Friday, April 24, 2015

hotel madison cocktail

2/3 Swedish Punsch (1 1/2 oz Kronan)
1/3 Dry Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Prat)
Juice 1 Lime (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Tuesdays ago, I began the cocktail hour with a drink I spotted in Jayne's Bartender's Guide from 1934 that is being hosted on Mixellany's eLibrary, namely the Hotel Madison Cocktail. The book provided the intriguing subtitle of "'Darcy' (It's very good for you)," and overall the recipe reminded me of a stripped down Palliative Potion for Pomona. Once prepared, the Hotel Madison Cocktail offered funky caramel and rum notes. The caramel continued on into the sweet sip where it balanced the tart lime flavors. Finally, the swallow was a bit more crisp with Batavia Arrack, tea, and herbal notes with a lime finish.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

orange & essex

1 oz Brandy (Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)
1 oz Dry Madeira either Verdelho or Sercial (Blandy's Verdelho 5 Year)
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
Note: for a drier drink, I have also switched the two volume pairs to 1 1/4 and 1/4.

Two Thursdays ago after work, I decided to try out a drink idea at home. Thinking about all of the Madeira that we use at Loyal Nine in Cambridge, I focused in on the Creole Contentment and how well this wine pairs with brandy and Maraschino liqueur. I also though about how well Madeira works with Campari in Matt Schrage's Red Duster Swizzle. The two concepts synergized when I recalled how well Campari and Maraschino come together to concoct softer Aperol-like notes such as in Eastern Standard's Carnivale (a/k/a the Pisco Disco). For a name, I focused on some of the history of the Loyal Nine group the restaurant is named after in the years before the Revolution. They often utilized the Liberty Tree to hang their effigies; this tree was in Hanover Square here in Boston on the corner of Orange and Essex Streets. The name "Orange & Essex" also reinforced the orange notes in the Campari.
The Orange & Essex began with an orange oil aroma. Grape with cherry notes filled the sip, and the swallow gave forth brandy and red apple flavors with a nutty bitterness on the end. Overall, the drink came across a lot like Eastern Standard's Prospect Park. If I had 4 oz to play with, the 1.5:1.5:0.5:0.5 structure would probably work better here as it did in the Prospect Park to dry out the balance; I did made a drier version of this at Loyal Nine as a 1.25:1.25:0.25:0.25 for a guest and it came across more like a Martinez in balance.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


3/4 oz Bacardi (1 1/4 oz Caliche + 1/4 oz Wray & Nephew)
2 dash Benedictine (1/2 oz)
2 dash Dry Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Prat)
1 dash Picon (1/4 oz Torani Amer) (*)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
(*) Since Picon is often hard to source, sub Ramazzotti (or perhaps Averna) spiked with dashes of orange bitters (or perhaps dashes of Grand Marnier or similar).
Two Wednesday ago, I spotted an interesting straight spirits rum drink in Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 called the Atterbury. With Benedictine and Picon in the mix, it reminded me of the rye-based Creole Cocktail on paper. Once off the page and in a glass, the Atterbury shared caramel orange aromas with hints of rum funk. The caramel and orange notes continued into the sip, and the swallow offered funky rum flavors as well as herbal elements including Benedictine's chocolatey mint ones. Overall, the Atterbury was what I wish an El Presidente tasted like.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

john wood

1/3 jigger Whisky (1 oz Buchanan's 12 Year Blended Scotch)
1/3 jigger Sweet Vermouth (1 oz Dolin)
1 spoon Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)
1 spoon Kümmel (1/4 oz Helbing)
2 drop Bitters (1 dash Angostura)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Tuesdays ago, I reached for my 1934 reprint of Boothby's World Drinks and How to Mix Them. There, I spotted a Rob Roy variation that reminded me a lot of the hint of citrus and sweetener structure that appeared frequently in James Maloney 1900-vintage The Twentieth-Century Cocktail Guide for Mixing Fancy Drinks such as in the Manhattan Bell Ringer (his Manhattan sans apricot rinse "bell ringer" also has lemon and simple in it). Interestingly, this "whisky" drink that I interpreted as Scotch appeared in the Savoy Cocktail Book a few years prior as an Irish whiskey one. Given the commonness of the name John Wood, I was unable to even make an educated guess as to whom the drink was named after. Once mixed, it offered a smokey and grape aroma. A crisp lemon, malt, and grape sip gracefully transitioned to a Scotch swallow with a bit of savory spice on the finish.

Monday, April 20, 2015


2 oz Reposado Tequila (Espolon)
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Dolin)
1 dash Chocolate Bitters (Housemade)
1 Grapefruit Twist
1 Sugar Cube (Demerara)

Muddle the grapefruit twist with the sugar cube and Campari. Add rest of the ingredients and ice, shake, and strain into a double Old Fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with an orange twist.

Two Sundays ago, I turned to the Food & Wine: Cocktails section of my bookshelf and found an interesting and unmade recipe from the 2011 edition called the R'Cobbler. The drink was created by Phil Ward who described the idea as, "I am a Campari-holic and I also love grapefruit twists and mole bitters. This drink is my trifecta." Evidence suggests that this cocktail appeared on Mayahuel's menu as a blanco tequila drink around 2009. I was drawn to the recipe initially for it reminded me of a more bitter Rosita; perhaps, the "R" in R'Cobbler stands for Rosita after all. Now, I realize that it is probably an extension of Phil's Cornwall Negroni that he created at Gary Regan's Cocktails in the Country in 2005. While there has not been a Cocktails in the Country for a while, Gaz is bringing back the tradition this year and I have a spot reserved for the May 11-12th event (more info in the link)!
The R'Cobbler began with an orange aroma that led into a fruity sip with grape, orange, and other citrus notes. The swallow though began with tequila, earthy bitter, and chocolate flavors, and ended with spice from the bitters and lingering citrus notes from the muddled grapefruit twist on the finish.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

red death

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo XCVI) was picked by Whitney of the TipicularFixins blog. The theme she chose was "Drink of Shame," and she elaborated on the theme with his description of, "So, you're a certified, mixologist, craft-tender, bar chef, or fine spirit But, there was a time when you only ordered Long Island Iced Tea. Or, maybe you always made the Jello shots for your frat? Perhaps you're the reason that your local had an Island Oasis machine for so long? Rye & Ginger? Vodka Seven? Someone was ordering these things. Your street cred would be ruined if you ordered or (gasp) served one now, but don't you miss it, just a little? Wouldn't you love to have one more Jolly Rancher? A chance to drink a Mudslide without shame? We all made questionable drink choices in our past, the popular drinks from 1970 to the year 2000 were a cheap, sugary mess. Now is the time to resurrect your favourite drink from the time before modern Mixology. Give a new life to the drink... maybe you need to use fresh ingredients, or you can try elevating the spirits. Make everything from scratch or remove an offending ingredient. Do whatever you can to bring back and legitimize a drink you used to love."

Back in the 1990s, I probably feel more shame admitting that I was a club kid than a poor-choice drinker. I used to spend a lot of time at goth and industrial dance clubs and punk, hardcore, indie, and experimental shows, with little going out merely for drinks other than getting beers with coworkers. While I cannot recall drinking much at music shows, dance nights were drink related with pre-gaming, during, and after-parties. Then again, I was a destitute grad student at the time, so I really did not drink at clubs all that much, but I had definitely tried my share of the house specialties like the Mind Eraser served in a pint glass with a few straws and downed on the count of 3. One night, I bumped into one of the sales reps who used to stop by my grad school lab every two months or so. At some point in the conversation, he asked if he could buy me a drink, and his tone suggested more a mixed drink than a beer. I panicked and declared, "a Red Death." He replied "A what?... I mean I'll get it for you, but I want to know what it is." "I don't know, it's red, it's strong, and everyone orders them from [bartender] Terri." At that moment, I felt shame. Red Deaths are merely boozy fruit punch that defy ingredient definition. The next day, I decided that I was going to learn how to drink a business appropriate drink and later began getting Manhattans elsewhere; while I could have gotten a Manhattan at the club, it would have felt weird drinking it out of a plastic cup filled with ice. While this is the first time I am coming clean here about this here, bartender and owner Josh Childs did trick me into talking about it in an interview he did with me about my Drink & Tell cocktail book.
I came close a decade or more later to finding out what was in Terri's Red Death from a photographer that worked at the club when he was at one of our home cocktail parties around 2007 or 2008. He knew Terri and all her secrets, but at the last minute balked especially since I did not care enough to push him. For this post, I figured that the Manray club's Red Death was not all that original (although her take on it might have been) and sought the help of Google to figure out a consensus recipe. Most had common parts, but it was not until I read one description that stated that the drink was "basically... a Kamikaze and an Alabama Slammer mixed together." With the Kamikaze being vodka, triple sec, and lime juice, and the Alabama Slammer being amaretto, Southern Comfort, sloe gin, and orange juice, I figured that I could swap things around to give it some dignity. While Amaretto Sours were my declared "Guilty Pleasures" back in MxMo XXXII, I figured that I could swap that for orgeat. With lime and triple sec in the mix, why not change the drink to a Tiki one with rum instead since those four ingredients were the essentials for a Mai Tai? I also swapped the Southern Comfort for more rum, and I utilized real sloe liqueur in place of the bottom shelf mess that most non-craft bars have.
Red Death (Redux)
• 1 1/2 oz Amber Rum (Appleton VX)
• 1/2 oz Triple Sec (Senior Curaçao)
• 1/2 oz Orgeat (BG Reynolds)
• 1 oz Lime Juice
• 1/2 oz Sloe Gin (Atxa Patxaran)
• 1 oz Orange Juice
Shake with ice and strain into a Tiki mug, Collins, or Double Old Fashioned glass filled with crushed ice and containing a spent lime shell half. Add a straw.
While the end result was not very red and more of an Orange Death due to the dearth of artificial colors in the mix, it was indeed more Tiki than Hawaiian Punch. The new Red Death began with caramel rum aromas. An orange, caramel, and lime sip gave way to more rum flavors, nutty orgeat, and bitter fruit notes from from the sloe liqueur on the swallow. Perhaps reducing the orange juice volume to minimize its flavor smoothing character could have helped bring out some more distinctive notes, but having a slightly more gentle disposition was truer to the original.

So thank you to Whitney for picking the theme running the show, and getting me to talk about embarrassing drink recipes and moments, and thanks to the rest of the Mixology Monday participants for stepping up and admitting their shame and keeping the spirit of the event alive!

Friday, April 17, 2015

full windsor

1 oz Scotch (Buchanan's 12 Year Blended)
1 oz Applejack
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Dolin)
1/4 oz Benedictine
2 dash Angostura Bitters
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with an orange twist.
Two Saturdays ago, Erick Castro posted a drink on Instagram called the Full Windsor that caught my eye. I never got around to making his drink when it was first published in the March 2014 Imbibe Magazine though. Since Scotch and apple brandy pair so well, I decided to give this recipe from Polite Provisions in San Diego a try and remedy this lapse. Once mixed, the Full Windsor's orange oil brightened the smoke with herbal notes aroma. Next, malt and grape in the sip led into a smoky whisky and apple swallow with an herbal and spice finish. Although the recipe reads like a Vieux Carré in structure, the flavors of the base spirits take the cocktail in a very different direction.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

law harbor

1 1/2 oz Privateer Amber Rum
3/4 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 dash Absinthe
1 dash Angostura Bitters

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

After Straight Law, I continued my Kenmore Square adventure up the street at Audubon Boston. Soon I found myself in front of bartender Taylor Knight and requested the Law Harbor. Taylor explained that the recipe was bar manager Tyler Wang's play on the whiskey Lawhill Cocktail, one of his favorite cocktails. Here, the drink used aged rum and veered from Tyler's Drink recipe roots by reducing the proportion of Maraschino relative to dry vermouth.
The Law Harbor began with orange oil notes that later faded to expose the Maraschino aroma. The sip was rather subtle with white wine flavors and a hint of cherry. Finally, the swallow offered aged rum transitioning well into the Maraschino liqueur nuttiness, and things ended with absinthe's anise and Angostura Bitters' clove on the finish.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

sad waltz of pietro crespi

1 1/4 oz Lustau Brandy
3/4 oz Rabarbaro Zucca Amaro
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Pedro Ximenéz Sherry
5 drop Sherry Vinegar

Stir with ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube. Garnish the ice cube with a pinch of salt.

Two Thursdays ago, I made use of my night off by traveling down to the Kenmore Square area. My first stop was Straight Law where bartender Julien Urraca was doing his weekly shift to break up his Brick & Mortar routine. For a cocktail, I requested the Sad Waltz of Pietro Crespi which Julien credited Sean Sullivan as the creator. I was drawn to the name because it reminded me of Misty Kalkofen's A Slow Dance with Pedro Infante. Had I read Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, I would have been drawn to the name by connection to the tragic love triangle aspect.
The Sad Waltz of Pietro Crespi began with a raisiny grape aroma with herbal notes. The grape-laden sip possessed a rich mouthfeel, and the swallow progressed into raisin and herbal flavors ending in a dry and crisp note from the vinegar. As the salt integrated into the drink, the herbal elements on the swallow got progressively smoother.