Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on a new cocktail menu for The Usual. Bringing any kind of a menu from its conception on paper to a cohesive list of drinks that people would actually want to purchase is a process that is as painful as it is fun. It involves a lot of pacing, scratching out ideas that don’t pan out like you think they will, digging through a library of cocktail books, and of course tasting the product. The part that I really enjoy, though, is that by the end of the process I always end up with two things: The first is obviously a list of new drinks to start cycling on to the menu. The second is a fresh look at a lot of old cocktails that I’d forgotten about. Here are some of those forgotten classics that I think deserve some special attention.

The Blinker
2 oz rye whiskey
1 oz grapefruit juice
3/8 oz raspberry syrup
Garnish with a lemon twist

Add all of the ingredients to a mixing tin. Shake with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish.

CT Rugs 300x250 Summer Spills

To make raspberry syrup add two cups of raspberries to a saucepan and almost cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Maintain a medium simmer for 20 minutes and skim off any foam that rises to the top. Fine strain this concoction into a separate container. Make sure you do NOT squeeze the raspberries to extract extra juice. Measure the volume of the liquid and transfer it into another saucepan. Bring the liquid to a simmer and add an equal amount of sugar. Stir until all of the sugar is dissolved. Let the syrup cool down to room temperature in a glass container on the counter.

I enjoy the fact that this cocktail is simple to make (once you make the raspberry syrup), and it also does a great job of smoothing out the boldness of rye whiskey.

Corpse Reviver No. 1
1 oz cognac
1 oz calvados
1 oz sweet vermouth
Garnish with a maraschino cherry

Add all of the ingredients to a mixing glass. Add ice and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish.

The Corpse Reviver family of drinks were the original hair of the dog before the Bloody Mary came along. Drinkers were instructed to imbibe them quickly “while they are still laughing at you.” I don’t know why I forgot about this one. After being resurrected from obscurity it’s done a good job of maintaining its place in the cocktail world. I guess I’ve just been turning too much to other concoctions to steady my hands on a Sunday morning.

Japanese Cocktail
2 oz VSOP cognac
½ oz orgeat
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Garnish with a twist of lemon

Add all of the ingredients to a mixing glass. Add ice and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish.

Homemade orgeat syrup is an amazing thing. It’s also one of the most pain-in-the-butt cocktail ingredients that you’ll ever have to make. If you’re really just bent on making it yourself, a simple Google search will direct you to a serviceable recipe. For those that would like to make this drink without going through all the hassle, simply visit and purchase a bottle of Tiki Adam’s Toasted Orgeat Syrup. While you’re buying your orgeat, you can also take moment to browse through all of the uber-dorky bar equipment they have for sale as well. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to walk away from that website without buying something.

I hope you’ll take some time to integrate at least one of these drinks into your alcohol regimen in the near future. I’ve enjoyed getting reacquainted with these old friends. Also, if you just want to try these out before committing to buying all of the ingredients for one or all of these recipes you can always swing by The Usual and take each one for a test drive.