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whiskey cocktails

Bourbon, rye, Canadian and Scotch.

Repairing the Brooklyn Cocktail, part 2

While I was working through the Brooklyn Cocktail’s evolution and formula for the previous post, my Bride brought home a couple of bottles of Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye whiskey.

One sip of Pennsylvania rye reminded me that in pre-Prohibition New York, the whiskey in your cocktail was likely very different from the Kentucky-style rye we’re most familiar with these days, Continue reading “Repairing the Brooklyn Cocktail, part 2”

In for Repairs: the Brooklyn Cocktail

Many bartenders have invented drinks called the Brooklyn Cocktail. The only version with any staying power, the Brooklyn we most often encounter today, is derived from a formula first published by Jacob Grohusko in his 1908 JACK’S MANUAL.

But we don’t encounter it very often, and therein lies a tale.

Continue reading “In for Repairs: the Brooklyn Cocktail”

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.

Continue reading “The Creole Cocktail Four Ways”

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).

Continue reading “Whiskey and Barspoons: the Brainstorm Cocktail”

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.

Continue reading “Cynar and Scotch: The Choke and Smoke Cocktail”

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.

Continue reading “Whiskey Sours and Embittered Last Words: the Paper Plane Cocktail”

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.”

Continue reading “Hair of the Dog: the Morning Glory Cocktail”

Dark Horse: The Preakness Cocktail

I’ve never been a follower of American horse racing, but I do enjoy the hype and pageantry of the three-race set known as the “Triple Crown” — in the US, it’s the Kentucky Derby,  the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes.

The Kentucky Derby falls near my birthday, so for decades my birthday partly has been a Derby-watching event, replete with fancy outfits, good hats and, especially, whiskey juleps. The Mint Julep is the universally accepted symbol of the Derby, and the Run for the Roses starts the ice-crushing season right.

Continue reading “Dark Horse: The Preakness Cocktail”

What’s Wrong with the Blood and Sand Cocktail?

I wouldn’t normally write about the Blood and Sand Cocktail.

I don’t like it. I’ve never met anyone who likes it. The flavors make no sense to me. Four ingredients, all fighting with each other.

Harry Craddock must have seen something in it when he first published its peculiar formula in his 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book. And drinkers with palates different from mine must like it, as evidenced by its continued presence in highly respected bar manuals more than eighty years after its creation.

(And, of course, there’s the theatrical value of that lurid name, riding the coattails of Rudolph Valentino’s 1922 movie. I’ll admit, that’s really good.)

But from my palate’s point of view, the Blood and Sand is really broken. So what makes this cocktail worth writing about?

Continue reading “What’s Wrong with the Blood and Sand Cocktail?”

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