Day 9: Half Step Kentucky Colonel

Pour into rocks glass and stir.

This is a simple drink to make but doesn’t taste like it. This version of the recipe comes from Half Step, a bar on Rainey Street in Austin. The low-light, super classy cocktail bar has live jazz on certain nights and can seem incongruous next to the general hipster vibe of Rainey.

I used Red Handed, a Texas bourbon from Treaty Oak, just to be contrary. Bénédictine is a fairly sweet herbal liqueur that I see a used a lot to brighten up bourbon and whiskey cocktails. It’s also one that’s difficult to substitute for, so I recommend getting a bottle if you see a lot of recipes you like that use it.

Day 8: Japanese Cocktail

  • 2 oz brandy
  • 1/2 oz Orgeat syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura
  • lemon twist for garnish

Today I had a bit of a long day. I dropped my phone in some water and have been trying to dry it out, I snapped one of our outdoor hoses in half (long story), it was super cold and I might be coming down with something, AND we had out of town visitors arrive today. So when I finally reached mixing time I was a bit listless and wasn’t sure what to make. William suggested a new recipe for me: the Japanese Cocktail, a Jerry Thomas recipe. I love Orgeat and could always use it more often, plus this is a really simple recipe.

Because I was a little cranky I skipped the shaker and the coupe glass and opted to just stir this straight in a rocks glass. My current channel knife is nearly impossible to use so I did a simple slice of peel with a paring knife instead.

I know I’ve already done two drinks so far where the main liquor is brandy, but that is unusual for me. Even so, I really enjoyed this cocktail. The brandy is nice and smooth and the Orgeat makes it a fairly sweet drink. Very simple and clean while also being comforting, perfect to cheer me up a little before bed. I would like to try it again with some different bitters. This seems like a good excuse to go bitters shopping, which is rapidly becoming a great hobby of mine.

Day 7: Twentieth Century

  • 2 oz french gin
  • 2 oz Cocchi Americano
  • 1/4 oz creme de cacao
  • juice of half a lemon

I’ve only made this drink once before, and have been guessing the ratios by using a cocktail menu from Midnight Cowboy (a glorious speakeasy in Austin). Turns out that it was originally a cocktail from the 30’s and that my ratios are WAY OFF. I honestly think that I would prefer mine, since the creme de cacao is so powerful. Maybe using Lillet rather than Cocchi would change my mind. This version of the drink is fairly bright with a hint of chocolate.

Day 6: Devil’s Garden

  • 2 oz reposado tequila
  • 1/2 oz mezcal
  • 1/2 oz Cynar
  • 1/2 oz agave
  • juice of one lime
  • sprig of mint and a lime wheel for garnish

Shake all ingredients, then strain into a coupe glass and garnish.


This is the first time I’ve made this. Dane was making a Mexican-inspired salad for dinner and I wanted to make a Mexican-inspired cocktail that wasn’t just a Margarita. I found this recipe for a Devil’s Garden that includes a chipotle-infused mezcal. While that sounded interesting, I didn’t have time to wait for an infusion. Dane loves smokey drinks that aren’t very sweet, so I decided to up the tequila content and lower the agave in the recipe. He was very impressed with this one. I tasted just enough to know it wasn’t to my liking. Mezcal is often too smokey for me, while Cynar is too bitter.

I’m always on the lookout for drinks that include some of my more esoteric liqueurs, so this one is going in the file for Cynar.

Day 5: Lion’s Tail

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1/4 oz allspice dram (like St Elizabeth)
  • juice from half a lime
  • 2 barspoons turbinado syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

This is one recipe that I am continuously tweaking, depending on who is drinking it. The one for this post was made for my partner, who without fail will say “this is heavy on the allspice” if I make him this drink. Recipes online actually use 1/2 oz allspice, which I think might overpower everything else.

The Lion’s Tail is a perfect drink for winter. The allspice is tempered a bit with the citrus, but still lends a warming quality to the drink.

Day 4: Ste. Ellie Jack Rose

  • 2 oz Laird’s Apple Brandy
  • 1/2 oz Pama pomegranate liqueur
  • juice of half a lemon
  • juice of half a lime
  • splash of grenadine
  • maraschino cherry to garnish

Combine in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Pour into a coupe or martini glass and garnish with the cherry.

The Jack Rose is a classic Prohibition cocktail. This version of it comes from Ste. Ellie, a wonderful basement cocktail bar in Denver, CO. I think they may actually use pomegranate juice, but I felt like boozing it up and used Pama instead. The citrus and the Pama make it a tart drink, so I added grenadine to the original recipe for a bit more sweetness. Feel free to add more grenadine to suit your own tastes.

Day 3: Blood Orange Old Fashioned

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • slice of blood orange
  • sugar cube
  • 2 dashes of orange bitters
  • maraschino cherry for garnish

Toss sugar cube into a rocks glass. Soak with bitters and muddle until sugar is mostly dissolved. Lightly muddle orange slice. Pour in bourbon and stir. Add ice if desired, and garnish with a cherry.


Old Fashioneds are a favorite amongst my friends. I may receive some complaints from them for suggesting you use ice cubes here.

If you ever want to use maraschino cherries in a drink make sure you skip the candy-sweet ones from the grocery and your childhood Shirley Temples. I recommend Luxardo maraschinos. If I REALLY like someone I’ll garnish their drink with TWO of those.

Day 2: Blood Orange French 75

  • 1 oz gin
  • juice of half a blood orange
  • 2 barspoons of simple syrup
  • champagne
  • slice of blood orange for garnish

Shake the gin, juice, and syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a champagne glass and top with champagne.


One more champagne drink for the new year! Blood oranges are basically the most badass of all oranges. Make your French 75 look awesome with this blood-red citrus.

I usually use Hendrick’s gin in my French 75s, but when I went to make this I discovered I was out. Waterloo is a Texas gin made by Treaty Oak and it’s pretty light on the juniper, which means it’s a very versatile gin.


Day 1: Cranberry Champagne cocktail


  • juice of half a lime
  • 1 oz cranberry juice
  • top with champagne and lime twist

For the longest time I thought that the cranberry juice variation of a Mimosa was called a Poinsettia, but there are multiple recipes for Poinsettias online that include things like vodka and orange liqueur. I wonder if that is a regional difference.

I wanted to start with something that might help you use up any leftover champagne from the previous night’s festivities before it gets too flat. This time I wanted to try a little something different than my typical cranberry and champers drink by adding a little lime. I really, really like limes, as you will probably begin to notice. I used a really dry, true champagne this time, which is unusual for me. I think it worked well with the double tart fruits.


A few days before New Year’s Eve a friend mentioned he wanted to try a 365 project for the next year.

“Oh, where you take a picture of yourself every day for a year?”

“Well, that’s one way to do a project, but it could honestly be anything. I was thinking of mixing a new drink every day, or practicing my calligraphy and typography. What do you think?”

“I think you should do the typography thing because I AM TOTALLY STEALING THE COCKTAIL PROJECT.”


Several years ago I bought my partner a bartender’s roll for a gift. He enjoyed mixing drinks for one or two parties, but mostly found himself with a backache and not enough time to spend with the party guests. Sometime in the last year I started using a few of those tools to make simple drinks for myself at home. Not long after that I had bought some new barware, started taking home menus from my favorite cocktail bars, and attempting my own versions for friends. So the idea of trying to make a new cocktail every day for a year, while a little intimidating, seemed like a perfect fit for me.

Welcome to the ride.