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You can make these cocktails. Start right now.

Author

Doug Ford

I am a journalist and photographer. Once upon a time I had a corporate job; now I don't, which is a pretty happy situation, all in all. People tell me I'm writing a book.

The Creole Cocktail Four Ways

Given its name, you’d expect the Creole Cocktail to be from New Orleans. You’d be right—sort of.

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Searching for the Bamboo Cocktail

The Bamboo Cocktail reminds me of the legend of blind men describing an elephant—every bartender’s guide seems to describe this cocktail differently.

There is one thing we do know about it, and it’s the thing that makes the Bamboo important to cocktail history: the Bamboo cocktail is the classic model for combining vermouth and sherry. Continue reading “Searching for the Bamboo Cocktail”

Whiskey and Barspoons: the Brainstorm Cocktail

There is a tongue-in-cheek reference to something called a Brainstorm Cocktail in a 1906 issue of a trade magazine called “The Northwest Druggist”:

The “brainstorm” cocktail is the latest. It consists mainly of cracked ice set aside to thaw.

Druggist humor, I guess.

The real Brainstorm Cocktail came along about ten years later; it’s one of Hugo Ensslin’s pre-Prohibition classics, first published in his Recipes for Mixed Drinks (1916).

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Back to the tropics with the 151 Swizzle

At first glance, the Swizzle seems like a very close cousin of Tiki—both are refreshing blends of (typically) rum, lime, sweetener, and ice, served in tall glasses with pleasant, tropical garnishes.

But the two styles followed very different trajectories.

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Cynar and Scotch: The Choke and Smoke Cocktail

I’ve always had trouble with Scotch whisky when it comes to making cocktails. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this—the long history of cocktailing has only managed to come up with a handful of Scotch-based cocktails that have any semblance of balance and finesse.

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Whiskey Sours and Embittered Last Words: the Paper Plane Cocktail

The first cocktail I learned to make was the Whiskey Sour. I made it with Scotch, which was a very poor choice, but I was just out of college and didn’t know better. It’s gratifying to discover, in retrospect, that even then I had enough wits about me to think that tinkering with the mix might lead to a worthwhile improvement in flavor. It took forever to realize that the problem was the Scotch. Well, it was too much lemon, too, but at least I finally figured it out.

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Hair of the Dog: the Morning Glory Cocktail

Hangovers have been around forever, so it’s not surprising that one of the most popular branches of amateur medicine is the hangover “cure.”

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Chasing the Gibson Cocktail

Steward: “Cocktail before dinner?”

Thornhill: “Yes, I’ll have a Gibson.”

So begins one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most amusing scenes, the famous club car seduction scene between Cary Grant’s Roger Thornhill and Eva Marie Saint’s Eve Kendall in North by Northwest. Seduction isn’t really the right word; it’s more of a pickup scene between two people who don’t seem to be in the habit of resisting. Grant’s Thornhill seems the type to always have his motor running; clearly, it’s Eve who’s shifting the gears. Continue reading “Chasing the Gibson Cocktail”

Mixing the Pisco Sour

We don’t often encounter the Pisco Sour, mainly because we don’t often encounter the Peruvian brandy called Pisco these days. (For that matter, we don’t seem to encounter very many brandy cocktails of any sort, but that’s another story.)

The Pisco Sour is a classic brandy sour, differing little from what we might call the Jerry Thomas brandy sour template. It uses lime juice (instead of lemon) to provide the sour component, but its hallmark difference is an ostentatious eggwhite foam.

Continue reading “Mixing the Pisco Sour”

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