I felt today that after a long time I was due for a brandy based cocktail, and the La Jolla is both classy and refreshing all the same. It is simple in color and presentation, but a really impressive experience all around. The drink recipe itself doesn’t call for any garnishes (which is really a shame) so I’ve opted to add in an orange peel for my aroma and tasting notes.
To the nose you get a pleasant orange (mostly from the peel added, but some from the juice too). The slight oakiness of the brandy also comes through on the nose. Its taste begins light and sweet, moves quickly to a slightly sour (but not overpowering) lemon, and finishes with a unique battle of banana and brandy. The finish is really what stands out to me here. It’s banana, then brandy, then banana, then brandy again, and it goes back and forth 2-4 times as it settles. This is a surprising event while drinking and it really makes you want to go back for more.
If you’re looking for a diversion from the standard summer cocktails, you might want to give this a try.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 7/10
Overall Rating: 8/10
1 1/2 oz Brandy
1/2 oz Creme de Banane
1/4 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
(Optional Orange Peel Garnish)
Shake liquid ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
“I keep wanting to put in ‘i’ before the ‘a’ in Jolla”
Today we’ve got a tasteful and tasty spin on the classic sidecar recipe. Although given your working set of ingredients you may have to substitute here and there (as I did). I want to start by highlighting my use of a VSOP Brandy in place of Metaxa (a Greek Brandy with a stronger “winey” flavor). You MAY be able to use both Brandy and some Sweet Vermouth to achieve a similar flavor to the Metaxa. The former being much easier to find than the later depending your your location, and that difference will give you a slightly different flavor profile. In addition my use of Cassis Syrup over Creme de Cassis will make my overview of it lean sweeter than it would be normally. A common variation also calls for Chambord rather than Creme de Cassis.
So, I love this drink for 2 main reasons. First is the use of the sugar rim (which is something I wish I saw in more cocktail recpies); and second is the incredible finish that keeps you going back for more. With its deep red color, you’re greeted with an incredible forward aroma of what almost smells of agave nectar. With a sip from the sugar rim you begin with a sweet and simple flavor, move to a subtle currant and lemon, then finish with a richly sweet and oaky finish. The finish is what really caught my attention with this drink. Early in your sip is just feels like a fruity sweet drink, but the complexity of the oak from the brandy to the subtle orange of the Grand Marnier makes this damn near perfect! I do wish there was more to the front and mid palette here, but I’m willing to compromise for something this good!
Alcohol Taste Rating: 7/10
Overall Rating: 9.8/10
Au Currant Sidecar
1 1/2 oz Metaxa (or VSOP Brandy)
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Creme de Cassis (or Chambord) 1 oz Grand Marnier
1 tsp Superfine Sugar
Rub the edge of a cocktail glass with the lemon wedge and rim with granulated sugar. Shake liquid ingredients and superfine sugar with ice (approx. 15 seconds). Strain into prepared glass. Garnish with a Lemon Twist.
Well as long as we still have a full month of summer, let’s keep the tropical drinks flowing!
The Trade Winds is a wonderfully aromatic cocktail with citrus and raspberry notes. It has a dark and mysterious burgundy color with an inviting lemon twist within. The drink starts sweet, moves to a tart raspberry, then finishes with a sour brandy flavor. A great sweeter drink and well balanced it’s easy to recommend as a light starter.
Overall Rating: 8/10
Alcohol Taste Rating: 6.5/10
3/4 oz Light Rum 3/4 oz Brandy (Apricot Brandy Used) 3/4 oz Raspberry Liqueur 1 oz OJ 2 oz Sweet/Sour Lemon Twist
Shake and strain liquid ingredients into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Today we’ve got a classy cocktail with a solid flavor. The Sidecar Royale has a classic sandy color with citrus and herbal aromas. It starts on a mildly sweet note, moves to a sweet brandy taste, then finishes with an earthy herbal and brandy bite. If you have or can find some Benedictine you might want to give this one a try. The original recipe calls for either brandy or cognac, but in my bar all I have is flavored brandies. I figured Apricot would fit this drink quite well (and it did). Although a more pure brandy would have the same flavor profile as my mix.
Overall Rating: 7.5-8/10
Alc. Rating: 6/10
Make it Again? Yes. Worth trying with cognac
1 oz Brandy (or cognac)
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Benedictine
1 1/2 oz Sweet/Sour
(Optional Rim with sugar)
Today’s cocktail is one that I’ve been sitting on for quite a while, but have still wanted to make. The “East India” is mildly fruity and mildly bitter. I’m always impress at pineapple centered drinks as well as the froth up in a similar way that cream or milk does in desert style drinks. While the drink calls for Brandy, my bar isn’t stalked with the standard, but instead I have both apricot and blackberry brandies. Given the pineapple flavor I chose my apricot as I imagined it to be the best possible complement. Although given the name of the drink I’m surprised I wasn’t using my Bombay Dry Gin (maybe next time). I also think that Orange Bitters might have been a better choice here.
The drink starts sweet with a light bitter in there as well, but as it reaches the back of your tongue and throat you get more of the alcohol. While I’m not certain that the flavors present were due more to the original recipe or my use of Apricot Brandy, the unique complexity of this drink has certainly made me want to try it again. I also feel like the lemon twist could have been more dominant if there was a dash of lemon juice in the mix as well, but then again I don’t think this drink even needs a sour element.
Alcohol Rating: 3-4 of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 (with possible variations)
Worth Making Again? Yes
1 1/2 oz Brandy (Apricot Brandy Used)
3/4 oz Cointreau (Triple Sec Used)
2-3 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
2 oz Pineapple Juice
Shake and Strain. Garnish with a lemon twist
Still not sure where the “India” is in this drink…