Friday, July 25, 2014


1 oz Cardamaro
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Cardamom Syrup
6-8 leaf Mint
2 wedge Lemon

Muddle lemon wedges and mint, add rest of ingredients, and shake without ice. Strain into a rocks glass, fill with crushed ice, garnish with mint sprigs, and add straws.

Two Wednesdays ago, I paid a visit to Sarma just as the dinner crowds had begun to subside. There, I was greeted by bar manager Vikram Hedge who was surprised to see me in Boston instead of New Orleans and was glad to make me a drink. The cocktail that caught my eye was the Pugilist which seemed like a take on Nick Jarrett's Prizefighter. Vik supported my assumption and described how he wanted to craft a variation that was less Fernet Branca forward than the original.
The Pugilist's mint garnish contributed greatly to the drink's bouquet. A fruit-driven lemon and grape sip gave way to a more complex bitter, herbal, mint, and spice swallow. Indeed, the Pugilist was less controlled by the Fernet Branca for the other ingredients rounded out the flavor profile.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

cason cocktail

1/3 Dry Gin (1 oz Tanqueray)
1/6 Calvados (1/2 oz Boulard VSOP)
1/6 Swedish Punsch (1/2 oz Kronan)
1/6 Grenadine (1/2 oz)
1/6 Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
After the Visionary Cocktail, I turned back in time to our 1940 edition of The How and When by Hyman Gale and Gerald F. Marco. There, I spotted the Cason Cocktail that reminded me of a Pink Lady without the egg white but with the added flavor component of Swedish Punsch. Once mixed, the Cason Cocktail was more orange-brown than pink though, and it presented a fruity aroma from the grenadine and Calvados. The fruitiness continued on into the sip where the crisp lemon, sweet pomegranate, and apple notes mingled. The swallow then took a more herbal tone from the gin and the punsch's tea and spice; finally, the fruit accents returned with a crisp apple finish.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

visionary cocktail

40 mL Vodka (1 1/2 oz Beefeater Gin)
2 tsp Fernet Branca (1/3 oz)
2 tsp Cinnamon Syrup (1/3 oz BG Reynolds)
3 tsp Lime Juice (1/2 oz)
3 tsp Egg White (1 full Egg White)

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with 2 dash chocolate bitters (homemade).

Last Tuesday, I opened up World's Best Cocktails and spotted an interesting recipe from Russia in the vodka section. Despite my partial Russian heritage, I decided to alter the recipe and use my favorite flavored vodka in its place -- gin! The Visionary Cocktail was crafted by Roman Milotivy at Chinaya Tea & Cocktails in Moscow, and the herbal and spice elements in the mix seemed like the would work even better with gin.
The Visionary Cocktail shared chocolate and anise aromas from the bitters garnish. A creamy lime sip gave way to gin's and Fernet Branca's botanical notes with a lingering cinnamon finish. While the drink prospered with gin for my palate, the Visionary Cocktail would probably be superb with a dark aged rum.

Monday, July 21, 2014

queen's park swizzle

3 oz 86 proof Demerara Rum (3 oz El Dorado 3 Year)
1/2 large Lime (1/2 oz Juice + 1 half Shell)
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
Mint Leaves (10 leaf)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Lightly muddle mint in simple syrup in a 14 oz glass. Add rest of ingredients and crushed ice; swizzle to mix and chill. Add the half lime shell and straw, and garnish with mint sprigs.

Two Saturdays ago, I opened up Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink and spotted the Queen's Park Swizzle. While it is not a new drink to me having first tried it at the Mixoloseum house at Tales of the Cocktail in 2009, it was a recipe that I wanted to put into my repertoire by making it myself. Actually, I had made a riff of one, the Benton Park Swizzle, two years ago, but the drink book lured me to make the classic. The book provided the context of "this is a world famous drink from the Queen's Park Hotel in Trinidad." In retrospect, I wish I had used a darker Demerara rum, but the El Dorado 3 Year was right in front on the rum shelf; moreover, others have recommended garnishing with a dash or two of Angostura Bitters for aroma and effect in addition to the dashes in the mix.
The Swizzle began with a mint aroma that preceded the lime sip with herbal notes. Finally, a rum, spice, and mint swallow rounded off this cold delight.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

fat like buddha

2 oz Flor de Caña 7 Year Rum (DonQ Añejo)
3/4 oz Dubonnet Rouge (Bonal Gentiane-Quina)
1/4 oz Bénédictine
1/4 oz Cointreau

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a flamed orange twist (omitted flame aspect).
Two Thursdays ago, I was looking through Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide 75th anniversary edition and spotted a curiously named rum drink called Fat Like Buddha. Though there was no attribution in the book, a quick websearch informed me that it was the work of Brian Miller at Death & Co. as well as something more specific than Mr. Boston's dark rum. For a quinquina, I opted for Bonal as my substitute for Dubonnet which has yielded positive results in the past. Once mixed, the Fat Like Buddha shared an orange oil aroma that led into a grape and light caramel sip. The rum shined through on the swallow along with bitter, herbal, and orange elements. Overall, the recipe reminded me a bit of the Tony Montana at Trina's Starlite Lounge.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


1 oz Citadelle Reserve Gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz Amaro Montenegro

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with an orange twist.
Two Wednesdays ago, I ventured into Bergamot to pay tribute to bartender Paul Manzelli. For a first drink, I requested the Montenegroni from the cocktail menu. The drink was Paul's Negroni variation subbing Amaro Montenegro for the sweet vermouth. I was not so surprised by this substitution for the man does have a love for that amaro and has done substitutions before such as the Hoop-La! riff I dubbed the Hurly Burly. Once mixed, it offered an orange oil and herbal aroma. Orange notes on the sip mingled with Amaro Montenegro's caramel; finally, the swallow shared juniper, soften Campari, and mandarine flavors. Despite having two amari instead of one, the Montenegroni seemed less bitter and more approachable than the classic.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

howling winds

1 3/4 oz Ansac Cognac
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1 barspoon St. George Absinthe
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
One of the elegant drinks that appeared on the Russell House Tavern in the fall was a Champs-Élysées riff created by bartender Adam Hockman. To the classic, he supplemented the flavor profile with additional spice and herbal elements via absinthe and cinnamon syrup. Once mixed, the Howling Winds offered a lemon and Cognac aroma with notes of anise as the drink warmed up. A lemon and honey sip gave way to a Cognac, herbal, anise, and spice swallow with a cinnamon finish. While created for the autumn and winter weather, the Howling Winds still remains a popular drink through the spring and now summer months.

Monday, July 14, 2014

of lambs and lions

1 oz Martin Miller Gin
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Avèze Gentian Liqueur
1/4 oz Rothman & Winter Crème de Violette
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
For a second cocktail at Estragon, I perused Sahil Mehta's drink notebook and spotted Of Lambs and Lions. Sahil confirmed my assumption that this was his tribute to Spring. Once mixed, it offered a lemon, herbal, and floral aroma. A lemony sip gave way to green and earthy flavors on the swallow with a floral and lemony finish. Overall, Of Lambs and Lions came across like a more botanically driven Aviation.

Friday, July 11, 2014

pan-european pandemonium

1 oz Drambuie
1/2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Manzanilla Sherry

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Twist a lemon peel over the top.

Two Mondays ago, I decided to venture by subway and foot to the South End to pay Sahil Mehta at Estragon a visit. For a first drink, Sahil mentioned that he remembered my curiousity about the Pan-European Pandemonium the last time I peered into his drink notebook and suggested that I start with that. The combination of Drambuie, agave, Cynar, and sherry were ones that I have found to pair rather well together in various drinks, but here they were all in one. My guess that the Mexican aspect of the agave is just part of the pandemonium though.
The Pan-European Pandemonium began with a lemon, smoky, and honey-tinged nose. The Drambuie's honey continued into the sip where it mingled with the sherry's grape flavors. Finally, the swallow offered the smoky mezcal notes with an herbal finish from the Cynar. Indeed, this complex, herbal, and savory drink could go either way as an aperitif or digestif.