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.