Cardiff Cocktails

By Mark Holmes

Sherry Cobbler


It’s mixology monday again and this month it’s being hosted by Jordan Devereaux over at the excellent Chemistry of the Cocktail. He has set the task of using fortified wines such as sherry, port, maderia etc (but not infusions such as vermouths and quinquinas). As Jordan explains over on his announcement post fortified wines have been around for hundreds of years, so I felt it was suitable to choose a drink which predates the cocktail, a drink that was the pinnacle of drinking fashion and one which Harry Johnson called ‘without doubt the most popular drink in the country’ in his 1888 classic Bartender’s Manual…The Sherry Cobbler.

This drink I find fasinating due to that fact it was one of the first drinks to utalise ice, and the small cobbles of ice are most likly the reasoning behind the name. The Cobbler also brought around the necessity of two more new inventions, the straw, and the cobbler shaker (similar to todays more fashionable boston shaker). 

Drinks writer/drinks historian David Wondrich explains in Imbibe! that the first documenation of the Sherry Cobbler he has come across dates from 1838, and in 1840 a New York weeky calls it “the greatest ‘liquorary’ invention of the day”.

So here it is, a drink with so much influence on the current cocktail world and one which we so rarely hear about (this recipe is adapted from Jerry Thomas’ 1862 How to Mix drinks, or the Bon Vivants Companion)

Sherry Cobbler

  • 4oz Amontillado sherry
  • 1.5 Teaspoon of fine sugar
  • 2 slices or orange
  • 2 raspberries

muddle the flesh of the oranges with the raspberries and sugar, adding a litle water to dissolve. Add the sherry and crushed ice, shake and pour unstrained into a large bar glass. Garnish with a couple fresh orange slices and straws.

Nut Shot


This cocktail is a result of playing around with new bottle of Edmond Briottet Rhubarbe Liqueur I bought the other day, and also double as my entry into the Pink Pigeon (a vanilla infused rum from Mauritius) competition. This also comes with help from bartender Chris Lewis over at Browns Cardiff, who bounced off ideas and mixed up the different drinks. After a few failed attempts at grasshopper twists, and borderline rhubarb daiquiris (both which just plain didn’t work) we ended up with this flip, which I must say I rather enjoyed.

The name came after I posted my dismay of trying to name cocktails on twitter. with broad suggestions of names such as Irie Rhubarb Flip through to John, I ended with Jens Kerger's, of Pinta Cocktail bar, random suggestion of Caribbean Nut Shot. Odd I know, but after hitting a wall, it humoured me.

Nut Shot

  • 25 ml Vanilla spiced Rum
  • 25 ml Rhubarb Liqueur
  • 5 ml Rich Demerara sugar syrup
  • 1 whole fresh egg

Dry shake the egg to start emulsification and to break up the yolk. Add the rest of the ingredients, shake hard with ice and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Un-garnished and un-tarnished. 

Cosy Orange Punch


Having received a beautiful punch bowl from Amy for Christmas I thought it would almost be rude not to post a recipe capable of filling it. For this punch I turned to David Wondrich’s (the absolute king of Punch and other historical drinks) book on Punch. The recipe I adapted was James Ashley’s Punch, a recipe Wondrich sourced from Grub Street Journal, January 1736.

This is a simple Punch to prepare, with pretty much all the work being done while preparing and bottling the shrub. Once this is bottled it’s as simple as it gets. For this Punch I give the recipe using 1 whole bottle of spirit.

Cosy Orange Punch

  • 700 ml Bottle of Brandy
  • 700 ml Bottle of Orange, Clementine, and Lemon Shrub
  • 700 ml Bottle of Mineral Water 

Pour ingredients into the punch bowl, add a large block of ice and grate nutmeg over the top. Be warned, this punch goes down very easy.

Orange, Clementine, and Lemon Shrub

For every bottle of shrub you plan to make, take the peel, avoiding as much pith as possible, of 2 Seville oranges (sometimes called bitter oranges, the kind you use for making marmalade), 1 Clementine, and 1 lemon. Save the fruits for latter. To the peel add half a pint (1 cup) of light raw sugar and muddle until the sugar starts to absorb the oil from the peel. let stand for 1 hour. This is your oleo-saccharum.

To this oleo-saccharum add 500 ml of hot water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Squeeze and strain 200 ml of the juice from the fruit reserved earlier, squeeze more if necessary. Chill, bottle, and refrigerate ready for use.

Piña Porter


I have to give credit to everyone at Measure and Stir for this one. Having played with beer in cocktails before, it never really inspired me (the best results I got where from a syrup I made using oak aged Innis and Gunn). However after reading the cocktails they made during their beer week, I thought I’d give it another go. Glad to say the result was rather pleasing. The beer I chose to use was a stout (more accurately a porter), and more precisely Bath Ales Darkside. If unavailable substitute Guinness here.

Piña Porter

  • 1 1/2 oz Tequila
  • 3/4 oz lime
  • 1/2 oz kahlua
  • 1/2 oz Dark Caramel syrup
  • 3 oz Porter
  • Dash Angostura bitters

For a bit of theatre I like to ‘throw’ this drink by passing it back and forward from a ice filled tankard and another empty tankard, keeping the ice in place with a julep strainer. Here’s Charlotte Voisey  showing us how it’s done on the excelent Small Screen Network. Serve in a half pint tankard with ice and a lime twist.

Dark Caramel Syrup

Here’s a great guide to making caramel syrup by Darcy O’Neil from Art of Drink

Nadolegg Nog


In all honestly I love christmas. It does have its minor annoyances, but the positives far out weigh the negatives, and one positive for me is all the wonderful flavours we get to enjoy to get us through the cold days. After mixing up Jeffrey Morgenthaler's Clyde Common Egg Nog for a few friends the other night (who after initially turning their noses up to the idea, smashed through the whole batch in no time at all)  I wanted to make my own Egg Nog or Flip, and here’s the end result…

Nadolegg Nog

  • 25 ml Jamaican Rum
  • 15 ml Oloroso Sherry
  • 15 ml Walnut orgeat*
  • 20 ml Date juice**
  • 20 ml Whole milk
  • 1 Whole fresh egg

Dry shake the egg to emulsify, shake the rest with ice and strain into a chilled glass, garnish with a grating of at least 70% cocoa chocolate

*Walnut Orgeat

Not technically orgeat (orgeat is, in the easiest term, an almond sugar syrup) due to the fact it’s not made from almonds but walnuts, but the word describes the process of making the walnut syrup well. The method I used was the same as Darcy O’Neils orgeat, but substituting walnuts for almonds and can be found by clicking here.

**Date Juice
Blend 1 cup of dates with 2 cups of milk, strain and bottle. easy.
Nadolig Llawen

What’s The Worst That Could Happen?


This cocktail I’ve made based on a request from my brother-in-law to use Dr Pepper in a drink. Instead of using Dr Pepper as it is, it’s been reduced by 3/4 to give it a thicker consistency and more intense flavour (Don’t worry Matt it’s easy - heat in a pan until reduced to 1/4 of it’s original volume), a similar idea to a cocktail by Brad Thomas Parsons in which he reduces coca cola to use in his Fernet & coke.

 I’ve also noticed a run of rum cocktails, but I know he likes rum, so one more and I’ll promise to change the base spirit next time. 

What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

  • 50 ml Dark Rum (I used Gosling’s Black Seal here)
  • 25 ml Dr Pepper Reduction
  • 20 ml Fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters

Shake and strain into a chilled glass, garnish with a lemon twist.

Mixology Monday - Last Christmas in Club Tropicana


It’s less than 3 weeks till Christmas and for those of us who work in hospitality, that means unimaginably long weeks, slaving over God knows how many pots of mulled wine, Wham!’s last Christmas 8 times a day, and everybody’s favourite inexperienced drinker who for some reason thinks their Christmas party means drink as much as they can on the bosses tab and act like a dick. Rant over. That however fittingly brings me on to this months Mixology Monday.

The (anti)seasonal theme this month is ‘Humbug!’ and has been chosen by JFL over at Rated R Cocktails. Designed to bring out our inner Grinch, we’re mixing drinks in the spirit of anti-Christmas.

For me, here in Wales, Christmas is cold. It’s all about mulled wine/cider, Sherry, Eggnogs, and toddies. So going against all of that I set out to make the most tropical drink I could; I thought Seychelles, the Maldives, and Mauritius and went from there. So next time the Christmas shopping or bad weather gets you down, mix up one of these and think white beaches, rather than white Christmas.

Last Christmas in Club Tropicana

  • 40 ml spiced rum
  • 10 ml lychee liqueur
  • 15 ml grapefruit and star anise sherbet (see below)
  • 20 ml Green tea
  • 20 ml fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Shake and strain into a chilled glass, garnish with cinnamon, star anise, and a lime twist.

Grapefruit & Star anise Sherbet

First remove the peel of a grapefruit (I used a red grapefruit) taking away as little of the pith as possible. muddle the peel with 1/2 cup of sugar and a couple of star anise and let sit for an hour (this is called an oleo saccharum). To make a sherbet combine the oleo saccharum with the juice of the grapefruit (should be about 1/2 a cup).

Cinnamon Smoked Milk Punch


I’m not even going to bother going into the history of Punch. David Wondrich has an entire book on it, and is far more literate than myself. I will however show you a neat little technique I saw a bartender from The Voodoo Rooms (sorry, I forget her name) use to infuse smoke into a drink, without the need to purchase a smoke gun. With only 2 days until December, it seems appropriate to share this nice little festive twist on the Milk Punch. The basic formula of such can be found in Jerry Thomas’ 1988 How to Mix Drinks or The Bon Vivant’s Companion.

Cinnamon Smoked Milk Punch

  • 1 1/2 oz Brandy
  • 3/4 oz Rum
  • 1/2 oz Vanilla Syrup
  • 3 oz Milk

To infuse the smoke, burn a cinnamon stick until it lights then place it on a plate underneath a Boston tin. Add all the ingredients above into a Boston glass, add ice, and then quickly using the smoked filled tin, cap, shake and strain. Finish with a grating of nutmeg.


Barcant swizzle


Here’s the second cocktail I’ll be making at the Angostura Cocktail Challenge a week Thursday. Designed around the flavour profile of the Angostura 1824, the bitters this time take a back seat compared to the rum, with the honey, vanilla and chocolate all helping to try and pull the flavours out.

The cocktail itself is a twist on the swizzle, a sour drink originating in the Caribbean and characterised by its preparation. Built with crushed ice it is mixed using a branch from a Quararibea Turbinata tree, or swizzle stick, which is submerged in the drink and rubbed between both hands. Although I do own a collection of toby jugs, Like most people I don’t own a stick from a Quararibea Turbinata tree - so instead I used a bar spoon… Here is the basic formula for a swizzle.


  • 2 oz spirit
  • 1/2 oz Lemon or lime juice
  • 1/4 oz Sugar syrup

I’ve named my swizzle after Malcolm Barcant, who is know for his collection and research on the some what vast butterfly collection in Trinidad and Tobago. There are 623 know butterflies on the islands and is also the symbol which graces the Angostura’s rum collection.

Barcant swizzle

  • 50ml Angosrura 1824
  • 10ml Honey mix (1:1 runny honey to water)
  • 20ml Fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 5 dashes Agostura aromatic bitters
  • 2 drops Vanilla extract
  • 10ml dark creme de cacao

swizzle in a rocks glass with crushed ice. Express orange oils over drink and garnish with an orange peel butterfly.

Mixology Monday - Roman Punch


Thanks again to Mixology Monday for getting me into gear. This months topic has been hosted by Joseph Tkach over at Measure and Stir, an awesome blog centred around some awesome craft mixology. The topic he chose is titled ‘Garnish Grandiloquence’ and if you didn’t somehow guess it’s all about ‘the art of the garnish’. Joseph sets the task of ‘mixing up drinks where the garnish plays a central role in the experience of the drink’.

The drink which I have chose to make is not an original, but it caught my attention in Harry Johnson’s 1888 book ‘New and Improved Bartenders Manual’. Although not the first print of the recipe (one can be found in Jerry Thomas’ How to mix drinks or the bon vivants companion back in 1862, and I’m sure there are probably earlier prints) but it was this picture which made me chose it…


(picture from New and improved Bartenders Manual, H. Johnson, 1888)

If that isn’t a good garnish then I don’t know what is.

The drink itself seems to be a simplified version of Punch A La ford, a punch which Jerry Thomas quotes from Benson E. Hill’s 1842 The Epicure’s Almanac, who in turns credits the punch to ‘The late General Ford, who for many years was the commanding engineer at Dover’. But I digress.

It also could be a variation of Punch A La Romaine, a similar punch as above but with the addition of meringue, and a topic I’ll leave for another day (Although for an amazing history on Punch check out David Wondrich’s Punch; The delights (and dangers) of the flowing bowl, which personally I couldn’t put down). So without further ado here’s the recipe I used for my Roman Punch…

Roman Punch

  • 1 oz Jamaican Rum
  • 1 oz brandy
  • 1/4 oz Curacao
  • 1/4 oz Sugar syrup (1:1)
  • 1/4 oz Raspberry syrup
  • 1/2 oz Fresh lemon juice

Stir well with crushed ice using a spoon and decorate with fruits in season, here I used an orange slice, pineapple slice, blueberries, blackberries, grapes and strawberries. Serve with straws and a spoon.

I really enjoyed this drink, and it made a pretty good snack as well. If you haven’t tried mixing rum and brandy before I highly recommend it.

Mixology Monday - Paracelsus


When I first joined the on-line cocktail world back in June I came across Mixology Monday, a monthly cocktail challenge which is set by a different cocktail enthusiast and blogger, with their own new theme each time. It was what convinced me to stop being lazy and set up a blog myself, so a quick thanks to Paul Clarke is in order, because if it wasn’t for his idea, I wouldn’t be doing this today. So here it is…my first Mixology Monday.

This months theme, Bein’ Green, was chosen by Ed over at Wordsmithing Pantagruel blog. For this one I’ve decided to tie in a little history about the medicinal use of alcohol, and how we’ve got to where we are now in terms of herbal liqueurs such as the Green Chartreuse which I’ve used in my cocktail. 

Although probably all early civilizations produce fermented drinks, it was in Greece sometime before 460 B.C. where herbs were first mixed with wine. However it wasn’t until the 7th century when Islamic Universities recognised the uses of alcohol for medicinal purposes. Two Persians, Geber (in the 8th century) and Rhazes (10th century), would develop distillation, using it to concentrate alcohol to be taken as an anaesthetic. Later in the 10th century a man named Abulcasis described the use of distilled alcohol as a solvent for drugs.

Between the 12th and 14th centuries alchemists across Europe experimented with distilling different fermented items, but medicines continued to be given as infusions with water and decoctions of single herbs. Two Spanish alchemists in the 13th century, Arnold of Villanove and Raymond Lully, started to make spirits using wine (today we know it as brandy) as a solvent for medicine, which would latter be used as medicine by itself and eventually recreationally. At the same time in the UK and northern Europe whiskey was being produced by distilling fermented grain. 

It was in the 16th century however when a German-Swiss physician/botanist called Paracelsus really popularised the use of distilled alcohol as a solvent for herbs and chemicals to produced tinctures. These Elixirs became extreamly popular across Europe, especially with monasteries, and began to become more and more complex, often using over 100 different herbs and spices. Most of these Elixirs were very bitter, and used as a digestive before meals, some where sweetened and are still being sold today. It is this physician I’ve named my cocktail after, after all without his work in the medical field we probably wouldn’t be able to enjoy liqueurs such as Benedictine and Chartreuse.

Going back to the whole point of this post, here is my Bein’ Green cocktail. I’ve used a splash of Pernod and a home made mint syrup to compliment all the wonderful herbaceous flavours of the green Chartreuse, oh and they were all green so it just seemed to make sense.


  • 1 oz Gin
  • 1 oz  Green Chartreuse
  • 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz mint syrup
  • Teaspoon Pernod

Blend with crushed ice and pour unstrained into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a mint sprig.

The Delicious Sour

The wonderful Matthew Jones of Browns in Cardiff popped into work to say hello last night. Returning that day from a holiday in France, he arrived with a bottle of absinthe, crème de peche, calavdos, and a rather bohemian looking bottle of armagnac based passion fruit flavoured liqueur. Happy days.

The First cocktail we mixed up was The Delicious Sour, although we used a slight variation on the original ingredients but hey, we just got 4 new bottles of booze and we planned on making the most of them. The Delicious Sour is a recipe which dates from 1892 and is found in The Flowing Bowl by William Schmidt, a highly celebrated bartender from New york, producing his finest work at the turn of the 20th century. Schmidt’s book produces some exquisite cocktails and some rather…well, peculiar ones, this one however, as the name suggests, was delicious.

The Delicious Sour

  • 2 oz applejack
  • 1 oz peach brandy
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • soda water

shake all but the soda in a shaker with no ice to start emulsification. Shake with ice and strain into goblet or large cocktail glass, top with soda. Garnish with an apple wheel.

For our sour we used Simon Difford’s variation; we subsituted the applejack with calvados, the peach brandy with crème de peche and cut the amount down by half, finally exchanging the lime for lemon. A number of differences, but I’d definitely take another one, no matter which way it came.

Matt enjoying The Delicious Sour

The Blue Moon


This recipe for the Blue Moon comes form a book called Crosby Gaige’s Cocktail Guide and Ladies’ Companion, 1941 (I know this because of a wonderful book titled Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, by Ted Haigh). However this is not the first recipe. The Blue Moon appears first in Hugo Ensslin’s Recipe for Mixed Drinks, 1917, but uses dry vermouth in lieu lemon juice and adds orange bitters. I prefer Gaige’s.

A cocktail with a similar name, The Blue Train can be found in the Savoy Cocktail Book, 1930, which consists of gin, Cointreau, lemon and 1 dash of blue vegetable extract - essentially a White Lady with dye. I’m going stick with this one…

The Blue Moon

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz Creme Yvette (I used Creme de Violette)
  • 1/2 oz Fresh lemon juice

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Cana Kola


After getting through to the finals of the Angostura cocktail Challenge (which takes part in a few weeks, and to say I wasn’t nervous for my first competition would be a massive understatement) I’ve decided there’s no harm in going for some more. This one I’m entering into ‘The Grand 7 Florita Cocktail Competition 2012’.

The inspiration for this has really come from two fantastic cocktail enthusiasts. The first one is a blog called the Savoy Stomp by Erik Ellestad. A great blog where Ellestad is working his way through all 750 drinks in the Savoy Cocktail book. It was after reading about the drinks he made using Kola tonic, that I thought I wanted to do a sort of Cuba Libre style cocktail, but keeping it classic. The second was a video of Tristan Stephenson making a Wormwood vodka Martini - topping it off with an Absinthe air made using Lecithin and a fish tank pump. Using this method I’ve topped the cocktail of with a foam to compliment the cocktail (in this case a coconut foam to compliment the Flor de Cana 7 yr Grand Reserve) to try and give the illusion of a fizzy cola. To top the cola theme off I’ve served it in an old glass cola bottle.

Cana Kola

  • 50ml Flor de Cana 7 yr Grand Reserve
  • 20ml Fresh Lime Juice
  • 20ml Claytons Kola Tonic
  • 12.5ml Sugar Syrup (2:1)
Shake the first 4 ingredients with ice and fine strain into an old chilled glass cola bottle.
Coconut Foam
  • 25ml Malibu
  • 25ml Water
  • 5ml Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1g Lecithin (Lecithin is a soya bean extract which is traditionally used as a food supplement. Lecithin however is here being used as a stabiliser for the foam and can be found at most health food stores)

for the foam mix the Malibu, Lime, Lecithin and water using a fish tank pump. pour the foam over the cocktail in the cola bottle.

Serve in the botle with a cocktail glass and a lemon twist.

Cardiff Cobbler


Cobblers, now out of fashion, were at their peak of popularity during the mid 1800’s. Consisting of a base (generally a form of wine, the original being that of sherry), sugar, and fresh fruit. What made the cobbler so popular at the time was the original use of ice, from which the drink got its name, and a straw - the paper straw wasn’t patented until 1888 & it appears we have the cobbler to thank.

Here’s the basic original formula for a cobbler


  • 4 oz of spirit/wine
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 to 3 slices of orange

Shake well with crushed ice, garnished with berries in season, and imbibe with a straw. This sweet drink when made well is balanced by the acidity and tannins present in the wine.

For my take on a cobbler I’ve added citrus, which I guess technically means it’s no longer a cobbler. However its the principle which I have based it on and one to which I’ll pay homage to.

Cardiff Cobbler

  • 1 1/2 oz Brandy (I used v.s.)
  • 2 1/2 oz Shiraz Red Wine
  • 1 oz Amaretto
  • 1/2 oz Vanilla Syrup
  • 1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain over crushed ice into a large chilled wine glass. Garnish with seasonal berries, a mint sprig and a couple of straws. To arrange my berries I made a basket of ice by compressing crushed ice in a Mexican elbow.