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Other Spirits: Absinthe
Absinthe Frappe Cocktail
Absinthe Frappe Cocktail Ingredients
1.25 oz. Duplais Verte Absinthe
2 oz. Soda
0.5 oz. Simple syrup
6-8 Loose mint leaves
Absinthe Frappe Cocktail Preparation
Fill a Louis bag with ice and crush with a mallet. Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add crushed ice. Shake hard. Pour into a Pontarlier glass without straining. Add more ice and garnish with two sip stick straws.
Absinthe Frappe Cocktail Story
The Old Absinthe House at the corner of Bourbon Street and Iberville in New Orleans is where Catalonian bartender Cayetano Ferrer invented the famous Absinthe Frappés, in 1869. Known for his way with the potent spirit after tending the basement bar at the French Opera House, Ferrer mixed absinthe and sugar with lots of ice, a morning refreshment that soon drew a crowd of writers, like Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain, among other influential people. The drink even wound its way into Glen MacDonough’s Broadway musical It Happened in Nordland as the preferred hangover cure of its characters: “When life seems grey and dark the dawn, and you are through,/ There is, they say, on such a morn, one thing to do:/ Rise up and ring, a bell-boy call to you straight-way,/ And bid him bring a cold and tall absinthe frappé!”
Other Spirits: Campari
Americano Cocktail Preparation
Combine all ingredients except soda in a Collins or double rocks glass and add ice. Top with soda, add ice, and stir. Garnish with an orange twist or orange wheel.
Americano Cocktail Story
The classic Italian highball, popularized by bitters producer Gaspare Campari at his cafe in Milan around the 1860s, was the world’s first introduction to the now ubiquitous eponymous aperitif, Campari. Once the late afternoon highball of choice for those with hours to spare in the day, the blend of amaro and vermouth with soda caught on with American tourists during the 1920s, a period when they likely would have taken to anything containing alcohol. Campari was on to something: practically any Italian aperitif mixed with soda can be sublimely refreshing during the hot, dry summer months. Unlike its offspring, the Negroni, it also won’t knock you off your feet when consumed on an empty stomach.
Other Spirits: Aperol
Aperol Spritz Preparation
In a wine glass, layer Aperol, sparkling wine, ice, then soda. Mix ingredients well with a spoon. Garnish with an orange slice.
Aperol Spritz Story
While one sip of an Aperol Spritz might instantly transport you to a sunny afternoon in an old Italian cafe, close your eyes and put yourself even deeper in the past, circa 1800’s Venice. The Habsburgs, who happened to be holding imperial residency over the region, found the best way to transform the local wines to their tastes was to “spritz” them with water. As the drink was meant to be a refreshment for men who were more used to beer than wine, the invention of carbonated water made the format even more appealing and adaptable. Spritzing low-proof Italian aperitifs with soda water became a popular drinking habit of Austrian women, and naturally, the trend found its way right back to Italy. Spritzes varied from town to town depending on the regionally produced amaro. Aperol, produced near Venice since 1919, naturally lends itself to the spritz format. Its low alcohol content and notes of bright, bitter citrus made it one of the more popular aperitifs in the post-war period.
Other Spirits: Angostura Bitters
Champagne Cocktail Ingredients
5 oz. Sparkling wine
1 Sugar cube
Champagne Cocktail Preparation
Place sugar cube on a plate or clean surface. Soak sugar cube with bitters until fully absorbed. Pour Champagne into a flute and let bubbles settle. Add soaked sugar cube. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Champagne Cocktail Story
Created in 1850 but first appearing in print in Jerry Thomas’s 1862 bar guide How to Mix Drinks, the Champagne Cocktail is unique from other old fashioned cocktails in that it doesn’t rely on any additional spirits for fortification, nor water for dilution. The recipe has gone virtually unchanged since that publication, however, just like the Old Fashioned, it’s a cocktail that can be adjusted to taste, whether it’s served on ice or up, garnished with a lemon twist or not. But where aesthetics are concerned, one method of preparing this cocktail trumps all others: soaking a sugar cube in Angostura Bitters and then dropping it in a flute of champagne, allowing it to sink to the bottom and slowly dissolve while the drink changes color, imbues the drink with a truly mystifying display of elegance.
Other Spirits: Absinthe
Death in the Afternoon Cocktail
Death in the Afternoon Cocktail Ingredients
5 oz. Sparkling wine
Death in the Afternoon Cocktail Preparation
Pour Champagne into a flute. Pour absinthe over Champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Death in the Afternoon Cocktail Story
Ernest Hemingway’s greatest ode to cafe culture on the Left Bank of Paris is not found in a book, but in a champagne flute. Thought to have been created alongside the release of Hemingway's novel of the same name, the Death in the Afternoon first appears in print in a 1935 cocktail book titled So Red the Nose, or- Breath in the Afternoon. Hemingway intended the straightforward drink to be consumed successively - “drink three to five of these slowly” are the precise instructions. Adding anything other than absinthe or champagne drastically alters his original recipe, however, as with any drink featuring absinthe, diluting the absinthe with ice before adding champagne allows the botanical nuances of the spirit to shine. Hemingway even created a variation of his own drink, a tall glass of genever, lime, and bitters called a Death in the Gulf Stream. Like a bad inside joke, the drink was dedicated to the sea sickness suffered by his good friend, legendary cocktail recipe collector Charles H. Baker, during their seafaring trips together off the shores of Florida.
Other Spirits: Crème de Menthe
Grasshopper Cocktail Preparation
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add ice. Shake hard. Fine strain into a snifter. Microplane dark chocolate over the top.
Grasshopper Cocktail Story
Equal parts crème de menthe, crème de cacao, and cream, the Grasshopper has been satisfying sweet tooths since the 1910s. Invented at Tujagues restaurant, established in New Orleans in 1856 and still operating today, owner Philibert Guichet earned the drink’s claim to fame as second place winner at the New York City cocktail competition in 1928. Some historical findings suggest, however, that this event occurred in 1919, while other findings point to judge Walter Winchell’s appearance at the competition as proof that it could not have occurred until after he started his journalistic career in 1920. Most interesting is that all of this took place during Prohibition, some stories claiming the Tujagues served the Grasshopper through the ratification of the 21st amendment. The Grasshopper’s cult-like status as a dessert drink has grown over the years, leading to a frozen version popular in Wisconsin supper clubs, where the drink is served blended with a scoop of ice cream.
Other Spirits: Vermouth
Old Hickory Cocktail
Old Hickory Cocktail Preparation
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Stir 25-35 times. Strain into a double rocks glass and add ice. Garnish with an orange twist.
Old Hickory Cocktail Story
The ultimate New Orleans aperitif, the Old Hickory first appeared in print in Stanley C. Arthur’s 1934 Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em. The moniker refers to future U.S. president Andrew Jackson's nickname, bestowed upon him for his characteristic fortitude as he led his troops through the Battle of New Orleans in the winter of 1815. It’s unlikely Old Hickory himself enjoyed many other New Orleans tipples other than this one, as he wasn’t keen on drinking heavily. Though largely overshadowed by boozier cocktails such as the Sazerac and Vieux Carré, the Old Hickory is as transportive to old New Orleans as either. Like an Old Fashioned, the Old Hickory can be endlessly riffed on with other fortified wines or prepared in the rustic, cobbled-together fashion that Andrew Jackson likely enjoyed.
Other Spirits: Sloe Gin
Sloe Gin Fizz Cocktail
Sloe Gin Fizz Cocktail Preparation
Separate the egg whites from the yolk and place the whites in a shaker. Add the remaining ingredients except soda. Combine tins without ice and shake hard for fifteen seconds. Add ice and shake very hard. Fine strain into a Collins glass. Allow the meringue from the egg to rise to the top and set in a thick layer. Top with soda.
Sloe Gin Fizz Cocktail Story
A peculiar victim of lost ingredients, the Sloe Gin Fizz never enjoyed much of a golden age like many other once-forgotten classic cocktails. Sloe gin itself is a delicately fruity liqueur made by infusing gin with sloe drupes, a tart, wild blackberry found all over England. The fizz’s first print mention, in 1941, stresses the need for a quality sloe gin to mix with lemon juice, sugar, and club soda. American bartenders, however, had developed a penchant for subpar substitutions: just as they wantonly swapped sticky-sweet apricot liqueur in recipes calling for unobtainable apricot brandy, they served Sloe Gin Fizzes with a domestically-produced liqueur that was nothing like the real thing.The same bastardized sloe gin puzzlingly played a starring role in the so-called dark ages of the cocktail - the 1980s, the era of oversized martini glasses and obscenely named shots. To the benefit of anybody hoping to experience what a proper Sloe Gin Fizz should taste like, quality sloe gin has undergone a resurgence in production, while alternative sloe berry-like liqueurs produced outside of England are only beginning to gain the attention the deserve.