Explorations in Mixology Cocktails Drinking


We have been enjoying the second season of Boardwalk Empire, the HBO television show set in Atlantic City during Prohibition. On the show there is a character played by Dabney Coleman who is called the Commodore. This reminded us of a cocktail we mentioned a few years ago. We suggested it as a classic recipe you could try that makes use of homemade grenadine, but we never actually reviewed the drink itself.

Whether you like the TV series or not, this is a delicious drink worth trying. It’s based on a whiskey sour formula, but instead of using simple syrup to balance the lemon juice, the Commodore uses creme de cacao, a chocolate flavored liqueur that has appeared a few times before in the 20th Century, the Floridita and the Chimp in Orbit. It may not be the first time we have used creme de cacao, but it might be the most interesting given that this is the first time we have used a full ounce.

1.5 oz bourbon
1 oz creme de cacao
1 oz lemon juice
1 dash grenadine

Shake over ice to chill and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

When we first posted the recipe, we specified slightly different proportions, but here, we opted for the measures suggested by Dave Wondrich. It’s actually surprising that this much cacao doesn’t take over the drink. However, your first sip will confirm that it balances nicely with the equal quantity of lemon juice. Instead of giving an overwhelming chocolate undertone, it serves to reinforce those flavors of the bourbon. The grenadine would be difficult to pinpoint if it weren’t for the subtle touch of orange blossom. It all comes together to make the Commodore surprisingly tasty.

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11 years ago

Wow…nice drink. Would never have imagined these ingredients coming together so well. I went with a 1.5 ; 0.75 ; 0.75 ratio (I’m out of lemons).

Randy Hanson
Randy Hanson
Reply to  John
11 years ago

Thanks for saying so. Sometimes a personal endorsement like yours helps others decide to give it a try. I am often surprised at the subtle complexity that cacao can offer. Here’s another example that demonstrates how surprises can extend from the back of the liquor cabinet.

Your ratio is worth exploring–same balance with just a bit more kick–especially if you like your whiskey selection.