Sunday, July 28, 2013

MxMo LXXV: Flip Flop—Chancery Cocktail

It’s that happy time again, Mixology Monday. Our host is the incomparable Frederic of Cocktail Virgin and our MxMo moderator. Many thanks to him for stepping in to host when many other cocktail writers tend to be becalmed, whether from Tales of the Cocktail or from the heat of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere. Fred’s theme is Flip Flop, which he describes thus:

I thought of the theme for this month’s Mixology Monday shortly after making the Black Rene, an obscure drink from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933. The combination of brandy, amber rum, lemon, and Maraschino was tasty, but I felt that the recipe could be improved if I swapped in different ingredients. Taking a page from Max Toste of Deep Ellum who converted the Black Devil into the White Devil, I flipped around the ingredients to be pisco, white rum, lime, and Maraschino instead. With this combination that I called the White Rene, the drink really sang but it was still recognizable as being an alteration of the original recipe. Others have done similar swaps with grand effect including the Bluegrass Mai Tai that that changes the two rums to two whiskeys and swaps lime for lemon from the classic while holding everything else the same.

We enjoy substitution games here at the Lounge, and we love classic cocktails and their variations. Flip Flop reminds me a bit of Stewart Putney’s excellent Inverted theme, so I’ve worked with the same cocktail as on that round, The Chancellor. I’ve had fortified wines on the brain, and thought right away of the white port I’ve been so fond of lately as an exchange for the ruby of the original recipe. The blended scotch became a single malt, the dry vermouth turned sweet, and the orange bitters transformed to apple.


Chancery Cocktail
  • 1 1/2 oz single malt scotch (Laphroaig 10)
  • 1 1/2 oz white port (Quinta do Infantado)
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 3 dashes Bar Keep Baked Apple Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Caramel and wood from the barrels had me drinking this a little too fast, like the flavor descriptor I was trying to think of was just around the bend. I guess I could have used a milder and less iodine malt, but the Laphroaig I bought this afternoon called to me. Since it was intense enough to trample the other stuff in the glass, I used an equal amount of port. (The balance seems roughly like the classic Chancellor recipe when made with my preferred base, Johnnie Walker Black Label.) The apple bitters are a perfect complement to this gold-hued version of the highbrow classic.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Grapefruit Aperitif Cocktails with Wine

Two great and geographically related fortified wines combined with fresh pink grapefruit and bitters for light cocktails to begin a summer dinner. The first one features madeira and allspice notes from Jerry Thomas’ decanter bitters; the second is made with white port and lavender bitters. I just got the Bar Keep Lavender Bitters and really like them.


  • 2 oz madeira (medium-rich)
  • 2 oz pink grapefruit juice
  • 1 dash Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter Bitters (Bitter Truth)
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Grapefruit twist.


  • 2 oz white port
  • 2 oz pink grapefruit juice
  • 2 dashes lavender bitters (Bar Keep)
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Grapefruit twist.

One grapefruit does two drinks. Strain the pulp. It seems like I ought to say that fresh juice is essential here, but if you’re cooking the sort of dinner these things would go in front of, you probably knew that anyway.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hold the Cucumber

The above title does not refer to a wild party game but a request I have received from a few folks—my housemate among them—to avoid using any cucumber in the preparation of food and drink. Apparently, there is a small number of people who have an intensely disagreeable response to what for most of us is a fairly bland item. Go figure.

But the cooler below creates much the same green, vegetal impression as a cucumber drink, and should avoid setting off whatever the offending receptor might be.

Cucumber Choke
  • 1 1/2 oz pisco
  • 1 1/2 oz Cynar
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • dash celery bitters
  • 1 1/2 oz soda, or to taste
Shake all except soda, and strain into a double old fashioned. Add soda and fresh ice. Lime wheel, mint sprig.

Cynar and celery bitters seem like a natural pairing. The mint garnish contributes to the overall aroma of pseudo-cucumber-ness.
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