Posts Tagged ‘Cointreau’

101 Best New Cocktails: Ellipsis by Devender Sehgal, New Delhi

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013


Adapted from a recipe by Devender Sehgal, New Delhi, India.Ellipsis

“I wanted to enhance to flavor of orange in the rum by using both bitter and sweet. Beyond this, I used Taylor’s port to compliment the viscosity of the rum. In order to balance these sweet elements I added just a dash of Cynar, creating a well-balanced and delicious cocktail.” Devender Sehgal.

45 ml (1.5 oz) Ron Zacapa 23

15 ml (.5 oz) Taylor tawny port

10 ml (.33 oz) Cynar

1 teaspoon Cointreau

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

gaz sez:  I wrote about this drink in the San Francisco Chronicle, and I noted there that, “[The] Ellipsis is very well balanced, indeed, and the Cynar adds a nuance to the drink that makes it stand tall.  I really urge you to take this recipe to your local bar and ask the bartender to fix an Ellipsis for you.  Lots of bars stock the necessary ingredients.”  Nicely done, Devender.

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101 Best New Cocktails: Dirty Margarita by Rob McHardy, Silencio, Paris, France

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Dirty Margarita

Adapted from a recipe by Rob McHardy, Silencio, Paris, France.Dirty Margarita

“I use Cocktail Kingdom barspoons, which are roughly 3.4 to 4 ml to measure.

The caper juice is strong enough to destroy the drink if even slightly more is added. But totally makes it when I get it right. Enjoy!” Rob McHardy.

50 ml (1.65 oz) Tequila Ocho plata

20 ml (.66 oz) fresh lime juice

20 ml (.66 oz) Cointreau

4 ml (.13 oz) agave syrup (uncut)

3 ml (.1 oz) caper juice*

1 lime twist, as garnish

Shake well over ice and double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add the garnish.

*Caper Juice: I just had a chat with my wonderful olive supplier here in Paris. They are Sicilians with a very intimate relationship with their suppliers back home and their shop la tete dans les olives in the 11th arrondissement is well worth a visit. They made the juice by taking quite a large quantity of capers and putting them in a bucket with holes in the bottom (to capture the juice), covering them with salt and letting osmosis draw the juice from the capers over time. Either that or get a load of capers in salt and press like mad/dance/sit /jump on them to extract the juice. They are not aware of anyone else doing this or at least bottling it (it does smell pretty rank).

gaz sez:  Rob is right about being careful with the caper juice in this one, and he also made a good decision when he decided to call for Tequila Ocho Plata—a fabulous bottling that comes on real strong in any sort of Margarita, Rosita, or Paloma.  I had a great night in Paris with Rob when Monkey Shoulder scotch flew me out there to conduct a Mindful Bartender workshop.  Rob is the real deal.

See more of this year’s 101 Best New Cocktails here

Click HERE to submit your recipe for a chance to be included in an upcoming list.

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101 Best New Cocktails: Midnight’s Bass Drop by Rick Tose, Rolador, Newcastle NSW, Australia

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Midnight’s Bass Drop

Adapted from a recipe by Rick Tose, Rolador, Newcastle NSW, Australia.

“This drink can either be stirred down or blazed, which is pretty cool. If it was blazed I’d usually scorch 3 coffee beans and set them in a vintage tea strainer over the top of the balloon to mingle with the burnt orange aromas of the drink. The garnish is a little less practical with the stirred down version, so I use a burnt orange zest, but this is my preferred one to drink as the dilution and chill takes the syrupy edge off the liqueurs…” Rick Tose.

50 ml (1.65 oz) Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 Year Old

15 ml (.5 oz) Cointreau

15 ml (.5 oz) Licor 43

2 hefty dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged bitters

1 orange twist, as garnish

Stir over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Flame the twist over the drink, then add as garnish.

gaz sez: I just love the way the Licor 43 comes together with the Zacapa in this drink. I never got around to trying the hot version, but I do like Rick’s idea about straining it over scorched coffee beans. This is a versatile little drink if ever there was one.

This is one of 2012’s 101 Best New Cocktails.

Click HERE to submit your recipe for a chance to be included in next year’s list.

Click HERE to order 101 Best New Cocktails 2012

Click HERE to order the Annual Manual for Bartenders: 2012.

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Posted in 101 Best New Cocktails, 101 Best New Cocktails 2012 |

101 Best New Cocktails: Kirsch Cosmo by Hannah Lanfear, Boisdale, London, UK.

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Kirsch Cosmo

Adapted from a recipe by Hannah Lanfear, Boisdale, London, UK.

“I discovered this cocktail one night when I insisted on emptying my speed rail and replacing it with kirsch, determined that it could improve or rival any white spirit cocktail, and many it does, but this one was gift and transcends the original Cosmopolitan by a country mile!” Hannah Lanfear.

40 ml (1.33 oz) Miclo kirsch eau de vie

25 ml (.83 oz) cranberry juice

20 ml (.66 oz) fresh lime juice

17.5 ml (.58 oz) Cointreau

2.5 ml (.083 oz) sugar syrup

1 orange twist

Shake over ice and fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze the twist over the drink, then discard.

gaz sez: It’s so seldom that kirsch gets used as a base, and Hannah does the eau de vie proud with this drink. It takes the Cosmo (a much maligned drink that, in my opinion, is a true classic) to a whole different level. Hannah is one of my fave bartenders in London so I’m real happy that she submitted this one.

This is one of 2012’s 101 Best New Cocktails.

Click HERE to submit your recipe for a chance to be included in next year’s list.

Click HERE to order 101 Best New Cocktails 2012

Click HERE to order the Annual Manual for Bartenders: 2012.

facebook twitter = @gazregan

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World Class Bartender: Alexis Taoufiq, France

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

31 Alexis Taoufiq, France (2)

Alexis Taoufiq, Finalist in Rio from France, showed a flair for sophisticated French style when he made drinks for Ueno-San and me.

Well done, Alexis!

Here are Alexis recipes from the Retro-Chic round

Mai Tai

Glass: Tiki mug

Garnish: Lime zest and mint leavesdiageo world class

Method: Shake and strain

50ml Zacapa 23

20ml Cointreau

20ml Orgeat Syrup

20ml Lime juice


Coronation Sling

Glass: Absinthe glass

Garnish: Lime wedge

Method: Shake all except champagne, strain and top with champagne

40ml Ciroc

20ml Peter Heering

5ml honey

10ml Lime juice

40ml champagne

2 thumbs Root ginger

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Posted in World Class Bartenders 2012 |

World Class Bartender: Jimmy Barrat, Dubai

Friday, December 28th, 2012


Here’s a glimpse of Jimmy Barrat, 2012 World Class Finalist from Dubai, and one of the most creative bartenders I ever did see.

And here are the drinks he made for the Retro-Chic round




Glass: Rocks


Garnish: Half slice of lemon orange and lime, and lime zest (discarded)


Method: Build over hand-cracked ice


30ml Don Julio Reposado


30ml Campari


15ml Noilly Prat


15ml Carpano Antica Formula


2 dashes Orange bitters




Pink Delilah


Glass: Martini


Garnish: Grapefruit zest


Method: Shaken and fine strain into chilled glass


50ml Tanqueray No. TEN


7.5ml Cointreau


2 dashes Grapefruit bitters


25ml Fresh Pink Grapefruit Juice


2.5ml 1.1 sugar syrup

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The Birth of the Cosmopolitan

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Being the Whole and True Story, or Stories, Behind the Creation of the Last True Classic Cocktail to Be Born in the Twentieth Century

NEWSFLASH:  Since I wrote and published what you’ll find below, a certain Cheryl Charming has published a far more in-depth article on the subject, and if you want the real nitty-gritty, I highly recommend that you go read it HERE


Cointreau made her up.  That was my conclusion when, after years of trying to track down the mysterious Cheryl Cook, supposed creator of the Cosmopolitan cocktail, I came up empty handed.  I believe it was William Grimes, of the New York Times, who first mentioned Cook’s name to me, and the good folk at Cointreau agreed.  “She’s somewhere in Miami,” they told me.  This all took place in the mid-1990s, hen e-mail was, to me at least, in its infancy, so all of my tracking had to be done via phone, and by snail mail.  How very tedious.

Cointreau was probably the chief beneficiary of the Cosmo explosion, although many versions were made with generic triple sec.  Those in the know, however, usually went the Cointreau route, loving the liqueur for it’s dry sophistication, as well as its intense orange zest flavors.  And Absolut Citron probably fared well too because of this, now classic, cocktail, but many other citrus-flavored vodkas appeared on the heels of the Absolut bottling, so it probably had to share the jackpot with the rest of the products that threw their figurative hats into the ring.

It seemed to make sense to me, though, that the drink was created by the marketing department at Cointreau, and omeone there invented a fictitious bartender who they touted as having created the drink.  That would add legitimacy to the cocktail, right?  I thought that Cointreau was behind this for many a year.

Various other people were credited with having invented the Cosmo along the way, though the two people who were cited feat most often both vigorously denied that they were the ones to first mix the pink drink. Dale DeGroff, King Cocktail himself, claimed that he first sampled Cosmopolitans at the Fog City Diner in San Francisco, and again at New York’s Odeon, and in both cases they were made with Absolut Citron, Rose’s Lime Juice, and cranberry juice.  Dale simply added Cointreau to the mix, and used fresh lime juice instead of Rose’s, when he introduced the drink to his customers at the Rainbow Room in 1996.

Toby Cecchini, in his book, Cosmopolitan: A Bartender’s Life, says that he first encountered Cosmos at the Odeon when they were introduced to him, circa 1987, by his co-worker, Melissa Huffsmith, aka Mesa.  Mesa had worked at the Life Café in San Francisco, and the drink that she knew as the Cosmopolitan, as served at Life, was made with plain old vodka, Rose’s, and grenadine.  Uuurgh.  Cecchini didn’t much care for the drink, but he did sort of go for the pink, so he re-invented it using Citron vodka, Cointreau, fresh lime juice, and cranberry juice.

When I read about this in Cecchini’s book, I thought to myself, Goddammit, man, you did, too, invent the Cosmopolitan.  Why so shy?  And I wrote as much for Cheers magazine in 2005 when they asked me to pen a piece about the origins of various drinks. Although I’d met him only once, in early 2004, I had a soft spot for Toby.  I should fill you in.

In September, 2004, I published a review of Cecchini’s book in our e-mail newsletter, Ardent Spirits.  Here’s an excerpt from the review:

“Cecchini’s denial of responsibility for the Cosmo isn’t the only thing that’s annoying about this book, but we’re still recommending that you run out and buy Cosmopolitan, the book, immediately. Why? Because Cecchini, love him or hate him, has the soul of a true bartender, and it fair shines from the pages of this book.

“Toby has an annoying habit of using words that are not only too long for a bartender to know, but also too obscure for most people to understand.   He does the same with foreign phrases, too, but once we got over being really tee-ed off with him for being so obviously over-educated, I was enthralled with his book.”

I got hold of Toby’s e-mail address, and as soon as the review was published I sent him a link.  If you’re going to insult someone publicly, I thought, you should be the first person to break it to them.  Cecchini replied promptly:

“Gary, I just read the review; love it: guilty as charged.  If there are two things I want my customers/readers to take away from a brush with me, they are arrogance and annoyance–provided they like whatever else they’re     imbibing . . .  Thanks for the lovely review.”

Now I loved the man.

A few months later I found myself on a press junket to the Cognac region of France with Toby, and various and sundry other scribes, so I posed the question:

“Why do you keep denying having invented the Cosmo?”

“Because nobody ever believed me when I laid claim to the drink,” he told me.  Fair enough, I thought.

It’s important, at this part of the story, for you to know the tale of the birth of another drink, the Kamikaze.  And it’s also important that you understand that this story is strictly as I lived it, not necessarily the whole truth of the matter.

In the 1970s I was tending bar at Drake’s Drum, an earthy joint on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.  Dave Ridings, an old friend from England who took me in when I arrived on these shores, had gotten me the gig, and it was a job I adored.  The same Dave Ridings introduced me to Kamikazes, telling me that Scott Lamb, then a bartender at Botany Bay on East 86th Street, had been the guy who first poured the drink for him.  It was made with Stolichnaya vodka, and a few drops of Rose’s lime juice.  Just a few drops, mind you.  Stirred over ice, the Kamikaze was strained, normally into a rocks glass, and it was a shooter.  A drink to get you drunk.  Ridings asked Lamb what the difference was supposed to be between the Kamikaze, and a very dry Vodka Gimlet.  “You don’t want to commit suicide after a Vodka Gimlet,” said Lamb.

Kamikazes ruled on the Upper East Side for many a year.  I was there.  I witnessed this.  Any time there was a lull in the conversation, someone would order up a round of Kamis, and we’d get back on track.  Looking for fun in all the wrong places.  Kamikazes were magic pills.  Guaranteed to get the party going again.  And that decade was one, very long, very drunken, and often drug-filled party.  It wasn’t until years later that I heard about Kamikazes being made with Cointreau and fresh lime juice.  Being sipped, instead of gulped.  From Martini glasses, no less, instead of rocks glasses.  How the hell did that happen, I wondered.

(That’s Dave Ridings in yellow.  He and I were playing at silly buggers, circa 1974)

But that’s how it goes with cocktails.  Someone invents a drink.  Perhaps two or three or seven people invent the same drink at the same time–this often happens when new products hit the shelves, and cocktailian bartenders don their creative hats to figure out how to use the new bottling.  The drink spreads its wings and flies from place to place—or or it simply dies on the spot—and every bartender who gets his or her hands on the recipe tweaks it a little.  The drink changes.  Or it doesn’t.  Perhaps the name changes.  There’s just no way to figure out exactly what will happen to any given formula once it makes the round of America’s bars.  Now let’s get back to the Cosmopolitan.

On Sunday, September 25, 2005, at 11:24 p.m. E.S.T., a certain someone in Florida clicked on the “send” button, and transmitted an e-mail to Mardee Haidin Regan and me:

Hello Mr. & Mrs. Regan!  I was recently made aware of various article written about me and the Cosmopolitan. I have also recently purchased your book, ‘New Classic Cocktails.’

My name is Cheryl Cook.  I was a bartender from 1985-2000 on South      Beach.  I was commonly refereed to as “The Martini Queen of South Beach. I have spent the past several years working as a Producer & Technical Director in the Event Industry.  I also have traveled with a Dance Company around the World for many years. During this period I was out of the ‘Bar’ loop.

The story goes like this….. A friend, actually the first person I served a Cosmopolitan to, (who also witnessed 15 years of South Beach being “crazy” for Cosmopolitans), found an article a couple of weeks ago giving me credit for the Cosmopolitan and called me.

I served my first Cosmopolitan to Christina Solopuerto the night we received the ‘First’ bottle of Absolut Citron. Christina was sitting at my bar, at’ The Strand on South Beach,’ in 1985. The Strand was under the original ownership of Gary Farmer, Irene Gersing and Mark Benck. Within 30 minutes the entire bar had a Cosmo in front of them.  Within 45 minutes the entire restaurant had one.  I had already emptied the ‘one   and only’ bottle of Absolut Citron, so I had to squeeze lemons into the regular Absolut.

Regarding  ‘Sex And The City’ popularizing this drink; Patricia & Rebeca Fields, the Costume Designers (Mother & Daughter Team) for the entire run of ‘Sex And The City,’ were customers of mine for 15 years.  They sat at every bar I ever worked and watched, first hand, the sheer onslaught of South Beach Cosmo drinkers.

 By the way, I even named my cat Cosmo!

 Any way, thank you for the acknowledgment.  I have always kicked myself for not seeing to some kind of recognition. [so] thanks for my 15 minutes!

Call or write if you would like.  Cheryl Cook

Cheryl Cook, circa 1985

My God!  Cheryl Cook exists.  This e-mail made my day.  Now I had to try to verify who she was, and whether or not she really did invent the Cosmopolitan.  Bear in mind that I don’t consider myself to be an investigative reporter.  I’m not even a journalist in my eyes.  I’m a writer.  I write from my point of view.  And of course, I’m a bartender, too, which helps me get to the bottom of some cocktail-related stuff, simply because I know how bartenders’ minds work.  I fired a few questions to Cheryl to see how she would respond.  Here’s how that went:

1.  What was the original recipe?

Absolut Citron a splash of triple sec a drop of roses lime juice and just enough cranberry to  make it “Oh so pretty in pink” and topped with a curled lemon twist.

2.  How did you come up with the recipe?  What made you put those specific ingredients together?

The Martini had just made its come back.  Women were ordering them just for the glass but many could not drink them because they were too strong.  My idea was to create a “pretty” cocktail that they could drink and serve it in a Martini glass.

3.  How did you come up with the name?

Cosmopolitan Magazine had done a several page spread on female Maitre d’s and Nathalie Thomas from the Strand was one of the featured Maitre d’s.  She had that issue with her daily!

I was sold at this point.  This woman obviously created the drink.  But I pressed further.  I wanted more evidence.  Here’s an excerpt from another e-mail from Cheryl:

I believe it was Southern Wine and Spirits that was handling the Absolut products at the time . . .  I was the Head Bartender of the Strand on Washington Avenue . . .  My Southern Wine and Spirits rep brought me a new Absolut product, “Absolut Citron.”  He said, create something Cheryl. I love a challenge and I had wanted to create a new drink for the Martini glass so..….The ingredients, as I always phrased it, “Absolut Citron, a splash of triple sec, a drop of roses lime and just enough cranberry to make it oh so pretty in pink,” fell in suit.  Basically this recipe is a no brainier, mixing wise. Merely a Kamikaze with Absolut Citron and a splash of cranberry juice. My objective was also a “design” task. To create a visually stunning cocktail in a beautiful glass. Pretty and pretty tasty too. Not so much trying to reinvent the wheel, just bringing it up to speed.

For me, this is the sentence clinched it:  Merely a Kamikaze with Absolut Citron and a splash of cranberry juice.  That’s exactly what the drink is.  Cheryl merely took a tried and true recipe and tweaked it a little.  She wasn’t boasting about her creativity, she was telling it like it was.  And Cheryl gives way too many details for this story not to be true.  The way in which she came up with the name, for instance, is at once believable.  Cheryl Cook is the real deal as far as I’m concerned.  God bless her little pink heart!

So the drink made its way across the country, landing in San Francisco, then New York, and along the way, the recipe was butchered.  Typical, huh?  But just as the drink that I first knew as the Kamikaze, made with only vodka and Rose’s, ended up as a cocktail containing Cointreau and fresh lime juice, the bastardized version of Cheryl’s original formula fell into the hands of a couple of cocktailian bartenders in the Big Apple who nurtured it, and kissed it back to life.  God blessToby Cecchini’s heart, and God bless Dale DeGroff’s heart, too.

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Posted in gaz's Cocktail Book |

101 Best New Cocktails, 2012: CJ750 by Pablo Toledo, Cvrve, Shanghai

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012


Adapted from a recipe by Pablo Toledo, Cvrve, Shanghai.

“I came up with this modern twist of the Sidecar, that’s why the name. Here in Shanghai we have a big French and European colony, they like this motorbike called CJ750. That is also a similar version of the sidecar motorbike. So in the streets you always see one a day, it became a popular bike around here.

Cognac and orange is a great combination. And what better to enhance the orange flavor and help with the sweetness than Cointreau? The rest comes by itself. The fresh orange, the elderflower notes thanks to the syrup and the cloves as aromatic garnish that helps with the nose and match with the clove flavor of the Jerry Thomas bitters. Is a must try. The fresh orange juice and the mint help to power the concept of a refreshing cocktail by the look and the aroma. The cognac glass feels powerful in the hand. The whole experience and the why of the cocktail makes it very attractive. I hope you like it.” Pablo Toledo.

40 ml (1.33 oz) Hennessey VSOP cognac

15 ml (.5 oz) Cointreau

10 ml (.33 oz) Monin elderflower syrup

40 ml (1.33 oz) orange juice

1 dash The Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter bitters

1 orange wheel studded with 5 cloves, as garnish

Mint sprig, as garnish

Put the ingredients together and shake nicely but not hard. We don’t want much air in this one. Place the orange wheel with the cloves (which represent the stars of the CJ750 motorbike) in a chilled cognac glass. Double-strain and finish with the mint sprig and a short straw to make the nose get close to the mint, is very important you do that. It will give a more fresh cocktail final perception with those aromas.

gaz sez: I’m a real sucker for aromatic garnishes, and the mingling of cloves, oranges, and mint in this drink comes together really nicely. And these fragrances meet a beautifully balanced cocktail in the throat, with the Jerry Thomas’ bitters bringing a fabulous complexity to the party. It’s also nice to see that our bartender brothers and sisters in China are doing such a great job. I gotta find a way to get there one of these days. Thanks, Pablo—you done yourself proud.

This is one of 2012’s 101 Best New Cocktails.

Click HERE to submit your recipe for a chance to be included in next year’s list.

Click HERE to order 101 Best New Cocktails 2012

Click HERE to order the Annual Manual for Bartenders: 2012.

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