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Two friends with a shared love for Classic Cocktails, paying homage to the pre-prohibition era. We do parties!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Blinker

Photo: T.J. McLachlan
Over the next few weeks we'll be writing about some of the cocktails we've selected for our inaugural event. Some of the drinks are pre-prohibition classics, while others are more contemporary. There will even be an original creation or two thrown into the mix.

Up first is The Blinker. I first stumbled across this recipe in my 1940 edition of Patrick Gavin Duffy's Official Mixer's Manual.

Photo: Andrew Borley
Duffy was the bartender of New York's Ashland House bar for some 40 years and his Official Mixer's Manual catalogued all of the most popular drinks in the years before prohibition, as well as those that became famous in speakeasy's around the country during the "dry years". It is fascinating to see how times have changed. The first 103 pages are dedicated to gin cocktails, while a brief half a page near the end of the book lists only two vodka recipes. Duffy also stresses that, "the barkeeper should be neatly shaved, and his hands and nails should be kept immaculately clean." A rule I try my best to follow as well.

Photo: Andrew Borley
Duffy's original recipe calls for: 1 Jigger (1.5 oz.) Rye
1.5 Jigger Grapefruit Juice
.5 Jigger Grenadine

While this sounds delicious, I wanted to use fresh fruit so replaced the grenadine with fresh blackberries and raspberries muddled in 1/2 oz of demerara sugar syrup. I also switched the base spirit of rye for Buffalo Trace Bourbon, a deliciously spicy whisky which is probably a closer match to the American 100% Rye that would have been used at the time, but sadly is difficult to find up here in Canada. 1/2 oz of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice rounds out the mix. Shaken with ice and doubled-strained into a chilled cocktail glass, our new blinker is a fine balance between the dark spice of the bourbon and the tart sweetness of berries and grapefruit. I think it's going to be popular.


  1. Slide one down this way Barkeeper. Hey, nice nails.

  2. I'm voting "the most popular"! Hard to resist …