Archive for the Drink It Like a Man Category

Prohibition Repeal Day! December 5th

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, Drink It Like a Man, Girl Drink Drunk, Meet the Vulture Squadron, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2012 by cocktailvultures



If ever there was a day for Cocktailians, Imbibers, Drunks and Casual Tipplers to celebrate, it’s today, which marks the 79th anniversary of the repeal of the 18th amendment, Prohibition, or as we like to call it, Alcoholic Independence Day.

So go out or stay in and raise a glass to common sense and good taste and to the fine work of forgotten bootleggers of yore who kept us at least in bathtub gin and smuggled rum, and to Al Capone who made his legend keeping the hooch flowing.

An Old-Fashioned Rosh Hashanah

Posted in Classic Cocktails, Drink It Like a Man with tags , , , , on September 17, 2012 by cocktailvultures

An Old-Fashioned Rosh Hashanah

Vultures love a holiday tradition as much as anyone, and nothing beats one that can include beautiful apples and local honey from our Haunted Hudson Valley. So we came up with a variation on the Old-Fashioned that includes both, and also mellows you out for contemplation of the sweet year ahead.

In a rocks glass, muddle chopped fresh apple with a tablespoon or two of honey and a dash of bitters. This is definitely all to your personal taste.

Add a goodly portion of quality whisky. We prefer two ounces of a bourbon like Maker’s Mark. Stir stir stir.

Add ice. Stir stir stir.

Top with a jot of soda water. Stir stir stir.

Garnish with a slice of apple dipped in honey. Add a straw.

Shana Tova to you all!

Always drink responsibly; always drink well.


It’s the Great Pumpkin Beer Review!

Posted in Booze News and Events, Drink It Like a Man, What I'm Mixing with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2012 by cocktailvultures

Pumpkin Beer Review 2012


As any beer lover knows, pumpkin beers and ales have flooded the market and right now, September, is high pumpkin season. The aisles of our favorite beer store, Half Time, are crowded with pretty orange packages and dozens of leering jack-o’-lantern faces. The Cocktail Vultures love pumpkins and Halloween and it’s tempting to pull down random six-packs of everything we see. But we know that all is not equal in the pumpkin patch. For that reason, the Cocktail Vultures have provided this service to you, sacrificing a lovely late-summer afternoon under the blue skies of the Hudson Valley, tasting and comparing some samples from this year’s crop of pumpkin brews. Only the most sincerely pumpkin ale will meet our standards, which are simple: the beer or ale must actually taste of pumpkin and its related spices, and also be a smooth, tasty beer with none of the problems we’ve noted in mass-produced supermarket brands.


Your usual host and hostess, Joe and Peggy, were joined by another member of the Vulture Squadron, Peter H. Gilmore, for the difficult task of drinking cool beverages on the veranda.















1)   Shipyard Pumpkin Head — Portland, Maine.

Light with no bitterness, golden in color, this entry was more like a cider than an ale, with lots of pumpkin pie spice and the highest level of pumpkin of those we tried.










2)   Punk’N – Uinta – Salt Lake City, Utah

Attractive pumpkin color, but no pumpkin or spice flavor whatsoever. The scent was like wet bread. Not recommended.










3)   Post Road Pumpkin Ale – Utica, New York

Subtle spice gives way to a slightly smoky, incense-like flavor. The color was pretty and the head was smooth. Pleasant spiciness but virtually no pumpkin flavor.










4)   Smutty Nose Pumpkin Ale – Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Yellow in color, with no discernible spice but rather a fresh, pumpkin-patch vegetal taste. More Oktoberfest than Halloween.










5)   Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale – Golden, Colorado

A rich, coppery color with a smooth, velvety texture and head. Tastes of roasted pumpkin seeds and aged whiskey barrels. Very pleasant, seasonal pumpkin ale flavor, rather than a pumpkin pie. We were surprised and pleased to call this our favorite, as it will be easily available to our readers for weeks to come.










6)   Pumking by Southern Tier – Lakewood, New York

A strong vanilla scent greets you as the cap comes off. A pretty amber color, and then one sip gives the pronounced flavor of vanilla and pumpkiny-dessert – like a slice of pumpkin pound cake. As a beer, it’s smooth and pleasant, but is more a dessert beverage than a seasonal pumpkin ale










7)   Captain Lawrence Pumpkin Ale – Elmsford, NY

Nice copper color. No pumpkin or spice fragrance or flavors whatsoever. Metallic after-taste brought back memories of our Cheap Beer Challenge. Not recommended.










8)   Saranac Pumpkin Ale – Utica, New York

A sweet, pumpkin-pie nose gives way to the tiniest hint of spice and a bitter overall taste. Very little pumpkin – more a bitter beer than a pumpkin ale.


We wouldn’t be the Cocktail Vultures if we didn’t try to make something with the leftovers. Although these Vultures can hold our own when it comes to cocktails, too much beer gets us stuffy and sleepy, so we took small portions and poured the rest into a handy growler. When we were done, the result was an interesting “all sorts” of pumpkin ales and this might not be a bad idea. The strong spice and vanilla in one ale was balanced out by the fresh pumpkin of another, etc. Try this at home, for sure!


We’ll be back with more pumpkin ales and some Halloween beers in a few weeks – watch this space and never go to a Halloween party empty-handed. Especially not one of ours.


Always drink responsibly; always drink well.


The Bela Lugosi Cocktail

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, Drink It Like a Man, What I'm Mixing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 8, 2012 by cocktailvultures

The Bela Lugosi Cocktail

Before Bela Lugosi played the immortal Count on the screen, forever identifying himself with vampires and inspiring a Goth anthem, he was a hard-working stage actor and an ambitious immigrant. In his native Hungary, he was an army captain, and won a medal for bravery at the Russian front. But later as a union organizer for actors, he wound up with a price on his head, despite his valiant service to his country. So Bela worked his way to these shores on a merchant ship, and then as a day laborer until he began securing stage roles and finally making it to Broadway. It was there that he crystallized the role of Dracula as we know him.

Modern audiences are somewhat amused by the oily, overly-formal performance of Lugosi as Dracula. But putting his dark eyes, deep voice and courtly manners beside the bright-haired boys America was going to see at the time, you start to get the picture. On stage, Lugosi had an electrifying presence: he was tall, with a body toned from hard work, and when he swirled that cape around his shoulders, the ladies must have been… hypnotized.

We’re sure there are lots of Dracula cocktails out there, but we wanted to create one that paid tribute to the striving actor at the beginning of his success, a two-fisted, yet elegant concoction he might swig as he came off the stage. It’s smooth, yet looks mysterious, and tastes of yesterday, silver trays, silken scarves and the lights of Broadway. The color of misty moonlight, a final addition of Port hints at the destiny about to unfold from this one immortal role.

To a shaker filled with ice, add:

1.5 ounces Slivovitz
.5 ounce Maraschino liqueur
.5 ounce Strega
.5 ounce water
Dash absinthe

Shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Carefully add a quarter ounce of ruby Port to the center of the drink. Squeeze and flame a lemon peel over the glass and drop it in.

Perhaps he never DID drink… wine.

Always drink responsibly — always drink well.

The “CALL OF CTHULHU” Cocktail

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, Drink It Like a Man, Meet the Vulture Squadron, What I'm Mixing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2012 by cocktailvultures

Call of Cthulhu: A Cocktail

By Peggy Nadramia and Joe Netherworld

Since the beginning of our association in the Cocktail Lab, we have discussed our mutual desire to create a libation evoking the essence of the slumbering horror that is Cthulhu, the cosmic Old One first brought to the consciousness of man by New England author, Howard Phillips Lovecraft. But it couldn’t happen until the stars were right, and we had received the Elder Sign. The time has come.

The Cocktail Vultures have been pleasing your palate for awhile now, but all is not fun and games here at the Lab. Last night we were possessed with an irresistible frenzy to mix, to mix well, and to taste a drink both powerful and beguiling. We have found it.

The short story “Call of Cthulhu” first appeared in 1928, in an issue of Weird Tales, the pulp magazine familiar to every reader of horror fiction. This was a time when Westerners were just beginning to be exposed to the exoticism and sensuality of life in the tropical seas, and also to the barbarity of the pagan cultures found there. We based the drink on the tropical grogs of those climes, with plenty of fresh citrus and three kinds of decadent rum. Its structure is also a nod to Don the Beachcomber’s original Zombie, a name that conjures visions of helpless humans trapped in a spell of forgetfulness and servitude. The maraschino liqueur adds a whiff of dusty forbidden tomes. To facilitate disturbing dreams, we included Strega, the ultimate Witch liqueur from a site in Italy originally known as Malevento – the place of evil events. The blue Curacao is essential; do not even consider replacing it or the gods may be disturbed and awakened prematurely; when you look at the finished result of our mixology, you’ll understand why you must adhere to the recipe. Finally, we had to add the Madness From the Sea, and so a sprinkling of brine is called for in the presentation of the drink.

Be careful; we recommend one cocktail per guest. One doesn’t summon Cthulhu lightly, and one treats him with respect, or pays the price. Heed this warning, and always drink, and call to the Elder Gods, responsibly.

To a blender, add:

1 ounce Kraken rum (some scholars believe H. P. Lovecraft was inspired by Tennyson’s poem of the same name)

1 ounce gold rum (we used Appleton Special Jamaican Rum)

1 ounce Lemon Hart 151 Demerara Rum

¼ ounce falernum

½ ounce Maraschino liqueur

½ ounce blue Curacao

¾ ounce lime juice

¾ ounce grapefruit juice

¾ ounce orange juice (all our citrus is freshly-squeezed)

¾ ounce pineapple juice

2 dashes aromatic bitters (we used Bitter Truth)

1/8 teaspoon Strega liqueur

1 cup crushed ice

Blend for 5 seconds. Pour unstrained into a mug or chimney glass, to which you have added more crushed ice. Sprinkle the surface of the cocktail with approximately ½ teaspoon of brine (recipe to follow).

Brine: in a small mixing glass, combine 2 ounces of vodka with ¼ teaspoon of sea salt, stirring until salt is dissolved. May be transferred to a dasher bottle or eyedropper.

Garnish with a slice of star fruit and tentacles carved from lime shell.

Ignore that faint chanting you think you hear; we’re sure those are not the strains of pagan music beginning to grow louder. Sip, as your mind begins to be swayed by the great god Cthulhu, who is rumored to whisper in his sleep…

P.S. (from Joe Netherworld): I can hold my booze alongside the great drunks of our age, but I have to say this potion is a challenge to my imbibing abilities! It will lay you low and leave you babbling incoherently in the darkness

Mint Julep: Sweet Brown Sugar

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, Drink It Like a Man, What I'm Mixing on May 22, 2012 by cocktailvultures

Mint Julep season is well upon us. The Kentucky Derby has come and gone and mint growing season is in full swing.

We have come up with an improved sweetener for the classic mint julep using a staple of Southern cooking: Dark Brown Sugar.

This methodology provides for another level of depth of flavor as well as a surefire guarantee against undissolved sugar in the bottom of the cup.

Dark Brown Sugar Syrup

1 1/2 cups Dark Brown Sugar

1 cup water

5-6 good dashes of Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters

Place sugar and water in a non-reactive saucepan and simmer until sugar is almost completely dissolved.

Remove from heat and stir until completely dissolved.

Add the bitters and when cooled to room temperature, bottle it up and keep refrigerated.

Joe Netherworld-Cocktailian-Mixologist-Party Promoter-Epicurean-Lily Gilder

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, Drink It Like a Man, Meet the Vulture Squadron with tags , , , , , on December 20, 2011 by cocktailvultures

Joe Netherworld

Cocktailian-Mixologist-Party Promoter-Epicurean-Lily Gilder

I am a fourth generation Booze Hound Gadfly, my great grandfather lost his life in the Five Points NYC in 1906 in the back room of his bar in a shootout over a poker game gone wrong, my Grandfather owned the 808 club and featured fine dining cocktails and a big band orchestra.  My father owned a few bars and bartended at the first gay night club in Westchester ny, the Nite Owl which featured a caged tiger cub as part of its décor.  As a child I spent many a day helping clean up the bar and amusing myself with virgin cocktails and the thrill of the Wunder-Bar.  My dearest Uncle Carmine was a lifelong bartender from the late 50’s through the 90’s I have inherited his old books and notes and his first hand stories of Mobsters and Dames and crooked politicians and illegal casinos on the second floor of old hat factories in Yonkers NY. It helps that I am an old witch at heart and practice, and I love to brew up some “potion” having been making my own Absinthe since 1990 and selling “kits” to friends until it became legal again.  I have been the Drink Master at over 100 events both public and private from Frat to Fancy Fifth Ave Townhomes. From dicey dive bars to multi-million dollar Night Clubs.  I know how to throw a party and mix the proper drink for the occasion.  I am a Wizard in the kitchen and incorporate my families tradition of local farm and home grown ingredients in our cooking into my cocktail special ingredients.  I hate fake fancy and intentionally snobbish attitudes as I find it a shabby cover for lack of knowledge and a quality palate.  When I met my Lab Partner Peggy Nadramia it was like a meeting of 2 superpowers at an Alcoholic United Nations! Together we play off each other’s extensive knowledge and epicurean palates to finesse and fine tune classic as well as new school cocktails.  Like I am prone to be heard saying “Any Olde Time is a good time for a Good Olde Drink” I love the evocation of a good mixed drink and the forgotten class and style that they invoke and the good natured tipsy topsy-turvey world they hail from

The “Drawing Room” Cocktail or how to catch more barflies with vinegar

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, Drink It Like a Man, What I'm Mixing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2011 by cocktailvultures

Preprandial cocktails can run the gamut, from astringent Martinis to elaborate tropical drinks that make you forget all about dinner and reach for the nearest puu puu platter. But what about a palate-cleansing cocktail served immediately after a large meal, or even between courses? The Cocktail Vultures have concocted just such a number, utilizing one of our homemade syrups, and leaving our little buddy Lime out of the picture for a change. Fear not! You can definitely do this one yourself. And in keeping with the Victorian custom of ladies and gentlemen withdrawing after dinner, we have named it:

The Drawing Room

To a shaker filled with ice, add:

1 ounce rye whiskey
1/2 ounce black currant cordial
1/3 ounce balsamic vinegar syrup (instructions to follow)
3 dashes whiskey barrel aged bitters
2 dashes chocolate bitters

Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

We think this would be wonderful after a course of strong cheese or roasted meat.PN

Recipe and How-To for the “Balsamic Vinegar Syrup”

4 ounces aged Balsamic Vinegar (4 year aged or better)

4 ounces pure cane sugar

Combine both ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. This is one of the few syrups where a little reduction is fine and makes for a smoother flavor.

Cool to room temperature and bottle. Keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks but best used after a 12-24 hour rest period after bottling.


Cabin Fever Maple Infused Whisky

Posted in Booze News and Events, Drink It Like a Man with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2011 by cocktailvultures

Here is another brand recommendation that we have field tested and drinker approved. Cabin Fever Maple Infused Whiskey.  This is a small batch family made product that is incredibly smooth and with a deep rich flavor that despite it’s namesake, is not a sickly sweet liquor. It is a full 80proof whiskey with a delicious maple/caramel/vanilla flavor. Cold filtering removes the excess sugar and smooths the whiskey out very nicely.  Try it in Coke instead of Jack Daniels for a simple to make but wonderful to taste Cabin and Coke……. Go to their website Cabin Fever and read all about it.  Even better is that I have found this available at a value price (even for NYS)  Use it anywhere you would use a mixing whiskey or straight up.   I have replaced the rum in my Bananas Foster with this to rave reviews. so give it a try, I have talked with the owner of the company when I called with a few questions and they could not have been more happy and helpful…… Enjoy!

text from their website:


Cabin Fever is an 80 proof Maple Whisky that has dark rich tones and is incredibly smooth. Chilled filtered so it is not too sweet, Cabin Fever’s taste is a harmony of oak and maple at the forefront with hints of caramel and butterscotch. It benefits from traditional craftsmanship such as 100% Vermont maple, three-year barrel aging and a devotion for extremely high quality.

posted by JN


Posted in Booze News and Events, Drink It Like a Man, Tools of the Trade with tags , , , , , on November 29, 2011 by cocktailvultures

Every now and then we come across a product that catches our eye long enough that we give it a try…….. nothing ventured nothing gained as it were.  So when browsing our local super sized booze shop we happened across a bottle of Kraken rum….. it involved a giant squid and an Olde Timey bottle so I was half way there but the true test was yet to come. Could a decent rum be hiding beneath the inky depths of this intriguing black liquid or would it be just another slick marketing campaign pushing less than well quality hooch on an unsuspecting populace?  We can say with glad amazement that this stuff is great! Especially for the price! Is it a 15 year old Eldorado, no but its not in that category.  It is however the BEST spiced rum on the market in it’s and others prices ranges…… It is a great value and has a smooth spicy flavor that works in any drink calling for a spiced rum including my “Creature from the Black Lagoon” cocktail.  This is a domestic distillation and bottling and I can only hope they have something else up their salty sleeves soon enough.    I can’t bear to throw away the empty bottles and find any ridiculous use for them…. water jug at the gym, decorative vase, etc etc.  Try it in a Cuba Libre or in any Tiki drink calling for spiced rum.  It’s also great in Mulled Cider as it adds it’s distinctive warm spicy vanilla imbued flavor.   How could you not love a drink that let’s you yell “Release the Kraken” every time you pour a shot…… Now off I go to invent a drinking game involving “Clash of the Titans” and Kraken rum