Thursday, September 30, 2010

naked apple

1 1/2 oz High West Silver Western Oat Whiskey
1 oz Apple Cider, reduced and clarified (*)
1 dash Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters

Shake (or stir?) with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a baked disk of cider and caramel; serve with a straw.
(*) Reduce two-fold with heat. Add gelatin and freeze-thaw through cheesecloth as described in the Cooking Issues link below.
Last week, I stopped in at Clio to visit bartender Todd Maul. Todd asked if I was looking to try something new that would be on the menu the following week; without any further information, his enthusiasm was surely contagious and I gave the go ahead. The drink he prepared for me was in theory a riff on a Manhattan that used a lightly oaked whiskey made from 85% oat and 15% barley. The "in theory" part was that he did not use a vermouth, port, or even an amaro to balance the spirit; instead, he used a modified apple cider that acted like a vermouth. Todd had concentrated the cider and stripped it of its color so that it was like "apple juice on steroids." I had just read in the last round of Mixology Mondays about Jacob Grier's experiments to do similar clarifications of lime juice; furthermore, Jacob referenced a more comprehensive article in the Cooking Issues blog where this technique and others were explained in great detail. Instead of Angostura Bitters in this Manhattan facsimile, Todd chose lemon bitters for he found that it accentuated the apple notes in the drink. Overall, the drink was clean and rich tasting with the essence of a Stone Fence with the barrel aging notes of the whiskey and thick fruity flavors of the cider stripped away.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

scotland the brave

2 oz Laphroaig 10 Years Old Scotch
3/4 oz Fernet Branca
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Mathilde XO Orange Liqueur

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Flame an orange peel over the top and discard.
When bartender Ted Kilpatrick asked if I had a direction for my nightcap drink, I mentioned that I had not had any whiskey drinks in a while. When I suggested rye or Bourbon, Ted asked if Scotch was fine. The drink Ted made me was entitled Scotland the Brave after the unofficial national anthem of Scotland, and the concept reminded me slightly of Russell House Tavern's Scottish Play. The cocktail's nose was orange from the twist and the peaty malt of the Scotch. On the sip, the most notable flavor combination was how well the Fernet and the Laphroaig's smokiness matched up. The Punt e Mes paired well with the Fernet, but alas, I could not detect the orange liqueur very well. When I mentioned this to Ted, he commented that the Mathilde Orange functions to soften the drink, and its flavors integrate with the Punt e Mes rather well; furthermore, the orange liqueur and Punt e Mes were transcendent components of the drink. Indeed, the Scotland the Brave did serve as a great last drink of the night.

brandy fix

2 oz Landy VSOP Cognac
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz Pineapple Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Ornament with grapes and berries in season (blackberry, blueberries, mint). Serve with a straw.

Last Tuesday, I made my way down to No. 9 Park where bartender Ted Kilpatrick was presiding. For my first drink, I requested something made with brandy, and Ted replied that he was really excited about the Brandy Fix found in Harry Johnson's New & Improved Illustrated Bartender's Manual and asked if I wanted to give it a try. Despite a few changes to the proportions, his version was pretty true to Johnson's recipe. Keeping it old school was important for Ted will be serving this drink at an event at the Boston Athenaeum in early October. In addition, Eastern Standard's Kevin Martin and Drink's Josey Packard will also be making drinks at that event as well.
Honestly, I had never had a Fix before, and when I was reading David Embury a few weeks ago, I realized this. Fixes lost out to Daisies like (mint) Smashes lost out to Juleps. According to Embury, Fixes are pretty much the same as Daisies -- both are Sours with a flavored syrup or liqueur for the sweetener instead of sugar or simple syrup -- except that Fixes generally call for pineapple syrup and Daisies often specify raspberry syrup or grenadine. True, there are recipes such as Jerry Thomas' that contradict this, but Embury at least made an attempt to differentiate things.

This Fix started with a visually attractive assortment of berries in season and an aromatically alluring combination of brandy and mint. The sip was a sweet pineapple and lemon flavor followed by green Chartreuse complexity on the swallow. Overall, this drink could do no wrong, and its magic has certainly help up since Johnson transcribed it over a century ago.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

:: patience ::

I just started a project that will require 6-12 months of waiting, but I am posting it now to encourage others to give it a try in parallel with me. The recipe is for Coquiña or Cachaça de Coco that Charles H. Baker, Jr. wrote about in The South American Gentleman's Companion. Baker acquired this recipe from the Furna de Onça Restaurant in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and is for coconut-aged rum! He presented it as follows:
Take husked coconut, bore out 1 of the "eyes" in the "monkey's face" you'll find at 1 end. Pour-out water. Refill nut with any white rum like new Cuban or Key West aguardiente, or inexpensive white Puerto Rican or Cuban rum - NOT brown or Jamaica. Cork tightly with a soft-wood peg driven-into the shell firmly. Bury in ground, dig-up after 6 month to a year. Drink the stuff neat, out of small glass.
The process will add a ruddy amber color and a "most unusual and pleasant taste." Moreover, it will make the spirit more mellow the longer it stays in its tropical cask. Baker did give the option of cachaça later in the text.
Earlier today, I bought 3 coconuts at Whole Foods. The best part of the experience was when the cashier dropped one from about a foot up. She apologized and said that she did not want to break it before I got it home. I told her that it could be replaced, and beside, it would take a lot more than that to crack a coconut. She then asked how I was going to open them and recommended a hammer. When I finally told her that I was going to drill a hole in each of them and fill them with rum, she shot me a dirty look. The stunned and judgmental expression quickly shifted to her ignoring what I just said and re-recommending the use of a hammer to open the nut.

For a method, I did end up using a hammer albeit later in the process. I used a 1/2 inch drill bit and made a hole in one of the eyes in each coconut. The wider the eye, the easier the bit went in for there was less tough, fibrous matter in the way. I then filled two with Seleta Cachaça and one with J.Wray & Nephew Rum. I did not realize until afterward that the directions specifically stated not to use Jamaican rum, but I now interpret that to mean dark aged and not white overproof Jamaican rum (which could stand a bit of mellowing). I sealed the holes with pieces of whittled tree branch and the recommended hammer. Instead of burying them, they are being stored in the kitchen for safe keeping.

I am curious to see if the rum will become coconut-flavored à la unsweetened Malibu or fat-washed with coconut oils. Only time will tell since Baker was rather vague about the effect.

elisabeth aplegate

1 1/2 Plymouth Gin
3/4 oz Cucumber Purée with Herbsaint and Hyssop-Anise Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice cubes. Garnish with a cucumber slice and straws.

For my last drink at The Gallows, I asked bartender April Wachtel to make me the Elisabeth Aplegate off of the menu. The drink was named after an example of the brutal punishment and harrassment that women suffered during Puritan times; Elisabeth Aplegate in 1636 was declared guilty of swearing and reveling and was forced to stand in public with her tongue inserted into a cleft (split-ended) stick. For such a dark sounding story, the drink was rather light with a bounty of herbal notes.
The drink's aroma was mainly cucumber and anise, and these notes carried over into the sip. The flavor was supplemented by the mint-like hyssop in the syrup and balanced by the crispness of the lemon juice. While the Elisabeth Aplegate was different from the Fin du Saison I had at Craigie on Main, the pairing of cucumber with farm-fresh herbs had a very similar effect.

Friday, September 24, 2010

roxbury russet

1 oz Cognac
1/2 oz Laird's Applejack
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Honey Syrup
4 dash Fee's Aromatic Bitters
3-4 slice Apple (~1/6 medium apple)
4 Cloves

Muddle cloves. Add apple slices and muddle again. Add rest of ingredients and ice, shake, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an additional apple slice.

For my second cocktail at The Gallows on Sunday night, I asked bartender Carl Donheiser about another drink on the menu, but after talking with him, he steered me toward the Roxbury Russet. The Roxbury Russet was Carl's creation and the least darkly named drink of the three I had. Not named after a blood sucking beast or a sinning Puritan who was severely punished, the drink refers to an apple varietal believed to be the oldest apple cultivar grown in this country. The varietal was started about a mile or two away from the bar in Roxbury (now a suburb of Boston) in the seventeenth century.
The Roxbury Russet cocktail started with an autumnal aroma of clove and apples. The clove continued on in the sip to spice a sweet apple, lemon, and honey flavor. The cloves along with the cinnamon and other botanicals in the bitters appeared in the swallow and helped to dry out the sip. Indeed, Carl had described this drink as elegant and light, and that was pretty accurate. The cloves were the breakthrough ingredient for him in this recipe and their effect was rather stunning. Shortly before he served this drink to me, he made a hot toddy variation of it to someone else at the bar; while I did not try it this way, my neighbor seemed rather pleased by the result.

chupacabra

1 oz Lunazul Reposado Tequila
1 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 barspoon Mezcal

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

On Sunday evening, I decided to travel to Washington Street in the South End and finally visit The Gallows. I arrived just as a seat at the bar opened up, and when I sat down I was greeted by head bartender April Wachtel who I had briefly met at Tales of the Cocktail in July. Upon perusing the menu, the Chupacabra -- both for its ingredients and its name -- stood out as a good starting point. I mean, a tequila drink named after one of the wonders of modern cryptozoology?
The Chupacabra started with a mezcal and lime aroma, and part way through the drink, the Punt e Mes grape and St. Germain floral notes became apparent on the nose. On the sip, the tequila and St. Germain paired up rather well, and both were complemented by the lime. The St. Germain aided in making the drink pretty mellow especially for a tequila and mezcal cocktail. Similarly, the Punt e Mes functioned to make the St. Germain less distinguishable in the mix despite being a major constituent of the recipe. Overall, the drink was pretty balanced, and the added complexity of the bitter Punt e Mes vermouth and smoky mezcal gave the Chupacabra some intrigue over a standard Tequila Daisy.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

aku aku

1 oz Milagro Blanco Tequila
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple
1/2 oz Orgeat
1 barspoon Pastis
1 small pinch Salt

Add about 1 oz ginger beer and 1 oz soda water to a highball glass. Shake rest of ingredients with ice and strain into the glass. Top with ginger beer (~1/2 oz) and garnish with a lime wedge and a straw.
For my second drink at Craigie on Main, the Aku Aku on the cocktail menu caught my eye. While it is not the Trader Vic recipe of the same name, it did have some strong Tiki aspects to it. However, it felt more like it was a Tiki drink crossed with a Mexican one such as a Diablo. When bartender Carrie Cole made me the Aku Aku, the nose was lime with hints of tequila. The sip started with a fruity ginger spice followed by the lime and tequila. Lastly, the pastis appeared on the swallow along with a smokey note. Overall, the Aku Aku was rather refreshing.

fin du saison

4 slice Small Cucumber (about 2 slices of a regular one)
6-8 leaf Basil
1 pinch Salt
1 oz Cocchi Americano
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Grand Marnier

Muddle cucumber, basil leaves, and salt. Add rest of ingredients, shake with ice, and double strain into a Champagne flute. Top with a dry sparkling wine (Veuve du Vernay).

On Friday, I made my way down to Craigie on Main and scored a seat at the bar. I had both luck on my side and the fact that I was alone so an odd-numbered party at the bar allowed a seat to be free. For my first drink, I selected the Fin Du Saison for the pairing of cucumber with green Chartreuse reminded me of the tasty Irma La Deuce that LUPEC Boston created for a Chartreuse event I attended at Green Street a few years ago.

The Fin Du Saison that bartender Carrie Cole made for me started with an garden-like aroma filled with cucumber and basil notes. The herbal notes continued over into the light sip that was punctuated by the crispness of the sparkling wine and lemon juice. Chartreuse highlighted the swallow, and this was supplemented by further cucumber and basil flavors.

Monday, September 20, 2010

emerson cocktail

Juice of 1/2 Lime (1/2 oz)
3 dash Maraschino Liqueur (1/4 oz Luxardo)
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Bonal)
3/4 oz Old Tom Gin (Hayman's)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Last Tuesday, we had some left over lime juice after making the McMenomy Cocktails for the Mixology Monday event. To find a good use of it, I opened up Jacques Straub's 1914 book Drinks. When I spotted the Emerson Cocktail and showed it to Andrea, she mentioned that it is on the Clio menu. While I was not sure of how Clio's proportions compare to Straub's, the menu does list that they use Punt e Mes as the vermouth. To match that level of bitter complexity, I selected our bottle of Bonal over the Carpano Antica to add some extra intrigue to the drink.
The aroma of the Emerson was dominated by the Maraschino liqueur. In fact, to some degree the sip was as well so perhaps reducing the volume to a barspoon or switching to a less robustly flavored one like Maraska would have been preferable. The slightly sweet sip began with the lime and Maraschino flavors followed by Bonal and gin notes drying the balance out on the swallow. Overall, the Emerson Cocktail was very much like a Martinez with the added flavor and bite of the lime juice.

blackstrap cynar flip

2 oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
1 oz Cynar
1 oz Demerara Syrup
1 Egg

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a coupe glass.
For my second drink at Eastern Standard last Monday night, I asked bartender Jimmy Lane if he had any ideas with eggs. Jim asked if bitter was okay, and when I approved, he set to work on this flip. Jim paired up a blackstrap molasses-flavored rum with Cynar liqueur to make a richer, less bitter Cynar Flip. The drink's nose was mainly the molasses from the rum; moreover, the molasses carried over into the sip which transitioned into the Cynar flavors on the swallow. When I gave Andrea a taste, she commented that it was like "a Cynar Flip with training wheels." The only suggestion I could make to Jim was to add some sort of garnish on the egg froth such as a few drops of an aromatic bitters (i.e.: Fee's or Angostura) for both attractiveness and aroma. Otherwise, this flip was perfectly delicious as it was.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

pall mall

1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin
1/2 oz Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Martini & Rossi Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

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

On Monday, Andrea and I went over to Eastern Standard for dinner and drinks after my DJ set was over. The menu had a few new drinks including this one, the Pall Mall, which appeared in the "Heritage" section. I have spotted the Pall Mall recipe in the past in books like the Savoy Cocktail Book, Boothby's 1934 World Drinks And How To Mix Them, and the Café Royal Cocktail Book; however, these recipes list crème de menthe not crème de cacao as the liqueur. I am not sure where this variation originated for I did not ask and I could not find it later in the first dozen books I opened in my library. My curiosity was piqued enough to ask bartender Jim Lane to make me one. Plus, it gave me the opportunity to joke with bartender Hugh Fiore and ask in a raspy voice, "Hon, would you be a dear and get me a pack of Pall Malls." While it is possible that the drink was named after the cigarette, it could be named after what the cigarette was named for. The cigarette was introduced as one of the first premium brands in 1899 which puts it in the right time period; while the cigarette's name stemmed from a croquet-like game (also spelled paille-maille), the drink also could have been named after an upscale street in the West End of London.
The Pall Mall started with an orange oil aroma. The sip was almost citrussy with the dry vermouth pairing up with the orange bitters and twist's oils, and the swallow contained the gin, vermouth botanicals, and cacao notes. The strongest flavor pairing was the sweet vermouth and the crème de cacao; I could imagine this match-up working even better if the richer Carpano Antica was used instead of Martini & Rossi. Even without the crème de menthe, the botanicals in the mix combined to contribute some sort of mint-like impression.

mcmenomy cocktail

This month's Mixology Monday theme, "Limes" (MxMo LI), was picked by Doug of the Pegu Blog. Doug selected the citrus component of his favorite drink, the Pegu Club, as this month's focus and wanted to know what the rabble of Mixology Monday bloggers could do with this lovely fruit.

When I mentioned the theme to Andrea, she asked if I were going to do the Pegu Clubweiser, a Pegu Club with the citrus swapped out for Bud Light Lime (a drink I created conceptually on a Thursday Drink Night on Mixoloseum to taunt Doug, and later made, as pictured on the right, when I acquired a can of BLL at a 4th of July cookout). As gross as it sounds, it actually did work balance-wise. The lack of citrus' crispness was made up by the beer's hops and carbonation. However, BLL contains "natural lime... flavor" and perhaps not even lime itself, and I did not want to promote this monstrosity save for the shock value (although if you ask in the comments, I will gladly provide the recipe).

While looking for drinks one night in the 1940 The How and When, I spotted the McMenomy Cocktail which not only seemed intriguingly tasty but contained lime juice as well. When I gave the recipe a little thought, the drink reminded me of a Coca Cola-less Mandeville -- all the same flavors (rum, grenadine, Pernod) save for the soda aspect and the Mandeville's lemon instead of lime. The McMenomy's secret weapon though is its inclusion of Swedish Punsch to add some complexity to the rum component.
McMenomy Cocktail
• 3/4 oz Bacardi Rum (Pritchard's White)
• 3/4 oz Swedish Punsch (Homemade)
• Juice 1/2 Lime (1/2 oz)
• 2 dash Grenadine (1 tsp Homemade)
• 2 dash Pernod (1/2 tsp Pernod Fils)
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
The book gave no history of the drink, and searching the web provided no clear link between the drink name and anyone famous during that time period. On the nose, Andrea detected the rum notes and the Batavia Arrack in the Swedish Punsch, whereas I focused in more on the Pernod aroma. Strangely, the mix made the Pernod Absinthe smell and taste more peppermint than anise; it was not unpleasant, just slightly surprising. The sip was sweet and followed by lime, absinthe, and Batavia Arrack on the swallow. The lime worked well with the rum and Swedish Punsch flavors and did a good job keeping the sugar in the Punsch and grenadine in check.
Cheers to Doug for hosting this month and doing his part to prevent scurvy, and to Paul Clarke for being the royal cat herder!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

arrack sour

1 1/2 oz Batavia Arrack
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
1/2 oz Simple Syrup (Gomme)
1/2 oz Egg White (1/2 Egg White)
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake once without ice and once with. Double strain into a coupe glass and twist a lemon peel over the top.
Flipping through Left Coast Libations on Sunday, I spotted the Arrack Sour by San Francisco bartender Lane Ford. I was curious to see if the egg white-laden Sour recipe could tame the intensity of a full jigger of Batavia Arrack. The Arrack Sour's nose was full of lemon and funky Batavia Arrack aromas. On the sip, the sharpness of the Arrack coupled well with the sharpness of the lemon-Maraschino mixture. Moreover, the flavors of the Peychaud's Bitters and the Arrack paired well together on the swallow. While the egg white did not seem like it was doing a lot relative to other Sours, given that the base spirit was such a beast, it was doing an impressive job in mellowing things out.

Friday, September 17, 2010

spice trade

1 oz Kümmel (Helbing)
1 oz Herbsaint Legendre
3/4 oz Curaçao (Curaçao de Curaçao)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After getting home from the dinner at Lineage, it was time for a nightcap. The drink I picked, the Spice Trade, was one that we found in an addendum to the Rogue Beta Cocktails book. When we were at the Cure Bar in New Orleans in July, I asked if their new cocktail book was ready. It was not, but they handed me a booklet of recipes which included their last book's drinks plus five new ones. The Spice Trade seemed like an oddball especially with a beast like kümmel (especially our harsh kümmel-of-the-people) and an antagonist like Herbsaint all being balanced by Curaçao? Well, their cocktail book has yet to steer us wrong so we needed to give this drink a try.
The Spice Trade started with an orange and caraway seed aroma. Moreover, the sip was a bounty of anise, caraway, orange, and other flavors all strangely in balance. Andrea queried, "How does he [Kirk or the other bartender-authors] come up with this shit (and make it work)?" I gave that question some thought for a few days and realized that the recipe had a vague resemblance to William Schmidt's Weeper's Joy that he described in his 1892 book The Flowing Bowl (and David Wondrich included in Imbibe!):
Weeper's Joy
• 1 oz Kümmel
• 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
• 1 oz Absinthe
• 2 dash Curaçao
• 1/2 tsp Gomme Syrup
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Absinthe for Herbsaint. Sweet vermouth, gomme syrup, and a hint of Curaçao for a half jigger of Curaçao to maintain the same degree of sweetness. While not the same drink, both are delightfully complex and balanced in similar ways.

fifteen mile flip

2 oz Butter-infused Berkshire Mountain Distiller's Corn Whiskey (*)
1 oz Vanilla Syrup
1 barspoon Amaro Ramazzotti
1 Egg

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a wine glass and garnish with 3 drops of Fee's Aromatic Bitters.

(*) Butter-infused whiskey: Melt 8 oz butter in a saucepan, and heat on medium flame until the butter has turned golden brown. Add browned butter to a bottle of whiskey, and let sit for 6-8 hours. Freeze the whiskey-butter mix, and strain through cheesecloth.

The final course at Lineage's cocktail-paired dinner last week was an intriguing and delicious dessert of Anson Mills' grits with sweet corn ice cream and pine nut brittle. To accompany the dessert, Lineage's head bartender Ryan Lotz presented the Fifteen Mile Flip. When I first heard the name, I wondered if it was a combination of a 12 Mile Limit combined with the 3 Mile one in flip format. But alas, Ryan had named the drink after what the Berkshire Mountain Distiller sales rep had told him. He was told that all of the corn for the whiskey had been grown within 15 miles of the distillery; however, Chris Weld, the distiller, later informed him that it was a 3 mile radius, so perhaps the Fifteen Minute Flip would be more accurate of a name. For a starting point of the drink, Ryan used his Butterscotch Flip that had been on the Lineage menu and swapped out the Cognac for the Berkshire Mountain whiskey as the butter-carrying vehicle.
Indeed, the corn in the whiskey (90% corn, 10% barley in the mash) and the butter in the fat wash complemented the corn and ice cream in the dessert. The Fifteen Mile Flip's nose was vanilla from the housemade syrup and cinnamon from the Fee's Aromatic Bitters on top of the egg froth. The sip was rich, sweet, and malty with a hint of bitterness on the swallow from Ramazzotti liqueur.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

puritan's punch

1 1/2 oz Berkshire Mountain Distiller's Ragged Mountain Rum
3/4 oz Spiced Honey Syrup (*)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

(*) Spiced Honey Syrup: Muddle 14 cardamom pods and 5 cinnamon sticks. Combine with 5/8 cup finely chopped ginger, 32 oz clover honey, and 32 oz water water (5 fold scale down: 3 cardamom pods, 1 stick cinnamon, 1 oz ginger, 6 oz honey, 6 oz water) in a sauce pan. Bring to just under a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes with frequent stirring. Let cool, strain through cheesecloth, and bottle.

The second dish at Lineage's "Endless Summer" cocktail-paired dinner was a combination of heirloom tomatoes from Ellery Kimball's farm, Island Creek Oysters, cucumber, and daikon. I cannot tell you about the oysters for I got a saladized version, but Andrea and the other diners seemed to enjoy them. Kevin Martin of Eastern Standard matched this dish with his drink, the Persil, using Berkshire Mountain Distiller's Ice Glen Vodka. With a name like Persil -- the French for parsley -- we knew Kevin was going to take an herbal route. He matched the vegetable aspect by using fresh tomato water and the oyster aspect (I assume) by lemon juice, Tabasco, and salt.
The Persil
• 1 1/2 oz Berkshire Mountain Distiller's Ice Glen Vodka
• 3/4 oz Heirloom Tomato Water
• 3/4 oz Parsley & Tabasco Syrup
• 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
• 1 pinch Salt
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
In essence, Kevin created a Bloodless Mary. While I cannot say how it paired with the shellfish aspect of the dish, it was an enjoyable savory cocktail in its own right. My notes say that it "smelled like a garden (in a good way)." Recipes for how to make tomato water exist, but you are on your own in figuring out the proportions of the parsley and Tabasco syrup.

The third course starred Bobby McCoy of the upcoming Island Creek Oyster Bar, and it was no surprised that he picked Berkshire's rum (although he surprised me with his gin drink at the Bartenders on the Rise event in March). Bobby paired this drink with a tea-cured duck breast, Cortland apple, baby turnip, and cilantro dish, but I can only speak of how well it went with the cavatelli (when the waitress asked if this substitution was okay, I enthusiastically said yes, since I have greatly enjoyed Lineage's pan-fried cavatelli before).
The Puritan's Punch was essentially a spiced Honeybee (rum, lemon, honey akin to the gin-based Bee's Knees). The punch's nose was a delightful nutmeg and honey aroma. Next, the sip had a grandly rich mouthfeel from the honey and was not overly sweet due to the drying effects of the lemon juice. Finally, rum and spices were notable on the swallow to round out the drink.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

the native rose

1 1/2 oz Berkshire Mountain Distiller's Greylock Gin
1/2 oz Royal Combier
1/2 oz Mint Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice
5 drop Rose Water

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with sparkling wine and garnish with a mint leaf.

Last Wednesday, Andrea and I attended a cocktail-paired dinner at Lineage in Brookline. The bartender line-up included not only Lineage's Ryan Lotz, but the Franklin/Citizen's Joy Richard, Eastern Standard's Kevin Martin and Jackson Cannon, and the future Island Creek Oyster Bar's Bobby McCoy (presently still at Eastern Standard). The drinks that night were all made with Berkshire Mountain Distillers products -- their gin, vodka, rum, and corn whiskey; distiller Chris Weld was there as well, and I had a chance to talk to him about his distillery and future projects including their Bourbon that has been aging in barrels for a few years now.
The drinks that night started with a Rooibos tea-laden punch that Jackson Cannon whipped up. It was the perfect thing to take the edge off of my post-drive angst -- the traffic was pretty horrific as gamenight travelers to Fenway tied up the roads until we finally made it into Allston. After a bit of mingling with the other dinner guests, we took our seats for the food was going to be served soon. The first dish was late summer melons from Stillman's Farm served with sheep's milk feta, radish, and Thai basil. Joy Richard matched this dish with a cocktail using Berkshire Mountain Distiller's Greylock Gin. The Native Rose started with a mint aroma with floral hints. The sip was crisp, citrusy, and slightly herbal such that it matched the melon appetizer quite well.

[mokulele flip]

1 1/4 oz Bernheim Straight Wheat Whiskey
1 1/4 oz Rum, 3 Year (Caribbean)
1/2 oz Pineapple Syrup
1/2 oz Heavy Cream
1 Egg

Shake once without ice and once with. Double strain into a cocktail glass and garnish the froth with Tiki Bitters.

For my second drink at No. 9 Park last Tuesday, I asked bartender Ted Kilpatrick for an egg drink and allowed him to improvise. Ted decided to head in a Tiki direction; while he did use rum, he took an interesting turn by using an equal part of wheat whiskey. It seems odd, but I have had other whiskey Tiki drinks that were successes including Drink's Creole Fizz (well, part Sazerac, part Tiki), LUPEC Boston's Ken-Tiki, and one version of the classic Suffering Bastard (the other version is a Cognac one).
The Tiki Bitters that floated on the egg and pineapple froth contributed greatly to the aroma of this drink. The sip was malty from the Burnheim whiskey and the swallow was mainly pineapple. Overall, the drink was relatively dry and contained a good deal of richness from the egg and heavy cream. As the drink progressed, the Tiki Bitters integrated into the flavor of the drink especially as a cardamom note.

Monday, September 13, 2010

bishop

2 oz Neisson Rhum Agricole Blanc
3/4 oz Claret (Château de Respide, Grave Rouge 2006)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Angostura Bitters

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

Last Tuesday, Andrea and I were in the mood for cocktails so we made a trip over to No. 9 Park where bartender Ted Kilpatrick was presiding. For my first drink, I ordered the Bishop off of the menu. While Jerry Thomas' Bishop does not contain red wine, later versions of this drink include it in along with the rum. For a rum-wine pairing, a rather minerally rhum agricole, Neisson Blanc from sugar cane grown on volcanic soil, was matched with a Grave Bordeau known for its flinty minerality. Ted described the drink as "juicy and dry" and the "closest thing to sangria [that No. 9 would have on its menu]."
The Bishop's nose was full of lime oil and rhum agricole funk and grassiness. Indeed, the drink was very minerally, and it was akin to a Daiquiri enriched and dried out by red wine and Angostura Bitters. Moreover, it was surprising how well the wine's tannins and the lime flavors coupled.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

coctel noz de coco tropical

2 oz Fundador Brandy or Cognac (Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)
1 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Maraska)
1 - 1 1/2 oz Coconut Cream (1 1/2 oz Goya)
Juice 1/2 Small Lime (1/2 oz)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
2 Maraschino Cherries (Luxardo)
1/2 cup Crushed Ice

Frappe in a blender and pour into a tall glass. Instead of using a blender, I muddled the cherries and added rest of ingredients. I then shook with ice cubes and double strained into a glass filled with crushed ice.
The drink I wanted to make the other day from Baker's South American Companion: Up & Down the Andes with Jigger, Beaker, & Flask had to be delayed since it required a shopping trip to purchase some coconut cream. Actually, Baker provided a recipe to make the cream from a coconut, but I took the shortcut and went with store bought. The drink I picked, the Tropical Coconut Cocktail, was served to Baker at the Fabulous Rio Jockey Club in Brazil. To make up for taking the shortcut on the coconut cream, I eschewed the blender methodology for some old fashioned muddling, shaking, ice crushing, and fine straining. Perhaps the texture of the ice was different, but the flavor should be otherwise the same. The sip was filled with funky cherry and coconut flavors that were followed by lime and brandy's richness on the swallow. Indeed, the Maraschino notes added an interesting flavor twist to this delightful tropical concoction.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

red ant

1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse 100)
1/2 oz Kirschwasser
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
1 barspoon Mezcal (Del Maguey Vida)
2 dash Mole Bitters (Homemade)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry or 3 (Luxardo Maraschino) speared on a cocktail pick to resemble an ant.

For a cocktail on Sunday, the Red Ant in Imbibe magazine had caught Andrea's eye, and indeed, it would make good use of our newly purchased bottle of mezcal. The Red Ant was created by Thomas Waugh when he was at the Alembic in San Francisco (he is now at Death & Co. in New York). He named the drink after the Rio Hormiga Colorada or Red Ant River in Oaxaca, Mexico, which flows through the land where mezcal is made. Waugh called for a three cherry garnish to represent the body parts of an ant, and it reminded me a bit of Camper English's Olive Centipede, albeit a less sinister one.
The Red Ant's nose was a combination of cherry, rye, and mezcal aromas. Cherry and rye flavors appeared on the sip, mezcal on the swallow, and chocolate as an aftertaste. The Cherry Heering did donate a full mouthfeel, but overall, the drink was pretty dry due to the rye and other ingredients.

pisco-apricot tropical

2 oz Pisco (Macchupisco)
Juice 1/2 Small Lime (3/8 oz)
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/4 - 1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (3/8 oz Rothman & Winter)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Last Friday, I wanted to try something a little bit more tropical than the Georgetown Club Cocktail from Charles H. Baker, Jr.'s South American Companion: Up & Down the Andes with Jigger, Beaker, & Flask. The pisco drink I found was made for Baker at the Lima Country Club in Peru. The pineapple juice was listed as optional but it seemed like it would make a delightful addition; furthermore, Baker listed alternatives for the apricot liqueur including Curaçao, Cointreau, peach liqueur, or either Chartreuse. We chose to stick with the apricot; however, the idea of yellow or green Chartreuse in this drink seemed like it would definitely score as a win. The drink started with a lot of pisco aroma with some pineapple and apricot notes. I was impressed at how aromatic and flavorful the Macchupisco was especially compared the bottle of César we had just finished. The pisco and lime juice did a good job of drying out the drink such that it was pleasant but not overly sweet. Moreover, I was a little surprised that the pineapple and the apricot flavors were hard to differentiate in the mix, but they did help contribute to the Pisco-Apricot Tropicál's round fruity flavor.

defensio

1 oz La Favorite Rhum Agricole Ambré
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth

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

For my after dinner cocktail at Rendezvous, Scott Holliday wanted to make me a drink that his sous-chef Ben came up with. It was a take on the Lucien Gaudin Cocktail that they found in Ted Haigh's Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails where the gin was substituted for an aged rhum agricole. Lucien Gaudin was a famous fencer in the 1920's, and they named the variation the Defensio after the Latin root for fencing.
The Defensio started with an orange and Campari nose with hints of the rhum agricole peeking through. Cointreau and the rhum appeared on the sip followed by a bitter swallow from the Campari and an aged funk of the La Favorite. Like the Lucien Gaudin, the pairing of orange liqueur and Campari had a wonderful synergy, but the rhum in the Defensio added a funkiness and minerality to the mixture that worked rather well. The mineral element paired with the Campari shifted the conversation to another spirit we were just discussing, Chinaco Blanco Tequila. We surmised that it would work just as well in a Lucien Gaudin or perhaps a Negroni variation.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

rabbit stick

2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1 oz Housemade Swedish Punsch
1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
2 dash Angostura Bitters
2 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

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

Last Wednesday, Andrea and I ventured down to Central Square to get dinner at Rendezvous. For my pre-dinner cocktail, I asked bartender Scott Holliday to make me the Rabbit Stick which recently appeared on their cocktail menu. I was drawn to the drink for it contained Scott's new Swedish Punsch, and I was curious to see his version compared to Deep Ellum's, Clio's, and ours. When I asked about the drink name, Scott commented that it was a reworking of the Savoy Cocktail Book's Boomerang -- a drink we had made at home several months ago from the Café Royal Cocktail Book. The name stems from a type of non-returning boomerang that Aboriginals and Native Americans used to hunt small game.
The Rabbit Stick led off with the aroma of lemon oil and Swedish Punsch's aged rum. The sip was rather spicy from the Rittenhouse Rye, and a different sort of spiciness followed on the swallow from the Swedish Punsch. The bitters and dry vermouth's botanicals complemented each of these ingredients and helped to bridge the gap to smooth out the flavor transitions.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

mara-amu

3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz White Grapefruit Juice
3/4 oz Passion Fruit Syrup (Trader Tiki)
1/2 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Tommy Bahama White)
1/2 oz Gold Puerto Rican Rum (Tommy Bahama Gold)
1/2 oz Dark Jamaican Rum (Appleton V/X)
8 oz Crushed Ice

Add to a blender, blend, and pour into a tall glass or Mara-Amu mug. Instead of using a blender, I crushed ice in a Lewis Bag, added ingredients to a Collins glass, and swizzled to mix.
During last week's heat wave, our lack of air conditioning meant that it was Tiki time! I reached for our copy of Beach Bum Berry Remixed and found the light and refreshing-sounding Mara-Amu. This drink was created by Mariano Licudine of the Mai-Kai Polynesian restaurant in Fort Lauderdale a few decades ago, and their website proudly displays that the drink is still served there today. The Mara-Amu possessed a dark rum and fruity aroma. The flavor was mainly grapefruit and rum notes with crispness from the lime and sweetness from the passion fruit syrup. At times, the fruit juice and syrup mix gave a pineapple-like impression. While the Mara-Amu was hardly the most challenging of drinks, it did hit the spot to make the warm evening somewhat more bearable.

georgetown club cocktail

2 oz White Rum (El Dorado 3 Year)
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1 tsp Falernum (Velvet)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange or lemon twist (orange).

My copy of Charles H. Baker, Jr.'s South American Companion: Up & Down the Andes with Jigger, Beaker, & Flask arrived a week and a half ago, and I was eager to try a recipe out of there. So on Monday last week, I selected the Georgetown Club Cocktail from Baker's travels to "the capital city of British Guiana." While the drink was not the most wild of the bunch, the concept of falernum as an accent to a white rum Martini or Manhattan seemed intriguing.
The Georgetown Club Cocktail started with an orange oil and vanilla aroma; the latter scent stemmed from El Dorado, despite being a white rum, spends several years in a barrel before being charcoal filtered to remove the barrel-donated coloration. Indeed, the vanilla note from the rum carried over into the flavor as well and was greatly complemented by the falernum's spice on the swallow. The dry vermouth functioned to bridge the gap between the spirit and the liqueur rather well; moreover, the Noilly Prat added floral hints to the flavor profile. Andrea commented that the drink did not seem all that strong and might make for a decent aperitif.

Monday, September 6, 2010

[claremont hotel]

2 1/2 oz Old Overholt Rye
1/2 oz Peach Simple Syrup
1 dash Nasturtium Bitters (*)

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass rinsed with Mathilde Pêches liqueur. Twist a lemon peel over the top. (*) For a bitters substitute, either a dash of Angostura Orange or a split of another orange bitters coupled with Fee's Aromatic or Whiskey Aged Bitters for the cinnamon notes. Perhaps Bittermens' Boston Bittahs for the floral notes.

For my second drink at the Sunday Salon, I asked bartender Ben Sandrof what whiskey ideas he had. When he suggested a Slope, I replied that I was suffering apricot liqueur fatigue and wondered if he had a similar idea with a different liqueur. Instead of a liqueur, Ben utilized the peach syrup he used in the CLT Peche highball and supplemented it with a small amount of peach liqueur.
My nose was greeted by lemon oil and a rich peach aroma. The sip contained the rye's spicy malt flavors, and this was followed by peach notes as well as cinnamon from the bitters. When I gave Andrea a taste, she commented that it was "like an alcoholic peach cobbler!"

cell #34

1 oz Beefeater Gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz St. Germain
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with lemon oil.
Two Sundays ago, Ben Sandrof was hosting another of his speakeasy Sunday Salons at a local establishment's back room and we stopped by for a few rounds. The drink I started with was the Cell #34 off of the cocktail menu. In a way, the Cell #34 was a Negroni with the sweet vermouth swapped out for some St. Germain, but the St. Germain did a better job of taming the Campari than any vermouth (save for perhaps a Barolo Chinato) could do; moreover, the Campari did a good job in minimizing the sweetness of the St. Germain. The drink started with a lemon oil and Campari aroma that led into the citrus-like St. Germain elderflower liqueur flavor. The bitter flavors of Campari followed the St. Germain in the sip, and the St. Germain, perhaps coupled with the gin's botanicals, appeared again as a lingering grapefruit-like flavor.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

sicilian sour

1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1/2 oz Averna
1/2 oz Galliano Ristretto Espresso Liqueur
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
2 dash Angostura Bitters
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with. Double strain into a rocks glass and garnish with 3 coffee beans.

On Saturday, I met up with Andrea after she made an emergency Boston Shaker store delivery for a bar in Boston. We then decided to go to Drink after hearing that bartender Sam Treadway would be leaving Drink shortly, and we wanted to sneak in one last evening with him. Luckily, we were able to score a pair of seats at Sam's section and he filled us in on the news. Miami's John Lermayer, who helped set up the Woodward's bar here in Boston, was likewise hired by a hotel in Hawaii to develop their drink program. John insisted that he could bring along a manager to be on site to keep the program going after he returned to Florida. Thus, Sam got made an offer he could not refuse despite it requiring him to depart only two weeks later. In the meanwhile, Sam has been working on drinks for the menu including a muddled red bell pepper-cachaça tall drink that he made for Andrea.
One of the drinks Sam made for me was based off of the Sicilian Sour that he had in Paris, and I kept the name for his creation. While the Sicilian aspect referred to the Averna amaro, the other liqueur in the drink originated from a different part of Italy. This liqueur was a product from Galliano but not the classic vanilla-flavored yellow one; it was their new espresso-flavored liqueur in the same iconic tall and slender-shaped bottle. I would place Galliano's Ristretto closer in taste to Heering or Luxardo's offerings rather than Kahlua.

The Sicilian Sour started with a rye and coffee aroma. The whiskey's malt and the lemon juice filled the sip, and the swallow was dominated by coffee and Averna bitter notes. The egg white did an excellent job in smoothing out these rough and bitter elements into a rather polished and easy drinking cocktail. The Sicilian Sour reminded me a bit of the Orinoco that I had at No. 9 Park which also paired rye with espresso flavors.

emma goldman

2 oz Bols Genever
3/4 oz St. Germain
3/4 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
Last Thursday, Andrea and I went down to the Franklin Southie for the Women's Equality Day celebration. Ninety years ago, the 19th Amendment was passed and women were officially allowed to vote, and last week LUPEC Boston decided to celebrate this occasion with cocktails and punches sponsored by Bols Genever and St. Germain. It was rather hard to pick a drink off of their menu since they all seem so delightful; therefore, I chose by name. I selected the Emma Goldman cocktail for it paid homage to one of my favorite anarchists. During her activism, Emma had been arrested for everything from distributing information about birth control to empowering the unemployed. She is often remembered for the quote, "If I can't dance, I don't want to be in your revolution." While Emma may never have said or written that, it does sum up her goal to give all people the "right to beautiful, radiant things." Indeed, LUPEC Boston tried to symbolically honor that right by creating this cocktail with her namesake.
Bartender Peter Cipriani made me the Emma Goldman cocktail pictured above. A vibrant orange oil aroma coupled well with the malt and botanical notes of the Bols Genever. Moreover,the Genever paired rather well with the rich fruit and bitter notes of the Carpano Antica sweet vermouth on the sip, and the St. Germain appeared most prominently as a pleasant lingering aftertaste. The balance was not overly sweet although it did get sweeter once the drink warmed up a bit. Beside cocktails, the ladies of LUPEC had also assembled four punches. The one I tried, the Unsinkable Molly Brown, honored Molly's actions during the the Titanic tragedy where she tried to save additional passengers. This punch coupled St. Germain with Appleton Rum, lemon juice, demerara syrup, and Harpoon hard cider.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

jupiter's acorn

1 oz Barbancourt 15 Year Rum
1 oz Nux Alpina Walnut Liqueur
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Benedictine
1 Egg
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Mole Bitters

Shake once without ice and once with. Double strain into a coupe glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

On Wednesday, Andrea and I were in Central Square, and we decided to go over to Craigie on Main for a nightcap. I asked bartender John Mayer make me a Jupiter's Acorn for Andrea seemed to enjoy hers the last time we were there. The drink name is a reference to walnuts which biologically speaking are genus Juglans That Latin word was derived from the mythological Jupiter combined with glans, or more politely, a nut fit for a god.
The aroma of Jupiter's Acorn was mainly from the nutmeg floating on the egg foam. A creamy and rich rum sip was chased by Benedictine and other bitter notes on the swallow. As the drink warmed up, Punt e Mes' grape and Nux Alpina's walnut became more discernible in the flavor profile.

little branch cocktail

2 oz Lunazul Reposado Tequila
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Ginger Honey Syrup
1 dash Housemade Aromatic Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass rinsed with Mezcal Vida (spirit not dumped after rinsing).

Monday last week, we headed off to Allston to get dinner at Grasshopper. Afterward, we rounded the corner to pay Deep Ellum a visit. There we found seats in front of bartender Jennifer Salucci, and I requested that Jennifer make me the Little Branch Cocktail off of their menu. The Little Branch Cocktail is the agave spirit sibling of the Scotch-based Penicillin Cocktail that Scott Holliday made me at Rendezvous almost a year ago. Instead of the Penicillin's blended Scotch with a smoky single malt accent, this cocktail calls for an aged Tequila to be punctuated by a smoky Mezcal. While the Penicillin Cocktail is credited to Sam Ross while he was at Milk & Honey in Manhattan, Sam also works at the nearby Little Branch bar.
The Little Branch Cocktail possessed a lemon oil and smoky agave aroma. The sip was dominated by Tequila, lemon, and honey flavors and was followed by ginger and Mezcal on the swallow. The most notable flavor combination was how well the ginger's bite paired with the Mezcal's sharpness. The Little Branch Cocktail was a bit of a showstopper, so afterward I switched to beer and ended the night with Clown Shoes' recent release, Eagle Claw Fist, which is an impressive Imperial Red Ale.