Friday, January 17, 2020


2 oz Appleton Estate Reserve Rum (Appleton Signature)
2 oz Barbancourt Pango Rum (Plantation Pineapple)
1 oz Crème de Peche (Mathilde)
3 oz POG Juice (1 oz each Passion Fruit Nectar, Orange Juice, and Guava Juice)
1 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1 oz Agave Nectar
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Lemon Juice
5 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with crushed ice, pour into a Nautilus submarine Tiki mug (Tiki bowl), and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with flowers, pineapple leaves, and cherries (ignited Plantation OFTD Rum).
Two Fridays ago, I decided to make a recipe that I had spotted on Reddit that seemed perfect for the Tiki the Snow Away event on Instagram, namely the Nautilus. The Nautilus is a drink for two created at Trader Sam's Grog Grotto Room, and I was able to confirm the recipe elsewhere on the web. Besides my swapping one Appleton Rum for another, I decided to substitute the Barbancourt pineapple-mango "Pango" spiced rum for Plantation Stiggins' Fancy Pineapple Rum; otherwise, I was able to execute the drink the same save for the vessel and garnish. Once prepared, the Nautilus rose to the surface with a guava, passion fruit, and peach aroma. Next, it cruised along with an orange, lime, and caramel sip that turned into rum, peach, guava, and passion fruit on the swallow.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

piranha punch

2 oz Lemon Hart 1804 Rum (El Dorado 5 Year)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
2 oz Guava Juice
1/2 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1/4 oz Campari

Whip shake with 5 oz crushed ice, pour into a Tiki mug, top with crushed ice, and float 1/4 oz grenadine.
Two Thursdays ago for January's Tiki the Snow Away, I decided to make a recipe that Tiki Lindy crafted for her October SpookTiki (subtitled Happy Hulaween and Mahaloween) event on Instagram. That drink was the Piranha Punch that sent me searching in my local Brazilian supermarket for guava juice to make this libation. Once built, the Piranha Punch offered berry and guava aromas to the nose. Next, a tropical and lemon sip bit into rum, guava, and bitter orange flavors on the swallow. Once the grenadine sank into the drink, the pomegranate's berry flavors began to complement the guava and Campari notes.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


1 oz Dark Rum (Plantation Original Dark)
1/2 oz Funky Jamaican Rum (Smith & Cross)
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Zucca or Sfumato Rabarbaro (Sfumato)
1/2 oz Honey Syrup 1:1
2 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Absinthe (Butterfly)

Whip shake, pour into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with Tiki intent (citrus twists).

After writing up the Uzi Tenenbaum on the blog, I re-familiarized myself with Frank Cisnero's rye-based companion piece, the Margot Tenenbaum. From that, I extracted the rabarbaro, honey, and citrus trio and decided to construct a Tiki drink out of it two Wednesdays ago for the Instagram Tiki the Snow Away event. For a structure, I looked to the Jungle Bird and Test Pilot and also extracted their pineapple, bitters, and absinthe elements. The dark smokiness of Sfumato made me think of wreckage, and the name Shipwrecked popped into my head and stuck.
The Shipwrecked began with citrus oil over dark smoky aromas. Next, lime and honey crashed together on the sip, and the swallow drifted in with funky rum melding into smoky herbal flavors with a honey and spice finish.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020


2 oz Column Still Aged Rum (Flor de Caña Añejo Oro)
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1 oz Coconut Cream (Goya)
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)
1 oz Seltzer

Combine in a drink mixer tin with 12 oz crushed ice, flash blend, and pour into a Tiki mug or double old fashioned glass (shake all but the seltzer with crushed ice, pour into a Mai Tai glass with the seltzer, and top with crushed ice).

After getting home from my New Year's Eve bar shift, it was well after midnight, so that meant that it was now January -- the beginning of the third annual Instagram Tiki the Snow Away event! To kick things off, I reached for The Smuggler's Cove book and found the perfect drink to utilize my new Bartender Secret Santa Gift of a pair of Rumba's Mai Tai glasses. That recipe was the Falinum which Martin Cate created for his friend Falin Minoru who is a Tiki mug artist and proprietor of Tiki Kaimuku Fine Boozing Vessels.
The Falinum floated up to the nose with a lemon and coconut bouquet. Next, a creamy lemon sip entered into a rum, coconut, ginger, and clove swallow.

Monday, January 13, 2020


5/10 Canadian Club Whisky (1 1/2 oz Alberta Premium Canadian Rye)
2/10 Drambuie (1/2 oz)
2/10 Bols Crème de Banane (1/2 oz Giffard)
1/10 Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
After working my third shift out of six in a row for New Year's week two Mondays ago, I was much in the need of a drink. Therefore, I turned to the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book and spotted the Regency created by UK Bartenders Guild member W.H. Taylor. While the crème de banane craze of recent seems to be unique at first, it was present in the cocktail literature in British drink books during the '30s. We purchased our first bottle of Giffard's Banane du Bresil back in 2010 to make the Metropine from the same book, and we have found many uses over the past decade including my creation of the Banana Dance in 2012. Once prepared, the Regency welcomed the nose with honey, banana, and light whiskey aromas. Next, lemon and honey notes on the sip switched places with whisky and banana flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

player piano

3/4 oz Neisson Rhum Agricole (Clement Premiere Canne)
3/4 oz Aperol
3/4 oz St. Germain (St. Elder)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
(2 dash Bittermens Tiki Bitters) (*)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
(*) Not listed in the 2011 article, but the drink creator thought that it might have had it (albeit 8+ years after the fact).

Two Sundays ago, I saw a reference to Colin Shearn's Transatlantic Giant, and besides putting an asterisk next to its entry in my current bartending moleskin, I decided to seek out another recipe of Colin's that I had not tried before. My web search led me to a 2011 Philadelphia Magazine article that offered up his Player Piano recipe that he crafted at the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. After I tagged Colin in my Instagram post, he replied that he was "pretty sure it also had some Bittermens Tiki Bitters. But not 100% -- it was a long time ago." Either way, I was curious to try this recipe especially since Aperol-elderflower drinks like the Dunniette and the Waltz of the Flowers have been rather tasty.
Without the bitters, the Player Piano unfurled a grapefruit, floral, and grassy aroma. Next, lime and orange mingled on the sip, and the swallow continued on with grassy funk, floral, and grapefruit notes.

Saturday, January 11, 2020


1 1/2 oz Linie Aquavit (Aalborg)
3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Amaro Meletti
1 tsp Luxardo Maraschino
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lemon twist.
After my work shift two Saturdays ago, I reached for the NoMad Cocktail Book for a nightcap. There, I was intrigued by Jessica Gonzalez's Argyle that came across like an aquavit Brooklyn rift. Once prepared, the Argyle knitted a lemon and caraway aroma. Next, caramel and cherry notes on the sip wove into caraway, nutty cherry, herbal, and floral flavors on the swallow. Overall, I was impressed at how well the aquavit and Maraschino interacted in the glass.

Friday, January 10, 2020

negroni futurista

1 oz Sloe Gin (Averell Damson Gin)
1 oz Fino Sherry (Lustau)
1 oz Campari

Build in a double old fashioned glass, add ice, and stir to mix and chill (stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube). Garnish with a lemon twist.
My cocktail thirst two Friday nights ago led me to Gary Regan's The Negroni book. There, I came upon the two page spread of recipes from the Negroni Club in Munich, and I latched onto Mauro Mahjoub's Negroni Futurista with its sloe gin to work with the Campari. It was very similar to the Sharon with the Fino/Manzanilla sherry and Campari, but the Sharon opted for the more traditional sweet vermouth component instead of sloe gin. The Negroni Futurista proffered a bright lemon oil over darker notes from the Damson plum to the nose. Next, berry with a crisp white grape sip sprung forward into plum melding into bitter orange flavors on the swallow with a savory finish.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

uzi tenenbaum

1 1/2 oz London Dry Gin (Beefeater)
1/2 oz 2:1 Ginger Syrup (1/2 oz 1:1 Ginger Syrup + 1 tsp 1:1 Simple Syrup)
1/2 oz Zucca (Sfumato)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass with soda water (2 oz), top with ice, and garnish with candied ginger (lemon twist).

Two Thursdays ago, I picked up Matt Teacher's The Spirit of Gin book that I read in early 2018 to see if there was a glossed over recipe. The one that called out to me was in the chapter on New York City's now defunct Gin Palace, and it was called the Uzi Tenenbaum. I surmised this one was from Frank Cisneros for it seemed like it was a companion piece to his rye-based Margot Tenenbaum published in Amanda Schuster's New York Cocktails. My research uncovered a Wall Street Journal article that put the creation of this gin-based drink tribute for a character in Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums movie to around 2012.
The Uzi Tenenbaum greeted the senses with a lemon, dark herbal, and juniper aroma. Next, a carbonated lemon and toasty char sip switched over to a gin swallow with Sfumato's smoky bitter herbal notes blending into ginger's zingy flavors (which continued on into the finish).

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

bamboo flip

1 1/4 oz Fino Sherry (Lustau)
1 1/4 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)
1 Whole Egg

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
After reading about a Fino Flip, I was tempted to make that style of Sherry Flip (I have had ones with other sherry types). Instead, my mind drifted to the Bamboo Cocktail, and I wondered what a Bamboo Flip would be like? Once assembled, it met the nose with nutmeg and a savory wine note from the Fino and perhaps the vermouth. Next, a creamy and clean sip was followed by a sake-like swallow with a hint of orange, spice, and herbal accents. The rice wine flavor seemed to tie back into the 1890s Japanese origins of the Bamboo Cocktail at the Grand Hotel in Yokohama.

Monday, January 6, 2020


56 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk (4 1/2 oz Goya)
48 oz Evaporated Milk (3 3/4 oz Stop & Shop)
24 oz Cream of Coconut (2 oz Goya)
4 tsp Vanilla Extract (3/10 tsp)
4 tsp Ground Cinnamon (3/10 tsp Freshly Grated)
1 tsp Ground Nutmeg (1/10 tsp Freshly Grated)
750 mL White, Añejo, or Spiced Rum (2 oz Don Q Extra Añejo)

Mix all but the rum in a pot, bring to a simmer while stirring, and then let cool. Stir in the rum and refrigerate. Serve over ice in a rocks glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
After I mentioned the buzz about Coquito, the Puerto Rican version of Egg Nog, Andrea was curious and went out shopping for the ingredients to mix up a batch. For a recipe, I wanted a more authentic voice (I believe that some of the web chatter was about Martha Stewart declaring that Coquito was "a take on a coffee drink made in Puerto Rico"), so I found one by Giuseppe Gonzalez, a well-respected bartender who grew up in Puerto Rico and has graced the posts on this blog several times. I scaled down his recipe that I sourced from Liquor.Com to make around a single serving. Once in the glass, this Egg Nog without eggs offered up luscious coconut, cinnamon, and caramelized milk aromas. Next, a thick and creamy sip led into a rum, coconut, cinnamon, and vanilla swallow. The coconut and dairy here provided plenty of sweetness and richness to make the eggs and sugar of the classic unnecessary.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

old ironsides

1 1/2 oz Scarlet Ibis Rum (Privateer Navy Yard)
1/2 oz Cruzan Black Strap Rum
1 oz Dolin Rouge Vermouth (Martini Grand Lusso)
1 tsp Lazzaroni Amaretto (Disaronno)
1 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
Two Sundays ago, I was flipping through the Death & Co. Cocktail Book and spotted the Old Ironsides. It was not the Old Ironsides crafted by Sean Kenyon but one designed by Brian Miller in 2009. I probably skipped over this recipe numerous times either out of waiting until I purchased Scarlet Ibis Rum or due to my skepticism of amaretto-containing cocktails; I got over the first part by subbing in Privateer's Navy Yard, and I am still not sure how I got past the second aspect (most likely a curiosity of how Brian Miller's wizardry would handle it). Once prepared, the Old Ironsides donated a nutty and grape bouquet to the nose. Next, grape and caramel on the sip sailed into rum, molasses, nutty, and cinnamon flavors on the swallow that came across much like maple syrup. The drink itself is named after the USS Constitution that is docked in Charlestown, MA, and I had the privilege of seeing it fire off its guns while on a rum-sponsored harbor cruise this past summer.

Saturday, January 4, 2020


2 oz Plymouth Gin (Tanqueray)
1 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao
1/2 Egg White (1 Egg White)

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with an orange twist (5 drop Bittermens Mole Bitters).
Two Saturdays ago, I reached for Frank Caiafa's 2016 The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book and spotted his slight interpretation of the Savannah from the 1935 The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book. With my change of garnish, the Savannah met the nose with a chocolate aroma. Next, a creamy orange sip marched into a pine, chocolate, and citrus swallow. Nothing too complex here, but the combination was rather enjoyable.

Friday, January 3, 2020

lake george

1 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey (Teeling Small Batch)
1 oz Glenlivet Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
1/2 oz Drambuie
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
For a drink idea two Friday nights ago, I reached for the PDT Cocktail Book and discovered the Lake George that I had never made before. This Whiskey Sour was crafted by Brian Shebairo while vacationing on the shores of Lake George in Winter 2009, and it featured a split base of Irish and Scotch whisk(e)y sweetened with Drambuie. Once prepared, the Lake George let out a honey, malt, and hint of peat to the nose. Next, lemon, honey, and malt mingled on the sip, and the swallow rolled in with the Scotch being more dominant than the Irish whiskey all with a honey-herbal finish.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

beach yowie

1 1/2 oz Blanco Tequila (Lunazul)
1 1/2 oz Mango Juice (Trader Joe's 100% Juice)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Vanilla Syrup
1/8 oz (1 bsp) Fernet Branca

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe rimmed with Chinese 5 Spice-salt, and garnish with citrus (floated dried lemon wheel).

Just like last year, I signed up to participate in the Secret Santé event on Instagram organized by ServedBySoberon. The event which garnered 169 participants this year has each Instagram (home)bartender assigned to a person who they create a drink to celebrate or pay tribute to them. My assignment was CocktailsMandurah -- an Australian named Kori who loves Margaritas, pretty drinks, fancy rimmed glasses, amaro, vanilla, and tropical juices. Since I had an unopened can of mango juice, my idea began to take shape with tequila, vanilla syrup, and lime juice with the Jungle Bird as a structure. As accents, a few dashes of Fernet Branca in the mix and a Chinese five spice and salt rim rounded out the combination.
For a name, I considered the fact that Kori is in Western Australia where it is currently summer; to make the drink more exotic, I conjured up the idea of a Yowie, a Bigfoot creature that haunts the Outback, on the beach to surf away Christmas. Once prepared, the Beach Yowie met the nose with clove and anise spice aromas from the rim along with mango and a hint of menthol from the drink itself. Next, mango and lime on the sip swam into tequila, tropical, and vanilla flavors on the swallow with a hint of Fernet's bitter herbal notes on the finish.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

have a ball

1 1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
1/2 oz Bols Genever
3/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1 heaping bsp Crème Fraîche
1 Whole Egg

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with freshly grated cinnamon and a few drops of blue food coloring swirled into designs.
Two Wednesdays ago, I stopped into the Maccabbee Bar, a Hanukkah-themed pop-up at Backbar in Somerville curated by Naomi Levi for the second year in a row. For a drink, I asked bartender Carlo Caroscio for the Have a Ball that seemed like an interesting Egg Nog concept with the Cognac-Genever base and the crème fraîche as the dairy. Once prepared, it welcomed the nose with cinnamon and egg nog aromas. Next, a creamy and malt-laden sip rolled into Cognac, Genever's malt and botanicals, and cinnamon flavors on the swallow. As things warmed up, the tart dairy note of the crème fraîche became more apparent.

:: fred's picks for the top cocktails of 2019 ::

Towards the end of 2010, I was challenged to pick my favorite drink of the year, and I was overwhelmed due to the vast number of great options to chose from. I decided to break it down by month with a runner up or two, and I based by choices on two factors -- tastiness and uniqueness; they had to be both memorable and worth repeating. I used to divide up this list by drinks had out on the town and drinks made at the home bar, but as life changes, I decided to combine the two last year to make up for my inability to be an overactive barfly. Without further ado, here is the 10th annual installment of my best drinks for the year (by the month the post appeared).

January: For top pick of the month, I opted for Sam Treadway's Black Magic as a mezcal Negroni meets a Revolver at Backbar. For runners up, I selected two richer drinks: the first one was an Scotch-Cynar Egg Nog with maple and coffee notes called the Barnaby Jones from the Cocktail Codex book and the other was a Cognac-mezcal Manhattan of sorts with raisiny sherry and quinquina called the Nobless Oblige from Nick Desoto at London's Experimental Cocktail Club.

February: I gave the nod to an elegant rum-Cognac Old Fashioned-styled number called the French Connection at the Baldwin Bar. Notable February recipes were the Serious Moonlight as a honey-Chartreuse Pisco Sour crafted by Nick Elezovic for the David Bowie cocktail biopic and the Italian Buck from the Canon Cocktail Book as well as Brad Parson's Amaro.
March: My three picks for the month were all amaro-driven recipes with the winner being Dan Greenbaum's Remember the Alimony with its simplicity of gin, Fino, and Cynar. Frank Cisneros' Margot Tenenbaum as a Gold Rush with Zucca/Sfumato and Liam Odien's Frankie Panky as a tequila riff on the Savoy's Hanky Panky but named after a burlesque performer.

April: Sahil Mehta's Double Dutch at Estragon was a delightful Genever-Batavia Arrack Sour that got the top honor for April. Shannon Mustipher's Muertito Vivo as a Zombie riff with Jagermeister donating Tiki spices and Brian Kane's National Treasure as a Boulevardier-like drink were also pretty cool tipples.
May: I was impressed by the Boulevardier-Brown Derby mashup, the An Englishman, a Frenchman, and an Italian Walk into an L.A. Bar, crafted by a Boston amateur mixologist, James Wallace, who I met at Thirst Boston this year. The No. 2 Fleet Street as a gin-based Mr. Bali Hai of sorts and the Showdown as a Daiquiri meets a Trinidad Sour were worthy of runner up status.

June: For June, I opted for Terry Williams' Passing Deadline that came across like a gentian-tinged Manhattan that he created at the Anvil in Houston. I was also pleased with Ariana Vitale's Wicked Behavior as a floral and herbal Whiskey Sour and Blair Reynold's slight riff on a Tiki classic with the Lapu Lapu.
July: In the heat of July, Jack McGarry's Pharaoh Cooler from the PDT Cocktail Book hit the spot with a magical combination of watermelon, grenadine, and rose water. For runners up, David Wondrich's Barbadian Gin Punch Swizzle with the quirky but tasty duo of Genever and coconut water had roots in mid-19th century island culture; and also, the De La Louisiane-Old Fashioned hybrid, the Hazard, from Jiri Malis in Denmark was notable with its maple accent.

August: While I wanted to give some acknowledgement to the Beta Cocktails' Italian Heirloom, I decided that August (and September as well) will be Tiki month(s). For the gold star, it was a tough choice of two drinks from the Minimalist Tiki book by Matt Pietrek and Carrie Smith, but Chad Austin's Mammoth Tusk won out over a Jason Alexander recipe. For silver stars, Shannon Mustipher's Rumfire Walker from her Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails book (also difficult narrowing it down from two of hers) with its delightful Cinn-pari duo (I now have a bottle of Cinn-pari at work!), and El Nova's Moonkist Twist as his take on the Moonkist Coconut from the Mai Kai in Florida.
September: Yes, Tiki month continues into September. Passing over Jason Alexander for August was tough, but I decided that I liked his drink in the next month even more: the Port of Innsmouth as his H.P. Lovecraft-inspired Nui Nui riff from Minimalist Tiki. Deserving of the aloha nod are Justin Wojslaw's Transatlantic Orbit and the 1960s Polynesian Paralysis.

October: Veering away from Tiki for a moment and back to more classic-style cocktails. One that I really enjoyed since it is a riff on one of my favorite Martini variations, the Poet's Dream -- Keegan McGregor's agave-based Dead Poet was quite enjoyable. Garnering honors for the month, Sother Teague's Waterproof Watch and Sahil Mehta's aperitif that reminded me of dandelions -- the Lion's Tooth.
November: I was quite surprised that I had never made an old Jim Meehan drink called El Puente -- it does not appear in the PDT Cocktail Book but only in Greg Boehm and Jeff Mason's 2009 The Big Bartender's Book. I probably skipped it due to not having cucumber on hand, but this mezcal number has great melon flavors in the mix from the cucumber. Worthy of note are Pip Hanson's Marley's Ghost as a rum Manhattan of sorts and Michael Boughton's Rose Gold at the Smoke Shop in Somerville as a Gold Rush meets a Campari Sour.

December: Another challenging month to make decisions for, but the Evan Harrison's Bodega at State Park as a pineapple rum Green Point had modern flare on a slightly older feel base. I also enjoyed the Broadway from The NoMad Cocktail Book which reminded me of a Bensonhurst, and enjoyed the Mr. Pink that was a Jungle Bird reshaped to be an egg white Sour.

Alas, 2019 has come and gone. Why bother reflecting on the bad times (and the hangovers) and just recall the best moments? Here, I narrowed it down to 37 drinks (I somehow snuck in a bonus one in August by not giving it an award during Tiki Month #1) -- all great mementos of my trip around the sun. Like last year, many were made at home; while it may not have the great hospitality of the bars around Boston, it does have the latest last call, great drinking buddies (my wife and/or my cats), and cheap prices! Some were had out and about when time and finances allowed it. Good luck to all of your imbibings in 2020 and stay in touch!