Bourbon & RC – A True Southern Libation

I am most definitely a bourbon fan.  Nowadays, it is pretty much my liquor of choice.  This was not always the case as for many years I was (and still am) something of an Irish Whiskey fiend.  For years, most of my friends have been fans of bourbon and its many brands.  Several years ago, my good friend Dave shared several bottles of fairly good bourbon with me and since then I have been a convert.  Neat, mixed, or on the rocks – I’m a fan of bourbon in all of its incarnations.

This one just happens to be the one I drink more often than others. *^*

It combines the bourbon my friends love with the cola that my mother loves – Royal Crown (aka RC Cola).  RC is a bit sweeter than its much larger competitor I shall not name.  You have to look for it a bit harder in the grocery aisle, but it is there. Personally, I like this pairing quite a bit.  The sweetness of the bourbon and the cola work great together and overall it is just an easy beverage at the end of a long day.

Give it a try and let me know what you think! Continue reading →

Zeus' Vieux Carre cocktail

Review – McMenamin’s Zeus Cafe (Portland, OR)

McMenamin’s Zeus Cafe

303 SW 12th Ave

Portland, OR 97205

Visit: March 16, 2018

We stopped by the Zeus cafe to grab a drink and meet up with our friend Caitlin downtown.  The cafe is located on a long block as part of the adjoining Palace Hotel.  The McMenamin’s have a pretty neat thing going in Portland – they buy up properties and turn them into music venues/breweries.  I did not get a chance to try any of there beer, but I did get to try a few tasty beverages while we were there.

Anna and I both snagged a cocktail.  I went for the Zeus’ take on a Vieux Carre.  While I enjoyed it, I cannot say it was as tasty as the one I had at Pepe le Moko the night before (that one was near perfect).  It was, however, quite tasty and I left no alcohol behind.

Zeus' Vieux Carre cocktail

Zeus Cafe’s take on a Vieux Carre

Continue reading →

Nor'Easter Cocktail

The Nor’Easter Cocktail

The Cocktail:

It is cold outside.  As I write this, it is 27 degrees and there is a light dusting of snow on the ground.  Granted, that light dusting of snow will be gone in an hour or two, but you get the point.  What a day like today calls for is bourbon.  Tasty, delicious, warming bourbon.  This cocktail seems to have come out of NYC a few years ago and made its’ way across the country from there.  Bourbon plays along nicely with the sour notes from the lime juice and the sweetness of the maple syrup.  Ginger beer comes in and gives it a nice backbone.

I think you are gonna love it (we sure as hell do)!


2oz Bourbon

.5oz Lime juice, freshly squeezed

.5oz Maple Syrup

Ginger Beer

In a cocktail shaker, combine maple syrup, lime juice, and bourbon with ice.  Shake until frosty.  Pour over ice into your rocks glass.  Top with ginger beer and garnish with a wedge of lime.


I like to use a good bourbon for this one (that’s pretty much a general rule).  Four Roses Small Batch is a good choice and my usual house bourbon.

Find yourself a good ginger beer as well.  In my experience, Fever Tree and Cock And Bull are pretty good brands.  For the drink above, I recommend Fever Tree as the flavors generally pair better.

Scofflaw Cocktail

The Scofflaw Cocktail



  1. a person who flouts the law, especially by failing to comply with a law that is difficult to enforce effectively.

About the drink:

The Scofflaw cocktail was created around 1920 at Harry’s Bar in Paris.  We here in the States were laboring under the social experiment known as Prohibition while also nurturing a booming bootlegging business.  This cocktail was a Continental response to the perceived dichotomy of America’s position. The cocktail’s name comes directly from the term used to describe someone who drank in disregard of Prohibition.

Prior to Prohibition, the US sold a pretty fair amount of Rye Whiskey.  As a result, it makes its way into a lot of old cocktails.  After Prohibition, many of the distilleries that had produced Rye whiskeys had moved on to Bourbons or on to other whiskies.  As a result, you will often see this cocktail made with Bourbon as opposed to Rye.  Luckily for us, in the past 10-20 years a lot of distilleries have gotten back into producing Rye whiskey.   Personally, I prefer this cocktail with Rye – although my wife argues vociferously in favor of Bourbon.


2oz Rye Whiskey or Bourbon

1oz Dry Vermouth

.5oz Grenadine (please, not Rose’s!)

.25oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 dashes Orange Bitters


Chill your cocktail glass.

In a shaker, combine all ingredients.  Add ice and shake until you feel the ache in your hands. Strain into your chilled glass, and garnish with a lemon peel.


I prefer this cocktail with Rye.  I mentioned that above, but I feel the need to mention it again.  The spicy notes just sing to me in this cocktail.

Get some really nice grenadine for this one.  There are a lot of great companies out there making better Grenadines than the one you can get at Krogers.


Pumpkin Bread Pudding

White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

White Chocolate Cheesecake Pumpkin bread pudding

This recipe is a riff on a few versions of bread pudding I have made over the years.  Personally, I find bread pudding to be a super flexible and enjoyable dish that lends itself to endless variation.  I came up with this one year before Christmas as an alternative to having another pumpkin pie during the holidays.  Since then, this has been a staple on our holiday menu (as well as a welcome change to endless pumpkin pies while still keeping the theme intact.)


1 loaf bread (I recommend a country style loaf, or brioche) – left out overnight to become stale

1 package (8oz) Philly Cream Cheese

1 cup pecan pieces

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups milk

1 15oz can Libby’s Pumpkin

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp coffee bourbon

1 tbsp

1 tsp

1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

Pinch of salt

6 eggs plus 4 yolks

Butter (to grease a casserole dish)


Slice the bread up into half inch cubes and place in a large mixing bowl.  Slice the cream cheese into half inch squares and sprinkle over the bread. Do the same with the white chocolate chips and pecans.

Next, in a separate mixing bowl combine all remaining ingredients except the eggs. Mix well and adjust to taste. Whisk in the eggs and egg yolks. Pour the custard over the bread and fold together gently. Mixture should be wet. If the pudding mixture appears dry, add a bit of milk or half and half.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350•.

Use butter to grease a . Then spread pudding evenly in dish and bake for 45 mins or until center appears set. Cool for 15 minutes.

Serve with whipped cream and bourbon coffee.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie (aka, the Pie)

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Every year around Christmas time I start getting calls, text messages, emails, veiled hints, and outright demands for this pie.  I ran across the recipe about 20 years ago, and aside from minor variations, its been a staple in my holiday planning every year.  This year, I made 13 of them for friends and family.  One year, my roommate requisitioned my pie (the only one I had kept for myself)  to take to Christmas at his family’s home.  We’re still friends, but I never let him live it down.  (I love his family dearly, so they usually get a pie now regardless.)

The Pie:


9in Pie Crust (I recommend ChefStep’s excellent Pate Brisee recipe if you have the time)

4 large room temperature eggs

1 cup light corn syrup

6 tablespoons butter, melted (but NOT hot)

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons bourbon (I recommend Four Roses Small Batch)

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1 tablespoon

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheated 350 degree oven


Blend eggs in a stand mixer along with corn syrup.  Add ingredients one at a time (in order) until everything but the pecans and chocolate is left.  Batter should be golden and a bit frothy.  In the pie crust, add your chocolate chips and distribute evenly.  Add your pecans on top of the chocolate.  Ladle your batter over the pecans coating them evenly.  Bake for 1 hour.  Turn the pie after the first 30 mins to ensure even baking.  Cool on a wire rack completely.  Enjoy!


The pie will puff up while baking.  It will drop as it cools.

Share this pie at your own risk.  People will expect you to make them one around the holidays. Forever.

If you have an Aldi’s near you, you can make these pies on the cheap.  They have great prices on the sugars, pecans, and chocolate.  Great for making 10+ pies at a time.  Just saying.

Pecan pie slice

The finished product