New Cocktail: The Nikki Heat

New Cocktail: The Nikki Heat

Nikki Heat Cocktail
There are a host of things I love about cocktails, but there are two that pertain to this post. First, you can sometimes make the tiniest change to a recipe and have a whole new drink with a different character. And second, after the fun of creating something new, you can have a lot more fun coming up with a name for said creation.

Last night, I was perusing my copy of Paul Harrington’s Cocktail, looking for any likely looking drinks therein that I had not yet tried. The Nikki Finn caught my eye: a mix of cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice, with a splash of Absinthe to give the right element of danger to a drink with a name reminiscent of a far more dangerous tipple. I liked the name, and the drink seemed promising. But I was not in the mood for absinthe, and my wife never is.

So I cast around a bit, and my eyes fell upon the bottle of Tobasco that I keep on the bar for my ongoing Bloody Mary experimentations. After a bit of tweaking, here’s what I came up with:

  • 1 part cognac
  • 1 part Cointreau
  • 1 part fresh lemon juice
  • 2 dashes of Tobasco Sauce for each ounce of cognac
  • Shake with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a long twist of lemon.

It’s really good. While spicy, the heat is nice, not overwhelming. It cleanses the palate but doesn’t hang around to burn. There is just enough sweet to make it appetizing, and while you can make out the cognac fairly well, the spiciness just about eliminates any alcoholic burn entirely.
Overall, I’m very pleased with it.

Now, if it’s a good enough drink to make again (and again), it needs a good name. I believe that an enduring drink name should be fun, lyrical, and evocative of its flavor profile. And some of the most famous are named after famous people or characters. The absinthe gives the Nikki Finn the appropriately poisonous vibe, but this drink, while still possessing the dangerous vibe, is much more friendly and spicy….

For me the name came easy: The Nikki Heat. Who’s she? Here:

Stana Katic as Kate Becket, inpsiration for Nikki Heat, sexy in alley

Spicy enough for you, but not dangerous? How about this?

Stana Katic as Kate Becket, inpsiration for Nikki Heat, holding russian mobster at gunpoint

That is Stana Katic, who plays police detective Nikki Heat on the TV show Castle. Well, actually she plays police detective Kate Beckett on Castle. Character Detective Beckett is the inspiration for character Rick Castle (a novelist)’s new lead character in his mystery novels, named Nikki Heat. The show is the most Meta thing ever produced for network TV. It is so meta that the novels mentioned in the show actually exist. You can buy Heat Wave and Naked Heat on Amazon. They are actually damn good books, by the way.
You can even see both “Nikki Heat” and Kate Beckett in the same promo for the show here:

See? Meta.
And also, as you see, a good name for this little drink.

It think it’d be a great drink for Castle to feature at the bar he just bought, the Old Haunt in Manhattan. In fact I think he was soliciting cocktail ideas on Twitter a while back. Yes, Rick Castle has a real Twitter feed. Not Jameson Rook, the fake character in the real books who is based on Rick Castle himself, but the real Rick Castle who is a fake character on the real TV show. My guess is that they drink a lot in the writers’ room on this show.

If they did make mention of the Nikki Heat, they ought to serve it using this cognac:

How’s that for a bottle?
It is Landy Désir. I just bought a bottle in Texas because I buy every bottle of liquor that comes with a little hat. And even if it didn’t have the hat, I’d have bought it for my wife since she’s a seamstress and a bottle that is an actual dress form (the dress can come off, and the are even others so you can change the clothes apparently) is an obvious gift.
I haven’t opened it yet, and judging from the fact that there are no actual reviews of it anywhere on the web, I’m guessing most people just think it is too darn gorgeous to open. Rumor it is is quite good, so I’ll open mine soon and perhaps be the first to report.

[Update: Welcome, Wombat’s Rule 5 wanderers! There’s plenty more to see ’round here, Rule 5, Rule 5 o’clock, and occasionally even the politics of Rule 5 o’clock alike!]


  1. Dr. Bamboo

    21 January

    Is it wrong that I keep coming back to this post just for the pictures of Stana? 😉

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  2. Doug

    21 January

    That’s not wrong, that’s Rule 5!

    And that’s why I put them there. I can’t believe I missed that promo from last year.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  3. Josh

    22 January

    Women make the best cocktail names. It’s a theme I keep coming back to. Check out my Dorothy Dandridge, Norma Jean, or Carmen Miranda at

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  4. Janet

    22 January

    I never miss an episode of “Castle,” even if I have to watch it later on Hulu. And Nikki Heat is the perfect name for that cocktail. Did you catch the episode where Rick plays poker with guys who are all actual mystery writers? Too cool!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  5. Doug

    22 January

    Actually, my favorite of the poker episodes (the pix above are from one too) is the first time Kate joined him to play with the Mayor.

    And it is sad to watch the mystery writer games, now that Stephen J Cannell has passed away. I doubt they’ll do any more.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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