Whiskey Rickey (p. 108)

This is a lazy drink, and an equally lazy post. The summer is in its final throes, and we’re experiencing the back-to-work/school malaise. Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 cube of ice20170825_190533 (1)
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 1/2 oz. Old Mr. Boston Whiskey

Fill 8 oz. highball glass with carbonated water and stir. Leave lime in glass.

Notes on Prep: We made this exactly as written, down to the single ice cube. We used Jack Daniels.

20170825_191402 (1)Our Take: This needs more ice. Why one cube? Lime is a summery citrus, and it should be served cold. Otherwise, this is a refreshing drink. It’s a good way to use a neutral whiskey like Jack, since the lime brightens it up. It’s really similar to a Whiskey Collins, but less sweet, since there’s no sugar, so we like it for home drinking. It’s also crazy easy to make. We have a SodaStream, too, so it’s a breeze to quickly make some seltzer to top this off.


Prep– SO easy

Ingredient Accessibility– SO easy

Price– Fairly cheap (limes are cheapo, and a cheap whiskey is fine here)

Taste– bright, bracing, slightly sweet, refreshing

Final Verdict: This is one we’ll add to our home rotation, especially on tired weeknights. We also think would be easy to order at a bar that has a well-drink happy hour special (just ask for whiskey + soda with lime).


Highland Fling Cocktail (p. 46)

The only Scotch we’ve had in our collection for awhile was an amazing Lagavulin that it would be criminal to mix into a cocktail. We bought some Johnny Walker Red, and we decided to try out this Highland Fling. It’s basically a Manhattan with Scotch. Here’s the recipe:

  • 3/4 oz. Sweet Vermouth20170820_182726 (1)
  • 1 1/2 oz. Old Mr. Boston Scotch Whiskey
  • 2 dashes Orange Bitters

Stir well with cracked ice and strain into 3 oz. cocktail glass. Serve with an olive.

Notes on prep: We did this one basically exactly as written. We used our Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth, the Johnny Walker Red, and our Angostura Orange bitters. We even used the olive, against our better judgment.

20170820_183403Our take: Other than the fact that the olive was weird and we’d rather use a cherry, this is a nice drink. Chris called it a “Manhattan with a sweater.” It’s one we’d make again,  especially in the winter. We might want to try it with a fancier and more complex vermouth.

Our Ratings:

Prep: Easy

Ingredient Accessibility: Moderate- we had to turn to Amazon for orange bitters

Price: Expensive- scotch is never cheap, and it’s the primary ingredient in this cocktail

Taste: Warm, smooth, peaty

Final Verdict: We’d order this at a ski lodge or a bar with a fireplace. It’s a nice winter drink that’s reminding us we have to go back to work in a week.

Whiskey Collins (p. 106)

A couple years ago, we tried to sit on a blanket in the cherry esplanade at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and were angrily shooed away by a very attentive security guard. Now we are members. If this site were more popular, we might not want to reveal this, but we think only Liz’s parents and a few of out better friends read it (comment and share, guys!), but we’ll let you in on an amazing secret. Members of BBG get to attend magical Members’ Summer Evenings, where they can stroll the gardens unmolested by tourists, and– on select nights– spread blankets in the Osborne Garden or Cherry Esplanade for a picnic. And, because it’s not a public park, booze is totally allowed. It’s magical. For our first garden picnic, we made a mason jar of Whiskey Collins. Here’s the recipe as written:

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
  • 2 oz. Old Mr. Boston whiskey

Shake well with cracked ice and strain into 12 oz. Tom Collins glass. Add several cubes of ice, fill with carbonated water, and stir. Decorate with slice of lemon, orange, and cherry. Serve with straws. 

20170823_185104Notes on Prep: We’re cheaters (see: Tom Collins), so we made this with San Pellegrino’s fabulous Limonata soda, one of the only mass produced sodas we drink with any regularity. It’s basically carbonated lemonade, so we were able to forgo the carbonated water and sugar. We used some of our supply of Jack Daniels, and used navel oranges, lemons, and our own maraschino-style cherries. In lieu of Tom Collins glasses, since we were picnicking, we brought along two straws to share our Mason Jar full of this drink.


Themed skirt by Bernie Dexter

Liz’s Take: Pretty much anything in the garden is going to make me happy. It’s my favorite place in Brooklyn. Maybe in the world. So, drinking this cocktail as I overlooked the lily pond and the greenhouse and the De Stijl-inspired garden was sublime. It was a summery sort of sweet, with just enough citrus and sparkle. The fruit had enough time to hang out in the drink as we walked over to infuse it with a little extra fruity complexity, so it was great.


Chris’s Take: This was amazing. It was fizzy, refreshing, with a boozy warmth at the end… Liz said it best, so I’ll just talk about the book I read while gingerly sipping: Al Franken’s Giant of the Senate. It’s very good. Most of it was written during the Obama presidency, with revisions made in the light of America’s disaster. I’d recommend if only for the ominous sense of curdled optimism. Seriously, I’d vote Franken for president.

Our Ratings:

Prep– Easy (esp. if you cheat)

Price– Medium (even Jack Daniels isn’t exactly cheap, and that bougie soda definitely ain’t)

Ingredient Accessibility– Easy, especially if you make your own lemonade like Mr. B wants. Those San Pellegrino sodas are everywhere here in NYC. Not sure about elsewhere.

Taste: Sweet, refreshing, bright, summery

Final Take: We would take this to a BBQ and serve it to our friends, drink it again at the garden, or order it in a bar with outdoor space. It’s definitely a cocktail for batching and drinking outdoors.


A Double Header: The Third Degree and The Third Rail (p. 97)

Life is all about balance. During our 4-mile run on Friday, Liz  was inspired by one of her favorite songs to make not one but TWO evening cocktails. We also had popcorn for dinner because, ya know, we’d had two cocktails. And maybe a couple beers. Summer’s almost over- cut us some slack.

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First up, The Third Degree. Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Old Mr. Boston Dry Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Dry Vermouth
  • 1 Teaspoon Absinthe Substitute

Stir well with cracked ice and strain into 3 oz. cocktail glass. 

Notes on prep: For this one, we went fancy: Hendricks gin, our Channing Daughters rose vermouth, and Pernod. As always, we recommend busting out higher-end liquor in simple, booze-forward cocktails.

Liz’s Take: This is basically a martini with a kiss of absinthe, so I like it. A lot. Like I do with my regular martinis, I’d probably slip an ice cube into this one if I make it again. Those things are strong, and the addition of absinthe makes this feel downright libertine.

Chris’s Take: For the record, I called it a Martini with Absinthe first. I don’t like martinis, but I do like Absinthe, and with the good stuff we used this drink hard not to like. But unless you’re willing to fork over what I estimate to be about six dollars per-drink in good hooch, this drink is just a fun variant for Martini devotees. Which I’m not.

Our Ratings:

Prep- Easy

Ingredient Accessibility– Moderate- we’ve discussed the challenge of finding absinthe before, and I’d also encourage using a nicer vermouth than the widely available Martini & Rossi. That stuff is fine, but it’s a little one note. We’ve waxed poetic on Channing Daughters before, but if you can’t find it, Dolin is a more widely available high-end vermouth.

Price- Expensive- don’t skimp, though. You really taste every ingredient here.

Taste: dry, herbaceous, boozy

Final Verdict: Liz would probably just drink a regular martini- the absinthe is the most prominent taste here- but this is a fun variation for when she’s feeling like a fancy French bohemian. Chris think it’s less French Bohemian and more French BoBo.

Now, here’s the Third Rail Cocktail. If you’re not a regular subway rider like us, you might not know that the third rail is the scary electric one that actually powers the train. When your wallet or phone inevitably fall on the tracks once every couple years, you pray it falls in the center or on the edge so that some adventurous young idiot will offer to jump down and grab it (Note: this has only happened to Liz, not Chris, and only while she was wearing a dress). If it falls near the third rail, you’re screwed, because that thing is powerful and nobody is going near it. It’s an apt metaphor for this cocktail. Here’s the recipe:

  • 3/4 oz. Old Mr. Boston Imported Rum
  • 3/4 oz. Apple Brandy
  • 3/4 Oz. Old Mr. Boston Five Star Brandy
  • 1/4 tsp. Absinthe Substitute

Stir well with cracked ice and strain into 3 oz. cocktail glass.

Notes on Prep: We used Bacardi Gold, E&J’s apple brandy (we should probably suck it up and buy some Calvados, though), Paul Masson brandy, and Pernod.

Liz’s Take: When I was in college, I went to Prune Restaurant for every special occasion, and they served an odd but amazing Calvados omelette for dessert. A good Calvados has a complex and beautiful apple flavor, if I remember correctly. E&J’s apple brandy, on the other hand, tastes like someone let a sour apple lollipop marinate in their brandy for a few months. In this cocktail, the fake apple flavor overtakes pretty much everything else. Maybe it’s worth trying again with a better apple brandy. To choke this variation down, though, I had to add a bunch of ice. And I was already pretty drunk.

Chris’s Take: I’m a bit of a sucker for apple “flavor.” Jolly Ranchers, Blow Pops, pixie sticks, whatever, make mine apple. This probably why I enjoyed this drink. Its first notes are sophisticated enough, but through the milieu of complex bitter and rich comes this screeching, cloying candy flavor. Yes, it’s gross, but I like it. Having said that, I feel like this project is about elevating the drinking experience, and it’s about time we buy us a decent apple brandy. Maybe something with actual apples in it.

Our Ratings:

Prep: Easy. Really, almost all cocktails are easy unless they involve eggs or flame (yes, there some cocktails in this weird book that we’ll have to set on fire. Stay tuned.)

Ingredient Accessibility: Medium. See above re: absinthe. Also, our crappy local liquor stores don’t carry good Calvados apple brandy. Yours might not either.

Price: Depends. If you use the quality of ingredients we used, it’s pretty cheap, but we recommend going fancier if you want to try this one at home.

Taste: Sweet (too sweet?), smooth, warm

Final Verdict: Liz wrote NO in big letters in her notebook while she was drinking this one. She does not want to drink this again, and would not order it unless maybe Gabrielle Hamilton herself served it alongside a flambeed dessert. Chris enjoys it the same way he enjoys apple Jolly Ranchers – that is, hoping no one notices.

Gimlet (p. 40)

I’ve always thought of gimlets as one of those classic old drinks, like a martini. I’m pretty sure I remember my grandmother or great-aunt ordering this at a Tommy Bahama, but it’s one I’ve never really seen on a modern cocktail menu. I don’t know why: it’s easy and delicious. Here’s the recipe: 20170817_210425

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 oz. Old Mr. Boston Dry Gin

Shake well with cracked ice and strain into 4 oz. cocktail glass.

Notes on prep: We used bottled lime juice, as always. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly. We used our cheap workhorse Seagram’s gin for this; we’re not going to adulterate Hendricks with sugar. I also served this with ice, because citrus-y drinks are better super cold.

20170817_210850Liz’s Take: I made two rounds of this cocktail because we liked it so much. I made it exactly as written at first, tasted it, and added a little carbonated water. It was way too sweet. The second time around, I halved the sugar, and it was even better. I still liked the addition of seltzer. It’s bright, summery; it’s basically grown-up boozy limeade. It’s a little dangerously delicious; I sucked down two and promptly passed out on the couch.

Chris’s Take: Liz is being a little obtuse when she says that we had two rounds. In fact, in order to convince her to mix up another round, I had to promise to both do the dishes AND make her an egg sandwich on challah bread the next morning. I know I usually address the gentlemen in these posts, but this one is for the ladies. On a hot evening, this drink can be used to get your fella to do pretty much anything. Take that for what it’s worth.

Our Ratings:

Prep: Easy

Ingredient accessibility: Easy

Price: Cheap- don’t use your expensive gin!

Taste: bright and sweet, refreshing

Final Verdict: Liz would order this in a bar and hope it came in a long, tall Tom Collins glass. Chris thinks it’s the kind of drink that’s best enjoyed outside on a patio.


Boston Side Car Cocktail (p. 12)

We love a traditional sidecar, and this one sounded like an interesting and even more summery/refreshing variation. Here’s the recipe:

  • 3/4 oz. Old Mr. Boston Five Star Brandy20170816_195410
  • 3/4 oz. Old Mr. Boston Imported Rum
  • 3/4 oz. Triple Sec
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

Shake well with cracked ice and strain into 3 oz. cocktail glass

Notes on Prep: We used Paul Masson brandy, which we decant to be fancy. Chris wants to make sure everyone notes the beautiful silver decanter tag he bought at an antique store in Hampton Bays.  We also used Bacardi Gold rum and cheapo Llord’s Triple Sec. I’m too lazy to juice limes, so RealLime does the trick.

Liz’s Take: This drink is basically like if a margarita and sidecar had a baby. It’s tart, sweet, but smooth and easy. I might like this even more than the standard sidecar. The rum rounds it out, and the lime is a nice twist. I’d still throw together regular ol’ sidecars on lazy summer nights, though, cause they’re easier. Also, the double punch of rum and brandy makes this a little strong for everyday drinking.

Chris’s Take: As I’ve said before, I really enjoy a sidecar, and this is a pretty cool variation. I generally like rum. Even very good rum is pretty inexpensive, and with all the different variants of spices, there’s a lot of directions one take with this drink. If I did it again, I might opt for a Sailor Jerry’s or a Jamaican rum like Meyer’s, just to make things interesting.


Prep- Easy, unless you want to juice limes

Cost- Cheap, if you use cheap ingredients

Ingredient Accessibility: Easy!

Taste: Tart, sweet, a little heady

Final Verdict:  We’d both order this at a bar, especially in the dog days of summer. Chris would hope that it would come with a little umbrella.

Pineapple Dream (p. 74)

We had some friends over for cocktails, so we decided to make something fun and festive. Here’s the recipe for the Pineapple Dream:20170813_164856 (1)

  • 1/2 oz. pineapple juice
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 oz. Old Mr. Boston imported rum

Shake well with cracked ice and strain into 3 oz. cocktail glass.

Notes on prep: We basically did this as written, subbing in Bacardi Gold rum, since it’s easy to get and our go-to choice for simple mixed drinks.

20170813_165513 (1)Our Take: Our friend Jenn, channeling Liz (or maybe Ted Allen) said she expected the drink would be “cloyingly sweet but, instead, it’s refreshingly subtle.” She’s right. We’re pleasantly surprised by Old Mr B’s restraint here. As we’ve said before, pineapple juice is super sweet, but has a muskiness that can be contained when you add some sugar.  It tastes like we imagine a drink at one of these classy new tiki bars would be like: fresh, fruity, and a little sophisticated.

Our Ratings:

Prep: Easy

Ingredient Accessibility: Easy

Price: Cheap!

Taste: Refreshing, beachy, lightly sweet

Final Verdict: Liz has always wanted to go to a beach with a swim-up bar, and this is the sort of thing she dreams of ordering while her feet dangle off a barstool into the ocean.

California Lemonade (p. 21)

We have a lot of Jack Daniels around, and it’s the dog days of summer, so this cocktail felt timely.  I have no idea what makes this California-ish (the citrus, I guess?) but here’s the recipe as written:

  • Juice of 1 lemon20170804_184744
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tsp. powdered sugar
  • 2 oz. Old Mr. Boston Whiskey
  • 1/4 teaspoon grenadine

Shake well with cracked ice and strain into 12 oz. Tom Collins glass filled with shaved ice. Fill with carbonated water and decorate with slice of orange, lemon, and a cherry. Serve with straws.

Notes on prep: We used Jack Daniels. We halved the sugar because that sounded insane, and used bottled lime and lemon juice. We don’t have 12 oz. glasses, so we had to make do with the slightly smaller glasses pictured above.  It’s a shame, because more seltzer would’ve helped.

20170804_190025Our take: This is a really pretty drink. I’d serve it in a punch bowl at a party for folks who don’t usually drink a whole lot because– even with half the sugar– it’s sweet and goes down easy. If you’re in a whiskey mood, or you’re one of those weirdos who doesn’t like gin, this is a good alternative to a  Tom Collins.

Our Ratings:

Prep: Easy, if you use the bottled juice. Otherwise, it could be annoying.

Ingredient Accessibility: Easy

Price: Cheap- don’t waste your priciest whiskey when you’re using so many mixers

Taste: Sweet, slightly syrupy; like whiskey lemonade, basically

Final Verdict: We probably wouldn’t order this at a bar, but might make this at a party for Liz’s 20-something siblings and cousins.

Swiss Family Cocktail (p. 96)

We tried Googling this drink because the name was so bizarre (is this what Swiss families drink at their gatherings? Did the Family Robinson drink this when they were shipwrecked in the East Indies?). Nothing but recipes for this drink (and ideas for pretty garnishes) came up. However, Wikipedia does tell an intriguing tale of a drunken Swiss farmer who murdered his entire family while drinking absinthe (and brandy and wine, but the green fairy was an easy target of blame). Chris and I are about halfway into our drinks and neither of us are blind with rage, but this seems like a stiff one for family nights.

20170706_184648Here’s the recipe as written:

  • 1/2 teaspoon Absinthe Substitute
  • 2 dashes bitters
  • 3/4 oz. dry Vermouth
  • 1 1/2 oz. Old Mr. Boston Whiskey

Stir well with cracked ice and strain into 3 oz. cocktail glass.

Notes on prep: We used Pernod brand Abstinthe, Angostura bitters, Martini & Rossi vermouth, and the last of our Old Overholt Rye Whiskey. Since Chris made it, he shook it. He’s not a stirrer. We also ended up drinking this over ice. In the future, we might garnish with an orange peel. As we usually do, we just served this in our tumblers, but I’m starting to think we need a set of old-school cocktail glasses.

Liz’s Take: This is like the Jeyplak Cocktail on opposite day. Somehow, the absinthe smooths this drink over, and it’s deceptively warm and easy to sip. Martinis punch you in the face: when you’re about halfway through and you’re chewing on that gin-soaked olive, you know that if you have another, you’re going to be an asshole (or fall asleep). I want another of these, and can’t quite reckon with the reality that it’s not a good idea. Maybe that’s why it’s a Family Cocktail. You keep coming back for more, even when it hurts. Not that I know much about that. 20170706_184710

Chris’s Take: He forgot to write about this one the night I made it. If we make it again, we’ll edit and he’ll add his review.


Prep: Easy

Ingredient Accessibility: Medium- you can’t find absinthe at any old liquor store, and when you do, they might give you a funny look for buying it

Price:  Medium- even our cheap cocktail whiskey isn’t that cheap, and absinthe is always spendy, but a teaspoon ain’t much

Taste: Balanced- whiskey forward, with notes of herbal vermouth on the tongue, absinthe on the back end

Final Verdict: Liz would definitely order a second of these at a bar, and would regret it later.

Rory O’More (p. 82)

We just got back from five days in Asbury Park and Ocean Grove, our favorite Jersey Shore destination. We started coming here to get tattooed when our friend Chris opened up his great tattoo shop, Old Glory, in downtown Asbury five years ago. We keep going to hang with him and his wife, but also because it’s an easy trip from the city, and a super relaxing beach vacation spot for folks with our interests: Ocean Grove looks like Stars Hollow, there’s a BYOB pinball museum, and shopping/bar-hopping in downtown Asbury. This great liquor store is the only place where we’ve seen Hell-Cat Maggie Irish whiskey blend, a $20-ish bottle of great mixing whiskey. Like all decent Irish whiskey, it’s a little sweet. Alone, it can be both cloying and a bit harsh, but it’s great mixed. On vacation, it went nicely with ginger ale on the beach.

Now that we’re home, we wanted to try this Rory O’More from our old pal’s guide. The Rory O’More is basically an Old-Fashioned with Irish whiskey.

Here’s the recipe as written: 20170811_173015

  • 3/4 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 1/2 oz. Irish Whiskey
  • 1 Dash Orange Bitters

Stir well with cracked ice and strain into 3 oz. cocktail glass. 

Notes on prep: In addition to the Hell-Cat Maggie, we used Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth and Angostura Irish bitters. I served this with cubed ice because it’s super strong.

Liz’s Take: This cocktail makes me a little less bummed to be home from vacation. It’s more sophisticated than my beach drinking, which mostly consisted of random rose, happy hour beer specials on the boardwalk, and the occasional whiskey ginger. But it’s not overly complex for a first jump back into cocktail world. It’s sweet– it could almost veer on being caramel-y with the Martini & Rossi vermouth– but it’s too liquor-forward to be a college kid drink. It’s complex enough to warrant slow sipping. We’ve tried a lot of Irish whiskeys, and they’re all quite good. They’re different enough, though, that I’d be interested to try this with a few different varieties. This is worth repeating and experimenting with.

Chris’s Take: Forget everything Liz said about Asbury Park (with the exception of the excellent work done at Old Glory). That place is full up. Best move on down the shore, and take the fist-bumping with you. If you do decide to spend some time in Asbury, I wouldn’t be surprised to find this drink at one of the more sophisticated joints in town, or even on the boardwalk. It’s a little sweet, but not for kids.

Our Ratings:

Prep: Easy!

Ingredient Accessibility: Easy- you might even have some Jameson and Martini and Rossi in your liquor cabinet already

Price: Variable- depending on liquor choices. In our case, cheap.

Taste: Booze forward but sweet- a good introduction to ‘fancy’ cocktails

Final Verdict: Liz would order this if it were on the menu at an Irish bar, especially if it was made with an interesting whiskey. Chris thinks it would be great at a beachside bar, but he’s probably just bummed to be back from vacation.