Thursday, December 31, 2009

paradise cocktail

1/2 Gin (1 1/2 oz Beefeater)
1/4 Apricot Liqueur (3/4 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot)
1/4 Orange Juice (3/4 oz fresh squeezed)
1 dash Lemon Juice (1/2 tsp)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Yesterday I had the last of the Anvil's 100 cocktails that I was trying to finish up before the year's end. I started Bobby Heugel's list in late August and had nearly 30 drinks to mix up and taste. Some recipes added new bottles to my shelf like Drambuie to make the Rusty Nail and Irish Whisky to make the Blackthorn, some had me in the kitchen making up syrups such as for the Knickerbocker, and others send me scurrying around town looking for a bar that had an odd reagent like dry apricot brandy for the Dulchin. This week saw the final push with the Death in the Afternoon, the Americano, and the Stinger, which left one on the list. When there were still a handful remaining, I decided that the Paradise Cocktail would be the way to go out especially since some of the others were simpler drinks.
The Paradise Cocktail also gave us a good excuse to use part of the wedding present my brother and sister-in-law sent us: a set of vintage Old Crow Whiskey glasses. The drink started with a sweet orange flavor and finished dry on the swallow with an intense apricot flavor in the middle and gin notes at the end. It was interesting how the apricot and gin became more overlapping in flavor with successive sips. And as I finished the last of the Paradise, I put the hundredth mark on the list. Cheers to Bobby for creating the list to get me to try both some classics I had neglected and some drinks I had never heard of before!

boston grog

3/4 oz Brandy (Château de Plassons VSOP)
1/2 oz Jamaica Rum (Appleton V/X)
1/2 oz Orange Pekoe Tea
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Sugar

Build in an 8 oz tumbler or Old Fashioned glass. Fill with hot water (~ 4 oz) and garnish with a round slice of lemon.

Later on Monday night, I began to feel a chill from the winter winds assaulting the house, and thus I started scanning Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars 1903-1933 for a hot drink. One that caught my eye was a Boston-named one, the Boston Grog, that has yet to make it onto DrinkBoston's list. My searching could not find a history or a reason why it was associated with the city, and it could have been named purely for nostalgia of a spot one of the American traveling mixologist authors had left as they continued to ply their trade abroad during Prohibition.
The nose on the drink was a pleasing waft of alcohol, lemon, and steam. On the sip, there was a lot of citrus with alcohol heat and tea notes on the swallow. The Boston Grog provided an intriguing tongue coating sensation as if there was dollop of honey in the mix, and despite the sugar content in the drink, it was rather dry on the swallow due to a combination of the tea and the lemon juice.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

prospector cocktail

1 1/2 oz Cognac (Château de Plassons VSOP)
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao

Stir with ice and strain into a double rocks glass. Add ice cubes and garnish with a lemon twist.
On Monday night, Andrea was flipping through the new issue of Imbibe magazine and spotted the Prospector Cocktail in the Vancouver, British Columbia, article. The drink was created by Vancouver's Pourhouse co-owner, Jay Jones, who named the drink after Gassy Jack Deighton, a pioneering saloon keeper in Georgetown who was previously a prospector. The recipe seemed rather intense with half of the ingredients being rather flavorful liqueurs so I decided to give the drink a go. At first, the Prospector Cocktail was full of lemon oil on the nose which converted over to green Chartreuse aromas later in the inhale. The sip started with Cointreau's orange peel notes combined with some sharpness from the other ingredients. In addition, the Cognac's richness and the Chartreuse's grassy herbalness appeared in the middle of the sip with the chocolate notes appearing on the swallow. Surprisingly, the drink seemed rather dry despite the high sugar content from all of the liqueurs; perhaps the intensity of the green Chartreuse combined with the heat of the Cognac worked to dry out the balance of the drink.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

parisian orchid

1 oz Vodka (CapRock Organic Gin)
1 oz St. Germain Elderberry Liqueur
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
For my second drink at Green Street on Sunday night, I requested the Parisian Orchid from bartender Derric Crothers. When I asked if I could specify the vodka, he answered in the affirmative. Derric looked baffled for a moment when I called for "Bombay London Dry Vodka", a juniper berry-flavored vodka, but was enthusiastic about it once the concept sunk in. He laughed and commented that most people complain that there are not enough vodka drinks on the Green Street menu. Dylan Black overheard the conversation and asked if I wanted to switch my vodka brand to CapRock Gin, an organic gin made from a base spirit distilled from Jonathon and Braeburn apples. After having a taste of it straight, it seemed like a good choice to match up with the fruit juices and elderflower liqueur.

The Parisian Orchid started with St. Germain and pineapple notes on the nose, and both flavors were present in the first part of the sip. On the swallow, the lemon and the gin's botanicals completed the flavor profile. The lemon helped to balance the sweetness of the St. Germain somewhat; however, as the drink warmed up, it proceeded to get much sweeter. I could see how the drink would function rather well as a vodka drink, but my presumption that the gin would synergize with the St. Germain and fruit juice flavors might have been right (although the true experiment would be to taste both recipes side by side).

Monday, December 28, 2009

peanut malt flip

2 oz Macallan 12 Year Scotch
3/4 oz Cream
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 tsp Peanut Butter
1 Egg Yolk

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

On Sunday night after seeing Sleep No More for a second time, Andrea and I decided to catch a nightcap or two at Green Street before heading home. The drink that called out to me due to a discussion on Chowhound of how well Scotch and peanut butter flavors go together was Angus Winchester's Peanut Malt Flip. The combination of ingredients does sound a bit iffy, but the flavor result was worth the risk. The flip's nose was replete with peanut and nutmeg aromas. Moreover, the peanut was one of the first flavors detectable on the sip and was followed by the heat and smoke of the Scotch on the swallow. The egg yolk and milk added a great richness and helped to round out the edges of the drink. In fact, the more I drank of it, the more I had to confirm that Scotch and peanut butter are a match made in cocktail heaven and I then understand why Castries Peanut Rum Crème was invented. When Andrea had a sip, she thought it tasted like the inside of a Baby Ruth candy bar due to the malt and peanut butter notes.

smith & cross punch

2 oz Smith & Cross Navy Strength Jamaican Rum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2-3 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with grated nutmeg and a straw.

On Christmas Eve, after our traditional Indian dinner at India Quality, we went up street to Eastern Standard to celebrate the holiday at the bar for a second year in a row. Bartender Hugh Fiore started me off with a digestif drink of equal parts East India Solera sherry and housemade amber vermouth with a dash of Angostura to settle my stomach from the Indian spices. From there, the sherry made me hanker for rum, and with that desire spoken, Hugh had an idea for my next drink.

The one he made me was essentially a Daiquiri with the extra spice and complexity of nutmeg and Angostura Bitters. However, the rum he chose was no ordinary one. Smith & Cross was the base spirit -- an intriguing rum I had the chance to try at Haus Alpenz' tasting room at Tales of the Cocktail this past July. At 114 proof (the minimum proof at which gunpowder will still ignite when wetted with the spirit), it was quite strong and was one of the few spirits that had me scurrying off for some water to dilute down my tasting sample. Smith & Cross is most definitely not a sipping rum and not due alone to the proof, but meant for mixing; moreover, the recipe reflects the rums of the 19th century. Smith & Cross is a blend of two styles of aged pot stilled rums distilled from sugar cane and molasses fermented by wild Jamaican yeasts. Tastewise, it is filled with a lot of spice, caramel, and tropical fruit notes.
In the punch, the spice of the nutmeg on the nose led into a rather hot and piquant rum flavor. Over successive sips, the rum became more prominent; however, as the ice diluted the drink over time, its flavor shifted and reminded me more of the rough notes found in rhum agricoles and cachaças. The lime was less as a fruity citrus flavor per se, but present more as a crispness perhaps due to the neutralizing effects of the Angostura. Even with twice the simple syrup to balance the lime juice in a normal Daiquiri recipe, the drink was still rather dry which speaks volumes about the intensity of this rum.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

lazy man flip

1 oz Ruby Port (Delaforce)
1 oz Calvados (Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy)
3/4 oz Cream
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 Egg Yolk

Shake with ice and strain into a wine glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg (some recipes also include orange zest in addition to the nutmeg).
On my way home from Drink on Sunday, I got off the Red Line a few stops early for a nightcap at Green Street Grill. Perusing the big cocktail menu for a new-to-me drink led to my requesting owner and bartender Dylan Black to make the Lazy Man Flip. The drink was created at the Milk and Honey bar and mimicks the style seen in such classics as the Coffee Cocktail. In the flip, the pungent nutmeg nose was followed by the creamy richness of the sip. The spice notes from the nutmeg carried over into the taste and mingled amiably with the ruby port and apple brandy flavors. The egg yolk and dairy added a distinct smoothness and full mouthfeel which worked well with the nightcap goal of my selection.

forte four

1/2 oz La Favorite Rhum Agricole
1/2 oz Old Monk Rum
1 oz Plantation Jamaican Rum
1 oz Lemon Hart 151
2 dash Angostura Bitters
2 dash Orange Bitters
2 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters
2 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters
1 large Demerara Sugar Cube

Muddle sugar cube with a 1/4 oz of water until dissolved. Add rest of ingredients and ice, stir, and strain into a rocks glass with a large ice chunk. Garnish with an orange twist.

The other cocktail Drink bartender Joe Staropoli made me Sunday night was a 4 rum-4 bitter Old Fashioned that he called the Forte Four (Strong Four). The Forte Four was a good transition in terms of intensity from the Esmino's Escape, and was a completely different beast from the Four Rum Old Fashioned Ben Sandrof made me earlier in the year. Lots caramel and orange aromas filled the nose of the drink, while the sip was a bit rough at first with hogu notes from rhum agricole before smoothing out with the richer rums. Finally, the eight assorted dashes of bitters shined through at the swallow. The drink kept a high level of kick especially from the overproof Lemon Hart rum until the large ice shard had sufficiently melted towards the end of the drink.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

esmino's escape

1 1/2 oz Batavia Arrack
1/2 oz Del Maguey Minero Mezcal
1/2 oz Angostura Bitters
1/2 oz Mathilde XO Orange Liqueur
1/4 oz Demerara Simple Syrup
1 barspoon Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a lime twist, brandied cherry, and straw.

On Sunday night, I ventured down to Drink where I once again sat across from bartender Joe Staropoli. We got to talking about the Alamagoozlum he made me last visit, and he mentioned how he created a new drink based off of it. When he made the full-scaled Alamagoozlum that time and divided it into 4 parts, one of servings went to a gentleman to my right. His comment to Joe was that the drink screamed out for Batavia Arrack.

In between that moment and the cocktail's creation, the bartenders at Drink were discussing a tale found in Beachbum Berry's Sippin' Safari about the Esmino brothers. The Esmino parents took the family on vacation to the Philippines so their teenage children could understand their heritage. Soon after they arrived, World War II broke out and the Japanese invaded the island. The family narrowly escaped into the jungle but the father was separated from the rest of the clan. The two brothers built a house for their mom in the jungle and survived off of the land as well as through raids on the Japanese-controlled fish cannery. The brothers later joined the Philippine-American guerrilla force first as spies and then as ambushers. After the war, the two brothers found their way back to the American Pacific Northwest and ended up working at the Kon-Tiki bar and becoming the star bartenders there.
As Joe combined the story with the drink concept, he tried to capture the intenseness of it all in the Esmino's Escape cocktail. Moreover, he worked with earthy and smokey liquors to match the wartime jungle theme. The drink itself matched his goals. Hints of sweet fruit at the beginning of the sip faded into the heat from the mezcal and Batavia Arrack. At the swallow, the smoke from the mezcal and the spice from the bitters took over. In addition, the Del Maguey Minero and the Batavia Arrack paired up nicely, which was something I experienced before in the Airbag I had at Drink earlier this year.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


3/4 oz Cachaça (Isaura Ouro 3 Year)
3/4 oz Benedictine
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth (Dolin)
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters

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

For Mixoloseum's Thursday Drink Night this week, the spirit that called out to me was cachaça. For inspiration, I thought of the tasty Petion variant that I had at No. 9 Park a few months ago. The Petion uses a Haitian cane spirit called clarion which apparently is rather similar to cachaça. While I tweaked around with the proportions and swapped the rum for some dry vermouth to offset the cachaça's intensity, I kept the Benedictine and lime intact. The name I chose for the drink, the Petition, is a combination of a nod to the Petion and a reference to the entreaty launched by Leblon to legalize cachaça as its own spirit classification instead of being lumped in with rums.
The Petition cocktail had a fruity nose supplemented by the funky aroma of the cachaça. Meanwhile, the sip was full of spice from the bitters, Benedictine, and the aged cachaça which interacted rather well with the tart lime flavor. The drink was too dry at first, but became pretty reasonable after I added the quarter ounce of simple syrup to the mix; moreover, fans of sweeter drinks could up the simple syrup or perhaps change the vermouth to a bianco or sweet.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

full house #2

1 oz Apple Brandy (Laird's Applejack)
1 oz Benedictine
1 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1 dash Angostura Bitters (Fee's Whiskey Barrel)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

For my second drink at Rendezvous on Wednesday, I selected the Full House #2 out the bar's recipe book. While the Full House #1 appears in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book (1/2 Bacardi Rum, 1/4 Swedish Punsch, 1/4 Dry Vermouth), this version, #2, appears in the 1935 Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book. There, the history of the drink is given as, "The name is indicative of the sway once enjoyed by what was the great American indoor game in B.C. days -- this is to say Before Contract, or Before Culbertson." The description makes reference to the game of Bridge which gained popularity during the Depression since the requisite deck of cards made for cheap entertainment. The Waldorf's history mentions Ely Culbertson, a New Yorker who gained a lot of fame in the 1930's by developing a strategy system which he used to demolish the English in Bridge tournaments. Apparently, his popularization of the contract system depopularized some of the old standard terms including the full house for winning all of the tricks.

The cocktail itself was a more aggressively liqueur-driven version of the Widow's Kiss, and was rather very to the Woxum where sweet vermouth substitutes for the Benedictine. Due to the recent Angostura shortages, bartender Scott Holliday used Fee's Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters; the aged bitter's grand cinnamon note functioned to complement the apple and the Benedictine. In addition, the Benedictine and Yellow Chartreuse played rather well together, and with the bitters, they provided a lot of spice flavors at the end of the swallow.

Friday, December 18, 2009

dr. funk

Juice of 1/2 Lime
1 1/2 oz Rhum Agricole (La Favorite Blanc)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/4 oz Absinthe (Kubler)

Squeeze lime into shaking tin and drop shell in afterwards. Add rest of ingredients, shake with ice, and strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top with soda water and add straw.

On Wednesday night, I decided to pay bartender Scott Holliday a visit at Rendezvous. Scott mentioned that he had recently compiled a list of his favorite classic cocktail recipes and he let me take a gander at it to find a drink. The first one that jumped out at me was Dr. Funk, a classic Tiki drink made famous by Don the Beachcomber and Traver Vic. However, the recipe pre-dates that era. The first bit of evidence is that Dr. Funk was a real person -- a German doctor living in then German colony of Samoa who treated Robert Louis Stevenson -- as described by Frederick O'Brien in his 1919 and 1921 books, White Shadows in the South Seas and Mystic Isles of the South Seas, respectively. The latter book describes the drink as "a portion of absinthe, a dash of grenadine - a syrup of the pomegranate fruit, the juice of two limes, and half a pint of siphon water," and apparently the good doctor served the drink as a medicinal tonic.

The Dr. Funk was a good transition from the previous night's 1933 Cosmopolitan, with both drinks roughly falling into the Daisy category. The drink started with the aroma of anise from the absinthe, and the sip had a funky elegance from the La Favorite rhum agricole; indeed, a simpler rum would not do the drink justice. The citrus to grenadine balance was rather pleasing in the beginning of the sip with the absinthe and bitter lime peel oils adding some extra complexity on the swallow. Overall, the Dr. Funk kept me intrigued with each and every swig for the flavor sensations continued to morph as the liquid passed from the tip of my tongue to the back of my throat.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Jigger of Gordon's Gin (1 1/2 oz Beefeater)
2 dash Cointreau (1/2 oz Cointreau)
Juice of 1 Lemon (1 oz Lemon Juice)
1 tsp Raspberry Syrup (1 tsp homemade)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Last night, it was time for drinking Cosmopolitans! No, not the Cosmos of Sex in the City, but the putative precursor of that recipe found in Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars 1903-1933. This recipe published in 1934 was listed in the Gin Daisy category which veered from the standard Daisy by adding Cointreau. I describe it as the putative original since the (re)creator of the drink 50 years later in the mid-1980's claimed it as her original recipe designed to push the then newly released Absolut Citron product at her bar. Her description of it was "merely a kamikaze with Absolut Citron and a splash of cranberry juice." The parallels, besides the name, are a clear grain neutral spirit (gin instead of citron vodka), citrus (lemon instead of lime), a reddish fruit product to donate a pink color (raspberry syrup instead of cranberry juice), and an orange liqueur (Cointreau instead of triple sec although many recipes specify Cointreau). For a good side-by-side comparison of the modern Cosmopolitan recipes, Scomorokh from the Science of Drink blog has a good entry he did for this month's Mixology Monday.
To interpret the old recipe, I figured that lemons back then were smaller and about the size of today's limes, and I converted this to one ounce of juice. Given how much tartness this would generate, I liberally interpreted the 2 dashes of Cointreau as a half an ounce which would assist the raspberry syrup in partially balancing the citrus. Perhaps decreasing the lemon down to 3/4 oz would help balance the drink as well. The drink as mixed was pleasantly tart from the lemon with extra fruit notes added from the orange liqueur and raspberry syrup. Some gin notes were detectable and they followed the lemon crispness on the swallow. This Cosmo was more intensely flavored than a modern one as it has a greater amount of citrus not to mention the extra flavors in the gin's botanicals. The 1934 recipe reminded me more of a White Lady with some raspberry syrup added to the mix than the modern Cosmopolitan. While the raspberry and cranberry in each Cosmo recipe play a similar role in shaping the drink's color, the raspberry plays a bigger role in the flavor than I remember the splash of cranberry does. Then again, it has been about several years since we last had a modern vodka Cosmopolitan which, according to my drink log notes, was the first drink we mixed at home given our scant bar at the time.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

[pirate flip]

1 oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
1 oz Old Monk Rum
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Rock Candy Syrup
1 barspoon St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1 Egg

Shake one round without ice and one round with ice. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with grated nutmeg.
For my after dinner drink last night, I asked Hugh Fiore for a flip and he suggested a drink that bartender Kit Paschal created that transitioned decently from my last cocktail. The drink paired up two dark rums with elements of Caribbean and Tiki drinks in the mix, and it sounded on the money. When the drink arrived, I was amused at how similar it looked to Thursday night's Jerez Flip, but it was a very different creature from Tommy's concoction. This drink was replete with dark rum notes on the nose and on the taste. The blackstrap molasses flavors from the Cruzan rum were tempered by the orgeat syrup to yield a rather pleasant sweetness. Unfortunately, the Allspice Dram was a bit swallowed up by the richness of the egg and the rums and could have been increased; however, it did add to the complexity of the swallow. But as the drink warmed up, the dram flavors and the vanilla from the Old Monk rum became much more apparent and the flip became a bit more aromatic in nature. My intuition that the recipe could do no wrong was indeed correct.

[grandma's nightcap]

1 1/2 oz Cognac
3/4 oz Grand Marnier
1/2 oz Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth
1 barspoon St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with an orange twist
Last night after DJing, I went up the street with Andrea to Eastern Standard for dinner and drinks. After finding seats, I asked bartender Hugh Fiore if he had any new drink recipes that he would like to showcase, and he described the ingredients for this one (still without a name). I gave him the thumbs up since grape, orange, and dram combinations have worked for my taste buds in the past, and off he went to create my drink. The nose of the drink was very orangey from the Grand Marnier and this was brightened by the twist's oils. On the sip, the drink had a sweet and rich mouthfeel which was followed with the Allspice Dram spices hitting on the swallow. Surprisingly, the clove in the dram stood out more than the allspice perhaps due to some synergistic (or canceling?) interaction with the sweet vermouth or other.

Monday, December 14, 2009

flapper jane

1 3/4 oz Plymouth Gin (Beefeater 24)
3/4 oz Wu Wei Syrup (2 parts tea:1 part sugar)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

On Saturday afternoon, Andrea and I went into the semi-new Sherman Market (around the corner from the Sherman Coffee Shop in Union Square, Somerville) to buy some locally harvested honey. While looking around the shop, my eyes were drawn to the jars of tea from Somerville master tea blenders, MEM Imports. The shopkeeper allowed us to smell a variety of the teas including an intriguing herbal one called Mt. Olympus. However, I opted for the Wu Wei which I had been wanting to get ever since Misty Kalkofen made Andrea a tasty drink using a Wu Wei syrup at Drink. Wu Wei is a blend of 7 herbs including licorice, hibiscus, and clove and is technically a tisane (contains no tea leaves) instead of a tea proper.
The Wu wei recipe I chose to make last night was the Flapper Jane, an original cocktail found in Boston LUPEC's Little Black Book of Cocktails. The recipe calls for a "Wu Wei infused simple syrup" which I interpreted as 2 parts of tea to one part of sugar (by volume) for it seemed the best amount of sweetness to match the volume of lemon juice in the recipe. Indeed, the proportions seemed to provide the balance I was looking to achieve (actually, a little sweeter than I had hoped for, but still pretty close and much better to my taste buds than the 1:1 ratio I would normally have gone with). The Wu Wei's hibiscus flower donated a gorgeous red color to the cocktail that was supplemented by the dash of Peychaud's bitters. For a gin, we have been out of Plymouth for a while (probably shortly after they dramatically increased the bottle price about a year ago) and I went with the tea- and citrus peel-forward Beefeater 24 to complement the other ingredients in the mix. Andrea seemed pretty pleased with the end result and my notes have her excited reaction as, "Wu Wei -- woo hoo!"

Read about LUPEC Boston's rationale for calling the drink the Flapper Jane here.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

red rot cocktail

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo XLIV) is "money drinks" as chosen by Kevin Langmack of the Beers in the Shower blog. Kevin defined his concept as, "I feel a "Money" drink is something you can put in front of anyone, regardless of tastes or distastes about the spirits involved. Come up with a drink or a list based on spirits about drinks that would appeal to anyone." After giving the theme a little thought, I realized that I often look to our bottle of St. Germain elderflower liqueur when looking for a crowd pleaser. Some of the St. Germain recipes that I have had good luck with are Jamie Boudreau's La Bicyclette and L'Amour En Fuite and John Gertsen's Means of Preservation, and I believe that I have never failed with these recipes. One other recipe we have had decent luck with, the Red Rot Cocktail, was created here in Boston for a Roaring Twenties event that we read about.

The Red Rot Cocktail was created for that event at the Boston Athenaeum, one of America's oldest private libraries. The name was apropos as red rot is a type of deterioration of tanned leather that occurs when the tannins (often found in books from the latter half of the 19th century) degrade to a fine red powder, and the non-potable red rot cocktail is a chemical mixture used to treat leather bindings for retarding the decay. The potable format was created by Lauren Clark of DrinkBoston and Misty Kalkofen of Drink and hopefully none of it spilled on any century old book bindings. The drink's description was written by Lauren in Charles H. Baker-ese and I have included an easier to follow recipe below it including the gin choice we used:
Red Rot Cocktail, which Rather Resembles the Noxious Liquid Medicine for Moldy Red Leather-bound Books but Nonetheless Pleases the Palate

To one jigger of London dry gin add one half ounce each of St. Germain elderflower liqueur, Cherry Heering and fresh lemon juice, and two goodly dashes of Peychaud's bitters. Shake vigorously with ice and turn into a champagne saucer.

• 1 1/2 oz Dry Gin (Berkshire Mountain Distillers' Ephemeral)
• 1/2 oz St. Germain
• 1/2 oz Cherry Heering
• 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
• 2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.
I opted for our bottle Ephemeral gin as it is a lighter, less junipery style; the Ephemeral might still appeal to people who claim not to care for gin while being complex enough to keep gin drinkers intrigued. Another fine gin choice would be Plymouth which is rather mildly flavored and is the one that Lauren used in this video on How2Heroes. The red part of the name derives from two components, the Cherry Heering liqueur and the Peychaud's bitters which impart a decently deep hue to the cocktail. The drink starts with cherry and lemon fruit aromas on the nose, and the sip yields a pleasing but not incredibly challenging level of spice. The gin is not as pronounced as it can be in many drinks, but is apparent on the swallow, and the drink falls safely in the middle of the sweetness spectrum. Furthermore, the Red Rot Cocktail's color is rather pretty but not too much so to scare off a guy. Perhaps the drink's name might not appeal to everyone, but the drink's taste sure has a good fighting chance to do so.
Cheers to Kevin for hosting this Mixology Monday and to the rest of the participants for their entries!


2 oz Pisco (Macchu Pisco)
1 oz Apricot Eau de Vie (Blume Marillen)
1 oz Lime Juice
2 tsp Grand Marnier
1 tsp Grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After my Jerez Flip at Craigie, I was going to call it a night. However, I have been on a mission lately and asked Tommy whether he had any dry apricot brandy behind the bar since I needed to have a Dulchin in the next few weeks to complete the Anvil's 100 Drink list and I did not want to buy a bottle for just this drink (especially at $35 for a half bottle). The last four bars I asked in did not have it on their shelves, but Tommy claimed that a bottle of Haus Alpenz's Apricot Eau de Vie from Blume Marillen was misdelivered and had showed up earlier that day! What serendipidity, and luckily Tom was game to mix up the recipe which we procured via Andrea's iPhone.

According to David Wondrich, the Dulchin was created for an heir of a New York hardware company who could not drink grain distillates and was getting bored of rum. Pisco, a grape brandy, combined with two other fruit-based spirits, namely dry apricot brandy and Grand Marnier, round out the drink that was created for him. As soon as Tommy was done shaking the drink, he straw-tasted it and did not seem all that pleased with the results. He asked if he should add more "orange" to it. At first I figured it was a commentary about the rounded-ness of the fruit flavor, but what he really was getting at was the sweet to tart balance in the drink being off. I replied that I wanted to experience the drink as the recipe intended it to be.
The Dulchin had a very strange dry fruit flavor with a lime bite at the end. The pisco flavors were not all that evident at first, but as the drink warmed up, more pisco smokey notes were apparent on the nose. While the Grand Marnier added to the complexity of the citrus, its sugar and that of the grenadine did not balance the acid content in the lime. Unquestionably, it was a touch too puckery and I told Tommy that his idea of upping the liqueur or perhaps reducing the lime would have greatly improved the Dulchin; indeed, this struck me as odd since I am more likely to complain that drinks are too sweet than too tart. Apparently, I am not alone since others have reworked the recipe to swap out the lime for passion fruit juice to make the drink softer and more approachable.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

jerez flip

1 1/2 oz Oloroso Sherry
3/4 oz Pimm's No. 1
3/4 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz Brown Sugar Simple Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters
1 Egg

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
After the St. Germain Industry Night, we took the Red Line to Central Square to visit Craigie on Main. I picked the Jerez Flip off of the menu for the concept of a sherry egg drink seemed rather tasty. The drink bartender Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli crafted for me had a decent amount of nuttiness but not overly so, and was in the moderate level of sweetness with the dry sherry being balanced with the brown sugar syrup and Benedictine liqueur. Overall, the Jerez Flip was rather rich and had a good deal of spice with the flavors from the Benedictine and nutmeg complementing each other rather well. Moreover, the Pimm's added to the complexity of grape notes from the Sherry. Despite it being a chilled drink, the Jerez Flip was the perfect flavor combination for a cold winter's night.

the remedy

1 oz Sazerac 6 Year Rye
3/4 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/4 oz Fernet Branca

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
On Thursday night, Andrea and I headed down to Franklin Southie for the St. Germain Industry Night event. There were seven St. Germain drinks on the menu created especially for this event. The one that called out to me was the Remedy. I was not sure whether it would be a trainwreck given that the ingredients included the often domineering Fernet Branca. Luckily, it was not for the proportions were just right such that the Fernet complemented the elderflower flavors in the St. Germain. The drink was created by Joy Richard, the bar manager, and served to me by Peter Cipirini, one of the other bartenders at the Franklin. The cocktail started off with a lemon nose from the twist with hints of rye and menthol. The St. Germain was the most dominant flavor in the mix and the Fernet Branca seemed to bolster these notes. Indeed, the transition from one liqueur to the other was almost seamless. At the end of the swallow, the Sazerac rye notes appeared and rounded out the drink.

Andrea chose the St-Argent, another Joy Richard original, which she rather liked. I thought it was a bit too Campari heavy and I would have switched the recipe to 3:2:1 ratio instead of the equal parts one below. A little bit more St. Germain would have worked to tame the Campari in my mind. Andrea, however, being a bigger Campari fan, thought it was fine as is.
• 1 oz Milagro Silver Tequila
• 1 oz St. Germain
• 1 oz Campari
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
Andrea was also delighted by the free St. Germain swag Kate, the St. Germain rep, was handing out, including St. Germain wrapping paper and booklets of vintage erotica postcards!

Friday, December 11, 2009


1 1/2 oz Tequila (Lunazul Reposado)
3/4 oz Creme de Cassis (Cassis de Bordeaux, Marie Brizard)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
Ginger Ale (Reed's Extra Ginger Beer)

Shake all but ginger beer with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice cubes. Top with ginger beer, garnish with a lime wheel, and add straw.

On Wednesday night, it was time to take the remainder of the Anvil 100 Drinks list from 8 down to 7 by making the Diablo. I ended up using the recipe in Hess' The Essential Bartender's Guide since I could not find it in other books. With a little advice I later found on Alcademics, it turns out that I was looking under the wrong name -- the drink used to be known as the Mexican El Diablo. Our 1947 edition of Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide has a similar recipe of juice of half a lime, 1 oz tequila, 1/2 oz creme de cassis built in a 10 oz glass filled with ice and the lime shell, and topped with ginger ale. Since the Anvil listed ginger beer on their brief description, I opted for that over the traditional ginger ale.
The Diablo had tequila and lime notes on the nose and was rather a crisp drink from the ginger beer and lime. I would assume that using ginger ale instead would make for a sweeter and softer drink. As I drank the Diablo, I thought to myself that I probably would not have put it in a top 100 list (Andrea disagreed) but it was pretty classy in terms of tequila drinks (we both agreed). The creme de cassis was more subtle than a Margarita's triple sec but it imparts a nice hue to the drink. Moreover, I am now curious to know what a Margarita with ginger beer would be like akin to the Diablo's recipe especially considering how well ginger complements tequila.


2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1 oz Gammel Dansk
1 oz Luxardo Amaro Abano
1/2 oz Cinnamon Maple Syrup (* normal recipe is Demerara Simple Syrup)

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.

On Tuesday night after my networking event downtown, I met Andrea at No. 9 Park for drinks. Bartender Matthew Schrage wanted to make me something off the menu that another bartender at No. 9, Ted Kilpatrick, had developed. The Wilcoxson that he made me was pretty complex. The nose was floral and minty almost like a perfume, and later possessed more of a green kitchen herb quality. As for the taste, it had a solid rye and bitters foundation on the sip followed by a menthol-like sting on the swallow.

Post Note: Ted Kilpatrick wrote me with some clarification, "The drink, named for Mr. and Mrs. Wilcoxson (two lovely and frequent guests of No. 9), actually uses demarara syrup, not cinnamon."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Juice of 1/4 Lemon (1/2 oz)
1/2 spoon Sugar (1 barspoon simple syrup)
1 Egg White
3/4 oz Jamaican Rum (Appleton V/X)
3/4 oz Port (Ramos Pinto Ruby)

Shake without and then with ice. Strain into a highball, and top with soda water (2 oz).
After the Broken Spur, I was left with egg whites and set about to find a use for them. My goal of finding a lighter drink recipe was reached in the pages of the Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book with the Chicago. This fizz, according to the book, was "an importation from the Windy City long before bombs, machine guns, and sawed-off shotguns had come to disturb its peaceful life." Once made, the Chicago had a lemon nose from the juice and the twist (my addition to the recipe). On the sip, the lemon and port flavors were up front with the rum on the swallow. The drink was a little on the tart side due to the greater lemon to sugar ratio we ended up using, but the egg white did help to smooth out the drink and make for a rather delectable beverage. We did have a drink with a similar recipe a few weeks ago, the Elk's Own Cocktail, which substituted the Chicago's rum and soda water for rye.

broken spur cocktail no. 1

1 oz White Port (Ramos Pinto)
1 oz Gin (Aviation)
1 dash Anisette (1 barspoon Herbsaint)
1 Egg Yolk

Shake one round without ice and once with. Strain into a cocktail glass.
On Monday night, I started browsing our cocktail books for recipes that use white port as we had bought a bottle this past weekend. One that appealed to me was the first Broken Spur in Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide. The book also contained a Broken Spur #2 which had the gin reduced to a quarter ounce and with the addition of a quarter ounce of sweet vermouth. The Broken Spur we made had a soft anise nose. The drink was not overwhelmingly anise but it was one of the main tastes besides the richness from the port and egg yolk. The Broken Spur's flavor made Andrea think of a fennel crème brûlée. Overall, it was a decent drink although I felt that it might be improved with a sprinkling of grated cinnamon or nutmeg as a garnish.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


1/2 Egg White
2 oz Genever Gin (Bols)
2 oz Water
1 1/2 oz Jamaican Rum (Plantation)
1 1/2 oz Yellow or Green Chartreuse (Green)
1 1/2 oz Gomme Syrup
1/2 oz Curacao (Mathilde XO)
1/2 oz Angostura Bitters

Shake hard with ice for a while. Strain into cocktail (or here, rocks) glasses. Makes 4 servings or so.

While drinking my first cocktail at Drink on Sunday night, I was talking with bartender Joe Staropoli and somehow he mentioned the Alamagoozlum and how one customer will not forgive Joe for making him that drink. And to that, my reply was to declare that I would love for him to make me that cocktail as my second beverage. The Alamagoozlum is the lead-off recipe in Ted Haigh's Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails and originally appeared in Charles H. Baker's 1939 Around the World with Jigger, Beaker, and Flask. Baker claimed that the drink was invented by J. Pierpont Morgan -- yes, the famous the banker and philanthropist was apparently an amateur bartender as well. I think it was the 1/2 oz of Angostura bitters that deterred me from making it at home, or perhaps the grand volume of the recipe. This should not have been much of a deterrent since I have enjoyed my experiences with copious amounts of Angostura bitters such as in the Trinidad Sour and since I am fully capable of scaling drinks down. Actually, the amount of bitters per serving (assuming it splits 4 ways) is less than the amount in a Seelbach.

Joe got very enthused and set to work on making the Alamagoozlum. I tried to convince him to scale the drink down, but he decided he would make it full sized and find homes for the other servings. The drink once poured had a rather healthy head on it with the froth deriving from the egg white and Angostura bitters. The nose was full of green Chartreuse and Angostura's cinnamon notes and was a prelude to the flavors to come. The Alamagoozlum was rather rich from the egg and the malty Genever, and it had a good deal of spice from the Chartreuse and bitters. I could not fathom why the gentleman did not enjoy the drink the previous time Joe made the recipe, except that he might not have been a fan of green Chartreuse. The yellow Chartreuse option would produce a less sharp and slightly sweeter balance and might be a decent path for those who prefer milder cocktails.

And speaking of communal drinking experiences, we ended the night with some tequila. To our right was New Hampshire bartender Jeff Grdinich who had just returned from his Mezcal adventures in Oaxaca, Mexico, and the conversation had been focused on agave spirits for much of the night. John Gertsen decided that our tequila needed to be served in a particular way taught to him by Alex Ott, a bartender and grandson of the famous Dada artist. Gertsen freshly grated a "discernible mound of cinnamon" on top of each orange slice, and we were instructed to take a bite of the dusted orange slice and then drink the tequila. The pairing works best with a reposado tequila since the cinnamon complements the wood notes from the tequila's barrel aging (besides cinnamon generally pairing well with tequila).

Sunday, December 6, 2009


1/2 Lime or Lemon (Lime)
1 wineglass Santa Cruz Rum (2 oz Flor de Caña 4 Year Gold)
2 tsp Raspberry Syrup (Homemade, see recipe below)
1/2 tsp Curaçao (Curaçao de Curaçao)

Squeeze juice out of lime half and drop the lime shell into a 6-8 oz tumbler glass filled with crushed ice. Either build drink in glass and shake, or shake drink separately with ice, and strain over crushed ice. Garnish with berries of the season.

On Saturday night when we got home, we decided to combine a nightcap with crossing off one more drink from the Anvil's 100 Drink list. I chose the Knickerbocker from the list's remainders since I had made up a batch of raspberry syrup earlier in the day using frozen raspberries. The recipe is a modification of one I found in the New York Times:
Raspberry Syrup
• 1 cup Raspberries
• 1 tbsp Sugar
Combine ingredients in a sauce pan and cook over a medium flame for 5 minutes. Stir constantly and use back of spoon to break up berries.
• 3/4 cup Water
• 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
Add second batch of ingredients, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 15 minutes. Let cool. Strain through tea towel or cheesecloth, and squeeze out remaining liquid until only solids remain in the cloth. Give the sauce pan a quick rinse with water, and pour in the strained berry juice.
• 1 1/3 cup Sugar
Add an equal portion of sugar to make a 1:1 berry simple syrup. Heat while stirring for 2 minutes until all sugar has dissolved. Let cool, skim off any foam, and bottle.
• 1 oz Vodka
Optional addition to help preserve the syrup from microbial growth; add and mix by inverting to bring the ABV to ~5%. Either way, store covered in refrigerator. Makes a little under 2 cups.
Finding the appropriate recipe for the Knickerbocker given Huegel's description of "rum, raspberry syrup, curaçao, and lime" was more difficult than I imagined. Most of the recipes in the dozen or so books I opened were for either lemon juice or lemon plus orange juice, not lime. It was not until I opened Ted Haigh's book which pointed me to Jerry Thomas' 1862 How to Mix Drinks, or The Bon-vivant's Companion did I find the one that I followed. At that point, I decided to check on what David Wondrich had to say in Imbibe! about Jerry Thomas' recipe. Wondrich recommended the lime option which is unusual since history has seemed to have picked the lemon one as the winner. Wondrich also suggested increasing the curaçao (to upwards of 1 oz) if one is seeking a sweeter drink instead of increasing the raspberry syrup. And lastly, Wondrich recommended against shaking the drink with the lime shell as doing so would impart bitter notes from the lime oils.
We opted against increasing the sweetness of our drinks, and the balance turned out on the tart but not unpleasantly so side. Perhaps it had to do with our larger limes which yielded almost an ounce and a half total of juice (most limes yield about an ounce, and in 1862, probably a bit less than that) but the drink was still very enjoyable to drink that way. I could understand why Wondrich preferred the lime option for the raspberry-lime is a classic flavor combination. The rum flavor was a bit subtle under the fruit notes, and the rum heat was apparent but not uncomfortably so on the swallow. The drink was rather refreshing and was in essence the short drink version of a Rum Rickey.

the melody

1 1/2 oz Dry Gin (209)
3/4 oz Passion Fruit Juice
3/4 oz Lillet Blanc
2 dash Cointreau (1 tsp)
2 dash Calvados (1 tsp Marquis de Saint-Loup)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
On Friday night, I was flipping through the Cafe Rayal Cocktail Book when I spotted the Melody. Perhaps it was the combination of the passion fruit and the Lillet that called out to me -- a combination that I had previously tinkered with in the Plastic Passion swizzle. And perhaps it was the curiosity of why there were 2 dashes of Calvados in a drink instead of a more sizable measure. The Melody started off with a fruity nose and fruity taste in the first part of the sip which was followed by the bite from the gin. Moreover, the Cointreau provided a different fruit note that lingered after the swallow. The drink was rather mild due to its low acid content, and as it warmed up, it reminded Andrea of a citrus-light Pegu Club.

Friday, December 4, 2009

balmy night

1 oz Dry Sherry (Lustau Los Arcos Dry Amontillado)
1 oz Jamaican Rum (Appleton V/X)
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/4 Curaçao (Curaçao of Curaçao)
1/4 Allspice Dram (St. Elizabeth's)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
The theme for last night's Thursday Drink Night on Mixoloseum was Allspice Dram cocktails. Allspice Dram, historically known as Pimento Dram, is a rum-based liqueur infused with allspice and often clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg which can add a Caribbean, Tiki, or Christmastime element to drinks. For inspiration, I borrowed the sherry-dram-Cointreau combination from the Balm cocktail and the rum-dram-orange juice from the Kingston Heights to yield the Balmy Night (which was apropos considering the unseasonably warm weather here in New England yesterday). The Balmy Night started with a robust orange nose from the peel oil and the freshly squeezed juice. On the sip, the nuttiness of the sherry was followed by the spiciness of the dram and Angostura bitters. Moreover, the sherry worked well with the orange flavors from the juice and curaçao liqueur, and the rum added some richness of flavor and much needed heat. One of the Mixoloseum participants who made the drink commented that the Balmy Night had a nice Polynesian feel to it with the sherry and rum combination and how the allspice notes towards the end of the sip rounded out the drink.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


1/2 Irish Whiskey (1 oz Knappogue Castle)
1/2 Dry Vermouth (1 oz Dolin)
3 dash Absinthe (1 barspoon Pernod Absinthe)
3 dash Angostura

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
A few nights ago, it was time to make good use of the bottle of Irish whiskey we bought in New Hampshire by making the Blackthorn off of the Anvil's 100 Drink list. The recipe, which we found in the Savoy Cocktail Book, also gave us a good excuse to try our media sample of Pernod Absinthe. All of the ingredients were pale yellows and greens which gave me the impression that the drink was going to be light in color. However, after the 3 dashes of Angostura bitters, the liquid in the mixing glass turned orangey red. Moreover, once the drink was poured, the milkiness from the absinthe louche was evident. The color reminded Andrea of sloe gin which I found interesting since 3 of the 5 Blackthorn recipes in Boothby's 1934 World Drinks and How to Mix Them contained sloe gin instead of whiskey (the last one was a gin drink which would be a similar hue from its Dubonnet content). The Irish whiskey-based drink we made had an anise nose and a rather dry balance. There were malt and dry vermouth notes on the front of the sip followed by absinthe and bitters flavors on the swallow. In essence, the drink was a dry Manhattan with a bit of absinthe. I felt that the subtle flavors of the Irish whiskey were a little lost in the mix as compared to Bourbon or rye in similar recipes, although its maltiness did shine through.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


2 oz Jack Daniels Whiskey (or other Tennessee Whiskey)
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry.

On Monday night, Andrea and I stopped into the Independent for their "Barstool Mountain Monday: Country Drinking Songs and Country Drinks" event. I am not sure if the night was to celebrate all that is hillybilly noir or to honor bartender Evan Harrison on his last night at the Independent before shifting over to Deep Ellum. On the menu were a few drink specials including the Country Gentleman (applejack, curacao, lemon juice, and sugar) which Andrea selected and the Tennessee which I chose. The Tennessee was essentially an Aviation with the herbalness of the gin swapped for the barrel-aged sour mash taste of the whiskey. On the sip, the drink started out with a tart lemon note which was followed by the whiskey and then the Maraschino flavors. The presence of the citrus and liqueur smoothed out the spirit considerably and made the Tennessee easy, yet not boring, to drink.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

navy grog

3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
3/4 oz Honey
1 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Tommy Bahama White Sand)
1 oz Dark Jamican Rum (Appleton VX)
1 oz Demerara Rum (Lemon Hart 80)
1 oz Club Soda

Heat honey until liquid and mix with juices and rum. Shake without ice until honey is mostly mixed. Add ice and shake again. Add soda water and pour into double old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice or ice cone with straw. To make ice cone, pack a Pilsner glass with shaved ice and poke a hole with a chopstick down the center. Gently remove ice cone and freeze overnight (read text for other options).
Sunday night was Tiki night at our kitchen. I had been eying Don the Beachcomber's Navy Grog recipe in Beachbum Berry's Grog Log for a while, and recently had been perfecting my ice cone making technique. And on Sunday, I finally had a pair that were viable. Neither my Ice-O-Mat crusher nor my Lewis Bag and mallet yielded "shaved ice" so packing it down like snow did not work. I did not try our blender which might have worked better than the hand-powered methods and the thought of waiting for the first good snow fall did cross my mind. My solution was to wet the ice bits down with cold water, pour off the excess liquid, and fill up my makeshift molds. The ice once refrozen adhered too well to the Pilsner glass and made extracting it in one piece difficult (and without the wet ice, it did not stay together well either). My solution was to cut the bottom off of a half liter Poland Spring seltzer bottle. The plastic bottle allowed me away to squeeze the ice out as well as to remove the cap and push from the bottom. As for the chopstick, I found that leaving it in for two hours with a wiggle every 30 to 60 minutes prevented the chopstick from sticking (I was using wood; plastic would probably stick less). After that, I removed the chopstick and let the wet ice refreeze for several hours more. Making the cone should not have been that difficult, but having the wrong form of ice certainly made things a challenge.

But finally, Navy Grog! The drink was very rummy with rich dark rum notes standing out in the beginning of the sip and white rum heat on the swallow. When I asked Andrea what she thought of the fruit flavors, her response was, "There's juice in here?" Although after a few more sips, whether through ice melt diluting the grog or through our taste buds acclimating, the citrus and honey flavors became evident. Overall, the Navy Grog was rather pleasant, and I would be rather satisfied if it were hot out. However, it was a chilly night in late November, and I felt that the drink could use some flair whether through a barspoon of allspice dram or a few dashes of pastis or bitters (*). Next time I will try an ukulele soundtrack to see if it aids my tropical island imagination and saves me from the wintry mood.

(*) Post note: Fans of this concept can try Beachbum Berry's original Ancient Mariner which is similar enough that Ted Haigh lists it as the Navy Grog recipe in the new edition of his book.

2nd post note: When I showed the photo of our Navy Grog to bartender John Gertsen, he quickly focused in our lime peel flag and commented how it reminded him of a Gin Pennant and immediately set off to fetch his copy of the Mixologist which had a description of it. Wikipedia describes the flag's meaning as "that the wardroom is inviting officers from ships in company to drinks... Originally it was a small green triangular pennant measuring approximately 18 by 9 inches, defaced with a white wine glass, nowadays the gin pennant is a Starboard pennant defaced with a wine or cocktail glass." And the Mixicologist asserts that "Whenever and wherever a ship hoisted the pennant, it meant that it was time to 'come aboard for a drink'".


1/4 Bacardi Rum (1/2 oz Rhum JM Blanc, see text)
1/4 Pineapple Juice (1/2 oz)
1/4 Sweet Plymouth Gin (1/2 oz Hayman's Old Tom, see text)
1/4 Dry Vermouth (1/2 oz Dolin)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Ratio in the recipe was shorthand for fractions of a jigger (1 1/2 oz), and this was upped to fractions of 2 oz here.

Last week, I was flipping through our new Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars (1903-1933) book and I spotted the Checkers cocktail. The equal parts nature and the mixing of gin and rum intrigued me and reminded me slightly of the Between the Sheets (four equal parts with rum and brandy, not rum and gin). Beneath the recipe, there were two notes in regards to the spirits. One was about the Bacardi Rum of that era. The editors recommended either Cuban rum (like Havana Club) or a rhum agricole to mimic that style, and we opted for the latter. The second was about the Sweet Plymouth Gin which is no longer made; the editors suggested using regular Plymouth Gin, but we opted for Old Tom, a sweet gin style.
Once mixed, pineapple was rather strong on the nose and was the first flavor detected on the sip. The pineapple notes melded smoothly into the funky rhum agricole flavors on the beginning of the taste, and this combination was followed by the herbal notes of the gin and vermouth on the swallow. The Checkers was not overly dry with the only sweetness stemming from the gin and the pineapple juice. Andrea wondered if the drink would benefit from a dash of absinthe in the mix; looking back, a gin, vermouth, and pineapple combination with Herbsaint was rather delightful in the Beaux Arts, so perhaps that recommendation for a Checkers variant would be quite tasty.