Archive for the ‘dry (French)’ Category

Three Grenadine Drinks: or the president meets a pink lady at the Clover Club

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008


Having made some quality grenadine, the next step is to find some drinks to try it in. Three drinks immediately come to mind, the Clover Club, the Pink Lady, and the El Presidente. The Clover Club and Pink Lady are simply grenadine sweetened and flavored gin sours, while the El Presidente is a complex rum, orange Curacao and vermouth affair that gets a gentle lift from a teaspoon of grenadine. (more…)

Martini Thyme

Friday, March 14th, 2008

I found this martini variation in an old Gary Regan book called New Classic Cocktails. I decided to give it a whirl since I had some thyme lying around after trying out Jamie Boudreau’s Old Man Thyme – recommended by the way.



This one is simplicity itself. (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…)

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.

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.




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…)

The Affinity Cocktail #2

Sunday, March 11th, 2007

I found this one while searching online for cocktails using agricole rum. Apparently it was created by Philip Ward of the Pegu Club in NYC. The drink stood out to me because of the use of Chartreuse. Agicole rum has a soft, grassy flavor, not unlike the sugar cane juice it is distilled from. Chartreuse is a strong herbal liqueur but could also be described as grassy. Combining agricole rum and Chartreuse made sense to me on paper, and it works in the glass too. The use of dry vermouth introduces yet another layer of grassy, herbal flavors, and also tones the drink down and cuts the alcohol a little.


The recipe:

2 parts white agricole rum (I used St. James)

1 part Green Chartreuse

1 part French Vermouth (I used Martini Rossi)

Stir over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint if you happen to have one handy. Introducing a little mint scent via this garnish, or perhaps even by rubbing the rim of the glass with a mint leaf or two, could improve the taste a notch. I didn’t have any mint handy and the drink tasted pretty good without it.

This drink good should go down well with people who like Chartreuse. It is also a good one if you are looking for a complex tasting rum drink that does not require fruit juices. The aroma is mild, like sugar cane, but the taste is full of complexity from the herbals in the liqueur and vermouth. The sugar cane character of the rum, plus the large dose of sugar in the Chartreuse, help tame the strong herbal flavors and make the drink almost gentle.

I have no idea why it is called the Affinity Cocktail #2. The original Affinity Cocktail was a mixture of equal parts scotch, French vermouth, and Italian vermouth, with a touch of orange bitters, and does not seem to be a common drink. There is no obvious connection between the two that I can see.

If our language was whiskey. . .

Sunday, February 11th, 2007

This month’s Mixology Monday, kindly hosted at Jimmy’s Cocktail Hour, is all about whiskey. Note, simply whiskey, not necessarily whiskey cocktails. I should have lots to say about this month’s topic but somehow I don’t.

Of course there are many things I could cover. I could choose a favorite whiskey cocktail and write about that. I could write about my family’s ritual of drinking tea with whiskey in the morning on Christmas Day. I could write about a favorite whiskey, maybe Lagavulin or Laphroaig. (more…)

The Autumn Frogman

Sunday, December 3rd, 2006

This was actually written for November’s Mixology Monday but since I shifted my blog I am reproducing it here.

The topic of this month’s Mixology Monday is bitters. On a recent trip to Cambodia I happened to pick up a bottle of Suze. I had heard of Suze before but never tried it. From what I could make out of the label it seemed to be flavored with Gentian, an ingredient I’d only vaguely heard of before. The shop where I bought it was Phnom Penh’s largest French supermarket so I was fortunate enough to be able to ask a passing French woman what Gentian tasted like. ‘Aniseed’ she said. That didn’t sound entirely right to me since I had a feeling Gentian was something different. However, given that aniseed is such a divisive flavor I figured her description meant Suze had some kind of interesting taste and so I grabbed a bottle.

The French woman clearly was not much of a Suze drinker, or perhaps was as confused about aniseed as I was about gentian. When I finally got the bottle back to Shanghai (along with my other Cambodian finds – St. James rum and Marie Brizard Apry) I tasted no aniseed. I found the Suze rather like Campari, but less intense and without the orange taste. Apparently gentian is some kind of bitter flower. Suze is lighter bodied than Campari, less bitter, a little floral, and apparently has a wine base. I like it.

Suze tastes great with a splash of soda or tonic, but I wanted to find some Suze cocktails. I did a little research but came up with nothing. There were a few cocktail suggestions on the Suze website, but none of them grabbed me. The standard cocktail websites don’t mention it much.

So in honor of the approaching Mixology Monday I did a little experimentation myself. Because of Suze’s similarity to Campari I took the Negroni (a favorite of mine) as my starting point.

I tried mixing 1 part Suze, 1 part gin and 1 part French Vermouth. This was drinkable but I felt it didn’t mesh together well. Perhaps it would work with the proportions changed around – the gin dominates a bit. I thought Suze would go nicely with some fruit, and that some sweetness and acidity might help put the gin in the background, so I tried adding some orange juice. A version with equal parts of Suze, gin, vermouth and orange juice wasn’t too bad, but lacked character.

Another day and another attempt and I came up with something I was happy with. This time I used calvados instead of gin, to produce a fruitier gentler drink that plays off Suze’s relatively mild bitterness. Calvados always reminds me of Autumn and so bringing out the calvados bottle seemed fitting for the season as well. I think this would make a nice aperitif before an autumn meal involving cooked apples – maybe pork with apple, or chicken Normandy?

So the recipe. . .

Autumn Frogman

1 oz Suze

1 oz calvados

1 oz French vermouth

Stir ingredients over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze a twist of lemon peel over the drink to extract the oils, rub the peel around the rim of the glass, and drop into the drink. A dash of orange bitters might also be nice instead of the lemon twist, though I haven’t tried this yet.


This drink isn’t as bold as the Negroni, but I think Negroni drinkers will appreciate it. Personally I’m very pleased with it. For an aperitif this drink is slightly mellow (something that could probably be changed by upping the ratio of Suze), but the mellowness seems part of the charm. While I would never want to abandon the wonderful Negroni I can see myself substituting the Autumn Frogman occasionally when I feel like something slightly more low key and heart-warming. If you simply happen to want to bring out the Suze this drink is just the thing.

Why is it called an Autumn Frogman? This drink has three French ingredients so the name was always going to refer to France, and who could refer to the French without having a joke at their expense?

I am from New Zealand and in our minds (or is it just in mine?) the French will forever be associated with the bombing of a Greenpeace protest boat, the Rainbow Warrior, in Auckland Harbor. Yes, I know it happened in 1985, but we’re talking about the French here! The Rainbow Warrior was sunk in winter, but I expect the French agents spent the Autumn wet-suited up and training for the mission. The Calvados also matches the Autumn theme. So I present to the world, the Autumn Frogman!

Being an unforgiving person, on a previous occasion I came up with a Rainbow Warrior cocktail, but that will have to wait for another day.