Tag Archive: Angostura Bitters


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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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.

I was berated for being ordinary for last nights cocktail.  Buy you have to remember, I need to add all the boring drinks for completeness.  Its all good that you know how to make a fancy cocktail, but what if you want to know how to make something more pedestrian.  Instead of making my case – here’s another fancy one – the New Orleans Martini.

3 ounces vanilla vodka

  • 0.5 ounce dry vermouth
  • 0.5 ounce Pernod
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • mint sprig for garnish

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • The first sip, phew this is strong.  Sounds so much better than the taste.
  • The undertone is vanilla, but the aniseed of Pernod also permeates the drinks.
  • Let’s look to the positive – the drink has a fun in golden tinge.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 3/10
  • Strength: 8/10
  • Sweetness: 3/10
  • New Orleans is a fun place so I hear, this drink – not so much.

Homeskillet

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.

Caribbean Mule

I didn’t want to be outdone with only one variation – so number two the Caribbean Mule.  Sounds interesting, trade rum for the vodka and add some bitters and see what happens!

  • 2.25 ounces of light rum (Bacardi)
  • 0.75 ounce dark rum (Myers)
  • 0.75 ounce lime juice
  • 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • 3 ounces of ginger beer

Mix together in a tall collins glass, stir and serve.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • First taste is the dark rum, thick taste of raw sugar cane.  The lime is in the background, and the finish is all ginger beer, but the sweetness is cut by the bitters.
  • I have never tasted a drink like this, rum and ginger is a fine combination.
  • Not as smooth and light as the original, but a great flavor all its own.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 8/10
  • Strength: 6/10
  • Sweetness: 5/10
  • A great alternative to the original, although not my first choice.

East India

I am so happy today.  The wife is coming home from being away on business/pleasure to New York and Chicago for the last 8 days – and I have to say she is missed.  I cannot wait until tomorrow, when I no longer have to eat McDonald’s three meals a day, have to pick out my outfits unassisted and, most importantly, drink alone.  Alas, she is not arriving until later this evening – so one final solo cocktail is in order – the East India.

  • 1.5 ounces brandy (Spanish)
  • 0.25 ounce Cointreau
  • 1.5 ounces pineapple juice
  • Dash of Angostura bitters

Shake everything over ice and serve in a chilled martini glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist and a maraschino cherry.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Basic flavor is pineapple, but it is subtle, almost like a cocktail with infused liquor and not one containing real juice.
  • Very mellow drink, and a little on the sweet side.  Easy to sip and enjoy.
  • The finish is a mix of sweet pineapple and the complexity of the brandy.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 8/10
  • Strength: 6/10
  • Sweetness: 7/10
  • Exceedingly well-balanced cocktail, if you want and easy sipping martini with the friendly taste of pineapple – you should give this a try.

Pegu Club Cocktail

Back on track – actually time for a drink I made today.  Lot’s of posting to get on track… hopefully the post quality isn’t suffering.  This drink was the alternative choice of Kathryn for my birthday beverage, so let’s see how its stacks up.  Notice the cool new “glassware” courtesy of my sister for my birthday – stainless martini glasses!

  • 1.5 ounces gin (Bombay Sapphire)
  • 0.75 curacao (pretty sure blue isn’t the best choice, but it’s what I had)
  • 1 dash of Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • 1 dash fresh lime juice

Mix vigorously over ice.  Serve in a martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • The story is this drink was created in Rangoon in the 1930s… fun fact of the day!
  • When sipping you get a hint of orange from the curacao and a hint of the gin in the background, neither overpowers the other.
  • A fun drink that is… blue.  Don’t be surprised if you are asked about that blue popsicle you didn’t have.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 6/10
  • Strength: 6/10
  • Sweetness: 6/10
  • Is this drink the work of the devil?

(Makers) Manhattan

With Kathryn away another day, I will raise another glass in honor of her temporary home – this time the Manhattan.  I have ordered them at bars many times, and I really enjoy them, but I had never made one for myself, so here goes.  I even have a ready supply of maraschino cherries to garnish with!

  • 3 ounces bourbon (Makers Mark)
  • 1.5 ounces of sweet vermouth
  • 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • maraschino cherry to garnish

Fill a shaker with ice, pour in the liquor, give it a stir and strain into a martini glass, garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • First sip, and I think that this has always been true, it’s a little dry and not as good as I remember.  Maybe I got this recipe wrong?
  • Second sip and back comes the drink that I remember.  A delicious bourbony treat.
  • It’s a great combination of dry and sweet, There’s the sweet start as you sip and the dry finish as you swallow – yum!

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 9/10
  • Strength: 8/10
  • Sweetness: 3/10
  • Almost got off to a rocky start, but perseverance is the key, make yourself one!  Thanks Kathryn for giving me the Manhattan inspiration.