Words by: Simon Difford
The cocktails we came across during May and liked enough to add to Difford’s Guide, plus those recipes we’ve revisited and updated.
Bamboo Cocktail (Boothby's 1908 recipe) 4.5/5 [UPDATED]
With: Dry vermouth, fino sherry, orange bitters and Angostura bitters.
We say: Dry and aromatic with fino sherry and dry vermouth in harmonious equal proportions.
Banana Caipirinha 4.5/5 [NEW]
With: Lime, caster sugar, banana, banana liqueur and cachaça.
We say: With an overripe banana this drink is delicious, thick and creamy. A meal in itself.
Black Forest Sour 4/5
With: Jägermeister, cherry brandy, pineapple juice, lemon juice, sugar syrup and egg white.
We say: Beautifully balanced with complex herbal, berry, pineapple and citrus flavours.
Blackberry Agave Caipirinha 4/5 [New]
With: Fresh lime, blackberries, agave nectar and cachaça.
We say: Sweetening with agave nectar rather than sugar helps set this fruity caipirinha apart and creates a drink that is very slightly sweet.
Courtside 4.5/5 [NEW]
With: Fresh strawberry, raspberries, vodka, elderflower liqueur, apple juice, lime juice, sugar syrup and soda.
We say: Easy drinking, fruity, refreshing and lightly sweet. Bring on the summer's afternoon.
Dutch Sour 4/5 [NEW]
With: Vodka, orange curaçao, lemon juice, sugar syrup, grapefruit bitters, orange flower water and egg white.
We say: A floral orangey riff on a vodka sour.
Embrasse de la Terre 4.5/5 [NEW]
With: Genever, dry vermouth, Yellow Chartreuse and celery bitters.
We say: This dry spirituous aperitif, Martini-like, cocktail combines malty genever and bitter celery flavours with Yellow Chartreuse richness dried by vermouth.
French Kiwi & Apple Caipirinha 4/5 [New]
With: Lime, sugar, kiwi fruit, Pernod, apple juice and cachaça.
We say: This kiwi and apple flavoured caipirinha is made "French" by the merest hint of anis (aniseed).
Harvest Moon Cocktail (PTD's recipe) 4.5/5 [NEW]
With: Straight rye whiskey, Lillet Blanc, calvados, Green Chartreuse and Abbott's bitters.
We say: Stirred down and boozy - very boozy, especially when made with bonded rye and applejack (as per the original recipe). However, the drinks apple notes coupled with the subtle herbal complexity of Chartreuse combine wonderfully in this potent rye whisky based after dinner sipper.
Hula Hula or Hoola-Hoola Cocktail 4/5 [UPDATED]
With: Gin, orange curaçao and orange juice.
We say: Said by many to date from 1934 and to have been created by Ray Buhen, one of Don The Beachcomber's original bartenders. In 1961 Ray opened his own Tiki-Ti Bar in Los Angeles, which today is run by his son and grandson. However, this recipe (spelt Hoola-Hoola) comes from Harry of Ciro's ABC of Mixing Cocktails, published in London in 1923, ten years before Donn Beach opened his Don's Beachcomber bar in Hollywood. So, obviously, Ray Buhen did not create the Hula Hula - although he may have been responsible for changing the spelling and popularising it.
Jägermeister Old-Fashioned 4.5/5 [NEW]
With: Jägermeister, bourbon, maple syrup and chocolate bitters.
We say: Rewarding, chocolatey and boozy with complex herbal and fruity notes.
The Joanna 4/5 [NEW]
With: Vodka, fino sherry, dry vermouth, elderflower liqueur and lavender bitters.
We say: Reminiscent of a vodkatini with fino sherry and notes of floral elderflower and lavender.
Kiwi Caipirinha 4.5/5 [NEW]
With: Lime, caster sugar, kiwi and cachaça.
We say: Fruity and refreshing, perfect for a summer's afternoon.
Melon & Apple Caipirinha 4.5/5 [New]
With: Lime, sugar, cantaloupe melon, apple juice and cachaça.
We say: Melon and lime dominate this deliciously fruity Caipirinha.
Melon Caipirinha 4.5/5 [New]
With: Lime, sugar, cantaloupe melon and cachaça
We say: Exactly as the name suggests, a fruity, melon flavoured Caipirinha.
Million Dollar Cocktail 4/5 [UPDATED]
With: Gin, sweet vermouth, pineapple juice, pomegranate (grenadine) syrup and egg white.
We say: Serious, yet superbly smooth and a bit fluffy.
Naughty German 4/5 [NEW]
With: Jägermeister, crème de cassis, lemon juice and sugar.
We say: Jägermeister spice and rich cassis combine wonderfully in this after dinner sipper, with subtle black liquorice and aniseed.
Pineapple Caipirinha 4.5/5 [New]
With: Lime, sugar, pineapple and cachaça.
We say: Natural acids from the pineapple make this more tart in flavour than some other fruit Caipirinhas, those with a sweet tooth may want to add an extra ½ spoon of sugar.
Pomegranate Daiquiri 4.5/5 [NEW]
With: Light rum, pomegranate juice, lime juice and sugar syrup.
We say: Freshly pressed pomegranate juice is essential to the success of this deliciously fruity but dry daiquiri.
Purple Stag 4.5/5 [NEW]
With: Jägermeister, Berry fruit tea, lemon juice, maple syrup and blackcurrant jam.
We say: Easy drinking and neither bitter or too sweet, it's hard not to like this rich herbal fruity cocktail.
Rosemary Tuck 4/5 [NEW]
With: Scotch whisky, tawny port, orange juice, sugar syrup and orange bitters.
We say: A refreshing Scotch and port wine nightcap, or a citrusy whisky aperitif. The Scotch and orange combo puts this drink in the same camp as the classic Blood & Sand.
Scandinavian Daiquiri 4.5/5 [NEW]
With: Aquavit, lime juice and sugar syrup.
We say: A caraway influenced riff on a daiquiri with aquavit replacing rum. Very refreshing and suited to a summer's afternoon, or early evening aperitif.
Sherry Herbst 4.5/5 [NEW]
With: Straight rye whiskey, bourbon, Punt E Mes, velvet falernum and oloroso sherry.
We say: Subtle vermouth and falernum sweetness takes the edge off this after-dinner whiskey charged, sipper of a cocktail.
Showgirl Cocktail 4.5/5 [NEW]
With: Aperol, dry vermouth, vodka, rose liqueur, black raspberry liqueur and champagne.
Comment: Wonderfully floral - flavours of rose and raspberry dominate with dry vermouth adding balance and complexity.
Tessmanian Devil 4/5 [NEW]
With: Gin, Strega liqueur, Lillet Blanc, lemon juice, Creole bitters, hot pepper sauce and cayenne pepper.
We say: The "devil" is in this cocktail's hot spice. Obviously, the garnish should not be eaten.
Watermelon Caipirinha 4.5/5 [New]
With: Lime, sugar, watermelon and cachaça.
We say: The melon flavours are very subtle in this delicious Caipirinha.