Valentine’s Day for the Cocktail Lover: Tequila, Fernet, Kahlua

Cocktail No. 2 for Valentine’s Day. Nothing says love like Kahlua. With Fernet and tequila.

Nothing says Valentine’s Day more than Kahlua. Okay, sure, there are flowers, chocolate, hearts, chocolate hearts, teddy bears, and all sorts of things designed to woo your special someone into bed on Valentine’s Day.  But when I think of Valentine’s Day and cocktails, I think of Kahlua.

But then I do a search on the fount of knowledge, and I don’t see a lot of drinks made with Kahlua. This coffee liqueur has gone quite out of favor, it seems. There’s the White Russian, of course, thanks to the Dude, who abides, and there’s its simpler cousin, the Black Russian. But besides that, you don’t see a lot of Kahlua. I can’t remember the last time I was at a cocktail bar and ordered a drink with Kahlua.

The fact is that it’s hard to mix with and a lot of it goes a long way.

But something about it screams Valentine’s Day to me, so I had to make a Valentine’s Day drink with it.

It’s either that or creme de cacao, and that’s even harder to use, in my opinion.

The other great thing about Kahlua is that we all have a bottle lying around somewhere. I’m reminded of the Weird Al video “Fat” where the guy asks Weird Al if he wants a piece of pizza, and the fat guy says, “I think I got an extra piece around here somewhere.” (Skip to 0:22 in the video). And he pulls a piece of pizza out of his pocket. That Weird Al, he genius.

So unless you’re my uncle who must not have touched his liquors in years–his bottle of Kahlua turned to mush–your bottle of Kahlua is probably just fine. And ripe for Valentine’s Day!

Here, I went for the peppermint patty combo: Fernet and Kahlua.

The problem is that I don’t have a name for it yet. Some have suggested the Sexy Mexican (because of the ingredients, people!). Others have suggested the Night is for Lovers. Still others want the Chocotini.

But anything with “tini” at the end that doesn’t start with “mar” is a non-starter in my book.

That person will not be invited back to Stay at Home Cocktails, rest assured. (Just kidding, my beautiful wife!)

The Recipe

To make the Sexy Lover Mexi-tini, combine with ice:

  • 1 1/2 oz Patron silver
  • 3/4 oz Kahlua
  • 1/2 oz Fernet Branca

stir well, and strain into a chilled coupe (or Martini glass!).

Garnish with a mint sprig.

Now some people have complained that I use Fernet Branca too much. Like so many other cocktail snobs, I am much too fascinated by this most disgusting of imbibements.

Pshaw, I say! I have only used Fernet a couple times. There’s the Fernando’s Cocktail from Employee’s Only, the Fashionista cocktail, and the Hanky Panky. Oh, and the Newark Cocktail from PDT.

But that’s it!

Four cocktails in as many years.

And I don’t really even like the stuff. I got it from Mongoose Versus Cobra one time because they serve shots of it on draft. But that was it. I’m not drinking it straight at home. Not when I can mix it with Kahlua and Patron and get something so much better.

Ah, the love of stay at home cocktails.

Note: the photo above was taken by my daughter. She’s awesome. You can find her blog at Hot Town, Cool Girl.

The Drambuie Cupid’s Bow Cocktail: Cocktail No. 1 for Valentine’s Day

Drambuie cocktail
The Drambuie Cupid’s Bow Cocktail: Lillet, Drambuie, Islay Scotch, rosewater. Note: this cocktail was developed by the folks at William Grant and Sons. I take no credit for it. The picture, though, is mine. And the cocktail’s mine, too, dammit! Hands off!

Valentine’s Day needs cocktails

Sure, you probably go out on Valentine’s Day, but if you’ve been married a while like me, you may just stay home. This is “stay at home cocktails,” right? The fact is that us married people know something you single people don’t.

Valentine’s Day sucks.

Yes, I said it. But don’t get me wrong. It’s a great holiday. Any holiday that guarantees sex afterward has my vote. But to go out for a nice dinner on Valentine’s Day? I would rather cut my toenails with my teeth. The plain truth is that it’s crowded on Valentine’s Day. And it’s really freakin’ expensive to boot! So skip the headaches and just stay home and cuddle all night while drinking a few great cocktails. And then enjoy your guaranteed sex.

And that’s where I come in.

With the cocktails, not the sex.

A note on Drambuie

I love Drambuie. When I first started drinking, I wanted to like Scotch so bad I could taste it! But that was the problem. I didn’t really like the taste of it.

My dad wanted to like Scotch, too, but he didn’t really, either. But one thing even wannabe Scotch drinkers can agree on: Drambuie.

It’s Scotch’s sweeter cousin. Hell, who am I kidding, it’s really nothing like Scotch. Well, that’s an overstatement, but this stuff really is a liqueur. A sweet liqueur. As in I can hardly drink it straight now. Again, an overstatement. I still love it. I used to drink Rusty Nails like they were going out of style, but now I rarely turn to one. I only drink one now if someone else asks for one.

I still keep Drambuie, though, because of drinks like the Prince Edward cocktail and the Black Sun Cocktail.  And my dad still likes to put a little in his Scotch every so often. Usually only if it’s bad Scotch, though.

And I don’t buy bad Scotch.

The Drambuie Cupid’s Bow cocktail recipe

The Drambuie Cupid’s Bow cocktail is something special. It highlights the honey and floral characteristics without becoming something sickly medicinally sweet.

To make one, combine in a rocks glass:

Add ice, and garnish with a lemon rind.

As another note on Lillet, you should get some if you don’t have it. The only problem is that it’s a wine product, so you have to keep it in the refrigerator. But don’t worry: it keeps for a while. I like it on ice, but I keep it for one main reason: Vespers. So if you’re cool, you should get some Lillet. That way, when someone comes over and jokes about James Bond Martinis, you can pull out your recipe for the Vesper. Boom!

But back to the Drambuie Cupid’s Bow Cocktail.

Man, this drink is good! It’s got Drambuie’s honey sweetness, but it has the rosewater floral accent along with just a hint of smoke from the Bunnahabhain.

I have to make this drink for my Dad.

Maybe not on Valentine’s Day because, well, that would be weird, but next time I see him, I am making sure I have a bottle of Islay Scotch, some Drambuie, Lillet, and rosewater. And a dropper to get the measurements right.

Okay, that’s not quite possible. But next time he comes over, and I still have these ingredients left, I am totally making one for him.

Wait for it.

The Balvenie Rare Craft Collection with Anthony Bourdain: Event Review

The Balvenie Rare Craft Collection. Rare craft, just like their whisky.

I love Anthony Bourdain. He has the intellectual snarkiness that I adore. One time, he was riding on an escalator, and he mentioned that he hates people to think escalators are there to be lazy. One doesn’t have to move at all! They just stand, and they are carried!

Nope, insists Bourdain, escalators are there to aid movement, not do all the work for you. You should still walk or climb, but you go faster with the aid of the escalator.

I love that stuff. Funny and insightful, Bourdain is probably my favorite travel guy. In fact, before I even knew his name, I saw one of his shows, and it inspired my wife and I to try new things on one of our trips to Mexico. “Be the travel guy!” we kept telling each other. Like I said, I didn’t even know his name, and I was still trying to be him.

So when I get a chance to meet someone like Bourdain,  I don’t hesitate. And if I get to try great whiskeys, too…well, that’s just bonus points. Huge bonus points, mind you, but really just bonuses.

The Balvenie Rare Craft Collection is there to highlight the Balvenie itself. They are craftsmen following traditional principles to make what is, in fact, a superb scotch. I must agree with their methods, too, because when it comes to scotch, it doesn’t get much better than the Balvenie.

So what Balvenie did to show off their own traditional craftsmanship, is they had Anthony Bourdain curate an exhibit of other rare craftsmen. Meaning that they are true craftsmen, which is, in itself, rare. Just like the Balvenie. 20151104_164812

Enter the craftsmen(people): the family company that makes watches by hand to order. The woman who sculpts in metal. The man who forms whiskey barrels. The marble sculptor. The etcher in stone.

These people are amazing. I have trouble believing that there are people who have such fantastic talents.

Me, I’m good at drinking. I’m really good at drinking whisky (and whiskey!).  And I’m awesome at drinking scotch.

That’s me pulling my own dram. My dream job.

At this particular Balvenie event, we had the 12 year DoubleWood and the 14 year Caribbean Cask . Both are fine scotches. They’re the ones I have had before.  But we also tried the 17 year DoubleWood, which was even sweeter, and the 12 year Single Barrel, which I pulled from a barrel myself (a gimmick, sure. They just refill them, after all. But still, it’s fun.).

They also served the DoubleWood in a Prince Edward cocktail, another fine way to enjoy scotch.

Tun 1509 from Balvenie. As Bourdain called it, the “nectar of the gods.” Hyperbole? Maybe not.

Then we got to try a special Tun 1509 Balvenie scotch whisky which, as Anthony Bourdain described it, is “the nectar of the gods.”

I’m not sure about that, but I can imagine it. It was one of the smoothest yet most flavorful scotches I have ever had. Right up there with the Nikka. Except more powerful. Yes, it burned. It burned so good.

Bourdain was cool, but the scotch was the highlight. Talking to the sculptor/etcher about how he does his work was really cool, too. But for me, just pour me a dram, and the night is all good.

Anthony Bourdain waxing snarkily as usual.

The Triple Sec Vodka Cocktail from the Playboy Gourmet

An adult creamsicle
The Triple Sec Vodka Cocktail: vodka, triple sec, cream, orange juice, lemon juice

Last time you heard me rave about Thomas Mario’s 1961 book of awesomeness, The Playboy Gourmet: A Food and Drink Handbook for the Host at Home.

Today, we try the first cocktail. And it’s a winner.

The Triple Sec Vodka cocktail is, well, aptly named. To make one, combine with ice:

  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • 1 teaspoon heavy cream
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice

and strain into a chilled cocktail glass without a garnish.

It sounds like a terrible drink, but it’s anything but. I can’t find anything that’s quite like it in my cocktail books, so if you know of anything similar, do comment, please.

If it were written about today, it would probably use whipped cream flavored vodka and have a lot more cream in it. And probably more orange juice. In other words, it would be stupid. But this one isn’t.

Not some stupid modern cocktail, this one uses hints of ingredients to make something bigger than its individual parts.
Not some stupid modern cocktail, this one uses hints of ingredients to make something bigger than its individual parts.

It uses basic vodka. And just a hint of cream. And it works. It’s not overly sweet or sour. I am totally baffled by it, in fact. Anything with vodka is suspect in my book, and this one adds cream and juices. It must be stupid.

It’s kind of like the first time someone told me about a Blood and Sand cocktail. Scotch and orange juice? You must be out of your mind! But it works. And this one does, too.

Yes, I am wrong, and Playboy is proven right. Curse your drinking prowess, Hugh Hefner!

The real Mad Men guide to food and drink: The Playboy Gourmet, 1961

The Playboy Gourmet

Mad Men may have ended, but our infatuation with 1960s style, inspired by Mad Men’s attention to detail, endures. Sure, Don Draper may be the same man at the end as he was at the beginning of the series, but we aren’t. And that’s the weird thing about Mad Men. The Sixties was the decade of change, but does Don Draper really change?

Us, well, we’re in love with the 1960s, specifically with the design and aura of the decade . Me, I love looking at the furniture and structures. I made my house into a contemporary mid-century mod. My best friends’ family Christmas card has the exact look of an advertisement from the 1960s. They went to a professional photographer who recreated it perfectly.

Or there’s the Mad Men books, such as the Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook. Or Mad Men on the Couch: Analyzing the Minds of the Men and Women of the Hit TV Show. Or Celebrating Mad Men: Your Unofficial Guide to What Makes the Show and Its Characters Tick. Or, even better, the republication of the 1962 classic How to Drink Like a Mad Man. And that’s not even mentioning all of the academic work on the show and our fascination with it.

But if you want the real thing, the real guide to being a Mad Man, you need The Playboy Gourmet: A Food and Drink Handbook for the Host at Home.20160104_135651

This book is the shit. The real shit. Not some academic work. Not some book trying to recreate the look and feel of the show, which is itself removed by over 50 years from the actual decade it portrays. This book is from 1961, when Don Draper didn’t even have a contract yet. Everything about this tome screams 1960s. And it’s cool.

The Introduction is by Hugh M. Hefner, no less:

“Bread and wine and kisses,” said Swift, are the fare of bacherlorhood. For eighteenth-century tastes, such Spartan provender may have been sufficient; for the cultivated twentieth-century bachelor, kisses still offer sweet sustenance, but his bread and wine at any given meal are more than likely to be interspersed by a half-dozen Oysters Rockefeller, a steaming tureen of Petite Marmite, tender Tournedos with Foie
Gras, a bowl of salad greens and artichoke hearts tosses iwth olive oil and wine vinegar, a blazing dish of crepes with curacao, a redolent wedge of bleu, a piping demitasse of Cafe Brulot, and–to top it off–one small, suffusing, slowly sipped amber glassful of “pre-expulsion” Chartreuse. Decades of marination in world-wide gourmandise, it would seem, have ripened his erstwhile nodding acquaintance with matters gustatory into a deep and rewarding association; he has learned to delight in and insist on the best in food and drink. But such standards permeate every level of his urban-oriented life; the clothes he wears, the pad he rents, the car he drives, the job he holds, the diversions he seeks, the company he keeps and how he keeps it–all are meticulously selected and zestfully enjoyed. Neither dilettante nor voluptuary, he has simply acquired the faculty of living modern life to the hilt.

I didn’t know Hugh Hefner was such a wordsmith or gourmand. But the way he introduces the book is genius. Maybe you didn’t catch the subtext here, but I’m pretty sure he’s crediting himself with creating Don Draper.

20160104_135726Don Draper wants the kisses, certainly, but he also wants his Old Fashioneds. And his Oysters Rockefeller. He is the embodiment of the ripening Hefner mentions. He delight in and insists on the best in food and drink. He has the pad, he drives the car, he wears the clothes, he has the job, and he keeps the company. Certainly not a dilettante, Draper still lives modern life to the hilt.

But what created it? “Decades of marination in world-wide gourmandise,” that’s what. What Hefner’s saying is that Playboy changed the world. It started in 1953, and men have changed so much since its publication that they now demand the best in everything. Since Playboy, men are more sophisticated. They have become the Don Drapers. Or at least they want to be him.

And we do, too.

20160104_135639Every potential Don Draper should have a copy of this book.

But good luck getting one. I pulled mine from a house that was about to be torn down. Amazon has a few used ones available (The Playboy Gourmet: A Food and Drink Handbook for the Host at Home), but most places only have the 1972 version, which is definitely not the same.

I have no doubt that in the coming months, you will see quite a few recipes from this wonderful book of 1960s style. I can’t wait to drink like a true Mad Man.


Spirit Review: Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch and the Prince Edward Cocktail

monkey shoulder
Monkey Shoulder scotch: one of the best blends available, on its own or in a Prince Edward cocktail.

Monkey Shoulder is one of my go-to scotches. As you can see from the picture, I go through this stuff pretty quickly. When I want to have a dram in the evening, this is the scotch I grab. When I want to make a Blood and Sand, this is my scotch.

Why is it your scotch?

First, because it’s good. It’s a blend of three single malts: Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie aged for three to six months in first use ex-bourbon casks. I’m not familiar with Kininvie, but Glenfiddich and Balvenie are both great, so it’s no coincidence that they make for a great blend.

On its own, Monkey Shoulder is sweet and a bit spicy. Not spicy like rye, but a bit spicy with alcohol. It’s not a bad burn, though. Overall, it’s smooth, especially on ice. This one, I can drink either way, though. Sometimes I want the alcohol burn, but other times, I want it more mellow, and ice makes it happen.

The smell is vanilla and apricot and banana, and the taste is butterscotch. It’s utterly drinkable.

Besides being a good scotch, it also has a great name. It’s called Monkey Shoulder because that’s the name they would give to people who turned the barley by hand. They would use the shovel so long that the right arm would begin to hang lower, and they called the condition monkey shoulder. That’s hilarious.

Third, besides being a decent scotch and having a great name, this stuff is cheap. It’s about $33 a bottle at my local Spec’s. That’s a damn good deal for such a damn good scotch. It’s not the main reason to drink a spirit, but it helps. If it’s good and it’s cheap, why not?

How is it in cocktails?

But Monkey Shoulder makes great cocktails, too. As I mentioned, it’s great in a Blood and Sand, but my favorite is the Prince Edward cocktail.

To make the Prince Edward, combine with ice:

  • 2 oz Monkey Shoulder
  • 3/4 oz Lillet
  • 1/2 oz Drambuie
  • 3 dashes Fee Brothers Orange Bitters

stir well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. I like to rub a lemon peel around the rim, too. Drop it in or not. Doesn’t matter.

Drambuie is strong stuff, and it doesn’t overpower here. I used to love Drambuie, but my palette has moved beyond such sweet stuff, so I use it very sparingly now. This drink is perfect. Compared to a 1:1 or even a 1:2 Rusty Nail, this one has just a bit of Drambuie compared to the rest of the ingredients. It’s sweet, but more like the sweetness of a Manhattan. Right behind the Blood and Sand, this is my favorite scotch cocktail.

The perfect holiday punch: Charleston Brown Water Society Punch and the Brown Water Society Cocktail

Bourbon, dark rum, orange juice, lemon, honey. Fine, fine, fine.
Bourbon, dark rum, orange juice, lemon, honey. Fine, fine, fine.

When the weather outside is frightful, or even just mildly unpleasant as it is here in Houston, you know it’s time for holiday parties. And that means punch.

I love punch. Throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl, and come out with something that everyone can enjoy. Well, maybe it’s not that easy, but you can usually add more booze or sugar to make something decent.

The Charleston Brown Water Society Punch

My favorite winter punch is from Roderick Weaver from the Bar at HUSK Restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina. It’s called the Charleston Brown Water Society Punch, named after the bourbon aficionado club in Charleston.

Imbibe has the recipe for the punch:

Tools: punch bowl, stirring spoon Glass: punch Garnish: orange slices

Combine all the ingredients except the soda water. Chill. Pour into a punch bowl with a large block of ice, and add soda water just before serving, with orange slices for garnish.

I love this punch. It’s sweet, but it’s honey sweet, and the soda added at the end is the perfect bit of bubbly. Could even substitute champagne, but cut down on the sugar syrup .

The Charleston Brown Water Society Cocktail

But sometimes I want to drink it even when I’m not throwing a party. And that calls for the Charleston Brown Water Society Cocktail, too.

For this single serving, up cocktail, combine with ice:

and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

I’m telling you: this cocktail is good. It leaves out the soda and much of the sweetener because of it. Just a fine wintry bourbon cocktail.

Bar Review: Sanctuari Bar at Triniti Restaurant, Houston, TX

Triniti's Gunsmoke cocktail: mezcal, tequila, genepy, black pepper, roasted lemon juice, and a dried, candied lemon chip
Sanctuari’s Gunsmoke cocktail: mezcal, tequila, genepy, black pepper, roasted lemon juice, and a dried, candied lemon chip

It’s not often I go to fancy restaurants. It’s even more seldom that I go to fancy restaurants and plop down at the bar. But a friend had the idea that we would go to a hip restaurant and pretend we were a hip gay couple. Nevermind that we’re neither hip nor gay. Or a couple. Except maybe a couple of idiots.

So we ventured to Sanctuari, the swank bar inside Triniti restaurant. I don’t know what that part of Shepherd Drive is officially called, but I have always considered it Montrose, because I like Montrose. And I like Shepherd. So it works.

Sanctuari is nice. As far as cocktails and culinary creations, this place is one of the best in Houston. Andrew Taake was our bartender for the evening, and he did it right.

Gunsmoke and Spanish Fly

The Spanish Fly Cocktail
Sanctuari’s Spanish Fly cocktail, with rye, Pedro Ximenez Sherry, Punt e. Mes, orange, and Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter Bitters.

I started off with the Gunsmoke cocktail, which features mezcal, tequila, genepy, black pepper, roasted lemon juice, and a dried, candied lemon chip. While it was underwhelming at first, it really grew on me. I was expecting more smoke from the mezcal, so I was at first disappointed at the lack of smokiness. But then the spiciness from the salt and pepper rim kept building in my mouth, and it became an absolutely fantastic drink. And the dried, candied lemon chip was perhaps the best part. I had never had anything like it. Lemon peel was always something to throw away. Not anymore. I must learn how to make this stuff.

My friend had the Spanish Fly, with rye, Pedro Ximenez Sherry, Punt e. Mes, orange and Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter Bitters. I don’t remember what it tasted like. He liked it, but it wasn’t anything special.

I don’t remember the name, but you must go and order whatever this is. Bacon, fig, blue cheese, and candied bacon drippings? Yes, please!

We also had a small plate of fig and blue cheese wrapped in bacon with candied bacon drippings. This stuff was incredible. Beyond belief. I had no idea the mixture of three incredible flavors could meld together to make something so much more. If you go, you must try it. I’m not kidding here. Go. Try it.

Fire and Brimstone and the Smoking Jacket

The Fire and Brimstone, with mezcal espadin, St. George Spiced Pear, Ramazotti, simple syrup, and a cherry tobacco tincture.

The next round of cocktails was great, too. For me, the Fire and Brimstone, with mezcal espadin, St. George Spiced Pear, Ramazotti, simple syrup, and a cherry tobacco tincture. I am so glad Andrew recommended this drink because it was fabulous. Smokey and full of flavor with just the right amount of sweet. It went perfectly with the pecan pralines we had with it.

My friend’s Smoking Jacket was a sight to behold, though. The menu said it had cedar-scented Monkey Shoulder scotch, white port, Dolin Genepy, cherry tobacco tincture, and flamed apple bitters. But that description does not do it justice. Andrew lit a piece of cedar on fire and trapped it underneath the serving glass while he made the rest of the cocktail. Then he poured the cocktail into the prepared, still-smoking glass and flamed the bitters on top of the drink. Just watching him do it was worth the price of the cocktail. It was an alright drink, but the process was special. Make sure you sit at the bar when you order it, though. Ordering it from a table would be like watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show on your home TV. It’s just not the same thing.

Japanese Whisky

The Yamazaki 12 year, and the Nikka Coffey Grain. One of the night’s highlights.

Finally, we tried the Yamazaki 12 year single malt whisky and the Nikka Coffey Grain whisky. I was familiar with the Yamazaki, and it’s a great whisky, but the Nikka Coffey Grain was a revelation to me. Never before have I had a whisky like this one.

Like bourbon, the Nikka Coffey Grain is sweet, with vanilla, butterscotch, and oak. But so smooth. So delicate. So texturally pleasing. It was a perfect whisky. I will be buying a bottle of this stuff, to be sure.

And it went well with the box of macaroons and chocolates. But heck, they were an afterthought. The cocktails and whisky were the show.

Overall, Sanctuari is one of the best restaurant bars in town. Everyone should spend at least one night sitting at the bar, pretending to be hip. And maybe gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Spirit Review: Troy and Sons Platinum Whiskey and the Southern Man Cocktail

Troy and Sons and the Southern Man Cocktail
Troy and Sons Platinum Whiskey: not your grandfather’s moonshine

I’ve had real moonshine, both rotgut and some decent but powerful stuff that’ll put hair on your chest and get you drunk with two shots.

Troy Ball of Asheville Distilling Company is not making your grandfather’s moonshine. Troy and Sons Platinum Whiskey is what they call an heirloom moonshine made from heirloom corn (that’s corn that still uses a traditional heirloom seed, the same that has been used for generations).

When she moved to North Carolina, Troy Ball was visited by a few of her neighbors who shared their homemade moonshine with her, and she wanted to improve and produce that same quality for her customers. Thus, Asheville Distilling Company was started, and the Troy and Sons line of heirloom whiskey was born.

Troy and Sons Platinum Whiskey

The Platinum Whiskey is unaged and tastes like pure corn. It’s one of the smoothest whiskeys I have ever tasted, and its so easy to drink that it makes me wonder how this is even related to other whiskeys. It’s sweet and causes nothing related to an alcohol burn. On ice, it mellows even further, perhaps a bit too far, losing some of its pure corn taste. I prefer it neat.

The Southern Man Cocktail

For this one, I wanted something simple that wouldn’t obscure the corn taste. With a dash of peach bitters, it tastes like southern summer. Growing up in small-town South Carolina, I know what that’s like.

To make the Southern Man Cocktail, combine with ice:

  • 2 oz Troy and Sons Platinum Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz bianco vermouth
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
  • 3 dashes Fee Brothers Peach Bitters

shake well and strain into a lowball glass with a large ice cube.

The corn comes through and mixes nicely with the peach. It’s aromatic, but only slightly so with so little bianco vermouth.

If you’re from the south, you’ll recognize the flavor immediately: summer. If you’re from the north, you’ll have to take my word for it.

Repeal Day cocktail: The Pendennis Club: gin, apricot, Peychaud’s

Pendennis Club Cocktail
The Pendennis Club Cocktail: gin, lime, apricot eau-de-vie, apricot liqueur, Peychaud’s, rich simple syrup

Tomorrow is Repeal Day, and you must have a cocktail. After all, it’s Saturday. AND it’s the day when Prohibition was finally repealed. The noble experiment may have failed, and we have great cocktails to celebrate failure!

For this one, I turn to Chara Gafford of Urban Chef. After sending her husband to their backyard orchard to get a couple kumquats, she made Saveur’s version of the fantastic Pendennis Club Cocktail.

The Pendennis Club Cocktail recipe

To make your own, combine with ice:

  • 2 oz Martin Miller’s Gin
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 3/4 oz apricot liqueur
  • 1/2 oz apricot eau-de-vie
  • 1 tsp rich simple syrup
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Shake well and strain into a chilled glass. Then garnish with a halved kumquat.

As Toby Cecchini mentions in Saveur, the lime and apricot combine to make it taste like grapefruit. This drink really is the sum of its parts, and they combine to make something rather unique. It’s dry and floral and quite pleasing, although not something you can down easily. Perfect for Prohibition. Or its repeal.

And for those not familiar with kumquat, I don’t know what to tell you. It’s not a loquat. It’s something like citrus, with a bitter grapefruit-like interior and a sweet peel. Go figure.

Hell, just make a Pendennis Club and enjoy the end of morality. Or at least the attempt at its legislation.

Cocktails, Spirits, Bars, and Beer in Houston and all over Texas