Curl My Toes

Curl My Toes

This cocktail has all of the flavors of your favorite gin Martini with the added herbals of Kina al Avion d’Or.  Plus, the botanicals in the vermouth are enhanced by creating the vermouth syrup.  Curl My Toes has become one of “Doc’s Greatest Hits” at parties and Pop Ups.

While making beer syrup standing at the stove stirring, my eyes fell upon an open bottle of vermouth on the counter awaiting its use in cooking.  I had read about and tasted beer syrup, but I’d never heard of vermouth syrup.  A quick Google consultation confirmed no results.  After some experimentation, I settled on equal parts dry vermouth and sugar

To my palate, dry vermouth is more herbal than sweet vermouth.  So dry vermouth syrup tastes nothing like sweet vermouth.  In this cocktail, the dry vermouth syrup brings a touch of sweetness to offset the bitter Kina and a nice mouth feel.

I have tried this with multiple gins including London Dry’s and the new style herbal gins.  I’ve even subbed Kinsmen Rakia for the gin.  It all works.

Curl My Toes

  • 2 oz. Premium gin such as Uncle Val’s Botanical
  • 1/2 oz. Dry Vermouth Syrup – see below
  • 1/4 oz. Kina al Avion d’Or
  • Fresh herbs such as thyme and sage plus a dried lemon wheel for garnish
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Add all ingredients, except the garnish to a mixing glass with ice
  3. Double strain into chilled glass
  4. Spank the herbs in your palm and float on the dried lemon wheel or on the drink

Vermouth Syrup

  • 1 part Dry Vermouth
  • 1 part Sugar
  1. The best way is to combine vermouth and sugar in a blender and blend on high several minutes until the sugar is dissolved.  You maintain the flavors of the vermouth if you don’t heat the syrup.  But, if you don’t have a blender, you can combine vermouth and sugar in a sauce pan and heat just until the sugar dissolves.  Do not allow the syrup to boil.
  2. Either way, strain through fine mesh strainer into a glass bottle.  Keeps refrigerated for about a few weeks.



Mad Hatter Martini

Mad HatterI enjoy paring cocktails with food, especially if creating a new drink.  We were serving salmon and asparagus the other day.  Since asparagus does not pare with any wine, this seemed the perfect opportunity for a cocktail!  Cue the Flavor Bible.  (If you cook, and or make cocktails, you need this book!)  I simply looked up salmon and asparagus comparing them for complementary flavors in common.  I chose thyme, lemon and carrots.  Yes, carrots.

Fish in general tastes best with a light, dry beverage.  Heavy or sweet can hide some of the subtle flavors inherent to fish.  In this case, I chose a gin martini.  You could substitute vodka for the gin, but you will lose the herbal notes that work so well.  I selected Ki No Bi gin for its flavors of kumquat, orange oil, juniper, spice and a slight bitterness of wormwood.  I used Reisetbauer Carrot Eau de Vie that has an intense bright taste of carrots.  Lemon peel expressed over the drink and fresh thyme as a garnish completed the complementary flavors.

Baked salmon garnished with asparagus and tomatoes with herbs

The Mad Hatter Martini

As noted above, I used Ki No Bi gin.  Your favorite gin will work quite nicely in the cocktail.  I would avoid the highly herbal gins as they might overpower the subtle carrot.  If you find this too bitter for your taste, decrease the amount of vermouth or make it a perfect with 1/2 bianco vermouth.

The nose is thyme, lemon and citrus.  First flavors are clean, herbal, with a touch of spice.  Then you note subtle carrots and juniper.  The finish is long and dry.


  • 1 1/2 oz Gin
  • 1/2 oz Premium dry vermouth (or 1/4 oz dry & 1/4 oz. bianco vermouth)
  • 1/4 oz. Reisetbauer Carrot Eau de Vie
  • 2-3 drops Bitter Truth Olive Bitters
  • Lemon peel for expressing
  • Fresh thyme for garnish
  • Dried lemon wheel for garnish (optional)
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and waterMad Hatter Bottles
  2. Combine the gin, vermouth, eau de vie and bitters in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Double strain into the chilled cocktail glass
  4. Express the lemon peel over the drink and discard
  5. Spank the thyme and float it on the dried lemon peel



And Now for Something Suze

Now for Something Suze ServedI fell in love with Suze at first taste.  The full-bodied citrus and herbs and the long spicy, bitter finish had me!  I frequently use it as a modifier to add richness and a little herbal bitterness to various cocktails.  Almost a secret ingredient.

I created this cocktail to highlight the flavors of Suze.  After trying multiple styles of gin, I settled on Navy Strength Plymouth Gin.  Various London dries and Botanist were also very good.  I further experimented with vermouth.  Sweet vermouth alone does not work well.  A premium dry or a “perfect” with dry and bianco are best.

I’ve been making variations of this cocktail for a few years.  Only recently have I added Bigallet’s Thym.  While totally optional, the Thym enhances the woody notes of the Suze and prolongs the herbal flavors into the finish.  Just remember that the Thym is the modifier here.  More than 3 or 4 drops will result in a powerful taste of thyme.  The nose is lemon and faint herbs.  The first flavors are herbal and a touch woody.  Juniper follows with continued herbs and just a hint of thyme.  The finish is herbal, spicy and cleanNow for Smething Suze 2

  • 2 oz. Navy Strength Gin (Plymouth)
  • 1 oz. Premium Dry Vermouth such as Carpano
  • 1/2 oz. Suze
  • 3-4 drops Bigallet’s Thym (or half a bar spoon) – optional
  • Lemon peel for garnish
  • Dried lemon wheel and/or sprig of fresh thyme for garnish – optional
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all of the ingredients, except the garnishes, in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Double strain into chilled cocktail glass
  4. Express lemon peel over drink and discard
  5. If using, dress up your cocktail with the dried lemon wheel, spank the thyme and float it on the lemon wheel.



Vermouth Panache Revisited

Our friends over at Swizzzlestick reintroduced us to the Vermouth Panache for the MxMo XCI – Shims.  A drink first described by Hemingway, it is light, refreshing and low ABV.  I used Carpano Antica and Dolans Dry vermouth.  I also changed the ratio slightly adding more sweet vermouth less dry – more like a 2:1 1/2 ratio rather than 2:1.  Here is the original recipe:Vermouth Panache

  • 2 oz. Dry French Vermouth
  • 1 oz. Sweet Italian Vermouth
  • 1 Dash Angostura Bitters
  • 1 Lemon peel
  1. Combine the first 3 ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  2. Strain into a chilled double old fashioned with fresh ice
  3. Express the lemon peel and float.

Now for the revisiting part:

I decided to try this substituting Lillet for the dry vermouth.  This I did 1:1 but I think it would be equally good as 2:1 Lillet to Carpano.  I also used Orange Bitters.


  • 1 1/2 oz. Lillet
  • 1 1/2 oz. Sweet Italian Vermouth
  • 1 Dash Angostura Orange Bitters
  • 1 Lemon peel
  1. Combine the first 3 ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  2. Strain into a chilled double old fashioned with fresh ice
  3. Express the lemon peel and float.

You should check out Swizzzlestick, our fellow MxMo’r


Rosita Cocktail

  • 1 ½ oz. plata tequila
  • ½ oz. sweet vermouth
  • ½ oz. dry vermouth
  • ½ oz. Campari
  • dash of Angostura Bitters
  1. Stir with ice
  2. Strain into an ice filled rocks glass

Gary’s Dry Martini

The original martini contained a lot of vermouth, even equal to or more than the gin, and orange bitters.  But over time, the vermouth became a drop or two or just a rinse, and the orange bitters were lost entirely.  This is my version of that classic martini.  I use St. George Botanivore Gin and Dolin Vermouth.  The Botanivore has a nice herbal flavor without a lot of juniper.  Also, use fresh good vermouth, it will cost $12.95 instead of $9.95.  Vermouth goes bad overnight after opening unless you refrigerate it.  Then it will last a week or so, (All right, dig that old bottle out of your cabinet you opened 5 years ago and throw it out!)

I like my Elliott’s Apothecary Orange Bitters, (I wonder why?), but Fee Brothers works well.  Also, the garnish is essential.  The olive and the lemon zest impart a very different character to the drink.  I suggest you try this drink both ways.

  • 1 1/2 oz. St. George Botanivore Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Dolin Dry Vermouth
  • a short dash of orange bitters
  • 1 jalapeno stuffed olive or a lemon zest for garnish
  1. Chill a martini glass with ice and water
  2. Add all ingredients, except the olive, to a mixing glass and stir with ice
  3. Strain into chilled glass and garnish with the olive on a fancy pick or the lemon zest