down the list of classic cocktails, we took a shot at Bourbon Old-Fashioneds the other night. We used to “make” these in college, throwing a little Holland House mixer on top of healthy helpings of Mr. Beam. The other night, we decided to build them correctly, or at least by the recipe in Charles Schumann’s “American Bar.”

Step one
Gather your ingredients: Bourbon (Beam is fine!), soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar or 1 sugar cube and Angostura bitters:

Step two
Soak the sugar with several dashes of bitters:

Step three
Add between two and three counts of soda:

Step four
Top off with between two and three counts of Bourbon, garnish with an orange slice, twist of lemon, or Maraschino cherry (or all three!) and serve:


COCKTAILS | Getting aboard the Sidecar, Jan. 8, 2009
SidecarA Sidecar cocktail.

Last night, Mrs. F. and I explored the Sidecar, a classic brandy cocktail invented in Paris just after World War I. According to Salvatore Calabrese in “Classic Cocktails,” the drink was named for an eccentric military officer who drove a motorcycle with a sidecar.

The brandy’s warmth is tamed by the citrus infusions of Triple sec and lemon juice and, when blended through a thorough shaking, the three combine to yield a cool, refreshing pre-dinner drink. Definitely one we’ll be repeating.

The Sidecar

3/4 ounce lemon juice

3/4 ounce triple sec

1 1/2 ounces brandy

Combine and shake over ice. Serve in a cocktail glass.

COCKTAILS I To begin at the beginning, Oct. 21, 2008

Since I’m reaching the point where I’m going to take this nascent publication public, I figured a good jumping-off point would be to reveal my fetish for the first cocktail of any good day: The Bloody Mary.

For years, friends have heaped compliments on your humble author for the strength and skill at which he can whip these babies up. His wife, an able student, has long since topped him.

Such is our love for vodka-laced tomato juice that we received this — the apple of our eyes of late — as a wedding present:
bloody pillow

Our good friend Molly spent the better part of a year on this intricate piece of stitchwork that we’re sure is has a destiny as an heirloom.

So here’s our recipe:
Begin with a tall glass (our favorites were found at Dollar Tree in Saranac Lake — extra-tall Collins glasses)
Turn a sliced lime wedge around the rim
Invert glass and run the rim through a small amount of lemon pepper
Add ice
Add a series of liberal dashes of lemon juice (bottled or fresh-squeezed)
Add four to five dashes Worchestshire Sauce
Add Tabasco sauce to taste
Add cured horseradish to taste
Add several dashes of both lemon pepper and celery salt
Add vodka (cheap — don’t waste gourmet on a salmagundi cocktail like a Bloody)
Add tomato, clamato or V8, depending on your tastes
Stir (My wife likes to shake), garnish with olives and celery, consume, repeat
Optional: If you’d like, add Old Bay

While it’s always nice to have brunch at home, it’s inevitable that you’ll require a hangover-killer in a public setting. What follows is a list of my five favorite joints to order up some bloodies:

No. 5: Mulligan’s, Stratton Mountain, Vt.;
Fall Hours: Open Friday through Tuesday 3:30 Bar; 4:30 Dinner with lunch on Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 a.m. More details here.

No. 4: The Eldred Preserve, Eldred, N.Y.
Sullivan County’s premier fishing and hunting resort. More details here.

No. 3: Justin’s, Albany, N.Y.
A capital classic for cocktails, jazz, dinner and brunc. More details here.

No. 2: Country Club of Buffalo, Williamsville, N.Y. and American Yacht Club, Rye, N.Y. (tie)

No. 1: The Cottage, Lake Placid, N.Y.
The Cottage is worth its own posting but it has, hands-down, the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever encountered. More details here.

I’d also salute the late, sometimes great Glass Onion in Canton, N.Y. Say what you will about the former Court Street establishment’s management, food, hours and whatever else, they always had a decent Bloody. on Facebook