I am enjoying my cocktail. A lot. I think I am going to call it the Vernal Equinox. The pic is an old one; I've been working on this cocktail for a while. Tonight it is Petruchi Spanish Vermouth in place of Dolin and Cocchi, and really, using Calvados instead of Laird's Bottled in Bond is a BIG difference:
1.5 oz. Busnell Vieille Réserve
1.25 oz Petrucchi Sweet Vermouth
0.25 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
one barspoon 1:1 simple
Yup, no juice. Like I said, last time I've had it there (couple months) I actually asked the bartender (Mario Kappes) whether they use juice -- he declined. A couple weeks ago I've read a blog post from Jeffrey Morgenthaler about his visit at Le Lion, back in 2008, where he had the Blood & Sand, made by Mario Kappes, with OJ. So yeah, a little weird, and I agree with you that the lack of OJ makes it a different drink, since it's a classic cocktail. Jeffrey Morgenthaler's Amaretto Sour on the other hand, that includes bourbon, which many people find offending and think shouldn't be called an Amaretto Sour anymore, is legit imo, and I enjoy the SmallScreenNetwork video he released about it (and the people's rants).
Pegu Club. I like it quite a bit.
I think the Pegu Club is a great, great cocktail. I'm glad that you enjoy it.
I read Morgenthaler's post about the Blood and Sand, too. I am totally perplexed, so I look forward to when you return home and to Le Lion so that we can gain a better understanding. I also don't have any particular rancor about Morgenthaler's Amaretto Sour; his alteration doesn't alter the fundamental nature of the drink. I think mine is better, but that's just preference. I note in his video that he thought it would be great with George T. Stagg (and its astonishingly high proof), so I will try that sometime since I have a bottle of Stagg and it will only take a little bit.
None of the major brands are better than Canada Dry; if you see a small brand, try it. I think that's the best we can do unless you have a list of what your grocery stores carry. Some stores have a few more cocktailian ingredients wherever they have the sour mix. That's how I first discovered Fever Tree.
Huntsman, I had a friend over who wanted to taste test some everyday drinks, so it was the 1990 Tesseron and the young Fillioux. The Fillioux was great, the Tesseron did not offer much interest. I have ordered a bottle of Camus VSOP to compare as well.
The 53 is well reviewed, but I have nt had it.
Excellent. That's nice; my life is such that most of my friends are far from where I live, so I can't share my bar with them; my local friends aren't into spirits (except my boss, and that's a whole different ballgame), so I don't really get to share my bar with anyone but my father and gf. It's a little sad for me.