classic cocktail recipes

National Martini Day

Today is National Martini Day!!

The Martini is synonymous with sophistication. It's a classy cocktail best enjoyed at the end of a hard day or the beginning of a great night. I had my first martini at the age of 28. And thankfully no sooner. I was surprised by how much I loved a cocktail that wasn't sweet. It was as if I had been longing for its dry refreshment and didn't know it.  I proceeded to drink them frequently, often opting for the dirty version.

No other drink, in my opinion, is more iconic or sparks more controversy than the classic martini. Every Martini drinker thinks their recipe is the best. Admittedly, I've been known to be a bit obnoxious about how I like my martini.

But that's the greatness of the martini cocktail. It's a drink that evokes passion. Whether shaken or stirred, gin or vodka (always gin), dirty, dry, extra dry - there's no wrong way to appreciate this classic as long as you make it your own.

Dry Martini

The Classic (Dry) Martini

1.5 oz. Dry Gin

.5 oz Dry Vermouth

Stir or shake with ice. Strain.

Garnish with olives or cocktail onions.




Part of being cocktail crafty is giving a nod to the classic while giving it your own twist. In martini recipe this case I kept the gin but decided to go towards the sweeter side. I substituted sweet vermouth in place of the dry and added Hibiscus syrup.

Hibiscus Martini

Hibiscus Martini

Hibiscus Martini

1.5 oz. Dry Gin

.25 oz Sweet Vermouth

.25 oz Hibiscus Syrup*

.25 oz lemon juice

Shake. Strain.

*Hibiscus Syrup: Simple syrup made with hibiscus tea.

How ever you chose to celebrate this National Martini Day, be sure to imbibe happily!





A visit with Whiskey

Twice a year my husband gives his father a bottle of bourbon as a gift; Christmas and Father's Day. With Father's Day around the corner, I've decided to dedicate this post to Whiskey.

Before we dive into some recipes, lets learn a little about Whiskey.

When to use the "e"?

The trick to knowing when to use the "e" in Whiskey is simple. It suggests which country the spirit is from.

WHISKEY - USA, Ireland

WHISKY - Canada, UK, Japan, Scotland (aka Scotch).

That's the simple explanation. Of course there are others that would argue that the use of the "e" depends on the method of distilling. But I like to stick with my country of origin explanation. If you don't want to accidentally offend anyone, just put the "e" in parenthesis like so: whisk(e)y.

Straight vs. Blended

To be designated as straight, whiskey must meet the following requirements:

  • 51% of a single grain.
  • Aged for no less than 2 years.
  • Combined with whisk(e)y of the same period & distiller.

Blended whiskey is a blend of different whiskies and somtimes a neutral grain spirit.

Bourbon vs. Rye

Bourbon is made with 51% corn. Rye is made with 51% rye.

The rest of the mash can be made up of any grain, whether it be barley, wheat, corn or rye. 

Bourbon is also typically sweeter compared to the spice of Rye. But because you can use any combination of both rye & corn, it can be hard to taste the difference with some brands.

Okay, schools out for summer. Let's get to the drinks.

Whiskey Crusta - inspired by Jerry Thomas' Bartenders Guide

Whiskey Crusta

2 oz. Whiskey

3 to 4 splashes Simple Syrup

3 to 4 dashes Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice.

Line the glass rim with lemon juice the coat with sugar.

Cut the ends off a small lemon. Then, using a paring knife, remove the peel. You want to remove it all together in one chunk. Insert lemon peel into glass.

Place a small piece of ice in the center. Strain cocktail into glass.

The whisk(e)y is presented here with a cool garnish and little disruption. It's a few steps removed from drinking the spirit neat.

Brooklyn Cocktail

2 oz. Rye

1 oz dry vermouth

.5 oz maraschino liqueur

.75 oz Amer Picon or a few dashes Angostura bitters

Shake with ice. Strain. Enjoy!

Drier than its neighbor, the Manhattan, this cocktail is smooth without lacking in strength. 

Now, if you're not a whisk(e)y drinker by nature and looking for a drink a bit more subtle. The next one is right up your alley.

It's Summer After All by Cocktail Crafty

It's Summer After All


1 or 2 sprigs of Mint

1 lemon wedge

.5oz Honey Syrup

Then add:

2 oz. Rye

.5 oz Aperol

Shake with ice. Pour contents into glass. Top with club soda.

Think mojito but rye whiskey instead of rum and lemon instead of lime. Light, refreshing, and you'd never know there was 2 ounces of booze in there. Aperol, an Italian aperitif, adds a citrus flavor and plays nicely with the mint and honey. A rye whiskey cocktail that both you and dad can enjoy.

If you try any of the drinks you see here, please let me know what you think.

Happy Fathers Day and, as always, imbibe happily!

- Nikki