A simple variant on the classic Aviation, using Hayman’s Old Tom gin. I chose the Hayman’s because I have a problem with the Aviation; I think it’s just a touch out of balance on my palate, with the lemon juice so heavy and the sweetening agents so light. (However, I know that if you bump up the maraschino and violet liqueur, you’re going to get a drink that’s just nasty.) Hayman’s is only mildly sweet, as far as Old Toms go, apparently, so I thought I’d try it. I like it.



  • 2 ounces Hayman’s Old Tom gin
  • 3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons maraschino liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon crème de violette

Shake over ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass; garnish with a lemon twist.


Bottom’s Up!

BaroqueWell, I apparently paid way too much for it, having embroiled myself in a bidding war on eBay and being too stubborn to back out, but I finally have a copy of Ted Saucier’s saucy 1951 cocktail book, Bottom’s Up! For those of you who don’t know the book, it’s a hefty thing, at a pound and a half, 270 pages, and a trim size of 10.25 by 7 inches. (Yes, I’ve worked in publishing, why do you ask?)

I mention the book’s (ahem) ample nature to point out that it’s a serious volume, with a lot of recipes and a bunch of really good ones, to boot. One thing I love most, though, is the index. Arranged, in part, by main ingredient, it’s very handy. Want a gin drink? Find the Gin subheading and eat your heart out. It is, unfortunately, not cross-referenced, so if a recipe has, say, gin and rum, but rum is the main ingredient, you won’t find it under Gin.

“Whazzawha? Recipe with gin and rum?” you sez? Well, yes. And it’s a good drink. Well balanced, with the rum and gin complementing each other rather than fighting. Saucier terms this drink the Baroque, but given the political season in the USA, I’m calling this, rather obviously, the Baroque Obama, although it’s the same recipe as appears in Saucier (although I’m converting his 1 part lime, 2 parts rum, etc. into ounces).

Baroque Obama

Courtesy, The Baroque Restaurant, New York City

  • 1 part [3/4 oz.] fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 t. sugar
  • 2 parts [1-1/2 oz.] Jamaican rum
  • 1 part [3/4 oz.] gin
  • 1 dash maraschino

Technique: Shake lime juice and sugar well. Add rum and gin [and ice]. Shake well and serve in iced glass. [As you can see from the picture, I served ours up, in a cocktail glass.] Float maraschino. [No garnish.]

I’ve learned very little about Ted Saucier. It appears he was once the publicist for the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in Manhattan, and he lived from 1896 to 1970, but beyond that, I’ve learned nothing.

Except that I shouldn’t get excited and overbid on a cocktail book.

OH, I almost forgot! There’s another reason Saucier’s book is so well-loved. I’ll share that tomorrow.

Did I do something wrong?

I thought I’d fix up a couple of Prince of Wales cocktails tonight, a fizzy drink for a fizzy evening. I followed Wondrich’s recipe to the letter, using bonded Rittenhouse for the rye. My pineapple was a couple squares of thawed frozen pineapple from Whole Foods. Maybe it’s the pineapple, but…

I don’t get it. This drink just doesn’t hit it for me.

If we all liked the same things, it would be a very boring world.

Happy New Year!

MxMo 21: Gin

mxmo ginSo, Mixology Monday hits 21 this month; instead of carrying us drunks on its own dry back, it can finally step up to the bar its own damn self and order a tipple. Don’t let us down MxMo. If you’re gonna be all about the Jager shots, I just don’t know….

Tip of the hat to Jay for hosting this month and choosing the theme.

For my part, this became another MxMo post from the Department of Fall-Back-and-Punt.

I just finished mixographer David Wondrich’s book, Imbibe!, and I found a great drink idea in there–one that combines ingredients I’ve never mixed before. I was excited to try it, but I was missing a key ingredient, Plymouth gin. Unfortunately, the liquor stores near my office were out of Plymouth and the less I can say about the liquor stores by my apartment, the better. I’ll just mention the words “bulletproof” and “partition” and let you work out the rest.

“Bushwick,” he said with a shrug, “whattaya gonna do?”

My instinct told me that my gin on hand, Tanqueray, probably wouldn’t work well in the cocktail I had in mind, so I came home to consult my cocktail books and find a Plan B. I’ve made a lot of gin recipes over the last couple of years and wanted something new.

tuxedo cat is dressed for dinnerAs I read, I heard a weird scraping sound at the back door, accompanied by a noise that sounded like mewing. We’ve been caring for some stray cats, and I was sure it was one of them, hungry and begging for kibble.

Jen came home about then and we carefully opened the door to investigate. The handsome fellow to your right had clawed a hole in the screen, climbed through, got trapped, and panicked. We let him out, spit-patched the screen with a bit of strapping tape, and brought kibble to him and his siblings.

I then started leafing through the Savoy and found the perfect solution:

Tuxedo Cocktail (No. 2)

  • 1 Dash Maraschino. [for two cocktails, I used 1/4 tsp. Luxardo]
  • 1 Dash Absinthe. [1/4 tsp. Lucid]
  • 2 Dashes Orange Bitters. [4 dashes Regan’s]
  • 1/2 Dry Gin. [3 oz. Tanqueray]
  • 1/2 French Vermouth. [3 oz. Noilly-Prat]

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Add a cherry. [I skipped the cherry.] Squeeze lemon peel on top.

Sometimes inspiration scratches at your back door.

MxMo XIX Sparkles

Apologies for posting on the quick this time–the day job’s crunch period is whipping my ass, and on top of that, Jen and I are prepping for a cocktail party (more on that, I hope, next week, if I live through it). This month’s theme is fizzy drinks, hosted by Cocktailnerd.

This is based on a drink first served us over a year ago at Flatiron Lounge. Jen requested a Seelbach, but we couldn’t remember the precise recipe offhand. The bartender took what ingredients we could remember, thought for a moment, and offered her take on it. You’ll note it’s basically a Red Hook but with added bubbly.

I wish I could say I used Red Hook Rye for this, but it’s still a bit out of my budget. This version uses bonded Rittenhouse. Note, too, that I used Carpano Antica instead of Punt e Mes. Chalk that up to how busy we are. Neither of us had time to get to a shop with Punt e Mes, so I used what was on-hand.

Red Hook Fizz

  • 2 oz. rye whiskey
  • 1/2 oz. Carpano Antica vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. Luxardo maraschino

Technique: Shake over ice, strain into an ice-filled glass, and top with fizz.

Lost and found

As most of you already know, two classic lost ingredients have started peppering liquor stores again–absinthe and crème de violette. I found the Lucid absinthe about a month ago, but it was only last week that I finally tracked down this beauty:


The first damn thing I did with it was to mix a proper Aviation, using Paul Clarke‘s recipe on Serious Eats.

What a revelation. The violette lifts this drink above the clouds, and it’s easy to picture yourself in the cocktail lounge of a Pan Am Clipper sipping this drink.

Then, last night, I remembered my vow to work through the absinthe cocktails in the Savoy. I grabbed my copy and started flipping through. I don’t really have a plan to work through them in order or anything like that. If a drink sounds good and we have all the ingredients, I’ll test it out. So it’s just coincidence that I landed in the A’s, with the Atty Cocktail.

I don’t know the meaning of the name. While stomping around on eGullet, Erik Ellestad suggests that it might come from the common abbreviation for attorney–which is ironic, given that Mrs. Bitters is a lawyer-coddler. Erik notes of the drink that

it is a fascinating, elegant and complex thing, with the hints of Absinthe and Violet trading each other for flavor dominance as you sip.

Atty!Couldn’t put it better myself. I didn’t quite use his proportions, instead crunching through the math in my head to adapt the Savoy formula (one part vermouth, three parts gin, and three dashes each of violette and absinthe) into an ounce-based recipe.

So, my version of the Atty.

Atty Cocktail

  • 3/4-oz. French vermouth
  • 2 1/2-oz. gin (I used Plymouth)
  • 1/4-tsp. crème de violette (Rothman and Winter)
  • 1/4-tsp. absinthe (Lucid)

Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

The drink suffered from a not-long-enough stir, so be sure to either stir it well or shake it to make sure it’s properly chilled.

Maraschino Barbarino

I recently polished off a bottle of maraschino that I had had for a little over two years. I initially bought it so I could try an Aviation cocktail, which grew to be one of my favorites. At the time I bought that bottle, the only brand I could find was Stock. I couldn’t find Luxardo, initially, and to this day, I still can’t recall seeing Maraska.

So…Stock it was. And I started mixing Aviations. The first batch I mixed, Jen hated. It’s not like she hates gin or lemon juice; she just didn’t like the maraschino.
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