Come together, right now, over me…or them

Dear readers, yesterday the news reached me that the Loving Cup has been nominated as one of six finalists for Best Cocktail blog in the Fifth annual Saveur Food blog awards. I’d love to win, though the competition is pretty bloody stiff! If you would like to help the Cup win please click on the image below and VOTE!!! You have until April 9th.

Good luck to my fellow nominees, I am honored to be amongst you!


Issue No.021 “When Irish eyes are smilin”



ure tis like a morn in Spring…..


Ive had a thing about Irish boys since as long as I can remember, my first crush was on a young butcher boy called David, I think  I was nine and he was sixteen, something about those sparkling , twinkly smiling blue eyes would bewitch me and put me under the bumbling idiot spell,  oh and the manly way he would handle a meat cleaver gave me goosebumps all over! Then there’s one of me favorite movies, “The Quiet Man” not because of John Wayne or the lovely Maureen O’Hara  but for the character of Michaleen Flynn, impish, charming, dry humored and totally hilarious, if you have not seen the movie I recommend renting it the next time it pees down with rain, though in the City of Angels you might have to wait a year or two!

Irish boys can go one of two ways, they are either dark and broody like a pint of Guinness or cheeky , lighthearted and play well with others like a wee dram of Jameson, whichever way they go I love them both and any that come in between. March 17th in case you were not aware is the day the Irish commemorate Ireland’s number one son Saint Patrick by wearing Kelly green and having an all out feast, its the only time the Lenten observations are lifted by the Catholic church in Ireland to allow for celebrations to be carried out properly and by properly I mean till they drop or their liver gives in whichever comes first. The other thing I love about the Irish is anything they put their hands to is full of  beautiful, soulful expression, made with thought and care.

For instance lets take a wee gander at the best selling Irish beverage, Guinness. Guinness stout is made from water, barley roast malt extract, hops and brewers yeast. A portion of the barley is roasted to give Guinness its dark color and characteristic taste. It is pasteurized  and filtered,making the product requires knowledge in the sciences of microbiology , mycology , bacteriology  and thermodynamics. Despite its reputation as a “meal in a glass”, Guinness only contains 198 calories per  pint  fewer than skimmed milk or orange juice and most other non-light beers. Until the late 1950s Guinness was still racked into wooden casks. In the late 1950s and early 1960s aluminum kegs began replacing the wooden casks; these were nicknamed “iron lungs”. Draught Guinness and its canned counterpart contain nitrogen(N2) as well as carbon dioxide. Nitrogen is less soluble than carbon dioxide, which allows the beer to be put under high pressure without making it fizzy. The high pressure of dissolved gas is required to enable very small bubbles to be formed by forcing the draught beer through fine holes in a plate in the tap, which causes the characteristic “surge” (the widget in cans and bottles achieves the same effect). The perceived smoothness of draught Guinness is due to its low level of carbon dioxide and the creaminess of the head caused by the very fine bubbles that arise from the use of nitrogen and the dispensing method described above

A brilliant  bit of liquid engineering, right? Then there’s Irish whiskey,  one of the greatest styles of whiskey in the world  and also one of the most ancient. Unfortunately, the 20th Century saw the decline and fall of the Irish whiskey industry. In recent years Irish whiskey has begun to make a comeback. Today, Irish whiskey is the fourth most popular style of whiskey in the world behind scotch, bourbon and Canadian whiskies. Distilling technology came to Ireland earlier than many parts of Europe, probably brought over to the island by missionary monks. The first distillates were called “uisce  beatha”  Gaelic for “water of life”, which was eventually anglicized into the word whiskey that we use today. Currently there are only three functioning distilleries in Ireland producing this Eau de Vie, it is typically distilled three times as opposed to twice which makes it far more smoother and less harsh on the finish.

I hope I am doing them a justice in featuring both these lovely brews in the following selection of celebratory concoctions.


DIY Irish Cream (better than Baileys)

1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey such as Jameson

1 oz Strauss heavy cream

1/2 oz simple syurp

1 oz homemade coffee liqueur (recipe below)

photo by Paddy O’Brien-Smith

Coffee Liqueur:

(recipe adapted from Serious Eats)

1/4 cup fine ground espresso

2 1/4 cup water (divided)

1 cup turbinado sugar

1 vanilla bean

1 1/2 cups light rum

optional rinds of 2 blood oranges

Cold brew the coffee by combining the grounds and 1 1/4 cups of the water into a sealable glass jar, shaking it, then refrigerating the mixture for 12 hours. Strain through a coffee filter into another sealable glass jar.Combine the sugar and 1 cup of water in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let this syrup cool to room temperature. Add cooled syrup, vanilla bean, blood orange rind if using and rum to the glass jar that contains the coffee. Let that mixture steep for 3 days, then remove the vanilla bean and rind and bottle the liqueur.
For the Irish cream:
combine ingredients in a mixing glass with 4 ice cubes and give a good stir to incorporate and chill down, strain into a glass of your choice, over ice or straight up, either way its delightful!


Little  Oge Flynn

for the drink:

1 1/2  oz of Irish whisky infused with Ibara chocolate ( I used one wafer or tablet per 1 bottle of whisky, you need to break it up and let it sit and ruminate for at least a week, lucky for me the impatient one I sous vide mine at 55 degrees for an hour and a half to get a good amount of flavor)

2 of good quality  piping hot coffee or espresso, espresso is my favorite it has less acid and more flavor

3/4 oz cinnamon simple syrup ( Vietnamese or Saigon is fuller and more intoxicating in my opinion) 1 tablespoon per 3 cups of 1:1 simple , needs to be added when the simple syrup is hot

4 dashes Miracle Mile Chocolate Chilli bitters

1 dash of vanilla extract

1/2 oz Pedro Ximinez PX sherry ( the raisins in this  and the chocolate are beautiful together)

for the milk foam:

in your ISI gun add all ingredients and charge with one NO2 canister

8 oz of skim milk ( or buttermilk)

1/4 oz vanilla extract

3 oz of egg whites

1 oz 1:1 simple syrup

photo by Paddy O’Brien-Smith

Assemble your ingredients in a shaking tin stir a couple of times and pour into your warmed glass or vessel of choice , top with a generous cloud of milk foam and shaved dark chocolate, garnish with cinnamon stick.


Tay & Sympathay

A spin on a White Russian

2 oz Earl grey infused Irish whiskey ( 8 tea bags to one 750ml bottle of whiskey)

1 oz Amaretto ( not very Irish I admit but great with Earl grey)

1/2 oz simple syrup

2 drops vanilla extract

1 oz Strauss heavy cream

photo by Paddy O’Brien-Smith

Add all ingredients  except the cream to your mixing glass, stir with 4 ice cubes and strain into a chilled coupette or over 1 large ice cube. If serving up pour the cream slowly onto the back of a spoon into the drink so that it lays carefully on the top, if using an ice cube pour the cream onto the top of the rock and it will cover the surface and float at the top.


Barefoot in the grass

1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey

1 oz  sorrel juice

3/4 oz St.Germain

1/4 oz fresh yuzu juice ( sub lemon if you cant find, I get at a Japanese market)

1/4 oz simple syrup (1:1 ratio sugar to water)

3/4 Floc de Gascogne ( an aperitif wine, use Lillet blanc in a pinch)

1 oz egg white

photo by Paddy O’Brien-Smith

Add everything to your Boston shaker and dry shake  without ice for 10-15 seconds. Add 4 ice cubes and shake again for  25 seconds. Strain into a chilled ice filled Old Fashioned glass and spoon over the egg white meringue. Garnish with wood sorrel leaves if you can find them if no baby arugula looks just as pretty.


Innisfree Cup

2 oz Irish whiskey

2 oz strong brewed mint tea ( cooled)

1-2 sugar cubes depending on your sweet tooth

3 generous dashes angostura bitters

1 oz cynar

about 6 mint leaves for muddling, 8-10 leaves for laying in bottom of glass and 3-4 generous bushy mint sprigs for garnish

photo by Paddy O’Brien-Smith

Add your bitters and sugar into the bottom half of your Boston shaker, splash in a touch of mint tea to help dissolve the sugar, muddle the sugar and bitters. Add six mint leaves, no need to muddle, over muddling will result in bitter sludge tasting mint, shaking the drink with ice should beat up the mint just enough. Add the whiskey, cold tea and Cynar and about 4-5 ice cubes. Shake hard for about 30 seconds.  In a 12 oz glass lay the remaining mint leaves in the bottom , pile on top a generous scoop of crushed ice, I beat mine up in a ziplock bag with a muddler. Strain the contents of your tin over the ice and add  a  touch more  crushed ice on top. Dash over a little more Angostura bitters, garnish with a festive straw and your mint sprigs.


The Brooklyn Maker

(a spin on a Boiler maker, using a variation on the classic Brooklyn cocktail)

1 1/2 oz Redbreast Irish whiskey

1/2 oz CiaoCiaro or Averna Amaro

1/2 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur

3/4 oz dry vermouth such as Dolin Dry

2 dashes Miracle Mile orange bitters

4-5 oz of dark Irish porter  beer such as Guinness


In your mixing glass add all ingredients except for the beer, stir over ice for about 25-30 seconds, strain into a bottle of mini carafe . In a second matching mini bottle pour your dark beer.

When presenting the drink make sure both the beer and the cocktail are chilled as well as the glass, this drink can be served over ice or without, you can also play with different beers to lighten it up slightly, since I’m a bitter lover I chose the combination of dark porter and Amaro.


In the spirit of the Holiday and my large living Gaelic friends I leave you with this saying by Brooklyn’s Irish daughter , Mae West…”You only live once, but if you do it right once is enough”


Next up…something to wine about


























Issue No. 020 ” Hot Blooded, Check it and see!


y plan was to avoid the subject of Valentines day since I think its a bit too much of a Hallmark holiday, but reading an article recently in my bible the NY Times I came across a book review that tickled me. The book in question is by garden expert Helen Yoest titled ” Plants with Benefits” and it turns out to be a bit of a Horticultural Kama Sutra. I think you should all have realized by now I’m a bit of plant nut, I can’t grow one to save my life but I love using them in all manner of drink concoctions wether they be boozy or not so much. We’ve all heard how Asparagus is supposed to be an aphrodisiac but so too are carrots , fennel, pineapples , peppers and pomegranates , they all have boink boosting properties. As I started digging a bit deeper I found all sorts of goodies on how the Aztecs used agave plants to “increase effect” , how basil was used to make women more sexually attractive or how men go wild for licorice , seriously!

So to help you revv up your engines for the 14th here’s a few ideas to inspire and not one glass of champagne in sight…..

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) contains pheromones, phytoestrogens and an estrogen like substance called estragole. It is used to increase libido, mixed here with Mezcal and agave that increases “effect” whatever that may mean!


1 1/2 oz Vida or La Purtita Mezcal

3/4 oz fennel apple shrub ( fennel and apple juice, mixed with apple cider vinegar and sugar, steep with toasted celery seeds over night) see shrub post for more details

1/2 oz lemon juice

1/2 oz agave

1 oz cocchi americano

dash Miracle Mile or Bitter truth Celery bitters

Shake everything over ice in your Boston shaker, shake for 25 seconds and strain into a chilled ice filled old fashioned glass, garnish with a sprinkle of smoked salt and cracked black pepper, finish with a fennel frond


Pomegranate (Punica granatum) known to be an invigorator, sacred fruit to Aphrodite ( you know goddess of Love!) paired with agave based Tequila for more feel good factor

It’s a Love Thing

1 1/2 oz silver tequila

1 oz pomegranate juice

1/2 oz lime juice

1 /2 oz campari

1/2 oz agave

about 1 oz of Timmerman’s strawberry lambic ale


Put everything except for the ale into your Boston shaker with about 5 ice cubes, shake for 25 seconds and strain into an ice filled glass of choice, top with the strawberry lambic


Pineapple (Ananas cosmosus) aphrodisiac, a small glass taken daily is said to promote energies of love, mixed here with rosemary which has a strong erotic effect,  chili and vanilla both also known to be mood enhancers .
Apple of my Eye
1 1/2 oz aged rum
1 oz John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz lime juice
1/2 oz agave nectar
4 drops vanilla extract
a small sprig of rosemary for muddling
Muddle rosemary sprig with Falernum , agave and lime juice. Add rest of your ingredients and shake in Boston shaker for 30 seconds with 4-5 ice cubes. Strain into a chilled glass of choice and garnish with a pinch of chili powder and some vegetation .
Wheat (Triticum aestivum) strengthens the sexual organs, paired here with saffron which evokes sexual desire , cinnamon used for erotic stimulation and vanilla.

The Mojo

1  1/2 oz wheated bourbon such as Buffalo Trace or Makers Mark

1 oz dry saki

1/2 oz simple syrup infused with  cinnamon and pinch of saffron ( add tablespoon cinnamon powder and saffron pinch to your simple syrup when still warm

2 drops vanilla extract

1/2 oz Averna amaro

Stir all ingredients in your mixing glass with 5-6 ice cubes, stir for 30 seconds or so until your glass becomes nice and frosty. Strain into a chilled coup or martini glass and garnish with a twist or a mint leaf for a bit of aromatic effect.


Next up…..looking for that pot of gold 

Issue No.019 Give me little drink from your Loving Cup





magine if  going on a cleanse  was as easy as switching on a vacuum cleaner and having it all get sucked out, all evils just washed away and us absolved of our many imbibed sins.  We spend so much time taking care of the outside, the visible parts of us , gussying it up, making it all shiny , yet we put so much crap into our bodies not really thinking too much about the consequences, or dealing with them many years down the line.

Modern diets and lifestyles, i’m not preaching honest, wreak havoc on us . Lets face it we’re all guilty especially at this time of the year when we’ve just spent a month ( maybe more) indulging in a plethora of delights from christmas pudding and mince pies, to egg nog and copious amounts of champagne (ok that was my holiday diet). You get to January and all your bits have gotten a bit softer, bit wobblier , you feel sluggish and lumpy. So the next step is you sign up for a new gym membership to get back into bikini shape, but what about the inside, whats the saying , beauty should start from within , right?A popular method of inner spring cleaning is the fast, you give your digestive system a rest by only drinking juices or teas or spicy maple lemonade. Fasts are  nothing new of course, but they’re pretty bloody trendy these days and not just as  religious practice during Ramadan or Lent  which both employ fasting as part of the “making yourself holy” schtick . A fast is great but but whilst washing your inner bits its not really putting anything back into your system.

I live in the city of Angels, the land of mashed yeast and alfalfa sprouts according to that great Noo Yawker Woody Allen, here there  is an almost unnatural   obsession with juice cleansing, juice bars popping up all over the shop, charging $10 a go for a cold pressed bottle of green nectar, its also become popular to add, dare I say it ( waiting to be struck down by lighting) a shot of vodka or gin to said juice mix, I mean I wrote about it this time last year so I know it to be true. But this month as a change of pace and to give us all a break I decided to concentrate on the beneficial aspects of juice cocktails , or mocktails.  As a bartender I get at least one request a night to make a mocktail of some sort , since I’m a lover of veggie juice I always try to incorporate it somewhere on any drink list I have a hand in. Recently  however I started thinking about making healthful tonics not only that will cleanse those twenty  odd miles of twisted pipes in your tum but that will also help put you back on the right track with the addition of plant extracts.

Phytochemistry ( yup a big word but not a scary one) is the science of chemicals derived from plants, natural chemicals of course,that are used to heal and prevent illness, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines are all derived from Phytochemical mixtures and have been used for centuries before modern medicine was even considered, in fact a whole slew of modern medicines are synthetic imitations of plant based compounds.You may be asking yourself at this point did I suddenly decide to change track and start writing a wellbeing blog, rest assured I did not but as someone that has over the years developed intolerance to all sorts of foods I started looking at ways of making my body feel better and stronger naturally. Here’s just a few…for my chronic migraines I take Feverfew daily, for joint stiffness ( brought on by standing too long and gluten in my diet) I take Boswellia ( same family as Frankincense, you know one of the gifts that a wise man carried) and Turmeric , for upset tummy I use Black walnut tincture or charcoal powder and as an immunity booster oregano or astragalus. Don’t get me wrong I still pop an Advil every now and again much to my Witch Doctor’s disapproval, sometimes pain needs a faster method of being whipped, especially if I’m behind the bar facing 6-8 hours of shaking drinks and attempting to be sweet ( not my forte) , but popping one too many and your liver will start to suffer, too many artificial chemicals will eventually take a toll.

Natural healers are all around us,  take for instance extra virgin olive oil, believe it or not it has similar actions to ibuprofen, its a powerful anti-inflammatory , turmeric one of the main components of curry also great for pain and joint stiffness, eating hot peppers helps to release endorphins and make you feel good, ginger root helps with upset tummies and has a higher level of cancer fighting anti oxidants than most berries ( and its often cheaper than them ) it also helps eliminate pain and inflammation. So using these guys as part of my phytocleansing arsenal, here then are this months soothing cups of love full of natural, plant based free radical fighting superheros.

Oh…and when you get sick of being too righteous  and good, toss in a shot of your favorite liquid poison.


Street Phyto Man  

glamour shot supplied by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

 3 oz fresh pressed carrot juice

1/2 oz fresh pressed turmeric juice ( or a quarter teaspoon of powdered root)

1/2 oz fresh ginger juice ( or as hot as you can stand it)

2 oz fresh apple juice

1 bar spoon of devil’s claw  tincture ( available at most health food stores)

a pinch of cumin powder

Add everything to your tin with a couple of cubes of ice , no need for tons of dilution, shake for about 10 seconds only then strain into a vessel of choice. Drink it fast or within 15 minutes, the longer it sits the more the valuable elements within the juices will evaporate so you’re just left with carrot tasting water, defying the whole purpose.

great for stiff joints, replaces electrolytes, aids sluggish digestion, lowers sugar levels, soothes the pain)


The Kick Inside (an ode to my first vegetarian hero Kate Bush)

glamour shot supplied by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

1 oz fennel juice

3 oz fresh apple juice

6 mint leaves

3 slices jalapeño

1 oz meyer lemon juice

1/2 oz agave ( plant based and low on that nasty sugar index)

black walnut tincture

fennel fronds and mint sprig to garnish

Using your trusty muddler mash up  mint and jalapeño with the agave and lemon juice, add rest of ingredients ( except garnish) and ice. shake for about 15 seconds an dump into a highball. Gussy it up with your garnish and sip away!

Helps with sluggish digestion , rebalances healthy flora in your body, releases endorphins and makes you feel good all over.


Flip It Good!

glamour shot supplied by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

3 oz chilled jasmine green tea

1 oz meyer lemon juice

1/2 oz agave nectar

1/2 oz fresh ginger juice

1/2 oz egg white

bar spoon really fruity extra virgin olive oil

bar spoon Camu Camu powder

4 drops of vanilla extract

toss everything except for the olive oil into your tin and dry shake for 10 seconds without ice to build up a nice froth, add ice and shake again for a good 15 seconds to incorporate the Camu Camu. At last second stream in the olive oil, it adds a lovely velvety texture and fruitiness to the drink, shake again for few seconds. This is similar to making a Ramos Fizz, add the fat too soon and the drink will not whip up well.

High in antioxidants, Vitamin C, powerful anti-inflammatory and free radical fighter, immune booster and mood enhancer.


Phyt The Power

glamour shot supplied by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

1 whole ripe avocado

1 whole ripe banana

1/2 cup finely chopped lacinato kale

1/4 cup frozen blueberries

1 oz agave nectar

4 oz unsweetened almond milk or coconut water

bar spoon chlorophyll powder or spirulina

1 ml dropper full of astragalus and ashwaganda ( in the immunity section of your health food store)

Add everything to your blender and blitz on high till your mix is nice and smooth, there will still be green bits of kale but as long as you can get them through a straw you should be good to go.

Great blood cleanser, blood builder, oxygen booster, immune booster, chock full of anti-oxidants and healthy oils to make your skin, nails and hair look strong and vibrant.


Chill-dren of the Revolution

glamour shot supplied by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Ok , so this one takes some time to prep but once its done and presuming you made  a batch it will last in the fridge for about a week.

1 silicone ice cube mold (1 ” cube size)

vegetable spray

1/2 cup chilled mint tea

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup of ginger juice

1 cup fresh apple juice

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon vietnamese cinnamon powder

3 capsules Rhodiola Rosea, open up and just use the powder

1 teaspoon agar agar powder

2 tablespoons agave nectar ( sweeten to your taste)

put everything together into a saucepan except for the agar and the Rhodiola powder, bring  to a simmer and whisk in the agar agar, whisking for a couple of minutes to makes sure there are no lumps.

meanwhile have the silicone ice tray mold sprayed with veggie oil ( wiping out the excess with a paper towel) this helps release the cubes when ready.

take mix of the heat and add the agave nectar, stirring it in,  cool slightly before whisking in the Rhodiola, again make sure there are no lumps or clusters, you want to make sure it dissolves fully.

pour into prepared mold and let set in fridge for about 1/2 an hour or longer if you can wait that long.

for the drink, take 3 cubes and put into a cup or heat resistant glass, add lemon wheels or a twist, a couple of cloves and another twist of fresh black pepper. Pour over a cup of boiling water, the cubes will dissolve . Stir and enjoy the aromas hitting your senses.

Great stress reliever, mood enhancer, energy booster, helps your brain rebalance all the good brain chemicals such as seratonin and endorphins.




Issue No.018 Its getting hot in here, so take out all your cloves!


My family and I love this product. For years we have took it. Cialis daily? It can help many men who have erectile dysfunction get and keep an erection when they become sexually stimulated.



weating yet? If this gratuitous shot of hunky Paul Newman doesn’t do it for you ( I will seriously question your warm bloodedness) then perhaps the offerings we have for you  this month might do the trick. Though considering the weather here in Southern Cali as I write is 86 Degrees , even typing is making me schwitz!

Hot spiked drinks were my Pop’s favorite thing about winter, that and the yearly offering of Islay scotch that would wend its way south every Holiday with my brother,a peace offering of sorts, the only moment of the year that these two great minds could come together and agree on one subject. My first whiffs of the fair lady of the Isles would come floating toward my delicate  girlish nostrils via Poppa Iggy’s hot Toddy, I don’t remember many more of the contents of his cup except for maybe honey and lemon, sometimes I think black pepper got in there.  When researching hot cocktails the one that appears the most popular is indeed the Hot Toddy ( or Tottie which is also slang for  a pretty young girl trying to pass for someone older). The toddie became popular in the late 19th century and was possibly brought over from India to Scotland, a traditional mix of scotch whisky, citrus, honey and hot water and was a dram taken before bed time to help cure colds, though the American lung association will advise that drinking alcohol when suffering  from a cold is not a good idea since alcohol dehydrates , nonetheless its still a popular drink that is consumed if you’re suffering or not regardless of health warnings. The whisky serves to numb the pain, the citrus for a dose of big C, the honey to soothe and the hot water to raise your temperature. The popular classic cocktail the Penicillin is I personally think a cold version using similar ingredients with the addition of a peaty Islay scotch and ginger for extra kick. The toddy can take many forms, I like to use a variety of liquors and instead of plain hot water I infuse it with teas or herbs that will complement the flavors, for instance, chamomile and calvados, chai tea and rum, Earl grey tea, amaretto and bourbon, you get the picture I hope.

The second most popular hot drink would be the Irish coffee, its rumored was invented by a bartender at the LA tavern Tom Bergins which up until recently when it closed its doors was the hot spot ( pun intended) to go to for the best Irish coffee in town. The drink comprises of Irish whiskey, coffee and a generous topping of heavy cream. Europeans might disagree with this story , in Vienna and Germany coffee has been served with spirits and cream as far back as the 17th century except they used a cloud of whipped cream as a decadent foil to mask some of the liquor.

In old  Blighty  a  popular  wintery  tipple  would  be hot  apple  cider  laced  with  brandy and was used in a  game for Guy Faulks night   called  ”Apple  Bobbing” ( takes place on November 5th a pagan celebration where a paper stuffed effigy of Mr.Faulks who attempted to blow up Parliament is thrown onto a bonfire in a” take that you cad” type of retaliation, the origins of Burning Man methinks ) , whole apples are tossed into a bowl of the laced cider and the trick is to try taking a bite of an apples before you fall over drunk from taking mouthfuls of boozy cider, those wicked little apples will as soon as you get close duck under the surface making it near impossible to take a chunk out of them, you guess the rest its more a of a drinking game than anything else.

Spiced or mulled wines are another fruity alternative , the Swedes take the infusing of their wines one step further by adding almonds and raisins as well as spices to make glogg, rhymes with hug, am curious if some errant pirate landed on their fair shores and corrupted the  Swedes forever, more likely its roots go back to those conquering Romans who drank spiced  warm wine all the way back in the first century. I would imagine wearing those short skirts back then demanded some form of inner fortification to keep soldiers from freezing their nuts off. Some version of mulled wine is drank at Christmas time pretty much all over Europe and some Latin American countries. The Germans have something they call “glow wine”, in Italy they have “vin Brule” or burnt wine. My country men the Poles also have an affection for warmed up beer that has honey and spices added to it , Pops would drink it regularly on frigid nights when he had returned from being out all day in the freezing damp air of England, he would warm up a bottle of Newcastle brown or Guinness and sometimes even ramp up its powers by adding a shot of whiskey, kind of like a Boiler maker really.

I hope all this talk of warm and toasty drinks is getting you in the mood, if like me you are sitting in shorts and a bikini then save these ideas for the next time your holed up in a cabin in Mammoth or enduring a rainy afternoon next to the fire with the cat and good book, just don’t let the cat take a nip from your cup or your idillic sojourn will be no more. My favorites for this season without further ado….


The Faulk’s Tail Punch

Per drink you will need:

1 oz Calvados , Applejack or Brandy

1/2 oz Madeira

1 barspoon Kummel ( Germanic cumin spiced liqueur)

1/2 oz honey

3/4  oz lemon

2 oz hot mulled apple cider ( spiced with cloves, nutmeg, allspice and orange peel)


still life with apples by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Heat up your cider in a pot, you can make this a punch bowl or in small batches , throw in your spices as much or as little as you like and let simmer on a low flame covered for about 15 minutes . Meantime add your booze and juice to punch bowl or cup, when cider is ready pour into your bowl or mug and garnish with a cinnamon stick or a couple of whole cloves.

We have a cold version of this drink at Ink that is mixed with buttermilk and tastes like liquid apple pie


Little  Oge Flynn

for the drink:

1 1/2  oz of Irish whisky infused with Ibara chocolate ( I used one wafer or tablet per 1 bottle of whisky, you need to break it up and let it sit and ruminate for at least a week, lucky for me the impatient one I sous vide mine at 55 degrees for an hour and a half to get a good amount of flavor)

2 of good quality  piping hot coffee or espresso, espresso is my favorite it has less acid and more flavor

3/4 oz cinnamon simple syrup ( Vietnamese or Saigon is fuller and more intoxicating in my opinion) 1 tablespoon per 3 cups of 1:1 simple , needs to be added when the simple syrup is hot

4 dashes Miracle Mile Chocolate Chilli bitters

1 dash of vanilla extract

1/2 oz Pedro Ximinez PX sherry ( the raisins in this  and the chocolate are beautiful together)

for the milk foam:

in your ISI gun add all ingredients and charge with one NO2 canister

8 oz of skim milk ( or buttermilk)

1/4 oz vanilla extract

3 oz of egg whites

1 oz 1:1 simple syrup

study in black and tan by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Assemble your ingredients in a shaking tin stir a couple of times and pour into your warmed glass or vessel of choice , top withe generous cloud of milk foam and shaved dark chocolate, garnish with cinnamon stick.


Heathersage Cup

3 oz strong sage tea ( fresh sage leaves steeped in hot water for about 10-15 minutes)

2 oz islay scotch

1 oz lemon juice

1 – 1 1/2 oz clove infused honey  syrup ( 10 cloves to 2 cups of honey syrup 1:1 honey to hot water) infuse the cloves whilst your honey solution is still hot, let sit for a day)

a couple of grinds of fresh black pepper ( for kick)

2 juniper berries

sage leaves and a lemon slice for garnish

still life with teapot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Put all ingredients in a heat proof glass or mug, muddle the juniper berries everso slightly, add the sage tea and stir, top with lemon  slice and sage leaves.


Sweet Bowl of Fire

This one takes some time, so be prepared.

1 bottle of average red wine, a good Syrah or Pinot Noir picks up the flavors of the fruit beautifully

1 /2 cup toasted almonds

1/2 cup of raisins

peel of 2 oranges plus the juice for some tartness

1/2 cup of molasses ( pomegranate molasses works too but adds a real tartness to the finish)

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tablespoon crushed pink peppercorns

6 whole cloves

1/2 a whole vanilla bean with the seeds scraped out

1/2 cup Smith & Cross rum ( 1 cup if you want to make a lively gathering)

3 oz st. Elizabeth Allspice dram


still life No. 4 by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Toss everything except the rum and allspice dram into a pot and allow to simmer covered for an hour. Let sit for a further 2-3 hours covered but off the flame to fully infuse. When ready strain out all the fruit  and pour the infused wine back into a pot to reheat, when ready to serve pour in rum and allspice, for each cup slice half an orange, add a couple of whole cloves and pour in a generous ladle full of the wine mixture. Great with a slice of gingerbread or a biscotti for dunking.


Coming up ….. a nip of nogg

Issue No.017 Shrub-a-dub-dub, tree men in da tub

hat’s the connection you may ask , shrubs and men in tubs….I’ve not completely lost my marbles on this one I promise , “rub-a-dub-dub”  you may remember is a classic nursery rhyme with three men in a tub          ( butcher, baker and candle stick maker) rub a dub  is also a style of Jamaican reggae the dance performed to which is pretty raunchy. The shrub (rhymes with rub since we’re on the subject of rhyming) part of this slightly convoluted anecdote is a drinking vinegar, it is one part fruit, one part vinegar and one part sugar, they would be my three men in da tub….got it??? Gosh I hope so or you may not get to the rest of this blog which is far more straightforward.

I’m a bit of a vinegar nut, as a fledgling my first illicit habit to develop was drinking pickle juice straight from the jar,my pops told me my mum would eat bucket loads of pickles when she was carrying me, (that and raw bacon ) maybe I got a taste for it even back then. Every night I would hit the larder ( no need for fridges in chilly old England) and sneak a dram of that savory, sour and sweet nectar, draining the juice before the pickles were even eaten which would confuse the crap out of pops till he caught on that his six year old had a bit of a sour tooth,  the thought of it now makes my mouth water like one of Pavlov’s dogs hearing that proverbial bell. I got a serious talking to that it was not good for me and I should never do it again, one of many talks that went in through one ear and out the other, the more you say NO the more we want it, just plain old human nature! You can imagine my delight when I stumbled upon legitimate drinking vinegars, the first sample was at Russ and Daughters in NYC, they would save their beet vinegar from pickling and whip it up into this lovely tangy beet lemonade. Addiction # 1353 had begun!

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Of course using vinegar in drinks is nothing new ,the early English version of the shrub arose from the medicinal cordials of the 15th century.The drink gained popularity among smugglers in the 1680s trying to avoid paying import taxes for goods shipped from mainland Europe. To avoid detection, smugglers would sometimes sink barrels of spirits off-shore to be retrieved later; the addition of fruit flavors aided in masking the taste of alcohol fouled by sea water.  As a mixture of fruit and alcohol, the shrub is related to the punch (which we will be covering in future editions of the Cup) however punches were normally served immediately after mixing the ingredients, whereas shrubs tended to have a higher concentration of flavour and sugar and could be stored for later use, much like a pre-made drink mixer, kind of like a fancy sweet & sour mix. The shrub was itself a common ingredient in punches, either on its own or as a simple mix with brandy or rum.  It was also served during the Christmas season mixed with raisins, honey, lemon, sherry, rum and other spirits.The shrub was sold in most public houses throughout England in the 17th and 18th centuries, although the drink fell out of fashion by the late 1800s. Further back the Romans diluted acetified wine with water to make an everyday thirst quencher called posca, and vinegar has been touted as a cure-all in Asia and Europe for centuries.

The American version of the shrub has its origins in 17th century England where vinegar was used as an alternative to citrus juices in the preservation of berries and other fruits for the off-season. Fruit preserves made in this fashion were themselves known as shrubs and the practice carried over to colonial America. By the 19th century, typical American recipes for shrubs used vinegar poured over fruit—traditionally berries—which was left to infuse anywhere from overnight up to several days; afterward the fruit would be strained out and the remaining liquid would be mixed with a sweetener such as sugar or honey and then reduced  to make a syrup. The sweet-and-sour syrup could be mixed with either water or soda water and served as a soft drink,the precursor to modern day fizzy drinks,  or it could be used as a mixer in alcoholic cocktails . Shrubs eventually fell out of popularity with the advent of home refrigeration . The acidity of the shrub makes it well suited  as an alternative to citrus  in cocktails. Unlike cocktails acidulated with citrus, vinegar-based drinks will remain clear when shaken.

There are a couple of different ways of making a shrub, there’s the maceration method ( maceration pretty much means an ingredient sits in liquid and is broken down or softened by it allowing for its juices to be released,  done without heat which I think results in much brighter flavors) or using raw juice for a quick shrub, then there’s the sweating method, done in a pan with a small amount of heat, works best for vegetables, then there’s infusing, similar to maceration except that a flavor is infused into a liquid. I only ever use the cold method and infusing though I do admit to using heat to speed up the process via an immersion circulator at low temp. Here’s a breakdown of my  favorite methods….

Cold  shrub #1 the maceration method

2 cups of  berries  ( berries shine in this method, if using something like  apples shred them on a grater first)

1 cup of  good quality wine vinegar, I use champagne or apple cider vinegar

1- 1 1/2 cups of organic cane sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)

in a screw top jar toss in your fruit and sugar, mash up the fruit, pop on the lid , put in the refridge and let them get to know each other intimately for 24-48 hours until the juices are pouring from the fruit. you can peek in on them from time to time to see their behaving well. The time depends on how ripe/soft  your fruit is. After time is up add your vinegar and allow this threesome to mix it up for another day. Strain off the resulting liquid, the pulp thats left can be served over ice cream for a treat. Store your shrub in an air tight container, the acidity in the vinegar prohibits the growth of bacteria which means this will keep for a little bit as long as its stored correctly in the ice box. My best experiments have come from black berries, cherries and strawberries ( as long as the strawbs are sweet and tasty to begin with)

Cold shrub #2 the juicing method

1 cup of veggie juice ( beets, fennel, celery, apple all quite lovely)

1 cup of apple cider vinegar

1 cup of simple syrup 1:1 ratio sugar to hot water

the quickest method of all, just combine the three, add both sugar and vinegar in increments until you have your desired level of sweet to tart.

Cold shrub # 3 the infusing method

the zest of 4 large grapefruits or 6 oranges

1 quart of simple syrup 1:1 ratio

1 cup of champagne vinegar

zest the citrus on a microplane and add to the simple syrup, allow to infuse for at least 24 hours before adding the vinegar.

There are also a few drinking vinegars on the  market now, Bevando Al Balsamico ( cherry flavored) from Italy is sipped after dinner by those who cant partake in the Fernet  shooting ritual, its great by itself or mixed with soda water. The drinks that follow are a selection of examples, the possibilities with shrubs are limitless, you can infuse herbs with fruit, dried fruits, spices, different vinegars etc. Just have fun with it….


Beet is murder

2 oz gin

1/2 oz beet juice shrub

1/2 oz simple syrup

1/2 oz cardamaro amaro

1/2 oz lemon juice

6 opal basil leaves for muddling and basil buds for garnish

topped off with bubbles, a dry sparkling reisling or a splash of good tonic water.


beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Shake over ice (about 5 cubes) for 25 seconds, strain into a chilled ice filled glass and top with your bubbles, garnish with a few basil buds


Scarborough Fair

1 1/2 oz silver tequila or mezcal for a smokier note

3/4 oz strawberry sage shrub ( made in with the maceration method above)

1/2 oz lime juice

1 /2 oz Cynar

1/2 oz simple syrup 1:1 ratio

about 1 oz of Timmerman’s strawberry lambic ale

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Put everything except for the ale into your Boston shaker with about 5 ice cubes, shake for 25 seconds and strain into an ice filled glass of choice, top with the strawberry lambic



1 1/2 oz Vida or La Purtita Mezcal

3/4 oz fennel apple shrub ( fennel and apple juice, mixed with apple cider vinegar and sugar, steep with toasted celery seeds over night)

1/2 oz lemon juice

1/2 oz simple syrup

1 oz cocchi americano

dash Miracle Mile or Bitter truth Celery bitters

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Shake everything over ice in your Boston shaker, shake for 25 seconds and strain into a chilled ice filled old fashioned glass, garnish with a sprinkle of smoked salt and cracked black pepper, finish with a fennel frond


Newton’s Fig

1 1/2 oz bourbon such as Buffalo Trace

1 oz  good quality Claret

1/2  oz lemon juice

1/2 oz simple

1/4 oz chocolate balsamic reduction ( Wholefoods has a lovely one in the oil and vinegar section, making your own is also an option but its a pain in the bum and you have to watch it so I opt for the cheaters version)

1 fresh fig

splash of egg white

dash of Miracle Mile chocolate chili bitters


beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith


Muddle the fig, balsamic and simple together, add the rest of your ingredients and dry shake without ice for about 5 seconds, add ice and shake for 20 seconds. Double strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a twist of cracked black pepper


The Grape Escape 

This drink works well with or without booze and also as an ice cream float. The combination of honey and fruit to vinegar is inspired by a plum agrodolce, Italian for sweet-sour , the honey with the grapes is a lovely combination. To carbonate I used a gadget called the Twist and Sparkle, it gets more carbonation than an ISI but uses the same Co2 cartridges. The ratio below is for one drink, its best to do a small batch of maybe 3-4 drinks in the T&S. The color  of the grape juice will vary depending on the grapes you use, the drink below was made using a combination of , muscadine and white grapes, concord grapes are the grapiest of grapes.

2 oz Concord grape juice

1/2 oz honey syrup 1:1 ratio

1/2 oz champagne vinegar

4-5 oz chilled water depending on how intense you like your flavor

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Stir everything together with ice for about 30 seconds, decant into your twist and sparkle and charge with 2 Co2 capsules. Let the T&S sit for a few moments to give the liquid a full chance to carbonate.

Open up and pour over ice cream for a float, sorbet for a  soft sgroppino,with cream as an egg cream  or just as a tart soda. You can also add a couple of ounces of vodka, gin, wine or whatever floats your ice cream float. The version below has the following quantities per drink:

1 1/2 pisco,

2 oz grape juice

1/2 oz champagne vinegar

1/2 oz lemon

1 /2 oz simple syrup

2 drops rosewater,

2 dash Peychauds bitters

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith


Next Up….How bout a punch in the face!

Issue No. 016 Pull up to the pumper, bebe!

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ummer time , child the livin’s easy, the perfect season for cook outs, picnics or just vegging by a pool , for me there is no better liquid refreshment than a lovely ice cold bottle of beer, you wont get super buzzed so you can still handle flipping some burgers on the coals without falling in or over but mellows you out just enough to enjoy a day off.  My love affair with beer is so far almost life long, its my most often used cocktail ingredient other than citrus and sugar, every cocktail I tinker with gets a topping of beer at some point in its evolution, wether it be direct from the bottle in place of soda or champagne, as a fancy foam or as the MVP sweetened up by a bottle of pop,its my main squeeze that I occasionally cheat on.

This baby’s first beer bottle was courtesy of Newcastle Brown Ale, a favorite in our household, I was attracted to the colorful label and figured that something so pretty had to have something tasty inside it,whilst  draining the dregs I realized this was not the case, I was about 5 maybe,  not until I hit my twenties did I realize that a pint of Newkie can be quite delightful. ( Side note: I also popped a bright green slug into my mouth and chomped down thinking it was a sweetie, you can imagine the screams  that issued forth from my 3 year old lungs, thankfully I did not develop a habit for slug eating later in life, though I think something has to be said for the phrase “you eat with your eyes first” )

Grande Bretagne , that cold damp isle that I was raised on,  is a nation of beer drinkers,we make some of the best brews in the world especially in the area of Derbyshire where I grew up, they reckon its something to do with the clear sweet water that issues from the springs of Ashbourne where we as kids were sent every april to do the very pagan ritual of dressing the well as an offering  to the gods of water. The menfolk  also have a time honored ritual on the weekends  of trotting off to the local for a pint on saturday lunch  and vanishing until well beyond sunset on a sunday night , the excuse was always a match was on but the real reason was the brew was on, the only thing they were blessing were the pumps or at the other end the bog where it all came back out. The Pub ( short for Public house) was always a place to escape from a nagging wife, the woes of life or to see your mates, or at least thats how the Pub has always been portrayed, the local was the hub of every community . I spent a good portion of my younger years hanging out in  Pubs that belonged to my best friend’s family , holed up on my summer holidays in Lincolnshire there was not much else to do after mucking out horses   ( my first job )  than sniff stale beer and relax with a game of pool , a bag of crisps and a can of Ye Olde Shandy Bass. I credit it for helping me appreciate the finer points of  a pint, to this day the smell of horse shit and stale beer bring back fond memories for me.  A Shandy(its full name is  Shandy Gaff) is typically half beer half soda pop, in the UK  a kiddie  can buy it in less alcoholic volume, coming ready made by Bass brewery in a can with only about 5% beer in it, totally legal for tikes, nothing wrong with that. When not pubbing it in the summer the weekends were the only time I was allowed a can , it was my reward for showing up to church with minimal whining and combed hair, a dress was stretching it , it would take a whole lot more to get me in something girlie back then, shandy was a valued currency and quickest form of bribery, it would take cold hard cash to get me to dress like a girl though.

After being successfully weened onto the ale by that innocent  shandy,  my tastes for beer run the gamut these days, possibly my favorite  right now is a hoppy IPA, though for summer Lambic ales and sour beers get their fair share of attention too. Winter favorites are stouts, chocolate or espresso for the fancy pants in me, for the working class lass good old Guinness or Boddingtons do the trick. My go to, year round , food friendly alternative to wine however is still the Shandy or in the last few years has evolved into the Beer-tail ( cocktail with beer, and no nothing like an Irish Car Bomb), a drink I have been mixing at home for the last few years is a combo of a Michelada and a Shandy, this last year I was honored that a variation of said tipple was awarded Cocktail of the Year by the good folks at Tasting Table. Am also digging my own version of  an Americano Sbagliato ( means fool or clown in Italian) for hot summer evenings, built in a glass over ice with equal parts aperol and sweet vermouth topped off with strawberry lambic ale ( a lambic ale is brewed using spontaneous fermentation which relies on the natural yeasts in the air and the fruits in the mix to kick start the brew, its a style of beer that is less strong, bitter and frothy but is instead fruity and everything a summer ale should be, currently at our bar we are serving it in a Rebujito style drink with house made rhubarb cream soda and manzanilla sherry. Lambic also works really well mixed with wine, my preference is for a berry scented light red burgundy but a pinot noir will do too, add a splash of strawberry lambic to a glass or to gussy up a boring sangria.

Historically the “Beer-tail”is nothing new, according to the Oxford English Dictionary the first mention of beer being mixed with spirits appeared around 1695 and came in the form of a beer flip, a drink that consisted of rum, beer, sugar and egg that was heated with a red hot poker which made the egg and beer froth or flip, over time the beer and the poker disappeared from the equation as witnessed in Jerry Thomas’s Bon Vivant’s tome of the 1800′s, he has everything in there from port wine flips to hot gin flips. I was first introduced to the idea by a NY bartender back in 2008 who made a delicious concoction which involved porter, allspice, rum, sugar and a whole egg, we called it the “Charles Pfaff beer flip” in honor of Charlie Pfaff who opened the first bohemian beer cellar  around 1850 in what later turned into Greenwich Village, for a time we were lucky enough to work in the space his bar as well as countless artists of the time inhabited including Messrs Whitman and Twain.

The French have a concoction called Picon Bierre, its a mix of Amer Picon and some form of beer, Picon is a type of  bitter or amaro and is quite hard to come by these days, Torani ( those folks behind the syrups you see at fancy coffee shops) have something similar called Torani Amer, I prefer to use something like CiaoCiaro amaro, its not exactly the same but does the trick, Melleti amaro is also a good one to use.

Another way  I have been using the brew in cocktails  is making into into a foam to add an accent to a non beer-tail, I found that an IPA foam goes well with lighter spirits such as gin, vodka, aquavit and a stout foam better with darker spirits such as rum,whiskey and scotch. A foam is pretty simple to achieve if you have the correct tools ( I think that kind of goes with a lot of things, eating a steak without a knife and fork would be pretty difficult, funny though)

IPA foam/ Guinness foam

6 oz IPA beer/ 6oz Guinness or chocolate stout

4 oz St.Germain/ 4 oz thai coconut milk

2 oz egg white

2 oz saline solution 10:1 ratio water to salt/ 2 oz simple syrup 1:1 ratio sugar to water

4 oz grapefruit juice/ 2oz fernet branca

ISI creamer gun

1 No2 charger

add everything to your gun and screw on the cap, give a good shake BEFORE charging with No2 to incorporate the ingredients , charge with the gas capsule and shake again, try it out on a Tom Collins, Singapore Sling or your choice of Buck.

Here’s a selection of my favorites to get you through the rest of the summer and maybe even fall , depending on your habitat.

The Golden Ale

Below is my original version

1 oz St.Germain

1/2 oz yuzu juice

1/2 oz honey syrup

1/4 oz sriacha hot sauce

4-6 oz chilled Hitachino Red rice beer

( hard spirit such as vodka or tequila is optional, 1 1/2 oz should be enough for the above proportions)

maldon smoked salt for rim

slices of pepper as garnish (optional)

photo by the talented Mr. Patrick Obrien-Smith

Add everything except the beer to your Boston shaker and shake over ice for about 20 seconds, strain into a chilled, ice filled, smoked salt rimmed collins glass. Top with beer and slurp straight from glass. St.Germain and hot sauce are a marriage made in heaven ( or in my heaven)


Cherry Bomb

Based on a classic Pimms cup using seasonal stone fruits

4-5 pitted fresh cherries

1 oz gin ( 2 oz if you want to get your buzz on faster)

2 oz Pimms #1 blend

1 oz fresh lemon juice

1/2 oz simple syrup ( 1:1 ratio sugar to hot water)

mint leaves and a sprig

4 slices of cucumber  for muddling plus a couple more for garnish

3 dashes of celery bitters

a bottle of pilsner, I used a can of Bud, something tickled me about the contrast of posh and working class.



photo by the talented Mr. Patrick Obrien-Smith


In your trusty Boston shaker ,muddle your cherries, cucumber and mint with the simple and lemon juice, dash in your bitters, pour in gin and Pimms  add ice and shake for about 30 seconds, dump into a chilled glass of your choice with more ice cubes and top with beer, to make it pretty arrange some cucumber slices inside the glass, garnish with a sprig and cherries.


Wannabe Americano

This drink came to be some time ago, I called it La Romana which was a version of  an Americano sbagliato using all Roman ingredients including a splash of fizzy Prosecco. It’s base ingredients stay the same but I have recently started topping it off with a fruity Lambic ale.

1 1/2 oz Aperol

1 1/2 oz Carpana Antica vermouth or Cocchi vermouth di Torino

2 oz strawberry lambic ale

4-5  chunks of grapefruit

grapefruit peel for garnish or something pretty ( we used lavender)



photo by the talented Mr. Patrick Obrien-Smith

Muddle the grapefruit in the bottom of an old fashioned glass, add aperol and vermouth, add 3 lumps of ice and top with your garnish, one  of these is never enough.


I should Coco

1 1/2 oz anejo rum

1 oz lime juice

1 oz coconut milk

1  1/2 oz pineapple juice

1/2 oz agave

4 drops vanilla extract

dash Cocktail Kingdom falernum bitters

1 1/2 oz banana bread beer ( yes banana bread) failing that a good old Pacifico works pretty good too

photo by the talented Mr. Patrick Obrien-Smith

toss everything except the  beer into your shaker, add a few cubes of ice and shake for about 2o seconds or so, dump into your chosen vessel, top off with the beer and add a sprig of rosemary for scent, something about rosemary and pineapple they riff off each other quite beautifully.


St. James’s Flip

Back to the old beer flip, I used Guinness as my stout, mother’s milk to my Irish friends who claim you can survive on it alone, full of Iron and other goodies for sure, the drink is named after the place Guinness was first brewed.

1 1/2 oz of Irish whiskey

1 oz espresso or cold brew coffee

1/2 oz of cinnamon simple syrup ( toss a teaspoon of Vietnamese cinnamon into a quart of simple syrup)

2 dashes of Miracle Mile Chocolate Chilli bitters

1/2 oz Fernet Branca

1 whole egg

1 can of Guinness

photo by the talented Mr. Patrick Obrien-Smith

Dry shake without ice all ingredients for about 15 seconds to incorporate the egg  and get it nice and creamy, add 4-5 ice cubes and shake for another 2o seconds. Strain into a chilled latte glass , top with a couple of ounces of Guinness, you can add more if you need it less sweet. Dust over a pinch of dutch chocolate powder or nutmeg if the festive mood is upon you.


Next up…..Shrub-a-dub-dub, tree men in a tub

Issue No.015 For seuth, Vermouth….aroma wasn’t built in a day!


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 was a time of glamour, of mink furs and topless MG Midgets (a car my loves) , of Yves Saint Laurent androgyny and the Rollings Stones ruling the music scene,  yes twas a magical time called the 1970′s. One of my  favorite  memories from then was watching witty , clever ads on TV filled with that slapstick Benny Hill style humor  , saucy, sassy and very much tongue in cheek, I was usually sneaking looks at evening TV by hiding under the coats on the stairs, case in point the TV ads of both Cinzano  vermouth and Campari from way back when were pretty bloody hilarious showing a very posh Joan Collins  regularly getting her blouse doused by her clueless companion, click here for bonafide 70′s nonsense. The Seventies were not a time of great affluence for most working class stiffs so the quickest way to experience a wee dose of the cosmopolitan life was through food or drink.Back in my college days living in a run down slum of a flat, with peeling wall paper and a  50p meter that gave us a hot bath, back in the days when I lived on a can of baked beans for two days and scraped fur off 2 month old cheddar, (wait do I hear violins weeping their lament?) my roomie and I would scrimp and save for the communal cherished treat of a bottle of Cinzano Bianco, tastier than a bottle of plonk ( table wine to you) but still not bank breaking , we celebrated everything with it,birthdays, graduation, fridays, getting rid of old carpet. Our ritual of cracking open the bottle of Cinzano was what made life worth living some months, transporting us off to the Riviera Italiano, pathetic I know, but such was the life of a London art student in the Eighties.

 Cinzano vermouth was by far the best way to get a taste of Euro grandeur  if not from the Bitch’s blouse then at least from an ice filled highball with a slice of orange to bring out its  spicy aromas . It was sold  as a blend of fine Italian wines blended with herbs and spices,one of Cinzano’s tags was “aroma wasn’t built in a day” alluding to the centuries old recipe and traditions, as with most aperitif style mixers we use these days. Cinzano was not the only brand that used  the tongue in cheek formula in its campaigns, around 2007 Martini Rossi used ham royale, George Clooney in a series of short skits where he portrayed a debonaire  Italian movie idol who’s tagline was one word, “magnifico”. It is thought that the classic  gin Martini cocktail originated from Martini Rossi which  this year celebrates 150 glorious years of being in our glasses, wether on the rocks with a twist or  to soften the the bite of some London dry. Whichever brand you prefer, we should remember that vermouth like so many other mixers we use today,  started out as a medicinal dram somewhere in  the 1700′s,  a cure all for both your nerves and the pox (maybe).Much has changed since then ,vermouth somehow became the least popular thing on the shelf of bars, pretty much gathering dust for years  and sadly I got too big to be hiding behind the coats any longer, only the sauce remains the same. Through the years  it lost a lot of its cachet as  image and trendiness became more important than the old school ways , come the Nineties was pretty much forgotten completely ,but then that seems to have been the path for many a classic product.

Fortunately  the times they are a changing and that  path has been winding back to its origins these last few years, with more brands being launched every couple of years, vermouth is once again a staple of every good bar, each one featuring a variety of flavor profiles and brands, bartenders are once again embracing those appetite whetting aromatics for both classic cocktails and modern iterations . Delving into the history of vermouth got my brain  whirring, could I create my own version of vermouth, was it a waste of time or something worth exploring further? Ignoring the logical side of my inner Jimminy Cricket I figured i’d have a go,  vermouth is essentially an aromatized fortified wine, aromatics get added to a grape base which then gets an addition of alcohol and a certain amount of  sugar to sweeten it. The base is important for sure but what you add to it, the many combinations is more important methinks. I made several versions, using all sorts of combinations, peels and herbs, teas and spices, I even barrel aged them to mellow them out, like a perfumer I became a bit obsessed , I blended finished versions to see what would happen , the possibilities are pretty much endless

With all this stuff rattling around in my brain I started teaching the odd class here and there to see if I could pass on the baton sotospeak to some like minded LA peeps, below are a few pics of one of the classes that took place at the lovely new liquor store called Bar and Garden in Culver city. We started out with the basics, but am hoping that the attendees will have fun letting their imaginations be limitless in the quest for the perfect blend, the most important thing I think I could pass on to the class was don’t get tied up in limitations and rules, there are none barring the basic structure of wine ,sugar , flavorings and liquor, its up to you how you build on the foundation.

photo by Patrick OBrien-Smith

 exhibit A: building blocks

Vermouth was originally created as a way of “improving” bad or off wine. If wine was starting to oxidize, turning it into “vermouth” was a way of extending the wines life and hiding the fact that it was going bad. Basically you would take a barrel of “off” wine and fortify it with distilled spirits and add some herbs and spices to cover up that off flavor. In modern times each vermouth has a specific flavor profile that is associated with the brand, so they don’t take old, oxidized wine to make modern vermouth. But I’m sure they don’t use great grapes to make it either, any wine seems to do.

The first step in the vermouth doctoring process is to fortify either white or red wine with some distilled spirit, such as aged brandy or a brandy eau d’ vie. Fortifying wine isn’t uncommon and is done all over the world, including in the making of port. But, port is fortified when the wine is very young, so young in fact that it hasn’t completed fermentation. The fortification will help preserve the wine and halt some of the oxidation.


photo by Patrick OBrien-Smith

exhibit B: interior Bar and Garden, pretty is it not?

The second step is to introduce herbs, spices and sugar if it’s a sweet vermouth, into the mix. This is usually done by steeping the herbs and spices in the wine or brandy, or you can take a portion of the wine and heat it with the herbs and spices. This heating  method brings the traditional “oxidized” flavor to the vermouth, while acting as a pleasant potpourri. The sugar content of sweet vermouth is up to 15% (specific gravity of up to 1.1), while dry vermouth had less sugar and has a specific gravity of 1.03 or less.

Some common herbs and spices used in vermouth are cloves, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, citrus peel, coriander, sage, basil, thyme, chamomile, quinine, juniper berries, and hops. Other herbs like gentian, mugwort and wormwood have been used in vermouth to provide some bitterness. In reality you can throw anything you like into a vermouth and make it unique. You can add flower petals, wild roots or some combination of eastern medicinal herbs, because vermouth by nature has a slightly medicinal flavor. Another example would be to boil down a cup of pinot noir and add that to a sweet vermouth to fortify the wine flavor. Just let your imagination run free.

photo by Patrick OBrien-Smith

exhibit C: a jar full of promise with some wood tied to it

The method in which to prepare your vermouth varies, but many people make stock solutions of the specific ingredients and then combine them in varying amounts to come up with a formula. After you have a good formula then the vermouth can be made in batches. For example you would take cloves and steep them for a couple of days, or boil them for 5 minutes, in a small portion of the base wine or possibly brandy. Then you would bottle it and call it vermouth clove concentrate. Then you would do this with all of you other ingredients. Then you could begin to blend the ingredients with the base wine until you have the specific flavor you want.

Herb and Spice Quantity for 750ml  Batch

1/2 teasp Wormwood

1/2 teasp Gentian Root

1/2  teasp  Oregano

1/2 teasp Angelica Root

2 teasp  Chamomile or lavender flowers

8 drops  Vanilla extract

4 pieces of lemon peel

2 piece of  Orange Peel

1/2 teasp Rosemary

1/2 teasp Sage

1/2 teasp Thyme

2 oz brandy

for sweet red or white vermouth add 1 1/2  oz volume of 1:1 simple syrup

for a drier version of either add .75 oz of simple syrup

1.toss everything into a small pan and set onto a low heat, you don’t want to boil away the alcohol but you need it warm enough to wake up the flavors.

2.let cool then our everything into your jar, add the barrel stave and seal tight . in a dark cupboard for about a week, shaking once a day to agitate the oils of your herbs.

4.strain out your herbs and rejar to age, at this point you can remove the barrel stave if you like the flavor or add it back in to continue your barrel aging.

5. I have gone up to 6 months so far of wood aging, the wood adds a dry oakiness and also mellows some of the stronger flavors, almost like it homogenizes everything together.


And so without further ado and meandering here are some of my favorite ways to get a dose of the old aroma…

The Big Chill

This drink is inspired by the summer staple Sangria

2 oz chamomile infused Dolin blanc vermouth

2 oz Reisling or Gruner Veitliner wine

1 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao

1 oz aquavit , gin or vodka

3/4 oz agave

4 drops miracle mile orange bitters

3/4 oz meyer lemon juice

chopped citrus such as kumquats or blood oranges

bubbles, choose from ginger beer to champagne

mint sprig garnish

photo by Patrick OBrien-Smith


In a Boston shaker muddle your fruit with the agave , bitters and  lemon juice, not too ferociously, you want your fruit to still look pretty in your glass. Add the rest of your ingredients except for bubbles and garnish, give a good shake for 30 seconds or so with ice and dump into a wine glass of choice, top with bubbles and garnish.

This is also great as a pitcher, make your mix but don’t add ice or bubbles until ready to serve, I suggest adding the ice to your glass rather than the pitcher so that the mix does not get diluted too fast as it stands.

Red Headed Stepchild #2

1  oz fresh carrot juice

2 oz of aquavit or vodka, typically I use  Linie Aquavit or a good polish potato vodka like Luksusova or Uluvka

3/4 oz lemon juice

1 oz Dolin dry vermouth

3/4 oz ginger syrup

3 dashes of Bob’s Cardamom Bitters

fennel frond  or cilantro flower for garnish


photo by Patrick OBrien-Smith

throw everything into your boston shaker with ice and shake for about 30-40 seconds or till a nice frost forms on your tin, strain into a chilled coupette or martini glass and garnish.

The June Bug

1 oz fresh kale juice

1 1/2 oz  silver tequila

1 oz  Dolin blanc vermouth or Cocchi Americano

3/4 oz fresh lime juice

3/4 oz simple syrup

4 drops Miracle Mile yuzu bitters

pinch fine salt

cracked black pepper and lime wheels to garnish


photo by Patrick OBrien-Smith


throw everything but your garnish into a Boston shaker with cracked ice, shake for 40 seconds or so or until your tin gets nice and frosty. Strain into a chilled ice filled old fashioned glass, add your lime wheels and a turn or two of fresh black pepper.


Kombucha green tea gimlet

2 oz gin of choice thats been infused with a couple of  big spoons of  green tea leaves per 750 ml bottle of booze, you can also sub out vodka if thats your preference.

1 oz Martini Bianco vermouth

1/2 oz  Pierre Ferrand Curacao or other orange liqueur if you cant get a hold of the good stuff.

1/2 oz lemon juice

1/2 oz simple syrup

1 1/2 oz of Kombucha, I used ready made Lavender Kombucha from GT’s

photo by Patrick OBrien-Smith


throw everything into your mixing glass with cracked ice and give a good stir for about 40 seconds, strain into a chilled coupette and garnish with a lemon wheel and  a sprig of  mint.


The Nighthawk #3 ( my go-to nightcap)

2 oz Rye whiskey

3/4 oz Dolin dry vermouth

1/2 oz CioCiaro Amaro

1/2 Cynar

3 drops Miracle Mile chilli bitters

orange oil and twist for garnish


photo by Patrick OBrien-Smith

In a mixing glass add all ingredients except for the orange twist, add ice and give a good stir for about 30 seconds or until the mixing glass gets nice and frosty. Strain into a chilled coupette glass, spritz the orange oil  from twist over drink and plop twist inside glass.

Next up…….for the love of Shandy!

Issue No.014 Whats up Thai-ger Lily?


ou may remember my minor obsession with one James Bond, handsome, smart, wears tight suits and always arrives just in time to save the day , he’s a manly man and quite tangibly could exist unlike a slew of comic book characters that bore me senseless. But as a supporter of equality I began to think about his female counterpart and apart from Mata Hari I could not come up with a worthy equal. Until I happened upon this movie for the Thai female Bond, she karate chops and kicks her way out of trouble whilst reducing men to dust with a mere batting of her eyelashes, I became an instant fan. The movie above in question I could not find with subtitles so I was left to make up my own story something like Woody Allen’s re dubbing of the cult classic “What’s up Tiger Lily”, if you’re not familiar its pretty much a story of a spy looking to find a secret egg salad recipe. Back to my Thai-ger Lily, for her I had to find an equivalent  signature cocktail to the Bond Vesper martini that would not stray too far from her cultural heritage, like James with his culturally correct London dry gin.

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Thai cuisine uses a bounty of fragrant and pungent ingredients such as coconut milk, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and  ginger , how to translate that yummy  bowl of Tom gai ka into your new favorite summer cocktail is just a few lines below. Hopefully lady Bond would approve of this message.

The arsenal of flavor kicks

Below is my collection of go to’s , Opal basil flowers as well as thai basil lend a heady almost anise like flavor , Ume plums (technically japanese) bring a tart sourness, Thai bird chilli gives an unmistakable karate kick to your chops, kaffir lime leaves intoxicate with their floral power and lemongrass for a refreshing note. Add in coconut and ginger and we’re pretty much set. Most of this comes from my local Japanese market, Mitsuwa,  which also sells a bunch of Thai ingredients, in NYC try Asia Market in chinatown for authentic un packaged ingredients.

eye candy by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

 Toasted coconut

pre heat your oven to 450, line a basking sheet with parchment paper and toss onto it a thin layer of shredded coconut, place in your hot oven for about 5 minutes to start, you will smell when the coconut is ready to be turned over, it should be a lovely golden brown in patches, give it a quick raking to turn over any un-bronzed areas and plop it back in the oven for another 3-5 minutes or so.


eye candy by Patrick O’Brien-Smith



My rule of thumb is that you need at least 12 hours to infuse anything properly if not using the sous vide method which takes about an hour. You can pretty much infuse anything I’ve included a shortlist of what each flavor works well with. Amount is based on one 750 ml bottle of liquid:

1 cup Toasted coconut+ scotch /pisco/tequila/rum/vodka/simple syrup

6 Thai bird chillis + tequila/vodka/pisco

10-15 kaffir lime leaves + vodka/gin/vermouth/saki/pisco/bourbon/simple syrup

10 halved ume plums+ gin/vodka/saki/pisco/vermouth

1 packed cup of chopped thai basil+vodka/gin/vermouth/pisco/rum/saki/simple syrup

1 cup of peeled ginger+vodka/tequila/scotch/rum/saki/simple syrup/honey syrup

4 stalks of chopped lemongrass+saki/vermouth/vodka/pisco/rum/simple syrup

you can speed up the process slightly by blitzing basil or ginger in a Vitamix or other blender, more oils will be released into your liquor this way. Depending on the heat of your chillis theres a good chance your infusion will be ready much sooner but if planning on using for a specific event allow yourself that window of 12 hours. Remember to strain out leaves if you choose to use the blender method.


King Khaohattan

This is my take on a Brooklyn cocktail which is itself a take on the classic Manhattan, instead of dry vermouth am subbing out a nice dry saki and instead of the maraschino I use kaffir lime infused simple syrup for the floral fruity notes.

1 1/2 oz Rye whiskey

3/4 oz dry filtered saki

1/2 oz kaffir lime syrup

1/2 oz  Bittermen’s Amere Sauvage or Ciociaro amaro

dash Scrappy’s lime bitters

eye candy by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

pour everything into your mixing glass, add a handful of cracked ice and stir till your mixing glass gets nice and cold, strain into a chilled coupette of your choice and garnish with a petite basil or kaffir lime leaf


Thai me up Thai me down

1 1/2 oz vodka or gin

1 1/2 oz thai basil infused saki or dry vermouth

1 oz lime juice

1 oz kaffir lime leaf simple syrup

2 dashes Miracle Mile Yuzu bitters

opal basil flowers to garnish

eye candy by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

take everything and toss into your boston shaker with 3-4 ice cubes, remember too much ice will dilute away your flavors, shake for a good 30 seconds or until a nice frost develops on your tin, strain into an ice filled vessel of choice collins or old fashioned glass works well . garnish with a tail of opal basil flowers, their scent will hit you in the nose as you drink so don’t remove when drinking, its all part of the experience.


Pina Cholada

My favorite place for Thai food on the west side of LA is Cholada, its a tiny wood shack situated on the Pacific Coast Highway that shakes every time a truck trundles past or the ocean winds get too high, the cooks there perform miracles in their  shoe closet sized kitchen , I salivate at the thought  of their kaffir lime fish cakes. Here’s my ode to wash it all down with , a twist on the classic Pina colada.

2 oz toasted coconut pisco

1 oz  thai coconut water

1 oz fresh lime juice

3/4 oz velvet falernum

3/4 oz pineapple syrup

1 oz egg egg white for your fluffy finish



eye candy by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

throw everything into your Boston shaker and dry shake without ice for about 1o seconds to wake up the egg white, add a couple of ice cubes and give a good shake for  30 seconds or so. Strain into an ice filled collins glass and spoon out some of the foam on top, finish with a kaffir lime leaf as garnish.


What a Goa!

Pretty much this is a play on the classic  unblended daiquiri , perfect for sipping on at the beach or in the beach of your imagination.

2 oz toasted coconut white rum

1 oz kaffir lime leaf simple syrup

1 oz fresh lime juice

6 cilantro leaves

1 dash of angostura bitters

eye candy by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

toss everything in your Boston shaker with about 4 ice cubes, no need to muddle your cilantro leaves the ice cubes will bash them enough to release their oils, shake for about 30 seconds or until a nice frost forms on your tin, strain into a coupette or up glass of your choice and garnish with a mint sprig


Enter the Dragon

This cocktail has become one of my party staples, every where I go someone asks for a spicy tequila drink, I add and take away some elements through time but what always remains is that fire breathing dragon of a drink spicy hot and fruity all at the same time, the recent addition of the coconut milk plays well to counterbalance some of the heat from the peppers.

1 oz Thai pepper infused tequila

1 oz white rum

3/4 oz velvet falernum

3/4 oz pineapple syrup

1 oz lime juice

1 oz coconut milk

eye candy by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

shake everything over ice in your Boston shaker, using about 4 medium sized ice cubes, again you don’t want to wash away the flavor, shake for about 30 seconds or so. Strain into a crushed ice filled glass either collins or bucket, top with a wee pinch of salt, some grated lime zest or a lime leaf.


Tako shandy

Of course I have to include a shandy, its the summer staple for me, light on booze, refreshing and goes great with food. The name Tako comes from the Thai dish Tako pudding which is jasmine scented coconut pudding. I steeped a tablespoon of jasmine tea in a pot of coconut milk over a low flame for about half an hour until it was well scented, strained and then stored it in the fridge till ready for use.

1 1/2 oz jasmine coconut milk

1 1/2 oz ginger syrup

1 oz lime juice

muddled lemongrass about 6 pieces

a bottle of Singha Thai beer

eye candy by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Muddle the lemon grass and syrup in the bottom of your shaker, add the milk and lime juice and stir briefly, pour into a mason jar and fill with ice, top with about 4 – 5 oz of your beer.


The Extras

Ginger syrup

peel and chop 2 cups of ginger

2 cups of hot water

2 cups of cane sugar

throw the ginger and water into your Vitamix and blitz for about 30 seconds, strain through a chinoise and add your 2 cups of sugar to the gingery liquid, stores for about 5 days in the fridge.

Pineapple syrup

peel and chop one pineapple, juice it if you have a juicing machine or blitz it in your Vitamix blending wonder and then strain off any pulp,measure the remaining juice and add half the  volume amount of sugar , this depends on how juicy your pineapple is . Again store in fridge for about 3 days max.

coming up next…….DIY liquers


Issue No.013 Get ourselves back to the garden

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up , I admit it,I’m a hippy at heart, a granola crunching, raw juicing, compost making , Joni Mitchell loving , Greenpeace member . I’m a child of the sixties, born in 67 a couple of months after the summer of love, raised to  respect the land that bore me , I refused to wear shoes on it until school forced me to, shoes in my idealist head represented the “man”, even at the age of four. My fondest childhood memories are scent orientated ,sitting in our back garden breathing in the summer air,  my high came from  heady tomato plants or sitting under lilac and orange blossom trees after a summer shower. Just like a honey bee I can’t pass by a hedgerow without smelling roses or resist  springs first offerings  lilly of the valley, hyacinths, bluebells or daffodils,or the Cali  phenomenon Night flowering Jasmine which completely intoxicates me , beckoning me like some siren to crash onto the rocks,or in my case  the 405, one whiff and am transported to the English country garden in my memory and as Thomas Hardy would say “far from the madding crowd” .

There are other properties that flowers hold too, for eons used for their healing powers, if the scent is not enough to chill you out then consider using their essence suspended in alcohol, yes you knew I would eventually get there, if not in a delicious libation then a la Dr.Bach with his flower remedies, used by many a modern Homeopath to quiet the mind. The Victorian age produced a whole dictionary of flower meanings and symbolism, violets the most often used  flowers in scenes symbolizing faithfulness and daisies for innocence.

In Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines both rose and orange flowers are distilled into hydrosols ( a water based solution made by distilling an essence) and used mostly in sweets such as turkish delight or baklava, but also to mask the flavor of high mineral content in drinking water and to purify the hands before tea drinking in Morocco.  I carry a spritzer of orange flower water with me to mist on hot days, its reviving and soothing all at the same time. The last few years has seen a resurgence in flowers being used  for the making of cordials, the most popular  is elderflowers used for St.Germain or Mr.Cooper’s other offering Creme  Yvette made from violets. Hibiscus flowers a common ingredient in Latin cuisine, that makes a tart and refreshing agua fresca. Or try Wood sorrel leaves , they look like clover but taste like a grassy citrus, great for making sours.

Like Alice in the garden of live flowers I could easily get lost and wander off intoxicated by scents and stories and never get to the point of this issue, instead am cutting the stem short and presenting you with an edited bouquet of libatious delights perfect for that violet time between day and night, the cocktail hour.

Alright blossom?

One of the most time consuming classic drinks to make is the Ramos Fizz, it involves copious amounts of shaking to get an almost milk shaky consistency, it consists of gin, cream, egg whites and citrus.  Created by Henry C. Ramos in 1888, in his bar in New Orleans, it was originally called a “New Orleans Fizz.” Back before prohibition this drink was very popular, and because labour rates were so cheap, the Ramos brothers would hire a couple dozen “shaker boys” to whip up these drinks . It became so popular that it was difficult for them to keep up with the orders. Over time the idea of a quality drink was replaced by a fast drink and the Ramos Gin Fizz slowly faded away. To me orange flower water is a marriage made in heaven when paired with pistachios, a classic Middle eastern pairing for wedding cookies as well as Baklava. Below is my variation on the fizz  using this inspiration plus a slightly Moorish take on a summery sangria-esque highball that also employs the scent of orange blossoms.

Little Green

2 oz gin ( Ford’s would be my preference but Beefeater is good too)

1 oz egg white

1 1/2 oz pistachio milk ( recipe below in basics)

3/4 oz lemon juice

3/4 oz simple syrup (1:1) ratio

bar spoon of orange flower water

3 drops of vanilla extract

soda water to top off and pistachio nut for grating as garnish


photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

this may not be the classic and correct way of constructing this drink but its the way it works for me to get a good amount of body.

Add all ingredients except for the cream, soda and garnish to  your Boston shaker, give a good dry shake without ice for about 20 seconds to get the egg white nice and lively, add your cream and a wee bit of cracked ice, too much will dilute the drink and deflate the egg, you want a 2-3 small pieces to chill the drink enough and then give a good whip shake for about a minute more if you want to thicken the cream more, the idea is that you are whipping air into both the cream and egg white. Strain into your vessel of choice, I am currently obsessed with these 8oz mini milk bottles, add your splash of soda water and grate pistachio on top using a microplane or zester.

Marrakesh Express

2 1/2 oz light fruity red wine

1/2 oz luxardo maraschino liqueur

1 oz booze of your choice gin ,vodka,brandy or omit for a less boozie version

1 oz cocchi americano

1/2 oz agave syrup

3/4 lemon juice

barspoon of orange flower water

a couple of turns of ground pink peppercorn

fruit to muddle, such as oranges, kumquats, blueberries, strawbs, ( later in year figs and pomegranite)

dry ginger beer to top off  (Fevertree my current flame) and orange slice, peppercorn garnish


Toss everything together in your shaker, add a couple of cubes of ice and whip shake to blend everything well without diluting too much. Strain into a tall ice filled vessel and top with the dry ginger beer and garnish

Rambling Rose

This should be my nickname, having a tendency to go off on several tangents and then forgetting what my point was like one of your batty aunts, one of my favorite rose scented bevvies comes from Jamie Boudreau, he created the inspirational Rosewater Ricky, a combo of gin, flamed cherries and rosewater amongst other things. However a recent inspiration of mine came from a fellow called Max, one of our prep cooks at work who came up with a refreshing  non-boozie lemonade using an unexpected ingredient, you can make it with or without the sauce. This drink also works well as a pitcher

Green Manalishi

 1 1/2 oz pea & mint syrup ( yup peas) recipe below in basics

4-5 fresh mint leaves ( stems are bitter)

2 oz of vodka, gin or aquavit

1 oz lemon

1 oz Dolin blanc vermouth

bar spoon rosewater

4 or 5 slices of lemongrass

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Muddle mint and lemongrass with pea syrup and lemon juice, add rest of your ingredients and give a good shake with cracked ice for about 30 seconds in your Boston shaker. Double strain into an ice filled glass using your coco and hawthorn strainers , double straining makes sure you get no bits of mint,pea or lemongrass. Top with a splash of something bubbly , soda , ginger beer or prosecco. Top with mint sprig garnish.


Pink Moon

My second rose scented offering  also incorporates the very british garden grown ingredient rhubarb,  its delicious vegetal subtle pinkness is simply divine darling when paired with a wee bit of  rose water, the syrup can be used for a refreshing soda or amazing drizzled on goats milk yogurt or ice cream. The drink is pretty much a version of a boozy pink lemonade, nothing too complicated allowing the ingredients to shine through,I dusted it with little beet powder that adds extra earthy drama.

Inspired by the rose scented delicacy Turkish delight, for a bit of fun I made jello shot jellys to accompany both this drink and the following one, the recipe I adapted from the NY Time’s article written by the wonderfully smart Toby Cecchini.

2 oz gin or vodka

1 1/2 oz rhubarb syrup ( recipe below in basics)

3/4 oz lemon juice

1 oz egg white

1/2 oz cocchi americano

bar spoon of rosewater

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

toss everything together in your trusty shaker and dry shake without ice  for a good 15 seconds or so, add a small amount of ice and whip shake for another 30 seconds, you want the shaker nicely chilled but your contents not too diluted and bruised. Strain into a coupe or small glass , top with some of the remaining egg white foam, garnish with a skewer of berries or if you got adventurous additionally with a rhubarb jelly and a sprinkle of  dehydrated beet powder.

Bramble on…

The Bramble is more of a new classic, invented somewhere in the 80′s ( nineteen not eighteen), by a fellow Brit bartender, its a cobbler in style, using plump ripe blackberries to fruitify some London dry, my additions here were minimal, a touch of the gentle lady rose water and a couple of crushed rosehips, oh and a splash of strawberry lambic to finish off the English brambled garden theme.

2 oz gin

1 oz lemon juice

1/2 oz simple syrup

1/2 oz creme Yvette, creme de mure or cassis

barspoon of rosewater

4-5 plump ripe blackberries

2 crushed rosehips ( local herbal store should stock)

splash of Timmermans strawberry lambic ale to top off and lemon twist


photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

In your glass or jelly jar add your berries, rosehips, syrup and lemon juice, give it all a good muddling, top with ice, add gin and rosewater and stir for about 20 seconds, top with the lambic ale, lemon twist and a skewered blackberry.


Barefoot in the Grass

This drink is an ode to my good friend Paddy, who takes all of my gorgeous shots here, recently he told me he’s quite fond of whiskey sours,  I came up with this drink a version of a classic Boston whiskey sour for St.Patrick’s day and used Irish whiskey, the elderflower based liqueur St.germain and at the suggestion of one our fantastic chefs, foraged wood sorrel , which happens to look like a little lucky charm with its clover shaped self. You can also use sorrel leaves, I find them at the Farmer’s market and from time to time at WF’s.The lemony sourness of sisters sorrel and wood sorrel once wazzed in the blender with some cold water can be used as the sour element of your drink instead of citrus juice and add a fragrant grassy note to your drinks.

1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey

1 oz wood sorrel juice

3/4 oz St.Germain

1/4 oz fresh yuzu juice ( sub lemon if you cant find, I get at a Japanese market)

1/4 oz simple syrup (1:1 ratio sugar to water)

3/4 Floc de Gascogne ( a vin d’aperitif, use Lillet blanc in a pinch)

1 oz egg white

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Dry shake your ingredients together for about 15 seconds, add wee bit of  ice and shake again for further 30 seconds, again the trick is not to over shake and kill the flavors but get the drink chilled and nicely frisky.

strain into a coupe or sour glass and top with a sprig of something herbal, I had fennel handy.


The Basics 

Rhubarb syrup 

12 stalks of rhubarb ( or thereabouts) washed and chopped into half inch width bits

2 cups of organic cane sugar ( not brown sugar, the molasses will  kill the flavor)

1 cup of cold water

1 large metal bowl

plastic wrap

1 large pot that the bowl will sit on without touching the bottom of the pan

throw rhubarb, water and sugar into the bowl, cover with a couple of layers of plastic wrap, in meantime fill large pan about half way full of water and set onto high heat. Once the water starts to simmer place the plastic wrapped bowl onto pan and turn down heat to medium, the steam from the hot water will start to cook the rhubarb and make it release its juices. Leave it for about an hour and a half until the rhubarb has gotten soft but not totally broken down, if you leave it too long the syrup will be less consomme like, which is what you’re after and more muddy, the taste won’t be much different but the look will. Once ready take the bowl off the pan and using a second bowl and a chinoise strainer, strain off the liquid, don’t push the solids through but agitate it enough that all the precious liquid drains out. When you have most of the liquid separated set it aside to cool, the solids left from the rhubarb you can use for pie filling, compote , jam or ice cream topping.

Pea & mint syrup

1 bag of frozen peas

a generous handful of fresh mint leaves only, no stems

a cup of simple syrup ( 1:1 ratio sugar to hot water, cool before using)

in a blender add your ingredients and wazz on high for about 30 seconds

strain through a chinoise strainer adding a touch of water if needed to thin out.

add to lemon juice and soda water for a refreshing lemonade.

Sorrel Juice

2 cups of rough chopped sorrel leaves

1 cup cold water ( warm will blanch it and make the leaves yellow)

add both to your blender and wazz on high for about 15 seconds, strain and store the liquid in an airtight container, this oxides quite fast so use within a day.

Pistachio Milk

2 cups raw shelled pistachios

2 cups warm water

2 cups distilled water

in a mason jar add your pistachio nuts and warm water, allow to sit for about an house so the nuts soften, strain out liquid then add nuts and distilled water to a blender, blitz nuts for about 30 seconds and throw everything back into a clean lidded jar, allow to sit for about 4-5 hours, shake the jar every so often to agitate. Strain out liquid, double strain if needed, this is your nut milk, store in the fridge for a couple of days at max.

Rhubarb jellies

1 packet knox unflavored gelatin

3/4 cup of rhubarb syrup warmed through on stove

1/4 cup of cocchi americano

1/4 oz rose water

add the gelatin powder to the warm syrup, stir to dissolve powder, add the cocchi and rosewater and stir again, transfer to an airtight flat bottomed container and tsore in fridge for 3-4 hours till set. Carve up how you so choose if they get as far as a drink well done, mine got gobbled up pretty fast.



Next up….Thai one on





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