Matches for: “"cocktail perfected"” …

Cocktail Perfected: Tanabata Cocktail

Naoto and I have been working on our menu for our 4th annual Hasegawa Tanabata. We are going all out this year again with a sushi tray and lots of homemade recipes we’ve been perfecting all year. It really is my favorite night of the summer…well, next to fireworks…but the food is better. (Sorry, grilled American food.) Last year I made a batch of spumonis and we’ve also had yuzu liqueur and sake, but this year, I wanted a fancy cocktail and I found this one on Reddit. It tastes like something you’d drink at a suburban sushi restaurant, though it’s not Japanese. Still, I think the purple is fitting with the spirit of Tanabata and it’s very delicious.

Empress Cocktail 

2oz gin

0.75oz fresh lemon juice

0.75oz lychee liqueur

0.5oz creme de violette

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until very chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass. Serve on the lanai with some sushi and gyoza on a hot summer night.

Tagged , , , , ,

Cocktail Perfected: Twentieth Century

Twentieth Century Cocktail, vintage cocktailsI’ve been working this week on decorating and pulling out some of my Halloween mail art supplies. I’m hoping to have everything done tonight so I can enjoy the season and maybe make a cheesecloth ghost or something. It was really hot on Wednesday, so I was able to finish the balcony. Temperatures dropped yesterday and leaves are actually falling, so I’m definitely feeling like getting cozy and reading spooky books this weekend.

Ok, so the Twentieth Century is not a true Halloween cocktail, but there is a hint of chocolate so we can consider it grown-up Halloween candy-esque. I had this cocktail for the first time at Fitzgerald’s a few years ago and it’s a favorite classic cocktail of mine. It was created in 1937 as a nod to the Twentieth Century Limited, a train that went between Chicago and New York City from 1902 until the 1960s. You might think it sounds weird with the creme de cacao and the lemon…it is strange but it works. Trust me.

Twentieth Century Cocktail

1 1/2 ounces gin

3/4 ounce Lillet Blanc (We use Cocchi Americano if we have that on hand instead.)

3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 ounce white creme de cacao

Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice. Shake until fully chilled and strain into a coupe. Enjoy on a chilly fall night. (Or a warm summer night…it works.)

P.S. Two true Halloween cocktails: Purgatory and Corpse Reviver #2

Tagged , , , ,

Cocktail Perfected: Boulevardier

Naoto and I had our first balcony Hasegawa Happy Hour last weekend. It was freezing. After a week of warm temperatures, the mercury plummeted on Saturday night, leaving me to shiver through our cocktail.

I love a good negroni, but since it was getting so chilly, I decided a warmer version of the drink would do the trick, so I made Boulevardiers. Basically, the gin is swapped out for whiskey. It’s warmer and a bit sweeter than a negroni. We drank them in two of my new favorite cocktail glasses, thanks to my parents’ thrifting luck and genius.


1 1/2 oz bourbon

3/4 oz sweet vermouth

3/4 oz Campari

Pour into a mixing glass and stir with ice until completely chilled. In my experience, that means stir for way longer than you think you should be stirring, 25-30 seconds. Strain into a pretty cocktail glass and garnish with an orange peel, if desired. Enjoy on your balcony on a chilly night, and come inside when you get too cold.

Tagged , , ,

Cocktail Perfected: The Rosemary Gimlet

rosemary gimlet, Hasegawa Happy Hour, cocktail hour, summer cocktailsWe don’t have any ripe tomatoes in Plot 6 yet but our herbs are flourishing like crazy. So far, I’ve made Greek orzo salad with our parsley, a round of pesto with our basil, and a cocktail with the rosemary.

I haven’t made a classic gimlet in a long time, and I thought rosemary would be a nice addition and what do you know? Someone‘s already done it! I love the balance of herbal and tart with a hint sweetness (though mostly herbal.) Rosemary used to remind me of fall, Thanksgiving turkey, roasted potatoes…but in a cocktail, it’s very fresh and summery.

Rosemary Simple Syrup

Make this ahead of time so you have time to chill it before making the cocktails.

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

~2 Tablespoons of rosemary, roughly chopped (Or for a lighter rosemary flavor, just add 2-3 stalks of whole rosemary into the sugar/water mixture.)

Add ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to boil, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Turn off heat and let sit until cool. Strain into a jar and refrigerate. This makes enough for 4+ cocktails.

The Rosemary Gimlet 

2 oz gin

3/4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

3/4 oz rosemary simple syrup

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until very chilled and pour into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary. Enjoy on the lanai on a hot summer night!

Tagged , , , , ,

Cocktail Perfected: Corpse Reviver #2 

Corpse Reviver #2, Lillet, Aviation Gin, Cointreau, AbsintheI’m slowly recovering from the plague* so I figured, what better cocktail to feature today than the Corpse Reviver #2. It’s actually the second of the Halloween cocktails I promised you last month. I’d been reading about the Corpse Revivers (#1 and #2) in all of my vintage cocktail books for years, but never made one because of one key ingredient, absinthe. I hate the anise/black licorice flavor that is so prominent in absinthe so it seemed pretty risky to buy a pricey bottle of something I may not enjoy. But we took the plunge and bought North Shore Distillery’s Sirène Absinthe Verte and it’s been a worthy addition to the cocktail menu for the Corpse Reviver #2 alone.

Corpse Reviver #2

3/4 oz gin

3/4 oz Cointreau

3/4 oz Lillet Blanc

3/4 oz lemon juice (freshly squeezed!)

dash absinthe

Pour a dash of absinthe in a cocktail glass and slowly swirl it around to coat the inside of the glass. Turn the glass slowly and pay attention to get the absinthe as close to the rim as possible. I think this is the key to a good Corpse Reviver. You can’t really taste the anise flavors, but the scent of the absinthe adds an herbal dimension to the cocktail. Discard any extra absinthe (or use it to rinse the next cocktail glass.)

Add the gin, Cointreau, lemon juice, and Lillet to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled and pour into the prepared cocktail glass. Bring out your Ouija Board and see who you can conjure up from the dead.

*It wasn’t really the plague.

Tagged ,

Cocktail Perfected: Purgatory

Purgatory Cocktail, Old Overholt rye, Chartreuse, BenedictineI am embracing the Halloween spirit this week, finally finishing decorating and reading a few spooky short stories. We are reading “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle” for book club this month. One of our book club members sent over Edith Wharton’s “Afterward” as a bonus suggestion since our stories are so short and everyone loves reading a good “ghost story” this time of year. I can’t wait to read “Afterward” and this post has some other great suggestions if you’re into Halloween reading.

I have a couple of good cocktails to share this month for Halloween. These aren’t Pinterest-y cocktails like a Witch’s Brew or Candy Corn Jello Shots, but classic cocktails that always put me in the mood for ghost stories, scary movies, and ghoulish mail art.

The first cocktail is Purgatory, a rye-based cocktail with warm, herbal, and spicy notes. It’s potent, especially considering it’s a 4 ounce pour, but there’s nothing like it on a crisp fall night.

Purgatory Cocktail

2 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (I like Old Overholt. It’s budget-friendly!)

3/4 oz Chartreuse

3/4 oz Benedictine

Add ingredients to a mixing glass with ice. Stir until chilled and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Drink slooowwwwwwly while reading about headless horsemen, the return of the dead, or Casper the Friendly Ghost.

Tagged , ,

Cocktail Perfected: The Negroni

Negroni cocktailI tried a Negroni for the first time at a restaurant a couple of summers ago. It was okay, but not so great that I wanted to buy the ingredients to make one at home. But somehow a bottle of Campari made it into our bar and I haven’t stopped drinking them since. I’m convinced that the restaurant that served me my original Negroni didn’t use good booze. There is no other reason I wouldn’t have liked this drink. With the right gin and vermouth, the Negroni sings a bitter break-up tune that wins my heart.

The Negroni

1 oz gin (I like North Shore No 6.)

1 oz sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica is my favorite.)

1 oz Campari

Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into a cocktail glass.


Pour ingredients into an old fashioned glass with ice and stir.

Garnish with an orange peel.

Enjoy while catching up on your mail for World Post Day.

Cocktail Perfected: Moonlight Cocktail

hasegawa happy hourI’m not sure when it happened, but I have a huge aversion to the color purple lately. I used to like it. Then one day I realized that I have no purple clothes, I never choose purple pens or stationery and all of my purple washi tapes (there are only three rolls) are almost completely untouched. (I mostly use them for grandma mail…because I think she likes purple.) When we were shopping for flowers for the balcony last weekend, I steered clear of the purples and went for the reds, the pinks, the yellows and oranges.

One exception to the purple aversion: cocktails. I’ve been using my violet liqueur pretty often lately for cocktail-making…apparently I love a purple cocktail. On Friday night, I made Aviations for a little “craft club” night with some friends. On Saturday, I made the cousin of the Aviation–the Moonlight. Like the Aviation, it’s very purple, but also very delicious. It has the same basic ingredients as the Aviation, but it replaces the maraschino liqueur with triple sec.

The Moonlight Cocktail

1.5 oz gin (We used North Shore No. 6, a favorite around here.)

.75 oz Cointreau (or another triple sec)

.5 oz créme de violette

.5 oz lemon juice (freshly squeezed, always)

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled. Pour into a coupe or a cocktail glass. Enjoy on a spring Saturday night while planning your garden.vintage cocktail glasses




Cocktail Perfected: Pining for the Queen

pining for the queen cocktail,, north shore distillery ginAs I mentioned yesterday, we were given an opportunity to create our own cocktails at the North Shore Distillery cocktail class. It wasn’t hard to choose which spirit would be the base of our cocktail–gin. Then we all kind of just started adding what sounded fun to work with. I wanted to experiment with the Earl Grey simple syrup and then we decided lemon and rosemary would be fun to add to the mix. What we ended up creating, if I may say so myself, is a pretty tasty spring cocktail. Brett came up with the name…genius, no?

The rosemary and the Earl Grey flavors are very subtle, but the hints of flavor complement the gin and lemon perfectly. I have a feeling this is going to be the year of the herbal cocktail around here so I’ve decided to devote a portion of our garden plot to cocktail-making ingredients like basil, lavender, rosemary and thyme. Now, it just needs to warm up so we can get started!

Pining for the Queen

2 oz gin (We used North Shore Distiller’s Gin No. 6.)

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon

1/2 oz Earl Grey simple syrup (recipe below)

In a cocktail shaker, lightly muddle the sprig of rosemary with the simple syrup…very lightly, as in barely bruise the leaves. Add gin, lemon, tea syrup and ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with lemon zest.

Enjoy outdoors on a spring afternoon…or while watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Earl Grey Simple Syrup

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

2-3 Earl Grey tea bags (or loose tea equivalent)

Boil water and steep tea according to recommendation. (I used 2 tea bags and steeped for 6 minutes.)

Add in sugar and simmer until dissolved. Store in a glass container in the refrigerator for up to one month.


Cocktail Perfected: The Colony

colony cocktailAfter I tried the Colony at Tradition in San Francisco, I was eager to make one at home. I am a sucker for a gin cocktail. One that includes maraschino liqueur? Even better.

In a moment of desperation, I tried this with bottled grapefruit juice. We had it in the fridge and no real grapefruits and I was excited to try the cocktail…bottled juice (no matter the quality) is never a replacement for the real stuff, freshly squeezed straight from the fruit. One big grapefruit yielded enough juice for five cocktails…perfect for a little party.

Colony Cocktail

1 1/2 oz gin (I used Aviation.)

3/4 oz freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

2 teaspoons maraschino liqueur (I used Luxardo.)

Add everything to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass or a coupe. Garnish with a grapefruit twist (or not…Naoto cleaned up the fruit mess too quickly!)

Enjoy with friends while watching the Oscars on a cold and snowy night. Think of the Colony as a little shot of Vitamin C for the long, long winter.