Mise en place for the cocktail to be named…. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

A few weeks ago when Donna was gadding about in NYC, I asked my dear pal Lester if he’d have a drink with me at the best bar in the world, aka Velvet Tango Room. I wanted to have a look at its menu and to have a cocktail I created, or rather, riffed on a classic, The Martinez. Mine is called The Berkshire Martinez and I am honored to be on the menu. The bar’s owner is Paulius Nasvytis. In a tale too odd and complicated to go into here, he and Claudia Young, longtime Nashville resident, are an item. Before Lester and I could head off for some greezy Chinese chuck, Paulius and Claudia arrived. They had created a new cocktail and were eager for us to try it. It is a fabulous cocktail—single malt, truffle honey, half-and-half—and a perfect holiday libation, rich and comforting. I was too cheap to fork over $80 for a bottle of the recommended Oban for the photo. The Macallan is perhaps the best-balanced single malt whiskey, so I used that. But I have to agree with Claudia that Oban is perfect. Lester took a sip after I took a sip and wouldn’t give it back, shaking his head over how good it was. Ever had milk punch? This is like the best milk punch ever created.

But it doesn’t have a name! And that means … Contest! Whoever comes up with the best name for this drink wins a signed copy of the new book Salumi (or Charcuterie if you prefer) and a signed copy of Ruhlman’s Twenty: 20 Techniques, 100 Recipes, a Cook’s Manifesto. Special attention will be given to names that include “Cleveland,” but this is not critical. We’re looking for the best name. Feel free to enter as many names as you want.

Here’s Claudia on the creation of this wonderful holiday treat:

“Paulius wanted to do something with truffles because last winter we went to Grant Achatz’s Aviary and had a black truffle Negroni, which was, as one might expect, quite heady and, well, fantastic. So we decided to experiment using truffle honey—and after a few trials and errors I got to thinking that anytime I’d ever eaten truffles it was with something rich—fat and truffles go so well together. So I thought to use half and half. The question then was what spirit—and we both said scotch at the same time. P brought home a few bottles from the bar, and for me Oban was the clear choice. Next up was how to garnish and P said orange and I agreed but with a flame—and voilà! A cocktail was born!

“As for the scotch. I understand it’s not an inexpensive cocktail and that many would consider it sacrilege to adulterate a fine single malt. But I suppose my thoughts are that those who dare will reap the reward. The Oban is somewhat floral and not too peaty. I found The Macallan too big and Laphroaig overwhelming, while the Oban, definitely more finessed, blends beautifully with the truffled honey, cream, and orange. Buy a bottle. Make a few of these, discuss its virtues—and then sip on the rest. To me it is the quintessential holiday cocktail, albeit somewhat decadent. But so is popping a cork on a bottle of good champagne.”

Nicely put.

TBN Cocktail (The Major Award named on 12/5/12)

To serve 1:

  • 45 grams/1.5 ounces Oban
  • 30 grams/1 ounce truffle honey syrup made with a 1:1 water to honey ratio
  • 30 grams/1 ounce half and half
  • 1 slice of orange zest for flaming
  1. Mix liquids.
  2. Pour over ice.
  3. Flame the zest: ready the peel over the glass, hold a lighted match close to the peel, moving the flame up and down to draw the oil out, then pinch the peel so that the oils pass through the flame onto the drink.


The shopping links for the week:

© 2012 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2012 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


225 Wonderful responses to “Friday Cocktail Hour: Name This Cocktail Contest!”

  • Matthew Kayahara

    It looks a lot like Athol Brose, except for the truffle component. Some of the most famous truffles in the world come from Alba, so why not… Alba Brose?

  • Heidi

    I was fortunate to have enjoyed a sampling of this lusty libation while still in the experimental stages – wow. I would arm wrestle Lester for another sip. My entry: The Rust Belt Revival. The classic Rusty Nail cocktail indicates presence of Scotch, Rust Belt screams Cleveland to me, and revival is what is happening in this very modern cocktail interpretation. Cheers!

  • Brett Stein

    How about “Truffled Claudius”? A bit of a regal mashup for such a drink…

  • Matt T

    The Carnegie Conundrum, I’m a sucker for alliteration. Use single malt in a drink?! Do so and you will be rewarded.

  • Dan McCormick

    The Vaccination. It seems to me to be a variation on the Pennicilin cocktail (scotch with honey ginger syrup and lemon), so I wanted something medicinal. The French root of vaccine is cow, which brings in the milk component. Finally, it’s the season of flu vaccinations- this one would be more fun.

    Or, if you prefer- The Cleveland Vaccination, but that may be pandering.

  • Andy

    Is it wrong that I want this right now—at 9:50 in the morning??!!

    My entry is the ‘Cuyahoga Flyer’. A take on the ‘Scotch Bird Flyer’—without the Triple Sec, but sweetness from the honey (instead of powdered sugar).

    Can’t wait to try this.

  • Andrew

    To honor its origins, I’d call it the Cleveland Ca’Canny. Cleveland due to said origin and because I’m not afraid to smooch a little rear if it might bump my odds of winning the contest. Ca’Canny is the Scot expression for “be cautious” or “take care,” paying homage to the Scotch as its featured ingredient and that by dangerously sweetening it with milk/cream and honey, you could easily guzzle this bad boy so you better be careful! The alliteration makes it a memorable name as well.

    I think I’m going to have to make one of these tonight.

  • Chris

    Two entries: first, after the flaming orange peel, the ‘Flaming Cuyahoga’. Though that’s hardly elegant enough for such a refined drink. Second, the ‘Scottish Shake’. I gotta try this when I get home!

  • Han

    “Pacifier.” or “The Pacifier.” Half and half, whiskey, and honey sounds like it could make even a teething baby mellow. Sounds delightful.

  • chad

    Cleveland Coo – “coo” is the way some Scots pronounce the word “cow”, and I’m going for the bonus points using “Cleveland” and avery author’s admired appliance, alliteration!

  • Ken

    “Ruhlman’s 18-20”, named for the scotch and the book.

    Oh, and my favorite cocktail name of all time? “Corpse Reviver”. Works, too :).

  • Steve

    Christmas in Cleveland, similar in naming convention to a favorite drink a few of my friends and I have which we dubbed “Summer in Paris” (Hendricks, Tonic, St. Germaine, orange peel).

  • Michael K

    Oban single-malt, truffle honey, and (rich) half-and-half? That is one upscale drink. Hence my suggestion: a Rockefeller Park. Or just a Rockefeller. Named after the richest Clevelander I could think of.

  • Ari

    Why not call it “Progress & Prosperity”

    -sounds classy, to match the ingredients.
    -Progress: to match a progressive match of truffle and single malt (bit of a stretch)
    -Prosperity: due to the cost of ingredients, the luxurious nature of the drink, a la Milk & Honey
    -and it is Cleveland’s motto

  • Brendan

    The P.C., which could mean many things to many people: Part Cleveland, Produced/Planned (in) Cleveland, Penicillin Cocktail (h/t to Dan McC above), Pauluis and Claudia, and irony for those believing how blasphemous this is.

  • John

    Besides voting for the guy who submitted ‘The Cleveland Creamer’, I’ll submit ‘The Creamland’.

  • Jack

    It’s a holiday drink with milk and honey so, why not call it a Yahweh….Yahweh appeared to Moses in the burning bush and led Israel from Egypt to the land of milk and honey.

  • Allen

    Pretty sure I’d take a second mortgage out on my house to get tanked on these babies, so I would call it the “Second Mortgage”!

  • Victoria

    Since this beautiful drink is made with Scotch, I am suggesting two nominees that have to do with its heritage rather than its origin:

    A Creamed Thistle;

    If made with Oban, a Gateway, since Oban means Gateway to the Isles.

  • Allen

    I have an airline size bottle of Oban, just need some truffle honey.
    Name should be sexy. Sexually oriented. Scottish.
    I dunno, perhaps “Lach Ness Monster Sperm”.
    Bleh… “Scottish breast milk”? Uggg

    You know that Rolling Stones song “Hey, you, get off of my cloud”, perhaps go with the Scottish version ” Eh McLeod, git off uv my ewe”!

  • Allen

    I need a few more Barton martini’s with lye cured and brined olives, something in my price range.
    I’ll come up with a friggin name yet.

    And you people need to learn to share the beverage. Back and forth, equal sips. Or get one each.

  • Allen

    Ahhrr right, a respectable bar, no trash talk.
    How about “The White Tuxedo”
    Goddam fancy ass shit right there. Yup.

  • Jeannie

    I am throwing in “the White Hare”. The white hare/moon rabbit makes the elixir of life on the moon and this sounds pretty darn “elixiry” and tasty!!!

  • Mantonat

    The White Hart Crane – In honor of one of Ohio’s best poets, whose memorial park is a stone’s throw from Velvet Tango.

  • Amy Watts

    Milk and honey makes me think milk of human kindness… and this sounds like a very comforting drink… so….

    Cleveland Kindness

    • Natalie Luffer Sztern

      Je veux une Femme Fatale….I will have a Femme Fatale.

      A Risquee s’il vous plait….A Risquee please. Male and Female would delight in ordering these. Unisex. A woman could have that kittenish look when ordering and a male would have that ‘yea I want one of those for real’ kind of look.

      A maketer’s dream… but hey don’t say I didn’t do my best…Good luck

  • Leah B.

    “The Cleveland Conundrum”…cause they seem like they shouldn’t work well together and do.

  • Ed

    Since it’s new, I’m thinking that a simple name that hints at its ingredients might make it easier to remember and thus more frequently ordered. Not sexy at all, but I’m going with “Scotch Cream”

  • Ben

    Carnegie Nog, Carnegie Cream – something along those lines. References the steelman’s Scottish heritage as well as Carnegie Ave, the thoroughfare around the corner from the Velvet Room.

  • Tony R.

    As this is a libation a well-heeled Lady or Gentleman would indulge in, I propose the Brogue D’Luxe.

    Not just an upscale wingtip, brogue may also refer to the regional form of English spoken in Scotland, so works on both levels I think.

  • Lora in Louisville

    Honey MILFsky. Honey+Milk+whisky so good you’d like to ….
    have another!

    • Ed

      [I received the following email shortly after the contest started. Since it dealt with Scotland and milk, I thought it appropriate to share]

      The only cow in a small town in Ireland stopped giving milk.Then the town folk found they could buy a cow in Scotland quite cheaply.So, they brought the cow over from Scotland. It was absolutely wonderful, it produced lots of milk every day and everyone was happy.

      They bought a bull to mate with the cow to get more cows, so they’d
      never have to worry about their milk supply again.

      They put the bull in the pasture with the cow but whenever the bull tried to mount the cow, the cow would move away.

      No matter what approach the bull tried, the cow would move away from
      the bull, and he was never able to do the deed..

      The people were very upset and decided to go to the Vet, who was very wise, tell him what was happening and ask his advice.

      “Whenever the bull tries to mount our cow, she moves away. If he approaches from the back, she moves forward. When he approaches her from the front, she backs off. If he attempts it from the one side, she walks away to the other side.”

      The Vet rubbed his chin thoughtfully and pondered this before asking,
      “Did you by chance, buy this cow in Scotland ?”

      The people were dumbfounded, since no one had ever mentioned that they had brought the cow over from Scotland .

      “You are truly a wise Vet,” they said. “How did you know we got the
      cow from Scotland ?

      The Vet replied with a distant look in his eye: “My wife is from Scotland “

  • Vanessa

    Cleveland Cuddle / Cleveland Cuddler. And this from someone who’s allergic to milk!

  • paul

    My favorite coffeeshop in Bozeman, MT has a drink called a Bee Sting which is espresso, cream and honey over ice, so the adult version would be… a Scottish Bee Sting.

  • Jerry

    How about the Euclid Avenue Elixir? It would appear this drink is for the well healed. Euclid Avenue was historically the home of millionaires.

  • terri

    Honey, Orange You Glad We Had the Oban Milk Punch?
    (sorry, i seem to be in a bad punny mood today)

  • Katie

    Cleveland Creamsicle or Christmas Creamsicle or–because Creamsicle is probably trademarked–the Cleveland Orange Cream/Creme.

  • Tristan A

    Naughty Oban
    Oban Led Astray
    Misbehaving Malt
    Misbehavin’ Oban
    (see a theme here? I love being bad)
    Cleveland’s Own
    Cleveland’s Cocktail
    Cleveland Punch
    (and I’m not above pandering)