Cocktail Advent 23: Good Memories


As the holiday season wears on, it’s a good time to think back to friends far away or family antics relegated to memory. Today’s cocktail sounds like a soothing accompaniment to long sessions spent reliving the “old” days–be they twenty or two years passed.

Image via Bombay Sapphire Gin

Image via Bombay Sapphire Gin

Good Memories
Created by Bombay Sapphire New York’s Most Imaginative Bartender Winner, Vincenzo Cangemi of Ovest Pizzoteca and Bar in NYC

  • 1.75oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • 1 oz spiced rum
  • 1 scoop Hazelnut ice cream
  • 0.5oz cherry liquor
  • Jerry Thomas bitter
  • Cinnamon

Method: Pour all the ingredients into a shaker except the bitter and cinnamon, then shake with no ice, just with a strainer cord, the ice cream will melt into the drink chilling it out perfectly, getting creamy and ready for some cinnamon grated on top and Jerry Thomas bitter.

“It’s a delicious martini-style cocktail perfect for Christmas, with hazelnut notes and cloves, all surrounded with cinnamon aroma, cherries, and vanilla from the rum. It’s a cold blend that has a floral body from the Bombay Sapphire Gin, that warms you up in the cold. It is also perfect for a summery Christmas on a fantastic tropical island. Enjoy responsibly! Salute!”

I’m going to guess that, if you cannot find Hazelnut ice cream in your market and do not feel like whipping up a batch yourself, a splash of hazelnut liqueur and some quality vanilla bean ice cream would do the trick. As for the “strainer cord” your guess is as good as mine–the only reference I could find to that was that some bartenders keep their strainers close at hand by hanging them from a retractable cord.

***This recipe was provided by a representative of Bombay Sapphire Gin. I am not affiliated with this brand nor was compensated to post this recipe, not even with review samples. As always, we encourage responsible refreshment and the use of the Designated Driver. No drunken monkeys, please!***

AlcoHOLidays | Thanksgiving | Berry-Cran Cobbler


Berry-Cran Cobbler Cocktail for Thanksgiving

Growing up, Mom made no bones about Thanksgiving being her favorite holiday. Trips home to see family were in November, not December, and featured large gatherings of family and friends, food served buffet-style on every flat surface available, and (one memorable year) plates that were actually Chinet platters, because a normal plate wouldn’t come close to holding a little bit of everything available.

These days Thanksgiving is often relegated to the back-burner for many. Merely a carbo-load before Black Friday shopping begins (this year some stores are starting Thursday night, even).

Despite some of the more inauspicious beginnings of Thanksgiving (similar to the controversy surrounding Columbus Day), Thanksgiving is still widely celebrated throughout the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. Menus vary depending on your family’s heritage or adopted traditions, though turkey with all the trimmings is considered the norm. What makes this turkey dinner different from any other?

Cranberry Sauce

Sure, you can buy canned cranberry sauce year-round, but you can roast poultry year round, too. Cranberry sauce is just one of those things we don’t seem to buy much of (or make) except for Thanksgiving.

Berry-Cran Cobbler

1 Tbsp Dried Cranberries
1 oz Simple Syrup
1 1/2 oz Spiced Rum
3 Tbsp Raspberries & Blueberries
Crushed Ice
Cranberry Juice
Sprig of Mint

Muddle the dried cranberries and simple syrup in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add the rum, fresh berries, and then crushed ice to the 3/4 mark on the glass and shake until nice and frothy. Dump the whole thing into a glass, add more ice (if needed), and fill with cranberry juice.  Garnish with a sprig of mint and serve with a straw.

Even though cobblers are traditionally made with sherry or other fortified wines, I thought rum better fit the feeling I was going for. The fresh berries should break up a bit during shaking and the cobbler is one of the few drinks that is served with the shaking ice rather than straining over fresh. It’s a fun sort of throw-back drink for a fun sort of throw-back holiday. It’s very sweet, so if you want something lighter, split the shaken mixture between two glasses and use more cranberry juice to thin it.

To be totally candid…

There’s a lot of crap going on in society today–Mother Nature is obviously not. pleased. with us, jobs are still scarce for many, and some people still insist on being grade-A asshats just because they feel like it. But in the face of all of that, we still have a lot to be thankful for. I’m not going to make you confess your gratitude. (Hey, if what you’re most thankful for today is your morning coffee, your earbuds to drown out an annoying co-worker, and the 30%-off coupon you’ve got for Kohls, you shouldn’t have to feel bad for standing next to the guy whose thankful his cancer’s in remission–we don’t judge, here. Be happy for you both.) But whatever you raise your glass to this coming week, I hope you have a good one.


AlcoHOLidays | Halloween | Iced Pumpkin Spice


Okay, now, I don’t really have to explain Halloween, do I?

Unlike some of the more obscure holidays I know we’ll examine in this series, Halloween (Hallowe’en, All Hallow’s Eve, Samhain–pronounced sow-in, by the way) is one of the biggies celebrated in many countries and cultures. While we celebrate mostly with candy and costumes these days, some still see it as a mystical night where the veil between this world and the next grows tissue thin.

Fall has long-been my favorite season, so it’s no big surprise that Halloween is my favorite holiday. There’s just something about the nip in the air (sometimes we  have to really search for that nip, down here in Florida), a good bonfire or fire-pit, impending sweater weather, and winter squash starting to appear in the stores that makes me extra happy. Not to mention the fun of being able to go to work in silly costumes.

A certain national coffee shop has made many folks–even those not terribly fond of coffee–salivate like Pavlov’s dogs over the mere mention of a Pumpkin Spice latte. About the only thing that drink is missing is a good shot of something. It just so happened that I was browsing the fall/Halloween display in World Market in September and found the Torani Pumpkin Pie-Flavored Sauce, 12 oz. for $5.99.

For those not familiar, Torani is a pretty common brand of flavorings used in coffees and Italian sodas. While there are many recipes available all over the Web for similar syrups (which make it easy to make your own pumpkin-spice anything year-round), getting to try the real deal was a happy surprise. Not only have I made amazing pumpkin spice lattes at home with it, we’ve also used it on vanilla ice cream and it’s heavenly.

Iced Pumpkin Spice Cocktail

It doesn’t do half bad in today’s cocktail, either!

Iced Pumpkin Spice

1 1/2 oz Spiced Rum
1 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 oz Pumpkin Pie-Flavored Sauce
Cinnamon Stick

Combine rum, condensed milk, and sauce over ice and shake until the nip in the glass matches the nip in the air–even if the latter is just wishful thinking. Strain into a  chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Novelty glass and mellowcreme pumpkin patch optional.

Cosmic Cocktails | Scorpio | What A Tail


What a Tail Scorpio-inspired astrological cocktailApologies for the lack of update last Friday: preparations for the book launch took more time than I expected them to. Isn’t it always the way?

But now we’re back! From outer space, we just walked in–

No, no, no, we’re not channeling Gloria Gaynor, here, not the least because she was a Virgo, not a Scorpio, though the done-with-you attitude of the song would fit a scorned Scorp just fine (if you could manage to get rid of one in the first place, that is).

Maybe I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, though.

This week we’re utterly fascinated by the inscrutable Scorpio–mysterious, private, maybe a little brooding and withdrawn. Very physical, someone with their sun-sign in Scorpio is likely to need a lot of physical outlets for their energy, be it sports or exercise of a non-competitive nature (yes, that too, Scorpio is often considered the most highly-sexed sign of the zodiac). Sitting still is not something they like to do very often, preferring to be on the move.

Excellent in business, they learn quickly, take easy command of a situation, and have excellent instincts about finance. The Scorpio mind is like a steel strap, once something goes in it’s in for good, just waiting for it’s opportunity to pop out.

That said, you’re average Scorpio is not one to show their cards, wear their heart on their sleeve, or otherwise give away what’s going on behind the sometimes-moody eyes. This is probably why they make excellent confidants–until you piss them off, that is, and it’s time to get revenge. Remember there’s a stinger on the end of that magnificent tail.

In cocktail parlance, a Scorpion bowl is a rather loaded communal drink, often served in a volcano bowl featuring flames or dry ice for that extra special touch. The classic Scoripion cocktail–different from the bowl–is a little more reasonable for single drinking, but no less powerful. Meanwhile, we’ve got the Stinger, a popular after-dinner drink of brandy and creme de menthe that one of the Vanderbilt’s made acceptable for pre-dinner drinks back in the 1920s (per Esquire).

Not wanting to ignore those cocktail giants which would seem to lend themselves oh-so-well to this week’s cocktail, and knowing that strong flavors are associated with Scorpios in general, I present this cocktail in their honor.

What a Tail

Juice of 1/2 an orange
1 oz Spiced Rum
3/4 oz Brandy
1/4 oz Amaretto

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until well chilled, thinking secret thoughts. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry or two.

To make the nifty s-flag garnish I started with a slice of orange, cut from the center out in one place and threaded it onto the cocktail pick (from Trader Vic’s, in honor of the tiki-ness of today’s drink) in this order: one part of the cut side, a cherry, the uncut side in the middle, another cherry and twisting the other half of the cut side onto the end.


No, really, brooding Scorpio, cheer up a bit: it’s Friday!

Best of: Fruit[y] Cocktails


Since I’m still recovering from the impromptu trip last weekend and in honor of the holiday this coming weekend, here’s a couple of fun, fruity drinks to get you through the weekend. We’ll pick back up with our tasty tour of US History next Friday!


I’m not a girl who likes her liquor straight. On the contrary, I prefer mine well-mixered and my favorite class of mixer is fruit juice. Frou-frou umbrellas are not necessary and the blender can usually stay in the cabinet, but a good juice-to-booze ratio makes a happy camper of this cocktail chick.

I went flipping through my mixology books and found a promising “Mocktail” (a non-alcoholic cocktail, from the book of the same name) that I thought had potential. Even better, I had plenty of fresh strawberries and honeydew melon on hand that the recipe called for.

The one criticism I have for the original recipe is that the quantities are not specific. In school my chefs quickly figured out that I was definitely a baker (as opposed to a line cook) since I preferred (and always asked for) exact quantities, times and temperatures–everything that’s necessary for proper baking chemistry but more subjective for cooking on a line. How much is a “slice” of honeydew? What, to you, is a “part”? Since one ingredient was pineapple juice and the cans I keep on the bar are 6 oz. I decided that a “part” for this trial would be 3 oz. to prevent waste. (I decided to try the recipe two ways.) Here’s my version of the original:


6 strawberries, hulled and washed (halves are okay if the strawberries are very large)
6 1-inch balls of honeydew melon (I’d just finished a party and had extra melon balls, adjust as necessary)
3 oz orange juice
3 oz pineapple juice
1 c ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. This makes 1 tall smoothie or 2 short ones to share.

—adapted from Mocktails, David Biggs

Now, this was okay. Todd commented that it was all sort of mushed up together–no one flavor dominated. And that’s okay, really, but it doesn’t make the drink stand out. Even with the amount of liquid in this, it’s still very frothy and a bit chewy. If you, as the original recipe suggest, blend everything but the ice and then pour the mixture over crushed ice it may make a difference. I combined them for convenience.

So we have Fantasia, non-alcoholic and, frankly, G-rated. I was in the mood, however, for something with a little more kick and a little more flavor. This is our preferred version of this cocktail, still low-alcohol so safe for Summer consumption without fear of a hangover, but no longer safe for the kiddies:

CHF* Pink Elephants on Parade

6 strawberries, hulled and washed (halves are okay if the berries are large)
6 melon balls (for more kick, soak them in a little Midori)
3 oz orange juice
3 oz pineapple juice
1.5 oz spiced rum
1 c ice

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Makes 1 tall cocktail or 2 shorter ones: make a friend.

The spiced rum in the Pink Elephant version (does anyone else remember that scene from Dumbo? my favorites were the plaid ones) smooths out the flavor, warms it up even for being a blended ice-drink and gives a pleasant aftertaste.

Safe Sipping!

*Cocktail Hour Favorite. There may be only so many ingredients in a drink but there’s many ways to mix them.