The Resister (aka the Vancouver)


We made it home from the Women’s March on Washington DC today, and I was inspired to make us a welcome home cocktail in keeping with the theme of the weekend.   It was an incredible opportunity for women (and men) across the globe to show resistance and make some noise about issues our new President is not currently respecting.  A movement was formed this weekend, that will be important as the days, weeks, and months go forward.

I borrowed the recipe from a cocktail know as the Vancouver, since initially some people, jokingly, were contemplating moving to Canada after the election.  However, it is clear that women and men everywhere have chosen resistance instead.  This cocktail is in honor of all those who have embraced what the Women’s March represents.

1.5 oz. gin
.75 oz. sweet vermouth
.25 oz. Benedictine
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

In a cocktail shaker stir the gin, vermouth, Benedictine, and bitters with ice.  Strain into a chilled martini glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist.  Then RESIST or not, as you please.  But at the very least, enjoy the cocktail!

New Year Bubbles


Good bye 2016!  It was quite a year.  I took a break from Cocktails “after” Class in 2016, but so many people have requested a renewal of cocktail ideas, that I am returning in 2017.  To start off the new year in style this is an easy and delicious recipe for tonight and even tomorrow morning for brunch!

Here’s to 2017, and those new year’s resolutions.  Some of mine include:  stay positive, eat less sugar, consume less alcohol, learn something new, stay true to my values, get enough sleep, eat more veges, have fun, continue exercising, reconnect with friends, read 52 books, etc….. This is a good time to reset.  Best wishes for a happy new year!

.25 oz. brandy
.75 oz. ruby port
.75 oz. orange juice
4 oz.  champagne (or sparking wine)

In a cocktail shaker mix the brandy, port, and orange juice.  Add ice and shake well.  Strain into a champagne flute.  Top with champagne!  Happy New Year!

the Godfather


Thanksgiving with the Kochmanski family is coming to require a knowledge of bourbon, scotch, and craft beer, along with the traditional meal, of course.  To keep everyone happy, I found a recipe for a wonderful scotch cocktail called the Godfather.  I was prepared to share this with the gang, however, requests were made for Rob Roys, Manhattans, and straight bourbon.  Next time…  Here is the recipe for you:

2 oz. Glenlivet scotch
.75 oz. Amaretto
dash of bitters
dark cherry as a garnish

In a cocktail shaker mix the scotch, amaretto, and bitters.  Add ice and stir.  Pour into a highball glass filled with ice.  Garnish with a dark cherry and enjoy!  (This one is a fun one to use large round ice cubes, if you have the cube makers.)


Autumn Whiskey and Soda


September has come and gone without any blog posts!  Travel and retirement can get very busy it seems!  During September, our nephew Jim and his lovely bride, Liz, gave us some delicious apple flavored whiskey from Leopold Bros., a distillery in Colorado, where they make their home.  It didn’t seem right to overpower the flavor of the craft whiskey with too many mixers, so we made a simple whiskey and soda, with a twist of lime.  It was just perfect for a cool fall evening.  Here is the recipe.  You can adjust the amount of whiskey to suit your pleasure.  Also, a lemon twist would be another option as a garnish.  Enjoy!

1- 2 oz. Apple Flavored Whiskey from Leopold Bros.
Generous splash of soda
Lime wedge as a garnish

Using a highball glass, fill the glass with ice, add 1-2 oz. Apple Flavored Whiskey, top off with soda, and garnish with a wedge of lime or lemon.  Great for a cool fall evening after a long week of hard work!

Aperol Spritzer


On a recent trip to Glen Arbor, Chris and I ate a Blu, a restaurant right on the shore of Lake Michigan on Good Harbor Bay.  Chris ordered an Aperol Spritzer, one of their signature cocktails.  He has not stopped talking about how much he loved the beverage, so I sent a note to the sommelier at the restaurant requesting the recipe.  I was pleasantly surprised by what a simple cocktail it is, and how deliciously citric and refreshing it tastes.  Here is the recipe for you:

1 oz. Aperol
6 oz. Prosecco
Splash of soda
Orange slice as a garnish

Chill the Prosecco really well before mixing this one.  In a spritzer glass, mix Aperol, Prosecco, and a splash of soda.  Add an orange slice for a garnish and enjoy!  This is best if the Prosecco is very cold!

Thrice Lavender Gimlet


This past week Chris and I attended a “Cocktail Class” sponsored by Zingerman’s.  The class took place at Cornman Farms near Dexter, MI, and was themed Farm-to-Glass.  Having no idea what to expect, the evening turned out to be very entertaining.  There were about 40 participants along with the chief mixologist, chef, and farmer.  Each of these folks added their own expertise and flair in explaining both the ingredients and history of the cocktails we made.  The table was filled with mixology materials, herbal ingredients, fruit and flower garnishes, ice, muddlers, etc.  It was quite an impressive spread.  We made three original cocktails, my favorite being the Thrice Lavender Gimlet, which you see here.  I have included the recipe for the cocktail, as well as the recipe for the lavender syrup.  All of the ingredients are local, too.  Enjoy!

1.5 oz Grayling Gin
.5 – .75 oz lavender syrup
.5 – .75 fresh squeezed lime juice
Lavender leaves for muddling
Lavender sprig or candied herbs or rose petals for garnish

Lightly bruise lavender leaves in bottom of shaker with muddler.  Add gin, lavender syrup, and lime juice.  Add ice and shake well for 20 seconds.  Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with sprig of lavender or candied herb leaves.  (You can substitute any fresh herb here for muddling, or for infusing in syrup.)

To make lavender syrup:

Combine equal parts boiling water and sugar (I usually start with 1 cup of each), and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Allow to cool until just warm.  Add lavender leaves or sprigs and let steep for at least 5 minutes, or longer for stronger flavor.  Strain out lavender and bottle.  Keep in the refrigerator, the syrup should last about two weeks.  (This can be done with any of your favorite herbs.)

“Corsair” Cucumber Gin and Tonic


While at Lake Michigan last week, our son, Nick, and daughter-in-law, Sydney, kindly brought some artisan gin from a distillery in Nashville, TN,  This is always a treat, since we can’t get this in Michigan.  The gin has a hint of cucumber, and the kids’ favorite summer cocktail is a gin and tonic, so I experimented with making a cucumber gin and tonic.  Because Corsair has a bold gin flavor, it stood up very well to the cucumber taste.  After trying the traditional recipe:  gin, tonic, cucumber, I also found that by adding a rosemary sprig and a lime slice really freshens this up.  YUM!!!  Here is the recipe:

2 oz Corsair gin
4 oz tonic (Q is a wonderful artisan tonic)
3 cucumber slices
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 lime wedge

In a tall tumbler, muddle two slices of cucumber, add the sprig of rosemary and juice from the lime slice.  Add the Corsair gin, lots of ice and top off with the tonic.  Garnish with the last slice of cucumber.

Anne’s Spicy Bloody Mary


Last week some fellow retired teachers took me on a retirement holiday.  We rented a fishing cabin near Manistee, went tubing down the Little Manistee River, had campfires, and in general behaved badly, as girls sometimes do.  It was a much appreciated reconnection with pals.  “The Queen Mum” of our group, Anne, brought the ingredients for her famous Spicy Bloody Mary’s, which we all enjoy…some more so than others, but that is a different story.  One of her secrets is to add horseradish and dilly beans (instead of celery), to give the drink a little extra pow!  It is a wonderful beverage to have with friends.

2 oz Vodka 
4 oz Spicy Tomato juice
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
teaspoon of horseradish (with juice squeezed out)
dilly bean or dill pickle (spicier the better!)
slice of lime for garnish
Shake ingredients well with cracked ice in a cocktail shaker.  Strain into a Collins glass with ice cubes.  Add a couple of dilly beans and/or a dill pickle spear, along with a slice of lime as a garnish.  If you don’t have barware, simply add everything to a tall glass with ice, stir and enjoy!  No need to be fancy with a Bloody Mary.

Iroquois Hotel’s Mackinac (Moscow) Mule


July is definitely vacation month for the Kochmanski household.  While on our recent trip to Mackinac Island, I discovered the French 75, and Chris was all about the Mackinac Mule.  Personally, I think he liked the amazing copper cup it is served in, not to mention the spectacular view of the Straits of Mackinac, Round Island Lighthouse, and the constant stream of ferry boats.  To be completely honest, you need to have a taste for ginger beer for this one.  It is an easy refreshing drink to make. Enjoy!

1.5 oz vodka
.25 oz lime juice
4 oz ginger beer (you can also use ginger ale, but won’t have the same kick!)

Combine vodka and ginger beer in a copper mug or highball glass filled with ice.  Add the lime juice, stir and garnish with a lime slice.

Mackinac Island’s French 75


The Iroquois Hotel on Mackinac Island has arguably one of THE most romantic veranda cafe’s in the USA.  On a bright sunny summer day, we watched the ferries (Shepler’s, Star, and Arnold) going back and forth to the mainland, the sailboats coming in for the Chicago/Mackinac sailing race, fudgie’s eating fudge on the docks, and of course Lakes Huron and Michigan in all their glories with light houses, waves, beaches, freighters…..The restaurant, The Carriage House, had many refreshing cocktails to choose from.  The one that was the tastiest to me was the French 75.  It is a simple summer cocktail, easy to make, and wonderful for those of us who love sparkling wine!  Here is the recipe:

1 oz Gin
.5 oz simple syrup
.5 oz lemon juice
Brut champagne or sparkling wine

Combine gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well chilled and strain into a glass. Top with Champagne and garnish with a lemon twist to serve. Think of Lake Michigan when you have this cocktail!