Saturday, 17 September 2016

Cocktail No 54 - Fraquiri

Its been over a year, but the muse has struck again.

You may struggle to find the ingredients for this one, as it uses Eau de Vie de Frais (Strawberry brandy), which I made myself. You can buy it, but it is expensive in Britain. It a variant of the daquiri family, substituting the strawberry spirit in place of rum.

Its a classic eau de vie, if you have tried grappa or kirch or poire william, you will recognise immediately that harsh kick on first taste of the neat spirit, followed by a burning glow throughout the body. Whilst a popular digestif after dinner in Europe, this one is completely transformed when diluted in weird and wonderful ways. Adding 3 parts water to 1 part spirit removes that harshness and leaves a wonderfully mellow white spirit with the taste of strawberry leaves (or how you think they taste when you smell them). Adding tonic brings out a sweetness that was undetectable in the raw or diluted spirit.

The Fraquiri combines the bitterness of the lemon with the astringency of the eau de vie. The strawberry is definitely there. Triple Sec doesn't have enough sweetness to really play its part and Cointreau would be a better balance.

A bit more experimenting needed I think - perhaps reduce the lemon juice to 1/2 the volume and replace with water to balance the sweet / sour aspect.

1 part Eau de vie de Frais1 part Triple Sec (suggest Cointreau)1 part lemon juice (suggest 1/2 lemon juice + 1/2 water)Shake on ice and add to Martini glass.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Cocktail No 53 - Margarita

The most famous cocktail from south of the border, the margarita dates to at least 1924 and was originally tequila and lime juice, it was cointreau's introduction to the United States in 1962, in collaboration with Jose Cuervo's advertising campaign that gave us the margarita we know today.

Wikipedia entry for Margarita

The unique flavours of Tequila dominate this drink. The flavour is beyond description yet we all know immediately what it tastes like. Cut with lemon or lime juice to fire up the taste sensations at the roof of the mouth and the tip of the tongue, with mellow smoothness from the Cointreau as it drips down the back of the throat, whilst the salt just makes you want to drink more, which I am just about to go and mix a second!.

A well deserved classic.


1 measure Tequila
1/2 measure Cointreau or Triple Sec
1/2 measure Lemon or Lime juice.

Wet the rim of a cocktail glass with lemon juice and coat with salt. The easiest way for small numbers of glasses is to dip your finger in lemon juice and rub around the rim. Then pour a pinch of salt into the cup of your hand, invert the glass and holding the stem rotate it through the salt. For larger numbers, tip a layer of salt into s saucer or similar and push the glass rim into it.

Add liquids to cocktail shaker and shake on ice. Pour into cocktail glass. Serve.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Cocktail No 52 - Butterfly Flip

A festive twist for the approaching season of goodwill.

This is essentially an enriched and sweetened Brandy Alexander and quite delicious. Well I omitted the sugar by mistake, so mine was closer to the Alexander.

Brandy with Crème de Cacao and cream is always a good combination. Add an egg yolk plus sugar and spice it up with nutmeg. If  you like Bailey's then throw your bottle in the bin and taste what its really meant to be like. Decadently thick on the tongue with a chocolat blast followed by the warmth of brandy coming through as it slips down the throat.  It always reminds me of the scene in Bridehead Revisited when Anthony Blanche drinks 4 Alexanders is quick succession to the outrage of the Oxford matrons doing lunch.

It needs really good shaking to mix in the cream, egg yolk and dissolve the sugar.


Add equal measures of Brandy, Crème de Cacao and cream to a shaker. Add 1 egg yolk and a tablespoon of caster sugar. Shake very well to mix everything together and strain into cocktail glass. Sprinkle with grated nutmeg and enjoy!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Cocktail No 51 Opera

Sophistication is needed for a night at the Opera and this drink does deliver. Its very similar to a Negroni and will be enjoyed by all who love that classic.

Some references with different ratios of the ingredients can be found on the net, here is one link:

Opera - Cocktailia

The bitterness comes from the Dubonnet, which is a much overlooked aperitif.

The sweetness comes from the Maraschino - is it sad that I bough both of these just so I could try this cocktail? The Maraschino also ass a roundness from the cherry and its own contribution to bitter. The Gin is hiding in the background to deliver a punch to the gut, when you are not expecting it.

First sensation and taste is of cold, sweet and very subtle cherry.  Both the sweetness and the cherry intensify in flavour and the herbs in the Dubonnet start to kick in. Finally after about 2 seconds a warmth spreads through the mouth and across the tongue and the strength of the Gin powers through.

Bitter - Sweet - Strong and complex. Just what a cocktail should be.

Dubonnet website
From its origins with the French Foreign Legion to the legions of modern mixologists still using it today, Dubonnet Rouge Aperitif Wine has been a staple on the cocktail landscape since its introduction in 1846. Created by Parisian chemist / wine merchant Joseph Dubonnet as a means to make quinine more palatable for the soldiers battling malaria in North Africa, Dubonnet's mix of fortified wine, a proprietary blend of herbs, spices and peels, and the medicinal quinine is a recipe that has earned it legendary status in the world of sophisticated drinks.


Add 2 measure of Gin and 1 measure each of Dubonnet and Maraschino to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Cocktail No 50 Kirsch Cobbler

As mentioned previously with Kirsch you either love it or hate it, so I suspect this one won't be too popular. Its an interesting drink all the same. The "attack" that you get from Kirsch is tamed very extensively. Partly its through diluting the spirits so its not too strong. Partly its from the alkaline and chalky taste from the bicarbonate in the soda water. The Maraschino adds a sweetening, though I can't say whether I can taste it or not - it does seem more Cherry flavoured than Kirsch alone, so I think it must be rounding out the flavours.

I would say its worth trying at least once. Better as a long drink in the summer perhaps.


Add ice cubes to a goblet. Add equal measures of Kirsch and Maraschino and 4-6 Maraschino Cherries. Stir and top up with Soda Water.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Cocktail No 49 Brandy Crusta

From the ingredients this tastes very different from what I was expecting. Its quite sweet from the sugar syrup and the Maraschino (kindly sent over from Naples by my brother, where it costs 2.60 Euros compared to £23 here in the UK!).

There is a deepness from the Angostura Bitters, mixing with the Brandy which is always a great combination. But its the small amount of Maraschino which is the star of the drink. Its a sweet bitter cherry infusion and it subtly changes the brandy - I don't think I would identify it as Cherry in a blind tasting, but I wouldn't have said Brandy either.

Due to the price of Maraschino, this is one to order in the Cocktail Lounge I suspect, unless you have a link to southern Italy.

Its meant to have a sugar coating on the rim of the glass, which is what Crusta means, but I couldn't be bothered with that.


If you want the Crusta, dip the rim of the cocktail glass in lemon juice then in caster sugar.

Put ice in shaker with 2 measure Brandy, 1 teaspoon sugar syrup, 3 dashes of Maraschino and 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters. Shake and strain into the cocktail glass. Decorate with spiral of lemon peel.