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Old Bank Cocktail

Here’s one of the winning cocktails from the Los Angeles Downtown Sub-District Cocktail Competition of 2009 (details and rules here), judged by Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh.

Old Bank Cocktail
(by Chris Ojeda, The Varnish)

2 ounces Extra Añejo Rum (Brugal)
1/2 ounce Velvet Falernum (John D. Taylor’s)
1/2 ounce Carpano Antica
Dash Angostura Bitters

Stir & strain.
Lemon Peel – Cocktail Glass


Historic Core Cocktail

Here’s one of the winning cocktails from the Los Angeles Downtown Sub-District Cocktail Competition of 2009 (details and rules here), judged by Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh.

Historic Core Cocktail
(by John Coltharp, Seven Grand Whiskey Bar)

1-1/2 ounces Rittenhouse Bonded Rye
1/2 ounce Laird’s Bonded Applejack
1/2 ounce Green Chartreuse
1/2 ounce Sweet Vermouth (Carpano Antica)
Dash Angostura Bitters

Stir & strain.
Lemon Peel – Cocktail Glass

This one’s really terrific.


Cocktail of the Day: Perfect Aviator

Wesly discovered the other night that Aviation gin makes a really terrific Perfect Martini.

The different botanical profile of this Dutch-style “New Western” gin, which includes cardamom, coriander and anise, along with a rye neutral grain spirit base that lends its own spiciness, grabs onto the spices and botanicals in the vermouths and runs with them to the finish line. When I took my first sip it was almost jarring, and I asked Wesly if he had put a dash or three of some herbal liqueur in it. Nope, just cocktail alchemy.

Use your best vermouths for this, if you’ve got ‘em — Carpano for the sweet and Dolin or the newly released original formulation of Noilly Prat for the dry. Even if you use standard vermouths for this, though, it’s really damned good.

The name that popped into my head for this drink (which I think needs something more than just “a Perfect Martini with Aviation Gin”) makes me think of the pilot who safely landed that plane in the Hudson River yesterday and got every single soul off and onto rescue boats. I’ll drink to that.

Perfect Aviator

2-1/2 ounces Aviation Gin.
1/4 ounce sweet vermouth.
1/4 ounce dry vermouth.

Stir with ice for no less than 30 seconds. Strain into a frozen cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist after expressing the oil.

Man oh man. So simple, yet so good.


Making Fernet easier to swallow

As Eric Felten writes in the WSJ, small amounts of Fernet Branca in cocktails are the way to go for a lot of folks, substituting it for aromatic bitters like Angostura.

He writes of the Fanciulli Cocktail, basically a 2:1 Bourbon Manhattan swapping 1/4 ounce Fernet Branca for the 2 dashes of bitters, up or on the rocks. (I’d garnish that sucker with a big oily twist of orange, me.)

If you need it spelled out:

Fanciulli Cocktail

2 ounces Bourbon.
1 ounce sweet vermouth.
1/4 ounce Fernet Branca.

Stir and strain, up or on the rocks.

We’ve done this with rye, but didn’t know the Bourbon version had a name. I’ll give it a shot this way, but I’ve become an insane amaro lover. We drink Fernet on its own (and as the base spirit in Old Fashioneds), which apparently impresses Felten: “Though some of the herbs, roots and barks that go into it are common enough in bitter drafts — cinchona, orris, gentian — the flavors are so powerfully concentrated that the stuff is almost impossible to choke down straight, which is why it has been used as a morning-after shock to the system.”

Sheesh, I’ve never had any in the morning. I’m more of a Brandy Milk Punch kinda guy in the morning.

UPDATE, 7:34pm: Wes made Fanciulli Cocktails tonight using George T. Stagg Bourbon (at 144.8 proof, woof!), Punt E Mes and, of course, Fernet. It’s a hell of a thing.


Cocktail of the Day: Fallen Leaves

The reason Robert Hess is in town is for some huge Microsoft event (in case you didn’t know, that’s his day job). My friend Marcos Tello and his cohorts are doing the cocktails for one of the Microsoft events, and as Marcos knew Robert would be in attendance he headed up the evening’s cocktail menu with a drink that Robert first brought to most people’s attention (including mine). It’s a great drink too, perfect for the season, as summer turns into fall, the air becomes crisp and we start getting the jackets and sweaters out of the closet. (Well, except where I live, dammit, where it’s going to be 90 frakkin’ degrees today. Can we not have some seasons?! I ask you!)

Fallen Leaves
(Created by Charles Schumann)

3/4 ounce Calvados.
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth.
1/4 ounce dry vermouth.
1 dash brandy.
Lemon peel.

Stir with ice for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze the lemon oil from the peel onto the drink, and garnish with the peel.


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