Old Peppersass, made new

In which I dare to perform rehab on a creative re-imagining of the Moscow Mule by Cocktail Courier. And manage, against all odds and much failed experience, to pull it off.

Think of Cocktail Courier as a Blue Apron for drinks: All the ingredients for a new drink, including the booze, delivered right to your door by a cheerful, if slightly curious, FedEx driver.

The drinks are originals dreamed up by members of ShakeStir, an online hang for professional barfolk. Members compete to create new drinks for Cocktail Courier.

This month’s winner: Old Peppersass,  an original spin on the Moscow Mule imagined by Paul Tanguay of the esteemed Tippling Bros. in NYC. Continue reading “Old Peppersass, made new”

The Scofflaw: Perfect name. Good drink

The Scofflaw is a magnificent word, a great backstory, and a pretty good drink

The story of the Scofflaw cocktail starts in 1924, with a contest unloosed by a prominent Prohibitionist. He invited the public to coin a word intended to “stab awake the conscience” of people who dared consume alcoholic beverages during America’s Ignoble Experiment. “Scofflaw” was the winner.

Among the 25,000 rejected entries: “sluch-licker”and “alcoloom.”

Scofflaw Cocktail Craig Stoltz cocktail blog
Word up: The Scofflaw Cocktail

You were about to guess: The plan backfired spectacularly. “Scofflaw” was quickly appropriated with pride by the very people it was intended to castigate. It remains a great word today, used to describe anybody who willingly, even cheerfully, violates disagreeable laws or rules.

Within days of the announcement that “scofflaw” would become the approved word to shame drinkers, an enterprising drinksman at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris created The Scofflaw cocktail to tweak the noses of Americans wallowing in their feckless idiocy of Prohibition.

There are several recipes for the Scofflaw, of course. I prefer the following spirits-forward version, made with rye. Continue reading “The Scofflaw: Perfect name. Good drink”

Cocktails, built to federal standards

“I’m from the federal government, and I’m here to help you mix a drink.”

I’ve picked up some curious artifacts in my reckless cocktail expeditioning. One of the most curious curios so far is this: A 1974 engineering diagram issued by the U.S. Forest Service documenting proper techniques for constructing a cocktail.
Continue reading “Cocktails, built to federal standards”

The Drunk Monk: Old & “improved”

A new creation with a heritage dating back to 1806. No, wait, it was 1674. Well, whatever. A long time ago.

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The Drunk Monk: An “improved” whiskey cocktail.

Others bring wine to parties.

You are a cocktailer.

And yet…sometimes you barely have 10 minutes to swing by the liquor store. No time for muddling and macerating and suchnot. But you will not stoop to bringing a $26 bottle of Merlot.

Luckily, you have in your back pocket… The Drunk Monk.

The Drunk Monk

  • 4 parts bourbon
    • Most recently I felt expansive and sprang for Basil Hayden’s
  • 1 part Green Chartreuse
  • Showy orange peel garnish

Continue reading “The Drunk Monk: Old & “improved””

The Not-Japanese Cocktail

This recipe appears in America’s very first cocktail book, Jerry Thomas’ “How to Mix Drinks.” But it’s not even a little bit Japanese.

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To explain why the Japanese cocktail has nothing Japanese about it, drinks historian David Wondrich tells the story in his book Imbibe.

Short version: In 1860 the first Japanese diplomatic delegation to visit the U.S. was in New York, lodged not far from Jerry Thomas’ bar on Broadway. Thomas, America’s first celebrity barkeep and author of How to Mix Drinks or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion (1862), may have served this drink to the delegates. Like most ancient cocktail history [Wondrich will be the first to admit], the story is built on rickety inference and hopeful attempts to associate long-disconnected dots.

Anyhow, the Japanese Cocktail is one of a few drinks in that seminal text that’s easy to make from contemporary ingredients.

Continue reading “The Not-Japanese Cocktail”

Getting to know Suze

Any home bartender with a credit card quickly learns that you can look like a genius if you just buy the right stuff. So get yourself a bottle of Suze — rhymes with “booze” — and bask in the admiration.

Suze liqueur recipes
Picasso’s “Bottle of Suze,” 1912. You can get one for $30. The Suze, I mean, not the painting.

Though it’s been imported into the U.S. since 2012, Suze is still a kind of secret handshake among cocktaileurs, spotted mostly on the upper shelves of bars that use different sizes of ice cubes. This complex and bitter liqueur has been made in France since 1889, the year the Moulin Rouge opened. Not a bad cultural landmark to share an anniversary with.

Tasting Suze

Taken neat, the first thing you notice is the dry front-of-the-mouth feel you get with any bitter. I’m reminded a bit of Cocchi Americano. Continue reading “Getting to know Suze”

The Algonquin: No Sirree!

A classic that’s leave-it-on-the-kitchen-counter-when-the-host-isn’t-looking bad.

Algonquin cocktail review Craig Stoltz
Three people walk into an elevator at the Algonquin hotel. One of them farts.

I’m generally no bellyacher. But in my blunderings through cocktail literature I just surfaced a real stinker, and feel compelled to sound  an amicus alarm.

The decoction I refer to is the Algonquin cocktail, which shows up on diligent lists of American Classics — A sip of history! A brush with greatness! Etc. Etc. Etc.

The drink is named after the venerable New York hotel where a group of early 20th century literati famously assembled at the restaurant’s “Round Table.”

Most members of the “Vicious Circle” were hotshot columnists, critics, editors, and writers [Alexander Woollcott, Dorothy Parker, Harold Ross], with a few playwrights and, on a good day, Harpo Marx.  Continue reading “The Algonquin: No Sirree!”