Monthly Archives: August 2015

My Favorite Southern Tier Beer

Today was quite warm and felt like an appropriate end to August here in Western New York.

Tonight though I’m sipping a fall beer and thinking of the coming season:

Harvest is easily my favorite beer by Southern Tier. Some people fiend for Pumking and others I know like to nurse Old Man Winter on long, cold, snowy nights. But for me, few of their beers taste better than a Harvest — especially outdoors as the summer weather cools and autumn arrives.

And what makes Harvest even better!? A shot of Jameson right in the glass:




Shopping Local At Reverie Creamery

I just finished some pistachio gelato that I picked up today at Reverie Creamery.

I tasted a few cheeses while I was at the shop, but aside from their main stock-in-trade I was really impressed with all the exclusive local products they’re selling.

I know this is a cocktail blog, but as my Farm To Table posts showed this past summer — I’m also very interested in showcasing my corner of Western New York. Plus, even though they’re not food or drink products, some of the stuff I saw at Reverie (like the clove-scented soaps from the Chautauqua Soap Company) still had me thinking about flavors and bitters and possible cocktails:


In the photo below is a locally-made cutting board  as well as local honey:


And here’s a closer look at the honey:  

I should’ve gotten a photo of all the unique gelato and sorbet flavors, as well as the several styles of pickles and cornichons — but I’ll have to leave that for next visit. 

Just as with the locally-made items Reverie was stocking from makers within Chautauqua County, they also sold items from makers elsewhere in the state — like products by the Brooklyn Brine Company. I’d never seen or heard of “Whiskey Sour Pickles” or styles like Maple Bourbon Bread & Butter until my stop at Reverie yesterday.

3943 Route 394
Mayville, NY 14757

From their website:

Founded by Riko Chandra and Jim Howard, Reverie is a newly established artisan cheesemaking company in Mayville, Chautauqua County, NY. Initially, Reverie will focus on small batch production of artisan cheeses made from goat’s milk. Our artisan products will reflect a meaningful relationship to the land and Western New York’s agricultural heritage through which we connect, experience and savor the flavors of our place and region.

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Hold Fast The Summer

August is cooling down here in Western New York and although it’s not quite autumn yet, the fall flavors are already in full effect.

I love fall. It’s my favorite season. I love the cool temperatures and long sleeves, the pumpkin flavor and falling leaves — all of it! And I didn’t even mean to make a rhyme there!

Still, despite the fact that I love the fall, it’s hard to let the summer slip away so easily — especially when we’re still in the month of August.

And for that reason there’s this “Hold Fast The Summer.”

Hold Fast The Summer is a transitional drink, one part warm-weather nostalgia and one part acceptance of the changing seasons.

The recipe is easy — just Plantation’s pineapple rum, DeGroff’s pimento bitters and apple cider:

1 oz Plantation Pineapple Rum
1 oz apple cider
1 dash DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters

Stir equal parts Stiggins’ Fancy and apple cider over ice with DeGroff’s pimento bitters then strain and shoot — or double the recipe and enjoy over ice. Adjust the cider accordingly to suit your tastes and prepare mentally for the colder weather coming in the months ahead.


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Building On The Prizefighter #1

The Prizefighter #1 is a cocktail that was created by Nick Jarrett.

I’ve written about the drink before, and you can read that post here.

Last night I was serving something to customers that was sort of like the Prizefighter #1, but different in that it had pineapple juice… So I figured I’d give the drink its own post today (and I don’t know if Nick Jarrett has already made this variation, so if someone knows… Leave me a comment).

Ingredients in the Prizefighter #1:
•1 oz. Fernet Branca
•1 oz. Carpano Antica
•3/4 oz. simple syrup
•1/4 oz. lemon juice
•6-8 mint leaves
•3-4 lemon wedges
•Pinch salt

Pineapple Prizefighter


And here’s how I made the above drink last night:

•1 oz bourbon
•1/2 oz. Fernet Branca
•1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
•1/2 oz. simple syrup
•1 oz pineapple juice
•1/2 oz. lemon juice
•6-8 mint leaves
•3-4 lemon wedges
•Pinch salt
•Sierra Mist


Now, whereas with the Prizefighter #1 you shake and double-strain and serve up or on the rocks, I was serving this pineapple drink in a Collins glass finished with Sierra Mist.

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Prosecco Ice Cream Float

This drink is also dessert. Or rather, this dessert is also a drink.

I stumbled across a list of boozy dessert drinks on the other day and made a note to myself to try this Berries & Prosecco Ice Cream Float:


The original post comes from a site called and from the date it looks like the article ran in the magazine at the end of last summer.

Here’s their recipe:

Berry-Prosecco Ice Cream Floats
Serves 4

  • 1 bottle (750 ml) of dry Prosecco
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • 1 pint of mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 

I didn’t have the recipe on hand when I made the drink at work earlier tonight, but playing it by ear worked out pretty well.

I tossed chopped strawberries and blueberries in sugar and then put scoop of vanilla ice cream, topping it with Prosecco and the berries. Easy stuff. And delicious!


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National Whiskey Sour Day

I read on Good Spirits News that today is National Whiskey Sour Day!

As with all these random-seeming drink holidays, I won’t put up too much fuss or question its origin — as any reason to celebrate a cocktail is reason enough!

Whiskey Sour

About This Cocktail:

For my Whiskey Sour pictured above, I used Woodford Reserve:


•2 oz rye or bourbon or other whiskey of preference. I actually used 2 oz of Woodford Reserve bourbon, which has a lot of rye in its mash bill.
•.5 oz simple syrup
•.5 oz fresh lemon juice

Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.

Some recipes for the Whiskey Sour cocktail call for an egg white, as a lot of old sours recipes do… But a lot of recipes these days list egg white as “optional.” I didn’t use egg white in the drink pictured above, but you’ll find it listed in some of the recipes I linked to in this post.


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Pistachios, Popcorn, Booze & Batgirl

It’s Monday night and my work week starts tomorrow, but I’m busy thinking of all the stuff I did this past week. And it just occurred to me that I never really blogged about this past week at all… So, here’s my week of cocktails in quick recap!

On Wednesday I served pistachio shell-infused vodka as a Moscow Mule:


On Thursday I made a special daiquiri with buttered popcorn-infused rum and a coca-cola simple syrup:  
On Friday I used the Coca-Cola syrup in an Old Fashioned, a Mojito and this Kraken Daiquiri:  

And on Saturday, a customer took this great pic of a drink I made — the Borden Chase:

And on a sad note, also this week, actress Yvonne Craig died.Yvonne Craig played Batgirl in the 1962 Adam West Batman series. And for those who don’t know, I’m as serious a comic book fan as I am devoted to cocktails. I write a monthly column and co-host a weekly podcast.

I wish I would’ve gotten this creative and created something, but thankfully The Way Station in Brooklyn is remembering Yvonne Craig with this cocktail:

The above photo comes from The Way Station’s blog and isn’t something I shot a pic of, though I’d like to stop and try this drink in honor of Yvonne Craig.

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Modified Midori Sour #2

Earlier in the week I posted about a friend who took a photo of two Midori Sours at the bar where I work.

That photo, and the conversation sparked, spurred me to try and modify the classic Midori Sour. That first post can be read by clicking here.

Everyone I know hates the idea of Midori Sours, and that’s mostly because they’re afraid of two things— getting too much of the liqueur and also having to drink packaged sours mix.

In my first attempt at modifying the drink, I added in Applejack with the Midori and lemon juice.

The addition definitely made for a different and even tasty drink, but it was too different — it didn’t feel like a Midori Sour any longer.

What follows is another attempt at updating the basis Midori Sour:

Modified Midori Sour #2 



•2 oz Midori
•1 oz lemon juice
•1/2 oz Contratto Apertif orange bitter liqueur (or Aperol)


Shake all ingredients over ice ans strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange wedge.


Again, thus was just an okay drink. It was more like a Midori Sour than my first attempt, but it was too sweet. I think the orange flavor worked nicely, but I need to change the proportions.

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Filed under BRANDS, LIQUEURS, MODIFIED DRINKS, Uncategorized

You’ve Got Airmail

Here’s some history: The song “Please Mr. Postman” was released on August 21 in 1961.

The song was released by The Marvelettes and it was the first Motown song to reach the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart.

Rather than search the Internet for a “Postman” cocktail, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate the classic “Airmail” drink!

About This Drink:

The Airmail is a rum and champagne drink made with honey — or made with a honey syrup.

The recipe below is David Wondrich’s recommendation, which can be found online at

•2 ounces rum (golden or aged)
•1/2 ounce lime juice
•1 teaspoon honey
•5 ounces Brut champagne


Shake all ingredients (except the champagne) over ice and strain into a chilled champagne flut. Finish by topping the drink with champagne.

In his Esquire article, Wondrich points out that the drink is sort of like “a cross between the French 75 and the Honey Bee.” And additionally, he can’t explain its origin, but it does appear for the first time in Esquire’s 1949 Handbook for Hosts.

Further Reading:

—Check Imbibe Magazine here.
—This recipe includes Angostura Bitters.
—And the Cold-Glass blog has a really lengthy article worth reading.

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Modifying The Midori Sour #1

About a week ago, a friend snapped this picture of two Midori Sours which had been ordered at the bar where I work:


Everyone I know hates the idea of Midori Sours, and that’s mostly because they’re afraid of two things— getting too much of the liqueur and also having to drink packaged sours mix.

And those are understandable apprehensions. If you’re more used to sipping spirits straight or imbibing bitter cocktails like the Negroni or shooting Fernet-Branca, then the idea of Midori liqueur and sours mix will probably make you shudder.

When I saw the above photo on Instagram though, it sparked something in me — is the Midori Sour beyond saving? Can it be modified for the more discerning cocktail drinkers of the world?

Jeffrey Morgenthaler has had great success in updating other drinks like the Amaretto Sour and the Grasshopper for his bars, and realize that I’m not Jeffey Morgenthaler. But still, Midori tastes alright on its own (if you like melon). And also, a sour doesn’t have to use packaged sours mix.

So with all these thoughts floating around in my head, I figured I’d at least try drinking a Midori Sour or two this week. I mean, it’s probably been years since I even tastes the liqueur. And we actually go through quite a bit of it at the bar. There’s one guy who comes in who likes it in his margaritas, and that’s honestly a pretty taste way to have it.

What follows is my first attempt at updating the basis Midori Sour. I hope to try at least a couple more variations of this throughout the week:

Modified Midori Sour #1 


•1 oz Laird’s Applejack
•1 oz Midori
•1 oz lemon juice


Shake all ingredients over ice ans strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.


This was an okay drink. The apple came through more than I had wanted it too, but friends who sipped it said that they wouldn’t have been able to identify the flavor as apple — as it paired well with the melon in the Midori.

This actually tasted pretty much like a regular Midori Sour. But it also tasted like an Apple-tini. I was happy that the full ounce of lemon didn’t make it too tart, but the drink still lacked some sort of body and mouthfeel that the sours mix must give it. 

Thoughts for future experiments? Maybe trying it again with egg white. Maybe trying it again with Gomme Syrup.

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