Trinidad Sour

Hi there! I guess it is time to talk about cocktails once again. Hopefully, this will be the start of more regular blogging about them.

I was chatting with Tim Zohn of High West and Anthony Cozzk of Wingtip the other night and the subject of drinks which used a large amount of Angostura bitters came up. Turns out we're all a fan of that style of drink, which is no great surprise. Tim and Anthony both spoke highly of the Trinidad Sour, a cocktail I had added to my bar book but not yet tasted. So it seemed natural to pop Evernote open, find the recipe (which I got from an Imbibe article) and give it a spin.

The result is a very nice drink for this slightly warm night. There's something about bitter drinks that helps combat higher temperatures and the Angostura gives this one a nice cinnamon and clove bitter kick. It's nicely counter-balanced by the sweet from the orgeat and lemon juice. The rye (and I'm using a nice overproof one) is almost lost in there, subdued by the twin clubs of the 1 oz of bitters and the lemon juice.

This is a lovely drink, but you need to be a fan of bitterness. If that's not your palette, if you can't stand Amari, if you like something that's more on the sweet side, this one is not for you. But if you want to try something that will kick you in the face and make you enjoy it, take a walk on the adventurous side and mix yourself up one of these babies.


As mentioned in the Tradewinds Negroni post of last year, the dasher on the top of the bottle of Angostura bitters comes off fairly easily; it just takes a little work. Twist it and give it a pull and it should come loose.


  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1 oz Orgeat
  • 1 oz Angostura Bitters
  • 1/2 oz 100 Proof Rye (I used Pikesville, which is actually 110 proof.)


  1. Combine everything into a cocktail shaker and add ice.
  2. Shake until chilled, about 15 seconds
  3. Double-strain into a cocktail coupe.
  4. Enjoy while you wonder why you didn't buy the big bottle of Angostura Bitters the last time you went shopping... 

Chocolate Manhattan

Tonight's cocktail was another swing at the Chocolate Manhattan recipe. I'm not sure why I'm a little obsessed with trying to make this one work, but I thought I'd give it one last try. When we last left Flash, the drink was getting there but needed something to cut through the chocolate -- it was still too sweet and I thought it needed a kick of spice and heat to balance it out.

Enter Dana Hanna, who suggested I try the Chesapeake Bay Bitters from the Bitter End. So when I was up at the Napa Valley Distillery's shop in the Oxbow Market yesterday, I took the opportunity to sample some. They were pretty much what I was looking for; the kick of the cayenne pepper pushes them over the top.

I also had another thought about cutting the bitterness and decided to swap Amaro Montenegro in for the sweet vermouth. This was bad experimentation on my part as I was playing with two variables at the same time, but I thought it was a pretty safe bet. I wanted to bring in some orange and orange peel into play and a bit more bitterness to counter the chocolate.

The result works pretty well. You get a nice taste of the rye on the sip, followed by some nice bitter and heat, and then a mouth full of chocolate to cool stuff off and leave you wanting another taste. I think I'm not 100% dialed in on this one yet; I might try cutting the Creme de Cacao back a bit. But for now, I'm just going to enjoy this drink.


I'm calling this a Manhattan variation, because it starts with the basic 2-1-2 Manhattan formula. 2 parts whisky - 1 part vermouth - 2 dashes bitters. In this case, I swaped out the vermouth for the amaro and the creme de cacao. I tend to prefer a 2 oz - 0.75 oz ratio for my traditional Manhattans and I'd probably go with just 0.25 oz of the creme de cacao next time.


  • 2 oz Rye Whisky (I used Old Overhold, because it is cheap, delicious, and perfect for mixing.)
  • 1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro
  • 1/2 oz. Creme de Cacao (I used the Tempus Fugit stuff. Delicious!)
  • 2 dashes Bitter End Chesapeake Bay Bitters


  1. Combine everything in a mixing glass, add ice, and stir to chill.
  2. Strain into a cocktail coupe 
  3. Garnish with an orange twist 
  4. Enjoy!

By the way, if you're looking to build up your bitters collection, the Bitter End variety pack there has an interesting selection at a good price. Yes, it is an affiliate link. One day, I'll tempt one of you into buying something through those.


The weather was absolutely gorgeous today; a classic San Francisco September day. This inspired my mind to wander down the path of a cocktail I'd seen on the Cocktail Virgin blog, the Fallback. This is a delightful mix of rye and apples, with some Amaro Montenegro and bitters thrown in -- a great-sounding combination that worked out well in practice.

This one starts out with a note of spice and orange (from the amaro and flamed orange peel garnish, no doubt) that segues into the rye, with the apple coming out in the finish. This one would be perfect for sitting on the porch and watching the leaves fall (or, in San Francisco, sitting and looking out the window as the wind blows stuff around and the tourists in their shorts scramble for cover, wondering how it suddenly got so chilly.)

Sea Ranchers beware! This one is very likely to appear on the menu next March; it'll go quite nicely with the weather and view.


I played this one pretty straight to the posted recipe, only varying the brand of the sweet vermouth. It's nice, for once, to have most of the specified brands on hand (although I did have to run out to get an orange for the garnish. Tomorrow, I might have to make something that calls for orange juice...)



  1. Combine ingredients in a mxing glass, add ice, and stir to chill, about 15 - 2o seconds
  2. Strain into a Nick and Nora glass
  3. Garnish with an orange peel or, if you're daring, flame the orange peel oover the drink.
  4. Sip and reflect on your past summer.

By the way, if you're stocking your bar, consider the bitters pack on the right there -- it's pretty much the three basic bitters you need to start!

Twelve Mile Limit

I started a little early today, with the thought I might have more than one cocktail as I drink my way through some potential tiki drinks for my upcoming Tiki Thursday. I'm finding it amusing that I haven't yet selected a cocktail that would be served in a Tiki mug, but I've been avoiding having to use crushed ice and that's likely a big reason everything so far has been strained into a coupe.

I went again to Smuggler's Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki for the recipe for tonight's Twelve Mile Limit. This delicious mixture of rum, rye, brandy, grenadine, and lemon juice lets a bit of that rum flavor through while augmenting the sweetness with the grenadine and leveling it out a bit with the lemon juice. The rye and brandy are definitely playing supporting roles in this one. Technically, this is a Prohibition-era drink and not a Tiki drink but it's got rum in it, so who cares? This one will likely be the "sweet" rum drink on the menu; now I have to find something that tends towards the bitter end to balance it out. More research!



  • 1 1/2 oz. rum (something lightly aged, like the Appleton Estate Signature Blend is perfect here)
  • 1/2 oz Rye (I used my standby, Old Overhold)
  • 1/2 oz. Brandy
  • 1/2 oz Grenadine (Small Hand Foods grenadine is both excellent and local (if you're in the Bay Area)
  • 1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice


  1. Combine ingredients in a shaker, add some ice, and shake for about 15 seconds
  2. Double-Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.
  3. Express the oils from a lemon peel over the drink and then use the peel as a garnish.
  4. Enjoy! This one gets better as it warms up a bit.