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rye whiskey

The Libertine

Last time, contemplating Trader Vic’s Fog Cutter, I pondered the risks of combining multiple spirits—“too many spirits”—in cocktails, and the fine line between great cocktails and trainwrecks.

So it was an interesting moment for my first encounter with the Libertine.

Continue reading “The Libertine”

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”

The velvet glove — Chatham Artillery Punch

Are you ready to take on one of the grandest, and most insidious, punches of all?

It’s whiskey, brandy, rum, and Champagne all bundled up together. The result is Chatham Artillery Punch, a tricksy and seductive charmer—an iron fist in a velvet glove. Continue reading “The velvet glove — Chatham Artillery Punch”

The Hesitation Cocktail

It seems there’s no end to the list of “zombie” cocktails.

Like the Aviation and the Blue Moon, the Hesitation Cocktail is another of the early-20th-Century cocktails that fell out of the standard repertoire when ingredients vanished from the marketplace. It was the disappearance of Swedish Punch that pushed the Hesitation onto the zombie list. Continue reading “The Hesitation Cocktail”

The mystery of the Old Pal 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”

An evening with the Rye Witch

I’ve been enjoying the Rye Witch, one of Jim Meehan’s originals from his PDT Cocktail Book.

The “witch” part of the name comes from one of the components, Liquore Strega. (“Strega,” by the way, is the Italian word for “witch,” and there is an amusing story there. Continue reading “An evening with the Rye Witch”

Remember the Maine

Remember the Maine is built on the Manhattan model, with a delightful, surprising substitution for the bitters: absinthe and Cherry Heering.

Remember the Maine has been around since before Prohibition, and probably since before the 20th Century, Continue reading “Remember the Maine”

Dangerous Drinks: The Whiskey Sour

The Whiskey Sour is all about flavor balance. The drink is very simple—just a spirit, some fresh lemon juice, sugar and water. Too much lemon is just plain harsh. Too much sugar is cloying. Somewhere in between is a simple, tasty refresher. Like the Old Fashioned, it provides a welcome break from the flavor complexities of more sophisticated cocktails. Continue reading “Dangerous Drinks: The Whiskey Sour”

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