Sunday, August 18, 2019

maui nui

2 1/2 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Curaçao (Pierre Ferrand)
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/4 oz Don's Spices #2 (1/8 oz Vanilla Syrup + 1/8 oz Hamilton's Allspice Dram)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Whip shake, pour into a Tiki mug, and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with mint sprigs and freshly grated nutmeg.

After the Plank Owner's Punch, I began to focus in its Don's Spices #2, Don the Beachcomber's secret vanilla and allspice cordial that was featured in a few of his drinks. From that collection, I honed in on the Nui Nui and decided to make a lower proof riff. For the Nui Nui's orange juice, I opted for the Paul McGee preference to remove orange juice from drinks and exchange it for curaçao. To name it, I decided upon the Maui Nui which is the prehistoric Hawaiian island formed from a volcano; between its weight and erosion, it ended up divided into four islands.
The Maui Nui erupted with a mint and cinnamon aroma. Next, lime and orange flavors mingled on the sip, and the swallow donated herbal, cinnamon, allspice, and vanilla flavors. Overall, the balance felt a lot lighter in proof, but the change from amber Virgin Island rum (which is generally not all that flavorful) to French vermouth was not an overwhelming change.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

second rummer up

1 1/2 oz Aged Rum (1 oz Appleton Select + 1/2 oz Smith & Cross)
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup

Whip shake, pour into a Pearl Diver glass (Tiki mug), and top with crushed ice. Garnish with mint sprigs and a smoking cinnamon stick.

Two Saturdays ago, I returned to the Minimalist Tiki book by Matt Pietrek and Carrie Smith and spotted the Second Rummer Up. The recipe was crafted by Brian Maxwell who I did the "Cocktails in the Colonies" talk with at Tales of the Cocktail in 2017 and who created the Isle of Fawkes drink that I previously enjoyed. Brian currently works at Seaworthy in New Orleans, but the recipe might predate that move.
The Second Rummer up met the nose with an acrid cinnamon smoke over a mint aroma. Next, lime, pineapple, and hints of passion fruit on the sip got beat out by funky rum, passion fruit, and cinnamon flavors on the swallow.

Friday, August 16, 2019

indian summer

1 1/2 oz Michter's Bourbon (Old Grand-Dad Bonded)
1/2 oz Cantaloupe Syrup (Sharlyn Melon Syrup)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass with ice, and garnish with a lemon twist and a shaved melon slice (omit).
When Andrea brought home a melon, I recalled that there was a recipe in Clair McLafferty's The Classic & Craft Cocktail Recipe Book. That melon number was the Indian Summer by Jared Schubert of Louisville, Kentucky, and those flavors rounded out a Bourbon Old Fashioned. In the glass, the Indian Summer offered floral, lemon, melon, and clove aromas. Next, a malt-driven sip led into Bourbon, floral, melon, clove, and allspice flavors on the swallow.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

marble hill

2 oz Dorothy Parker Gin (Beefeater)
1 oz Byrrh Grand Quinquina
1 oz Orange Juice
2 dash Abbott's Bitters (Jerry Thomas Decanter)

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Thursdays ago, I turned to Frank Caiafa's 2016 The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book for the evening's libation. There, I spotted the Marble Hill that came across like a curious Bronx variant. The name itself backed that assumption up, for Marble Hill is a neighborhood in Manhattan north of the Harlem River that is more closely associated with the Bronx. Frank's recipe was a modification of the one in The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book from 1935 that was half Gordon Gin and a quarter each Dubonnet and orange juice.
The Marble Hill greeted the nose with a pine, allspice, and plum bouquet. Next, grape and orange mingled on the sip, and the swallow donated gin flavors that shifted into bitter-herbal orange notes with an allspice and clove finish.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

plank owner's punch

1 1/2 oz Plantation OFTD Overproof Rum
1 1/2 oz Moderately Aged Rum (Plantation Original Dark)
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Honey Syrup
1/2 oz Don's Spices (1/4 oz Vanilla Syrup + 1/4 oz Hamilton's Allspice Dram)
1 dash Aromatic Bitters (Jerry Thomas Decanter)
1 dash Absinthe (20 drop St. George)

Whip shake, pour into a Zombie glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a mint sprig.

After placing an order for the Minimalist Tiki book by Matt Pietrek (of CocktailWonk) and Carrie Smith a little over two months ago, my copy finally showed so I was excited to give a recipe a test run. Given my success with Jason Alexander's drinks in the past such as the Golden Shellback and Drunken Helmsman, I started with one of his recipes called the Plank Owner's Punch.
The Plank Owner's Punch inched my nose out to a mint aroma over funky rum notes. Next, a lemon, honey, and caramel sip leapt into rum, allspice, and vanilla flavors on the swallow. As the ice melted a bit, the absinthe's anise became more pronounced.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019


1/2 jigger Bourbon (1 1/4 oz Old Grand-Dad Bonded)
1/2 jigger Italian Vermouth (1 1/4 oz Martini Grand Lusso)
1 dash Benedictine (1/4 oz)
1 dash Maraschino (1/4 oz Luxardo)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.

Two Tuesdays ago, I returned to my new copy of W.C. Whitfield's 1939 Just Cocktails and spotted the Creole. This version of the Creole varied from the better known one which has Amer Picon instead of the Maraschino (besides rye as the whiskey); Just Cocktails has no shortage of Amer Picon recipes so it was not due to its availability to the author. Instead, it appeared more like a sweet vermouth version of the Brooklyn (as it appeared in Jack's Manual) crossed with the sweet vermouth version of the Red Hook, the Buffalo (or better stated, a mashup of the cocktails with the bitter elements of Punt e Mes and Picon removed).
This Creole proffered lemon, grape, and nutty cherry aromas. Next, the grape and cherry continued on into the sip, and the swallow dealt out Bourbon and herbal flavors with a sweet cherry finish. Without a bitter element in the mix, it lacked the intrigue and allure of the Picon version.

Monday, August 12, 2019

improved & fancy

3 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/4 oz Maraschino (Luxardo)
1 bsp Absinthe (Kübler)
3 dash Orange Bitters
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a Nick & Nora (coupe) glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.

Two Mondays ago, I was looking for something on the lighter side, so I reached for Drew Lazor's Session Cocktails book. There, I spotted the Improved & Fancy by Naren Young. I was somewhat confused by the name since Fancy refers to the 1860s-style update to the cocktail by adding curaçao and Improved refers to the 1870s-style update by adding dashes of Maraschino and absinthe to the mix. Here, unless the orange bitters are the curaçao part, the Fancy aspect is just the presentation.
The Improved & Fancy welcomed the nose with a lemon and nutty cherry bouquet. Next, white grape and cherry on the sip curtsied to nutty cherry and anise on the swallow.

Sunday, August 11, 2019


1 jigger Cognac (1 1/2 oz Camus VS)
1/2 jigger Applejack (3/4 oz Laird's Bonded)
1/2 jigger Benedictine (3/4 oz)
2 dash Absinthe (1 bsp Kübler)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Sundays ago, I returned to W.C. Whitfield's 1939 Just Cocktails for the evening's libation. There, I was lured in by the Catastrophe that seemed like a cross between a Corpse Reviver No. 1 and a De La Louisiane. Once prepared, the Catastrophe reached the nose with a lemon, apple, minty, and anise bouquet. Next, an apple sip crumbled into Cognac, apple, minty, chocolate, and anise flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

old painless is waiting

1 1/2 oz Overproof White Rum (Privateer Tres Aromatique)
1 oz Coconut Water
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Syrup
1/4 oz Curaçao (Pierre Ferrand Dry)
6 drop Absinthe, Herbsaint, or Pastis (St. George Absinthe)

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

When I thought about the coconut water and pineapple syrup in my fridge, I considered doing a less opaque Piña Colada-Daiquiri riff. To take it up a notch, I thought about how the Painkiller is an orange juice extension of that drink, and I considered Paul McGee's frequent swapping of curaçao for orange juice in classics like the Fog Cutter and Penang Afrididi #1. With the three alternatives to the Painkiller's coconut cream, pineapple juice, and orange juice in place, I added lime juice to balance the sweetness, and later a hint of absinthe to give it some needed depth. For a name, I went with a reference from the movie Predator for this abstraction of the Painkiller: Blane Cooper called his M134 Mini-Gun "Old Painless." Moments before Cooper's final confrontation with the alien, he declared, "Old Painless is waiting."
The Old Painless is Waiting greeted the nose with rum, woody spice, and orange aromas. Next, lime and coconut water on the sip shot into rum, pineapple, and orange flavors on the swallow. Overall, the result was a lot more ethereal and closer to a Daiquiri than the classic Painkiller.