•February 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This past Friday I had the pleasure of speaking at Astor Wine and Spirits on one my most favorite topics: Famous Hotel Bars from around the world. For this class I added on Ricky’s the bar in the Taj Mahal in New Deli, India, as well updated the featured cocktails from the Merchant Hotel and Connaught Hotel bar.  The cocktails featured in class were:


  Smoked Bacon & Maple Syrup Manhattan

60 mls Bacon infused Bourbon
10 mls Sweet Vermouth
10 mls Noilly Prat
Dash Angostura
1 Barspoon Maple Syrup
Stir & Strain Into A Martini Glass Garnish with speared crispy bacon & Cherry
The drink is a nod to PDT and Don Lee’s/Jim Meehans Bacon old fashioned where it was created

  Infusing Bourbon with Bacon 

 Ingredients: 3-4slices of bacon, or enough to render 1oz of fat (pdt uses Benton Bacon but any extra smoky will do 1 bottle of bourbon, I recommend Bulleit Instructions: 1)Cook bacon in pan and reserve rendered fat. When bacon fat has cooled a bit, pour off one oz from the pan 2)Pour Bourbon into a non-porous container 3) strain the bacon fat into the container and infuse for 4 to 6 hours at room temp.  4) Place mixture in the freezer until all the fat is solidified. With a slotted spoon, remove fat and strain the mixture back into the bottle.


  Guava Berry Martini

1.5 oz Ciroc vodka
1.5 Crème de Mure
. 5oz Guava Juice
. 5 oz Cranberry Juice Garnish with Lemon zest
Instructions:add all the ingredients to your shaker, add ice
shake and strain  chilled into a martini glass

  Cardamon Sensation

1.5 oz Smirnoff vanilla vodka
5pcs Cardamom
.5 oz Lime Juice
.25 oz Pineapple Juice
 4-6 pieces whole pineapple

Instructions:muddle cardamom, pineapple & vodka together,
add remaining ingredients, shake and strain  chilled into a martini glass

  Nutty Jim

2 oz Bulleit Bourbon
muddled Cinnamon stick
. 25 oz simple syrup
1 oz apple Juice
Instructions:add all the ingredients to your shaker, add ice
adshake and strain  chilled into a martini glass

  Lemon Lime

1.5 oz Ketel vodka
.75 oz Lemon grass syrup infused with red chili’s
. 75oz Lime Juice
Top with Ginger Ale
Garnish with lime wedge Served over ice in a rocks glass

Instructions:  Add all the ingredients the shaker with exception of the ginger all. 
add ice, shake and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Fill to the top with ginger ale


  This is a  recipe for our “Iconic Cocktail”, which we call The Phoenix. It is a quintessential Irish cocktail……   •·        

 35mls Plum-infused Poitin •·       
 15mls Pear eau de vie •·        
35mls Pure Armagh “Discovery” Apple Juice •·        
20mls “Mourne Flower” Honey Syrup •·        
15mls Fresh Lemon Juice  
 Instructions: Stir over ice and strain into a 10oz Punch Goblet over a large cube of ice. Serve with an 8″ straw and decorate with a fan of apple slices and some fresh grated nutmeg.


  The Malecon

 50ml Bacardi Superior
15ml 10y/o tawny)
10ml Oloroso Don Jose Reservas Especiales
3drp Peychaud’s bitters
2bsp fine sugar
30ml fresh Lime Juice
Instructions: Shake all the ingredient with chunks of ice and double strain in a cocktail glass, garnish with a piece of ice..

Enjoy everyone and please check out my blog in two weeks where I will post some of my latest and greatest creations for spring.

Saving the world one cocktail at a time!

Elayne Duke



•February 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This Thursday, I had the pleasure of teaching the art of making cocktails at an event called Save the Date. Save the date is an organization that originating in New York and fills the dating need in Los Angeles. This organization joins singles for networking at various events to meet attractive and successful group of individuals looking for that special someone. These candidates commonly lack the time to find their mate with the financial gloom of late.

Founders of Save the Date(ing) personally meet with every prospective member to see if they would be a good fit for the group. Those who make the cut, dish out $250 quarterly in membership dues and pay a la cart per event they attend. The vetting system the ladies use is meant to ensure quality in the membership base, and from the event I attended, it seemed to work quite well. For more information on Save the Date(ing) or to apply to become a member, please visit

This Thursday event was a called “Martini Madness”, a hands on course where each participant was giving the bar tools necessary to make four different gin/vodka cocktails. The cocktails created in class were :

Cucumber Daiquiri

1.5 oz Tanqueray gin

3 Cucumbers

Fresh Mint

¾ oz Lime Juice

1 oz Simple Syrup

Lime Wheel

Served chilled in a martini glass

preparation: In a mixing glass, muddle cucumbers, mint and simple syrup, add the remaining ingredients, shake

with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with lime wedge

 The Graduate

1.5 oz Smirnoff vodka

1 oz fresh pressed apple juice (i recommend red orchard)

.5 oz Canton Ginger Liq

.5 oz Simple syrup

.5 oz Lemon Juice

Served in a chilled martini glass garnished with a candied ginger

Preperation:  Add the ingredients into the mixing glass, add ice and shake, double strain into a chilled martini glass

Garnish with candied ginger


Smoky Martini

.25 oz Lagavulan single malt scotch

3 oz Smirnoff vodka

Served chilled in a martini glass

Direction: Fill the mixing glass with ice, add in Lagavulan, stir until the ice is coated with scotch, strain out into a shot glass, leaving the ice in the mixing glass.  Next add in the Smirnoff, stir until cold, strain into a martini glass.  Garnish with olives.

Top Hotel Bars-Merchant Hotel

•November 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Merchant Hotel    

Merchant Hotel- Belfast, Ireland    Last week we explored some of London’s most posh hotel bars, the Dorchester and the Connaught Hotel. This week we jump the pond to explore the Merchant Hotel located in Belfast, Ireland.  A hotel bar  which won “The best hotel bar in the world” at Tales of the Cocktail this summer.   The man who help design the bar and created and oversees the entire cocktail program  is a gentleman named Sean Muldoon.  

Below is my interview with him:   

How did you come to work at the Merchant Hotel?    The Bar opened three and a half years ago. My boss assured me from the offset that if cocktails were ever going to work in Ireland it would only be in this bar and only with my input. He knew I was the right person to run the bar and I was head-hunted for the role       

Does the bar have a historic past?    Yes, the building that it is in was built in the 1860’s and served as the headquarters for the Ulster Bank. The area where it is situated was once the historic heart of Belfast. It ceased to be a bank about  15 years ago and lay dormant for several years until my boss snapped it up around 8 years ago.    

hotel bar 2

Do you have a philosophy behind your cocktails?   Yes – to make the best drinks found anywhere on the planet! Whilst a few other bars also make great drinks in other corners of the globe, they keep their menu’s short so as to concentrate on those specific 18-20 drinks for a set period of time. We on the other hand concentrate on making 120 drinks great throughout the course of an entire year or more.     

How do you decide what goes on the menu?    We include the drinks we feel deserve to be on the menu: certain classics; forgotten drinks which may not be ”classic” but we feel ought to be promoted – and our own variations of these styles of drinks. We keep on drinks which sell well, replace or revamp drinks which don’t sell well and keep our own ”original drinks” quite simple.     

How often do you change your menu?    Once every fifteen months or so. Our menus are more like books – we tend to call them Bar Books. An awful lot of planning goes into our menus; finding the right concept for each new volume of the Bar Book is what takes up most time. Once we decide on a way to go, everything else – the drinks, recipes etc – fall into place quite easily.   For example, Volume One of our Bar Book was based on the Stork Club Bar Book (1946); Volume Two of our Bar Book was based on Here’s How – Mixed Drinks (1941); whereas the newest installment of our Bar Book is based loosely on Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails (2004).   Our menus are a considerable marketing spend – the most recent one cost us £11,000.00 to get 2000 copies done.     

 Are their drinks that never change? If so what are they?    We always aim to make better our drinks and never ever allow ourselves to become complacent or happy with what we’ve got. This is what distinguishes us from other mainstream hotel bars. Our drinks recipes are always changing – there is not one drink on our list that I can honestly state is final! 
Is there a spirit you favor amongst all the rest?    Rum & Whisk(e)y – due to their many different forms and complexities.    
Do you have philosophy about how your guest should be treated?    The philosophy I preach is that the guest must always leave the bar feeling satisfied. We aim to ensure at all costs that the guest has (at the very least) a ”pleasant” experience with us that will hopefully entice them to come again.   
Do you have a signature way to serve each cocktail or do any cocktails have a unique or memorable way of being served?    We take the time to perfect every single recipe that features in our Bar Book. It’s not enough that a drink tastes “good” – to us it has to taste “truly great”! Every single drink we serve is therefore done to the best of our ability. To have a long list such as ours and ensure every single drink on it is consistently made well is a real challenge and is something we pride ourselves on (regardless of who it is that is making the drinks).    
When hiring bar staff what character traits do you look for?    For a member of staff to walk into our bar and serve cocktails right away they would have to have a great proven track record. Generally we start staff as either bar-backs or floor-staff and they gradually progress over time to the bar. We look for good attitude, ability to communicate with other staff members and customers, dependability, commitment and they must possess a genuine desire to learn.    
Name what thing that you would like your guest to remember about your bar?    
Excellent drinks and the fact that we are a ”friendly” bar. We aim to be 5* in a very friendly and unintimidating manner – we want our guests to feel as comfortable with us as they are in their own homes or local taverns.    
If the bar had all unlimited funds(which I am under the impression that yours does) is there any spirit that you would like purchase but currently cannot & why?   We have all the products we need really. Some of the products we have difficulty in obtaining are old forgotten flavors such as Swedish Punsch, original Piemento Dram, Bokers Bitters etc, etc. However there is a movement today to recreate some of these flavours and these are slowly becoming more available.    
Hotel bar1
Name three things that are truly unique about your bar?   

 Do you have a signature cocktail that your bar is famous for?    We have recently developed an “iconic cocktail” which we hope the bar will become famous for through time (particularly amongst tourists).    It is a potent single-serve punch made with plum-infused poitin, pear eau de vie, fresh lemon, local flower honey and pure County Armagh apple juice.    A nationwide competition is about to be launched to find out an appropriate name for it – we want it to be a quintessential Northern Irish drink whose name gets decided by the Northern Irish people.    

What celebrities have visited your bar?    Tom Hanks, Bryan Adams, Shirlie McClaine, Richard Attenborough, Gloria Estefan, The Police, Meryl Streep, Morrissey, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Scissor Sisters, Kings of Leon, Simply Red, Tony Curtis etc, etc.    

Best night of the week to come in?    Saturdays are busiest and Fridays are nice – but I myself like Sundays. On Sundays we always get a nice, steady crowd of guests who all seem to know what they want and are there to enjoy the whole cocktail experience.   

Does your country have a have signature ingredient that can only be found there?    Poitin: Poitín is a spirit that was traditionally distilled in a small pot still and it comes from the Irish word pota, meaning “pot”. It is traditionally distilled from malted barley grain or potatoes and for centuries was classified as “moonshine” in this country.   

On one sad note, the drink that they were most famous for a few years was there Mai Tai, which sadly is no longer available at the bar. Below is the story of why it was so famous:   Our Mai Tai was so special is because it was made using the original rum – J Wray & Nephew 17yr old from Jamaica – that Trader Vic used when he created the drink in 1944. We have two shots of the rum left but it has unfortunately become oxidised over time and it now tastes more like a woody bourbon than the rich pungent rum it once was.    The bottle we had been one of only six original unmarked bottles that were left; these bottles once thought to be inexistence were discovered during a worldwide inventory that Wray & Nephew conducted several years ago.  

 In my class at Astor wine and spirits we created the Mai Tai, using the recipe given to me by bartender Michael Mcilroy who worked for had the pleasure of working for few months at the Merchant Hotel and who currently rocks the bar at two of New Yorks finest cocktail bars Milk Honey (New York) and Dutch Kills (long island city).   

 The recipe is as follows: Mai Tai Recipe:   1 ¼ oz Wray and Nephew 17yr old rum  (We used Appleton 12yr old), ¾ Fresh Lime Juice, ½ Orgeat Syrup (almond syrup), ¾ Curacea ( orange liqour)  ½ Rock Candy Syrup (we used thick simple syrup) Served over crushed ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint.  


Top Hotel Bars in the World

•November 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment


Bacon Manhattan

Recently I  gave presentation at Astor Wine and Spirits called the Top Hotel Bars in the World and I must say it was one of my favorite ones to date.  The research alone was fascinating because it allowed me to reach out to many of my contacts around the world, as well as to new ones who I was introduced through friends of friends (Facebook is a wonderful tool).  

What I had learned is that though each place has their own unique style and twist on what they served, they all had a few things in common: 

 As a guest or just a general consumer the service at great hotel bar will be like nothing you have every seen. ( Well unless you dine in 5 star restaurants on a regular basis 🙂 The reason for this service is that  unlike other bars the level of training for staff at top hotel bars is taking extremely serious.  The best example of this that I can share is the Dorchester Hotel  where my friend Charolotte Voisey worked. She said the bar staff (all of whom were very experienced already) received 3 weeks of intense training consisting of the:

  • Grassroots on all spirits
  • Cocktail Creation
  • Hospitality Training
  • Proper etiquette
  • Proper serve

Hotel_Ritz_Paris outsideThe general rule of thumb is that you never truly know who is in your bar. That person looking all scruff and little bang up could be a bum, but it could also be a celebrity a princess or princess etc dressing down.  So all who entered should be treated like the King of Dubai and given 5 star service no matter what.

Beyond service the other thing you will general find is:

  • Top quality ingredients, many times rare and hard to come by
  • Rare and expensive spirits: i.e. Timeless Cognac, Rare vintage champagnes etc
  • Top bar men and Women
  • Classic Cocktails
  • Spirits that range from the rarest to the most popular
  • Great Ice


  • Park Hyatt/Timber House – Seoul, Korea
  • The Opposite House/ Punk & Mes- Beijing, China
  • Sidney Hilton/Zeta Bar- Sidney Australia
  • Merchant Hotel/Merchant Bar- Belfast Ireland
  • Dorchester Hotel/The Dorchester- London, Eng
  • Connaught Hotel/American Bar- London, England
  • The Ritz/Hemingway Bar- Paris, France.

For this article I am only going to discuss the Dorchester Hotel.
( Tune in next week for the Connaught Hotel, followed by the Merchant Hotel, The Ritz and lastly the Zeta bar in Australia)

The Dorchester:


 The Front of the Dorchester 

The Dorchester’s front garden

The three of the hotel’s e-Butlers stand in front of the London Plane tree, named one of the Great Trees of London. The e-Butlers assist guests with technology issues, which have ranged from linking laptops to the hotel’s broadband to setting up an intranet between the Dorchester and New Zealand for the composers of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Posh” is one of Londoners’ favorite descriptors, and no London hotel more epitomizes the word than The Dorchester.  

Opened in 1931, The Dorchester’s combination of opulent decor and devoted, respectful service quickly won favor with royalty, leaders of nations, celebrities, and CEOs.

Some of The Dorchester’s best-known guests have included Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Muhammed Ali, Alfred Hitchcock, Oprah Winfrey, Woody Allen, Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, Russell Crowe, Karl Lagerfeld, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Drew Barrymore, Michael Jackson, Cate Blanchett, Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker, Morgan Freeman, Nicholas Cage, and Sharon Stone. Above, in



Dorchester bartender.keg


  The list is around seventy strong under entertaining headings with roughly twelve per section; The most popular are the Twinklers, Evolution of the Martini and Fancy Drinks. They feature new creations and also classics dating back to the work of the first great head bartender at the Dorchester – Harry Craddock. They also have a specialist Gin and Tonic selection with unique serves, bespoke and boutique brands alongside the big beasts of the Gin world which always pleases a British heart.

The bar also has one of the great collections of vermouth’s. It’s a martini purists heaven! They have one of the most extensive Vermouth Collections in the world –Why Vermouth: They wanted to do something unique for the bar culture in London and focusing on Vermouth they gave other bartenders a classroom to come learn and taste everything they needed to know about this category –Also all of the  Classic cocktails all have vermouth in them –Traveled to France and Italy researching and tasting various brands and styles –Imported brands never seen before in London and now you will find them on most the London back bars. –Brand Like:  Noilly Pratt Amber, Chinzano organces  Martini Rossi Rose were not available until the Dorchester brought them in.

Signature cocktail is the Martinez, it’s a benchmark classic but made impeccably and uses their own bespoke Old Tom Gin which is unique to Dorchester cocktail

them. They use Punt e Mes for added depth and chocolate richness and finally a specially recreated Boker’s bitters aged in a miniature new American oak barrel. Each sip of this Martinez lasts a lifetime, it’s balanced and exceptionally aromatically complex.

 dorchester cocktailsThen on to their T10 Negroni, this is served in a statuesque ruby-red tumbler with a frosted glass stirrer. It’s heroic in size and you need formidable arm strength to lift this baby. The ice is clear and hard as if hewn from a glacier, now I’ve had many Negroni’s but the presentation and quality of the one at the Dorchester still makes it my favourite.


 Negroni was alway thrown- put ingredients into mixing glass, separate them about two feet or so apart and throw drink back and forth 4 or 5 times. It make the drink just as cold and stirring it but it add more aeration to it.
Basically any cocktail that would normally be stirred would be thrown.

 Until next week when I write up on the Connaught Hotel and some of their famous cocktails.

Elayne Duke



Fall Cocktails

•October 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Fall, is one of my favorite times of year in NYC. The air is crisp and clean—well almost. The flip flops are retired and the boots come out, jeans are back and comfy cashmere sweaters are abound.  With the change of seasons also comes the changing of food and cocktail menus to more comforting and seasonal flavorings.  These changes usually start with the varieties of herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables being used in food and cocktails alike. In summer you are more likely to see fruits consisting of watermelon, blueberries, strawberries, peaches etc herbs: mint , cilantro, lemon grass,basil and rosemary Vegetables: heirlooms tomatoes and cucumbers. 

But as we enter the colder months, slowly these ingredients are faded out and new ones come on the scene.  For fall my favorite fruits to work with are pears, apples (juice and cider) and cranberries herbs: sage, thyme and basil  spices: all spice, chipotle,hazelnut, ginger,nutmeg, cloves, vanilla and cinnamon vegetable: Pumpkin Other things to try: jalapeno infused Lemon grass, ginger beer, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey syrup, brown sugar, caramel,chocolate,coffee, graham crackers,

When it comes to spirits many believe that these shift with the season as well, and they do but not entirely. To many Tequila,rum and gin are for the summer months only.  But this is definitely not true, at least not in my opinion. With the explosion of the cocktail scene, restaurant and bars alike have become more diligent about changing their menus with the seasons, allowing these traditional summer time spirits to be enjoyed year round by blending them with cider, pear nectar, cinnamon and so on.  Cocktails can also be enjoyed warm or cold but for now we are going to discuss cold cocktails and below are some of my favorites: (Tune in next week for some hot cocktails)


Negroni Light

.75 Tanqueray Ten
.75 oz Aperol
.75 oz Sweet vermouth
Garnish with twist of grapefruit zest
Served over ice

Pumpkin Spice
1.5 oz Ciroc
.75 oz Hiram Walker Pumpkin Liq
. 25 oz Pumpkin Spice Agave nectar
. 50 oz Apple Cider
.5 oz Lemon juice
Fresh Cinnamon sprinkled on top
Served chilled in a martini glass

Sugar and Spice
1 oz Ketel Citreon
1 oz Cranberry Juice
.50 oz Fresh Lime/
.75 oz Honey syrup
Splash of  St. Elizabeth All spice
Strain into a sugar rimmed martini glass

Pear and ginger
1.5 Smirnoff Pear
1.5 oz Pear Nectar
.5 oz Cantone Ginger Liqueur
.5 oz Grand Marnier
.75 oz Lemon Juice
Garnish with candied ginger

Pearfectly Sinful
1.5 oz Don Julio Blanco
1.5 oz Pear Nectar
.5 oz  Honey Syrup
.5 oz Lemon Juice
Fresh grated cinnamon
Shake and strain into a martini glass

Little Bit of Country
1.5 oz Bulleit
.25ox=z Luxardo cherry liqueur
.75 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
.75 jalapeno infused maple syrup
Dash of Angostura
Flamed orange zest
Served chilled in a martini glass

1.5 oz Zacapa Rum
.75 oz Lemon Juice
.5 oz Honey Syrup
.5 oz Cointreau
Served in a sugar rimmed martini glass
Orange slice

Toasted Pumpkin
1½ oz Pimms
1oz Hiram Walker pumpkin
¾ oz Godiva Caramel
½ Grand Marnier
served chilled in a martini glass
fresh grated cinnamon on top

Tune in next week  for Hot Fall Cocktails!






•September 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

cucumber cooler cocktailcucumber cooler photoTwo weeks ago, I had the pleasure of working as a mobile mixologist for Ketel Vodka a the PGA Tournaments  hosted at the Barclay’s Golf Course in NJ. You might ask yourself, what does she mean by mobile,  I asked myself the same question before I got there.  Basically each day I was stationed at a different VIP tent, where I served guest  three signature Ketel cocktails. The cocktails were a huge hit so I thought I would share them with you:


Cucumber Cooler
1.5 oz Ketel Citreon
3 slices of english cucumber
3/4 oz Fresh lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
3/4 Ginger beer

preparation: In your mixing glass add 3 thin slices of cucumber, fresh lime juice and simple syrup
Muddle until the cucumber looks like ceviche, add Ketel Citreon and ice, shake vigrously
Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice, top with ginger beer, garnish with a cucumber



Ketel Citreon and Lemonade
     2 oz Ketel Citreon
3 oz Lemonade

preparation: Fill a highball glass with ice, add  Ketel Citreon and lemonade, stir
Garnish with lemon wheel and a straw




           This last drink you have seen featured before but it has become one of favorites because it challenges peoples senses.
            When people see tomato, cucumber and basil they think salad not cocktail, but if these ingredients are used correctly
            a delicous savory cocktail can be had.

                                                                             Roman Holiday
                                                                               1 Tomato slice
                                                                             2 cucumber slices
                                                                             1 fresh basil leaf
                                                                            2 oz Ketel Vodka
Tomato cucumber           ¾ Lime Juice
         ½ oz Simple Syrup
        ½ oz Cynar (artichoke liq)
preparation: In your mixing glass add cucumber, tomato, basil
Muddle until it looks  like ceviche, add ketel, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, add ice, shake vigrously
Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice or into a martini glass
Glass preperation: Wet the edge of the glass with lemon or a lime wedge, dip the glass into a sweet and spicy combo consisting of the following: rock salt, ground smoked chipotle and sugar (thank you Phil)


Log in next week for my top ten fall cocktails! 

La Rosita

•September 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment


 The first time I tried this cocktail was three years ago when I was working my way through Gary Regan’s book ” The Bartenders Bible” . My first thoughts were perfection! But for some reason I let it lie dormant in my repertoire of drinks, until last week when I visited M0mofuko ssaam located at the corner of 2nd and 13th.

If you have not been Momofuko ssam it is one of three of the Momofuko restaurant all located on the lower east side.  The food description is American but it is definitely not like any American food that I have ever had.  If had to describe it I would say American with heavy Tai influences but that does not do diligence to genius that was served to me. Needless to say it was one the best meals that I had in a long time and I cannot wait to return.

Now when it comes to bar at Momofuko ssam, Don Lee formerly of PDT has done something completely unique. They are only offering a limited but premium selection of brown spirits (so if you only drink vodka or gin you are out of luck).
There is also no seating at the bar, so drinks will only be served to you at the table. With that said, I asked my friend Don Lee to create something for me using Don Julio Reposado and what returned was perfection in a glass “The Rosita”.  I felt like an old lover just sat down at my table and I was extremely excited to see him 🙂 I sipped and reveled in its glory- but then I stopped- something had change, in a good way. My lover had discovered new moves and I was anxious to discover what they were. The secret ingredient was Carpano Antica- sweet vermouth that knocks all other sweet vermouths out of the water.    

whiskey-cocktail3The complete recipe as made by Don Lee is as follows:

 1.5 Oz Don Julio Reposado

.5 Oz Dolin Dry Vermouth

.5 Oz Carpano Antica

.5 Oz Campari

1 dash Angostura

Stir, Strain, Rocks

                                                                                                          Lemon Twist

This is my twist on the recipe, for those of you who may not like it as dry and tad sweeter:

 1.5 Oz Don Julio Reposado

.75oz Carpano Antica

.5 oz Aperol

1 dash Peyshaud

1 dash of Gary Regan’s orange bitters

Stir, Strain, Rocks

Grapefruit Twist



Here’s Gary’s article from SF Chron, 2007 on the Rosita


gary-reganNovember 16, 2007 Rosita

Rosita is a beautiful cocktail that was introduced to me by a fellow cocktail geek a couple of years ago. At the time, we were playing around with the versatility of Tequila, trying to come up with drinks that strayed from the margarita path. Rosita runs along Negroni lines, calling for Tequila, two styles of vermouth, Campari and one solitary dash of Angostura bitters. My right hand has to be physically restrained by my left hand when I make a Rosita. It’s unaccustomed to adding just one dash of bitters to any drink.


My friend told me that he’d come across the recipe for Rosita in an article written by Terry Sullivan, a drinks writer of great renown who happens to be a personal friend of mine. We’re good drinking partners, Sullivan and I.

Bartenders have been known to pale at the sight of both of us gracing the same stretch of mahogany.


Sullivan couldn’t remember writing about Rosita, let alone where he found the recipe, so I let the matter drop until about three months ago when I made the drink as an aperitif for a few friends over at my place for dinner.

Asked about the origins of the drink, I had to admit I didn’t have a clue, but I promised to contact Sullivan again. Sometimes these things come back to us, right? An e-mail to Sullivan resulted in a phone call just two days later.


“I found the recipe in ‘The Bartender’s Bible,’ ” he told me.


“The Bartender’s Bible” was my first book. It was published in 1991 and in time it became both my biggest success sales wise, and my biggest embarrassment to boot. It’s not a bad book, per se, but I’ve learned so much more about cocktails during the past 16 years that when I look at some of the stuff I wrote back then, my cheeks flush with color. I didn’t remember putting Rosita in “The Bartender’s Bible,” but it’s there all right. Where did I steal that one from, I wondered.


In the back of the closet in my guest room sits a pile of oversize envelopes filled with memorabilia from different periods in my life. One of them is marked “Bartender’s Bible.” There are three cocktail books in the envelope, the tomes I consulted when writing my first book. Rosita came from a 1988 edition of “Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide” – sans the dash of bitters, which I added. I added a tad more Tequila, too, but why I stopped at only one dash of bitters mystified me. I experimented with the formula a little recently, and it turns out that one dash is all it takes. I deduce, therefore, that back in 1990, when I was compiling “The Bartender’s Bible,”

I must have actually tested the recipe for Rosita. Wonders never cease.


Makes 1 drink

 1 1/2 ounces Tequila (100 percent agave blanco or reposado Tequilas work


1 ounce Campari

1/2 ounce sweet vermouth

1/2 ounce dry vermouth

1 dash Angostura bitters

1 lemon twist, for garnish

Instructions: Pour all the ingredients into a large old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Stir briefly and add the garnish.