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.
Nothing says “jungle movie” like a sound track with plenty of evocative “ka-dawing” bird calls and monkey yelling. Throw in the occasional tiger roaring in the darkness, and you have a convincing, if clichéd, aural impression that transports us right into the exotic elsewhere of the tropical jungle.
When I hear a soundtrack done well, I can feel the heat. I can smell the mud and the trees.
When it’s done right, the movie soundtrack is a powerful thing.
Of course, it can be done wrong, and all that power flows in the opposite direction.
The Lucien Gaudin Cocktail is a tribute to the skill and success of one of France’s national fencing champions. He first made his name in the very early twentieth century, went on to become European and world champion, then won two gold medals in the 1924 Olympics, and two more in 1928. A couple more silver medals made him one of the most decorated French medalists in the history of the Olympics.
The 1795 Cocktail is one of the Negroni’s modern descendants, from the whiskey-based Boulevardier side of the family.
More specifically, it’s a direct riff on the Boulevardier’s rye whiskey variant, Dominic Venegas’s 1794 Cocktail.
Sometime back I wrote up one of my favorite whiskey drinks, the 1794 Cocktail. At the time, I thought of the 1794 as an improvement of the classic Boulevardier, but it might be just as accurate to think of it as a variant of an even older drink: the Old Pal. Continue reading “The mystery of the Old Pal cocktail”
So I was intrigued when I came across the Agavoni, a tequila-based version of the drink in Robert Hess’s Essential Bartender’s Guide. Continue reading “Tequila and mezcal — messing with the Negroni”
Our holiday travels took us through Madison WI this week, which gave us a a chance to dine again at Harvest. The restaurant has a small and elegant bar, with a cocktail list that matches the kitchen’s reputation for interesting flavors and careful presentation. The house cocktails are all designed by proprietor Tami Lax; some are new inventions, some personalized expressions of the classics.
This time I sampled the Amargo Cocktail, one of Lax’s originals. Given its name, it is not surprising that this is a Campari and tequila drink, with a heady dose of citrus to top it up.
The 1794 Cocktail is a welcome modernization of the Boulevardier, whiskey-heavy, with rye in place of bourbon. Attributed to Dominic Venegas, it is a natural evolution of that drink, and changes a classic but not-so-good mishmash into a deliciously bright and drinkable Manhattanesque whiskey cocktail. Continue reading “1794 Cocktail — the Boulevardier Comes to Manhattan”