Champagne With Henry VIII

Henry VIII has his very own champagne cocktail named after him!

He ascended the throne of England on April 21, 1509.

The Henry VIII was created by a bartender named Henry Besant in 2004 in London, England.

About This Drink

The drink is a curio comprise of two different vodkas, sugar, citrus, absinthe & champagne.


  • Citron Vodka
  • Pepper Vodka
  • Champagne
  • Absinthe
  • Orange garnish


Build this drink in a chilled champagne flute.

Start with the absinthe-soaked sugar cube and pour in a 1/2 oz of each the two flavored vodkas — then top with champagne and garnish with the orange wedge or swath of peel.

Further Reading:

  • Check out Difford’s Guide’s recipe here.
  • TheDrinkShop also has a write-up.

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National Tequila Day

It’s National Tequila Day today! And it’s not even May!

Well, any reason to celebrate a spirit is reason enough for me! Bring on the salt, citrus and agave syrup!

I found the above picture by searching National Tequila Day in Google’s images.

And now for some drinks:

• Anejo Old Fashioned — (Link)
• The Matador — (Link)
• Tequila Mockingbird — (Link)

For my money though, the drink of the day should definitely be the Paloma!

You can build this drink to taste, like you would any other highball or Collins/Rickey because the ingredients are sort of similar — tequila, lime juice and grapefruit soda.

But here’s the basic building blocks:

•2 oz tequila
•1 splash lime juice
•1 pinch of salt
•3 to 4 oz grapefruit soda

Grab yourself a Collins or highball glass and pack it full with ice. Next add 2 oz of good tequila. Add a bit of lime juice, whether it be pre-squeezed or simply a good-sized wedge you squeeze and drop in. Then top off the glass with the grapefruit soda!

For more about the Paloma, visit Liquor.com or Imbibe Magazine or The New York Times or Serious Eats or Esquire.


— Check out Good Spirits News for more about National Tequila Day and a list of quality tequilas.


Who makes up all these “National” holidays? Where do they come from? Why are they legit?

— Here’s some info explaining just that.

— A second story about the calendar.

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Hey Scout — ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ Turns 55 Today

Today marks the 55th anniversary of the release of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird.

The book was published on July 11, 1960.

Sometime after its release, a bartender created a cocktail named after the book — the Tequila Mockingbird!

According to Difford’s Guide, this recipe is thought to have been created sometime in the 1960s after Harper Lee’s novel was published. There’s also another version of the drink, and that is the recipe which appears in the recently published cocktail book also titled Tequila Mockingbird.

Tequila Mockingbird 


About This Drink

I took the following recipe from The Ultimate Bar Book by Mittie Hellmich.


•2 oz silver tequila
•1/2 oz white creme de menthe
•1 oz fresh lime juice


Shake over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish by floating a lime wheel on top — or with a wedge on the rim, as I did.



Salvador Dali’s Casanova Cocktail

Today is Salvador Dali’s birthday.

He was born May 11, 1904 in Spain.

So, in honor of his birthday, I searched the Internet to see if he has his own cocktail — and lo and behold, he actually had his own cook book!

Les Diners de Gala was published in 1973. 


In the book he details how to make his Casanova Cocktail, which seems to me to be the appropriate drink to have today in honor of his birthday today.

• The juice of 1 orange
• 1 tablespoon bitters (Campari)
• 1 teaspoon ginger
• 4 tablespoons brandy
• 2 tablespoons old brandy (Vielle Cure)
• 1 pinch Cayenne pepper

From Les Diners de Gala:

This is quite appropriate when circumstances such as exhaustion, overwork or simply excess of sobriety are calling for a pick-me-up.

Here is a well-tested recipe to fit the bill.

Let us stress another advantage of this particular pep-up concoction is that one doesn’t have to make the sour face that usually accompanies the absorption of a remedy.

At the bottom of a glass, combine pepper and ginger. Pour the bitters on top, then brandy and “Vielle Cure.” Refrigerate or even put in the freezer.

Thirty minutes later, remove from the freezer and stir the juice of the orange into the chilled glass.

Drink… and wait for the effect. 

It is rather speedy.


Casanova Cocktail Online

All the text I included above came from a site called Brain Pickings. I believe that’s the text which accompanies the drink recipe in Dali’s book.

Want to read more? Here’s a link to Huff Post and a link to First We Feast and also Dangerous Minds.

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Mary Astor’s Painless Anesthetic

Actress Mary Astor was born on this day in 1906.

She starred in silent movies as well as “talkies,” and is perhaps best-known for having played the role of Brigid O’Shaugnessy in the movie The Maltese Falcon. She also played the role of Mrs. Anna Smith in the movie Meet Me In St. Louis.

In searching the Internet for a Mary Astor cocktail, I came across two recipes that piqued my interest. The first was a drink I found on the site of a liqueur brand called Chareau, which is a booze company based in California — and the liqueur they make is aloe flavored.

Check out the site’s “about” section by clicking here. The liqueur sounds mind-boggling. I don’t know that I ever would’ve thought of aloe as a primary ingredient for a liqueur. Of course, I’m also not a California farmer.

Other ingredients in the liqueur include: Cucumber, eau de vie, lemon peel, muskmelon, spearmint, sugar and water.

Online at the Chareu site, the company lists this as their Mary Astor cocktail:

Photo from chareau.us



  • 2 oz Gin
  • 3/4 oz Chareau 
  • 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc 


Stir ingredients over ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with edible flowers. Cocktail by Pablo Moix.

Crazy interesting, right!? I have got to know what that tastes like.


So, while still interesting, Chareau’s Mary Astor cocktail is a brand specific modern cocktail. 

There isn’t any official “Mary Astor” cocktail that I’ve found, but there is the thing called “Astor’s Painless Anesthetic!”

What is an Astor’s Painless Anesthetic? Well, according to Lesley M. M. Blume’s book “Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition,” the drink was created for Mary Astor by the Stork Club.

The full title of Blume’s book is: Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition: A Compendium of Impish, Romantic, Amusing, and Occasionally Appalling Potations from Bygone Eras.

Google made research into the matter even more helpful by having a copy of The Stork Club Bar Book available to search online:


  • 3 oz gin
  • 1 oz French vermouth
  • 1 oz Italian vermouth
  • 1 oz cognac
  • Orange bitters


“Shake well with ice cubes and dash of orange bitters, twist of lemon peel and just a touch of sugar.”


The Stork Club was a nightclub in Manhattan, which was open from 1929 to 1965 and was regarded as one of the most prestigious clubs in the world. 

The club was a symbol of café society, where the wealthy elite, including movie stars, celebrities, showgirls and aristocrats all mixed in the VIP Cub Room of the club.

Reading over the Stork Club’s Wikipedia page I found out that Walter Winchell actually coined the name of the Stork Club’s “Cub Room,” — a fact which has me now wanting to rewatch that HBO biopic starring Stanley Tucci.



Happy Birthday, Mary Pickford!

Today is film actress Mary Pickford’s birthday!

And, as so many of the stars from her era did, she has a cocktail named after her!

The Mary Pickford cocktail is made with rum, pineapple juice, cherry liqueur and grenadine. It was created by a bartender named Eddie Woelke, who fled to Cuba during Prohibition — like so many others in the profession who scattered to countries all around the world.

About Mary Pickford:

Mary Pickford was born April 8, 1892 and died May 29, 1979. She was a Canadian-American actress and a co-founder of the film studio United Artists. She was also one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. You know, thee Academy!

She won two Academy Awards in her lifetime. The first was in 1929 when she won the award for Best Actress for her performance in CoquetteThe second was in 1975 when she was presented with an honorary Oscar “in recognition of her unique contributions to the film industry and the development of film as an artistic medium.”

You can find her full filmography online here.

The Mary Pickford Cocktail:

Recipe from Imbibe Magazine:

  • 2 oz. white rum
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 barspoon grenadine
  • 1 barspoon maraschino liqueur

Combine all ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a brandied cherry.

The PDT Cocktail Book:

In The PDT Cocktail book, author Jim Meehan gets a little more specific about brands. He cites the book Cocktails by Pedro Chicote, published in 1928:

  • 2 oz. Banks 5 Island Rum
  • .75 oz. pineapple juice
  • .5 oz. Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • .25 oz. house grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe. No garnish.

Alternate History:

The Mary Pickford cocktail was created by either Eddie Woelke, as mentioned above, or another bartender of the era. As with so with so many classic cocktails, there are multiple sources cited in the history of the Mary Pickford.

In his book Cocktails, Cocktails, and More Cocktails, author Kester Thompson writes that the drink was created specifically for Pickford during a trip which she took to Cuba in the 1920s with Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks. The bartender he names as having created the drink is Fred Kaufmann.

Imbibe Magazine cites Woelke while Difford’s Guide names Kaufman (only one “N” though for some reason). Additionally, the Difford’s Guide article I linked doesn’t even mention Woelke, even though the piece does mention the El Presidente cocktail — which is the drink he’s best known for having created.

The blog Cold Glass has a nice write-up about the drink here.

Thirsty For More?

Serious Eats — Link

•Mix That Drink — Link

•History Of Drinking — Link




The New York Sour

Whiskey, sugar, lemon juice and red wine — the New York Sour is simple, classic, has an interesting history and appeals to both wine drinkers as well as whiskey cocktail fans.

I made a brief mention of the New York Sour when writing about Buffalo Proper last week.

My wife ordered the restaurant’s New York Sour, which was made with with Old Overholt, fresh lemon juice and a Rioja.

I’ve made more than a few of these from behind the bar at Forte. Here’s how one of mine looked the other day:


There’s a real beauty of a blog post about the New York Sour online here at Food 52.

The writer cites David Wondrich about the drink’s Chicago roots:

Drink History via Food 52:
According to cocktail authority David Wondrich, the New York Sour is not actually from New York, but rather from Chicago, where, in the 1880s, a bartender began dressing up his sours by adding a “snap” of claret.

But it was particularly popular in New York during Prohibition, when the wine, lemon, and sugar were handy camouflages for the not-so-hot whiskey of the era, and at some point, the name stuck.

Whatever its origins, you could drink a New York Sour anytime, anywhere, and it would feel right. But we’re partial to it for early fall, the way the puckery lemon swirls together with spicy rye and dark, warming red wine.

Also, this post on Serious Eats cites Wondrich’s book Imbibe! on the fact that the drink was also known as a “Continental Sour” and a “Southern Whiskey Sour” during the 1880s, with the name “New York Sour” mostly settled on by the early 1900s.

What wine to use?

  • Wondrich says Claret.
  • Food 52 says Malbec or Syrah.
  • Buffalo Proper serves it with Rioja.
  • At Forte we use Cabernet.

Further Reading:

— Liquor.com recipe no. 1 and no. 2

— Liquor.com’s video recipe.

— Bon Appetit & Epicurious

About This Cocktail:

For my New York Sour pictured above, I used a California Cabernet — medium-bodied with notes of raspberry, plum skin & black currant and a velvety smooth finish. It complimented the drink nicely. Here’s the recipe:


  • 2 oz rye whiskey or other whiskey of preference. I actually used 1.5 oz of Knob Creek bourbon, which is 100 proof and has a spicy rye-like bite.
  • .75 oz simple syrup
  • .75 oz fresh lemon juice
  • .5 oz red wine


Add all ingredients except the wine to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a lowball glass filled with fresh ice. Using the back of a spoon, slowly pour the red wine into the drink — and if done carefully it should float for a short time on top of the whiskey sour. Garnish with a lemon wedge or wheel or twist.

Some recipes call for an egg white, as a lot of old sours recipes do… I like the recipes which 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.