How to Make a Jungle Bird Cocktail

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence

Sometimes behind the bar, you have your own personal trends. Take, for example, this week's cocktail. A year or two ago, I got on a streak of making this drink for almost everyone I knew. I sang its praises far and wide. But somehow, it never made it into Chow Bella.

Then last week some friends and I were talking shop. Someone asked if I had heard of the Jungle Bird cocktail. They said I'd like it, that doesn't take itself too seriously but has a sophisticated side. I found the recipe in my library and immediately remembered that I'd made scores of these not too long ago.

I'm glad I dusted off my archives. The Jungle Bird cocktail is a damned fine drink.


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Licor 43 Is My New Fascination Behind the Bar

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence
It's "cuarenta y tres," not "forty-three."

I find trends in liquor to be both fascinating and puzzling. Lately, I'm left wondering how the hell marketing executives come up with ridiculous flavors of vodka. Nothing quite says "I'm using a fake ID" than trying to order a drink made with vodka that tastes like Froot Loops cereal.

But through all of the ridiculous things that drinkers find fashionable, there are certain bottles out there that have a certain timeless appeal. For whatever reason, many of these bottles end up collecting dust while everyone swigs the Next Big Thing.


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How to Make a Chocolate Cake Shot

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence
Shots, Shots, Shots!
I have a somewhat long-distance relationship with shots. I mean, they're fun, and they're easy to throw together, but when your first position behind the stick is making very complex tropical drinks, it's easy to have a simple part of a bartender's repertoire fall by the wayside.

Then my birthday rolled around, and I remembered exactly why it's nice to know some shots.

Shots are an essential part of any bartender's arsenal of cocktails. What better way to get someone's party started than making several of the same drink all at the same time? I'll certainly take making a flock of shots over putting together five different beers and four different cocktails any day.

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How to Make a Twentieth Century Cocktail

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence
It's kind of fun looking through my bar books for some cocktailian inspiration. Quite a few of the recipes (especially the ones on the sticky pages, just like cookbooks) have memories attached to them, and good times are always involved. It beats the hell out of looking at now-questionable hairstyles in high school yearbooks, at least.

One of my more fondly remembered cocktails is a 1930s one called the Twentieth Century. It's named after the old Twentieth Century Limited rail line that ran from New York to Chicago in the mid-20th century. It was quite the classy way to travel, complete with a specially made carpet for passengers to walk on from the station to the train. You've heard the phrase "rolling out the red carpet," right? The Twentieth Century Limited is the origin.

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How to Make a Royal Hawaiian Cocktail

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence

It's certainly busy season around the restaurant. It's great to see endless streams of happy folks from out of town coming in to enjoy themselves. And the corresponding bump in my paycheck is pretty damn nice, too.

But I can't help but feel a little envious. I've found myself researching vacation destinations in what free time I can find. Once it gets blasted hot around here, I'll sneak out of town and have some getaways of my own.


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How to Make a Sherry Cobbler

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence
Oh, sherry!

We're more than a little crazy about wine at the restaurant where I work. So, it stands to reason that some of the cocktails we have draw inspiration from the wine world.

For example, we recently picked up several bottles of fino sherry. At first, I wasn't sure what to think of the venerable fortified wine. But now that I've had a chance to mix up some things with it, I may make sherry cocktails my drink of choice all spring and summer this year.

The odds are pretty good that you haven't had much in the way of sherry, unless you found out about (and then drank way too much of) sweet and nutty Harvey's Bristol Cream sherry back in college. Harvey's and fino sherry are on different ends of the wide spectrum of sherries available.


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How to Make the Best Hurricane Cocktail

Categories: Last Call

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Image courtesy Flickr user flygraphix

You may have noticed that Mardi Gras is just around the corner. It's one of my favorite holidays to celebrate, largely because even if I'm not going to New Orleans, it's a grand opportunity to celebrate the Big Easy's rich cocktail culture.


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The Last Call Guide to Amaretto

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence

Recently at work, I found a bottle of amaretto in the back stock of liquor. A co-worker piped up, "Oh, yeah, that's the almond-flavored liqueur, isn't it?" I could only reply, "Au contraire, my friend! Everyone thinks it's an almond liqueur, but it's not."


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How to Make a Flame of Love Martini

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence

I do love a cocktail that involves showmanship. And few cocktails have quite the flair of this week's Last Call, the Flame of Love martini. With a name like that, how could I resist making one for Valentine's Day?

The Flame of Love was created in 1970 for none other than the legendary Dean Martin. Good ol' Dino was quite the fan of martinis. However, one day he was feeling tired of the usual one, so he asked the bartender at one of his favorite Hollywood haunts, Chasen's, to make something different.

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How to Make an Absinthe Suissesse, the Perfect Brunch Cocktail

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence

I've been on an absinthe kick at work lately. I've been trying to get my coworkers on the bandwagon, but they keep wrinkling their nose at the black licorice aroma that I find so alluring. All the more absinthe for me, I suppose.

For most people, absinthe is easier to handle if it's mixed into a cocktail. It's almost the time of year that breakfast can become a festive brunch simply by adding a patio and a cocktail. To find great brunch drinks, all one has to do is turn to one of the world capitals of brunch, New Orleans.


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