Cocktail Hacker

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Archive for February, 2010

The Brooklyn Cocktail

Posted by Reese On February - 28 - 2010

I’ve explored the namesake libation of two of New York’s other boroughs but thus far I’ve given no love to Brooklyn.  This week I’m going to make up for that.  Flipping through Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails this drink stood out.  When I came home from Tales of the Cocktail last summer one of the many samples I brought back was a bottle of Torani Amer.  Truthfully I didn’t (and don’t) really know what it is or what the flavor is like.   So, seeing that this drink calls for it I was immediately interested.  It’ll give me the opportunity to not only experience a new cocktail, but also a whole new ingredient.  Worry not.  I’ll fill all of you in on the details.

The Brooklyn Cocktail (Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails)
2 oz Rye or Bourbon
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth
2 tsp Amer Picon (Torani Amer)
2 tsp Maraschino Liqueur
1) Stir in a mixing glass with ice
2) Strain into a cocktail glass
3) Garnish with a cocktail cherry

The Manhattan and Bronx cocktails, in case you need to get in to the New York named cocktail mood.

The Alexander – Simply Delicious

Posted by Reese On February - 27 - 2010

I had a little trouble at the beginning of the week figuring out a good way to intro a cocktail that includes both gin and chocolate flavors.  I really shouldn’t have had trouble at all.  It’s easy, the Alexander is simply delicious.  The gin is there, but it’s tempered by the cream and creme de cacao.  The chocolate flavor is present but not overpowering.  So, how do you get the right balance?  Let’s discuss just that.


My first mix of the week I reached for Plymouth gin.  The results were good, great in fact.  However, the gin was much lighter than I would have liked.  In fact, as I noted during my tasting, I wouldn’t guess that there was gin in there at all.  Thankfully that’s a very easily corrected problem.

Next I pulled down a bottle of Leopold’s, a gin made locally in Denver.  Leopold’s had a stronger juniper flavor and is generally a bolder gin all around.  With this choice the gin takes a much more starring role.  The resulting flavor blends the herbal qualities of the gin with the earthy flavor of the chocolate.  All mellowed by the smoothness of the cream.  Very tasty.

Slight problem.  I’m guessing most of you don’t have a bottle of Leopold’s on your shelf.  Not to say you shouldn’t.  A more mainstream gin that has a similar flavor profile is Tanqueray.  This option works extremely well, too.  To sum up the gin discussion, pick something bold.  Anything else will be covered up.

A common response when I mentioned that I was mixing up the Alexander has been “Oh, the Brandy Alexander.”  I would then explain that the brandy version is actually a spin off of the original.  I did try mixing one up though to find out what the fuss is about.  Not surprisingly the Brandy Alexander is also quite tasty.   Interestingly the flavor is almost like Irish Cream.  This version lacks the intriguing complexity that I love in the original, gin recipe though.

No matter what ingredients you pick, give this one a mix.  You’ll enjoy sipping the result.


Posted by Reese On February - 21 - 2010

I pondered for quite some time as to how to introduce this week’s cocktail.  How do you present a convincing argument that a combination of chocolate and gin is going to be a good thing?  It’s not a combo most of us would think to try.  Then I remembered the incredible Twentieth Century Cocktail.  At the time it seemed a very bizarre combination.  I mean, really, would you think to combine gin, chocolate and lemon juice?  I certainly wouldn’t.  But the resulting drink is amazing.

With that in mind, I have to think that the Alexander will also be deliciously interesting.  Give me about a week and I’ll let you know!

Alexander (Joy of Mixology)
2 oz Dry Gin
1 oz White Creme de Cacao
1 oz Cream
1) Combine ingredients in a shaker over ice
2) Shake until combined and well chilled
3) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Knickerbocker Special

Posted by Reese On February - 20 - 2010

I did a lot of experiments this week.  All with very good results though, I must say. I’ll start the discussion with the recipe that I started this week with, the one from the Savoy.  I tried Erik’s recommendation to muddle the pineapple and used Appleton V/X.  The result was a drink with a very mellow sweetness.  However, sadly, the sourness of the lemon juice is almost completely lost.  This recipe is certainly tasty, and you’d never guess that there is a full 1 1/2 oz of rum in there.  Not my favorite of the recipes though.

Next I’d like to discuss the recipe from Harry Johnson’s Bartenders Manual, but I can’t.  I wasn’t able to decipher the recipe in to something I could mix up.  Harry’s recipes call for wine-glasses as a measure.  In my searching (although not extensive) I wasn’t able to find out how that translated in to a unit of measure I could use.  So, I let it go by the wayside.  If any of you know what a wine-glass equates to, please let me know.

Knickerbocker (Harry Johnson)
1 oz Raspberry Syrup
2 Dashes Lemon Juice
1 Slice Pineapple
1 Slice Orange
1 Wine-glassful Rum
1/2 Wine-glassful Curacao

Finally, I experimented extensively with the recipe from Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails.  First a recipe, then my summarized thoughts.

Knickerbocker (Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails)
2 oz Rum
1/2 oz Curacao
1/2 oz Raspberry Syrup
1 oz Lemon Juice

This is, very nearly, my favorite recipe.  I tried a few different rums and found them all to be good.  That said, my favorite two were La Favorite Rhum Agricole Blanc and Appleton V/X.  The rhum agricole gives you a more grassy flavor but there is no aged rum complexity present.  The Appleton V/X gives you more complexity from the barrel aging.  Appleton was my favorite, but I’d recommend you try your favorite rum as well.

Next, I found the sweetness of this recipe to be a bit too much for my tastes.  With the raspberry syrup and curacao you’re getting a lot of sweetness.  So, to make things a little more balanced I tried dropping both ingredients to 1/3 oz.  That was the perfect amount for either rum choice.  The balance is much better and the flavors from these ingredients is still present.  Now you know my favorite recipe.

Knickerbocker Special

Knickerbocker (Cocktail Hacker)
2 oz Rum (Appleton V/X)
1/3 oz Curacao
1/3 oz Raspberry Syrup
1 oz Lemon Juice
Orange, Pineapple and Cherry for Garnish

This is definitely one worth mixing up.  Good rum flavor.  Goes down very easy and has a great fruitiness.  Super tasty.

Pegu Doug Gets His Tiki On

Posted by Reese On February - 16 - 2010

Nearly a year ago I went in search of knowledge regarding the much loved Pegu cocktail.  In my search I came across a man so filled with wisdom he can, nay must, be called the Yoda of Pegus.  Naturally I’m talking about Doug Winship of The Pegu Blog.

For the second year in a row Doug is branching out this month.  Where I do Tiki week from time to time, Doug sacrifices a whole month to the Tiki gods to all of our benefit.  So, without further ado, take a stroll on over and enjoy Doug’s foray into the Tiki goodness.