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Lemon juice

Home Remedies and the Penicillin Cocktail

My mother had two remedies for colds. One was chicken soup; the other was a mix of lemon and honey.

I never thought to ask her if she really believed these nostrums cured anything, but they certainly had psychological benefits—at least they made us all feel like we were doing something.

Continue reading “Home Remedies and the Penicillin 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”

Another Round of Whiskey Sours: the Ward 8 Cocktail

As the saying goes, “myth and legend are the kudzu of history,” and cocktail history is as much overgrown as any.

Today’s case in point: the pre-Prohibition Ward 8 Cocktail, one of the most famous of classic whiskey sour variations.

Continue reading “Another Round of Whiskey Sours: the Ward 8 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”

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”

Planter’s Punch

There are many names for this version of rum, citrus and sugar: “Planter’s Cocktail,” “Jamaican Rum Punch,” and most commonly, Planter’s Punch.

Planter’s Punch is more of a drink category than a single recipe. In its simplest form—rum, sugar, lime (or lemon), water, perhaps some tea, and spice or bitters—it is clearly the direct descendant of the classic rum punches of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Continue reading “Planter’s Punch”

Have one in Havana — the Hotel Nacional Special Cocktail

In the 1930s, the Hotel Nacional de Cuba was one of the world’s grandest. Rising from a rocky ridge overlooking Havana Harbor, it was new, gorgeous, and imposing. Its stately opulence attracted celebrities, politicians, gangsters, and wealthy travelers from all over the world.

And it helped to reinforce Havana’s reputation as a comfortable cocktail destination for Prohibition-weary Americans. Continue reading “Have one in Havana — the Hotel Nacional Special Cocktail”

The Gold Rush Cocktail

The Gold Rush is a modern cocktail with a definite old-school classic vibe. With a more complex flavor than the whiskey sour on which its modeled, it is a simple combination of bourbon, lemon and honey. Continue reading “The Gold Rush 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”

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