The Rituals -- The Admiral Cocktail

Bathtub Gin & The Case For Adjustment, Modification, & Refinement, Part 2

Previously on the Rituals: We dutifully marched through the ADDINGTON (a nothing drink) and the ADIOS AMIGOS (a worse-than-nothing drink) without feeling any sense of life fulfillment. But we still need to meet the Admiral—or three creepy versions of the Admiral, anyway, like some boozy version of The Prestige. So, like gluttons for punishment, we soldier on to our next sour patch surprise: the ADMIRAL COCKTAIL.

1 oz. Bourbon (Grass Widow)

1.5 oz. Dry Vermouth (Dolin)
.5 Lemon

Combine with ice; shake. Strain. Squeeze in the lemon’s juice, stir, and drop in the peel. Add ice.

Why is this a drink!? You cannot taste the booze. I might as well eat a lemon and take a shot of booze. At least then I’d taste the booze.

SCORES: Eric 2, Brian 1.5

Not to be outdone by citrus, we take the principles learned from the Adios Amigos and apply them to the ADMIRAL COCKTAIL. Time for some refinement. Since we are changing the recipe we need to change the name of the cocktail too.

1 oz. Bourbon (Grass Widow)

1.5 oz. Dry Vermouth (Dolin)
.25 oz. Lemon juice
.25 oz. Simple syrup

Jackpot! This is a good cocktail! You can actually taste the bourbon and the dry vermouth. It’s like a variation on a whiskey sour but less citrus and simple syrup.

SCORES: Eric 8, Brian 7.5

Our fourth and final drink of today’s session is the ADMIRAL HIGHBALLFinally a drink that isn’t swimming in citrus, but is uses a sweet wine. Don’t get me wrong I like a good sweet wine and Tokay (Tokaji) is one of my favorites, but mixed with bourbon? Pineapple juice? Lemon juice? Okay. Let’s taste what we’re stirring.

1.5 oz. Bourbon (Grass Widow)
1.5 oz. Sweet wine (Tokay)
1 dash pineapple juice
1 dash lemon juice
Club soda

Stir well, pour over ice cubes, and add club soda.

Well this is interesting. Interesting in a “I don’t think I’m going to make this drink ever again” interesting. The drink was too winey. In a mocking tone Eric says, “Vegetal notes.” Well, it is vegetal and earthy. The bourbon is there but the wine is THERE. I guess the real theme of this Riutals session is “that one ingredient that overpowers all the others.” That is except for the ADDINGTON.

SCORE: Eric 3, Brian 3

Another theme of today is variations, so we decide to make the 1917 ADMIRAL SCHLEY HIGHBALL.

1 Teaspoon pineapple syrup (Small Hand Foods Pineapple Syrup)
1 Teaspoon lemon juice
1 oz. Irish Whiskey (Eric for some reason has no Irish Whiskey so we used Crown Royal)
1 oz. Tokay
Sparkling water

Drop one piece of ice in a highball glass. Add other ingredients filling up with sparkling water.

For some reason this drink was better than the ADMIRAL HIGHBALL. We’re not sure why. Maybe because we used Crown Royal as opposed to Irish whiskey. Maybe the wonderful pineapple syrup. Maybe the ratios are just better suited.

SCORE: Eric 6. Brian 6

With this general feeling of unfulfillment pressing down on us, Eric decides to make a cocktail called The Derby, which uses bourbon and lime juice. A drink that still has faults. Eric thinks that it can be made better by someone other than himself.

1 oz. Bourbon
.75 oz. Lime juice
.5 oz. Sweet Vermouth
.5 oz. Grand Marnier
Lime wedge or mint leaf, for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add bourbon, lime, sweet vermouth, and Grand Marnier and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wedge or mint leaf.

I feel like we’re getting down on lime juice but a little goes a long way and a lot just sours the experience. We surmise that the Grand Marnier helps cut the citrus a bit with its sugars, but still think the lime juice can be reduced.

SCORES: Eric 6 made better 7, Brian 5

Once again not to be outdone, I whip up a drink without any of the ingredients that we used today. I made the Bitter Handshake from BT Parsons book BITTERSAndrew Bohrer came up with this recipe and the first drink he ever served BT at Mistral Kitchen in Seattle was the Bitter Handshake.

This is kind of a labor intensive drink. You need to prep some ingredients beforehand.

1 oz. Fernet Branca
1 oz. Blood Orange Reduction
1 oz. Rye Whiskey Syrup
Garnish: thick spiral of orange zest

Combine all the ingredients except the garnish in a mixing glass filled with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a double old-fashioned glass filled with an ice sphere. Place the orange zest atop the ice sphere.

We didn’t give this drink a rating because it’s that good! This is one of those drinks that you just don’t know how it’s going to taste and you end up loving it. Eric promptly requested the recipe.

And just like that a joyous order was restored to the Universe.

In our next installment wine and booze will be at the forefront. After the Admiral highball with Tokay I’m slightly skeptical, but the Admirable Admiral was good. Till next time. Stay Ritual.

We’d love to hear what your first introduction to booze was and what brand. Let us know in the comments.



Location: Eric’s place

Session Winner:
-The ADMIRABLE ADMIRAL variation, with the ADIOS AMIGOS variation taking a close second.

Session Loser:
-Just like the winners but without the variation. ADMIRAL COCKTAIL is the biggest loser with the original ADIOS AMIGOS a decently big loser.

Session Alternate of Actual Quality:
-The Derby

Homemade/Homegrown Items Used:
-Rye whiskey syrup
-Blood orange reduction

-Vodka anisette vs. brandy anisette


-Brother in law’s hammock company
-Building a community
-Social media
-Booze hoarding
-Keanu Reeves

On the Next Rituals: Brian and Eric are Formally Introduced to the Imperfect Mr. Roy, otherwise known as the Affinity cocktail.


Brian Christie


Brian Christie envisions a future where all cocktails are made with natural ingredients and love, where hangovers don’t exist, and where everyone wants to experiment, explore, and enjoy life. As a grip/dolly grip, he’s worked on such shows as The O.C., Heroes, Iron Man 2, Gangster Squad, Horrible Bosses 2, Agents of Shield, and most recently Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. When not on set, he can be found traveling the world in search of new experiences and cocktails. His exploits include drinks in Los Angeles, Tokyo, Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Muskegon, Munich, Boise, Prague, Phoenix, Dublin, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Sydney, and most recently Edinburgh.

Always drink responsibly!