Monday, November 30, 2020

gods of old

2 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse Bonded)
3/4 oz Amaro Meletti
1/4 oz Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao
2 dash Regan's Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Stir with ice, strain into an absinthe-rinsed (Kübler) cocktail glass, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Mondays ago, I also returned to the Kindred Cocktails database where I had spotted the Gods of Old crafted by Seattle bartender Scott Diaz in 2016. The balance on paper seemed to suggest the dessert Black Manhattan that would fit my mood. In the glass, the Gods of Old met the senses with an orange and anise bouquet. Next, a touch sweet sip showcased the amaro's caramel notes accented by darker ones from the chocolate liqueur, and the swallow offered up rye, violet, chocolate, and herbal flavors.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

filthy rich

1 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse Bonded)
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Benedictine

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Sundays ago, I remembered a recipe that I had spotted on Kindred Cocktails called the Filthy Rich created by Zachary Gelnaw-Rubin at Dutch Kills circa 2012. The combination of Cynar and Benedictine is one that has worked well in drinks like the Interrobang and Bookbinder and one that I have used with success in the Chachita. Once prepared, the Filthy Rich greeted the nose with lemon oil, rye, and dark herbal aromas. Next, caramel and malt notes on the sip segued into whiskey, funky herbal, and rye spice flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

the tax lawyer

1 1/2 oz Bols Genever
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 tsp Fernet Branca (1/8 oz)
1/2 tsp Orange Juice (1/8 oz)

Stir with ice, strain into a coupe, and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Saturdays ago, I delved into my Food & Wine: Cocktails collection and found the Tax Lawyer in the 2014 edition. The recipe was crafted by Washington DC bartender Derek Brown as a riff on the Income Tax cocktail (a Bronx with a dash of Angostura Bitters) and a tribute to a local restaurateur, Mark Kuller, who was also a successful tax lawyer. The combination reminded me of an older recipe with a dash of Fernet, namely the Zumbo which had curaçao and gin in place of this recipe's orange juice and Genever.
The Tax Lawyer greeted the senses with an orange, malty, and herbal bouquet. Next, a semi-dry grape note on the sip litigated into a malty, herbal, and grape swallow with a hint of orange and menthol.

Friday, November 27, 2020


1/2 jigger Whisky (2 oz Four Roses Bourbon)
1/2 jigger Pineapple Syrup (1/2 oz)
1 dash Absinthe (1/2 bsp St. George)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.
For a cocktail recipe two Fridays ago, I turned to Bill Boothby's 1934 World Drinks and How to Mix Them and spotted the Linstead that I converted to something closer to an Old Fashioned in proportions. The combination reminded me a little of the Algonquin, so I was intrigued. Once prepared, it offered up lemon, anise, and pineapple aromas before pineapple and malt notes on the sip. Next, Bourbon and pineapple flavors filled the swallow with an anise, herbal, and floral finish.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

the mayor's lament

1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Bonded Rye
1 oz Amaro Nardini
3 dash Woodford Cherry Bitters (King Floyd Cherry-Cacao)
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube.
Two Thursdays prior, I selected Brad Parson's Amaro book and found the Mayor's Lament. This Black Manhattan-like number featured Amaro Nardini as the sweet herbal element and contained accents of Peychaud's and cherry bitters. Brad attributed the recipe to Travis Brazil at 404 Kitchen in Nashville where Travis named it after a regular who portrayed Mayor Teddy Conrad on the television series Nashville. Once prepared, the Mayor's Lament proffered a rye, caramel, and mint bouquet to the nose. Next, caramel and malt on the sip transitioned into rye, chocolate, mint, cherry, and anise flavors on the swallow.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020


2 oz Beefeater Gin
3/4 oz Carpano Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/2 oz Cynar

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

Two Wednesdays ago, I was flipping through the Death & Co. Cocktail Book when I spotted the Cynartown crafted by Phil Ward in 2008. It appeared like a gin-based Little Italy which worked with his "Mr. Potato Head" substitution strategy for creating new drinks and functioned as a great tribute since he worked for Audrey Saunders at the Pegu Club when she crafted that Manhattan variation. Phil also utilized his riffing technique to generate the Augie March with reposado tequila.
The Cynartown began with a juniper, grape, and citrus aroma. Next, grape and caramel on the sip flowed into pine, funky vegetal, and plum flavors on the swallow. Without the barrel-aged structure of rye whiskey in the Little Italy, the Cynar and vermouth became more dominant flavors with gin as the base spirit instead of supportive characters in the play. I was also amused that it took writing this up to realize that Phil was making a pun on the Manhattan neighborhood near the Lower East Side.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

second sip & :: virginia distillery courage & conviction whisky ::

2 oz Scotch (Virginia Distillery Co. Courage & Conviction Whisky)
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/2 oz Cockburn Tawny Port (Sandeman)
1/4 oz Fernet Branca
2 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
I was recently sent to review a bottle of Courage & Conviction, the new release from Virginia Distillery Co. I became familiar with the brand when I worked their booth at a Taste of Boston event in late 2017, and I was gifted a bottle of their Port Cask-Finished Virginia-Highland Whiskey (Batch 5) as a thank you present from their ambassador. While the port-finished whisky I received was a combination of Scotch single malt blended with their own single malt that they make in Lovingston, Virginia, the Courage & Conviction is a single malt of their own distillate and not a blend with imported ones. The blending was probably crucial back in 2017 for the distillery only started distilling in 2015, so their stock was only a little over two years old at most at that point. This new release was inspired by the guiding principles of their founder, Dr. George G. Moore, to "have the courage of your convictions," and the batch was dedicated to Dr. Jim Swan who consulted with the distillery and guided them with their distillation and cask maturation strategies before passing away in 2017. Here, Courage & Conviction is a Virginia single malt whisky aged in used Bourbon, sherry, and cuvee casks.
Virginia Distillery Co. Port Cask-Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky (Batch 5, 2017)
Nose: A dry peat without much smoke, cherry, chocolate, and toasted wood.
Taste: Plum, hint medicinal, caramel, chocolate.
Finish: Cherry, chocolate, cinnamon.

Virginia Distillery Co. Courage & Conviction (Batch: Dr. Jim Swan, 2020)
Nose: Apricot, nutty, toasty, freshly shaved oak.
Taste: Orange, nectarine, cedar.
Finish: Chocolate, medicinal, red fruit.

Overall, the Courage & Conviction was a much more refined spirit than the one that they produced three years prior. It came across as softer and more finished of a spirit showing that the distillery is indeed heading in the correct path as their own products are maturing on site.
For a drink to mix this whisky, I selected from my notes a recipe on the Bittermens website. A few years ago, Avery and Janet Glasser challenged Brian Miller at Death & Co. to make a Scotch, Fernet, and bitters cocktail, and the Second Sip was what he came up with. The combination reminded me of a Chancellor with the whisky, port, and vermouth elements, but here, there was the addition of Fernet Branca to made for a bit more aggressive of a tipple (which I also attempted to do in the Preceptor using other amari). In the glass, the Second Sip donated a grape, malt, and menthol aroma. Next, grape and caramel swirled on the sip, and the swallow showcased whisky, dried fruit, and briny flavors with a menthol finish.

Monday, November 23, 2020


1 oz Hayman's Royal Dock Gin (1 1/4 oz Beefeater)
3/4 oz Carpano Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1/4 oz Punt e Mes
6 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Mondays ago, I was browsing the classics section in The NoMad Cocktail Book, when I spotted the Montauk that I was not too familiar with. The original is an equal parts Perfect Martini without bitters, and this variation was attributed in Punch Drinks to Leo Robischek. The book described the combination with the addition of Punt e Mes and Peychaud's Bitters to be Negroni-like; however, it came across more like a Martinez to my palate. In the glass, the Montauk welcomed the nose with lemon and pine aromas. Next, a grape sip slid into gin and bitter grape flavors on the swallow with an anise finish.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

conjurers & concubines

1 oz Rum (1/2 oz Smith & Cross + 1/2 oz Privateer Navy Yard)
1 oz Oloroso Sherry (Lustau)
3/4 oz Benedictine
1 tsp Allspice Dram (Hamilton's)
1 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into an old fashioned glass with a large ice cube.
To finish off the last night of Sherry Week 2020, I searched the Kindred Cocktails database for an interesting recipe. There, I latched on to Rafa Garcia Febles 2015 creation called the Conjurers & Concumbines that reminded me slightly of the Rum River Mystic. Once prepared, the Conjurers & Concubines gave forth a caramel, rum funk, and allspice bouquet to the nose. Next, a caramel sip stepped aside for funky rum, nutty sherry, and herbal flavors on the swallow with an allspice and chocolate finish. For a final sherry Haiku, I wrote one in honor of the sherry cup-on-a-stick that I was gifted to practice pouring as part of a sherry competition; the venenciador is utilized to dip into the barrel and then pour from a height into a glass (if successful) to aerate the sherry. "The cellar master/amazes me with his flair:/Venenciador"