Friday, April 29

The Old Stand-By: Introduction

There is a short list of cocktails that have interchangeable base liquor components. You will recognize many of the names of these drinks, but many people don't order them because they don't know exactly what they are. In future posts I will go into these Old Stand-By cocktails in depth.

The great thing about these cocktails is that it can taste one way with one type of liquor and then completely different with yet another. This can truly give you an idea of the complexity and flavor of the base liquor.

Here they are:
Sour, Fizz, Collins, Highball, Sling, Rickey, Fix, Cooler, Stinger, Gimlet, Toddy, Julep, Squirt, Swizzle, Cobbler, and of course the Martini.

Some of these are very similar for example the only difference between a Fizz and Collins is the type of glass and the garnish. But we will get into that later.

Many of these cocktails started out with one type of liquor as its base but has evolved to other things over the years. Some purist may have issue with this but it is what is. For example, the Martini is a gin base drink but over time people started drinking it with vodka. This can be attributed to the fact that some people just don't like certain types of liquor so they substitute their favorite or the original drink tastes so good that it is figured that it will taste great with other types of liquor too.

In any case these old stand-by drinks are good place to start when looking for a favorite cocktail. Most if not all bartenders know how to make these and the ingredients are rather simple for most.

Old Stand-By, Bar Fear, For Bartenders For Patrons

Sunday, April 24

Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is an essential ingredient in numerous cocktails. Simply put, it is sugar and water. The sugar is super-saturated by heating the water.

Simple syrup is often used to offset the tart taste of many drinks to make a more balanced mixture. For example, in a Whiskey Sour, simple syrup is added to lemon juice to make flavorful mix.

There is a store-bought mix called Sweet and Sour Mix, but with this you can't control the balance of your cocktails properly. For some drinks you want more sweet than sour and visa versa. So make your own.

The process is pretty easy.

Simple Syrup:
Combine 1 part water and 1 part sugar in a saucepan. Heat and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil for two minutes. Take off the heat and store in a plastic or glass container at room temperature.

This mixture will last about 2 months. If you want to extend that period, you can add 2 ozs of Vodka per pint of simple syrup to the recipe.

Simple Syrup works great in an Old-Fashioned and many other classic cocktails. Give it a try.

Saturday, April 23

Vodka Cocktail Recommendations

Read Developing Favorites before going on...

Sweet and Strong
Black Russian
French Martini

Sweet and Weak
Bay Breeze
Cape Codder
Sex on the Beach

Tart and Strong
Vodka Martini
Vodka Gimlet
Vodka Sour

Tart and Weak
Vodka Collins
Vodka 7
Vodka and Tonic
Salty Dog

Balanced and Weak
Harvey Wallbanger
Bloody Mary

Balanced and Strong
Devil's Torch
Long Island Iced Tea

See Webtender or Dale DeGroff's Site for recipes.

Wednesday, April 20

Brady's in Hammond, LA

The best bar in Hammond, LA is clearly a downtown bar called Brady's. This restaurant/bar takes up a whole square block!! If you ever are driving down to New Orleans on I-55 stop by the town of Hammond. The downtown area has this little place called Brady's.

Hammond is a college town home of Southeastern Louisiana University. Before 10pm this is awesome local tavern, after that, college central.

Nicole was my tender. She served me up two technical perfect Manhattans then an Old-fashioned. Sure the Old-fashioned had a splash of soda, but it was very good.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and I highly recommend a stop by this tavern.

Nicole had 8 years of bartending experience and she showed it. Great job Nicole!!

Address and Phone Number

Sunday, April 17

RFC - Cocktail Cooler

The following is a request for comment on the following proposed standard. The official place to place a comment on this proposal is at

The perceived meaning of the word cocktail is completely different from the original...

Cock tail, then in a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters it is vulgarly called a bittered sling...

Now days anything with alcohol in it is called a cocktail. I call for a rebirth of the cocktail's original meaning. A cocktail consists of liquor of any kind, sugar, water (ice), and bitters. I do suggest that we allow for the addition of other flavorings as long as it does not overpower the taste of the liquor. The point of a cocktail is to taste the liquor, but enhance it in a variety of ways.

So to be clear in the definition of cocktail...

A cocktail is a beverage consisting of liquor of any kind, sugar, ice, bitters, and optionally a small amount of flavoring where by the liquor is the primary ingredient.

Some clear examples of cocktails include:
Just to name a few.

So you ask, what do we call all those other drinks if we don't call them cocktails? Well, we have another classification of drinks we call coolers. The definition of a cooler is an iced drink usually with an alcoholic beverage as a base. This more broad definition needs to be narrowed for what today what many people call "cocktails."

The new classification for the modern day "cocktail" that I propose is called a cocktail cooler.
The definition of this is...

A cocktail cooler is a drink with an alcoholic beverage as a base that is served in a cocktail glass.

The mother of this new classification of drinks is the popular Cosmopolitan

Some examples of a cocktail cooler include:
Just to name a few.


Start of commentary...

Certain I don't expect that patrons should come into a bar and order a cocktail cooler by name. I'm just proposing that we reclassify some of the modern drinks into this new category. It is time to get back to true cocktails.

I know that the money is being made on cocktail coolers and that this is currently what the public wants but lets not mix the two together. The cocktail is a culinary master piece, which is not to be confused with a drink that is in existence to just hide the taste of alcohol.

Please for fogive me for being anal.

Friday, April 8

Drinking to get fucked up

Let's all pound down as many drinks as possible to see who passes out first!!

What drink can we make to get drunk the fastest?

Anyone up for drinking games?

These are all things that might be said by a novice drinker. The purpose of drinking is not to get wasted. Sure, sometimes it happens but that should not be the ultimate goal.

Drinking is a social and culinary experience that should be enjoyed in good company with appreciation and respect for the cocktail.

I am very disheartened by the trend of coolers, being passed off as cocktails. A cocktail is a cocktail, not a fruity, sugar drink that just covers up the taste of alcohol. A cocktail has alcohol in it. You are supposed to taste it. That is the point.

When mixed properly a cocktail’s blend of sugar, bitters, and liquor has a magnificent flavor like none you have ever tasted.

Now, I’m not saying that cocktails should not have fruit juice, far from it. But the fruit juice should be an ingredient that complements the cocktail, not over power it.

Respect for a drink is lost when you can’t taste the alcohol. Thus, people get drunk easier and without thinking. It is this type of irreverence and adolescence that give drinking a bad rap.

Alcohol is a dangerous substance when abused. But when it is respected and mixed properly, it can be enjoyed thoroughly.

Please drink responsibly and in moderation. Learn your limits and damn it, drink like an adult!

Here is another great article by Robert Hess on this topic:

Friday, April 1

My Old Fashioned had foam!

Me and a bunch of folks from work went to a resturant and bar close to my office tonight. Great company, good conversation, and well... foam in my Old Fashioned.


Now I'm talking about a little bit. This thing had a head on it. Really.

I'm not sure what the bartender put in it, but there was a cherry and lemon muddled in the bottom of the drink. They were out of Maker's Mark and Knob Creek so we had to go with the Jim Beam.

Not sure what made it foam so much but I think the bar keep added some extra fruit juice and shook the sucker.

Oh well...