About Stew

My name is Stew Ellington. I’m an artist and photographer who holds an MFA in painting. I write for a living. I’m an avid cocktail enthusiast/history buff, as well as a stay-at-home dad, web designer, dog enthusiast, skier, hiker, Californian, skateboarder, music lover, runner, yoga-er, traveler, and vintage scooterist.

Shelly’s Sea Shells

Something handy to keep in mind if you’re ever trapped in a bunker during a global natural disaster or zombie apocalypse: crème de cassis mixes very well with tequila. So does pineapple juice. Add them both to a more-or-less standard margarita, taking care to strike a good sweet/tart balance, and you arrive at our next backer drink, Shelly’s Sea Shells. L’chaim.

Shelly’s Sea Shells ✯✯✯✯1/2
1 1/2 oz silver tequila
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz crème de Cassis
1 oz lime juice
1/2 oz pineapple juice

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Lady Jake

Creating drinks for strangers is hard. You can send them a questionnaire asking them their basic preferences, but there are still going to be unknowns. Do they have expensive or cheap tastes? Are they highly knowledgable about spirits and cocktails, meaning they will be bored with a basic concoction, or are they novices who will be put off by esoteric and/or expensive ingredients? You do the best you can, trying to strike a balance between easy-to-put-together and educational-without-being-inaccessible. As an example, consider the Lady Jake. A pretty straight-forward tart and mildly-sweet pleaser with a highly accessible base (bourbon) and a potentially alienating sweetener (Domain de Canton). Basically a whiskey sour with some citrus and other flavor notes to make it unique. I like it, anyway, and would hope one Jocelyne H. does, too. I wouldn’t know, however; I haven’t heard back from her about it.

Lady Jake ✯✯✯✯
1 1/2 oz bourbon
1 oz Domain de Canton
1/2 – 3/4 oz lemon juice
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
1 dash orange bitters

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Lemon peel garnish.

Negroni Sans

Today’s beverage is a twist on the classic Negroni. I came into possession of some Sanbitter, which is a non-alcoholic, bitter Italian aperitif soda. It reminded me of Campari quite a bit, so it wasn’t too big an achievement to figure out that it might make a good Negroni variant. It adds a nice effervescence to an otherwise still drink. I added a little lime juice for a tart, refreshing zing. This is a great hot weather cure.

Negroni Sans ✯✯✯✯✯
2 oz gin
1/2 oz sweet vermouth
1/2 oz dry vermouth
3.38 oz (100 ml) Sanbitter aperitif soda
1/4 oz lime juice

Pour the gin, vermouths, and lime juice into an ice-filled rocks glass. Stir. Top with the Sanbitter. If you must, garnish with a lime wheel.

San Francisco

I wanted to share a recipe for a great classic drink that I found in my copy of the Old Mr. Boston De Luxe Official Bartender’s Guide, which dates from 1961. Exhaustive research in the form of a quick google search did not yield for me the origins of the drink, unfortunately. I’m guessing it’s been around for quite a while, and it has the advantage of being both delicious and bearing the name of my favorite U.S. city.

San Francisco ✯✯✯✯1/2
3/4 oz sloe gin
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
3/4 oz dry vermouth
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash orange bitters

Stir and strain into a small cocktail glass.

Being as the drink is vermouth (fortified wine) based, it makes a great preprandial (before dinner) tipple. The sweetness of the sloe gin also adapts it well to being a postprandial drink. I recommend the use of a high-quality sloe gin such as Plymouth. Budget sloe gins tend to be a little over-sweet to the point of viscosity.

Time To Get Busy Here

I’ve really had my hands full dealing with getting my book printed and other of life’s diversions, but now I’m going to focus my energies on what this blog is all about. Namely, posting a lot of really tasty drinks. One task I’ve been busy with is concocting drink recipes for my many generous backers. I’ve made about 50 new namesake drinks, and I’ve got about 25 to go. The first drink I’ll post is actually one I created for me after a tough day and named accordingly. If you like tequila and bitterness, you’ll love this one. Without any further delay, let’s get to it.

A Long Day ✯✯✯✯1/2
1 oz añejo tequila
1 oz Cynar
1 oz sweet vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash grapefruit bitters

Build in a rocks glass half-full of ice. Squeeze a lemon peel over the top, rub it around the rim, and drop it in.

Cynar is an amaro, which is a bitter Italian liqueur. Cynar happens to be flavored with artichoke, if you can believe that. Amari work quite well with tequila, and this drink is no exception. I recommend the use of Cocchi sweet vermouth, which is nice and sweet with no bitterness, to balance against the amaro and bitters. Some dashes of orange and grapefruit help to brighten things up a bit.

Mixology Monday Cocktail Contest

Ed from eGullet holds a monthly cocktail contest called Mixology Monday. To participate, I’m supposed to post a link to this page on Wordsmithing Pantagruel.

MixMo logo

The theme of this round is “green” and dictates the use of any green-colored ingredient. I’ve entered my Green Like a Fox cocktail, which is as such:

Green Like a Fox ✯✯✯✯1/2
3/4 oz silver tequila
3/4 oz pisco
1/2 oz green Chartreuse
1/4 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1/3 oz agave nectar

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Green Like a Fox

The Chartreuse gives the drink a delicate, earthy-green tint. It’s a tart and sweet pleasure chock-full of herbal goodness! I created the drink for a friend and backer of my book project. One of the rewards offered in my fundraising campaign was a signature cocktail, custom crafted by me. One Mr. Fox took advantage of the offer and will now forever be associated with Chartreuse and envy. And craziness.