Sunday, January 31, 2010

[central carre]

1 oz Bols Genever
1 oz Cognac
1 oz Punt e Mes
1 barspoon Fernet Branca

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

On Wednesday night, Andrea and I went down to Rendezvous to get dinner and cocktails. For my first drink, bartender Scott Holliday wanted to experiment with replacing whiskey in a classic cocktail and using the rather malty Bols Genever instead. The drink started as a Vieux Carré (minus the Angostura and Peychaud's bitters), and with my ingredient suggestions, he rounded the drink out with Punt e Mes and Fernet Branca in place of sweet vermouth and Bénédictine, respectively, for what I dubbed the Central Carré. The barspoon of Fernet seemed to be just the right amount so as not to overwhelm the drink with menthol notes. The Fernet did have a subtle appearance in the cocktail's nose along with stronger grapey elements from the Punt e Mes. The Fernet donated a light level of bitter complexity with minimal aftertaste; instead, it was the Punt e Mes flavors that lingered. The Punt e Mes and Bols Genever botanicals did merge a bit with the Fernet Branca's and they added an air of dryness to the drink. Furthermore, the Genever and Punt e Mes combined to provide a malt and grape richness to the Cognac base.

donga punch

1 1/2 oz Aged Martinique Rum (JM Rhum Paille)
1 1/2 oz Don's Mix (Trader Tiki)
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a tall glass or tiki mug filled with crushed ice.

Last week, Trader Tiki sent us samples of his four cocktail syrups -- orgeat, Don's Mix, vanilla syrup, and cinnamon syrup -- and a handful of swizzle sticks! To figure out best how to utilize one of them, I flipped through Beachbum Berry's Sippin' Safari until I found the Donga Punch. Honestly, I was searching for a tasty recipe to try his artisanal orgeat, but the Donga Punch's call for Don's Mix arrived first into my visual cortex. Don's Mix is a combination of grapefruit and cinnamon syrup and just cracking the cap off of the bottle revealed an intense and complex cinnamon aroma. Checking his website's description, it's obvious that he took great care in selecting the origins of his ingredients as it contains "Barbados grapefruit and Asian cinnamon". Berry mentions that the Donga Punch derives from a cerca 1937 Don the Beachcomber recipe using the Zulu word for "gully in a field".
The beautiful cinnamon aroma came across strongly once mixed in the drink as well. The lime flavors appeared early in the sip and provided a good balance to the Don's Mix syrup and left it not too dry. The swallow was filled with a pleasing rhum agricole funk and cinnamon spice. While the recipe for the Donga Punch looks a lot like a Daiquiri variant, it ended up tasting very distinct in style.

Trader Tiki's syrups can be purchased from his e-store (link above), from CocktailKingdom, and from The Boston Shaker web or soon-to-be-opened (next week?) store. Moreover, Trader Tiki is sponsoring Thursday Drink Night on February 11th (7pm EST) so come prepared to mix and see what others can create with his syrups!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

double standard

1 oz Old Overholt Rye
1 oz Plymouth Gin
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Raspberry Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
To follow up the Earl Grey MarTEAni I had at Green Street on Sunday night, I asked Derric Crothers to make me the Double Standard. The drink started with a lime nose, and the lime's tartness rang out strongly through each sip. I was curious as to why the drink was so tart and I asked Derric about how Green Street makes their raspberry syrup. Turns out that unlike the one we make which is simple syrup-like in sugar content, theirs is more of a puree with only a small amount of sweetness added. Perhaps this is due to how quickly they go through each batch (ours uses the high sugar content and a bit of vodka to stabilize it against mold). Therefore, the raspberry syrup donated the berry flavor but left the drink pleasantly on the dry side. The rye with the gin botanicals appeared at the end of the sip and lingered on in the swallow.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

mxmo XLV roundup!

Wow... quite a surprising variety of teas and ways to use them in this Mixology Monday. Everything from smoky or earthy to floral or fruity varieties used in syrups, tinctures, bitters, and as steamy mixers. Some went old school with classic tea recipes like punches, cobblers, and grogs, and others crafted their own recipes. And many had an impressive eye for classic cocktails that could use some extra flavoring by way of one tea varietal or other. Overall, there were 36 entries which is a pretty decent haul, and I could have used a few cups of tea myself in getting through all of them over the last two evenings to prepare this summary. And without further ado:

Mike McSorley of the Mcsology blog was our first entry and he starts us off by using tea in his homemade batch of Swedish Punsch and utilizing it with Genever for the Kick My Assam cocktail.

Andy of Sybaritic Wanderings went all smoky on us and pairs Lapsang Souchong tea with Scotch in an Old Fashioned sort of way in the Tea for Two.

Pantagruel buzzes in with a tea-infused gin to make the Bee's Teas, a variant of the classic Bee's Knees.

DJ Hawaiian Shirt of the Spirited Remix blog ran with Red Zinger and makes a pair of fruity concoctions with including one containing passion fruit syrup, the Fraise.

Mixology Monday first timer Nabokov joined our growing contingent of Russian drink bloggers with a delightful Rooibos tea and rum highball.

Rooibos tea was also featured by our sixth entrant, Andy of the Good Drinks Etc. blog, with the vanilla-spiced Serendipitea.

For my post, I went with an 1895 recipe for a tea-containing bottled Old Tom Gin punch from Kappeler's Modern American Drinks.

Scomorokh of Science of Drink takes the time to school us on the Russian way of making tea. Once his tea was just right, he mixes it with a pair of rums to make an English Cobbler.

My fellow Boston blogger, Jenn of Nightcapped, doubled down on the pomegranate flavor with grenadine and pomegranate green tea in the Pomegranate Princess.

New York City bloggers and food-drink pairers, Paul and Steve of Cocktail Buzz, were tenth in line. Their innovative libation, the Bramble Punch, combines tea with berry flavors and spices.

Jessamyn of the Food on the Brain blog makes a rich and malty Royal Yunnan tea syrup and matches it with whiskey for a pair of recipes.

Rowen kicks off his new blog, the Fogged in Lounge, with a Mixology Monday post! Rowen uses a smoky tea, Russian Caravan, to add flavor to a Tiki-styled punch.

Cocktail Enthusiast blog writer Kevin uses green tea syrup to make a variant of the classic Maple Leaf for what he calls the Bourbon Tease.

Inspired by the Saints' overtime win this past Sunday, Shawn of Rejiggered Cocktails combines a ginger tea syrup with blood orange juice for the O-T Cocktail. Depending on how Superbowl Sunday goes, you may want to have this recipe on hand next to the remote.

Anthony of Abelha Organic Cachaça infuses some gin to make the Chrysanthemum Martini. The tea donates a bounty of floral notes that sound like they would complement the recipe's Noilly Prat dry vermouth rather well.

A Mountain of Crushed Ice's Tiare uses mint and chocolate {!} Kusmi tea to gussy up the Cuban Mojito into something you should not wait until summer to try.

Dominik the Opiniated Alchemist takes the smoky route as well with Lapsang Souchong-infused Scotch in the varenja berry-flavored Fireside Sour.

Jon of Old Town Alchemy ups the ante on the Pearlescent cocktail by using Beefeater 24 (which has two teas in its botanical mix) instead of vodka. A few other ingredient substitutions and the inclusion of an Earl Grey tea rinse and voilà, the Incandescent.

Trader Tiki Blair takes a well-deserved tea break from working on his new Tiki-inspired syrup line to proffer his drink submission. Blair uses black tea along with Batavia Arrack and Genever to craft a new punch recipe.

Michael Dietch of A Dash of Bitters combines the Mixology Monday theme with plotting out his bar's new drink program and schemes up a tea-flavored Gin & Tonic. My cats are intrigued by the catnip-containing tea blend he used...

Entry 21 was Scofflaw's Den's SeanMike who offers up a pair of tea drinks -- a hot toddy one that mixes Scotch with Irish Breakfast tea and a cold summery one using Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka.

Beers in the Shower blog took the infusion route with rum and black tea and concocts a refreshing sounding Daiquiri variant, Tea with Hemmingway.

Alpha Cook prepares one of my favorite tea-laden old school punches, the Philly Fish House Punch. Definitely a good recipe to crack out for parties!

Jake from the DrinkSnob blog presents the tasty sounding play on words, Tea Killer Mockingbird. His recipe uses unbrewed Chai tea that is rapidly infused in the 30 second shaking process!

No surprise that RumDood chose rum to go with his tea, but the hot Negrita Grog recipe he prepares was quite the pleasant surprise though!

Cocktail Chronicle's Paul Clarke presents PDT's Jim Mehan's Butter Cup recipe -- a hot-buttered rum warmed up and flavored with black tea.

Daniel Nadasi of the Gin Not Vodka blog runs wild with his newly infused collection of green tea bitters and makes a Martini variant, Here Comes the Sun.

A Drink with Forrest knows that it's summer in South America and conjures up a cachaça drink flavored with Yerba Mate that he calls El Bolar Tereré.

God Save the King says the Intelligent Bartender with his tea syrup, er sizzurp-flavored take on NYC's WD-50's Silver King gin fizz.

The Rock and Rye blog comes in with the 30th submission with a pair of drinks: one hot, one cold including Audrey Saunder's Earl Grey MarTEAni.

The Drink of the Week blog's Green Tea Gimlet sounds like the perfect tea drink for the vodka lover!

Stevi Deter of Two at the Most wraps up this month's Mixology Monday (assuming there are no tardy cats left to herd) with a Seattle original, the Coho Café's Firenze.

Tacoma's 1022 South's entry just appeared in my Google Analytics data along with the following one (next best thing to ESP, I guess). 1022 South presents two drinks, one a blueberry-tea infused gin one, Blue Monday, and the other a jasmine pearl tea-infused viognier, the Hilltop Pearl.

The Cocktailwelt blog discusses the history and state of tea in Germany, in German! For those looking for a translation, Babelfish will be your friend.

Jacob Grier's entry was not a tardy one even though it is tacked on here at the end instead of being earlier in the write-up. It was due to me not having enough caffeine (or perhaps one too many tea cocktails) and combining Jake of DrinkSnob with Jacob Grier's names and entries. Jacob took a drink off of his bar menu and made a tea variant, the Patty Mills, with Earl Grey-flavored gin. Sorry about the confusion with your infusion!

Scofflaw's Den's Marshall's entry, unlike Mr. Grier's, was tardy though. But since it was a week late and today is Monday, why not? And it's hard to find a reason when Marshall combines yellow Chartreuse and Batavia Arrack for a hot, spiced herbal tea beverage he calls the Celestial Warmer.

Thank you to all of this month's Mixology Monday participants, cheers to Paul Clarke for running the Mxmo show, and I look forward to trying some of these recipes and to seeing what you all will come up with next month!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

earl grey marteani

1 1/2 oz Earl Grey-infused Tanqueray Gin
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with. Garnish with a lemon twist.
After the Nouveau Vague show at the Somerville Theater on Sunday night, Andrea and I went down to Green Street for drinks. The drink I asked bartender Derric Crothers to make for me first, the Earl Grey MarTEAni, was invented by Audrey Saunders of the Pegu Club in Manhattan. There were three reasons why I selected this particular drink. The first was that I had never had it before and working my way through the Green Street's six page A-to-Z cocktail menu is an informal goal. The second was that it was the eve of Mixology Monday and a tea drink would be in solidarity with the last minute Mixology Monday participants who were wildly mixing away at their home bars (my entry had been started on Monday and tasted on Friday though, so I was free to play elsewhere). And the third was that this drink had made the news recently for a rather absurd reasons. Last week, a Department of Health official was inspecting the Pegu Club, and despite the standard warnings about raw eggs and health on the menu, he declared that using raw eggs in drinks was a violation. Eggs are generally pretty safe with about one egg in twenty thousand containing salmonella (and fewer that would contain enough bacteria to get a person sick). I have no clue how many bacteria would even survive the alcohol pickling and citrus acid attack in many egg drinks, but the official made the decree that the Pegu Club had to start using pasteurized egg whites which to the bar's chagrin do not work as well as raw ones in cocktails. Here in Boston, we apparently live on the edge, and I was able to get the Earl Grey Marteani as Audrey envisioned it.

To make the tea-flavored gin, about 4 tablespoons of Earl Grey should be infused in a 750 mL bottle of gin for 2 hours before straining (if the infusion goes longer, the gin will extract bitter flavors in addition to the black tea and bergamot flavors). In essence, the drink is a standard gin sour with some bonus tea flavors on the swallow which help to dry out the sweetness. The egg white donated a gorgeous foam and a delightfully thick mouthfeel to the drink which I can safely say made this drink quite exquisite.

arrowhead

3/4 oz Rye (Sazerac 6 Year)
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
1/4 oz Dry Vermouth (Dolin)
1/4 oz Cherry Heering
1 dash Abbott's Bitters (Homemade)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Before heading out to the Surrealist Games Night hosted by Roger Miller (of Mission of Burma fame (*)) on Saturday, Andrea and I needed a drink to loosen up our minds to get into a free association zone. For inspiration, I found the Arrowhead in Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 to satisfy Andrea's craving for rye that might not have been satisfied by the Swedish Punsch-heavy Boomerang (and strangely also a projectile themed name). The Arrowhead features two very different cherry liqueurs -- the rich and spicy Cherry Heering and the nutty fruit Maraschino Liqueur -- and balances their sweetness with rye's intensity as well as some dry vermouth. To up the cherry quotient even further, I garnished the drink with a Luxardo Maraschino cherry.

The nose of the drink was filled with cherry from the liqueurs and clove spice from the Abbott's Bitters. Peychaud's or Fee's Aromatic might make for a good substitute if you have not made a batch of Abbott's for yourself, but neither will contain clove notes that pair up well with Cherry Heering. Indeed, both the cherry and clove notes carried over into the flavor and complemented the spicy Sazerac rye. The Arrowhead, despite containing two liqueurs, did not seem all that sweet. Andrea's palate detected the Maraschino first while mine picked up more on the Cherry Heering flavors. After a few sips, both were equally noticeable with the Maraschino appearing after the rye and before the Heering flavors.

(*) Andrea pointed out that a good choice would have been John Gertsen's surreally proportioned Mission of Burma cocktail that he created for the Grand Marnier event a few months ago.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

gin tea punch

This month's Mixology Monday theme, "Tea" (MxMo XLV), was chosen by um, well me. It was an idea that had been brewing since the late spring and when I mentioned it to a few people at Tales of the Cocktail in July, the reaction was quite positive. So shortly after that, I got into the venerable queue and awaiting my turn at hosting Mixology Monday. Part of the my description for this theme was to, "Find or concoct a drink recipe that uses tea or tisane (a herbal "tea" which lacks tea leaves) as an ingredient. This can be hot tea, cold tea, tea syrups, or infusions and use it in a cocktail, punch, or other drink type."

I was teetering between new school and old school recipes and I decided to let my elders guide me for this one. After flipping through Jerry Thomas and having either tried them or being discouraged by a gill of "warm calf's foot jelly" in some of them (true, there are a few tea-containing ones still left to try), I went to one of his disciples -- Kappeler. George J. Kappeler in his 1895 Modern American Drinks book had a bottled punch that seemed rather intriguing. The recipe for the Gin Tea Punch was the following:
Grate off the yellow part of the rinds of six lemons into a punch-bowl, add one pound cut-loaf sugar, the juice of the six lemons, half a pint of boiling water; mix well, add two quarts Old Tom gin. Infuse one teaspoonful coriander seeds in a pint of boiling green tea for twenty minutes, then add while hot to the mixture in the bowl, stir well and when cold strain, bottle, cork and seal. Keep in a cool place.
Not wanting to make the full complement of this recipe, I scaled it down eight fold such that the ingredient list was:
• 3/4 Lemon (~1 1/4 oz Juice, 3/4 Rind)
• 2 oz Sugar (Turbinado)
• 1 oz Boiling Water
• 8 oz Old Tom Gin (Hayman's)
• 1/8 tsp Coriander Seed
• 2 oz Green Tea (Japanese green tea + boiling water)
I upped the zest and juice to a full lemon since we prefer our drinks a little on the drier and crisper side of things. With the use of a microplane to zest the lemons, a microwave to reheat the tea and coriander seed part way through, and a tea towel to strain the punch at the end, the project did not take all that long. It would have had I not scrapped the plan to coffee filter strain the punch; the filters were clogging at such a fast rate that I figured that I could deal with a little cloudy sediment in the glass. I stored the punch in a bottle for 4 days to allow for a little extra flavor blending before we tasted it last night.
The punch's aroma was full of gin botanical and lemon notes. The sip presented a sweet and spicy tea flavor that was bolstered by the gin and citrus. Subsequently, the coriander and some of the gin botanicals sang through on the swallow. The tea and coriander's bitter notes and the lemon were rather well balanced by the sugar content of the punch. Overall, the Gin Tea Punch was a rather elegant concoction for the late 1800s and was probably quite handy for entertaining on a moment's notice given its bottled shelf life.

boomerang

1/3 Dry Vermouth (1 oz Dolin)
1/3 Rye Whiskey (1 oz Rittenhouse 100)
1/3 Swedish Punsch (1 oz Homemade)
1 dash Lemon Juice (1 tsp)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
On Thursday when it was time for cocktails, I went in search of the rye recipe I was looking for last time before I was distracted by the Linda Fiesta pisco drink. The one that stood out was the Boomerang from the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book which matches the potency of rye with Swedish Punsch. In order to stand up to the Batavia Arrack-laden Punsch, I selected a spicier one, Rittenhouse 100 for the whiskey. Once made, I could readily detect the lemon and dark rum aromas whereas the rye stood out most for Andrea. On the sip, the rye and Punsch's rum flavors were first on the tongue, followed by sour notes in the middle, and a wave of botanicals and spice at the end. The ending was replete with Batavia Arrack, dry vermouth, Angostura bitters, and spices with the Punsch's cardamom being the most readily identifiable spice in the mix. It was surprising how well the rye blended with the Swedish Punsch instead of standing out flavor-wise like it often does, although their rougher notes did appear at different parts of the sip.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

linda fiesta

1/3 Pisco (1 oz Cesar Pisco)
1/3 Dry or Sweet Vermouth (1 oz Dolin Dry)
1/6 Apricot Brandy (1/2 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot)
1/6 Cointreau (1/2 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

On Tuesday night, I started flipping through our 1972 edition of Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide in a quest for a rye cocktail. Before I got to the whiskey section, I got distracted by a pisco drink, the Linda Fiesta. What sounds like a great stripper name translates into "beautiful celebration" and marries the pisco brandy with fruit liqueurs and vermouth. With one third of the drink being sugar-laden spirits, I opted for dry vermouth to help balance the sweetness balance of the drink. The choice of vermouth would also greatly change the appearance of the drink for the three other ingredients are clear or slightly pale and sweet vermouth would shift the color to a more opaque and reddish one. I did find it a little odd how a critical ingredient identity was left to choice.
On the sip, the pisco's spice was detectable first with orange flavors in the middle, and apricot and vermouth botanical notes appearing on the swallow. The Cointreau seemed to smooth the drink over well such that Andrea wondered if it had been the duct tape of cocktails of that era akin to how St. Germain is often considered now. While I added an orange twist to the recipe, a dash of Angostura or Peychaud's bitters might bring the Linda Fiesta to an even higher level. And in retrospect, the drink also reminds me of the pisco-Cointreau-dry vermouth containing Cesar Moro from a few months ago.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

old smugglers awaken

2 oz Bols Gin (Bols Genever)
1 spoon Sugar (1 tsp Simple Syrup)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 Egg
1 Lemon Peel

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with powdered cinnamon.
On Monday night as we were waiting for my stew to finish cooking, we bided our time with a cocktail. The drink I chose was one that I had previously noted in the 1935 La Florida Cocktail Book from The Florida Bar in Havana, Cuba, called Old Smuggler's [sic] Awaken. Once prepared, the first sensation was the drink's attractive orange color from egg yolk and Angostura bitters. The cinnamon floating on top of the foam, besides providing a potent aroma, complemented the Genever's botanicals flavor-wise . On the sip, the drink was relatively dry with a lot of spice and a hint of lemon oil notes on the swallow. While some of the flavors were tempered by the egg white content, the Old Smugglers Awaken was a good recipe for appreciating the Genever.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

inca

1/4 Dry Gin (3/4 oz Berkshire Mountain Distillers' Ethereal)
1/4 Sherry (3/4 oz Lustau Los Arcos Dry Amontillado)
1/4 Sweet Vermouth (3/4 oz Dolin)
1/4 Dry Vermouth (3/4 oz Dolin)
1 dash Orgeat (1 tsp Ferrara Orzata)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
On Saturday night, I was thumbing through Duffy's The Official Mixer's Manual and spotted the Inca which appealed for my hankering for sherry. The oldest recipe that I found in my library was in the Savoy Cocktail Book and all but one recipe was the same. The oddball lacked sweet vermouth which is the way the (I believe) oldest written recipe in Robert Vermeire's 1922 Cocktails: How to Mix Them is written. The drink I made started off with an orange and almond nose. On the sip, the orange and sherry notes stood out the most with the gin and vermouth botanicals appearing on the swallow. After a few sips, the vermouth and orgeat flavors became more prominent with the sherry ones subsiding.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

carioca

1 1/2 oz Zaya 12 Year Gran Reserve Rum
1/2 oz Kahlua
1/2 oz Cream
1 Egg Yolk

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a wine glass and garnish with grated nutmeg.
Thursday after the Chartreuse Industry Night, Andrea and I took the Red Line part of the way home and caught a nightcap at Green Street. There, I asked bartender Derric Crothers to make me the Carioca off of the A-to-Z cocktail menu. I was drawn to it for two reasons: one, I had never had the Carioca before, and two, I wanted to try a cocktail with Zaya Gran Reserve which is a rather rich and spicy rum in the same league as Zacapa 23. The drink started with a coffee and nutmeg aroma, and the sip yielded a thick mouthfeel filled with creamy coffee notes in the middle. The rum's spice level was almost reminiscent of tequila; moreover, the egg yolk and cream did not smooth out all of the rough notes in the drink so it still had a rather pleasant bite to it.

I was able to find the Carioca in the 1972 but not the 1947 edition of Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide. There the Carioca is listed in the after-dinner drinks section as a brandy drink and not a rum one. The other major difference beside slight ingredient ratio variances was the garnishing with cinnamon which I have found to complement coffee flavors quite well. The cinnamon would probably work rather well with the spicy rum in Green Street's version as a substitute for the nutmeg.
Carioca
• 1 oz Brandy
• 3/4 oz Cream
• 1/2 oz Kahlua
• 1 Egg Yolk
Shake with ice and strain into a champagne saucer. Garnish with ground cinnamon.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

pago pago

1 1/2 oz Barbancourt Rum
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
1/4 oz White Creme de Cacao

Build with ice in a rocks glass. Mix by stirring or pouring back and forth with shaker tin. Garnish with lime wheel.

On Thursday, Andrea and I went down to the Franklin Southie for the Chartreuse Industry Night. The menu consisted of eight Chartreuse cocktails ranging from pre-Prohibition era ones like the Bijou to more modern ones like the Manuscript Margarita. The one I chose was a Tiki recipe, the Pago Pago, that can be traced back to the 1940 The How And When cocktail book. The original recipe uses Puerto Rican gold rum, twice as much Chartreuse, an ounce of muddled pineapple chunks instead of juice, and is strained before serving, but otherwise the same as this more modern one. The recipe will receive a bigger audience soon as it is slated to appear in Jeff Berry's forthcoming Beachbum Berry Remixed.
The Pago Pago started with sweet lime flavors at the beginning of the sip, and this was followed by the pineapple and Chartreuse flavors in the middle, and cacao and citrus crispness at the end of the swallow. The pineapple and Chartreuse flavors paired up nicely and each served to intensify the other. Later in the drink, the cacao became more prominent and perhaps the Pago Pago would not only serve as a good Tiki drink but as a good dessert one as well.

After the Pago Pago, I spoke with Todd Richman, the ever energetic Chartreuse Brand Ambassador. Luckily, he was not part of the Silent Order for he had a lot to say including telling us about the Illegal brand Mezcal that they were bringing to market. We got to try the reposado and añejo. While the reposado was quite a nice specimen, the añejo was a clear winner with intriguing fruit and berry notes.

Friday, January 15, 2010

incognito

6/10 Lillet Blanc (1 1/2 oz)
3/10 Brandy (3/4 oz Château de Plassons VSOP)
1/10 Apricot Brandy (1/4 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot)
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
On Wednesday night as dinner was in the oven, I opened up the Café Royal Cocktail Book in search of an aperitif. One that caught my eye was the Incognito which was primarily Lillet and seemed like it would fit the bill. The drink was reasonably dry and had a general fruitiness from the various spirits and citrus-peel infused aromatized wine. The apricot flavor was indeed present but not overwhelming like it can be in many drinks, and it was complemented by a light degree of spice from the bitters. While the Incognito was lighter in alcohol, the brandy still contributed a slight burn on the swallow.