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Category Archives: Ginger


This is number two in the series of sake, and for this one we’ll have a variation on the mule that I’m calling Raba, which is Japanese for mule. This also incorporates a wash of chartreuse, which I have become fond of in that last month or so. Don’t forget that with a wash you only want enough to get a subtle hint of it in there, it shouldn’t be a strong flavor component. So, without any more ramblings, here we go:


Add to an old fashioned glass that has been washed in green chartreuse and filled with ice:

  • 2 oz Nigori Sake
  • 1 oz London Dry Gin
  • 1 dash of Regan’s orange bitters
  • top with spicy ginger beer
  • garnish with a lime

This would also make a good lunchtime or early afternoon highball if you didn’t want it to be as strong as this.

Cocky Yamazaki

This is the first of what I hope to be many barrel aged cocktails, I used a two liter once charred new american oak barrel for the first batch of this. As time goes on I imagine that I will have to allow for more time for this to reach its peak, but for the first go around I only had to keep this in for three weeks:

  • 1 Yamazaki
  • .5 Canton
  • .25 Fernet Branca

After this aged I re-bottled it and then added .25 coriander ginger syrup (you can find this recipe under the Bastard Child post), stirred over ice, and served up. Mind you, I didn’t just aged one drink worth of this, I used a whole bottle of Yamazaki and proportionate measures of the remaining ingredients.

This drink, before being aged, is still a good one, but does taste a little raw with so much Fernet coming through. After aging this though, everything mellows and blends into what tastes almost like an unfiltered, fresh pressed apple cider with a small pull of whiskey in it. It is light enough to be considered a spring and summer cocktail, but it can also hold up to the heavier foods served in fall and winter.

The Seven-Jack-Deuce

This is an interesting drink for me, its the first time that I’ve intentionally introduced smoke into a drink. This starts with a light gin and citrus base and slides into a light herbal finish:

  • 1.75 Hendrick’s Gin
  • .5 ginger coriander syrup
  • .5 basil infused limoncello
  • .5 fresh lemon juice
  • 3 dashes Regan’s Orange bitters
  • sprig of rosemary

Take a large wineglass and turn it upside-down, burn the rosemary underneath it and catch the resulting smoke, do this until smoke is cascading out of the glass, then cover it with a napkin or coaster. Stir over ice the remaining ingredients until well chilled, carefully slide the cover of the glass open just enough to strain the drink into it, re-cover and let sit for at least 30-60 seconds. Serve. 

As this drink sits on your table more and more smoke is absorbed into it taking away the intense rosemary aroma and turning it into taste. Overall, this drink should be slowly enjoyed to get the full progression of flavor and aroma.

Bufala Negra

This is a refreshing and kind of tangy recipe that my friend and fellow tender from lyrics libations and life brought to my attention:

  • 1.5 oz bourbon
  • 4 basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • ginger ale

Muddle the basil, balsamic, sugar, and bitters in an old fashioned glass; add bourbon; fill with ice; and top with ginger ale, giving it a gentle stir. If you want to you can garnish it with a sprig of basil. Let me know how you like this and what you pair it with.

This is similar to a shrub, which is a spirit mixed with a vinegar based fruit syrup, popular in colonial times and in New England. I’m working on an Asian pear shrub, so stay tuned for that in the upcoming week or two.

Foghorn Leghorn

The other day I was looking around the kitchen trying to think of some combinations for some winter and harvest time bitters I would like to make, I found little inspiration because my mind was still on bourbon and finding more good things to add to it. So, instead of using the veggies I came across for salads or bitters, I grabbed a red bell pepper and told my chef that I could make something tasty with it. He didn’t seem too convinced until I shook this up for him:

  • 2 square inches red bell pepper
  • 1.5 bourbon
  • .5 Pimm’s No. 1
  • .5 coriander-ginger syrup
  • splash soda

Muddle the bourbon and the pepper in a shaker, cover in ice, toss in the Pimm’s and syrup, shake hard. Strain into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass and top with a splash of soda. This drink doesn’t need any garnish as the shaking produces a fine white head of about a quarter inch, but if you would really like to garnish it I would suggest a couple kernels of corn or a cucumber with a sprig of cilantro. 

This is something that would, in my opinion, best be enjoyed before a meal, or with delicate foods. The pepper comes through mostly in the aroma but there is a soft earthy note of its flavor on the finish, and it can easily be overpowered by oils, creams, and even light fish. I would call this a drink to have with fresh salads or warm baguettes. 

Coriander-Ginger Daiquiri

A little while ago I was reading Cask Strength and there was a call to re-educate bartenders in regards to one of the simplest drinks around, the daiquiri: a measure of rum, some lime juice, and a dash of sugar. With cachaça its a caipirinha, with tequila, a margarita, gin or vodka produces a gimlet. There’s a reason so many cultures and liquors have this combination, its simple and refreshing. I took the challenge and went to my local bars trying to find a daiquiri that was well made by a competent tender, the pickings were slim. I had to explain the drink to so many different barkeeps and also let them know that if their ‘blender is broken’ (which is a favorite saying of our ilk) that they didn’t, in fact, need a blender.

In my wanderings I figured that I should figure out a fresh take on this gem of a classic:

Build in a shaker and strain to serve up or toss in a double rocks glass, I prefer to keep the lime shell in mine, but that really gets down to personal preference. 

A note on the rum, I am not a fan of Bacardi, but at the bar I was told to sell through a bottle of Bacardi Oakheart that we had on hand. This is a spiced rum aged in charred white oak barrels that belongs on the lower end of any liquor shelf, maybe even on the rail. It did work really well for this drink though, and people drank it up like there was no tomorrow. The peak of my enjoyment of this drink though, was at home where I was able to use some Santiago de Cuba 11 Super 11 Year Old. I was lucky enough to have one of my regulars give me enough of this to sip a few neat and mix a couple of these after they returned from a trip to the islands. All told, this will work well with just about any gold or dark rum, even a spiced one. If you really want to enjoy it you ought to use a higher shelf rum, because its worth it during these last few weeks of summer.

The Bastard Child

This is a spiced and smoked variation of the Ginger Rogers, not meant for the weak at heart, those who order whiskey sours, or who can’t handle a bit of fire. Laphroaig 10 year is the backbone of this particular cocktail. If you are a Scotch drinker you’ll know that this is an intensely peaty, smokey distillate, and if you mix drinks, an interesting spirit to work with:

  • 1.5 Laphroaig 10 year
  • .5 ginger coriander syrup
  • .25 Cointreau
  • dash Lemon bitters
  • sliver of orange rind

Chill a coupe or cocktail glass, toss the Scotch, syrup, and Cointreau into an ice filled shaker, shake until there are ice chips. Wash your glass with lemon bitters, making sure to only barely coat the inside as too much of a strong bitters, like lemon, will overpower and unbalance this cocktail. Strain, making sure to get the ice chips floating, burn the orange peel and rub around the rim of the glass, then drop it into the cocktail.

The ginger coriander syrup needs to be a thin one so that you get the flavors without sweetening the cocktail too much: 3.5 cups sugar to a half gallon water, with an ounce of chopped ginger and 4 tablespoons of whole coriander on a boil for 15-20 minutes will produce a good product. Add the sugar at the end of the process so that more of the coriander and ginger flavor can steep into the liquid.

Any thoughts on this? Would you use a different scotch, a different coriander ginger ratio for the syrup, or a different bitters?

The Ginger Rogers

I usually try to stay away from Maker’s Mark because there is such a selection of better quality, dryer bourbons at the same price point, also calling out Maker’s is just calling out a name that has been marketed to you in such a way that it sticks in your head. For this occasion I chose Makers though, as it happened to be the best fit for the mixings. This is a simple, easy to down, easy to pair cocktail which went over well with both my customers and coworkers:

  • 1.5 Maker’s
  • .5 Canton
  • .25 Cointreau
  • .25 fresh lime
  • 2 Dashes Regan’s Orange or Fee Brother’s West Indian Orange Bitters
  • Twist of orange for oil

Combine liquids over ice in your shaker and shake the hell out of it to get the ice chips floating on top, strain into a chilled coupe glass and burn a spritz of orange oil over the top. Serve.

The heavy shaking is important, without those ice chips on the top of the drink it seems to lack longevity and evolution through the drinking process. A good cocktail in my mind is one that matures between the first sip and the last drop, without changes in the taste, feel, or complexity we might as well just be drinking vodka shots and cheap beer and join a frat.


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