Bloody Mary - Cocktail #8

"Breakfast of Champions (Bloody Mary)", oil on panel, 15in. x 10in. SOLD

Birth date: 1920’s or 1930’s

Origin: Debated between Fernand Petiot (bartender - Harry’s New York Bar in Paris) or George Jessel (comedian – Club 21 in New York City)

The Bloody Mary, with its grocery list of ingredients, is one of the most complex cocktails. There are so many variations on the recipe, that in my opinion, the Bloody Mary appeals most to creative types. I have one friend that substitutes pickle juice for the lemon juice and another that uses Sriracha sauce instead of Tabasco. When I want a little kick, I replace the tomato juice with V8 “Hot and Spicy.” A few other suggestions are beef bouillon, horseradish, oyster sauce, oregano, coriander, soy sauce, bacon, and even beer. So what’s in your Bloody Mary?

Fernand Petiot - Bloody Mary creator
  • 2 ½ oz. Vodka
  • 5 oz. tomato juice
  • ½ oz. lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch celery salt
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 Lemon (or Lime) wedge
  • 1 pickle spear
  • 3 olives
In a shaker half filled with ice cubes, combine vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, pepper, salt, celery salt, Worcestershire, and Tabasco. Shake Well. Strain into a highball glass almost filled with ice cubes. Garnish with celery stalk, lemon wedge, pickle spear, and olives.

Martini - Cocktail #7

Shaken not Stirred, oil on panel, 15 in. x 10 in. SOLD

Birth date: Mid to Late 1800’s

Origin: Unknown

One of the simplest of all cocktails, the Martini will always carry an air of danger, mystery, and sophistication thanks to fictional British Secret Service agent 007, James Bond. My introduction to James Bond was through actor Roger Moore and my first Martini was mixed by artists Amanda Freymann and Joel DeGrand in their Beverly Shores home. I don’t know if it was the martinis or driving through Beverly Shores at night, but my wife and I got lost for an hour. We were fortunate that Amanda and Joel weren’t looking out their windows, because they would have seen us pass their home about four or five times in different directions.

  • 2 oz. Gin (substitute Vodka for a classic “Bond” martini)
  • 1 dash of dry vermouth
  • Olives or Lemon Twist
In a mixing glass or shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the Gin and Vermouth. Stir or shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the olives or lemon twist.

Mint Julep - Cocktail #6

Mint Julep, oil on panel, 15 in. x 10 in. SOLD

Birth date: Eighteenth Century

Origin: Southern United States

The Mint Julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, and according to their website, almost 120,000 mint juleps are served every year over the two day event. Kentuckians hold to the belief that if a Mint Julep is made correctly, you can hear angels sing. Actually the angels perform beautiful covers of Bill Monroe songs. Well at least they did when I had my Mint Julep.

*Special thanks to Laura for noticing that the top part of the shadow behind the glass slightly resembles a silhouette of a jockey riding a horse. It was completely unintentional and for want of a better term let's just call it a "happy accident."

  • 3 oz. Bourbon Whiskey
  • 4 to 6 sprigs of mint
  • 2 sugar cubes

Put mint, sugar, and a small amount of Bourbon into the bottom of a mixing glass. Gently muddle the mint and sugar, then let stand for a bit to allow the muddled leaves to release their flavor. Stain and pour into a julep cup (or a highball glass), rotating to coat the sides. Fill with crushed ice, and then add the rest of the Bourbon Whiskey. Garnish with a lightly slapped small mint sprig.

Long Island Iced Tea - Cocktail #5

Long Island Iced Tea, oil on panel, 15 in. x 10 in., SOLD

Birth date: 1972

Origin: Robert “Rosebud” Butt (Oak Beach Inn, Long Island, NY)

Gary Regan, author of The Bartender’s Bible, instructs the drinker of the Long Island Iced Tea to “Sip this drink over a long period of time - two days isn't out of the question.” While mixing one up to paint I had a few sips and thought, "How in the hell do four different shots of alcohol, lemon juice, sugar, and cola combine to make a dead on match to slightly sweetened iced tea? Who is the genius that invented this? Why did I decide to drink one before painting? What day is it? Whew!

Bob Butt - Inventor of the Long Island Iced Tea

  • 1 oz. Vodka
  • 1 oz. Gin
  • 1 oz. Light Rum
  • 1 oz. Tequila
  • 1 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Superfine Sugar
  • 4 oz. Cola
  • Lemon Slice
  • Cocktail Umbrella (optional)
In a shaker half filled with ice cubes, combine the vodka, gin, rum, tequila, lemon juice, and sugar. Shake well and strain into a Collins glass almost filled with ice cubes. Add the cola and stir well. Garnish with lemon slice and cocktail umbrella if you’re feeling frisky.

White Russian - Cocktail #4

White Russian (homage a Lebowski), oil on panel, 15 in. x 10 in.   SOLD

Birth date: 1965

Origin: Unknown

In the summer of 2000, Laura and I made an impossible cultural leap by leaving New York City and moving to a blueberry farm in Northwest Indiana. The “off the grid” environment incubated one of our most creatively prolific periods. When the nights got cooler we’d mix up White Russians and burn old drawings in a large fire pit outside our back door. We were simply two people, newly in love, all alone, discovering one another. To this day, whenever I have a White Russian the images of those nights flood back to me and make me smile.

Laura watching the sunset and enjoying a White Russian (August 2000)

  • 1 ½ oz. Vodka
  • 1 oz. Kahlua coffee liqueur
  • 1 oz. cream
In a shaker half filled with ice cubes, combine the vodka and Kahlua. Shake well and strain into an old-fashioned glass almost filled with ice cubes. Layer the cream into the glass by pouring over the back of a bar spoon.

Manhattan - Cocktail #3

Manhattan, oil on panel, 15in. x 10in.  SOLD
Birth date: Early 1870's

Origin: Manhattan Club, New York City

The Manhattan, the "King of Cocktails", is an undisputed heavyweight champion of the cocktail world. Don't be frightened, this drink is a smooth and polished blend of wonderful. I mixed this Manhattan using Widow Jane Rye Whiskey, produced at Cacao Prieto in Red Hook, Brooklyn. This whiskey is dear to me because Layton Cutler, my brother, is the distiller there. The Manhattan comes in three traditional variations, the "original", the "dry," and the "perfect."

Recipe (Original Manhattan):
  • 2 oz. Rye or Canadian Whiskey
  • 1 oz. Sweet Vermouth*
  • 1 dash of Bitters
  • 1 Maraschino Cherry
In a mixing glass half filled with ice cubes, combine the whiskey, vermouth, and bitters. Stir well and strain into a cocktail or old-fashioned glass. Garnish with the maraschino cherry.

*For a Dry Manhattan substitute 1 oz. of dry vermouth for the sweet vermouth, and for a Perfect Manhattan use ½ oz. of dry vermouth and ½ oz. of sweet vermouth.

Layton (my brother) distilling at Cacao Prieto

Margarita - Cocktail #2

Margarita, oil on panel, 15 in. x 10 in.  SOLD

Birth date:  Late 1930’s – Early 1940’s

Origin:  Unknown

The Margarita was the drink of choice for Beat Generation icon, Jack Kerouac. A literary cult hero, he authored On the Road, a book that changed, shaped, and gave voice to a whole generation. Mr. Kerouac's favorite drinking hole in New York City was the White Horse Tavern. He was bounced from the place so often that they scrawled above the urinals “Jack, Go Home!" The tavern still operates at Hudson and 11th Street.

Jack Kerouac with pipe and cocktail

"My fault, my faliure, is not the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them."
                 -Jack Kerouac
White Horse Tavern, NYC (today)

  • 2 oz. - Tequila
  • 1 oz. - Triple Sec (Cointreau)
  • 1 ½ oz. - Lime Juice
  • Lime Wedge
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a salt-rimmed margarita glass. Garnish with the lime wedge.