Archive for January 2017

Alone in the Dark


Assassins cocktail #9, after John Hinkley, attempted assassin of President Ronald Reagan. Totally cribbed from PDT, with the addition of a hint of chocolate, a perfect drink to enjoy during a personal viewing of Taxi Driver.

Alone in the Dark

  • 2.0 oz. Buttered popcorn-infused Silver Rum
  • 0.25 oz. Coca Cola reduced syrup
  • 0.25 oz. Godiva Liqueur

Build in an old fashioned. Ice optional.

Ford (Near Miss)


Assassins cocktail #8, after Sara Jane Moore, attempted assassin of President Gerald Ford. A Ford cocktail variation, with Old Monk rum substituted for the Old Tom gin providing a somewhat misplaced funkiness, and also making it, fittingly, a cousin of the El Presidente.

Ford (Near Miss)

  • 1.0 oz. Old Monk rum
  • 1.0 oz. Dry Vermouth
  • 3 dashes Benedictine
  • 3 dashes Fee Brothers West Indian Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into cocktail glass.
Garnish with orange peel.

Red Robe


Assassins cocktail #7, after Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, attempted assassin of President Gerald Ford. A red hue, a little tart, with a focus on “herbal” ingredients.

Red Robe

  • 2.0 oz. London Dry Gin
  • 1.0 oz. Hibiscus liqueur
  • 0.5 oz. Andean Fire Orchid Elixir (or grenadine)
  • 0.25 oz. lemon juice
  • 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Muddle elixir and bitters with rosemary.
Add other ingredients, shake with ice and double strain into cocktail glass.
Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

Beer in the Headlights


Assassins cocktail #6, after Sam Byck, attempted assassin of President Richard Nixon. This Bud’s for you, in a spicier, bitter Boilermaker.

Beer in the Headlights

  • 2.0 oz. Budwieser, stirred to release carbonation
  • 1.0 oz. Blended Scotch
  • 1.0 oz. Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
  • 0.5 oz. lime juice
  • 1 dash Boston Bittahs

Shake with ice and pour into old fashioned glass.
Grate fresh ginger on top.



Assassins cocktail #5, after Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of President John F. Kennedy. What starts as a New Orleans Sazerac gets twisted with Russian vodka over American apple pie.


  • 2.0 oz. Sazerac Rye
  • 1.0 oz. Russian Vodka
  • 1.0 oz. Apple Cider
  • 0.5 oz. Cinnamon Syrup
  • 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Shake with ice and strain into cocktail glass.
Sprinkle cinnamon on top.

Fire Belly


Assassins cocktail #4, after Giuseppe Zangara, attempted assassin of President Elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt. A truly spicy margarita variant, served in a SHORT glass, of course.

Fire Belly

  • 2.0 oz. Habanero-infused Silver Tequila
  • 1.0 oz. Limoncello
  • 0.5 oz. lemon juice
  • 0.25 oz. cinnamon syrup

Shake and strain into an old fashioned glass over ice.
Add two dashes of lemon bitters and fresh pepper.

The Head of the Line


Assassins cocktail #3, after Leon Czolgosz, assassin of President William McKinley. A deceptive cocktail, vodka wrapped around the hidden absinthe, with sour notes introduced by the garnish.

The Head of the Line

  • 2.0 oz. Vodka
  • 1.0 oz. Dolin Blanc Vermouth
  • 1 barspoon Absinthe

Stir with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass.
Serve with lemon twist.

The French Ambassador


Assassins cocktail #2, after Charles Guiteau, assassin of President James Garfield. A French 75 variation, with American sparkling wine instead of French champagne, and a little nuttiness added.

The French Ambassador

  • 2.0 oz. London Dry Gin
  • 1.0 oz. Amaretto
  • 1.0 oz. orange juice
  • 3.0 oz. sparkling wine

Shake all but wine with ice, strain into highball with ice, top with wine.

Vainglorious Actor


Assassins cocktail #1, after John Wilkes Booth, assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. Boozy and bitter, trying to be a mint julep but a little fake.

The Vainglorious Actor

  • 1.5 oz. Rye
  • 1.0 oz. Applejack
  • 0.5 oz. Amaro Nonino
  • 0.25 oz. Aperol
  • 1 barspoon mint simple syrup

Stir with ice, strain into old fashioned over ice.
Garnish with mint.

Assassins Cocktails

I first got into the craft cocktail scene about ten years ago. For several years I just discovered (…and frequented) bars and restaurants with terrific and/or interesting drink programs, and mixed up from recipe books at home as I put my bar together. After a few years of this I decided that I wanted to try my hand at some of my own cocktails. But there was a problem.

One thing I’ve always been bad at is inspiration for creation. For instance, I can draw — somewhat — but rarely found reason to. I don’t really feel the need to express myself and feel that I have “nothing to say” (darn my parents for giving me a good childhood). But give me a story to illustrate, and I pour myself into it. I love to write song lyrics for a show, but you’ll never see me write poetry for myself.

It is the same with cocktails for me. Ask me to make something up and generally I got nothing. However, give me a theme and I’m all there. And so it was with my first cocktail creations. I was then (it was 2011) in a production of Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins and wanted a way to promote the show on social media that was more than, “Hey, come see my show!” I figured custom cocktails would be a unique way to handle this.

So what follows over the next couple of weeks are my very first attempts at creating cocktails, each one after one of the assassins portrayed in the show. I tried them all out again recently and was pleasantly surprised, for the most part. I got better, but I probably never had as much as fun.

The pic below, by the way, is me from two productions of Assassins I have done. On the left is 18 year old little me as Giuseppe Zangara in the electric chair. On the right is the 2011 production where I got to perform John Wilkes Booth. Died both times…