The Sidecar was a cocktail I got pretty fixated on for a while. It's still one that I revisit on occasion. There's some flexibility in the drink's core that allows it to accommodate adjustments made for mood, quality of ingredients on hand, etc. Traditionally it's made with equal parts brandy, triple sec and lemon though there are several worthwhile ratios that skew more heavily toward the brandy.

The Comet isn't too far removed from the Sidecar. Substitute grapefruit for the lemon, augment the triple sec with some Drambuie, keep the brandy and throw in some bitters. I came across the  Comet in David Wondrich's online drinks column for Esquire. The original recipe calls for Van der Hum, a South African spirit Wondrich describes as "basically brandy, flavored with tangerines, herbs and such." The triple sec/Drambuie combo is recommended as an approximation.

Citrus all over the nose with grapefruit leading but followed by orange from the Cointreau and spices from the Drambuie and Angostura. I've never had Van der Hum but the pairing of Cointreau and Drambuie is something I'd like to explore further. Here they work well together with the Drambuie playing off of Cointreau's orange flavor while adding herbs and a subtle honey quality. It does this without getting in the way though. Those two ingredients are deployed with a light hand which allows the brandy (I used Armagnac) to anchor things while the grapefruit keeps the sweetness in check by adding a sour component. For the grapefruit, white is recommended here, it's less sweet than Ruby Red.



Comet - Eddie Clarke, Albany Club, London, 1950s
1 1/2 oz Cognac
1 oz Grapefruit Juice (white, if possible)
1/2 oz Van der Hum*
1 dash Angostura

Shake, strain, up

*kludge for Van der Hum = 1/4 oz Cointreau + 1/4 oz Drambuie


We don't have a lot of traditions around the house. There are a few though and one of them involves Thanksgiving. We get together with family up the coast and eat more than we should while catching up on recent events. For the last ten years or so we've brought a sweet potato casserole and at this point I think we'd be denied entry without it. Somehow it finds a home among the vegetables on the table even though the sugar content is probably equal to the apple and pumpkin pies combined. This fact is acknowledged tacitly among the adults, a little more gleefully among the kids who see a second helping of the orange mass, loaded with brown sugar and butter and masquerading as something healthy, as an annual triumph. 

In the past we've also contributed to the beer and wine on hand. Last year, however, we brought a batch of punch and that seemed to be an enjoyable twist on the afternoon's pleasant pattern of lazy milling about. Unlike the sweet potato casserole though, which I realize we can not tinker with or change in any way, I thought it would be fun to mix in different punches from year to year. Last year it was Regent's because I love that one and had some Seville oranges on hand.

This year I'm opting for a hot punch with a somewhat seasonal component - apple cider. Rather than disrupt any of the goings-on around the oven/stove, I'll set up a crock pot somewhere and let people help themselves as they orbit the kitchen/living room/dining room. This time I turned to Dan Searing's book The Punch Bowl which is full of classic and modern punch recipes. I've only made a few from this book but so far they've all been great. And just as an aside, if you're the sort of person who, like me, has a hard time driving by flea markets and yard sales without wondering what sort of glassware and bar stuff might be hidden among the tables, you'll likely find the numerous pictures of gorgeous antique punch sets enjoyable as well.

Eventually, I settled on Hot Rum Punch which consists of apple cider, oranges and orange juice, pineapple, cloves, cinnamon, lemon and a bottle's worth of rum. It looked like a crowd pleaser. Still, it's for Thanksgiving, and in order to avoid running into snags at the last minute I felt like a trial batch was in order. Ok, it's a pretty straightforward recipe. Snags were unlikely. I just felt like making a big batch of punch.

The pineapple's warming up and getting brown. The other stuff is ready to be added once the pineapple is done. I studded the orange wedges with cloves but that was when I thought I would be leaving it all in the pot to serve. After everything's done on the stove the whole mixture (minus the rum) sits in the refrigerator overnight. Prior to service the rum gets added and the mixture gets heated back up.

I ended up deviating from the recipe slightly at the service stage. I strained off the solids before adding the rum and bringing everything up to temp. My thinking was I could garnish the punch with clove studded orange wheels and cinnamon sticks and keep all of the large chunks out of the punch bowl (or crock pot). It's possible that the pineapple flavor would be less pronounced in the end but, having at this point tried it, it's clear that even when removed early the pineapple still makes major contributions. 

The recipe yielded just over three quarts after straining and adding rum. We took the half gallon jar to a friends house...

...and kept the quart for a chilly Sunday at home.



Hot Rum Punch - Edward Hamilton via The Punch Bowl by Dan Searing
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Pineapple - peeled and cut into large chunks
1 Orange - cut into eighths 
1/2 Lemon - quartered
4-6 Cinnamon sticks
24 Whole Cloves
1 quart Orange Juice
2 quarts Apple Cider
2 1/3 cups Dark Rum
1 cup Light Rum
Garnish - 20-30 Apple Slices - added to cups upon service

In a large pot saute the pineapple in the butter until lightly browned (more butter is ok if needed). Add orange, lemon, cinnamon sticks and cloves. Add orange juice and cider. Bring to a boil then simmer 10-15 minutes. 

Remove from heat, allow to cool and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, add both rums to the mixture and heat until hot (but not boiling).


Here's another one from Amanda's notebook of three ingredient drinks. I found it in Ted Munat's excellent Left Coast Libations. The 606 was created by Neyah White and has genever, fernet and vermouth. It's full of flavor, rich and delicious.

Things start out with a malty aroma from the Genever (I used Bols) and a little bit of orange from the garnish/oil peeking through as well. The ratio of genever to fernet is nice here. They are clearly both present and their flavors define the drink but they also allow space for one another. The vermouth is a less assertive component but without it I think there would be too much tension between the other two. Here, it helps tie things together with it's own herbal qualities while lending additional body. 

Genever, however, is less welcoming as the drink warms. It develops a bit of an edge and seems to take issue with fernet. Glancing first with contempt then with malice, genever warns fernet to 'not push it'. Fernet responds with a look that is both amused and menacing. What the hell is happening? Vermouth intervenes, annoyed but capable, trying not to get worked up but not having much success. The uncharacteristic and building frustration of vermouth as it launches into a tirade about how the world has abandoned subtlety breaks the tension between the other two. Genever and fernet relax, look at vermouth whose voice has begun to crack, and make faces that say 'get a load of this guy...we can't take him anywhere' before putting their arms around his shoulders and walking him over to the table where the punch is located.

Or at least that's what my notes say. 


606 - Neyah White, Nopa, San Francisco 
1 1/2 oz Genever
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
Garnish - Orange Peel

Stir, Strain, Up


Egg separators were something I didn't know about until recently. I've always used the shell to separate them, passing the egg between the two shell halves until the white lets go and falls into a bowl. And let me say up front that there's a reason almost everyone does it that way - it works. But, in the interest of not leaving well enough alone, I have found myself testing out several techniques meant to improve on the shell to shell method.

This whole endeavor can be traced back to a months-long obsession I've had with hollandaise. Specifically, the frequency with which I make it so I can have eggs Benedict at home. Which is to say, all the time. Probably way too often to be healthy. That whole thing has been a fun sort of rabbit hole - dialing in the hollandaise, trying different egg poaching techniques, etc. 

But now that we're approaching Egg Nog and Tom/Fernet & Jerry season, egg separation is going to get ramped up periodically. So, when I saw a silicone egg separator at a kitchen store the other week I thought, if it worked, it could actually save some time. And what the heck, it's a kitchen gadget - I need those thing to keep the drawers near the sink from opening too smoothly.

One from the kitchen store, one from the recycling bin.

One from the kitchen store, one from the recycling bin.

The egg separator I bought looked like the bulb portion of a turkey baster. You squeeze the bulb, put the open end on the yolk and as you release pressure on the bulb the yolk gets sucked up. I bought one and it worked great...70% of the time. Sometimes the opening was a little too big for a particular yolk, other times it was difficult to get enough pressure for the yolk to make it into the bulb without breaking. Occasionally a significant portion of the white would hang onto the yolk keeping it from getting sucked into the bulb and increasing the chances that the yolk would break before making it over the right bowl. 

Then I found out about the trick, probably common knowledge, where you use a disposable water bottle in much the same way. This had the added benefit of being clear which came in handy if a yolk broke somewhere along the way. You'd know to clean the bottle (or use another one) before turning it upside down over the eggs that hadn't been separated. That actually worked better than the bulb but we don't use a lot of disposable water bottles and the suction was sometimes still an issue. 

Eventually, the idea occurred to me to put some plastic tubing on one of those handheld vacuum sealers used to preserve opened bottles of wine. I tried it and it worked great. The suction is an improvement on the other methods allowing for greater control over the whole operation. If a white stays on the yolk you have a little more time to hold it vertically, twist it around, etc, before the yolk begins to slide down. Also, the tubing pops right off, making it pretty easy to clean.

I poured some boiling water in a jar and put the tube in it while I cracked all of the eggs. The tubing is 1" internal diameter (food grade is what you want) and won't fit over the wine pump unless it gets soaked it in hot water first. The seal after it cools though is solid. 

The one thing to keep in mind with this whole thing is that if an egg breaks it's not going to get separated. If it breaks over the bowl containing the unseparated eggs it's a huge drag. Unless you're just doing this for hollandaise. And then you're fine - you really only need enough whites for a couple of Ramos' while the meat gets warmed up. If it's for Egg Nog or Tom & Jerry though, or really anything else where the whites will be whipped up separately, getting yolk mixed in is something to be avoided.

If you're worried about it, or doing a ton, you might want to crack each egg over a small dish before adding it to the larger bowl. If the yolk breaks you have a chance to catch it before it gets mixed in with everything else.

If, after you've put this thing together, you find yourself unable to look at it without cracking up then you've probably done it correctly. 

One yolk broke as I was putting it into the second bowl. Again, that's not a huge deal, the yolks are going to get beaten anyway. The key is to move quickly and get the tube horizontal if the yolk looks like it's beginning to slip.

I haven't tried various diameters for the tubing - there might be a better one than what I used. Every now and then there's a yolk that is too small to work. When that happens I just reach in and separate it by hand, letting the white fall between my fingers. 

All in all it's pretty cheap to put together. It looks ridiculous but it works. Yes, it is a bit absurd and possibly a great waste of time. This was one of those 'I wonder what would happen if...' ideas though and the process involved in untangling it was mostly enjoyable. Even the small disaster that followed an attempt to use the tubing while reversing an aeropress (broken yolks all over the place). 


Rosemary's Baby, from the previous post, reminded me of this one. Both have rosemary and fire. This one looks like a Last Word riff on paper. And I suppose it has too much in common to argue the point but the adjustment of quantities (here 2 oz gin and 1/2 oz of the rest as opposed to everything equal parts) along with the rosemary help this thing carve out its own territory. 

The Rubicon comes from Jamie Boudreau and he has a great post here detailing the creation of the drink, the effect heat (here it's fire) can have on ingredients, etc. He also explains how the name of the drink was inspired by the resemblance the rosemary has to the crown of laurels associated with Julius Caesar. When Caesar led his troops across the river Rubicon to Rome it was in defiance of Roman law. A civil war followed, Caesar became dictator and the unrest following his eventual assassination led to the transition of Rome from a Republic to an Empire. Before crossing it he stated 'The die has been cast!' (although he probably said it in Latin) and 'crossing the Rubicon' has come to mean 'a point of no return'. 

Enough history (which I probably screwed up anyway), this drink is great and it's fun to make for people.

Ignite the Chartreuse and rosemary.

Ignite the Chartreuse and rosemary.

Strain the rest of the drink to extinguish flames.

Strain the rest of the drink to extinguish flames.

Add ice, garnish and you're all set.

Add ice, garnish and you're all set.


The scent of rosemary opens things up. Beneath that, on the sip you have a deliciously herbal gin sour. Chartreuse and maraschino do their thing. The former bringing herbs and some heat while the latter contributes its unusual sweet and nutty quality with hints of fruit. Both are tempered by the lemon which allows the gin and rosemary to stand in the center. The finish finds everything balanced and blending together nicely.


Rubicon - Jamie Boudreau, Canon, Seattle
2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Maraschino
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
Rosemary - Fire
Rosemary - Garnish

Curl a sprig of rosemary in the bottom of a rocks glass. Add Chartreuse and ignite. Shake the gin, maraschino and lemon juice with ice and strain over the flames. Fill with crushed ice and garnish.

This one is from Rogue Cocktails which was the precursor to Beta Cocktails (a book which dominated drink-making at home for many fact, even now, typing this up hours after the pictures and text below were put together, I realize that it's been weeks since I had an End of the Road. And that simply will not do).

But back to Rosemary's Baby, which seems to follow an unintentional thread of vaguely Halloween themed drink posts here. Well, in name at least. There's no pumpkin spice involved. This one has overproof apple brandy, Cynar and Grand Marnier. And rosemary. And also fire. And since the temperature seems to be settling into a more October-appropriate range, fire and apples seemed appropriate.

The only problem here is that the orange flames are emanating from a bit of rosemary that is poking out of the Grand Marnier and getting torched. Not a huge deal but one that eventually crept into the flavor. 

The rosemary garnish dominates the aroma. If it's near your nose. Once, it drifted across the cocktail's surface to the far end of the glass and its scent was replaced with rich oranges and apples. The sip followed along those lines bringing more oranges and apples. There's rosemary too, but it doesn't seem to mind accommodating the other flavors. There is also a faint burnt quality lingering behind and at the edges which, as mentioned above, is likely due to the portion of rosemary that caught fire while not submerged in the Grand Marnier. Pleasant citrus notes from the bitters linger on the finish. I'm glad I had Laird's bonded apple brandy on hand. The Grand Marnier influences things significantly and I'm not sure an 80 proof spirit would be able to keep up and assert itself in such company. 

In terms of mood for this one, I can say it's chilly outside and occasionally the wind picks up with a howl, pelting the windows with rain. In the other room the wood stove is casting its lazy-making heat. I feel like I'm right where I should be, between the two, with this drink.


Rosemary's Baby - Rogue Cocktails
2 oz Laird's Bonded
3/4 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Grand Marnier
1 dash Orange Bitters
1 dash Grapefruit Bitters
Rosemary - fire
Rosemary - Garnish 

Place a quarter-sized amount of rosemary in mixing glass. Add Grand Marnier. Ignite. When the flames go out add the rest of the ingredients along with some ice. Stir, strain, up.


This one is from the Difford's Guide list of the 30 best drinks since 2000. It contains tequila, Yellow Chartreuse, Jagermeister and a whole egg. It looks kind of crazy, but it's delicious. I don't use Jager that much and I probably should experiment with it more often. For now however, I'm content to stock it even if I only use it for this drink. 


The nose sets things up, displaying a rich weightiness even before the sip. The nutmeg from the garnish is present as well and foreshadows an abundance of more rich flavors. There also seemed to be a slight citrus aroma up front. The sip has a creamy, almost custard-like quality, which along with the nutmeg, triggers thoughts of egg nog. Once the Yellow Chartreuse and Jagermeister show up though it becomes a decidedly more herbal affair. Those two however, aren't overbearing - their quantity and the weight of the drink sees to that. But they do spin this thing in a beguiling and wonderful direction. Two adjectives I did not imagine myself using in a drink with Jagermeister. Here, that tandem is soft, slightly medicinal, rich and warming. The Chartreuse contributes a slight lift, keeping things from getting too settled. Tequila, arms folded and smiling, appears at the end and lingers well into the finish with a look that says 'Glad you guys are having fun.'



Death Flip - Chris Hysted, Black Pearl, Melbourne, Australia 
1 oz Don Julio Blanco
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz Jagermeister
1/2 oz Simple (I use 1:1) 
1 Whole Egg
Garnish - Grated Nutmeg

Dry shake, then with ice, strain into a wine glass (or an old water glass if that's what you use for wine), garnish.


Looks like there are a couple of different specs for the Death Flip. Both with the same attribution. The above recipe comes from an Australian site and is the version I've gotten used to. Difford's says an ounce each for the first three and 1/4 oz of simple (2:1 specified). Both versions are great. The Difford's one results in a more consolidated drink - richer, heavier, darker. The recipe above is a bit lighter comparatively, and gives the Chartreuse and tequila a little more room.


Looking through old drink notebooks and journals is something I enjoy but don't do as often as I should. Because inevitably, I come across things that I remember trying and liking but not making regularly enough to commit to memory. 

This drink is a perfect example. The initial pull when I saw it online was too difficult to resist. Not just because it has Laphroaig and Fernet (surprisingly, I hadn't tried mixing those two together so the combination, curious yet appealing, was met with an internal 'Oh no you didn't!' Though truthfully, I was glad someone did). But beyond that pairing, the name just cracked me up.

I made it, I liked it, I wrote it down and forgot about it. It goes like that sometimes. Now that fall is winding down and Halloween is around the corner there seemed to be little question, once I spied it again, that this was a drink I had neglected for too long. 


Of course, it's a monster. A delicious, smoky, bitter, minty monster. Served at room temp there's no effort made to tame this thing either. Put the contents in a glass, garnish, done. As soon as you lift the glass up you get an idea of what you're in for. Fresh mint from the garnish is there and it's nice but it becomes clear that the Scotch and Fernet have become pals and this is their party. Those that stick around can thank the vermouth for trying to make everyone feel comfortable. Eventually, it doesn't matter, the edges of the individual ingredients begin to soften and it all works out in the glass.


Bernet Frankenstein - Dan Chadwick via Kindred Cocktails
1 1/2 oz Laphroaig Quarter Cask
3/4 oz Fernet Branca
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
Garnish - Mint Leaf

Build in rocks glass


Some friends of mine have an imminent celebration in the works (second baby on the way). Drinks have been off the list of indulgences (for one of them, at least) for a while. They've been in the midst of a rather intense kitchen overhaul and I believe may have undertaken the additional task of painting several other rooms in their house as well. Crazy. Soon, they will want to raise a glass. And I didn't want them to work too hard for that.

Quantities below make enough for an extra serving. You know, just to make sure everything came out alright.

Quantities below make enough for an extra serving. You know, just to make sure everything came out alright.

Sun in the Corners is gin, Cocchi Americano and Swedish punsch. Gin comes through nicely with juniper, citrus and spice. Then the Cocchi - soft, rich, floral, slightly bitter which sets up an another wave of flavors from the Swedish punsch. Gin drives this drink but there are also hints of tea, lemon, orange, flowers, brown sugar and rum. Dark rum (Lemon Hart) and funky rum (Batavia Arrack). When I first started working on this I tried it with various rums as the base spirit. Clement Premiere Canne was solid but not quite what I was looking for. Once gin became the backbone however, things fell in line quickly.


Sun in the Corners - enough to fill a 750 ml bottle
420 ml Gin (I used Whitley Neill)
140 ml Cocchi Americano
140 ml Swedish Punsch*
140 ml Water
5 Orange Peels

Add liquid ingredients to a large pitcher. Express oils from orange peels into the pitcher and drop them in there too. Stir briefly. Bottle and refrigerate until circumstances align in such a way that you can pour a few ounces in a glass, sit down and relax.


For a single serving divide by 7 and drop the water since you won't be chilling the drink in advance.

For the Swedish punsch I usually use this recipe from Erik Ellestad. It's a scaled back version of a previous one he came up with and the steps are the same (though I do filter the finished product and switch up the rums sometimes). If Kronan was available up here I'd probably just buy that. It's delicious and you don't have to make it. This version though is just as good and the Batavia Arrack you'll need is worth having around if for no other reason than to make Regent's Punch. There are other reasons of course, but Regent's Punch...well, that is in a class by itself.

Similar Drinks - Since I had Swedish punsch on the brain I started looking through old notebooks for other drinks. Turns out, if you sub dry vermouth for the Cocchi, pull back on the gin and lean more heavily on the Swedish punsch you have a Suedoise. Leave the Cocchi in (Lillet specified) and make rum the base (the initial starting point for this whole thing) and you have a Happy Daze.

One more totally random side note - the labels on Espolon tequila bottles peel off without much effort or subsequent scrubbing of residue. Grab a corner, peel, and you're done. Which can be a handy thing when bottling a gift.


I don't have a ton to say about this one except that it's delicious and after I tried it I'd wished I kept the bottles on the counter for a second round. The California Palace was another pleasant surprise from the Anvil 100 (previously discussed here). If you like herbal-y gin drinks, this one doesn't disappoint. It falls somewhere between the Martinez and the Alaska. Drier and more herbal than the former, more stretched out and relaxed than the latter.



I went with Plymouth here because I wanted the Chartreuse to have plenty of space. Which it did. The gin is there though, contributing some citrus notes and softly anchoring things. Maraschino adds it's distinctive sweetness and you can discern it but it seems content here to nestle in among the herbal qualities of the other three ingredients. Vermouth offsets some of the sweetness and keeps the texture - silky, rich, from getting too out of control. Also, there's an intensely warming alcohol heat present that is assertive even as the overall effect of the drink is round and smooth. Man, does that Chartreuse punch through nicely though.



California Palace - not sure of the origin
40 ml Gin
20 ml Green Chartreuse
20 ml Dry Vermouth
10 ml Maraschino
Garnish - Lime Twist

Stir, strain, up


This one's in milliliters because I pulled the recipe from here and didn't feel like messing with it. If you don't have metric jiggers though, or the patience to divide everything by 5 and use teaspoons (who does?) 1 1/2, 3/4, 3/4, -1/2 oz will get you close enough.