Friday, May 27, 2011

theresa no. 4

1 1/2 oz Cassis de Bordeaux (G.E. Massenez)
3/4 oz London Dry Gin (Beefeater)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Campari

Shake with ice and strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Top with soda water (2-3 oz) and garnish with a mint sprig.

A few months ago, I made the quirky Teresa from Gary Regan's The Joy of Mixology. The drink was created by Spanish cocktail enthusiast Rafael Ballesteros and expertly balanced the bitterness of Campari, the sweetness of crème de cassis, and the tartness of lime juice. Nicole, one of our friends and readers of the blog, commented that the Teresa was too Campari heavy for her and she would have liked to see half of the Campari replaced with gin. I replied that Eastern Standard's bar manager, Jackson Cannon, must have had the same opinion for he made a series of variations. While I was able to see #2 and #3 in the Craigie on Main cocktail rolodex, the Theresa #4 (unsure why the spelling changed) seemed most appealing and appears in the LUPEC Boston's Little Black Book of Cocktails. I held off on making this recipe as it calls for a mint sprig garnish and our mint, until recently, was in the off season. Alas, our mint is back so it was time for the Theresa #4.
I am glad that I waited until mint was available for it contributed greatly to the drink's aroma. The Theresa #4's sip contained the lime and the swallow possessed the Campari and gin herbal notes. Instead of having a strong Campari aftertaste like the original, this variation had a strong crème de cassis taste, well... everywhere; the cassis appeared on the sip to balance the citrus and a little more distinctively on the swallow to mellow the botanical notes. Moreover, the cassis liqueur made the drink a bit more syrupy or desserty than the original. The Campari, lime juice, gin, and soda water did help to dry out the sugar quotient, although I could not help but think that the balance would be better as a 4 equal parts recipe of cassis, gin, Campari, and lime.


2 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Sugar
1 Lime

Cut Lime into eights. Muddle lime pieces and sugar in a rocks glass. Add Fernet Branca and stir. Fill with ice and stir again.
After trying the recipe for the Camparinha, a Caipirinha with the cachaça swapped out for Campari, I wondered what other interesting liqueurs could be substituted. Soon my mind wandered to the concept of a Fernet Branca one! The pairing seemed natural since Fernet Branca and lime are rather complementary flavors such as in the Fernet Buck and Fernet Fix. Moreover, it seemed like a great hybrid of Brazil's favorite drink, the Caipirinha, and Argetina's, Fernet Branca (often mixed with Coca Cola though). For a name, I opted for the Brancinha instead of the Fernetinha. The drink had a simple combination of the Fernet Branca's herbal notes combined with the lime's juice and skin oils. While the lime juice worked well with the Fernet as I expected from previous drinks, I was quite surprised at how well the bitter lime peel oil accented the Fernet Branca's flavor. While the flavor was not as mild as the Fernet Fix, the Brancinha made for a great South American-inspired digestif.

barbadoes punch

1 tbsp Raspberry Syrup (1/2 oz)
2 tbsp Sugar (1 oz)
1 wineglass Water (2 oz)
1 1/2 wineglass Brandy (3 oz Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)
Juice 1/2 Lemon (1 oz)
2 slice Orange
1 piece Pineapple
2 tbsp Guava Jelly (1 oz)

Dissolve sugar in water. Add rest of ingredients and ice, shake, and strain into large punch cups, rocks glasses, or similar. Makes 2 servings.

Ever since having Dave Delaney's guava jelly-containing Groovy Child at the Citizen in Worcester, I was curious about the recipe that influenced him -- Jerry Thomas' Barbadoes Punch from the 1862 Bartender's Guide. The Barbadoes Punch is Jerry Thomas' Brandy Punch gussied up with some guava jelly which adds the citrussy flavor of the guava and a fuller mouthfeel from the jelly. When I was browsing the ethnic food aisle of our local Market Basket a few weeks ago, I spotted two varieties of guava jelly and knew that it was time to make this recipe. But which one to buy? One was a jar of Goya brand and the other was a package from Brazil. I was slightly deterred by the Goya's high fructose corn syrup sweetener, but in the end, it was probably the proper consistency for the jelly I wanted. The Brazilian one I ended up buying, had a simple list of ingredients and used guava paste instead of juice; however, it turned out to be pretty solid due to its high pectin content (the fruit's skin naturally contains a lot of pectin). Since muddling did not incorporate the jelly into the mix, I ended up microwaving the water, sugar, and guava jelly to get it to incorporate; this level of dilution worked well to keep the pectin in solution.
The Barbadoes Punch was rather fruity with raspberry, citrus, and pineapple notes and finished with a pleasing brandy flavor. While the guava jelly added some extra citrus-like notes, it was not as noticeable as in the Groovy Child. The jelly did donate a smooth quality akin to gum arabic due to the pectins; this effect, though, was more magnificent here than in the Groovy Child. Andrea's quote after trying the Barbadoes Punch summed it up best, "[It tastes] like alcoholic Dole fruit salad!"

Thursday, May 26, 2011

fog cutter

1 oz Brugal Añejo Rum
3/4 oz Bombay Dry Gin
3/4 oz Soberano Brandy De Jerez
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Trader Tiki Orgeat
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice cubes. Float a mixture of a 1/2 oz Broadbent Malmsey Madeira and 1/2 oz La Gitana Fino Sherry. Add straws and garnish with an orange slice and a lemon twist.

Two Tuesdays ago, I stopped into No. 9 Park for a drink. When the conversation switched to the Mai Tai Swizzle I had last time, bartender Ted Kilpatrick asked if I had ever had a Fog Cutter. Ted's version was a modification of Trader Vic's recipe; beside some proportion adjustments, Ted replaced the Amontillado sherry he had used with a combination of Fino sherry and Madeira.
The Fog Cutter began with a lemon oil aroma; the sherry and Madeira float did not contribute much to the bouquet for they actually sank. Ted mentioned that this usually happens, and perhaps it is due to the reduced amount of fruit juice and orgeat syrup relative to the base spirits in his recipe. The sip contained a citrus element that paired elegantly with a light caramel note from the barrel-aged spirits. Lastly, the swallow proffered the orgeat's almond, the Angostura's spice, the sherry and Madeira's wine notes, and the spirits' heat. Overall, I found the Fog Cutter to be spicier and more flavorful than many Tiki drinks, and it was unusual in that the recipe calls for 3 different base spirits. Others, like the Suffering Bastard, call for no more than two types; in addition, there are plenty that specify multiple varieties of the same spirit like the 3 rums in the 1934 Zombie. Here though, rum, gin, and brandy all contribute to the flavor profile and strength of the Fog Cutter. Over time, the balance did shift from spirits driven to juice driven as the ice melted and diluted the drink.


1 1/2 oz Death's Door Gin
3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz Crème de Cacao
1 dash Bittermens Boston Bittahs

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass pre-rinsed with apricot liqueur. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I stopped into Eastern Standard for dinner and drinks. When I asked bartender Hugh Fiore for something bitter and stirred, he said that he had an idea. However, he would not tell me what was in it. Hugh mentioned that he was practicing for the BAR exam by tasting things blindly, and he wanted to test me on the ingredients.
The drink started with the lemon oils from the twist. The sip was sweet and malty, the swallow contained Campari and chocolate notes, and the end provided a lingering botanical finish. I correctly identified the ingredients as gin, Campari, and crème de cacao, but I missed the rinse (I spied Hugh rinsing the glass). I thought the rinse was Green Chartreuse, but alas it was a bell-ringer of apricot brandy. In trying to figure out how I mistook that there was Chartreuse in the drink, Hugh mentioned that the Death's Door Gin was strange. On one hand, it is malty like Bols Genever, and on the other hand, it only contains 3 botanicals: juniper, coriander, and fennel seeds. When I tasted the gin straight, I realized that it was the intense coriander note that reminded me a lot of Green Chartreuse.

Getting back to the drink, the chocolate and Campari paired rather well and the apricot flavors probably worked to soften the drink. It is not too often that Campari and crème de cacao get paired up, but it must be the combination that makes the Anvil Bar's Campari Alexander (Campari, crème de cacao, and cream) such a popular menu item there. Campari does get paired up quite often with Chocolate Mole Bitters though, such as in the 1794. For a drink name, I considered the crème de cacao and the Italian origin of Campari, and I dubbed it the Carletti after Francesco d'Antonio Carletti, a merchant from Florence who discovered chocolate in his travels. When Carletti described in 1606 the chocolate he tasted in Central America and in Spain, it helped to launch a wave of chocolate mania in Italy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

huntington special

Juice 1 Lime (1 oz)
1/2 barspoon Sugar
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Crème de Violette (Crème Yvette)
1/5 jigger Jamaican Rum (0.3 oz Smith & Cross)
4/5 jigger Brandy (1.2 oz Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)

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

Two Sundays ago, I had just finished writing up the Lilac Domino post for the Mixology Monday "Floral Cocktails" event, and I was still in a flowery mood. I, therefore, found the Huntington Special in Ted Saucier's Bottom's Up. The drink which features crème de violette was created at the Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, California. The hotel was originally called the Hotel Wentworth when it opened in 1907, but after financial problems, the hotel was purchased by railroad magnate Henry Edwards Huntington in 1911 and was renamed the Huntington Hotel when it reopened in 1914. Although I could find little about the hotel's restaurants or bars, the hotel is famous for having California's first outdoor Olympic-size swimming pool. The hotel changed hands to various chains throughout the years, but it is still open today as the Langham Huntington.
Instead of reaching for my regular crème de violette, I opted to use our new purchase of Crème Yvette for I felt that its extra berry notes would pay dividends in this drink. The Crème Yvette donated a floral aroma to the Huntington Special that was accompanied by a hint of pineapple. The sip was slightly tart and contained the lime juice and Crème Yvette's berry flavors. Next, the swallow contained the pineapple and Spanish brandy notes; at the end, there was a slight Smith & Cross funk but otherwise the drink finished rather cleanly. Overall, the Huntington Special was rather elegant and tropical of a recipe and must have been worthy of the luxurious resort destination that the Huntington Hotel was back in the day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

la verdad

1 1/2 oz Tru Organic Gin
1 oz Blandy's Bual Madeira
1/2 oz Rosemary Syrup (*)
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass.
(*) A rosemary syrup recipe can be found here (note: 200mL/200gram = about a cup).

Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I went shopping and got dinner in North Hampton. On the way home we stopped into the Armsby Abbey in Worcester for dessert and a cocktail. The drink that caught my eye was La Verdad which was captioned, "No lies, deception, or misdirection, just the promise that Spring is here." The combination of sharp Madeira, rosemary, and lime flavors seemed like an interesting combination akin to the similar (but ginger noted) Port of Funchal. Moreover, it seemed like a good follow up to the previous evening's Les Champs Verts, so I asked bartender Eric to make me one.
La Verdad's aroma contained Madeira and herbal notes from the rosemary syrup and gin. Next, the sip contained lime and Madeira's grape flavors, and the swallow presented the rosemary, gin, and Madeira's oxidized notes. Indeed, the sharper aspect of the Madeira complemented the lime and rosemary rather well and helped to provided a clean and dry finish to the drink.

les champs verts

1 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
1 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse (*)
1 fistful Anise Hyssop Leaves

Muddle leaves in other ingredients. Add ice, shake, and double strain into a champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine. Rub the glass' rim with a smacked anise hyssop leaf.
(*) When Andrea ordered this drink in August, the Chartreuse was increased to 1/2 oz.

After my visit to the Citizen Public House, I crossed the river to get dinner at Moody's Falafel. Instead of taking the subway home, I continued my walk to Bergamot in Somerville. For a nightcap, bartenders Paul Manzelli and Kai Gagnon suggested one of their newest creations, Les Champs Verts. The drink featured anise hyssop leaves that they acquired from Eva's Garden in South Dartmouth, MA. Anise hyssop is actually part of the mint family and not the hyssop family proper, and it is often called mountain or licorice mint. To complement the herbal component, they added a pair of vermouths and a touch of green Chartreuse to this Champagne cocktail.

The Les Champs Verts started with an anise aroma from the muddled leaves that was supplemented with hints of Chartreuse. The sparkling wine provided a crisp sip that was followed by a delicate herbal swallow and a dry anise aftertaste. With the Chartreuse, sparkling wine, and herb components, the drink reminded me a little of Craigie on Main's Fin du Saison.

Monday, May 23, 2011

beach cruiser

1 oz Zaya Gran Reserva 12 Year Rum
3/4 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Falernum
1 oz Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut
1 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with 4 mists of Tiki Bitters and add straws.

For my next drink at the Citizen Public House, I asked bartender Tony Makayev about the Beach Cruiser which seemed like a good transition from the 19th Century Swizzle. I assumed that the name of this Fernet Branca-laden Tiki drink was related to the beach cruiser bicycles that bar manager Joy Richard and Tony both acquired for attending a recent Fernet Branca focus group. Several days later, I spoke to Joy Richard about the drink's history; Chad Arnholt created the drink with the Fernet Branca and the Fernet bicycle in mind (I am not sure if he got one too). Chad mentioned that he was quite pleased how the coconut and dark rum interacted with the botanicals in Fernet and soon realized that he had a winner. With rum, cream of coconut, and orange juice, the Beach Cruiser reminded me of the Painkiller, but with the spice of the Fernet Branca and falernum, the Beach Cruiser took a different direction.
The spice notes started early for the aroma contained clove and cardamom notes from the bitters misted on top of the drink. The coconut and fruit notes filled the sip, and the dark rum and Fernet Branca came through on the swallow. Despite the large portion, the Fernet Branca notes were not overwhelming; moreover, Fernet's menthol note worked well here as it complemented the coconut cream surprisingly well. Indeed, the Beach Comber turned out to be rather balanced by not being overly fruity, strong, or spiced.

19th century swizzle

1 1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Orgeat
2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Swizzle with ice in a tall glass. Mist the top with 4 spritzes of Tiki Bitters, garnish with 2 brandied cherries, and add straw.

As I was finishing up my New Jersey Flip, Eastern Standard was beginning to fill up quickly. I, therefore, decided to abandon my bar stool and continue my bar crawl by traveling to the opposite side of Fenway Park to the Citizen Public House. There, I found a seat and was greeted by bartender Tony Makayev. Tony explained that Saturdays were not his normal shift, but the other bartenders were at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic and he volunteered to fill in. After discussing the various new drinks on the menu, Tony steered me toward the 19th Century Swizzle created by bar manager Joy Richard. With Smith & Cross and Green Chartreuse, I was quickly drawn in.
The brandied cherries and Tiki Bitters garnishing the drink set the tone by providing most of the initial aroma to the Swizzle. Next, a caramel and lime flavor filled the sip, and this was followed by Chartreuse, orgeat, and the Smith & Cross' funk note on the swallow. Moreover, the pineapple appeared as a lingering note to pleasantly round off the drink. While the 19th Century Swizzle was rather good, it was a little bit on the sweet side for me and perhaps toning down the orgeat to a 1/4 oz would allow the Chartreuse notes to come a bit more forward. Otherwise, I was not disappointed.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

new jersey flip

1 oz Laird's Applejack
1 oz Tawny Port
1/2 oz Galliano
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters
1 Egg

Dry shake, add ice, and shake again. Double strain into a coupe glass.

Two Saturdays ago, I decided to embark on a late afternoon bar crawl. I started in the South End and wandered around for a bit. I was slightly surprised at how I did not recognize any of the bartenders working, but I realized that it was the beginning of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic and many of Boston's finest were off at this hot, up-and-coming event. While there were interesting new drinks on their menus, I also wanted a familiar face, so I made note of places to return in the future and carried on my way. My travels eventually took me into Kenmore Square, and when I peered inside Eastern Standard, there was a seat at the short end of the bar! Bartender Hugh Fiore greeted me and was surprised to see me in on a Saturday. For a drink, I requested the New Jersey Flip for Andrea rather enjoyed hers when she got it a few weeks ago and I feared that it was going to be dropped from the menu as the weather got warmer. While Hugh took my drink order, he was busy fulfilling orders going out to the patio, so he passed it on to bartender Nicole Lebedevitch.
Nicole returned a few minutes later with the New Jersey Flip. The drink had a tawny port aroma complemented by a vanilla note from the Galliano liqueur. While the sip was creamy and full of body, the swallow contained a rich assortment of port, apple, and Galliano's star anise and vanilla flavors. While the New Jersey Flip was probably in its prime as a seasonal drink a few months back, it did not feel out of place on an overcast day in May.

Friday, May 20, 2011

smiling ivy

3/4 oz Jamaican Dark Rum (Coruba)
3/4 oz Crème de Pêche (Briottet Maison Edmond CdP de Vigne)
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Egg White (1/3 Egg White)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I garnished with 3 drops of Fee's Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters.

For our second drink last Friday, I spotted an interesting recipe, the Smiling Ivy, in the Big Bartender's Book from the UKBG's Guide to Drinks from 1953. Since dark Jamaican rum and pineapple juice pair up so well, such as in Iuka's Grogg, I was willing to give this drink a try. Plus, I was curious to see what a Tiki-style drink from a British bartender in the 1950's would be like.
The pineapple and egg white teamed up to make a rich froth on top of the Smiling Ivy. Through that froth, the aroma of the pineapple and dark rum seeped through and was accented by the bitter's cinnamon note. On the sip, the pineapple and peach fused together to make a novel fruity flavor, and on the swallow, the dark rum was accompanied by the dryness of the lemon juice to round out the drink. Overall, the Smiling Ivy was rather light, refreshing, and definitely worth revisiting as the weather gets warmer here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

cynar julep

1 oz Cynar
1 oz Matusalem Classico Rum (Don Q Añejo)
1/4 oz Rich 2:1 Demerara Syrup (1/2 oz Jaggery Syrup 1:1)

Add ingredients to a Julep cup filled with crushed ice. Stir until frost forms on the outside. Garnish with enough mint to cover the top. Perhaps so much mint that adding a straw becomes a good idea.

Recently, our mint patch had returned and grown back enough to allow some light harvesting. One of the mint drinks that I had been saving up (I was refusing to buy mint in the off season) until last Friday was the Cynar Julep from the Rogue Beta Cocktails book. The drink was created by Brad Bolt who is now at Chicago's Bar DeVille after spending some time at the Violet Hour. Unlike most Juleps (save for the classic but unusual Pineapple Julep which is mintless), the mint here is purely aromatic and not incorporated into the liquid part of the drink. Instead, the drink relies on the Cynar liqueur to donate that herbal taste element and supplements it with a minty scent.
The mint bouquet did not let down my expectations and the long wait to be reacquainted with my garden friend was over; I believe the last recorded garden mint drink we had was the Dead Reckoning at the end of November. Next, a caramel rich sip contained an almost coffee-like flavor perhaps from a combination of the aged rum, Cynar, and jaggery syrup. The Cynar though came through most on the swallow where it provided an herbal note that could be considered mint-like in theory. Our lead-off Julep from last season, the Platonic Julep, was equally as unique and tasty with its sherry and yellow Chartreuse flavors.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

rattlesnake fizz

2 oz Rye Whiskey (Old Overholt)
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 tsp Sugar
1/4 oz Absinthe (Kübler)
1 Egg White

Stir sugar with lemon juice until dissolved. Add rest of ingredients and dry shake. Add ice, shake again, and strain into a Fizz glass containing 2 oz ginger ale (Hansen's). Top off with a little more ginger ale if needed. Garnish with drops of Angostura Bitters and add a straw.
Last Thursday, we were in the mood for something flavorful yet refreshing, so I opted to make the Rattlesnake Fizz from A Taste of Absinthe. Tim Stookey of the Presidio Social Club developed the drink recipe, and he soon realized that it was very similar to the Rattlesnake Cocktail in the Savoy Cocktail Book. Thus, Tim changed the name to reflect the convergence; his recipe contained ginger ale to donate flavor, lighten the drink, and replace some of the sugar used as a sweetener in the classic. The drink began with allspice and cinnamon notes from the Angostura Bitters on top of the egg white froth. While the sip was mainly the sweetened lemon flavor, the swallow contained a bit of complexity from the ginger, absinthe, and rye notes. Though the Rattlesnake Fizz was not as intense as many of the drinks in that absinthe book, the light absinthe and ginger flavors did add some intrigue to an otherwise traditional Whiskey Silver Fizz.

exhibition swizzle

1 1/2 oz Barbancourt Rum
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum

Add ingredients to a tall glass, fill with crushed ice, and swizzle until cold. Garnish with a dash or two of Tiki Bitters (sub Angostura perhaps) on top, 2 mint sprigs, a cherry, and a straw.

Last Wednesday, Andrea and I traveled over to Lineage in Brookline for dinner. For one of my drinks, I asked bartender Ryan Lotz to make me the Exhibition Swizzle that just appeared on the menu. When I inquired about the name, Ryan explained how he was researching Aperol and discovered that it was first introduced in 1919 at the Padua Exhibition in Italy and the name Exhibition Swizzle stuck. The combination of Aperol and Falernum made for a flavorful pairing that was less intense than the Campari Swizzle he had been tinkering with before.
The Tiki Bitters provided complementary notes to the mint and the falernum's spice aromas. On the sip, Aperol's rhubarb-orange flavor paired well with the lime juice; on the swallow, the rum and the falernum's clove notes rounded out the drink with a dry finish. Looking back through my notes, the Swizzle's flavor combination reminded me a bit of Aaron Butler's Hanging Curve which was more of a traditional cocktail presentation than a Caribbean one.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


2 oz Campari
1 Lime
1/2 oz Sugar

Cut lime into eights. Muddle lime wedges and sugar in a rocks glass until most of the sugar is dissolved. Add Campari and stir. Fill with crushed ice and stir again. A lime wedge or wheel garnish might make a good addition.

Last Tuesday, I was flipping through the Big Bartender's Book and spotted the Camparinha. I found this recipe quite quirky and intriguing for it took the classic Caipirinha and subbed out the cachaça for Campari. After enjoying the Campari and lime-containing Teresa, I was definitely curious in giving this recipe a go. Clearly, the recipe is not a new one (despite the modern trend of swapping out spirits for amaros like the Anvil Bar's Campari Alexander) for I was able to find it published as long ago as 2002, but alas, that is the most I could discover about its origins.
There were no big surprises here in the Camparinha given the recipe. The Campari dominated the aroma; next, the lime provided a tart juice note on the sip and a slightly bitter peel oil that coincided with the Campari flavors on the swallow. Andrea, who had been skeptical of the concept, commented that it was rather pretty and actually tasty. Overall, the lime and sugar did a decent job of balancing the Campari; however, it was not as glorious of a softening job as the lime and crème de cassis in the Teresa.

mountain dew fizz

2 oz Beija Cachaça
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Agave Nectar
1 Egg White

Dry shake, add ice, and shake again. Strain into a Fizz glass containing 1 1/2 oz of Mountain Dew soda.

Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I attended the Cócteles Latinos event at Trina's Starlite Lounge. The evening honored both the beginning of World Cocktail Week and the 5th birthday of the DrinkBoston blog. Guest bartenders Ben Sandrof and Misty Kalkofen were behind the bar mixing up a handful of drinks and punches that were written up on DrinkBoston. My favorite (besides the Zocalo I had before) was the Mountain Dew Fizz that Ben Sandrof made me. The recipe was crafted by Starlite's co-owner Beau Sturm and apparently started as a tequila Fizz instead of a cachaça one. Beau explained that two of his friends are from Mexico, and they lighten their Margaritas with Fresca, a grapefruit soda; I could definitely see that working especially after we used grapefruit soda in the tequila-based Shadyside Fizz. Since Mt. Dew was on the soda gun, Beau decided to give it a try and the end result was a success; moreover, the soda definitely fit into the bar's playful habit of utilizing less serious ingredients in their drinks.

The Fizz greeted me with a citrus and grassy cachaça aroma. The lime and carbonation's sharpness on the sip and the funky cachaça flavor on the swallow were pleasantly mellowed by the soda and agave nectar's syrupiness and the egg white's smoothness. Even though I am not a big fan of Mt. Dew soda, this drink worked great; I could imagine it working even better with the original concept of grapefruit soda, but regardless, this Fizz was rather refreshing.

throw the gun #2

1 oz Citadelle Reserve Gin
3/4 oz Oloroso Sherry
3/4 oz Zucca Liqueur
1/2 oz Demerara Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Lime
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 pinch Salt
1 Egg

Dry shake, add ice, and shake again. Double strain into a coupe glass.

Two Saturdays ago, Andrea and I stopped into Craigie on Main for drinks. One of the cocktails bartender Ted Gallagher made me was a creation of his fellow bartender John Mayer. John named the drink Throw the Gun #2 after the moment in movies where the bandit is out of bullets so he drops the gun, turns, and runs. The somewhat novel ingredient in the recipe, Zucca, is an Italian bitter liqueur containing rhubarb root and other herbs that is touted as a good digestif. Compared to another rhubarb-laden liqueur, Aperol, Zucca is a lot darker, older (invented 1845 versus 1919), and more reminiscent of Cynar than a soft version of Campari. Once I made that mental connection to Cynar, I knew that it would pair well with the sherry in this recipe.
The Throw the Gun #2 began with the herbal aroma of the Zucca complemented by sherry notes. The light creamy sip contained a hint of lime and was followed by the sherry's nutty and the Zucca's dark herbal flavors. Given the drinks foaminess, gin, and light citrus aspect, the Throw the Gun #2 reminded me a little of a Ramos Gin Fizz, well until the robust swallow convinced me otherwise each time.

Monday, May 16, 2011

black diamond flip

1 1/2 oz Islay Scotch, pref. Ardbeg (Caol Ila 12 Year)
1 1/2 oz Cynar
1 Egg

Shake once without ice and once with ice; strain into a cocktail glass. I added freshly grated nutmeg to the recipe (book's recipe lacks this, but I felt it needed it. Turns out that the recipe on the web includes this garnish).

Two Fridays ago for a nightcap, we decided to make the Black Diamond Flip from the Cocktail Collective book. The recipe was created by Ron Dollete of the LushAngeles blog, and the name is a skiing reference implying that the drink is for advanced drinkers only. The Black Diamond Flip fell between two cocktails I have written about here; the drink adds a smokey single malt component to the basic but delicious Cynar Flip and possesses a bit more intensity than the Dark Horse. Ron described the magic in the drink in that the Cynar and Scotch pair up to create a chocolate note and the nutmeg helps to bridge the gap between the bitter and peaty notes; I have noted that chocolate taste in Cynar drinks before like in the Jupiter's Dilemma. There is definitely something special about Cynar drinks. Indeed, when bartender Scott Holliday made me the Cynar Fizz, he commented about how great Cynar is as a drink ingredient for it contains sweetness, bitterness, and booziness such that it is practically a cocktail within itself.
The Black Diamond Flip's aroma was smoke and nutmeg with an undercurrent of Cynar's herbalness. While the sip was rich and malty, the swallow provided the smoke notes followed by a Cynar finish. Overall, the combination was "very intriguing" according to Andrea, and it definitely made for a good way to wrap up the evening.


1 oz El Maestro Sierra 12 Year Old Amontillado Sherry
1 oz High West Double Rye
1 oz Frapin VS Cognac
1 dash Simple Syrup (under 1/4 oz)
3 dash Smoking Ban Bitters (sub Angostura)

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

Two Thursdays ago, I met Andrea at Clio for drinks. One of the cocktails bartender Todd Maul made for me was a take on the Saratoga that appears in Jerry Thomas' Bon-Vivant's Companion (and not the other one I more recently wrote about). Instead of sweet vermouth, Todd substituted in a glorious 12 year old Amontillado sherry from El Maestro Sierra which contains some delicious earthy tobacco notes; Todd also added some simple syrup to give the sherry a similar sweetness to Italian vermouth. In addition, to bolster the tobacco notes in the sherry, Todd added a few dashes of Smoking Ban Bitters. Todd threatened to name this drink after me and call it the "F.Y." or similar; who knows if he will make do on his threat, but his track record of naming drinks The Simon or the J.R.T. after his regulars speaks for itself. For now, I will just dub the drink the Montresor in respect to the sherry.
The drink's lemon twist added high notes to the aroma of the sherry. The taste was dry, earthy, and somewhat herbal on the sip, contained the sherry's nuttiness and rye's spice on the swallow, and ended with the bitters' clove on the finish. Surprisingly, the drink did not taste much like its simple components as the flavor morphed into something higher to the point that it would be hard determine the individual constituents.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

lilac domino

This month's Mixology Monday theme, "Flores de Mayo: Floral Cocktails." (MxMo LVII), was picked by Dave of the Barman Cometh blog. Dave's challenge was "to feature a cocktail that highlights a floral flavor profile or includes a floral derived ingredient, whether home-made or off the shelf."

This month's theme was easy to pick an ingredient for as I had just purchased a bottle of Crème Yvette but had not found a reason to open it yet. This liqueur created in 1890 falls under the general category of Crème de Violette; beside violet flower, Crème Yvette includes berries, citrus peel, and honey to make a rounder profile than the Rothman & Winter Crème de Violette. Crème Yvette had been defunct for a few decades before Cooper Spirits, the people who make Saint Germain, resurrected the recipe and brought it into production. I first tasted the liqueur at Tales of the Cocktail in 2009 and the company dithered for a bit as they perfected the recipe and the packaging and finally released it a little over a year later.
It was time to open our bottle, but first a recipe! One of the drinks that caught my eye in the past was the Lilac Domino in the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book. The drink was created by Lilian Gerrard, an UK bartender, and the recipe falls somewhere between an Aviation and a Star Daisy. Like the Star Daisy, Blue Skies, and Pink Lady, the base was a mix of gin and apple brandy (here Calvados instead of applejack). For the sweet and sour components, the Lilac Domino balances the floral Crème Yvette and herbal Yellow Chartreuse with lemon juice. The recipe is as follows:
Lilac Domino
• 1/3 Calvados (1 oz Morin Selection)
• 1/3 Gin (1 oz Knockabout)
• 1/6 Yellow Chartreuse (1/2 oz)
• 1/6 Crème Yvette (1/2 oz)
• Juice of 1/4 Lemon (1/2 oz)
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry (Luxardo).
In the drink, the Crème Yvette paid dividends in the aroma for it donated both floral and berry notes. The sip was rich with fruit flavor that was a medley of lemon, berry, and apple. Next, the swallow was full of botanical elements from the gin, Chartreuse, and violet liqueur. With lilacs in bloom this past week or two, I knew that the drink was not very similar in aroma; however, the color of this drink was indeed reminiscent of many lilac varietals.
Well, that explains the lilac part of the drink's name, but the domino aspect? The domino here is not the game piece tile, but a small mask that covers around the eyes like one worn during a carnival or masquerade. A lilac one? Well, Lilac Domino was the name of an operetta that was first performed on stage in 1912 where a gambling count falls in love with a noblewoman wearing that mask at a masquerade ball. To line it up with the recipe, the musical was released as a movie in the UK in 1937, the same year the Café Royal Cocktail Book was published.

So a little bit of love, flowers, and intrigue all facilitated by a spot of booze. Thanks to Dave for bringing this theme into bloom and to Paul Clarke for keeping the florist shop open this late at night.

Friday, May 13, 2011

tamarind whiskey sour

1 1/2 oz Bourbon (Bulleit)
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Tamarind Purée mixed with 1/2 oz Hot Water 1 tsp Tamarind Concentrate mixed with 1/3 oz Hot Water
1/2 oz Rich (2:1) Simple Syrup 1 oz Jaggery Syrup (1:1)

Shake with ice and strain into a Double Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.

After the Duke on Wednesday, I was still in the mood for another drink. Therefore, I picked up our new Food & Wine: Cocktails 2011 and decided on the Tamarind Whiskey Sour. The Sour was created by Andy Ricker, and the drink must work splendidly with the cuisine at Pok Pok, the Thai restaurant in Portland, Oregon, especially since Andy works in the kitchen there as an award-winning chef. Since I did not have any tamarind purée, I used tamarind concentrate which can be found in most Indian supermarkets. As the stuff is really potent, I figured that it definitely needed to be scaled back a bit to equate to the purée. Another possibility was to make my own tamarind paste out of dried tamarind blocks like we did for the Pattaya Punch; however, the concentrate required no additional prep time and thus won out. Another change I made was in the sweetener. While I could have used rich simple syrup, I was anxious to try the jaggery syrup I had just made and reduced the amount of water in the recipe accordingly. Jaggery is a traditional Asian, African, Caribbean, and Latin American unrefined sugar made from either sugar cane or palm tree. Beside sugars, jaggery also contains minerals, protein, and whatever else would be in nonrefined sugar cane pressings or palm tree sap, and the result is a dark, rich, and flavorful product that reminds me a little of molasses and maple syrup when dissolved. Jaggery syrup might be closer to what they use at Pok Pok than the rich simple syrup in the book; one Portland blog claims that they use palm sugar syrup to make this drink. In addition, this substitution was one that David Wondrich would most likely smile upon (Wondrich discusses jaggery in his Punch book).
The Tamarind Whiskey Sour provided a dark Bourbon aroma. The sip was a complex tart fruit flavor from the lime pairing with the tamarind, and the tamarind continued on in the swallow where its zing, jaggery's funkiness, and the Bourbon's heat and barrel notes rounded out the drink. Indeed, the tamarind added a level of tart complexity to the drink that cannot be achieved with citric acid-based juices alone. Moreover, I could definitely see this drink pairing elegantly with either Thai or Indian food beside being enjoyed on its own as a delicious Sour.


1/2 Drambuie (1 1/2 oz)
1/4 Orange Juice (3/4 oz)
1/4 Lemon Juice (3/4 oz)
1 Egg

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a medium-sized glass with a dash of Champagne (1 oz Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut). I garnished with orange zest.

Wednesday last week, I was looking through the Café Royal Cocktail Book and spotted the Duke. The drink caught my eye for the spirit in the drink was Drambuie in an intriguing Diamond Royal Fizz. Besides providing most of the alcoholic kick to the drink, the Drambuie donated all the sweetness as well to balance the citrus and sparkling wine components. I was curious as to the origins of the drink's name and had to look up how the Duke fell into the Drambuie lore of Prince Charles Edward Stuart and Captain John MacKinnon. Other Drambuie drinks I have made have honored either the Prince who created Drambuie, such as Bonnie Prince Charles and Prince Edward, or the captain who gave the Prince sanctuary and was gifted the recipe, such as the MacKinnon. Of the two major dukes in the story, it is unlikely that this drink was named after the Duke of Cumberland who pursued but failed to capture the Prince; on the other hand, the drink was most likely named after the Duke of Perth, James Drummond, who MacKinnon served under.
The Duke possessed a honey, Scotch, and orange aroma. The whole egg donated a creaminess to the citrus and honey sip, and the sparkling wine paired with the Drambuie's Scotch base and dried out the swallow. Of the two citrus elements, the Duke was more orange than lemon flavored; in addition, when the drink was colder, the citrus and sparkling wine notes shaped the drink more, but as the drink warmed up, the Scotch notes came to the front. With the egg, citrus, and liqueur components, the drink somewhat reminded me of the green Chartreuse-based St. Germain, and of the previous Drambuie drinks mentioned above, the Duke reminded me the most of the MacKinnon.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

needle in the hay

1 oz Berkshire Mountain Distillers Corn Whiskey
1 oz Cherry Heering
1 oz Martini & Rossi Rose Vermouth
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
1 dash Bittermens Burlesque Bitters

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

One of the other drinks we had at Toro was the Needle in the Hay. Bartenders Andy McNees and Ian created and named the drink, respectively, and modeled the drink after the Blood and Sand. Instead of Scotch, Andy chose a whiskey made here in Massachusetts by the Berkshire Mountain Distillers. The whiskey is made out of corn harvested within 2 miles of the distillery and is aged with oak and cherry wood. With two other swaps of rose vermouth and grapefruit juice for the traditional sweet vermouth and orange juice, the Needle in the Hay was born.
The drink started with an orange aroma from the twist. The cherry flavors played a large role where it paired with the grapefruit in the sip and the whiskey in the swallow. Moreover, I was impressed at how well the rose vermouth complemented the Cherry Heering. Over all, the Needle in the Hay was a little crisper and sharper than the original given that grapefruit juice and rose vermouth are more distinctive than orange juice and sweet vermouth in the original.

Post note: Ami Li, one of the blog readers, tweeted about how I missed the Elliot Smith song reference in the drink's name. Thanks for the factoid!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

pink poodle

2 oz Beija Cachaça
1 1/2 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 Egg White

Dry shake without ice and then shake with ice. Strain into a rocks glass partially filled with fresh ice, and add straws and a cherry.

Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I traveled down to the Southend to eat at Estragon. Since their bartender was out sick, after dinner, we wandered over to Toro for drinks and dessert. We were lucky that bartender Andy McNees was working that night for I had not sat at his bar in quite a while. Andy was a part of our early memories of Eastern Standard and our middle memories of Green Street, but any time I passed by Toro, it was either too crowded or Andy was not working that night. Alas, late Monday night was a sweet spot and soon two seats opened up at the bar.
For a drink, I picked the Pink Poodle off of the menu. The drink called out to me for it reminded me of a cachaça version of the Pink Lady. Moreover, it seemed right to have Andy serve it for he was there when I had my first Clover Club which is a similar pink egg white-laden cocktail. Here, the cachaça contributed greatly to the Pink Poodle's aroma along with a fruit notes from the grenadine and citrus. Moreover, the spirit donated a grassiness to the sweet and citrussy sip and a funkiness on the swallow. Indeed, these extra notes in the cachaça made the Pink Poodle rather interesting to drink even after the egg white smoothed out the flavors. The only change I would make would be to reduce the grenadine down to an ounce for the drink was a tad on the sweet side for me.


1 1/2 oz White Rum (DonQ or Tommy Bahama)
3/4 oz Beefeater Gin
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice. Top with ginger beer, garnish with a lime wedge, and add a straw.

For my second drink at Eastern Standard, I asked bartender Josh Taylor for the Pamlico. Josh explained that the drink was created at the legendary B-Side Lounge and made its way on to early Eastern Standard cocktail menus when there were a few B-Side veterans behind the bar. The next day, Andrea and I found ourselves sitting at the bar at Toro with bartender Andy McNees. Since Andy was a B-Side alumni (and perhaps one of the early Eastern Standard bartenders that Josh was referring to), I asked him about the history of the Pamlico. Andy described how the drink was created by Dave Cagle (now of Deep Ellum) and modeled after Trader Vic's Cuba Libre Variation where the Coke was switched out for ginger beer. Moreover, the highball was named by bartender Paul Gowen (now a school teacher) after the islands in the Outer Banks where Blackbeard was rumored to have buried his treasure.
The Pamlico greeted the nose with a lime and gin aroma. While the sip was a crisp lime flavor, the swallow contained a combination of the rum, ginger, and gin notes. Overall, the Pamlico was refreshing and reminded me of a lot of the Suffering Bastard variation we made from Beach Bum Berry's Grog Log.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


1 oz Bulleit Rye
1 oz Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Aperol

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

Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I ventured down to Eastern Standard for dinner as there was no home game in the Fenway neighborhood that evening. For my first drink, I asked bartender Josh Taylor for the Pulitzer which recently appeared on the menu. Josh described the drink as something in the 1794, Boulevardier, Contessa, and Negroni family, but when I asked him about the drink's name, he was unsure and told me to consult head bartender Kevin Martin. Kevin described how bar manager Jackson Cannon had always desired to name a drink the Pulitzer; this is not surprising since Jackson grew up in a family of award-winning journalists including his father and his brother. Moreover, Kevin described that when Jackson tried this drink, he declared it was a prize winner! Josh commented how they wanted to use Bulleit Rye, but while it is a spicy whiskey, it is a little thin in relation to other ryes. To bolster this lack of body, they added sweet vermouth and Aperol, accented the drink with orange oil, and the rest is history.
The oils from the citrus twist greeted the nose and prepared the taste buds for the Aperol and vermouth's rhubarb and orange flavors on the sip. While the rye contributed grain flavors on the sip, it was the spice on the swallow that worked rather well in the drink where it combined with the sweet vermouth and Aperol to to conjured up a delightfully tangy note. While I drank the Pulitzer, I spied Drink's Josey Packard and poet Jill McDonough at the corner of the bar with a guest. I later discovered that they were entertaining an actual Pulitzer prize winner as I was serendipitously entertaining my cocktail. And yes, their guest did opt for the same drink as a starting point as well!

Monday, May 9, 2011

strawberry's revival

1-2 Strawberries (medium sized, hulled & quartered)
1 1/2 oz Rye (Redemption)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Demerara Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Absinthe Verte (La Muse Verte)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Muddle strawberries. Add rest of ingredients and ice, shake, and double strain into a rocks glass.

The other drink I made that Friday night was the Strawberry's Revival from Absinthe Cocktails. The recipe was created by Brian MacGregor of San Francisco's Jardinière, and while our book lists it as a strawberry and absinthe-flavored rye Sour, apparently Brian used to make it with single malt Scotch, namely Glenrothes 1991. I stuck to the recipe in the book and made the drink with Redemption Rye though.
The drink contained a strong strawberry aroma that was punctuated by the absinthe's botanicals. On the sip, the lemon's fruitiness combined with the strawberry and whiskey malt flavors; next, the lemon's crispness, the rye's heat, and the absinthe appeared on the swallow. The absinthe worked really well in the Strawberry's Revival to balance the strawberry by adding a nice herbaceous flavor at the end similar its effect in the Sbagliato Grosso and the Cantante Para Mi Vida.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


1/2 St. James Rhum (1 1/2 oz J.M. Rhum Ambre)
1/2 Pompadour Pineau des Charentes (1 1/2 oz Chateau de Beaulon)
Juice 1/4 Lemon (1/2 oz)

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

Two Fridays ago, we wanted to make use of our new purchase of a bottle of Pineau des Charentes. Pineau is a fortified wine that is a blend of grape must and Cognac eau de vie which is then aged in oak barrels; the end result is sweet and full bodied and often drank as an aperitif. For a recipe, I chose the Pompadour from Frank Meier's 1934 The Artistry Of Mixing Drinks which pairs the Pineau with an aged rhum agricole and balances its sweetness with lemon juice. It might seem odd that a drink created in France would use rum as the base spirit, but Meier was an American who traveled to Europe to continue his trade during Prohibition, and the rum he used was made in the French colony of Martinique.
With the format of rum, sweet fortified wine, and citrus, the Pompadour reminded me of the Fig Leaf, but the lemon and Pineau took the drink in a very different direction than the Fig Leaf's lime and sweet vermouth. The Pompadour's nose contained citrus notes with a little bit of brininess from the rhum agricole. The Pineau des Charentes' wine flavors entered into both the sweet lemony sip and the dry, funky rum-containing swallow. The Pineau performed a great job of balancing both the lemon's crispness and the rhum's hogo notes; moreover, without the Pineau, I doubt that rhum agricole and lemon would have worked together as superbly.

kingston fizz

1 1/2 oz Rum (Appleton V/X)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Allspice Dram
1/4 oz Pastis (or Absinthe)
2 dash Angostura Bitters
1 Egg White

Dry shake without ice, then add ice and shake again. Add 2 oz of Coca Cola to a Fizz Glass (or other 8 oz sized glass), and strain shaker's contents over the top. Rinse ice cubes in shaker with 1/2 oz more Coke and strain foam on top of drink. Add straw.

For Mixoloseum's Thursday Drink Night two weeks ago, I decided to act on an idea I had been mulling over for a Fizz. About a month before, we were sitting at No. 9 Park talking to bartender Ted Kilpatrick. Ted had just made me his Angostura-heavy take on the Cuba Libre, the Mentirita, and we began discussing other ways the drink could be improved. One drink I mentioned was the Mandeville and how the touch of Pernod in the drink was quite complementary to the spice notes in Coca Cola beside donating a slight Tiki feel to the drink. Since Ted is a fan of egg white-laden Jerry Thomas-style Fizzes, such as his Morning Glory Fizz variation, I later thought of including an egg white into the drink. Actually the concept of a Coca Cola morning rejuvenator is close to my heart for Coke was my breakfast for a good part of grad school. Combining all of these elements together, I opted for a Jamaican instead of a Cuban direction with my version. When I needed a name, Colonel Tiki came to the rescue in the Mixoloseum chat room and proposed the name the Kingston Fizz.
In the Kingston Fizz, the anise notes from the pastis contributed to the Fizz's aroma. Next, the sip offered up a sweet caramel and lime flavor that was chased by a smooth swallow with a hint of spice. Indeed, the egg white took the rough edges off of this drink and made it into a delightfully easy drinking Fizz. Recently, there was an interesting article in the Washington Post about the Rum & Coke and Cuba Libre; there, D.C. bartender and author Derek Brown "dub[bed] the rum and Coke the drink of the shiftless, idle and indolent." Instead of being a wild party drink like the Rum & Coke, I could definitely see the Kingston Fizz being both a morning recooperative as well as a stylish way to celebrate a classic mixed drink during the other waking hours as well.

Friday, May 6, 2011

aston martin

1 1/2 oz Dry Sherry (3/4 oz Lustau Dry Amontillado, 3/4 oz Lustau Dry Oloroso)
3/4 oz Dry Gin (Cascade Mountain)
1/2 oz Benedictine

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

Two Wednesdays ago, I was reading the May/June issue of Imbibe magazine and spotted the Aston Martin. The drink was created by San Francisco's Nopa bar manager Yanni Kehagiaras, and it drew me in with its aperitif-like style. Yanni based the drink off of the Rolls Royce Cocktail which I have not had, but the basic premise reminded me of the Stephen's Cocktail which we quaffed last year.
The Aston Martin greeted me with a fresh lemon oil scent that balanced the sherry's nutty aroma. The sip was grape from the sherry and somewhat dry, and the sherry notes continued in the swallow as a nuttiness that accompanied the Benedictine's spice. Moreover, the Benedictine lingered on as an aftertaste along with the gin notes. I quite enjoyed how the Benedictine complemented the predominant sherry flavor, and the gin functioned well to add a little backbone to the drink. Overall, the Aston Martin had a rather light feel for it was more than half sherry and could function as either an aperitif or as nightcap when a full strength drink would be too much.


1 1/2 oz Beefeater Gin
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Yellow Charteuse
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer, add a straw, and garnish with a lime wheel.

For my second drink at Bergamot two Tuesdays ago, I asked Kai Gagnon about what drinks he has been excited about lately. Kai suggested the Restaurateur for it makes good use of their housemade ginger beer. The original was created by Andrew Mitchell of San Francisco's Rickhouse, and the Bergamot version increases the gin from one to one and a half ounces and removes the three pieces of freshly muddled ginger for their ginger beer is extra potent. Since I had heard good things on Twitter about Bergamot's version of this drink (perhaps it was the DudeKicker's feed), I decided to give it a try.
The freshly cut lime wheel contributed greatly to the Restaurateur's aroma. Moreover, the lime juice quotient contributed a crisp citrus aspect to the sip that was followed by strong and complementary ginger and Fernet Branca notes on the swallow. While the Beefeater Gin and Yellow Chartreuse were detectable, they played more of a supportive role to the other more dominant flavors in the mix. Finally, if I were to compare the Restaurateur to any other drink I have had, I would say that it is a gussied up and more genteel Fernet Buck.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


1 1/2 oz Old Weller Antique Bourbon
1 oz Amaro Nonino
1/2 oz Cynar

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

Two Tuesdays ago, I went over to Bergamot for drinks. For my first cocktail, I asked Kai Gagnon to make me the Elizabetta from the cocktail menu. When I inquired about the name, Kai explained that it is a reference to one of the daughters in the Nonino family that Paul Manzelli, the head bartender, has a crush on. Kai mentioned that her name is actually spelled "Elisabetta" but the other spelling variation won out. Previously, the drink had gone through a few metamorphoses including being the Union (after nearby Union Square) which contained Punt e Mes instead of one of the liqueurs.
The Elizabetta started with a grapefruit oil aroma; Kai stressed that he found grapefruit to be the most complementary twist for this drink and was upset that a local magazine had written up as an orange one. Perhaps it is the Cynar component calls out for the grapefruit twist for Evan Harrison also chose one for his Cynar-laden Peralta. Underneath the citrus oil was a sip containing the Amaro Nonino's caramel and the Old Weller Bourbon's malt flavors. Next, the swallow brought the Cynar and Amaro Nonino's herbal notes and the heat from the whiskey. Overall, the Elizabetta was rich and complex but not overly sweet like I first imagined the drink would be given that it is half liqueurs; I assume that the balance was dried out considerably by their choice of overproof whiskey.

marigold ofrenda

2 oz Espolón Tequila Reposado
1 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Curacao or Triple Sec (Cointreau)
1/2 oz Light Agave Nectar
4 oz Cantaloupe (peeled, chopped)
1/8 tsp Chile de Arbol Powder (Ancho Chili Powder)

Muddle cantaloupe, agave nectar, and orange liqueur. Add rest of ingredients and ice, shake, and double strain into cocktail glass (rocks glass). Garnish with an edible marigold flower.

Since today is Cinco de Mayo and the rest of the world is buzzing about tequila drinks, I figured that we should do our part. Instead of the Cinco de Mayo recipes that we were sent by Espolón (we did make the Bebida de Puebla from that collection), we backtracked to one we left off of their Day of the Dead list. Since cantaloupes were on sale, I wanted to make the Marigold Ofrenda created by Christopher Bostick of Varnish in Los Angeles. Probably a better time to make this drink would be in August when ripe, locally harvested melons and marigold flowers are available. On the other hand, the melons we found at Harvest Co-op in Central Square were aromatic and we had a bottle of the Espolón reposado that they sent us a few months ago, so wrong holiday or not, it was time to make this drink.
Since we lacked a marigold as garnish, the drink smelled of tequila, melon, and hot pepper and lacked some possible floral notes; moreover, Andrea commented that it had a very fresh, rainlike aroma to her. The fruit notes came across in the sip as a pleasing melon and citrus flavor, while the tequila and slight heat from the pepper appeared on the swallow. Note that we used a smokey ancho chili powder for we lacked chile de arbol which I believe is a bit spicier; however, a slight bit of heat when coupled with alcohol goes a long way for me. Finally, I was quite surprised at how soft the swallow ended; perhaps it was the agave nectar and the cantaloupe juice that mellowed the Marigold Ofrenda into a really easy drinking Margarita variation.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

mai tai swizzle

1 1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1 oz Brugal Añejo Rum
1 oz Pink Grapefruit Juice
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Falernum
1/4 oz Combier Orange Liqueur
1 barspoon Pernod
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Build in a snifter glass filled with crushed ice. Swizzle to mix, add straws, and garnish with 2 mint sprigs.

For my second and last drink at No. 9 Park, I took bartender Ted Kilpatrick's suggestion and tried the Mai Tai Swizzle on the menu. Ted cautioned that the drink was based off of Don the Beachcomber's Mai Tai that later gave way to the Zombie. Generally, when one hears of a Mai Tai, one instead thinks of the version that Rumdood obsesses over for good reason; that one was created by Trader Vic and won out historically regardless of whether it was the original Mai Tai or not. The history of the battles can be read in Beach Bum Berry's books or in a good summary written by PeguDoug.
The mint garnish on the Mai Tai Swizzle provided much of the drink's aroma along with the aged rum notes. These aged rum notes soon appeared as a caramel flavor that danced around in the crisp citrus sip. Next, the rums, especially the mighty and funky Smith & Cross, continued on in the swallow along with the spice from the Angostura Bitters, falernum, and Pernod. Here the Pernod functioned as a great accent as it does in the Zombie. Moreover, like the Zombie, this Mai Tai variation ought to have a warning or a limit of 2 per customer for I soon felt the drink's potency and was glad that I was taking the subway home.

park street cup

1 oz Pimm's No. 1
3/4 oz Peychaud's Bitters
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Angostura Bitters
1/4 oz Fee's Orange Bitters
1 Egg White

Shake without ice and then with ice. Strain into a highball glass, top with 3 oz of Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen beer, and add a spoon straw.

Two Mondays ago, after attending the Domaine de Canton mixology contest and tasting some of the great entries (including Russell House Tavern's Aaron Butler's submission that hid 2 1/4 oz of the liqueur behind various dark rums in a Swizzle!), I decided to make good use of being in that part of Boston by stopping in at No. 9 Park. Luckily, there was a seat at the bar, and bartender Ted Kilpartrick was pleased to point out some of the new additions on their menu. One of these was the Park Street Cup which he described as a combination of a Pimm's Cup, Don's Little Bitter, Gunshop Fizz, and a beer. It was way too quirky of a concept to pass up. For a fizz component to the Park Street Cup, Ted was used a hefeweizen from the world's oldest continuously operating brewery, Weihenstephaner. I am not sure if this was symbolic for the nearby Park Street station was the first subway stop (along with the neighboring Boylston Station) built in the country back in 1897.
The Park Street Cup presented itself with a cinnamon and orange aroma from the bitters. The sip contained the Pimm's and lemon flavors at first and the malt from the beer later as the float made its way down to the straw's level. The swallow contained a pleasing bitter flavor that complemented the Pimm's and later the hops as well. As there was a delay in the beer component entering the drink, it was noticeable how it functioned to dry out the drink. A quick stir with the straw spoon would have solved this had I picked up on it earlier, or perhaps the dual level aspect was intentional.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


1 1/2 oz Bols Genever
3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
3/4 oz Benedictine

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
For my second drink, I asked bartender Naomi Levy to make me one of the other new drinks on the menu, the Houdini. Naomi described the drink as one of Kevin Martin's concoctions and compared it to the Ford Cocktail. Later, Kevin explained that he was surprised that there was not to his knowledge a drink called the Houdini already and that the name added an air of mystery to the drink. The Houdini's aroma was malty and lemony from the Genever and the twist, and similar malt and citrus notes continued in the sip from the Bols and Cocchi Americano. The swallow was an intriguing combination of the Benedictine and Bols Genever botanicals which produced an almost chocolate note.


1 1/2 oz Averna
1/2 oz Pimm's No. 1
1/2 oz House Sour Mix (*)
1/4 oz Pineapple Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice (**). Garnish with an orange wheel.

(*) I know that Eastern Standard's sour mix is lemon, lime, simple, and a little egg white. I have seen sour mix made with 1 part each lemon, lime, and simple, but I have a feeling that Eastern's is 2 parts simple to 1 part lemon, 1 part lime.
(**) See text -- I recommend not serving it on the rocks; straining it into a cocktail glass would be preferable here.

Two Sundays ago, I needed to get some dinner so I decided to stop by Eastern Standard. For my first drink, I asked bartender Hugh Fiore for the Haverna that recently appeared on the menu. With the combination of Averna and pineapple juice, it reminded me of the Averna Pineapple Shrub, except here the acid source was citrus juice instead of vinegar. I was not sure whether the drink name was a combination of Havana and Averna (some Havana variations contain pineapple juice), so when I asked Hugh, he forwarded me on to Kevin Martin who created the drink. Kevin explained that Averna's marketing slogan akin to the dairy council's "Got Milk?" is "Have Averna" which morphed into the Haverna.
The Haverna greeted me with a dark aroma that ensconced a hint of fruit; moreover, the drink had a nice frothiness to it from the shaken pineapple juice and the egg white in the sour mix. The sip was a combination of citrus, pineapple, and Averna's caramel, while Averna's bitter notes appeared on the swallow followed by a gentle lingering pineapple flavor. While the drink was rather tasty similar to the Averna Pineapple Shrub, I wished that it had not been served on the rocks. Since I was eating and not downing the drink, the ice melted and the extra dilution threw off the balance of the drink. I would rather have the drink room temperature than have it fall apart like that. Overall, I am not a very big proponent of cocktails served on the rocks unless the goal is to dilute something that is too strong or too sweet (i.e.: Curaçao Punch); Juleps, Fixes, Highballs, and Tiki drinks are a different story. I do understand that a lot of bars prefer to serve cocktails on the rocks in an Old Fashioned glass for the extra ice makes the glass look filled.

Monday, May 2, 2011

[fraise fizz]

1 Strawberry
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1/4 oz Benedictine
1 1/2 oz Landy Cognac VS

Muddle strawberry with the spirits, add ice, and shake. Double strain into a wine glass and top with 2 oz of Berkshire Brewing's Ale. Twist an orange peel over the top and discard.

For my last beverage at Lineage, I asked bartender Ryan Lotz if he had any ideas for a drink containing a sparkling wine or beer float. He thought for a moment before retreating to the kitchen to fetch a strawberry. When he returned, he reached for the Maraschino liqueur and explained how he likes to muddle seasonal fruit with it for it makes certain flavors pop out more. When the drink was strained, I was not quite expecting beer to be the float of choice here, but Ryan had it all worked out. The drink began with a strawberry aroma that was supplemented by a little Maraschino. A smooth berry sip was supplemented by the beer's malt flavors. Next, the swallow presented the Maraschino, Benedictine, and ale's hops notes and the strawberry reappeared as a pleasing aftertaste. As the drink warmed up, the Benedictine began to take a larger role in shaping the drink's profile. Later, Ryan explained that the pairing of Benedictine and beer was as flavor enhancing as the strawberry and Maraschino and that the Cognac was there as a common ground for it worked with each of the other ingredients.

[jupiter's dilemma]

1 1/2 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
3/4 oz Beefeater Gin
1/2 oz Combier Orange Liqueur
1/4 oz Cynar

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

For my second drink at Lineage two Fridays ago, I asked bartender Ryan Lotz for something to go with the lemon-asparagus pizza that was arriving. With a base of half Dolin blanc vermouth, the drink was definitely in the territory to be a good aperitif. Moreover, the Cynar and orange liqueur would probably work well with the vegetables and citrus flavors in the pizza. At first I wondered if I had ever had a drink with Cynar and orange liqueur together, but I recalled the Rosemary's Baby that I had made and the Sous Le Soleil that Andrea let me have a taste of, but both of those were quite a while ago. Furthermore, I have had Cynar paired with orange juice in Mortal Sunset and Wayne Curtis' Tango #2 variation.
The drink provided an orange aroma from the twist and Combier liqueur with a slight hint of dark notes perhaps from the Cynar. The orange continued on in the sip and was followed by a swallow containing floral notes from the Dolin blanc, citrus flavors, and a hint of bitterness from the Cynar. As the drink warmed up, the gin notes came more forward with a bitter orange swallow that reminded me of a Terry's Chocolate Orange candy. Overall, I was quite impressed at how well the Cynar toyed with the orange notes in the drink and how well the drink worked as both an aperitif and as a pairing with food.