Tipperary Cocktail (No. 1)

Tipperary Cocktail (No. 1)
1/3 Italian Vermouth. (1/2 oz Carpano Antica)
1/3 Green Chartreuse. (1/2 oz Green Chartreuse)
1/3 Irish Whisky. (1 oz Bushmill’s 10 Year Single Malt, 1/4 oz Gordon & MacPhail Highland Park 8 Year)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

The other day I was picking up some supplies at Cask Store, chatting with my favorite Amandas, when another customer picked up the business card from Cask’s sister bar Rickhouse.  On the back of the card is the recipe for Owen Westman’s cocktail The Laphroig Project.

The Laphroaig Project:
1oz Green Chartreuse
.5oz Laphroaig Quarter Cask
.5oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
.25oz Yellow Chartreuse
1oz Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Dashes Fee Peach Btters

Combine all ingredients into mixing tin and shake vigorously. Double-strain over fresh ice in a double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and enjoy.

The customer’s jaw dropped, “What? They are using Single Malt Scotch in a Cocktail!? That is just so wrong!!!”

As if the only proper use for an Islay Malt is to pour it reverently into a glass, with maybe a bit of water freshly dipped from a stream in Scotland, and savor it on its own.

While I do believe there is often a point of diminishing returns with using excessively expensive products in Cocktails, using a half an ounce of Laphroig in a cocktail isn’t going to cause the world to end.  No Scotsmen were harmed in the production of the Laphroaig Project.

When I got to the Tipperary Cocktail, I had a couple problems.

Like the recipes for the Opera, The Widow’s Kiss, and the Jewel, equal parts of booze, vermouth, and liqueur is just a bit too rich for me.  I needed to dry this out a bit, and allow the whiskey to shine, before I could start to enjoy it.

My other problem was I am supremely unimpressed with most Irish Whiskey in mixed drinks, especially this one, Bushmill’s Single Malt 10 Year.  As far as I can tell, you might as well be adding vaguely malt flavored water, for all it contributes to most mixed drinks.  Clearly it is not a “mixing whiskey”.

Thinking about what to use to “punch up” the Bushmill’s, I cast my gaze about the basement booze supply. American Whiskey? I think they would over shadow whatever pale character existed in the Irish. Other spirits? Again, hard to think of something that would get along and not run it over. What about Scotch? Hm, there is even a Peated Irish Whiskey, maybe Scotch wouldn’t be too much of a stretch…

So let’s fix it, and piss off some Scotch Whiskey Nerds at the same time.

But what Scotch? It would have to be something not too crazy and over the top in it’s Peaty Smokiness.

How about Highland Scotch? It tends towards the characters I like in Single Malt Scotch, without overwhelming with extremes of Peat and Smoke. Honing in further, I really like Highland Park‘s Whiskies, which are technically from Orkney. (I’ll make a Tipperary for anyone who can identify the source of following quote without resorting to google, “Snow storms forecast imminently in areas Dogger, Viking, Moray, Forth, and Orkney.”) Normally, I keep the Highland Park 12 Year Old around the house, but this Gordon and MacPhail Highland Park 8 Year is a new favorite. Introduced to me by David Driscoll, the Spirits buyer at K&L Wines, there is a lot of the same character you find in the 12, but it has a little bit more youthful punch. It is also a fantastic deal for the money.

Second, I decided, instead of an equal parts cocktail, we’d make it a 2-1-1 version.  That isn’t far from some of my favorite Manhattan Variations, so it seemed a safe bet.

And damn, if that isn’t tasty!  Hit this one exactly in my aromatic cocktail sweet spot.  Lightening the Vermouth and Liqueur changes this from an after dinner candy, to a digestiv.  The added interest of the Scotch brings both whiskies to life.

Give it a try with the Highland Park, or another Scotch Whisky, and let me know what you think.  Don’t be afraid to piss off some Scotsmen or the Irish.  Though we might have to call it “Tipperary Cocktail (No. 3)”.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Thistle Cocktail

Thistle Cocktail
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters. (2 dashes Angostura Bitters)
1/2 Italian Vermouth. (1 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth)
1/2 Scotch Whisky. (1 oz MacAllan Cask Strength)
Stir well and strain into cocktail glass. (Squeeze Lemon Peel over glass and drop in.)

Robert Vermeire changes the ratio slightly and also makes a note regarding the name:

2 Dashes of Angostura Bitters; 1/6 gill of Italian Vermouth; 2/6 gill of Scotch Whisky. Stir up well, strain into a cocktail glass and squeeze lemon-peel on top. This cocktail is also called “York Cocktail”.

The big question being, what’s the difference between the Rob Roy, Thistle, and York.

As far  as I can tell, nothing.  I guess, if you prefer one of the names, go for it.  I am sort of partial to Thistle, but then I’m an obscurist.  Obviously, the way to go about ordering it in a bar, would be to stick with the common denominator Rob Roy.

As with most Fifty-Fifty type cocktails, I think it is best to go with strongly flavored and high proof spirits for the “base”.  In this case, the Macallan Cask Strength is quite delicious and isn’t going to roll over for the Carpano.  A really enjoyable cocktail, among my current top 10.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Tango Cocktail

Tango Cocktail
2 Dashes Curacao. (5ml/1tsp Brizard Orange Curacao)
The Juice of 1/4 Orange. (Juice and peel 1/4 Navel Orange)
1/4 French Vermouth. (1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)
1/4 Italian Vermouth. (1/2 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz Tanqueray Dry Gin)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Garnish with long ribbon Orange Peel.)

Harry McElhone, the likely source for the recipe, formats it slightly differently in his book, “Barflies and Cocktails” : 1/6 Curacao; 1/6 Orange Juice; 1/3 Italian Vermouth; 1/3 Plymouth Gin. He also notes this is a, “Recipe by Harry, Bartender Palermo, Rue Fontaine, Paris.”

Hm, I hate to mention this to the Harrys, but isn’t the Tango the same cocktail as the Satan’s Whiskers?

Anyway, when we served the Satan’s Whiskers at Heaven’s Dog for our special Halloween menu last year, Erik Adkins had the insight to note, “Don’t over shake this drink.  Most of the ingredients have a low abv plus there is oj.  The drink should have a strong middle.”

That piece of advice has significantly improved my opinion of the Satan’s Whiskers as a cocktail. Well, that along with including a piece of orange peel in the shaker for added citrus ooomph.

I still think Satan’s Whiskers is a better name than it is a cocktail, per se, but for those occasions when a stiff drink might be a little too stiff, it is a nice option to have.

At Heaven’s Dog, we also sometimes make another rather amusingly named variation on this theme, “Satan’s Soul Patch”, which substitutes Bourbon for Gin and has a flamed orange peel as a garnish.

Don’t tell the manly men who usually order this drink, Satan’s Whiskers, or Satan’s Soul Patch that they are mostly drinking Vermouth and Orange Juice!

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

The Violet Hour

Well, you might have noticed that there were a few “S” cocktails missing from the Savoy Stomp…

Chicago’s a funny city. One of the largest cities in the country, it is also one of the hardest drinking party towns in the Midwest. Gangsters and Speakeasies played a big part during prohibition, but after prohibition, like elsewhere, there was a bit of a lull in cocktail culture.

Even after new classic cocktail bars started opening in New York, San Francisco, and Seattle, the Midwest has lagged behind, caught in the culture of bigger is better.

Chicago, though, seemed like it could do better. A fabulous culinary destination, arguably one of the best in the whole of the United States.  How long until a bar in Chicago took cocktails as seriously as restaurants like Alinea, avec, or blackbird?

With thoughts along those lines, Toby Maloney and his partners opened The Violet Hour in late June of 2007.


I’ll be in Chicago for a dinner at Alinea on Thurs.  We’re staying
through the weekend to relax.

Hoping to stop by The Violet Hour (finally!)

Do you still have anything to do with that venue?

I do need to photograph at least this week’s 5 Savoy Cocktails (Star
through Stinger) somewhere in Chicago.

Seemed like The Violet Hour might be a fun place to do it.

Think anyone there would be interested?


Erik E.

Hey Erik,

I am happy to say I am an owner of The Violet Hour so I will always have my fingers in it. It would be my pleasure to get you a rezo at TVH anytime you want. Many people find a cocktail after Alinea is the perfect thing to decompress and settle the stomach. YAY Cynar.

I am checking with one of my people to see when they can make time for your photo shoot. Do you want the place to be open?

As soon as I hear back I will shoot you an other email.


Hey Toby,

Alinea is on Pernod-Ricard’s dime and there are quite a few bartenders
in tow, so perhaps we’ll make it over afterwards. I’ll suggest it,
unless they have already been in contact. Those Amaro based cocktails
were looking pretty darn appealing to me, and it is only 11:00AM here.

Usually before open or during a bit of a slow time is best for
photography. If such a thing exists at TVH. Is Saturday jammed from
open? I hate to get in the way of opening chores. Sunday at 5 or 6?
Whatever works.

Would be nice to do a bit of an interview and such, if they don’t
mind, and get some pictures of the atmosphere. Always curious about
the cocktail scene in other locales.

Erik E.


Simon Ford appears somewhat taken with the idea of visiting TVH for a
post-prandial nightcap.

Our Alinea reservation is on Thurs at 7, I guess that means some time
around 11 or 12?

I will text closer to the time, if the idea gains traction.

Erik E.

I might need a little more notice than hours. Lynette is in I know, You, your wife and Simon make enough for me to make you a rezo in the back room. Any new info should be txted to me to insure prompt action to this fluid situation.


Well, nothing like rolling in with a bunch of high profile bartenders who have already been drinking, to put a place on edge. I know I always get nervous. Will they break anything? What will my hangover be like tomorrow morning?

Fortunately, we did not break anything, and all went well. Delicious post-prandial libations, perfect to sate our stuffed stomachs.

The next night Mrs. Flannestad and I traveled back to The Violet Hour in Wicker Park, this time to try a few Savoy Cocktails. Unfortunately, among the next 12, or so, cocktails, there wasn’t a lot of greatness. Michael Rubel did his best to maintain his cool and make the cocktails work. But some were just not that great.

Star Cocktail (No. 1)
1 Teaspoonful Grape Fruit Juice.
1 Dash Italian Vermouth.
1 Dash French Vermouth.
1/2 Calvados or Apple Brandy.
1/2 Dry Gin.
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.
Harry McElhone notes this was, “A very popular cocktail at the Plaza, New York.”

Tastes, I guess, change. We first tried it with Carpano Antica, Noilly Prat Dry, Busnel V.S.O.P. Calvados, and Anchor Junipero Gin. Pretty close to undrinkable. Michael, not being one to admit defeat, had to mix it again, this time massaging the amounts a bit and using Bombay Gin instead of the Junipero. As he said, “it isn’t going to rock your world,” but it was at least drinkable.

Messing around later, I found a version made with 1 teaspoon M&R Bianco, 1 teaspoon Carpano Antica, 1 teaspoon Grapefruit, 1 oz Laird’s Apple Brandy, and 1 oz Krogstad Aquavit to be actually enjoyable. Your mileage may vary, but, made literally, this classic cocktail is definitely one of questionable merit.

Star Cocktail (No. 2)
1/2 Italian Vermouth.
1/2 Applejack or Calvados.
(dash House “Aromatic Elixir”)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Michael went with 1/2 Carpano Antica, 1/2 Laird’s Bottled in Bond, and, after a brief query, “I’d put bitters in this, wouldn’t you?” he suggested we add Violet Hour House Aromatic Elixir to the cocktail. Maybe it was the previous Star Cocktails, but what a relief to be drinking an Apple Brandy Manhattan! Whew!

Stomach Reviver Cocktail
5 Dashes Angostura Bitters.
1/6 Fernet Branca.
2/3 Brandy.
2/3 Kummel.
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

This cocktail just seemed so appropriate for a bar which has a section of its cocktail menu based on Amaros! Plus, it’s just odd to find a bar with Kummel on the back bar! We used Maison Surrene Petit Champagne Cognac, Kaiser Kummel, Fernet and around an eighth of an ounce of Angostura!

And nice it was, a fine example of extreme Fernet Mixology. About our only criticism would be, it was almost nicer before it was chilled and diluted. Maybe I’m just used to drinking Fernet at room temp, but the flavors seemed a bit muted after the cocktail was cold.

Stinger Cocktail
1/4 White Crème de Menthe.
3/4 Brandy.
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to drink a Stinger, but as we were talking, Michael had a funny story. He mentioned that it was one of Dale DeGroff’s favorite cocktails, and when he was working in New York, he got an order from the great man. For some reason, which I fail to exactly recall, he decided to make it, instead of with Cognac, but with a (very nice) Spanish Brandy.

The next Saturday night Michael was working, in the height of the evening’s rush, Mr. DeGroff came back to talk to him, and explain in no uncertain terms, without concern for how busy Mr. Rubel was, precisely why it was wrong to use Spanish Brandy and exactly the way he preferred his Stingers, thank you very much.

Well, after that story, how could I not finish the evening with a Stinger prepared by Mr. Rubel?

This evening we made the stinger with Brizard White Creme de Menthe and Maison Surenne Petit Champagne Cognac.  You can’t say Michael did not learn his lesson. We did serve it up, per the Savoy Cocktail Book, and I believe Mr. DeGroff prefers his over cracked ice. FYI, just in case you get an order for one from him one busy Saturday night.

I can’t say I entirely see the appeal of the Stinger, I did think it could use a bit less Creme de Menthe. I also believe I agree with Mr. DeGroff and prefer it over cracked ice.

This is the violet hour, the hour of hush and wonder, when the affections glow again and valor is reborn, when the shadows deepen magically along the edge of the forest and we believe that, if we watch carefully, at any moment we may see the unicorn.
– Bernard DeVoto “The Hour”

I have to thank Toby and especially Michael and Maura of The Violet Hour staff for making me welcome and putting up with a couple pretty awful Savoy Cocktails. The most inspiring thing, as a bartender and customer, that I took away from our evenings at The Violet Hour, was that the staff were great hosts. I loved watching the truly professional way they interacted with each other, the customers, and kept their bar top in order. Amazing. Although I didn’t see the unicorn this time, I certainly hope it won’t be another 3 years before I get a chance to return and look for it again!

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Sunshine Cocktail (No. 1)

Sunshine Cocktail (No. 1)
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1/3 Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Carpano Antica)
2/3 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Ransom Old Tom)
1 Lump of Ice.
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into medium size glass. Squeeze orange peel on top.

Generally the inclusion of “1 Lump Ice” is an indication of a 19th Century Cocktail source, Jerry Thomas or similar, but I couldn’t turn this up in any likely books.

Anyway, I’ve lately been telling everyone I need to mix more with the Ransom Old Tom gin to get a better handle on its properties. This seemed like a fine excuse, being nothing other than a simplified Martinez.

And, yeah, it is quite tasty. I suppose I kind of missed the Maraschino (or Curacao) included in more elaborate recipes for the Martinez, but still, quite nice. And it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as interesting with Dry Gin.

Was having some meter/battery related problems with the camera, thus the rather Noir appearance of the photo. Suggest wearing a trench coat, packing a heater, and serving this one to a dame, naughty or nice, your choice.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Soul Kiss Cocktail (No. 1)

Soul Kiss Cocktail (No. 1)
1/6 Orange Juice. (1/2 oz Orange Juice)
1/6 Dubonnet. (1/2 oz Dubonnet Rouge)
1/3 French Vermouth. (1 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1/3 Italian Vermouth. (1 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

What a name, eh? We happened to be listening to Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings new CD while listening to this, if there is more appropriate music for mixing a “Soul Kiss”, I don’t know what it is.

Most importantly, should you order this cocktail during the next Savoy Night at Alembic Bar, May 23rd, 2010? You could certainly do worse, and I think especially with the Punt e Mes we play with at Alembic this will be a rocking choice. It is not a super stiff drink, more of a slow start to the evening or something to even your keel after a couple big drinks. Nice and tasty, though.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

So-So Cocktail

So-So Cocktail
1/6 Grenadine. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
1/6 Calvados. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Calvados Moritz)
1/3 Italian Vermouth (3/4 oz Carpano Antica)
1/3 Dry Gin. (3/4 oz Northshore Distiller’s No. 6)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

According to Harry McElhone in his book, “Barflies and Cocktails,” this cocktail was, “Invented by Mr. P. Soso, the popular manager of Kit-Kat Club, London.”

Hm, Harry, that sounds a bit facetious.

Again, I believe we have the Gin acting as an extender to the rather more flavorful and expensive Calvados.

Most importantly, should you order this cocktail during the next Savoy Night at Alembic Bar, May 23rd, 2010? Well, strictly speaking the So-So isn’t awful. It is, however, rather sweet. If I were you, I would stick with a straight ahead Apple or Grape Brandy Manhattan, and skip the So-So altogether. Say, perhaps, the often unjustly ignored Corpse Reviver No. 1. Or, if you have your heart set on Apple Brandy and Grenadine, try Mrs. Flannestad’s favorite: The Jack Rose Cocktail.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Black Prince Cocktail

While it is fun to go out to Smuggler’s Cove, I find I have a semi-low tolerance for tropical drinks.

Fortunately, Martin Cate’s menu encompasses more than just Exotic drinks. In fact, it is nearly a cross section of Rum Cocktails from the beginning of their history to the present day.

For example, the other day I rather enjoyed the Black Prince, which could only be described as a rum version of the NY “brown, bitter, and stirred”.

According to the Smuggler’s Cove menu it is, “A dark and complex concoction consisting of aged Guatemalan rum, Punt e Mes, Averna, and orange bitters. Created by Phil Ward at Death & Co. in NYC, this is an excellent showcase of rum’s versatility.”

In fact I enjoyed it so much, I decided to try to replicate it at home!

I don’t know the exact recipe, and also don’t have Punt e Mes in the house at the moment, but found this version of the drink quite enjoyable.

1 1/2 oz Zacapa 23
3/4 oz Carpano Antica
1/2 oz Averna
1 dash Regan’s Orange Bitters, 1 dash Fee’s Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Hm, while I liked the Punt e Mes version at Smuggler’s Cove a lot, I think I may like it a bit more with Carpano Antica, as it is not quite so sweet. Gonna have to give it a try again when I get Punt e Mes back in the house.

If anyone knows the exact recipe, drop me a note or comment.


Thanks to Matt Browner Hamlin for the proper Black Prince, straight from Phil Ward:

2 oz dark aged rum
0.75 oz Punt e Mes
0.5 oz Averna
Dash orange bitters

Stir and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Smiler Cocktail


Smiler Cocktail
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1 Dash Orange Juice. (1 Dash Tangerine Juice)
1/4 Italian Vermouth. (1/2 oz Carpano Antica)
1/4 French Vermouth. (1/2 oz Martini & Rossi Dry Vermouth)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz Beefeater Gin)
(Strip Tangerine Peel)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

The oranges were getting a tad dry, so subbed in tangerine juice, as it is in season. To punch up the orange, I also squeezed a bit of tangerine peel over the drink and dropped it in before adding ice.

This is more or less a rather easy drinking, slightly orangey, bittered, perfect Martini.

If that’s not something to smile about, I don’t know what is.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Sevilla Cocktail (No. 1)


Sevilla Cocktail (No. 1)
1/2 Italian Vermouth. (1 oz Carpano Antica)
1/2 Bacardi rum. (1 oz Havana Club 7)
1 Piece of Orange Peel.
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass. (Squeeze another piece of orange peel over the drink.)

Similar to the Fair and Warmer, Fluffy Ruffles, Little Princess, and Palmetto Cocktail this is another Rum (or Cuban) Manhattan, and, as such, what’s not to like?  Pick your rum, pick your vermouth, and go to it.  Happened to have a bottle of Havana Club 7 around the house, so that’s what I went with.  Thoroughly enjoyable.

I am nominally confused what a Rum Manhattan has to do with Sevilla.  Maybe it should be stirred with Seville Orange (or bitter orange) peel in the drink, instead of sweet orange peel?

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.