Recipes from Mr. Booze


Mr. Booze Annual Fall Cocktail Guide

Put the lawnmower away…and take out the rakes. Yup, it’s that time again. Autumn is here in all her glorious color, crisp temperature and leaf dropping ways. At Mr. Booze, we’ve always considered fall to be the best season in which to imbibe. The weather is cool enough to take the party outside, the colors in the trees are the perfect backdrop for a late afternoon drink, the rich, smoky flavors of whiskies, brandies, and harvest beers are cause for celebration. Heck, I even enjoy the old standards & classic jazz more with a sweater on. I’ve been writing fall drink recipes for around four years now, so below, besides a new classic cocktail you’ll find on top, I’m including some chestnuts from past lists. All are time-tested, all will tickle your pallet with the tastes of the season, all can be included in whatever way you choose to celebrate the season at home. So get out there, rake a big pile of leaves for your kids to leap into, and enjoy a few of these beautiful Autumnal cocktail classics.

Tawny Manhattan

I’m seeing a lot of variations of the Manhattan cocktail this past two years. Contests & bar festivals are now being thrown pitting bartenders against one another coming up with spins on this, my most favorite of all, cocktail. I tried this Tawny version a few weeks ago and she really caught my attention. Right then & there, I knew this was a fall cocktail & squirreled the recipe away for this piece. The affordable tawny port carries her woody, nutty flavor right into the heart of the Manhattan in a woodsy way. You’ll be reminded of the changing leaves outside your window. The orange bitters swirl about between rye & port and provide a subtle backdrop that you’ll appreciate.

Here we go –

  • 2 oz Rye Whiskey
  • 1 oz Tawny Port
  • couple dashes orange bitters

Shake with plenty of ice in a shaker & serve up in a martini glass or pour over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Apple Harvest Collins

Apple Harvest CollinsI found this one on the NY Daily News website. Perez Kiebhan & Jack Judson of the Suba Bar in NYC created the drink. I made a round of six just last night and while a bit time consuming, the drink garnered the most “ooohs” and “ahhhs” of the evening.  Loaded with the tastes of the season — apples, cinnamon, & spiced cider  — this drink is also gorgeous to look at. Tall and satisfying, I’d definitely consider pairing this one with a fall meal. Its rich flavor would tremendously compliment a bowl of spicy chili or a salty lamb stew.

Here we go –

  • 1 Macintosh apple peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 ½ oz of a complex, juniper gin (Bulldog or Bombay will do the trick)
  • 1/3 oz simple syrup (if you have the ginger, it couldn’t hurt)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 oz spiced cider
  • club soda to finish

Begin by muddling a quarter of a med apple in the bottom of a shaker. Add lemon juice and syrup as muddling. Add ice and gin then shake ‘til ingredients are mixed and cold. Pour into tall Collins glass and add cider. Stir then top with a little club soda. You can rim your glass ahead of time with cinnamon/sugar but I feel it can make the drink too sweet so be conservative. Garnish with a beautiful slice of red or green apple.

The Nutty Monk

The Nutty MonkFound this surprise in the December 2008 issue of Imbibe magazine. I was quite surprised by the reaction of the Mr. Booze fans that tried this one. More than half called it their favorite of the evening. A cousin of the Manhattan, this is a booze- mixed-with-more-booze cocktail that even unaccustomed strong drink drinkers might enjoy. This one does require a couple days pre-prep because you’re going to infuse toasted walnuts into cognac, so think ahead. You’ll need a quality cognac but they’re expensive so here’s what Mr. Booze did; I purchased a small, split size bottle of V.S. Courvoisier for $15 which ended up making 10 cocktails, more or less. I found this to be an affordable option.

* To make the walnut infused cognac called for in this drink roast ½ lb shelled walnuts  in a 350-degree oven ‘til nuts are toasted dark. Soak warm walnuts in a glass pitcher with the cognac (if you happen to use a full bottle of cognac, use one lb of walnuts) for 1 ½ – 2 days, no more. Infuse the foil-covered pitcher in a dark, cool place. Strain the liquid though a strainer back into the bottle (you’ll notice a little of the liquid is gone but that’s ‘cause your walnuts drank it). You can also substitute with broken chestnuts as a holiday drink.

Here we go –

  • 2 oz walnut infused cognac
  • 1 oz Benedictine liqueur
  • couple dashes aromatic bitters (Angostura are fine)
  • nice, big pieces of cracked ice.

Pour the ingredients into your glass martini pitcher on top of a couple pieces of cracked ice. Stir ‘til ingredients mix properly and get nice and cold. In a double old-fashioned or rocks glass place a piece or two of large cracked ice (just freeze a Tupperware or two with 1 1/s inches of water and crack w/ an ice pick.) Pour cold Nutty Monk over ice and serve. Garnish with a brandied cherry.

Ginger Daiquiri

Ginger DaiquiriI mixed up one of these on a whim after making a batch of ginger simple syrup and fell in love. Even back in July, I realized that the strong ginger flavor would carry this drink into the brown & orange months long after my taste for summer sours went off to hibernate. It calls for ginger simple syrup, which is pretty easy to make, and I suggest you make yours strong. You’ll want the ginger to stand up against the lime.

To make the ginger simple syrup start with a large ginger root. Peel the ginger and cut into large enough pieces that grating won’t cause problems. Grate all your fresh ginger with a cheese grater and set aside. Boil 2 cups water along with 1 ½ cups cane sugar. Stir as you heat ‘til liquid is clear. Let sugar water boil for about 45 seconds, then add ginger and boil for another two minutes. Take off heat and let mixture cool to room temperature. Strain out all the ginger and bottle the liquid. Syrup will last in your bar fridge for around 6-8 weeks.

Here we go –

  • 2 oz dark rum (Appleton or Pusser’s are perfect)
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • ¾ oz ginger syrup

Shake ingredients with ice in shaker ‘til frothy & freezing. Pour up into a cocktail glass or serve over rocks in a rocks glass. Garnish w/ a lime wedge.

Misty Maple Leaf

Misty Maple LeafA perfect drink to enjoy as the sun sets on the day’s leaf piles, you can walk your yard with this cocktail knowing that in just a week, you’ll have to rake the whole damn thing again. The maple takes the muscle out of the whisky, creating a slightly sweet drink that goes down easy.

Here we go –

  • 2 oz Canadian whisky
  • ½ oz pure maple syrup
  • club soda to fill

Pour the whisky and syrup over ice in a shaker. Shake ‘til cold and well mixed. Pour in a tall glass over ice and fill to top with club soda. Stir with your straw and enjoy. If you can find those pretty little maple candies that come out in the fall, use one as a garnish.

Applejack Old-Fashioned

Applejack Old FashionedExactly what it says it is, this drink should be far from a mystery. But I did promise autumn cocktails and Laird’s Applejack is about as fall-like as a spirit can get. I love Applejack. It tastes strong as it goes down and leaves an apple finish in your mouth that will leave you smiling. Just consider this as a lovely October substitute for your regular old fashioned cocktail.

Here we go –

  • 1 sugar cube (yes, I still prefer the cube over simple syrup with an old fashioned)
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 oz Applejack

In a rocks or double old fashioned glass, place sugar cube and splash it with a couple shakes of your bitters. Muddle ‘til muddy and add ice. Pour Applejack and garnish with a long, fat orange peel. Walk around your backyard with this drink while wearing your tweed hat.

Maple Cocktail

Maple Cocktail Fall Drink Fill tall glass or mug with ice, add Applejack and bitters and stir, then fill glass with Apple Cider. *If you happen to have a can or bottle of hard apple cider, pouring a bit into this cocktail only makes it better.

Here we go –

  • ¾ oz pure maple syrup
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • ¾ oz dry gin (English style)
  • 1 oz bourbon

Mix all ingredients in a shaker with plenty of ice. Strain up into a cocktail glass and enjoy.

Apple Ginger Sangaree

I’m passing on a drink I learned about from reading Dr. Cocktail’s column in Imbibe Magazine ( Jan/Feb 07). I LOVE this drink. You have to try it. I insist. The Apple Ginger Sangaree is a perfect fireside cocktail because the ingredients are all winter flavors – apple, ginger, nutmeg. The drink has a nostalgic, old-time taste. When you are sipping it, you feel as if you are tasting something men and women once enjoyed years back. The kind of flavors your Grandfather or his Dad may have enjoyed. I’ll warn you, one of the bottles you’ll need may be hard to find but look for it. I found one after a few days on the phone.

Here we go –

  • 1 ½ ounces of Stone’s Ginger Wine
  • 2 ounces Calvados
  • 1/4 ounce of simple syrup (as one cup water begins to boil, add one cup sugar. Stir ‘til clear and let cool to room temperature on the stove. Bottle and throw in your fridge. Will last forever in there.)

Fill double old-fashioned glass with cracked-ice. Combine ingredients in glass and stir ‘til mixed. Sprinkle ground nutmeg on top of drink and get ready for one hell of a cocktail experience. I think you’ll really like this one.

Stone Fence

Fill tall glass or mug with ice, add Applejack and bitters and stir, then fill glass with Apple Cider. *If you happen to have a can or bottle of hard apple cider, pouring a bit into this cocktail only makes it better.

Here we go –

  • 3 oz Applejack
  • 3-4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Apple Cider

Fill tall glass or mug with ice, add Applejack and bitters and stir, then fill glass with Apple Cider. *If you happen to have a can or bottle of hard apple cider, pouring a bit into this cocktail only makes it better.

Grand Apple

This one’s as delicious as it sounds and I kicked myself for not trying it early enough to get on our fall cocktail list. A bartender poured one for me after I asked him to surprise me with something seasonal. 

Here we go –

  • 1 oz Apple Brandy (Calvados or Applejack)
  • ½ oz Cognac
  • ½ oz Grand Marnier

Shake or stir over ice, strain cold into cocktail glass, garnish with a slice of apple.

Applejack Rabbit

Fall in a glass, try and find real maple syrup for this one. The kid’s Mrs. Butterworth won’t do at all.
Here we go –

  • 2 oz Laird’s Applejack
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 2 oz orange juice
  • 3/4 oz real maple syrup

Shake all ingredients with cracked ice in a shaker. Serve up and ice-cold in a cocktail glass, garnish with an apple slice, light the jack-o-lantern up and enjoy.

Irish Whiskey Cocktails

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I love Irish Whiskey, and have since I first graduated from beer to spirits. I have enough of a selection of home-bar bottles of the Aqua Vitae to open my own Irish bar, I love it so. My favorite way to drink it is neat, just a finger width from the bottom of a heavy, whiskey glass, with a cold Guinness sitting behind it. Smoother than almost any other in the whiskey family, Irish goes down like a kiss, yet fills the mouth with indescribable flavor; flavors that very tremendously from style and region, yet still taste universally like Irish whiskey.  Jameson or Bushmills basic whiskeys are perfect places to start, but if you find yourself developing a taste for the dram, you can graduate to their 10 & up years aged product, or a more peated Connemara, or the pure Redbreast, the Knappogue Castle, Paddy, Tullamore Dew … I could go on and on. But I won’t….this is a collection of Irish Whiskey Cocktail Recipes, and for these, I’d stick with a basic bottle. No need to be using top-shelf whiskey, when you’re adding other flavors. I’ve only very recently started using my precious Irish in mixed cocktails, but the ones here are tried and tested and worth the loss. Irish Whiskey is a perfect drink to enjoy as the cold months end and the start of Spring creeps in. The flavor is earthy and deep and will remind you of the smell of the breeze as things start growing in the yard or in the woods behind your house. Enjoy an Irish whiskey neat, like I describe above, but also make room for one of these satisfying cocktails. I’m sure you’ll enjoy both.

Leprechaun Dancer

I know, I know the name is horrible, as clichéd as any I’ve come across. Still, the drink has something going for it, it tastes great! A satisfying high-ball that brings a lot to the party and is very easy to whip up. Ginger, lemon and the peaty flavor of the whiskey jig together in magical ways.
Here we go -
  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 2 oz lemon juice
  • club soda & ginger ale or ginger beer
In a tall glass filled with ice, pour the lemon juice & whiskey. Top with equal parts club soda & ginger ale/beer, stir & garnish with a lemon peel.

Celtic Cocktail

Delicious and serious, this one’s best left to the serious whiskey drinker at your bar. You have to love the strong flavors, but don’t let that scare you away. Keep this drink cold and you’ll be fine. The bite thickens as the drink warms, so I suggest using your smaller, antique cocktail glasses for this one. Pre-dinner or at the start of a poker game, this cocktail will warm you from the inside out. I know it sounds odd, the mixing of two very distinct whiskeys in one glass, but it works with the help of juice & bitters. I was quite curious when I read the recipe … but my curiosity was rewarded.
Here we go -
  • 1 1/2 oz Blended Scotch
  • 1 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • dash or three Angostura Bitters
Shake everything gently in an ice-filled shaker then strain into chilled cocktail glass.

Wild Irish Rose

Posted this one recently on our Facebook page. I found this one in an old magazine and happened to have everything on hand. This was just a great cocktail and one I enjoyed as an early evening sipper. The whiskey was definitely there, but the sweet cut of the grenadine & sparkle of the soda created more of a cooler than serious drink. An Irish whiskey drink to enjoy on a warm day or while preparing an early spring dinner.
Here we go -
  • 1 1/2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Grenadine
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • club soda
In an ice-filled high-ball glass, pour everything but the soda and stir. Fill with Club soda, stir again and garnish with an orange or lemon peel.

Cold Irish

Takes about eleven seconds of pre-prep because you have to mix a little cold coffee with a little whipped cream & Creme de cacao, but boy is she worth the effort. This is a spring dessert cocktail and one that goes exceptionally well with a full stomach. Pour your guests one after dinner or at the tail end of the evening as a sweet period on the evening’s sentence. This is the kinda drink you make for the pure fun of it. “Tis sweet, so be careful.
Here we go -
  • 1 1/2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 2 tsp. Irish Mist Liqueur
  • Whipped cream mixed with a little Creme de’ cacao & cold coffee. It doesn’t’ have to be thick because you’re going to want it to seep down into the drink.
Add whiskey & liqueur into an ice-filled (not too high) tall glass. Add club soda to near the top, leaving room for the whipped-cream concoction. Pour the whipped cream mixture on top and lightly stir with a stir stick.

Irish Milk-And-Maple Punch

Perfect for a brunch or as a potent stomach- settler at the start of the evening. I believe this is the 2nd milk punch I’ve posted the recipe for, and this one is also a winner. Frothy, cold, potent, and drinkable, this is a perfect drink for late winter or early, cool spring. You’ll love it!
Here we go -
  • 2 oz blended Irish Whiskey
  • 8 oz cold milk
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • ground nutmeg
Shake liquid ingredients with plenty of ice ’till frothy & cold. Pour into a tall glass and dust with ground nutmeg.

Black Manhattan

Calls for a specific Irish Whiskey, Bushmills Black Bush, I happened to have a bottle and mixed one on up. Another great reason to mix a Manhattan, the ultra- smooth finish of the whiskey, the sweet of a good Italian vermouth and the absence of bitters caused this variation to stand out nicely.
Here we go -
  • 2 oz Bushmills Black Bush Irish Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
You know the drill, stir with plenty of cracked ice ’till freezing cold, pour up into a chilled cocktail glass and enjoy. Maraschino cherry garnish.  (add a couple dashes Angostura bitters, and you’ll have a Paddy Cocktail)

Irish Trinity

Best served on St. Pat’s, this is nothing more than an Irish booze salad in a glass. Still, it has its purpose, and if you happen to be celebrating in March or are in the mood to get happy in a hurry, I see no harm in enjoying one or two with a ride home waiting for you.  Potent and sweet, I tend to stay away from drinks like this, the conditions have to be right. I’ve tried one, I liked it, so I want to post it for our sweet drink fans.
Here we go -
  • 1 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1 oz Irish Mist liqueur
  • 1 oz Irish Cream (Baileys would be fine)
Pour everything over a rocks filled, whiskey glass and stir. Drink, but only if you’ve had dinner.
Well, this should get you started if you’re new to Irish Whiskey cocktails. I tried to stay away from the super-obvious cocktails ( Nutty Irishman, IRA Cocktail, Irish Coffee, etc..), I wanted to present some of the lesser known. Like I mentioned at the start, you can’t go wrong with a couple drams of good Irish Whiskey and a Guinness to sip after, but, as we all know, cocktails have their places and Irish Whiskey does make a wonderful addition to your whiskey arsenal. “Slainte!”

How to Create the Perfect Home Bar

I’m seeing them everywhere.  Just this summer, I found a tiki-bar sitting on a curb in front of a neighborhood house being renovated. I threw her in the back of the Volvo, refinished the top, picked up some whicker barstools at a value-village, and now I have a summer bar-port.

I’ve had neighbors ask me if I want the bar in their cellar, which has been storing old X-mas ornaments for the past few decades. I see them at garage and estate sales, on craigslist and in junk shops. If you’re looking for a home bar, put the drink down and get out there.

If you hit an estate sale and see a bar you like, come back on Sunday when everything’s half price. Home bars are a hard sell and chances are you’ll be lugging that baby back to your home or apartment for under $30. My neighbor, this past Sunday, picked up a hardwood, 6 foot beauty for $12.50. Cleaned and polished, this bar looks amazing.

The hard, cold facts are…not every homeowner wants one. Not every seller wants to deal with the old one in the basement. Forty years ago, 90% of new homes had a bar. Do the math and get out there.

What You Really Need For Your Starter Bar

Just kicking off? Time to move the booze from the cabinet over the stove to a designated drinking area? Here’s what Mr. Booze feels you’ll absolutely need when you take the training wheels off and add that home bar. Storage will be a problem when it comes to barware and booze. If you buy a bar, make certain it has shelving behind for storage. You can even buy those cool little ceiling racks to hold your stemware. A nice set of shelves close by or behind your bar never hurts.  Add the following:

6-10 Cocktail or Martini glasses – Don’t go for the giant 8+ ounce glasses…they just get you and your guests plastered. Look for the older 4 – 6 ounce glasses. Most drinks are only 3 – 5 ounces anyway.
5 Old-Fashioned glasses or Double Old-Fashioned – Many drinks call for ice, or sometimes you or a guest will just want a whiskey on the rocks. Store these upside down to prevent dust from settling inside.
6-10 Hi-Ball (tall) glasses – You’ll find tons of drinks on our site that call for tall, rocks glasses. Tiki drinks, punches, bucks, etc… These are usually sweet, highly drinkable cocktails that everyone will want, so stock up.
An Ice Bucket – What are you gonna do? Open the freezer every time someone wants a drink? Find a fun one with a handle, you never know when the party’s gonna move outdoors. I also keep a small cooler behind my bar, filled with ice to refill the ice bucket.  Remember…cold is key.
Shaker – You just have to have one. Don’t go expensive on your first. Just make sure she has a tight seal and can hold lots of fluid. I also would suggest a tiny, 1 or 2 drink one if it’s just going to be you or two.
Glass Pitcher – Small and cheap works. You’ll need one for Martinis and any other drink you don’t want to pour cloudy. Find one that includes a glass stirrer.
Little Cutting Board – Doesn’t need to be more that 6 inches across. You don’t want to score your new bar or get it all sticky while you’re cutting oranges, do you?
Basic Set of Bar Tools – I see these all the time at Target and for well under $20. Bar knife, muddler, wine/bottle opener, strainer, stirrer, etc… When you have a set, you’ll use them.

On to the Booze

Vodka – 1 bottle for starters; it really doesn’t have a strong flavor so don’t blow the bank. Not too many drinks here call for it.
Gin – Have 2 bottles; a good one with a strong juniper/flowery taste (Bombay Sapphire or Damrak comes to mind) and a basic bottle for mixing (Beefeaters or Bombay are great). Gin was extremely popular when many of these old timers’ drinks were created.
Bourbon – 1 big bottle; I love bourbon but remember, you’re going to be mixing so don’t go crazy on the expensive, small batch brands. I buy the 1.75 liter of Early Times. It’s a great whiskey that really mixes well. If you have to go more upscale, Knob Creek is amazing.
Scotch – 1 bottle.
Vermouth – You’ll need a bottle of Red (sweet/Italian) and White (Dry/French). Manhattans and Martinis are very popular.
Laird’s Apple Jack – A good fifth of the recipes here call for it. You can really pour some interesting drinks with this.
Brandy – E & J is fine and quite affordable.
Rum – 2 bottles; to start, you’ll need a bottle of light and a bottle of dark. If it’s summertime, you might want to get an additional bottle. I don’t know about you, but I drink the hell out of it on hot evenings. Summer punches and tropical drinks all call for it.
Cointreau/Grand Marnier/Curacao – So many cocktails call for an orange flavored splash, you’ll need this.
Simple Syrup, Bitters, Roses Lime and Grenadine, Lime Juice, Lemon Juice, Olives and Maraschino Cherries – Keep ‘em handy in your fridge. If you’re making cocktails, you’ll need ‘em.

This should get you started. Remember to peruse the papers for good deals on Spirits and buy when on sale. Have fun setting your bar up. People should want a drink when they see it. As you get up to speed and master the art of the confident pour, I will pull out the stops and follow up with a 201 class. There’s a lot of stuff you’ll need if and when you want to kick it up a notch. Think about all the money you’re ultimately saving by not going out to bars all the time and paying $10 for a drink. This bar will pay for itself eventually. “Bring a Bottle” parties are also wonderful ways to restock and add.

Ready for more? Click here to read part 2 of How to Create the Perfect Home Bar

Martini

I realize that most of you barflies know how to mix a decent Martini, but I can’t very well have a name like “Mr. Booze” and not mention this building block of the bar world.

You absolutely have to know how to mix a proper one. This knowledge walks hand in hand with the Heimlich maneuver and changing a flat as fundamentally necessary. If you mix drinks for friends or enemies, a Martini should be like breathing, you just do it.

First and foremost – the Martini is a Gin based drink. If you prefer Vodka, which I realize many do, then you call that drink a Vodka Martini. It sorta bugs me when I go into a bar and order a Martini and the whipper-snapper behind the bar asks gin or vodka? I’ve been known to just sigh, grab my crime story paperback and walk back out into 6:30 p.m.

Serve ‘em cold, cold and cold. This drink, especially after more than one, will cause even the most tight-lipped Joe to chirp like a canary for blocks of time. Martinis are the great equalizer. After three, everyone’s an expert on everything. If you can keep your Martini or your guest’s Martini cold longer, everyone wins. They/you can yammer away and dive back into a chilly pool. There is nothing worse than taking a bite of a warm one. No thank-you, sir. 

For the love of Pete, do not skimp on the Vermouth! It makes the Martini! A kiss of a woody dry white wine does nothing more but enhance. I think it was back in the 80’s when everyone started drinking them uber-dry. If I wanted a glass of cold gin, that’s what I would have ordered! Vermouth is delicious and is the spirit of this classic. Mr. Booze’s favorite is Noilly Prat. You can really taste the oak cask.  Seek it out.

Here We Go – 

(I like ‘em big to slosh around and spill out of my glass while I’m telling my guests what I really think about their cosmetic surgery)

 

  • 2 ½ Ounces of a nice Gin (Bombay or Plymouth come to mind).  If you prefer Vodka, then substitute.
  • ¾ Ounce of dry Vermouth

 

Shake the two together in a big, beautiful shaker with enough chipped ice to make the drink thick with cold. Pour generously into a big piece of classic stemware and sink a couple fat Spanish Olives. Don’t sip it, take bites but be careful – 

One Martini
Two Martinis
Three Martinis
…Floor. 

 

Halloween Cocktails & More!

Do you hear them? … the Children of the Night? … baying, growling, sniffing at your sealed doors for an invitation.  It happens every October as the month pulls itself out of its moldy tomb & thickens with orange & black promise. You carve the pumpkins, prepare the kid’s costumes & view b&w horror movies you haven’t seen in years. We’ve always taken Halloween pretty seriously at Mr. Booze & this year is no exception. Six feet under, you’ll find a list of all our past Halloween themed & appropriate cocktails, with a few fresh ones moldering on top. If you’re planning a party, just having a few friends over for a potluck, or feel like just staying home & hanging out with Abbott & Costello this year, we’re certain you’ll be able to dig something up from this page to make the cool nights leading up  to the 31st a little more special. Happy Halloween fellow booze-hounds!

Halloween Sunset

That Martha! She really can do it all & this cocktail I discovered on her site proves she also is a master elbow-tipper as well. A very 70’s style drink, my wife & I tipped a few of these back the other night & were reminded very much of the simple, sweet cocktails of our early 20’s. Halloween can be a frivolous & silly time, so if you feel like cutting straight to the chase & pouring just a simple, boozy, gets-the-job-done kind of drink that you can make quickly, yet is delicious, this Sunset is for you.

Here we go -

- 3 1/2 oz tangerine juice

- 1 1/2 oz white rum

- 3/4 oz grenadine

Combine juice & rum in a hi-ball or double old fashioned glass loaded with ice. Drizzle grenadine over top. Don’t stir.

Maple Bourbon Smash

Suggested by a zombie friend of mine up North, this Fall cocktail is as easy as ghost-busting to pull off. A wonderful pre-CURSE-or to a nice bowl of chili, you can fill a glass pitcher w/ everything  x’s 4, but the seltzer & whiskey & make ahead of time.

Here we go -

-  1/2 oz pure maple syrup

-  1/2 oz fresh orange juice

-  1/4 oz fresh lemon juice

-  4 dashes angostura bitters

- 1/2 orange wheel

-  2 oz bourbon

-  ice

-  1 1/2 oz chilled seltzer

 Muddle the 1st 5 ingredients in chilled pitcher, stir in bourbon, pour into ice-filled double old-fashioned glasses & top w/ seltzer. An autumnal take on an Old Fashioned.

Satan’s Whiskers

Just pouring this damned drink might possibly conjure up a surprise party visitor who may or may not ask for a certain something in exchange for a special favor, so be careful. I found this excellent & extremely serious Halloween drink on a very good cocktail site called Sloshed, which I highly recommend.  I wouldn’t suggest this drink as a pour for everyone, this is a sophisticated martini-family cocktail that’s extremely serious in taste, yet still whimsical enough for a dark October night on the front porch with a friend. The smoky, orange back flavor will satisfy tremendously.

Here we go -

- ½ oz gin
-

½ oz sweet vermouth

- ½ oz dry vermouth
-

½ oz fresh orange juice

- 2 tsp Grand Marnier

- 1 tsp orange bitters

Shake well with ice and strain into an iced cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist

Drunk Pumpkin Punch

I made one of these once and a boozy Halloween party and it was the hit of the evening. I highly recommend that you set it up outdoors if using a real pumpkin. They look beautiful and work well as a bowl but … pumpkins leak; I found that one out the hard way the next a.m.. Mopping up a floor covered with sticky Halloween punch while suffering a hangover is not the way to kick off November.

Here we go -

Half Gallon Apple Cider

Close to a fifth of dark or gold Rum

3 regular or one large bottle(s) of Ginger Beer

One med-sized, hollowed out, pumpkin

Close to party time, fill your hollowed out pumpkin or pumpkin punch bowl with the cider, rum and ginger beer, stir and add a frozen block of ice to keep things cold. Have your guests ladle the punch into punch cups.

Hot Spiced Cider

If you’re fortunate enough to have a chilly week around Halloween, mix up a batch of Hot Spiced Cider. In the evenings before Halloween, I’ll pull out an old television set, hook up my DVD player and gather neighbors for Monster Movies out in the car (bar) port.  Sure it gets cool, but that’s fall. This drink will set things right.

Here we go –

2 quarts apple cider

4 cloves

3 cinnamon sticks

5 shots Applejack or Apple Brandy

Heat cider with cloves and cinnamon, add booze and stir. Pat the rims of mugs in brown sugar and serve the cider in them.

Witches Brew

One of the few “modern cocktails” I’m including, this is a tasty, fun drink to enjoy while celebrating Halloween. This recipe comes from the Red Brick Tavern in Lafayette, Ohio where the ghost of a scorned young woman is said to roam the bar.

Here we go –

2 oz of mixed Cranberry and Pineapple juices

2 oz 7-Up soda

1 ½ oz Malibu, coconut Rum

Mix the 7-up and juices in a double old-fashioned glass with ice. Pour the rum down the inside of the glass right before serving.

Dracula’ Cocktail

Borrowed from The Playboy Bar Guide, this name-appropriate cocktail can be batched for home entertaining ahead of time. Just pour the amount needed in a small shaker with ice for each individual drink. Dracula will pour red so you get your “pop” as you pass one to your guest. Work on your Bela Lugosi accent ahead of time. You’ll need it as you host.

Here we go –

2 oz white rum

½ tsp grenadine (yes…you can use Roses)

1 oz lemon juice

4 oz cranberry cocktail

couple dashes Angostura bitters

Shake well w/ ice, pour into a tall rocks glass. Add more ice if necessary.

Night Shade

Night-shade-150x150For a “friendly” cocktail which can be enjoyed by most boys & ghouls over the age of 21, this odd little Halloween addition is actually quite complex and runs deep enough to also satisfy the more serious drinker at your Monster Mash. The juice and fruit provide the cut for the casual, yet the chartreuse & whiskey pack the punch. Serve it in those plastic, spooky Halloween martini cups you find at the party store. This is a great cocktail!

Here we go –

1 ½ oz bourbon

½ oz sweet vermouth

½ – 1 oz orange juice

½ tsp yellow chartreuse

Shake ingredients w/ ice in a shaker till cold. Strain up into a cocktail glass & garnish with a slice of lemon and orange.

Black Devil Cocktail

For the dads out there brave enough to sport horns, a red trident and a tail, here’s the perfect martini-type cocktail to go along with your El Diablo outfit. I like a nice white rum, and I love black olives, so this one is a nice change of pace, on occasion, from my beloved martini. I use the Appleton White Rum in this drink and, served iced-cold, you can’t go wrong. The name screams Halloween to me but…you can actually whip one of these up anytime.

Here we go –

2 oz white rum (Appleton is the one)

½ oz dry vermouth

Mix as you would your favorite martini, serve up in a clear cocktail glass and garnish with 2-3 black olives.

Blue Devil Cocktail

One of those gasp-inducing drinks that is horrifically perfect for a Halloween party or simple gathering, the Blue Devil should go swell with most adult costumes. Think of it as a boozy accent piece to your sexy nun outfit or your zombie mask, that happens to taste great and will leave you even more likely to be less inhibited before the night is done with you. The kind of drink that will have you waking up on November 1st asking, through your sandpapered mouth, “Did I really do that last night?” Bartender’s warning: please be careful with the Blue Devil. Just ‘cause it’s Halloween, try not to blame The Devil for your outlandish deeds after the fact.

Here we go –

1 ½ oz gin

½ oz blue curacao

1 oz lemon juice

Shake with ice and serve chilled and up in a cocktail glass. Garnish with a floating lemon or orange slice.

Acapulco Zombie

I guess there would be zombies in Acapulco in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Zombie cliff-divers and zombies selling piñatas & paper flowers would be roaming and diving all over the destination spot. For me, the Zombie is a natural for a Halloween cocktail. This one’s a heck of a lot easier to build than the traditional Zombie I’ve highlighted in previous Halloween and tiki posts. Yet another easy & spooky drink to batch ahead of time, this cocktail would work wonderfully for a party or any creature-feature get together.

Here we go –

1 ½ oz tequila

1 ½ oz vodka

1 ½ oz dark rum

2 oz orange juice

2 oz grapefruit juice

1 tsp grenadine

dash or two of white crème de menthe

Shake all ingredients except crème de menthe in a shaker till cold. Pour into a hi-ball glass over ice & top with a couple dashes of the crème de menthe. Stir softly and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Screaming Banana Banshee

screaming-banana-banshee-150x150Sure, we’ve all known one, a few of us unfortunate enough to have married one…but isn’t it fun to learn that you can actually drink a screaming banshee, too? This is a perfect drink to enjoy at home, by yourself, or with your partner while carving pumpkins (be careful w/ knives & booze…maybe just watch), or hosting a small party. The cream/banana component makes them a bit thick and sweet so I’d only plan on enjoying one or two, tops. Don’t plan an evening around this drink, but if you’re mixing it up with a few Halloween drink choices, this should go into the rotation.

Here we go –

½ oz banana liqueur

½ oz vodka

½ oz crème de cacao (either light or dark, doesn’t matter)

1 ½ oz light cream

Shake in shaker along with cracked ice till freezing & frothy; strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with cherry.

Candy Corn Martini

A little sweet for my taste, I’ll open the lid on this cocktail just one night a year. Candy corn is the spirit of Halloween wrapped up in a bite-sized nugget of deliciousness, so I get why this drink is so gobbled down by sugar-buzzed kiddies over the age of 21. Positively gorgeous on a silver tray bathed in candlelight, a presentation of these on the home bar would last about half a minute.

Here we go -

3/4 oz vanilla vodka

1/2 oz white Creme de Cacao

1/2 oz butterscotch schnapps

2 oz orange juice

cocoa powder for rim

Ring your martini glasses w/ orange juice then pat into cocoa powder till rimmed. In a shaker filled w/ ice, pour liquid ingredients. Shake then pour up into martini glasses. Garnish w/ orange peel twist and skewered candy corn.

Ghost

I found this on the Drink Nation site and had to try it. This is a very good hi-ball cocktail yet one you should be careful with. You will be seeing ghosts if you have more than three…ghosts riding pink elephants. It has a chugability that can get you in trouble.

Here we go -

1 oz bourbon

2 oz vanilla flavored rum

cream soda

Fill a tall glass w/ rocks then pour in bourbon & rum. Top w/ cream soda. “Boo!”

Dracula’s Kiss

the-dracula-cocktail-150x150You gotta buy one of those goofy flavored vodkas for this one, but what the hell, you’ll have it for something else that calls for it down the line. This is the Halloween drink that your guests have to try when they see it. It looks great on a spooky decorated bar or on a coffee table ‘long side a carved pumpkin. Like “The Ghost”, this cocktail has a drinkability about it that could be dangerous. I mixed up a couple the other night during a DVD showing of The Fearless Vampire Killers, and everyone loved it, so you might consider this one for an October scary movie night.

Here we go -

2 oz black cherry vodka

1/2 oz grenadine

coca-cola

Swirl the grenadine around the bottom half of a clear high-ball glass till the glass is coated. Add ice then the vodka. Fill with cola and garnish with 2 plump cherries. Black straw if you can find them.

Dark & Stormy

dark-and-stormy-150x150Going with this one for Halloween on a name base, primarily. Surprisingly enough, I’ve never mentioned this boozy staple on Mr. Booze. Shame on me. This is the quick one for Halloween night. Maybe you have door duty, maybe you just want to watch a werewolf movie, maybe you don’t want to work too hard. The name is appropriate as is the ginger-spiciness of the mix so I went with it. Do not use ginger-ale w/ this one. Buy a couple bottles of ginger beer and tuck them away. My favorite is the Goya, it’s very spicy.

Here we go -

2 to 3 oz dark rum

ginger beer

1/2 oz lime juice

Fill a tall glass with ice, add lime juice then rum. Lightly stir then pour ginger beer to fill

Well, there you have it. Have fun this Halloween season. You’ve earned it. Watch an old spooky movie, throw a bash & batch a couple of these drinks, have a few friends over while the kids trick ‘r treat, just enjoy yourselves.

If you’d like some tips on great Halloween appetizers check out this Mr. Booze’ piece.

To set the spooky tone with music & sounds, go here

Besides the undead, Mr. Booze should have you all covered.

Casa Noble Crystal Tequila Review

casanoble_crystal_santana_750__73559.1353106612.1280.1280I’m going to begin this review with a rather strong statement, one that I never thought I’d use pertaining to tequila, a spirit I enjoy, but one that has never been a “go-to” in my home bar arsenal.  This Casa Noble Crystal (silver) Tequila has got to be one of the most delicious and interesting spirits I have ever tasted.  I’ll discuss the complexities of the tequila in a moment, but I want to continue to share with you, for a moment, how very much this bottle blew my mind.  Enough so to have vowed that the remainder of the bottle will, hopefully, stay upon my top-shelf for at least a year to be sipped and enjoyed sparingly as if distilled by Tolkien’ elves in deep dark deserts, rolled out in barrels when the moon is full and the tops are opened to capture the moonlight in the liquid.  I loved it, and the more I drank it, the more I appreciated what it was.  There, enough of the initial reaction.
Casa Noble has a rich history as a tequila distillery.  With a 1700’s startup date, and the very first tequila distillery to triple distill their product and grow their own Blue Agave in fields on distillery property, these guys more than know what they’re doing.  The agave plants that they use in their process are cooked in a manner, before distilling, that imparts a true and sweet fleshy flavor that subtly remains with each sip.  The plant’s spirit can be tasted, and like the corn back in a good bourbon, the peat in a single malt scotch, or the peppery rye back in a good rye, an agave print, especially one as sweet and playful as this, is testament to what it is you’re drinking  and is a supreme compliment to the time and craft poured into each hand-blown bottle.
Awarded with a CCOF, Organic Certification, Casa Noble is the very first tequila distillery to be recognized as a truly organic one.  Their product and the pride demonstrated in it is 100% pure.  I didn’t think it was that important beforehand, but you can taste the purity.  It has a very clean and natural flavor and finish that I’ve never experienced in the tequilas I’ve had before.
I started with the Casa Noble Crystal, a clever and deserved substitution for the standard “silver” classification, because I wanted to start with their canvas tequila. They offer a selection of single barrel and barrel aged tequilas, but I chose the Crystal as my kick-off.  I wanted to taste the bones.
I sampled the tequila in four different ways which I’ll describe here.
1) Chilled shot with a pinch of salt beginning and a lime wedge finish.  To use the word “smooth” doesn’t seem quite right.  There was absolutely no bite, but a citrus, slightly peppered finish blew my mind. Loved it.
2) Classic Margarita with fresh simple syrup, lime juice, Grand Marnier, and olives. The tequila more than delivered in this classic. As mentioned earlier, the agave flavor carried in the drink.  Best margarita I’ve ever had.
3) Time Out cocktail.  Made with fresh mint and lime juice, the Casa Noble Crystal elevated a busy drink significantly. The drink tasted cleaner with the tequila’s own subtle citrus flavor adding to the drink.
4) Just neat in a fluted wine glass.  I let my nose do the work this time and really enjoyed the scent of the tequila. Warm outside with the smells of spring coming on, this tequila made a pleasant evening all the more so.  It was with this experience that I learned just how good this tequila was.  Surprisingly clean, the flavors imparted didn’t last long. They disappeared within a few seconds.  I blame the loss on the smoothness.  Honestly, there’s absolutely no fight with this tequila.  It’s like being hit with a feather pillow.  You’re just left with flavor as you sip.  Kinda like drinking the silver glow of a Christmas tree light.
Carlos Santana is part owner and, with my last odd reference of the review, I’ll compare the Casa Noble Crystal Tequila to his later guitar style; because of its beautiful complexity, it’s a very challenging yet smooth and lilting drinking experience.  It’s sophisticated … but it’s also tequila which carries a fun factor not found in other spirits, especially in the warm months.
I’ll end this review the same way I started it. I loved it.

A Mr. Booze Interview with Jonathan Chaffin of Horrorinclay.com

2Warm months are here, and that means tiki drink time! Check out our very first Mr. Booze interview with visionary, pop-culture, horror/tiki guru, Jonathan Chaffin, of Horrorinclay.com.  We go “geek” with this one and aren’t afraid to ask the cocktail-fan-boy questions that true fans of tiki, horror, pulp fiction, and cocktails want to know.

Jonathan and Allison Chaffin started HorrorinClay.com as an outlet for Jonathan’s obsession in the merging of the worlds of pop-Polynesian culture and classic horror.  Dabbling in quirky hybrid creations, the Chaffins discovered that not only was a market there, it was as hungry for product as a vampire is for blood. Horror In Clay began as a thought experiment to create all the trappings and ephemera of a Lovecraftian tiki bar called Pickman’s Cove.  The Chaffins approached the fundraising site Kickstarter for financial help, and raised the necessary dough in just 74 hours, which demonstrated the world’s appetite for this style of mug. For those of you not in the know, the term “Lovecraftian” is based on the pulp-writer H.P. Lovecraft’s enormous, often tentacled archetypal menagerie of fantastic, ancient gods, demons, and creatures. Writing in the 1920’s – late 30’s, Lovecraft created horror fiction based on a theme of forbidden knowledge, rites, and lore, overseen by a demon/god called Cthulhu. I know it sounds “far-out-there” but Lovecraft’s writings did and continue to influence horror and writers of fantastic fiction almost 100 years later. So much so, that a pretty cool guy is basing a whole line of tiki products on it … and they’re selling like hotcakes.

1) Mr. Booze:  Jonathan, I’m holding HorrorInClay’s first tiki mug, Cthulhu (see picture) in my hand right now, and it’s just fantastic. I gotta say your love of Lovecraft certainly comes through with this mug. The detail is as deep as in any mug I’ve seen with Tiki Farm, Tikimania, or any other solid and celebrated producers. Did the subject matter demand that sort of detail?  If so, why?

Chaffin:  I would say the subject matter absolutely did demand this level of detail (as a side note: Tiki Farm actually did handle the mass production of this mug and did an excellent job). The mug hearkens back to Lovecraft’s description of a statue of Cthulhu described as “between seven and eight inches in height, and of exquisitely artistic workmanship. It represented a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind. ”  That line, “of exquisitely artistic workmanship”, and subsequent references to unnaturally lifelike detail suggested to me that a highly naturalistic approach would be appropriate over a more primitive or impressionistic sculpture. I commissioned an appropriate sculptor with that in mind. The tribal tattoos like the half moko (Maori) and the arm and leg tattoos and pe’a (Hawaiian) were meant to imply the original sculpture upon which the mug was based was contributed to by many traditions.

2) Mr. Booze:  A 74 hour Kickstart start-to-finish is beyond impressive. Were you two surprised by the strong support?

Chaffin:  We were shocked and thrilled and humbled. (Look at the thank you video I did after we hit our initial goal; I was totally overwhelmed.) We’re very touched and grateful people wanted to support our project. It’s garnered some attention on the internet, and it allowed us to start a fledgling side business. We set out with a very modest goal – to raise $12,500 for a production run of 500 mugs, and we gave ourselves more than 30 days to do it. When the kickstarter launched we got some very good momentum very fast from mentions on boingboing.net, laughingsquid.com, and i09.com. I don’t think anyone in my entire family slept that whole weekend, because every time we refreshed the webpage the number of donors/money raised went up. We went from “this could work,” to “this is working!” to “how are we going to make this work”!? For the record, we ended up ordering 2000 mugs, which is 3 palates stacked higher than your head. The logistics involved with getting the kickstarter fulfilled were staggering. I couldn’t have done it without Allison and some very dedicated friends and childcare. We ended up raising about $64K after kickstarter fees and taxes. Almost all the money was spent fulfilling the kickstarter, but the publicity has generated a lot of demand for the mug and other HorrorInClay.com products, which is awesome!

13) Mr. Booze:  When you mention the tiki bar, Pickman’s Cove, does that place actually exist or is it more of a basement/home bar that you try things out in?  Do you have a home bar?

Chaffin:  Pickman’s Cove is my own small contribution to Lovecraft’s Mythos. It is a fictional locale which was located in Boston near Copp’s Hill.  Pickman’s Cove was a tiki bar opened by Ben Upton, an entrepreneurial photographer who happened to be the nephew of the infamous artist Richard Pickman.  Poor Ben is presumed dead.   In my head Pickman’s Cove is pretty similar to the Molokai Lounge at the Mai-Kai and the back porch at the Bookhouse Pub in Atlanta, with a smidgeon of Disney’s Haunted Mansion thrown in.  Allison and I certainly have a home bar!  It is filled with all sorts of tiki junk and artwork.  A fair number of autographs from horror actors and posters, etc., battle for space with lowbrow and tiki art; that conflict helped push the idea of the mug to the forefront of my mind. When you think of horror and tiki one of the natural intersections is sea-monsters, and Cthulhu is one of the best sea-monsters ever!

4) Mr. Booze:  I see your site HorrorinClay.com offers a few additional home bar items like Lovecraftian swizzle sticks and jiggers.  Do you plan on continuing this line based on the excellent response your mug has received?

Chaffin:  I definitely intend to continue to explore some of the ideas I’ve had over the years. The success of the kickstarter has given me a little more confidence to subject my ideas to public scrutiny.  I still love tiki and horror after all.  My goal is to continue exploring and creating products that tell a story.  I do have another project underway now, but it isn’t ready for the big reveal yet.

5) Mr. Booze:  I’m a pulp-fiction nut and know that H.P. Lovecraft and pulp writer and Conan the Barbarian creator, Robert E. Howard, were pen pals and friends.  Any plans to create a bridge celebrating their friendship with a Howard themed mug?

Chaffin:  Sorry to disappoint, but I haven’t actually read any Conan the Barbarian!  Perhaps I should take a look though.  I can tell you that the way I design, I would be more likely to work on a different product set for a Conan themed project (not a tiki mug).  Perhaps a lavishly engraved drinking horn or something.  That’s really neat that they were friends though…I’ll have to give him read.

6) Mr. Booze:  Staying on the 30’s pulp magazines for one more question… Writers Lester Dent (Doc Savage) and Walter Gibson (The Shadow) also contributed stories which still influence practically all of today’s modern comic and literary heroes.  Would you ever consider celebrating other pulp fiction creations through tiki?

Chaffin:  Let me tell you, I’m considering all kinds of things!  What do you do when you have years of notebooks with scribblings, sketches, and ideas, and someone tells you they want to see more of your work?  It’s hard to know where to begin!  I’m a huge Mickey Spillane fan, myself.  I’m a little torn about this question because I’m not sure how I would pursue a Doc Savage or Shadow themed mug.  I would probably go for creating a drinking vessel in keeping with their particular zeitgeists, if you catch my drift. That said, who knows what Evil lurks in the thoughts of…me.  No idea. Certainly, I love all those creations, and if I became passionate about a way to pay homage to them through a product, I would.

7) Mr. Booze:  When you mention “horror-themed barware,” can you give us a few hints as to what may lie down the pike?  Might we see more traditional monster themed creations?  Universal Studios horror?  Hammer Studios horror?

Chaffin:  A few hints, eh?  I think a follow-up to the Horror In Clay is likely. I’m a huge fan of German Expressionism and art deco.  I have a project about 80% done; bar piece and supporting barware. And I’m a huge fan of the works of Edgar Allen Poe and of Robert Louis Stevenson. Those aren’t “hints” per se, but some things I’ve been passionate about my whole life and have concepts for. Additionally, there are a few pieces of barware directly related to what’s on the site now that are in development.

8) Mr. Booze:   Do you collect barware?  If so, any themes or decades?  What catches your eye?

Chaffin:  I collect EVERYTHING. : )   But particularly barware.  I collect tiki mugs, which goes without saying I think (I have over 100).  Some subsets in there include early Tiki Farm, Trader Vics, Frankie’s Tiki Room, and tiki bowls. The winner is a 1/1 custom glazed Crazy Al #80, if you’re curious.  I also collect matchbooks, menus, coasters, swizzles, and figurines.  I also collect lowbrow and pop art, and monster toys, and art books, and B movie autographs, and random ephemera (paper advertising).  Also zippos, cufflinks with pinups, monster masks, and fezzes. I get particularly excited when I find something which was once a daily necessity, or necessity for entertaining, and has now been forgotten.  Case in point – the handled jigger on our website – I wanted to make one because I inherited my great-uncle’s stag-horn double jigger.  It’s just an elegant functional thing to me…I love things like that.

9) Mr. Booze:  I love your color choice (olive green) on the Cthulhu tiki mug. Was/is color important to you and do you plan on a traditional color palette, or will you mix it up with future mugs?

Chaffin:  I think the color palette will be dictated by the project. Note that even on the current mug, there are several color variations that were made…the production run is olive, but there are limited editions that were pine, and others that were purple. (And one that you can see on our Facebook page that is almost lifelike…it’s gorgeous).

10) Mr. Booze: Besides tiki mugs, what other barware pieces might we expect from HorrorinClay.com in the future?

Chaffin:  I don’t want to tip off exactly where we are going next.  There are a few more tiki mugs in the pipe, and another vessel that I think is really cool that may cause a bit of a stir when it’s produced … no ETA on that one.  We’ll keep making pieces that I think are neat and that I’d like to see in my bar. : )  I can tell you we have a case in the works suitable for carrying your mug to and from your favorite cult meetings, if that’s a good enough teaser.  Not a product, but we are starting to take this show on the road in the southeast a bit;  we will be at ConCarolinas.org in Charlotte, and at the Atlanta Rockabilly Luau in August, just in case you want to drop by and say hi.   11)

Mr. Booze: Favorite tiki cocktail?

Chaffin:  Personally, I love the Trader Vic’s Suffering Bastard, and also the rum barrel at the Mai Kai.  At home I drink a lot of Hurricanes and Dark n’ Stormies. Of course, I’m mighty fond of the CTHULHU WAITS DREAMING we had created for the mug. Your readers may get a kick out of it. If you want to keep up with our doings we have an active facebook page, and a business related blog at www.horrorinclay.com.   Thanks for the interest!

CTHULHU WAITS DREAMING

  • 2 oz gold rum dash of dark rum
  • 1/2 oz brandy
  • 1/4 tsp absinthe
  • 1/2 oz cinnamon syrup*
  • 1/2 oz orgeat syrup
  • 2 oz grapefruit juice
  • juice of 1/2 small lemon
  • 5 dashes Angostura bitters
  • fresh seawater

Begin by rinsing your Cthulhu vessel with fresh seawater.  If you happen to be trapped inland, you can use 1/2 tbs sea salt dissolved in a cup of water instead.  Then, in a shaker, combine all the other ingredients over ice. Shake and strain into the Cthulhu vessel over crushed ice.  Chant “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn” over the top before drinking.  After a few of these, Cthulhu may well return.

*to make the cinnamon syrup: Crush 3 cinnamon sticks and place in a saucepan with 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and let steep for 2 hours. Strain and bottle. Keeps for a month in the fridge.
Recipe by Constantina Psomas

To order the Horror In Clay, H.P. Lovecraft inspired tiki mug, or any of Jonathan’s other cool, monster/tiki inspired goodies, visit the Horrorinclay.com website. Additional items to follow.

Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 2.25.45 PM

Mr. Booze on…Mmmmmmmidori!

Midori…a flavor as ancient as…ummm around 1978. This generic honeydew-mellon-with-a-kiss-of-pear flavored liqueur has titillated the uninitiated, the sweet cocktail lover, the club-hopper and disco queen, and the ladies night out, as far back as the first season of The Love Boat. I think it’s time we toasted this green ode to the non-whiskey drinker with a short list of her own cocktails. For some reason only the fates know, I’ve been brushing up against Midori more than I usually do. The bar gods were trying to tell me something.

Sent down to my basement bar for a round recently, a guest cracked into my opened fifteen year old, non-intentionally aged, Midori (how they were able to twist the sugar-sealed cap off, I’ll never know) and whipped up a quick round of Mellon Ball cocktails over ice. The very next night, I watched the Fright Night remake in which the vampire hunter, Peter Vincent, only quaffed down large amounts of the crackled green bottled yum-juice. The next day at my local liquor store, a huge (and on sale) Midori display greeted me, haunted me, taunted me. Old, crusty bottle finished, new bottle on bar, I write this piece.

Made only in Japan till 1987 and named after their word for emerald green by Suntory Holdings Limited, the muskmelon-flavored cordial is now made in three countries celebrated for their rich cocktail and spirit reputations. Mexico, Japan and France all are home to ivy-covered, tucked away Midori manufacturing plants. Would you believe the famous NYC disco, Studio 54, held the original Midori Launch Party? How significant is that? John Travolta was there enjoying the new and mysterious Midori.

From the Midori launch in 1978 where it trickled out in small quantities, one-hundred thousand cases were sold in 1981. In a little over four years, everyone out on the town was slorpin’ down the glowing liqueur in sours, cocktails and shots. Besides the sweet, melon flavored, non-threatening taste, what created the popularity? Well, nothing is the answer. The taste that mixes amazingly well with sours has been disco dancing happily in our mouths ever since first mirrored disco balls teamed with Gloria Gaynor for our attention. Mr. Booze has to wonder if Midori, not cocaine, was the bell-bottomed aphrodisiac of the me-generation. They, at the very least, boogied together.

Mr. Booze happily accepts Midori and her place now on his home bar shelf. I know from experience that many of my guests just do not appreciate, nor do they even want to try, a drink made with stronger, more complex and unforgiving spirits. How many times have you poured a martini, manhattan or other traditional cocktail only to have to pour it away at the end of the evening? Midori cocktails disappear on my bar. My wife and her friends love them. I’ll have a bourbon while I mix up a batch of something Midori for the soft-drinker. No sweat, no foul …and my guests are happy.

Below are a few tried-n-true Midori cocktails.

Aqua Thunder

Let’s begin with guns a’blastin’ as we pull off the gloves and dive head-first into Midori World. This ode to the early eighties takes no prisoners as she smooth-sails straight down the drinker’s throat. “Mmmmm” will probably be the first thing you’ll hear from the stay-at-home mom on the other side of the bar. “Danger, Will Robinson” is what she should be saying. Three of these and a friendly gathering of neighbors ’round the home bar could turn into a key-party pretty darned fast. Hang-over guaranteed if more than two are consumed. Delicious? Yes-indeedee. Potent, fun and odd? Yes-indeedee.

Here we go –

  • 1 oz Midori
  • 1/2 oz Blue Curacao
  • 1/2 oz Banana Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice

Mix everything over ice in a shaker. Pour it all, ice included, in a hi-ball glass and top with club soda.

Green Eyed Tiger

Discovered directly on the official Midori site which is a very nice one, by the way, this is the “must try” of the Midori cocktails I’m writing about. Pretty dangerous and sophisticated, this would be the drink to pour the night you stay in and cook something Asian or order in really good Chinese, Thai, or sushi. I love fresh ginger, and any drink that calls for it, I usually have to try a.s.a.p. You should be using all fresh juices, and you’ll find, after your first sip, that there’s nothing whimsical or silly about this one. Midori bumps a level.

Here we go –

  • 1 tablespoon+ a little more if you like spicy, freshly chopped ginger
  • 1 1/3 oz Silver Tequila
  • 1 oz Midori
  • 2/3 oz fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 oz + to taste, fresh lime juice

Muddle the ginger with the juices in the bottom of a wide shaker. Add cracked ice then the rest of the ingredients. Strain up into a chilled cocktail glass (double strain if you can manage). Garnish with a thin, fresh slice of ginger.

Midori Cider House

A very tasty entry into the Winter Warmer category, I found this drink a little sweet for my tastes, but my wife and a friend enjoyed it very much. It’s twenty-eight degrees outside as I write this, so I have to include it. If you like cider and rum, you should give this one a try.

Here we go –

  • 4 oz hot cider
  • 1 1/3 oz Midori
  • 1 oz dark rum (Myers for me)
  • couple dashes Angustora bitters

Pour the cool ingredients into a glass or mug capable of handling hot liquids. Add hot cider then garnish the rim of the cup with a cinnamon dusted, thin slice of apple.

Melonball

I’d be very remiss in my duties if I didn’t include this baby. This is the one folks! This cocktail was the queen of the disco back in 1978-79. She cooled sweaty people in sequined dresses and white leisure suits hot from a night on the floor. It was because a know-it-all at my last party knew how to whip a few up that I went on to explore the green, crackle-bottle even further. The Melonball could easily be your first stop on a Midori journey. Hell, play some Journey on your Midori journey. It works. Dance with me, I want to be your partner…

Here we go –

  • Over a goblet or double old-fashioned glass filled with ice pour
  • 2 oz Midori
  • 1 oz Vodka

Stir, and add either orange juice, pineapple juice, grapefruit juice … or a magical mixture of all three.
Sip as you dance the night away.

Midori Illusion

This will make a little mess on your bar. There are four sticky ingredients in this one, but that being said, she’s worth it. This last entry in today’s celebration of the glow-green Mellon cordial is the cocktail to make for the person who drinks but doesn’t like the taste of alcohol. Yummy! With only the “illusion” that you’re not drinking booze, this is the drink to offer the guest you want to get secrets out of. Two of these will cause, most definitely, the gossip train to leave the station. Lips will loosen, and gab will spill. Tasty and a little bit naughty at the same time.

Here we go –

  • 1 1/2 oz Midori
  • 1/2 oz Triple Sec
  • 1/2 oz Vodka
  • 2/3 oz lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 oz pineapple juice

Mix with ice then pour over ice in a short glass or strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

Midori…the bright green spirit which came out in the thick of the seventies. Classic, stood the test of time, a must-have on every home bar? The verdict is still out, but the jury is kinda enjoying themselves. Home bars are made for experimenting with things like…Midori.