Saturday, December 31, 2011

:: fred's top 10 cocktail moments of 2011 ::

I was all prepared to write a rambling year end post, and I decided to look at what I did last year and saw that I did a top 10 list. Since a little order would help bring my thoughts together, here are my random favorite aspects of the 2011 drinking season.

1. Visiting New Bars in Boston
Boston gained a lot of new bars this year, and we witnessed an exciting diaspora across town as well as receiving new talent from elsewhere. I did write a preemptive post about four bars opening at the end of this year and three of them did open. What I was surprised about was how different these three were. With Jackson Cannon's new bar, Hawthorne, there is a formal feeling to the precision and presentation of the experience. Patrick Sullivan and Misty Kalkofen's Brick & Mortar is at the opposite end of the spectrum with a slightly divier feel with rather inventive cocktails. Journeyman and Sam Treadway's Backbar has a very intimate and comfortable feel to it. Other recently opened and soon to be opened bars like Hair of the Dog and Max Toste's Lone Star Taco Bar await.
2. Traveling to New Cities
While I mainly write about Boston, I did have the opportunity to travel this year. In June, we found ourselves in Chicago, and I took up bartender Paul McGee's offer to visit him at the Whistler. Of course, July was Tales of the Cocktail so I was able to have drinks at the Cure for the third year in a row. When I ordered my first drink this time, King Vittorio's Cobbler, I was quite impressed when the bartender immediately remembering that he made me a Cobbler the last time I was in there a year before! In September, I attended my brother's book launch party in New York. Before that event and after getting lunch, I was able to fit in visits to Vandaag and Lani Kai. I was a bit surprised when I walked into Lani Kai, and April Wachtel (who used to work at the Gallows here in Boston) was behind the stick! While not in a different state, Worcester was one of our destinations this year. We paid visits to Armsby Abbey and the Citizen; we have yet to visit Still and Stir, the bar that the Citizen moved its bar program to (within the same building complex) that is open Thursday through Saturday.

3. Science!
In March and April, I did a series of experiments studying the effects and importance of chilling one's glassware. I compared ice water vs. freezer chilling, how long each technique would take to cool the glass effectively, and what role could glass weight, shape, and thickness play in the process. I also attended a great seminar held by Harold McGee and Dave Arnold on the Science of Cocktails with great tips on carbonation and capturing flavors.
4. Beer Cocktails
One of the trends we have been excited about is beer cocktails, and I was privileged to host another Mixology Monday this year and use beer cocktails as the theme. Looking back at all the beer cocktails I have had while out in Boston in 2011, I have to give props to Trina's Starlite Lounge, Hungry Mother, No. 9 Park, Stoddard's, Estragon, Lineage, Russell House Tavern, and Ben Sandrof's Sunday Salon for broadening my experience this year!

5. Press!
While I do a lot of writing about other people, it was quite flattering to have some of that in return this year. Susanna Bolle of WBUR Public Radio Kitchen has written about the blog twice this year: once in March about the blog in general and the glass cooling experiments, and once in October about a Becherovka drink Sean Frederick made me at the Citizen. The blog even got a mention on CNN's Eatocracy blog about the glass chilling work. I forgot which month the book came out, but some of my pointers about eggs were quoted and put into Gary Regan's Annual Manual for Bartenders 2011. I was also interviewed after Tales of the Cocktail in The Feast about new trends, but that site seems to have gone the way of the dodo (Google cache still has the article though). Moreover, drinks I had created were written about in CitySip, A Jigger of Blog, Mutineer Magazine, and elsewhere.
6. The Boston Flip (now On the Bar)
One of the most useful smartphone apps to come out this year was On the Bar which allows bartenders to check in and imbibers to figure out who is working around town -- the 4Square for bartenders that everyone wished would happen, did in fact happen. After prototyping the software and giving advice, the main developer asked if I would be willing to do write ups on the bars. While I wrote up the first 16, a few more have appeared in my style which I find rather flattering, but overall I am glad that I played a small role in this app's development.

7. Writing Other than Here
I mentioned that I had written copy for the On the Bar app, but 2011 also saw my writing in other venues. This year I was asked to write a LUPEC column about Tales of the Cocktail in the WeeklyDig; the honor also garnered me the DUDEPEC name of Screwdriver for my efforts. In addition, I participated in a post exchange with Sarah Lohman of the historic food and drink blog, Four Pounds Flour. While I wrote about Temperance drinks during the 1920s, Sarah contributed a piece about Averell Damson Gin. I also became the primary writer for the Mixoloseum blog where I cover of the weekly Thursday Drink Night recipes and provide summaries of the cocktail blog activity each week.
8. 19th Century Pub Crawl
Speaking of Sarah Lohman of the Four Pounds Flour blog, I attended the Nineteen Century Pub Crawl that she hosted here in Boston. Not only did the participants get dressed up in period wear and speak in period talk, but the bars -- Eastern Standard, Stoddard's, and Drink -- stepped up and made the libation match as well. Some of the period tipples that I ordered were a Brandy Crusta and an Appetizer a l'Italienne, and punch and Blue Blazers also made their appearance. The side adventure to Lucky's while waiting to get into Drink was also an intriguing experience.

9. Books!
I did get a bit of reading done this year although not as much as I would have liked. These included David Wondrich's Punch, Jason Wilson's Boozehound, Lowell Edmunds' Martini, Straight Up, Christine Sismondo's America Walks into a Bar, Bernard DeVoto's The Hour, Richard Harwell's The Mint Julep, David Embury's The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, and Victoria Moore's How to Drink (two-thirds done). Our bar's library also increased with new and old books alike with purchases of PDT Cocktail Book, Beta Cocktails, Big Bartenders Book, Esquire Drinks, Crosby Gaige's Cocktail Guide and Ladies' Companion and The Standard Cocktail Guide, David Wondrich's Killer Cocktails and others.
10. Wait, I need a number 10?
Yeah, I hit the same road block in my list last year, so I stole the text. This post will make #508 of the year which beat out last year's 400. No, I will not try to outdo this effort, but I will write as much as things move me to do so. More significant than the post number was the increase in traffic -- for the third year in a row, the blog has seen 75% growth each year (this does not include increases in RSS feed subscriptions which have also skyrocketed). I thought about writing #10 about room temperature cocktails as the hot, er... luke warm trend. Or about new spirits we have purchased and about ones we have reviewed like Ron de Jeremy. Last year, I ended with a story about having a seat at the Monteleone's Carousel Bar with Paul Clarke and closing the bar instead of getting much needed sleep for our 8am flight the next morning. This year, the New Orleans experience also proffered more insight into the end of one's time -- an Herbsaint-sponsored cemetery tour. Drinking Corpse Reviver #2 and Death in the Afternoon at the graves of Ramos and Legendre was a great experience. Pouring out some Herbsaint for our fallen bar heroes was a good way to look backward as we move forward in life. Cheers, and may 2012 bring you only the best in life and drink!

Friday, December 30, 2011

fifth avenue hotel ice punch

1 1/2 oz Peach, Orange, or Cognac Brandy (Martell VS)
1 1/2 oz Rum (Plantation 5 Year Barbados)
1 1/2 oz Curaçao (Senior Curaçao)
1 1/2 oz Currant or Guava Jelly (Guava)
1 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
Peel of 1 Lemon
Sugar (1/2 oz)

Create an oleo saccharum by muddling the sugar into the lemon peel; let sit for up to an hour (10 minutes). I added 1 oz of water and the guava jelly to this, heated via microwave, and stirred until the sugar and the jelly's pectin were dissolved. Let cool, add rest of ingredients and ice, shake, and strain into glasses containing crushed ice. Garnish with berries in season (orange slices and a Maraschino cherry) and straws. Recipe serves 2.

After returning home from Trina's Starlite Lounge, I decided to make an old recipe, the Fifth Avenue Hotel Ice Punch, I had found in The Gentleman's Table Guide from 1871. The Fifth Avenue Hotel that the name most likely makes reference to was a luxury hotel built in 1859 on Fifth Avenue between 23rd and 24th Streets in Manhattan. The hotel until it closed in 1908 was frequently described as a center of the city's elite.
The punch's sip had a rich mouthfeel from the jelly's pectin and had a complex citrus flavor of lemon from the juice, orange from the curaçao, and lime from the guava. The swallow's rum and Cognac notes rounded out the drink. The recipe seemed similar to a Sidecar with the brandy, lemon juice, and orange liqueur; however, the guava, much more than the rum, took the drink in a very different direction. Overall, the drink was a bit sweet, but I included the recipe's additional sugar so I could make the oleo saccharum (which was not specified in the recipe, and the peel could have been muddled, infused, or shaken with the ice cubes instead).

killdevil cocktail

1 1/2 oz Old Monk Rum
1/2 oz Spiced Molasses Syrup (*)
1/2 oz Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
1 dash Fee's Old Fashioned Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a Highball glass. Top with Clownshoes Lubrication Black Ale.
(*) Equal parts molasses, brown sugar, and water. Spiced with star anise, clove, allspice, and cinnamon.

Two Wednesdays ago, Andrea and I went down to Trina's Starlite Lounge for dinner. To accompany my meal, I tried their most recent beer cocktail after enjoying both their Word to Your Mom and Beer Sangria. Moreover, this most recent one, the Killdevil, got some press in the current issue of Beer Advocate Magazine. The name is a reference to one of the old slang terms for rum, and the recipe is distinct from Green Street's Kill Divil.
On the nose, the Killdevil presented molasses, beer, and cinnamon aromas. The molasses continued on into the sip along with the beer's dark roast, sour malt flavor, and carbonation. Next, a rum and hops swallow finished with ginger, allspice, and clove notes. When I later inquired about the spiced syrup with bartender Beau Sturm, I had correctly identified all of the elements except for the star anise.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

silk road sour

1 1/2 oz London Dry Gin (Beefeater)
3/10 oz Benedictine(2 tsp)
3/10 oz Apricot Brandy (2 tsp Rothman & Winter)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Two Tuesday ago, Andrea and I attended a punch bowl event at the recently opened Backbar in Somerville. For a nightcap, I decided to make a drink I found in Gary Regan's Bartender's Gin Compendium, the Silk Road Sour. The drink was created by Timothy Carroll of the East Room in London. The Sour began with a pleasing aromatic combination of the grapefruit oils and the apricot liqueur. The lime and Angostura Bitters paired on the sip to make an almost grapefruit like impression as they do in the Pegu Club. On the swallow, the apricot and Benedictine offered contrasting high and low elements that were followed by lingering gin and citrus notes. In the end, the balance and flavors were similar to the Pegu Club, but the apricot-Benedictine duo came across somewhat differently from Cointreau.

infernal architect

1 1/4 oz Laird's Applejack
1/2 oz Nardini Amaro
1/2 oz Strega

Rinse a small coupe with Allspice Dram. Build the drink in the glass, stir, and serve room temperature.

Two Mondays ago, we were in the mood for a nightcap and I felt it was time to make Colin Shearn's Infernal Architect that appears in Beta Cocktails. The drink called out to me for a few reasons. First, it made good use of the bottle of Nardini Amaro that we recently purchased and had only used in the Six Inch Gold Blade created by Al Sotack, Colin's fellow bartender at Philidelphia's Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. Second, we have been excited by room temperature drinks from old school Scaffas to new ones like this, and I wanted to add a new one to the collection. Third, the ease of making a non-shaken or -stirred drink appealed to my energy state at the time, and recipes from Beta Cocktails rarely disappoint.
The Infernal Architect's nose presented a chocolate-herbal aroma with a fennel-bubblegum note at the end of the inhale. The sip was a smooth, chocolate apple flavor, and the swallow was an herbal explosion containing mint, menthol, thyme, and oregano-like aspects. With the drink being high in proof and undiluted, it did come across as slightly hot, but its sugar content did sooth out the drink a good deal. Regardless of how dastardly the drink's name sounded, it did make for an exquisite digestif.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

[fenway flip]

1 oz Bulleit Rye
1 oz Pimm's No. 1
3/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup (*)
1 Egg

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a rocks glass and garnish the froth with Fee's Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters.
(*) If the cinnamon syrup is potent, replace some of it with regular simple syrup.
For my second drink at Hawthorne, Ryan mentioned that he had come up with a Flip the night before when he subbed a bar shift at his old haunt, Lineage. I think that it was the Pimm's No. 1 in the drink that sold me on it over the other options he had mentioned. The Flip offered up a cinnamon aroma from the bitters garnish with perhaps some of the syrup's notes seeping through the egg froth. The cinnamon continued on in the sip along with the Pimm's flavor. The swallow showcased the rye whiskey along with a lingering aftertaste of cinnamon and Pimm's fruit notes.


2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1 barspoon Campari (1/8 oz)
1 barspoon Maraschino Liqueur (1/8 oz)
1 scant dash Scrappy's Cardamom Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I returned to Hawthorne, and this time we made our way over to the side room where bartender Ryan Lotz was tending the small bar. For a starting point, Ryan recommended a Manhattan variation he had created earlier for the gentleman to my right. The drink's aroma presented the fruit notes from the Carpano Antica vermouth and Maraschino liqueur along with a hint of cardamom. A rich grape sip led into a rye whiskey, Campari, and Maraschino swallow. I found that the interaction of the cardamom spice with the vermouth created a tobacco- and clove-like impression on the swallow. When I mentioned the tobacco aspect, Andrea commented that she detected it more on the aroma.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

the requiem

1 Egg
1 spoon Powdered Sugar (1 barspoon)
1 pony Brandy (1 oz Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)
1 dash Sherry (3/8 oz Lustau East India Solera)
1 dash Port (3/8 oz Sandeman Tawny)
1 dash Maraschino Liqueur (1/4 oz Luxardo)
1 pony Cream (1 oz)

Mix sugar with cream until dissolved. Add rest of ingredients and shake without ice. Add ice, shake again, and strain into a champagne flute.
After the recently created Burro, I decided to look to an older drink book for inspiration. In William Schmidt's The Flowing Bowl, I spotted the Requiem which appeared like the Nog version to the Flip-like Coffee Cocktail. Instead of straight port, my adaptation of the Requiem split this volume between port, sherry, and Maraschino liqueur. Once mixed, the grape notes from the sherry and tawny port proffered a wonderful aroma to the Requiem. The grape notes continued in the creamy sip, and the sherry's nuttiness on the swallow led into the Maraschino on the finish.

el burro

1 1/2 oz Reposado Tequila (Espolón)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Absinthe Verte (La Muse Verte)

Shake with ice and strain into a copper mug (or Collins glass) filled with ice. Top with 1 oz ginger beer (AJ Stephans) and garnish with a candied ginger slice (omitted) toothpicked to a lime wheel.

Two Saturdays ago, I opened up Kate Simon's Absinthe Cocktails and was drawn to the El Burro. I thought that this absinthe-laced Mule would make good use of the copper Moscow Mule mugs I bought from the Cocktail Kingdom booth at Tales of the Cocktail this past summer but had never been used. The drink was created by Jim Meehan, and I was quite surprised that the recipe did not appear in his PDT Cocktail Book.
The absinthe greeted my nose along with the aroma of the freshly cut lime wheel. The lime juice and the crispness and bubbles of the ginger beer filled the sip, and the tequila, pineapple, and ginger flavors appeared on the swallow. Finally, the absinthe's anise and other herbal notes rounded off the drink on the aftertaste. While this absinthe-containing Mule was not as flavorful as the Dead Man's Mule, it was definitely more so than many other Mules I have had.

Monday, December 26, 2011


1 oz Matusalem Gran Reserva Rum (Plantation 5 Year Barbados)
1 oz Siembra Azul Blanco Tequila (Avión Blanco)
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a cocktail coupe glass.
After the Martinique, I flipped through the PDT Cocktail Book and spotted the Conquistador which had a similar tropical feel. The recipe was created by Sam Ross around 2008, and he named it after how the drink beat down the tequila's ferocity like a conqueror. The Conquistador's aroma began with citrus and agave notes. The sip was a creamy, rich citrus flavor that shifted to a rum and tequila one on the swallow. Here, the lemon and the rum seemed to pair up quite well as did the lime and tequila flavors. Moreover, the tequila and rum did an excellent job complementing the other with the rum's funky smoothness balancing the tequila's sharpness; this was akin to how Cognac can tame rum in dual spirits libations such as punches. Indeed, the drink had a rather soft outcome especially from the egg white's effect, and I understood why Sam had given the drink the name.

Friday, December 23, 2011


2/3 Rye (1 1/2 oz Sazerac 6 Year)
1 dash Orgeat (1/4 oz BG Reynolds)
1 dash Pineapple Juice (1/4 oz)
1 dash Absinthe (1/8 oz Kübler)
1/3 Sweet Vermouth (3/4 oz Vya)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Last Friday, I decided to make the Martinique, a quirky drink I had spotted in Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933. With its name, I would a priori expect a rum drink; however, this was primarily a rye and sweet vermouth-based libation. With additions of orgeat, pineapple juice, and absinthe, the Martinique was instead a tropical Manhattan. The absinthe's anise greeted the nose, and the fruity sip offered up grape and pineapple flavors. The rye and orgeat began the swallow that was capped off by the absinthe's herbal notes on the aftertaste. While I was familiar with how well pineapple and absinthe can work in drinks, I was additionally impressed with the orgeat and rye pairing. Looking back in my notes, I had another similar drink during the Pernod Absinthe Bar Crawl; Drink's Creole Fizz was akin to a tropical Sazerac with similar rye, pineapple, orgeat, and absinthe notes.

flor de muertos

1 oz Reposado Tequila (Espolon)
1 oz Velvet Falernum
1/2 oz Mezcal (Vida)
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Lime Juice

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

After the TDN event last Thursday, Andrea was in the mood for a nightcap. A recipe that appealed to her was one of the other tequila drinks from Rickhouse that SeriousEats had published. With the Punt e Mes and mezcal, the Flor de Muertos reminded me of Misty Kalkofen's Maximilian Affair with some tiki-like touches like lime and falernum instead of lemon and St. Germain.
The Flor de Muertos' aroma presented lime, tequila, and mezcal notes; this led into the sweet lime sip that contained a decent amount body to it. The swallow began with the tequila and mezcal's agave followed by the mezcal's smokiness; next, the Punt e Mes' bitter flavors rounded out the drink. Over successive sips, the falernum's clove notes became increasingly more prominent on the aftertaste.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

black limbertwig toddy

1 barspoon Blackstrap Molasses (1/8 oz)
1 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy (sub Calvados)
1/2 oz King's Ginger (sub Snap or Domaine de Canton)
2 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters (sub Angostura)
1 piece Lemon Peel
2 oz Boiling Water

Preheat a 4 oz hot drink glass with boiling water. Dump out water, add molasses and fresh hot water. Stir until molasses has integrated. Add rest of ingredients and stir.
For Mixoloseum's Thursday Drink Night last week, the theme was "hot drinks." For a starting point, I thought about the rum and molasses classic Hot Black Stripe. An earlier recipe appears in Jerry Thomas, but I utilized the one in George J. Kappeler's Modern American Drinks where I had spotted it last. Using the same hot water and black strap molasses base, I replaced the rum in favor of apple and ginger notes and named the drink after an old heirloom apple varietal. This Toddy began with lemon, apple, and black strap molasses aromas. The black strap's richness donated greatly to the sip, and the ginger and apple flavors pleasantly rounded out the swallow.

a bullet for fredo

2 part Nardini Aquavite Bassano Riserva Aged Grappa
2 part Perucchi Vermouth Blanc
1 part Campari

Compound the mixture for bottling and refrigerate. Serve chilled and undiluted in a small cocktail glass. Twist a grapefruit peel over the top and discard.

For my second drink at Brick & Mortar, I narrowed down my choices to two, and bartender Evan Harrison's description of A Bullet for Fredo won me over. With two of the three ingredients being Italian, the drink being named after the Godfather movies seemed perfect. Part of what convinced me was that I became intrigued about it being undiluted; the other part was the mention of a curious chocolate note in the drink that Evan could not attribute. When I was shown the bottle of grappa, I was able to search on my phone to discover that it had spent 15 years in Slovenian oak and that one review declared hints of spice, vanilla, and tobacco from the aging process. With the grappa weighing in at 100 proof and no water added, I calculated the drink to be 64 proof in perhaps a 4 ounce glass; potent but not overly so. When I later praised Misty Kalkofen about the grappa in the drink, she commented that the bar's staff favored drinking this grappa over other spirits during training.
The drink began with the complementary pairing of grapefruit oil and Campari which has worked well in other drinks. The sip then offered up a funky grape flavor with almost citrussy notes; I initially attributed this from carrying over from the twist although the vermouth and the grappa could have also played a part. On the swallow, the Campari's bitterness accompanied that quirky note that Evan described. Indeed, this note started chocolate and ended tobacco. Perhaps in a pinch, taking an unaged grappa and adding a dash of chocolate bitters could substitute this effect. Overall, A Bullet for Fredo was very different from a Negroni, for it was less rich, grapey, and herbal in its balance.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


1 1/2 oz Cardamaro
1 oz Ransom Old Tom Gin
1/4 oz Averna
1 dimespoon Pernod Absinthe (~1/16 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.

On Wednesday, I decided to check out the newly opened Brick & Mortar in Central Square. I actually had not seen the space since it was an Indian restaurant over 8 years ago for I never made it to the previous inhabitants, the Enormous Room. While many of the tables were filled, I was able to find a seat at the elongated C-shaped copper-topped bar where I was greeted by bartender Evan Harrison not surprisingly wearing one of his standard plaid shirts. Between the barstaff and location, it was easy to feel at home even with the stark brick walls. The soundtrack at the bar is driven by turntables playing album sides; one thing I enjoyed was how the music was present but not blaring like it can be at certain establishments. From the menu, I requested the Teardrop. I later asked bar manager Misty Kalkofen about the drink. She described how the recipe was one of the first successes she had for the new menu. I was curious about the name, and Misty explained that bar owner Patrick Sullivan has a notebook of names that he wants to find homes for; this system works for Misty for she constantly comes up with drinks needing names.
The Teardrop presented herbal notes from the absinthe and Ransom Old Tom over vegetal ones from the Cardamaro. The Cardamaro's vegetal wine flavors contributed greatly to the sip. Finally, the swallow started with the Ransom Old Tom's savory herbal notes followed by the caramel notes of the Averna, and finished with light anise notes from the absinthe. Overall, the Teardrop was aperitif-y in strength and feel and made for a good start of the evening. Moreover, the drink reminded me of another Ransom Old Tom Gin drink I had recently, the century old Angelus sans orange notes from William Schmidt's The Flowing Bowl.


1 1/2 oz Fidencio Mezcal
1/2 oz Cocchi Barolo Chinato
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1/4 oz House Picon Liqueur
1/4 oz Agave Syrup
2 dash House Aromatic Bitters
1 dash Black Tea Bitters

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

For our second round at Deep Ellum, bartender Max Toste had some off-menu ideas that he wanted to try out on us. The drink Max made me was the Wayback which featured one of the three Fidencio Mezcal products the bar now carries, a pair of robust aromatized wines, and a trio of bitter elements to round off the drink. The Wayback began with an agave and red grape aroma that was accented by the citrus oils from the twists. The sip was a full-bodied cherry-grape flavor with orange notes from the Picon; Andrea described its texture as "velvety." The mezcal appeared on the swallow and its intensity was smoothed out by the sweet wines and agave syrup. Indeed, certain aspects of this drink reminded me of the Independent's This, That, the Other.
For Andrea, Max wanted to show off his variation of the Metexa. I had recommended this recipe when we saw him at Hawthorne and he mentioned that he had reformulated his house Swedish Punsch. His alteration of this 1937 tequila aperitif was as follows:
Metexa (variation)
• 1 1/4 oz Cocchi Americano
• 3/4 oz Housemade Swedish Punsch
• 1/2 oz Fidencio Mezcal
• 1/2 oz Blanco Tequila
• 1 squeeze Lemon Slice (1 dash juice)
• 1 dash House Orange Bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Both the aroma and the sip were dominated by Cocchi Americano and lemon notes. Next, the swallow shifted the focus to a smooth tequila and mezcal flavor, the Punsch and bitters' spice, and a lingering smokiness.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

hot old fashioned

1 Demerara Sugar Cube
1 Luxardo Maraschino Cherry
2 Orange Slices
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
2 dash House Aromatic Bitters
2 oz Four Roses Bourbon
1 1/2 oz Boiling Hot Water

Warm a rocks glass with boiling water. Meanwhile, muddle the sugar cube, orange slices, cherry, and bitters in the bottom of a shaker tin. Add Bourbon and give the ingredients a quick shake. Empty the hot water from the rocks glass and fine strain into it. Top with the jigger of boiling water and give a quick stir.

When we were at Hawthorne, Deep Ellum's Max Toste sat down to our left. He mentioned that he was now behind the bar more often these days especially on Monday nights. Therefore, two Mondays ago, Andrea and I found seats at Deep Ellum's bar for dinner. For my first drink, I asked Max for the Hot Old Fashioned from the menu. At Hawthorne, Max had mentioned that he rather enjoyed how his house Old Fashioned converted into a Toddy, so I was curious to give it a try.
The drink's steaminess brought Bourbon, fruit, and Peychaud's aromas to my nostrils. While the sip was warm and malty, the swallow had a pleasing spice aspect that the warmth emphasized. Lastly, the muddled orange peels contributed a great flavor at the tail end of the swallow. While there were no great surprises here, I do have to agree that their New Fashioned Old Fashioned can convert into a fine winter beverage.


1 oz Kopke White Port
1 oz Pimm's No. 1
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
2 dash Orange Bitters

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

After a brief foray at Eastern Standard, we made our way over to Island Creek Oyster Bar for a nightcap. There, I requested the 1638 from bartender Vikram Hegde for I am always curious as to what mixologists can do with white port. Moreover, the combination of white port with Pimm's and Yellow Chartreuse seemed light and intriguing. I assume that the drink's name relates to the year Kopke, the first and oldest port producer, was founded.
The lemon twist provided much of the 1638's aroma before the oils dissipated and the Pimm's began to shine through. The Pimm's fruit notes came across in the sip along with a light grape flavor. However, most of the white port notes appeared at the beginning of the swallow with Yellow Chartreuse's spice and orange bitters rounding out the drink. As it warmed up, I found the 1638 became more cohesive of a cocktail with a nice savory wine feel to it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

grass roots

3/4 oz Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
3/4 oz Root Liqueur
3/4 oz Maple Syrup
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and double strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I ventured down to Kenmore Square to visit Eastern Standard followed by Island Creek Oyster Bar; we did not make the Jackson Cannon hat-trick complete with a visit to Hawthorne as one of my friends did this past week. For our first stop at Eastern Standard, I asked bartender Carrie Cole for the Grass Roots off the Tikisms section of the menu. The Grass Roots featured the root beer-flavored Root liqueur that Eastern Standard featured in another of their Tikisms this summer, the Root of All Evil. The Grass Roots began with a rich root beer and maple nose, and the sip's lime's crispness opposed the sweet, full mouthfeel of the maple syrup. The maple flavors were most prominent on the swallow though along with those of the liqueur, and the rum's spice notes rounded out the drink on the aftertaste.

bell-ringer sour

2 tsp Pineapple Syrup
1 tsp Simple Syrup
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1 wineglass Hermitage Whiskey (2 oz Bulleit Bourbon)

Stir with ice and strain into a Sour glass pre-rinsed with apricot liqueur (Rothman & Winter). Add a dash of seltzer (omitted) and float a little claret on top (1/2 oz Bear Flag Red).

After the Rocket, I decided to go even older with a drink I spotted in James Maloney's 1900 book, The Twentieth-Century Cocktail Guide for Mixing Fancy Drinks. The Bell-Ringer Sour had Maloney's trademarked apricot liqueur rinse that I last utilized in his Manhattan Bell-Ringer; I was also drawn to the Bell-Ringer Sour for I was excited to use my new batch of pineapple gomme syrup again. Moreover, on top of this drink was a float of red wine that worked so well in the New York Sour.
The Bell-Ringer Sour's red wine float provided the initial aroma. Indeed, the red wine dominated the sip for the first part of the drink, and the swallow showcased whiskey and sour notes. After the wine layer had been drained, the fruity sip offered up lemon and pineapple flavors, and the swallow was full of Bourbon notes with an apricot finish.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


2/3 Brandy (1 1/2 oz Courvoisier VS)
2 dash Swedish Punsch (1/2 oz Homemade, Ellestad recipe)
2 dash Sweet Vermouth (1/2 oz Vya)
1 dash Picon Bitters (1/4 oz Amer Picon)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added an orange twist.

Two Fridays ago, we started the evening with a drink from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 called the Rocket. While rockets had existed since 13th century China, the rocketry in the news during the book's time period would revolve around Dr. Robert Goddard. While his tinkering with rocketry started when he was a student, Goddard acquired two patents in 1914 -- one for a rocket using liquid fuel and the other for a multi-stage rocket using solid fuel. Sadly, his 1920 report declaring the feasibility of landing a rocket on the moon was met with much derision from the press. The ridicule greatly effected him; however, it did not deter him from launching a liquid fuel rocket in 1926 amongst other later feats including launching scientific equipment to high altitude and working out guidance systems over 34 rocket launches and 214 patents.
I felt that the Rocket's recipe could use a citrus twist and I opted for an orange one to complement the Amer Picon, although a lemon one would work too to accent the Swedish Punsch instead. The twist thus started the drink off with an orange aroma that flowed into a darker orange flavor from the Picon coupled with the vermouth's grape in the sip. The Swedish Punsch's aged rum and funky Batavia Arrack notes paired well with the Cognac ones in the swallow, and the Punsch's spice and tea tannins rounded out the aftertaste.


1 1/2 oz Siete Leguas Añejo Tequila
3/4 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz Cynar
2 dash Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.

For my second drink at Craigie on Main, bartender John Mayer proposed a drink that he had made for Christine of DudeKicker. Since she is a librarian, he called it the Libretto before he later realized that he had chosen the wrong Italian word. When I heard that the drink contained both St. Germain and Cynar, I instantly thought of the Scotch and dry vermouth-based Alto Cucina. Not only did John not know of that drink so as to be influenced by the recipe, the interplay of the two liqueurs ended up being rather different.
The Libretto met my senses with a tequila aroma over darker herbal notes from the Cynar. The sip showcased the vermouth's grape and the St. Germain's pear-like flavor; this was one of the few drinks where the floral aspect of St. Germain was less prevalent in the mix. The swallow mimicked the nose with tequila and Cynar notes, and this led into chocolate flavors at the end along with a lingering Cynar aspect. The sweetness from the liqueurs and vermouth rescued the balance from being harsh as things warmed up. In comparison to the Alto Cucina, the Libretto had less clear interplay between between the two liqueurs perhaps due to the Carpano Antica dampening the flavors.

Friday, December 16, 2011

magic wand malfunction

1 oz Citadel Reserve Gin
1 oz Becherovka
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Maple Sugar Simple Syrup (1:1)
1-2 dash Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters

Shake with ice and double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Two Thursdays ago, Andrea and I ventured over to Craigie on Main after getting dinner at Veggie Galaxy in Central Square. For my first drink, bartender John Mayer suggested a curiously named cocktail called the "Magic Wand Malfunction." Of all things, yes, the name is a reference to a broken vibrator. I instantly recalled John's bio for the OnTheBar phone application that read, "If the drink is named after Texas, firearms, or sex toys, there's a good chance I created it." It turns out that John's wife is a sex ed teacher, so these topics come up as part of her work. Andrea asked John if there were other drinks named after sex toys, and John admitted that this was the only one. I told John that the name rivaled Bergamot's Beacon Fix which was not named for the drink style (it lacks the crushed ice and fruit garnish of a traditional Fix) but for a methadone clinic one of the bartenders walks by to get to work. The other curious part of the John's drink was one of the ingredients -- maple sugar syrup. Maple sugar is what is left after the tree sap is boiled down into solid form; while it retains maple syrup's warmth, it lacks its viscosity.
The Magic Wand Malfunction initially greeted me with orange and gin aromas that later gained spice notes from the Becherovka and perhaps the bitters. The lemony sip gave way to maple flavors on the beginning of the swallow. The later elements of the swallow contained the spice and herbal notes from the gin and Becherovka including a clove flavor that increased with successive swallows and soon began to linger. Overall, the Magic Wand Malfunction was rather smoothed out by the maple sugar at first; as it warmed up though, it turned into more of a gin drink.

in 2 deep

1 1/2 oz Reposado Tequila (Espolón)
3/4 oz Ginger Liqueur (King's Ginger)
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1 barspoon Fernet Branca (1/8 oz)
2 dash Orange Bitters

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

The other drink we had two Wednesdays ago was the In 2 Deep from Left Coast Libations. The recipe was created by Kevin Diedrich who used to be the bar manager at the Burrit Room in San Francisco before moving on to Jasper's Corner Tap. We had not made this drink previously since our sample nips of Domaine de Canton were running low; however, I was quite impressed by the King's Ginger at the No. 3 Gin launch (perhaps even more so than the gin itself) -- impressed enough to buy a bottle. While that was the first time I tasted it neat, I was first introduced to the Scotch-based liqueur at Tales of the Cocktail this year via Jackson Cannon's Flip Royal. At a little over forty dollars a bottle, the King's Ginger is pricier than Domaine de Canton, but it packs more ginger punch and less syrupy sweetness.
The orange twist in the In 2 Deep dominated the nose at first until the oils dissipated and the tequila began to take over. The sip was a slightly sweet grape flavor that led into the Punt e Mes' bitter and the tequila's agave notes at the beginning of the swallow. Toward the end of the swallow, the tequila morphed into ginger, and lingering Fernet and orange flavors rounded out the drink on the aftertaste.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

corpse reviver #5

1 oz Blanco Tequila (Espolón)
1 oz Cocchi Americano
1 oz Pineapple Gomme Syrup (Homemade)
1 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and 2 dashes of absinthe (Obsello).

Two Wednesdays ago, I decided to make one of the late autumn recipes from San Francisco's Rickhouse that appeared in SeriousEats. The Corpse Reviver #5 is a tequila and pineapple take on the classic gin and orange liqueur Corpse Reviver #2. When I spotted that pineapples were on sale at the Harvest Co-op a few days before, I bought one and decided to whip up a large batch of pineapple gomme syrup so that I could make this drink.
The Corpse Reviver #5's aroma offered up the lemon oils from the twist, the herbal notes from the absinthe, and spicy vegetal notes from the tequila. The citrussy sip was a combination of the lemon juice and Cocchi Americano, and the swallow was the tequila melding with the pineapple syrup flavors. Finally, the drink's finish was a faint anise note from the absinthe garnish integrating into the drink.


2/3 Rye Whiskey (2 oz Redemption)
1/6 Sweet Vermouth (1/2 oz Vya)
1/6 Maraschino (1/2 oz Luxardo)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added a Luxardo Maraschino cherry.

One of the recipes I had spotted in Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933, the Buffalo, caught my eye because it reminded me a lot of a drink that was created 70-100 years later, namely the Red Hook. While the Red Hook generates grapey bitterness through Punt e Mes alone, the Buffalo has sweet vermouth and Angostura Bitters akin to a Manhattan. Although the drink could be named after the animal, it is probably a tribute to the city in New York State that had a large bar presence during the pre-Prohibition days and apparently stayed rather wet during the Ignoble Experiment.
The Buffalo began with a sweet maltiness that ensconced the funky Maraschino aroma. The malt continued into the sip where it paired with the vermouth's grape, and the swallow presented the Maraschino, rye notes, and Angostura's spice. Overall, the Buffalo was a little more sweet and spicy but less bitter and complex than the Red Hook. Furthermore, it came across perhaps a little closer to a rye Fancy Free than a Red Hook.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


3/4 oz Bourbon (Bulleit)
3/4 oz Dry Sherry (Lustau Dry Oloroso)
3/4 oz Ramazzotti Amaro
1/8 oz Cointreau
2 dash Orange Bitters (1 dash Angostura Orange, 1 dash Regan's)

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

In the post about La Viña that I had at Hawthorne, I mentioned that it was Alex Day's riff on the Chaplin that appears in Robert Hess' The Essential Bartender's Guide. Since I had tried the variation, I was game to try the original that inspired Alex to create his recipe. Hess attributed the Chaplin to bartender Ben Dougherty at Seattle's Zig Zag Cafe, and he mentioned that at the time, it was "regularly one of their go-to drinks when a customer wants something just a bit different."
The lemon twist brightened the darker notes from the Ramazzotti and complemented the orange aromas in that amaro, the Cointreau, and the bitters. The sherry's grape and the Bourbon's malt mingled in the sip, and the barrel notes of the Bourbon began the swallow. The swallow then finished with bitter orange, cinnamon, and coffee-like flavors. Overall, the Chaplin was drier and more orange driven than the La Viña, and the La Viña came across as the more quintessential brown, bitter, and stirred drink.


3/4 oz Bols Barrel Aged Genever
3/4 oz Amaro Montenegro
3/4 oz Aperol
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I had dinner at Estragon. While chatting with bartender Sahil Mehta, he mentioned that we had just missed him at Hawthorne the night before. There, he had the Paper (Air)Plane, a drink created a few years ago by Manhattan mixologist Sam Ross that was adopted as one of the first drinks on the Hawthorne menu. Sahil said that he was so taken by the drink that he came up with his own variation using barrel-aged Genever and Amaro Montenegro instead of Bourbon and Amaro Nonino, respectively. Given the aeronautical and Dutch themes, he dubbed this one the Schiphol after the airport in Amsterdam (which is where I was able to buy Bols Corenwyn during a layover on a business trip last autumn).
The Schiphol greeted my nose with an Aperol, lemon, and dark amaro aroma that coupled to make an almost grapefruit aroma like they did in the Paper Plane. The sip contained the fruit notes of the lemon and Aperol, and the swallow presented a malty and caramel flavor from the Genever and Amaro Montenegro. The swallow also contained a citrus pith-like note that I attributed as an interaction of the lemon with the Genever; moreover, as the drink warmed up, the Schiphol finished with herbal notes from the amaro and Genever on the aftertaste.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

la viña

1 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry
1 oz Amaro Nonino
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

For my second drink at Hawthorne, I decided to leave the small menu and delve into what else the bartenders had to offer. When I described a desire for a dark spirits drink, Scott Marshall conferred with fellow bartender Katie Emmerson, and Katie suggested a drink created by Alex Day called La Viña. From her time at Death & Co., Katie appears to have brought over a rich history and mental recipe book from the Manhattan cocktail scene. The drink she recommended was Alex's twist on the Chaplin as described in Robert Hess' The Essential Bartender's Guide:
• 3/4 oz Bourbon
• 3/4 oz Sherry
• 3/4 oz Ramazzotti Amaro
• 1/8 oz Cointreau
• 2 dash Orange Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
I will have more to say later about the Chaplin for I made it shortly after. Alex described the La Viña in an article about seductive sherries as, "La Viña is boozy, but light to the Manhattan drinker. It's a rich combination of nut and raisin notes from the sherry, a slight orange-flavored bitterness from the amaro, and a peppery spiciness from the rye. It's a perfect drink for fall." Katie mentioned that Alex originally created the drink with Russell's Rye, but lacking that at Hawthorne, Scott opted for Rittenhouse.
La Viña offered up a rye aroma with a darker herbal note from the Amaro Nonino lurking behind it. The sherry's grape and the amaro's caramel provided a rich sip, and the whiskey notes and amaro's herbal aspect rounded out the swallow.

fino swizzle

(a) 1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
1/2 oz Graham's Six Grapes Ruby Port
3/4 oz Syrup from Luxardo Cherry Jar (*)
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
(b) 2 oz Gutierrez Colosia Fino Elcano Sherry
5 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters

Add ingredients in (a) with crushed ice in a Collins glass (do not fill with ice). Swizzle until the glass is frosted. Top with ice, float sherry, and garnish with bitters. Add a straw.
(*) Perhaps if you do not have enough syrup from the jar, using Cherry Heering or other sweet cherry liqueur might work well to supplement the syrup.

Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I finally made it over to Hawthorne, Jackson Cannon's newest establishment to round out the trilogy with Eastern Standard and Island Creek Oyster Bar. Manning the main bar that night were bartenders Scott Marshall (ex-Drink) and Katie Emmerson (ex-Death & Co.), and Ryan Lotz (ex-Lineage) was apparently at the side bar in the other room. Off of the ever changing short menu of around ten drinks, the Fino Swizzle called out to me. Therefore, I asked Scott for the "$5 milkshake" and he understood the movie reference and that I wanted the $16 drink that was pricier than the other selections. Perhaps one reason that the drink that Nicole Lebedevitch created was a step above was that it contained a half jigger's worth of syrup from Luxardo Maraschino cherry jars. Nicole explained that in a waste-not want-not mindset, she reserved the precious syrup from the big cans of Luxardo cherries that the bar orders and utilized them in this drink. Or perhaps it was a step above since I have never had a bartender in a swanky suit make me a swizzle before.
The Fino Swizzle's bitters donated a delightful cinnamon note to the swizzle and their flavor would not appear until the later part of the drink. The sip was a cherry note from the syrup along with the port's grape and a little crispness from the lemon. The cherry continued on the swallow where it mingled with the Cognac notes. Later, the sip got quite a bit drier from the fino sherry, and the bitter's cinnamon entered in on the swallow. Moreover, the fino and the bitters paired rather well together along with the residual flavors from the bottom part of the drink.

Monday, December 12, 2011

firecracker cocktail

1 1/2 oz Pisco Torontel (Macchu Pisco)
1/2 oz Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal (Mezcal Vida)
1/2 oz Agave Nectar
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram

Stir agave nectar with ingredients until dissolved. Add ice and shake. Strain into a glass rimmed with cinnamon sugar.

Two Fridays ago, I decided to search through Gregory Dicum's The Pisco Book for a recipe, and we decided upon the Firecracker Cocktail. The drink was created by Dushan Zaric at Manhattan's Employees Only and has appeared on menu at the Macao Trading Company where Dushan also works. On the Macao menu, it lists the ingredients as "Barsol Pisco Italia combined with homemade Créma de Mezcal, Lime & Pineapple Juices Finished with Macao’s 5 Spice Bitters." Since I did not have Créma de Mezcal, I used Mezcal Vida and assumed that the agave nectar in the recipe would be sufficient for sweetness; it appears that Macao makes their own sweetened mezcal. Moreover, I am not sure if they dropped the cinnamon-sugared rim in favor of garnishing with bitters. But as we discovered, the cinnamon rim was worth the efforts.
Indeed, the cinnamon on the rim helped to fill the aroma along with the pisco and mezcal notes; as the drink warmed up, the allspice from the liqueur joined with the cinnamon in a pumpkin pie spice sort of way. The lime juice dominated the sip and worked well with the pineapple, pisco, and mezcal on the swallow. Next, the Firecracker Cocktail finished with a lingering smoke and allspice flavor that increased with successive sips. Given the name, I expected this drink to be much more intense; instead, it was quite pleasant. Definitely, the addition of mezcal and Allspice Dram to a Pisco Punch took the drink in interesting directions.

julep en fuego

2 oz Booker's Bourbon
3/4 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Mint Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Angostura Bitters
1 dash Cholula Hot Sauce

Muddle 10-12 mint leaves in a Julep cup. Add rest of ingredients and crushed ice. Stir until the cup is frosted over, and then top with crushed ice. Garnish with mint sprigs and hot pepper rings, and add straws.

For my second drink at No. 9 Park, bartender Ted Kilpatrick bounced a few ideas and the one that appealed to me was a spicy and flavorful Julep that he had made for Noel, one of the regulars. When he made this drink previously, he had included orgeat in the ingredients; however, this time, he decided to leave it out in favor of more overproof spirit. Ted was unsure of the name and mentioned that Julep Agresivo and Julep Peligroso were in the running to warn people of its potency and spice, but he later liked my suggestion of Julep en Fuego.
The Julep's aroma was a combination of the herbal mint and the sweet, vegetal red pepper slices that were garnishing the drink. The Bourbon flavors were strangely constrained to the sip for me, while the Smith & Cross Rum and Angostura Bitters filled the swallow. Lastly, the Cholula came across as a lingering light level of heat, and I was quite pleased that it did not inflict the suffering that the phrase "...and a dropper of hot sauce" can sometimes accompany. I had to agree with one of Ted's observations; Ted found it interesting how the Cholula interacted with the Angostura Bitters: while the pepper made the mouth water, the bitters countered it by drying the palate.

Friday, December 9, 2011

fever tea

1 oz Laird's 7 1/2 Year Apple Brandy
1 oz Linden-infused Old Overholt Rye (*)
1/2 oz Cider Syrup (1:1 cider to sugar, cold process)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a Highball glass filled with ice. Top with 2 oz prosecco and add a straw.
(*) Ted was vague with his description of the infusion. Use the time and tea concentration in the Earl Grey Marteani post as a guide (and scale down accordingly to your needs).

Two Thursdays ago, I decided to brave the crowds and go shopping at the Boston Shaker's midnight madness sale. Afterward, I was rather close to the Red Line, so I hopped on the subway to visit the bar at No. 9 Park. One drink that bartender Ted Kilpatrick wanted to showcase for me was his new creation he called Fever Tea. With linden flower-infused rye and apple notes, this Highball sounded quite delicious.
The Fever Tea began with floral notes from the linden-infused rye and apple ones from the brandy and cider syrup; the combination of the two came across as an almost honey aroma. There were no honey notes in the sip though, for it contained crisp carbonation, lemon, and apple flavors instead. The rye appeared on the swallow along with the linden tea's tannins, and it finished with a lingering floral flavor. Furthermore, as the ice melted, cinnamon notes from the bitters began to spice the swallow. I was quite intrigued how the Fever Tea started tart but ended dry, and I was impressed at how the Fever Tea proved to be a refreshing late Autumnal tall drink.

the angelus

1 dash Gum Syrup (1/8 oz Jaggery)
1 dash Absinthe (1/8 oz Kübler)
A little Vermouth (1/2 oz Vya Sweet)
1 pony Old Tom Gin (1 oz Ransom)
2 dash Orange Bitters (2 dash Regan's)
2 dash Curaçao (1/4 oz Senior Curaçao)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After having the Sunshine, I decided that we needed to try something a bit more old school and found the Angelus in William Schmidt's The Flowing Bowl. With Old Tom Gin and sweet vermouth, the drink reminded me of the Martinez Cocktail with a few alterations. For a gin, I opted for the more flavorful Ransom Old Tom but later remade it with Hayman's.
The Angelus when made with the Ransom presented an orange aroma from the Curaçao and bitters, a mint- and thyme-like aroma from the gin, and perhaps a hint of anise from the absinthe. The sip was rather simple with orange and grape notes, while the swallow showcased the spiciness of the gin. As the drink warmed up, the absinthe notes began to appear on the swallow as well. We could not believe how delicious this drink was, and I believed it was the Ransom Old Tom Gin tying the drink together. Therefore, I remade the drink with Hayman's. The drink lacked a lot of the savory herb notes in the nose and spice on the swallow; moreover, the drink was much more absinthe and orange forward. While the drink was decent with the Hayman's, it was nothing magical; with Ransom, it was worthy of the Angelus name.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


1 oz Light Rum (El Dorado 3 Year)
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 oz Crème de Cassis (G.E. Massenez)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

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

Two Wednesdays ago, I took out Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century book to read what Paul Harrington had to say about the Floridita. Afterward, I turned the pages and spotted the Sunshine which reminded me of a rum and vermouth version of the gin-based Mississippi (or Missouri) Mule. That Mule is unrelated to the ginger beer and lime juice Moscow Mule family but falls in the Daisy one with crème de cassis as the sweetener. Wondrich discussed the Sunshine in Esquire and provided a wide variety of recipe combinations using that name. He attributes the name to people's imagination of Florida and its tan-inducing beaches.
The Sunshine began with the aroma of lemon oil and cassis' currant notes. The sip was fruity with lemon and an almost pomegranate flavor, and the swallow was a combination of the rum and cassis that dried out in the end with the French vermouth's notes. Indeed, the Sunshine was reminiscent of the El Presidente given the rum and dry vermouth base albeit with different fruit flavors.


2/3 Scotch (2 oz Famous Grouse + 1 barspoon Laphroaig 10)
2 dash Yellow Chartreuse (1/2 oz)
2 dash Dry Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Prat)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Tuesday last week, I skimmed my copy of Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 looking for that evening's nightcap. When I spotted the Williams, it appeared like a 3-2-1 with Scotch in place of the rye. I interpreted the book's vague proportions to mean two thirds Scotch and one third a split of Yellow Chartreuse and dry vermouth which would make it a bit drier than the 3-2-1.
The Williams began with a peaty aroma from the Scotch and minty notes from the Yellow Chartreuse. The light herbal sip showcased the Scotch's malt notes as well, and the Scotch's smoke appeared at the beginning of the swallow. Next, the swallow ended with the bulk of Yellow Chartreuse's flavor along with orange notes from the bitters. Overall, the Williams was a better balanced drink for my palate than the 3-2-1 in terms of sweetness, and the extra smokey notes in the mix did not hurt either.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

west fens

1 1/2 oz Tuthilltown's Hudson Manhattan Rye
3/4 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 dash Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry on the side.

For my last cocktail at the Citizen Public House, bartender Sean Frederick recommended a drink he created in the Manhattan vein. His tribute to the bar's neighborhood, the West Fens, was first created for bartender Jeff Grdinich (now of Drink, then of White Mountain Cider Co.) when he first sat at the Citizen's bar. Jeff requested a drink that would pair up with the pork schnitzel he had ordered. Sean has made the drink with a variety of ryes in the past, and this time he selected one from Tuthilltown in New York State.
The rye shone through on the West Fens' aroma along with the Aperol's fruit note, and the whiskey continued on as a spicy malt flavor in the sip that played well with the Carpano Antica. Next, the rye's barrel notes appeared at the beginning of the swallow along with the bitters' clove, and the swallow closed with the Maraschino liqueur flavor. The drink's recipe somewhat reminded me of Paul Clarke's Two Birds; however, Paul's use of crème de cacao and Peychaud's Bitters took the drink in a different direction than Sean's use of Maraschino and Decanter Bitters.

scarlet swizzle

2 oz Scarlet Ibis Rum
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
2 oz Don's Mix (*)
4 dash Bittermens Tiki Bitters

Build in a Collins glass. Add crushed ice and swizzle until the glass begins to frost over. Garnish with a grapefruit twist and 4 mists of St. Elizabeth's Allspice Dram. Add a straw.
(*) 3 parts white grapefruit to 1 part cinnamon syrup. Note that this varies from the regular Don's Mix which is 2 parts grapefruit to 1 part cinnamon syrup; 1 1/2 oz of regular Don's Mix + 1/2 oz of grapefruit juice should be equivalent.

Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I got dinner at the Citizen after my DJ gig. For my first drink, I asked bartender Sean Frederick for the Scarlet Swizzle that replaced the 19th Century Swizzle on the menu. While the 19th Century Swizzle called for Smith & Cross as the base spirit, the Scarlet Swizzle acquired its name from the Scarlet Ibis Rum from Trinidad & Tobago. Scarlet Ibis was created by request for Death & Co. by blending a variety of 3-5 year old rums to pack a funky, strong punch.
The Scarlet Swizzle's nose was full of grapefruit oil and allspice notes that combined to proffer a clove-like aroma. The grapefruit from the Don's Mix mingled with the aged rum's caramel notes on the sip, and the rum's heat and funk appeared along with the Don's Mix's cinnamon on the swallow.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

autumn sweater

2 oz Laird's Applejack
1/4 oz Averna
1/4 Cinzano Sweet Vermouth
2 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters
1 Sugar Cube

Muddle sugar cube with bitters. Add rest of ingredients and ice, stir, and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
The other drink I had at the Independent two Sundays ago when Evan Harrison was guest bartending was the Autumn Sweater. Evan described the drink to be like an Applejack Old Fashioned, but the addition of the sweet vermouth and Averna would add some greater depth to the mix. The Autumn Sweater greeted my nose with a bright orange oil aroma with lower notes from the Averna and possibly the sweet vermouth. The sip started as an apple and rich caramel taste that gained grape flavors over time as the drink warmed up. The swallow then showcased the Averna's spice notes and the bitter's chocolate ones to round out the drink.

this, that, the other

2 oz Maurin Quina
1 oz Chinaco Blanco Tequila
1/2 oz Graham Six Grapes Port
1 dash Housemade Lime Bitters (*)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lime twist.
(*) Possibly a lime peel tincture. Scrappy's sells a lime bitters, and muddling lime peels in the tequila and letting it sit for several minutes might work in a pinch.

Two weeks ago, we heard that Evan Harrison was going to be doing a guest bartending gig at his old haunt, the Independent, that Sunday. Currently, Evan is between jobs after he left Deep Ellum but before Brick & Mortar opens up in another week or two; thus, he has been doing guest stints around town to stay in shape including a night at Craigie on Main. Since we were unable to make the Craigie on Main one, we were quite pleased to attend this one.
The cocktail I picked off the menu, the "This, That, the Other," was a tequila aperitif akin to the Metexa but with richer, fruitier flavors. Furthermore, the combination of Maurin Quina and tequila appealed to me for it worked rather well in Scott Holliday's Tequila Scaffa. The drink presented a tequila and lime oil aroma that led into a rich cherry-grape fruit sip from the Maurin Quina and port. Next, the swallow offered up the complementary duo of tequila and lime peel notes.

Monday, December 5, 2011

catcher in the rye

1 1/2 oz Rye (Sazerac 6 Year)
1 oz Amontillado Sherry (Lustau Dry)
1/2 oz Torani Amer
1/4 oz Grand Marnier
1 dash Abbott's Bitters (*)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
(*) The recipe recommends subbing vanilla bean-infused Angostura or vanilla-bean infused Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters; however, regular Angostura Bitters should work fine here.

For a nightcap two Saturdays ago, I decided to make a drink created by Brooke Arthur of Prospect in San Francisco. The recipe which appeared in the May/June issue of Imbibe Magazine was entitled the Catcher in the Rye; besides the whiskey element alluded to in the name, it contained some interesting sounding orange and grape elements. While I used Sazerac 6 Year Rye, the two whiskeys she has used in the past for her J.D. Salinger tribute are Wild Turkey and Rittenhouse 100 Ryes which are both on the spicier side.
The Catcher in the Rye began with a variety of orange aromas from the twist, Torani Amer, and Grand Marnier. The orange notes continued on in the sip where they joined the sherry's grape. The nuttier aspect of the Amontillado sherry fell in the swallow along with the rye and the Abbott's Bitters spice. The bitters definitely tied the drink together and gave a bit of complexity that was more noticeable here than in other recipes. Moreover, the recipe seemed to be a few dashes of Maraschino liqueur shy from completely reminding me of a Hoskins Cocktail regardless of the different base spirit. Overall, in Andrea's words, the Catcher in the Rye was a "very nice, very dry sherry cocktail."

newton's downfall

1 1/2 oz Old Overholt Rye
1/2 oz Averna
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Acid Phosphate
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1 barspoon Fig Jam
2 dash Scrappy's Chocolate Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with chipped ice. Garnish with an orange twist and add straws.

For my second drink at Stoddard's, I asked bartender Tony Iamunno if he had any drinks he was working on. He mentioned that he had a drink called Newton's Downfall; I was expecting an apple drink for I imagined a Sir Isaac theme, but Tony meant the cookie. Through a spoonful of fig jam in conjunction with the other flavors in the mix, the drink reminded Tony of a Fig Newton. Also of note was how Tony supplemented a softer citrus fruit juice, namely orange, with acid phosphate's crispness to balance the sweetness in the drink similar to how lemon or lime juice alone would.
The Newton's Downfall had an orange oil aroma with fig notes poking through. A crisp orange sip presented the Averna's caramel and the rye's malt, and the swallow showcased the spicier aspects of the rye and Averna along with fig and cinnamon flavors. As the ice melted, the chocolate notes from the bitters began to appear and the fig became more prominent.

boston bog

1 1/2 oz Vodka Beefeater Gin
1/2 oz Plymouth Sloe Gin
1 1/2 oz Cranberry Juice
1/4 oz Ginger Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with chipped ice. Garnish with 4 fresh cranberries and add straws.
Two Fridays ago, Andrea and I went to Stoddard's Fine Food & Ale for drinks. For my first libation, I asked bartender Tony Iamunno for the Boston Bog off of the menu. Instead of the vodka base, I requested gin for I felt that it would work well with the sloe gin and ginger syrup flavors. The gin paid dividends in the nose where it contributed a great botanical note, and this led into a fruit-driven sip with flavors from the sloe gin and cranberry juice. The swallow possessed gin notes with a lingering ginger aftertaste. As the ice melted, the tartness of the cranberry juice started to come through along with a greater juniper signature from the gin.

Friday, December 2, 2011

la bateleur

2 oz Beefeater Gin
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Strega
1/4 oz Cynar
1 dash Angostura Bitters

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

After Alex Day's Gran Paradiso, I recalled another one of his recipes that I had spotted in Gary Regan's Bartender's Gin Compendium called La Bateleur. La Bateleur was a drink that Alex created while he was still at Death & Co. in Manhattan. The name translates into the magician and is one of the cards in the Tarot deck; since Strega means witch in Italian, the drink's name made sense.
The cocktail began with an aroma of the gin and lemon twist with perhaps hints of the Punt e Mes. The sip presented a sweet spiced grape flavor that was followed by Cynar and Punt e Mes in the beginning of the swallow and Strega and gin at the end. Indeed, the rather herbal swallow began with bitter notes and ended with spiced ones including a wormwood-cinnamon sort of note.

gran paradiso

2 oz Barbera de Monferrato Wine (Bear Flag Red)
1 oz Ceylon Tea, chilled (Oolong)
1 oz Famous Grouse Blended Scotch
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass containing a large ice cube. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

For Thanksgiving, we were lucky to not have to face all the traffic this year, and instead Andrea and I stayed home and cooked. In wondering what to do with the rest of the bottle of red wine we had opened, Andrea found an article about wine cocktails in 7x7SF that had recipes from Alex Day, a former bartender at Death & Co. who is now a consultant in Los Angeles. The one that called out to me was the Gran Paradiso that had a classic punch-like feel to it.
The Gran Paradiso presented a Scotch and nutmeg aroma. This relatively dry drink began with lemon and wine flavors on the sip. The swallow contained the Scotch including some smoke notes that worked well with the tea; moreover, the tea along with the wine donated a lingering tannin note on the aftertaste. With the whiskey, wine, and lemon, the Gran Paradiso reminded me of the 19th century New York Sour.