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!

January 31, 2011

#31: Alabama Slammer (frozen)

1/2 cup ice
1 oz Vodka or Orange Vodka
1 oz Southern Comfort
Dash of Sloe Gin or Grenadine
Scoop of Orange Sherbet
Combine in blender, blend until smooth. If too thick add orange juice, if too thin add ice or sherbet.
Garnish with orange.

Several years ago I was home from work for the day, and my teenage daughter and I hung out for the afternoon watching TV and cracking inapropriate jokes about the news stories of the day. Now, teenage girls are not known for their immediate grasp of the current events of the day, unless they involve Snooky or some horrible "music" act. I think at one point she had to ask me if they had misspelled Iraq when they meant Iran. No honey, they are different countries, really.

Anyway, remember when Michael J. Fox was testifying in front of Congress on behalf of Parkinson's research? Several minutes passed with Marty McFly speaking, and showing the world the extent to which the disease had made his life more difficult by his intense shaking. Finally my daughter turned to me and asked:
"Isn't he a famous actor? Why is he so nervous up there?"

Maybe that's why I drink.


Well, our first frozen drink. And the last of the Alabama Slammers. This took a bit more work than the previous drinks, getting out the blender and all. The small amount of alcohol in the recipe led me to think that this would be a relatively weak drink, but the vodka and Southern Comfort really came through. It was much stronger than what I thought it would be.

I like my smoothies thick, so I added just a touch more ice and 1/2 a scoop more of sherbet. The drink was still strong, but tasty. The orange sherbet surprisingly worked well with the different alcohols. I anticipated that this would come out too sweet for my taste, but that wasn't the case. It really did taste like a frozen version of an Alabama Slammer 2, although creamier from the orange sherbet, and a bit less of a bite without the orange juice.

Overall this is a mild tasting drink that goes down well. It's great for sipping (gulp and you get a brain freeze). The alcohol keeps the ice and sherbet from melting too quickly, which is a nice effect.

When the kids run off to the ice cream truck on hot summer days, make yourself one of these.

Check out today's featured item.

January 30, 2011

#30: Alabama Slammer 5

1/2 oz Whiskey
1/2 oz Southern Comfort
1/2 oz Amaretto
1/2 Sloe Gin
Combine all ingredients in a tall glass filled with ice, fill with orange juice, shake, and garnish with an orange.

My dog took me for a bit of a walk today. There's a nice path by the local lagoon that is fairly flat and wide. We ambled out and back for about 3 miles. Along the way she got to greet a few other dogs, and some people. Most of the people were really nice, especially since I have the cutest dog in the world. All of the dogs were nice though, which says something about people.

But one lady really ticked me off. Sasha (my dog), went up to greet her and her friend when we got close by each other on the path. They both commented on how cute Sasha is, and the older lady shoved her hands down to my dog's level, palms open, and squealed for her to come greet her. The younger lady just leaned over a bit and let her hands hang down. Of course Sasha ignored the older lady and went straight to the younger, calmer lady. The older lady got a little miffed, commenting on my dog having a preference for her friend for no apparent reason (to her).

Sasha told me later that Doggy Jazz Hands shoved in her face just don't appeal to her.


Here we swap out the vodka for whiskey, add in a bit more Sloe Gin, and her you go. This version had an awesome color, nice and deep. It was much sweeter than the others, but most of that did not come from the orange juice. I could still taste the Southern Comfort, but not as much as before.

Considering the ingredients, I thought that this one would be sweeter, but everything blended really nicely, like all of the Alabama Slammers. You really can't go wrong with any of them.

I think I am starting to get tired of all the orange juice. After the heat of the southern summer afternoon, let's head to the kitchen. We have one more Alabama Slammer tomorrow, the frozen version, and then we can move on to another state.

Check out today's featured item.

January 29, 2011

#29: Alabama Slammer 4

1/2 oz Southern Comfort
1/2 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz Galliano
1/2 oz Sloe Gin
Combine all ingredients in a tall glass filled with ice, fill with orange juice, shake, and garnish with an orange.

Years ago, I had a Kung-Fu Grip GI Joe. He was awesome. He stood a commanding 12" tall, and oozed bad-ass. I don't mean oozed like his nemesis (in my backyard) Stretch Armstrong, he just seemed like he was unstoppable in the little made up world of my summers. Joe could do anything. He was flexible, unbeatable, and with those tough plastic boots and soft rubber hands, he defeated many another action figure foes.

Until he became a POW. Remember, Joe was a GI. That spells Army, and during the 70s, that meant POWs. I may have been too young to really know what Vietnam was all about, but I could certainly hear the news every night. Especially since I didn't have other distractions, like cable, or the internet, or social niceties like friends.

It just seemed reasonable that at some point in his varied and exciting career, an Army guy like Joe would be taken prisoner. Of course, I always knew that Joe was too tough to be held for long, so I wasn't worried that this would be a permanent state of affairs. How Joe was captured wasn't important. That kind of detail to my 10 year old minds seemed irrelevant, and boring. Getting captured was for weaklings. Joe did exciting stuff, like escape! The entire adventure that summer morning revolved around Joe escaping. A daring, mad, fight to the finish, real hero escape from the jungle hell of his backyard captors, the faceless bad guys who surrounded him.

An elaborate plot developed, with Joe breaking free from his primitive holding cell dug in the ground, bursting through the logs (twigs) that created a door to his hell. Of course, getting away from the guards and out of the camp was his priority. Joe used his Kung Fu Grip to grab a log (twig) and knock a guard unconscious. He used his Kung Fu Grip to climb the guard tower (small tree), grab another guard's rifle (toy rifle), and shoot the guard (Stretch Armstrong himself). Joe used his Kung Fu Grip to leap to his salvation, a rope (string) leading out of the camp from the tower (small tree) to a clearing outside, and freedom. Joe used his Kung Fu Grip to grab that rope (string) and start his ascent to liberation and a the celebration of another mission accomplished.

That ended up being Joe's last mission. Its pretty hard for a guy to be all tough ass and kicking butt when he has no fingers. One by one, the string sliced into Joe's soft, rubbery hands. Like a cheese slicer in slow motion, I watched as Joe's digits came off one by one, as he dropped lower and lower to freedom, and a life of VA benefits and the obscurity and darkness that was the bottom of the toy chest. Joe ended up on the ground, clubs for hands, never able to pick up his standard issue rifle again.

Maybe that's why I drink.

Finally, a Slammer version that has something different. The drink looked very nice, having a deeper color, with much more red than orange. This one also had a totally different taste from the previous versions. The orange juice was not the strongest flavor here, and the Southern Comfort came through strong and spicy. The Triple Sec and Sloe Gin added just the right amount of sweetness, and the Galliano provided just a hint more of spice and some sweetness. A very nice combo overall.

Galliano is a sweet and spicy, bright yellow brandy-based Italian liquer. The recipe is still somewhat secret, but contains over 30 herbs, flowers, spices, roots, and berries. The main ingredients are star anise, ginger, citrus, and vanilla. Supposedly the bright yellow color symbolizes the Gold Rushes of the 1890s. It is mainly used as a "marrying" ingredient, as it adds no intrusive flavor in and of itself, but deepens and gives character to the other ingredients in a drink. We'll be seeing more of the Galliano when we get to the Harvey Wallbanger and many of its variations, as it is the key ingredient in those drinks.

Still lounging outside during the summer, but now I have moved over to the swing under the tree in the backyard.

Check out today's featured item.

January 28, 2011

#28: Alabama Slammer 3

1 oz Southern Comfort
1 oz Amaretto
Dash of Sloe Gin or Grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a tall glass filled with ice, fill with orange juice, shake, and garnish with an orange.

We've crossed to the other side of the tracks. Dropped the vodka, and added the Amaretto back in. I wrote about this a few days ago, and now we have come almost full circle. I feel better knowing that if I am going to have this many Slammers, I am covering the bases for everyone out there and seeing what the differences are.

The spices of the Southern Comfort blended much better with the orange juice in this variation. It made for a weaker drink from an alcohol standpoint, but the flavors were more intense. Personally I sort of miss the vodka. This option is by far the spiciest and the sweetest so far. The vodka in the earlier versions seemed to tone down some of the other flavors. No complaints here though.

This is a good option for people who don't like vodka, or want a drink with a bit less alcohol. Still great for hanging out on the porch.

Check out today's featured item.

January 27, 2011

#27: Alabama Slammer 2

1 oz Vodka
1 oz Southern Comfort
Dash of Sloe Gin or Grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a tall glass filled with ice, fill with orange juice, shake, and garnish with an orange.

By dropping the Amaretto, the drink has a lighter, more orange color. With slightly more vodka, this is a bit stronger than the original Alabama Slammer. It also seemed to lose a touch of the spice from the Southern Comfort, even thought there was actually a bit more. Perhaps the larger quantity of orange juice masked the spices. It was slightly less sweet as well, without the Amaretto. This was still very good though.

Still hanging out on the porch. This is a good option if you don't have any Amaretto around.

Check out today's featured item.

January 26, 2011

#26: Alabama Slammer

3/4 oz Vodka or Orange Vodka
3/4 oz Southern Comfort
3/4 oz Amaretto
Dash of Sloe Gin or Grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a tall glass filled with ice, fill with orange juice, shake, and garnish with an orange.

Let's start by talking about some ingredients we haven't encountered up to this point. Southern Comfort is a liquer made from bourbon, peach, and citrus, created by a bartender in New Orleans in 1874. It will show up in many drinks as we move forward.

Sloe Gin is a gin-based liquer, bright red in color, flavored with sloe (also called blackthorn) berries, a small relative of the plum, and can add both color and sweetness to a drink.

The Alabama Slammer here starts off a series of 6 drinks with the same name. Glancing through the ingredients for these drinks, it looks like it will be interesting to see and taste the differences a few minor variations in ingredients can make.

On to the tasting. The orange juice was not overpowering. I could really taste the spice of the Southern Comfort, but as a pleasant tone to the drink. I could not taste the Amaretto, but it definitely colored the orange juice to a nice deep color. I don't see the need for the Sloe Gin, as this drink is already sweet. It is very refreshing. Not too strong, not too weak. Overall a very nice balance of flavors. I am not sure where the vodka got introduced to this drink, but about half of the variation that I can find use vodka, the other half do not. Not that I'm complaining, I just find it interesting that The Good Book differs in such a substantial way on such a popular drink. If I had my druthers, I would prefer the vodka. Guess it's better to have an ingredient in the recipe that people can take out, rather than trying to figure out what to add in.

Ahh, but we have many more variations on this to come. The other half, the vodka-fearing from the other side of the tracks, may yet have their day.

Have this when hanging out on the porch on a hot, humid summer day.

Check out today's featured item.

January 25, 2011

#25: Air Gunner

2 oz Vodka or Citrus Vodka
Dash of Blue Curacao
1 oz Sour Mix
Shake in a mixing glass with ice, and strain into a chilled glass.

This sounds like an odd mix of ingredients. Once it was made, it basically seemed like a double shot of vodka in a cool looking package. True, but that was only half of the story.

As far as I can tell, the name derives from a gunner, a cocktail that British expatriates came to love in Hong Kong, the Far East, and India. A gunner has equal parts lemonade or ginger beer, ginger ale, a dash of lime cordial and a dash of Angostura bitters. They used to consider it a non-alcoholic drink, even though the bitters are almost 50% alcohol, but so little is used I guess a little fudging is called for when the vicar comes calling. The gunner became famous for being very refreshing, and is still drunk in large quantities during the summer.

The only thing I can see hat is similar between the two is the Sour Mix, which may be replacing the lemonade. Nothing else in the recipe matches up, but the drinking experience may tell the tale:

First, I really liked the color and overall look of the drink. Now to the taste. The vodka was of course very strong, the Blue Curacao sweetened it just a touch, and the Sour Mix added a decent zing of tartness. The first sip did have a surprising light and airy feel to it, but it really packed a punch. Subsequent sips showed both how airy it was, but also how powerful too. This is a serious drink. It may look timid and fun, but watch out. This is not for the faint of heart. Only serious drinkers should take on this drink.

Order this when you want someone to ask what you ordered because it looks so different. Then give them a sip, and sit back and watch with the smugness of a serious drinker in the presence of amateurs. Then order another.

Check out today's featured item.

January 24, 2011

#24: Aggravation (aka Teacher's Pet)

1 oz Scotch
1 oz Coffee Liquer
Pour into a serving glass filled with ice, then fill with milk or cream and shake.

Scotch, or Scotch Whiskey, is actually whiskey made in Scotland (go figure). In Britain they call it whiskey, but everywhere else is referred to as Scotch, which seems par for the course with our friends back there. Whiskey has been produced in Scotland for hundreds of years; even the name whiskey comes from the Gaelic "usquebaugh", meaning "Water of Life". And that is exactly how some people treat it.

Whiskey comes in 5 categories: Single Malt, Single Grain, Blended Malt, Blended Grain, and Blended. To qualify for the name of Scotch whiskey, it must be aged in oak barrels for at least 3 years. There are tons of regulations, and in face a whole subculture devoted to this spirit. Check out more here.

This was a mellow drink. The cream was smooth, and the scotch and coffee liquer combined to make it even smoother. I think using milk instead of cream would make this a bit too light for most people, unless you used whole milk, or you could sub in half-and-half.

The taste was nice, like an adult milkshake if you use the cream. This really needs to be shaken well for the cream ti mix well with the alcohol. The coffee liquer and the scotch go together really well, complimenting each other in both the smoothness and richness of flavor.

Use this drink to hide your alcohol in your milk when the kids are driving you crazy.

Check out today's featured item.

January 23, 2011

#23: Agent O.

1/2 oz Vodka or Orange Vodka
1/2 oz Orange Liquer
In a mixing glass filled with ice, fill with orange juice, then shake and garnish with an orange.

You have to really like orange to like this drink. Luckily I do, but sadly I did not like this drink. I used the Orange Vodka, and all I could taste was orange. Orange, orange, and more orange.

I'm not really sure what the purpose of this drink is other than to get your alcohol hidden in orange juice. Maybe that makes some people feel better when hanging out at the bar with their friends. Order a Screwdriver instead.

Check out today's featured item.

January 22, 2011

#22: Agent 99

3/4 oz Orange Liquer
3/4 oz Blue Curacao
3/4 oz Sambuca or Ouzo
Float these in order, from bottom to top.

Sambuca is a clear or black Italian liquer made from grapes, elderberries, and anise, and is traditionally served in a snifter with 3 coffee beans. Ouzo is is a clear, anise-flavored Greek liquer. I used Ouzo for this, as I could not find Sambuca at the local BevMo.

First thing: Ouzo is strong! Not just in flavor, but in the punch it packs. The anise, or licorice flavor was almost overpowering, especially since it was on top. After a few sips, the sweetness of the Blue Curacao came through, then the Orange Liquer, albeit very lightly. That mellowed the overall taste of the drink quite a bit, and actually made this one of my favorite drinks so far. The more the flavors mixed, the more I liked it. The licorice flavor from the Ouzo was much better than from the Absinthe in some of the earlier drinks.

As you can see in the picture, the Blue Curacao sank to the bottom. This may be due to the fact that I was using syrup, rather than the real liquer, and cheap Orange Liquer at that. But it did separate, although in a different order that the drink calls for. It was very hard to get a good photo of this, but I did my best. The photo just doesn't do justice to how this drink actually looked. It also may have done better in the taller shot glass I got, which I will use for drinks like this in the future.

I am not sure why this is called an Agent 99. It is exotic, and looks cool though. So get smart and order this when you want to look exotic and cool too.

Check out today's featured item.

January 21, 2011

#21: After Sex

1 1/2 oz Vodka or Banana Vodka
1/2 Banana Liquer
Pour into a mixing glass filled with ice, fill the rest with orange juice, shake, and top with 1/4 oz Grenadine.

This was a nice light drink. I could barely taste the banana. It might have been stronger if I had used Banana Vodka. They actually make that? Seems like there is a vodka of almost any flavor you can think of.

Basically this is a twist on the the classic Screwdriver, adding banana and a touch more sweetness with the Grenadine, which also changed the color a bit to a darker tone. I love a good Screwdriver. In fact it is one of my favorites, but this was a nice twist. The more I drank, the more the banana flavor came out. It definitely needed to be shaken well, and possibly stirred a bit, for the banana flavor to show up and the Grenadine to color the drink.

Why have this after sex? Have it before to get in the mood! Or you could just have it after work, I guess.

Since I started the second page of the book with this drink, I had to run to the local BevMo for more supplies to make those drinks. I didn't need as many items as the first run, but I did pick up a taller shot glass for some of the floaters and bigger shots, which will come in handy later on.

Check out today's featured item.

January 20, 2011

#20: Afterburner

1 oz Peppered Vodka
1 oz Cinnamon Schnapps
1 oz Coffee Liquer
Shake in a mixing glass filled with ice, and strain into a shot glass.

This sounds serious. Once I had it poured, it had an appealing color and overall look to it. Sitting there in the glass, it seemed almost festive. Tasting it, the cinnamon was predominant. You couldn't really smell it, but you certainly could taste it. Then the peppered vodka hit the back of the tongue, the roof of the mouth, and the throat. Sweet, but strong flavors. It burned, but in a good way. And even more so since it was cold.

The second sip was stronger, and I even felt it in my nose. This could clear your sinuses quickly. It will also take you down to the floor quickly if you have a few.

Order this when you want to challenge you coworkers to shots at the holiday party. They won't know what hit them.

A milestone here. This drink finishes off the first page of the book. Let's celebrate with a drink!

Check out today's featured item.

January 19, 2011

#19: After Five Coffee

1/2 oz Coffee Liquer
1/2 oz Irish Cream
1/2 oz Peppermint Schnapps
Fill glass with hot black coffee, and top with whipped cream and sprinkle with shaved chocolate or sprinkles.

Well, I had a pretty good idea what this was going to taste like after the last few days. Another dessert or after dinner drink. At least it wasn't a floater, so it went faster.

Of course the main flavor was coffee, but this one was not sweet at all except for the whipped cream and sprinkles on top. The Coffee Liquer and Irish Cream were almost lost in the coffee. There was just a hint of the peppermint, which was nice.

The last fews days have shown me the variety of drinks you can make with the same ingredients. Minor variations can really make a difference, and since everyone's tastes are different, even a few ingredients should allow you to make something for everyone.

All of these after dinner drinks have started to taste a bit the same though, when you have then back to back like this. At least we can move on to some of the harder stuff tomorrow.

Check out today's featured item.

January 18, 2011

#18: After Five

1/2 oz Coffee Liquer
1/2 oz Irish Cream
1/2 oz Peppermint Schnapps
Layer the items in this order to make this a floater.

Another floater! I had an idea for this one. I thought that maybe the surface area of the liquids was making it difficult to keep things separated, so I tried making this in a shot glass. That should give better separation, and would probably make the flavors of the drink a bit better defined.

Now typically a shot is 1-2 oz, but you can get shot glasses in sizes ranging from 1 oz up to 4 oz or more. Mine are 1 1/2 oz, which would just barely hold this. A cordial glass might work as well, but this drink filled my smaller shot glass nicely. Just keep a steady hand, I kept telling myself.

Using the shot glass and slowly spooning the ingredients onto each layer seemed to work better. Of course a pro could have done this in a few seconds, but I was not worried about taking my time.

So, this was almost the same drink as yesterday, but with Peppermint Schnapps on top. The deeper bite of the peppermint hits your tongue first, not in the middle like the drink yesterday, the After Eight.

This drink is great for cleansing the palate after dinner. It was still very sweet, but I preferred it to the previous drink. I think the added bit of the Peppermint Schnapps was what put this in a different category of flavors. It is not a large drink, but is still a powerful one for liquers.

Check out today's featured item.

January 17, 2011

#17: After Eight

1/2 oz Coffee Liquer
1/2 oz White Creme de Menthe
1/2 oz Irish Cream
Layer the items in this order to make this a floater.

I believe this gets it name from After Eight Thin Mints, the British chocolate after dinner mint. That is also where we here in the US got the name for Thin Mints, the Girl Scout cookies. And looking at the ingredients, it's easy to anticipate the flavors from this.

Damn, another floater. I had trouble getting the ingredients to remain separate. Since I'm not trying to be a professional bartender here, I measured each ingredient into a jigger and used a small spoon to scoop them out and slowly pour them into the drink. Of course the Coffee Liquer was easy, as it was the first ingredient. The White Creme de Menthe sort of kept separate, but enough was on top of the Coffee Liquer to create a good barrier for the Irish Cream on top.

Creme de Menthe is a liquer made from peppermint that can be either green or white. The white is actually clear.

This was a very sweet drink. The Coffee Liquer and Irish Cream made for a strong coffee flavor, as one would expect, and the touch of mint from the White Creme de Menthe was a nice touch. not too strong nor too much of a bite.

This drink would be great for sipping late at night. It actually has a small amount of alcohol, only 1 1/2 oz, about 1 shot, so it would not last long. Savor the flavors by sipping. Good as an after dinner drink, but I think this would be too sweet for many people. Why not skip coffee at your table after dinner and order one of these from the bar instead? It would be a great segue to dessert, or maybe even a replacement to dessert at the bar.

Check out today's featured item.

January 16, 2011

#16: African Queen

3/4 oz Amaretto
3/4 oz Triple Sec
3/4 oz Banana Liquer
Fill glass with hot black coffee, and top with whipped cream and sprinkle with shaved chocolate.

Another coffee drink. I guess I'm not getting much sleep again tonight. This is quite tasty. The Amaretto and Coffee provide a powerful kick of coffee flavor, and the Triple Sec sweetens it a bit. The Banana Liquer adds just the right amount of variety, and the Whipped Cream mellows everything out as it melts into the hot coffee. I didn't have any chocolate to shave, which I admit would look nice, so I used the chocolate sprinkles instead. It would add something if you shaved some really dark chocolate onto this.

Triple Sec is a liquer made from orange peels, but unless you get the expensive stuff, like Grand Marnier, the orange flavor is pretty mild, and you get more sweetness than anything else.

This is a good light drink for hanging out at the bar right after dinner, before the serious drinking starts. It's almost a dessert in itself.

Check out today's featured item.

January 15, 2011

#15: Affogato

An espresso poured over vanilla or chocolate gelato or ice cream

The first non-alcoholic drink in the book. I seed vanilla ice cream, which I had in the freezer. You get exactly what you would expect from this drink. A nice strong espresso flavor, making this essentially a hot milkshake. I guess I could make this again with chocolate ice cream or gelato, which would taste very different, but there's not much point. You know going in what this will be. I didn't expect much, and didn't get much.

I probably should have made this in a smaller glass. The amount of espresso used to fill the glass was too much, and will probably keep me up all night.

This is good for non-drinkers on a cold night.

Check out today's featured item.

January 14, 2011

#14: Adult Hot Chocolate (aka Peppermint Kiss, Cocoanapps, Snuggler)

2 oz Peppermint Schnapps
Fill with hot chocolate and stir
Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with shaved chocolate or sprinkles

Schnapps, at least American Schnapps, is made from mixing neutral grain spirits with fruit or other flavors, then bottled with added sugar and glycerine, making a smooth, syrup-like drink. The alcohol content can be anywhere from 15%-50%. Technically they are liquers due to the added sugar content.

This sounds like something you ask for from the girls working down on the corner. "Fifty bucks for an Adult Hot Chocolate, another 25 for the Snuggler".

It is very tasty, and definitely hot chocolate for adults. Really, who doesn't like hot chocolate? And the Peppermint Schnapps adds just the right kick. Not too much kick, and not too little. You could make it without the Schnapps for the kids, and sneak it in for yourself. The sprinkles only partially melt, being insulated from the hot chocolate by the whipped cream, so when you get one in your mouth, they add a burst of chocolate flavor to an already sweet drink.

I would be embarrassed to order this drink unless I was at a holiday office party, or I was hanging out in the bar while snowed in at the Holiday Inn.

Check out today's featured item.

January 13, 2011

#13: Adios Mother (aka Code Blue)

1/2 oz Vodka, Citrus Vodka, or Orange Vodka
1/2 oz Rum
1/2 Tequila
1/2 oz Gin
1/2 Blue Curacao
In a tall glass filled with ice, add ingredients, then fill with Sour Mix and shake.

Blue Curacao is a liquer flavored with the dried peel of the laraha citrus fruit, similar to oranges, but too bitter to eat. The liquer is naturally colorless, but blue or orange artificial coloring is added, which then gives an exotic look to cocktails.

Now this was a yummy drink. The Sour Mix was predominant, giving a lemonade-like flavor to the drink. The other ingredients were in the background, but not lost or overpowered., and still quite strong. There was a nice fizz on top from the Sour Mix. It was very refreshing, with a tart taste from the lemon. The Blue Curacao was a nice touch for the color. The small amount did not really make the drink any more sweet, which was good, since it didn't need it.

This would be perfect on a summer day. I imagine that the combination of alcohols could finish you off for the day, hence the name. But who cares when you are lounging by the pool?

Check out today's featured item.

January 12, 2011

#12: Acapulco Gold

1 oz Tequila
1 oz Amber Rum
1 oz Cream of Coconut
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
Shake in a mixing glass filled with ice.

I've never used or seen Cream of Coconut before. It is coconut cream that has been sweetened for use in desserts and drinks (like Piña Coladas). The coconut cream comes from simmering shredded coconut with water or milk, then straining it through cheesecloth to get out the liquid. This is then refrigerated, and the coconut cream is the thick non-liquid part that separates and rises to the top. It has a thick, paste-like consistency.

I like coconut, but Cream of Coconut made this sort of a gross drink. It was super thick, and the mixture of coconut with the pineapple and grapefruit juices was not good. Maybe one or the other of the juices would work, but not both. Personally the grapefruit juice was too strong a flavor for this, mixing with the coconut to make a bitter flavor. The Tequila and Rum were nice, making this taste very tropical.

I would only order this if the poolside bar was out of everything else, or I had missed the fruit portion of the free buffet earlier in the morning.

Check out today's featured item.

January 11, 2011

#11: Acapulco

1 oz Brandy
1 oz Gin
Dash of Grenadine
Dash of Sour Mix
Dash of Orange Juice
All go into a glass with ice, then fill with ginger ale, and garnish with orange and a cherry.

It took a bit to get all of the ingredients together. SO far this drink had the most prep work. Grenadine is a non-alchoholic sweet, red syrup originally made from pomegranates. You can theoretically make your own, but grenadine is actually cheaper then pomegranate juice. The Sour Mix was fun to make, just egg white, water, lemon juice, and sugar blended together. I made a little bottle of it and hopefully it will keep in the fridge for awhile. I used packaged egg whites, which are pasteurized, so it should keep for some time.

This drink hardly tastes alcoholic at all, but quite good. Everything goes together well, with the orange from the garnish predominant at first. Then the Ginger Ale comes in, and next all of the other flavors quietly slide in smoothly across the tongue. I was a little worried that this would be too "tropical". Not bad at all.

Great for relaxing by the pool, or while on vacation in the Gulf. Guess that's how it got its name.

Check out today's featured item.

January 10, 2011

#10: Absolutely Fabulous

2 oz Vodka or Citrus Vodka
1 oz Cranberry Juice
Combine into a mixing glass filled with ice and shake.
Strain into a chilled glass, top with 1 oz champagne, and garnish with a twist.

Everything seems pretty straightforward, until you read about the twist. What kind of twist? I assumed orange, especially in light of the fact that you can use Citrus Vodka in this, which I did. After reading a bit on garnishes, it seems like lemons are for twists, so that's what I used. Seems you are supposed to run the twist along the rim of the glass before drowning the poor sucker, so there.

It tasted like champagne flavored vodka. Pretty boring. The cranberry didn't make much of an appearance or add much to this, but the garnish added a tiny touch of flavor to the rim, and certainly looks nice. Straining this into a chilled glass made it seem sort of weak. I would have preferred this on the rocks. I think the idea of some melting water in there might have made the champagne seem more easy flowing on the tongue, and might bring out the other flavors a bit more.

This drink is good for Sunday brunch, especially when you don't want people to know you are having vodka at 10 am.

Check out today's featured item.

January 9, 2011

#9: Absolute Idiot

1 oz Vodka
1 oz Jägermeister
Fill a tall glass with ice, ingredients, and then fill with an energy drink.

A drink for the new millennium. A total frat party drink. I use Red Bull, probably the most famous energy drink. Might as well stick to the standards here.

Jägermeister is a German 70 proof digestif, or alcoholic bitters thought to aid digestion, and typically were consumed neat during a meal. It has 56 herbs, fruits, roots, and spices, as well as sugar, caramel, and alcohol. In Germany, it is often jokingly called Leberkleister, or "liver glue".

The Jägermeister flavors almost hidden in this drink, but just peeking up enough to know it was used. You could easily down these all night long, but would have a killer headache. You really only taste the Red Bull. The combination of caffeine from the Red Bull and the alcohol is pretty rough, as evidenced by the recent FDA banning of some popular energy drinks that combine the two.

Overall not a bad drink if you want to get seriously smashed. Another benefit is that it is easy to make from ingredients found at any self-respecting college party.

BTW, I found an awesome (in the silliest sense) set of Jagermeister Deer Head pewter shot glasses for The Daily Drink Store today. Check out the link below or browse through The Store. You just have to see the alternate photo for these!

Check out today's featured item.

January 8, 2011

#8: Absinthe Drip Cocktail

1 oz Absinthe in glass
Over the Absinthe glass, place an Absinthe spoon with a sugar cube, then slowly drip 3 oz water over sugar to melt into drink.

Enough with the Absinthe already! I don't have an absinthe glass, nor an Absinthe spoon. The book calls for a short parfait glass as a replacement, but I don't have one of those either. The links at the bottom of the post today show a typical Absinthe glass and spoon. The Absinthe should rest in the reservoir at the bottom of the glass, and the slots in the handle of the spoons are to rest the spoon along the rim of the glass. The third item is an Absinthe Fountain, for chilling the ice water and dripping it carefully over the sugar cube on the spoon.

I made do with my smallest glass, and used a slotted bar mixing spoon to hold the sugar cube while it dissolved. It took a steady hand, but it worked. I don't think I could have done it very well if I had to make another one after trying this drink. Absinthe typically has a very high alcohol content, and the little bottle I have is 138 proof.

Of the Absinthe drinks so far, this was my favorite. Maybe since it is not chilled, the licorice flavor seemed a little toned down. Maybe I am becoming immune to the taste. The dissolved sugar and diluting water also contributed to make this a drink I could almost tolerate. Still, it seems like a lot of powerful flavor in a small glass.

I'm not going to do the reworked flaming version of this drink. It's not substantially different, and as the book states, it is not the "proper" recipe, it just looks cool. There's only so much Absinthe one person can tolerate.

Finally, out of 1890s Paris!

Check out today's featured item.

January 7, 2011

#7: Absinthe Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Absinthe
1 1/2 oz Water
Dash of Orange Bitters
Dash of Sugar Syrup
All ingredients go into a mixing glass filled with ice. Shake, then strain into a chilled glass.

OK, still on the Absinthe. At least this time I know what to expect. Orange Bitters are just bitters with orange flavorings. Typically bitters are bitter (duh) alcohols made from herbs, bark, roots, plant extracts, flowers, and fruits, and are used in many drinks. Do not try them on their own, they are horrible. Believe me, I did once, and man was it bad.

The Simple Syrup was easy to make, dissolving equal parts sugar into boiling water. After letting it cool, I put it in an extra water bottle, and should have enough to last quite awhile.

I made a mistake on the recipe here. I forgot to strain this into a chilled glass. Not sure if this would have made much of a difference in the taste, but I honestly didn't feel like tasting this one again.

As before, the licorice or anise flavor is super strong. More tolerable than the previous drink (#6), the Orange Bitters and Sugar Syrup tone it down, or at least make it more palatable. I can't see having more than one of these, and even getting through one is a task in itself. It is starting to taste like I ate a whole case of Black Licorice Twizzlers.

More than 1 and I might start walking like Toulouse-Latrec.

Check out today's featured item.

January 6, 2011

#6: Absconded French Girlfriend

1 oz Absinthe
1 oz Black Raspberry Liquer
Pour ingredients into a tall glass with ice, then fill with sparkling water.

Absinthe is something I have been wanting to try for quite some time. Not as long as it has been illegal in the US, but since it became legal again. Absinthe is not a liquer, since it is not bottled with added sugar, so it is technically a spirit. It is derived from herbs, the most famous being Artemisia absinthium, or wormwood. Usually it is a natural green color, and is usually bottled at a very high proof and diluted with water when made in a drink.

Absinthe was popular in early 20th century France, mainly among Parisian artists. Partly because of this association, prohibitionists opposed its use, claiming that it was a dangerously addictive psychoactive drug due to the small quantities of the chemical thujone. By 1915 it was banned in the US and most of Europe. Sadly, there has been no evidence that it is any more dangerous than any other distilled spirit.

By the 1990s, many European countries began to allow its manufacture and sale, and by 2007 it was allowed to be both imported to and distilled in the US.

So, with all this history in mind, I made this simple drink. I had luckily been able to find a tiny 100 mL bottle of Absinthe at BevMo for $10.99.  Otherwise I was looking at ponying up over $35 for a bottle that I would probably only have a sip or two from. They keep both the big and little bottles locked up.

As soon as I opened the little bottle, the almost overwhelming smell of licorice and anise wafted out. A tiny bit ran down the side of the bottle after I had poured into the jigger, so I swiped it with my finger and tasted it. That drop was probably 10 cents worth! The strong licorice flavor bit into my tongue, and then spread out nicely. Not bad, but not what I was expecting. I'm not sure I knew what I was expecting, honestly.

The drink retained most of that strong licorice flavor. Not a black licorice, just licorice. I could not taste the equal amount of Black Raspberry Liquer at all. I also couldn't taste much of anything except sparkling licorice-flavored water. Huh. Licorice is not my favorite thing in the world, but if it was, I could see liking this drink. It could be quite refreshing on a humid evening in New Orleans, or you could save the money and have a lemonade instead.

It comes across assort of pretentious. Now the name of the drink makes sense. Don't only pretentious bohemia have French girlfriends, or least use the word absconded? I'm not a French Bohemian, but after a few of these I might talk like one.

Check out today's featured item.

January 5, 2011

#5: ABC

1/2 oz Amaretto (bottom)
1/2 oz Irish Cream
1/2 oz Orange Liquer or Cognac (top)

This is a floater, so the ingredients need to be poured in the correct order, with the heaviest on the bottom. I had assumed by the small amounts that I could use a shot glass, but I wasn't even close. I luckily had measured with water, since I don't exactly have a feel for these amounts yet. A shot glass is much too small, so I moved up to my next smallest glass.

Cognac is brandy from the Cognac region of France, but I used my Orange Liquer, hoping to get a more intense flavor.

What you are supposed to do in making a floater is pour the first, heaviest ingredient into your glass, then slowly pour the next ingredient over the back of a spoon, so that the ingredients don't mix. Hah, easier said than done. Immediately everything looked like it had mixed together.

Reading up a bit, I found that you can supposedly get them to separate if you place the filled glass in a refrigerator for about an hour. In it went. 2 hours later, no separation. The only thing I can think of is that I am using really cheap ingredients, so the densities are off.

Finally I got tired of waiting, so I sipped. It had an interesting flavor, with the Amaretto almost burning initially, then smoothing out quickly after that. I could barely taste the orange underneath it all.

This would be good as a dessert drink, or an end of the night out drink. Just think if there was a Starbucks inside Harry's Bar.

Check out today's featured item.

January 4, 2011

#4: Abbey Road Coffee

1 oz Amaretto
1 oz Black Raspberry Liquer
1 oz Coffee Liquer
Fill glass with hot black coffee, top with whipped cream, and drizzle with chocolate syrup.

This is a twist on the drink from yesterday, the Abbey Road. Same alcohol ingredients, but adding the rest makes it totally different.

I had leftover coffee this morning due to some unforeseen circumstances. The power went out overnight, and still was not on when we got up. In desperate need of our morning coffee, my wife sent me off to the nearest mini-mart, since we could not run the coffee maker without power. Of course, just as I got back with 2 tall black coffees, the power had come back on and she had started the coffee. Our Cuisinart machine has a metal carafe that keeps the coffee warm for hours. Once it is brewed, the machine shuts off and does not actively keep the carafe warmed. One morning I made coffee but never drank it, and the next morning when I emptied it out, the coffee was still hot. Not warm, but hot. So, I had plenty of hot black coffee for this test. Dionysus must be favoring me.

The Amaretto and Coffee Liquer flavors from the regular Abbey Road were masked by the black coffee, which made the Black Rasperry flavor stronger. I thought that this would be an even sweeter drink, what with the whipped cream and the chocolate syrup added, but the black coffee dilutes all of that.

A nice warm drink on a cold rainy day. Or a good holiday party drink. You may need to stir the whipped cream a bit to break it down, or it will end up on your nose, and the photo of you from the holiday party looking like an albino Rudolph will end up on Facebook.

Check out today's featured item.

January 3, 2011

#3: Abbey Road

1 oz Amaretto
1 oz Black Raspberry Liquer
1 oz Coffee Liquer
Stir in a short glass filled with ice.

Amaretto is an Italian sweet almond-flavored liqueur, made from a base of apricot or almond pits, sometimes both. Not bitter though, even though that is the root word in Italian, as they sweeten it substantially in the distilling process.

While I was mixing this drink, the pourer I put on the Amaretto bottle kept popping off, almost like there was too much pressure in the bottle. Weird, since there is no pressure in the bottle. The only explanation I can think of is that the Amaretto greases the interior of the neck of the bottle, and the tight rubber of the pourer just slid on out in the only direction it had. Up.

This is a very sweet, cold drink, with a strong coffee flavor complimented by the Black Raspberry. Great for sipping, and the coffee flavor seems to stick to the roof of your mouth after each sip.

With this much liquer in it, basically 3 oz of flavored brandy, it could creep up on you. And I guess that's what a lot of drinks with liquers really do. Taste so good that you want more of the candy.

Why is it called an "Abbey Road"? claims that abbey road is "a somewhat obscure way of describing a group of people crossing a street, often in connection with intoxicated homeless or ethnic minorities." The example they give: "It took me forever to drive down main street because it was bar close and a group of drunks were pulling an abbey road."

So, does this drink cause people to line up as they cross the street? Remove their shoes as they do so? Drink so much they lose their homes? We may never know, unless we have a few of these one evening.

Check out today's featured item.

January 2, 2011

#2: A-Bomb

1/2 oz Vodka
1/2 oz Coffee Liquer
1/2 oz Irish Cream
1/2 oz Orange Liquer
Mix in a glass with ice, and strain into a shot glass.

Liquers are basically syrupy, sweet, brandy-based alcohols, infused with various flavors. A quick glance around BevMo seemed to indicate that if there is a flavor, they make a liquer of it.

Irich Cream is a liquer made from Irish whiskey and cream, and some have toffee, honey, or chocolate for added flavors. Irish Whiskey is triple distilled and must be aged at least 3 years. Many are blended, but the good ones are single malt, not blended with other whiskeys.

Ok, now we're into the drinks. Other than the vodka, I've never had any of these ingredients. The Irish Cream dominated the look. I couldn't see anything else, just pale tan liquid. I could smell the coffee, as well as an undercurrent of orange.

The taste was the test. Sweet, but not overly so. Slightly thick from the Irish Cream, and the orange flavor is just in the background, very faint. Overall, not bad. A little on the sweet side, almost like having a coffee candy in a glass, but pretty tasty nonetheless.

I wonder why this is made as a shot, rather than as a regular mixed drink? Maybe having more than a shot of this would start to seriously hamper brain activity. The candy flavors could keep you from realizing how much alcohol you've had, and we all know where that can lead. The floor.

Check out today's featured item.

January 1, 2011

#1 - A Bat and a Ball

A shot of American whiskey.
A draft or bottle of beer.

Whiskey and beer. What could be easier, or more American? The guide calls for an American beer, but since I brew my own, I picked a darkened wittbier I had made for the holidays, nicknamed "Superfly". I picked it from my stash for its relatively low alcohol content (4.6%), trying to mimic a typical American beer. Poured the shot, and then carefully poured the beer into a nice pint glass.

For the whiskey I used Jim Beam, which is labeled as a Bourbon Whiskey. So what is what here? Well, whiskey is a liquor distilled from a cereal grain, such as wheat, rye, or corn. Bourbon is specifically made from corn, and only made in America, originally from Bourbon County, Kentucky. It is usually aged 4 or more years, and most are made in the 120-160 proof range and then diluted with water to achieve a lower proof. So Jim Beam is blended bourbon and whiskey. Probably as neutral a whiskey as it gets.

I downed the shot of whiskey, and chased it with the beer. The whiskey had a mild bite which I liked, and the beer followed easily. I felt like an ironworker from Pittsburg at 5.

The combination is not my favorite. The smoothness of the whiskey was harsher by the bitterness and carbonation of the beer, but I can see why this became the quintessential blue collar drink. Easy to make and serve, and it can make you forget any backbreaking labor you may have done during the day if you have a few. The shots of whiskey could get intense, but drinking a beer between each one spreads them out. Theoretically.

You could get seriously messed up on this after a few. I think you have to build up a tolerance to the mix of straight whiskey and then beer, which I imagine many serious drinkers would be able to do quite easily. For me, by the time I finished my beer, the mix had gone straight to my head. That's some strong stuff.

Drink this if you are at a blue collar bar, in the Midwest, just finished your shift at the plant, want to get seriously smashed in a slow manly way,  or any combination of the above.

Check out today's featured item.