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Craig E

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Posts posted by Craig E

  1. Made up something new, to make use of some fresh thyme left over from dinner: gin, aquavit, sloe gin, and vecchio amaro del capo. Started with equal parts but the flat-Coke flavor of the amaro was too strong. Halfway through I squeezed a little lemon juice in to see what would happen, but then decided that lost some subtlety. Second go was 1oz each Beefeater gin and Plymouth sloe gin, 1/2oz each del Capo and Tattersall aquavit, squeeze of lemon twist and thyme as garnish. Calling it the Holbein.

    holbein 1.png

    • Like 2
  2. 22 minutes ago, paulraphael said:


    I'll try making a Brooklyn cocktail to see how well it plays with others. If that doesn't work out, maybe I'll see if anyone in NYC wants to do a booze swap!

    Maraschino liqueur is one of my least favorite things to drink straight, but one of my most favorite things to mix with. In small doses, or partnered with strong flavored ingredients, it adds sweetness in a wonderfully complex way. 

    • Like 1
  3. Last week I took it upon myself to invent a new libation, with the starting point being bottles in my bar that are on the fuller side. The germ of this was putting together Plantation pineapple rum and Plymouth sloe gin. I liked the challenge of seeing if I could get these to go together: they're both obviously fruity in a classy way, but the former more New World and islandy while the latter has some Old World propriety to it. 

    Version one: stirred on the rocks

    • 1 oz Stiggins
    • 1 oz sloe gin
    • 1/2 oz Becherovka (bitterness should round it out, cinnamon would be welcome)
    • 1/4 oz Hamilton demerara 151 (brown sugar and heat)
    • 1/4 oz ginger syrup (sweetness, and heat)
    • 1/2 oz dry vermouth (to dry it out a bit)

    Notes: the ginger and demerara burn at the end, but before that this is unintense. Almost tastes like it has lemon, a twist or even squirt wouldn’t be out of place. 

    Version two: shaken, up. 

    • 3/4 Stiggins
    • 3/4 sloe gin
    • 3/4 Becherovka
    • 1/2 lemon juice
    • 1/4 demerara 151
    • ginger syrup
    • dry vermouth

    Notes: here I let the Becherovka be the sweetener. Didn't work. This was too bitter and not sweet enough. Maybe drop the Becherovka and find another means of adding bitterness. 

    Version three: shaken, up.

    • 1 1/2 Stiggins
    • 1 sloe gin
    • 1/4 demerara 151
    • 1/4 ginger syrup
    • 1/4 lemon juice
    • dash Angostura bitters
    • lemon twist
    • Becherovka

    Notes: This is much closer, fruit up top then mild burny finish from the ginger syrup brought back in, and the overproof rum. Wife thought the finish needed more bass note. Maybe less 151 and more bitters. I was getting grapefruit from the previous version, maybe a grapefruit twist would be in order.

    Version four: shaken, up.

    • 1 1/2 Stiggins
    • 1 sloe gin
    • 1/4 ginger syrup
    • 1/4 lemon juice
    • barspoon demerara 151
    • 2 dashes Angostura
    • 2 dashes Regans
    • grapefruit twist
    • lemon twist

    Notes: This tasted very cherry-ish, in a quite appealing way (not cough-syrupy, as cherry alcohol often goes). Tingly finish. Grapefruit twist was maybe a wrong turn, lemon or orange would probably be a better fit. The proportions are pretty well set, just the details to work out. All sorts of fruits here (even a little "Screwdrivery"). 

    Version five: shaken, up.

    • 1 1/2 Stiggins
    • 1 sloe gin
    • 1/4 ginger syrup
    • 1/4 lemon juice
    • 2 dashes Ango
    • 2 dashes Regans
    • barspoon Demerara float
    • lemon slice/cherry flag garnish
    • grapefruit twist

    Notes: Not sure floating the overproof rum was a good idea. Now this is so cherry-ish, that it occurs to me I could run with that and make a chocolate covered cherry thing by subbing in some chocolate bitters.

    Version six: shaken, up.

    • 1 1/2 Stiggins
    • 1 sloe gin
    • 1/4 ginger syrup
    • 1/4 lemon juice
    • 1/4 demerara 151
    • 1 dash Regans
    • 2 dashes chocolate bitters
    • cherry garnish
    • Angostura bitters
    • lemon slice

    Notes: Hmm, I think a barspoon is the right amount of 151 rum, but shaken in. The chocolate bitters took over here so bitters need adjustment.

    Version seven: shaken, up.

    Trampoline Casualty

    • 1 1/2 oz Plantation Stiggins Fancy pineapple rum
    • 1 oz Plymouth sloe gin
    • barspoon Hamilton demerara 151 rum
    • 1/4 oz ginger syrup
    • 1/4 oz lemon juice
    • 2 dashes Regans orange bitters
    • 1 dash Scrappy's chocolate bitters
    • cherry garnish


    This was a fun exercise, that got me thinking about the process of revision. Here I didn't start with a very definitive end goal in mind, against which I was measuring each version. Instead I was taking cues from the versions themselves (though quite a few turned out to be dead ends or wrong turns). That approach probably was inefficient, but who needs efficiency these days?

    trampolinecasualty 1.png

    • Like 6
  4. Okay, here's what I came up with after a couple of attempts:



    • 2 oz blanco tequila (I use El Mayor)
    • 3/4 oz dry vermouth (Dolin)
    • 1/4 oz Amere Sauvage
    • 1/4 oz honey syrup
    • rinse Herbsaint (or absinthe)

    Serve in a coupe with a grapefruit twist.


    My first go had an ounce of vermouth which was maybe too much, a barspoon of honey syrup which was definitely too little, and fennel bitters instead of the pastis rinse. This is a better balance. The Amere Sauvage, a "savage" gentian Alpine liqueur, is by far the most aggressive flavor but all of the others counter it well, each in its own way. (I would guess Suze would be a sub more likely to have on hand, but I'm unsure about whether/how the proportion would be adjusted for that.) I was thinking about vegetal herbaceous flavors that could be drawn out of the starter ingredients. 


    Thanks for the fun challenge!


    IMG_5496 1.jpg

    • Like 4
  5. My set of 5.5 oz coupes are a great size for most of the drinks I make at home (which average a little over 3oz before dilution). My wife found a couple of really charming coupes with antiquey etched designs in them at a thrift shop, but they are a bit bigger, and as a result the wash line is unappealingly low. Been wanting to pick up some Nick and Noras, which are usually a bit smaller in volume. 

  6. The other day I was in a "let's just throw random things together and see if they work" mood, and mixed Scotch, madeira, apricot liqueur, and ginger syrup. It had some promise but needed some friction. The next night, tried the same with a few dashes of Regans'. Still good but not great. Then finally, I thought a richer way of adding bitterness would be to swap out the madeira for Punt e Mes. Thus was born the 

    Stone of Destiny

    • 2 oz Blended Scotch (Monkey Shoulder)
    • 3/4 oz Carpano Punt e Mes
    • 1/4 oz Apricot liqueur (Rothman and Winter)
    • 1/8 oz Ginger syrup (mine is both potent and sweet; increase as desired)

    Shake; strain; up; garnish with an orange twist. 


    This was dark and rich; I would think fans of the Boulevardier might be on board.


    The Stone of Destiny (aka the Stone of Scone) is the ancient rock throne of the Scottish kings. I liked how the name connected to the Scotch, but also to stone fruit (the apricot, and the cherry/plum flavors in the vermouth). 


    stoneofdestiny 1.png

    • Like 4
  7. A new original that uses my curry-leaf syrup:

    Curried Away

    • 1 1/4 oz Rittenhouse
    • 1/2 oz Batavia Arrack
    • 3/4 oz Lime juice
    • 1/4 oz Ginger liqueur
    • 1/2 oz curry-leaf syrup
    • 1 dash Bar Keep Chinese Bitters

    Shake; strain; up.

    I get an unexpected mint (or mint-chewing-gum) flavor on the finish, which made me realize in retrospect that a mint leaf (or curry leaf) would be an appropriate garnish.

    This started with the weird idea that the Asian funkiness of Batavia Arrack and the peanuty flavor of Rittenhouse could be a workable odd couple. From there I was thinking of Asian cuisine flavors, which quickly led me to the other ingredients. Proportions were estimated with a daiquiri model in mind, and I was more than pleased that my first go at measurements nailed it. 


    • Like 5
  8. 11 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

    @Craig E, your cocktail sounds excellent.  Should you find yourself with more leftover curry leaves for cocktail purposes, you might try infusing some bourbon with them.  

    The Mowgli Street Food restaurants use it in a Smoked Cardamom Old-Fashioned cocktail that also appears in their cookbook.   I quite liked it.  


    Smoked Cardamom Old Fashioned

    40 ml curry leaf bourbon  (infuse 1 oz fresh curry leaves into 700 ml bourbon for 48 hours before straining)

    2 tsp apricot liqueur

    2 tsp black cardamom syrup (infuse 5 oz black cardamom pods into 500 ml of 2X simple syrup for at least a week, the longer the better)

    2 dashes Angostura bitters


    Garnish: 2 curry leaves, 1 black cardamom pod


    So I'll use up my curry leaves but then I'm stuck with extra black cardamom pods! 😄

    • Haha 1
  9. I recently made a chicken recipe that called for curry leaves, which I'd never tried before. Curry leaves are kind of interesting. They are used in some curries but bear no relation to the spices in curry powder. Before I realized Whole Foods carried them, I'd looked up online what would work as a substitute in my chicken recipe, and sites suggested lime for the citrusy aspect and basil leaves for the herbaceous aspect. But I found beyond citrus and leafiness, the leaves had a toasty quality.


    Since I had most of a bag left over, I decided they might work in a syrup for cocktails. I followed the procedure that had worked for me for sage syrup: Dissolve sugar in just-simmering water, cut the heat, and steep the leaves for half an hour, then strain. 


    First use was a basic gin sour—gin, lemon, and the syrup. Worked pretty well. But then my wife observed the nuttiness of the syrup, and I had an epiphany that it could work as a funked-up orgeat replacement. So I made a mai tai to Trader Vic's spec, only subbing the curry-leaf syrup for the orgeat/simple, and using Batavia Arrack as a more regional replacement for the Jamaican rum. Added a pinch of salt and replaced the mint garnish with another curry leaf. Tasty stuff!


    jakartamaitai 1.png

    • Like 9
  10. Finally got to a drink that's been on my to-do list for a long time: Stew Ellington's Adair Hook. 

    Adair Hook

    • 1 1/2 oz Gin (Beefeater)
    • 3/4 oz Sweet vermouth (Dolin)
    • 1/2 oz Cynar
    • 1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
    • 1 ds Orange bitters (Regans')

    This worked great. This is essentially a Martinez, enriched with the caramel and bitter notes of Cynar, a terrific deepener here. The dark sweetness of both liqueur and vermouth play well against the sharp piny-ness of gin. 


    On a whim, made a second, subbing xocolatl mole bitters for the orange bitters. The chocolatey flavor pushed this still further into dessert town (it was already pretty sweet, but not objectionably so to my taste). So maybe a bit less subtle or balanced than the original, but awfully tasty. 


    • Like 2
  11. 12 hours ago, Hassouni said:

    Swift is good, drinks-wise, but for whatever reason it didn't jump out at me like some of the others. Did you get the milk punch at Punch Room? I could take a bath in that 

    Yes, my colleague did so I got to taste it. Pretty delish!


    For best drinks of the trip: 


    "Le Pain Killer" at Murder Inc., which was described as "Havana Club 7, OJ [though I'm sure they goosed it with lime], walnut croissant marsala." Garnished with a tiny piece of toast (le pain--get it?) which was goofy, but the walnut flavor in this was great. 


    I liked the Beetle Boulevardier at Lyaness: "Patron Reposado, Martini bitter, purple pineapple, white & pink radicchio, cochineal." I do find the vagueness of their menu irritating though. 


    Both of my drinks at Swift: Sicilian Avenue ("Monkey Shoulder scotch, toasted barley, Mr Black coffee amaro, bitters") and the yummy, dessert-y Praline Flip ("Swift spiced rum blend, Guinness, hazelnut orgeat, egg"). 

    Edited to add: Oh, and at Oriole, the Haarlem Ampersand (“Bols oak aged genever Courvoisier VSOP speculoos wine orange pekoe Salerno hopped Peychaud’s”). Guess the nutty and sweet thing was floating my boat this trip. 

  12. I’m back in London for a bit and thinking my cocktail bar target list is outdated. Anybody have suggestions for top places to go nowadays? Not into gimmicky showmanship, overpriced hotel bars that are only about posh ambiance, nor overcrowded hipster scenes. So far I’ve been to Oriole, and Trailer Happiness and whatever Mr. Lyan’s latest thing is called are on the agenda. In past trips I’ve liked Satan’s Whiskers, Blind Pig, and White Lyan. What shouldn’t I miss?

  13. Couple of recent keepers, both nicely balanced:


    Adelphi Cocktail

    • 1 oz Rye
    • 1 oz Cognac
    • 1 oz Sweet vermouth
    • 1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
    • 3 ds Absinthe (I used a barspoon)
    • 2 ds Bitters, Angostura

    Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.


    Inventor Frederic Yarm described this as a Saratoga with the "improved" treatment. Also brings to mind faves like the Sazerac and Red Hook. Some very verbose labels on these ingredients!

    IMG_5030 1.jpg


    Texting and Scones

    • 1 oz Cynar
    • 1 oz Dry vermouth, Dolin
    • 1 oz Becherovka
    • 1 ds Bitters, Bittermens Xocolatl Mole
    • 1 bsp Jamaican rum, Smith & Cross

    Stir/strain/rocks/lemon twist ( I used orange)


    Unsure if I was supposed to float the rum--I stirred it in. This was a tasty autumnal drink. Flavors akin to boozier sippers but lighter octane. 

    IMG_5034 1.jpg

    • Like 2
  14. 16 hours ago, haresfur said:

    A simple martini variation, but I'm quite happy with it (and I have dry vermouth on hand that should be used up)



    martini with pimento dram
    1 12 oz Gin, Tanqueray
    12 oz Dry vermouth, Noilly Prat
    2 bsp Allspice Dram

    Thanks, tried this tonight and quite enjoyed it. A martini crossed with a pink gin. The dram (I used homemade, from the Serious Eats recipe) comes in on the finish, reminding me of winter holiday festivity. 

    nightingale 1.png

    • Like 2
  15. Used my sage syrup (from a pre-frost harvesting from my garden) in a Tom Collins riff:

    • 2 1/4 oz Uncle Val's Botanical gin
    • juice of 1 1/2 small lemons
    • 3/4 oz sage syrup
    • club soda to top
    • fennel bitters float


    sagetomcollins 1.png

    • Like 2
  16. Tried Zachary Pearson's Sunny Disposition with some subs.

    • 2 oz Blanco tequila (El Mayor)
    • 1/2 oz Suze (Bittermens Amere Sauvage)
    • 1/2 oz Dry apricot brandy (Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot liqueur)
    • 1/2 oz Lemon juice
    • 1 ds Bitters, Boker's (Fee Bros. Cardamom bitters)

    I recognize that the brandy spec'ed in the recipe is quite different from (namely, far less sweet than) the apricot liqueur I have on hand, but the comments on Kindred encouraged me to try the sub nonetheless. 


    This wasn't delicious and with the relentless bitterness of the Amere Sauvage it is not a crowd pleaser. But it was super interesting. Very green agave aroma, maybe even pickles. Sip is where the fruit enters, apricot but also white grapefruit. Then in the finish the raspy wooden bitterness joins up with the grapefruit. That long bitterness pushes you to the next sip. Fun drink inasmuch as the character changes strikingly between nose and sip and swallow.

    • Like 2
  17. A new original:

    • 2 oz Cappelletti aperitivo
    • 1 oz Tattersall aquavit
    • 2 dashes Regans' orange bitters

    Served on the rocks with an orange twist. Sweet and refreshing but also interesting. Next night I tried the same but topped with an ounce or so of soda, which brought it into the territory of an Aperol Spritz. 


    I'm calling it Cap & Snaps


    capandsnaps 1.png

    • Like 3
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