Black Food Colouring (Domino and 2nd version of Wolverine)

I try to design my cocktails without additional flavour syrups (simple syrup doesn’t count), but I’ve given a small concessions considering that, eg. sala syrup in Deadpool and orgeat syrup in Killer Frost.

Don’t get me wrong: there’s nothing culpable in using syrups… I just find the research of mixing different alcohols interesting, trying to find tasty combos. Flavour syrups make it easier, I totally admit that… and that’s the point: too easy. There’s gotta be some challenge.

Okay, now I’ve given an approving nod for flavour syrups in my cocktails, but I’ve tried to keep up “my principle” about not using food colouring: there’s a whole lotta challenge trying to create both “The Feel” and the possible colour theme of the character using only different alcohols and mixers… and challenge is what I’m after.

(My rant about “intellectually lazy” superhero cocktails which only strive for the colour theme)

Okay, I’m giving a small concession in this colour matter also… black. Not very, very dark brown, but pure black. I’ve used it in both of today’s cocktails, but the food colouring is not mandatory: drinks will, of course, taste exactly the same… they just look a bit better.




3 parts whisky

1 to 2 parts DOM Benedictine

3 parts extra dry vermouth

dash of Peychaud’s Bitters

(drop of black food colouring)

Rim small stemmed glass with powdered sugar. Shake ingredients with ice and strain into the glass.

How does “luck” taste like? I asked for a challenge, and that sure is one. I could’ve gone straight for immensely sweet (as in “sweet victory through sheer luck”), but that seemed like a cheap trick, too easy for a solution.

So, I decided to try to capture both the good luck of Domino and misfortune of her adversaries in the same drink… whisky and DOM, that’s sweet and it has a feel of “embraced by Lady Luck”… on the other hand there’s dry frustration of constantly fumbling around when fighting Domino, in the form of vermouth; the drink needed something little more, something to “tie it up”, and Peychaud’s was the answer.

You don’t have to use black colouring: the cocktail’s natural colour is golden brown, beautiful per se… but it sure has more striking appearance when it’s black.


I continue about syrups and colours, if you’re eager to check out my second version of Wolverine please feel free to skip the following…

My reluctance with using flavoured syrups has been somewhat hypocritical, I know. I’ve extracted all sorts of stuff in booze to give it a different nuances: licoricejelly beansgingerSkittlessalmiac… but I feel it’s different thing to do experiments with different substances than just picking up a suitable flavoured syrup from the shelf.

Sometimes you end up with a Standard Houseguest in your booze cabinet (for example licorice vodka is there to stay in my collection), sometimes you accidentally give birth to an abomination, some sludge that is an embodiment of “wasting good booze” (don’t try extracting Menthos in alcohol, unless you really, really love the taste of toothpaste mixed with cooking oil).

“What about the grenadine? You’re using that?” That’s right, I use red and blue (blue in mocktails, Blue Curacao in cocktails). In addition to sweetness and colour they also have some degree of taste… so they’re flavoured syrups.

Guilty as charged, but basic grenadines are such a standard traditional cocktail materials I don’t think them as flavoured syrups… not to the same degree as those that taste like passion fruit, Mojito Mint, Peach Tea, popcorn (please), Salted Caramel, tangerine… I guess they share some flavouring agents with some of the liqueurs I use, but I still prefer them over syrups any given day.

The syrups are not despicable; they are just too easy for me. No challenge there.

Enough with this rant, onto the next cocktail…




Yellow layer, top:

1 part gin

2 parts orange juice

Black layer, bottom:

3 parts Kahlúa

1 part Gammel Dansk

(black food colouring)

Add some ice into a suitable glass. Then shake layers separately with ice and layer them into the glass: black first, then yellow to the top.

I was content with my first version of Wolverine, but it seemed Test Subjects wanted something more… mean. So here it is.

Yellow layer is “surly Screwdriver”, gin in the place of vodka does it. After wading through the “impolite yellow” you’ll get little relief in the form of sweet Kahlúa… but even it has a brusque sidenote, hint of Gammel Dansk.

And of course the colour theme is Old School Wolverine. Without food colouring the bottom layer is very, very dark brown, black colouring is not necessary to deliver the message… But the drink has more striking appearance with distinct yellow-black-contrast.


It’ll be June when I publish my next post… so summer drinks it is. One highball and one frappe, both female characters… and they are mean! ;P


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