1 1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac 3/4 oz Cynar 1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse 2 dash Regan's Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist a lemon peel over the top and discard.
For a follow up to the Andorra, bartender Ryan Lotz suggested a Cognac drink that Nicole Lebedevitch created call Ce Soir. The combination of brandy, Cynar, and Yellow Chartreuse was one that worked rather well in a Flip that she made for me two years ago. The Ce Soir offered up a lemon and resinous pine-like aroma that drifted into a sweet sip that showcased some of the softer elements of the Chartreuse. The Cognac began the swallow and led into Cynar's bitter flavors; moreover, the swallow ended with Yellow Chartreuse's bounty of herbal notes.
1 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac 1 oz Lustau Almacenista Amontillado Sherry 1 oz Nardini Amaro 1 barspoon Salted Rooibos Syrup (*) 1 dash Regan's Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Twist a lemon peel over the top and discard. (*) Recipe can be found in the Flip Royal entry. A barspoon of grenadine and a small pinch of salt would probably make a decent substitution here.
Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I paid a visit to Hawthorne in Kenmore Square. When I asked bartender Ryan Lotz what he could do with Cognac, he suggested this brandy, sherry, and amaro number that lacked a name. Since the Cognac and sherry are produced in neighboring countries, I suggested calling the drink the Andorra after the tiny country in the Pyrenees mountains that is independent of Spain and France. Strangely, people born in Andorra have one of the longest life expectancies, so perhaps drinking in their honor might rub off in positive ways.
The Andorra initially greeted the nose with a lemon oil aroma that later gained sherry notes. The sip was a rich caramel grape flavor; while Andrea picked up more of a chocolate note here, I got more of a toffee one. Next, the swallow began with the sherry's nuttiness and ended with lingering chocolate and bitter notes from the Nardini Amaro.
1 1/2 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy 1 1/2 oz Bonal Gentiane Quina 1 tsp Green Chartreuse (1/6 oz) 1-2 dash Aromatic Bitters (Angostura)
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Twist a grapefruit peel over the top and discard.
Two Saturdays ago for a nightcap, I selected a drink from Colin Shearn from Philadelphia's Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company called Always Crashing the Same Car. I found the recipe in an article from Philly.com about apple brandy drinks, and I was lured in by the use of Bonal and the David Bowie reference. The drink was named after a song where the lyrics express the self-loathing of making the same error time and time again. Moreover, with a base resembling the Marconi Wireless, a drink we named one of our cats after (as seen here), it would be hard for us to avoid this number. I was later informed that the drink was based off of the Bentley, an equal parts apple brandy and Dubonnet Rouge recipe; exchanging one automobile reference for another and one quinquina for another, the Always Crashing the Same Car took shape.
The Always Crashing the Same Car presented itself with a grapefruit aroma that mingled with Bonal's bitter grape notes. A dry apple and grape sip led into Bonal's bitter and the brandy's barrel aging notes, and the swallow rounded off with Green Chartreuse and Angostura Bitters at the end. Indeed, the drink worked excellently as a dark and brooding Marconi Wireless with perhaps shades of Coppa's Marconi Wireless #2's bitter tribute entering in my mind.
2/3 jigger Dry Gin (1 oz Martin Miller Westbourne) 1/2 jigger Orange Pekoe Tea (3/4 oz Oolong) 3 dash Grenadine (1/4 oz) 3 dash Lemon Juice (1/4 oz)
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added a lemon twist.
After the Toulouse-Lautrec, I decided to make the Pink Tea recipe I found in Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933. The drink stood out as most recipes during this time period, other than Punches and Hot Toddies, did not call for tea. Since the name Pink Tea caused me think of Pink Gin, the nautical implications of that drink made me reach for the Martin Miller Westbourne Strength Gin. The tea and lemon juice ingredients also reminded me of another sea-themed drink, the Lioness of Brittany, that we created for a Grand Marnier event two years ago.
The Pink Tea began with a lemon oil aroma that led into a lemon sip that contained a hint of grenadine. The tea notes dominated the first few swallows including a dry tannin finish. After a few sips, the swallow began to reveal the juniper and other gin botanicals as well. Overall, the Pink Tea tasted like iced tea with lemon for the gin rather lurked in the background.
1 oz North Shore No. 6 Gin 1 oz Atholl Brose or Drambuie (Drambuie) 1/2 oz Absinthe (Kübler) 1/2 oz Cane Syrup (JM Sirop) 3/4 oz Lemon Juice 1 Egg White
Shake without ice and then with. Strain into a cocktail coupe and garnish with a few drops of Angostura Bitters.
After purchasing some cane syrup earlier in the week, it was time to make the Toulouse-Lautrec from Gary Regan's Bartender's Gin Compendium. The drink, created by Timothy Lacey of Chicago's Drawing Room, honors the artist's love of absinthe which he used as a comfort to his bodily woes and as solace for his unsightly appearance.
The Toulouse-Lautrec's Angostura Bitters garnish donated cinnamon and allspice aromas to that of the absinthe's anise. The sip was a creamy honey and lemon flavor, and the swallow began with the gin's botanicals. After the gin, the absinthe presented itself followed by floral notes from No. 6 Gin's lavender and Drambuie's heather on the aftertaste.
1/2 oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum 1/2 oz Dark Rum (Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva) 1/2 oz Averna 1/2 oz Bénédictine 1 Egg
Shake without ice and then with ice. Strain into a cocktail coupe containing 2 oz of chocolate stout (Harpoon). Stir gently and garnish with 5 drops of Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters (sub other aromatic bitters).
Last week for Thursday Drink Night in the Mixoloseum chatroom, the theme was "blackout" in honor of all the SOPA/PIPA protests occurring across the web that week. In thinking about black ingredients to work with the theme, my mind went quickly to the family of dark amaros. One drink in particular that stood out was Ben Sandrof's Battle Royal Fizz which pitted Fernet Branca against Cynar in the form of a Royal Fizz lightened with stout beer. Instead of shooting for something as intensely herbal, I split the drink into half amaro and half dark rum; with the amaros, I went with the less aggressively flavored Averna and Bénédictine. The chocolate notes in Bénédictine made me reach for a chocolate stout to lighten the drink. When I lamented that the drink turned out brown instead, Andrea came to the rescue with the name.
The Brown is the New Black greeted the senses with a cinnamon and chocolate aroma. The rich, smooth sip offered up caramel and chocolate notes, and the rum, especially the blackstrap molasses notes, joined with the herbal flavors on the swallow.
1 1/2 oz White Rum (Tommy Bahama White Sand)
1/2 oz Cognac (Courvoisier VS)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup (BJ Reynolds)
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Two Wednesday ago, I decided to make the Boukman's Daiquiri from the Imbibe Magazine drink database. The recipe was created by Alex Day when he was working at Philadelphia's Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company, and he named the drink after an 18th century priest, Dutty Boukman. In 1791, Boukman's religious ceremony in Haiti served as a catalyst to the slave uprising that began the Haitian revolution. Instead of the blood allegedly drank in that ceremony to secure the participants' loyalty, the Boukman Daiquiri supplements the original Daiquiri with Cognac and cinnamon flavors. The drink began with lime and cinnamon aromas. While the sip contained the traditional lime and rum notes found in a Daiquiri, the swallow proffered the brandy's richness and cinnamon's spice to make for a rather elegant and flavorful variation.
2 oz Plantation 5 Year Barbados Rum 1 oz Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth 1/4 oz Batavia Arrack 2 dash Balinese Bitters (*)
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. (*) An equal parts Balinese peppercorn tincture and Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters mixture.
Tuesday last week, Andrea and I had dinner at Rendezvous in Central Square. For my first drink, I asked bartender Scott Holliday for the Red Rackham. The drink was named after the pirate captain in Tintin story who in turn was named after an early 18th century pirate, "Calico" Jack Rackham. I was quite curious about the bitters Scott crafted for this drink, and he explained that they were aromatic bitters combined with a tincture of Balinese Long Pepper. Compared to normal peppercorns, the Balinese ones are more floral, earthy, and complex with heat, fruit notes, and spice notes reminiscent of cardamom and nutmeg. Sticking to the theme, the recipe was based after the classic Pirate's Cocktail (rum, sweet vermouth, Angostura) with the addition of complexity from Batavia Arrack and the peppercorn tincture.
The addition of Batavia Arrack paid dividends in the aroma where its funkiness joined the sweet vermouth's richness and the aged rum's barrel notes. The vermouth's grape and rum's caramel notes filled the sip; next, the swallow began with rum and Batavia Arrack and concluded with spice on the finish including cinnamon and peppercorn. Like in the traditional Pirate's Cocktail, the aged rum worked well to complement the sweet vermouth.
2/3 jigger Rye Whiskey (1 1/2 oz Sazerac 6 Year) 1/4 jigger Dry Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Prat) 1 dash Maraschino Liqueur (1/4 oz Maraska) 1 dash Apricot Liqueur (1/4 oz Rothman & Winter) 1 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I garnished with a Luxardo Maraschino cherry.
Two Mondays ago for a nightcap, I began perusing Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 when I spotted the Polo cocktail. While I have had and written about numerous horse racing-themed drinks, I have never had one in honor of this lesser spoke of equestrian event. In addition, the recipe reminded me of the Brooklyn with the Amer Picon swapped out here for apricot liqueur and orange bitters.
The Polo began with a rye and Maraschino aroma that led into a malty sip modified with orange notes. On the swallow, the rye was joined by the Maraschino and apricot; interestingly, the apricot functioned to modify the Maraschino more than standing out as a distinctive flavor.
2 oz Famous Grouse Blended Scotch 1/2 oz Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur 1/2 oz Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.
For our second drink at Green Street, bartender Derric Crothers wanted to showcase one of his creations, the Christmas Grouse, that he developed for this past holiday season. The drink began with lemon oil and honey aromas, and the honey continued on into the swallow where it mingled with the Scotch's malt notes. The Scotch including its smoke notes appeared more in the swallow along with the Zirbenz's pine, and the honey reappeared as a pleasing aftertaste. Strangely, the Christmas Grouse had an intriguing pear flavor at first that we partially attributed to the Bärenjäger; later, the balance shifted to a more piney one as the drink warmed up. Overall, I was quite impressed at how well the Scotch and Zirbenz paired up; perhaps this is very similar to Craigie on Main's Northern Lights which paired Scotch with Clear Creek's Douglas Fir Eau de Vie.
1 1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac 3/4 oz Campari 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. Note: for the Combustible Edison, shake the Campari and lemon juice with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Heat the brandy in a chafing dish and ignite; pour the flaming spirit into the cocktail glass.
Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I decided to visit Green Street for drinks and dessert. For my first cocktail, I asked bartender Derric Crothers for the Edisonian. I had first tried the Edisonian in early 2008 after DrinkBoston's Lauren Clark wrote about it in the LUPEC Boston column. While her post did not attribute the drink recipe to any source, she did give credit to Brother Cleve and the Combustible Edison band for teaching her the recipe. Both the Edisonian and the Blue Blazer take on it, the Combustible Edison, appear in Paul Harrington's Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century. Harrington glosses over the Edisonian but seems to attribute the Edisonian to Brother Cleve's band as well. At first, Harrington offers up the Edisonian in case one was not brave enough to do the flaming version; however, in the side bar, he suggests the Edisonian for the cocktail hour and the Combustible Edison for the "late evening."
The Edisonian greeted the senses with a Campari and lemon oil aroma. The tart lemon on the sip was joined by the non-bitter fruity flavors of the Campari. The more bitter aspect of the Campari then appeared on the swallow along with the Cognac. Indeed, the brandy really took the edge off of the Campari which did not seem as intense or bitter as it normally can.
1 oz Mezcal (Sombra)
1 oz Campari
1/2 oz Ramazzotti Amaro
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
3 dash Chocolate Bitters (Housemade)
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and 2-3 drops of a smoky Islay whisky (Laphroaig 10).
We finally spotted Sombra Mezcal at Gordon's in Waltham and purchased a bottle. While it runs about the same price as (if not a few dollars cheaper than) Del Maguey Vida and has unique packaging, it is still part of the Del Maguey sphere of influence for Ron Cooper worked with two others to bring this product to market. Of the two, Sombra is the smoother and more balanced mezcals at this $30-35 price point. For a use, I decided on Casey Robinson's El Nacional that appeared in Imbibe Magazine a year ago.
El Nacional proffered a smoky aroma that seemed to be more Scotch than mezcal driven; in addition, this was brightened by citrus notes from the lemon twist and the orange in the Ramazzotti. The sip contained a caramel orange flavor, and this led into a smoky mezcal, chocolate, Campari, and herbal swallow. Later, iodine and other minerally notes from the mezcal appeared. Overall, El Nacional was not dominated by the Campari; in fact, it was not a very Campari drink at all such that Andrea inquired if the recipe contained Aperol instead.
1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin (Cold River) 3/4 oz Lillet Blanc (Cocchi Americano) 3/4 oz Green Chartresue 1 barspoon St. Germain (1/8 oz) 1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
After the Zumbo, I started perusing the PDT Cocktail Book and spotted the Albert Mathieu. The drink was created by Eastern Standard's own Kevin Martin and we wondered for a second how this drink got there. Then we realize that this was part of the missing link! Back in 2008, there was a New York City-Boston bartender exchange organized by Philip Ward and subsidized by Rob Cooper of St. Germain in terms of travel and lodging expenses. While we lent out Kevin for a few days, we got a chance to taste New York by acquiring PDT's Daniel Eun for a three night stint at Eastern Standard. Both Andrea and I wrote about the drinks we had including their Dewey D, Mariner, and Number 8, and we quite enjoyed the experience of mixology travel without leaving the city. We never bothered to ask Kevin what he made; instead, we heard tales of what it was like to work with Kold-Draft Ice before the technology took off here and how New Yorkers prefer their drinks a bit stiffer and less diluted than imbibers do in Boston. The cocktail of Kevin's that got in the drink book perfectly symbolized the cross pollination. Albert Mathieu was a French mining engineer who in 1802 first proposed a tunnel to span the English Channel. While the idea which included horse-power, oil lamps, and the like was too daunting in the 19th century, the concept later came to fruition in 1994 when the Chunnel connected the two countries. Moreover, the combination of French and English ingredients in the recipe rounded out the affair.
The Albert Mathieu's nose presented an herbal burst from the Green Chartreuse that was brightened by the orange oils from the twist. While the sip was light, sweet, and citrussy, the swallow packed a potent combination of the gin and Green Chartreuse. Furthermore, the St. Germain's floral notes worked well with the Chartreuse at the end of the drink. Overall, the Albert Mathieu was akin to a gin instead of Bourbon Endeavor or a Lillet instead of sweet vermouth Bijou.
1/2 Dry Gin (1 1/2 oz Knockabout) 1/6 Sweet Vermouth (1/2 oz Vya) 1/6 Dry Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Prat) 1/6 Curaçao (1/2 oz Senior Curaçao) 2 dash Fernet Branca (1/8 oz)
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added an orange twist.
Last Friday, we started the evening with the curiously named Zumbo from 1700 Cocktails for the Man Behind the Bar. The book provided no information of whom or what Zumbo was, but there was a famous art nouveau ceramist Dominique Zumbo that was still active around the time that the book was published in 1934. I was rather intrigued by the recipe since it looked like a juiceless Bronx or Satan's Whiskers embittered with Fernet Branca, and therefore, I needed to try it out.
The Zumbo began with an orange oil aroma with a hint of herbal notes. The orange and grape sip introduced the gin swallow that contained light Fernet Branca menthol and other herbal and bitter notes. Soon it dawned on me that the Zumbo reminded me of Eastern Standard's Heather in Queue, albeit one created 70 years earlier.
1 oz Light Style Gin (Cold River) 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc (Cocchi Americano) 1/2 oz Bénédictine 1/2 oz Aperol
Stir with ice and strain into a sherry glass. Garnish with a large lemon twist.
After the Brunswick, I searched through Gary Regan's Bartender's Gin Compendium and found an adaptation of Neyah White's Monarch that he created at Nopa in San Francisco. For a gin choice, I decided to try out my new bottle of Cold River Gin, a spirit made in Maine from potatoes, that I bought after finding it on sale. In the drink, the oils from the lemon twist combined with the Aperol to generate an almost apricot aroma. On the sip, the Cocchi Americano and Aperol provided a pleasing citrus and rhubarb flavor, and this led into the Bénédictine and gin finishing with a chocolate and herbal swallow. While the Monarch was rather light, it was perhaps a touch too sweet to classify as a perfect aperitif. The ingredient that made the drink shine for me was the Bénédictine which added a wealth of complexity that helped to unite the other elements.
2/3 Cognac (1 1/2 oz Courvoisier VS) 1/3 Dry Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Pratt) 1 dash Bénédictine (1/4 oz) 1 dash Picon Bitters (1/4 oz Amer Picon)
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added a lemon twist.
Wednesday last week, I was browsing the brandy section of Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 when I spotted the Brunswick. With Cognac, vermouth, and Bénédictine, the drink reminded me of a Fioupe Cocktail at first; however, the Brunswick had dry instead of sweet vermouth as well as an additional component of Picon. With the spirit, dry vermouth, and minor components of Picon and another liqueur formula, the Brunswick soon seemed more like a Cognac Brooklyn instead.
The Brunswick's aroma offered bright lemon oils over the Cognac, and the Amer Picon's orange notes joined the dry vermouth flavor on the sip. The beginning of the swallow showcased the Cognac and more of Amer Picon's dark caramel-orangeness followed by the Bénédictine's herbal notes at the end.
1 1/2 oz Añejo Tequila (Siete Leguas) 3/4 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat) 1/2 oz Cynar 1/4 oz St. Germain
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
After the Pimmeron, I opened up the Cocktail Collective book and spotted a drink that was very similar to Craigie on Main's Libretto called the Mexican Turnover. While the Libretto had sweet vermouth and chocolate bitters, this drink created by Jacob Grier contained dry vermouth, an orange twist, and a little less St. Germain. Otherwise, the two recipes were very similar in proportion, but as it turned out, they came across in very different ways.
On the nose, Andrea detected orange and Cynar notes and I got orange and tequila ones at first with Cynar aromas once the drink warmed up. The Mexican Turnover's sip presented a pleasant white wine note with the St. Germain adding to its fruit aspect; later, as the twist infused into the drink, orange notes began to appear here as well. Next, the combination of tequila and Cynar on the swallow led to a savory, herbal finish. Compared to the Libretto, the Mexican Turnover was less full bodied since it lacked the robustness of Carpano Antica, and it seemed more herbal due to the dry vermouth and perhaps less St. Germain in the mix. Furthermore, the drink's orange twist brought out a brighter and fruitier focus to the drink compared to the darker, richer ones from the Libretto's chocolate bitters.
1/4 Pimm's #1 (1 oz) 1/4 Swedish Punsch (1 oz Homemade) 1/2 Dry Vermouth (2 oz Noilly Prat) 1 dash Lemon Juice (1/8 oz)
Shake with ice and strain. I added ice cubes and a lemon twist.
As dinner was cooking Tuesday last week, I decided to make an aperitif that I had spotted in 1700 Cocktails for the Man Behind the Bar called the Pimmeron. While half of the content was dry vermouth, I was intrigued that the other half was a combination of Pimm's and Swedish Punsch. It was an odd but curious pairing, and the closest that I have experienced was Russell House Tavern's Battle of Trafalgar that matches the Pimm's with Batavia Arrack, one of the components of Swedish Punsch. While the Swedish Punsch I used was homemade, I did spot Haus Alpenz's Kronan Swedish Punsch at the Fresh Pond Mall's liquor store in Cambridge; therefore, it is no longer necessary to smuggle this liqueur in from Sweden or craft it yourself.
The Pimmeron presented lemon aromas along with the funk of the Punsch's Batavia Arrack. The fruit aspect of Pimm's combined with dry vermouth's wine notes on the sip, and the swallow contained the Punsch's tea, rum, and smoke notes along with some light herbal ones. The Pimmeron possessed a pleasing crispness to it from the lemon, dry vermouth, and tea tannins; moreover, it worked rather well with our dinner once it was served.
1 1/2 oz Becherovka Liqueur 3/4 oz Lemon Juice 3/4 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)
Shake with ice and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I went to Eastern Standard for dinner after my DJing gig. The drink that caught my eye was one of the earliest drinks on the Eastern Standard menu, the Metamorphosis, that was created there back in 2005 or 2006. While I had tasted Andrea's that she ordered in 2007, I had never had one of my own and the recipe has been sorely lacking here. At first I found it curious that the drink was in the "heritage" section of Eastern Standard's menu, but once I remembered that it was a Becherovka instead of gin Bee's Knees, I realized it fit right in. Also in this section was the l'Amerique, their take on the Green Point -- a modern classic that was created about the same time as the Metamorphosis. With a Czech connection of the Becherovka liqueur, the drink was named after Czech-born writer Franz Kafka's best known work.
The Metamophosis that bartender Seth Freidus made for me began with a lemon oil aroma that led into a honey and citrus sip. Instead of juniper and other gin botanicals in the classic Bee's Knees, the swallow here proffered clove, cinnamon, and other spice notes. I could definitely see how the success of converting the Bee's Knees into this tasty beverage using Becherovka also lured the Eastern Standard staff into recently crafting the Kyselý, their spice-driven take on the classic Pisco Sour.
1 oz Cardamaro 1 oz Amaro Montenegro 1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
Build in an ice-filled Highball glass with a long Horse's Neck-style orange peel garnish. Top with ~2 oz soda water, stir, and add a straw.
For my second drink at Brick and Mortar, I decided to stick with the tall drink theme and try the Khartoum. While the cardoon (a relative of the artichoke) in Cardamaro might trigger the name Khartoum, the reason why the drink was named after the capital of Sudan was unclear. Perhaps the concept is tied together by the long orange peel garnish. Khartoum may be derived from the Arabic kartūm meaning the end of an elephant's trunk; geographically, the trunk would be the narrow strip of land between the Blue and White Nile Rivers leading to the city. So perhaps instead of calling it a Horse's Neck garnish in the instructions, an Elephant's Trunk one would be more appropriate.
The Khartoum's bouquet contained caramel notes from the Amaro Montenegro and rum notes from the Smith & Cross; as the glass' volume diminished and more of the garnish was revealed, the drink began to provide orange aromas as well. The sip proffered a crisp, carbonated caramel and rum flavor. The funkier aspects of the rum came out in the swallow where they joined the complex herbal wine notes of the Cardamaro and bitter notes of the Amaro Montenegro. Of all the flavor pairings, the Amaro Montenegro's herbal caramel richness complementing the Smith & Cross' bolder notes was the most impressive.
1 oz Cocchi Americano 1/2 oz Aperol 1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
Shake with ice and strain into a Highball glass filled with fresh ice. Top with ~2 oz soda. Garnish with an orange twist and add a straw.
Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I paid a visit to Brick and Mortar where we found seats in front of bartender Misty Kalkofen. For my first libation, I asked Misty for the Lido Shuffle from the tall drinks section of the menu. The recipe for the Lido Shuffle was created by Evan Harrison when he wanted to develop a lower in alcohol option while working at Deep Ellum. Once the recipe reached the Brick and Mortar menu, it was renamed by owner Patrick Sullivan not for the stumbling walk of patrons leaving Club Lido in Revere, but for Boz Scaggs song from the 1970s.
The Lido Shuffle's orange twist contributed greatly to the drink's aroma. The crisp, carbonated citrus sip led into an Aperol swallow that was affected by the lemon and Yellow Chartreuse. Interestingly, the flavor combination came across as an herbal orange flavor.
3/4 oz Macallan Single Malt Scotch (Glenrothes 1991) 3/4 oz Campari 3/4 oz Punt e Mes 3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse 1 dash Peychaud's Bitters 1 dash Regan's Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass rinsed with Green Chartreuse.
After having the equal parts Mystic Marvel, we moved on to another basically equal parts one from Beta Cocktails. The Trans-Europe Express created by Arizona's Ciaran Wiese had more to do thematically with Bergamot's Assembly Cocktail for each name reflects the multinational sources of its main spirits. Or perhaps that Ciaran is a Kraftwerk fan as well?
The Trans-Europe Express' bouquet offered up white pepper, fennel, and something floral perhaps from the Scotch and Yellow Chartreuse. While the sip showcased the Scotch's malt and Punt e Mes' grape, the swallow proffered a bounty of complex flavors including Punt e Mes' and Campari's bitter flavors, Scotch's smokiness, and hints of Green Chartreuse's coriander note. Indeed, the Trans-Europe Express was a rather complex and well-balanced sipper that made for an excellent nightcap.
1/4 Brandy (3/4 oz Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva) 1/4 Calvados (3/4 oz Morin Selection) 1/4 Drambuie (3/4 oz) 1/4 Lime Juice (3/4 oz)
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
After having Bergamot's Assembly Cocktail, I was reminded of a drink I spotted earlier in the week in the 1934 drink book 1700 Cocktails for the Man Behind the Bar. The drink was called the Mystic Marvel; with brandy, Drambuie, and citrus (albeit one with lemon and the other with lime), the last equal part component here was Calvados instead of the Assembly's sherry. The name Mystic Marvel was rather curious and I could only surmised that it was named after a famous magician during that time period, a William Alma a/k/a the Great Pharos, the Mystic Marvel. Whether or not Alma's fame would have spread enough to capture the attention of the creator of the recipe, the drink still remains an interesting trick.
The orange oils from the twist worked well with the Mystic Marvel's lime and Drambuie nose. The sip contained lime, apple, and honey flavors, and the swallow presented brandy and Drambuie's Scotch elements that ended with additional lime notes. Even with the Drambuie's sweetness, the Mystic Marvel's balance was pleasingly on the crisp side of things.
1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye 1/2 oz Vergano Americano Chinato 1/2 oz Cynar 1/2 oz Aperol 1 dash Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
For a second cocktail at Bergamot, bartender Paul Manzelli made me A Few of My Favorite Things. With the name based off of a song from The Sound of Music, there were none of the things Mary Martin or Julie Andrews loved. Luckily, Paul's favorite things were more in my mood than raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. The drink's aroma presented the Aperol and orange oils with a darker note from either the Cynar or Vergano at the end of the inhale. The sip was rather full flavored with grape and Aperol notes, and the swallow concluded with rye and Cynar elements.
3/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac 3/4 oz Grant "La Garrocha" Amontillado Sherry 3/4 oz Drambuie 3/4 oz Lemon Juice 1/2 barspoon Honey Syrup
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
Thursday last week, I found my way over to Bergamot where bartenders Paul Manzelli and Kai Gagnon were working. After requesting the Assembly Cocktail on the menu, I asked Kai if the drink was in reference to a Somerville landmark, namely Assembly Square, akin to their Beacon Fix. While Paul was amused by that suggestion and expressed a fondness for what the Assembly Square Mall used to be, Kai commented that it was merely an assembly of three different nations' spirits.
The Assembly Cocktail greeted my nose with lemon juice, orange oil, and sherry notes. The lemon and honey sip contained some of the sherry's grape flavors. The sherry shone through more on the swallow where it joined the Cognac and Drambuie's Scotch notes on the rather smooth finish. Overall, the Assembly Cocktail reminded me of a remixed Hoop La albeit with less citrus and more delightful honey, whisky, and nutty grape notes.
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added an orange twist.
For a nightcap two Tuesdays ago, I decided to make the Libbey Cocktail in Louis' Mixed Drinks from 1906. What seemed at first like a very simple cocktail turned out to be a quite enjoyable and elegant number. The Libbey began with orange and brandy notes that led into a dry sip that contained a light degree of fruit or berry flavors. The swallow then proffered the Cognac along with raspberry and orange notes. I was impressed at how the dry vermouth worked with the syrup to create some tangy berry notes at the end.
2 oz Michael Collins Irish Whiskey 1 oz Blandy's Rainwater Madeira 1/2 oz Meletti Amaro 1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters 1 dash Angostura Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with an orange twist.
Tuesday last week, we were in Union Square, Somerville, for dinner and we decided to stop into the Independent for a drink. There, the menu item that grabbed my attention was a recipe created by Brother Cleve for the Somerville Arts Council's new book, Nibble. Brother Cleve described the concept behind the drink in a comment, "The Nibble book features recipes of the various ethnic groups of Somerville. I created the Union cocktail to honor Somerville's early immigrants: the Irish, Portuguese, and Italians. That was the idea behind mixing whiskey, Madeira, and amaro. As for the bitters... hey, I like bitters, ok!"
The Union Cocktail greeted me with an orange oil aroma. The sweet grape and malt sip gained caramel notes from the Meletti over time. Next, the swallow began with the Irish Whiskey and finished with the Madeira, the richness and herbal complexity of the amaro, and orange notes; over successive swallows, the Angostura spice notes crept into the picture as well.
1/6 Orange Juice (1/2 oz) 1/6 Lemon Juice (1/2 oz) 1/6 Cointreau (1/2 oz) 1/6 Bacardi Rum (1/2 oz Atlantico Platino) 1/6 oz Dry Gin (1/2 oz Death's Door) 1/6 oz Caloric Punch (1/2 oz homemade Swedish Punsch)
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
For a nightcap two Monday's ago, I decided to make the Little Devil that I spotted in the United Kingdom Bartenders Guild's Approved Cocktails book. Its quirky 3 spirit Daisy structure got the better of my curiosity. The Little Devil began with an orange, gin, and rum aroma that led into a slightly crisp orange sip. What started slightly sweet on the sip ended drier with rum, lemon peel, tea tannin, spice, and gin notes on the swallow. The Punsch helped to tie together the disparate gin and rum components; while the two spirits worked well in the Fog Cutter, my choice of Death's Door, an unusual and strongly flavored gin, might not have been the best option here.
2 oz Diabolique Bourbon Infusion 3/4 oz Fino Sherry 1/4 oz Velvet Falernum
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and one scant dash each of Orange, Angostura, and Falernum Bitters.
Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I ventured over to the South End to get dinner at Estragon. For a first drink, bartender Sahil Mehta suggested his Spanish-influenced Manhattan variation. Since Estragon only has a cordial license, Sahil made use of the locally infused Diabolique Bourbon which is a sweetened spirit flavored with figs, cinnamon, and vanilla bean. Sahil mentioned that with a regular, drier Bourbon, the sweetness level of the other ingredients would need to be adjusted.
The Madrid's nose showcased lemon oils, orange notes, and spice. The spice continued on into the sip where it interacted with the sherry's light grape and the Diabolique's malt notes. The Bourbon, sherry, and clove flavors then wrapped up the profile on the swallow. Indeed, I was impressed at how the fino sherry gave the Madrid a cleanness to the sip and swallow.
2 1/2 oz Old Overholt Rye Whiskey 3/4 oz Punt e Mes 1/2 oz Smoked Maple Syrup (*)
Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. (*) 2 parts smoked salt simple syrup to 1 part maple syrup. Smoked salt simple syrup has 5 tsp of smoked salt per quart (~1 tsp per 6 oz simple syrup).
For my second drink at the Citizen Public House, I asked bartender Jess Li for the Burlington. When I inquired about the syrup, Jess flagged down bartender Chad Arnholt. Besides providing the recipe for the syrup, Chad gave a few details about the smoked sea salt he used. Chad prefers an imported sea salt that appears rather tacky and moist instead of dry crystals; in addition to the smoke notes, it also imparts flint and iodine flavors.
The Burlington provided a smoke and rye aroma that came across in a Famous Grouse Scotch-like way, and the sip was full of grape and malt notes that yielded hints of salinity at times. Next, the swallow offered maple, whiskey, Punt e Mes' bitter, and light smoke notes; moreover, the drink was neither overly maple or smoke flavored. The salt functioned quite well to combat the drink's sweetness along with the Punt e Mes' bitterness; in addition, the salt seemed to function well to cut the drink's finish.
1 1/2 oz Cocchi Americano 1 1/2 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
Build on ice in a rocks glass and stir. Top with less than 1 oz of ginger beer and float a dash of absinthe (Kübler?) on top. Add a straw.
On New Years Day, we made our way over to the Citizen Public House in Boston, one of the handful of places that were thankfully serving on this day of rest. For an opener, I asked bartender Jess Li for the Thompson Schneider as it seemed like a delightful twist on the Half Sinner, Half Saint, one of my favorite aperitifs. When I asked Jess who Thompson Schneider was, she explained that it was not a person but two people. Bartender Chad Arnholt named the drink after his two roommates, Will Thompson of Drink and Jack Thompson (not a bar or restaurant worker). Strangely, Will showed up as I was drinking this, and while he was aware of the libation on the menu, he had never tried one before.
The Thompson Schneider began with an absinthe aroma; while the small bottle with the absinthe was unlabeled, its aroma and flavor did remind me of Kübler. Next, the carbonated sip contained citrus-grape notes, and the swallow presented the ginger balanced by red wine flavors. Later as the absinthe halo integrated into the drink, anise notes began to populate the swallow as well. My only complaint was that I was hoping for a greater absinthe amount in the drink similar to what I am used to in my Half Sinner, Half Saint experiences.
1 1/4 oz Rye Whiskey (Sazerac 6) 3/4 oz Drambuie 3/4 oz Fernet Branca 3 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters (or other aromatic bitters)
Build in an Old Fashioned glass with a large ice cube and stir until well chilled.
For a New Year's Eve cocktail before we left to go to a party, I selected a drink from the most recent issue of Imbibe magazine that had just arrived. The one that seemed like the perfect way to send 2011 out was Derek Coffelt's Bitter Old Coot. While many of the drinks at Justus Drugstore in Missouri are made with house infusions, this one uses only standard, off the shelf ingredients. One of the other reasons that the recipe called out to me was that it made good use of the strange 1-1/4 over 3/4 oz jigger that I was sent for taking BarSmarts; moreover, the topic of 1-1/4 oz pours being stylishly done with a set of 3/4 and 1/2 oz jiggers by one bartender to the lament of his fellow bartenders (since house recipes began having this odd 1-1/4 measurement) was fresh in my head.
The Bitter Old Coot greeted our noses with a Fernet aroma coupled by Drambuie to me and caramel notes to Andrea. The sip was honey and malt notes, and the swallow had an herbal focus of Fernet and the Drambuie's heather. Overall, it was like an intense Toronto with honey flavors from the Drambuie instead of less notable ones from a sugar cube. Lastly, the drink we later ushered 2012 in with once we got home was the Ramos Gin Fizz to counter this bitter year ender.
2 oz Siembra Azul Blanco Tequila 1/2 oz Zucca Rabarbaro Amaro 1/2 oz Dark Créme de Cacao 1 dash Angostura Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.
For my next drink at Brick and Mortar, I asked bartender Crystal for the Low Rider. The drink's aroma presented agave notes with darker ones from the Zucca. The sip had a spicy caramel richness to it that led into a chocolate and agave swallow that gained complexity from the Zucca and Angostura's bitter notes.
1 1/4 oz Lustau Dry Amontillado Sherry 1 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye 1/2 oz Bénédictine 1/4 oz Galliano Ristretto 1 dash Angostura Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist an orange peel over the top and discard.
After Backbar, I made my over to Central Square where I was meeting Andrea for dinner later on in the evening. In the meantime, I stopped in at Brick and Mortar and I found a seat in front of bartender Evan Harrison. For a first drink, I asked for the Streets of Gettysburg; when I inquired about the name, owner Patrick Sullivan had apparently spotted it as the caption to a friend's photo on Facebook, and bartender Misty Kalkofen grabbed it from the drink name notebook for her creation.
The Streets of Gettysburg's aroma began with orange notes from the twist and coffee ones from the Ristretto liqueur; later, the sherry notes stepped forward in the nose. The sherry's grape combined with the rye's grain notes on the sip, and the swallow offered the amontillado's nuttiness, the dark roast of the coffee liqueur, and the herbal spice of the Bénédictine and Angostura. Indeed, the trio of sherry, Bénédictine, and Ristretto worked well here as they did in Eric Alperin's tequila-based Bebida de Puebla.
1 3/4 oz Jim Beam Black Bourbon 3/4 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth 1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass spritzed twice with a clove-infused rum. Garnish with a clove-infused cherry and an addition spritz of clove-infused rum.
Last Friday afternoon, I got home early so I decided to visit Backbar shortly after it opened up. The drink that called out to me was their signature Manhattan variation, the Model T. The name pays tribute to the bar's location that was built in 1921 as the area's first Ford dealership, and the staff will proudly point to the filled in oil trough in the floor as one of the vestiges of the former inhabitants.
The clove essence contributed greatly to the drink's aroma as well as in the taste. In the sip besides the clove were malt and grape notes, and the swallow contained whiskey and herbal notes as well as a continuance of the clove. This spice note took the Model T in a very different direction from the Green Point despite having a rather comparable recipe.
1 1/4 Milagro Silver Tequila 1 oz Pimm's No. 1 1/2 oz Spiced Grapefruit Cordial (*) 1 dash Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters
Build in a hot drink glass and fill with boiling water. Garnish with a quarter wheel of a pink grapefruit. (*) Grapefruit peels steeped in simple syrup. Allspice Dram and Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters were added.
For my second drink at Craigie on Main, I asked John Mayer for the Atwood Grove that recently appeared on their drink menu. The libation was named after one of the largest grapefruit groves in the world where the first pink grapefruit was discovered in 1906. Given John's proclivity for serving drinks with a nod to Texas culture and given the long history of grapefruit production there, I was somewhat surprised to learn that the grove was actually in Florida. I do regret having this hot drink second for it would have been a great way to warm up after walking in the cold.
The Atwood Grove presented a steamy fruit aroma from the Pimm's and grapefruit with a hint of tequila coming through. The sip offered light grapefruit, Pimm's, and cinnamon flavors, and the swallow presented the tequila and spice. Interestingly, with the dilution from the larger than average amount of hot water, the drink came across more like a fruity herbal tea than a potent Hot Toddy.
1 1/2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1/2 oz La Favorite Amber Rhum Agricole
1/2 oz Caol Ila 10 Year Scotch
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1 squeeze Lemon Peel
Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. Twist another piece of lemon peel over the top and discard.
Wednesday last week, Andrea and I stopped by Craigie on Main for cocktails. When I asked bartender John Mayer what drinks he had been working on, he asked if I liked smoky and explained that this was not his standard as he prefers to be more subdued with the smoke notes. While Del Maguey Mezcal Vida is not one of John's favorite mezcals, he needed it to match the name of the drink, the Wilhelm Scream. The Wilhelm Scream is a stock film and television sound effect that was first used in 1951 when a character was bitten by an alligator and gained its name in a 1953 movie after a Private Wilhelm who gets shot in the leg with an arrow. Relating to John's interest in Westerns and gun fights, the scream was often used when someone is high up on a roof, gets shot, and screams as he falls. Indeed, the scream is frequently used when someone is shot, falls off a horse or from a great height, or is toss in an explosion. Moreover, it has appeared in every Star Wars and Indiana Jones movie, and there are compilations on Youtube of many of them in rapid succession. With the ingredients list and the name, there was no way I could turn down this drink.
The Wilhelm Scream greeted my nose with a bright lemon and smoke aroma; Andrea commented that drink reminded her of smoke and leather. The sip contained malt and light herbal notes, and the beginning of the swallow presented the smoky mezcal and Scotch flavors. Next, the mezcal's agave and the rhum agricole's funky grass notes mingled and were chased by lingering smoke and botanical notes on the finish. As the ice melted, the rum became more prominent and the drink became more grassy on the swallow.
2/3 Gin (1 1/2 oz Beefeater) 2 dash Crème Yvette (1/4 oz) 1 dash Yellow Chartreuse (1/8 oz) 2 dash Sherry (1/2 oz Lustau Dry Oloroso) 1 dash Picon (1/8 oz Amer Picon) 1 Egg White
Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Tuesdays ago, I was in the mood for a nightcap and began turning through the pages of Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933. One of the drinks in the gin section caught my eye for it balanced a trio of floral, herbal, and bitter liqueurs against the dryness of gin and sherry. Technically, a sweeter sherry could be used, but I opted for a dry oloroso to cut back on the liqueurs' sugars.
The Daffodil greeted me with a sherry and berry aroma that was later joined by Crème Yvette's floral notes. The sip was creamy with darker notes from the Picon's orange and the Yvette's berry; part of the way in, the sherry's grape appeared to bolster the sip. The gin, violet flavors, and sherry's nuttiness rounded out the swallow that ended dry and clean save for a lingering juniper note at the end. Overall, the Daffodil had a very fancy feel to it akin to some of the drinks in The Flowing Bowl (although without the floral aspect here being Crème de Rose).
1 1/2 oz Death's Door Gin 3/4 oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth 1/2 oz Lemon Juice 1/2 oz Simple Syrup 2 dash Black Tea Bitters (*)
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist. (*) Lapsang souchong and black tea infused in rye whiskey, mixed with a 10x strength hot water tea steep, and flavored with a honey-lemon peel syrup.
Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I paid another visit to Deep Ellum when Max Toste was bartending. For my first drink, I asked for the Black Market which reminded me on paper of other sweet vermouth-citrus Sours like the Fig Leaf. The drink's lemon twist contributed greatly to the Black Market's aroma. The sip proffered a candied lemon flavor that was perhaps an interaction of the lemon with the sweet vermouth. The swallow then presented the gin with a tannin and smoky finish from the tea bitters.
4 oz Cream 4 oz Milk 3/4 oz Sugar 2 oz Brandy (Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva) 1 oz Rye (Rittenhouse) 1 oz Jamaican Rum (Smith & Cross) 1/2 oz Sherry (Lustau East India Solera Sherry) 2 Eggs
Separate the yolks from whites. Add sugar to beaten yolks and mix well. Add dairy then liquor while beating slowly. Beat the egg whites until stiff and slowly fold into the mixture. Let chill for several days (16 hours). I garnished with freshly grated nutmeg. This serves two and is an eight-fold scale down from the original recipe. The recipe was specific for everything but the number of eggs; I went with one egg per serving.
Last year at Island Creek Oyster Bar, I ordered an Eggnog that was quite delicious. When I asked head bartender Bobby McCoy which recipe he used, he cited that it was based off of George Washington's; however, he was a little light on the specific details. This year, I decided to make my own batch. Since this was George Washington's favorite drinks for celebrating Christmas at Mount Vernon, I mixed a batch for Christmas morning to have with cherry scones. I cannot tell a lie -- this Nog recipe was worth the effort.
The nutmeg garnish I added to the recipe contributed greatly to the aroma. The creamy richness of the sip showcased light grape, caramel, and vanilla notes. On the swallow, the sherry, rye, and Smith & Cross Rum stood out; the brandy was not as discernible but probably donated a smoothness to the finish. Andrea rather enjoyed the Eggnog for it was not super heavy perhaps from the lightness of the beaten egg white.
1 1/2 oz George Dickel Whiskey 1 1/2 oz House Rosé Vermouth (*) 1/2 oz Crème de Cacao
Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. (*) A recipe for this strawberry-infused vermouth can be found here. A less labor intensive way would be to infuse 6 sliced strawberries in a 750 mL bottle of commercially available rosé vermouth (such as Cinzano or Martini and Rossi) for several days before filtering. Or downscaling to 1 strawberry per every 4 oz. In the Jackson's recipe, the fortifying brandy is infused with the strawberries (instead of the lower proof end product), so it may take more than the 2 days listed there.
On Christmas Eve, Andrea and I made our yearly pilgrimage to Eastern Standard to celebrate the holiday. Many thanks to Kit Paschal, Hugh Fiore, and Naomi Levy for keeping the tradition alive by manning the bar that night. For my first drink, I asked Naomi for the Augusta which sounded rather tempting with its strawberry and chocolate notes over a Dickel Tennessee Whiskey base. While George Dickel is best known for creating the whiskey, the distillery was founded in conjunction with his wife Augusta in 1870. Or according to some historians, they contracted distillers Matthew Sims and McLin Davis that year to start making spirits for them. Regardless of which version is the truth, Augusta Dickel was the company's chief financier and later inherited it after George's demise. In her honor, this drink was created.
The Augusta offered a chocolate and strawberry aroma that led into a light fruity grape sip. The whiskey provided much of the swallow's flavor that was softened by the cacao; moreover, the vermouth's botanicals including a distinctive wormwood note finished the drink. I was quite impressed at how the chocolate notes in the liqueur helped to emphasize the berry aspect of their rosé vermouth in the Augusta.
1 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye 1 oz Laird's Applejack 1/2 oz Maraska Maraschino Liqueur 1/2 oz Green Chartreuse 2 dash Orange Bitters (1 dash Regan's, 1 dash Angostura Orange)
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
Two Fridays ago for a nightcap, I selected the Swafford from Left Coast Libations for this split base spirit cocktail looked like it could do no wrong. The drink was created by Lance Mayhew, a bartender from Portland, Oregon, in honor of Tom Swafford, a legendary hospitality manager in Oregon. The Swafford began with an orange, herbal, and Maraschino aroma. The sip was a combination of apple and malt notes along with a kirsch sort of flavor from the Maraschino. Next, the swallow began with the rye followed by the Maraschino, and the Green Chartreuse's herbal notes rounded out the drink. Overall, the Swafford came across as a lot more fruity than expected.
2 oz Dry Red Wine (Bear Flag) 3/4 oz Batavia Arrack 1/2 oz Lemon Juice 1/2 oz Pineapple Simple Syrup (*) 1/4 oz Becherovka Liqueur 1 dash Angostura Bitters
Shake with ice and strain into an Old Fashioned glass or small Highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with a long orange twist and freshly grated nutmeg. (*) In a pinch, a 1:1 syrup of pineapple juice:sugar would do no harm as a substitute here.
For Thursday Drink Night on Mixoloseum two weeks ago, the theme was "w(h)ine." The duality of the event title was parsed as creating a recipe using a wine product as an ingredient and naming it after a gripe of some sort. Since I recalled that Batavia Arrack pairs quite well with wine products ranging from port to white wines, I decided to take an old nautical approach to the drink with a Punch or Cooler style. For a thematically appropriate drink name, I dubbed it Rudderless to represent the whine of lacking direction in life. The Rudderless began with an orange, nutmeg, and red wine aroma. On the sip, the citrus and fruity grape notes joined with hints of pineapple. Next, the swallow offered up the Batavia Arrack's funkiness and the wine's tannins, and after a few sips, the Becherovka's clove began to surface on the finish. Indeed, the Batavia Arrack and red wine combination proved to be a solid one. The most amusing comment about the drink came from Dan of the KindredCocktails drink database who declared that the Rudderless was like, "a tiki Wine Cooler drizzled down a buttered stripper pole"; I am still pondering that one.
Just like last year, I will finish my trilogy of year end wrap ups by revisiting all of the recipes we tried at our home bar this year. While I did create a few recipes this year, I will tack some of my favorite ones at the end and keep this list solely to recipes created by bartenders, living and deceased, from around the world.
January: From the Secret Sherry Society's contest, Owen Thomson's Highland Games gets the nod for the best drink of the month. For runner's up, I picked the Teresa for its elegant and quirky balance and Jabriel Donohue's Pantorium for its Last Word-like style with one of the better names of the year (it is on the sweeter side though).
February: Mike Ryan's Shadyside Fizz from Beta Cocktails was intriguing enough to get my attention for February. For runners up, The Flowing Bowl's Iced Punch and Frank Cisneros' Farmers Armagnac had some classic stylings.
March: From the Big Bartenders Book, Jamie Boudrea's Novara delightfully paired Campari and passion fruit syrup against the crispness of lemon. For runners up, the Scotch and ginger Strange Acquaintance and the Bourbon and port Coffee Brown were definitely solid drinks in March.
April: Leo Engel's 1878 embittered Sidecar, the Alabazam, was a surprising favorite. Runners up were the strawberry and pastis Negroni, Sbagliato Grosso from Left Coast Libations, and the rather intense Nuclear Daiquri.
May: With split spirits and split liqueurs balanced by lemon, Café Royal's Lilac Domino was an impressive showing that coincided well with the Spring flowers. For runners up, there were the guava-laden Jerry Thomas Barbadoes Punch and the convergent evolution of the Rattlesnake Fizz from A Taste of Absinthe.
June: Easy to overlook in the 1972 Trader Vic, the White Witch with chocolate, orange, and funky rum notes made for a great Fizz. The silver and bronze medal were the dark rum and spice Horse Tonic and Phil Ward's tequila-based Brooklyn, the Rojo Bianco.
August: The early 20th century sherry, vermouth, Fernet, and Chartreuse Meditation impressed me as something early 21th century. For runners up, I picked the tequila and herbal Under the Volcano from Beta Cocktails and Joaquin Simo's classically styled aperitif Flor de Jerez.
September: The embittered and dry Martinez-like Marliave's Cocktail from Louis Mixed Drinks from 1906 moved me. David Shenaut's quirky Learning to Tie and the split Old Tom, split grape mezcal drink, Nicholas Jarrett's Black Cat scored secondary honors.
October: Jim Romdall's Seersucker Fizz surprised me perhaps due to the Punt e Mes complexity and apricot liqueur notes. Phil Ward's flowery absinthe and tequila Amore Morado and the 1937 Bluebeard's Passion which taught me that blue drinks are not necessarily lame received notable mentions.
December: William Schmidt's 19th century Martinez-like Angelus when made with Ransom's Old Tom Gin was exquisite. Both the tropical Manhattan, the Martinique, and Tim Lacy's beer-lightened Fizz, Felonious Monk had good showings as well.
Personal Creations:Looking back over the recipes I created in my home bar, I narrowed things down to my top 6 favorites (in chronological order). To see the others, click on the "*original" tag.
• The cachaça and Lillet version of the Cold Ruby Punch that appears in Jerry Thomas, the Cold Emerald Punch was designed for summer drinking. • Merging the Bamboo aperitif with the Crusta, the Bamboo Crusta retained both drink styles' charms. • With the Fix being one of my favorite old, nearly lost drink styles, the Barbados Fix with its Earl Grey tea syrup notes turned out well. • With influence from the Nuclear Daiquiri, the Bikini Atoll takes the Mai Tai to a more intense level. • Adding to the Manhattan variations, the Coney Island makes for a good chocolatey nightcap. • Hybridizing the joys of the Negroni with the old school challenge of Leo Engel's Knickebein, the Knickroni is hard to forget.
The euphemisms are getting a bit stale, suffice to say: four people in Boston -- two of whom are much more prolific writers than the other two (including the originator of this blog, who has no excuse apart from laziness) -- who drink and tell. (Note: If you are looking for virgin cocktails, check out the companion MocktailVirgin blog!)