Archive for May, 2012

White Russian

It’s Shamu’s sweet sixteenth birthday!  No, not the whale, the cat.  I know the cat is drinking out of the martini glass, Shamu themed no less, but before PETA calls – there’s no alcohol in there!  The alcohol is all in the drink up front, and he turned his nose up at that one… but not me!  So happy birthday Shamu – let’s celebrate with a White Russian!

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce Kahlua
  • 1 ounce milk (or cream)

Pour in a rocks glass over ice, serve.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Coffee and milk with the kick of vodka, yummy.
  • Not too sweet, and the calories aren’t just limited to the alcohol!
  • Beleive it or not, it’s my first one.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 8/10
  • Strength: 7/10
  • Sweetness: 6/10
  • A nice drink, a little heavy to have more than one.

It’s Tuesday Night Supper Club – except the club stayed home and only Kathryn and I were there.  We’re going with the “build it and they will come” theory – so when are you showing up?  We thought it was time we tried the über hip and especially gay Eden restaurant in Hillcrest.  On a Tuesday night apparently everyone had the same idea, as we were alone in the dining room!  Food was good and the drink was interesting, and the art, well, you can comment for yourself.

  • 42 Below Honey Vodka
  • St. Germain
  • French Muddled Strawberries
  • Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Sprite

Serve it up in a tall glass over ice.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Tastes like strawberry lemonade, but without the tart and with the honey!
  • Full of bits of the muddled strawberry for extra fun.
  • There is an interesting flavor of perfume and flowers… not sure if I totally am on board…
  • Nice honey aftertaste to finish.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 6/10
  • Strength: 4/10
  • Sweetness: 6/10
  • This is a nice tall cooler, although I can’t quite say its refreshing.

Have you been to a new restaurant lately?  I’ve been to a few.  Let me guess – a twist on classic comfort food with farm to table ingredients?  I’m not sure, but I would guess that 98.2% of new restaurants are using this formula and I just don’t get it.  There are only so many burgers made from a cow raised on a green hill in paradise, with cheese from France, onions from a local farm and heirloom (a.k.a. ugly) tomatoes.  But don’t forget to charge $18 for it.  Then there is the propensity for duck tacos and short ribs… don’t get me wrong – I like them – but its been done.

I just wish that restauranteurs could just grow a creative gene in their body and come up with something new.  Some new concept, some new cuisine, some new way of doing it!  I’m pretty sure that there would be less competition than trying to make an $18 burger and $15 Mac and Cheese (hey, let’s add lobster or truffles and charge $16).  Don’t forget the sweet potato fries!

Speaking of, the following are a couple of drinks from a new restaurant I went to – Sessions Public in Point Loma.  While it does meet the stereotypes above, I have to say the food wasn’t half bad, and the drinks were awesome.

Drink 1: The N0. 2

  • Crusoe Spiced Rum
  • Ginger Liqueur
  • Fresh Apple
  • Jalapeno
  • Lager

Served in a short glass over ice.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • A cocktail with beer… interesting.  Tastes like it was made with a Belgian wheat – not one of my favorites.
  • There is a real Jalapeno kick in the aftertaste – I like it!
  • I have to say, not a drink that you are going to want to drink when you need a refresher.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 4/10
  • Strength: 2/10
  • Sweetness: 1/10
  • This is a very different cocktail… not my first choice.

Drink 2: Berry Mint Mule

  • Bourbon
  • Berry
  • Mint
  • Lime
  • Ginger Beer

Can’t tell you what “berry” actually means, but served in that same short glass over ice.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Unlike the No. 2, this drink was definitely N0. 1 at the table – it was a hit.
  • Sweetness and flavor of berries over spicy ginger beer.
  • A great refreshing cooler – this is a winner.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 8/10
  • Strength: 4/10
  • Sweetness: 6/10
  • This is no generic farm-to-table recipe – this is a unique winner.

La Jolla

Oh La Jolla!  Since moving to San Diego in 1990, it has always been a secret dream of mine to live in the village.  As I got older I started to realize that (1) traffic sucks and (2) it’s a bit spendy.  But heh, it’s a dream, right?  We’ll maybe next year when we start looking for a house we’ll turn that dream into a reality.  That, or come back to reality.

So let’s see if the drink matches my fantasy or ends up being a disappointment.

  • 3 ounces of Brandy (Spanish)
  • 1 ounce Creme de Banana
  • 0.5 ounce orange juice
  • 0.5 ounce lemon juice

Shake over ice and serve in a chilled martini glass.  Serve.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Basically what we have here is some brown liquor shaken together with some juices – hmmm.
  • You gotta love brandy for this one – make sure you are using a quality brand-e!
  • Tastes of sweetened brandy with a banana aftertaste, admittedly though, the juice flavor is lost in the body of the drink.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 4/10
  • Strength: 8/10
  • Sweetness: 7/10
  • A little bit of a disappointment here, not sure this one is going to make the recommend list – although it does have a good name!

Keeping up with the drinks, we have a fancy sounding cocktail – the Maiden’s Prayer.  After spending the last seven years or so living with my maiden, it strikes me as odd that there is no wine in here, as that would be her prayer!

Let’s see how it goes.

  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 0.5 ounce lemon juice
  • 0.5 ounce orange juice

Shake over ice, strain and serve into a chilled martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Almost a lemon drop, but with gin instead of vodka.
  • Good balance, starts tart and ends sweet.  The lemon is the main flavor, but there is a hint or orange juice.
  • The Cointreau helps give it the sweetness and a subtle complexity if you sip.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 8/10
  • Strength: 6/10
  • Sweetness: 7/10
  • A lemon drop with added complexity, this would not make for a good shooter like its vodka cousin.

Black Sombrero

One of the reasons that I started this blog back in December was that I wanted to tell you how drinks taste not just how to make them.  As I have said before – some drinks sound good and taste bad and others sound bad and taste good.  Tonight’s drink is a test of that theory.  Since starting davedrinks I have leant towards drinks that sound good, because let’s face it, I have to drink them.  The Black Sombrero however, does not sound good at all.  Let’s see how this goes.

  • 1 ounce tequila
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce Kahlua

Shake over ice, strain and serve into a chilled martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • I didn’t expect that.  This drink is surprisingly well-balanced and good tasting.
  • The Kahlua is basically what you taste, with a hint of tequila in the background.
  • The taste is the coffee/cocoa flavor of Kahlua, but strong nonetheless.

Tastings Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 7/10
  • Strength: 8/10
  • Sweetness: 5/10
  • Surprises can be good – count the Black Sombrero among them.

Daydream Martini

Flipping through the drink books this evening I came across a drink that had been crudely starred four times in pen.  Something tells me that I may have made this one before and been impressed.  Catching up on Mad Men this evening, so it is a no brainer to make a martini – but I am guessing this isn’t one that Don would enjoy.  Perhaps a straight up vodka martini would have been more appropriate?  Ah well, what’cha gonna do?

  • 3 ounces citrus vodka
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 0.5 ounce triple sec
  • 0.25 teaspoon sugar

Shake over ice. strain and serve into a chilled martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • A semi-sweet orange martini would be the best description.
  • Tastes like a flat Orangina without the bits… and with vodka.
  • I think this is best described as a classic orange martini.

Tastings Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 7/10
  • Strength: 8/10
  • Sweetness: 4/10
  • Roger quote of the evening: “How Jewish are they?  Fiddler on the Roof – audience or cast?”

From the “unnecessary gun law desk”, today is a celebration in Texas as just one year ago the Texas Senate approved legislation to approve students carrying guns on campus.  What could possibly go wrong with this idea.  You know, kids full of testosterone… trying to show off for the girls… the next thing you know “your mama” jokes escalate into a triple homicide.  Memo to Texas, gun rights are one thing, kids with guns in school is entirely another.

Ok, off the soap box, no hate mail please.  In honor of the Texas Senate’s faux pas, tonight’s cocktail is also as such.  Providing once again that drinking and reading is a dangerous combination.  The ingredients are correct, the measurements are wrong, but the review is honest.  Sometimes the best things happen by mistake.  Not quite Seventh Heaven, here’s my version.

  • 3 ounces gin (Bombay Sapphire)
  • 1 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 1 ounce grapefruit juice
  • mint sprig for garnish

Stir everything over ice (don’t bruise that gin), serve in a chilled martini glass and garnish with the mint.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Another name for this could be the Maraschino Martini, as that is the forward flavor.
  • If you like your cocktails, this one will have you covered, but be sure you also like gin.
  • Well balanced flavor, maybe a little sweet, but great tasting none-the-less.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 6/10
  • Strength: 7/10
  • Sweetness: 8/10
  • Not bad, but I don’t think this falls into the fortuitous mistake category.


California is awesome.  After a conference meeting today in Orange County I got to ride down the coast in the wife’s convertible with the top down on a beautiful spring day.  This is why I live here and why I never want to leave.  A perfect sunny 7o degrees – ahhhh.

On another note, today is V-E Day in both America and England.  One of the holidays that both countries can get behind – unlike the 4th of July, where England quite unfairly celebrates the relief of the burden of the United States on its economy.  For the uninformed. V-E Day is Victory in Europe Day, which occurred on May 8, 1945.

After those two unrelated facts, on to the drink of the day.  One of my recipe books has a section for “What to drink if you are tired of…”, and this one comes from that very section.  Not that I could ever tire of them, but this is a drink for when you;ve had one too many Manhattans (not all in one evening).

  • 3 ounces Canadian whisky (Crown Royal)
  • 1 ounce of sweet vermouth
  • 0.5 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes of bitters
  • maraschino cherry for garnish

Shake over ice and serve into a chilled martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • I am really impressed – an unassuming name but it has great flavor.
  • The nutty maraschino flavor comes through, but is never overpowering.
  • The vermouth, bitters and Crown Royal balance together in the background to complete the flavor.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 10/10 (whoa – what’s going on here?!?!)
  • Strength: 6/10 (but stronger than it tastes)
  • Sweetness: 6/10
  • I didn’t expect this, but I would drink this one anytime.  Well, if all the Makers and Coke runs dry.


Some drinks are easy to understand, some are not.  Take the classic Rum & Coke – what exactly are the ingredients?  Strangely enough it’s made of, get this, a measure of rum and… some Coke.  So moving on to tonight’s beverage, the XYZ.  What exactly do you think may be in there?  A xylophone?  Some Yeah-germeister?  Perhaps a zebra?  Nope, it’s rum, Cointreau and lemon juice, of course.

So it has a dumb name, but what does it taste like and should you order one?

  • 2 ounces of Jamaican rum (Myers)
  • 2 tablespoons of Cointreau
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Shake over ice, strain and serve in a rocks glass over ice.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • It’s the first drink that I have made with Myers rum where the harsh flavor of sugar cane is almost completely absent.  There is just a hint in the aftertaste.
  • The lemon and the Cointreau combine to make a sweet and tart base for the drink.
  • It’s almost like a strange alternative to a Rum and Coke, but one you could drink without soda on hand.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 7/10
  • Strength: 7/10
  • Sweetness: 7/10
  • Three 7’s does not a jackpot make, but I was expecting less with such a stupid name.