Tailspin

The Tailspin is another cocktail from the Death & Co Cocktail Book, this one from the Classic & Vintage section.

I realized while making it that it’s a Bijou (gin, sweet vermouth, green Chartreuse, orange bitters) with a Campari rinse.

At Death & Co, they make it relatively Chartreuse- (and vermouth-) heavy with 1.5/1/1 ratios. I am used to 2/1/1 as in, for example, the Bartender’s Choice version, although historically this may be an equal-parts drink (see Harry Johnson’s Bartender’s Manual), like its younger cousin the Negroni.

I used Dolin sweet vermouth, which is lighter than the Carpano Antica used in the Death & Co version. It’s a pretty drink, although a little busy. You would think that, as a fan of the Negroni and green Chartreuse, I would be all over this one. But Chartreuse is richer than Campari, so the cocktail ends up being a little over the top for my taste buds. And there is a lot of Chartreuse in that cocktail.

All in all, it’s best enjoyed as a post-dinner drink.

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Almond Brother

Jason Littrell’s Almond Brother in the Death & Co Cocktail Book has good things going for it. The combination of a base spirit (aged tequila) with lime and orgeat reminds me of one of my favorite drinks, the Army & Navy. Also I happen to have obscene amounts of coconut orgeat that I made a few weeks ago and love using whenever I have a chance to. Its coconut flavor is subtle enough that it works well in cocktails calling for regular almond orgeat, while adding something a bit different.

The cocktail ingredients also include apricot liqueur and amaretto, which gave me pause and some concern (I use amaretto very rarely, and am not a big fan of apricot liqueur in general). Add maple syrup to the mix, and I was really skeptical. Too much going on on the sweet end of things, maybe? So I ended up only mixing a 1/2 size cocktail, which is my typical procedure for testing new cocktails I am not sure about.

I was so terrified that this might be too sweet that I reduced all the sweet elements very slightly. But it was fine in the end. It felt like a fancy version of Tommy’s “Margarita” (which is really a tequila sour). It worked great with the aged tequila, and I noticed that the pepper notes in the Siete Leguas añejo were highlighted by contrast with the other ingredients.

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Apple of my eye

The first cocktail I made when I received the Death & Co cocktail book used muddled apple, an ingredient that evokes fall. Taking the inspiration further, fall also puts me in the mood for calvados, the French apple brandy from Normandy. In France it is not uncommon to have a “trou normand“, a small glass of calvados that is enjoyed in the middle of a long leisurely meal, supposedly to help with digestion…

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Vision of division

This month’s Mixology Monday challenge, Perfect Symmetry, explores a way to create cocktails which consists of taking one element in an existing recipe and splitting it into two related elements, in equal parts. The most famous example is probably the Perfect Manhattan, where the vermouth is divided into sweet and dry. This concept is nothing new, and as I was sipping on a rye and armagnac Sazerac earlier this week, I realized that it already met the requirements of the challenge.

Sazerac with Rittenhouse rye, Delord Napoleon Armagnac, demerara syrup, Peychaud's and Angostura bitters, St. George absinthe

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The Monroe

Although the classic Improved Gin Cocktail is a favorite, gin-based Old Fashioneds are not something you see very often. So I was intrigued when I saw one in Death & Co new cocktail book. Even better, this particular one was an occasion to use my homemade orgeat (I used a coconut orgeat that I made with a fresh coconut using the same technique I normally use with almonds).

The Monroe (Scott Teague @scotchpineapple): Junipero gin, crème de pêche, homemade orgeat, Peychaud's and orange bitters, club soda

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Sweet and vicious

Next week will be the official release of New York City bar Death & Co‘s long awaited cocktail book. Bar founder David Kaplan managed to get an impressive $250,000 advance  for the book, part of which he redistributed to his employees.

The bar opened in 2007 with Phil Ward of Pegu Club as head bartender, joined behind the bar by Brian Miller and Joaquin Simó. Phil Ward has a special connection to San Diego; he trained the bartending staff at Craft & Commerce and helped design its cocktail menu which includes several punch options, including his phenomenal Mother’s Ruin Punch.

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