Saturday, February 27, 2010

zambito

2 oz Coffee-infused Pisco (César, Medium-roast Organic Nica) (* see infusion notes below)
1 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with 3 coffee beans. Original recipe was 3 oz of spirit which I reduced above to 2 while keeping the other volumes constant.

Two weeks ago, my friend Héctor, who I met at Eastern Standard's 75th Anniversary Prohibition Repeal Party, gave me a copy of some Peruvian cocktail recipes. Many of the recipes from Gastón Acurio en tu Cocina: Cócteles Peruanas require indigenous ingredients such as fruits and juices which are hard to acquire here in Boston; however, some like the Zambito are definitely do-able. The Zambito's lime and coffee combination stood out for it was one I had discovered worked well through a Hellfire-inspired bitters recipe I improvised last year.
The Zambito started with a glorious coffee nose which stemmed from the infusion; had the coffee bean garnish been muddled coffee bean powder, the effect would have been magnified. The coffee and lime flavors truly paired up well as I recalled they would, and the recipe had enough sweetness to balance the lime's sour and the coffee's bitter notes. The medium roast I used seemed to be just about right; a darker roast might introduce burnt notes, oil residues, and flavors that would probably pair up better with a darker spirit. I was surprised that the Pisco itself did not stand out, but the fact that the drink worked as a whole whereas other spirits would have derailed the drink speaks volumes about Pisco's ability to bridge flavor gaps in the recipe without creating new ones. Andrea especially enjoyed hers which she found "very refreshing -- it has that [delightful] bite to it."

(*) I used 1 tsp for every 2 oz of Pisco. Overnight infusion should be sufficient, but mine went 48 hours due to scheduling. After infusing the medium-coarsely ground coffee, I filtered it through a paper coffee filter and topped off the volume back to 2 oz with fresh Pisco (a slight loss occurs in the infusion and filtration process). A medium roast seemed to work well.

Friday, February 26, 2010

gin-esaisquoi

1 1/2 oz Gin (Berkshire Mountain Distillers' Ethereal)
1 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
3/4 oz Falernum (Velvet)
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)
1 Egg

Shake one round without ice and one round with. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a pinch of ground cardamom.

Earlier in the week, I had come home from a long day at work and needed a cocktail to tide me over until the dinner I was making was done. Therefore, I flipped through Food & Wine: Cocktails 2008 and found the Gin-Esaisquoi, and as soon as I saw that name, I figured it could have only come from Jeff Grdinich from New Hampshire's White Mountain Cider Co. My assessment was not wrong.
The Gin-Esaisquoi was very different from the egg and cardamom-containing Punky Monkey that we made last month from the 2009 volume of the series. While the Punky Monkey was very Tiki-esque, Grdinich's drink despite the falernum -- a standard Tiki ingredient -- fell into a separate camp. To me, the drink was a spiced Orange Julius of sorts. The cardamom sprinkled on top of the egg foam was quite a pleasant and its aroma was joined by orange notes from the bitters, gin, and Lillet Blanc. The egg functioned to give the sip a thick mouthfeel and smooth out a lot of the flavors in the mix. What was left was a light citrus, clove, and allspice taste that was quite delightful.

air mail

1/2 oz Matusalem Platino Rum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Honey Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a white wine glass. Top off with Brute d'Argent Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine and garnish with an orange twist.

For my second drink on Sunday night, I asked bartender Derric Crothers to make me an Air Mail. The Air Mail was one of the drinks I have sort of had, which sounds odd until I explain that it was for the Mixology Monday: Hard Drinks for Hard Times. For that theme, we made some champagne cocktails rather inexpensively using beer instead of sparkling wine of any sort. Three of the drinks in that post were successes, but the Air Mail with Heineken Light (someone beer-bombed us at one of our parties so we had a bunch) was rather atrocious. While Heineken Light worked rather well with the lemon-based French 75 variant, it worked horribly with the lime-based Air Mail. Therefore, I needed to try the drink done properly.

The Air Mail's nose was full of honey and citrus due to the effervescence of the sparkling wine volatilizing aromas into the air. The drink's sip was rather crisp from the champagne and the lime juice and was full of citrus notes. The white rum provided some heat but not a lot of flavor; many recipes call for more flavorful amber rums which might bring the spirit closer to the forefront of the profile. Lastly, the honey donated a slight funkiness to the drink, but it lost in the sweet-dry balance battle given the other ingredients in the mix.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

st moritz

2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1/2 oz M&R Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

On Sunday night, Andrea and I headed down to Green Street for dessert and cocktails. For my first drink, I asked bartender Derric Crothers to make me something that I had spied in their cocktail recipe book, the St. Moritz. The St. Moritz was reminiscent of Scott Holiday's rye Bijou, the Family Jewels, and of the Hague Cocktail (also on the Green Street menu). Embury in The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks likened the drink to a Dry Manhattan with Chartreuse and orange bitters (his recipe is light on everything but the whiskey, of course). Embury also claimed that the drink was served in Old Fashioned glasses at the St. Moritz Hotel, but neglected to mention where the hotel was located.

The St. Moritz started with rye and Chartreuse notes on the nose. The dry vermouth certainly took the drink in a very different direction than the sweet vermouth facsimile; the St. Moritz was rather crisp, but not as dry and biting as I remember the Hague being. Strangely, the orange bitters did not stand out in the flavor profile much, unlike in the gin-laden Bijou.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

lusitania

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo XLVI) is "Absinthe" as picked by Sonja Kassebaum at the Thinking of Drinking blog. Sonja described her chosen theme as, "The topic for February is Absinthe. That much maligned, misunderstood, mistreated spirit, suddenly plentiful again in the US and other parts of the world. Absinthe played a role, whether large or small, in a variety of great cocktails from the 1800's and early 1900's -- the Sazerac, Absinthe Suissesse, Corpse Reviver No. 2... I'm getting thirsty. So let's celebrate absinthe's history, and it's future, with all manner of cocktails using absinthe."
An absinthe drink that stood out in a recent purchase, Jacques Straub's Drinks, was the Lusitania. While everyone today knows the Lusitania as the ship that was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat in 1915 -- an action that was instrumental in bringing the United States into World War I, this drink has nothing to do with that tragedy for the recipe was published the year before in 1914! Thus, the Lusitania cocktail was no Remember the Maine -- an absinthe-laden drink that commemorates the sinking of the Maine which brought the United States into the Spanish American War. No, it is a drink praising the ship while it was still sailing. The Lusitania was one of the fastest ships of its day and captured the Blue Riband for the quickest westbound trans-Atlantic voyage followed a few voyages later by the quickest eastbound trip. This grand ship traveled at speeds averaging over 25 knots and made the voyage in well under 5 days.
Lusitania
• 1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
• 1/2 oz Good Brandy (Larresingle VSOP Armagnac)
• 1 dash Absinthe (1 barspoon Pernod Absinthe)
• 1 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I made the addition of an orange twist to the recipe.
Another thing that attracted me to this drink was that appeared like a solid aperitif cocktail. The Lusitania started with a rather pleasant anise and orange oil nose. The star interaction in the drink was how well the Noilly Prat and the Pernod Absinthe played together; the wormwood in each as well as the sharp note in the Noilly Prat created a wondrous taste. Secondary to that were the orange notes from the bitters, the citrus peel in the vermouth, and the twist I added to the recipe. The brandy rounded off the Lusitania by providing a rich mouthfeel. The drink certainly captured the time period and Andrea commented that, "this has a very old world feel to it." I can well imagine drinking this cocktail on the first class deck right before a sumptuous dinner.
Cheers to Sonja for hosting this month's Mixology Monday and to Paul for running the show as always!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

gory guerrero

1 1/2 oz Tequila (Lunazul Reposado)
1/2 oz Drambuie
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

For Mixoloseum's Thursday Drink Night, the theme was "Tweaked - take a past TDN drink or one you've submitted and improve on it!" Two that came to mind were the Balmy Night which was a great drink with a somewhat lame name from the Allspice Dram event and the César Moro from the Cointreau night. The latter seemed more flexible of a recipe, so I decided to ponder variations that I could make. I remembered the lesson that bartender Misty Kalkofen shared that she learned from Charlotte Voisey -- that is how well tequila and Drambuie work together. So from the César Moro's Pisco Punch-esque form, the drink was quickly shifted in a very different direction by subbing the base spirit and liqueur. For a name, I abandoned the Surrealist theme since the only Mexican one I could think of honoring was Remedios Varo (and she was not even born there), and I switched gears to Mexican luchadors (professional wrestlers). Gory Guerrero became the obvious answer and I was tempted to name the drink after his signature finishing move, the Gory Special (although the move he is most famous for inventing is La de a Caballo which was later made famous in the 1980s as the Camel Clutch by the Iron Sheik). Gory was also the father of the recently departed WWE star, Eddie Guerrero.
The nose on the Gory Guerrero was rather complex. Aromas of the tequila and the Scotch in the Drambuie were dominant with floral notes from the vermouth and pineapple as an undercurrent. Flavorwise, the pineapple played a larger role in shaping the drink. The sip started with a dry booze flavor, had pineapple notes in the middle, and finished with honey, spice, and tequila on the swallow. In terms of tequila drinks, it was soft yet flavorful. I feel like visually the drink could use a garnish; however, none came to mind when making the drink. Perhaps a lime or lemon wheel might do the trick.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

hot apple toddy

1 medium-sized Apple (Gala)
1 1/3 oz Sugar (Turbinado)
2 2/3 oz Whiskey (Old Overholt Rye)
2/3 oz Jamaican Rum (Smith & Cross)

Roast the apple (30 minutes, 400°F (*)) in a pan. Scrape the pulp and juice away from the skin, core, and seeds, and add to a heat-resistant bowl or mixing glass. Add sugar, and pulverize the apple using a muddler until the sugar is dissolved. Add spirits, stir, and warm up before serving in microwave. Serve in punch cups with an equal part of boiling water; provide small spoons. Garnish suggestions: cinnamon stick or grated cinnamon (none listed in original recipe). Recipe makes two servings.

Last night, I decided to give the Hot Apple Toddy recipe I found in 1904's The Blue Grass Cook Book a try. The other recipe I made from the book, the Xalapa Punch, was a great success, so my confidence in trying another one of the drink recipes was high. The original called for a dozen apples and I scaled it down to what would make about two servings (although the recipe claims that the 'pug' before hot water dilution will keep indefinitely) besides a few other slight modifications.
The recipe gave me a good excuse to use my new bottle of Smith & Cross Navy Strength Jamaica Rum. In the toddy, the rum had a dominant signature to my palate whereas the whiskey stood out more for Andrea. The drink would definitely have been a different beast if I had interpreted the Jamaican rum as something as rich and full-bodied as Appleton's, but a rougher rum might have been more true to the ingredients more widely available when the recipe was created. The cinnamon garnish I added complemented the spiciness of the rum quite well in addition to pairing up nicely with the apple notes. The apple and sugar functioned to mitigate the alcohol's burn when the high proof was coupled with the heat. Overall, the Hot Apple Toddy made for a delightful nightcap on a cold winter's night.

(*) The apple still seemed chunky after being muddled extensively. Perhaps a longer or hotter roast/bake is in order, or perhaps Gala apples are a bit more structurally sound than other apples. A blender would help, but seems very un-1904...

cherry blossom

2 oz Hendrick's Gin
1 oz Stock Maraschino Liqueur
1 oz Lemon Juice
2-3 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
On Sunday night, Andrea and I attended Eastern Standard's annual anti-Valentine's Day event. On the special menu were eight pink or red drinks. While Andrea went for something with tequila, I asked Bobby McCoy to make me the Cherry Blossom which he described as a variation on an Aviation. I surmise that this might be their original concoction for all other Cherry Blossom recipes that I found in my library and on the web were very different. Like an Aviation, the drink had a maraschino nose and sour cherry flavor; however, the Peychaud's, besides donating the theme-appropriate pink color to the drink, took the drink in a very different direction. We were glad that we showed up on the early side to this event and were able to have a drink at the bar before the place got packed. After that, we used our drink tickets for the beer and shot of Fernet Branca combo at one of the satellite bars they had set up around the room.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

byculla cocktail

1/2 oz Sherry (Lustau Don Nuño Dry Oloroso)
1/2 oz Port (Ramos Pinto Ruby)
1/2 oz Curaçao (Curaçao of Curaçao)
1/2 oz Ginger Brandy (Domaine de Canton)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added an orange twist to the recipe.
On Sunday night after dinner but before going to Eastern Standard's anti-Valentine's Day event, Andrea and I had a drink to pass the time. I found the Byculla in Trader Vic's 1947 Bartender's Guide and decided to give it a go. Savoy's 1930 and Boothby's 1934 both had the recipe with the former being a liqueur glass (1 oz) and the latter 1/4 jigger measures for each ingredient. I opted for adding an orange twist for orange oils always seem to complement sherry rather well; moreover, it ended up bringing out a fresh juice flavor sensation from the Curaçao. In the drink, the sherry notes appeared early in the sip, orange liqueur in the middle, and ginger at the swallow. In addition, a pleasant port-like grape flavor lingered on in the aftertaste. The Byculla Cocktail was not as gingery as I imagined it would be; perhaps the fortified wines smoothed over the its sharpness for it appeared more as a light accent. The addition of a dash of Angostura bitters to the Byculla might help to bring out a more robust and complex ginger taste, and I could easily see orange bitters adding to the citrus complexity. The drink would be a good cocktail to have with dessert and Andrea imagined it working extravagantly well with a flourless chocolate cake.

esmeralda

1 1/2 oz Cachaça (Isaura Ouro 3 Year)
1/2 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass rinsed with a smoky Scotch (Caol Ila 12 Year).

Last Thursday while at the Boston Shaker's St. Germain event, I mentioned to Kate, our St. Germain and hopefully soon Creme Yvette rep, that we were going to the cachaça event at the Franklin Southie afterward. Kate mentioned that the folk at Drink had a great cachaça and St. Germain recipe that they were making for a while, and when I expressed interest in the drink, she immediately sent a text off to Ben Sandrof. Soon after, I experienced my first recipe via text message (I know it's a phenomenon with bartenders needing a recipe at that moment, but for me, things are rarely that fast paced)! I spoke to Ben a few days later when I saw him at the Eastern Standard anti-Valentine's Day event and told him how much we enjoyed the drink. He shared the story of the the Esmeralda, a drink he created using and named after the Armazem Viera's Esmeralda Cachaça and how the recipe traveled across the country to end up on San Francisco's Laïola's cocktail menu.
At first, the Esmeralda's nose was an elegant smoky Scotch aroma, but over time the cachaça grassy-funky notes started appearing as well. The sip started with sweet St. Germain and lime flavors followed by cachaça and Scotch's funk and smoke, respectively, on the swallow. The drink was nicely balanced although slightly on the sweet side especially compared to most other Daisy-style drinks I have had lately. The Esmeralda worked for two main reasons. The first was how well the lime and St. Germain paired up, and the second and more important was how the Scotch and cachaça interacted. The Scotch brought out an entirely different side to cachaça than ginger did in the Maison Leblon, a more earthy than spicy one. Moreover, it made me recall how it was the smoke notes in the Rochinha Cachaça I had tasted a few months before that made it so tasty; Rochinha's producers obviously understand the flavor pairing magic as well as they purchase used Scotch barrels instead of utilizing indigenous woods for their barrel aging step.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

maison leblon

1 1/2 oz Leblon Cachaça
3/4 oz Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with 3 slivers of ginger.

For my second drink at the Leblon Cachaça Party at the Franklin Southie, I opted for the Maison Leblon which was almost the ginger liqueur instead yellow Chartreuse version of the drink Andrea had for her first beverage:
Grande Elixir
• 1 1/2 oz Leblon Cachaça
• 3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
• 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
• 1/2 oz Honey Syrup
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
The Maison Leblon that bartender Joy Richard made for me started with a very ginger- and cachaça-scented nose. I think the key to the success of this drink was how well the ginger's sting mixed with the cachaça's funk similar to how Campari's sharp notes functioned in the Lua Bonita. In addition, the lemon's crispness added to this delightful bite. The yellow Chartreuse in the Grande Elixir, on the other hand, brought out a more herbaceous side to the cachaça and might be a better choice for someone looking for a more mild yet interesting cocktail.

Friday, February 12, 2010

lua bonita

1 oz Leblon Cachaça
1 oz Campari
1 oz Cinzano Sweet Vermouth

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Last night after going to the St. Germain event at the Boston Shaker's store, Andrea and I hopped on the Red Line and got off at the Broadway stop to go to the Franklin Southie's Leblon Cachaça event. Bartender Joy Richard assembled a list of seven cachaça drinks; I was greatly impressed that none of the ones on the list was the Caipirinha (although I was told that they would gladly make one if requested). All too often, cachaça gets pigeonholed as the spirit to make Caipirinhas. The second best known cachaça drink, the Batida, was on there though and was flavored with a combination of mango puree and cream of coconut, and the other six were a combination of variations and original creations. Hopefully, efforts like this to expose people to cachaça's functionality in a variety of cocktail recipes will broaden the spirit's appeal in this country.
The first cachaça cocktail I chose was the Lua Bonita (Beautiful Moon) which substituted the gin in a Negroni for cachaça. The drink started with a distinctive cachaça grassiness and an orange oil nose. Sweet vermouth flavors were rich at the beginning of the sip, while the cachaça's funk and Campari's bitter notes were evident on the swallow. The funk and bitter notes played extremely well together and took the drink in a very different and intriguing direction from gin's effect in the classic Negroni. Moreover, these two elements served to partially dry out the drink's sweetness at the swallow. The Lua Bonita had a nice amount of acid crispness and when combined with the Campari and vermouth colors, one could probably be tricked into thinking for a moment that the glass contained a good proportion of cranberry juice.
My Lua Bonita immortalized in 2/17/2010's Globe article on restaurant/bar industry events.

monte cassino

3/4 oz Rittenhouse Rye
3/4 oz Bénédictine
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass; garnish with a lemon twist.

To continue on with the night before's four-equal part whiskey-yellow Chartreuse cocktail theme, it was time to try the Monte Cassino on Wednesday. The Monte Cassino was Damon Dyer's (Louis 649 in New York City) creation and the winner of the cocktail contest to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Bénédictine herbal liqueur. Dyer described his Last Word variant as, "This drink requires no dramatic flourishes, no additional flavor notes, no aromatic supplements. Simply four ingredients in equal parts, in perfect balance, allowing the Benedictine to make its noble presence felt."
The drink was indeed a great balance between the two sweet liquors and the acid and heat of the lemon and 100 proof rye whiskey. The Bénédictine and yellow Chartreuse combined to form a wall of herbaceousness, although one that was not too tall or too intense especially when compared to what other pairings of bitter liqueurs can bring to the table. The Bénédictine and lemon took the drink in a different direction than the Last Word's Maraschino and lime such that the parallels seemed more in theme than in flavor. Dyer's choice of Rittenhouse was a good one for it has enough backbone to handle the other ingredients without getting drowned out. Moreover, the rye grain's spice contribution to the whiskey's mash bill played quite well with all of the other ingredients.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

van dieman

1/4 Canadian Club Whiskey (3/4 oz, equal parts Eagle Rare Bourbon + Midnight Moon)
1/4 Dry Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Prat)
1/4 Caloric Punch (3/4 oz homemade Swedish Punsch)
1/4 Yellow Chartreuse (3/4 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
On Tuesday night, Andrea desired a whiskey-based nightcap, so I found the Van Dieman in the pages of the Café Royal Cocktail Book. I am not sure if the unique spelling of this drink's name was intentional or a misspelled reference to Van Diemen's Land, now Tasmania, where British convicts were once sent. Since we lacked Canadian whiskey, I simulated the lighter style with a Bourbon diluted with Midnight Moon un-aged corn whiskey. Andrea's reaction after her first sip of the Van Dieman was, "sweet, vanilla-y with an herbal aftertaste." The vanilla notes were most likely a combination of the barrel aging of both the Bourbon and the Punsch's Appleton VX. Dilution of the Bourbon was probably not that necessary as it ended up playing a diminutive role in the final balance. The dominant flavors were the Swedish Punsch and yellow Chartreuse which paired up rather well; moreover, they donated a lot of spice at the end of the swallow especially from the Punsch's Batavia Arrack.

bonsoni

3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Dolin)
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
3/4 oz Fernet Branca
1 dash Cynar

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist a lemon peel over the top.
On Monday night, Andrea and I went to Allston to get food at Deep Ellum. After dinner, I asked Max Toste if he had an idea for a digestif and he suggested the Bonsoni from the Rogue Cocktail Book. The book credits Patrick Duffy's The Official Mixer's Manual as their source. Both of these recipes use a 2 oz sweet vermouth to 1 oz Fernet Branca recipe; however, the Rogue recommends splitting the vermouth part into half sweet vermouth and half Punt e Mes as well as including an orange twist. Max upped the ante on the Rogue's version by adding a dash of Cynar. In the Bonsoni, the aromatized wines tempered the Fernet quite a bit until the menthol notes appeared in the aftertaste. The addition of Punt e Mes, besides adding extra herbal complexity, donated a sweet grape taste on the early part of the sip. In addition, the Cynar was detectable in the middle of the sip and played rather well with the Fernet Branca and Punt e Mes notes. The closest thing I have had to this drink is the Appetizer a l'Italienne which jazzes the classic Bonsoni up with a dash of absinthe and simple syrup.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

royal smile cocktail

3/4 oz Apple Brandy (Marquis de Saint-Loup Calvados)
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Grenadine (Homemade)
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a claret glass.
On Sunday night, I flipped through Jacques Straub's 1914 Drinks that I purchased from the newly opened Boston Shaker store in Davis Square, Somerville. I was in search of a use for the egg whites left over from the Almond Molasses Flip and I found the Royal Smile Cocktail. The drink could be considered a hybrid of a few Pink Lady recipes; for example, one recipe in Boothby uses dry vermouth instead of gin, and another lime instead of lemon. Moreover, the Royal Smile Cocktail is less booze forward than most Pink Lady recipes; besides the vermouth instead of gin exchange, the Royal Smile's equal parts recipe makes the nonalcoholic ingredients play a greater role in shaping the drink. The Royal Smile Cocktail started with a lime nose and a sweet pomegranate-apple taste. The flavors were modified by the lime's crispness and vermouth's botanicals on the swallow; both of these elements functioned to dry out the drink on the swallow. In addition, the egg white probably played a role in mitigating the grenadine's sweetness.

almond molasses flip

2 oz Amber Rum (Lemon Hart 80)
3/4 oz Cream
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2 tsp Almond Butter
1 barspoon Pimento Dram (St. Elizabeth)
1 Egg Yolk

Shake with ice and strain into wine glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg.

On Sunday night while waiting for the pizza dough to finish rising, I gave one of my ideas a try. During the nut-themed Thursday Drink Night at Mixoloseum, I chatted with Kaiser Penguin about the concept of using muddled nuts as a flavoring. At the time it was whether I could use walnuts muddled in spirit to give a Nocino Liqueur-sort of flavor. While that experiment failed, it got me thinking of nut butters and how delicious the Peanut Malt Flip was. In contemplating a variant, the idea for using almond butter to work akin to orgeat popped into my head, and in paralleling the Peanut Malt Flip, the pairing with rum seemed to make sense.

The recipe's result was a rich rum-flavored sip, allspice notes on the swallow, and almond on the aftertaste. The almond flavors blended in well with the cream and were a lot more subtle than the peanut flavors in the other drink. Unlike the peanut butter once shaken, the almond never fully entered the liquid phase with a lot of particulate matter settling out after the drink was poured. With the sediment was perhaps a lot of flavor. I have no clue if it had to do with how well ground the almond was or whether it is a problem inherent with almonds (i.e.: impossible to make something as creamy as peanuts can). Perhaps using a less flavorful rum, dropping the Allspice Dram level, decreasing the cream amount, or increasing the nut butter might help sway the balance a bit. The Almond Molasses Flip was tasty; however, it was not as big of a win as the Peanut Malt Flip.

Monday, February 8, 2010

pinto

1 oz Cherry Brandy (Cherry Heering)
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1 dash Lemon Juice (1 tsp)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a small cocktail glass. I added a lemon twist.

On Friday night, I desired a nightcap and remembered the Pinto from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933; the drink intrigued me for it used Fernet Branca in a liqueur-based cocktail. The main ingredient was "cherry brandy" which I interpreted as the rich and spicy Cherry Heering that seemed like it would best match up with Fernet Branca. Kirsch seemed too subtle, Luxardo Maraschino too funky, and other options were lacking on my shelves. On paper, it was hard to determine whether the drink would be delightful or a nightmare with the Fernet perhaps veering the drink off into a strange place; however, luckily, the former was the case which is not too surprising since the book has yet to steer me wrong.
Menthol and lemon oil aromas started off the Pinto. The Cherry Heering donated a thick, rich mouthfeel to the drink and served to temper the Fernet Branca considerably. The Fernet's menthol did appear on the swallow along with a variety of lingering bitter notes; however, it was not as potent as the recipe's ratio would suggest. Much respect for the Heering for accomplishing this feat. The lemon gave a nice hint of crispness to the drink and worked well with the Heering to give a slight sour cherry flavor. Surprisingly, the flavors gelled into a rather nice cocktail and the Pinto would probably serve as a great digestif as well.

Friday, February 5, 2010

bourbon belle

2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
1/2 oz Mathilde Peches Liqueur
1/2 ounce Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass garnished with a brandied cherry. Recipe is a hybrid of the one from LUPEC Boston's Little Black Book of Cocktails and what I was served.
For my second drink last night at Joy Richard's "Whiskey-Infused Birthday Bash" was the cocktail Joy's LUPEC name is based on, the Bourbon Belle. The Bourbon Belle is one of her creations and she described its origins as a Manhattan variation in this LUPEC Boston blog post. With the addition of some peach flavor, her twist on the whiskey classic takes on an unique identity. The rich Carpano Antica sweet vermouth flavors were the first detected on the sip. Trailing that were the peach fruit and Angostura bitters on the aftertaste along with a slight burn from the whiskey. At times, the vermouth's grape and the liqueur's peach flavors seemlessly flowed together in the sip.

kentucky

1 1/2 oz Eagle Rare Bourbon
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. Recipe is a hybrid of CocktailDB's plus the one I was served.

Last night at the Franklin Southie was bartender Joy Richard's "Whiskey-Infused Birthday Bash," and on the menu were Joy's favorite whiskey drinks: five Bourbon and two rye cocktails. The one I started off with was a Kentucky variation. The Kentucky I was more familiar with was one that Andy McNees made for us at Eastern Standard one night using equal parts Bourbon and pineapple juice. Andy's secret was to use George T. Stagg overproof which worked amazingly well with the house's pineapple juice. Joy's preferred recipe for the Kentucky adds a bit of flavor complexity to the two part one with the addition of lemon juice and Maraschino liqueur.
The drink started out with a Bourbon, lemon oil, and a vague fruity nose. The Maraschino enhanced the drink by adding some bitter notes; however, it did not carry enough sugar to balance the portion of lemon juice added to the mix. The lemon and pineapple fruit flavors mingled on the first part of the sip, while Bourbon heat appeared on the swallow along with a lingering Maraschino taste which built up with each sip. The flavor combination that was surprising was how well the pineapple and Maraschino played together in this drink.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

flora's own

1/4 Drambuie (3/4 oz)
1/4 Dry Gin (3/4 oz Beefeater)
1/2 Dry Vermouth (1 1/2 oz Noilly Prat)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Last night's book perusing brought me back to the Café Royal Cocktail Book for another Drambuie recipe. The last one I made from there was the rum and sherry-rific Golden Heath and it was a success, so I was confident to try another of their recipes. While I had the Flora's Own as a nightcap, the half portion of dry vermouth would suggest that it would make an excellent aperitif cocktail. The only variance I made with the recipe was the addition of a lemon twist. The drink looked lonely without it and besides, citrus oils generally complement gins and vermouths. The drink's nose was filled with Drambuie's honey which worked rather well with the lemon oil. On the sip, the honey sweetness mixed with vermouth's wine flavors reminded me a lot of a bianco vermouth. Following that, botanicals from the gin, vermouth, and perhaps Drambuie appeared on the swallow. I was surprised at how magnificently the Drambuie and Noilly Prat dry vermouth paired up especially with that sharp note that is present in the "new" Noilly Prat opposed to the old American version they discontinued. The best way to describe the Flora's Own would be placing it in half way between a Martini and a Manhattan (or Rob Roy) assuming you left out the bitters for some reason. Thus, it might be the perfect cocktail suggestion for when a drinker cannot decide which classic to drink.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

[rumbustion flip]

1 1/2 oz St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout
1 oz Old Monk Rum
1/2 oz Allspice Dram
1/2 oz Demerara Simple Syrup
1 Egg

Shake once without and once with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish the foam with Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters.
On Sunday night, Andrea and I went to Drink in Boston. For one of my cocktails that night, I asked bartender Misty Kalkofen for something with rum, and after a moments thought, she asked if egg was okay. With my affirmation, she set to work improvising a flip. I was pleased when I saw her reaching for a bottle of oatmeal stout to add to the mixing tin. Wayne Curtis in And a Bottle of Rum goes into great detail about the origins of flips using rum, beer, molasses, and a red-hot loggerhead and how things later evolved into the egg-laden drink we know today. Perusing the web, PDT in NYC has a similar recipe to the one Curtis described (minus the heated iron) and to Misty's but with a lot less spice notes:
Black Flip
• 1 oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
• 3 oz Brooklyn Chocolate Stout
• 1 Egg
Shake with ice and strain. Recipe did not specify glass or garnish, so a cocktail or rocks would work, and feel free to garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
Misty's concoction added the spice notes from the Allspice Dram, the vanilla in the Old Monk rum, and the aged bitters with a loss of the blackstrap molasses notes. The bitters added more to the drink's nose for it donated a glorious cinnamon smell which did bleed into the first few sips. The drink proved to be rather rich from the rum, stout, and egg, and the demerara sugar helped to cut the dryness of the oatmeal stout. Moreover, the allspice from the dram appeared at the end and gave the drink a rather flavorful swallow.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

sunray

1/4 Bourbon Whiskey (3/4 oz Eagle Rare 10 Year)
1/4 Grand Marnier (3/4 oz)
1/4 Lillet (3/4 oz Lillet Blanc)
1/4 Orange Juice (3/4 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

On Saturday night, I was flipping through the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book and found the Sunray which seemed like it would be an intriguing Bourbon-based Hoop La variant. Surprisingly, the Sunray was relatively rather spicy and assertive especially compared to the Hoop La. The spice notes we attributed to the recipe's call for Grand Marnier instead of Cointreau or another orange liqueur, and for the strong barrel and mash notes in the Bourbon instead of the Hoop La's smoother Cognac. The drink's assertiveness stunned us for orange juice usually acts to smooth over flavors unlike the Hoop La's lemon; perhaps it did smooth over the first part of the sip but definitely not the latter half.

Monday, February 1, 2010

tom dempsey

1 oz Dark Spiced Rum
1/2 oz Rye
1/2 oz Benedictine
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters
1 oz Stout Beer

Stir all but the beer with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Top off with an ounce of stout, and garnish with a coin-sized piece of lemon peel twisted over the top and then floated.

This weekend I submitted my entry for the Superbowl Sunday "Drink Like a Saint" contest. The contest's description and rules were as follows:
This week, everything must be black and gold. That includes our drinks. Think you have what it takes to create a cocktail that's a champion? Enter the Times-Picayune/Tales of the Cocktail "Drink like a Saint" competition. The rules are simple. Only amateur bartenders can enter. Each drink must celebrate the Saints. And, of course, it must taste great, or it wouldn't be worthy of our team.
When I gave some thought about the Saints, I returned to one of my early memories of the team. As a kid, I loved to read our copy of Guinness Book of World Records and I remembered the photo and story of the longest field goal. The fact that the kicker not only made the record-breaking 63 yard field goal but did it even with a physical handicap to bring victory against substantial odds was rather inspirational. Therefore, I named the drink the Tom Dempsey.
I knew that the drink had to be manly and reasonably strong akin to the horse racing-themed Suburban, and spiced rum and whiskey popped into my head (perhaps to parallel the Suburban's rye and dark rum). The spiced rum element was a good excuse to try out our newly purchased bottle of dark Kraken Spiced Rum. For the other spirits, I used Sazerac 6 year Rye and local Ipswich Stout. Moreover, Abita's Imperial Stout and Old New Orleans Cajun Spice Rum would make fine New Orleans-appropriate substitutions. The rum, Benedictine, and bitters add a nice level of spice to the rich malt flavors donated by the beer and whiskey. The Benedictine, once made by Monks, was the first spirit that popped into my head when I thought about saints. And the black drink with the golden garnish floating on top reminded me a bit of the Saints' helmet. The Tom Dempsey cocktail might even be appropriate if you choose to watch the Puppy Bowl on Sunday instead.