Tuesday, August 21, 2018

the 212

2 oz Partida Reposado Tequila (Cimarron Reposado)
1 oz Aperol
2 oz Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass, top with ice, and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Tuesdays ago, I spotted a recipe for the 212, so I went to the first place that I had spotted it -- the PDT Cocktail Book. Jim Meehan provided the history that Contemporary Cocktails' Aisha Sharpe and Willy Shine crafted this tribute to Manhattan's telephone prefix in New York City circa 2008. Willy replied to my Instagram post with a bit more history by explaining, "This was a beautiful drink that bartenders around around that time would love & hate. Love because it is delicious and easy to make and order. Hate because the 2 oz of fresh grapefruit would quickly diminish their nightly par of juice if you ordered a few of them which typically happened."
The 212 gave forth an orange and agave nose that preceded a pink grapefruit sip with a touch of orange from the Aperol. Next, tequila melded into the light bitter herbal notes of Aperol and helped to conjure up a grapefruit pith taste on the finish.

Monday, August 20, 2018

maloney park swizzle

10-12 leaf Mint
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
2 oz Matusalem Clasico Rum (Don Q Añejo)

In a Collins glass, muddle the mint with the lime juice and syrup. Add rum, top most of the way with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill while keeping the mint at the bottom. Float 5-6 dashes Pychaud's Bitters, swizzle it in to the top layer to get a tri-color effect, fill with ice, and garnish with a bouquet of mint.

Two Mondays ago, I picked up Sasha Petraske's Regarding Cocktails and spotted the Maloney Park Swizzle. The drink was a Queen's Park Swizzle riff that utilized Peychaud's instead of Angostura Bitters; Sasha named it after bartender Toby Maloney who worked at a variety of Manhattan bars before moving out to Chicago. While Trader Vic's recipe for the Queen's Park Swizzle has the bitters in the mix, Sasha's recipe like most recent ones for Queen's Park Swizzle and their kin have the bitters added to the top (either as a float or swizzled in for more of diffuse top band). Perhaps this tri-color effect started in the New York bartending scene?
The Maloney Park Swizzle donated mint and anise aromas to the nose. Next, the well-balanced lime sip led into rum and mint flavors on the swallow. As the bitters entered the equation, the sip became a bit drier; however, unlike the intense winter spice notes of Angostura in the Queen's Park Swizzle, the Peychaud's was much more mild of an effect to the palate.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

pegu pilot

2 oz London Dry Gin (Beefeater)
1/2 oz Rhum Agricole Blanc (Rhum Clement Premiere Canne)
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Falernum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
2 dash Angostura Bitters
6 drop Absinthe (St. George)

Whip shake, pour into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a mint sprig.

On my walk home from work late Sunday night two weeks ago, I began thinking about the Test Pilot and considered the overlapping lime, Cointreau, and Angostura ingredients with the Pegu Club. So for my evening's refreshment, I experimented with a gin-driven Test Pilot and wanted to know how it would compare to the Pegu Club given the falernum and absinthe in the mix. Furthermore, I included a bit of grassy rhum agricole to push the mix into a more tropical direction along with help from the additional ingredients. In the Tiki mug, this hybrid that I dubbed the Pegu Pilot shared orange, clove, and pine aromas like a Pegu Club that was accented by the notes from the mint garnish. Next, lime and orange on the sip slid into the beautiful grapefruit flavors conjured by gin, orange liqueur, lime, and bitters on the swallow along with grassy accents from the rhum. Overall, it was a softer, more tropical Pegu Club that lay somewhere between the two classics.

Saturday, August 18, 2018


3/4 Rye Whiskey (1 1/2 oz Michter's Straight Rye)
1 dash St. Croix (1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum)
1 dash Italian Vermouth (1/2 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino)
1 dash French Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added a lemon twist to the mix.
After fulfilling a few social obligations around town, I was ready for a nightcap followed by bedtime. Therefore, I delved into Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and spotted the Watterson. The recipe was a Perfect Manhattan with some of the whiskey split with rum; moreover, Peychaud's were the specified bitters here. Technically, the drink could have been made with a mix of sweet and blanc vermouth to better balance the spirits' heat, but I opted for the more stark perfect way instead. Once prepared, the Watterson greeted the nose with lemon oils smoothing over rum funk notes. Next, a semi-dry caramel and grape sip gave way to rye and funky rum on the swallow that ended with a hint of anise spice.

Friday, August 17, 2018

port light

1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup (2/3 oz)
1/4 oz Grenadine (1/3 oz)
1 1/2 oz Bourbon (2 oz Fighting Cock 103)
8 oz Crushed Ice

Blend for 5 seconds on high speed and pour into a Port Light glass (shake with ice, strain, and fill with crushed ice).

Two Fridays ago, I was flipping through Beachbum Berry's Remixed when I came across the Port Light from the Kahiki of Columbus, Ohio. Though I had never made the classic, I had previously made Martin Cate's variation in Smuggler's Cove that swapped the grenadine for honey and took things in an egg white direction. With Cate's riff, the passion fruit-honey was a classic duo utilized by Donn Beach in his Don's Special Daiquiri, but it stepped away from the original by a bit. Moreover, the classic combination did inspire me in my creation of the Fiji Mermaid, but it was time to make the Port Light as Berry published it (well, given a few proportion tweaks).
The garnishes on the Port Light generated a mint and peppery floral aroma over the drink's Bourbon, passion fruit, and berry notes. Next, lemon, berry, and a tropical aspect from the passion fruit filled the sip, and the swallow showcased the angry Bourbon softened by pomegranate and passion fruit flavors. Overall, the sip was a bit more evocative of raspberry and strawberry while the swallow was more suggestive of blackberry.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

holiday in the sun

1 oz Blended Scotch (1 oz Famous Grouse + 1 bsp Laphroaig 10 Year)
1 oz Averna Amaro
1/4 oz Pastis (Pastis d'Autrefois)
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 pinch Salt

Shake with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass, fill with crushed (cracked) ice, and garnish with a lemon wheel (omit) and a cinnamon stick.

After the Pisco Punch, I decided to continue on with the pineapple theme with a recipe that I had bookmarked on ShakeStir. That drink was the Holiday in the Sun by Brian Dressel then of Austin, Texas, and now bartending in Athens, Georgia. Besides being drawn in by the quirky Tiki-inspired combination, the drink's name reminded me of a Sex Pistols song. I soon realized that the song title is plural as "Holidays," so perhaps it was inspired by the 2001 movie starring Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen? Regardless, Brian described the concept as, "Drawing inspiration from both classic Tiki drinks (pineapple, anise, aromatic spice) and holiday flavors (smoke, baking spice, orange peel), the 'Holiday in the Sun' is for those of us who choose to (or may wish to) spend our winter holidays in somewhere a bit more tropical." Regardless of the fact that we were in the middle of a heat wave, I committed to making the drink in August.
The Holiday in the Sun welcomed the nose with a cinnamon and anise bouquet. Next, caramel from the Averna danced with the pineapple on the sip, and the swallow offered smoky Scotch accented by herbal notes. Indeed, Andrea commented at how well pastis works with Scotch here and in other drinks.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

pisco punch

2 oz Pisco (Macchu Pisco)
1 oz Pineapple Syrup
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Lillet Rouge or other Red Wine (Byrrh)
1 dash Aromatic Bitters (Jerry Thomas Decanter)

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail goblet, and garnish with an orange (lemon) twist.

After writing about Trader Vic's Pisco Punch, I began delving into Duggan McDonnell's research on this libation in his Drinking the Devil's Acre. Duggan traced the history back to Duncan Nicol who purchased the Bank Exchange Saloon in San Francisco that first opened its doors in 1853. The bar's Pisco Punch was legendary in that city, and it was often written, "A visitor to San Francisco must absolutely do three things: ride a cable car, watch the sun set through the Golden Gate, and drink a Pisco Punch!" This spirit-forward punch like the Zombie was limited to two per guest, and the recipe was held secret even to Nicol's death during Prohibition. Duggan mentioned that the recipe was not first crafted by Nicol as commonly attributed, for he bought it along with the bar from the Bank Exchange Saloon's original owner. There had always been mention of white powders that made the Pisco Punch special. Some thought it was the gum arabic that was frequently used in syrups, and others thought it was cocaine (although that did not commonly exist as a purified drug until much later). While the powder was not available back then, the coca leaf was, and its euphoric side effects had been well documented throughout the 19th century. Duggan latched on to a quote from Rudyard Kipling who described how the punch was "compounded of the shavings of cherub's wings, the glory of a tropical dawn, the red clouds of sunset and the fragments of lost epics by dead masters." Duggan matched the "red clouds" aspect to an unopened but oxidized bottle of Nicol's punch that displayed a reddish brown. He surmised that the coca leaf-infused wine crafted by Angelo Mariani created in 1863 could be the answer. Vin Mariani contained around 7 mg cocaine per ounce, and soon other imitators popped up in France and California; this trend continued until coca wines (and coca soft drinks like Coca Cola) were outlawed. Duggan surmised that Lillet Rouge might have a similar flavor profile as the original Vin Mariani.
Since I have never carried Lillet Rouge at home, and I gave up on Dubonnet years ago after their formulation was substandard to other quinquinas on the market (note: they just relaunched American Dubonnet with a new formulation that I got to taste at Tiki by the Sea back in June so I may reconsider it in the future), I needed another option. Therefore, I chose Byrrh Grand Quinquina as the aromatized red wine component to hopefully generate the red clouds of sunset albeit with less chemical kick than a century plus before. Once mixed, this Pisco Punch greeted the senses with a lemon and red grape aroma. Next, a smooth grape and lime sip preceded pisco, pineapple, and herbal flavors that led into spice on the finish. Definitely the inclusion of an aromatized wine as well as bitters added a pleasing depth to the otherwise refreshing mix.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

hiva oa

2 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Giffard)
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Lime Juice
8-10 leaf Mint
1 dash Absinthe (12 drop St. George)

Shake with ice, double strain into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a mint sprig.

Two Tuesdays ago, I returned to the low ABV tropical drinks theme and was inspired by Trader Vic's Aku Aku. With mint and lime in the mix, I thought of my Low Heat-O and took it in a dry vermouth and dash of absinthe direction. Instead of the Aku Aku's peach liqueur and rock candy syrup, I replaced them with apricot liqueur and orgeat syrup, respectively. The Aku Aku like the classic Missionary's Downfall are both reasonably low proof drinks, and here the two ounces of dry vermouth is pretty close in alcohol content to those two drinks' one ounce rum pours; therefore, while it is low ABV, it is not that much lighter in strength than the rum drink inspiration.
For a name, I went with the French aspect of the vermouth and picked an island in French Polynesia, namely Hiva Oa. Once prepared, the Hiva Oa shared mint aromas along with tropical fruit notes from the pineapple and apricot combination. Next, a creamy lime and pineapple sip shared a hint of apricot, and the swallow was a delightful medley of herbal, apricot, mint, and a hint of absinthe's anise spice.

Monday, August 13, 2018


1 jigger Gin (2 oz Beefeater)
2 dash French Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Prat)
1 dash Maraschino (1/4 oz Luxardo)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

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

Two Monday nights ago, I returned to Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and spotted the Yale in the gin section. The Savoy Cocktail Book's Yale Cocktail is closer to Pink Gin with dry gin being colored by both Angostura and orange bitters, and other Yale Cocktails take the gin in a dry vermouth plus either Crème Yvette or blue curaçao direction. Some of the Crème Yvette or crème de violette recipes that I spotted also included Maraschino in the mix akin to a citrus-free Aviation-inspired Martini. Here, the only liqueur is Maraschino accented by Angostura Bitters.
The Yale greeted the nose with a lemon oil and clove scent. Next, white wine with a light cherry note on the sip gave way to pine, nutty Maraschino, and clove flavors on the swallow akin to a winter-spiced version of the Silver.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

bornean spiderhunter

2 oz Cynar
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 pinch Salt

Dissolve the salt in the fruit juices, add rest, and shake with a few ice cubes. Strain into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with mint (mint sprigs and nasturtium flower).

On two Sunday nights ago, I was in the mood for something light, so I began thinking about the low ABV tropical drinks that I have been making lately with fortified wines and other sub-20% products. Instead of sherry or vermouth, I decided on Cynar and subbed it for rum in Jason Alexander's Commando Bird akin to what was done in the Cynar Colada. To balance the drink better, I added a pinch of salt to keep the bitter flavors in check. For a name, I went with a small jungle bird theme and dubbed this one the Bornean Spiderhunter. Spiderhunters are tiny tropical birds that feed on nectar and insects using their long curved beaks.
The Bornean Spiderhunter shared a peppery floral and mint aroma that preceded a caramel, lime, and passion fruit sip. Next, the salt-muted Cynar came across as minty on the swallow along with orange, pineapple, and passion fruit flavors.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

olaffson's punch

1 whole Lime (3/4 oz Juice)
1/2 Orange (1 oz Juice)
1 tsp Sugar (1/2 oz Simple Syrup)
3 oz Haitian Rum (Rhum Barbancourt 8 Year)
1 dash Maraschino (1/4 oz Luxardo)

Squeeze lime and orange into a mixing glass, stir with sugar and liquors, strain into a 12 oz glass, and fill with cracked ice. Here, I shook the drink and included the citrus shells in with the crushed ice.
On Saturday two weeks ago, I kept with the Trader Vic theme and opted for his 1981 Book of Food & Drink. There, Olaffson's Punch seemed like a delightful refresher after a hot evening of bartending. The recipe was probably named after the Hotel Oloffson in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, given the rum specification (and regardless of Trader Vic's choice of spelling). Otherwise, it came across like a delightful Planters Punch with a touch of Maraschino -- an element that I mentioned in Trader Vic's Pisco Punch the night before. Once prepared, the Punch donated an orange aroma that led into an orange and lime sip. Next, the swallow continued on with rum, Maraschino, and orange flavors to make for an easy going quaff.

Friday, August 10, 2018

trader vic's pisco punch

Juice 1/2 Lime (1/2 oz)
1 dash Maraschino Liqueur (1/4 oz Luxardo)
1 dash Simple Syrup (1/4 oz)
1 oz Pisco (1 1/2 oz Macchu Pisco)
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice (3/4 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a Tiki stem champagne glass.

Two Fridays ago, I was lured in by Trader Vic's Pisco Punch that he published in his 1972 Bartender's Guide. While the original recipe created by Duncan Nicol in San Francisco at the end of the 19th century was taken to his grave, modern interpretations generally call for pineapple gum syrup, lemon juice, and pisco. The original may have had a cocaine-infused product such as Vin Mariani which would have given things a red hue, but most modern pisco punches overlook this aromatized wine aspect save for Duggan McDonnell's recipe in his Drinking the Devil's Acre. Here, Trader Vic called for lime juice (as does McDonnell) instead of lemon and included a dash of Maraschino that he frequently utilized in drinks like the Kona Gold. Moreover, Maraschino has a magic affinity for pisco (more so than with rum) as I noted in the White Rene.
In the glass, Trader Vic's Pisco Punch proffered a pineapple bouquet with a nutty-earthy element to the nose. Next, pineapple and lime mingled on the sip, and the swallow offered pisco and nutty Maraschino melding into pineapple.

Thursday, August 9, 2018


2 oz Aged Rum (Don Q Añejo)
2 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
1/4 oz Crème de Cacao (Tempus Fugit)

Whip shake, pour into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with mint (chocolate mint).

Two Thursdays ago, I decided to adapt a recipe that I had created for a brand-centric competition that I could not attend due to my work schedule. I did not have time to test out the recipe before submitting it, so I was game to give it a try. On the fly, I combined two pineapple juice drinks: the Royal Hawaiian and the Pago Pago that I thought would go well with the competition spirit's coconut flavors in a Piña Colada sort of way (here, it is made with regular aged rum). To streamline things, I dropped the Royal Hawaiian's gin in favor of the Pago Pago's rum base but kept its lemon juice over the Pago Pago's lime. For a name, I dubbed this after the 18th century Hawaiian chant Kumulipo that told their creation story.
In the Tiki mug, the Kumulipo greeted the senses with a pineapple and chocolate mint bouquet. Next, a creamy lemon and pineapple sip transitioned into a rum, nutty, chocolate, and pineapple swallow with Green Chartreuse's herbal elements coming through on the finish. Curiously, the first two swallows or so were devoid of chocolate notes, but this gained strength after successive swallows.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

frightened tiger

1 1/2 oz Macchu Pisco
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Suze Gentian Liqueur
1/4 oz Apricot Liqueur
2 dash House Persimmon Bitters (*)
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
(*) Substitute another fruit-forward bitters here in a pinch.
Two Wednesdays ago, I ventured over to Backbar after my day shift at River Bar. There, I found a seat at Kat Lamper's bar, and it was a pleasant surprise since she had just gotten back from her extended European travels. For a cocktail, I requested the Frightened Tiger which was bartender Joe Manthey's Pisco Sour riff that complemented the pisco's complexity with orgeat, apricot, and gentian flavors. Once prepared, the Frightened Tiger was full of grapefruit oil aroma that preceded a creamy lime sip. Next, pisco and earthy gentian met almond and apricot on the swallow.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


Juice 1/2 Lime (1/2 oz)
1 1/2 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Grenadine (1/2 oz)
1/2 oz Curaçao (3/4 oz Cointreau)
1 1/2 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Don Q Añejo)
1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum (Coruba)

Blend with a half scoop of crushed ice, pour into an individual scorpion bowl, and garnish with a gardenia (whip shake, pour, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with chocolate mint and a nasturtium).

Two Tuesdays ago, I decided to make a recipe from Trader Vic's 1972 Bartender's Guide that I had previously passed over called the PB2Y2. I had probably skipped this Trader Vic original for it requires three freshly squeezed juices akin to the Tortuga which is a slight hurdle for making drinks at home (less so at work where all the juices are prepped in advance), and the Tortuga is basically a gussied up PB2Y2 with different rums and the addition of sweet vermouth and cacao. Here, the sweetener focus was Trader Vic's duo of curacao and grenadine that he utilized frequently in drinks like the Pondo Punch and others. The orange juice here was pushed forward relative to the Tortuga and Pondo Punch though.
The drink name was a tribute to the World War II flying boats that ventured from Alaska to the South Pacific after the war to make booze runs for the military bases; Trader Vic crafted this combination in their honor. Once prepared, the PB2Y2 gave forth an orange, chocolate-mint, and peppery floral bouquet to the nose. Next, a tart orange, lemon, lime, and berry sip gave way to rum flavors with a hint of funk and an orange finish. Even with the adjustment in the sweeteners, the drink came across as slightly crisp, so I do recommend adding either simple syrup or increasing the grenadine and curacao to match the lemon and lime juice amounts.

Monday, August 6, 2018

don lockwood

1 oz Smoky Islay Scotch (Laphroaig 10 Year)
1 oz Bourbon (Fighting Cock 103)
3/8 oz Maple Syrup
2 dash Chocolate Bitters (Bittermens)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Build in a double old fashioned glass, add rock ice, stir, and garnish with a long orange twist.
Two Mondays ago, I was in the mood for a straight spirits nightcap, so I looked into Amanda Schuster's New York Cocktails for a solution. There, I was drawn in by Abraham Hawkins' split spirit Old Fashioned called the Don Lockwood that he crafted at Dutch Kills. The name appears to be a tribute to Gene Kelly's character in the 1952 movie Singing in the Rain. Once prepared, the Don Lockwood began with an orange and seaweed-medicinal peat smoke on the nose. Next, maple's richness on the sip transitioned into Bourbon and smoky Scotch on the swallow with maple spiced with chocolate and allspice on the finish.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

lightning swords of death

3/4 oz Letherbee Malört (Jeppson's)
3/4 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Giffard)
3/4 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Demerara Syrup
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Build in a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, swizzle to mix and chill, top with crushed ice, and garnish with mint.

When investigating whether malört and apricot liqueurs was an established combination while designing the Cutman, my Google search led me to an article about a drink at Chicago's Whistler called the Lightning Swords of Death. Since the Chicagoist article from 2013 only listed the ingredients, I decided to write my friend Billy Helmkamp who co-owns the Whistler and inquire about the recipe. He responded immediately with the specs and described the combination as the Whistler's Malört Mai Tai. He also commented that they use Letherbee's Bësk instead of Jeppson's since it is higher in proof and complexity, and that their house apricot liqueur is equal parts Rothman & Winter and Marie Brizard's Apry. While I was not provided with information about the name, it is most likely a reference to the 1973 Japanese movie in the Sword of Vengeance series or to the American black metal band formed in 2013.
The Lightning Swords of Death proffered rum funk, lime, and mint aromas before hitting the tongue with a creamy lime sip with hints of orchard fruit. Next, the swallow was all about high ester rum and bitter wormwood that was mellowed out by the nutty orgeat and apricot combination, and things rounded out with a lingering Jamaican rum funk.

Saturday, August 4, 2018


1 oz Malört (Jeppson's)
1 oz Swedish Punsch (Kronan)
3/4 oz Apricot Liqueur (Giffard)
3-4 wedge Lemon
6-8 leaf Mint
1 pinch Salt

Muddle the lemon, mint, and salt. Add the rest, shake with ice, double strain into a double old fashioned glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish lavishly with mint.

After having Nick Jarrett's Prizefighter No. 2, I was inspired to riff on it like I did after imbibing his Prizefighter No. 7 with my Cornerman riff. For a bittering agent to be mollified by the salt, I opted for Malört, and I figured that apricot liqueur would pair rather well with it. For the third element, I was going to go with the more traditional sweet vermouth until I remembered how well Swedish punsch works with apricot -- something that I learned from the classic Havana Cocktail that I utilized in the Tainted Love, Gunwale Punch, and other drinks. Finally, the name Cutman came to me the last time I riffed on the Prizefighter series, and I kept it in mind for the next time. Indeed, a good cutman is invaluable in the corner to minimize the effects of absorbed strikes and thus prolong the fighter's unobstructed vision and breathing, and in the end is not as gruesome as it sounds.
The Cutman began with a mint and apricot bouquet gifted to the nose. Next, lemon and orchard fruit on the sip gave way to woody, lemon, and mint flavors with a tea-like finish. As the ice melted and diluted out the salt, the flavors got a bit more intense on the swallow. Finally, Andrea commented that the combination as a whole "tastes like really delicious iced tea."

Friday, August 3, 2018

prizefighter no. 2

1 1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
3/4 oz Angostura Bitters
3/4 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
6-8 leaf Mint
3-4 wedge Lemon
1 pinch Salt

Muddle lemon, mint, and salt. Add the rest of the ingredients, shake with ice, double strain into a double old fashioned glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish lavishly with mint.

Two Fridays ago, I continued on with another one of Nicholas Jarrett's Prizefighter series. Jarrett crafted eight variations through the years at the various bars he worked at including Clover Club, Dram, and The Cure. Previously, I have had the original and the seventh, and here I went with the second that he crafted at Brookyln's Clover Club. I was drawn to this recipe for it reminded me of another of Clover Club's drinks, namely Giuseppe Gonzalez's Trinidad Sour, given its heavy Angostura Bitters content along with orgeat and lemon juice.
The Prizefighter No. 2 broadcast a mint and allspice wave to the nose. Next, lemon and grape filled the sip, and the swallow gave forth grape, nutty, clove, and allspice flavors. Overall, the salt helped to mollify the bitterness to allow for a relatively gentle but still quirky Smash of sorts.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

lono's grog

2 oz Wild Turkey 101 Proof Bourbon (Old Grand-dad Bonded)
1 oz Coruba Rum
1 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz BG Reynold's Don's Mix a/k/a "Paradise Blend"
3/4 oz Honey Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Flash blend with crushed ice (shake with ice, strain, and top with crushed ice); garnish with a mint sprig and a "Samoan war club" (mint sprig and a Latitude 29 swizzle).

Another of the 2018 Iron Tikitender Navy Grog Challenge recipes that attracted my attention was the Lono's Grog by Carlos Jimenez. While very little information was available about Carlos, Lono in the Hawaiian religion is the deity associated with fertility, rainfall, and music who married Laka. The Lono's Grog swapped the grapefruit in the classic's split juice base for Don's Mix along with cinnamon syrup; moreover, two of the three rums in the classic were exchanged for a double portion of American whiskey.
The Lono's Grog proffered a mint aroma over dark rum's caramel and Don's Mix's cinnamon notes to the nose. Next, caramel, honey, and grapefruit on the sip led into Bourbon, funky rum and cinnamon on the swallow with a lime-flavored finish.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

leilani grasshut

2 oz White Puerto Rican Rum (Plantation 3 Star)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Papaya Juice (muddled fruit, strained)
1 oz Orange Juice
1 dash Grenadine (1/4 oz)

Pour into a Highball glass, fill with ice, and top with soda (whip shake with an ice cube or two, pour into a Highball glass with 2 oz soda water, and top with ice). Garnish with a cherry and pineapple slice (mint).

Two Wednesdays ago, I continued on with the other papaya juice-containing drink from Trader Vic's 1972 Bartender's Guide. This one was the Leilani Grasshut that seemed like a comparable companion piece to the Leilani Volcano down to my finding a reference of it being made with guava instead of mango. Therefore, this might have been another recipe adapted by Trader Vic that was originally created at Walt Disney's Polynesian Village. Here, the flavors were lightened by orange juice and soda water to make a more rounded and refreshing drink than the Leilani Volcano.
The Leilani Grasshut welcomed the senses with a peachy bouquet from the papaya, orange, and other fruits. Next, a crisp, carbonated orange and tropical sip repeated that peachy element noted in the nose, and the swallow merged the rum flavors into the pineapple and papaya ones.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018


1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
1 1/2 oz Papaya Nectar (muddled fruit, strained)
2 oz Port (Sandeman Tawny)
1/2 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Caliche)
1/2 oz 151 Proof Caribbean Rum (Don Q 151)

Shake with crushed ice, pour into a double old fashioned glass, and top with crushed ice.
In continuing on with my papaya drinks to best utilize my fruit that I have been muddling, I turned to one of the recipes two Tuesdays ago to one of the recipes that I had bookmarked in Beachbum Berry's Remixed. That drink was the Schooner from Seattle's Four Winds, and Berry provided surprisingly little information about its history such as its decade of origin. If I had seen this recipe in print, the use of port would have made me think that it was a Martin Cate creation from Smuggler's Cove such as with his Dead Reckoning (although his use is a bit more as a supportive ingredient than a main one). Once prepared, the Schooner shared a peppery floral aroma from the nasturtium garnish that paired elegantly with the papaya notes stemming from the drink itself. Next, grape, lemon, and lime mingled on the sip with a tropical note deriving from the papaya, and the swallow began with rum and port's grape and ended with a delightful papaya finish.

Monday, July 30, 2018

leilani volcano

4 oz White Puerto Rican Rum (Privateer Silver)
2 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Papaya Juice (Muddle and strained fresh papaya chunks)
Juice 1 Lime (3/4 oz)
1 tsp Sugar (1 oz Simple Syrup)

Shake with ice, pour into a Highball glass with ice, and garnish with fresh fruit (mint).

Two of the drinks that were on my radar in Trader Vic's 1972 Bartender's Guide called for papaya juice, and I spent a few days unsuccessfully searching in local Indian, Brazilian, Caribbean, and regular markets for the juice. While in Trader Joe's, they had beautiful papaya fruits for sale, and I figured that I could render it through muddling or blending followed by a straining step into a rather functional juice that was probably more wholesome than that found in a pasteurized and processed bottle or can. The drink I went with first was the Leilani Volcano; Beachbum Berry offered up a recipe by this name in Remixed from the Polynesian Village at Florida's Disney that was somewhat similar with guava, pineapple, lime, sugar, and coconut rum. Perhaps this Leilani Volcano was Trader Vic's take on the Disney number by utilizing a different tropical fruit juice and an unflavored rum. While the Trader Vic recipe was published in 1972 (and it was not marked as one of his originals), I was unable to track down the Disney recipe to anything more specific than the 1970s so I could not definitively determine the lineage.
The Leilani Volcano tickled the nose with papaya, pineapple, and mint sensations. Next, a creamy lime sip offered vague tropical notes, and the swallow combined the rum with distinct papaya and pineapple flavors.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

low tai'd

2 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/8 oz Absinthe (Butterfly)
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Orange Liqueur (Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
6 leaf Mint

Shake with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a mint sprig (mint sprig trio in a lime wheel).

After a long bar shift two Sundays ago, I knew that I needed a good night of sleep so I began plotting out a low ABV heat-busting refresher to end my evening. After having success with the dry vermouth Mojito that I dubbed the Low Heat-O, I wondered if dry vermouth would fill in for the rums in the classic Mai Tai. To bolster the dry vermouth, I included the barspoon of absinthe and the pinch of mint leaves that worked so well in the Low Heat-O. And as I walked home, I came up with the name Low Tai'd (Low Tide) for this shim Tiki libation.
The Low Tai'd welcomed the senses with a mint nose along with hints of lime and anise. Next, a creamy lime sip fell into orange, minty, and anise flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

agnes & the merman

1 1/2 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Pink Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Agave Nectar

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

Two Saturdays ago, I decided to make a drink that I spotted on the BarNotes app from Maria Polise at Philadelphia's The Farmer's Cabinet circa 2012. The cocktail was entitled Agnes & the Merman which is a reference to a trio of underwater bronze sculptures in a Copenhagen canal. What drew me to the recipe was the inclusion of Punt e Mes in a Mezcal Sour similar to what I have tinkered with in drinks like the Dakkar Grotto and have tried from other sources such as the Seersucker Fizz.
The Agnes & the Merman greeted the nose with smoke and lime aromas with a darker note from the Punt e Mes. Next, grapefruit, lime, and grape danced together on the sip, and the swallow began with smoky mezcal and bitter grapefruit flavors and ended with lingering agave vegetalness.

Friday, July 27, 2018

hana punch

3 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 tsp Sugar (1/2 oz Simple Syrup)
1 1/2 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Plantation 3 Star)

Blend with a scoop of ice and serve in a Tortuga glass (whip shake, pour into a Tiki mug, and fill with crushed ice). Decorate with mint.
Two Fridays ago, I sought some tropical refreshment, so I reached for Trader Vic's 1972 Bartender's Guide. There, I was lured in by one of Vic's originals, the Hana Punch, that seemed rather simple but refreshing. Once prepared, the punch proffered a mint aroma from the garnish over pineapple notes from the drink itself. Next, lemon and pineapple on the sip transitioned into rum and more pineapple flavors on the swallow.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

queen anne's revenge

1 1/2 oz La Garrocha Amontillado Sherry
3/4 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Giffard Apricot Liqueur
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a dried lemon wheel.

Two Thursdays ago, I had just picked up my box delivered from CocktailCourier of my Queen Anne's Revenge that I had crafted for their call for new recipes. I based my low ABV Tiki on the Blackbeard's Ghost and substituted sherry for the two rums, swapped ginger syrup for the falernum, and changed around a few of the proportions. The combination impressed the judges enough that they selected it to be one of their new offerings -- view the drink's page here (use code "fredericyarm" to score 20% off for a few more weeks). I described the cocktail as, "An aperitif-Tiki riff on the Blackbeard's Ghost named after Blackbeard's most famous pirate frigate."
The Queen Anne's Revenge put forth an apricot and nutty grape nose with hints of ginger coming through as well. Next, orange, lemon, and grape mingled on the sip, and the swallow displayed the elegance of nutty grape melding into apricot along with growing ginger spice on the finish.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

white negroni daiquiri

1 oz White Rum (Privateer Tres Aromatique)
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc (Cocchi Americano)
1/2 oz Suze Gentian Liqueur
1 oz Lemon Juice
2 tsp Simple Syrup 1:1 (1/2 oz)
3 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Shake with ice, strain into a Nick & Nora (cocktail coupe) glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.

Two Wednesdays ago, I looked over a collection of Daiquiri riffs that Imbibe Magazine compiled and spotted the White Negroni Daiquiri by Mary White of Sydney's Lobo Plantation. Mary's riff utilized the White Negroni as the "spirit" and opted for lemon juice instead of the classic's lime. Since I have had luck substituting a regular Negroni as the "spirit" in drinks like the Negroni Grog and the Negroni on Saturn, I was definitely game to see what the gentian-driven White Negroni could bring to this equation.
The White Negroni Daiquiri shared funky rum and gentian aromas accented by the fresh lemon oil from the twist. Next, lemon and other citrus notes on the sip led into funky rum and gentian on the swallow. While no major surprises here, the combination was rather enjoyable.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

elements of the stars

1 1/2 oz Plantation 3 Star Rum
1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
Two Tuesdays ago, I reached for the Drinking Like Ladies book and selected Ezra Star's Elements of the Stars that she crafted at Drink. Ezra's Daiquiri-esque number was in honor of astronomer Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin whose 1925 Ph.D. thesis focused on star's hydrogen and helium content, and the recipe featured the delightful combination of Amaro Montenegro and cinnamon syrup found in the New Stone Wall. In the glass, the Elements of the Stars proffered a rum, clementine, and cinnamon bouquet to the nose. Next, lime and orange on the sip slid into rum and citrus flavors on the swallow with a cinnamon finish.

Monday, July 23, 2018

scorpion ward

1 1/2 oz Bourbon (such as Four Roses)
1 1/2 oz Puerto Rican Rum (such as Don Q Añejo)
1/4 oz Brandy (such as a VS Cognac)
1 1/2 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Grenadine
3/4 oz Orgeat

Whip shake with a few ice cubes, pour into a Tiki bowl, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with moderate Tiki intent.
Two Mondays ago, I spotted a classic Scorpion Bowl recipe and noticed that it and the Ward 8 both had the same citrus component of orange and lemon juices. Therefore, I pondered what would happen if I mashed them together keeping with the Scorpion Bowl's Tiki style. Putting rum and American whiskey together did not fail me in the Fiji Mermaid, so I gave this concept a whirl. Once prepared, the mashup I dubbed the Scorpion Ward gave forth orange, berry, and earthy nut aromas. Next, a creamy orange and lemon sip gave way to Bourbon, rum, pomegranate, and nutty flavors with a lemony finish. Here, the whiskey's barrel notes donated a touch of astringency on the swallow which is perhaps the problem I noted in this Ward 8 variation post due to its interactions with the orange juice; my hope that the rum and orgeat would mitigate this effect was only partially correct.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

french impression

3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1/4 oz London Dry Gin (Martin Miller Westbourne)
1 1/4 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quinquina

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with orange oil (orange twist).
Sunday night two weeks ago, I was in the mood for something lighter as I needed a good night of sleep. My search led me to the OnTheBar database where I spotted an aperitif by Backbar alumni Dan Braganca entitled the French Impression. Dan described his low octane number as "soft and floral as an Impressionist painting." Once stirred and strained, the cocktail presented a floral, orange, and red grape aroma to the nose. Next, red grape from the Bonal mixed with hints of citrus from the Cocchi Americano on the sip, and the swallow was soft, floral, and herbal with a peach finish.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

cannibal cooler

1 oz Appleton Estate Reserve Rum
1/2 oz Hamilton's 151 Proof Demerara Rum (Lemon Hart 151)
1/4 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram (Hamilton's)
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Falernum
1/4 oz Honey Syrup
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a tall glass, and fill with ice.

After the Doppelganger, I continued with the tropical theme by making one of the recipes from the 2018 Iron Tikitender Navy Grog Challenge. The one that stood out the most was the Cannibal Cooler by Christian Salazar Diaz of Trader Sam's at California's Disney. His recipe included the honey of Don the Beachcomber's Navy Grog as well as the allspice dram of Trader Vic's. Instead of the grapefruit-lime duo, Christian opted for grapefruit-lemon, and he added Chartreuse, falernum, and bitters to the mix.
Once prepared, the Cannibal Cooler presented a citrus and allspice bouquet to the nose besides the aromas from the mint garnish that I added to the recipe. Next, grapefruit, lemon, and hints of honey and caramel filled the sip, and the swallow generated rum, allspice, and clove flavors with lingering Chartreuse herbal notes.

Friday, July 20, 2018


3/4 oz Genever (Bols)
3/4 oz Rhum Agricole (Clement Premiere Canne)
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a mint sprig.

Two Saturdays ago, I began the cocktail hour with a drink that I had spotted in Imbibe Magazine's online archives for the Doppelganger from back in 2011. The recipe was crafted at Vandaag in Manhattan that I had the pleasure to visit that year before they closed their doors midway through 2012. Vandaag focused on aquavit and Genever at the bar to work with their northern European-inspired food program. The Doppelganger with its pineapple juice and rhum in the mix along with the Genever seemed to match the summery mood.
Once prepared, the Doppelganger proffered mint and malt combining with hints of grassiness and pineapple on the nose. Next, lime and pineapple notes mingled on the sip, and the swallow gave forth malty and grassy flavors along with Chartreuse's herbal elements being modulated by pineapple.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

holy joe

1 1/2 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey (Teeling Small Batch)
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)
1/4 oz Cynar

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.
For a nightcap two Thursdays ago, I turned to Imbibe Magazine online and spotted the Holy Joe by John Robinson of The Hive in Bentonville, Arkansas. This Irish whiskey drink paired apricot liqueur with Cynar which has worked rather well in the One One Thousand, Library Card, and other drinks. Once prepared, the Holy Joe gave forth a lemon and apricot nose that led into grape, malt, and orchard fruit notes on the sip. Next, the Irish whiskey was complemented by earthy-bitter and apricot flavors on the swallow.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

easy street

1 1/2 oz Gin (Beefeater)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz St. Germain (St. Elder)
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2 slice Cucumber

Shake with ice, double strain into a Collins glass with soda water (2 oz), top with ice, and garnish with 2 cucumber slices.

After my bar shift on the Fourth of July, I was flipping through A Spot at the Bar and spotted this cucumber-elderflower drink by Anthony Schmidt that reminded me of something that I had made earlier in the day. That drink was a request was for something St. Germain driven and refreshing, I ended up with a similar formula with the addition of grapefruit juice (1/2 oz), upping the elderflower liqueur (3/4 oz), and utilizing cucumber syrup that we have for our house Pimm's Cup for the simple syrup and cucumber slices here (1/2 oz). I have no clue if prior reading of Schmidt's Easy Street spec factored into the equation that moment, but I was game to give this one a shot and try out this older recipe.
The Easy Street generated a cucumber aroma from the garnishes over hints of lemon and floral elements from the drink beneath. Next, a carbonated lemon and vegetal sip gave way to gin and cucumber blending into elderflower on the swallow.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

meet el presidente

1 1/2 oz Plantation 5 Year Rum (El Dorado 5 Year)
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Dry Curaçao or Cointreau (Cointreau)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
2 small Strawberries
1 sprig Mint (8 leaf)

Muddle strawberries and mint, add the rest of the ingredients, and shake with ice. Double strain into a cocktail coupe and garnish with a mint sprig.

The other drink from Amanda Schuster's Duran Duran cocktails article that caught my eye was Marcie Andersen's Meet El Presidente that she created at Restaurant Daniel in New York City. The song's lyrics made her think of "Éva Perón, who was the famous wife of Argentinian President Juan Perón. (And Evita is definitely my favorite musical of all time.) It's a summer riff on an El Presidente with Fernet, which is very commonly consumed in Argentina." The Fernet connection to Argentina had been solidified in my mind since making the Eva Perón several years ago, and the combination of strawberries and mint pleasantly reminded me of the Blanche DuBois.
The Meet El Presidente danced beneath the nose with strawberry, caramel, mint, and menthol aromas. Next, strawberry, orange, lime, and caramel on the sip transitioned into rum, strawberry, and Fernet's herbal flavors on the swallow. Overall, the balance curiously alternated between light and summery and bracingly herbal and aggressive.

Monday, July 16, 2018

jungle booby

1 1/2 oz Blanco Tequila (Cimarron)
1/2 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice
4 dash Absinthe (1/8 oz St. George)

Flash blend with ice cubes for 5 seconds (whip shake with a few ice cubes) and pour into a rocks glass (snifter). Fill with crushed ice and garnish with pineapple wedges and leaves (mint sprigs and ornamental pea plant blossoms).

After having tinkered with the Jungle Bird myself a few days before with the Jungle Hotel Bird, I happened upon Brian Miller's riff at the Polynesian that was published in Imbibe Magazine called the Jungle Booby. Here, the Jungle Bird was switched to an agave one akin to the Yucatan Bird, and other Tiki florishes were added. For one, the citrus was split with grapefruit and a bit of absinthe was added in a way that reminded me of the Jet Pilot (two citrus, two sweetener, bitters). As for that second sweetener, orgeat was utilized to round out the Campari such as was done in the Bitter Mai Tai and other recipes.
Once built, the Jungle Boobie gave forth a floral and mint aroma from my choices of garnish over fruity and anise notes from the drink itself. Next, grapefruit, lime, and pineapple mingled on the sip, and the swallow offered smoky agave along with nutty orgeat melding with bitter orange flavors. Finally, the Jungle Booby wrapped up with absinthe's anise and other herbal accents on the finish.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

planet earth

1 1/2 oz Laird's Straight Apple Brandy (Laird's Bonded)
3/4 oz Cynar
1 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Orgeat

Whip shake with a few ice cubes, strain into a double old fashioned glass, fill with ice, and add an eco-friendly straw.

Two Sundays ago, I had just finished up a batch of orgeat and wanted to make one of the drinks listed in Amanda Schuster's Duran Duran cocktail tribute article on AlcoholProfessor called Planet Earth. The recipe was crafted by Joe Donahue at the Holiday Cocktail Lounge in Manhattan and was named after Duran Duran's debut single. Since Cynar and orgeat have worked well in other drinks such as the Aster Family Flip and the Waking Up Ain't So Easy, I was game to give this one a try. Given how well Cynar pairs with apple brandy such as in the Michigander made me even more excited to mix one up.
The Planet Earth proffered an apple and lime bouquet to the nose with dark, earthy undertones. Next, a creamy lime and apple sip led into apple, earthy, and bitter flavors on the swallow with a lime and orange blossom water finish.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

jungle hotel bird

1 oz Cuban-Style White Rum (Angostura White Oak)
1/2 oz Dark or Aged Jamaican Rum (Smith & Cross)
1/2 oz Blackstrap Rum (Cruzan)
2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)
1/2 oz Campari

Shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with mint sprigs (chocolate mint).

When looking up the story of the Mojito in Beachbum Berry's Potions of the Caribbean, I spotted the Hotel Nacional and noticed how close it was to the Jungle Bird. The major differences were the rum, and the presence of simple syrup to balance the lime in the Campari-based one (but not in the apricot liqueur-based one). Since Campari and apricot have proven to be synergistic flavor pairings in drinks like the Intercept, I wondered how a mash up of the Cuban-derived Hotel Nacional and the Indonesian-born Jungle Bird would do. The Jungle Bird was also fresh on my mind since someone on Instagram had made my Yucatan Bird earlier that evening. For a name, I went with the concept of the charismatic talking parrot found in hotel lobbies across the tropics, and I dubbed this one the Jungle Hotel Bird.
In terms of rums, I went with a trio here, and I started by having half the drink being the white Cuban-style rum that would have been found in the Hotel Nacional. For the other half, I split the spirit between the dark Jamaican rum called for in the original Jungle Bird and the black strap rum that Giuseppe Gonzalez discovered to work superbly to tie together the flavors. Once prepared, the drink presented a chocolate mint aroma to the nose from my choice of garnish. Next, pineapple, lime, and caramel on the sip led into rums, pineapple, and bitter apricot notes on the swallow with a bitter molasses finish. Overall, the apricot worked well to round out the Campari, and the two functioned to make a slightly bitter orchard fruit flavor.

Friday, July 13, 2018

sanchez de los toros

2 oz Reposado Tequila (Cimarron)
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/4 oz Demerara Syrup (Simple Syrup)
1/4 oz Campari
1/4 oz Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Two Fridays ago, I was in the mood to make a quirky drink that I had spotted on the BarNotes app called the Sanchez de los Toros. The recipe was crafted by T. Read Richards of the Valkyrie bar in Tulsa, and I was drawn to it for the mix of a quarter ounce each of Campari and Angostura Bitters reminded me of Nicholas Jarrett's Evening Redness No. 1. Instead of a Martinez riff, this one was a Tequila Sour of sorts where Richards was driven to create a woody, citrussy agave cocktail to match his tasting notes on a tequila. Once prepared, the Sanchez de los Toros presented a grapefruit, vegetal agave, and cinnamon orange bouquet to the nose. Next, a dry, tannic grapefruit sip stepped aside to a swallow offering agave, bitter notes from Campari singing through with Angostura's spice, and a grapefruit finish.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

agent 355

1 1/2 oz Sazerac Rye Whiskey
1 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
1 bsp Steen's Cane Syrup (JM Sirop de Canne)
4 dash Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters (Jerry Thomas Decanter)

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass rinsed with Velvet Falernum, and garnish with an orange twist speared with clove.

Two Thursdays ago, I ventured back into Drinking Like Ladies and spotted the Agent 355 by Kimberly Patton-Bragg of Latitude 29 who I had just met at the Tiki by the Sea event two weeks prior. Kimberly's drink was a split-base Sazerac of sorts with the accent not being an anise-driven bitters and cordial combination, but a clove-based one with aromatic bitters and a falernum rinse. The drink name refers to a female spy during the American Revolution who helped to uncover and foil Benedict Arnold's plot. While her identity has been surmised, it is still unknown; popular theories put her in close proximity to Loyalists whether by neighborhood or romantic suitors.
The Agent 355 began with orange, clove, and apple aromas that preceded a malt and apple sip. Next, the rye and apple continued to mingle together on the swallow along with the bitters' and falernum's clove.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

piedmont cobbler

2 1/2 oz Punt e Mes
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Orgeat
1 medium Strawberry

Muddle the strawberry, add the rest of the ingredients, shake with ice, and double strain into a Collins glass. Fill with crushed ice, add a straw, and garnish with a strawberry fan.

Since we had a carton of local strawberries, I pondered what drinks that I could find with it that matched my need for a low proof refresher. Knowing that the ones that I had seen in Death & Co. and other books were much boozier, my mind harkened back to a delightful berry Cobbler that I had at Bellocq three years ago called the Dolin Blanc Cobbler. Instead of blanc vermouth, I figured that Punt e Mes would tie in with the strawberries here. The Dolin Blanc Cobbler utilized raspberry syrup, and for a sweetener here, I was drawn to orgeat which would both sooth the bitterness of Punt e Mes and hopefully work as delightfully with strawberries as it had in the Blanche DeBois.
For a name, I latched on to Punt e Mes being produced in the Piedmont area of Italy which is also known for its strawberry harvests, and I dubbed this one the Piedmont Cobbler. Once prepared, the strawberry garnish contributed greatly to the drink's nose. Next, creamy, lemon, and grape notes mingled on the sip, and the swallow was an elegant bitter strawberry and nutty almond combination.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


2/3 Bacardi (1 1/2 oz Havana Club 7 Year)
2 dash Pineapple Juice (1 1/2 oz)
2 dash Marasquin (1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino)
1 dash Anisette (1/8 oz Herbsaint)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
After returning home from work two Monday nights ago, I ventured into Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933, and the Baccarress caught my attention. I envisioned the drink like a Mary Pickford with anisette instead of grenadine or perhaps the Hotel Nacional Special but with the maraschino and anise notes of an Improved cocktail instead of apricot liqueur and lime. Once shaken and strained, the Baccarress showcased pineapple, nutty, and anise aromas. Next, the pineapple continued on into the sip along with a hint of aged spirit's caramel notes, and the swallow was a delightful medley of rum, pineapple, Maraschino, and anise flavors.

Monday, July 9, 2018


2 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Smith & Cross
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
6-8 leaf Mint

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass with 2-3 oz soda water, top with ice, and garnish with a mint sprig.
Two Mondays ago, two of my regulars stopped into River Bar for dinner and cocktails. For a final round, I could sense that they wanted something else to taste but were hitting a wall with their alcohol consumption. Therefore, I latched onto their love of Cynar and combined it with my recent fascination of Mojito variations. The concept of a Cynar Mojito reminded me of Palmer Matthew's Cynar Southside of sorts that he dubbed the Deep Six, and I included a touch of high ester rum to bring the combination a notch closer to the classic. My guests rather enjoyed the drink and raved about how flavorful it was, and I later called this one the Amargito for "little bitter."

Sunday, July 8, 2018

low heat-o

2 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/8 oz Absinthe (Butterfly)
6-8 leaf Mint

Shake with ice, strain into a Highball glass containing 2 oz soda water, top with ice, and garnish with a mint sprig.

After my bar shift two Sundays ago, I was thinking about how delightful the dry vermouth came across in the Sloppy Joe's Mojito Caballito, and I wondered how the drink would be as a dry vermouth-forward libation akin to the Board of Directors. After all, two of Sloppy Joe's other Mojito variations swapped the spirit to something other than rum. Keeping with the low proof theme here, I dubbed this one the Low Heat-O, and I added a touch of absinthe to complement the mint and vermouth's herbalness.
The Low Heat-O shared mint aromas over other herbal notes seeping out of the bubbling libation below the garnish. Next, a crisp, carbonated lime and white wine sip was chased by an herbal swallow with an anise finish.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

mojito caballito

1 1/2 oz White Cuban Rum (Angostura White Oak)
1/2 oz French Vermouth (Noilly Prat Dry)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 tsp Sugar
8-10 leaf Mint

Muddle mint in the sugar and lime juice (I stirred the lime juice to dissolve the sugar. I then added the mint, muddled, and removed the leaves). Add the rum and vermouth, fill with crushed ice, and top with 1 1/2 oz soda water. Garnish with a mint sprig and a spiral cut peel of a whole lime as a horse's neck.

Two Saturdays ago, I had been thinking about the Mojito after having made a few score of them at work. I turned to Beachbum Berry's Potions of the Caribbean to read up on the history. The drink was created in the early 1900s in Cuba and appealed to Bourbon-loving Americans for it was the "Latin American stepchild of the Whiskey Collins and the Mint Julep." Berry also linked the drink to the early 19th century Draquecito consisting of aguardiente, lime, sugar, and herba buena mint. Sloppy Joe's in Havana took the classic and added three variations, and the one that appealed to me was sourced from the 1931 Sloppy Joe's Bar Cocktails Manual; it stood out with its inclusion of dry vermouth as well as the horse's neck garnish. The variation was dubbed the Mojito Caballito, and "caballito" meant "little horse."
The Mojito Caballito greeted the nose with a mint bouquet. Next, a crisp, carbonated lime sip transitioned into rum, herbal, and mint flavors on the swallow.

Friday, July 6, 2018

nina brava

1 1/4 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida (Fidencio)
3/4 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
1/4 oz St. Germain

Stir with ice, strain into a Nick & Nora glass (cocktail coupe), and garnish with grapefruit oil from a twist.

Two Fridays ago, I had just received my copy of Misty Kalkofen and Kirstin Amann's Drinking Like Ladies book, and I immediately honed in on the Nina Brava. The recipe was crafted by Melissa "Mellie" Wiersma who was a Boston bartender before she headed off to New York City, and I was drawn to it for the combination of smoky spirit, dry vermouth, Cynar, and elderflower reminded me of the Alto Cucina. Like all of the recipes in the book, this one was named after a notable lady in history, and here it was in tribute to a retired Navy Seal, Kristin Beck, who came out as a trans woman in 2013.
Once prepared, the Nina Brava offered up smoke, grapefruit, and floral aromas over darker notes from the Cynar to the nose. Next, caramel and a vague fruitiness that had a touch of grapefruit on the sip led into smoky, vegetal, and fruity flavors on the swallow with a dark and smoky finish. Like in other drinks, the high notes of St. Germain worked rather well to balance the bass ones of Cynar.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

snail mail

1 oz Flor de Caña 7 Year Rum (1 1/4 oz Privateer Tres Aromatique)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Honey Syrup 1:1
1 Egg White
4-5 leaf Mint

Shake once without ice and once with ice, double strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with 5-6 drops of Angostura Bitters.

As the cocktail hour rolled around on Thursday night two weeks prior, I began searching the BarNotes app for a good use of my mint patch. One of the drinks that spoke to me was an Air Mail riff called the Snail Mail created by Aaron Post at Valkyrie in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The concept reminded me of Yvonne's Honey Bee but with mint instead of pear brandy as the accent.
The Snail Mail welcomed the nose with a clove, cinnamon, and rum funk bouquet. Next, a creamy lime and honey sip stepped aside to let a funky rum and fresh mint on the swallow shine.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


1/2 Brandy (1 1/2 oz Camus VS)
1/4 oz Pineapple Juice (3/4 oz)
2 dash St. Croix Rum (1/2 oz Seleta Cachaça Gold)
1 dash Grenadine (1/4 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Wednesdays ago, I had returned back from Tiki by the Sea, and I was in the need of a nightcap. Therefore, I reached for Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and selected the Newlyweds. The recipe reminded me a little of a Mary Pickford or perhaps a Hotel Nacional, and this split brandy-rum drink seemed like it would be a good transition from my previous days sipping tropical drinks. Once mixed, it offered a fruity aroma from pineapple and grenadine with grassy notes from the cachaça. Next, pineapple and berry on the sip led into Cognac, pineapple, and cachaça funk flavors on the swallow with a raspberry-pineapple finish.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

:: hospitality in tiki ::

"I am a bartender and I'm full of shit, but that doesn't make me wrong," began Mike Neff at his "Hospitality in Tiki / The Business of Tiki" talk at Tiki by the Sea. Despite the title, it had nothing specific to do with Tiki but more to do with role of the bartender in hospitality and in making a living. In addition, he questioned the role of the drink making craft in the scheme of things.

Mike explained that the bottom line in bars is a bit boring but very important. All of the spreadsheets amount to the concept of "don't spend too much money but also not too little." The top line is more difficult for if there is a problem, we the bartenders are the problem. But we are also the solution. Taking a moment from this train of thought, Mike requested a piece of paper to demonstrate his paper airplane folding skills. He stopped speaking and began folding while making a few comments about how great of a paper plane maker he was. After he was finished, he launched the plane across the room. What was the point? We spend too much time looking down doing the craft of making good drinks that we forget why people were there. While he made a good plane, he stopped speaking to the audience as they got lost in his focus. Also, someone in the audience yelled out that he and his friends would like 10 of those. Mike continued on that "the [drink making] craft is part of what we sell but is not just what we sell. We sell escapism." Moreover, Mike paraphrased a quote as, "the drinks are free; the hospitality is what the guests pay for."

As for the finances in the transaction, there is a fee built into the price of the drink for the bartender to make it for the guest. The hospitality is where everything additional comes in. Mike explained that hospitality has been corrupted by Starbucks and their use of that fake "service voice." There is another step beyond that, and that is where there is a lot of money to be made. That layer is hard to name, but Mike stated that the closest is "humanity." He continued that he was not in this business to make friends but to make money, and figuring out how is key. For example, does the guest have to bring his own fun? Mike asked, when a single guys goes into a bar alone and orders a beer, what happens? Does he get entertained? Does he get a goodbye at the end?

Mike set up a scenario where a boss tells a bartender that a particular night of the week is slow and that they can have that night on a trial basis. The bartender has 6 weeks to work and make it busier, otherwise, they will give the night to someone else. It is nothing personal against that bartender, but it is just business. The answer is that the bartender needs "to be so goddamn awesome that people come back." Mike proffered that we have bred out the ability in the job. There are three good components to being a successful bartender: being really good looking, really funny, and really fast. You need at least two; if you have all three, you can work anywhere.

Harkening back to the paper aircraft moment, Mike described how we have made an entire generation of weenies. We taught them that everything important was in books. We taught them there was a purpose. And we made people famous, and they started forcing their staff to do it their way and thus created orthodoxies. Being a bartender is more than this for it is one of the most important jobs for humanity. A bartender can touch millions of people over their career, make tourists think fondly of their trip, and be part of a profession that is responsible for more pregnancies than any other one besides OB/GYN. Bartenders need to show humanity, and this is something that bartenders do not know until they have been at an establishment for years, served the same guests for long stretches of times, and integrated into the guests' lives. This is why Mike rarely looks at resume with less than a year at each establishment. Our guests "need to drink giggle juice, do it with [other] people, and do it with rhythm." A bartender's demeanor has the ability to screw up their guests' life from making their rare night out go poorly to ruining their romantic chances with their date.

Mike brought up the tale of a Jack Daniels rep whose drink of choice was said whiskey on the rocks with a side of a soda -- an order that can be acquired pretty much anywhere that stocks that nearly ubiquitous spirit. The question is why a guest like that should return to your bar? It all matters about what happens at that bar. Is the place one of those serving "paper planes" that can be tied down and taken out of the game with a large order? We train our guests to expect a greater amount of time on each drink build, on better ice and garnish, etc. to the point where the bartender cannot provide hospitality. And this also affects the degree to which the bartender can make money. Next, Mike enjoyed telling the story of how a few of his bartender-guests saw him free pouring instead of jiggering and told him that he is not making drinks right. Again and again, these same bartenders came to his bar and chastised his technique. Mike finally replied, "The difference is that you guys keep coming back to my bar and I don't come to yours."

Mike next defended the concept of tipping. What the boss gets per order is fixed, but we get to negotiate with the guest and figure out what they want. The good bartender will set the rhythm, and they need to get everyone to look at them. This level of respect avoids the frequency of calling guests out for their behavior. He also noted that if one of the guests realizes that they outnumber the bartender, we as bartenders are in trouble, so that level of control is crucial. It is also important to have your guests see you as a human being. Our tipping structure, as flawed as it is, is worth keeping. The hourly a bartender receives is merely so they turn on the lights and not steal from the boss. With tips, the bartender can have a side deal with the guests. Bartending is a job of both sales and production, and it is one of the few professions where workers craft their own stuff and sell it as well.

Making a cocktail is a gift -- it is something that the bartender constructed with their hands and that the guest is going to put into their mouth. That is intimate. So the first thing that you should say after presenting the drink should not be about money. It could be a few of the ingredients or it could be exclaiming "Shazzam!"; regardless, make them realize the value of it. Even when making bespoken drinks, other than asking the regular questions like stirred or shaken, ask something like "Superman or Wonder Woman?" Why? Because now you know the guest better than before, and that guest will be more likely to return. They will feel that the drink is more attuned to them. Mike asserted, "I cannot make a transformative cocktail unless I love you."

Mike pleaded that bartenders not be dicks. "If you're going to be a dick, be a big dick... [be] the Dick." People do seek out that experience of an abusive staff known for their antics, but anything less than that is unfortunate. Whatever you do, you need to be a real person. Mike disclosed that the game is knowing the guest's name. And secondly, what profession and other things that they do in the world. "We have an ability that is close to magic. We have the ability to flip switches in their minds to change the way [the guest] thinks." While it is important what is in the drink itself, it is merely a vehicle for what we do. In the end, it all about the people.

In terms of knowledge, no manager hears, "I have read all these books and know how to use a jigger" and replies, "Cool... you get to work Saturday nights!" Overall, knowing about movies is more important than knowing about piscos. Mike finished up with the fact that bartenders "are micro-dosing love -- it's a powerful thing. This generation is born with supercomputers in their pockets... and they can always drink at home." Getting them to leave their home and return to your bar is the goal of every shift.