Archive for the ‘Cocktails’ Category

I’ve thrown a couple of cocktail parties based off of a story I heard about FDR during WWII. I was watching the News Hour, and Doris Kearns Goodwin was on as a commentator discussing Iraq and President Bush and whether or not he had cleared enough brush at Camp David – or something to that effect. She brought up FDR and said that one quality that made FDR so great was his ability to detach himself from the situation, and come back to it refreshed. As the story goes, in the middle of WWII he had all his advisers move in to the White House and for one hour every evening they would convene in the parlor and have themselves a drink. The only rule was that they couldn’t talk about the war. I can’t be certain, but I could swear that Goodwin said that even Churchill for a time lived in the White House as well. When I lived in Davis I tried organizing what I thought a modern version of that would be. They were pretty successful as a way to break up the week.

Here are the rules:

  1. no beer or wine
  2. no blended drinks
  3. no shots
  4. no getting belligerent
  5. please bring a friend
  6. please bring a bottle of something
  7. and the main rule to honor the tradition was that you couldn’t talk about what tied you with another person there. For example, if you were classmates, you couldn’t discuss the class you were taking together. If you worked together, you could not talk about work.

As for the reasoning behind the other rules, no beer and wine  simply because it’s a cocktail party, do you really want to be that guy? Go have a kegger, or have your own wine and cheese thing. Blended drinks just made conversation more difficult. Shots and getting belligerent are just uncouth. Friends are always nice, but not having to supply all the booze is nicer. The last rule was the most important, and the hardest to enforce. But after it was explained, most people tried to honor it.

For further reading on FDR and drinks, Modern Drunkard has a lovely story.

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Perhaps too long to add to my Bartlett’s,  but a great argument for why serious bartenders and home enthusiasts should consider experimenting.

“The subject of sherry actually has a great relevance to the barrel ageing debate. Oloroso sherry is a marriage of wine and spirit that is aged in cask – in fact the same ingredients (in principle) that are used to make a Martinez or a Manhattan – spirit, wine and bitters. On that basis, I think it’s hard to dismiss the very concept of barrel-ageing cocktails, as some do, when the same theory applies to such great effect in the production of sherries? ”

~Tristan Stephenson




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Being a a big fan of bitters I had the desire to break out my new bottle of Campari and make an Americano. Unfortunately I didn’t have any club soda. However, for I did have Orangina in the fridge. Thus my spin on a classic bas born. Valencia was added to acknowledge it’s Spanish creator Dr. Trigo. I’m tempted to try it out with Pellegrino’s Arancina to keep it all Italian.

1.5 oz Campari

1.5 oz Sweet Vermouth

top with Orangina

garnish with a twist of orange

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The McMiller

Named after a swell chap I know.


1.5 oz rye whiskey

.75 oz Cherry Heering

.5 z gomme syrup

1/2 squeeze lemon

shaken, serve with a twist & enjoi!

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The Al Di Meola

1oz Bourbon
½ squeeze lemon
1 tbsp apricot jam
2 dashes peach bitters
2 dashes sherry vinegar
I’ve been trying to incorporate vinegar into my cocktails but to no avail. It made sense when I first read the use of vinegar in drinks, it plays the role of citrus in adding acid. But ditching citrus and replacing with vinegar hasn’t produced a desired effect. By adding just a bit adds another pleasant note without too much sourness.

Why is it called an Al Di Meola? I guess I was just thinking of Mediterranean Sunset when I grabbed the vinegar.

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In the current issue of Men’s Health the Red Lobser Lobsterita comes in at a staggering  890 calories. The classic recipe certified by the IBA on the Margarita wiki entry weighs in at around 150 calories. Squeeze in a little a teaspoon of agave nectar for a little sweetness and it’s still well under 200 calories.



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I’ve been wanting to do an underground restaurant kind of thing for some time. I’m finally going to make it happen, somehow.

The goal is to have it once a month consisting of a different theme. I hope to put out about 7 dishes with a target price of $15 a person, or $20 for food and wine/beer.

Figuring I’ll have to front supplies, having a reservation policy and holding people accountable is only fair. If they’re a no-show and I can’t find someone else who’d like to join. I’ll have to have a reservation policy of 48 hours, otherwise if the reso doesn’t get filled by somebody else, I’ll have a nice gift basket of food for you 🙂

If anyone out there in intornet lands hosts one as well, I’d be very interested in what you are doing.

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