Tuesday, March 30, 2010

madelaine cocktail

1 oz Light Rum (Treaty Oak Platinum)
1 oz Drambuie
Juice of 1/2 Lime (1/2 oz)
Juice of 1/2 Lemon (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added a lemon twist to the recipe.

On Friday night, I found the Madelaine Cocktail in the 1947 edition of Trader Vic and it was the perfect cocktail to try out two of our new possessions. One was the bottle of Treaty Oak Rum which we were sent as a sample, and the other was a pair of vintage cocktail glasses Andrea bought at the Boston Shaker store. The former is a rum made in Austin using ingredients sourced solely from Texas and has aromas of vanilla and coconut to our noses. For what I believe is an unaged rum, it is rather smooth yet not stripped of flavor.
The Madelaine Cocktail's nose had a pleasant lemon oil and vanilla aroma from the twist and rum, respectively. The taste was lemon-lime with a slight rum bite aftertaste. In the middle was a honey and floral flavor from the Drambuie which also donated something herbal and licorice-like on the swallow. In particular, the rum and the lime juice seemed to work rather well together. The drink was on the tart side when we followed the directions of how much juice to add, and the recipe would have benefited from strict volume measurements of juice. I added volume suggestions in parentheses above which should negate variations in individual citrus fruits and changes over time (citrus is generally larger now than in the past). To make my particular drink less tart, I opted to stir in some simple syrup to balance the drink, and sweetening to taste would work just as well as controlling the juice volumes in the recipe.

prince of wales

1 1/2 oz Brandy (Château de Plassons VSOP)
1 1/2 oz Madiera (Blandy's 5 Year)
1 tsp Orange Curaçao (Senior Curaçao of Curaçao)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with Champagne (~1 1/2 oz Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs), and garnish with a cherry or slice of orange (Luxardo Maraschino cherry).

On Thursday night, I was flipping through our copy of Latin Quarter Souvenir Book Of Cocktails & How To Mix Them and spotted a curious drink, the Prince of Wales. What was so intriguing about it was that it used Madeira which is one of the lesser used fortified wines in cocktails. Perhaps it gets overlooked due to its oxidized and sharper flavors, but it was used in some older drinks including the Boston Egg Nog and Boston Flip. I have no clue if this version of the Prince of Wales started in Boston (one of the Latin Quarter clubs was based here in Boston), or how it relates to the Madeira-less one David Wondrich wrote about in Imbibe!, but it was definitely worth a moment to try out the recipe.
The Prince of Wales's began with sparkling wine and orange notes at the beginning of the sip and a very grapey flavor from the Madeira in the middle. Moreover, the swallow contained the brandy's heat and the Angostura's complexity. The Curaçao's orange notes complemented the Madeira rather well; while the sparkling wine's crispness tempered the Madeira's oxidized flavor, the drink was still strongly flavored of Madeira. Overall, the Prince of Wales' usage of three very distinctly flavored grape products made it a rather intriguing tipple.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

peniques

1 1/2 oz Reposado Tequila (Lunazul)
3/4 oz Ramazzotti
3/4 oz Orange Juice
1 barspoon Cinnamon Syrup (Trader Tiki)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

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

The theme for Mixoloseum's Thursday Drink Night on the 18th was "Orange" and for a recipe idea, I thought of the reposado tequila shot with cinnamon-sprinkled orange slice chaser that John Gertsen served us a few months ago at Drink. So to replicate that, I combined tequila, orange juice, and cinnamon syrup; however, the drink needed something extra. That extra was Ramazzotti, an amaro flavored with sweet and bitter orange peels which has some similarities to Amer Picon (and is used in one replica recipe). Ramazzotti also has a wonderful spice signature that includes hints of cinnamon which would help to tie the components together quite well.
The drink ended up a pretty apricot color so to couple its copperiness with the spirit's origin, it got dubbed the Peniques after the Mexican one cent piece. The Peniques' aroma was full of orange oil, tequila, and a caramel sort of note. Cinnamon and orange flavors were on the forefront of the sip with tequila and a lingering cinnamon note on the swallow.

cliftonian

1/8 Swedish Punsch (1/4 oz Homemade)
3/8 Grand Marnier (3/4 oz)
3/8 Gin (3/4 oz Bombay Dry)
1/8 Orange Juice (1/4 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added an orange twist to the recipe.
On Wednesday night the week before, I began to flip through the Café Royal Cocktail Book, and found the Cliftonian. The drink was created by Bert Nutt who won the British Cocktail Competition in 1935 with this recipe. The Cliftonian started with orange oil and Grand Marnier aromas on the nose, and the sip proved to be not as sweet as I first expected given the healthy portion of liqueur. The front of the sip was full of gin, orange juice, and Swedish Punsch's dark rum, whereas the swallow contained a spiciness from the Punsch's Batavia Arrack along with flavors from the Grand Marnier liqueur.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

bean's necktie

3/4 oz Bourbon
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/4 oz Orchard Syrup (recipe)
1 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a champagne flute. Top with Champagne (~ 2 oz) and garnish the inside of the glass with a long red apple peel (6 inches or so, Crusta/Horse's Neck style).

A weeks ago while reading my RSS feed, I spotted Embury Cocktails' contest for a drink inspired by the Fantastic Mr. Fox movie. The contest gave pointers for ingredients and plot moments, and along with some movie summaries and Wikipedia, I started to brainstorm. One part of the movie that grabbed me as rather dark is that Mr. Fox gets his tail shot off during one his raids and he later returns to fetch it, except he learns that the farmer, Mr. Bean, has taken to wearing it as a necktie. I thought that it was too morbid to name the drink after until a google search alerted me that Mr. Fox tail neckties were given away as promotion for the movie. Alas, not too dark for a movie based on Roald Dahl's work.

Next came the drink idea. The contest gave some suggestions about apples, champagne, fox-colored, and the like, which got me thinking. Earlier that day, I had read a post from Erik Ellestad that mentioned orchard syrup -- an ingredient that I saw a few days before in Harry Johnson's Bartenders' Manual. Orchard syrup was surmised to be an apple syrup made from boiling down cider into a honey-like consistency. With the apple part of the recipe in place, the Woxum from the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book popped into my head of how apple flavors paired up rather well with yellow Chartreuse. The addition of some whiskey and bitters helped to solidify the base for a champagne cocktail concept. And to lock in the fox-like imagery part, I thought that a strip of red apple peel reminded me of a fox tail.

My tasting notes say that I made ours with Eagle Rare 10 Year Bourbon and Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs. The nose had elements of the five spice powder which was used to flavor the orchard syrup. The sip was full of apple notes with nice crispness from the sparkling wine's bubbles; lastly, the yellow Chartreuse sung out on the swallow. After tasting the drink, I knew my recipe was ready to submit to the contest.
The competition was held at Louis 649 in New York City on Monday night where the top 4 drinks were made and voted upon by a panel of judges. Pictured above bartender Eryn Reece (soon of Mayahuel) preparing a round of Bean's Neckties! A further description of the event can be found here, but the short of it is that the Bean's Necktie was voted the judges' favorite!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

orinoco

2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1/2 oz Angostura Bitters
1/2 oz Espresso
1/2 oz Heavy Simple Syrup (2:1)
1 Egg

Dry shake ingredients to emulsify the egg. Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a dusting of finely ground coffee bean.
I cannot recall the impetus for why I ended up with the Oronoco -- perhaps it was a conversation about bitters-heavy drinks or perhaps it was about the wonders of coffee in cocktails; however, I do remember bartender Ted Kilpatrick asking me if egg was alright, and before I knew it, Ted was off to the coffee station to prep some espresso. The Orinoco cocktail was named after the river basin in Columbia and Venezuela where a lot the coffee is grown in those two countries. The drink started with a vibrant nose of cherry (from the half ounce of Angostura bitters) and coffee aromas. The foresip was rather rich from the egg and from the coffee's dark roast notes, while the middle of the sip contained some delightful cherry wood flavors. Most surprising was how the Angostura brightened up the espresso in the drink. Lastly, the coffee's bitter notes pleasantly lingered on the swallow. As the drink warmed up, the rye flavors began to appear in the drink. Some of the roasted flavors in the Orinoco reminded me of the dark rum-oatmeal stout flip that Misty Kalkofen made for me at Drink a few weeks back.

sierra madre

2 oz Milagro Silver Tequila
3/4 oz Allspice Dram
3/4 oz Creme de Cacao
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
2 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
On Tuesday night after a networking event in Boston, I rendezvoused with Andrea at No. 9 Park. There, we found seats at the far end of the bar in front of bartender Ted Kilpatrick who gladly made me the Sierra Madre off of the cocktail menu. The Sierra Madre started with a tequila and citrus nose, and as the drink warmed up, it gained an allspice aroma as well. The sip had a strong tequila flavor with lingering allspice notes that continued after the tequila taste had faded; moreover, the transition between the blanco tequila and the dram's spice was rather smooth. In addition, the cacao flavors worked rather well with the citrus in a Twentieth Century sort of way.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

trinidad punch

This month's Mixology Monday theme, "Punch" (MxMo XLVII), was picked by Mike of Hobson's Choice. Mike asked David Wondrich for some commentary on punch, and Dave replied, “The thing I like to keep in mind while making Punch is that it is, as the London Physician Nicholas Falck defined it in 1779, ‘an extemporary kind of wine.’ It is not, in other words, simply a large cocktail. Like wine, it should be balanced, not too pungent, not too strong, and preferably not decked out in all sorts of gaudy frippery like something participating in the retail sex trade.” And with that, Mike wanted to know what the crowd of Mixology Monday could come up with.

For inspiration, I opened up a copy of the 1869 Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks which gave the following opening poem about punches:

Whene'er a bowl of punch we make,
Four striking opposites we take--
The strong, the small, the sharp, the sweet,
Together mixed, most kindly meet.
And when they happily unite,
The bowl is "fragrant with delight."

In the text, one punch grabbed me instantly for it was both an oddball and a tantalizing recipe. It did not fall into the popularized 5 part punch family which includes a citrus component, but does have the four parts laid out in the poem, and has more of a Caribbean than the classic English-India feel to it. The Trinidad Punch I picked was not the better known rum, lime, simple syrup, and Angostura Bitters recipe of the same name, but was described as:
Trinidad Punch - In 1 pint of rum digest 1 oz. chocolate, 1/2 stick vanilla; when well incorporated, strain; add 2 pints cocoa-nut milk. This punch can be used either as a cool cup, with ice, or hot."
To enact this punch, I scaled things down a little, and upon tasting the mix before it was chilled, it definitely needed some sweetening to smooth out the hot rum flavors and make it more drinkable. Perhaps the recipe relied on sweeter coconut milk than the one I was using, or a drier aesthetic prevailed. My recipe was as follows:
Trinidad Punch
• 6 1/2 oz Rum (Flor de Caña 4 Year Gold Rum)
• 3/4 Vanilla Bean (Tahitian)
• 13 1/2 oz Coconut Milk
• 1/2 oz Chocolate (Vivani 85% Cocao Dark Chocolate)
• 3 oz Simple Syrup (1:1)
Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and infuse in rum for 24 hours, then remove. Grate chocolate and add to coconut milk; heat while stirring until chocolate has dissolved. Combine infused rum and flavored coconut milk with simple syrup (to taste) and refrigerate. Serve in punch cups garnished with a half vanilla bean. Makes 4 servings.
Since I did not have the larger Bourbon vanilla beans in my spice collection, I utilized the smaller Tahitian varietal. Moreover, I opted to serve the punch cold but I could imagine that it would be quite delightful served hot.
The Trinidad Punch started with chocolate, vanilla, and rum notes on the nose. The rum and chocolate flavors were just heavenly together on the sip, and a delightful lingering chocolate and coconut taste was present on the swallow. One down side of serving this drink cold was the presence of a few small chunks of solidified coconut fat; a quick straining through a tea strainer would surely eliminate this issue. Other than that, I would definitely consider this recipe a win. Given the flavor profile, it was hard at first to consider it a punch as I have grown to know the classic genre to be, but it surely fulfills the strong, small, sharp, and sweet requirements, as well as Wondrich's most colorful description above.

So thanks to Mike for hosting this Mixology Monday and cheers to the rest of the participants this time around!

Friday, March 19, 2010

dama de la noche

1 1/2 oz Brandy
1 oz Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz Torres Gran Torres Orange Liqueur
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Wet the edge of a cocktail glass with orange flower water and rim with sugar. Shake ingredients with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with five or six drops of orange flower water.

My second drink at Dalí on Monday was also from Charles H. Baker, Jr.'s South American Gentleman's Companion. I asked Greg Rossi to make me a Dama de la Noche which was listed on the menu as stemming from the Panagra Country Club in Medellin, Columbia, where Baker quaffed it in 1949. The drink started with a very sweet orange blossom water nose which Andrea described as "ambrosial." The drink name seems to suggest a lady of ill repute; however, given the strong floral aroma, I had my doubts. Indeed, it is probably named after the flowers of a woody shrub, Cestrum nocturnum, that emit their strong fragrance only at night (and hopefully, someone with the book can confirm this for me, if it is at all mentioned in the text). While the aroma prepared you for something rather sweet, the drink was not overly so. The pineapple and orange liqueur proved to be an interesting pairing with the brandy adding some extra kick and dryness to the equation. The orange-pineapple pairing plus orange flower water reminded me of the pisco-based César Moro; however, the César Moro used Cointreau while this version of the Dama de la Noche used the more flavorful Torres orange liqueur (not sure what liqueur the original recipe recommends, but Dalí is a Spanish tapas restaurant after all). Tasted alone, the Torres was brandy-based and spicy; it was thick but did not seem all that sweet similar to Grand Marnier. In the drink, the pineapple juice seemed to temper the Torres' spice and thick mouthfeel.

zulia garden cocktail

2 oz Bacardi Silver Rum
1 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
2 dash (1/4 oz) Grenadine
1 tsp Lime Juice
1 tsp Egg White
1 tsp Rich Simple Syrup (2:1)

Shake once without ice to emulsify the egg white, and once with. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.
On Monday, we paid a visit to Dalí in Somerville to visit Greg Rossi who has revamped their cocktail menu. Revamped might not do it justice since it went from four drinks or so to a full page of original and classic cocktails. The two cocktails I had that evening were taken from the pages of the rare and out of print Charles H. Baker, Jr.'s South American Gentleman's Companion. The drink I started with was served to Baker at the Zulia Garden Club in Maracaibo, Venezuela in 1948. The curious red potion was topped with a light froth from the egg white and started with a fruity nose from the cherry liqueur and grenadine. The sip contained a cherry flavor mixed with a vague fruitiness; in addition, it had a delightful crispness from the lime and dry vermouth, and this was followed by the rum on the swallow. Since I lack this volume of Baker's writing, I have no further history about this drink or whether the recipe served to me was true to the text (some of Baker's recipes can be finessed into tastier drinks with a little adjustment).

william of orange

1 1/2 oz Bols Genever
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Aperol
2 dash Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist an orange peel over the top.
The last drink of the night at Bartenders on the Rise was Green Street's own Emily Stanley. While I was surprised by Bobby McCoy's choice of base spirit, I was not surprised to know that Emily chose Genever for she is our local brand ambassador for Bols Genever. Her drink, the William of Orange, started with an Aperol and malty Genever nose. The drink was rather richly flavored with Benedictine's herbal and Punt e Mes' grape flavors in the middle of the sip. The swallow was replete with bitter notes especially that sharp wormwood-like one in Bols Genever.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

saving daylight

2 oz Plymouth Gin
1 oz Homemade Golden Vermouth
1/4 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1 barspoon (1/8 oz) Cointreau
1-2 dash Homemade Aromatic Bitters

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

Batting third at the Bartenders on the Rise event was Bobby McCoy of Eastern Standard. What surprised me most about his drink was that it did not contain rum which is a spirit he enjoys tinkering with more than most it seems. Instead, it utilized gin in a Martini variation of the old sort -- gin, a healthy portion of vermouth, and a few dashes of liqueurs and bitters -- rather common in older drink texts like the Savoy Cocktail Book. Two of his ingredients, his golden vermouth and aromatic bitters, were crafted in the kitchen. While I did not taste his vermouth apart from the drink, I did get a decent description which could be used to synthesize a flavor profile in one's head. Bobby listed some of the ingredients as a white wine base, brandy, turbinado and demerara sugar, cinnamon, orange peel, gentian, cardamom, star anise, and wormwood. He referred to his bitters as "tiki bitters", and they were a complementary blend of botanicals that include gentian, cinnamon, cardamom, and wild cherry bark.
My photography now seems symbolic with the white and black dichotomy in the background; however, it was a crowded part of the room near the bar and that nook was the most convenient spot at that moment. The Saving Daylight's nose was filled with orange oil and gin aromas, and the drink proved to be a sweet and spicy Martini variant filled with wormwood and other tingly notes. Moreover, it contained floral and orange flavors on the swallow that combined to form a grapefruit-like note.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

peralta

3/4 oz Old Overholt Rye
3/4 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/4 Lemon Juice
1 dash Deep Ellum's Aromatic Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.
The second bartender at the Bartenders on the Rise event to be honored was Evan Harrison now of Deep Ellum. I had to ask Evan how he arrived at his drink's name for I had an old neurobiology professor with the surname Peralta; however, he named the drink after the skateboarder Stacy Peralta. Evan described his drink to me as a riff on the four equal parts Last Word format, except that he veered last minute by splitting the citrus portion from pure grapefruit to grapefruit and lemon juice to add some additional crispness to the drink. I guess his dash of bitters and grapefruit twist were also minor aberrations, but worthwhile ones for the grapefruit twist did end up adding a beautiful nose to the drink that supplemented the aroma of the Cynar. The sip was full of grapefruit juice and yellow Chartreuse flavors on the front followed by Cynar bitter notes on the swallow. While it was very similar to some Last Word variants I have tasted, the Cynar definitely took the drink to new and delicious grounds.

loose translation

1 1/4 oz Scorpion Mezcal
3/4 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Mathilde XO Orange Liqueur
1/2 oz Pineapple Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Allspice Dram
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters
~1 oz Ginger Ale

Shake all ingredients with ice except for the ginger ale, and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Top off with ginger ale. Garnish with a lime wedge and straws.
The first bartender showcased at the Bartenders on the Rise event at Green Street was Carrie Cole of Craigie on Main. I spoke to Carrie earlier in the evening about the art (and difficulty) of naming drinks. While we were discussing her Jubilee Line and its etymology, she mentioned the other ways she derives drink names. In this instance of the Loose Translation, inspiration came from her iPod during a subway ride via a New Pornographers song title. The drink itself started with a glorious Mezcal nose. Given its ingredients, I was surprised that it did not taste as orangy as I expected as the pineapple and lime flavors predominated in the realm of fruit notes. The sip started with Aperol and fruit notes and was followed by orange and smoke flavors on the swallow. In particular, the Aperol complemented the orange liqueur rather well. Carrie's addition of ginger ale to lighten the drink did work as planned, although perhaps a more potent ginger beer might have added more to the flavor profile, especially since the melting ice did a great job alone to soften the drink over time.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

de nova stella

8 oz Pretty Things Jack D'Or American Saison Beer
1 Candied Citrus Star (* see text)
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Pour beer in a small snifter containing a candied citrus star. Add orange bitters on top.

On Sunday night, we went down to Green Street for their Bartenders on the Rise event co-hosted with DrinkBoston. Our welcome beverage was created and served to us by Green Street owner Dylan Black. Dylan's drink, De Nova Stella, was his take on a Champagne Cocktail using beer instead of sparkling wine. He named his cocktail after Tycho Brahe's 1573 book about supernovas following Tycho's observing the appearance of a bright star in the constellation Cassiopeia. This part explained the candied lime, orange, lemon, or grapefruit peel star (sweetened with agave nectar and honey and flavored with coriander seed) at the bottom of each glass. However, the beer part was the more interesting aspect of drink. Tycho, it turns out, had a tame moose that liked to follow him around. Unfortunately one night, the elk met his demise after drinking too much beer at a dinner party and falling down some stairs. Beers and stars indeed; however, I could not factor in Dylan's fascination with Tycho's prosthetic metal noses which were a cosmetic necessity after Tycho lost his schnoz in a duel.
The coriander seed infusion in the crystallized agave nectar-honey garnish was rather predominant and mingled well with the citrus and hops notes. While the orange bitters provided much of the early citrus notes, the last ounce or so contained a bounty of citrus notes from the candied garnish. My garnish happened to be a grapefruit peel, although I do not know if all four types of citrus stars were candied together thus intermingling the flavors.

Monday, March 15, 2010

whiskey crusta

1/2 oz Orchard Syrup (* see below)
1-2 dash Boker's Bitters
1 dash Lemon Juice (1 tsp)
2 dash Maraschino Liqueur (1 tsp Luxardo)
1 1/2 oz Whiskey (Jim Beam Rye)

Wet outer edge of a wine glass with a slice of lemon and coat with sugar. Add a long wide lemon peel to a wine glass, and fill with crushed or finely shaved ice. Shake rest of ingredients separately with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with fruit.

On Friday, I read about one of Erik Ellestad's Sazerac variants which intrigued me not for its use of pig-infused whiskey but for its use of "orchard syrup" as a sweetener. Orchard syrup was a cocktail ingredient in the late 1800's and I had just spotted a few recipes in my copy of Harry Johnson's Bartenders' Manual a few days earlier. After two instances in a week, I decided that I needed to make my own (see recipe below). At the scale I made mine at, it took about 90 minutes to boil down the apple cider to a quarter of its original volume. At that point, the sweetened and spiced cider took on a honey-like consistency when cooled.
For an orchard syrup recipe, I went with the Whiskey Crusta since apples and whiskey seemed like a good pairing (see Stone Fence) and I have not made a crusta at home in quite a while. The drink started with a sharp, hot rye flavor, and this was tempered somewhat by the fruity sweetness of the apple syrup and Maraschino liqueur. The sugar on the rim helped to mitigated the various sour, rough, and bitter notes in the drink by providing a sweet respite when needed through rotating the glass to a fresh part of the rim. While most Whiskey Crusta recipes lack apple syrup, the drink definitely benefited from the richness of flavors from its inclusion.
Orchard Syrup
• 6 cups Apple Cider
• 1 tbsp (1/2 oz) Lemon Juice
• 1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice Powder
• 1/2 cup Sugar
Pour ingredients into a pot. Heat to reduce ingredients down to 1/4 original volume (around 1 1/2 cup) while stirring every 10 minutes or so. Easiest way to determine the end point is to mark the initial liquid depth on a wood skewer and then measure what 1/4 the height would be with a second mark. Should be lightly adherent to a spoon when done (and still hot) and honey-like when cold (easier to measure out when warm or at least room temperature). Recipe modified from here with spice suggestion from Jennifer Colliau of Small Hand Bartender.

sine metu

1 1/2 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 oz Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
3 dash Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry.
On Thursday night, Andrea and I went down to Franklin Southie for their Jameson St. Patty's Warm Up Party. While I have not been convinced in the past that Irish Whiskey is best served in cocktails for it is too easily overwhelmed by other flavors, I was willing to give the spirit another go. Joy Richard had assembled a list of Jameson recipes that she and Peter Cipirini were serving up that night. The one I chose first was the Sine Metu which translates as "Without Fear". Indeed, it was hard to fear a drink that combined whiskey with the citrus peel notes of Lillet and rich cherry flavors of the Heering. The Sine Metu started with a cherry nose and had a faint whiskey taste on the front. The Lillet which appeared in the middle of the sip was also rather light, with the bitters and cherry flavors forming a delightful and complex swallow. The Bitter Truth's Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters provided nutmeg and allspice notes which complemented the spicy Cherry Heering rather well. Perhaps the lighter nature of the Irish whiskey allowed the other flavors to shine through to make the Sine Metu a success.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

fox shot

1/5 Angostura Bitters (1/4 oz)
1/5 Brandy (1/4 oz Château de Plassons VSOP)
1/5 Sweet Vermouth (1/4 oz Dolin)
2/5 Gin (1/2 oz Junipero)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added to the recipe a Luxardo Maraschino cherry garnish.

For our second drink on Wednesday, I went with an oddity, the Fox Shot, that I had spotted in Jacques Straub's Drinks from 1914. The Fox Shot uses a considerable portion of bitters in the recipe; while it uses less Angostura than Charles Bakers' Angostura Sour (or Giuseppe Gonzales' more modern Trinidad Sour), it pre-dates it by a few decades.

The Fox Shot ended up an intense red hue from the significant portion of Angostura Bitters and presented the nose with cherry and allspice aromas. The sip was rather dry and spicy with a strong clove taste and a minor allspice one; furthermore, this flavor rather reminded Andrea of Pimento Dram. Surprisingly, the gin's juniper was rather minor in the flavor profile. While the vermouth and Angostura played well together, it was not as magical as when the Angostura Bitters were paired with citrus in the Angostura and Trinidad Sours.

happy daze

6/10 Daiquiri Rum (1 1/2 oz El Dorado 3 Year)
3/10 Lillet (3/4 oz)
1/10 Swedish Punsch (1/4 oz Homemade Ellestad Recipe)

Pour over a large piece of ice in a rocks glass and mix. I added an orange twist.
On Wednesday night, I spotted the Happy Daze in the Café Royal Cocktail Book, and I was captivated by the recipe's simplicity and its use of Swedish Punsch enough that I overlooked its hokey name. Since a creator of the drink, J. Donaldson, was attributed, the recipe was probably an original to the 1937 publication. Once mixed, the drink proffered a nice sharp rum flavor with citrus notes from the Lillet Blanc and the Swedish Punsch. The hint of Batavia Arrack in the Punsch complemented the white El Dorado rum quite well. Moreover, as the ice melted, the dark rum (Appleton V/X) in the Swedish Punsch became more apparent and added some extra rich notes to the diluted drink.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

joan blondell

1 oz Dry Gin (Bombay Dry)
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1 oz Benedictine
2-3 drop Absinthe (Pernod Fils)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

I recently purchased the Latin Quarter Souvenir Book Of Cocktails & How To Mix Them which presents about a hundred cocktails served at Lou Walters' 1940's nightclubs in Boston, New York, and Miami. Walters' clubs were legendary for their dancers and showgirls who were "exquisite examples of perfect young American womanhood." Many of the drinks honor such "exquisite examples" as the one we made on Tuesday evening, the Joan Blondell. Blondell was a famous actress during that time; she started in the 1930's and won fans with her sexy wisecracking blonde persona, and her long television and movie career lasted until her death in 1979.
The hint of absinthe in the Joan Blondell cocktail worked well with the Benedictine. At 2 or 3 drops, the flavor was far from dominant, and perhaps the drink could be improved by increasing it to a rinse instead to give the absinthe more than the miniscule role it plays in the profile. The recipe seemed like it could use a garnish, so I repeated the experiment of adding an orange twist to one glass and a lemon twist to the other. Again the orange oils made the drink seem smoother and sweeter while the lemon oils made the drink seem sharper; the orange twist complemented the vermouth better and pushed the hiding absinthe notes forward, and thus, we considered it the garnish winner. The Joan Blondell rather reminded me of the Caprice Cocktail that I discovered on Chuck Taggart's Gumbo Pages blog a few years ago. I remember making quite a few of those spicy, straw-colored Martini variants in the weeks following that.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

quarter deck cocktail #2

1 oz Jamaican Rum (Appleton 12 Year)
1/2 oz Sherry (Lustau East India Sherry)
1/2 oz Scotch (Caol Ila 12 Year)
1 tsp Simple Syrup
1 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added an orange twist to the recipe.

On my way home from the Boston Shaker store on Saturday, I passed by a box of kitchenware on the sidewalk and spied a piece of vintage glassware which I adopted and took home. While looking for a cocktail to fill it (after a run through the dishwasher, that is) on Sunday night, I flipped through our copy of Trader Vic's 1947 Bartender's Guide and found the Quarter Deck Cocktail #2 which attracted me as it teamed up rum, sherry, and orange flavors which have worked rather well in the past such as in the Balmy Night. In addition, the presence of Scotch in the recipe to donate some smoky notes sealed the deal.
The nose of the Quarter Deck #2 contained orange and smoke notes with a hint of aged rum aromas. First on the sip was a fruitiness from the sherry followed by the rich rum paired with the whiskey. At the end of the swallow were the Scotch's smoke and the bitter's orange flavors. The sweet grapiness of the East India Solera Sherry functioned well to balance the roughness of the Scotch's smoke notes. Throughout the drink, I kept wondering what the cocktail would be like had we used Smith & Cross as the Jamaican rum in this recipe; such an unruly and surly rum would undoubtedly shift the Quarter Deck #2 in a very different direction. The idea did cross my mind early on, but it was not the cocktail we were searching for that night -- perhaps at a later date.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

silver cocktail

1/4 gill Gin (1 oz Beefeater 24)
1/4 gill Dry Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat)
3-4 dash Maraschino Liqueur (1 tsp Luxardo)
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze a lemon peel over the top.
On Sunday night as dinner was in the oven, I found the Silver Cocktail in Robert Vermeire's 1922 Cocktails: How to Mix Them, my recent Boston Shaker store purchase. The Silver Cocktail started with lemon and orange aromas and behaved much like a standard fifty-fifty Martini with an additional pleasant bitter funkiness from the Maraschino to punctuate the swallow. The Maraschino cherry flavors worked rather well with the citrus notes, and the drink shaped up to be a rather delightful dry Martinez. Variations of the Silver Cocktail exist that use Genever and Old Tom Gin as the base spirit; either of these would shift the balance to a somewhat sweeter drink.

the fritz

3/4 oz Peychaud's Bitters
3/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
3/4 oz Junipero Gin
3/4 oz Punt e Mes (*)

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
(*) Substitute 3/4 oz sweet vermouth + 1 dash Campari if lacking Punt e Mes.

While drinking my Curaçao Punch at Lineage on Friday night, bartender Ryan Lotz mentioned that he had crafted a drink that was inspired by The Gerty and its usage of Peychaud's Bitters. At the time, the drink lacked a name and the bar lacked the Punt e Mes needed to make the drink. However, he mentioned that he found Vya Sweet Vermouth plus a dash of Campari made a decent substitution in a pinch and that the drink would have a name by the time it appeared on the menu next week. So for my second drink, I asked him if he would be willing to make me one.
Recipe-wise, the drink seemed like an abstract Martinez with the Jerry Thomas era Boker's or more modern orange bitters being swapped for Peychaud's. The cocktail started with an orange oil and Maraschino liqueur nose, and the sip yielded a pleasant mixture of anise, vermouth, and bitter notes. Surprisingly, the quarter portion of Maraschino -- often an overpowering flavor -- was understated. As the drink warmed up, the the Maraschino liqueur began to play a bigger role in the profile, and the Peychaud's cherry notes and the Maraschino then made for an amazing flavor combination.
Ryan wrote me yesterday to tell me that he "named the Peychaud's heavy cocktail you tried while at Lineage "The Fritz," after New Orleans born abstract expressionist Fritz Bultman. I felt the large proportions and bold flavors in the drink were fitting for the roughly textured and vividly colored ab-ex paintings, and looking for a New Orleans themed name made Bultman a shoe-in." Luckily, he came up with a name before I had to put a place holder name [in brackets] like the Antoine Martinez or the Coolidge Corner(ed).

Monday, March 8, 2010

curacao punch

1 oz Jamaican Rum (Coruba)
2 oz Orange Curaçao (Bols)
1 oz Brandy
1 oz Soda Water
2-3 dash Lemon Juice
1/2 Tbsp Sugar (1/4 oz Simple Syrup)

Add sugar to soda water and lemon juice and stir until dissolved (or use simple syrup). Add rest of ingredients and ice, shake, and strain over a rocks glass filled with shaved ice (or fresh ice cubes). Garnish with fruit.

On Friday night, we finally made it over to Brookline to visit Lineage Restaurant for their Lineage of the Cocktail nights (Fridays and Saturdays after 9 pm) where they spotlight two recipes from Ted Haigh's Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails as a supplement to their page long cocktail menu. The concept for the program stemmed from head bartender Ryan Lotz who took over the bar last May. That night, the two drinks were the Curaçao Punch and the Bebbo. The Bebbo was basically a Bee's Knees with orange juice so I opted for the Curaçao Punch which seemed rather interesting but its sweet looking recipe had deterred me in the past from making it home. Haigh uncovered the recipe for the Curaçao Punch in Harry Johnson's New and Improved Bartenders Manual from 1882.

The Curaçao Punch started with a citrussy nose which prepared the drinker for a sweet orange flavor on the sip. As the ice melted and diluted down the beverage, the drink dried out to something pleasantly balanced for my palate. The most notable ingredient in this recipe was Lotz's choice of Coruba rum. This dark Jamaican rum from the Wray & Nephew distillery donated rich barrel-aged flavors to the drink in addition to some funky notes on the swallow reminiscent of rhum agricoles; all of these rum's notes worked well to complement and balance the hefty slug of orange Curaçao in the drink.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

1795

1 oz Michter's Rye Whiskey
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
3 dash Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice cubes. Garnish with an orange twist and a pair of short straws.
For my second cocktail at Craigie on Main, Ted wanted to make me his new variation on the rye-Negroni drink, the 1794, and was looking for a critique. In the 1795, he split the Campari with an equal part of the softer amaro, Aperol, and spiced up the sweet vermouth with an equal part of Punt e Mes; the latter addition of the Punt e Mes added some notes that worked rather well with the Campari. In the end, the drink was not as sharp as the 1794 but just as delightful. Surprisingly, the Michter's rye was a bit overwhelmed in this drink. Perhaps a single malt Scotch would be more distinctive in the mix; moreover, the smoky notes might work well with some of Campari's sharper notes.

jubilee line

1 1/2 oz Beefeater Gin
1 Tbsp (1/2 oz) Seville Orange Marmalade (Housemade)
3/4 oz Triple Sec
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

On Wednesday night after catching the opening night performance of Paradise Lost, we headed down one stop on the T and paid Ted and Carrie a visit at the Craigie on Main bar. For my first drink, I asked Ted to make me the Jubilee Line; the drink was subtitled on the menu as "Breakfast in Kennington" which is probably a nod to the marmalade as a British breakfast staple. This orange marmalade was not purchased from the UK though, as it was handcrafted by Tony Maws, the executive chef and owner of Craigie. While I did not inquire about the specific recipe for the marmalade, I was told that its smoky notes were due to the inclusion of Scotch as one of the ingredients.
The Jubilee Line started with a ginny nose, and the sip contained bright citrus notes that dissipated shortly after the swallow. The marmalade gave the drink extra body and richness which converted what would be a simple White Lady (the egg white-less one) into something that tasted more akin to a brandy-laden Sidecar.

Friday, March 5, 2010

ninth ward

1 1/2 oz Bourbon (Eagle Rare 10 Year)
3/4 oz Falernum (Velvet)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz St. Germain
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Original calls for Bulleit Bourbon and Fee's Falernum.

On Tuesday night, we finally got around to having a Ninth Ward. I say finally because this drink was created for Tales of the Cocktail back in 2008, and I am embarrassed that it took me this long to mix one up. I believe it was on a list of drinks to try and the list somehow got lost in the shuffle. I was reminded of it recently when Wayne Curtis (of And a Bottle of Rum fame) wrote about it a few weeks ago. Brother Cleve created this drink to honor New Orleans' 9th ward which was one of the areas most damaged by Hurricane Katrina. In addition, it is a variation of a Boston classic, the Ward Eight -- a drink I have both had out and made myself several times but have yet to blog about. Excerpting from an article in DrinkBoston about it, Brother Cleve described its inception as, "I wanted to create a drink for the event that would have some sort of New Orleans and Boston connection... So my idea was to take the Ward Eight, the best-known drink created in Boston, and turn it into a tropical cocktail for New Orleans." The post also goes on to describe the swapping of the Ward Eight's grenadine and lemon for falernum and lime, as well as his reasons for the addition of the St. Germain liqueur and Peychaud's Bitters (and some further colorful commentary about New Orleans and Dorchester, MA). In addition, if you would like to hear the ever charming Brother Cleve describe the drink while watching him make one, How2Heroes has a video of him doing so.
Brother Cleve's recipe called for the rye-heavy Bulleit Bourbon for it would better approximate the whiskey of the era when the Ward Eight was created; however, our bottle of Bulleit has long since run dry so we subbed in the less spicy Eagle Rare which donated a rather buttery taste to the drink instead of sharper notes. Balance-wise, the Ninth Ward was a little on the tart side, but pleasantly so; perhaps Cleve's calling for Fee's Falernum might shift things toward the sweeter side. The lime juice-falernum-St. Germanin combination made a good trio where the flavors blended together such that they were not individually distinct, and these flavors were splendidly punctuated by the Peychaud's. When I handed Andrea the cocktail, I let her taste the drink without telling her the cocktail name or the ingredients; intriguingly, Andrea thought that there were lemon and grenadine in the mix perhaps due to the citrus notes playing with the St. Germain as well as the color donated by the Peychaud's. After hearing her guesses, I realized that this creation was indeed an excellent riff on the Ward Eight.

[boston molassacre]

1 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Zacapa 23 Rum
1/2 oz Cruzan Black Strap Rum
1/2 oz Orgeat
1 barspoon St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1 Egg

Shake without ice and then with ice. Strain into a coupe.
At Eastern Standard on Sunday night, bartender Kit Paschal stepped up to craft a cocktail that would go well with our profiteroles. The drink he created was packed with rich notes from the Zacapa and black strap rums that complemented the dessert's caramel flavors rather well. This flip started with black strap molasses on the nose; the nutmeg that Kit debated adding would have supplemented this aroma rather well. The sip was replete with deep rum flavors with the allspice dram on the swallow. The egg toned down the rough notes in the middle of the drink; it was hard to determine if they originated from the Smith & Cross Rum or from the dram's botanicals. Unfortunately, the egg along with the other flavors drowned out the orgeat to the point that it was only barely detectable. When I gave Andrea a sip, her response was, "very pretty -- rich and smooth [and full of] Christmas spice."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

[bittere mout]

2 oz Bols Genever
3/4 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1/4 oz S. Maria al Monte Amaro (sub Amaro Nonino)
1 dash Orange Bitters

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

On Sunday night, Andrea and I went down to Eastern Standard for dinner and drinks at the bar. Bartenders Bobby McCoy and Kit Paschal were at our end of the long marble bar and took turns making drinks for us. Bobby made my first drink which he described as a genever drink combined with S. Maria al Monte, an Italian bitter liqueur that Scott Holliday of Rendezvous introduced me to in drinks like the Bull Rider and the Rude Boy, and that was all he needed to say to sell it. While my remembrances of the amaro was that it was closest to Fernet Branca in its dominant herbal notes, this drink was originally developed using Amaro Nonino.
The cocktail's aroma was full of orange and herbal notes. While the St. Germain and Bols Genever paired up nicely to accent the genever's botanicals, the S. Maria al Monte paired up well with the spirit to highlight the genever's maltiness. Moreover, Bobby made the comment that the St. Germain functioned almost like a vermouth in this recipe. As I continued my drinking experience once my meal arrived, the food helped to bring the orange flavors to the surface.

stephen's

1/3 Sherry (1 oz Lustau Los Arcos Dry Amontillado)
1/3 Dry Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat)
1/3 Benedictine (1 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. No garnish was specified so we tried one with a lemon and one with an orange twist.
On Friday night, Andrea was in the mood for a port drink, so I opened up The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book and began a search. Instead of a port cocktail, I uncovered the Stephen's, a sherry one, and it got the thumbs up. In my mind, the recipe cried out for a citrus twist; however, when looking at ingredients, I could not discern whether an orange or a lemon would work better so I did one of each. The lemon peel highlighted the sherry's and dry vermouth's sharper notes while the orange twist made the drink taste sweeter and seemed to highlight the grapeness of the sherry and vermouth more. The experiment was a good demonstration of how dramatically the presence and identity of a citrus twist garnish can effect one's experience of a drink. To round out the Stephen's, the Benedictine donated most of the sweetness in the drink and many of its botanical were noticeable in the middle of the sip, whereas the vermouth notes appeared at the end in the swallow. The drink worked as an aperitif but could perhaps function as a lighter digestif as well. In searching on the web for more about the Stephen's, I discovered that the Boston Apothecary blog rather enjoyed this drink and the entry went on to praise the entire class of fortified and aromatized wine cocktails as a forgotten gem.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

the gerty

3/4 oz Rye (Sazerac 6 Year)
3/4 oz Peychaud's Bitters
3/4 oz Herbsaint or Absinthe (Herbsaint)
3/4 oz Simple Syrup

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

The theme for last week's Mixoloseum Thursday Drink Night was, "creating original drinks named after or based on your favorite or other notable bartender." For some reason, John Gertsen's Mission of Burma popped into my head. While it probably was not a big surprise that I picked Gertsen as the notable bartender for this theme, the fact that I chose this drink over his others might be. I think it was the Mission of Burma's absurdity as an inverse Pegu Club in combination with how well it worked. He succeeded in balancing the whopping amount of Grand Marnier without having the end result being cloyingly sweet in balance. In coming up with an idea, I also thought of a recipe in the Rogue Cocktail Book, the Gunshop Fizz, which uses a whole 2 ounces of Peychaud's Bitters; thus, Peychaud's Bitters could be used as potable bitters like Angostura Bitters in the Trinidad Sour. While we have not made the Gunshop Fizz, my faith in that cocktail book's recipes has grown with each recipe I have made in it to the point that I rarely doubt it. And with those two ideas, the concept of an inverse or better stated equal parts Sazerac was born. It also helped that Gertsen, while at No. 9, made me a variety of Sazeracs from traditional rye to old fashioned Cognac to new school ones like gin.
For a name of the drink, the Gertsen seemed too blatant, and the Gertserac and Gertsenac were shot down as too hokey by Andrea. The folk at Thursday Drink Night suggested "The Gerty" which stuck. Once mixed, the first thing that is so striking is the color of this drink -- a strange red hue of the bitters combined with the cloudiness from the Herbsaint's louche. The next sense was the smell which was a vibrant lemon oil and anise aroma. The sip was rich with cherry and anise flavors from the Peychaud's Bitters that was supplemented by the anise notes in the Herbsaint; intriguingly, the cherry notes brought about an almost sloe gin sort of effect. These flavors were chased by the complexity from the other botanicals in the Herbsaint and bitters and from the rye's heat. When Andrea tried the drink, she detected chocolate notes in the mix which could be from the Herbsaint for certain absinthes like Obsello contain this flavor as well. While the sugar content balance turned out rather well, the drink lacked the crispness of a Sazerac and the proportion's shift morphed the Gerty into an entirely unique creation.