A Delicate Balance

A Delicate Balance

  • 2.0 oz. London Dry gin
  • 0.5 oz. Blanc vermouth
  • 0.5 oz. Maurin Quina
  • 0.25 oz. Elderflower liqueur
  • Barspoon of absinthe
  • Dash of lemon bitters

Stir with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with lemon peel.

Recently when I want something without citrus but of a lighter profile I mix this one up. London Dry is not necessary as you could reach for a floral contemporary gin. The sweetness from the elderflower is offset by bitterness from the vermouth and quina (which both offer a little sweetness as well). The absinthe just takes it to another level.

I could say something about drinking too many and losing that delicate balance, but this drink is better than that, even if I am not.

Take the Monkey and Rum

Take the Monkey and Rum

  • 1.0 oz. Funk rum
  • 1.0 oz. Mt. Gay Eclipse rum
  • 0.5 oz. Crème de banane (Tempus Fugit)
  • 0.5 oz. Crème de cacao (Tempus Fugit)
  • 0.5 oz. Averna
  • 0.5 oz. lemon juice
  • 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters

Shake with ice and strain into coupe.

This is sort of my take on the Funky Monkey, without coconut and more bitter, served up. Rum, chocolate and banana are all still there and prominent. You could certainly go full tiki here and serve it over crushed ice with some crazy garnish.

But sometimes I’m lazy and just want to get to my yummy drink.

Maiden’s Delight

Maiden’s Delight

  • 2.0 oz. Bourbon
  • 0.25 oz. Cherry Heering
  • 0.25 oz. Cynar 70
  • 0.25 oz. vanilla liqueur (Giffard)

Stir with ice and strain into coupe. Garnish with cherries.

A bit of a Manhattan variation with cherry and vanilla liqueurs subbing for the vermouth, with bitters added through a healthy dose of Cynar.

Maiden’s Delight used to be the diner code for cherries so I thought it appropriate for this drink. I’ve that the name is for a drink that really packs a punch.

State of Grace

State of Grace

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with lemon twist.

Not much to discuss on this one. I had the rhubarb and ginger liqueur and played with flavors till I reached this lovely, delicate and subtle concoction.

Not every drink needs a big backstory. Cheers.

Thyme in a Bottle

Thyme in a Bottle

  • 1.5 oz. Akvavit (Aalborg Taffel)
  • 0.5 oz. Thym liqueur
  • 0.5 oz. Kina L’Aero D’Or (Tempus Fugit)
  • 0.25 oz. Creme de menthe (Tempus Fugit)
  • 0.25 oz. lemon juice

Shake with ice and strain into coupe. Spritz with absinthe.

I don’t make enough with akvavit (or aquavit), and I really should try more. Think gin with caraway in place of juniper (way oversimplification). So here was one recent attempt, playing with the combination of the thyme flavored liqueur. I needed the lemon for acid, and against this had to bolster the sweet, so I reached for the creme de menthe as I felt this was a nice combination with the lemon and thyme that didn’t detract from the herbaceousness of the akvavit. Finally for a bitter component I added the Kina which rounded things nicely.

The name was pretty immediate (a rarity), coming from the Jim Croce song. I know the first thing I want to do. Drink this.

Going Menthol

Going Menthol

  • 2.0 oz. London Dry gin
  • 0.75 oz. sloe gin (Plymouth)
  • 0.25 oz. creme de menthe (Tempus Fugit)
  • 0.25 oz. Fernet Branca

Stir with ice and strain into glass.

I really like Fernet Branca, but there are so few traditional cocktails that use it. Toronto and Hanky Panky, then you’re pretty much done. I wanted something to show off the Fernet and give a nice final drink for an evening. The mint liqueur pairs well with it, and the sloe gin is strong enough to balance it with sweet and tart. The base of gin certainly works with the sloe gin liqueur and offers botanical notes to play with the Fernet.

Nice, four simple ingredients. Strong, Fernet-forward taste. Puts me in the perfect place to end a night.

Or maybe I’ll also get a shot of Fernet.

Honeycomb Over

Honeycomb Over

  • 2.0 oz. Wigle Landlocked Spiced Honey Spirit
  • 0.5 oz. St. George Spiced Pear liqueur
  • 0.25 oz. Drambouie
  • 0.25 oz. Cocchi Americano

Stir with ice and strain into coupe.

I’ve had the Wigle Landlocked, a distilled mead that lies somewhere between rum and brandy, for a while and wanted to figure out something tasty with it. Although it might sound sweet, it is not, so I reached for the spiced pear, one of my favorites. It still needed some sweetness, so I thought the honey Scotch liqueur Drambouie would enhance the flavors already there. Finally, I added the Cocchi for some brightness and bitterness.

I feel the name doesn’t really need an explanation. Just having pun.

En Garde

En Garde

  • 1.0 oz. bonded rye (Rittenhouse)
  • 1.0 oz. Art in the Age Snap
  • 0.5 oz. Punt e Mes
  • 0.25 oz. Leopold Bros. Michigan Tart Cherry
  • 0.25 oz. Benedictine
  • dash of Dale DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with cherry.

I love Art in the Age’s offerings just for their unique flavors. However, I sometimes have their bottles linger on my shelf since I find they can easily take over any cocktail (that was certainly the case with Root). And so as much as I enjoyed the cinnamon-ginger-vanilla bite of the liqueur (which does weigh in at 80 proof) I didn’t mix with it often.

So came this cocktail, which I made to see how I could harness Snap (and maybe clear some space on my shelf). The rye is a strong partner here. Make sure to use 100 proof or more. To that I added the vermouth for additional sweetness and some bitterness, then the Leopold Bros. added some sweet acidity. Benedictine grounded the drink for me and tied in to the spices from the Snap. The bitters, I admit, were just a recent acquisition that I wanted to try, but I did feel the allspice played well with the Snap as well.

This is a cocktail that has some heft to it, but I did find it went down smoothly, so be careful. Thus, en garde!

Kiva

Kiva

  • 1.5 oz. Del Maguey Vida mezcal
  • 0.5 oz. Leyendas Puebla mezcal
  • 0.5 oz. Xila Licor de Agave
  • 0.5 oz. pineapple liqueur (Giffard)
  • 0.25 oz. smoky and/or peaty Scotch (Talisker Dark Storm)
  • 0.25 oz. cinnamon syrup
  • dash of Bitters, Old Men Chipotle Single Malt bitters

Stir with ice and strain into coupe.

I had just recently picked up Xila, with its spicy pineapple agave profile, and wanted to try it in a mezcal cocktail. I started with Vida as a base, but found in my finished drink I craved a more distinct mezcal sip so added a half ounce of Leyendas Puebla as well.

Xila is sweet, but not overly, so I added Giffard’s Caribbean Pineapple to enhance what was present in Xila, and the cinnamon syrup brought additional spice and sweetness. The chipotle bitters from Bitters, Old Men tied in with the spice, and I found the peatiness a welcome quality, so boosted this with a bit of Scotch. The result is spicy, sweet, smoky stirred pineapple and agave drink.

A kiva is sunken, round ceremonial chamber in a pueblo. I had believed this to be also the name for the adobe ovens, but looking into it further see nothing supporting that other than captions for a number of online images, which do refer to kiva ovens. Any definition I find for these ovens, however, identifies them as hornos, and ovens never really played a part in structural kiva.

All that said, Kiva made me think of smoke and earth and mezcal, and Horno wasn’t as appealing a name, so there it is. Salud.

Better, Giuseppe?

Better, Giuseppe?

  • 2 oz. Dovetail Florida rum
  • 0.5 oz. espresso liqueur (Stirrings)
  • 0.25 oz. Cynar
  • 0.25 oz. lemon juice

Shake with ice and strain into coupe.

The Bitter Giuseppe cocktail is nice low ABV cocktail with a Cynar base, so as you might imagine and as the name implies, it’s rather bitter. I like it, but wanted to riff on it with a reduction of the bitter Cynar, using rum as a base. With less bitter I didn’t require as much lemon to cut it, but there did need to be some sweetness added. The Stirrings espresso liqueur, which I bought years ago and have never seen since, has a nice sweet and bitter balance that fit well.

Well, I don’t know about Giuseppe, but I like it better.