Friday, April 30, 2010

The Mint Julep a Kentucky Derby Tradition

This is John Apodaca with Daddy-O's Martinis. This Saturday is start of the Kentucky Derby which has been a tradition in Louisville Kentucky since 1875 at Churchill Downs. Many spectators will be flocking to the races to pick a hopeful thoroughbred winner for themselves.

Some of the traditions that surround the races are women dressed in fine outfits  lavishly accessorized with large elaborate hats. As horsed are being paraded around the before the grandstands, the University of Kentucky plays the song My Old Kentucky Home also Burgoo at thick stew consisting of beef, chicken, pork and vegetables is served all day at the derby.  The favorite of traditions is the Mint Julep the official drink of the derby which is made up of Bourbon, Sugar, water and fresh mint. The earliest mention of the this Southern drink refresher dates back to 1803

The Mint Julep

2 oz Powdered sugar
1 oz water
4 Sprigs of fresh mint
4 oz Makers Mark bourbon

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Classic Stork Club New York

This is John Apodaca from Daddy-O's Martinis. One of the most famous clubs of all time that the former Walter Winchell said to be "New Yorks, New Yorkiest place on W. 58th street" was the old Stork Club.  It was a symbol of café society where movie stars, celebrities, the wealthy, showgirls and aristocrats all mixed here. 

It was opened in 1929 by Sherman Billingsley an ex-bootlegger from Oklahoma on 132 West 58th street but was closed down by Prohibition agents in 1931. He moved the club to E. 51st for three years then moved it to 3 E. 53rd street and it remained there until it closed in October 1965. Some of the famous who frequented the club over the years were Lucille Ball, Bing Crosby, the Kennedy's, Frank Sinatra, Betty Davis, Elizabeth Taylor and many others. Not only was the stork club a great place to be but there was the exclusive Cub Room where it was carefully guarded by the nicknamed door man St. Peter who watched over the "gates of heaven". There was many movies and references to the Stork Club over the years and even a signature cocktail, invented by legendary barman Nathanial Cook that I've had a number of times and can confirm it's a winner.

The Stork Club Cocktail

1 1/2 oz of top shelf gin
1/2 oz of triple sec
1/4 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 oz of fresh squeezed orange juice
1 dash of Angostura bitters
Orange peel for garnish

Shake all ingredients for one minute and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ciro's in West Hollywood

This is John Apodaca from Daddy-O's Martinis. In the 1940s and 50s there was very glamorous night club in West Hollywood on the Sunset strip where many movie stars came to drink, to see and be seen and be served by leggy cigarette girls in shorts skirts.  Many of the famous would end up in the gossip columns of Hedda Hopper or  Variety, that place was Ciro's and it also gave a few performers their big break to stardom.

It opened in 1940 under the owner Billy Wilkerson and was a success at first but it began to cool off as others flocked to the Macambo across the street and closed it's doors for a short time but was taken over by Herman Hoover. It was reopened on December 26, 1942 under and  unlike the Ciro's in London, this was a hot spot at the end of the Sunset strip where top notch entertainment was the order of the day along with new acts such as Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in 1950. Many of the stars that frequented were Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Ava Gardner, George Burns, Jack Benny, Judy Garland, Joan Crawford.

However the club saw entertainment and new nightclubs with gambling moving to Las Vegas in the late 1950s and closed it's doors in 1959 but it's not forgotten yet it still stands where the comedy club is. Another loss is the cocktails from the club but there's a recent reprint of the Ciro's of London 1930 edition filled with great recipes such as one of my favorites, the Leroi made with brandy, sloe gin, curacao, egg yoke, grenadine,cream and lemon juice. I tried it and it's so good, don't let the idea of using an egg yolk scare you it's adds texture and flavor. Try it and let me know what you think.


John Apodaca

The Leroi

1 Part Brandy
1 Part Slow Gin
1 Part Orange Curacao
1 yolk of an egg per cocktail
1 teaspoonful heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice per cocktail.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pisco Sour ( Peruvian Style )

This is John Apodaca with Daddy-O's Martinis. A refreshing drink you and your guests will enjoy for a tropical drink weekend is a Pisco Sour. Pisco is made from a grape and the drink is popular in Peru and Chile but two different bents on the cocktail.  Since the king of Spain had band wine in Peru in the 17th century forcing locals to concoct spirit from the grape they came up with an alcohol that locals could enjoy. 

An account is that the Pisco Sour cocktail is a variation of the Whiskey sour, invented in the early 1920s by American expatriate Victor V. "Gringo" Morris at the Morris' Bar in Lima. The cocktail quickly became a favorite of locals. Soon many of the grand Lima hotels at that time such as the Maury and the Hotel Bolivar began serving pisco sours to their international guests, helping the drink become an international hit. An old advertisement of Pisco Sour was published in 1924 by the Morris' Bar of Lima.
In Peru Pisco Sour day is celebrated on the first Saturday of February. Years ending with zero (0) are of special significance. The theme is red and white (Peruvian flag colours). When the Peruvian National Anthem is played all Pisco Sour's must be finished as a mark of respect.

Pisco Sour

2 oz Pisco
1 oz Fresh  juice lime juice
3/4 oz simple syrup (to taste)
1 fresh egg white (or 2 tbsp pasteurized egg whites)
1 dash Angostura bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a short glass, garnish top with a dash of Angostura bitters.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Cocoanut Grove Los Angeles

This is John Apodaca from Daddy-O's Martinis. Classic style and elegance was Hollywood's golden era along with going to a certain nights spots to be seen. One of those places was the Cocoanut Grove at the former Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles where movie stars and performers frequented for decades. It opened January  1, 1921 and became a playground for some of the famous including: Charlie Chaplin, Clara Bow, Errol Flynn, Louis B. Mayer, Howard Hughes, Jimmy Stewart, Lana Turner, Frank Sinatra, Desi Arnez along withe several U.S. Presidents stayed there.  The Cocoanut Grove was decorated with beautiful Palm trees with coconuts and banana trees, a dance floor and many orchestras and performers played there as well.

The hotel hosted six academy award ceremonies and the first annual Golden Globe awards. In the 1950s the hotel decided to modernize the look of the nightclub lost it's charm and newer night spots where now the places to go. In the late 1960s and early 70s Sammy Davis Jr. tried to bring the Cocoanut grove back to it's former glory by featuring acts such as Diana Ross, Jackson Five and other but it didn't work and the hotel finally closed it's doors in 1989 and was used for filming until it's demolish in 2008. The Cocoanut Grove was to remain and be used as a school auditorium.

The Cocoanut Grove had a great menu that included excellent cocktails from a forgotten era such as the Cocoanut Grove Special and the Ambassador cocktail. I happen to have a menu from the restaurant dated 1960 but like demolish of the hotel alas the recipes for these drinks are also gone unless I can find a retired bartender from there. If anyone know's one please let me know to publish these classic cocktails.

John Apodaca

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cole's Pacific Electric Buffet

This is John Apodaca from Daddy-O's Martinis. If you haven't had the opportunity to make the trek to Downtown Los Angeles and eat at one of the oldest and thriving restaurant / bars, I encourage you to do so. Cole's P.E. (Pacific Electric) Buffet was opened in 1908 at the bottom level of the Pacific Electric train building where the red cars were stored. I recently watched two documentaries on the demise of the street cars by corporate giant GM and it's so sad that they killed the best public transportation system Los Angeles ever had. In one of the shows it mentions P.E. Cole's that was famous for it's French Roast dipped sandwiches and bar that has been there all this time and survived all the changes in L.A. even it's own renovation two years ago. 

Not only do they have a great selection of sandwiches and pies with fresh ingredients but also the famous Red Car Bar which serves up vintage style drinks such as the Old Fashioned, Pisco Sour, Whiskey sour and their own creations what else but the Red car and Ginger Rodgers. I've never been disappointed with the food, drinks, or service and highly recommend it for all to experience. Something else I need to mention is that Cole's is also home to one of my favorite vintage style bars the Varnish which unless you know it's there you could almost miss it and you don't want to do that. By sure to check them out, I hope to see you there. 


John Apodaca

P.S. If you're interested in watching the documentary on the demise of street cars in Los Angeles click on the link.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Josephine Baker Cocktail

This is John Apodaca from Daddy-O's Martinis. I'm a fan of live music, standards preferably and a performer that's no longer with us but needs mention is Josephine Baker. She was an Black American woman born in Saint Louis MO 1906 - 1975. She was not only a singer and actress but an amazing performer in Harlem and went on tour in Europe and decided to stay in France where she became a French citizen. She was so popular she inspired many artists, authors, clothing designers and even bartenders, that's why there is a cocktail called the Josephine Baker. I found this gem in 1935 reprint of Bar Florida from the club La Floridita in Havana Cuba when where good cocktails where always found.

Josephine Baker

1/2 Soberano Cognac or top shelf brands
1/2 Port wine
1/3 Apricot Brandy
1 Teaspoon powdered sugar
1 Lemon Peel
1 egg yolk

Shake with ice and serve in a cocktail glass and garnish with cinnamon on top.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

La Floridita Daiquiri a favorite of Ernest Hemingway's

This is John Apodaca from Daddy-O's Martinis. There seems to be some controversy and confusion over the recipe for the La Floridita Daiquiri also called the E. Hemingway or Papa Doble that was invented in the La Floridita bar in Havana Cuba in 1934.  This bar is  noted where Ernest Hemingway would drink this concoction invented by the then head bartender and later owner Constantino Ribalaigua. There was a 1934 edition of a souvenir hand book of the cocktails from this bar with the recipe for this drink and later additions with similar drinks and American versions with misinterpretations due to a translation error. The original ingredients include light rum,  juice of 1/2 a lime, sugar or sugar syrup and and maraschino liqueur blended with ice.

When Americans had translated the recipe, the word for lime in Spanish is limon verde here in the States that was interpreted as lemon thus the first error. Another version added half a grapefruit and some even thought of using maraschino juice from the jar of cherries and even blending it with ice in a machine, that's how far it has gone. In Ted Haigh's book Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails he's researched the matter, found the various errors, additions, number of recipes and has found the original cocktail that was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway. I agree with this version and it makes a great summer cocktail.


John Apodaca

La Floridita Daiquire or Papa Doble

2 oz of light rum such as Bacardi silver or Havanan Club, Brugal.
Juice of half a lime ( if the lime is small use a whole thing)
1 teaspoon of powdered sugar or simple syrup
1 teaspoon of maraschino liqueur.  

Monday, April 19, 2010

Jack-in-the Box Cocktail

This is John Apodaca with Daddy-O's Martinis. When I was growing up, as a treat, once a week my dad and mom would treat my brothers and sister to various fast food restaurants, one of those places was Jack-in-the box. Don't be alarmed, they didn't serve cocktails only burgers, fries and shakes but I did get a kick out of the clown face where one orders food. 

Decades earlier, there was a cocktail called by the same name that I found in Old Mr. Bostons Official Bartenders Guide from 1935. It consists of Applejack, pineapple juice, and orange bitters and tastes as good as it sounds. Be sure to use fresh squeezed pineapple juice as opposed to canned. This is a great Spring and Summer cocktail, try it and let me know what you think.

Jack-in-the Box Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Applejack
1 1/2 oz Fresh squeezed pineapple juice
Dash of orange bitters

Shake very hard with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Mamie Taylor

This is John Apodaca from Daddy-O's Martinis. Now that it's getting warmer and a lot of us are beginning think about planning backyard barbeque's  and picnicking, what else could go with those occasions  then some refreshing cocktails that are light for all to enjoy. One I recommend is called the Mamie Taylor from the turn of the century and was widely popular from 1899 - 1902 and was mention in news papers, jokes and  named after a Broadway singer / actress.
Mamie sang light opera and is said to help invent the drink but like the drink has since been all but forgotten until I tried it and in my book is a winner with a few ingredients that can easily be made for your next party.


John Apodaca

Mamie Taylor

1 1/2 oz Scotch Whiskey
Juice of half a lime
4 - 5 oz of Ginger ale or Ginger Beer.
Build with ice in a highball glass

Pour the Scotch and lime juice into an ice-filled 8 ounce highball glass and fill with ginger ale. Stir and garnish with a lime wedge.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Brown Derby cocktail

This John Apodaca from Daddy-O's Martinis. There's never since stood an iconic restaurant in Los Angeles and Hollywood during it's golden era called the Brown Derby. Once owned by  Herbert Somborn and Bob Cobb and one location being shaped like a man's derby hat with three locations and famous patrons such as William Holden, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Durante, Betty Davis etc.  The Brown derby is famous for it's Cobb salad along with the Brown Derby Cocktail. Unfortunately like so many places in Los Angeles, it's been knocked down and replaced with other things but the salad and the cocktail live on. Easy to make and you're friends and family will enjoy it.

The Brown Derby Cocktail

2 oz of Bourbon ( Rittenhouse Rye
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 oz honey syrup ( 1 part honey dissolved in one part warm water ).
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Sazerac

This John Apodaca from Daddy-O's Martinis. If you haven't had the opportunity to try the Sazerac do so. This is one of Americas oldest cocktails with origins dating back to pre-Civil War New Orleans Louisiana. The original recipe is a combination of Cognac and bitters invented by Antoine Amédée Peycaude in the 1830s and was considered medicinal at the time. Since it's creation there are variations of the drink using ingredients such as cognac, rye whiskey, absinthe, or Herbsaint and Peychaud's bitters. 

I had the opportunity to make one last night at the bartenders cabinet meeting at restaurant / bar 320 Main in Seal Beach using excellent ingredients provided. It was quite simple, I used a medium sized temper glass, placed one sugar cube in, added two dashes of Angostura bitters, four dashes of Peychaud's bitters, muddled those ingredients. Added ice cubes along with two ounces of Sazerac Rye and stirred for almost a minute until very cold. I sprayed the inside of and an Old fashion glass with four to Herbsaint or Absinthe (about 4 - 5 sprays) then strained the mixture into a rocks (Old fashion glass) without ice.  Afterwards zested a lemon peel ( you can also use orange) pinched it and flamed it in order to extract oil from the peel. I then rubbed the outside of the peel around the rim of the glass and placed it in the drink. The taste was so good, I had two.

The Sazerac

1 Sugar Cube
2 oz of Rye Whiskey (Sazerac)
2 - 4 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters
1 - 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
1 - teaspoon of Absinthe or Herbsaint
1 - lemon or orange peel.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Truth about glass size for cocktails

This is John Apodaca from Daddy-O's Martinis. A few weeks ago I shared with you about glass size really matters for quality cocktails.  I mentioned that since we live in this super sized nation where everything has gotten larger for the sake of assuming that more is better is a fallacy!

As I research many recipes from the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries, I noticed many of them say to shake with cracked ice and pour into a three ounce glass. Three ounces to most doesn't sound too big or that they wouldn't be getting they're  moneys worth. However, one of my fellow bartender friends, Jason at 320 Main in Seal Beach says, " the last sip should taste as good as the first". Standard size in most bars and restaurants is about seven to twelve inches but as I mentioned  in an earlier blog, after a few minutes, the drink loses it's initial chill along with flavor. A patron has to either choose to chug the drink like beer or order another one rather than sipping.

Some of the newer bars in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego that I visited that carefully craft cocktails are using about four to five ounce glasses, to me that's a right size and the flavor will last. Another advantage of smaller size is a person will be able to enjoy two to three cocktails without getting too intoxicated. I recently spoke with one restaurant manager and he said his patrons would never go for that but I find the opposite is true since now many establishments are serving as part of their menus smaller food portions such as sliders or small hot wings plates.

You can find a variety of smaller glass sizes either on line or restaurant and bar supply stores for reasonable prices. Your comments are welcome.


John Apodaca

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Twelve Mile Limit Cocktail

This is John Apodaca from Daddy-O's Martinis and I want to introduce a cocktail with some interesting history behind it called the Twelve Mile Limit. During Prohibition there were gambling ships parked three miles off the coasts of several cities, such as the Rex in Santa Monica bay. Clients could take water taxis three miles out to sea to be able to drink and gamble freely where they couldn't do this legally on dry ground. In honor of the distance, there was a drink called the three mile limit, but after the U.S. government, along with the I.R.S., found out about these ships and extended the boundary to 12 miles thus the twelve mile limit was invented.  The 12 Mile limit was stronger than it's cousin the three mile but nonetheless very tasty for the rebells that enjoyed good libations and gambling in spite of the long arm of the feds. Give it a try at your next party.

The Twelve Mile Limit

1 oz White Rum (Recommended Appleton White Jamaican)
1/2 oz Rye Whiskey
1/2 oz Brandy such as (Hennessey)
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Egg Sour

This is John from Daddyo's Martinis. Last week I had the privilege of featuring some seasonal cocktails on the internet based radio show Martini in the Morning. One of the drinks, the Egg Sour Cocktail that I found in Jerry Thomas 1862 Bartenders Guide also in the Official Mixers Manual from 1956. The host of the show ( Brad Chambers ) and staff had the opportunity to taste it and it was a hit for them and for you and your friends at your next gathering.
The only difference between the two recipes is the amount of lemon juice. The 1862 version has 3 dashes of lemon juice while the one from 1956 is juice of 1/2 a lemon. Drinks in the 19th century tended to be sweeter hence less juice.

The Egg Sour 

1 1/2 oz Brandy ( E & J VSOP )
1 1/2 oz Orange Curacao
Juice of half a lemon ( about 1 oz )
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
1 egg

Shake well with ice to emulsify the egg and strain in to a chilled Delmonico glass.

For additional recipes or questions, you can visit my website

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Radio Room at the Edison

Hi this John from Daddy-O's Martinis. I attended the Edison Bar in Downtown Los Angeles last Tuesday for their Radio Room ( a night where they have featured bartenders with specialty drinks and a band).  The tickets for the event were $10.00 per person so a friend and I attended to see what kind of drinks the guest bartenders would craft along with the type of music performed.

The featured bartenders were located at various bar stations throughout the club along side the regular staff, however the club neglected to mention who were these guest bartenders and what  particular drinks they were creating. The featured drinks where $14.00 each as opposed to the normal prices at the Edison and we were given a choice to buy tickets for the specialty cocktails at the entrance or buy them individually at the bar in order to simplify it for the club, I found this more confusing.

 It would have been nice to have these bartenders do some demonstrations and explain what their signature drinks were. I was told by one of the featured bartender from New York, " I'm only making these two drinks", from the list I was given and they were good, but nothing I'd ask for again at those prices per drink. I wanted to keep a tab open and try another bar, this particular bartender told me my credit card is in the system and it's all connected, not true. I tried ordering at a bar, across the room and was told he the guest bartender didn't understand how things work. At that point I closed out my card at the first bar, went and ordered from the regular Edison menu. My friend and I found a place to sit and drink then the band started which was no more than a small marching band in overdone costumes playing music that belongs on a football field at half time with overweight women attempting belly dancing to the music.

My overall experience is that, I probably won't be back at the Edison for Radio room night, the place is fun but for a very general audience. There's better places for those who's focus is well crafted cocktails with less confusion and not marching bands.


John Apodaca

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bonaventure Brewing Co

Hi this is John Apodaca with Daddy-O's Martinis and since the weather is starting to warm up, most of us enjoy either a good beer or cocktail with their meals. I had the pleasure of going to a restaurant brewery called Bonaventure Brewing Company located in Downtown Los Angeles at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel. They have a wonderful menu and a great choice of handcrafted beers from very light to dark that can't be beat.

However as far as cocktails go, they claim to have a large selection of martinis which are not martinis at all. I often look at the menu where it says "Our Signature Martinis" and I didn't see one classic drink listed. It looked more like a drink menu from the late 1990s or early 2000s that included Apple martini, cosmopolitan and lemon drops that are nothing but vodka with hight fructose candy colored syrups that make them look pretty but not classic in the least. How long will it take for Bonaventure Brewing to climb on board to the crafting quality cocktails unless they just don't care and only want to cater to tourists who don't know any better.  There is a current Renaissance of crafting quality drinks and apparently this establishment is aware of it. 

I filled out a comment card shortly before leaving and suggested they revamp the bar and learn to make real cocktails and to consider contacting my friend Tyler Dow from the bar Four at Checkers to help them out. I'm not saying to stay away from this restaurant but they shouldn't call these cocktails "martinis" when they are not or just learn to research classic drinks and serve those instead.


John Apodaca

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Income Tax Cocktail

This is John Apodaca with Daddy-O's Martinis and it's tis the season for taxes. As  some  of us of are looking for those last minute deductions and receipts before we file, I thought most of us could use a libation to make filing less painful, called the Income Tax Cocktail. This is something I can't claim as my own but it's found in the book Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh. It's basically a Bronx Cocktail with a dash of Angostura bitters but adding that one little ingredient changes the flavor of the drink. It's simple to make and you may need to have one before and after seeing your tax man. Try it and tell me how you like it.


John Apodaca

The Income Tax Cocktail

1 1/2 oz gin (Bombay Sapphire or No. 209
3/4 oz dry vermouth ( Noilly Prat or Martini and Rossi)
3/4 oz sweet vermouth (Nilly Prat or Martini and Rossi)
Juice of 1/4 orange (squeezed right into the shaker)
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters