Wednesday, December 31, 2008

henri v flip

Landy VSOP Cognac
Chambord
St. Elizabeth's Allspice Dram
Simple Syrup
Egg (whole)

Shake to mix the egg, add ice and shake again. Strain into a cocktail glass and dust the top with nutmeg.

Yes, this is Frederic here and not Andrea or Jess ordering and writing about a flip. For my last drink at No. 9 Park, the curiosity over the Henri V won over my usual fear of egg drinks. I figured if anyone had fresh, high quality eggs, it would be No. 9. When I mentioned this to Matt and commented about how they have their very own dairy cow, Hopi, he replied jokingly that their chicken, Raul, laid these eggs today for them. My guess was that the off smells that have scared me away from flips in the past were due to lesser or older ova and not due to raw egg themselves. It was not all flips that I have tasted but a few that deterred me. Well, it was worth a try.
And I was not disappointed. The Chambord played well with the nutmeg and Allspice Dram's spice and the brandy and egg's richness. In addition, it interacted with the brandy to produce an interesting native grapes flavor. Indeed, the egg did not have a significant smell or taste role but provided a luxurious thickness and mouthfeel to the drink. It also toned down the often dominating allspice flavor a notch. Perhaps if all bars got their eggs fresh from Raul the chicken, my fear of flips would never have been generated.

flor de mayahuel

Milagro Silver Tequila
St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
Lemon Juice
Cider (Mulled)

Shake with ice and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Add a long lemon twist knotted as garnish.

Last night when Andrea was out, I made my way down to Park Street to check out Marliave, an intriguing old speakeasy locale. After an okay Manhattan there, I retraced my steps and walked up the hill a bit to No. 9 Park where Matt was tending the bar. After perusing their cocktail menu, for some reason the Flor de Mayahuel called out to me -- an oddity since I am not a big tequila drinker. When I mentioned it, Matt launched into an interesting history of Mayaheul, the Aztec fertility and tequila goddess and how she had multiple bosoms. My websearches later clarified that it was multiple nippled -- 400 to be exact -- which symbolized her nutritious power. She only produced agave whereas her husband, Petecatl, taught the people how to ferment the juice. And alas, I could not find a pictograph showing a 400-nippled goddess so the one above will have to do.

The drink itself was very tasty. The first smell of lemon oil transitioned rather well into the tequila. The St. Germain was not strong enough to be picked out by name if it were not listed but added some extra spice to the tequila flavors. The locally grown and pressed cider was also subtle; I am not sure what spices were mulled into it, but they functioned similarly to the St. Germain. And lastly, the citrus melded the flavors together and contributed to the refreshing end product.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

d.o.m. cocktail

2 oz Plymouth Gin
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Fresh Orange Juice
1 dash Orange Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass garnished with an orange wedge.
For my second drink at Green Street, I asked Emily to draw a line through another drink I have never ordered, the D.O.M. Cocktail (standing for Deo Optimo Maximo which makes reference to the abbey where the monks used to make Benedictine). Historically, I was able to trace this drink recipe back to the 1930's at the Ritz Bar in Paris. Tastewise, the Benedictine formed a faint wisp of flavor complexity behind the orange juice and gin. Andrea commented that it was very ginny or junipery, although my gin taste buds were hit a lot harder botanical-wise in the previous London Cocktail's Bombay Gin than this one's Plymouth Gin.

london cocktail

2 oz Bombay Dry Gin
1/2 oz Fresh Orange Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup (1:1)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass pre-rinsed with Ricard. Garnish with an orange wedge.

Last night, Andrea and I stopped in to Green Street Grill on the way home after having food at Grasshopper in Allston. Dylan made my first drink, the London, which is one of the drinks off of the big list I have never ordered. The anise seed-orange interplay made for an interesting drink. The drink itself had a rather good balance and was not overly sweet. While speaking to Dylan about recipes, he commented that many of his recipes come from the old Esquire and Trader Vic drink books (seen in photo for the D.O.M. cocktail above, which not surprisingly looks a lot like the London cocktail); however, I was not able to find the London in either of those two books. I did find a variation in CocktailDB:
London
• Dry Gin
• 2 dashes Orange Bitters
• 2 dashes Gomme Syrup
• 2 dashes Absinthe
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Add an olive and squeeze lemon peel on top.
Clearly a related cocktail except this one is a lot more gin forward akin to a Jerry Thomas Fancy Gin Cocktail. The Green Street London seems a bit more modern of a recipe, and I am rather glad that there was no briny olive decorating my beverage.

genever gin horse's neck

2 oz Bols Genever
1 oz White Grapefruit Juice
1 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

Shake with ice and stain contents into a tall glass garnished with a long, broad grapefruit zest. Add crushed ice and straw.
For my third and last cocktail at Drink, we returned to gin as a base spirit. When John rattled off the ingredients to this cocktail and I was willing to give it a shot without missing a beat. While I am familiar with Anchor Steam's and Boomsma's genever gins (a maltier grain-forward instead of grain-neutral gin variety), this was the first time I was having Bols' version (albiet I did not have the opportunity to try it by itself). John was very specific that the drink needed white grapefruit juice since pink or ruby varietals lack the bite needed to balance certain drinks such as this one. I could see how a different juice would have let the considerable volume of St. Germain over-sweeten this drink for my tastes, but alas, the drink was perfectly balanced. From John's choice of vintage glassware to the way the grapefruit peel corralled the crushed ice just so, the presentation of this drink was also rather stunning.

krakatoa

1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
Orange Twist

2 oz Batavia Arrack
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Demerara Simple Syrup

Flame the green Chartreuse in a straight sided wine glass, and twist the orange peel over the flame. Extinguish the flame after a minute or so. Stir the other ingredients with ice and strain on top of the extinguished Chartreuse. Drop in original orange twist.

To keep up with Andrea's tiki-themed adventure, John Gertsen at Drink made me a Krakatoa on Sunday night [1]. I cannot recall what conversation preceded him deciding to make me one or whether I just told him to make me what he was already appearing excited about creating for me. The common thread between this drink and my first one was the Fernet and the orange oil flavors. The Krakatoa uses a base spirit called Batavia Arrack, a spicy sugar cane and red rice rum distilled in Java, and the drink is symbolically named after the island near Java which suffered a tremendous volcanic erruption in 1883.

Tastewise, the flaming of the green Chartreuse gave it a more vegetal almost celery like flavor. The spiciness of the Batavia Arrack worked well with the Chartreuse and Fernet Branca flavors. Indeed, the cumulative taste met and actually exceeded the high level of showmanship in the creation of this drink.

[1] Sunday was also the 8th night of Hannukah, and Drink was celebrating this festival with flaming drinks such as this and the Blue Blazer, Scorpion Bowl, and others. If only cocktails and religion could be melded so beautifully...

Monday, December 29, 2008

don't give up the ship (variant)

Hayman's Old Tom Gin
Orange Curaçao (Curaçao of Curaçao)
Fernet-Branca
1 dash Bittermen's Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and serve in a punch cup. Garnish with an orange twist. See below for a possible proportions.

Last night, Andrea and I headed out to Drink in Fort Point. Ben and Sam were manning the very crowded center bar so we decided to go pay John Gertsen a visit at the 1800's bar he was stationed. John wanted to know what direction I was in the mode for and I replied gin with bitters. John had an idea and only asked "egg or no egg?". I declined since there is something in the smell (or taste?) of most flips and other egg drinks that does not sit well with me. A few exceptions that I have not minded are the Ramos Gin Fizz and the Pisco Sour, although they were drinks at events and not ones I ordered.

The cocktail John made me was a small amount of Fernet and orange Curaçao to flavor the Old Tom Gin. John served it to me in a small, handleless punch cup since he wanted this drink to warm up in my hands and change over time. I did not bother to ask the specific proportions on this cocktail, but when the bill came it read "Don't Give Up the Ship" which is a drink I remember reading about in the Bunny Hugs blog. John's drink was indeed a variant of this without the Dubonnet Rouge:
Don’t Give up the Ship
• 1 1/2 oz gin
• 1/2 oz Dubonnet rouge
• 1/4 oz Fernet Branca
• 1/4 oz orange curaçao
The Dubonnet would have been a nice addition for it melds well with orange flavors and places nicely with gin. However, the simplicity of John's drink where the orange, chocolate, and Fernet flavors swirled through my taste buds was not lacking in any way. Or perhaps, some might suggest it was lacking in the egg (white or whole?) realm from John's original concept. I'll leave that experiment up to our faithful readers to go and figure out.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

[bitter improv]

1 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Pimm's No. 1
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe; garnish with an orange twist.

For my next drink at Craigie, I asked Michael to make me something off the menu. It did not matter if we stuck with gin or moved on to rye but to have some bitter liqueurs as the focus. As he was thinking, I told him that he could extemporize if he would like, and he answered the dare quite well.

The end product was sort of like a Prospect Park with a wonderful lingering bitterness to it from the Cynar. When I let Tommy taste it, he commented to Michael to decrease the Aperol and switch to the sturdier Angostura Orange next time. I thought that reducing the Aperol by half an ounce and either adding that volume to the Pimm's or the rye would be good next steps in the drink's evolution, but regardless it was a good cocktail to end the night.

joie vert

1 1/2 oz Bombay Gin
1 oz Juniper-Sage Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 1/2 oz Golden Russet Apple Cider
1/4 Apple
1 pinch Sugar
1 dash Bittermens Pepper Cake Bitters

Muddle apple pieces and pinch of sugar. Add rest of ingredients, shake, and strain into a highball glass.

Friday night after a wonderful dinner at Vee Vee, Andrea and I stopped in to the bar at Craigie on Main. One drink that neither one of us have had which caught my eye was the Joie Vert. Tommy was a bit surprised that I chose it since it seemed like a recipe I would not favor, but was pleased to hear that I was trying to explore his cocktail menu's range. I guess it is true that I do not usually favor tall drinks and muddled fruit but stepping outside of one's comfort zone can lead to some good surprises.

Michael stepped in to make this drink for me. The apple he muddled appeared to be a Macintosh varietal and he rendered it down to a fine pulp. The bitters were a special recipe the Glassers (the Bittermens folk) crafted for Craigie that focus on gingerbread sorts of flavors. The other herbal flavors, besides the gin, were the juniper-sage syrup (not sure if it was sugar based or not, with my guess not) which complemented the apples flavor very well along with the Pepper Cake bitter's spices. The end product was rather tart and refreshing. The fine bits of muddled apple did not detract from the drink nor clog the straw like a lot of muddled fruits can do; in fact, they added a fine texture across the tongue.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

[brown manhattan]

1 1/2 oz Sazerac Rye
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Amaro Nonino
1 dash Bittermens' Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

For my next and last drink at Eastern Standard last night, Hugh stuck with the Manhattan theme and improvised a rye version using a spicy vermouth, Punt e Mes, and a rich digestif, Amaro Nonino. Overall, the cocktail ended up somewhere between a Black Manhattan (2 parts rye to one part amaro, dash Angostura) and a regular one. The drink's full bodied flavor was rounded out with a dash of mole bitters which added a decadent note to this nightcap.

[christmasy rum manhattan]

1 1/2 oz Rhum Barbancourt 8 Year
1 oz Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth
1 1/2 barspoon Allspice Dram
1 1/2 barspoon Cynar

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.

Last night, after Andrea and I got food at India Quality, we went up the street to spend Christmas Eve with the Eastern Standard crew. Apparently, much of Boston had the same idea as the place was rather packed. We luckily found a pair of empty seats at the far end of the bar in front of Hugh Fiore; Hugh spent much of the evening busy making drinks for the restaurant patrons' seemingly unquenchable thirst that night.

For one of my cocktails last night, I told Hugh that I was thinking about something with vermouth and we came to the concept of a spicy rum like Barbancourt as the base spirit. For the bitters, Hugh went with Allspice (Pimento) Dram and Cynar which added a good deal of complexity and a bit of Christmas spirit (one article on Allspice Dram called it "Christmas in a glass"). It is interesting how Cynar is making a rise in the Boston cocktail scene perhaps as Campari and other bitter liqueurs are becoming too mainstream. Cynar is rather intriguing to me as it tastes nasty straight (to my palate) but wonderful in cocktails. Overall, Hugh's cocktail was rather spot-on with the only possible change I can think of would be to add a lemon or orange twist for some extra aroma although that would take away from the Manhattanness of the drink. So perhaps his omission was wise indeed.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

tom & jerry

Ultimately, this space will be occupied by a summary of a couple versions of the Tom & Jerry that I've had this winter. But for now, consider this space a PSA:

Get one with Fernet. Really. Just do as I say.

Scott at Rendezvous made me one, and I think John at Drink would be game to make one this way, too.

cynar flip

2 1/2 oz. Cynar
1 egg

Add ice, shake the living daylights out of it. Pour into a cocktail glass.

I must say, and in fact I did say, that this was a pretty risky drink for M. Holliday to serve me. "I trust you, " he said, but I think it had more to do with trusting his memory about what I like to drink. It nonetheless paid off, and it was a drink I genuinely enjoyed. The bitterness of the Cynar is cut just enough by the egg without taking away any of the actual flavor, and I'd recommend it to anyone who was on the fence about liking Cynar (Jess?).

I had asked for a cocktail made with no more than 50% alcohol. Now, I know that a glass of 80 proof bourbon technically meets these requirements, but Scott chose to interpret this as "alcohol being one of two ingredients". This recipe was taught to Scott by Ben Sandrof, of Drink fame. I don't know of Ben thought it up, or if someone else passed it along to him during his travels. A quick google search brought up a reference to a related cocktail, the Guyana Flip, composed of rum, ruby port, Cynar, whole egg, and grated nutmeg. Come to think of it, that sounds pretty good, too.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

xalapa punch

When our friend Matt took us up on the offer to borrow one our punch bowls for his party, he asked if I wanted to pick a recipe. After looking online and in our book collection, the Xalapa Punch caught my eye. Unlike many of the punches with a rich history surrounding them, the Xalapa's was elusive and I could not even confirm that it was created in the city in Mexico. The oldest reference I could find was in The Blue Grass Cook Book from 1904 (available as a pdf download here): [1]
Matt wanted to do a trial run of the punch. I made a 4 cup version of a more modern recipe. Most of the newer recipes call for grated orange peels instead of lemon. Matt approved.

Shortly after that, I bought David Embury's The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks and decided to use his version of the recipe:
Xalapa Punch
• 2 1/2 quarts strong black tea
• 1 pint simple syrup
• grated peel of 2 lemons
• 1 bottle applejack
• 1 bottle rum
• 1 bottle dry red wine
• 1 lemon sliced thin
Pour the hot tea over the lemon peel and allow to stand 10 to 15 minutes. Add the sugar syrup and stir thoroughly. Cool, add the liquors and wine, and let stand an hour or more to ripen. Pour over ice in Punch bowl and add lemon slices just before serving.
A day before the party, I made the lemon-rind infused tea (Oolong) and simple syrup (1:1) and stored it in the refrigerator overnight. I left the liquor and wine choices up to Matt. He went with Laird's Applejack, Mount Gay Eclipse Rum, and Casillero del Diablo Merlot, and he had them stored in the freezer (liquors) and fridge (wine) as requested.
The end product was a delightful lemon-flavored tea and sangria hybrid which the guests seemed to enjoy a lot. The punch was not overly boozy-tasting but still packed some heat at around 13% alcohol. The lemon flavor was a lot more subtle than the orange in the trial batch which could either be due to the quantity of oils in the citrus I purchased, how the flavors work with the punch, or the wine choice. The Casillero del Diablo was a lot more robust than the small bottle of Sutter Home we used in the trial, so it played a more dominant role in the flavor profile. Perhaps a low end Calvados (like the $20 Morin) would have added more apple flavor than the applejack did especially against the wine.

[1] A little research after the fact points that there is a famous horse stable, Xalapa Farm, in Kentucky which would explain the Blue Grass Cookbook connection and favor it over a Mexican one.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

the dancing scotsman

1 oz Dewar's Scotch
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Honey Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe. Fill with sparkling wine and garnish with a flamed lemon twist dropped in.

Last night after DJing, Andrea and I went up the street to Eastern Standard to have dinner and drinks. After dinner, I chose The Dancing Scotsman in a further effort to broaden my Scotch drinking experiences and to see how it would work in a champagne cocktail. It was also a longstanding drink on their cocktail menu I have always up until then overlooked.

By recipe, the drink has the appearance of a Scotch Sour with the added element of the sparkling wine. Similar cocktails exist in the whiskey family with the closest cocktails I could find being the French 95 and Imperial Fizz Variation (bourbon and rye sour champagne cocktails, respectively), but none with Scotch. In this cocktail, the interplay of the champagne's bite worked rather well with the sharp edge of the Scotch; an interaction that would have been lost using another form of whiskey. The honey syrup gave the drink the necessary touch of smoothness and sweetness to round off the cocktail. Overall, it was a fine "Dedicat[ion] to Tommy Dewar" indeed.

saloon man's sour

1 1/2 oz Sailor Jerry's Rum
1/2 oz Sloe Gin
1/2 oz Lime Juice
2 barspoons Maple Syrup
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shaken with ice and strained into a rocks glass.

The other day, Andrea and I stopped into Craigie on Main on the later side of an evening and finally found seats at the bar after a few abortive attempts over the past few weeks. The Saloon Man's Sour caught my eye with the description of "New England Warmth, Tropical Aroma" and with the curiosity of how sloe gin would work in this cocktail. The drink itself was rather complex especially for the genre of sours. With the spiced rum and the bitters, it did remind me a bit of the Benedictine-containing Frisco. Moreover, the sloe gin along with the maple syrup did a good job of balancing the lime so that it did not overpower the taste profile.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

mexican hot chocolate

This month's Mixology Monday theme, "Spice" (MxMo XXXIV), was chosen by Craig from Tiki Drinks & Indigo Firmaments. Craig gave the description as, "Spice should give you plenty of room to play - from the winter warmers of egg nog, wassail and mulled products to the strange and interesting infusions of pepper, ceubub, grains of paradise, nutmeg — what have you! I would like to stretch the traditional meanings of spice (as the bark, seed, nut or flowering part of a plant used for seasoning) to basically anything used for flavoring that isn’t an herb. Salt? Go for it. Paprika? I’d love to see you try."
When Andrea and I went to the Taza Chocolate Factory open house a little over a week ago, my question of what to do for this Mixology Monday was answered when we saw packages of Chocolate Mexicano with Cinnamon for sale. Taza is a local (Somerville, MA) chocolate maker that uses only free-trade organic cocao beans that they buy directly from small farmer cooperatives. Taza uses a stone grinding process that leaves in a lot of the fruity and nutty flavors that are lost in the conching process utilized in making standard smooth chocolate (Taza is a bit gritty). The Chocolate Mexicano we bought contains only three ingredients: roasted cocoa beans, cane sugar, and cinnamon stick. They also make one with vanilla bean and one with almond.
Mexicano Hot Chocolate
• 1 cup soy milk
• 1/2 disk Taza Mexican chocolate (about 0.7 oz)
• 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 1/2 oz Partida Blanco Tequila
• 1 cinnamon stick
Heat soy milk, cayenne, and chocolate in a pot and stir until chocolate has fully melted. Pour into a mug with the tequila, and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
The end product was quite flavorful -- it was richly flavored without being all that sweet, and was very delightful as compared to regular store-bought powders. The tequila mixed well with the chocolate and the spice and was perfect in the recommended 1 part in 5 ratio that I found online. The cayenne could have been cut back a bit; while it was not too fiery for me, the flavors did mask the cinnamon a bit. Overall, a perfect drink to sip as the cold December winds whip across our windows.

View the list of the other MxMo 34 Spice entries here!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

no. 42

2 1/2 oz Greylock Gin
1/4 oz Dry Vermouth
1/4 oz Honey Syrup
1 dash Bittermens Boston Bittahs

Stirred with ice and strained into a cocktail glass. Lemon rind twisted over glass and dropped in. Measurements were eye-spied.

For my second of two drinks at Hungry Mother last night, I asked Duane to make me a No. 42 since I wanted to try a drink made with the relatively new Berkshire Mountain Distillers' gin (I had only previously had an unmixed sample at Eastern Standard in the past). One of the things that Duane pointed out about this drink is that 3 of the four components are locally sourced: the gin from Western Mass, the honey from Reseka Apiaries in Central Mass, and the bitters from nearby Brookline! I found it very interesting how the cocktail menu focused a lot on a wide variety of sweetening agents and not just using simple syrup. Duane said that they use grenadine, sorghum, simple, maple, and honey syrups depending on the desired effect.

No. 42 was a bit more gin-heavy of a recipe than I was expecting, but the end result was not disappointing. The honey syrup gave a full mouth feel (and additional flavor) to a more modernly proportioned Martini. The Greylock Gin being a pot-stilled instead of a multi-column distilled liquor also added some fullness and intrigue to the mix. And finally, the lemon twist and Boston Bittahs added some delightful citrus notes to round off cocktail. Since the Boston Bittahs are a seasonal creation of the Bittermens, No. 42 might disappear soon with a promise to reappear once the Bittermens make another batch. When I suggested that the drink might work well with some grapefruit bitters in the meantime, Duane replied that No. 42 would wait. I guess it's not wise to mess with something so well balanced.

no. 43

2 oz Old Overholt Rye
1/2 oz Ferreira 10 Year Tawny Port
1/2 oz Maple Syrup (1:1)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Swirl briefly with ice and strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. Twist orange rind over the top and drop in drink. Quantities were eye-spied and the maple syrup might be the common 1:1 dilution made with water for pourability.
The artsy chandelier over the bar at Hungry Mother

Last night I was in Kendall Square for a biotech networking night, so I decided to check out Hungry Mother around the corner afterwards. The whole place has had a face lift for the better since the Kendall Cafe days. Two things that stood out immediately about the bar are the fact that it is well stocked with everything from Vya Sweet Vermouth to Diplomatico Reserva Rum and that all of the cocktails are named as numbers.

I started with No. 43, which Duane told me was one of the more popular cocktails on their list. From the way the Angostura bitters played splendidly with the real maple syrup, I could see why. The first notes were the orange oils on the nose which were quite pleasing, and the tawny port complemented the rye and the other flavors rather well. Overall, the drink was a rather solid autumnal-ish cocktail although I could easily see it fitting all seasons.

Monday, December 8, 2008

farley mowat

2 oz Gin (Junipero)
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth (Boissiere)
1/4 oz Herbsaint
6 drops Celery Bitters (FY)

Stir on ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist a lemon peel over the top and discard.

For my second cocktail at Drink, John Gertsen came out of his laboratory for a bit since he wanted to make me a drink he had come up with using the celery bitters I had given him last time. Apparently, he and Eli Feldman thought it would be great in an Alaska sort of cocktail and they named it the Farley Mowat either directly after the enviromentalist author of Never Cry Wolf himself or indirectly after the flagship of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a renegade Green Peace-spin off that protects whales, seals, and the like. In the tinkering process, the drink morphed away from an Alaska and closer to an Obituary Cocktail.

The drink itself is very vegetal, and John said that the end product reminded him of arugula. The celery bitters played well with the Herbsaint and dry vermouth, and in ways that the Bitter Truth Celery Bitters could easily substitute. While the drink was no Yellow Chartreuse-filled Alaska, it still had a similar clean refreshing nature to it. And a perfect drink to round off a snowy evening in Fort Point, Boston.

[brooklyn brawler]

1 1/2 oz Old Overholt Rye
1/2 oz Averna
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1 barspoon Luxardo Maraschino

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Twist an orange rind over the drink and discard.

Andrea and I went to Drink last night where Misty and Sam were tending the bar and John was in and out of his laboratory creating new libations and reagents. Sundays at Drink seem to be a great night to go since the customer gets more time with the bartenders unlike the necessitated rushed interactions on certain nights. As Misty was fixing Andrea a mug of Tom & Jerry, she asked what I was in the mood to drink. I asked for something with amaro and rye or perhaps dark rum, which was enough to start Misty improvising a drink for me.

She started with two parts rye and one part Averna, and then added on part Punt e Mes before straw tasting it. She declared it needed "a teaspoon of something bright" and went with a barspoon of Maraschino liqueur. A large orange rind twisted over the top rounded out the drink, and it gave the cocktail a rather pleasing citrusy aroma. The flavors reminded me of a rather aggressive Brooklyn with the citrus notes from the Averna coupled with the orange twist substituting for the Amer Picon. The drink was a little bit more syrupy than a Brooklyn with a nice bitter complexity to it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

:: eastern standard's prohibition repeal party ::

Last night, Eastern Standard threw a 1920's speakeasy gala to celebrate the eve of the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition (and a few hours into the day of) -- an event they had been planning since last fall. Andrea and I splurged on the cocktail-paired 6 course dinner with punch bowl reception before and drinks and breakfast {!} after.
CocktailVirgin's own, Andrea in her 1920's outfit.

After picking out the right smoking jacket, I made my way down to Kenmore Square to meet Andrea. The front of the building was decorated like a speakeasy including a wood structure over one of their entrances with the proper peephole. Apparently, they were mimicking the need for a pass-phrase earlier in the evening. I spotted Andrea pretty quickly and she suggested that I go try the Sloe Gin Fizz Punch:
Bartender Kevin Martin pours me a cup of sloey goodness.

At our dinner table, next to our place setting cards were flasks! We and our 3 tablemates of Eastern Standard regulars (Hector, Carlos, and Sarah) tried to sniff our way into figuring out the contents. Jackson Cannon later swung by and solved the quandary: Eagle Rare 10 Year Bourbon from Eastern Standard's own barrel! Our dinner-cockail menu was in front of said flasks and each course told a story of the times (with variations on which stories and dishes for us vegetarians). For example, the first course was either a citrus salad or oysters; both fruit salad and the distribution of oysters became popular in the 1920's. The chefs did a great job with both menus with the meat eaters envious of some of the vegetarian's courses (and vice versa if it were not for the meat). The full regular menu can be found on DrinkBoston.
Lauren Clark of DrinkBoston and Brother Cleve (before he started DJing that night).

The six cocktails during dinner were:
Ampersand: Old Tom Gin, M&R Sweet Vermouth, Cognac, House Orange Bitters.
The Astoria: Beefeater London Dry Gin, M&R Dry Vermouth, Fee Brothers Orange Bitters, Olive.
The Charles Limbergh: Plymouth Gin, Lillet Blanc, Apricot Liqueur, Bittermens Grapefruit Bitters.
The Scofflaw: Sazerac Rye, M&R Dry Vermouth, Sirop de Grenadine, Lemon Juice.
Blood & Sand: Dewar's White Label, Cherry Heering, M&R Sweet Vermouth, Orange Juice.
Pisco Sour: Macchu Pisco, Egg White, Sugar, Lemon Juice, Angostura Bitters.
Also served with dinner were a Belgian beer from a label-less bottle and a Malbec wine from a Mason jar. One of the highlights of my evening was the preparation of the Pisco Sour. For this, 7 or 8 bartenders climbed on top of the bar and double-gunned it with Boston shakers for a solid minute or two to make this cocktail. Applause worthy, indeed. (EDIT: See DrinkBoston for a photo for this. Lauren's photo shows 7 but claims there were 8 bartenders on the bar.)

Around 10 pm, the next wave of party guests showed including Tim and Jess (of CocktailVirgin). Everyone had drink tickets for the first two rounds which were good for a short list of cocktails. With mine, I chose a Hanky Panky and a Frisco. Around 1 am, breakfast was served which, despite all of the food at dinner, was very welcomed. We left shortly after that and sadly did not stay to close out the event. Bravo to Eastern Standard for pulling off this event and cheers to all who attended to help make the event what it was.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

[the highland manhattan]

2 1/2 oz Old Overholt Rye
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1 dash Orange Bitters
Pernod rinse

Stir on ice and strain into a cocktail glass pre-rinsed with Pernod. Garnish with an orange twist.

For my last drink at Highland Kitchen yesterday, I asked Beau to stick with the rye. He proposed a few drinks and I went with this "astringent Manhattan variant" (more in his comparison of Punt e Mes to regular sweet vermouth). On the nose was a good bit of orange oils from the twist (and perhaps some flavor from the bitters) and the anise seed from the Pernod. The flavor was very reminiscent of 1880s cocktails where a dash of absinthe was often added to give some extra zest to the drink (see the Improved Gin Cocktail write-up I did) on top of a rye Manhattan. I estimated the recipe proportions due to the free pouring, but after reading Gary Regan's Sfgate article on the Manhattan cocktail last year, I am a bit less fussy with specific proportions on this cocktail.

high hat

2 oz Rye
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. (Recipe from Adashofbitters blog, see notes below).

Last night, Andrea wanted to go to dinner after returning from her run, and we decided on Highland Kitchen, a gastropub only a 5 minute walk or so from our house. The drink I ordered off their daily specials list to go with my veggie burger was the High Hat, a cocktail I had made before (see my livejournal entry) at home. My entry says that I found the recipe at the A Dash of Bitters blog where it was described as a "Manhattan/Brooklyn adaptation"-like sour. With these proportions, the sour-cherry flavors came through a lot and balanced the spicier rye we used. The way Beau mixed it at Highland, it was much lighter on the Cherry Heering and lemon. I cannot give an exact recipe since it was free poured, but a dash (1/4 oz or less) of each appeared to be used, perhaps to counter for the less spicy Old Overholt Rye. The end result was fairly dry rye cocktail with a touch of fruitiness.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

:: cocktail bitters and tools ::

The Boston Shaker has apparently set up shop at Grand in Somerville, MA (374 Somerville Ave, Union Square). Adam is rather receptive to the needs of the cocktail community and is always asking me what I would like to see, so shoot him an email through his website with ideas...
I spy Marasca cherries, a lot of Fee's Bitters and other brands, ice crushers, and books in that photo. I heard that he has Angostura Orange but I do not see them above. Will have to check it out soon.

Monday, December 1, 2008

lamplighter

bourbon
fine sugar
celery juice
lemon juice

shake, decant, no garnish. Note: see below for a formal recipe (which might vary slightly from this).

Where: Chez Henri
When: 25 November, 2008
Who: Rob (as in Other Rob, B-Side alum)

Purpose: To make the 30 minute wait to get a seat at the bar more pleasant.

Ordinal: First of Three, no accompaniment
Nose: Celery!
Taste: Very balanced, where none of the flavors really dominates, though all are present.

Summary: This was my third attempt to get cocktails at Chez Henri - it was just far too crowded the first two times I tried. But this night, I was determined. I brought Murakami's engaging What I Talk About When I Talk About Running so I wouldn't look like a dork, alone, waiting for a seat. Rob was very busy, but managed to be attentive at the same time, due to his approachable manner. He had that kind of super-energetic/geeky vibe that told me he'd be OK with my teaching him how to make a Seelbach (which I did - and I knew it would be pretty good once I spotted the Segura Viudas, clearly the ideal sparkler for the Seelbach). My Seelbach was accompanied by one of the best ceviches I've ever had. I also ordered the homemade chorizo - and it was almost good enough to make me forget the homemade chouriço I had as a child. At the recommendation of the ladies to my right (who still mourned the passing of the B-Side), I also got a whiskey smash to go with my chocolate bread pudding - both equally tasty. I really should drag Fred here.

Postnote Aug 12, 2011:
I got the recipe from bar manager Rob Kraemer
Lamplighter
• 2 oz Bourbon
• 3/4 oz Celery Juice
• 1/4 Lemon Juice
• >1 oz Simple Syrup
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

rhum cocktail marilene

2 oz Barbancourt 8 Year Rhum
1/2 Lime (4 pieces)
2 tsp Sugar
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Muddle the lime pieces and sugar in a rocks glass, add rhum and ice, and shake. Add Angostura bitters on top and lightly stir in.

Yesterday after a day of shopping and a quick drink at Eastern Standard (where I got to arrange a vegetarian dinner for their Prohibition Repeal Day event on Thursday), Andrea and I went to Rendezvous for dinner. Before looking over their dinner menu, I ordered this Haitian rhum cocktail that was new on Scott's cocktail list.

Not sure if 2 tsp or 2 dashes of Angostura is accurate enough; however, the excess of each balanced the other out taste-wise. In fact, there was enough bitters in the drink to give it a nice vermillion hue. The rhum and lime rounded out the drink to make a very simple but satisfying tiki cocktail of sorts.