” . . . there’s little doubt that Italian coffee remains the best in the world: it’s a typical case of “why should you change or improve something that’s already perfect?” Italian coffee is not a matter of variety, but of extremely high quality: from the selection of the coffee, to the way it’s toasted and brewed, every drop of caffé has to be absolutely perfect. And whoever had coffee in Italy knows it pretty much always is.”
Pour all 3 ingredients over ice in a rocks glass and garnish with an orange wheel.
A relation of the negroni. Spagliato means broken in Italian. This one replaces the gin with Prosecco.
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. sweet vermouth
3 ozs. Prosecco
Add Campari and vermouth over ice in a flute. Stir and top with Prosecco and garnish with an orange twist.
The Old Pal Negroni Cocktail
This is a whiskey version. You can use Bourbon, Canadian or rye.
1 oz. Campari
1 1⁄4 oz. whiskey
1 oz. Dry vermouth
Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir and strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist.
Each different but they all have Campari in common. Campari has been around for a long time. Gaspare Campari founded the company in 1860. The basic Campari aperitif is simply Campari and soda with a lemon twist – simple and perfect. Throughout the years Campari has been noted for the beautiful graphics used in it’s advertisements. Here are a few –
We call it a French 75. In France it’s simply Soixante-Quinze. It was invented at the New York Bar in Paris in 1915 and named after a World War One, 75 millimeter artillery piece. It’s a lot like a Tom Collins – lemon, sugar, and gin – but with Champagne in place of club soda. It isn’t very strong so it makes a good morning drink, like a Mimosa.
1 oz. gin
1/2 oz. lemon juice
2 dashes simple syrup
2- 3 oz. Champagne
Combine all of the ingredients except the Champagne in a shaker filed with ice. Shake and pour into an iced champagne flute. Top it up with Champagne. Garnish with a slice of orange.
There’s a popular sit-com called The Big Bang Theory. One of the characters, Raj, can’t talk to a woman unless he’s had a drink. His drink of choice, of all things, is a Grasshopper. I’ve heard of them but never had one, so I thought I’d try it.
It’s a simple three-ingredient cocktail –
You put all the ingredients together, shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. You get a pretty green drink that I suppose is the same color as a grasshopper. It’s a pretty cocktail for Saint Patrick’s Day.
It’s great for a sit-com but I’ll probably never have one again. It tasted just like a Peppermint Patty.
FYI – If you replace the crème de menthe with brandy, you have a Brandy Alexander (much better).
Vietnamese Iced Coffeeis nothing like the standard American iced coffee you might be used to. It’s really something special and requires a little patience. Whenever I’m in a Vietnamese restaurant I order it as soon as I arrive and let it brew while I’m eating and drink it just before I ask for the check.
2 glasses – 1 small to brew coffee and 1 tall to mix coffee with ice
As the water is boiling add 2 tablespoons of coffee to the coffee maker and 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk to the small glass.
With the coffee maker on top of the glass, wet the grounds with about a tablespoon of the hot water and put on the top of the press and push down tightly. Fill with hot water and put the cover on. The coffee will slowly drip into the glass onto the condensed milk. This should take a few minutes. You can adjust the press as needed.
When the coffee is finished dripping, fill a tall glass with ice. Thoroughly mix the coffee with the condensed milk and then pour it over the ice in the tall glass.
Creme de Violette hasn’t been available in America for decades. My father used to complain that he couldn’t get it for his Pousse Caffe recipe. Well, it’s back and quite a few brands are being imported into the US.
Creme de Violette is an essential ingredient for an Aviation. A cocktail invented in 1916 in New York that gets the name from its cloud-like color.
Put all of the ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Creme de Violette Pousse Caffe
Starting from the bottom up –
Slowly and carefully pour each ingredient down the side of a narrow glass.
My Christmas Punch is adapted from Duffy’s 1956 edition of the Official Mixers Guide
Mix and chill first 5 ingredients and strain into a punch bowl over a block of ice with citrus fruit slices frozen inside.* Add chilled wine and chilled club soda just before serving.
If you chill the punch with ice cubes, they’ll melt and dilute it. It’s better to use a large chunk of ice. It’s more interesting if you add some fruit and make it colorful.
Slice various citrus fruits. Place a few slices of each in a small (sandwich size) zip-lock bag. Add enough water to cover the slices and hold them together when frozen. Make about 4 or 5 bags and freeze them. When frozen, place the contents of each bag into a larger zip-lock bag or a Tupperware container, add more water and freeze to make a large block of ice and citrus slices – a fruitberg.
Store-bought eggnog is cloying and sweet, so thick you feel like it might be eating your tongue as you swallow it and I always wanted to like it more than I did. So when I discovered Alton Brown had a recipe for Aged Eggnog I was intrigued, we happened to be keeping urban chickens at the time so I had plenty of fresh eggs. It was delicious! I have been making it for years now and it is always a well received, even with Eggnog haters. This year I happened to have a bunch of empty half gallon mason jars so I decided to double the recipe and then divide it into thirds because carrying all the quart jars to and from the basement is trying. A single recipe has always yielded about 3 quarts for me, so the math says I should end up with 3 even half gallons. The initial recipe says as long as you maintain 20% by volume alcohol content then you should be safe. Here is Brown’s basic recipe:
12 large eggs (pasteurized if you need peace of mind)
1 pound sugar
1-pint whole milk
1-pint heavy cream
1 cup Jamaican rum
1 cup cognac
1 cup bourbon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (plus more for serving)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Store eggs are fine, but I really have an obsession with fresh ones. We no longer keep chickens but I was able to score 2 dozen from a friend of mine who has a farm about 40 minutes away. First separate the eggs into yolks and whites, saving the whites for another purpose. ( I like to make meringues or fold them into an egg casserole/quiche for an easy breakfast.) I do weigh out my sugar for this recipe, but you can use a volume conversion because the booze is what makes it safe, not the sugar content. Take the yokes and beat them into the sugar, at first it will be bright yellow with a lumpy, grainy texture, but soon it will even out into a pale yellow liquid that should fall off the whisk in a thick ribbon. The effort required is not enough to wash a mixer, so just use a whisk.
Add your nutmeg to the eggs and sugar, whisk in. I measure the remaining ingredients into my jar to mix them, starting with the creams and adding the booze. Closing the lid and giving them a good shake, I then began to pour them into my egg mixture while whisking.
Once the eggs, cream and booze are nicely combined you are finished! I pour the eggnog back into my jar add the lid and take it to the basement fridge to age. It must age for two weeks but can age much longer, I think Alton once said he makes his around New Year’s day every year. The longest we’ve ever had it is October to January, and it was great in January.
The search started with a Sazerac and finally ended with the Ramos Gin Fizz.
. . . After we settled in our hotel there was time for a late dinner. We waited for a table at the hotel restaurant bar and this was our first chance to try a Ramos Gin Fizz. We told the bartender that we’d heard about this traditional New Orleans drink and would like to try it. He was young and he was stumped. . . He suggested another famous Big Easy cocktail, a Sazarac.
. . . It was almost dinner time and we had reservations at Galatoires, another one of my father’s recommendations. It was an old New Orleans institution with classic Creole dishes and jackets required for gentlemen.
. . . From base to top there were subtle and slightly varying shades of almost pure white going from the deepest hue at the bottom to a perfectly white, glowing heavenly cloud of thick foam at the top. It appeared to be both dense and light at the same time. . . The best way for me to describe the experience is to imagine the tastiest slice of lemon meringue pie anyone ever ate; now imagine drinking it while in a garden filled with fragrant tropical flowers.
. . . Marcel said, “These jack-leg young bartenders don’t care to keep up with the old Noo Awlin traditions. The Ramos Gin Fizz has been around longer than jazz. It was first concocted by a gentleman bartender named Henry Ramos before Kid Ory or Jelly Roll Morton ever even played any music.”
. . . “It’s not so much what’s in it but the time and care you take to get it all together.” . . . I ordered another round just so we could witness the “time and care” Marcel would put into his creation.