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A Spontaneous Libation for your Consideration

The Man Comes Around

1 1⁄2 oz Cynar
1⁄2 oz Mezcal, Sombra
1⁄2 oz Brandy, Torres 5 Year Old (or other Spanish brandy)
1 spg Mint (as garnish)
Instructions

Stir, strain, rocks, garnish with a small slapped sprig of mint.

Notes

Spanish brandy is aromatic with sherry notes; if it can't be found, an oloroso sherry would be a better replacement than a Cognac.

Curator rating
4 stars
Average rating
4.5 stars
(31 ratings)

From the Knowledge Vault

Milk Clarification of Cocktails

A few weeks ago, a friend mailed a box of old recipes to me because he knows I’m interested in such things. In amongst the mid 1980’s newspaper sections of Christmas cookies and odd advertisements was a column from the Dallas Times Herald that collected famous people’s holiday recipes – things like Ed McMahon’s turkey and brandied stuffing (the less said about that the better), but the jewel of the collection was a recipe from Charles Dickens’ great granddaughter for “Lemon Milk Punch”. This must have greatly confused 1980’s Dallasites. The recipe is in the Kindred Cocktails database now, but it was also a starting place for some interesting thoughts about milk clarification.

Originally, the addition of milk to a punch base was a way to “soften” the drink for the stomachs of delicate drinkers. Though this technique started in the mid 18th century, the process of fining wine is about as old as winemaking itself. Winemakers knew that if a substance like milk or blood was added to a barrel of wine, changes to the clarity of the wine would occur and with them, rough edges would be smoothed away and the stability of the finished product would be enhanced.

This smoothing and preservation was important before the 20th century. After Dickens died in 1870, bottled milk punch was found in his cellar still pleasant to drink. But in the hundred years or so between his death and the publication of his punch recipe, milk clarification fell out of favor. Modern food purity laws in the United States (among them the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897) and a better understanding of distilling and aging of spirits mean that there aren’t a lot of rough edges to be smoothed away. Modern refrigeration means that the fight against spoilage isn’t a matter of guesswork anymore.

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Recent Discussion

  • Re Bywater, 2 days 1 hour ago GratefulDawg73 commented:

    Added the 1/4 oz lime juice - *chef's kiss*.

  • Re Mount Vernon, 3 days 23 hours ago bkemp1984 commented:

    Good stuff. Used a cheaper Spanish brandy and just ran out of Pedro Ximénez but had a sweet vermouth that is Pedro Ximénez based. Also don't stock Cherry Heering to keep the bar smaller but I tried to get my brandied cherry syrup recipe to stand in for it, so poured that in.

  • Re Thyme and Thyme Again, 4 days 15 hours ago dsimsion commented:

    Great fresh chartruese forward drink. May be worth muddling the first thyme sprig in as the thyme could have been more prominent.

  • Re Autumn Sweater (Sepia), 4 days 16 hours ago dsimsion commented:

    Nice drink with a daquiri feel. Made with .75 falernum as suggested, felt about right. Used Smith & Cross though which may have been a bit heavy.

  • Re Twentieth Century Cocktail, 5 days 1 hour ago Biff Malibu commented:

    Going a bit skosh on the lemon juice allows the cacao to come through.