Archive for February, 2008

Oolong Tea Infused Gin: The Fort Zeelandia Cocktail

Friday, February 29th, 2008


I decided to give infusing gin with tea a try. I started by making the Earl Grey Martini as written up by Gary Regan in the San Francisco Chronicle. Earl Grey is possibly my least favorite tea. I don’t hate the stuff exactly. Oil of bergamont is an interesting flavor. Unfortunately, that taste just doesn’t work for me in tea. (more…)

The Leap Year, Burnt Fuselage, and Chinese barmen

Thursday, February 28th, 2008


So today marks a leap year meaning we get that rarest of experiences – February the 29th. This may not seem hugely exciting. However, back in the 1920s, when Harry Craddock was mixing cocktails at the Savoy, leap year celebrations were quite the thing. Harry Craddock even created the Leap Year Cocktail to mark the 1928 celebrations at the Savoy. The Leap Year Cocktail isn’t a bad drink either, being sort of a lightweight cousin to the Burnt Fuselage. (more…)

Stomach Reviver

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

I had high hopes for this one and was not disappointed. I like drinks with lots of herbal flavors and this one obviously fits the bill.



1 oz brandy (Prince Arignac Armagnac V.S.)

1 oz kummel (Wolfschmidt)

½ oz Fernet Branca

5 dashes Angostura Bitters


Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.


This would make a nice alternative to a liqueur after a meal. Or you could drink it any time you want a complex, contemplative, and rather medicinal drink. The Fernet Branca comes over heaviest, but the kummel makes its presence felt and the brandy provides the perfect mild but rich base for it all, with the bitters giving some extra complexity. Kummel mixes interestingly with strong herbal flavors, and it is a nice match for brandy too. Drinking this is like tasting a new herbal liqueur with a caraway base. I’d definitely drink this again. Mind you I tend to like this sort of thing.

Green Dragon

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Continuing with kummel, this drink is featured on the side of the Fees Peach Bitters. Kummel with peach bitters. . . How is that for obscure? But that’s not all. Just when things are threatening to get a bit high brow, in goes a big dose of crème de menthe. I have nothing against crème de menthe, but it isn’t the most subtle or complex taste, and it tends to make rather one dimensional drinks. Still, I’ve said similar things about kummel being a very assertive flavor. So lets see how kummel goes pitted against crème de menthe. . .



There are a few different recipes around for this one. (more…)

The John Wood Cocktail

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

In my quest for more Kummel drinks I came across this one. I picked it out because the recipe looked interesting and unpredictable. What was a caraway, vermouth, whiskey and bitters flavored sour going to taste like?




Allies Cocktail

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

I figured kummel, being such an assertive taste, would work well as a mere dash or two in a martini type drink. I searched around for a suitable recipe and found this one in the Savoy.



1 oz dry gin (Tanqueray)

1 oz dry vermouth

2 dashes kummel (I initially used ½ a teaspoon then upped it to 1 teaspoon)

Not in the recipe but I squeezed an orange twist over it.


Surprisingly the kummel was no more than a faint background note at ½ a teaspoon. I found a full teaspoon more to my taste. This one tastes pretty much like what you’d expect.  A pleasant martini variation.


Given that kummel originates from Holland it might be interesting to try making something like this using genever rather than standard dry gin.

Update: I later tried this using Bokma Genever, 2 tsp kummel, and a squeeze of lemon peel. It was very tasty, and perhaps better integrated than the original (hard to say though since I did not compare side to side). The milder character of the genever blends nicely with everything else.

Kingston Cocktail

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

I never got around to experimenting with the Kummel I bought a few months back. I think I got a couple of decent drinks out of my recent exploration of apricot brandy so I figure I will try and do the same with Kummel over the next few days. To kick things off here is a slightly unusual Kummel drink from the Savoy. This one drags Kummel away from Northern Europe to holiday in sunny Jamaica, where it meets fun ingredients like Pimento Dram liqueur and Jamaican rum.



The Allegheny (a blackberry brandy drink)

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

I decided to whip up a quick something using blackberry brandy and settled on the Allegheny. It was the first recipe to come up on CocktailDB when I searched for blackberry brandy and lemon juice. Bourbon and dry vermouth looked like they would do nicely to fill out the drink, and a dash of bitters promised to spice things up a little.




Whiskey Live: Auckland

Monday, February 18th, 2008

I should probably have written Whisky Live, but the extra ‘e’ somehow seems to add something to the word.


On Saturday I attended Whiskey Live in Auckland. Whiskey Live is a whiskey event that creeps around the globe dousing various cities in whiskey for the day. The Auckland event was mostly about Scotch, with a single lonely ‘Bourbon’ producer, a little whiskey from Tasmania and New Zealand, and I think some Irish whiskey floating around somewhere. In the U.S. there is probably a little more American whiskey. Maybe the Auckland event could have done with some more American whiskey, but perhaps that might have distracted the focus.


At any rate there was a huge range of Scotch whiskey. All the Scotch distilleries I knew of were represented, plus plenty that were new to me. The range of whiskey was impressive enough, but the venue provided the finishing touch. The Civic Theater is a truly amazing piece of art deco architecture and filling a grand old building like that with fine whiskeys and a crowd gathered specially to sample them made for a somewhat magical occasion.




Researching Apricot Brandy cocktails

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

I tried out a range of apricot brandy drinks while selecting my entry for the recent Raiders of the Lost Cocktail. The following gives a summary of what I tried, ranked not very scientifically from best to worst. (more…)