Tag Archive: Gin


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.
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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.

Blackberry Gin Fizz

How can I let delicious fresh blackberries go to waste… Time to have some creative license and make a cocktail. I took some inspiration from a recipe I found online, but tweaked the proportions a little too my liking. I have to say, my ice smashing mallet that a friend gifted me is the perfect implement for these fruity summer cocktails – helps the garnish sit on top!

Here’s the lowdown on my creation:

  • 2 large fresh blackberries
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 0.5 ounce simple syrup
  • Splash of soda water

Muddle the blackberries, simple syrup and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Add the gin and strain into a Collins glass. Fill half the glass with crushed ice and stir. Add soda water and fill the glass with more ice. Garnish with a blackberry.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Lots of blackberry flavor, but not as sweet as I would have expected.
  • Soda water adds some summer fizzy fun to the drink – could skip and serve up as a desert drink!
  • There is a dry finish from the Gin, but overall this is a well balanced cocktail.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating – 8/10
  • Sweetness – 7/10
  • Strength – 3/10
  • A refreshing summer alternative to the classic Gin and tonic.

Bronx Terrace Cocktail

Bronx

Apparently this Monday was the most depressing Monday of the year.  How do they figure that out?  I know it is the first Monday after the holidays, but you would think that people would still have the New Year’s high – you know – I made this resolution or that resolution, and just you wait, I’m gonna rule the world this year as I lose 20 pounds and cure cancer along the way.  I mean, I would think that it would be more depressing when, say, two weeks from now, you’re feeling bad about the fact that you haven’t started exercising, just polished off a bowl of ice cream and have no idea what possessed you to think that you could cure cancer.  Now that’s depressing.

Speaking of depressing, have you ever come back to something that you thought was good, but actually wasn’t so good.  Enter the Bronx Terrace Cocktail.  Back in 2008 I gave this an 8/10 – let’s see how my taste buds have changed, err, advanced since then.

  • 3 ounces gin
  • 1.5 ounces lime juice
  • 0.75 ounces dry vermouth
  • maraschino cherry

Shake over ice, serve in a chilled martini glass and garnish with that cherry.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Uhh, 8/10… are you kidding me… this is the dry tart martini par excellence.
  • You’ve got your dry gin and your dry vermouth, and then you add nothing but limes, and you get a mouthful of tart.
  • Not undrinkable, but I’m not gonna call this a winner – it looks cool though.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 3/10
  • Strength: 6/10
  • Sweetness: 2/10
  • I’m depressed.  I can’t believe I thought this was an excellent cocktail.  Rookie mistake.  Add some sugar!

 

Crimson

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It’s New Year’s Eve Eve, and for the first time in many years the Holiday Bowl will happen without me in Qualcomm Stadium.  I miss overpriced bad beer.  I miss bad pretzels.  I miss end zone seats courtesy of Hornblower.  Instead, I get to sit in the comfort of my own home, warm, with good food and a good drink.

Tonight its a cocktail with port and gin – two flavors I did not think would go together.  Let’s see what happens when we add lemon juice to the mix…

  • 3 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 0.5 ounce Grenadine
  • 0.75 ounce port

Shake the gin, juice and Grenadine over ice and pout into a chilled martini glass.  Slowly pour the port into the drink as served.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • It just looks cool.  Its a deep red cocktail with a deeper red center from the port.
  • Its a sweet drink, but you can still taste the dry gin in the background, with its pleasing floral notes.
  • Hard to say what it tastes like, you can taste all of the ingredients, but it comes together to create an altogether different flavor.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 7/10
  • Strength: 7/10
  • Sweetness: 8/10
  • Just look at it – Dexter would be proud of this one.

Costa del Sol

Costa del Sol

Tomorrow is the Saturday before Christmas, and that means like each year, I will be spending the morning at the mall.  Up early and arriving before 8, it’s incredible how quiet the mall can be, even this close to the holiday.  To prepare me for the potential of crowds though, it never hurts to enjoy a cocktail.  It may be 12 hours in advance, but I have the feeling that I may need it!  Too many presents to buy and too little time.

As the temperature has dropped again here in San Diego to, gosh, in the 60s, I thought I would try a drink with an exotic sound to remind me of warm summers… or Monday when it was damn near 80.  Enjoy…

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 ounce Apricot Brandy

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

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Gorgeous pale orange color entices you to take a sip.
  • Surprisingly light flavor, subtle hint of orange and apricot.  Slightly dry finish from the gin.
  • The flavor quickly fades away, but not in a bad way.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 9/10
  • Strength: 7/10
  • Sweetness: 6/10
  • A pleasant surprise, this is an enjoyable traditional martini with a fruity flavor.

Park Avenue Cocktail

This year for Christmas my wife treated me to a new cocktail book to expand my horizons and allow me to keep expanding my experiment in mixology that is DaveDrinks.  This book is a great one full of classic cocktails, and is appropriately named “Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails” by Ted Haigh.  It’s a fascinating book, with many interesting tidbits, although unsurprisingly, many of the drinks contain a difficult to acquire ingredient not found in the modern bar.  There are exceptions of course, and tonight I tried the Park Avenue Cocktail.

According the Haigh, “This drink is synonymous with wealth, power, and luxury in New York City”.  That’s high praise for a cocktail, so let’s see how I feel after a sample…

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 0.75 ounces pineapple juice
  • 0.75 ounces sweet vermouth
  • 2 teaspoons orange curacao

Shake it all over ice and serve it up in a martini glass, simple enough.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • It starts dry, has a just perceptively sweet middle and ends dry again.  You should enjoy your gin before sampling this wealthy beverage.
  • I’m not sure how the drink earned it’s powerful moniker, as to me it tastes of a softened dry martini.
  • Don’t be confused with its three luxurious sweet sounding ingredients, there is only a hint of the sweet pineapple flavor.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 6/10
  • Strength: 5/10
  • Sweetness: 4/10
  • I tried to be witty and note its wealthy, powerful and luxurious qualities, but honestly, I didn’t think these were the best descriptors as I tasted.  On the whole, and ok classic cocktail, very middle of the road.

Sorry for the lack of a picture – just wasn’t feeling photographic tonight!

 

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There’s a new ingredient in the house – Calvados.  I never knew that it was extra special apple brandy – but now I know.  Apparently the stuff has been around since the time of Charlemagne and was originally a type of cider.  Much like Champagne, Calvados has been given its own “appellation”, and it became official in 1942.  Wow – enough history, how does the stuff taste?  This is the second cocktail I have sampled containing Calvados, and I have to say that the most pleasing part of the drink is the strong fresh apple smell that comes along with it.  I fear in this cocktail, its partners in crime may conspire to mask its delicious flavor.

  • 1.5 ounces Calvados
  • 0.75 ounces gin
  • 0.75 ounces scotch

Shake over ice and serve in a martini glass over ice.  Garnish with a lemon twist.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • This drink has four distinct parts as you sip – it starts with a hint of apple, quickly taken over by the flavor of the scotch, not to outdone the dryness of the gin comes through and the finish comes back it the scotch.  Interesting progression.
  • The fresh apple scent is nowhere to be found… you would be hard pressed to know it was here unless told.
  • You have to like your liquors for this, it is not a sweet or smooth drink.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 3/10
  • Strength: 8/10
  • Sweetness: 3/10
  • The one thing I’ll give this drinks is good looks!

Southern Martini

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Sometimes you need a classic martini to set the evening off right.  No fruity pretense, and none of that dry vermouth to scare us away.  Allow me to present the Southern Martini.  A classic gin martini that features a hint of orange to add to the flavor.  A freshly poured martini has that naturally cloudy texture, that gradually fades to a crisp clear liquid.  No one will mistake you for an armature.

  • 3 ounces gin (Bombay Sapphire)
  • 0.5 ounces triple sec
  • 3 dashes of orange bitters

Combine ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker, stir well and strain into a chilled martini glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Don’t let the triple sec or the orange bitters fool you, this is a dry martini.
  • There is an oh so subtle hint of orange deep down inside, but you will need to let the drink sit on your tongue to notice.
  • If served to an unsuspecting friend, they would swear there was a full measure of dry vermouth included.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 6/10 (a little too dry for my taste)
  • Strength: 9/10
  • Sweetness: 2/10
  • A great alternative to a classic martini.

Orange Blossom

It’s summer time – the summer solstice no less.  Or was that yesterday?  The weather is beautiful in San Diego, besides the ‘May Grey’ that has turned into ‘June Gloom’.  It’s about to get hectic though, with family visitors, the 4th of July and a trip to the homeland to watch the Olympics… In some ways I am looking forward to August so that I can take a break, until then…

Speaking of England – we have all been so focused on QE2’s Jubilee, but today is the 101st anniversary of King George the V’s accesnsion to the throne, QE2’s successors successors successor.  It took 3 monarchs (George V, Edward VIII, George VI) to reign for 41 years, but she’s been going for 60!  I guess if you want it done right, get a woman to do it.

On to the drink.  Browsing the archives tonight and came across something a little different – this one is absolutely in the classic martini category, but it comes with the pleasing flavor of orange – let’s try the Orange Blossom.

  • 2 ounces of gin (Bombay Sapphire)
  • 4 teaspoons of Cointreau
  • 4 teaspoons of sweet vermouth

Shake over ice and serve in a chilled martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • First sip and this cocktail is surprisingly dry – the gin really pushes through the sweetness of the Cointreau.
  • After several sips I would describe this as a classic dry martini, but with a hint of orange sweetness in the finish.
  • This is a ‘different’ cocktail from a bygone era (maybe George V’s), and while it probably wouldn’t be served in the gaslamp, it is worth a try.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 7/10
  • Sweetness: 4/10
  • Strength: 7/10
  • A classic drink with a subtle twist.