Tuesday, September 25, 2018

ukranian negroni

2 oz Tanqueray Gin
1 1/2 oz Carpano Antica (Cocchi Sweet Vermouth)
1/4 oz Campari
1/4 oz Jeppson's Malört

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and flame an orange twist over the top (unflamed, dropped).
After getting home from the Luxardo punch bowl competition at the City Winery that was after the Bacardi event, I was in the mood for a nightcap. Therefore, I turned to the 2009 Chicago Reader article where they challenged Chicago bartenders to craft something tasty with Malort. The one I selected was the Ukranian Negroni by Toby Maloney at the Violet Hour, and the structure was closer to a Hanky Panky (with the bitters being a split of Campari and Malort instead of Fernet) than to an equal parts Negroni riff. Once prepared, the twist added orange notes to the gin's pine aroma. Next, a grape sip gave way to juniper, bitter orange, and bitter wormwood on the swallow. Indeed, the Campari-Malort duo was quite intense so it was wise for Maloney not to proportion this recipe akin to a classic Negroni.


1 1/2 oz Bacardi 8 Year Rum
1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro
1/2 oz Coffee Liqueur
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1 wedge Lemon

Muddle the lemon wedge, add rest, shake with ice, and double strain into a double old fashioned with a large ice cube. Here, served as a half size in a sherry glass.

Two Tuesdays ago, I attended a Bacardi event at the Ghost Walks to discuss their Legacy competition as well as drink making and other industry concerns. Besides a trio of Bacardi representatives, one of the hosts was Moe Isaza who is currently the bar manager at the bar, and he presented his 2018 Legacy drink Poderoso that he crafted while at Pammy's in Cambridge. Moe described how the drink idea began at breakfast one morning when he was eating pineapple and sipping on coffee, and he realized how well the combination went. He later discussed the idea with Daren Swisher at Hojoko who introduced him to the Mr. Bali Hai. Instead of lemon juice, Moe opted for a muddled lemon wedge to donate extra citrus aromas, and to add to the citrus diversity, he swapped the simple syrup for Amaro Montenegro.
In the glass, the Poderoso offered up coffee, lemon, and citrus complexity from the Amaro Montenegro on the nose. Next, the sip was filled with the pineapple and coffee roast notes, and this led into rum, mandarine orange, pineapple, and coffee flavors on the swallow.

Monday, September 24, 2018

smoking jet pilot

1 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
3/4 oz Batavia Arrack
3/4 oz Reposado Tequila (Cimarron)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1 dash Herbsaint (1/2 bsp)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with grapefruit and lime twists.

Two Mondays ago, John Gertsen posted a Facebook memory from 4 years ago of the menu from a popup bar that he and California Gold did at Cane & Table in New Orleans back in September 2014. On the list were a variety of recipes created or served at Drink where they both worked such as the Chee Hoo Fizz. Of that collection, the Smoking Jet Pilot caught my eye, so I requested the recipe from John who provided not only the specs but the details that this was a group effort from Drink's early days before they did Tiki Sundays (so perhaps the 2009 era). The trio of mezcal, reposado tequila, and Batavia Arrack reminded me of Phil Ward's Airbag that they were serving at Drink in 2009, and the Batavia Arrack-mezcal duo appeared in another of their cocktails that year, the Esmino's Escape. So perhaps this was Drink's mashup of the Airbag with Stephan Crane's 1950s Jet Pilot.
The Smoking Jet Pilot's grapefruit and lime garnishes filled the bouquet and led quite well into the grapefruit and lime sip. Next, the swallow was a complex smoke, agave, and Batavia Arrack funky rum combination with a cinnamon and anise finish. Moreover, the Batavia Arrack and mezcal seemed to synergize into a burning rubber note at the end as well.

Sunday, September 23, 2018


3/4 oz Spanish Brandy (Camus VS Cognac)
3/4 oz Rhum Agricole Blanc (Clement Premiere Canne)
3/4 oz Lustau Oloroso Sherry
3/4 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
1/2 oz Coffee Liqueur (Kahlua)
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Two Sundays ago, I continued on with my sherry quest by perusing the Lustau 2018 competition entries. There, I spotted the Cutlass by Jason Saura of Navy Strength in Seattle. Once prepared, the Cutlass donated a grapefruit aroma over grape, banana, and hints of coffee on the nose. Next, grape and lime mingled on the sip, and the swallow proffered grassy rum, brandy, dark roast coffee, and banana flavors. Overall, I was impressed at how well the rhum agricole and coffee liqueur worked on the swallow here.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

tonga pup

1 oz Barbancourt 4 Year Rum (Diplomatico Añejo)
1 oz Cynar
2/3 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Falernum (Velvet)
2 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass with ice, top with ginger beer (2 1/2 oz Reed's), and garnish with a lime wheel.

To follow up the previous night's Tiki, I decided to make a recipe from BarNotes that I had bookmarked months ago called the Tonga Pup. The recipe was crafted by T. Reed Richard then of Tulsa's The Valkyrie as his first amaro-Tiki offering. For a name, he dubbed this one after the failed Tiki fast food chain that never came into existence; I first heard of that restaurant concept in Wayne Curtis' And a Bottle of Rum, so I was familiar with the name.
The Tonga Pup offered up minty, menthol, and lime aromas to the nose. Next, a carbonated caramel and lime sip gave way to funky rum and Fernet's menthol on the swallow with pineapple and Cynar's vegetal funk on the finish.

Friday, September 21, 2018

conquistador's downfall

1 1/2 oz Spanish Brandy (Camus VS Cognac)
1/2 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
1 oz Demerara Rum (El Dorado 5 Year)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Combier)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Whip shake, pour into a double old fashioned glass (Tiki mug), fill with crushed ice, and garnish with mint.
Two Fridays ago, I began perusing the other entries for the 2017 Lustau competition that were beside the Hercules that I entered. When I spotted one from Chad Austin, I knew that I had to try his Conquistador's Downfall. While it had an overlapping orchard fruit liqueur (here, apricot instead of peach), it was not a riff on the Missionary's Downfall, but it was still in the Tiki vein. Once prepared, the Conquistador's Downfall welcomed the senses with a mint bouquet. Next, the grape and lime sip slid into brandy, rum, nutty, and apricot-tropical flavors on the swallow with a clove finish.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

laissez les bons temps rouler

2 oz Rye Whiskey (Michter's)
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
1/2 oz Ginger Liqueur (Barrow's)
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass pre-rinsed with absinthe (Pernod Absinthe), and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Thursdays ago, I had just finished reading Gary Regan's newly revised and updated The Joy of Mixology, and one of the recipes caught my eye as drink of the night contender. That drink was the Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler created by Bob Brenner at Portland's Paragon Restaurant. The drink was named after the Cajun French slogan of "Let the good times roll," and likewise, the cocktail was a tribute to the city that adopted that slogan, New Orleans. The recipe appeared to be a riff on that city's Sazerac served up with Cherry Heering and ginger liqueur as the sweeteners (and orange bitters instead of Peychaud's); moreover, the whiskey, cherry liqueur, and absinthe reminded me of the Remember the Maine.
The Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler began with an anise, orange, and whiskey aroma that preceded a cherry and malt-laden sip. Next, the rye led off the swallow along with cherry and ginger flavors, and the swallow ended with a hint of absinthe's anise and herbal notes on the finish.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

cantina band

1 1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Gin (Beefeater)
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
3 slice Cucumber

Shake with ice, double strain into a Collins glass with ice, top with ginger beer (2 1/2 oz Reed's), and garnish with a cucumber slice or ribbon (3 slices between the 4 ice cubes.
Two Wednesdays ago, Andrea purchased some ginger beer, so I perused some of my more recent cocktail books for uses. The one that caught my eye was the Cantina Band from Brad Parsons' Amaro book for it would utilize my bounty of garden cucumbers. Moreover, after a large dinner, a bit of Fernet Branca and ginger beer seemed like a decent enough idea. The recipe stemmed from Perla in Greenwich Village, New York, as one of their Star Wars tribute drinks. Once prepared, the Cantina Band sent ginger and menthol aromas to the nose. Next, a carbonated and caramel sip slipped into Fernet and gin followed by vegetal cucumber on the swallow with a menthol and ginger finish.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

the hard sell

3/4 oz Beefeater Gin
3/4 oz Jeppson's Malort
3/4 oz St. Germain (St. Elder)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

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

Two Tuesdays ago, my web searching brought up a 2009 Chicago Reader article that challenged bartenders across that city to come up with delicious cocktails crafted with Malört as one of the ingredients. The first one that I selected was the Hard Sell by Brad Bolt of Bar Deville for it reminded me of Sam Ross' Sunflower except more bitter instead of citrussy. After I posted my drink on Instagram, Brad replied, "I modified the recipe to 1 oz Beefeater and 1 oz St. Germain after the article came out. Newer batches of Malört have had a more bitter wormwood punch. Hope you enjoyed it!" I am not sure whether I have an older batch of Jeppson's (it was a gift by Eric a/k/a Aphonik) or if I just enjoy bitter cocktails, but I was quite pleased by the balance.
The Hard Sell greeted the senses with a grapefruit and floral bouquet. Next, lemon and peach notes on the sip gave way to gin, bitter wormwood, and fruity-floral elderflower flavors with a grapefruit finish. Indeed, the lemon, Malört, and elderflower liqueur combined to make a grapefruit-peach flavor akin to the Pegu Club's combination generating a grapefruit one.