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A Spontaneous Libation for your Consideration

From the Knowledge Vault

Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh

From the Alamagoozlum to the Zombie and Beyond, 100 Rediscovered Recipes and the Stories Behind them

Buy this book. What Ted Haigh lacks in title conciseness, he gives in content quality. The book leads off with a brief history of cocktails. This background provides a context in which to understand the slew of previously little-known cocktails that he selected from the prohibition era and before. These old-and-new-again classics have been adapted as needed for modern tastes and ingredients. Many of the recipes have an interesting history which my guests uniformly enjoy. Other recipes have “drink notes” providing serving ideas, ingredient options, and helpful tips.

With a wire-bound hardcover binding, handsome faux-vintage cocktail pictures, and period photographs, VS&FC can both spiff up a coffee table and lay flat in a bar. The ingredients are clear and presented in both US and metric units. The instructions are written for someone without extensive cocktail knowledge, but the few extra words don’t irritate the experienced cocktail-maker.

The main recipe section leads into a couple dozen concise “extra credit” cocktails. Many important better-known cocktails reside here, such as the Negroni, Sazerac, and Sidecar. These recipes broaden the appeal for the cocktail novice, although many readers will already have these recipes elsewhere. That said, it’s reassuring to read Ted’s take on appropriate ratios and ingredients. He is, after all, known as Dr. Cocktail.

Ted selected twenty-five “Pioneering Champions” — influential on-line writers. For those who follow blogs and social media, the names and websites will be familiar, but the biographies perhaps not. I found this unexpected bonus entertaining. These are writers worth seeking out and following.

Recent Additions

  • King Louie — Bonal Gentiane Quina, Rye, Cognac, Crème de Banane, Bitters, Lemon peel
  • Big Spender — Cognac, Pineapple rum, Drambuie, Fernet Branca, Orange peel
  • Autumn in the Poconos — Applejack, Pear liqueur, Allspice Dram, Bitters, Apple Shrub
  • PhysTherapy — Pisco, Amarula Cream, Crème de Violette, Herbal liqueur, Ginger syrup
  • AmaRONI — Gin, Campari, Sweet vermouth, Amarula Cream

Recent Discussion

  • Re Bitter Branch, 6 hours ago Joe White commented:

    I like bitter drinks,. But this was like drinking a glass of campari and nothing else. No depth. No complexity. Just a lot of bitter. It could be that I chose the wrong nocino (Eda Rhyne Rustic Nocino). Or perhaps Old Overholt 86 was the wrong rye.

  • Re Reggae Ruby, 1 day ago LemonMelon commented:

    Funny enough I experimented with Plantation 5, Bacardi 8, Appleton, and settled on S&C because I figured rum enthusiasts here would prefer the funkier higher proof kick. This might be smoother:
    1-1⁄2 oz Aged rum (Appleton?)
    1⁄2 oz Campari
    3⁄4 oz Lime juice
    3⁄4 oz Simple syrup
    5 muddled cherries

  • Re St Columbus Rill, 1 day ago yarm commented:

    Here is a 2010 blog post that had a direct correspondence with Phil Ward:

    https://ajiggerofblog.com/2010/04/16/st-columbs-rill/

  • Re St Columbus Rill, 2 days ago Zachary Pearson commented:

    Do you have a link to that effect? My copy of Death & Co. has this as written. Thanks, Zachary

  • Re Sex In the Rumble Seat, 4 days ago hrdrck4evr commented:

    I’m new to the home bartending scene, but this one is easily a 5+