Carousel Cocktail

A prohibition era style cocktail, the Carousel Cocktail is a modern riff on the oddly named Japalac Cocktail.  Japalac was an extremely popular tinted varnish from Glidden that was heavily advertised on billboards, in magazines, and on radio – so recognizable that it eventually ended up having a cocktail named after it, as was the…

The Phoenix Cooler

I came up with this cocktail at the request of that Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix.  At the time, we were planning a podcast for the Test Kitchen section of his wonderful site.  There was a kitschy recipe for a party platter that resembled a clown/circus theme that we were going to construct, and I…

A Nolet’s Vesper at The Big 4 restaurant and bar, San Francisco

During my 2014 winter holiday travels in the San Francisco Bay Area I made the trek to a few of the wonderful bars and lounges, both historic and new, that San Francisco has to offer. I remembered that my old friend Peter Mintun once played (for 16 years) at the famous L’Etoile restaurant and bar…

Dispelling the Myth of the Coupe

During the 17th century, while the French Benedictine monk Dom Perignon was still trying to figure out a way to rid his wines of the unfashionable bubbles showing up in some of his bottles, the English royalty were embracing this new wine with bubbles.  It became so popular, in fact, that in 1663 the English developed…

Classic Movie Cocktail Scenes: All About Eve

One of the finest examples of cocktails enhancing a film is writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s 1950 masterpiece All About Eve.  The story of a Broadway legend, the people in her orbit, and the ruthless newcomer she takes under her wing, it stands out as one of the finest films ever made about the Broadway theater.  A crackling…

Classic Movie Cocktail Scenes: The Thin Man

Perhaps no other single film has done more for popularizing a single cocktail than the delightfully effervescent “Thin Man” film series (or ‘franchise’).  Based on characters created by Dashiell Hammett, the first film in the franchise is an adaptation of his bestselling novel “The Thin Man,” first published in 1934 in the magazine Redbook.  The…

The Stork Club

One of the posh Manhattan destinations on anyone’s list during its heyday, which was just about the entire time it was in operation, being seen at The Stork Club meant you had officially ‘arrived’.  Opened in 1929 by ex-bootlegger Sherman Billingsley, influential columnist Walter Winchell called it “New York’s New Yorkiest place on West 58th.”…

The Atomic Cocktail

Las Vegas, January 11, 1951 – The US Department of Energy establishes the Nevada Proving Ground (now known as the Nevada Test Site) 65 miles northwest of the city for the testing of nuclear devices.  Little was known about the effects of nuclear blasts at the time, and above ground, or atmospheric, testing was seen…

The Classic Martini

One of the many legends told about the invention of this most famous of cocktails is that it was created in the nineteenth century by ‘Professor’ Jerry Thomas of San Francisco’s Occidental Hotel who named it after the nearby town of Martinez California.

The Manhattan Cooler: A summery version of a cocktail classic

This is a cocktail I came up with for a cocktail competition a few years ago, and has proved to be popular at every party I’ve served it at.  A riff on the 19th century recipe that lead to the contemporary Manhattan, I utilize Pama Liqueur in place of the original Orange Curacao, and a…