Coup d Or

It seems that any cocktail containing gin and Lillet gets labeled as a Vesper.  Other than the gin and Lillet, this drink is not even close to 007’s original concoction in Casino Royale.   It is, however, delicious and visually stunning, which goes along with this season of glitz and glamor.  We combine the herbal flavors of the St George Botanivore Gin with the citrus and floral Lillet and the earthy bitterness of Kina L’ Avion d Or.

Coup d OrThe St George Botanivore Gin is perfect for this cocktail.   St George uses 19 botanicals with the juniper taking a back seat.  The nose of this cocktail is a combination of the herbaceous gin and the citrus, grape and orange of the Lillet with the woodsy aroma of the Kina.  The flavors are citrus, herb with a hint of juniper, marmalade and a touch of bitterness cleaning up the finish.

The recipe is:

  • 1 1/2 oz. St George Botanivore Gin (sub Hendricks)
  • 3/4 oz. Lillet Blanc
  • 1/4 oz. Kina L’ Avion d Or
  • For the garnish
    • 1 Pickled green tomato – see note
    • 1 Lemon peel
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine the gin, Lillet and Kina in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into the chilled glass
  4. Garnish with the pickled green tomato, express the lemon peel over the drink and float the peel.

Note:  The pickle green tomato works very well and is especially tasty after bathing in the drink.  We found them at World Market.  You can substitute an olive.


It’s International Margarita Day!!

Practically everyone who mixes drinks on any level has their own margarita recipe.  Without disparaging anyone’s favorite, here is our most requested version.  It is a simple but classic margarita on the rocks.  We make this as a sour, shaken and served straight up without a salted rim.

Margarita 2This is the only drink we make using Equal.  A lot of people love the idea of low calorie drinks.  Since the object here is to  offset the tartness of the lime, the simple sweet flavor of the Equal will work as well as sugar. Mouth feel is not an issue with this cocktail.  If you do use sugar it needs to be the superfine variety.  Regular granulated sugar will not dissolve well.

Beware: the sweetness hides the alcohol content.

  • 2 oz. Premium plata tequila – such as MilagroMargarita 3
  • 2 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 oz. Curacao – we use Cointreau or you can use blue curacao for some extra color
  • 3-4 tsp. Superfine sugar or 1-2 packets of Equal
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Chill a margarita glass with a few ice cubes and water
  2. To a shaker add all of the ingredients.
  3. Shake with ice until shaker is frosted, 10-15 sec
  4. Strain into  chilled glass


Fat Tuesday is Upon Us!

Mardi Gras 1 - CopyHere we are with another excuse to party!  Fat Tuesday always means Mardi Gras and New Orleans. So to celebrate, let’s take a look at two iconic libations from the Crescent City, the Vieux Carré and the Sazerac.

Vieux Carré

The Vieux Carré dates to 1938 and was the creation of Walter Bergeron, the head bartender at the Monteleone Hotel.  This cocktail, which is similar to a Manhattan, combines the spiciness of the rye with the sweet and mellow flavors of the Cognac and vermouth.  Add to that the herbal notes of the Benedictine, and you have a smooth and complex drink.

  • ¾ oz. rye whiskeyVieux Carre 1
  • ¾ oz. Cognac
  • ¾ oz. sweet vermouth
  • ¼ oz. Benedictine
  • dash Peychaud’s Bitters
  • dash Angostura Bitters
  1. Chill either a cocktail glass or an old fashioned glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir with ice
  3. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass and serve up or over fresh ice in chilled Old Fashioned glass
  4. Garnish with thick lemon twist


Sazerac 3The Sazerac is, basically, a bitters forward, rye Old Fashioned with an absinthe rinse.  The history of this drink is somewhat clouded, but it does originate in New Orleans in the last half of the 19th century.  There is also supposed to be a ritual for making the Sazerac.  The ritual simply substitutes a second Old Fashioned glass for the mixing glass in the recipe below, (or you could mumble a line from Monty Python as well!)

Whatever ritual you follow this is a cocktail you need to try.  The flavors are the spices of the rye and bitters combined with the hint of anise and herbs of the absinthe.



  • 2 oz. quality rye whiskey such as Sazerac or Templeton Small Batch
  • 4 dashes Peychaud’s BittersSazerac 4
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • 1 tsp. 2:1 simple syrup
  • absinthe
  • lemon peel
  1. Chill old fashioned glass with ice and water.
  2. Combine all ingredients, except absinthe, to a mixing glass and stir with ice.
  3. Drain ice and water from chilled old fashioned glass and rinse with dash of absinthe.
  4. Strain drink into chilled, absinthe rinsed old fashioned over fresh ice.
  5. Twist lemon peel over drink and discard peel.

Laissez les bons temps roulez!!


Mardi Gras later - Copy

Later That Night….


Happy Valentines Day!

I choose to ignore all of you anti-Valentine’s Day types, (which probably suits you fine today)!  Just FYI: Valentine’s Day was not started by Hallmark Cards.  Hallmark’s first Valentine’s Day card was sold in 1913, while the first official Valentine’s Day observance as a special day of romance was in 1537.  Anyway, how about a flaming, red drink!SA Cloud Flame Two

I have named this the San Antonio Cloud.  I found the recipe on a scrap of paper along with a bunch of other little “notes to self” hiding in my desk a few years ago.  There was no reference on it, so I have no idea where it came from.  Anyway, it’s a tequila based cocktail with the tartness and color of pomegranate.  The elderflower foam floating on top makes for a pretty as well as delicious drink.

San Antonio Cloud

  • San Antonio Cloud1 ½ oz. Milagro Plata Tequila
  • 1 oz. pomegranate juice
  • dash rhubarb bitters
  • dash 2:1 simple syrup
  • St. Germaine Elderflower Foam – see below
  • Misto of Chartreuse
  1. Chill cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Stir all ingredients, except foam, with ice
  3. Add St. Germaine Elderflower Foam to chilled glass
  4. Strain drink through foam into glass
  5. Flame drink with Misto of Chartreuse

SA Cloud Foam First 2

Add the Foam to the Glass

SA Cloud Pour thru

Pour the Liquid

SA Cloud Repair Foam

Repair the Foam







SA Cloud Foam Last

Float the Foam Last

You can either put the foam into the chilled coup first and pour the drink through it, or pour the drink first and float the foam on top.  Pouring the drink through the foam will incorporate some of the foam’s flavors into the liquid portion of the drink.  This will, however, make the drink slightly cloudy.  Pouring the liquid first and then topping it with the foam will give you the clear liquid with foam floating cloud like on top.  In the photo, the drink on the left had the liquid poured through the foam.  You can see the difference.


The Left Drink is Cloudy

The Left Drink is Cloudy

Still, in a matter of 3 or 4 minutes, the foam will begin to dissolve slowly and it will look like the other drink.

Flaming the drinks is a bit of theatrics.  The flavors will be very similar if you simply mist the tops with the Chartreuse.  HOWEVER, fire is cool!  First, practice in the sink.  Second, be certain that nothing flammable is near the drinks.  To flame the Misto, hold the match/lighter near the path of the spray and press the top.  You only want a quick short flame.  It will otherwise melt the foam and impart too much Chartreuse flavor.SA Cloud Flame 3

So, have a wonderful and romantic day.


St. Germain Elderflower Foam

  • 3 egg whites, 9 Tbl or 4 ½ oz. pasteurized egg whites (see note)St Germain
  • 3 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 dash lemon bitters
  1. Lightly whip egg whites
  2. Add all ingredients to whipped cream charger
  3. Secure top and shake a few times to further break up the egg whites and combine ingredients.
  4. Double charge with N2O, shaking 4-5 times between charges.  Over shaking can cause ingredients to clump and clog charger.
  5. Chill for at least 1 hour before use.
  6. Keeps a few days refrigerated.

Note:  In this application, the fresh egg whites are not really superior to the pasteurized variety.

Not-Quite -A-tini

Mixology Monday

Mixology Monday

Mixology Monday XCIV is upon us and this month’s theme is “That’s Not a Martini!”  Our host, Nihil Utopia, has hit upon something we really enjoy: messing with gin and fortified wines.  We have two offerings for this round, (We had to pare it down from 6 or 8!!).  First is the G-n-Tini, which, combining gin, dry vermouth and quinine syrup, might also qualify as “That’s Not a Gin and Tonic!”.  For our second we offer The Wellington: barrel aged gin, sweet vermouth and amaro.

GnTini Poster

Fords GinI think that Fords Gin cries out for grapefruit.  It so happens that grapefruit is one of the primary flavors in Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s tonic recipe.  His quinine syrup, that you can add to club soda to make tonic water, is simple and takes less than an hour to make.  I thought that including the quinine syrup directly with the drink would make an interesting bitter sweet addition.  I believe I was correct!  Here’s the recipe:




  • 1 1/2 oz. Fords Gin
  • 1/2 oz. Dolin Sweet Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. Quinine Syrup – see here
  • Grapefruit peel for garnish
  1. Stir the first three ingredients in a mixing glass with ice to chill
  2. Strain into a chilled coup
  3. Express the grapefruit peel over the drink and float the peel

The Wellington


Treaty Oak Distilling is aging their gin in whiskey barrels to create their Waterloo Antique Gin.  This is truly a unique gin.  It has the sweet caramel nose that you would expect from the barrel aging but with the addition of the herbaceous input of gin.  The flavors are citrus, spice and herbs with a finish of charred oak that is long and smooth.   We combined this with Italian vermouth and Amaro.


  • 1 1/2 oz. Waterloo Antique GinWellington
  • 1/2 oz. Carpano Antica Vermouth
  • 1/4 oz. Averna Amaro
  • Lemon peel for garnish
  1. Stir the first three ingredients in a mixing glass with ice to chill
  2. Strain into a chilled coup
  3. Express the lemon peel over the drink and float the peel


National Create a Vacuum Day!

shaker-girlFebruary 4 is National Create a Vacuum Day.  So, in cocktalian fashion, you need to create a vacuum today!  Ever wonder why your cocktail shaker is so hard to open after you’ve shaken your drink?  As you shake your drink with ice, the liquid and air in the shaker cool and contract – causing a vacuum to form.  This is what holds the shaker together and makes it hard to open.

Thus, you can make your very own vacuum.  Now try out a daiquiri, margarita, sour or something new, and SHAKE IT UP, BABY!!!  Here are a few suggestions:

The Z

The Z

The Z

This is one of our favorite daiquiris.  Simple, fresh ingredients and you can feel the warmth of the sun and the sounds of the surf!  Hemingway, here we come.

Get the recipe here

Ten Four

Ten Four

Ten Four

Combine fresh cinlantro and jalapeno with the magic of Chartreuse and Cinco Vodka.  Need a little Grover Washington to go with that?

Get the recipe here


The Mayahuel


The Mayahuel

Mayahuel was the Aztec Goddess of the maguey of which the agave is a type.  She was the mother of the “400 rabbit” gods of drunkenness.  This margarita plays on the agave with tequila, agave orange liqueur, and agave nectar.

Get the recipe here

Whiskey Sour

Belle Meade Sour

Belle Meade Sour

Smooth, vanilla, caramel, smoke and all of the other wonders of bourbon combined with sweet/tart lemon.  Now we’re talking!

Get the recipe here




So, honor the day and create a few vacuums!