Archive for July 2013

The Peacock Cocktail


A friend is having a peacock-themed bridal shower and requested a “peacocktail” for the occasion. I had to extend the name a bit as the conjoined name doesn’t really sit well in my ear… but otherwise was happy to oblige.

The Peacock

  • 1.5 oz. London Dry Gin
  • 1.0 oz. Aperol
  • 1.0 oz. Pink Grapefruit Marmalade syrup*

Stir with ice and strain into cocktail glass.
Top with 2.0 oz. chilled Prosecco and a lemon twist.

*For one drink, reduce 2.0 tbsps pink grapefruit marmalade in 1/3 cup boiling water for 3 minutes. Strain and let cool.

I wanted something bubbly, sweet and just a little extravagant. I would have gone more over the top with some crazy, show-off ingredients and techniques to match the name, but as this was something that others would be making I wanted it to be easy to do with fairly familiar ingredients, which was the challenge.

In the end, the bit of special that I added was the pink grapefruit marmalade, which added a bitterness with hints of sweet and tart. Easy to find, yet uncommon enough to add a bit of different pizzazz to the drink.

I mixed that with gin and Aperol, which adds to the bitterness and offers a beautiful hue. These are topped with sparkling Prosecco, which I like for its added sweetness, but you could go with an American sparkling, Cava, Champagne, etc., depending on how sweet or dry you wanted things. I thought sweet appropriate.

I suppose the garnish should be more flamboyant, but the lemon twist does everything that’s needed to add some crisp, bright notes at the end. If you want to find actual peacock feathers or add multiple colors of peel, have at it. I’ll be sipping away while you do so.

The Burning Monk


The Burning Monk

  • 1.0 oz. London dry gin
  • 1.0 oz. Punt e Mes
  • 0.5 oz. Campari
  • 0.5 oz. Gran Classico
  • 2 dashes Habinero Hellfire Shrub

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe.
Garnish with a burnt orange peel and fresh ground cinnamon.

My first The Light in the Piazza cocktail was a riff on the Negroni since that came from Florence, the first setting I was highlighting. In the musical, the American mother and daughter go to the site where the monk who preached the bonfire of the vanities was burned. I don’t know why I was inspired by this morbidity, but I was.

As in a Negroni, I kept a third of the drink gin and a third vermouth. For the latter I chose the tasty Punt e Mes, which offers a bit more bitter. Because of that I only used a half ounce of Campari, and for the rest of the bitter component turned to Gran Classico, which leans to the sweeter side.

I felt it was only fitting to add some Hellfire Shrub to heat things up, and of course garnished with a flamed orange. The extra cinnamon spice? Ashes, of course.

The Light in the Piazza


My next series of cocktails was for a show my wife produced and performed in a year ago, The Light in the Piazza. She fell in love with this Tony award-winning show a few years ago and was anxiously awaiting a theater to produce it so she might be in it. After waiting a while and never seeing it appear in any season she began shopping the idea around to multiple local theaters, but none bit. It wouldn’t sell, they said. So she took on the project of starting her own theater company and producing it herself, a Herculean effort which she not only pulled off (the show was wonderful), but did so to great response AND she made money without having any name recognition or subscriber base (wouldn’t sell, they said…).

My job was mostly not taking on any shows myself and watching our kids. I did contribute support through some graphics work, including the design of the company logo and the poster for the show, which you can see above. To achieve this I found an interactive panorama of the piazza from the show (the Piazza della Signoria) and adjusted it to what I felt was a dynamic angle. I then captured the image and took it into Illustrator, where I traced it out and made some adjustments to better fit my composition.

The bands of light are an obvious nod to the title of the piece, and the hat is an image from the show, where the wind takes the character of Clara’s hat off her head and into the hands of the man she falls in love with. I liked the way the blue popped against the rosey colors of the lights.

The fonts and text character arrangement probably take me just as long if not longer than the other graphic images, but I was happy with the title in the end, and felt it was appropriate for the piece.

Of course, my other job was conceiving some cocktails, which I did for some online publicity and presented at the cast party. I was going to start with three — one for each location in the musical (Florence, Rome and Winston-Salem, North Carolina) — but in the end crafted five, with one more by request and another an inspiration from a bottle I found.

It’s the first series of cocktails I made for a show I wasn’t in. There are a lot of shows I’m not in. I’m not sure this is a good or bad precedent…