Covid Cocktails 7

posted on 01 Jun 2021 | Cocktails

I bought some Canadian brandy.

Covid cocktails 7.

Covid cocktails 7 collage

14 Days of Cocktails

Day 1

The Sidecar

Rim a glass with sugar, and in a shaker add

  • 0.75 oz lemon juice
  • 1.5 oz brandy (Niagara Bench Small Cask VSOP)
  • 1 oz triple sec

Shake with ice, double-strain to glass, garnish with orange peel (I used a dried orange instead).


I loved this drink, and my wife did too. It's balanced and tangy and complex, like a much more interesting version of the Lemon Drop. The brandy has some interesting flavors - I know nothing about brandy or cognac but reviews said this was good for mixing and I agree. The cocktail has no added sweetener - the sugar is coming from the brandy and the Cointreau, so the sugared rim is a nice touch.

Day 2

Brandy Sour

  • 2 oz brandy
  • 1 oz lemon
  • 0.5 oz simple syrup
  • 3 dashes angostura
  • 1 egg white

Dry shake, then shake with ice, double-strain to glass with ice.

Garnish with cherry and lemon slice.

Brandy Sour

I really liked this. The subtle nutty, fruity flavors of the brandy combine well with the lemon, and the cherry nose from the garnish adds a lot here. This is the first time I've done a whiskey sour with a different base and not felt that I'd prefer it with whiskey. With all that Angostura and the cherry nose it's a bit of a "Christmas fruitcake sour" but I think it really works.

Day 3

More horse racing! This past weekend was the Preakness Stakes, a race in Maryland. Like the Kentucky Derby, it has a cocktail - the Black Eyed Susan. Unlike the Kentucky Derby, they're not super consistent about what exactly is in a Black Eyed Susan.

It's generally a split-based sour with orange and rum and lots of ice, but otherwise it shifts wildly from year to year. So I'm using the Washington Post's "12 Bottle Bar Black Eyed Susan" recipe, because that's the one I had the ingredients for:

The 12 Bottle Bar Black-Eyed Susan

In mixing glass:

  • 2 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 oz rye
  • 1 oz white rum
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 2 barspoons Cointreau

Stir, pour over glass of crushed ice

float on top:

  • 0.5 dark rum

Garnish with whatever - I used some mint and a brandied cherry. Drink with a straw.

The 12 Bottle Bar Black-Eyed Susan

Pleasant drink. Starts with icy pineapple and citrus and rye flavors and firms up with the darker rum flavors as you get further into the drink. A nice crowd-pleaser for a hot day.

Day 4

Invented in the '70s at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton by a bartender named Jeffrey Ong, I made a Jungle Bird.

  • 1.5 oz Jamaican rum
  • 0.75 oz Campari
  • 1.5 oz pineapple juice
  • 0.5 oz lime
  • 0.5 oz demerara syrup

Shake with ice, strain to glass with ice, garnish with pineapple.

Jungle Bird

... this is excellent.

Every sip starts with pineapple and then into dark brown sugar flavors and finishes with grapefruit bitterness and strange subtle bitter spices. I was savouring every sip it's just so many layers going on, but still sweet and approachable and fruity.

For reference, Demerara syrup is the usual 2:1 syrup recipe but using demerara sugar instead of white sugar.

Recipe and historical context from here:

Day 5

Covid Cocktails 7, day 5: a cool split-base cocktail called the Ampersand. Canonically this is supposed to be an Old Tom gin (i.e. sweet gin) and not a London Dry, but Collective Arts is pretty sweet and I'll throw in a bar spoon of simple to make up for it.

Chill all the things. Then...

In a mixing glass with ice, add:

  • 1 oz old Tom gin (or 1 oz London dry gin + 1 barspoons simple syrup)
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz brandy
  • 2 dashes orange bitters

Stir with ice, strain to a glass.


This is a nice drink. Very sweet - maybe slightly too sweet - but it's carrying with it a lot of complex flavors and it doesn't come off as boozy despite its strong mix. Opens with sweet berry and apricot flavors and finishes out with juniper and a hint of bitterness.

Looking around, some versions of this cocktail include a float of triple sec and an orange twist. I wish I'd tried that; it would be nice to add a little citrus tang to this drink.

Day 6

Covid Cocktails 7, day 6: A gin sour with raspberry called the Clover Club. Well, the recipe varies. Some call for vermouth. some don't. Some call for raspberry syrup or liqueur, some use grenadine, some use muddled raspberries. So this is my Clover Club:

In a shaker muddle

  • 0.5 oz Niagara cherry-raspberry grenadine
  • 4 raspberries

Then add

  • 0.33 oz lemon
  • 1.5 oz gin
  • 0.5 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 egg white

Dry shake, then shake with ice.

Double strain to a chilled cocktail glass (the raspberry bits block the strainer so this takes some shaking). Garnish with 3 raspberries.

Clover Club

Very nice. Strong raspberry nose, surprisingly floral taste. Not overly sweet, but not dry either.

Gave it to my wife and she called it "super yum".

Day 7

Back to the Campari for an Enzoni, which is a lighter take on the Negroni, presumably invented by a guy named Enzo.

In a shaker, muddle:

  • 4 grapes


  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz gin
  • 0.66 oz lemon
  • 0.5 oz simple syrup

Shake w ice, strain to glass w ice.

Garnish with 3 grapes


This really lets the Campari take the centre stage - the sweetness and light fruitiness only accents it. You can taste beyond the orange-rind and grapefruit flavors into the various herbal bittering agents of the Campari.


All of them are awful.

And yet, as I get halfway down the glass and the ice melts and softens it a bit, I start to enjoy this. It's bright and fruity and the fresh muddled grape juice is subtle but works so well with the bitter Campari and sour lemon. It's Serious Business Lemonade.

I'm assuming there's some process where the sugars sink to the bottom and the bittering agents float to the top that I'm unaware of that explains this phenomenon that keeps happening to me.

Day 8

A beer cocktail called the Beggar's Banquet.

In an ice-filled Collins glass, add:

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 0.5 oz lemon
  • 0.75 maple syrup
  • 5 oz beer

Stir briefly, add orange garnish (I used a dried slice).

Beggar's Banquet

if you've ever had Innis & Gunn's bourbon-barrel scotch ale, it's a lot like that. The lager flavors of the beer are subdued and a smoky-sweet bourbon flavor fills in the fizzy drink. There's a subtle citrus too, mostly nose.

A lot to like here but it's just not my cup of tea.

Day 9

The Brandy Julep, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Technically it's supposed to be a cognac Julep but I like to buy local where I can.

Fill a metal glass with crushed ice (and ice spheres because I ran out of cubes and couldn't bear to crush the spheres).

In a shaker add:

  • 12 leaves mint
  • 2.5 oz brandy
  • 0.66oz sugar syrup


Shake with ice, then doubled strain to ice-filled metal cup.

Garnish with mint.

Brandy Julep

I actually liked this better than the bourbon one. The figgy and apricot flavors from the brandy go very nicely with the mint.

Nice, refreshing, sweet and subtle.

Day 10

The Winsconsin Brandy Old Fashioned (sweet). There are two versions of this cocktail, the sweet version (using sprite) and the sour one (using sour mix). I didn't want to have to ratio down a sour mix so I went for the sweet.

In a glass, muddle

  • 2 brandied cherries
  • 2 orange wedge


  • 2 oz brandy
  • 2 barspoons sugar syrup
  • 3 dashes angostura
  • ice
  • a splash of water

Stir, top with Sprite, garnish with cherry and orange.

Wisconsin Old Fashioned

it is wayyy too sweet. Syrupy even. Also boozy.

Better after the ice melted a bit to give it some dilution.

Sweet fruit flavors from the brandy and the cherries dominate, with a hint of citrus from the orange and Sprite.

This is one I took multiple stabs at, because it sounded so interesting. The first time through I did a single cherry and wedge (and strained them out) and used club soda. I found it watery.

Wisconsin Old Fashioned (first attempt)

Since I swung and missed at it twice and even as I approached something good... it's just not that interesting, I don't think I'll give it a third shot unless I find myself in Winsconsin.

Day 11

Between the Sheets

  • 0.75 oz brandy
  • 0.75 oz triple sec
  • 0.75 oz light rum
  • 0.25 oz lemon juice

shake, strain to a glass, garnish with a lemon twist

Between the Sheets

Dry and boozy, with a strong citrus nose from the lemon and orange. The brandy doesn't really come through much, seems like a weaker take on the Sidecar.

Day 12

I grab some more fresh mint from my garden to make a mojito variation called the Queen's Park Swizzle.

In a tall glass:

Muddle 8 mint leaves,

Wipe glass inside with muddled mint, then


  • 0.5 oz demerara syrup
  • 0.75 oz lime
  • 2 oz rum
  • 2 dashes angostura
  • Crushed ice


Garnish with a sprig of mint

Queen's Park Swizzle

It's a mojito. The differences from a regular mojito are slight changes in quantity and the addition of angostura and using demerara syrup instead of simple.

Doesn't change the flavor much.

Which, I mean, I like mojitos. But it's a mojito.

Apparently this is sometimes made with darker or demerara rums, that sound like it might be a more interesting departure from the mojito... But the only other rum I have is some funky Appleton, which I think wouldn't go well.

Day 13

Time for some Apple Business.

In a shaker:

  • 2 oz dry gin
  • 1 oz apple juice
  • 0.5 oz lime juice
  • 0.5 oz honey syrup

Shake with ice,

Double strain to a rocks glass with ice.

Apple Business

It tastes like the ingredients: Honey, apple, and gin. Excellent. A bit sweet but generally balanced.

Definitely will make this again.

Day 14

For my finale, I made some better coconut cream to make a proper piña colada.

First off better cream of coconut:

in a pot, heat

  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp boxed creamed coconut

to just below boil, remove, mix with immersion blender, allow cool.

Now, the piña colada. Recipe for 2:

In a blender

  • 3 oz white rum
  • 3 oz cream of coconut
  • 3 oz pineapple juice
  • 0.25 cup frozen pineapple
  • 2 cups ice

Blend, then pour to 2 glasses, top each glass with

  • 1 oz dark rum

piña colada

This like my 5th try at this drink and it's the first time I think I nailed it. The coconut flavor is properly strong - stronger than past attempts. The coconut/pineapple goes great with the rum. But it's boozy. If I made it again I'd make it longer - more pineapple & coconut.

Pic of one of my many many previous attempts that were too thick or the coconut was lost or grainy from using the wrong coconut product or whatever stupid idea I had to deal with my lack of Coco Lopez before.

piña colada previous attempt

Recipe sources

Recipe for cream of coconut from here:

Recipe for Pina Colada from here:

Final Thoughts

I like brandy.

Or at least, I like the Niagara Small Cask brandy. Good stuff for mixing.

It's wonderful stuff, in that it seems like you can replace whiskey in some drinks and it brings a compatible but completely different and exciting and new flavor to the cocktail. Of all the sours I've had, the brandy one and the bourbon one are tied for my favourite sours, and even though they use nearly identical ingredients other than the base spirit, they taste completely different.

Stand-out favorites were the sidecar, the jungle bird, and the apple business. Special nods to the piña colada for paying off after so many attempts, and the brandy sour and brandy julep for being fun ways to changeout those traditional whiskey cocktails.

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