Tag Archives: weekend classics

Rosemary Collins

This is part of my Weekend Classics series of recipes that use entirely classic cocktail ingredients/methodology.

Spring is in the air. Or at least it was for like a week. Now it’s snowing again. But I’m all about mind over matter, so this week’s classic cocktail is going to be something light and airy because, let’s be honest, we all can use it after the winter we just suffered through. So put on your Bermuda shorts and crank your thermostat to 85 and get ready for this week’s classic cocktail.

One of my favorite drinks for when it’s patio season is the Tom Collins. It’s simple, elegant, and delicious. It’s just a boozy lemonade with bubbles. It simultaneously satisfies your inner child and the grownup who’s got his mind on the impending tax season.

The basic recipe is as simple as it gets when cocktailing.

Tom Collins

1.5 oz. gin (I like Plymouth, but any good gin will work)

1 oz. lemon juice

0.5 oz simple syrup (1:1)

Shake and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice and top with soda (roughly 4 oz.) and give it a very brief stir. Garnish with a lemon wheel. I like to serve it with a straw, because I don’t want to stir the bubbles away, but if you don’t you end up drinking all soda followed by all booze.

While I haven’t had the chance to do it yet, this would also be a perfect cocktail for a modernist version. I’d just clarify the lemon juice, mix it up with water instead of soda, and chill and force carbonate and serve in a bottle. That’d be easy and get you both a bubblier finish and good mixing. (One of my earliest attempts at modernist mixology was force carbonating the variation I’m showing below, but I did not yet know how to clarify lemon so it foamed out, though even still it was better than with soda.)

This week I decided to try a very simple variation: the Rosemary Collins. It’s the exact same as above, except you use rosemary simple instead of plain. And you garnish with a rosemary sprig because even though that’s so played out in New York the rest of the country still hasn’t seen it. If you live in Manhattan maybe use a pinecone instead or something.

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Here’s my recipe. The first two steps, blanching and shocking, should always be done when you’re going to heat anything green to prevent it from turning brown. This same process will work for any herb, though you may need to mess with the ratios a bit.

Rosemary Simple Syrup

100 grams sugar

100 grams water

25 grams rosemary

1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. While it heats, fill a container with ice water.

2. With a long pair of tongs, hold the rosemary in the boiling water for 30 seconds, keeping it fully submerged. When the 30 seconds is up, plunge it in the ice bath. Let it sit there until cold.

3. Add the water, sugar, and rosemary to a small pot. Place over high heat. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat off.

4. Let the rosemary steep in the simple syrup until they cool to room temperature. Then strain the simple to get rid of any loose rosemary.

New Year’s Friday Classic: The French 75

For New Year’s Eve I threw a party for about 20 friends. I thought it’d be fitting to do a champagne-based cocktail, and wanted something easy since I spend enough of my time bartending. I also wanted a crowd-pleaser, something that even casual drinkers love. What could be better than the French 75?

This classic drink came to America via soldiers returning from WWI. Found in Paris, the troops said it had so much kick it felt like being shelled by the powerful French 75mm machine gun. (For bonus points, the French 95 is a variant that merely substitutes bourbon for gin.)

French 75

1 oz. Plymouth Gin

.5 oz. lemon juice

.5 oz. simple syrup

1 oz. Champagne

Lemon Twist

Shake and strain first three ingredients into champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish with lemon twist.

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Oaxaca Old-Fashioned

Many drinkers have a certain image in mind when you say the name Old Fashioned. They think of whiskey (unless they’re from Wisconsin), a sugar cube, and maybe some muddled oranges and cherries.

In reality an Old Fashioned is any cocktail that contains exactly four ingredients: water, liquor, bitters, and sugar. It can be any combination of any form of those ingredients, as long as it has them and nothing else.

This weekend’s spin on a classic cocktail is the Oaxaca Old Fashioned. I got the original recipe from the Death and Co. cocktail book, one of my favorites. My only changes are using Del Maguey Vida mezcal for the intense smokiness and splitting the bitters between Angostura and Orange

The recipe is simple.

  • 1.5 oz reposado tequila (I used Olmeca Altos because it’s what I stock at home.)
  • .5 oz mezcal (I like a smokey one, like Del Maguey Vida.)
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • 1/2 eyedropper (1 dash) Angostura bitters
  • 1/2 eyedropper (1 dash) orange bitters 

Combine ingredients with ice, stir, and strain over a rocks glass filled with ice. Flame an orange peel and then drop it in.

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(Sorry for the crappiness of the picture.)

Penicillin Cocktail Recipe

I’m going to start a new feature where I post my take on a classic recipe on Fridays. Friday’s a notoriously great day for a cocktail, and especially a tried and true one. Most of my recipes will be someone else’s perhaps with slight modifications I’ve developed over the years.

One of my all-time favorite wintery cocktails is the Penicillin. I love Scotch, honey, ginger, and lemon, and while the combo probably won’t cure the common cold, it’s surely the closest you’ll get without a prescription. I looked around the net for recipes and tried a few, but none of them seemed perfect to me. A lot of them had you muddling ginger, which seems laborious and imprecise for something you can just juice. Hell you can juice it by hand with a cheesecloth and a citrus press.

Then I stumbled on a video from it’s creator, Sam Ross, that was quite enlightening and which I now can’t find to save my life. But I remember the recipe. He uses honey ginger syrup instead of muddling. I like that much better, so here it is, abstracted from the video.

My one alteration is using an atomizer for the Islay. You’re using it more for the nose than the flavor, and spraying it over top does a much better job than just pouring 1/4 oz. on with much less Islay used.

Honey Ginger Syrup

  • 1.5 fl. oz. honey
  • 1.5 fl. oz. ginger juice
  • 1 fl. oz. sugar
  • 0.5 fl oz. hot water

Mix and stir until dissolved. A few seconds in a microwave can help if needed.

The Penicillin

2 fl. oz. Monkey Shoulder blended Scotch

.75 fl. oz. lemon juice

.75 fl. oz. honey ginger syrup

Atomizer filled with Islay Single Malt Scotch (I like Ardbeg)

Combine the Scotch, lemon, and honey ginger syrup. Shake and strain into a rocks glass with ice.

Spray a few hits of the Islay from the atomizer over top.