Sir, Some Freshly Ground Pepper for my Drink!

So, all of the sudden I seem to be stumbling across cocktails with pepper in them. No, I’m not talking about Bloody Marys either. Here are two I’ve enjoyed recently:

Boris Karloff

  • 3/4 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz St-Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbs confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 oz chilled club soda
  • Pinch each of finely grated lime zest and freshly ground pepper, for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, combine the gin, elderflower liqueur, lime juice, sugar and egg white. Dry shake. Add ice and shake again.  Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass, stir in club soda and garnish with lime zest and pepper.

By Todd Thrasher, Food & Wine Cocktails ’09.

And one with cayenne pepper in it called the Tante Marie Fizz. I happen to have a bottle of the Whitley Neill gin and it’s very nice in this cocktail. I found this one through Saveur magazine. Click below to go to the recipe.

Tante Marie Fizz

Published in: on March 26, 2010 at 8:49 pm  Comments (1)  

Sweet and Lovely

Photo by Esther Kirby, Flickr

A little rough around the edges, but sweet and lovely all the same. Here is a cocktail from David A. Embury’s The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (1948):

Sweet and Lovely

  • 1 part Maraschino & Grenadine (half and half)
  • 2 parts Lime Juice
  • 3 parts Gin
  • 5 parts Applejack

Shake with cracked ice.

Make sure you use Maraschino liqueur, not the juice from your maraschino cherry jar.  I substituted raspberry syrup for the grenadine which I liked, but either way would work. Just make sure to use real pomegranate grenadine and all will be good.

Published in: on January 24, 2010 at 11:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The King is dead. Long live the King!

Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge

The spirit of Elvis was certainly alive last Friday at Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge, where a crowd gathered to celebrate what would have been the King’s 75th birthday.  Blue Hawaii and Viva Las Vegas were playing on separate screens, peanut butter & banana sandwiches were the featured snack, and Elvis-themed cocktails were flowing.  Six members of The Antifogmatic League turned out to pay tribute to the King and toast him in grand style…repeatedly.  It was only fitting to start off the evening with one of the six featured Elvis cocktails, so we ordered a round of Blue Hawaiians.  FI’s version of the Blue Hawaiian was creamy and sweet with plenty of coconut and rum.

Blue Hawaiians for the King's 75th

Our intrepid members then sampled a cocktail as showy as the King himself, the Burning Love: a flaming drink made with two kinds of rum, lime, and homemade pomegranate grenadine.  Our fearless explorers then branched out on different paths, some continuing on the Elvis trail, while others sampled libations from FI’s extensive list of Tiki drinks.

Burning Love x 3

Other Elvis cocktails sampled included the “King Creole” which was really a Sazerac.  A rare misstep of the evening, The King Creole suffered from a heavy hand with the absinthe and we politely discussed our expectations for a Sazerac with our bartender, Paddy.  Paddy, I must say, was a perfect gentleman, and a wicked good bartender, and he took the drink back and delivered another that was spot-on.  Another AL member tried the “Girl Happy” which was Forbidden Island’s version of La Floridita Daiquiri.  Petite, but delicious, the Girl Happy was a classic combination of fresh lime juice, rum, and Maraschino Liqueur.  The Burning Love proved to be more than a flash in the pan, and Paddy was more pyromaniac than bartender at points in the evening as he lit fire after fire for the throng.

Paddy, our pyromaniac bartender

Drinks sampled from FI’s extensive menu included The Monkey Pod, an original cocktail featuring rum, lime, coconut and tamarind served with a sprig of fresh mint. Virgin Painkillers were the drink of choice for our AL member with the bun in the oven, and somehow that seemed so àpropos.  The Nui Nui didn’t disappoint either with its kickass combo of allspice, cinnamon, rum, and citrus.  Hail to Don the Beachcomber! (The creator of this drink, one of my favorites.)

Virgin Painkiller, Burning Love, Monkeypod

Nui Nui

Towards the witching hour, our stalwart AL members carried on, venturing off the beaten menu paths.  Dr. John sipped Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old rum, while your fearless leader tried the same on the rocks with falernum (kind of a Corn n’ Biodiesel, instead of a Corn n’ Oil).  Our ever accommodating bartender, Paddy, even whipped up an old-skool Aviation complete with a dash of Crème de Violette for one of our members, who was celebrating his last day at one job, before moving on to the next.

Aviation with Tiki-style garnish

A little after midnight, our crew decided to head for our respective little grass shacks. As we started to leave, a new wave of patrons started to trickle in. Will the Thrill grilled them as he had everyone who ventured in during the evening, “Are you over 21, and do you know who Elvis Presley is?”

“Yes, and of course we know who Elvis Preston is!” they replied indignantly. We took that as our cue to leave. I think Elvis would’ve headed for Graceland too.

Published in: on January 18, 2010 at 11:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Singapore Sling

Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel, Flickr: Nettsu

Ah… nothing like the Friday night at the start of a long weekend.  A twinkle in your eye, a spring in your step. Time to relax, unwind. What to make to kick off the weekend?  Why not make a cocktail that calls to mind exotic locales, extended vacations, and balmy breezes?  A Singapore Sling, I thought. That might fit the bill.  Having never had one before, I turned to my trusty books (I am a librarian after all).  I consulted Charles H. Baker, Jr., David A. Embury, Ted Haigh, and Dale DeGroff.  In 1948, Embury wrote, “Of all the recipes published for this drink, I have never seen any two that were alike.”  Right he was, because the 4 recipes these gentlemen put forth were all different (apparently, the original 1915 recipe is locked in a safe in its birthplace, so I assume there was a lot of guessing going on). I ultimately decided to go with Ted Haigh aka Dr. Cocktail’s recipe for the Singapore Sling, although Mr. Baker claimed to have the bona fide recipe from the venerable Raffles Hotel.  Now, while I love Mr. Baker (LOVE him) sometimes I worry about his recipes.  He cracks me up, I mean, the man is laugh out loud funny, but I trust Dr. Cocktail to make a good drink, so I went with his Singapore Sling.  Regardless of the recipe used, I believed (after tasting the drink) what Mr. Baker wrote of this cocktail:

The Singapore Gin Sling is a delicious, slow-acting, insidious thing.

Or as my husband put it, “Wow. I could drink these all night. Wow.”

My Singapore Sling

The Singapore Sling

  • 2 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz Cherry Heering (or other cherry-flavored brandy)
  • 2 tsp Benedictine
  • 2 tsp Cointreau
  • 2 oz pineapple juice
  • 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
  • 2 dashes real pomegranate grenadine
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Soda water

Combine all except soda in an iced shaker.  Shake and strain into a collins or highball glass with a few lumps of ice. Top with soda water. Garnish with a cherry, a pineapple slice, and an orange wheel.

Recipe from Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh aka Dr. Cocktail.

Published in: on January 15, 2010 at 9:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Benz

Zirbenz, Stone Pine Liqueur of the Alps

Today I denuded the Christmas tree, a pretty little thing that cheered our hearts and scented our home for the holiday season.  I thought it fitting that I used the last drop of Zirbenz, Stone Pine Liqueur of the Alps, as I completed this bittersweet task.  In a roundabout way, Zirbenz is responsible for The Antifogmatic League.  I was one of the lucky few to get a golden ticket to the first sneak peek opening of Smuggler’s Cove on Dec. 4, 2009.  One of the drinks I sampled that night was the Calibogus, a “blend of Zirbenz Stone Pine liqueur, spruce tincture, molasses, seltzer and Smuggler’s Cove Private Reserve rum with a dash of lime”.  I was curious about the name, Calibogus, and while I was googling it, I stumbled upon the term antifogmatic, which of course, I fell in love with.  Anyway, I was intrigued enough with the Calibogus that when I chanced upon a bottle of Zirbenz at Blackwell’s I snatched it up.  I’ve been experimenting with it for the last few weeks and liking most of the results.  My favorite of the Zirbenz cocktails was created by accident this past week during our Tahoe vacation.  I was in the middle of mixing up some Montreal Gin Sours from Embury’s The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks when I ran out of gin.  I substituted Zirbenz for half the gin and the result was enthusiastically received by all.  And so, dear reader, I give you the Zirbenz Gin Sour, otherwise known as …

The Benz

The Benz

  • 1 part Simple Syrup
  • 2 parts Lemon Juice
  • 4 parts Gin
  • 4 parts Zirbenz
  • 1 Egg White to each 2 drinks

Embury uses proportions rather than measurements, so you can adjust accordingly.  If you let 1 part equal an ounce and use 2 egg whites this will make 4 cocktails.  Add the egg white, simple syrup, and lemon juice first and shake with ice to get the egg frothing.  Then add the gin and shake again. Finally add the Zirbenz and shake one last time. Strain into chilled glasses.

Don’t let the “pretty in pink” color fool you.  This is a nice, fairly dry cocktail.  Yes, my pictures stink, but if you click on this pic you can see the color better.

Merry Fizzness!

The Ramos Gin Fizz

What does Santa’s Little Helper drink Christmas morning when all the presents are unwrapped and it’s finally time to kick back and relax?  A Ramos Gin Fizz, that’s what!  I’d never had one until a few weeks ago.  I was flipping through my copy of Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em by Stanley Clisby Arthur and the recipe caught my eye.  I have a marked-up, liquid-stained 1941 copy, and I enjoy looking at the previous owner’s notes.   In May of 1943 it had been marked as a keeper, and after mixing one up for myself, I agreed.  A few weeks later I found myself having brunch at the Presidio Social Club and saw it on their list of “Restoratives”.  The bartender pulled out a mini stick blender, and went to town frothing it up.  A restorative indeed!  He told me that once the drink started getting more popular at PSC he was shaking his arms off and had to switch to the immersion blender.  I could well imagine since it’s a drink that does require energetic and sustained shaking.  In his book, Arthur writes of the Fizz, “…the saloons of Henry C. Ramos were famous for the gin fizzes shaken up by a bevy of busy shaker boys.  Visitors, not to mention home folk, flocked in droves to the Ramos dispensary to down the frothy draft that Ramos alone knew how to make to perfection. One poetical sipper eulogized it thus: “It’s like drinking a flower!”  Well, flower or not, the Ramos Gin Fizz made a lovely lazy Christmas morning drink…or two.

Click on the picture below and you can read the recipe for this froth-o-licious drink.

What's that funny thing in the corner? Well, Mr. Playmobil Elk was kind enough to hold the book open while I mixed this up.