Drinks That You've Mixed Lately (That Are Interesting)

Not wanting to pollute the Drunk Thread’s therapies or resurrect one of the half-dozen 7±year-old threads on the subject, I’m being self-important and starting a new one.

So, cocktails!

I’m a bit legendary in my friend-circle for not caring for booze too much. Beer is too bitter, wine is too sour, strong stuff just burns my throat and getting actually full-n drunk mostly just makes me sad. But for the last few years, I’ve been slowly ramping up an interest in cocktails and building a pretty damned sizable home bar. Mixing the drinks feels a lot like liquid cooking, and y’all know I love me some cooking.

Whether classics, modern classics, tiki, trashy bar favorites, whatever, I’m slowly exploring them all and learning a lot. I’ll chronicle my journeys here, but very much hope others who enjoy the occasional mixed drink join in on the fun :)

Speaking of my journey, partly as means of staying sane during the ongoing Coronavirus-related quarantine here in the States, I’ve been sharing drink recipes with my Facebook friends the last week. They’re a little overly explanatory if you’re used to drink-mixing steps and techniques, but I figure a little education never hurt (and I’m confident that I’ve got some stuff wrong or at least mixed up that could do with a good correcting!).

So, without further adieu, I present the first week of Armando Penblade’s #Quarantinis!

Tonight, two bracing drinks for a warm, lonely spring evening. First, the Elderflower Gimlet, a tangy, sweet gin cocktail with a heavy presence of floral notes and cucumber to cool it out.

The Elderflower Gimlet

  • 1oz Lime Juice
  • 1oz Elderflower Liqueur
  • 2" piece Cucumber, chopped
  • 1.5oz Gin (Hendricks is perfect, or your favorite London Dry)
  • Ice to Shake

Muddle the cucumber with the lime juice and Elderflower liqueur in your cocktail tin. Add in the gin and ice to shake with, seal the tin, and shake vigorously until the tin is chilled, about ten or fifteen seconds. Double strain into a chilled coupe or Nick and Nora glass and serve up.

Next, the blackberry caipirinha, a fruity, tangy drink highlighting the sugarcane flavors of Brazil’s national beverage, cachaça. The fruit, citrus, and mint combine for a bright and refreshing drink that goes down very easily.

Blackberry Caipirinha

  • 1/2oz Creme de Mure or Blackberry Liqueur (or Creme de Cassis in a pinch)
  • 1/2oz Simple Syrup
  • 1 Lime, rinsed and quartered
  • 4-5 Blackberries, rinsed
  • 6-8 Mint Leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 2oz Cachaça (or your favorite Rum in a pinch)
  • Cracked or Pebble Ice to Shake

Add the mint leaves to the shaker, then the lime, and then the blackberries. Pour in the creme de mure and simple syrup, then muddle well enough to break up the blackberries and extract juice from the limes, but try to avoid shredding the mint too badly. Add the cachaça and ice to shake with, seal the tin, and shake vigorously until the tin is chilled, about ten or fifteen seconds. Open pour into a double rocks glass, garnish with a sprig of mint (slapped or whacked lightly to enliven the natural oils), and serve with a straw.

Tonight, the simple margarita, in its most classic configuration. Bright, tangy, and highlighting the quality of your tequila.

The Margarita

  • 3/4oz Lime Juice
  • 1oz Orange Curaçao or Triple Sec
  • 2oz Tequila (I went Blanco, but a Repasado is also very nice)
  • Ice to Shake

Combine the lime juice, curaçao, tequila, and ice in your shaker tin and seal it shut. Shake vigorously until the outside of the tin is frosted over, about ten to fifteen seconds. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve up with a lime wedge garnish.

Optionally, you can run the lime wedge along the edge of half of the glass and press the outer side of the wetted glass into flaky salt.

Tonight’s #Quarantini is the classic Trader Vic’s Mai Tai, in many ways the progenitor cocktail of the tiki movement. Although the rum that Vic favored back in the day isn’t available anymore, this blend gets a pretty similar flavor - tangy-sweet with a bit of savory richness from the almond-derived orgeat and some good funky novelty from the Jamaican rum and grassy notes from the Rhum Agricole.

Trader Vic’s Mai Tai

  • 1oz Lime Juice
  • 1/2oz Orange Curaçao or Triple Sec
  • 1/2oz Orgeat Syrup
  • 1oz Aged Jamaican Rum (Appleton Estate is great here, but any flavorful aged rum works well)
  • 1oz Martinique Rhum Agricole (Aged or white works well; if you lack that, feel free to just double the other rum you’re working with)
  • Crushed or Pebble Ice to Shake and Serve
  • Lime Wedge and Mint Sprig for Garnish

Combine the lime juice, curaçao, orgeat, rums, and a small scoop of ice to your shaker tin and seal it. Whip shake vigorously to froth the lime and dilute/chill, about ten to fifteen seconds.

Pour into a double rocks glass or tiki mug and fill/top with crushed ice to form a nice little snow cap if possible. Garnish with a lime wedge and a sprig of mint.

Tonight is the quintessential cocktail, the Old Fashioned. Crafted to replicate the “old style” of bitters-sugar-water-alcohol drinks in the mid 1800s when more complex drinks had come into popularity, it is a potent display of the flavors of your whiskey of choice, tempered by the grainy sweetness of the sugar and the complex spice of the bitters.

The Old Fashioned

  • 1 Sugar Cube
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters (4 dashes from a Japanese-style dasher)
  • Splash Regular or Soda Water
  • 2oz Whiskey (usually Bourbon or Rye)
  • Orange Twist and optional Maraschino Cherry for Garnish
  • Ice to Stir

In a rocks glass (or your preferred mixing glass), muddle the sugar cube, bitters, and a small splash of soda water until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Pour in your bourbon and add one large rock of ice, or a few medium sized. Stir with a bar spoon until the glass is frosted and the dilution is to your preference.

If you used a stirring glass, use a strainer and pour over a rock of ice into a glass. Garnish with a spritz of orange oils from a thin strip of peel and, optionally, a maraschino cherry. Enjoy :-D

A little late, but tonight’s drink is the beloved Mojito. A classic rum sipper simply flavored with lime and mint. I’m working through my open bottle of soda water now, so expect at least a couple more fizzy drinks!

The Mojito

  • 8-10 Mint Leaves
  • 1/2 Lime, cut into Quarters
  • 3/4oz Simple Syrup
  • 2oz White Rum (Cuban is traditional, but I’m using this lovely Barbadian rum from Mount Gay tonight)
  • Soda Water
  • Ice to Stir and Serve

Put your mint leaves down into a tall narrow glass, like a Collins glass. Put the lime quarters on top of them. Add the simple syrup and muddle gently, pressing the lime juice out slowly while taking care not to rip up the mint, which can lend an unpleasantly vegetal flavor.

Add ice cubes and stir with a bar spoon until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Top with soda water and, optionally, use your spoon to arrange mint and lime amidst the piled ice in the glass. Serve!

Tonight, we’ve got the lovely Paloma cocktail. The so-called working man’s cocktail, the simplest versions come together in seconds. My take works with fresh ingredients for brighter flavors, highlighting the grapefruit.

The Paloma

  • 1/2oz Lime Juice
  • 2oz Grapefruit Juice
  • 3/4oz Simple Syrup (up to 1oz if you want to balance the grapefruit’s natural bitterness with more sweetness)
  • 2oz Tequila
  • Ice to Shake and Serve
  • Soda Water to Top

Combine the lime juice, grapefruit juice, and simple syrup in your shaker tin, along with the tequila and ice to shake. Seal the tin and shake vigorously until the tin is frosted and the drink is frothy.

In a tall glass with ice, add a little soda water at the bottom, about an ounce. Double strain in the cocktail to catch any bits of fruit pulp or seeds, then top with additional soda water. Serve!

This thread calls to me like a ripe flower to a bee. I am delighted to see you embracing the wonderful world of cocktails with your usual passion and verve. This is great!

Suggest trying this with only 1/2 oz (or even go without entirely!) the curacao. Personally, I use 1/4 to 1/2 oz of Cointreau. Then add in 1/4 oz or so of Agave nectar.

That said, some of the best margaritas I’ve ever had were at Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco, and they make them with reposado, lime juice and agave. Nothing else.

If you liked the Old Fashioned, we are kindred spirits and it’ll be time to Get Serious about mixed drinks. :)

Huh, I actually think that might not have transcribed correctly; pretty sure I did 1/2 oz of the curacao! But that was also several nights and drinks ago :-D – I do like things a little on the sweeter side than most, albeit less than my gf, so I like keeping a little around :)

Edit: ah yeah, in the past I’ve done 1/2oz of the Curaçao and 1/2oz of the Agave Nectar, according to old notes. Then bumped it up the other night to keep the recipe a little simpler for folks.

I make mimosas by pouring a glass of champagne and contemplating an orange from across the room. (Apologies to Churchill; I can’t stomach gin.)

I love an Old Fashioned, but I’m lazy, so my recipe omits the bitters, sugar, and orange zest. In fact, it’s just bourbon and ice. And no cherry in any case, yuck. This ain’t no fruit cocktail!

I don’t know what to say, other than that you are the master and I’m the lush at the end of the bar, hoping you might make one of these for me. They sound so wonderful.

That’s very kind! I’m still learning a lot in terms of actual preparation. Been watching cocktail YouTube videos for like two years straight but only really made drinks about once every week or two until pretty recently. Some big hauls at out of state liquor stores (our selection in North Carolina is abysmal) suddenly exponentially increased the variety of what I could easily make, and I’ve been trying to make stuff more often to actually use that not-insignificant investment…

I have done more baking than mixing while socially isolating bu I’ve tried to make a variant of Port of Manhattan.

2oz rye
1.5oz tawny port
twist of lemon

It’s fairly drinkable as is but it needs something to up the complexity and I don’t have any bitters. I can’t think of a good Korean twist to give it either. I’m almost tempted to try it as a highball but all I have at the moment is a grapefruit soda from Costco.


1oz. Bulleit Rye

1/2oz. sweet Vermouth

2 or 3 dashes bitters

1 brandied cherry

I usually get a double. A Maraschino cherry is acceptable but not optimal.

The Putin (Sour Russian):

2 parts Kahlua
2 parts vodka
1 part buttermilk

Pour all ingredients over ice and stir. Sniffing of the dairy and sunglasses and bathrobe optional.

Good god that sounds terrible.

I wasn’t gonna say, cuz hey, open place to share. . .

. . . but. . .


Yep, it’s not for everyone. Buttermilk is soooo sour, I love it.

Ok, a decent one:

The Guap Martini

3 parts vodka
1/2 part olive brine
A big squeeze of lemon juice
2 olives, stuffed or not, and a curly sliver of lemon to garnish.

Shaken or stirred, but I find shaken better. No vermouth, you may nod towards Italy before consumption if you wish.

I’m wanting to dip into martinis this week but don’t have any dry vermouth, but I do have a pretty decent bottle of bianco vermouth and am wondering if I care enough about trying the “traditional” first before doing something weird :)

(and yes, plenty of olives and also lemons to experiment with garnishes/dirty-vs-clean)

I have been drinking a lot of St Germain, Gin & Tonics. Key to this is to start with a nice balance of the three ingredients and then by the third drink it’s basically just gin :)

I have been making my Old Fashions with maple syrup instead of sugar for a while and it’s pretty wonderful. It also is good for entertaining (if that was still a thing) because you can dial up the syrup for people who aren’t into the bourbon burn in a way that doesn’t work at all with sugar.

Also, don’t sleep on a decent box of wine.

Autumn Bottom’s Up

1 part: Goldschlager (or cinnamon whiskey like Fireball)
1 part: Amaretto
1 part Cointreau (or Triple sec)
4 part Cranberry Juice

Shake with ice, pour over ice, add a splash of Ginger Ale (I omit this most times).

I have seen recipes that call for 2 parts of each liquor but I find this works well.

I’m very onboard with that. Love me some Amaretto, in particular, and I got gifted a cinnamon whiskey that I never really know what to do with. Why is Autumn so far away?!

I’ve done one with maple, Ango bitters, and a drop or two of liquid smoke for something very woodsy and Fall-like that was really well received at a party awhile back (it was for Blizzcon and we called that one the Raynor for his love of cigars and whiskey, lol).

It’s autumn in Australia but since travel isn’t advised you will have to pretend.

@ArmandoPenblade If you can acquire some of these, they make a huge difference when you’re on your garnish game.