Cape Fear Punch (Revisited)

A while ago I made a version of Alton Brown’s Cape Fear Punch for a party, but wasn’t really thrilled with the way it came out.

A friend invited us over for a party recently. When he mentioned that he had a bunch of Rye Whiskey, I thought I might remake/remodel the Cape Fear Punch using the more classic punch proportions/methods from my Hock Punch.

Cape Fear Punch (revisited)

3 Lemons, peeled
1 Orange, peeled
1 cup sugar

1 cup water, boiling
2 tsp Green Tea
1 tsp whole clove, crushed
1 tsp whole allspice, crushed
1 tsp whole coriander seed, crushed

Juice of 3 lemons
Juice 1 orange
375ml Rye Whiskey
375ml Sparkling Wine, chilled
500ml Carbonated Water, chilled
Nutmeg, freshly grated

Reserve peeled citrus. Combine Lemon Peels, Orange Peel, and sugar in a ziplock bag. Let sit for 24 hours, massaging occasionally. Steep tea and spices in boiling water and cool slightly. Pour into peel and sugar mixture and shake to dissolve sugar. Chill.
Strain spiced tea syrup into a punch bowl. Juice citrus and strain into punch bowl. Add Rye Whiskey, Sparkling Wine, and Sparkling Water. Taste and adjust dilution if necessary. It also doesn’t hurt to have a spare lemon around, in case you’d like your punch to be a bit more tart. Serves 4-8, depending on their level of thirst.

The mistakes I’ve seen in just about every modern punch I’ve tried are that the flavors are too concentrated and the punch is too boozy.

I believe this comes from applying the principles of super saturated paradigm of modern soft drinks and/or cocktails to Punch.

What you want from punch is for it to be “more-ish”.

Punch should be complex enough to be interesting, light enough that it doesn’t overwhelm the palate, and weak enough that it can be drunk as a session beverage.

Low Gap Old-Fashioned


06-04-2011, Low Gap Whiskey Old-Fashioned with Miracle Mile Forbidden Bitters.

2 oz Low Gap Clear Whiskey
1 tsp Caster Sugar
1 tsp Water
3 dash Miracle Mile Forbidden Bitters
Lemon Peel

Add sugar, water and bitters to the bottom of a heavy glass. Muddle until sugar is dissolved. Add cracked ice and pour in whiskey. Stir until well chilled. Squeeze lemon peel over glass and drop in.

A friend sent me this sample from a line of bitters he is working on, the Forbidden Bitters are designed to be an Old Fashioned style bitters in the vicinity of Abbott’s Bitters.

Well, what better to do with Old Fashioned style bitters than make an Old-Fashioned?

And a delicious Old-Fashioned it is!

Whisky Cocktail

Whisky Cocktail

1 Dash Angostura Bitters. (1 dash Boker’s Bitters)
4 Dashes Syrup. (1 tsp Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup)
1 Glass Canadian Club Whiskey. (2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon)

Stir well and strain in cocktail glass. Add a cherry (Ooops, my cherries are in questionable shape, so I couldn’t face putting one in. Instead I Squeezed a Lemon Peel over the glass and dropped it in.)

Boy, this Buffalo Trace Bourbon isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. I guess I’m used to Bourbon with a bit more finesse, like the Eagle Rare or Evan Williams Single Barrel, but the Buffalo Trace had a harshness I wasn’t used to in this simple preparation.

I also thought it would be kind of fun to whip out Adam Elmegirab‘s reproduction of Boker’s Bitters, (Available online from Cocktail Kingdom,) for this old school cocktail.

I went a little light, I guess, with the Boker’s. Found them pretty mildly flavored, at least compared to Angostura. Could have gone with at least 2 dashes to stand up to the flavor of the Bourbon. Nicely old fashioned flavor, though, and good in this cocktail.

Anyway, this is a “Cocktail” all right, nothing complicated, but delicious all the same.

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.

New Car Cocktail

As “White Whiskey” is a sort of trendy object these days, I’ve been puzzling over some uses for it.

One of my favorite whiskey cocktails is the “Vieux Carre”.

It is traditionally composed of equal parts Rye Whiskey, Brandy, and Sweet Vermouth with dashes of Benedictine and bitters.

As others have already gotten to making White Whiskey versions of Old-Fashioneds and Manhattans, I figured why not a clear Vieux Carre?

I’ve experimented with just about every unaged whiskey and unaged fruit brandy and eau-de-vie at my disposal.

Eau-de-Vies, while initially promising, I have found too dominating for the somewhat laid back character of most white whiskey. With them, the cocktail just tastes of the eau-de-vie and not the whiskey.

I also experimented some with lightly aged apple brandy and found those fairly promising. If you have access to Clear Creek’s young apple brandy, it is quite good in this cocktail. But, unfortunately, rather hard to come by.

After a lot of experimentation, I ended up taking the absolutely most obvious route with this cocktail: unaged whiskey, pisco, and blanc/bianco vermouth.

New Car Cocktail

1 oz White Whiskey
1 oz Pisco (or Pisco style California Brandy)
1 oz Blanc/Bianco Vermouth
2 dash The Bitter Truth Repeal Bitters (Or other relatively clear, spicy, old fashioned bitters. Trying to avoid a pink drink here. Boker’s maybe?)
5ml Benedictine (aka 1 barspoon. Mine is 5ml, I don’t know what size yours might be.)

Stir briefly with ice and strain over fresh cube(s). Squeeze orange peel over drink and drop in.

At work, I have had rather good response to the combination of Death’s Door White Whiskey, Marian Farms Pisco Style California Brandy, Dolin Blanc, and Bitter Truth Repeal Bitters.

Last night, I found the combination of Tuthilltown Hudson Corn Whiskey, Don Cesar Pisco Pura, Cinzano Bianco Vermouth, and TBT Bitters to be appealingly funky and high powered.

Let me know what combinations you come up with.

As far as the name goes, as we discussed before, “Vieux Carre” means something like, “old square,” in French. So a cocktail with unaged spirits obviously has to be “new”. Most Americans pronounce the second word in “Vieux Carre” as they do the word for automobile, “car”. Also, for some reason, “new car smell” comes to mind.

Ship Cocktail


Ship Cocktail
(6 People)
4 Glasses Sherry. (2 oz Williams Humbert Dry Sack)
1 Glass Whisky. (1/2 oz Pig’s Nose Scotch*)
1 Glass Rum. (1/2 oz Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum)
1 Glass Prune Syrup. (1/2 oz Prune Syrup)
1 Dash Orange Bitters. (1 dash Bitter Truth Orange Bitters)
A little Sugar if desired. (None desired)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

Since the cocktail, doesn’t specify what sorts of Whisky or Rum to use, I decided to go a bit avant garde and use Scotch Whisky and Jamaican Rum. Anyway, it is a Ship Cocktail. You gotta use Pirate Rum in a Ship Cocktail!

Interestingly, this turns out to be tasty, if you enjoy the flavors of the component spirits. The Sherry and Prune Syrup seem to act like flavor enhancers, extending and complementing the others. Nice, actually, probably one of my favorite recent Savoy Cocktails. Not that I expect that this endorsement will have a host of other cocktail bloggers running for the kitchen to make themselves prune syrup. Yer missing out, I tell you! It’s a very tasty sweetener, and those prunes stewed in port are tasty! Regularity, it is important, as you get older.

*Note, the teeny, tiny bottle of Pig’s Nose Scotch was sent to me by a marketing firm promoting the brand.  Tasty stuff!  I bet it is even tastier when poured from a 750ml bottle!

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.

Do You Like Whisk(e)y?

Something tells me, if you are reading this blog, there’s a small chance you may enjoy the results of fermenting and/or distilling grain.

If perchance you are among those who also enjoy their fermented grain products distilled, and might be able to be in the San Francisco area on or near October 16th, please check out the Malt Advocate’s Whisky Fest.

WhiskyFest San Francisco will feature more than 200 of the world’s finest, rarest, and most expensive, single malt and blended Scotch, Irish, bourbon, Tennessee, Japanese, Welsh, Canadian and other whiskies from around the world to sample in one Grand Ballroom. High-end rums, tequilas beer and other spirits will be represented as well.

There will be a bunch of axillary, (or is that ancillary?) events that week as well, including special dinners and parties at bars and restaurants.

In general, the best place to keep up with this sort of drinky information is on Camper English’s blog Alcademics.  However, I will endeavor to post anything I find of note.

PS. As noted on Camper’s blog, Whiskyfest tickets are steeply discounted only until September 25th, so get them while they are hot.

Lindstead Cocktail


Linstead Cocktail
(6 People)

3 Glasses Whisky. (1 1/2 oz Sazerac Straight Rye)
3 Glasses Sweetened Pineapple Juice. (1 1/2 oz Knudsen Pineapple Juice)
Finish off before shaking with a dash of Absinthe Bitters. (dash Gin and Wormwood)

Shake and serve, squeezing a little lemon peel on top of each glass.

Since finding a recipe for “Wormwood Bitters” in Eddie Clarke’s “Shaking in the Sixties”, I have gone so far as to purchase two wormwood plants, grow them in my community garden plot, and infuse a small amount of gin with a few sprigs from the plants. The resulting substance is indeed very bitter, but not entirely unpleasant.

I didn’t have a lot of hope that the Linstead Cocktail would be all that tasty. I mean, Whiskey, Pineapple, and bitters, how could that even be good? But, somehow it actually is. Oddly found myself savoring and puzzling over the flavors in the cocktail. Far more interesting than those three ingredients have any real right to be.

If you don’t have your own wormwood plants or don’t want to go to the trouble of infusing gin, you could probably substitute “Gorki List” if you’ve got it around.

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.

Hesitation Cocktail

Hesitation Cocktail

1 Dash Lemon Juice.
1/4 Canadian Club Whisky. (1/2 oz 40 Creek Barrel Select)
3/4 Swedish Punch. (1 1/2 oz Arrack Punch, homemade)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

As I mentioned when discussing apricot liqueur vs. brandy question with the Havana cocktail, this one is the same proportions. Same amount of liqueur, same amount of spirits, same “1 Dash Lemon Juice”.

As with the Havana with apricot liqueur, this is pretty sweet. If you go a bit long on the Lemon and are using the likely less sweet homemade arrack punch, not undrinkably so.

Still, I think both the Boomerang and Havana are more interesting.

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.


Due to circumstances beyond my control, well laziness basically, I am going to recycle this MxMo post from a year and a half ago. Besides, I’m off to my home state, Wisconsin, land of the Brandy Old-Fashioned. Ya so, dat Old-Fashioned ting is perfectly apropos of the “Local Flavor” theme, dere hey.

Cheers to Kevin Kelpe of Save the Drinkers for hosting this round.

Cole Porter, 1940
there are moments, sooner or later
When it’s tough, I got to say, love to say … Waiter

Make it another old-fashioned, please
Make it another, double, old-fashioned, please

There’s an art to the Old-Fashioned cocktail. It’s a simple thing, yet when you order it in two bars, you will seldom receive the same cocktail twice.

By the time Jerry Thomas published his “Bartender’s Guide” in the late 1800s, a whiskey cocktail had come to be a shaken “up” cocktail. Due respect to Mr. Thomas, I stirred, and did not shake with crushed ice.

Whiskey Cocktail

Whiskey Cocktail
(Use small bar-glass.)
Take 3 or 4 dashes of gum syrup. (Barspoon Rich Simple Syrup)
2 dashes of bitters (Boker’s). (Angostura)
1 wine-glass of whiskey. (2oz Sazerac 6 Year Rye)

Fill one-third full of fine ice ; shake and strain in a fancy red wine-glass. Put in a piece of twisted lemon peel in the glass and serve.

Some authors posit that the Old-Fashioned Cocktail came by its name as a shortened version of something like, “I’ll have a Whiskey Cocktail made in the Old Fashioned Manner”. That is to say, not shaken and served on the rocks. Presumably, a “Really Old-Fashioned” would be whiskey, water, syrup and bitters. From the Savoy Cocktail Book:

Old-Fashioned Cocktail

Old-Fashioned Cocktail
1 Lump Sugar (Barspoon Rich Simple Syrup)
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky (2 oz Sazerac 6 Year Rye)

Crush Sugar and bitters together, add lump of ice, decorate with twist of lemon peel and slice of orange using medium size glass, and stir well. This Cocktail can be made with Brandy, Gin, Rum, etc., instead of Rye Whisky.

Some time in the 20th century, Bourbon replaced the Rye as the whiskey of choice in the Old-Fashioned, and even stranger, bartenders began to muddle the garnish in the glass with the bitters and sugar. Also, for better or worse, soda crept into the mix. From Charles Schumann’s, “American Bar”:

Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned
1 Sugar Cube (Barspoon Rich Simple Syrup)
dashes Angostura Bitters
2 oz Bourbon (W.L. Weller 12 Year)
soda (skipped)
stemmed cherry

Place sugar cube in an old-fashioned glass saturate with Angostura, add orange and lemon wedges, press with a pestle, add Bourbon, stir well, add ice cubes, fill with soda or water, stir again, garnish with cherry.

Even odder, in Wisconsin, the liquor of choice in Old-Fashioneds is not Whiskey at all, but Brandy (preferably Korbel). Wisconsinites, being cold weather folk, also have a tendency to make these rather large, and sometimes give you a choice of “Sweet” or “Sour”. “Sour” includes a spritz of Soda and “Sweet” a spritz of 7-Up.

Brandy Old-Fashion, Sour

Muddled Brandy Old-Fashioned (Sour)

Recipe identical to the Schumann Old-Fashioned recipe; but, with a generous 2 oz pour of Korbel Brandy instead the Bourbon.

Lately, however, I have found a return, in a few local bars, to the Savoy style stirred Rye Old-Fashioneds, with or without the orange and cherry garnish. This makes ordering an Old-Fashioned somewhat less of a crap shoot. Though, the bartenders do tend to ask if you’re sure you want it that way.

Cole Porter, 1940
So, make it another old-fashioned, please

Leave out the cherry,
Leave out the orange,
Leave out the bitters
Just make it Straight Rye.

Sazerac 18 Year Old Rye Whiskey

Sazerac 18 year Old Straight Rye Whiskey

And, of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a drink of real old fashioned rye whiskey.

For further, more erudite reading on the Brandy Old-Fashioned subject, check Robert Simonson’s Off the Presses for this article: Brandy Old-Fashioned

Edit – Fixed song lyrics. Thanks Bryndon!

Crow Cocktail

Crow Cocktail

The Crow Cocktail

1/3 Whisky. (3/4 oz Whisky)
2/3 Lemon Juice. (1 1/2 oz Lemon Juice)
1 Dash Grenadine. (homemade)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Well, that is what it is supposed to be according to Harry Craddock. And, yep, that is undrinkable.

However, the Crow Cocktail turns out to be one of the more dramatic Savoy Cocktail Book typos.

The recipe comes from Judge Jr.’s 1927 book, “Here’s How,” and in that book is written as follows.

The Crow
2/3 Scotch; (1 1/2 oz Scotch)
1/3 lemon juice; (3/4 oz Lemon Juice)
a dash of grenadine.

That’s still pretty tart, depending on your generosity with the dash of grenadine, but it is, at least, not completely insane.

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.