Category: Liquid Candy


Halekulani Cocktail

The tiki experiment continues. Researching drinks it is amazing the variety of ingredients included in tiki recipes. Almost as impressive is the care with which contents are selected. I mean, you can’t just call for simple syrup, you must use the demarera version for added punch. It makes it challenging to stock a bar with everything, but overall the effort rewards you with some fun tasting, and generally very strong, beverages.

  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • 0.5 ounce Demarera syrup
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine
  • 3 ounces bourbon
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Throw everything in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a Martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Lots of juice and lots of sugar in here – this is in no way a diabetic friendly drink.
  • You have to like sweet, but leaves you with a tart finish.
  • No one will ever guess that there is liquor in here unless they watch you make it… Or drink more than one.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 7/10
  • Strength: 2/10 (but it’s hiding)
  • Sweetness: 10/10
  • In the tradition of a good tiki cocktail… Lots of juice and plenty of liquor to sneak up on you!
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A new drink book showed up in the house this weekend in preparation for a Tiki party that we will be part of next weekend. This particular book is the official Smugglers Cove guide to all things Tiki, including a number of recipes from the world famous restaurant.

While we have not had time to digest all of the advice within, we did at least take the time to flip through the pages and find a couple of drinks to sample. Look for the second cocktail in my next blog post! I wish this cocktail had the most ridiculous name in the book, but it actually isn’t!

  • 0.75 ounce lemon juice
  • 0.75 ounce pineapple juice
  • 0.5 ounce orgeat syrup
  • 2 ounce blended aged rum
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Fill a cocktail shaker with crushed ice, and add all of the ingredients. Shake vigorously and poor (ice and all) into a double old fashioned glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • From the first taste, this is all Tiki. It’s sweet, it’s got rum and it has a distinct almond flavor.
  • Despite the long list of ingredients, it’s an easy cocktail to make, and likely would be a good candidate for a premixed drink at a party.
  • It’s a very sweet drink, leaving the sweetness in the back of your mouth long after you swallow its goodness.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 9/10 (if you like some Tiki)
  • Strength: 4/10 (lots of juice)
  • Sweetness: 10/10
  • With a bit of practice, the name is not that hard to pronounce to order at a bar, but I’m guessing they will just look back at you with a blank stare.

Alfonso Special Cocktail

One of the first entries in my favorite drink books under the Gin category is the Alfonso Special Cocktail.  As it is right there up front, I often pass it by for a cocktail that sounds a little less boozy and a little more friendly.  Just reading the ingredients makes me think that this just wouldn’t taste good.  That said, this drink has the added benefits of (1) requires no mixers – it’s all liqueur and (2) your guests are almost guaranteed to never have experienced it before.

A unique quest for me is to find the next “long island”, that is, find a cocktail that sounds like it would be okay at best when you find out what’s in it, but takes on a personality of its own when you take your first sip.  Oh, and also taste good.  Tonight I may have found one of those combinations.  For good measure, we’ll make this a Drink of the Month!

  • 3 ounces Grand Marnier
  • 1.5 ounces gin
  • 1.5 ounces dry vermouth
  • 0.5 ounces sweet vermouth
  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, and all the ingredients, shake vigorously until chilled and strain into a cold martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • I forgot to bury the lead – this drink is surprisingly good.  I was expecting a dry cocktail with an acquired taste, but the Grand Marnier actually sweetens the drink up immensely.
  • There is a lot of complicated flavors in here competing for your attention.  The gin and vermouth help you appreciate the complication of the Grand Marnier without being bowled over by its sweetness.
  • The aftertaste starts with a hit of the dry vermouth and gin, but quickly changes to the a thick orange brandy finish.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 9/10
  • Strength: 6/10 – the taste belies the content
  • Sweetness: 8/10
  • When you are running short of mixers and all you have is a well stocked bar – try this one on for something different and you will not be disappointed.

Slippery Nipple

What can I say other than George made me do it. Paging through the drink book I ran across this dessert concoction… and it has the benefit of making 13 year old boys (or those of us who never fully evolved) snicker.

So after a disappointing Sunbasket dinner of hoison chicken, let’s see if the after dinner cocktail can change the trajectory. I mean, it can’t get much worse. Oh wait, it just did, the thought of the name have me a vision of George…

  • 1.5 ounces Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1.5 ounces Sambuca

Shake vigorously over ice, fill a Collins glass with ice and pour the liquid over the top. Enjoy dessert.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Baileys is hard to go wrong with, nice and thick and creamy, like George.
  • The sambuca adds a fun flavor in the background, giving you a hint of the unexpected, like George.
  • Very sweet, and best enjoyed after a romantic dinner, like George.

Tasting Notes:

  • George’s Rating: 6/10
  • Strength: 2/10
  • Sweetness: 10/10
  • The name is silly, but the drink turns out to be a little more sophisticated than first appearances. Like George.

Paradise

Do I make some pithy comment about living in paradise… or maybe quote Phil Collins… but you don’t want that. Instead I’ll drink in honor of one of my favorite paradises – Sint Maarten. Seeing the devastation caused by Irma this past week saddens me as it is truly one of the most amazing paradises that I have been fortunate enough to visit. Knowing the people of the island, I’m sure not only, will they rebuild, but they will do so with a smile! Maybe while they are at it, they could consider unifying the cell phone grid – making an international call to the other side of a small island may be charming, but I think it’s time!

So paradise in a glass it is.

  • 2 ounces Apricot Brandy
  • 1.5 ounces Gin
  • 1.5 ounces Orange Juice

Shake everything over ice and serve it up in a chilled Martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • This is surprisingly balanced, certainly on the sweet side, but the gin helps mellow things out.
  • The apricot flavor dominates with an orange compliment, but the flavor is actually quite complex.
  • Don’t be afraid of the gin, it’s not the dominant flavor.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 8/10
  • Strength: 3/10
  • Sweetness: 7/10
  • Consider stocking the bar with apricot brandy so you can serve this fun cocktail to your friends.

Melon Ball

Enjoying a late summer day in San Diego inspired me to make a refreshing traditional cocktail. There was some fresh squeezed orange juice in the fridge just begging for some mixing.

I have not documented too many of the classics on DaveDrinks, but this falls into that category. Making a Melon Ball feels like I am back in the 1980s!

  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce Midori
  • 4 ounces fresh orange juice

Shake everything over ice, serve into a wine glass filled with crushed ice. Enjoy.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • The Midori turns the classic Screwdriver into a sweeter, funner libation.
  • Very refreshing – great easy drinking cocktail to beat the heat.
  • At your next brunch, make a pitcher to enjoy with friends!

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 9/10
  • Strength: 1/10
  • Sweetness: 8/10
  • Just because it’s from a time gone by, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy it today.

San Francisco Cocktail

What is Sloe Gin? I’ve always wondered… What makes it sloe? Is it really a type of gin? Who knows. Turns out the internet has answers. It’s made of sloe berries, that are a relative of the plum. It’s very red and looks like it could place a nice bright stain on your beige carpet!

Next job is to determine what this goes with. Tonight’s cocktail is the San Francisco Cocktail.

  • 2 ounces Sloe Gin
  • 1 ounce Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 ounce Dry Vermouth
  • Dash of Peychard’s Bitters

Shake everything over ice and strain into a chilled Martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Is red, very red. And frothy – an attractive presentation for sure.
  • The mouth feel is syrupy, but it’s not as sweet as you would think, the gin and the dry vermouth help tone it down.
  • Interesting flavor, not too fruity, but lots of interesting flavor.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating – 7/10
  • Strength – 3/10
  • Sweetness – 7/10
  • Unique cocktail, to enjoy the flavor, probably best not to mix with food. Enjoy the subtlety.

Bourbonball

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Happy president’s day!  My wife asked me today – who is your favorite president?  I didn’t have a good answer off the top of my head, and neither did she.  It makes you realize that we probably are not the students of our own history that we should be.  I could play the English card, but I have been living here since the late ’80s and I did take AP US History in high school.

We could go with the original GW, as in George Washington (nobody is going to seriously consider Bush Jr), but after reading “The History of Democracy” recently, I realized that he was pretty much just a figure head, a disaster of a president, and basically yearned for a form of monarchy to return.  Hard to root for a guy that thinks he’s smarter than the rest of us.

Then there is Jefferson – he had a cool house as I recall and was quite the renaissance man.  Wrote the declaration of independence – definite plus.  However, he was also the ultimate hypocrite as he was unable to reconcile opposition to slavery with owning hundreds of them himself.  He even had kids with one of them.  I guess we need to move on to another.

We could make an argument for Harding – the original Warren G.  Unfortunately, I think he was best known for his rap song hit “Regulate”…  Bonus points if you have any more trivial on him!

So what do I think really?  Lincoln, who freed the slaves?  John Adams, who had an HBO series about him (that must count for something)?  Nah.  For me I am going to go with King Roosevelt II, more commonly known as FDR.  Led us out the Great Depression and guided us through the most of WWII – his passion for his job accomplished much – and his unprecedented 4 terms proved it.  So, feel free to argue, but that’s what I think.

Damn it – I almost forgot this was a drink blog!  Tonight for my new book “The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book” courtesy of my brother in law, is the Bourbonball.

  • 1.5 ounces bourbon
  • 1.5 ounces Tuaca
  • 1.5 ounces crème de cacao

Shake over ice and strain into  a chilled martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Whoa – this is sweet.  The orange and the chocolate flavors really take over the drink.
  • After the initial shock, I would call this a complex sweet martini.  The bourbon adds a dimension that vodka never could.
  • After a couple of sips, its readily apparent that this should be a desert cocktail.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 6/10
  • Strength: 6/10
  • Sweetness: 9/10
  • A great alternative desert cocktail, when a boring vodka martini won’t do!

Lollipop

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Christmas drink #3.  11 days and 9 cocktails to go,  All that talk of malls yesterday inspired me to go and fight the crowds today.  By fight the crowds, I mean show up at 9am before most everyone and enjoy the “quiet before the storm”.  It was almost a pleasant shopping experience.  Parents don’t mess around though, by 10am the line to see Santa was a good 50 kids deep.  Of course, Kathryn wouldn’t let me join the line.  So bummed. At least I get a consolation lollipop,

  • 0.75 ounces green chartreuse
  • 0.75 ounces cherry brandy
  • 0.75 ounces Cointreau
  • 0.25 teaspoon maraschino liqueur

Mix, shake, serve in a chilled martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • There is a lot going on in this cocktail.  There are so many unusual flavors hidden inside here.
  • The first sip has an almost dry complexity, but it comes on strong with sweet, sweet cherries in the finish.
  • The finish goes on and on and on.  It’s hard to get that sweetness off your tongue.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 6/10
  • Strength: 4/10
  • Sweetness: 10/10
  • This drink is very appropriately named.  It’s a sweet cherry lollipop in a glass.

Nacional

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The second drink of Christmas has arrived!  Just in time to help with a weekend of holiday shopping.  Malls full of people trying desperately to think of something creative for their loved ones.  The only problem is when they return to work in the new year, the realize that they all received the same sweater and trinket that was on sale at Macy’s.  I guess I shouldn’t be so jaded… it is a nice sweater after all,

To help with the holiday shopping, along comes the Nacional.  Drink enough of these and you too will be a creative force, turning over every pile of clothes in the mall to find that different sweater,  You know the one that somehow didn’t get marked down like the rest of them, and really looks no better.  But damn it, it’s different.  Mission accomplished.

It seems like this drink has a high standard to reach, so let’s give it a try.

  • 1.5 ounces gold rum
  • 0.75 ounces apricot brandy
  • 0.75 ounces pineapple juice
  • 0.25 ounces lime juice

Serve this once in a martini glass after shaking everything over ice.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • The combination of apricot brandy, rum and pineapple juice make this a sweet drink.
  • Essentially a “complex” pineapple juice.  It’s hard to discern the other ingredients, but you can tell something is there,
  • When drinking this in martini sized portions, it seems like it disappears too fast.  So one leads to two… all the better to lighten your mood.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating 8/10
  • Strength: 4/10
  • Sweetness: 9/10
  • A nice gateway martini for those who are scared of “short” format drinks.