Friday, May 29, 2020

urban songbird

2 oz Aged Jamaican Rum (1 1/2 oz Appleton Signature + 1/2 oz Smith & Cross)
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Aperol
1 tsp Simple Syrup

Shake with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large cube, and garnish with pineapple leaves and a charred slice of pineapple (omitted the pineapple).

Two Thursdays ago, my copy of Quarantinis to benefit Columbus, Ohio bartenders during this time of restaurant and bar closures. The collection was assembled by the Pegu Blog's Doug Winshop (now a professional bartender himself besides being a blogging brethren), and I was lured in by Alex Eiler's Jungle Bird riff since it seemed like a good transition from the Endor Porg the other night.
The Urban Songbird chirped in with a rum funk and fruity bouquet. Next, lemon and pineapple on the sip flew into a funky rum, pineapple, and orange swallow that came across in a guava-passion fruit sort of way. Doug did comment on my Instagram post that the charred pineapple really adds a lot to the drink, and I agreed after having done the technique recently for the Pieces of Eight (but alas, I only had the top of my last pineapple).

Thursday, May 28, 2020

red hook burning

2 oz Campari
1 oz Punt e Mes
1 bsp Luxardo Maraschino
1 bsp Laphroaig Scotch
9 drop Blood Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)
1 pinch Salt

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Thursdays ago, I decided to make a drink that I had spotted on Kindred Cocktails called the Red Hook Burning. The recipe was crafted by Maks Pazuniak for one of his Something Like This menus at the Counting Room in October of 2013, and given the whiskey, Punt e Mes, and Maraschino elements, the name was most likely a reference to his inspiration -- the Red Hook created at Milk & Honey. Here, his variation not only gained Campari, orange bitters, and a pinch of salt, but the recipe was inverted to become a Campari drink with the whisky being merely an accent. In addition, the large amount of Campari softened by a hint of salt was reminiscent of Maks' Campari "Martini" experiment from Beta Cocktails (that inspired my Camparipolitan).
The Red Hook Burning met the nose with peat smoke and a fruity aroma from the grape or orange elements. Next, grape with a hint of cherry on the sip turned the corner to smoky Scotch, bitter herbal, and orange flavors on the swallow with a nutty cherry finish.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

endor porg

1 1/2 oz Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey
2 oz Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz Martini Bitter
1/2 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with Angostura Bitters (added after the photo was taken).
Two Wednesdays ago, I spotted an interesting Star Wars-themed Jungle Bird riff called the Endor Porg created by Backbar alumni Matt Conner. Matt is now Boston's Teeling Irish Whiskey brand ambassador, and I was excited to give this one a try given the previous successes with Irish whiskey Tiki such as the Birdman, Irish Magic, and Death in the North Atlantic. Once prepared, the Endor Porg flapped in with bitter orange, pineapple, and clove aromas. Next, a creamy lime and pineapple sip gave way to a whiskey, pineapple and bitter swallow with a peachy tangerine finish.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

mill lane cocktail

100% Bacardi Rum (2 oz Flor de Caña Añejo Oro)
1 tsp Grenadine (1/2 oz)
Squeeze and drop 1/2 lime in glass (1/2 oz + spent half lime shell)
4 dash absinthe (40 drop St. George)
3 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Tuesdays ago, I returned to the 1933 reprint of Jack's Manual and spotted the Mill Lane Cocktail that appeared like a Bacardi Cocktail accented with absinthe and Peychaud's Bitters. What lured me in was the fact that the spent lime shell was included in the shake for extra aromatics and bitterness; I first saw this technique in the Fluffy Ruffles and later in Ensslin's Jack Rose. Moreover, the earliest reference that I could find for it was in Jerry Thomas' 1862 White Lion. In those three recipes, the lime peel in the shake added a sharper, brighter, drier, more bitter, and/or more tropical aspect to the flavor profile that I observed.
The Mill Lane Cocktail also caught my eye for it reminded me of the famous boxing referee Mills Lane despite being the wrong era and the wrong spelling. Once prepared, it proffered a lime oil and anise aroma. Next, lime and berry on the sip slipped into rum, pomegranate, and licorice flavors on the swallow. Indeed, the lime shell donated a brightness to the nose with some bitter complexity that added to the absinthe and Peychaud's notes.

Monday, May 25, 2020

mac special

3/4 jigger Brandy (1 1/2 oz Courvoisier VS Congac)
1/4 jigger Rum (1/2 oz Plantation Xaymaca)
2 dash Cointreau (1/2 oz)
1 dash Grenadine (1/4 oz)
1 dash Lemon Juice (3/4 oz)

Add a touch of sugar (omit), shake with ice, and strain into a whiskey glass (cocktail coupe); I added a lemon twist.
On Monday night, I selected Ted Saucier's Bottoms Up where I spotted the Mac Special that seemed like a good follow up to the Soother Punch last night. Like the Soother Punch, it had a split spirits base, orange liqueur, sugar, and lemon, but here there were just two liquors (leaving out the Soother's apple brandy) and the addition of grenadine. The Mac Special was the creation of Bill McDermott of Chateau Frontenac in Quebec, and once mixed up, it donated a lemon, orange, and Cognac aroma to the nose. Next, lemon and caramel on the sip led into brandy, rum, berry, and orange flavors on the swallow; overall, the rum and grenadine gave this Sidecar a bit of depth.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

soother punch

25% Brandy (3/4 oz Camus VS Cognac)
25% Jamaican Rum (3/8 oz Smith & Cross + 3/8 oz Plantation Xaymaca)
25% Applejack (3/4 oz Laird's Bonded)
25% Curaçao (3/4 oz Pierre Ferrand)
1 tsp Sugar (1/4 oz Simple Syrup)
Juice 1/2 Lemon (3/4 oz)

Shake with ice, strain int a goblet with fine ice, and dress with fruit (lemon wheel).
For a cocktail two Sunday nights ago, I returned to my 1933 reprint of Jack's Manual and spotted the Soother Punch. The three spirits, lemon juice, orange liqueur, and sugar structure reminded me of the better known Fedora from Harry Johnson's 1882 New and Improved Bartender's Manual. Later, I would be able to trace the Soother Punch back to Jacques Straub's 1914 book Drinks. Here, the split spirits Sidecar called for Jamaican rum and applejack besides the brandy, and this varied from the Fedora which had Bourbon instead of applejack in addition to slightly different ratios. Once prepared, the Soother Punch greeted the senses with an orange, lemon, brandy, and rum funk bouquet. Next, a lemon sip made its way into a Cognac, funky rum, and orange swallow.

Saturday, May 23, 2020


1/2 Brandy (1 1/2 oz Camus VS Cognac)
1/4 Gin (3/4 oz Tanqueray Malacca)
1/4 Grapefruit Juice (3/4 oz)
3 dash Cointreau (3/8 oz)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added a grapefruit twist.
For the cocktail hour on Saturday night, I reached for my 1962 edition of Ted Saucier's Bottoms Up. There, I latched on to the Harvey's created at the namesake restaurant in Washington DC; the structure reminded me of the Brown Derby in how grapefruit was the citrus here as well as making me think of the Sidecar. The other curiosity was the split spirits base of brandy and gin, and I selected Tanqueray's Malacca for it is a softer gin that is more citrus forward (including grapefruit) and less juniper driven than a London Dry. In the glass, the Harvey's welcomed the senses with a brandy and grapefruit bouquet. Next, the grapefruit continued on into the sip where it was followed by Cognac, pine, herbal, and orange flavors.

Friday, May 22, 2020

life's not a paragraph

1 oz GrandTen Wire Works Gin
1 oz Privateer Silver Rum
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/4 oz Velvet Falernum

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe pre-rinsed with apricot liqueur (1/3 bsp Rothman & Winter), and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Fridays ago, GrandTen Distillery announced its "Collab Cocktail Contest" in conjunction with the Massachusetts Distillers Alliance. They were seeking a cocktail using two or more Massachusetts distilled products with one of them being from GrandTen. Since I played a role in guiding the flavor profile of GrandTen's Wire Works Gin, that made for an obvious choice. I ended up choosing Privateer's Silver Rum as the other Massachusetts spirit, and I took things in a split base Georgetown Club direction. For a little extra panache, I added in a bell-ringer -- James Maloney's apricot liqueur rinse that was his signature move in his 1900 The Twentieth-Century Cocktail Guide for Mixing Fancy Drinks such as in his Martinez Bell-Ringer.
For a name, I wanted to pay tribute to a local writer, and e.e. cummings grew up around a mile from our house on 104 Irving Street in Cambridge. One of his poems that speaks to me during this time is "since feeling is first" which has the line "for life's not a paragraph/and death i think is no parenthesis"; therefore, I dubbed this one the Life's Not a Paragraph. This Martini riff began with an orange, apricot, and pine aroma. Next, white wine and a hint of orchard fruit on the sip transitioned into juniper, clove, lime, ginger, and apricot flavors on the swallow.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

bitter spring

1 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Flor de Caña Gold 4 Year Rum
3/4 oz Ginger Syrup
3/4 oz Orgeat
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass, fill with crushed ice, and top with several heavy dashes of Peychaud's Bitters.

Two Wednesdays ago, I had just finished up a batch of orgeat and sought out an use for it. I eventually stumbled upon a Sother Teague recipe allegedly created at Amor y Amargo in Manhattan in a 2015 Out Magazine article. That drink was the Bitter Spring, and the combination of Fernet, rum, orgeat, and citrus reminded me of the Tar Pit, and Fernet and orgeat have worked well together in drinks as disparate as the Mansfield Cocktail and the Fort York. This recipe attributed to Amor y Amargo was curious for they do not serve drinks with citrus juice there.
The Bitter Spring seemed appropriate name-wise given the current situation, and the libation itself generated an anise and menthol nose. Next, a creamy, caramel, and lemon sip slipped into a rum, nutty, minty, ginger, earthy gentian, and menthol swallow.