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

The Alberto Simmons Cocktail

Sometimes the origin of a cocktail name has some history behind it–maybe it’s an inside joke or reference to a movie. Perhaps it’s paying homage to the mood the creator of the recipe was in when they put it together for the first time. And then sometimes the inspiration for the name comes from a song. It could be the lyrics that lend themselves to inspiring the naming of a cocktail, or sometimes it could be the mood it puts you and the name of the song itself.

In the case of the Alberto Simmons cocktail it’s the latter. A song by Fishboy, a band based out of Texas, about a character by the name of Alberto Simmons who is plotting to take the world on and build a wormhole along side his brother. It’s a fairly nonsensical but catchy tune. Once I started listening to the song a few times I began to picture an overly energetic person that had an interesting way of looking at life. And for some reason every time I heard the name Alberto Simmons, I thought of tequila and a somewhat out of the box stirred drink that wouldn’t take any prisoners.

I know it’s a stretch, but sometimes inspiration comes in the strangest of ways.

For more information on Fishboy or Alberto Simmons click here

Alberto Simmons

2oz Don Julio Reposado Tequila
1/2 oz Nonino Amaro
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1/4 oz Lagavulin 16 Year Old Scotch Whisky

2 Dashes Bittermens Xocatl Mole Bitters

Directions:Combine all ingredients in mixing glass. Stir with ice.

Strain over giant cube in rocks glass.

Garnish with Orange twist

The Alberto Simmons Cocktail. A combination of Don Julio Reposado, Amaro Nonino, Carpano Antica, Lagavulin 16, and Mole Bitters.

The Alberto Simmons Cocktail. A combination of Don Julio Reposado, Amaro Nonino, Carpano Antica, Lagavulin 16, and Mole Bitters.