Mardi Gras

Sazerac, for fat Tuesday

photo by Jennifer Hess
(She’s getting really good at this.)

Here’s to New Orleans. Bottom’s up.


Cocktails ‘n’ ersters

What do you drink with oysters on the half shell? Jen and I usually have wine, normally a Muscadet, but we recently found ourselves with BeauSoleil oysters but no appropriate wine.

So Jen challenged me to come up with an appropriate cocktail to pair with oysters. We wanted something crisp, aromatic, and lightly briny. We had no olives for a martini, but I remembered a drink I had made some time ago and wanted to revisit: the Paez.

This drink originated at Little Branch in Manhattan, but I first heard of it through Paul Clarke’s blog, Cocktail Chronicles. A fine-grained sea salt is important here because it blends well with the liquids, and is subtle in the drink–almost unnoticeable, but present enough to marry drink and bivalve in a pleasing way.


  • 2½ oz. gin
  • ½ oz. dry vermouth
  • 6 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • pinch sea salt

Technique: Stir with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass, garnish with lemon twist.

MxMo XII: Whiskey

MxMo WhiskeyJimmy Patrick’s hosting this month’s Mixology Monday, and he’s chosen the theme whisk(e)y. As I noted earlier, I came across a tasty recipe while researching uses for Cherry Heering (I’ve slightly adapted CockailDB’s proportions):

High Hat

  • 2 oz. rye
  • ½ oz. Cherry Heering
  • ½ oz. lemon juice

Technique: Shake, strain, etc.

The interplay of the rye (Rittenhouse BIB, in this case) and the Heering is fun. The cherry notes play well with the peppery qualities of the rye. This drink belongs in our rotation, for sure.

I’ve been enjoying another group of drinks, as well, also based on rye, and these are a couple of Manhattan/Brooklyn adaptations that have arisen fairly recently: the Red Hook and the Greenpoint. The Manhattan, of course, is whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters; whereas the Brooklyn is traditionally whiskey, dry vermouth, maraschino, and a dash of Amer Picon.

As a word of explanation, Red Hook and Greenpoint are both waterfront neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Red Hook was a hardscrabble shipping neighborhood–the inspiration for the film On the Waterfront. Greenpoint is a Polish-immigrant neighborhood–the northernmost Brooklyn waterfront neighborhood before you cross Newtown Creek into Queens.

I’m not sure of the Greenpoint’s origins (and, in fact, I’m not sure the name derives from the Brooklyn neighborhood), but as Paul Clarke notes, the Red Hook originated at New York’s Milk and Honey. I’ve assumed that the Greenpoint is simply a Red Hook variation with a green liqueur, named after a “green” Brooklyn nabe, but that might be erroneous folk etymology on my part.

The Red Hook starts with a Manhattan base (rye and sweet vermouth–or, preferably, rye and Punt e Mes) and adds a small amount of maraschino–about one quarter or one half an ounce. The Greenpoint takes the same recipe and substitutes Chartreuse (green, natch) for the maraschino.

These are both delightful drinks, and I thought it might be fun to riff on them a bit. But my reach exceeded my grasp, I’m afraid. I figured I’d mix up some rye with sweet vermouth and Cherry Heering. Ugh. I even borrowed the lemon juice from the High Hat, and still… no. It was like the War of the fucking Roses in that glass.

I suspect there are ways, without getting cutesy, of crafting a Williamsburg or a Park Slope, but I’m afraid I didn’t find that answer tonight.

Recipe testing

Now that the holidays are past and we don’t need to stock as many champagnes and digestives, I’m building up my liquor cabinet again, in hopes of expanding my drinks repertoire. One drink I’m eager to master is the Singapore Sling, but most recipes I’ve seen call for both Cherry Heering and Benedictine, which we don’t normally have on hand.

Still haven’t bought the Benedictine, but I did get a bottle of Heering. I have to say, I almost like it just on its own. It has a lot of depth of flavor and character aside from being just sweet cherry. I googled around for recipes that use it, and found this one, for a cherry cobbler.

Cherry Cobbler

  • 1½ oz. gin
  • 2 Tsp. (1 oz.) Cherry Heering
  • 2 Tsp. (1 oz.) Crème de Cassis
  • 2 Tsp. (1 oz.) lemon juice
  • 1½ Tsp. (¾ oz.) sugar syrup

Technique: Combine the liquors, lemon juice and sugar syrup with ice; shake well. Strain over ice and decorate with a lemon slice and cherry.

Man, is it just me, or is that way too sweet? Two ounces of sweet to an ounce and a half of strong! And doesn’t a cobbler require muddled fruit, or am I thinking of a different class of drinks?

When I actually mixed this, I used these proportions:

Cherry Cobbler

  • 1½ oz. gin
  • ½ oz. Cherry Heering
  • ½ oz. Crème de Cassis
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • ½ oz. sugar syrup

And even that was too sweet.

My second iteration went pretty far in the other direction:

Cherry Cobbler II

  • 2 oz. gin
  • ¾ oz. lemon juice
  • ¼ oz. Cherry Heering
  • ¼ oz. Crème de Cassis

Too dry. Next up, I’ll probably try this:

Cherry Cobbler III

  • 2 oz. gin
  • ½ oz. lemon
  • ½ oz. Heering
  • ½ oz. Cassis

In trying this stuff out, though, I came across another recipe using Cherry Heering, and this is one that we liked very much, but that story will have to wait for the next Mixology Monday, coming up in a few days.