Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Golden Dawn Cocktail

Golden Dawn Cocktail

Wake up to a party in a glass

Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer in the US. Here at Kitchen Riffs, it also marks the beginning of our Summer Sippin’ and Snarfin’ Series. More on that in the Notes.

This is the season for celebratory brunches, too: Graduations, weddings, Father’s Day, whatever. And you need something for your thirsty guests to drink—something that can stand up to the robust flavors of brunch dishes.

May we suggest the Golden Dawn Cocktail? It contains orange juice, so it shouts “brunch.” It’s also a tad sweet, which means it will pair well with spicy breakfast sausages, savory omelets, and just about any other brunch food.

Plus, it’s a great looking drink. So you know it will be the life of the party.


Golden Dawn Cocktail

Recipe: The Golden Dawn Cocktail

The Golden Dawn was invented in 1930 by Tom Buttery, head bartender at the Berkeley Hotel in London. It went on to win an international cocktail competition that same year.

Despite its award-winning origins, it’s not a drink you see much these days. Probably because it’s a bit sweet—too sweet for a before-dinner drink, in our view. But it works perfectly with brunch. Or as a dessert drink.

Over time, several versions of this drink have emerged. We prefer the one Ted Haigh details in his Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, and that’s the recipe you’ll find here.

Some versions of this drink leave out Cointreau. Omitting it results in a less sweet drink, but one that’s not as well balanced, in our opinion. So for us, Cointreau is a must.

This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and serves one.

Ingredients
  • ¾ ounce gin (London dry gin; see Notes)
  • ¾ ounce calvados or applejack (see Notes)
  • ¾ ounce apricot brandy (see Notes)
  • ¾ ounce Cointreau
  • ¾ ounce orange juice, preferably fresh-squeezed
  • stemless cherry (for garnish)
  • dashes of grenadine, preferably homemade (optional, but adds nice color)
Procedure
  1. Place all ingredients—except the cherry and grenadine—in a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice. Shake vigorously until well-chilled (20 seconds or so).
  2. Strain the contents of the shaker into a cocktail glass, preferably one that’s been chilled. Drop the cherry into the glass (it’ll nest on the bottom). Add a couple dashes of grenadine—it will flow to the bottom of the glass, enveloping the cherry (see pictures).
Golden Dawn Cocktail

Notes
  • Some recipes suggest adding a dash or two of bitters to this drink. Although not part of the original recipe, it’s a nice addition, and worth experimenting with. We suggest orange bitters.
  • You can use any name-brand London dry gin in this drink. We like Beefeaters in cocktails, but that’s just us. BTW, our usual disclaimer: We’re noncommercial and don’t profit from any brand recommendations we make. We simply specify what we like and buy with our own money.
  • Calvados and applejack are both forms of apple brandy (Calvados is French, applejack is from the US). Either works well in this drink. Applejack is less pricey, so that’s what we recommend.
  • BTW, the only brand of applejack you’re likely to find in the US these days is made by Laird & Company. You’ll often see the 80-proof version. But if you have the opportunity to buy their bonded (100-proof) version, do so—the flavor is superior.
  • True apricot brandy (i.e., brandy distilled from apricot juice) can be hard to find. Most often you’ll see apricot liqueurs or apricot-flavored brandies—but no problem, because that’s actually what you want for this drink.
  • The best of the apricot liqueurs is probably Marie Brizard’s Apry (but it’s not cheap). Much less expensive (and easier to find in the US) is Hiram Walker apricot-flavored brandy. It’s not nearly as good as Apry, but it works OK in this drink. If you find yourself using a lot of apricot brandy, though, you should definitely track down Apry.
  • Real grenadine is made from nothing but pomegranate juice and sugar. The brand of commercial “grenadine” you’re most likely to find at your local supermarket or liquor store (Rose’s) contains no pomegranate, just artificial flavors and coloring. We advise you to stay away from this, and instead make your own Homemade Grenadine. You’ll be happy you did (really—it takes just minutes). 
  • So what’s the Summer Sippin’ and Snarfin’ Series? Well, during most of the year, we publish one cocktail recipe a month (on the first Wednesday). But when summer rolls around, we tend to up our drinks quotient (hey, everyone gets thirsty when the weather is warm). Back when we did two posts a week, we liked to publish a cocktail recipe each week during the summer—that’s how our Summer Sippin’ Series got started. But now that we’re doing only one post a week, we just alternate cocktail recipes with summer-appropriate food dishes (and have renamed the series accordingly). Some weeks we’ll do back-to-back cocktails (we’re posting another one next week, for example).
Golden Dawn Cocktail

Balancing Act

“Winner!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs, taking a sip of her Golden Dawn. “Though normally I don’t like sweet drinks.”

“Agreed,” I said. “I wasn’t sure I’d like Cointreau in this cocktail. But it balances the drink nicely.”

“Yup, you could say Cointreau tipped the balance,” said Mrs K R. 

“So on balance, this version is sweeter,” I said.

“But not cloying,” said Mrs K R. “Because the other flavors keep it from being thrown off balance.”

“Nothing worse than an unbalanced drink,” I said.

“Though when it comes to being unbalanced, we’re experts,” said Mrs K R, hoisting her glass.

I lifted mine for a clink. Didn’t want to leave her hanging in the balance.

You may also enjoy reading about:
Homemade Grenadine
Bellini Cocktail
Mojito Cocktail
Pimm's Cup
Champagne Cocktail
Queen's Park Swizzle Cocktail
Tom Collins
Opera Cocktail
Cocktail Basics
Or check out the index for more

102 comments:

  1. That really IS a good-looking drink - and a good-sounding one, too! All the fruit flavors, plus gin, equals awesome. I love that it looks like a sunset (or sunrise, i suppose).

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    1. Hi Shannon, it's a fun drink. It's sweet, but it works. Sunrises and sunsets looks much the same, don't they? It just depends on which direction you're facing. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  2. Looks like a great cocktail for what you suggest; the ubiquitous Mimosa can get a bit boring and expected...I say give them something unexpected!

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    1. Hi Barb, they definitely won't be expecting this! But they'll be grateful. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Hi John,
    What a great cocktail this is...I love the layers of colors and it must be filled with all of the flavors. A perfect drink for the summer. I agree with Shannon Weber, it looks like the sunset or sunrise...Great job as always..Thanks for sharing your knowledge about these drinks...I never knew so much about drinks from your blog! Have a wonderful week..enjoy
    Dottie :)

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    1. Hi Dottie, this is a fun drink! And really fun to look at. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  4. You made the drink so perfect and did 100% justice to the name of the drink. I simply like to stare at the picture. Beautiful!!!

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    1. Hi Shibi, I had fun taking pictures of this one. ;-) It's really a good drink, too -- loaded with flavor. Thanks for the comment.

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  5. That is just beautiful! I think I will try this :)

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    1. Hi Pat, it's a really fun drink! You have to be in the mood for something sweet, but when you are, this is it. Thanks for the comment.

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  6. HOW ON EARTH do you take such stunningly beautiful photos! Please write a blog post about that?!?!?!

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    1. Hi GiGi, it's practice, practice, practice! Cocktails are hard because there's so much reflection, but also easy because they're so gorgeous. Maybe one of these days I should put together a post about it. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. Oh my goodness, the combination of these ingredients must taste divine! And those pics - *swoon*! Absolutely gorgeous. Fun post :)

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    1. Hi Robyn, this was one of those posts that basically wrote itself! Really a fun subject. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. Such a beautiful drink! It looks like a sunset or sunrise - happiness in a glass. I'm a huge fan of Calvados too!

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    1. Hi Laura, isn't Calvados wonderful stuff? I actually use applejack in this, but Calvados is definitely better. Thanks for the comment.

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  9. This is one beautiful drink! It sounds amazing and I may have to give it a try - but gin is not my favorite. I will look at the grenadine recipe however!

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    1. Hi Tricia, your own grenadine is so worth making! This drink too, but if you don't like gin, perhaps not. Alas. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  10. Wow it is a stunning cocktail. maybe sweet enough for pre dessert ? :-D

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    1. Hi CEE, definitely would work for a pre-dessert treat. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  11. HI John , what a gorgeous drink and as you say just prefect for all the fun things to do . It may be time for me to pitch my tent but I think I will need a canoe , I will sit on the patio , sipping this beautiful cocktails watching the rain . Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Hi Nee, looking forward to you pitching your tent! ;-) And you'd love one of these! Thanks for the comment.

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  12. I just love the layers. Looks like a sunset, which I imagine is the perfect time to enjoy this. Preferably outside in a hammock, too! ;)

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    1. Hi Carolyn, sunset is definitely a better time to enjoy this than sunrise! Unless, of course, one had stayed up all night. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Mmm - just love the look of this - so pretty and love the way it's put together.

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    1. Hi Rachel, it's really a nice drink. Sweeter than I usually like, but it works. Thanks for the comment.

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  14. Gorgeous! Who can resist a layered cocktail??? Not me!

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    1. Hi Liz, me neither! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. I love gin drinks and I'm always a sucker for pretty drinks. They taste better when they look good, right? They say summer is here, but I still haven't even hosed the patio. The rain has taken care of that!

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    1. Hi Abbe, with the rain hosing off the patio for you, you have more time to drink these. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. This cocktail is just gorgeous! I love your photos too, John, great job on everything.

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    1. Hi Nazneen, it's really a pretty -- and tasty! -- drink. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  17. Beautiful drink. Cannot wait to try it and looking forward to the summer sips and snarfs!

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    1. Hi Debra, we love summer sips and snarfs! Our favorite time of the year to post. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. What a pretty drink! :)
    The bar guy saw your gorgeous photos on my computer screen just now and announced that this was to be the cocktail special this evening. Something to brighten up our rather gloomy winter day. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Anna, I trust you'll be getting your cocktails for free after providing that inspiration. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. Hi John,

    This drink is pretty with bright .summer colours... You must be feeling very relaxed sipping this pretty cocktail :D

    Zoe

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    1. Hi Zoe, this is indeed a relaxing cocktail! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  20. This is such a beautiful drink! I love the colors!

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    1. Hi Peachy, this cocktail tastes pretty good, but the colors really are the best thing about it. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  21. good to know that applejack and calvados are pretty much the same, I have a recipe coming up with calvados but I didn't know if there was something similar in the US or somewhere else in the US. btw fell in love with your cocktail, I could need a drink right now. ;)

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    1. Hi Helene, Calvados is better quality, but they're fairly similar in essence. Thanks for the comment.

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  22. Well I can't wait to sniff and snarf with you all summer long (you'll find me sniffin' and snarffin' in the pool. GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, fun hanging out in the pool in the summer, isn't it? We'll be doing some pool-appropriate Tiki drinks later. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  23. What a beauty!! It looks fantastic.

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    1. Hi Pam, it really is a super drink! Thanks for the comment.

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  24. We've been making more cocktails around here as well. I do love a sweeter drink, myself. The colors are very pretty too!

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    1. Hi Barb, if you like sweet, this would definitely work for you! Thanks for the comment.

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  25. Wow, John... that is just stunning! Both the colours in the cocktail and your superb photography! Cin cin.

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    1. Hi Liz, isn't this a great looking drink? Drinks great, too. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  26. Hi John, can't wait for your Summer Sippin’ and Snarfin’ Series. Looks like another great drink, we entertain much more in the summer. Will be using your blog for many great drinks.

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    1. Hi Cheri, summer eating and drinking is so much fun, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.

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  27. This is one gorgeous cocktail! I actually love the dawn, and this seems like it's meant for me! I have never tried this one before. Have to remember to try! I can look at the photos and keeping me calm... I just need that drink. :)

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    1. Hi Nami, I like the dawn too, although I enjoy sleeping in more. ;-) This is a fun drink -- worth trying sometime. Thanks for the comment.

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  28. It would never be too sweet for me. I have a sweet tooth the size of Texas. This cocktail is so pretty to look at but I'd drink it anyway. :)

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    1. Hi Maureen, yup, we drank this after we photographed it! Impossible not to. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. You're right - this is a great looking drink! I love the layers! That's what I love about a Tequila sunrise and this has similar colors :)

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    1. Hi Ashley, the Tequila Sunrise is one of the prettiest drinks out there, isn't it? Although this is awfully pretty too. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  30. awesome beautifull cocktail!!!
    Dedy@Dentist Chef

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    1. Hi Dedy, isn't this pretty? Drinks well, too. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  31. YES, you may suggest this balanced cocktail to this unbalanced person. I am with the rest of the crowd who are enchanted with the visual. Personally I like sweet drinks, but not cloying for sure. Mrs Riff is right---It's a Winner!

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    1. Hi Carol, this is a winner! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  32. This looks really impressive. I've tried to make layered cocktails before and it's definitely an art as I always tend to have a 'bleed' between the two layers. I'll try it again for this one though!

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    1. Hi Felicity, it's really only the garnish -- the cherry -- of this drink that's forming a layer. The little bit of grenadine that's added (maybe 1/4 teaspoon, if that) does flow down to the bottom of the glass (because it's heavier than the other liquid), enveloping the cherry. So it sure does look like a layer -- and technically is, I guess. But a real layered cocktail has multiple layers, each ingredient being distinct. And I agree -- they can be a pain to make! Thanks for the comment.

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  33. That is one gorgeous drink. I'm not usually one to enjoy sweet drinks, but I'd make this one anyhow, just because it's so pretty!

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    1. Hi Beth, we're not big on sweet drinks either, but this one works! Thanks for the comment.

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  34. Ah, I always love your gorgeous cocktails and drinks! This is no exception. It looks gorgeous and so does the picture by the way... ;)

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    1. Hi Simone, isn't this nice? And really tasty. And in another couple of weeks once you're off the Whole 30 you can have one! :D Thanks for that very kind comment.

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  35. Like Mrs KR, I don't normally like sweet drinks. But this is a very pretty drink. I would like to give it a try. We don't have the warm weather down here at the moment but somehow it always seems to be cocktail season xx

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    1. Hi Charlie, it's always cocktail season. ;-) Although I like this drink in warm weather, it actually work any time of the year. Thanks for the comment.

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  36. John, you always take the most amazing photos and love how the liquor and juice have settled into layers against that dark background. I am certain this would be a very tasty drink for any occasion but yes it does sound good with some hearty breakfast fare. Wishing you a super weekend.

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    1. Hi Bam, isn't this a fun drink? I love how it looks! And drinks, of course. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  37. This looks perfect for a boozy brunch! Love it!

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    1. Hi Kristen, it is!;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  38. I love the colors of this drink. Sounds yummy. I could see myself serving this for a brunch.

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    1. Hi Dawn, it's a good drink. And really good for a brunch! Thanks for the comment.

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  39. What a spectacular photo and beautiful drink. Pinned.

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    1. Hi Lea Ann, this is a good one. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  40. Wow this is beautiful. It looks like a sunset. It's sounds yummy although I'm not an expert with drinks but this is one I'd love to try.

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    1. Hi Vicki, it's a pretty drink, isn't it? I think you'd like it -- it's a bit sweet, but in a good way. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  41. This cocktail is STUNNING! Reminds me sunset... I wish to drink it sitting on the beach...

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    1. Hi Marcela, this really is such a pretty drink, isn't it? And I second the beach idea! Thanks for the comment.

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  42. I know where to go when I want a cocktail recipe. I think I will be so ready for summer with this!

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    1. Hi Cathleen, we do have a few cocktail recipes on the blog. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  43. I'm crowning you the Cocktail King! This looks delicious!

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    1. Hi Amy, it is delish! Thanks for the comment (and crowning!).

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  44. This is the perfect brunch cocktail. Daughter Rimmy is getting married at our home this summer, and her future hubby's family is flying in from Chicago. Adam's mom loves a good cocktail. This will impress her future in-laws for sure! Thanks!

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    1. Hi Kristi, this would be wonderful for a celebratory brunch cocktail! Really has nice flavor and it goes really well with brunch stuff. Enjoy! Thanks for the comment.

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  45. Golden Dawn Cocktail? What a beautiful name for a beautiful drink! It's amazing, love all those layers!

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    1. Hi Chris, it's a fun drink! And tasty -- the best kind. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  46. I love the colours of this, great to enjoy in the evening (rather than dawn as the name suggests!)

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    1. Hi Caroline, although this is a great brunch cocktail, it's delectable in the evening, too. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  47. Alesah would love this, she prefers some sweetness to a cocktail! Love the layers of colours here. Spicy sausage platter plus this cocktail would be really awesome. Cheers!!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

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    1. Hi Julie & Alesah, the sweetness of this drink really, really goes well with spicy! Such a great combo. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  48. I want to be invited to brunch where this is being served! I actually have some apricot liqueur in the liquor cabinet right now. Your notes got me curious, so I check the label. Happy to see it is made from apricot juice and eau de vie. I'm all set!

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    1. Hi Lisa, you're definitely all set! Enjoy. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  49. Yes, this is a winner cocktail...especially that contains gin...one of my favorite liquor...beautiful!
    Have a great day John :)

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    1. Hi Juliana, gin is one of our favorite spirits, too. As you can probably tell -- we use it in a lot of cocktails! Thanks for the comment.

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  50. Love all that colorful layers

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    1. Hi Raymund, isn't this pretty? Tasty, too. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  51. This is a beautiful looking cocktail! Great recipe and amazing pictures :)

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    1. Hi Dana, this really is a wonderful drink! Such lovely flavor. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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