Spring Cleaning

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It’s been busy times here in Portland, but I thought I’d take a break from all the hot bar-managin’ action to post a aggregated update of what’s been happening in my world lately – loose ends, mostly:

Jenny Adams, Jeffrey Morgenthaler and Jimmy Patrick at the Grand Marnier/Navan Mixology Summit in Vail, Colorado

Last week I attended the Grand Marnier/Navan Mixology Summit in Vail Colorado. One hundred bartenders from around the country were chosen from over 800 applicants to prepare original cocktails, attend seminars, and to learn from each other and the AKA Wine Geek team. I was there with my good friends from around the country, enjoying lavish meals, incredible Grand Marnier, Cuvées du Centenaire and Cent Cinquantenaire and Navan cocktails, and – of course – skiing and enjoying gorgeous Vail.

If you happen to be a Twitter user, please feel free to follow along with me for a more detailed account of what’s happening day to day. I always try to provide a running commentary when I’m on these booze excursions and Twitter can be a great way to peek in on the action.

I’ve got another video up at Imbibe Magazine’s website, which is also viewable on YouTube and subscribeable as a podcast via the iTunes Store. In this second video, I show you how to make an Old Fashioned the way I like to drink them – as a simple drink with a surprising amount of flavor, considering the very limited ingredient list.

My last video for Imbibe turned out to be much less of a disaster than everyone anticipated, so with any luck Episode Two will be remembered as my Attack of the Clones.

I believe that is all. Please go back to what you were doing and stay tuned for another drink recipe sometime this week.

27 Replies to “Spring Cleaning”

  • Daniel says:

    I just tried this cocktail with Macallan, 12 yr. old(single malt scotch), but with only 1/8th an ounce of rich syrup. I loved the results; the sherry notes go so well with the orange.

    Cocktail win. Thanks Jeffrey!

  • Jeffrey,

    How many entries did you have to judge in the Dirty Sue competition? Also curious to know what you thought of the Salmiak Cocktail (Black Sambuca & Dirty Sue).



  • Oops, forgot to post those winners:

    First Place

    The Nutsack, by Matthew Eggleston, The Hungry Cat, Los Angeles

    2 oz Fino Sherry/
    .75 oz Dolin sweet vermouth/
    .5 oz. Nocina della christina ( or any good walnut liqueur)/
    .25 oz. Dirty Sue olive juice/
    dash Angostura dash Regan’s Orange-

    Stir until well chilled –
    serve in cocktail coupe with orange twist

    Second Place

    Dirty Daisy, by Blair Frodelius, GoodSpiritsNews.spaces.live.com

    0.75 oz Sauza Anejo Conmemorativo
    0.50 oz Patron Citronge
    0.25 oz Dirty Sue
    1 tsp Modena Balsamic Vinegar
    1/8 lime

    Pour all but lime in mixing glass with ice and stir. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and add squeeze of lime.

  • Tom G – I don’t know, really, that’s just how I hold the bottle. I guess I like to pour slowly into the jigger for accuracy, but hold the bottle however you like.

  • Tom G. says:

    This is probably a silly question but I had never seen it until I saw your videos…
    Why do you pour from the neck of the bottle between your middle and ring finger? Is it to keep finger prints off the bottles? Less arm motion? Cleaner?

  • sku says:

    McMillian uses a cube because he wants to be able to control the amount of water in the drink (and because he is a badass muddler), but I assume the use of a 2:1 syrup addresses that issue in that it is minimizing the water in the solution.

  • Sierra Z. says:

    Can you do a video on how to iron a shirt? Thanks!

  • Cody Predum says:

    I used to follow McMillian’s presentation exactly, but I’ve since realized how unnecessarily time consuming it is to muddle a sugar cube. Nevertheless, the fact that McMillian uses simple syrup for drinks other than his Old Fashioned and Sazerac (e.g. his Whiskey Sour) shows that he muddles simply to be as traditional as possible, and I respect that. Of course, regardless of whether or not you’re muddling a sugar cube, gently muddling a piece of orange peel is always a must.

    But as for simple syrup, can anyone think of a reason to use a 2:1 instead of 1:1? I prefer the 1:1 because I have a 1/2 oz jigger, but to measure 1/4 oz I have to resort to a teaspoon and a half-teaspoon, which is really annoying, especially if the only difference is water in a drink to which I’m going to be adding ice.


  • sylvan says:

    Congtratulations on getting your picture in Playboy!

  • Garretto says:

    Jeff’s presentation also resembles the esteemed, Chris McMillian’s video for NOLA in that Chris does the light muddle of orange peel, however Chris does the sugar cube with a massive muddler that seems designed for the old fashioned glass. He really muscles it.
    Try youtube “NOLA Cocktails”, or if this link works:
    Jeff’s Old Fashioned I think combines the best of both Hess’ & McMillian’s styles.

  • Cody Predum says:

    Very nice video, Jeff.

    This is exactly how I make my Old Fashioned, except I use 1/2 oz of 1:1 simple syrup instead of 1/4 of 2:1 syrup. I’ll throw an orange slice and lemon peel on it when I’m done if I’m feeling fancy, but I never fuck with fake cherries.

    This is also essentially the same as Robert Hess’ Old Fashioned video, except you actually measure your simple syrup. I always thought it was funny that Robert Hess, who is usually more meticulous about measurements than just about anyone, simply tells us to eyeball a dollop of simple syrup in the bottom of the glass. I’m all about being able to make a drink the same every time, and that method just doesn’t seem like it could ever be consistent, especially if you’re using a new glass.


  • Andrew says:

    Enjoyed the video! I tried the old fashioned recipe and like it much better than my old method (1t syrup, 2d angostura, 1d orange bitters). This version is much better (tastes more like a cocktail and less like fancying up straight whiskey).

  • Kevin Erskine says:

    Actually was muddling the bitters soaked cube into the rye and orange…
    I think the cube looks more retro…but i bet your strong simple syrup tastes better…

  • Jac says:

    Brilliant. Again.

    Why aren’t there bartenders like this where I live? Whyyyyyyy?!?

  • Jackie Patterson says:


    Umm, way to use your hands with the ice. I always knew you were dirty…

    love always,


  • Dan says:

    Nice, I’ll have to give the orange peel a try.

    Lately I’ve been using 2 dashes Angostura and 1 dash orange bitters to put a little citrus on the nose and tongue.

    I tend to stir mine quite a bit before drinking. I think the extra water mellows some of stronger flavors and lets everything meld together a bit.

  • Kevin – I can’t see using two dashes of a high-proof bitters like Angostura dissolving the sugar enough without an insane amount of muddling or the addition of water. Is this really working for you?

  • Kevin Erskine says:

    Jeff, I actually put the bitters directly on the cube (no water added) and muddle.

    Will try your approach!

  • Frane and Garretto – Thank you. Very much.

    Rich – I knew there was something I was forgetting! Stay tuned, I’ll update this post when I know more.

    Chris – Maybe David and I should have an Old Fashioned smack-down in July?

    Jenny – I’m appalled at my own behavior. Ladies and gentleman, photography by the lovely Jennifer Adams. Take a bow, Jenny.

  • Jenny Adams says:

    You steal pics off my site and then never mention anything beyond skiing and enjoying gorgeous Vail? …. what about hot tub – pool time? What about CCXXII? What about running from Yetis and all the delish GM and beer and scrambled eggs that tasted like a first sunset?

  • Chris says:

    Well, Jeffrey, I tried your OF technique and David Wondrich’s technique from his “Esquire Drinks” opus back to back, and I’m sorry to say, while I love Wondrich, your style produces a far better cocktail than his. My hat is off to you, sir.

  • Rich says:


    Not to change the topic, but who won the Dirty Sue Cocktail Contest? I’ve searched, but can’t find the answer.

    BTW, the 2:1 syrup is much more tasty.


  • Garretto says:

    The slight muddle of the orange peel —nice. I find that the best method also. It’s a nice place between muddling a cherry and orange slice, and just an orange twist. Perfect.
    I’ll have to try the 2:1 ratio on the syrup, I’ve always gone 1:1.
    Nice presentation.

  • Jeff Frane says:

    This sums up exactly what I love about your approach to cocktails: simple and delicious. All the recipes that call for mashing up slices of orange and maraschino cherries along with a cube of sugar . . . fail. This looks perfect.

  • Thanks guys. Kevin, many sources will tell you to muddle a sugar cube with water, which is – in essence – making simple syrup on-the-fly. I prefer to use a teaspoon to a quarter-ounce of a nice, rich 2:1 simple syrup instead. There’s less water involved than a 1:1 simple, and you’re guaranteed not to have any residual graininess from the sugar cube. Try it sometime.

  • Ando says:

    I like these videos…I don’t feel stupider afterwards.

  • Kevin Erskine says:

    I hate the way she pronounces “Mint Julep” oh wait…wrong video.

    THIS guy knows what he is talking about.

    I use a sugar cube…should I go to simple syrup??

    And yes, I only make them with Rye now…

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