Book Launch Party Recap: San Diego Edition

The Rope Burn cocktail served at our launch party!

The Rope Burn cocktail served at our launch party!

The first of our two cocktail parties recently took place at The Lion’s Share in their fantastic event space above the restaurant. A bunch of our Kickstarter supporters stopped by, in addition to members of the public, and we were even able to sell a few copies of our book!

In this post, I want to briefly cover the menu that we served at the event, which featured both cocktails from our book, some recent unpublished recipes that I’ve been working on, and some modern recipes from bartenders around the world.

Here’s the menu…


The goal with the menu was to feature a range of cocktails from citrusy and bubbly cocktails to more spirit forward recipes featuring a range of spirits.

The classic recipes can be found online or in our book.  The modern recipes that we used can be found below, along with some notes for each recipe.

Crossing the Pond

1.5 oz Blanco Tequila
1 oz Lime juice
0.5 oz Oloroso Sherry
0.5 oz Demerara syrup
2 dashes Bittermens Orchard St. Celery Shrub
1 egg white

Garnish with a few drops of Boy Drinks World Serrano Cocktail Spice

The Crossing the Pond recipe was developed from several positive experiences that I had with pairing various flavors. First, I’ve seen sherry and celery work well together a few different times and that was something that I wanted to try in a cocktail. Second, I tried a tequila and celery bitters sour with an egg white that I quite liked, but didn’t quite have the complexity that I like in a cocktail. Putting the two concepts together yielded a good drink, but the addition of the spicy bitters as a garnish produces an aromatic that made the drink something unique.

Champs de Lavande

1 oz Old Forester Bourbon
1 oz Carpano Bianco Vermouth
0.75 oz Lemon Juice
0.5 oz Salers gentian liqueur
0.5 oz Honey syrup (1:1)
2 dashes Scrappy’s Lavender bitters
1 dash Regan’s Orange bitters

Garnish with a lemon peel.

This is a recipe that I’ve written about before and was featured on The Lion’s Share menu during April 2015. It’s influences are the Scofflaw, the whiskey sour, and my love of Lavender bitters.

CL 75

1.5 oz Rye whiskey
0.5 oz apricot liqueur
0.5 oz lemon juice
0.25 oz orgeat
1 dash orange bitters

Top with 1 oz champagne as a garnish.

This recipe was developed in response to a request from two co-workers that wanted a cocktail that combined their two favorite alcoholic beverages: rye whiskey and champagne. When I searched for drinks using this combination, I was shocked to find very few options, so I decided to seek out my own recipe based in part on the classic French 75 recipe. After quite a number of iterations, I came up with this recipe in collaboration with bartender Mary Palac at the bar Singlebarrel (now Haberdasher).

Un Altro Cielo

1.5 oz gin
0.75 oz Aperol
0.5 oz Ancho Reyes
7 dashes Scrappy’s Lime bitters

No garnish.

This recipe was born out of a cocktail request at my weekly cocktail hour at work, in which a sour-style cocktail was requested but the only citrus-like ingredient that I had available was a bottle of Scrappy’s Lime bitters. The initial formulation of this drink resulted from that experience, and then was improved through the discovery by Robert Yumul of The Lion’s Share that an ever more generous helping of Lime bitters improved the cocktail. The name is inspired by the Seventh Heaven cocktail, of which this drink somewhat reminds me.

Black Manhattan
Bourbon & Branch, San Francisco

2 oz Rye whiskey
1 oz Averna
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash Orange bitters

No garnish.

A great Manhattan variation from the incomparable bartenders at Bourbon & Branch in San Francisco.  You can find this recipe in our book.

The Rope Burn
Allan Katz, Caña Rum Bar, Los Angeles

1 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1 oz Aperol
1 oz Bonal Gentian Liqueur

Garnish with a grapefruit peel.

The Rope Burn is an equally amazing cocktail that plays off the incredible funkiness (i.e., hogo) of Smith & Cross Rum.  This is by far my favorite Negroni variation of all time. If you make this drink at home, be sure to have a grapefruit for the garnish. Just like an orange peel garnish makes a Negroni great, the grapefruit peel makes this drink great.

I hope you enjoy these recipes.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments.  Cheers!

Recent Acquisitions: Los 2 Compadres Single Cask Sour Mash Whiskey

Whiskey bottle and partially filled tasting glassOur neighbors here in San Diego are working on a bed & breakfast in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, where they live near the Destileria Los 2 Compadres. After they learned of my interest in whiskey (and spirits in general), they went out of their way to pick up a bottle of the destileria’s whiskey. They brought it back for me, and in exchange they asked me to write a review of the product.

Before I write anything more, I should start with a disclaimer that, while I have tried a lot of whiskeys and have a decent library to compare against, I don’t have any experience reviewing whiskeys or giving tasting notes. So, please take all of this with a huge grain of salt.

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The Reverse Manhattan

A new favorite drink of mine is the “reverse manhattan,” which consists of the same ingredients as a regular Manhattan but with the quantity of the principle ingredients of whiskey and sweet vermouth reversed.  This means that you get a big pour of sweet vermouth and a smaller pour of whiskey, leading to a cocktail with lower alcohol content but a more pleasant aroma.

I got the idea from a blog post by Camper English on the science of dilution in which he mentions that Audrey Saunders has been experimenting with “inverted cocktails” in order to play with stronger and more complex aroma profiles. Apparently, the idea is that drinks with lower alcohol content will be more aromatic because there are fewer alcohol “clusters” in the drink that will attach to the aromatic molecules in a drink and lower the rate at which they might escape from the drink.  I have no idea about the science behind this hypothesis, but in practice I have noticed that lower alcohol content cocktails seem to have stronger aromas.

The reverse manhattan is also a drink that I think falls into the new family of suppressor cocktails that have recently become a trend in Atlanta. The idea is to construct cocktails with complex flavors that are low in alcohol by utilizing lower alcohol ingredients, such as wines, vermouths, and fortified wines. I’m particularly drawn to this class of cocktails because I often have to work in the evenings with a cocktail next to my laptop, and I often find myself driving home from the cocktail bar afterward. Thus it’s important to choose cocktails with low alcohol content.

Most suppressor cocktail recipes that I’ve seen use a fortified wine like sherry as a base. That means that the reverse manhattan is still a little bit stronger than most suppressors, but can still have quite a lot of complexity depending on your choice of each specific ingredient. A high quality sweet vermouth, like Carpano Antica, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, or Vya is essential. I’m still exploring, but the choice of whiskey and bitters also has an important effect. There are so many combinations to try that I’m sure this is something I’ll be trying different variations on for quite awhile.

The Reverse Manhattan

  • 2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Carpano Antica works well)
  • 1 oz Rye Whiskey
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
I usually skip the garnish, but a brandied cherry would work well.