View Full Version : cocktails again

05-01-2006, 13:19
Hi folks,

I've been perusing a few previous cocktail threads, and have two questions for you:

--What is your favorite bourbon cocktail? Of course, I'm well acquainted with the Manhattan, which I make at home (using different ratios of bourbon/vermouth/bitters and, I confess, the syrup the maraschinos come in, depending on my mood/drink function), and I also like making a version of the mint julep, once our mint plants kick it into gear. I also plan on giving the sazarac another chance--the single one I've ever had made for me was just too sweet. (And this, coming from a guy who sometimes uses cherry syrup in his Manhattan.) What are some lesser-known or forgotten bourbon classics?

--What is your favorite non-bourbon cocktail? Again, I must confess to usually ordering a dry vodka martini with olives as an apertif. Good bang for the buck, and it makes a nice appetizer. If I'm feeling like something sweeter, there's a local place that makes what is, essentially, a tequila sidecar. Pretty tasty.

What are you favorites? What's worth checking out?

05-01-2006, 13:26
Not so much a cocktail as a highball, but bourbon and ginger ale is quite good, especially with a good spicy ginger ale. I also mixed bourbon with some sparklig cider, which made for a really refreshing drink.
I also like the occasional old-fashioned.

05-01-2006, 14:04
Spicy ginger ale, any particular brands you like or use?

05-01-2006, 14:25
For bourbon it's either an old fashioned or a Sazerac. My Sazerac's aren't too sweet.

I wonder what others use for the absinthe part? I use a Pernod wash of the glass.

For non-bourbon cocktails with whiskey it would be the sidecar.

I also like gin very much. A dry martini is a beautiful thing. I also like Negronis. I cut the sweet vermouth in half though. It looks kinda girly, but it's italian and how can anything italian be girly?

My favorite summer drink is the Tom Collins. Half a lemon, gin, soda water. Simple, delicious and a pleasure on the beach.

I'm not much for vodka. Bloody Mary's are about the extent of it.

05-01-2006, 16:04
Aside from bourbon and coke the only bourbon cocktail that I've tried is a Manhattan. I wasn't terribly impressed. May try it again when I can make it myself. Have to find some bitters.

Non-bourbon favorite is an extra dry Martini:

Fill glass with crushed ice and water
While chilling fill shaker with ice. Add about 1 oz. of dry Vermouth to shaker. Shake a couple of times to coat ice then discard.
Add gin to shaker (Beefeater or Saphire preferably)
Shake and strain into glass (after discarding ice and water)
Add two olives and 1 tsp (maybe) of olive juice

05-01-2006, 16:08
I generally drink my bourbon straight but my wife likes hers with cranberry juice.

05-01-2006, 16:12
Bourbon Old Fahioned is my only cocktail to be honest. For a change try it with lime instead of orange - it really works well.

05-01-2006, 16:34
Here's (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthread.php?p=19377#poststop) one I like. It was available at Trader Joe's in CA. Can't find it since I moved from the big city. Tried Vernor's last week. It's too sweet for my taste.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

05-01-2006, 19:19
My Sazerac cocktails are always too sweet. I like them too sweet. :cool:

I recently started making my own Manhattan cocktails and they are very nice. Every Manhattan I ever ordered in a bar was basically undrinkable. I honestly don't think there are many real bartenders left, anymore, just guys who can slop together a bunch of mamby pamby crap. I guess mamby pamby crap is what sells, these days. :skep:

I like a good dry martini made with good gin. Tom Collins, again made with gin.

I like rum drinks in the summer. Myers's Planters Punch, daquiri cocktail (NOT frozen), Hemingway daquiri (no sugar, just rum, lime, and lots of ice). I love pina coladas too much.

I even imagine I would still enjoy a rusty nail, but I haven't had one in probably over thirty years.


05-02-2006, 12:32
I'm relatively new to bourbon cocktails. For now, I like mint julep very much. And sometimes I prefer to mix bourbon with tonic water (Schwepps) on the rocks, with a sice of lime. I'll try some others during the summer.

05-04-2006, 19:26
The Old Fashioned properly made is without question the finest tasting liquid on the planet. Better than water, any soft drink, etc. It is true nectar of the gods.

05-04-2006, 19:43
I like a gin (favorite is Sapphire) and tonic with a slice of lime. I also will have a White Russian occasionally.

05-04-2006, 20:49
I tend to drink bourbon, and other wiskeys, neat or on the rocks. However I do like a rusty nail, or a rusty spike when using bourbon and WT liquor. About equal parts over ice.

I hate anything mixed with coke.

For non bourbon cocktails, there are three I really like:
I like bloody marys but made with gin, not vodka.

I also really like a good gin and tonic: squeeze a lime wedge in a glass (I cut a lime into 6 wedges). Add a generous amount of gin (Plymouth is nice) add ice, finish with tonic. I like a mix of pretty close to 50/50 gin and tonic to 33/67 gin and tonic.

Finally, I like a good martini. Here is my recipe:
4 parts gin (Plymouth)
1 part dry vermouth
2 dashes Regan's orange bitters
add to ice and shake
strain into chilled glass and garnish with olives.

05-07-2006, 11:29
Great thread, MattB!

I am a rookie to this site, and not (yet) a Bourbon expert. I do consider myself a knowledgeable cocktail guy, however, and for Bourbon, my vote goes to the Manhattan--the food of the gods--2 bourbon to one sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters & maraschino cherry essential. The mixture of spirit and vermouth is magical, one reason why Manhattans can vary so widely from one ingredient to the next. You might also try a Kentucky Colonel (in a 5 to 1 bourbon to Benedictine ratio), let's say 2.5 oz bourbon to .5 oz Benedictine, with a twist. And you can't go amiss with a well made Old Fashioned (by which I mean: one made at home--restaurants and bars usually butcher it).

Non-bourbon? How 'bout the Green Dragon: 1 measure of good vodka (Monopolowa, maybe) to 1 measure of green Chartreuse. A wild ride, filled with spice and herb.


05-07-2006, 18:08
Rob, is Chartreuse considered to be a pastis? I have never heard it mentioned as such, but it certainly looks like one. And your mention of "herbs" strengthens that impression.


05-07-2006, 18:42
The only cocktails I've made so far have been Sazeracs and Manhattans - and I love both. In fact, this afternoon, I was out on the porch with a large Manhattan (3 oz. WT101/1 oz. M&R red vermouth/1 tsp cherry syrup+a cherry/2 dashes Angostura). Superb.

I've now tried it using Rittenhouse BIB rye, WT rye, and WT 101 bourbon - and they have all been flat-out delicious. Last month, I had a couple of Manhattans at a bar (using Maker's Mark) - they were OK but vastly more expensive than they were worth - and I can make a better one at home.

As for the Sazerac, I've used modern (90 proof) Herbsaint for the not-really-absinthe, but I'm going to have to try it with Pontarlier-Anis next time I make one. I've used a variety of ryes (and once used cognac). FYI, if you use cognac, use only 1-2 dashes of Peychaud's instead of 3-4.

05-07-2006, 19:00
Sounds like you are getting excellent results. Try blending one of the ryes you mentioned with any of the bourbons you mentioned (50/50) and use that as the whiskey base - can't go wrong and the combination offers aspects each alone does not (barrel tones only bourbon usually supplies but also the steely/minty edge rye whiskey imparts). I feel that one or two drops of the bitters is sufficient in a whiskey Sazerac unless it is quite a sweet one. The bitters is nice as a mild undertone but more than that it can obtrude. Certainly for anyone who hasn't a lot of experience with these cocktails I'd go easy on the bitters to start with. Vermouth often is fairly bitter/tannic itself and overdoing the bitters can unbalance the drink. But again (and nowhere more than in the cocktails area) personal preference is always the deciding factor.


05-07-2006, 19:27
Is it me or do most cocktail recipies reccommend too much sweet vermouth? I find the sweetness overpowering and usually half what is reccommended.

What do you think?

05-07-2006, 19:53
I agree fully. I think though it is natural that people who like bourbon and straight rye will prefer a drier drink (less vermouth) so they can taste the whiskey more. Standard recipes were designed I think for the many who do not like the taste of or cannot accustom to straight whiskey. At a time when straight whiskey or its blended variants were pretty much the only game in town (before the 30's when there was little vodka, or scotch or gin) mixologists devised recipes that could use the native spirit but still appeal to people who did not like whiskey neat. Hence I think the high percentage of vermouth in those days, I have seen it as high as 50% plus gomme sugar added! (I am assuming red vermouth in circa 1900 was sweet in taste). I prefer a 3:1 or 4:1 blend, whiskey to vermouth of course; the exact proportion depends on the kind of whiskey base and vermouth I am using. I don't like it too dry though, but what you might call medium- or off-dry.


05-08-2006, 04:58
Rob, is Chartreuse considered to be a pastis? I have never heard it mentioned as such, but it certainly looks like one. And your mention of "herbs" strengthens that impression.


Hey Tim--

Chartreuse is an herbal liqeuer made from 130 (!) alpine herbs originally found near the monastery of the Carthusian monks near Grenoble. Unlike Benedictine (also originally a monastic product), Chartreuse is STILL being made by monks. The secret recipe is supposedly only shared among there of them, they can't all be in the room at one time, etc etc. And by the way, Benedictine is also an excellent product.

But neither one is a pastis: they don't cloud up when you add water to them in the classic pastis style.


05-09-2006, 10:42
Diet Sprite. But I also like Gin and Tonics. Ginger Ale has too much bite for me. So I guess its like the 7 and 7 but instead of 7 I use bourbon.

05-09-2006, 10:43
If I go to a place that has Margueritas on sale, I like those too. Otherwise I never liked Tequila.