Monday, April 6, 2020

tres hands

3/4 oz Mezcal (A split of Fidencio Espadin & Mezcales de Leyenda Cupreata)
3/4 oz Tequila (Lunazul)
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
3/4 oz Campari
3 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a cherry.

After making the Right Hand just shy of two weeks ago, I revisited Sasha Petraske's Regarding Cocktails and selected the Tres Hands from that Milk & Honey 'Hand' series. I was able to locate elsewhere the exact proportions, and I was looking forward to an agave Negroni. The idea reminded me of my first trip to Mexico to visit a tequila distillery. During one of the dinners, my tablemate declared that she really wanted a tequila Negroni, and once I heard that, I wanted one too. Unfortunately, both the server and the bartender at the restaurant did not know what a Negroni was. Clearly they had plenty of tequila and knew what Campari was, but they did not have any vermouth. I was sure that they did, and they invited me to go behind the bar to look. When I found it, they exclaimed, "Ah, Martini!" and thus the language barrier was broken. I ended up making both tequila Negronis behind their bar (to be billed to our table), and later, I regretted that I might have been "that gringo" for I would not be too keen on anyone stepping behind my bar to make a drink. Mission accomplished but not without wondering if I had overstepped my boundaries. Here at least, it was my own kitchen, and my wife seemed pretty excited by the night's direction too.
The Tres Hands offered up an elegant vegetal agave nose with hints of smoke and orange. Next, a grape sip fell into a smoky agave blending into bitter orange swallow with a chocolate finish.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

diabola cocktail

2/3 Dubonnet (1 3/4 oz)
1/3 Gin (1 oz Tamworth)
2 dash Orgeat (1/4 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added an orange twist.
Two Sundays ago, I reached for my copy of the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book and spotted the Diabola that came across like a Zaza meeting a Martinez (since both Maraschino and orgeat are a bit nutty). I did choose a more flavorful gin for this, but I left out the bitters suggestion in Erik Ellestad's blog post on the drink that declared, "This is a fine and enjoyable cocktail, significantly improved by the addition of a dash of Angostura Bitters. If you choose to make it yourself, I would advise picking a more aggressively flavored gin, given the ratio of Dubonnet to spirit." In the glass, the Diabola Cocktail donated an orange, grape, and earthy-nutty aroma. Next, the grape-driven sip stepped aside to a cherry, pine, and nutty swallow. Definitely a dash of bitters would have given some depth here and dried things out, but it was quite pleasing on its own.

Saturday, April 4, 2020


1 1/2 oz Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon
1/2 oz Lustau Cream Sherry (Lustau East India Solera Sherry)
1/2 oz Lustau Fino Sherry
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Zucca Rabarbaro (Sfumato)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with orange oil from a twist (garnish with the twist too).
Two Saturdays ago, I reached for my 2013 The Cocktail Hour booklet collection and found the Elwood in the whiskey volume. I most likely skipped over the recipe before since I only added Fino sherry to my collection in the last year, and the drink was crafted by Adam Robinson at the Rum Club in Portland, Oregon. This Manhattan riff named after one of the Blues Brothers began with an orange oil over grape and herbal aroma. Next, a grape sip gave way to a Bourbon and smoky bitter herbal swallow with an orange, clove, and allspice finish.

Friday, April 3, 2020

kingston claret

1 oz Pinot Noir (Rascal)
1 oz Brugal Añejo Rum (Flor de Caña Añejo Oro)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Fee's Old Fashioned Bitters (Fee's Whiskey Barrel Aged)

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with 3 drop Fee's Old Fashioned Bitters (Fee's Whiskey Barrel Aged).
Two Fridays ago, I turned to the 2009 Rogue Cocktails book and spotted the Kingston Claret by Chicago's Mike Ryan. Actually, I spotted it first in the 2010 'zine edition that came between the two pressings, and this recipe was dropped when the book was relaunched as Beta Cocktails in 2011. Overall, the recipe was similar to No. 9 Park's take on a Bishop; since we had a bottle of Pinot Noir opened from dinner, I was definitely game to give it a shot. In the glass, the Kingston Claret welcomed the nose with cinnamon, caramel, lime, and grape aromas. Next, grape and lime on the sip sailed into rum, fruity, cinnamon, and clove flavors on the swallow.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

lumberjack negroni

1/2 oz Scotch (Royal Brackla 12 Year)
1/2 oz Apple Brandy (Laird's Bonded)
1 oz Campari
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/4 oz Maple Syrup

Stir with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass with ice, and garnish with an orange twist.

Inspired by the recent recipes with the touch of maple syrup theme, I wondered if it could be adapted to a Negroni. I have only ever tried Campari and maple together in the Cat's Pajamas, and my notes from 11 years ago did not support any synergy. Therefore, I switched the spirit to Scotch and apple brandy which would work great with the maple, and I cut back the vermouth's sweetness by switching to dry. For a name, the apple, maple, and hint of smoke in the whisky made me think of the Vermont forest and dub this one the Lumberjack Negroni.
The Lumberjack Negroni swung with an orange, Scotch, and apple aroma. Next, a maple and white wine sip fell the briny Scotch and apple flavors that melded into orange ones on the swallow along with an apple and maple finish.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

king james

1 oz Rum (Stolen Overproof Jamaican)
1 oz Brandy (Camus VS Cognac)
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/4 oz Dry Curaçao (Pierre Ferrand)
2 dash Maraschino Liqueur (1/2 bsp Luxardo)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

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

Two Wednesdays ago, I returned to Imbibe Magazine to make the King James from Los Angeles' Red Bird. The recipe was Tobin Shea's riff on the East India Cocktail; the East India Cocktail was first published in Harry Johnson's 1882 New and Improved Bartenders Manual and also appeared in Charles H. Baker Jr.'s Jigger, Beaker and Glass: Drinking Around the World. Shea's changes were to split the base of brandy with rum and to remove the pineapple syrup in exchange for a decent helping of sweet vermouth. As for the name, I presume that it was a tribute to the king of England who renewed the East India Company's charter in 1609 (his queen mother would have established the charter before her demise).
The King James presented an orange aroma from the twist's oil and the curaçao over that of rum funk. Next, grape, caramel, and a hint of cherry and orange on the sip gave way to brandy, funky rum, and nutty cherry on the swallow with an orange and spice finish. Overall, this version came across with a Manhattan feel as opposed to the original which had a more Old Fashioned one.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

countess of the caribbean

1 1/2 oz Aged Cuban-Style Rum (Havana Club 7 Year)
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Fino Sherry (Lustau)
1 dash Lemon Juice (1/2 bsp)

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. The photo showed a lemon twist so I added one too.
Two Tuesdays ago, I turned to the March/April issue of Imbibe Magazine where I spotted the Countess of the Caribbean. The recipe was created by Fede Cuco of Verne in Buenos Aires, and the Cynar-Aperol-sherry reminded me of the Juan Bautista. In the glass, the Countess of the Caribbean donated a lemon and orange bouquet to the nose. Next, a caramel sip from the Cynar and aged rum led into a rum, orange, caramel, and herbal swallow with a melon-like finish.

Monday, March 30, 2020

miles to go before i sleep

1 oz Bourbon (Old Grand-Dad Bonded)
1 oz Apple Brandy (Laird's Bonded)
3/4 oz Cardamaro
1/8 oz Green Chartreuse (1 bsp)
1/8 oz Maple Syrup (1 bsp)
2 dash Mole Bitters (Bittermens)

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

Given the Expense Account a few nights before, I was inspired to think about stirred drinks that utilized a hint of maple like the 3am on Saint Mark's Place and the Don Lockwood. Next, maple made me think of apples, and apple brandy linked in my mind with Cardamaro. The maple-Green Chartreuse pairing in the Handsome Jack and the Truce as well as splitting the base with Bourbon and accenting with chocolate bitters rounded out the concept. For a name, the apple and maple elements conjured up Robert Frost poems, and I dubbed this one the Miles to Go Before I Sleep.
The Miles to Go Before I Sleep traveled to the nose with orange, apple, and herbal aromas. Next, maple and grape held hands on the sip, and the swallow continued on with Bourbon, apple, and herbal flavors with a maple and chocolate finish.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

right hand

1 1/2 oz Aged Rum (1/2 oz Privateer Navy Yard + 1/2 oz Old Ipswich Tavern Style + 1/2 oz Ryan & Wood Folly Cove)
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
3/4 oz Campari
3 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a cherry.

Two Sundays ago, I was inspired by the Louisiana Purchase from A Spot at the Bar as a Cognac variant on a Gold Rush or Bee's Knees, and I looked to see if the Hand series was there. I ended up finding it in Sasha Petraske's Regarding Cocktails where it provided a little history of the drinks. Sam Ross described how, "We created a series of 'Hand' cocktails in the early days of Milk & Honey. The Right Hand was an aged-rum take; Tres Hands was its mezcal and tequila sister; and the Smoking Hand was her brother from Islay and the Highlands. Before the Boulevardier came back into prominence, this [the Left Hand] was a bourbon riff on the Negroni that we created using the newly released chocolate bitters from the Bittermens." Despite having referenced the Left and Right Hands in riffs like the Left Hand of Darkness and the Red Right Hook, I had never written about either, and I decided to start with the rum-based Right Hand. Taking the Donn the Beachcomber approach of "What one rum can't do, three rums can!", I made this a three Massachusetts rum Right Hand by sourcing two rums from Ipswich and one from Gloucester.
The Right Hand waved to the nose with an aged rum and bitter orange orange aroma. Next, caramel and grape on the sip grasped into rich rums and caramel orange flavors on the swallow with a bitter chocolate and orange finish.