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Purveyor of uncommon wine, spirits & beer.

Filtering by Category: Cocktail Thursday

Derby Day


We've been making Mint Juleps all afternoon using whiskey from our barrel of Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon. They're getting better and better with each iteration... whether the improvements are from gainful experience or, well (ahem) acclimation, you be the judge. Make one for yourself and let us know how it goes. Here's a little vine of our last expedition...

— WoodlandWineMerchant (@WoodlandWine) May 1, 2013


Here's the basic recipe:

+Pack a julep cup with ice to get it very, very cold. +Tear 6 leaves of mint, muddle with 2 tbl simple syrup. +Add 2 oz. Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon. +Pack overflowing with crushed ice (think Sonic). +Break off 2 generous sprigs of mint, spank twice, stuff into the ice pack. +Add wide straw and serve.

Or for an interesting variation from cocktail wunderkind David Wondrich, see this page (scroll down to Louisville Julep).

For appropriate barware, check out cocktail kingdom. Or if you have any good suggestions (especially for any fancy spoon-straws) let us know.

Juneau what I'm sayin'


The Savoy Cocktail Book is a tome compiled by Harry Craddock and published in 1930. Many of it's recipes still haunt the modern barscape and many classics are credited to Harry himself. The Alaska is a simple and delicious drink that appears in the Savoy's pages. Classically styled dry gins seem to show best  in this drink but tasty times can be had using just about any gin - or other spirit.  I found a happy balance using Plymouth and Regans' orange bitters but preferred it sans bitters. This is a boozy refresher and goes down quite easy especially when served as cold as possible.  

The Alaska

1.5 oz Gin - depending on gin slightly more or less might be needed to achieve better balance

.5 Yellow Chartreuse

2-3 dashes orange bitters

Stir ingredients together with ice (I like mine shaken hard. The little bits of ice seem to add to its refreshing qualities) and serve up in coupe or favorite cocktail glass.

Try replacing the gin with other spirits like tequila or bourbon and try other bitters for fun variants.


Certainly not the last


This last week brought the arrival of some gins that I was excited to get to play with. Gin with laurel, sage and douglas fir? It certainly needs to meet up with ol' Mr. Chartreuse at some point. The Last Word is a classic and often cited as a favorite of many bartenders I've encountered. Easy to make and really gives you some complexity to ponder. Easy and delicious permutations are an added bonus.  

The Last Word (forest style)

1 part St. George Terroir Gin

1 part Chartreuse

1 part Marschino - Luxardo

1 part Lime Juice

Shake. Serve up or in your favorite sipper. Pour through sieve if you prefer an ice-bit-free tipple. Add a couple drops of celery bitters for some extra plant-y pop.

Try The Final Ward variant. Use whiskey (rye if you like)  in place of gin and lemon in place of lime. Boom!


On The Cusp


Rounding out a several-week rock-block of Dolin Blanc brought me to this Boulevardier variant. It's been quite fitting for the back and forth Spring teaser we've been experiencing. It's at once savory and fresh, bitter and sweet - as much a compliment to both a chill and a warm afternoon sun bath. Dated to about 1927, this Negroni/ Manhattan aside is credited to Harry McElhone and mentioned in his book "Barflies and Cocktails". The history of such rediscovered classic cocktails are, for the most part, well documented with variants, prevalent and perverse — this is merely meant as a stepping stone, find what works for you. An excuse to experiment with a bit of experience and bias from someone who likes to make and drink drinks. Woodland Boulevardier

1.5 oz Old Weller Antique - try 2 oz for lower proof bourbons

1 oz Campari

1 oz Dolin Blanc

Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass.

Express & garnish with lemon or orange zest on finished drink. A good homemade cocktail cherry is another good option. A spoonful of Amaro can add some weight and dimension if you're in the mood. Serve into chilled coupe or punch glass.

Notes on ingredients

Using a sweet or Italian vermouth makes for a richer and deeper cocktail that tends to lean more towards the syrupy side of things. Older, drier whiskey(s) can enhance the bitter quality of the Campari easily leading to harshness. Softer, younger whiskey helps keep things balanced with the higher (107) proof of the Weller gives it a little backbone. Aperol in place of Campari yields a less bitter and higher toned and refreshing sipper.