One theory about the invention of the Mojito is that it came about as a cure for scurvy by English sailors in the New World. Another is that it was concocted by African slaves in the Caribbean to make their aguardiente a little more palatable and the name mojito came from mojo, a magic spell or charm.
6 mint leaves
½ oz. simple syrup
2 oz. white rum
¾ oz. lime juice
Club soda, to top – optional
Garnish: mint sprig
Garnish: lime wheel
Muddle the mint with the simple syrup in a shaker. Add the rum, lime juice and ice, and shake. Strain into a highball glass over fresh ice. Top with a splash of club soda or sparkling mineral water if you like. Garnish with a mint sprig and lime wheel.
Our granddaughter Molly came over for dinner with some friends recently. After we ate, we served espresso with the desert they brought and Green Chartreuse as an after dinner drink. Chartreuse, which comes in green or yellow is a liquor produced by French Carthusian monks. It’s made with over a hundred different herbs, including cannabis, but the exact recipe is the monk’s secret. Chartreuse is perfect for sipping on its own but here’s a cocktail that can be made with it – The Last Word.
The Last Word Cocktail Ingredients:
¾ oz. Gin
¾ oz. Maraschino liqueur
¾ oz. Green Chartreuse
¾ Fresh Lime Juice
Put all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.
We had dinner at the Ukrainian East Village Restaurant on 2nd Avenue. As usual the food, service and Ukrainian beer were great. I saw something on the menu I’d never noticed before – Horse Radish Infused Vodka. Served chilled and straight in a shot glass with a pickle garnish, it was cold and crisp and just a great opener for the meal we had. If you want to try this and can’t get to the East Village, you’re going to need fresh horse radish root.
Just two simple ingredients – vodka and fresh horse radish.
Using the largest holes on a box grater, grate enough horse radish to fill 1/4 cup.
Add the grated horse radish to a liter of vodka and store for 48 hours. Taste it and if it isn’t strong enough give it another 24 hours. Strain out the horse radish and serve very cold.
Sloppy Joe’s Bar opened in Havana in the 1930s. It was frequented by Earnest Hemingway, Errol Flynn, Alec Guinness and many other celebrities. I recently came across their cocktail recipe book online and tried a few. They’re kind of fruity and tropical which makes them perfect on a hot day.
Sloppy Joe’s Cocktails
1 ½ oz. white rum
1 ½ oz. pineapple juice
1 tsp. Grenadine
1 tsp. Luxardo
Shake with ice and serve in a flute.
Juice of ½ lime
1 oz. white rum
1 oz. Italian vermouth
1 oz. Apple Jack
1 tsp. grenadine
Shake with ice and serve in a cocktail glass.
Juice on 1 lemon
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. green crème de menthe
1 egg white
1 ½ oz. gin
Shake with ice and serve in a flute. Typically, a “fizz” is topped off with some club soda, but not this one.
I watched a bartender make one of these and asked him what was in it. It’s basically gin on the rocks with a very theatrical presentation. He said it was called “Fanny’s Sweet Rhythm” and he didn’t know why. It’s pretty and tastes good so give it a try.
Muddle the mint and orange bitters in a rocks glass. Fill the glass with crushed ice, pour in the gin and stir. Garnish with a lime wheel and sprig of mint.
Invert a half lime so that the peel faces in, place on top of the crushed ice and pour Green Chartreuse into shell. Light the Chartreuse, let it burn for 30 seconds to warm the oils in the lime skin, then tip into the drink.
Coquito is similar to eggnog but without the egg, it’s a Puerto Rican holiday drink that tastes like coconut candy. Family recipes vary a bit but this one is pretty standard. If you want to serve it to kids, replace the rum with whole milk and add some non-alcoholic rum extract.
1 can cream of coconut (15 ounce)
1 can evaporated milk (12 ounce)
1 can of coconut milk (13 ½ ounce)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounce)
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 cups white rum
Grated nutmeg for an optional garnish
Pour the cream of coconut, evaporated milk, coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large saucepan. Heat on medium and stir until it well blended and starts to simmer. Remove from heat, and let it sit for 30 minutes.
Add in the rum and chill. Serve cold or on the rocks with a sprinkle of nutmeg.
Wet the rim of a coupe glass with lemon juice and dip it into sugar sprinkled on a plate. Shake off excess and set it aside. Put the lemon juice, brandy, and Cointreau into a cocktail shaker. Add ice, and shake. Strain into the sugared glass.
2 oz. Bourbon
1oz. sweet vermouth
Lemon twist garnish
Pour the Bourbon, Campari, and vermouth into a rocks glass filled with ice. Stir and garnish with lemon twist.
1 ½ oz. white rum
¾ oz. orange Cointreau or curaçao
¾ oz. lime juice, freshly squeezed
½ oz. orzata or orgeat
½ oz. dark rum
Lime wheel and mint sprig for garnish
Add the white rum, Cointreau, lime juice and orzata to a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a rocks glass. Float the dark rum over the top. Garnish with a lime wheel and mint sprig.
The Egg Cream started as a New York thing about a hundred years ago. Lately it’s become more widely known but in case you’re not familiar with it, it’s a New York candy store fountain drink that doesn’t contain eggs or cream. It’s made with some milk, chocolate syrup (or sometimes vanilla), and topped off with seltzer to give it a frothy head There are lots of theories of why its called an Egg Cream and I’ll leave you to Google that.
Egg Cream aficionados say the only correct way to make one is with Fox’s U-Bet Chocolate Syrup and seltzer from either a soda fountain or a seltzer syphon. I’m not so strict. If you can’t get U-Bet, Bosco is a good substitute.
Bottled seltzer is fine and better than club soda which contains some salty minerals.
The ingredients are simple:
2 oz. whole milk
1 1/2 oz. chocolate syrup
Start with the milk, add the syrup and stir, then fizz it with the seltzer. If you want a white head instead of brown, just change the order – milk, seltzer then add the syrup and stir.
Alec Guinness in ‘Our Man in Havana’ at his local bar where he drank quite a few Daiquiris.
The Daiquiri was invented in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Instead of calling it something bland like a ‘rum sour’ it was named after a local beach, the Daiquiri.
The Classic Daiquiri
The original and simplest –
2 ounces light rum
1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
3/4 ounce simple syrup*
* 1 cup of sugar & 1 cup of water – heat until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is clear.
Add the rum, lime juice and syrup to a shaker with ice. This is a classic so serve it in a classic Nick and Nora cocktail glass. Garnish with a wedge of lime. This can easily become a frozen daiquiri by making it in a blender that will slush the ice.
Hemingway Daiquiri aka Papa Doble
Invented by Ernest Hemmingway when he lived in Havana –
2 ounces light rum
1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
3/4 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with lime.
Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri
You don’t need a slush machine for this one –
2 oz dark rum
¾ oz Key Lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
A few strawberries
6 ice cubes
Add the rum, lime juice, syrup, strawberries, and ice to a blender. Mix until you get a slushy consistency. Pour into a coupe and garnish with a sprig of mint.
A subtle hint of banana –
2 ounces dark rum
3/4 ounce banana liqueur
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1/4 ounce simple syrup
Garnish: banana slice
Add the rum, banana liqueur, lime juice and syrup into a shaker with ice. No bananas here except for the liqueur and garnish. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a banana slice. You can easily make this a frozen banana daiquiri by making it in a blender with the addition of about a ¼ of a sliced banana.
“The Order of Chartreuse was more than 500 years old when, in 1605, at a Chartreuse monastery in Vauvert, a small suburb of Paris, the monks received a gift from Duc Francois Hannibal d’ Estrées, Marshal of King’s Henri IV artillery . . . “