Tuesday, June 29, 2010

le vieux italian

2 oz Pierre Ferrand Ambre 10 Year Old Cognac
1 1/2 oz Averna
1/2 oz Pernod Absinthe
2 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist orange peel over the top and discard.
The last drink at Russell House Tavern during the Pernod Absinthe Boston Bar Crawl was the most elegant of the whole evening. Bartender Aaron Butler took inspiration from the Manhattan, and he used Cognac and a rich Italian bitter liqueur, Averna, to create a dark, sultry atmosphere for the Pernod Absinthe to display herself. The Vieux Italian welcomed the nose with orange oil and cinnamon notes from the twist and bitters, respectively. Cognac's heat and Averna's syrupy bitterness paired well with the absinthe especially at the end of the sip. Lastly, the cinnamon notes from the barrel-aged bitters built up with each successive swallow and complemented the anise notes of the Pernod Absinthe and the herbal complexity of the Averna.

carlota's tears

2 oz Milagro Silver Tequila
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Velvet Falernum
1/2 oz Pernod Absinthe
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

After finishing up at Stoddard's, our first destination on the Pernod Absinthe Boston Bar Crawl, I spotted our taxis for the night and was in awe -- a pair of 1930's era limousines. Our drivers were dressed in old school gangster clothing and their wiseguy jokes and banter certainly matched the era as well. From downtown, we ended up on Memorial Drive heading toward Cambridge, and due to Aaron Butler's tweet, we realized that the next destination was likely to be Russell House Tavern.
We were not wrong, and head bartender Aaron Butler had prepared three original Pernod Absinthe cocktail recipes for the evening. With help from bartender Corey Bunnewith, he served out the first drink, Carlota's Tears. This Daisy-family drink was influenced by Misty Kalkofen's Maximilian Affair, and Aaron, therefore, named it after Mexican Emperor Maximilian's wife, Carlota. Aaron's version was quite different from the smokey and floral Maximilian Affair as he took his drink in a more spice- and citrus-laden direction.
Carlota's Tears started with a strong absinthe aroma with hints of agave poking through. Flavorwise, I was stunned at how well the absinthe matched up with the tequila and was surprised that very few drinks have explored this combination. The lime juice was a classic complement to the tequila, and the falernum, while more often paired with rum, did work rather well with the agave spirit.

Monday, June 28, 2010

the happy fanny

1 1/2 oz Gosling's Rum
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 barspoon Pernod Absinthe
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top off with soda water and garnish with a lime wedge and a straw.

On Tuesday night, Andrea and I attended the Pernod Absinthe Boston Bar Crawl. The only details we were provided were that the evening would start at Stoddard's Fine Food & Ale and that vintage 1930s limousines would take us to two other destinations. Well, Andrea and I did have a hint that we would probably end up at Russell House Tavern since we saw one of bartender Aaron Butler's tweets. Other notable attendees included Christine and Brayden of the Bostonist and DudeKicker and Lauren of DrinkBoston.

Jamie Walsh, Stoddard's head bartender, initiated the night of Pernod Absinthe imbibing with two classics -- the Sazerac and the Corpse Reviver #2. The third, the Happy Fanny, was a Stoddard's original. While the name sounded either obscene or at least a little cheeky (depending on whether you are British or American, respectively), the reality was a bit more tame. Apparently, it derived from a customer named Fanny who was overjoyed by this drink. Jamie based the recipe off of Ted Haigh's Modernista (which in turn was based off the Modern (or Modern Maid) Cocktail):
Modernista
• 2 oz Scotch
• 1/2 oz Dark Jamaican Rum
• 1 tsp Absinthe
• 1/2 oz Swedish Punsch
• 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
• 2 dash Orange Bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Add a lemon twist.
With changes in the base spirit, liqueur, citrus, and bitters as well as converting it into a tall drink, the Happy Fanny took on a rather new identity.
The Happy Fanny's nose was a combination of dark rum, green Chartreuse, and lime oil. The sip was delightfully crisp with a strong pairing of green Chartreuse and lime that was soothed by the richness of the dark rum. Moreover, the swallow had a decent degree of spice complexity from the Peychaud's Bitters, Chartreuse, and Pernod Absinthe. Overall, the Happy Family reminded me of a richer and spicier Popa Docquiri.
Our visit at Stoddard's ended with Jamie bringing out an Art Deco reproduction fountain for a round of traditional absinthe service. I believe the Boston Shaker store has the same fountain for sale along with a glassware, spoons, and sugar cubes. After a glass of happily louched goodness, it was time to venture outside and travel to our next destination.

little king

Juice 1/4 Lemon (we used 1/2 oz, perhaps 1/4 oz?)
1/4 jigger Apricot Brandy (3/8 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot)
1/4 jigger Applejack (3/8 oz Marquis de Saint-Loup Calvados)
1/2 jigger Gin (3/4 oz Beefeater 24)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I garnished with a lemon twist. Perhaps a 2 oz jigger was meant instead of a 1 1/2 oz one.

On Monday night while drinking the St. Germain, I began to flip through Ted Saucier's Bottom's Up. A recipe that stood out was cartoonist Otto Soglow's drink, the Little King. Soglow was a cartoonist active from 1919 until his death in 1975 whose works used to fill the pages of The New Yorker magazine. The Little King was one of his better known series that he started in 1931. While there were better images of the Little King and photos of Otto Soglow, this one contained both; moreover, it is very in tune with the mood of Saucier's tome:
I am not sure if Soglow took inspiration from the classic Royal Smile and subbed apricot liqueur for grenadine and changed the proportions, or if he found a different royal inspiration for the Little King (*). For a nose on our drink, I got mainly apricot aromas and Andrea noticed the lemon more. A dry apricot flavor was on the first part of the sip with apple and gin on the swallow, and overall, the drink had a robust complement of fruit notes. Our lemons were much larger than what was available when the Little King was created. While we were in the mood for a crisp drink, scaling down the citrus to 1/4 oz or so might yield something closer to what Soglow intended.
(*) Postnote: In the comments section, Erik Ellestad pointed me to the Prince's Smile Cocktail from the Savoy Cocktail Book. It is essentially the Little King except the lemon juice is specified as a dash.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

veggie dining in new orleans

Every year for Tales of the Cocktail, Chuck Taggart of the Gumbo Pages blog posts an entry about where people should eat that year. Unfortunately for me, most of his restaurant suggestions do not seem that vegetarian friendly. When I started inquiring about options, I was met with a lot of "you're gonna go hungry, son" sort of comments; however, as we did a little research, I quickly realized that this was not going to be the case! After two days in at Tales last year, I decided that I would make this post especially after providing a vegan Boston bartender with a daily update of restaurant pointers replete with foodporn photos and copies of menus. Below is a summary of our outings listed in the order we went there. Note that some of the destinations are a distance from the Quarter, and these restaurants would not only be satisfying to someone seeking vegetarian/vegan dining but to anyone seeking a change of pace with some vegetables on their plate. At Tales, we walked everywhere (including out to the Cure through the Magnolia Projects, but that is another story and not recommended), but taxis and streetcars can assist the time strapped.

Bennachin 1212 Royal Street, French Quarter, (504) 522-1230
This African restaurant serves lunch and dinner and has an extensive vegetarian section on their menu. The fried black-eyed pea fritters with a cumin-seasoned tomato sauce appetizer was the win! My plantains, vegetables, and vermicelli was quite satisfying as well. Lunch and dinner options were around $7 and $12, respectively. Hip waitress!

Surrey's 1418 Magazine Street, Lower Garden District, (504) 524-3828
A breakfast and lunch stop that was so good we returned for a second time. Surrey's has both vegetarian and vegan options including a tofu breakfast plate (pictured above), roasted vegetable omelet, and bananas Foster French toast. The restaurant has funky tables that are uniquely decorated and rather good coffee.

Cafe Bamboo 435 Esplanade Ave., Marigny, (504) 940-5546
This place was heaven! Imagine a meat-free speakeasy with a full bar and Tiki flare! Another place so good we went twice. They serve a collection of tofu, seitan beaf, and sol soy chik'n dishes that are mainly vegan and weigh in at around $10-13 per entrée. For example, we had the Collard Green Rolls as an appetizer which were soy hamm-filled spring rolls with a sweet chili dipping sauce, and Voodoo Sticks as a main course which was grilled seitan, pineapple, and bell pepper kabobs with brown rice and collard greens. The photo above is my sandwich from our second outing where we had lunch. Andrea might have won with her tofu and rice bowl with mafe -- a West African spicy peanut sauce with creole tomatoes, cabbage, yams, and onions! They are open every day but Sunday from 10:30am - 10pm. Post note: RIP Cafe Bamboo. The bar and club are still there, but the restaurant is no longer.

Gumbo Shop 630 Saint Peter Street, French Quarter, (504) 525-1486
While not a very veggie friendly sounding place, they do have a rotating vegetarian option. That night, the black beans with rice and corn salsa was also vegan! A good compromise if your dining companions want traditional New Orleans food and you need to be sure that there will be something for you to eat.

Green Goddess 307 Exchange Place, French Quarter, (504) 301-3347
The Green Goddess is touted by meat eaters and vegetarians alike! They had just received their liquor license so we decided to do a vegetarian tasting menu paired with cocktails for $72/person. Our dinner that night was six courses that included cucumber and sumac soup with Lebanese yogurt and Pimm's that was paired with the Pimm's Chalice and a fragrant slice of kou kouye -- a Persian frittata served with Havashu naan and pickled turnips -- paired with Shamsi's Refreshment (pictured above). More food and drink information can be found in those two links. The Green Goddess even made Chuck's list!

Doson Noodle House 135 N Carrollton Ave, Mid-City, (504) 309-7283
Yes, this place is 2.7 miles away from the Hotel Monteleone up Canal Street; however, when we began to ask around for recommendations from locals, this place was named three times -- once by our waiter at Cafe Bamboo, once by the waiter/apprentice bartender at Green Goddess, and once by a friend of a friend at the cocktail reception at the Presbytere Museum. New Orleans has a large Vietnamese population, and the food seemed rather authentic. The menu contained a vegetarian (presumably vegan) section that had a pair of noodle dishes and three rice dishes. My lemongrass tofu was rather good.

Mona's Cafe 504 Frenchmen Street, Marigny, (504) 949-4115
Vegan and vegetarian options abound at this Middle Eastern eatery. The sautéed veggie sandwich, falafel, veggie kabobs with hummus, and Turkish coffee all met with our approval and the posted Zagat's-Rated and Best of New Orleans awards on the door mean that others agree as well.

Subway Sandwiches 112 Royal Street, French Quarter, (504) 522-0992
No, we did not dine there despite Subway being started in my hometown of Milford, CT, but it was the favorite restaurant of vegetarian writer/blogger Camper English of Alcademics. This place is conveniently located right next to the Hotel Monteleone so you can get something to eat if you are in a hurry between sessions. If you want to properly stalk Camper, eat as he does with an order of a veggie footlong with Swiss cheese, no onions, and no green peppers.

Please confirm on your own that any of these establishments are still open (they are still listed on the web but I did not call to check), and feel free to add your own suggestions to this list in the comments section! The vegetarian food was glorious in New Orleans, so do not listen to others' negativity. It was not hard to find places to go, but if you are stuck in a group with no control over the destination, that negativity might have some truth to it. Perhaps for next year we can even plot a vegetarian spirited dinner... Good luck and good eating!

Friday, June 25, 2010

st. germain

Juice of 1/2 Lemon (1 oz)
Juice of 1/4 Grapefruit (1 oz)
1 Egg White
1 liqueur glass Green Chartreuse (2 oz)

Shake once without ice and once with and strain into a cocktail glass. I strained into a rocks glass and garnished with a mint leaf.
On Monday night, I was in the mood for something herbal when I spotted the St. Germain in the Café Royal Cocktail Book. The drink pre-dates the elderflower liqueur of the same name by over 70 years, and instead it contains a healthy slug of green Chartreuse. The St. Germain's nose was rather herbal from the Chartreuse and the mint leaf garnish. The drink began with a crisp, full-mouthed sip from the lemon juice and egg white, respectively. Next, the Chartreuse notes filled the middle of the sip and the swallow, and the grapefruit worked with the egg white to smooth out the drink. The drink was not as sweet as the Silent Order although this could be due to the size of the citrus we used. Cutting the lemon juice down to a half ounce would change the balance of this drink greatly. Moreover, the lemon and grapefruit took the drink in a very different direction than lime. For example, Andrea commented that this citrus combination accentuated the anise notes in the green Chartreuse that are not highlighted in the Silent Order.

Postnote: See the entry for the Milord Gower as to why the St. Germain acquired its name.

[mcwahine's delight]

1 oz Neisson Rhum Agricole Blanc
1 oz Balvenie Doublewood 12 Year Scotch
1/2 oz DonQ Rum
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Torani Orgeat

Shake with ice and strain into a couple glass. Garnish with a few dash of Angostura floated on top.

On Sunday night, we headed over to Ben Sandrof's Sunday Salon. When I asked Ben for something with Scotch, he returned with a rather summery rum-Scotch Daisy. This intriguing drink paired an earthy and vegetal rhum agricole with an earthy and peaty whisky, and it included orgeat and lemon juice to round out the recipe.
The drink started with cinnamon from the Angostura Bitters and almond from the orgeat on this nose. The rums along with a sweet lemon flavor appeared early in the sip with orgeat in the middle and a lingering rhum agricole funkiness at the end. The Scotch was more subtle than I expected but paired well with the Neisson on the swallow.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

volstead cocktail

1/3 Rye (1 oz Sazerac 6 Year)
1/3 Swedish Punsch (1 oz Homemade Ellestad recipe)
1/6 Orange Juice (1/2 oz)
1/6 Syrup Framboise (1/2 oz Homemade mulberry syrup)
1 dash Anisette (1/2 barspoon Herbsaint)

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

On Friday night, I was flipping through Harry McElhone's Barflies and Cocktails and spotted the Volstead Cocktail. The entry provided the history as follows, "This cocktail was invented at Harry's New York Bar, Paris, in honor of Mr. Andrew J. Volstead, who brought out the Dry Act in U.S.A. and was the means of sending to Europe such large numbers of Americans to quench their thirst." The recipe seemed like such a curious collection of elements that I needed to give this one a whirl to understand the outcome. Instead of using our raspberry syrup, I substituted in the mulberry syrup I made from locally harvested berries.
The Volstead Cocktail was an intense red hue from the mulberry syrup and possessed an aroma of lemon oil and fruit. The sweet sip was colored with spiciness from the rye and Swedish Punsch. The orange juice, unlike lemon or lime, did not cut the sweetness of the syrup; therefore, the balance was a bit sweeter than my preferred range but overall not overly so. Lastly, the Herbsaint donated a hint of anise at the end of the swallow, and this note began to linger at a low but constant level after a few sips. Despite the hodgepodge recipe, the Volstead Cocktail turned out rather well.

improved ping pong

1 oz Plymouth Gin
1 oz Plymouth Sloe Gin
1/2 oz Crème Yvette
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

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

On Thursday night, Andrea and I traveled a ways down the Red Line to the Broadway stop to attend Franklin Southie's Plymouth Gin Industry Night. I was only expecting to see gin recipes on the menu, but I was pleasantly surprised that there were a few sloe gin ones as well. The one I was drawn to -- the Improved Ping Pong -- had both spirits, but what really drew my attention was that it contained Crème Yvette! This was my first sighting in a Boston bar (save for a prototype batch that was stashed away at Eastern Standard). Crème Yvette has a similar floral signature as Crème de Violette; however, Yvette also contains a rather delicious berry component for it contains blackberry, raspberry, cassis, and strawberry besides the violet flowers.
The drink was based off of the classic Ping Pong and was altered by adding gin and increasing the lemon juice to dry out the sweeter original. One of the recipes for the original can be found in Boothby's 1934 World Drinks And How To Mix Them:
Ping Pong #2
• 1/3 oz Sloe Gin
• 1/3 oz Crème Yvette
• 1 spoon Lemon Juice
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
The Improved Ping Pong's nose contained both lemon oil and floral elements. The sip was full of sweet fruit notes with a slightly bitter and floral swallow. When I gave Andrea a sip, she commented that the raspberry notes (from a combination of the slow gin and Yvette) strangely reminded her of a popsicle.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

[heather in the rye]

1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
3/4 oz Clement Creole Shrub
1/3 oz Fernet Branca
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a glass pre-rinsed with Lagavulin 16 Year Old Scotch. Garnish with an orange twist.

On Monday after my DJ gig, Andrea and I went up the street to Eastern Standard and found seats at the bar near bartender Kevin Martin. When I told Kevin that it had been a while since I had any rye, he immediately knew what to mix for me. The drink he returned with was his submission for the east coast version of Left Coast Libations' book. While he did not have a name for the drink, the concept reminded me of a whiskey Heather in Queue.
The drink started with an orange and smoke nose, and malt notes appeared in the beginning of the sip. On the swallow, orange and Fernet flavors added a nice finish to the drink, and the Scotch rinse came through as a lingering smoke note at the end. Surprisingly, the Fernet Branca was kept in check in this recipe, and it did not seem very mentholly until the cocktail warmed up. Instead, some of Fernet's other botanicals played a more dominant role.

Monday, June 21, 2010

bulldog

3/4 oz Matusalem Rum
1 1/2 oz Cherry Heering
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Often I can look at a list of ingredients on a cocktail menu and accurately predict the general recipe, especially when I know the bar and what their "standard proportions" are. I had always skipped over the Bulldog on Green Street's large A-to-Z menu for it seemed like a Cherry Heering instead of simple syrup Daiquiri variant similar to the Haitian Witch. After having a taste of rum in the Between the Sheets, I decided to give the rum-containing Bulldog a go. When bartender Derric Crothers presented the drink, I was quite surprised when he told me the recipe was more than half Cherry Heering! I was expecting something along the lines of:
Tahoe Cocktail / Olympia
• 1 1/2 oz Light Rum / Dark Rum
• 1/2 oz Cherry Liqueur
• 1/2 oz Lime Juice
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Source: CocktailDB.
The Cherry Heering-heavy recipe reminded me a drink from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars's liqueur section, the Pinto. Although unlike the Pinto which uses the Cherry Heering to balance the dominant Fernet Branca in the drink, here the cherry flavors are the dominant note. Indeed, the Bulldog was a sweet cherry with undertones of lime crispness and rum. When I gave Andrea a sip, she commented that it tasted "like cherry coffee... really weird" and how the rum and Heering combined to create this coffee note. Overall, I cannot decide which I enjoyed more -- the flavor of the Bulldog or the absurdity of the recipe.

between the sheets

3/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Cognac
3/4 oz Matusalem Rum
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

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

Last Sunday, Andrea and I went over to Green Street to pay Derric and Dylan a visit. For my first drink, I asked Derric Crothers to make me a Between the Sheets off of the big A-to-Z menu. It is a drink I have had before a few years ago (at Cucchi Cucchi of all places), but I have never written about here. Well, I did write about it in the Mixology Monday posting about the Hoop La for the two are identical save for the Hoop La having Lillet in place of the Between the Sheet's rum. Both could be considered "+1" versions of the Sidecar, and the Between the Sheets dates back to a similar time period of the 1920s or 1930s.
The drink started with a lot of lemon oil on the nose from the twist along with hints of orange from the Cointreau. Brandy and lemon appeared on the sip, rum notes in the middle, and the Cointreau followed up the flavors on the swallow. While the Between the Sheets is a stiffer drink than the Hoop La, it does it at the cost of citrus complexity.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

product review: oxo double jigger

Oxo Brand's newest addition to their barware line is a double jigger to supplement their 2 ounce Mini Angled Measuring Cup. Why might you care about yet another double jigger on the market? Well, theirs besides being a standard 1 1/2 x 1 ounce double jigger has demarcations on the inside for 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, and 3/4 ounces! Quite handy in that only one jigger is needed to do a wide spectrum of pours. Moreover, it contains the 1/3 and 3/4 ounce marks that their 2 ounce measuring cup sadly lacks. While 1/3 ounce does not seem very useful for most American recipes, the vast majority of European ones use milliliters or centiliters (mL or cL) instead of ounces, and the frequently called for 10 mL or 1 cL measure is pretty identical to 1/3 ounce. One criticism I heard from a local bartender is that he wished one of the ends was 2 ounces since they frequently use their standard 2 x 1 ounce jigger a lot at their bar. Priced at $9 at the Boston Shaker, it was worth purchasing to give it a try. If my review gets a little geeky, keep in mind that I'm a biochemist by day so volumes are very important to my work (and my play).

Looking down at the measurement lines, the 1 and 1 1/2 ounce are standard jigger territory, the 1/2 and 3/4 ounce are sharp lines, and the 1/4 and 1/3 ounce are beveled (or S-shaped) "lines". This last part stressed me since I was unsure of how I was supposed to fill this cup-within-a-cup design -- to the top of the inner cup (so liquid sits on the ledge) or slightly overfill (so liquid just hits the outer cup wall)? I am unsure why OXO chose this style instead of a sharp line except for aesthetic reasons. The aesthetic reason is not in the interior, but on exterior to have a smooth transition from their black plastic gripfast material and the metal.
I wanted to test the accuracy of the OXO jigger in my hands and compare it to other measuring devices, namely the OXO 2 ounce measuring cup and two standard jiggers. The materials I used were:
• OXO Double Jigger
• plastic OXO Mini Angled Measuring Cup
• 1/2 x 1 ounce Double Jigger from Kegworks
• 1/2 x 1 ounce Double Jigger from BarSmarts (part of the kit for taking the class)
• 100 mL graduated cylinder
• 1 funnel
• Tap water (Somerville, MA's finest)
All values are the average of a cumulative 12 pours (i.e.: I did not try to measure each individual pour). I did not test the 1 1/2 or 1 ounce lines as I was more interested in the accuracy of the demarcations inside (and I assumed that they were as accurate as any other quality jigger).

1/4 (0.250) ounce
• Filled to top of inner cup: 0.236 oz (-6.0%)
• Filled to just touching outer cup: 0.283 oz (+13.3%)
1/3 (0.333) ounce
• Filled to top of inner cup: 0.319 oz (-4.2%)
• Filled to just touching outer cup: 0.364 oz (+9.3%)
1/2 (0.500) ounce
• Filled to line: 0.457 oz (-8.6%)
3/4 (0.750) ounce
• Filled to line: 0.708 oz (-5.6%)

1/2 oz on other jiggers:
• OXO 2 oz Cup: 0.488 oz (-2.5%) (* viewed from side)
• KW 1/2x1 oz: 0.497 oz (-0.6%)
• BS 1/2x1 oz: 0.504 oz (+0.8%)

The quick and dirty results are that standard jiggers (filled to the top) are quicker and more accurate in my hands so the all-in-one convenience of the OXO Double Jigger has its set backs. The 1/3 oz jigger is elusive here in the United States although occasionally I have spotted 10 mL jiggers (Boston Shaker had some British ones a few months ago); therefore, this extra measurement line is handy. Moreover, 1/4 oz is only present on the OXO measuring cup or estimated in a larger jigger (i.e.: in a 1/2 oz) or approximated as 2 large-sized barspoons.

The internal line in the plastic OXO measuring cup was easier to be precise since I could view it from the side (I have the clear, not the metal version). Standard laboratory volume measurements are always taken from the side since water forms a U-shape in a vessel as it adheres to the glass or plastic walls. Scientifically, this shape is called the meniscus and it is accurately measured at the bottom point of this U-shape. When I did the experiment looking solely from the top down, I was short by 11.7% for the OXO measuring cup 1/2 oz pour which is consistent with trying to eyeball a clear fluid in the metal OXO Double Jigger.
The cup-within-a-cup design for the 1/4 oz and 1/2 oz demarcations was indeed confusing. They are not as intuitive to use as a regular jigger or a sharp line, and with one methodology, I undershot, and with the other, I overshot.

While these internal measurements in the OXO Double Jigger were not as accurate as regular jiggers, they were close and very handy. More accurate results might be obtained with darker colored liquids (perhaps less tricked in top-down viewing) as well as with increased frequency of use to acclimate to the jigger and compensate for its shortcomings. Overall, not a bad piece of barware, and inaccuracies of 5-10% per measure might not in the end greatly effect the balance of a drink.

Friday, June 18, 2010

californie palace

1/3 Gin (2/3 oz Bombay Dry)
2/3 Dry Vermouth (1 1/3 oz Noilly Prat)
1/3 Maraschino (2/3 oz Luxardo)
1/6 Green Chartreuse (1/3 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a small chunk of pineapple (omitted).

Last Friday when it was time for cocktails, I returned to Ted Saucier's Bottom's Up to try another Last Word-like drink. The one I chose was the signature drink at the Californie Palace in Cannes, France, and it was in essence the straight spirits, non-equal parts version of a Last Word. The two references I found on the web for this hotel were in the 1930's but Saucier offered up no time line for the drink itself. Instead of lime juice, the drying force in the Californie Palace was French vermouth and the large quantity of it made it into an aperitif-like cocktail.
For me, the Maraschino stood out most on the nose, but for Andrea, it was the Chartreuse. While the drink was just as dry as the Last Word, it was not as sharp due to the lack of citrus and the decreased proportion of green Chartreuse. I regretted not having fresh pineapple on hand, for the recommended garnish would work probably well with the ingredients in the drink; another recipe for the Californie Palace that I spotted elsewhere called for a lime twist which would add an interesting hint of citrus to the drink.

meant to be

2 oz Gin (Bombay Dry)
1/2 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 barspoon Pastis or Absinthe (Pastis d'Autrefois)
2 leaf Mint

Lightly muddle mint, add rest of ingredients and ice, shake, and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a fresh mint leaf.

For Thursday Drink Night, the theme was "Mint." For a starting point, I used John Gertsen's Means of Preservation and substituted the celery bitters for mint. I supplemented this herbal component with a little pastis perhaps to combine it with another celery bitters-laden recipe, the Farley Mowat. The Means of Preservation was a spin of David Shenaut's Ephemeral, and in keeping with the time-based theme, I dubbed the drink Meant to Be (yes, I did consider the pun "Mint to Be" for a few moments).
The drink's nose was a healthy mint signature with a hint of pastis. Flavorwise, the mint and pastis paired up nicely with the St. Germain which donated sweetness and floral notes to the mix. The gin and dry vermouth served to counter some of the liqueur's sweetness and their botanicals augmented the Meant to Be's herbal complexity.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

periodista

Juice of 1/2 Lime (1/2 oz)
1 barspoon Sugar
1/4 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot)
1/4 oz Triple Sec (Cointreau)
1 1/2 oz White Rum (Treaty Oak)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime peel.

On Wednesday after drinking the D.J., I was in a rum mood and decided to make the Periodista from Charles Schumann's American Bar. We bought Schumann's book when we were trying to help solve Devin Hahn's inquiries about this drink. The Periodista has become a staple menu item of the Boston craft cocktail scene, yet only Schumann's (and Food and Wine: Cocktails 2006) have the recipe and, as Devin discovered, very few places outside of Boston are familiar with this drink. This dilemma bothered Devin so much that he set out on a quest to answer this riddle. Historically, the drink gained popularity with reporters at Cuban bars during the 1962 Missile Crisis and was named after the Spanish word for journalist. Devin traced the putative Boston origins of the drink back to Chez Henri and was able to gain a handle of its diaspora to places like Eastern Standard (where I had my first Periodista back in 2007) and the B-Side. The Boston Periodista, unlike Schumann's, uses dark rum, often Goslings, and this is the recipe that appears in Food and Wine: Cocktails 2006 using Harvard Square's Noir bar's recipe:
• 1 1/2 oz Dark Rum
• 1/2 oz Cointreau (or other triple sec)
• 1/2 oz Apricot-flavored Brandy
• 1/2 oz Lime Juice
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Devin turned his search into an interesting series of blog posts, and the Periodista might be to Devin as the holy Pegu Club is to Doug. His research into this "seductive cousin of the Daiquiri" is definitely worth a read.
With the Treaty Oak rum, our Periodistas had a glorious vanilla note that mingled well with the lime oil in the nose. A sweet lime sip was followed by an orange-apricot swallow that mixed with vegetal elements of the rum. Overall, the drink was rather magnificent -- from the very smooth yet flavorful light rum to the right amount of lime juice to balance the liqueurs' sweetness. Moreover, the pairing of orange and apricot has always been a good one. Indeed, the fruit liqueurs do change the drink drastically from the classic Daiquiri, similar to how a Daisy can be very different from a Sour.

d.j.

1/4 Grapefruit Juice (3/4 oz)
1/4 Maraschino (3/4 oz Luxardo)
1/4 Sweet Vermouth (3/4 oz Carpano Antica)
1/4 Dry Gin (3/4 oz Bombay Dry)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a hazelnut.

On Wednesday last week, I was flipping through my newly acquired 1962 edition of Ted Saucier's Bottom's Up and spotted the D.J. This quirky drink was invented at the Detroit Athletic Club where the better known cocktail, the Last Word, was also born. The D.J. was "named in honor of a former well known citizen of Detroit, D.J. Campau, who was a representative of Detroit's oldest families, a member of the Democratic National Committee, and all that sort of thing. And he was quite a guy." I was able to find New York Times articles about Campau from 1892 to 1908 which suggests that this drink dates from the pre-Prohibition era (although it could have been Prohibition era along with the Last Word). Not one to turn down trying a four equal parts recipe (not to mention having a stash of hazelnuts ready to go), I set to work on making a pair of these drinks.
The color of the D.J. matched its garnish rather well, and the drink started with a light Maraschino aroma. Grapefruit and sweet vermouth pleasantly began the sip which was followed by a big bolus of Maraschino. This Maraschino wave was mitigated to some degree by the cleansing nature of gin on the swallow. For the first few sips, the drink seemed rather bizarre; however, after a few more sip, both Andrea and I got more into this drink as we acclimated to the flavors. The DJ might be less odd of a drink if a less funky Maraschino such as Stock brand was used instead of Luxardo, or the volume was split with a simple syrup to lighten the flavor a bit. Perhaps the D.J. pre-dated the Last Word by a few years and the Detroit Athletic Club bartenders were able to fix up the recipe by swapping lime and green Chartreuse for grapefruit and sweet vermouth to create the better balanced and more successful Last Word.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

metropine

4/10 Daiquiri Rum (1 oz El Dorado 3 Year)
4/10 Pineapple Juice (1 oz)
1/10 Caloric Punch (1/4 oz Homemade Swedish Punsch)
1/10 Crème de Bananes (1/4 oz Giffard Banane du Brésil)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
On Monday after I returned home from Drink and Andrea from her dinner at Bergamot, it was time for a nightcap. One of our recent purchases was Giffard Crème de Bananes, and I located the Metropine in the Café Royal Cocktail Book which utilized this liqueur. The drink's nose was full of pineapple and banana aromas. A very simple sip was followed by a lot of complexity on the swallow from fruit, rum, and spice especially from the Swedish Punsch. For a tropical drink, the Metropine was pretty stylish, and for 1934 England, very stylish.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

[shadow play]

3/4 oz Batavia Arrack
3/4 oz Montecristo 12 Year Rum
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Ferrara Orgeat
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish the froth with a few drops of Peychaud's Bitters and Herbsaint. See below for a recipe proportion suggestion.

For my second drink of the night at Drink, I asked Cali what egg ideas she had. She proposed a Batavia Arrack and orgeat combination that snowballed into the final drink concept. The orgeat seemed like it needed some lime to complement it, and the Batavia Arrack would surely gain some depth from an amber rum. For a rum choice, Cali offered me a taste of the Montecristo 12 Year, a smooth sugar cane juice (not molasses) rum from Guatemala, which seemed like it would work well with the Batavia Arrack.
The anise from the Herbsaint garnish and the almond from the orgeat pleasantly combined on the nose. The lime and orgeat flavors were very strong at the front of the sip, and surprisingly the rum and Batavia Arrack on the swallow were rather subtle. Perhaps the egg white softened the intensity of the spirits more than the lime and orgeat, or perhaps we underestimated the orgeat's potency. Regardless, a 1:1:1/2:1/2 ratio would probably provide a better balance for this drink.

[vespertina]

1 oz Milagro Blanco Tequila
1 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1 oz Cocchi Americano

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Twist a grapefruit peel over the top and discard.

Last Monday I headed down to Drink and found a seat at the center section where California Gold was tending bar. For my first drink, we got on the topic of tequila and mezcal, and Cali wondered how the two would work in a Vesper variation using Cocchi Americano in place of the Lillet. She originally proposed the standard 3:1:1/2 proportions; however, I did not think that the Cocchi Americano flavors would stand up as well to the agave spirits as it would in a gin and vodka drink. The proportions eventually morphed into an equal parts recipe (the other option was a 3 tequila:2 Cocchi: 1 mezcal which would have the same amount of Cocchi Americano as the equal parts recipe but with less smokiness).
The drink started with a robust grapefruit oil nose that worked well with the Cocchi Americano's citrus notes and with the agave spirits' flavor. Midway through the drink, the aroma shifted to mainly mezcal as the grapefruit oils dissipated and the alcohol volatized. Cocchi's fruit began each sip, tequila resided in the middle, and the mezcal's smoke predominated on the swallow. I was impressed at how the tequila's sharpness did a good job accentuating the citrus elements in the Cocchi Americano.

Monday, June 14, 2010

[chantico]

a) 1 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1 oz Neisson Rhum Agricole Blanc
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/4 oz Simple Syrup

b) 1/6 Jalapeño Pepper (Deveined, Deseeded)
3-4 leaf Mint
1 cube Demerara Sugar
1 splash Water

Muddle ingredients in (b). Add to that the ingredients in (a) and ice, shake, and double strain into a rocks glass containing a large ice cube.

For my second drink at Craigie on Main, bartender Ted Gallagher wanted to make me a follow up to the Bird Bath. When he asked whether I was in the mood for mezcal or rum, my reply was that either was fine. His response was to choose both and he set to work after he cleared with me that a little heat would be alright.
The drink's nose was rather vegetal and was filled with the aroma of the mint and the greenness of the pepper. The vegetal nature also carried over into the flavor as the sweet minty sip was chased by an herbal swallow tinged with a low level of pepper heat. Mezcal notes also appeared on the swallow; however, it was the first drink where Neisson Blanc did not stand out as a predominant flavor but blended in well with the other ingredients.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

bird bath

2 oz Cocchi Americano
1 oz Scarlet Ibis Rum
1/2 oz Fighting Cock Bourbon

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

Last Sunday evening, Andrea and I went over to Craigie on Main for cocktails. When I was handed the menu, I immediately spotted the Bird Bath as a new drink on the menu and asked bartender Paul to make me one for my first drink. Paul explained that the drink was created by bar manager Carrie Cole along with Avery and Janey Glasser of the Bittermens. They concocted the recipe as they gathered all of the bird-named spirits at the bar and assembled them into a bird bath-like coupe glass. While I was quite familiar with the Lillet-like Cocchi Americano and the fiery overproof Fighting Cock, I had never had the Scarlet Ibis Rum. The rum was blended for Manhattan's Death & Co. and Haus Alpenz has released some of the bottles into the marketplace. When Paul let me have a taste, I found this aged Trinidad Rum to be flavorful yet rather smooth for an overproof.
The Bird Bath started with a floral nose that was punctuated by rum aromas and hints of Bourbon barrel vanilla notes. Moreover, the sweet citrussy Cocchi Americano flavor was perfectly balanced by the heat of the rum and the whiskey. If only there were a bird-named bitters, it would really round out the drink!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

west indian punch

1 lump Sugar (1/2 oz Gomme Syrup)
Juice 1/2 Lime (1/2 oz Juice)
1 1/2 oz Madeira (Blandy's 5 Year Malmsey Madeira)
1/2 oz Brandy (Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with berries and sliced fruit.
After dinner, I was still on a fortified wine kick following the sherry-laden Jolly Pilot, and I discovered the Madeira-rich West Indian Punch recipe in George J. Kappeler's Modern American Drinks from 1895. In the drink, the Madeira dominated the punch's nose, and the sip contained a strong Madeira signature that was complemented by a sweet lime flavor. The Madeira also donated an oxidized wine note on the swallow. The concept of a Madeira Sour was fairly interesting, and the lime paired up with the Madeira splendidly in ways it seemed that lemon would not have. Andrea found the punch much tastier than she thought it would be, and she attributed this to the extra sweetness in the recipe. For a variation, I wondered how the West Indian Punch would have worked with a distinctive and rich rum instead of a brandy.

jolly pilot

1/6 Amontillado Sherry (1/4 oz Lustau Los Arcos)
3/6 Gin (3/4 oz Beefeater 24)
1/6 Cointreau (1/4 oz)
1/6 Brandy (1/4 oz Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and a cocktail onion (we omitted the onion).
Before dinner on Friday night, I selected the Jolly Pilot from the Café Royal Cocktail Book for our preprandial beverage. I was drawn to the recipe for we had not mixed with gin at home in a while, and the combination of orange flavors and sherry is generally a win. Moreover, any excuse to use our new and rather flavorful Spanish brandy is a good one and it cinched in the decision. The Jolly Pilot's nose was lemon oil combined with a grapish note from either the sherry or the brandy we used. The sip was semi-sweet with brandy and gin flavors at the beginning followed by orange, sherry, and Angostura notes on the swallow. Indeed, the alcohol heat and the bitters dried out the drink on the swallow.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

tempestade

1 1/2 oz Cachaça (Seleta)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Sloe Gin (Plymouth)
1/2 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

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

Last Thursday on Mixoloseum, the theme was "Falernum". For a base spirit, my mind immediately paired falernum with rum, but after thinking about how Todd Maul at Clio frequently substitutes cachaça in rum's place, I reconsidered. To balance the falernum and cachaça, I went with citrus and a fruit liqueur. I originally considered Cherry Heering, but sloe gin ended up calling out to me since I recently read a few rum-sloe gin recipes. And after driving home in Thursday's torrential downpour, the drink got dubbed the Tempestade after the Portuguese word for storm.
The Tempestade started with a lemon and cachaça nose. A fruity sweet sip was followed by the funk of the cachaça and the spice of the falernum and Angostura on the swallow. The sloe gin provided an elegant fruity note without hijacking the flavor profile like Cheery Heering is more apt to do.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

orange juice flip

1 barspoon Sugar (1/8 oz Gomme Syrup)
1 Egg
1 drink Orange Juice (~1 1/4 oz Orange Juice = 1/2 orange)
1 drink Bacardi Rum (1 1/2 oz Pritchard's White Rum)

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Recipe was vague on serving style (and volumes) other than using a fizz glass, so I strained into a glass. Since the glass was not filled, adding a few ice cubes would top off the drink if you did not want to add more orange juice or rum. I also rinsed the remaining ice cubes in the Boston Shaker with a few drops of orange blossom water, swirled, and strained. I added an orange twist and a straw.
On Wednesday night, I flipped through the "Cuban Concoctions" section of the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book and decided on the Orange Juice Flip. The concept of an orange juice-laden flip reminded me of the tasty Le Grande Flip that Jackson Cannon created for the Eastern Standard's menu. I gussied up this recipe with orange blossom water and orange oils added to the top of the drink. The nose definitely prospered from these additions as they supplemented the fresh juice aroma in a grand way. The sip was a sweet, rich orange juice flavor, and the swallow contained the heat and vanilla-like notes of the rum. The egg, besides thickening the consistency, smoothed over both the orange and rum flavors to make for an easy drinking beverage. The Orange Juice Flip was simple but elegant. A dash of some liqueur, such as allspice dram, Benedictine, or apricot-flavored brandy, might take the recipe to another level though.

kingston contessa

1 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Aperol

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass spritzed with Medjool date essence.

For my second drink at Eastern Standard last week, bartender Hugh Fiore said that he had a rum drink that was inspired by his trip to Manhattan's Death & Co. bar. After hearing the ingredients, it sounded like a Smith & Cross Rum version of the gin-based Negroni variant, the Contessa. Given that Smith & Cross makes most everything taste better, I was game.
The drink started with the aroma of the Smith & Cross rum that came across in a very Batavia Arrack-sort of way. The sweet vermouth and Aperol combined to provide a fruity sip that was followed by a spicy and funky swallow from the rum coupled with bitter notes from the vermouth and Aperol liqueur. Rum in place of the gin in the Contessa seemed to shift the flavor profile away from the bitter herbal complexity and bring the fruit aspects a little more forward.

Monday, June 7, 2010

the frobisher

2 oz Oxley Gin
1 oz House Rosé Vermouth
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Twist an orange peel over the top and garnish with a cherry.

On Monday night after my DJing set, we went up the street to Eastern Standard for their late night dinner menu. For my pre-prandial cocktail, I spotted the Frobisher, a new addition to the cocktail menu which sounded like the perfect choice given the description of "a spicy and bitter orange aperitif." When I asked bartender Hugh Fiore about the drink, he said that it was created by Jackson Cannon and provided the history that Frobisher was an English pirate, privateer, and explorer who sought to discover the Northwest Passage to India and China. In between having that drink and writing about it now, Lauren Clark of DrinkBoston mentioned the drink and provided an alternative naming reference from a more direct source, as she, "was delighted when Jackson Cannon, who, like [her], is a devotée of the FX series Damages, told me he was naming a new cocktail on the menu after Arthur Frobisher, the Enron-inspired CEO played by Ted Danson." The television as a muse is believable especially after reading about Jackson being a big fan of Sex in the City. Regardless of which Frobisher who squandered other people's money that the drink was named after, it certainly made for a fine aperitif.
The Frobisher featured Oxley gin, an English spirit that is cold distilled. Unlike other spirits that use heat, the alcohol and other flavors are concentrated using cold temperatures and low pressures to pull vapors out of the mix. To our palates, the gin had a decent juniper aroma, and this botanical carried over into the taste along with citrus and a lavender-like floral component. The Frobisher started with an orange aroma supplemented with some of the gin botanicals wafting through. The recipe looked very much like a Martinez, and indeed, it tasted like a rather spicy one. When I gave Andrea a taste, she thought that it had rye in it since it was that spicy.

puates delight

1/3 Johnny Walker Red Label (1 oz Famous Grouse Scotch)
1/3 Passion Fruit Juice (1 oz)
1/3 Caloric Punch (1 oz Homemade Swedish Punsch)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added an orange twist.
After getting back from the Sunday Salon, we were in the mood for a nightcap so I made the Puates Delight from the Café Royal Cocktail Book. The drink started with the orange oils from the twist which paired rather well with the passion fruit aroma. On the sip, the passion fruit juice and the lemon in the Swedish Punsch combined to make an apple-like flavor, and this was followed by a lingering Scotch note on the swallow. The Scotch and Swedish Punsch worked splendidly together to produce more of a spicy Scotch than a smokey rum flavor.

Friday, June 4, 2010

[lavender menace]

1 3/4 oz Bols Genever
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Lavender Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Hartley & Gibson Amontillado Sherry
2 dash Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
For my second drink at the Sunday Salon, I asked bartender Ben Sandrof for something off the menu. Ben mentioned that he had thought about tea and sherry earlier, and that while he did not have tea accessible at the bar, he did have lavender simple syrup. The drink he created sort of reminded me of the Southend, but the Genever and sherry took things in a different direction. The nose was full of Genever spirit with a hint of lavender floral notes. The malty flavors from the Genever appeared with the lemon on the sip, and the lavender and sherry notes mingled on the swallow. Indeed, the lavender and the botanicals in the Bols Genever made for a rather solid pairing.

silent order

2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Water
7-10 Sweet Basil Leaves

Shake with ice and double strain into a cocktail glass.

On Sunday night, we went down to see Ben Sandrof as he hosted another Sunday Salon (now every two weeks with the next one on the 13th). I finally had one of Andrea's all time favorite drinks -- the Silent Order. The drink name refers to the Carthusian monks who make Chartreuse and live a very quiet, contemplative life. The herbal notes in the Chartreuse are bolstered by basil leaf oils; Ben warned not to muddle the basil for it will extract too much bitter chlorophyll into the drink whereas bruising the leaves through shaking with ice will release only the oils. The shaking will macerate the leaves somewhat, but the end result should not be pulpy. The most unique part of the recipe is not the addition of basil or the balancing with lime, but the addition of water. True, most drinks are diluted with water but only due to the shaking, stirring, or being built on ice parts (not counting the water in ingredients such as simple syrup). Here and in the Alamagoozalum, water is specified as an ingredient. Ben's rationale for its inclusion was to mellow the acid in the lime and to cut the sugar in the Chartreuse in order to balance the drink. While he did not mention it, it might also serve to soften the 110 proof heat of the green Chartreuse.
The Silent Order's nose was a combination of the Chartreuse and the sweet basil aromas. Basil and lime flavors appeared at the beginning of the sip with Chartreuse on the swallow. The simplicity of that description does not do justice to how amazing this drink tasted and how well the flavors balanced each other. Perhaps fewer words and more contemplation are in order here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

coffee milk punch

A. 500 mL Gold Rum (16 2/3 oz Don Q)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1/4 tsp Cardamom Powder
6 Allspice Berries (ground, ~1/2 tsp before grind)
1 Tbsp Ground Coffee
B. 12 oz Simple Syrup (1:1)
5 oz Lime Juice
C. 10 oz Whole Milk
1 Tbsp Ground Coffee

1. In a large bowl, add rum, spices, and first measure of coffee grounds from "A" and let infuse for 1 hour. After that, add simple syrup and lime juice from "B".
2. In a sauce pan, add milk and second measure of coffee grounds from "C". Heat slowly to 180°F (or until the first signs of a boil if you lack a thermometer) with occasional stirring. Pour hot coffee-flavored milk into the bowl containing the rum and spices.
3. Stir and leave for 15-20 minutes until the milk is fully curdled. Strain through a tea towel to remove curds, spices, and spent coffee grounds; I strained into screw cap vermouth/wine bottles for easy storage and transport. A second filtering step through a coffee filter would clarify the punch, but I find it unnecessary. Also, allowing the particulates to sediment over time (several days) and decanting off the punch into a new bottle will work as well.
4. Cool punch in fridge. Keeps almost indefinitely when refrigerated. Serve in glasses or punch cups.

On Saturday afternoon, I received a phone call from some friends about an impromptu gathering later that evening. After hanging up the phone, I got the idea for this punch and immediately set to work on gathering the ingredients. Of course, inspiration struck just as Saturday's downpour began but my motivation was strong enough to brave the rain. The flavor profile was shaped after the Zambito and I further spiced the punch with elements from Turkish coffee, namely cinnamon, cardamom, and allspice. I bolstered up the spice levels to allow for a quicker infusion since time was limited before the event started

The end product was distinctly coffee flavored and scented but not overwhelmingly so. I was pleased with how well the coffee, rum, and lime juice meshed with the spices. While the cardamom and allspice flavors and aromas were rather distinctive, the cinnamon seemed a little shy in the profile. Moreover, the punch had a rather luxurious mouthfeel from the combination of milk whey and simple syrup.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

[haitian monk (or the popa docquiri)]

2 oz Barbancourt Rum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
2 dash Fee's Peach Bitters

Shake with ice and double strain into a cocktail glass.

Bartender Ryan Lotz mentioned that he had two drinks in the works, and after hearing their description, I definitely wanted to try the rum-based one for my second drink on Friday at Lineage. The drink was a basic Daiquiri with the curveball addition of green Chartreuse and peach bitters. Ryan's concept was to pair a savory and a fruit component to add to the Daiquiri base, and the Chartreuse and peach combination was his favorite. The new cocktail lacked a name, and while Ryan came up with the Haitian Monk due to the rum's origin coupled with the Chartreuse being created by monks, my idea was a bit more irreverent with the Popa Docquiri. Perhaps naming a drink after a blood thirsty voodoo-worshipping dictactor might not be P.C. for a restaurant menu, but the word play was too hard to avoid.
The Haitian Monk's nose sang out with green Chartreuse and lime aromas, and these elements also paired up nicely flavorwise as they do in the Green Ghost. Rum and lime on the sip were followed by the Chartreuse on the swallow. The peach flavor from the bitters built up over time; elements of them became detectable on the very first part of the sip with other peachy aspects lingering on the swallow.

coolidge

2 oz Sazerac 6 Year Rye
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 - 1/3 oz Clear Creek Eau De Vie Of Douglas Fir

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

We continued celebrating Andrea's birthday on Friday by going over to Lineage where head bartender Ryan Lotz was presiding. The drink that called out to me for my first round was Ryan's tribute to his restaurant's Coolidge Corner neighborhood which he based off of the Red Hook. Instead of the Red Hook's Maraschino liqueur, the Coolidge utilized an eau de vie of springtime-harvested Douglas Fir buds. Ryan found that this spirit paired well with spicy rye and he retained the Punt e Mes from the Red Hook recipe to round out the drink.
The Coolidge started with a lemon oil nose that led into a sweet, caramel, and malty sip. The sip was dried out by a bitter and spicy swallow that was full of pine tree notes. While Ryan might have been attracted to the eau de vie's pairing with the rye, I felt that its complementary flavors to the bitter notes in the Punt e Mes vermouth was what made the drink for me.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

royal wedding

1 1/2 oz Beefeater Gin
3/4 oz Swedish Punsch (Housemade)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Grand Marnier

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

Besides the cachaça drinks on Clio's menu (the multi-paged tome appears in this photo as well as the # Tres') that caught my eye, Todd Maul's Swedish Punsch recipes stood out. Todd uses the same "Tales (of the Cocktail) Version" recipe by Eric Ellested for his drinks as I do; however, he does have a precious bottle of the real thing hidden away behind the bar. The real version from Sweden was a lot more subtle and smoother of a flavor, and I cannot wait for someone to start importing it again into this country. But in the meanwhile, the Ellested replica is close enough to make these classic recipes work.
The Swedish Punsch-containing recipe I selected was the Royal Wedding which Todd found in Ted Saucier's 1951 cocktail book Bottom's Up. Gin with a hint of Grand Marnier and spice aroma prepared my taste buds for the sip ahead. That sip was filled with gin and lime crispness with Grand Marnier and Swedish Punsch complexity on the swallow. Amongst the spices on the swallow, clove was one of the more discernible ones. Overall, it was rather well balanced and a good progression from the # Tres.

The original recipe for the Royal Wedding seems to stem from the 1934 Café Royal Cocktail Book which lists Fred Gage as the inventor. That recipe also includes a grenadine sink (similar to the # Tres) and gives the option of lemon or lime, but in other ways is rather identical.

the # tres

1 oz Beija Cachaça
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Lillet Blanc
1 oz Luxardo Triple Sec

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Gently add a dash of grenadine so it sinks to the bottom.

As I mentioned at the end of the Rum Ramsey post, Andrea and I went to Clio on Wednesday to celebrate her birthday. When I first saw the Clio cocktail menu posted on Grub Street Boston, I commented to Andrea that I was impressed at how many cachaça drinks there were. Andrea replied that head bartender Todd Maul mentioned that he enjoys substituting cachaça for regular rums as it makes for some interesting variations. So for my first drink request, I asked Todd what cachaça cocktail on the menu he recommended. His pick was the # Tres which he based off of the Corpse Reviver #2 cocktail except with the absinthe swapped for grenadine (besides changing the gin and lemon for cachaça and lime, that is).
The # Tres' nose was a soft funk with perfumey and citrussy notes mingling in the mix. The sip began with a complex and sweet citrus flavor that was chased by cachaça on the swallow. While the cachaça acted almost like a drying bitter note on the swallow, the Beija was not as raw of a spirit as most other cachaças. Todd said that he selected Beija for this drink as it was less smokey; moreover, it was more earthy and contained a grapefruit note like a tequila. Without the absinthe in the recipe, the drink reminded me more of a Hoop La which he also serves on the menu as a Frank Sullivan (those along with the Hey Hey and the Odd McIntyre being four of the names I have seen for this same recipe).

rum ramsey

1 1/2 oz Puerto Rican Rum (Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva)
1 tsp Bourbon (Booker's)
Juice 1/4 Lime (1/4 oz)
1/2 tsp Sugar (1/8 oz Gomme Syrup)
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

At the Appleton event last week, we spoke with Todd Maul from Clio and he recommended that we try the Rum Ramsey from Trader Vic. I found the recipe in both the 1948 and the 1972 editions and decided to give it a go on Tuesday night. While the recipe specifies Puerto Rican rum, Todd recommended that we try it with Diplomático or Appleton rums. Since the Bourbon was only a teaspoon, we selected Booker's which is one of our spiciest and most flavorful in our collection.
The Rum Ramsey was rather crisp and boozy and was a less lime-flavored Daiquiri variant. Moreover, the bitters and Bourbon added a good deal of spice on the swallow that definitely took the drink in a different direction from the classic recipe. The Peychaud's paired splendidly with the Booker's and perhaps the aged rum as well.

The next night, it was Andrea's birthday, so after our dinner at Myers and Chang, we made our way over to Clio for birthday cocktails. While waiting for seats at the bar to open up, Todd Maul greeted us with a pair of Rum Ramseys! His version was a bit sweeter and better balanced than our crisp version; however, the Elmer T. Lee Bourbon he used was less spicy and less distinctive in the flavor profile. Todd seemed to approve of our use of Booker's the night before and might start using our suggestion as his go-to whiskey.