Archive for the Meet the Vulture Squadron Category

Green Ghost Cocktail

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, Meet the Vulture Squadron, What I'm Mixing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2013 by cocktailvultures

ggg drink

We rarely let our readers forget the “Vulture” aspect of the Cocktail Vultures, and our latest recipe is no exception. We are proud to be part of the Monster Kids of the Sixties and Seventies, and as such, we were happily suckered into all those crazy, gimmicky board games they pushed during our Saturday morning and after-school cartoons. Hence our inspiration — the Green Ghost Game, the most gimmicky, and spooky, of them all!


Why gimmicky? Well, when the game appeared in 1965, it was tagged as “the first game designed to be played in the DARK!” So the Vultures have followed this lead, and made a cocktail you can drink in the dark, in a room with some black lighting — but it also looks swell in regular lighting, candle lighting, Lava-Lamp lighting… You get the drift. Now you have something to mix up for your next Game Night with friends, or just to enjoy. And it’s easy and fun to make. Booooo!

To a shaker filled with crushed ice, add:

2 ounces Midori melon liqueur
2 ounces white rum
.75 ounce cream of coconut

Shake it well. Pour unstrained into a large wine glass or goblet. Top up with .75 ounce of tonic water.

Now turn on that black light and watch it glow a ghostly green! Muhahah

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.

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

Happy New Year from the Vultures

Posted in Booze News and Events, Meet the Vulture Squadron with tags , , on December 31, 2011 by cocktailvultures

Well, it’s that time of the year again, when amateur drinkers descend upon the bars and clubs…… We wish the best to all the Industry workers braving the front lines tonight. To those of us who choose to entertain at home: may your liquor locker be well-stocked and our next post will discuss what to do with all the mediocre booze with which you have been gifted.


Peggy Nadramia: Writer, Editor, Publisher, Tikiphile and Cocktailian

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, Girl Drink Drunk, Meet the Vulture Squadron with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2011 by cocktailvultures

Peggy Nadramia: Writer, Editor, Publisher, Tikiphile and Cocktailian

My interest in cocktails began in my childhood, watching my Grandma Helen entertain lavishly in her Hell’s Kitchen apartment. She was determined and powerful as she whirred Brandy Alexanders for the holidays and stirred giant pots of Tom Collinses out on the summer streets of New York. Surely this was a lovely way to make people happy.

A good friend threw me a copy of Bernard Devoto’s “The Hour” back in the Nineties and my obsession with vintage cocktails began. I started collecting and devouring books of recipes and searching for equipment and glassware. I visited the emerging cocktailian bars in New York City, sampling drinks made by the new gurus in the field and learning what I liked and what I thought worked. My interest branched out into tropical drinks and I made pilgrimages to what Polynesian palaces remained, just so I could see how terrible most Tiki drinks had become and get ideas about how to reverse that unfortunate trend. I made the Cocktail Hour an important part of my life and in so doing, I started to evolve an idea of the value of true hospitality, and the very real magic I could bestow upon others with that beautiful, frosted glass.

A couple of years ago I began collaborating in my home lab with Joe Netherworld. His culinary skills and wild imagination lent a whole new reach to what I was doing. With his background as an artist and sculptor, he brought a different eye and a talented pair of hands to our garnishes and presentation. We started inviting our local Vulture Squadron to sample our wares. When two snarky know-it-alls decide their drinks are as good as anyone else’s, what’s to stop them? And here we are: the Cocktail Vultures.

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

Battle of the Cheap Beers….. an Introduction to the Crew

Posted in Booze News and Events, Drink It Like a Man, Meet the Vulture Squadron on August 6, 2011 by cocktailvultures


The setting was perfect: a hot August weekend evening, a gathering of friends to partake in a summer tradition of cold beer and a hot grill.  There’s something so quenching and delicious reaching into a galvanized tub of ice and pulling out a cold can on a hot summer day.  The cocktail vultures answered the call for a taste test for the best of the worst. So the next time you find yourself in a setting of multiple coolers and kegs lacking a cocktail umbrella, you may reach in armed with the advice of the cocktail vultures. We endured the worst of the worst and enjoyed the best of the best, just for you.


Vultures who answered the call:


Joe – Host and brainchild of the exercise, owner of antique punchbowls and a Jager machine and everything in between.


Peggy – The talented Cocktailian . If you were stranded on a desert island with a bottle of rum, she’s the last one you would eat.


Peter — A man of discerning knowledge and taste regarding all things decadent and sinful.


Chris – A regular can of beer drinker, probably the closest ‘man on the street’ representative. If Frankenberry made a beer, his life would be complete.


Carol – Our world traveler and all around fun gal, up for anything and an infectious laugh that gets more infectious after many tastings.


Mark – See Chris, replace Frankenberry with “Misfits” and you will know Mark.


Jimmy – Frontman of Psychocharger, his experience with beer cans surpass the group as he’s been ducking them for years.


Donna and Lisa – never met a beer they didn’t like (until this day)


“It’s better to have beer in hand than gas in tank.
Life is too short to drink cheap beer.”
–Dorothy Parker


Like the wise Ms. Parker, more than a few of us shun the cheap beer and we began the tasting with our biases under that guise. Were we wrong? Read on.

Tomorrow the long winded results…………….. that was a lot of cheap beer….. a real lot of cheap cheap beer…………..

Welcome to the Cocktail Vultures Blog

Posted in Booze News and Events, Drink It Like a Man, Girl Drink Drunk, Meet the Vulture Squadron, Uncategorized on June 22, 2011 by cocktailvultures

Welcome to our new online presence brought to you by Peggy Nadramia and Joe Netherworld, two opinionated and well-versed Booze Hounds. This will be a place for recipes and reviews and the occasional snarky tear-down of what we find to be sub-par or falsely praised. You’ll find that we have our own preferences and have no problem knocking the sacred cows of the Cocktail World. We do our research at Lab 44 and try out our perfected recipes all throughout the NYC area. Keep checking back for updates to our public events.

Absinthe Cocktail with Belladonna Garnish

The Hudson Witch

2 oz bourbon
3/4 oz Strega
3/4 oz freshly-squeezed juice
1-2 dashes bitters — we like the Whisky Barrel Aged variety.

Shake and strain into a frozen cocktail glass.

Garnish with a homemade maraschino cherry and a peel of orange.

The Vultures mixed and served almost 100 of these one night at a benefit for ARCS. Those who were doubtful, became convinced.