Saturday, May 29, 2010

blue mountain daiquiri

2 oz Appleton Estate Reserve Rum
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Demerara Simple Syrup (1:1)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail or coupe glass. Flame an orange twist over the top and then dust with grated nutmeg and finely ground coffee.

On Monday night, we headed down to Green Street for Appleton Estate's Soul Shakedown Cocktails event co-hosted by Willy Shine of Contemporary Cocktails and Misty Kalkofen of Drink. We had previously met Willy when he was co-hosting another Appleton event at Eastern Standard last October. Shortly after arriving this time, Willy handed us a cup of the Little Monster Exotic Punch that he had whipped up. The punch was created by Erik Castro of Rickhouse in San Francisco and features Appleton rum matched with sherry, allspice dram, and lime juice:
Little Monster Exotic Punch
• 12 oz Appleton Estate Reserve Rum
• 4 oz Drysack Oloroso Sherry
• 2 oz Allspice Dram
• 6 oz Lime Juice
• 4 oz Turbinado Syrup (1:1)
• 8 oz Club Soda
Combine in punch bowl with block of ice. Add soda water before serving and garnish with lime peel oil and grated nutmeg.
While Andrea spoke highly of the 12 Year Rum Old-Fashioned, I rather enjoyed the Blue Mountain Daiquiri that Willy made me. The drink name references the mountain range where the best coffee in Jamaica is grown, and the combination of coffee, lime, and rum lured me into ordering.
The Daiquiri had an amazingly robust coffee aroma aided by the spice notes of the nutmeg. The sip proffered a rich aged rum and demerara flavor that was countered by the crispness of the lime. Over time, the coffee was not just in the nose as the grounds infused their way into the flavor aspect as well. Overall, the drink was a little on the sweet side for my palate, but the recipe's flavor balance definitely agreed with me.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

self starter

3/4 oz Gin (No. 209)
1/2 oz Kina Lillet (Cocchi Americano)
1/4 oz Apricot Brandy (Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot)
2 dash Pernod (1/2 barspoon = 1/16 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
For our second drink on Sunday night, Trader Vic's Self Starter from his 1948 edition of Bartender's Guide called out to me. The Savoy Cocktail Book has a similar recipe with relatively less apricot liqueur (1.5:.75:.25) which would have highlighted the delicious Cocchi Americano that we used in place of the Lillet more than the apricot. The nose started very licorice from the Pernod, and as the drink warmed up, it became more apricot and less pastis scented. The citrus peel flavors from the Cocchi Americano were in the front of the sip, gin in the middle, and apricot on the swallow. Moreover, the dashes of Pernod had a pleasant lingering flavor that worked rather well as it did not overpower the drink's balance.


1/3 Swedish Punsch (1 oz homemade)
1/3 Bacardi Rum (1 oz JM Rhum Gold)
1/6 Orange Juice (1/2 oz)
1/6 Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added both lemon and orange twists to the recipe.

On Sunday night, I flipped through my latest book purchase, Harry McElhone's Barflies and Cocktails and found the Tanglewood. The recipe calls for Bacardi Rum, but Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 recommends using either a Cuban or a Martinician rum to simulate the Bacardi of that era. Therefore, I opted for our bottle of gold JM Rhum. Regardless of the fact that I added both a lemon and an orange twist to the drink, the aroma was primarily dark rum from the homemade Swedish Punsch. The sip had a lemon sharpness that was slightly smoothed out by the orange juice, and the swallow was full of rhum agricole funkiness. It was unusual that the Swedish Punsch was not very pronounced in the flavor profile; usually its Batavia Arrack and the dark rum components are rather distinctive. The Punsch did seem liked it tied together the drink as the combination of rhum agricole, orange, and lemon juice would have fallen quite short.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

costa r.i.

1 1/2 oz Lunazul Tequila
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/4 oz St. Germain

Shake with ice and strain into a salt-rimmed water goblet filled with fresh ice. Top with Narragansett beer (~2 oz), garnish with a lime wedge, and add a straw.

On Saturday night, I met Andrea at the Boston Shaker store and we went with Felicia from neighboring Dave's Fresh Pasta to dinner at Highland Kitchen. For a drink, I chose the Costa Rhode Island off of the menu for it paired tequila with beer -- a combination which worked rather well in Eastern Standard's Maldenado. Instead of Negro Modelo with tequila in the latter drink, the Costa Rhode Island used Narragansett which used to be brewed in Rhode Island (and hopefully will be once again soon). Bartender Nathan Bice commented that Narragansett pairs rather wonderfully with citrus so it made for the ideal beer choice for this drink. Upon hearing that, Andrea decided to order the Air Mail off of the menu and ask for the sparkling wine component to be swapped for Narragansett. We did try to make an Air Mail with Heineken Light last year but the combination of that brew with lime was rather poor and nowhere as tasty as the sparkling wine original. And indeed, Narragansett proved to be more successful of a beer for the Air Mail.
The Costa R.I. led off with a tequila nose, and the flavor was mainly a salty tequila which was complemented by the maltiness of the beer. The grapefruit and St. Germain acted more as accents in the drink and worked well with the Narragansett's hops. It might be an interesting experiment to double the juice and liqueur components of the drink to add some additional complexity to the flavor profile.

fourth voyage

2 oz Neisson Rhum Agricole Blanc
3/4 oz Averna
1/4 oz Rothman & Winter Apricot Liqueur
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 barspoon Riga Black Balsam

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

On Wednesday, Andrea and I made our way over to No. 9 Park where wine whiz Brendon was tending bar. Soon I was lured into the Fourth Voyage on the cocktail menu by the rhum agricole in the drink's description. One ingredient that was left out of the description was Riga Black Balsam which is a potable bitter liqueur from Latvia. Tasting it straight, this liqueur was a bit sharp and stinging with a lingering herbal note. It reminded Andrea of a "cacao-ish Fernet Branca," although this herbal note was related but not the same as Fernet's menthol-like one. Although in a pinch, Fernet Branca or Santa Maria al Monte might make a decent substitute. With the Fourth Voyage, its flavors would supplement the Averna rather well.
The Fourth Voyage started with the aroma of of rhum agricole on the nose with a hint of Averna and apricot. On the sip, the Averna and apricot liqueur donated a sweet richness and made for an interesting pairing over the hot hogo (fusel oil) funk of the rhum agricole. Moreover, the Neisson rhum contributed a salty mineralness as well. Lastly, the lemon juice added the right amount of acid crispness which paired nicely with the apricot on the swallow.

Monday, May 24, 2010

deux fraises

1/4 jigger Cognac (3/4 oz Martel VS)
1/2 jigger Port (1 1/2 oz Ramos Pinto Ruby)
2 Strawberries
1 spoon Simple Syrup (1/8 oz homemade Gomme Syrup)

Muddle strawberries, add rest of ingredients and ice, and shake. Double strain into a cocktail glass. I added a lemon twist to the recipe.

The desire for a nightcap rolled around on Tuesday evening, and Boothby's 1934 edition of World Drinks And How To Mix Them offered up the Deux Fraises. Since our strawberries seemed a lot larger than what the original volume of spirit could handle (and my guess is that the strawberries of 1934 were much smaller than today's), I needed to adjust the recipe a bit. Given the drink's name, I felt that it would be a sin to reduce the number of strawberries, so instead I doubled the Cognac and port amounts.
The Deux Fraises turned out to have a beautiful color with a very berry aroma that went well with the lemon oil from the twist. The strawberry and port made for a magical flavor combination at the beginning of the sip, and the Cognac flavor and heat chased it on the swallow. The drink was somewhat similar to the Bloodhound although the Deux Fraises lacked the Bloodhound's complexity from the gin and vermouths.


1 1/2 oz Brandy (Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
3/4 oz Dry Sherry (Lustau Don Nuño Dry Oloroso)
1/2 oz Triple Sec (Cointreau)
Juice 1/2 Lemon (3/4 oz)
1 stick Cinnamon broken or 1 shake ground Cinnamon (1/16 tsp Vietnamese cinnamon powder)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
On Monday night, I set out to find a use for the flavorful Spanish brandy we had just bought. While flipping through Patrick Duffy's The Official Mixer's Manual, I spotted the Ceylon which seemed like a quirky enough of a recipe to merit a try. The drink started with a cinnamon and lemon nose. On the sip, a dry lemon flavor was followed by a nutty cinnamon swallow. The Cointreau added a little extra dimension to the citrus and was the primary source for sweetness in this rather dry recipe. As the Ceylon warmed up, the cinnamon and orange notes came more to the forefront. The cinnamon could be safely upped from the amount I used; however, at that level, it did act as a nice accent. Overall, the drink reminded me a bit of a dry Sidecar with additional flavors from the sherry, vermouth, and spice tacked on. For sweeter palates, a less dry sherry or perhaps a cinnamon simple syrup might push this drink to something more agreeable. Moreover, the lemon size was probably smaller when the recipe was created so using a half ounce of juice would assist the balance as well. Fans of dry drinks like the Barbara West will rejoice though.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

tea julep

This month's Mixology Monday theme, "Tom Waits" (MxMo IL), was picked by Andrew Bohrer of Cask Strength. Andrew's challenge was, "Let the bawdy, lovely, peculiar and obvious late night life inspire you to tell a favorite drinking tale while listening to, or being inspired by Tom Waits. Waits 40 years of drinking tunes to choose from."

I thought back to my first Tom Waits album, Bone Machine that I bought back when I was in college in 1992. Sure, I was doing plenty of drinking back then having just turned 21 and graduating from mooching nasty keg beer from fraternities to being able to go to the graduate student-populated Chapter House where they had good microbrew beers; however, none of that drinking related to the Tom Waits I was listening to back then.

When I started perusing the albums I bought later for inspiration, I began to think about what sort of drink I would make Tom if he were to stop by? Whiskey? A beer? A Manhattan? Well, none of the above. Tom has been sober for 20 years, with the Bone Machine album being one of his early dry albums. It made sense why my associations with him were less about drinking (although those associations are there, but I bought those albums much later in life), and more about his views on life such as "I Don't Want to Grow Up." Therefore, I set forth to find a craft nonalcoholic beverage like I have done in the past for friends who do not drink or happened to be driving that night.

For a recipe, I looked in Bertha Stockbridge's What to Drink which was published in 1920 right after Prohibition started and Temperance drink recipes were greatly needed by those playing by the rules. Stockbridge has been touted as "the Jerry Thomas of the 'Nonalcoholic Drink'." Her attention to detail with measurements and her preparations of syrups and the like make her recipes stand out as elegant drinks regardless of their lack of alcohol content. Since our mint patch has come back with a vengeance, I was drawn to the Tea Julep. I scaled down the recipe and paraphrased the directions a bit:
Tea Julep
• 1 quart Tea Infusion (16 oz Ban-Cha Toasted Green Tea, 3 tea bags)
• 12 spray Fresh Mint (6 sprays)
• 2 Oranges (1 Orange)
• 2 Lemons (1 Lemon)
• 1/2 Medium Cucumber (1/4 English Cucumber)
• 1 pint Ginger Ale (8 oz Blue Sky Organic)
• Sugar to taste (2 oz Florida Crystals Organic Cane Sugar)
Make the tea infusion and let stand for 6 minutes. When cool, pour into a bowl. Add half the mint, the oranges thinly sliced, the lemon juice, and the peeled and thinly sliced cucumber. Add sugar to taste, and let stand for an hour (I placed into the refrigerator to chill). Remove cucumber and the mint (I removed the orange slices as well). Pour 4 oz of infused tea into a glass of crushed ice. Add 2 oz of ginger ale per glass and garnish with mint and strawberries if in season. Makes 8 servings (here 4).
While the drink took a lot longer to prepare than a regular Julep, the majority of this time was spent in the hour (I went 90 minutes) infusion time. The problem with nonalcoholic drinks is that they are indeed more labor intensive to produce something as satisfying, but the extra effort pays off and is quite the gift to the recipient who is often used to being poured a glass of soda or juice.
The Tea Julep's nose was filled with strawberry and freshly picked mint aromas. On the sip, sweet ginger and mint were up front, cucumber in the middle, and tea on the swallow. Indeed, I was quite surprised and pleased at how much the cucumber flavor leached out of the slices; however, I found the amount of orange notes to be disappointing. Finally, the lemon and the soda donated a refreshing level of crispness to the drink.

I have no clue if this drink would fit Tom's palate but I am sure he would appreciate the effort. I would definitely have a backup pot of coffee waiting, just in case.

Friday, May 21, 2010

veracruz sling

1 1/2 oz Kahlúa
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Top with 1 oz club soda. Garnish with a floated coffee bean.

Last night for Thursday Drink Night in Mixoloseum's chatroom, the theme was Kahlúa. While any Kahlúa recipe was fair game, there was a challenge to come up with a Kahlúa Brunch Drink to be served for four days straight at the Tales of the Cocktail coffee bar in July. While the thought of resubmitting the Stamos Gin Fizz was tempting, it was doubtful that they would want to be churning out too many of those heavily shaken beasts all morning long. Instead, I toyed around with a pair of flavor combinations that have worked well with coffee flavors, such as Kahlúa, in the past. One was coffee and lime such as in the Port Antonio and the Zambito, and the other was coffee and Angostura Bitters such as in No. 9 Park's Orinoco. To round out the drink, I added the breakfast note of orange juice to enrich the citrus complexity and a splash of soda water to lighten up the drink. The healthy amount of Angostura Bitters might seem odd especially in a breakfast drink, but the bitters are a well known stomachic and have been touted by the likes of Charles H. Baker, Jr. in the Trinidad Fizz. Perfect for the mornings after Tales of the Cocktail's late night parties.
The floated coffee bean garnish added an extra element of coffee aroma to the Kahlúa liqueur. The sip was filled with fruit flavors from the citrus and from the cherry wood notes in the Angostura Bitters. Moreover, the lime and Angostura functioned well to balance the sweetness of the Kahlúa, and the soda water made for a lighter and more effervescent potion.

Later in the night in the chat room, I came up with another drink. It started as a joke homage to the 1970's bartending great Stan Jones given the three equal part nature that included cream and a liqueur not to mention the float of Galliano. Turned out to be rather good and it got some compliments from those who made it!
• 1 oz Tequila
• 1 oz Kahlúa
• 1 oz Cream
• 1 Egg
Shake without ice and then with ice. Strain into a rocks or cocktail glass. Top with a 1/4 oz of Galliano.

pisco punch variation

1 1/2 oz Macchu Pisco
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 Egg White

Shake without ice and then with ice. Strain into a rocks glass and float a line of Regan's Orange Bitters on top of foam.

For my last drink at Ben Sandrof's Sunday Salon, I mentioned to Ben that I was considering the Pisco Punch on his menu unless there was an off-the-menu egg or egg white drink that he wanted to make. As a compromise, he proposed the idea of making a Pisco Punch with egg white akin to the traditional Pisco Sour. Ben's Pisco Punch was similar to the ones that I have made and had before save for the citrus as he chose lime. The identity of the proper citrus in the Pisco Sour (or Pisco Punch) is a rather common debate. What is confusing is that the lemon grown in Peru, the limón verde, has a flavor rather similar to key limes. Without the indigenous citrus readily available in this country, there may be no single right answer.
The Pisco Punch variation started with a burst of orange bitters on the nose with pineapple aromas seeping through the luxurious egg white foam. The drink was the essence of a standard Pisco Punch with an added smoothness and mutedness from the egg white. The sip was sweet lime on the front with pineapple notes on the swallow. Some Pisco Punch recipes specify gomme syrup or more specifically pineapple gum syrup such as the way Duncan Nicol was believed to have made it. Indeed, the egg white in this recipe behaved very similarly to how gum Arabic does in the classic recipe in terms of mouthfeel and smoothing over rough notes.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

cinnamon collins

1 1/2 oz Cognac
1/2 oz Hartley & Gibson Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice cubes. Top with ginger beer, add straw, and stir. Float a few dashes of Angostura Bitters and garnish with an orange twist.

On Sunday night, Andrea and I went to our first speakeasy bar event -- albeit a legal one. The night, called the Sunday Salon, was hosted by Ben Sandrof and required entrance through a back door to get to the bar area. The menu that night contained a collection of recipes that Ben enjoyed making back in his days of No. 9 Park and Drink. While Andrea was overjoyed by another chance to have a green Chartreuse-laden Silent Order, I was drawn to the Cinnamon Collins for my first drink.
The top of the Cinnamon Collins was full of orange oil aroma that led into cinnamon and ginger flavors on the sip. The nutty sherry notes added an interesting level of complexity and pleasantly lingered on the swallow. Toward the last third of the drink, the Angostura spices from the floated dashes began to hit. The Angostura played rather nicely with the ginger and cinnamon components and helped to up the flavor quotient to combat the ice melt effect.

sloppy joe's cocktail #2

3/4 oz Brandy (Château de Plassons VSOP Cognac)
3/4 oz Port (Sandeman Tawny)
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
1/4 tsp Curaçao (Senior Curaçao of Curaçao)
1/4 tsp Grenadine (Homemade)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

On Saturday night when we got home, we were in the mood for a nightcap so I found the Sloppy Joe's Cocktail #2 in Trader Vic. Sloppy Joe's was a bar in Havana, Cuba, that opened up in 1919 just as Prohibition increased the demand for establishments to serve American tourists. Their Cocktail #1 is a similar recipe with the brandy, port, and pineapple juice in this drink swapped for rum, dry vermouth, and lime juice.
The Sloppy Joe's Cocktail #2 ended up with a nice layer of foam from the pineapple juice being shaken, and the aroma contained a combination of port and pineapple notes. Overall, the drink was moderately dry with the sip being a good balance of pineapple and port flavors and the swallow containing heat from the brandy. The Curaçao and grenadine amounts were small enough that detecting their flavors was difficult. Perhaps at an eighth of an ounce or so each, they might contribute a bit more to the profile.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

perfect lady

1 1/2 oz Gin (Ryan & Wood's Knockabout)
3/4 oz Crème de Pêche (Briottet Maison Edmond Crème de Pêche de Vigne)
Juice 1/2 Lemon (1/2 - 3/4 oz)
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a cocktail glass. I twisted a lemon peel over the top and discarded.
For our after dinner drink on Friday night, Andrea was up for an egg white recipe so I chose the Perfect Lady from the Latin Quarter Souvenir Book Of Cocktails & How To Mix Them. The Perfect Lady was in a section that had a variety of drinks that centered around the Pink Lady. Where the Pink Lady contains Applejack and grenadine, the Perfect Lady has Crème de Pêche which is a liqueur made from small, rather flavorful semi-wild peaches. The Perfect Lady had a lemony peach flavor and was somewhat dry in balance. The gin was detectable on the swallow but the egg white's smoothness tamed the gin's botanical notes.

dry punch

1 quart Brandy (4 oz Château de Plassons VSOP Cognac)
1 quart Green Tea (4 oz Green Tea, steeped 5 minutes)
Juice 8 Lemons (1 Lemon)
1 1/2 oz Curaçao (1 tsp Senior Curaçao of Curaçao)
1/2 pound Sugar (1 oz California Crystals)

Dissolve sugar with lemon and tea. Add ice and other ingredients and chill. Decorate and serve in punch cups. Recipe serves 10. (I scaled down the recipe 8 fold and prepared by shaking with ice and straining into punch cups.)
On Friday night as dinner was on the stove, I opened up Boothby's 1934 edition of World Drinks And How To Mix Them and spotted the Dry Punch. The name was peculiar as it was neither nonalcoholic nor lacking sweetness. Lemon and Curaçao aromas were on the nose. On the sip, sweet lemon and Cognac flavors swirled around with green tea notes on the swallow. For such a simple and relatively quick to prepare punch recipe, it was quite the delight to drink. A similar recipe for Dry Punch appears in Jerry Thomas's 1862 Bartender's Guide which attributed the recipe to "Santina the celebrated Spanish caterer."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

purkhart's peck

1 1/2 oz Eagle Rare Bourbon
1/2 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur
1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
2 dash Bitter Truth's Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
For my second drink at the Franklin Southie's Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare Industry Night, I chose the Purkhart's Peck while Andrea went off the menu with the Old Waldorf Astoria recipe for the Fanciulli Cocktail (2 parts Bourbon, 1 part sweet vermouth, 1 part Fernet-Branca). Purkhart is the Austrian distillery that makes Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot as well as several other products that Haus Alpenz distributes. The drink started with an orange oil nose, and this complemented the apricot flavors in the sip rather well. The sip began with a slightly sweet fruit taste and was balanced by the spicy Bourbon's heat and the dry vermouth such that the swallow seemed rather dry. The apricot flavor lingered quite nicely throughout the sip and swallow without overpowering the drink. The Purkhart's Peck reminded me a lot of an apricot version of Joy Richard's Bourbon Belle.

kentucky royale

1 1/2 oz Eagle Rare Bourbon
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1 barspoon Luxardo Espresso Liqueur
2 dash Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry.
On Thursday night, Andrea and I traveled down to Franklin Southie for their Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare industry night event. On the menu were a half dozen Bourbon drinks and I picked two to sample that night. The first one I tried was the Kentucky Royale which bartender Joy Richard made for me. The drink started with a rich cherry nose with perhaps hints of chocolate and coffee aromas in the mix. The Kentucky Royale was rather spicy from the Bourbon which helped to dry out the sweetness from the Cherry Heering and sweet vermouth. Overall, it was a rather delightful cherryish Bourbon Manhattan with some interesting coffee and chocolate notes lingering on the swallow.

[dark horse]

1 1/2 oz White Horse Scotch
3/4 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Guinness Simple Syrup
2 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters
1 Egg

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with grated nutmeg.
For my second drink, I asked bartender California Gold if she had any ideas for an egg white or whole egg drink. After hearing that she wanted to use a housemade Guinness Stout syrup, I was immediately intrigued. The flip also included the pairing of Scotch and Cynar which worked so well together in Russell House Tavern's Scottish Play. Indeed, in this drink, the Cynar did a similar job in balancing the Scotch and this was aided by nutmeg's spice. The egg and malty Guinness syrup provided an ideal amount of richness and smoothness to the drink, and the swallow had a pleasant combination of Guinness and Cynar notes.

Monday, May 17, 2010

[bonal bonito]

2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
3/4 oz Bonal
1/4 oz Crème de Cacao

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

Last week SeanMike of Scofflaw's Den was in town so I took him to Drink on Tuesday night. There we found seats at the center bar in front of bartender California Gold. When I was talking to Cali about drink ideas, she mentioned that they had Bonal in stock -- a product imported by Haus Alpenz that I had fallen in love with when I tasted it at Tales of the Cocktail last year. Bonal is a quinine-laden sweet vermouth-like aperitif wine flavored with gentian (gentian is one of the main flavors in Moxie soda). And after hearing that she had a Mezcal drink using the Bonal in mind, I gave her the thumbs up!
Cali said that the drink was created by John Gertsen and Misty Kalkofen and was originally developed using Boroli Barolo Chinato, another quinine-containing aperitif wine but one with the fullness of Barolo wine. The drink's nose was rich with orange oils and Mezcal's smoky aromas. Moreover, the nose contained funky notes from the extra tails from the Mezcal Vida's distillation style. On the sip, the rich Bonal notes complemented the Mezcal's spiciness rather well. Moreover, the sip started somewhat sweet and dried out on the swallow. The Bonal donated a nice layer of bitter complexity to the drink that blended well with the crème de cacao.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


1 oz Gin (Aviation)
1/2 oz Chartreuse (Green)
1 dash Crème de Cacao (3/4 tsp Leroux)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Twist a lemon peel over the top and float 2 drops of bitters (Gotas Amargas Peruvian Bitters).
After getting home on Sunday, it was time for a nightcap so I flipped through Boothby's 1934 edition of World Drinks And How To Mix Them and found the Deceiver. The nose of the drink was a combination of the lemon oil and cinnamon with other botanicals from the bitters. The Chartreuse and gin combined to give the drink a floral character; in retrospect it might have been aided by the lavender used in making Aviation Gin. A mint-like flavor from the Chartreuse along with chocolate notes from the Crème de Cacao appeared on the aftertaste. The Crème de Cacao and green Chartreuse made a rather good pair and the cacao seemed to sedate the lingering Chartreuse's intensity. I felt like the cacao amount could be higher, whereas Andrea thought that it was just right.

agony and ecstasy

1 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1 oz St. Germain
1 oz Grapefruit Juice

Shake with ice. Add (~1 oz) ginger beer into the shaker then strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a grapefruit twist with a small line of Chipotle Tabasco Sauce on top, and add straws.
On Sunday night, we went down to Drink and got seats at Sam Treadway's station. When Sam said that he had a Mezcal drink for me, I was game. The one he made, the Agony and the Ecstasy, used Del Maguey's newest Mezcal, Vida, which has a more approachable price tag than many of their offerings. The nose was dominated by the vinegary Chipotle Tabasco such that it even overwhelmed the Mezcal and the fresh grapefruit oils. Grapefruit and ginger flavors were on the front of the sip, and St. Germain and Mezcal notes were on the swallow. When I was served the drink, Sam suggested that I could adjust things by stirring in the Tabasco. After a few sips, I did just that, and the drink gained an extra smokey heat element on the swallow. Moreover, this modification allowed the Mezcal notes to shine through on the nose.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

bonnie prince charles

1 1/2 oz Cognac (Château de Plassons VSOP Cognac)
3/4 oz Drambuie
Juice of 1/2 Lime (3/8-1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After the Metexa, Andrea was in the mood for a Cognac drink, so I found the Bonnie Prince Charles in Patrick Duffy's The Official Mixer's Manual. I had been wanting to make this drink for a while as it would complete the trilogy of Drambuie drinks that make reference to the Prince Charles Edward Stuart and Captain John MacKinnon lore. The most famous would be the Prince Edward (link describes a tequila variation instead of Scotch) and the MacKinnon (link contains a good retelling of the lore).
Honey and heather from the Drambiue filled the nose of the Bonnie Prince Charles cocktail. The sip started with a sweet lime flavor followed by Scotch with lime's crispness on the swallow. Moreover, the Drambuie donated a nice richness and a touch of smokiness to the drink. My memory could be failing me, but this might be the first or at least one of the few Cognac-lime cocktails I have had, and the combination seemed pretty successful given this recipe.


1/4 Tequila (3/4 oz Casa Noble Blanco)
1/4 Swedish Punsch (3/4 oz Homemade)
1/2 Lillet (1 1/2 oz Cocchi Americano)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added an orange twist garnish to the recipe.

On Saturday, Andrea, after returning home from a day of work at the Boston Shaker, announced that she had a new purchase. My guesses did not take into consideration that she might have gone next door to Dave's Fresh Pasta where they had just received their shipment from Haus Alpenz of Cocchi Americano! Cocchi Americano is a quinquina (an aromatized wine that contains quinine) and is rather citrus-flavored like Lillet Blanc. With the quinine firmly in place, it is believed to be closer to the original Kina Lillet than the current day, quinine-light Lillet Blanc. To find a drink, I pulled out our copy of the Café Royal Cocktail Book as it has one of the highest number of Lillet recipes in our collection.

The one that caught my eye, the Metexa, contained half Lillet and therefore seemed like it would make a good aperitif as I prepared dinner. The intriguing part was that the Metexa is an aperitif-style cocktail that contains tequila! Moreover, it is rather odd that tequila appears in an British cocktail book from the 1930's; however, I know that the book contains other tequila recipes such as the Mexican Eagle (2 parts tequila, 1 part Jamaican rum, 1 part dry vermouth) which we made for our International Migratory Bird Day party a few years ago.
The Metexa's nose was full of tequila and orange notes. Overall, it was rather smooth especially for a tequila drink. This speaks highly of either the Casa Noble tequila or the craftsmanship of the recipe's design in general. The sip was spicy from the agave spirit in conjunction with the Swedish Punsch's Batavia Arrack and was full of complementary Cocchi Americano notes. The tequila flavors also appeared on the swallow, and as the drink warmed up, the tequila came more forward in the profile. Lastly, the drink contained the essence of citrus (or citrus minus the bite) throughout from the Cocchi Americano and the Swedish Punsch's lemon infusion.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

::interview with brian rea::

One of the sessions at Tales of the Cocktail this year entitled "Bartending in the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's (the dark ages)" is being moderated by bartending legend Brian Rea. Being the oldest moderator of this year's Tales of the Cocktail at age 83, Brian has a lot to share of his sixty years "behind, and in front of, bars, cocktail lounges, restaurants, nightclubs, and some unmentionable places." Besides this aspect of his life, Brian is well known for having amassed the largest collection of cocktail books, which now reside in a library in Munich, as well as being a co-founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail. To get a better idea of what he would cover at this curiously titled session, I gave Mr. Rea a phone call to discuss what he would be talking about. And given how engrossing his answers and stories were, this session ought to be pretty amazing.

Brian's start at bars was in 1942 when he used to order Boilermakers after a long day of work at the Brooklyn Navy Yard where he was an Apprentice Machinist at age 14 1/2. High school was not for him as he lasted all of 3 days, but his education, albeit less formal, continued on throughout his life. The job at the Navy Yard led him to joining the Merchant Marines during the war. After that, he returned to civilian life working with the Department of Sanitation at an incinerator plant in Manhattan. During this odiferous phase, his life behind the bar got started. How, I asked? The father of the girl he got pregnant and then married was in the liquor store and bar industry, and he got Brian an unpaid spot at a bar where he could be trained in the trade. From there Brian spent a few decades working in various establishments, both classy and classless, where he learned the various aspects of bartending and bar culture. When I inquired how he got taught the trade, he replied that he was trained by the guy who had been there the longest because he could not get a better job elsewhere.

When I queried as to why it was the dark ages, his reply was that they were paid very little, treated like dogs, and did some unscrupulous things. He then got philosophical and started talking about how bars had not really changed much in 4000 years. In Roman times, the taverns had a similar physical set up with cash transactions in exchange for spirits, except with no television and air conditioning in those days. In some aspects, Brian seemed to think that times were better in these dark ages, and other times not so much. For example, he romanticized the liquor of that era as it was stronger with gin starting at 90 proof and whiskey at 86 proof instead of the generally capped-at-80 proof versions of today. On the other hand, he spoke frequently about the adulterating and rectifying of spirits to trick the customers. He was quite proud of his skill of making whiskeys taste older by adding a bit of port to them and his ability to inexpensively refill Southern Comfort bottles with a mix of young whiskey and peach liqueur. Another story he eluded to was best described on his website, TheBarkeeper:
Many eons ago, I worked in a bar that was referred to as a bust out joint. This was a type of facility where we had various ladies (B girls) hanging around with the purpose of enticing customers to buy them a little drink. Well, the little drink was always a split of champagne, but this was a very special "Sham"pain. In an attempt to keep the costs down, and the girls sober (so they could order more giggle soup), we produced our own special cuvee. At closing time, we would fill the empty champagne bottles with 1/3 third Sauterne, and then fill the balance with soda. The most difficult aspect of the process was using a large pair of pliers to squeeze the cork back in the bottle, as it would flare immediately after opening. Hell we were reusing corks, wire, foil and bottles before anyone even thought of the word 'recycling'. Our cost factor was about 39 cents a bottle, and we sold same at $12.50 to $15.00, which we considered adequate markup. Ah, those were the days of "Better Living Through Chemistry" (thank you DuPont).
Putting these story into perspective, the recent crackdowns on housemade infusions and the similar rectified spirits at bars makes a bit more sense why these laws existed in the first place.

Brian's career also lead him to the position of head barman at high end restaurants like "21" in New York City, and later he left the bar to be the Corporate Beverage Director at Host International which ran a variety of hotel, restaurant, and airport beverage services. During his time as a bartender, his stories range from the difficulties in keeping up with the demand for Ramos Gin Fizzes and developing techniques to satisfy the 400 orders on any given Sunday to reflections of the comings and goings of certain drinks. Back when he started, he needed to know about 80 different drinks to get by including Rob Roys, Sours, Martinis, Manhattans, and Sidecars for the men, and Brandy Alexanders and Bacardi Cocktails for the women. His reflections on the 1960's, when bars were filled with dope smoke and the in vogue drinks took a turn with Harvey Wallbangers, Golden Cadillacs, and Tequila Sunrises, made for some intriguing tales.

Honestly, I was a bit nervous about conducting my first interview, but Brian is a natural story teller and hearing him talk is rather enthralling. I easily understood why he made such a great bartender as I felt like I was on the other side of his bar despite being on the phone on the other side of the country. To wrap things up, I asked if he had a cocktail to recommend that would help crystallize the 1940's, 50's, and 60's, and his sense of humor kicked in again. He recommended the Hemlock Cocktail -- no one has ever complained about it! To avoid a Socratic "I drank what?" moment, I decided to pick one off of his website that he described as being from his era:
Jimmy Roosevelt
• 1 1/2 oz Cognac (Château de Plassons VSOP Cognac)
• 3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
• 2 dash Angostura Bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine (Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs).
While Charles H. Baker, Jr. has a similar recipe for the Jimmy Roosevelt, this is the version Brian prefers. The drink had a green Chartreuse aroma mixed with dry Champagne notes. The sparkling wine’s sharpness started the sip and was followed by Chartreuse flavors in the middle and Cognac heat on the swallow. There was an almost licorice or anise aftertaste from the herbal notes in this rather dry drink. Overall, the Jimmy Roosevelt would function as a good aperitif or digestif cocktail.
For more about "Bartending in the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's (the dark ages)", go here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

boston flip

1 oz Madeira (Blandy's 5 Year Malmsey Madeira)
1 oz Bourbon (Basil Hayden)
1 Egg Yolk
1/2 tsp Simple Syrup

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a wine or cocktail glass, and garnish with grated nutmeg.
While making the Trinidad Fizz, I reserved the unused pair of egg yolks for our second drink. For a beverage that utilizes yolks only, one that popped into my head was the classic Boston Flip which I had recently mentioned in the Copley Lady post. We ended up using the recipe in Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide instead of Patrick Gavin Duffy's recipe which contained a full egg or Boothby's which only used half a yolk (leaving one of our two to waste). The flip also gave us an excuse to crack out the Heisey glassware that we had recently bought from Downstairs at Felton Antiques. The Boston Flip's nose was an elegant nutty grape aroma from the Madeira along with spice notes from the nutmeg. Furthermore, the sip was full of a sharp raisiny wine flavor followed by Bourbon's wood notes on the swallow.

trinidad fizz

1 oz Angostura Bitters
1 tsp Grenadine or Sugar (Homemade Grenadine)
Juice of 1/2 Lemon or Full Lime (1/4 Lemon + 1/2 Lime, approx 1 oz total)
1 Egg White
1/2 oz Thick Cream

Shake with ice and strain into a goblet (rocks glass). Add seltzer (~2 oz) to taste. Garnish with fresh pineapple sticks.

After returning from a large dinner on Wednesday, it was time to find a drink to settle our stomachs. Andrea was up for a bitters-heavy drink, and I figured it was time to try Charles H. Baker's Trinidad Fizz (a/k/a Angostura Fizz) from his 1939 The Gentleman's Companion since the Angostura shortage was over. In Baker's book, the drink was in a section of 12 "Temperance Delights"; while it is true that the Trinidad Fizz contains no standard base spirit, Angostura does weigh in around 90 proof and there is a full pony jigger of the stuff! The drink may have had a medicinal origin due to Angostura's botanicals such that Baker claimed that it could help fight malaria and amoebic fevers. Moreover, he listed it as a "well known stomachic" which was what we wanted.
With the Fizz's soda water, it was surely a lot lighter and more refreshing than the Trinidad Sour, and I felt like the drink might make a great hangover palliative. The Trinidad Fizz contained a large amount of cherry aroma from the Angostura. Flavorwise, the citrus was at the beginning of the sip, a sort of salty note on the swallow, and lingering spices such as clove and cherry wood on the swallow. The shaken egg white interacting with the soda water added a delightfully smooth texture to the drink that might also add some breakfast to the hangover cure concept.


3/6 Dry Gin (1 1/2 oz Beefeater 24)
2/6 Swedish Punsch (1 oz Homemade)
1/6 Dry Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Prat)
2 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added an orange to the recipe (lemon would also be a good choice).
On Tuesday night last week, it was drink time, so I found the Suedoise in the Café Royal Cocktail Book which made good use of our homemade Swedish Punsch. The Suedoise contained the pairing of Punsch with gin that worked rather well in the Cliftonian. The drink turned out a pretty pale orange color from the aged rum in the Swedish Punsch and the yellow hue of the Noilly Prat. The nose was full of lemon and Batavia Arrack from the Swedish Punsch and orange from the twist and bitters. And the taste was semi-dry, rich, and spicy, and it contained a full mouthfeel from the Swedish Punsch. The sip was initially sweet with perhaps some of the Punsch's rum flavors; moreover, orange and gin flavors were in the middle of the sip, and spice and Batavia Arrack were on the swallow. The flavor combination in the Suedoise had a fruitiness combination that made me think of an apricot-flavored brandy like Rothman & Winter or Apry.

Friday, May 7, 2010

platonic julep

1 1/2 oz Sherry (Lustau Don Nuño Dry Oloroso)
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
4 sprigs Mint
1 tsp Sugar

Dissolve sugar in a splash of water, add mint, and muddle in a Julep cup, double old fashioned, or highball glass. Remove mint, add rest of ingredients, and stir. Fill with crushed ice, and decorate with fruit, berries, and fresh mint.

Since we did not partake of Juleps for Derby Day last weekend, on Monday I found a good use for the newly emerging mint in our garden. The Julep recipe I found, the Platonic Julep, was from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and contained an appealing combination of sherry and yellow Chartreuse instead of the more standard whiskey or less standard classic Julep spirits like gin, rum, or brandy. Perhaps it was Heresy to consider this, but what tasty, tasty Heresy it was.
The nose was filled with mint and orange from the garnishes. Mint and yellow Chartreuse flavors dominated the sip with the nutty sherry filling the swallow. The mint and yellow Chartreuse made for a great pairing, and both complemented the sherry rather well. The Platonic Julep was more complex and flavorful than a standard Bourbon one, albeit a bit less boozy of an offering.

the good humor

1 1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Cream
1 Egg Yolk

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

After attending a wedding on Sunday, we stopped into Green Street for two reasons (besides needing a drink). One was the old standard -- Derric Crothers was bartending, and two was that the Aquapocalypse was upon us but Cambridge was safe since they had their own separate reservoir and water system. For a nightcap, I chose an oddball drink on the menu that I had always wanted to try, the Good Humor, but had procrastinated on in favor of more standard drinks. The Good Humor was created LeNell Smothers' partner when they were living in Brooklyn. She and Ben were also raising chickens and they needed to find a use for all of the leftover fresh egg yolks going to go to waste after mixing up egg white-containing drinks like Whiskey Sours and Ramos Gin Fizzes. Ben's genius was to make an eggnog-like flip using Aperol as the base spirit. His recipe was the same as the one Green Street now uses except his measure for the Aperol was 2 ounces.
True to the name, the drink tasted like a Good Humor ice cream truck confection, namely the Creamsicle. The nose was filled with orange aromas from the Aperol and spice from the nutmeg, and similarly, the sip was a rich and creamy sweet orange flavor with some spice notes from the nutmeg and other botanicals in the Aperol. The swallow did contain some lingering bitter notes from the Aperol liqueur; however, these were cleansed by the sweetness of the subsequent sip. Overall, the Good Humor made for a delightful dessert cocktail.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

cherry samba

1 1/2 oz Cachaça (Cuca Fresca Gold)
1/2 oz Cherry Liqueur (Cherry Heering)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Islay Scotch (Caol Ila 12 Year)
1/4 oz Rich Simple Syrup (2:1)
1 Large Egg

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

On Saturday, the Liquor Fairy brought a package of cachaças from Cuca Fresca; contained within were samples of their unaged silver and their aged gold spirits. Tasting them straight, the distillers did a good job as both contained the right level of grassy and funky notes without any off or harsh flavors. The gold version had aromas of tropical fruits like banana and coconut from the barrel aging process. For a cocktail, I remember spotting a curious one by Neyah White in the 2009 edition of Food & Wine: Cocktails called the Cherry Samba. What drew me to it was the pairing of cachaça and Scotch which worked so well in the Esmerelda as it brought out some rather interesting earthy notes to that drink.

The nose of the Cherry Samba was a combination of the smoky Scotch and the funky, grassy notes of the cachaça. The sip was smooth from the egg white and had a pleasant sweet cherry-flavored sour aspect to it. The cachaça appeared on the swallow which rather dried out drink, and the Scotch notes showed as well and lingered on for a bit. After a few sips in, the Scotch notes were not as noticeable either through flavor acclimation or the egg's coating of the mouth. Moreover, the drink became a bit more tart after the initial sensation of sweet subsided part way in.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

the jake walk

3/4 oz Reposado Tequila (Lunazul)
3/4 oz White Rum (El Dorado 3 Year) (*)
3/4 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
3/4 oz Lime Juice
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with an orange twist(*).

For a drink on Friday evening, I spotted the Jake Walk in the current issue of Imbibe magazine. The cocktail was created by David Wondrich as the signature cocktail for the Jake Walk restaurant in Brooklyn, NY, and I was drawn to it partly by my fascination with four equal parts recipes besides wanting to see what Wondrich had invented.
In making the Jake Walk, I was out of oranges, so I garnished with a lemon peel instead. The nose was full of tequila notes and citrus from the lime juice and twist. The tequila and lime juice stood out on the sip with Peychaud's Bitters and the lime's tartness on the swallow. The St. Germain mixed rather well with the lime juice, and the combination produced a slightly sour grapefruit flavor. The rum did not stand out very much in the flavor profile, but may have functioned to mellow out the tequila without reducing the drink's final proof. Perhaps a more flavorful white rum such as Pritchard's would have stood out more; however, El Dorado 3 Year is not that subtle of a rum. Overall, the Jakewalk was pretty dry and the combination of St. Germain and bitters took the drink in a very different direction than the traditional Margarita; moreover, given today's date, I must add that the Jakewalk would make for a rather good Cinco de Mayo cocktail!

(*) The above recipe was the one found in the magazine. However, an article about the drink mentions that the restaurant uses a white rhum agricole, namely J.M. Rhum Blanc, which would be more distinctive of a rum. That recipe also garnishes the drink with candied ginger instead of a citrus twist. The ginger is symbolic for the Jake Walk which was a Prohibition era ailment from drinking bogus Jamaica Ginger (a/k/a Jake). Jamaica Ginger was a medicine that was allowed to be sold during Prohibition, and people desperately took advantage of its 140 to 160 proof contents. Bootleggers of this medication (not to fake the medicinal aspect so much as to allow their alcohol to be sold) utilized a chemical compound to fool the treasury department's assays. The tri-ortho cresyl phosphate they used turned out to be a neurotoxin which significantly affected the user's gate into what became known as the jake walk.


2 oz Citadelle Reserve Gin
1 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
1/4 oz Craigie Picon (Housemade Amer Picon)
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry.
When Andrea returned from her trip last Wednesday, we decided to go out to Craigie on Main for a welcome back drink. After perusing the cocktail menu, I asked bartender Carrie Cole for the Montmartre while Andrea selected the Zelda Fitzgerald (Rittenhouse 100 Rye, Mirto, Cynar, Aperol, lemon twist). The Montmartre was Carrie's take on the Brooklyn using Citadelle Reserve, an oak barrel-aged gin, in place of the rye whiskey. Perhaps it was the French gin in combination with the borough-named original that made Carrie think of that region of Paris, or perhaps a recollection of how she wanted a refreshing drink after climbing all of the steps to the peak at Sacre Coeur in Montmartre. Regardless, the drink itself started with a very gin-dominated nose. The sip was rather dry with light orange and Maraschino notes that increased as the drink warmed up. In addition, the balance shifted to be slightly sweeter, more flavorful, and more complex in bitter notes as it warmed over time. The Montmartre did seem drier than I remember the Brooklyn tasting either due to the drying effects of gin relative to rye or due to the greater amount of French vermouth in this recipe than many of the other Brooklyn recipes I have had. Overall, the barrel aging of the gin was not enough to shake the thought that the Montmarte was more of a tasty Martini variant than a Manhattan one.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

the scottish play

1 3/4 oz Laphroaig 10 Year Old Scotch
1 1/4 oz Cynar
1 oz Aperol
1/8 oz Drambuie

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

For my nightcap at Russell House, I was intrigued by the Scottish Play. Bartender Aaron Butler described how it started as a variation of a Negroni, and once he realized that Campari proved to be an obstacle in developing the drink, he swapped it out and the drink morphed into the Scottish Play. Taking from the fact that Aaron mentioned that Russell House has become one of Laphroaig's biggest accounts in the area, I gather that the Scottish Play has become an instant hit. And hopefully with that, Cynar will become the new Fernet.
The Scottish Play ended up a rich mahogany color that matched the bar upstairs (previously I was at the downstairs bar). Behind the Scottish Play in the photo was one of Russell House's casks which contained Allagash Black, a darker Belgian-style beer that is one of that brewery's finest offerings I have tasted. The Scottish Play was an intriguing interplay between the robust Laphroaig Scotch and the quirky and bitter Cynar liqueur; the Aperol and Drambiue played minor roles in the balance and added a little extra sweetness and complexity. The nose was swimming with herbal Cynar and smokey, malty Scotch aromas. And the sip was not too different with the funky bitter flavor of the Cynar being balanced by the smokey whisky. The combination never faltered even as the drink warmed up, and the Scottish Play would probably make for just as good of a post-prandial digestif as it did a nightcap. Since the Scottish Play is a reference to Shakespeare's Macbeth, I might need to try another Scottish Play to fully cogitate the symbolism like how we (and Aaron) saw Punchdrunk's production of Sleep No More multiple times.

hanging curve

1 1/2 oz Barbancourt 8 Year Rum
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1 barspoon Creme de Cassis

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

For my second drink at Russell House Tavern last weekend, I asked bartender Aaron Butler about the Hanging Curve. He described it as a riff on one of the drinks in The Art of the Bar, but the recipe left me guessing as to what the initial drink was other than a wandering from the Floridita Daiquiri. Aaron lured me in with the description that it was a dry rum cocktail, and the drink did indeed up to that billing.
The Hanging Curves' color was a beautiful combination of Aperol's orange and Creme de Cassis purple, and the nose was dominated by grapefruit. The dryness of the drink stemmed from the lime juice's crispness which balanced Aperol and falernum's sugar content. After the citrus wave on the sip, a pleasant spice from the falernum followed on the swallow. The grapefruit and Aperol made for a beautiful pairing -- it gave me the sensation that the drink contained orange juice instead.