Thursday, May 23, 2019

the showdown

3/4 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Blackstrap Rum (Cruzan)
3/4 oz Simple Syrup 1:1
1/2 oz Angostura Bitters
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe (cocktail glass).

Two Thursdays ago, ImbibeMagazine published an Angostura Bitters-heavy recipe called The Showdown. The drink was crafted by Jeff Baumann of The Great Northern in Burlington, Vermont, as his rum cocktail inspired by the Trinidad Sour. Baumann described how it showcases "bold flavors all around that find a way to work together for a delightful balance."
The Showdown showcased a Jamaican funk, allspice, and cinnamon nose. Next, lemon and the blackstrap rum's caramel mixed on the sip, and the swallow proffered flavorful rums, molasses, clove, woody, and allspice flavors.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

banankin's downfall

1 1/2 oz El Jimador Reposado Tequila
1/4 oz Mezcal
1/2 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
1/2 oz Tempus Fugit Crème de Banana
1/4 oz Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with cracked ice, pour into a rocks glass, top with crushed ice, and garnish with freshly grated cinnamon.
Every year around May the Fourth, Backbar in Somerville changes into "Ackbar" and does its annual Star Wars week. On Wednesday of that week from their themed menu, I selected the Banakin's Downfall that was subtitled "before he turned into Vader, he was sipping Margaritas." When I asked Sam Treadway for the recipe, I inquired why there were two banana liqueurs in the mix. He replied that the Giffard was for brightness while the Tempus Fugit one was for caramel notes and depth. Once mixed,the Banakin's Downfall greeted the senses with a banana and cinnamon bouquet. Next, lime and caramel on the sip led into agave, hints of nutty and spice, and boat loads of banana flavors.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

the ticket that exploded

1/2 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1/2 oz Funky Jamaican Rum (Smith & Cross)
1 oz Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano (Cocchi Americano)
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Benedictine

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

Two Tuesdays ago, I decided that I wanted to do a William S. Burroughs tribute cocktail, and I looked through his bibliography. There, I spotted The Ticket that Exploded -- one of his 1960s cut-up novels that was part of my first Burroughs literary experience: The Nova Trilogy. I then decided to craft a cut-up Negroni of sorts that was rough around the edges, and the end result was no longer a Negroni but something parallel. Burroughs' anti-utopian themes made me think of things funky and smoky so I opted for a split base of Jamaican rum and mezcal. To sooth over the rough edges, I split the Campari with Benedictine which was something that I had experienced in the Phoenix Feather. And finally for the aromatized wine element, I opted for Cocchi Americano to return some of the citrus notes lost in cutting back on the Campari.
The Ticket that Exploded controlled the nose with orange, smoke, and citrus aromas. Next, orange and peach notes subverted the sip, and the swallow exploded with vegetal agave, funky rum, bitter orange, herbal, and smoke flavors.

little darling

1 1/2 oz Appleton Rum (perhaps Select or Reserve)
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz Frangelico
1/4 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
1 pinch Salt

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

As I nearing the end of one of my drinks at Green Street, Jordan Runion gifted me his Little Darling that he wanted me to try. In looking through the dusty bottles on the shelves, Jordan spied Frangelico and wanted to put it to use on the new menu. When I posted this drink on Instagram, someone asked what could be used in a pinch to replace Frangelico, and I suggested crème de noyeau, amaretto, or perhaps an artificially flavored orgeat like Giffard. Here, the flavor profile was rounded out by sherry, bitter vermouth, and aged rum.
The Little Darling presented an orange, rum, and nutty aroma to the nose. Next, grape and caramel mingled on the sip, and the swallow offered rum that was colored by banana and Frangelico's nutty flavors.

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.