Monday, January 31, 2011


2 oz Campari
3/4 oz Crème de Cassis (G.E. Massenez)
1 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

On Tuesday night, it was time for another revisiting of an old recipe from our pre-blog days, but unlike the Arsenic and Old Lace, not one that Jess had written about here. The Teresa was a drink I found while searching for a crème de cassis recipe, although these days I probably would have been lured to it in a search for Campari. The Teresa stems from Gary Regan's The Joy of Mixology and Gary credits Spanish cocktail aficionado Rafael Ballesteros for its creation. Gary commented that, "I'm at a loss to fathom how this dedicated cocktailian put these flavors together in his head, but the resultant drink is a complex marvel." To me, the basic format reminds me of a bittered Mississippi Mule with the lemon swapped for the lime and the gin swapped for the Campari; similarly absurd things have been done with this bitter liqueur like the Anvil Bar exchanging the gin for Campari in the classic Alexander. Indeed, not only was the Teresa memorable and worth retrying, the recipe moved Jackson Cannon of Eastern Standard to come up with at least 3 variations of this drink (one of which appears in LUPEC Boston's The Little Black Book of Cocktails); we were tempted to make one of the variations instead, but we stuck with the original that night.
The liqueurs in the Teresa contributed to the nose that consisted of Campari's sharp note combined with the cassis' dark berry aroma. Just like in the nose, the lime was the most subtle of the three ingredients on the tongue and it seemed to be there more for balance than as a flavor itself. With that said, unlike the Mississippi Mule, I later became doubtful that the Teresa would work as well with lemon as the citrus, so perhaps the lime notes were playing a larger role than I first thought. Interestingly, Andrea and I tasted the drink differently. While I got the cassis on the sip followed by the Campari and lime on the swallow, Andrea tasted the Campari early and the cassis later along with the lime. Except for the Campari aftertaste, the drink was in perfect balance -- it was neither too sharp, too sweet, or too sour. Perhaps this can partially be attributed to the smooth potency of the cassis to round out the Campari's rough and lime's crisp edges.

arsenic and old lace

1 1/2 oz Gin (Bombay Dry)
1/2 oz Absinthe (La Muse Verte)
3 dash Crème de Violette (1/4 oz Rothman & Winter, 1/2 oz last time)
3 dash Dry Vermouth (1/4 oz Noilly Prat)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Last Monday, we revisited a drink that we had tried before Andrea and I were invited aboard the blog, namely the Arsenic and Old Lace. Actually, Jess had made this drink a few weeks after I had written in my livejournal about it, but I only just discovered that fact now. Regardless, it is one worth reexamining. The recipe we used last week was from Trader Vic's 1947 Bartender's Guide. Given the date of the publication (assuming that this was the earliest source), it is very possible that the drink was named after a 1939 play by Joseph Kesselring that was adapted into a film starring Cary Grant and released in 1944. This time, I interpreted the 3 dashes in the recipe as a quarter ounce. The first time we made the drink, the recipe was from Stan Jones' Complete Barguide and Stan used pastis which would have been more available in the 1970s than absinthe, and he interpreted the 3 dashes in the Vic recipe as a half ounce of crème de violette and a quarter ounce of dry vermouth. Stan's changes made for a much sweeter and anise-driven drink than the one I chose here; I left the option for increasing the crème de violette to a half ounce in the recipe above.
The drink had a very beautiful opalescent green color from our absinthe verte combining with the crème de violette. When we made it over three years ago, the white louche of the pastis ended up creating more of a pale mauve hue especially with the double volume of violette. The two ingredients that played a large role in the appearance also affected the nose which was mainly the absinthe's licorice with a hint of a floral aroma. On the tongue, the sip was a light herbal flavor with the swallow being a combination of the absinthe, gin, and violette notes swirling together. Even though the absinthe version lacked the sugar content of the pastis one, it was still not painfully dry; moreover, the violette seemed to be more subtle here so perhaps Stan Jones' call for a half ounce was not a bad one after all.

Friday, January 28, 2011

skipper's punch

1 1/2 oz Myer's Dark Rum
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz Brown Sugar Syrup
1/4 oz Lime Juice

Add to an Irish Coffee Mug and stir to mix. Fill with ~3 oz of hot water.

Sticking with Benedictine, another winter appropriate drink caught my eye on the Green Street menu, the Skipper's Punch. Unlike the thick and rich Fort Washington Flip, the punch was a Hot Toddy. When I asked bartender Derric Crothers about the origin of this drink, he went and asked owner Dylan Black. Dylan replied that it was a combination of two drinks from the Esquire's Handbook for Hosts. Given the name and the similarity of ingredients, one of these drinks had to have been the Skipper's Particular:
Skipper's Particular
• 1 pint Jamaica Rum
• 1/2 pint Cognac
• 2 oz Kümmel
• 2 oz Benedictine
• Rind of 1 Lemon
• Rind of 1 Orange
• 3 pint Hot water
• Sugar to taste
The recipe was very similar to the book's Hot Rum Punch which calls for Puerto Rican rum instead of Jamaican, allows for lime peel instead of lemon, and includes a sliced lemon or lime to the mix. To simplify the recipe, Dylan removed the Cognac, Kümmel, and citrus peels; moreover, he used a rather dark Jamaican rum, increased the amount of Benedictine, and added a dash of lime juice.
The Skipper's Punch greeted the nose with a steamy lime and rum aroma; with only a small amount of lime juice in the recipe, the heat must have acted to accelerate the perception of the citrus. On the tongue, the sip was all about the dark rum and brown sugar flavors, while the swallow contained the lime and the Benedictine's spice. Unlike many Hot Toddies, the Skipper's Punch did not assault my senses with a hot alcohol burn but still made for a rather flavorful drink.

fort washington flip

1 1/2 oz Laird's Apple Jack
3/4 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Vermont Maple Syrup
1 Egg

Shake without ice and then shake with; strain into a wine glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

A few weeks ago, I was reading Paul Clarke's article in Serious Eats about Flips. One of the drinks he mentioned was Misty Kalkofen's Fort Washington Flip. While I knew that I had not written about it, I was surprised that neither Jess nor Andrea had covered that recipe here. Therefore, last Sunday, I decided to order one from bartender Derric Crothers and rectify the situation. Misty created this drink cerca 2007 while she was still behind the stick at Green Street. Several blocks away from the bar on the way to the Charles River are the remnants of Fort Washington, a Revolutionary War-era fortification used to attack the British during the Siege of Boston. Indeed, her choice of ingredients to honor this bit of history were perfect for a New England winter's night.
The Fort Washington Flip began with the aroma of nutmeg with hints of Benedictine's dark herbal notes. The sip was rich from the egg and maple syrup and possessed apple and maple flavors. Moreover, Benedictine's spice appeared on the swallow and donated a good bit of complexity to the drink. Of all the flavor combinations, I was most impressed at how well the maple syrup and Benedictine notes played off of each other.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

yellow mist

3/6 Gin (1 1/2 oz Bombay Dry)
1/6 Orgeat (1/2 oz Trader Tiki)
1/6 Apry (1/2 oz Marie Brizard)
1/6 Lemon (1/2 oz)

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

As dinner was cooking on Saturday, I began flipping through the Café Royal Cocktail Book and spotted a curious Gin Daisy, the Yellow Mist. This drink balanced the tartness of lemon juice with orgeat and apricot liqueur, and this curious combination seemed one worth trying. Since the recipe called for "apry," I went with the sweeter Marie Brizard instead of my standard go-to of Rothman & Winter.
The Yellow Mist offered up a sweet lemon sip that was chased by an apricot and almond swallow highlighted with the gin's botanicals. I was quite surprised that the orgeat was not overwhelmed here; not only did it hold its own, but it complemented the apricot flavor well. While the drink finished a bit drier than it started, it was still rather sweet. Perhaps using more lemon juice or less liqueur and syrup might help this drink out (i.e.: reducing each sweet component to a 1/4 oz). Definitely, using the sweeter of our two apricot liqueurs was not a benefit to the balance here. Another possibility would be to serve this in a highball glass topped with soda water or in a flute topped with Champagne to steer it toward my preferred balance.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

cold emerald punch

1 oz Cachaça (Cuca Fresca unaged)
1 oz Lillet Blanc (Cocchi Americano)
1 1/2 oz Green Tea (cooled)
1/2 oz Sugar
3/8 oz Lemon Juice
1/8 oz Pineapple Juice

Stir sugar with tea until dissolved. Add rest of ingredients and ice, shake, and strain into a rocks glass or cocktail glass.

Last week, the Mixoloseum's Thursday Drink Night theme was "Thinking of Summer." For an idea, I considered using cooled tea of some sort as a refreshing base. Going through my memory banks for a style, I was reminded of the Cold Ruby Punch that I made from Jerry Thomas' Bartender's Guide and felt that this delicious drink could easily be lightened up a bit for the warmer months. Instead of the heavy and wintery port, I thought that Lillet or Cocchi Americano would provide a lighter wine choice. Moreover, instead of the overwhelmingly flavorful Batavia Arrack, I switched spirits to cachaça. With all of the yellow and green ingredients, the punch looked less ruby and more emerald, so I kept the jewel theme and modified the original's name.
The punch possessed a sweet grassy nose from the cachaça and tea. The grassiness continued on in the sip with dry lemon, pineapple, and tea notes on the swallow. As the drink warmed up, the balance got a little sweeter which might not be so bad on a hot day. The overall result was something rather smooth and quaffable even without an oppressive July or August heat; indeed, Andrea commented that it was "a dangerous drink" for she felt she could drink a few of these. Luckily, the punch is not all that boozy so perhaps it would not be so wrong to do so.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


3/4 oz Gin (Cascade Mountain)
3/4 oz Benedictine
3/4 oz St. Germain
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

On Tuesday night, I had to juice a lime for the curry recipe I was making so I went off in search of a recipe that would make good use of the rest. In the Cocktail Collective book, I spotted a recipe by Jabriel Donohue from the Acadia restaurant in Portland, Oregon. Jabriel's drink, the Pantorium, had a familiar format of a base spirit, two liqueurs, and citrus; however, the name was quirky and catching. Pantorium is an old school term for a laundry and cleaners and some establishments still exist under this name. I could not neither locate a Pantorium in Portland nor determine the full history of why the drink is named this (and Jabriel himself did not provide many clues).
For me, the Pantorium possessed a spicy and floral nose, while for Andrea, the drink reminded her of grapefruit. The sip was sweet from the liqueurs balanced with the sour of the crisp lime. A parallel counter balance occurred in the swallow with the brighter notes of St. Germain being followed by the darker ones of Benedictine and Angostura Bitters. This combination reminded me of the way Galliano and Benedictine played together in Josey Packard's Winifred Banks with the latter liqueur playing playing the bass notes and the former the melody. In addition, the lime and St. Germain flavors complemented each other; however, the lime lacked enough drying power for me and the balance ended up on the sweeter side of what I generally prefer (but not unreasonably so).
Post note: Jabriel Donohue commented here and explained all:
The story of the Pantorium: a while back I was talking with the the owner of an establishment that never ended up coming into existence. While we were discussing how to build out a quality cocktail menu, he mentioned that he wanted two drinks with specific names. The first was completely onomatopoeic and I can't recall it for the life of me. The second he wanted to be called "Pantorium". He wasn't even sure what the word meant, but it was printed in tile out front of a nearby business (which had, I found after a little research, once been a dry cleaners). I'm a sucker for "make this name" cocktail challenges, and so this was the drink created, intended to be "pants-cleaningly refreshing". Thanks for trying it out, I'm glad you liked it!

Monday, January 24, 2011

lux cider

1 1/4 oz Lustau Los Arcos Dry Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz Hayman's Old Tom Gin
1 oz Charred Apple Cider (see below)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Fee's Old-fashioned Bitters (Fee's Whiskey Barrel)

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

As I mentioned in the Highland Games post, we recently received the recipes for the twelve finalists for the 2010 Vinos de Jerez Cocktail Competition. Dean Hurst's Lux Cider recipe did attract my attention, but the recipe required a bit of kitchen prep. Since I had all of the ingredients save for the charred apple cider, I decided that the recipe was tempting enough to make the extra effort worthwhile. With help from SideBern's Restaurant in Tampa's chef, Chad Johnson, Dean was able to come up with this delicious flavor combination. I scaled down the chef's recipe for the apple cider from a dozen apples to a single one (I used a Mutsu or Crispin apple), and the effort yielded a tasty caramelized apple syrup that was well worth my time in the kitchen.
The Lux Cider's aroma consisted of the Amontillado sherry combined with orange oil from the twist. On the first taste, I was impressed at how well the sweet apple sip melded with the dry, nutty sherry on the swallow. After the initial mouthful, the lemon crept into the sip and dried things out a bit, and this was followed by cinnamon from the bitters on the swallow. The Old Tom gin provided a boozy backbone to the drink but it was hard to specifically discern its flavor in the mix. Lastly, the caramelized or burnt aspect of the cider contributed a lingering almost bitter note to the drink, and this blended in well with the dry toastiness of the sherry.

Good luck to Dean and Chad as this drink competes soon at the finals held at the Clover Club in Brooklyn, NY!
Charred Apple Cider (scaled down)
• 1 Apple (cut into eighths).
• 1 tsp Sugar
• 2 tsp Brown Sugar
• 8 oz Water
Stir apples with sugar and leave for 30 minutes.
Place pan on high heat until smoking. Add sugared apples with any juice that was extracted. Cook with stirring until apples caramelize and begin to turn black on edges.
Add water and brown sugar. Scrape solids from bottom of pan. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 60 minutes.
Strain through tea towel.
Note: I found my cider to be rather dilute so I boiled mine down in half at this point.

star daisy

1/4 Gin (1/2 oz Blue Coat)
1/4 Applejack (1/2 oz Morin Selection Calvados)
1/4 Orange Curaçao (1/2 oz Senior Curaçao, clear)
1/4 Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added a lemon twist and opted to make this drink on the smaller side (a 2 oz pre-shake volume instead of a 3 oz one).

Last Monday when it was time for cocktails, I decided it was time to make the Star Daisy. Rendezvous bartender Scott Holliday had mentioned that he had enjoyed the recipe that Frank Bruni wrote about in the New York Times and recommended it. Bruni had this classic served to him by Sasha Petraske at John Dory in Manhattan. For a sweetener, Sasha chose the recipe containing Curaçao over the one with grenadine to counter the tartness of the lemon juice and the heat of the dual spirits -- gin and applejack. While Sasha likened the drink to a Pink Lady, it was closer to the egg-less Blue Skies that I had at Green Street Grill.
The Star Daisy's aroma was citrus driven with the lemon and Curaçao notes being rather forward. The sip was a medley of fruit notes with lemon, orange, and some apple flavors mingling in front of gin and barrel-aged apple notes on the swallow. In the drink, I chose Calvados instead of applejack because today's applejack from Laird's is only 35% of the amount of apple spirit as compared to the applejack when the Star Daisy recipe was originally created. Overall, the Star Daisy was somewhat dry and this crispness intensified as the drink warmed up. Bruni mentioned that Sasha chose not to add the extra sugar often included in some recipes as he prefers serving the drink on the drier side.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

two worlds sour

1 oz Neisson Rhum Agricole Blanc
1 oz Balvenie Doublewood Scotch
1/2 oz Lapsang Souchong Tea Syrup (1:1)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Smoking Ban Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Twist a lemon peel over the top. Substitute Angostura for the bitters if need be.

A few days ago was quite the subversive Sunday. First, Andrea and I attended a pop up dinner held at a coffee shop in Union Square. For a few nights, Bloc 11 had been taken over by Garden in the Cellar chef Will Gilson where they were serving five course dinners, and we caught the final night that featured an all vegetarian selection. I was envious of the concept of a whiskey-cured, cigar-smoked salmon (well, not the salmon part) that was served the other two nights, but I had my share of whiskey and cigars at our next stop that night -- a pop up bar night held in an establishment's back room. Indeed, that night was another of Ben Sandrof's Sunday Salons.
I started the evening with a Blackfly Fashion where the rough, rye-forward Bourbon was smoothed out by the roasted malt notes of a stout. Moreover, chocolate, hops, and spice accompanied the Bourbon's heat on the swallow.
Blackfly Fashion
• 2 1/2 oz Bulleit Bourbon
• 1/2 oz Black Fly Stout Syrup (1:1)
• 1 dash Mole Bitters
• 1 dash Angostura Bitters
Build in a rocks glass. Add a big piece of ice, 2 straws, and an orange twist.
For my second drink, I was drawn to the Two Worlds which was a Scotch Old Fashioned sweetened with a smoky tea syrup and seasoned with Smoking Ban Bitters. Since I had already had one Old Fashioned, I asked Ben what he could riff off of those ingredients. Ben split the spirit to include a rhum agricole and added lemon juice to balance the syrup's sweetness.
The drink's nose was full of lemon, smoke, and funky and grassy rhum agricole notes. On the sip, lemon and malt flavors were presented in a sweet and soft fashion, while smoke and rhum agricole's hogo notes blessed the crisp swallow. At first I was not sure how Scotch and rhum agricole would pair up; however, their respective quirks seemed to complement each other in this drink.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

highland games

1 1/2 oz Oban 14 Year Scotch (Glenrothes 1991)
1 oz Lustau Pedro Ximénez "Murillo" Centenary Sherry (Lustau Pedro Ximénez San Emilio)
1 oz Cocchi Americano
Juice of 1/2 Lemon (3/4 oz)
1 small Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a cocktail coupe and garnish with a sprinkling of freshly ground dried orange peels (I used a mortar and pestle).

When I received an email announcing the 12 finalists for the 2010 Vinos de Jerez Cocktail Competition, I immediately wrote the public relations lady and requested the recipes since we enjoyed making the ones from the 2009 competition so much. Last year, we made Thomas Waugh's Delores Park Swizzle, Corey Bunnewith's Balao Swizzle, Charles Joly's Bread and Wine, and Erick Castro's French Toast Flip; moreover, we had the opportunity to taste Misty Kalkofen's Dunaway as she was at the tail end of developing her recipe (it later made the top 12 as well).

A few from this year caught my eye as not only tasty, but do-able in my kitchen without too much effort or too many purchases. The one I started with was the Highland Games from Owen Thomson of Café Atlántico in Washington, D.C. Owen's recipe required me to go shopping for a Pedro Ximénez sherry which is a rather sweet sherry that often has dried fruit, caramel, and chocolate notes. To that, he paired the drink with Scotch and citrus flavors in an egg white Sour format.
While we do not have Oban in our liquor cabinet, the Glenrothes 1991 seemed like it would be a good match with the sherry and Cocchi Americano for it sports nutty, caramel, and orange notes. The ground up dehydrated orange peel as a garnish was a novel twist for me; it helped to provide a pleasing candied orange note along with the Scotch and lemon aromas on the nose. The sip was a sweet citrus flavor that was followed by the sherry's raisin and the Scotch's smoke. Indeed, this drink could do no wrong.

curse of scotland

3/4 oz Islay Scotch, pref. Ardbeg (Caol Ila 12 Year)
3/4 oz Drambuie
3/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
For our second cocktail on Friday night, since I had leftover lemon juice and already had the Scotch out from making the Reverse Sazerac Sour, I decided to make Jacob Grier's Curse of Scotland from the Cocktail Collective book. The drink started with an intriguing nose of Scotch, lemon, and Maraschino's funk. On the sip, the malt and lemon were present along with the sweetness from the two liqueurs. Meanwhile, on the swallow, the Scotch's smoke blended rather well with the Maraschino's nutty funkiness. Furthermore, the Drambuie appeared in between as a light herbal and honey note. The other three ingredients did a good job of taming the Caol Ila without taking away too much of its character. Before I made this drink, I was not sure how Maraschino would play out with the Scotch especially with those proportions; however, afterward, I had no complaints about this flavor combination.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

reverse sazerac sour

1 1/3 oz Absinthe (La Muse Verte)
1/2 oz + 1 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 oz + 1 tsp Simple Syrup
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a cocktail glass pre-rinsed with a smoky single malt Scotch (Caol Ila 12 Year). Garnish with a lemon twist and 3 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters (note: I wonder if the recipe originally was 3 drops, see below. Also, if the metric to English system conversion seems a bit awkward given your bar tools, converting to 1 1/2:3/4:3/4 will keep the same proportions and a similar size.).

One of the drinks that had caught my eye in Absinthe Cocktails was the Reverse Sazerac Sour, and it felt like the time to make it on Friday night. The drink was created by Ales Olasz of Montgomery Place in London; Ales inverted the Sazerac and fashioned it into a egg white-laden Sour. The concept of tinkering with this classic reminded me of the Gerty I created which was not inverted, but a wacky yet tasty equal parts affair.
With the dashes of Peychaud's Bitters as a garnish, the drink rather looked like strawberry cheesecake. While the recipe called for 3 dashes, I wonder if it should have been 3 drops which would have been not only more aesthetically pleasing, but more in line with how bitters are used as garnishes and how the drink appears in the book's photograph. Aesthetics aside, the abundance of bitters was not an issue flavor-wise for it had to compete with the large amount of absinthe in the mix. The Reverse Sazerac Sour greeted the nose with lemon from the twist and smokiness from the Scotch. While the sip contained lemon and a lightly spice from the absinthe, the swallow was full of anise and other flavors from the absinthe and Peychaud's Bitters. Overall, the drink did not remind me much of a Sazerac save for the ingredients list itself, but I have no complaints for the drink was quite delicious. Definitely worth trying if the concept of an Absinthe Sour floats your boat.

tequila scaffa

2 oz Milagro Añejo Tequila
1 oz Maurin Quinquina

Pour into a rocks glass, stir briefly, and garnish with a lime knot twist. Note: ice is not used in this drink.

Last Wednesday, Andrea and I visited Rendezvous in Central Square for dinner. When I began talking drinks with bartender Scott Holliday, he mentioned that he came up with another Scaffa. Scaffas are an old fashioned style of drink of spirits, liqueurs, and/or bitters that are mixed and served at room temperature sort of like a Poussé-cafe without the layering. He had recently served the Rum Scaffa to a customer who then inquired what other Scaffas he could conjure up. Scott made this tequila one up on the spot, and I was served the second one a few days later.
The drink started with a lime and agave spirit aroma. The soft quinquina sip dotted with vanilla notes helped to quench the heat of the tequila on the swallow. Interestingly, the drink had an almost citrussy botanical finish. Initially I attributed the citrus aspect to the quinquina, but as the drink sat as I ate dinner, these notes intensified. I then realized that it was the lime twist that was elegantly infusing into the spirits over time. When I mentioned this to Scott, he was pleased for the feedback because he had originally tossed the peel after expressing the oil on the first take of this recipe.

Monday, January 17, 2011


1 oz Gin (Death's Door)
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly pRat)
Juice 1/2 Tangerine (~1 oz)
1 small dash Cointreau (1/2 barspoon)
1 tsp Grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After flipping through Jimmy Late Of Ciro's the week before, I was reminded of the Luigi. My desire to make this cocktail and the availability of tangerines have never lined up before, but alas, when we went grocery shopping, I noticed that tangerines were in season! Instead of Jimmy Late's recipe, I went to the earliest source I knew of, that being Robert Vermeire's Cocktails: How to Mix Them. Vermeire described how the drink was invented by Mr. Luigi Naintré, the proprietor of the Embassy Club, and he claimed that this drink was one of the most popular cocktails in London for a while. Personally, tangerines remind me of my youth; my mom used to pack them in my lunchbox in grade school as they are easy for kids to peel and are less sticky to handle than oranges. Moreover, the concept of tangerine juice in the Luigi also intrigued me as I was reminded of how citrus variety can modulate a drink's balance such as when I had the Satan's Whiskers made with sour oranges.
The Luigi's aroma sang out with tangerine and juniper notes. A relatively dry tangerine-flavored sip was graced with gin and dry vermouth notes on the swallow. Not surprising was that the scant amounts of grenadine and Cointreau were rather subtle in the flavor profile. What was surprising though was how the tangerine juice did not dull out the drink like orange juice can and how it contributed a more elegant flavor; indeed, the Luigi was much more interesting than an Orange Blossom or Bronx due to the citrus choice.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

golden flip

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo LIV) was picked by Josh Cole of the Cocktail Assembly blog. Josh chose the theme of Flips that he more poetically phrased as "See You on the Flipside." His description was as follows, "There's never a bad time or temperature to enjoy the frothy glory that is the flip... When it's cold and the icy chill is tearing its way through to our bones, the heated flip opens its arms and embraces us like a warm blanket. When it's hot, the cool flip lowers the heat and can bring back that spring day memory of a creamy shake enjoyed on a front porch."

Hearing that the theme was Flips made me rather giddy at first since I love these drinks but also a little worried for we had worked our way through most of the interesting ones that we have found in our drink books. One option that was suggested to me was to take a classic drink and convert it into Flip format. This can be an intriguing experiment for sharp flavors are often smoothed over by the egg element, and a delightfully muted beverage is the end result. I was about to do that, but I decided to give our cocktail book library a last perusal.

Lo and behold, in George J. Kappeler's 1895 Modern American Drinks, I spotted one that I had not only never had before but never have spotted in another drink book -- the Golden Flip! I was a bit concerned that I had not observed this recipe in other books for recipes are often plagiarized in later publications. Was this drink that bad that it deserved to be forgotten? The zany dessertness of it grabbed me and we decided to give it a whirl. The drink had five ingredients -- two spirits, sugar, an egg, and a nutmeg garnish. The last three are standards for the style, but a Flip containing solely two liqueurs was a bit strange -- especially with those two being Maraschino and Yellow Chartreuse! For some reason, Kappeler felt the need to add even more sugar to these already sweet spirits.
Golden Flip
• 1 oz Maraschino (Luxardo)
• 1 oz Yellow Chartreuse
• 1/2 tsp Sugar
• 1 Egg
Dissolve sugar in a splash of water. Add spirits and egg. Shake once without ice and once with, and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
I kept the recipe intact but modernized the technique. There was no doubt about the naming convention -- it surely was golden!
The nose was mostly from the nutmeg with a hint of the Maraschino poking through. As for the taste, the sip was smooth but a bit non-distinctive; however, the swallow really packed a flavor punch with the Maraschino and Yellow Chartreuse shining through including the funkiness of the former and the mint-like note of the latter. Andrea described the flavor as "marzipan-like" and declared that it made for a good dessert cocktail. Surprisingly, the drink was not painfully sweet as the egg hid a lot of the sweetness, although I am still not sure that it needed the extra sugar. On the other hand, as the drink warmed up, it became a bit sweeter. Therefore, the egg and the cold must have been teaming up to mask the sugar content.

While Kappeler might have been writing about modern American drinks 116 years ago, I felt that the drink needed something to bring it into this decade. I felt that the drink could prosper from an aged spirit, like rye or Cognac, for it lacks a harsh note. With a base spirit, it might approach the wonders of the Widow's Kiss, one of Kappeler's other drinks in the book -- so perhaps not modernized at all, but adapted in his style. When I discussed the matter with Rendezvous' bartender Scott Holliday, he was intrigued by the recipe and how it could be improved. He opted for spiking it with overproof rye to cut down on the sweetness factor and to give it some backbone.
Golden Rye Flip
• 1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
• 3/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino
• 3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
• 1 Egg
Shake once without ice and once with, and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
The rye definitely added to the drink including donating a malty nose. I expected to be bludgeoned by the whiskey; instead, it was the Maraschino that dominated. The recipe change did decrease the Yellow Chartreuse notes, but the Luxardo Maraschino was immutable. Perhaps a less domineering Maraschino like Maraska or Stock would have worked better. While the addition of rye and the removal of the sugar did make the drink less of a dessert cocktail, it was still rather sweet. Perhaps switching the recipe to 2:1/2:1/2 might have helped. Instead of rye, I could see a nice peaty Scotch working wonders here.
Cheers to Josh for hosting and picking this month's egg-cellent theme and to farmer Paul Clarke for managing the MxMo chicken coop!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


2 oz Rum Blend (*)
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Coconut Cream

Shake with ice and strain into a snifter glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg and add two straws.
(*) A combination of Bacardi Gold, Appleton Reserve, Cruzan Blackstrap, and Lemon Hart 151.

On Monday after I DJ'd down the street, Andrea and I went to Eastern Standard for dinner and drinks. Of all the drinks on their Tiki-isms section of the cocktail menu, the only one I had not tried was the Painkiller. While I have read the recipe several times at home in Beachbum Berry's and other books, I was always deterred by the size of the drink; perhaps it was also the call for Pusser's Rum which I lack and coconut cream which I often do not stock at home. Berry's recipe is as follows:
• 2 1/2 oz Pusser's Navy-Strength (or dark Jamaican) Rum
• 4 oz Pineapple Juice
• 1 oz Orange Juice
• 1 oz Coconut Cream
Shake with crushed ice and pour into a tall glass or Tiki mug. Garnish with cinnamon, nutmeg, a pineapple stick, a cinnamon stick, and an orange wheel.
Eastern Standard's version greatly decreases the pineapple juice quotient and alters the rum content and volume slightly (besides toning town the garnish list). While Pusser's trademarked the Painkiller in 1989, according to Berry, when the drink was created in 1971 at the Soggy Dollar Bar in the British Virgin Islands, they used a combination of Mount Gay and Cruzan dark rums. Therefore, Eastern Standard's mix pays a bit of tribute to the original, pre-trademarked version (the trademark apparently only extends to the sale of bottled beverage and not the recipe itself). And yes, according to bartender Kevin Martin, Eastern Standard did buy up as much of the remaining Lemon Hart 151 stock in the area as they could after the company stopped producing it, and they freely use it in their house rum blend.
Initially the drink's nose was dominated by the nutmeg garnish, but after a while, a bit of the pineapple aroma crept in. On the sip, a smooth coconut flavor gently played on the tongue, while the swallow contained the pineapple and the rums' heat and richness. Indeed, the rums added some zing to the pineapple juice's sharp notes. The orange juice, however, was not very detectable in the flavor profile and could have melded with the more dominant pineapple juice.

momisette sour

2 oz Bols Genever
1/2 oz Pastis d'Autrefois
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 barspoon Orgeat
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with, and double strain into a rocks glass. Add 3 ice cubes and a straw, and garnish with 3 drops of orange blossom water.

On Sunday night, Andrea and I went over to Bergamot for a nightcap after eating at VeeVee in Jamaica Plain. Instead of the digestif I desperately needed, I was lured in by a pastis drink which often makes for a better aperitif instead. The Momisette Sour was Kai and Paul's modification of the classic Parisian drink, the Momisette:
• 1 oz Pastis
• 1/4 oz Orgeat
Serve in a highball glass with ice. Top with soda or mineral water (often a bottle is provided so the drink can be topped off to taste).
The name translates into "little mummy" and is a take on a French shooter, La Momie, which is half jigger of pastis and a half jigger of mineral water. In between the Momisette and Bergamot's Momisette Sour is the Egg Suissesse which adds an egg white (and a shaking step) to the traditional Momisette. Indeed, the Momisette Sour included not only the egg white but lemon, simple syrup, and a hearty dose of Bols Genever; however, the soda water was dropped and the drink was served as lowball.
The orange blossom water garnish paid dividends in the aroma department as it contributed greatly along with the pastis' anise. On the tongue, the lemon and herbal sip contained a good amount of maltiness from the Genever, and the swallow was dominated by the anise note. While the orgeat was rather subtle in the drink, it did appear as a lingering note at the end of the sip.

Friday, January 14, 2011

hot shot

50% Siegert's Bouquet Rum (1 1/2 oz El Dorado 3 Year)
33 1/3% Cherry Heering (1 oz)
11 1/9% Angostura Bitters (1/3 oz, 2 tsp)
5 5/9% Lime Juice (1/6 oz, 1 tsp)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added a small lime twist to the drink.

After making The Bitter End on Saturday night, I still had some lime juice left over and I decided it was time to make a drink I had spotted in the 1937 UKBG Approved Cocktails a few weeks back. This recipe, the Hot Shot, was created by Ben Joseph and reminded me of the Bulldog with some of the lime's crispness swapped for Angostura Bitters. I figured that if my palate was already warped by the Angostura-heavy Bitter End, this was truly the perfect time to give this strange recipe a try. The Siegert's Bouquet Rum that the recipe calls for was a Trinidad Rum produced by the Angostura Company; I substituted El Dorado 3 Year, but my later research suggests that I should have used something darker and better aged.
The Angostura Bitters contributed a nice froth to the shaken drink. While the Angostura was not as abundant in the aroma as it was in The Bitter End, it contributed along with the cherry and lime. The sip was slightly sweet and full of cherry notes and vanilla from the rum, and this sweetness was dried out on the swallow by the Angostura's spices and the lime juice's crispness. Moreover, the cherry notes continued on in the swallow to complement the lime and Angostura flavors. With each additional sip, the spice level grew especially the clove. From the name, I was tempted to shoot the drink; however, I am glad that I sipped it to the end. For a similarly bizarre embittered Cherry Heering drink, there is also the Pinto from around the same time era.

the bitter end

2 oz White Rum (Pritchard's)
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Build in an 8 oz highball glass. Fill with crushed ice and swizzle to mix. Float a 1/4 oz Angostura Bitters.
On Saturday night, I opened up Left Coast Libations and found Yanni Kehagiaras's The Bitter End calling out to me. Yanni's Swizzle-style drink recipe specified Flor de Caña 4 Year White Rum, and I best approximated that spirit with Pritchard's White Rum. Beside the two dashes of Angostura Bitters in the mix, the drink was capped off with a hefty slug of bitters which lurked on top of the drink waiting for the glass to be drained by a straw. These bitters along with the falernum donated a rich clove, cherry, and spice aroma. The sip was a light citrus flavor that was neither sweet nor crisp, while the swallow had the heat of the white rum paired up with clove, spice, and some bitterness. And as expected by the name, toward the end of the drink, there was indeed an embittered spice bomb waiting at the bottom of the highball glass.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


4 part Brandy (2 oz Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)
1 part Sweet Vermouth (1/2 oz Vya)
1 part Orange Juice (1/2 oz)
1 dash Absinthe (1/2 barspoon La Muse Verte)

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

Last Friday, I began to flip through my 1930 reprint of Jimmy Late Of Ciro's as it was still on the kitchen counter after researching the X.Y.Z. (spotting it there was what triggered me to consider the drink and hunt out the original in Vermeire). There, I spotted the Prestoman, and the recipe made me think of a brandy-based Monkey Gland albeit with the grenadine swapped out for sweet vermouth. After making the drink, I discovered that Erik Ellestad had written about the recipe as it appears in the Savoy Cocktail Book as the Presto Cocktail; moreover, Erik traced the Prestoman back to Harry McElhone's 1927 Barflies and Cocktails. Erik made the similar comparison to the brandy Monkey Gland, but he also compared it to a brandy Maurice (a Bronx made with a dash of pastis).
The Prestoman greeted the senses with an anise and orange aroma. On the sip, the brandy's richness combined with the smoothness of the orange juice, while the swallow highlighted the herbal complexity from the vermouth and absinthe. Indeed, the extra body from the Spanish brandy and extra flavor from the sweet vermouth made the Prestoman a bit superior to the Monkey Gland in my book.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


3/4 oz Dry Gin (Blue Coat)
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Vya)
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I double strained and added a lemon twist.

On Thursday, I spotted the X.Y.Z. in Robert Vermeire's Cocktails: How to Mix Them and the description of "this cocktail is made exactly like the Bronx, but lemon juice is used instead of orange juice, and a little plain syrup or gomme is added to sweeten the cocktail" made me think of the citrus variation in Satan's Whiskers I had earlier in the week. The text distracted me from realizing that I was about to prepare a Perfect Martini crossed with a Gin Sour, and indeed, I was curious as to what a sweetened-lemon Bronx would be like. There is another X.Y.Z. cocktail that appeared a few years later in The Savoy Cocktail Book which I have had before; that one is essentially a rum Sidecar and is well worth trying in its own right.
Since the drink is one quarter spirits, half vermouth, and a quarter sweetened juice, I decided to go with a higher proof gin to add some kick to it and selected Blue Coat at 94 proof. For the Sour portion, I figured that two parts lemon to one part simple syrup would keep a similar balance as orange juice would in the Bronx. The drink started with a lemon and sweet vermouth aroma. The citrus sip started off slightly sweet, but after a few sips in, the drink became a bit more crisp. The swallow contained the vermouths' wine taste followed by a cleansing juniper-laden botanical finish. In the end, the X.Y.Z. was a lot more interesting than my memories of the overly smooth Bronx being.

ford cocktail

1/2 jigger Old Tom Gin (1 oz Ransom)
1/2 jigger Dry Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat)
3 dash Benedictine (1 barspoon)
3 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

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

Last Wednesday, I was looking through George J. Kappeler's Modern American Drinks when I spotted the Ford Cocktail that seemed like it would make good use of the Ransom Old Tom Gin we bought just a short while ago. I was quite curious as to what Ford the drink was named after for the book was published in 1895, one year before Henry Ford completed his self-propelled Quadricycle. And of course, President Gerald Ford would not even have been born for almost two more decades. My searching uncovered that Ted Haigh had already confronted this issue. Ted surmised that the drink could have been named for Malcolm Webster Ford, the "famed champion athlete, journalist, and great-grandson of Noah Webster." The Ford family lived in New York and perhaps would have been gossip-worthy in the nearby Holland House where Kappeler tended bar.
The Ford Cocktail greeted my nose with orange oil and spice; the botanical notes seemed to be derived more from the Benedictine than the Old Tom though. On the tongue, the sip was herbal and woody with an almost orange pith flavor, and the swallow contained a lot of spice and orange notes. The most notable pairing was how the sharp note of the Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth complemented the botanicals in the Ransom Old Tom Gin. Overall, the drink was pretty dry but surprisingly flavorful given the recipe's modified Martini base.

[stephen's whiskers]

3/4 oz Gin
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth
3/4 oz Citronage Orange Liqueur
3/4 oz Sour Orange Juice
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and double strain into a wine glass. Twist a sour orange peel over the top.

Towards the end of dinner at Pomodoro in Brookline, bartender Stephen Shellenberger said that he had one sour orange left and asked if I wanted a cocktail made with it. When he described the fruit as having an almost lemon-like acidity to it, I was curious to taste what it could do to a cocktail as compared to regular orange juice. The recipe he selected was the classic Satan's Whiskers which has been reappearing around town lately such as at Deep Ellum where it is called McGuirk's Whiskers after the infamous Boston bartender Joe McGuirk; however, this one was going to be a lot crisper in balance due to the citrus selection.
The sour orange twist provided a clementine-like aroma, and this clementine-like note returned in the finish along with the gin botanical notes. Overall, the drink did prove to be a lot drier and more interesting than I remember the original being. Stephen commented that the Satan's Whiskers still holds true today due to the alliteration of orange notes and the tonal modifiers that tie it all together.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


1 1/2 oz Mezcal
1 oz Campari
1 oz Jabuticaba Liqueur

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.

Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I finally paid a visit to Pomodoro in Brookline where Stephen Shellenberger tends bar on Mondays and Tuesday nights. I had previously written here about a drink Stephen created when he was at Dante called the Alto Cucina that we made at home; in addition, I enjoy reading Stephen's profound blog posts in the Boston Apothecary. However, we had not sat at his bar before and were looking forward to rectifying this. For my first drink, Stephen mentioned something he had just made for Will, one of the bartenders from Drink who was sitting to my right. The drink contained an odd ingredient, Licor de Jabuticaba, that was made from a grape-like black fruit that is native to Brazil and was developed as part of their experimental agriculture program. Indeed, the liqueur possessed a curious flavor akin to a Concord grape but sharper. Stephen is always mentioning great and affordable products that we can get in the area -- everything from Cape Verdian rum to Azorean passion fruit liqueur -- so I was excited to try one of his creations using one of these exotic ingredients.
Stephen paired the liqueur with mezcal and Campari. While the nose smelled very smoky from the mezcal, the sip was a pleasing berry note followed by the smoke and atringency of the mezcal. The Jabuticaba's berry flavor was accentuate by the Campari, and the combination of the two made for a taste comparable to the vermouth-amaro Punt e Mes. When I let Andrea have a taste, she was rather surprised that "Campari really gets smacked around [here]!"

Monday, January 10, 2011

twelve gauge

3/4 oz Bourbon (Bulleit)
3/4 oz Averna
3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz Orange Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added an orange twist to the recipe and double strained to remove the citrus pulp.

After returning home two Sundays ago, we were in the mood for a nightcap so I started flipping through the Cocktail Collective book which I had recently bought. I had spotted a posting about it on Jacob Grier's blog for he was the editor of this collection of both classic and modern recipes (the link contains two ways to buy it). The one that seemed to fit our mood was the Twelve Gauge by Lance Mayhew of Portland, Oregon. The recipe's entry gave no indication of why the drink was called that; I surmised that since the drink is in the Last Word vein, a twelve gauge shotgun could perhaps help to end an argument? Actually, closer than the Last Word itself would be Kevin Martin's Esprit d'Escalier and Sam Ross' Paper Airplane as these are all Bourbon, citrus, and double amari recipe.
The Twelve Gauge greeted my nose with orange and herbal aromas. Indeed, the orange continued on in the sip along with a caramel note from the Averna. On the swallow, the Campari and Averna paired up to make a delightful dark Aperol-like flavor. Moreover, the liqueurs modified the orange juice in an interesting way such that it tasted somewhere between blood orange and grapefruit juice. Lastly, the Bourbon contributed a bit of richness and helped to tie everything together without being overly distinctive.

snap point

1 1/2 oz Ransom Old Tom Gin
1 1/2 oz Bonal
1 barspoon Yellow Chartreuse
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

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

Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I popped into the Island Creek Oyster Bar for a cocktail. The Snap Point caught my eye on the menu for it paired up the new Ransom Old Tom Gin with Bonal quinquina and Yellow Chartreuse, and I asked bartender Ginny Edwards to make one. Midway through my drink, head bartender Bobby McCoy stopped by and told me about the Snap Point. His concept was a winter aperitif loaded with Alpine spice that would not ruin the palate. Given the equal parts gin and aromatized wine capped off with a barspoon of yellow Chartreuse, I asked Bobby if the San Martin was his starting point. While he was familiar with the drink, his inspiration was the Bonal and Chartreuse; since these two ingredients are made in the same region in France, the pairing seemed a natural one to him.
The Snap Point began with a citrus aroma of lemon oil from the twist and orange from the bitters. Next, the sip was slightly sweet with grape notes, and the swallow contained a wealth of botanical complexity along with the orange from the bitters. While the Chartreuse and Bonal both played a role in the swallow, the Ransom Old Tom donated some intriguing juniper, clove, peppercorn, and pinelike notes to the mix. Indeed, the gentle sip was chased by a spicy swallow; however, as the drink warmed up, the gentle sip aspect dissipated a bit. In the end, the drink reminded me less of a San Martin and more like a bitter Martinez Cocktail.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

tom & jerry

2 Eggs (separated into whites and yolks)
3 oz Sugar
1/2 oz Aged Rum (Coruba)
1/10 tsp Ground Clove
1/10 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/10 tsp Ground Allspice (~3 berries)

Beat yolks until watery and then add rum and spices. Beat egg whites separately (I shook in a cobbler shaker containing a balled up Hawthorn spring) until whites are stiff. Fold yolk mixture into the whites. Thicken with sugar until the mix has the consistency of cake batter. This is enough batter for six 4 oz servings (see below) or three 8 oz servings depending on your mug size.

Pre-warm each cup with boiling water (and dump), and then add:
1 part Batter
1 part Spirit
2 part Hot Milk (hot water is okay, but less rich)
Garnish with grated nutmeg.

Two Saturdays ago, I could not wait to use my newly purchased vintage Tom & Jerry cups that I bought off of eBay. When I mentioned my acquisition, a friend asked if I were going to smash them. She responded to my confusion by sending me a link that contained the factoid that, "the practice of smashing mugs after drinking was a common ritual well into the 1950's," which made me wonder why so many mug sets exist. Actually, I am sure that many were unused presents since making the batter is slightly labor intensive; similarly, this is why most people are contented with store-bought Pasteurized egg nog instead of making their own (and apparently, commercial frozen Tom & Jerry batter does exist or at least existed).

Andrea had written about Tom & Jerry's she had around town two years ago including a Fernet one that Scott Holliday at Rendezvous made her. Moreover, plenty of other people have recently written about Tom & Jerry's in their blogs, including LUPEC Boston, Science of Drink, and Q Mix-a-Lot to name but three; however, I wanted to document my first attempt at making it at home.
There are a multitude of recipes out there that differ in the order of things such as to where and when the sugar is added. The recipe in Jerry Thomas lists an incredible 5 pounds of sugar per dozen eggs (nearly quintuple the sugar in my recipe!), but the text then states to add only enough to acquire the right consistency. One pound of sugar seemed about right (given the variety of recipes in my other books) so I scaled appropriately. To get the egg whites firm, I tried whisking them; once I got bored at my ineffectual technique, I resorted to using a balled up Hawthorn spring in a shaker. Within two minutes of vigorous shaking, I had perfectly prepared egg whites! The technique helped to generate an exquisitely light and fluffy texture to the batter and the final drink.

For our first round, I gave the quirky amaro Cynar a try; if the Cynar Flip could be so delicious, then a Cynar & Jerry could not be too far off? The drink greeted me with a steamy nutmeg aroma, and there was plenty of allspice, nutmeg, and clove flavors that accompanied the Cynar funk on the swallow. While it was good, it was a bit light on the alcohol kick and, in the end, was not as stunning as the Cynar Flip. Therefore, I moved on to round two: Smith & Cross. Using the adage "if something tastes good with rum, it will only taste better with Smith & Cross" in mind, I set my plan into action. Wow, this was the winner. Smith & Cross packs a punch both in proof and in taste and definitely made for a delightful and unique Tom & Jerry. Andrea even commented that this rum helped to bring out a salty or briny note to the flavor profile I am not sure if this is from the rum itself or from the egg mixture. Moreover, she proffered the name "Tom Smith & Jerry Cross" for the concoction. And no, we did not smash our precious little cuplets.

Friday, January 7, 2011

weekly special

1/3 Grapefruit Juice (1 oz)
1/3 Gin (1 oz Cascade Mountain)
1/6 Maraschino Liqueur (1/2 oz Luxardo)
1/6 Kümmel (1/2 oz Helbing)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Thursday nights ago, it was time for cocktails, and we decided to try the Weekly Special from the UKBG Approved Cocktails book. The book was compiled in 1937 by the bartenders guild in London almost in parallel with the Café Royal Cocktail Book. The goal was to create a standardized set of recipes, decrease the number of overlapping cocktail names, and thus reduce the confusion on the customers' as well as bartenders' behalves. The book was apparently the first major attempt at standardizing cocktails, although that is probably akin to the first attempts to herd cats. I was drawn to the Weekly Special for it was an unique recipe (to me) and it called for the caraway-flavored liqueur kümmel that appeared to be softened by grapefruit and Maraschino.
The Weekly Special greeted the nose with caraway, Maraschino, and grapefruit aromas. Moreover, a sweet grapefruit sip was chased by Maraschino and kümmel on the swallow. Andrea thought the drink was "like a kümmel Pegu Club," while I likened it to a caraway-tinged and mint-less Seventh Heaven. Indeed, the grapefruit functioned well to mellow out the often harsh notes of the kümmel. In addition, it proved to be a good combination and Andrea likened it to how well grapefruit works with tequila and mezcal.

[mochi flip]

1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin
3/4 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)
3 dash Housemade Tea Bitters
1 Egg

Shake once without ice and once with. Double strain into a rocks glass and garnish with lemon oil from a twist.

Two Wednesdays ago, Andrea and I went down to Deep Ellum for dinner where bar owner Max Toste was behind the stick. When we asked him what was new, he stated that he was quite proud of his new tea bitters recipe. The bitters are an infusion of the rather smoky Lapsang Souchong and other black teas, lemon and orange peel, and honey in a rye whiskey base. Upon inquiring what he had come up with using these bitters, he listed a few, and a rather simple flip idea to highlight the bitters seemed most appealing.
The lemon twist provided most of the aroma to the drink. The sip contained the honey and black tea flavors while the swallow was filled with the smokiness and gin notes. Indeed, with the simple ingredients list, the bitters shone through rather well. While discussing my thoughts about the drink with Max, he aptly commented that the flip reminded him of Japanese green tea Mochi ice cream desserts.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

baltimore egg nog

1 oz Madeira (Blandy's 5 Year)
1/2 oz Brandy (Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)
1/4 oz Rum (Coruba)
3 oz Milk
1 Egg
3/4 tsp Sugar
1 pinch Cinnamon
1 pinch Nutmeg

Dissolve sugar in the milk and then add rest of ingredients. Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a rocks glass or large punch cup and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Two Mondays ago, I was still awaiting my Tom & Jerry cups to arrive, so I started looking at egg nog recipes to stave off that craving. For a drink, I selected the Baltimore Egg Nog as the use of Madeira seemed rather unique. After looking through several books in our collection, I used the one in O.H. Byron's 1884 Modern Bartender's Guide; most other recipes called for a lot more milk which would have made for a rather large and dilute drink. Moreover, O.H. Byron's recipe called for the whole egg instead of just the yolk, and this egg white might have taken the place of the other's additional dairy.
The nutmeg garnish contributed greatly to the drink's aroma. Flavor-wise, the Coruba Rum and Fundador brandy on the sip greatly complemented the Madeira on the swallow. Moreover, the egg and milk served to smooth out the sharp oxidized notes of the Madeira but still allowed it to donate a good amount of character to the end of the sip. Unfortunately, I think I was a bit light on the pinches of cinnamon and nutmeg for the spices levels were on the subtle side.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

flickering ember

1 1/2 oz Appleton Reserve Rum
1 oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
3/4 oz Burnt Sugar Syrup (*)
2 dash Urban Moonshine Maple Bitters
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a couple glass. Top with 2 oz Kenwood Sparkling Wine.
(*) Put Demerara sugar cubes in a sauce pan, douse with El Dorado 151 Proof Rum, and light on fire. To the remnants, add an equal part of water to dissolve the caramelized sugar into syrup.

On Sunday right after Christmas, Andrea returned just in the nick of time to make it into Boston before the blizzard made driving impossible. Soon it was time for dinner and we went foraging for food in Central Square and had the often traditional Christmas Indian dinner, albeit a few days late (in fact, bartender Hugh Fiore was surprised two nights before that I dined at Eastern Standard instead of India Quality in Kenmore). After dinner, we realized that most places were closed due to the extreme inclement weather; however, we determined through either Facebook or Twitter that Russell House Tavern was indeed still open. After we went in through the side entrance so we did not track snow and salted slush into the restaurant, we were glad that we made their early last call. For a drink, I asked head bartender Aaron Butler for the Flickering Ember.
The Flickering Ember had a dark aroma from the blackstrap molasses-laden rum and the maple bitters that was lightened by orange notes from the second bitters in the drink. The sip was incredibly rich with blackstrap and caramel notes, and the swallow was crisp and rather orange from the sparkling wine and Angostura Orange Bitters, respectively. With the pervasive orange note, I commented that the Flickering Ember reminded me of a less bitter (rum) Seelbach Cocktail.


2 oz Dewar's Blended Scotch
1 oz Rooibos Tea Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Orange Juice
6 drop Pimento Dram

Shake with ice and strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Top with 1 oz Champagne and add a straw.

For my third drink on Christmas Eve, I asked bartender Kit Paschal for the Caledonian. Kit laughed and said that a fourth bartender should show up and make this one for it was Naomi Levy's creation. Sadly, I did not get a chance to ask Naomi about the genesis of her recipe as she was busy making drinks at the service station for the thirsty patrons seated at tables behind me. No doubt that the whisky base factored into the drink being named for what the Romans called the Scottish Highlands.

The Caldonian greeted me with a smoky nose and sparkling wine aroma, and the flavor was dominated by malt, peat, allspice, and citrus. The Rooibos tea syrup contributed by softening the Scotch and complementing the citrus notes. Moreover, this softening was balanced by the crispness gained from the sparkling wine and lemon on the swallow.

Monday, January 3, 2011

farmhouse flip

1 1/2 oz Walnut-infused Bourbon (*)
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 cocktail coupe and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
(*) While I did not ask how they infused the whiskey, here is a recipe for walnut-infused Cognac. Bourbon plus Nocino Walnut Liqueur might work as well.

For my second drink of the night at Eastern Standard, I requested from bartender Kit Paschal a drink, the Farmhouse Flip, that Andrea had ordered a few weeks back and greatly enjoyed. Amusingly, without knowing, I asked Kit to make Hugh Fiore's drink just like I asked Hugh to make Kit's Rapa Nui. When I mentioned this to Kit, he replied that it was a good way to ensure the continuity of their cocktail program if they could replicate each other's recipes.
The Farmhouse Flip prospered from the nutmeg garnish which complemented the maple syrup aroma. The sip was full of autumnal notes from the walnut and maple syrup, and the swallow contained the Bourbon and nutty sherry flavors. Indeed, Kit commented that, "you would think it'd be too nutty with the sherry and the infused Bourbon, but it is not." He also commented that Hugh's drink would have more staying power on the Eastern Standard menu if it were not for the seasonal-themed ingredients.

rapa nui

1 1/2 oz Old Monk Rum
1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
2 oz Blood Orange Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/4 oz Bauchant Orange Liqueur

Shake with ice and strain into a water goblet filled with crushed ice. Float a 1/2 oz of Lustau East India Solera Sherry on top, and garnish with an orange slice and cherry speared with a cocktail umbrella. Add straws.

On Christmas Eve, I decided to venture down to Eastern Standard for dinner and drinks. For my first drink, I asked bartender Hugh Fiore for the Rapa Nui off of their recently expanded Tikisms section. I had never heard of the drink before and I was correct in guessing that it was an original. The creator, bartender Kit Paschal, came by later to tell me about the genesis of the Rapa Nui. Kit had watched the movie "180° South" about a guy who retraces the "epic 1968 journey of his heroes Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins to Patagonia... [and] along the way he gets shipwrecked off Easter Island" (IMDB's summary). The movie spoke about the Rapa Nui who are the native Polynesian inhabitants of Easter Island and their struggles, and he created this drink in their honor. Also as a fitting tribute, I was requesting a drink with Smith & Cross to help celebrate Eric Seed's (the importer of Smith & Cross and the rest of the Haus Alpenz line) birthday from afar.
The Rapa Nui possessed a rather fruity aroma from the blood orange and sherry with hints of rum poking through. As for the taste, a citrus sip was chased by Old Monk's richness on the swallow; moreover, the Smith & Cross was rather notable flavor throughout the drink. In addition, over successive sips, the cinnamon notes from the syrup built up and added a nice degree of spice on the swallow. Lastly, I was greatly impressed at how well this drink paired with the citrus and mixed greens and vinaigrette salad I had ordered.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

:: fred's picks for the top cocktails of 2010 (in) ::

To finish up the trilogy of my year end wrap ups, I figured that I should revisit all of the recipes we tried at our home bar this year. Our cocktail book library expanded this year with older books like Bottom's Up and The How and When and new releases like Left Coast Libations and Absinthe Cocktails, and with this growth, the wealth of resources I can pull recipes from has increased. While most of the drinks are pre-existing recipes, a few were created for Thursday Drink Nights and other events and a couple of these even found publication in places like the Mutineer Magazine, on menus, or winning a cocktail contest. Just like my summary of the drinks I had out in 2010, I will go month by month and recap the top libations I experienced in my kitchen.

January: The best drink in January did not come by way of new cocktail book or old, but by way of Twitter! The Anvil in Houston tweeted the recipe for The Eulogy, a Last Word variation using Batavia Arrack, Yellow Chartreuse, falernum, and lime. Interestingly, Chuck Taggart of the Gumbo Pages made it down to Houston and reported back that the Anvil makes the drink with Strega instead of Yellow Chartreuse, so either liqueur will work. As a runner up, another WTF recipe from the Rogue Beta Cocktails book proves to be a tasty potation (despite our doubts, no recipe from that book has failed us). The Broken Shoe Shiner created at the Violet Hour impressed us greatly despite the ingredients list giving us pause.

February: February's best drink comes not from Twitter but from a Peruvian cocktail book that our friend Héctor gave to us. The Zambito paired up coffee-infused Pisco with lime to make a surprisingly rich and complex Sour drink. The runner up recipe, the Esmeralda, came via text message after speaking to our St. Germain rep, Kate, who fetched the recipe from Ben Sandrof, the creator. With the St. Germain being balanced by lime and with the cachaça being complemented by a smoky Scotch rinse, this Daisy was a gem.

March: I narrowed March down to two drinks that I found equally as enjoyable. The Madelaine Cocktail from the 1947 Trader Vic was another delightful Daisy with lemon and lime countering Drambuie liqueur. Perhaps it was the Treaty Oak aged white rum that helped to make this drink succeed. The other drink was also a rum one, the Happy Daze from the Café Royal Cocktail Book. Despite the silly name, the light complexity of flavors that Lillet and a touch of Swedish Punsch added to the rum made for an elegant drink.

April: This month's winner came from a copy of Green Street's cocktail book; the Joe's Fashion was crafted by Misty Kalkofen for a James Beard event in 2007 and the combination of Punt e Mes and Chinese 5 Spice syrup really worked well with apple brandy. The runner up came from Stan Jones' Complete Barguide; the Port Antonio was a Tiki drink that, like the Zambito, reminded me how great coffee and lime flavors pair up.

May: We started Julep season off with a bang; the Platonic Julep from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 had European stylings as it paired sherry with Yellow Chartreuse as the spirit. Another Julep we had in May should win the year's tastiest virgin cocktail (yes, Cocktail Virgin does have some virgin cocktails) which I presented for the Tom Waits Mixology Monday, namely the Tea Julep from the 1920 What to Drink written by the Jerry Thomas of Temperance drinks, Bertha Stockbridge. The runner up for May was simple but elegant -- the Perfect Lady from Latin Quarter Souvenir Book Of Cocktails & How To Mix Them; the substitution of the Pink Lady's applejack and grenadine for a quality Crème de Pêche was delightful.

June: My picks for June stem from Ted Saucier's Bottom's Up; Saucier's tome was the earliest recipe for the Last Word, and these two are variations of it. The D.J. was created at the Detroit Athletic Club where the Last Word was born; the equal parts number varies from the Last Word by using sweet vermouth and grapefruit in place of Green Chartreuse and lime (oh, and a hazelnut garnish). The Californie Place, however, was created in Cannes, France. While it is not equal parts, the recipe uses dry vermouth's crispness in place of the Last Word's lime to make a great aperitif cocktail.

July: July's winner should have been had a bar, but Eastern Standard lacked the seasonally obtained liqueur, Becherovka. Using our old bottle, we were able to make Bobby McCoy's winning Elixir Alpestre recipe. As a runner up, the equal parts One Way from Café Royal Cocktail Book reminded me of the Perfect Lady with peach and lemon flavors with the addition of Swedish Punsch.

August: The Secret Sherry Society provided us with our top pick, Thomas Waugh's Delores Park Swizzle. Sherry, tequila, citrus, ginger, and other spices made for a superb drink! A solid drink worth mentioning was created here in Boston decades ago; the Parker House Punch from Bottom's Up is not full of razzle-dazzle but succeeds with a strong, classic touch.

September: The Emerson Cocktail from Jacques Straub's 1914 book Drinks was a rather memorable find in September. A Martinez-like drink with the addition of lime is one that I ought to repeat with the Ransom Old Tom Gin we recently purchased. Also of note is that the Emerson appears on Todd Maul's menu at Clio. For a runner up, I went with another modified classic. The Georgetown Club Cocktail from Charles H. Baker, Jr.'s South American Companion: Up & Down the Andes with Jigger, Beaker, & Flask was like a Bacardi Dry supplemented by falernum or a Palmetto with the spiced syrup in place of bitters. I was reminded of this dry aperitif wine plus falernum combination when I had the No. 65 at Hungry Mother a few weeks back.

October: The Secret Sherry Society helped to welcome in Autumn with Erick Castro's French Toast Flip! Maple syrup, malt, smoke, and cinnamon added to the egg to give a remembrance of breakfasts past. As a runner up, Espolón Tequila provided me H. Joseph Ehrmann's Ashes to Ashes as a chocolate, sherry, and cinnamon tribute to Day of the Dead.

November: Andrea chimed in on November and considered Kelley Swenson's Celeriac from Left Coast Libations her favorite at-home drink of the year! The combination of pineapple and celery bitters made this drink a stunner. To offer up my pick, I will go with Martin Cate's Dead Reckoning which I spotted on the TastingTable website and in Beach Bum Berry's Remixed. This Autumnal-themed Tiki drink contained multiple layers of flavor.

December: A pair of interestingly spiced drinks made the top two for December. Kelly Slagle's Port of Funchal spotted on a TastingTable article was a great beer cocktail that contained Madeira, ginger, and lime for a tasty highball. And Evan Zimmerman's Minor Threat from Absinthe Cocktails utilized rose water quite well.

Of all the original cocktails created this year, a few caught attention. A variation on the classic Petion variant, the Petition, and the orange and cinnamon-flavored Peniques appeared in the Mutineer Magazine this year, and the Vieux Carré-like Hasta Manazana will appear in their next issue. The Bean's Necktie champagne cocktail took first place in the Embury Cocktails' competition. Drinks like the Zeeland and Bartender on Acid got served at bars. And a milk punch flavored with Wu Wei tea was a big hit at the party I brought it to (the guests emphatically requested that I published the recipe for it).

There you go. That's the year in summary. May 2011 bring good tidings to all, and may we raise a cup together (or in a virtual sense) soon!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

:: fred's picks for the top cocktails of 2010 (out) ::

When I was asked what my favorite cocktail of 2010 was, I really did not have an answer. And after looking through the year's entries, I still do not have an answer. Therefore, I will make it easier on myself and break it down by month (month I wrote about it, not month it was quaffed). And to cop out even further, I will divide up it up into two posts with one having the best drink out at a bar or event and the other having the best drink at home sourced from an ancient tome, modern magazine, or even Twitter. Lastly, I should add that my choices were influenced by two factors -- tasty and unique -- in some odd formula; getting served a delicious drink that was like no other has to count for a lot.

January: For the best drink out, I selected Deep Ellum's San Francisco Nog; with San Francisco being the United States' Fernet Branca drinking capital, the rest of the drink concept's should mentally fall into line. The runner up was Audrey Saunders' Earl Grey MarTEAni served at Green Street; this drink was part of my mental preparations for hosting Mixology Monday: Tea later that month.

February: Without a doubt, Misty Kalkofen's Rumbustion Flip at Drink was the winner. Alas, that is my name for it as she came up with it on the fly. The combination of dry oatmeal stout, Old Monk Rum, and allspice dram smoothed over with egg made this drink a winner. A similarly delightful egg-beer-rum concoction was had later in the year at Eastern Standard where Kevin Martin served me the Chocolate Flip.

March: Yes, another egg drink -- No. 9 Park's Orinoco. What won me over was the pairing of espresso and a copious amount Angostura Bitters. As a runner up, I chose Ryan Lotz of Lineage's equally bitter-heavy Fritz aptly named after an abstract expressionist artist.

April: Skipping over from egg drinks but sticking with bitter heavy ones, I chose Don's Little Bitter created by Don Lee and served by Sam Treadway at Drink. This digestif taken to another level later influenced me in creating the Orange Scaffa. Honorable mentions go to the theatrics of Ted Gallager's tiki drink at Craigie on Main and to the best named drink of the year, Emma Hollander's One Armed French Hooker.

May: Returning to egg drinks for a moment, I picked LeNell Smothers' Good Humor made by Derric Crothers at Green Street; for such a simple drink -- essentially an Aperol egg nog -- it made for a delightful dessert cocktail! Runner up or perhaps tied was Aaron Butler's Scottish Play at Russell House Tavern; the combination of intense Scotch and funky Cynar was delicious. I was later reminded of this when Scott Holliday served me his Cynar-laden Rum Scaffa at Rendezvous in November.

June: My pick was Ben Sandrof's Silent Order. Green Chartreuse paired with muddled basil and lime juice and softened with water, it was like a Green Ghost crossed with a Chartreuse Swizzle.

July: With Tales of the Cocktail, there was a lot of competition; however, a simple and surprisingly delicious drink won out -- Tim Stone's Lapsang Martinez at the Beefeater event. The combination of smoke, grape, and gin was good enough to repeat later that evening instead of opting for something new. For a runner up, Ben Sandrof's Mai Tai variation named after a lizard with two penuses, the Cuban Anole (Ben did not know about the anatomy fact when he created the drink, but was quite amused when he learned about it).

August: As an early harbinger of Autumn, the Honeymoon Cocktail at Lineage as they worked their way through Ted Haigh's book was a winner. Honorable mention goes to Todd Maul's bittered High Hat, the Simon, at Clio, and the Jimmy Lane Swizzle at Eastern Standard.

September: Scrawled on the border of my notes was that September was the toughest month to pick a winner. There was the old school elegance of Harry Johnson's Brandy Fix executed by Ted Kilpatrick at No. 9 Park, and the new school herbal stylings of April Watchel's Elisabeth Aplegate at The Gallows which paired cucumber, anise, and hyssop flavors. Similarly, in parallel fashion, there were Scott Holliday's reworked classic, the Rabbit Stick (based on the Boomerang) at Rendezvous and Carrie Cole's herbal and cucumber sparkling number, Fin du Saison at Craigie on Main. Since I did not give props to the Cure's Sherry Cobbler "garnish[ed] with berries of the season" that I had during Tales, I will have to give the nod to the classic Brandy Fix (it is as good an excuse as any, I guess).

October: October did have a lot of amazing drinks as well, but Bobby McCoy's Spanish Caravan at Island Creek Oyster Bar stands out. The combination of apple brandy, tequila, sherry, and dram coupled with the apple chip garnish was pretty spectacular. Ted Gallagher's introducing me to Pineau des Charentes in the Marksman at Craigie on Main and Kai Gagnon's choice of late season naturally fermented honey in Bergamot's Honey Bearer were tasty learning experiences!

November: With colder weather comes the return of the egg drinks. I had to call it a tie between John Mayer's berryful Pride of the Neighborhood at Craigie on Main and Ted Kilpatrick's vanilla and caramel Bulls Eye Flip at No. 9 Park. Honorable mention for a non-egg drink goes to California Gold's Union Station Swizzle at Drink.

December: Another toughly contested egg-off. Ben Sandrof's Pu-erh Flip used a fermented green tea that donated incredible funkiness and maltiness to the drink versus No. 9 Park's Ted Kilpatrick's re-working of the classic Morning Glory Fizz using a Belgian beer as the sparkling agent. While Ted's drink would be perfect today after last night's New Year's celebration, the introduction to the amazing flavor of the Pu-erh tea is hard to beat.