Cocktail of the Week – Horse’s Neck

Horse's Neck

I know I talked about Autumn and cooling weather last Monday but as soon as I posted last week the temperatures here in central Northern California spiked with the mercury rising back into the 100s… One step forward and two steps back. This week we go with a the refreshing and cool Horse’s Neck.

Since I went ahead and picked up a bottle of brandy I wanted to make sure I included it in some cocktails. The first of which is the Horse’s Neck, a simple cooler that was popular before Prohibition. Originally made with brandy and ginger ale or soda when it was revitalized bourbon replaced the brandy, ginger beer was substituted for ginger ale and angostura bitters were added.

Horse's Neck
The ingredients

Horse’s Neck

  • 2 oz. brandy or bourbon
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Ginger beer/ale
  • lemon for garnish

Peel a lemon in one long spiral, twist the peel around finger or spoon to create a coil. Place the peel in a Collins glass with one end hanging over the lip. Fill glass with ice. Add brandy and bitters. Top glass with ginger beer/ale.

Horse's Neck

The sweetness of the brandy blends nicely with sharp, pepperiness of the ginger beer and the bitters. It’s also really easy to make! By far the hardest part was peeling the lemon for the garnish, a step you may skip if you want. Though the long coil going up the Collins glass makes for a great presentation it isn’t actually necessary for the cocktail.

Best of all when its over 90 degrees outside at 8:00 PM this is a cold, delicious drink.Tonight I’m enjoying mine at my kitchen table instead of out on the patio…

Cocktail of the Week: Penicillin


A friend recently made the comment that most of the cocktails I make seem to be sweet. Looking over my recent posts that is most certainly true! But it wasn’t by design and now that it has been pointed out to me I’ll be sure to mix it up (get it?) a little more here starting with this week’s cocktail, Penicillin. This cocktail was created by New York bartender Sam Ross in 2005 in an effort to dilute the taboo against using single malts in mixed drinks. What he came up with is a delicious blend of the bright, warm tastes of lemon, honey, and ginger with the peaty smokiness of an Islay Scotch. Think of a cool hot toddy and you’re almost there.

The ingredients


  • 2 oz. blended Scotch whisky
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. honey syrup
  • 3 slices of fresh ginger
  • 1/4 oz. Islay single malt Scotch

Muddle the ginger slices in shaker until well mashed. Add blended Scotch, lemon juice, and honey syrup to shaker. Fill shaker with ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into an ice filled rocks glass. Float the Islay Scotch over the drink by pouring it over the back of a bar spoon onto the drink.


Wow, I was not expecting this! In fact, I was near certain this cocktail would be terrible due to the almost overpowering peaty smokiness of the Laphroaig. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Penicillin is refreshing, smooth, with this wonderfully subtle woody smokiness that plays about the nose. Sorry, Moscow Mule but you may have just been replaced!

Cocktail of the Week: Whiskey Sour

Whiskey Sour

I’ve never been much for sours. This might be because I’ve never found a reason to order one? Or maybe I have and the bartender wasn’t any good at making it? I don’t know. The drink is a classic though and quite simple to make. Apparently, there is a method to making sours (see tip two) that I was unaware of. I was also unaware that margaritas are considered sours. The more you know… Anyway, the big decision to make with a Whiskey Sour is what type of whiskey to use? bourbons, ryes, Irish or Scotchs all have their own unique flavor profiles and alter the taste of the cocktail considerably!

Whiskey Sour
The ingredients

Whiskey Sour

  • 2 oz. Whiskey
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker over ice and shake. Strain into a chilled, ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry. I didn’t have one so I used a raspberry.

Whiskey Sour

I made two whiskey sours, one with Jameson and the other with Bulleit rye. They were surprisingly different from each other! The rye was so sweet that it almost overpowered the lemon juice, the Jameson had hints of vanilla and spice. I enjoyed both but preferred the one with Jameson on this night.

Cocktail of the Week: Apple Thyme

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It’s supposed to be fall right now, the produce department of our local Co-op certainly reflects the change of the season even if the weather outside stubbornly refuses to. I’m looking at you 95° weekend weather! With the transition to fall I’ve got to say goodbye to all the chilled drinks full of citrus and fruit! That’s okay though, because I’m looking forward to some hot drinks.

This cocktail was inspired by one D saw over on another blog (here), that called for a homemade brandy and quite a bit of alcohol in it. I took the recipe and tweaked it a little bit and ended up with a delicious cocktail with an herbal undercurrent, that wouldn’t knock D out. I replaced the brandy with applejack and balanced out the proportions.

The ingredients
The ingredients

Apple Thyme

  • 1 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz applejack
  • 1 oz thyme simple syrup
  • 1/2 – 1 oz lemon juice

Combine ingredients into an ice filled shaker. Shake vigorously. Strain onto ice in a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with apple slice and thyme twig.

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I didn’t have any expectations with this cocktail. I’d never considered using bourbon and applejack together and I’d never thought to infuse simple syrup with thyme. It turned out really well though! The lemon and thyme go together quite well and blend wonderfully with the bourbon and applejack. Depending on how much lemon juice you have a flavor that goes anywhere from an apple-y bourbon with hints of lime, and thyme to a whiskey sour with hints of apple. I heartily recommend this for relaxing on a cool fall evening.

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