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The Monkey Gland Cocktail

Embarrassing name and all, today’s classic cocktail is the Monkey Gland.

It’s a good cocktail—in fact, it’s a delicious cocktail—but I’m trying to picture myself ordering one across a bar.

“Good evening, Miss, I’ll have a Monkey Gland, please. And keep them coming.” Continue reading “The Monkey Gland Cocktail”

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”

Vodka and Champagne: the Black Pearl Cocktail

The Black Pearl is another Minneapolis original by Johnny Michaels. With its sweet combination of vodka, sparkling wine, and blackberry syrup, it is, as Michaels says, “another vodka-based favorite for the peoples.”

Continue reading “Vodka and Champagne: the Black Pearl 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 Brown Derby Cocktail

Why would a posh LA restaurant name a popular cocktail after a competitor?

At some point in the mid-1930s, the exclusive Vendome Club did just that. The Vendome—sort of a west-coast 21—started serving a version of the whiskey sour named after one of its Hollywood neighbors: the Brown Derby.
Continue reading “The Brown Derby Cocktail”

Mixing with olive oil: the Oliveto cocktail

When I first encountered Pip Hanson’s Oliveto, my reaction was one of wonderment, bordering on denial.

Olive oil? In a cocktail?

I have no idea how people dream these things up, but my incredulousness gave way to intrigue. I had to try this. Continue reading “Mixing with olive oil: the Oliveto cocktail”

More mixing with honey: the Honey Bee

The honey-sweetened Honey Bee cocktail is the rum variant of the Prohibition-era Bee’s Knees.

The Honey Bee is built on the standard rum sour model, but is markedly different from, say, the Daiquiri. Clearly, there is a lot of room for adjusting flavors in even the simplest of drinks. Continue reading “More mixing with honey: the Honey Bee”

Mixing with honey: the Bee’s Knees

Relatively few cocktails use honey as a sweetener. I suspect honey’s assertive and variable flavor is the likely reason—cane sugar’s simplicity and predictability make it a more attractive standard for amending cocktails.

But honey is one of Summer’s great delights, and there are some cocktails that include it.

The best known is the Prohibition-era’s Bee’s Knees. Continue reading “Mixing with honey: the Bee’s Knees”

Ti’ Punch and the Caipirinha

One of my neighbors threw an open-house the other day to celebrate a newly remodeled kitchen. When I arrived, he was already holding forth behind a striking, eleven-foot granite island, muddler in hand, serving up icy Caipirinhas. Just the thing for summer afternoons.
Continue reading “Ti’ Punch and the Caipirinha”

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