Cabinet of Cocktail Curiosities
Back in the day when men got around on horseback and drinks were of a strong and spirituous disposition, barmen made straight-up cocktails, then they made ‘improved’ cocktails and finally there were ‘fancy’ cocktails. Now, we have a new generation of cocktails at Saxon + Parole handily found inside your own bottle; ready to serve immediately upon arrival. Our cocktail guy Masa Urushido will craft an improved, fancy, barrel aged, rare or simply delicious bottled cocktail for you, marked with your name and the history of the concocted drink. Feel free to share with yourself, your friends, or someone you may chance upon at the bar.
February 2015 – Bijou
This libation made its debut in 1895, amidst the “Golden Age” of American cocktail culture. We can’t think of a better way to highlight this flagship cocktail than by celebrating it with Plymouth Gin– the diamond standard. Green Chartreuse brings Carthusian tradition with its top secret blend of herbs and botanicals, while Lillet Rouge adds delicate fruit and spice. So batten yourselves down at the bar as this historic gem warms your soul…
January 2015 – Hakushu Cocktail
Twelve years ago in Japan, amidst the release of ‘Lost in Translation’ and the launch of the spacecraft Hayabusa, the Suntory Hakushu distillery was utilizing different styles of oak barrel to create this smokey single malt whiskey. We’ve mixed this elevated whiskey with amontillado sherry and house made cordial out of fortified plum wine from Japan. Fantastic way to kick off 2015 and imbibe during these most frigid temps!
December 2014 – The Ritz Cocktail
We think the holiday season calls for a bit of ‘Ritz’ and glamour, don’t you? Inspired by our mixologist muse, Dale DeGroff, we use only the finest for our version of The Ritz Cocktail: cognac Remy Martin 1738, Cointreau orange liqueur, maraschino liqueur and fresh lemon juice…listen carefully for the pop of champagne, as this is our secret (not so secret) finishing touch that will really get you into the festive mood. Happy holidays!
November 2014 – Highland Cocktail
The art of making a cocktail these days is slightly more involved than throwing a selection of ingredients into a cup and hoping for the best. Hence the question: to shake or to stir? Today, we choose stir. This month’s lovely libation is stirred gently with American oak, ex-Bourbon cask aged, Olmeca Altos Reposado from the highland of Jalisco, Dubonnet, house made cinnamon syrup and aromatic bitters. Fall is truly upon us…
October 2014 – Rob Roy
Robert Roy MacGregor was a Scottish folk hero from the early 18th century. His name was immortalized in the cocktail world when he created the “Rob Roy” in 1894 at The Waldorf Astoria in New York for the premier of the famed operetta. Essentially a Scotch Manhattan, we stir it up nicely with Italian sweet vermouth and bitters. Bruichladdich Scottish Barley is as smooth as pebbles in a stream. Clean, fresh and lively with the oak and grain in perfect harmony, making it a fantastic centerpiece for this classic cocktail. Welcome to the Saxon + Parole Cocktail Cabinet!
September 2014 – Mai Tai
Familiar with the expression ‘mai tai roa ae’? It happens to be Tahitian for ‘out of this world,’ ‘the best’…and if you believe the stories (we surely do), these were the very words used to describe the first Mai Tai ever made. Straight from the Tiki bars in California, we bring you our take on Victor ‘Trader Vic’s” Bergeron. Starting with the rich and aromatic dark rum from Trinidad & Tobago, we’ve added our own date and cinnamon orgeat…yes, because we’re cocktail geeks. Best get drinking!
August 2014 – Watermelon Spritz
We think the Spritz cocktail makes for perfect summer drinking. An icon of Italian lifestyle, this drink became popular in the 1800s, when German soldiers in Italy would add soda to their wine (as pure wine was a bit too strong for these chaps). Our take on this refreshing cocktail draws on the soft bitterness and sweet herbaceous aroma of Aperol, while highlighting the queen of summer fruit, the watermelon, (did we mention we also spiked it with some dry gin?) Be careful, this libation is dangerously easy to drink.
July 2014 – Tuxedo
Escape from the heat waves of summer with this refreshing take on the classic martini. We’ve taken our cues from the Tuxedo Club in upstate New York to bring you this month’s libation. Great things happen when our S+P bartenders mix the bright and refreshing Tanqueray No. Ten Gin with dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur and pamplemousse bitters… so come on in from the sweltering sun and let this martini resuscitate you. It’s going to be one dandy Summer.
June 2014 – Bluegrass Swizzle
This June we’re taking you down to the deep south of Kentucky and the coast of southern France, simultaneously, by way of this refreshing Bluegrass Swizzle. We’ve sourced the finest whiskey the south has to offer, Basil Hayden Bourbon, and added refined Fino Sherry. To marry the two, we made a syrup ourselves (let’s face it, it wouldn’t be a Saxon + Parole cocktail if we didn’t) by adding hints of Provence herbs, lavender, rosemary, oregano, thyme and marjoram. It turns out, when the southern U.S.A meets the south of France…good things happen. Bonjour, ya’ll!
May 2014 – Siesta
This month we bring you a very refreshing taste of Mexico – the agave land of sunshine, family, friends, good times and of course, a little siesta. Tequila El Tesoro Platinum mixed with Campari, grapefruit and lemon expresses the very best of Mexico’s spirit, and tastes darn delicious. Viva Mexico!
April 2014 – The Chancellor
During the ‘Noble Experiment’ (1920-1933), a man known as the Real McCoy would smuggle Cutty Sark Scotch from Canada and into the waiting hands and thirsty mouths of those in the United States who’d been denied of their daily drink. Now, 80 years on, we raise our glasses to those who braved this infamous period, and we do so with this incredibly complex 100 proof Prohibition edition Scotch whisky from our friends at Cutty Sark. All it needs is a drop of white port, dry vermouth, the essence of orange bitters…and there we have The Chancellor. Have we tempted you yet?
March 2014 – The Parting Glass
This month, we merge the spirit of Ireland with the flavors of New York to bring you The Parting Glass (a twist on the venerable Manhattan cocktail). This aromatic combination of Angostura bitters with herbal notes of D.O.M Benedictine and the rich and smooth Jameson Black Barrel whiskey make for a festive drink indeed. So raise your glasses to St. Patrick’s Day with us, or (as the Irish say), sláinte!
February 2014 – The Horse Thief
This month we would like to thank you for being part of our little pony joint with this very special cocktail. It comes from the 1917 cocktail book “The Ideal Bartender,” by Tom Bullock. This was the first cocktail book ever written by an African American bartender. He was known nationally for his impeccable drinks, gaining fame and fortune via the St. Louis Country Club. As far as we know, even Prohibition couldn’t stop this powerhouse! The Horse thief is a deliciously smooth and complex stirred cocktail. Here we mix one of our favorite gins (Navy Strength Plymouth), chocolatey Italian Vermouth (Punt e Mes) and a touch of absinthe, garnished with an absinthe soaked cherry. We are delighted to share with you a most deserving classic cocktail.
January 2014 – Aragua
We know that sometimes it can get a little rough on the cold January winter days, so we’ve decided to give you a warm hug (well, a hug in a glass). We’re serving up a very special hot toddy variation using Santa Teresa 1796 from Venezuela – one of the most rich and flavorful rums out there. Adding house made falernum, French dry curacao and lime ginger tea, this cup will bring a big ol’ smile to your face.
December 2013 – Cold War
Here we celebrate the opening of our little pony joint in Moscow. A bit of a spin on the ever loved Negroni, we have taken some classic Russian flavors such as beet, thyme and star anise, and sous vides them into small batch Absolut Elyx vodka. Stirred lovingly with Campari and Dolin Blanc vermouth, this cup of goodness will mostly certainly quell your December chills!
November 2013 – Perfect Martinez
This month we are proud to serve up this storied cocktail. Its origins are much debated, but many folks believe that this was the drink that gave birth to the Martini. Our Martinez is a nod to the Dutch history of Brooklyn. We use Chief Gowanus Netherland gin from New York Distilling Co. This gin has been created with the help of historian David Wondrich, from a very old American recipe. It starts with double distilled rye whiskey and transforms into a new category of gin. The drink is dubbed the Perfect Martinez, not because it is perfect (which it very well may be), but because it has equal parts gin and Vermouth. It has been touched by autumn with Fall bitters and smoky cherries.
October 2013 – Bon Vivant
We’re celebrating National Whiskey month and thought it a perfect time to share with you this remarkable cocktail. Dreamed up by Kass Hill of The Blue Room in Sydney, it has since become a modern classic of sorts. Here we salute Elijah Craig: a preacher, businessman, founder of Georgetown, and arguably the daddy of Bourbon itself. Award winning Elijah Craig 12 stirred lovingly with Barolo Chinato (what’s that? Nevermind, you’ll love it), Combier orange liqueur and a dash of fall spice. The perfect cocktail? It might just come close.
September 2013 – Rum Crusta
The Crusta was one of the very first versions of a shaken cocktail as we know it today. Its birth took place down in New Orleans around 1840 (not too long after a little thing called ice made its way into drinks). Originally the Crusta was made with Cognac, but over the years, thirsty adventurers have swapped out just about every liquor you can imagine. Here we have used Brugal rum which adds its beautiful toffee and caramel notes. We’ve accented those rich notes with a sprinkle of fresh cocoa nibs on the rim. Tasty? Very.
August 2013 – Intro to Amaro
What, you’ve never heard of amaro? Don’t sweat it, most people haven’t either. Well, not yet. This drink, however, is indeed the perfect introduction to this group of aperitifs and digestifs (that in Italian literally translates to as bitter). This one – the delicious Amaro Montenegro from the Bologna region – is an amazing introduction to the category. We shake this up with some gin, creme de menthe (hey, don’t judge!) and grapefruit sec. Delicioso!
July 2013 – Improved Rosita
Tequila – in this case the award winning Partida blanco from the Lowland region of Jalisco – and Campari might seem like an unlikely combination to some, but they do in fact make a rather delicious pairing. They both make for delightful Summer drinking and when stirred lovingly with both dry and sweet vermouths and a whisper of orange curaçao, this is a truly elegant twist on a classic that is sure to satiate even the most hardened barfly.
June 2013 – Manhattan Redux
This quirky and somewhat unorthodox riff on the classic Manhattan cocktail was created by our friend and industry legend, Dale DeGroff. At its heart is the delightful new expression from Absolut – called Elyx – which is brimming with character and flavor, two descriptions not often associated with vodka. Add a splash of the Italian amari, Cynar and a few drops of Dale’s very own bitters and you have in front of you a truly polarizing libation. So drink up, life is good!
May 2013 – Old Pal
This somewhat forgotten classic is exactly like the name suggests. It is indeed like an old friend: comforting and perhaps a little complex. The ingredients share some of the same DNA as a couple of the other iconic drinks, yet its flavor profile is most certainly unique, especially when using this wonderful new ‘wheated’ Kentucky bourbon, from our good friends at Heaven Hill.
April 2013 – Bronx Cocktail
It’s not so often that we see this most venerable classic pop up in the bar rooms of today, even though it was once deemed to be the third most popular cocktail in the country (for whatever that’s worth). Shame really as this is a delightful little number, especially when spiked with this wonderful new gin, named after one of the most famous dames in New York’s history: Dorothy Parker. Made by our good friend Allen Katz at the New York Distilling Company, we’re pretty certain this is a drink that will whet anyone’s whistle.
March 2013 – The Tipperary
It seems only fitting that in the month that hosts St. Patrick’s Day we feature a cocktail that uses a spirit that is whole heartedly Irish. And so we bring you the classic Tipperary Cocktail, spiked with the new and beguiling Jameson Black Barrel, a glorious dram that shows bold notes of deep spice and exotic fruits. It will surely put a smile on your face this March 17. Or any other day for that matter.
February 2013 – Last Word
Believed to have been created sometime in the 1920s, this is one of the few cocktails that actually came out of Prohibition with its integrity intact. With a strange ratio of three very complex elixirs – gin (in this case the delightful Junipero from Anchor Distilling in San Francisco), Luxardo maraschino and green Chartreuse – it is a complex and polarizing libation to be sure. Shaken up with some freshly pressed lime juice and you have a drink that in the lexicon of classic cocktails, is a true icon.
January 2013 – Bobby Burns
Named after the famed Scottish poet and lyricist, Robert Burns is perhaps most renowned as the man who wrote that song we love to sing to ring in the new year, Auld Lang Syne. That aside, this is one of the cocktail world’s unsung heroes, one that shares the same DNA as the Rob Roy, which is essentially a Scotch Manhattan. You could use any old Scotch, but why would you when you have a bottle of wonderfully rich and honeyed Dewar’s 12 Year at arm’s reach? With Burns Night (a national holiday in the land of Scots) approaching on January 25, it seems only fitting to raise a glass to the ethereal tipple and salute this great man.
December 2012 – The Claridge Cocktail
We are unabashed gin geeks here at Saxon + Parole. We sneak it into anything whenever we can. We even put it on our ice cream. Just kidding. It does, however, work wonders in this little doozy, courtesy of Justin Noel at Oxley Gin, especially when stirred lovingly with dry vermouth, Combier triple sec and apricot liqueur. Taking its name, we assume, from the famous Claridge’s Hotel in London, we like to think this drink is elegance in a glass. Perhaps you will too.
November 2012 – The Greenpoint
The Bronx has its own cocktail. As does Queens. Brooklyn has a killer drink named in its honor, and quite obviously the Manhattan Cocktail needs no introduction. From borough to neighborhood, we now bring you the Greenpoint. This cocktail is part of a series of rye whiskey-based libations taking their inspiration from the fabled Manhattan. This one was created by Irish bartender Michael McIlroy, who plies his trade at the modern speakeasy Milk & Honey, and uses the new and delicious Dad’s Hat rye from Pennsylvania – part of a growing band of new ryes breathing life into this revered American whiskey.
October 2012 – The Alchemist
There was a time, almost a millennia ago, when monks and other religious orders were making a slew of strange, exotic and unique potions and elixirs. These early alchemists were responsible for bringing these ‘waters of life’ to the world. These primitive potions were taken to prolong life and supposedly make you feel better. While we can’t guarantee immortality with a sip of this fine libation – created by Spring 44’s very own alchemist Tim Cooper – we are pretty sure this cocktail will at the very least brighten your day.
September 2012 – Point Blank
Scotch whisky in September? Huh? Believe it people. Whiskies needn’t be stereotyped as something you can only enjoy in the depths of winter – especially not one as regal as, um, Chivas Regal with its subtle notes of spice and bright orange. With the mercury still sky high, this elegant libation – a collaboration between our cocktail guy Naren Young and Chivas man Max Warner – is about as smooth a combination that you might ever put to your lips. Some might say it’s dead on. Others might just say it’s ‘Point Blank delicious’.
August 2012 – Opera Cocktail
Back in the 1920s, this libation was served at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris – the birthplace of the Bloody Mary, French 75 and Side Car. The cocktail is a concert of gin, Maraschino, orange bitters and Dubonnet of the rouge variety for a more full-bodied flavor. With its aristocratic ties – Queen Elizabeth II likes a little gin and Dubonnet with her lunch – and a name that pays homage to one of the most classic arts, feel regal and cultured as you enjoy this tasty gem.
July 2012 – Negroni Bianco
Has there, amongst the myriad of beautiful classic cocktails that have graced us with their presence over the centuries, been a more harmonious and perfect marriage of ingredients than when gin, Aperol and vermouth get together? Um, no there isn’t. Many of the world’s great, iconic libations are indeed simple affairs, consisting of only a handful of ingredients. The Negroni – the classic Italian aperitivo –is testament to this. Here, Brooklyn gin (a new kid on the block) forms the foundation of this wonderful Summer variation. Stopping at one is futile.
June 2012- La Perla Cocktail
For anyone who thinks that sherry is something sweet that your grandmother drank (maybe she still does, bless her heart) and tequila should either be downed with abandon (or thrown into the nearest Margarita) perhaps needs to get out more. When stirred elegantly, with precision and love, like this little doozy, a whole new world of tequila appreciation will unfold before you. This killer aperitif comes courtesy of our friend and tequila aficionado Jacques Bezuidenhout (try saying that after a few shots of Partida!).
May 2012- El Presidente Cocktail
Putting all politics aside for a moment, the one thing we haven’t been able to put an embargo on from Cuba – thankfully – are the many wonderful cocktails that first appeared on this Caribbean island. Sure, we all know the Mojito, the Daiquiri and perhaps the Cuba Libre. But few of you have probably heard of this hidden gem, which did have its own time in the sun at Club El Chico in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village – the place where the rumba was introduced to America in 1925.
April 2012 – Seelbach Cocktail
Sometimes the most unlikely bedfellows end up getting along famously when mixed by the right hands and in the right proportions. Bourbon & Champagne? And bitters? Who woulda thunk it? Created in 1917 at the legendary Seelbach Bar, tucked away inside the Hilton Hotel in the bourbon heartland of Louisville, Kentucky, this elegant libation proves to us that sometimes opposites really do attract.
MARCH 2012 – Vesper Martini
James Bond has a lot to answer for with all this ‘shaking vs stirring’ business. Or maybe his creator, Ian Fleming does. While writing his first book, Casino Royale, the fabled author would spend many an hour in London’s opulent Duke’s Hotel, sipping this bracing aperitif created by bartender Gilberto Preti. The Italian barkeep would shake this particular libation when any good barkeep knows that a perfect Martini should always be stirred. Whatever. Does it still taste good? Hells yes.
February 2012 – Improved & Fancy Tequila Cocktail
Back in the day when men got around on horseback, bartenders wore arm garters, and mixed drinks were of a strong and spirituous disposition, there were cocktails and then there were ‘improved’ cocktails and there were ‘fancy’ cocktails. The former simply meant the addition of a little absinthe while the latter was adorned with a lemon twist. Here we bring you both, using a wonderful spicy blanco tequila from the highlands of Jalisco.