MxMo: money drinks

Runabout cocktail

Note: This Mixology Monday post is brought to you by our house mixologist, my husband Jon. He makes the cocktails, I just drink ’em and take their pictures, so I had him write this post himself – Jessamyn.

Another note: December MxMo roundup is up on Beers in the Shower!

When Jessamyn informed me of this month’s MxMo assignment, ideas did not immediately spring to mind.  Money drinks?  What the heck is a money drink?  Two different definitions were provided, but neither gave a clear direction.  The first definition, a normal drink made with super-high-end ingredients, quickly got ruled out.  We just don’t have enough super-high-end ingredients in our liquor cabinet.  The other definition provided seemed a little better: a drink that you could give to anyone and they would like it.  Still a challenge, but potentially doable.

Since there seemed to be an undercurrent of festivity, with the upcoming holidays, I headed straight for the pomegranate juice.  It doesn’t appear in very many cocktails, giving it an aura of something special, plus it has that great, brilliant red color.

For a gin-based pomegranate drink, it’s hard to beat the Diva Quaranta, which Jessamyn has already written about.  For cold winter evenings, though, we’re often more in the mood for whiskey-based drinks, so I used the Diva Quaranta as a jumping-off point and began tweaking.

Not all of my attempts were successes, but I do believe I found a winner.  Named the Runabout, after one of the better words played in a game of Scrabble the other evening, it uses rye, but would work equally well with bourbon.  I retained the Campari, since I enjoy the bitterness it imparts.  If the recipient of the drink does not like bitter (after all, this is supposed to be a drink that you could give to someone and know that they would like it), omit the Campari and double the Triple sec.

Runabout cocktail

The Runabout

  • 1 oz rye
  • 1 oz pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 oz Campari
  • 1/4 oz Triple sec

Stir all ingredients with ice (shaking creates a bit of foam on the top that detracts visually).  Garnish with a lemon twist.  Give to someone you really like and then make another for yourself.


Hummingbird Down

Hummingbird Down cocktail

Jon’s gotten into making honey syrup-based cocktails, something that seemed difficult until he actually tried it. Now he just whips up a little when he needs it by whisking honey and water together. Simple.

My favorite honey-based drink so far has been the Gold Rush, really just a whiskey sour with honey instead of sugar, and it was the best thing ever when I had a sore throat a few weeks ago. Jon wanted to do a bit of experimentation with other drinks, of course, and I was quite happy when he presented me with a Hummingbird Down last weekend. Bright and tart, the honey is just a lurking warmth in the drink, which is mostly a vehicle for the unusual flavor of green Chartreuse (which I happen to love). It was a hit. Continue reading

Jack Rose

Jack Rose

So last week I told you about the Deep Blue Sea, which is a drink that I really like but my husband doesn’t really care for. It only seems fair that this week I should tell you about a drink that he loves, the Jack Rose. Popular during Prohibition, its fame has dwindled but it remains a classic.

What I find kind of funny is that he first saw this drink in Danny Meyer’s book Mix Shake Stir, which I brought home from the library, and he got a bee in his bonnet that he wanted to make it. He actually went out and bought a bottle of Laird’s Applejack just so he could make this (well, and a few other recipes that called for it. He’d never actually tasted it, though.) Once he had rounded up the ingredients and tried it, it was an instant hit. The sweet-tart of the grenadine and lime (sometimes lemon), combined with the applejack, produces the effect of a ripe tart apple, something Jon is very fond of when it’s just at the right point.

The paper-thin apple slice on top of the drink was inspired by a photo in the Meyer book. It’s showy, but makes the cocktail awfully hard to drink. I might recommend a thin wedge stuck on the edge of a glass, unless you’re trying to impress people.

Jack Rose Cocktail

  • 1 ½ oz Laird’s applejack or apple brandy
  • ½ oz lime juice
  • 1 tsp grenadine

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an apple slice.

Jack Rose

deep blue sea

deep blue sea

Jon has taken to reading cocktail recipe books like novels lately, and making lists of everything he wants to try. Inevitably, there’s some ingredient we just don’t have and can’t get locally. Our area liquor stores have some interesting stuff, but when I asked for Creme de Violette at the Burlington store I got an extremely blank look. We had to make a special trip to the Capitol Hill liquor store (where the clerk accused us of buying stuff off of the “fancy-pants” shelf) to get a bottle.

deep blue sea

The drink I really wanted to try with the Violette was an Aviation Cocktail, but it wasn’t until we made it by the Crown Hill liquor store that we managed to score some Maraschino liqueur and I was able to try one. I thought it was disgusting – apparently I don’t have a taste for Maraschino as yet. Fortunately, in the meantime Jon had found a recipe for another drink that I ended up loving, called the Deep Blue Sea.

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the Sazerac


I can’t explain the way cocktails have eased their way into our lives this year. Not that long ago, I was still prefacing every mixed drink comment I made with “I don’t usually like cocktails, but…” and now suddenly we have a full cabinet of liqueurs and a Boston shaker. Hm.

We first met the Sazerac (the Official Cocktail of New Orleans) about a year ago, at Star Bar. Phyllis, our favorite bartender, had taken it upon herself that month to get as many customers as possible to order Sazeracs, just so she could have the fun of making them. Jon had been wanting to try one, so we were in luck. When she set the drink down in front of him (I believe she served it up, in a cocktail glass) we each tried it. We weren’t sure if we loved it, but we were definitely intrigued.

Later, when we finally managed to find some Peychaud’s bitters (had to order them online), we started experimenting with Sazeracs at home. One day, out of the blue, I discovered I love them. My preferred presentation is in a rocks glass (built in the glass), with just a couple of ice cubes, and a sizable lemon twist. It makes me happy. Who knew?

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Mixology Monday: Vermouth

Cornwall Negroni

I was happy to see that this month’s Mixology Monday challenge was Vermouth. It just so happens that we have recently discovered that vermouth really is a worthwhile flavor in a cocktail, not just something to wave at from a distance while making a dry martini. I will admit that I’m not fond of it straight, but ask again in a year and I might say something different.


Probably my current favorite drink using vermouth is the Manhattan, but in the interests of broadening our horizons we tried a few new things. The winners were the Emerald and the Cornwall Negroni.

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MxMo: dizzy dairy

Irish coffee

This month for Mixology Monday we were faced with the theme Dizzy Dairy. In other words, any cocktail involving eggs, milk, cream, yogurt or butter. The first thing that came to my mind was Irish Coffee, one of my favorites, but that seemed far too obvious.  We did some research and applied ourselves to some experimentation.

Angostura Fizz

We began with an Angostura Fizz. A tart mixture of lime juice and Angostura bitters, this also had cream and grenadine, and was shaken vigorously with one egg white. Poured into a pint glass and topped up with seltzer, it offered an intriguing combination of bitter, frothy and creamy. I’d never tasted anything quite like it. I wouldn’t mind trying it again sometime, but I’m not really sure what the right time would be: to go with a burger? An afternoon pick-me-up?

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meet the Pegu


Another favorite cocktail which has been making an appearance around here is the Pegu. Even though it seems to be well known in cocktail-lover’s circles, we have yet to find a bartender who knows how to make one…so we make them ourselves, of course. We’ve gone through several variations, and they’re all extremely nice.

lime zest

This is a truly old drink recipe, going back to the original Pegu Club officer’s bar in Rangoon in the 1920’s. The recipe was first written down by Harry McElhone of Harry’s New York Bar in 1927. So this is seriously classic stuff. It’s an ideal warm-weather drink, with a misleadingly light, refreshing citrus flavor. But remember, it’s mostly booze, and it packs a bit of a wallop. Sip carefully. Continue reading

pomegranate cocktails

diva quaranta

The other night we had the honor of attending a rather lively party that started out at the Chapel Bar (a funeral home in a previous incarnation) in Seattle. I’m always hesitant about ordering a mixed drink at a new place until I know they know what they’re doing, so I started with a Hendrick’s on the rocks with cucumber, always a safe choice.

Chapel Bar

But once I had tasted someone else’s The Carpenter and the Walrus (bourbon and sweet tea with bitters, surprisingly good), I realized Chapel seemed to have a grip on their cocktails, so I ordered a Pomegranate. It was tequila, lime and pomegranate juice – a very nice combination, and one that kicked rather a wallop. The ladies next to me were drinking the same thing but with vodka, basically a tart Cosmo – it didn’t really do anything for me, I preferred the tequila. Soon after this, we made our escape, needing to sober up before the drive home.

pomegranate juice

But the notion of pomegranate juice in a cocktail was an excellent one, inviting further experimentation. Continue reading

whisky a gogo

While helping my inlaws move this week, we came across this unusual item: a box containing two ampoules of Gogotine Scotch whisky, packed in Paris who knows how long ago. Our first reaction was, “what the…” quickly followed by “Huh. Do you think that’s safe to drink?” Of course, we’re afraid to find out. Anyone know?

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