Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Bronx Cocktail

The Bronx Cocktail


Named after the Bronx Zoo, this charmer will bring out the beast in you

Spring is here, and we’re looking for a refreshing thirst-quencher. You know, something to restore us after a day of planting seeds and annuals.

What could be better than an OJ-tinged elixir? This one has soothing flavor – plus a hue that reminds us of the springtime sun.

The Bronx Cocktail is a smooth one. And not too heavy, so you can have two if you want. After all that planting, you deserve it.



The Bronx Cocktail

Recipe: The Bronx Cocktail

The Bronx blends gin, dry vermouth, sweet vermouth, and orange juice into a satisfying tipple. It’s very similar to The Income Tax Cocktail. In fact, the main difference is that the Income Tax contains bitters, while the Bronx does not.

In addition, the Bronx contains more vermouth, at least as it’s made these days. Originally the drink had just a bit of both sweet and dry vermouth (that’s what the recipe in The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book specifies). Most people today add more vermouth, and our recipe reflects that.

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

Ingredients
  • 1½ ounces dry gin (most gins are dry; see Notes)
  • ¾ ounce dry vermouth (white French vermouth)
  • ¾ ounce sweet vermouth (red Italian vermouth)
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed orange juice (you may prefer 1 ounce; see Notes)
  • garnish of orange twist or slice (optional)
Procedure
  1. Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice. Shake hard for about 20 seconds, until the contents are nicely chilled.
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass (preferably one that’s been chilled). Garnish, if you like, and serve.
The Bronx Cocktail

Notes
  • Like the Income Tax Cocktail, the original Bronx Cocktail called for no more than ¼ ounce each of dry and sweet vermouth. Most people today think that’s just not enough, so ¾ ounce of each has become the standard. But if you’re not a vermouth lover, reduce the amount to your taste.
  • We prefer ¾ ounce of OJ in this drink, but some people like to increase the amount to 1 ounce. Your choice.
  • BTW, do try to use freshly squeezed OJ. Bottled certainly works, but freshly squeezed has a brightness of flavor that makes the cocktail smile.
  • Why shake this drink? Because it contains an opaque ingredient (the orange juice) that’s most easily combined when shaken. 
  • Shaking forms oxygen bubbles, which can give drinks a cloudy appearance. So when all the ingredients are clear, most bartenders stir to avoid that. But with opaque ingredients like citrus juice, that’s not a problem. So shake away.
  • When a cocktail recipe specifies gin, it’s usually understood to mean dry gin. “London” dry gin is the most common style (it originally was distilled in London), but there are other styles of dry gin that are fairly similar (Plymouth gin, for example). Don’t stress about whether a particular gin is London dry. Just buy a decent dry gin with a name label (not generic gin -- you know, the kind with “gin” in big black letters on a white background).
  • If a recipe requires a gin that’s not dry, it will normally specify what you should use. Not-dry gins include Dutch or Belgian gin (sometimes called jenever or genever) and Old Tom gin (which has a sweet taste).
  • Like The Hearn's Cocktail, The Bronx was developed at the original Waldorf Hotel in New York. 
  • The Waldorf Astoria is a well-known luxury hotel on Park Avenue in midtown Manhattan. The current hotel is a second iteration. The original was actually two different hotels (the Waldorf and the Astoria) that were built side-by-side on Fifth Avenue at 33rd Street. The hotels merged in 1897, but were demolished in 1929 for construction of the Empire State Building, which now stands on the site. That’s when the hotel moved to its current location on Park Avenue.
  • According to The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book, The Bronx Cocktail was invented by bartender Johnnie Solon (or Solan). As the story goes, the head waiter of the Empire Room (the main dining room at the original Waldorf) challenged Solon to make a new drink. Solon accepted the challenge, and mixed up the first Bronx. The head waiter (whose name was Traverson) thought the drink tasted wonderful, and predicted it would become extremely popular. Which indeed it did. 
  • When asked about the name, Solon said it wasn’t named after the borough of Bronx or the Bronx River. Instead, he noted that he had visited the Bronx Zoo a day or two before he invented the drink, “and saw, of course, a lot of beasts I had never known. Customers used to tell me of the strange animals they saw after a lot of mixed drinks. So when Traverson [asked me what to call the drink] I thought of those animals and [named it the Bronx].”
  • The Bronx Zoo is located in the Bronx borough of New York City (the borough just to the north of Manhattan). 
  • The Bronx is also home to Yankee Stadium, where the New York Yankees baseball team plays. Over the years, a variety of animals have played for the Yankees (or at least that’s what Boston Red Sox fans claim).
The Bronx Cocktail

Play Ball!

“Swell drink,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “And appropriate for the beginning of baseball season.”

“You’re thinking of the Bronx Bombers?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Mrs K R. “I’m not a fan of the Yankees, but they do have a storied history.”

“And their fans have a storied history of raucous behavior,” I said. “Always willing to let the players — and the umpires — know what’s on their minds.”

“Speaking of which,” said Mrs K R, “this is political season too! I might be tempted to let some of the candidates know what’s on my mind.”

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” I said.

“Yup,” said Mrs K R. “Definitely time to practice our Bronx cheer.”

You may also enjoy reading about:
The Income Tax Cocktail
The Hearn's Cocktail
Manhattan Cocktail
Algonquin Cocktail
Monkey Gland Cocktail
Jack Rose Cocktail
Delmonico Cocktail
Cocktail Basics
Or check out the index for more

100 comments:

  1. I had no idea the Bronx Cocktail was named after the Bronx Zoo, John. As you have mentioned previously, detecting how some drinks get their names can sometimes be rather confusing. Love the back story on this one.

    I actually could have used this drink the other night. It got so cold here and although I was feeling a bit under the weather, I found myself worrying about some of the plants that started blooming in the garden. I ran outside and covered whatever I could in hope of saving them. When I finally made it back in the house, I poured myself some OJ thinking Vitamin C was what I needed. The Bronx Cocktail is what I needed!!! (the cherry tree blossoms didn't make it:(

    Thank you so much for sharing, John; Cheers! Go Yankees:)

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    1. Hi Louise, LOL about the Yankees! We used to live in Tampa, where the Yankees have their AAA club, and the stadium there is a miniature replica of Yankee Stadium. Miniature in that the field is of course the same size, but the clubhouse etc is smaller. Thanks for the comment.

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  2. Hi John , got to add this one to my collection , it's so pretty .It's a nice drink after a hard day planting , Thanks for sharing Nee :)

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    1. Hi Nee, that planting is tough work, isn't it? And this is the perfect restorative ticket. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Beautiful colour on this! As usual, I still don't drink, but love learning about your cocktails, John!

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    1. Hi Nazneen, isn't this pretty? Love the story behind it, too! Thanks for the comment.

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  4. It looks divine, John! Love the vibrant orange color! I'd love to have it now :)

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    1. Hi Marcela, fun drink, isn't it? And really, really good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. My husband loves vermouth (and gin). We will definitely give this one a try!

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    1. Hi Lydia, this is a good one! Bet he'll like it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. Just two? Hmm, I don't know about that, John. :) Beautiful drink as always. Thanks.

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    1. Hi Ray, well if the day is particularly warm maybe 3. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. Hi John, another great tidbit of information, love the history behind all these fabulous drinks. Beauty of a drink, love the color.

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    1. Hi Cheri, isn't the history of this fun? Always enjoy cocktail history! Thanks for the comment.

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  8. You're making me thirsty! What a wonderful story about naming the drink. Crazy animals everywhere :) Love baseball - having been raised in the south I am a Braves fan. Have a lovely week!

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    1. Hi Tricia, crazy animals indeed. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  9. Now see it is income tax time in Canada, you should have made the The Income Tax Cocktail ;-) But seriously lit looks gorgeous and delicious. I was just looking at sunset pics for a work promo and this drink fits right in. Cheers to spring.

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    1. Hi Evelyne, you can read all about the Income Tax Cocktail on the blog -- did that several years ago. A fun drink for a not-so-fun day! Thanks for the comment.

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  10. Hi John, it's good to be back in touch. I didn't know the history of the Waldorf Astoria and that the hotels used to be where the Empire State Building now sits. That's a very pretty cocktail and yes, I always prefer to use freshly squeezed OJ xx

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    1. Hi Charlie, glad to see you back! Isn't the history of the hotel(s) interesting? NYC has so much going on! Thanks for the comment.

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  11. Now you've got me curious about the Income Tax Cocktail- I'm working on my taxes now!

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    1. Hi Fran, for the first time in like ever we've had our taxes done for several weeks! Normally we don't even look at them until April rolls around. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  12. Wow, the colour. Striking! Must share this with a gin-loving friend. Thanks, John.

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    1. Hi Lizzy, your friend will thank you. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  13. This is such an interesting story behind the cocktail...since I love gin, this one will be on my list of "to try".
    Thanks for the recipe John, hope you are having a great week :)

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    1. Hi Juliana, we like gin a lot, too, so this is a favorite of ours! Thanks for the comment.

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  14. You have the best cocktail pictures in the blogging world. This is sunshine in a glass...Cheers!!!

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    1. Hi Denise, this IS sunshine in a glass. :-) Thanks for that very kind comment.

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  15. After a very busy day followed by a sleepless night I could use this pick me up right now! (I don't know how my paperwork would survive but I would certainly feel better :D) Lovely fresh cocktail John which presents superbly, thank you :)

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    1. Hi Merryn, feeling better is always more important than paperwork. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. Another beautiful post John! Love your cocktail recipes and clicks. Its amazing! Thank you for the share :-)

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    1. Hi Kushi, cocktail posts are always so much fun to do. Mainly because so many cocktails have such interesting history! Thanks for the comment.

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  17. There's a cocktail named for almost everything, isn't there?! I love that it's made with ingredients I always have on hand---plus it's gorgeous :)

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    1. Hi Liz, there sure is! The names are kind of fun, though. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. OMG this should be called the Bronx Zoo Lion Tamer... Because it does share the same shade of color as a lion!!

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    1. Hi GiGi, it does, doesn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. I am going to try this! I love citrus flavor in cocktails!

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    1. Hi Katerina, citrus packs such wonderful flavor, doesn't it? We also love it in cocktails. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  20. Beautiful cocktail, John! And healthy, too! I bet it's nice and smooth! Once the weather warms and I can finally get some herbs planted on my deck, I'll celebrate with one of these. I love your orange twist garnish...it's perfect! Mine never look like that! (And I used to get a lot of flack for being a Yankees fan when I am from Boston...but now I realize it wasn't the Yankees I was really a fan of....but Derek Jeter. Now that he's gone, I don't pay them much attention!)

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    1. Hi Anne, Derek Jeter was wonderful, wasn't he? We're not Yankees fans (and weren't even when we lived in New York), but impossible not to be a fan of him! Thanks for the comment.

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  21. Great colour, perfect for the weekend!

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    1. Hi Caroline, isn't this nice? It could even be a weekend brunch drink! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  22. I'm the dork who needs to try this just because it was named after my favorite zoo :) Love it!

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    1. Hi Ashley, that's a terrific reason to try this! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  23. I can think of several occasions this lovely cocktail would be appropriate for. And as usual, the photos are stunning. --Rocquie

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    1. Hi Rocquie, this is a fun drink, isn't it? And SO good! Thanks for the kind comment.

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  24. So pretty! Sounds tasty John.

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    1. Hi Pam, it really is a good drink. May have another this weekend. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  25. I actually have these ingredients on hand! I've always wanted to visit the Bronx zoo, so I guess this will have to do. I'm already roaring!

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    1. Hi Abbe, you have no excuse not to try this! Roaring can be fun, can't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  26. I don't know if the real Bronx has ever been known for its beauty. But that cocktail certainly is a stunner. Just looking at its bright color makes me smile.

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    1. Hi Carolyn, parts of the Bronx are rather pretty, but "pretty" certainly isn't the first thing most of us think of we we think of the Bronx! Thanks for the comment.

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  27. This is a cocktail I've made many times. Delicious! However, I'm chuckling over the idea that the Income Tax Cocktail contains bitters! Touché!

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    1. Hi Greg, this is a good one, isn't it? And tax time is can be so bitter, can't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  28. Looks so good.. never had a bronx... only a manhattan :-)

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    1. Hi Honey, there's also a Brooklyn and a Queens. Don't know about a Staten Island, though. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. "Named after the Bronx Zoo, this charmer will bring out the beast in you"--this has got to be the best tagline I've read all week. Tempting, indeed!

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    1. Hi Ala, temptation you can't -- or shouldn't! -- resist. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  30. Hi John,
    Sorry this is late..but I was so impressed with all of the information you have written on this "The Bronx Cocktail." Did not know that this drink even existed and that the name was named after the "Bronx Zoo." I used to go to the zoo when I was young a lot. It was a couple of train rides from Queens where I grew up. Then also when my son was young I went with him as well. It looks so smooth and I love the orange juice mixed in. Thanks for sharing so much of your knowledge of this cocktail. Cheers to you and Mrs K.Riffs..Have a wonderful weekend!
    Dottie :)

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    1. Hi Dottie, somehow during all the time we lived in the NYC area we never made it to the Bronx zoo. Too busy working. And commuting! I could have used one of these after my commute. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  31. We have just finished from working in the yard. And, I think I have everything for these in the cabinet! Thanks, John!

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    1. Hi Debra, yardwork? Sounds like it's Bronx time for you. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  32. I've never had a bronx, that looks so so good. That color and perfect for spring or any day. I have all the ingredients and can't wait to try it out.
    Have a fabulous weekend. xx

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    1. Hi Asha, we're having these for dinner tonight! Well, before dinner, not actually as dinner. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  33. The photo makes me want to grab it and take a sip! Love the color, and the nuts are a nice touch to go along with it.

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    1. Hi Kristi, if you are drinking a cocktail, you have to have a shack! And nuts are the best, IMO. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  34. Were your ears ringing? My husband and I were talking about you last night. We went to a very quaint Japanese Bar in Causeway Bay last night and the mixeologist was amazing. However, none less amazing than your site as you explain all the little details that help your favorite drinks shine.

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    1. Hi Bam, thank goodness! I thought it was the onset of tinnitus. :D There are some amazing mixologists out there, aren't there? We were out on Friday night, and ate at the bar (we prefer that in some restaurants). Always fun to see someone who's really good do their stuff. Thanks for the comment.

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  35. Funny - I just assumed this drink had baseball associations, because the only thing I know about the Bronx is those Bombers. Whether you cheer for the Yankees or not, it's impossible not to watch them.

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    1. Hi Beth, definitely impossible to ignore the Yankees! Thanks for the comment.

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  36. This does look like the perfect cocktail for planting day. Headed to the nursery on Friday and the liquid store afterwards. :) Happy Spring John!

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    1. Hi MJ, always fun to go to the nursery and liquid store on the same day. Plant safely! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  37. What an interesting cocktail! I love gin but I don;t know if I've ever had Vermouth. Its not that common in Australia?? Anyway, it looks pretty so I would be on it in a flash :)
    Thanks so much for sharing
    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways

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    1. Hi Julie, didn't know vermouth wasn't common in Australia. In a sense, it's not that common in the US either in that most people never drink it by itself. But you often find it as in ingredient in cocktails (a large percentage of cocktails use vermouth, or a vermouth-like ingredient). Anyway, this is a fun drink, and worth tracking down some vermouth! Thanks for the comment.

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  38. Perfect drink and need of the hour... Lovely pictures

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    1. Hi Smsitha, you do need one of these. We all do. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  39. This looks sublime and refreshing! I could use one right about now :)

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    1. Hi Dana, it's a delightful drink! So nice for this time of the year. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  40. I just need to get sweet vermouth and I think I'll suggest this cocktail to our out of town guests…this is one I think they both would enjoy. You never cease to amaze me with your cocktails.

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    1. Hi Karen, you could actually make this with just dry vermouth, but it's better with the sweet, too. Thanks for the comment.

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  41. Sounds like such a nice drink to make after having such a long day.

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    1. Hi Peachy, this is very refreshing, so you're right that it's a wonderful end-of-day drink. Thanks for the comment.

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    2. How about mid-day? (BTW, I've been to the Bronx Zoo, to see the gorillas. They do not serve these there, I'm sad to report. Seems like they should hand you one in a sippy cup as you enter.)

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    3. Hi Jeff, mid-day might be even better. :-) Love the idea of getting one of these in a sippy cup! Thanks for the comment.

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  42. Named after Bronx Zoo! well I guess this may make me an animal and go wild after several shots

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    1. Hi Raymund, yup, we all need to release the animal in us from time to time. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  43. Oh, I thought this is an orange juice .. silly me :). Looks a thirst quenching indeed.. I did my share of planting last Fall and now making asking the kids to do the rest hahaha. Nice photos as usual.

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    1. Hi Amira, :-) Always a great idea to get the kids into the garden! Thanks for the comment.

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  44. I love the fresh squeeze orange juice in this cocktail. Sounds refreshing. It would be perfect after a day of planting.

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    1. Hi Dawn, OJ is always refreshing in a drink, don't you think? And I love its flavor! Thanks for the comment.

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  45. You're going to laugh, but Mr. Mike and I finally bought martini glasses and a shaker after he discovered an Italian Surfer (bet you know that drink). He loved the citrus and rum, and he's a gin fan so I'm sure he'll be wanting to try this OJ with gin for sure!

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    1. Hi Kristi, I've actually never tried the Italian Surfer (although I do know of the drink). Gotta make one! And Mr. Mike needs to make a pair of these for the two of you. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  46. John, this is one I'm going to try. Must pick up some vermouths. So pretty, too. It might be making an appearance at my next afternoon tea party.

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    1. Hi Jean, this would be a wonderful drink at a tea party! You might think about a Pimm's Cup too for an event that that -- it even looks like iced tea! Thanks for the comment.

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  47. What a GORGEOUS cocktail on my birthday! Cheers!

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    1. Hi Kiran, Happy Birthday! Perfect for you, don't you think? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  48. I'm not a gin drinker but I might be persuaded with this drink. Beautiful color and I love drinking anything out of a martini glass.

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    1. Hi Karen, gin and vermouth is such a wonderful combo. You'll taste the gin in this drink, but the OJ really tames it. So if ever you'll drink gin, this is one to try. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  49. It's my farewell tomorrow, adding this pretty little number to the list of what I want to drink. :) Love that its 'practically' fruit juice.

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    1. Hi Anna, nothing but juice in this! Well, and a few other things. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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