Archive for the ‘cognac and brandy’ Category

Corpse Reviver Article

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Another article just appeared in DRiNK. Since this issue looks at brandy, I wrote about the Corpse Reviver. The Corpse Reviver is more like a semi-forgotten category than a single cocktail. The famous Corpse Reviver #2 is based on gin, but most of the other Corpse Reviver recipes use brandy. Oddly, despite being a diverse bunch, Corpse Revivers never seem to call for American spirits like bourbon, rye, etc. I figure they were a specifically English thing. (more…)

Orange Liqueurs, the Burnt Fuselage, and Elwyn Richardson

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

“But I like to think how nice it’s gonna be, maybe, in California. Never cold. An’ fruite ever’place, an’ people just bein’  in the nicest places, little white houses in among the orange trees. I wonder – that is, if we all get jobs an’ all work – maybe we can get one of them little white houses. An’ the little fellas go out an’ pick oranges right off the tree.” (John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath)

I’m rather late saying this but another issue of DRiNK is out, which means more articles. This time time it’s all about the orange, a fruit so ubiquitous in cocktails we easily forget how lost we would be without it. My first article takes a look at orange liqueurs, and the second turns to the Burnt Fuselage and the Kamikaze. Both articles, but particularly the first, got a little edited

The Burnt Fuselage had an odd run of popularity in Shanghai some years back. I found the recipe on Paul Clarke’s Cocktail Chronicles, introduced it to a bar or two, and before long, not only were friends and strangers drinking it, but I was getting late night phone calls from bartenders I had never met asking me how to make the thing. This odd phenomenon didn’t last, and Shanghai soon went back to drinking whatever it normally drinks. Truth be told, it was probably easier to start a cocktail trend back when Shanghai only had 2.5 cocktail bars.

Something else.

I just learned that Elwyn Richardson died late last year. It must be a couple of decades since I last saw Elwyn, but without him I doubt people would be paying me to drink cocktails and write about it. Although Elwyn was a teacher, the word does not fit. Certainly in his writing classes he didn’t exactly teach. He just drew people’s attention to common sense.

It is a pity I never told Elwyn I was writing for a drink industry magazine. He would have liked the idea.

RIP Elwyn. The orange-themed Steinbeck is for you.

Mixology Monday: The Rainbow Warrior

Monday, August 11th, 2008


The theme for this Mixology Monday (hosted at Save the Drinkers) is Local Flavor.  The idea is to make a drink featuring local ingredients.  I will treat New Zealand as my locality.  During my temporary sojourn in the Dominican Republic I have no bar besides a couple of bottles of rum.  I think I should blog on a drink I invented a few years ago and had the foresight to photograph.

Sensitive readers should be aware that this drink contains vodka.


Pineau des Charentes: an overlooked cocktail ingredient?

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Retrospective photograph of my bottle of pineau - it looked nicer full

It looked better full. . .

Pineau des Charentes is an interesting aperitif from France that I have only recently tried. It seems to be relatively unknown outside of France. Pineau des Charentes is generally drunk straight rather than being used used in cocktails. However, since I am interested in aperitif wines as cocktail ingredients I picked a bottle up to try it out. (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.

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…)

Two drinks with Fernet Branca

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

I got hold of a bottle of Fernet Branca the other day. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while but it can be a little hard to track down. At Tara 57 in Shanghai, when Marcus was still working there, I used to drink a simple Fernet Branca cocktail (gin, Fernet Branca and Italian Vermouth) pretty much every time I went in. The bitter taste of Fernet Branca is very much my kind of thing.


Besides the simple Fernet Branca cocktail Marcus also used to make something called The Pharmacy. I think this drink was made from cognac, crème de menthe and Fernet Branca, though I’m not sure about the proportions. I’ll have to ask Marcus sometime. Anyway, the drink was rich, minty and bittersweet. It was the type of drink that could make a good introduction to Fernet Branca. (more…)

The Ariel Cocktail

Sunday, March 11th, 2007


I happened to be drinking this concoction when I received an e-mail from a good friend telling me he was now a father. I had done a search on cocktailDB for a drink containing apricot brandy, cognac and gin, and found the Une Idee Cocktail (3/4 oz cognac, 3/4 oz gin, 3/4 oz Italian vermouth, 1/4 oz apricot brandy). Since I wanted a drink that would really let me taste the Marie Brizard Apry I decided to up the apricot brandy to a 1/2 oz. Technically then the drink I had made was different to the recipe.

On opening my e-mail box I read my friend’s happy news and it seemed only appropriate to christen the drink after his newborn son given that it was, sort of, a new recipe, so the Ariel it was.

The Ariel Cocktail

3/4 oz cognac (Martell)

3/4 oz gin (Bombay Sapphire)

3/4 oz Italian vermouth (Martini)

1/2 oz apricot brandy (Marie Brizard)

This drink is smooth and rich. The cognac and apricot hold the foreground, while the gin and vermouth throwing in plenty of botanicals that make it a little bracing rather than too sweet. A refined drink. I suppose I should try it with the originally suggested 1/4 oz of apricot brandy to see how that compares. Another possibility might be using a dry apricot brandy.