So my cousins Keith and Christina gave me Quintessential Cocktails for Christmas 2020. This blog post is entirely about the cocktails I made from this book. So if you are not into reading about drinks, you can skip this long post.
So I started my journey with this recipe book on January 1 with an Old Fashioned. I started a rating system where I put a check by the recipe if I made it but wouldn’t necessarily make it again, a star if I liked it and would make it again, and two stars if it was amazing (one of the best things I ever had). The Old Fashioned got a check, partly because nothing will come close to my grandfather’s recipe.
Next was Toronto, and it got a star. I used the Rye Whiskey that the same cousins had bought for me Christmas 2019 with the Downton Abbey Cocktail book.
Next was Martinez, from 1900. It was checked. I used my homemade orange bitters (past present from Tom).
The Pink Lady was checked. I do love using Grenadine as an ode to the Dead.
Suffering Bastard was originally Suffering Bar Steward, and got a star. I used Cognac instead of Brandy.
Then came B & B. I used Cognac again, and it was starred. I did add a comment to try with 2 ounces of Brandy and 1 ounce of Benedictine instead.
Champ Elysees is named after a street in Paris. I used Triple Sec instead of Cointreau, and it was checked. By the way, generally I just drink cocktails the evening before a work shift to help calm my nerves. So that helps explain the dating of my drinks.
Hurricane No. 2 was checked.
La Paloma is a 1953 recipe. I used honey instead of simple syrup and sipped on this while making candles. It was starred.
Hemingway Daiquiri is from El Floridita in Cuba ~1930. This was starred. I have made this before in my exploration of Hemingway Cocktails. Previously I had accidentally used maraschino cherry juice instead of liqueur so this was more authentic.
Skinny Margarita was starred. This is very similar to my favorite Margarita recipe, Tommy’s Margarita.
Jungle Bird is a 1970’s Kuala Lampur Hilton’s Aviary Bar recipe. Sadly I do not own a kickers Tiki goblet (gift giving idea). I used almond syrup not realizing there is an orgeat recipe in the back go the book. This is starred and a nice way to bring Hawaii to a PNW February.
There was a big gap in my making these cocktails, and I do not remember why. But in late March came Americano originally from the Gaspare Campari bar in the 1860’s. This was starred.
Pimm’s Cup was next and starred. This is a favorite from Wimbledon back to the 1840’s.
Hurricane No. 1 is starred. I am using the glass we brought back from the Rainforest Cafe from Disneyland a long time ago.
I also used a vintage stir stick from Trader Vic’s.
Mary Pickford is the first two star drink. It was created at the Hotel Nacional in Havana and named for the silent film star. I used leftover pineapple juice from the canned pineapple leftover from the Hurricane rather than fresh juice. But I will definitely be making this one again.
Long Island Iced Tea is from Long Island in Kingsport, Tennessee in the 1920’s. This got one star. The stir stick is from the Edgewater Inn.
Tequila Sunrise was created during Prohibition at Agua Caliente in Tijuana. This got one star. The original recipe called for the use of creme de cassis. Since I happen to have this leftover from my Downton Abbey cocktail adventure, I will need to try the original!
The Screwdriver was next. It is a drink from the 1940’s. I had a bad experience with this drink in my teen years so have avoided it until now. It still only got a check.
The Prohibition era Bee’s Knees got one star.
A Sidecar accompanied the Kentucky Derby. It is a 1915 drink which got one star.
. . .- is Morse code for victory. I used Velvet Falernum not realizing that there was a recipe for Falernum in the back of the book which I was supposed to use> I did not used Allspice Dram. It got a check.
Zombie is a Don The Beachcomber classic from 1934. I was trying to make the cocktails from this book without purchasing any further liqueurs as I have plenty leftover from teh Downton Abbey book. But I broke down with this recipe and bought Cherry Heering. But I only gave a check for this drink.
Next was Lynchburg Lemonade. But, in blasphemy, I did not use Jack Daniel’s. It got a star.
Whisky Fizz was nice and got a star. For most of the drinks calling for simple syrup I used Swerve instead.
Godfather is thought to originate from the movie, being a favorite drink of Marlon Brando. I did break down again and bought some Disarrono. Partly I was curious about it based on commercials about it. The drink got one star.
A White Russian was consumed at our Boles Aero trailer. I used a Swedish Club stir stick. It got one star.
I made it in homage to my Big Lebowski sweater that Tom had given me for Christmas.
Blood & Sand was named after Rudolph Valentino’s bullfighter movie. It got a check.
Sangria came next and got two stars as the best one I ever had!
It was the perfect accompaniment to a BBQ.
Mint Julep was next in mid June. It got one star. It has been served at Churchill Downs since 1938.
I was happy to use up some of my Creme de Violette in making Aviation. Unfortunately it only got a check.
A Sazerac accompanied the Summer Olympics. This was really good and got a star.
Amaretto Sour was in mid August, This was the third two star cocktail. By the way, Chukar Cherries Dessert Cherries are great for cocktails.
Negroni was next and only got a check.
Boulevardier is next and got one star. Next time I should try adding bitters.
I had a Manhattan after my CB550 motorcycle ride. It only got a check though.
Whiskey Highball just got a check.
Whiskey Sour got a check. With the egg white it is also known as a Boston Sour.
Stone Fruit Sour was the next two star drink. It was truly amazing! We had ripe peaches from our tree at the time.
Rob Roy is from the Waldorf Astoria in the late 1800’s. I only gave it a check,
Next up was a Margarita which was created in 1938. I gave it a star.
The Cucumber Margarita was consumed in our camper van at the Sunbanks Festival. I had made simple syrup using fresh cucumber from our garden. It got a star.
Clover Club is from the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia in the late 1800’s. I had this before going to see Duffy Bishop, a favorite singer of ours. I gave it a star.
Gimlet only got a check.
The Last Word was the Detroit Athletic Club’s most expensive cocktail at 35 cents. I gave it one star.
French 75 is a favorite drink for me and my husband. It was created in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris. I have a lovely memorize of having one with my mother at Maximilien restaurant with a gorgeous view. This got a star from me.
Dirty Martini was next. I actually made it filthy with some extra olive brine. I actually gave it a star, which is surprising since I do not like martinis.
Dark & Stormy was next. Unfortunately I did not have Gosling’s rum nor ginger beer. But it still got a star.
I loved drinking Dark and Stormy drinks in Bermuda on our honeymoon. I thought I had a photo of me drinking one then, but it is a scrumpy cider at the Frog & Onion I am drinking instead.
Moscow Mule was next. This is from the Cock ‘n Bull Restaurant in Los Angeles 1941. I got to use my mule cup from Amtrak. It got a star.
Tom Collins (from 1876) was next and got a check.
Mojito, the national cocktail of Cuba, was next. We actually still had fresh mint in early November. This is very similar to my usual recipe and got 1 star.
Lemon Drop was invented by Norman Jay Hobday, a Vietnam (or maybe Korean) Vet and Saloon owner in San Francisco in the 1970’s.
Greyhound was my next two star cocktail. I did not salt the rim for a Salty Dog.
I decided I wanted to try to finish the cocktails in this book before the end of the year. So I filled my Advent calendar with this in mind. I mixed up the bottles so never knew which cocktail it would be for the day. First was the French Martini from the 1980’s.
I used Raspberry syrup instead of liqueur so that may have affected the flavor as it was quite sweet. It was quite festive so perfect for the start of the holiday season but only got a check.
Cosmopolitan was next. I used plain vodka rather than citrus. It was festive and also both sweet and sour. It got a star.
Spanish Gin Tonic was next. It is simply a gin and tonic, but the lemon and lime wheels with the juniper berries and rosemary sprig really make this drink. It was so elegant and tasty that it got two stars!
A Mudslide was dessert the next evening. Tom joined me. This was really fun and tasty and also got two stars. Not an everyday drink but certainly very nice for special occasions.
For the Bloody Mary, I purchased a mix rather than using their mix recipe. This was possibly created at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris in the 1920’s. I gave it one star.
I do remember a great Bloody Mary in Key West.
Spanish Coffee came up next I was impressed with the serendipity of the advent calendar pairing drinks perfectly with the day’s events. In this case, I was getting off work and going to the Boles Aero where it was quite cold. So this drink was absolutely perfect (as were the other ones in the calendar so far). In this case the cinnamon really sparked nicely in the rum fire. It got a star.
Brandy Flip was also the Boles. It was yummy like an egg nog but much easier to make. Perfect for the Christmas season. I gave it two stars!
Mai Tai was created by Victor Bergeron. I used Cointreau instead of Dry Curacao. It was good but sweet. It was nice to be tropical on a cold mountaintop. I gave it one star.
Vieux Carre means Old Square. It was created by Walter Bergeron at the Monteleone Hotel in New Orleans in 1938. It was good and tasted like New Orleans to me. Again, nice on a cold mountain.
Singapore Sling is from the Long Bar at the Raflles Hotel in Singapore. I had this back at home. It had unique spices but was little sweet. I gave it one star.
Hot Buttered Rum was next on a particularly cold day so again perfect. I did make their mix recipe. I was post-call so this was nice. I did burn the roof of my mouth though so you need to be careful. I gave it one star. I still have some mix left. In fact, I was sipping on this earlier while I was typing this.
Ramos Gin Fizz was next. I did use Swerve instead of simple syrup. This was yummy and elegant so got 2 stars.
In the spirit of the season, I decided to move the drink to the moose cup.
Penicillin (a modern drink) came up next in the calendar. I did make the ginger syrup for this. I didn’t have Islay Scotch to top it with. It was just OK so got a check.
Hot Toddy was next. It paired well with the season and specifically with candle making and rotisserie pork, It got one star.
Brandy Crusta is from the 1850’s in the French Quarter. For me it was pretty but not tasty. Just a check.
Now there was a Pina Colada. Used coconut cream instead of Cream of Coconut. It was nice to be tropical in the onset of winter. It got one star.
I initially made it shaken but then decided to blend it.
The Vesper is featured in Casino Royale. Tom bought some Lillet Blanc so I could make this (again breaking my no buying liquor for this project rule). Tom did join me with this one. I thought it was strong but tasty with the Lillet. Plus I loved the James Bond connection. It got two stars.
The Dry Martini recipe included a quote from Winston Churchill “I would like to observe the vermouth from across the room while I drink my martini.” This received a check as I am not a fan of martinis (unlike Churchill). I do like olives though.
The day before Christmas Eve brought the Cape Codder in the calendar. This seemed perfect with the cranberry red and green lime. But it was too strong and not very tasty for me. Just a check.
It was pretty though in my Mount Rainier Drinkware glass.
Coffee Nudge came on Christmas Eve. It was perfect with the day- sweet and strong. It got a star.
The Advent calendar ended at this point, but I still had few cocktail recipes to do in the book so I kept doing one per day, although I chose which one I wanted to make rather than it being random So I started with the Rusty Nail from 1937. Tom joined me and remember that his friend Wayne used to drink the regularly. For me it was strong and needed water added. But it was really tasty so received 2 stars. I broke the rule yet again and bought Drambuie for this, mostly because I wanted to try it for the first time. Glad I did.
I bought Irish Whiskey for Irish Coffee while searching for golden syrup in Mukilteo. It was kind of an impulse buy. But on December 27 it was 7 degrees out so this drink was welcome for warming up after really cold chores. It was not that exciting though so got a check. The drink is originally from the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco 1952. I may have chosen the wrong Irish Whiskey however.
I had long wanted to watch The Big Lebowski with my sweater. I don’t believe I have seen it since its release. So I penciled it in on the calendar after the holidays were settling down, and it is cool enough to wear a thick sweater in the house. So this was the night, and I made The Dude for both of us to go with it. It did go well with the movie, but it is basically different ratios of the same ingredients as a White Russian which I like better. The Dude in the movie did mention a Caucasian so I will need to try that. This one gets a check.
Tom and I had The Corpse Reviver #2 on December 29. It was good, and I thought deserved a star. I am loving Lillet Blanc still.
Mayan Mule was next, using my Coast Starlight Mule mug again. It was just OK so got a check. This was my last cocktail of 2021, but I did not get the book’s cocktails done so that was somewhat disappointing.
Corpse Reviver No. 1 was the first cocktail of the new year, which seems somehow appropriate. It was quite strong (which I think is what it is designed to be), but I was not fond of it. A check only.
I purchase Aperol as an impulse buy because I saw it on sale at the supermarket, and I was curious. So I broke my rule yet again, and my liquor cabinet is full. So I made an Aperol Spritz for the first day of the year. It was really pretty, but I am not fond of the flavor of the Aperol. Which is disappointing since now we have a full bottle of it. A check only. I wish it was easier to buy small bottles of liquors you want to try out.
So it was just coincidence that this experiment ends on Tom’s birthday and with the Jet Pilot cocktail. But what an ending!!! You can see how much it lights up the kitchen.
I did make the cinnamon syrup for this recipe the day before. It is a lemon extract soaked crouton that is flaming floated on a lime wheel. I sprinkled cinnamon on it as it burns which sparked nicely.
It was strong with lots of rum but tasty. Tom really enjoyed it for his birthday celebration. I gave it one star.
And I used my grandfather’s penguin mixer to make it so that was a nice touch.
Here is a video that Tom took of it burning.
So, in summary, the two star drinks are Mary Pickford, Sangria, Amaretto Sour, Stone Fruit Sour, Greyhound, Spanish Gin Tonic, Mudslide, Brandy Flip, Ramos Gin Fizz, and Vesper.
The drinks I did not make due to not wanting to purchase the ingredients are: Brooklyn (Picon Amer), Spicy Old Fashioned (Ancho Chile Liqueur), Brandy Alexander (White Creme de Cacao), Pisco Sour (Pisco Puro), Anejo Old Fashioned (Oak aged tequila), Cable Car (Spiced Rum), Ancho Reyes Daiquiri (Chile Liqueur), Bellini (peach liqueur), Caipirinha (Cachaca), Mojito No. 7 (Herbal Liqueur), Toddy No. 7 (Herbal Liqueur), and All Nighter (Hazelnut Liqueur).
So that was quite a journey, and I am already missing it in a way. But now I have more freedom to do what I want and go back to pre-work cocktails. I will need to gradually decrease the size of my liquor cabinet however.
Thanks Christina and Keith. That book really helped me with a pandemic year.