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New Orleans Sours

The Olympic Cocktail

The Lusitania, the Kaiser Wilhelm, the Titanic—before World War I, the great ocean liners were the peak of traveling adventure, luxury, and technology. It was the age of the “greyhounds of the seas.”

Their British and German owners competed for speed, for luxury, and for bragging rights; the twenty years between 1895 and 1915 saw the launches of ever-larger ships, each more lush and decadent than its predecessors. The story of the Titanic provides one of the world’s best-known cautionary tales about the dangers of overweening pride in technology, but, oh, that was a handsome, luxurious, and well-fed ship—for all of the five days it stayed afloat.

As it turns out, the Titanic had a sister ship; Continue reading “The Olympic Cocktail”

An Old-Fashioned the hard way: the Brandy Crusta

Brandy what?

I would wager that most people have never encountered a crusta, or even heard of one.

So what is that thing? And why should we care?

Continue reading “An Old-Fashioned the hard way: the Brandy Crusta”

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”

Mendacity and the Oriental Cocktail

I’m pretty sure that there are no true stories about cocktail origins.

You know the stories I mean—the wonderful, detail-laden, cock-and-bull accounts that ornament so many of our classics. Every once in awhile, there’s a great one. Continue reading “Mendacity and the Oriental Cocktail”

The Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail — not just for breakfast anymore

To judge from the film and literature of the time, it seems that social drinkers of the 1920s and ’30s (and, indeed, for much of the Twentieth Century) found it amusing to drink too much, wake up in the morning with a hangover, complain about the hangover, then drink some more to get rid of the hangover. This “hair of the dog” cliché supposedly helped to illuminate a character’s social standing, lifestyle and intelligence. Continue reading “The Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail — not just for breakfast anymore”

Between the Sheets

The Between the Sheets Cocktail is a delight, much better than I expected from a cocktail with a tacky, frat-house name. It is a very successful variant of the classic Sidecar. Continue reading “Between the Sheets”

Margarita — the Tequila Daisy

I remember the first time I made a Margarita. It was shockingly good, completely different from anything I had been served in a restaurant or bar. It wasn’t the tequila—I’m certain I was using a famous cheap gold blend, or mixto; no, it was the fresh lime juice, bright and sassy, and it raised the drink to an eye-opening new level. There’s no two ways about it: tequila and fresh lime go perfectly together; tequila and industrial sweet/sour or Margarita mix, not so much. Continue reading “Margarita — the Tequila Daisy”

What flavor is your Cosmopolitan?

There are only a few vodka cocktails important enough that every bartender should know how to make them. The Kangaroo leads the list (usually under its street name, “Vodka Martini.”) Next in line is the Cosmopolitan. Continue reading “What flavor is your Cosmopolitan?”

Cranberry and Bourbon: Reinventing the Bardstown Sling

It’s nearly Thanksgiving in the United States, and my wife commissioned me to invent a harvest-themed cocktail for our traditional family dinner. To guide my thoughts, she suggested a palette of autumn flavors that would complement her dinner: bourbon, cranberry, orange and maple. (It’s going to be a very good dinner…) Continue reading “Cranberry and Bourbon: Reinventing the Bardstown Sling”

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