Jen’s firm held its holiday party last night, at the St. Regis Hotel in midtown Manhattan. And it was a rollicking time, with an open bar, passed hors d’œuvres, a long buffet table, and the annual talent-show face-off between the attorneys and the support staff. Which is less painful to watch than it sounds.

I took ample use of the open bar, so much so that I’m really feeling it this morning. When I wasn’t drinking red wine or mineral water, my drink of choice all evening was Dewar’s on the rocks. Can’t really screw that up. Some ice, a healthy pour of scotch, and the imbiber is ready for action.

Jen started on champagne, switched to red wine, and then after hosting the talent show, moved over to Manhattans. I went up to the bar for her first one, and aside from not having bitters, it was an okay drink–two parts Canadian whiskey to one part sweet vermouth, stirred and strained into a cocktail glass. I was impressed that the bartender didn’t just sort of wave the vermouth bottle around the mixing glass or something, but he seemed to know what he was doing.

It was later that things were dodgy. A different barkeep was working, and when I asked for a Manhattan, he just sort of blinked at me slowly. He thought for a minute and grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, poured that, and then blinked at me again. “Uh, sweet vermouth, right?” I said, “Yes, please,” but further held my tongue.

Sweet Christmas!

If you can’t get a good Manhattan in Manhattan, the world is completely falling to shit.


MxMo 10: Festival!

MxMo FestiveIt’s Mixology Monday time again, this month hosted by Brenda at The Spirit World. Brenda chose the theme festive drinks for this iteration. Sounds great to me! Let’s get festive!

Homemade eggnogI chose a drink that I expect a few others will do this time as well: eggnog. And that’s okay, because it seems that just about everybody has a personal favorite recipe for eggnog, so I expect a lot of variation in ingredients and techniques.

And that’s okay, too, because I have a confession. I’m a nogn00b. Oh, I’ve had eggnog before, if you think that stuff you get at the grocery is eggnog. But I can’t recall ever having homemade nog, and this was my first attempt at making it from scratch. I’ll have fun reading what others have done and, I hope, picking up some tips on making a better nog.

(As an aside, there is a great New York State dairy, Ronnybrook Farm, that apparently makes a superb bottled eggnog. Although I’d love to try it at some point, I didn’t want to use their product for this MxMo entry. Where’s the challenge in that?)

So, on to the nog…
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Happy Repeal Day!

If you read any cocktail blogs other than this one (and, by God, you really should), you already know this is Repeal Day, the seventy-third anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition.

To celebrate, I dove into a vintage cocktail book, Robert Vermeire’s Cocktails: How to Mix Them, which first appeared in print in Great Britain in 1922, when the untied states were in the middle of their crazy delusion called Prohibition. I thought it would be fun to find a recipe that was current during that period.

Happy Repeal Day!
photo by Jennifer Hess

Because Dewar’s has had so much fun marketing its blended scotch to Repeal Day celebrants, I thought it would be fun to drink the Kool-Aid, so to speak, and have some Dewar’s.

So I looked through Vermeire for a new scotch cocktail and found the Thistle (pictured above). Vermeire calls for 1/6 gill of Italian vermouth, 2/6 gills of scotch, and 2 dashes of Angostura bitters. Although I normally translate his gills into the exact number of ounces (1 gill is 4 oz., so 1/6 gill is approx. 3/4 oz.), in this case, I simply used 1 part vermouth to 2 parts scotch, plus the bitters.

So, my recipe:


  • 2 oz. Dewar’s White Label scotch
  • 1 oz. Cinzano Italian vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Lemon twist, for garnish

Technique: Fill a metal shaker with ice. Pour scotch, vermouth, and bitters over ice. Stir until shaker frosts over. Strain into chilled cocktail glasses. Add garnish.