Tag Archive: Brandy


Bolero #2

Once upon a time in 2013 I made a cocktail of a similar name. Now I am trying another version… not only is it a different recipe, it’s an entirely different flavor profile! According to my favorite bar book this is the “fruity” version. I can get with that, but I would go with the more “robust” version. The last try got a 7/10…

  • 3 ounces of dark rum (Myers)
  • 0.75 ounce brandy
  • 0.75 ounce lime juice
  • 0.75 ounce orange juice
  • 0.75 ounce simple syrup

This is a simple one: cocktail shaker, ice, liquids, shake and strain into a martini glass. Drink.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Reading the ingredients this sounds like a fancy rum punch, and that’s exactly how it drinks… perhaps a batch version of this in my future…
  • The dark rum and brandy give the drink a sweet alcoholic base, sweetened up by the juices – serving this up makes this more sophisticated.
  • Like the aforementioned rum punch, this is a drink that can sneak up on you – be sure to go easy.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 8/10 (this is the better version)
  • Strength: 7/10
  • Sweetness: 7/10
  • The drink for when you are craving a rum punch on the beach but you are hosting a fancy cocktail party.
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Corpse Reviver

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It’s time for another holly jolly Christmas.  At least, it’s time that decorations full of bright colors throw themselves up all over the house.  In honor of this festive time of year, this is the first of my “12 Cocktails of Christmas”.  These may or may not be themed, but it is very likely you’ll notice some seasonal accoutrements in the pictures.

Today’s drink comes by way of the Brandy aisle.  I always thought of Brandy as my grandparents drink (or maybe that was Sherry, I digress), but I have a fascination with Spanish Brandy in particular, and I just ordered a new bottle of the stuff from New Jersey of all places.  This stuff is awesome.  The regular old E&J or whatever else the grocery store stocks pales in comparison.  The Spanish stuff is so rich and full of flavor.  It has more in common with Port than that grocery store Brandy.  So tonight I found an interesting use – the Corpse Reviver.

  • 1 ounce Spanish Brandy
  • 1 ounce Applejack
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth

Combine in a shaker over ice and serve into a chilled martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • A very smooth cocktail.  Surprisingly there is not a lot of complexity in the taste.
  • Nothing really stands out in the flavor, almost like a thin port… in a good way.
  • Drink has a pleasing sweetness, not overpowering, and surprisingly does not drink boozy.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 9/10
  • Strength: 7/10
  • Sweetness: 6/10
  • Corpses apparently have impeccably good taste – this is a delicious cocktail.

International Cocktail

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Have you missed me? It’s been damn near 12 months without a post, and that is completely unacceptable. I know that you have all come to count on me to pick your beverage each time you need something creative. At least that’s what my ego says. But don’t worry – I’ve been drinking all along, trying new things and experimenting by myself – just need to get better with the sharing part!

So tonight, the International Cocktail – sounds nice and exotic. I am generally not a fan of Sambuca but somehow a bottle has ended up in my bar. Who knows, maybe in the right combination it’ll be better! On to the tasting…

  • 2 ounces Spanish brandy (while I did not make with other brands, I think a selection of a good brandy makes this drink)
  • 1/4 ounce Sambuca
  • 1/4 ounce Cointreau
  • 1/4 ounce vodka

Shake it up over ice, and throw it in a chilled martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • For some reason I was expecting this to hit me with flavor, but the reality is that this is smooth and subtle drink.
  • The Sambuca is a nice touch, you can definitely taste it, but it does not overpower the drink as I had feared.
  • Overall the drink has a nice sweetness and you can still taste the complexity of the brandy.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 8/10
  • Strength: 5/10 – all liquor, but not in your face.
  • Sweetness: 7/10
  • A pleasant surprise, I am sure that if I was a Sambuca man that I would have an even higher rating for this cocktail.

French Twist

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I was harassed today about the lack of posts to the blog of late, so I need to rectify this. One of our great partners signed up a deal, and there is not much better news than that needed to raise a glass to. So cheers to you both Jim and Liz – and now on to my cocktail!

Always a sucker for a bourbon drink – tonight’s foray is the French Twist.  I tried to get creative with the picture in front of the fire, although it came out a little blurry, I think the effect was still worth it!  If you don’t enjoy the picture – try the drink on for size.

  • 1.5 ounces bourbon (Makers Mark of course)
  • 1.5 ounces of brandy
  • 0.5 ounce Grand Marnier
  • 0.25 ounce fresh lemon juice

Throw everything in a shaker over ice and serve it up in a chilled martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • After a few sips I am not sure how to describe it, in some ways it’s sort of flavorless.  I can taste it, it just doesn’t jump out at you and certainly doesn’t stay with you.
  • For a drink that is almost all liquor, it is surprising how smooth it is.  No one will mistake this for a non-alcoholic drink though…
  • The drink has a pleasing sweetness as you sip, you can taste the orange of the Grand Marnier for sure.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 6/10
  • Strength: 7/10
  • Sweetness: 7/10
  • I am having a hard time saying that I enjoy it, I just can’t say I don’t like it.  I give it a “meh”.

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!

Churchill Downs

Help!  I’m so far behind.  After 4 full months of making drinks I have to say that it is a challenge to keep up.  One drink a day sounds so easy until you try it.  This drink is from April 26.  It fell to the cutting room floor as a result of me not having anything creative to say that day.  It’s really a shame, because this is a great drink, I guess its just not inspirational!  Enjoy the Churchill Downs – maybe your horse will come in!

  • 1.5 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounces brandy
  • 0.5 triple sec
  • 4 chilled ginger ale

Combine in a tall collins glass over ice, stir gently and serve.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • This is a boozy drink, but not a strong one.  The bourbon and the brandy make this a classic cocktail.
  • A nice sweetness up front, but the flavor of the brandy is clear in the aftertaste.
  • The triple sec adds an interesting flavor to the liquor, softens and sweetens.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 8/10
  • Strength: 6/10
  • Sweetness: 6/10
  • A pleasant cooler to enjoy with a good movie.

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.

Tuaca Sidecar

After searching through the internet after work today I discovered that today is “Don’t Go To Work Unless It’s Fun Day”.  What the hell… how come nobody told me this before I went to the office today?  Maybe today was fun and I didn’t notice, maybe I am a masochist, or just maybe I must have had fun today.  Did you go to work?

Today’s drink is a variation on a classic cocktail the Tuaca Sidecar.  We already sampled the regula kind in February, and it scored a fantastic 9/10 – now let’s see how this one comes along.  I’ll let you in on a secret though – this is the fourth time I have made this drink in the past few days, so that might give you a hint to its rating.

  • 1.5 ounces brandy
  • 0.75 ounces Tuaca
  • 0.5 ounce orange juice
  • 0.5 ounce lime juice
  • lemon twist (optional)

Shake everything in a cocktail shaker over ice, and serve in a chilled cocktail glass, enjoy.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • First all, just look at it.  It has all the good looks of someone throwing up in a martini glass.
  • Now taste it so we can get that thought out of your head.  This is a great blend of ingredients – the complexity of the brandy, the sweet of the Tuaca and the orange juice and the tart of the lime.
  • The picture does not do this one justice.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 9/10
  • Strength: 7/10
  • Sweetness: 5/10
  • Why stop at four – I’m sure I’ll be making five… and six… and, well, you get the idea.

Between the Sheets

It’s been almost a month now since my birthday, and I realized today that one of my great friends Jon gave me a bottle of Spanish Brandy that I have yet to crack open.  While I have not been digging the brandy drinks made so far, it got me thinking that maybe its in the brandy I was using (E&J for the record).  After 5 minutes of looking through the trusty bar book, the following drink was revealed to me.

  • 1 ounce brandy (Gran Duque d’Alba)
  • 1 ounce light rum (Bacardi)
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice (lemon juice is optional)
  • 1 dash of simple syrup

Shake everything over ice, and if feeling fancy garnish with a lemon twist.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • First sip and this is a quality drink right here.  Surprisingly balanced and delicious – makes you want to have another sip – let’s…
  • Second sip and you start to get the depth of flavor, there is a nice sweetness up front and a tart finish, all the while with the undertone of brandy.
  • After that the sipping got a little rapid and I forgot to think about what I was drinking – it was too good!

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 9/10
  • Strength: 7/10
  • Sweetness: 7/10
  • This was a real surprise – this is one of my new favorite drinks… thanks Jon!

Betsy Ross

I pledge allegiance to the cocktail, and to the guy who crafted it with his hands, one distiller, under God, indivisible, with alcohol and revelry for all.

It’s an Americana cocktail tonight – the Betsy Ross.  As an Englishman, I actually didn’t know who the heck she was, but thanks to my trusty wife I learned that she was credited with creating the original American flag.  That probably was not a good day for the English.  Instead of dwelling on the breakup of the British Empire – let’s get on with the drinking.

  • 2 ounces of brandy
  • 1.5 ounces of ruby port
  • 0.5 teaspoon of Cointreau

Put the ingredients in a shaker with ice and stir away, strain and serve into a chilled martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • I do love me some port, but not so much the brandy.
  • Tastes like a drink that our grandparents may enjoy.  No modern ingredients.  Its old school.
  • The brandy is the dominant flavor, with added sweetness from the port and the Cointreau.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 3/10
  • Strength: 5/10
  • Sweetness: 5/10
  • Step back in time and enjoy and old timey beverage.