Sunday, September 23, 2012

Love in a glass

Well, in honor of the 3rd season of Boardwalk Empire, we are drinking the hard stuff.  Yum!

I have already given a monologue on my love for bourbon, so I won't wax rhapsodic on its merits any further.  Except to say, this is a wonderful drink!

This is one of my first exercises in mixology.  Aside from knowing what flavors were likely to go together, I had no recipe.  I mixed, I scored!

After tasting his first sip, Everett called it love in a glass.   It seemed fitting.  So there you have it....

Makes 2 cocktails:

4 oz bourbon (we used Makers Mark first round, Bulleit second round - we both preferred Bulleit)
1 oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
2 oz Cherry Stomp (fresh cold pressed cherries and apples) - see photo
juice of one lemon
4 dashes cherry bitters
splash of lemon bitters

Shake with ice, serve on rocks (I used my giant ice cubes), garnish with a cherry


It is tart, rich, spicy and sweet.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Green Door reconstructed

Friday, the UT campus was evacuated due to a bomb threat.  No bombs were found (thank goodness) but the day was sort of shot work-wise for Everett.  So, we decided to take in a movie at Violet Crown Cinema - a good idea for a Friday afternoon. We had a cocktail in the lounge before our movie started.  Everett had his standby, the Sazerac, though it was made with Herbsaint rather than true absinthe, and I had the special, The Green Door.  It was delicious, and I inquired as to the ingredients.  After the film was over, we went to Specs, and I purchased Velvet Falernum to be able to make the drink.

I feel I was quite successful in recreating this drink.  I did not know exact measurements, but gave it a whirl (or a shake), and the result is similar to the drink I had as well as pleasing.

The Green Door

juice of 1/2  lime
2 oz bourbon (I used Bulleit, but MM or Woodford would be good too)
1 oz Velvet Falernum
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse

Shake juice, bourbon and falernum with ice in shaker.  Strain into glass.  Float Chartreuse on top.  Serve on the rocks.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Meier's modified Manhattan

I made aviations tonight, and then because I made aviations, rather than go to the gym I used my shaker as exercise and made Manhattans.  But they were slightly modified Manhattans.  And I will make them again for sure.  Wow.  

4 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon (or your preferred Bourbon or Rye)
2 oz sweet vermouth (I used Martini and Rossi)
2 oz Cocchi Americano
4 dashes of Angostura bitters
2 dashes of blood orange bitters
Flame a lemon peel over drink

Now, I am a fan of Manhattans anyways.  If I am going to order a grown up drink at a steakhouse, I'll likely choose Manhattan over Martini.  But without sounding too self congratulatory, this tipple is one of my best attempts.  I will be making it again (and again, and again, and again).  It has the deep, oaky flavor of the bourbon with a nice citrus jolt, and it is very smooth.  Finished with notes of caramel and spice.   All of it is nice.  

Come on over, I'll make you one.  


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sippin' on tequila and juice (laid back, with my mind on my money and my money on my mind)

A simple pleasure tonight, sweet, tart, spicy.  Inspired by the curly tail at the Austin eatery Salty Sow, this concoction is the perfect balance of the aforementioned flavors.  Ooooooweeeee it is delicious, but not so sweet to make you think it's dessert!

I've experimented with infused vodkas (chai, tangerine, vanilla) and so far chai is my favorite, especially in a Moscow Mule (thanks Lisa, Steve and Project V Distillery!).  This summer, I have started infusing tequila with spicy peppers.  I like serranos myself, as habaneros are too high up on the scoville scale for my palate.  Anyways, the spicy tequila give standard margaritas a nice kick, and it complements and offsets the sweetness of simple or triple sec.

To infuse tequila with peppers, the seeds are key.  In fact, you can infuse it pretty quickly (20-30 minutes) if you just scrape the seeds into the tequila and let it steep.  Strain the tequila and put in your liquor cabinet.

Tonight I mixed 2 oz serrano infused tequila, 1/2 oz grand marnier but any curacou or triple sec is fine, and 2-3 oz blood orange juice.  Shake, pour over ice and enjoy!

The pepper infused tequila is also wonderful in watermelon based drinks, pineapple drinks, and pomegranate juice drinks.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Bourbon is king

Of all the base spirits, I think Bourbon is my favorite.  I love the butterscotch color, the vanilla/spice flavor.  It can be sophisticated without being boring or pretentious.  It may be a battle between Bourbon and Gin, with Rye coming a close third.  A war where everyone wins!

Salted caramel desserts seem all the rage these days, and for good reason.  I decided to join the fray.  I made ice cream with caramel, bourbon and sea salt.  OMG.  DO NOT MAKE THIS AT HOME!!!!!!!!  Unless you want to eat a quart of ice cream in one sitting.  Wow.

One can of sweetened condensed milk
One pint of cream
Caramel syrup
Sea Salt, course
Bourbon (I used Woodford Reserve)

Whisk cream and milk, add in caramel syrup (1/4-1/2 cup to taste)
Add 2-3 oz bourbon, continue whisking.  Add a few shakes of salt in, place in ice cream maker.  Half way through once the ice cream is solidifying, add a few more shakes of salt so that when you get the finished product, you will get occasional chunks of sea salt.  Soooooooooo delicious!

the fruits of summer

The mission of the cocktail journey, though far from complete, has made blog posts somewhat self limiting.....the more drinks I make and discover, the more I find drinks I like a lot and want to repeat, thus less need for blogging and sharing (over the internet....I always share in person!).  But sometimes a new twist on an old favorite makes a post necessary....and sometimes the fringe use of etoh in other recipes make an appearance too.  

A wonderful friend who also happens to be a culinary genius brought me some fantastic grapefruit infused gin.  She made the infusion with Texas grapefruits from a local farm, and though I did not taste the actual fruits, she assures me they are the sweetest grapefruits she has had.  And she had them in spades.  So, how to make use of an abundance of grapefruit?  Gin of course!!!!  She juiced the fruit, boiled with some sugar, and then combined the gin, juice/syrup and the zest.  After infusing for some time, straining the zest/rind out and voila - amazing treat!  The infused gin is thicker than straight gin, has a light pink color, and I mixed it with a bottle of fever tree light tonic. which is not particularly sweet so combined well.  I added a dash of Angostura bitters and made the singularly best summer drink of 2012.  Thank you Kate!

In a tall glass with lots of cracked ice, pour 2 oz infused gin and 1/2 oz plain gin.  Add 3-4 oz (or to taste) fever tree light tonic.  Dash or two of bitters (I used Angostura).  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A cerulean cocktail.....

A summer time beauty.  It tastes good too!  Kind of like a less sweet pina colada.  This is not particularly sophisticated, but it sure is fun.  

Blue Hawaiian

1 oz rum
1 oz blue curacao
2 oz pineapple juice
1 oz cream of coconut

Shake/stir and enjoy on ice

I can hear a ukulele playing in the background, and feel the tradewinds......if only!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Superb Summer Sippin'

It's been awhile.  Sorry.  A lot has happened in between the last post and this post.  We sold our house and bought a new one.  We moved.  That in and of itself consumed about 2 months of our collective lives.  We had to pack up the hooch for awhile and it wasn't as easily accessible for a couple of weeks, which put a dent in the cocktailing.  But then I got this:


Bar angels sang when I brought home this consignment piece to hold my liquor.  Yay!  So we are back in business, and summer time is a great time to experiment with the fruitier side of drinking, imo.  We have made some delicious scratch margaritas in the interim, and there will be plenty of Pimms cups and G&Ts too, so don't expect posts about those.  But with the heat comes ample opportunity to imbibe, sit in the backyard, and take it all in.

Tonight, I made a Mai Tai.  My first experience with the Mai Tai was in Hawaii in January.  I was pleasantly surprised by this very refreshing fruit friendly drink. But given that it was January, once I got home, I was not very inspired to make them in freezing weather.  I did purchase some Orgeat, in anticipation of warmer temps and tonight I broke it out, in honor of triple digits.  Yay Texas.  There are about as many iterations of the Mai Tai out there as there are bartenders.  One thing I am clear on, the original did not have an abundance of juices added, as many tiki tenders are wont to do these days.  Trying to remain as true to history as I could with what was in my cabinet, I decided to try an old school Mai Tai, and I was not disappointed.  It was refreshing without being overly sweet.  The original recipe calls for Trader Vic's Rock Candy Syrup, which I did not have so left out.  The other ingredient called for is Orange Curaco, and I only have blue.  Both are orange in flavor, but I will save the blue for a Blue Hawaii.  So I used Grand Marnier in lieu (in luau?) of the Curaco.  I thought it worked.

For 2 drinks:

2 oz Mt Gay Rum
2 oz Black Seal Dark Bermuda Rum
juice of 2 limes
1 oz Orgeat syrup
1 oz Grand Marnier (substitute for Orange Curaco)

Shake with ice cubes and pour over crushed ice.  Garnish with some sort of fruit slices (I had lime wedge and maraschino cherry).

Find a nice place to sit outside at sunset and enjoy!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lawn Dart - oh yeah

My friend and colleague gave me a cocktail book last week.  It has many, many recipes that look interesting so will give this blog many more months of material at least.

It is essentially summer's prelude here in Texas, the average high is 80 degrees, people are in shorts and tank tops, flip flops.  Grass is growing quickly and thoughts turn to the light, refreshing drinks such as margaritas and G&Ts.

In this book, a cocktail called the Lawn Dart caught my eye.  It has green bell pepper.  What you say?  Yes, I know, weird ingredient.  But it makes the drink.

Muddle a slice or two of green bell pepper with 1.5 oz agave syrup
The add and shake over ice:

2 oz tanqueray (I only had T10)
2 oz high quality tequila blanco
1.5 oz lime juice
0.5 oz green chartreuse

Strain and serve over rocks or pebbles


This is my new favorite drink.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Good as gold

Hi all!  I know, it has been awhile.  We are in the process of selling the small bar to move into a larger bar that has more space for the liquor.  Er, I mean we are in the process of moving to a bigger house!

My bestie Winnie gave me a cocktail book, the PDT cocktail book, this week and it has so many awesome and interesting recipes.  I started out easy, because I did not want to mess anything up!

The Gold Rush is a variation on the Whisky Sour, an all time favorite of mine, and it used honey in the stead of simple syrup.  The honey imparts a rich color and flavor to the drink that improves the experience over a traditional whisky sour.

The Gold Rush

2 oz bourbon
0.75 oz Lemon juice
1 oz honey

Shake in ice and pour over cubes in a rocks glass.

I was a little short on the honey (we were running out) and a little long on the lemon juice (it was a Meyer lemon so I did not want to discard the extra juice!) but it still tuned out lovely.  Definitely an easy, delicious drink for a warm spring evening!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sazerac redux

I posted about the veritable cocktail the Sazerac a few weeks ago.  I enjoyed it, but was not as wow-ed by it as others I know.  I did not achieve the citrus essence that I believe was important based on descriptions I had heard and read.

Then we went to Haddingtons for dinner 2 weeks ago, and Everett ordered a "duck fat sazerac".  It was lovely.  The citrus essence was very evident when lifting the drink to the nose, and the drink itself was a wonderful combination of spice, silk, herb and a touch of sweet.  Everett was hooked.  Well, not literally, but he really liked the drink.  He spoke of it often and with fondness.

To our great fortune, the recipe was published online at

It required me to infuse my own duck fat rye whiskey.  I was up for the challenge.  I used Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, because it is well reviewed and reasonably priced, and I did not want to dump duck fat into a $30 bottle of rye for fear of things not going well.  No worries, it turned out well!  I used a few spoonful scoops of duckfat to a 750 ml bottle of the rye.  I let it infuse for about 12 hours, then placed it in the freezer for about 8 hours.  Then I strained the whiskey through a coffee filter and put it back in the original bottle.

The Sazerac was made in standard fashion.

I also flamed a lemon peel for this drink, which makes all the difference with regard to the lemon essence and nose - wow!  And it looks cool when the oils from the peel flare as they pass through the flame, too.

  We'll definitely go back to Haddingtons for the original, but for a couple with small kids, often we have to drink at home, so it is nice that this drink translates to a home version so nicely!

Salud & Cheers!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Just call me Borax

Another hiatus due to illness.....Strep throat struck me down again just as I was starting to feel better!  Damn penicillin resistant bugs.  Anyways, today we had spectacular weather, not too hot, not too windy, not too humid.  March-April and October-November really are the best months weather wise in Austin.  To celebrate this fine spring day, I decided to pick up some ginger beer to make a Moscow Mule.  I had finished the Chai infusion of my Single Silo Vodka, made in WA by Project V Distillery, and to my knowledge, available in Texas only at two households in the greater Austin area.  In fact, the other household probably drank theirs a long time ago, so really I am probably the only person in Texas who has my hands on a bottle of this golden delicious elixir.  Anyways, I had never had a Moscow Mule, named for the vodka and its Russian connotation of course.  I doubt I will ever have another one (outside of my house, that is) as fine as the one I made tonight, thanks to the Chai infused vodka.  Wow.  It was refreshing, with the citrus and spice noted melding beautifully, and it was none too sweet.  This went down like one of my kids drinks a juice box, having a straw may be to my detriment.  Quite a lovely drink, and definitely a keeper, I could drink 20 of these!.  Now I will just have to figure out a way to convince Project V Distillery to sell their product in TX, or to get Steve and Lisa to keep me supplied.

Moscow Mule

Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 a lime, maybe a tiny bit more
splash of simple syrup (optional)
2 oz Chai infused Single Silo Vodka
ice cubes
4 oz or so cold Ginger Beer (I used Fever Tree brand)


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring=Tequila drinks!

It is almost spring!  Vernal equinox is tomorrow, hooray!  When it stays light out later and warm temperatures take over, my mind and palate turn to tequila.  Now, a good old margarita is always welcome at our house, and we have a few spots we know of that make wonderful frozen 'ritas, but tequila deserves some exploration!

Tonight, I sipped on a lovely drink called Watermelon Sugar, courtesy of

It takes some effort and patience, but is well worth the end result!!!!

2 cups of watermelon cubed
3/4 cup blanco tequila
6 tbsp simple syrup
6 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup anejo tequila
1 jalapeno

Scrape jalapeno seeds and veins into the silver tequila, let infuse ~ 15 minutes
Muddle watermelon and mix with lime juice and simple syrup
Strain tequila into watermelon mixture
Add anejo tequila, stir well, refrigerate at least 2 hours (I did 24).

Pour into sugar rimmed glasses over cracked ice


The spice and sweet go extremely well together, and the lime/watermelon balances the tequila flavor.  This is bound to be a summer favorite...sure to be served when we invite you to come visit!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Another use for Chartreuse

The hiatus is thanks to strep throat.  Somehow, the two adults in a household of 6 managed to get  it but none of the kids.  Go figure.  As a friend counseled me on facebook...alcohol has analgesic and antiseptic properties, so drink for health!  And now that the worst is behind me, I shall!

Tonight marks the end of a long work week.  I was not overwhelmed by patient care, but rather the ins and outs of being "practice owner" or "administrator".  I would much rather be bogged down in patient care, truthfully.   But alas, such is my path!  It just means I get/want to drink more on my Friday nights, which is Thursday for everyone else!

I have Chartreuse, and need recipes for it.  I found one called "The Last Word" and decided to try it.  Yum!

Equal measures of the following:

Hendricks Gin
Lime juice
Luxardo (maraschino)
Green Chartreuse

Shake, strain, enjoy!

I really enjoyed this drink.  Everett remarked it seemed Mexican Martini like to him.  I could see the reference, with the lime juice juxtaposed with the sweetness of the Luxardo, but the herbiness of the Chartreuse really stood out to me.  Overall, a very lovely drink and one to keep in the recipe book!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Another mean green martini

I bought a bottle of green chartreuse to match my yellow.  Now I needed recipes to try out the green chartreuse.  I found a martini of sorts called the cat's eye, which seemed apropros.

1.5 oz Bombay sapphire
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth (I used Noilly Prat)
Garnish with a twist of orange peel

This was not an unpleasant drink.  Everett mistook the Chartreuse for Absinthe, which I can see with its herby flavors.  But it was perhaps a little to sweet for my taste.  I added a few dashes of orange bitters after a few sips and that helped balance the flavor a bit.  The color is nice, a translucent green that is very ethereal.  All in all, though, I think I prefer the green vesper, made with absinthe.....

On to the next cocktail!!!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

It's March and 77 degrees.....must be spring!

A favorite warm weather drink is a Pimm's Cup.  Simple, refreshing, dead easy to make.  And not so strong as to make you fall asleep directly afterwards (unlike a vesper martini!).

In a glass, I muddled a wedge of lemon and 3 slices of cucumber.  The I poured in the Pimms - a couple of ounces or so.....then I added ice (I prefer mine crushed).
Top off with San Pellegrino Limonata and garnish with a slice of cucumber and lemon wedge.  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Casino Royale kind of night....

So, I watched the 2006 Casino Royale today.  Sadly, the reason I watched it was because of the Vesper Martini.  I was waiting to see when and where this martini was invented.  And then I made one myself.  Sort of.  I have done a fair bit of research on liquor lately, and what I have surmised is that Lillet blanc used to be called Kina Lillet, because it had cinchona bark in it, which is where quinine is derived.  The cinchona bark imparts a bitter taste, that has been lost in the newer formulation of Lillet blanc.  However, an Italian apertif called Cocchi Americano is supposedly the closest thing flavor wise to what Kina Lillet was.  So, I made the martini with Cocchi Americano.  And I used Tanqueray 10 rather than Gordons.  But hey, improvisation, right?

As far as a martini goes, this is quite nice.  It has a good balance of sweet from the vodka, citrus from the T10 and the lemon twist, and a bitter undertone from the cocchi.  Definitely would make again when wanting a strong drink!

The Vesper Martini (named after Vesper Lynd, 007's love interest in Casino Royale)
This is meant to make one drink, but I split it into two, I had work to do in the AM!!!

3 measures of gin (I used Tanqueray 10)
1 measure of vodka (I used single silo, a boutique vodka from Woodinville WA)
1/2 measure of Kina Lillet (no longer in production, I used Cocchi Americano)

Shake with ice, pour into a chilled martini glass, and serve with a twist

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Not so into the Negroni

Well, in keeping with sort of old timey simpler cocktails, I decided to acquire some Campari and try a Negroni.  A Negroni is an apertif or apertivo, meaning it is something to whet the apetite, or a before meal cocktail.  As opposed to a digestif, which is taken after dinner to aid digestion (supposedly!).

The Negroni is published anywhere from equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth to 2 parts gin to 1 part Campari and Vermouth.  I went with the latter.

So I found it extremely bitter.  I know, Campari is a bitter, but wow, very bitter.  I took a couple sips, and could not go on.  So I probably desecrated it, but I added a few splashes of San Pelligrino limonata soda.  That made it much more palatable.    I kind of like it now.  I would make it again.  
And I like martinis.  So, it is not that I needed an extremely fruity drink, but the bitterness was overwhelming.  An acquired taste, perhaps?
Campari and soda is also an apertif, maybe Campari and San Pelligrino limonata. I'll let you know!


Friday, March 2, 2012

A Gladiatorial Drink

Blood and Sand......named after an early 1900's film about a matador, but the name also applies to a current gladiatorial drama.  Either way, the name conjures a striking image, not necessarily pleasant.  The drink is much more pleasant than its namesake, I can tell you that.

I have seen this on several bar and restaurant menus recently, it seems to have had a recent revival.  It is one of the few cocktails that calls for Scotch Whisky, which sounds not so wonderful.  I will have to make it with Scotch and let you know.  I substituted Rye Whiskey for taste's sake, because I wanted to like the drink.  Now that I know how wonderful it tastes with Rye, I will try with Scotch.

As I made it:

3 oz Bulleit Rye
2 oz Cherry Heering
2 oz Fresh squeezed tangerine juice (recipe calls for orange)
2 capfuls of Martini sweet vermouth

Though served cold, this is a very warming, smooth drink.  It is complex in flavor, with notes of spice, tart, mildly sweet.  It has a turbid muted red.  Come to think of it, it looks somewhat like chronic ascites.  If you are not a medical professional, you probably do not want to know what I mean.
I suspect it tastes a lot better than ascites, though.  I should hope so!

Anyways, here is a pic - enjoy!

In another vein - I just received a box from a friend in WA.  Lisa S. has known me since I was in 6th grade.  We rode the bus together to Aspen Elementary.  I moved to TX from CA in 1987.....and as is wont to happen we lost touch.  Fast Forward to 2008 or so and my discovery of Facebook.  I have reconnected with so many people, I truly am thankful!  Anyway, Lisa and her husband Steve, in addition to being avid horse racing fans, are involved in Project V Distillery and the making of Single Silo Vodka.  They sent me a bottle of this highly regarded spirit and a kit to make Chai infused vodka.  A little bit of heaven in a bottle!  I can barely wait to off I go!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chic Chartreuse

Tonight's venture is a recreation of the delicious Hemmingway (sic) Revival cocktail at Peche.  I did not know the ratios used in my drink last night, but acquired some chartreuse and cocchi americano so figured I'd give it a go.

2 small drinks:

2 oz Cocchi Americano
1 oz Luxardo
1 oz Yellow Chartreuse
Juice of one small lemon

Shake and serve on the rocks with a maraschino cherry

Well, this drink tasted much stronger than the bar version, but not in a bad way.  The chartreuse imparts a very distinct flavor that is very herby but not in a spicy way.  It has some sweetness to it as well, and that is complemented by the Luxardo.  I really enjoyed this drink, and will definitely make it again soon and often!

Thanks, Carthusian Monks!!!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Other people's cocktails

Tonight we enjoyed lovely, complex, well shaken drinks at Peche in Austin.  Peche is an absinthe bar, that has an impressive list of specialty cocktails as well. The food is also delicious.  We had mussels and frites, flat iron steak with polenta.  Yum!

I started with a drink called a Hemmingway Revival.  It had Yellow Chartreuse, Cocchi Americano, lemon juice and Luxardo. It was very good, and I would order one again.  I now want to acquire a bottle of Yellow Chartreuse!  And maybe green too!

Everett started with a Gin Gin Mule, which had gin, ginger beer, mint and lime.  It was refreshing, with a nice spice at the finish that was somewhat unexpected.

I moved on to a green vesper, which was perfect.  Everett had to drive home, but that was OK with me!  He had an absinthe god, which was absinthe, orgeat, egg white and lemon juice.  It was a good desert drink, and the orgeat almond tones melded well with the anise of the absinthe.  It was also beautifully presented.

I can barely wait to recreate some of these drinks!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A fitting end to a great weekend

Well, this weekend has been one of the best in a long while.  Aside from not getting my tax information organized and submitted like I meant, the weekend was just about perfect.

Friday I got to take my kids to Town Lake and bop around, have lunch with Everett and the kids, and have a relaxing evening at home.  Saturday was also very relaxing, with some errands run, and then off to Uchiko for a celebration of a friend's birthday.  We saw chef Paul Qui, finalist on Top Chef, and enjoyed his culinary creations.  It was fantastic.  We enjoyed the orange vodka/vanilla vodka/prosecco drink after dinner.  Yum.

Sunday was also fun, with a late afternoon cocktail party.  I tried a new cocktail, the recipe sent to me by my Aunt who lives in Santa Rosa.  Apparently a restaurant in her neighborhood came up with some Oscar night cocktails, they sounded intriguing.  We made the following, with some substitutions (in parentheses).  It was a lovely drink, the thyme really gives it an earthy flavor, and the bubbles give it the heavenly mouth feel.  The grapefruit was a nice tart but sweet component.  It was named "The Clooney".

1 1/2 oz vodka
3/4 oz fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
sprigs of fresh thyme
a few dashes of grapefruit bitters (blood orange bitters)
Roederer brut (La Marca Prosecco)
grapefruit twist

In a shaker, muddle thyme with bitters.  Add vodka and juice.  Add ice and shake, strain into cocktail glass.  Add floater of sparkling wine.  Garnish with grapefruit twist (and thyme sprig).

Because this was a party, and my phone/camera was providing the music, I did not snap a photo.  But it is a pale coral/pink color that is slightly turbid.  Very attractive.

The second cocktail recipe that was sent to me was called the Dragon Girl, named for Lisbeth Salander from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  It had rye, vermouth, cherry Heering and some other ingredients.  I did not make this particular drink for time sake, but it did lead me to do a bit of research on Cherry Heering.  I had never heard of it, but I did have some Kirsch in my cabinet, so I wanted to know if the Kirsch was an acceptable substitute for the Heering (it is not).  Both are considered cherry brandies, but the Kirsch is a dry liqueur, often drank neat (I have not) that is colorless.  The Heering is a sweeter liqueur and has a dark color to it.  I wondered if my failure to get the exact sour cherry margarita flavor I wanted was due to using just the Kirsch in my mix, and that would certainly explain the improvement in flavor when I used a little agave.  So, I acquired some Cherry Heering, and the result was quite delectable.  I fine tuned the sour cherry margarita again, and I think I may have the true winner here!

1 oz tequila
1/2 oz Kirsch
1/2 Cherry Heering
1 oz Cointreau or some other orange liqueur
juice of 1/2 lime and 1/2 lemon

Shake on ice, pour on the rocks - salted rim optional.

This was outstanding, if I do say so myself!

More to come in the following weeks:  we still have many variations on the martini - I just bought some Genevieve Genever by Anchor Brewing;  as well as Pisco, Cachaca, more Tequila drinks, and the list goes on......!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday is also my Friday!

This is a variation on the dessert drinks I have posted previously.  This may be the best one yet.  Wow.  There is a fair bit of booze in this thing, but it tastes like a milkshake.  Stop at one please.  Maybe two.  OK, three at the maximum!

I am sure I am not the first to come up with this combination, since there are thousands of cocktail recipes at the click of a computer key, but I did not follow a recipe for this, so I am naming it!

The Nutella

1 oz vanilla vodka
3/4 oz dark creme de cacao
3/4 oz light creme de cacao
1 oz Frangelico

Pour all booze over ice
half and half to top off

Stir, enjoy!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday is my Friday.....

So, the kids were crying, I had to get dinner together, and it had already been sort of a long day.  I needed a predinner cocktail that would get the job done, and look cool doing it.
The green vesper is a drink modified from the Vesper, a Bond martini.  The original Vesper martini uses 3 parts gin, 1 part vodka and 1/2 part Lillet Blanc.  The Green Vesper subs absinthe for the Lillet.  So this is one seriously powerful drink.

2 drinks: (well, in Bond parlance this is one drink, but we are mere mortals)

3 oz Aviation Gin
1 oz Tito's Vodka
1/2 oz Mythe Traditionale Absinthe

Shake, Pour.  Give your keys to someone else.

There is an ethereal green tint to this cocktail from the absinthe that does not really come through in the photo.  I imagine if one used greener absinthe the color would pop even more.
This is a very very easy drink to imbibe.  It has just the nicest hint of anise from the absinthe, and the gin I used is a very smooth, non-junipery gin.  For as "proof-y" as this drink is, wow, it sure is good.  I garnished with olives because I thought it was a spin on a martini, but would garnish with a twist in the future.  The olives are good, but the briney flavor does not mix so well with the anise.  Live and learn....just means I need to make it again with a twist!

This went down so well, and it technically was 1/2 a drink each, I moved on to another drink.  I used my own palate to drive this creation, and I have to say for the first time trying a new drink I did pretty darn good.  I still have to name it.

 for 2 drinks:

2 oz UV vanilla vodka
2 oz home infused tangelo vodka
Shake with ice, strain into glass
Top off with prosecco (I used a split of Carpene Moldivini)
Garnished with a mandarin wedge

This was heavenly.  Effervescent and has the flavor of vanilla but not too sweet, and the orange/tangerine flavor is also subtle, so nothing overpowers the drink.  It goes well together, and would be perfect for a brunch, but also works as an evening cocktail.  I will definitely put this in my quiver!

Well, I better go drink some water before I start with the 2 cocktail headache!

Salud and cheers!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

You can make that one again anytime......

Tonight's tipple is another Creme de Violette recipe.  It was also the inaugural use of my home infused tangerine vodka.  The drink is named the boulevard, and the recipe as written is below:


1¾ Ounce Belvedere Orange Vodka
½ Ounce St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
¾ Ounce Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
¾ Ounce Agave Nectar
¾ Ounce Crème de Violette.

1. Combine Belvedere, elderflower liqueur, lime juice and agave nectar.
2. Add ice, cover and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
3. Gently pour Crème de Violette into glass so that it sinks to the bottom of the glass.
4. Garnish by floating one or two edible flowers on top of the drink.

I modified mine based on preferred level of sweetness and what I have on the shelves.....

1 3/4 oz Home infused Tangelo vodka (yum!)
slightly less than 1/2 oz St Germain
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2 agave nectar
3/4 oz Creme de Violette

I used a lime slice garnish

This was another very refreshing drink with a good balance of tart and sweet.  It went down smoothly and quickly, and was perfect for the late afternoon/early evening warm weather we are having.  Everett said "feel free to make this one again soon!"
Not to worry, I shall!

Salud and cheers!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Violet Obsession

Tonight's cocktail fare:  The Stormy Morning

I bought the fairly recently available Creme de Violette to make Aviation cocktails, but the color and the floral taste are making me a fan.  So, we are on a violet drink kick!

This drink is also one of my new is so refreshing and floral without being cloyingly sweet.  This would be a perfect brunch drink, but it will do for just about anytime for me!

I modified the recipe according to taste and the fact I had Meyer lemons but no limes on hand.

1.5 oz Creme de Violette
1 oz St Germain
1 oz Freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
4 oz bubbles (I used prosecco)

Over crushed ice, pour the Creme de Violette, then the St Germain, then the lemon juice.  Top off with the bubbles.  Garnish with a citrus wedge if available.  I used all my lemons for juice, so no garnish, oh well.  It is not a key player in this drink like the Sazerac.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sweet moonlight.......

Moonlight cocktail - a variation on the aviation.  And worth the effort.  Wow!  Very fruity and delicious.

For 2 cocktails:

3 oz Hendricks Gin
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz Creme de Violette
1 oz lime juice (I only had Rangpur limes, which are not really limes, but whatever, it tasted good!)

Shake, strain, enjoy.  This is a keeper, folks!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Say it's true: Sazerac

Tonight's libation:  The official cocktail of New Orleans, the Sazerac.  I know, I was surprised too, to find out that it is not the Hurricane.  I am also relieved, and have a little more respect for the city, that something like the Sazerac is the official cocktail.

There are several variations, some include a ritual of muddling a sugar cube with bitters and rye in an old fashioned glass and then stirring, and pouring into another cooled old fashioned glass.  I did not partake in this ritual, mostly for time's sake, but also because I have simple syrup on hand and did not want grit of undissolved sugar in my drink.

South Central Sazerac

Place glasses in freezer (I put them in the icemaker box in the ice)
2 oz Bulleit Rye
1 tsp simple syrup
2 dashes of Peychaud's bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters

In cooled glasses, place 1/2 tsp of absinthe (or Herbsaint or Pernod if you don't have absinthe and don't want to spend $45+ for a bottle) and rinse the glass with the absinthe, discard (the absinthe, not the glass).

Pour the rye mixture into the absnithe coated glass
Garnish with lemon twist - rub the glass rim with the lemon twist and if you can, squeeze some oil drops into the drink.  I was not successful with that particular move.  Oh well, it was still a really good drink.  Warm, earthy, with a nice anise taste but not overpowering.  The simple syrup toned down the rye burn, too, which I liked.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

In honor of my father......

Today's cocktail, the Aviation, is made in honor of my father, Fred.  His adult life has been spent in the pursuit of many things aviation:  fighter pilot (well, aviator to be absolutely correct, the USMC is a branch of the Navy after all), aviation litigator.  He can't seem to retire or relax, even though he has more than earned it.  So I'll do it for him.....bottoms up!

I guess I am jumping on the pre-prohibition era cocktail bandwagon (or is it spruce goose?).....but the flavors and colors are so fun, I can't help myself.

I made my Aviation with:

2 oz Aviation gin (though any high quality will do)
1/2 oz Luxardo (maraschino liqueur)
1/4 oz Creme de Violette
1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice (Meyer lemons for me, please)

Shake and serve straight up with a cherry:

The creme de violette gives it a lovely blue tinge.  The first sip was very maraschino-y which was somewhat overpowering.  However, the longer the drink sat, the more delicious it became.  The maraschino went from the forefront to behind the scenes, and the drink has a nice balance of tart and sweet (recurring theme here).  Variations include substituting Cointreau (or other orange liqueur) for the Luxardo, then it becomes a Moonlight, I believe.  Can't wait to try it!

Salud and Cheers!


Addendum & a word of caution:  This is my new favorite drink.  As the drink settled, the flavor was exquisite.  And it will get you bombed in a matter of about 10 minutes.  Not that is what I was going for, but just to caution you.  Within 20 minutes of finishing the drink, I was feeling very, very good.  But I would have been feeling very, very bad if I had made another.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

That rug really tied the room together.

It's my Friday night.....we've moved onto white russians.

Two variations, one for me, one for Everett (who does not care for sweets):


2 oz Tito's Vodka
1 oz Kahlua (Mocha)
half and half
on the rocks


2 oz vanilla vodka (I used smirnoff, but any will do)
1 oz Kahlua (Mocha)
half and half

I tasted both - mine was definitely sweeter and had no burn.  It was dangerously delicious - like I could get seriously brain damaged if I let myself drink several of these.  His was also good, but definitely had the alcohol burn to it.  I will definitely be making these again!!!

Real Rye

Toiling away at researching the Manhattan, I surmised that the purists only allow Rye to be the base spirit.  I blasphemed last week when I made a Manhattan with Maker's Mark bourbon.  I quite liked it, and there is a fairly vocal contingent in the interweb cocktail world that validates the use of a good bourbon for this purpose.  But, being a rule follower of sorts, and also curious, I purchased some Bulleit Rye today for the sole purpose of Manhattan making.  I also changed the vermouth a little bit by using a splash of both sweet and dry, per some suggestions I have seen.  I garnished with an orange (well, tangelo.......darn it you minneolas!!!!) twist.

2 drinks:
3 oz Bulleit Rye
1/2 tbsp dry vermouth
1/2 tbsp sweet vermouth
shake with ice (also somewhat controverisal, some maintain stirring is the only way, but I like my drinks coooooooooold).
garnished with tangelo twist

I liked this drink quite a bit.  The rye really just tastes like a high quality, complex bourbon.  But hey, I like bourbon, so there you go!  I found myself taking a sip, letting it sit on my tongue for a minute, swirling it around, and then swallowing it.  It has a spicy, cinnamon burn at the end.  Definitely a drink I will nurse, not gulp!  And more of a cold weather evening cocktail than something fruity or effervescent.  

Salud & Cheers! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A soiled martini improvement!

Tonight is just another variation on the martini.  The goal is to try many iterations and find out which I like best.  I used bombay sapphire and dry vermouth.  I made it a dirty martini with some olive brine, the brine was from the jalapeno stuffed olives at the central market olive bar.

Initially the taste was sweeter than I expected or cared for.  I expected a saltier flavor, but I suspect the Bombay Sapphire was the overpowering sweet flavor.  This is a great gin for G&T's but I think I'll stick to Hendrick's, Tanq 10 or some other less sweet gin in the future.

However after the drink settled for a bit, the flavors melded a bit, the sweetness dissipated and the jalapeno brine came to the forefront.  It was nice.

Next to try on the martini list:  Lillet in lieu of vermouth.  I'll let you know how it goes.....

Salud & Cheers!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sometimes, simplicity is genius!

V-day 2012.  A veterinary cardiologist in a central Texas city is working late mending the broken hearts of the pets of the citizens.  No time for a fancy cocktail with drams of this and splashes of that.

Chandon + frozen (locally grown and organic....mais bien sur!) strawberry = beautiful looking and festive Valentine's Day drink.  And it tasted yummy too.  God I love bubbles.

Happy Heart Day to you all!!!!

Salud & cheers......

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pre Valentine/Monday's suck

Well, both babysitters in the bullpen have significant others, so we are doing Valentine's day a day early.  Not that the hordes in Austin haven't been scooping up every reservation at any good restaurant for a week at least in celebration of this "holiday" but I digress.  So, Monday is a challenging day all around, the routine snaps back into place, kids are cranky and either over tired or have gotten too much sleep, work is often crazy, etc, etc.  But, it is easy to get in to a good place!  We are going to Perla's - oysters, fish, and such.  I'll report back on any yummy cocktails we try there.
But tonight's creation is nostalgia for a drink in Philadelphia, at a restaurant I gather no longer exists. of the best drinks I have ever tasted, at one of the best restaurants I have ever been to, both of the same name.  When I think of this drink, I think about the last days I spent in Philly....summer, end of residency, saying goodbyes and looking forward to the endless possibility of moving to Austin for my first "real" job.  It was only about 6 years ago, but so much has happened in that time span.....

Tangerine (modified by me because I cannot follow a recipe verbatim)

3 oz vanilla vodka
1 oz cointreau or other orange liquer
1 tbsp tangerine puree (see below)
club soda to taste (~2 oz)

Shake vodka and cointreau with ice in shaker
put dollop of tangerine puree in cocktail glass, pour shaker contents over, top with club soda.  Enjoy!

The Tangerine puree is another story altogether.  There is a company that makes many different fruit purees called Perfect Puree.  I have purchased the prickly pear puree, because after trying to make my own, I realized the time cost analysis would show purchasing was a much better use of my time and money than peeling individual prickly pears and then puree-ing them.  I know PP makes a tangerine puree, but I looked high and low in all the fancy Austin grocery type stores (Whole Foods, Central Market, Specs) to no avail.  So I decided to try making my own.  The closest I could come to an organic tangerine was a Minneola Tangelo.  So I bought some.  Stemmed, seeded and cut, plunked 4 of them into a food processor and thought I was done. They were a little bitter, so I added a tbsp of light agave and mixed some more.  The zest chunks were a little too big for my liking, so I mashed the puree through a mesh sieve and the result was just what I was looking for.  No work is too great for the perfect cocktail!

The drink turned out well.  Very refreshing.  Sweet and tart and effervescent.  Would be perfect for a spring or summer evening.  I will keep this one in my arsenal.  Now that I have a ton of tangelo puree in my freezer, should be easy!

If anyone in Austin sees organic mandarins/tangerines/clementines/satsumas...please let me know!

Salud & Cheers!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Corpse Reviver # 2

Well, I skipped a couple of days due to mild illness......but Sunday morning brought about renewed health and the perfect opportunity to try a "hair of the dog" drink.  Not that I was hungover at all, but it is typically discussed as a brunch type drink, thus the name corpse reviver!

1 oz Meyer Lemon juice
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz Lillet white
1 oz Hendrick's Gin
1-2 drops of absinthe

Shake with ice, pour straight up

Wow!  This is one delicious drink.  Tart, sweet, hint of anise.  Complex, not bitter.  A very nice alternative to standard brunch fare like mimosas (not that I would ever say a word against mimosas....I love them).

St germain

I had a St Germain cocktail for the very first time a year ago.  It was a French 76 - gin, st germain, lemon juice and champagne.  It was fantastic, and potent!  I loved the floral of the St Germain, so I bought a bottle.  And then I started seeing it EVERYWHERE!  I guess I am cutting edge, no?  Well, it is a very specific flavor and I am not always in the mood for it.  But sometimes it is perfect.  I decided to incorporate it into a martini.

I started with the following ratio:

3 oz Hendrick's gin
2 oz St Germain
1/4 oz vermouth

This was waaaaaay to sweet and syrupy.  I cut it with another ounce of gin and it was much much better.  I think even less St. Germain next time around would be better.  Live and learn I guess!

Salud and Cheers!

Mannhattan in Austin

Along with the martini, my understanding is the Manhattan is also a "sophisticate's" drink.  I did a fair bit of internet research, and there are many opinions on what the base of the manhattan should be.  The zealots seemed to maintain that Rye is the only true main component.  Others suggest bourbon is an acceptable substitute.  I had makers mark on hand, and I did not have Rye, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and make it with bourbon.  I am so glad I did!

50 ml Makers Mark
20 ml sweet vermouth (Martini brand)

Shake with ice, garnish with a twist.

It was very warming, and somewhat sweet with a burn at the end.  I woud definitely make this again.

I also would try some other variations - addition of Angostura bitters, addition of some dry vermouth, there are subtle changes that may change the character of the drink.  I'll keep you posted!

Salud & Cheers!

Cherries from heaven

I also tried this while the kirschwasser was out.....

1 1/2 oz cherry brandy
1 oz lemon juice
1 dash bitters
4 oz tonic water

Pour the cherry brandy, lemon juice and bitters into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes, and shake well. Strain into a highball glass almost filled with ice cubes. Top with tonic water, and stir well. Garnish with a lime wedge, and serve.

Taken from

It was also quite nice.  

Sour Cherry Margarita

Lambert's BBQ is a popular and delicious restaurant in Austin.  It is always packed.  If you don't make a reservation, you are likely out of luck.  Example last night, a few of us went w/o reservations thinking we would sit at the bar (there are two in the restaurant) with a drink and wait for a table.....non!  The hour was ~ 2 hours.  Really?  We elected to go elsewhere, but the point is, this is one yummy place.  They have an interesting drink menu all around, but I have a slight obsession with the sour cherry margarita.  Sounds weird, I know, but it is a nice balance between sweet and tart and the cherry is not overwhelming.  And in a town where you can get some type of margarita (all claiming to be the best - ha!) on any corner, finding the truly unique and delicious variations can be work.

1 shot corazon blanco tequila                 
1 shot of cherry brandy (kirschwasser)
1 shot of Grand Marnier or cointreau or Paula's TX Orange.
1 tsp agave  (+/- on this one)
The juice of one half fresh lemon
Dash of Cherry Bitters

Shake with ice, pour over rocks or straight up (to preference).

I had tried various combinations of these ingredients before without pleasing success, but this combo was the hit.  Yay!  

First Martini ever

I had never tasted a martini in my life.  I mean a real, true martini made with just gin and vermouth.  I thought maybe it would be too strong, to bitter, not smooth enough.  After discovering Hendrick's gin, I thought I might be able to tolerate it.

2 oz Hendrick's
1/4 oz Martini dry vermouth

Shaken, with a twist and a small cucumber garnish.

It was delicious.  It was very smooth, and now I understand why this is such a ubiquitous drink.  I look forward to trying various combinations of gin, vermouth, and I recently read somewhere about making a martini with Lillet white rather than dry vermouth.  I'm game.

Salud & cheers!

Initial stirrings.....

Well, I have had an affinity for wine and some spirits for some time.  Although over the past 15 years or so, I have spent more time and effort becoming proficient in picking and drinking red wine and recently bubbles than the art of the cocktail.  I turned 40 in December, and I decided it was high time I had a drink a bit more sophisticated than a pina colada.  So, I embark on this adventure, of cocktails and such.
The goal is to expand horizons, taste new flavors, and try new things.  The research that comes along with trying and understanding certain spirits is quite interesting, and is a history lesson as well as a lesson in spirits.  Until 4 days ago, I had no idea there was such a thing as an absinthe spoon, and certainly no idea what it was used for.  Now I own one (it came with the bottle of I am just short sugar cubes!).
I will be trying a different cocktail for each posting, I will list ingredients and tasting notes, sometimes a picture.

Salud and cheers!