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Cocktails I'm supposed to like, but don't


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#1 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 10:56 AM

OK it's time for confessions. There are a lot of revered classic or new classic cocktails out there which are known for the right reason - they are delicious and memorable. However every once in a while you cannot help but wonder what the big deal is about - all your cocktailian friends rave about them, but they just don't work for you...

 

This thread was inspired by Jeff Morgenthaler's confession on twitter a few days ago:

Cocktails I'm supposed to like, but don't: the Vieux Carré

 

To which Dale DeGroff responded:

Cocktails I'm supposed to like and don't...the Aviation... I know  I know

 

Erick Castro from Polite Provisions in San Diego offered his two bêtes noires:

Mine are the Bronx and the Blood & Sand

 

And these two happen to be on my list too...

 

I remember reading about people's dislike for the Vesper as well.

 

What's on your list?



#2 mkayahara

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 11:23 AM

I've never understood the Twentieth Century, though perhaps that's only because good-quality crème de cacao is hard to come by. I'm also not a big Vesper fan.

 

But most of all, heresy of heresies, I've never seen the appeal of the Mint Julep!


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#3 Rafa

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 11:25 AM

The Vesper for sure. There are plenty of tasty cocktails, classic and contemporary, that call for a mix of gin and Kina Lillet/Cocchi Americano. But three ounces of gin to one ounce of vodka to a half ounce of Kina is less a cocktail than it is a tub of ethanol. 


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#4 Rafa

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 11:33 AM

Here's a New York Times article from last May featuring Dale DeGroff badmouthing not just the Aviation but the Papa Doble, as well as classic-bashing from Audrey Saunders, David Wondrich, and others.


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”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937


#5 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 11:55 AM

Here's a New York Times article from last May featuring Dale DeGroff badmouthing not just the Aviation but the Papa Doble, as well as classic-bashing from Audrey Saunders, David Wondrich, and others.

Thanks for the link Rafa, I remember reading about this "Do Not Resuscitate" seminar at the time.



#6 Beebs

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 02:48 PM

Please don't kick me off the cocktail boards .... but I really don't like the Negroni!  :blush:

 

 

I like the combination of gin, campari, and vermouth, just not in those proportions and with a splash of soda water.

 

 



#7 lancastermike

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 03:43 PM

I don't care for a Monkey Gland at all

#8 Adam George

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 04:04 PM

The Vesper in 6:2:1 proportions is pretty boring.  

Invert it however...


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#9 Adam George

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 04:05 PM

I made a Trader Vic's 1:1:1:1etc Zombie the other day and wasn't fussed.  I was confused - I thought I really liked it before.

 

Time to experiment with Don Beach's version.


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#10 EvergreenDan

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 04:21 PM

I made a 20th C the other night using Tempus Fugit L'Avion d'Or, a mere 1/2 tsp of Marie Brizzard Creme de Cacao plus a dash of Bittermens Mole. It was good -- probably very good. The original is gagilicous. I'd like to try it with Mozart dry chocolate spirit, but I've never seen it for sale.

 

Similarly, I like an Aviation with a mere 1/2 tsp of Creme de Violette. No more, lest Gramma come for a visit.

 

I think a lot of classics -- even some of the best ones -- need tweaking for today's ingredients and tastes.

 

My confession: An Old Fashioned is good spirits ruined with sugar, just like Irish Coffee is good whiskey ruined with good coffee.


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#11 Tri2Cook

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 04:34 PM

There are a few classics I need to revisit. When I tried them originally, I was a complete novice coming from pretty much strictly beer and G&Ts exclusively. I'd like to try them again now that I've spent some time getting better acquainted with various spirits and trying a much larger variety of drinks before writing them off as actual dislikes. I think knowing more now than I did then about mixing them properly might make a difference as well. So for now I'll just check out what others are saying. :biggrin:


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#12 Zachary

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:01 PM

Tiki Drinks, except for the Mai Tai. And it better be a minimalist Mai Tai. I'd love to run some RS numbers on your average Tiki drink. 

 

Thanks,

 

Zachary



#13 Rafa

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 07:58 AM

Drinks with lots of orange juice, like the Bronx or the Monkey Gland, I tend to find one dimensional and boring. Tiki drinks that only taste like juice are not only boring but wasteful; what's the point of all those rums and fancy syrups if the end product's just going to taste like pineapple juice with a bit of bite? 

 

I made a Trader Vic's 1:1:1:1etc Zombie the other day and wasn't fussed.  I was confused - I thought I really liked it before.

 

Time to experiment with Don Beach's version.

 

I made a 1934 Donn Beach Zombie last night and wasn't impressed, which surprised me, since it's usually one of my favorite Tiki drinks. I think my mistake was using a full ounce of Smith and Cross for the Jamaican rum; I love S&C, but it's a bully, and even against other burly ingredients like falernum and LH151 it tended to hog the spotlight. All I got was its leathery sour note with a bit of spice and sweet and citrus from the other ingredients. The Lemon Hart and spices became more apparent as it warmed.


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#14 Chris Amirault

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 12:58 PM

I would hope that, with some of the drinks above, there must be an execution problem somewhere. (Dan, I would love to make you Old Fashioneds to convince you otherwise, in particular.) And it's not surprising to see the haters hating on Negronis, Martinis (Jeff Morgenthaler hates them), the Kill or Cure, and other potent potables. 

 

Having said that: I'm with Mike, Rafa, and anyone who has actually consumed a Monkey Gland, the sole condition that is both necessary and sufficient to know with certainty that the drink utterly and unredeemably sucks. 


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#15 Tri2Cook

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 03:56 PM

the Kill or Cure


I'd never even heard of this one... but I searched the recipe and I'll be trying it soon. Are the odds saying that I'll be back here posting that I didn't like it? 'Cause it sounds tasty to me.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#16 EvergreenDan

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 04:56 PM

Chris, as much as I'd love to sit in front of you at your bar (and I really would), you'd be tilting at my windmill. And, yes, I hate Sazeracs too. Do I can hear you cancelling my eGullet account as I type?
 
And I'm with Zachary. I do not see the appeal of Tiki drinks. I do not like them, Dan I am.
 
A Negroni is not the easiest of bitter drinks to like. But once you've seen the appeal, it is a drink that stands up to just about any ratio and ingredient selections. If you hate a Negroni, its probably not because of how it was made.
 
A cocktail geek who doesn't like a Martini is like a foodie who doesn't like foie gras or roasted bone marrow. You're not trying hard enough. Sorry Jeffrey.
 
But enough about cocktails. Now for my thoughts on politics and religion. ;)


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#17 EvergreenDan

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 05:02 PM

the Kill or Cure


I'd never even heard of this one... but I searched the recipe and I'll be trying it soon. Are the odds saying that I'll be back here posting that I didn't like it? 'Cause it sounds tasty to me.

Kill or Cure on CocktailDB

 

2/3 sweet vermount, 1/3 Fernet. Sounds good if you like Fernet. Fernet is dry enough to stand up to that much sweet vermouth. 

 

But those are some weird instructions! Why the hell would I stir the vermouth to chill it and then pour it on room temp Fernet? Odd.


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#18 Rafa

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 05:18 PM

And I'm with Zachary. I do not see the appeal of Tiki drinks. I do not like them, Dan I am.

 

 

Can't understand this (who doesn't like a Mai Tai???); on the other hand...

 

A cocktail geek who doesn't like a Martini is like a foodie who doesn't like foie gras or roasted bone marrow. You're not trying hard enough. Sorry Jeffrey.
 

 

Seriously. I understand that Morgenthaler has a sweet tooth (I do too, though not as much as Jeff's), but hating a Martini? Once you get a taste for it (however long it takes), little else compares. (There are so few truly dry cocktails.)

 

-Rafa, who's loved bone marrow his entire adult life, and foie gras long before that...


Edited by Rafa, 21 March 2013 - 05:18 PM.

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”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937


#19 Tri2Cook

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 05:36 PM

 

the Kill or Cure


I'd never even heard of this one... but I searched the recipe and I'll be trying it soon. Are the odds saying that I'll be back here posting that I didn't like it? 'Cause it sounds tasty to me.

Kill or Cure on CocktailDB

 

2/3 sweet vermount, 1/3 Fernet. Sounds good if you like Fernet. Fernet is dry enough to stand up to that much sweet vermouth. 

 

But those are some weird instructions! Why the hell would I stir the vermouth to chill it and then pour it on room temp Fernet? Odd.


Yeah, I was thinking that too. I was wondering why I couldn't just stir it all... and then I saw a recipe that said to do exactly that. So unless someone weighs in with a reason not to, that's probably the way I'll go with it.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#20 haresfur

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 06:39 PM

A timely topic because a couple of days ago I was thinking that I really should try a Manhattan again. Nope, still don't like it.  I suppose it could be my lack of skill, but not even close to seeing the appeal.  Maybe I should go to a snobby bar, order something with vodka and when they refuse have them make me a Manhattan, "...and if you don't like it I'll make you something else"


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#21 EvergreenDan

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 03:56 AM

Tri - I noticed that there were multiple sites with the same instructions for Kill or Cure. They are all probably just taken from the same source. In this case, I wouldn't be surprised if the others were copied from CocktailDB. I wouldn't take it as evidence of there being a good reason for the instructions.

 

You know the story about the woman who cut 1/3 off the roast and roasted it in a separate pan, right?


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#22 weinoo

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 05:01 AM

I don't know how to even weigh in on this topic, I guess because I don't drink drinks which I don't like.

 

Of course, to try to convince people that they might like a drink they don't like is a tough sell.

 

But - as Amirault points out, maybe it's in the execution.  Don't like a Bronx cause of the orange juice? Try a South Bronx, and squeeze a blood orange.  Don't like a Manhattan? Is it perfect? Sweet? Dry? Twist? Cherry? Rye? Bourbon? Antica? M & R? Dolin?  

 

Don't like a Saz?  Help! 


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#23 Adam George

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 06:48 AM

I can do a Bronx, but looking at the Monkey Gland recipe, I think that is far too juicy for me.

Also, I refuse that cocktail nerds can't get down with a Rittenhouse and Cocchi Manhatten with a dash of Boker's.

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#24 Czequershuus

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 09:55 AM

I agree with all the Bronx haters. To me it is a cocktail that should work on paper, but I have never had one I particularly enjoyed. It can't just be the orange juice, because I love a good Blood and Sand and have even been known to enjoy a  Monkey Gland, but the combination of ingredients in a Bronx just does nothing for me.



#25 Tri2Cook

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 01:22 PM

Tri - I noticed that there were multiple sites with the same instructions for Kill or Cure. They are all probably just taken from the same source. In this case, I wouldn't be surprised if the others were copied from CocktailDB. I wouldn't take it as evidence of there being a good reason for the instructions.

 

You know the story about the woman who cut 1/3 off the roast and roasted it in a separate pan, right?


Yeah, I saw several sites with those same instructions. But there was one site that just said to stir the vermouth and Fernet with ice and strain. That's the one I was going to go with unless there was a good reason to follow the recipes saying to stir the vermouth and strain it over the Fernet. Since it doesn't appear there's a good reason to not stir them together, that's what I'm planning to do.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#26 Dan Perrigan

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 04:00 PM

My turn to chime in:

 

Yes, there are classics that I hate.  But there are classics that YOU hate, that I love.  So let's see if I can fix that for you :)

 

Vieux Carre:  Yeah, I don't like it either.

 

Aviation:  One of my favorites, actually.  But..... it has to be made exactly like this:  2 oz Plymouth Gin, 3/4 oz Lemon, 2 tsp Luxardo Maraschino, 1 tsp R&W Creme de Violette.  Any other ratio or brand doesn't work.  Sorry.

 

Bronx, Monkey Gland, Blood and Sand:  No.  I don't like.  It's possible that the Blood and Sand can be redeemed, but I don't know how.

 

20th Century:  Another favorite.  But, again, it must be made like this:  1.5 oz strong gin (Brokers, Beefeaters, etc), 3/4 oz Cocchi Americano, 3/4 oz Lemon, 1/2 tsp Bols Creme de Cacao.  Yes, Bols... but only 1/2 tsp.  You don't want it to taste like chocolate.  Yes, I tried it with Tempus Fugit Cacao.  It works better with the cheap stuff.

 

Vesper:  What's the point of mixing Vodka and Gin?  To "smooth" the gin?  I say use a smooth gin instead -- Citadel.  So I make my "Archer Cocktail" (It's spy-related, ok?)  like so:  4 oz Citadel Gin, 1/2 oz Cocchi Americano.  Yes, it's a glass of ethanol.  Tasty, tasty ethanol.

 

Manhattan:  Too sweet.  I have a half dozen Manhattan variations that I play with.  I try to make them as bitter as possible.  It's hard to do.  I'm open to suggestions.

 

That's my two cents' worth.  Cheers,

Dan (the other one)

 

 



#27 Rafa

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 04:30 PM

It's possible that the Blood and Sand can be redeemed, but I don't know how.

The B&S is one of the hardest drinks to balance. A lot depends on the tartness and sweetness of your orange; you really just have to taste it as you make it. That said, I can offer some guidelines: go heavy on the scotch and vermouth, use Punt e Mes, cut back on the OJ and Heering, and use a flavorful orange varietal that's in season (I like Cara Cara and blood oranges). It's fun to substitute the vermouth with rich bittersweet aperitifs like Bonal or Byrrh, or a good medium-bodied Amontillado. You can also use an orange liqueur or amaro (e.g. Ramazzotti) in place of the orange juice—I like Solerno blood orange liqueur (80 proof) and use it here

 

Manhattan:  Too sweet.  I have a half dozen Manhattan variations that I play with.  I try to make them as bitter as possible.  It's hard to do.  I'm open to suggestions.

 

If you haven't yet, try using Punt e Mes for your sweet vermouth and adding a quantity of whatever amaro you have on hand. Audrey Saunders' Little Italy (2 rye, 3/4 sweet vermouth, 1/2 Cynar, and a bit of the syrup from a jar of Luxardo cherries) is a good place to start. 

 

The Vesper in 6:2:1 proportions is pretty boring.  

Invert it however...

 

This sounds great. I'd much rather use vodka to stretch out the Cocchi than to smooth out the gin. I'll give this a shot. 


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#28 Rafa

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 04:51 PM

Don't understand the dislike for the Vieux Carré among people who otherwise like Manhattans (so excluding you, Dan P). It's just a Manhattan where the rye's split equally with Cognac, plus a dash of Peychaud's and a teaspoon of Benedictine. Is it just too boring for people? Too sweet?


Edited by Rafa, 22 March 2013 - 04:52 PM.

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”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937


#29 EvergreenDan

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 06:45 PM

Dan: Try this Manhattan:

 

2 oz Rye -- something that you like neat

1/2 oz Punt e Mes

1/2 oz Dry vermouth

1-2 d Angostura or other pie-spice bitters

 

If the rye is high proof, consider having it on the rocks or giving an extra long stir. Also works well with bourbon, but that's a bit sweeter and you are looking to tame that.

 

Most amari are pretty sweet to sub in here. Nonino is a good choice. Probably will still need some dry vermouth, though.

 

I hate sweet drinks, but there is something about a Manhattan that I don't understand which let's me like it in just about any ratio.

 

Also, re the Aviation, I find that 1/2 tsp of Rothman & Winter Creme de Violette is enough for me, and I like it with a juniper-forward gin. I'm not a floral fan, so I like just enough violette to linger in the background. I like it, but it isn't my favorite.


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#30 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 07:28 PM

The martini. Just ... no.


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