Oct 10

Martini Thoughts

The martini is pretty much my favorite cocktail, and is almost always the drink I make when I get home from work and need a little help with my lifestyle.  Because several friends have, at various times, asked for my thoughts on what makes a perfect martini I thought I would hold forth with my favorite recipe as well as a suggestion for a martini that might appeal to people who are used to vodka cocktails and/or super-dry (very little vermouth, if any at all) martinis.

Dramnut’s Favorite Martini

  • 2 1/4 oz. Beefeater Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Dolin Dry Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Bitter Truth Orange Bitters

Stir for a long time with lots of ice.  Strain into a well-chilled coupe/cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.  Double strain if you have lots of ice fragments.


Regan’s No. 6 or Angostura Orange Bitters can be substituted (and I often do) for a slightly different flavor and aroma.  Watch the quantity though, the dasher sizes on these bottles vary widely.  You may want to tweak the amount of bitters, in any case.

I also frequently switch out the orange bitters altogether for a couple of other kinds.  My favorites here are the Bitter Truth Celery and the Fee Brothers Whisky Barrel Aged.

Like I said, the Beefeater is my favorite for my everyday martini, but I do often try others.  Examples that I think work very well in these proportions are the Beefeater 24 (if you can get it) and Broker’s.

Training Wheels Martini

  • 2 1/2 oz. Bluecoat Gin
  • 1/2 oz. Dolin Dry Vermouth
  • 1 or 2 dashes Bitter Truth Orange Bitters

Stir for a long time with lots of ice.  Strain into a well-chilled coupe/cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.


You can leave the bitters out entirely if you (or your audience) don’t like them.  The western dry style gin, particularly the Bluecoat, tones down the juniper in favor of stronger citrus character which many people find an easier stepping stone to the more juniper-forward london dry and plymouth styles.  The lemon twist is also really key here.

Mar 10

Cedar Fever

Bill Norris, head drinkman at Fino Austin, was generous enough to share the recipe for his creation the Cedar Fever in a comment on an earlier Souse Report post. Tonight I thought I would give it a whirl at home. I’m low on Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, with maybe three ounces left in the bottle, so I needed to make this count. And it was totally worth it.

This cocktail has a lovely peach color and tastes mildly sweet with definite peach and grapefruit flavors coming from the St. Germain. The Zirbenz contributes pine flavor, of course, but does more to the aroma than the taste… make sure to sniff when you drink this one. I don’t know if it is the lighting at Fino or my lack of observation skills, but I’ve never noticed the Peychaud’s floating on top like a swirl of red oil on water…very cool.

The Zirbenz is a pretty tough ingredient to work with (in my opinion) and I have been a bit nervous about using it at home. The Cedar Fever combines it with the slight sweetness of the old tom gin, the definitely sweet, citrus goodness of the St. Germain, and the complex bitters to make something that is way more than the sum of its parts. It makes me want to try to find other cocktail friends for the Zirbenz to play with.

Cedar Fever

  • 2 oz. Old Tom Gin (Hayman’s)
  • 1/2 oz. St. Germain
  • 1/2 oz. Zirbenz Stone Pine
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Combine all ingredients except for the bitters in a cocktail shaker with ice. Stir until well chilled. Layer two dashes Peychaud’s on top of the cocktail and garnish with flamed lemon peel.

Feb 10

What the Hell?

I like to pick a drink based on the name. This is one of those drinks. Fortunately for me, it also tasted pretty good. Jen Fizz found The Western Rose Cocktail and we were lucky it was good. This one was pretty similar, so with that in mind, and a cool name, I decided to try it.

If I make it again, I may use less vermouth than what it called for. I think The Western Rose Cocktail is better, but this one isn’t bad. I’m just curious how it got it’s name.

What The Hell

1 oz Apricot Brandy
1 oz Dry Gin
1 oz Dry Vermouth
1 dash Lemon Juice

Stir in an old-fashioned glass with ice and drink up.

Feb 10

The Western Rose Cocktail

Jen Fizz was exploring the drinks in our 1974 edition of Mr. Boston’s Deluxe Official Cocktail Guide when she came across the Crystal Slipper Cocktail. Since that was a success, she opened up the book and decided to make the first thing she saw that sounded good.

And she found a winner; the Western Rose Cocktail is really nice. It is sort of like an apricot martini.

The Western Rose Cocktail

1/2 oz Apricot Brandy
1 oz Dry Gin
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
1/4 tsp Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After we drank the Western Rose, I found another drink on the same page that looked pretty good. It’s up next.

Feb 10

The Crystal Slipper Cocktail

Tonight I decided to try something new and picked out the Crystal Slipper Cocktail from the Mr. Boston Deluxe Official Bartender’s Guide.  I substituted Creme de Violette for the Creme Yvette.  The cocktail was tasty but when I tried to take a photo there was a face staring back at me!  I think this is the first time my drink has been haunted.  Yikes!

Crystal Slipper Cocktail

½ oz. Creme de Violette
2 dashes Orange Bitters
1½ oz. Gin

Stir with ice and strain into cocktail glass.

Feb 10

The Cavity Search

How does this cocktail make you feel?

You know when you are wandering, bleary-eyed, down a back alley in some godforsaken mid-sized industrial town, trying desperately to remember where you left your car when all of a sudden you feel that terrible urgency in your stomach that presages a bout of nasty projectile vomiting?  You drop to your knees and, one hand braced against the filthy, greasy side of a battered dumpster, you prepare to retch up the thin, burning liquid that is all that you have left to give and you ask yourself, “Why God, why?” as your diaphragm spasms and drool hangs from your lip like a strand of pure liquid despair.  At that exact moment you hear a furtive scrambling in the shadows and look to the side, barely able to turn your head, and you see two giant, fat raccoons fucking.

They notice you and pause and the male turns to look at you with a creepy preternatural intelligence glowing in his eyes.  There is a pause, all is quiet, your stomach clenches but seems to be waiting for something when the raccoon unexpectedly opens his mouth and asks “Hey, you wouldn’t happen to have a copy of Kierkegaard’s ‘Fear and Trembling’ on you, would you?”

Hope.  That’s what this cocktail feels like.  Pure hope.

The Cavity Search
A cocktail created in honor of Senor Amor’s recent humiliating and debilitating sinus surgery.

  • 1 oz. Gin (Plymouth)
  • 1 oz. Green Chartreuse
  • 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz. Bar Syrup

Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass rinsed with absinthe.  Garnish with a maraschino cherry.