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Palmetto Cooler


Tasting a bit like a mint julep but with an earthy undertone, the Palmetto Cooler is a refreshing, reviving drink – perfect on a hot day when you’re feeling like cactus.


60ml bourbon

15 ml apricot liqueur (confession: I substituted apricot brandy as that’s what I had handy. Don’t judge me)

15ml sweet vermouth

3 dashes Angostura bitters

120ml soda water

mint sprig




Two-thirds fill the glass with ice. Pour in everything except the soda water and mint sprig and stir. Then add the soda, stir again, and garnish with the mint sprig. (Two lots of stirring helps your drink to chill down quickly, so don’t think you can get away with bunging everything in the glass and stirring only once!)



This one’s from The Cocktail Bible by Steve Quirk (New Holland Press, 2010).

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Campden Cocktail


Short, sharp and sophisticated, just like this recipe, the Campden tastes like something a 1920s flapper girl would have drunk at a real-life Great Gatsby party.


1/2 Dry gin (we used 30ml)

1/4 Cointreau (we used 15ml)

1/4 Lillet (we used 15ml)


Cocktail – for best results, chill it first


Shake everything with loads of ice. Strain into glass and sip while saying something sassy.


Daaaaahling, any idiot can make this one. Be a dear and fetch me another, would you?


This recipe is from The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock (first published 1930 by Constable & Co; this edition published 1987 by Spring Books).


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Indian Summer


It won’t inspire confidence to say this but I’ll say it anyway:
This recipe should not work.
That’s what I thought when I first read it (in Shaken, published by Paragon in 2007) and that’s still what I think now, despite having drunk several of them just to be sure. I mean really, Kahlua and pineapple juice? With gin?! That sounds less like a match made in heaven and more like a match made in your parents’ alcohol cabinet when you were 14 and they’d gone out for the night. But trust me, it’s a great combo. The disparate ingredients come together to produce an intriguing blend of flavours that are kinda hard to pick – tropical yet earthy with a hint of exotic spices. It’s best served ice-cold on a hot, sultry night, but I’m not going to stop you if you want one midweek in winter. Just remember to top up the bottles so your parents don’t know you’ve raided their alcohol cabinet…

30ml vodka
30ml gin
60ml Kahlua
60ml pineapple juice (store-bought is fine)
tonic water (optional)

Chilled cocktail glass

Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all the ingredients except the tonic water and shake well. Strain into the glass. Taste test it. If you like it as is, leave it the hell alone – it’s delicious, right? The original recipe does suggest adding a dash of tonic water, though, which sounds like it shouldn’t work but…does. Make two – one with and one without the tonic – and see which one you like best.

Getting over the “that sounds DISGUSTING” factor is the hardest part.

This recipe is taken from Shaken (Paragon, 2007).

Gin and Sin


Depending on what you believe, there’s a lot of sinful activity in this world – and a lot of it is really, really enjoyable. Take lust, for example, that deadly sin that pops up whenever I see a cocktail menu. Envy – of someone else’s cocktail – and covetousness are definitely up there. Look, nowhere in the Bible does it say thou shalt not covet thy fellow drinker’s cocktail, probably because they hadn’t been invented then, poor bastards. And let’s not forget gluttony, which comes along when lust has overtaken and I’ve already had three cocktails but my cocktail stomach demands more. (And yes, a cocktail stomach is totally a thing. Some people have dessert stomachs, I have a cocktail stomach. And a dessert stomach. And definitely a fried food stomach. I’m basically a cow who likes to dedicate its stomachs to very specific tasks.)
Anyway, since this cocktail’s name combines two of my very favourite things – ginning and sinning – I had to try it. It’s possibly the best pink drink I’ve had on my ongoing quest to drink pink things (which I didn’t even know I was on until a 52 Cocktails fan pointed out there’s a lot of pink drinks on this site, so now the pink drink quest is totally a thing too). It’s got a great balance of sweet, sour, intrigue and woah-that-drink-looked-innocent-but-now-I’m-kinda-drunk, which is not technically an ingredient but should be. In short, it tastes like P!nk herself would approve since it’s the kind of drink that would definitely get the party started.
So stop coveting a Gin and Sin and start making one instead – here’s the recipe.

1 orange slice
1 lemon slice
30ml freshly squeezed orange juice
15ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
Look, with all this fruit in in it it’s practically a salad
15ml sugar syrup
5ml grenadine
60ml gin
Phew, I was worried it was getting too healthy

Chilled cocktail glass. Forgotten to chill your glass or don’t have time to do so? Then chuck some ice cubes in it while you prepare your drink (and remove them before straining the drink into the glass).

Muddle the fruit slices with the juices in a cocktail shaker. Add the sugar syrup, grenadine and gin. Add a handful of ice and shake the bejeezus out of it. Strain into the glass and start sinning, baby.

Avoiding the temptation to drink several of these in a row is the hardest part. But, since squeezing such small amounts of juice is kinda fiddly and annoying, you might as well make a whole batch…

Thank you, Dale De Groff, for putting this recipe in your awesome book The Craft of the Cocktail (Clarkson Potter, 2002).

Japanese Cocktail


Apart from its name, I have no idea what this cocktail has to do with Japan. Containing Cognac, orgeat, lime juice and Angostura Bitters, it’s light but slightly cloying; the orgeat lends it a marzipan-y flavour that’s lifted by the lime, and the Cognac, while providing the base note to this perfumed concoction, almost fades into the background. It tastes like the kind of thing you’d drink at a summer wedding instead of having a piece of wedding cake; pleasant, celebratory and enjoyable, but not so good you’d say, “Oh my God get me a dozen more!” before collapsing head first into the bridal party.

According to the drink’s introduction in Dale DeGroff’s The Craft of the Cocktail, which is where I came across this recipe, the Japanese Cocktail was included in the 1862 (ie first) edition of How to Mix Drinks or the Bon Vivants Companion by the legendary Jerry Thomas, who is widely considered to be the father of American mixology. Also known as The Bar-Tenders Guide, it was the first drinks book published in the United States and one that I (shamefully) still don’t have a copy of. If you have a spare one lying about, feel free to send it my way so I can find out what Thomas had to say about the Japanese Cocktail, which is the first cocktail on record to have a name that doesn’t reflect its ingredients (fair enough – it’d be hard to put a Japanese person in a cocktail) and may have been inspired by the first Japanese mission to the US, made when “Professor” Thomas, as he was known, had a very popular bar in New York City.



2 ounces (60ml) Cognac

1/2 ounce (15ml) orgeat

1/2 ounce (15ml) fresh lime juice

dash of Angostura Bitters


Cocktail/martini glass


Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a spiral of lime peel.


Way easier than eating a piece of marzipan-covered wedding cake. Seriously, who likes that stuff? And why would you eat it when you could have a cocktail instead?


This recipe appears in The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff (Clarkson Potter, 2002), who in turn credits it to Jerry Thomas. That’s one legend to another….and now that I’ve credited it to Dale I’ll pretend it’s one legend to another to another. Cheers.

A pina colada meets Samantha Fox

f1Judging by the above picture, plus previous recipes for the brightly hued Monkey Gland and Clover Club, it would appear that 52 Cocktails has a thing for pink drinks. While I’d like to assure you this is not true, it seems there’s only a certain number of cocktails I can try before my brain seizes up and I make the first recipe with grenadine in it that I come across. Today, for example, I was intending to make the Gin Sling from bartending legend Dale DeGroff’s book The Craft of the Cocktail (Clarkson Potter, 2002), but as I flipped through the A-Z recipe section I landed in the “F” section and the recipe for the Flamingo caught my eye. (Which sounds like the kind of bullshit story you’d hear in a hospital for bartending mishaps, if such a thing existed. “Honestly, Doctor Mixologist, my finger slipped and I landed in the “F” part…I guess it was premature pagination…”.) The Flamingo recipe – pineapple juice, rum, lime and grenadine – sounded vaguely tropical and dead easy to make and so I figured, why not.

The result was reason enough to understand why not. It was super bright pink (some idiot forgot to take a photo, so you’ll have to take my word for it) and tasted exactly like its components. It wasn’t terrible, but it was vaguely unpleasant and almost boring to drink. What’s that saying about the whole being more than the sum of its parts? In this case, its parts were just its parts and they didn’t really taste like they were playing nicely together; it was like there was no whole (which also sounds like something you’d overhear in a hospital). The drink lacked subtlety and complexity and looked – and tasted – like a drink you’d get at a run-down tropical resort in the ’80s. So I attempted to fix it by adding cream, which turned it from being a strong, clear pink drink to being a strong, opaque pink drink, as pictured here (complete with cutesy pink table cover and party favour bag since it now looked very much like something you’d drink at a five-year-old’s birthday party. Or like liquid antacid, which I suppose you might also drink at a five-year-old’s birthday party seeing as such parties often make people feel a bit sick).
f2Still, at least now it was drinkable; the cream brought the disparate ingredients together into a sweet, not unpleasant cocktail, with the pineapple brought to the forefront and the strong rum flavour somewhat mellowed out. It was described by 52 Cocktails’ CTO (Cocktail Tasting Officer) as “a pina colada meets Samantha Fox”, the kind of thing that would be consumed by the dozen during an ’80s hens night. If you ever want to know just what a pina colada meeting Samantha Fox tastes like, here’s the recipe:


45ml white rum

45ml pineapple juice

7ml fresh lime juice

7ml grenadine

15ml cream


Cocktail glass


For a Pina Colada meets Samantha Fox, add all ingredients to a shaker that’s half-fill of ice, shake like mad and strain into the glass.

For a Flamingo, follow the above method but omit the cream.


Easier than mentioning you fell into the F-part by accident.


This recipe was adapted by 52 Cocktails from the Flamingo recipe that appears in The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff (Clarkson Potter, 2002), though we’re not particularly proud of it and really don’t think you should try it unless you LOVE pink drinks that look like they belong in the medicine cabinet.

Tom Collins

Happy World Gin Day!

If you haven’t had a martini or three already today, it’s definitely time. And if you don’t like martinis, try a Tom Collins. It’s light, lemony and refreshing, not too tart and not too sweet, and yet it still packs a gin-driven punch.




50ml gin (use Haymans Old Tom Gin if you can get it; we used Haymans London Dry Gin)

30ml freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained

20ml sugar syrup

30ml soda


The recipe calls for a Collins glass but we cheated and used an old-fashioned glass. At this point in World Gin Day we’re not fussy. Hic.


Add ingredients to a mixing glass that’s half-full of ice and stir until ice-cold. Strain into a fresh glass that’s about a third full of ice and garnish with a lemon wedge.


Ridiculously easy to make and drink. Tastes almost like something you’d have at an old-fashioned child’s garden party….until you realise you’re vomiting into the punch bowl. Yep, it’s one of those “this is like lemonade!” drinks that you really shouldn’t treat like lemonade.


This version appears in a book written by the talented crew at Melbourne bar 1806Cocktails: World history as seen through the bottom of a cocktail glass (Smudge Publishing, 2012).

Clover Club

Clover Club 3

The Clover Club is a classic old cocktail that’s recently been reappearing on menus and in cocktail books, although I bet it’s never made an appearance with Blackie the orange puppet (pictured above, in case you missed it) until now. Having never tried one before, I decided to make one at home and consulted The Architecture of the Cocktail (Amy Zavatto, Harper Collins, 2013) for a recipe. Zavatto’s snappy prose is a pleasure to read, her recipes are clear and there are no photos in her book, so you have no expectations of what your creation should look like. On the plus side, this forces you to make a drink because it sounds tasty, not because it looks pretty. On the minus side, it means you have no warning as to just how pink a Clover Club can be.

When I mixed the drink, I used a good-quality raspberry cordial (by which I mean one targeted at adults, not kids, although they are probably the same thing in two different bottles) instead of the required raspberry syrup because that’s what was readily available. (I’d have made my own raspberry syrup except (a) fresh raspberries were unavailable, (b) there was a product recall on frozen berries at the time, as they were giving people Hep A, and (c) I was feeling lazy.) And I was instantly horrified by its shocking shade of pink. Zavatto had said it was pink and “blushed in hue” but she hadn’t mentioned it looked like a liquidised musk stick crossed with Molly Ringwald’s prom dress in Pretty in Pink.

Even next to the brightest thing I could find – Blackie – the Clover Club was still a shade of fluoro pink that said “don’t drink me, I’m a strawberry milkshake that’s been to Chernobyl”. And so there was only one thing I could do: a bad ’80s-style photo shoot.

Here we have the drink on a slightly awkward angle, complemented by a hideously ugly green frame.

Clover Club 1

And here’s the Clover Club making a wacky appearance with the knitted cactus it just wed in Vegas. Oh, how delightfully quirky!

Clover Club 2

Eventually, the CTO (Cocktail Tasting Officer) and I plucked up the courage to try the gin-based cocktail…and it wasn’t bad. It looks sickeningly sweet, like something a five-year-old might consume at a carnival, but it’s a dry, sophisticated drink. The CTO approved heartily, though I found it too dry for my liking. To me it tasted like something someone with no sense of humour would drink, and would pronounce ‘pleasant’. Perhaps if I made it with a more floral/less dry gin – and raspberry syrup, not cordial – I’d like it better. Anyway, if you’d like to try one, here’s the recipe.



60ml gin (I used Tanqueray but plan to experiment with other kinds)

15ml fresh lemon juice

10 ml raspberry syrup

1 egg white


Cocktail glass (the observant among you will note I used a gobletty thing instead)


Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all ingredients and shake until well-chilled. Don your sunnies and strain slowly into a cocktail glass.


The Clover Club is much harder to look at than it is to make.


This version of the Clover Club appears in The Architecture of the Cocktail (Amy Zavatto, Harper Collins, 2013).