Elixir for the Soul

This is a blog about sophisticated drinking, because alcohol doesn't have to be a poison, it can be a medicine for the soul.

Shawn, 21. Currently studying foreign language at university in China. Researching about cocktails is one of my passions, and I hope this blog can introduce others to the true way of imbibing. Every drink on this page is mixed, tasted and photographed by me.

Feel free to ask.

D.O.M.
Bénédictine - 1 1/2 oz
Sweet Vermouth - 1/2 oz
Angostura Bitters - 2 dashes
Stir everything with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
"Deo Optimo Maximo" is written on the label of every Bénédictine bottle, it means "to the greatest and best god", reflecting the religious origin of this centuries-old liqueur. As expected, a drink called "D.O.M. Cocktail" would no doubt have multiple recipes. One of the more popular version of the D.O.M. was from Frank Meier’s "The Artistry of Mixing Drinks", published in 1936; It was a Sour made of gin, orange juice, and Bénédictine. This version here however came from W. J. Tarling’s "Café Royal Cocktail Book" published in 1937; that is not to say one copied the other, because the two drinks, despite sharing the same name, are so very different.
Tarling’s version is essentially a Manhattan made with Bénédictine instead of whiskey; a sweet wine plus a liqueur - a very sweet drink, but I enjoyed it strangely. I’m not usually the type to sip liqueurs on their own, but it’s the herbal complexity and the richness of spices from both the vermouth and Bénédictine that makes it very palatable. Plus bitters, other than having the power to marrying flavours together, can also dull the sweet edge.
Because it’s sweet and similar to a Manhattan, I prefer garnishing it with cherry, here I’m using a homemade maraschino cherry, not that red, bleached nonsense. One thing classic bartenders like to do, is placing a small barspoon inside any drink containing fruits at the bottom, so that the drinker can scoop it up; and this is exactly what I did here. Often you can find these beautifully carved vintage bar spoons for a very cheap price on the internet.

D.O.M.

Bénédictine - 1 1/2 oz

Sweet Vermouth - 1/2 oz

Angostura Bitters - 2 dashes

Stir everything with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

"Deo Optimo Maximo" is written on the label of every Bénédictine bottle, it means "to the greatest and best god", reflecting the religious origin of this centuries-old liqueur. As expected, a drink called "D.O.M. Cocktail" would no doubt have multiple recipes. One of the more popular version of the D.O.M. was from Frank Meier’s "The Artistry of Mixing Drinks", published in 1936; It was a Sour made of gin, orange juice, and Bénédictine. This version here however came from W. J. Tarling’s "Café Royal Cocktail Book" published in 1937; that is not to say one copied the other, because the two drinks, despite sharing the same name, are so very different.

Tarling’s version is essentially a Manhattan made with Bénédictine instead of whiskey; a sweet wine plus a liqueur - a very sweet drink, but I enjoyed it strangely. I’m not usually the type to sip liqueurs on their own, but it’s the herbal complexity and the richness of spices from both the vermouth and Bénédictine that makes it very palatable. Plus bitters, other than having the power to marrying flavours together, can also dull the sweet edge.

Because it’s sweet and similar to a Manhattan, I prefer garnishing it with cherry, here I’m using a homemade maraschino cherry, not that red, bleached nonsense. One thing classic bartenders like to do, is placing a small barspoon inside any drink containing fruits at the bottom, so that the drinker can scoop it up; and this is exactly what I did here. Often you can find these beautifully carved vintage bar spoons for a very cheap price on the internet.

Deshler
Rye Whiskey - 1 1/2 oz
Dubonnet - 1 oz
Cointreau - 1/4 oz
Peychaud’s Bitters - 2 dashes
Stir everything with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
The Deshler was first found in Hugo R. Ensslin’s “Recipes for Mixed Drinks”, 1916. It is said to be named after the American lightweight boxer Dave Deshler, born in 1885. It’s in the style of a Manhattan, using Dubonnet instead of Italian vermouth, Peychaud’s instead of Angostura, and extra orange liqueur. Occasionally you will see later recipes using Angostura instead of, or along with Peychaud’s. The ratio between each ingredients had also gone through many changes: originally it was equal parts of whiskey and Dubonnet with a few dashes of Cointreau and bitters; nowadays the amount of whiskey would have been raised and the Dubonnet lowered to make the base stands out; orange liqueur is no longer a seasoning accompanying Peychaud’s, it now plays an important part in the drink’s flavour.
This particular recipe for the Deshler is what you’d find most often, such as on Jim Meehan’s The PDT Cocktail Book and Robert Hess’ The Essential Bartender’s Guide. I personally like this version, it’s sweet and smooth, but doesn’t mask the harshness of the rye; has an accent on orange, both on taste and aroma, with a hint of cherry and anise in the background.
Traditional garnish is a twist of orange peel, expressing its essential oil to match the drink’s flavour.

Deshler

Rye Whiskey - 1 1/2 oz

Dubonnet - 1 oz

Cointreau - 1/4 oz

Peychaud’s Bitters - 2 dashes

Stir everything with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

The Deshler was first found in Hugo R. Ensslin’s “Recipes for Mixed Drinks”, 1916. It is said to be named after the American lightweight boxer Dave Deshler, born in 1885. It’s in the style of a Manhattan, using Dubonnet instead of Italian vermouth, Peychaud’s instead of Angostura, and extra orange liqueur. Occasionally you will see later recipes using Angostura instead of, or along with Peychaud’s. The ratio between each ingredients had also gone through many changes: originally it was equal parts of whiskey and Dubonnet with a few dashes of Cointreau and bitters; nowadays the amount of whiskey would have been raised and the Dubonnet lowered to make the base stands out; orange liqueur is no longer a seasoning accompanying Peychaud’s, it now plays an important part in the drink’s flavour.

This particular recipe for the Deshler is what you’d find most often, such as on Jim Meehan’s The PDT Cocktail Book and Robert Hess’ The Essential Bartender’s Guide. I personally like this version, it’s sweet and smooth, but doesn’t mask the harshness of the rye; has an accent on orange, both on taste and aroma, with a hint of cherry and anise in the background.

Traditional garnish is a twist of orange peel, expressing its essential oil to match the drink’s flavour.

Brooklyn
Rye Whiskey - 1 1/2 oz
Dry Vermouth - 3/4 oz
Amer Picon - 1 dash
Maraschino - 1 dash
Stir everything with ice cubes and strain into a chill cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.
It’s time to take a quick break from the tiki drinks, and visit a classic. Unfortunately this true classic had faded somewhat into obscurity, a possible explanation is the decline of Amer Picon, even it’s American substitute Torani Amer is hard to find. Maraschino is much more obtainable, a good Luxardo Maraschino may not be available everywhere, but finding substitute for Luxardo is easier than Amer Picon. It’s hard to locate the origin of the Brooklyn, it’s certainly not found in the Jerry Thomas and Harry Johnson era, but it is found in most 20th century cocktail books from “The Savoy Cocktail Book” by Harry Craddock to “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks” by David A. Embury.
There are two main forms of this drink: one uses bourbon or rye; the other uses Canadian whisky, specifically Canadian Club. To me, rye was the whiskey of choice in America before bourbon took over, so it is most likely the original base for this cocktail; plus during prohibition, both bourbon and rye stopped being produced, hence a lot of the bartenders who escaped to Europe started using Canadian Club instead; Canadian whiskies do contain a small amount of rye, which is why it was commonly referred to as “rye whiskey”, although it’s quite different from the true American rye.
I’m using Jim Beam Rye for this instance, a pretty good, yet affordable choice. The Brooklyn is essentially a Dry Manhattan made with Amer Picon as the bitters, and Maraschino liqueur as the extra flavouring and sweetener. The drink is initially smooth on the tongue, yet definitely dry at the back, with a touch of spiciness from the rye. It has a very nice and long finish, with the whiskey flavours coming back, I get some of the nuttiness from the rye.
The amount of Maraschino and Amer Picon was never clearly defined, most recipes would call for a dash of each, but occasionally a recipe would say “2 teaspoons (1/3 oz) of each” or “1/4 oz of each”. As the 2 liqueurs are both very rich and overpowering, I felt that a small dash of each can allow the whiskey to stand out more, especially that I’m serving this drink in a small cocktail glass (like how cocktails was served, before huge cocktail glasses kicked in) with a totally volume of no more than 4 oz, dashes should suffice.
The traditional garnish for this drink is a maraschino cherry, which I suspect the “maraschino cherry” bartenders used back in the day was probably not the same as the bright red cherries we have these days: back then marasca cherries was macerated in true maraschino liqueur, whereas today, cheap cherries was bleached and coloured, then steeped in almond-flavoured syrup. After carefully making a drink with quality product, I don’t want to ruin it with a red cherry. Often a piece of lemon twist is recommended, which suits a dry drink very well indeed, but I would still like to go with a traditional Manhattan-style garnish, which is a brandied cherry.

Brooklyn

Rye Whiskey - 1 1/2 oz

Dry Vermouth - 3/4 oz

Amer Picon - 1 dash

Maraschino - 1 dash

Stir everything with ice cubes and strain into a chill cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

It’s time to take a quick break from the tiki drinks, and visit a classic. Unfortunately this true classic had faded somewhat into obscurity, a possible explanation is the decline of Amer Picon, even it’s American substitute Torani Amer is hard to find. Maraschino is much more obtainable, a good Luxardo Maraschino may not be available everywhere, but finding substitute for Luxardo is easier than Amer Picon. It’s hard to locate the origin of the Brooklyn, it’s certainly not found in the Jerry Thomas and Harry Johnson era, but it is found in most 20th century cocktail books from “The Savoy Cocktail Book” by Harry Craddock to “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks” by David A. Embury.

There are two main forms of this drink: one uses bourbon or rye; the other uses Canadian whisky, specifically Canadian Club. To me, rye was the whiskey of choice in America before bourbon took over, so it is most likely the original base for this cocktail; plus during prohibition, both bourbon and rye stopped being produced, hence a lot of the bartenders who escaped to Europe started using Canadian Club instead; Canadian whiskies do contain a small amount of rye, which is why it was commonly referred to as “rye whiskey”, although it’s quite different from the true American rye.

I’m using Jim Beam Rye for this instance, a pretty good, yet affordable choice. The Brooklyn is essentially a Dry Manhattan made with Amer Picon as the bitters, and Maraschino liqueur as the extra flavouring and sweetener. The drink is initially smooth on the tongue, yet definitely dry at the back, with a touch of spiciness from the rye. It has a very nice and long finish, with the whiskey flavours coming back, I get some of the nuttiness from the rye.

The amount of Maraschino and Amer Picon was never clearly defined, most recipes would call for a dash of each, but occasionally a recipe would say “2 teaspoons (1/3 oz) of each” or “1/4 oz of each”. As the 2 liqueurs are both very rich and overpowering, I felt that a small dash of each can allow the whiskey to stand out more, especially that I’m serving this drink in a small cocktail glass (like how cocktails was served, before huge cocktail glasses kicked in) with a totally volume of no more than 4 oz, dashes should suffice.

The traditional garnish for this drink is a maraschino cherry, which I suspect the “maraschino cherry” bartenders used back in the day was probably not the same as the bright red cherries we have these days: back then marasca cherries was macerated in true maraschino liqueur, whereas today, cheap cherries was bleached and coloured, then steeped in almond-flavoured syrup. After carefully making a drink with quality product, I don’t want to ruin it with a red cherry. Often a piece of lemon twist is recommended, which suits a dry drink very well indeed, but I would still like to go with a traditional Manhattan-style garnish, which is a brandied cherry.

Fourth Regiment
Rye Whiskey - 1 oz
Sweet Vermouth - 1 oz
Celery Bitters - 1 dash
Orange Bitters - 1 dash
Angostura Bitters - 1 dash
Stir everything with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Found on Charles H. Baker Jr.’s The Gentleman’s Companion. This is slightly elaborate twist on the classic Manhattan. Rye in place of bourbon, and two extra bitters to support drink. It’s the first time I’ve used celery bitters in a cocktail, which is often used in savoury drinks such as the Bloody Mary or Bullshot, but also contains flavours of citrus and ginger that complements the Angostura and orange. Often you will find Angostura been substituted by Peychaud’s or creole bitters, such as Robert Hess’ version and the one done by the Bitter Truth company. Instead of Angostura I’m using Bitter Truth’s Old Time Aromatic Bitters, it has a stronger clove aroma that I really adore, and it performs well in whiskey cocktails.
Saratoga
Brandy - 1 oz
Rye Whiskey - 1 oz
Sweet Vermouth - 1 oz
Angostura Bitters - 2 dashes
Stir everything with ice and strain into a chill cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon slice.
This is a combination of Manhattan and Metropolitan, not the modern Metropolitan which is a variation on the Cosmopolitan, but the classic version that’s basically a Manhattan made with brandy instead of whiskey. In old recipes the style of brandy and whiskey weren’t specified, so I presume you have the freedom to choose, later rye became the standard whiskey choice.
Manhattan
American Whiskey - 2 oz
Sweet Vermouth - 1 oz
Angostura Bitters - 2 dashes
Stir everything with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Martini and Manhattan, the king and queen of cocktails. I prefer the latter. This was supposedly to have been invented in the Manhattan Club in New York City back in the 1870s.
Use bourbon or rye whiskey depending on if you like it sweeter or spicier.
2:1 is the classic ratio, also try out other ratios such as 3:1 and 5:1 etc.
Just like the Martini, Manhattan’s dryness can be classified into three categories: dry, medium (perfect), and sweet (wet). Dry Manhattan uses only dry vermouth; Medium Manhattan uses a mix of dry and sweet vermouth; and Sweet Manhattan is the original.
Garnish with a cherry for the sweet version; lemon twist for the drier versions.
Again…
Spirit (whiskey) + Sweetener (sweet vermouth) + Water (ice) + Bitters (Angostura) = Cocktail
Arnaud’s Special
Scotch - 2 oz
Dubonnet Rouge - 1 oz
Orange Bitters - 3 dashes
Stir everything with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Created at Arnaud’s Restaurant. It’s a  Rob Roy substituting Dubonnet for vermouth and orange bitters for Angostura. A nice combination of smokiness of scotch and frutinss of Dubonnet.
Affinity
Scotch Whisky - 2 oz
Sweet Vermouth - 1/2 oz
Dry Vermouth - 1/2 oz
Angostura Bitters - 2 dashes
Stir this drink with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass.
Let’s start from the beginning, most of us are familiar with the Manhattan cocktail, it’s made with American whiskey (usually rye or bourbon) and sweet vermouth with a dash or two of bitters. A Rob Roy is a variation of the Manhattan that uses Scotch instead. And the Affinity is nothing more than a perfect Rob Roy. The term “perfect” does not refer to the quality of the drink, but rather describes the sweetness or dryness of it, in another word: medium. A medium cocktail always mean that both sweet and dry vermouths are used, often 50:50.
And this is the difference between the Affinity cocktail and a Rob Roy cocktail. Most bartenders nowadays would get these two mixed up, and thinking they are the same, but in fact Affinity is a little drier.
I prefer to garnish this drink with a lemon twist, release some citrus oil on the surface. According to an old rule: cherry for the sweet, lemon for the dry.
Blackthorn
Irish Whiskey - 2 oz
Sweet Vermouth - 1 oz
Angostura Bitters - 1 dash
Absinthe - 1 dash
Stir and strain into a martini glass.
There are a few versions of this drink, some involves using sloe gin, but this is the most common version found in most bartending books. A delightful “whiskey-vermouth” style cocktail, the recipe resembles a Manhattan, except Irish whiskey is used in place of bourbon or rye, and a dash or two of absinthe was added. Be really cautious when using absinthe, a few drops of it is enough for the drink, too much can overpower the taste of whiskey, which should be the main flavour in this drink. Adding a few more dashes of Angostura won’t hurt. This should be a really smooth drink with a hint of absinthe.