d.i.y. not?

Ran into a friend and fellow bartender recently at a Logan Square late night bar.  We got to talking and he mentioned that he’d been working on a substitute for the standard issue creme de cacao that you find behind most bars.  Now there’s nothing wrong with creme de cacao and there are more than a handful of classics that wouldn’t exist with out it (most notably the Terry Brandy Alexander and the 20th Century).  However great in their own right, surely these cocktails would benefit from the use of a handmade liquer as opposed to the mass-produced and readily available. Our conversation got me thinking…

Could a similar approach be applied to the other black sheep of the craft back bar?  I decided to find out, and what better place to start then creme de menthe.  A necessary ingredient by all accounts but, in working with the available preparations i’ve found that it’s best doled out judiciously.  Many times an 1/8th of an ounce is all you need,  a heavy hand often resulting in a cocktail bordering on unpleasant.  After a bit of research and a couple of hours trolling the internet and cocktail books i got to work…

A few points of interest here:  The color comes out quick (after an hour or two), flavor is a bit slower…however i wouldn’t recommend letting the mint leaves sit in the Gem for any more than 24 hours as things can start to get kind of weird and vegetal.  Taste after 18hrs and proceed with caution…Once you strain the mint leaves what’s left is going to be super boozy and aggressive…don’t worry this will be tempered shortly with the addition of the sugar and water….as far as that goes: for every cup of mint/Gem, i added 4.5 cups of 3:1 simple…this brings the proof down to approximately 42 or (21% abv).

The verdict?

I was pleasantly surprised with this one.  The color is awesome and the flavor is a nice yin to the yang of the more common creme de menthes. Not quite as cloying, and overpowering in cocktail settings and it should keep well due to the proof…In general, it seems to work effortlessly with  London Dry gins (i.e. Tanqueray and Beefeater).  I Even found an unlikely home for it in this: a Grasshopper inspired tequila cocktail…

Two Crows From Tacos

  • 2 oz Lunazul Blanco
  • 1 oz cream
  • 0.5 oz  Marie Brizard White Creme de Cacao
  • 0.25 oz house made creme de menthe
  • 1/16 oz of simple syrup (at the risk of sounding pretentious, let’s call that a whisper of simple syrup)

Garnished with a mint sprig and Bitter Truth’s Xocolatl Mole Bitters.

dig it.



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That’s Quailudicrous!!!

Hat’s off to Patrick Smith for coming up with this gem.  A quail egg flip with Cognac and Sherry.  BRAVO!!!
1.5 oz of Maison Surrenne Petite Champagne Cognac
1 oz of Lustau East India Solera Sherry
.75 oz of cream
.5 oz of demerara syrup
1 dash of Angostura Bitters
2 quail eggs
shaken. strained. garnished with grated nutmeg.
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Punch of The Month! February 2011

Here it is.  February’s Punch of the Month courtesy of TVH’s Eden Laurin.


An unlikely marriage of Pimm’s No1 and Sailor Jerry’s Rum, topped with Champagne. This one is dangerous. Deceptively accessible and easy drinking. Careful, before you know it you’ll be seeing…to make a single serving:

1.25 oz Sailor Jerry Rum

1 oz Pimm’s No.1

.5 oz house made grenadine

.25 oz simple syrup

.75 oz  lemon juice

add a dash each of Angostura and Angostura Orange bitters.  Toss an orange peel in the shaker and get to work.  Top with Champagne.  Enjoy!

"..from Timbuktu to Portland, Maine..."


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The Burning Spear

A fun garnish by flair master Robert Haynes.

Continue reading

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Collective Cocktail Consciousness


The Lions Tale: A cocktail for the time being

The Lion’s Tail is the hot cocktail right now.  In the last month I can think of at least ten instances when this cocktail has been the subject of inquiry.  An interesting phenom tends to happen at this, and presumably other, cocktail bars called Collective Cocktail Consciousness. As a bartender you will see a handful of slightly offbeat cocktails hold people’s attention for a small period of time then promptly disappear.  Maybe it’s the close-knit cocktail community, the influx of cocktail books and products, the proliferation of social media and meme (real word), or just the cosmic alignment of preferred intoxication. Or maybe I’m crazy.

Remember the Maine anyone?

How bout a Blue Moon?

Maybe an Old Pal/Boulevardier?

Did you know Toronto has a  cocktail named after it?

Any others I am missing?  Does this actually happen? You tell me.

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Rss my Widget

Just to let everyone know we will be connecting the Rss Feed in the next few days
as well as integrating all the social media, widgets and what have you.

the response so far has been great, we love hearing all the feedback
we are moving quick to get all the tech stuff in order, so we can start posting.



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The Fox In The Snow

Here is something i’ve been toying around with.  A drink called “The Fox In the Snow”. Peppermint and Star Anise infused Tanqueray, Egg White, Lemon Juice, and Simple Syrup. Garnished with a mint sprig and one drop of Peppermint Water.
A simple twist on the classic silver sour. Light and refreshing. The peppermint and star anise work well with the Tanqueray.  Obviously, wash line isn’t always that low.  Still learning how to use the camera.  Somehow managed to take a semi-decent photo in the manual setting.  Unfortunately, by then i had also managed to drink a 1/4 of the cocktail.   Wasn’t able to replicate. Going to have to read the manual. With a little luck, the pic quality should improve over the next couple posts…

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