Originally Published Oct 9, 2012

After following this blog for the past year, you probably have picked up that we are supposed to drink seasonally. In my mind that sounds better on paper than in actual execution since I am the guy that loves drinking Corpse Reviver #2 in the dead of winter. After getting dirty looks by the local bartenders, I finally decided to venture out of my comfort zone. Before we ease our way into Fall, let’s run through my final power rankings for Summer time drinking.

  1. Corpse Reviver #2

  2. Sloe Gin Fizz

  3. Last Word

  4. Gin & Monks

  5. Champs Elysees

  6. Mezcal Last Word

  7. Chartreuse Swizzle

  8. Victorian Lace

There is one stranger hiding in that list above and it goes by the name of the Sloe Gin Fizz. Honestly, I stumbled on this drink about four weeks ago out of necessity. I was sitting at home in 112 degree weather with no gin, except for Sloe gin. I suppose the details on this drink will be saved for spring or summer. Having this drink sit this high on my summer list should tell you that it is nothing to be sneezed at. 

Similar to re-discovering the Sloe Gin Fizz, I used the same approach to find today’s featured fall drink: The McClelland Cocktail. My initial search included AppleJack liquor but unfortunately the Jack Rose was not ‘fall’ enough and the Un-Pink Lady Cocktail (using pomegranate molasses) fell a bit flat. I was oddly gravitating back to Sloe Gin due to the reddish foliage color that it exudes. Honestly, I know very little about this drink and cannot even link to a Hess video regarding it. 

McClelland Cocktail

1 ¾ oz Plymouth Sloe Gin

¾ oz Ferrand Dry Curacao

2 dashes of orange bitters

Combine the ingredients in a shaker then add ice. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Basic googling will tell you to garnish with an orange peel. 

When purchasing Sloe Gin, shoot for finding Plymouth Sloe Gin because the others are really bad copies. In California, Plymouth Sloe Gin is actually very tough to find as opposed to Chicago where it seems that virtually every Binny’s has it in stock. Lastly, if you do not have Dry Curacao do not even bother with normal orange curacao because the outcome will be overly sweet. 

This is an extremely tart drink and might be a tad bit too sweet for some. With that said, there are a few other rifts to this drink to run by your neighborhood bartender to confirm. For my Chicago friends, substitute the Sloe Gin with North Shore Distillery Limited Release Eldergin Liqueur. (shame on you for thinking that this would be the first blog post to not mention North Shore) Be warned that the Sloe Gin allows some room for error with adding too much orange bitters. Eldergin is somewhat similar in taste or maybe it would be better to say that it is related to Sloe Gin but it is definitely not as forgiving as Sloe. It would be smart to knock the orange bitters down from two dashes to one dash. If the Eldergin version of this drink is still too odd, try adding one to two ounces of club soda build in some ice cubes and stir in the club soda. 

To recap the ElderGin McClelland Cocktail:

1 ¾ oz NorthShore ElderGin

¾ oz Ferrand Dry Curacao

1 dash of orange bitters.

Combine the ingredients in a shaker then add ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass. Pour in 1-2 oz of club soda and fill with ice. Stir the drink and serve with that orange peel for a garnish. 

Keep in mind that not all tonic or club soda is created equal with my preference being Q Club.

Welcome to Fall, hopefully you give this oddly named cocktail a shot. Since moving to Cali, I am running blind here with very little access to the caliber of bartenders that I had in Chicago. So if you are sitting in Chicago, visit Sepia & Barrellhouse Flat & The Whistler & Au Cheval & Maudes & South Water Kitchen & The Drawing Room and promise me to never take them for granted. For anyone reading this in the San Fernando Valley….holla back and explain to me why decent club soda is difficult to find and why everyone looks at me like I am a leper when asking for Green Chartreuse.