Strawberry Fennel Forever
- 1.0 oz. akvavit (Aalborg)
- 1.0 oz. genever (Hofland)
- 0.5 oz. strawberry fennel simple syrup (Royal Rose)
- 0.25 oz. Green Chartreuse
- 0.25 kümmel (Combier)
- 0.25 oz. thyme liqueur (Thym)
- 0.25 oz. lemon juice
- dash of lemon bitters (Bitter Truth)
Shake with ice and strain into coupe. Garnish with strawberry.
I started here with the Royal Rose strawberry fennel syrup. For the base I split akvavit/aquavit for some caraway and genever for a little funk. I decided to go all in with the herbal ingredients and grabbed Chartreuse, Thym and kümmel for its fennel flavor. To this I added lemon for acid and some bitters to round everything out.
I was stuck for a name for a bit, but when I focused on “strawberry fennel” as the catalyst for the drink this one came pretty quickly. Let me take you down.
Stir with ice. Strain into old fashioned over ice. Garnish with cherry “rose.”
I wanted something on the boozy, Old Fashioned side, and I thought I might play with Tamworth’s chicory liqueur. For the base I went with apple brandy (Tamworth also makes an excellent offering here, if you can get it) and added my mainstay Benedictine to play with the bitterness of the chicory. Riffing on the Old Fashioned’s (sometimes) cherry and orange, I added cherry and orange liqueurs to sweeten things up. The coffee bitters completed it with a nod to NOLA’s coffee and chicory.
The name just came from rhyming Old Fashioned — nothing particularly insightful there. The rose seemed appropriate for the name. No thorns provided, except perhaps from the bite of the alcohol.
A Night in the Forest
Stir with ice and strain into snifter. Garnish with rosemary.
I wanted something piney. Generally in this case I reach for my Clear Creek Douglas Fir eau de vie, but I had just picked up the Rogue Spruce Gin and thought I’d explore that. To enhance the herbaceous notes I added in the Leopold Bros alpine liqueur, and at this point had all the pine I wanted. It needed something sweet and, I thought, floral, so then came the elderflower. To brighten it up and add some bitterness I finished with Lillet Blanc and a touch of lemon bitters.
The name comes from Annie’s Song by John Denver, this line of which was the first thing I thought of when I sipped this. It certainly filled up my senses, in all the right ways.
- 1.5 oz. Irish Whiskey (Jameson)
- 0.5 oz. rye (Rittenhouse)
- 0.5 oz. crème de noyaux (Tempus Fugit)
- 0.5 oz. cranberry liqueur (Flag Hill)
- dash of Angostura bitters
Stir gently with ice and strain into old fashioned over ice.
I have been playing a bit with Flag Hill’s cranberry liqueur and thought I might do a play on the Godfather (Scotch and amaretto) that I find too sweet and in need of some brightness. Enter the cranberry. With that in hand, I thought I might go full Massachusetts (though Flag Hill is in New Hampshire, the cranberries come from the Cape) and swap in Irish whiskey for the Scotch. I wanted a bit more bite, so subbed in a little rye for the base and ended it with Angostura. The crème de noyaux has a similar taste to amaretto and is less cloying to my palate, so that was swapped in as well.
Since I was transplanting the Godfather to Boston I thought Scorsese’s film The Departed was a suitable name. I only saw it once so don’t have any clever quotes to throw out to you. Other than whatever you do don’t attempt a Boston accent after drinking this. On second thought, don’t attempt a Boston accent when sober either.
There Are No Monkeys in Hawaii
Shake with ice and strain into glass over crushed ice.
Ok, so I wanted to make another tiki drink with banana, and after a couple of iterations I developed the above. As I was writing this up I thought I might compare it with other banana drinks I might have made (there have only been a few). Turns out, I inadvertently replicated almost exactly a drink from a year ago, Daylight Come, except for the addition of honey syrup and blackstrap.
So enjoy a second round on me!
Old Dog / New Tricks
Shake with ice and strain into coupe.
Here’s a Last Word variant using the Wild Moon birch liqueur out of Connecticut. The ratio is very different being much more gin forward and swapping lemon for lime, plus the addition of some bitters.
Just when I think I’ve milked the Last Word for all it can offer I get another drink out of it, hence the name.
Shake with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with lime.
I was making my wife and kids some non-alcoholic drinks using some carrot juice (different combinations and ratios of lemon juice, cinnamon syrup, ginger ale, orange bitters) and the carrot juice gave such a beautiful color. I wanted an alcoholic cocktail version.
The Chesuncook spirit is carrot-based, so that was the natural choice. The turmeric liqueur seemed a perfect complement for carrots. The ginger liqueur and cinnamon syrup added some spice and sugar, and the lime gave a bright acid. A cocktail needs bitters, so I reached for Abbot’s.
The name comes from the joke, “What’s orange and sounds like a parrot?”
I didn’t say it was a good joke.
- 2.0 oz. bourbon (Bulleit)
- 0.5 oz. ginger liqueur (King’s Ginger)
- 0.5 oz. allspice dram (Cotton & Reed)
- 0.5 oz. lemon juice
- 4 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1/4 tsp soy sauce
Shake with ice and strain into Nick and Nora.
I haven’t used soy sauce in a cocktail in years, but I love it and am not sure why I don’t take advantage of it more. Well, it can overpower, that’s why. But when it’s up against bourbon and lemon and ginger with allspice thrown in for good measure, it fits in perfectly.
This one started as a riff on the Lion’s Tail and remains fairly close. Lemon is in for lime, and the ginger replaces the simple syrup. The soy is extra. Thus the name of the variant, after the Chinese imperial lions, or shishi.
- 2.0 oz. Genever (Hofland)
- 0.5 oz. Branca Menta
- 0.5 oz. elderflower liqueur (St. Elder)
- 0.25 oz. lemon juice
Shake with ice and strain into coupe. Garnish with lemon “wing”.
There’s a genever drink I fell on love with years ago called Work in Progress that features genever and Fernet Branca with St. Germain. Here is my riff on that, substituting Branca Menta with its minty bite and pairing it with lemon. Floral and bright and bitter.
For the name, Hofland’s bottle features a flightless bird (looks like a pheasant to me), and maybe I had Mr. Mister in my head. Or The Beatles’ Blackbird. In either case, take this and learn to fly.
Shake with ice then strain into coupe. Garnish with three drops of rose water.
This started with the new Copper & King’s pomegranate liqueur I had picked up. I anchored it with mezcal then added the lemon for acidity. The liqueur itself is not very sweet (comparatively), so the agave nectar came next. The rosé? Honestly, I had it on hand and thought it would mellow things out. It did. And the bitters completed it (with the Peychaud’s also adding color).
The rose water drops are the tears. One version of the myth is that roses are red from the tears she wept for the death of Adonis. Rethinking now, I might add the rose water to the main and then drop in the Peychaud’s as garnish. But I won’t cry over this arrangement.