Excited about our Chicago trip to promote the new book, Salumi, I tweeted for a Chicago cocktail and got a few suggestions (only a few), including one for an actual Chicago (which I’ll save for later). But the suggested Southside proved to be easy to prepare with ingredients at hand and uncommonly refreshing. I was able to make use of a wonderful gin I hadn’t known of, Nolet’s Silver, which truly rivals my beloved Beefeater’s (thank you, Sally Alfis!), slightly more fruity and flowery, but still wonderfully dry. And the mint is still growing in the garden. So, The Southside it is! (Yes, Southside is one word for the cocktail, though the actual area, referred to in the Jim Croce song of my youth, is officially called the South Side.) This cocktail can be made using Read On »

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I was, by chance, in the offices of the venerable publisher Little, Brown with Donna a few weeks ago during a surprise trip to NYC, and the editor I was speaking with about a potential book deal mentioned a cocktail book they’d published the previous fall. He described it. I asked, nay, demanded, to see it. He swiveled around, swiveled back, and there it was. A book that immediately pissed me off. “HEY!” I wanted to say, “THIS IS MY TURF! THIS IS RATIOS!” (If you didn’t know, I wrote a little book called Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. We developed and built a Ratio app for iPhones and iTouches and then we—that is, my friend Will Turnage—built a Ratio app for Android devices.) Ratios simplify all of cooking. Know a ratio and you Read On »

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Today’s cocktail post was inspired by a question on Twitter asking for a good Bloody Mary recipe, and it is indeed a good topic because they are often so mediocre. And it’s not the vodka’s fault this time. It’s rather that the Bloody Mary is carelessly prepared, a fault I am guilty of, especially on a crapulous Sunday morning. So herewith a more thoughtful and refined Bloody Mary worthy of being called a cocktail. The key is fresh tomato juice. V-8 vegetable juice or canned tomato juice is heavy and thick and obscures the other ingredients (which is why many prefer Clamato juice, for a “Bloody Caesar,” a choice I encourage). Now that we have an abundance of huge overripe tomatoes, it’s the perfect time to make your own juice. You want the fiber, but Read On »

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Because I love the interconnectedness of all things, including cocktails, My Girl Friday suggested a Daisy, which was in fashion in the 19th century, then out, then back in in the 20th, and could be again in the 21st, but not in Ohio, where ordinary citizens such as myself are unable to purchase it due to Ohio’s crazy liquor laws. But it’s damned gloomy and wet here in Cleveland and I am loving the idea of more brandy after last week’s Gascon Sidecar, so today it is the Brandie Blazer, which is in effect—connection here—an old-fashioned made with brandy. I’m adding some lemon and orange zest along with brown sugar to balance the Bitters, Old Men (I used the smoke bitters, which gives it a hint of the Islay whiskys I love, but citrus bitters or Read On »

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Some cocktails seem worthy of making based on the name alone, regardless of what’s in them. Since reading that there was a cocktail called a Sidecar 20 years ago, I’ve wanted to make one. But the brandy threw me off. Brandy is an after-dinner sipper, not a mixer. And if it’s just brandy, rather than Cognac, why bother at all? And if it is Cognac, why mix it? But damned if the Sidecar didn’t keep itchin’ at my heart, wanting to be scratched. I loved it for its simplicity, 2 parts brandy, 1 part orange liqueur (such as Cointreau), 1 part lemon juice (which seemed like a lot of lemon—¼ lemon juice). I happened to be shopping at a good independent grocery store here in Cleveland called Heinen’s, and they had a basket of Meyer Read On »

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