Originally from the Caribbean, swizzle sticks were used by bartenders to mix rum cocktails. It’s a stick made from the wood of a tropical tree called the Quararibea turbinate. Its branches naturally grow outward like the spokes on a wheel. You rub it quickly between your hands and it works something like a whisk.
Save the top shelf Scotch like Johnny Walker Black for sipping on the rocks. Something like J&B is less pricey, still a good Scotch and perfect for cocktails. My father, who was a bartender when he was a young man always said that someone who orders a high end liquor in a cocktail is being pretentious because when it’s mixed they can’t tell the difference anyway.
The Churchill cocktail was created for Winston Churchill, a Scotch drinker.
Shake with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Rob Roy was named after the Scottish folk hero. It’s pretty much a Scotch Manhattan.
Stir ingredients in a mixing glass and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
A Rob Roy can also be served on the rocks.
A nice mix of a cordial made from Scotch and honey, and Scotch.
This one is served on the rocks so you can mix it right in the glass.
Scotch Hot Toddy
Mix Scotch and sugar in a cup. Add heated milk and stir. You might try this with a sprinkle of nutmeg.
Here’s one more that got it’s own post some time back –
Invented by the Dutch 350 years ago, this colorless spirit, flavored with juniper berries was originally called genievre or jenever. Lately, it’s been replaced in popularity with vodka but for the four cocktails made with gin listed here, there is no substitute.
Very simple – just shake the 3 ingredients with ice and pour into a chilled cocktail glass.
Put the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake vigorously & strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the cherry.
Everything goes into the shaker and shake thoroughly because of the egg white.
Old Tom Martini
An early Martini recipe – put gin and Vermouth in a mixing glass and stir (never shake) with ice. Pour into a chilled Martini glass and add bitters and olive.
I grew up with Marie Brizard. That was my father’s go-to brand of anisette. The bottle was on the table after every dinner to sweeten our expresso. It was a low enough proof so I got to use some in my coffee too. I don’t remember too many people drinking it straight. Anisette is very sweet. Maybe an old lady who needed a drink for a toast and didn’t want anything too strong would have some. Sometimes I’d get a sip of it in a cordial glass if I had a cough or sore throat.
Although some people think it’s main ingredient is liquorice root, anisette is made by macerating the seeds of the anis plant in a neutral spirit. I have an anis hyssop on my balcony (see the heading photo) but I’ve never tried to gather the seeds. A friend recently suggested that I can make a passable anisette using its leaves by filling a jar have full with them, then filling it with vodka. Strain it after a month, and add sugar syrup to taste. I may try that when my plant is bigger toward the end of the summer.
My Aunt Lena use to make her own anisette with anis essence she’d get from a local pastry shop. That’s a main ingredient in anisette biscotti so all the pastry shops had it. The essence would be added to black market grain alcohol and sugar syrup. She’d mix it in a big pot on her kitchen table. I remember being small enough to stand on the table to stir it with a long wooden spoon.
When I was growing up, the only time I ever saw sambuca was if someone brought a bottle back from Italy. It wasn’t imported to the US back then. And as much as it tastes like anisette, sambuca is made from the elder berry plant. It’s a higher proof and is now much more common here than anisette.
I still generally use Marie Brizard but when it’s available I buy Anis del Mono, a Spanish brand. I like the monkey on the label. There are other anis flavored liquors made around the Mediterranean: Pernod, raki, ouzo and anazone but anisette is the best for sweetening expresso.
The Scottish legend is that the 1st Earl of Athollgot a rebel leader drunk with this and beat him in battle. True or not, Atholl Brose is a tasty drink and maybe was worth it for the rebel.
There are lots of different recipes for Atholl Brose. Some people soak the oats in water to make the brose and then mix an equal amount of Scotch with it. Others leave out the cream. I suggest you try this one and then improvise. Use a good blended Scotch but no need for anything too expensive.
Mix the Scotch and steel cut (not instant) oatmeal in a bowl. Cover it with cheese cloth and let it sit in a cool, dark place for 2 days.
Strain it into a 1 quart sauce pan (be sure to squeeze out every drop of Scotch from that cheese cloth). Add 2/3 cup heavy cream and ¼ cup honey. Bring it to a simmer and stir.
Give it a couple of shakes before pouring. You can serve it hot in the winter and cold or on the rocks in the summer. I’m not really encouraging it, but since it’s made with oatmeal you might want to try it with breakfast.
My Aunt Lena made a few bottles of this once a year around Christmas time. She always sent some to my elementary school’s convent. The Sisters of Charity loved this stuff. We didn’t get the recipe from my aunt before she died but after some trial and error Bridget & I managed to come up with it.
Make double strong espresso (10 heaping teaspoons / 850 milliliters water) and filter twice with paper filters. Heat in double boiler until it’s reduced to half.
Combine: 450 milliliters of 190 proof alcohol with 300 milliliters of syrup and stir.
Add 380 milliliters of coffee concentrate and stir. It’s ready as soon as it cools.
The end result should be about 70 proof
Bridget & I made this one up.
Filter the juice of 6 medium pomegranates (about 500 plus milliliters)
Reduce in a double boiler to 475 ML
Add 300 milliliters of 190 proof alcohol and 160 milliliters of simple syrup for about 70 proof.
Scotch Bonnet Infused Tequila
This is meant to be sipped and savored, un-mixed and no ice. It’s very HOT.
Pour 1 liter of tequila into a wide mouth bottle or jar. Take 8 Scotch Bonnet peppers and pierce with a knife and add to the jar. Set aside one month and strain into a bottle.
Pick through and wash the cherries and put them in a jar. Heat the Luxardo and fill the jar to the brim. Wait two weeks. Done.
* It’s really better with pit but remove them if you’ve got time on your hands.
Using syrup makes mixing cocktails much easier.
1 part water / 2 parts sugar
Heat until clear
Pinot Noir Punch
This was adapted from Duffy’s 1956 edition of the Official Mixers Guide
Mix and chill first 5 ingredients and pour into a punch bowl over a *block of ice with citrus fruit slices frozen inside and add chilled Pinot Noir (or Burgundy). Add chilled club soda just before serving.
*Slice some lemons, limes and tangerines and put them into 4 sandwich size zip lock bags. Add water and freeze. When frozen, put the frozen contents of the bags into a large zip-lock, add more water and freeze. This should leave you with a colorful block of ice to keep the punch chilled.
My mother made these. Start with 1/2 a cup of fruit (cherries, berries, peaches, etc.) I used blackberries for this one. Put it in a blender with a few ice cubes, a 1/2 cup of milk and a teaspoon of sugar if you like. Blend it until the ice dissolves and it’s done.
This was a candy store specialty only available in Summer. A squirt each of cherry and lemon-lime syrup. Add seltzer, stir and a squeeze of fresh lime.
Also a standard in candy stores, it was a couple of ounces of chocolate syrup (U-BET), a couple of ounces of milk, and stir with seltzer. The sum much more than the parts.
You could get this one in cafes, some pastry shops and Italian owned candy stores. A few ounces of Orzata syrup poured over ice and then fill the glass with water or some preferred seltzer. Simple and refreshing. It tastes a bit like marzipan.