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Tall and Cool: the Gin Rickey

It’s summer of 1883 in Washington DC. The air shines and wavers; you can see it, and you can smell it—the horses, the pavement, the flats of the Potomac River. A few blocks from the White House, on a section of E Street known as “Rum Row,” the dive bars are filling up with journalists, lobbyists, and any legislators who haven’t left town. At Shoomaker’s Bar, sometimes described as the “third room of Congress”, George Williamson is mixing drinks. On the other side of his bar stands Joe Rickey—“Colonel” Joe Rickey of Missouri—who is about to become that rarest of all things, a man with an entire category of drinks named after him.

Continue reading “Tall and Cool: the Gin Rickey”

The Tale of the Tuxedo Cocktail

The mystery of the Tuxedo Cocktail is trying figure out just which Tuxedo we’re talking about. The Tuxedo is more a spectrum of recipes, rather than a single formula. Continue reading “The Tale of the Tuxedo Cocktail”

The X-15, Saturn, and the Finer Points of Bad Behavior

My father introduced me to model airplane kits, and I was hooked. I always enjoyed the fun of learning about the airplanes, selecting the “next one,” working through the pieces of the kit, adding paint and decals, getting my fingers glued together, and finally adding each finished airplane to the growing collection on the shelves above my desk.

One of the last kits I assembled, and the strangest of the lot, was the X-15 rocket plane, Continue reading “The X-15, Saturn, and the Finer Points of Bad Behavior”

Two Nights at the Opera

One of the old-school cocktails that made a comeback in the last fifteen years is the Opera Cocktail.

The Opera is a blend of gin, Dubonnet, and liqueur—and that’s where the story gets interesting.
Continue reading “Two Nights at the Opera”

The Lucien Gaudin Cocktail

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.

Continue reading “The Lucien Gaudin Cocktail”

Lemonade with an Attitude: The Fog Cutter

Remember that drink we made as kids, the thing we so blithely called the “Suicide”? The one where you mix all the kinds of Kool-Aid you can find, pour in a couple kinds of pop, and then double-dog-dare each other to drink it?

I don’t think I ever actually took that dare. Urgent red, neon green, curaçao blue, all mixed together… that stuff looked vile. It looked dangerous.

Continue reading “Lemonade with an Attitude: The Fog Cutter”

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”

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”

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”

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