Cocktail of the Day: The Deshler

So, the other day I found myself looking for a recipe for a Heavy Metal Cocktail, or a Black Sabbath Cocktail, or a Dio Cocktail, something that didn’t sound, you know, hideous.  And they all did, every single recipe I found that even remotely fit the theme, mostly because they all revolved around Jägermeister (maybe it’s the umlaut?) and cinnamon schnapps in some proportion.  Not my thing, but more power to you if it’s yours.

As an aside, well may you be wondering why this particular search.  It was because, sadly, Ronnie James Dio had died.  Heavy metal is also not really my thing, but RJD was nothing less than a force of nature, and I’m truly sorry that he’s gone.  Feel free to read this wonderful and loving tribute by Mark Morford, who waxes far more pithily eloquent than I could possibly manage.  Read, ponder, genuflect, make the sign of the horns.  And then come right back here.

Okay, so my search for a potable Heavy Metal Cocktail was a miserable failure.  I was stuck, though, because I knew it was my turn to mix.  This is not something we take lightly at our house; you may have a similar arrangement chez vous.  I was well and truly on the hook, and my one Brilliant Idea had not so much panned out as flamed out, and I had no Plan B.  What to do?  CocktailDB to the rescue!  I’m not really sure exactly how I ended up where I ended up–and I do still have one other recipe from that particular search frenzy that I mean to try, as it sounds really good, more on that later–but I ended up looking at a recipe for something called the Deshler Cocktail.  I noticed that it started off with rye whiskey, and I was pretty much sold, right then and there.  I present it here for your consideration.

The Deshler Cocktail


1-1/2 ounces rye whiskey
1 ounce Dubonnet rouge
1/4 ounce Cointreau
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
2 orange peels and 1 lemon peel (in the mixing glass)
1 orange peel (for garnish)

Combine first four ingredients with ice in mixing glass; express the oils from the orange and lemon peels and add. Stir for no less than 30 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with another orange peel.

Although all the recipes I found online were essentially identical, with only minor variations (like substituting Mandarine Napoléon for Cointreau, say, or not specifying Peychaud’s Bitters, thus implying Angostura and/or leaving the door open to experimentation), Chuck did find mention of one interesting twist on the recipe:

…in The Official Mixer’s Manual, Patrick Gavin Duffy ups the Dubonnet to a full jigger and lowers the Cointreau to 2 dashes. The edition I have is from 1975, so I’m not sure if that was original Duffy or the later “revision/enlargement” by Robert Jay Misch.

Just something to keep in mind as you experiment mixologically…because you will.

This cocktail as presented is complex and bracing, with both spiciness (from the rye) and fruitiness (from the Dubonnet even more so, I think, than from the relatively dry Cointreau).  Peychaud’s Bitters are both bright and slightly astringent, which I quite like here, although using a more traditionally spicy bitters like Angostura would be a worthwhile experiment.  As a general rule, the spicier your rye, the better, In My Humble Opinion, especially in a drink like this, where contrasts rule the day.  I used Rittenhouse 100, which we use for pretty much all our daily mixing–it’s that good, and a bargain besides.

As I am wont to say, the world needs more rye cocktails.  Although this one isn’t brand new, it was new to me, which makes it a most excellent discovery, and a very handy addition to my repertoire.  I shall doubtless be breaking this one out with some regularity.

TDN Kahlúa: Levez-Vous

I know, the edition of Thursday Drink Night (brought to you by the CSOWG and the Mixoloseum Bar chat room) sponsored by the good folks at Kahlúa was supposed to be three weeks ago, on April 29. Turns out it had to be postponed, even though I had scheduled a post to go up during my Jazzfest vacation. No TDN that night after all, but hey, a very tasty coffee liqueur cocktail recipe went up.

This time I had some time to think and prepare, and was able to offer an original drink. There was a bit more incentive this time, as our sponsor added this to the fray:

The “Kahlúa Brunch Drink Challenge” — submit your hot or cold (but not blended, please) “Kahlúa Brunch Drink” idea during this TDN and a panel of both marketing and mixology experts will choose one to be featured at a Tales of the Cocktail coffee bar. To find out which drink was chosen, just show up to the coffee bar Wednesday morning of Tales — the selected drink will be credited, of course, and will be available each morning, Wednesday-Saturday.

Sheesh. We’re not going to make it to Tales this year, so if I win I won’t even get to serve my drink. Hrmph. Oh well … whether I win or not, I’m still happy with the drink. My idea was a cold eye-opener that still had a coffee kick. I included Kahlúa as per the rules but added cold brewed coffee to extend the coffee flavor without additional sweetness (New Orleans-style coffee & chicory is, of course, preferred). The rye and brandy base make for a good New Orleans drink too, with a little bitter orange edge from the Torani Amer plus that dash of the newly-resurrected 1934-style Herbsaint Original (a nod to my Italian music teacher in high school, who was fond of a slug of anisette in his coffee).

The rye I used was Sazerac (“Baby Saz,” the 6-year) and the Cognac was Pierre Ferrant 1er Cru du Cognac Ambre, which is a 10-year (substitute any good VSOP). The photo … is nonexistent, ’cause I actually had two drinks to work on last night and I was too lazy to set anything up. You can probably imagine what it looks like. (Maybe I’ll edit the post later on and add one, but for now … sorry.)


1-1/2 ounces Sazerac Rye
1/2 ounce Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac
1/2 ounce Kahlúa
1/2 ounce cold brewed coffee
1/2 ounce Torani Amer
2 dashes Legendre Herbsaint Original
1 dash Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6
Orange peel

Combine ingredients with ice in a mixing glass and stir for no less than 30 seconds. Strain into a 6-ounce cocktail coupe and garnish with the orange peel after expressing the oil and rubbing it on the rim.

Wes remarked that he didn’t see a brown drink as particularly “brunchy,” but people drink coffee or coffee-based drinks at brunch, don’t they? Anyway, I wouldn’t complain if you insisted on a splash of cream, but I like it this way.


Port Cocktails: The Suburban

“Drink more Port, boys and girls. Drink more port,” said Wesly.

“I like that,” I said. “May I quote you?”

“It wasn’t terribly profound; it just came out.”

“Sometimes the stuff that just comes out is the best stuff of all.”

“That’s what SHE said.”

Welcome to my life.

Ever since he saw that episode of “The Office” on the plane back from Spain, I hear that line at least once a day. But I digress.

Getting back to more relevant quotes from Wesly, he adds that “what the world needs now is more more rye cocktails,” one of my favorite expressions of his. Since this is a cocktail that’s been around for going on a century and one you’ve likely never heard of (I certainly hadn’t), in this case it’s a rye cocktail that just needs to be brought to more people’s attention. It’s also a Port cocktail that needs to be brought to more people’s attention as well — cocktails containing Port wine are delicioso. We’re still working on that bottle of Port I picked up the other day, and since it won’t keep forever I want to finish it within a few weeks. Hence, we shall continue posting about cocktails featuring ruby Port until the bottle is drained. Then I shall buy more.

See how that works? I like it.

I came across this one while browsing through Dave Wondrich’s Esquire drinks index, and it caught my eye for the same reason Dr. Wondrich finds it unusual. Rye whiskey and dark rum in the same drink, that’s a big fat yes. But with Porto as well?! That’s wacky! (In the best kind of way.) I wanted to try it right away.

The drink originated at the old Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, named for a wealthy gent who raced horses, and for the horse race in which his steeds figured prominently. What does that combination of spirits and wine actually taste like, you may ask. From the above link: “If you could distill carved-oak paneling and club chairs, leather-bound volumes and three-cushion billiard tables, this is what you’d get. Mellow, robust, comfortable. The rum mellows the tang of the rye, the port tames the raw edge of the distillates, and the bitters add a touch of the exotic, like the stuffed head of that rare Asian gazelle that hangs over the doorway.” Well … no gazelle heads at our house. The closest we come to that are the jackalope heads looking down on us when we drink at Seven Grand. We do, however, have a club chair and leather-bound volumes, both appropriate company for this lovely drink.

The Suburban is more of an autumnal or wintery drink, and not one for the summer, as Dr. Wondrich notes. As I write this summer is still a month off, and our spring has been fairly cool — we’re still getting lows in the 50s at night, so it’s still snappy and bracing enough to sip this tipple. (I’m a New Orleanian after all, and as my friend Robb once said, that means that for me anything under 70°F is “cold,” and anything under 60°F is “very cold.”) And sip it we did, and did indeed enjoy it.

The Suburban Cocktail


1-1/2 ounces rye whiskey
1/2 ounce dark rum
1/2 ounce ruby port
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash orange bitters

Combine with cracked ice in a mixing glass and stir for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. No garnish.

Godsdammit … this and the Curari and the others I’ve been making recently are so good that I’m going to need to keep an open bottle of Port around all the time. Can we not have stasis boxes, like in Larry Niven’s “Known Space” sf novels, boxes inside which time does not pass, so that my myriad aromatized wines won’t go bad?


“Treme” Explained, Episode 6: “Shallow Water, Oh Mama”

I’m going to start linking to Dave Walker’s columns explaining all the references in “Treme” episodes on a weekly basis now, plus other interesting tidbits I find. Here’s the one for this past Sunday’s episode 6, “Shallow Water, Oh Mama” … a few excerpts:

The title of Sunday’s episode, “Shallow Water, Oh Mama,” is a traditional Mardi Gras Indian call-and-response chant first recorded in 1988 by Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, according to this 2003 essay by John Sinclair.

The banjo player and bandleader is Don Vappie.

The song Don’s performing in his first scene, “Salée, Dames” is on his album Creole Blues as well as my Doctors, Professors, Kings and Queens: The Big Ol’ Box of New Orleans set.

The band playing in baggage claim of Louis Armstrong International Airport was a program organized by the New Orleans Musicians Clinic.

“In December 2005 the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic and Assistance Foundation created our own version of the WPA, believing (as we still do) that for New Orleans musicians a vital mental health initiative is to be paid to perform, and for our community, hearing New Orleans music is the heartbeat of our recovery,” says Bethany Bultman, director of the foundation. “We wanted to make sure that when donors gave us money, it would go into the pockets of those musicians struggling to keep the music alive, not sit in the bank. $100 per musician per gig seemed like the most equitable way to distribute donations.”

Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews also plays trumpet.

The Lake Charles cop who walks Toni to the abandoned NOPD patrol car is Don Yesso, who played kitchen assistant Shorty La Roux in “Frank’s Place.” Yesso got his start as an actor when he met “Frank’s Place” co-creator Hugh Wilson on an airplane. His credits since then include “My Two Dads,” “Guarding Tess,” “Dudley Do-Right,” “K-Ville” and “The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans.”

It had been so long since I’d seen Don Yesso in anything that I didn’t recognize him at first, but I was struck by his voice. I thought that that cop sounded much more Yat than Lake Charles.

Davis McAlary salutes college professor and New Orleans blogger Ashley Morris, on whom John Goodman’s Creighton Bernette character is loosely based, during the concluding Krewe du Vieux sequence. For the 2006 parade re-created in this episode, Morris dressed as a street mime and rode on a float themed as a plea to France to buy New Orleans back. Pictures of the 2006 parade, including one of Morris as the character he called Mime-boy. Morris’ post about the parade. An account about what it was like to re-create the parade for “Treme.”

Photo of Ashley Morris by emily,

Photo of Ashley Morris by emily,

Oh, and Blue Plate mynez on the Bernettes’ table!


“Treme” – Beyond Bourbon Street

Before you watch “Treme” this Sunday (and you are going to watch it this Sunday … right?), check out this terrific half-hour behind-the-scenes special for historical background, creator commentary, the Mardi Gras Indian tradition, the food and music scenes, and much more.

Steve Zahn, actor (“Davis McAlary”): “It’s post-Katrina, but it’s really about life after, it’s not about Katrina. Katrina is the backdrop.”

John Goodman, actor and New Orleanian (“Creighton Bernette”): “[It's about] dealing with everyday things that just become insurmountable.”

David Mills, co-exec. producer (R.I.P.): “This show is an argument for what’s best about the American city — a city gets knocked down, but there’s that impulse to stand back up.”

Full-screen version



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