COVID-19 Cocktails: Week 10

When I started working on my Week 9 roundup, I realized that it had actually been more than two weeks since I’d last posted a cocktail lineup. It didn’t feel that long, but time feels extra elastic these days — sometimes I wake up at 5 a.m., sometimes it’s hard to roust myself at 8:30.

Our recent week-long 8 p.m. curfew didn’t help normalize anyone’s schedule, either. I love how our governor couldn’t bother to issue a stay-at-home order for more than a month during a national pandemic, but after looters busted up an Apple store in Scottsdale, he saddled the whole state with a curfew within 24 hours. Many towns said they wouldn’t enforce it.

Which is a long intro to say: COVID-19 stats haven’t changed since the last time I posted, because that was just yesterday. But the drinks below are all brand-new! (Well, they’ve existed for years, but you know what I mean.)


Midori Sour

Another sign you’re getting old: The acidity of the “sour” juice combo of this cocktail starts to make your tummy feel turbulent. Which is a shame, because I’d forgotten how much I like the taste of a Midori Sour! Maybe for my next attempt, I’ll reduce the lemon and lime juices and increase the soda water — there wasn’t much room left for “topping off” as directed in this recipe.

Midori’s flavor is muskmelon, by the way. (Its muskmelon goodness is very Herb Ertlinger!) It’s made by Suntory — the Japanese manufacturer of Yamazaki whisky and Roku gin — and was originally called Hermes Melon Liqueur but changed its name in 1978, when it was introduced to the U.S. market during a party held by the cast, crew and producers of Saturday Night Fever at New York’s legendary nightclub Studio 54.

The Midori you had then isn’t the same as today’s Midori, either: In 2013, after consumer research, the manufacturers reduced its sugar content.

  • 1 ounce Midori melon liqueur
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice
  • Soda water
  1. Add first four ingredients into a Collins glass over ice and stir.
  2. Top off with soda water.

Whiskey Sour

When Punch magazine did a blind tasting of nearly 20 whiskey sour concoctions submitted by bartenders around the country, this version by Erik Adkins of Slanted Door Group in San Francisco took second place (and featured things I already had in my bar).

Before I share the directions, I must credit my friend Amy who, after reading about my troubles with cocktails that contained egg whites and citrus juices, suggested using a milk frother to get the egg white started. I’ve never mastered the initial “dry shake” method (shaking with no ice to incorporate ingredients), which  inevitably led to a shaker explosion💥 and a giant mess on the floor, the counters, the cabinets (and the ceiling, once — apparently I’m a zealous shaker). The frother works to incorporate air into the white, so that only a final shake is needed to incorporate the ingredients and keep things frothy. But it also increases the volume of the whites — all that fluff adds height! So the lineup below slightly tweaks the original quantity of ingredients and the instructions (which you can find here).

  • 2 ounces Buffalo Trace bourbon
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ounce egg white, lightly frothed
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing tin with ice, and shake until chilled.
  2. Fine-strain into a coupe glass.


I bought some Japanese whisky glasses a few weeks ago, after I was tempted by their sleek, simple lines. I’m not a big fan of them, though, because they’re so lightweight that they feel almost cheap. Like, so light that I kept tapping them to make sure they weren’t some sort of glass/plastic hybrid, and even the “clink” didn’t sound like high-quality glass. But they did come with a recipe printed inside the shipping container, so I guess that will have to do. And they look lovely in photos, anyway.

By the way, Associated Press style says to use whisky (with no E) when you’re referring to Scotch whisky or Japanese whisky, but whiskey everywhere else. Fun with specifics!

  • 1 sugar cube
  • 3–4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 ounces Japanese whisky
  • 1 barspoon green Chartreuse

As you might recall, I own no Japanese whisky yet, so I again substituted some lovely Dewar’s.

  1. In the bottom of a glass, muddle sugar with bitters. Add whisky and a single big piece of ice. Stir a few times, but do not overdilute.
  2. Hold a spoon directly over the drink, rounded side up, and gently pour Chartreuse over the spoon, creating a float on top of the drink.
  3. Express lemon peel over the glass, rub it around the rim, and drop in.

Fish House Punch

Truly a classic: The earliest written reference to Fish House Punch dates to 1794, in a pre-Revolution social club called the Schuylkill Fishing Co. of Pennsylvania. Most recipes create punchbowl-sized portions — I mean, it’s a punch — but I sized it down for  a single-serving size.

  • ¾ ounce dark rum
  • ¾ ounce cognac
  • ¾ ounce peach brandy
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • ¼ ounce lime juice
  1. Shake all ingredients with ice, then strain into a coupe.

Pegu Club Cocktail

This cocktail takes its name from a gentlemen’s club on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, during the British colonial era. I’m not sure whether a drink named after the gathering place of invasive colonizers of what was then Burma is such a good idea nowadays.

  • 2 ounces gin
  • ¾ ounce orange liqueur
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  1. Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake until well chilled.
  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve with a lime peel.

Blueberry Vodka + Limeade

I had my first slice of blueberry–lime pie when I was well into my late 30s. I’m not a fan of blueberry-flavored baked goods, but the addition of the lime made it delicious. And as I sat there in the booth, putting away forkful after forkful, I looked up at Mr. Brooks and out of nowhere said: “This would make a really good cocktail.”

Turns out, I was very, very right. As a bonus, it’s super easy to make — even easier if you don’t add soda, but I’ve thoroughly tested it both ways and the little kick of effervescence does add a nice grace note.

I’ve also made pitchers of this using lemonade-flavored Crystal Light drink mix, in an attempt to reduce calories, which pairs well not just with blueberry vodka, raspberry vodka and sweet tea vodka but, in a recent discovery inspired by the half-bottle that Trainer and his husband bequeathed me before they moved to Chicago, tropical punch-flavored vodka. I feel like the limeade version should work well with gin, too — lime and gin is a natural combination — but I haven’t tried it out yet.

  • 1 (12-ounce) can frozen limeade concentrate
  • 36 ounces water
  • 1 or 2 (12-ounce) cans Sprite Zero
  • ½ bottle blueberry vodka
  1. Add all ingredients to a pitcher and stir to combine well. Serve over ice.

The Thunderbird

This drink was inspired by the orange-vanilla twist served at Kohr Brothers frozen custard shop that originated at the Jersey Shore, and was named after the Thunderbird Inn motel and cocktail bar that operated in Wildwood, N.J., until 2005.

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce fresh orange juice
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice
  • ½ ounce Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • ½ ounce cream
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon powdered sugar
  • Club soda
  1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a mixing tin and shake with ice until well chilled.
  2. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice and top off with club soda. Garnish with an orange twist.

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