Friday, December 13, 2013

You're Invited To a Jungle Reds Cocktail Party!

When the Hank first asked me to join Jungle Reds, my first thought was, "Oh, I'm sure this is some sort of mix-up…"
My second was, "Holy cats!"

But my third was, "Oooh, I want to create a great — and red — signature cocktail for the Jungle Red Writers!"

I'm an amateur bartender (although I do have one cocktail book to my name), and I do admit I find looking up vintage cocktails, and creating new ones, lots and lots of fun.

And so, I'm offering up a number of red libations for the other Reds — and you — to vote on. They're perfect for the holiday season.

Here we go….

The Sensation

The Sensation, also known as Brandied Port, was
first published in Esquire's June 1939 "Potables" column. As David Wonderich says in Esquire Drinks: An Opinionated and Irreverent Guide to Drinking, "Clearly, this drink could only have sprung from the fertile genius of Sir Winston Churchill — those two tipples being the principal fuel for his bulldog temper (plus, of course, liberal injections of Johnny Walker, Pol Roger, Pouilly Fumé, etc, ad libitum).

2 parts ruby port
1 part brandy
Dash of freshly squeezed orange juice (optional)

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel, or, if you use the orange juice, orange peel.

The Blenheim

The Blenheim (pronounced "Blen-im"), also known as the Four
Score and Ten, was created in honor of Winston Churchill's ninetieth birthday. Created by Joe Gilmore of the American Bar at the Savoy, it was named after Churchill's birthplace, the English Baroque-style Blenheim Palace.

3 parts brandy
2 parts Yellow Chartreuse
1 part Lillet blanc
1 part freshly squeezed orange juice
1 part Dubonnet rouge

Shake ingredients together with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Dubonnet Rouge Cocktail (Her Majesty's Favorite Cocktail)

Queen Elizabeth has called this red gin-based cocktail as her
favorite, as did her mother, the Queen Mum. If it's good enough for two Queens, surely it's good enough for us.

2 parts Dubonnet rouge
1 part Gordon's Gin (that's what the Queen prefers, but I like Hendrick's or Plymouth)
1 slice lemon
1 large ice cube (plus more for shaker)

Shake ingredients together with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon slice.

Red Negroni with Caramelized Oranges (a la Jon Stucky)

Our friend Jon Stucky, an "outsider artist," came up with this
recipe and never fails to make a batch, or two) when he's over. The caramelized orange add a rich depth of flavor to the classic Negroni and Prosecco adds sparkle.

1 part Campari
1 part sweet vermouth
1 part gin (Jon and I like Hendrick's or Plymouth)
1 part sparkling wine
juice from caramelized oranges and the oranges themselves

Shake Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth together with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze in the juice of a caramelized orange. Top with sparkling wine. We usually serve with the orange slices and lots of ice.

Here are Jon's instructions to prepare the oranges:
Scrub oranges and cut. Soak orange slices or wedges in the vermouth overnight — strain off excess vermouth and save for use in the drinks.
Caramelize on a hot grill in the summertime or use a brulee torch in the winter. (You want some char to add flavor.)

"Reds" Wine

Simply pour and enjoy. (Love the label and the wine’s pretty good, too!)


The Jungle Reds

I came up with this one in honor of the Reds, a variation on the holiday classic the Poinsettia (traditionally made with cranberry juice). It’s Miss Edna approved!

1 part pomegranate juice
½ part orange liqueur (I like the spiciness of Creole Shrubb)
3 parts sparkling wine (or ginger ale)

Garnish with a lemon twist. (I used pomegranate seeds and raspberries.)

Do you have an entry for the Jungle Reds cocktail, alcoholic or not? Do you have a favorite red holiday libation? Any favorites among the above? Tell us!


Oh, and I'm delighted to announce the winners of Kim Fay's A MAP OF LOST MEMORIES:

Joan Emerson
Libby Dodd
Virginia P

Congratulations! Email Kim at and she will send you your book!

Images of Jon Stucky's paintings reprinted with permission of the artist.


  1. Tough choice, but I think I’d choose the Jungle Reds sparkling wine/pomegranate juice. I like sparkling wine, so this sounds perfect . . . .

  2. Thanks, Joan — I agree! And you can make it with ginger ale, too.

  3. Do we get to vote? Definitely the Jungle Reds! I'm a sucker for pomegranate juice and sparkling wine.

    My summer go-to cocktail is a version of a Cosmo...
    1 part lemon vodka
    2 parts cranberry/pomegranate juice
    Juice of 1/2 lime (GOT to be fresh)
    A splash of cointreau

    Poured over a glass of ice. I like to sip it slowly and the ice melt makes it last longer.

  4. The Jungle Reds drink sounds delish. I will give that one a try over the holidays. I love the traditional poinsettia, but this sounds like a refreshing "twist."

  5. Yes, Kristopher, it's a variation on the Poinsettia — a bright green twist of lime would look lovely with the red drink for a holiday party!

    Hallie, that sounds like a lovely summer cocktail!

  6. Geez Louise, Susan, we sure added the right girl! these look spectacular, except for all that gin--I'm afraid I'd be under the table after half a drink.

    I love campari, so that's the one I'd choose. But only if your talented friend was charring the orange slices! xoxo

  7. Looking at these recipes I'm realizing that my home bar needs a serious makeover. I thought I was doing well to have three different kinds of bitters and a bottle of Simple Syrup.

    The Jungle Reds sounds fabulous, so that gets my vote.

    I don't usually drink fancy schmancy cocktails; I'm a single malt scotch rocks kind of girl. However, I served chocolate wine for Halloween once--red wine with milk chocolate blended into it. Two of the important food groups in one glass!

  8. Too early in the morning to try these out, but I think I would vote for the Blenheim.

    Did I ever tell you the story of how, when I was in the 8th grade and volunteering at the town library, there was a scandal -- I tried to take out a biography of Anne Boleyn!!

    My mother, the librarian, and my teacher (a nun) had a meeting, and I was told that a better choice would be THE COLLECTED SPEECHES OF WINSTON CHURCHILL!

    And, I read them all!

  9. Truly, the only way to make the right decision is to TASTE THEM ALL.


    Then, after the advil and hangover, we will choose.

    LOVE THIS and yes, indeed, yay Susan!

    (Our fave summer drink is a palmyra:
    one part vodka
    one-half part simple syrup
    one-half part fresh lime juice
    shake in an ice-filled shaker, hard, with a bunch of fresh mint leaves.

    It comes out all frothy and minty. YUM.

    Cannot wait to try the Reds cocktails!

  10. I'm not really a drinker but I might try a sip of The Jungle Reds drink!

  11. Maybe around Valentine's Day I'll try for some pink cocktails?

    Denise Ann, what was the scandal about taking out a biography of Anne Boleyn?

    Karen, that sounds like a well-stocked bar to me!

    Lucy/Roberta — yes, I'm scared of our kitchen torch, too!

    Hank, your minty cocktail sounds wonderful for summer!


  12. These are all so PRETTY!!!!

    I have dreams of being all dressed up at a very fancy, very formal cocktail party and swanning around with a pretty drink with a pretty name. (I like pretty). Any of these would fit the scenario perfectly - especially The Jungle Reds. One thing though, after a lot of years as one of Atlanta's original party hardy girls, I'm now not much of a drinker. I do love Kahlua, and would love to hear some of your favorite things to do with it.

    Susan, I have to say what a lovely addition you are to Jungle Reds, you are a delight! I had more or less the same reactions you did when Hank asked me to be a part of this wonderful group - and I'm just a part-timer sitting on the sidelines most of the month! It's a very special group, for sure.

  13. The Dubonnet Rouge is also known as a Zaza, and I've been enjoying them (with Bombay Sapphire) every since last year's Diamond Jubilee, when the TV commentator suggested the Queen was going back to the palace to relax with a Dubonnet and Gin. My sister-in-law and I exchanged glances and then thought about it some more. My brother went down to the bar and mixed some for us. Heavenly!

  14. I love the one you've just created. Also attracted to the one with caramelized oranges but it seems like a lot of work!
    And I've made the Queen's one...yummy.

    In the winter I often greet guests with German mulled wine warmed gently with spices and orange and lemon slices, and sugar.

  15. ys bI love the one you've just created. Also attracted to the one with caramelized oranges but it seems like a lot of work!
    And I've made the Queen's one...yummy.

    In the winter I often greet guests with German mulled wine warmed gently with spices and orange and lemon slices, and sugar.

  16. How apt--todays deal at Living Social is a bartending course!

  17. Rhys, my youngest daughter has spent some time in Germany, and she became a fan of Glühwein, the warm, mulled red wine they serve during the holidays. The last time she was there she brought some home for us, and I plan to serve it this Christmas. So delicious on a cold night.

  18. Kaye, thank you.

    And Susan — a Zaza! I've never heard that before, but I love the name.

  19. The only trouble with these delicious sweet drinks is that limits must set and followed. Too much fun and it's porcelain time. I hate being careful at parties.

  20. You know it, Jack. And those sweet ones go down so much more easily than they should, too!

  21. Wow, Susan, you're my kind of woman! Too bad you don't live in Portland, OR -- I'd ask myself over for cocktails!

    Lately, I've been liking the Bee's Knee's -- I wonder if there's a variation that's red for the holidays and the JRWs?

    I love coffee drinks this time of year: Kahlua, Bailey's, you name it. :-)

  22. Susan, you are a woman after my own heart!!! I'd been contemplating your cocktail book, as I'm a bit of an amateur bartender (mixologist:-)) myself, and now think I will treat myself for Christmas.

    I thought my bar was pretty well stocked, but shoot, I don't have all the ingredients. I did, by chance, buy a bottle of Clement Creole Shrubb the other day, which I really like. I can see I'm definitely going to have to buy Dubonnet Rouge!

    I have to try the Queen's Cocktail, and the one with the caramelized oranges. Unfortunately, our gas grill is covered with ice. Note--add chef's blowtorch to Christmas list.

    The Jungle Red gets my top vote, however, as it's more or less my standard cocktail.

    I usually use Bombay Sapphire, as I think Hendrick's is a bit delicate to stand up to the other flavors.

    I like to use a pretty wine glass filled with ice. An oz and a half Bombay Sapphire, a half of a lemon or lime, depending on the mood, squeezed, a half an orange, squeezed, a half oz of either Stirrings Natural Triple Sec or Creole Shrubb, depending on how much zing you want, a teaspoon of homemade basil simple syrup. The top with Pom pomegranate juice and a splash of Perrier.

    To do justice to Susan's Jungle Red I will happily substitute Proseco for the Perrier:-)

    Top with fresh pomegranate seeds when in season, and a twist of lime or orange. This is a gorgeous drink in a wine glass as the pomegranate juice swirls down through the ice.


  23. PS Susan, I just bought a bottle of very nice cognac, as it seemed the seasonal thing to have on hand. Do you have any suggestions for a good brandy or cognac cocktail that isn't too sweet?

  24. Lisa and Deb — so great to meet fellow amateur mixologists!

  25. Lisa, LOVE Bee's Knees!

    Deb, have you ever tried a Sidecar?

    Here's the recipe:

    1 1/2 parts brandy
    1 part orange liquor
    1/2 part freshly squeezed lemon juice

    Rim glass with sugar and garnish with a twist of lemon.

  26. Susan, can I use the Creole Shrubb for the Sidecar? It's the only orange liqueur on hand at the moment.

  27. What an influence you guys are! I've decided to make a lovely Chambord glaze for the cake I'm making for our neighborhood Christmas party.

  28. The sidecar! Is it my imagination or are the old-timey drinks making a comeback? I see them on cocktail menus more often these days.

  29. The classic cocktails are making a comeback! I was at a party recently where the hostess, a bourbon fan, was making old-fashioneds for everyone. My first. Verra tasty it was, too.

  30. Clement Creole Shrubb would make a very nice Sidecar. Go for it!

    You also might try a Brandy Crusta. It's a boozy drink that highlights a good Cognac. It does require you have another liqueur, but one bottle of Maraschino will last you a lifetime. Or you could leave it out.

    2 oz. Cognac
    1/4 oz. Curacao (use Grand Marnier or Pierre Ferrand)
    1/8 oz. (3/4 tsp.) Maraschino Liqueur (use Luxardo)
    1/4 oz. Fresh lemon juice
    1/8 oz. (3/4 tsp.) Simple Syrup
    2 dashes Angostura bitters

    Shake with ice and then strain into a brandy snifter or cocktail glass. Garnish with a long lemon peel.

    Traditional, the glass is rimmed with sugar first.