Words by: Simon Difford
The cocktails we came across during October and liked enough to add to Difford’s Guide, plus those recipes we’ve revisited and updated.
With: Dry gin, chestnut liqueur, orange curaçao, Campari and Fernet Branca.
We say: This digestive cocktail is aromatic and bittersweet with herbal and botanical complexity rounded by rich chestnut liqueur.
With: Calvados, white rum, Swedish punch, orange curaçao, demerara syrup and lemon juice.
We say: Rounded, citrusy and delicately spicy with an attractive underlying funk from Swedish punch.
Dr. Rieux recipe
With: Añejo tequila, cherry brandy, aperol, lemon juice and mezcal.
We say: Beautifully balanced bitter-sweetness with tequila and mezcal sitting harmoniously with cherry and aperitivo liqueurs, with lemon freshness. A perfect aperitivo cocktail.
Eclipse Cocktail recipe
With: Blackberries, spiced rum, lemon juice, sugar syrup, egg white and activated charcoal (optional).
We say: A Rum Sour blackened with blackberries and activated charcoal. The black charcoal which makes this cocktail black does little for the taste and given the potential issues with charcoal this tasty cocktail is perhaps best appreciated without its addition (as illustrated photographed here).
Fade To Black Cocktail recipe
With: Golden rum, coconut rum liqueur and pineapple juice.
We say: A ridiculously simple party drink with three equal parts shaken to produce a pineapple and coconut cocktail fortified with rum and crowned with a foamy head. Off dry and fruity rather than sweet.
Koko Colada recipe
With: Rye whiskey, Suze, Yellow Chartreuse, lemon juice, lime juice, maraschino liqueur and Benedictine D.O.M.
We say: A riff on a Last Ward, boozy, bittersweet and aromatic.
Loose Talk recipe
With: Reposado tequila, triple sec, lime juice, orange juice and sugar syrup.
We say: Orange juice adds fruity dilution to what could also be called a Breakfast Margarita. Sir Paul McCartney is said to like his Margaritas made with a splash of freshly squeezed orange juice, hence this recipe is named in his honour.
Macca Margarita recipe
With: Tequila blanco, lime juice and lemonade.
We say: The success of this cocktail is as much about the quality of your tequila as it is about your choice of lemonade. Made well and this Squeeze is zesty, balanced and very refreshing.
Mexican Squeeze recipe
With: Applejack, Irish whiskey, parfait amour, Jägermeister, demerara syrup, Jerry Thomas bitters and orange bitters.
We say: Boozy and floral with a hint of sweetness to smooth and harmonise, this after-dinner cocktail, originally served straight-up in a coupe (as presented here) but we prefer ours on-the-rocks.
Mirror Match recipe
With: Sloe gin, fino sherry and gentian liqueur.
We say: A riff on the classic Negroni from Vietnam which brilliantly set the richness of sloe gin against bone dry fino sherry while harnessing the herbal bitterness of gentian. Hit the right dilution, and by the third sip, when your palate has adjusted, you'll not be able to stop sipping this bitter aperitif cocktail.
With: Fresh strawberry, aged rum, genever, lemon juice, sugar syrup, honey syrup, ginger syrup, cinnamon syrup and Creole Bitters.
We say: Lightly spicy with an attractive underlying bready fruitiness from the fresh strawberry and genever.
Pirate Queen recipe
With: Bourbon, tawny port, maple syrup and angostura bitters.
We say: Bourbon and maple syrup somewhat overwhelm the headline port wine, although it does add an underlying fruitiness to this balanced and tasty riff on an Old-Fashioned.
Port Old Fashioned recipe
We say: A riff on a last word with a splash of cider, which depending on your cider will produce a boozy cocktail that's on the dry side.
Le Premier Word recipe
With: Irish whiskey, cocoa nib infused Campari, crème de banana, white crème de cacao and absinthe.
We say: This short bittersweet spirituous cocktail makes for a very tasty aperitif.
Psycho Killer Cocktail recipe
With: Dry gin, sweet vermouth, Suze and absinthe.
We say: A dry and aromatic aperitif cocktail with a long bittersweet herbal finish.
Pterodactyl Cocktail recipe
With: Pineau des Charentes rouge, aged rhum Agricole, amontillado sherry and Xocolatl Mole bitters.
We say: Rich and yet balanced with the combination of sherry and red pineau des charentes contributing the eponymous raisin with rhum agricole adding distinctive grassy sugar "cane" notes.
Raisin' Cane recipe
With: Old tom gin, gentian liqueur, Cocchi Americano and rhubarb bitters.
We say: A riff on a White Negroni, originally incorporating a generous dosing of two types of rhubarb bitters. (Also works well with 15ml / 1oz Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters). Obviously, with such generous used of bitters, this is a dry bitter aperitivo style cocktail.
Rite of Spring recipe
With: Spiced gin, Suze, Rinquinquin and chamomile bitters
We say: Lightly spiced and bittersweet, a good option for an aperitivo.
The Road Not Taken recipe
With: Aged rum, Pedro Ximénez sherry, coffee liqueur and espresso coffee.
We say: A hint of PX sherry adds the rainsy notes to this rum based riff on Dick Bradsell's Espresso Martini.
Rum & Raisin Espresso Martini recipe
With: Bourbon, Pineau de Charentes blanc, sugar syrup, lemon juice, egg white and Angostura bitters.
We say: A bourbon whiskey sour with a splash of pineau des charentes providing the grape influence.
Sour Grapes recipe
With: Absinthe, rye whiskey, Suze, sugar syrup and Peychaud's bitters
We say: A boozy and bittersweet aperitif style cocktail.
With: Reposado tequila, sweet vermouth, grapefruit liqueur, cinnamon syrup and mole bitters.
We say: Sweet vermouth rounds while pink grapefruit liqueur freshens reposado tequila with gentle but enlivening cinnamon spice and faint bitter chocolate.
"Two Guns" Miller recipe
With: Vodka, lime cordial, lemon juice, lime juice and sugar syrup.
We say: Dry grainy vodka delicately flavoured and softened by subtly sweetened lemon and lime juice.
Vodka Gimlet Cocktail recipe