since March 2009


Know Your Cocktail's History - The Martini 11 Nov 2015
9:29 am

I love this episode! A few thoughts:

- I currently feel Occam’s Razor most supports the probability the Martini (drink) received its name (by accident) from the vermouth brand, which was clearly not merely the market leader in the United States, but the market dominator, for pretty much as long as there’s been a vermouth market in the United States; back in the 1870s, the vermouth was the novelty, so ordering a “Martini cocktail” was ordering a drink with that new-fangled “Martini” stuff in it (which wasn’t labeled “sweet vermouth” back then, it was labeled “Martini, Sola & Cie” or “Martini & Rossi” and it was clearly from Italy, and that about all most could say for it. For whatever reason, the name stuck to the gin cocktail but not the whiskey cocktail, perhaps because the “Manhattan” was preemptive?

- If you want to try a *really* old-school Martini, use 50% old tom gin and 50% red vermouth; it’s good, too.

- My favorite recipe descriptions for the Martini and Manhattan are from Theodore Proulx (1884 or 1888, we’re still trying to verify which):

“Manhattan Cocktail
This is made the same way as any other cocktail, except that you will use one-half vermouth and one-half whiskey in place of all whiskey, omitting absinthe

“Martini Cocktail
Is half Old Tom gin and half vermouth made like any other cocktail; no absinthe.

WTF Cocktail 18 Nov 2011
6:45 am

More like this please.

WTF Cocktail 18 Nov 2011
6:45 am

A few words on why you think this counter-intuitive cocktail worked out would be nice.

Russian Cocktail - Lessons on Vodka 29 Mar 2011
11:58 am

Interesting. Kind of.  But Absolut is pretty darn neutral, so this drink winds up basically being a stretched cordial.

I’m embarrassingly ignorant on the history of vodka, but it cannot have begun as something so neutral and pure as your run-of-the-mill contemporary vodka (e.g., Absolut). Before the continuous still, vodka must have been something closer to white dog: more flavor from the grain (and no doubt, more congeners from impurities). Did vodka instantly transform into pure neutral spirits diluted with water immediately post-Coffey? Or was it a long slow decline in character? I wonder what the vodka tasted like that went into the original Russian?

What I do know is that I just executed this drink substituting a pleasant, high quality, contemporary white dog (not a commercial bottling) for the Absolut, and unsurprisingly, the drink has a lot more going for it. And, whaddayaknow, it’s EVEN BETTER with a dash of Peychaud’s, which not only has an affinity for Heering, but makes the drink into a true cocktail!

Well, it’s not a Russian Cocktail any more, but I’m half-Russian, so I’ll call it the Doudoroff Cocktail. (smirk)

Doudoroff Cocktail
1 1/2 oz white dog
3/4 oz Cherry Heering
1/4 oz Kirsch
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a Luxardo marasca cherry.

Note: a twist is not really desirable for this drink if your kirsch is any good: a fine kirsch supplies lovely aromatics.

Vermouth in Cocktails - The Golden Ratio 14 Dec 2010
9:31 am

Great episode, Jamie!

Bourbon Crusta Cocktail 31 Aug 2009
7:04 am

What happened to the

Bourbon Crusta Cocktail 1 Sep 2009
3:59 am

Ok, but it seems to me a Bourbon Crusta without a sugared rim is less a Crusta than a Cocktail of the sour persuasion (but not to be confused

Diabolo Cocktail 14 Jul 2009
3:55 am


Diabolo Cocktail 14 Jul 2009
4:07 am

While there is indeed a tricky toy called the “diabolo”, I suspect both the name of the toy and the name of this cocktail derive from a corruption of the Italian “diavolo” (the “v” can easily be mis-heard as a “b”) and/or the Spanish “diablo”, both of which mean “devil”. Both toy and drink might be considered “bedeviling”.

Monte Carlo Cocktail 1 Jun 2009
7:19 am

This drink seems like a direct interpolation between the Manhattan and the Vieux Carre.

Strait's Sling Cocktail 26 May 2009
7:25 am

I note that you’re sidestepping the idea of kirsch as the “dry cherry brandy” called for in this drink. Care to comment?

Strait's Sling Cocktail 26 May 2009
10:19 am

Well, I certainly advocate that anyone interested in this drink at least try it out with kirsch instead of Heering (same 1/2 oz measure). The results will be drastically different. I’m not laying claim that it’s “more correct” with kirsch, although the Ted Haigh article referenced above argues so and may be the most definitive statement we have so far on the topic. I do, however, feel it’s worthwhile.

One word of warning: kirsch (a.k.a. Kirschwasser) is a surprisingly variable spirit. Some kirsch on the American market is overwhelmingly woody and, in my experience, that can utterly wreck the Straits Sling. The contemporary kirsch I have found to be a reliable benchmark is Trimbach, a French producer of an array of eau de vies which Diageo Wines imports (last I checked).

Coffee Cocktail 31 Mar 2009
12:22 pm

I’m not sure how the bitters slipped into Robert’s rendition without explanation and in the face of JT’s own quoted commentary. At the very least, the bitters should probably be qualified as “optional”. However, considering that Harry Johnson specified garnishing the Coffee Cocktail with an olive (!), this is a minor quibble.

Piña Colada Cocktail 9 Jul 2010
4:55 am

The guys at Painkiller (NYC) have recently published their thoughts on this drink, the version of which they serve daily is staggering in its deliciousness.

Piña Colada Cocktail 12 Jul 2010
12:04 pm

Irrespective of history, I can imagine no good reason to ever use a filtered (colorless) rum in a Pi