Saturday, October 31, 2009

:: ice geeking ::

Preparing drinks can be facilitated by owning the proper tools. While a lot of people have spoken about the shakers, jiggers, and the like, very little has been written about ice tools. Ice plays a critical part in the drink making and enjoying experience, and its shape and size can effect everything from the preparation to the presentation. Here, I will talk about some of my more recent purchases in regards to processing small format ice and I will point you in the right direction if large format ice is your thing.

The ice tapper is the most frequently used tool in my arsenal; it is used to crack ice cubes into smaller pieces. Smaller pieces of ice have a greater surface area and thus cool drinks down quicker (given the same amount of ice). This can be advantageous during stirring and shaking many drinks. An exception to this is egg drinks where you want more froth which is best generated with large cubes; however, I have seen bartenders use a mix of cubes and cracked ice to promote both cooling and frothing. Surprisingly, it does not take a lot of force to break ice (although for more fine crushing, it does). With square cubes (made in Tovolo Perfect Cube silicone ice cube trays), it takes about 3 taps. The trick is not to tap the same side multiple times in a row, but to turn the cube to a new side each time. Each tap sets up cleavage planes that lead to the cube ending up anywhere from 3-12 pieces depending on your force, the tool, and the ice. While harder taps do work well, it does end up scattering ice fragments across your kitchen. In the photo are three of our crackers. The bottom one is a new one we bought at the Boston Shaker and, despite seeming rather light, is rather effective. The middle one is a vintage one we found in an antiques store in Somerville, NJ. Besides the cool Bakelite handle, the heavy ball and spring combination can generate a good amount of ice cracking power with very little hand movement. The top one is another vintage piece, a simple barspoon. Yes, the back side of the barspoon you already own will crack ice quite well. It does not have the springiness in the shaft that the other crackers do, but it will work quite well.

Ice tappers can only do so much. For a glass full of chipped ice for Tiki drinks or Juleps, tappers would become tedious besides the pieces being often larger than desired. One of the more useful tools which spares you the horrible noise of the electric blender is the manual ice crusher. Pictured above is an older Art Deco Ice-O-Mat reproduction I bought on eBay. Metrokane makes a few styles of ice crushers (the Boston Shaker sells one) and there are often vintage (especially wall-mounted) ones in antiques stores. While ours is stylish, it has a low ice capacity (2-3 at a time) and only produces one size of ice. The newer ones can hold more cubes in the hopper and will do two sizes depending on which way you crank the handle (as well as often have a vacuum to attach it to the counter).

For even finer ice, a very satisfying tool is the Lewis bag. The Lewis bag is nothing but a tough canvas bag that you load the ice into, fold over the opening, and then smash the ice with a mallet or meat tenderizer. The bag pictured above is a hand-stitched one we bought at the Boston Shaker which is rather well made (besides coming in a variety of colors). We also have a canvas bank bag (seen below the ice tapper and Ice-O-Mat above) which works well but is not as thick, well-seamed, or attractive as the handmade ones, but was a lot cheaper and come in a variety of sizes. And for the DiYers out there, follow bartender Josie Packard's lead and sew your own! The one she did for Drink uses thick canvas that is triple-stitched via a sewing machine (according to the bartenders there, it is more likely to give out in the center than through the stitching when being used). For a striking implement, I got a pair of his and hers factory seconds mallets off of eBay. I was tempted by some of the vintage ones but got frustrated with the bidding wars and went with something off of the buy-it-now list. The end result is finely crushed ice (although larger sized pieces will be in the mix depending on how thoroughly you smash away) which was perfect in our Sherry Cobbler.

This list of ice processing tools is by no means complete; for example, I have seen ice crushed via wood muddler in a mixing glass. And there are plenty of ice geeks who want to go even more old school and render large format ice down into the proper size and shapes of their choosing. Drink in Boston, for example, purchases 50 pound ice and uses a variety of shavers (think wood planes for ice), cleavers, and ice picks. The shavers seem to work the best in terms of generating the finest ice without electricity albeit with a bit of time and effort. For some of the best ice picks I have ever seen, go visit Cocktail Kingdom and look at their Japanese ice picks. The rest can be found in various antiques stores (although I have no clue how long John Gertsen of Drink searched for his bar's tools).

Thursday, October 29, 2009


1/3 Juice of a Grapefruit (2 oz)
1 tsp Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
2 oz Gin (Beefeater 24)
1 tsp Grenadine (Homemade)
1/2 Egg White

Shake 10 seconds without and 30 seconds with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Last night, I was thinking about the Josephine Baker and decided to flip through the pdf of the 1935 La Florida Cocktail Book from The Florida Bar in Havana, Cuba. One recipe that appealed to me was the Marco-Antonio perhaps due to Marco (technically Marconi after the Marconi Wireless) pestering me at the time by continuously jumping up on my computer desk for attention. The recipe reminded me a bit of the Hawaiian which I remembered as a gin drink (although we made it as the dark rum version). The Marco-Antonio's measurement for the juice made me wonder what volume of liquid would be in a 1935 grapefruit. I ended up choosing an equal parts ratio to make the drink neither too boozy nor too juicy, besides figuring that a vintage grapefruit was probably the juice equivalent of a navel orange of today (cerca 6 oz). Also, a similar recipe on CocktailDB supported the equal parts concept:
Edith Day Cocktail
• 1 1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
• 1 1/2 oz Gin
• 1 Egg White
• 1/2 tsp Sugar
Shake with ice and strain over a glass filled with crushed ice.
For a gin, I chose Beefeater 24 which has some rather strong grapefruit notes although many of the gin flavors were lost or subdued in the egg-juice mix. The grapefruit carried over in the nose and the drink was rather sweet tasting. The gin notes did appear briefly on the sip after the fruit wave, and the Maraschino popped out at the end of the swallow. The egg white provided a good head on the drink and some smoothness to the drink, all while not seeming like an egg drink (at least the way they do with straight spirits). If we had chosen to use a third of a modern grapefruit, the drink would have been larger than most of our cocktail glasses and would have probably made for a good highball drink instead. Perhaps some tonic water or champagne could add some extra zip in that format. As for zip in this format, the Maraschino did add some complexity although some cocktail bitters such as Peychaud's or orange, whether added in the mix or added dropwise to the egg white froth surface, might have been a nice touch.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

bless up

1 1/2 oz Appleton Estate Reserve Rum
3/4 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz Aperol
2 barspoon Averna
1 barspoon Creme de Cacao

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
Last night, Andrea and I attended an Appleton Rum event at Eastern Standard co-hosted by Contemporary Cocktail's Willy Shine, John Lermayer, and Eastern Standard's Jackson Cannon. We met John at Tales of the Cocktail a few months ago and he is here in Boston preparing the Woodward, the bar at the Ames Hotel in the Financial District, for its opening in mid-November. Two of the Woodward's bartenders were in attendance, and the one that I spoke to had a great interest in making bitters (although sadly, he would not reveal what drinks were going to be on the menu). While Willie was at Tales this year, neither Andrea nor I met him, but we were amused to hear that he was born and grew up in Union Square, Somerville, close to where the Boston Shaker store currently is located.

Four drinks were on the menu last night; all were featuring Appleton Estate's Reserve Rum which is a blend of 20 different rums. While we did not have a chance to taste the spirit straight, there was a nice degree of spice detectable from the rum in the various drinks. My favorite drink of the night was the Bless Up which Willie Shine made for me. The Bless Up started with an orange oil nose which led into a rather rich and complex drink. Chocolate notes from the Creme de Cacao and Carpano Antica vermouth were complemented by the spiciness of the rum and Averna amaro and by the sweet fruit notes of the Aperol. The drink was very similar to the Dub Treo which they were also serving last night.
Dub Treo
• 1 1/2 oz Appleton Estate Reserve Rum
• 3/4 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
• 3/4 oz Aperol
• 1 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Flame an orange twist over the top and drop in.
The Dub Treo was described as a rum Negroni-sort of drink which reminded me a bit ingredient-wise of a drink that Eastern Standard's Hugh Fiore made me last year using Gosling's Family Reserve Rum. The Dub Treo, while less complex than the Bless Up, featured some delightful cinnamon notes from the bitters and vermouth which worked well with the spice flavors in the rum. Indeed, there was some beauty in its subtlety relative to the Bless Up.
Above is Eastern Standard's Kit Paschal about to flame an orange peel over my Dub Treo. Earlier, Kit relayed a story to us about how he ran all over town gathering up two cases-worth of Ting, a Jamaican grapefruit-flavored soda, a few bottles at a time. The Ting ended up in a highball beverage, the Appleton Ting.
Appleton Ting
• 2 oz Appleton Estate Reserve Rum
• 1/2 oz Agave Nectar-Lime Juice Mix (1:1)
Build over ice in a highball glass. Fill with Ting and garnish with an orange twist.
The Appleton Ting was our entry drink and it was a good showcase for the rum flavor due to the lighter ingredients. John Lermayer, who made us the drink, described it as a Jamaica's answer to the Dark & Stormy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

pearl white

1 1/2 oz Bombay Dry Gin
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2 sprig Mint

Shake with ice. Double strain (to remove mint bits) into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
For my second drink at Green Street on Sunday night, I stuck with the gin theme and picked out the Pearl White off of the long cocktail list (shown in the photo above). While I could not find a source for this recipe, it appears to be very similar to a classic Southside with an addition of Lillet. The mint and lemon contributed greatly to the Pearl White's aroma. Moreover, the mint carried over into the taste to augment the gin sour's flavor. Indeed, the gin and Lillet were detectable in the beginning of the sip before being chased by the citrus and mint notes.


2 oz Plymouth Gin
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2 drop Kübler Absinthe
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a wine glass.

On Sunday evening after returning from our weekend adventure, Andrea and I stopped into Green Street before finally making our way home. We found seats at the far end of the bar and sat down in front of ex-Alchemist Lounge bartender Derric Crothers who took our drink orders. Off of the 6 page menu I chose the Masquerade. I later was able to trace the recipe back to Harman Burney Burke's 1936 book, Burke's Complete Cocktails And Drinking Recipes, through the help of the internet for the book is not yet in my collection. Burke's recipe appears to be a bit drier than Green Street's but otherwise very similar:
Gin, 1 Jigger
Gum Syrup, 1 Teaspoonful
Absinthe, 1 Dash
Add the White of 1 Egg
Juice of 1 Lime
Ice. 35 Shakes. Strain and serve.
I am not so sure that gum syrup would be noticeable over simple syrup when used with egg whites, since egg whites impart a different order of magnitude for mouthfeel. In the Green Street version, even with two drops, the drink had a good absinthe nose. The Masquerade's flavor was dominated by a dry lime taste with hints of the gin botanicals. The egg served to mellow out the drink quite a bit, although as the drink warmed up, the citrus and gin came more to the forefront.

Monday, October 26, 2009


The theme for this month’s Mixology Monday (MxMo XLIII) is "Vermouth" as chosen by Vidiot of the Cocktailians blog. The concept was "to present a delectable vermouth cocktail for us all to drool over. Sweet/Italian or dry/French vermouth are fair game of course, as are quinquina, aperitif wines like Pineau des Charentes, or for that matter any fortified, aromatized wine such as Lillet or Dubonnet."

For this theme, I wanted to focus on a recipe that featured mainly vermouth. Such drinks are a lot lighter than spirit-based cocktails and often work better when confronted with an empty stomach. Recipes that popped into my head, such as Half Sinner-Half Saint, Fig Leaf, Chrysantemum, and Bamboo, all fit the bill except that I had already written about them. To start my search for a new recipe, I opened up my copy of Patrick Duffy's The Official Mixer's Manual (1975 edition) for it has a section dedicated to aperitif wine-centric recipes. There I found the recipe for the Nineteen which was consists of more than half dry vermouth, and after reading the rest of the ingredients, I was intrigued. Seeking back for an older recipe, the same proportions as Duffy's appear in the the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book, while variations appear in Boothby, Stan Jones, and Esquire.
• 2/3 Dry Vermouth (2 oz Dolin)
• 1/6 Dry Gin (1/2 oz Aviation)
• 1/6 Kirsch (1/2 oz Trimbach)
• 1 barspoon Absinthe (1/8 oz Kübler)
• 4 dash Simple Syrup (1/4 oz)
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Indeed, the two-thirds part vermouth made the Nineteen rather light and easy to drink. On the sip, the first sensation at the tip of the tongue was a sweet fruit note from the kirsch and simple syrup with perhaps augmented by citrus peel flavors from the vermouth. Next came the absinthe followed by a combination of the winy-ness of the vermouth plus botanical notes from the gin. The drink did prove to be an outstanding aperitif cocktail and prepared our palates well for the dinner that was about to be served.
Cheers to Vidiot for hosting and to the rest of the Mixology Monday crew for participating!

Friday, October 23, 2009

big star

1 oz Gin (Beefeater)
1 oz Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Galliano
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a star anise.

For last night's Thursday Drink Night (every Thursday from 7pm E.S.T. onward) on Mixoloseum, the theme was "Not Absinthe". All aniseseed- or star anise-based spirits save for absinthe were fair game including aquavit, arak, anisette, pastis, Becherovka, ouzo, and Sambuca. I got creative and chose one that was not in the announcement's list -- Galliano, a complex herbal liqueur flavored with anise, star anise, vanilla, and other botanicals. The thought of star anise for some reason made me think of the influential 70's band Big Star which became not only the soundtrack for drink creation but the name of the cocktail as well.
The first sip of the Big Star was a bit sharp in a Campari sort of way; however, that sharpness faded rapidly after the first sip. After that brief acclimation stage, the drink was a very herbal and complex citrus cocktail. The anise notes seemed to appear earlier in the drink and the vanilla notes surfaced more towards the end of the glass.

As a side note, I cannot hear about or drink Galliano without thinking of this amazing paranoid delusional phone call that a late night WFMU DJ received. The description of "over the course of four and a quarter paranoid minutes the caller pressed his case for why the Galliano bottle is an instrument of pure evil and should be removed from the market permanently" only scratches the surface of the story. Reminds me of the joys of doing late night college radio back in the day. Remember, the bottle should just pick up and pour a drink. Enjoy!

:: administrata ::

First off, feel free to add our newly created Twitter feed to find out what and where we're drinking at the moment or what cool spirit, bar tool, or antique glassware we just spotted or scored in 140 characters or less:

And second, the F.T.C. is making bloggers disclose samples and the like. It's true: we do get invited on occasion to free special events (such as the Bols Genever release party) as press and do receive free samples of bargoods to try out. These free-bees do not buy a good review although we are more likely to write about our positive experiences with the cocktails that result from them. This blog is what the 4 Cocktail Virgin/Sluts drink while at home or out as a way of recording for posterity the recipes we have enjoyed. We do realize that we have an effect on people's consumerisms, and we respect that and only discuss products and drinks that make us happy. Spirits that get used can often be substituted; bars do this all the time, so if you are playing the home game, do not fret about making due with what is in stock. Indeed, part of specificity is to maintain an accurate record of events and not to promote individual products per se.

dutch courage

2 oz Anchor Steam Genevieve
1/2 oz Bauchaunt Orange Liqueur
1 heaping barspoon Sugar (white)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Stir with ice, and pour ice and all into a rocks glass. Twist orange peel over the top and drop in.
On Monday night after my 10th anniversary of DJing at Ceremony nightclub, Andrea and I walked to Kenmore Square to get dinner and drinks. Josh Taylor and Hugh Fiore were manning the bar that night (first time I had seen Josh be dressed like a bartender instead of a barback who makes great drinks when need be). Josh talked us through the new drinks on the menu including the new "Old Fashioned" section which appeared last Friday. The one that I picked was the Dutch Courage which was listed in Jackson Cannon-ese as using "Fritz's Genever". Fritz's spirit turned out to be the Genever-style gin made by Fritz Maytag of Anchor Distilling, so perhaps the drink could be renamed Dutch-style Courage to avoid trouble from the A.O.C.? The drink had a wonderful orange nose and a rather malty flavor. Moreover, the notes from the bitters and the juniper appeared at the end of the swallow. While I am not usually a fan of drinks served on the rocks, this cocktail benefited from it. The Bauchant is a subtle orange liqueur that was overwhelmed by the Genevieve; however, as the ice melted, the bite of the gin decreased and the orange flavors became more apparent.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


1 1/2 oz Aged Rum (El Dorado 12)
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Maple Syrup
1/8 oz Allspice Dram (St. Elizabeth's)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After dinner on Sunday night, it was time for another cocktail. Since the Sherry Cobbler was so old school, I decided to shift gears and make a newer drink which led me to the Rogue Cocktails book. The drink was created by Maksym Pazuniak of the Cure in New Orleans and he named it in a hurry due to a deadline by googling for "voodoo gods". Clermeil is a Voodoo god who makes rivers overflow when angered, which is rather appropriate given New Orlean's history. A quick search found a Huffington Post article that agreed, "Noted religious entrepreneur Jerry Falwell blamed Katrina's destruction on HIS God's anger over rampant fun and too much sex with too many people in New Orleans. He should have blamed Clermeil, the Voodoo God who, when angered makes rivers overflow. Everybody knows it was Clermeil who did it."
The cocktail itself was a delight to drink despite its slightly unattractive hue. On the nose, I got the Chartreuse but Andrea picked up more on the allspice dram aromas. The maple syrup did not make the drink too sweet like I had feared and it provided a good balance to the lime, Chartreuse, and dram. It also added a grand mouthfeel to the drink, even more so than gomme syrup. Apparently Maks found the maple syrup a bit too mouth coating and later switched to cleaner tasting reduced cane syrup; this change led him to rename the drink Cane & Abel. Our rum choice was El Dorado 12 Year which is a rather richly flavored rum; however, it did get dominated in this drink and only appeared at the end of the swallow. If I were compare the drink to another, I would have to call this a rum Last Word variation (despite the rum being double the equal parts proportion) where the maple syrup and dram functioned a lot like the Maraschino liqueur in the traditional version.

Monday, October 19, 2009

sherry cobbler

2 wineglass (4oz) Sherry (Lustau Dry Amontillado)
1 tbsp Sugar (Turbinado)
2-3 slice Orange

Shake with ice and allow the cubes to bruise the orange slices (or use a muddler before shaking). Strain into a tumbler filled with shaved ice, and decorate with berries of the season. Add straw.
This weekend when we went out grocery shopping, I purchased some blackberries in order to make the Sherry Cobbler off of the Anvil's 100 Drink list. On Sunday night, after finding the recipe in Jerry Thomas' Bartender's Guide, I opened up Imbibe! to see what David Wondrich had to say about this beverage. Wondrich described the Sherry Cobbler as "Nothing but sherry, sugar, a lot of ice, and a bit of fruit (a slice or two of orange muddled in with the ice and a few berries on top), and a straw." He also stated that Thomas more likely used a dry, pale sherry like a Fino or Amontillado, although sweeter, darker sherries could be used if you reduce the sugar (he recommends 2 tsp sugar for dry sherries and 1 tsp for sweeter ones, opposed to the 3 tsp in Thomas' recipe). With that historical note, I opted for our new bottle of Amontillado and set to work. Also new toy-wise for this drink was the handmade Lewis Bag we got at the BostonShaker store and wood mallet (purchased elsewhere) to make the crushed ice (ice geeking post forthcoming). The drink itself was very sherry with orange notes adding some complexity. Perhaps we would have gotten more oils from the rinds had I muddled them instead of bruising them with ice cubes during the shake (note: I garnished with virgin orange slices, and strained away what was left of the shaken ones). Even without the muddling, the juice and pulp was mostly freed from the rind. The Sherry Cobbler was a bit quizzical in that it looks and feels like a summery drink except that it uses an autumnal or wintery spirit.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

east india house cocktail

2 1/4 oz Cognac (Courvoisier VS)
1 tsp Pineapple Syrup (1:1 pineapple juice and sugar)
1 tsp Curaçao (Curaçao of Curaçao)
2/3 tsp Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
3 dash Angostura or Orange Bitters (Angostura)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime twist.
Friday night while making pizza, it was time to cross another cocktail off the Anvil's 100 list. I selected the East India Cocktail and began the quest to find the recipe which most closely matched the Anvil's description of "Cognac, curaçao, pineapple gomme, maraschino, Angostura bitters." It was surprisingly difficult since most recipes contain two but not three of the following: curaçao, maraschino, or pineapple syrup (or provide a different recipe entirely). Finally, Charles Baker came through with his recipe in Jigger, Beaker and Glass: Drinking Around the World. I did a double take to confirm that his was similar in proportion to the other recipes since Baker can sometimes be off in his drunken recipe recaps of his adventures; luckily, it was in spec. Baker's recipe did not use the Anvil's pineapple gomme but a soda fountain syrup one (think Monin brand). I compromised by making a syrup with equal volumes pineapple juice and turbinado sugar and skipped the gum Arabic part entirely. Baker had quaffed this drink in 1932 at the Royal Bombay Yacht Club, and he also described a similarly named "East India Cocktail" while in Calcutta that contained dry vermouth, sherry, and orange bitters.

In Baker's East India House Cocktail, he specified shaking the concoction which led to a bit of foam on the top of our drink (with interesting negative space around the lime peel), and perhaps stirring would have been more appropriate. The difference in mixing results could have been the pineapple juice we used versus the processed soda syrup he recommended, or the bartender simply shook Baker's drink that night. Our drink's nose was full of lime oil and pineapple aromas, and the taste was an alcohol heat flavored by maraschino and curaçao. In addition, the Cognac flavors reared themselves at the end of the swallow. The cocktail, in theory, reminded me a lot of the Japanese albeit with more complexity than the Japanese's orgeat- and Boker's-flavored brandy.

Friday, October 16, 2009

[baby steps]

2 oz. Hendrick's gin
1/4 oz. St. Germain
1/4 oz. Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz. dry vermouth (Dolin)
1 dash celery bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Express grapefruit oil (pink, I believe) over the top and drop grapefruit twist into the glass.
By the time I was ready for my second cocktail at Drink on Tuesday night, I felt nice and warm. Fred had mentioned wanting a gin cocktail for his first, and that stuck in my head. I sat a minute, and thought about one of my recent accomplishments - I ran my very first road race the day before: the Tufts 10K. Though I've been running for over 10 years, I'd always been afraid to compete. A year ago, I couldn't even imagine finishing a 10K, never mind finishing with sub-9 minute miles. I mastered my fear of competing, so I thought about other things I've been afraid of... like the combination of gin and chartreuse.

I've tried classically-styled gin cocktails with both green (Bijou, Green Ghost, Last Word) and yellow (Alaska) chartreuse. Heck, I've even invented a cocktail that contained gin and yellow, but there was enough other *stuff* in there that I didn't mind. Once a cocktail approaches equal proportions of gin and chartreuse, a flavor component surfaces that tastes far too sharp to my palate, but I could never quite figure out how to describe that flavor. It just tastes like PANIC. About the only clue I had to go on was that I also can't stand Citadelle gin for much the same reason. Though I've loved gin since I was a wee lass, I did have one gincident a couple of years ago, and it involved a cocktail made with Citadelle. So that flavor might trigger a classic Garcia Effect. Honestly, I'm ready to be over it now.

So I asked Misty to be my gin/chartreuse trainer. She set to work, and Fred noted when she brought out the duct tape of cocktails - St. Germain. "Baby steps," she said, as she poured the cocktail into a pretty etched cocktail glass. I sniffed and got a blast of refreshing grapefruit. And then I took a sip. PANIC, OMG PANIC, hey wait, kinda tastes like ... grapefruit, ahh. Subsequent sips gave me exactly the same experience, the wave of fear, followed a few seconds later by the calming bittersweet grapefruit flavor. Misty suggested that the grapefruit was playing Jedi mindtricks on my tongue ("These aren't the flavors you're looking for. Move along."). It also gave me an idea about the origin of the flavor, which I concluded is a variant of bitter citrus. I'm not normally averse to bitter citrus - I can eat lemon and lime wedges perfectly well. Since I show the same aversion to Citadelle, Misty suggested that I look up the botanicals in Citadelle to see if anything stands out. One reviewer suggested that it tasted very bitter orange, and I wonder if that is the key. I'd be curious to see if my fellow cocktail aficionado R. has even experienced anything similar, since she is in fact allergic to oranges.

This was a good beginning for me. Baby steps, as Misty said. With training, perhaps someday I'll complete a gin/chartreuse marathon.

A note on the cocktail name: I briefly considered calling this cocktail "Jedi Mind Trick", but I changed my mind.


2 1/4 oz. fino sherry (Lustau)
1/2 oz. Cynar
1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur (Luxardo)
2 dashes Angostura Orange bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
After an interesting evening spent networking (ie. watching people play pool) at a bar near South Station on Tuesday, Fred and I walked over the chilly channel to Drink. I was overdressed for the event (in a very business-y suit), but underdressed for the weather, and so when Misty greeted me and asked what I wanted, my first thought was rye (which seems more wintery to me for some reason). I knew it was far too early in the season for Tom & Jerrys, or even hot toddies. As Misty was pondering rye, she mentioned she's been playing with sherry, and so I changed my request - sherry has a nice, warming flavor reminiscent of fall.

The Dunaway is named for actress Faye, though I didn't think to ask which era Misty favored - Barfly, Chinatown, or Bonnie and Clyde. The scent of the cocktail was lemony, of course. The sherry and Cynar hit in the middle of the first sip with the nuttiness of the sherry coming through on the finish. As I continued to sip the drink, the order of the Cynar and sherry flavors tipped back on forth. Occasionally the maraschino poked through, and by the bottom of the glass, the Angostura Orange dominated, perhaps aided by the lemon twist. The cocktail reminded me a bit of the Dolores Fred had made several days back. The rum, OJ, and peppercorns shifted the Dolores to a summery drink, whereas the Dunaway definitely tastes of fall to me. Let's hope we get a little bit more fall weather before winter comes here in Boston (I refused to turn on the heat this week I caved in last night - it'll pop back up into the 60s next week, mercifully).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

[vieux carre flip]

1 1/4 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1/4 oz Benedictine
3/4 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac
1/4 oz Cinnamon Simple Syrup
1 Egg

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.
For my second beverage at Drink last night, I asked Misty Kalkofen to make me something containing sweet vermouth and egg. This combination gave Misty a bit of a pause in her mental search for something classic, so she improvised this recipe. Once I heard the ingredients, I commented that it sounded a lot like a shifted proportion Vieux Carre converted into a flip. The cinnamon syrup made a decent substitution for the Angostura and Peychaud's bitters and added a lot of flavor to this rather rich drink. After Andrea had a taste, she commented that it "would be an awesome dessert cocktail."

puritan cocktail

2 1/4 Junipero Gin
1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry vermouth
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

On Tuesday night after a biotech networking event, Andrea and I went down the street to Drink where we found seats at Misty Kalkofen's bar. When Misty asked what I was in the mood for, I commented that it had been a while since I had drank gin and I left the recipe open to her (classic, new, or improvised) as long as it was one I had not tasted before. Misty replied "The Puritan" without missing a beat.
Misty described the drink as "if a classic Martini and an Alaska had a baby." While Misty found this recipe in Boothby's World Drinks and How to Mix Them, apparently the drink was created a few years earlier at the end of the nineteenth century. According to Lowell Edmund's history, Martini, Straight Up: The Classic American Cocktail, the Puritan first appeared in a book published in Boston in 1900 entitled The Cocktail Book: A Sideboard Manual for Gentlemen by Fredrick L. Knowles as a precursor to the modern dry Martini. That recipe was essentially a Marguerite (the 1896 recipe of 2:1 Plymouth gin to dry vermouth with orange bitters) with Yellow Chartreuse added, and was perhaps named after its dryness and austerity. Misty commented that she enjoyed the Puritan over an Alaska since the dry vermouth helped to save the balance from being cloyingly sweet. Indeed, the drink was rather dry and had a great mingling of lemon, dry vermouth, and Chartreuse flavors.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

robin wood

2 oz Scotch (Caol Ila 12 Year)
1/2 oz Madeira (Blandy's 5 Year)
1/2 oz Aperol
1 tsp Grand Marnier
3 drop Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist and raisins.
On Monday night, I was flipping through some older copies of Imbibe magazine and spotted the Robin Wood from the January/February 2009 issue. The drink intrigued me due to its use of Madeira which rarely finds its way into cocktails (our blog has 3 other examples where this fortified wine was paired up with Armagnac, rye, or tequila with decent success). The Robin Wood was created by Humberto Marques of Oloroso in Edinburgh and perhaps he brought out the Madeira in honor of his Portuguese heritage. The article though provided the explanation of Humberto seeking a spirit to complement the flavor of a malt whiskey similar to the magic pairing in a Manhattan, and he found Madeira to be the answer. The Madeira worked well with the liqueurs to temper the intensity of the Scotch and delay the onset of the smokiness on the swallow. The sharper notes in the Madeira complemented the ones in the single malt well, and the addition of orange notes helped to round out the flavor profile quite nicely.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

sous le soleil

1/4 oz. Cynar
1/4 oz. Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
1/4 oz. Mezcal (del Maguey Minero)
3/4 oz. Grand Marnier
1 1/2 oz. Cognac (Pierre Ferrand)
1 dash Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters

Stir with cracked ice and serve in a rocks glass.

A little bit of a delay on this post. OK, more than a little. My excuse is that I didn't receive the recipe for this cocktail until quite recently. The Sous le Soleil was Cali Gold's stellar (!) contribution to the Grand Marnier appreciation event held at Drink on 21 September. This cocktail was my 3rd of the evening, preceded by Matt Schrage's Hugo Ball (another Cynar-containing drink) and John's customary welcome-to-the-event punch.

Hugo is a tough act to follow. I decided to stay in the same part of the flavor spectrum, and the Sous le Soleil just blew me away. Mezcal and Cynar are a match made in heaven! The bittersweet artichoke (which still reminds me of Autocrat coffee syrup) blends perfectly with the toasty honey flavor in the mezcal, with flavors hitting all portions of the tongue. Cynar, Grand Marnier, mezcal, and cognac all taste a little sweetish, so the maraschino served to dry it out just a touch. The cognac smoothed out the drink and lengthened the experience of all the flavors, including the touch of orange from the Grand Marnier. This was my favorite cocktail of the night, and I savored it slowly, the way it deserved the be. I also recommended it to just about everyone there who passed within earshot.

I'd neglected to get any of the recipes for the Drink bartenders' contributions for that night, and I reminded myself that I *must* get this recipe the next time I saw Cali. Fortune smiled on me last Wednesday when I went to sample some of Eric Seed's new offerings at Drink - Cali was spending part of her day off at the tasting. I pestered her for the recipe, which she happily wrote down for me (blushing a little bit at my praise). John positively beamed with pride that his protegee was getting some well-deserved attention. I've been consistently impressed with Cali's mixing intuitions, which show a bit of daring (and I'm certainly in favor of that). I see a distinguished future for her in the craft cocktail world. Go Cali!

potaro punch

1 3/4 oz Demerara Rum (Lemon Hart 80)
1/2 oz Becherovka Liqueur
1/2 oz Lapsang Souchong Tea Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
On Saturday night after getting in from watching the Honk Festival of activist street bands, it was time to make Misty Kalkofen's Portaro Punch. Earlier in the day, I bought some Lapsang souchong tea to make this recipe; Lapsang is a tea flavored through a smoke-drying over pinewood fires process. The punch required a tea syrup which I made through 2 volumes of hot tea to one volume of sugar; for people with sweeter palates might want to go with a more standard equal volume syrup instead of the drier one we opted for. Another component of the punch was a winter-spiced Czech bitter liqueur called Becherovka which is flavored with clove, anise, cinnamon, and other botanicals. The drink's backbone consisted of demerara rum, and thus, the drink was named after a region of Guyana near where these rums are produced. The end result was pleasantly sweet and spicy. The dominant smoky and clove notes made Andrea exclaim, "This cocktail tastes like a goth club -- thanks Misty!"

Saturday, October 10, 2009


1 oz Sherry (1/2 oz each Lustau East India Solera & Don Nuño Dry Oloroso)
1/2 oz Jamaican Rum (Appleton 12 Year)
1/4 oz Dubonnet Rouge
1/4 oz Orange Juice
1 dash Aromatic Pepper (3 Peppercorns)

Muddle peppercorns in rum. Add rest of ingredients and ice, shake, and strain into a cocktail glass. Recipe given provided as fractions of a glass (one glass total). We did not fine strain the drink, but aesthetes might consider doing so.
Last night before dinner, I started flipping through Albert Crockett's The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book in the section after the main listing of cocktails. In the last portion of the book are random lists of drinks such as Cuban and Jamaican cocktails. The "Jamaican Jollifiers" section was provided to Crockett by Mr. T.G.S. Hooke who had worked at hotels in Jamaica. One recipe that stood out was the Dolores. This Dolores recipe, unlike some of the others I later found, had the ingredient of "aromatic pepper" which I was not fully sure of how to interpret. Since I had prepared an on-the-fly pepper syrup by muddling black peppercorns in simple syrup to make a drink (see the Lila here and feel free to vote for my Square Dance while you're there) for the past Thursday's TDN, I went with a similar idea using the rum to help extract flavors.

The other attractive part of the cocktail was sherry as a main ingredient with a rum to give it a little bit of backbone. We opted for a blend of sherries to give more character and provide the right level of sweetness. While Lustau's East India Solera is delicious, it is rather sweet for us especially if it were to compose half the drink. And their dry oloroso, on the other hand, is a bit too dry but does add some delicious nutty notes; therefore, we went with an equal part mix of the two with great success. Otherwise, the Dolores had a delightful orange and sherry flavor on the front of the sip followed by the pepper's spice on the swallow, and it served as a good before dinner drink.

Friday, October 9, 2009

square dance

1 oz Square One Botanicals
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz Dubbonet Rouge
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman and Winter Orchard Apricot)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Add 2 drops of rosewater to top of drink and serve.

Last night's Thursday Drink Night (TDN) on Mixoloseum was sponsored by Square One for their new Botanicals product. I first got to try Square One Botanicals at their tasting room at Tales of the Cocktail back in July. While they did not know whether to market their product as a flavored vodka or a specialty spirit, it came across as a gin sans juniper. Perhaps not fully like most gins since it lacks a lot of the standard gin botanicals like angelica root and the like, but contains some that are seen in gins on the market today. The 8 botanicals in the mix are pear, rose, chamomile, lemon verbena, lavender, rosemary, coriander, and citrus. The two botanicals that stood out the most to me were the pear and the lavender. Besides using all organic materials down to the rye in the spirit, the creators went to great effort to get the flavors the way they wanted them including using 3 different pears to get the desired flavor profile. I was lucky enough indeed to have received a bottle of their product as a sample to use for last night's TDN.

The drink I crafted was based after the Tango #1 Cocktail:
• 1 oz Gin
• 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
• 1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
• 1/2 oz Orange Juice
• 1/4 oz Curacao
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
I kept with the dance theme in the naming, and besides swapping the base spirit, I exchanged the vermouths for Lillet Blanc and Dubonnet Rouge, the curacao for apricot liqueur, and added some rosewater. These ingredients complemented the Botanical's citrus and rose elements. I originally tried this drink with Rothman and Winter's Orchard Pear but it did not work as well as their apricot liqueur; the apricot liqueur seemed to complement the spirits' pear notes whereas the pear liqueur muddled them. Chuck Taggart's drink that night had a better solution -- pear eau de vie. People's reaction to the Square Dance at TDN was pretty positive perhaps due to it being "nice and refreshing".

Thursday, October 8, 2009

penicillin cocktail

2 oz Chivas Regal 18 Year Blended Scotch
1/4 - 1/2 oz Lagavulin 16 Year Single Malt Scotch
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Ginger Honey Syrup (see text)
1 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Aged Aromatic Bitters
1 dash Orange Bitters

Assemble in a rocks glass. Add ice and stir. Twist orange peel over the top and discard. Although not prepared here this way, some recipes float the single malt Scotch on top of the drink after stirring. And some recipes include candied ginger as a garnish.

Last night, Andrea and I went to dinner at Rendezvous in Central Square, Cambridge. After taking a seat at the bar, I asked Scott Holliday what drinks he has been tinkering with lately and the first drink he mentioned, the Penicillin Cocktail, was one that I had never had but meant to. The Penicillin Cocktail was created by Sam Ross at New York City's Milk & Honey bar, and I could not make it at home (until recently) for I lacked a single malt Scotch. The drink has a combination of a lighter and less smokey blended Scotch with a more intense and smokey single malt floated or mixed in (I have seen recipes that use each technique). To this, Scott added lemon juice, bitters, and a honey ginger syrup. Scott's recipe for the syrup is one volume of coarsely chopped ginger, one volume of honey, and one volume of water brought to a boil, simmered, cooled, and strained. Difford's Guide provides a quick alternative to this effort by using 2 parts honey syrup to 1 part Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur which might be more convenient if you are making these sporadically (remember that ginger syrups do not keep their flavor for more than a week or two). Scott mentioned that lately he prepares the syrup rather frequently since he has been making many of these despite it not being on the menu; moreover, he added that he makes one each night for a kitchen worker's shift drink who deemed it his current favorite cocktail! The drink itself had a very sweet note on the beginning of the sip from the honey and a smokiness at the end with the citrus flavors in the middle. In addition, the ginger and bitters added some nice spice-like accents to the drink.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

st. charles ave punch

3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 tsp Sugar, White
1 oz Rum (Tommy Bahama Gold)
1 1/2 oz Tawny Port (Sandeman)
Cointreau for float (1/4 oz)

Stir or shake lemon, port, and sugar to dissolve the sugar. Add rum and ice, shake, and strain into a cocktail glass. Float Cointreau on top and garnish with lemon.

After dinner last night, I searched through a MacGourmet drink recipe collection I was given for a rum drink, for I wanted to try one of the Tommy Bahama rum samples I was sent. A recipe that stood out was the St. Charles Ave Punch created by Chris Patino of Pernod-Ricard for the opening of the Museum of the American Cocktail in 2008. Patino's drink is a rum variation on the Cognac-based St. Charles Punch found in Stanley Arthur Clisby's 1937 book Famous New Orleans' Drinks & How to Mix'Em.
St. Charles Punch
• 1 tsp Sugar
• 1 Lemon, Juiced
• 1 Jigger Port Wine (1 1/2 oz)
• 1 Pony Cognac (1 oz)
• 1/3 tsp Curacao
Dissolve sugar in water. Add rest of ingredients and crushed ice. Jiggle with barspoon to mix. Pour into a highball glass, and garnish with fruit. Serve with straw.
While the original was named after the St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans where it was created, Patino's drink refers to the mansion-rich stretch in New Orleans' Garden District (which I got to see walking back from the Cure bar during Tales of the Cocktail -- yes, a long walk). In the drink that we made, the Cointreau did indeed float to some extent. I was surprised that any flavor remained at the top of the drink given how dense Cointreau is. The Cointreau patches were very distinct and were cleansing of the rum and port flavors. The Cointreau also complemented the punch's lemon flavors quite well. Otherwise, the drink was a rather pleasant rum and port sour which served to get us through the last third of Marcel Proust's Time Regained.

five in the hive

3/4 oz Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Pimm's No. 1
3/4 oz Rittenhouse Rye
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

A short while ago, I was sent a sample of Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur. Instead of giving an in depth description of the liqueur's history, just do what I did and read the Pegu Blog's entry about it. One thing that impressed me about their PR firm was that besides the stock recipe booklet attached to the bottle which contained more basic drinks focused on vodkas and schnapps, they included a sheet with some serious recipes. Turns out that the list's cocktails were the finalists for a New York City-based Bärenjäger Bartending Contest, and the recipes seemed innovative and included Bols Genever, Fernet Branca, Cynar, and sherry in their ingredients.
The recipe I chose last night was created by Meaghan Dorman of Raines Law Room bar in Manhattan and of the Spirit Me Away blog. The Five in the Hive had a rye and lemon flavor in the front of the sip followed by honey at the end. The Bärenjäger itself had a glorious honey or mead aroma to it and tasted like 1 part honey to 2 parts vodka (perhaps with other botanicals in the mix) with an end product akin to a 70 proof honey syrup. These honey flavors paired up nicely with the Pimm's and served as a good balance to the rye's spice and the citrus' bite. We had this drink along with dinner, and Andrea commented that it made for a rather "nice food cocktail".

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

josephine baker

3/4 oz Cognac (Couvoisier VS)
3/4 oz Port Wine (Ramos Pinto Ruby Port)
1/2 oz Apricot Brandy (Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot)
1 tsp Sugar (Raw Sugar)
1 Lemon Peel (~2 sq inches)
1 Egg Yolk

Shake sugar, egg yolk, and port to dissolve the sugar. Add rest of ingredients and ice; shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Dust cinnamon powder on top. Recipe given as a ratio (1/2 : 1/2 : 1/3) for the Cognac, port, apricot brandy.

I recently found a link on the Chanticleer Society forums for a copy of the 1935 La Florida Cocktail Book from The Florida Bar in Havana, Cuba. In between the bounty of advertisements were a few gems including the Josephine Baker. One of the reasons that the drink got fast-tracked was that it used egg yolk (which generally get discarded when one is making egg white drinks). So after making the Morning Glory Fizz, I saved the egg yolks for this drink.
In the drink, the cinnamon provided a great nose as well as a sharp spice note on the tongue. The cinnamon taste led nicely into the fruit of the apricot-flavored brandy and the heat of the Cognac. The port pleasantly added to the drink's rich flavor and helped to shape the attractive end color underneath the froth. We were rather impressed by this cocktail, and the egg yolk along with the other flavors created a sort of cookie-like essence to the Josephine Baker.

morning glory fizz

3/4 tsp Sugar (Turbinado Sugar)
3-4 dash (1/2 oz) Lemon Juice
2-3 dash (1/4 oz) Lime Juice
1 Egg White
1 wineglass (2 oz) Scotch Whiskey (Caol Ila 12 Yr)
3-4 dash (1/2 tsp) Absinthe (Versinthe La Blanche)
Soda Water (to fill, ~1 oz)

Shake sugar, juices, and egg whites without ice to solubilize the sugar and break up the egg white. Add Scotch, absinthe, and ice; shake and strain into a cocktail glass or highball glass. Top with soda water.
Last night as we were making pizza, it was time for cocktails. I picked out two drinks for the night -- one egg white and one egg yolk to best utilize the whole egg and reduce waste. The egg white drink was one I picked off of the Anvil bar's '100 drinks that everyone should try at least once' list. This drink was the Morning Glory Fizz which dropped the remainder to 17 drinks left to try. The list has it as a "Morning Glory" and in trying to match up the proper drink (the list does not give a recipe source) with the bounty of other Morning Glory recipes out there, we found one in David Wondrich's Imbibe! which seemed the oldest and closest to the "scotch, lemon, egg white, absinthe" ingredients (*). The Morning Glory Fizz added to the equation sugar, lime juice, and soda water but seemed a decent enough of a match. Wondrich found the recipe in Harry Johnson's 1882 book New and Improved Bartender's Manual, and he described it as an early and successful attempt at mixing with Scotch. He also surmised that it may be a Harry Johnson original recipe. The conversions from dashes to specific measurements listed above were Wondrich's suggestions.

The Morning Glory Fizz was incredibly Scotchy in the nose and taste. Flavor-wise, after the peaty goodness, the lemon was on the forefront of the sip and lime on the swallow. The absinthe was rather subtle and became slightly more notable as the drink warmed up. The diminished absinthe signature might be due to the "3-4 dash" interpretation or our choice of absinthe. The Versinthe La Blanche absinthe might have been too meek to stand up to the mighty slug of Caol Ila Scotch in addition to the flavor smoothing effects of egg white. Indeed, our single malt selection was rather intense and perhaps the flavor profile would be more balanced with a blended Scotch like Famous Grouse. Or perhaps we just need to go shopping for more absinthes in the near future (**)...

(*) A web search just now brought up this post by Paul Clarke in his Cocktail Chronicles blog. The post proffers an 1895 recipe from George Kappeler's Modern American Drinks that matches the Anvil's ingredients list better than Johnson's. His post also provides a good perspective on the drink including an alternative recipe from Charles H. Baker's The Gentleman’s Companion. Apparently, I should have saved the quaffing of this drink for 8 am instead of pm...
(**) Often we use one of our many pastises which are similar to absinthe save for the elevated alcohol content, wormwood, and price. La Muse Verte a/k/a Le Pastis d'Autrefois is one fine example which is dry, louche-able, and flavored akin to many absinthes, yet costs less than half as much (but only weighs in at 80 proof).

Monday, October 5, 2009

alfa sour

1 1/2 oz Macchu Pisco
3/4 oz Grappa
3/4 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Egg White
4 drop Fernet Branca

Shake all but the Fernet Branca with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Apply Fernet Branca drop-wise on top of drink.

Last night I went to Trina's Starlite Lounge in Somerville where the old Abbey Lounge used to be. To pay their respects to the previous establishment, the bar has the Abbey Cocktail -- the first recipe in the Savoy Cocktail Book -- on the menu. Sunday night seemed like a great chance to experience the bar without too much of a crowd, and several local bartenders and industry folk seemed to have the same idea last night. Before placing my order, I got to try the Z's Negroni that Lauren of DrinkBoston had ordered. This Negroni variant used the softer Aperol liqueur instead of Campari and bolstered the sharpness with a pink grapefruit peel-infused gin. Also of note is that Carpano Antica is their house vermouth which was in the Z's Negroni as well as the Alfa Sour I ordered from bartender Emma Hollander.

The Alfa Sour is a variant of a Pisco Sour with a few additions and substitutions. For one, the base spirit of Pisco was supplemented with another grape brandy, Grappa. I surmised that this blend was akin to the mixing of rums common in many Tiki drinks and other cocktails. The sweet vermouth in the Alfa Sour took the place of the sugar in the Pisco Sour as the sweetener; in addition, it donated an attractive hue to the drink. The float of Fernet Branca contributed greatly to the nose. Moreover, the Fernet Branca flavor complemented the pisco's smokiness and the lemon juice quite well. Over time, the lemon and pisco began to dominate the profile perhaps as the floated Fernet Branca was diminished with successive sips. And towards the end, the sweet vermouth really began to shine out in the drink. Overall, the Alfa Sour shared a lot with a traditional Pisco Sour but garnered a greater amount of complexity from the Fernet Branca, grappa, and sweet vermouth.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


3/4 oz Bourbon (George T. Stagg)
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Cherry Brandy (Cherry Heering)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Falernum or Simple Syrup (Velvet Falernum)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

During the Bourbon Thursday Drink Night on Mixoloseum, someone posted a link to an older Gary Regan column in SfGate that revolved around an intriguing whiskey drink called the Porteño. The Porteño was created by Murray Stenson of the Zig Zag Cafe in Seattle, and pays respect to the great appreciation of Fernet Branca in Argentina. While Argentinians often enjoy their Fernet with Coca Cola, this cocktail mixes the liqueur with lime and cherry flavors. The identity of the cherry brandy was not specified in the recipe; while we used Cherry Heering, Rothman and Winter Orchard Cherry or perhaps even a Kirschwasser would function well. The Kirschwasser would certainly make for a much drier drink and would rely more heavily on the falernum for the drink's sweetness (the simple syrup was recommended if store bought or homemade falernum was not available).
The next night, I made a pair of Porteños after dinner. On the sip, the lime followed into the Fernet Branca flavors with the falernum spices lingering at the end of the swallow. The cherry and Bourbon notes were detectable but seemed to function more to add richness to the drink. As we drank the Porteño, whether through taste acclimation or warming, the balance shifted towards greater Fernet dominance.

Friday, October 2, 2009

cravan cocktail

1 1/2 oz Bourbon (Eagle Rare)
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1/4 oz Campari
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist or a sprig of mint.
The theme for last night's Mixoloseum Thursday Drink Night (TDN) was Bourbon. For a drink submission idea, I thought about mixing whiskey with grapefruit juice and ended up including flavor pairing ideas from the Hemingway Daiquiri, the Shiver, and a few other drinks. For a drink name, I latched onto Matt Schrage's homage to a Dadaist with his Hugo Ball, and honored one that I read about in 4 Dada Suicides, namely Arthur Cravan. Cravan, besides being a bit of a drinker, was best known as a Dada poet, criminal, man of mystery, and professional boxer. In the drink, the sharpness of the Campari and citrus was balanced by the sweetness of the Maraschino and the richness of the Bourbon. As the drink warmed up, the Maraschino notes took greater dominance in the flavor profile. While I was not sure if the drink was bizarre enough to be worthy of naming it after Cravan, the response to the drink in the TDN chatroom was positive, but people added that it was a bit odd and funky so perhaps I succeeded after all.