Tuesday, June 28, 2016

padang swizzle

1 1/2 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz English Harbor 5 Year Rum (Plantation Dark)
1/4 oz Laphroaig Scotch
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
3/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup

Build in a Pilsner or Collins glass, fill with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill. Garnish with a cinnamon stick speared through a lime wheel and ignited.

Two Tuesdays ago, I chose to make a recipe that Punch had published in an article on Swizzles. The one that caught my eye was Zac Overman's Padang Swizzle from Fort Defiance in Brooklyn. Like the Balao Swizzle, the Padang Swizzle had sherry as its base (true, many of the Death & Co. Swizzles like the Delores Park Swizzle have a split spirit-sherry base, but the spirit is still a major part of the drink) with rum and smoky Scotch as minor modifiers.
The Padang Swizzle shared a cinnamon and lime aroma that transitioned into a grapefruit and lime sip. The swallow was a bit more complex with nutty grape, cinnamon, and a hint of smoke.

Monday, June 27, 2016

triple arthrodesis

1 1/2 oz Nuestra Soledad Mezcal
3/4 oz Cherry Heering
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Clove Syrup (*)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Fill with crushed ice and garnish with a lemon peel pierced with 3 cloves.
(*) Perhaps falernum would work in a pinch.

Two Mondays ago, we ventured over to Backbar after dinner, and for a nightcap, I asked bartender Dan Braganca for the drink of the day that he had created. The drink was called the triple arthrodesis, a surgical procedure fusing three joints in the foot, and the name reminded me of classics by Embury, Gaige, and others such as the Appendicitis and the Psittacosis. I inquired if the drink paid tribute to bar manager Sam Treadway's recent foot injury; however, Dan explained that the recipe was in honor of his girlfriend who is a podiatrist. So besides naming the drink after things she does at work, he included two ingredients that she loves, namely mezcal and cherry, in the mix.
The Triple Arthrodesis was less medical to the senses for it offered a delightful lemon oil aroma. Next, lemon and cherry on the sip were followed by mezcal and cherry on the swallow with a smoke and clove finish.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

lion of baltimore

2 oz Appleton Reserve Rum (Appleton V/X)
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Bonal)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Orgeat
2 dash Dale Degroff Pimento Bitters (1/4 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After my shift on two Sundays ago, I finished off my week with a recipe from the third book I purchased, namely Philip Greene's The Manhattan. My starting point in the book was the author's Lion's Tail riff named after a War of 1812 ship. This riff like the Hair of the Lion and A Tale of Two Kitties picked rum as the base spirit which seems like a better choice than Bourbon given the lime juice.
The Lion of Baltimore shared a caramel rum and allspice aroma. Next, grape, caramel, and lime on the sip slid into rum, earthy, and allspice on the swallow.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

the naked ape

1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
1 1/2 oz Black Blended Rum (Coruba Dark)
1/2 oz Overproof Lightly Aged Pot Still Rum (Smith & Cross)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Blend with 12 oz crushed ice and pour into a Tiki mug or double old fashioned glass (shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, and fill with crushed ice).
Two Saturdays ago, I turned to my new purchase of the Smuggler's Cove drink book and decided on the Naked Ape. The recipe was crafted by author Martin Cate in honor of the San Francisco exotica band Ape. Despite the recipe lacking garnish instructions, I opted for a long lemon twist as well as a Smuggler's Cove swizzle stick that I garnered at an event at Tales of the Cocktail last July. Indeed, the twist part donated a lemon note to the drink's banana aroma. Next, the lemon continued on into the sip where it paired with the rums' caramel, and the swallow shared funky rum, banana, and cinnamon spice flavors.

Friday, June 24, 2016


1 1/2 oz Blanco Tequila (Avion)
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Raspberry Syrup (Royal Rose)
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a rocks glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a grapefruit twist (grapefruit twist and spent half lime shell).

Two Fridays ago, I cracked open my new purchase of the recently updated Waldorf Astoria Bar Book. Bartender Frank Caiafra kept many of the original recipes from the 1930s edition, paired them with early 20th century variations from other tomes, and added more recent bar offerings such as the Frida. The Frida was created at the Waldorf-Astoria in 2010 for their Cinco de Mayo event as a tribute to Frida Kahlo. The combination of the drink's Green Chartreuse and raspberry syrup was alluring for it had worked so well in the Rose Dragon
The Frida shared a grapefruit and lime aroma that prepared the mouth for the citrussy sip. Next, the raspberry-Chartreuse combination did not disappoint especially with the tequila notes on the swallow.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

strange weaver

1 oz Rum (Owney's)
1 oz Gin (Beefeater)
3/4 oz Cocchi Sweet Vermouth (Dolin)
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz (1/2 oz) Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a rocks glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Thursdays ago in the midst of Negroni Week, I searched Imbibe's database of Negroni variations and stumbled upon Dominic Alling's Strange Weaver. Dominic created this drink at Beretta in San Francisco with the orgeat aspect in a foam and with a half ounce of lemon juice; I decided to keep Imbibe's orgeat in the mix as a liquid ingredient but to up the lemon juice to the original recipe that I found online.
The Strange Weaver offered up an orange aroma with hints of orgeat notes poking through. Next, a creamy lemon and grape sip led into rum and gin flavors with the earthy orgeat tempering the bitter Campari on the swallow.


1 1/2 oz Blandy's 5 Year Sercial Madeira
1/2 oz St. Elder Elderflower Liqueur
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
2 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash (12 drops) St. George Absinthe

Shake with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass, top with crushed ice, and garnish with a lime twist.
One of the new drinks on the Loyal Nine low octane section of the menu is a Madeira tiki number called the Navigator named after Prince Henry the Navigator who claimed the island of Madeira for Portugal in 1419. The starting point was to swap out the rum in the Test Pilot for a dry type of fortified wine which worked well in the Come Sail Away (a/k/a Royal Funchal Yacht Club). I was having problems figuring out which liqueur would work since the original's orange liqueur did not seem to fit nor did the Madeira-friendly Maraschino. Therefore, I tried elderflower liqueur that worked well in Hold the Line and I found my recipe! The Navigator name also jives well with the low proof nature of the drink, and it has been rather popular last night with businessmen, session drinkers, and people on dates.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

:: tips for tales of the cocktail ::

Next month will be my fifth time attending Tales of the Cocktail since my first adventure back in 2009. When I first attended, I had no clue what to expect for I had made my decision to go shortly after hearing that I was competing as a finalist in a bitters competition six weeks out. Since Tales is a multi-ring circus with a lot going on in tasting rooms, seminars, official events, and the year-round offerings of restaurants, bars, and music halls across the city, I felt that sharing some advice might help some to navigate a week long opportunity for not just fun, but career advancement and to avoid some perils along the way. I had previously provided advice before I went to Tales in 2011 and took some of that post and combined it with an article I wrote for the WeeklyDig and a post reflecting on Tales 2015 to write this originally as an article for the USBG National's blog. I have since adapted the article for my own here.
Since you are reading cocktail blogs, it is rather likely that improving yourself and your drink-making career are high on your list. First, Tales of the Cocktail offers a great deal of education. Be sure to pick out a few talks in regards to technique, history, culture, and team building that will advance your way of thinking about your job and enhancing the experience for your guest. Education also continues in tasting rooms via new products as well as interacting with peers and mentors who love talking about their experiences and problem solving your concerns.

Second, Tales is a great time to network. Do not overlook the old school world of business cards, and I recommend getting some printed up if there is still time. And to avoid the issue at the end of the week when you peer at a stack of random business cards, I found that writing a short note on each card will help trigger a memory of who this person was and why I should contact them in the future. Hints about what event, what they were wearing, and what was spoken about have been rather meaningful in how to follow up later. One great way to follow up is to write thank you emails to these people and reconnect when things are calmer. Now with the new school world of mobile devices, adding people to your Facebook or LinkedIn on the fly is a great tool as well, but it is not as appropriate for all situations.
Also in terms of networking, act like your potential future employers, employees, and guests are watching. Similarly, you represent your current establishment everywhere you go, so act with dignity. That does not mean do not go on a mechanical bull or other silly things at the appropriate times, but try not to do or say anything negative or hurtful. Treat others at the event including the establishments you visit with kindness, for how you behave shows a window not only into your soul, but it projects the sense of hospitality one can expect in your bar or restaurant.

Split your time between the people you know from your home city and meeting new people from around the world. Making new friends and following them to the next events can add a wonderful curveball to the week. For example, I am thankful for the group of Dutch bartenders that I befriended in 2011 as they adopted me into their circle and made me feel at home when my Boston crew were off doing other events. Likewise, try things that take you out of your comfort zone whether it's an event like a pool party, going to a jazz show, or dining in a dive bar. Memories are strongest with what was novel opposed to safe and usual.
The whole week itself is a marathon not a sprint, so find your rhythm, and find your pace. Take time to rest, eat, and drink water. Moreover, try to start your day with a decent breakfast, even if that meal is more logically called lunch; drinking on an empty stomach is rarely a good idea. Do not overexert yourself or overdrink for it will make the next day or two much more difficult. Seriously, do not drink everything offered to you; putting a drink down half way might seem wasteful, but it is better for you in the long run. Alternating busy and down days is not a bad strategy, but if you can handle the rush, remember that there will be a chance to decompress at the end of the week. And taking an extra day in New Orleans after Tales to recover is not a bad idea either.

Fear of missing out can be a major issue especially with social media providing images of missed opportunities from multiple sources. However, if your week is full and otherwise pleasurable, do not overthink what could have been. Every year, my Tales experience has been different and I do not feel that one year was better than the other because of it. Just try to fill your week with a variety of activities. If it is your one visit a year to New Orleans, do not neglect the city itself including the bars, restaurants, tours, and museums.
A few things to point out about New Orleans: First, there is quite a bit of crime in the city so do think about traveling in groups or taking taxis. Keep alert. And do not let anyone bet you as to where you got your shoes. Second, New Orleans' weather is extreme. It can go from hot and sunny to dark and stormy on a moment's notice. Carrying a portable umbrella and wearing a hat to keep sun and rain away are good ideas. Third, drinking on the street is permitted, so do partake sensibly in this activity. My favorite spot is Sidney's on Decatur Street to get great local craft brews (especially in cans, since glass on the street is frowned upon) to enjoy while walking around. So to recap, somethings to remember to pack: an umbrella, a portable cell phone battery charger, moleskin and pen for notes, business cards, sensible shoes, a hat to keep out the sun, a bathing suit for pool parties, and Advil (or your own favorite hangover cures although there is a CVS right near the Monteleone).

Unlike many other cocktail events, Tales of the Cocktail has almost too many things going on at once. Do not be overwhelmed. Give some aspects forethought but allow others to just happen as they appear. Be safe and sane, and if you see me that week, say hello and cheers!

Adapted from my article posted last week on the USBG National blog (with different photos). Link only works for USBG members with accounts.

martician vermouth cocktail

1 part Rum (1 1/4 oz Depaz Rhum Agricle)
1 part Turin Vermouth (1 1/4 oz Dolin Sweet)
1 spoon Pineapple Syrup (1/4 oz)
2 dash Noyaux (1/8 oz Tempus Fugit)
2 dash Curaçao (1/8 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with lemon oil.

After returning home from Green Street, I was in the mood for a nightcap so I reached for Louis Fouquet's 1896 Bariana. The recipe appeared like a gussied up Pirate's Cocktail with added tropical complexity from pineapple syrup, crème de noyaux, and curaçao. For a rum, I opted for a rhum agricole given the Martinique reference in the name as well as the French author (ignoring of course, the Martinique from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars that was a rye-based number).
The Martician Vermouth Cocktail presented lemon oil over a vanilla and apricot nose. The sip was mostly grape from the vermouth with the swallow giving forth grassy rum, nutty, orange, apricot, and spice notes.