The Kingston Club

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One advantage I have in my career – and believe me, I thank my lucky stars every day for my good fortune in this regard – is that I travel a lot. And when I do travel, I get to visit the greatest bars in the world and spend time picking the brains of the world’s greatest bartenders.

The most recent drink to grace our cocktail list is the result of my travels.

Taking inspiration from many sources, my initial interest in bitter, sour and sweet with a distinctly tropical bent was taken directly from the ever-brilliant Giuseppe Gonzalez and his now-famous Trinidad Sour.

While I, and the rest of the world, was taken by the combination of bitter, herbal, sweet flavors, it never really struck me as a an extensible sort of drink style until I came across Andrew Bohrer’s amaro-based Mai Tai variation called the “Elena’s Virtue”. Now here was a drink with legs, and a hint of what was to come in the world of cocktails, in my humble opinion.

But what New York and Seattle do well, San Francisco often does better, and usually with a lot more Fernet Branca, and that’s the conversation I had with Josh Harris while competing in the Domaine de Canton finals in St. Maarten this spring. And after tasting his simple concoction of ginger liqueur, pineapple and Fernet Branca I knew it was time for me to get my feet wet and try my hand at the herbal tropical sour.

The result has been a smash hit at the bar, as it very much follows in the style of our restaurant bar, a reflection of the crafted European style of cooking that emerges from the kitchen on a nightly basis. In other words, earthy, sour, herbal flavors do very, very well where we work.

Put all of this together, throw in a desire to explore the dusty, neglected bottle of Drambuie, and an early morning racking one’s brain to come up with a drink name (the original intent was Brixton Club) and a star was born:

Kingston Club Print Me

  • 1½ oz Drambuie
  • 1½ oz pineapple juice
  • ¾ oz lime juice
  • 1 tsp Fernet Branca
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  1. Shake ingredients with ice and finish with 1 oz soda water. Strain mix over fresh ice into a chilled collins glass and garnish with an orange twist.

Recipe printed courtesy of jeffreymorgenthaler.com

24 Replies to “The Kingston Club”

  • Rick D says:

    A tasty, complex drink with ingredients that I don’t have to go to a specialty store in Nepal for. Nice work, Jeffrey!

  • Rocky says:

    Have you tried the Damon Boelte’s Alpine Sour?

  • AJR says:

    This looks great Jeffrey. Can’t wait to try this out in our bar. Cheers from a fan in DC!

  • venice blue says:

    Gotta try this one- looks delicious!

    After a long night in trenches, my comrades and I mix up a batch of fernet, fresh lemon and simple syrup- with tiniest bit of canton in there- shaken hard, then strained. Serve it with a twist of orange if you have any left- lol!
    We always called it the San Francisco treat… Makes your feet stop aching almost instantly ; )

    I am an avid lurked- absolutely love your stuff.

  • Sarah says:

    A fellow bartender once told me that heavily bitter and sour cocktails intrigue him because by the end of the night they’re all he can taste well enough to appreciate. 🙂

  • Tiare says:

    This is right up my alley is all i say. I`m gonna try it. Thanks! i`m drooling already..

  • Jaded says:

    Is there a published recipe for Elena’s Virtue?

  • Adam says:

    Looks great Jeffrey cant wait to try it.

  • Sounds and looks god J. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to trying one. Or more 🙂

  • Jon Santer says:

    Who’s taking your photos these days? Good looking bro.

  • Thanks, Jonny! All photos taken by myself. Jeffrey Morgenthaler, 2011.

  • Rowen says:

    Man, I loved this when I had it at the restaurant. Favorite on the list.

  • I’ll definitely try and offer to my customers the first week of October, when my crusade for clarito ends.
    You know that Argentines are lovers of Fernet Branca.
    And I relly like this kind of drink.

    Thanks for always bringing us delicious cocktails.

    Best Regards from the far South

    Fede Cuco

  • Adrian Zywno says:

    Sounds Great! Am I picking up any reference to The Clash from its name, and the discarded one alike?

  • Matthias Galvin says:

    Jeff,

    Nice cocktail. It will certainly go into my summer repertoire (and maybe an upcoming night when I crank the heat too high).

    Just one question: Because it’s damn near impossible to squeeze your own pineapple juice, what would you recommend for it? I’d used old Dole pineapple juice on times I’ve made a Singapore Sling, but I find the proportion usually needs to be halved, otherwise the drink comes out too sweet.

    What’s your pineapple drink of choice?

  • Nicie Nice says:

    The Kingston Rum Punch at Rum Bar @ The Breadfruit. The key here is hand-squeezed pineapple juice. Rum Bar isn’t about expediency, it’s about experience.

    Ingredients:
    1 oz. Wray & Nephew White Over-proof Rum
    1 ½ oz. Fresh Squeezed Orange juice
    1 ½ oz. hand squeezed Pineapple juice
    ½ oz. lime juice
    ½ oz. homemade grenadine (pomegranate juice, simple syrup and turbinado sugar)
    ¼ oz. passion fruit
    Float of Meyers Original Dark Rum

    Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Punch the air with love and pour results into high ball glass. Top off with Meyers Dark as a floater to finish. Garnish glass with a fresh slice of pineapple.

    http://www.thebreadfruit.com

  • Barguy says:

    When I first saw the list of ingredients, I remarked: Drambuie & pineapple juice do not belong in the same mixing glass.

    I was wrong….

    It took a few sips to decide if I liked this cocktail. It starts off in one direction & ends up somewhere completely unexpected.

    I’ve made this drink for a lot of customers & everyone wants another.

    Good show Morgenthaler!

  • Nate says:

    Served this last night and everyone who tried it was immensely impressed. I think the ingredients seem a little unfamiliar or daunting to many, but the adventurous were definitely rewarded. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Claire says:

    I know you probably hear stories like this all the time but I had to tell you, you’re basically dictating cocktail trends for my entire city (Perth, Australia). Not only has one of the best bars recently added this to their list, but they and two others now have a barrel-aged program going. If you ever make your way here you might find yourself getting severely paparazzi’ed!

  • Malin Nevins says:

    Well done! After a long night of entertaining strangers in my home, I had a few friends stop by and mixed this for them. There were so many layers to this cocktail, it helped wash away an evening of forced conversation, ending a challenging day on a very happy note. Thank you!

  • Chris Breslin says:

    Guess I’m a little late to the game but just tried the Kingston Club last night. Absolutely delicious Mr. Morgenthaler! I tried to resist the urge to tinker with this masterpiece, but my curiousity got the best of me. Not sure if you tried this when creating the kingston Club, but i added a teaspoon of Maraschino Liqueur. Being as assertive as it is, i brought it down to half a teaspoon and found that to be perfect. I think it takes the drink to another level; making it slightly more tropical. No insult was intended as the drink is perfect your way; i just have a hard time leaving well enough alone!!

  • Andres says:

    I try it with Amargo Obrero(an Argentinian bitter) and its taste really good! also with fernet branca! im offering to my customers at the bar! well done!
    cheers bro! for more cocktails
    also this cocktail give me inspiration for my bacardi legacy cocktail competition, trying new tastes..salud!

  • Patrick says:

    Amazing!Jeffrey, I am a bartender in China, do you mind if i translate your words and recipe into chinese and post online so that chinese bartenders can have a chance to embrace this beautiful drink?

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