Mint-Julip-2

The first shoots of mint have sprung through the soil as if sensing the approach of the Kentucky Derby. The sun is out here in Cleveland, the birds are chirping, and the Browns made sensible draft choices.  All of which call for a mint julep this weekend. In my first post on this drink several springs ago, I served a somewhat unconventional julep and was roundly taken to task for it (no crushed ice? in a glass?). Deservedly. So herewith an almost traditional version, which is simply mint leaves, muddled with sugar, and bourbon, served over crushed ice in a silver cup. My only variation is for serving multiple juleps. A great strategy if you’ve invited people for Derby Day. Some may find the verdant hue unnerving but it’s worth it for the clean mint flavor Read On »

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Moscow-Mule-Copper

  Monday cocktail hour! Because I’m already looking forward to Friday. And I bought this proper and cool copper mug during a visit to the most excellent Cocktail Kingdom showroom in Manhattan. The first FCH Moscow Mule described its origins (it was a Smirnoff device to drive sales!). Also my recipe was imperfect. After countless Dark and Stormys in Key West, I recognized that the amount of lime juice is important to contrast the sweetness of the ginger beer. Below are the proportions I like best.   Moscow Mule 2 ounces vodka 1/2 ounce lime juice 4 ounces ginger beer (or to taste) wedge of lime for garnish Fill a copper mug with ice. Add vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer. Garnish with lime.   Other links you may like: Other cocktails featuring vodka: Key Read On »

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Derby cocktail. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

I’m on my annual foray to my beloved mom’s in West Palm Beach and enjoying blue sky, blue water, and lazy days, so here this repost from 10/4/13 of an overlooked but most excellent cocktail.—M.R. When I opened to the Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s wonderful and expanded food section, I was delighted to find a handful of bartenders offering cocktails. The Derby, offered by Lindsey Hawes, who mixes drinks at The Willeyville in the Cleveland Flats, caught my eye (here she is making another fave of mine, The Dark & Stormy). The Derby  caught my eye for its straightforwardness and lack of frou. I immediately thought of the Brown Derby, a restaurant chain that flourished here in the 1970s, where I first encountered what was called a salad bar, back in the pre-sneeze guard days (God, how Read On »

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The Boulevardier with the twist

  Just home from a quick trip to Chicago (have started the reporting for a new book!) and have piles of notes to transcribe. Will be having the above if I can get even halfway through by 6 pm tonight. Happy Friday, all! Originally posted in February, 2013: Were it not for the Internet, my guess is that only the most devoted barfly would know about the Boulevardier. It’s not in any of my cocktail books, not the standard-bearing The Standard Bartender’s Guide, my Madmen-era dad’s paperback. I only heard about it from a reader of this blog (with links below). And an email this week pushed me into a tasting, happily! I love how various flavoring components (bitters, vermouths) become different cocktails when you change the spirit. How the Manhattan becomes a Rob Roy when you Read On »

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Key-Lime-Martini-2

    So cold, so much snow, can’t get Key West off my mind. I must, but before I do, one final post and a cocktail, the Key Lime Martini (shot with my iPhone in a dark bar). Donna and Abby (of Spaceman Spiff) once tried to recreate this but couldn’t get it right; we all got too drunk trying and had to give up. I thought it impossible to make outside Key West, but one of the boys, Jason, said he makes these for himself and his wife Kristi every weekend. His recipe is below. Or you can watch below as the wonderful Ramsey pours one at the White Tarpon, a beloved watering hole in Key West, if you don’t mind the poor lighting. The sweet and sour mix Ramsey uses is Daily’s, Jason tells Read On »

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