Wednesday, October 16, 2019

peachy keen

1 1/2 oz Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 10 Year Scotch
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Giffard Crème de Peche
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/4 oz Honey Syrup

Dry shake, pour into a double old fashioned, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with dashes Angostura Bitters, mint sprigs, and a peach slice.

Two Wednesdays ago, I ventured down to the Hawthorne to hear Bruichladdich's head distiller Adam Hannett present a talk entitled "Experience Octomore." Adam spoke about how the site in Islay was a purpose-built distillery founded in 1881 opposed to a farm-based one, and this distillery produced single malts for blends until it was mothballed in 1994. A group of whisky industry professionals had a vision of exploring the local terroir and striving for quality over quantity, and they were able to acquire the site from Jim Beam. The goal for Bruichladdich was to feature both unpeated and peated whiskies as well as to make parallel whiskies from barley sourced from local Islay barley farms as well as bulk barley sourced from the whole of Scotland. The conditions in Islay are tougher to grow barley, but the end result is more flavorful despite the lower yield of fermentable sugars by weight and the higher cost to grow the crops. With their Octomore product, they asked their malt company for a large shipment of peated malt that would be used as the only barley source. The malt company was concerned that there would be no consistency since the result varies by season and by batch; normally the level of peat smoke phenols is modulated by diluting it with unpeated malt. With this approach, Octomore became the world's most smoky Scotch through keeping the proof near cask strength, skipping chill filtration, and leaving out unpeated malt. What we got to taste were three variations of this 10th season of Octomore with my favorites being tied between 10.3 using local farmer James Brown's barley and aging for 6 years in first filled American whiskey casks and 10.4 using Scottish barley and aging for only 3 years in virgin French limousine oak casks. Indeed, 10.3 highlighted the beauty of the barley grown in tougher conditions on a single estate, and 10.4 had loads of dried fruit such as date and fig notes from the new French barrel.
Before Adam spoke, Hawthorne bartender Rob Ficks was making drinks from a small menu utilizing some of Bruichladdich's other offerings. The one I selected was the Peachy Keen subtitled "and I won't forget." Here, the Port Charlotte whisky's peat mingled with the mint on the nose. Next, the sip was an elegant malt, peach, and lemon combination, and the swallow hit the palate with peat smoke and peach flavors with a cinnamon finish.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

probitas swizzle

2 oz Probitas Rum
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Mathilde Crème de Peche
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
2 dash Absinthe
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Flash blend with crushed ice, pour into a tall glass, and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with a pineapple leaf, orchid, and smoldering cinnamon stick.

Two Tuesdays ago, the Boston chapter of the USBG hosted Richard Seale of Four Square Distillery in Barbados with a talk entitled "A Conversation about Rum." Before Richard spoke at Shore Leave (a/k/a the Rum Dungeon), bartender Jace Sheehan was making drinks with Four Square's new Probitas Rum. As Richard described later, Probitas is actually a collaboration between Four Square and Hampden Distillery in Jamaica; this 94 proof rum is a combination of 2 year old pot and unaged column still spirit from Barbados and unaged pot still from Jamaica. During the talk, Richard described how the goal was to make a flavorful white rum and to bring back the concept of a rum blend being made in the Caribbean opposed to Europe, America, or elsewhere. Richard had wanted this to be an unaged product, but he felt that his pot still rum tasted better with a little aging. Thus, the end result is not purely a white rum for it has a slight yellow tint to it due to the two years that the pot still Barbados element mellowed in used oak casks.

The drink that I requested from Jace was the Probitas Swizzle which lured me in with its fancy garnish (the other two offerings were served in cocktail coupes). Here, the cinnamon smoke greeted the senses before a lime-driven sip. Next, the funky rum on the swallow transitioned into a peach-cinnamon combination that worked as well as the apricot-cinnamon one did in the Southern Belle and Transatlantic Orbit.

Monday, October 14, 2019

the jambi

1 1/2 oz Rhum Agricole (Uruapan Charanda Blanco)
1 oz Cognac (Camus VS)
1 oz Apricot Nectar
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Jambi Juice (equal parts (1/4 oz each) Ginger Syrup, Cinnamon Syrup, and Grenadine)
2 dash Maraschino Liqueur (1/8 oz Luxardo)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Whip shake, pour into a Tiki mug, and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with a cherry (mint sprigs) and float Wray & Nephew Overproof White Rum (1/4 oz).

After having enjoyed the Honolulu Zombie a few nights ago, I returned to David Montgomery's Zombie Horde for another tropical libation two Mondays ago. There, I latched onto the Jambi concocted by Jack Fetterman at Manhattan's now defunct PKNY in 2013. The concept was Jack's Indonesian-inspired Zombie riff, and he named it after a province and city in Sumatra. The most curious element in the mix was the ginger syrup which I later realized appears in Zombie riffs like the Winchester and Zombie Slow Dance. Of course, the apricot element in Zombies has been around since 1941.
The Jambi met the nose with a rum funk and mint bouquet. Next, lime and apricot on the sip stumbled into grassy rum, Cognac richness, nutty Maraschino, and ginger flavors on the swallow with a cinnamon finish.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

beth's coming to town

1 oz Highland Park 12 Year Scotch (Famous Grouse)
1 oz Aviation Gin (Tanqueray)
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Martini Grand Lusso)
1/4 oz Giffard Apricot Liqueur (Combier)
1/4 oz Amaro Ramazzotti

Stir with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass, and garnish with a mint leaf.

Two Sundays ago, I perused my bookshelf and spotted the Cocktail Codex book that I have not opened in a few weeks. In those pages, I was lured in by Daniel Zacharczuk's 2015 Martinez-inspired number that he dubbed Beth's Coming to Town. The structure was an intriguing split spirits Scotch and gin drink with an apricot-Brooklyn feel akin to the Brandy No. 1 and Montana. Daniel paired the botanicals in Aviation gin to those in Ramazzotti and most likely utilized apricot liqueur to match Highland Park's barley notes, and he stressed that changes to any ingredient would alter the drink. I figured that Famous Grouse would work since it is believe to contain Highland Park single malt in the blend, and with the gin, I just punted with Tanqueray.
The Beth's Coming to Town met the nose with a mint, caramel, and herbal bouquet. Next, grape, malt, and orchard fruit on the sip hugged a Scotch, juniper, root beer, and cola swallow with a savory finish containing rosemary notes.

Saturday, October 12, 2019


1/2 Scotch (1 3/4 oz Cutty Sark Prohibition)
1/3 Sherry (1 oz Lustau East India Solera)
2 dash Italian Vermouth (1/2 oz Martini Grand Lusso)
1 dash Picon (1/4 oz Torani Amer)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added an orange twist.
Two Saturdays ago, I was in the mood for a post-work nightcap and sought out the answer in the Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 book. In the whisky section, I spotted the Guardian which had a Scotch Liberal feel; moreover, with the sherry in there, it was similar to other drinks from the Pioneers book such as the rye-based Libby. In addition, the name was evocative of other Scotch with two fortified wine cocktails such as the Chancellor and Administrator. Once prepared, the Guardian escorted orange and peat smoke notes to the nose. Next, a grape-driven sip gave way to Scotch, slightly raisiny sherry, and bitter orange flavors.

Friday, October 11, 2019

honolulu zombie

1 oz Light Rum (Flor de Caña 4 Year Oro)
1 oz 151 Proof Rum (Don Q)
2 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Curaçao (Cointreau)

Shake or blend with 1 cup crushed ice (shake), pour into a Tiki mug, and fill with crushed ice. I garnished with mint sprigs and an edible flower.

Two Fridays ago after returning home from a bar shift, I felt like treating myself to a tropical libation. Therefore, I reached for David Montgomery's Zombie Horde, and I was lured in by the Honolulu Zombie created at David Chan's Honolulu Restaurant outside of Washington, D.C. Chan was originally a Trader Vic bartender in the capitol city and became President Nixon's favorite bartender; Nixon went there to drink Navy Grogs and to find a friendly ear. While kept Nixon's discussions secret, he was willing to share this recipe when the restaurant closed in 2004.
The Honolulu Zombie stalked the nose with orange and rum aromas. Next, orange, lemon, and berry notes lurched forward on the sip, and the swallow swiped with rum, orange, and pomegranate flavors. While lacking the depth that various spice elements donate to the classic 1934 Zombie, it was rather pleasant akin to similar Zombie riffs like the Mandarin House Zombie. With a touch of Herbsaint's spice (and different rums), the Honolulu Zombie pretty much becomes Trader Vic's 1946 Zombie which is not too surprising given Chan's pedigree.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

dead poet

1 oz Blanco Tequila (Lunazul)
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1/2 oz Benedictine
1 tsp Yellow Chartreuse
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lime twist.

Two Thursdays, I selected a drink that I had spotted on Imbibe called the Dead Poet. The recipe was crafted by Keegan McGregor at Field Guide in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Keegan confirmed my suspicion via Instagram that it was indeed a riff on the gin-based Poet's Dream with a duo of agave spirits and a touch of Yellow Chartreuse in the mix by commenting, "You're the first person to see that it's a Poet's Dream riff." I replied that, "I love that drink especially since Benedictine was one of my first herbal liqueurs to play with circa 2006. More people might know it as the Ford Cocktail, but I prefer the [name] Poet's Dream. Cheers!" With different bitters and/or absinthe in the mix, this gin, dry vermouth, and Benedictine trio also goes by other names in the cocktail literature. Therefore, I was excited to try a tequila-mezcal riff.
The Dead Poet recited a lime, vegetal agave, and hint of smoke aroma to the nose. Next, a honey and white wine verse on the sip led into a sonnet of smoky agave and minty herbal flavors on the swallow.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

south seas sleepwalker

1 oz Moderately Aged Rum (Plantation Barbados 5 Year)
1 oz Aged Jamaican Rum (2/3 oz Appleton Signature + 1/3 oz Smith & Cross)
3/4 oz Don's Mix (1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice + 1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup)
1/2 oz Honey Syrup
1/4 oz Grenadine
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Allspice Dram (Hamilton's)
1 dash Aromatic Bitters (Bittercube's Most Imaginative)

Whip shake, pour into a Zombie glass (Tiki mug), fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a mint sprig.
Two Wednesday ago, I was feeling a tropical mood and turned to the Minimalist Tiki book. There, I was lured in by the South Seas Sleepwaker by Jason Alexander. The recipe itself reminded me of the 1934 Zombie with honey syrup and allspice dram in place of the classic's falernum and absinthe (besides the different rums). Moreover, the duo of honey and allspice dram appear in several Tiki drinks such as the Three Dots & A Dash and the 2070 Swizzle. Once prepared, the South Seas Sleepwalker seeped out cinnamon and allspice aromas from underneath the mint garnish. Next, caramel, honey, lime, and grapefruit notes made for a pleasant sip, and the swallow lurch on with funky rum, allspice, and cinnamon flavors.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

mary astor

1 oz London Dry Gin (Beefeater)
1 oz Amontillado Sherry (Lustau)
1/2 oz Sloe Gin (Atxa Pataxaran)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lemon twist.

Two Tuesdays ago, I got back from work and decided to make one of the recipes that I had saved from Imbibe Magazine by Church Cummings at the Josephine Estelle within the New Orleans Ace Hotel. The drink was the Mary Astor which had little to do with the obscure classic the Astor or the modern bitter Aster Family Sour, but was closer to the Trellis with dry oxidized sherry pairing with sloe liqueur in a Sour format and to the Barbara West with its gin, dry sherry, and lemon. The name is most likely a tribute to the actress born Lucile Vasconcellos Langhanke who appeared under her stage name of Mary Astor and starred in movies such as The Maltese Falcon.
Once prepared, the Mary Astor introduced herself with a lemon oil nose over nutty and dark berry notes. Next, lemon and grape danced on the dry sip, and the swallow closed out the show with gin, nutty, and berry flavors.