November 2020

Where the love of mixology and good music combine

Who doesn’t love cherries?  Well, if you don’t like them, you will hate this cocktail.  As we head into fall, my taste in cocktails change from light and refreshing to dark and bold.  Autumn is the domain of  Sazerac and Vieux Carre; powerful concoctions to cut through the wind and cold.  Alibaba is my niece’s nickname, and cherry is one of her favorite flavor profiles.  Sweet and sour in equal measure, cherries are a great component to any cocktail.  Find your favorite chair, curl up with a book, listen to a favorite tune, and indulge in this delicious creation.      



Flavor Profile: cherry bomb




1 1/2 oz Bourbon (Woodford Reserve Double Oaked)

1/2 oz Rye (High West Double Rye)

1/2 oz Punt e Mes Vermouth

1/4 oz grenadine

1/4 oz simple syrup

3 dashes cherry bitters (Woodford Reserve)

2 muddled cherries




Muddle cherries at the bottom of the mixing glass.  Fill mixing glass with ice.  Add all ingredients and stir for approximately one minute.  Double strain into a martini glass.  






My Take:


The Manhattan is among the most iconic whiskey cocktails, and there are literally thousands of variations.  The Red Hook, created originally by Enzo Errico, a bartender at the Milk & Honey in New York City, is the inspiration for my riff; Alibaba.  Punt a Mes is an odd and potent vermouth; it’s neither sweet nor dry, but somewhere in between with a savory, complex profile.  Like the Red Hook, Punt e Mes is the wheelhouse for the cocktail, and all other components used must play nicely with it.  I wanted cherries to shine through, but I didn’t want to make the drink too sweet.  The grenadine worked beautifully with the other components while giving Alibaba a unique, ruddy color in the glass.  Switching out the rye for bourbon really helped balance out everything, and while I considered lime for contrast it just made the drink too sour, and not in a good way.  All that being said, Alibaba is a strong, spirit-forward Red Hook riff, and will have you wishing for more.          


Music Pairing:


Seal “I Put a Spell on You” Standards (Decca)


I love Seal’s voice, and when he decided to do an album based on old jazz classics I was all in.  This number is my favorite, and is a true drop-the-mic moment.