Wednesday, November 25, 2009

rumfustian

He waved the man away and turned to Charles Mason. "Now, my young buck," he said, "I have ten shillings here that say I can beat you at your favorite game of billiards. Want to bet? Of course you do. Well, let's go down to the Merchant's Coffeehouse and try our skill. And before we start to play I'll treat you to a rum fustian."

"Rum fustian I May I inquire what that is?"

"Oh, I forgot that you are from the benighted land of Virginia, where your favorite drink is eggnog or mint julep. A rum fustian, my dear sir, is made of beer, sherry, gin, the yolks of eggs, sugar and a little nutmeg all stirred together and heated with a red-hot loggerhead."

Mason reflected a minute. "That sounds like a strong drink," he said. "But why do they call it rum fustian when there's no rum in it?"

"That's where the fustian part comes in, my inquiring lad," said the Major. "Fustian as you know means an imitation." 1
While flipping through Jerry Thomas' How to Mix Drinks, or The Bon-vivant's Companion, I came across a curious egg drink served hot, the Rumfustian, which as the bit of history above describes contains no rum at all. Thomas gave the history as "a drink very much in vogue with English sportsmen, after their return from a day's shooting." 2 Histories across the web did not confirm the sportsmen lore, but suggested it was a drink of English university students, American colonial settlers, and pirates dating back to the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century. The "rum" part of the name derives from the gypsy word for powerful, and evidence of its strength was written about in colonial America. There, the drink was often drank at breakfast and its consumption took a toll on the efficiency and character of the settlers.3

The recipe I used was from Thomas and I provide the volumes I used to make two servings in parentheses:
Rumfustian
• 12 Egg Yolks (2)
• 1 quart Beer (5 1/3 oz Mayflower Porter)
• 1 pint Gin (2 2/3 oz Beefeater)
• 1 bottle Sherry (4 oz Lustau Don Nuño Dry Oloroso)
• 1 stick Cinnamon (1/6)
• 1 Nutmeg (1/6)
• 12 large lump Sugar (2 tsp Turbinado)
• 1 rind Lemon Peel (1/6)
Heat sherry in a sauce pan with cinnamon, nutmeg (grated), sugar, and lemon peel. Mix egg yolks, beer, and gin. When sherry comes to a boil, pour (while straining) into bowl with the yolks, beer, and gin. Serve hot.
I mixed the yolk, gin, and beer in a cocktail shaker instead of whisking in a bowl (be careful to degas it every few shakes to save from making a mess as the beer decarbonates). I also left the shaker in a bowl of hot water to warm up the contents since it contained a larger volume than the hot sherry. In addition, I grated some nutmeg over the top of each cup before serving.
The beer I used from the Mayflower Brewery and was somewhat smokey; its flavors mainly came through on the first part of the sip. The cinnamon, nutmeg, and nutty sherry flavors then followed this initial malty wave. We debated whether or not we could taste the gin as it was rather well masked by the spices. Moreover, the egg yolk provided a thick, rich mouthfeel, but unlike egg white, it did not mute the drink to any degree. In addition, the Rumfustian was not as sweet as eggnog, or perhaps my interpretation of a "large lump" to be a teaspoons-worth of sugar fell short. Some might prefer this drink to be a bit sweeter so adjust accordingly. And interestingly, as the drink cooled, the spice notes diminished with the beer taking a greater prominence in the flavor profile.
Overall, the drink was pretty complex, heavy, and at first a bit bizarre. However, with successive sips, the drink grew on us and the taste became addictive. With the warmth and spice profile, I could see the Rumfustian being a great treat after coming in from the cold. And if Jerry Thomas' lore is correct, it would most certainly help you to forget an unsuccessful day of hunting.

1 Woodward, W.E. The Way Our People Lived: An Intimate American History. E.P. Dutton & Company, 1944.
2 Thomas, J. How to Mix Drinks, or The Bon-vivant's Companion. Dick & Fitzgerald, 1862.
3 History of Alcohol in America.

Cross-posted to the Mixoloseum blog.

fernet alexander

1 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Crème de Cacao
1 oz Cream

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg.
Recently, I had been neglecting my goal of finishing the Anvil's 100 drink list by the end of 2009, so I picked one to cross off. For the Alexander, the list's description was "spirit, crème de cacao, cream" and in thinking about possible spirits such as brandy or the classic gin, the concept of a Fernet Branca one popped into my head. What better to drink after a big meal than something that combined the dessert or nightcap role of an Alexander with the digestif properties of Fernet Branca! Part of the concept stemmed from a simple Fernet drink that Andrea's boss taught us which solidified the flavor pairing of the amaro with cacao liqueur:
Hansen Special Cocktail
• 4/5 Crème de Cacao (1 oz)
• 1/5 Fernet Branaca (1/4 oz)
Stir with ice and strain into a cordial (or cocktail) glass.
The nose of this drink was full of nutmeg's spice and Fernet's menthol. While the nose prepared the mind for the solid dose of Fernet ahead, its flavor was rather muted by the equal part of cream. The chocolate notes from the liqueur co-mingled in the early part of the sip with the richness from the dairy, and this was followed by the menthol notes of the Fernet on the swallow.

four rum manhattan

1/2 oz Berkshire Mountain Distillers' Ragged Mountain Rum
1/2 oz Ron Matusalem 10 Year Clasico Rum
1/2 oz La Favorite Rhum Vieux
1/2 oz Diplomático Añejo Rum
1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1 cube Demerara Sugar
2 dash Housemade Boker's Bitters

Muddle the sugar cube with the bitters. Add rest of ingredients and ice, stir, and strain into a rocks glass. Twist lemon peel over the top.

For my second drink at Deep Ellum, Max Toste was excited about his recent experiments blending rums and wanted to make me a drink akin to a 2:1 Manhattan. While the ingredients sounded more like a Pirate Cocktail (rum, vermouth, bitters), Max explained that there were a lot of whiskey notes in the four rums he selected. Indeed, all of the rums were aged in either whiskey or Bourbon barrels which imparted their flavors to the spirits. Once served, the vibrant lemon oil nose on the drink led into some serious dark rum flavors. The La Favorite rhum agricole funkiness stood out for me, and Andrea picked up immediately on the whiskey barrel notes. The Boker's bitters gave a nice finish to the swallow, and it was great to see that Max has added them to his barmade ingredients that also include aromatic, orange, and wormwood bitters. His recipe for the Boker's sounded very similar to the one I made here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

white manhattan

2 oz Bols Genever
1 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1 cube Demerara Sugar
2 dash Housemade Wormwood Bitters

Dash bitters onto a sugar cube and muddle. Add rest of ingredients and ice, stir, and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

After fulfilling our craving for food at Grasshopper in Allston, we went around the corner to Deep Ellum for drinks and hot pretzels. New on the Manhattans section of their menu was the White Manhattan featuring a gin-like spirit, Genever, which is malty enough to function like a whiskey. The White Manhattan's nose was replete with malty and lemon notes, and the beginning of the sip was full of the Genever's flavor. Also early on in the sip was a hint of sweetness from the sugar cube and vermouth which faded quickly upon the swallow. The wormwood notes appeared in the middle of the swallow followed by the Genever bite at the end. Indeed, the wormwood in the bitters seemed to complement the Bols Genever and Dolin Blanc botanicals rather well. In the bitters, the wormwood was not paired with anise like in absinthe but with fresh lemon, lime, and orange peel, dried orange peel, cane sugar, and gin. Just as we were finishing up our first round, Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli of Craigie on Main happened to walk in to Deep Ellum and part of his party was Tal Nadari who is the American representative of the Bols portfolio. I had met Tal at Tales of the Cocktail this past summer, and he was glad to see me drinking the Bols Genever drink off the menu. And in true Dutch custom, Tal ordered a round of Genever for everyone to sip on (although Andrea and I did not have the traditional beer back pairing).

Monday, November 23, 2009

suburban

1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (Old Overholt)
1/2 oz Dark Rum (Myers)
1/2 oz Port (Ramos Pinto Ruby)
1 dash Angostura Bitters (subbed Bitter Truth Aromatic)
1 dash Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Last night after going to see Sleep No More, people wanted to go out for a drink. Being late on a Sunday night, we still had a few options and we ended up at Green Street. There, I ordered the Suburban out of their cocktail book since the recipe had caught my eye last time. The Suburban seemed like an oddity -- almost a rye Manhattan using port instead of vermouth except for addition of the rum. The drink's history is tied to horse racing and is named after the Brooklyn Suburban Handicap races during the 1880s. The Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book attributes the impetus of the drink's creation to "the triumphs of James R. Keene and his racing cohorts and other famous stable-owners on near-by courses." The drink gained some more recent fame when David Wondrich wrote about it in Esquire, and some less recent fame when Stan Jones included a variation of it in his Complete Bartender book (the variation has 1 3/4 oz rye and 1/4 oz port as the differences). The drink started with a dark rum aroma which preceded the rather dry and rich drink. I picked up a lot of the rye and port flavors on the foretaste and the rum on the swallow. Also, on the swallow were clove notes from the Bitter Truth Old Time Aromatic Bitters which were used due to the current Angostura Bitters shortage. Overall, it was a rather stiff drink that would almost make Embury proud. The dual dose of bitters gave the drink some complexity which was lost in using port instead of the sweet vermouth one would expect in the recipe. The rum and port function to smooth out the drink, and while the Suburban was not the most exciting potation to quaff, it was rather strong yet easy to drink.

Friday, November 20, 2009

leonid cocktail

3/4 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy (or sub Calvados)
3/4 oz Gin
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
1/4 oz Cointreau
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Last night on Mixoloseum's Thursday Drink Night (*), the theme was grapefruit. For a drink concept, I had the concept of a Star Cocktail variation (see recipe below) in mind as I created the shooting star cocktail, the Leonid. The Leonid Cocktail was rather dry and spicy from the gin and bitters meeting the dry vermouth. The Cointreau complemented the grapefruit juice quite well but did not dominate the drink's profile. Moreover, the apple brandy added to the fruitiness of the drink.
Star Cocktail Variation
• 1 oz Gin
• 1 oz Apple Brandy
• 1/4 oz Dry Vermouth
• 1/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
• 1 dash Grapefruit Juice
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

(*) Happens every Thursday night from 7pm E.S.T. onward. Get theme updates and see the drinks created real time on Twitter.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

pool

1/3 Brandy (1 oz Courvoisier VS)
1/3 Dubonnet Rouge (1 oz)
1/3 Lillet Blanc (1 oz)
2 dash Fernet Branca (1 barspoon)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Add a small dash of absinthe on top (1/2 barspoon Kübler, floated).
Last night after dinner, we were in the mood for a cocktail and I had been waiting for a chance to make a cocktail I found in the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book last week. The Pool was invented by bartender Jack Bamford and combines brandy with a pair of aromatized wines and a small amount of absinthe and a bitter liqueur for extra pizazz. The floated dash of absinthe contributed greatly to the nose of the drink as well as donating a milky white sheen over its surface. The absinthe's anise notes lightly carried over to the drink as well. The Dubonnet was one of the first flavors to hit the tastebuds on the sip, followed by the Cognac, and lastly the mentholly notes of the Fernet Branca. It was pretty amazing how modern the drink felt despite being created on or before 1937 and how much the drink mirrored some of the current cocktail recipe trends. Although that comment was not meant to discredit the other older tasty Fernet drinks I have tried such as the mid-1920's Hanky Panky, Don't Give Up the Ship, and Appetizer a l’Italienne amongst others.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

mandeville

A few weeks ago while working my way through the 100 cocktails Bobby Heugel of Anvil in Houston thinks everyone should try at least once list, I was confronted with the Cuba Libre. The Cuba Libre is a step up from a standard Rum and Coke by including lime juice and often lime peel oils to the mix. To prepare for this drink, I hunted out sugar coke (not the high fructose variety) from a local Brazilian mini-mart for use later that evening. Both Charles H. Baker in Jigger, Beaker and Glass and Trader Vic in one of the recipes found in his Bartender's Guide had a similar recipe which I went with:
Cuba Libre
• 2 oz Gold or Light Rum
• Juice of 1 Lime (~ 1 oz)
• Lime Shells (2 Halves) after Squeezing
Place ingredients in Collins glass and muddle the lime shells well to get oils on the side of glass. Add ice, fill with Coca Cola (~ 4 oz), and give a quick stir.

Rum and Coke
• 2 oz Light Rum
• 4 oz Coca Cola
Build in a highball glass filled with ice cubes. Garnish with a lime wedge.
While some recipe sources for the Cuba Libre skip the lime shell muddling and just request dropping in the shells, the lime oils do add a bit to the drink. Moreover, I was surprised that some Cuba Libre recipes are indistinguishable from a standard Rum and Coke. However, skipping the lime juice would remove some of the complexity besides making the drink seem sweeter.

When thinking about how the Cuba Libre is a step up from a Rum and Coke, I wondered if there was yet another step up from that while still in the realm of highball cola drinks. My search led me to the Mandeville (Polar) which was most likely named after the city in Jamaica. I combined a few recipes to make the following hybrid:
Mandeville
• 1 oz Light Rum (Tommy Bahama White Sand)
• 1 oz Dark Rum (Appleton Estate VX)
• 1/4 oz Pernod
• 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
• 1/4 oz Grenadine
Shake with ice and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top off with 3 oz Coca Cola, and garnish with an orange slice. Optional: Prepare in a 200 mL soda bottle after pouring out half the soda volume; serve with straw.
The Mandeville's garnish provided a wonderful orange nose which prepared the senses for the citrus notes in the lemon juice and the cola. The crispness of the lemon's citric acid and the soda's phosphoric acid hit first in the sip followed by a muddled fruit flavor from the citrus and grenadine. The Pernod came through on the swallow along with some of the white rum's heat. To me, it was all about the Pernod giving the drink some extra class. I found the Pernod and coke flavors to be quite complementary which may not be too surprising considering the spice extracts that are allegedly in the Coca Cola recipe. The hint of anise in the Mandeville also lent the drink a slight Tiki feel.
Cross-posted to the Mixoloseum blog.

orange noire

2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1 oz Eastern Standard Bitter Brew (*)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist. See text for possible recipe alterations.

On Monday night, Andrea and I went to Eastern Standard for dinner after my DJ gig. For my second drink, bartender Kevin Martin had a drink that he wanted me to try and then critique. The cocktail he made me, Orange Noire, was a work in progress, and started out with rye and orange notes on the nose. On the sip, the rye burn and the slight orange flavors stood out in the beginning and were followed by lingering herbal Cynar and Fernet notes on the swallow. While I liked the rye and bitter brew flaovrs, I felt that the yellow Chartreuse got lost in the mix although it did contribute considerably to the sweetness. I recommended cutting the bitter brew down to a half ounce to give the yellow Chartreuse a chance to shine, and Kevin agreed that a 3:2:1 ratio might function better. And since their bitter brew is an Amer Picon replica of sorts, the drink might be better balanced using that liqueur if more were somehow to show up at the Eastern Standard bar. The Orange Noire would have been more satisfying had I not known there was Chartreuse in the recipe and then had difficulty in trying to taste for it; otherwise, it functioned as a rather good after dinner drink.

(*) Bitter Brew: 6 parts Cynar, 2 parts Luxardo Fernet, 1 part Creole Shrub

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

prado

1 1/2 oz Lunazul Blanco Tequila
3/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a sliced cocktail cherry on edge of glass.

For our last drink at Green Street, bartender Derric Crothers wanted me to flip through the notebook containing all of Green Street's recipes and find something new for him to taste and learn. Since I had already had some tequila that night, I ended up picking the Prado which Derric mixed up and poured into three glasses. The drink had a very Maraschino nose to it and this note followed into the first flavor notes of the sip. The liqueur taste was followed by the tequila and lime; however, the Luxardo Maraschino was very dominant to these other flavors. Apparently, the drink was meant to be made with the more mild Stock brand Maraschino liqueur and often bartenders will dilute Luxardo with simple syrup to approximate the change; for example, Kevin Martin of Eastern Standard suggested a two parts Luxardo Maraschino to one part simple syrup ratio. The drink was also rather sweet from the Maraschino and grenadine, so perhaps dropping the Maraschino down to a 1/2 ounce might achieve a lot in improving the drink. While I found the Prado to be part way between a Margarita and a Tequila Hemingway Daiquiri, Derric found the drink to be more akin to a Tequila Aviation.

Researching the drink later, I discovered that this Prado is a variant of the original created by Zig Zag Cafe (Seattle) bartender Kacy Fitch:
Prado
• 1 1/2 oz Tequila
• 3/4 oz Lime Juice
• 1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur
• 1/2 Egg White
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
This version lacks the grenadine and has a more tart citrus balance to it. Often egg whites are included in bars' housemade sour mix used to make Margaritas (helps to make the drink smoother), although many recipes leave it out. Indeed, the Prado does appear to be a Margarita variation with the Cointreau (or other orange liqueur) swapped for Maraschino.

Monday, November 16, 2009

bronx golden

1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz Orange Juice
1 Egg Yolk

Shake one round without ice and one round with. Strain into a wine glass.

For my second cocktail at Green Street, I asked Derric Crothers to make me the Bronx Golden off of the big cocktail menu. This classic cocktail was one that I had neglected to try despite seeing it countless times in my recipe searches at home. I have had a variant of the Bronx at Craigie on Main, but never the traditional Bronx much less a "golden" or egg yolk-laden one. Perhaps the Bronx itself was in my mind after making the vaguely similar Beaux Arts at home a little over a week ago.

The Bronx Golden had a very strong orange juice nose and packed a rather dry orange flavor in the sip. The slight bit of sweetness in the drink stemmed from the freshly squeezed orange juice and the half ounce of sweet vermouth. Moreover, the orange flavor was pleasantly complemented by the herbalness from the gin and vermouths. Meanwhile, the egg yolk donated a nice head and rich mouthfeel to the cocktail similar to egg whites; however, unlike egg whites, the egg yolk did not dull out the drink. The drink did somehow surpass the mental concept of a perfect Martini jazzed up with orange juice and an egg yolk and I could see how it gained such popularity before Prohibition.

taxco

1 1/2 oz Lunacul Blanco Tequila
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Agave Nectar
2 dash Fee Brothers' Orange Bitters
1 Egg White
top Soda Water

Shake (all but soda water) one round without ice and one with. Strain into a highball or water glass, and top with soda water. Add straw. The recipe was from the Green Street cocktail recipe notebook, and while watching the drink being made, the drink appeared to have been adjusted to 2:1/2:1/2 at the bartender's discretion.

Last night, Andrea and I made our way to Green Street for some cocktails and dessert. For my first drink, I picked something new to me off of their 6 page cocktail menu and asked bartender Derric Crothers to make me the Taxco. The Taxco is basically a tequila silver fizz -- a tall drink made with spirit, citrus, sweetener, and egg white and topped with soda water. The silver means that it uses the egg white only as opposed to the royal (whole egg) or golden (yolk only); my next drink was a golden albeit not a fizz and I wished I had realized that in advance and asked Derric to save the yolk instead of discarding it.
The Taxco had a robust tequila and lime nose to it. Taste-wise, the drink had a sweet citrus flavor with light tequila notes on the swallow. Unlike many tequila drinks, the tequila was rather muted due to the egg whites functioning to smooth out the drink. Indeed, the Taxco was very light due to the egg white's effect and the soda water, and overall it was pretty refreshing.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

ken-tiki

1 1/2 oz Eagle Rare Bourbon
3/4 oz Falernum
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
rinse Herbsaint

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass pre-rinsed with Herbsaint (can sub pastis or absinthe).
Last night was LUPEC Boston 1950's-inspired Tiki Bash held at the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts as a charity event to raise money for the On the Rise organization. On the drink menu were three classic cocktails, the Mai Tai, the Painkiller, and the Fogcutter, and one LUPEC original, the Ken-Tiki. The Ken-Tiki was the first one we tried and it was quite a delight! The drink had a crisp Campari flavor from the bitter liqueur pairing up with the lemon juice. Besides the Campari's herbal notes, the drink had a nice degree of spice from the falernum and Herbsaint. Since the drinks were batched and to make life easier for the staff, the Herbsaint was mixed in instead of used as a glass rinse; however, the end result of anise notes was the same. The drink was not overly sweet from the falernum and it had a pleasant fruitiness from the passion fruit and lemon juices. Indeed, a few people were left wondering if there was some grapefruit in there from the juices playing with the Campari notes.

After semi-unsuccessfully searching Google for Ken-Tiki (it did turn up a motorized shore fishing implement which I sort of doubt the ladies of LUPEC naming a drink after, although I could imagine it being useful on Pacific islands), I gave up on trying to figure out what the drink's name meant. Andrea figured it out though -- a punful reworking of Kentucky where the base spirit derives from to include the cocktail style. A bit of a groaner, but the tastiness of the drink rescues it all for sure.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

amour cocktail

3/4 oz Sweet Sherry (Lustau's East India Solera)
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth (Dolin)
2 dash Angostura Bitters (1 dash Angostura + 1 dash Regan's Orange)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist. Can substitute the Angostura for orange bitters.
After watching Kinsey on DVD last night, Andrea was in the mood for a light cocktail. Therefore, I flipped through the wine section of our newer edition (1972) of Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide and found the Amour Cocktail. The drink is basically a sweeter version of the Bamboo, a drink which features a Fino sherry -- one of the driest sherry types and rather pale and nutty. The sweet sherry we used, East India Solera, was not as sweet as the Pedro Ximénez, the other end of the spectrum from Fino, but was a 50-50 mix of PX and a dry Oloroso. Overall, the Amour Cocktail had a vibrant orange nose and the orange notes carried over into the sip. The orange flavors co-mingled with the botanicals in the bitters and vermouth, and this was followed by the oxidized wine flavor of the sherry. The orange flavors from the bitters, twist oils, and peel notes in the vermouth worked quite well with the sherry. While the drink could function decently as an aperitif, it seemed like the Amour Cocktail might be better if served with a dessert pairing.

As an interesting side note, the 1934 edition of Boothby's World Drinks And How to Mix Them contains a very similar drink called the Armour:
Armour
• 3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
• 3/4 oz Sherry
• 2 dash Orange Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
I have no clue if the etymology of the drink name is distinct or whether it is a typo or misheard drink name. Given the oral history of drink names being like a game of Operator at times, it is possible that the Armour is an Amour Cocktail variant. I assume that the sherry to be used in the Armour is a drier one. And perhaps the sweet vermouth plus a dry, pale sherry is about equivalent to a dry vermouth plus a sweet, dark sherry in balance.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

pattaya punch

Last night at Drink was the Pol Roger Champagne and Chartreuse Punch Party. A few weeks ago, we were contacted by John Gertsen of Drink to contribute a recipe for the event which required the use of the Pol Roger Champagne and either green or yellow Chartreuse as ingredients. The top six recipes were to be taste tested and the top three would be served.

Andrea and I decided to give the contest a go despite knowing that we were going up against "punch creations created by the best Boston bartenders". We each brainstormed on our own for a bit and then sorted out a recipe. I came up with the idea along the lines of a Pisco Punch with pisco, pineapple, and yellow Chartreuse as ingredients, while Andrea's idea incorporated tamarind, rum, and green Chartreuse. She was against the idea of the pisco, so I swapped it to another grape product and made the base spirit an equal part mix of amber rum and Cognac akin to the Fish House Punch. As the recipe was shaping up, the yellow Chartreuse seemed too subtle and I agreed that green Chartreuse was the way to go. To complement the tamarind, I included my pineapple juice idea as well as some lime juice for crispness. And for a little extra complexity, Oolong tea was added to the mix. Since the tamarind made me think of Thai food, I came up with the name of Pattaya Punch after the city in Thailand which is home base for my old Muay Thai academy, Sityodtong, where a lot of punches were had of other varieties.
Pattaya Punch

1 bottle (750 mL) Pol Rogers Brut Reserve
8 oz Green Chartreuse
12 oz Cognac
12 oz Amber Rum
8 oz Tamarind "Syrup" (*)
6 oz Pineapple Juice
4 oz Lime Juice
8 oz Oolong Tea
8 oz Simple Syrup

(*) Take a 4 inch x 2 inch x 1/2 inch block of dried tamarind and add 12 oz boiling water. Let sit for 15 minutes using a spoon to break up tamarind while steeping. Strain to yield approx. 8 oz tamarind "syrup".

Mix ingredients in a bowl with a large ice block to cool. Add Champagne before serving. Serve cold in 4 oz punch cups. No garnish.
We opted for reconstituting dried tamarind blocks (available at Indian markets and elsewhere) instead of juice since most of the more common tamarind juices like Goya are only a small percentage tamarind and a large percentage sweetener (most likely could be used in this recipe though with an increase of juice and a decrease of simple syrup). We submitted our recipe and hoped for the best. And we waited, and by Sunday night, we assumed that we had lost. In fact, we did not hear anything until the morning of the event. At that point, we learned that not only did we make the top six recipes that were tested, but we made the cut for the event!

The punches last night were in bowls labeled 1, 2, and 3. We later learned that Drink bartender Josie Packard made the first recipe. It featured Old Overholt Rye, a Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, yellow Chartreuse, Champagne, and an orange twist as some of the ingredients. It had a delightful smokey note from the Mezcal and Andrea favored this (not-ours) one. The one I favored was the second one by Corey Bunnewith, ex-Drink soon Jamie Bissonnette's new restaurant Coppa. Corey's punch had an amazing earthy note to it; people associated that flavor to everything from licorice to peanut butter. The secret to that note turned out to be roasted pumpkin seeds. The other ingredients that I recall were rye and a sarsaparilla-root infusion. Ours was bowl number 3 but we assumed it was actually bowl number 2 before tasting it since it was more brown (Corey got confused as well in the opposite way). The punch in Drink's hands turned out more dry and tart than ours either due to scale up in citrus not being linear or due to the lime we used in our micro-punch experiments (we experimented with 1/24th sized versions) being different from theirs. I do not recall which rum they used (Andrea thinks it was an aged Rhum Barbancourt) but the Cognac was Pierre Ferrand Ambre. Moreover, they were apparently more aggressive in extracting fluid by squeezing out the reconstituted tamarind.
Throughout the night, people sampled the punches at their leisure and had a chance to vote for their favorite punch. We were quite surprised when they announced the winners at midnight and we did not hear our names read for third or second place. Woah, our punch won! Thanks to all who came out and tried the punches and to Drink for hosting this event!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

elk's own cocktail

3/4 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse 100)
3/4 oz Port Wine (Ramos Pinto Ruby)
Juice of 1/2 Lemon (3/4 oz)
1 tsp Sugar (1/4 oz Simple Syrup)
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with. Garnish with a slice of pineapple.
Last night we decided to stay in and hang out with our sick kitty, Sadie. Sadie insisted that we open up the Trader Vic's 1948 Bartender's Guide and pick out a drink. Well that's more of a back story than we could find on the drink that we eventually selected, the Elk's Own Cocktail. Despite my searching, there was no history for it such as it being created at an Elk's Lodge bar or other. The Elk's Own recipe fell somewhere between a classic Manhattan and a Rye Sour, and it made good use of the egg whites and partially zested lemon we had left over. The drink itself had a pretty ruby color underneath a frothy white head; flavor-wise, it was sweet and lemony with the balance shifting more toward tart on successive sips. The egg smoothed out the rye and citrus notes, and it and the port provided an elegant richness to the Elk's Own Cocktail.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

bonita applebum

1 oz Laird's Applejack
3/4 oz Fernet Branca
3/4 oz Drambuie

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist an orange peel over the top and drop in.

On Thursday, Andrea and I attended the Fernet Branca Industry night at the Franklin Southie co-hosted by DrinkBoston. On the menu, besides shots of Fernet in ice shot glasses, were 6 cocktails created by bartenders across town. The one that caught my eye was the Bonita Applebum created by Emma Hollander of Trina's Starlight Lounge. Joy Richards was one of the two bartenders behind the bar that night and was the one who made me this drink. The bright orange nose led into a rather nice late autumn cocktail. The Drambuie's honey flavor and mouthfeel balanced the sting and bite of the Fernet Branca and it worked well with the light apple notes. At the swallow was the Fernet's lingering menthol herbalness. Without seeing the proportions, the drink had an Old-fashioned cocktail feel to it, although after later receiving the recipe, it does not appear as such. My one complaint was that the apple flavors were not rich enough for me. Laird's Applejack is only 35% apple-derived (the rest is grain neutral spirits), while Calvados or Laird's Bonded, both 100% apple spirit, would have worked better with this recipe to give a more fall feel to the drink.

See the other recipes served that night at the DrinkBoston blog!

beaux arts

1 oz Dry Gin (Aviation)
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Dolin)
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth (Dolin)
1 tsp Pineapple Juice
1 tsp Orange Juice
2 dash Anisette (Herbsainte)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Note: this recipe is double the original volumes.
On Wednesday night, I found the scrap of paper that I had written the Beaux Arts Cocktail down on, and decided that it was time to give it a try. The recipe was from our 1948 Bartender's Guide by Trader Vic and seemed like an interesting variation on the Income Tax or Bronx cocktail. I also found the Beaux Arts in Stan Jones' book (which is where CocktailDB acquired their recipe) that ups the juices slightly to a 1/4 oz each (1 tsp is 1/6 oz); however, I decided to go with the older recipe. When tasting the cocktail, the vermouths were detectable first on the sip followed by the orange and pineapple juices. Next, the gin and then the Herbsainte's anise notes rounded out the swallow. The pineapple came across more as an aroma than a flavor; moreover, it donated a nice lacy froth over the top of the drink. The Beaux Arts would make an excellent pre-dinner drink -- while it is light, there is a lot going on flavor-wise to prepare one's palate.

Friday, November 6, 2009

oriental

1/2 Rye Whiskey (1 1/2 oz Sazerac 6 Year)
1/4 Sweet Vermouth (3/4 oz Dolin)
1/4 White Curacao (3/4 oz Curacao of Curacao)
Juice of 1/2 Lime (~1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Earlier in the week, I realized that I had been neglecting the Anvil's 100 Drink list and my goal of goal of completing it by the end of 2009, so I scanned the 13 remaining drinks and picked out the Oriental for I was in the mood for some rye. I opened up the Savoy Cocktail Book and found the recipe which I scaled to 3 oz (plus 1/2 oz juice) pre-melt. Perhaps back in 1930, scaling to 2 oz might have been more proportional to the size of that era's limes, or would make for a slightly drier drink with today's limes. The Savoy gives a brief history of the drink, "In August, 1924, an American Engineer nearly died of fever in the Philippines, and only the extraordinary devotion of Dr. B-- saved his life. As an act of gratitude, the Engineer gave Dr. B-- the recipe of this cocktail." I have no clue how anecdotal that story is, but I was game for trying such a drink of thanksgiving.
On the nose, Andrea picked up a lot of the rye aromas whereas I focused more on the citrus. The spice of the rye and the bite of the lime were decently balanced by the sweetness of the curacao and vermouth, although the precise intended ratio of citrus to sweet is unknown due to the imprecise ratios in the recipe besides the variability in lime size. Our chosen ratio was in the medium range for our taste buds and was not overly sweet. Perhaps I needed a Dr. B, for while drinking the Oriental, I kept detecting phantom orgeat notes. Overall, the Oriental was a bit more intriguing than your average rye sour although not a superlative cocktail in my book. Perhaps it would be more enjoyable and refreshing on a warmer night reminiscent of the Philippines instead of a chilly November one.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

helen the pacific

3/4 oz Lemon Hart 80 Demerara Rum
3/4 oz Neisson Rhum Agricole (*)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1/4 oz St. Elizabeth's Allspice Dram
1/4 oz Velvet Falernum
1/4 oz Grenadine
1/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a Tiki mug filled with crushed ice. Add straw and garnish with a lime twist and a cherry.

I eventually did acquire a Tiki drink at Drink's Tiki Sunday night. When Cali Gold came by to discuss drink options for our second round, I asked for her for a Tiki drink that I have not had before. She replied that Sam Treadway just made one with rhum agricole and asked if that would be acceptable. And how could I say no to rhum agricole?

The drink, Helen the Pacific, was created by Tiki enthusiast Randy Wong who was sitting behind us at the center bar. Randy's Tiki interests go beyond the libation as he leads an exotica band, the Waitiki 7, which we had a chance to see at the Beantown Sippin' Safari Tiki fest held at Pho Republique two years ago. I could not confirm if the drink's name was a take on the 1968 World War II movie, Hell in the Pacific starring Toshiro Mifune, but it seems likely.

Helen the Pacific had the citrus, allspice, and clove flavors from the lime, dram, and falernum in the front part of the sip. The Maraschino notes became more evident in later sips and followed the citrus and spice wave. Surprisingly, the rum flavors were more elusive which is odd since rhum agricole is often not that subtle. Overall, it was well balanced and a delight to drink although I wish the rum flavors were a little stronger. However, many drinks of the genre shoot to mask the flavor of the alcohol so perhaps it was more authentic that way.

(*) Post note: I emailed Sam and asked which rhum agricole he used, and he replied, "I used the blanc... but Randy Wong believes that the Gold makes it infinitely better".

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

leathercoat

2 oz White Horse Blended Scotch
1 barspoon Roxbury Russet Apple Butter (see text below)
2 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters

Stir in a rocks glass with a large ice chunk. Garnish with a sage leaf.

Two nights ago, Andrea and I went to Drink and sat at the ice bar where John Gertsen was tending. Although it was Tiki Sunday, the drink that John suggested that I try first did not follow the night's theme. However, it was one that Misty Kalkofen recently created for a dinner at Eastern Standard in honor of Jill DeGroff's new book, Lush Life: Portraits from the Bar. The star ingredient of this Fall cocktail was apple butter made from Roxbury Russet apples which are believed to be the oldest cultivar of apples grown in the United States. The apples originated not too far from the bar in Roxbury, now a suburb of Boston, during the mid 1600s. The drink is named after the cultivar's nickname of "leathercoat" due to the apple's rough, russeted skin. As for the apple butter recipe, John seemed to suggest that Misty followed a standard recipe and used shredded apples, sugar, cider vinegar, and some salt and cooked it down to the consistency of maple syrup. John stated that they used the peels which are rich in flavor but left out the cores which contain a large part of the pectin. And note, there are commercially available apple butters on the market if you do not feel like making your own batch (although you will have less choice in the apple varietal).
The Leathercoat had a rich Scotch and cinnamon nose with hints of chlorophyll from the sage leaf garnish. The apple butter contributed a considerable mouthfeel to the drink and worked rather well flavor-wise with the Scotch and cinnamon (from the bitters). Overall, the Leathercoat was a delightful Old-fashioned style cocktail with a pleasant degree of smokiness, spice, and tart apple goodness which worked well with the autumn night.

Monday, November 2, 2009

golfer's special

1/3 Cherry Brandy (1 oz, Trimbach Kirsch, see text)
1/3 Dry Gin (1 oz, North Shore Distillers No. 6)
1/6 Lillet Blanc (1/2 oz)
1/6 Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
On Friday night, I flipped through the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book looking for a drink to make; the Golfer's Special seemed rather intriguing with the cherry brandy and Lillet so we decided to give it a go. The identity of "cherry brandy" was a little confusing but I figured it meant kirsch instead of a cherry liqueur such as Cherry Heering or Maraschino since an eau de vie better matched the subtlety of Lillet in my mind than the other forms. Indeed, the Golfer's Special was delightful with kirsch and gin flavors up front and lemony and Lillet flavors on the swallow. The drink was rather dry and tart over all, and while it was enjoyable to drink, it made me wonder if I had made the proper choice. Therefore, I made the drink with Cherry Heering and switched the gin to a hardier one, Beefeater. While the drink was no longer sharply dry, the Heering was too dominant and it donated a syrupy, winey component to the mix and made my mind think that there was Dubonnet in it. Although I did not try Maraschino liqueur, I did add a barspoon of simple syrup to my first drink which seemed to split the difference in sweetness without masking the more subtle flavors. The touch of sugar made the drink a bit less sharp and might be a good addition to the Golfer's Special for many people when making the recipe with a dry eau de vie.