Monday, September 1, 2014

samurai swig

1 1/2 oz Yamazaki 12 Year Whisky (1 1/2 oz Pig Nose, 1 bsp Caol Ila 12 Year)
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth (Dolin)
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Dolin)

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

After the Biffy, I turned to Sanctuary: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars and spotted the Samurai Swig. I had previously passed over this recipe for I lack Yamazaki or any other Japanese whisky; however, the combination seemed delightful and I figured that Scotch whisky would work quite well in its place. The book authors also lacked Yamazaki at Sanctuary, their home bar. They crafted this during a guest bartending gig at the Pi Bar in Minneapolis where they had the whisky, and they honed in on it and created something that was rather popular that night.
The Samurai Swig began with orange oil aromas that brightened that of the whisky's peaty smoke. A sweet caramel and grape sip led into Scotch on the swallow with vegetal, herbal, and minty notes from the Cynar and vermouths ending with a smoky finish.

Friday, August 29, 2014

biffy cocktail

1/2 Dry Gin (1 oz Martin Miller Westbourne)
1/4 Swedish Punsch (1/2 oz Kronan)
1/4 Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Tuesdays ago, I reached for my copy of the Savoy Cocktail Book to search for hidden gems. The one that called out to me was a simple Swedish Punsch recipe called the Biffy. Once mixed, the Biffy shared a lemon brightness that countered the perfume-y rum and funk notes from the Swedish Punsch. Next, a tart lemon sip led into a rum funk, tea, and juniper swallow with a return of the tart lemon on the finish. Since the Kronan Swedish Punsch is not a 1:1 match with citrus, perhaps a 4:2:1 or 3:2:1 ratio would work better than the book's 2:1:1; a dash or two of simple syrup could also round out the balance as well.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

autumn leaves

3/4 oz Straight Rye (Old Overholt)
3/4 oz Apple Brandy (Laird's Bonded)
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Dolin)
1/4 oz Strega
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with an orange twist.

Two Thursdays ago, I was looking through Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide 75th anniversary edition and I spotted a familiar looking recipe called Autumn Leaves. Since Mr. Boston often has no attribution, I sought the assistance of Google and then realized why it was familiar -- it was one of Jeffrey Morganthaler's drinks. Jeff wrote about this one for Mixology Monday "New Orleans" back in July 2008, the month before I submitted my first Mixology Monday post but when I was certainly reading all the entries. It was his riff on the Vieux Carré when he had a sparse home bar on hand. The original utilized cinnamon tincture that the book converted to Angostura Bitters; Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters would probably have been a better approximation here.
The Autumn Leaves offered an orange aroma over that of the whiskey. An apple and grape sip then gave way to the rye, the Laird's Bonded heat, and the Strega and bitters' spice.

Monday, August 25, 2014

fort mchenry flip

1 1/2 oz Laird's 7 1/2 Year Apple Brandy (Laird's Bonded)
1 oz Leopold Rye (Old Overholt)
1/2 oz Angostura Bitters
1/4 oz 2:1 Simple Syrup (1/2 oz 1:1 Simple Syrup)
1 Egg

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a pony glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
After the Sfozando, I returned to the Smithsonian's Raise a Glass history-drink project for a recipe I spotted by Sean Kenyon of William & Graham in Denver. The formula of spirits, Angostura Bitters, egg, and nutmeg reminded me of Jacob Grier's PX Flip, so I was definitely down to trying the apple brandy and rye variation. Sean's submission was the Fort McHenry Flip named after the fort that protected Baltimore from the British navy during the War of 1812. He explained, "For this project, I chose to do a 19th-century style of drink called a Flip. The ingredients reflect the time period and the area where one of the most famous battles of the War of 1812 took place, the Battle of Baltimore. Laird's has been making apple brandy since the 1780s, and they were said to have provided their 'cyder spirit' to troops during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Leopold Bros. has recreated a 19th-century Maryland Style rye that has rich, dark tones that perfectly compliment the apple brandy." Lacking exact matches, I opted for another of Laird's products, Laird's Bonded, and for Old Overholt Rye to match the Leopold's Maryland style (although perhaps not a perfect historical match). Once mixed, the Flip greeted my nose with apple and nutmeg spice aromas. A creamy apple and malt sip then gave way to whiskey, clove, and allspice flavors. Overall, the fort-themed apple and herbal Flip reminded me of Misty Kalkofen's Fort Washington Flip named after the structure that helped to protect Boston from the British during the Revolution.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

green isaac's special

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo LXXXVIII) was picked by JFL of the Rated R Cocktails blog. The theme he chose was "Coconuts" which seems perfect to capitalize on the last few hot weeks of the summer and a good follow up to June's theme of "Pineapple." JFL elaborated on the theme with his description of, "Ah the Coconut, so round, so firm, so fully packed... with flavor... Coconut is versatile, coconut is magical, not only is it edible, but it can be made into scores of products. However, this month you need only concern yourself with the liquid variety as I unveil MxMo Coconuts. Yes friends, it is my sincere belief the coconut does not get the love, nay the respect it so richly deserves. Because this easy going tropical seed had its heyday in the Tiki era, it's happily associated with the same fun loving drinks… Despite all the great Tiki drinks coconut appear in most people are down on the humble seed because of the Piña Colada. Friends, this need not be so; I say we take this delicious ingredient and show it can yield a tasty, well-balanced cocktail."

For a starter, I latched on to the Tiki idea and picked up Beachbum Berry's Remixed and searched for coconut libations. Most were riffs on the basic Coconaut's rum-coconut cream-lime formula, and that did not fit my mood. Then I remembered a drink I remember seeing on the Trina's Starlite Lounge menu a few seasons ago, the Green Isaac's Special. Instead of rum and coconut cream, it calls for gin and coconut water with Angostura Bitters in the mix. The history of the drink and name all point to Ernest Hemingway. Therefore, I reached for Philip Greene's To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion for not only the recipe but a bit of history.
Green Isaac's Special
• 2 oz London Dry Gin (Beefeater)
• 4 oz Green Coconut Water (Naked)
• Juice of 1 Lime (1 1/2 oz)
• 2-4 dash Angostura Bitters, to taste (4 dash)
Shake with ice and pour into a Collins glass. Garnish with a lime wedge or peel (half spent lime shell).
Greene describes the recipe as a modified Tom Collins with bitters that history suggests that Hemingway came up with during his time in Key West in the 1930s. It first appears in Islands in the Stream and is named after the islands in question, Great Isaac and Little Isaac that are north of Bimini. The protagonist is described as enjoying, "the tall cold drink made of gin, lime juice, green coconut water, and chipped ice with just enough Angostura Bitters to give it a rusty, rose color." Tasting notes of "the sharpness of the lime, the aromatic varnishy taste of Angostura and the gin stiffening the lightness of the ice-cold coconut water" were also provided. The drink also appears with different names in two other books in this novel.
Once mixed, the Green Isaac's Special shared a zesty aroma from the lime and the bitters' allspice. The sip was rather smooth and salty from the coconut water, and the swallow presented the gin botanicals and most of the lime flavors which blended into the Angostura's spice. Surprisingly, the sugar content in the coconut water was sufficient to match the lime juice's tartness.

So thank you to JFL of Rated R Cocktails for picking the theme (and allowing other options besides mallet, chisel, and power tools to open up coconuts) and for running this month's show, and thanks to the rest of the Mixology Monday participants for keeping the shakers shaking and the spirit of the event alive!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

the sfozando

1 oz Mezcal (Sombra)
3/4 oz Rye (Ryan & Wood)
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth (Dolin)
1/2 oz Benedictine
1 dash Chocolate Bitters (Homemade)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
Two Wednesdays ago, I began the cocktail hour by flipping through the 75th anniversary edition of Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide and spotting the an interesting cocktail called the Sfozando. The recipe was attributed to Eryn Reece of Death & Co. in Manhattan, and I could find little about the drink online other than sfozando is a musical notation to play with sudden and strong emphasis. The split spirits base with rye and mezcal that caught my eye made me think of the Red Ant at first, but that only used a barspoon of mezcal; then I also recalled the Racketeer and the Devil's Soul that put the agave more forward. Once mixed, the Sfozando offered orange oils that brightened up the mezcal's smoke notes. Next, a sweet malt sip gave way to smoky agave, rye barrel, and chocolate herbal notes from the Benedictine and bitters.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

a wish for grace

1 1/2 oz Privateer Amber Rum (Privateer Silver)
3/4 oz Blandy 5 Year Verdelho Madeira
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Two Tuesdays ago, I decided to make a drink that Maggie from Privateer pointed out on her Instagram; the drink was part of a project by the Smithsonian to tie cocktails to history. A Wish for Grace, the recipe that used her rum, was created by Steven Liles of Smuggler's Cove in San Francisco. The name refers to Grace Wisher, a 13 year old African American servant who assisted Mary Pickersgill to help sew the "Star-Spangled Banner" flag. For spirits, Steven chose New England rum and Madeira that would have been popular in taverns of that day.
A Wish for Grace began with a lemon and grape aroma that led into an orange and grape sip. The swallow then presented a rum and lemon swallow with grape and dried fruit flavors from the Madeira. Overall, the drink had a very classic feel reminiscent of old punches and cups such as the West Indies Punch.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

haji sling

20 mL Angostura Bitters (3/4 oz)
20 mL Cherry Heering (3/4 oz)
20 mL Benedictine (3/4 oz)
20 mL Lime Juice (3/4 oz)
12.5 mL Orgeat (1/2 oz BG Reynolds)

Shake with ice and strain into an ice-filled Highball glass. Float a rum of your choice (1/2 oz Plantation 5 Year Barbados), and garnish with a cherry and lime wheel.

Two Wednesdays ago, I decided to make a drink that I had spotted in Gary Regan's 101 Best New Cocktails series called the Haji Sling. Ian Loh created this recipe at Helvetica in Perth, Australia, as an Angostura-based Singapore Sling riff. He dubbed the libation after the "quirky" Haji Laneway in Singapore. With Angostura-heavy Tiki-like drinks such as the Stormy Mai Tai and the Trinidad Sour being so tasty, I was quite excited to see the results here.
The Haji Sling donated lime and caramel rum notes to the nose. The sip was dry and woody from the Angostura Bitters and cherry from the Heering, and the swallow began with herbal and almond notes and ended with a lime, clove, and allspice finish.

Friday, August 15, 2014


1 1/2 oz Appleton V/X Rum
1/2 oz Privateer Silver Rum
1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 large swaths Lemon Peel
2 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Express oil from lemon peel into mixing glass. Add the swaths, the rest of the ingredients, and ice; stir and strain into a coupe glass.
For a second drink at Kirkland Tap & Trotter, I asked bartender Kenny Belanger for the Seaward. Kenny described how this was bar manager Jared Sadoian's recipe. Once mixed, it offered a caramel aroma from the aged rum that was brightened by citrus elements. The caramel continued on into the sip where it mingled with cherry notes when the Seaward was colder and orange flavors when it was warmer. The swallow shared the rum notes and alternated between nutty cherry and orange peel on the finish. The lemon oil was less obvious as a flavor component but perhaps it worked to brighten the drink up. Perhaps switching the liqueur ratio to 3/4 oz Montenegro and 1/4 oz Maraschino would help the keep the Maraschino in check in this recipe.