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Archive for June, 2009


Posted by Reese On June - 28 - 2009

As this week ends with the US’s Independence Day, the Fourth of July, it seems only fitting that I pick a cocktail that would fit the theme.  I took a quick peek through my books thinking I would easily find a cocktail called something like the Independence or Independence Day, but alas I did not.  I have no doubt one exists, but I was looking for a classic.  Then I remembered something I found when I was investigating the Negroni.  If you remember, the Negroni was created as a spin off of an existing cocktail, the Americano.  I’m an Americano!  Perfect!

The Americano is the result of an Italian bartender trying to create an American style cocktail sometime in the late 1800s.  Gary Regan mentions that the first printing of the recipe was in 1937 in WJ Tarling’s Cafe Royal Cocktail Book.  I’m excited for this week.  The Americano looks like a boldly flavored cocktail that is still on the lighter side.  Should be a tasty adventure!

Americano (Joy of Mixology)
1 1/2 oz Campari
1 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
2 oz Club Soda
Orange Twist for Garnish
1) Build in an ice filled highball glass
2) Garnish with an orange twist

Salty Dog – Less of a Dog Than Expected

Posted by Reese On June - 28 - 2009

My week of Salty Dogs started when I mixed some up for my cousin Tara and I.  I followed the simple recipe I laid out at the beginning of the week, 2 oz vodka, 3 oz grapefruit juice.  The only grapefruit juice I had on hand was the kind in the tiny cans and I failed to rim the glasses with salt.  D’Oh.  As you can guess we were already well on our way to failure.  After a tentative couple of sips we both concluded that the drink was much too sour in its current form.  I added a touch of raspberry syrup and all was right in the world again.  But of the failings I mention above what was the key to making this drink tasty?

I picked up some grapefruit and decided I’d give the drink a go with fresh juice (always a good call).  However, much to my surprise, it seems I hadn’t read the label very well and came home with pink grapefruit.  Which, I found out on a second trip to the store, is all they have right now.  Nevertheless, I juiced them up and mixed up a cocktail, complete with salted rim this time.

Salty Dog

This time the drink was much more palatable than my first attempt.  The pink grapefruit juice is less sour than white grapefruit and quite a bit sweeter.  Be warned, this version goes down very easy.  The vodka is lost to the sweet/sour flavor of the pink grapefruit and before you realize it your glass is empty again.  The salt was a nice touch but really works much better with the sourer white grapefruit.  If you’re using pink go light on the salt and I’d suggest only rimming half the glass.  That way you only have to have salt if you want.

The same evening Aaron was over to finalize our Tales of the Cocktail plans and he chose to mix up the Difford’s recipe (below).  This recipe changes things up a bit by adding a touch of Maraschino to the mix.  This has two effects on the cocktail.  First, it will sweeten it up a bit, which could be needed if you’re going the white grapefruit route.  Second, it gives the drink a little more interesting flavor.  Like the Aviation you’re using the Maraschino very sparingly so it’s flavor is subtly applied.  Overall Aaron was very surprised and pleased.  He sums it up best: “[I] really thought it would be more like my college ‘whatever juice I can find and vodka drinks’.”  Well said my friend.

Salty Dog (Diffords Guide #7)
2 oz Vodka
2 1/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/8 oz Maraschino
Salt for Rimming

Finally I circled back to where I started the week and gave the canned white grapefruit juice a second go.  With this second attempt I came to a different conclusion.  The sourness of the grapefruit juice is actually quite refreshing.  But it does make you slow down your sipping.  The salt is a nice touch, but not entirely necessary in my opinion.  However, if you decide to leave it off know that you’re now drinking a Greyhound, amazing what a touch of salt can do.

Salty Dog

Posted by Reese On June - 22 - 2009

Being from Colorado I can’t even begin to claim that I’m a Salty Dog.  But, salty or not it’s hot today and I was looking for a cold refreshing cocktail to feature this week.  In my search I stumbled across the Salty Dog and knew it was a perfect match.  How can you go wrong with vodka and grapefruit juice on a hot day?  Plus, the way I see it, I have to get ready for the even hotter days to come and what better way to do that with some solid drinking.

Salty Dog
2 oz Vodka
3 oz Grapefruit Juice
1) Build in an ice filled, salt rimmed highball glass

Happy Anniversary Cocktail Hacker!

Posted by Reese On June - 21 - 2009

Holy crap does time ever fly by!  Today marks the one year anniversary of the first cocktail post here at Cocktail Hacker.  Since then we’ve entertained 9,250 visitors, uploaded 197 posts, had 227 comments from our awesome readers and posted 549 pictures to the Flickr pool.  We’ve learned a tremendous amount about cocktails over this year and are enjoying the journey as much now as ever.  Here’s a toast to the next year of cocktail hacking!

Clover Club – Mmmm Pink

Posted by Reese On June - 21 - 2009

After this week of experimentation I have a bit of a confession to make, I think I’m starting to get over my deep seated phobia of pink. You see, I keep making pink cocktails worried about their possible girly appearance only to be consistently blown away by their amazing flavor.  The Clover Club, like the others before it, is truly a delicious pink cocktail.

Clover Club

In reading Gary Regan’s recipe in the Joy of Mixology one thing struck me as interesting.  He said the the cocktail “isn’t much to talk about” when made with grenadine instead of raspberry syrup.  That got me thinking.  What is it about the raspberry syrup that makes it so much better in this application?  What was the grenadine lacking?  So, I decided this week, rather than focusing on a number of different recipes, I’d use only Gary’s recipe but change up that other key ingredient, the fruit syrup.  Since Gary’s recipe calls for adding the syrup to taste I went with my standard sour ratio and added 1/2 oz of syrup for each cocktail.  Here’s the recipe I used.

Clover Club
2 oz Gin (Junipero)
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Raspberry Syrup
Egg White

Store bought grenadine wasn’t even a viable option so I decided not to even try that.  Instead I went with homemade grenadine, Torani raspberry syrup and homemade raspberry syrup.

Homemade Raspberry Syrup: I decided to start my experiments here, primarily because I love making new ingredients.  This was a simple one to make.  I followed the same basic recipe that I used for my strawberry syrup.

Raspberry Syrup
1 1/2 cups Water
1 1/2 cups Sugar
2 tubs Raspberries (12 oz total)
1) Rinse raspberries
2) Combine sugar and water in a pot
3) Heat on medium stirring until sugar is dissolved
4) Add raspberries, reduce heat to low
5) Simmer for 30 minutes stirring to break up raspberries
6) Cool and strain out seeds

The syrup is a beautiful light red and the flavor of fresh raspberries really comes through.  In the Clover Club you can really taste the raspberry coming through.  The drink is less sweet than I expected but it’s actually just the right balance.  Any sweeter and it would begin to dominate and the raspberry flavor would over power the gin and lemon juice.

Torani Raspberry Syrup: I picked up a bottle of Torani Raspberry Syrup from Cost Plus World Market.  Interestingly, it’s not bad at all.  It’s slightly sweeter than my homemade syrup and not as natural tasting but overall still very good.  If you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own this is certainly a reasonable option.

Homemade Hibiscus Grenadine: I love this grenadine recipe but in the Clover Club it doesn’t shine through as well as the raspberry does.  I found the subtle flavors of the grenadine were masked by the gin and lemon juice.  That said my grenadine is about 4 months old so it may have lost some of its intensity.

Clover Club

If you’ve got the time and want to put in the effort make some raspberry syrup of your own.  Your Clover Club will be much better for your efforts.  The Torani syrup is definitely a good option as well but the flavor won’t be exactly the same.  Finally I’d suggest using a gin on the bolder side.  Don’t bust out your Bombay Sapphire for this, it’s flavors will be lost completely.

I hope with this addition you continue to enjoy your delicious pink cocktails as much as I will.