Elevating a cheesy cocktail to something delicious

Party like it’s 1976….yes please.

During the 1970’s, for the first time since perhaps the end of prohibition, a growing social scene was centered around famous nightclubs and a new type of place called discos. They were chic, exciting places to go. Pretty colors, exotic flavors and obscure liquors prevailed in the cocktails served.

Upon reviewing several cocktail guides from the 1970’s, I found the following trends; Apricot flavored anything was good with any type of liquor, Asian themed cocktail names were plentiful, Dubonnet and Galliano were staples in any bar, Creme de anything was used repeatedly.

Could these trends which seem as weird as loving harvest gold and avocado green kitchens ever come back? Yes, of course.

Disco cocktails are back and are better than ever.


I found this trend hard to embrace. My recollection of the seventies are as skewed because I was just a child. But I remember my parents heading out to a nightclub in polyester disco shirts and tiered ruffle dresses, it seemed very glamorous.

I searched for stereotypical 1970’s cocktails and then figured out how to upgrade them for today’s world. I tried to use fresh ingredients and no bottled mixes or artificial flavors. There were many drinks that were screaming for an upgrade to 2016; the Harvey Wallbanger, Long Island Iced Tea, Pink Lady, Golden Cadillac and the list could go on and on.

I chose to upgrade the Grasshopper and Tequila Sunrise. I did not deviate from the original recipes. I just made sure I used fresh ingredients.

For the Grasshopper, I made both the Creme de Menthe and the Creme de Cacao myself. They’re actually very simple to make.

For the Creme de Menthe, I took twelve ounces of Vodka and poured it into a large mouthed glass jar with a lid. I added mint leaves to it and let it steep for three days. Then I strained it and added ten ounces of  mint simple syrup to it.

The simple syrup is easily made heating one cup of Florida Cane Sugar with one cup of water over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Add some mint leaves to the simple syrup and let it cool before adding it to your mint infused vodka. 

If you want a bright green color, you can add a couple drops of green vegetable based food coloring drops.

The Creme de Cacao is made in a similar manner. You take twelve ounces of vodka and grate three ounces of pure cacao (or use cacao nibs) into it. Use a large mouth glass jar with a lid. Add a vanilla bean and let all the ingredients steep for a week. Strain the mixture through a coffee filter and mix with ten ounces of simple syrup.

By using Florida cane sugar, fresh mint, pure cacao and vanilla bean both liqueurs have a super fresh taste and the individual flavors really shine through. I also bought my orange juice freshly bottled from a local grove, the flavor is much more intense.

For the Tequila Sunrise, I used an Añejo Tequila. This is tequila that has been aged for one year. It darkens the tequila to an amber color and produces a smoother, richer and more complex taste.

I also used my homemade grenadine recipe found in my Everyday Exotic Cocktails; Florida Edition currently available for sale on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Everyday-Exotic-Cocktails-Florida-cocktails/dp/1974619079/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1532612962&sr=8-1&keywords=everyday+exotic+cocktails or my new book Everyday Exotic Cocktails; Country Chic Edition https://www.amazon.com/Everyday-Exotic-Cocktails-Country-Chic/dp/1985022982/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1532612962&sr=8-3&keywords=everyday+exotic+cocktails


So put your velour robe on, do the hustle with your better half and party like it’s 1976!


1 oz. Fresh Cream
1 oz. Creme de Menthe
1 oz. Creme de Cacao

Add all three ingredients into an ice filled cocktail shaker. Shake well and strain into a chilled glass. A martini or cocktail glass works best. Garnish with mint leaf and grated cacao.


Tequila Sunrise

2 oz. Añejo Tequila
Fresh Florida Orange Juice
2 Dashes Grenadine

Pour tequila into ice filled highball glass. Top with Orange Juice and stir. Add Grenadine and let it settle to bottom of the glass, do not stir again. Garnish with an orange slice.

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