Thursday, December 30, 2010

:: fred's top 10 cocktail moments of 2010 ::

I was recently asked what my favorite drink of 2010 was, and in pondering it, I began to think about the year in general. I might have a problem narrowing down my choices for a best drink overall, but I can definitely narrow it down to best drink out and best drink at home for each month. I will save that list for tomorrow, as I figured that I should start with a re-cap of my year. These are numbered but not in any particular order, and I am sure that I missed plenty as I reflected over the last few days.

1. The Chee Hoo Fizz Story
Randy Wong, beside creating Tiki recipes, travels around the country as the bassist and band leader for the Waitiki 7 exotica band. When he was in Atlanta, he got to talking to a bartender about Tiki drinks. Soon the bartender wanted to make him a drink, namely the Chee Hoo Fizz, which surprised and amused Randy greatly. Turns out that the bartender reads this blog and unknowingly made the drink for its creator. It is stories like these that make me realize that the blog is more than a drink diary but a disseminator of recipes and a way for Boston bartenders and their creativity to be acknowledged (without having to win a contest or other).

2. Bottling Day at the Bittermens
I got the chance to help out the Glassers for one of the Bittermens Bitters production runs. While my bitters batches are usually a quaint handful of bottles each, it was rather intriguing to see how things are done on a much larger scale done as well as properly in a commercial kitchen. Best wishes to their business (and new product releases) in 2011!

3. Interviewing Brian Rea
This year I was formally a writer for the Tales of the Cocktail blog. One of the duties was to pick a seminar and hype it through an interview or other writeup. I was really curious about hearing the life story of Brian Rea who had bartended through some of the bleakest decades of American mixology; however, I had never interviewed anyone before. Luckily, Brian made it easy and entertained me with his stories, so it was not stressful in the least after the first few seconds.

4. TDN: Bumwines!
During Mixoloseum's Thursday Drink Nights, I kept joking that the theme one week should be "Bumwines" to see what glorious cocktails could be made with wretched ingredients (akin to what Prohibition-era bartenders might have done). Finally, one week they took me seriously and asked if I would host it. Instead of people avoiding it, they embraced it with an enthusiasm; I was quite impressed that someone even mulled Wild Irish Rose and used it in a cocktail! While I produced a few with interesting names (like the Last Word variation, the Right to Remain Silent, using Berry-flavored Cisco), the most tasty resorted to a Prohibition trick -- using honey. My bright red Bee's Knees variation as a tribute to the Red Dye #40-colored bees in Brooklyn tasted pretty decent as the honey syrup smoothed over the horrid aftertaste of Berry Cisco.

5. Rum Tasting at Steve Remsberg
Right after Tales of the Cocktail was over, we had the privilege of attending a rum tasting at Steve Remsberg's house. It was Andrea's inquiries about Old New England Rum during the week that scored us the invitation, and she relays the story better than I. I think the pre-Castro Cuban Rum aged in sherry casks was the most memorable spirit to have hit my lips this year.

6. Bartender on Acid
One of the drinks I came up with at a Thursday Drink Night was a "revamped classic" of the Surfer on Acid, but switching the coconut rum and Jägermeister to Smith & Cross and Fernet-Branca, respectively. I come to find out that Drink in Fort Point heard about the recipe and made up a pitcher of it one night which completely sold out (apparently, it has gotten made other times as well). Perhaps that could make it my most influential drink of 2010, with the Stamos Gin Fizz being the winner of 2009 (download a PDF of drink cards that contain this recipe and others).

7. Hanging out at the Boston Shaker
When Adam Lantheaume re-opened up the Boston Shaker store in Davis Square, Andrea became his first employee. Her job had just ended and this opportunity provided her a good sabbatical. Over the months that Andrea worked there, I got the chance to hang out there and watch the business grow and succeed. Best wishes to Adam and the Boston Shaker in 2011!

8. Birthday Bar Crawl
Well, since Andrea was working at the Boston Shaker store on my birthday, I decided to celebrate on my lonesome by visiting Eastern Standard. Followed by Clio. And then meeting up with Andrea at Trina's Starlite Lounge. Many thanks to Hugh Fiore, Todd Maul, and Emma Hollander for making my birthday this year quite amazing.

9. Absinthe Bar Crawl
Speaking of bar crawls, we got invited on the Pernod Ricard Absinthe Bar Crawl. Beside the great food and drink at Stoddard's, Russell House Tavern, and Drink, the transportation in gangster era limousines capped off the night. That and a late night round of Rittenhouse 100 shots with the bartenders of Drink. Yeah, maybe I did not need that last shot, but it was well worth it later.

10. Wait, I need a number 10?
I will probably think of something crafty after I hit submit (sort of like the naming of this drink), but what can I say -- it has been a great year and this post is #400 for 2010. Between Tales of the Cocktail, local events like Bartenders on the Rise, attending a Cognac blending seminar, hosting Mixology Monday: Tea, and other zaniness, I guess having I am a little indecisive on how to wrap it up. One memory worth that comes to mind was a minor sense of accomplishment I experienced during Tales of the Cocktail. On Sunday night, we returned from a last visit to the Cure bar (post rum tasting). We bumped into Paul Clarke in front of the Monteleone, and we all decided to get a nightcap at the Carousel Bar. After a Vieux Carré and much slurring conversation, the carousel just stopped. Wow, we closed the Carousel Bar! While it was a pleasure to have the disorienting spinning cease, it was a symbolic moment that our adventure was over (save for us getting up a few hours later to catch an 8am flight out). So I guess there is a number 10 after all.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

penicillin flip

2 oz White Horse Blended Scotch
1/2 oz Honey-Ginger Syrup
1 Egg
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters
1 dash Mole Bitters
1 wide piece Lemon Peel

Add ingredients to mixing glass. Twist lemon peel over contents and drop in. Shake once without ice and once with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass. Grate nutmeg over the top and float a barspoon of Laphroaig 10 Year Single Malt Scotch on the surface.

On Thursday, I visited Rendezvous for dinner and sat at the bar in front of bartender Scott Holliday. For one of my drinks, Scott wanted to make me a flip that he had made Andrea, namely one based off of Sam Ross' Penicillin Cocktail. Since egg can hide a bit of sugar, Scott removed the lemon juice and substituted a lemon peel in the mix like in La Florida Cocktail Book's Josephine Baker recipe.
One of the major differences between the flip and the cocktail forms was that the flip was less spicy and more subdued. The flip started with a peat aroma from the single malt float coupled with spice notes from the nutmeg garnish. The smooth, creamy sip contained a surprising amount of bright lemon notes from the peel; moreover, the swallow had the smoke, honey, and ginger elements that round off the regular Penicillin Cocktail.


2 oz Frapin VS Cognac
1/2 oz Plantation Barbados 5 Year Rum
1/2 oz Luxardo Triple Sec
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Stir with ice and strain into a snifter glass with a citrus-flavored sugared (*) rim and a smoked ice cube (**).
(*) Dehydrated sugar, Cointreau, orange zest, and Middle Eastern black lime. See link below for more information.
(**) Watch Todd make smoked ice using falernum-soaked wood chips and a blowtorch here.

For my second drink at Clio last week, bartender Todd Maul wanted to make me the Frank-O. Todd's initial idea was to deconstruct a warm winter drink and make it cold. The drink ended up a variation of the Frank Sullivan cocktail which is also known as the Hoop La, Hey Hey, and Odd McIntyre (sometimes with the recipe listed multiple times under different names in the same book). Instead of equal parts brandy, triple sec, Lillet, and lemon juice, Todd increased the brandy; moreover, he added rum to push it closer to a hybrid with a Between the Sheets cocktail -- a Frank Sullivan with the Lillet switched out for rum. Two other tricks were thrown in with the first being a citrus-flavored sugar rim and the second being a smoked ice cube.
The Frank-O ended up a bit stronger and drier than a Frank Sullivan. A citrussy sip was followed by Cognac's heat, the rum's funk, and a hint of smoke from the ice cube. The sugared rim functioned to return some of the sweetness to the balance but did not make the drink overly sweet as it can for me in many Sidecar recipes.

Monday, December 27, 2010

dr. cocktail

2 oz El Dorado 5 Year Rum
1 oz Housemade Swedish Punsch
1 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

On Wednesday, I decided to pay bartender Todd Maul a visit at Clio. For a starting point, Todd recommended the Dr. Cocktail off of the menu for he wanted to show me his recently reformulated Swedish Punsch recipe. He and Randy Wong (of Helen the Pacific and Chee Hoo Fizz fame) improved on the house recipe to the point that one of Todd's Swedish patrons gave the thumbs up. For the drink, Todd's choice of recipe differed from the Doctor Cocktail in Harry McElhone's 1927 Barflies and Cocktails which is equal parts Swedish Punsch, orange juice, and lemon juice. In between Harry's recipe and Todd's was Frank Meier's 1936 one from The Artistry of Mixing Drinks which is equal parts Swedish Punsch and Bacardi Rum with a teaspoon each of lemon and orange juice; Ted Haigh commented that the addition of rum to the recipe raised the drink to a higher level. The one Todd chose took some elements from Trader Vic who suggested a darker rum than Meier and offered the option of swapping the lemon and orange for lime juice (albeit with different proportions). With Todd's recipe and his housemade Swedish Punsch, this recipe came out with a rather delightful balance.
The Dr. Cocktail first presented itself with the spice and funkiness of the Swedish Punsch on the nose. Next, a lightly-sweet lime sip was chased by the aged rum, the lime's crispness, and the punch's dryness from its Batavia Arrack and tea tannins.

morning glory fizz variation

2 oz Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 barspoon Absinthe
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice and double strain into a highball glass. Top with ~3 oz of St. Bernardus Tripel beer and add a straw.

For my second drink at No. 9 Park, I asked bartender Ted Kilpatrick for an egg drink since his flip- and fizz-fu is strong. The drink he suggested to me was his variation of the Morning Glory Fizz. The original is believed to be a creation of Harry Johnson from the late 1800s, and David Wondrich described the drink as one of the early and successful attempts at mixing with Scotch. I had the one from Harry Johnson's New and Improved Bartender's Manual a little over a year ago as I was working my way through the Anvil Bar's 100 Drinks list. Ted's variation, besides changing the citrus and sugar content, swapped the soda water for a Belgian beer. Moreover, for a Scotch choice, he picked Glenrothes which has some pleasant honey and citrus notes while not being all that smokey.
The fizz possessed a glorious foam from the shaken egg white interacting with the lively beer. Unlike the one we made with the peaty Caol Ila, this fizz's aroma was mainly from the absinthe. The Scotch did come through in the flavor though with the sip containing its malt notes along with a sweet lemon flavor. The swallow had the Scotch's smoke along with hints of absinthe and the beer's hops. Furthermore, the Belgian beer functioned well to complement both the Scotch and the citrus in the drink.

Friday, December 24, 2010


1 1/2 oz Laird's Applejack
1 1/2 oz Old Fitzgerald Bourbon
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1 short barspoon Grenadine
1 drop Orange Blossom Water

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

On Tuesday night, I ventured over to No. 9 Park to pay bartender Ted Kilpatrick a visit. One of the drinks off of the menu that Ted recommended was his take on the Avenue that first appeared in the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book. The original created by W.G. Crompton was as follows:
• 1/3 Bourbon
• 1/3 Calvados
• 1/3 Passion Fruit Juice
• 1 dash Grenadine
• 1 dash Orange Blossom Water
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Ted mentioned that he found passion fruit syrup instead of the juice to work better; moreover, he changed the proportions around and swapped out shaking for stirring the drink.
Ted's Avenue had an usual fruit aroma with hints of Bourbon. The fruit notes continued on the sip and combined with the whiskey rather well. Moreover, the syrup donated a thick mouth feel that was cleansed by the alcohol heat on the swallow. The end result was tropical, dry, and funky. Indeed, the drink was a lot drier than I expected it to be, and with no citrus in the mix, I have to imagine that Old Fitzgerald did most of the work to beat down the sweetness of the passion fruit syrup and grenadine.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

gin anthem

2 oz Plymouth Gin
1 oz Lillet Blanc
2 drop Orange Flower Water
1 dash Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and garnish with an orange twist (this drink was shaken, but the original recipe recommends stirring).
On Monday after attending the LUPEC Boston holiday party at Trina's Starlite Lounge to raise money and winter clothing for the On the Rise charity, I walked up Beacon Street to get a nightcap at Dalí. After perusing the cocktail menu, I asked bartender Greg Rossi for the Gin Anthem. The drink was created by Tara McLaughlin of the Rob Roy in Seattle; while I did not ask Greg where he acquired the recipe, the drink does appear in Left Coast Libations. The Gin Anthem was essentially a citrussy Martini, and the orange blossom water in the ingredients list reminded me of another drink Greg served me a few months ago, namely the Dama de La Noche from Charles H. Baker, Jr.'s South American Companion. The Gin Anthem had an orange aroma, and with all five of the ingredients including the gin having some aspect of orange botanicals in it, it was hard to pick out which one was the strongest. The citrus continued on in the sip with perhaps the Lillet contributing the most, and the swallow was orange as well with a slightly bitter zing from the bitters and gin.

the old man, the monk, and the sea

1 1/2 oz Old Fitzgerald Bourbon
3/4 oz Benedictine
3/4 oz Lustau Dry Oloroso Sherry
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist an orange peel over the top and discard.

For my second cocktail at Drink, bartender Joe Staropoli mentioned a drink he had at the Drawing Room in Chicago. There, bartender Cristiana DeLucca made him the Old Man, the Monk, and the Sea, and she named the drink after the ingredients: Old Weller 107 Bourbon, Benedictine, and sherry, respectively. While Drink did not have Old Weller on hand, the substitution of 100 proof Old Fitzgerald was within the right ball park.
The drink started with a nose filled with orange oil and whiskey aromas. A malty and alcohol-hot whiskey sip was quenched by Benedictine and sherry on the swallow. While the sherry component was a little light for my tastes, it did become more forward as the drink warmed up. While drinking the Old Man, the Monk, and the Sea, I asked Joe if Ernest Hemingway himself would enjoy this cocktail since the name riffs on one of his books. Joe replied he was not sure if Hemingway would approve of the drink's sugar content but he could see Ernest drinking one of these on a cold African night. Somehow my notes have the phrase "a religious Hemingway experience" which you can parse any way you please.

mr. bali hai

1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
3/4 oz Galliano Ristretto Coffee Liqueur
1 oz Plantation 5 Year Barbados Rum
1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1 oz Matusalem Platino Rum

Shake with ice and strain into a Mr. Bali Hai tiki mug filled with crushed ice. Add straws.

Last weekend, Andrea and I visited Drink for their Tiki Sunday nights. To start, bartender Joe Staropoli suggested that I try the classic Mr. Bali Hai. While Joe was busy making Andrea's drink, it was bartender Scott Marshall who appeared with my drink order replete with the coinciding tiki mug! Scott said that he strayed a bit from the recipe in Beach Bum Berry's book. Beside increasing the volumes a bit, he swapped out the call for sour mix for fresh lemon juice and simple syrup, Myers rum for a combination of Plantation Barbados and Smith & Cross, and coffee-flavored brandy for Galliano Ristretto. The original recipe was created at the Bali Hai restaurant in San Diego, and the mug was created to honor the statue in front of the restaurant which was modeled after headhunters of the South Pacific.
Since the mug came with a top, the aroma was not all that evident while enjoying the drink. The sip sung out with pineapple flavors while the swallow was lemon crispness and rum funk from the Barbados and Smith & Cross rums. However, the most noteworthy aspect of the swallow was the coffee liqueur! The Ristretto was pretty stunning with its dark roast coffee flavor that blended well with the darker rums.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

peter's gin flip

2 oz CapRock Gin
1 oz Cherry Heering
1 Egg

Shake once without ice and once with. Double strain into a rocks glass and garnish with Bittermens Mole Bitters (or freshly grated nutmeg) on the egg froth.

For my nightcap at Lineage last Friday night, I asked bartender Ryan Lotz to make me a drink that Andrea enjoyed last time, namely Peter's Gin Flip. The Peter in question is Peter Heering, the Dutch merchant and businessman who created the famous cherry liqueur in 1818. Beside the liqueur and egg in the flip, Ryan added gin as the base spirit and either mole bitters or grated nutmeg as a garnish. Ryan made me the drink with the mole bitters and the combination reminded me of a recipe I spotted in the Beta Cocktails book addendum:
Heering Flip
• 2 oz Cherry Heering
• 1/2 oz Bittermen's Xocolati Mole bitters
• 1 Egg
Shake once without ice and once with. Strain over a large ice cube and garnish with 3 drops of mole bitters.
The Heering Flip, created by Maksym Pazuniak of Brooklyn's Counting Room, seems like it would be the next step up in intensity from Ryan's recipe.
Peter's Gin Flip exuded a delightful cherry, chocolate, and spice aroma. While cherry was on the sip, it was a lot lighter than I expected perhaps due to the softening by the egg and dilution by the gin. The gin did contribute a citrus note that worked rather well with the Heering flavor.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

[chamomile collins]

1 1/2 oz Applejack
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Lemon-Chamomile Tea Syrup (1:1)
4 dash Nasturtium Bitters (*)

Dry shake the ingredients and pour into a Collins glass filled with crushed ice. Top with 1 1/2 - 2 oz of Harpoon Cider. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg and a straw.
(*) Substitution suggestions: Bittermens Boston Bittahs (floral and citrus) or Tiki Bitters (cardamom), Fee's Whiskey Barrel or Aromatic Bitters (cinnamon), or good old orange bitters.

On Friday night, Andrea and I ventured over to Brookline to have dinner at Lineage. For my first drink, bartender Ryan Lotz recommended a highball that he had recently created. The idea of applejack paired with lemon-chamomile tea was quite appealing, but the top off of sparkling cider was the deal closer.
The grated nutmeg garnish provided much of the aroma to the drink. On the sip, apple and lemon created a pleasing fruit medley, and the swallow contained the cardamom and chamomile from the bitters and tea, respectively. Between the apple spirits, it was the cider that came across the best in the drink. Overall, this highball was rather floral and summery, and like the season, it disappeared all too quickly.

hasta manzana

1 oz Reposado Tequila (Lunazul)
1 oz Calvados (Morin Selection)
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Vya)
1 barspoon Benedictine (1/8 oz)
1 dash Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

The theme for last Thursday's Drink Night on Mixoloseum was "Double Barrel" where each recipe required two barrel-aged ingredients. Looking over our collection of base spirits, we had barrel aged whiskeys, rums, genevers, tequilas, cachaças, brandies, and apple brandies to choose from (this list does not include our barrel-aged fortified wines, bitters, or liqueurs which I probably could have used as well). The tequila stood out first and I quickly thought of pairing it with Calvados perhaps with the success of Bobby McCoy's Spanish Caravan in mind. To complement the tequila, I remembered Avery Glasser of the Bittermens mentioning how well mole bitters work with agave products; moreover, this concept was strengthened by such drinks as Josh Taylor's Mary Sharon. Lastly, to complement the apple, I immediately considered Benedictine with such recent hits as John Mayer's Plainfield Swing. Considering the ingredients, I decided to round off the recipe with sweet vermouth and use the Vieux Carré as a proportion starting point.
For a name, I went with the Mexican origin of the tequila and made a pun on the Spanish phrase "hasta mañana" (until tomorrow) with the latter word swapped for "manzana," the Spanish word for apple. When I smelled the Hasta Manzana, I picked up on tequila, sweet vermouth, and a hint of chocolate, while Andrea honed in on the sweet vermouth, Calvados, and Benedictine aromas. Flavorwise, an apple sip was chased by tequila and spice on the swallow. Interestingly, the combination of the mole bitters and the Benedictine produced a delightful chocolate mint note.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

notorious f.l.i.p.

1 1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1 oz Bonal Quinquina
1/2 oz Amaro Nardini (* Ramazzotti)
3/4 oz Demerara Syrup
1 Egg

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a fizz glass (large coupe) and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Last Tuesday, I was in the mood for a nightcap flip and recalled the article on egg drinks that I had spotted in Details magazine a few days before. The one that called to me that night was Michael Rubel's The Notorious F.L.I.P. which he created at the Violet Hour in Chicago. As his tribute to the deceased east coast rap star, Michael chose the hefty Smith & Cross rum as the base spirit. I hesitated in making this flip for I lacked the Amaro Nardini that was called for in the recipe. Since I read that it was rather orange and caramel, I opted for Ramazzotti; however, the mint and other herbal components in descriptions I read made me wonder if I should have added a barspoon of Fernet Branca as well. Honestly, I was not overly concerned about the amaro's identity, for the idea of pairing Smith & Cross and Bonal was what excited me the most about this recipe.
The flip started with a nutmeg and vanilla aroma from the garnish and rum, respectively. The sip was a creamy caramel and rum flavor followed by bitter notes from the Bonal and amaro on the swallow. Of all the herbal flavors, the Bonal's gentian stood out the most on my palate. Overall, the Notorious F.L.I.P. was rather gentle for a Smith & Cross drink, but not even the egg could hide the rum's signature funkiness.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

esprit d'escalier

3/4 oz Eagle Rare 10 Year Bourbon
3/4 oz Aperol
3/4 oz Pink Grapefruit Juice
3/4 oz Amaro Nonino

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

For my second cocktail at Eastern Standard on Monday, I asked bartender Kevin Martin for something with whiskey. The drink he suggested with Bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino, and citrus sounded good so I gave him the nod of approval. The first iteration that he made me used lemon which made for a rather tart swallow. When Kevin asked my opinion, I suggested that grapefruit might make for an easier to drink cocktail. He agreed and commented that grapefruit and Bourbon go quite well together; this is something that I have experienced before in drinks like the Cravan Cocktail but had never heard vocalized.
With pink grapefruit juice, the drink was fuller flavored and not tart at all. The grapefruit complemented the Aperol, and when it appeared at the end of the swallow, it paired up nicely with the Amaro Nonino. The drink lacked a name and Kevin sought suggestions. Since it was a Last Word variation, I recommended Esprit d'Escalier which translates to "staircase wit" or that crafty response that you think of too late. Interesting is that the original lemon version was very similar to a recipe I spotted today -- Sam Ross' Paper Airplane which calls for equal parts of Bourbon, lemon, Aperol, and Amaro Nonino.

Friday, December 17, 2010

markham's highball

1 1/2 oz Tanqueray Gin
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Quinine Syrup
1 Egg White
2 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Dry shake followed by a shake with ice. Add 1 1/2 oz soda water to a highball glass then strain the shaker's contents over it. Top with ice, garnish with a lime twist, and add a straw. If you cannot have Kevin or one of the other Eastern Standard bartenders make this drink, switch the quinine syrup and soda water to 2 oz of a high quality tonic water (unless you can make your own cinchona bark syrup that is).

On Monday night after I DJ'd down the street, Andrea and I went over to Eastern Standard for dinner and drinks. For my first beverage, I asked bartender Kevin Martin about the Markham's Highball. It turns out that Kevin created it and he won a Tanqueray cocktail competition with this drink, so of course he recommended it. Subtitled, "A new T&T," the drink was a deconstructed gin and tonic crossed with an egg white Sour. Instead of tonic, the drink used a housemade cinchona-bark infused syrup and soda water. Kevin named the drink after Sir Clements Robert Markham who traveled during the mid-nineteenth century to the Andes Mountains in Peru and brought back cinchona trees to India and Ceylon. These transplants were of great import for they allowed the British Empire to make their own treatments for Malaria.
The Markham's Highball possessed a lime nose coupled with something spicy that could have been either the Angostura Orange Bitters or the quinine syrup. A lime sip was followed by gin and tonic flavors on the swallow and a pleasing orange bitter aftertaste. Moreover, the egg white donated a lot of body that was lightened by the soda water into an intriguing fizzy texture.


2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1/2 oz Taylor Fladgate Ruby Port
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

On Sunday night, after a long, stressful drive through the rainstorm, I felt the need for a drink. Since we had just gotten off the Mass Pike, we were about to pass through Central Square and I proposed that we stop in at Green Street. For a cocktail, I asked bartender Derric Crothers if he could make me the Manhattan variation that he had been working on the last time we spoke. Derric had finally settled on a name, and he dubbed the drink the Cambridgeport after the neighborhood where the bar is located.
The Cambridgeport had a robust grapefruit aroma, and since the wide swath of peel had been dropped into the drink, the nose continued throughout the drinking experience instead of the floating oils disappearing after the first few sips. Flavor-wise, a sweet port wine sip was chased by the rye's heat and the yellow Chartreuse's botanicals. Indeed, the grapefruit twist complemented the Chartreuse rather well, and the port donated a lot of richness and body to make the drink stand apart from a Green Point.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

prince farrington punch

1 oz Root Liqueur
1 oz Brugal Añejo Rum (Lemon Hart 80)
1/2 oz Tamarind Pulp
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Falernum (1 barspoon Velvet)
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters
2 oz Ginger Ale (Hansen's Cane Soda)

Shake all but the ginger ale with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Top with ginger ale and garnish with a lime wheel.

On Friday night, I was eager to mix something with our new purchase of Root Liqueur. Luckily, the company's webpage has a lot of good recipes from Philidelphia bartenders to choose from. The one that caught my eye was the Prince Farrington Punch created by Pheobe Esmon, the head bartender at Chick's Café. The drink was named after Prince David Farrington, one of the most successful moonshiners and bootleggers during and after Prohibition. Prince Farrington operated in Pennsylvania, and besides being know as the "King of Bootleggers," his generosity to his community made him an even greater folk hero.
The Prince Farrington Punch greeted the nose with lime, root beer, and ginger aromas. The sip was crisp lime coupled with tamarind's tartness that was balanced by the sweetness of the ginger ale and liqueur. Moreover, the swallow was a combination of ginger from the soda and root beer notes from the liqueur. Indeed, the combination of Root, tamarind, and ginger worked exceptionally well in this drink.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


1/2 Dry Vermouth (1 1/2 oz Dolin)
1/4 Bourbon (3/4 oz Bulleit)
1/4 Benedictine (3/4 oz)
1 dash Peach Bitters (Fee's)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Thursday evening after returning home from Hungry Mother, it was dinner time and I went in search of an aperitif in the Café Royal Cocktail Book. There, I spotted the Royalist which was created by the book's author, William J. Tarling, and would make good use of the Bulleit Bourbon that recently returned to our liquor shelves. With half the volume being dry vermouth, the Royalist was a much lighter style of drink than most cocktails.
The Royalist started with a peach and Benedictine aroma. The sip was a malty, citrussy peach flavor with the swallow containing a lot more peach as well as Benedictine and aged Bourbon notes. I was rather impressed with how powerful the peach bitters were in this recipe, especially how it did a good job of balancing the medicinal aspect of Benedictine. Andrea commented that the drink reminded her a little of the Bamboo; however, the Royalist had a lot more going on in terms of layers of flavor.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

no. 65

2 oz Sazerac 6 Year Rye
3/4 oz Bonal
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1 dash Fee Brothers' Orange Bitters
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a Luxardo Maraschino Cherry.

On Thursday right after work, I ventured down to Hungry Mother in Kendall Square to meet up with Washington, D.C.'s Jake Parrot and his wife who were visiting in town that week. For a drink, I requested the No. 65 from the cocktail menu. Bartender Ned described the sixty five as a play on the Manhattan with the dry Bonal quinquina being supplemented by the sugary falernum to approximate the original's sweet vermouth. A similar effect was achieved in Charles H. Baker's rum-based Georgetown Club Cocktail where dry vermouth was sweetened with falernum to generate a Pirate's Cocktail-like drink.
The No. 65 possessed a whiskey and Bonal aroma. A rye sip contained hints of bitterness and spice with a sweeter and cleansing swallow. Moreover, the swallow possessed a fair amount of spice including lingering clove notes and rye's barrel age and heat.

queen's smile

1 1/2 oz Beefeater Gin
1/2 oz Drambuie
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot

Shake with ice and garnish with a lemon twist.

Last Tuesday, Andrea and I headed over to Bergamot for a late dinner. For a drink, I asked bartender Paul Manzelli for the Queen's Smile off of the cocktail menu. Paul described it as a riff on the Prince's Smile where he subbed the original's apple brandy for Drambuie to donate some winter spice. Moreover, the Prince's Smile is very similar to the Little King in Ted Saucier's Bottom's Up which I wrote about earlier in the year. Paul also mentioned that the drink is a variation of Craigie on Main's Monk's Charm albeit with Benedictine instead of the Drambuie (or apple brandy) and slightly different proportions.
The Queen's Smile initially had a lemon aroma, but over time apricot notes also appeared on the nose. The sip was filled with lemon, honey, and apricot flavors with gin, floral notes from the Drambuie, and additional apricot flavors on the swallow.

Monday, December 13, 2010

port of funchal

1 1/2 oz Madeira (Blandy's 5 Year)
3/4 oz Ginger Syrup (Ginger People)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
4 oz Full-flavored Medium-bodied Beer (Ithaca's Cascazilla)

Shake all but beer with ice and strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Top with beer and garnish with a lime wedge.

Last Monday, I made myself a drink I spotted in an article in Tasting Table about drinks being served around New York City. The Port of Funchal was created by Kelly Slagle, a bartender at Terroir Tribeca, and it seemed like an intriguing punch-like highball. The drink is named after the Port of Funchal on the Portuguese island of Madeira, and Kelly wondered what sailors back in the day would have created to drink when their ship stopped there.
The drink's nose was a combination of lime and the beer's malt and hops. The sip was crisp from a combination of the lime juice and carbonation from the beer, while the swallow was filled with ginger, sharp wine notes from the Madeira, and bitter elements from the hops. Indeed, there was a lot of flavor from four not too boozy ingredients, and the richness of the beer really helped to pull this drink together. Moreover, it slightly reminded me of the old fashioned beer, fortified wine, and spice-laden Rumfustian I made about a year ago.

angels' share

a) 6 Cranberries
1 Sugar Cube
1 splash Water

b) 2 oz Red Wine (Underwood Cellars Pinot Noir)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1/4 oz Campari

Muddle ingredients in (a). Add ingredients in (b) and ice, shake, and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with 3 cranberries.

For my second drink at the Gallows two Sundays ago, I asked bartender Carl Donheiser for the Angels' Share. When I first visited the Gallows, the drink was on the menu with a more seasonal fruit, Concord grapes; the switching to cranberries tempted me into ordering this drink for I wanted to see how they paired with Campari. Moreover, I was curious to taste a modern wine-based cocktail, for most that I have tasted have been late 19th or early 20th century recipes or variations thereof. For a wine, the bar varies the selection, but it is always something low on tannins, and this drink was made with a Pinot Noir from Oregon's Underwood Cellars.
The wine in the Angels' Share came across strongly in the drink's aroma. A tart cranberry sip matched the red wine and citrus flavors. Surprisingly, the Campari was rather subtle in the drink and acted more as an accent to support the cranberry. Personally, I would have preferred a bit more of a Campari signature. When I mentioned this to Carl, he commented that when the drink was created with Concord grapes, the Campari rang out more, and that they did not readjust the proportions to compensate for the seasonal change in the fruit's identity. While some people might find this drink too tart, I quite enjoyed its refreshing balance.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


This month's Mixology Monday theme, "Like That? You’ll Love This!" (MxMo LIII), was picked by Chris Amirault of the eGullet forum. Chris' challenge was, "a well-made tweak of someone's favorite can be just the ticket through the gate to the sort of quality cocktails you want to serve guests at home or at work. Hence this MxMo, devoted to sharing gateway drinks that allow you to say, 'If you like that, you’ll love this!'"

I initially thought of taking this theme too far, and no matter what a person liked to drink, I would recommend a Sazerac. Or perhaps a Rum Sazerac if some one asked for a Captain and Coke. I guess that I have watched Bartender's Choice: Not Sweet too many times (and have seen it happen in real life) to know that that will not fly.

Instead, I took a simple classic like the Marconi Wireless and recommended something more complex -- Josey Packard's WiFi. However, if they are already drinking Marconi Wirelesses, they are already part way there. Indeed, the WiFi might also be a good stepping stone away from the Cosmopolitan as it stays within the fruity sphere without offering up too strong of a spirit choice, although everything might seem rather flavorful compared to vodka. As a selling point, this drink has apples and honey with a little spice, and with the Peychaud's Bitters, it comes across almost as pretty as a Cosmo and might even do the trick for a Sour Apple Martini person.

Josey invented her homage to the Marconi Wireless for the 2009 James Beard Awards. I had already written about Patricia Richards' drink, Sinatra Smash, that was served at that event. Josey's drink is as follows:
• 1 3/4 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
• 1 oz Lillet Blanc
• 1/4 oz Drambuie
• 1/8 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)
• 2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
We were running out of Laird's Bonded so we split the drink with an equal part of Calvados. The Calvados certainly added more apple and less barrel notes and made for a softer drink. To satisfy the vodka drinker, Laird's Applejack might be a decent substitution as well for it offers up a lot of grain neutral spirit dilution to the mix (their applejack is only 35% apple product). The only other substitution we made was using Cocchi Americano instead of Lillet Blanc.
The Peychaud's Bitters donated a beautiful color to the WiFi. A very apple nose led into an apple and Cocchi Americano citrus-peel flavored sip. The swallow had a decent but not overwhelming amount of complexity from the Drambuie and Peychaud's Bitters including a cinnamon note. While the drink was sweeter and spicier than a Marconi Wireless, it was not as rich as its sweet vermouth-laden cousin. Andrea made the comment that the Marconi Wireless would make for a better appetizer while the WiFi a better after-dinner drink. While the drink is no Applejack Sazerac, the Peychaud's Bitters at least brings the drink a slight step in that direction but with a sweeter and less difficult to drink format.

Thanks to Charles for picking this month's theme and to Paul Clarke for being the Grand Poobah each and every month!

Friday, December 10, 2010

old trousers

1 oz Old Monk Rum
1/2 oz Honey Syrup
1 dash Fee's Old Fashion Bitters
6-8 oz Guinness Stout

Build in a small (10 oz) snifter glass. Top with stout and garnish with a healthy pinch of grated cinnamon.

On Sunday, we spent the day up in Kittery, Maine, to do some clothing shopping. I am not sure whether I enjoy the outlet stores there more or our tradition of eating at the Portsmouth Brewery on the way home followed by a trip to the southbound I-95 New Hampshire State Liquor Store. There we were able to contain our purchases to 3 bottles: the return of Bulleit Bourbon to our shelves, a backup bottle of Benedictine, and a bottle of Root! We had tasted this root tea liqueur at Tales of the Cocktail this past year, but this was the first time we had seen it for sale! On the way home, we decided to overshoot our exit and continue on to the South End and visit the Gallows to have a drink or two to celebrate Repeal Day.
For my first drink, I was tempted by the Old Trousers, a beer cocktail that seemed very colonial in theme. In fact, the name, according to Gavin Nathan's Historic Taverns of Boston: 370 Years of Tavern History in One Definitive Guide, was one of the original beer cocktails on old tavern menus. It was rather affordable for it "contained all the partially consumed beers left at the bar, mixed together and re-served." For such a honorarium to a hideous drink, this Old Trousers was actually a delight to drink. Perhaps it had to do with the fresh Guinness coming from a tap instead of the lost sailors from around the bar. Guinness' maltiness and cinnamon were on the sip while the rum popped up on the swallow along with more of the cinnamon and the beer's hops. Indeed, the dark, rich Guinness Stout was complemented by the Old Monk Rum; however, it was the honey and the cinnamon which really tied the drink together. The honey donated a delightful smoothness to the drink and the cinnamon supplemented the rum's vanilla, beer's hops, and the aromatic bitters to make for a finely seasoned drink.

loop tonic

2 oz Blanco Tequila (Avión)
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Dolin)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 dash Celery Bitters (homemade)

Shake with ice and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with a celery stick (omitted).

Last Saturday, I made a pair of Phil Ward's Loop Tonics, a recipe that I had spotted in Wayne Curtis' article in Men's Journal. I had the recipe for a while, but it felt like the right time since I wanted to use the new sample of Avión Tequila that the Liquor Fairy delivered to me. Tasting Avión straight, it had some interesting vegetal notes including mint and rosemary on the sip and pepper on the swallow. While Phil Ward makes his drinks at Mayahuel in Manhattan using Heradura Silver, I felt that his recipe would shine with a better and more herbal tequila in the glass.
The Loop Tonic began with an aroma of tequila, green Chartreuse, and celery. A lime sip was followed by a rather herbal swallow replete with tequila, Chartreuse, and dry vermouth flavors. Moreover, the tequila provided a rather clean aftertaste. After a few sips, the drink gained some cohesiveness of flavor instead of being a collection of individual flavor notes. Overall, the Loop Tonic reminded me a lot of what a tequila Green Ghost would taste like.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

ho tally

2 oz Pimm's No. 1
1/2 oz Blackberry Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 barspoon Pimento Dram
1 dash Housemade Tiki Bitters
1 Egg

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

For my second drink at Craigie on Main, I asked John Meyer what nightcap ideas he had and we began discussing flips. One that he suggested was a modification of Eastern Standard's Tally-ho! that appeared on the Pimm's section of their menu a few seasons ago. Eastern Standard's drink, subtitled "Horatio's spiced aperitif" as a nod to Sir Horatio David Davies who bought the aperitif line from James Pimm and successfully marketed it, is as follows:
• 2 oz Pimm's No. 1
• 1/2 oz Grenadine
• 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
• 1 barspoon Pimento Dram
• 1 dash Bittermens Tiki Bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. There might be a lemon twist or other?
John's changes were to keep the proportions but swap the grenadine for housemade blackberry syrup and add an egg, and since it was an egg drink, he "flipped" the name around to Ho-tally!
The Ho-tally! Flip was ripe with allspice and Pimm's aromas. A fruity berry sip was complemented by cardamom from the bitters and allspice from the dram on the swallow. Moreover, the allspice notes paired up rather well with the lemon juice in this drink. The recipe made for a surprisingly light yet flavorful drink for a flip.

plainfield swing

1 1/2 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Pimento Dram (1 full eyedropper)

Shake with ice and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with freshly grated cinnamon.

Last Friday night, Andrea and I paid a visit to the bar at Craigie on Main. For a drink, I selected the Plainfield Swing off of the menu from bartender Ted Gallagher. After Ted made my drink, bartender John Mayer came by to explain how the drink he created was a tribute to jazz great Bill Evans who grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey.
The Plainfield Swing started with a beautiful combination of cinnamon, Benedictine, and apple notes on the nose. The sip was apple and citrus with hints of Benedictine, and the Benedictine played a much more major role on the swallow along with the allspice notes from the dram. Initially, I thought the Plainfield Swing was a spiced up Apple Sidecar; however, with the Benedictine, I remembered the forgotten classic, the Honeymoon Cocktail, that Ted Haigh paid tribute to in his book. The additional elements of the dram and the cinnamon complement the apple and Benedictine quite well and elevate the Plainfield Swing into something more noteworthy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

lupe velez

1/2 jigger Rum (1 1/2 oz Banks)
1/4 jigger Orange Juice (3/4 oz)
1/4 jigger Kümmel (3/4 oz Helbing)
1 dash Pimento Dram (1/8 oz St. Elizabeth's)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

For our after dinner drink on Wednesday, I decided to make the Lupe Vélez from Boothby's 1934 World Drinks And How To Mix Them. I had avoided making the drink in the past because it was very similar to the Kingston Heights that I had previously made; however, that was before I was invited aboard this blog so it never formally got entered into the drink registry. Opposed to the more Hispanic named Lupe Vélez, the Kingston Heights' Jamaican theme comes across in its rum choice:
Kingston Heights
• 1 1/2 oz Jamaican Rum
• 1/2 oz Kümmel
• 1/2 oz Orange Juice
• 1 dash Pimento Dram
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Instead of sticking to a purely Spanish-speaking country of origin for the Lupe Vélez's rum, I decided to use a sample of Banks Rum that I received at Tales of the Cocktail this year. Moreover, I also doubled the volumes that Boothby provided to make a more modern-sized drink.
The drink was named after a Mexican-born dancer, vaudevillian, movie star, and Broadway performer who lived from 1908 to 1944. Lupe Vélez was referred to as "the Mexican Spitfire" and "the Hot Pepper," so a drink spiced with Pimento Dram and kümmel seems quite fitting. Moreover, in retrospect, since I lack a Mexican Rum, the Banks choice was not such a bad one after all.
The drink's nose for me was filled with vanilla notes from the aged rum and allspice from the dram; Andrea, on the other hand, picked up more on the Bank's Batavia Arrack component and on the fruit notes. Taste-wise, a spicy orange sip was chased by rum, the dram's allspice, and the kümmel's caraway on the swallow. Overall, it was not too different from the Kingston Heights save for the lack of the rich, barrel-aged notes from the Appleton we used and with the addition of some funkier rum notes. Moreover, the Lupe Vélez reminded me of the Cure's Spice Trade with its orange and caraway flavors.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

club cocktail

2/3 Old Tom Gin (1 1/2 oz Hayman's)
1/3 Sweet Vermouth (3/4 oz Vya)
2 dash Gum Syrup (1 barspoon Gomme)
2 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)
1 dash Chartreuse (1/2 barspoon Green)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Last Wednesday as I was cooking dinner, I flipped through my new purchase of William Schmidt's 1892 book, The Flowing Bowl: When and What to Drink and spotted the Club Cocktail. The recipe seemed to be somewhere between a Martinez Cocktail and a Bijou, and I figured that it would make a decent before dinner drink.
The Club Cocktail possessed a surprising amount of orange notes both on the nose and on the sip from the orange bitters and perhaps the orange peel in the vermouth. The sweet, orange and slightly grape sip was followed by a complex swallow full of botanical notes from the vermouth, Chartreuse, and gin. Unlike the orange bitters, the green Chartreuse was surprisingly subtle in the drink and acted more as an accent rather than as a dominant flavor. Perhaps halving the orange bitters and doubling the green Chartreuse would have given me something more approximating my expectations of a Bijou-Martinez hybrid; however, the drink was tasty as it was.

chet baker

2 oz Appleton V/X Rum
1/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Honey Syrup
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Add straws.

Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I stopped by Dalí in Somerville where Greg Rossi was tending bar. Greg had recently rewritten the menu and included a section of current mixology creations including John Gertsen's Mission of Burma and Jamie Boudreau's Chet Baker. Greg was introduced to the Chet Baker after taking Misty Kalkofen's recommendation to visit the Varnish bar when he was in Los Angeles. There, bartender Eric Alperin made him one and taught him the recipe.
The Chet Baker calls for aged rum which Greg interpreted as Appleton but apparently Jamie created it with Barbancourt. Greg served this drink with no garnish, but Brian Rea listed the drink on his site as a skewered brandied cherry and orange peel. The drink provided a rich rum aroma. Furthermore, the rum and honey filled the sip, and the Angostura Bitters and Punt e Mes' grape and bitter notes completed the swallow. Overall, the Chet Baker seemed more like a Rum Old Fashioned to me than a Rum Manhattan.

Monday, December 6, 2010

lapsang souchong buck

1 oz Old Monk Rum
3/4 oz Lapsang Souchong Syrup
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Hartley & Gibson Amontillado Sherry

Shake with ice and strain into a highball filled with ice cubes. Top with 1 oz of ginger ale, and garnish with Smoking Ban Bitters (substitute Abbott's or other aromatic bitters), a wide lemon twist, and a straw.

I envied Andrea's 7:16 L.S. Cocktail (rye, Lapsang Souchong syrup, bitters in Old Fashioned format) at Ben Sandrof's Sunday Salon, but I want something a little different. Therefore, I asked Ben what else he could do with the Lapsang Souchong tea syrup. After suggesting that we stick with rum, Ben filled in the gaps with lemon juice, amontillado sherry, and ginger ale. While the drink was a tasty highball, Ben commented that it would probably make an excellent cocktail as well if he left out the soda.
The drink's nose was full of allspice, clove, and bay rum notes from the bitters and lemon oil from the twist. A ginger and lemon sip was followed by a rich rum flavor, a slight nuttiness from the sherry, and a smoky aftertaste from the tea. When Andrea had a taste, she commented that it "tastes like bacon!" which I will have to take her word on.

pu-erh flip

2 1/2 oz "Zombie" Rum Mix (*)
1 oz Pu-erh Tea Syrup
1 Egg

Shake once without ice and once with. Double strain into a rocks glass and garnish the froth with Bitter Truth's Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters.
(*) Neisson Rhum Agricole Blanc, Barbancourt, Old Monk

Two Sundays ago, Ben Sandrof was hosting another one of his speakeasy-like Sunday Salons in town. Last time, he did not have time to make the tea syrups he promised, so I had to settle for a drink with tea-infused Bourbon instead. However, this time he had both a Pu-erh and a Lapsang Souchong syrup with the former being more funky and earthy and the latter being rather smokey. For my first drink, I chose the Pu-erh Flip off of the menu while Andrea went with the Lapsang Souchong-laden 7:16 L.S. Cocktail. Pu-erh is a strange tea in that it can be classified both as a green tea in terms of oxidation and as a fermented one; indeed, a variety of microorganisms help to ripen the leaves into something quite unique.
The flip's aroma was of the rum and allspice from the bitters. The sip was a delightful combination of rum and a malty flavor; when it was cold, this maltiness came across almost like Guinness Stout. After a few sips, I asked Ben if I could taste the tea syrup alone to sort out the flavors I was experiencing. I was quite surprised at how creamy the syrup and enjoyed its delightful green tea notes. Moreover, there was some sort of spice note on the swallow combined with a funkiness that reminded me of the Cynar Flip. As the drink warmed up, the drink got a little sharper from the tea's tannins, and the rhum agricole in the rum blend became more prominent; indeed, the rhum's grassy notes complemented the green tea flavors rather well.

Friday, December 3, 2010

minor threat

1 oz Aperol
3/4 oz Hendrick's (or other cucumber-flavored) Gin
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Absinthe Verte (La Muse Verte)
1 Egg White
6 drop Rose Water

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with 4 drops or one spray of absinthe (4 drops). Note: muddling cucumber in gin and fine straining is an option if cucumber-flavored gin is not available.

On Saturday night, I opened up my copy of Absinthe Cocktails and turned to the Minor Threat -- the drink that first caught my eye when I initially saw the book. While I love the old hardcore band Minor Threat, I still cannot see naming an alcoholic drink after a straight edge band. Ironic naming convention aside, this drink looked tasty and perhaps bartender Evan Zimmerman of Laurelhurst Market in Portland, Oregon, loved the band too back in his drier days. Evan's drink reminded me on paper of the Rogue Cocktail Book's 2 to 2 which also paired up absinthe with Aperol and lemon juice; however, the Minor Threat seemed more gentle with less absinthe and more smoothness from the addition of egg white.
The nose of the Minor Threat was absinthe from the garnish with an underlying sweet note. Flavorwise, a fruity Aperol and lemon sip was followed by absinthe on the swallow. The rose water turned out to be the key ingredient in the recipe; it first appeared on the swallow and later moved to the sip after a few tastes. Moreover, the rose brought the Hendrick's Gin and Aperol together as more unified flavor combination. When I made the comment that the Minor Threat was like a much more complex Pink Lady, Andrea countered that "It's a 'Pink Lady Reviver'!" for it seemed like the Pink Lady was meshed with the Corpse Reviver No. 2. Perhaps this could be a new morning-after tipple?

Thursday, December 2, 2010


2 oz Applejack
1/2 oz Demerara Simple Syrup
1 barspoon Pimento Dram
2 dash Angostura Bitters
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass pre-rinsed with Laphroaig 10 Year Scotch. Garnish with freshly grated cinnamon.

For my second drink at Lineage last Friday night, I asked bartender Ryan Lotz to make me the Applewood. The Applewood was essentially an applejack Old Fashioned, but the additional ingredients Ryan added to it generally donate rather complementary flavors. Indeed, the allspice in the Pimento Dram, the smoke and malt in the Scotch, and the cinnamon in the garnish all have worked in past apple brandy drinks I have tasted, but they never were in the same cocktail all at once.
The Applewood's nose contained cinnamon and the Scotch's smoke notes. The drink proved to be a tasty Old Fashioned with a good bit of spice on the swallow. Of the complementary elements, the allspice and apple pairing was the best of the three. While the drink lacked anise flavors from Herbsaint or absinthe, Ryan's description of "a seasonal spin on the Sazerac" was a decent one.

old tom's stone

1 oz Hayman's Old Tom Gin
1 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz Stone Fruit Shrub

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

Last Friday, Andrea and I paid a visit to Lineage in Brookline for dinner and drinks. For my first beverage, I chose the most aperitif-like cocktail of the three I was eying, namely Old Tom's Stone. Bartender Ryan Lotz described the key ingredient, the housemade stone fruit shrub, as being mostly red plum with some peaches thrown in. Ryan macerated the fruits with sugar for a week before adding vinegar and waiting another week before filtering and bottling. His technique was very similar to the one that Neyah White prefers, and similar to many of Neyah's aperitif recipes, Ryan paired up the shrub with a sherry (although at home, I tend to use dry vermouth more). While the sugar balances the vinegar in the shrub akin to a Sour cocktail, the presence of the vinegar alone is great for stimulating the appetite.

The Old Tom's Stone started with an aroma of lemon oil combined with a peach-like fruitiness and the vaguest hint of vinegar from the shrub. While the peaches were more aromatic in the mix, the plums dominated the flavor of the sip, and the sherry rang out strongly on the swallow. Andrea, on the other hand, tasted the drink a bit differently; she tasted the peach notes up front and the plum notes with the sherry on the swallow.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

[the earth flipped]

1 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry
1 oz Brandy
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz Cynar
2 dash Angostura Bitters
1 Egg

Shake once without ice and once with; strain into a couple glass.

After the Nolet's Gin event at Eastern Standard two Mondays ago, Andrea and I decided to have a nightcap at the main bar. While bandying about a concept with bartender Nicole Lebedevitch, the idea of sherry flip came up. When Nicole asked if I had a base spirit choice, I figured that sticking with grape products would work and requested brandy. To round off the recipe, she added yellow Chartreuse, Cynar, and Angostura Bitters to add some herbal complexity to the drink.
The flip's aroma was full of sherry and Cynar notes. A dry and rich wine-like sip was followed by a nutty sherry flavor combined with bitter notes on the swallow. Indeed, the Cynar liqueur was rather strong at the end and helped to donate a very earthy tone to the drink. Overall, the flip possessed a less sharp Madeira-like taste from the sherry merging with the amaros, and it proved to be a rather good way to wrap up the evening.

the buurman

2 oz Nolet's Silver Dry Gin
3/4 oz Ambre Vermouth
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
8 drop Pimento Dram

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass pre-rinsed with Ardbeg Scotch.

A little over a week ago, Andrea and I were invited to attend a dinner at Eastern Standard hosted by Nolet's Gin. The gin is the newest creation from the Dutch distillery that is most famous for making Ketel One Vodka. Well, the recipe is new, but the distillery has a long history of making gin in the past. In a collaboration between the 10th and 11th generations of Nolets using the distillery's vast library of recipes and distillation techniques, they crafted this spirit. The company has been very hush-hush about the botanicals in the gin save for Turkish rose, white peach, and raspberry beside the juniper needed to call it gin. We did pick up on a floral note that reminded me of the lavender in North Shore Distiller's Gin No. 6.

The drinks for the night were created as a collaboration between Eastern Standard's bartender Kevin Martin and one of the chefs. After a welcome punch, the night started with a classic - the Gibson using Nolet's and garnished with Eastern Standard's delightful housemade cocktail onions; Kitty did a great job of describing it in this week's LUPEC Boston post (also appears in this week's The Weekly Dig).

I figured that I would cover my favorite Nolet's drink of the evening, the Buurman, which means "neighbor" in Dutch. The drink was at essence a gin variation on the Red Hook with a few changes. Instead of the more amaro-like Punt e Mes vermouth, Kevin Martin chose Eastern Standard's flavorful ambre vermouth. Moreover, the additions of smoke from the Ardbeg Scotch rinse and spice from the Pimento Dram were welcome additions. What made this drink work for me was how well the gin paired with the Scotch; in fact, it reminded me of two things. The first was the classic Automobile which pairs gin and Scotch with sweet vermouth and orange bitters. And the second was a curious bottle in the collection of Avery and Janet Glasser (of the Bittermens Bitters) -- Alambic's Special Islay Gin, a gin that had been aged 12 years wood with the last two in an old Scotch barrel. While the Buurman had a lighter touch of smoke than the other two, that accent provided the right amount of complexity to make the recipe victorious.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

hawaii cocktail

1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Fee's Orange Bitters
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with; strain into a wine glass.

After the main four-way battle went down at the Woodward, Andrea and I departed for the crowd was getting rather densely packed. We, therefore, missed the consolation round showdown of John Gertsen versus Jackson Cannon as well as more complementary spicy Sailor Jerry punch and cans of Narragansett beer. Instead, we headed up the Red Line to visit bartender Derric Crothers at Green Street for a nightcap. The drink I ordered off of the large A-to-Z cocktail menu was one that I had danced around, the Hawaii Cocktail. I have had similar drinks including Stanley Clisby Arthur's State Street Cocktail and the herbaceous Celeriac from Left Coast Libations, but never Trader Vic's classic (albeit a slight variation from the one in the book). While those three pineapple juice-egg white drinks are gin based, Duffy does offer up the rum-based cousin, the Hawaiian.
Floating over the Hawaii Cocktail's frothy egg white and pineapple juice head was a fruity, pineapple aroma. A sweet, rich sip was followed by pineapple and gin flavors on the swallow. Moreover, the aftertaste was all about the orange bitters. The egg white donated a good deal of smoothness to make the Hawaii Cocktail a pleasure to drink.

union station swizzle

2 oz Eagle Rare Bourbon
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Add to a highball glass filled with crushed ice and swizzle to mix. Float Herbsaint and Angostura Bitters on top and add a straw.

Before heading over to the final edition of the Cocktail Wars at the Woodward two Sundays ago, Andrea and I stopped by Drink in Fort Point. One of the drinks that bartender California Gold made for me was something she created for her shift at the Patterson House in Nashville, Tennessee. She was down that way after taking a Bourbon tour, and one of her fellow Tales of the Cocktail apprentices invited her for a guest bartending shift.
Cali named the drink the Union Station Swizzle after a grand 19th-Century railroad station in Nashville that was restored and converted into a hotel. Back in the day, amidst the stunning Victorian architecture were two alligator ponds located on the track level! The Swizzle's aroma was dominated by the Herbsaint's anise-heavy aroma. A somewhat dry and fruity apricot and lemon sip was chased by rich Bourbon and funky Maraschino notes on the swallow. While not quite all that tropical, the Swizzle did fit in with the night's Tiki Sunday theme.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

dead reckoning

2 oz Aged Rum (Appleton V/X)
1/2 oz Navan Vanilla Liqueur
1/2 oz Maple Syrup
1/2 oz Tawny Port (Sandeman)
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a highball glass filled with cracked ice. Top with 1 oz of soda water. Garnish with a mint spring and a lemon zest spiral.

A week and a half ago, I spotted a collection of recipes from New York and San Francisco bartenders on the TastingTable website. On Friday night, after spying that our mint patch was resistant to the killing frosts we have recently experienced in the past few weeks, I decided that we should give Martin Cate's recipe from Smuggler's Cove in San Francisco a try. True, the recipe, the Dead Reckoning, could be made without a mint sprig garnish, but we wanted to experience it as Martin intended it.
The drink was the perfect accompaniment to that night's dinner of Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Tamarind Lentils recipe. The Dead Reckoning's mint and lemon peel garnishes contributed greatly to the drink's aroma. The rich rum was complemented by the maple and port on the sip, and this was followed by a pleasing vanilla and light spice flavor on the swallow. Thinking back, the maple and tawny port combination in Hungry Mother's No. 43 was also a quite solid one. Andrea commented that the drink was "pretty spectacular... and superbly balanced," so between it and the Tamarind Lentils dinner was a success!

masked booby punch

1 oz St. Germain
1 oz Gold/Aged Cachaça (Seleta)
1/2 oz Jasmine Green Tea, strong
1/2 oz White Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass (alternatively mix and chill in glass with ice). Twist a lemon peel and grapefruit peel over the top.

About two weeks ago, Andrea and I submitted a punch for the St. Germain Rock'em Sock'em Punch Bowl Brawl. Our punch made the top 3 cut to be served at the event out of a few dozen entries! The recipe we submitted was slightly different than the one above, but it was closer to how we intended it. The major difference beside scale and chilling with an ice block was the syrup. When we crafted the small scale sample, I made a ginger-citrus peel simple syrup which involved making an oleo saccharum with grapefruit and lemon peels and sugar. The concept was to extract the oils out of the peels and into the sugar to make an "ambrosial essence" of the fruits. David Wondrich in Punch traced back the process to a recipe written in 1670. After that, I grated fresh ginger and muddled it into the oil-soaked sugar before adding warm water to make the syrup. The effect was stunning when we did it at a small scale.

Unfortunately, when it came to competition time, my scale up on the ginger was wrong. I guesstimated how much ginger I initially grated, and perhaps the effects of scale up itself (can effect spices and bitters) might have played a role. Therefore, I recommend using a ginger syrup -- commercial or perhaps even homemade -- to standardize the process. While the oleo saccharum added an extra layer of citrus wonder to the drink, the hour extraction in sugar might deter many people from casually giving this recipe a try. Plus, over the large portion of citrus juice in the recipe, the oleo saccharum's effect only added a slight highlight of aroma.
Initially, we had submitted the punch to the boxing-themed event as the Palooka Punch. Given our base spirit of cachaça, we tried to figure out a good boxer or MMA star to name the punch after, but none of the Brazilian names seemed to make good drink names. Instead, we switched to boxing terms, and out of all the boxing terms, only "palooka" seemed to pair up with the word "punch" well. Later, we decided the definition of "an incompetent or easily defeated athlete, especially a prizefighter" was a bit too ironic. Instead, Andrea suggested that we switch to the fauna and flora of Brazil. Over brunch, we sat with our respective smartphones until I found the large, handsome sea bird, the masked booby. A "Masked Booby Punch" sounded rather kinky and in line with St. Germain's advertising campaigns using old erotica images and comparable to Emma Hollander's St. Germain sparkler, the One-Armed French Hooker.

For the competition, I ended up making the tea and the ginger-citrus peel syrup to bring to the event. The ginger -- the key weapon in our punch -- while seemingly strong in the syrup was way too subtle in the bowl. Moreover, as the ice cubes (instead of a large ice block) diluted the bowl's contents over the two hour span, the tannins in the tea became stronger in the balance as the other flavors were diluted away. Our St. Germain rep Kate even asked if I wanted to spike the bowl with Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, but I figured that it should stay as is and also I feared the explosion that would occur if the two feuding brothers' product met (then again, for a fightsport theme, it would work). However, the cachaça still did a good job in assisting the tea and lemon juice in cutting down the sweetness of the St. Germain and syrup, so that aspect went as planned. In the end, we placed second.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


2 oz White Horse Blended Scotch
1 barspoon Caol Ila 12 Year Scotch
1 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
1 barspoon Henri Bardouin Pastis

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist a lemon peel over the top.
For my second cocktail at Rendezvous, I asked bartender Scott Holliday for suggestions on my next drink. He mentioned that the restaurant's sous chef Ben rather likes the Glasgow; Ben learned about the drink in Esquire and was drawn to it when David Wondrich called it the Crispin Glover. Wondrich explained, "Only through the Glasgows of this world do the Manhattans truly become what they are. Without its Crispin Glovers, high school would not, in esse, be high school." Just like Ben, when I heard that it was the Crispin of Cocktails, I too needed to try one.
The Glasgow greeted me with a lemon oil aroma coupled with a briny, smoky Scotch note. A semi-mellow malt flavor on the sip was chased by smoke from the Scotch, anise from the pastis (the original calls for absinthe), and bitter notes from the vermouth and Peychaud's on the swallow. Lastly, the Glasgow was rather dry from the French vermouth combined with a lack of sweetener (save for the small amount of sugar from the barspoon of pastis). While the drink was an odd ball that could be made more standardized with sweet instead of dry vermouth or by the addition of a muddled up cube of sugar, it was definitely not the newer Crispin Glover vintage that casts a movie full of Down Syndrome actors or rats, but the earlier Back to the Future oddball days. To summarize the essence of the drink with a quote, Mr. Glover said, "I do like things that are not necessarily a reflection of what is considered the right thing by this culture. Somehow, promoting that status quo I find uninteresting."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

rum scaffa

1 1/2 oz Plantation 5 Year Barbados Rum
1 1/2 oz Cynar
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Stir without ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Last Wednesday, Andrea and I went over to Rendezvous to have dinner and cocktails. For my first drink, bartender Scott Holliday wanted to show me one of the simple drinks (number of ingredients-wise) he had been working on. The Scaffa recipe above actually came later, for he served me the cocktail version first:
• 1 1/2 oz Plantation 5 Year Barbados Rum
• 1 1/2 oz Cynar
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Twist an orange peel over the top.
The spirit plus Cynar essence of this drink reminded me of Aaron Butler's Scottish Play (although Aaron's drink has two addition ingredients as minor components). While I did not ask Aaron's rationale, Scott made the pairing for he liked the rich caramel flavor of the rum and how it emphasizes sweet flavors, so he therefore mixed it with something bitter. Scott's drink started with an orange nose paired with some dark undertones. A rum and caramel sip was followed by a rich and complex swallow. Moreover, the oils from the orange twist contributed a light Lillet-like citrus flavor on the sip. What was most odd was that it tasted drier on the sip and sweeter on the swallow; generally, drinks with bitter liqueurs finish in the opposite direction. Lastly, as the drink warmed up, the Cynar became more dominant in the flavor profile.
Scott mentioned that he enjoyed the initial experiment of mixing the rum and the liqueur at room temperature more than he did in the chilled cocktail itself. At that point, I brought up the Mixoloseum's Thursday Drink Night where the theme was Scaffas -- stirred, un-iced cocktails often as simple as a spirit, a liqueur, and a dash of bitters. Scott decided to mix up this cocktail in Scaffa format and pour it into cordial glasses for the three of us to try. Definitely, at room temperature and undiluted, the drink was a different beast. The Rum Scaffa was even more caramel and more intensely Cynar than the ratio of spirit to ice melt would suggest. In addition, the transition from sip to swallow had a better continuity of intensity and flavors, and I believe that all three of us concluded that while the cocktail version was delicious, the Scaffa form was superior.

great barrington

1 1/2 oz Berkshire Mountain Distillers' Ragged Mountain Rum
3/4 oz Bianco Vermouth
3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
1 dash Housemade Wormwood Citrus Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I went to Deep Ellum after attending a reception for David Wondrich at Drink to celebrate his new book Punch: the Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl. While one of the three punches at the event was rum based, I evidently was not tired of the spirit for I asked bartender Jen Salucci to make me the Great Barrington off of their menu. The drink was named after the town in western Massachusetts where Berkshire Mountain Distillers is located. On the nose, the Great Barrington started the drink's citrus wave with a lemon oil aroma. The citrus notes continued in the slightly sweet sip from the bianco vermouth and Cocchi Americano, and the swallow had a nice bitter finish with a rum aftertaste.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

mary sharon

1 1/2 oz Chinaco Blanco Tequila
3/4 oz Martini & Rossi Bianco Vermouth
1/2 oz Mirto
1 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

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

For my second cocktail at Eastern Standard two Sunday nights ago, I asked bartender Josh Taylor if he had any new tricks up his sleeve. He thought I might be interested in the Mary Sharon and I became intrigued after I heard it was a variation of the "Sex in the City" classic, the Cosmopolitan, albeit an abstract one using Mirto liqueur instead of cranberry juice. Moreover, he mentioned that Avery Glasser of the Bittermens had a hand in the genesis of this recipe most likely similar to how he helped create Craigie's Bird Bath and Green Street's Avery's Arrack-ari. For a name, the myrtle berry liqueur's Sardinian origin prompted a Mediterranean theme; the cocktail became dubbed the Mary Sharon after Kristin Scott Thomas' character in Prince's 1986 movie Under the Cherry Moon.
The Mary Sharon's aroma was full of citrus oils but I was confused as to whether it was orange or grapefruit. When I asked Josh, he informed me that it was actually lemon and explained that the bounty of orange notes in the bianco vermouth was really that strong. Indeed, the vermouth presented a good amount of citrus peel flavors and the sip was a rather blood orange-Campari taste when combined with the Mirto. The minerality of the tequila and a hint of bitter orange came through on the swallow followed by chocolate from the mole bitters at the very end.

Monday, November 22, 2010

surbiton road

1/2 Lime (cut into wedges)
1 small handful Basil Leaves (~12)
1 oz Vanilla Rock Candy Syrup
1 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Cruzan Black Strap Rum
1/2 oz Punt e Mes

Muddle lime, basil, and syrup. Add rest of ingredients and ice, shake, and double strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a basil sprig and a straw.

Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I went down to Eastern Standard for dinner and drinks. When bartender Naomi Levi came by to talk about cocktails, I asked if she had any basil to make me a drink that Devin Hahn of the Periodista Tales blog had told me about. When she heard the request for basil, she immediately knew what I wanted and ran off to see if she could find any in the kitchen. The drink was called the Surbiton Road after the street in Kingston, Jamaica, where the Italian Consulate is located. Her premise was to figure out what could be made in Jamaica given only two things that the Consulate could bring over from Italy. For those two items, she selected basil and the amaro-like sweet vermouth Punt e Mes.
The Surbiton Road greeted my nose with an aroma of basil and rum. The sip was a combination of the lime, funky pot stilled Smith & Cross, and molassesy Blackstrap rum flavors that were followed by vanilla from the syrup and both grape and bitter notes from the Punt e Mes on the swallow. The basil added greatly to the sip to make it more complex than the swallow. Overall, the Surbiton Road was a savory smash that was a good departure from the bar's more standard mint-based ones.