Monday, May 20, 2019

sherry cobbler

1 1/2 oz House Sherry Blend (*)
3/4 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Raspberry Syrup (**)

Build in a snifter glass, fill with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill. Garnish with 5-6 dash Regan's Orange Bitters and an orange twist.
(*) 2 parts Oloroso, 2 parts Amontillado, 1 part Pedro Ximenez, and 1 part Manzanilla. To make the 1 1/2 oz à la minute: add 1/2 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/4 oz, respectively.
(**) Not a full 1:1. Made with one part raspberry, one part water, one part sugar.
For my second drink at Green Street, I tried Jordan Runion's take on the classic Sherry Cobbler where he subbed in orange juice for the muddled orange slices and raspberry syrup for the sugar in Jerry Thomas' recipe. In this preparation, the double dose of orange from the twist and bitters hit the nose right off the bat. Next, orange, grape, and berry notes on the sip gently slid into raisiny and nutty grape blending into raspberry flavors on the swallow.

the cameo

3/4 oz Plantation Original Dark Rum
3/4 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
3/4 oz Giffard Orgeat
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a rocks glass, fill with ice, and garnish with a cherry-orange slice flag.
Around three weeks ago, bartender Jordan Runion messaged me that he had returned to Green Street in Cambridge to take over the cocktail program. After figuring out his schedule, I decided to visit him two Mondays ago. From the revamped small cocktail list, I selected the Cameo that Jordan attributed to his coworker Ann. Jordan's thought was that Green Street used to have a Caribbean food menu when Dylan Black took over the establishment, and Jordan wanted a Caribbean-themed Last Word-like drink on the list to represent that. The end result was the Cameo which reminded me of a less spirit-forward A Tale of Two Kitties; once prepared, it greeted the nose with a nutty almost marzipan aroma. Next, lime countered by the orgeat and allspice dram's richness on the sip led into rum, nutty, and allspice flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

8th arrondissement

1 1/2 oz Cognac (Camus VS)
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Amer Picon (Torani Amer)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Sundays ago, I was thinking about the Ward 8 for it came up a few times during Thirst Boston the weekend before. One of my major problems with the earliest recipe of the 1898 drink appearing in Robert Vermeier's 1922 Cocktails: How to Mix Them is that the orange juice clashed with the oaky American whiskey. Yvonne's which resides in the old Locke-Ober space where the classic was created got around that point by utilizing Palo Cortado sherry as a flavor bridge in their version. I pondered what other spirits might work well here, and my eyes drifted over to the Cognac section of my home bar. With a French theme, perhaps substituting Amer Picon for the orange juice might work especially given how well grenadine and Amer Picon pair in some of Trader Vic's recipes like the Jayco and Philippine Punch as well as older recipes like the Swanee Shore and Bronco. Moreover, the swap reminded me of Paul McGee's recipes at Lost Lake, such as their Fog Cutter, that sub dry curaçao for orange juice (Paul's avoidance of orange juice is different than mine and explained in the link). For a name, I dubbed this one the 8th Arrondissement which is the part of Paris that contains the Champs-Élysées.
The 8th Arrondissement greeted the senses with an orange, berry, and Cognac bouquet. Next, lemon and berry swirled on the sip, and the swallow conjured up Cognac, bitter orange, and pomegranate flavors with a tart lemon finish. Overall, the end result was very different than the Ward 8, but the French ingredients certainly worked well together.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

an englishman, a frenchman, and an italian walk into an l.a. bar

2 oz Knob Creek Rye (Rittenhouse)
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
3/4 oz Honey Syrup 2:1 (1:1) (*)
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Martini Gran Lusso)

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with orange oil from a twist.
(*) James mentioned that the drink came out a bit sweet, so I reduced the honey syrup strength to 1:1.

During Brother Cleve's walking tour of Boston during Thirst this year, I met cocktail enthusiast James Wallace, and we got on the topic of creating cocktail mashups. He mentioned that he won a competition, namely the Thirst's 2016 At-Home Bartender Challenge, with a mashup of a Brown Derby and a Boulevardier. I requested that he send me the recipe, and after he did, I was able to find an article about it in BostonMagazine to fill in the rest of the details. James mentioned that his recipe was influenced by the 2 oz minimum of the rye sponsor, so that is why he went with that volume (and why the total volume ended up so large) and with rye whiskey instead of the Bourbon that is the base spirit in both of the classics. For a name, he dubbed this one An Englishman, a Frenchman, and an Italian Walk into an L.A. Bar. Most likely, the Italian references the Campari and sweet vermouth here, or perhaps it points to the Negroni lore, and the L.A. Bar part is an allusion to the Vendome in Hollywood where the Brown Derby was created in the 1930s and named after the nearby Brown Derby restaurant. In addition, the Boulevardier was crafted by Erskine Gwynne, an American-born writer who published a magazine in Paris called the Boulevardier during Prohibition. Also, the Boulevardier's recipe was first published in bartender Harry McElhone's Barflies and Cocktails, and McElhone left Scotland and later England to open a bar in Paris; so perhaps those are the French and English aspects in this drink name.
In the glass, the drink proffered an orange oil aroma over grapefruit juice and Campari's bitter orange notes. Next, a grapefruit, honey, and grape sip led into rye whiskey and softened bitter orange flavors with a honey and grapefruit finish.

Friday, May 17, 2019

tale of two roberts

2 oz Blended Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
1 oz Cinzano Sweet Vermouth (Martini Gran Lusso)
1/4 oz Benedictine
2 dash Pontarlier Absinthe (1/2 bsp Butterfly)

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

Two Fridays ago, I delved into The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book by Frank Caiafa. There, I was lured in by the Tale of Two Roberts which was Caiafa's combination of two of the three most common Bobby Burns variants: namely the Rob Roys that include Benedictine and absinthe, with the third one, the Drambuie option, only included in the commentary. The original Bobby Burns' genesis was attributed to the Old Waldorf Astoria bar itself and the recipe was included in the 1935 The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book as the absinthe variation, while the Savoy Cocktail Book a few years later published it as the more popular Benedictine one.
In the glass, the Tale of Two Roberts welcomed the nose with lemon, smoke, and anise aromas. Next, grape and malt on the sip sallied forward with Scotch and herbal flavors on the swallow with an anise and smoke finish.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

hummingbird down

2 oz Tanqueray Gin
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Honey Syrup
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a mint leaf.

Two Thursdays ago, I reached for the Stir Your Soul book that contained the recipes from the 2009 Tales of the Cocktail event. The drink that called out to me was Chad Solomon and Christy Pope's Hummingbird Down that came across like a Bee's Knees crossed with a lime-less Green Ghost. The Regarding Cocktails book in the section containing the Rye Hummingbird discussed how Sasha Petraske was a fan of modifying the Bee's Knees such as swapping the citrus to lime to generate the Business, and this pushed Chad Solomon (and perhaps Christy Pope was involved but not mentioned there) to add Green Chartreuse to the mix; the Rye Hummingbird was Marcos Tello's next step in the progression by changing the base spirit to whiskey.
The Hummingbird Down offered mint, Green Chartreuse's herbal, honey floral, and juniper aromas to the nose. Next, lemon and honey mingled on the sip, and the swallow followed up with gin flavors leading into bright herbal ones from the Chartreuse.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019


3/4 oz Smoky Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
3/4 oz Barbados Rum or other aged Caribbean (R.L. Seale 10 Year)
1 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Zucca or Sfumato (Sfumato)
1 dash Chocolate Molé Bitters (Bittermens)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a flamed orange twist.

When thinking of combinations to tinker with, my mind drifted over to Punt e Mes and Sfumato Rabarbaro which was one that I had with Zucca Rabarbaro in the Search for the Cure and the Sad Waltz of Pietro Crespi. With the Punt e Mes and herbal liqueur, I wondered if it could work in a 1919-inspired cocktail. With that structure, I kept the rum although changed it to one less caramel-driven than Old Monk, but I switched the whisk(e)y from rye to Scotch in remembering how well smoky whisky worked with a rabarbaro in the Caustic Negroni. For a name, I dubbed this one the 1872 after the Great Boston Fire similar to how the 1919 was named after the Great Molasses Flood.
The 1872 ignited the olfactory senses with orange and smoky herbal aromas. Next, grape, malt, and roast notes crackled on the sip, and the swallow burst out with rum, smoke, and bitter herbal flavors with a chocolaty finish.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

three-piece suit

2 oz Reposado Tequila (Cimarron)
1 oz Oloroso Sherry (Lustau)
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
Two Tuesdays ago, I reached for Maggie Hoffman's Batched Cocktails for a recipe that I could scale down to a single serving. There, I was lured in by the simplicity of Steve Huddleston's Three-Piece Suit that he created that Parcel 32 in Charleston, SC. Once prepared, the tequila offered up vegetal agave aromas and the sherry shared nutty grape ones. Next, a semi-dry grape sip gave way to agave, nutty grape, orange, apricot, and vanilla flavors on the swallow.

Monday, May 13, 2019

fort nelson crusta

1 3/4 oz Michter's Bourbon (Michter's Straight Rye)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Honey Syrup
1/4 oz Demerara Syrup
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3 dash Creole Bitters (Peychaud's)

Shake with ice, strain into a narrow sugar-rimmed glass, and garnish with a long wide lemon twist around the glass' interior.
Two Mondays ago, I decided to make a recipe that I had spotted on the Michter's Whiskey Instagram called the Fort Nelson Crusta. They named the drink after the century old Fort Nelson building in Louisville where they recently built their distillery, and they serve this number in their distillery's bar. Once prepared using their rye instead of their Bourbon (which I lack), the garnish offered up a lemon aroma that preceded a lemon and honey sip. Next, whiskey, herbal, anise, and light cherry flavors swirled on the swallow.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

:: beyond the 50/50 ::

One of the talks that I attended on Sunday at Thirst Boston was entitled "Beyond the 50/50" by Jake Parrott of Haus Alpenz importers and Jared Sadoian of The Hawthorne bar here in Boston. The concept of the session was "weird thoughts about pairing the right aromatized wine for your gin" that was demonstrated with four gins and aromatized wine pairings. The idea was that if you found the right pairing of botanical distillate and aromatized wine, it would make for easy porch drinking requiring only approximations of measurements. Jake pointed out there were there were so many combinations, and while many of them were right, some were extraordinary. As the room was being set up and before the session even began, Jake entertained us with a porrón filled with Miro dry vermouth and tonic water. During the talk, the rule was that the porrón had to keep moving (even if you did not want to drink, you still had to pass it) which made for an entertaining sideshow as the talk progressed.
The four combinations were: Hayman's London Dry Gin paired with Miro Extra Seco Vermouth, Haymans Royal Dock (Navy Strength) Gin with Dolin Rouge Vermouth, Bully Boy Estate Gin with Cocchi Americano Rosa, and Berkshire Mountain Distillers Barrel-Aged Ethereal Gin (Batch #3) with L.N. Mattei Cap Corse Rouge Quinquina.
Instead of describing the details of each pairing, let us get at the heart of why these pairings work. Every intense botanical has a critical characteristic that stimulates a part of the tongue more than others. Every part of the tongue can only be stimulated so much in a sip. Indeed, one way to balance simple drinks is to balance the stimulation across the tongue. A mixture that maps well across the tongue has a great sense of seamlessness to it. If the drink does not map well, it will need to be either very sweet or very dilute. But if it does map well, it can handle dilution whether through soda water or vodka as a spirit base and still maintain interest. Jared pointed out that at the Hawthorne, when testing out new drinks, they split the shaken or stirred drinks into two with half going into a cocktail glass and half going on the rocks. After many minutes, they return to the drink to see whether a more dilute but cold drink is more pleasurable than a warmer one, and with this information, they select the serving style and glassware.
Here are some random interesting quotes:
• "Blanc vermouth is the great texturizer and the great entry drug [for drinking vermouth]."
• On the Vesper Martini: "Why would you drink an 8:1 drink? Ian Flemming wanted to portray James Bond as a drunk." (my thoughts on the Vesper share other confusions about the recipe)
• On the strawberry, "The bitterness of the seeds is why you eat a second strawberry. And this bitterness is why strawberries are great in cocktails."
• "Grapefruit reduces the perception of bitterness."
• On how oak tannin is effected by temperature of the drink: "Manhattans should be served at cellar temperature and close to that of red wine." And Jake explained that a good Manhattan can be made with cold vermouth, cold water, and no ice.
• "People love watching people stir drinks. It's one of the reasons people go out to [cocktail] bars."
• "In the 1850s, quinquina was the CBD of the era -- it [was believed to] fix anything."
• "Caramel is what makes sweet vermouth red but it [or the amount of it] is a lifestyle choice." For example, Dolin Rouge is light on the caramel opposed to many Italian vermouths that can be rather heavy handed with it.

Saturday, May 11, 2019


For an afternoon talk at Thirst Boston two Saturdays ago, I joined in on Brother Cleve's Walking Tour of Boston. There was certainly a lot of history packed into this hike, and a lot of insight of what it was like turning 18 -- the legal drinking age in Cleve's youth -- way back when. Cleve did reveal that his first drink in a bar came back at age 16, but places were not as strict as they once were. The tour included places of old (and some still existent) jazz clubs, gay bars, dives, punk rock venues, mob hit sites, Tiki bars (note: multiple!), cruising venues, movie theaters, and more. Such a wealth of lore about a Boston that once was. And in some cases still is. Sometimes, you could see how the front of a Chinese restaurant used to be the grand marquee of a movie theater, and other times the location was razed to put a tower in like some of the seedier strip clubs on Lagrange Street. In the photo below, Cleve was giving the history of the street but the only two baudy places still in existence there were on the side that was not leveled. The Glass Slipper was on that now defunct side before being moved across the street, and we were all amused by the sign that read, "The Glass Slipper where every gentleman is a VIP..."
Earlier, we passed by the plaque that told the history of the Cocoanut Grove Club that burned down in one of the largest nightclub fires in 1942. Up the street was the brick barn-like front to the old Napoleon's where older men sang show tunes at the piano bar and where younger men searched for their sugar daddies; Judy Garland spent her last days there in 1969 drinking her way away. Up the street is the city's oldest gay bar, Jacque's, that opened in 1938 before it turned into more of a female impersonator club in the 1940s until present day. Places that were also razed included Herbie's Ramrod Room, a leather bar that moved to the Fenway area, and the Hillbilly Ranch, a rough Honky Tonk that luckily never reopened elsewhere in the city. The lost Tiki establishments included the South Seas on Harrison Street that lasted from the 1960s until the 1980s, Bob Lee's Islander that lasted during that same era and sported a psychedelic interior, and a Trader Vic's that was in the old Hilton Hotel that became the current Park Plaza.
1 1/2 oz Writer's Tears Irish Whiskey
3/4 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Cleve prefers Cinzano though)
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with orange oil from a twist.

The final stop was at Explorateur in Boston that used to house a Masonic lodge at the edge of what was once the Combat Zone. There we partook of one of Cleve's favorite Irish whiskey drinks, the Tipperary, that honored the tour's sponsor, Writer's Tears Whiskey. The Tipperary originally appeared in Hugo Ensslin's 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks as an equal parts drink sans garnish that was the Irish whiskey take on the gin Bijou from Harry Johnson's 1882 New and Improved Bartender's Manual. Here, Cleve dried out the drink by bringing the whiskey forward into a 2:1:1 ratio instead of the classic's 1:1:1, and he added an orange twist. No great surprises here with the Irish whiskey forming the backbone to the sweet vermouth's richness and the Green Chartreuse's herbal notes.

:: tiki through a polynesian lens ::

The first talk that I attended at Thirst Boston was entitled "Tiki Through a Polynesian Lens" and sponsored by Patron Tequila. The seminar was delivered by West Coast bartender Sam Jimenez who has worked at Prizefighter, Interval at Long Now, and Striped Pig and is about to open Here's How in Oakland. Sam's heritage is half Samoan and half Mexican that he described as Akafasi meaning "half of one" (or half Samoan/Polynesian). He began with the premise that Tiki bars utilized symbols that he was familiar with, but they executed them differently that he was used to being brought up in the culture.

Sam ran through the history of Tiki to set up the genre. The timeline is better read elsewhere including in Beachbum Berry's books than I can do right now, so here are more of the salient aspects. Tiki began in California right after Prohibition. During this time, Hollywood blossomed and offered escapism and exoticism especially escapism from the harsh times during the Great Depression. People were willing to spend their money on escape but could only do so locally instead of through travel. Sam put up a quote from Sigmund Freud that read:
Life as we find it is too hard for us; it entails too much pain, too many disappointments, impossible tasks. We cannot do without palliative remedies. We cannot dispense with auxiliary constructions, as Theodor Fontane said. There are perhaps three of these means: powerful diversions of interest, which lead us to care little about our misery; substitutive gratification, which lessen it; and intoxicating substances, which make us insensitive to it.
Sam continued that escapism is not inherently bad. These Polynesian restaurants became places of status especially with the amount of money sunk into decorating them. Many people could not afford to travel across the ocean during the Depression; moreover, people had a lot of interest in the area due to the media's influence whether through music or through Hollywood that set many movies in the late 1920s and early 1930s in the South Pacific. World War II added to the interest for soldiers coming back from the Pacific front wanted to return to innocence by experiencing familiar aspects without the cloud of combat lurking overhead.
With this exoticism came a focus on colorful and unusual traits considered characteristic of these foreign lands. When these traits were exaggerated, it became racist. Sam brought up the idea of "othering" which engenders marginality and persistent inequality based on group identity; here, self is anything that you identifiy as similar to yourself and everything else is other. Othering does not have to lead to racism just as exoticism does not have to lead to negativity, but these do occur through exaggeration and inaccuracy. Finally, Sam brought up that you cannot unlearn things such as when something is wrong. In terms of Tiki, most people doing the style have little experience in Polynesian culture, so the ideas do not trigger things internal to their development and culture.

Sam described that Oceania is a series of islands united by the sea that could be broken down into three regions: Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia. Polynesia is the most familiar for it has the most United States military outposts and has a lot of lighter skinned people. These great seafaring people migrated from Taiwan throughout the South Pacific, and there is evidence that they made contact with South America and procured the sweet potato from there. In worshipping gods of the sea and nature, they carved statues of these gods out of wood; these sculptures would later become known as "Tiki." The American Tiki culture born in California in the 1930s was built more on Polynesian culture with some borrowing from Micronesian and Melanesian ones as well.

The history of Oceania cannot be discussed without mentioning the effects of colonialism. This falls under three aspects: economic exploitation, exploitation of defense, and colonization of education. For the first, agriculture such as sugar production in Hawaii was a major draw for continental countries to seek out the islands as a means of profit. For the second, many countries including France and the United States wanted to use the Pacific for military presence. For some, it was a first line of defense as well as an area to test out nuclear bombs to the detriment of those displaced or too close. For the third, when islanders learn American or European culture instead of their own, they lose sense of themselves and begin to view the island culture as "other." Children there are not taught about their own history or things that make them valuable.
A lot of the imagery of Tiki culture can be seen in Trader Vic and other restaurants' menus with the oversexualization of women, infantilism, savage behavior, and servitude to white people. This view can be traced back to the early 1700s when Captain James Cook's voyage brought them to the islands. They wrote about Hula as rather sexually liberating and promiscuous despite it not being so to the islanders. With Tiki mugs, there is othering of Hawaiian gods and people as well as the Chinese such as with the Fu Manchu mug. For some reason, we do not expect workers in Tiki bars to know what words and symbols mean; by contrast, Sam pointed out that we would expect a worker in a Spanish restaurant to understand the menu and be able to explain it.

Tiki is built on the back of Polynesian imagery, but the food and drink is from elsewhere. The food is a bastardization of American Chinese food, and the drink is rather Caribbean. In fact, Polynesia does not have a drinking culture, so creating a bar based on that would be a significant misrepresentation. For flavors, there is some overlap with coconut and banana, but those two elements are throughout the area. Furthermore, Tiki was created in a time when this behavior was accepted, but now we should ask if we can do better. Some bars do it well like Lost Lake that approach it as tropical instead of Tiki. They do not use mugs with exaggerated features, and there is no word or symbol appropriation. Sam continued that Tiki is more than escapism as it is build on false representation of real cultures. It can indeed be done without the cultural aspects; otherwise, Tiki comes across as a lazy means to a quick buck. Finally, creativity and design factors can lead to escapism without treading on others' cultures.

Friday, May 10, 2019

saint pierre

1 oz Pig's Nose Blended Scotch
1 oz Dos Maderas 5+5 Rum
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Lustau Pedro Ximenez Sherry
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with orange oil from a twist.

Two Friday nights ago was the opening evening of Thirst Boston. After I departed the Diageo event at Wink & Nod, I made a quick stop to visit Sahil Mehta at Estagon for food and a quick cocktail before continuing on to the Don Papa Rum event at Shore Leave. In looking through Sahil's drink notebook, I spotted a curious split-base recipe that reminded me of the Plymouth Street Harvest with the overlap of Punt e Mes and Pedro Ximenez sherry elements. With Scotch and rum as the base spirits, I mentioned to Sahil that his unnamed drink reminded me of an offshore Prohibition-era warehouse inventory; this led to dubbing it the Saint Pierre after the island in Newfoundland that Bill McCoy and other rumrunners used as their northern base.
The Saint Pierre began with an orange and smoky malt nose. Next, caramel and grape on the sip gave way to rum, raisin, and bitter herbal flavors on the swallow with a smoke and raisin finish.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

mexican tricycle

1 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1 oz Cynar

Build in a 10 oz Highball glass, fill with ice, top with Bantam Wunderkind Cider (3 1/2 oz Harpoon Craft Cider), garnish with a lime wheel (omit).

While grocery shopping at Trader Joe's, I spotted a bottle of hard cider in the singles rack, and I recalled that there was a cider recipe with mezcal and Cynar recipe that I wanted to make. When I got home, I was unable to find the tab with the recipe on my browser, so I searched the web and discovered the Punch Drinks article for the Mexican Tricycle. I could not remember the other ingredients, but I figured that this one was probably it (and there were no other ingredients either). The drink was created by Andrew Volk at the Hunt and Alpine Club in Portland, Maine, as a riff on Jeffrey Morgenthaler's Broken Bike (Cynar, dry white wine, soda water) which in turn was a riff on the classic Bicicletta (Campari, dry white wine, soda water). Apple and Cynar have been a great duo  in cocktails like the Michigander and the Detroiter, so I could see why I had mentally flagged this recipe.
The Mexican Tricycle opened up with a smoke, caramel, and apple bouquet. Next, the caramel and apple continued into the sip, and the swallow offered smoky agave and funky herbal flavors with an apple finish.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

legionnaire's club

2 oz Flor de Caña 7 Year Rum
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Housemade Coffee Cordial
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
6-8 leaf Mint

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a mint leaf.
Two Wednesdays ago, I ventured out to Kenmore Square to visit the Hawthorne. There, I found a seat in front of bartender Altamash Gaziyani, and I requested the Legionnaire's Club from the menu. The drink was Rob Ficks' take on the Café Mazagran, an Algerian coffee lemonade, as its "rum-drenched cousin." The recipe seemed like a cross of a pineapple-less Mr. Bali Hai with a Rum Southside (or sodaless Mojito), so I was intrigued. Once prepared, the Legionnaire's Club greeted the nose with mint and coffee roast aromas. Next, lemon and roast notes on the sip transitioned into rum and coffee melding into mint on the swallow along with a cinnamon finish.

[police and thieves]

1 1/4 oz Clement Select Aged Rhum Agricole
1 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz Amaro Braulio
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Peppermint Tea Tincture (* see below or perhaps sub 1 bsp Crème de Menthe in a pinch)

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass, fill with fresh ice, and garnish with a mint sprig.
(*) Steep 1 peppermint tea bag in 2 oz Beefeater Gin for 24 hours. Remove tea bag.
For my next drink at Brick & Mortar, bartender Max Bulger mentioned that he had a rhum agricole, sherry, and Braulio recipe that he had been working on, and I was certainly lured in by those ingredients. In the glass, the drink offered mint, grassy, and menthol aromas to the nose. Next, a lime, grape, and caramel sip led into grassy, nutty sherry, and minty herbal flavors on the swallow. Max did not have a name for this, so I took inspiration from the bar's menu of music references to dub this one the Police and Thieves after the Clash song.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

naked lunch

3/4 oz Sombra Mezcal
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/4 oz Lillet Blanc
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
2 dash Bittermens Tiki Bitters

Whip shake, pour into a Collins glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.

Two Tuesdays ago, I stopped into Brick & Mortar and found a seat in front of bartender Max Bulger. For a first drink, I asked for the Naked Lunch that Max described as Juan Mederos' cross between a Naked & Famous and a Corpse Reviver #2. When I explained that I was a big William S. Burroughs fan, Max said that it was not named after the novel or the movie but the band since the menu was mostly music references. I have to assume that the group in question was the more recent Austrian alternative rock band and not the late 70s British synth pop one, although both have played out within the last few years.
The Naked Lunch spoke to me like a transformed typewriter with grapefruit and smoke aromas. Next, grapefruit, lemon, and a light fruity honey note on the sip cut up into a smoky agave and herbal swallow.

Monday, May 6, 2019

london calling

1 1/2 oz London Dry Gin (Beefeater)
1/2 oz Fino Sherry (Lustau)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
After posting the Saint Paul's Cocktail on Instagram, bartender Zac Luther commented that it appeared like a riff on the London Calling by Chris Jepson at London's Milk & Honey circa 2002. Given his strong recommendation record that includes the Remember the Alimony, I hunted out the recipe. After finding a few that varied slightly in metric volumes, I opted for the one on the Ford's Gin page which split the difference. In the glass, the London Calling clashed with the nose with grapefruit and savory notes from the sherry. Next, lemon and white wine on the sip slid into juniper, citrus, and briny-savory flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

saint paul's cocktail

50 mL Cabana Cachaça (1 1/2 oz Cuca Fresca)
25 mL Tio Pepe Fino Sherry (1 oz Lustau)
10 mL Lime Juice (1/2 oz)
10 mL Agave Syrup (1/2 oz 1:1)
2 dash Fee's Orange Bitters (Regan's)

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

Two Sundays ago, I picked Tom Sandham's World's Best Cocktails off the bookshelf for some drink inspiration. In the cachaça section was a curious sherry drink called Saint Paul's Cocktail that I had previously skipped over since I only recently acquired a bottle of Fino. The author wrote how this was one of his favorites from a large cocktail competition, and he believed that it was the handiwork of Alex Kratena of the Artesian Bar in London's Langham's Hotel. When I posted the photo and recipe on Instagram, bartender Zac Luther commented that it was very reminiscent of the gin and lemon London Calling created by Chris Jepson at London's Milk & Honey bar circa 2002; therefore, I added that suggestion to my list to make.
The Saint Paul's Cocktail proffered lime, grassy, and briny aromas to the nose. Next, lime and white grape on the sip converted into grassy funk, crisp, and briny flavors on the swallow. Overall, the feel reminded me a bit of the Snake in the Grass with a similar build structure despite different ingredients.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

that's that

1 1/2 oz Gin (Tanqueray)
1 oz Bianco Vermouth (Dolin Blanc)
1/2 oz Fino Sherry (Lustau)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice, strain into a Nick & Nora (cocktail coupe) glass, and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Saturdays ago, I was in a Martini mood and remembered that I had bookmarked a riff from Imbibe Magazine. That cocktail was the That's That crafted by Paul McGee at the Cherry Circle Room in Chicago. Paul was inspired by a 1930s bottle of dry vermouth that he acquired for the Milk Room's vintage spirits collection, and he was able to replicate the flavors with blanc vermouth countered by fino sherry. The final recipe reminded me of a nameless 50:50 Martini riff that I used to make for a regular that was 2 parts Plymouth Gin, 1 part L.N. Mattei Blanc Quinquina, 1 part Fino sherry, 2 dash orange bitters, and either an orange or lemon twist.
The That's That welcomed the senses with an orange, floral, and juniper bouquet. Next, a semi-sweet white grape sip gave way to juniper, orange, and hint of nutty flavors on the crisp swallow.

Friday, May 3, 2019


1 1/2 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Don Q Añejo)
1 dash Grenadine (1/4 oz)
1/2 slice Pineapple (3/4 oz Pineapple Juice)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Rock Candy Syrup (1/4 oz Simple)

Blend with 12 oz ice and strain into a 10 oz coupe (shake with ice and strain into a 5 oz coupe).

Two Fridays ago, I selected Trader Vic's 1974 Rum Cookery & Drinkery book since I was in the mood for something tropical. There I spotted a Trader Vic original called the Honolulu that reminded me of many "Hawaii(an)" named cocktails that included pineapple juice, citrus, and sweetener such as the Royal Hawaiian. However, most of those are gin drinks, and this one is a rum one with grenadine and rock candy syrup as the sweeteners. It sort of reminded me of a Mary Pickford with lemon and no Maraschino or a mint-less Santiago Julep that Trader Vic published in 1947.
The Honolulu danced its way to the nose with lemon and pineapple aromas. Next, waves of creamy lemon, pineapple, and hints of berry crashed on to the sip, and the swallow erupted with rum displaying vanilla and caramel notes. Indeed, with the lemon instead of lime, the aged aspect of the rum sang out (see the citrus talk earlier in the week).

Thursday, May 2, 2019


2/3 St. Croix Rum (1 3/4 oz Plantation Original Dark)
2 dash Sherry (1/2 oz Lustau East India Solera)
2 dash French Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1 dash Picon Bitters (1/4 oz Torani Amer)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added an orange twist.
Two Thursdays ago, I reached for Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 to find a glossed over gem. The one that I landed upon was the Maine which intrigued me as a rum drink with its call for sherry and Picon. Once in the glass, the Maine's garnish donated an orange oil aroma over aged rum notes. Next, caramel and grape on the sip slid into rum on the swallow along with nutty grape melding into caramel-orange flavors.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


1 1/2 oz Cognac (Camus VS)
3/4 oz Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
1 1/8 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Earl Grey Tea
3/4 oz Honey (not syrup)
1 pinch Salt

Stir the honey until dissolved, add rest of the ingredients, shake with ice, strain into a cup or rocks glass with ice, and garnish with a lemon wheel.
Two Wednesdays ago, I turned to Maggie Hoffman's Batch Cocktails for another recipe that could be adapted to single size. The one that spoke out to me was Anna Moss' Greyscale that she crafted at La Moule in Portland, Oregon. Once built, this punch donated a lemon, black tea, and floral aroma to the nose. Next, lemon and honey swirled on the tongue, and the swallow tossed in Cognac, peat smoke, and black tea flavors with bergamot coming through on the finish.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

:: mis en place your career ::

Another great talk at the USBG Northeast Regional Conference held in New Haven two weeks ago was one by Campari America's Anne Louis Marquis entitled "Mis en Place Your Career." She began by explaining that there was more opportunity for bartenders than before whether through managing or working for brands. However, people are not necessarily ready for these jobs and are jumping too fast. And sometimes they are lured in by a job title that sounds great but it does not reflect the realities of the position. Deciding a move and choosing a path are both rather scary, but they can take you in interesting places, so it is not a waste of time to explore the options.

Anne Louise had us write down two top 5 lists: one was the things that bring us joy and the other the things that give us meaning. It is important to be clear about what gives you joy and meaning and to be sure that those do not fall to the wayside in accepting any job. Make an effort to defend and protect these aspects for often jobs can take over your life. Anne Louise supported that by pointing out that her job is 80% travel, and she finds it a challenge to keep her house plants alive. As much as you work for your job, the job should work for you. Try to gauge what you would be getting out of it versus what you would be giving up.

She compared the job search to dating advice: do not go out looking for a very specific criteria, but make a list of what is most important that is not purely physical. Overall, do not look at the containers but the contents. Or in job terms, it is not the title but the job itself that needs to be assessed. For example, some brand ambassador jobs are sales jobs in reality, and a lot of jobs are difficult to figure out what they will be most like. Therefore, try to connect with people in the job that you think you want. After talking to them about the reality, it might not be the job you actually want. For example, a brand ambassador is not all about glamor and travel, but it is a lot of receipt savings, Excel spreadsheets, expense reports, and the like. People are often intimidated about reaching out, but do so and ask questions. Speak to the ones that come to your bars whether they are suppliers, distributors, or brand ambassadors. Other jobs are more difficult to find such as those involving innovation.

At this point Anne Louise turned to Robin Nance who is an ambassador for Beam Suntory. Robin recommended to not take a job because of a title, for you should know that you can often write your own title. Communicate your passion. Anne Louise replied by bring up Instagram and other social media: what does it say that you are passionate about? And what does it share with the world? Create a space where that gets the passion fulfilled and showcased such as a blog or website. Carve out your personal identity and make it easy for people to find you; people cannot share or talk about you if they cannot find you. Indeed, it is key to do the work before you have the job. Do not work for free, but do things out of passion that set you up to transfer over to a paying job. Event planning at bars, for example, could prepare you for doing it for a brand as well as get brands to notice you.

"Your network is your currency" was a poignant quote. This network is your value, and it travels with you from job to job.

Next, participate. The world is run by people who show up. Seek advancement through competitions, going on trips, attending events, and running programs. Winning the competition is not as important as showing that you got up and tried. Advancement should also be through continuing your education; you do not need a college degree to fill in your gaps. In terms of mentors, find people who you have a real relationship with. Think about building a board of advisors: 5 to 10 people who are not necessarily very close to you but certainly care about you.

There are definitely a lot of jobs out there. But consider things like what do you want your day to look like, where do you want to wake up, who do you want to see in the day, and how do you want them to see you. Moreover, think about your retirement: what are 3 things you want people to say about you? What award might you get? Feel free to fantasize and to alter these concepts over time.

Finally, you do not need to stop bartending. Stay bartending as long as you can -- brand ambassadors and sales rep need people like you to reach out to. There are other ways of branching out while still being a bartender including writing books, giving talks, staying curious, and sharing. In addition, in any job, you cannot teach a culture fit for the personalities might not jive. And you cannot teach someone to be a good coworker that is great to be around or to have a passion.

Monday, April 29, 2019

cherry blossom

2 oz Roku Gin
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Note: this drink was a touch on the sweet side. Perhaps upping the lemon to 3/4 oz or reducing the Maraschino to 1/4 oz would help (or Maraschino and honey syrup to 3/8 oz each).

During the USBG Northeast Regional Conference, there were two events on Monday night. One was the Patron karaoke event that I briefly attended before the other -- a Beam-Suntory drink night at the Ordinary -- won out. On the menu were three cocktails, and I selected the Roku Cherry Blossom that was very similar to Eastern Standard's Cherry Blossom. I figured that it was based off of a classic, but all of the gin and Maraschino recipes link back to my post about the one that Eastern Standard served for their red, white, and blue drink night celebrating the Fourth of July in February (a post-Valentine's Day industry night). Here, I surmised that the connection was that this Japanese gin contains Sakura cherry blossoms and leaves in the botanical mix, and perhaps these two recipes were independently created (especially since I could not find a pre-2010 recipe to suggest a classic).
This Cherry Blossom provided a lemon, floral, and nutty cherry bouquet to the nose. Next, a semi-sweet lemon sip led into gin, nutty, and floral flavors on the swallow. Overall, the balance was a bit sweet for me, and I offer suggestions on how to fix that up in the instruction's note.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

:: life gives you limes ::

From April 14th to the 17th, I attended the USBG Northeast Regional Conference held in New Haven. One of the talks that I rather enjoyed and felt that I could convey well as a summary was "Life Gives You Limes" by Donny Clutterbuck who is an officer of the Rochester chapter as well as a bartender at The Cure in that city and a founder of the Pour Cost app.

The four citrus fruits that Donny covered were the major ones at the bar: lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit. The classics that we make with them respectively are: the Whiskey Sour, Daiquiri, Screwdriver, and Blinker. Donny wondered if there was a particular rule to how these fruit juices were being utilized. As a starting point, he looked at acid to sugar balances. At one part acid to 10 parts of sugar by weight, the average person cannot perceive one more than the other. He defined brix as percent sugar by weight such that a 13 brix solution is 13% sugar or 13 grams sugar to 87 grams water. Therefore, a balanced acid-sugar mix would look like 1 gram citric acid, 10 grams sugar, and 89 grams water.

In cocktails, orange juice was represented by the Screwdriver which is booze + juice. Most orange juice is 1:8 or 1.5% acid (citric + ascorbic) to 12 brix sugar content. This is rather close to 1:10 so it comes across as close to balanced. Grapefruit was showcased by the Blinker which is booze + sugar + juice. The structure is guided by the fact that grapefruit juice is a 1:5 or 2% acid to 10 brix. This extra acid over the balance point is why grapefruit goes really well with greasy food.

The Whiskey Sour to represent lemon is structured as booze + sugar + juice. Lemon is 1:1.8 on average with 5% acid to 9 brix. Equal parts of lemon juice and simple syrup balance the mix to make the drink work. The Daiquiri for demonstrating lime juice was rather similar with booze + sugar + juice. Lime weighs in at 1:1.7 with 6% acid to 10 brix. With the Daiquiri, it needs 6% acid and 60 brix to balance but lime juice alone rings in 50 brix shy at 10 brix; luckily, 1:1 simple syrup is 50 brix so combining the two in equal parts adds up to the perfect balance of 1:10. This works best when there is no extra acid or sugar in the rum itself.

Other spirits can work well swapped into the place, but not all combinations taste great. For example, white spirits seem to favor lime while darker spirits shine more with lemon. Donny explained this by acids and their effects on the palate. Both lemon and lime have citric acid which hits the senses early and fades; lime contains malic and other other acids that are sensed later. Similarly, while both white and dark spirits have alcohol which hit the senses early and fade, aged spirits have polyphenols from the barrel that are sensed later. Therefore, malic acid and polyphenol perception clash. Thus, a Whiskey Sour with citric and polyphenols ends up a whiskey drink, but a Daiquiri with alcohol and malic acid is a lime drink by what flavors are lingering. Donny added the saying "Silver and lime works every time; lemon and brown, send it on down!"

The point of this all is not geek out about citrus but to make people happy and to do this consistently so every time they come in, their drink is the same. This requires methodical recipe execution. Donny recommended taller, thinner jiggers since the difference in height above or below the lines (assuming internal markings or when filling to the top) is less than when it is wide (compare a tall Japanese to a wide Leopold jigger, for example, especially at the smaller measures). The next aspect was consistent ingredients; since we do not make the booze, we ought to focus on the juice. Donny offered up a lot of his time course data. One of his least favorite was orange juice which fell apart rather quickly. With this, he declared "Craft isn't craft if the store-bought is better!" Grapefruit was the least volatile (it tends to ferment before it oxidizes), whereas lemon and lime both got weird around day 4 (but best around 3 hours). Vacuum sealing or utilizing a Vacu-vin can help delay the process. And as a bonus pointer, he recommended Cafiza espresso cleaner tablets to get the stuck on citrus reside off the inside of the bottles.

For sustainability, lemon and lime juice can be clarified after 2.5 days. Then use it to make a 1:1 syrup; this cordial is sugar stabilized and can be utilized to make stirred Sours. And for cold press purchased juices, they are often brix adjusted and come across differently from freshly pressed ones in house recipes, so some ratio tweaking is needed. Overall, you can get 3-4 days out of a bottle before it goes off. Regardless of the process chosen for ingredients, it is crucial to make everyone's favorite drink the same way every time and good jigger and juicing practices play a major role.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

beach cruiser

1 oz Blanco Tequila (Cimarron)
1 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Grenadine
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)
2 dash Absinthe (1 bsp Kübler)

Whip shake, pour into a Hurricane glass (Tiki mug), fill with crushed ice, and garnish with an orange slice (orange twist), cherry, and paper umbrella.

On Saturday night two weeks prior, I had spotted a tropical drink in the Bartender at Large Instagram feed for the Beach Cruiser. The recipe was created by Erick Castro for the opening menu at Polite Provisions in San Diego, and the combination reminded me of a smoky variation of the Mexican Firing Squad from Charles H. Baker, Jr.'s travels. The name also reminded me of the Beach Cruiser from the Citizen Public House which that was a tropical drink tribute to Fernet Branca for all of the bikes that they had given away to bartenders.
This Beach Cruiser released orange oil over hints of anise and smoke to the nose. Next, lime and berry notes on the sip pedaled into smoky agave, pomegranate, and anise flavors on the swallow.

Friday, April 26, 2019


3/4 oz Reposado Tequila (Cimarron)
3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
3/4 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry
3/4 oz Perucchi Bianco Vermouth (Dolin Blanc)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lemon twist.
After dinner two Friday nights ago, I turned to my Food & Wine: Cocktails library and uncovered the Andalusion in the 2013 volume. This equal parter was crafted by Julian Cox for Playa in Hollywood; there, he made three versions of this drink: a fino one as an aperitif, an Amontillado one for general drinking, and a cream sherry one for dessert. Given how I had just opened a bottle of Lustau's East India Sherry, I went with that one. Once prepared, the Andalusion met the nose with lemon, agave, and grape aromas. Next, a semi-sweet raisiny grape sip gave way to tequila, floral, peach, and nutty flavors on the swallow.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

pennington daiquiri

1 oz Rhum Agricole Blanc (Rhum Clement)
3/4 oz Brandy (Camus VS Cognac)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Suze Gentian Liqueur
1/2 oz 3:1 Honey Syrup (3/4 oz 1:1)
1/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lime wedge (omit).

Two Thursdays ago, I decided to make a recipe that I had spotted on Imbibe Magazine's feed called the Pennington Daiquiri. The drink was created by Tyson Buhler at New York City's Lost Hours, and the rum and brandy combination reminded me of the Boukman Daiquiri and the Wildflower. Here, the sweetener was a combination of gentian liqueur and honey which has prospered in cocktails like the Smartest Man Alive and Radio Days.
In the glass, the Pennington Daiquiri proffered bright aromas from the floral honey and grassy rhum that were countered by lower notes from the earthy gentian liqueur on the nose. Next, lemon and honey danced on the sip, and the swallow conjured grassy rum, Cognac's richness, floral, and lightly bitter root flavors on the swallow.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

rhum with a vieux

1 oz Aged Martinique Rhum (JM Rhum Agricole Gold)
1 oz Appleton V/X Rum (Appleton Signature)
3/4 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry
1/4 oz Benedictine
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass or serve down on the rocks in an old fashioned glass (up in a cocktail coupe), and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Wednesdays ago, I sought out another recipe to utilize the freshly open bottle of Lustau's East India Sherry, and I discovered the Rhum with a Vieux on the BarNotes app. The recipe was crafted by New York City bartender Rafa Garcia Febles as his two r(h)um riff on the Vieux Carre. Once prepared, the Rhum with a Vieux greeted the senses with lemon, caramel, and grassy aromas. Next, grape and caramel mingled on the sip, and the swallow showcased the grassy funky and rich rums along with slightly nutty sherry, herbal, and allspice flavors.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

morango tango

2 oz Cachaça preferably Amburana wood-aged (Seleta Gold)
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 large Strawberry
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
2 dash Chocolate Bitters (Bittermens Mole)

Muddle the strawberry in the simple syrup, add the rest of the ingredients, and stir with ice. Double strain into a glass pre-rinsed with absinthe or Herbsaint (Herbsaint) and garnish with lemon oil from a twist.

Two Tuesdays ago, I was still thinking about how tasty the strawberry-Peychaud's Bitters aspect of the Christopher Tracy's Parade was. The Peychaud's part got me thinking about the Sazerac, and I recalled the last Sazerac that I made for a guest at Nahita: one made with Amburana wood-aged Avua Cachaça. I discovered the wonder of Amburana Cachaça Sazerac late one night using my bottle of Seleta Gold at home on a whim that turned out to be an amazing flavor combination between the wood and the spices from the bitters and the absinthe. Strawberries and Brazil do have a strong connection as that berry grows quite well there; besides numerous strawberry festivals in Brazil, the fruit makes it way into their classic cachaça drink the Batida. Therefore, I wondered how it would fare in the Sazerac especially given the success of other strawberry-absinthe drinks like the Cantante Para Mi Vida and the Strawberry's Revival.
For a name, I discovered that the Portuguese for strawberry was morango, and thus, the Morango Tango came about. Once prepared, the bouquet greeted the nose with lemon, anise, cachaça's funk, and berry aromas. Next, the berry notes continued into the sip, and the swallow offered a complex array of grassy funk, strawberry, chocolate, and anise flavors. A strawberry syrup would make for an easier build here, but the á la minute-ness of it all makes it easier to replicate on a whim.

Monday, April 22, 2019

pukel punch

1 1/2 oz Aged Virgin Island Rum (Don Q Añejo)
1/2 oz Aged Jamaican Rum (Smith & Cross)
1/2 oz Zwack or other Krauter Liqueur (Jagermeister)
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice (3/4 oz)
1 dash Bitters (Angostura)
8 drop Herbsaint

Flash blend with 6 oz crushed ice and pour into a Tiki mug (shake with 1 ice cube, strain, and fill with crushed ice). Garnish with a lime twist.

Two Mondays ago, I spotted an intriguing tropical drink on Craig Herman's (a/k/a Colonel Tiki) Instagram feed called the Púkel Punch. This was his Tiki-Tolkien mashup as a lime and dark herbal liqueur take on the Hurricane. Instead of trying to do justice in summing up the J.R.R. Tolkien connection, I will just link to Colonel Tiki's blog post about it. When I asked Craig if Jagermeister would be a decent substitute for Zwack, he replied that it would be, but I should consider upping the lime juice to balance the extra sweetness.
The Púkel Punch donated a lime and star anise aroma to the nose. Next, lime and caramel filled the sip, and the swallow sang out with funky rum, passion fruit, ginger, and clove flavors.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

christopher tracy's parade

2 oz London Dry Gin (Tanqueray)
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)
2 oz Cold Water
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
1 large (or 2 medium) Strawberry

Muddle the strawberry in the orgeat and honey syrup, add the rest of the ingredients, shake with ice, and double strain into a Collins glass. Fill with ice and garnish with a lemon wheel.
For a call for Prince (the musician) drinks, I was inspired by the song Christopher Tracy's Parade. Christopher Tracy was Prince's character in the 1986 movie Under the Cherry Moon, and the song stood out to me as rather quirky as I would listen to the movie's soundtrack on cassette back in the day. In the lyrics below, the song mentions strawberry lemonade, but in a surreal way: as what God would deliver from the Heavens to stop the parade.
Everyone come behold Christopher Tracy's Parade
The show will proceed, unless it should rain strawberry lemonade
Hopefully, that will not occur, the man above has been paid
Give what you can, all you can stand, and all of your life will be made
I thought about how I make à la minute lemonade at work, and the recipe came through from there with Bar Tonique's Blanche DuBois in mind for the orgeat. Overall, the combination was rather ambrosial and extremely crushable. On the nose, Christopher Tracy's Parade marched up to the nose with a strawberry and lemon bouquet. Next, the berry and lemon flavors kept in step throughout the step, and the swallow cranked up the music with gin, nutty, and honey flavors with an anise finish. Indeed, the Peychaud's Bitters anise-cherry notes complemented the muddled strawberry in the drink, and the honey and orgeat proved to be more interesting than basic lemonade's simple syrup.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

south of sunset

1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin (Tanqueray)
3/4 oz Aperol
3/4 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass with ice, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Saturdays ago, I wandered into my Food & Wine: Cocktails collection and extracted the 2016 edition. There, I spotted Los Angeles bartender Karen Grill's Negroni variation called the South of Sunset. What drew me to the combination was how it was reminiscent of Daniel Eun's Dewey D but with gin instead of whiskey and aromatic bitters. In the glass, the South of Sunset cast off lemon and orange aromas. Next, the sherry donated a gorgeous grape note that went along with a fruity one from the Aperol on the sip, and the swallow followed up with gin joined by bitter orange blending into grape on the swallow.

Friday, April 19, 2019


1 oz Blended Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
1/2 oz Peated Scotch (Caol Ila 12 Year)
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Martini Gran Lusso)
1/2 oz Fino Sherry (Lustau)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Fridays ago, I ventured into Amanda Schuster's New York Cocktails and spotted Sarah Morrissey's Greyfriar that she created at the now defunct Pig Bleeker. The combination reminded me of a Rosita with Scotch and Fino sherry in place of the classic's tequila and dry vermouth, so I was curious to see how it would work out. In the glass, the Greyfriar's garnish donated orange oil over the peat smoke and grape aromas. Next, grape and the Scotches' malt on the sip got chased by smoky Scotch, briny, and bitter orange flavors.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

loensky cocktail

2 oz Chivas Regal 12 Year Blended Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
1/4 oz Combier Kummel (Helbing)
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

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

After dinner two Thursdays ago, I reached for Frank Caiafa's The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book that was their house adaptation of the Loensky from the 1930s Waldorf Astoria book. Frank described the Loensky as a Poussé-cafe of one part Scotch floated on top of two parts kümmel liqueur although the original book lacks specific directions. Here, things were made into a Bobby Burns riff by pairing dry vermouth with a touch of kümmel akin to what I did with my tequila-based El Mariachi Club.
The Loensky Cocktail proffered a lemon and apricot nose that preceded a malt and white wine sip. Next, the Scotch's orchard fruit and hint of smoke flavors joined the liqueur's caraway and cumin notes on the swallow.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


3/4 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse)
3/4 oz Aged Rum (El Dorado 5 Year)
1/2 oz Swedish Punsch (Kronan)
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao (Tempus Fugit)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice (*)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
(*) 3/4 oz will yield for a drier drink.

When I got home from volunteering at the NERAX cask beer festival two Wednesdays ago, I was in the mood for a drink. The beer I had imbibed was rushing me towards bed, so instead of searching for a drink, I created one on the fly. I started with the split rye-rum base of the 1919 Cocktail and took it in a 20th Century direction (or the 18th and 19th Century sugar cane and whiskey variations, respectively). Instead of an aromatized wine in the 20th Century family, I opted for Swedish punsch which has subbed in for Lillet in the Corpse Reviver #2 in a few 1940s recipe books.
For a name, I dubbed this after the oldest stone building in Massachusetts, the Powderhouse, which is about a mile from my house. In the glass, the Powderhouse shared a rum and chocolate bouquet to the nose. Next, lemon, malt, and roast notes on the sip gave way to rye, rum, tea tannin, and chocolate flavors on the swallow.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

singapore prospers

1 oz Genever (Bols)
1/2 oz Old Tom Gin (Tanqueray Malacca)
1 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Martini Gran Lusso)
1/2 oz Dry Curaçao (Pierre Ferrand)
3 dash Scrappy's Lime Bitters
1 dash Bittermens Burlesque Bitters

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

Two Tuesdays ago, I peered into Sother Teague's I'm Just Here for the Drinks book and spotted his Singapore Prospers recipe. The drink was his take of some decade's version of the Singapore Sling but as a stirred version akin to Julie Reiner's Stirred Sling to match the juice-free aesthetic of his bar Amor y Amargo. The recipe eschewed the cherry liqueur and Benedictine found in many Singapore Sling recipes in favor of sweet vermouth and orange liqueur (with supplemental flavors donated by the Genever as well), and it utilized lime bitters in place of lime juice. Since many of the more modern Singapore Slings call for pineapple juice, I opted for a pineapple-shaped glass as a symbolic ingredient here.
The Singapore Prospers greeted the nose with an orange oil bouquet. Next, Genever's malt mingled with the vermouth's grape on the sip and continued on into the swallow where it paired with bitter herbal flavors and an orange and lime finish.

Monday, April 15, 2019

the doubting duck

1 1/2 oz Manzanilla Sherry (Lustau Fino)
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1 dash Celery Bitters (housemade)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lemon peel-olive pick (lemon twist floated).
Two Mondays ago, I was in the mood for something on the lighter side, and I began flipping through my Food & Wine: Cocktails collection when I spotted the Doubting Duck in the 2016 edition. The recipe was crafted by Washington, DC bartender Derek Brown, and this aperitif had a Chrsanthemum-like feel to it; perhaps it could be viewed as a Puritan Cocktail with sherry subbing in for the gin. Once stirred and strained, the Doubting Duck swam to the nose with a celery, lemon, and herbal bouquet. Next, crisp white wine on the sip was rounded by Yellow Chartreuse's honey notes, and the swallow conjured up savory wine flavors with a briny celery finish.

Sunday, April 14, 2019


1/2 Rye Whiskey (1 1/2 oz Old Overholt)
1/4 Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)
1/4 French Vermouth (1 oz Dolin Blanc)
1 dash Picon Bitters (1/4 oz Torani Amer)
1 dash Jamaican Rum (1/4 oz Wray & Nephew)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added a lemon twist.
After the Old Rogue, I reached for Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 for something to round out the evening. There, I spotted an interesting Rattlesnake recipe that varied considerably from the better known Rattlesnake Cocktail from the Savoy Cocktail Book. To balance this one, I interpreted the French vermouth as the sweeter blanc one and increased the volume to balance the lemon juice in the mix. Once prepared, this Rattlesnake sprung out with lemon and rye aromas. Next, lemon and white wine showed their fangs on the sip, and the swallow recoiled with rye, bitter orange, and herbal flavors with an orange, woody, and rum funk finish.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

old rogue

250 mL Pot Still Jamaican Rum (2 oz Appleton Signature + 1/2 oz Smith & Cross)
100 mL Cognac (1 oz Camus VS)
50 mL Batavia Arrack (1/2 oz von Oosten)
50 mL Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao (1/2 oz)
125 mL Green Tea Syrup (1 1/4 oz)
50 mL Pineapple Juice (1/2 oz)
100 mL Lemon Juice (1 oz)

Build in a punch bowl, add ice, stir, and garnish with citrus wheels and edible flowers (omit flowers). My recipe was scaled down a little over three fold (each 25 mL became 1/4 oz).
Sunday two weeks ago, I ventured back to Shannon Mustipher's new Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails for another of her recipes. The one that called out was a classic style punch called the Old Rogue which was convenient since I already had left over green tea syrup in the refrigerator from another drink project. Once assembled, the Old Rogue proffered Cognac, funk from the Batavia Arrack and Jamaican rum, and citrus notes from the lemon and curaçao. Next, lemon and pineapple mingled on the sip, and the swallow displayed rum, funk, green tea, and orange flavors to make for a great and refreshing punch.

Friday, April 12, 2019

national treasure

3/4 oz Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse Bonded)
1/2 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Martini Gran Lusso)
1/2 oz Campari
1/4 oz Cynar

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with a lemon twist.

After work two Fridays ago, I turned to Maggie Hoffman's Batch Cocktails for a nightcap. There, I latched on to Brian Kane's National Treasure that he crafted at Abe Fisher in Philadelphia. With a Boulevardier style with Campari and Cynar, it was akin to the Uncle Negroni and Left Hand of Darkness save for those two's Bourbon being split with into rye and apple brandy here. After scaling down the recipe to a single drink made to order, I was set to give this one a go.
In the glass, the National Treasure showed its value with lemon and apple aromas on the nose. Next, grape and a hint of caramel on the sip paid its way to rye, apple, and bitter orange flavors leading into funky herbal ones from the Cynar on the swallow.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

i'm ron burgundy?

1 1/2 oz Blended Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
1/2 oz Averna
1/2 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
2 dash Chocolate Bitters (Bittermens Mole)

Stir with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass with ice, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Thursdays ago, I continued on with another interesting recipe that I had spotted that week in my Instagram feed called the I'm Ron Burgundy? The drink was invented by Houston home bartender Connor Stehr (@shake_and_stehr), and the combination reminded me of the Bela Vista with Scotch and Averna instead of rye and Ramazzotti. In the glass, the I'm Ron Burgundy? made headlines with orange, chocolate, caramel, and banana aromas. Next, the caramel from the Averna continued on into the sip, and it was chased by Scotch, chocolate, bitter herbal, and banana flavors on the swallow to yield an elegant nightcap.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

armed and dangerous

3/4 oz Peaty Scotch (1/2 oz Famous Grouse + 1/4 oz Laphroaig 10 Year)
3/4 oz Strega
3/4 oz Aperol
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Wednesdays ago, I decided to make a riff of Joaquin Simo's Naked and Famous that I had spotted on Instagram. The drink was called the Armed and Dangerous, and it was crafted by Dutch cocktail enthusiast Ramon Kok (@koktailmeister) currently living in Brisbane. Here, the original's mezcal was swapped for smoky Scotch and the lime for lemon; moreover, instead of Yellow Chartreuse, Ramon opted for Strega which has proven to be similar in feel (albeit more spice driven) in drinks like The Eulogy.
The Armed and Dangerous burst in with a peat, star anise, and orange bouquet to the nose. Next, lemon and orange notes on the sip shot into smoky Scotch, bitter orange, and anise spice on the swallow. Andrea enjoyed this one and commented that it was "like a Scotch SweetTart."