Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Patriot Sidecar

We knew that when Colleen stepped into the room wearing a flapper costume and Ryan a vintage motorcycle helmet, their drink was going to be one to remember. Not only were they there to make us a unique sidecar rendition, but they also taught us the history of the sidecar, complete with laminated information sheets and hand painted glasses.

According to Colleen their favorite version came "after many imaginative experiments and countless trips to Northern Virginia's ABC stores: From Brandy's to Cognacs to Grand Marnier's, and Cointreaus, to Vodkas, and lemons...even going so far to try lemon gelatos, Italian Ice, and Orange Creamcicles mixed in." They finally came to select a strong combination of pear infused Cognac and cardamon seeds.

Judges tasting notes include ""spice and pear together make it a good winter drink," and others believe that the flavors of the cardamon was a bit too strong for the sidecar as it was very herbaceous."

The combination of the pear cognac and cardamon was certainly a twist on the traditional sidecar, but nevertheless, an interesting drink to try.


1 part pear infused Brandy or Cognac
1/4 part Grand Marnier
1/4 part fresh squeezed lemon juice
7 muddled cardamon seeds (remove the hull first)
Pear Slice (garnish)
red, white, and blue sugar

  1. Fill a martini glass and set aside to chill

  2. In a cocktail shaker, include ice, pear Cognac, Grand Marnier, lemon juice and cardamon seeds

  3. Shake
  4. Take the reserved martini glass and dump out the ice

  5. Rim the glass with lemon juice and sugar (in equal amounts red, white, and blue sugar)

  6. Pour contents of shaker in the glass
  7. Garnish with a pear slice

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Classic Sidecar

Michael, as host, took it upon himself to set the night's par. His recipe was the classic sidecar from the earliest sources available, which led to a 1:1:1 ratio that is hardly used today. The classic sidecar, from circa 1922, was based on Cointreau, Cognac, and Lemon juice in equal portions, shaken and poured into a sugar-rimmed cocktail glass. Since the night would see many variations on this simple theme, it was important to make sure everyone knew the start from which all the creations would run wild.

The tasting notes from the night's judging included "very well executed classic", "very clean - loved the sugar", and "the essence of a sidecar!".

1 part Cointreau
1 part Cognac
1 part Lemon juice
Lemon rind (for garnish)


1. Fill Martini glass with ice to chill. Set aside.

2. Fill shaker with ice, add one ounce Cointreau, one ounce Cognac, and one ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice. Shake until the metal shaker is frosted on the outside.

3. Rim glass with lemon wedge, place in plate of confectioner's sugar to rim glass.

4. Empty ice used to cool glass, double-strain from shaker into glass. Garnish with a twist.

The classic sidecar is a drink that should be in every mixologist's bag of tricks because it becomes the base for a wide range of offshoots, including the margarita (tequila instead of cognac) and the daiquiri (rum instead of cognac).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

World Cocktail Week, May 6-13

The Society encourages everyone to celebrate World Cocktail Week, May 6-13. Several DC area venues are hosting events including:

Cocktail Cage Match - May 6th, 1 to 2pm
WAMU 88.5 FM
Tune in to WAMU’s Kojo Nnambi Show to hear a debate between Todd Thrasher of Restaurant Eve, PX and Derek M. Brown of the Gibson, SOVA on the merits of culinary cocktails versus classic cocktails.

Honoring D.C.s Greatest Bartender - May 6th, 3pm
Visit to the grave of George A. Williamson, legendary D.C. bartender and inventor of the Rickey.
For details, contact: Derek Brown

Bar Pilar - May 6th, 5 to 7pm
1833 14th St., NW
Washington, DC
Plymouth Gin Rickey Happy Hour with Adam Bernbach, DC's indigenous cocktail featuring Plymouth Gin.

PS7’s - May 7th, 5 to 8pm
777 Eye St., NW
Washington, DC
80's Happy Hour Remix - Gina Chersevani in promotion with Skyy Vodka will be remixing 80's cocktails to a new beat, with music provided by DJ Brian Miller! There will flare, fire, and fun with the help of fellow guild members Rachel Sergi from Zatinaya and Jason Strich from Rasika. Get out your hairspray and tight roll your jeans for an outrageous time.

The Warehouse Cafe - May 8th, 6 to 8pm
1021 7th St NW
Washington, DC
Punch Club Happy Hour, featuring classic punches by Dan Searing of Room 11

SOVA Espresso and Wine - May 9th, 7 to 9pm
1359 H St NE
Washington, DC
Featuring the Bay Area Philosopher and assorted Pisco cocktails with Pisco expert Melanie Asher and SOVA head bartender Jamie MacBain

The Gibson - May 10th, 6 to 8pm
2009 14th St., NW
Washington, DC
Tiffany's Tiki Happy Hour - We are offering a selection of three classic tiki drinks made by Tiffany Short.

Proof - May 11, 7pm
775 G St, NW
Washington, DC
Cocktail party and five-course dinner benefiting the Museum of the American Cocktail will kick off with a cocktail hour featuring passed hors d'oeuvres and five specialty cocktails created just for this event. Proof’s executive chef Haidar Karoum will prepare a five-course tasting menu that will be paired with five additional specialty cocktails.The city's top mixologists will create cocktails for the evening, including Adam Bernbach, Derek Brown, Gina Chersevani, Justin Guthrie, Owen Thomson, Todd Thrasher, Chantal Tseng, Rico Wisnor, Jill Zimorski, and Sebastian Zutant.
$145 per person
Contact: Karen Chan

Sonoma Lounge - May 12th, 6 to 9pm
223 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
Washington, DC
Upstairs Happy Hour - Cucumber Milk Punch, along with other cocktails featuring Hendricks Gin by Justin Guthrie and Tom Street

Tabard Inn - May 13th, 10pm
1739 N Street, NW
Washington, DC
Reverse Happy Hour with Chantal Tseng - Featuring “May” cocktails by Chantal Tseng.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Henry Jones Sidecar

Laura was not only our hostess for the Sidecar Soiree, she made one of the evening's best drinks. Here's the way Laura described her sidecar, The Henry Jones: 
My drink was a decedent, feminine twist to the classic sidecar.  I wanted to evoke the warmth and the simplicity of the original, but add a creamy and seductive component.  The meringue topping's vanilla aroma gave the sidecar a new, soft, luxurious layer.  It's a familiar smell that beckons all around it to taste.  Much like a woman, it's hard to put your lips on it once.
The name, by the way comes from the father of Indiana Jones, who in the Last Crusade, rode around with Indiana in a sidecar.

Judges tasting notes for the Henry Jones include, "smooth", "cream and orange are classic", "nice classic with a flair", "great presentation", "enjoyed the way the citrus cut through the egg white", "the meringue topping is spectacular - the hint of vanilla at the end is great", and the quote that is certain to make it into the marketing collateral, "the alcoholics lemon meringue!"

1 oz Cognac
1 oz Grand Marnier
1 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

1 oz Pasteurized Egg Whites
1 tbs Powered Sugar
1/4 tsp Cream of Tarter
1/4 tsp Pure Vanilla Abstract


1. Fill a martini glass with ice, set aside.

2. Combine cognac, grand marnier and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 5-10 seconds.

3. In a separate chilled bowl, combine egg whites, powdered sugar, cream of tarter and vanilla. Whisk until frothy but still pourable.

4. Take reserved martini glass and dump out ice.
5. Fill empty glass with shaker contents.
6. Top drink with meringue topping.

This drink, particularly the topping, is incredibly tasty and easy to drink. So easy you'll want a few!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Ginger Sidecar

The Ginger Sidecar was the Society's Sidecar Soiree judges' choice.  I'd been seeing the Domaine de Canton in some of the better bars around DC for awhile, and after tasting it, I was hooked.  And, since Canton is cognac based, I thought it made for a great taste to build a sidecar around.  Balancing the ginger with citrus and sweet took a bit of experimentation, but this turned out to be a good drink and a frequent request of my guests.

Judges tasting notes for the Ginger Sidecar include, "delicious with a twist", "excellent presentation", "ginger was an excellent POP", "very smooth", "clean and crisp", "perfect for a beachside evening", and "the ginger is nice and subtle - not overpowering but enough to be interesting".

3/4 oz Cognac (I used Hennessy VSOP)
1 1/2 oz Domaine de Canton ginger infused cognac
1 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz blue curacao (see comments below)
3 good shakes of Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters
Brown sugar and white sugar rim
Zest of Lime, fresh ginger, and Candied Ginger to finish

1.  Fill a martini glass with ice to chill.

2.  Combine Cognac, Canton, lime juice, Blue Curacao, and Blood Orange Bitters in a shaker.
3.  Shake vigorously over ice for at least 20 seconds.
4.  Empty ice from martini glass and use fresh sliced ginger to wet the rim of the glass (instead of a lemon).  Rim the glass with brown sugar and white sugar mix.

5.  Add a thin slice of fresh ginger to the bottom of the glass.  Pour sidecar into glass.  Zest fresh lime onto mixture.

6.  Garnish with swizzle stick with candied ginger.

Now, here's the thing about the Ginger Sidecar....well, it uses Blue Curacao.  Aside from having the required orange flavor, I was really going for Presentation and Shizzle points with the blue cocktail.  If you have a blue event, it's a good way to go.  But honestly, it's a better drink if you use Patron Citronge instead of curacao.  Just sayin'.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Society #2: Sidecar Soirée Round-up

The second meeting of The Society took place on Friday, April 3rd at the Sherman Residence.  The Sidecar Soirée was a huge success.  Not only did we draw four more members, the drink itself offered so many opportunities for experimentation and....well, Shizzle, that the night was full of surprises and fun.

First, a note about The Rules.  Rule #1 in the Society Charter is the most poignant and the most important:
(1) There are no losers, for we will all be drinking.
This rule was in full force at the Sidecar Soirée, as the pictures show!  Everyone came out to make their best Sidecar, but the buzzy fun and joie de vivre of the event made everyone a winner.

The Sidecar Soirée yielded six amazing interpretations of the cocktail ranging from a purist Sidecar revival to extravagant modern interpretations. In all each of the six drinks were amazing and I expect to drink alot of Sidecars in the future.

Society #2 came with an awful lot of flair which, in Society terms, we refer to as Shizzle.  Although drink scoring is heavily weighted towards Taste (6 of 10 points) and Presentation (3 of 10), gaining that point for Shizzle is not only important to the overall score, it's also the most fun point to win.  Our newest members, Colleen, Ryan, Meredith, and Scott, not only made excellent Sidecars, their Shizzle set a high bar as you shall see as we post each drink over the coming weeks. 

So, without further ado, here are the drinks from Society #2: Sidecar Soirée as ranked by the judges:

Mixologist:  Bryan (with Sous Chef Louise)

Mixologist:  Laura

Drink: Sidecar Nouveau
Mixologist: Meredith and Scott

Drink: Patriot
Mixologist:  Colleen and Ryan

Drink: Fly Car
Mixologist:  Ellis and Zoe

Drink:   Classic Sidecar
Mixologist:  Michael

Oh, and in case you were wondering, this is what it looks like at the end of the night......  Good times!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A few thoughts about Shizzle

Shizzle is a fairly new concept in cocktail culture, but it is quickly spreading and is all the rage in Omaha, Waterloo, and even Tampa. Despite its recent popularity, it is not well understood among novices or pros. This short note is intended to clear up a few misconceptions about Shizzle so that we can all appreciate it better.

Shizzle is not about Taste.  Taste is all about the flavor, strength, spiciness, sweetness and overall yumminess of a drink.  This, of course, is the most important characteristic of a cocktail.

Shizzle is not about Presentation.  Presentation is all about how the drink looks in the glass, how it is garnished, its color, maybe even the way it is prepared and served.

No, Shizzle is something more.  It is about the completely unexpected. ALL good drinks should look nice and taste great.  A drink with Shizzle makes a sound.  Or it has flames shooting out.  It has a neon glow.  Or a fish swimming in it.  Something that goes well beyond anything you can reasonably expect.

And thus, Shizzle points are not gimme points.  They must be hard won points reserved for something spectacular.  If you've been there and done that before, there is no Shizzle.  If you can buy it in the liquor store, there is no Shizzle.  If, on the other hand, there's a smile that won't go away and if you can't stop saying, "Wow," we have found that most holy of all cocktail characteristics.....we have been served a bit of Shizzle.  Imbibe!!!