Thursday, December 1, 2022

copley plaza

1 1/2 oz Park VS Cognac
3/4 oz Dubonnet Rouge
3/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
After the Death & Co. takeover at Deadshot and the Bourbon Disco event at Hey Love! hosted by Bardstown Bourbon two Thursdays ago at Portland Cocktail Week, I headed back towards the hotel on the other side of the Willamette River. Not wanting my Portland experience to end so soon, I stopped into Teardrop Lounge for a nightcap and for a second visit that week. I was greeted by bartender Amy who remembered my name, and I asked her for the curiously dubbed Copley Plaza subtitled "subtly austere; a refined, thoughtful jaunt." I was unable to find a reference to an older drink called this, so perhaps it was the bar's tribute to the 110 year old Long Oak Bar at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel here in Boston. Once prepared, the Copley Plaza began with an orange and Cognac aroma. Next, the Dubonnet's grape notes filled the sip, and the swallow rounded things off with brandy, caramel, and orange flavors.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

full disclosure

1 1/2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1/2 oz Giffard Rhubarb Liqueur
1 oz Don's Mix (2/3 oz Grapefruit Juice + 1/3 oz Cinnamon Syrup)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a grapefruit twist (omitted here). Recipe sourced from the Welcome Home book.
On Thursday night of Portland Cocktail Week, there a Death & Co. pop-up featuring recipes from their Welcome Home book at Deadshot. After perusing their list, I selected the Full Disclosure due to my lack of rhubarb liqueur at home, and it came across like a mezcal-rhubarb Donga Punch riff. This 2019 Matthew Belanger drink began with smoke, vegetal, and fruity aromas. Next, lime, grapefruit, and rhubarb notes on the sip flowed into vegetal, smoky, and cinnamon flavors on the swallow.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

drop the anchor

1 1/2 oz Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum
3/4 oz Byrrh Grand Quinquina
1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro
2 dash Mole Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass with a big cube, and garnish with an orange twist. Here, served from a chilled flask.
On Tuesday night of Portland Cocktail Week, there were four pop-up events across town at the same time, and while I planned on hitting three of them, I reached my limit at two. I started my night at an Amor y Amargo pop-up at the White Owl Social Club. There, Sother Teague served me a variation on The Redemption swapping the Averna for more Jagermeister who was sponsoring the event as well as utilizing a local apple brandy. After that, I headed back to Rum Club where there was a pop-up by Seattle's Navy Strength sponsored by Mount Gay Rum. I asked bartender/bar owner Chris Elford for the Drop the Anchor, and I later inquired if it was a rum-for-Scotch version of his Casualty. Chris replied that it was close for the Amaro Montenegro amount was dropped slightly. After that, I considered the Old Forester Far Flung Friends event at the Spirit of '77 with drinks from the Yacht Club in Denver, but my self-preservation instinct kicked in, and I headed back to the hotel. Strangely, I woke up with a sweatshirt from the Far Flung Friends event in my size in my backpack, and it will have to go down as one of those unsolved mysteries.

Monday, November 28, 2022

piano hands

1 oz Banhez Mezcal
1 oz Hamilton's Navy Strength Rum
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/4 oz Benedictine
6 dash Absinthe

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with a big ice cube, and garnish with lemon oil from a twist.
Some time after my educational events at the Jupiter Next at Portland Cocktail Week two Mondays ago, I ventured over to Rum Club where I found a seat in front of bartender Mike Treffehn who I knew from class earlier in the day as a presenter as well as the creator of the Long Snake Moan at the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. in Philadelphia circa 2011. For a cocktail, I asked Mike for the Piano Hands that he described as his Vieux Carré riff that he crafted with a mezcal-rum pairing. In the glass, the Piano Hands met the nose with a lemon, caramel, and hint of smoke aroma. Next, caramel and grape notes on the sip progressed into rum, vegetal, smoke, and herbal flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

in absentia

1 oz Banhez Mezcal
1 oz Cocchi Americano
3/4 oz Luxardo Amaro Abano
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with flamed orange oil from a twist.
After landing in Portland, Oregon, two Sundays ago, I attended the Portland Cocktail Week welcoming night event at Aviation Gin that was followed by an unofficial tour and visit to Aria Gin a few blocks away. On the walk back to the Ace Hotel where I was staying again, I returned to the Teardrop Lounge for the first time in a decade. There, I asked bartender Amy for the In Absentia subtitled "complex and subtly bitter with chocolate hints." I selected that one for the combination of mezcal and Amaro Abano worked great in Mike Ryan's Speaking in Tongues as well as Rafa Garcia Febles' The Clyde. Curiously, I was able to find a 2015 article listing the In Absentia recipe as an aged rhum agricole number (everything else held constant) utilizing JM Vieux, so perhaps this older recipe evolved through the years. Once served to me, the In Absentia welcomed the senses with an orange, smoky, vegetal, and caramel aroma. Next, caramel and fruity notes on the sip disappeared into vegetal, smoky, herbal, and black pepper flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

end of the road

1 oz Laphroaig 10 Year Scotch
1 oz Campari
1 oz Green Chartreuse

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe (Nick & Nora).
One of the recipes in the "Drinks of Drink" notebook that caught my eye despite not being invented in-house was Chris McMillian's End of the Road that appears in Beta Cocktails. I had never made this number despite having had the successor, Start of a New Road, at Backbar. Since two Saturdays was my last shift at Drink, I figured that it was a good cocktail to go out on. I did ponder why this intense combination of Scotch with an almost medicinal peat smoke, bitter orange Campari, and aggressively herbaceuous Chartreuse was called End of the Road; when I went to Portland Cocktail Week the following day, I perhaps got a clue even if it is wrong. I attended a Glenmorangie seminar where they shared a recipe booklet that also had drinks from their sister distillery Ardbeg in it. In those pages, they had The (Real) End of the Road made with Ardbeg Uigeadail with the story provided "Ardbeg is the last distillery – at the end of the Islay road." I could find no evidence that this cocktail had ever been made with Ardbeg by McMillian, so who knows the reason for the finality in the name. Alas, for me, it was the end of a year long adventure from reopening Drink after a 4.5 month repair shutdown to becoming the bar manager while still bartending and finally becoming the general manager while still being the bar manager and bartender (and whatever else needed to be done including being two barbacks at once (and doing the job better) or the door guy). Eventually, they asked for even more -- more than I could give as an individual trying to hold an absurd to the rest of the world semblance of work-life balance, so I gave notice. And my date lined up with the day before Portland Cocktail Week, so it was my own start of a new road a few hours later on Sunday morning.
The recipe did not appear in the 2009 Rogue Cocktails or the 2010 'zine and only in the 2011 Beta Cocktails (read about the books' history). Finally getting to this combination 11 years later, it proffered an orange, herbal, and smoke bouquet to the nose. Next, a peachy orange sip terminated with smoky Scotch and herbaceous flavors on the swallow with a bitter quinine finish. Pictured above was the line at open that Saturday night (it extended down the stairs to our door) including three guests in the photo who queued up to say goodbye and mark the end of the road at 348 Congress Street with me.

Friday, November 25, 2022


1 1/4 oz Mezcal (Del Maguey Mezcal)
3/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
3 dash Hersaint (30 drop Kübler Absinthe)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
Two Fridays ago, I decided to make the L'Incontro from the "Drinks of Drink" binder for it reminded me of Phil Ward's Division Bell with the addition of Herbsaint, the swapping of lemon for lime, and a tweaking of the proportions. L'Incontro meaning "the meeting" once prepared called to order with a smoke, nutty, vegetal, and cherry aroma. Next, lemon and cherry notes on the sip concluded with vegetal, orange, nutty cherry, and anise flavors on the swallow with a cherry and smoke finish.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

no glory in the west

1 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida (1 1/2 oz)
3/4 oz Barolo Chinato (Cocchi)
3/4 oz Aperol
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with orange oil from a twist.
Continuing on in the "Drinks of Drink" notebook, I spied the No Glory in the West that reminded me a little of the Caesar Cardini that had also been created at Drink. The recipe was probably named after the Orville Peck song which makes its invention sometime after the song was released in 2020. Once stirred and strained, it proffered an orange, vegetal, and smoke bouquet to the nose. Next, grape and orange notes mingled on the sip, and the swallow wrapped things up with smoky, vegetal, grape, and quinine flavors on the swallow with a smoke and clove finish.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

fat bottomed girl

1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro
1/2 oz Orgeat (Giffard)
1/4 oz Demerara Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 Whole Egg

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a glass (old fashioned), and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
Two Wednesdays ago, I delved back into the "Drinks of Drink" notebook and found the Queen tribute recipe named Fat Bottomed Girl. This Flip dubbed after the 1978 song was served at and presumably created for the charity drag brunch held at Drink in November 2020 and sponsored by Rittenhouse Rye. I have only had Amaro Montenegro and orgeat paired together in two drinks before – namely Backbar's Magical Mezcal Mystery Cure and Cure's Little Boots, so I was curious to try this in a Flip instead of a Sour. Here, the Fat Bottomed Girl began with a woody and nutty aroma. Next, a creamy and citrussy sip twerked into a rye, almond, citrus, and allspice swallow.