Cocktail of the Day Drink Recipes Tiki Whiskey

Cocktail of the Day: Eastern Sour

Eastern_sourEastern Sour

2 oz Bourbon
2 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat

Shake with ice, then strain into a double old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice.

Adapated from a recipe by Jeff "Beachbum" Berry. Originally created by Trader Vic as a Tiki attempt to persuade whiskey drinkers to join the party. 

Ask the Professor Cocktails Drink Recipes Gin

Ask the Professor: Recommend a Cocktail

Julie H. writes in to ask:

My brother recently turned 50 and we're having him and his partner over for dinner. I'd like to offer them some cool potent potable at this gala, yet casual, event.

They mostly order dry martinis when we're out, but they love trying new things. Mostly they're not into sweet, but my brother occasionally orders Manhattans.

I have a drink to suggest: the
Martinez. Depending on who you listen to, the Martinez is either the
original Martini, a variation on the Manhattan — or both.
It was created in the late-19th century, maybe in California. The
town of Martinez, CA likes to claim the drink was named after it, but
there's no real evidence to support that. It was possibly invented by
the great Jerry Thomas, the author of the world's first cocktail
, but the truth is nobody really knows.

You can make a Martinez
with London dry gin (the standard gin of today, like Tanqueray or
Beefeater), but originally it was made with Old Tom gin, a sweeter
gin that was very popular back in the day. 
I, however, like to make them with genever. Genever (sometimes known as "Holland gin") was the
original gin produced in the Netherlands before it was adopted by the
English and adapted into their own style (London dry).

Genever has
many of the same botanical flavors as London dry gin (juniper, etc.)
but it is distilled at least partially from malt wine. It tastes somewhat similar to regular gin, due to the presence of the botanicals, but the malt gives it
a grainy taste that more closely resembles whiskey. It has a rich
flavor, along with a satiny mouthfeel that ordinary gin lacks.

I find
it a very interesting spirit, because it's different from what most
people are used to drinking. For many, many years it wasn't available
in the U.S., but Bols recently created a new version that they now
import to the U.S. Genever is a hip spirit, the kind of thing we cocktail geeks like to drink — but I think anyone who likes gin will love it.

Here's the recipe:

Martinez (Genever Variant)

2 oz Bols
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters or
Orange Bitters

Stir with ice, then strain into a
chilled cocktail glass.Garnish with a lemon or orange twist.

This is sweeter than a Dry Martini, but
not too sweet. (At least, it's not too sweet in my opinion. Although
I should say that I do tend to like my drinks on the sweeter side.)
About the same as a Manhattan, I guess.

Typically the Martinez is
made with equal parts gin and sweet vermouth, but I reduced the
amount of vermouth in this recipe to make it less sweet. If you want
to get fancy you can jazz it up with a small amount — maybe 1/4 oz
— of orange curaçao or maraschino liqueur (which is a liqueur
made from Maraska cherries, NOT the stuff that maraschino cherries
come in). But that would require you to buy more booze, so you
might not want to go that way.

Genever can also be used to make a
Genever Old Fashioned, a Holland House, a Gin Fix, an Improved Gin
Cocktail, or even a Tom Collins.


Brandy Brandy Reviews Drink Recipes Liqueur Reviews Liqueurs Spirits Reviews

Brandy & Liqueur Reviews: Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac and Dry Curaçao

Pierre_ferrand_cognacPierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac
Final Grade: B+
Price: $45 (750ml)

Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
Orange Liqueur
Final Grade: A-
Price: $30 (750ml)

Cognac Ferrand is one of the hottest companies in the spirits world today. Mixologists, critics and connoisseurs have been following the French distillery with great interest as they introduce one excellent product after another. The force behind the fine line of Plantation Rums, in addition to their cognacs, Pierre Ferrand is noted for spirits that are especially well suited both for cocktails and for enjoying on their own.

As a result, I was excited to try two of the companies latest products: Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac and Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao. Both were developed by the experts at Cognac Ferrand, with assistance from the esteemed cocktail and spirits historian David Wondrich.

The 1840 Original Formula Cognac is what was referred to in the 19th century as a "three star" cognac — the equivalent today to what is typically called "VS." It's a younger brandy, lively and with lots of flavor. It was modeled after an extremely rare cognac that had been preserved from 1840, and is designed primarily to be mixed in cocktails.

Dry_curacaoThis cognac has a grapey, slightly floral aroma. Pleasant, although without a lot of complexity. The flavor is rich and slightly sweet, with just enough oak to give it some nice, spicy notes. It is very smooth for a 90-proof brandy, with a medium-long finish. You could certainly sip this cognac if you wanted, and enjoy it quite well.

Like the cognac, the Dry Curaçao was developed to mirror the style of a 19th-century predecessor. It's blended from brandy and cognac, flavored with the peels of Curaçao oranges and various spices, and then barrel aged to smooth out the rough edges. This is what traditional curaçao is supposed to taste like.

This curaçao opens with a bright and authentic smell of sweet oranges. It has none of the artificial aroma of cheap orange liqueur — this is the real stuff. The flavor follows in the same fashion: sweet and rich, bursting with orange flavor and hints of vanilla. It's not quite as complex as I might have wished. A touch more spice would have really sent it over the moon. But it's undeniably very tasty and well balanced. (And also extremely smooth for its 80 proof.)

Good enough as they are on their own, these products were both developed to be mixed in cocktails, so that's where the true proof lies. One of the cocktails suggested by the distillery is a Brandy Crusta, and I thought that would be an ideal way to sample these two spirits in conjunction with each other.

Brandy Crusta
from Julie Reiner, Clover Club (NYC)

2 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Dash of Angostura Bitters

Rim a snifter with sugar. Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into the snifter filled with ice cubes. Garnish with an orange peel.


What a delicious cocktail! The flavors blend together perfectly; the sweetness of the curaçao balancing with the lemon juice, the maraschino adding delightful floral notes, and the bitters adding some spice to bring it all together. I don't ordinarily drink brandy cocktails, but this one is definitely going in the repertoire.

As good as they are individually, the Pierre Ferrand cognac and curaçao mix up beautifully, especially when used together. They're definite winners.

Report Card: Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac

Quality Grade: B+
Value Grade: B
Final Grade: B+

Report Card: Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao

Quality Grade: A-
Value Grade: A-
Final Grade: A-

Cocktail of the Day Drink Recipes Rum Tiki

Cocktail of the Day: Scorpion (a la Trader Vic)


2 oz Light Rum
1 oz Brandy
1 1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Orgeat

Shake with a lot of crushed ice and then pour unstrained into a large glass.

A version of Trader Vic's classic Scorpion Bowl, a drink served in a large bowl for 2-4 guests to enjoy, rejiggered to an individual size. This was originally a blended drink, but I've found it still tastes great when made with crushed ice.

(If you want a large version, as seen in the picture, just double everything.)

Cocktail of the Day Drink Recipes Rum Tiki

Cocktail of the Day: Miehana


1 oz Gold Rum
1 oz Coconut Rum
1 oz Grand Marnier
1 oz Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice

Shake with ice, then pour unstrained into a Collins glass. Add more ice if necessary.

It's Tiki time, baby! Adapted from a recipe by Jeff "Beachbum" Berry.

Awards Drink Recipes Press Releases

Marie Brizard USA Cocktail Challenge Finals

Marie Brizard makes some of my favorite liqueurs, and their cocktail competition at the recent Tales of the Cocktail featured some really interesting drinks. Here is the winner:

And the winner of the Marie Brizard USA Cocktail Challenge Finals is… 

Miami’s Robert Montero of Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, with his winning cocktail, “Sunny Crusta!” Robert received a cash prize of $1,000 and a complimentary trip to represent the U.S. this November in the annual Marie Brizard International Bartender Seminar and Competition in Bordeaux, France where he will be competing against top mixologists and bartenders from across the world who will all be preparing their original Marie Brizard cocktail to be sampled and judged by an expert panel.

The Runner-Up was James Menite of NYC’s Crown with, The “Made” Cocktail. James received a cash prize of $500.

The Marie Brizard USA Cocktail Challenge Finals consisted of 6 contestants judged on technique, appearance, aroma and taste battling for the coveted spot to represent the U.S. in the 30th annual Marie Brizard International Bartender Seminar and Competition this November in Bordeaux, France.


Sunny Crusta
Created by Robert Montero (Yardbird Southern Table & Bar)

1/2 oz. Marie Brizard Orange Curaçao
3/4 oz. Marie Brizard Blackberry
1 1/2 oz. Tequila Ocho Blanco
3/4 oz. Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz. Lime juice
1/4 oz. Agave Syrup

Shake ingredients together and strain into a sugar-rimmed wine glass. Garnish with a grapefruit peel and 3 Filthy Black Cherries.

Congratulations to Robert!

Drink Recipes Tequila

Cocktail of the Day: The Last Minute

In celebration of the launch of his new book, The Last Minute, my friend Jeff Abbott has created a cocktail. It's called, appropriately enough, The Last Minute. In this video, he shows you how to make one.

The Last Minute, the second thriller featuring Sam Capra, is already getting some great reviews. Booklist called it "a fast-paced thriller with a likable, morally conflicted hero," while Publishers Weekly praised it as "exciting."

Reviewing one of his earlier books (Panic) in the Chicago Sun-Times, I called it “compulsively readable…an engaging page-turner that makes for fast and enjoyable reading.”

Jeff's a good guy and a good writer — and he likes cocktails as well. What more could you ask for?

Cocktail of the Day Drink Recipes Wine

Cocktail of the Day: Sangria del Matrimonio

Not a cocktail, per se, but a great drink for the summertime. I made this recently at a party for my brother-in-law's wedding (thus the name) and it was a big hit.

Sangria del Matrimonio

750-ml Bottle of Dry White Wine
5 oz Grand Marnier
8 oz Pineapple Juice
12 oz Peach Soda or Nectar

Mix in a pitcher with sliced peaches and oranges. Strain into cups with ice to serve.

Cocktail of the Day Drink Recipes Rum

Cocktail of the Day: Skinny Colada

Skinny Colada

2 oz Jamaican Rum
2 oz Coconut Water
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
Splash (squeeze) of Lime Juice

Stir in a glass with ice.

A cool, flavorful drink without a lot of calories. Make sure to use a good quality rum, since there isn't a lot of syrup covering it up. 

Cocktail of the Day Drink Recipes Whiskey

Cocktail of the Day: Liberal


1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/4 oz Torani Amer (or Amer Picon)
1-2 Dashes Orange Bitters

Stir ingredients with ice in a rocks glass.

A variation on the Manhattan.