Classic Cocktail Seminar, March 22, the Occidental Grill

On March 22, Derek Brown and Phil Greene presented a seminar at the Occidental Grill and Seafood Restaurant titled “An Introduction to Cocktails – A Primer on Mixology Through Four Classic Cocktails.”  Derek and Phil focused on the Old Fashioned (which is simply the legacy of the original cocktail), the Manhattan and the Martini (which ushered in the era of aromatic cocktails), and the Daiquiri, the “youngest” of the three, just a shade over 100 years old.

Derek and Phil examined the history of the cocktail, looking at its origins in the late 1700s, the development and role of bitters, the Sazerac cocktail of New Orleans, the introduction of “new” cocktails such as the Manhattan and Martini (and the possible historical origins of each), the Daiquiri and its roots (going back to the “grog” served on British naval ships from the 1740s on), and especially focused on the basic formula for the sour cocktail, which is a wonderful and simple construct.  The sour is a trilogy of strong, sweet and sour, that allows you to make your own inventions, vary the flavor of your drinks (sweetness, tartness, strength), and to use it as a platform for further experimentation and new drink creation.  Here are some recipes for your home use.

How to Mix an Old Fashioned

1 sugar cube

1 teaspoon water (or dash simple syrup)

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

2 oz Ri(1) Rye Whiskey

Muddle sugar cube, water and bitters together until the sugar is nearly dissolved.  Fill glass with ice, then add the whiskey.   Stir well.  Garnish with a twist of lemon peel, or orange slice and cherry.  Serve with a swizzle stick or straw. 

Recipe courtesy of Pocket Recipe Guide, Museum of the American Cocktail

 The Manhattan

                2 oz. Maker’s Mark Bourbon

                1 ounce Dolin Italian/sweet vermouth

                1-2 dashes Angostura bitters

                Stir with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass, garnish with cherry or lemon twist

Some variations on the Manhattan:

Sidney or St. Moritz


                Dry Manhattan with 1 dash orange bitters and 2 or 3 dashes Chartreuse

New Algonquin

Dry Manhattan with the addition of the same quantity of pineapple juice as that of the French vermouth



                Dry Manhattan with 2 or 3 dashes of Grand Marnier.  Use orange bitters, not Angostura.

The Brooklyn

                1 part French Vermouth

                3 parts whiskey

                1 dash Maraschino

                1 dash Amer Picon (if you don’t have Amer Picon, you can use Torani Amer, or Angostura)

The Rob Roy

                2 1/2 ounces Scotch Whiskey

                3/4 ounce Sweet Vermouth

                1-2 dashes Regan’s orange bitters

                Build drink mixing glass and add ice, stir until chilled and strain in to cocktail glass.

How to Mix a Dry Martini

2 oz Plymouth gin

                1 ounce Dolin Vermouth

                1-2 dashes orange bitters

                Stir with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass, garnish with olive(s) or lemon twist


Three Drier Variations on the Martini

     The Patrick Dennis

      In a classic bit of stage business in the 1955 play Auntie Mame sophisticated pre-adolescent Patrick Dennis offers a martini, which he prepares by swirling a drop of vermouth in the glass, then tossing it out before filling the glass with gin.


     The Luis Buñuel

      London Dry Gin, ½ demitasse spoon of Angostura Bitters & Vermouth-Soaked Ice Cubes, Olive, Shaken

     Famed director Luis Buñuel was an advocate for precision in making Martinis and for their power to “To provoke, or sustain, a reverie in a bar.”


      The Churchill

      London Dry Gin, Nod Toward France, Twist

      Winston Churchill is said to have nodded toward France while ritually passing the bottle of vernmouth over the gin.


Here are some drinks using the three main ingredients of the Daiquiri, i.e., rum (or a variation of it), sugar and lime:

The Ti’ Punch

  2 oz Depaz Rhum Agricole

  1 oz Depaz Blue Cane Syrup (to taste)

  Wedge lime (to taste)

  Build in glass, swizzle or stir with ice.

The Caipirinha

2 oz Cachaca

                1 lime, cut into 4-8 wedges        

   1-2 teaspoons sugar

                Muddle sugar and lime in mixing glass, add Cachaca and ice, shake well, pour contents into chilled rocks glass.  Enjoy!

The Daiquiri

                1 ½ – 2 ounces Flor de Cana 4 year old rum

                ¾ ounce fresh lime juice

                ¾ oz sugar syrup

                Shake well with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass


Other drinks using the “trinity” sour formula

Drink                                     Sweet                   Sour                       Strong

Daiquiri                                 Sugar                     Lime                      Rum

Bacardi                                  Grenadine             Lime                      Rum (Bacardi!)

Whiskey Sour                        Sugar                    Lemon                   Whiskey

Jack Rose                               Grenadine           Lemon/Lime           Applejack

Margarita                              Cointreau              Lime                      Tequila

Sidecar                                   Cointreau             Lemon                   Brandy

White Lady                            Cointreau             Lemon                   Gin

Aviation                                  Maraschino         Lemon                   Gin

Blue Moon                        Crème de Violette     Lemon                   Gin


How to make the Jack Rose Cocktail:

1.5 ounces Applejack

½ ounce Grenadine

½ ounce fresh lime juice (or lemon juice)

Shake well with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass


How to make a Papa Doble, or Hemingway Daiquiri (from the book Papa Hemingway by A.E. Hotchner)

Requested by most tourists, a Papa Doble was compounded of two and a half jiggers of Bacardi White Label Rum, the juice of two limes and half a grapefruit, and six drops of maraschino, all placed in an electric mixer over shaved ice, whirled vigorously and served foaming in large goblets.

To make a Bacardi Cocktail:

                1 ½ ounce Bacardi White Label Rum

                ¾ ounce lemon or lime juice

                ¾ ounce simple syrup

                ¼ ounce grenadine




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