Covid Cocktails 2

posted on 26 Sep 2020 | Cocktails

Continuing on from my previous round, I've done another 14 days of cocktails. This time it's a more '70s theme.

Covid cocktails 2 collage

14 Days of Cocktails

Day 1

The California Root Beer - this is a '70s drink with a zillion variations (the California is generally with club soda, the Bartender's Root Beer generally with coke - it was plenty sweet, I wouldn't want it with coke)

  • 1.33 oz vodka
  • 0.66 oz Kahlúa
  • 1 oz Galliano
  • Soda

California root beer

It tasted great, but it was tricky to measure 2/3 of an ounce on my shot glass, so I probably went way high, because it tasted of too much Kahlua.

Honestly, the Galliano already has a pretty strong root beer flavor, I'd think going down to half an ounce of Kahlua would be better - I suspect the only reason it calls for so much is for colour.

Day 2

Algonquin, which is named for a hotel in NYC, not the park. Recipe calls for Bianco (semi-sweet) vermouth, but I used red (sweet) vermouth. Also, orange bitters instead of creole. Both because that's what I have. Yeah, I know I said no more substitutions, but these are smaller ones.

I don't know if this was too far from the real McCoy, but it's tasty. Original recipe is here.

My version of it:

  • 1.5 oz rye
  • 0.75 oz pineapple juice
  • 0.75 oz sweet vermouth
  • Dash orange bitters

Shaken with ice. I had mine on the rocks because I like my rye that way.


I really liked this. The raisin-y vermouth marries well to the pineapple and they both play off the rye flavours well. It's not super boozy a but it's also not a candy umbrella drink. It feels like a Manhattan done right to me.

Day 3

The White Russian. I mixed it light:

  • 0.75oz Kahlua
  • 1.5oz vodka
  • 0.75oz half-and-half cream (I literally mixed half milk half cream)
  • Ice

Build in a glass, present unmixed, then mix.

White Russian

The dude abides.

Tasty as hell, but it's a brute force approach: overpowering the alcohol flavors with sweetness and fat and coffee flavors. That's kind of a theme of '70s cocktails, but I can't argue with the results. Scrumptious.

Day 4

Unnamed supermodel walks into a bar and says "I want something that will wake me up and f* me up."

Thus the espresso martini was born.

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 0.5oz Kahlua
  • 1.5oz Moka-pot coffee made from espresso beans (don't have an espresso maker)
  • 0.5oz simple syrup
  • lemon peel

All ingredients go into a shaker with lots of ice. Shake vigorously until cold, strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with 3 espresso beans.

Espresso martini

Model Who Was Possibly Kate Moss' description was accurate. It's also pretty tasty in that 70s brute-force way.

How to Drink vid for espresso martini

Day 5

Gin and It. Which is really just a traditional sweet martini that we fancy up a bit (the It is short for "Italian Vermouth". The recipes online run the gamut but roughly:

  • 1.5oz gin
  • 0.75oz sweet vermouth
  • N dashes orange bitters
  • clementine slice

I really just saw a pic of one with an orange slice in it and decided to go orangey on it. Wierd, complex drink, but it definitely got the wheels turning with its flavours. The gin quiets the sweet vermouth a bit, and the hint of sweetness and orange work well. Want moar orange.

Gin and it

Aside, I'm not sure if Dillon's Orange bitters is really mild or that's just normal for orange bitters, but I find I have to go nuts with that stuff in order to get a satisfying hint of its flavour. It's really subtle compared to the Angostura.

Day 6

After yesterday's orangey drink I wanted more, so I bought the triple sec I craved. The only triple sec they had was Cointreau, which is expensive but lovely. Back in my undergrad triple sec was a floormate's "yes, we'll drink shots of this because we're 20 and that's a thing 20-year-olds do" and in hindsight that's a waste of a fancy liqueur.

I had no idea of any cocktails to make with it, so I winged it.

So I give you the Orange Old Fashioned. I free poured it into a glass, so all quantities are guesses:

  • 1.5oz rye (Crown Royal Harvest)
  • 0.75oz cointreau triple sec
  • 0.5oz simple syrup
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • Half a Clementine cut in wedges
  • Ice

Orange old fashioned

It was exactly the drink I wanted in that moment. Icy and tangy and sweet and mixed perfectly with the warm sour/spicy flavors of the rye. I'd had a super frustrating day and this was the perfect thing for it. Like an orange poundcake, chilled.

Day 7

That ruby-red vodka cooler from Sex and the City - the Cosmopolitan! ... Turns out it's not ruby red or a cooler. It's cloudy and pink and not nearly as sweet as I expected. Seriously, I'm using the Difford's recipe:

  • 1 oz vodka (cheated, no Citron here)
  • 1 oz triple sec
  • 1.5 oz cranberry cocktail
  • 0.5 oz lime juice
  • dash orange bitters

Shaken with ice, pour in cocktail glass.


1.5oz isn't much cranberry cocktail at all. I'd expected more overpowering sweet cranberry flavor.


Maybe I needed stronger cranberry cocktail to make it sweeter and redder? Either way, its flavor was surprisingly complex. The lime and orange and cranberry kind of blended together in a way where I couldn't pick any of them out. My wife loved it, I was mostly... confused? I mean it was a fine drink, like halfway between a vodka martini and a sour. I just couldn't get past how far it was from what I expected.

Day 8

The White Lady.

  • 1.5oz gin
  • 0.75oz triple sec
  • 0.75oz lemon juice
  • 0.33oz simple syrup
  • 1 egg white

Shake dry, then shake with ice. Except I forgot the dry shake so it looked wonky instead of clean head I got on the whiskey sour.

Overall... I think I preferred the regular whiskey sour. I'm just not seeing what the switch to gin gets me here. I mean, the Cointreau is always nice, but it's pretty muted in this drink.

White lady

Also, I made some blender piña colada too (double whammy day!).

  • 3rd of a can of coconut milk (leftover from dinner)
  • 3 cups of frozen pineapples
  • a few splashes of pineapple juice

and blend.

  • Throw candied cherries on top because candied cherries
  • Add rum for adults as needed

Simple and tasty. Pic below is the kids' drinks.

blender piña colada

Day 9

Syrups. The basic cocktail syrups are simple syrup, demerara syrup, grenadine, and orgeat. Two are trivial to make: boil a cup of water and add between 1 and 2 cups sugar, mix till dissolved, then bottle. White sugar for simple, demerara for demerara.

Grenadine is more complicated because of disagreement about what it is. Modern grenadine is vaguely fruit flavored corn syrup with bright red colouring. Traditional grenadine is pomegranate syrup. I used Jeffrey Morgenthaler's recipe, by way of How To Drink.


Note I used the h2d approach that bottled juice is fine and boiling is okay. The how to drink recipe vid is here:

Pomegranate juice, pomegranate concentrate, orange flower water, and sugar. Picone Fine Foods was my go-to for these more obscure ingredients.

Oh and on orgeat, the other main syrup? It sounds super complicated so I'm just going to buy some. Finally, made a virgin cocktail for my girls - an orange Good Morning Sunburst, but skipping freezing the OJ because who has the time?

  • 1/2 cup OJ
  • half minican club soda (recipe called for full but glass was full)
  • 1 oz grenadine
  • 0.5 oz simple syrup
  • a drop vanilla

morning sunburst

(the recipe called for vanilla syrup so I ratio'd it down to the half-shot-plus-drop approach). Presented to my daughters then stirred. Older one said it was too sweet. Younger said it tastes like caramel and rated it "double chef's kiss" Probably should have cut back on something to do the full club soda minican to water-down the syrups.

Day 10

On September 11th, 2020, Hamilton Ward 8 Councillor John-Paul Danko ejected the ever-insulting councillor Whitehead from a council meeting for inappropriate conduct and refusing to apologize. This was long, long overdue. In honour of Jon-Paul Danko's leadership in council - a Ward Eight.

  • 2 oz whiskey (Wiser's Special Blend)
  • 0.5 oz fresh squeeze lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz OJ
  • 0.5 oz pomegranate grenadine
  • Cocktail cherries for garnish

Shake with ice, pour to chilled cocktail glass, garnish with cocktail cherries It's actually my 2nd attempt at Ward 8, I wanted to get this right. Following the canonical recipe yesterday - well, Greg from H2D tried similar and said it "tastes like feet". I didn't like it either.

Pic of my first attempt:

ward eight, first attempt

Googling around I found other rebalanced recipes, and yes, it's much better with the citrus cut back and more grenadine. Also using Wiser's Special Blend, which is more mixy, instead of CR Harvest Rye which is super-rye-forwards - this was a big improvement.

I feel like just tweaking the fruit quantities isn't full out cheating - this is still a Ward 8, but definitely a more pleasant drink than the canonical version (which as more orange/lemon and only a few barspoons of grenadine). Also, the drink calls for rye instead of a blended whiskey (although my cheap Wiser's Special Blend says it's a rye, I don't think it actually counts).

Pic of my successful version:

ward eight

Came out a complex and tasty citrus/pom whiskey sour. Enjoyed it.

Day 11

Shirley Temple (and the Dirty Shirley).

  • 1 oz pomegranate grenadine
  • 5 oz ginger ale
  • (optional) 2 oz vodka for "dirty"

Build in a Collins glass full of ice, stir.

Shirley Temple

Easy to make, easy to drink.

My wife liked it, my girls liked it, apparently the only person who hates these was Shirley Temple herself, who thought the drink too sweet and didn't appreciate people fabricating her endorsement.

It's sweet fizzy pom ginger ale. Nothing to it.

Day 12

Lemon Drop.

  • 2oz vodka
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz triple sec
  • plate of sugar

Wipe lemon-half around cocktail glass and roll in sugar to rim.

Fill shaker with ice and liquid ingredients, shake. Pour into glass.

lemon drop

It was a hit. It's super sweet - like lemon candy - but the citrus flavors still shine. So. Much. Sugar. Also lots of alcohol, so I don't recommend drinking a lot of those - it'd be a hangover in a glass.

Day 13

We're back to the '70s again with a Golden Dream.

  • 1.5 oz Galliano L'Autentico
  • 1.5 oz Cointreau
  • 1.5 oz orange juice
  • 0.75 oz cream

Shaken with ice, pour to a chilled cocktail glass.

golden dream

I really liked this cocktail. I mean, it's definitely too sweet, but I'm impressed how it tastes so much like custard - custard and orange. The orange works great with the alcohol and the custard flavors. Incredibly easy to drink. Amazing.

Day 14

Ramos Gin Fizz. I'm going to take a break from daily cocktails for a bit, so I'm ending with a bang. In a shaker, no ice:

  • 2oz gin
  • 0.75oz lemon
  • 0.75oz lime
  • 0.5oz simple syrup
  • 1oz cream
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 drops orange flower water

Also, club soda we'll need later.

Dry shake (no ice) in the shaker for a bit.

Then add ice to the shaker and shake like a fiend until it feels like your arms are going to fall off. Pour filtered into an empty Collins glass, then add club soda to make the foam insane and so thick you can stand up a metal straw in it.

I remember being a kid and being confused why people thought too much foam is a bad thing - a big head of foam just seemed so neat. If you were that kid too, this is the drink for you. Over half the glass is drinkable lemon-lime expanding insulation. This drink is wierd.

Flavor-wise, it's a mildly-sweetened creamy gin sour. The hint of floral taste from the orange blossom water (also used to make grenadine) gives it a touch of the alien that matches up with its appearance.

Ramos gin fizz

So that's my finale. I'm going to take a break from daily cocktails for my health and see if I can get back into running.

Aside: I finally picked up a citrus squeezer - I'd been skooshing lemons and limes by hand until now. So obviously I'm not done done.

How to Drink vid of Ramos gin fizz

Final thoughts

First day of running sucked.

Also, now that I have a decent inventory of liquors and liqueurs it didn't take nearly as much research to hunt down recipes that I could make. I get antsy about inventory with things... I hate taking up space with untidy stuff. Spent too long cleaning up a generation of knick-knacks and unfinished projects, and so I don't like leaving messes. So I'm trying to use up some of my bottles and just working with the recipes I already know.

I've been making gin slings for myself fairly often, and various soda mixes for the kids. They like the novelty of it.

I'm still deciding where to go next for when I start up again. I still haven't touched the whole tequila/mezcal side of the world of liquors, ditto brandies/cognac. Also, if I can get my hands on some orgeat or raspberry liqueur that should open up some new doors too. The trick is that I've been trying to avoid cheap syrups that mostly just add sugar to the drink.

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