Happy National Margarita Day

Margarita Day

Yes, I know this is a Martini blog, but who says you can’t celebrate National Margarita day with a Martini?   LOL

Have a great and safe holiday with whatever libation you choose.


VJOP Gin??? Absolutely!!


While at my favorite watering hole recently, I noticed that they had a ‘new’ Gin on the shelf:  Sipsmith VJOP.  I thought I would have a go and I’m very glad I did.  This Gin is excellent!

So what does VJOP mean?  Well, I’ll break it down starting with “VJ” or Very Junipery!  Emphasis on VERY.   There are other flavors that surround and compliment the Juniper, but there’s no mistaking what the headliner is here.

With so many craft Gins popping up these days it seems that often the Juniper gets lost as Gin distillers rush to add more exotic and unusual flavors to their Gins.  I can just picture the distiller looking over his/her most recent creation, checking off the ingredients . “Yes, there’s the pomegranate, the cinnamon, the radish, the bat’s wing, the newt’s eye, …. what is missing?  OH!  Right this is supposed to be gin!”   Then he/she gets one juniper berry and throws it in the 100 gallon vat.

Not this VJOP!  I believe that on the receiving dock at Sipsmith you’ll find someone dragging in a whole Juniper tree; berry, bark, stem, and pins.  They just throw it in the vat and then toss a couple of other flavors in to smooth out the Juniper.

So if you’re like me and enjoy that pine forest scent and flavor of Juniper, this is a Gin you have to try.  Personally I had it as a very dry Martini but I really think it will be great as a G&T with the Juniper complimenting the tonic.  I’ll be trying that soon.

Oh, the OP?  Over Proof!  As in 57.7 ABV!  A couple of VJOP Martinis and you’d better have a designated driver available.  Or Uber it.  This is one potent Gin.

Random Martini Quote of the Day


“There is no sugar in a martini; no egg whites, no black and white rums, no shaved almonds, no fruit juice, no chocolate, and no spices…. It is a clear, clean, cold, pure, honest drink …”
Donald G. Smith, Wall Street Journal


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Bar Review: The Cat and the Custard Cup, La Habra, CA

“The Cat” as locals call it, is a hidden gem in this quite bedroom community in North Orange County.  It has been here hidden in the hills since 1979, but its root go back even further.  It is part of the family run and operated El Cholo chain which was founded in 1923.  But this is not your typical Mexican restaurant, or even your atypical one.

The structure and interior are English Tudor style with lots of dark wood trim and beams, and a huge Kitchen Hearth in the middle of the restaurant, though it didn’t look like they used it very often.  But there are also Southwest elements to the decor.  The menu is typical Cal-continental with a few unusual items such as Red Deer.

I stopped in the other day on my travels to try out their Martini.  It was excellent.  The stems are pre-chilled in a dedicated cooler which is always a pleasant sign for me.  Their Martini was stirred, not shaken as is my preference but it was served quite cold.  It was amply and promptly served by a very attentive barkeep.

I also observed something novel, at least to me.  If the stem out of  their cooler is not ‘cold enough’ they keep a basin of chipped ice in a drawer in a freezer just for chilling the stem.  They do not use this ice for mixing drinks as there is another larger basin of cubed ice for that.  The simple fact that they keep a separate container of cold chip ice for chilling your Martini glass is a great idea and contributes to their rating of two stems:  Martini Glass Upright Martini Glass Upright

For selection The Cat gets a “B+”.
Their selection includes the “Big Five” as I now call them:   Bombay, Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray, Tanqueray Ten, and Hendrick’s.  Not necessarily because these are the best 5 gins, but because they are ubiquitous.   Additionally The Cat stocks Oxley, Leopold, Hayman’s Old Tom, and Beefeater.


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*****   Rating Definitions   ****

Random Martini Quote of the Day

George Burns

“I love to sing, and I love to drink scotch.  Most people would rather hear me drink scotch.”
George Burns


If you haven’t check out our “Martini Quotes” page in a while you’ll be pleasantly surprised by some new additions.

Also, If you like these posts and want to be notified by email when they come in, please subscribe to the blog…. over on the left column.     😉

Expanded List of Botanical Elements


I received an comment from a newer reader complimenting me on my page “Botanical Elements of Gin“.  Then she asked if I knew of a resource for ingredients in specific gins.  I don’t have such a resource but it got me thinking.

So I started doing some very exhausting and time consuming research and came up with a few examples.  (Ok, I picked up a few bottles and read the ingredients.)

In any case, I’ve listed the ingredients in several popular gins in the same page noted above.  If you haven’t checked it out in the past, follow the link above and take a look.  Here’s an example of what you’ll find:

Bombay Sapphire:  Juniper Berries, Lemon Peel, Coriander, Angelica, Orris, Grains of Paradise, Cubeb Berries, Cassia Bark, Almonds, & Liquorice.
Bombay Sapphire East adds Lemongrass & Black Pepper to the above list.