Drink Review: Love for Sale

love for saleThe bar at Gustav’s is not a place for terribly creative drinks but their standing menu has some very tasty items on it.  One of those that struck a chord with our party was the Love for Sale.

Firmly on the citrus end of the drink spectrum this one throws around a lot of fruit juices and not a lot of liquor.  The Absolute Mandarin is a firm base which unsurprisingly pairs well with orange juice.  I’m a big fan of passion fruit juice and the liqueur they use here gives a wonderfully round flavor.  You need the sugar rim as there is a bit of bitterness in the drink, but all together the wonderful beverage brings up tiki memories and punch ideas.

I think a dash of Oregeat syrup and a tall Tiki glass and you’d think you were at Trader Vic’s instead of a German restaurant.

We ordered at least three around the table and I think everyone had to taste it at least twice.








love for sale tag





Grenadine in Practice: Tequila Sunset


One of the most common uses of grenadine is to add some showy coloration to a beverage.  The strong red color of the syrup and its thicker texture allows it to perform well in most juices, many liquors and in their combination.

The Tequila Sunset is a pretty simple drink

2 oz Silver Tequila
4 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Grenadine Syrup

Shake the tequila and juice in a shaker with ice, strain into a glass.  Slowly drizzle the syrup into the drink so that it settles and disperses through the bottom of the drink.

What you’re left with is a very nice blending of color from the yellow to dark red at the bottom.  Thinner grenadine doesn’t do this well and those heavy in dyes tend to color too well leaving the drink a kind of muddy brown color.

Well made, you can sip this slowly and enjoy the change as the syrup slowly increases in concentration.  Unless you’re using fresh squeezed OJ the citrus flavor is going to be tart and bland.  The grenadine also helps to add some character to the drink overall as well as to help mask any alcohol you might taste from using cheaper Tequila.

I used sparkle donkey for this one, and I’m not disappointed.  It has a very strong nose, which isn’t ideal here but the flavor is still mellow and smooth.


Wolverines! : The Red Dawn Cocktail

Red DawnRed Dawn

I named this little number after the movie but really it’s like a sunrise in a couple of respects.

6 oz Orange juice
1.5 oz Vodka
1 oz Grenadine
1.5 oz Cherry Liqueur

In tall glass with ice pour the ingredients over the back of a spoon similar to a float.  Start with Cherry, then grenadine, then vodka, then OJ.

Don’t stir or shake.

This isn’t a super advanced drink but it does carry some nice fruitiness in a morning beverage.

AM drinking really should be simple, you’ve just woken up and I’m not one to break out the shaker at the crack of noon.

Drink Upgrades: The Screwdriver

Following up my article on Basic Drinking, I present to you a basic guide on how to you can upgrade a very basic drink into any of a variety of  complex cocktails.

The screwdriver is one of the most basic of drinks.  Vodka and Orange juice in some proportion.  The drink is so simple that unless you’re actually tending bar even the proportions hardly matter.

This is basic orange juice.  Approximately 8 ounces.Orange Juice

From this simple citrus you can expand outwards in an almost infinite number of directions.

For our purposes the screw driver requires only that we add vodka.











After 1.5 oz of vodka and a quick stir you have a screwdriver.  Quick morning pick me up, easygoing non-soda party drink etc.

For a slight upgrade there are a plethora of flavored vodkas on the market that can give this a kick into another direction.  A personal favorite is Whipped Cream Vodka which turns OJ into a creamcicle in pretty short order.  Raspberry, cherry, and even glazed donut vodka could also give you a nice turn on this level.

Harvey WallbangerThis picture doesn’t really do the Harvey Wallbanger justice.  A basic screwdriver with a float of about half an ounce of Galliano on top.

Galliano has a lot of flavor and when you float it, it becomes the first thing into your mouth.  You’re going to get anise, bitter, vanilla and a number of other things.  If that’s not your bag, then I would suggest adding it with the vodka and giving it a good stir.  You’re not going to notice the delicate flavors much in so much OJ, which might require you to drop the Oj down to 4 ounces or less if you want to get a good idea of the flavors.

At this point you’re looking at three ingredients.  Two of them as common as oxygen and one almost unknown.

If you’re looking for a variant here you could substitute anything with a strong herbal flavor.  Herbsaint, Benedictine, or Chartreuse would be good substitutes.  Alternately you could start looking at amaros things like Campari, Aperol, or Maraschino.

You could also go with flavors that really complement the orange, Triple sec, Grand Mariner, Ginger Liqueur or Curacao.




Once you’ve got a handle on flavors it’s a pretty simple matter to start blending similar ingredients into a more tasty whole.

The Graduate From humble beginnings the screwdriver gets mouthfeel, tart notes, astringency, sweeter notes and bitter licorice flavors and becomes The Graduate.

The Graduate

The Graduate

When my girlfriend’s sister had her graduation from her master’s program we all went to a big party at her house.  To commemorate the occasion I created this drink.

The Graduate

1 oz Whipped Cream Vodka
0.5 oz Galliano
0.5 oz Ginger Liqueur
0.5 oz Crema Limoncello
3 oz Orange Juice
1 egg white

Shake over ice very vigorously, expect froth.  Strain into coupe glass.

Functionally this is an upgrade of a simple screwdriver but there is so much more going on in this glass that the origin drink might as well be waving from the horizon.

You will notice that there is an egg in there.  This is a very classic thing for cocktails.  Egg white is the ultimate emulsifier and there is almost nothing in nature that comes close to the effect it has on things.  Make sure you’re using pasteurized eggs or eggs from a source you can trust.  I get a dozen eggs every couple of weeks from my mother who keeps her own chickens, but you can get them from the store pasteurized for not much difference in price.  If you must do this without eggs you’ll get much the same flavor, but without the textural component.

This drink is like a silky smooth Orange Julius.  Or a very funky creamcicle.  Galliano for those who aren’t familiar is a vanilla liqueur which is very heavy in spices, particularly anise.  Combined with the bite on this ginger that I bought from New Deal Distillery you get a complex and very very satisfying drink.

Are you trying to seduce me Mrs. Robinson?


Evening Mocktail

As a first post I offer the following recipe which has been dubbed “refreshing”.  It contains only minor amounts of alcohol.

3oz Orange Juice
1oz Lemon Juice
Quarter Lime Wedge
1/2oz Grenadine
3oz Tonic Water
Dash of Orange Bitters

In an iced shaker combine Orange juice, lemon juice, squeeze lime wedge and 2-3 dashes orange bitters.  Rim collins glass with lime wedge, sugar part of the rim, attach lime wedge.  Strain shaker into glass, float grenadine, add tonic.

No name for this yet, I was shooting for Shandy-Beeches but I don’t think it’s there yet.  Maybe if I used sugar in the raw for larger grains.

For a full on cocktail I added about 2oz of Limoncello Crema from Ventura Limoncello Company.

A refreshing non-alcoholic treat
A refreshing non-alcoholic treat
A short glass of creamy refreshing awesome
A short glass of creamy refreshing awesome