Gin Recipes

Mix This: The Stay Up Late with Max Seaman of The Varnish

October 16th, 2013 — 12:21pm

Stay Up Late
Stay Up Late
Adapted from The Stork Club Bar Book by Lucius Beebe, 1946

This drink is a very simple variation on a Tom Collins. The Cognac adds just a bit of richness, and rounds out the botanical flavors of the gin. It is perfect for the summer or warm fall seasons we enjoy in Southern California.

- 1.5oz of London Dry Gin, such as Beefeater
- .5oz full bodied Cognac such as Pierre Ferrand 1840
- .75oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- .75oz simple syrup (1lb super-fine sugar diluted into 22oz warm water)
- 2-3oz club soda
- Lemon wedge and maraschino cherry for garnish

Combine the first four ingredients in a shaking tin. Shake very quickly with a few small pieces of ice. Add 2-3oz of club soda to the tin and swirl to integrate. Strain into Collins glass filled with ice. Serve with a straw and garnish with lemon wedge and cherry.

Max Seaman, General Manager, The Varnish

Mix This: The Dry Martini (By Max Seaman, GM at The Varnish)

July 16th, 2013 — 11:28am


A dry Martini may be the ultimate drinker’s drink: strong crisp and clean without any sugars or liqueurs, you can drink them all night long without getting bogged down. The key to a good dry Martini: Dry gin, high quality vermouth, cold ice and perfect dilution.

THE GIN: Make sure to use a good London Dry style gin. We prefer classics like Beefeater or Plymouth, but there are many great brands on the market. DO NOT use a modern-style gin like Hendrick’s. These types of gin are intended to be consumed on their own instead of mixed, and they do not “play well with others.” Hendrick’s, for example, is very sweet with a strong rose-water flavor that will clash with the vermouth and create an odd flavor. A London Dry style gin will integrate with the vermouth for a whole flavor greater than the sum of it’s parts.

THE VERMOUTH: We love Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry Dry, but there are other good dry vermouths out there. Try some out and see what you like.

THE RATIO: For whatever reason, many modern drinkers have become afraid of the taste of vermouth. We think a real Martini needs a strong dose of vermouth. We like a ratio of 2 parts gin to 1 part vermouth, but some people prefer 3 to 1 or even 5 to 1. However, we recommend against the “Winston Churchill” school of drinking a straight glass of gin while looking at a bottle of vermouth from across the room.

THE ICE: Make sure to use ice straight from the freezer. Remember, your freezer is set to a temperature below 32 degrees, and the colder the starting point of the ice, the colder your Martini. Also keep in mind that ice may pick up flavors of whatever is in your freezer. We also recommend chilling your glassware in the freezer, as this will keep your Martini colder longer. Freeze both the mixing glass and your coupe or Martini glass.

STIR, NEVER SHAKE. Shaking adds air bubbles and will create a cloudy, watery mess of a Martini. James Bond was a great secret agent but didn’t know much about cocktails. Make sure to fill the mixing glass all the way to the top with ice – the more ice you use the colder the drink. Stir gently – the idea is to chill the drink and also add just the right amount of water – enough to mellow and integrate the flavors, but not enough so that the drink is a watery mess.

THE GARNISH: An olive vs. a twist is completely up to the drinker. (no shame in asking for both!) A lemon twist adds aroma and a touch of bitterness. An olive adds a tasty snack.

If garnishing with a twist, cut a small strip of lemon peel with as little white pith as possible. Hold with your forefingers high above the glass with the outside of the peel facing down. Gently squeeze out the essential oils, and try to “rain” them down evenly over the liquid. If you hold it too close to the glass, the Martini will be harsh and bitter. After you’ve squeezed the oils, gently brush the rim of the glass with the peel. If you like your Martini a bit more bitter, drop the peel into the glass. If not, set it aside.

If garnishing with an olive, be creative: no need to be limited by those olives stuffed with pimento. There are many delicious olive varieties in world. We like to use cerignola olives from Italy.

THE VARNISH RECIPE:
-2oz Beefeater Gin
-1oz Dolin Dry Vermouth.

Place ingredients in a frozen 16oz pint glass. Fill with very cold ice and stir gently until the ice has given up about .75-1oz water. Strain into a frozen coupe or Martini glass. Garnish with an olive or a lemon twist. (or both!)

Max Seaman, The Varnish, GM

Mix This: The Southside

August 21st, 2012 — 4:44pm


A while back, we asked Eric Alperin for a few gin cocktail suggestions. My favorite one that he introduced us to is The Southside. It’s a classic and a perfect summer cocktail.

In researching the drink’s history, there seems to be 3 possible stories of origin:

1. It was created at the Southside Sportsman’s Club on Long Island, NYC, and evolved from the Mint Julep.

2. One says it was created during prohibition at the infamous 21 Club (during prohibition the bar was known as Jack & Charlies).

3. The least likely of the stories (but more exciting), was that it was invented during prohibition in Chicago on the Southside by the infamous and violent Saltis-McErlane gang to make their low quality bathtub spirits more palatable. Most of the evidence suggests that this infamous gang mainly sold beer, not spirits.

The Southside
- 1oz lime
- 3/4oz simple
- 2oz Beefeater Gin
- 5 mint leaves

Hard shake, strain into coupe, mint leaf garnish.

Lauren Wong, Golden Gopher, GM

Mix This: Pimm’s 5

April 18th, 2012 — 5:44pm


Spring is here and summer is upon Los Angeles.  So what did the bartender’s at Cole’s come up with?  After 2 months of work and many recipes later we would like to share with you our version of  ”Pimm’s 5″. Unlike like the “Pimm’s 1″ recipe that originally was made with gin, the “Pimm’s 5″ recipe was  made with Rye (Pimm’s #2- Scotch; Pimm’s #3-Brandy; Pimm’s #4-Rum; Pimm’s #6-Vodka).  The only 3 left in exitence  are Pimm’s #1, #6, and #3 (now called Winter).  Pimm’s #5 was distilled and sold after World War 2, but because of the company’s hard times and reduced demand Pimm’s #5 was phased out.  At Cole’s we say Boooooo!!!!  D. “Max” Maxey, a bartender at Cole’s, came across one of the original bottles of Pimm’s #5, and the Bar interest of creating a version was on it’s way.  We would love for our regulars and new comers to stop and try our Pimm’s #5 cup, which will be our 1930′s special for April and our seasonal special for May.  Don’t  worry you will always be able to get it year round, but there’s nothing like the beginning lanch!!!

Pimm’s 5
- 2oz of Cole’s Pimm’s #5

- 2 cucumber slices

- 1 orange slice

- 1 lemon wedge

- 4 mint leaves

- Touch of Cracked Fresh Pepper

- Over Ice & Topped with equal parts Soda & Sprite

Brent Falco, Bar Manager, Cole’s

Mix This: Long Island Iced Tea (L.I.T.)

January 24th, 2012 — 2:24pm


Order a Long Island Iced Tea in a higher end cocktail establishment, and you might possibly encounter a bit of eye rolling or a quiet “pffft!” under the breath. While certain obscure cocktails have definitely had a resurgence on the scene (absinthe-based ones come to mind) others have been almost vanquished to the “club” scene, considered by some “uncouth” or “unsophisticated” (Lemon drop, anyone?)

The L.I.T is credited to Robert C. “Rosebud” Butt from the 1970′s in Long Island, not surprisingly. Its main attribute is that its flavor belays the fact of its “punch-to-the-face”ness, which is why some bars limit the amount of how many you can order in one sitting. But made correctly, the LIT is a fabulous starter to get your evening started and soften your “mood”…

(One thing of Note: Due to these being a favorite of the club scene, they are usually made to be cranked out because of the high volume of customers. Most do not shake the cocktail, but just build in glass and be done with it. I think the shake makes the drink 10x better, so shake it–but don’t be surprised if you see it built but not shaken)

The Long Island Iced Tea (LIT)
Vodka (1/2)
Gin (1/2)
Tequila (1/2)
Light Rum (1/2)
Fresh Lemon (1/2)
Cointreau (1/2)
Simple (1/4)
Cola (Fill)
Lemon Wedge (Garnish)

All Contents except Cola (duh!) to Tumbler, Ice, Shake and Strain into Ice Filled Collins Glass. Add Cola to Fill, Stir gently and Garnish.

Plex Lowery, Tony’s Saloon General Manager