Category Archives: Ingredient Recipes

A New Invention – Lime Strength Pineapple Juice

In Dave Arnold’s ‘Liquid Intelligence’, he talks about about a method he uses to increase the acidity of orange juice to make it act as a substitute for lemon or lime as the sour component in a cocktail. This got me thinking about other juices that might be suitable for the same treatment. Pineapple juice seemed like a likely candidate, as it’s got some acidity already, and conveniently pineapples have just gone on sale here.

I did some research on the acid content of pineapple juice, wading through various industrial science papers from the pineapple industry, and, as best as I can determine, pineapple juice has an acid content of about 1.2 g/100ml, of which 87% is citric acid and 13% is malic acid (the same acids as in lime juice, just in different proportions).

I picked up a small pineapple, peeled and cored it, and threw it in a blender. Then I strained it and squeezed it through a nut-milk bag to get rid of as much pulp as possible. My final yield was 400 ml of juice. I knew I wanted a final acid content of 6 g/100ml, so I needed to add 4.8 grams of acid per 100 ml, or 19.2 grams acid total for the 400 ml. I went with a mix of 15.6 g citric acid and 3.6 g malic acid (about 4:1, part way between the acidic composition of lime juice and that of pineapple juice). Then I stirred until dissolved.

Based on the combination of acids, I figured the taste would work best as a substitute for lime. I substituted the juice for lime juice in a gimlet and in a daiquiri, and both were spectacular. A couple nights later, at the local cocktail book club meeting (where we were, not coincidentally, discussing ‘Liquid Intelligence’) we tried it in a Last Word. Aside from being a bit to sweet (the pineapple juice has about 8 times the sugar as lime juice), this was also quite good. The only recipe I’ve found it to be an unsatisfying substitute for lime juice is a margarita.

Next time I’m going to try getting the acid ratio a little closer to the 7:1 ratio of pineapple juice (so 4.2 g citric and 0.6 g malic per 100ml) to see how that affects the flavor. My guess is that this will make it a better candidate for replacing lemon than lime.

Lime Strength Pineapple Juice
Peel and core a pineapple. Blend and strain, or run through a juicer. For every 100 ml of juice extracted add:
3.9 g citric acid
0.9 g malic acid
Stir until dissolved. Refrigerate, keeps at least a week, but the flavour is best right away. Use in place of lime in any recipe, but reduce the amount of simple syrup or liqueur or it will be a bit too sweet.

Pineapple Gimlet

Pineapple Gimlet
60 ml gin
25 ml lime strength pineapple juice
20 ml simple syrup
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.


The William Revisited

On my last post (over a year ago, whoops!) I gave a recipe for ‘The William’, an 1889 recipe for The Only William’s preferred whiskey sour.

At the time I was working on that drink I had to make a guess as to what Schmidt meant by pineapple syrup. I was recently reading Dave Arnold’s “Liquid Intelligence”, and decided to run The William through his formula for creating a balanced cocktail (in terms of ABC, sweetness, and acidity).

Based on the results of that math, it seemed what I needed for the pineapple syrup spot was 10 ml of something twice as sweet and twice as acidic as pineapple juice, or, ideally, 5 ml of something 4 times as sweet and acidic. So I think that when Schmidt referred to pineapple syrup, there’s a good chance he meant pineapple juice that has been reduced to a syrup, instead of pineapple juice with sugar added.

Trying the drink with this new syrup definitely improved it (it wasn’t a bad drink before, but it’s great now). So here’s my corrected recipe:

The William
60 ml whiskey (Bulleit Bourbon)
15 ml lemon juice
15 ml orange juice
5 ml pineapple syrup* (about 5 mL seems right)
Barspoon of superfine sugar
Shake well with ice; strain.

* Pineapple syrup – boil pineapple juice until it reduces to 1/4 it’s original volume.

Sesame Syrup 2.0

I made a new batch of sesame-seed syrup last night using a much simpler method (no blender and simpler straining).

Sesame-Seed Syrup
2 cups raw sesame seeds
2 cups water
1 cup (approx.) sugar

  1. Spread the sesame seeds on a baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes at 350° F, mixing occasionally, until lightly toasted.
  2. Mix the seeds and water in a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Strain through a fine mesh strainer (no cheesecloth needed!). This should yield about a cup of liquid. Mix the liquid, while still warm, with an equal amount of sugar and stir to dissolve. Bottle and keep refrigerated.

For my favourite recipe using this syrup, see the Margarita de Ajonjolí.

Canadian Cocktail

Canadian Cocktail

Canadian Cocktail
1 ½ ozs. Canadian whisky
½ oz. lemon juice
¼ oz. curaçao
1 teaspoon sugar
2 dashes bitters
Shake well with ice. Strain into prechilled cocktail glass or over rocks in old-fashioned glass.

For this recipe I used Gibson’s 12-year, and Cointreau instead of curaçao. I also used simple syrup in place of sugar, for easier mixing. Since this recipe calls for non-specific bitters, it was the perfect time to pull out my recent batch of homemade Calamansi bitters*.

Not a really complicated drink. The whisky flavour is quite mild in this one, and it leans towards the citrusy. It might be a bit more interesting with a spicier bitters – some of the versions I’ve found online use orange bitters (which the Calamansi bitters are a good substitute for) and some use Angostura.

There’s a cocktail by this name in “Modern American Drinks” by George J. Kappeler (1895) which is just a Whiskey Cocktail (whiskey, gum syrup, and bitters) made with Canadian whisky. “The Savoy Cocktail Book” (1930) and “1700 Cocktails for the Man behind the bar” by R. de Fleury (1934) both have recipes by this name with Jamaican rum as the spirit and with the proportions of curaçao and spirit inverted. Most of the modern books I’ve checked, and most websites, have a similar recipe to Playboy. It almost looks like the modern Canadian Cocktail is a conflation of the two different historical Canadians.

Calamansi Bitters

*Calamansi Bitters
14 calamansi, halved
1 c. 100-proof vodka
½ tsp gentian
1 star anise, crushed
1 cardamom pod, crushed
¼ tsp coriander, crushed
1/3 c. sugar
Squeeze calamansi juice and seeds into vodka. Add in calamansi rinds and herbs. Let stand 2 weeks. Strain out solids, return liquid to jar. Boil solids in 2/3 c. water. Caramelize 1/3 c. sugar, and add it to water with solids. Let cool. Add caramel water with solids back in to jar with alcohol infusion. Let stand 5 more days. Strain and bottle.

These bitters manage to be sort of the inverse of orange bitters – instead of being citrus over a base of bitter herbs, the bitterness is up front with a very bright citrus tang underneath.

This post is part of my project to make, and where possible improve upon, all the cocktails in “Playboy’s Host and Bar Book” from 1971.



1 ½ ozs. dry vermouth
½ oz. Forbidden Fruit
1 teaspoon Falernum
2 ozs. grapefruit juice
2 dashes orange bitters
1 slice lime
Shake […] well with ice. Strain over large ice cube in prechilled old-fashioned glass. Garnish with lime slice.

For this recipe I used Noilly Prat dry vermouth, homemade Forbidden Fruit (current version is a pomello honey liqueur mixed equal parts with triple sec, but I’m still working on it), homemade Falernum (Kaiser Penguin’s recipe), and Bitter Truth orange bitters.

Very refreshing! Also pretty mild – I figure it comes in somewhere around 10% – so I can see it being pretty easy to toss these back all afternoon.

I haven’t seen this drink in any other book I’ve checked. It turns up a few places online. It’s possible this is a variation on the Floridita Margarita – replace the vermouth with tequila and there’s a certain resemblance.

This post is part of my project to make, and where possible improve upon, all the cocktails in “Playboy’s Host and Bar Book” from 1971.

Mixology Monday LXXIII: Jack Dandy


This will be my first attempt at a Mixology Monday post. I thought about keeping to my ongoing project instead of coming up with an original drink, but that would make sticking to Cardiff Cocktails‘ “Witches’ Garden” theme a bit tricky since the only fresh herb (or root, spice or bean) used in the entire “Playboy’s Host and Bar Book” is mint, which seemed a bit too obvious a choice.

So I decided to mix up something original with about the only ingredient I could gather right outside my window – dandelion. I thought perhaps dandelion-root coffee might perform well as a substitute for coffee in certain cocktails. I didn’t want anything that had coffee as the main ingredient, though, which eliminated a good chunk of the spiked-coffee type drinks. However, the Black Jack (or at least one of the drinks by that name) seemed a likely starting point. This cocktail apparently originated in 1914, and consists of equal parts brandy, kirschwasser, and cold coffee, with a sugared rim.

So I went out, dug up a dandelion root, and took a trip to the emergency room (long story). Once I was back on my feet I washed, dried, and roasted the root, which luckily gave me just enough for making 4 test drinks.

Substituting dandelion-root coffee worked better than I expected – I thought it would be a reasonable, but not perfect, stand-in. Instead, it hinted at coffee but was also very much its own thing. I tried a few proportions, but I like the equal parts the best. I also took the sugar off the rim and put it directly in the drink. The combination of ingredients really showcases the dandelion root flavours well – the smokiness from roasting the roots plays nicely with the brandy, and there’s a sort of nutty, chocolate flavour that enhances and is enhanced by the kirsch.

So here it is, a dandelion variation on the Black Jack:

Jack Dandy

Jack Dandy
20 ml brandy
20 ml kirschwasser
20 ml dandelion-root coffee*, chilled
10 ml simple syrup
Stir all ingredients together with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a dandelion flower.
*Dandelion-Root Coffee

Dig up dandelion roots. Wash them, chop them fine, dry them on a baking sheet for about 2 hours at 200° F. Add 2 tablespoons dried root to a saucepan. Roast over medium high heat until nicely browned. Pour in 1 cup of water. Let simmer, covered, for about 15 min. Strain. NOTE: 2 tablespoons per cup makes a pretty strong coffee, which is good for the cocktail but might be a bit much for drinking straight.

Edit: Here’s the roundup of this month’s Mixology Monday entries. Some great looking drinks there!

Cuba Libre Cocktail

Cuba Libre Cocktail

Cuba Libre Cocktail
1 oz. light rum
½ oz. 151-proof rum
½ oz. cola drink
½ oz lime juice
½ teaspoon sugar
Lime peel
Shake both kinds of rum, cola drink, lime juice and sugar well with ice. Strain into prechilled cocktail glass. Twist lime peel above drink and drop into glass.

I used Bacardi white, Wray and Nephew white overproof, and homemade cola syrup* in place of both the cola drink and the sugar. I’ll probably try it again at some point with actual cola and sugar, but I can’t see the cola flavour standing up very well against the other ingredients.

This wasn’t too bad, a cocktail version of the classic Cuba Libre highball. I’d make this again, but I might add a dash of bitters (orange, or possibly my homemade calamansi bitters) next time.

This one is proving particularly difficult to research. It doesn’t appear in any of my other books, and any online search I can think of brings up mostly results about the highball version. I found 2 sites with basically the same recipe as above, the only difference being one uses 3/4 oz. of cola and the other 1 oz.
*Cola syrup No. 3
Fill a saucepan with 2 cups water and add:
Zest of 2 oranges (this time around I used 1 Valencia and 1 Seville)
Zest of 2 limes
Zest of 1 lemon
2 pinches ground cinnamon
2 pinches ground nutmeg
1 point of a star anise (crushed)
½ tsp lavender flowers
½ tsp ground cola nut
¼ tsp coriander (crushed)
10g stem  fresh ginger root
¼ tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp citric acid
Leave it to simmer for 20-30 minutes then strain it through a tea towel into a large container whilst it’s still hot. After straining stir in:
2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
½ c Caramel colour**
The result is a cola syrup. After cooling, mix 1 part syrup with 4 parts soda water to make cola.
**Caramel Colour
Melt 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of water together over low heat. Increase heat to medium high, cover pan, let boil 2 minutes. Add a pinch of cream of tartar and continue to boil, uncovered, until almost black (it will be smoking a lot at this point). Remove pan from heat. Let cool slightly, then add ¼ cup boiling water (slowly – the sugar may splatter). Stir until dissolved.

This post is part of my project to make, and where possible improve upon, all the cocktails in “Playboy’s Host and Bar Book” from 1971.