Pre-prohibition cocktails and modern twists on classics


Takeoff 2


2oz Peanut Butter washed Bourbon

1.5oz Aperol

1.5oz Cocchi Americano

.5oz Absinthe

3oz Seltzer

.5oz Rich Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup (2:1)

2 dashes Bittermens Mole Bitters

3 dashes Black Walnut Bitters

2 dashes Orange Flower Water

1 dash Bittermens Orange Cream Citrate

7 drops Moroccan Bitters

Orange twist


Add the Peanut Butter washed Bourbon, Aperol, Cocchi Americano, Absinthe, Vanilla Simple Syrup, Mole Bitters, Black Walnut Bitters, Moroccan Bitters, Orange Cream Citrate and Orange Flower Water to a chilled mixing glass. Add ice and stir until well chilled. Strain over an ice filled Collin’s (or equivalent) glass. Top with the seltzer. Garnish with the orange twist. If you are feeling brave, this makes one serving, otherwise you better find a friend to share it with…


Peanut Butter Washed Bourbon:

Pour a bottle of bourbon into an airtight jar. Find a creamy peanut butter without any additives (I used Crazy Richards Creamy). Pour the oil from the top of the peanut butter into the bourbon filled jar. Then add a decent sized scoop of the peanut butter. Stir to mix it with the bourbon. Put the lid on and store in a cool dry place for 3-5 days (taste daily to decide how “peanut-buttery” you want it). Once flavored to your liking, place the jar in the freezer for 24 hours to freeze the peanut butter. Strain multiple times with a coffee filter (using a new one each time) until all particulate matter is removed (some of the oil will remain, no big deal). Bottle and enjoy.

Rich Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup:

“Rich” means a 2:1 ratio syrup (i.e. 2 cups sugar:1 cup boiling water). Place water and sugar into a pot. Take one vanilla bean and cut it open. Scrape out the contents and place into the pan. Add the bean. Heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves into solution. Let cool, remove the bean and add a tablespoon of vodka (to preserve). I like it w/ the little specks of vanilla, but if you don’t just filter it through a coffee filter to remove them. Store in the fridge up to 3 months.

Citrus, light anise and bitter chocolate are the main players on the nose with just a subtle hint of vanilla. Nutty vanilla, licorice, Rhubarb, orange citrus, chocolate, cardamom, with a crescendoing effervescence. Light and smooth upfront, the bitter accents hit hardest in the mid palate, while the finish drops off all but the vanilla and chocolate accents and adds just a hint of quinine.

Takeoff 4


I know what you’re thinking… “What the hell was he thinking when he made this?!?” It’s a fair question; however, there was somewhat of an actual thought process behind this, I swear. A few months ago, I was out in Chicago at Sable Kitchen and Bar (check out Alex Renshaw’s Beginner’s Luck). Mike Ryan, top dog at Sable, made me a weird Negroni riff with Malort for gin, Aperol for Campari and Creme de Cacoa for Vermouth. It might have been fizzy. He called it the “Broni-Negroni.” My wife absolutely loved this drink.

Naturally back in DC, wifey wanted the drink again. Only problem, I didn’t have Malort or Creme de Cacao. “You can figure something out,” she said… great.

To those unfamiliar with it, Malort is Swedish for wormwood, and was for a long time known only as a Chicago area spirit (you couldn’t get it easily elsewhere until recently). What does it taste like? Well somewhere between absinthe, concentrated bitters and burnt tires. While I really like the taste of it (it’s wormwoody and really bitter, and who doesn’t love tires?), it would not be the first thing I’d serve someone new to bitter spirits.

To top it all off, I didn’t have Creme de Cacao, a chocolate flavored liqueur either…. I definitely had my work cut out for me.

Takeoff 3

I thought absinthe would work in place of Malort, with some added bitters (hence the smorgasboard of bitters). I snuck the bitter mole bitters and some sorta chocolately Black Walnut Bitters in to give a hint of chocolate flavor. I had recently made some peanut butter washed bourbon and some rich vanilla simple syrup that I was aching to play with and figured I’d come this far, why not. Plus who doesn’t love peanut butter with chocolate and vanilla. After a bit of alchemy and calamity I came up with the recipe above…. which when all is said and done tastes nothing like a Broni-Negroni, but is delicious none the less.

Why is it called Takeoff? Try one and you’ll see… let’s just say it goes down far too easy to have that much booze in it….

2 Responses to “Takeoff”

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