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Archive for the ‘Cinzano Rosso’ Category

by Bourbon Belle

Wishing for a drink that you just haven’t been able to find at your beloved watering hole? Or dreaming about making the perfect cocktail to suit a specific taste? It’s surprisingly easy to concoct a well-balanced cocktail in the classic style, so long as you keep a few basic rules of thumb in mind.

One of the earliest known definitions of the term “cocktail” comes from the May 1806 issue of The Balance, and Columbian Repository, a Hudson, N.Y.-based weekly newspaper of yore: “Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters …”

So let’s start with the spirit of your choice—Bourbon’s as good as any. Next, you’ll want to sweeten it up for balance. Let’s go traditional and throw in some sweet vermouth. Following the cocktail “definition,” we’re going to add some bitters; Angostura bitters make for a traditional Manhattan. Now, let’s make an original by including a flavor you’d like to impart into your drink. What goes well with Bourbon? How about … peaches! Let’s add a touch of peach liqueur—Mathilde Peches is my personal choice. And now you have your own twist on a traditional cocktail, made to suit your own flavor preferences.

Just remember: a spirit, a sweetener, a bitter (fresh citrus juice is also great for balancing out the sweetness) and water (in most cases, just consider the melting ice sufficient).

Cin-cin!

BOURBON BELLE
3 ounces Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
1/2 ounce Mathilde Peches Liqueur
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth (Martini & Rossi or Cinzano preferred)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Fill a shaker with ice and add all ingredients. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

More fun and easy ways to create your own cocktail follows this same concept. Take a drink you like, and just put a little spin on it! Maybe you LOVE a classic Negroni, but sometimes prefer something a touch more smooth. Try another original created by one of our LUPEC ladies called the Contessa. Change up the Campari for Aperol, Campari’s less bitter cousin-as quoted from Hanky Panky the Weekly Dig 7.2.08-7.9.08) and even out the portions of all three ingredients.

The CONTESSA
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add:
1.5 oz Beefeater Gin
1.5 oz Aperol
1.5 oz Cinzano sweet vermouth
Stir and strain in a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with an orange twist

How about a classic Sidecar variation? Swap out the traditional brandy for Belle Brillet, a pear flavored Cognac, for a smooth and delicious Pear flavored Sidecar.

BELLE de BRILLET SIDECAR
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add:
2 oz Belle Brillet
.5 oz Cointreau
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
Shake gently and strain into a chilled cocktail glass that has been rimmed with raw sugar.
Garnish with an orange wheel

The sky’s the limit. After all, as Imbibe! author David Wondrich writes, “the small, idiomatic differences…are the mixographer’s delight!”

Cin cin!

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by Pinky Gonzales






Ada Coleman, American Bar, London

Hanky-Panky (n. slang)

Various definitions from the Oxford English to the American Heritage Dictionaries include “questionable or underhanded activity”, “sexual dalliance”, “trickery, double-dealings”, shenanigans”, “hocus-pocus”.

I like the Hanky-Panky. It’s got a great backstory, mysterious etymology, association with our president (LUPEC Boston’s that is, not the doofball in D.C.), and is simply a fine cocktail, back from the brink of extinction.

First of all, our own “Hanky Panky” (her LUPEC alias) has turned another year older this week, so from all of us, HP: Happy Birthday! And while she may be down in NYC engaging in first-class shenanigans, here at the blog we’re spinning old records, nibbling groovy party snacks, and meditating on the origins of the following drink (whip one up & join us):

Hanky-Panky (the original, from the Savoy Cocktail Book)

2 Dashes Fernet Branca
1/2 Italian Vermouth
1/2 Dry Gin
Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel on top.

or, two:

Hanky-Panky (recipe courtesy of John Gertsen)

1/4 oz. Fernet Branca
1 oz. Cinzano Rosso
2 oz. Beefeater Gin

Stir and strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze the oil from an orange peel on top.

The drink, created in the 1920’s, is a variation on the original (sweet) Martini. It nicely utilizes the herbalicious Italian liqueur Fernet Branca. In spirit, it reminds me of another punchy drink with a potentially-overwhelming-but-not herbal liqueur element, the Alaska, made with Chartreuse.

According to it’s word origins at mindlesscrap.com , “About 150 years ago, British master magicians used to swing handkerchiefs with one hand to keep viewers from noticing what they were doing with the other. This practice was so common that the use of a hanky came to be associated with any clandestine or sneaky activity. It’s thought that since magicians used the words hocus-pocus, a rhyming word was added to give it pizzazz.

Who created the Hanky Panky? The first head barman at the famed American Bar in London, who happened to be a broad named Ada Coleman. As the story goes, “Coley”, a mixologist of reputable character who could trash-talk with the best of them, invented the drink for a colorful bar regular. Coleman spoke of it herself, to a London newspaper in 1925:

The late Charles Hawtrey … was one of the best judges of cocktails that I knew. Some years ago, when he was overworking, he used to come into the bar and say, ‘Coley, I am tired. Give me something with a bit of punch in it.’ It was for him that I spent hours experimenting until I had invented a new cocktail. The next time he came in, I told him I had a new drink for him. He sipped it, and, draining the glass, he said, ‘By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!’ And Hanky-Panky it has been called ever since.


Coleman worked at the American Bar at the swank Savoy Hotel from 1903-1926, during the cocktail’s coming-out era in Europe. Owners renamed their establishments “American Bars” as a selling point – a way of distinguishing them from mere pubs or gin-&-tonic joints. The American craft of mixing up Sazeracs, Martinis, Ramos Gin Fizzes and the like became all the rage. Coleman’s barstools saw the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, WC Fields, Prince of Wales, and Mark Twain. I wonder if Twain was sitting at Ada’s bar when he wrote: “The cheapest and easiest way to become an influential man and be looked up to by the community at large was to stand behind a bar, wear a cluster diamond pin, and sell whiskey. I am not sure but that the saloon-keeper held a shade higher rank than any other member of society.”

Bartender Harry Craddock filled Ada’s role managing the bar in 1924, after he had left dry America for work abroad. In 1930, he published “The Savoy Cocktail Book”, an Art Deco gem & many a bartender’s Bible. In it, for the first time is the printed recipe for the Hanky-Panky.

And speaking of Bibles, check out this theory on the origin of the term hanky-panky:

“It’s been plausibly suggested that hocus-pocus is a corruption of the genuine Latin words hoc est enim corpus meum, “for this is my body,” spoken during the consecration of the Roman Catholic Mass when the wine and wafer are said to be transformed into the body and blood of Christ. Some experts, presumably non-Catholic, think hocus-pocus itself was then corrupted into the word hoax.” (Cecil Adams, from The Straight Dope)

The Catholic Church, hocus-pocus. Ada Coleman, Hanky Panky. Shenanigans. I’ll drink to that.







Hanky Panky, a.k.a. Misty Kalkofen, Head Barman at Green Street, Cambridge MA
(Photo courteousy of Matt Demers)

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