Monday, October 31, 2011

3, 2, 1

1 1/2 oz Old Overholt Rye
1 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz Martini & Rossi Dry Vermouth

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
For my second drink at Green Street, I asked bartender Philip MacLeod for the 3-2-1. The 3-2-1 is a drink I was revisiting, for I recall ordering one the first few times we went to Green Street back in 2007. Since then, I do not recall spotting this recipe anywhere other than in the bar's drink book, so I am unsure of its origins other than the name reflecting the proportions. A quick glance makes me think that it is a Yellow Chartreuse variation of sorts of the Green Chartreuse-laden Hague or St. Moritz. The 3-2-1 greeted my nose with a Yellow Chartreuse aroma of herbal and minty notes along with a touch of the rye whiskey. The sweet sip provided malt and a mild herbal flavor, while the bulk of the Chartreuse and vermouth flavors appeared later as a minty and intensely herbal swallow. The rye's barrel notes at the end functioned to dry out the drink a little. Moreover, after finishing the drink, it did seem in a way like a less bitter and more sweet Green Point.

jack rose

1 1/2 oz Applejack
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Grenadine
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

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

Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I went to Green Street for drinks. For my first cocktail, I asked bartender Derric Crothers for the Jack Rose. While the drink is not much more than an Applejack Daisy (here with bitters) created in the early part of the 20th century, the recipe is rather symbolic for the Boston drink scene. In spring of 2005, the Jack Rose Society was formed with the task of sifting through the mass of drink books to find which recipe was the best of all. The scholarly crew consisted of drink historian Brother Cleve, then B-Side bartender Misty Kalkofen, Eastern Standard's Jackson Cannon, then Chez Henri's Scott Holliday, and then No. 9's John Gertsen. Their goal was to help Jackson put the very best recipe on the Eastern Standard's debut menu. After working through nearly two dozen recipes, they concluded that applejack, lemon juice, housemade grenadine, and Peychaud's bitters was best. The recipe on the Green Street menu, perhaps brought directly by Misty who worked there soon after from 2006 to 2008, is identical to their conclusion save for the applejack being decreased from two ounces to an ounce and a half.
The Jack Rose began with a lemon aroma that was joined by a fruity note from either the applejack or the grenadine. The tart lemon sip presented apple and pomegranate flavors, and the bitter lemon swallow led into lingering Peychaud's spices. Andrea commented that the lemon and grenadine worked rather well here for the former enhanced the tartness of the apple distillate and the latter restored the apple's sweetness.

Friday, October 28, 2011

port au prince

3/4 oz Barbancourt 5 Star Rum (Atlantico Reserva)
3/4 oz Amber Virgin Island Rum (Atlantico Platino)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1/4 oz Simple Syrup (Jaggery)
6 drop (1/8 tsp) Grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. I garnished with a lime shell and a Maraschino cherry. Note that the original recipe was a blender drink with 4 oz of crushed ice.

We were recently sent small samples of the Atlantico rum line -- just enough to do a tasting and make a cocktail. Atlantico rums are produced in the Dominican Republic using a combination of molasses and fresh cane juice, and they just added a white (Platino) and amber (Reserva) rum to their older Private Cask offering. When Andrea and I tasted the spirits straight, here were our thoughts:
Atlantico Platino - aromas of coconut and melon; flavors of vanilla with a sharper clove-like note at the end.
Atlantico Reserva - aromas of pineapple, caramel, slight fusel oil note, and vanilla; flavors of vanilla, tropical fruits, and coconut.
Atlantico Private Cask - aromas of coconut and lime; thinner on the sip than the Reserva with a lot of barrel-aged notes on the swallow.
Of the three, Andrea picked the Platino as her favorite and I leaned towards the Reserva as mine. While the Private Cask has some elegant wood notes, the 15+ years in wood has diminished some of the more intriguing fruit elements seen in the other two expressions. As for price, the Private Cask sells for around $35 a bottle, and I believe that the Reserve and Platino will be $25 and 20, respectively.
Since we are more cocktail people than straight spirits ones, it was time to mix with these rums. In Jeff Berry's Sippin' Safari, I discovered the Port Au Prince that felt like a good complement to the Atlantico Platino and Reserva's tropical fruit and spice notes. Berry attributed the recipe to Don the Beachcomber in the late 1930s; the drink appeared on some of his early menus but disappeared by 1941. While the city of Port au Prince is in Haiti, it is not all that far from the Dominican Republic. The drink itself possessed a lime aroma from the juice and garnish and prepared the taste buds for the sweet lime sip. The swallow showcased the grand combination of the pineapple, rum, and clove-driven spice notes.

edgewood

1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin (Knockabout)
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc (Cocchi Americano)

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a pinch of Kosher salt.

Last week, my copy of the PDT Cocktail Book arrived, and on Saturday night it was time to give one of the recipes a whirl. As I flipped through the book and read out a few recipes, Andrea selected the Edgewood by Atlanta bartender Greg Best. When Greg created this recipe in 2006, he had been bartending for 5 years and realized that he was only standing at the proverbial edge of the woods in terms of the craft. However, a mere 3 years later, Playboy Magazine named him one of the top 10 mixologists in the country.
The Edgewood proffered grapefruit and Cocchi Americano aromas to the nose, and similarly the sip was grapefruit and citrus-wine flavored. The beginning of the swallow showcased the Punt e Mes which was modified by the grapefruit and softened by the bitter-diminishing salt; finally, the gin botanical notes appeared at the end of the swallow.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

coney island

2 oz Rye Whiskey (Old Overholt)
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao (Marie Brizard)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry.

The other recipe I came up with for Mixoloseum's chocolate-themed Thursday Drink Night last week was a chocolaty take on a Manhattan variation that I called the Coney Island. It was more of a riff on a Green Point, Red Hook, or a Slope than a direct riff on a Manhattan proper. On the nose, the Coney Island presented the rye and Punt e Mes aromas at times and the rye and chocolate ones at others. The Punt e Mes' grape notes filled the sip, and the swallow showcased the rye and Punt e Mes' bitter flavors. Moreover, the bitter's spice and the liqueur's chocolate notes rounded out the Coney Island on the swallow. The crème de cacao helped to soften the rougher edges of the rye and Punt e Mes and bring the flavors together as a whole. One of the TDN participants who made the drink commented that the drink would make a satisfying nightcap.

tiki ghosn

2 oz Bourbon (Old Weller Antique)
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao (Marie Brizard)
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Last week for Mixoloseum's Thursday Drink Night, the theme was "chocolate" which included any liqueur, bitters, or other ingredient with chocolate flavor. For an idea, I wanted to make something tropical riffing off of the Pago Pago from The How And When cocktail book. The Pago Pago already contained crème de cacao, and I kept its pineapple and lime juice. Instead of Green Chartreuse, I switched it to Campari for the combination of it and crème de cacao worked so well in the Carletti; moreover, Campari worked rather well with pineapple and lime juice in the Jungle Bird. Instead of rum, I went with a Bourbon direction; for a name, I search for tiki ideas and decided on the Tiki Ghosn after an infamous cage fighter.
On the nose, I picked up on the Campari, chocolate, and Bourbon aromas whereas Andrea perceived the Capari and pineapple more. The sip contained the lime and pineapple juice, and the pineapple continued into the swallow where it mingled with the Campari and whiskey. The chocolate notes appeared at the end as a pleasant lingering flavor.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

hornet's nest

1 1/2 oz Old Overholt Rye
1/2 oz Cinzano Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz Mead
1/4 oz Pineapple Syrup
2 dash Housemade Aromatic Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
For my second drink at Deep Ellum, I asked bartender Dave Cagle for the Hornet's Nest. This rye drink featured mead to match the Hymenoptera-themed name, and the pairing of those two ingredients reminded me of the Healer at the Gallows. The Hornet's Nest began with a lemon oil aroma that led into a funky honey wine sip; over time, the mead was joined by lemon notes from the twist infusing into the drink. Next, the swallow started with vermouth and rye flavors and ended with pineapple and spice notes from the bitters on the finish. Overall, there was a good variety of flavors with similar tonality in the drink, and none of them stood out as sharp or domineering in the mix.

franklin mortgage co.

1 oz Ron Diplomatico Rum
1 oz Santa Teresa Claro Rum
1/4 oz Cynar
1/8 oz Green Chartreuse
1/8 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur)
1/8 oz Simple Syrup

Stir and pour into a rocks glass rinsed with Ardbeg Scotch. This is a room temperature cocktail so use no ice.

Last week we went to Deep Ellum in Allston for we were excited to try out some of the new drinks on their fall menu. One in particular had been tweeted about by one of the Dudekicker kids; they had mentioned that there was a room temperature cocktail on the list! Therefore, for my first drink, I asked bar co-owner Max Toste for this one, the Franklin Mortgage Co. Later, bartender Dave Cagle explained that the inspiration for the recipe came from some of the cocktails they were served when they visited the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company in Philadelphia.
In the drink, the smoky Islay Scotch dominated the aroma with undertones of Cynar poking through. The rums' rich caramel notes and the ingredients' sugar content on the sip balanced the heat of the spirits on the swallow. Moreover, the swallow also contained the Chartreuse and Maraschino flavors.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

black feather

2 oz Brandy (Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 oz Cointreau
1 dash Aromatic Bitters (Angostura)

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

One of the drinks that I spotted in Robert Hess' Essential Bartender's Guide when I re-found the Hoskins was his Black Feather. Hess created this drink in 2000 as his house cocktail for his home bar. We enjoyed this drink so much when we first made it that we put it on our International Migratory Bird Day cocktail party's menu in 2008. Despite there being 20 drinks at that event, the Black Feather was the clear winner of the night, and I believe that one out of every six boozy drinks requested was this one.
The Black Feather began with a citrussy aroma of the twist's lemon oil and the Cointreau's orange that was joined by some rich notes from the Spanish brandy. The sip contained the fruity elements of the liqueur's orange and the brandy's grape. Next, the swallow presented the brandy as well as spice and herbal notes from the bitters and dry vermouth, and it ended with a lingering orange flavor. While the Black Feather is not the most complex drink out there, it has a rather pleasing classic feel to it and has proven to be a rather solid and accessible potation.

bourbon & birch

1 1/2 oz Old Weller Antique Bourbon
1 oz Amaro Nonino
1/2 oz Root Liqueur

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.
After leaving Drink, I headed homeward and met up with Andrea at Bergamot. For a nightcap, I asked bartender Paul Manzelli for the Bourbon & Birch off of the menu. While the Bourbon part was the mighty 109 proof Old Weller Antique, the birch aspect was Art in the Age's Root Liqueur. Given the Amaro Nonino, I knew that the drink had Paul's signature on it, and it seemed like a progression from the Elizabetta where Root was swapped for the Cynar. The drink began with a grapefruit oil aroma that was joined by the liqueur's root beer-like ones. The Root notes continued on into the sip and swallow where it paired with the Bourbon's malt and barrel notes, respectively. The Amaro Nonino rounded out the swallow with some extra bitter complexity on the finish.

Monday, October 24, 2011

2 cups of blood

3/4 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
3/4 oz Suze Liqueur
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
3/4 oz Bittermens Mole Bitters

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

When discussing another cocktail with bartender Misty Kalkofen at Drink, she mentioned that they had Suze liqueur. While I do not usually request bartenders to make me specific off-menu recipes, I knew that they had all the ingredients for the 2 Cups of Blood in Beta Cocktails. Suze Liqueur is an aperitif liqueur made from wild harvested gentian root that rarely finds its way over to these shores. Pernod Ricard who produces Suze has claimed a few times (or leaked said information) over the last year or so that it will start being imported into this country, but alas, these declarations have been fruitless. The most recent one I read was from Robert Simonson who last month stated that bottles will appear on our shelves starting in January 2012. This comes 6 month after Audrey Saunders tweeted that the liqueur was on its way, and I forgot who mentioned it months before her. Only time will tell.
Since Drink was in possession of a bottle, it was time to try this recipe created by Tonia Guffey of New York City's DRAM, Flatiron Lounge, and Lani Kai. I have previously written about Tonia when I made her Teenage Riot and mentioned her and California Gold's No Boys Allowed event. Once Misty made up the 2 Cups of Blood, I was rather intrigued at how murky the drink looked from the chocolate bitters and how it picked up a blood-like hue from the Punt e Mes' grape. The grapefruit twist paid dividends on the aroma, and it was joined by a darker note from either the Suze or mole bitters. The sip that was filled with agave and grape notes came across as citrussy; at first I figured it was the grapefruit twist's oils affecting the drink, but as the drink wore on, I realized it had to be from the ingredients. Indeed, some descriptions of Suze include that it has a citrus component to it. The swallow began with the Suze's gentian, the Punt e Mes' bitter notes, and the bitters' chocolate notes and ended with the mezcal's smoke. With all of the bitter botanical elements in the drink, the 2 Cups of Blood finished rather dryly.

beneficio de cafe

1 1/2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1 oz Averna
1/4 oz Dark Muscovado Syrup (here Maple Syrup) (*)
1/4 oz Bénédictine Liqueur
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with freshly grated dark roast coffee bean.
(*) Maple syrup was used here as the proper sweetener was not available. My notes are a little illegible here, but I believe the proper sugar should be dark muscovado which is close to panela and jaggery. See text.

Last Monday, I paid a visit to Drink and found a seat in front of bartender Misty Kalkofen. When I inquired what new drinks she had in the works, Misty replied that she was gearing up for her mezcal talk for Portland Cocktail Week and had a few new drinks to showcase. The one that appealed most was the Beneficio de Café which roughly translates to the coffee processing plant; there, the refining aspect is the washing and soaking of the beans to remove the red skins followed by drying. Misty was a little discouraged at first for she lacked the proper sugar to make this drink. Originally, she created the drink with dark moscovado, a high molasses-containing, unrefined, sticky, brown sugar. She likened it to panela, and sugar descriptions I have read have compared it to jaggery. In a pinch, Misty opted for maple syrup but insisted that I was only being served a variation of Beneficio de Café.
The drink began with dark and rich aromas of the coffee bean garnish over vegetal agave ones (not the smokiness of the mezcal). The sip contained a full-flavored caramel and maple syrup notes that lead into a swallow containing complex bitter flavors followed by the smoky mezcal at the end. While not the intended combination, the maple and Bénédictine flavors paired rather well here.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

the morning delight

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo LXII) was picked by Kevin Gray of the Cocktail Enthusiast blog. The theme he chose was "Morning Drinks," and he provided the rationale of, "Breakfast cocktails were the norm in the nineteenth century, when cocktails were a common beginning to one's day. The drink's purpose was to help the imbiber recover from the past night's indiscretions and to steel their resolve for the coming day." And what better way to delve into the topic than browsing through my 19th century drink books?

The tome that yielded the most tempting recipe was William Schmidt's The Flowing Bowl. There, the Morning Delight stood out as an obvious choice by the name alone. Upon further inspection, the drink shared a lot of similarities with the Morning Glory Fizz. Both contain an egg white to fortify, absinthe to settle the stomach, citrus to replenish vitamins, whiskey to provide some hair of the dog, and soda water to lighten the load and make the medicine go down easier.
Two extra ingredients in the Morning Delight are sherry and calisaya. Calisaya is a class of quinine-forward liqueur or digestive bitters that are made in Spain and Italy. While little European product finds its way over to the United States, a liqueur maker in Oregon has recently begun making their own artisanal Calisaya Liqueur. Unfortunately, the product is only available in that region, but with the tasting notes of "fresh spices, effervescent citrus and bitter orange gently subside to scents of warm woods and sap laced in light caramel," I decided that in a pinch Amer Picon would make a great substitute especially when only two dashes were called for. Ramazzotti or other amaros would probably also work as a substitute here.
The Morning Delight
• 1 Egg White
• Juice of 1 Lime (3/4 oz)
• Juice of 1/2 Orange (3/4 oz)
• 1 spoon Sugar (1/4 oz Florida Crystals)
• 1/2 pony Absinthe (1/2 oz Kübler)
• 1 pony Whiskey (1 oz Bulleit Bourbon)
• 1/2 pony Sherry (1/2 oz Lustau East India Solera)
• 2 dash Calisaya (1/4 oz Amer Picon)
Stir citrus with sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add rest of ingredients and dry shake. Add ice and shake again. Strain into a Fizz glass, top with soda water (2-3 oz), stir, and add a straw.
First off, I have to admit that I made a pair of these at night and did not try to evaluate them as a morning drink proper. It seems slightly disingenuous, but it fit into my schedule better. The Fizz started out with an anise aroma from the absinthe. The sip was rather gentle and contained sherry and lime flavors with a hint of the absinthe, and the swallow showcased the absinthe a little better along with the whiskey flavors. Originally, I was afraid that the absinthe was going to dominate the drink in an unpleasant way; however, it was not overpowering. Indeed, the drink was light and smooth from the soda water, egg white, and orange juice, and I could definitely see drinking this in the morning as we have done with Ramos Gin Fizzes.

So cheers to Kevin for being the alarm clock for this month's Mixology Monday and to Paul Clarke for keeping the neighborhood kids quiet until noon for this fine event series!

Friday, October 21, 2011

astor

1/2 Brandy (1 1/2 oz Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)
1/4 Maraschino (3/4 oz Maraska)
1/4 Lime Juice (3/4 oz)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I garnished with a lime wheel.
While drinking the Racketeer, I flipped through Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 looking for a follow up. There, I spotted the Astor that reminded me of an Aviation or Tennessee, and a variation with brandy, lime, and Angostura Bitters seemed like it would be worth a try. The Astor began with a lime and brandy aroma, and the sip contained a sweet lime and grape must flavor. The brandy and Maraschino paired up rather well on the swallow and were followed by the Angostura Bitters' spice on the finish. The choice of the less funky Maraska liqueur instead of the more potent Luxardo seemed to keep the Maraschino flavor from dominating this drink. Indeed, the Astor was a solid drink without being overly challenging.

the racketeer

1 oz Del Maguey Minero Mezcal (Vida)
1 oz Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse 100)
1/2 oz Bénédictine
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Vya)
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass with an option rinse of Ardbeg Scotch (Caol Ila 12).

Last Friday, I decided to compare and contrast the 2009 Rogue Cocktails and the 2011 Beta Cocktails books (I left the 2010 'zine intermediary out of the mix) to see what recipes did not make the cut into the most recent edition. One of them was the Racketeer by Stephen Cole of the Violet Hour. The drink features a dual spirit of mezcal and rye, a combination I had only experienced before in Thomas Waugh's Red Ant, and balances the heat with sweet bitter liqueurs and vermouth.
On the Racketeer's nose, I got mainly mezcal whereas Andrea also picked up on the vermouth's grape aroma. The sip was the vermouth's grape combined with the rye's malt, and the swallow presented the Scotch followed by the mezcal. The Racketeer had a rather long finish that I attributed to the Bénédictine and Peychaud's Bitters and Andrea attributed to the Yellow Chartreuse.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

creole lady

1 pony Maraschino Liqueur (1/2 oz Luxardo)
1 sherry glass Bourbon (1 oz Bulleit)
1 sherry glass Old Madeira (1 oz Blandy's 5 Year Old Verdelho)
2 Maraschino Cherries (1 Luxardo)

Mix thoroughly with a spoon in a cocktail glass. Use no ice.

After the Maximilian Affair, I began scanning the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book for an interesting recipe that I had previously overlooked. In one of the later sections was the Creole Lady, but it was a different recipe that we used at home in 2008 - a recipe we found on the national LUPEC website. I wrote about that drink in the post about Josh Taylor's Copley Lady. The two major differences between the Creole Ladies were that this older recipe utilized Maraschino liqueur instead of grenadine and was room temperature and not waterized like the stirred with ice one. This of course overlooks a third aspect: the fact that the newer one calls for both green and red cherries (and yes, we did have scary green cherries that a friend brought to one of our parties to torment us).
I stayed true to this older recipe save for its size. Since a sherry glass is 2 ounces, I was not as gung-ho about a 5 ounce drink that contained nothing non-alcoholic in it. Therefore, I cut the recipe in half which seemed more appropriate for the glass sizes of the day. The Creole Lady began with the Madeira's sharp wine aroma that was colored slightly by the Maraschino liqueur. The grape and whiskey's malt contributed greatly to the sip. On the swallow, the soothing sweetness of the liqueur and its funky cherry flavor helped to balance some of the oxidized flavors from the Madeira and the heat of the Bourbon. Overall, the Creole lady was very well balanced without chilling or waterization; this was most likely from the lighter proof of the Madeira and the high sugar content of the Maraschino.

maximilian affair

1 oz Mezcal (Del Maguey Mezcal Vida)
1 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

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

Last Thursday, I decided to make a Boston neo-classic that Andrea had tried but somehow I had missed, namely Misty Kalkofen's Maximilian Affair. While I used the recipe in Food & Wine: Cocktails 2009, I knew that there were other variations. A few days later, I had the chance to sit in Misty's bar section at Drink and asked her what the real proportions were. Misty explained how she created the drink originally at Green Street for Ron Cooper of Del Maguey after he pulled a bottle of mezcal out for her to try. The Del Maguey products were not available here at that time, so luckily she still had enough of a sample to use it in a St. Germain recipe competition. Otherwise, to showcase the drink to others, she opted for a blanco tequila which really let the St. Germain shine. One variation that popped up was Eric Felton's adaptation that he wrote about in the Wall Street Journal. Eric's altering the recipe to his tastes has skewed other's appreciation of Misty's original balance, and the recipe in Imbibe Magazine is somewhere between the two. Often the recipe is attributed to the Drink bar, but its genesis pre-dates its opening a little over 3 years ago.
The Maximilian Affair historically was a French intervention in Mexico during the mid-19th century. Similarly in the drink, a French liqueur intervenes with the heat and smoke of the Mexican spirit. In the aroma, the mezcal notes were brightened by the twist's lemon oil. Next, the fruity and floral sip presented the lemon juice, St. Germain, and Punt e Mes' grape flavors. The Punt e Mes continued on in the swallow with its bitter notes that paired with the mezcal's smoke to dry out the drink at the end.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

portolono

1 1/4 oz Cacao Nib-Infused Gin (*)
1 1/4 oz Punt e Mes
1 1/4 oz Aperol

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Flame an orange twist over the top.
(*) 3 Tbsp cacao nib in 750 mL bottle of Beefeater, infused for 12 hours, and strained. I scaled this down to 1 1/5 tsp of nibs in 3 oz Beefeater Gin for 24 hours and strained.
In a Serious Eats article about Fall cocktails at Manhattan's Aldea restaurant, bar manager Brian Block's Portolono caught my eye. Beside the concept of chocolate-infused gin that attracted me, the Portolono came across as a hybrid of two Negroni variations, the Contessa and the Patrician. To match my excitement about the drink and the infusion I had made, I decided that the Portolono was the perfect use for our recent antique store purchase of Heisey Ipswich cocktail coupes. The drink began with orange from the twist and chocolate notes from the infused gin on the nose. The orange oil aroma prepared the mouth for the Aperol; moreover, the Punt e Mes' grape helped to round out the sip. The swallow contained the chocolate and gin which meshed rather well with the Punt e Mes' bitter notes.

bourbon derby flip

3/4 oz Four Roses Bourbon
3/4 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry
3/4 oz House Rum Blend (*)
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Cream
1 Egg

Shake once without ice and once with. Double strain into a coupe glass.
(*) A mix of 5 rums: El Dorado 151, Flor de Caña Gold, Appleton, Old Port, and Cruzan Blackstrap.
For my after dinner drink at Eastern Standard last week, I asked bartender Carrie Cole for the Bourbon Derby Flip. Beside the whiskey from Eastern Standard's own barrel of Four Roses Bourbon was a house rum blend that barback Seth Freidus explained to me. The five rums in the blend each came from a different country in the Caribbean, Central or South America and all had a darker or aged aspect to them that would pair well with the whiskey. The Flip began with sherry and caramel aromas, and the sherry continued on into the sip along with cinnamon notes. The cinnamon syrup was robust enough to last into the swallow where it worked well with the Bourbon and rum. With the sherry, whiskey, and cinnamon, the Bourbon Derby Flip reminded me of Erick Castro's French Toast Flip.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

bitter maita'i

1 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1 oz Campari
3/4 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Bols Triple Sec
1 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with an orange slice and add a straw.
Two Mondays ago after my DJ gig, Andrea and I traveled over to Eastern Standard for a late dinner. For my first drink, I asked bartender Carrie Cole for the Bitter Maita'i which recently appeared on the cocktail menu. The Eastern Standard recipe is a slight variation of the one created by Jeremy Oertel at Brooklyn's Dram whereby the rum was increased and the Campari was diminished. The drink began with an orange, Campari, and rum aroma. The citrus notes and the orgeat filled the sip, and the swallow showcased the Campari, lime crispness, and Smith & Cross funk notes. As the ice melted, the Campari's bitter flavors took a more prominent role. Victoria Moore in How to Drink explained this phenomenon:
If the bitterness makes you wince, there is a surprising way to reduce its impact. The mistake most people make when they're being tentative about Campari is to overdilute it, thinking that this will give it a gentler taste. It doesn't. Our perception of bitterness is very acute and is barely affected by increasing the dilution. What does change, though, is our perception of the sugar concentration, which you will notice decreasing with more dilution; and without the sugar to balance the bitterness, it will make you flinch even more.
Not that the bitterness bothered me, but it was definitely noticeable how the drink shifted over time. Andrea was not bothered by the Campari either, but she felt that the Smith & Cross gave the drink a bit of a rocket fuel note (an aspect that does dilute well with ice melt).

north end

2 oz Slieve Foy 8 Year Old Irish Single Malt Whiskey
1/2 oz Aperol
1/4 oz Amaro del Capo
2 dash Boker's Bitters

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

My second drink at Stoddard's was the North End that appeared like an intriguing Manhattan variation. Since the drink is named after a Boston neighborhood, perhaps grouping it with the Fort Point, Neighborhood Nine, and the Cambridgeport would be more accurate. One of the things that I was curious about was the "El Capo" on the ingredients list (especially since a Google search on my phone turned up an El Capo Tequila which seemed like an odd thing to pair with a good Irish whiskey). Therefore, bartender Eric Cross showed me the bottle of this amaro and poured me a taste. It possessed a rather caramel sip with mint family notes on the swallow. F. Paul Pacult described El Capo as having "intense, earthy notes of fresh herb and quinine, backed by a strong minerality and a hint of cola nut." Since the North End of Boston is the Italian section of town, it explained the two Italian liqueurs in the recipe; however, why Irish whiskey? Well, the North End during the 19th century was a stronghold for the Irish community especially when the potato famine brought a large number of immigrants to the city.
The North End greeted me with an orange oil and Irish whiskey aroma. The sip contained a semi-sweet malt flavor with light fruit notes from the Aperol. As the North End warmed up, the sip became more richly caramel. The swallow showcased the Amaro del Capo, especially its mint-like flavors, which helped to dry out the drink. Overall, I would characterize the North End more as a cousin to the Toronto than as a Manhattan proper.

Monday, October 17, 2011

kentuckian

2 oz Jim Beam Bourbon
3/4 oz Bols Orange Curaçao
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 - 1/2 oz Honey Syrup, 3:2 (*)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a cocktail glass rimmed with bee pollen.
(*) The recipe was originally written as 1/4 oz honey syrup, but my drink was made with 1/2 oz.

Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I ventured down to Stoddard's Fine Food & Ale. One of the new drinks on the menu that caught my eye was the Kentuckian which seemed like a pleasing egg white Whiskey Daisy. Added to that basic idea were two bee aspects. Honey as a sweetener was something I was more used to; however, the bee pollen-rimmed glass intrigued both Andrea and me. When Andrea asked bartender Eric Cross why the drink had a bee pollen garnish, Eric replied, "Well why not bee pollen?" Eric then explained how the pollen was a superfood that was not only high in protein and nutrients but good for allergies. He also stated that the inclusion of bee-derived ingredients was in support of honey bees that have been dwindling in numbers.
The bee pollen provided a floral note that colored the whiskey aroma. The egg white added a creamy component to the honey-citrus flavored sip, and the lemon carried through into the swallow along with the Bourbon notes. With each sip, the bee pollen got transferred onto my lips which added an interesting textural component. Moreover, the pollen donated a bitter-floral taste that complemented the Angostura Bitters rather well.

hoskins cocktail

2 oz Gin (Beefeater Summer)
3/4 oz Torani Amer
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
1/4 oz Cointreau
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

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

After the Bluebeard's Passion, I spotted an old favorite in Robert Hess' Essential Bartender's Guide, namely Chuck Taggart's Hoskins. I was first introduced to the drink around spring of 2007 when it appeared on Eastern Standard's menu. It along with the Brooklyn and Prospect Park quickly became my favorites there. While I had been reading and commenting on Chuck's Gumbo Pages during that time, it was a few months later before I connected the fact that he had created the drink. Chuck based the drink off of the Mother-in-Law, a drink I was introduced to a few months later at the Boston LUPEC Tea Party event in October 2007 (the DrinkBoston link has a photo of Andrea and me at the event!). Allegedly my speaking about the drink and the Gumbo Pages encouraged Jess to try the Hoskins so the drink does appear on the blog. However, at Eastern Standard (and at home), we had the drink with Amer Picon; Chuck, on the other hand, prefers Torani Amer. Since we got a bottle of Torani Amer at the swag room at Tales of the Cocktail 2010, it was time to re-experience the Hoskins as Chuck envisioned it.
The Hoskins began with an orange and Maraschino aroma. While the sip was primarily a bitter orange from the Torani Amer, Cointreau, and Regan's, the swallow paired the Maraschino and gin notes. As the drink warmed up, the flavor balance improved for the Maraschino became less forward. I think that Amer Picon bridged the gap between orange and Maraschino better, for the Torani Amer version came across as more Maraschino-y than I remember Eastern Standard's version being. Perhaps, I should revisit this with a side-by-side taste test in the future to have greater confidence in this observation.

Friday, October 14, 2011

bluebeard's passion

1/2 Bourbon (2 oz Old Weller Antique)
1/4 Passion Fruit Juice (1 oz)
1/8 Blue Curaçao (1/2 oz Senior Curaçao + 2 drop blue food coloring)
1/8 Dry Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Prat)
2 dash Strawberry Syrup (1/4 oz Strawberry Shrub) (*)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I opted to strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice and garnished with an orange wheel (in retrospect, garnishing with mint would probably work better!).
(*) A good substitution would be either a half strawberry muddled in a 1/4 oz of simple syrup (with the inclusion of a fine straining step at the end) or a 1/4 oz crème de fraise.

When I spotted the Bluebeard's Passion last Saturday night in the Café Royal Cocktail Book, I first thought it was a Tiki drink named after a pirate akin to Blackbeard's Ghost. However, given the book, 1937 in the UK probably was an unlikely time and place for Tiki; meanwhile, Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic were only getting their starts in America. Moreover, Bluebeard was not a pirate but a landloving character in a French literary folktale written in the late 17th century by Charles Perrault, the same author who created Cinderella. In the tale, Bluebeard was a rich nobleman with a penchant for killing off his wives, until the eighth one figured it out. Scholars believe that Perrault modeled the Bluebeard character after a 15th century nobelman, Gilles de Rais, who was quite a prolific serial killer.
Despite the drink pre-dating the Tiki movement, the recipe still contains passion fruit juice and blue Curaçao. The fact that the base spirit was Bourbon instead of rum did not ruin the Tiki feel for I have had Bourbon Tiki drinks such as the Ken-Tiki. Nor was I deterred by the blue curaçao which I lacked, for it is nothing more than regular liqueur with blue food coloring. Unfortunately the natural blue food coloring that I used did not do as good of a job as the chemical blue food dyes we also have, especially after the brown spirit was added. While the recipe did not suggest serving it over crushed ice, rounding out the Tiki feel seemed appropriate.
The Bluebeard's Passion began with a fruity Bourbon aroma. The whiskey came across in the sip as a malt note that was flavored by the strawberry and Curaçao. Moreover, the Bourbon continued on in the swallow with its barrel-aged heat that was spiced with Angostura and dry vermouth; the passion fruit did not appear until the end where it pleasantly lingered on the aftertaste. As the ice melted, the drink got more interesting as the whiskey became less prominent and the other flavors were allowed to shine; perhaps a less robust Bourbon would work better here, but in the end, the crushed ice did its job to sooth the drink. In retrospect, given the Bourbon and pseudo-Tiki theme, a mint sprig garnish would not be out of place here.

amore morado

1 oz Tequila Blanco (Espolón)
1 oz Sloe Gin (Averell Damson Gin)
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Crème de Violette (Rothman & Winter)
1/3 tsp Absinthe Verte (Obsello)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an edible violet (fresh or candied) if available.

While searching in Absinthe Cocktails for the evening's cocktail last Friday, I spotted Phil Ward's Amore Morado. The recipe paired tequila and sloe gin -- a combination that worked rather well in another of Phil's drinks, the Lipspin. Instead of sloe gin proper, I used a recent purchase of a related plum-infused spirit, Averell Damson Gin that Four Pounds Flour blogger Sarah Lohman wrote about here a few months ago. Beside citrus and absinthe, the recipe also included crème de violette which seems appropriate for the drink name translates to "violet love."
The violet in the Amore Morado began in the aroma where it merged with the absinthe's anise notes. The sip contained citrus and plum flavors that were shaped by floral notes, and the violet became more notable on the swallow where it joined the agave and absinthe. Andrea summed up the drink best with her declaration of "wow... it's like drinking flowers!"

Thursday, October 13, 2011

bikini atoll

1 oz Wray & Nephew Rum
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1/2 oz Curaçao or Triple Sec (Senior Curaçao)
1/2 oz Orgeat (BG Reynolds)
1 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice and a spent 1/2 lime shell. Add a straw and garnish mint sprigs.

Last week for Thursday Drink Night, the theme was the "Rick Stutz Dance Party"; Rick is the man behind the Kaiser Penguin blog, and that event at December's Drink.Write in Washington, DC, will be in his honor. The goal was to come up with possible cocktail menu items for that night given either Rick's preferred ingredients or references to Rick himself in the titles. Knowing that Rick loves Wray & Nephew Rum, I thought back on a J.Wray drink I had earlier in the year, the Nuclear Daiquiri. From that drink, I usurped a few elements from it and merged it with the classic Mai Tai. Instead of calling it a Nuclear or Atomic Mai Tai, I named it the Bikini Atoll after the islands where nuclear testing was done in the 1940s and 50s. Moreover, Bikini Atoll sounded a lot like Cuban Anole which was a delightful Mai Tai variation created by Ben Sandrof and served at Manhattan's PKNY bar.
The Bikini Atoll's mint garnish contributed greatly to the drinks aroma. The sip contained the citrus components of lime juice and orange liqueur as well as the orgeat notes. The swallow was a potent combination of the Jamaican rum, Green Chartreuse, and spice notes especially the falernum's clove. The Bikini Atoll was definitely funky and strong while still being rather drinkable and refreshing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

eider duck

1/4 Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)
1/4 Cognac (1/2 oz Courvoisier VS)
1/4 Kirschwasser (1/2 oz Trimbach Kirsch)
1/4 Grand Marnier (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After the Procession, I decided to flip through the Café Royal Cocktail Book for a followup. There, I spotted the Eider Duck that I had first discovered over three years ago when I was assembling the menu for our International Migratory Bird Day cocktail party. The drink was one of the ones I put on the list without testing before hand and I regretted afterwards not having tried it; my notes say that I made one but I neglected to ask the recipient how it turned out. The recipe first appeared in the Café Royal Cocktail Book and was credited to C.A. Gadina who was most likely a member of the UK Bartenders Guild. From what at first seemed to be a motley assortment of ingredients quickly began to look like a cherry-flavored Sidecar after further inspection.
The Eider Duck greeted my nose with the kirsch's cherry with perhaps a hint of orange from the Grand Marnier. The sip presented a lemon flavor that was neither crisp nor sweet; it came across as a mellowed out or dulled citrus flavor perhaps due to the Grand Marnier. The drink finished off with a pleasing combination of cherry and brandy flavors on the swallow. Indeed, the addition of kirsch to a Sidecar recipe donated a degree of elegance to the mix.

procession

1 1/2 oz Espolón Tequila Blanco
3/4 oz White Crème de Cacao (Marie Brizard)
1/2 oz Ruby Port (Taylor Fladgate)
3/4 oz Chilled Hibiscus Tea (Wu Wei Tea)
2 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

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

Just like last year, the Espolón rep sent us a well curated set of Day of the Dead-themed cocktail recipes. I rather appreciate the time and effort the brand spends in gathering up unique and tasty recipes instead of sending out an un-inspired Margarita variation or other. From the previous batch, I made H. Joseph Ehrmann's Ashes to Ashes, Thomas Waugh's Fresa Catrina, and Christopher Bostick's Marigold Ofrenda. From this years collection, a recipe from Daniel Hyatt of San Francisco's Alembic caught my eye. His drink, the Procession, utilizes a brightly colored hibiscus tea which is frequently drank in Mexico as an iced beverage called Agua Fresca. Here, we substituted Wu Wei which contains hibiscus as well as other botanicals for we lacked pure hibiscus tea in the house.
The Procession began with an orange oil aroma that was joined by tequila and cacao notes; next, the red elements, the rich grape of the ruby port and the herbal notes from the tea, filled the sip. Finally, the swallow contained the tequila, chocolate, and orange flavors along with some additional spice from the tea. Overall, the Procession was smooth and surprisingly not overly sweet; perhaps the tequila and the tea's tannins helped to dry out the sugar content here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

gulistan

1 oz Bols Genever
3/4 oz Amaro Montenegro
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Massenez Crème a la Fraise
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

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

The previous time we were at Estragon, bartender Sahil Mehta had a pair of Bols Genever recipes. While I opted for the Prince of Orange as it contained an intriguing combination of Drambuie, citrus, and marmalade, Andrea picked the Gulistan. Since she enjoyed it, I decided to give it a go this visit. In naming this complex fruity drink, Sahil associated the Dutch origin of the Genever with the tulip; and in thinking about a field of tulips, Sahil chose the Gulistan as the drink name after the 13th century Persian poet whose name means "flower garden."
The Gulistan began with a pleasing strawberry, malt, and lemon oil aroma. The sweet Aperol and the crème a la fraise fruit notes combined on sip along with the tart lemon. Next, the swallow countered these lighter notes with the Amaro Montenegro's caramel and herbal flavors. The Bols Genever provided a solid backbone in this drink without being all that forward; it did, however, add a malty richness on the swallow that worked well with the amaro.

[alucarda]

1 oz Cynar
1 oz Tequila
1/2 oz Chili-infused Tequila (*)
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Egg White

Shake once without ice, add ice, and shake again. Strain into a rocks glass, top with ~1 oz Regatta Ginger Beer, and add a straw.
(*) Adjust ratio of tequila to infused spirit according to the strength of the infusion and desired taste. Also note, previously, this drink was made without spicy tequila so feel free to opt out.

Monday last week, Andrea and I went to the South End to have dinner at Estragon. For a first drink, bartender Sahil Mehta had a tequila drink that he wanted to showcase. I was a little taken aback by the concept of the chili-infused tequila, but after having a non-traumatic time with the Conquistador, I figured that recalibrating my ability to take alcohol and heat at the same time was in order. Sahil did mention that he originally created this drink without pepper-infused spirits; however, someone at the bar requested a spicier drink, and Sahil discovered that the drink worked a little better that way. I was also drawn to the recipe for it contained Cynar and pineapple. The splendid pairing of tequila and Cynar has been mentioned here in drinks like Under the Volcano and Lipspin; moreover, the pairing of pineapple and Cynar was quite noteworthy in the Green Jacket.
On the nose, I found the pineapple aroma to be the strongest while Andrea honed in on the ginger. The sip contained the tickle of the carbonation that sharpened the pineapple flavor, while the swallow presented tequila and the Cynar's darker herbal notes -- both of which were mellowed by the egg white. The chili pepper came across as a light, lingering sensation; the ginger later joined the chili's heat as its zing built up over successive sips. I was quite impressed at how well Cynar's lower notes countered the higher ones of the ginger beer and worked to balance the drink. For a name, I dubbed this the Alucarda after the Mexican sort-of vampire flick from the late 70s that turned into a B-movie cult classic.

Monday, October 10, 2011

[shisha sour]

2 oz Talisker Scotch
3/4 oz Velvet Falernum
1/2 oz Drambuie
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dropper Bitter Science Ras el Hanout Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

For a second drink at No. 9 Park, bartender Ted Kilpatrick wanted me to try one of his newer creations -- a smokey Scotch drink that was spiced with Ras el Hanout Bitters. Ras el Hanout is a Moroccan spice mix that is used in a lot of North African cooking. While house blends can vary, most contain cardamom, clove, cinnamon, chili, coriander, peppercorn, turmeric, and cumin that perhaps can be similar to the spiced syrup in the Moroccan Old Fashioned that I was served last year. When tasted straight, the bitters had an almost curry-like flavor to them and seemed like they would complement the recipe's falernum rather well.
On the aroma, I detected lemon and Scotch with a hint of spice while Andrea picked up more of the Talisker and the Drambuie's heather. The sip was a honey-lemon Sour that possessed a bit of the Moroccan-style spices. The spices continued on the swallow where the bitters and the falernum's clove punctuated the smokey Scotch. For a name, I dubbed this one the Shisha Sour after the flavored tobacco used in hookah pipes in Morocco as well as other parts of North Africa and the Middle East.

conquistador

1 1/4 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1 1/4 oz Soberano Spanish Brandy
3/4 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao
2-3 drop Thai Chili Extract
1 dash Bitter Science Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.

After attending a wedding in Boston two Sundays ago, Andrea and I decided not to waste our dapper attire and instead paid a visit to the bar at No. 9 Park. Bartender Ted Kilpatrick showcased for us a draft of the larger cocktail menu that they are assembling, and the drink that caught my eye was the Conquistador. The drink created by Brendon, one of the other No. 9 bartenders, utilized some of bartender Sam Olivari's chocolate bitters to work with the Spanish brandy that was invading the Mexican spirit.
The Conquistador began with a smoke and agave aroma from the mezcal, and the sip proffered a rich, chocolaty grape flavor. Next, the swallow contained agave and brandy notes that were chased by smoke and chili pepper heat on the aftertaste. My fears that this drink would be too spicy were allayed after a few sips; indeed, the pepper extract provided a pleasant low level of heat that was not overwhelming in this recipe. In addition, the chocolate from the liqueur and bitters worked well in the drink; Ted commented that cacao makes for a good bridge here for it often acts on angular flavors and makes them more rounded.

Friday, October 7, 2011

fernet piña colada (no. 34)

1 oz Spiced Rum (Kraken)
1 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Coconut Cream
3 oz Pineapple Juice

Shake with ice and strain into an crushed ice-filled Tiki mug, Collins, or other ~12 oz glass. Garnish with a paper umbrella and/or a pineapple wedge and cherry; add a straw.

Two weeks ago, when I was shown the complete list of drinks that appeared on the Hungry Mother cocktail menu, my eyes zoomed in on the No. 34 which was described as a Fernet Piña Colada. Thus, I requested it that night, but bartender Heather Mojer declared that not only did they not have the ingredients at the bar to make it, but the recipe was not even in the bar book. She later flagged down Alon Munzer, one of the restaurant's owners. Alon described how the drink was placed on the menu when Hungry Mother first opened. It was summer and Alon had a bag of paper parasols, so he asked the bartenders to come up with a drink to match the season and the festive garnish. While he could not remember the exact recipe either, he recalled that the ingredients were Coco Lopez, pineapple juice, Sailor Jerry, and Fernet Branca. With that general recipe in mind, I looked to Trader Vic and Beach Bum Berry; both had a 2 oz spirit and 1 oz coconut cream but varied by the amount of pineapple juice. I opted for a 3 oz portion between Vic's 2 1/2 oz and Berry's 5 oz measures.
The drink greeted the nose with Fernet's menthol aroma. Pineapple dominated the sip, and the coconut appeared on the swallow with a lingering Fernet flavor at the end. Overall, the Fernet Piña Colada was a lot less Fernet-y than we expected it would be, and it was very similar to the Fernet Painkiller-like Beach Cruiser by Chad Arnholt. However, the Beach Cruiser definitely had a larger rum signature than this drink did; perhaps something more robust like Zaya would work well here too.

lipspin

1 1/2 oz Blanco Tequila (Avión)
3/4 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Sloe Gin (Plymouth)

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with a brandied cherry (Luxardo Maraschino cherry).

Friday after making Erik Ellestad's Ashtray Heart, I looked toward Food & Wine: Cocktails 2011 for inspiration. There, I found Phil Ward's quirky tequila drink, the Lipspin, that seemed like a great transition from Beta Cocktails especially with the other two ingredients being Cynar and sloe gin. The drink's description reads like a lot of the ones that Maks and others wrote for Beta Cocktails; Phil declared, "The three ingredients in this drink look odd together on paper but are in fact delicious. Cynar is bitter and sloe gin is a bit sweet. I can remember thinking, 'Would they work with tequila?'" I was intrigued by the concept of tequila and sloe gin and completely forgot that I had that combination in a similar drink -- Worcester's Citizen's Ticket to Paradise; instead of Cynar, the Ticket called for Swedish Punsch and rhubarb bitters. And the pairing of Cynar and sloe gin reared itself in one of the Beta Cocktails recipes I made a few weeks ago, namely Colin Shearn's Transatlantic Giant.
The Lipspin began with a robust agave and vanilla aroma with hints of Cynar's herbal low notes. A dark fruit flavor of the Cynar's caramel-coffee combining with the sloe berry appeared on the sip, and the swallow was very herbal and grassy with agave blending with the Cynar. Surprisingly, the sloe gin acted like a supportive ingredient and was not as dominating as it can often be.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

ashtray heart

1 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1 oz Punt e Mes
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass rinsed with a smoky mezcal (Del Maguey Vida). Twist a grapefruit peel over the top and discard.

Last Friday, I read off to Andrea the drinks left in Beta Cocktails that we have the ingredients for but have not made yet, and the one she selected was Erik Ellestad's Ashtray Heart. Erik described on his blog how he wanted a Scotch drink but ended up grabbing a bottle of Smith & Cross instead. To make the drink more Scotch-like, he included a rinse of mezcal to simulate the peat notes in the whisky. My best guess given his musical taste is that he named the drink after Captain Beefheart song title.
The Ashtray Heart's components provided a bounty of aroma; the mezcal and grapefruit went together well at the beginning of the nose. Later, I perceived the Smith & Cross while Andrea detected more of the Punt e Mes. On the palate, the sip offered up Punt e Mes' grape and Smith & Cross' caramel notes, and the swallow showcased the Punt e Mes' bitter complexity and rum's funk. Interestingly, the dark herbal notes at the end reminded Andrea of black olives.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

nonesuch scaffa

1 1/4 oz Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy (sub Calvados in a pinch)
1 1/4 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry (sub a Cream Sherry)
1/4 oz Crème de Cacao (Marie Brizard)
1/8 oz Fernet Branca (1 barspoon)

Build in a small cocktail glass with no ice and stir to mix. Garnish with orange oils from a twist.

The Thursday Drink Night theme last week was one that I proposed about a month ago, namely room temperature cocktails. Back in November 2010, Mixoloseum did host a drink night with a Scaffa theme; Scaffas are but one type of room temperature drink that we interpreted as "a mixed drink, often a liquor and a liqueur or two (with or without bitters), stirred in the absence of ice to cool and dilute it." I was curious as to what other styles people could conjure up especially after noting an enthusiasm for room temperature drinks in the latest edition of Beta Cocktails. Instead of venturing into the realm of Pousse-Cafés or other drink types, I stuck with the Scaffa. I thought about some of the room temperature drinks that Misty Kalkofen had done and thus, my eyes went straight to our sherry collection. To the sherry, I figured that an apple brandy would work well, and while the Newark and the Wigglesworth were not specifically on my mind, I decided to add bitter notes to the apple with Fernet Branca. I originally made the drink with Pedro Ximénez sherry, but it rather dominated the flavor profile; I remade the drink the next day with a lighter one, Lustau's East India Solera Sherry, which worked rather well. For a name, I considered the apple brandy and opted for an old Massachusetts varietal called the Nonesuch.
The Nonesuch Scaffa began with grape and orange aromas from the sherry and twist, respectively. Next, the sip showcased the fruit from the apple brandy and sherry, and the swallow presented the chocolate and nuttiness followed by a light menthol note from the Fernet Branca on the finish. When I let Andrea have a sip, she commented that it was "a pleasant sipper with some kick."

The other drinks made that night can be viewed on the Mixoloseum blog.

merchant's wife

1 oz Berkshire Mountain Distillers Ethereal Gin
1 1/4 oz Watermelon Shrub (*)
1 oz Dolin Dry
1/2 oz Boroli Barolo Chinato
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top with 1 oz soda water, garnish with a sprig of opal basil, and add a straw.
(*) while not how Craigie on Main makes it (see text below), one recipe for watermelon shrub is here.

Two Tuesdays ago, Andrea and I paid a visit to Craigie on Main where Ted Gallagher and Jared Sadoian were tending bar. On the menu was a delightful sounding drink, the Merchant's Wife, that included watermelon shrub in a highball format. When I inquired about the drink, Ted commented that they had a lot of vinegar pressed watermelon from the kitchen, and the shrub was a combination of cold and hot methods that utilized cider vinegar and plain sugar. I was intrigued; therefore, I asked Ted for the Merchant's Wife but requested that he not tell the merchant though.

The opal basil provided an attractive centerpiece to the Merchant's Wife; despite its different coloration, this cultivar is not too much different from normal basil, and its aroma worked well with the hint of watermelon that poked through. The sip came across as a citrussy red wine flavor with a bit of carbonation. Perhaps the citrus flavor was a combination of the bubbles and the shrub's vinegar since there was no citrus other than peel notes in the gin and vermouth. The sip also contained cinnamon from the Angostura Bitters that complemented the Barolo Chinato flavors. Finally, the swallow showcased the watermelon and the gin. Overall, the Merchant's Wife was rather savory from the vinegar in the shrub and from the herbal notes in the gin and wines, and it would probably make for a great aperitif.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

[czech julep]

2 oz Becherovka Liqueur
1/2 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 barspoon Ardbeg Scotch (1/8 oz)
1 dash Tiki Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with crushed ice. Add a straw and garnish with mint sprigs and 1-2 dashes of Angostura Bitters.
Two Mondays ago after my DJ gig, Andrea and I walked over to the Citizen Public House for dinner and cocktails. One of the drinks that bartender Sean Frederick made for me was a Julep featuring the herbal Becherovka liqueur. The end result reminded me of Eastern Standard's Metamorphosis with additional notes from the mint, smokey Scotch, and Angostura and Tiki Bitters. The Julep's aroma began with mint and Angostura's spice. The sip was a combination of the lemon, honey, and the liqueur's cinnamon notes, and the swallow showcased the Scotch's smoke and the Becherovka's clove.

brown jack

1 oz Gin (Cascade Mountain)
1 oz Brown Sherry (Lustau Dry Amontillado)
1 oz Passion Fruit Juice, Unsweetened
1 dash Orange Curaçao (1/8 oz Senior Curaçao)

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

For a nightcap on Sunday night, I began browsing the United Kingdom Bartenders Guild's Approved Cocktails from 1937. There, I spotted the Brown Jack that caught my attention with its use of passion fruit juice and sherry. The drink was named after one of the most famous British racehorses and one of the best stayers (long distance racing) of all time. In fact, Brown Jack won the Queen Alexandra Stakes, the longest flat race of the season, six consecutive times between 1929 and 1934. The drink itself was attributed to a Joe Bowen, but unfortunately much more is remembered about the horse he honored.
The garnish I added to the Brown Jack supplemented the sherry aroma with bright orange oil notes. The passion fruit appeared in the sip along with some grape notes from the Amontillado, and the sherry continued on in the swallow as a nuttiness that was followed by gin's botanical notes on the finish. Overall, the drink was pretty light and somewhat tropical as expected. Moreover, the sherry and passion fruit went remarkably well together, and the orange liqueur seemed to support the passion fruit's flavor.

Monday, October 3, 2011

no. 57

3/4 oz Mezcal Vida (or Blanco Tequila)
3/4 oz Becherovka Liqueur
1 1/2 oz Fresh Sour Mix (*)

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with 2 oz of Smuttynose Star Island Single (a Belgian-style pale ale) and add a straw.
(*) Hungry Mother's recipe is 1 part lemon juice, 1 part sugar, 1 part water.

In contemplating my second drink, bartender Heather Mojer showed me a more expansive list of the cocktails that have appeared on the menu at Hungry Mother. The one that caught my eye was the 57 for the combination of Becherovka liqueur and beer intrigued me. Heather mentioned that when Duane Gorey created this cocktail, it was a blanco tequila drink, but she prefers it a bit more with mezcal. The drink began with a beer aroma that was supplemented by spice notes from the Becherovka. The carbonation on the sip accompanied a citrussy beer flavor, and the swallow showcased the mezcal's agave and smoke and the liqueur's cinnamon and clove flavors. Lastly, the abbey-style beer provided a funky ale finish. Overall, the drink reminded me a Bohemio that gained some lightness and intrigue from the beer.

69 holland

1 oz Plymouth Gin
1 oz Bols Genever
3/4 oz Meletti Amaro
1/2 oz Amontillado Sherry
2 dash Peach Bitters

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

Two Sundays ago after dining at VeeVee in Jamaica Plain, Andrea and I decided to stop by Hungry Mother on our way home. For my first drink, I asked bartender Heather Mojer for the 69 Holland. I knew that the drink was a reference to the Boston Shaker store's address in Somerville, MA, and Heather described how the recipe was a collaboration with Adam Lantheaume, the store's owner. The concept of the dual gin styles in the recipe stemmed from a trip to Manhattan where Heather and others visited spirit-centric bars including Mayahuel (tequila and mezcal) and Vandaag (Genever and aquavit). The idea of using sherry in the 69 Holland also came from Mayahuel where many of the drinks use this fortified wine, and perhaps the Genever aspect was influenced by Vandaag. One of the other ingredients was Meletti Amaro which I was introduced to by Aaron Butler (ex-Drink, now Russell House Tavern) in beverages like the Death by Misadventure; Meletti has been described as containing caramel, saffron, and floral notes besides other herbal flavors.
The 69 Holland greeted me with a fresh grapefruit oil aroma. The sip presented the malt from the Genever and a light grape flavor from the sherry; moreover, there was a slight zing here from the grapefruit peel that could have been derived somewhat from the gins as well. Finally, the drink wrapped up with a nutty, caramel, and peach combination on the swallow.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

headless horseman

1 oz Pisco (Macchu Pisco)
1 oz Pumpkin Syrup (*)
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass pre-rinsed with Becherovka liqueur.
(*) To make the syrup:
Pumpkin Syrup
• 1/2 pound Sugar Pumpkin (1 cup grated)
• 1/2 cup Sugar
• 1/4 cup Water (optional, see below)
Grate a 1/2 pound of sugar pumpkin to produce 1 cup of shredded material. Add pumpkin and 1/2 cup of sugar to a pot. Heat on a medium flame for 5 minutes while stirring. Add 1/4 cup (2 oz) water and simmer for 5 more minutes. Let cool and strain. Produces a syrup that is under 1:1 in sweetness. Skipping the water addition will produce a syrup closer to 1:1 which will work well in Sours and other drinks (or to make the Headless Horseman in a sweeter fashion). Aproximate preparation time is under 15 minutes.
For Thursday Drink Night on the Mixoloseum, the theme was Fall and I decided to prep for the event by making a pumpkin syrup. After trying a few different methods to make it, I found that the sugar extraction aided by heat did a good job of pulling out the pumpkin's juice. When I tasted the syrup, it had a funky, earthy, and herbal quality to it that I felt perfectly matched one of our piscos. French vermouth functioned well to dry out the balance a bit and a rinse of Becherovka added some extra fall spice.
For a name, I went with the pumpkin theme and called the drink the Headless Horseman. It started with a pisco and vegetal-herbal aroma. The sip contained the grape notes of the pisco followed by those of the vermouth, and the swallow was all about the sweet pumpkin with a lingering spice afterwards.

Finally, check out some of the other drinks made that night on the Mixoloseum Blog, including Kaiser Penguin's muddled apple-meets-Hanky Panky, called the Apple and Pain.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

seersucker fizz

1 oz London Dry Gin (Beefeater)
1 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a Collins glass and top with 2 oz of soda water. Garnish with an orange twist and add a straw.

Wednesday last week, I was in the mood for a nightcap so I began to flip through Food & Wine: Cocktails 2011. There I spotted the Seersucker Fizz by Jim Romdall of Vessel in Seattle. Jim created the drink for a guest in a suit that informed him that the day was Seersucker Thursday. The holiday was started in the United States Senate in 1996 by Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi. The Senator wanted to bring some Southern charm to Washington, D.C., and to remind his fellow Congressmen of how they used to dress before air conditioning was invented in the 1950s. Therefore, on the second or third Thursday of June, it has become tradition for Congressmen and their staffers to wear seersucker suits to work.
The Seersucker Fizz started with an orange oil aroma from the garnish. The sip was crisp from the carbonation and citric acid, and it contained lemon and Punt e Mes' grape flavors as well. Next, the swallow presented the apricot and the drying forces of the gin's juniper and the Punt e Mes' bitter notes. Overall, the drink had a decent amount of complexity for an egg white Fizz which I attribute in a large part to the Punt e Mes.