Sunday, May 29, 2016

baltasar & blimunda

2 oz Beefeater Gin
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Tawny Port (Taylor Fladgate Ruby)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a flamed orange twist (omitted flame).

After my Sunday night shift, I opted for the Death & Co. Cocktail Book as the source of my evening's nightcap. There in the Negroni variation section was Phil Ward's Baltasar and Blimunda. The name is a reference to a Nobel Prize-winning book of that name by Portuguese author José Saramago, and the tie in is that Phil included Portuguese fortified wine in the mix. Similar to how Phil split the vermouth element in the Cornwall Negroni, here he utilized Punt e Mes paired with port to balance the gin and Campari.
The Baltasar and Blimunda's twist garnish brought fresh orange oil notes over the Campari's bitter orange ones. Next, the port with assistance from the Punt e Mes shared a rich grape on the sip, and the swallow gave forth gin botanicals and Punt e Mes bitterness with a grapefruit-y finish from the Campari.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


2 oz Bourbon (Four Roses Yellow)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Peach Liqueur (Edmond Briottet Crème de Peche de Vigne)
1/2 oz Honey Syrup

Stir in a Collins glass with crushed ice. Garnish with a lemon wheel and a mint sprig (in article photo, not written recipe).

Two Saturdays ago, I decided to make good use of my new mint crop that returned for another season and make the Democrat that I spotted in an Eater article. The Prizefighter's Jon Santer created the Democrat while at Bourbon & Branch in San Francisco midway through reading a Harry Truman biography. Truman was a big fan of Bourbon cocktails, and Santer kept the Southern theme with peaches and lemonade.
The Democrat began with a lemon and mint aroma. The lemon continued on into the sip where it mingle with the honey notes, and the swallow offered Bourbon, floral, peach, and vanilla flavors.

Friday, May 27, 2016

bravo zulu

1 1/2 oz Bacardi Superior (El Dorado 5 Year)
1/2 oz Noilly Prat Sweet Vermouth (Dolin)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into an Old Fashioned glass (Tiki mug) filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.
Two Fridays ago, I strained off my new batch of cinnamon syrup to make a recipe that I spotted in the current issue of Chilled Magazine. The magazine featured some of the recipes from this year's Bacardi Legacy competition, and Vincent Toscano's Bravo Zulu seemed like a delight. With sweet vermouth in the mix, it reminded me of other tropical numbers like the Floridita and the Tortuga. When I made Vincent's drink that he created at San Francisco's Rye, it presented a mint bouquet to the nose. Next, lime, caramel, and a vague fruitiness from the pineapple on the sip gave way to rum, grape, and pineapple flavors on the swallow with a cinnamon finish.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


2 oz Siete Leguas Reposado Tequila (Espolon)
1/4 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat

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

Two Thursdays ago, I turned to the Death & Co. Cocktail Book for my evening's post-work shift nightcap. In the shaken agave section was a Brian Miller recipe from 2009 dedicated to his hardworking bar backs, and he named it the Chingon after the Mexican slang for "bad ass." Overall, the recipe reminded me of the Chasing Fireflies with Benedictine in place of the Green Chartreuse, and also the tequila, orgeat, and lime combination made me think of the Trader Vic classic, the Pinky Gonzalez.
The Chingon presented orange and agave notes to the nose. Next, a creamy orange and lime sip transitioned into tequila accented by Benedictine's herbalness and complemented by orgeat's earthiness on the swallow.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

anchor of light

2 oz La Caravedo Pisco
1/2+ oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz Falernum

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.

Two Wednesdays ago, I ventured down to Stoddard's where bartender Keith Corbett was at the stick. For a drink, I asked for his "Anchor If Light" from the menu, and I was curious about the nautical meaning especially with the sailor's ties to pisco. Keith explained that the name was "Anchor Of Light" after the video game, and the difference was due to autocorrect when submitting his drinks for the menu. Regardless, the idea of an herbal and spiced Pisco Punch sounded delightful.
The Anchor Of Light presented a pisco and pineapple aroma with hints of herbal notes. Next, lime and a vague fruitiness on the sip led into pisco, pineapple, clove, and herbal notes on the swallow.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

[bruce's heart]

2 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz Laphroaig Scotch
1/2 oz King's Ginger Liqueur
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Tuesdays ago, I returned home from my work shift and received a recipe that Andrea had gotten from bartender Sahil Mehta at Estragon as his drink of the day earlier that evening. With nutty sherry and orgeat meeting up with Scotch and ginger in the roster, I was definitely intrigued. For a name, I dubbed it "Bruce's Heart" after Robert the Bruce's dying wish in 1329 to have his heart taken into battle against the Moors in Spain.
The drink began with a smoky aroma with almond notes poking through the peat. Next, a creamy lemon and grape sip transitioned into smoky Scotch and nutty grape and orgeat swallow with a ginger-spice finish.

Monday, May 23, 2016

genever daisy

1 3/4 oz Genever (Bols)
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. I added a lemon twist.

Two Mondays ago, I decided to make the Genever Daisy recipe presented by White Chapel in San Francisco that appeared in the most recent issue of Imbibe Magazine. At first, I thought that it was one of their own creations that utilized the nutty pairing of orgeat and Maraschino that worked so well in drinks like the Gold Cup and Marlin. Later, I realized that it was based off of Jerry Thomas' 1876 recipe for the Gin Daisy that called for Holland Gin.
The Genever Daisy shared a lemon oil aroma over malty and nutty cherry notes. Next, a creamy lemon sip transitioned into an elegant pairing of Genever and Maraschino on the swallow. Indeed, Thomas was in on this delightful Maraschino-orgeat pairing 80+ years before Tiki legends latched onto it.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

van wyck

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo CIX) was picked by Nick of the Booze Baron blog. The theme he chose was "Dry Cocktails," and he elaborated on the choice with his description of, "...There's an entire section of the human sensory experience that enjoys things like dry wines, dry sherries, dry cider, crisp pilsners, dry lambics, gin with soda not tonic and neat spirits. Aperitifs are supposed to avoid sugar so as to not fatigue the taste buds but swanky restaurants seem to think an Old Fashioned or a Hurricane is good enough... maybe we as mixing maestros don't actually consider the whole palate in our industry. Try to name a famous dry cocktail other than the Martini... We don't make enough of them, nor write about them. With a world that's slowly waking up to the fact that excess sugar is probably one of the worst things we put in our diet it's something we all should probably take a look at. Your mission is to create an awesome dry cocktail that excites, entices, and above all refreshes." Nick went on to elaborate on his definition of dry as no more than 10% being sweetener or juice with an additional 10% allotment for sweet fortified wines and vermouths.
For inspiration, I turned to Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 two nights ago for many of their drinks have dashes of sweetener that can be interpreted by your palate. In fact, making drinks from that book is a great experiment in figuring how to achieve your preferred balance. With that, I could easily fit the dashes of sweeteners to 10% (or about 1/4 oz for every 2 1/2 oz). In perusing the whiskey section, I spotted the Van Wyck which appeared like a Dry Manhattan that was made more complex and sweeter by two elements: crème de vanilla and Amer Picon.
Van Wyck
• 3/4 Rye (2 oz Michter's Straight Rye)
• 1/4 French Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
• 1/2 tsp Crème de Vanilla (1/8 oz Navan --> later 1/4 oz)
• 1 dash Picon or Angostura Bitters (1/8 oz Amer Picon --> later 1/4 oz)
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
I opted for the Amer Picon instead of the much drier Angostura Bitters for the recipe reminded me of a Brooklyn with vanilla liqueur instead of Maraschino. For the vanilla, I opted for the Navan on my shelf which the Grand Marnier company decided to later discontinue; I have heard that Licor 43 will work in a pinch if there is no crème de vanilla proper available, and vanilla syrup would not be out of place either. Once prepared, the Van Wyck gave off a vanilla-accented rye aroma. Next, dry malt on the sip gave way to a whiskey swallow with a bitter orange-vanilla finish. I could not help but think that the drink could be improved by using an older whiskey where the barrel would impart a greater range of complementary vanilla notes; since most ryes are young, perhaps an older Bourbon would work. The second was that the modifiers needed to be boosted for flavor purposes, so I ended up adding another barspoon each of Navan and Amer Picon to approach my preferred Brooklyn structure. The result was much more distinctive although out of the boundaries for this event's rules. While I do enjoy dry gin, sherry, Madeira, and rum drinks, for some reason, it is not as enjoyable to drink dry whiskey drinks. Also, I could have utilized the Angostura Bitters and made the 10% of the drink the crème de vanilla, but I thought that the Amer Picon would give a bit more depth.

So thank you to Nick for hosting Mixology Monday for teaching us to cleanse our palates and (re)learn to appreciate the drier side of things. And thanks to the sugar-free/light participants this month who keep Mixology Monday stirring and shaking away every few weeks!


1/2 Bacardi (1 oz Caliche Silver Rum + 1/2 oz Seleta Gold Cachaça)
1/3 Peach Brandy (1/2 oz Edmond Briottet Crème de Peche de Vigne)
1 dash Cointreau (1/4 oz)
2 dash Grapefruit Juice (3/4 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added a grapefruit twist.
For my post-work nightcap, I decided upon the Cyclone from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933. Once prepared, it offered a grapefruit oil aroma from the twist that led into a grapefruit sip that also shared a vague fruitiness from the other ingredients. Finally, the swallow gave forth grassy rum flavors with the sugar cane funk melding well with the peach-orange notes from the liqueurs.