since September 2009


Don't Use Bad Ice in Your Cocktails - Mai Tai Recipe 21 Nov 2014
8:41 am

One of the biggest problems with store-bought ice is that oftentimes it has been sitting there for a very long time so it gets freezer-burned and just plain tastes terrible. Not only that, it can fuse into a solid block. Some stores will have a machine and bag fresh ice on the spot for you, but I find them to be rare, at least here in NYC.

As for home ice, I find one of the most critical factors to be what else you’re storing in your freezer. Ice absorbs odors from other food quite easily, and that can ruin a good cocktail (although I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dave Arnold figure out a way to do it on purpose, someday. Slow-cured rosemary ice cubes, anyone? Très sous-vide!).

Hop Toad Cocktail 1 Oct 2013
11:41 am

That drink sounds amazing.

Terrific comments about the long-term effects of bartending; I love my Cobbler shaker. In addition to what Jamie says in the video, I also find that due to the Boston shaker’s larger size and bulk, it tends to have more force (torque?) on my back. And of course there’s always the danger of breakage.

Two disadvantages to the Cobbler are that it can sometimes take longer to pour (smaller opening), and the pieces seem to get stuck together more often than the Boston and, once stuck, are harder to get apart.

New York Sour Cocktail 5 Oct 2014
8:44 am

This looks fantastic, but I must admit that I am hesitant to put a 15 year old scotch into a cocktail. Any suggestions for a different one?

New York Sour Cocktail 14 Oct 2014
4:51 pm

Hi Charlotte - Thanks for your thoughtful response.

My hesitation is entirely my own; I agree with your use of excellent ingredients, and your recipe sounds fantastic. I certainly hope someday to try this with the 15, as you’ve designed it, but in the meantime will go with the Grant’s. Thanks for the suggestion. Take care. - charlie

Mint Julep - NOT a Mojito Made with Bourbon 2 May 2013
11:21 am

Dear baby Jesus, that MahaloCocktails video is horrifying. It’s almost as bad as the one Jeffrey’s talking about in his video. . Maybe it’s satire?

Spencer Cocktail 28 Nov 2011
2:06 pm

Robert -

I would just like to say that I’m glad you’ve started taking a sip and giving some tasting notes at the end of your videos. It helps a lot. Thanks.

Barrel Aged Whitehook Cocktail 24 Oct 2014
8:12 am

Hi Jamie -

You mentioned glass-aging cocktails in a comment above. Can you do an episode expanding on that? What are the advantages and disadvantages to aging in glass versus wood? What are we trying to accomplish with glass that we can’t with wood? Things like that. Many thanks.

- charlie

JBT Blue Barrel Aged Cocktail 10 Nov 2011
8:02 pm

Yong lady, I love the way you freepour!

How to Mix Scotch in Cocktails - Rob Roy and Balvenie Smash 24 Jan 2012
2:49 pm

Hi Charlotte - You mention that you’re making a “perfect” Rob Roy. When I was trained along time ago, I was taught that a perfect Rob Roy or Manhattan split the usual amount of sweet vermouth evenly with dry vermouth and was garnished with a twist of lemon.  In other words, instead of, say, 2 : 1 spirit to sweet vermouth, it would be 2 : .5 : .5 spirit to sweet vermouth to dry vermouth.

Have I been making this incorrectly all these years? (it wouldn’t be much of a surprise: This was 1988. Everybody still put club soda in their Old Fashioneds, and woo-woos,  Alabama Slammers, and Whitesnake were all the rage. Ugh).

Thanks for your help.

Clover Thyme Club Cocktail 21 Sep 2011
7:17 am

Hi Kathy. Looks delicious! How long does the syrup last in the refrigerator? And would adding a tsp of vodka help it last longer? Thanks.

How to Stir a Cocktail - Martini 27 Jul 2011
12:58 pm

Great episode, Charlotte.

1) I had a boss who insisted we always stir our martinis in the mixing glass, not the tin, and I see you are doing the same here. I would think the metal would conduct the heat out of the fluids more efficiently than glass, but he decreed otherwise with no explanation.  At first I thought maybe it was so the guest could see the drink through the glass, but if they’re watching that closely then surely they can see you pouring in the first place. Aside from tradition (he was very old school), I can’t think of any other reason. Do you know why this is?

2) Why do you use a julep strainer instead of a Hawthorne?

Many thanks.

P.S. I had a martini at The Capital Grille the other night and the barmaid shook it. I nearly fainted.

How to Stir a Cocktail - Martini 28 Jul 2011
5:44 am

Alan -  Sometimes I’ll do a little up and down chopping motion on the ice cubes with my barspoon towards the end of the stirring cycle. It adds a few tiny crystals to the top of the poured martini and they sparkle nicely in the lighting in our bar.  It looks great and the ladies especially seem to like it. Obviously, you don’t want to do it too much or the drink will get too much dilution, and you don’t want to create air bubbles, either. I think it’s easier with cubes that aren’t extremely cold because they’re more fragile. And the final look may also depend on how the bar itself is actually lit.

Of course this only works if the guest is at the bar; the crystals will melt by the time the waiter gets to a table.

[BTW, I like some orange bitters in my gin martinis, too.]

How to Stir a Cocktail - Martini 29 Jul 2011
8:08 pm

Blair -

I have experimented with many bitters in my gin martinis and I always come back to orange, but I must admit I’ve never tried lemon. It seems so obvious, so right-there-in-front-of-your-face that it never even occurred to me (and I prefer a twist over olives). I will find some and give it a go.

Tonight I stirred a Manhattan in my shaker tin. The guest said it was nice and cold.  ;-)

How to Stir a Cocktail - Martini 10 Aug 2011
8:20 am

Oops! Sorry, Charlotte. I just noticed you had already answered the question about the mixing glass in another section.

However, I’m still interested in why you use the julep strainer instead of the Hawthorne. Does it fit the mixing glass better, or is this simply your personal preference?

Many thanks.

- charlie

How to Stir a Cocktail - Martini 14 Aug 2011
9:32 am

That helps a lot. Thanks, Charlotte.

Whole Fruit Strawberry Daiquiri 20 Jul 2011
8:47 am

Hi Kathy -

What kind of spiced rum are you using? The captain has never done it for me.


Whole Fruit Strawberry Daiquiri 29 Jul 2011
8:09 pm

Thanks, Kathy. I’ll keep an eye out for them.

Negroni Carbonated 2 Mar 2011
5:56 am

Jamie - I’m interested to hear your comment on putting in the orange twist before pouring. Won’t the oils float up to the top anyway?

Thanks again for another great episode. I wish I worked in a place with one of those Perlini Systems. I could have a lot of fun with that.

Vermouth in Cocktails - The Golden Ratio 1 Dec 2010
7:43 am

Mr Boudreau - What do you call this particular recipe you mix here?

Vermouth in Cocktails - The Golden Ratio 1 Dec 2010
1:54 pm

Wow, fast answer, Jamie! Thanks, I will try the Praecocia. But I’ve just gotta ask: You’re a Seattle bartender and you’re posting at 8am Pacific Time? WTF?!?

Vermouth in Cocktails - The Golden Ratio 2 Dec 2010
6:45 am

Oops, it’s PST. I guess that shows my East Coast bias. I suppose if the bars still close at 2am in Seattle, 11am is still pretty early!

BTW, no matter what size, I can’t make a bottle of sweet vermouth last more that a couple of weeks. Heh-heh…. I just love a good Manhattan.

Margarita Cocktail 16 Sep 2009
8:58 am

Hi Robert -

Why is this considered a cocktail if it doesn’t contain bitters (I suppose the same could be asked of the sidecar)?

Margarita Cocktail 17 Sep 2009
9:36 am

Thanks for the quick response, Robert.

Margarita Cocktail 13 Sep 2010
1:19 pm

Nick - Your recipe sounds delicious and I will be trying it soon (I hope tonight! Gotta get to the grocery store) but I can’t help thinking that, by omitting the orange liqueur completely and substituting agave nectar and muddled orange, it shouldn’t be called a margarita at all. Maybe a Mexican Gimlet?

Whiskey Sour Cocktail 28 Sep 2009
8:47 am

Hi Robert -

I notice you haven’t used a garnish on this drink. Like many bartenders, back in the 80s I was trained to use a slice of orange and a “maraschino” (*ahem*) cherry in my sours. Do you have a favorite garnish for this, or do you prefer to go without? Personally, I think the proper garnish can make or break a cocktail.

Whiskey Sour Cocktail 28 Sep 2009
1:01 pm

Oh, man. I’m not nearly coordinated enough to do that!

I like the orange half-wheel as well. I’m trying to talk my boss into getting us some better cherries.

Thanks for the quick response. I love this site and recommend it to people all the time. Take care.