Monthly Archives: January 2010

The Promissory Note

Consider this “Current Events Drinking”.  While its gotten a bit lost  in the recent hollow insanity generated by insurance industry Astroturf groups screaming “socialist death panels out to steal your Medicare “, every Friday brings another set of banks laid low by the bursting of the real estate bubble.  In grim honor of the little pieces of paper traded by Wall Street that have given our entire economy a case of the swine flow, this quite tasty drink takes my mind off the troubles of the Great Recession.

Promissory Note

1 oz. Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
3/4 oz. dry vermouth
3/4 oz. reposado tequila
1 barspoon honey
3-4 dashes absinthe

Stir with cracked ice and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with fresh grate cinnamon and thin slice of radish.

Recipe courtesy of The Alembic.



It took forever, but my homemade Amer Picon has finally finished.  Amer Picon, for the uninitiated or even merely “not geeky”, is an Italian amaro that is a mix of orange, gentian and other herbal ingredients.  It was an ingredient in various pre-Prohibition cocktails, the most classic of which is the Picon Punch, a simple cocktail of Amer Picon, grenadine and soda water.  The problem is that Amer Picon has long since ceased being imported into the States.  Even worse, twenty years ago the formula was changed which included cutting the proof in half.  Sacre bleu!

The result is an amaro which even if you can get your hands on a bottle, tastes nothing like the original around which these cocktails were based.  Enter the Americans.   Or more precisely, the San Francisco Italian-Americans.  A domestic substitute is availabe from Torani, the folks that brought you your flavored coffee syrups.  While I won’t hold that against them, their version, Torani Amer, is a bit more vegetal than the original – not bad, but not the same.  (Reports are that Torani has recently re-formulated their version to mimic more closely the original, but since I have not finished even my first bottle, I see no reason to waste the money on a second.)

So what shall a booze nerd do? Why make your own, of course! The “love him or hate him” Jamie Boudreau has concocted a recipe of his own a few years ago which comes close to the original recipe, based on reviews by tasters who have had access to those rare bottles of “original formula” Amer Picon for comparison.  It does, however, require some patience.  Precisely two months of patience, as a bottle of orange peels sits in a jar of high proof vodka in the back of your closet turning into tincture, with Ms. ChinaNob snickering in the corner thinking you’ve gone mad.   However, once complete, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the finished product was quite tasty.


1 3/4 oz. gold rum (Cruzan 5-Year or Single Barrel )
3/4 oz. green chartreuse
1/2 oz. Amer Picon
1/2 oz. falernum

Stir with ice and strain into cocktail glass.  Garnish with cherry.

Recipe courtesy of Oh Gosh!

Port Light

Rain, rain go away, come back some…well drat, we’ve had a drought here in the Bay Area for going on three years now.   I can’t just wish away the rain now that we finally have a normal (read: totally wet) winter.  This would all be perfectly agreeable as it would ordinarily mean fresh powder in Tahoe for me to enjoy Year Two of “Dave Learns to Ski” – a perfect winter.  But I’ve been saddled with a  seriously tweaked hamstring from an old injury which has left me hobbling around with a newfound appreciation for disabled ramps.

So until I get my two left feet back, I’m stuck starring out the wet, drippy  windows, daydreaming about sunshine and tropical beaches.  As I can’t quite hop on the next plane bound for Hawaii – at least not yet – I’ll have to rely on Trader Vic to help me imagine myself  in a Hawaiian Tropic ad.

1 oz fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz passion fruit syrup
3 tsp grenadine*
1 oz Bourbon

Blend with 1 cup crushed ice for 5 seconds and pour into collins glass or nautical tumbler. Add more crushed ice to fill.

Recipe courtesy of A Mountain of Crushed Ice.

For the grenadine, I combined the recipe from Tiare above with Jeffrey Morgenthaler.  Take a couple of pomegranates and use a juicer or reamer to grind the heck out of it to extract as much juice as possible.   Strain through a seive or cheesecloth.  Measure juice and combine with equal quantity sugar and two or three hibiscus flowers.  Warm (but do NOT boil) in a microwave to dissolve sugar.  Let the flowers steep for an hour.    Finish with a dash of orange flower water and bottle.