Hop Toad Cocktail

Hop Toad Cocktail:

1. 5 oz. Dark Rum (Ron Zacapa Centanario 23)
1 oz. apricot brandy (Rothman and Winter)
.5 oz lime juice
Angostura bitters to taste

Shake with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. 

The recipe listed above is from Gary Regan's classic "The Joy of Mixology", which itself is an adaptation from A.S. Crockett's, "The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book" (Gary adds bitters), which is most likely an adaptation from Tom Bullock's Ideal Bartender, where it was called a Leaping Frog* (recipe below) before rum was added. How's that for evolution of a cocktail? Provided you start with high quality ingredients, all variations are delicious and it will take a bit of experimenting to find the version that suits your taste. Many fine classic cocktails call for apricot brandy making it a great addition to any home bar. Cocktail Historian David Wondrich insists that a true Hop Toad* (recipe below) is made with Hungarian Apricot Brandy, but Rothman and Winter is a fine choice, a blend of a true apricot eau-de-vie sweetened with apricot fruit juices harvested at their peak ripeness in Austria.

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After the Fall- 1.5 oz gin, .75 oz Apricot Brandy, .5 oz Cinnamon Simple Syrup, .5 oz lemon juice, dash Angostura

After the Fall:

1.5 Gin (No. 209)
.75 oz apricot brandy (Rothman and Winter)
.5 oz cinnamon syrup (homemade)*recipe below
.5 oz lemon juice
Dash Angostura bitters

Shake over ice. Double strain into chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon zest over cocktail. Slide lemon peel (zest side down) around rim of cocktail glass.

We love Hot Toddy and Buttered Rum weather, though this cocktail shows that not all winter cocktails must be warm to be in holiday theme. This is a fairly simple post-autumnal gin cocktail appropriate for sipping by a warm fire. The only extra effort is the cinnamon syrup (*consisting of 1-2 broken Ceylon Cinnamon Sticks steeped in the warm mixture of a 1:1 ratio of  water:cane sugar) which can be made in advance and saved for up to 10 days in the refrigerator. The cocktail is a good blend of crisp citrus, warm spices, and sweet fruit. No. 209 Gin is an excellent "modern" gin, that while retaining classic gin sensibilities, also branches out with zesty, citrus overtones of bergamot, and spice notes of coriander, cassia, light cardamom, and juniper. The gin is distilled 5 times at San Franciso's Pier 50,  resulting in a remarkably smooth, mixable spirit that plays well with others.

Plum Blossom- 1.5 oz @housespirits Shochu, .75 oz Grapefruit Juice, .5 oz Creme de Violette @pdxcocktailweek @SakeOne

Plum Blossom:

1.5 oz. Shochu (House Spirits Uchi No Kami 48 proof)
.75 oz. Grapefruit juice (ruby)
.5 oz. Creme de Violette (Rothman and Winter)

Shake with ice. Double strain into chilled cocktail glass.

In the spirit (no pun intended) of Portland Cocktail Week which includes the Great American Distillers Festival, I wanted to create an original cocktail highlighting one of the many high quality local spirits Portland is distilling. This main ingredient in this cocktail is the result of a partnership of two of Oregon's best, House Spirits and SakeOne. The result of this partnership culminated in a limited release of Shochus at slightly different balances and alcohol levels. The one I am currently working with is the Uchi No Kami Shochu, comprised of Moromi of Koji and Milled Rice at 48.04 proof. Moromi is the fermenting rice mash, and koji spores (aspergillus oryzae in English) are propagated on the fermenting rice grains to eventually yield sake. The different stages of the koji growth will affect the overall result of the product, and the master distiller will select the optimal time to proceed to the next step in distilling. Multi-staged Moromis were brought from Forest Grove to Portland where they spent some time being double stilled in House Spirits copper Alambic pot-still "collecting just the finest of the heart cut."

The nose of the cocktail is a wonderful blend of floral and citrus aromas with vanilla, mallow, and pleasant fermented rice accompaniments. The sip is a delicate balance of flavors, and though the Creme de violette champions the finish, it allows the shochu to breath, while providing the necessary bump to the sweetness from the grapefruit juice. The grapefruit lends the neccesary bite to prevent a muddying of the flavors. A very clean, refreshing finish. Very drinkable.

Gigi- 1.5 oz @HendricksGin, .75 oz lemon juice, .5 oz @StGermainDrinks, .5 oz creme de violette, orange blossom water, lemon oils


1 1/2 oz. Gin (Hendrick's)
3/4 oz. Lemon juice
1/2 oz. Creme de Violette (Rothman and Winter)
1/2 oz. St. Germain
5 drops orange blossom water
Burnt lemon oils

Shake over ice. Strain. Warm zest with match, squeeze oils over flame into drink, slide peel around rim to cover in oils.

Keeping in the floral theme (see Jordaan) I created the Gigi (pronounced gig-ee) the diminutive of my grandmother's name Marguerite, and inspired by her lush gardens in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. The nose is an expected floral bouquet of violette and rose. St. Germain and violette on the swallow with bitter orange peel and almondine notes from the orange blossom water.