The Curious George with Taketsuru 12 Year Japanese Whisky

Recently I had the chance to work with Taketsuru 12 Year Old Japanese Whisky from Nikka and highlight it in a cocktail at Whiskyfest for the New York Chapter of United States Bartenders Booth.

Taketsuru 12 Year old
is fairly new to the United States having only been released at the end of 2012 and now only becoming available to several states beyond its initial release in California.

Taketsuru is a vatted or blended malt and is a combination of a variety of single malts from both the Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries. These whiskies are aged in a number of different barrel types including virgin American oak, refilled barrels, and sherry butts(barrels or butts that previously were used to age sherry).

With heavy fruits such as cherry, banana and apple, alongside hints of christmas spice, cocoa and light peat throughout each sip, Taketsuru 12 year lends itself easily in being used as the base in cocktails.

Inspired by the heavy fruit notes I was inspired to create the “Curious George” cocktail. This name comes from those fruit notes specifically the banana and my desire to have a little fun with this cocktail, which essentially is a play on an old-fashioned.

Curious George
2 oz Taketsuru 12 Year Japanese Whisky
1/2 oz Briottet Creme De Banana
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
2 Dashes The Bitter TruthJerry Thomas Decanter Bitters

Directions: Combine ingredients in Mixing Glass. Stir and strain over giant rock in old-fashioned glass.

Garnish with two Luxardo Maraschino Cherries

The Kobayashi Maru

About two months ago I asked to create a cocktail featuring Ketel One Vodka for a charity event benefiting Wine to Water.

Vodka is one of those spirits that I find a lot of people don’t like to worth with as isn’t often much flavor to play off of when creating a new cocktail. When tasting Ketel One I was hit with some notes of cocoa, vanilla and light citrus that helped me develop this cocktail. The name Kobayashi Maru comes from Star Trek, and was an unbeatable training scenario that Kirk had to go through at Star Fleet academy. More info on this can be found at

I felt the name fit the challenge since most people find Vodka hard to be creative with. That being said the Kobayashi Maru is a vodka based old-fashioned variation swapping out the rye or bourbon for Ketel One Vodka.

The Kobayashi Maru

2oz Ketel One Vodka
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
1/2 oz White Creme De Cacao
2 Dashes Bittermens Xocaltl Mole Bitters Directions:
Stir in mixing glass with ice.
Strain over Giant Rock into Old Fashioned Glass.
Garnish with grapefruit twist.

*The Ice Trays shown can be purchased from

Nemo’s Bounty Cocktail

I was recently asked to create a cocktail featuring Sailor’s Jerry Spiced Rum to serve at an Edible Manhattan event.

Sailor Jerry is a spiced rum that has spices such as cinnamon, allspice, vanilla, cloves and other hints of the Caribbean. With those flavors inspiring me and thinking I wanted to go for a stirred spirit forward cocktail I used the basis of the infamous Sazerac as an outline for a cocktail, I dubbed “Nemo’s Bounty”. When tasting Sailor’s Jerry I picked up hints of espresso, anise and ginger. This led to me to combine 2 oz of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum with 1/2 oz of Galliano Ristretto, an espresso liqueur, and then added two dashes of Dr. Adam Elmegirab’s Aphrodite Bitters a bitter that has a base that includes chocolate, cacao nibs, coffee, ginger root and red chili.

I combined these ingredients into a mixing glass, stirred with ice and strained them into a glass rinsed with Pernod Absinthe as you would with a Sazerac. I then garnished the drink with a lemon twist.

With a variety of ingredients originating from all over the globe–the Galliano Ristretto coming from Italy, Pernod Absinthe from France, and Sailor Jerry a spiced blend of Caribbean rums–I imagined these flavors would be something that Captain Nemo of “10,000 Leagues Under the Sea” might come across during his literary travels, thus I named my cocktail for these flavors and the nautical inspired Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum.

Nemo’s Bounty

2oz Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
1/2 oz Galliano Ristretto
2 Dashes Aphrodite Bitters
Pernod Absinthe

Directions:Combine all ingredients except absinthe into mixing glass.  Stir with ice. Strain into ice-filled rocks glass that has been rinsed with Pernod Absinthe. 

Garnish with Lemon Twist 

*Sailor Jerry retails for around $21.99 US for a 1 Liter Bottle.

Nemos Bounty. A Combination of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Galliano Ristretto Espresso Liqueur, Aphrodite Bitters and an absinthe rinse.

Nemos Bounty. A Combination of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Galliano Ristretto Espresso Liqueur, Aphrodite Bitters and an absinthe rinse.