Cocktails

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I have included here a list of my all-time favourites.  Where important and not prevented by copyright, I’ve included actual recipes and instructions on how I think the drink should be made, based on making it far too many times.  A second, much longer list represents basically all the drinks I think are worth making.  Where able, I’ve provided recipes and where appropriate, I’ve made a few notes.  For the majority without recipes, I’ve noted where you can find them.  Once again, a few bucks on the PDT, Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, The Essential Cocktail and an internet connection will cover you for the vast majority.

As I’ve mentioned before in this blog, I keep all cocktail recipes with me at all times via Word files in Dropbox on my phone and computers.  Where possible, I will list recipes and the way I think the following cocktails should be made.  Where restricted by copyright, I will simply tell you where to find the drink yourself.  I actually know some of the authors personally, and therefore don’t want to piss anyone off by diminishing book sales.

All-Time Favourites

IMG_0076Old-Fashioned.  When made properly, which is almost never in most bars, this cocktail defines the genre.  The simple perfection of the rye (though my countrymen will kill me for saying this, I only recommend making Old Fashioneds with American rye), sugar, aromatic bitters and orange is really hard to put into words.  It’s an evening drink for the most part or if you must drink during the day, build a fire and wait until it’s snowing for the full effect of what this masterpiece has to offer.

2 oz American Rye
1 Demerara Sugar Cube
3 dashes Aromatic Bitters
1 Orange Twist

Directions:

  1. Soak sugar cube in bitters in a mixing glass.  Muddle.
  2. Add ice and rye and stir well.
  3. Strain into chilled Old Fashioned glass.
  4. Zest orange over glass, rim glass and drop in.

*The Old Fashioned cocktail is also often served with a splash of soda water.

vesper

 

Vesper.  I don’t drink vodka-based cocktails but for some reason the addition of vodka to this James Bond cocktail makes all the difference.  I only use Nolet’s Silver Gin in my Vespers and always use my finest coupe for the drink.  The lemon oil from the twist seems to be almost other-wordly.

2 ¼ oz Nolet’s Silver Gin (other gins will obviously suffice)
¾ oz Vodka
½ oz Lillet Blanc
1 Lemon Twist

Directions:

  1. Pour the gin, vodka and Lillet into a cocktail mixing tin with ice.
  2. Stir until very cold.  Strain into the chilled coupe.
  3. Garnish with the lemon and serve.

gibson

 

Martini/Gibson.  I drank gin martinis with olives long before I knew anything else about the world of cocktails.  It was my go to drink.  Now, in retrospect and without being overly snobby, I was ahead of the game as it is still one of the world’s great cocktails.  Martinis are meant to be made with gin, end of story.  At some point, and I don’t know when, someone made me a martini with pickled onions instead of olives, a Gibson, and I was hooked.  Martinis and Gibsons should be served straight up, very cold and very dry.  Martinis should be consumed quickly because once the gin warms, the drink begins to resemble jet fuel.  The original Martini was served in a 2:1 ratio, gin to dry vermouth.  A while ago I got up the nerve to try the 2:1 ratio and gagged.  Stick with a capful rinse of the vermouth.

2-3 oz Best Quality Gin You Can Get
1/8 oz Dry Vermouth (Dolin, ideally)
3 Olives or Cocktail Onions (Gibson)

Directions:

  1. Rinse the vermouth in a chilled martini glass.  Discard excess according to desired dryness.
  2. Add gin to an ice filled cocktail shaker and stir until very, very cold.
  3. Strain gin into prepared martini glass.
  4. Add olives or onions on a cocktail skewer as garnish.

beverages_stinger_300x450

 

Stinger.  I stumbled upon this old classic a few years ago and have been totally enamoured with this amazing cocktail ever since.  Again, so simple yet complex.  This is a drink to be consumed by the fire or on a cold night.  The original versions were made with a lot more crème de menthe than currently.  Use VSOP Cognac and Tempus Fugit’s Crème de Menthe if you can find it.  Never use green crème de menthe as it turns the drink pukey brown when mixed with Cognac.

2 oz Cognac
1/2 oz White Crème de Menthe
Mint Sprig for Garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Stir all ingredients with ice until very cold.
  2. Strain into a dainty coupe or stemmed sherry glass.
  3. Add mint sprig (if desired) and serve.

pina_colada_2-266x399

 

Pina Colada.  When I first started out in cocktails, I thought the Pina Colada was a cheeseball drink served in plastic cups at Caribbean all-inclusives.  While that’s still completely true, a well-made Pina Colada from scratch is a revelation.  I recommend you follow Dale DeGroff’s recipe from The Essential Cocktail.  The key is using frozen pineapple chunks and Coco Lopez.  See the Sources for more info.

singapore-sling

 

Singapore Sling.  When the LCBO finally started to stock Heering Cherry I made my first Singapore Sling.  If you don’t have Heering Cherry, I wouldn’t even bother.  It makes that much of a difference.  This surprisingly boozy cocktail from Raffles Bar in Singapore is to be served in very hot weather with people who appreciate the finer things in life.

2 parts Gin
½ part Benedictine DOM
½ part Lemon Juice
1 part Heering Cherry
1 dash Angostura Bitters
2 dashes Rhubarb Bitters (my personal spin)
1 slice Lemon
Soda Water

Directions:

  1. Pour all ingredients (except Rhubarb bitters) other than the soda water into a cocktail glass and shake with ice for 10-20 seconds.
  2. Strain into a Sling or Collins glass.
  3. Garnish with lemon slice and Rhubarb Bitters.  Add small amount of soda on top of drink (~1 oz).

0001_IMG_5462-600x900

 

Ramos Gin Fizz.  Like most people, I don’t drink cocktails in the morning very often.  That said, surprising guests at 10 AM on the patio of a cottage with a Ramos Gin Fizz is one of life’s simple pleasures.  The key to this cocktail is the orange flower water.

1 ½ oz Gin
½ oz Lemon Juice
½ oz Lime Juice
1 Egg White
3 drops Vanilla Extract
2 oz Cream
1 oz Simple Syrup
5 drops Orange Flower Water

Directions:

  1. Add all liquid ingredients into a cocktail shaker and dry shake vigorously.
  2. Add ice and shake vigorously for what might seem like a ridiculous length of time.
  3. Serve in a Collins glass and garnish with a small flower or citrus twist.

9a723335-ca21-41ae-88ff-9b47c3dc2f31-640x640

 

The Blue Fig.  I first had this drink at Chambar restaurant in Vancouver in 2012.  It’s basically a gin martini that has been infused with roasted fresh figs.  When paired with a small plate of Stilton, you may never make anything else for the rest of your life.  I make this in the evenings both summer and winter.  Guests are always blown away.

3 oz Gin
Oven roasted Figs
Rinse Dry Vermouth
Crumbled Stilton

Directions:

  1. Roast a small basket of fresh figs at 400° for 25 minutes.  Cut figs in half and place in a Mason jar with the correct amount of gin according to how many people will be having the drink.  Infuse for 24 hours in the fridge.  Use within one day.
  2. When ready to serve, double strain gin and then stir with ice until very cold.
  3. Strain into vermouth-rinsed chilled martini glasses.
  4. Serve without garnish with a small dish of crumbled Stilton.

platanos

 

Platanos En Mole.  There are about a million recipes to love from the PDT.  For some reason this is one of the best in my eyes.  It basically a rum martini with crème de banane instead of vermouth.  The powdered chili adds an incredible vegetal quality to an otherwise unbelievable cocktail.

 

The Howdenvale.  I created this cocktail and, humbly, have added it to the list of my favourites.  It’s a summer drink all the way, best served on a patio in the sun.  The key is getting your hands on fresh rhubarb, one of North America’s remaining seasonal fruits.  Frozen from specialty stores works as well.

1 ½ oz Plymouth Gin
½ oz Aperol
1 oz Rhubarb Syrup 2:1
¾ oz Lemon
2 ¼” Slices of Fresh Ginger
1 Lemon Twist
1 Egg White
2 dashes Fee’s Brothers’ Cherry Bitters

Directions:

  1. Muddle ginger well with syrup.
  2. Add other ingredients and dry shake.
  3. Add ice and shake well.
  4. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with orange twist.

restingpoint372

 

Resting Point.  Another PDT masterpiece, this cocktail calls for muddled strawberries, which pretty much always makes a cocktail great.  Tequila, Punt y Mes and yellow Chartreuse round this drink into perfect form.  All season.

 

four seven two.  Frankie Solarik from Barchef in Toronto included this drink in his Barchef cocktail book and with good reason.  The cola bitters, whiskey and mint all go together so perfectly well.  I once gave friends mint syrup and cola bitters for Christmas in an effort to get them to make this amazing cocktail.

roasted-cherry-and-sage-lemonade-cocktail-20

 

Roasted Cherry & Sage Lemondade.  I pulled this incredible summer cocktail off www.nutmegnanny.com.  It was one of those cocktails that sneaks up on you as I wasn’t expecting much during the preparation.  The end product, however, totally blew me away.  Unfortunately, you’ll need to get your hands on AITA Sage to make it.

6 Roasted Cherries
½ Lemon Juiced
1 oz AITA Sage
Club Soda
2 tsp Simple Syrup
1 Lemon Wedge

Directions:

  1. Vigorously muddle the cherries in the lemon juice in a largish juice glass.
  2. Add ice, Sage and top with 4-6 oz Club Soda. Stir gently and garnish with lemon.
  3. Strain into chilled Old Fashioned with ice.

Roasted Cherries

Roast pitted and washed cherries in a parchment paper-lined glass baking dish at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes.

 

Albert’s Rocket.  My wife and I discovered this unbelievable drink at the Home Hotel bar in Buenos Aires.  I nailed it back in Toronto on my first attempt, which is the first and only time it’s ever happened.  It is the only cocktail of which I’m aware that calls for olive oil.

2 oz Reposado Tequila
1 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Agave Bar Syrup
Handful Baby Rocket Leaves
1 bspoon Olive Oil
1 Egg White

Directions:

  1. Muddle the rocket leaves in the olive oil in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add tequila, lemon, syrup and egg white and dry shake until foamy.
  3. Add ice and shake for 10-15 seconds.
  4. Strain into a chilled coupe.  Garnish with small rocket leaf.

 

The Real Lady Marmalade.  I had this cocktail at the HPS bar in Amsterdam, one of my all-time favourite bars.  The bartender was nice enough to share the recipe with me.  The tricky part is finding marjoram.  You might as well head straight to a specialty grocer or Whole Foods because regular grocery stores almost never stock it. 

Ingredients:

2 oz Old Tom Gin
5 ml Luxardo Maraschino
20 ml Lemon Juice
1 bspn Orange Marmalade
1 Marjoram Sprig

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients except marjoram into a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Shake and then strain into a chilled flute.
  3. Garnish with slightly bruised marjoram sprig.

 

Red Gin.  I modified a similar recipe I found on localwinesandspirits.com into Red Gin and it has become a huge summer favourite with my friends.  POM now sells small containers of pomegranate arils, meaning you can get them out of season.  That said, this cocktail is mainly meant for hot days.

1 ½ oz Pomegranate Infused Plymouth Gin
1 oz Lemon Juice
¾ oz Agave Bar Syrup
Loose Pomegranate Arils
2 dashes Cherry or Rhubarb Bitters
Soda Water

Directions:

  1. Infuse gin with muddled pomegranate arils for 1-3 nights (if time permits) in the fridge.  Filter before use.
  2. Mix all liquid ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and shake for 10-15 seconds.
  3. Serve into chilled Collins glass with two ice cubes.
  4. Top with soda water and pomegranate arils.  Stir gently.
  5. Top with the dashes of sweet bitters.

DSC_0186

 

Shiso Malt Sour.  I waited quite a while to try this PDT cocktail because I thought it was hard to find Shiso.  Once I realized it was readily available in Chinatown, this cocktail became an instant favourite.

daiquiri

 

Daiquiri.  Like Pina Coladas, I associated Daiquiris with cheeseball bars.  How wrong I was.  A Daiquiri is basically an excuse to drink the absolute best rum you own.  For me, it’s always Smith & Cross.  This isn’t exactly the way Hemingway drank them at La Floridita bar in Havana (which I’m proud to say I’ve visited), but I like this traditional approach best.

2 oz Really Good Rum (Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaican)
¾ oz Simple Syrup (1:1)
¾ oz Lime Juice
1 Lime Slice

Directions:

  1. Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled coupe.
  2. Garnish with lime slice.

*Serve over ice in an Old Fashioned for those who might find it too boozy.  It’s all about the rum, FYI.  Use a really flavourful spirit.

karlssons1

 

Gold Coast.  This PDT cocktail represented one of the first savoury cocktails I really fell for.  Considering it is entirely based on vodka and uses dill, an herb of which I’m not normally fond, it’s amazing how much I like it.  Any chance, however, to use Aftelier’s mind-blowing black pepper chef’s essence, is a reason to drink and drink and drink.  All that said, this is a different type drink.  Do not serve to cocktail newbies.  They won’t get it.

 

Aviation-Cocktail

 

Aviation.  The Aviation was the first cocktail I really started to make on my own and the one to lead me down this path.  I drank Martinis and then Gibsons before The Aviation but it was the drink that opened up the world of cocktails.  I’m also strongly drawn to floral drinks, and there really isn’t anything better than good Crème de Violette.

1 ½ oz Gin
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
¾ tsp Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
¾ oz Violet Syrup (or 1 oz gin and 1 oz Violet Liqueur)
1 Lemon Twist
Sprinkle Pink and purple flowers

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in cocktail shaker over ice for 10-15 seconds.
  2.  Serve in martini glass with lemon twist and flowers.

 

Hideriboshi.  I tried this odd cocktail because I owned both a bottle of Choya Umeshu liqueur and Shochu and didn’t know what to do with them.  Anyway, I was totally blown away by how all the somewhat passive ingredients add up to something so complex.  Watermelon juice is actually more savoury than the sweet fruit from which it comes.  Really, really incredible.  You can find this in Kazuo Uyeda’s amazing book ‘Cocktail Techniques.’

Other Really Great Cocktails Worth Making

From The PDT Cocktail Book

  • 21st Century
  • 212
  • Against All Odds
  • Beach Bum
  • Bee’s Sip
  • Berlioni
  • Betula
  • Blackbeard
  • Blackthorn Rose
  • Blinker
  • Brewer’s Breakfast
  • Brown Bomber
  • Bubbaloo
  • Buona Notte
  • Cavalier
  • Cocktail a la Louisana
  • Cranberry Cobbler
  • Cuzco
  • Deathbed
  • Donizetti
  • Eclipse
  • El Burro
  • Falling Leaves
  • Fish House Punch
  • Flying Dutchman
  • French Maid
  • Fresa Verde
  • Green Harvest
  • Harvest Sling
  • Heirloom
  • Henry Hudson
  • Hotel D’Alsace
  • Hotel Nacional
  • Johnny Apple Collins
  • Kin Kan
  • King Bee
  • Leapfrog
  • Left Coast
  • Left Hand Cocktail
  • LES Globetrotter
  • Lion’s Tooth
  • Little Bit Country
  • Midnight Express
  • Milk Punch
  • Montgomery Smith
  • Mount Vernon
  • New Amsterdam
  • Nth Degree
  • Occidental
  • Old Pal
  • Paddington
  • Paul’s Club
  • Perfect Pair
  • Primavera
  • Rack’n’Rye
  • Rapscallion
  • Red Devil
  • Rhum Club
  • Rio Bravo
  • Rose
  • Royal Bermuda Yacht Club
  • Rust Belt
  • Rye Witch
  • Sage Old Buck
  • Shiso Delicious
  • Siesta
  • Solstice
  • St. Rita
  • T&T
  • Vauvert Slim
  • Velvet Club
  • Ward 8
  • White Lily
  • White Negroni

From Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails

  • Honeymoon
  • Knickerbocker a la Monsieur
  • Mother-in-Law
  • Picon Punch
  • Scofflaw
  • The Amarosa
  • Golden Dawn
  • The Filmograph
  • The Ford
  • The Millionaire
  • The Seelbach
  • The Algonquin

General List by Season

Summer

21st Century212

Absinthe & Old Lace

Across the Border

Against All Odds Cocktail

Albert’s Rocket

Almond

Americano Spritzer

Aperol Spritz

Argento’s Dream

Aviation

Barnum

Basilica

Berlioni

Blackthorn English

Blinker

Blood & Sand

Bloody Caesar

Blue Rhone Fizz

Bubbaloo

Caipirinhia

Cavalier

CC & t

Clubland1

Colonial

Colonial

Corpse Reviver

Country Bumpkin

Cranberry Cobbler

Cuzco

Death at Dusk

Delicious Sour

Dev’s Pride

Donizetti

East India

El Pepino

Falling Leaves*

Fish House Punch!

Flying Dutchman!

Four seven two

French 75/North by Northwest

French Maid

Fresa Verde

Ghostly Negroni

Gibson

Gin & Tonic

Ginger Lemon Mash

Gold Coast

Gold Rush

Golden Dawn

Green Harvest

Green Monster

Harvest Sling

Heirloom

Henry Hudson

Hot Spring

Hurricane

King Bee

Knickerbocker a la Monsieur

Lavender Hound

Lavender Pisco Sour

Leapfrog

Lion’s Tooth

Little Bit Country

Mojito

Negroni

New Amsterdam

North of the Border

Old Fashioned

On the Boulevard

Paddington

Pan American Clipper

Paul’s Club

Paulista

Pear Vodka Sour

Pimm’s Classic

Pimm’s Tonic

Pimm’s Tonic

Pimmeron

Pina Colada

Pisco Sour

Pomme en Croute

Pontarlier Julep

Pontarlier Julep

Ramos Gin Fizz

Red Gin

Resting Point

Rio Bravo

Rose

Sanctuary

Savage Dandy

Sidecar

Siesta

Singapore Sling

Spring Air

St. Rita

Starlight

Symphony #5

Tan Martinez

Tequila Maggy

The Amarosa

The Blue Fig

The Filmograph

The Hobnob

The Honeymoon

The Howdenvale

The Last Word

The Real Lady Marmalade

Vesper

Violet Bourbon Sour

Voodoo Child

Ward 8

Water Lily

White Negroni

El Burro

Fo Swizzle My Nizzle

Cynar Julep

Django Reinhardt

Old Flame

Scofflaw

Mamani Gin & Tonic

Shiso Delicious

Daiquiri

Summer’s Vitae

Honeydew Crush

Shiso Malt Sour

Pineapple Julep

Sirocco Mixture

Hideriboshi

Dial D for Derby

Roasted Cherry & Sage Lemonade

Montgomery Smith (evening)

Für Peter

Velvet Club

The Seelbach Cocktail

 

Winter

Absinthe & Old Lace

Against All Odds Cocktail

Albert’s Rocket

Almond

Americano Spritzer

An Epic & A Limerick

Argento’s Dream

Aviation

Barefoot in the Dark

Barnum

Basilica

Bee’s Sip

Bee’s Sip

Berlioni

Betula

Bitter Bike

Black Lodge

Blackthorn English

Blinker

Blood & Sand

Bloody Caesar

Boulevardier

Brown Bomber

Bubbaloo

Cavalier

Clubland

Cock’n’Bull Special

Colonial

Colonial

Death at Dusk

Donizetti

East India

El Nacional

Ephemeral

Fall Cup

Falling Leaves

four seven two

Gibson

Gold Coast

Gold Rush

Golden Dawn

Govner

Green Harvest

Green Monster

Harry Palmer

Heirloom

Honeymoon

Honeysuckle

Hot Spring

Hot Toddy

King Bee

L’Aurore

Lavender Hound

Libretto

Lion’s Tooth

Little Bit Country

Manhattan

Martinez

Midnight Express

Milk Punch

Montgomery Smith

Negroni/Ghostly Negroni

New Amsterdam

North of the Border

Occidental

Old Fashioned

Old Roman

On the Boulevard

Pan American Clipper

Paul’s Club

Pear Vodka Sour

Pomme en Croute

Primavera

Red Devil

Red Devil

Remember the Maine

Resting Point

Rose

Rye Witch

Sage Old Buck

Sanctuary

Sazerac/Peat

Sidecar

St. Rita

Stinger

Strange Desire

Tan Martinez

The Amarosa

The Blue Fig

The Daily Coffee

The Last Word

The Noble Order

The Real Lady Marmalade

Valkyrie

Vanilla Manhattan

Vegetable Negroni

Vesper

Violet Bourbon Sour

Voodoo Child

Ward 8

Water Lily

White Negroni

Widow’s Kiss

Xeres Cocktail

Yale

Django Reinhardt

Old Flame

Scofflaw

Shiso Delicious

Shiso Malt Sour

Dial D for Derby

Montgomery Smith

Für Peter

Old Pal

Sinterklaas

Hotel D’Alsace

Garza’s Winter Blanket

LES Globetrotter

Velvet Club

The Seelbach Cocktail

Frankie Solarik’s Bitter Base

Barchef

1 tbsp Clove
1 tbsp Caraway Seed
4 small Cinnamon Stick
2 tbsp Fennel Seed
2 tbsp Licorice Root
2 tbsp Black Peppercorn
4 pods Whole Star Anise
3 tbsp Cardamom Seed
1.4 L Rye Whiskey/Gin/Vodka

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients into a large mason jar with rye for ‘dark’ bitters, gin for ‘light’ bitters and vodka for ‘delicate’ bitters (lavender, cacao).  Then add principle flavouring.
  2. Shake every day, store in a dark place.  Wait 1-2 weeks depending on main flavour.
  3. Filter with fine colander or cheesecloth and then 3 times through Brita filter.
  4. Bottle and label.c

Basic Bitter Base

1 oz Milk Thistle
2 oz Quassia Chips
1 tsbp Wormwood
1 oz Dried Lemon Peel
1 L Gin
2 Mason Jars
5 tsp Sugar

Directions:

  1. Add herbs to one mason jar.
  2. Add flavouring to the other mason jar.  Fill both with gin and seal.  Shake daily.
  3. After 2 weeks filter liquids through fine sieve.
  4. Dissolve 5 tsp sugar in 1 part bitter liquid and 20 parts flavoured liquid to a plastic bottle with squirt lid.

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