Archives for category: Gin

You’ve heard of ‘Sober October’? It’s ‘Drink a Day December”s preachy asshole brother who makes even your best friend the Buddhist want to pop him in the snoot.  Fuck that guy.


Let’s start with the classic Hanky Panky.  Why?

  • It was invented by a female bartender
  • A female bartender who worked at the American Bar in the Savoy in London
  • In the 1920s
  • It’s a very simple recipe that is strangely easy to fuck up
  • It is a mouthful of boozy, sweet, and bitter, like an aging 70s pop star
  • It’s super-fun to say and vaguely rude

Hanky Panky

  • 1.75 oz London dry gin (mmmmMartin Millers)
  • 1.75 oz sweet vermouth (Carpano if you’re brave)
  • .25 oz Fernet Branca

Combine, ice, and stir.  Think about how badass Ada Coleman looked with her silver shaker pin behind the bar.  Use a vegetable peeler to cut a piece of orange rind. Express the oil over the glass, rub the rind on the rim, and serve.

I can testify: the ones Joe serves at the Savoy nowadays would make Ada proud.


We’ve been known to have large parties a few times a year.  The sound of dozens of liquor bottles hitting the recycling is our way of letting the neighbors know what they missed.  In other words, we go through a lot of booze when we entertain, and yep, it does get expensive.

We know that buying liquor for our house can be a bit intimidating, so if you’d like to bring a bottle next time you visit, here’s a quick guide to stuff we’ll always appreciate a bunch.  It’s also a pretty good cheat sheet for reliably good booze to bring anywhere.  Most of these should be too difficult to find locally.

Around $20:

In the $20-40 Range:

In the $40-60 Range:

Impractically Expensive Shit:

We’re grateful for anything you want to bring, of course!  If you want to be creative and pick up something not on this list, here are some types of liquor we generally avoid – they just don’t get used, and we don’t mix with them:

  • Vodka
  • Flavored vodka
  • Flavored anything, really
  • Canadian whiskey
  • Irish whiskey

Now back to your regularly scheduled booze news.


You know what really gets in the way of creating new drinks?  Prilosec.  Thankfully, I’m now back to tasting meals only once and have some gastrointestinal bandwidth to make cute pink gin drinks.  This one would make an awesome wedding cocktail.  Just sayin’.  You know who you are.

74 Up

2 oz Tanqueray 10 gin
.5 oz Dolin Blanc vermouth
.5 oz Byrrh
.5 oz lime
.25 oz Bauchant orange cognac (or Cointreau – whatever)

First, think about voting.  Then realize that it’s mail-in only.  This would be better with a cocktail.  Combine everything in a shaker.  Shake with equal parts indignation and style.  Strain and garnish with a queerly gigantic orange twist.  Pop open your ballot, take a sip, fill in the bubble, take a pic, post it on Facebook.  Make a quick toast to friends and civil rights.  Jot down a note:  buy more gin.

If you’ve read this far, please also check out MurrayAid.  Murray Stenson, a friend and a helluva bartender, could (reluctantly) use your help.  He deserves it.  If you kick in, leave a comment!

You know what’s a good idea?  Checking the proof on the bottle of gin you just bought BEFORE  you put two ounces of it in a drink.  True story.  On our very last outing to the Sodo liquor store today, we picked up a bottle of Junipero craft gin.  Took a little sample sip at home.  Whoa.  HELLO, I’M GIN.  NICE TO MEET YOU.  But since I’m not so smart, I didn’t think that perhaps we were dealing with something greater than 80 proof.

Here’s what happens when you try to fix a drink you made with two ounces of 98 proof gin.

Pure June

2 oz Junipero gin
1 oz Orchard Pear liqueur
1 oz Cocchi Amerciano
.25 oz Earl Grey tea infused gin

Stir it all up and wonder what the hell just happened.  Strain it and feel sorry for that half a kiwi that’s been sitting on the counter since last night.  Give it a final, glorious shot at life as a garnish.  Take a sip, think that you might as well have made a Vesper for all the heat this little bastard has on it, and be really glad you aren’t getting up for work tomorrow.

Next up:  adventures in liquor privatization.  What new, strange world will Costco offer us?  I don’t know.  But I’m stocked up on weirdass liquor, just in case.

If Tom Jones and Jack White can cover Howlin’ Wolf, why can’t I mix gin and rum?  I’m GONNA.  You can’t stop me.

White Lily

1 oz white rum
1 oz Hendrick’s gin
1 oz Cointreau

Stir the gin, rum, and Cointreau with ice.  Wash a cocktail glass with absinthe, and strain.  Think about how Tom Jones makes Wayne Newton look like the front man for a cheap bar mitzvah band.  Belt out some “What’s New Pussycat”.  Leave your hat on.  Think about what would happen if Tom Jones got together with Tom Waits.  Hear yourself saying “Whoa.”

This isn’t my creation.  I don’t remember where we got it – it goes back a ways.  It was one of our first cocktail adventures.  If you have a scantily stocked bar, it’s a fine one to start with, if you’re fond of the herbal notes of Hendrick’s.  The absinthe really ties it together, but you could leave it out in a pinch.  Wait until you can afford a decent bottle of the stuff – cheap absinthe will make you sad in the pants.  And the stomach.

Someone once came to one of our parties and said, “I’d like something that doesn’t taste too much like alcohol.  Can you make me some kind of a martini?”  (You know who you are.  I’m not telling.)

Martinis are evil.  They’re basically pure gin with a vague memory of dry vermouth, invaded by a twist or an olive.  I don’t normally go for them.  But I’ve been cutting down on the sweet stuff until the holiday blubber subsides, which oddly enough makes you crave sweet stuff less.  Here’s a little something I made tonight that is calling me a wimp.


2 0z Plymouth gin
1 oz Dolin dry vermouth
.25 oz Fernet Branca

STIR the damned thing with ice.  None of this pansy shaking stuff.  Strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist.  Plot the way in which Bond is going to die.  Design a clever, maniacal trap involving an industrial die-cutter, 17 purebred pit bulls, a rhododendron, and a guy named Norman.  Decide just to shoot him in the head instead.  Emit a sinister laugh.

This drink would have the Don Draper seal of approval, if he knew what the hell Fernet was.

Gin and lavender.  How very British.  I bet this sort of thing is just what Liz needs to get through another bloody day of shaking hands, rendering polite smiles, and looking at Phillip and Charles.

The Queen’s Breakfast

2 oz Hendricks gin
.5 oz Navan vanilla liqueur
.5 oz lime
dash lavender bitters

Shake with ice, strain, and pour into a cocktail glass.  Add a lemon twist.  Lie back, sip it, and think of England, even though you don’t know who’s on the team.  Smack yourself for ripping off Billy Bragg.

In other news, I’m about to barrel age some Cointreau, and have a bottle of Buffalo Trace to infuse with roasted almonds.  It’s all for Christmas punch, recipe courtesy of the official cocktail of Tales of the Cocktail in Vancouver next year.  Oh, the lengths I will go to for a good drink.  If only that energy were directed at something that supplemented my income…

“I’ll let you be… macrobiotic… / if you let me have some pie.” – The Bobs

All things in their season?  Not when there are strawberries somewhere in the world and the remarkably carbon-footprint-indifferent Whole Foods to bring them to me.  Hooray for strawberries in late October!  And hooray for sparing just a few from the Great Berry Massacre of 25th October for a new cocktail.

Having Manhattan’ed myself out for the past week or two, I was in the mood for something a little lighter and fruity.  George Clooney was unavailable.

Strawberry Moon

One big-ass mutant strawberry, or two normal helpless strawberry victims, hulled
2 oz Tanqueray 10 gin
.5 oz Gran Classico bitters
.25 oz Amaretto
dash Bittercube Jamaican Bitters #1

Combine the gin and strawberry in a shaker.  Muddle the hell out of them.  Add everything else and shake mercilessly.  Double-strain into a cocktail glass or a coupe.  Further torture it by telling it you’ll give it a garnish.  Then serve it without one.  Sip and shake a tiny, angry fist at the rain and gloom.

It was way too easy to make and down the second one of these for the night.  But hey.  I had to take the picture.

Tanqueray 10 is really best for this drink, but you could go for any gin that’s not too junipery / herbal.  There’s really no getting around the Gran Classico.  Aperol or Campari will make a different (but probably pretty good) drink, but if you use Campari, I’d cut the amount in half.  The bitters are hard to find.  They have a touch of sweet, clovey spice to them, so if you had some Benedictine lying around, you could try that.  Or Becherovka.  If you go this way, you might try adding a dash of Regan’s Orange Bitters #6 as well to get that little bit of bitter finish on it.

Since I’m now just making shit up, I will stop.  Next up:  a runthrough of our fall menu.

The only thing that got us off the couch today was going to the new premier liquor store in West Seattle.  I thank our state legislature overlords for allowing us now to have more liquor choices.  Here.  Have some more tax money.

I’d been wanting a bottle of Gran Classico for quite some time, and I scored.  It’s very similar to Campari, but a bit lighter and less bitter.  Brandon at Needle and Thread once used it and Cocchi Americano to make something incredible for me, but I couldn’t remember what the hell he put in it.  So I made something up.

Lazy Day

1 oz dry gin (I used Beefeater – Aruba wasn’t cheap)
.75 oz Cocchi Americano
.5 oz Gran Classico
dash lemon
dash absinthe

Combine everything in the shaker with ice and stir.  Strain into a nice coupe, if you’ve got one.  Take half of an orange slice and warm / burn the rind with a gas burner, or just a lighter.  Float it on top of the drink.  Go drink it on the couch.  Watch reruns of reality TV.  Consider going to the gym.  Fall asleep.


Y’all know I love me some weird-ass bottles of liquor.  And I love Cocchi Americano.  Maybe because it’s also a weird-ass bottle of liquor.  So when I saw a bottle of Cocchi Vermouth de Torino at DiLaurenti’s, it went in my basket faster than a greased gerbil at the local meeting of the Richard Gere fan club.

The red Torino Cocchi is a nice counterpart to the dry Americano.  It has kind of a stone fruit sweetness going on, very deep, like a ruby port, but with a slightly bitter finish.  I’d hit that just for sipping.  But I had to figure out what it might mix well with.  Several failures later:

High Tea

2 oz Earl Grey Tea-infused dry gin
1 oz Cocchi di Torino (substitute ruby port if you have to)
.5 oz Luxardo Cherry liqueur (Cherry Heering would do fine, as well)
5 drops Bittercube Jamaican bitters #2

If  you’re not lucky enough to have the Bittercube bitters, a dash of Angostura would be better than nothing.  Ice it, stir it, strain it, garnish it with some delicious brandied cherries.  Think of England, even though you don’t know who’s on the team.

Earl Grey tea-infused gin, you say?  Oh my.  I can’t do that.  Oh wait.  I can.  Get a bottle of dry gin (plain old Beefeater will do).  Pour a bit out.  Or save it for later.  Or just drink it.  Whatever.  Put half a cup of Earl Grey tea in the bottle.  Wait about 30 minutes.  Strain it out.  Oh look!  Earl Grey infused gin!

This one’s got a lot going on.  There’s the floral nose from the Earl Grey, some depth from the Cocchi di Torino, and a little bitter / sour from the Bittercube bitters.  It goes from a light and fluffy nose to HELLO, I’M GIN, then to cherry / caramelly goodness, then heads right to the Islands for a little sweet spice finish.

Next up:  we goin’ old school Tiki shit.