JiggerWocky: adventures in alcohol and academics

JiggerWocky: adventures in alcohol and academics

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Joyful, Joy Division!

I opened my Christmas present early this year, and got the most amazing bottle of Mezcal. In fact, it's boutique Mezcalero, which is only available in Oaxaca and California. Here's my friend Camper English, with whom I share quite a few similarities, describing it: http://www.alcademics.com/2009/10/new-booze-mezcalero-mezcal.html

Here's one of my all time favorite recipes from Mayahuel in the East Village.
The Division Bell
1 oz. Del Maguey San Luis Del Rio Mezcal
3/4 oz. Aperol
3/4 oz. Maraska
3/4 oz. lime juice
Shake and serve up. Twist and squeeze a grapefruit peel over the glass. Rub the rim of the glass with the peel, then discard it.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Variation on a Theme: Celebrating Repeal Day

We here at JiggerWocky believe Repeal Day is a far too overlooked holiday. While our existence is premised on the enjoyment of alcohol, we also enjoy restraining government from legislating morality. Today we toast to both classic and the innovation!

Earl Grey Marteani:
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup (1:1)
1 1/2 ounce Earl Grey tea–infused Tanqueray gin *
1 egg white
Garnish: lemon twist

The Great Pumpkin:
1.5 oz VSOP Brandy
1 oz brown sugar simple syrup
1 0z lemon
1.5 oz organic pumpkin (canned is preferable, actually)
Shake vigorously, strain, finish with cinnamon and lemon

Thursday, December 3, 2009


1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup chilled club soda
1 1/2 cups gin
1 1/2 cups fresh grapefruit juice, plus 3 thinly sliced grapefruit wheels, for garnish
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup sweet vermouth
2 1/4 cups chilled Champagne or sparkling wine
In a large pitcher, stir the sugar with the club soda until dissolved. Stir in the gin, grapefruit and lemon juices and sweet vermouth and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
Transfer the punch to a large bowl. Gently stir in the Champagne and float the grapefruit wheels on top. Serve in punch glasses over ice.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's All Nice on Ice, Alright!

Often store-bought ice is lacking in character. The small chips dissolve too quickly, leaving your drink already watered down and not properly mixed. But there's a solution to the dissolution! Alex Day, master mixologist and my secret boyfriend, is here to help:

A cube is just a cube, isn’t it? Dream on. Your cocktail has specific cold requirements, and if you want to mix with the best, learn to chill.

By the 1850s, hardly could be found a respectable saloon that didn’t have extensive experience with ice, importing huge blocks from ponds in the North and then cutting an individual piece per order. No longer was frozen water brought from far off a novelty; now ice was a necessary element for mixed drinks.

As a state of water, ice plays an incredibly valuable role as both a dilution mechanism and a tool for merging flavors. A fully integrated cocktail usually has around 20–25 percent of its volume provided by water, either from shaking or stirring with ice, and so it is this percentage that we most want to control. If very dense, very cold ice is used, a cocktail will end up being colder and much more pleasant on the tongue. Most of today’s bars and restaurants use commercial ice machines, churning out limp, flimsy ice that hardly chills a drink and leaves chips of ice in your well-deserved cocktail. But at home you can easily make fantastic ice the way they used to.

A eureka moment will hit when you do a side-by-side comparison between a simple sour-style drink made with flimsy, machine ice, and one made with a large chunk. For me, there’s nothing more appealing than a springtime daiquiri—frothy and cold as Antarctica—and it was just such a drink that opened my eyes to ice. Now, my kitchen freezer is little more than a place to freeze and store ice. Luckily, my roommate appreciates daiquiris more than frozen peas.

Start with good water. If your tap water has lots of minerals, it’s a good idea to boil it first. Minerals will stay with water while it freezes, adding a fragile structure to the ice. By limiting these impurities, your ice will be stronger and clearer.

De-stink your freezer. Do your best to clear your freezer of odorous inhabitants. Water will absorb these flavors as it freezes.

Skip the ice cube tray. Instead, use a metal pan 2 inches deep or more and as large as your freezer will hold. Fill this with hot water to slow down the freezing process, letting impurities out before they’re trapped. Place in the freezer for about 24 hours.

Prepare to cut. When fully frozen, remove the pan from the freezer and set aside for 10 minutes. Remove ice from metal tray and set on a cutting board. I find most ice picks to be pretty dull, mostly because the cutting of ice has fallen out of practice and quality tools can be hard to find. So I use a clean wood chisel, available at any quality hardware store. Begin by firmly and very carefully holding the ice down with your nondominant hand.

Score the ice. With your other hand, tap the chisel across the ice, making a line about a quarter of an inch deep. Turn the block over and do the same to the opposite side, scoring a straight line through the ice.

Make the break. With a decisive hit, push the chisel into the middle of your scored line, forcing the ice to break apart. Repeat to get the best size ice for your application: I like 2× 2-inch cubes for rocks glasses, slightly larger for shaken drinks, and any extra smaller shards for stirring. Return the chunks to the freezer until cocktail hour.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ice, continued

I made this gigantic cube in my freezer using a metal baking pan and distilled water. For an Old-fashioned, it's exactly the consistency and texture to keep the mixture chilled and properly diluted. Try it! You'll like it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dizzy Sour

1½ oz dry gin
½ oz lime juice
⅓ oz Cointreau
1 bar-spoon Peychaud’s bitters
½ bar-spoon sugar syrup
Shake all ingredients with ice and fine-strain in to a cocktail glass. Garnish with a wedge of lime

Friday, November 6, 2009

Traveler's Companion

I left behind a spectacular bar and some even more spectacular friends when I moved across the county, but this issue of Ready Made Magazine has a simple sollution: make a trunk bar. Read more here:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Now Featured in Zelda: The Magazine of the Vintage Nouveau

Created by Diane Naegel, Zelda features the work of many talented and enthusiastic contributors (myself included) who are noted each issue. The premiere issue includes my signature cocktail, The Fitz. Get your copy today!


Friday, October 30, 2009

Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow
2 oz. gin
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/4 oz. apricot brandy
1/4 tsp. sugar or simple syrup
Mint sprig
Ice cubes

Muddle mint in shaker. Add remaining ingredients, shake with ice and strain

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bourbon Season!

I know, it's not even Halloween and I should be posting more Absinthe recipes, which I'm sure to do, but it's cold here in Vegas and I'm way too excited about bourbon. Also, I found this great background to share:

First, bourbon can be produced anywhere in the United States. A lot of folks assume bourbon must be produced in Kentucky and more specifically Bourbon County. In fact, there are currently no distilleries in Bourbon County.

Second, bourbon must contain a minimum 51% corn in the mashbill, but it could be as much as 80%. The mashbill is your basic recipe of grains which are used to create the spirit. Distilleries use varying recipes for their mashbill and these are closely guarded secrets. The remaining ratio of the mashbill could be barley, wheat or rye.

A bourbon with a high wheat content in mashbill is generally referred to as a “wheated” bourbon and a prime example of this is Maker’s Mark bourbon. The bourbons with a higher wheat ratio is generally sweeter and more mellow than other styles of bourbon.
A bourbon with a high rye content in the mashbill is generally referred to as a “high rye” bourbon and a prime example is Bulleit bourbon. As you may guess, a high rye bourbon is a little spicier and bolder than other styles of bourbon.

Third, bourbon must be aged in brand new American white oak charred barrels. The barrels are not reused after the aging process. Most bourbon distilleries sell their used barrels to scotch, rum, and other spirit producers. One of my favorite sayings is that the best thing about scotch is the small amount of bourbon coming from the used barrels. Once the raw spirit is put in the new charred barrels, it must be aged for a minimum of two years. The charring of the barrels provides much of the flavor and color to bourbon.

So how should you enjoy this wonderful spirit? When trying a new bourbon, I always suggest having it straight or with ice. Simple, elegant and allows you to appreciate flavors of the bourbon. Of course, a cocktail is always welcome too!

Bourbon Old Fashioned:
2oz bourbon of your choice (I prefer Bulleit)
3 dashes aromatic bitters (Angostura is traditional, but feel free to experiment with others, like Mole)
1 bar spoon simple syrup
lemon peel for garnish
Place bourbon, bitters and syrup in an old fashioned glass and stir. Add ice and stir again. Garnish with lemon peel. Alternatively you could stir all ingredients with ice and strain.
Serve in an old-fashion glass, a low-ball if you're Don Draper.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


1 1/2 oz. gin
1 1/2 oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice
1 tsp. fresh cherry syrup
1 tsp. absinthe
Tools: shaker; strainer
Glass: cocktail, chilled

And Jim Meehan's Chrysanthemum Cocktail with a higher proof, less sugar and a little bitterness:

2 oz. dry vermouth
1/4 oz. Benedictine
3 dashes absinthe
Tools: mixing glass; bar spoon; strainer
Glass: coupe, chilled
Garnish: orange twist

add ingredients to a mixing glass and fill to top with crushed ice. Stir, don't shake, for 30 seconds, then strain and serve.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

In the spirit(s) of the season: Corpse Reviver #2

To celebrate this month, and commemorate a wonderful night at Flora with friends, this month's cocktail is the infamous Corpse Reviver #2:
The #2 retains the enigma displayed by its forebear, employing London Dry Gin, Cointreau, Lemon Juice, Lillet Blanc (known at the time as Kina Lillet – also one of the essential components of the original James Bond cocktail, the Vespa), and another frequently misused and misunderstood liquid, Absinthe. True Absinthe was banned in the US starting in 1912, well before the start of Prohibition, and remained so after its repeal. Because of its association with French artists and poets whose overindulgence reportedly drove them mad (Van Gogh’s ear-severing incident was famously blamed on Absinthe intoxication), early Temperance Movement devotees successfully implicated Absinthe in a host of social ills of the day, warning that it would lead to the downfall of society. The presence of the chemical Thujone, an element of the extract of wormwood which is used as a flavoring element in the production of Absinthe, was identified as the likely culprit. Studies discrediting these conclusions have since led to the recent legalization of true Absinthe in the US. Absinthe is a fascinating spirit with an amazing history and some very specific applications and techniques associated with it, so don’t be surprised to find a future column (or two) devoted entirely to the study of it.
3/4 ounce London Dry Gin
3/4 ounce Cointreau
3/4 ounce Lillet blanc
3/4 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice
Rinse absinthe (dash in glass, swirled, then drained)

Combine in a shaker with cracked ice; shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a stemless cherry

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Knight Daquiri

The Knight
2 oz spiced rum
1 oz maple syrup
1 oz fresh lime Juice
1 oz egg white
3 Drops Angostura bitters, swirled

Also, it loves it when you call it Big Papa.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Swallow Surprise: An Improved Whiskey Sour

1.5 oz Bulleit Bourbon
3/4 oz Cherry Heering
1 oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz cinnamon simple syrup
1 egg white

shake, garnish with burnt lemon peel and cinnamon (a lot of it, if you're Mr. S)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Going Abroad: Cuban Labor Day

Raspberry Mojito:
1 Oz mint infused simple syrup*
6-12 mint leaves
4-6 raspberries
Muddle, then add crushed iced to fill
Add 1.5 Oz Spiced Rum
1/2 Oz lime juice, shake
splash of club soda, and stir

Serve with mint sprig garnish

*mint simplye syrup:
10-12 mint sprigs, with stems
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
stir, bring to a boil, refrigerate until cool

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's quite easy being green.

We're going green here at jiggerwocky, many Green Chartreuse cocktails to come. And you thought The Last Word was literal!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Still summer

With inspiration taken from Phil Ward's new venture, Mayahuel (http://www.mayahuelny.com), tequila and mezcal are sneaking into cocktails from coast to coast. I, for one, am learning how to drink it like an adult, or at least how to exit the bar without police assistance. Here's a recipe to sip on as summer slips away:

2 oz fresh watermelon, preferably using a Vitamix
1/2 oz simple Cinnamon syrup*
1/2 oz fresh lemon
1 1/2 oz Reposado Tequila, Cazadores works well
Fill shaker with crushed ice, shake vigorously
Strain, serve with salted rim

*recipe for Cinammin syrup in previous post

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sweet on Alex Day

This month's issue of Ready Made Magazine features some great syrup infusions by master mixologist, Alex Day.

check it out here: http://readymade.com/projects/article/cocktail_syrup_recipes
I recommend the cinnamon syrup, soon to come a Cinnamon Old Fashioned!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Electro-Lavender Lemonade

Sweet and Subversive: Electro -Lavender Lemonade

1/4 cup dried lavender
1 1/2 cups boiling water
3/4–1 cup white sugar (depending on desired sweetness)
8 0z Skyy Citrus Vodka
10 lemons
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
2 Tbsp. water
6 cups cold water
Crushed ice

With lavender in a large bowl, pour boiling water over it and steep for 5-10 minutes (Usually about 7). Strain the lavender, stir the sugar into the lavender water, then pour into a pitcher over crushed ice. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice and Vodka into the pitcher, add cold water and stir. In a blender (Vitamix), puree blueberries with 2 tablespoons of water. Add puree immediately to lemonade and stir well. Adjust sweetness and lemon strength accordingly. Garnish with a few fresh blueberries on top. No one will expect a thing!

Monday, August 17, 2009

An Exile's Return: The Fitz!

The Last Word is a classic cocktail that originated at the Detroit Athletic Club during the Prohibition era. It combines gin, maraschino liqueur, lime and green Chartreuse. But the cocktail, like Mrs. Fitzgerald herself, looks delicate but has a big flavor profile more sharp than sweet:

1 oz gin
1 oz maraschino liqueur
1 oz Chartreuse
1 oz fresh lime juice
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

The Last Word may belong to a Lost Generation, but the nouveau has its own sentimentality, its symbols that move it equally towards reflection and innovation.

The Fitz:
4 to 6 fresh basil leaves
1/4 oz simple syrup
1 ounce gin
1/2 ounce Maraschino
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice

Muddle the basil and sugar in the bottom of a mixing glass, fill the glass with ice, then add the gin, Maraschino, lime juice, and grapefruit juice. Cover, shake until cold, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

So meet The Fitz, you two could have such a damned good time together.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Grass-hopping Jitterbug

3/4 oz cream
3/4 oz creme de cacao, white
3/4 oz creme de menthe, green

1/4 oz cream
2/3 oz Vodka (Skyy)
3/4 oz creme de cacao, white
3/4 oz creme de menthe, green
1/4 oz Starbucks Coffee Liqueur

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

old fashioned drinking buddies

as a side note, my grandfather is still a cattle-raiser.

Sin City's Gin Gin Mule

First enjoyed at New York's Bemelman's Bar at The Carlyle, The Gin Gin Mule is another Saunder's creation. My only suggestion for enhancement is to be in the company of beautiful ladies, as I was that evening.

2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce ginger simple syrup*
Ginger beer
6 – 8 mint leaves, plus a sprig for garnish

*2 ounces ginger, thinly sliced
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
Combine the ginger, sugar, water, and peppercorns in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Continue simmering for 30 to 40 minutes or until the syrup smells very gingery. Remove from heat and cool completely. Strain the syrup through a fine sieve, transfer to a bottle, and refrigerate.