Sunday, June 23, 2024


I was reading the Wall Street Journal a few years ago and came across a cocktail that seemed destined for this blog:

The Cheap Detective 
(from Michel Dozois of Ray's and Stark Bar, LACMA, L.A.)

2 ounces T. Germain
1 ounce Cynar
3/4 ounce Campari
Grapefruit wedge
Stir with ice and strain into a coupe.
Garnish with a grapefruit wedge

O.K. the drink instructions had me going to the dictionary. I've never tasted cynar or Germain.. and a coupe? well that's the wide mouth champagne glass you see in so many old movies.

So this got me thinking. I've posted many martini and champagne cocktail recipes, mostly at the New Year and on special James Bond posts, but what other 'detective' drinks were out there? Here's a sampling. Be sure and scroll down to the Nick and Nora video!

Black Dahlia Martini at the Gallery Bar
The Black Dahlia is named after Elizabeth Short, the notorious victim who walked out of the Millennium Biltmore and was later found mutilated in Leimert Park. She later became known as the “Black Dahlia,” a derivative of Raymond Chandler’s popular novel, The Blue Dahlia, and the crime became one of the most publicized in the history of the city.

Fill a mixing glass with ice
3 1/2 oz Vanilla Vodka
1/4 oz Black Raspberry Liqueur
1/4 oz Coffee Liqueur
Strain into chilled glass
Garnish with orange

Chandler Cocktail
A Chandler cocktail is a very strong, fruity cocktail that has a mildly sweet taste, followed by a heavily alcoholic finish.

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with crushed ice.
Add lime vodka, mango vodka, orange gin, vanilla schnapps, heavy cream and sweetened lime juice to the cocktail shaker.
Cover the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 10 to 15 seconds. Don't worry about bruising the gin.
Strain the contents of the shaker into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish the finished cocktail with a freshly sliced lemon wheel and serve while ice cold.

The Gimlet (from Hemingway & Bailey's Bartending Guide) 
The Gimlet was first popularized in America when Chandler’s detective Philip Marlowe introduced the cocktail in The Long Goodbye. To quote Chandler: “A real Gimlet is half gin and half Rose’s Lime Juice and nothing else. It beats martinis hollow.”

2 oz. gin
1 oz. Rose’s Lime Juice
Garnish: Lime wedge
Glass: Cocktail or Rocks
Pour gin and lime juice into a mixing glass filled with ice cubes. Stir well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wedge. The Gimlet can also be served on the rocks in an Old-Fashioned glass.
See also: The Rap Sheet: A Gimlet for Mr. Chandler (4/15/09)

Perhaps Nick Charles is the most famous sleuth imbiber of cocktails. The constant drinking of this bantering couple never hampered their investigative skills - quite the opposite, in fact. "Can't you say anything about the case?" a detective asks. "Yes," Nick grumbles. "It's putting me way behind in my drinking." Here are two:

The Bronx Cocktail (Nick and Nora Charles in the Thin Man)
1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz sweet vermouth
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1 oz orange juice
Shake well (to a two-step time, as Nick suggests). Strain and garnish with orange peel. (recipe from Nightcapped)

Knickerbocker from The Thin Man (1934)
50ml gin
Large dash dry vermouth
Small dash sweet vermouth
Add the gin and both vermouths to a mixing glass filled with ice. Once well mixed, strain into a frosted martini glass.

Of course, most detectives just keep a bottle of whiskey in their desk drawer. Not as much fuss. Always available.


KimHaysBern said...

Whoo! I think I'm sticking to my usual wine and beer! I think two of any of those cocktails would put me under the table.

HonoluLou said...

This was too good! And as Nick says a Manhattan you always shake to Foxtrot, and a Dry Martini always shake to Walz-time!