Tag Archives: BOURBON

Customer Appreciation Post — Widow Jane Manhattan

A photo from New Year’s Day:


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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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Drinks At Brazill’s

Last night I had dinner and drinks at Brazill’s on Main in Westfield, N.Y.

It was my second time at the restaurant, and it was as great an experience as my first visit — if not better.

I had a rye Manhattan to start:

I also had a bourbon & cider drink:

Even though it’s within Chautauqua County, Brazill’s is a bit of a hike from Jamestown — and I don’t get there often enough because the place is open the same hours as when I’m usually working at my restaurant.

Last night was a bit of a surprise night off though, and I tried to make the most of it.

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Pappy Van Winkle At Circa 81

I didn’t get this bartender’s name, but she posed with her restaurant’s bottle of Pappy Van Winkle for me:


On Thursday my family and I dined at Circa 81 in Morehead City.

The restaurant does tapas plates and calls itself a “Cocktaileria” — which is the first time I’d ever heard of such a thing.

The food was good. I had the chorizo black bean soup, a beet salad with chicken and also a shaved prime rib dish served on crostini with a lite horseradish flavor.

That quick recap doesn’t do the food any real justice, so I’ll post photos and copy from the menu below:


Chorizo black bean soup


And I also had this salad, which had a lot of interesting flavors going on:

Bibb lettuce with beets, chevre, sunflower kernels, radish, pear and a cinnamon pear balsamic vinaigrette.


Circa 81’s “Bibb Salad.”

Overall, I really enjoyed my evening here. Since my family and I were on vacation, we’d sort of been snacking all day — and as a result, we weren’t really looking for full, heavy entrees. The tapas-style focus of this restaurant was sort of perfect for us in that regard. We shared a number of different small plates and several of us got cups of soup and then there was also two different styles of homemade cheesecake which we had for dessert.

Oh, and I had a Basil Hayden neat, a Scrimshaw Pilsner and a B&B for dessert.

If I’m ever hear again on vacation (which I intend to be next summer, this place will be the third in my Top 3 to return to — the others being Arendell Room and Amos Mosquito’s).

Last but not least, the Pappy Van Winkle 23 year was $70 for a 2 oz pour.


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We Call It… The Banana Gun!

This drink was a surprise stroke of genius that came as a result of a little back-and-forth with a customer.

Most times, as a bartender, I’ve got a couple different drinks on my mind in case anyone wants something but doesn’t know what they want. When someone wants me to pick for them and surprise them with something, I’ll still work with ’em to either direct ’em to a classic or one of the slate of drinks I’m holding onto in my brain — I’ll ask a couple of questions and try to read ’em and make sure they get a drink they’re going to like.

Then there are those moments when a little back-and-forth banter leads to a collaboration you would’ve never thought of on your own — which happened to me Tuesday night. 

I’d served a friend a Manhattan after his dinner and then we were discussing where to go next. The idea of rum was raised and the possibility of a banana daiquiri was discussed, but then I brought up the Revolver.

The Revolver is a bourbon drink with coffee liqueur and orange bitters. It’s a simple three-ingredient cocktail, but it’s surprisingly easy for essentially being all booze.

And as I explained all this, my friend nodded in agreement and then said something like: “Yes, but banana.”

So, into the drink went banana rum — which definitely made a sort of sense. I mean, the coffee liqueur we were using in the drink was Kahlua, which is a rum-based coffee liqueur that tastes like vanilla.

And so it was settled and we made the following, a Revolver with all the typical ingredients of the traditional drink plus banana rum — making it a Banana Gun:


Banana Gun
•2 oz Woodford Reserve
•.75 oz Kahlua
•.75 oz banana rum
•2 dashes orange bitters

Thirsty For More?
— Read here about the Revolver.
— Liquor.com’s page about the cocktail.

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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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Happy Birthday, Clara Bow!

Today is actress Clara Bow’s birthday!

She was born July 29, 1905 in Brooklyn and went on to become a star of the screen in Hollywood. 

She died in 1965 at the age of 60.

Her role in the movie It earned her the nickname “The It Girl,” and for many Bow came to personify the roaring twenties.


More movie work info:

She appeared in 46 silent films and 11 talkies, including hits such as Mantrap (1926), It (1927) and Wings (1927).

She was named first box-office draw in 1928 and 1929 and second box-office draw in 1927 and 1930.

Want to know more about Clara Bow? Click here.

Thirsty for a drink? Read on…

About This Cocktail:

The Clara Bow cocktail was created at Rye House in New York City in 2009. There are also other recipes for Clara Bow cocktails online, but this appears to be the first. I found out about the drink from the site Serious Eats.


•​1 1/2 ounces bourbon
​•3/4 ounces lemon juice
•​1/2 ounce grenadine
•​1/2 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
​•Mint leaves


Shake all ingredients over ice and then double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with mint — or mint and a cherry as I did.

Also, in the Rye House’s recipe on Serious Eats, their Clara Bow is made with Bulleit Bourbon.

Still Thirsty For More?

— Read the Serious Eats piece on the Clara Bow cocktail.

— Here’s another site that mentions the Rye House’s drink.



Lemon Raspberry Bourbon Smash

Last night I made myself a Pink Smash to drink:

I’ve written about smashes before. A few times, in fact.

About This Cocktail
This “Raspberry Lemon Bourbon Smash” is a variation on the basic whiskey smash with fresh raspberries and lemon juice.

•2 oz bourbon
•1/2 oz lemon juice
•1/2 oz lemonade
•1/4 oz simple syrup
•6 mint leaves
•6 raspberries

Place mint leaves and raspberries in a pint glass with the simple syrup. lemonade and lemon juice. Muddle the ingredients and then add both ice and bourbon. Shake the drink aggressively and double strain it drink into a chilled cocktail glass.

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Nothing Says ‘Mad Men’ Like Whiskey

I didn’t watch the series finale of Mad Men last night. I’m several seasons behind. But I do like whiskey. And retro patterns:


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