Tag Archives: drinking for research

Palaces of hospitality


Back in October, Ms. S&C attended a seminar on Great Hotel Bar Cocktails, organized by The Museum of the American Cocktail.  The event was held at the Hotel Tabard Inn, a cozy little place in DC.  The seminar covered the history of some of the world’s great hotels, the origin of their cocktails, and we got to taste them all!  It was a great event.


They’re hosting another seminar on Holiday Cocktails on December 9.  Drinks will be prepared by a few of DC’s best mixologists, who’ll serve up Tom and Jerry, Baltimore Egg Nog, and Hot Buttered Rum.  Let me know if you’re planning to attend.


Back to the Great Hotel Bar Cocktails.  The Singapore Sling is from the Raffles Hotel in Singapore.  Modern versions of this cocktail are overdone and a thousand percent too sweet.  Do not, I repeat, do not order this drink if it contains pineapple juice.  The recipe below is awesome, and it was my favorite of the night.  It was also excellently paired with a pot sticker with cherry jam.

Singapore Sling

  • 2 dashes Orange Bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • ½ oz Benedictine
  • ½ oz dry Cherry Brandy
  • 2 oz Gin

Pour into a tumbler and fill with cold soda water.

The Side Car was my second favorite cocktail served.  It is from the Ritz Hotel in Paris, where the hotel still serves the world’s most expensive version at $515.  The ingredients of this cocktail make up the holy trinity of cocktail ingredients: spirit, sweet, sour.  It was served with smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Side Car

  • ½ oz Cognac
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice

Shake well with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass, with sugar crusted rim.


Other cocktails included:

Vieux Carre, Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans

  • ¾ oz Rye Whiskey
  • ¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
  • ¾ oz Cognac
  • 1/8 oz Benedictine
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Build drink in rocks glass with ice, garnish with lemon peel.

Bloody Mary, Saint Regis, New York

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 4 oz Tomato Juice
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 dashes Tabasco Sauce
  • Pinch salt and pepper
  • ¼ oz fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients and mix.  Strain into glass with ice.  Garnish with wedge lemon and lime.

Rob Roy, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York

  • 2 ½ oz Blended Scotch Whiskey (such as Chivas)
  • ¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 1-2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters

Ice glass beforehand.  Add ice and stir until chilled.  Strain in martini glass.  Garnish with orange peel.

Tabard Cocktail, Hotel Tabard Inn, Washington, DC

  • 1 ½ oz Milagro Reposado Tequila
  • ½ oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
  • ½ oz Drambuie
  • 1 dash Orange Bitters

Stir, garnish with orange twist and sprig of fresh thyme.

Recipe Source: Chantal Tseng, mixologist, Hotel Tabard Inn in Washington, DC

posted by Ms. S&C

Tour de force–part II

The New York City bar hop continues…

Temple Bar was our next stop.  This place was less intimate and a bit swankier than PDT, and probably geared to someone with deeper pockets than moi.  But, I definitely appreciated the friendly service and being able to get a table, as we had three others join us.  A good variety of cocktails on the menu.  Here’s what I sampled:

44 North
I positively adore anything with pomegranate juice.  I love the tartness.  Unfortunately this drink tasted a bit chalky?
Served over ice in a highball glass

The Arbitrator
I, now, officially prefer gin as my spirit of choice.
Strained in served in a martini glass

  • Plymouth Gin
  • Sage
  • Peach Puree

Next, we swung by 124 Old Rabbit Club in Greenwich Village.  This was my second favorite place of the night.  It is very unassuming, dark (think basement), hip and cool, and to me, it has New York City written all over it.  It is easy to miss, so look for the black door at the bottom of a few steps.  I think there were mailbox-style letters at the top, but who knows what I saw at this point of the night.  They only serve beer and wine, so I had an Orval.  Correction: they only serve good beer and wine.

Photo by Carmen E. Lopez and AJ Wilheim, New York Magazine

Photo of Old Rabbit Club by Carmen E. Lopez and AJ Wilheim, New York Magazine

I probably should have called it a night after the Old Rabbit Club.  But, we hopped in a cab and soldiered on to The Back Room.  I vaguely recall the bouncer out front and the longer-than-you-think-walk to the entrance.  I do remember the place being gorgeous, with an old-school glamorous décor.  Drinks are served in teacups, as a throw-back to the speakeasy-style environment.  Word on the street is to try the place during the week, because it was c-r-o-w-d-e-d on Saturday night.  I ordered a lame vodka tonic, which I hardly touched.  It was time to head home.

Tour de force–part I

It’s been a long time since I went to four bars in one night.  But, when I was in New York City, over the Columbus Day weekend, I felt compelled to try some of New York Magazine’s top-rated bars.  I also asked my good friend, Sesolf, for recommendations, and we embarked on the classic bar hop.

(Here’s part one of a two-part post on the night.)

First up, was PDT, or Please Don’t Tell, a speakeasy-style lounge in the East Village.  PDT has everything you’d expect – intimate ambience, superb cocktails, and the obligatory secret entrance (you enter through a vintage phone booth located within Crif Dog, a hot dog joint).  It was my favorite place of the night.  Not only is the place quite civilized (see etiquette rules),  the cocktails were inventive and down-right good.

Pearl Button
Referred to on the menu as a “Caipirinha Collins,” and it was.  Light and refreshing, it was the perfect cocktail to start the night.
Served over ice in a collins glass

Witch’s Kiss
This drink has a thicker consistency and interesting herbal flavors.
Strained and served in a martini glass

  • Jose Cuervo Tequila
  • Lemon Juice
  • Strega (bittersweet herbal liqueur)
  • Red Jacket Orchard Apple Jack Butter

The glass is filled with perfect crushed ice and garnished with mint.  One trick we learned – flick the mint leaves to release the sweet aroma right before serving.

  • Tanqueray Gin
  • Krogstad Aquavit
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Lemon Juice
  • Muddled Blackberries

(Next up: a basement bar akin to a rabbit hole, a faux speakeasy.)

Magnum opus

Since checking out DC’s new speakeasy-style cocktail establishment, and meeting one of the masterminds behind the place, I rounded up some friends for cocktails at Central. Justin Guthrie, mixologist at the super-secret-speakeasy, is also bar manager at Central.

Here are the cocktails we tried:

  • Blackberry Bourbon Cobbler – made with Old Weller Antique Bourbon, blackberries, lemon juice, powdered sugar. S&C’s take: we were overpowered by the bourbon at first, but the flavors came together after a few sips. Love the presentation and fresh blackberries.
  • Black Pepper Gin Rickey – made with Bombay Sapphire Gin, house-made black pepper and lime soda. S&C’s take: our fave, no question.
  • Ginger Daiquiri made with Neisson Rhum Agricole, Crème de Gingembre, ginger syrup, fresh lime juice. S&C take: This was our second favorite. It reminds me of the ginger limeade I have at Teaism all the time. Ginger+lime = you can’t go wrong.
  • La Fee Verte – made with Kubler Absinthe, water, sugar. S&C take: Ms. S&C is trying to train her palate to like the taste of fennel. She will try to do the same with strong star anise flavor in absinthe.

The overwhelming favorite was the Black Pepper Gin Rickey. No surprise since it recently won the “Best Rickey category” at the first annual D.C. Craft Bartenders Guild competition. The Gin Rickey cocktail is a DC native, named after Col. Joe Rickey, an influential lobbyist in the late 19th century who squeezed lime and soda water into his morning bourbon.

Black pepper and lime soda may seem like a strange combination, but trust me it is very, very good. Served over ice, it has some “heat” from the pepper but it is also refreshing. The Washington Post already covered the D.C. Craft Bartenders contest, so we can bring you the complete recipe.

Black Pepper Gin Rickey
Note: You’ll need a soda siphon or ISI charger to make this cocktail. Makes 1 serving.

For the black pepper-lime soda
• 8 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
• 8 ounces black pepper syrup (see below)
• 4 ounces water
For the drink
• Ice
• 1 3/4 ounces gin, preferably Bombay Sapphire
• 4 1/2 ounces black pepper-lime soda (see above)
• 3 thinly sliced lime wheels, for garnish

For the black pepper-lime soda: Combine the lime juice, black pepper syrup and water in a soda siphon or ISI charger. Shake and charge with CO2.

For the drink: Fill a Collins glass with ice. Add the gin and the black pepper-lime soda. Garnish with the lime wheels by placing them around the inside of the glass.

For the black pepper syrup: Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup whole black peppercorns and 2 pinches of crushed red pepper flakes; toast for 30 seconds, shaking often to prevent burning. Carefully add 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar, stirring to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for a few minutes until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature, then strain the syrup, discarding the solids. (This makes more syrup than is called for in this recipe; cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.)

Recipe Source: Justin Guthrie, bar manager at Central in Washington, DC.