Sunday, October 31, 2010

good john

2 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
2 dash Bitter Truth's Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters

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

On Monday night after Eastern Standard, we went over to the Citizen Public House for a nightcap. The bar had just opened a few days before and we learned through Twitter that Sean Frederick was at the stick, so we stopped on by. The drink I picked was the Good John which was pretty much the Irish whiskey and lemon facsimile of the Old Tom gin and lime Emerson Cocktail. I was partially drawn to it for after spending several days in Ireland, I completely missed the chance to have Irish whiskey there. Perhaps, it was due to the fact that the two most widely available brands in Cork from the nearby Midleton Distillery are Powers and Jameson which are rather abundant here in Boston.
The Good John's nose was mainly lemon oil with a hint of Maraschino liqueur. The sip was a combination of the whiskey and lemon followed by the rich Carpano sweet vermouth and funky Maraschino on the swallow. The balance was surprisingly more on the drier side than I expected. Andrea went for a tequila drink on the menu named after bullfighter Miguel Espinosa's nickname "Armillita Chico."

While sipping our drinks, a motley crew of the New York chapter of the United States Bartending Guild (USBG) showed up as the Citizen was one of the later destinations of their day long barcrawl through Boston. While we did not try any of the Fernet Branca on tap (at $3 a shot, it is the cheapest in town), we were roped into a shot of Rittenhouse 100 Rye with some of the USBGNY members. Besides the Fernet tap, the Citizen is rather notable for its impressive list of whiskeys from across the country and around the world. Most of them, unlike the Rittenhouse and a few others, should be savored instead; the Citizen has an ice ball maker just for this purpose.

indian summer julep

1 oz Calvados
1 oz Old Monk Rum
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1 barspoon Allspice Dram
2 sprig Mint

Muddle mint in a rocks glass. Add rest of the ingredients and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with a fresh sprig of mint, grated nutmeg, and straws.

On Monday, Andrea and I visited Eastern Standard for dinner and cocktails. One drink that caught my eye was on their menu's Calvados section called the Indian Summer Julep. With the temperature dropping closer each week to a killing frost temperature and thus threatening the local mint population, I figured that this could be my last chance to celebrate the beverage style until late spring next year (excluding imported and hothouse mint, that is). Bartender Hugh Fiore described how the drink was created on a recent Friday night perhaps by Kit Paschal, and it was such a hit that Jackson Cannon put it on the menu.
The julep started with an aroma of mint coupled with the freshly grated nutmeg. A rich rum and apple brandy sip gave way to cinnamon and allspice on the swallow. Moreover, the mint provided a lingering flavor that continued throughout the drinking experience. Andrea similarly had an autumnal drink, but hers fell outside of the Calvados section. The drink she asked Hugh Fiore to make for her from the menu was one of his originals:
Farm House Flip
• 1 1/2 oz Walnut-infused Whiskey
• 3/4 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry
• 1/2 oz Maple Syrup
• 2 dash Angostura Bitters
• 1 Egg
Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg. The walnut infusion was done for 48 hours.
Besides being rich and delicious, this flip contained a delightful walnut flavor from the infusion that complemented the sherry and maple syrup rather well.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

maguey sour

2 oz Mezcal (Del Maguey Vida)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Orgeat (Trader Tiki)
1/2 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg and an orange twist.
Last Sunday night, I flipped through Food & Wine: Cocktails 2010 and spotted the Maguey Sour in Jacques Bezuidenhout's section of agave-based drinks. The drink initiated with a nose of mezcal, orange oil, and nutmeg; moreover, the mezcal and nutmeg aromas complemented each other rather well. The first few sips were mainly lemon and mezcal, and after that, the drink began to open up flavor-wise. At this point, the beginning of the sip was a combination of the citrus and orgeat that was followed by mezcal on the swallow. The swallow also contained a light degree of herbal complexity from the Benedictine which became more pronounced over time. Andrea thought that perhaps it was the increasing amount of nutmeg on the tongue that magnified the perception of the Benedictine.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

french toast flip

1 oz Sweet Oloroso (Lustau Don Nuño Dry Oloroso)
1/2 oz Apple Brandy (Marquis de Saint-Loup Calvados)
1/2 oz Malt Whiskey (Ardmore Scotch)
1/2 oz Grade B Maple Syrup
1/4 oz Allspice Dram
2 dash Aromatic Bitters (Angostura)
1 Egg

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish liberally with freshly grated cinnamon.
On Saturday night, we ended up staying in after Andrea got home from the Boston Shaker rather late for she was helping to set up for the Crème Yvette speakeasy event for the following night. In order to unwind, I offered up the suggestion of making something from the Secret Sherry Society cocktail booklet. The flip created by Erick Castro from San Francisco's Rickhouse had been on my radar since we got the recipe book at Tales of the Cocktail in July, and it seemed like the perfect occasion. The drink lived up to its name of the "French Toast Flip" quite perfectly! The nose of the drink was similar to the breakfast -- cinnamon and maple. The sherry and the maltiness of the whiskey appeared at the beginning of the sip with the Scotch's smokiness and the Dram's allspice notes on the swallow. Once I hit the cinnamon on the egg froth, the spice began to permeate the whole drink from sip to swallow; on the swallow, the cinnamon then complemented the Allspice Dram rather well. While we did not possess a sweet oloroso (only dry), the drink was plenty sweet to our palates given the half ounce of maple syrup in the mix. Perhaps the drink did not taste like French toast at first, but after three or four sips, the flavors came together to give a pleasing yolky bread, maple, and cinnamon spice wholeness.


2 oz Sazerac 6 Year Rye (*)
1/2 oz Housemade Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Amaro Nonino
2 dash Angostura Bitters
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
6 drop Pernod Absinthe

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

Just as I was finishing my first drink at Island Creek Oyster Bar, I gained a surprise drinking companion of Avery Glasser of the Bittermens Bitters. After speaking with Avery for a bit, bartender Bobby McCoy came by to talk drinks. When I inquired about the Wildwood, he commented that it was a Toronto meeting a Sazerac all with Red Hook proportions. He commented that the drink should be made with a bonded rye, but due to the Rittenhouse shortage, he was forced to substitute Sazerac Rye. Since my family once lived on a Wildwood Street, I was curious as to the name. Apparently, it must be a common street name for it is Bobby's family's address as well. The drink was created for the rehearsal dinner before his wedding as a tribute to where he and his friends used to drink. Those cocktails were made under the care of Bobby's father; alas, I did not realize that Bobby was a second generation bartender, but since he seems like such a natural at the stick, I am not surprised that it is in his blood.
The Wildwood began with an orange oil aroma with hints of Amaro Nonino and aniseseed. After a few sips, the cinnamon notes from the syrup became apparent on the nose. A malty rye sip was followed by cinnamon notes that were chased by a nice bitter finish. The absinthe in the Wildwood was present only as an accent, and the light hand in administering the dose paid off in that the drink was not overwhelmed by it.

Somewhere in the middle of drinking the Wildwood, Janet of the Bittermens joined our end of the bar. Soon after, it was time to move on to my next engagement -- my friend's mom's 70th birthday celebration up the street at the Chilton Club. There I discovered a bartender that could have used either of the McCoys' mentoring. What he lacked in recipe knowledge and bottles in front of him, he made up for enthusiasm to learn. Amongst the bottles of straight spirits and vermouths was a lone outlier -- a bottle of Campari! Quickly, I taught him how to make a Negroni; soon after, the other guests got wind of it and started ordering one after another. Even with building and free pouring on the rocks and with no orange twists, the drink was a success.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

spanish caravan

1 oz Daron Calvados
1 oz Herradura Reposado Tequila
3/4 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry
1/4 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a spiced dehydrated apple slice.

Last Friday I had the day off from work due to my business trip running Sunday to Thursday, and I decided to spend part of my afternoon at Kenmore Square's newest venue, the Island Creek Oyster Bar (the Citizen Pub did open more recently, but that is more in the Fenway region; anyways, we made a trip there as well two nights ago). Head bartender Bobby McCoy greeted me at my seat and walked me through some of the drinks on the menu. The Spanish Caravan, subtitled "From the Exotic to the Familiar," caught my eye and seemed like a good place to start.
Bobby described the interesting genesis of the drink. Jackson Cannon had come up with the idea of a seasonal apple chip as a garnish, and the cocktail itself came as an afterthought albeit a well executed one. The garnish, listed as "salted apple," was a thin slice sprinkled with salt, pepper, sugar, and Chinese 5 spice powder before being dehydrated. The apple and spice elements from the garnish paralleled the Calvados and Allspice Dram in the liquid portion. The nose was very apple-y with hints of sherry and tequila notes. The sip was a spiced apple from the tequila pairing with the brandy, and the swallow contained the sherry's grapeness and the liqueur's allspice flavors. Despite appearing in different parts of the sip, the tequila and allspice complemented each other splendidly. Moreover, the Calvados and sherry worked well together in a full bodied Marconi Wireless sort of way.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

japanese punch

1 lump Sugar (1/2 oz Gomme Syrup)
Juice 1/2 Lime (1/2 oz)
1/2 jigger Batavia Arrack (3/4 oz van Oosten)
1/2 jigger Brandy (3/4 oz Martell VS)

Add ingredients to a cup (6 oz tea cup), fill with hot tea (3 oz strong green tea), and stir.

Two Saturdays ago right before I left for Ireland, we were in the mood for a nightcap. Andrea seemed to desire something in the hot toddy vein and found the Japanese Punch in George J. Kappeler's 1895 Modern American Drinks. Kappeler stated that this punch was usually served with cake; while we lacked dessert, we were still willing to give this one a try.
The punch's nose was mainly the Batavia Arrack with hints of something herbaceous and minty most likely from the tea. Lime and green tea on the sip were followed by Arrack notes on the swallow. Overall, the balance was a bit on the tart and astringent side due to the tea's tannins and the Arrack's harshness aiding and abetting the lime juice's crispness. If we had a slice or two of cake, this would not have been as much of an issue; perhaps increasing the sugar content to 3/4 or at most an ounce of simple syrup might improve the dessert-free presentation.

Monday, October 25, 2010


1 1/4 oz Gin (Bombay Dry)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup (Trader Tiki)
1/4 oz Orgeat (Trader Tiki)
1/4 oz Falernum (Velvet)

Blend with 8 oz of ice and pour into a pilsner glass. Instead, I shook with ice and strained into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice and garnished with an orange slice.

On Thursday a week and a half ago, I was in the mood for something a little playful when searching for that night's cocktail. Therefore, I reached for Beach Bum Berry Remixed and found the gin-based Tiki drink, the Saturn. The drink was created by J. "Popo" Galsini, a bartender in Polynesian restaurants during the 1950s and 60s in California. The Saturn was one of his more famous recipes as it claimed first place in the IBA World Cocktail Championship in 1967.
The Saturn's aroma consisted mainly of orgeat and orange. Passion fruit flavors started the sip and these were followed by the lemon and the falernum's clove notes. The gin worked rather well in the drink for its botanicals complemented the falernum's spices rather deliciously; while rum would have made for a pleasing drink, it would have made for a much less complex one in that regard.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

eighty years' war

1 1/2 oz Bols Genever
1 1/2 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
1 bsp Housemade Amer Picon (sub Ramazzotti)
1 bsp Benedictine
1 pinch Kosher Salt

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

On Wednesday a week and a half ago, Andrea and I went over to Lineage in Coolidge Corner for dinner. One of the drinks bartender Ryan Lotz made me was the Eighty Years' War off of their cocktail menu. The drink's name makes reference to the Dutch War of Independence that started in the mid sixteenth century as a revolt of the provinces against Philip II of Spain. By the mid seventeenth century, the resistance led by William of Orange succeeded and the Spanish were ousted from power.
The drink combined elements of the Dutch and Spanish, namely the Genever and sherry, respectively, in equal parts to do battle in the rocks glass. The battle started on the nose with a bit of nutty grape aroma combined with a little maltiness from the Genever. The war theme fizzled somewhat as I noticed how well the amontillado and Genever flavors paired together! The swallow contained a rich but not overwhelming bitter complexity from the Benedictine, Picon, and Genever, and this was followed by a lingering nuttiness from the sherry. Normally, Ryan used Ramazzotti, but he was out, so he switched to his housemade Picon recipe (which is based off of that amaro anyways). As the ice melted, the last remaining flavors to survive were the wormwood note from the Bols Genever and a faint nutty grape note from the sherry.

ashes to ashes

1 1/2 Reposado Tequila (Lunazul)
1/2 oz Pedro Ximénez Sherry (Lustau East India Solera)
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 tsp Sweetened Cocoa Mix (3/4 tsp Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa + 1/4 tsp Sugar)
1/4 oz Agave Nectar

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a few pinches of cinnamon.

Two weeks ago I was tempted by one of the recipes I was sent by a P.R. firm representing Espolón Tequila. Unlike many P.R. firms (Bärenjäger excluded), I was actually sent a collection of good recipes. The recipes were for the Day of the Dead, the Mexican celebration that occurs on November 2nd. While we lack Espolón Tequila (and they did not send any along), we decided to give one of the recipes a try using one of the reposados that we have on our shelves. The drink, Ashes to Ashes, was created by H. Joseph Ehrmann from Elixir in San Francisco, and combined both Mexican and Spanish ingredients similar to how the two cultures melded to form the holiday's traditions. We also lacked the rather sweet Pedro Ximénez sherry; however, the East India Solera we own is half of this style and half dry oloroso.
The cinnamon as a garnish on the drink metaphorically represented the funeral ashes and the spice added to the drink's nose along with the tequila and chocolate. The lemon and sherry paired up well on the sip, and likewise, the tequila, chocolate, and cinnamon complemented each other on the swallow. While my family traditions do not ordinarily honor our dead with such tasty concoctions, I would not mind starting this tradition posthaste.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


1 1/2 oz Rosemary-infused Tequila
1 oz Pineau des Charentes
1/2 oz Averna
2 dash Housemade Pear Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass pre-rinsed with Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy (* see text for other options). Garnish with a piece of dried pear skewered on a cocktail pick.

After the Bénédictine event at the Franklin on Sunday night, Andrea and I traveled up the Red Line and stopped into Craigie on Main for a nightcap. When I asked bartender Ted Gallagher if there was anything that he had been working on, he started to describe this drink and said that he was still trying to figure out the final touches. Originally he was working on a whiskey drink for the new menu; however, Carrie came up with a rye drink first, so he switched spirits for diversity's sake. Ted commented that he thought the drink still possessed some whiskey-like notes since the barrel-aged apple brandy donated a similar set of wood notes.

Ted was still playing around with the garnish (including flambéing the dried pear in overproof spirit), the rinse, and the name. Midway through my drinking it, Ted asked if I had ever heard of a drink named the Marksman; when I replied that I had not, he dubbed it such. One of the intriguing ingredients in the Marksman was the Pineau des Charentes, a French fortified wine often flavored with pine as well as fruits such as pear. To complement the pine, Ted infused the tequila with sprigs of rosemary, and to supplement the pear, he added housemade pear bitters, a dessicated pear garnish, and an apple brandy rinse. The final ingredient, the bitter liqueur Averna, helped to round out the flavor of the Marksman.
The Marksman started with a tequila nose. Overall, the drink was dark and complex with rosemary notes on the swallow. Upon the second swallow, the tequila began to appear and paired well with the bitter and herbal flavors. The Marksman was full of intrigue but was not overly challenging to drink. When Ted gave Craigie's owner Tony Maws a taste, Tony wanted to see more pine notes and suggested that the glass be rinsed with Clear Creek's Eau De Vie Douglas Fir instead. I replied that the rosemary did a good job of bolstering that flavor in the Pineau des Charentes, and that the pear flavors needed assistance. When I mentioned a pear liqueur such as Rothman & Winters, Ted let me smell the Clear Creek pear eau de vie which still retains a lot of pear aroma. Therefore, I also suggested that a rinse of both eau de vies might solve the problem. I have no clue what Ted finally decided on for his rinse. From a twitter I read a few days ago, he has been making more Marksmen this past week, so please go in and try one and report back on what the rinse winner was.

Friday, October 15, 2010

fecamp 500

2 oz Applejack
3/4 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Honey Syrup
2 dash Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
On Sunday night, the Franklin Southie and LUPEC Boston teamed up to throw a birthday celebration for Benedictine which was created 500 years ago at the Fécamp Abbey. Benedictine graciously was donating money to one of LUPEC Boston's favorite charities, On the Rise, and providing free cocktails for the event. The drink I asked bartender Peter Cipriani to make me was the Fécamp 500. The drink was rather lemony from the aroma to the sip. Honey followed the fruit notes with the Benedictine complexity rounding off the drink on the swallow. The Fécamp 500 was a bit drier than I expected given the ingredients, and it had a nice crispness to it to match the evening's weather.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

bread & wine

1 oz Dry Oloroso Sherry (Lustau)
1 1/2 oz Scotch (Caol Ila 12 Year)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 - 1/3 oz Maple Syrup (1/4 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass pre-rinsed with absinthe (Pernod Fils). Add a large ice cube and an orange twist. Use the higher volume of maple syrup if lemons are more tart than normal.

On Friday night, I opened up the recipe pamphlet given out by the Secret Sherry Society at Tales of the Cocktail and contemplated which of the recipes would make a good nightcap. The Bread & Wine, the winner of their contest, stood out; it was created by Charles Joly of the Drawing Room in Chicago and pairs Scotch with an oloroso sherry over a maple Sour base.
The drink started with a smoky peat and orange oil aroma. The sip was a combination of the sweet-and-sour of the maple syrup and lemon juice plus the maltiness of the whiskey. The swallow was filled with sherry notes followed by a lingering crisp lemon with hints of absinthe botanicals from the rinse. We were quite surprised that this drink won a sherry contest the way we made it -- not because the Bread & Wine was not a delicious drink, but because the Scotch played such a dominant role in the flavor profile and dwarfed the sherry. Perhaps I should have grabbed a more subtle Scotch such as a blend like Famous Grouse to let the sherry sing out more. Otherwise, swapping the volumes of the sherry and potent single malt might have worked a little as well to bring the sherry out of hiding. Regardless, if Communion served this cocktail as a body and blood symbol, there might be more people in attendance at Sunday Mass.

Postnote: I did a little research, and yes, we overdid the Scotch. Charles was quoted as saying, "I kept the cocktail very simple. I wanted the sherry to come through... and the sherry comes through loud and clear with lots of complexity." While we matched his sherry preference perfectly, his choice of whiskey is Balvenie Doublewood 12 Year Scotch for this recipe. Moreover, he also stated a preference for Sirene Absinthe if you can find it.

honey bearer

1 1/2 oz Scarlet Ibis Rum
1/2 oz Ripe Honey Syrup
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After a few hours of online drink chatting on Mixoloseum last Thursday night, Andrea and I walked a few blocks to visit the Paddock restaurant. In the middle of our pizza and beer fest, we decided that our next stop should be a visit to Bergamot. Andrea had enjoyed their drinks before when she ate dinner there a few weeks ago, but our motivation was that we heard (thanks to DrinkBoston) that Paul Manzelli from Craigie on Main had just taken over as bar manager there. As we showed up after the dinner crowd had pretty much left for the night, there were a few available seats at the bar.

When I asked Paul for the Honey Bearer off of the cocktail menu, he commented that it was Kai's drink. Kai, the old wine buyer for Craigie on Main, came by to talk about his drink, and I was impressed at how excited he was about the honey they was currently using in it. The honey he bought from a local producer, Mike Graney in Jamaica Plain, was a special seasonal occurrence. When the weather gets colder, the bees go dormant and in some years this causes the incomplete honey to ferment. Normally, the beating of the bees' wings will drive the moist air out of the hive and this helps to dry out the unfinished and uncapped honeycombs; however, when they go dormant as the weather hits the upper 40's or lower 50's, the water content in the honey is too high and microbes are able to ferment it. The end result is a bubbling, nuttier honey with amplified floral notes.
Bee geekery aside, when I saw the ingredient list, I wondered if it was some sort of spin on the Last Word with the honey subbing in for the Maraschino liqueur. After hearing the ratio, it was closer to how Embury might make a rum Last Word than a pure equal parts one. The rum in the drink was a special blending of Trinidad spirits that Death & Co. devised, and Paul was actually the one who introduced me to it at Craigie. The drink's nose was honey, lime, and rum akin to an Air Mail. Indeed, the late season honey was just as potent of a flavor as Luxardo Maraschino is in the Last Word. While the sip was a little bit on the sweet side especially with the yellow Chartreuse instead of green, it was not overly so. Moreover, the swallow was a cleansing mix of the lime's crispness and the Chartreuse's botanical complexity.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

vesica wabbit

1 1/2 oz Vodka (Vesica)
1 tsp Wu Wei Tea (dry)
1 1/2 oz Lillet (Cocchi Americano)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Add tea and vodka to a mixing glass and let sit for about a minute or two. Add rest of ingredients and ice, shake, and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Last week for Mixoloseum's second anniversary of Thursday Drink Night, the theme was "Latest Find." I was going to do something with the bottle of Coruba that Andrea scored out in Indiana when she was visiting her family; however, samples of Vesica Vodka arrived earlier in the day and I decided to give it a go. Vesica is a Polish potato spirit, and when I tried it, there were no off aromas and it had a clean flavor and a crisp bite. While it lacked much character, it was pretty well distilled and seemed to be a good buy at a price point of around $10 a bottle. Regardless, she was my latest acquisition and I accepted the challenge to create a recipe for the drink night's theme.
The drink I created was citrussy but had some spice to it from the bitters and the rapid tea infusion. The rapid tea infusion during the shake was an idea that I garnered while hosting the tea-themed Mixology Monday back in January and it worked rather well with the Wu Wei tisane. Another herbal or perhaps green tea could work well here; however, it would probably lack the attractive reddish hue that the Wu Wei's hibiscus donates. For a name, I gave a nod toward the spirit the Liquor Fairy gave me and to the red-dressed dame of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

chocolate flip

1 1/2 oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
1/2 oz Creme de Cacao
1/2 oz Rock Candy Syrup
1 Egg

Shake once without ice and once with and strain into a coupe glass. Top with 1-2 oz of Left Hand Milk Stout. Grate chocolate over the top of the egg froth.

Last Wednesday, Andrea and I headed over to Eastern Standard for some drinks after a dinner at India Quality. For my nightcap, I asked bartender Kevin Martin if he had any egg drink ideas. When he mentioned that he had a "chocolate flip," I was a little hesitant because it sounded like it could be an overly sweet and insipid Chocolatini disaster. However, I know Kevin and his general aesthetic, so I conveyed my trust to him. And I am quite glad that I did!
I think the first aspect that got me excited was when I saw him topping off the drink with Left Hand's Milk Stout -- a dark, rich, and chocolaty beer that seemed like the perfect complement to the flip's molasses and cacao components. The flip's aroma was dominated by the freshly grated chocolate floating on top of the egg foam. The blackstrap rum's richness on the beginning of the sip blended into the chocolate notes on the swallow rather well. At first, Kevin added about an ounce of the beer for he ran out of space in the glass. He left the bottle in front of me and told me to top it off as I saw fit. After adding another ounce of stout, the drink dried out a bit with the increased hops notes on the swallow. Furthermore, the roasted maltiness of the beer began to play a more significant role in the flavor profile after this addition. From a drink that made me afraid to consent to it from the name alone to a drink that I was afraid that my glass was going to end up empty before I knew it, this creation was quite an amazing surprise!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

morning call

1/2 jigger Lime or Lemon Juice (1/2 oz Lemon, 1/4 oz Lime)
1/2 jigger Maraschino (3/4 oz Luxardo)
1/2 jigger Absinthe (3/4 oz Kübler)

Shake with ice and strain over shaved ice (rocks glass with crushed ice). Dress with fruit (lemon twist) and serve with straw.

Last Tuesday as I was in the midst of preparing dinner, I opened my new purchase of the wood-covered Here's How, Mixed Drinks book from 1941 and spotted the Morning Call as an unique recipe (novel to me and what I have spotted in books, at least). While we were closer to going to bed than waking up (from the name, it sounds like a Corpse Reviver-like hangover cure), the Morning Call beckoned to us.
The drink's nose was lemon from the twist coupled with fennel from the absinthe. The sip was a slightly dry citrus flavor at first, followed by the absinthe in the middle. Finally, the Maraschino appeared on the swallow with the Kübler absinthe rearing itself again as a lingering licorice note. While the Morning Call was definitely an absinthe-forward drink, it was pretty mild for one either due to the absinthe choice or from the softening effects of the liqueur and ice melt.

Monday, October 11, 2010

wardman park

1 1/4 oz Dry Sherry (Lustau Don Nuño Dry Oloroso)
3/4 oz Brandy (Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)
3/4 oz Drambuie

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

On Sunday night a little over a week ago, the cocktail hour was upon us and I opened up Ted Saucier's Bottom's Up to the Wardman Park. I had spotted this drink the night before along with the Seigniory Club Special; however, the latter drink won out that night and the drink created at the Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. garnered a bookmark for later instead. The hotel was built in 1918 and still exists today as part of the Marriott chain. I could find very little about the bar there with the only interesting details about the whole establishment being a spy scandal and later American soldiers using the sides of the hotel for repelling drills and the pool for clothed swimming practice.
The Wardman Park drink presented itself with a sherry and lemon oil aroma. On the sip, the honey sweetness of the Drambuie was balanced by the sharpness of the dry sherry. Following these notes were the grape of the sherry and Spanish brandy in the middle, and the sherry's nuttiness and the Drambuie's botanicals on the swallow. The lemon twist was noteworthy for helping to bridge the gap between the sherry and Drambiue for the first few sips.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

seigniory club special

1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (Sazerac 6 Year)
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
1 tsp Maple Syrup
1 dash Rum (1/2 tsp Coruba)
1/2 Egg White

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

Saturday evening after a dinner at the Pulse Cafe in Davis Square, we headed home for a nightcap. For a drink, I selected the Seigniory Club Special from Ted Saucier's Bottom's Up. The drink was invented by Larry Denis, the head bartender at the Seigniory Club in Quebec; during that time, the club was an exclusive hotel that served as a private retreat for the rich and powerful. The only other reference to the bar there was in a post by Jamie Boudreau where he spoke of Larry Denis' Habitant cocktail.
On the nose, the Seigniory Club Special smelled a lot of maple syrup to me and of rye to Andrea. The sip was a sweet rye and grapefruit flavor with rich notes from the maple syrup and dark rum on the swallow. Overall, the drink was rather smooth from both the egg white and the lack of citrus bite as grapefruit is not all that sour like lemons or limes. Moreover, stylistically, the Seigniory Club Special reminded me of the gin-based Marco-Antonio from the La Florida Cocktail Book.


2 3/4 oz Makers Mark 46 Bourbon
3/4 oz Apple-Cinnamon Syrup (*)
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
2 dash Urban Moonshine Maple Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.

(*) The syrup was made as a two-fold reduction of apple juice which was heated with cinnamon sticks (15 per gallon). Remove the cinnamon sticks and add an equal part of sugar.
On Saturday afternoon, I was off running errands and found myself with an hour or so to kill before meeting Andrea for dinner after she got off from work. Since I was heading toward that end of the Red Line, I got off the subway at Harvard Square and paid a visit to Russell House Tavern. The drink I requested from head bartender Aaron Butler was the Wigglesworth. The drink was modeled after the Toronto, and Aaron added a great autumnal touch with a spiced apple syrup. Wigglesworth is a freshman dormitory on the Harvard Campus not too far from the tavern. Unfortunately, I did not ask which of the Wigglesworth clan (many of whom went to school at Harvard from the seventeenth century onward) he named it after, but I sure hoped it was the day-of-doom Michael who greatly influenced the Puritanical population. Even from an early age, the man thought he was damned after suffering the depravity of a few nocturnal emissions. Michael, however, did not find it damning that he married his own cousin; he suffered from a great inferiority complex and felt that she was the best he could do. Okay, so this has nothing to do with the drink, but this bit of 1600's Puritanical perversion has to make up for the fact that I neglected to ask Aaron about the etymology of his cocktail.

The Wigglesworth's nose was a pleasing apple and cinnamon aroma, and the syrup surprisingly overpowered the Fernet and whiskey in this arena. The sip was a sweet whiskey flavor followed by cinnamon and Fernet's menthol note on the swallow. Lastly, there was an interesting lingering honey-like note at the end; when I mentioned this to Aaron, he attributed it to the honey-thick apple syrup.

Friday, October 8, 2010


2 oz Reposado Tequila (Lunazul)
1/4 oz Mezcal (Del Maguey Vida)
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup (Gomme)
1/2 oz Becherovka

Shake with ice and strain into an iced filled rocks glass (cocktail glass sans ice). Flame an orange peel over the top of the drink.

On Friday night, I was still on the heels of the tequila-mezcal drink that Scott Holliday made me when I spotted the Bohemio in Food and Wine: Cocktails 2008. The drink was created by Eben Freedman, the bar manager at Manhattan's Tailor, and the name makes reference to the Czech liqueur Becherovka that gives this drink its distinctive flavor. Becherovka is a digestif flavored with clove, anise seed, cinnamon, and some thirty-odd other herbs and is best used here in Boston by Eastern Standard bartenders in drinks like the Metamorphosis and Elixir Alpestre.
The Bohemio started with an aroma of orange oil and mezcal. Flavorwise, the beginning of the sip was a sweet citrus that was almost floral followed by tequila notes in the middle. The swallow was all about the smoky mezcal and the Becherovka's clove spice; this smoky-spice combination reminded me a lot of the punch I created for an Easter party earlier in the year. It was rather surprising how the balance of the Bohemio was neither too sweet nor too sharp; indeed, the drink was most likely mellowed a bit by the gomme syrup and orange juice components.


1 oz Chinaco Blanco Tequila
1/2 oz Gulab Sharbat Syrup (* see here)
1/4 oz Day of the Dead Bitters
1/2 bsp Del Maguey Mezcal Vida

Shake with ice and strain into a champagne flute rimmed with salt. Top with sparkling wine.

Last Thursday, Andrea and I went over to Rendezvous for dinner. For my pre-prandial cocktail, bartender Scott Holliday had an idea with tequila and mezcal. While I have had a tequila aperitif before lightened with aromatized wine, namely the Metexa, what grabbed me was that Scott's idea for a Champagne cocktail! The bitters that Scott used were one of my creations; the Day of the Dead Bitters were based on marigold (a key symbol of the Day of the Dead festival) and supplemented by a variety of Mexican botanicals. Overall, the bitters are somewhat floral and rather earthy. To match the floral aspect, Scott sweetened the drink with his rose-flavored gulab sharbat syrup.

The drink's nose was floral from the bitters and the syrup. The minerality of the Chinaco tequila complemented the dryness of the sparkling wine and the earthy notes in the bitters on the swallow. Moreover, the salt rim helped to accent this mineral note. Lastly, the sparkling wine and tequila helped to knock back the sweetness donated by the gulab sharbat syrup considerably.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

bishop allen

1 1/2 oz Appleton Estate Reserve Rum
1/2 oz Falernum
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/4 oz Lime Juice
1 1/2 oz Stout

Shake all ingredients but stout with ice and strain into a wine or rocks glass. Top with a measured jigger of stout.

A few months ago, I was asked by Green Street owner Dylan Black to come up with a beer cocktail for their Sunday Stout & Oyster nights. He felt that it would be great to have a stout cocktail right under their list of draft and bottled stouts. Moreover, he suggested a drink that used the bounty of Appleton Estate Reserve Rum bottles that he had left over from an Appleton event back in May.

Dylan had previously mentioned that he had been working on a housemade falernum for the bar, and I wanted to incorporate it into the recipe. While I developed the drink with Velvet Falernum instead of Dylan's, it seemed to function similarly in the one I had at Green Street a short time later. The stout's identity seems to allow a bit of leeway; however, over-pouring the stout will drown out the other flavors. Indeed, with the right amount of stout, the fruity, spiced, and tropical notes were well balanced by the roasted malt and bitter hops flavors of the beer. Likewise, another richly flavored amber or dark rum could probably be substituted if the Appleton Reserve is not available.

For a name, I went with Bishop Allen. Green Street is located on a street one block away from and parallel to Massachusetts Avenue, and Bishop Allen Drive is one block on the opposite side of Mass Ave. The street itself is named after Bishop Richard Allen, a slave who bought his freedom in 1780. He later founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church and ran an Underground Railway station for 34 years to help others escape slavery. While Allen lived his free life in Philadelphia, there is a branch of the church he founded not too far from the bar itself.

Monday, October 4, 2010

fernet buck

1 1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Aromatic Bitters

Shake with ice and pour into a copper mug or highball glass. Top with ~4 oz ginger beer (AJ Stephans) and add a straw.

Even after taking my time with the first drink, my large dinner was still weighing heavy on me and I decided that I needed a digestif. The drink off of Deep Ellum's menu that seemed perfect for the occasion was the Fernet Buck for both Fernet Branca and ginger beer are great for settling one's stomach. Moreover, ordering a shot of Fernet with a ginger beer back used to be a quite popular combination a few years ago before people eschewed the flavor complementation in favor of the more expedient and often communal shot ritual.
When I ordered one from bartender Jennifer Salucci, she apologized that all of the copper mugs were being used so she would have to make one in a highball glass. The Buck was crisp lime on the sip followed by a dry ginger flavor and lingering menthol note. While there were no great surprises with the drink's flavor profile, it was quite an enjoyable drink. Indeed, the Fernet Buck was the digestive aid that the doctor ordered!

bourbon rumba

1 3/4 oz Old Fitzgerald Bourbon
3/4 oz Pineapple Syrup
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 Egg White
1 dash Aromatic Bitters (Housemade)

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a rocks glass, and twist a lemon peel over the top.

Last Monday, Andrea and I went over to Allston to have dinner at Grasshopper. Afterward, we went around the corner and paid a visit to Deep Ellum where bartender Jennifer Salucci was holding court. Scanning the menu, I picked out two of the new drinks that I wanted to try and chose the Bourbon Rumba first. The drink seemed to be based off of the Brown Rumba found in the the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book:
Brown Rumba
• 1/2 Whiskey (Seager's Bourbon)
• 1/4 Pineapple Juice
• 1/8 Orange Syrup
• 1/8 Whipped Egg (White and Yolk)
Shake with ice and strain into a wine glass rimmed with sugar. Add a splash of soda water.
The Bourbon Rumba appeared like it would be more crisp than the Brown Rumba as lemon juice and pineapple syrup should be much more assertive than orange syrup and pineapple juice.
The Bourbon Rumba led off with a lemon nose from the twist. The sip was a lemon-Bourbon flavor followed by a crisp pineapple swallow. The drink reminded me of a whiskey Pisco Punch (with the egg white aspect of the Pisco Sour similar to the drink Ben Sandrof made me a few months back).

laura lee

1 1/2 oz Old Overholt Rye
1/2 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Cherry Heering
1 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

After the French Armada at Clio, bartender Todd Maul asked if I wanted another cocktail, and I decided that a nightcap was in order. I requested something not too boozy, and Todd selected the Laura Lee off of the aperitif section of the menu. While I did not get the specifics of whom the drink was named after, Todd mentioned that he developed this drink two years ago which would have put him behind the bar at Rialto.
The Laura Lee started with an apricot and rye aroma that led into much the same on the sip. The swallow, on the other hand, was the combination of the rich cherry flavors of the Heering, the cinnamon of the bitters, and crispness from the lemon. When I commented that it was like an apricot High Hat, Todd agreed but pointed out that the bitters donated some extra complexity that the High Hat lacked and thus accentuated the spice of the Cherry Heering.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

french armada

4 oz Mandrin Au Sapin Saison Beer
1/2 oz Brugal Añejo Rum
1/2 oz Plantation Barbados Rum
1/2 oz Plymouth Sloe Gin
2 dash Fee's Cranberry Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a wine glass.
For my third drink at Clio, bartender Todd Maul was very excited about a beer cocktail he created. When he tasted Mandrin Au Sapin, a French Saison brewed with pine needles, he knew that he had to create a drink around it. The beer was funky and fruity like a Flemish Sour with hints of pine on the swallow. In the drink, Todd supplemented this fruity note with sloe gin and cranberry bitters. The French Armada started with a cranberry aroma coupled with the sour elements of the beer. This cranberry note in the nose was mirrored by the beer's pine and fruit elements and the sloe gin's berry on the sip. Todd explained that the pine notes worked to wipe the palate clean with a citrus finish and functioned very much like a vermouth. Moreover, the beer was meant to be rather forward in the drink and the spirits were there to support its flavor profile. Indeed, the French Armada had a very autumnal feel to it that will help to solidify Clio's fall cocktail menu.

smoking cinnamon

1 oz Brugal Añejo Rum
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/4 oz Batavia Arrack
1/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Simple Syrup

Light a stick of cinnamon until it is smoldering on one end. Place on a plate and cover it with a coupe glass so the smoke accumulates. Shake the drink with ice, upend the coupe, and strain the drink into glass.
For my second drink at Clio, bartender Todd Maul followed up his experiments with juice clarification with his tinkerings with smoke as a flavorant. The temporary name for the drink was "Smoking Cinnamon," and Todd planned on formally naming it on the menu after a cigar brand. Indeed, the drink started with a burnt cigar aroma which led rather well into the pineapple on the sip. These flavors were a bit overwhelming for the first sip or two, but after that, the Punt e Mes and the Batavia Arrack began to appear and play a role in diversifying the flavor profile. Finally, the smokiness of the Batavia Arrack tied in splendidly with the lingering burnt cinnamon notes.