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Man O’ War

My new issue of Saveur just arrived, the April ’04 one. In it you’ll find a nice little article about single barrel and high-end bourbons (with a tasting guide), plus another about the island of Curaçao in the Netherlands Antilles, which lends its name to the orange-flavored liqueur also known as triple sec (Cointreau being perhaps the best, and certainly the most expensive, example). Curaçao suffers in reputation a bit from many brands being cloyingly oversweet, but now the island has its own line of liqueur. “Senior & Company is the only producer making curaçao from real Curaçao-grown [bitter] orange peels, and its version of the liqueur is now available in the United States for the first time.”

Dale DeGroff provided the editors with a recipe suggestion for showing off this liqueur, a mid-20th Century concoction named after the grandsire of the famous racehorse Seabiscuit. It’s tasty but a bit sweet for me; next time I’ll take the curaçao down to 3/4 ounce.

Man O’War

1-1/2 ounces Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon whiskey.
1 ounce orange curaçao.
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth.
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice.
1 orange slice.
1 lemon slice.

Place the orange and lemon slices in a cocktail shaker and add cracked ice to fill. Add the other ingredients and shake vigorously for at least 10 seconds, until very cold. Add a couple of ice cubes to a cocktail glass, and strain the drink into the glass. Garnish with a cherry and a fresh orange slice.

Senior & Co.’s line of curaçaos appear to come in a rainbow of colors, including orange, red, green and two shades of the ubiquitous blue. There’s also apparently a really nummy-looking chocolate curaçao as well. For more information, visit their distributor, Preiss Imports.

St. Dominic’s Preview

Yes, it’s newish, but not particularly new, having been based on another cocktail with only the base spirit and proportions changed, and it’s very similar to three cocktails found in CocktailDB.

A while back a cocktailian and longtime reader sent in a recipe that I’d never seen anywhere else, but which he said was the preferred cocktail of Rat Packer Peter Lawford, who’d talk Vegas bartenders through it if they didn’t know it already. I love finding stuff like this, and the drink, called the “Preview“, was pretty good. We don’t drink it much anymore, but it was a good “gateway” gin cocktail as we developed our appreciation (which became our deep love) for that gorgeous botanical white spirit.

To come up with this one I substituted Irish whiskey for the gin, brought the liqueur proportion down and thought of a perfect name — almost the best part. As for those other cocktails with similar ingredients … well, they’d be far more difficult to talk a bartender through these days due to general lack of some of the ingredients, plus I think that anyone who garnishes an Irish whiskey-and-liqueur-based cocktail with an olive is a mad feckin’ eejit.

This drink isn’t terribly complex in flavor, but is actually quite nice and might be a way for people who are still getting used to Irish whiskey to enjoy it in a lovely drink. Let’s raise our glasses to Van the Man …

St. Dominic’s Preview

2 ounces Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey.
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier.
2 dashes orange bitters.
Few dashes Herbsaint, Pernod or other pastis.
Orange peel.

Shake a few dashes of pastis into a rocks (Old Fashioned / whiskey) glass, then swirl around to coat. Pour most of it out, leaving a little puddle of it in the bottom of the glass. Combine the whiskey, liqueur and bitters in a cocktail shaker with cracked ice, stir for no less than 30 seconds and strain into the coated glass. Twist the peel over the drink and garnish with the peel.

Yeah, it’s a long way to Buffalo, and a long long way to Belfast city too …

The Evans Cocktail

Today’s weigh-in came in at 176 (whoo, 22 pounds down!); I seem to have settled in comfortably to the two-pounds-per-week safe weight loss rate. Tonight my points reset, and I want a drink when I get home. I want a nice, big, pungent, spicy rye, but I do want it tempered with a little bit of sweetness.

As ever, CocktailDB came to my rescue with an interesting idea. I like cocktails with a good apricot brandy (I use Marie Brizard Apry), and instead of curaçao I’ll use Cointreau, as it’s somewhat drier. It tasted good in my head when I did a mental mix; tonight we’ll see how it really tastes.

Evans Cocktail

2 ounces rye whiskey.
1/4 ounce apricot brandy.
1/4 ounce orange curaçao or Cointreau.

Stir and strain, garnish with a stemless cherry.

This drink is good, but it cries out for a a dash of bitters of some kind. Regans’ orange did the trick for me.

Cocktail à la Louisiane

I first came across this one in Stanley Clisby Arthur’s Famous New Orleans Drinks and How To Mix ‘Em (1937); it’s a close relative of Walter Bergeron’s fabulous Vieux Carré cocktail, created at the Monteleone Hotel in the 1930s. We really liked it and added it to our in-house cocktail menu but for some strange reason forgot about it and haven’t been going out of our way to offer it to guests.

Fortunately, Robert Hess reminded me of this one in email, having had one himself recently and being struck by how damn good it is. It’s also barely two ounces, a quite civilized size and perfect for an apéritif, and will fit beautifully in your spiffy Riedel cocktail glasses.

Stanley says, “This is the special cocktail served at Restaurant de la Louisiane, one of the famous French restaurants of New Orleans, long the rendezvous of those who appreciate the best in Creole cuisine. La Louisiane cocktail is as out-of-the-ordinary as the many distinctive dishes that grace its menu.” That restaurant is, sadly, long gone, but fortunately we can still quaff its signature drink.

Cocktail à la Louisiane

3/4 ounce rye whiskey.
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth.
3/4 ounce Bénédictine.
3 dashes Herbsaint, pastis or absinthe.
3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters.

Mix in barglass with lumps of ice. Strain into a cocktail glass
in which has been placed a maraschino cherry. Savor.

By the way, those Riedel “Martini” glasses are the most perfect, elegant cocktail glasses I’ve ever had. You can usually find them for arond $11 each if you look hard enough, and they’re just superb — perfect weight and balance, thin but strong, no lip and they’re small. Three-ounce cocktails, max. That way you can finish your cocktail while it’s still ice-cold and, as Harry Craddock said, “while it’s still laughing at you.” (Thanks, Robert!)