Introducing the Sea Breeze's sister the Madras. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Swap OJ for grapefruit juice and a Sea Breeze becomes a Madras.
Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

When I returned to the CIA in the fall of 1999, two years after the publication of Making of a Chef wherein I described the humiliating service experience on my first day at St. Andrew’s restaurant, and Chef Czack lofted an overly generous tip onto my table with a look of withering disdain for my shoddy performance, he himself hosted me at the Danny Kaye Theater for an interview. I had been provided a pink beverage, strangely, as one almost always is given water. Chef Czack held out his hand to the drink. “Can you tell us what this is?” he asked me. I looked blankly at it, took a sip, looked out at the audience as a deer into headlights. I had not been expecting a sucker punch and confessed ignorance.

A Sea Breeze,” said Chef Czack, allowing me to relive the humiliation. Or so I recall.

All in good fun, and at least I didn’t say Madras.

Here, in the last of a series of pink drinks, is an actual Madras, an eminently refreshing elixir that also describes how the altering of a single ingredient (juice only, not even the spirit) alters the name of the drink, as it should. Top off vodka-cranberry with orange juice instead of grapefruit juice and what might have been a Sea Breeze becomes a Madras. (Why this should not be so when you switch vodka for gin in a classic martini is clear: because the name for a vodka-vermouth cocktail, Kangaroo, sounds silly; thus we are left with bartenders asking me if I have a preference of vodka when I order a martini, more or less forcing me to be obnoxious.)

But it is warm summertime now, and I will try to keep cool with a Madras.

The Madras

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 3 ounces cranberry juice
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • slice of lime, for garnish
  1. Combine all ingredients except the lime slice in a tall glass, then fill it with ice.
  2. Squeeze in the lime and drop it in as garnish.

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© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


7 Wonderful responses to “Friday Cocktail Hour: The Madras”

  • ATN654

    In college, I had a Citron Madras for the first time at, surprisingly, a frat party (Kappa Sigma really knew how to mix cocktails). I think it’s the best gateway drink for anyone.

  • Carolyn Z

    What a clever use of OJ! A quick slide over from grapefruit juice! Delicious!

  • Jake

    It looks really nice when you make it and the colors are swirling

  • allen

    Lighting is great Donna, love that thin lime. Staying sane & sober, til I have my tini 2nite.

  • Allen

    If this shot was done the same time as last weeks I don’t g.o.s, I know how much work is involved and we need to enjoy this special time of year.
    Warm weather, lots of daylight, nice temp and a good beverage.

    Madras, Padras, Sea Breeze, who gives a rats ass what you call it.
    Enjoy goddamit!!
    Tini’s & Negroni’s in da house!

  • Allen

    Cocktail blog hoarder, that’s me.

    I going to sneak in a post about a good hamburger. The kind from a good small mom and pop place.

    My wife is from a small town, they had a tiny hamburger restaurant there that we loved for years. They served great hamburgers, it was always busy, very popular with locals and out of towners.

    We would go there before we were married and for 15 years, then one of her classmates bought the place -that kind of small town, and changed the recipe.

    Screwed up the hamburger using a long sweet pickle, dry burger and different sauce.

    Heart breaking.

    Fortunately I watched the original owners prepare a hamburger during a busy time and now make a very similar version that I will try and post. A good summer treat.

    Sauce is called “Goop”
    Accept no substitute.
    This is not a gormet Pat Lafieda with foie gras, it’s a mom & pop style that makes a good hamburger.
    Follow a few simple rules and you’ll have your own version, but don’t mess with success.

    1 c Best Foods or Hellmans mayo
    1/4c cheep yellow mustard
    1/3 c finely minced cheap onion
    1/3 c finely diced dill pickle slices
    2 T cheap white vinegar ( you can use a little of the pickle brine)
    1/2 t cheap white sugar
    Dash of Tabasco, a little horseradish is optional, but neither of these should stand out in taste. Kind of like Mr. Pardus fish sauce – don’t put any in this though. Keep it traditional. Mix until uniform consistency.
    Leave at room temp, so you don’t lower the temp of the hamburger.
    You can reduce the amount, but you’ll regret it after you have one and want more.

    Bun: nothing fancy, no brioche or sourdough, but it must be fresh and grilled on one side, no charcoal, either gas or a griddle.
    My sister worked in a busy tavern that made a great hamburger and she insist on buttering the bun. I prefer no butter, darkened to a light tan for texture. Airy and slightly chewey bun, like Gai’s barbeque buns.

    Iceberg lettuce. Cut 1/4 head into thin strips, keep this in the fridge to stay crisp.

    Beefsteak tomatoe, firm sliced thin. Discard the ends, keep at room temp.

    Dill pickle slices.

    American cheese, cheap full fat, Kraft ( sorry Ruhlman) or Bordens. It melts the best and this is the best for this.

    Hamburger patty is called 6 to one. 6 patties to one pound. If you can’t find them use the cheaper ground version with higher fat ratio and make a thin patty, or grind your own, but this will be a departure from the mom & pop style.
    Grill the patty on a griddle or gas grill over medium to medium high heat, no charcoal. When you see the juices rise to the top of the patty add a dash of kosher salt, flip, add the chees slice, top of bun and I close the lid on the grill and turn the heat off.
    Prep the bottom bun with 1T goop, shredded lettuce, a few dill pickle slices and tomatoe slice. By the time you get the bottom prepped the cheese should be melted. I like insulated foil wrap to keep it warm.
    In late August I like to roast hatch chiles from New Mexico and dice them, I put these directly on the patty after I flip it and cover the chiles with the cheese and bun. This is a violation of tradition, so I’ll stop there.

    This is a small town, popular hamburger recipe, a few simple steps for success. You can get a routine for making more for a larger crowd. Summer favorite. Shameful pleasure, but no worse than a cocktail or ice cream.


    Having read this I believed it was really enlightening. I appreciate you spending
    some time and energy to put this article together.
    I once again find myself personally spending way too much time
    both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!


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