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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


Post-Election Day Cocktail: More Chocolate!!

I'm home.  And I'll be (God willing and the creek don't rise) be doing my usual Area 24 radio show Thursday at 4 PM!

I'll tell you about my journey--and Lord was it ever a long one--on the air.  But here's a cocktail that sort of segues out of my trip and into my Life Back At Home, a cocktail I dreamed up last night whilst my dearest and nearest were watching the election returns.  It uses a rare ingredient: chocolate bitters.  I used Scrappy's, available here, but you could also use Fee Brothers, which Amazon carries.  Found the Scrappy's at Theo Chocolate in Seattle on my last day there; I had taken the tour of their factory.

So, for the wonderfully non-vanilla second term President of the United States:


1 and 1/2 oz bourbon

1/2 oz red vermouth

1/2 oz lime juice

1/4 to 1/2 oz creme de cacao (Bolls, silver variety)

1/4 to 1/2 oz Domaine de Canton liqueur (this is ginger-flavored)

a dash or two chocolate bitters

NOTE: Start with the lesser amount of sweet stuff (the creme de cacao and gingery liqueur) and taste.  You may want a full half oz of both liqueurs--or not.  This should not be a dessert-tasting drink, but different people have different palates.

Shake hard over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass with a pretty garnish: I'd suggest a curl of lime zest or perhaps a quarter-wheel of lime.  Good, eh?

Here's to four more years!  And speaking of 4, that's when I'll be on the air Thursday!


A Cocktail, with Chocolate in it, Named for a Train!

And now for something completely different...

There are things that happen in a cocktail shaker or a mixing glass that defy expectation.  Consider the ingredients in a 20th Century Cocktail: gin, lemon juice, chocolate.  Sounds not so tempting, yes?  Ah, but add the quinine-y French aperitif Lillet, and you have something complex, a little sweet, a little sour, and with all sorts of other things slinking around in the background.  It's a really yummy drink.

The original recipe for the 20th Century Cocktail was British, although the drink was named after an American train, the 20th Century, that ran between New York and Chicago.  The delightfully illustrated Savoy Cocktail Book has a bit too much creme de cacoa in; I like a more Ted Haigh-type take on the beverage.  Here's how:

The Twentieth Century

1 and 1/2 oz gin (don't use your Hendricks or Magellan--Beefeaters or even New Amsterdam is fine)

3/4 oz fresh lemon juice

3/4 oz Lillet

about 1/2 oz (or less, to taste) creme de cacao--not Godiva!  You need a clear bottle--Bolls is good.

Shake hard over ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Traditional garnish is a lemon twist, but an edible flower can be nice on this drink, too.  I used to drop a couple of chocolate chips, olive-in-a-martini-style, in the bottom, but that's silly.

And by the way, if you bought Lillet just for this, store it in the fridge, as you would red or white vermouth, which it is a little bit like.  It'll stay fresh-tasting much longer that way.  It's a nice ingredient; I'll try to post a few more recipes that use it. 

There now--isn't that GOOD?  Cheers and see  you on the air Thursday at 4 PM.


Testing, testing...

The drink this week is an experiment still in the making.  Perhaps because of the onset of autumn, I've been into spicey, gingery flavors in my drink-making.  This week, I'd like to try something with a somewhat less challenging ginger flavor--and with vodka for a change.

Why vodka?  Well, I never mix with it for one thing, and it has its uses.  It's a very clear, subtle taste--barely there, really.  Because of that, you can bring other flavors to the fore in a vodka drink.  And my sis is East and she does not drink gin (horrors!)  She does like her the Lemon Drop.  And the Cosmo. 

So I'm thinking this week:

The Sis Sue

1 and `1/2 oz  vodka

3/4 oz lemon juice

3/4 oz Domaine de Canton liqueur

Generous dash of passion fruit juice

Tiny wee dash of real grenadine (to taste)

Taste for balance.  Shake hard over ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass, garnishing with a lemon quarter OR (if you have any left in the garden) a nastiurtium blossom.


Cheers!  See you on the air at 4!




Oh, Snap!

On our way home from Canada, Mr. Potter and I stopped to replenish our at-home liquor cabinet and ran across Snap liqueur.  It's an odd and interesting bottle, distilled by a company known as Art In The Age--and really not a liqueur at all; it's not sweet enough.  Made from blackstrap molasses, clove, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, rooibos tea and vanilla, it's really spicy and suprisingly dry.  Tastes a little like an un-sweet ginger snap.  I don't love it straight; it's got quite a bit of alcohol in it and it's a little too fiery.  But oh, is it ever good with applejack!  It works with rum, too.  It looks like this:

Here's a drink I've been experimenting with.

The Oh, Snap

3/4 oz applejack

3/4 oz amber rum

1/2 oz snap

3/4 oz lime juice

about 1/2 to 3/4 oz of real grenadine (or a little more to taste)

Shake hard over ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with an apple slice and a grating of fresh nutmeg. 

You can also do this drink with the rum omitted and use 1 and 1/2 oz of applejack


Cheers, welcome autumn, and I'll see you at 3 on Friday this week--just before The Old Fart At Play!


Equal Time for RED Gin!

Last week, I raved about the delicious loveliness of Magellan Gin, which is iris-infused and of a glacial blue color.  It is also not so easy to find in the lower Hudson River Valley, by the way.  Having poured the bottle we brought down from New England into the glasses of a number of happy people, Mr. Potter and I have ordered more via the estimable Rochambeau Liquor Store in Dobbs Ferry, NY, a classy and well-curated establishment. 

  Yes, that is the color it really is.  See why I was smitten?  Well, having sung the praises of BLUE, it's time to give equal time to RED.  Or in this case, Sloe Gin. Sloe Gin is something I've written about before.  If you've had it and been underwhelmed, it's probably because you've had the commercially produced nonsense most booze-arias have on the bottom shelf of their liqueur section--a substance that has as much to do with sloes (or small, tangy-flavored plums) as maraschino cherry juice has to do with the lovely clear bottle from Luxardo.  Properly made, sloe gin really consists of gin infused with sloes.  Plymouth Gin makes a delightful if pricey bottle, and it's worth the splurge: It's not red so much as garnet or deep ruby in color, and it is delicious.  A couple of ounces, a healthy squirt of lemon and perhaps a wee drop of simple syrup topped with seltzer served over the rocks, and you've got yourself a sloe gin fizz that's actually worth drinking.  But this week, I'd like to revisit a cocktail I came across about a year ago and made again this week.  It's complex, red, and it has a classy name:


3/4 oz Plymouth Sloe Gin

3/4 oz Plymouth (or Beefeaters or even New Amsterdam) gin

3/4 oz white vermouth

3/4 oz lemon juice

Shake hard, serve up in a chilled cocktail glass with a lemon twist or a quarter of a lemon wheel perched on the rim of the glass.  Cheers and see you Thursday at 4!