Dukes Martin[i,ez]

“You gotta have the Dukes Martini! It’s a thing. They have a cart.”

Martini Cart

When famed journalist and international traveler Camper English tells you, you have to try a thing, you probably should, at least once!

Well, if it is drink related, anyway.

So, yes, the Dukes Hotel Bar has a Martini Cart. This system, I believe originated when Salvatore Calabrese was the head barman at the Dukes Bar.

When you order a Martini, (or Martinez,) the bartender, in this case the wonderful Alessandro Palazzi, rolls the cart out to your table with what he will need to make your cocktail, including frozen glassware, Vermouth, and very, very chilled Gin.

Alesandro Mixes

His first step is to dash into your glass a little custom vermouth, “made with English wine”. If you desire your Martini or Martinez “Wet” he will leave the dashes of vermouth in the glass. Otherwise, it is just a rinse. Next he raises a frosted bottle of Gin and pours a health measure into the glass. Finally, he finishes the Martini by cutting a wide swath of peel from a lemon and squeezing it over the glass.

Dukes Martinez

Just don’t have more than one, if you have plans for the rest of your evening!

Vermouth de Chambery

I was recently reading through David Embury’s “Fine Art of Mixing Drinks“, specifically the sections on Vermouth.

One of the more amusing, and interesting, sections I ran across was in regards to his disapproval of the new popularity of clear Dry Vermouth from the Chambery region of France, especially as it compares to his favorites, Noilly Prat Orignal Dry and the mysterious Lillet Vermouth.

“I cannot leave the subject of current brands of French vermouth without comment on Boissiere (pronounced bwa -see-air), made by Ets. Chambery-Comoz of Chambery France, “Inventors of the White Vermouth.” Actually, while there are others better it is not a bad vermouth. The trouble is that, however horrified the manufacturers may be at this result, it has been a godsend to gyp bars. A 3-1 or even 2-to1 Martini made with Boissiere will be lighter in color than a 7-1 made with most other vermouths. Unfortunately all too many untrained drinkers judge the dryness of their Martinis, not by the flavor, but by color. Who, then, can blame the bar, in business primarily for profit, for copping an extra dime by taking advantage of their lack of sophistication and educated taste? Other vermouth manufacturers are now copying this trick and, to my taste, have completely ruined their products thereby.”

So, in 1948, here we have David A. Embury, King Cocktail Nerd if there ever was one, decrying the lack of color and flavor in Dry Vermouth.

Fast Forward 60 years, or so, and the supreme cocktail nerds of our time have the exact same reaction of horror when Noilly Prat decides to standardize their vermouth formula and reintroduce color and flavor into the Dry Vermouth they sell in the United States.

You really can’t ever win…

Lone Tree Cooler

Lone Tree Cooler
The Juice of 1/4 Lemon. (Juice 1/4 Lemon)
The Juice of 1 Orange. (Juice 1 orange)
1/3 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth)
2/3 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Hayman’s Old Tom Gin)
1 Liqueur Glass Grenadine. (1 oz Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
(2 dash Absinthe Verte)
Shake well strain into tumbler and fill with soda water.

I dunno, I just felt like a little Absinthe would add some interest to this rather odd recipe. Vermouth in a Cooler? Juice of 1 Orange? Anyway, it’s another cocktail where I wish I had cracked a book and done some research before making it…

As usual, the theoretical source for this recipe was Hugo Ensslin’s 1916, “Recipes for Mixed Drinks”.

However, Hugo’s recipe is hugely different:

Lone Tree Cooler
Juice of 1 Lemon;
Juice of ¼ Orange;
Pony Grenadine.

Made and served same as Apricot Cooler.

Righto. Well, there you go, cough, no booze at all, that’s way too brazen to be a typo. I guess whomever wrote the Savoy Cocktail Book felt the Lone Tree Cooler was good, but needed a little something to juice it up, like Gin and Dry Vermouth. Of course, then I came along and felt like it needed even a little more electricity, a la Maurice, and added Absinthe.

It is a wonder the same drink gets made the same way in more than once!

Ha! Sometimes I wonder if the same drink IS ever made more than once!

Well, if you’re looking for a non-alcoholic drink, you could certainly do worse than this lemonade sweetened with Grenadine, or, alternatively, slightly tarted up Shirley Temple.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Wyoming Swing Cocktail

Wyoming Swing Cocktail
The Juice of 1/4 Orange. (Juice 1/2 Clementine)
1/2 Teaspoonful Powdered Sugar. (1 tsp Homemade Orgeat)
1/2 French Vermouth. (1 oz Vya Vermouth)
1/2 Italian Vermouth. (1 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth)
Shake well and strain into medium size glass, and fill with soda water.

One of those nights where I could really use a drink after work. Looking forward to a cocktail called “Wyoming Swing”! Surely it must at least have whiskey!


Crap, it’s a not-tail! Vermouth, Orange Juice, and Soda.

Damn it.

Well, I chose to spice it up a bit with Orgeat, just for varieties’ sake, instead of plain sugar. Why not?

Actually, it surprised me how enjoyable a drink this was.

Didn’t stop me from pouring myself a glass of whiskey afterward.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Tuxedo Cocktail (No. 1)

Tuxedo Cocktail (No. 1)
1 Piece Lemon Peel. (1 Piece Lemon Peel)
2 Dashes Absinthe. (2 Dash Lucid Absinthe)
1/2 French Vermouth. (1 oz Noilly Prat Dry or 1 oz Sutton Cellars)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz Tanqueray Gin)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

For two weeks I thought I probably had cancer, now I am told I probably don’t. Lucky again.

Spend a couple weeks worrying and then it is just supposed to go away. Never mind about that. “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

Doesn’t seem quite that easy to get over.

A second chance?

When my Dad had his heart attack, he viewed the life he came back to as a gift. Everything after nearly dying was a bonus.

While my situation was nowhere near that dramatic, nor as dramatic as someone who recovers from Cancer, still, it provokes some thought about the direction of your life.

The Tuxedo is a Martini with a dash of Absinthe, Period.

As such, it is a fairly enjoyable cocktail, if you enjoy Martinis and Absinthe, as I do.

Mrs. Flannestad and I again performed the Noilly vs. Sutton Cellars blind experiment and found we preferred the Noilly in the cocktail. Your Mileage may vary.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.


To be honest, variations on the Manhattan Cocktail are just about my favorite cocktails in the whole world. So when I heard Lindsey from the blog, “Brown, Bitter, and Stirred,” was hosting a Mixology Monday, I knew I had no choice but to participate.  But what to feature?  Well perhaps my favorite new bitter substance, Gran Classico, from Tempus Fugit Sprits.

Gran Classico

According to the importers, Gran Classico is a “Bitter of Turin”, as is Campari.  It is a bit similar to Campari in some ways, but in others more interesting.  Campari’s bitterness is very single noted, almost entirely Quinine and Gentian, without much additional subtlety.  Gran Classico, on the other hand, is deliciously complex, with quite a bit more varied herbal notes than Campari.

With the recent release of Gran Classico, a lot of people have been resurrecting the Old Pal Cocktail: Equal parts Rye, Campari, and Dry Vermouth, but replacing the Campari with Gran Classico. It is gosh darn delicious.

While I was thinking about which Campari recipes worked well with Gran Classico and which didn’t, another of my favorite cocktails came to mind: The Brooklyn.

Now I’ve been known to mess up the Brooklyn recipe, it is true, making it by accident, or intention, with Sweet Vermouth or Punt e Mes instead of Dry Vermouth.

So I thought I’d mess with it a bit more.

Eighteenth Cocktail

2 oz Rye
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc
1/2 oz Gran Classico Bitter
1 barspoon Luxardo Maraschino

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel over glass and drop in.

As it is traditional to name Brooklyn variations after neighborhoods or districts, I cast about for some inspiration. I made up the cocktail at our house, in Bernal Heights. As much as I love Bernal Heights, this really didn’t seem like a “Bernal Heights” cocktail. Maybe after the area where Heaven’s Dog is located? Nope, “SOMA Cocktail” even less appealing than Bernal Heights.

I asked the importer of Gran Classico the name of the neighborhood he lived in. He replied, “Bahia”. I was like, wha? Maybe if this was made with aged Cachaca or Pisco instead of Rye Whiskey…  After a long bit of back and forth involving home towns, neighborhoods, and other sundry geographical designations, I finally asked him the neighborhood where his business partner lived in Paris. “He lives in the 18th, or Dix-Huitième in French.” Whew, finally, something I can hang with! The Eighteenth Cocktail. Mysterious enough to be puzzling, but not obscure.  The fact that it was his partner’s neighborhood even gives it a good story. That works!

Now I like this cocktail as it is, but some have said it is a tad sweet. It’s not far from most modern Brooklyn variations, like the Slope or Greenpoint, but if you are a person who prefers aperitif type drinks, it is also good as a more literal Brooklyn, using Dry Vermouth instead of Blanc.  Give the Eighteenth Cocktail a try either way, and let me know what you think.

Third Rail Cocktail (No. 1)

Third Rail Cocktail (No. 1)
1 Dash White Mint. (1 dash Brizard Creme de Menthe)
1 Dash Curacao. (1 dash Brizard Orange Curacao)
1 Glass French Vermouth. (2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

I had some small, idle, hope that this would somehow be another Chrysanthemum Cocktail, an overlooked, light classic.

Well, maybe, if you really like mint, but other wise, it is probably best to heed the sensible advice of many civilizations, and don’t touch the Third Rail.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Sunset Cocktail

Sunset Cocktail
(6 People)
Place in a large glass the thinly-cut rind of an orange, or of a tangerine if an orange cannot be obtained. Add a teaspoonful of peach preserve, a large apricot and its crushed kernel. Pour upon the whole a full glass of Brandy and a small spoonful of Kirsch. Let this soak for two hours. Then transfer the mixture into the shaker and add half a glass of White Wine, a glass and half of Gin, and a glass of French Vermouth. Add plenty of ice. Shake and Serve.

The next thing you know about is Sunrise.

Oh for cripes sake, talk about an annoying recipe!

Let’s fix it:

Sunset Cocktail.

Sunset Cocktail
1 apricot, Quartered
1 apricot pit, crushed
2 oz Germain-Robin Fine Alambic Brandy
1 tsp. Clear Creek Kirsch
2 tsp. We Love Jam Blenheim Apricot Jam
Whole Zest of 1 Orange
2 oz Noilly Prat Dry
3 oz Right Gin*
Sparkling Wine (Blanquette de Limoux, Cuvee Berlene 2005)

Method: Combine Apricot, Apricot Pit, Brandy, Kirsch, Jam, and Orange Peel. Let stand for a couple hours. Transfer to a large mixing tin, add the dry vermouth and gin. Ice and shake gently. Double strain into medium size glasses and top up with Sparkling Wine.

Sunset Cocktail.

Well, at least the recipe, if not the technique, is slightly less annoying.

I increased the jam quotient since I decided to include the sparkling wine. It has a tendency to dry out cocktails more than regular wine would. Suggest shaking gently or even rolling to prevent pulverizing the apricot. You will want to double strain to catch those apricot and fruit pieces. You may need a spoon to encourage the liquid’s passage through the strainer.

With all that work, you would hope that it was at least tasty, and indeed, it is pretty darn tasty.

In fact, the warning, “The next thing you know about is Sunrise,” seemed a bit apt, far more easy drinking than it’s alcohol content would suggest. I would not suggest drinking all “6” Sunset Cocktails yourself, even if your wife is out of town and you aren’t driving anywhere. You will probably regret it.

*Right Gin was sent to me by a firm promoting the brand.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Sloe Gin Cocktail


Sloe Gin Cocktail
1/4 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)
1/4 Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Carpano Antica Italian Vermouth)
1/2 Sloe Gin. (3/4 oz Plymouth Gin, 3/4 oz Plymouth Sloe Gin)
Stir well and strain into cocktail glass.

What the!? Now how did that happen? Someone cut the Plymouth Sloe Gin in this cocktail with half regular Plymouth Gin. Clearly, that is all wrong, and someone should be punished. Perhaps by drinking this cocktail made with all Sloe Gin.

As written above, this is quite nice, a sort of berry-ish light Negroni.  I suppose I should think of a new name.

Sloe Gin-Gin Cocktail?

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Ash Tray Heart

It was midnight, and I’d made a couple bad drinks. Felt like rewarding myself with a Scotch Cocktail. Maybe an Affinity. Is that a Scotch bottle at the back? No? Oh, it’s Smith and Cross. Damn, all the Scotch is in the Basement. Hm. What the hell.

1 oz Smith & Cross
1 oz Punt e Mes
1 oz Dry Vermouth

But what can I do to make it a bit more Scotchy? Oh, I know! This Mezcalero Mezcal is damn smoky. True, only 168 bottles were imported into CA, so maybe just a rinse on the glass (with the rest going directly into my mouth).

Huh, goddamn that’s tasty. I should email Craig, as it’s something he’ll like. Name? Name?

Oh, hahahaha, I know!

“Ashtray Heart”

“Somebody’s Had to Much to Think!”