The Periodic Table of Cocktails

The Periodic Table of Cocktails

by Emma Stokes


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The Periodic Table of Cocktails is a fun, concise, and appealingly geeky new concept to cocktail appreciation. The foundation of the book is a periodic table organized by cocktail styles (Martinis and Up, Fruity/Tropical, Highballs/Muddles, Collinses/Fizzes, etc.) and by predominant base alcohols across the chart’s rows (vodka, gin, tequila, etc.). If you like one cocktail in the table, you should enjoy all the cocktails that surround it. The book also offers the background history and make-it-yourself recipe for each of the more than 100 “elements” or cocktails. The book will be published with a companion volume, The Periodic Table of Wine.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781419724077
Publisher: ABRAMS
Publication date: 04/18/2017
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 1,080,365
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Emma Stokes created Gin Monkey, an impartial and independent online guide to good cocktails. She cofounded the London Cocktail Society and runs World Gin Day. She also presents the Gin Lab sessions at the City of London Distillery and has a day job working for the Wellcome Trust, a charity organization.

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The Periodic Table of Cocktails

By Emma Stokes, David Cashion

Abrams Books

Copyright © 2015 Ebury Press
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4197-2407-7


Martinis and Up

The cocktails in the first column of the table that are contained within this chapter can all be classified as martinis or cocktails that are served straight up (i.e., with no ice). They're pretty serious in terms of their booze-heavy makeup, so you won't find any mixers or citrus here (with the exception of the Harvard, which has a dash of soda in it).

As they're mostly classic cocktails from bygone eras, drinking these drinks is akin to leafing through the pages of cocktail history, imbibing its past as you go and following a similar formula: a spirit, sweetener (vermouth, liqueur, or syrup), and a bitter or herbal element, often in the form of cocktail bitters. The cocktails in this chapter are therefore almost exclusively stirred, the exception being the classic Martini, which can be made "Bond style" and shaken if you like, although traditionally would only have been made stirred.

The key to all of them is to use a good-quality base spirit, as this often makes up the majority of the drink.

You also need to make sure that they're well chilled and properly diluted to make the alcohol "sing" — and make them palatably sippable.

They say a classic Martini should be consumed in three or four sips. I can see why: You don't want the drink to sit for too long and warm up to room temperature. However, as I mentioned, these are seriously boozy drinks, which most people (myself included) are likely to take more time over. There's a trick I've picked up from bars along the way, which is handy for drinks like this. Place a small vessel — a mini wine carafe looks the part, but may be difficult to get hold of, so a small bottle will also do — in a glass of crushed ice to keep it cool. Pour half of your cocktail into it and the other half into the glass you're serving the drink in. This has the benefit of keeping half of the drink properly chilled without further diluting it, leaving you all the time in the world to savor your Martini, topping your glass up with the other half when you're done. Clever, eh?

Column 1


The Hanky Panky was created by Ada Coleman at The Savoy Hotel in London. Ada, or "Coley" as she was affectionately known, was the first female head bartender of the American Bar in The Savoy in the early 1900s, at a time when women weren't allowed to drink in the bar. A bit of a rock star of her time, both for the cocktails she created and for leading the way as a woman in a male-dominated industry, it is the Hanky Panky for which she is best known.

Consisting of gin, sweet vermouth, and the Italian amaro Fernet Branca (a bitter aromatic spirit), the Hanky Panky is stirred down over ice, then strained and served straight up.

Created especially for Savoy patron Sir Charles Hawtrey, an English actor, director, producer, and manager, Coley recalled the story behind the cocktail to the newspaper the People in 1925:

The late Charles Hawtrey ... was one of the best judges of cocktails that I knew. Some years ago, when he was overworking, he used to come into the bar and say, "Coley, I am tired. Give me something with a bit of punch in it." It was for him that I spent hours experimenting until I had invented a new cocktail. The next time he came in, told him I had a new drink for him. He sipped it, and, draining the glass, he said, "By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!" And Hanky Panky it has been called ever since.


1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce gin
2 dashes Fernet Branca


Put all the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice. Stir. Strain into a chilled Martini glass or Champagne coupe and garnish with a strip of orange zest.


The Martinez is often touted as the precursor to the Martini. Whereas a Martini these days is made with dry vermouth and gin, the Martinez is a combination of sweet vermouth and gin (with added sweet liqueurs). When you consider that palates and tastes have moved from sweet to dry over the years, you can see why the Martinez is the perfect candidate to be the "father" of the Martini.

Not only is there confusion as to its origins and its link to the classic Martini, so, too, is there confusion as to what exactly should go into a Martinez. Recipes for the cocktail appear in a multitude of classic cocktail books from as far back as 1884, in publications such as O. H. Byron's The Modern Bartender's Guide (currently thought to be the oldest recipe in print), Jerry Thomas's The Bartender's Guide: How to Mix Drinks, or The Bon Vivants Companion, Stuart's Fancy Drinks and How to Mix Them by Thomas Stuart (1896), and Harry Craddock's The Savoy Cocktail Book, among others. Each has a slightly different recipe for the Martinez; some even use dry vermouth rather than sweet. So, which should you make?

The recipe below is the way that I make a Martinez. I identify the cocktail as a sweet-vermouth-led cocktail that's designed to be a sweet cocktail overall.


11/3 ounces sweet vermouth
2/3 ounce gin
1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur
1 teaspoon orange curaçao
1 dash Angostura bitters


Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled Martini glass or Champagne coupe and garnish with a small twist of orange zest.


The Vesper cocktail was immortalized in Ian Fleming's first Bond novel, Casino Royale. It is unique in terms of the cocktails featured in the Bond series in that it was created specifically for the book.

Some attribute the drink to Gilberto Preti, a bartender at Duke's Hotel in London, where Fleming often stayed. However, the dates don't seem to add up: Cocktail historian Ted Haigh has found no record of Preti working behind the bar in London until at least 1960 — well after the book was published. Despite the hazy history of its conception (an unsurprisingly common occurrence in cocktail history), Fleming enjoyed the Vesper so much that he included it in his first James Bond novel, going so far as to specify the exact ingredients, method, and garnish.

A mix of vodka, gin, and the now-discontinued aperitif wine Kina Lillet, the Vesper is shaken, not stirred, as is typical of the fictional British agent when it comes to his martinis. Since 1953, both Kina Lillet and Gordon's have been reformulated: The gin now has a lower proof and the closest Lillet equivalent is less bitter due to a reduced quinine content; therefore perhaps it makes sense to modify the ingredients slightly. You can use Lillet Blanc as the nearest substitute for the Kina, and any classic London dry gin will work in a modern version of the Vesper. It is best served as cold as you can possibly get it, with the lemon twist over the top providing the drink with lift from the citrus oils.


2 ounces gin
2/3 ounce vodka
1/3 ounce Lillet Blanc


Shake all the ingredients with ice in a shaker, and double-strain into a chilled Martini glass, or, as specified in the novel, a goblet or wineglass. Add a lemon twist over the top.


The classic Martini is one of the most iconic and most written-about cocktails in history. A simple double act of spirit and vermouth, this is a drink where the quality of the spirits you use is important, as they really get the opportunity to shine.

Gin or vodka?

The classic Martini is made with gin, which is why Mr. Bond always specifies a "vodka Martini" in his order. Any quality distilled gin will make a great Martini, and with the multitude of gins on the market at the moment, there are endless flavor possibilities, from the more classically styled London dry gins to newer formulations that utilize botanicals such as cucumbers, olives, herbs such as rosemary and thyme, and flowers such as rose, lavender, and honeysuckle. The Martini provides the perfect opportunity for you to play around with your choices of brands and styles, so make the most of it and experiment!


Once you've chosen your gin, it's on to the vermouth. There are many different brands of vermouth, and it's the dry variation you're looking for to make a classic Martini. Some are drier than others; some bring a more floral or fruity flavor to the final cocktail. Trial and error is the best way to decide what to use. If you're looking for somewhere to start, though, you can't go wrong with the extra-dry version from Martini or Noilly Prat.

Wet or dry?

The next decision is whether you want your Martini "dry" or "wet." This relates to the proportion of spirit to vermouth. Trends over the years have seen the Martini become drier and drier (using less and less vermouth); however, a wet Martini can be the perfect introductory Martini, as it reduces the strength of the cocktail (although not the overall alcohol content). The recipe on the opposite page is for a 6:1 Martini, which is a good place to start. Don't be afraid to play around with the proportions until you find your perfect ratio, though.

Shaken or stirred?

Never has a literary reference caused so much confusion as James Bond's order of his vodka Martini "shaken, not stirred." There are a number of points to clarify on this issue.

1) Any Martini can be made shaken OR stirred. Ignore anyone who tells you that shaking a gin Martini "bruises" the spirit; it's a long-standing misconception. Ask yourself how you "bruise" a liquid. A shaken Martini is definitely different from a stirred one, but both are damn tasty drinks.

2) A shaken Martini will be more aerated than a stirred Martini, and will appear cloudy when you first make it.

3) Shaking a Martini will never result in a Martini that is as cold as it's possible to get a stirred Martini.

4) A shaken Martini will (to my mind) need to be double-strained to remove shards of ice from the drink that result from shaking.

5) A stirred Martini gives you more control over the final drink, as you can check the dilution and temperature of the cocktail as you make it, whereas with shaken you have to trust your gut instinct on when to stop shaking and hope for the best — or practice until it becomes second nature.

6) A shaken Martini will be quicker to make than a stirred one, and you never know when this may come in handy!


Finally, you need to decide how to garnish your Martini. Depending on the gin you've used you may want to use citrus, olives, or take inspiration from one of the botanicals in the gin itself. Classically, a gin Martini is served with a lemon twist (as per the recipe below), spritzing the oils from the peel over the top of the drink before dropping it into the liquid. Beware on this point, though: Too often a Martini is ruined with the addition of too much citrus oil from too large a piece of zest. The lemon oils are there to lift and freshen the cocktail, not to result in a drink that tastes of lemon and only lemon. For a standard 2½-ounce Martini, a zest strip just bigger than your thumbnail is more than enough.

Martini variants

There are many different variants of the Martini aside from the gin-to-vermouth ratio. Some of the most common are:

• Dirty Martini-Add a bar spoon (approximately 1 teaspoon) of olive brine to the Martini, and garnish with olives.

• Gibson Martini-Garnish your Martini with cocktail/ silverskin pickled onions.

• Burnt Martini-Rinse your cocktail glass with a smoky whisky before adding your Martini.


1/3 ounce vermouth
2 ounces gin


Fill a mixing glass with ice, add the vermouth, and stir to coat the ice. If at this point you want to make a drier Martini, strain out some of the vermouth and discard it. Add the gin and stir until chilled and diluted-you want to take some of the "edge" off the neat gin. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a strip of lemon zest.


The El Presidente cocktail was conceived during a time when America was going through Prohibition. Thirsty Americans unable to quench their thirst at home sailed to Havana from Florida to partake in a drink or two. Said to be named in honor of General Mario García Menocal y Deop, who later became president of Cuba, it then became the favorite of the country's next president, Gerardo Machado, to whom the drink is often (yet incorrectly) attributed.

It's a cocktail you'll see made a bit differently each time, the main issues being whether to add curaçao alongside the grenadine and the ratios among the ingredients. The recipe below is the one that I prefer, and features slightly less curaçao than is often stated, allowing the rum to shine through alongside the vermouth.


2 ounces rum
1 ounce dry vermouth 1/3 ounce curaçao or triple sec
1 dash grenadine


Fill a mixing glass with ice. Add all the ingredients and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a strip of orange zest.


Rather than choosing a straight Martini twist with tequila, I've taken the opportunity to include a brilliant cocktail created by a relatively new bartender in London. It's a drink I have loved since the first time I sipped it, and one that I order time and time again in the growing number of London bars that choose to list it on their menus. It involves slightly more preparation than a lot of the cocktails listed in this book, and a couple of unusual ingredients, but trust me when I say it's worth the effort.

Created by Nico Piazza, the Lost Steps is a simple mix of just three ingredients, but it is so much more than the sum of its parts. The cardamom cordial helps to soften the tequila, and the Chartreuse Elixir Vegetal (not to be confused with regular green Chartreuse) adds depth and a slightly bitter note. The result is an elegant, very easy-to-drink cocktail, with a unique sweet yet savory flavor that finishes with a distinctive peppery aftertaste. Any well-made, 100 percent agave tequila will work in this drink; however, the original calls for Ocho Blanco, and should you choose to use this particular tequila you'll understand the reason why I'm so smitten by it.


2 ounces Ocho Blanco tequila
1 ounce cardamom cordial (see recipe below)
1 dash Chartreuse Elixir Vegetal

* Being the perfectionist he is, Nico specifies exactly 1/50 oounce; how precise you want to be is completely up to you ...


Fill a mixing glass with ice. Add all the ingredients and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a small disk of lemon zest.

For the cardamom cordial

1/3 ounce green cardamom pods
1 quart water
1 pound sugar
½ ounce citric acid
1 teaspoon tartaric acid


Break the cardamom pods open. Put the water, sugar, and cardamom pods into a saucepan over medium heat, and stir and cook for about 10 minutes to infuse the mixture with the cardamom flavor. Stir in the citric and tartaric acids and strain through a sieve. Store in a bottle and keep refrigerated (the mixture will stay fresh for 2-3 days; longer if you add a dash or two of tequila).


The Harvard cocktail is a tribute to the Manhattan, but features cognac instead of American whiskey. First published in Modern American Drinks by George Kappeler in 1895, it is one of a series of cocktails named after American Ivy League colleges.

Modern Harvards, including the recipe below, tend to be heavier on the cognac than the original; the ratio of cognac to vermouth works on a sliding scale, which is open to interpretation and experimentation to determine your preferred recipe. The addition of soda water is unusual, and marks it as quite different from the Manhattan. While not essential, to be true to the original it should be included.


2 ounces cognac
2/3 ounce sweet vermouth
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
soda water


Fill a mixing glass with ice. Add the cognac, sweet vermouth, and bitters and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with around 3 ounces (a double shot) of soda water and garnish with a strip of orange zest.


The Old-fashioned is a cocktail made by combining sugar, bitters, spirit, and citrus zest. It's one of the best ways to introduce a novice to any spirit's complexity and mixability, as the combination softens the spirit content while allowing its character to shine through. Given the limited ingredients, though, it's important to use a quality spirit as the base.

Some recipes list a maraschino cherry as the garnish; others take it one step further and prescribe muddling the cherry along with an orange wedge in the bottom of the glass before adding the spirit. The classic steers clear of both, and is a better cocktail for it, as the addition of the cherry and/or orange juices from muddling tends to oversweeten the drink.


Excerpted from The Periodic Table of Cocktails by Emma Stokes, David Cashion. Copyright © 2015 Ebury Press. Excerpted by permission of Abrams Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


The Periodic Table of Cocktails, viii,
Introduction, 1,
Martinis and Up, 5,
Daisies, Sours, and Citrus Fresh, 21,
Fruity and tropical, 53,
Highballs, Swizzles, and Muddled!, 63,
Collinses, Spritzes, and Fizzes, 79,
Snappers, 93,
Coconut, Cream, and Egg, 103,
Absinthe, 115,
Beer, 125,
Overproof, 135,
Bartender's Kit, 141,
Glossary, 142,
Further Reading, 144,
Acknowledgments, 145,
Index, 146,

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