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The Longest Day

Geoffrey Barker : June 20, 2012 5:51 pm

Another fine cocktail made with the Pear Infused Woodford Reserve Bourbon first described here.

The Longest Day –  invented (appropriately enough) on the Summer Solstice, 2012.   I had just made Dana a “Northwest Danish” cocktail.  One of Kathleen Manley’s creations down at The Highlife  (1.5oz Alborg Aquavit, .75oz  Berentzen Apple,  barspoon lemon juice, barspoon vanilla extract – served in a rocks glass with pellet ice).

I was noodling about the barspoon measures and bourbon and this is what occurred to me:

The Longest Day:

2 oz.               Pear Infused Woodford Reserve Bourbon
.75 oz.            Berentzen Apple
barspoon      Lemon juice
barspoon      Maraschino
8-10 drops   Cherry Bitters

Shake vigorously (but breifly) to emulsify the lemon and serve in a rocks glass over a large piece of ice.

I like how it changes visually over time.


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Geoffrey Barker : June 9, 2012 6:21 pm

Not really my recipe but one I tweaked and don’t want to lose because it’s really good.  Of course, I can’t think of a cocktail with Maraschino that isn’t really good.

The Cardinal:

2oz.             Pompero Aniversario Ron Anejo Rum.
.75 oz         Maraschino Liqueur
barspoon  Cointreau
barspoon  Grenadine
dash            Bitter Cube Jamaican Bitters #1

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My Tongue is Numb!

Geoffrey Barker : May 22, 2012 5:39 pm

An experiment with Clément Créole Shrubb:

The orange in the Shrubb is pretty strong.  It made the sides of my tongue a little numb.  Not altogether unpleasant…

2oz.                  Rittenhouse Rye
1oz.                  Clément Créole Shrubb
.25 (shy)        Fernet Branca (optional really)
heavy dash   Angostura Bitters

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Jonathan’s Manhattan

Geoffrey Barker : May 11, 2012 7:38 pm

I make my living as an IT consultant here in Seattle.  One of my long time clients is Lisa Dupar Catering.  LDC has a restaurant called Pomegranate Bistro which is in Redmond Washington; more or less in the same space as their giant catering kitchen.  They recently opened a bar and have been enthusiastically working to bring bespoke cocktails to the east side.

One day while visiting the Dupar/Zimmer home, I noted that there were several batches of what I surmised was various batches of bitters and some sort of brown booze infusing on the counter.  Jonathan Zimmer (Co-Owner and GM at LDC) told me that the booze was Woodford Reserve Bourbon that was sitting on pears.  He then said that he had recently made a cocktail with the Pear Bourbon, St. Germain and the Hazelnut/Cherry bitters from Brad Thomas Parsons excellent bitters book.   He also said it was the best cocktail he’d ever had.  A few days later, talking to Lisa Dupar about our mutual bitters and booze experiments, I found out that Jonathan wasn’t just infusing pears;  no, they were oven roasted pears.   Ding ding ding… I think we have a winner!

Of course, on the way home, I stopped at the Crown Hill liquor store and picked up 3 bottles of said Woodford Reserve.  I also stopped at my local Cash and Carry and got a bag of Anjou pears.

A couple of weeks later:  Yum.

So, what to do with this tasty infusion other than sip it for desert?  A Manhattan seemed like a good place to start and resulted in a few really good recipes.  Here’s one that I’m especially fond of:

Jonathan’s Manhattan:

2 oz.                  Pear infused Woodford Reserve Bourbon”
1 oz.                  Carpano Antica Formula
shy .5oz.         Amaro Nonino
1 dash              Laphroig 10 Year Old Scotch
10 drops        Cherry Bitters

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Apples and Oranges

Geoffrey Barker : May 3, 2012 8:36 pm

Good greif.  This is a rambly post but it does end in a good cocktail so I think it’s worth it.

I’ve totally lost track of time.  However, I think that in fall of 2010 I was poking around on CocktailDB for recipe ideas and kept finding recipes with ingredients that no longer exist.  Forbidden Fruit and Swedish Punsch in particular tickled my curiosity bone (that sounds vaguely rude).    I googled for more information on these ingredients and ultimately decided I’d like to try this recipe for home made Swedish Punsch.  Of course I monkeyed with the recipe a little and used dememara sugar and boosted the cardamom just a bit.  When my batch of Punsch was ready, we went into full on “Swedish Thursday Night Dinner” mode.  That is to say, Pea Soup, Pork, Pancakes and Punsch.  Look it up.  It ain’t a bad tradition.  And neither is Punsch.

Anyway, at the same time, I went back to CocktailDB looking for recipes that would leverage my Punsch… and found that most of the recipes that I found interesting had other ingredients I had never heard of.  Van Der Hum for example.  An orange liqueuer from South Africa.  So, I went hunting on the Washington State Liquor Control Board website and found nothing.  Google and New Jersey however were able to hook me up with a couple of bottles which I soon put to work in the form of a  Crow’s Peck cocktail.  I made that cocktail several times and quite liked it at the time but have since decided that I’m not a fan of Fee’s Peach Bitters (too perfumy for me).

After that, the Van Der Hum languished on the counter (though I’m already working my way through my second batch of Swedish Punsch).  It’s a shame about the Van Der Hum though.  It’s not your usual triple-sec.  It’s got what I would call christmas spice to it.  Kind of a mulled wine sort of spice profile (without the wine).  It’s quite different.

Now, making an abrupt transition to the point of this post…

Here’s the sucessfull concoction I came up with tonight –

Apples and Oranges:

2oz                Boulard Calvados
1oz                Amer Boudreau (an Amer Picon Clone)
.75oz           Van Der Hum
2 dashes     Angostura Orange Bitters

Maybe garnish with an orange twist if you wish.


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The Cherry Bitters Experience

Geoffrey Barker : April 21, 2012 8:11 pm

As I’ve mentioned before, Jamie Bourdreau’s blog has been a favored site to find inspiration for direction in the cocktail kitchen.  I reported on my experience with Jamie’s Amer Picon Clone.  Today, I’ll talk about my experience with Jamie’s Cherry Bitters recipe (wow).  I started down this path in early January and followed the recipe pretty much measure for measure except that I boosted the star anise (I like anise).  A few days ago I decanted(?) the barrel to find my shy 2ish gallons of bitters had dwindled by almost half.  The recipe called for the addition of 2 liters of water which would sooth the accountant in me and I’m sure that’d be fine but honestly, the warmth of the bitters out of the barrel was just too compelling to water down.  A really a nice piece of work Mr. Boudreau.

I’m now poking around trying to find a way to showcase the bitters in a cocktail.  This is a new orientation for me.  I’ve been working from the starting point of a spirit or liqueur and build from there.  To start with bitters is a bit of a stretch for me (and fun at that).

Here are tonight’s experiments (both reasonably successful).


If I ordered this in a bar, I’d be happy with it.  Not sure if I’d order a second.  The Laphroig might be a bit over-kill.  Maybe a few drops instead of a dash…

2oz             1800 Anejo Tequila
1oz              Lillet Blanc
.75oz         Stirring’s Ginger Liqueur
.25oz         Fernet Branca
Dash          Laphroig 10 year Scotch
12 drops  Cherry Bitters

Stir/up – Garnish lemon twist

Cherry Two:

I’ll make this again.  Thinking about halfing the Amaretto and adding .25oz Cherry Heering or some sort of Chocolate Liqueur.

2oz            Ransom Old Tom Gin
1oz             Carpano Antiqua
.33oz         Amaretto
12 drops  Cherry Bitters

Stir/up – Garnish lemon twist

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Geoffrey Barker : April 13, 2012 7:51 pm

My favorite cocktails of late all include Rye, Maraschino and Fernet Branca.  I thought I should mix it up a bit so this is a start.  No Maraschino and no Rye but it seems somehow related.  A nice change of pace actually.  Thanks! (that’s what Tak means in Danish).


1.5oz         Aalborg Aquavit
1oz             Carpano Antica
.75oz       Cherry Heering
.25oz       Fernet Branca
2 dashes Peychaud Bitters.

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The Amer Boudreau (Amer Picon Clone) experience.

Geoffrey Barker : April 5, 2012 10:09 am

A few months ago I posted a recipe (a knock off really) of a cocktail I called “Shades of Things to Come”.  The cocktail was based on Jaime Bourdreau’s “Nirvana” Cocktail found in his post about making an Amer Picon Clone.  It was my impatient response to the fact that his cocktail sounded great, juxtaposed against my lack of Amer Picon (or Amer Boudreau).  At the time, I was waiting for some orange tincture to mature so I couldn’t comment on the Amer.

Well I can now.  But first, how did the Nirvana and “Shades” compare?

I tasted the “Nirvana” and my “Shades of Things to Come” side by side and while I really like them both and they are definitely vaguely related, the Nirvana is a drier, more subtle affair.  The heavy orange in the Amer pushes back hard at the sweetness of the Maraschino and the spice of the B&B.  The balance of the drink is just slighty tilted towards the bitter orange.  Yum.  Add it to my list of favorites.

The “Shades of Things to Come” is sweeter (which suits me).  The Maraschino is obvious and the mouth feel is thicker (am I supposed to say chewier here?  It seems right).  The B&B is obvious too but not as much as the Maraschino.  The heavy orange bitters load seems to keep the drink from being too cloying.  It’s still one of my favorites.  Don’t make me choose.

Now about that Amer…

I think I made a mistake in preparing my tincture but I also think filtering greatly reduced the problem.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I pulled all the ingredients together just as the recipe called for.  When I did my initial blend, I was disappointed.  The concoction had a strong funky flavor I initially described to myself as mildew but after spending a little time with it, came to realise that it was an overly strong orange peel pith flavor.  I also noticed that after the Amer had sat in bottles for 3 or 4 weeks, there was an odd white haze clinging to the sides of the bottle and more pronounced at the top of the fluid (seemed concentrated in the meniscus).  I managed to capture and taste that white hazy stuff and it was oppressive with that mildew/pith flavor.

Fortunately, after running it through a fine filter media in my Buchner filter  (not sure what size particle ‘fine’ is but that’s how the box was labeled) the haze seems to have been trapped by the filter media and the flavor/aroma of the Amer is hugely improved.

I don’t know for sure and would really appreciate it if anyone could shed some light but I think my mistake was that when I drained my orange tincture off of the peel, I wrapped the peel up in cheese cloth and squeezed the living crap out of that stuff.  I suspect that the pith of the orange peel gave off more “stuff” than was ideal.  Two thoughts occur to me as I type this…  First, that that clingy white haze was also apparent and plentiful in my macerating jar (which is why I filtered the resulting tincture through a medium filter before blending it with the other ingredients).  Second, shit. I forgot the second thought.  I’ll update this post when I remember what it was….  Anyway, if anyone has thoughts on the source of that off flavor I’d be curious to hear about it.


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Geoffrey Barker : March 6, 2012 8:38 pm

An outstanding experiment modeled on the proportions of the Last Word; four ingredients, equal parts.  This is a tart raspberry in a glass.
Be aware though;  this is one of those cocktails that is better when it’s cold, right out of the shaker.  That’s why it’s sized a little smaller than I would typically make the Last Word (1 ounce measures).

.75oz     Beefeater Gin
.75oz     Amaro Nonino
.75oz     Clear Creek Raspberry Liqueur
.75oz     Lemon Juice

Shake with vigor, strain into a cocktail glass.  (Note: Personally, I enjoy this cocktail with the shards of ice created from shaking *gasp*.  Thus, I don’t double strain this one).

Update:  Further experimentation suggests that this “4 ingredients in equal parts with one of the parts being Lemon or Lime juice” contraption has legs to run with.  I just made a Gin, Ramazzotti, pear liqueur and lemon juice drink that for me, is tastier than the raspberry drink described above.  Watch this space for results of other variants.

  • Very tasty:
    Gin, Ramazzotti, Clear Creek pear liqueur and lemon juice
    Gin, Amaro Bassano, Domaine de Canton, lemon juice.
    Old Overholt Rye, Noilly Pratt Rouge, Clear Creek Cassis Liqueur, Lime Juice (this one’s drier/tart).
    Ransom Old Tom Gin, Ramazzotti, Drambui, Lime (think Lemon would be better).
    Bombay Sapphire Gin, Carpano Antica, Campari, Lemon (and cheating a bit now: .25-.5oz Maraschino).
    Beefeater Gin, Gran Classico, Cointreau, Lemon (finally a good use for GC!)
    Appleton Estate 12 year Rum, Swedish Punsch, Domaine de Canton, Lime, (plus an optional barspoon of Orgeat for a Mai Tai vibe).
  • Meh:
    The raspberry concoction that started this post…  I should try with other berry liqueurs…
  • I’m not making that again:
    Gin, Ramazzotti, Kirschwasser and Lime (dumped it.  Needs some sweetness; maybe Cherry Heering instead of Kirsch?  Maraschino would almost certainly work?)

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Root of Some Evil

Geoffrey Barker : March 2, 2012 9:18 pm

Riffing on this; and if you don’t happen to be a friend of Keith Lewis, the cocktail he samples is the “Root of All Evil” ( Jeff Grdinich, White Mountain Cider Company, Bartlett, NH 2009 – Elijah Craig Bourbon, Cointreau, Fernet Branca, Luxardo Maraschino, Orange Bitters, orange twist).

Dana and I were musing about what to do with the Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur we picked up in San Diego last weekend. Keith Lewis’ Facebook page offered a good place to start.  I guessed proportions to a fairly well-balanced concoction.

I’ll be making it again.

1.5oz Elmer T Lee Bourbon
.5oz     Maraschino Liqueur
.5oz     Fernet Branca
.25oz  Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur

2-3 goodly dashes of Regan’s Orange Bitters

Garnish with a nice big orange zest.

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