Yet another riff on the classic planter’s punch, here we see a wonderfully minimalist cocktail from New Orleans that brings the punch back to its simple roots. The highlight of this edition is in fact the addition of Peychaud’s bitters. These bitters were created in the late 18th century by an apothecary named Antoine Amedie Peychaud who worked in New Orleans. Today, Peychaud’s bitters are made by the great Buffalo Trace Distillery. Peychaud’s Bitters may have a secret recipe but the biggest difference is its light character. Considerably less bitter than most of its counterparts, Peychaud’s has an aroma of tutti-frutti, licorice, and flowers. Although best known in the sazerac cocktail, Peychauds is a versatile bitters used throughout the New Orleans cocktail scene. For this planter’s variation, the bitters become the star and elevate this simple take on the classic punch to new heights in tikidom.
Brandy Alexander is one of those rare cream based cocktails that offers up a beautiful balance of texture, flavor, and sweetness. Many cocktails that include cream are relegated to an existence as only a dessert cocktail, but not so for the Brandy Alexander. There is a wonderful presence of brandy throughout the entire experience. It wonderfully features it’s namesake spirit with a subtle and smooth sweetness that brings out the best aspects of a well oaked brandy. Based on the classic Alexander cocktail, the shift from gin to brandy as the base spirit couldn’t have a greater effect. This is a truly unique cocktail that is best savored on a cold winter day.
Not every cocktail can be made for cheap, but some expensive cocktails are the worth the cost. The last word is just such a cocktail. Made green and delicious by the inclusion of a liqueur known as chartreuse, the last word is a cocktail that can’t help but make you relax. This cocktail may have a modern feel to its formulation and flavor profile, but I assure you this is truly an old fashioned drinking featuring a very old liqueur. The complexity of the cocktail lies in the liqueur, which is a secret herbal recipe kept by an order of monks for centuries. It almost sounds like it is a legend, but it is in fact entirely based in fact. And the otherworldly brilliance of chartreuse is perhaps best demonstrated in this exquisite cocktail.
We have seen a classic planter’s punch cocktail before, so why cover a second version? Well planter’s punch is one of those tiki cocktails that has spawned such an array of variations that many of them need to be appreciated in their own right. Think of planters as a sort of martini of the tiki world, the type of cocktail that can harkon back to the original – at least in name – while exploring a myriad of flavors and characters. This fine edition is brought to us by the great Don the Beachcomber himself. Don had a twofold innovation for this drink. First, he added a splash of club soda to add bubbles and lighten the drink a little. Then, he added a honey mix to give more depth and character to the punch. All told, this is a fantastic tiki cocktail that isn’t as fruity as many planter’s Learn More
The traditional paloma is a Mexican classic, by far the countries favorite cocktail. The margarita doesn’t even come close. But as homey and fun as it is to sit down with a bottle of tequila, a bottle of grapefruit soda, some limes and some salt and making palomas as you drink them, the cocktail begs for a bit of attention. An upgrade to the very basic ingredients. A promotion from the mundane to the sublime. While I will never turn down a traditional paloma and the process of making them is half of the fun, this “upscale paloma” offers a modern take on the Mexican favorite. Using fresh juices, a touch of sugar, and finished off with a bit of CO2, the upscale paloma is a welcome variation to an incredibly popular cocktail.
The sidecar is one of the great classic brandy cocktails. And like many old cocktails, while it’s origins are mysterious, there are plenty of stories. By most accounts the sidecar was created slightly after World War I by George Smyth near London, likely in Claridges or Savoy. However there is another account, which I would rather believe. This renditions tells that the cocktail is in fact the invention of an American army captain. This captained was stationed in Paris during WWI and ordered this cocktail so often that it was named after his primary mode of transportation: a motorcycle sidecar. No matter when this drink was created, it is a lovely brandy cocktail (traditionally made with cognac) that is just as good today as it was during the great war. Sidecar 1½ ounces Brandy ¾ ounce Orange Liqueur ¾ ounce lemon juice garnish with an orange quarter or lemon twist Learn More
The names for some cocktails can be a bit of a mouthful and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club certainly falls into this category. Despite its lengthy name, this tiki cocktail is surprisingly simple to make. It also offers a wonderfully tropical flavor while featuring notes of nutmeg and anise which pair well with the colder winter months. Whether it is above or below freezing, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club is a great choice to warm your spirits. Royal Bermuda Yacht Club 1 1/2 ounces Dark Rum 1/4 ounce Orange Liqueur 3/4 ounce lime juice 1/2 ounce falernum garnish with a lime wheel Does this recipe look familiar? It is essentially a tiki version of the classic daiquiri, created by the tiki master Trader Vic himself. Pour all of the ingredients into a shaker with several ice cubes and shake till chilled. Or about 20 seconds until frost starts to accumulate on the outside of the shaker. Strain into Learn More
Some people just can’t get enough coffee in their lives. No matter how much espresso, drip, or french pressed they have access to, they keep wanting more. Some may call them addicts, but they would usually be wrong. I prefer the term enthusiasts. And I love a good cup of coffee at any time of day. But when it comes to happy hour, why not have a bit more fun? Why not drink a cocktail that has all the rich depth of flavor, tastes like coffee, and is made from coffee? The midnight martini is one such cocktail and if this jet black concoction doesn’t remind you of you favorite cup of joe, nothing will.
I often shy away from cocktails with grapefruit juice. The grapefruit has never been my favorite citrus and I find it often overpowering in cocktails. However some spirits are strong enough to stand up to the flavors of grapefruit. Tequila is perhaps the most popular accompaniment to grapefruit thanks to a classic Mexican cocktail called the paloma, but whiskey also works quite well. The original recipe for this cocktail was created in 1927. Back then, the cocktail was known as the “De Rigueur”and was made with scotch. Three years later, the recipe was included in the seminal Savoy Cocktail Book. While it still bore the same name, the recipe was shifted to using the more general “whisky” as its base spirit. By the mid 1930s, the cocktail became popular at the Vendome under a new name: the “Brown Derby.”* Brown Derby #2 1½ ounces Bourbon 1 ounce fresh red grapefruit juice ½ ounce Learn More
Colonel Beach’s plantation punch is a classic tiki cocktail that works quite well whether made by the glass or for the party. While the name is enough to make anyone feel a little uncomfortable given plantation’s abuse of slavery in far too recent history, this tiki cocktail is truly worth your attention. This plantation punch includes a surprisingly complex flavor profile thanks to the falernum, bitters and pernod. It also packs one hell of a wallop in terms of alcohol content. There are nearly three servings of alcohol in every glass, mostly taking the form of several delicious rums. This is sure to be the new favorite punch at any party you host, just be sure to warn your guests of its strength or they won’t get to remember it.