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brandy cocktails

…including applejack and apple brandies, Calvados and other fruit brandies, Cognac and American brandies.

Bitters and Brandy—the Alabazam Cocktail

Historians tell us that humans have been mixing medicinal tonics for ages—and trying to get past their intrinsic bitterness for just as long.

This age-old interest in making medicines palatable is one of the things that led to the mixture of bitters into a glass of sweetened brandy or whiskey.   Continue reading “Bitters and Brandy—the Alabazam Cocktail”

A taste of the Gilded Age: the Stinger

The Stinger doesn’t show up on the annual “fashionable drinks” lists any more, but cocktail historians tell us it was once a very tony after dinner drink.

A simple combination of brandy and white crème de menthe, a properly mixed Stinger is at once sweet, satisfying, and refreshing. Continue reading “A taste of the Gilded Age: the Stinger”

The velvet glove — Chatham Artillery Punch

Are you ready to take on one of the grandest, and most insidious, punches of all?

It’s whiskey, brandy, rum, and Champagne all bundled up together. The result is Chatham Artillery Punch, a tricksy and seductive charmer—an iron fist in a velvet glove. Continue reading “The velvet glove — Chatham Artillery Punch”

The Widow’s Kiss

In an earlier article, I wrote about the Full House Cocktail—complex, herbal, strong, and sweet. A little too sweet for me, so I looked at easy ways to cut that sweetness back.

After a certain amount of rejiggering, I ended up with a drier formula. The result nagged at me a little, because it seemed familiar. I finally got time to do a little research, and there it was: George J. Kappeler’s “The Widow’s Kiss.” Continue reading “The Widow’s Kiss”

Apple whiskey and the Full House Cocktail

“Apple whiskey” is a term you rarely encounter these days. It was once fairly common slang for applejack, itself a slang term for apple brandy.

Apple orchards—in fact, all sorts of fruit orchards—were ubiquitous on eastern farmsteads as early as the 17th century, and it was standard practice for farmers in cold states to make their own apple spirits by “jacking” their hard cider during the winter Continue reading “Apple whiskey and the Full House Cocktail”

The Savoy Tango — sloe gin’s revenge

Sloe gin has a lousy reputation. Red, sugary, and fruity, it is a hallmark of sweet, pink, “girlie” Spring Break drinks with lurid and lascivious names. Continue reading “The Savoy Tango — sloe gin’s revenge”

The Harvard Cocktail

The Harvard Cocktail is another tribute to the design of the Manhattan, but based on cognac instead of rye whiskey. Continue reading “The Harvard Cocktail”

The French 75 Cocktail — Tom Collins in a Tuxedo

The French 75 Cocktail is a tribute to the 75mm artillery piece that the French and Americans fielded in World War I. Its story is a reminder that cocktails evolve; sometimes good things are lost, sometimes  good things are gained. In the case of the French 75 cocktail, both things happened.

Continue reading “The French 75 Cocktail — Tom Collins in a Tuxedo”

Is that your real name? The Diki-Diki Cocktail

The Diki-Diki not only has the goofiest name of any cocktail I’ve made, it is also a remarkable and seductive blend of flavors, based on an unusual model.

Continue reading “Is that your real name? The Diki-Diki Cocktail”

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