Every day a different drink. Not just how to make them, but a detailed review of how they actually taste, photos of the drinks, and stories along the way. Starting from the beginning, The Bartender's Black Book will be our guide, taking us

(and our livers) on a journey from which we may never recover. Cheers!

April 6, 2011

#91: Armored Car

2 oz Bourbon
Dash of Simple Syrup
1 oz fresh Lemon Juice
Combine in a mixing glass with ice and stir
Strain into a chilled glass

This seems like a pretty basic drink. Bourbon and lemon juice. The only thing unusual about it is the taste.

I really don't know why this is called an Armored Car. Typically that is a tequila and amaretto drink. In fact, this is the only version I could find of this recipe, anywhere. Be that as it may, it would take an armored car filled with cash to get me to drink another one of these.

Bourbon is smooth. Lemon juice is not. The two together seemed to cancel each other out. The bourbon was no longer smooth, and the tartness of the lemon juice was oddly twisted into something I don't think many people would like. It just didn't work.

I have no idea how this drink came about, or who invented it. I do know that they should be run over by a large, well-protected truck, filled with cash paid for from a restitution fund set up for those who have tasted this drink.


I'm sure that we all have days at work that feel just like this:

April 5, 2011

#90: Arizona Lemonade

2 tsp Powdered Sugar
2 oz fresh Lemon Juice
Muddle/mix together in a mixing glass, then fill with ice
Add 2 oz Tequila
Shake until sugar dissolves, then use a lemon slice as garnish

First sip: this could have used a bit more sugar.

Second sip: think about how much more sugar this needs

Third sip: the hell with it, there's tequila in here!

This is basically homemade lemonade with tequila, which in my book is never a bad thing. I think that in modern America, we get so used to overly sweetened drinks like soda, that natural lemonade seems overly tart and not sweet enough. Well, this works just fine.

When I think about what Arizona Lemonade would taste like, this is exactly on the mark. It is tart, mildly sweet, and the tequila added a mild kick. Not enough to keep you from having another.


Check out the awesome artwork of artist Adam Watson, who has mashed up Star Wars and Dr. Suess, to create something pretty special. You can check out his blog here.

April 4, 2011

#89: April in Paris

1 oz Orange Liquer
Pour into a champagne glass, and fill with champagne
Use an orange slice as a garnish

Let's see, there was a movie by this name in 1952, with Doris Day and Ray Bolger. I've never seen it, so I have no idea if oranges and champagne play into the plot. It was also somewhat of a hit song back in the 30s, made into a much bigger hit for the movie by Count Basie, although it has been covered by tons of other artists over the years (Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman, on and on). Basically considered a jazz standard now. It's also used in Blazing Saddles, but for the life of me, I can't remember where.

Here are some notes by David Thorne Scott, a modern jazz singer and Associate Professor of Voice at Berklee College of Music, about this song, writing on

The contrast between the A sections and the bridge of “April in Paris” illustrates the process of memory. The A sections are rather static, harmonically and melodically, and the lyrics are fragments of partially remembered images. The bridge speeds everything up musically and the lyrics come into focus in complete sentences with the narrator as the subject. The A sections are like looking back through a gauzy filter, nostalgic, yearning to remember the good old days in Paris, while the bridge makes you feel like you are actually there, young again, strutting down the Champs-Elysees flirting.

The orange liquer really came through the champagne on this one, which seemed a bit surprising, since there isn't much there. It didn't make it overly sweet, just cut through the dry white grape flavor and actually enhanced it considerably.

Normally I am not much of a champagne drinker, but this was really good. I imagine other liquer flavors might work also, but they probably wouldn't be as good as this combination. I think it was the citrus overtones that really made this shine.

I'm not sure if there are a lot of orange trees in Paris, or when they bloom, but if you want to imagine yourself in a café along the Seine while drinking this, go right ahead. This drink will help the illusion.