Napoleon in Exile

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Napoleon in Exile

  • 1.5 oz. bonded rye (Rittenhouse)
  • 0.5 oz. Brovo Amaro #14
  • 0.5 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 0.25 oz. green Chartreuse
  • dash of Peychaud’s bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a Nick and Nora.

This was a spur of the moment cocktail created over New Year’s with my good friend Dan Prior (who also named it). I had brought to his New Year’s Eve party the delicious Brovo amaro for a tasting, and in playing with it while mixing this cocktail emerged. And then was requested by many others through the night.

The amaro has an herbal kick with a chocolate/vanilla/cinnamon bite that is a fantastic sip. Here we paired it with spicy rye, sweetened it a little with the vermouth, and added to its herbal character with the Chartreuse. The bitters were a necessary addition that completed the picture.

Happy New Year’s! Two months in and I’m still mixing this one up.

400 Rabbits

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400 Rabbits

Shake with ice and double strain into coupe.

Spicy Mexican chocolate. That was my goal for this one. That, and a strong agave profile from the base spirits. For that I used the Fortaleza still strength (you can use the regular proof or another brand, but I might then up the pour a little) and a bit of mezcal. The ancho chile liqueur came next, and although I usually keep the chocolate down to 0.25 oz. or it gets a little syrupy, against these strong flavors a half ounce worked just fine. The Lillet and lemon juice brighten things up a bit and add some acid, and the mole bitters rounds it all out and pulls it together.

The name comes from the Aztec myth of Mayahuel and her 400 rabbit god children who represented all the levels of intoxication (read here). This drink isn’t THAT boozy, but it’ll get you a few rabbits in at least.

The Stone and the Rose

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The Stone and the Rose

  • 1.0 oz. bonded apple brandy (Laird’s)
  • 1.0 oz. bonded rye (Rittenhouse)
  • 0.5 oz. Crème de Noyaux (Tempus Fugit)
  • 0.5 oz. sweet vermouth
  • dash of Peychaud’s

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

So I’ve had this Crème de Noyaux sitting on my shelf for a few years and never quite knew what to do with it. It has an almond flavor, but actually is distilled from apricot and cherry pits, then combined with bitter almonds. It’s tasty and interesting, but I was initially uninspired to create something with it. Recently I’ve challenged myself to utilize some of these bottles that I’ve previously ignored, and in this case I am loving the result.

I started with the apple brandy which I thought worked well with the nuttiness. I split the base with the rye to add a little more peppery punch. To round things out I added the sweet vermouth, and then Peychaud’s for that last kick and color.

For the name I wanted to include some nod to the pits or the stone fruit of the liqueur. Obviously I arrived at using ‘stone’, and to accompany that I chose ‘rose’, not only for the color, but to acknowledge the inclusion of the apple brandy, as apples are pome fruits that are in the rose family (botany research!). Of course, that just sounded like something out of Camelot, hence the sword piercing the cherry at the bottom.

You don’t have to be Merlin to know this liqueur won’t last long now.

Tempting Proposition and The Doppelgänger

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Tempting Proposition

  • 1.5 oz. mezcal (Del Maguey Vida)
  • 0.5 oz. creme de framboise
  • 0.5 oz. dry vermouth
  • 0.25 oz. creme de cacao (Tempus Fugit)
  • 0.25 oz. green Chartreuse
  • dash of Bittermens Xoacolatl Mole bitters

Stir with ice and strain into coupe.

This one began with an exploration of chocolate and raspberry. Mezcal was the natural base to me, and the green Chartreuse added a lovely, herbaceous depth. It was a bit heavy at this point, so a touch of dry vermouth opened it up.

As I was experimenting, though, I considered another direction with a blackberry liqueur in place of the framboise. This didn’t need the Chartreuse, but did require a heartier pour with the vermouth. I’m not a huge fan of heavy-handed vermouth drinks, but this one had such strong flavors at the base that the vermouth really worked for me within the whole. Still, the Tempting Proposition won me over in this little one on one, so this second drink, with its very similar ingredients and profile, became the intriguing, yet slightly different, facsimile, hence the name.

The Doppelgänger

  • 1.5 oz. mezcal (Del Maguey Vida)
  • 1.0 oz. dry vermouth
  • 0.5 oz. blackberry liqueur (Echte Kroatzbeere)
  • 0.25 oz. creme de cacao (Tempus Fugit)
  • dash of Bittermens Xoacolatl Mole bitters

Stir with ice and strain into coupe.

Call Me In the Morning

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Call Me In the Morning

  • 1.0 oz. aged rum (Doorly’s 12)
  • 1.0 oz. gold rum (Motu)
  • 0.5 oz. macadamia nut liqueur (Trader Vic’s)
  • 0.5 oz. cream of coconut
  • 0.5 oz. lime juice
  • dash of Bittermens Elemakule Tiki bitters

Shake with ice and strain over cracked ice into tiki glass. Garnish with fresh mint.

Obviously this one came from the idea of a lime in a coconut. I had two rums I wanted to play with. Those came together with a yummy macadamia nut liqueur from Trader Vic’s. Not much more needed than some bitters, and I had a tasty drink.

Stick with one and you might forego the bellyache. Or take two and call me in the morning.

Ginger or Mary Ann

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Ginger or Mary Ann

Stir with ice and strain into coupe. Garnish with dried apple and candied ginger.

I picked up the quince and ginger cordial at Tamworth Distilling this past summer and have been wanting to build a cocktail around it for a while. I started with an apple brandy base (originally Tamworth’s own Old Hampshire, but then I opted to save that as a sipper). To that I added the cordial and some ginger and pear liqueurs to up the flavor. The Cardamaro added a little bit of tartness and the cardamom the bitterness needed. Definitely a sipper that luxuriates in the apple/pear/quince/ginger.

The name came last as I considered the drink was a bit of a play between the sweetness of the apple against the spiciness of the ginger. Which do you prefer?

Century Bloom

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Century Bloom

  • 1.5 oz. blanco tequila (Don Julio)
  • 0.5 oz. elderflower liqueur (St. Elder)
  • 0.5 oz. Cocchi Americano
  • 0.25 oz. Yellow Chartreuse

Stir with ice and strain into coupe.

Here I wanted to create a straightforward tequila drink that really highlighted the base spirit. All of the ingredients for me have worked well individually with tequila, and really add up in combination. If it’s a little sweet, cut back a little on the elderflower, but I enjoy the floral notes it brings.

The agave plant (or the American strain) is called the century plant in the US. It is a misleading name as the plant lives 30-40 years, but of course that doesn’t make as good a name. Surprisingly, there is a not a Century Cocktail that I could find (the 20th Century, one of my favorites, is the closest thing), but this one needed something else to describe its character. The Century Bloom fit the bill. Enjoy it more than once a century (or 30-40 years).

Where There’s Smoke

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Where There’s Smoke

  • 2.0 oz. bonded apple brandy (Laird’s)
  • 1.0 oz. Benedictine
  • 0.25 oz. peated Scotch (Caol Ila 12)
  • 0.25 oz. Fire Cider
  • dash of Angostura
  • dash of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes bitters

Stir with ice and strain over large cube in a tumbler.

This is one I’ve been sitting on for a couple of years. I was given the apple cider vinegar Fire Cider and challenged to do something with it. I really like it, so it wasn’t much a challenge, though it does tend to take over whatever you put it into. So I reached for strong or powerful flavors that would stand up with it — the bonded brandy and the Scotch. My mainstay Benedictine, probably in a larger portion than I’ve used in any other drink, really makes the drink for me, and for my bitters I just had to use the smoky Smoke Gets in Your Eyes from Bitters, Old Men.

This is definitely a slow sipper. With bite. Cigar is optional.

Pretty Priest with a Cherry on Top

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Pretty Priest with a Cherry on Top

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

Cherry and vanilla. That’s where I started with this one. Bourbon seemed a good fit, but these alone were just too sweet, even with the tartness of the cherry. The Benedictine added the necessary depth, with the bitters pulling it all together.

Thanks to this name goes to Andrew Child, master of puns.

Fall Forward

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Fall Forward

Stir with ice and strain into coupe. Garnish with toasted cinnamon stick.

I wanted to make something with Short Path’s Autumn Gin offering which features some seasonal additions like cinnamon and orange. It seemed appropriate to add spiced pear and some cinnamon syrup for sweetness, then tart cherry for a bright acidity. For bitters I reached for Dale Degroff’s pimento bitters and the Kina which helped to round things out.

The title comes from my semiannual confusion over the Daylight Savings mnemonic “Spring forward, fall back.” I didn’t grow up with Daylight Savings Time, having spent my youth in Arizona, so I only learned that once I moved east in my 20s, and I find it useless for me. Since it works just as easily as “Fall forward, spring back” I still have to look up twice a year which way the clocks go. Perhaps my misnamed drink will help me.