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Naming Cocktails


Troy Sidle
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I come up with drinks from time to time and usually have trouble naming them. I wonder if anyone has the same problem. I'm pretty sure I'm being overly critical in this process and could do myself a favor and not put too much thought into the names, but for now I don't. I figured I'd start this topic to help myself out and then eventually help out anyone else that is ever looking for some input. Here are a few that will be going on my new menu, but have yet to be named:

(no name #1)-- Wanted to call this The Morris after my friend that drinks this, but Jamie Boudreau already has a Morris.

1 oz Pig's Nose

1 oz St. Germain

1/4 oz Green Chartreuse

1/4 oz lemon juice

1/8 oz Herbsaint or Absinthe

shaken and strained over fresh ice in rocks glass and garnished with lemon peel

(no name #2)

1/4 Red Bell Pepper cut into cubes and muddled with

1/2 oz Honey Syrup

1/2 oz lime juice

then add:

2 oz Barsol Pisco

1/2 oz R&W Apricot

shake hard and strain over fresh ice in Collins glass

top with Barritts Ginger Beer

garnish with 2 bell pepper rings

(no name #3) previously posted in the Blanc Vermouth post

2 oz Dolin Blanc

1 oz Corsair Gin Head

1/4 oz Damiana

1/4 oz lemon juice

2 dashes Fee Bros Rhubarb Bitters

shaken and served up with a rose water rinse

garnish with lemon peel

Edited by Dylsey (log)
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I think cocktails benefit from names that are eye-catching, suggestive, memorable, easy to say (even when drunk)*, and usually short (and if not short, eye/ear-catching and memorable). It helps to imagine someone ordering them at a bar; if it sounds natural, or intriguingly unusual, it's usually a keeper. The name is often the first thing a potential imbiber knows about the drink, so it helps if it gives some sense of its character (this is why so many of the bitter, advanced cocktails of beta cocktails get away with long and complicated names). The Daiquiri is a good example: at least when said as it is in Spanish (die KEE ree), it's sharp, bright, crisp, just like the drink. Other good classic cocktail names, IMO, are the Bramble, the Cosmopolitan, the Manhattan, the Sazerac.

One way to help yourself name cocktails is to keep a list of words you think would make for good drink names. Come up with a drink name that sounds like something someone would order in a bar, say the Rexroth,** and think of the cocktail that name conjures: for me, Rexroth evokes dark liquors, stirred spirits, some bitterness, a steely edge, a bright twist. If you keep a list of names that suggest different eras, states of mind, base spirits, and functions (aperitif, nightcap) you'll have something to draw from for naming your inventions, and you'll be able to reverse engineer original drinks based solely on what their hypothetical names suggest.

Some familiarity with cocktail genealogy/family names also helps; knowing that what you've come up with is technically a Daisy or a Lion helps you choose names like the Whoopsy Daisy or the Lion's Claw which makes your job easier and has the added bonus of suggesting the type of drink to more informed imbibers.

Person's names, like your Morris, are usually a good bet, as are place names (Manhattan, Trinidad Special, Daiquiri).

Try to think of the qualities suggested by your ingredients: for your first drink, Scotch suggests Smoke (and, in this case, Pig), St. Germain suggests Elder and Flowers, Chartreuse evokes Monks. In fact, there's already a St. Germain and Chartreuse drink by the name Elder Monk. You could run with the monastic theme and the Scotch's smoke and go with "Fumata," for the white smoke that announces a new Pope at the papal conclave; or you could play up the drink's structural similarity to a Last Word and its variants and go with something like "Dying Word."

I hope this has helped somewhat! I'll try to come up with suggestions for the other two drinks in a bit. They sound tasty, btw.


*This may explain the preponderance of classic cocktails starting with M (Margarita, Manhattan, Martini, &c), though it doesn't explain how the Sazerac has survived so many slurred orders.

**A name I came up with just now for the purpose of this example, not necessarily a good name for a cocktail.

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”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

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There is also a long tradition of borrowing from pop culture. I named a ginger wine cocktail after an Indie group, the Ginger Envelope, hoping they find it sometime when googling their name.

This could have a negative effect of making your cocktail appear dated but doesn't a Bee's Knees or a Mary Pickford sound dreamy?

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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Try to think of the qualities suggested by your ingredients: for your first drink, Scotch suggests Smoke (and, in this case, Pig), St. Germain suggests Elder and Flowers, Chartreuse evokes Monks. In fact, there's already a St. Germain and Chartreuse drink by the name Elder Monk. You could run with the monastic theme and the Scotch's smoke and go with "Fumata," for the white smoke that announces a new Pope at the papal conclave; or you could play up the drink's structural similarity to a Last Word and its variants and go with something like "Dying Word."

I agree with pretty much everything Rafa wrote, and because of the "Scottish" flair to your drink, I would love to suggest naming it the "Last Rites" -- but apparently that's already taken.

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*This may explain the preponderance of classic cocktails starting with M (Margarita, Manhattan, Martini, &c), though it doesn't explain how the Sazerac has survived so many slurred orders.

'Sazerac' sounds drunk already - you can't make it worse, whatever's happening to your tongue.

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Perhaps a thesuarus or crossword dictionary would help? You could look up terms associated with your ingredients and see if anything alliterates, rhymes or otherwise sounds snazzy. Eg Herbsaint, Chartreuse, St. Germain - Holy + Pig's Nose - Hog = Holy Hog or Corsair - Buckaneer + rosewater (and other shrubby things) - bouquet = Buckaneer's Bouquet.

Edited by Plantes Vertes (log)
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Naming cocktails is very simple. You just have to adhere to the rich tradition of looking to the ingredients. Watch and learn:

  • Contains virtual sweet vermouth. It's a Manhattan
  • Contains nut liqueur. Its a squirrel.
  • Contains three or more fruit flavors. Its wild.
  • Contains artificial flavoring. Its pure sex.

Wild Squirrel Sex Manhattan

Created April 1, 2013 by Zachary Pearson
1 1/2 oz Lemon vodka
1 1/2 oz Strawberry Vodka
1 1/2 oz Orange vodka
1 1/2 oz Raspberry vodka
1 1/2 oz Amaretto
3/4 oz Cranberry juice
3/8 oz Lemon juice
3/8 oz Simple syrup
1 ds Grenadine (as garnish)

In a 16 oz. glass, build over wet ice in order listed, drizzle grenadine over top. Wave a bottle of sweet vermouth at the glass.

Edited by EvergreenDan (log)

Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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That's odd. I was just about to post my update to that cocktail... (You'll note my naming strategy in calling it "Craft." That lets drinkers know that what they're experiencing is an expertly balanced and tasteful concoction hand-crafted by an artisanal mixologist. Just a naming pro-tip ;-)...)

by Dale DeGroff, Clyde Common, Williamsburg, MA.
3/4 oz Limoncello
3/4 oz Strawberry eau de vie (squirrel-infused)
3/4 oz Eau de Vie of Douglas Fir
3/4 oz Raspberry Shrub
3/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
3/8 oz Cranberry (Pickled)
4 pn Tartaric acid powder
1 ds Demerara syrup (3:1)
1 rinse Grenadine
16 spl Fernet Branca
Plant, grow, ferment, and distill eaux de vie from lemons, strawberries, and Douglas Fir on-site in the greenhouse on the terrace of your Brooklyn loft. (Must be on-site. Must be Brooklyn.) Sweeten the lemon eau de vie with fresh cane syrup. Infuse the strawberry eau de vie with squirrel (fresh only!). Combine. Hand craft a barrel out of staves rescued from your father's first yacht and age spirits in barrel for six weeks or until you've grown bored and moved on to your next artisanal project, whichever comes first. Empty barrel, and heart. Combine contents of barrel (but not heart) with handmade raspberry shrub (with raspberries plucked from your significant other's father's estate) and authentic Maraschino liqueur. In a mortar and pestle, mash with pickled cranberries overnight. Strain. Ferment in the gullet of a hoatzin, the Guyanese stink-bird (for that touch of Demerara smoke!). Kill and gut bird; double strain. In Erlenmeyer flask, add tartaric acid (fresh squeezed only!) and Demerara syrup, then smash the flask over a rotary evaporator and evaporate its contents rotarily. Convert the remaining liquid into a spray and serve out of an atomizer inserted into the mouth of a grenadine-rinsed and hand-taxidermied squirrel (eastern gray only!). Splash Fernet Branca (or other difficult amaro) until fragrant. Serve up.

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”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

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Thanks for the replies. I'm glad I could get a conversation going. I have at least decided to call the bell pepper drink "Southern Bell". I figured bell-ringer+bell pepper+summer in the south= southern bell.

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That's odd. I was just about to post my update to that cocktail... (You'll note my naming strategy in calling it "Craft." That lets drinkers know that what they're experiencing is an expertly balanced and tasteful concoction hand-crafted by an artisanal mixologist. Just a naming pro-tip ;-)...)

by Dale DeGroff, Clyde Common, Williamsburg, MA.
3/4 oz Limoncello
3/4 oz Strawberry eau de vie (squirrel-infused)
3/4 oz Eau de Vie of Douglas Fir
3/4 oz Raspberry Shrub
3/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
3/8 oz Cranberry (Pickled)
4 pn Tartaric acid powder
1 ds Demerara syrup (3:1)
1 rinse Grenadine
16 spl Fernet Branca
Plant, grow, ferment, and distill eaux de vie from lemons, strawberries, and Douglas Fir on-site in the greenhouse on the terrace of your Brooklyn loft. (Must be on-site. Must be Brooklyn.) Sweeten the lemon eau de vie with fresh cane syrup. Infuse the strawberry eau de vie with squirrel (fresh only!). Combine. Hand craft a barrel out of staves rescued from your father's first yacht and age spirits in barrel for six weeks or until you've grown bored and moved on to your next artisanal project, whichever comes first. Empty barrel, and heart. Combine contents of barrel (but not heart) with handmade raspberry shrub (with raspberries plucked from your significant other's father's estate) and authentic Maraschino liqueur. In a mortar and pestle, mash with pickled cranberries overnight. Strain. Ferment in the gullet of a hoatzin, the Guyanese stink-bird (for that touch of Demerara smoke!). Kill and gut bird; double strain. In Erlenmeyer flask, add tartaric acid (fresh squeezed only!) and Demerara syrup, then smash the flask over a rotary evaporator and evaporate its contents rotarily. Convert the remaining liquid into a spray and serve out of an atomizer inserted into the mouth of a grenadine-rinsed and hand-taxidermied squirrel (eastern gray only!). Splash Fernet Branca (or other difficult amaro) until fragrant. Serve up.

Ok, seriously laughing my head off at this. I think it was squirrel infused that got me.

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Ok, seriously laughing my head off at this. I think it was squirrel infused that got me.

There is nothing humorous about a well-crafted cock-tail. People like you are the reason one can't find a well-crafted pre-prohibition style Sex on the Beach anywhere north of the Bowery.

:wink:

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”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

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Incidentally, I tend to name my cocktails after music/songs/lyrics/bands or whatever happens to be playing at the moment. Most of the time, this happens after midnight with a record on.

John Maher
Executive Chef/Owner
The Rogue Gentlemen

Richmond, VA

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That's odd. I was just about to post my update to that cocktail... (You'll note my naming strategy in calling it "Craft." That lets drinkers know that what they're experiencing is an expertly balanced and tasteful concoction hand-crafted by an artisanal mixologist. Just a naming pro-tip ;-)...)

Craft Squirrel Sex Manhattan

by Dale DeGroff, Clyde Common, Williamsburg, MA.

3/4 oz Limoncello

3/4 oz Strawberry eau de vie (squirrel-infused)

3/4 oz Eau de Vie of Douglas Fir

3/4 oz Raspberry Shrub

3/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur

3/8 oz Cranberry (Pickled)

4 pn Tartaric acid powder

1 ds Demerara syrup (3:1)

1 rinse Grenadine

16 spl Fernet Branca

Plant, grow, ferment, and distill eaux de vie from lemons, strawberries, and Douglas Fir on-site in the greenhouse on the terrace of your Brooklyn loft. (Must be on-site. Must be Brooklyn.) Sweeten the lemon eau de vie with fresh cane syrup. Infuse the strawberry eau de vie with squirrel (fresh only!). Combine. Hand craft a barrel out of staves rescued from your father's first yacht and age spirits in barrel for six weeks or until you've grown bored and moved on to your next artisanal project, whichever comes first. Empty barrel, and heart. Combine contents of barrel (but not heart) with handmade raspberry shrub (with raspberries plucked from your significant other's father's estate) and authentic Maraschino liqueur. In a mortar and pestle, mash with pickled cranberries overnight. Strain. Ferment in the gullet of a hoatzin, the Guyanese stink-bird (for that touch of Demerara smoke!). Kill and gut bird; double strain. In Erlenmeyer flask, add tartaric acid (fresh squeezed only!) and Demerara syrup, then smash the flask over a rotary evaporator and evaporate its contents rotarily. Convert the remaining liquid into a spray and serve out of an atomizer inserted into the mouth of a grenadine-rinsed and hand-taxidermied squirrel (eastern gray only!). Splash Fernet Branca (or other difficult amaro) until fragrant. Serve up.

You forgot the part where you import ice en bloc from Antarctica, then hand-carve it into a miniature of the David (any Renaissance sculptor's interpretation acceptable) and stir by creating wind currents in the mixing pitcher so that it doesn't get any cloudier. This frequently requires moving the moon in order to achieve the desired effect.
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well-crafted pre-prohibition style Sex on the Beach

It's heartening to see craft bartenders improving so many of the classics.

In this spirit, I present:

Craft Blowjob

Ingredients: one heritage calf (prefer Dutch Belted), heirloom potato seeds

Prepare as usual. Top vodka with dollop of whipped cream. Serve up.

Edited by turkoftheplains (log)
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It's heartening to see craft bartenders improving so many of the classics.

In this spirit, I present:

Craft Blowjob

Ingredients: one heritage calf (prefer Dutch Belted), heirloom potato seeds

Prepare as usual. Top vodka with dollop of whipped cream. Serve up.

You see where this went wrong, don't you?

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

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It's heartening to see craft bartenders improving so many of the classics.

In this spirit, I present:

Craft Blowjob

Ingredients: one heritage calf (prefer Dutch Belted), heirloom potato seeds

Prepare as usual. Top vodka with dollop of whipped cream. Serve up.

You see where this went wrong, don't you?
Apologies for this horrific oversight.

Craft Blowjob (revised)

Ingredients: one juniper seedling, one heritage calf (prefer Dutch Belted), heirloom potato seeds

Prepare as usual. Top juniper-infused vodka with dollop of whipped cream. Serve up.

Edited by turkoftheplains (log)
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It's heartening to see craft bartenders improving so many of the classics.

In this spirit, I present:

Craft Blowjob

Ingredients: one heritage calf (prefer Dutch Belted), heirloom potato seeds

Prepare as usual. Top vodka with dollop of whipped cream. Serve up.

You see where this went wrong, don't you?
Apologies for this horrific oversight.

Craft Blowjob (revised)

Ingredients: one juniper seedling, one heritage calf (prefer Dutch Belted), heirloom potato seeds

Prepare as usual. Top juniper-infused vodka with dollop of whipped cream. Serve up.

Now you're talkin'.

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

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You forgot the part where you import ice en bloc from Antarctica, then hand-carve it into a miniature of the David (any Renaissance sculptor's interpretation acceptable) and stir by creating wind currents in the mixing pitcher so that it doesn't get any cloudier. This frequently requires moving the moon in order to achieve the desired effect.

Ugh, an ice sculpture of Donatello's David? You may as well garnish your drink with a sous-vide turd.

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”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

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Incidentally, I tend to name my cocktails after music/songs/lyrics/bands or whatever happens to be playing at the moment. Most of the time, this happens after midnight with a record on.

The Rogue Gentleman's newest craft cocktail, the John Mayer by John Maher.

It's heartening to see craft bartenders improving so many of the classics.

In this spirit, I present:

Craft Blowjob

Ingredients: one heritage calf (prefer Dutch Belted), heirloom potato seeds

Prepare as usual. Top vodka with dollop of whipped cream. Serve up.

You see where this went wrong, don't you?
Apologies for this horrific oversight.

Craft Blowjob (revised)

Ingredients: one juniper seedling, one heritage calf (prefer Dutch Belted), heirloom potato seeds

Prepare as usual. Top juniper-infused vodka with dollop of whipped cream. Serve up.

Now you're talkin'.

Selling cocktailians vodka as "wheat white dog" or "rye eau de vie" is the new selling ginophiles gin as "juniper-infused vodka."

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”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

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Share on other sites

Incidentally, I tend to name my cocktails after music/songs/lyrics/bands or whatever happens to be playing at the moment. Most of the time, this happens after midnight with a record on.

The Rogue Gentleman's newest craft cocktail, the John Mayer by John Maher.

It's heartening to see craft bartenders improving so many of the classics.

In this spirit, I present:Craft Blowjob

Ingredients: one heritage calf (prefer Dutch Belted), heirloom potato seeds

Prepare as usual. Top vodka with dollop of whipped cream. Serve up.

You see where this went wrong, don't you?

Apologies for this horrific oversight.Craft Blowjob (revised)

Ingredients: one juniper seedling, one heritage calf (prefer Dutch Belted), heirloom potato seeds

Prepare as usual. Top juniper-infused vodka with dollop of whipped cream. Serve up.

Now you're talkin'.

Selling cocktailians vodka as "wheat white dog" or "rye eau de vie" is the new selling ginophiles gin as "juniper-infused vodka."

No, really, there's a bar near me ageing their "Manhatten" based on Belevedere Unfiltered.

The Dead Parrot; Built from the ground up by bartenders, for everyone:

Monkey Shoulder Ultimate Bartender Champions, 2015

Twitter

Instagram

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Let me know what it's called, so I know what bar to avoid next time I'm in London.

well-crafted pre-prohibition style Sex on the Beach

It's heartening to see craft bartenders improving so many of the classics.

I'll have you know that the Sex on the Beach is a cocktail with an illustrious American history going all the way back to the Colonial era. From Wondrich's Punch:

'Fornication upon the Sands,' being named after a bawdy pub song of its time,

2 parts oleo saccharum of the peel of the orange,

2 parts shrub of the juice of the tart cran-berry,

1 part peach brandy,

2 parts Dutch gin.

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”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

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I wouldn't avoid them. It's the Whistling Shop and everything they put out is quality. The Manhattan included.

They have a series of barrel aged cocktails and "Old Toms" in different oaks.

They've done carbonated, sur lis, penicillin living cocktail and radiation aged cocktails. Plus their less "trendy" geeky stuff is great.

The Dead Parrot; Built from the ground up by bartenders, for everyone:

Monkey Shoulder Ultimate Bartender Champions, 2015

Twitter

Instagram

Untappd

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That's odd. I was just about to post my update to that cocktail... (You'll note my naming strategy in calling it "Craft." That lets drinkers know that what they're experiencing is an expertly balanced and tasteful concoction hand-crafted by an artisanal mixologist. Just a naming pro-tip ;-)...)

by Dale DeGroff, Clyde Common, Williamsburg, MA.
3/4 oz Limoncello
3/4 oz Strawberry eau de vie (squirrel-infused)
3/4 oz Eau de Vie of Douglas Fir
3/4 oz Raspberry Shrub
3/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
3/8 oz Cranberry (Pickled)
4 pn Tartaric acid powder
1 ds Demerara syrup (3:1)
1 rinse Grenadine
16 spl Fernet Branca
Plant, grow, ferment, and distill eaux de vie from lemons, strawberries, and Douglas Fir on-site in the greenhouse on the terrace of your Brooklyn loft. (Must be on-site. Must be Brooklyn.) Sweeten the lemon eau de vie with fresh cane syrup. Infuse the strawberry eau de vie with squirrel (fresh only!). Combine. Hand craft a barrel out of staves rescued from your father's first yacht and age spirits in barrel for six weeks or until you've grown bored and moved on to your next artisanal project, whichever comes first. Empty barrel, and heart. Combine contents of barrel (but not heart) with handmade raspberry shrub (with raspberries plucked from your significant other's father's estate) and authentic Maraschino liqueur. In a mortar and pestle, mash with pickled cranberries overnight. Strain. Ferment in the gullet of a hoatzin, the Guyanese stink-bird (for that touch of Demerara smoke!). Kill and gut bird; double strain. In Erlenmeyer flask, add tartaric acid (fresh squeezed only!) and Demerara syrup, then smash the flask over a rotary evaporator and evaporate its contents rotarily. Convert the remaining liquid into a spray and serve out of an atomizer inserted into the mouth of a grenadine-rinsed and hand-taxidermied squirrel (eastern gray only!). Splash Fernet Branca (or other difficult amaro) until fragrant. Serve up.

/thread.

Nothing will ever top this.

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Incidentally, I tend to name my cocktails after music/songs/lyrics/bands or whatever happens to be playing at the moment. Most of the time, this happens after midnight with a record on.

The Rogue Gentleman's newest craft cocktail, the John Mayer by John Maher.

>

It's heartening to see craft bartenders improving so many of the classics.

In this spirit, I present:

Craft Blowjob

Ingredients: one heritage calf (prefer Dutch Belted), heirloom potato seeds

Prepare as usual. Top vodka with dollop of whipped cream. Serve up.

You see where this went wrong, don't you?
Apologies for this horrific oversight.

Craft Blowjob (revised)

Ingredients: one juniper seedling, one heritage calf (prefer Dutch Belted), heirloom potato seeds

Prepare as usual. Top juniper-infused vodka with dollop of whipped cream. Serve up.

Now you're talkin'.

Selling cocktailians vodka as "wheat white dog" or "rye eau de vie" is the new selling ginophiles gin as "juniper-infused vodka."

My god. Pure genius.

John Maher
Executive Chef/Owner
The Rogue Gentlemen

Richmond, VA

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