Carpano Squared

Carpano Squared BottlesThis, in retrospect, is a play on the Perfect Martini.  One that combines both dry and sweet vermouth.  I came up with this idea after the vermouth seminar at Tales with Jared Brown.  He had us combining various types of vermouth and discussing how to make them.  After combining Carpano Dry and Carpano Bianco, I was hooked.  These two styles of  vermouth have become my go-to for anything calling for ‘dry.’  At first the Carpano Bianco seems slightly sweeter than the usual premium dry vermouth.  I attribute this to the rich wine flavor that comes through along with citrus and a little tropical fruit.  The Carpano Dry is a bit surprising.   The nose is wine, lemon, candied fruit and spices, but the taste is bone dry.  Alone, or in combination, these fortified wines are amazing.

I like my martini’s 2 1/2:1 or 3:1 Gin to Vermouth.  Obviously you should use your favorite ratio.  However you make them, try combining the Carpano Dry and Bianco 50/50 for the vermouth.  I have tried this with Ford’s, Plymouth, 209, Aviation, Hendrick’s and Botanivoire.  I like them all!

When it comes to the garnish, I think that citrus and olives, individually or together, drastically alter this martini.  I prefer one or two fresh herbs floating on the surface.

The Carpano Squared

Carpano Squared

  • 1 1/2 oz. Gin – You’re favorite premium brand
  • 1/4 oz. Carpano Dry Vermouth
  • 1/4 oz. Carpano Bianco Vermouth
  • Fresh herbs such as thyme and/or sage
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine the gin and vermouth’s in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass
  4. Spank the fresh herbs and float them on the cocktail




Gin and Beer Tonic

Gin and Beer Tonic CWhile perusing the beer cooler at my favorite liquor store I spotted a bottle of Dogfish Head Namaste Beer. What caught my eye was the label listing orange, lemongrass, coriander and peppercorns as ingredients. We were in the process of preparing a Tonic Bar for a gathering we were hosting. The ingredients listed on the Namaste label were also going to be on our Tonic Bar. So, I thought, why not try using beer in the Gin and Tonic? It works!

We used our homemade tonic syrup. It’s easy and quick to make. However, you can purchase any of several brands of Tonic Syrup. We enjoy Jack Rudy’s and Liber & Co. When making tonic water from tonic syrup, you combine the syrup with carbonated water. This recipe substitutes beer for the carbonated water. So, whatever tonic syrup you’re using, just substitute the carbonated water with beer. Beer’s better than water anyway!

I used Hendrick’s Gin for this cocktail.  The herbal qualities of their gin worked perfectly with the Namaste.  Whichever gin you choose, when preparing this cocktail, try to pour slowly and stir carefully to reduce foaming.Gin and Beer Tonic

  • 2 oz Hendrick’s Gin
  • 1 ½ oz tonic syrup
  • 4 ½ oz Dogfish Head Namaste
  • Orange peel for garnish – optional


  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  2. Strain into chilled glass over fresh ice





Tepache is pineapple, top removed, chunked, unpeeled, juiced, then mixed with a few spices and sugar and allowed to ferment, uncovered, first at room temperature and then in the refrigerator, with whatever is in the air, for one week.  If pineapple juice and hard cider had a baby – it would be tepache.  This favorite street drink of Mexico is tropical and slightly pungent with a little funk.  Traditionally served alone or with Mexican beer, tepache is making its way onto cocktail menus all over the US.

It first came to my attention when I read a Bon Appétit post last Summer.  Then this past July, I spotted an article about a DIY tepache in Imbibe .  When I noticed that the recipe was from our friends at Victor Tangos, my curiosity was truly peaked.  Victor Tangos is one of the restaurants I try to visit when we’re in Dallas.  So, I absolutely had to head over there at my first opportunity.

victor-tangosWhen I had a chance to discuss Victor Tangos’ version with Manager Matt Ragan, he said their tepache is basically just the way Bartender Alejandro Galindo’s mother used to make hers.  According to Matt, they make their tepache in the restaurant and there is little, if any, variation between batches.  They have used it in several cocktails, mainly Tiki drinks, substituting tepache for pineapple juice.  During my visit a few weeks ago, they were offering the Tomar de los Muertes, which eschews the rum and combines mezcal and tequila.  Matt says that the tepache cocktails have been well received and will continue on the menu for awhile.

I used Alejandro’s recipe, which is simple and came out very similar to what I had at Victor Tangos.  It was good at the end of the seven days proscribed in the recipe, but got better when allowed to ferment another ten days.  You don’t have to make your own – just ask at your favorite liquor store. We tried it alone, with beer and in a few different cocktails.  I found that the cocktails are best if the amount of tepache is equal to, or less than, the volume of hard spirit.  Otherwise, it overwhelms the drink.  We settled on 3 favorites: a Tiki variation, a tequila/amaro combination and a gin cocktail.

The Potted Tepache Parrot

This is a riff on Trader Vic’s Potted Parrot using tepache rather than orange juice.  I also increased the orgeat.  The flavors of the ingredients all come through: the rum, the tart/funky tepache, the orgeat and a hint of lemon.  Here’s the recipe:Potted Tepache Parrot

  • 2 oz. Cruzan white rum
  • 2 oz. tepache
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. curacao
  • 1/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz. orgeat
  • 12 oz. crushed ice
  1. Chill a Double Old Fashioned glass with ice and water
  2. Shake all ingredients with crushed ice
  3. Pour unstrained into chilled  glass

Next up is:

The Tepache Tease

The bright flavor of the tequila adds to the tropical pineapple while the plum/cherry notes in the Bonal plays with the pungency of the tepache.

Tepache Tease

  • 2 oz. Tepache
  • 2 oz. Plata Tequila such as Milagro
  • 1/4 oz. Bonal
  • 1 dash 2:1 simple syrup
  1. Chill a Double Old Fashioned with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake to chill
  3. Strain over fresh ice in chilled glass



And finally:

The Tepache Cocktail

This proves you can have an elegant cocktail that uses pineapple!  Tepache Cocktail

  • 1 oz. Plymouth Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Tepache
  • 1/4 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 1 dash (1/8 tsp) 2:1 simple syrup
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake to chill
  3. Strain into chilled glass and serve