Mike S.

since March 2009


How to Not [email protected]%& Up a Daiquiri 19 Jul 2012
1:01 pm

Is that El Dorado you’re using there?  What age?

How to Not [email protected]%& Up a Daiquiri 19 Jul 2012
3:31 pm

ED 15 is quite possibly my favorite rum in the world.  I has never occured to me to make a Daiquiri with it.  I will remedy that tonight.

Vesper Cocktail 5 Apr 2011
10:06 am

Great video on what has become one of my favorite drinks, and certainly my favorite Martini variation.  As a result, I’ve developed a bit of an obsession with it, and offer the following thoughts from this end of the peanut gallery:

Beefeater is a great gin to use in this drink; Tanqueray also works brilliantly.  Point being you want a standard-profile, straight-forward London Dry Gin ideally with a proof range in the 90s.  Fleming of course called for Gordon’s, but the Gordon’s we get here in the US does not work due to its 80 proof alcohol content and what I believe is a slightly different recipe.  If you can get the genuine article from England, I’m told it’s the best of all, but I’ve never had the fortune to try it.  All that said, when I’m feeling really extravagant, I reach for my bottle of Cadenhead’s Old Raj Blue Label at a whopping 110 proof and that hint of pale yellow color.  It’s stunningly good in this drink.

Absolute is an interesting choice for the vodka here (I understand the reason…), and one that I’ve never tried.  Typically, I prefer a 100 proof vodka, and my favorite for this drink is Stolichnaya Blue Label from Russia.  Smirnoff Blue Label (No. 57) is also excellent.  The point here is that vodka was almost always bottled at 100 proof or higher at the time this drink was created (or so I understand) and I try to preserve that element when I make it.  Perhaps I’ll try one with Absolute 100….

Most critically for me, however, is the “Lillet Issue.”  When I first started making this drink, I used Lillet Blanc because that’s all that was available.  I was always underwhelmed and frankly could never figure out what all the fuss was about; the drink never did anything for me.  Then I finally got my hands on a bottle of Cocchi Americano and the blinders came off!  Cocchi Americano is a white-wine based aperitivo from Italy very similar to Lillet Blanc but has that spicy, bitter undertone we’re told was the hallmark of the old Kina Lillet.  It’s an amazing product all by itself (love it over ice with an orange twist), and for me it quite simply *makes* a Vesper…well…a Vesper.  Try it and you’ll never use Lillet Blanc in your Vespers again.

Lastly, I respectfully disagree on stirring Vespers.  Fleming wrote them shaken, Bond ordered them shaken, and shaken they shall be (at least at my house!).  Cheers and great series as always.


Interview: Sean Harrison and Desmond Payne 25 Jul 2009
7:42 pm

Great interview with two very important figures in the world of gin!  Beefeater, I think, is one of the most underrated liquors (not just gins) here in the US.  It’s simply outstanding, and the new 24 is great too.  And Plymouth, well, it’s just in a class by itself (literally).

I have to say, to the extent we’re taking a vote:  +1 on bringing Plymouth Navy to the US!

El Diablo Cocktail 2 Jul 2009
8:53 pm

This is probably my wife’s favorite drink, so I find myself making a lot of them.  She likes them best (and I agree) with Fever Tree Ginger Ale.  Honestly, I’ve never made one with ginger beer, since the only GB I keep around is Bundaberg for Dark & Stormies and such, and I guess I’ve always thought it would be too strong in this.  To me, the beauty of this drink is the gentle interplay between the tequila and the cassis.

How to Serve Absinthe 10 Jun 2009
4:57 pm

Great video as always, and a great review of the proper method.  I rarely bother with the whole “drip” thing any more, however; it takes too long and doesn’t get the drink cold enough for my tastes.  My favorite way of drinking absinthe is in a modified (and simplified) frappe:  Pack a small rocks glass with crushed ice.  If you would normally sugar the particular absinthe you’re drinking, drizzle a little simple syrup (or, even better, Martinique Cane Syrup) over the ice; if not, don’t.  Pour in 1-2 ounces of absinthe, give a quick stir and enjoy!  One of the things I like most about this method is that you get to experience the absinthe through all stages of nearly-neat to wonderfully mellowed out as you sip and the ice slowly melts.  Not traditional, perhaps, but highly enjoyable (and at least it doesn’t involve fire).

Cabaret Cocktail 14 Mar 2009
9:21 pm

Looks good!  I noticed you’re using the “old” U.S. formula Noilly Prat dry vermouth.  Any sense of how this one would work with the “new” to the U.S. formula?  So far, I’ve found that I really like the new stuff in most things except a classic American-style Dry Martini.