Cocktail of the Week – Manhattan


I’m a little nervous posting this one. The Manhattan IS the classic American cocktail and has been for more than 100 years and I doubt I can do the cocktail justice. The Manhattan is one of five cocktails named after New York City’s five boroughs (all of which I’ll be featuring here in the upcoming weeks) and was allegedly created in 1870 for a party thrown by Lady Randolph Churchill to honor presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden. The cocktail has fared better than Mr. Tilden, who won the popular vote but lost in the electoral college (Presidential elections are weird. Gore VS. Bush wasn’t the first time the Democrats paid the price for being “nice guys.”) From such humble beginnings though are legends born. The Manhattan is one of the drinks I use to judge every bar I visit. If it can make a good Manhattan than it might be worth frequenting…

The ingredients


  • 2 oz. rye whiskey
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 5 drops Angostura bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Fill with ice. Stir well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cherry.


My pictures aren’t doing this cocktail much justice. I doubt any words I put down here will either. I suppose all I can say is that this is a drink you need to add to your repertoire. It’s imminently drinkable and as we move into fall you’ll find that it has a wonderful warming effect! The actual drink is a delicate blend of sharp, sweet, and bitter that, when you do it right, is just lovely. Wrap yourself in a blanket, park yourself in front of the fire, and enjoy  a nice cool Manhattan.

Cocktail of the Week: Grapefruit Garibaldi

Grapefruit Garibaldi

I’ll admit it is getting harder and harder to preface these posts. Do I really need a reason or pretense to make myself a delicious alcoholic beverage once a week and share it with my friends? Who knows, I don’t make any of the “rules” around here. I just slavish obey them like I’m supposed to…

Anyway, it was hot this week. Hotter than it should be in September in Northern California. I keep waiting for people to decide to work together through the tool of government to do something about the ever increasing global temperature but nothing seems to happen… Must be why I keep drinking.

This week’s cocktail is a twist on the popular Italian aperitif, the Garibaldi, which may one day be a cocktail I make on this very blog. It doesn’t have whisky in it though so don’t hold your breath. This tweak of the recipe adds bourbon, grapefruit juice and honey. All things that make the serviceable Garibaldi into something sublime.

Grapefruit Garibaldi
The ingredients

Grapefruit Garabaldi

  • 1 1/2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 2 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Combine all ingredients in an old fashioned glass. Stir gently until honey dissolves. Add a few ice cubes. garnish with 1/4 grapefruit slice.

Grapefruit Garibaldi

I’m trying to remember where I first heard of this drink, so I could properly credit the source for enlightening me! The Grapefruit Garibaldi succeeds in juggling three very distinct flavors into something delicious without losing the uniqueness of each ingredient. A lovely blend of sweet bourbon, sour grapefruit, and bitter Campari. The only way this drink could be improved is if I was drinking it in a village on the north coast of Italy. Which, to be honest, would be a vast improvement…

Cocktail of the Week: Trouble in Paradise

Trouble in Paradise

Ice cream floats were fun but after three weeks of experimenting ice cream, soda, and liquor I’m feeling a little bloated. A little heavy. Time to go back to the simple pleasure of cocktails. This week’s is a delicious mix of sweet, bitter, savory, and spicy: Trouble in Paradise.

Trouble in Paradise
The ingredients

Trouble in Paradise

  • 1 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 3/4 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. honey syrup
  • 2 basil sprigs
  • black pepper

Combine one basil spring, bourbon, Campari, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, honey syrup and pepper in shaker. Fill shaker with ice. Shake. Strain into rocks glass filled w ice. Granish with remaining basil sprig

Trouble in Paradise

When I saw this cocktail I was naturally apprehensive. Campari is not a liquor with trifle with. While the liquor has hints of cherry and citrus with an edge of spice the predominate taste is bitterness. The liquor is usually served as an aperitif with the herbal bitterness being used to prep the palate for the meal. The black pepper intrigued me though and lemon and grapefruit juice pack plenty of their own punch. So, I went ahead and tried it. I’m glad I did. Between the grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and honey syrup there’s plenty to counteract the bitterness of the Campari. The ground pepper? It adds a little kick and texture. This is a complex little cocktail that rewards slow sipping to capture all the subtleties and depths in this one!

Cocktail of the Week: The Presbyterian

the Presbyterian cocktail

Sorry, for the lack of updates. Life gets in the way sometimes. Despite not posting I have still been trying new cocktails. This week’s is a simple, yet satisfying, one. The Presbyterian is bourbon and ginger beer with a dash of bitters on ice. Quick, easy, refreshing, the perfect cocktail for drinking after a busy day at the office.

The Presbyterian cocktail
The ingredients

The Presbyterian

  • 2 oz. bourbon whiskey
  • 4-6 oz. ginger beer
  • 4 dashes bitters
  • candied ginger

Fill a highball glass with ice, add bourbon. Fill glass near top with ginger beer, add bitters. Stir and garnish with candied ginger on a cocktail pick.

2015-04-19 19.36.24

The Presbyterian is the kind of drink that makes me wish I had a back porch, or a front porch, or even just a lawn chair I could set up and take in a beautiful view while sipping this in the drink on a warm spring evening.

Ah well, something to work for I suppose… Hope you have the time this week to enjoy a cocktail!