Category Archives: Lemon

A Greeting to Colder Days: Scotch Cocktails

Well, it finally happened, folks. I woke up this morning, and the weather was in the 50s. I think that means that Summer is officially over, and, as a certain doomed vassal lord might say, Winter is, in fact, coming. We’d better get a towel.

With the weather starting to turn, I thought whiskey might be a good choice for this week. Or, rather, whisky, as I decided to make scotch cocktails this week. In case you don’t know, if it’s from America or Ireland, it’s whiskey; if it’s from Scotland or Canada, it’s whisky. I hear there are also a few Japanese brands on the rise that are called whisky, since they’re made in a similar style to scotch.

In any case, scotch is this week, but scotch isn’t for everyone. However, if you’re curious about scotch, there might be a few introductory cocktails here that you can try. If you already like scotch, then you probably aren’t huge on putting them into to cocktails. But experimentation can be a good thing, and some of these cocktails might make you happier than simply drinking your scotch neat all the time.

You can use whatever scotch you want for these, I suppose, but I do highly recommend that you use a decent and not-too-expensive blend. You don’t want to waste your expensive single malt. I’m using Chivas Regal 12 for all of these. For a blend, it’s very good, and its only about $30 for a fifth where I live, which for scotch isn’t that expensive.

Now let’s get too it.

Mamie Taylor
-2 oz Scotch
-1/2 oz Lime Juice
-3-5 oz Ginger Beer
-Lemon Wedge

Mamie Taylor

To start our scotch adventure, we begin with a pretty easy to drink cocktail. This goes down really smooth and has a nice hint of whisky to help you become acquainted with the flavor. If you’re new to scotch, this is a good place to start. Just don’t expect other scotch drinks to taste like this, because they won’t. Oh dear god, they certainly won’t.

On the other hand, if you already like scotch, you ought to go ahead and skip this drink, because there’s a good chance you’ll think it’s an abomination. It’s true that such a mixture more traditionally calls for bourbon, but it still makes sense to use scotch. So if you think this might be an abomination, don’t be that guy that makes it and complains about it. You already know you won’t like it. Just skip it.

Pour the liquid ingredients into a ice-filled highball glass, stir gently, and garnish with the lemon.

Scotch Buck
-2 oz Scotch
-Lemon Wedge
-3-5 oz Ginger Ale

Scotch Buck

And now for something completely similar.

“Buck” is usually used to describe a tall drink that mixes liquor and ginger ale over ice. I thought it would be a nice and easy step from the last drink, and the two cocktails are definitely alike. The Scotch Buck, however, has a more pronounced scotch flavor. I think we can thank the less pronounced flavor of ginger ale compared to ginger beer for that.

Since the scotch flavor is stronger here, this might be a better introductory scotch cocktail than the Mamie Taylor. The latter is likely to leave you without a very good idea of the taste of scotch, or how it differs from other whisk(e)ys. The Buck can educate you where the Mamie Taylor can’t. However, again, if you are already a scotch drinker, you might not like this. Be forewarned.

Fill a highball glass with ice, squeeze the lemon wedge over it, and pour the liquid ingredients in. Stir gently and enjoy.

Godfather
-2 oz Scotch
-1 oz Amaretto

Godfather

This drink isn’t bad at all. In fact, it’s quite nice. That being said, this is still an offer you could probably refuse. I mean, you have a decent scotch and the only thing you can think to do with it is add amaretto? You probably don’t deserve decent scotch, if that’s the case.

Still, this drink is very nice. It’s slightly sweet and nutty, and it still fills that roll of being an easy scotch-based drink if you don’t already have a taste for scotch. It’s just that the character of the scotch really doesn’t come through, so it remains in a weird introductory drink limbo. But if you’re interested, it’s simple and it tastes good. Have at it.

Shake the ingredients with ice, and strain it into an ice-filled rocks glass.

Rusty Nail
-1 1/2 oz Scotch
-1 oz Drambuie
-Lemon Twist

Rusty Nail

If you already like scotch, this is the liqueur-and-scotch combo for you. Scotch comes out more here than in the other three drinks I’ve tried so far. Of course, it helps that Drambuie is scotch-based to begin with.

This is sweet, with some interesting spicy flavors and anise notes. The lemon peel is also absolutely essential, as well. It adds so much to the aroma, which does a lot to make this drink more complex.

If you’re new to scotch, this is where the drinks start getting tougher. If you haven’t acquired a taste for it yet, go back to level one and don’t use the warp zone this time. You’ll develop that taste soon enough, and then you’ll be more likely to enjoy this drink with an appreciation for scotch, rather than thoughts about tetanus.

Combine the liquid ingredients in an ice-filled rocks glass, stir, and garnish with the lemon twist.

Blood and Sand
-1 oz Scotch
-1 oz Orange Juice
-3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
-3/4 oz Cherry Brandy

Blood and Sand

This drink is named after a really old movie that is apparently somewhat of a classic. I’m no cinema buff, though, so I can only tell you that it has this name because of the amber color, that looks kind of like blood-stained sand. And there’s your educational fix for the day.

This drink is pretty good, and it smells absolutely wonderful. However, the cherry brandy gives a bit too much of a sugary taste. This drink isn’t overly sweet, but the sweet ingredients are very noticeable. So, take that for what it’s worth.

Also, you’re apparently supposed to use blood orange juice for this cocktail, in keeping with the theme, of course. I’m a hardcore rebel (read: there weren’t any blood oranges at the grocery store), so I used a regular old navel orange. Take that, The Man.

Shake the ingredients with ice and strain it into a martini glass. If you want to get fancy, garnish it with a flamed orange peel. I’m too lazy for that shit.

Rob Roy
-2 1/2 oz Scotch
-1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
-1 dash Angostura Bitters
-Maraschino Cherry

Rob Roy

And here we reach the scotchiest of these drinks. A Rob Roy is a Manhattan made with Scotch, and that’s exactly what it tastes like. It has a good balance between sweet and bitter, it’s strong, and it’s delicious.

I’ve suggested that you use blended scotch in these cocktails, but using a decent single malt is acceptable with this drink and okay I just need to put this sentence on pause for a minute to let you know that I just used the aroma to counteract the rather rank odor of my cat’s flatulence. When the hell did he have eggs? Anyway, scotch can fix cat farts. The more you know.

As I was saying, it’s okay to use a single malt for this drink. The scotch is completely dominant, so it’s alright to use vermouth and bitters to add some complexity, in my opinion. If you have a $200 scotch, then you probably don’t want to use it here, but I don’t see a reason why lesser single malts can’t shine here.

Stir the liquid ingredients with ice and strain it into a martini glass. Garnish with the cherry.

Denouement
Don’t worry, folks. I’ll do something less classy soon. See you next week.


Old Fashioned: For the Classy Boozehound

Blah, blah, blah, introduction stuff.

I mean… Hello, everyone! This week we’re classing it up with the Old Fashioned. If you want to convince people everywhere that you’re one upscale motherfucker who can’t be bothered with the trivial mediocrity of the modern masses, there’s no better way to do it than with one of these cocktails.

And Old Fashioned is so called because it refers to making cocktails the “old-fashioned way,” as a combination of spirits, sugar, bitters, and water. This is the basic formula for the cocktail we drink now, but modern society has also seen fit to add a bunch of fruit to it. So yeah, that’s a thing.

If you want to learn more about the Old Fashioned cocktail, might I suggest this as a starting point. In the meantime, however, let’s drink.

Old Fashioned
-2 1/2 oz Bourbon or Rye
-1/4 oz Simple Syrup
-2 dashes Angostura bitters
-Lemon Peel

Old-Fashioned

Mmm. Whiskey candy. But very manly, robust candy, of course. Seriously, I use the word candy, but this is still mostly whiskey, and it is still something you should avoid if you can’t handle that.

In any case, the Old Fashioned is an exemplar of cocktail balance — the type of balance we wish our government had. Liquor tempered by a little bit of something bitter and a little bit of something sweet, with a little bit of water to blend it all together. The lemon peel makes it smell amazing. Perfection.

You can feel free to experiment with the proportions (and different recipes will recommend different proportions), but don’t change it too much, or you’ll get something cloying and disgusting or something biting and undrinkable. It’s all about balance.

Start with a rocks glass. Add ice if you want, but drinking it at room temperature is acceptable, too. Combine the liquid ingredients and stir. Twist the lemon peel over the drink and drop it in.

“New” Old Fashioned
-2 Orange Slices
-2 Maraschino Cherries
-1 Sugar Cube
-2 dashes Angostura Bitters
-2 1/2 oz Bourbon or Rye
-Club Soda (optional)

"New" Old-Fashioned

This is the monstrosity that modern drink culture has made of the Old Fashioned. If you want to make your Old Fashioned more fruity, this is a good way to do it, but my god the club soda. Skip the club soda. It really has no place here, and having bubbles in your drink isn’t worth the over-dilution. The fruit, however, is okay. An Old Fashioned really doesn’t need the fruit to begin with (and there are plenty of people who would want to see you hanged for bringing a maraschino cherry anywhere near an Old Fashioned), but I understand letting the cocktail evolve, so long as we remember that this is not the original, and that the original is much better.

Back to the club soda. You should skip the club soda. If you can’t handle this cocktail without the dilution of club soda, then the Old Fashioned just isn’t for you. It simply wasn’t meant to be. Skip the club soda, keep the fruit, and this could be a good introduction to the Old Fashioned cocktail if you think you need to ease into it some.

Start by muddling one orange slice, one cherry (stem removed), the sugar cube, and the bitters in the bottom of a rocks glass. Add ice and whiskey, stir, and then please leave the club soda for the Mojitos where it belongs. Garnish with the remaining orange slice and cherry.

Brandy Old Fashioned
-2 1/2 oz Brandy
-1/4 oz Simple Syrup
-2 dashes Angostura Bitters
-Lemon Peel

Brandy Old-Fashioned

In case you couldn’t figure it out, this is just an Old Fashioned with brandy. I know that might seem super complicated and esoteric, but try to stay with me.

I’m not a huge fan of brandy, but this is a good cocktail. This is is probably the reason why the liquor-bitters-sugar-water formula was the old standard for making spirits drinkable — because it makes brandy drinkable. It’s really a great way to enhance the flavor of a spirit without threatening its integrity. The natural sweetness of brandy is really nice here, and this drink is very pleasantly aromatic.

Since brandy is traditionally enjoyed neat, I opted not to add ice to this drink. Feel free to add ice f you want. If you don’t add ice, though, it might be more appropriate and infinitely fancier to use a brandy snifter instead of a rocks glass. I do not have a brandy snifter, so I used the rocks glass shown above. C’est la vie.

Make it the same way you make a regular Old Fashioned. Also, yes, I did forget the lemon peel. Woops.

Onward!

Eccentric Old Fashioned
-2 oz Blended Whiskey
-1 dash Curaçao
-1/2 tsp Sugar
-Lemon Peel Spiral

Eccentric Old-Fashioned

I’m not sure what makes this cocktail eccentric, and without bitters, I’m not sure what makes it an Old Fashioned. Perhaps the lack of bitters makes it eccentric, but then it’s no longer an Old Fashioned, and oh my we’ve entered a repeating loop. My bad.

All that being said, it’s a pleasant enough drink. It’s nice and light, and has a lovely aroma. I certainly do not prefer it to the regular Old-Fashioned, but it’s not bad. If you just want tome sweetened whiskey that smells nice then this is the drink. If you want an Old Fashioned, however, you should throw this drink in the trash and look elsewhere on this list.

Start by putting the lemon peel spiral in a rocks glass. Then shake the rest of the ingredients and strain the mix into the glass. Enjoy!

Canadian Old Fashioned
-2 1/2 oz Canadian Whisky
-1/4 oz Triple Sec
-1 dash Fresh Lemon Juice
-2 dashes Angostura Bitters
-1/4 oz Simple Syrup
-Lemon Peel

Canadian Old-Fashioned

Okay, this is pretty good. So far this night, I haven’t found a drink that I might order instead of an Old-Fashioned. Until now. Well, I actually wouldn’t order this, because the bartender would more likely think that I just want an Old Fashioned with Canadian whisky. And Canadian whisky just can’t match bourbon, at least when it comes to Old-Fashioneds. And besides, I can’t be seen ordering Canadian whisky. I have an image to uphold.

I kid, but Canadian whisky has its strong points, and this drink, with the extra ingredients, is very interesting. The lemon juice gives it a tea-like quality, and it totally works. It’s light and tasty. I don’t like it more than a regular Old Fashioned, but there would be times where I would prefer it.

In any case, put ice in a rocks glass, add all of the liquid ingredients, stir, and garnish with the lemon peel.

Scotch Old Fashioned
-2 1/2 oz Scotch
-1/4 oz Simple Syrup
-2 dashes Angostura Bitters
-Lemon Peel

Scotch Old-Fashioned

Should I take the low-hanging fruit here? I think I will.

I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly. Mmm, mmm, mmm.

Haha! Pop cultural references to successful comedy movies are a humor gold mine!

Also, expect me to quote Anchorman any time I drink scotch. I’m not even sorry.

Anyway, most scotch enthusiasts will tell you that you should never add anything to scotch, expect maybe a few drops of water and maybe a lemon twist. Possibly ice if they’re liberal about it.

Despite all that, scotch is used in a number of cocktails. It’s not as popular as bourbon, but it does have a number of mixed drinks backing it up. That being said, I completely understand why someone would be against scotch cocktails. Scotch is really good and really expensive. Well, not all of it is great, but even the cheapest scotch is more expensive than most upper-middle shelf liquors. Note that I didn’t say it was better than those liquors; you can buy cheap vodka, but never buy cheap scotch.

And that might be why people are opposed to scotch cocktails — they spent a lot of money on their scotch, and they don’t want to waste it by combining it with other things. And to be sure, there are definitely things you should never do with your scotch. For example, if you ever decide to combine your scotch with blue curaçao, you deserve at least a five year prison sentence. Bitters and sugar, however, seem acceptable to me.

This cocktail is absolutely delicious. There’s a lot of differences between different types of scotch (I used Glenfiddich 12 year, for the record), and so this cocktail will vary a lot depending on what scotch you use. However, I can still say that this cocktail makes scotch more appealing to the average pallet, and if you’re interested in getting into scotch, this is a good work-your-way-in cocktail, so long as you have a per-existing taste for whiskey. If you do not have a taste for whiskey yet, I suggest you start with a different cocktail, both for getting into scotch and for getting into whiskey in general.

The following paragraph was written while sober. Hey, folks. Sober Dave here. Sometimes when writing these posts, Drunk Dave can’t quite find the words for something, so he leave notes to me to make sure I cover something important that he couldn’t quite get out. This time he left me the note: “TALK ABOUT SMOKINESS AND SHIT.” So, I suppose I should say that this cocktail, being scotch-based is smokey. However, the smokiness is tempered by the other ingredients, really making it less offensive to someone who might not be completely down with the who smokey thing. Okay. I know return you to your regularly-scheduled programming.

Make this drink the same way you would make a regular Old Fashioned. Since scotch is the base ingredient, I opted to skip the ice this time, but there’s no shame if you want to add ice.

Denouement
Well, today I really learned that you can’t improve upon perfection. Some variations of the Old Fashioned are quite good, but the original is a classic for a reason. Either way, I’ve spoken too much, so go have some whiskey, you beautiful bastards.


There’s a Frat Boy in All of Us: Jägermeister Drinks

Hello, fine people. It’s that time of year again. Students are saying goodbye to sleeping in every day and saying hello to staying up all night. College is starting back up, and I thought it would be appropriate to use this as an opportunity to highlight that godawful staple of college parties we call Jägermeister. That’s right — we’re getting super douchey this week.

Speaking of douchey, I never realized how condescending Jägermeister is. Before you you even open it, there are arrows on the cap to show you which way to turn it to open. Apparently Jägermeister assumes that most of its target market don’t understand the concept of righty-tighty/lefty-loosey. I’m not a fan of Jäger, but I’m sure that most people who are fans of it are smart enough to figure that out. I believe in you, Jäger-lovers.

On that note of camaraderie, let’s get right into it with a drink that I suppose I can’t avoid doing.

 

Jägerbomb
-1 shot Jägermeister
-Red Bull or Beer

 Jägerbomb

So, I just finished my first Jägerbomb ever, and I now officially hate myself. It’s like chugging carbonated child’s cough syrup. By the way, did I mention that you generally chug bomb-shot drinks? Because you do. Which is fine enough when you have a beer base, but as it turns out energy drinks aren’t meant to be chugged. I’m going to be a bit jittery for a few minutes.

In any case, if you happen to have taste buds, you don’t have to use Red Bull. Jägerbombs were originally made with beer. But then Red Bull got popular, and then alcoholic drinks with Red Bull got popular with idiots, and then Red Bull replaced beer in the already-unholy Jägerbomb.

Okay, maybe I’m a bit too harsh. Drinking energy drinks with alcohol isn’t a hugely terrible idea. Drinking a lot of energy drinks with alcohol definitely is, though. If you must do a Jägerbomb with Red Bull, you should probably only do one, and you should probably do that at the beginning of your drinking session, before you’ve consumed too much alcohol.

That being said, feel free to use beer instead of Red Bull. This might get you some odd looks though; the frat boy who works with my wife said, “Who makes Jägerbombs with beer? What is this bougie bullshit?” Bougie here, as far as we can tell, means bourgeoisie. But, I think it actually makes more sense to use a beer base — a beer with a shot of the hard stuff in it is a much better way to get a quick buzz than an energy drink with alcohol. In fact, that latter has the opposite effect, with the caffeine masking some of the symptoms of intoxication. I guess if you don’t want to feel like you’re getting too drunk, then the energy drink is the way you want to go. But I’m also pretty sure that most people doing Jägerbombs want to feel drunk, so I really don’t get the point of using Red Bull.

But, I have bowed to fashion, and fashion dictates I use Red Bull. Woe unto me.

Pour the Red Bull or beer into a pint glass and the Jägermeister into a shot glass. Drop the shot glass into the pint glass and chug it down. Hate yourself almost immediately afterward.

 

Jäger Barrel
-2 oz Jägermeister
-Root Beer

 Jäger Barrel

So, I checked the Jägermeister website for recipes, and without any surprise whatsoever, most of the recipes they feature are Jägermeister plus carbonated beverage. Clearly Jäger just inspires creativity.

In any case, I picked one of their carbonated beverage concoctions, and drank the result. I’m not sure why I picked this one, because I’m not a huge fan of root beer. I guess it sounded more interesting than the others (and the idea of Jäger and orange soda just makes me cringe). However, given my disdain for both of the ingredients, this drink isn’t terrible. If you like root beer, I could legitimately see why you might enjoy this.

That being said, I’m never going to make this for myself again. And even if you like the ingredients this really has nothing on the Rum and Coke.

Pour the Jägermeister into an ice-filled rocks glass or highball glass. Fill with root beer.

 

Bed of Roses
-2 oz Jägermeister
-1/2 oz Grenadine
-1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Bed of Roses

This is another recipe I found on the Jägermeister website, and it has an incredibly stupid name. It’s also put together rather stupidly. The person who made this recipe clearly knew something about putting together drinks, because it follows the standard base-plus-sour-plus-sweet formula. However, they obviously didn’t know enough about putting together drinks, because it has way too much grenadine and way too much Jäger. All the ingredients are fighting each other rather than working together to make a good drink. The lemon juice makes it taste a little bit like iced tea, but that’ the only highlight.

A better version of this might cut the grenadine in half, the Jäger down to maybe three quarters of an ounce, and add perhaps an ounce and a half of whiskey (preferably North American). I’d also recommend using homemade grenadine (just make a syrup with pomegranate juice), but I understand that most people are too lazy… err… busy to do that. However, this hypothetically better version of the drink is not the version I drank. Don’t make this drink. Just get some tea-infused vodka, and you’ll have basically the same experience, but much better.

In case you want to blatantly ignore those last two sentences, shake the ingredients with ice and strain it into a cocktail glass. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

 

Black Sunset
-1 1/2 oz Jägermeister
-1 oz Spiced Dark Rum
-2 oz Pineapple Juice
-Lime Wheel

Black Sunset

Oh my God, real liquor. Real liquor, I missed you so much. Never leave me again.

This is another drink from the Jägermeister website, and I guess it proves that they can put together a moderately successful cocktail if someone presses them enough. This also made me realize why most of the cocktails on their website seem odd to me: They use too much Jäger. I suppose it makes sense that the company would try to get you to drink more of their product, but in terms of mixology, it doesn’t make sense.

You see, Jägermeister is a liqueur. Generally, liqueurs are either enjoyed by themselves or as a complimentary flavor in a cocktail. Of course, several cocktails are made to showcase the liqueur, but more often than not they’re used to highlight the liquor. So it’s really weird that this cocktail calls for more Jäger than rum. If you decide to make this, I suggest switching the amounts of Jäger and rum.

Either way, though, this drink isn’t half bad. It’s very tropical, and the Jäger manages to not be over-powering for once. It would, however, be better with more rum flavor (hence my suggestion), but it’s going in the right direction. It’s not a bad if you just want a simple cooler to nurse for a bit.

Shake the liquid ingredients with ice and strain it over fresh ice in a collins glass. Garnish with the lime wheel.

 

Jäger-Rita
-2 oz Tequila
-1 oz Jägermeister
-1 oz Lime Juice
-Lime Wedge
-Salt

 Jäger-Rita

Yes, I know how silly the name is, but it’s also pretty standard for something like this. A recipe for a Margarita made with Jäger is on the Jäger website, but this isn’t it. They recommend making it by replacing the tequila with Jäger. But a that makes no sense — a Margarita without tequila is not a Margarita. It also makes more sense to replace the liqueur in a Margarita with another liqueur. So that’s what I did.

In any case, if you like Jägermeister, you might like this. I, however, can’t drink this without grimacing. This is pretty much the best way to ruin a Margarita. I find that tequila has a tendency to work with flavors that it has no business working with, like chocolate or coffee. Jägermeister, as it turns out, is not one of those flavors. Anise might work, but you’d need to use a much higher quality spirit, like absinthe or a good absinthe substitute.

Start by using the lime wedge to rim a cocktail glass with salt. Set the lime wedge aside. Shake the liquid ingredients with ice and strain it into the glass. Garnish with the lime wedge, and wonder why you’re doing this to yourself.

 

Jäger Manhattan
-2 oz Bourbon (or Rye Whiskey or Canadian Whisky)
-3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
-1/2 oz Jägermeister
-Maraschino Cherry

 Jäger-Rita

If you drink Manhattans, this might already sound like an abomination. This cocktail was suggested to me by a Reddit user on the wonderful r/drunk sub, and the idea is a Manhattan with Jägermeister replacing the bitters. If we are to consider Jägermeister as a legitimate alcoholic beverage, instead of as the stuff that fuels bad college parties (the idea that, in fact, inspired this blog post), then this drink seems less abomination and more experimentation.

This cocktail isn’t bad, really. But in all honesty, I came away from it wondering what the point was. The Jäger gets overpowered by the whiskey, and I fear that increasing the amount of Jäger would ruin the drink. I suppose I could have tried garnishing it with star anise or using slightly less vermouth to bring out the Jäger more, but I still think a regular Manhattan would be better. The bitters add a nice spice and kick to the drink, and an intensity that just isn’t there with the Jäger version.

If you want to make this drink, either garnish with star anise, reduce the sweet vermouth to half an ounce, or (and this is probably what I should have done) use Canadian whisky instead of bourbon or rye. Canadian whisky doesn’t have as strong of a flavor as its contemporaries, and it would probably give the Jäger more room to do its thing without giving up too much ground. So maybe go Canadian Club instead of Wild Turkey. Just a thought.

To make it, stir the liquid ingredients with ice and strain it into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the cherry (or star anise if you’re going that route).

 

Denouement
So, what have we learned? I learned that Jäger apparently helps my digestive system along.. Unfortunately, I also learned that Jäger doesn’t get me all that drunk. I didn’t start feeling the alcohol all that much until the last drink, and I think that has more to do with the whiskey than with anything else. Thanks bourbon!

Maybe next week I’ll drink something enjoyable…

POSTSCRIPT: I wound up remaking the Manhattan with Canadian whisky and star anise. It turned out much better, but a real Manhattan is still much better.


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