Wednesday, August 31, 2011

flor de jerez

1 1/2 oz Amontillado Sherry (Lustau Dry)
1/2 oz Jamaican Rum (Smith & Cross)
1/4 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Cane Syrup or Rich Simple Syrup (2:1 Syrup)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.
Tuesday last week, I was flipping through Food & Wines: Cocktails 2011 when I spotted Joaquin Simo's Flor de Jerez. Since I had enjoyed his Punky Monkey and Day Bell, I was excited about giving this drink a try. Once mixed, Andrea smelled primarily the sherry whereas I sensed more of the Smith & Cross Rum and apricot liqueur aromas. The sherry's grape appeared on the sip along with the lemon; the sherry continued on in the swallow as a nuttiness that blended well with the rum, and this was chased by a slight apricot aftertaste. Indeed, the Smith & Cross and the sherry flavors elegantly melded, and at an one to three ratio, the Amontillado was not overwhelmed by this potent spirit. If I were to compare the Flor de Jerez to a drink I have had recently, I would probably say Crosby Gaige's Naked Lady which uses sweet vermouth instead of sherry.

pretedant nobel

1 1/2 oz Grand Marnier
3/4 oz Amaro Montenegro
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Orange Bitters

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

Two Mondays ago after I DJ'd, Andrea and I went down the street to Eastern Standard for a late dinner. For a drink, I asked bartender Hugh Fiore for the Prétedant Nobel, subtitled "a rightful king made sour." The drink was one of the four served at this year's Bar Room Brawl competition at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, and it currently resides on both Eastern Standard's and Island Creek Oyster Bar's menus. At the Brawl, I only tried their City of Champions for I wanted to save room to taste their competitors' libations; therefore, the Prétedant Nobel was one of the drinks I missed until now. While enjoying this drink, Tales of the Cocktail's Paul Tuennerman sat down next to me to eat dinner so I had a double whammy of Tales nostalgia. Paul was in town for business and was able to catch the Appleton Re-Mixology competition earlier that night (which I sadly missed for I had the music gig).
The Prétedant Nobel had a large amount of Grand Marnier as a nod to one of the Brawl's sponsors and is only outdone by the proportion in John Gertsen's epic Mission of Burma. The Grand Marnier worked its magic starting in the aroma where it coupled with the bright notes of the lemon twist. Next, the sip was a sweet citrus, and this was followed by the lemon's crispness on the swallow and the liqueurs' orange and caramel notes on the aftertaste. While there was definitely a lot of sugar in this drink, it was not overwhelmingly sweet due to the lemon's acid and the amaro's bitter notes which aided in drying the balance out a bit.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

[jalisco buck]

1 oz Corralejo Tequila
1/2 oz Root Liqueur
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a glass filled with ice. Top with 2 oz ginger beer, garnish with grated nutmeg, and add a straw.
After Stoddard's, I took the Red Line back and decided to get a nightcap at Bergamot. When I asked bartender Paul Manzelli what he had been tinkering with lately, he replied that he was really excited about the Root liqueur that was new to the bar. In discussing Root drinks I have had, I mentioned that it went really well with tequila in the El Toro, and Paul began scheming a drink around this flavor pairing. The end result was a ginger beer-laden Buck that somewhat reminded me of the Restauranteur in structure. The Buck's nutmeg garnish produced a robust aroma, and the sip was a crisp combination of the ginger beer and lime flavors. Lastly, the tequila and liqueur's root beer-like notes rounded out the swallow.

savannah

1 1/2 oz Knob Creek Bourbon
2 oz Gritty McDuff's Black Fly Stout (Irish Dry)
1 oz Sassafras Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass or goblet rimmed with sassafras sugar.

The other drink I had at Stoddard's last Saturday night was the Savannah, for the combination of beer, Bourbon, and sassafras intrigued me. When I asked bartender Tony Iamunno how they were able to source sassafras which was deemed toxic and carcinogenic back in the 1960s, he told me that they can get sassafras root that has had the worrisome saffrole compound removed (*). Apparently, they got the idea to use this safe sassafras from a drink one of the bartenders tasted at Central Kitchen in Cambridge; there they were informed that they could source the treated root at Christina's in Inman Square.
The Savannah greeted my nose with the aroma of stout's roasted malt coupled with the sassafras' root beer-like note. The sip was a semi-dry malt flavor derived from the whiskey and beer, and the swallow presented a combination of root beer and Bourbon notes. I was quite surprised at how dry the drink was, and when I pointed this out to Tony, he commented that he found it odd too as Knob Creek is one of the sweeter Bourbons and the Gritty's stout is not all that dry. I hypothesized that the sassafras' bitterness helped to reduce the sensation of sweetness in the drink. Indeed, even the sassafras sugar on the glass' rim was not that all that sweet.

(*) There is evidence that the ill effects of sassafras were exaggerated.

Monday, August 29, 2011

[aurora's bed]

2 oz Plymouth Gin
1 oz Saffron Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice (*)
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with an orange twist.
(*) I recommend upping the lemon juice to 3/4 oz to cut back on the sweetness and make the recipe a 4 oz volume.

On Saturday, I decided to visit Stoddard's Fine Food & Ale where Tony Iamunno was tending bar. For my first drink, Tony asked if he could make me something he came up with the day before; the only hint he gave me was asking if I liked saffron. He later explained that the chef had extra saffron simple syrup and he donated it for the bar staff to play with.
The drink had a gorgeous hue to it from the saffron syrup. On a first taste, I guessed gin, orange juice, and Lillet, and only one out of three of those ingredients was correct. The syrup combining with the lemon probably produced the orange juice-Lillet notes that I was noting. The drink's aroma was orange oil from the twist and an herbal, almost polleny scent from the saffron. The Lillet-like notes I had just mentioned appeared on the sip, and the swallow was a gin, citrus, and herbal flavor. Though the drink was a bit on the sweet side, it was definitely drier on the swallow from the saffron and gin's bitterness; perhaps the sip could have been dried out even further with an additional portion of lemon juice.

Tony asked for name suggestions, and the best I could do was Aurora's Bed from Virgil's Aeneid:
Aurora now had left her saffron bed,
And beams of early light the heav'ns o'erspread,
When, from a tow'r, the queen, with wakeful eyes,
Saw day point upward from the rosy skies.

Friday, August 26, 2011

barbados fix

1 1/2 Barbados Rum (Plantation 5 Year)
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup (Trader Tiki/BG Reynolds)
1/2 oz Earl Grey Tea Syrup (1:1)

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with lime slices and/or berries in season. Add a straw.
Last week for Thursday Drink Night, the theme was rum in honor of National Rum Week. For a idea, I decided to go with one of my favorite 19th century styles, the Fix, and chose to take it in a slightly Tiki direction. With lime as the citrus, I opted for passion fruit syrup as one of the sweeteners. In considering a second sweetener, I recalled the Beacon Fix that used an rooibus-bergamot tisane syrup and decided to make my own Earl Grey tea syrup. Once mixed, the drink began with a lime aroma that contained a less descript sweet note to it. The sip contained the a citrus-passion fruit flavor, and following that was the lime, rum, bergamot, and black tea notes on the swallow.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

quechua

1 1/2 oz Pisco (Macchu Pisco)
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
3 Coffee Beans

Muddle the coffee beans. Add rest of ingredients and ice, shake, and double strain into a cocktail glass.
I was recently asked about one of the drinks I created back in June for the "orange and lime" Thursday Drink Night back in June. Beside the Milord Gower, I made a drink later in the evening that was a hybrid of Pisco Punch and the Zambito. With the pisco's origin in mind, I named the drink Quechua after the Native American language spoken in Peru as well as other parts of the Inca empire. With so many complementary pairings in this drink including coffee and lime, the Quechua was a decent creation.

bunch of violets

1 Egg
1 spoonful Sugar (1 barspoon, 1/8 oz)
1/6 Bénédictine (1/2 oz)
1/6 Maraschino (1/2 oz Luxardo)
1/6 Anisette (1/2 oz Arak Razzouk)
1/6 Vino Vermouth (1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth)
1/6 Crème de Vanille (1/2 oz Navan)
1/6 Chartreuse (1/2 oz Green)
2 pony Cream (2 oz Half & Half)

Fill your glass with ice, freeze into a jelly, strain into long glasses, and serve. Makes 2 servings. See text.

The other drink we had last Wednesday was the Bunch of Violets from William Schmidt's The Flowing Bowl. Surprisingly, this drink lacks crème de violette or William's favorite liqueur, crème de rose; in fact, none of the ingredients are exceptional floral. I was a bit flummoxed by the recipe's instructions but I decided to see how much of a jelly this mixture would make if chilled; therefore, I dry-shook it in a cobbler and stuck it in the freezer for an hour. After observing very little change in viscosity, I added ice, shook like I was making a Flip, and strained into a rocks glass. Perhaps if the fractional volume was much smaller so the mix was more egg and cream than alcohol, it might have solidified into a gel. However, the call for tall glasses suggests that the drink should be on the larger side.

The Bunch of Violets began with the fresh aroma of the cream and egg. The vanilla notes seemed the strongest of the sip, and the anise, Chartreuse, and Maraschino filled the swallow. As the drink warmed up, a slight chocolate note surfaced that I presumed was from the Bénédictine. Overall, the mixture was flavorful but individual ingredients were not easily identifiable. While the drink was not all that suggestive of flowers, it was definitely (in Andrea's words) "a damn tasty Nog variation."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

alcazer

1/2 Rye (1 oz Redemption)
1/4 Cointreau (1/2 oz)
1/4 Fernet Branca (1/2 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cocktail onion (subbed Barker & Mill's Bourbon Vanilla Cocktail Cherries).

Last Wednesday, I was flipping through Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 for Andrea had expressed interest in a whiskey drink. There, I spotted the Alcazer which matched rye whiskey with Fernet Branca and orange liqueur. Indeed, I remember enjoying that combination in Kevin Martin's whiskey riff of the Heather in Queue that I dubbed the Heather in the Rye. The Alcazer recipe called for pearl onions which we lack in house, and I wished that we had some of Kevin Martin's vermouth-infused onions that he made for the Nolet's Gin dinner. Instead of going on the briny angle with olives, I substituted the delicious Barker & Mills cocktail cherries that I was gifted at Tales of the Cocktail last month. While the onions would donate an interesting salty-savory note that often works well with bitter liqueurs, vanilla-cherry ones would certainly not be out of place here.
The Alcazer began with a rye and orange aroma with perhaps some notes from the cherry's syrup. Next, the sip presented a sweet, smooth orange flavor. For the swallow, I picked up on rye followed by a fruity-Fernet flavor while Andrea noted more of an orange-Fernet taste. Just like Cherry Heering in the Pinto, the Cointreau in this drink did an excellent job of subduing the Fernet into a well-behaved glassmate.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

man with no name

2 oz Zapopan Blanco Tequila
1/2 oz Agave Syrup (1:1 with water)
5 dash Peychaud's Bitters
2 dash Housemade Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass misted (rinsed) with Green Chartreuse. Twist a lime peel over the top and discard.

After dinner on Monday at Grasshopper in Allston, we headed around the corner for a nightcap at Deep Ellum. The drink that caught my eye was the Man with No Name and I asked bartender Jennifer Salucci to make me one. Owner Max Toste later described it as their tequila Sazerac, but I neglected to ask if it was a tribute to Clint Eastwood's character in Sergio Leone's movie trilogy.
In the aroma, the lime oils and the hint of chocolate from the bitters complemented the tequila. The chocolate continued on and filled the sip; next, the tequila, Peychaud's anise, mole bitter's cinnamon, and the Chartreuse's herbal notes on the swallow rounded out the drink. I think it was the heavy handedness in the Peychaud's and chocolate bitters that made the Man with No Name a rather tasty drink.

no. 72

2 oz Eagle Rare 10 Year Bourbon
3/4 oz Gran Glassico
1/2 oz Dry Amontillado Sherry

Stir with ice and strain into a glass misted (or rinsed) with Green Chartreuse. Twist an orange peel over the top and discard.
After dinner at Abigail's, we strolled over to Hungry Mother for a nightcap and dessert. When I spotted the Boulevardier-like No. 72 on the menu, I asked bartender Ned Greene to make me one. Ned described how the drink was almost named or nicknamed (considering their naming schema using numbers) the Geneva Convention, for there was a representative of America, France, Spain, and Switzerland in the No. 72. Clearly, there were a few countries left out, but the major representation was there. The drink itself began with an orange oil and dark herbal aroma. While the sip was a malty grape flavor, the Gran Classico's bitter, the sherry's nutty, and the Bourbon's barrel notes filled the swallow.

Monday, August 22, 2011

third street

1 1/2 oz Gin
1 1/2 oz Lillet
1/2 oz Lustau Dry Amontillado Sherry
2 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

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

After Drink, I met up with Andrea and went over to check out Abigail's in Kendall Square. Abigail's had just opened up a few days before, and when we heard that Rob Iurilli was the bar manager, we needed stop by for dinner and drinks. Rob was one of the B Side bartenders before working at Chez Henri and the Citizen. The bar itself at Abigail's is rather stunning for it has a wide plank wood top with all the irregularities of the bark side pointing out. For a drink, I asked bartender Benny for the Third Street named after their address in Cambridge. The Third Street is a Martini-variation that shares some similarity to the Alberto from the Café Royal Cocktail Book.
The Third Street's aroma was rather orange from the twist and perhaps the bitters and Lillet. The sip was a light citrus flavor with a hint of grape, and this was followed by the sherry's nuttiness and the gin's botanicals. The sherry was a nice touch for it donated a little body and depth of flavor to the gin-Lillet combination, and overall, the Third Street made for a good drink as we waited for our dinner to be served.

caribbean punch

1 oz Old Monk Rum
1 oz Barbancourt 8 Year Rum
1/2 oz Falernum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Amaretto
1/4 oz Grenadine
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a Tiki mug filled with crushed ice. Top with 1 1/2 oz root beer, garnish with a mint sprig, and add a straw.

Two weekends ago, I went to Drink for one of their Tiki Sunday celebrations. For a libation, bartender Scott Marshall proposed the Caribbean Punch that he found in Beachbum Berry's Sippin' Safari. Berry attributed the drink to Don the Beachcomber around 1937 with little explanation other than the root beer element perhaps being a nod to Don's soda fountain days during his childhood. Scott made a few modifications from the original recipe including changing the 3 drops of almond extract to Amaretto liqueur and omitting the 6 drops of Pernod.

The Caribbean Punch began with a mint aroma that gave way to a sweet but crisp, carbonated sip. Moreover, the sip also contained the almond, root beer, citrus, and rum's caramel notes. The swallow then presented the rest of the root beer flavor along with the spice from the Angostura Bitters and falernum. The root beer definitely took control of the drink's flavor profile but allowed for the more traditional Tiki elements to shine through.

Friday, August 19, 2011

spring hill

1 oz Berkshire Mountain Distillers Ethereal Gin
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz Lime Shrub (*)
1/2 oz Jasmine Green Tea Syrup (2:1)
2 dash Dandelion and Burdock Bitters

Build in a glass over ice and stir. Garnish with a half lime wheel.
(*) I did not inquire whether this was a rum-based shrub or a vinegar-based one. For the former, plenty of recipes exist, and for the latter, Tait Farms sells one. I have written for more details on the recipe, so check back later (**).
(**) I received their recipe:
Lime Shrub
• 12 Limes (mandolined thinly)
• 4 oz Water
• 16 oz Cider Vinegar
Simmer for 5 minutes, pressing on limes often to extract juice.
• 600 gram Sugar (20 oz)
Add sugar and keep on low heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Cool completely, strain, and bottle.
Last Friday, Andrea and I finally went to Journeyman restaurant in Somerville. We had been planning to go for my birthday back in July until a car plowing into their façade shut them down for a few weeks. Once I heard that they had finally reopened, I planned a visit that very first week. Currently, the drink list at the restaurant is an Old Fashioned bar where combinations of spirits and bitters can be requested; moreover, there is a short list of batched drinks. In the near future, Journeyman will be opening a 36 craft cocktail bar in an adjacent space so perhaps the restaurant's drink repertoire will grow accordingly. For a start, I asked for one of the batched cocktails, the Spring Hill; while the caption was "Spring in Somerville," it is actually the name of one of the seven hills in the city. Between the jasmine green tea, the Chartreuse, and the lime shrub, I was instantly drawn to this recipe.
The lime from the shrub and garnish and the jasmine from the tea syrup contributed greatly to both the aroma and the sip. The swallow was rather herbal from the tea more so than from the Chartreuse. As the ice melted, the tea's tannins began to appear on the swallow as a cleansing note. Perhaps the Chartreuse and gin flavors would have been more forward had the sugar content been decreased or perhaps that the jasmin tea syrup been less concentrated. Regardless, even as a complex sweet tea, the drink was quite delightful.

hell diver

1 oz Gin (Cascade Mountain)
1 oz Dubonnet Rouge
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao (Marie Brizard)
1/4 oz Absinthe (Kübler)

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

Thursday last week, I opened up Jeff Masson and Greg Boehm's Big Bartender's Book and spotted the Hell Diver. The drink was adapted from a recipe found in How to Properly Mix Drinks book, and the Chanticleer Society bibliography suggests that this anonymous cocktail book was distributed by the Angostura company in the late 1930's. Given the decade, the drink could be a reference to the 1932 Clark Gable movie Hell Divers which told a tale of rivalry between two Navy pilots. Besides having an interesting name, it seemed like a quirky combination that was worth a try especially since the authors have good taste in the older drinks in the book (perhaps not in the handful of 1970s-1990s classics included there).
The Hell Diver began with an aroma of anise and chocolate along with the lemon oils from the twist I added. While the sip was a minty grape, the swallow contained the cacao notes that flowed into the absinthe ones. Overall, the Hell Diver was much better than I thought it would be, and the crème de cacao did a lot to tie the drink together. Indeed, I had a similar observation in the absinthe and cacao-containing Kaleidoscope a few weeks back.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

transatlantic giant

1 1/2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon (Eagle Rare 10 Year)
1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Sloe Gin (Plymouth)
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao (Marie Brizard)
3 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

Wednesday last week, we ventured into the Beta Cocktails book and spotted the Transatlantic Giant. The drink was crafted by Colin Shearn of the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. in Philidelphia; I met Colin at Tales last month where on two occasions he served me some of his creations using Root and Snap liqueurs (the other instance was at the William & Grant party, but I sadly did not take notes about the drinks there). The Transatlantic Giant would be my first opportunity to see what Colin could do when he was not promoting a product line, and the end result did indeed fit quite well into the Beta Cocktails dogma. With a motley assortment of domineering ingredients, the book declared that "nailing the proportions could not have been easy on this one." Not only did the recipe work, but it was rather dynamic and appeared as a different drink on almost every sip.
The Transatlantic Giant began with an aroma containing notes of the Smith & Cross, sloe gin, and chocolate. The somewhat sweet sip presented the Bourbon's malt notes along with the sloe gin's berry flavors. On the swallow, at times there was a lingering Smith & Cross flavor and at other times it was a Bourbon barrel flavor with lingering cacao notes. The Cynar was remarkably silent at first, but it entered gracefully into the equation later on in the drink. Of all the flavor pairings, the rum and crème de cacao may have been the most pleasing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

meditation

3/4 jigger Sherry (2 1/4 oz Dry Amontillado, see text)
1/4 jigger Vermouth (3/4 oz Vya Sweet)
1 dash Green Chartreuse (1/4 oz)
1 dash Fernet Branca (1/4 oz)
1 dash Grenadine (1/4 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Tuesday last week, we were in the mood for something light, so I grabbed our copy of Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and began flipping through the wine section. When I spotted the Meditation, it reminded me of the Amour Cocktail with a change in the bitters or perhaps a Bamboo depending on whether the "vermouth" in the Meditation was instead interpreted as dry. Indeed, I was quite impressed at how modern the drink appeared with its combination of Fernet Branca and Green Chartreuse -- two of modern mixologist's fetish liqueurs used here about a century ago. The last time I had this sacred liqueur pairing it was in the Grasshopper Lies Heavy in early July. In making the drink, I opted for a dry sherry and a sweet vermouth instead of using one of our sweeter sherries with a dry vermouth (double sweet or double dry pairings were options as well). The first iteration was with the flavorful Lustau dry Oloroso; this seemed to overwhelm some of the flavors so I remade the drink later with their dry Amontillado with better success. Perhaps a more delicate sherry, like a Fino or Manzanilla, would allow some of the other flavors to blossom further in the drink.
The Meditation greeted our noses with a sherry aroma accented with Fernet Branca's botanicals. Next, the sip presented a grape flavor from the sherry and vermouth, and the swallow contained the sherry's nutty note mingling with herbal elements of the Fernet and Chartreuse liqueurs. Lastly, a lingering light menthol note from the Fernet helped to close out the drink.

new sensation

1 1/2 oz Bols Genever
3/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 barspoon Mint Simple Syrup
1 handful Mint Leaves

Muddle the mint, shake with ice, and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a mint leaf.
After getting dinner at Trina's Starlite Lounge, Andrea and I headed up the street to Bergamot to catch a nightcap. When I asked bartender Kai Gagnon about the New Sensation on the menu, he described it as the Bols Genever version of a classic gin cocktail, the Sensation. Neglecting the malt content of the Genever, the recipe reminded me of a minty and Violette-less Aviation or perhaps a lemon for grapefruit Seventh Heaven, albeit one with even more of a mint signature. The New Sensation began with a mint- and maraschino-laden nose. While the sip was lemon and malty, the swallow was a funky and fresh combination of the Maraschino and mint elements. In the end, I do regret not asking whether Kai and bartender Paul Manzelli were big enough INXS fans to name the drink after one of their song titles.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

beergria

1 1/2 oz Laird's 7 1/2 Year Apple Brandy
1 1/2 oz Lacuesta Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Apricot Liqueur
2 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup

Mix in a quart milk bottle and top with Clown Shoes Clementine Witbier (approximately 24 oz beer, unless the mix was shaken with ice and strained into the milk bottle, in which case closer to 21 oz). Serve with glasses each garnished with an orange wedge.
After my visit with Brother Cleve at Think Tank, I rendezvoused with Andrea to have dinner at Trina's Starlite Lounge. To go with our sandwiches, Andrea was intrigued by the Beer Sangria on the menu. I was originally just going to pick a beer, but Andrea's enthusiasm about this large format drink convinced me to give it a chance. When the Beer Sangria arrived, it came in a quart milk jar with two small glasses garnished with orange slices. The orange garnish's aroma complemented that of the clementine in the Belgian-style white ale quite magnificently. The carbonated sip presented a combination of citrus, malt, and apple flavors, and the swallow finished with apricot and hops notes. While the drink started out more orange-driven, it ended more lemony. Indeed, we were both rather impressed with how well balanced the Beergria (*) was, and I felt a little ashamed afterward at my first skeptical thoughts about this libation.

(*) The name on the recipe card I was shown was Beergria; the menu simply calls it Beer Sangria.

la joya

1 1/2 oz Macchu Pisco
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
2 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Twist an orange peel over the top to express the oils.
For a second drink at Brother Cleve's night at Think Tank, I inquired about recipes he had been tinkering with lately. One that Cleve mentioned was a Pisco-based Bijou that he dubbed La Joya (both bijou and joya mean "jewel" when translated from French and Spanish, respectively). Much like the original, the drink began with a Chartreuse and orange oil aroma (although some Bijou recipes utilize a lemon twist). The sip was sweet and smooth with orange notes from the bitters and light grape ones from the vermouth and perhaps the pisco. On the swallow, the herbal notes of the Chartreuse presented themselves along with the pisco flavors. Interestingly, the pisco took the liqueur in a funkier direction than the crisper, more botanically driven gin-based classic.

Monday, August 15, 2011

blackbeard's ghost

1 1/2 oz El Dorado 3 Year Rum
1 oz Cruzan Light Rum
3/4 oz Bols Apricolt Liqueur
1/2 oz Fee's Falernum
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup (1:1)

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a mint leaf and a lime wedge, and add a straw.

Last Monday after getting my copy of America Walks Into a Bar signed by author Christine Sismondo at the Boston Shaker, I traveled down the Red Line to Think Tank in Kendall Square. On Mondays, Brother Cleve tends the bar and draws up a weekly themed list of original and classic cocktails to serve on top of their regular menu. That week, it was a handful of Tiki drinks, and for a starter, I opted for Brother Cleve's variation on Beach Bum Berry's Blackbeard's Ghost. Berry's recipe appears in the Grog Log, and he modeled it after the Pirate's Grog served at the Blackbeard's Galley restaurant in Newport Beach, California, around 1970. Brother Cleve made a few tweaks to be discussed in a moment.
Brother Cleve's version presented the rums' aroma combined with that of the mint and lime garnishes. The sip offered a sweet citrus flavor that was followed by a clove, apricot, and rum swallow. When we began discussing the history of the drink, Brother Cleve decided that we ought to taste Berry's version side-by-side:
Blackbeard's Ghost from The Grog Log
• 1 1/2 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Cruzan)
• 1/2 oz Demerara Rum (3/4 oz El Dorado 3)
• 1 oz Orange Juice
• 2 oz Sour Mix (2/3 Lemon:2/3 Lime:2/3 Simple Syrup)
• 1/2 oz Falernum (Fee's)
• 1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Bols)
• 2 dash Angostura Bitters
Shake with crushed ice and pour into a glass.
In making the second drink, Brother Cleve stuck to the original recipe with a few exceptions. In the rums, he opted for a Virgin Island instead of a Puerto Rican rum, and for the Demerara rum, he increased the amount, well, because Cleve likes Demerara rum. Instead of bottled Sour Mix, Cleve made an equal parts lemon, lime, and simple syrup combination; Tiare of A Mountain of Crushed Ice took a similar route and made a 1 part lemon, 1 part lime, 2 parts simple syrup mix which would be preferable for people seeking a sweeter drink. Other than that, Brother Cleve stuck to Berry's recipe in this second drink. The end result was a drink that was rather orange-driven and thus smooth. Cleve commented that this effect is more stereotypical of Tiki drinks, and I noted that it brought out the apricot more (despite there being less liqueur in this version) and diminished the spice notes on the swallow. Indeed, the Cleve version was closer to a more modern cocktail and the Berry recipe was more in tune with the smoothness of the Tiki genre; regardless, both drinks were fine tributes to the Blackbeard's Galley.

neighborhood nine

2 1/2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Aperol
1/4 oz Drambuie
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

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

After Russell House Tavern last Sunday, we continued our tour of Harvard Square and went to Temple Bar a little further up Mass Ave. There, bar manager Alex Homans pointed out some of the new drinks on the menu including the Neighborhood Nine, their Manhattan-like tribute to their Cambridge district. Alex described how the owner wanted a whiskey drink like Russell House Tavern's Harvard Yard (Pikesville Rye, Dubonnet Rouge, Benedictine, Allspice Dram) that reflected where the restaurant was located. The end result was a Perfect Manhattan-like drink that had a lighter feel for spring and summer.
The Neighborhood Nine began with lemon oil, Aperol, and some malty whiskey aromas on the nose. At first, the sip was slightly dry and sharp and full of Dolin vermouth notes, and as the drink warmed up, the Aperol began to appear. Next the swallow contained the rye's spice followed by a honey aftertaste; as the drink's chill subsided, the orange notes from the bitters helped to round out the swallow. Indeed, the Neighborhood Nine was a Manhattan variant which possessed an interesting degree of dynamicity as the drink progressed.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

arrack foam

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo LX) was picked by David Solmonson and friends of the 12 Bottle Bar blog. The theme they chose was "Come to Your Senses" where the goal was described as, "We all know that cocktails are supposed to taste good, and for this event, we're going to take that as a given. What we're looking for, instead, are drinks that truly excite one or more of the other senses: touch, smell, sight, or even hearing."

While I had a few ideas floating through my head, when I read some of the suggestions which included "semi-solid shots [and] jiggling jellies," I knew which recipe I should try. Instead of going the route of modern molecular mixology, I would go the relatively ancient way. That being a recipe proffered by William Schmidt in his 1892 book The Flowing Bowl. In that tome of wonder is a semi-solid presentation of Batavia Arrack called Arrack Foam. William's directions were:
Arrack Foam: Mix one quart of sour cream with half a pint of arrack, and four ounces of lump-sugar; beat to foam, and serve it in glasses.
In parsing the recipe, luckily I had advice from bartenders John Gertsen and Will Thompson of Drink. When they made this at the behest of the Dude Kicker kids, they opted for crème fraîche for the sour cream. They also chose to foam up the drink using a nitrous charger. While I kept the crème fraîche idea, I opted for a cobbler shaker and a balled up Hawthorne strainer spring for the foaming. Moreover, I decided to scale back eight fold to make two servings especially since crème fraîche is quite rich:
• 4 oz Crème Fraîche
• 1 oz Batavia Arrack
• 1/2 oz Sugar
Stir the crème fraîche and sugar in a shaker until the sugar is incorporated. Add Batavia Arrack and a balled up Hawthorne strainer spring, shake vigorously, and spoon into chilled cups or glasses. Garnish lavishly with flowers or berries of the season, and serve with a small spoon.
For a garnish (despite one not being listed by William), I went with borage, bee balm, and nasturtium flowers which are all edible (the nasturium flowers were garnishing the glass, not the foam).
For the senses, the crème fraîche provided much of the aroma that was accented by beautiful floral notes from the garnish. On the front of the mouthful was a sweet cream flavor that was followed by a slight burn and a funkiness from the Batavia Arrack. Overall, the Arrack Foam presented a sweet richness with a bit of a tang at the end. As for the flavors of the garnish, the borage was a grassy and herbal taste and the bee balm was floral but less peppery than the nasturtium. And for this month's theme, I guess I included not only an unique texture but a more stunning visual component than I usually strive for.

So cheers to 12 Bottle Bar for hosting this month's Mixology Monday (even if Batavia Arrack is not on their bottle list) and to Paul Clarke for letting someone dare us to incorporate echolocation into our recipes!

Friday, August 12, 2011

sacrilege

1 1/2 oz John L. Sullivan Irish Whiskey
1 oz Cardamaro
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass.
On Sunday, Andrea and I decided to take a small tour of Harvard Square; we started at Russell House Tavern for dinner and a drink and ended at Temple Bar for a drink with dessert. At Russell House, I picked one of the new ones on the menu, the Sacrilege created by bartender John McElroy. The drink began with a honey and herbal Cardamaro aroma that possessed a subtle Irish whiskey note. On the tongue, the sip was the balance of the tart lemon juice and sweet honey with an underlying malt flavor, and the swallow contained the vermouth's grape, the Cardamaro's bitter elements, and a lingering lemon note. The honey and the chill helped to keep this drink rather smooth, but as it warmed up, the Sacrilege gained a slightly sharp edge to it.

privateer

1 1/2 oz Batavia Arrack
1 oz Velvet Falernum
3/4 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Dubonnet Rouge
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and double strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Last Saturday, we decided to make the Privateer that I found on Gary Regan's newsletter. The drink was created by Mattias Hagglund of the Elements Restaurant in Princeton, New Jersey. At first I was a little taken aback by the recipe since every ingredient in the large drink, save for the lime juice, nutmeg, and ice, is boozy if not overproof. However, the lure of the Batavia Arrack and Smith & Cross Rum drew me in, and we had all day on Sunday to recover from it need be. Mattias wrote on his bar's blog that the Privateer is, "strong complex and assertive, and has a very old world feel to it (to me anyway). Apparently others are liking it as well- the bar's been going through more Arrack than ever before." Amusingly, his instructions after the nutmeg garnish read, "Sip, close eyes. Contemplate destroying an armada."
The nutmeg garnish contributed greatly to the drink's nose. On the sip, the lime, the Dubonnet's grape, falernum's ginger, and Smith & Cross' caramel notes shone through. Next, the swallow presented the Batavia Arrack and rum's funkiness, the falernum's clove, and the Angostura's spice. Indeed, the drink was pretty potent, but as the ice melted, the proof decreased; interestingly, the Batavia Arrack flavor stayed prominent as the other flavors were diluted away with the ice melt. Given the flavorfulness of the other components, if one lacked Dubonnet, then Punt e Mes, Carpano Antico, or another sweet vermouth could probably substitute quite well in its place. Overall, Mattias' description was right on, and while I did exaggerate about needing Sunday to recover, the recipe is almost up there with the Zombie in strength.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

moulin rouge

2/3 Plymouth Gin (2 oz Knockabout)
2 dash Crème Yvette (3/8 oz, 3 barspoon (*))
1 dash Cointreau (1/8 oz, 1 barspoon (*))
2 dash Dry Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Prat)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
(*) Perhaps 1/4 oz each for the two liqueurs might work better.

Last Friday, when I opened up Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933, I decided to tackle one of the many recipes that was a base spirit plus a series of dashes by assigning specific volumes to those dashes. Previously, I had been avoiding these recipes since they were either vague as to proportions or appeared more like a jigger of spirit with only a small degree of flavor modifiers added. For a target, I selected the Moulin Rouge since the gin and Crème Yvette seemed appealing. In envisioning the proportions, I imagined the drink to be a gin-based Brooklyn, but I increased the ratio of Crème Yvette to Cointreau from the equal parts Maraschino to Amer Picon ratio in the Brooklyn. In retrospect, the equal parts (2:1/2:1/4:1/4) would have worked better especially as the drink got warmer.
While named after the French nightclub in the Pigalle quarter of Paris, the red hue imparted from the Crème Yvette and Angostura Bitters did not hurt the naming convention. The Moulin Rouge on CocktailDB has a similar color imparted from the combination of sloe gin, sweet vermouth, and Angostura Bitters (**); however, I could not see myself being drawn to that recipe in the same way. This Moulin Rouge began with a berry aroma from the Crème Yvette. Next, the Cointreau helped to give the sip a sweet orange flavor, and the swallow proffered a herbal and slightly bitter combination of gin, vermouth, and violet notes. The Moulin Rouge was delightful to drink when it was cold; however, it got a bit sharper as it warmed up which is why the 1/4 oz each Crème Yvette and Cointreau option might be preferable. Andrea commented that this was "not a sweet and insipid drink," and I wondered if it was the dash of Angostura that helped to keep the drink in line.

(**) There is also a Moulin Rouge in the Savoy Cocktail Book consisting of orange-flavored gin, apricot liqueur, lemon juice, and grenadine, and when Erik Ellestad made it, it did have a reddish hue as well.

august cup

1/2 inch slice Cucumber (peel and all)
1 oz Brandy (Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)
1 oz Madeira (Blandy's 5 Year Verdelho)
1 bsp Maraschino (1/8 oz Luxardo)
1 bsp Curaçao (1/8 oz Senior's Curaçao of Curaçao)

Muddle the cucumber. Add rest of ingredients and ice, shake, and double strain into a highball filled with ice. Top with 2 oz of wheat beer (Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Weizenbock). A pale ale would make a decent substitution here.

Last week for Mixoloseum's Thursday Drink Night, the theme was "sparkling." With my garden providing cucumber, mint, borage, and other ingredients often used in 19th century Cups, I was drawn to creating my own recipe in this vein. The classic Cup style not only makes good use of these garden botanicals but provides a lot of refreshment for hot summer nights. Originally, I was going to make a drink using soda water; however, the water bottles for the Soda Stream were still warm and un-carbonated, so I opted to shape the drink around beer as my chosen sparkler for the theme. Given my interest in beer cocktails, people in the Mixoloseum chatroom were not surprised when I went the malt and hops route.
For a name, I called it the August Cup partly to reflect the seasonality of the cucumber. The other part was to reflect some of the names of mid-1800's drinks such as the Grace and Loving Cups by using the virtue of being august. Once mixed, the August Cup presented a malt and fresh cucumber aroma. The beer's malt and carbonation shone through on the sip, and its hops provided spice on the swallow. The swallow also contained a robust cucumber flavor along with hints of the Maraschino and Madeira.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

the alderman's punch

1 pint Hot Green Tea (4 oz)
1/2 pint Brandy (2 oz Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)
1/2 pint Rum (2 oz Plantation 5 Year Barbados)
1 wineglass Curaçao (1/2 oz Senior's Curaçao of Curaçao)
Juice 2 Lemons (3/4+ oz)
Peel of 1 Lemon (1/4)
Powdered Sugar to taste (3/4 oz Simple Syrup)
A 6d Pot of Red Currant or Guava Jelly (~1 oz Guava Jelly)
If the punch is too strong, add more tea.

To make this punch, I boiled water and added the tea bag and lemon peel. After a few minutes, I added the guava jelly cube (very pectin-rich) to melt it in the warm tea infusion. After removing the tea bag, I added the rest of the ingredients, shook without ice, and double strained into a pair of punch cups (the full-sized recipe would make about 8 punch cups worth). Since no secondary heating step was suggested, I served this punch lukewarm. I also could not determine how much jelly could be purchased for that amount of money back in 1871 (unless 'd' is a volume such as a fluid drachm or dram (1/8 oz)).
When I spotted the Alderman's Punch in the Gentleman's Table Guide from 1871, it seemed rather delightful with the split base spirit of rum and brandy spiced with green tea. However, when I spied the guava jelly in the ingredients list, I was immediately sold. Indeed, this recipe would make great use of the jelly I bought a few months ago to make Jerry Thomas' Barbadoes Punch. After parsing through the recipe and mixing up a batch, I was quite pleased with how the guava entered the aroma along with the Barbados rum. The guava next appeared in the sip where it joined the lemon in a sweet but sharp citrus flavor. The jelly also donated a luxurious mouthfeel on the sip from its high pectin content. Finally, the rum, brandy, and green tea notes rounded out the swallow. Moreover, the punch had an interesting spice note to it that I could not place, but I presumed it was from the warmed spirits.

jubilant

1/2 Booth's Dry Gin (1 1/2 oz Beefeater)
1/4 Benedictine (3/4 oz)
1/8 Lemon Juice (3/8 oz)
1/8 Orange Juice (3/8 oz)
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a cocktail glass.
Tuesday last week, I flipped through the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book and spotted the Jubilant, an original created by UK Bartender's Guild member J. Perosino. The drink reminded me of egg white versions of the Daily Mail and the D.O.M. Cocktail. Once mixed, the Jubilant greeted me with an herbal and minty nose from the Benedictine and perhaps the gin. Next, the sip was a crisp orange and gin flavor, and the Benedictine appeared on the swallow. Curiously, the Benedictine came across more rounded than it usually does perhaps due to the smoothing effects of the orange juice and egg white components.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

1836-1839

2 oz Macchu Pisco
1 oz Marie Brizard Apry
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 1/2 tsp Spanish Marmalade
1 oz Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with; double strain into a rocks glass and add a straw.

The drink on Estragon's Spanish Sip menu that I ended the night with was a Pisco Sour variation called the 1836-1839. Bartender Sahil Mehta's description of the drink was, "The perennial argument over who invented Pisco Sours might just have its roots in the war of 1836-1839. That argument may never be resolved but we think Peru and Chile could agree this is one delicious pisco cocktail!" That conflict is often know as the War of the Confederation took place in Peru and pitted Peru and Bolivia against Chile, Argentina, and Peruvian dissidents.
In this drink, the simple syrup in the regular Pisco Sour was swapped for two fruity elements -- apricot liqueur and orange marmalade. Apricot and pisco have been shown to be a great pairing such as in the Linda Fiesta and Charles Baker's Pisco-Apricot Tropical. In addition, marmalade can add an interesting citrus note and mouthfeel to drinks such as the l'Arc de Triomphe and Jubilee Line. Here, the orange marmalade started its duty by contributing to the drink's aroma along with the apricot and pisco notes. Next, the sip was a light, smooth citrus flavor which was complemented by the apricot and pisco on the swallow. The aspect I was most impressed about was how well the marmalade and apricot flavors went together in this drink.

alice in wonderland no. 2

1 1/2 oz Strawberry-infused Tequila (*)
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Lime Juice
5-6 Basil Leaves

Shake with ice and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a fresh basil leaf.
(*) 2 part tequila, 1 part strawberry. Infuse for 4 weeks, strain, and bottle.

Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I ventured down to Estragon for their Spanish Sip night. The event was billed as a bar-stool voyage across the globe that featured ten original cocktails displaying some sort of Spanish influence around the world. The first one that caught my eye was the Alice in Wonderland No. 2 which reminded me of another drink tour, that of Charles H. Baker, Jr. The Alice in Wonderland No. 2 featured a strawberry-infused tequila that reminded me of Baker's Tequila por Mi Amante that he had in Mexico back in 1937. Bartender Sahil Mehta described the drink as "A nod to Alice Waters and California's cornucopia of fresh produce, with a dash of the Hatter."
The Alice in Wonderland No. 2 began with a strawberry aroma that was supplemented by Maraschino and Yellow Chartreuse notes. The sip was a sweet fruity lime flavor that was followed by the strawberry, tequila, and Maraschino elements. Moreover, the Yellow Chartreuse paired up with the basil to provide a lingering herbal note at the end. When I let Andrea have a sip, she commented that it was "one of the most polite tequila drinks I've ever had."

Monday, August 8, 2011

under the volcano

2 oz Tesoro Añejo Tequila (1/2 Lunazul Reposado, 1/2 Espolon Reposado)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
>1/2 oz Cynar
>1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/4 oz Agave Nectar

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

Besides the 1927 The Art of Making a Cocktail, another book on my purchase list for Tales of the Cocktail this year was the new Beta Cocktails book. Flipping through it, I noted that it was a reprint of some of old recipes found in the lawsuit-prone Rogue Cocktails with a good number of new ones. One of the novel ones that caught my eye was Under the Volcano created by Kyle Davidson; I was first introduced to Kyle's recipes through his Art of Choke two years ago. Moreover, I assumed that the drink was named after the 1947 novel since very little about this drink reminded me of volcanoes. I first heard of the book while browsing Ernest Hemingway titles on Amazon and it came up as a recommendation. The semi-autobiographical story relates the tale of an alcoholic British consul in Mexico on the Day of the Dead Celebration; the setting at least links the story to the drink's Mexican liquor base. Making this drink caused me to finally get around to ordering the book, so I will hold off on further description of it until after it arrives and I am done reading it. The recipe also calls for an añejo tequila which we sorely lacked; however, a few days later we picked up one from 7 Leguas so we would not be caught short again.
The Under the Volcano took the appearance of a Margarita with the orange liqueur subbed for the dark Cynar and light Yellow Chartreuse -- a combination that worked rather well in the Peralta. The drink greeted the nose with aged tequila aromas darkened by the Cynar liqueur. The bitter sweet lime flavor in the sip was joined by a buttery barrel note; finally, the swallow contained the tequila and a bitter, almost floral flavor.

emerald city

2 oz Tanqueray Ten Gin (regular Tanqueray)
3/4 oz Orgeat (Trader Tiki/B.G.Reynolds)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
1/4 Granny Smith Apple
5-6 Mint Leaves

Muddle apple, mint, orgeat, and lime juice. Add rest of ingredients and ice. Shake and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an additional mint leaf.

The other drink we made two Saturdays ago was the Emerald City that Gary Regan featured in his Ardent Spirits news letter. The drink was created by Troy Tindal of Minneapolis' Prairie Ale House, and after enjoying the Granny Smith-laden Starbird, I was definitely willing to give the Emerald City a try. To complement the crisp, green flavors of the apple, Troy utilized lime juice, mint, Chartreuse, and gin, and he softened it all with orgeat syrup.
The mint and Chartreuse were the notes that came out the strongest in the aroma. On the sip, the orgeat and lime mingled with the green apple, and the swallow contained the botanical notes of the mint, Chartreuse, and gin. The apple also appeared as a crispness on the swallow that worked well with the mint and Chartreuse.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

bitter roots

1 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Jamaican Rum (Smith & Cross)
3/4 oz Madeira (Blandy's 5 Year Verdelho)
1 tsp Honey Syrup (3:1)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Top with 1 oz India Pale Ale (Sierra Nevada Beer Camp #29 Double IPA), stir gently, and garnish with an artichoke leaf (optional).

Last Saturday, I spotted the Bitter Roots in the most recent Imbibe Magazine. With the Madeira, rum, honey, and a beer float, it reminded me of the Port of Funchal and Old Trousers. Moreover, this combination plus Cynar seemed like a definite win. Therefore, we decided to give this drink created by Chris Frankel of the Anvil in Houston a go.
While I opted for the pungent and flavorful Smith & Cross Rum, I later found a tweet that stated that the Anvil used Appleton Estate in theirs. The Bitter Roots' aroma was dominated by the beer and Jamaican rum. The sip was rather rich on the tongue and contained a bounty of honey, grape, and malt notes. Next, the Madeira and Cynar paired well, and the Smith & Cross flavor finished out the swallow. Indeed, Madeira's sharp oxidized notes, the IPA's hops, and the Angostura Bitter' spice donated an intriguing degree of complexity on the swallow to this delightfully herbal and funky drink.

Friday, August 5, 2011

[the lizzie asher]

2 oz Macchu Pisco
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (3 Rothman & Winter:1 Marie Brizard Apry)
1/2 oz Crème Yvette
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and shake again with ice. Strain into a highball glass and top with 2 oz of ginger beer. Twist an orange peel over the top and add a straw.

Last week when we went to Lineage for dinner, bartender Ryan Lotz had a pisco drink he wanted to make for me. Apparently, a gentleman came into the bar the day before and asked for a pisco drink for he heard pisco was the next big thing. Ryan suspected that he had read the article in TheFeast where I made that comment about the spirit; alternatively, he could have heard that it was Peru's National Pisco Day (July 28th). Since Ryan knew that pisco and apricot brandy are a great pairing, he bolstered the combination with berry and floral notes using Crème Yvette in an egg white-based Daisy (or Buck).
The drink began with an aroma of orange from the twist and apricot from the liqueurs. Next, the sip started out as a lemon and berry flavor that was followed by the apricot and pisco notes on the swallow. Over successive swallows, the ginger zing grew in prominence. Moreover, later in the drink, the Yvette's berry flavors shifted to the swallow along with the apricot, and its violet note became stronger on the finish. Overall, this highball was a rather tasty and very aromatic drink.

::weekly dig::

Here is the column that appears in the Weekly Dig this week; I was asked by LUPEC Boston's Kitty to fill in for their weekly column as they recovered from Tales (having a non-LUPEC writer is a yearly post-Tales of the Cocktail tradition for them). The recover part was pretty accurate for I wrote the copy on the flight back to Boston as Kitty was catching up on her sleep in the seat next to me. Since the magazine edited down my copy for print, here is the original. To read the print version, grab a copy of the magazine before next Tuesday, and when/if it appears online, I will post the link. Apparently, I also garnered the DUDEPEC (the Unofficial Men's Auxiliary of LUPEC Boston) name of Screwdriver for my efforts.

How I Survived Tales

After five straight days of imbibing in NOLA for Tales of the Cocktail, LUPEC is too hungover to write their column this week. They may even still be drunk. Fred of Cocktail Virgin steps in to fill the void.

Tales of the Cocktail is a yearly epic, week-long drinking festival of sorts held in New Orleans with formal talks and events as well as informal bars, parties, and dinners. This year was my third Tales experience, but it was the first without my wife Andrea. Beside not having my best drinking buddy and dining companion, I was a little concerned for she is my temperance movement – note that is not capital 't' Temperance but a force that keeps things in check. In traveling alone, I would be faced with a week of practically free flowing booze often starting as early as 9 in the morning and going until 4 at night. Each drink was "tomorrow's hangover" and getting blotto meant that you might miss out on some cool events the next day (beside the other trouble you can get yourself into that night).

Setting goals was the best way for me to deal with the chaos, such as making it to every event I signed up for no matter how early or late it was. Also, deciding on a pace more akin to a slow marathon versus a series of fast sprints was key. While I do not doubt that one bartender friend had a great time the night I spotted him on Bourbon Street where he was unable to stay on the mechanical bull for more than a few seconds each time on the gentlest of settings, there were other bartenders who must have paced themselves for they were up and looking fresh as I passed by them to get my daily corpse-reviving breakfast at 8am (after going to bed only a handful of hours before).

So traveling alone reminded me that drinking semi-responsibly can definitely still be rather fun, spontaneous, and memorable. And if you find yourself, say getting lost going to the Old Absinthe House despite having your smart phone's GPS map loaded up, you are better off going to bed instead of getting that nightcap or two. However, I am reminded of a quote that I can paraphrase as, "I feel bad for people who don't drink; all their stories end with '...and then I went to bed early'.")

Here is a good summer time recipe from a Tales tasting room on Pisco, a South American grape brandy that is making a resurgence in recipes: Here I posted the recipe for Rachel Sergi's Pink Pout

Thursday, August 4, 2011

chocolate daisy

Juice of a Lemon (3/4 oz Lemon (*) Juice)
1/2 glass Spanish Brandy (1 oz Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)
1/2 glass Port Wine (1 oz Taylor Fladgate Ruby)
1/3 glass Raspberry Syrup (2/3 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a glass filled with chipped ice. Garnish with fruit.
(*) "Lemon" in the Caribbean generally means lime (same word), but I figured lemon would go better with brandy and port than lime would. Lime is more traditional though.
One of the books I purchased at Tales of the Cocktail was The Art of Making a Cocktail, a 1927 Cuban cocktail book reprinted by Mixellany. On a first pass, the Chocolate Daisy stood out as a good place to start. Here the name has as much to do with cacao products as the classic Coffee Cocktail does with a cup of joe; however, both of them have a base of brandy and port which can mix to create a brownish hue. While Daisies are a well-established class of syrup- or liqueur-sweetened Sours, there is a Chocolate Daisy plant that was discovered in the early 1800s in Texas and northern Mexico. Jean-Louis Berlandier, the French-Swiss physician and botanist who discovered it, named it after the chocolate odor that is released when the petals are plucked from the flower head. Instead of that aroma, the drink proffered a brandy and port one that included the orange slices that we used a garnish. The port's grape notes continued on in the sip along with the lemon, and the raspberry appeared on the swallow along with some dryness from the brandy's barrel aging. In retrospect, the raspberry would have worked well enough with lime to overcome my lemon-brandy pairing bias, but either way, this drink recipe will be tasty.

irma la douce

1 1/2 oz Hendrick's Gin
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Cucumber Juice (*)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. While the book lists no garnish, a cucumber wheel would do no harm.
(*) Peel, blend and pass through a sieve. Muddling instead of blending will work, albeit less efficiently.

When I got back from Tales of the Cocktail, my garden was in full swing. Back in May as I planted my cucumber seedlings, I was hoping that the crop would be good enough this year to make a certain cucumber-based drink a common occurrence. That recipe is the Irma La Douce which was created by the ladies of LUPEC Boston for their Chartreuse event at Green Street back in 2007. The drink was named after a movie starring Shirley MacClaine where she played a Parisian prostitute who wore bright green stockings. With Green Chartreuse and cucumber juice to work the theme, the recipe was a smash hit that night and we have made it several times since. Luckily, the ladies published it in their Little Black Book of Cocktails so we have access to it on our shelves.
The Irma La Douce's aroma was a combination of the cucumber and Green Chartreuse; the former's fresh vegetal notes transitioned well into the liqueur's herbal ones. The sip was a gentle citrus flavor that was softened greatly by the cucumber and simple syrup, and the swallow contained the botanical complexity of the gin and Chartreuse.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

souracher

3/4 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
3/4 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 tsp Rich Demerara Syrup (2:1)

Shake with ice and strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Top with Fentiman's Ginger Beer, add a straw, and garnish with a lime wheel.

Saturday evening during Tales was the Imbibe Magazine happy hour that featured Citizen-Worcester's Dave Delaney and Teardrop's Dave Shenaut serving up the winning and runner up cover drinks, respectively. Unfortunately, Delaney's Charentes Shrub ran out before I got there; however, luckily Shenaut still had enough ingredients to make me his Souracher.
The Souracher's lime wheel garnish contributed greatly to the drink's aroma. Next, the sip was a combination of grape and lime flavors, and this was chased by rye and Campari on the swallow with a lingering ginger zing. Overall, the Souracher was a refreshing drink that was much like a citrus-ginger 1794 highball.

the pink pout

1 3/4 oz Macchu Pisco La Diablada Pisco
1/4 oz Boudier Crème de Cassis
1/2 oz Peach Juice
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
3 dash Chocolate Bitters

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

On Saturday at Tales, I visited "The Sexuality of Pisco Varietals - The Art of Pisco Blending" tasting room which was less of a typical tasting room and more of a free seminar. Peruvian law allows eight grape varietals to be used in pisco production, and the Peruvian farmers classify each of the grapes in colorful, but not X-rated sexual terms. Here are a handful of these descriptors:
Quebranta grape - the Macho man
Moscatel grape - the Sofia Loren
Torontel grape –the Metrosexual
Italia grape – the 15 year old coquettish girl that wears a lot of perfume
Mollar Grape - the Dandy
One of the drinks served was Eastern Standard's Kevin Martin's Carnivale that I had written about when one his fellow bartenders made me the drink. Another was from Rachel Sergi of the Jack Rose in Washington, D.C. Her drink, the Pink Pout, utilized Macchu Pisco's La Diablada Pisco that is a combination of a Quebranta as a base nonaromatic and Moscatel and Italia for aromatics. The Pink Pout worked great as a name as the aromatic grapes put the drink in the realm of Sofia Loren and the 15 year old coquettish girl.
The Pink Pout began with a chocolate and peach aroma. The fruity sip presented berry and lemon flavors, and the swallow continued on with peach and chocolate bitters notes along with the pisco brandy. Indeed, I was quite impressed at how well the peach and chocolate flavors blended together and worked to complement the pisco here.

embury and the side-car

On Friday, my two talks were "Who's Your Daddy? A Mai Tai Paternity Test" and "David Embury and The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks." For the former, it is easier for me to refer you to Beachbum Berry's Remixed book (pages 64-72) and a brief summary in his blog; since I am not a Tiki historian, I will not attempt to do the talk any justice or reword Berry's written efforts. For the latter, it would also be easy to refer you to David Embury's The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, for presenter Robert Hess did not stray too far from the facts laid out in the book itself; however, Hess' analysis and focus on certain points seemed like it would make for an interesting post without the need to relate the entirety.

One reason Hess did not stray too far is that very little is remembered about Embury. The basics like how he was born in 1886, graduated from Cornell and then Columbia Law School in 1908 and 1916, respectively, published the book in 1948, and died in 1960 are recalled in his obituary. Moreover, we do know through Brian Rea that Embury did frequent bars but that he was a lousy tipper. Hess attributed the impetus for the book to be Embury being fed up with the state of post-Prohibition bartending and he set about to change that (apparently, not through positive reinforcement via generous gratuity). Intriguingly, he was not a bartender save for one at his home and parties, but he was a consumer and an opinionated one at that. The book is more of a opinionated tome than a recipe book, although there is no shortage of recipes in the book.

Beside sharing his views on the purpose of a cocktail, the basic components, why the best ingredients should be used, and glassware selections, he described a lot about how cocktails are constructed by analyzing 6 basic cocktails: the Martini, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Daiquiri, Side Car, and oddly the Jack Rose. Of these 6, Hess chose the Side Car to focus on in a liquidy sense. Embury described the Side Car as, "This cocktail is the most perfect example of a magnificent drink gone wrong. It was invented by a friend of mine at a bar in Paris during World War I... Unfortunately, however, the proportions are usually stated as equal parts of lemon juice, Cointreau, and brandy. This may not be a bad formula for a midafternoon drink, but for an aperitif it is simply horrible because of its sickish sweetness." Backtracking for a moment, part of Embury's 6 points of "What, then, is a cocktail?" is that it must whet the appetite, not dull it; therefore, anything "over-sweetened, over-fruit-juiced, over-egged, and over-creamed" ruffled his feathers. Clearly, the cocktail has more uses and times to imbibe it than the ones Embury stressed. But his belief that it "must have sufficient alcoholic flavor... yet must not assault the palate with the force of an atomic bomb" becomes apparent when you look at his preferred proportions.
Side-Car Cocktail from Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails
1 part Brandy
1 part Cointreau (Triple Sec)
1 part Lemon Juice

Side Car De Luxe from Embury's The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks
8 part Cognac or Armagnac
1 part Cointreau of Triple Sec
2 part Lemon Juice

Sidecar as served at the Robert Hess household
4 part Brandy
2 part Cointreau
1 part Lemon
These were the three recipes Hess proffered and he did not cover the sugared rim that is commonly associated with the drink today. Not only is the sugared rim not in the original, Embury insisted that the drink received no decoration save for a twist of lemon if desired. Hess related his initial struggles with the Sidecar recipes he found for they called for bottled sour mix, and the resultant drinks were quite unsatisfying to him. And perhaps quite unsatisfying for Embury which motivated him to write his book.

As a laboratory example, Hess had the cocktail apprentices mix up each one of the three Sidecar recipes above for the room. While I preferred the equal parts one for it has the proper balance of citrus to liqueur for my tastes (albeit light on the brandy notes), most people seemed to share Hess' sweet tooth and preferred his recipe. Very few people selected Embury's tarter version; however, tart drinks stimulate salivation and help prepare the body for a meal. Given Embury's predilection for preprandial drinks, his tarter formula makes sense. Also note that Embury's recipe is a hefty slug of brandy with the orange liqueur and lemon acting strictly as minor modifying ingredients; Embury believed that the spirit should be 50% or more of the total volume, although here it is closer to 73%.

Two interesting points where brought forth. The first came by way of Audrey Saunders who pointed out that not every ratio of sweet to sour will work for each drink; at the Pegu Club, they experimentally test each brand of Cognac to find the proportions that worked to achieve their preferred balance. The second came by way of the audience. The audience did propose their favorite recipes such as 1:1:3/4 and 3:2:1 (brandy:triple sec:lemon); however, one person mixed the original, Embury, and Hess recipes in equal parts and declared it his favorite. So what was it?

Since each recipe can be summed up as 3, 11, and 7 parts, and each is a prime number, using a common denominator of 231 and taking the average was the answer:
Brandy : Triple Sec : Lemon
77 : 77 : 77 Original
168 : 21 : 42 Embury
132 : 66 : 33 Hess
2.48 : 1.08 : 1 Average
Interestingly, this matched my preference for equal parts of triple sec to lemon juice. Moreover, if you were in Boston and requested a Sidecar at Eastern Standard and at Drink, this recipe would be between Eastern's 2:1:1 and Drink's 2:1/2:1/2 structures with this average being closer to Eastern's.

Clearly, I cannot do Embury's The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks or Hess' 90 minute talk proper justice in a blog post, so I recommend reading the book. While originals and out-of-print reprints are still around, Muddle Puddle Books has re-printed it with an introduction, not surprisingly, written by Robert Hess and Audrey Saunders. Amidst the aspects that may raise your ire are a lot of good words of wisdom. Furthermore, the book is perhaps one of the first treatises on the classifications of drinks and how to manipulate them to roll your own recipe creations.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

thai chi-chi

2 oz Belvedere Intense Vodka (*)
1 1/2 oz Housemade Cream of Coconut
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Thai Basil Syrup (**)
8 Drop Pimento Dram

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks or highball glass filled with fresh ice. Grate nutmeg over the top and garnish with a brandied cherry on a pick.
(*) Drink apparently works quite well with rum subbed here.
(**) One recipe I found online was 8 oz of boiling water added to 8 oz sugar and 3 oz of Thai basil leaves. Stir to dissolve sugar, let steep until cool, and then strain and bottle.
I think my absolute favorite drink at the Bar Room Brawl was the Thai Chi-Chi served by Portland's Teardrop. Luckily, one of the two cocktail apprentices making drinks on the Waking the Spirits Cemetery Excursion two days later was Thomas Klus, a bartender at the Teardrop, and he was able to email me the recipe for the drink off of his iPhone. The drink name seems to be a play on T'ai Chi Chih, the meditative Chinese martial arts, and with Thai elements like lime, coconut, pineapple, and Thai basil, the name switch made a lot of sense. While the drink was served to me as a Belvedere Vodka recipe, Thomas hinted that it would make a great rum drink as well. Of course, I completely missed the obvious and thanks to Sylvan of Tasty Libations for pointing it out, that the drink is based off of the Chi-Chi, the vodka-spirited Piña Colada; I completely forgot that drink existed.
Above is a photo of a Teardrop bartender making my second Thai Chi-Chi -- yes, the drink was that good, and unfortunately, it might have prevented me from giving another drink at the Brawl a try. However, I have no regrets. With one foot planted in the Painkiller camp, the drink could do no wrong. The coconut provided a rich creaminess and the Thai basil added an extra element to make the drink a bit more Asian-inspired than Caribbean.

king of the road

1 oz Hennessy VS Cognac
1 oz Beefeater Gin
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1 barspoon Crème Yvette (1/8 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. The recipe I received stated no garnish and reflected the drink I was served, but one I found on the web listed the gin as 3/4 oz and a blackberry on a pick as the garnish. The Roger Room regularly has the drink on their menu with Plymouth Gin.

On Friday night at Tales was the infamous Bar Room Brawl. Competing in a 5-way mix off were Boston's Eastern Standard, Chicago's Sable, Portland's Teardrop, Los Angeles' Roger Room, and San Francisco's Burritt Room. As I made my rounds, there were two drinks I picked out for sharing here. The first one was the King of the Road created by bartender Damian Windsor; many thanks to Roger Room's Jason Bran who replied to my Twitter request and emailed me the proportions. Overall, the recipe resembled the dry vermouth variation of a Blue Moon or a perhaps a Trilby with the base spirits split between gin and brandy.
Despite there being only a barspoon of Crème Yvette, the drink possessed an attractive reddish purplish hue that was quite pleasing to the eye. The Dolin Blanc definitely tied the drink together for it added sweetness to smooth out the Cognac and gin; in addition, it contributed floral notes that worked rather well to complement the Yvette. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to try the three other drinks that the Roger Room was serving up that night, but I was able to read about them here.

flip royal

2 oz King's Ginger Liqueur
1 oz Rooibos Tea Syrup (*)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 Egg

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Top with 2 oz soda water and garnish with a pinch or two of spice mix (grated cinnamon, nutmeg, and coffee).
(*) According to CocktailMusings, Jackson makes this syrup with twice the rooibos tea. After infusing and straining, he adds an equal part of sugar (1:1 syrup). When cool, he salts to taste (a little under a tsp salt per quart).
Another drink I had at Anchor Distilling Company's "The Boston Cocktail Experience" tasting room was the Flip Royal by Eastern Standard's Jackson Cannon. Jackson's drink featured King's Ginger, a liqueur created in 1903 for King Edward VII. Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to taste the spirit straight or side by side with Domaine de Canton to see how it stacked up, but it did taste good in this drink. Here, the aroma was predominantly coffee and nutmeg on the nose from the spice mix with a hint of the cinnamon poking through. Moreover, the sip was rather creamy and filled with floral notes from the tea syrup, and the swallow was all about the ginger that prolonged into the aftertaste.

Monday, August 1, 2011

causeway

1 1/2 oz English Harbor 5 Year Rum
1 oz Senior's Curaçao of Curaçao
1 barspoon Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur (1/8 oz)
4 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with orange oils from a twist.

On Friday afternoon at Tales, wedged between my "Who's Your Daddy? A Mai Tai Paternity Test" and "David Embury and The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks" talks was an event I was looking forward to. It was Anchor Distilling Company's tasting room entitled "The Boston Cocktail Experience." There I would have the chance to have eight of the bartenders who serve me cocktails in Boston serve me drinks in New Orleans using Anchor/Preiss Imports' portfolio. When I walked up to Ben Sandrof's table, I felt flattered at he reached over and grabbed an extra printout of the recipes; he explained as he handed it to me that he knew that I was coming. That is one of the many ways Boston bartenders have made me feel welcomed in the cocktail community, and it certainly made my job easier as I explored the room in the time before my next seminar. "Footloose and fancy freelancer" was how Ben was described for he no longer regularly tends bar save for his low-key Sunday Saloon speakeasy events. Sandrof's drink was called the Causeway which he described as either a name for a road near the water or for a means to an end. Apparently it was not named after the Boston rock club near North Station, but it was worth asking (at the time I was thinking of the Channel Club which was located near his previous bar, Drink in Fort Point, resides today). With the nautical theme of the English Harbor Rum, the road along the water seemed to match up perfectly.

The twist over the Causeway provided orange oils that worked well with the rum's caramel aroma. Similarly, the sip was rich with the rum's aged molasses notes along with the Curaçao's orange flavors. The rum continued on in the swallow where it interacted with the Angostura Bitters' spice and the Maraschino' funky notes to round out the drink. Overall, the Causeway had a classic feel to it and reminded me of the Fancy Rum Cocktail.
El Camino
• 2 1/2 oz Chinaco Reposado Tequila
• 1/2 oz D'Aristi Xtabentún Honey Liqueur
• 2 eye droppers Bittermens Mole Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.
Speaking of a classic feel, I also wanted to mention the drink of Trina Sturm of Trina's Starlight Lounge. Her El Camino utilized an interesting Yucatán honey and anise-flavored liqueur called Xtabentún. Although it is fortified with rum instead of tequila, the end result was very much in line with a Mexican Rusty Nail, albeit one with some extra anise and chocolate notes instead of heather and peat ones in the Scotch-Drambuie version.