Hi folks – friendly guest poster here…
Jane has graciously asked me to write a post about cocktails, specifically classic cocktails for vacation or home; or at the many great bars in Cape May. Whenever we are in our Cape May home, we plan for cocktails, or I should say we rely on Sunset Liquors and Colliers Liquors to keep our beach bar fully stocked.
Speaking of bars in Cape May, don’t miss the bar at the Ebbitt Room in the Virginia Hotel or the Brown Room in Congress Hall. Both exude classic Rat Pack cool, but less Vegas and more beach. The Ebbitt Room is a bit more intimate, and if there isn’t a seat at the bar, sitting on the front porch overlooking Jackson Street is not a bad way to enjoy a cocktail. The Brown Room is more spacious with lots of seating options, from the bar to comfortable banquettes (pro-tip: snag a seat by the fireplace if you’re there in the Fall). You can picture Frank, Dean, and Sammy sipping ice cold Martinis there.
When we’re at our home in Cape May I love an after-dinner cocktail on the front porch, enjoying the warm Summer breeze and listening to the ocean’s roar from Windsor Beach. Here are a few of Jane’s and my favorite classic cocktails.
The Aviation is a classic pre-Prohibition gin cocktail with captivating floral notes and a stunning color courtesy of the secret ingredient – crème de violette. To mix an Aviation at home you’ll need:
- 2 oz dry gin (I like Bluecoat)
- ½ oz crème de violette
- ½ oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
- ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
- ¼ ounce simple syrup*
Add all to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for at least thirty seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass or coupe. Optional garnish with a Luxardo cherry or lemon twist.
If you happen to find yourself at the bar at the Mad Batter, try their riff on an Aviation; you won’t be disappointed.
*Simple syrup is really simple. Add ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water to sauce pan. Heat over medium heat stirring until sugar is dissolved. It will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.
Bourbon Cherry Sour
If your tastes lean more towards whiskey-based cocktails, the Bourbon Cherry Sour is worth trying. It’s a variation on a classic whiskey sour that is mixed like an Old Fashioned. You’ll need:
- 2 oz Bourbon (any Kentucky straight Bourbon will work, though I prefer a less sweet bourbon such as Bulleit)
- 3 to 4 Luxardo cherries (classic maraschino cherries can be used in a pinch, but the depth of flavor in a Luxardo or Amarena cherry elevates the flavor)
- ½ oz fresh lemon juice
- ¼ oz syrup from cherry jar
In an Old-Fashioned glass, muddle the cherries and syrup.
Fill with crushed ice. Add bourbon and lemon juice
Stir rapidly with a bar spoon for at least thirty seconds until very cold. Garnish with a cherry and lemon twist.
Last but not least, there is nothing as sublime as a classic martini. Whether as a pre-dinner cocktail or nightcap, martini is always the right answer. Over the years, I have come to embrace the flavor of vermouth; you may adjust the ratios to suit your taste. I also recommend a classic dry gin such as Plymouth or Gordon’s. Bluecoat American dry gin is a very good option; plus you have the satisfaction of supporting a local distillery. You’ll need:
- 3 oz dry gin
- 1 oz dry vermouth, such as Noilly Prat
In a mixing glass filled with ice, add gin and vermouth.
Stir until very, very cold at least thirty seconds, but you’ll be rewarded with a superior cocktail if you stir for a full minute.
Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with three olives or a lemon twist.
Like it dirty? Add a ¼ oz brine from the olive jar. Like a dryer martini? Use ½ oz Vermouth instead.
There you have it. Three classic cocktails perfect for a Cape May beach vacation or home! Let me know what cocktails you enjoy on vacation in the comments below.