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Cocktails with Chris

hosted by Christine Potter   //   Friday at 4p est

"I'm just a gal who likes to mix things up: music, strange cocktail ingredients, and a swanky Nick & Nora ambiance with old school free form rock and roll radio.  It's no secret that I'm a little obsessive about all things Robyn Hitchcock, but my husband's OK with it.  Besides, I end every Cocktails with Chris by standing next to one of the world's great pipe organs for a few minutes and subjecting my listeners to the sometimes-deafening results.  I promise you a tasty cocktail recipe every week, along with music that starts with The Comedian Harmonists, careens through psych and prog rock, and often smashes into the shoals of roots and jazz.  Not to mention a sprinkling of indie pop, and Brit folk. Join me high atop the Potter building, in a swanky neighborhood near you." - cp


Swedish Punsch at last!

I'd been wanting to try Swedish Punsch forever.  I kept running across it in antique cocktail recipes and it sounded romantic and...um...Swedish.  But when I did find the stuff for sale, it was tres expensive, and for a bottle I'd use only rarely, I couldn't quite bring myself to buy it.

Thanks to the good folk at drinkupnewyork.com, though I have found a reasonably priced bottle and am now in possession of it.  The nice UPS man brought it to the door just today.

I tasted a little.  It's spicy, not unlike the Falernum/Allspice Dram end of liqueurs, but not nearly as sweet, which is a good thing, I think.  And it's rum-based, so it'll be fun to experiment with the summertime rum drinks I make with it.  But it's best to start, I think, with the classics.  

Ted Haigh is one of my gurus in classic cocktail-age, so perhaps this week's drink should be his namesake tipple.  He's known as Doctor Cocktail.  Here's what I'll be mixing up in just a few minutes:

The Doctor Cocktail

2 oz Jamaica rum

1 oz Swedish Punsch

1 oz fresh lime juice


Shake over ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a lime twist.


Cheers!  And see you on the air at four Thursday!


A Cocktail Named After My Grandfather

My grandfather taught me a lot of things: how to fly a kite, how to do long division, and also how to drink whiskey.  He liked a whiskey sour, made with the sour mix that everyone used back in the 60's.  It was foamy on top, and he saw no harm in someone ALMOST done with high school having one before dinner.  Drinking age was 18 back then.  But more often I remember him with a bourbon and ginger, a highball I'm still partial to.  I miss my grandpa. 

Flash forward to the future: it's the year (turn on the echo chamber effect) 2012!  And I am being given a bottle of Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur by our stalwart, cocktail-loving program director, Treavor Hastings.  What to do with the delightful stuff?  A quick search for recipes on the 'net turned up a lot of stuff I feared would be a little too sweet for my tastes.  But then I remembered my grandpa.  Ladies and gentlemen:

The Edwin Bright

1 and 1/2 to 2 oz bourbon (Old Grandad, of course)

3/4 oz Domaine de Canton (or slightly more)

3/4 oz lime juice (or slightly more)

ice and seltzer, a cocktail cherry

Shake the lime juice, bourbon, and liqueur over ice and pour into a highball glass with several ice cubes in it.  Top off with seltzer to taste.  Garnish with one quarter of a lime ring and the cherry and sip through one of those pretty, slender straws they've been selling in Ikea this year (worth a trip just to get 'em; they're PERFECT for cocktails). 

Note that quantities are not exact because different people have different tastes in this kind of drink.  It shouldn't exactly be a bourbon and ginger--more like halfway in between that and a lime rickey.

About that cocktail cherry: home-steeped maraschino cherries (with maybe a little brandy, too) are good here--but this is one place where you could get away with a commercial one.

Bonus recipe:

The Edwin Bright In Florida

(My grandpa did love to vacation there)

Same recipe, but substitute amber rum for the bourbon and a sprig of fresh rosemary for the cherry.  The rosemary is for rememberance, of course--and also because it slips into the drink as you sip and makes it taste even more delicious.

Cheers, Gaga!

And I'll see you all on the air at four Thursday!


Two For-Instance Frozen Drinks based on last week's blog

OK, so I shared my noisy-but-effective blender technique for making frozen summer drinks in last week's blog.  And I gave you a general, all-purpose starter recipe to mess with for daiquiris and frozen margaritas.  High atop the Potter building this week, we played a bit with the formula and came up with two winners.  We're still tweaking a bit, but I thought you'd like to give 'em a shot.

The proportions are for one drink, but I'd never go to this trouble unless I had guests--or unless Mr. Potter and I were in SERIOUS need of more than one pick-me-up apiece.  You can probably multiply this by four and fit it in your blender.  Takes a little experience to know how much you can freeze at once.  And if you're entertaining, it makes all the sense in the world to mix batches of these drinks ahead of time. 

1) The Frozen Pomegranate Margarita

2 oz OK-enough, not mad expensive tequila (Sauza's fine here, really)

2 oz Pomegranate juice (Pom's fine)

1-2 oz lime juice, freshly squeezed

1-2 oz orange liqueur, either triple sec or Curacao (or if you can get your hands on some Pomegranate liqueur, try that)


Pour into a blender and taste before freezing with at least two cups of ice cubes or crushed ice (see last week's blog for how).  The drink should taste WAY more concentrated than something you'd drink "up", in a cocktail glass.  While the blender is whirling, run a spent lime hull over an interesting glass--a good-sized one, as this will fluff up considerably.  Dip the lip of the glass in kosher salt and tap off the excess. Check the blender and see if you need a little more ice to make a nice consistency--you want a straw to stand up.  Pour into the glass & yum.  A quarter lime wheel looks nice as a garnish. 


2) Frozen Mango Daiquiri

2 oz amber rum

2 oz mango nectar (Goya and Hero both make good ones, bottled)

1 oz fresh lime juice or more to taste

1/2 to 3/4 oz EACH apricot brandy and triple sec

Taste for balance and freeze as above.  Garnish with a lime half-wheel or a sprig of mint.

Ready, set, slurp!  See  you on the air tomorrow at four! 






All purpose frozen margarita or daiquiri instructions

I am someone who measures booze pretty carefully in cocktails, even when I am making a big batch of the same thing all at once at a party.  Cocktail recipes are exacting things, generally, and not forgiving.  Yes, I always taste (use a spoon or a straw) before I serve and add a titch more lemon juice or triple sec or some such when necessary.  But all of those formulas got written down for a reason!

There is one place, however, where I pour a bit more freely, and that's in making frozen drinks.  By the way, I've been on record in this blog and my old one at Rando Radio both about the topic before.  I think frozen drinks are just fine.  They don't have to be big nasty fake Hurricanes slopped all over the front of a drunken college kid on spring break.  Made right, they are refreshing, fun, and a fine sip on a warm evening--or even in the dead of winter when you want to remember summer.  I have more of a general recipe than a specific formula, and I will hereby share it.

All Purpose Frozen Marg-y or Daiquiri

For each drink:

1 and 1/2--2 oz tequila or rum--can be light or dark, depending on your mood.  I wouldn't use the uber, uber-fine spirits here, but your drink is only as good as what goes in it. 

2 oz or a little more of fruit puree or juice--peach, strawberry, passionfruit, pineapple--what do you have?  Either puree the fresh fruit yourself or buy the good tropical fruit juices you often see aseptically packed in the Latin section of the mega mart.  My health food store has all kinds of juices from Turkey, some of which are fabulous--a sour cherry, a mango, and a peach. Seeded melons puree GREAT in home blenders and make wonderful drinks.  I've found good prepared watermelon juice in gourmet and health food stores, too.

1 oz lemon or lime juice (unless the juice you are using is very sour already)

1 oz or more of a liqueur that goes with the fruit flavor you are using.  Triple sec and Curacao always work.  If the drink doesn't have much color, and you want a giggle, try blue curacao; it's very tiki, and you can end up with some startling hues. Consider peach brandy with peach or mango, falernum with anything rum, Midori with anything melon (but consider the color and use something clear with watermelon)!  You can also go uber-Tiki and use a little of two different liqueurs.

Taste.  You want a drink that is considerably more intense than one you'd serve straight up because you are about to dilute it with lots of ice.  Add more citrus or liqueur if you need to. And I'd do these maybe four or five at a time if you've got guests--easier that way, and most home blenders can handle that much. 

Put in the blender with about two cups of ice per drink.  If your fridge crushes ice, yay--use the crushed.  If not, most blenders can handle the job, so use your cubes.  Cover the blender tightly and turn it to high.  Run it for way longer than you think you need to -- several deafening minutes.  You'll hear the blender's racket change pitch just before you've got the drink at the ideal place.  Sometimes you need to stop the blender, give it a stir with a bar spoon, add a little more ice and whirl it again for a bit.  You want the ice to be smooshed down enough so that it won't clog the straw of the happy person about to drink this concoction.

Taste for balance again--you may need another splash of liqueur if it seems flat--and serve in an interesting glass of your choosing.  Garnish with whatever looks like Carmen Miranda's head dress or a paper umbrella.

In the event of Margaritas, you salt the rim of whatever you're using to serve the drink in by running the hull of the lemon or lime you just squeezed over it and dipping the glass gently into a saucer of kosher salt.  Tap the excess off before filling the glass; you're not making frozen Gatorade.

Voila!!  See you at 4, on the air.


Sonoras made drinkable, The Brown Derby!

Well, I twied and I twied, but in order to get the Sonora to work for my palate, I had to mess with it pretty much, turning it into a sorta-sour.  So if you're keeping track, up the lemon juice to about a half oz and add maybe a few dashes more apricot brandy.  And go SLOW.  This drink is dern strong.

Another strong one this week--


I owe this one to David Wondrich over at Esquire mag.  I was rooting around looking for a new cocktail this week and got thinking about the Honeymoon cocktail, a concoction dating from the 30's and the Brown Derby chain of restaurants, of which there was one in Hollywood.  Supposedly the drink that has the chain's name has nothing to do with it--but it's an interesting snort nonetheless.  Here's how--


2 oz of dark rum (Myers or something equally intense)

1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

1 teaspoonful maple syrup--the pure kind, not fake-o (or a wee bit more to taste)


Shake hard over ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass.  Howz about that?  I'd do something with a bit of lime for garnish--a half wheel or a quarter wheel.


See you on the air at 4 Thursday!