Friday, June 29, 2012

april in paris

3/4 oz Ansac VS Cognac
3/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Curaçao
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a Champagne flute. Top with ~2 oz Louis Bouillot Blanc de Blancs Brut sparkling wine, and twist an orange peel over the top and discard.


Two Tuesdays ago, we paid a visit to the bar at Bergamot where bartender Paul Manzelli was at the stick. For a drink, I asked him for the April in Paris which he created using all French ingredients. The recipe appeared like a cross between a French 75 and a Sidecar, and Paul named it after a Count Basie jazz album.
The April in Paris presented a sweet orange and sparkling wine nose. A dry citrus sip led into the Cognac and Champagne-like notes on the swallow. Indeed, the drink was an elegant middle ground between those two classic cocktails.

honky and the donkey

1 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1 oz Lustau Dry Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz Bénédictine
1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.
After Clio, I continued home and stopped in at Brick and Mortar on the way. For a libation, bartender Kenny Belanger made me the Honky and the Donkey. The drink was a combination of Misty Kalkofen's mixology and owner Patrick Sullivan's naming abilities. The cocktail began with a mezcal and sherry aroma. A slightly sweet sip offered up grape and light citrus notes, and the smoky mezcal swallow shared the sherry's nutty and the Bénédictine's herbal flavors.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

two from l.a.

2 oz Cynar
1 oz No. 3 London Dry Gin
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
2 dash Orange Bitters
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Mondays ago, I stopped into Clio where bartender Greg Rossi was at the stick. Greg has recently joined the Clio crew, and I believe that the last time I sat at his bar was when he was working at Dalí in Somerville. For a drink, I asked Greg for the 2 From L.A. for the combination of Cynar and Green Chartreuse worked so well in Ryan Lotz's Monk's Thistle and the Cure's Drink of Laughter and Forgetting. The drink's nose offered up orange oils, juniper, and herbal notes. The sip was creamy with orange accents, and the swallow showcased the Cynar punctuated by sharper gin and Green Chartreuse notes.

valkyrie

2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1/2 oz Averna
1/2 oz Cynar
1/4 oz St. Germain

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

After the Snake in the Grass at Temple Bar, bartender Sam Gabrielli wanted to showcase a drink he created called the Valkyrie. Sam described how he was influenced by Evan Harrison's Peralta with its rye, Cynar, and grapefruit elements.
The twist's grapefruit oils filled the Valkyrie's aroma. The grapefruit oils carried over into the sweet sip along with malt and caramel notes. Next, the swallow started with rye followed by herbal notes, and it ended with a floral stonefruit flavor from the St. Germain. As the drink warmed up, the Cynar began to play a bigger role in the flavor profile.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

snake in the grass

1 3/4 oz Blanco Tequila
1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
3/4 oz Lemongrass Syrup (*)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
2 dash Bittermens Boston Bittahs

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a long, coiled lime twist.
(*) For possible recipes, check out the Savory and Boudreau ones.

Since Andrea had enjoyed her Snake in the Grass at Temple Bar, I decided to get one too. I was correct in guessing that the drink was based off of the Scofflaw, and bartender Sam Gabrielli explained that the lime twist was like the snake and the lemongrass syrup was the grass.
The Snake in the Grass possessed a lime and tequila bouquet. The lime juice flavors worked well with the dry vermouth's wine notes in the sip. Moreover, the tequila and lemongrass elements complemented each other rather well on the swallow. Overall, the drink's balance reminded me of the Groovy Child perhaps due to the lime and dry vermouth pairing.

velvet goldmine

2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/4+ oz Agave Nectar
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and add  straws.

Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I stopped in at Temple Bar for cocktails. The drink I started with was the Velvet Goldmine; bartender Sam Gabrielli mentioned that fellow bartender Evan Kenney created this drink. Perhaps Evan being the lead singer for the Bodega Girls had some influence in his naming the it after the 1998 glam rock movie hit. The ingredient list shared a bit of similarity with the Independent's Agave Maria, so I was definitely tempted to try it.
The Velvet Goldmine offered a mint aroma and a lime flavored sip. The swallow began with the smokey mezcal and pineapple notes and ended with Fernet Branca's menthol and the falernum's clove elements.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

lock and key

1 1/2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon (Wild Turkey 81)
1/2 oz Strega (*)
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a mint leaf and 3 drops of Fee Brothers' Whiskey Barrel Bitters.
(*) Recipe has been made with Yellow Chartreuse as well.
Two Fridays ago, we picked the Lock and Key from Gary Regan's Annual Manual for Bartenders 2011 for the cocktail hour. The drink was created by Summer Voelker from the Salt of the Earth bar in Pittsburgh. The Lock and Key offered up a mint aroma that was quite complementary to the herbal bouquet from the Strega.  Unfortunately, the bitters garnish sank and did not contribute cinnamon notes to the nose, so perhaps garnishing the mint leaf instead of trying to float the bitters would have worked better. Next, the sip was a spiced fruit flavor with lemon and grape notes, and the swallow offered up the Bourbon and Strega's savory herbal elements. Overall, the drink reminded me of a Sour and less bitter version of Evan Harrison's Nonantum Cocktail.


last letter

1 1/2 oz Reposado Tequila (Espolón)
3/4 oz Drambuie
1/2 oz Averna
2 dash Mole Bitters (housemade)

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

For a nightcap that Thursday, I decided to make the Last Letter by Evan Harrison of Brick and Mortar. The recipe appears in The Drambuie Companion, a collection of Boston-made recipes that highlight the liqueur, and any excuse to try one of Evan's creations is a good one in my book.
The Last Letter had a lemon oil aroma; in addition, I experienced a honey-caramel note while Andrea got more of the tequila. On the sip, Drambuie's honey paired well with Averna's dark caramel notes, and the swallow offered tequila, chocolate, and spice. As the drink got warmer, it became much sweeter; perhaps too sweet and making the drink as 2:1/2:1/2 would probably help this balance better match my palate.

Monday, June 25, 2012

torontino

1 1/2 oz Forty Creek Canadian Whisky
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Dubonnet Rouge

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.Twist a lemon peel over the top and discard.
Two Thursday ago, I stopped into J.M. Curley's which is across the street from Stoddard's in Downtown Crossing. There, I asked bartender Kevin Mabry for the Torontino. Kevin explained that the drink is a cross between a Toronto and a Torino (or Milano-Torino) better known as the Americano. The Torontino paired bright lemon oil aromas with a dark herbal underpinning. The malty sip contained the Dubonnet's grape notes, and the swallow presented the Canadian whisky followed by Campari and Fernet flavors. Interestingly, the drink was more Campari driven when cold and more Fernet accented when warm; moreover, the Dubonnet seemed to mollify the intensity of these two bitter liqueurs.

buckminster

1 1/2 oz Gordon's Gin
3/4 oz Maurin Quina
3/4 oz Lillet Blanc
2 dash Fee Brothers' Orange Bitters

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

Two Wednesdays ago, Andrea and I stopped into Highland Kitchen where bartenders Joe McGuirk and Nathan Bice were behind the stick. Over the sound of Karaoke, I asked Bice for the Buckminster. What attracted me was the use of Maurin Quina, a cherry, almond, and quinine-flavored aperitif wine that was so delicious in the Independent's This, That, the Other and Rendezvous' Tequila Scaffa.
The Buckminster offered up an orange and cherry aroma that gained almond notes as the drink warmed up. The citrus and cherry sip was followed by gin, herbal notes, and almond on the swallow. Overall, the drink had a light aesthetic that reminded me of the Abbey Cocktail from the Savoy Cocktail Book.

Friday, June 22, 2012

jack's word

3/4 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
3/4 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 barspoon Grenadine

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

After the Diablita, I decided to make a riff on the Jack Rose, the Jack's Word, that I had spotted in TastingTable. The Jack's Word appeared like a Jack Rose-Last Word hybrid created by Brad Farran of Manhattan's Clover Club as Jack Rose's "a darker, bitterer twin."
The Jack's Word offered up an apple and lemon oil aroma. The sip was fruity with grape, lemon, and apple notes. Most of the apple came through on the swallow though along with the savory herbal notes from the Yellow Chartreuse. Of all the drinks I have had, it reminded me the most of the Woxum from the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book more so than either a Jack Rose or a Last Word.

diablita

1 1/2 oz Reposado Tequila (Espolón)
1 oz Hiram Walker Triple Sec
1/4 oz Hiram Walker Crème de Cassis
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a Highball glass containing ice and 2 oz of ginger beer (AJ Stephens).

Two Tuesdays ago, I decided to remake one of my entries into the Hiram Walker Margarita Madness contest -- the Diablita which took first place. The drink was a hybrid of a Margarita and a Diablo akin to Ted Kilgore's Count Diablo which merged a Negroni and a Diablo. One of my reasons was to give some extra flavor and dimension to a Margarita; the other was to minimize one of the negative aspects of the Diablo, namely how much the cassis as the sole sweetener can obscure the other flavors in the drink.
The Diablita presented a ginger aroma led into orange, lime, and berry notes in the sip. The swallow was a combination of the tequila, ginger, and the cassis' currant flavors. Indeed, the Diablita was rather refreshing and there was just enough cassis to give the Diablo-feel to the drink without dwarfing the other flavors in the drink. While I am glad this drink won, other glorious entries such as the Periodita, the Tequila Periodista, will be forgotten. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

union derby

1 1/2 oz Four Roses Bourbon
3/4 oz Drambuie 15 Year
3/4 oz Pink Grapefruit Juice
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice and double strain into a coupe glass.

Two Mondays ago during industry brunch at Trina's Starlite Lounge, I met up with Tara who is our local Drambuie rep. After brunch, she asked if I wanted to accompany her to her first stop of the day at Backbar in Union Square. She mentioned that they had come up with a twist of the Brown Derby by swapping the classic's honey for the smokey Drambuie 15 Year. Like Jackson Cannon's Honey Fitz, the drink also included a dash of Peychaud's Bitters.
The Union Derby that bartender Joseph Cammarata made for me proffered a peat smoke, Bourbon, and honey aroma. The honey and malt notes in the sip were balanced by the grapefruit, and the drink concluded with a smoothed out Scotch note on the swallow.

fire in the orchard

1 1/4 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
1/4 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1/2 oz Belle de Brillet Pear Liqueur
3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Agave Syrup (1:1)

Shake with ice and double strain into a rocks glass.
For my second drink at No. 9 Park, I asked bartender Ted Kilpatrick for the Fire in the Orchard which Andrea enjoyed a lot last time. True to the drink's name, the aroma put forth an apple, pear, and smoke nose. Next, citrus and apple filled the sip that was chased by pear and smokey mezcal on the swallow.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

an epic and a limerick

1 1/2 oz Cynar
1 1/2 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quinquina
1/2 oz Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum
5 drop Thai Chili Tincture

Stir with ice briefly to partially chill the drink. Strain into a rocks glass containing a large chocolate ice cube (*), and garnish the ice cube with a pinch of fleur de sel.
(*) An ice cube made from room temperature water steeped with cocoa nibs for 36 hours and strained into ice cube trays.
Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I visited bartender Ted Kilpatrick at No. 9 Park. For my first drink, I inquired if I could have An Epic and A Limerick as the last time the bar was out of the chocolate ice cubes. Ted explained that they can only make so many of these ice cubes at a time and that they take longer to freeze than normal ice; therefore, the drink is sometimes unavailable due to its popularity. The recipe itself was created by bartender Tyler Wang, and Ted believed that Tyler based the drink off of the Little Giuseppe, a popular cocktail at Drink where Tyler worked last.
Little Giuseppe
• 2 oz Cynar
• 2 oz Punt e Mes
• 1 bsp Lemon Juice
• 6 dash Angostura Orange Bitters
Build in a rocks glass with a large ice cube. Garnish the ice cube with a pinch of Kosher salt.
An Epic and A Limerick offered a funky Jamaican rum aroma along with dark herbal notes. The Bonal's grape joined the chocolate on the sip, and the swallow showcased the rum, bitter herbal notes, and some spice. Later as the ice cube melted more, the chocolate entered into the swallow's flavors as well.

h.r.w.

2/3 Gin (1 1/2 oz Farmer's)
1/3 Dry Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Prat)
3-4 Very Ripe Cherries

Muddle cherries. Add ice, shake, and double strain into a cocktail glass.

One of the recipes I had been saving to make was the H.R.W. in Frank Meier's 1934 The Artistry Of Mixing Drinks. The holdup was waiting for cherry season to arrive so I could get ripe fruit to muddle into this drink with a Martini base. Unlike recipes like the R.A.C. where Meier told you that it is an abbreviation for the Royal Automobile Club cocktail, he unfortunately provided no hints for the H.R.W.
With the muddled cherries, the drink acquired an attractive coral color. On the nose, the H.R.W. presented a Martini-like aroma of gin and vermouth. The sip was a dry apple-like flavor that was chased by a cherry and gin swallow. Overall, the cherry flavor was much more subtle than kirsch or cherry liqueurs, and the drink's Martini backbone played a very dominant role in the end balance.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

crossing to calais

1 3/4 oz Ransom Old Tom Gin
1 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quinquina
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
1 barspoon Combier Triple Sec (Cointreau)

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

Two Fridays ago for a nightcap, I made Misty Kalkofen's Martinez variation that I had found on TastingTable. The other Martinez variation that Misty proffered was the Armada which I had tried at Drink. Crossing to Calais is perhaps a reference of how the drink is a combination of British and French styled ingredients; Calais is the destination across the English Channel where the Dover ferry lands.
The Crossing to Calais presented a lemon oil and Ransom Old Tom Gin's spice aroma with a hint of cherry from the Heering. The Cherry Heering's sweetness combined with the Bonal's grape on the sip, and the swallow began with the gin's spice and ended with a dry cherry flavor. As for a Martinez variation, I could see how Cherry Heering and Bonal combined to simulate sweet vermouth; however, the triple sec seemed to fall short of what Maraschino donates to a Martinez.  Overall, this was a delightful cocktail regardless of its genesis.

brighton punch

3/4 oz Whiskey (Old Weller Antique Bourbon)
3/4 oz Cognac (Courvoisier VS)
3/4 oz Bénédictine
Juice 1/2 Orange (1/2 oz)
Juice 1/2 Lemon (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass (Highball) filled with shaved ice (ice cubes). Top with soda water (1 1/2 oz), add a straw, and stir gently. I donated a wide orange twist to the recipe.

After the Thursday Drink Night, I decided to make the Brighton Punch that I had spotted in the Diner's Club Drink Book. I was drawn to the Punch for it had a New Orleans feel to it with the spirit combination reminding me of a Cocktail à la Louisiane and Vieux Carré hybrid with a classic Sling aesthetic.
The aroma at first was a combination of orange and whiskey notes that later gave way to Cognac and lemon ones. The carbonated citrus sip preceded the stronger whiskey than Cognac swallow. Finally, the swallow ended with a pleasing herbal Bénédictine finish.

Monday, June 18, 2012

beauregarde

1 1/2 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1 oz Gin (Farmer's)
1/2 oz Blueberry Shrub (see here for an easy recipe)
1 barspoon (1/8 oz) Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
1 dash Orange Bitters
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

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

For Thursday Drink Night two weeks ago, the theme was "berries." As the conversation progressed, I mentioned that I had some strawberry and blueberry shrubs in the refrigerator, and I began to consider a drink with them. Many of my shrubs get used in simple aperitif style drinks that are 2 oz dry vermouth (or dry sherry), 1/2 oz shrub, 1 large ice cube, and a citrus twist in a rocks glass. Building on this basic recipe, I bolstered the alcohol content with some gin. I also added some Maraschino after remembering Ryan Lotz's advice about how the liqueur can help to make many seasonal fruit flavors pop out more. Finally, for a name, I made this blueberry-tinged aperitif a tribute to Willy Wonka's Violet Beauregarde character who gets turned into a blueberry.

bonsoir

2 oz Lecompte 5 Year Calvados
1/2 oz House Amer Picon Replica (*)
1/4 oz Cynar
2 dash Housemade Tobacco Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.
(*) Averna-based and infused with Seville orange peel and other ingredients.
For my nightcap at Craigie on Main, bartender Ted Gallagher made me the Bonsoir. The drink began with the Calvados' apple aroma plus leathery notes from the tobacco bitters. The apple continued on into the sip along with a darker note from some combination of the Cynar and Picon liqueurs. Finally, the liqueur's bitter herbal flavors started the swallow that ended with tobacco notes.

Friday, June 15, 2012

jean-paul jones

1 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1 1/2 oz House Amer Picon Replica (*)
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1 barspoon (1/8 oz) Lemon Juice
1 barspoon (1/8 oz) Grapefruit Juice
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a Highball glass filled with crushed ice. Express the oils from a long, wide grapefruit peel over the top of the drink and garnish with the peel in a Horse's Neck style. Float 1/4 oz Pastis d'Autrefois on top and add a straw.
(*) Averna-based and infused with Seville orange peel and other ingredients.

Two Wednesdays ago, Andrea and I visited Craigie on Main for drinks. For a starter, Ted wanted to showcase a drink he had been working on using their house made Amer Picon replica. The combination of rye, Picon, and floated pastis reminded me of Matthew Schrage's End of Days; however, Ted's drink utilized a straw such that the pastis notes entered the flavor profile at the end like they did in Eastern Standard's Blue Parrot.

While the pastis did not enter into the flavor until the end, it did contribute a lot to the drink's aroma. The sip offered up the Picon's dark orange flavors, and the swallow was a combination of rye, orange, bitter, and herbal notes. On the last few sips, the pastis' anise notes began to take over the flavor balance on the swallow.

quaker's cocktail

1/3 Brandy (1 oz Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)
1/3 Rum (1 oz Plantation Barbados 5 Year)
1/6 Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)
1/6 Raspberry Syrup (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After the Coup de Roulis, the raspberry syrup I had been making by this recipe had cooled and was ready to use. Therefore, it was time to make the Quaker's Cocktail from Harry McElhone's 1927 Barflies and Cocktails.  I had been reminded of this drink as I was perusing the book two weeks before, and I might have made it instead of the Syncopation Cocktail that night had I not been out of raspberry syrup.
The Quaker's Cocktail displayed a brandy aroma along with caramel notes from the rum. A sweet lemon and caramel sip preceded the raspberry flavor that blended into the funky rum on the swallow. With the homemade raspberry syrup, this cocktail was surprisingly bright and delightful.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

coup de roulis

1/3 Gordon's Gin (1 oz Farmer's)
1/3 Dry Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat)
1/6 Cointreau (1/2 oz)
1/6 Cherry Rocher (1/2 oz Cherry Heering)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Tuesday last week, we began the cocktail hour with a recipe I spotted in the 1929 Cocktails de Paris called the Coup de Roulis. The drink was credited to Nyna Myral and Robert Burnier who won first prize in a cocktail competition in Paris with this recipe. The two named their drink after an opérette that opened in Paris in 1928 and still gets performed to this day.
The Coup de Roulis' aroma showcased the liqueurs' cherry and orange notes. The sip was a sharp orange and wine flavor that was followed by a sweeter orange and cherry swallow. The swallow also contained a bit of herbal complexity from the gin and dry vermouth as well. Overall, the fruity and sharper notes integrated into an almost raspberry-like flavor.

golden monarch

1 1/2 oz Reposado Tequila
1/2 oz Domaine de Canton
1/2 oz BG Reynolds Passion Fruit Syrup
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1 dash St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram (~1/4 oz)

Shake with ice and pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wedge and add straws.
The other drink bartender Sahil Mehta made for me at Estragon was the Golden Monarch. The drink began with a lime and allspice aroma that came across as almost cologne-like. The sip was a combination of lime and passion fruit that led into a swallow of tequila, allspice, and ginger. While the ginger notes were subtle at first, the flavor did build over successive sips.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

tres piñas

1 1/2 oz Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal
1/2 oz Small Hand Foods Pineapple Gum Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Cynar

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe glass

Monday last week, Andrea and I stopped in to Estragon for dinner. Bartender Sahil Mehta recommended the Tres Piña for my first drink which sounded good as it reminded me of the Under the Volcano. Sahil later explained the name to symbolize a trio of ingredients; both the heart of the agave plant that is roasted and the pineapple are called piña. For the third, Sahil found the Cynar's artichoke to very similar in appearance to the other two piñas. Moreover, his first two ideas, the Smokin' Choke and the Piñata, had already been taken.
The Tres Piñas began with a smoky mezcal aroma that shared hints of lime. The lime filled the sip along with a thick mouthfeel from the syrup's gum arabic and the mezcal's agave nectar. Finally, the swallow began with smoky agave notes and ended with earthy pineapple ones. The small amount of Cynar led to a subtle dark tone but not the bitter herbal one seen in drinks using a stronger pour of the liqueur.

adieu

1/2 Bacardi Rum (1 1/2 oz Banks)
2 dash Lime Juice (1/2 oz)
2 dash Grenadine (1/2 oz)
2 dash Dry Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Prat)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Since I still had lime juice left over from the Vava Voom, I decided to stick with the rum theme and picked the Adieu from the Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 book. The drink began with a sweet rum aroma that was countered by a dry lime and wine sip. Next, the funky rum on the swallow was mitigated by the pomegranate notes from the grenadine. What at first seemed to be a Daiquiri or Bacardi Cocktail variation ended up seeming closer to an El Presidente despite the lime juice.

vava voom

60 mL (2 oz) Brugal Añejo (DonQ Añejo)
25 mL (5/6 oz) Lime Juice
10 mL (1/3 oz) White Crème de Cacao (Marie Brizard)
10 mL (1/3 oz) Apricot Brandy (Rothman & Winter)
7.5 mL (1/4 oz) Simple Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Fee's Old Fashioned Bitters (Fee's Whiskey Barrel)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.  Substitute a gold Puerto Rican rum in place of the Brugal.
Two Saturdays ago, I was flipping through Beach Bum Berry's Remixed when I spotted the Vava Voom. The drink was created by James McGarry in 2008 for the Vava Voom Club in Belfast as a twist on the classic Pegu Club. The Vava Voom offered up an allspice, cinnamon, and apricot aroma that led into a lime sip. The rum began the swallow that ended with apricot and chocolate notes; as the drink warmed up, the cacao became more prominent in the mix. While the drink did not seem much like a Pegu Club, it did fall somewhere between a White Witch and a Periodista.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

stinging nettle

2/3 Gordon's Gin (2 oz Farmer's)
1/6 Dry Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Prat)
1/6 Yellow Chartreuse (1/2 oz)
1 dash Lemon Juice (1/8 oz)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
After the John, I stuck with the same era by picking the Stinging Nettle from 1934's 1700 Cocktails for the Man Behind the Bar. The recipe looked like a Puritan Cocktail that had been dried out and shifted to the citrus side with a dash of lemon juice. That dash of juice did play a significant role for it donated a lemon aroma to join the Yellow Chartreuse's sweet herbal notes. A dry honey, orange, and lemon sip also showcased the dry vermouth's wine flavors. Next, the gin and savory Yellow Chartreuse notes began the swallow that concluded with tart lemon accents. With the drying forces of vermouth and lemon juice, the Stinging Nettle ended up smelling a lot sweeter than it tasted.

john

1/3 Sweet Vermouth (1 oz Cocchi)
1/3 Gin (1 oz Seagram's)
1/3 Fernet Branca (1 oz)
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with. I strained into a rocks glass.
Two Thursdays ago, we started the cocktail hour with a drink I had spotted in the United Kingdom Bartenders Guild's 1937 Approved Cocktails called the John. I found the John curious for it appeared like a Hanky Panky on steroids that was slightly mollified by an egg white.  Once made, the cocktail greeted me with a Fernet Branca aroma with hints of sweet vermouth.  On the sip, a creamy grape flavor was followed by smooth menthol, juniper, and other herbal notes on the swallow.

Monday, June 11, 2012

justified shooting

1 1/2 oz Balvenie 14 Year Caribbean Cask Scotch
1 oz Amaro Nonino
1/2 oz Cynar
2 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.

As a followup drink to the Prison Nickname at Local 149, I asked bartender John Mayer for the Justified Shooting. In the Magic Wand Malfunction writeup, I mentioned that John's OnTheBar bio reads, "If the drink is named after Texas, firearms, or sex toys, there's a good chance I created it." True to this, John named the drink after Elmore Leonard's television series Justified. While the show takes places in Kentucky and not Texas, it is about guns and the US Marshal that will find a reason to use them and declare it justified. John explained that he was influenced recipe-wise by Ted Kilpatrick's Comanche Club where two drinks balanced on their own were merged. The Amaro Nonino and Scotch aspect came from his Des Esseintes, and the Cynar and mole bitters came from a default pairing of his such as in the Libretto. Moreover, after seeing the combination of whiskey, Amaro Nonino, and Cynar, I asked John if he was influenced by his old barmate Paul Manzelli's Elizabetta, and he replied that he did use Paul's favored 3:2:1 proportions.
The Justified Shooting began with a smokey Scotch aroma with a handful of darker notes that was perhaps symbolic of a recently fired gun. On the tongue, the caramel and malt flavors on the sip led into herbal and smoke notes at the beginning of the swallow that finished with Cynar and chocolate at the end.

prison nickname

1 1/2 oz Pimm's No. 1
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Crème de Cassis

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Top with ~5 oz Ommegang Belgian-style Pale Ale and garnish with a few spritzes of Fernet Branca Menta.

Two Wednesdays ago, we had to pick up a package at Fedex in South Boston, so we decided to tagteam the adventure with a trip to Local 149 for dinner. For a first drink, I decided to ask bar manager and Craigie on Main alum John Mayer for a Prison Nickname. John explained that the original reply to someone asking for the drink was to answer, "sure thing, buttercup." While the waitstaff apparently had no problem coming up with a list of possible nicknames to give out, they were too gunshy to kid with their clientele like that. Instead, Andrea joked that I should be "sweetcheeks" which was one of her old co-worker's nicknames for me.
The Branca Menta garnish contributed minty and menthol notes to the beer aroma. Next, the carbonated lemon sip had berry and malt notes, and the beer swallow paired well with the lemon's tartness. Moreover, intermittently, there were bursts of Branca Menta that carried into the drink's flavor via the beer's foam.

Friday, June 8, 2012

armchair sailor

1 1/2 oz Broadbent Rainwater Madeira
3/4 oz Crème Yvette
2 dash Scrappy's Celery Bitters

Pour the chilled ingredients (batched and kept in the refrigerator) into a flute glass. Top with ~3 oz of cava.

Two Tuesdays ago, Andrea and I went to dinner at Rendezvous. For a before dinner cocktail, I asked bartender Scott Holliday for the Armchair Sailor that recently appeared on their cocktail menu. When I inquired about the name, Scott explained that Madeira has a maritime history; however, the violet, berry, and celery notes did not seem like a real sailor's drink to him.  Scott also mentioned stirring the ingredients with ice made a drink that was too dilute, so he ended up batching everything but the cava and keeping it in the refrigerator.
The Armchair Sailor greeted me with a floral aroma that paired nicely with the green celery notes. The carbonated grape sip showcased the Crème Yvette's fruity flavors, and the swallow dried out with the sharper Madeira notes. Moreover, the swallow ended with celery and floral violet accents on the finish. Indeed, Scott's suggestion that the Armchair Sailor would make a great pre-prandial cocktail was spot on.

st. bruno swizzle

1 oz Batavia Arrack
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Build over crushed ice and swizzle to mix and chill. Float 1/2 oz Plantation Barbados 5 Year Rum and 2 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters, and add a straw.

As I was drinking my Carroll Gardens at Hawthorne, the place began filling up. I did not figure that anything was unusual for there were only a handful of places open that Memorial Day night, and people looking for a tipple might seek out the hotel bars for their reliable service regardless of the calendar. Once food started coming out to the people around me, I looked to the kitchen and noticed chef Marc Sheehan and realized that the Brasstacks pop-up dinner at the Hawthorne was that night. Despite the dinner going on all around me, the bar continued chugging along although the bartenders were busy at times making cocktail pairings for some of the diners. For my next drink, Scott Marshall mentioned that he had a few Swizzles that he had been working on, and the one that appealed to me was based off the Chartreuse Milk Punch that he had perfected while at Drink. With the Batavia Arrack, Chartreuse, and citrus, it did remind me of Ted Kilpatrick's Swamp Water Fix, so I was definitely game for it. The St. Bruno in the drink name refers to the founder of the Carthusian Order who established the enclosed monastic society in 1084; the Carthusian monks did not start producing their famous Chartreuse liqueurs until several centuries later in the 1740s.
The St. Bruno Swizzle offered up a chocolate aroma that was paired with caramel notes from the aged rum. The citrussy sip preceded the funky Batavia Arrack flavors, the Green Chartreuse herbal notes, and the Yellow Chartreuse savory ones. At the end, instead of the drink drying out from the floated bitters, it got pleasantly chocolaty.

carroll gardens

2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1/2 oz Nardini Amaro
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1 tsp Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

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

After Park, I decided to move down the Red Line; however, the Memorial Day holiday had many places closed. After striking out at Drink, Stoddard's, JM Curley, and No. 9 Park, I decided to rely solely on bartenders that had checked in with the OnTheBar application. Since bartender Katie Emmerson had signed in at Hawthorne, I headed over and found seats in front of her and Scott Marshall. For a drink idea, I told Katie that I was in the mood for something dark, bitter, and stirred, and she suggested Joaquim Simo's Carroll Gardens. Joaquim had created this Manhattan variation while at Death & Co. cerca 2008 in honor of his home neighborhood in Brooklyn.
The Carroll Gardens greeted the senses with lemon oil and rye aromas along with a hint of Maraschino. On the tongue, the grape sip led into a rye swallow that contained chocolaty bitter notes and a Maraschino finish. Indeed, the Carroll Gardens fell quite well into the array of Manhattan variations somewhere in the Red Hook vicinity.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

tom terrific

1 3/4 oz Hayman's Old Tom Gin
1/2 oz Cherry Herring
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass containing ice cubes. Top with 2-3 oz Great Divide's Titan IPA, garnish with an orange slice and a cherry, and add a straw.

On Memorial Day after a cookout, I decided to set out on the town to see what was open. My adventure began at the new Park Restaurant in Harvard Square, and the drink that called out to me was the Tom Terrific. While Chris Balchum made my drink, I asked bartender Daren Swisher about the recipe. I started by asking about the beer choice since I had just heard Daren give a talk on beer along with TJ Curley's Kevin Mabry at a Boston Bartenders Collaborative meeting. Daren explained that he wanted a West Coast style of beer, and it originally was Green Flash's IPA before he switched to Great Divide's. In addition, the question served as a good avenue to get Daren talking about this riff on the Tom Collins which turned out to be a tribute to Patriot's quarterback Tom "Terrific" Brady. The beer choice represented Tom's home state of California where he grew up. Since Brady played college football in Michigan, Daren thought of the state's obsession with the cherry and opted for Cherry Heering liqueur. The earlier version of the drink included Myer lemon and black strap molasses which were later switched to regular lemon and simple syrup; however, there was no mention if the juice or the garnish somehow related to Brady's wins in the Citrus and Orange Bowls during college.

The cherry and orange slice garnish contributed greatly to the drink's aroma along with the IPA's hops. On the sip, the beer's malt and carbonation paired well with the lemon juice. Next, the liqueur's cherry and gin's juniper appeared on the swallow that ended dryly from the hops notes. Moreover, I was impressed at how well the hops complemented the gin -- an observation I first noted when I made a beer-laden French 75 variation for Mixology Monday.

monte carlo

1/2 Cognac (1 1/2 oz Courvoisier VS)
2 dash Curaçao (1/2 oz Senior Curaçao)
2 dash Dry Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Prat)
2 dash Madeira (1/2 oz Blandy's 5 Year Verdelho)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After the Sweet & Vicious, I decided to take the drink feel back a century with the Monte Carlo from the Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933. While there is a better known Monte Carlo that is an embittered Frisco (whiskey, Bénédictine, Angostura), I felt that this lesser known namesake recipe was worth bringing to light.
The Monte Carlo conjured an orange aroma with hints of grape from the Madeira. The dry grape sip led into Cognac and orange notes on the swallow; moreover, the drink ended with a slightly smokey tang on the swallow from the Verdelho Madeira. Overall, the Monte Carlo had a somewhat of an aperitif feel to it, and its balance most certainly matched the late 19th century feel we anticipated.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

sweet and vicious

2 oz Rye (Sazerac 6 Year)
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 oz Amaro Nonino (Averna)
1 tsp Maple Syrup
2 slice Fuji Apple (1/6 medium apple)

Lightly muddle the apple slices. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir with ice. Double strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a thin slice of apple.

Two Sundays ago, we started the evening with Alex Day's Sweet & Vicious that I found in the Big Bartender's Book. While the book provided no history, my investigations seem to indicate that he created it for Allen & Delancey in Manhattan where Alex was the chief mixologist for a while. Moreover, the rye, amaro, and apple components reminded me a bit of Sam Treadway's Keep the Doctor Away that he based off of Hungry Mother's No. 47.
The Sweet & Vicious offered up an apple and rye aroma. The sip presented the amaro's caramel, the rye's malt, and a hint of the apple's fruitiness. Next, the swallow showed the rye's heat, the maple's richness, and the amaro's bitter complexity.

san francisco fizz

2 oz Pisco (Macchu Pisco)
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Gum Syrup
1/2 oz Orgeat (BG Reynolds)
1 Egg White

Shake the lemon juice and egg white. Add the rest and ice, and shake again. Strain into a Fizz glass containing 2 oz of soda water.

Two Saturdays ago, I was flipping through Food & Wine: Cocktails 2012 when I spotted a series of Pisco Sour variations presented by Erik Adkins of the Slanted Door in San Francisco. Erik described the San Francisco Fizz as a mash up of a Pisco Punch, a Mai Tai, and a Silver Fizz. While the San Francisco part of the name could be due to where the drink was created, pisco has its historical roots in the United States in California where ships delivered the spirit that they picked up while looping around South America in the days before the Panama Canal.
The San Francisco Fizz offered up a pisco and pineapple aroma. The sip was creamy and carbonated with lime and almond flavors, and the swallow presented the pairing of pisco and pineapple notes again. Overall, the Fizz was a rather refreshing drink.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

syncopation cocktail

2/5 Brandy (1 oz Courvoisier VS Cognac)
1/5 Triple Sec (1/2 oz Cointreau)
1/5 Calvados (1/2 oz Morin Selection)
1/5 Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)
A dash of Bitters (1 dash Angostura)

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

After the Coo-ee Special, I dropped back a decade to the 1927 Barflies and Cocktails by Harry McElhone. There, the Syncopation Cocktail finally called out to me; it was created or at least contributed to the book by Harry Cahill with the history of "between step and struts, Harry Cahill tosses off Syncopation Cocktail." Indeed, the American Cahill was well known in Paris during the 1920s for his dancing including performing in shows like the Midnight Blue Cabaret; to the right is a photo of him and his dance partner Fay Harcourt cerca 1925. Without the bitters and with equal parts, the Syncopation Cocktail looks a lot like the Deauville Cocktail; perhaps Cahill modified the Deauville into his own creation. This is not unlikely for Cahill frequently performed and probably drank at the Deauville Casino during that decade.
The Syncopation Cocktail's aroma contained fruit notes from the Cognac and Calvados that were accented by the lemon oil. The lemon and orange notes filled the sip, and the swallow offered apple and brandy flavors along with Angostura's spice. Moreover, the addition of the bitters to the recipe seemed to bring forward the apple flavors in the balance.

coo-ee special

1/4 Gordon's Gin (3/4 oz Cold River)
1/4 Pernod Absinthe (3/4 oz)
1/4 Orgeat (3/4 oz BG Reynolds)
1/4 Lemon Juice (3/4 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added a lemon twist.
Two Fridays ago, we started the evening with the Coo-ee Special from the United Kingdom Bartenders Guild's Approved Cocktails book published in 1937. The word "coo-ee" is an indigenous Australian term for "come here," and it is yelled out in the Bush to find missing people or indicate one's location. With the absinthe, orgeat, and lemon juice, the recipe reminded me of Bergamot's Momisette Sour which they based off a classic Parisian drink called the Momisette. The Coo-ee Special offered up a lemon oil and anise aroma that led into a sweet lemon sip. The swallow showcased the absinthe's and gin's botanicals that were soothed by the orgeat's almond.

Monday, June 4, 2012

elcano collins

1 1/2 oz Gutierrez Colosia Fino Elcano Sherry
3/4 oz Rhubarb Syrup (1:1) (a recipe)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Fee's Black Walnut Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a Highball glass containing 2 oz seltzer water. Top with ice and add a straw.

Two Thursdays ago, Andrea and I stopped into Bergamot where bartenders Paul Manzelli and Kai Gagnon were manning the bar. For a first drink, I asked Paul for the Elcano Collins which he named after the fino sherry brand that was one of the stars of the show. I mentioned that the concept reminded me of the Conquistador Collins at Craigie on Main where Paul used to work. Paul confirmed that it was a major influence in the drink. His drink started with a combination of the bar having a delicious sherry on hand that he wanted to use, the kitchen having rhubarb, and his purchasing black walnut bitters which complemented sherry's nuttiness. In relation to the Conquistador Collins, Paul found that the fino allowed the other flavors to shine more and was more complementary to the rhubarb than the fuller-flavored oloroso that Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli opted for in his creation.
The Elcano Collin's rhubarb red color and nutty sherry aroma greeted the eyes and nose, respectively. On the tongue, a carbonated citrus sip was chased by the sherry's and bitters' nutty notes and the bittersweet rhubarb flavor on the swallow.

campari swizzle

3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz Rhum JM Blanc (Vale d' Paul Aguardente Nova de Santo Antão)
3/4 oz Velvet Falernum
3/4 oz Vergano Americano (Cocchi Vermouth di Torino)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Build in a Collins glass on crushed ice. Swizzle to mix and chill, and garnish with a lemon wedge.

After the Pearl of Puebla, I decided to make the Campari Swizzle that I found on StarChefs. The drink was not the Campari Swizzle created by Ryan Lotz while at Lineage, but it was one created by Josh Loving from Fino in Austin, Texas. Unlike Ryan's that featured a Haitian rum, Josh's utilized a grassy rhum agricole. While we do have the Rhum JM Blanc called for in the recipe, I opted for a Cape Verdean rum that shares many of the same flavors as Martinician rums from the volcanic soil and use of sugar cane juice instead of molasses.
The rum's grassy notes appeared on the nose that preceded the lemon and grape sip. Next, the funky rum flavors paired well with the Campari on the swallow that finished with clove notes from the falernum. Overall, the Swizzle was rather soft and well balanced for a Campari drink.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

:: american craft beer fest ::

We went to the American Craft Beer Fest last night at the Seaport World Trade Center here in Boston. I sort of stuck with Belgian-style, sour, saison, and dark beer themes, and here were some of the top finds:

White Birch Brewing (NH) - Berliner Weisse. While I am not a big wheat beer fan, this one came recommended and I was glad I tried. Less wheaty and more citrus with a great funky sour note from the Lacto Bacillius.
Enlightenment Ales (MA) - Brut. This nano-brewery made a bière de Champagne using classic French sparkling wine techniques which definitely paid off.
Enlightenment Ales (MA) - Illumination. A solid saison.
Element Brewing Company (MA) - Extra Special Oak. We had just had their Red Giant last weekend out in Northampton and have enjoyed their Dark Element before. While Andrea went for their 6:56 Double Red Giant which was a sweeter, fuller version of the more bitter Red Giant, I am glad that went with the ESO which was woody, sweet, creamy, and dark with a low hops signature.
Maine Beer Co. (ME) - Mean Old Tom. A dark, chocolatey stout aged with vanilla, but without the vanilla being all that noticeable or domineering. Also had their much touted Lunch which was decent for the style, but IPA has not been my thing lately.
Mystic Brewery (MA) - Flor Ventus. This one also came recommended to me -- a barrel-aged wild ale with the tart notes you would expect from a Belgian lambic style.
Prodigal Brewing (NH) - Necromancer. A doppelbock that was described as a "dark foreboding lager."
Boulevard Brewing Co. (MO) - Tank 7. A Belgian-style farmhouse ale with fruity and citrusy notes.
Boulevard Brewing Co. (MO) - Saison Noir. Another farmhouse ale, but unlike others, this was a dark one with earthy, caramel, chocolate, and mild sour notes.
Lagunitas Brewing (CA) - A Little Sumpin' Wild. A Belgian geuze-style with that citrus-pine hops signature that I have come to expect from this West Coast brewery.
DC Brau Brewing Co. (Wash DC) - The Citizen. A Belgian-style pale ale that was rather drinkable with enough intrigue added from the Belgian yeast.
NoDa Brewing (NC) - Monk's Trunks. An earthy and slightly fruit-accented Belgian-style pale ale.
Night Shift Brewing (MA) - Trifecta. An amber trippel Belgian strong pale ale with decent spice notes.
Somerville Brewing Co. (MA) - Slumbrew Trekker Tripel. This Belgian-style beer impressed me a full degree more than their other offerings.
Widmer Brothers Brewing (OR) - Marionberry Hibiscus Gose. While I went with the Kill Devil Brown Ale aged in rum casks, I was impressed by the gose that Andrea picked. Pink, floral, berry, cleansing tartness. While not what I was expecting from a gose, apparently it is traditional for goses to sometimes be laced with flavored or colored syrups like this.

Friday, June 1, 2012

pearl of puebla

2 oz Sombra Mezcal
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1 barspoon Ricard Pastis (1/8 oz Henri Bardouin)
1 barspoon Agave Nectar (1/8 oz)
4 sprig Fresh Oregano

Muddle the oregano with agave nectar. Add rest of ingredients and ice. Shake and double strain into a coupe glass.

Wednesday last week, we began the night with the Pearl of Puebla from the PDT Cocktail Book. Bartenders Jim Meehan and Euclides López created the drink in 2008 as a Mexican rendition of Audrey Saunder's French Pearl. Jim and Euclides utilized two staples of Mexican cuisine, namely mezcal and oregano. With our oregano patch not only being back for the season but spreading across the garden and into our neighbor's yard, the Pearl of the Puebla seemed like a great excuse to reduce the oregano's reign on the garden.
The drink presented an anise and herbal aroma along with the mezcal notes. The lime sip possessed a fresh green herb flavor, and the swallow offered up the mezcal and a complementary pairing of oregano and Yellow Chartreuse.

queensbury

1 oz Sheep Dip Scotch
1/2 oz St. Louis Kriek Lambic Syrup (*)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with 2 oz of La Marca Prosecco.
(*) Reduced down with heat, then sugar was added. I did not get the exact amount that it is reduced down. As a starting point, consider Misty Kalkofen's Guinness syrup which reduces 12 oz of beer to 8 oz and then adds 8 oz of sugar (makes 12 oz syrup). Perhaps 12 oz could be reduced in half to 6 oz and add 6 oz of sugar (makes 9 oz syrup).

Two Tuesdays ago, Andrea and I stopped into the Citizen in Boston where Nick Korn and Sabrina Kershaw were bartending. For a drink, I asked Nick for the Queensbury which caught my eye on the menu the last time we were there. When I inquired about the beer syrup, Nick explained that bartender Chad Arnholt used to work at a bar where they had drinks that were topped with Lambics and other beers. As the beers went flat, they thought it was wasteful to dump them and figured out that made good syrups.
The Queensbury began with a smoky lemon aroma that had hints of wine. Next, the crisp lemon and malt sip led into a Scotch swallow and a cherry finish. Indeed, the beer syrup's malt paired well with the Scotch and the sparkling wine worked well to re-carbonate the beer.