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.
It’s been quite a while since I featured a drink on the blog here, but this one I felt was classy enough that I just had to review it! With the 3 primary ingredients being far from cheap, before you even mix this it’s a drink of a very different caliber.
You’ll start with a strong citrus aroma and a pleasantly “classic” amber color of the drink. The drink starts with a sweet flavor, and slowly moves to warm and herbal, and finishes with a bit of oaky cognac. This a truly classic style drink with a strong bite and a complex set of flavors. The only thing that holds this drink back is my use of a cheaper VS Cognac. With an older aged variety, this drink could become even better!
Alcohol Taste Rating: 9/10
Overall Rating: 7/10
Sir Knight Cocktail
1 oz Cognac
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
Dash Angostura Bitters
Stir all but lemon with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Well, at this point I think it’s safe to say that I can’t keep up with last year’s schedule of “a new drink every Monday,” but I will certainly try to keep getting drinks out to you guys. So, you may see a surplus of new recipes over the next week, then a bit of a break. Just remember to check back here occasionally for a new drink or two.
Ok so down to business. Today’s cocktail is certainly of a different caliber than most of the fruit based drinks you’ll find me making. The “Queen Elizabeth’s Wine” is appropriately named for both it’s color and taste. The cocktail’s main aroma comes from the dry vermouth in the drink, but unlike some other vermouth cocktails the flavor doesn’t overpower the drink. You’ll start off with a sweet wine taste (something like a Pinot Grigio), but it quickly moves to the lead liqueur of Benedictine. The finish has a nice mild vermouth taste and keeps you going back for more. It’s a rather small drink and fills a traditional small cocktail glass perfectly, but for a modern variation you could easily bump up the Benedictine to 2.5 oz and the lemon juice to 1.25 with a dash of citrus bitters. Even if you’re not huge on the taste of vermouth, this might be worth a try.
Overall Rating: 8/10
Alcohol Taste Rating: 5/10
Queen Elizabeth’s Wine
1 1/2 oz Benedictine
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
Stir and strain with ice into a chilled cocktail glass. Garish with a lemon twist (rub over edge of glass)
(Insert generic offensive Queen of England joke here)
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.
This week I’m featuring an additional drink as I forgot to post last Monday.
Recently I tried Mitch Hutt’s version of the “Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster” from his recent Geek and Sundry Vlog.
The drink is a unique sea foam green color with a citrus and gin aroma. The cocktail starts sweet and goes quickly to sour. Then you get a moderate gin flavor and it finishes with a tart bourbon taste.
Alcohol Rating: 6-7/10
Overall Rating: 8/10
Make it Again? Yes!
Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster
1/2 oz Bourbon
3/4 oz Gin
1 oz Sour Apple Pucker
1/2 oz Blue Curacao
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist
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…
Today’s cocktail “The Fitzgerald” is a great Gin drink that doesn’t limit the spirit to the summer months. While many Gin drinks are refreshing for a late summer’s afternoon, this one’s use of bitters makes it much more mellow. Despite the abundance of lemon juice, I wouldn’t categorize this as a sour drink. Instead look at this as a highlighter to your bitters, as the flavor comes through from the aromatics. While I made this drink with Angostura Bitters, I believe it’s worth trying with a variety of other flavors (orange specifically is what came to mind).
½ oz Simple Syrup 1 ½ oz Gin 1 ½ oz Lemon Juice 3 Dashes of Bitters (Aromatic)
Shake with ice strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.