“Livy my darling, I want you to be sure and remember to have, in the bathroom, when I arrive, a bottle of Scotch whisky, a lemon, some crushed sugar, and a bottle of Angostura bitters. Ever since I have been in London I have taken in a wine glass what is called a cock-tail (made with those ingredients) before breakfast, before dinner, & just before going to bed.”
Mark Twain’s birthday is November 30th, and this year would have been his 178th. There may be no better way to celebrate his legacy than with his favorite cocktail – a real old-school treat which he describes above in a 1874 letter to his wife.
Mark Twain Cocktail
1 1/2 oz of scotch
the juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 sugar cube
2 dashes of bitters
crush the sugar with a muddler in a cocktail shaker
add ice, shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
I was browsing Mr. Boston’s Cocktail book recently, and discovered a cocktail I’d never heard of. This drink ends up a cool, bright yellow because of the mixture of the two ingredients. This is a potent drink – it clocks in at a meager 2 oz – and it’s a great excuse to use you old-timey cocktail coupes:
1 oz absinthe
1 oz whiskey
stir with ice and strain into a small, chilled cocktail glass
Here’s the video clip from May 14th of my live segment on The Morning Brew with Larry Ahrens in Albuquerque. Remember you can find the recipes that I made on the show (Mapple Punch and Scotch/Soda/Cranberry) here.
Tonic water isn’t just a handy mixer with gin (though that’s the most common). You can substitute any base liquor for gin and see how it works with tonic water. This cocktail is a fun variation on a margarita, as the tonic water takes the place of the sweet triple sec. Enjoy!
“Look a-yonder comin’ Comin’ down that railroad track Hey, look a-yonder comin’ Comin’ down that railroad track It’s the Orange Blossom Special Bringin’ my baby back…” ~ Johnny Cash, Orange Blossom Special
Gin and orange juice make a great flavor combination, and I’ve begun to regularly prefer gin over vodka in my Screwdrivers. A while back, I had a spicy gin that made a particularly great combination with orange: Seattle’s Big Gin. Here’s an awesome, simple, tasty gin-and-orange cocktail you can try at home:
Orange Blossom Special
1 oz gin
1 oz fresh-squeezed orange juice
1/4 tsp powdered sugar
shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Arriving for winter is a seasonal version of Jack Daniel’s that’s meant to be drunk hot: Winter Jack Tennessee Cider. Wrapped in a snowy-white label, Winter Jack is lighter in color than it’s namesake, and considerably lighter in alcohol: just 15% vs. Jack’s usual 40%.
Depending on where you are in the world, this will either be called Tennessee Cider or Tennessee Apple Whiskey Punch, but it’s the same Winter Jack regardless of the subtitle. It’s described on the label as “a seasonal blend of apple cider liqueur & Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey,” and it ends up taking just like that: a little Jack, a little apple, some cinnamon and spice.
Really, Winter Jack is made to be an easy cider for a snowy day: pour it in a coffee mug, heat it up, drink and repeat. Winter Jack will run you $15-20 a bottle, and there are 30 states that it’ll be distributed to in the U.S., though the list excludes my home state of New Mexico, so we’ll have to take a road trip to Colorado or Texas to get some.
“Stop moving! I know what this is — it’s Devil’s Snare!”
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you this year’s Halloween cocktail: a Devil’s Snare. Green and wicked just like the fictional plants themselves, this cocktail is not for those who are easily frightened!
…or for those who hate licorice flavor.
One thing that makes the presentation so cool with this drink is you get to make your own Halloween sugar using Angostura bitters. White sugar and several dashes of Angostura makes for the perfect orange sugar rim.
Devil’s Snare (by Greg Mays)
1 1/5 oz Agwa de Bolivia
1 oz Absinthe
shake on ice,
strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with orange sugar