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I know Fridays are usually my cocktail days, but since today is New Year’s Day and the day after New Year’s Eve, I thought I’d change things up and post my cocktail today. See, I had a feeling there might be a few of you who’d need a pick me up. You know… a drink that will help you get back on your feet after a night of seriously heavy drinking. Well, if anything will pick you (or wake you) up, the Holland Razor Blade is definitely it.

Made with gin, lemon juice and a dash or two of cayenne pepper, this hair of the dog, is sure to open up your eyes, get your blood pumping and get you back on your feet for the Rose Parade, the Rose Bowl or anything else you might have planned for today.

Hailing from 1931, this cocktail was introduced to Charles H. Baker by a Hollander on an international morning flight because he was in desperate need of a wake up call. Like most cocktails of its day, drinks created pre and during Prohibition were heavy on the liquor and light on the mixers. This cocktail is no different. It’s mostly gin, and a strong gin at that.

While most of us (me included) prefer English gin like Beefeater, Tanqueray or Old Tom, Holland gin like Genever has a bolder flavor and so packs a much bigger punch, hence its use in this pick me up. But if you don’t own any Dutch gins, an English gin is a fine substitute, as it’s really the cayenne pepper that gives this cocktail it’s eye-opening flavor.

So while you’re frying up those greasy eggs and bacon, make sure you pour yourself a Razor Blade. The eggs and bacon might settle your stomach, but this sharp blade will open your eyes.

close up

Holland Razor Blade


  • 2 oz. Holland gin (like Genever)
  • juice of half of lemon
  • 2 – 3 dashes of cayenne pepper


  1. Pour the gin and lemon juice into a cocktails shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously for 1 minute. Strain into an old fashioned glass and dust with cayenne pepper. Serve.


Today I thought I’d spice things up a bit… literally. I know it’s usually my cocktail day, but since summer’s drawing to a close, I thought I’d do something that goes in one of those classic cocktails instead of the cocktail itself. Other than the liquor what could possibly go into a classic cocktail? Ice of course.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to teach you how to make ice cubes as I’m sure you all know how to do that. But why use plain old ordinary water ice cubes when you could add some flavor? Or better yet, some heat? How can you add heat to an ice cube? By making chile ice cubes of course. Hatch Chile ice cubes.  Flavored ice cubes may sound odd, but isn’t a flavored cube really just a small popsicle? Of course it is. But unlike the standard popsicle, these icy treats slowly add flavor to the cocktail as they melt thereby enhancing the drink even further.

Why am I talking about Hatch Chiles? Because it’s Hatch Chile season and now’s the time to strike as these lovely little green chiles are around for a very short time. See, Hatch season starts in August and only goes for five or six weeks. After that, you’ll have to wait until next year to get your hatch chile on… Unless you freeze them, then you’ll have them year round. But if you’re worried you won’t like the chiles because you’re like me and not a fan of spice, I have news for you. The Hatch chiles come in various heats. That’s right, there are mild chiles, medium chiles, hot chiles and ridiculously hot chiles. As a matter of fact, Hatch chiles are the only chile that’s actually grown according to it’s heat.  There’s only one problem: they all look the same. So, if you’re concerned about getting the right temperature, make sure you ask your produce department.

I used hot Hatch Chiles for my ice cubes because I thought the heat from the chiles would balance nicely with the ice cold tomato juice and cucumber vodka in my bloody mary. I was right. But beware, the spice got more and more intense as the ice cubes melted. It was still delicious, but by the end of my drink, I did need a couple tissues as my nose was beginning to run.

How did I come up with the idea for chile ice cubes? I must admit, it wasn’t mine. Melissa’s Produce, who was nice enough to give me the chiles, recently came out with a cookbook that’s all about Hatch Chiles. They have everything in that book from appetizers to desserts, including these wonderful chile ice cubes. But here’s the awesome part: they gave me an extra cookbook, some dried chiles and some chile powder to share with you!

Want this scorching prize pack? Here’s how you win: (Main entry required.) THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Congratulations to Jane (Wehaf) Valentine for winning all the chile goodness.

Leave a comment here telling me how hot you like your chiles. Are you like me and prefer just a little tang or do you like to have a box of tissues nearby for when your eyes start to water and your nose starts to run?

Want extra entries?

Each item you do will get you one chance to win (for a total of five chances). If you already do any of these things they do count! So make sure to leave a separate comment for each item.

  1. Follow @kitchycooker on Twitter and tweet the following with a link back in the comments to your tweet: “I just entered to win a #hatchchile prize pack from @kitchycooker and @melissasproduce. Have you?
  2. Like my facebook page.
  3. Like Melissa’s facebook page.
  4. Subscribe to the Kitchy Cooking RSS feed.

The Fine Print

  • This giveaway is only open to residents of the 50 United States. (Sorry, shipping to Europe and Canada’s pricey.)
  • Giveaway will end on Friday, August 23rd at 11:59 pm PST. One winner with a valid entry will be chosen via a random number generator at  The winner will then be notified via the e-mail they provide when they leave a comment.
  • Winner has until August 26th at 10 pm PST to claim their prize or I’ll pick another winner.

Now that I’ve laid out all the nitty gritty details, here’s what you’ve all been waiting for – the recipe for these hot ice cubes.

Hatch Chile Ice Cubes


  • 5 cups water
  • 2 Hatch Chiles, roasted, peeled, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped.


  1. Combine the water and the Hatch Chiles in a blender and blend until the chiles are fully incorporated. Let the chile water sit for about 4 minutes.
  2. Skim off any froth that rises to the top, then pour the chile water into ice cube trays and freeze.
  3. Once the ice cubes are ready, add them to any of your favorite cocktails or mocktails.

PLEASE NOTE: Melissa’s provided me with the cookbook and the chile powder. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

And we’re back! Last week I took a break from my weekly cocktail post so I could participate in Lucky Leaf’s virtual summer potluck. So, if you were concerned that I would no longer be making retro cocktails and sharing their history with you, don’t fret because today it’s back to our regularly scheduled programming. And what better way to come back than with a Boulevardier.

Two weeks ago I shared the Negroni with you, an Italian cocktail created shortly after WWI. Well today’s cocktail is the American cousin. It’s also made with Campari and Sweet Vermouth, but instead of gin, we get to use my favorite booze: bourbon! It’s just as potent as the Negroni but if you’re like me and prefer bourbon over gin, you’ll probably appreciate this drink a little more.

As I mentioned the Negroni was created in Italy just after WWI. Well, the Boulevardier was created around the same time, during Prohibition to be precise. See, the Volstead Act created two different types of bartenders: those that relished in adventure and creating new drinks out of bathtub gin and those that preferred the real stuff. Those that preferred real cocktails made with real alcohol moved to Europe where they could continue their trade without the fear of imprisonment. One such bartender was Harry McElhone who ran the bar at the Plaza Hotel in New York. By the time Prohibition hit Harry was already across the pond. He settled in Paris, France and opened up Harry’s New York Bar.  There he was able to continue making all the drinks he’d come to know and love as well as create some new ones using ingredients that could be only found in Europe; ingredients like Campari. Of course Harry knew of and made Negronis, but since he was an American first and foremost and Americans love their bourbon, Harry decided to substitute the bourbon for the gin and thus the Boulevardier was born.

So no matter whether you like bourbon or gin, if you’re a fan of Campari, both drinks are definitely worth a try.

Boulevardier Cocktail


  • 1-1/2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth


  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for a minute and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist and serve.


When most people talk about stingers they always seem to mention Cary Grant playing a navy pilot in Kiss Them for Me and shouting “Stingers, and keep them coming”. I however, have never seen this movie which is a surprise since I’m a huge Cary Grant fan and have seen some of his more obscure films. But that’s besides the point. See, when I think of the cocktail a different movie comes to mind: Beaches. I know, I know, please don’t judge as I admit this embarrassing piece of information. What can I say, I like Bette Midler.  And since I’m such a big fan of her’s I’ve seen the movie several times. Her cocktail of choice? A stinger. So, ever since this 80’s chick flick I’ve wondered what a stinger was. Well, it’s only taken twenty-odd years, but I can finally tell you.

The stinger is a sweet after-dinner drink that can be served on the rocks or straight up. I prefer the rocks version since it is such a sweet cocktail as the ice cuts that sweetness quite a bit. What makes it so sweet you ask? The combination of the two liqueurs that make up the drink: crême de menthe and brandy. But while the drink is on the sweeter side, it’s also these two alcohols that turn it into a wonderful digestive; which is also why the cocktail is even better when paired with a rich chocolate dessert.

Unfortunately, unlike some of the other cocktails on this blog, the stinger doesn’t have a definitive creation date. I can’t tell you who or where the cocktail was created because no one bartender, bar or hotel has staked their claim. Although the stinger does appear in Esquire’s 1949 Handbook for Hosts, the drink was around long before then. Some believe it was created during the prohibition because the crême de menthe was an ideal choice to hide the home-brewed hooch flavor. But the cocktail can be found in Tom Bullock’s 1917 Ideal Bartender so that kills that theory. Then there are those that believe William Schmidt created the drink in 1891, but he referred to the concoction as a Judge so there’s no way to be sure if it was really the same drink or not.

No matter how the drink was created or who created it, it’s still a delicious digestif and should be considered the next time you’re having a decadent dessert. It’s a nice change of pace from the more traditional coffee drinks, which are pretty standard and in my opinion, kind of boring.



  • 1-1/2 oz. brandy
  • 3/4 oz white crême de menthe


  1. Pour the brandy in an old fashioned glass over ice. Add the crême de menthe, stir with a stirrer and serve.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but both my parents are from Massachusetts. While I was born right here in sunny Southern California, I spent my formative years traveling back and forth to the east coast visiting relatives and learning all about this country’s birth in the actual place where it happened. Paul Revere’s house? Seen it. Freedom trail? Walked it. Attended a Red Sox game at Fenway before they won the World Series in ’04? You bet! Yes, I’ve done and/or seen probably all you can when visiting the original colony.

Of course so many visits also means I’ve tasted a real lobster roll and eaten fried clams at a snack bar on the beach.  And I’m here to tell you that no matter what anyone says, not all lobster rolls are the same. In fact you haven’t tasted a lobster roll until you’ve gotten one at Boston & Maine Fish Company in Faneuil Hall.  But even with all the trips back and forth to the eastern seaboard, I never once encountered a Ward Eight. In fact I’d never even heard of one until very recently. I must admit, I feel a little cheated. How could I have spent so many vacations on the east coast and never heard of or even encountered this drink?  Easy, I wasn’t a bourbon drinker.

But now that I am, I have discovered many a classic cocktail that requires the brown liquor and I’m so happy that I discovered this one. If you’re partial to Manhattans or Whiskey Sours, you’ll adore the Ward Eight. It’s kind of a combination of the two but with the added sweetness of grenadine. This cocktail is so smooth and delicious, it could very well be my new favorite bourbon drink.

Since this cocktail hails from Massachusetts, just like the state from whence it came, it definitely has some history.  While the cocktail may sound like it was created in a mental ward, it actually hails from the political side of town. The drink was created in 1898 at the Locke-Ober to commemorate the victory of Martin Lomasney in his race for the legislature of Boston’s Eighth Ward.  Did I mention, in true political form, this victory party happened the night before the election?

Well no matter how the drink was created or how crooked the politician was it was named for, this drink is smooth, sweet and gives no regrets until long after its been imbibed.  Wow, it really is a politician… in drink form.

Ward Eight Cocktail


  • 1-1/2 oz. bourbon
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine


  1. Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Shake vigorously for one minute.
  3. Strain into a cocktail glass and serve.