Swig & Swill

The Hippocrene

the hippocrene

I was recently lucky enough to be asked by the fine folks at the Poetry Foundation to whip up a fancy-pants cocktail to celebrate 100 years of Poetry magazine. The cocktail was to be called the Hippocrene after the mythological fountain created by Pegasus. After much experimentation and some very helpful taste-testers, I ended up with:

The Hippocrene


  • 1 1/4 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounce ginger liqueur (domaine de canton)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon mint tea (brewed at double strength) and chilled
  • 2 ounces dry, sparkling wine
  • Fresh basil, for garnish
  • Dash or two grapefruit bitters


Single glass preparation:

Combine all ingredients except sparkling wine, basil, and bitters (if using) in a mixing glass over ice. Stir and strain into a glass and top with remaining ingredients.

Punch preparation:

Combine all ingredients (in greater quantities) except sparkling wine, basil and bitters in an adequately sized serving bowl, along with some large blocks of ice. It’s best to let this mixture chill and dilute a little while before adding everything else, but if time is short, it could be refrigerated beforehand and water (sparkling or still) can be added along with the rest of the ingredients at service time. The basil should still be added directly to the glass, as it is the aroma and not necessarily the flavor that you’re after. It would also be nice to garnish the mixing bowl with some citrus slices, for color and a generally vigorous appearance.



Featured, Swig & Swill

Pegu Club Cocktail

The Pegu Club was a gentelman’s club for British officers in Burma, which was set up in the late 1800’s. The signature drink of the club is the now classic Pegu Club Cocktail, which for one reason or another I had never made. But with the weather heating up, it seemed like a good time to give it a go. If you’re a gin fan, I’d suggest you try it as well.

Pegu Club Cocktail

2 oz London Dry Gin

3/4 oz Orange Curaçao

1/2 oz fresh lime juice

1 dash Angostura

1 dash orange bitters

Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lime twist.

(from Bitters: A Spirited History)

Tagged , , , |
Cocktails, Crooners & Craft

Cocktails, Crooners & Craft: Hook Me Up, Part 1

We’ve got some new fun for you friends of our, inspired by the crafternoon movement. Crafting is all about havin’ a good ol’ time, if you ask the Westervins, so why not make a day of it (probably not a weekday) with some fresh tunes and even fresher attitudes (by getting liquored up)! We wanna share some of our favorite craft projects and hobbies with you, and to make it even more enjoyable, we’ve paired each craft with a special cocktail concoction and some musical suggestions. So come along. Take a ride with us to a DIY paradise. But we’ll need to fill up the tank first!

Continue reading

Swig & Swill

Swig & Swill: Cucumber Ice Cubes

cucumber ice cubes recipe

Excuse me, would you like to add some sophistication to that cocktail? Well, why not try some cucumber ice cubes?

Cucumber ice. Simple, sophisticated, refreshing.

If you’re looking for ways to add a little class to your drinks, why not freeze up some cucumber ice cubes? All you need to do is peel a cucumber, chop it up a bit and throw it in a blender along with a liter or so of water. Purée, and freeze in an ice cube tray. Then you’ll be ready to enjoy the perfect gin and tonic. Or, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you might try my variation on the Porch Swing Coctail.

Veranda Tippler

2oz Tanqueray No. 10
1.5oz Pimm’s No. 1
4oz Lemonade (1 part fresh lemon juice, 3/4 part ginger simple syrup, 2 parts water)

Pour all ingredients into a large Collins glass over cucumber ice cubes and top with a splash of lemon-lime soda. Garnish with cumber and lemon slices.

Swig & Swill

Swig & Swill: Rotterdam Harbor

vintage glasses from Pipe & Pepper; photography by Alex Creswell

{ Set of vintage strawberry glasses from Pipe & Pepper — enter our current giveaway to win a print from Pipe & Pepper Prints }

Here’s a simple variation on the Port Light cocktail that I came up with to satisfy Sarah’s bourbon-hating demands. It’s also a bit easier to put together since you don’t need to blend anything. I have a feeling this is going to be a great cocktail to combat the summer heat. Here I’ve used Death’s Door Gin from Madison, Wisconsin which strays a bit from the typical London Dry style, but any traditional gin (Tanqueray, Bombay, etc.) should work well.

Continue reading

Swig & Swill

Swig & Swill: Snap into a Lem-Gin!

lemon gin cocktail with dry fly

Continuing on the sweet side of things, I put together a new cocktail this weekend. I wanted something to celebrate spring and that utilized only ingredients we had on hand. So, without further ado, I invite you to snap into a Lem-Gin:

Continue reading

Swig & Swill

Swig & Swill: Dead Bastard

vintage photograph of hawaiian tiki festival

{ Tiki Gardens Postcard from Greg Tykal }

With the revival of vintage tiki drinks and the opening of bars like Smuggler’s Cove in SF, Rum seems to be set for a big decade. For our party a little while ago, I used Joe Scialom’s recipe for the

Dead Bastard (via TraderTiki):

  • 1/2 oz Gin
  • 1/2 oz Brandy
  • 1/2 oz Bourbon
  • 1/2 oz Rum
  • 1/2 oz Rose’s lime juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 4 ounces of chilled ginger beer

Shake Gently with 1 cup Crushed Ice, pour into Goblet or other large vessel.  Garnish with whatever the hell, it’s dead and doesn’t care.  I used a whole lime.  It’s a big drink.

To really hammer home the deathly theme of the drink I used Bulleit Bourbon, and Death’s Door Gin. If anyone happens to know any death themed Rum or Cognac, please let me know.

Swig & Swill

Swig & Swill: Over-Under Winter Punch

Since I was the only one making cocktails at our party the other night, service was slow. Luckily we had a really nice punch to keep people sippin’.

In this video, Jim Ryan, the “Brand Ambassador” for Hendricks Gin, walks you through how to make Over-Under Winter Punch. Now you’ll have to get past Jim’s post-ironic retro mustache, but if you can, the result will be a fantastically pleasant punch. I didn’t have a liter of Hendricks on hand, so I blended some Tanqueray and Dry Fly. Worked great.

Swig & Swill

Swig & Swill: Pink Slip

Results from last weekends cocktail trials are in and surprisingly, one of the most popular cocktails was one I created myself: the Pink Slip:

2oz Tanqueray (works well with white Rum, too)
3 basil leaves
2 tsp raspberry syrup
3/4 oz lime juice
ginger beer
a dash or two of  grenadine

Add raspberry syrup, lime juice, and basil to a fizz glass. Muddle. Fill glass 3/4 full with cracked ice. Top with ginger beer. Then top the whole thing off with a little bit of grenadine for a bit of a color boost!

A note on ingredients: You’ll benefit by making some of these ingredients yourself:

Raspberry syrup is really easy. Start with a rich simple syrup. Simmer a 2:1 mixture of sugar to water in a small pan until it is clear and not cloudy. Let it cool and poor over a bunch of raspberries (frozen will work fine). Let the syrup and raspberries sit out overnight before straining out the berries. You should be left with a sweet red berry syrup.

For the grenadine, I used Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s super easy recipe.

For the ginger beer, I used Audrey Saunders recipe, which is equally easy. If you use housemade ginger, you’ll want to add a little seltzer to give it a sparkle.

Tagged , , , , , , |