Holiday Cocktails Seminar at Bourbon Adams Morgan!

Once again, the upstairs bar at Bourbon Adams Morgan in Washington, D.C. served as the perfect setting for the Museum of the American Cocktail’s Second Annual Holiday Cocktail Seminar. The event was emceed by Phil Greene, who did his best to stay out of the way and not impede the talents of renown D.C. bartenders Gina Chersevani (of PS7’s at Gallery Place) and Owen Thomson (bartender at Bourbon, and don’t call him a mixologist). Joining Gina and Owen was home bar and entertainment guru Jerry Lenoir, the creative force behind the popular Web site (

Arriving guests were greeted with an elegant cocktail, the Yes We Canton!, which was the star cocktail served at the Peace Ball on Inauguration Day last January. The Yes We Canton! was created by Gina Chersevani, and is made with pineapple juice, Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur, and Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Wine. It’s a perfect Holiday drink (recipe below), especially for the busy host or hostess, and can even be served as a punch.

Gina then held court for the next two drinks, offering two amazing hot drinks, Apples and Ale and the Coquito, which she referred to as Puerto Rican Eggnog. The Apples and Ale featured fresh apples simmered in spices and pale ale, with a hearty dollop of Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whisky and Domaine de Canton, and was served in a coffee mug. The Coquito was a rich and warming mixture of condensed milk, evaporated milk, coconut milk, egg, spices, Flor de Cana dark rum, and Domaine de Canton.

At this point, the guests and presenters alike took a break, for conversation and a chance to admire some of Jerry Lenoir’s holiday music collection, as well as ornamental pieces from his amazing home bar.

Owen then took the stage to offer the classic Irish Coffee, a drink he accurately described as one of the most maligned and incorrectly made drinks of all time, in spite of its simplicity. Phil offered a bit of history on the origins of and folklore surrounding the drink, tracing it back to the old trans-atlantic flying boat service and the airport near Shannon, Ireland, where in the early 1940s Joe Sheridan took to greeting chilled passengers with a mug of coffee, whiskey and cream. “Is this Columbian coffee?,” one passenger asked, to which he replied, “No, it’s Irish Coffee,” and a tradition was born. The drink later migrated to the Buena Vista in San Francisco, where it became a fixture, just perfect on those cold winter days during a summer in San Francisco (apologies to Sam Clemens). While serving it, he told of a tour he took of the Jameson’s Irish Whiskey distillery in Dublin, and how it inspired him to make the Irish Coffee in the proper manner.

Owen also demonstrated another misunderstood and mismanaged drink, the Hot Buttered Rum. He explained how to make a batter, basically taking a hunk of butter and folding into it whatever seasonal spices you had on hand, then keeping the mixture on hand to use each time you wanted to serve one. Owen offered guests a perfect blend of butter, spices, and Mount Gay Extra Old Rum.

Jerry Lenoir then presented two amazing drinks, the Winter Mojito and the Northern Spy. The Winter Mojito calls for fresh cranberries and mint, muddled with maple syrup, then blended with fresh lime juice, Falernum, and Mount Gay Eclipse Silver Rum. The Northern Spy was next, giving Jerry and Phil the opportunity to extol the virtues of Laird’s Applejack, and recount its rich history, going back to the Founding Fathers.

Jerry then devoted a good amount of time in discussing Holiday music, mainly jazz and standards from the 40s, 50s and 60s, featuring classics from Herb Alpert, Frank Sinatra, Jack Jones, and Oscar Peterson. Jerry even offered a trivia contest, with winners receiving either a Mr. Booze T-shirt, or a compilation Holiday music CD from his collection. The trivia questions centered around the bar scenes from “It’s A Wonderful Night,” prompting guests and presenters alike to trot out their George Bailey, Nick the Bartender, and Clarence the Angel impressions. We had nearly 30 attendees on hand, and everyone had a great evening, and leaving with a goodly dose of Holiday cheer.


The Museum would like to thank our presenters, Gina, Owen, and Jerry, as well as our host venue, Bourbon Adams Morgan. Thanks also to our great volunteers, Jason Strich (of Rasika) and Joey Ambrose (of Point of View, the amazing new cocktail lounge atop the W Hotel/Hotel Washington). We also want to thank our sponsors for this event, Cointreau (which provided beautiful shirts for our goody bags), Pernod-Ricard (which provided the Jameson’s Irish Whiskey), Skyy Vodka (Flor de Cana rum), Mount Gay, Laird’s, Maker’s Mark, and Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur.

The Recipes:

Ritz Cocktail (from Dale DeGroff’s book "Craft of the Cocktail”)

1 oz Cognac

½ oz Cointreau

¼ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

¼ oz fresh lemon juice


Garnish with flamed orange peel

Yes We Canton!

½ oz pineapple juice

½ oz Domaine de Canton

2-3 oz Jacob’s Creek Brut Sparkling Wine

Serve in flute. Can also be made as a punch.

Apples and Ale

8 apples (I like pink ladies)

2 quarts of Dales Pale Ale

2 cups of Raw Honey

2 cinnamon sticks

5 cardamon pods

1 star anise

10-12 oz of Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whisky

10-12 oz of Domaine de Canton

Peel and quarter the apples.  Take some cheese cloth (or a tea infuser works just as well) and place all the spices in there, tie up the cloth. Then in a pot, pour the beer, spice ball, sugar, apples. Let simmer for about 20 minutes just before it boils.  Low and slow!  Take the ale mixture off the heat. 

In a glass mug pour 1/2 oz of Woodford Reserve, 1/2 oz of Domaine de Canton and fill with the ale mixture. Enjoy! Serves about 10-12 (20-24 half sized drinks)

Coquito (Puerto Rican Eggnog)

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

1 (14-ounce) can condensed milk

2 egg yolks

2 cups fresh coconut milk or 1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk

Pinch fleur de sel

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup Flor de Cana Dark Rum

1/4 cup Domaine de Canton 

Ground cinnamon

Place all ingredients in a blender and process for 3 minutes at high speed until frothy. Store in a glass container in the refrigerator and serve chilled, dusted with a little cinnamon.

Hot Buttered Rum

1.5 oz Mount Gay Extra Old Rum

2 heaping barspoons buttered rum batter

fill with hot water and stir until combined

Irish Coffee

1.5 oz Jameson’s Irish Whiskey

3/4 oz Brown Sugar Simple Syrup

Fill with black coffee and top with fresh whipped cream

Northern Spy

2 oz Laird’s Applejack

1 oz Apple Cider

½ oz Lemon Juice

½ oz Apricot Brandy

Rim a cocktail glass with lemon juice then cinnamon sugar. Shake well, strain into glass, garnish with a few fresh cranberries.

Winter Mojito

8-10 mint leaves

6-8 cranberries

2 oz Mount Gay Eclipse Silver Rum

¾ oz Falernum

¾ oz lime juice

¼ oz simple or maple syrup

Splash of club soda

In a mixing glass, muddle mint & cranberries, add rest of ingredients. Shake and strain over ice in a glass and garnish with fresh mint.

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