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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Blood and Sand cocktail will cure those Utah desert blues

Recently the Utah Mixologist wrote about the reincarnation of Salt Lake City’s venerable Bar X as a cocktail bar.  The cocktail menu included a classic cocktail found in the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930) that this mixologist had never tried: the Blood and Sand.  The Blood and Sand was created in 1922 to capitalize on the popularity of the Rudolf Valentino movie of the same name.  Researching this recipe led to Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, where you can find a short discussion of the history of the Blood and Sand, along with an interesting variation on the recipe.  The original Savoy recipe calls for equal parts of all ingredients, and tastes pretty good, but Haigh’s recipe adds an additional quarter ounce of both OJ and Scotch and makes a perceptible improvement.

A word of warning: the color of the Blood and Sand has more sand than blood in it, which makes presentation problematic.  Cherry Heering Liqueur® is reddish in color, but once the Vermouth, Scotch, and OJ are added, you end up with a distinct, brownish hue.  So if you’re serving these to friends or at a party, try to use glasses with a complementary color or use some colorful cocktail picks to jazz things up.  Be sure to experiment with the ingredient variations given below to see which proportions work best for you.  An easy way to do this is to mix a batch using the classic from the Savoy recipe, taste it, and then add the extra quarter ounces, stir a little, and taste it again.  Post your findings here to let us all know which variation tastes best to you.

Blood and Sand (Savoy)
  • 3/4 oz Orange juice
  • 3/4 oz Blended Scotch (Dewars® works)
  • 3/4 oz Cherry Heering Liqueur®
  • 3/4 oz sweet vermouth

Fill a cocktail shaker 2/3 full of ice. Add ingredients and shake until your hand gets cold.  Strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a cocktail (or Maraschino) cherry and ride off into the desert.

Blood and Sand (Ted Haigh variation)
  • 1 oz Orange juice
  • 1 oz Blended Scotch
  • 3/4 oz Cherry Heering Liqueur®
  • 3/4 oz sweet vermouth

Friday, March 25, 2011

Caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil, comes to Salt Lake City

Cachaça, Brazil’s version of Rum, is now available in Utah.  Salt Lake City aficionados know that Rum is distilled from molasses, a by-product of cane sugar production that remains after sugar has been made.  Some Rums, especially those like Cruzan® Black Strap Rum, even have a strong molasses taste, but most do not. Cachaça differs from Rum because it’s distilled from sugar cane juice before it is processed into sugar, which gives it a different flavor.  If you’ve ever had Cachaça in Brazil, it’s supposed to be pretty cheap (and pretty bad).  It is even rumored that Brazilians sometimes use it to fuel their cars.  Fortunately, the Cachaça that makes its way to the US is of far better quality, and now Cachaça is available in Utah, which means we can try a Caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil.  Leblon Cachaça (CS# 042599) is now available in larger liquor stores (it’s in limited distribution in Utah, but some was spotted at Bar X), so if your local Utah State Liquor Store is a small one, you might want to call ahead.

Caipirinhas are easy to make, all you need are Cachaça, sugar, lime and ice.  About the only variation would be to change the amount of sugar if you prefer yours a little sweeter or a little more sour.  If you would like to try a Caipirinha, but don’t want to invest in a bottle of Cachaça, you can try a Caipirissima.  Just use rum in place of the Cachaça.  It won’t taste quite the same, but you’ll get the idea.

  • 1 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 Lime
  • 2 ounces Cachaça

Cut the lime into eight wedges and drop into a mixing glass. Add the sugar and muddle well.  Add the Cachaça and stir.  Pour into a pre-chilled old fashioned glass and fill with crushed ice or small cubes, then give it a final stir.  If you’re feeling lazy, you can do everything in a single glass.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tuaca Tropical Margarita will jumpstart your summer daydreams

Spring is finally arriving in Salt Lake City.  After 8” of snow just ten days ago, bushes are budding and tulips are about to bloom.  Time to start dreaming of cold, summer cocktails.  Tuaca® is a “vanilla citrus liqueur” that is golden brown in color, originated in Firenze 500 years ago, and is available in Utah today!  Its ingredients include brandy, citrus (orange?), and vanilla. Tuaca is sweet tasting, with vanilla as the dominant flavor.  The Utah Mixologist has never been known to turn down a tropical drink (much as he loves his whiskey cocktails), so when he received the recipe for the Tuaca Tropical Margarita he had to give it a try.  If you’re looking for a delicious tropical drink, the Tuaca Tropical Margarita is sure to please.  The pineapple and fruitiness would incline one towards placing this cocktail in the Mai Tai family, but the addition of Tequila forces a quick turn into Margaritaville. 

The recipe calls for “parts,” which makes it easy to scale the drink up or down, but may be confusing.  If you remember the post “Cocktails 101: How does your classic cocktail measure up?” you will be aware that two parts (Tuaca) would normally be 1 ½ oz and one part (Reposado Tequila) would be ¾ oz.  In this recipe we would end up measuring 3/16 oz lemon juice, so the measures have been scaled up to simplify things.  Tuaca Liqueur (CS# 077786) is available in Utah in general distribution, and so should be available in most stores.  Assuming you have a bottle of Reposado Tequila lying around (don’t we all), but might need to pick up some Tuaca, you should call ahead if your local Utah State Liquor Store is a small one.

Tuaca® Tropical Margarita
  • 2 parts (2 oz) Tuaca® Liqueur
  • 1 (1  oz) part Tequila Herradura® Reposado
  • ½ part (½ oz) simple syrup (or Agave Nectar)
  • ¼ part (¼ oz) fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 one-inch squares fresh pineapple

Muddle the pineapple squares well in a cocktail shaker (be sure to get all of the juice out) and then add the remaining ingredients and fill shaker 2/3 full with ice. Shake enthusiastically and strain over fresh ice into a pre-chilled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and (since it’s a tropical drink) a neon red cherry.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Irish are upon us! Are you ready with St. Patrick’s Day cocktail recipes?

It’s that time of year again.  Salt Lake City’s Irish population (and those who wish they were) are preparing to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (SPD).   St. Paddy’s Day doesn’t have to be an orgy of drinking and partying (as much fun as that can be).  Many in Utah celebrate it quietly at home with cocktails.  The Utah Mixologist used to live in Chicago, home of the great Irishman and President of the US, Barack O’bama.  SPD is a big deal in Chicago.  In Chicago they dye their river and their beer green on SPD. 

Green drinks seem to have become something of a fad on SPD, and we have some food-coloring-free green cocktail recipes for the enjoyment of any of your friends that require them.  Others are more interested in serious drinking, and they must be kept happy, too.   That reminds me of my favorite Saint Paddy’s Day joke:  “Two Irishmen walked out of a bar… Well, don’t laugh, it could happen!”  So view the slideshow on for a handful of great ideas, then click through below for articles on each of the cocktails.
Beannachtai ná Fhéile Pádraig!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Liquor License Liberalization Lessens Local Limitations

Salt Lake City cocktailians will be pleased to learn that some of the restrictions on the number of liquor licenses in Utah have been loosened.  The Salt Lake Tribune reports that 40 beer bar licenses will be converted to restaurant licenses.  This is good news for drinkers, but the bad news is that the number of full bar licenses will not be increased.  Indeed, it turns out that too many full bar licenses were accidentally issued, so no more of them will be forthcoming until Utahans make enough babies to justify issuing more.  Of course, the state never gives without taking away: beer lovers will be sad to learn that mini-kegs are kaput, and daily drink specials have been (no surprise) confirmed to be illegal.  So the drinking weather forecast is partly cloudy with more of the same for the foreseeable future… click through on the above link for details.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cocktails in Salt Lake City: Have you tried Bar X?

Bar X’s storied past as a divey beer bar is well known to residents of Salt Lake City, especially alumni of the University of Utah.  Bar X was one of the first bars to open in Salt Lake City after the end of prohibition (remember: Repeal Day, December 5, 1933, when the great state of Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment, thus repealing prohibition.)  Bar X closed its doors last July and reopened in January with a newly remodeled interior and, more importantly, a craft cocktail menu.  There’s still plenty of dive atmosphere (like sticky floors), beer, and wine, but the quality of the drinks has improved appreciably from Bar X’s beer bar heritage.

On a recent visit, my party sampled the following cocktails: Sazerac, Blood and Sand, Pimm’s Cup, and Gin Gin Mule.  Seth, our bartender, knew his business: what to shake and what to stir, how to pare a lemon twist, and all our cocktails were excellent.  We didn’t have time to try the Boston Sour, Corpse Reviver No.2, Dark and Stormy, El Diablo, Moscow Mule, Old Fashioned, or Cuba Libre, but we will one of these days.  A look at the bottles racked up behind the bar (from Maker’s 46 ® to Leblon Cachaça®, High West® Rye and beyond) sends a message that this is a serious cocktail bar that can mix almost any drink you would like to have.