Archives for category: Bubbles

You know what goes well with tequila?  No, seriously.  Do you know what goes well with tequila?  Because it always gives me hassle.  Anything I make ends up looking suspiciously like a margarita variation, or I rely on orange and/or cinnamon – which still ends up looking suspiciously like a margarita variation.

This is something I’ve been messing around with, based partially on a punch that one of the fine folks at the Blur Ball made a few months ago.

Five Hundred



1.5 oz silver tequila
.75 oz St Germain
2 dashes lemon
2 oz dry sparkling wine
Serrano pepper

Stir the tequila, St Germain, lemon, and a very small slice of the Serrano pepper with ice.  Strain into a champagne flute, top with the bubbles, and garnish with a new little slice of pepper.

Those of you in Washington State or Colorado may want to try my variation on this one, affectionately dubbed the Five Hundred and Two.  Turns out that herbal tinctures do exceptionally well in this drink.  It’s got no illusions that it can mask stinky.  The tequila and pepper just happen to complement the difficult flavors one can encounter when sampling the native vegetation of Vancouver.

That’s what people tell me, anyway.  I certainly wouldn’t know.

Today’s subject: the cocktail fail.

Amateur mixology is a lot like being a teenager. You experiment. You do some uninformed, ballsy, and otherwise stupid things. If you’re lucky, your friends shut the hell up about your mistakes and reminisce fondly about your triumphs. I have the luxury of just throwing out crap that doesn’t work. But bar owners generally discourage their bartenders from doing this too often.

Today’s topic: diving catches (a.k.a., fix yo’ shit).

I’m no expert, but here’s what I’ve learned so far about cocktail improv.

  • Better to riff on some recipe you already like than try to reinvent the wheel.
  • If you have to invent your own stuff, keep a list of go-to flavor pairings.  I’ll share the ones that I’ve figured out so far soon.
  • St Germain fixes a lot of mistakes.
  • If all is truly lost, put it on the rocks.
  • If the rocks don’t fix it, put it on crushed ice.
  • If the crushed ice doesn’t fix it, add something carbonated.
  • If the sparkling wine / ginger ale / club soda / tonic doesn’t fix it, you’re fucked.

To that end, here’s something I screwed around with tonight that started out unpalatable, but ended up kind of nice.

Four kumquats
2 oz Cruzan white rum
2 oz sparkling wine
1 oz orange juice
.25 oz cinnamon syrup

Muddle the kumquats and the cinnamon syrup. Add the Cruzan and orange juice. Shake with crushed ice. Add a little additional crushed ice to a Collins glass, then pour the whole thing unstrained into the Collins glass. Add the sparkling wine and give it a gentle stir.  Stand behind the bar and look like you know what you’re doing.

If you’re keeping score, that’s crushed ice AND something carbonated. Shhhh.

It’s spring in Seattle.  I know.  It says so on the calendar.  So I’m looking for cocktails that defy the 60 degree weather and gray skies here.  Screw you, Seattle.  Spring has arrived in my liquor cabinet.

I’ve been enjoying a variation on the Corpse Reviver #2 that substitutes dry vermouth for the Lillet, so that was probably on my mind when I threw this together.  You can’t go far wrong with St. Germain – I believe Phred at Elemental refers to it as “bartender’s ketchup”.  This drinks kind of like a Corpse Reviver with lychee aroma and just a tiny bit of effervescence. 

The Joan Holloway
1.75 oz Hendricks gin
.75 oz St. Germain
.5 oz lemon
.5 oz sparkling wine
Dash Luxardo cherry liqueur

Shake the gin, St. Germain, and lemon.  Strain into a champagne saucer, then add the sparkling.  Pour a little dash of the cherry liqueur in the middle and watch it slink to the bottom.  Note that this isn’t the maraschino liqueur – I think that would be pretty nasty.  If you don’t have the Luxardo cherry, some Cherry Heering would probably work just fine.

I asked friends what to call this one, and one Christina Hendricks fan suggested the name – her character on Mad Men.  Works for me – curvy women of the world unite!  Plus, if you look at the saucer from the top down, the drink kinda looks like a big pale boob.