Politics Shmolitics

Gary Regan, a teacher, mentor, and friend, once said, and I quote: “When you’re behind the stick, NEVER talk about politics.”  Since I’m in front of the stick at the moment, and behind my laptop screen, I’m able to discuss this topic. 

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) recently asked me to create some politically themed cocktails.  As we all know, the Democratic National Convention is coming to a close this week, and the Republicans are rearin’ to go next week.  DISCUS will be serving these cocktails at various Election-related events throughout the country.  They’ve already served some of them in Denver this week!

For your enjoyment, oh kind reader, I’ve included these recipes below.  Please try not to judge, and for heaven’s sake please don’t try to guess my political stance.  You’ll be rattling your brains from now until November. 

Here they are.  Rock the vote.

The Arizona Maverick

1 oz. Buffalo Trace Bourbon

3/4 oz. Simple Syrup

3 lemon wedges

1/2 of a ripe peach

1 oz. Champagne

Directions:  Muddle the peach and lemon in the simple syrup.  Then add the Rye and ice and shake well.  Strain into an ice-filled old fashioned glass.  Top off with the champagne.

Garnish: peach slice


The Obama Cocktail for a Change

1 oz. Beefeater Gin

1/4 oz. Faretti Biscotti Liqueur OR Dimmi Italian Liqueur

1/4 oz.Cinzano Dry Vermouth

2 dashes Fee Brother’s Orange Bitters

Directions:  Stir ingredients in a mixing glass with cracked ice.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish: orange peel


Red State Round-Up

1 oz. Herradura Reposado Tequila

1/2 oz. Grand Marnier

3/4 oz. Home-made Grenadine**

1/4 oz. Fresh lemon juice

1 egg white

Club Soda

Directions:  First, shake the egg white to emulsify.  Then add remaining ingredients to cocktail shaker with ice and shake well.  Strain into an ice-filled highball glass.  Top with sparkling water.

Garnish: freshly grated nutmeg and lemon wheel

**to make home-made grenadine, simply take 1 cup of store-bought pomegranate juice, and 1 cup of superfine sugar, and shake until all the sugar is dissolved.


Blue State Build-Up

1 oz. 10 Cane Rum

1 tsp. Blue Curacao

1/2 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

1/2 oz. Fresh lemon juice

1 dash Fee Brothers Aromatic Bitters

Directions: Stir ingredients in a mixing glass with cracked ice.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish: 3 floating blueberries



Liquid Ocean Water

Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.  I’ve come to terms with this statement as I get to know the gents from La Fee Absinthe more and more.  These guys are passionate about their product, and they spread the word from bar to bar across New York City.  Oscar and Dan are two peas in a pod – they love to chat, they love to drink, and they love life.  This is what brand representation is all about.  I respect the passion and I respect the down-to-earth nature that these two blokes from across the pond have brought to this city. 

Since the ban was lifted on Absinthe in the US, several brands have come to pay us a visit.  Very few are actually good in the traditional absinthe drip serve, let alone in a cocktail like a Sazerac or the more intense Death in the Afternoon (a favorite of that mega-boozer Ernest Hemingway).  La Fee is good.  La Fee is great. 

I’ve come up with a variation on the Sea Foam Fizz (Liquid Ocean Water) that I call “Afternoon Foam Fizz.”  It’s sort of a cross between a Sea Foam Fizz and a Death in the Afternoon.  Go pick yourself up a bottle of La Fee, learn how to make a proper Sazerac by clicking here (by yours truly), and then study the recipe below and try it out for yourself:

Afternoon Foam Fizz

1 1/2 oz. La Fee Absinthe

1 oz. Fresh lemon juice

1 oz. simple syrup

2 oz. Champagne

1 egg white

Directions:   Dry shake the La Fee, Lemon, Simple, and Egg to emulsify.  Then add ice and shake even harder.  Strain over ice into a collins glass.  Top w/ the Champagne.

Garnish: Freshly grated nutmeg and lemon wheel

The Nectar of Angels

Cognac.  Luxury.  Elite.  Deliciousness.  Silkiness.   Angels.  Ferrand.  Word Association.  Try it.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Alexandre Gabriel, the founder of Cognac Ferrand.  The man is a wealth of knowledge, and a self-described cognac geek.  We (and when I say we, I mean Guillaume and Francois from Pierre Ferrand, as well as…wait for it…Gary Regan), sampled the Ferrand Selection des Anges, a cognac that glides on the palate, and exudes rich vanilla, nuts, and spices.  What a treat this was!

Hey, guess what?  These guys have other products, too?  Ever heard of Plantation Rum – or Citadelle Gin – or Mathilde Liqueurs?  We tried the delicious Mathilde XO Orange Liqueur.  If you think you’ve had the best Sidecar you’ve ever tasted in your life, you’ve no doubt tried it with Mathilde as the orange liqueur.  Try it – you WILL NOT be dissapointed (recipe below).

The things these Frenchmen have up their sleeves is amazing: secret recipes and ingredients, new products…Stay tuned, ’cause the French are back in town!

Ferrand Sidecar XO

1 oz. Cognac Pierre Ferrand Selection des Anges

1/2 oz. Mathilde XO Orange Liqueur

1/2 oz. Fresh squeezed lemon juice

Directions:  Shake briskly and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish: Flamed orange twist

I got my Knickerbockers in a Bunch

The Manhattan and Knickerbocker cocktails were flowing last night at the first U.S. Bartender’s Guild New York Chapter meeting held at Devin Tavern. It’s been a long time in the making, but it finally happened. We gathered 30 or so bar and cocktail luminaries for some drinks and hors d’ouerves. I’m going to be serious now for a moment (it’s tough) and say that this was a very special event. I think I can speak for everyone in saying that we all felt very honored and excited that we were getting this chapter going again. Whenever you’re surrounded by the entire DeGroff clan, you know you’re involved with something truly spectacular.

If you’d like any more info on the USBG New York chapter, feel free to email me here.

Thank you so much to Michael Waterhouse at Devin Tavern, and to K., the great barman who served us. Here’s K’s recipe for a Knickerbocker cocktail. It’s tasty…and strong…

K’s Knickerbocker Cocktail

1 1/2 oz. Bluecoat Gin

3/4 oz. Dry Vermouth

1 tsp. Sweet Vermouth

Directions:  Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.  Strain into a chilled martini glass.

Garnish: Lemon peel

The Glen Lounge at Devin Tavern

The Glen Lounge, where we had our little shindig, at Devin Tavern.

Devin Tavern

Mojitos & Hotcakes

What do the two have in common?  Well, at the party that I worked and staffed last night at Astor Center’s Gallery space, the specialty Mojito that I came up with went like hotcakes.  I figured I had to talk about the evening and include the recipe for this drink so as to share the wealth with all of you folks. 

Myself, along with a couple of my talented mixology mavericks, slung drinks and muddled mint for a 30th birthday gathering.  Let me tell you, if any of you are thinking about an event space that is a) conveniently located in Downtown Manhattan, b) seems like you’re in your rich investment banker-friend’s loft apartment, c) as well-staffed with the most likable and hard-working folks you’ll ever meet – then look no further than  Astor Center.  Their event space, encompassing perhaps 1/2 of Astor Center’s square footage, is full of exposed brick, loft details, and bright airy windows.  It’s always a pleasure to work there.

I created 2 signature cocktails for this party, as is my specialty for all events that I do.  They both faired equally as well, but the one that seemed to stand out in the crowd was my Rosemary-Elderflower Mojito.  The Mt. Gay silver and St. Germain Liqueur were flowing off the shelves, and my bartending partner and I thanked God for our trusty Pug! Muddlers, without whom we’d be mere serfs hauling boulders uphill.  (Not sure where that  analogy came from, but we’ll just run with it, ok?

In conclusion, I’ve spent my entire day today wanting to go see Batman in Imax (Yes, I haven’t yet seen the film), and instead I’ve included the recipe for this nectarous mojito, and so here ’tis:

Rosemary-Elderflower Mojito

1 oz. Mt. Gay Silver Rum

1/2 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

1/2 oz. Fresh squeezed lime juice

1/2 oz. simple syrup

handful mint leaves

pinch rosemary leaves

1 oz. Prosecco

Directions: Muddle the mint and rosemary in the lime and simple.  Add ice and remaining ingredients and shake.  Pour into collins glass.

Top with Prosecco.


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