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MxMo LX: The Bitter Mai Tai

Summer is rapidly winding down – I blinked and the days are already getting shorter.  In the Bay Area, its fully into the gloom and chill of Fog-ust.  Meanwhile, back East where I’m vacationing, muggy heat is doing battle with torrential downpours.   In either case, getting away to a tropical island under sunny, blue skies sounds just about right.  Or the liquid equivalent –  a tiki cocktail.

I’ve been wanting for a while to try this contemporary twist on the classic mai tai.   Its intense color just grabs your attention – its such a bright deep…pink.  Thankfully, the “Come to Your Senses!” theme for this month’s Mixology Monday provided the inspiration.  As host David Solmonson at 12 Bottle Bar describes it:

 We all know that cocktails are supposed to taste good, and for this event, we’re going to take that as a given.  What we’re looking for, instead, are drinks that truly excite one or more of the other senses: touch, smell, sight, or even hearing.  Of course, it you want to get scientific about it – and why wouldn’t you – there are even more sensations which can be played with (echolocation, anyone?)

In addition to the intense hue, it has a nice spicy citrus aroma and the large handful of mint garnish is always welcome.  The flavor is definitely different – you can pick up the mai tai, but the bitter Campari is definitely playing equal billing.   It adds a really nice lean complexity to a tropical drink.

Bitter Mai Tai

1 ½ oz. Campari
¾ oz. Jamaican rum (Smith & Cross)
1 oz. lime juice
¾ oz. orgeat
½ oz. curacao

Shake & strain into double Old Fashioned over crushed ice.  Garnish with mint sprig.

Recipe courtesy of Jeremy Ortel, Dram via Imbibe.



MxMo LVII: The Bouquet (Floral Round-Up)

Thanks to everyone (all 27 of you!) who dropped by my corner of the Intertubes for MxMo LVII: Flores de Mayo with some great drinks for the springtime.  With all these cocktails to try, I expect I’ll be “in my cups” for quite some time.   Sticking with the format of this blog, which was inspired in part by the index card box that my Mother kept her recipes in, I’m including the ingredient list and directions for each cocktail in the round-up, so y’alls can have it all in one place.  Photo first, then recipe with links.  Bottoms up!

Kennedy gets us rolling with a twist on a traditional crusta and a fantastic “flower” garnish.

Bourbon Bloom

1 1/4 oz. bourbon
1/2 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/4 oz.  simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura orange bitters

Shake & strain into cocktail glass prepared with sugared rim and lemon peel flower.

Recipe courtesy of Kennedy at That’s The Spirit!

Next, Adam takes an ingredient that I am growing increasingly fond of in cocktails – tequila – for a South of the Border spin through the garden.

South of Tuitan

1 3/4 oz. blanco tequila
1/2 oz. elderflower liqueur
2 dashes orange bitters
3/4 oz.  red grapefruit juice

Recipe courtesy of Adam at Inspired Imbibing.

Dominik went the route of a floral infusion – in this case gin and a flower called osmanthus that was new to me.

Osmanthus White Lady

4 cl Osmanthus infused Beefeater 24
2 cl orange liqueur
2 cl lemon juice
splash egg white
dash orange bitters

Shake & strain into cocktail glass.  Garnish with orange spiral.

Recipe courtesy of Dominik at Opinionated Alchemist.

Jon riffs off a selection from Left Coast Libations with a cocktail that looks really quite elegant.

Elderflower Descant

1 oz. Bluecoat gin
3/4 oz. St Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. Dolin dry vermouth
dash Clear Creek pear brandy

Shake & strain into cocktail glass.  Garnish with a long twist of orange and a lilac flower.

Recipe courtesy of Jessamyn at Food on the Brain.

Fellow Bay Area boozehound Rowen throws down with tequila and violets – I really need to try this one.

Arrow of Time

1 1/2 oz. blanco tequila
1 oz. Punt e Mes
1/4. oz crème de violette
1 dash Regans’ Orange Bitters

Shake & strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

Recipe courtesy of Rowen at Fogged In Lounge.

Going old school, Kim spins up the drink that was first responsible for the ever-expanding exotic ingredients section of my bar.


1 1/2 oz. gin
1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur
3/4 oz. lemon juice
a dash of crème de violette

Shake & strain into cocktail glass.  Garnish with cherry.

Recipe courtesy of Understanding Cocktails.

With the weather turning warmer, Mackenzie comes up with a refreshing patio drink.

Greenhouse Collins

1 inch of fresh cucumber
1 3/4 oz. Sagatiba Pura Cachaca
1/2 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1/2 oz. lime juice
1/4 oz Orange Tea Syrup*

Muddle cucumber.  Add remaining ingredients, shake & double strain into Collins glass filled with ice.  Top with soda water.  Garnish with cucumber wheel.

* To make orange tea syrup brew one cup of a strongly flavored orange tea (with at lease two tea bags).  Add tea to a pot with equal parts sugar over low heat until all the sugar has dissolved.  Let cool and bottle in your fridge.

Recipe courtesy of The Spirit of Imbibing.

The ever prolific Frederic busts open a can of Creme Yvette and a vintage recipe to provide one pretty looking drink.  (And by pretty, I mean that in the Treme sense.)

Lilac Domino

1 oz. calvados
1 oz. gin
1/2 oz. yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz. Crème Yvette
1/2 oz. lemon juice

Shake & strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a cherry.

Recipe courtesy of cocktail virgin slut.

In a move sure to rile up half the state of Kentucky, Doug deconstructs a Southern classic and turns the volume to 11.

Mint Julep

2 oz. rye
1 oz. dark rum (not Jamaican)
1/3 oz. simple syrup
8-10 mid-sized fresh mint leaves
1/4 tsp. orange flower water

Place mint leaves in bottom of a double old-fashioned glass, and cover with simple. Muddle gently but thoroughly (don’t tear the leaves). Add other ingredients and stir. Top with crushed ice and swizzle until a good frost develops on the outside of the glass. Garnish with a generous sprig of fresh mint.

Recipe courtesy of The Pegu Blog.

Lindsay offers up not one but two cocktails involving Fernet arm wrestling with roses.

The Gatsby

1 1/4 oz. Four Roses bourbon
3/4 tsp. Fernet Branca
1/3 oz. rosewater simple syrup*

Shake & strain into Collins glass filled with ice.  Top with ginger ale.  Garnish with lemon twist.

The Daisy

1 oz. Hendricks gin
1/2 tsp. Fernet Branca
1/3 oz. rosewater simple syrup*

Shake & strain into champagne flute.  Top with prosecco.  Garnish with lemon twist.

* Rosewater simple syrup – one drop of rosewater per ounce of 2:1 simple syrup.

Recipe courtesy of Mix It Up Cincinnati.

David strolls through his garden and comes up with something so downright pretty, it might make a Mardi Gras Indian cry. (Sorry, can’t help the Treme references – curse you David Simon!)

The Rosemond

2 oz. Leopold’s gin
1 oz hibiscus-infused dry vermouth
0.5 oz rose syrup
2-3 drops of lemon juice

Shake & strain into cocktail glass.  Garnish with rose petal.

Hibiscus-infused dry vermouth – 3-4 hibiscus flowers in 1 cup dry vermouth.  Steep for 2-3 hours in fridge

Rose syrup – Bring 2 cups 1:1 simple syrup to boil with a handful of washed rose petals.  Cover and remove from heat.  Cool, remove petals and add 1 tsp. rosewater & 2 drops orange flower water.

Recipe courtesy of 12 Bottle Bar.

Zachary boldy dives in with a full ounce of creme de violette.  Try not to be scared – Zack promises it is all good.

Rose Window

2 slices pineapple
1 twist orange peel
2 dash orange bitters
1 1/2 oz. gin
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. creme de violette
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1 egg white

Muddle pineapple, orange peel & bitters.  Combine remaining ingredients & dry shake for 45 seconds.  Shake with ice for 30 seconds & strain into cocktail glass.

Recipe courtesy of Kindred Cocktails.

Heading out to one of my favorite states at any time of year, Cory brings us something from the islands – Mahalo!

King Coconut

1 oz. Kai Coconut Pandan vodka
1 oz. Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey
Splash of SpriteServe over ice on rocks glass.

Recipe courtesy of Wang Chung’s.

Inspired by the popular St. Germain liqueur, Marc uses it as inspiration for an elderflower infusion.

Bijou a Fleur

1 1/2 oz. gin
1/2 oz. elderflower infused vodka
1/2 oz.   Cynar
1 tsp.   hibiscus gomme syrup
2 drops orange flower water

Stir & strain into cocktail glass.  Garnish with lemon peel.

Recipe courtesy of A Drinker’s Peace.

Over in the Motor City, home of the MC-5, the greatest Sixties band that no can believe came out the Sixties,  Dave K. takes the Negroni for a Springtime stroll.

Spring Negroni

3/4 oz. Lavender infused gin
3/4 oz. Lillet Blanc
3/4 oz. Aperol
dash of Spring bitters*

Spring bitters – equal parts lemon, orange, grapefruit and Peychaud’s, infused with mint for 24 hours.

Recipe courtesy of the Sugar House Blog.

With a dash of strawberry, Filip brings us a cocktail fit for Mother’s Day.


1 1/2 oz. gin
1/2 oz. St. Germain
1/2 oz. lemon juice
2 dashes orange bitters
1 dash The Bitter Trush Aromatic bitters
1 strawberry
Muddle strawberry then add the ingredients. Shake & double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a rose petal.

Recipe courtesy of Adventures in Cocktails.

Ed brings us a floral spin on a classic Martini.

English Garden

chive blossoms
2 oz. Bulldog London Dry gin
¾ oz. Dolin Blanc vermouth
2 dashes A. B. Smeby Nasturtium-Cumin Bitters

Lightly muddle chive blossoms.  Stir with other ingredients and strain.  Garnish with fresh chive blossom.

Recipe courtesy of Wordsmithing Pantagruel.

From the barker of this carnival, Paul brings us a new way to enjoy everyone’s favorite green liqueur.

Beuser & Angus Special

1 3/4 oz. green Chartreuse
1 3/4 oz. green Chartreuse
3/4 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 egg white
5 dashes orange flower water

Recipe courtesy of Cocktail Chronicles.

Back in the Pacific Northwest, Chris comes up with not one but two floral cocktails of his bar’s spring menu.


1 1/2 oz. Bols Genever
1 oz. grapefruit juice
1/2 oz. lavender/chamomile infused honey

Shake & strain into coupe. Top with sparkling wine.

1022 Old Fashioned

2 oz. Woodford Reserve bourbon
1/4 oz. simple syrup
3 dashes saffron/cardamom bitters
wide swath of orange peel

Express orange oil into double old fashioned glass and drop peel in.  Add remaining ingredients and stir with large ice cubes.

Recipes courtesy of 1022 South.

Stephan blends the savory with the floral for a garden twist on a mule.

The Mule From The Alamo

1.5 oz. tomato/basil-infused vodka*
1 barspoon of hibiscus grenadine
Juice from half of a fresh lime

Shake & strain into ice-filled rocks glass.  Fill with ginger beer.  Garnish with spent lime shell.

* Infuse vodka with 6 vine ripe tomatoes and 4 ounces of fresh basil for 1-2 weeks.

Recipe courtesy of Liquid Chef.

Chris AKA DJ Hawaiian Shirt provides a great homemade ingredient with a recipe for floral bitters.

Recipe courtesy of Spirited Remix.

Jacob provides a delicious looking submission marrying tequila with the Milanese grappa and flora liqueur Dimmi.

Sally Port Punk

1 oz. blanco tequila
1 oz. white port
1/2 oz. Dimmi
1/2 oz. Campari

Stir & strain.  Garnish with an orange twist.

Recipe courtesy of Liquidity Preference.

Have shaker, will travel Brandon brings the Twentieth Century to the next.

21st Century Girl

1 1/2 oz. gin
3/4 oz. St. Germain
1/2 oz. lemon juice
2 dashed Scrappy’s chocolate bittersShake & strain into cocktail glass.  Garnish with lemon twist.

Recipe courtesy of The Real McCoy.

By way of Martha Stewart (with an assist from Frederic), Nancy combines the vegetal, the herbal and the floral.

Barefoot in the Garden

1 1/2 oz. celery-infused tequila
.3/4 oz. lime juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup
1/2 oz. St. Germain
1/2 oz. Lillet blanc

Shake & strain into a cocktail glass.

Celery-Infused Tequila – 1 1/2 cups tequila, 2 celery leaves & 1 celery stalk cut in half, infused for 2-3 days.

Recipe of courtesy of The Backyard Bartender.

With a bit of tease on the floral ingredient recipe, Amelia provides a drink fit for a warm spring afternoon in the backyard.

Lavender Gin and Tonic

1 1/2 oz. gin
2 dashes lavender bittersCombine with ice in rocks glass and top with tonic water.

Recipe courtesy of Felicia’s Speakeasy.

Finally, my submission via my favorite drink from the Left Coast Libations book party.

Sandalwood Sour

1 1/2 oz. Plymouth gin
1/2 z.  lemon juice
1/2 oz.  lime juice
1/2 oz. saffron sharbat (see below)
1 barspoon Angostura bitters
1 egg white

Dry shake without ice for 20-30 seconds.  Add ice and shake until frosty.  Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with grated sandalwood.

Saffron Sharbat

1 1/4 cups water
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup rosewater
1/4 rounded tsp. saffron
1 Tbs. boiling water

Place 1 Tbs. boiling water into a small bowl and add crushed saffron threads.  Steep for 15 minutes.  Add rosewater.

Mix water and sugar in a saucepan over low heat and dissolve.  Add rosewater saffron mixture.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, let cool and store in bottle.  Store in refridgerator.  You can leave in saffron threads or strain.  Makes enough for 16 cocktails.  Can also be used as a flavored syrup with soda water.

Recipe courtesy of Moi.

MxMo LVII: Flores de Mayo

Mixology Monday Logo

[ UPDATE: The round-up post is up – here. ]

I’m quite grateful to Paul Clarke at Cocktail Chronicles  for being able to host this month’s Mixology Monday.   Lately, the monthly incentive of MxMo has been the one thing helping me keep the site updated.  Probably like many folks who decided to “start a blog”, after the rush of initial postings, it gets quite difficult to maintain a consistent pace of writing.  Its almost like…shudder…work.  How Erik at Underhill Lounge  or Frederic at Cocktail Virgin Slut manage daily postings is completely beyond me and my liver.  Maybe they are cyborgs.  Or half-alien.  (And yes, I clearly read too many comic books as a kid.)

This month’s round robin will occur on Monday, May 16th with the theme of  Flores de Mayo – Floral Cocktails.  For most of us, turning the page on the calendar from April to May means finally getting to say goodbye to the weeks on end of cold, gray drizzle that followed a winter of endless snow, or in the case of us on on the Pacific Rim, winter of endless rains. (Unless you are living up the glam life in LA or beach bumming in the O.C., in which case I hope you are enjoying that endless SUNSHINE. Grrr.)  As the sun starts becoming more frequent and the temptation to play hooky mid-week gets stronger,  nothing brightens the day better this time of year than the fresh blossoms hanging from the trees on the street and popping up in your neighborhood gardens.   Goodbye cabin fever, hello springtime!

The challenge is to feature a cocktail that highlights a floral flavor profile or includes a floral derived ingredient, whether home-made or off the shelf.  With the ever expanding catalogue of spirits (and the kitchen labs of home enthusiasts), there’s a whole host of directions for you to choose from – elderflower liqueur, creme de violette, chamomile infused gin, hibiscus grenadine, rosewater, lavender syrup – or to create.   With some luck, one of the garnish gurus will figure out a way to turn an orchid into a swizzle stick.

So if you want to join the virtual bar crawl, shoot me an email that includes a link to your blog entry for your drink to barmancometh (at) hotmail dot com, or post a comment to this entry by midnight on May 16th that includes the same.  Also, please link back to the Mixology Monday website and include the MxMo logo.  If you don’t have your own blog, I can feature you here with a guest blog post, but I will need to receive your submission by May 14th.  I will post a round-up of everyone’s cocktails within a few days after, post haste.


Cha Siu Spare Ribs

Remember those fire engine red colored, sweet, sticky ribs you’d get from the Chinese takeout in college after the end of an evening spent getting sloshed on cheap beer at the corner dive?  It was pretty obvious they weren’t exactly “authentic” Chinese, but neither was the sweet-and-sour pork nor the cream-cheese filled “crab” rangoon you added to the order.  Regardless of how real or not (or if they were really food or not), they were definitely more finger licking good than possibly even the Colonel’s finest herbs and spices.  This recipe is a mighty fine take on this fantastic junk-food.

Chinese BBQ Ribs

1⁄3 cup hoisin sauce
1⁄4 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp. dry sherry
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp. sugar
3⁄4 tsp. red food coloring
1⁄4 tsp. Chinese five spice powder
1  2-lb. slab spareribs, preferably St. Louis style,
cut into individual ribs

Whisk together hoisin, soy, sherry, garlic, sugar, food coloring, and spice powder in a large bowl. Add ribs and toss to coat with marinade. Set aside, covered with plastic wrap, to let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350F. Arrange a baking rack on top of a rimmed, foil-lined sheet pan. Remove ribs from marinade and reserve marinade. Arrange on the rack, meat (not bone) side up. Place pan on middle rack of oven; pour in enough water that it reaches halfway up the sides of the pan, making sure the water does not touch the ribs. Bake ribs for 35 minutes. Baste ribs with reserved marinade; flip and baste again. Bake for 35 minutes more. (Add more water to pan if it dries up.)

Raise heat to 450F. Flip ribs again; baste with remaining marinade. Continue baking until ribs are glazed, browned, and tender, about 20 minutes more. Serve with Chinese mustard or duck sauce (optional).

Note: Ribs can also be made on the grill.  Cook, covered, on indirect heat for 35 minutes.  Flip, baste and cook covered for another 35 minutes.  Flip, baste and cook over direct heat to brown for 5-10 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Saveur.

Petruchio Cocktail

What do you do when you are craving something akin to a milkshake but lack the ingredients?  Easy – make a cocktail that involves adding an egg white to the mix and frappe-ing it!  Which is just a nerdy way of saying shake the ingredients in the mixing tin without ice first in order to emulsify the egg white.  Then add the ice and shake with plenty of vigor.  Or at least a Howling Mad Murdock level of intensity.  The result is a creamy shake that will get you buzzed.

Petruchio Cocktail

1 oz. gin
1 oz. Aperol
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1 dash simple syrup
2 dashes Fee’s orange bitters
1 egg white

Combine in tin and frappe until frothy.  Add ice and shake until frosty cold.  Strain into cocktail glass.

Recipe courtesy of Jamie Boudreau.

Strickland’s Old Fashioned & The Stricklander

It’s rough out there, folks.  The economy continues to circle the drain, the Powers That Be do everything they can (as always) to line their own pockets, and our national media want only to cover “Medicare is Socialism” nutjobs who belong on Jerry Springer than rather than actually provide the public with objective information.  It would be funny if real people weren’t experiencing real suffering.  Times like these demand a strong stomach.   And alcohol.  Plenty of alcohol.

Joking aside, what times like these really demands is the company of friends.   Difficult times truly make you appreciate the people around you.    I recently had a visit from some folks who voyaged out West from the land of the People With Funny Accents and An Unhealthy Obesession with Local Sporting Teams for a three-day “rather corporate but still a great line-up” concert.   One of these fine fellows was the first person I have ever met that actually had a beer named after him, and by one of my favorite brewer no less.  Seriously, how cool is that?  So in honor of friends and an extremely fun weekend,  here are a couple of original (if not hugely creative) beer-inspired cocktails.  Stay tuned for a cocktail inspired by New Jersey’s finest Lothario, beagle-trainer and part-time goalkeeper.

Strickland's Old Fashioned

Strickland’s Old Fashioned

2 oz. bacon-infused bourbon
3/4 oz. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale syrup(*)
dash of Angostura bitters
lemon peel, for garnish

Combine bourbon, beer syrup and bitters in an Old Fashioned glass.  Add ice and stir.  Express oils from a large lemon peel and add peel as garnish.

* To make beer syrup, take a 12 oz. bottle Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and empty into a container.  Let it sit out until it goes flat.  Pour into a saucepan with 12 oz. sugar.  Heat until sugar dissolves (do NOT boil).  Take off heat and let cool.  Skim off head and strain in cheesecloth into a container.  Store in fridge.

The Stricklander

The Stricklander

1 1/2 oz. gin
3/4 oz. Sierra Nevade Pale Ale liqueur(*)
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz. St. Germain elderflower liquer
lemon spiral, for garnish

Combine all with ice and shake.  Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with lemon spiral.

* To make beer liqueur, combine 12 oz. bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale with 20 oz. sugar in saucepan.  Heat to dissolve but do not boil.  Let cool and combine with 10 oz. vodka.  Strain through cheesecloth to remove head.  Store in bottle.

Hoskins Cocktail

Recently picked up a bottle of Torani Amer, the American version of the French bitter orange amaro called Amer Picon.  Amer Picon is a feature of many a classic cocktail, such as Picon Punch.  Sadly, there are no longer any American importers of Amer Picon.  Un-sadly, Torani – the folks who brought you the flavoured coffee syrups – make their own version, which by a wacky twist, is supposedly closer in flavor to the original taste of Amer Picon, which was re-formulated in the 1970s to a lower proof.  Whew – long story.   Some think the Torani Amer is a bit more vegetal/celery than the Amer Picon such that drinks like the Picon Punch taste off using it,  making it worthwhile to mix up your own replica of the original, but that takes two months!  Regardless, the Hoskins was invented with the Torani Amer specifically in mind, so really, who needs to wait that long.

Hoskins Cocktail

2 oz. gin
3/4 oz. Torani Amer or Amer Picon
1/2 oz. marascino liqueur
1/4 oz. Cointreau
dash of orange bitters

Stir with ice for least 30 seconds and strain into cocktail glass.  Flame an orange peel over glass and garnish with peel.

Update: The Lowlander

Added the photo and tweaked the recipe for The Lowlander.