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February 3, 2010

1 percent inspiration, 99 percent distillation

john reusing himself, IN THE FLESH!In what can only be described as an awesome achievement (if I do say so myself), I swindled Bad Decisions owner John Reusing (pictured) into sharing some of the recipes to his best and worst cocktails. Heeeeere's Johnny:

I've always liked variety.

Generally, I never have the same drink twice in an evening -- much to the annoyance of my bartender. I always am interested in trying that new vodka or the bottle in the back corner of the liquor store I've never seen before.

I don't see the attraction of getting the same drink each time. Naturally, this is why I became interested in mixology.

Finding an interesting liquor or a great mixer is just the beginning of making a great drink. Owning a bar has given me the opportunity to get my hands on some of the more rare ingredients I could never convince other bars to carry ...

Each time I get something new at the bar the first thing I do is taste it and identify the main flavors. Then I add other mixers to bring out specific characteristics in the final drink.

When it works out and all the ingredients complement each other, the final drink is often more then the sum of the parts.  Of course, occasionally, they mix in surprising and horrible ways and I have to mourn the loss of good booze.

Below I will list some of the great drinks I have come up with and a couple of the horrible mistakes. Try any of at your own risk, or come for a visit and see what I can whip up for you:

Good decisions:

Gingerbread Man Martini

I wanted a drink to highlight the strong ginger flavor of Domaine De Conton
1 oz Domain De Canton
1 oz Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
1/2 oz of Stoli Vanillia Vodka
1/2 or Cinnamon infused simple syrup

Shake and strain into a martini glass that has been rimmed with crushed gram cracker


I wanted to make a drink to compliment then sweet, smooth, white grape flavor of Aloe Vera soda
2 oz of Wokka Saki Vodka
Add to cocktail glass and fill with Aloe Vera soda.
Sprinkle top of drink with Wasabi Powder

Pink Coral

This drink is designed to bring out the flavor of fresh strawberries.
Dice fresh strawberries and coat with sugar. Let them sit overnight in the fridge so they can make a syryp.

In a cocktail glass full of ice mix the following:
1 1/2 oz 10 Cane Rum
1 oz Dolin Sweet White Vermouth
Some slices of fresh strawberry
Top off with Soda Water, then add a splash of strawberry syrup.

Bad decisions:

With some regulars, we were trying to invent a drink featuring Drambuie. Unfortunately, several of our original tries were horrible. Here is one that was particularly offensive.

1 oz Drambuie
1 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1 oz Seagrams Gin

Add to cocktail glass full of ice and top with pineapple juice.  Mix and garnish with a cherry.

The next drink was supposed to take the wonderful bitter flavor of a blood orange vodka and make it a bit sweeter and more palatable for the average drinker. The resulting cocktail tasted like really bad cough medicine as the sweet and bitter flavors fought each other for prominence.

1 1/2 oz Charbay Blood Orange Vodka
1 oz Cointreau
1 dash of blood orange bitters
Shake and strain into a martini glass.

Top with a splash of cold champagne and garnish with a slice of fresh orange.

(Photo courtesy of Bad Decisions)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:00 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


How often are these drinks available?

Good to see you've expanded your hold on Baltimore to include author. What's next?

Great post. Bad Decisions is well-known around town as "The Bacon Bar", "The Twitter Bar", "The Foursquare Bar" and "The Roller Derby Bar", but not enough attention is given to John's mixology expertise and knowledge of liquors.

Mad. Freakin. Scientist.

I'm a beer geek but these sound pretty awesome. Heading down now John!

Saki-it-to-me sounds like an awesome compliment , or after dinner drink to sushi!


p.s. Johnny - you look exectly the way i pictured.. (and yes, Sam, i meant it as a good thing) (in reference to a prior Sessa post)

John: "I've always like variety!"

Me: Then never get married!

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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