Comics & Cocktails #5 • Dr. Strange Orders A Mai Tai


It’s been a while since I’ve written a “Comics & Cocktails” post, but I was reading Marvel’s new Doctor Strange book the other night and came across this:


Don’t get between Stephen Strange and his drink!

In this first issue of Marvel’s new solo series, Dr. Strange meets a group of fellow Mystics at a secret New York bar for magicians.

In the panel preceding this one, Strange gets hassled about his bill, but not the “bill” as in his bar tab. He gets hassled about the bill due for all the magic he uses — or, put another way, the cost of his sorcery and what it means to the world.

But Strange is all like: “Chill, dude… My drink ain’t even ready yet.”

I’d have to go back and re-read the issue, but I thought Chondu was at the table with Strange — but maybe he’s the bartender? Either way, Strange just wants his Mai Tai.

The Mai Tai is one of those drinks that people know about, but don’t really know what’s in it. 

People know it’s name and order it because they’ve heard it said in movies and on television. Nothing’s wrong with any of this, of course, I just usually feel bad when someone orders the drink at the bar where I work — because it’s not a drink we offer (or even have the ingredients to make). And thankfully, everyone who has ever tried ordering the drink from me has never seemed to mind the fact that I couldn’t make it for them… Because they didn’t know what was in it themselves and only wanted to order if because the name stuck with them.

All that said, if you see a Mai Tai on a cocktail list somewhere — give it a shot!

The Mai Tai was created by either Trader Vic or Don the Beachcomber, and the recipe from each of those tiki heavyweights differs slightly.

The following recipe comes from Imbibe Magazine:

  • 1 oz. amber Martinique rum
  • 1 oz. aged Jamaican rum
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. orange curaçao
  • 1/4 oz. orgeat
  • 1/4 oz. simple syrup (1:1)
  • Garnish: mint sprig

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add crushed ice. Shake for 10 seconds and pour, unstrained into a glass. Garnish.

Adapted from Jeff Beachbum Berry’s Grog Log, 1998

•#1 — Darkseid Drinking Brandy (Link)
•#2 — Constantine Chugging From The Bottle (Link)
#3 — Iron Man Shares A Drink (Link)
#4 — Hellboy Beer (Link)

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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.



Veracruz Bloody Mary

I figured I’d share this recipe I came up with for a funky little Bloody Mary, as the contest I’d submitted it to is now over.

A few months back there was an open call for Bloody Mary recipes for the Food Network’s NYC Wine & Food Festival.

I put together a recipe and photographed it at the bar where I work (with the help of our chef, Julie Scheira) and this is what we came up with:

•1 part ABSOLUT Limon
•1 part ABSOLUT Cilantro
•4 parts Bloody Mary mix
•1 garnish cocktail shrimp
•1 garnish horseradish pickle
•1 garnish cocktail onion
•1 garnish cocktail olive
•1 garnish andouille sausage
•1 garnish seasoned popcorn
•1 garnish cilantro
•2 dashes Worcestershire
•2 dashes celery bitters
•2 dashes Tapatio hot sauce
•1 dash seasoning salt
•1 splash beer
•1/2 part lime juice

To make the Veracruz Bloody Mary, start by filling a pint glass with ice. Then pour in the vodkas followed by all the other ingredients, but not the beer or garnishes!

Next, roll the contents of the glass into a mixing tin and then back into the glass.

Finish by topping with a splash of beer and then assemble the garnishes!

For garnishes we like a shrimp and a horseradish pickle as well as our house-seasoned popcorn and skewers of alternating onions, olives and andouille sausage.

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Farmers Market Black Raspberry Bourbon Smash

Pictured below is a Black Raspberry Bourbon Smash I made the other night with black raspberries I bought at the Downtown Jamestown Farmers Market:


About This Cocktail
This “Black Raspberry Bourbon Smash” is a variation on the basic whiskey smash. Want to know more? Read this piece about the history of the Smash which Imbibe Magazine published last year.

•2 oz Knob Creek
•1/2 oz lemon juice
•1/2 oz simple syrup
•6 black raspberries
•6 mint leaves

Place mint leaves and black raspberries in a pint glass with the simple syrup and lemon juice. Muddle. Add ice and bourbon then shake and double strain into a chilled martini glass.

This Thursday will be a big day for the Downtown Jamestown Farmers Market.

The Farmers Market has been held each Thursday this summer on Cherry Street between West 2nd & West 3rd streets. This Thursday, though, will be something special, as this week is the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival. If I have time to maneuver through the masses, I’ll swing by for some more fruit for cocktails.

Bored with whiskey and bourbon? Looking for something a little more “out there” to mix up? Well, click this link. The Cocktail Virgin Slut has a recipe for a Cocoa Puff Smash with Green Chartreuse!



Jackie Kennedy Cocktail

Today is Jackie Kennedy’s birthday.

Did you know she has a cocktail named after her though? It’s the signature cocktail of the Elephant Bar at the Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (as well as its sister property the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor.

This is a pic of the Elephant Bar from their website:

The Raffles Hotel Le Royal has the whole story online at their website, but in short:
Jacqueline Kennedy visited Cambodia in 1967. She found time during the trip to try the famous rouge Champagne cocktail in the hotel’s Elephant Bar. Years later, when Raffles Hotel Le Royal was being renovated, the glass she drank from (which still had her lipstick mark on it) was found.

Now called “Femme Fatale,” the hotel bar’s signature cocktail is a champagne-based drink with Crème de Fraise Sauvage and a dash of Cognac. It’s now the bar’s signature cocktail to commemorate Jacqueline Kennedy’s visit to Phnom Penh.

Femme Fatale
The website “A History of Drinking” lists the recipe as following:

•1/4 oz l Crème de Fraise (strawberry liqueur)
•Dash of cognac
•Build in a champagne flute, top with Champagne. Garnish with a rose.

Interested in more? Check out A History Of Drinking.

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Mojitos In Miami

The city of Miami celebrates an anniversary tomorrow.

July 28th is the anniversary of the day the city incorporated in 1896.


Google “Miami” and “cocktail” and you’ll read that the city’s unofficial drink is the Mojito. There are also places online which say that Miami now has an official cocktail, and that it’s the Bacardi Mojito.

Regardless, the Florida city was incorporated on July 28, 1896. And whether or not it’s official, a day in July is the perfect time for a Mojito.

•6 mint leaves
•.75 oz simple syrup (one part water, one part sugar)
•.75 oz fresh lime juice
•1.5 oz white rum
•1.5 oz club soda

Here’s the recipe as printed online at Liquor.com:

In a shaker, lightly muddle the mint. Add the simple syrup, lime juice and rum, and fill with ice. Shake well and pour (unstrained) into a highball glass. Top with the club soda and garnish with a mint sprig.

Note that this Liquor.com recipe calls for the mojito to be shaken after almost all of the ingredients have been added. Shaking the mojito is one method. I usually roll it into a mixing tin at that stage (and then back into the highball glass), then finish with the soda water.

More opinions on how to make a mojito:
•Imbibe Magazine suggests stirring a mojito.
•Epicurious also says to stir, but at a different stage.

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Recipes For Essential Mixes Drinks

I picked up this pocket cocktail pamphlet at a household sale in Lakewood, N.Y.


Bellows: Recipes For Essential Mixed Drinks

This was one of six vintage pamphlets I picked up at a local household sale. I’ll post the rest soon. And maybe one day I’ll get around to transcribing the recipes.

The thing with a pamphlet like this though is that it specifies its particular brand in all of the drinks which are listed. They’re great to own for the art and phrasing though, especially the party books for hosts and hostesses. Those ones have hilarious little cartoons and suggestions for party games and canapés and all sorts of other stuff. This pamphlet’s a more straightforward set of recipes.

I just did a quick Google search and found a few of these Bellows books available for sale online. Not sure of more than that though. From what I can find online it maybe printed in 1949? Or 1950?

The book’s divided up into five sections:
•Brandy, Sherry & Champagne

There’s a total of 34 cocktails in the book and they’re printed as follows:

–Bourbon on the Rocks
–Old Fashioned
–Dry Manhattan
–Mint Julep
–Whiskey Sour
–Whiskey Toddy
–Dry Martini
–Bronx Cocktail
–Southside Cocktail
–Gin Rickey
–Tom Collins
–French 75
–Cuba Libre
–Planters Punch
–Rum Collins
Brandy, Sherry & Champagne
–Brandy Smash
–Side Car
–Jack Rose
–Sherry Flip
–Champagne Cocktail
–Champagne Bowl
–Whiskey Egg Nog
–Whiskey Tom & Jerry
–Peach Bowl
–Black Velvet
–Bellows Rum Cocktail
–The Grasshopper
–Hot Whiskey Toddy
–Sazerac Cocktail
–Bamboo Cocktail

Other Vintage Cocktail Pamphlets:
•The Smart Hostess — Link



The Jungle Bird On T.V.

I finally got around to watching last Wednesday’s episode of “Best Bars In America” …and it was awesome.

This was the second episode in the show’s first proper season and it spotlighted Austin, Texas.

The show airs weekly on the Esquire Network and follows two comedians (Jay Larson and Sean Patton) as they go from city to city checking out the list of “Best Bars In America” as published by Esquire Magazine.

There was an initial episode which featured Milwaukee, Chicago and San Francisco, but now that the show’s an actual series there has been a Portland episode and an Austin episode.

I’ve got to say, I really enjoy this show. Sure, it’s pretty much just two guys ordering cocktails from quality bars throughout various cities, but it’s got a lively pace and is pretty lighthearted (and it’s just fun all around).

I understand that I’m not the one tasting the drinks nor am I the one traveling, but there is a sort of vicarious fun in watching these guys. I’m sure there will be people who criticize it, but I’ve got a love for this show. My favorite part is that if you pay attention, you can glean a few things from the bartenders these two guys meet in each city: whether it’s an outlook on the job, new techniques or a little piece of history.

I shrieked out loud when a bartender serves the guys a “Jungle Bird” on the recent Austin episode. The Jungle Bird is a drink that I’ve been making for myself and friends in recent months. I got really into Campari over this past winter and after a while I’d had my fill of Negronis and Boulevardiers and Old Pals for a bit, which is when I discovered this:

The Jungle Bird20140709-120929-43769027.jpg
Here’s what Imbibe Magazine had to say: A tropically inspired 1970s sipper from the Aviary bar in Kuala Lumpur. This adaptation combines dark rum, Campari and fruit juices.

•1 1/2 oz. blackstrap rum
•3/4 oz. Campari
•1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
•1/2 oz. simple syrup (1:1)
•1 1/2 oz. pineapple juice

Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. (Adapted by Lantern’s Keep, New York City.)

I’ll have to research the episode if “Best Bars” to see if the Austin recipe was any different.

More About The Jungle Bird:
Imbibe Magazine
Difford’s Guide
The New York Times

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The Smart Hostess & The Discriminating Host

I picked this up at a house sale: The Smart Hostess!


It’s a pamphlet printed by the Rival Manufacturing Company in 1954 or 1960, I’m not seeing a whole lot about it anywhere on the internet.


The first section of the pamphlet has ads for the Ice-O-Matic Electric Ice Crusher, The Bucketeer Ice-O-Mat, the Two-Way Ice-O-Mat and the Vogue Ice-O-Mat.

The second section is all party foods and non-alcoholic beverages, but the last section is all bar basics and classic cocktails. Here they are in the order they’re printed:

•Gin Fizz
•Milk Punch
•Stinger Cocktail
•Maple Leaf Cocktail
•Preakness Cocktail
•Whiskey Fix
•Sloe Gin Fizz
•Southern Comfort Cocktail
•Rum Sour
•Side Car
•Mint Julep
•Frozen Daiquiri
•Planter’s Punch
•Orange Blossom Cocktail
•Golden Dawn Cocktail
•Pink Lady Cocktail
•Cider & Gin
•Shamrock Cocktail
•Ward 8
•Bourbon & Scotch Mist

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