Category Archives: LIQUEURS

It’s Marlon Brando’s Birthday! Celebrate With A “Godfather” Cocktail!

It’s Friday, April 3rd in the year of COVID-19 two-thousand-and-twenty and it also happens to be Marlon Brando’s birthday today.

I almost wrote “the actor Marlon Brando,” but, really, what other Marlon Brando is there in the history of the world!? And if you’re only nominally familiar with the man, it’s probably from his portrayal of Vito Corleone, the “Don” and paterfamilias of the Corleone family in the 1972 film and cultural milestone “The Godfather.”

Of course, by now, it’s probably evident by the headline, the fact that it’s Marlon Brando’s birthday and that lead-in about the Francis Ford Coppola flick that the point of this post is to write about The Godfather cocktail.

About This Drink

A simple, understated scotch cocktail that adds slight sweetness and almond flavor to your favorite scotch.

And to think, I’ve already been drinking scotch this week!

In terms of the scotch going into your Godfather cocktail, grab whatever your go to scotch is — or call in a curbside pickup for a nice workhorse scotch whisky like Monkey Shoulder.


Search Google for Godfather recipes and you’ll come up with everything from scotch-heavy recipes with just a drizzle of amaretto to overly sweet recipes calling for equal parts spirit and liqueur.

I like to split the difference with this drink, skewing closer to the 2:1 proportions of a drink like the Manhattan, but without the bitters — though the addition of bitters, like Fee Brothers old fashioned bitters, would suit this drink just fine for me.

So for my Godfather cocktail I’ll be sipping tonight:

  • 2 oz scotch
  • .75 oz amaretto
  • Orange peel garnish


  • Add all the ingredients into a rocks glass with ice cubes. Stir and garnish with a swath of orange peel.

Further Drinking:

•The Spruce Eats calls for 1.5oz whisky to .5oz amaretto: Link

•Esquire calls for 2oz whisky to .5oz amaretto: Link

•Many sites source the drink as having appeared in the 70s and cite that there’s no confirmed origin or creator: Link

•The Godmother cocktail: Link

•The French Connection cocktail: Link

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The Peach Tease

This cocktail doesn’t even need a name. It has its own playlist:

Prince. The Eels. The Presidents of the United States of America.

Peaches for you. Peaches for me.

And until now it’s only been available in my brain and at my kitchen table, but I’m nothing if not generous — so here’s the recipe.

The Peach Tease

As mentioned previously, Bag and String Wine Merchants gifted me a bottle of their new exclusive barrel release from Tommyrotter Distillery in Buffalo.

This is my first go at making a fun cocktail with it.

About This Drink

A perfect late summer sipper, as fresh peaches are still readily available and the depth and spice of the barrel aged gin hint at the approaching change of seasons.

It’s The Peach Tease (or Teasy P. if you’re hip and into the whole brevity thing).


  • 1.5 oz B&S Tommyrotter Barrel-Aged
  • .75 oz Peach Tea Simple Syrup
  • .75 oz Contratto Apertif orange liqueur
  • Peach garnish


  • Add all the ingredients except the garnish into a mixing glass and stir until well chilled and diluted (as the gin is 122 proof). Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a fresh slice of peach.

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Pretty In Pink

Pretty In Pink’s just the blog post’s title, not the name of the drink.

Just a photo post today:

Messed around with Creme de Violette at work, as well as aquafaba — and ar least I got a decent picture out of the experiment.

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Comics & Cocktails #6 • Dottie Quinn/The Fade Out

Dottie Quinn and The Fade Out

Issue number 10 of “The Fade Out” recently hit comic shop shelves — and the book sets up pretty much all the pieces for the big conclusion coming in the final two issues.

Since debuting some many months back, every time an issue of “The Fade Out” arrives, I want to frame the comic for its cover alone.

For this month’s cover, one of the secondary characters, a gal named Dottie Quinn, was featured. 

Dottie does PR for the movie studio where the story is set, and has a personal and professional relationship with the main character.

Dottie Quinn

As a fan of comics and detective fiction, I have a great love for this hard-boiled era in which “The Fade Out” is set. And as a professional bartender, I’ve also got a great love of the pre-prohibition and post-prohibition eras and all the the drinks which were created in those years.

So in honor of the comic and the character Dottie Quinn, I put together an original cocktail recently which felt like a throwback — bourbon, coffee liqueur, banana liqueur, Grand Marnier & orange bitters. And I garnished it with a banana chip. 


It’s sort of a blend between a “Talent Scout and a “Revolver,” but with the timing and arrival of this new issue of “The Fade Out,” I figured I better call it a Dottie Quinn — sweet and strong, with a stiff bitter side that’s not overwhelming but is surprisingly balanced and complex.


This series is one of the best comic books being published right now.

Written and drawn by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, respectively, “The Fade Out” is published by Image Comics and set in post-World War II Hollywood. My podcast buddy Jason Sample has compared the comic to the film “L.A. Confidential” and that comparison is right on the mark. This book is noir done write — written and drawn by two guys who’ve proven themselves to masters of this genre.

Brubaker and Phillips are well known for tackling not only this era, but the gritty pulp world— with the series “Fatale” being just one example.

“The Fade Out” started as a murder mystery, with an actress’s death covered up as a suicide in issue number one. It has since evolved into a scandal so large in this pseudo-real Hollywood setting that our two main protagonists don’t even care if they solve the case, they just want to go down swinging and maybe make enough noise that it’ll draw some attention to the crime.

Our main character in the book is the scriptwriter for the movie being shot in the comic, and after coming across the corpse of the actress, he removed himself from the situation and then read in the newspapers the next day that it was a suicide — but he knows better.

Someone in his studio covered up the crime, and rearranged the crime scene to look like a suicide. 

Now that we’re 10 issues in, he and his fellow writer, who’s been made aware of the crime, are on the warpath. They’ve discovered an even deeper issue below the murder of this one, individual actress — and they mean to expose it.

“The Fade Out” is a great little story that’s really taking its time to develop. Brubaker and Phillips immerse the reader in this sleazy Hollywood era and spend each of the first few issues introducing us to more and more players in the story. The middle set of books in the series really catapult the story forward and now I can’t wait for the final issues to bring it all to a head.

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The Bitter Truth’s Apricot Liqueur

Just bought a bottle of The Bitter Truth’s Apricot Liqueur!

Now to make some classic cocktails! 

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Fernet-Branca Creme Brûlée

Creme Brûlée made with Fernet-Branca and Domain de Canton:


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A Trip To The Moon

Today marks 113 years since the film A Trip To The Moon was first shown in France!

The short film was written and directed by Georges Méliès and was an immediate inspiration to other directors of the era.

It’s even said that Méliès drew inspiration from nearby Buffalo, N.Y. — specifically the A Trip to the Moon attraction at the Pan-American Exposition in 1901:

Various film scholars have suggested that Méliès was heavily influenced by other works, especially Jacques Offenbach’s operetta Le voyage dans la lune (an unauthorized parody of Verne’s novels) and the A Trip to the Moon attraction at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.

To mark the anniversary of Méliès’ short film, why not shake up an appropriately-themed cocktail like the Blue Moon.

I found the Blue Moon using my Bartender’s Choice app, which was created by Sam Ross of Milk & Honey. The drink is a simple three ingredients, gin, lemon juice and creme de violette — all shaken and strained into a cocktail glass.  

Imbibe Magazine lists pretty much the exact same drink here, but with slight scaling back of the lemon juice and creme de violette (citing Ted Haigh’s updated recipe from Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails).

Red Moon:

At Forte we make a drink called the Red Moon. It has raspberry vodka, Chambord, triple sec, cranberry juice and lime juice and though it might sound like an overly-sweet raspberry Cosmo, it is actually quite tasty:  


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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

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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A Limited-Edition Shandy

Today’s post is of another Southern Tier Shandy, but this one’s made with a one-off beer we scored from the brewery and Arthur R. Gren Distributing.

Curious about the Hop Sun Shandy? My initial post can be read by clicking here.

Today’s post though is about Southern Tier’s “Local Sour,” a kettle sour beer we were lucky enough to get a keg of this week at the restaurant where I work:


About This Drink:

Shandies and Radlers have become quite popular in the past few years. It seems like every summer there’s new flavors and brands on the market. With tart specialty beer on tap, we started adding in fresh-squeezed lemon juice and some liqueur for a basic and delicious house shandy.


•.5 oz lemon juice
•.5 oz simple syrup
•.5 oz orange juice
•.5 oz Domaine de Canton
•10 oz Hop Sun
•4 oz Sierra Mist
•Citrus garnish


Add the citrus and simple syrup into an empty pint glass with the Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur. Next add 8 to 10 oz of “Local Sour” and then top with lemon-lime soda. Garnish with a lemon, lime or orange wedge — or all three.

Note: The above recipe is scaled to serve the drink in a pint glass, but we also cut the recipe in half to serve in a smaller glass, as pictured here:


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