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Barman Donato Sandiego entertains guests during a cocktail mixology class on ms Oosterdam.

JD Lasica / Special to Cruiseable

Barman Donato Sandiego entertains guests during a cocktail mixology class on ms Oosterdam.

4 original recipes from Holland America's top mixologist

Dale De Groff formulations include a gimlet, daiquiri & margarita

This is another in a series of articles about my July 2017 sailing on Oosterdamt. Also see:
 

I have made it a bit of a tradition to look up a veteran mixologist whenever I take a cruise these days. Except for a few sips, I don't take advantage when the bar stewards line up their favorite drinks or mix up a new cocktail.

 
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During my sailing two weeks ago on Holland America's ms Oosterdam, I paid a visit to a mixology class ($15 a head) put on by barman Donato (“Don”) Sandiego from Manila, and he and the bar manager agreed to share some of the cocktails designed by Dale De Groff for Holland America Line since 2015. Sayeth Wikipedia: “De Groff, aka King Cocktail, is a US-American bartender and author. In the late 1980s he rose to prominence in the New Yorker Rockefeller Center's Rainbow Room, where he pioneered a gourmet approach to recreating the classic cocktails.”

Here are four classic cocktail recipes from a master mixologist.

Barman Donato Sandiego with a Gallery Gimlet he whipped up.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableBarman Donato Sandiego with a Gallery Gimlet he whipped up.

Gallery Gimlet

 

Gin offset with simple syrup

 
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This was my favorite of the lineup ... which surprised me, since I'm not a gin kinda guy. But the ingredients — including yuzu juice, which you can find with a little bit of hunting — added up to a refreshing and not overly sweet classic concoction.

Gallery Gimlet recipe

1½ oz. Plymouth Gin 
½ oz. fresh lime juice 
¾ oz. blend of agave / honey / simple syrup
(1 teaspoon agave, dash of honey, 2 parts simple syrup)
1 teaspoon yuzu juice

Directions: Combine all ingredients in shaker. Shake with ice. Strain into Nick and Nora glass. Add black Hawaiian sea salt to rim of glass. 


 

Don Sandiego pours a Hemingway Daiquiri for guests in the mixology class.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableDon Sandiego pours a Hemingway Daiquiri for guests in the mixology class.

Hemingway Daiquiri

 

White rum & liqueur make the mix

 
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If you're a cocktail aficionado and not a fan of watered-down drinks, you'll find that the drinks in the Gallery Bar aboard Oosterdam are first rate, while the drinks in the Queens Lounge — where dancing is the thing — tend to be watered down. In this recipe, Mount Gay is the brand served in Holland America's top bars, so make sure your bar steward is using the best stuff.

Hemingway Daiquiri recipe

1.5 oz. Mount Gay white rum
¼ oz. Maraschino Liqueur
½ oz. grapefruit juice
¾ oz. simple syrup
¾ oz. fresh lime juice

Directions: Combine all ingredients. Shake with ice and strain into martini/champagne glass. Garnish with lime wheel.


 

Don whips up a Yuzu Margarita.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableDon whips up a Yuzu Margarita.

Yuzu Margarita

 

Yuzu juice makes another appearance

 
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This was the top choice of the other mixology class attendees who lined the stylish Gallery Bar. Again, the yuzu juice provides a fresh twist.

Yuzu Margarita recipe

2 oz. Don Julio premium tequila
½ oz. fresh lime juice
¼ oz. yuzu juice
(if no yuzu juice available, try a lemon & grapefruit juice combo
1 oz. agave syrup (1 part agave nectar, 1 part water)

Directions: Combine tequila, juices and nectar. Shake and strain into martini/champagne glass. Garnish with lime wheel. Add kosher salt or sea salt to half the rim.


 

Don with the final drink of the class, a Ritz Cocktail.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableDon with the final drink of the class, a Ritz Cocktail.

Ritz Cocktail 

 

Cognac + Cointreau + Champagne   

 
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This was my second favorite cocktail of the evening, and one that was worth the extra mile hike the next day to walk off the calories. Sure beats the cocktails I swilled during my college days at Rutgers. 

Ritz Cocktail recipe

¾ oz. Courvoisier VSOP Cognac
½ oz. Cointreau
¼ oz. Maraschino Liqueur
¼ oz. fresh lemon juice 
2 oz. French Champagne

Directions: Stir first four ingredients in mixing glass. Strain into martini glass. Garnish with a flamed orange peel, a guaranteed head-turner, especially in a dimly lit bar.

The colorful salon leading to the neon-lit Gallery Bar.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableThe colorful salon leading to the neon-lit Gallery Bar.

In our Cocktails series

JD Lasica
I'm co-founder, Editor and chief cat herder at Cruiseable. Follow your cruise bliss to any land where it may lead. Let's connect! I'm @jdlasica on Twitter.

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