Posts Tagged ‘bourbon’

Rule 37: The Bell of Camille

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.

This one comes from a rather whimsical old book from 1972 that I have in the collection called the “Quick Guide to Spirits.”

…and there’s a picture of a ghost!

Anyway, according to the book, this one comes from the Four Seasons in New York, and reads “John Covas, another dean of drams, named this after Camille, a lamb.” Um. Ok then. I didn’t really find much else about this cocktail, other than other sites posting the same recipe, though apparently there IS an actress named Camilla Belle.

Why, hello there.

That, however, is neither here nor there, and the two are entirely unconnected, since this book dates from 1972, and she was born in 1986. Yes, I know, it’s depressing. The drink itself is pretty simple, with only two ingredients. I like each of the ingredients (bourbon and Campari) but I’m a little concerned about a drink consisting of only those two. It does remind me of the Boulevardier, though that one at least had sweet vermouth in it, as in a Negroni. He didn’t mention how to prepare it, or what type of glass to serve it in, so I’m making a few executive decisions here. Other recipes suggest a cocktail glass, but I’ll take it like my Negronis: on the rocks.

Bell of Camille
From Robert Jay Misch’s Quick Guide to Spirits

– 1 1/2 oz bourbon (Old Crow Reserve)
– 1 oz Campari

That’s it.

STIR in an ice filled mixing glass. Use a julep strainer to, well, strain into a cocktail glass, or, as I prefer, a rocks glass with a travel-sized iceberg in it. I garnished with an orange peel sliced thrice.

Well, it smells like Campari and bourbon.

Well, it tastes like Campari and bourbon.

Yeah. Pretty much. The aroma has a decent chunk of orange to it from that swath of peel I garnished with, and the Campari bittersweet is of course, rather dominant. It’s hard to pick up any of the bourbon, though there’s a subtle hint of dark sweetness lurking in the shadows.

The taste is all at once WHANG BANG ZOOM Campari and ZING BOFF FIZZ bourbon. The two actually meld together quite nicely. The herbal Campari dries out the palate while the sweet bourbon adds its complement of brown sugar, molasses, and roasted caramel corn. The two have a bit of back-and-forth, but it’s a discussion, not an argument. Neither one wins and they both make a lot of good points.

The Lady Friend’s take:
“I still get hit with Campari first, as I always do, but that’s actually a good balance. Towards the end I get that whiskey Old Crow… tasty actually. I like that. I think it’s well-balanced. A lot of drinks you make with Campari are WAY too Campari. And of course that quote’s going in there. Stop typing!”
And then she walked away.

I rather like this drink. It’s perfectly simple to make (provided you have Campari) and that Old Crow Reserve goes well with EVERYTHING so far. And I’ve used it a lot. Yum. In a cocktail glass this would make a good sipper, but I like the sturdy feel of a rocks glass with large amounts of solidified water. The orange peel adds a nice touch, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt to flame it over the surface of the drink. Well played, ghost book.

(Call me, Camilla)

Rule 37: Hazzard County Line

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.

Just because I’ve been a slacker with the posts doesn’t mean I haven’t been drinking my Rule 37s. So let’s try to get caught up. This one, the Hazzard County Line, comes courtesy of the Lady Friend, though she had no idea what the Hazzard County reference was.


In addition to having a tv-themed namesake, apparently it’s a drink at The Vanderbilt in Brooklyn. She found it on this site while looking for decent apple brandy recipes.

Since this is a spirit-forward drink, I’m actually using some very nice ingredients. It’ll make a big difference in a drink where you really taste the booze. For the bourbon, we’ve got Smooth Ambler’s Old Scout straight bourbon, clocking in at 99 proof. A hand-numbered bottle, (batch two), this one was a gift from boozing buddy Brent when he visited Boston earlier in the year. It’s not a Kentucky bourbon from Bourbon County (or Hazzard County, Georgia, for that matter), but rather hails from West Virginia. I swore I’d never use this one for mixing, but this spirit-heavy drink seemed like an acceptable compromise. Plus, the 99 proof was a much needed boost.

The peach brandy comes from Great Lakes Distillery, one of my happy places out in Milwaukee. They make a range of eau-de-vie brandies and liquors, like Grappa, Kirschwasser, and peach, pear and apple brandies. These are the real deal… a bit hot and boozy up front, but once the heat evaporates, they leave a wonderful fresh fruit flavor behind. Currently on the bar are the apple and peach brandies (I don’t like pear), and they’re great to use for a nice crafted cocktail featuring the spirit.

So. Let’s mix it up and see what happens.

Hazzard County Line
From The Vanderbilt Restaurant and Bar, Brooklyn, New York

– 1 oz peach brandy (Great Lakes)
– 1 oz bourbon (Smooth Ambler)
– 3/4 oz lemon juice
– Dash of honey (Blue Line Apiary)
– Sprig of fresh mint
– Lemon wheel

Shake it real hard and fast like bouncing down a backcountry dirt road in your ’69 Charger. Serve over ice in a mason jar, garnish with a lemon wheel and a big ‘ol sprig of fresh mint. It kicks like the ‘shine from your uncle’s still, and it’ll make you jump right over the river. Better learn to fly or start flappin’ your arms real hard.

The original recipe just said “shake with ice, then serve over ice. Garnish with lemon wheel.” Um. What about the mint? What kind of glass? Yeah, this recipe isn’t too specific about a couple things. I used a nice big sprig of mint as a garnish, as with a julep. I also tossed it into a mason jar/drinking glass just like they’d do in Hazzard County. I’d recommend using some honey syrup instead of straight honey. Honey is a little too thick to mix well, especially with ice. Use a half ounce of honey syrup (1 part honey, 1 part water) in place of the straight stuff. Mine came from Blue Line Apiary, which was featured in my Rule 37: The Bee’s Knees.

Ok. Let’s try it.
Well, lots of mint and lemon in the aroma. Mostly because of the mint sprig and lemon wheel stuck up my nose when I go in for a sniff. Kind of hard to get past those, so let’s have a taste.



It’s an interesting combo. There’s the dark quality of the bourbon, and a lot of lemon right from the start. The peach and honey flavors are more subdued and come in with the finish. It’s kind of like a cough drop: honey, lemon, and alcohol. Actually, this would probably make a dandy cough remedy. Plus the booze would put you right at ease. I think it’s rather nice (good thing I made myself a double) though the Lady Friend found it way too boozy. As if there is such a thing.

Now if only there were a silly and gratuitous Dukes of Hazzard picture to end this post with…

That works.
Someone got Daisy Duke out of her Daisy Dukes.

HTF Do I Make This? – Maraschino Cocktail Cherries

Ok. It’s summer. In fact it’s stupidly hot. And I don’t function well in environments above 75 degrees. So I’m a tad cranky most of the time when it’s like this. BUT there are CHERRIES in the stores again! That means I get to try something I’ve always wanted: homemade Maraschino cocktail cherries!


There are several different ways to do this. One way is to simply pour some cherries into a jar, fill with booze, and let it sit and marinate. Some people add sugar as well. That sounds awesome to me, but from what I’ve read, the results are not necessarily as awesome as it sounds. So I found a couple other recipes, and I’m going to try a few different versions. Tonight’s version comes from the very informative cocktail blog, Summit Sips. So what I’m describing here comes pretty much directly from that site, so you should go visit it. They also do a “Drink of the Week” which is just plain awesome. Anyway, the recipe is on the site HERE, though I’ll also list out what I did.

First of all, let’s get into the whole Maraschino Cherry thing right off the bat. You know those little bright red cherries in the jar that go on top of ice cream sundaes? Yeah, despite the name, those aren’t Maraschino Cherries. Look at the ingredients: cherries (well, they were at one time), water, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and a bunch of flavorings, preservatives and food dye. Yup. Those things are just made from sugar and red, like fake grenadine. The real stuff is miles away.

Seriously. Maraschino should be in quotations.
Actually, so should cherries.

Originally, Maraschino Cherries were made from Marasca cherries in Croatia, hence the name. These cherries were also used to make Maraschino liqueur (Luxardo is the big brand), and in a fun flip-flop, they used the liqueur to preserve cherries, which created Maraschino Cherries. They became popular in America around the early 1900s, but then were banned due to the national hissy fit of Prohibition. Yes, because Maraschino Cherries were preserved in booze, they were banned. That’s when the sugary fake red versions came along, and took over the market. But, with the whole retro cocktail thing going on, you can get REAL Maraschino Cherries again (notably, from Luxardo) and you can even get the Maraschino liqueur to make your own.

Also, fun tip: despite using the same word, when you’re referring to the bright red sugar cherries, it’s pronounced “mare-ah-SHEE-no” but when dealing with the REAL stuff (cherries or liqueur) it’s “mare-ah-SKEE-no.” Enjoy sounding like a know-it-all with that little tidbit.

So. Enough history. Here’s what I did (my measurements are a little wonky because I started with about a pound and a quarter of cherries. It’s a little easier when you start with one pound):

– 1.25lbs fresh cherries
(they’re probably Bing cherries. Apparently this works much better with sour cherries)
– 2/3 cup sugar
– 2/3 cup water
– 2/3 oz lemon juice
– 1 cinnamon stick
– 1 dash grated nutmeg
– 2 1/2 oz Maraschino liqueur
– 5 oz bourbon

Wash, then pit the cherries. Leave the stems on the cherries, and be sure to save the pits. I got the Oxo cherry pitter. It seems to work well enough. Yes, this will splash cherry juice droplets everywhere, and yes, it stains. Fortunately, my couch is already red.

In a saucepan, boil the water, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. You’re basically making a spiced simple syrup. When it boils, add in the pitted cherries and the pits. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and stir the mixture for seven minutes. It’s going to smell AWESOME. After seven minutes, remove from the heat, and add in your spirits. Summit Sips went with a more neutral 2 oz each of maraschino liqueur, brandy, and Cherry Heering, but I don’t have any Cherry Heering and I like bourbon better. I used Old Crow Reserve because it’s tasty, it’s cheap, and I’ve got a lot of it right now. I also went ahead and substituted bourbon for brandy. So I wound up with one part maraschino and two parts bourbon.

Anyway, add in the spirits (a good rum would probably be nice too) and let it cool. Spoon out the cherries into a jar of some kind (like a canning jar) then strain in the syrup until it covers the cherries. Put it in the fridge. That’s it. That’s why I went with this version first… it’s decently simple. You can save the remaining syrup (strain out the cherry pits and cinnamon) and use it in drinks for a bit of added flavor. It’s got simple syrup, cherry juice, cinnamon and nutmeg in there, with some maraschino and bourbon. Yum.

Since all those little stems were reaching out to me as I put the cherries in the jar, I tasted one while they were still warm, and it was good. A little soft, though they may firm up a bit more once cold, and cinnamon spicy, with a little bourbon kick. Like a mini Manhattan made with lots of bitters. Another note: though my fresh cherries didn’t all fit in the jar, once cooked, they only took up about 2/3 of a pint jar.

There is another version I plan to try, which involves brining the cherries and is said to get firmer results. I’ll let you know when I try it, but for now, I’ll see how the current batch holds out.

So, since I had a half of a lemon, and a bottle of Old Crow Reserve, and some new cherry syrup just SITTING there, I HAD to make a drink. It’s basically a Whiskey Sour, but with the cherry syrup instead of simple syrup.

Cherry Whiskey Sour
Or, as a coworker immediately dubbed it on Facebook, “The Big Pink Squirrel.”
Though there already is a Pink Squirrel cocktail, I like the way he thinks. Thanks, Marwaaah!

– 1 1/2 oz whiskey (Old Crow Reserve in this case)
– 1 oz cherry syrup (homemade from the cherry making)
– 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
– Dash of Angostura bitters

You know the drill. Shake it all up, strain into a rocks glass over copious amounts of ice because it’s like 90 degrees out. You bet your sweet bippy there’s a garnish for this: one of those cocktail cherries you just slaved over a hot stove for. Bust ‘em out and put ‘em to use.

Well, it smells like cinnamon, cherry, and whiskey. And it tastes like cinnamon, cherry and whiskey (not necessarily in that order) though the lemon tart really does help reign this one in more than I would have thought. The cinnamon is a bit more forward than expected (plus there’s some Angostura in there) but it only elevates the fresh cherry and sweet bourbon. This one is mighty tasty, and would also do well as a Collins. Yes, I’m on a bit of a Collins kick lately, but it’s hotter than Lucifer’s taint out and a tall ice filled glass with some bubbly water makes everything a little mo’ bettah. Still, as a lowball, this one is fab. Put your new syrup and garnish to the test and give it a whirl.

Rule 37: The Waldorf

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.

Well, after a busy week, I was left scrambling for a Rule 37 on Friday night. Dale DeGroff’s The Craft of the Cocktail happened to be lying nearby, and as my tried-and-true standby recipe book, it didn’t let me down. If I’m not careful, I might wind up documenting the entire book. It’s not my fault! It’s full of great drinks. This week’s tipple might not have been the most unusual concoction, but it was still mighty tasty.

The Waldorf

– 2 oz rye or bourbon whiskey (Rittenhouse Rye)
– 3/4 oz sweet vermouth
– 1/4 oz Ricard (Pernod)
– 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Swirl the Ricard, or Pernod, or whatever anise flavored concoction you plan to use (I’m sure real absinthe would do just fine as well) in the mixing glass. I say swirl, but it works better to tilt the glass at an angle, and rotate/turn, which rolls the liquid around. The goat is to simply coat the inside of the mixing glass with the anise liqueur. This differs from other recipes I’ve seen, like a Sazerac, where you coat the drinking glass. Here, you’re only coating the mixing glass. Add ice, and pour in the other ingredients. STIR, strain, and serve in a chilled cocktail glass. No garnish specified, but I’d likely add a nice cocktail cherry, as with a Manhattan.

So, yeah. It’s basically a Manhattan with a Ricard rinse. Don’t discount that too much; it makes a big difference.

I was feeling fancy, and falling behind the Lady Friend in the drink count, so I jazzed up the recipe with my treasured 100 proof Rittenhouse Rye. I had seriously considered using the Old Crow Reserve bourbon, which came highly recommended from Drinking the Bottom Shelf writer Will Gordon, and he’s dead on. It’s stupidly inexpensive, and stupidly tasty. $13 bourbon shouldn’t be that good. I’ve come to enjoy it enough to hoard and stockpile reserve supplies, and recently acquired a large surplus which should keep me happy for a reasonable length of time, if I don’t quaff it in an unreasonable manner. Which can happen. Frequently. However, the Rittenhouse is one of my all-time favorites. Big, bold, 100 proof and spicy rye, versus a sweet sweet bourbon. It also gives me a good benchmark, since I’m quite familiar with how a Rittenhouse Manhattan should taste.

Nose: Spicy rye bite, with a touch of vermouth sweetness. The anise of the Pernod shoves its way through, full of licorice and shenanigans. The Angostura adds its dark spice, and between the rye and Pernod, there’s a weird little aroma dance going on. It almost smells Christmasy.

Taste: Cool, then suddenly warm. Not hot, but warm. The rye spice is tempered by the vermouth, and strangely offset by the anise flavors. Rinsing the glass made a HUGE difference. Angostura is there, laughing in the background, cheerful and cinnamon spice. It’s almost as if the hot rye and cool anise are magnetic opposites, and they have a little battle for control of the taste buds. It’s the tastiness of a Manhattan, but with a new player to the game. The Pernod engages in a tug-of-war with even the power of the Rittenhouse. I wanted to put “Rittenhouse Powerhouse” but it was just too much.

The Lady Friend declared “Yup. Pernod.” upon smelling it, then furrowed her brow as she took a sip.
“I taste the Rittenhouse up front, which is tasty, then Pernod in back. Rittenhouse comes back. It’s good. It was a good little sip. It’s interesting.” She usually can’t stand my high-proof rye Manhattans, so this one was tamed down enough for her to taste, though there’s still plenty of flavor. It is indeed an interesting palate experiment, and a great twist for a Manhattan lover. Try one.

Rule 37: The Mustachio

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.

Whilst stroking the blank space under my nose where my awesome handlebar mustache used to be (the Lady Friend did not approve, and somehow she obtained a large number of electoral votes) I happened across a tasty looking recipe. It comes from The Barkeeper’s May issue of this year. It was just the thing to sip while fondly recalling my days as a facially-follicled gent.

The Mustachio

1 ½ oz Bourbon (Used Old Crow Reserve)
1 oz Cointreau (Used Grand Marnier)
¾ oz Campari
½ oz lemon juice

Shake/ strain/ serve in a chilled cocktail glass. Be sure to include the garnish.

For the garnish: I recommend cutting a large swath of lemon peel away from the fruit, and trimming off the pith. Then, use your paring knife (or Xacto like I did) to slice the proper handlebar mustache shape.

Nose: Well, it’s confusing. It smells like bourbon, Campari and lemon mixed together. Which is how it should smell, I suppose. Like a whiskey sour, but with Campari in it.

Taste: Less sweet than I imagined. The bourbon is certainly in there, and it’s doing freaky-deakey things with the bittersweet Campari. It starts with a dry, tart, herbal bitter from the Campari, but with bourbon’s hot sweet mess. I used Grand Marnier instead of Cointreau, and it adds a bit of dark sweetness which pairs well with the whiskey. The lemon is hanging out in the background, but very subdued. It’s the Campari and the bourbon slugging it out, and the Campari might win. Perhaps a bigger whiskey, like the higher-proof Knob Creek would do it, but the super-tasty Old Crow Reserve goes down swinging.

The Lady Friend’s take: “Smell: bourbon. I don’t taste any Campari.” I think her tastebuds are broken. I belive she’s mistaking the Camapri’s bittersweet for lemon tart. There really isn’t much lemon juice in there to make much impact. She did make her “Campari grimace” face.

I miss my mustache.

Rule 37: The Grumpy Old Man

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.

This week was a pain in the backside. Too many ugly lookin people all wantin somethin and I’ll be damned if they’re gonna get it from ME. I’m in a grumpy old man mood, and wanted a grumpy old man drink. Preferably with whiskey. Lots.

This drink was just plain perfect.

It comes from the cocktail book “Old Man Drinks” which had been on my wish list for quite some time until the Lady Friend got me a copy as a holiday present.

It’s awesome.

Grumpy Old Man
The book states that the drink is so old that “it’s got ‘old man’ in the name.” It goes on to suggest using Old Grand-Dad bourbon whiskey to “rachet up the decrepitude.” Well, I don’t have any Old Grand-dad, but I did use Old Crow Reserve. Perfect.

– 2 oz bourbon (Bonus if it has “old” in the name)
– 1 oz lime juice
– Top with ginger ale

Quit messin around and drink. All you have to do is fill an old fashioned glass with ice, pour in the bourbon, then the lime juice, then top with ginger ale. Drink it and shut your yapper.

Yes, that’s my hat.
Yes, I do wear it.

Well, the drink is good. Simple and tasty. A bit too limey, and in the future I might take down the juice a bit, but the bourbon sweetness is certainly there. I’ve come to expect a bit more punch out of whiskey since I became a rye fan, so the bourbon isn’t as big and bold, but I suspect I’ll know it’s there after I pound down several of these. The ginger ale just adds a nice fizzy kick. It’s damn simple and damn tasty. Now get off my lawn.

Seriously. Go away.

Rule 37: The Boulevardier

I had entered a couple photos in a local art show Friday night, so our cocktail night was a bit delayed. Lady Friend started with wine at the show, then switched over to beer for dinner at the Union Brewhouse, where we each checked two more brews off of our 99 bottle list. She’s doing her list in reverse alphabetical order, and went with a Unibroue La Fin du Monde, which she enjoyed greatly. Another trip to Montreal may be necessary to stop by the brewery in Chambly. Her second was a pint of Blue Hills Brewery’s Okto Brau on tap (which was quite good… it didn’t taste like most Octoberfest beers. It really did have flavors of autumn somehow. Finished with a cereal sweet taste that I can only describe as Halloween candy Kit Kat bars. Seriously.) I crossed Haverhill Brewery’s IPA off my list (they’re one of our future drink destinations) and had a Harpoon IPA, which is never a bad choice.

So, after dinner, we adjorned to SquirrelFarts HQ, aka The Drinkatorium, aka The Cocktail Cave aka Hōm Bar. All names awaiting trademark certification. Lady Friend decided to stay on the beer train, and ignore the hallowed tenets of Rule 37. I had picked out a new drink earlier in the week after stumbling across one that sounded good in one of the drinking blogs/ articles I follow:’s cocktail section. The article is here.

The Boulevardier

1 1/2 oz bourbon (I substituted rye)
1 oz sweet vermouth (Martini & Rossi)
1 oz Campari

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and STIR.
Strain with a julep strainer into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with orange twist.

Have a sip and exclaim “Ah, Paris!”
…even though it’s made with American bourbon, and Italian Campari.

Clearly, it’s similar to the Negroni, pouring bourbon instead of gin. It wasn’t bad, but the Campari overwhelmed the whiskey, even with an extra 1/2 ounce of liquor in the mix. Perhaps a bolder rye (I used Old Overholt) would be more willing to stand up to the Campari’s amaro insolence. I think I’ll try this one again, easing up slightly on the Campari. The whiskey added a smoothness to the drink not found in a regular gin-based Negroni. I used rye, wanting a little more bite, suspecting bourbon’s sweetness would be washed away by the powerful bittersweet in the Campari. A variant of the recipe, the 1794 Cocktail, seems to be just what I’m looking for.

It turns out, the Boulevardier is a bit of a classic, and older than its Negroni sibling. During Prohibition, cocktails really grew into their own, and expat bartender Harry McElhone started Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. Since Campari, an Italian bitter liqueur, was widely available in Europe, a number of cocktails included it as a big flavor boost. Although this cocktail appears to be a whiskey version of a Negroni, (equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth) Campari was unheard of in America at the time, and would not appear until about 20 years later following WWII. Harry’s cocktail was named for a monthly magazine called, of course, The Boulevardier, as it was the signature drink of the magazine’s publisher. More on this can be found in the short article by Ted “Dr Cocktail” Haigh at Imbibe Magazine, found HERE. Go read it, then make a Boulevardier for yourself.

Actually, go have a Negroni. It may be newer, but it’s tastier, and still a classic.

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