Friday, July 19, 2019

east somerville sour

2 oz Bourbon (Old Granddad Bonded)
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Combier)
1/4 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice

Shake with ice and pour into a double old fashioned glass (whip shake, pour into a double old fashioned glass, and fill with crushed ice). Garnish with a cherry-orange slice flag.
The Eastern Sour riff that I made a lot last summer at River Bar was the East Somerville Sour that reduced the orange juice volume and replaced it with apricot liqueur. The apricot also worked to bolster the nutty aspect in the Giffard Orgeat we were using. I have traced that apricot-orgeat duo to at least the 1930s with the Yellow Mist from the Café Royal Cocktail Book, and I was inspired that summer to utilize it in the Hiva Oa. Once prepared with my orgeat (made from almonds and not almond extract like Giffard), the East Somerville Sour donated an orange and whiskey aroma with hints of apricot and orgeat's nuttiness on the nose. Next, lemon, orange, and a hint of creaminess from the orgeat on the sip led into Bourbon, apricot, and almond flavors on the swallow. Overall, it was not too dissimilar to the classic Eastern Sour but with less of an effect from the orange juice which took over the original's taste profile.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

eastern sour

2 oz Bourbon or Rye (Old Granddad Bonded Bourbon)
2 1/2 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with crushed ice, pour into a double old fashioned glass, and garnish with spent orange and lemon shells.

After having enjoyed the Seahorse, I decided the next day to visit the Eastern Sour that was the inspiration for the drink. The recipe that I went with was Beachbum Berry's presentation in Remixed of the 1950s Trader Vic classic. I later found the drink in Trader Vic's 1972 Bartender Guide Revised (it was absent from Trader Vic's 1974 Rum Cookery & Drinkery though where I looked before picking up Remixed), and that recipe was very similar except the sweeteners were a dash each of orgeat and rock candy syrup, the juices were specified as 1/2 of a lemon and 1/2 of an orange, and there was a fruit stick and mint garnish in addition to the spent citrus shells.
The Eastern Sour welcomed the nose with Bourbon, orange, and nutty aromas. Next, orange, lemon, and malt on the sip gave way to Bourbon and a hint of almond on the swallow. As the ice melted a little, the Bourbon's heat subsided and the orange juice notes began to take over the flavor profile.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

the seahorse

1 1/2 oz Bourbon (Old Granddad Bonded)
1/4 oz Allspice Dram (Hamilton's)
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Shake with ice, strain into rocks glass (small Tiki mug), and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with mint sprigs and freshly grated cinnamon.
Two Wednesdays ago, I visited the Modern Tiki website and spotted a post for the Seahorse. The drink was their riff on the Eastern Sour with spice elements that reminded me of a Lion's Tail. Once assembled, the Seahorse proffered mint and cinnamon notes over Bourbon and allspice aromas. Next, orange, lemon, and malt swam on the sip, and the swallow curled up with Bourbon and allspice flavors.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

barbadian gin punch swizzle

2 oz Genever (Bols)
2 oz Coconut Water
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Rich Demerara Syrup (3/4 oz 1:1)
2 dash Angostura Bitters, optional (included)

Build in a tall glass, fill with crushed ice, swizzle to mix and chill, and garnish with a lime wheel.

Two Tuesdays ago, I continued on with my coconut water recipes with a gem found in Imbibe Magazine. Drink historian David Wondrich wrote about some of the various punches found throughout the Caribbean in the 17th-19th centuries; while most of them were rum-based libations due to the abundance of the local spirit, he discovered that the Dutch utilized their home liquor of Genever through an 1876 travel book West India Pickles by William Talboys. Talboys was served a bowl of punch using Holland gin at a local planter's house in Barbados, and the spirit had been brought over by Dutch traders that were doing business throughout the Caribbean. Wondrich provided a recipe for this punch, but I was more taken by his single serving-sized Swizzle incorporating all of the drink elements.
The Barbadian Gin Punch Swizzle donated lime aromas over malt and coconut water notes to the nose. Next, lime and salinity from the coconut water on the sip led into malty Genever, wormwood, and clove flavors on the swallow.

Monday, July 15, 2019

arkansas traveler

1/2 Rye Whiskey (1 1/2 oz Old Overholt)
1/3 French Vermouth (1 oz Dolin Blanc)
1/6 Grapefruit Juice (1/2 oz)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added a grapefruit twist.
Two Mondays ago, I delved into Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and spotted the Arkansas Traveler. After having the Brown Derby on my mind after trying the Santa Barbara from Boothby, I envisioned this similar in balance if the French vermouth were blanc instead of dry. Once prepared, the Arkansas Traveler gave forth a rye and grapefruit bouquet to the nose. Next, a semi-dry white wine and grapefruit sip moved along to a rye and floral swallow with a slightly bitter finish from the grapefruit and barrel-aged notes.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

watermelon negroni

(a.) 1 oz Campari
1 oz Watermelon Juice
(b.) 1 oz London Dry Gin (Beefeater)
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Martini Grand Lusso)

Freeze the Campari and watermelon juice (2 cubes, will not completely freeze solid) in advance. Add the cubes, gin, and vermouth to a rocks glass, stir, and garnish with a lemon twist.

Since it was the last night of Negroni Week and I was still on my watermelon kick, I searched for "watermelon Negroni" and found a recipe from food writer Alton Brown. I modified the recipe to be equal parts of the four ingredients as well as altering the preparation. I was bothered that I could not get my Campari-watermelon ice cubes to look as solid as Alton's, so I did the math. With Campari and watermelon being 22° and 7.8° Brix, respectively, that averaged out to around 15° Brix for the mixture; American Campari (yes, we get a lower proof than Europe) is 24% ABV, so that averaged out to 12% ABV for the combination. As I learned at Daren Swisher's frozen drinks class, the perfect alcoholic slushee will be between 12-15° Brix and 12-15% ABV; hence, solid cubes would not physically be possible at standard freezer temperatures. I was okay with the cubes being semi-solid for it provided an adequate amount of cooling with no additional dilution (the only dilution of the Negroni was by the watermelon juice). Also, this caused me to ask my wife if Alton was one of those food writers that tell you that caramelized onions take only 10 minutes to prepare.
My version of the Watermelon Negroni donated lemon oil over a fruity nose. Next, the vermouth's grape paired up with the watermelon on the sip, and the swallow proffered the gin and the intriguing melding of watermelon with Campari's bitter orange to make an almost watermelon candy-like flavor.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

pharaoh cooler

1 1/2 oz Blanco Tequila (Lunazul)
1 oz Watermelon Juice
3/4 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Lime Juice
4 drop Rose Flower Water

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass with ice, and top with 1 oz soda water.

The other watermelon recipe in the PDT Cocktail Book was the Pharaoh Cooler that made me think of a watermelon-laced carbonated Mexican Firing Squad. Jack McGarry of Dead Rabbit fame created this drink when he was at the Merchant in Belfast and came over to the states for Tales of the Cocktail in 2009. Before he traveled down to New Orleans, he visited New York City and spent a night bartending at PDT. The book described how Jack "named the drink after the mythic Egyptian origins of watermelon seeds," and the PDT staff was so impressed by the result that they put it on the menu.
The watermelon element was joined by the tequila and rose water aromas on the nose. Next, a carbonated berry and lime sip led into tequila and watermelon flavors on the swallow. Andrea summed it up by declaring, "Mmm... that's summertime in a glass."

Friday, July 12, 2019

melon stand

2 oz Plymouth Gin (Tanqueray)
1 oz Watermelon Juice
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass with pebble ice (cocktail coupe without ice), and garnish with 3 watermelon balls on a pick (one watermelon chunk on the edge).

Two Fridays ago, I found myself at Haymarket after renewing my driver's license at the RMV. Among all of the produce, what caught my eye were the mini-watermelons; given the price and their size, it seemed quite worth lugging one home. For a drink, I spotted two recipes in Jim Meehan's PDT Cocktail Book, and the first one I made was the Melon Stand by Jane Danger circa 2008. The book provided the brief history of, "Danger named this drink after her Minnesota dream bar, Jane's Sweet Melon Stand." Tom Sandham's World's Best Cocktails also contained the recipe and provided a little more information through a quote from Jim Meehan, "This is Jane Danger's nod to Milk & Honey bartender Michael McIlroy and Richard Boccatto's Archangel, and Pegu Club owner Audrey Saunders' Intro to Aperol."
The garnish supplemented the fresh watermelon aroma on the nose. Next, watermelon and lemon mingled on the sip, and the swallow offered up gin, more watermelon, and a lightly bitter orange flavor from the Aperol. Overall, it was rather summery and light with just enough complexity from the Aperol to keep things interesting.

Thursday, July 11, 2019


1 1/2 oz El Dorado 3 Year White Rum (Privateer Tres Aromatique)
1/2 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
1 1/2 oz Coconut Water
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Orgeat

Shake with ice, strain into a Hurricane-type glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a lime wheel and freshly grated nutmeg.
In my search for coconut water cocktails, I spotted the Kokomo on the BarNotes app that seemed like a great Tiki drink (and distinct from the other Kokomo on the blog). This Kokomo was created by Shawn Vergara in 2014 at Blackbird in San Francisco. Once prepared, the drink offered up woody spice and lime aromas that combined into a floral note. Next, a creamy lime sip led into rum, nutty almond, and coconut water flavors on the swallow with a banana finish.