Tag Archives: Rum

The Japanese Cocktail

Sunday evening we attended “Behind the Stick” cocktail class at River and Rail Restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia.  Our talented “Cocktail Professor” was
was Shane Lumpp, Bar Manager extraordinaire (pictured below) of River and Rail. He provided us with lots of spirited information and here’s some of the highlights…

Shane Lumpp, Bar Manager, River and Rail

Our class was about rum and brandy.

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River and Rail snacks…house-made Chorizo Sausage with rum soaked pineapple and cheese including “Dancing Fern” a Reblochon-style cheese.

The first cocktail Shane served us was a classic daiquiri. This is one of his favorite cocktails and he said that he can tell the skill of a bartender by the daiquiri he/she makes. It all starts with the rum. Then the cocktail will have small bubbles on the top from shaking it properly before pouring it into the glass. It should be more tart than sweet and the lime flavor should pop on your tongue. Shane used Flor de Caña rum for our daiquiris. This rum is made in Nicaragua.

Shane shakin’ our cocktails!
Classic Daiquiri

Shane gave us a taste of Smith and Cross Traditional Jamaica Rum neat. Powerful stuff! He asked us to sniff the rum before drinking it, just like you would taste a fine scotch. He explained that when ice is added to a cocktail that the larger the ice cube the better. Large ice cubes do not dissolve as quickly as smaller cubes so they do not dilute the cocktail as fast.

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To make Shane’s daiquiri: 2 parts spirit (rum), 1 part citrus (lime juice) and 1 part sweetner (simple syrup).

He noted that lime gives a cocktail tart flavor and lemon gives it a sour flavor.

“Brandy” means burning wine. It can be made from many fruits including apple, peach, pear and apricot. Cognac is a variety of brandy named after the town Cognac, France. It is made from white wine.

Japanese Cocktail

The Japanese cocktail is a cognac and orgeat syrup drink with a bit of citrus. Orgeat syrup is a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar, and rose water or orange flower water.
The story behind the name:
This vanguard cocktail perhaps had something to do with a visit (or four) paid to Thomas’s New York City bar on Broadway by a member of Japan’s first diplomatic mission to America, Tateishi Onojirou Noriyuki, or “Tommy,” as he was known among the ladies. The delegation resided quite near Thomas’s saloon, and Tommy quickly drummed up a reputation for spending plenty of nights out on the town. It can be assumed that a raucous evening or two spent at the bar would be enough cause for Thomas to christen a cocktail in honor of his Japanese regular. Imbibe! David Wondrich

Japanese Cocktail: 2 ounces cognac, 1/2 ounce orgeat syrup, 1/4 ounce lemon juice. Shake and strain into a Nick and Nora cocktail glass. Nick and Nora cocktail glasses hold just 5.5 ounces. Agent Nick and Nora glass, named after the cinematic husband-and-wife detective team, brings back the suave sophistication of 1930s high life.

Rémy Martin…how to taste cognac:

During the aperitif, the cognac is usually consumed neat, but adding a drop of water reveals more fruity, floral and spicy aromas and makes the tasting experience smoother. Similarly, adding two ice cubes will dilute the cognac and reduce the alcohol percentage, which reveals these aromas while making the taste more refreshing. The goal is that the ice cubes melt slowly, revealing new aromas at each step.

Cognac can even be consumed frozen, which makes the liquid very viscous (it does not freeze due to the high alcohol level), and gives an experience that is almost velvety in the mouth. This pairs particularly well with sea food: oysters, lobster, or sushi.

For a simple long drink as an aperitif, the cognac can be consumed with tonic or ginger ale. This brings out notes of fresh fruit, even liquorice, in a Rémy Martin VSOP. This is how cognac is normally enjoyed by the locals in the Cognac area as an apéritif.

Caipirinha ~ The national cocktail of Brazil made with cachaça, sugar, and lime. Cachaca is a distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice.

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Make Your Holiday Sparkle With These Cocktails

Rum Rum Rudolph

This cocktail tastes like a boozy chocolate coconut milkshake!

For the cocktail glass rim:  Pour a little of the cherry juice from the jar of cherries onto a flat plate. Pour some flaked coconut onto a flat plate. Roll the rim of a martini glass in the cherry juice, then roll in coconut.  If the coconut does not stick in certain places on the rim, dip the rim in juice and coconut again.  Set aside until ready to pour the cocktail.

To make one cocktail:

1 ounce coconut rum

1 ounce Godiva Chocolate Liqueur

1 ounce Bailey’s Almond Milk Liqueur

Bourbon Flavored Cherry with stem and ground nutmeg for garnish

Place coconut rum, chocolate liqueur and  almond milk liqueur in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to mix the cocktail.  Strain the cocktail carefully into the center of the cocktail glass rimmed in coconut. Sprinkle ground nutmeg over the top. Slice the cherry allowing the stem to stay in tact so that the cherry will slide onto the rim of the glass.



I like to use these Bourbon Flavored Cherries (with stems) for cocktail garnishes.  I purchase them in the cocktail mixer section of Walmart or they are available on-line.


So pretty and sweet and fabulously delicious!

1/2 ounce Cointreau or Triple Sec

3 ounces Cranberry Juice

3 ounces Champagne

Sugared fresh cranberries for garnish (prepare the day ahead)

Place Cointreau and cranberry juice in a champagne flute, stir lightly and top with champagne. Garnish with sugared cranberries.


Sugared Fresh Cranberries

1 1/2 cups extra fine sugar
1 cup water
1 cup fresh cranberries

Place 1 cup sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir and simmer until the sugar completely dissolves to create the simple syrup.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Place cranberries on small wooden skewers. Place the skewers flat in a shallow container.  Pour the simple syrup over the cranberries. Refrigerate overnight.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Place 1/2 cup sugar on a plate. Roll the cranberry skewers in the sugar.  Place the skewers on the baking tray and the sugar to dry on the cranberries (approximately 1 hour).

River and Rail bloody mary

Red Snapper

Perfect Pick Me Up For Christmas Brunch!

Perfect for gin lovers!  Just replace vodka with gin in your favorite Bloody Mary recipe.  Or make your own Red Snapper Cocktail Mix…here’s a link to a fun recipe (plus a brief history of the Red Snapper) from Gin Foundry:


boots and champagne

New cowboy boots from Santa!




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