Thursday, June 30, 2011

leg before wicket

2/3 Gin (2 oz Knockabout)
1/6 Dubonnet Rouge (1/2 oz)
1/12 Lime Juice (1/4 oz)
1/12 Campari (1/4 oz)

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

Once I had opened our bottle of Dubonnet, I wanted to continue putting it to use, so on Tuesday last week, I made the curiously named Leg Before Wicket. Well, the name is odd to us Americans, but considering the recipe was first published in the British Café Royal Cocktail Book, it actually is not. Leg before wicket is a cricket term and is one of the ways that a batsman can be dismissed akin to a baseball player being struck out. Essentially, it is where the batsman blocks the ball from hitting the wicket (think: the strike zone in baseball but all three strikes in one fell swoop) with their body and often their leg. In the 1930's when the drink was invented, the leg before wicket rule was re-analyzed as a way to reduce the trend of high scoring games as the batsmen's skill increased.
Perhaps all this cricket talk is confusing, but the concept of a gin drink that has sweet and bitter elements of Dubonnet and Campari countered by the tartness of lime juice should distract you from all that. The Leg Before Wicket began with a citrus aroma. The slightly sweet sip contained a vague fruitiness that was perhaps due to the Dubonnet's grape notes. On the swallow, the Campari and lime crispness were later joined by the gin botanicals on the aftertaste. Overall, it was rather tame for a Campari drink and might be a good gateway to the Negroni especially since the more difficult to appreciate Campari is one part in twelve here instead of one part in three.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

bittersweet serenade

1 oz Lustau Los Arcos Amontillado Sherry
1 oz Philippe Latourelle VS Calvados
1 oz Nux Alpina Walnut Liqueur
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
For my last drink at Estragon, bartender Sahil Mehta wanted to make for me the Bittersweet Serenade. Sahil described how this recipe was published in Stuff at Night a few months ago in an article about sherry drinks. Here, the sherry was matched with equal portions of Calvados and walnut liqueur. Despite it seeming more like an autumnal drink, it worked rather well with the rich chocolate dessert we had. The Bittersweet Serenade began with an orange oil aroma that contained a hint of the sherry's nuttiness poking through. The sherry's grape flavor appeared in the sip, and its nuttiness in the swallow where it complemented the walnut liqueur. As the drink warmed up, the brandy notes strengthened on the swallow to round out the drink.


3-4 oz oz Unibroue Éphémère Beer
1 oz St. Germain
1/6 Granny Smith Apple (cubed)
Camargo Absinthe (rinse)
Angostura Bitters (garnish)

Muddle apple in St. Germain. Add 1 oz of beer and strain into a wine glass that was pre-rinsed with absinthe. Add 2-3 oz more beer and garnish with several drops of Angostura Bitters.

Two Mondays ago, we went to Estragon in the South End for their delicious Spanish tapas; Monday is also the night that bartender Sahil Mehta works. I met Sahil at a Domaine de Canton competition a few weeks ago, and his drink impressed me for how he dealt with the large amount of sugary liqueur in his recipe. When we were faced with a similar situation at a Grand Marnier event, Andrea and I ended up using a combination of black tea and lemon juice to hit the proper balance in the Lioness (of Brittany). Instead, Sahil utilized a fruit-infused vinegar to cut down on the sweetness of the large slug of liqueur in his recipe. In essence, he was creating a quick and dirty ginger shrub, and that sort of out of the box thinking impressed me. This thought process also helps out considering that Estragon, like Coppa, has a cordial license which means that an extra degree of craftiness and creativity is often necessary to create cocktails.
For my first drink, I asked Sahil to make me the Starbird for the concept of apple-flavored Belgian-style beer, apple, and absinthe drink sounded intriguing. Sahil explained that the drink came together for he enjoys the culinary combination of apple and fennel and he converted this pairing into a beverage. The drink's nose was initially the absinthe notes, but over time a sour maltiness appeared that was later joined by apple aromas. The sip was crisp from the beer's carbonation and the Granny Smith's malic acid and contained a pleasing amount of St. Germain's fruity and floral flavors. Next, the beer's hops worked well with the absinthe and apple on the swallow; moreover, Andrea specifically commented about how much she enjoyed the absinthe-beer combination.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

bitter in brazil

1 1/2 oz Cabana Cachaça
3/4 oz Grand Marnier
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Demerara Syrup

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass that was rinsed with Fernet Branca. Garnish with a lemon twist.
The other drink I had at the Citizen in Worcester was the Bitter in Brazil, one of the two Fernet Branca drinks on the menu. While I was expecting a whopping amount of Fernet Branca in this cachaça drink to match the name, the glass was only seasoned with it and most of the bitter notes actually came from the Punt e Mes. Even though there was only a small amount of Fernet in the drink, its pairing with Grand Marnier reminded me of Jeff Grdinich's Root of All Evil. The drink began with lemon oil that set up for the orange in the sip from the Grand Marnier that was accompanied by the liqueur's caramel notes. The first wave of the swallow was the Fernet Branca and Punt e Mes' bitterness, and this was followed by the cachaça's grassy funk at the end. Before we left the Citizen that night, bar manager David Delaney took Andrea and I on a tour of what will be the restaurant's cocktail-centric back barroom that they are calling "Still and Stir." The room is replete with jail cell bars from when it used to be the court house's holding cell. Still and Stir apparently had its opening on Friday so we will have to return to enjoy some drinks in this cool and eccentric space.

ticket to paradise

1 oz Milagro Silver Tequila
1 oz Plymouth Sloe Gin
1 oz Housemade Swedish Punsch
1 barspoon Lemon Juice
2 dash Fee's Rhubarb Bitters

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

Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I decided to make a road trip out to Worcester to get dinner at the Citizen. For my first beverage, I asked bartender Travis for the Ticket to Paradise which was the Swedish Punsch drink I passed up when I picked the Millionaire of Havana last time. The Punsch was paired up with tequila, a combination which I have experienced in Metexa from the Café Royal Cocktail Book, and with sloe gin, a combination that appears in the Mabel Berra Cocktail that I read about on the Two At The Most blog. I neglected to ask about the drink's name or origin, but if it was a nod to the Swedish Punsch, it could have been named after a somewhat obscure 1962 Swedish film.
The Ticket to Paradise began with a candied lemon aroma that prepared the drinker for the rich, citrussy sip. The swallow packed the biggest variety of flavors with tequila and Swedish Punsch's Batavia Arrack and spice notes. These potent elements were smoothed out by the tart sloe berry flavor that was complemented by the bitters' rhubarb notes at the end.


3/4 oz Cognac (Martel VS)
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Dubonnet Rouge
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

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

After the Thick as Thieves, I had some lemon juice left over so I opened up Jeff Masson and Greg Boehm's Big Bartender's Book in search of a good use. The recipe I spotted, the Crux, called for the bottle of Dubonnet we had just bought and was a great excuse to crack it open. Since the recipe also resides on CocktailDB, I was able to track it back to Jones Complete Bar Guide but was not able to find it elsewhere in the books that I checked. The Dubonnet website has the Crux as one of the 17 good uses for their product, but it provides no other history other than that Death & Co. enjoyed the recipe enough to submit it to their site.
The Crux began with a lemon oil, orange, and grape aroma. While the sip was a sweet citrus flavor, the swallow was a drier grape note with orange, herbal, and tannin elements at the end. Overall, it was sweeter, less strong, but more complex than the classic Sidecar. Indeed, the Dubonnet bolstered the Sidecar base with its grape notes complementing the Cognac, its orange peel notes adding to the Cointreau, and its sweetness helping to counter the tart lemon. With the grape notes, the Crux reminded me of the Emily Shaw Special which includes sweet vermouth in the mix instead of Dubonnet.

Monday, June 27, 2011

thick as thieves

1 1/2 oz Pimm's #1
1/2 oz Tanqueray Gin
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Raspberry Shrub (Strawberry Shrub)
1/8 oz Simple Syrup (Raspberry Syrup)
15 drop Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
(*) Read about how to make shrubs here and here.

Two Saturdays ago, I read to Andrea a list of cocktail recipes created by Toby Maloney, owner of Chicago's Violet Hour. I found the list on Complex's City Guide in an article on summer cocktails, and the one that stood out as the winner was a Pimm's-based one called Thick as Thieves. While the recipe called for raspberry shrub which they make at the bar, I had a batch of strawberry shrub that I figured would be close enough. To add some raspberry elements, I exchanged the recipe's simple syrup for a raspberry one. Essentially, the Thick as Thieves was a berry-driven Pimm's Cup that seemed like a good thirst quencher for the warm evening.
The Thick as Thieves began with an lemon oil aroma that was joined by a hint of vinegar that set a savory tone to the drink. The sip was full of lemon and berry fruit flavors, and the swallow contained the raspberry, the gin's juniper, and Angostura's spices with a rather clean and tart finish. Overall, the drink's light balance and savory aspects would make for a great aperitif as well as a delightful thirst quencher in the upcoming hot weather.

[calabura flip]

2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
1/2 oz Angostura Bitters
1 oz Demerara Syrup
1 Egg

Dry shake, add ice, and shake again. Double strain into a rocks glass and garnish the foam with drops of Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters.

For a drink to go with dessert at Lineage, bartender Ryan Lotz had an idea that kept the continuity with the Final Voyage's rum theme. The idea of a Cherry Heering and rum Flip reminded me of the gin and cherry one that I had several months ago; however, this one upped the ante. Not only was the base spirit more robust, but there was a half pony of Angostura Bitters in the mix as well! Ryan did not have a name for the drink, but based on the Jamaican rum and the cherry liqueur, I am dubbing it the Calabura Flip after the Jamaican Cherry Tree, Muntingia calabura, that has a variety of other names depending on where this species grows.
The Flip presented a cinnamon and cherry aroma from a combination of the Fee's bitters on the garnish and the Heering in the drink; moreover, Angostura Bitters contains cherry wood and other spice notes that might be bolstering these notes as well. Next, the sip was a rich and bitter cherry flavor, and the swallow contained the Angostura's spice and the Smith & Cross potent and funky rum notes. The flavors on the swallow were well balanced in intensity and worked well with the rich and spiced elements in the cherry liqueur.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

:: mixology monday announcement ::

MxMo LIX: Beer!

CocktailVirgin will be hosting July's Mixology Monday, a monthly online cocktail party with a different theme each month. This month the chosen theme will be beer cocktails.

While beer being used as an ingredient in modern cocktails has gotten a lot of press as of late, this is not a new trend. Beer has played a historical role in mixed drinks for centuries. For example, it can be found in Colonial drinks like the Rumfustian, Porter Sangaree, and Ale Flip. While many of these drinks are not seen in modern bars save for craft cocktail establishments, other beer drinks are though, including the Boilermaker, Black Velvet, and Michelada. And present day mixologists are utilizing beer with great success including Kelly Slagle's Port of Funchal, Jacob Grier's Averna Stout Flip, and Emma Hollander's Word to Your Mom. Bartenders are drawn to beer for a variety of reasons including the glorious malt and roast notes from the grain, the bitter and sometimes floral elements from the hops, the interesting sour or fruity notes from the yeast, and the crispness and bubbles from the carbonation. Beer is not just for pint glasses, so let us honor beer of all styles as a drink ingredient.

Here's how to play:

• Find or concoct a drink recipe that uses beer as an ingredient. Discussing a glass of beer alone is best done elsewhere, but drop a shot of whiskey or gin in there for a Boilermaker or Dog's Nose, well, now we're talking. Feel free to use beer in a syrup, as the carbonation in a Fizz, or as the base "spirit" of the drink itself. Old like the Posset and Shandy or new does not matter. Modifying a soda or Champagne cocktail to a beer one? Go for it.
• Make the drink and then post the recipe, a photo, and your thoughts about the beverage on your blog or on the eGullet Spirits and Cocktails forum.
• Include in your post the MxMo logo and a link back to both the Mixology Monday and CocktailVirgin sites. And once the round-up is posted, a link to that summary post would be appreciated.
• Post a link to your submission in the comment section here, or send an email to

The due date is Monday, July 11th which I will interpret as whatever gets posted before I awake on Tuesday the 12th (yes, I will accept late entries but a deadline as a symbolic form of structure is needed for this sort of cat herding).


Friday, June 24, 2011

final voyage

3/4 oz Smith & Cross Rum
3/4 oz Rothman & Winter Apriot Liqueur
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Last Friday, Andrea and I traveled down to Lineage in Brookline for dinner. When I asked bartender Ryan Lotz what new drinks they had been tinkering with, he mentioned that one of them was a rum-based play on the Last Word that he and fellow bartender Brendan Pratt had come up with. Beside the Smith & Cross Rum instead of gin, they exchanged the classic's maraschino for apricot liqueur. Indeed, the ingredients list reminded me as much of the Periodista and Culross as they did the Last Word. The recipe's genesis was so recent that it lacked a name; when I considered the nautical history of the rum style, I proffered the "Final Voyage" and both Ryan and Brendan seemed pleased by that suggestion.
The Final Voyage presented itself with an apricot and lime bouquet, and the lime continued on in the semi-sweet sip. The Smith & Cross Rum began the swallow and was shortly followed by the apricot liqueur and Green Chartreuse flavors. Surprisingly, the apricot and Chartreuse mellowed the other out and neither dominated the drink's balance as I had first expected.

the gem

Juice of a Lime (1/2 oz)
A little Pineapple Syrup (1/2 oz)
1 spoon Sugar (none, used pineapple syrup as only sweetener)
1/2 drink Santa Cruz Rum (1 oz Plantation Barbados 5 Year Rum)
1/2 drink Brandy (1 oz Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)

Shake with ice and strain into a fine glass. Garnish with a slice of lemon and grate cinnamon on top (dusted with cinnamon instead).
With all of the talk of William Schmidt's The Flowing Bowl the night before, I decided to search out another recipe to make from that tome. While Will Thompson had suggested the Kaleidoscope, the drink that caught my eye first was the Gem. With a little manipulation of the citrus and sweetener volumes to reflect a modern 2:1/2:1/2 sensibility, the drink appeared like a split spirit Fix, albeit one served without the crushed ice and berries in season. Instead of berries, the Gem called for a lemon slice that had been dusted with grated cinnamon. Moreover, the split spirit base of rum and brandy is a classic combination that reminded me of our Pattaya Punch recipe. The garnish on the Gem helped to provide much of the drink's nose by way of cinnamon and lemon notes. The lemony aroma gave way to lime notes on the sip, and the swallow contained the pineapple, brandy, and rum flavors. Over time, some of the cinnamon dissolved into the drink and donated a pleasing spice note on the swallow which worked well with the pineapple and rum.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

the only edward

1 1/2 oz Redbreast 12 Year Irish Whiskey
3/4 oz Bertagnolli Grappa di Teraldgeo
3/4 oz Zucca Liqueur
2 dash Chamomile Extract

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

While enjoying my Northern Lights, Drink bartenders Tyler Wang and Will Thompson (*) were there along with No. 9 Park's Ted Kilpatrick on our side of the bar. The conversation drifted to William Schmidt (a/k/a the Only William) and our collective excitement over the recipes in his 1892 book The Flowing Bowl. When it came time for my second drink, bartender Ted Gallagher described a recipe he had been tinkering with that he wanted me to try. It lacked a name, and therefore, the discussion of the 19th century cocktail book flowed over, and the drink later got dubbed "The Only Edward."
The drink called for a grappa which gave me pause for many grappas are fierce and fiery spirits. When Ted reassured me by letting me have a taste of the Grappa di Teraldgeo, it was rather pleasant and had notes of freshly cut grass without any degree of harshness save for the proof. Thus, the Only Edward began with lemon oils from the twist, and the sip was malty from the Irish Whiskey and full of melon-citrus notes from the grappa interacting with the other ingredients. Next, the swallow contained floral and vegetal elements from the chamomile infusion and Zucca liqueur. Indeed, the Irish whiskey worked beautifully here for its softness allowed the other elements to shine in ways that an similar portion of Scotch or rye would obscure.

(*) Will Thompson uttered the quote of the night which was, "Fernet Branca: it tastes like a cough drop that is mad at you."

northern lights

1 1/2 oz Grant's Blended Scotch
3/4 oz St. Germain
1/4 oz Clear Creek Douglas Fir Eau de Vie
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Demerara Syrup
2 dash Bittermens Tiki Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist. Perhaps Zirbenz could be substituted for the eau de vie in a pinch.

Tuesday last week, Andrea and I paid a visit to the bar at Craigie on Main. While scanning the menu, I realized that I had never had their Northern Lights. The drink was created by Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli for the inaugural cocktail menu when Craigie on Main opened in autumn of 2008. Lauren Clarke of DrinkBoston captured the moment by asking Tommy about the drink's genesis. Tommy recalled, "I took a week off between starting at Craigie and ending at Eastern Standard. I went down to Westport, MA, to work on the upcoming venture. One night of mixing with some of my best friends, this drink just came together. The late-night mixing and watching the stars, in cold New England... it reminded me of the vibrant Northern Lights." I know that I at some point had tasted the drink when Andrea ordered it, but I had never savored one from beginning to end; therefore, I asked bartender Ted Gallagher to rectify the situation. Ted seemed rather happy to oblige despite the longer than average list of ingredients; when I inquired about the numerous small portions of ingredients, Ted explained that before each shift, they batch the juice and syrup together to make the drink a lot easier to assemble.
The Northern Lights began with the bright notes of the lemon twist. The sip was a spicy citrus flavor that was chased by Scotch's smoke and St. Germain's fruit-like notes on the swallow. The Douglas Fir eau de vie appeared as a lingering pine note, and as the drink warmed up, the St. Germain's floral elements came more to the forefront. In addition, the Scotch and St. Germain work rather well together as they do in the Alto Cucina. While the drink has 3 ingredients that were hot new products at the time the recipe was crafted, namely St. Germain, Bittermens Tiki Bitters, and Clear Creek's Douglas Fir spirit, the drink still holds weight and has a timelessness to it regardless of what were the bartenders' new toys back then.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

maikai mule

1 oz Matusalem Gran Reserva 15 Year Rum
1/2 oz Becherovka Liqueur
1/2 oz Pineapple Syrup
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and fine strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice (I assume a copper mug would be preferably here if one were available). Top with 1+ oz housemade ginger beer, garnish with mint, and donate a straw.

Last week, on the way home from my DJ gig, Andrea and I caught a nightcap at Bergamot in Somerville. For a drink, bartender Paul Manzelli recommended the Maikai Mule that fellow bartender Kai Gagnon had created. The drink was a liberal play on the Mai Tai that had been crossed with a ginger beer-based Mule. The last Mule of this sort that I had was the Dead Man's Mule at Drink. These two Mules shared a similarity in their intense herbal liqueurs to match the biting ginger beer; while the Dead Man's Mule utilized absinthe and allspice dram, the Maikai Mule called forth clove and cinnamon notes from Becherovka.
The mint garnish contributed so greatly to the nose such that the clove and ginger aromas in the drink were hard to detect at first. The sip was a fruity combination of the lime juice and the pineapple syrup; the pineapple notes continued on in the swallow where they joined the aged rum, clove, ginger, and other spice elements. Interestingly, the Becherovka paired splendidly with the ginger beer such that the clove and ginger blended together into a unitary tingly note.

a little taste of cambridge

2 1/4 oz Bacardi 8 Year Rum
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Strawberry Shrub
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1 dash Chocolate Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
Midway through my Staghorn cocktail, Andrea met up with me at the Temple Bar. Along with an order for their tasty flatbread pizza, I later asked for the Little Taste of Cambridge. I was drawn to it because of the housemade strawberry shrub, and its pairing with the yellow Chartreuse and chocolate bitters did not hurt either. The drink's name makes reference to A Taste of Cambridge which is one of the major yearly food events in the city, and the Little version precedes the main event to build excitement and publicity for its big brother. Andrea was also drawn to the strawberry shrub for she requested a tall drink made with it:
Vikki's Fizz
• 1 1/2 oz Oxley Gin
• 3/4 oz Strawberry Shrub
• 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
• 1/4 oz St. Germain Liqueur
• 2 dash Bitters
Build in a highball glass filled with ice. Top with sparkling wine, garnish with an orange twist, and add a straw.
The Little Taste of Cambridge's aroma was a combination of the orange oil and the strawberry with a hint of the shrub's vinegar base creeping through. The strawberry joined the lemon on the sip, and the swallow contained the rum followed by a return of the strawberry flavor as it mingled with the chocolate from the bitters on the finish. The Little Taste of Cambridge had a delightful savory aspect to it from the vinegar, and the drink went incredibly well with the pizza which had been drizzled with balsamic.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


1 oz Tanqueray Gin
1 1/4 oz Cocchi Americano
3/4 oz Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
2 dash Sambuca

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After stopping in at Green Street, it was time to rendezvous with Andrea at Temple Bar outside of Harvard Square. While waiting for Andrea to show, I asked bartender Sam Gabrielli for the Staghorn from their cocktail menu. Bar manager Alex Homans later explained that each of the bartenders had a chance to put a drink on the menu and the Staghorn was bartender Jane's take on the Corpse Reviver #2. Here, the major change was the orange liqueur being swapped out for a pine tree-flavored one. While the Staghorn also called for Sambuca instead of absinthe or pastis, all of those spirits share a similar strong anise flavor. Switching the ingredients in the Corpse Reviver #2 was something I had recently discussed for some books published during the 1940's contain a variation with Swedish Punsch instead of Lillet; I first find that change in my 1945 reprint of the 1941 Crosby Gaige's Cocktail Guide and Ladies' Companion.
The Zirbenz component shaped the Staghorn the most in the nose and the swallow. Indeed, the Zirbenz's pine notes mingled well with the traditional anise aroma. The sip was semi-sweet and contained the citrus notes from the lemon juice and Cocchi Americano, and this was chased by the botanical burst from the gin and Zirbenz on the swallow. Indeed, the Staghorn had a sharper and more intriguing balance than the orange liqueur-laden Corpse Reviver #2. It was definitely interesting to have the liqueur being altered instead of the spirit, such as in the # Tres, or the citrus, such as in the Dover (albeit sans anise flavor), in the classic recipe.

white lady

2 oz Beefeater Gin
1/2 oz Combier Orange Liqueur
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 Egg White

Dry shake, add ice, and shake again. Strain into a wine glass.

When I was going through the Anvil's 100 Drink list, I pondered the White Lady which they listed as gin, Cointreau, and lemon. While I had definitely had that Gin Sidecar version which first appears in the Savoy Cocktail Book, I always think about the egg white-laden recipe I avoided back in the day. David Wondrich on the Chanticleer Society forum provided a bit of history about this variation, "The earliest use of egg white in the drink I've been able to find is in New York-based bon vivant Crosby Gaige's 1944 Standard Cocktail Guide; it also turns up in the Stork Club book, from 1946." True, I had other egg white Ladies, including the Pink and Perfect, I figured it was time to enjoy the White Lady this way. And since I was at Green Street where the recipe sits in their house cocktail recipe book, I asked bartender Derric Crothers to shake one up for me.

The lemon and gin contributed to the aroma's citrus and juniper notes. The juice and liqueur helped shape the soft citrussy sip, and the lemon reappeared in the swallow along with gin to round out the drink. The egg white, beside contributing a little foam to the drink, helped to make this cocktail rather smooth, soft, and ladylike and thus more true to its name. When we first had the White Lady years ago, our home bar was rather sparse and finding a classic recipe that we could make was a blessing. It was not only very do-able then at our bar and at our friends' home bars, but it turned out to be rather delightful. Indeed, the egg white version has reminded me that some of the most basic drinks with primordial bar ingredients can still be rather satisfying.

Monday, June 20, 2011

delmarva #2

2 oz Old Overholt Rye
1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Marie Brizard Creme de Cacao (dark)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice. Rub a mint leaf inside the bowl of a chilled cocktail glass and strain the drink in. Garnish with the mint leaf.

Two Sundays ago, I ventured down to Green Street for some cocktails. The drink I picked first was one from their cocktail book, the Delmarva #2, and bartender Derric Crothers was more than willing to flip through and find the recipe. The drink appears like a rye-based Twentieth Century with the lemon twist and Lillet swapped for a mint leaf and dry vermouth. As Derric was making the drink, I searched on my phone for some more information about the recipe. Luckily, Paul Clarke had written about it in the Cocktail Chronicles blog over 5 years ago. The drink is an acronym for Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, which perhaps honors where a lot of the country's rye whiskey was produced (tack in Pennsylvania in that list for much of the remainder). Paul tracked the drink down to Gary Regan's Joy of Mixology where it is attributed to Ted Haigh who grew up in that part of the country. So what was the Delmarva #1? Apparently, it is the creme de menthe instead of cacao version; creme de cacao and a mint leaf seems like it should be an improvement to that in my book. Eastern Standard made a similar assessment of these two liqueurs when they placed the Pall Mall on their menu.
The mint garnish paid dividends as it complemented the liqueur's chocolate aroma. The Delmarva #2's sip was somewhat crisp with lemon notes, and the swallow had a combination of rye whiskey and chocolate flavors. Moreover, the rubbing of the mint leaf inside the glass transferred some of the mint to the taste as well where it supplemented the dry vermouth's herbal notes on the swallow.

rojo bianco

2 oz Reposado Tequila (Espolon)
3/4 oz Bianco Vermouth (Dolin Blanc) (*)
1/4 oz Campari
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass.
(*) Please note that the book has the recipe as 1/4 oz Bianco Vermouth. After mixing the drink with that amount, I discovered through the A Dash of Bitters blog that the book's recipe is incorrect and the intended volume is 3/4 oz.

After returning home from Eastern Standard, Andrea and I were in the mood for a nightcap, so I found the Rojo Bianco in Food & Wines: Cocktails 2008. The drink was created by Death & Co.'s Phil Ward as a tequila-based Brooklyn variation. Instead of Amer Picon and dry vermouth, Phil substituted Campari and bianco vermouth, respectively.
The Rojo Bianco presented a Campari aroma that had hints of agave and fruitiness to it. The sip was sweet and full bodied from the Maraschino and bianco vermouth, and the swallow contained the Campari's bitter flavors followed by the funky and fruity notes of the Maraschino. The tequila flavors appeared in the background especially on the swallow where it complemented the Campari. As the drink warmed up, the tequila notes came more to the forefront in addition to the overall balance became a little sharper; perhaps with the correct amount of bianco vermouth, the drink would be a bit more mellow. While the Campari was no Amer Picon, it did seem to pair up better with the tequila than Amer Picon did in the Jayco.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

:: advice for tales of the cocktail ::

With Tales being a month away, I figured it was time to share some tips in plenty of time to go shopping as well as physically and mentally prepare for the hustle. At the end of Tales last year, besides making a list of the best moments, I also jotted down some bits of advice to remember for myself and for passing on to future Tales goers. I will save the standard "drink a lot of water," "remember to eat and sleep,"and other basic life functions to other blogs who have done it so well in the past and will probably do again in the future. If you need to read or re-read that advice, here is a great one written by LUPEC Boston's own Kitty.

First, keep in mind that Tales is a multi-ring circus with a lot going on in tasting rooms, seminars, official events, unofficial and ambush marketing ones, and restaurants, bars, and music halls across the city. Trying to do a little of everything, but not trying to do everything, is key. Being too focused on seminars, for example, will cause you to miss out on the tasting rooms going on at the same time. Running around from one place to another in a hurry might cause you to miss out on meeting some interesting and valuable people. Moreover, becoming too focused on Tales events might make you miss what the city itself has to offer (unless of course, you go down to New Orleans other times of the year). Know that there is a world outside of the Monteleone; however, if you do get trapped at the Carousel Bar, remember that you can keep track of how long you have been there by how many disorienting revolutions you have made. Overall, find your rhythm, find your pace. If you discover yourself overexerted, take a break in your hotel room or pool or perhaps take the next day easy. If you can handle the rush, remember that there will be a chance to decompress at the end of the week. And taking an extra day in New Orleans after Tales to recover is not a bad idea either.

Despite my advice to diversify, having a specific goal at Tales can help make things fun. A few come to mind. Devin of the Periodista Tales went in search of people who could provide him history about the drink recipe he was researching; this brought him face-to-face with a lot of famous cocktail historians with a good focus point (or excuse) to do so. Andrea of this blog had a project to learn what she could about New England Rum; this scored us an invitation to a private rum tasting where we actually got to taste some rather old New England Rum made a few miles from our house as well as some other amazing spirits. Another noteworthy quest was undertaken by Camper English of Alcademics who set out to live tweet every drink he had a Tales that week. Perhaps trying as many different establishments' Sazeracs, Vieux Carrés, or Pimm's Cups? Trying to see how many nips of booze you can gather at tasting rooms to smuggle back home without exceeding your airline's luggage weight limit? Be creative and have some fun doing so.

With all that variety, keep in mind that people are there for very different reasons with sometimes a lot of overlap and sometimes very little. Finding out how you can learn from another or help them out is often worthwhile. And sometimes, you realize that you have no common overlapping interest, so move on without a second thought. Furthermore, do not feel afraid to talk to people who you think are really famous or important. Very few of the people you want to meet in the cocktail world have attitudes. The few that do could be because you caught them when they were really tired, overstressed, or other. True, there are a small fraction who do not fall into those categories and do not comprehend the cordial and collegiate atmosphere of the event; if you need revenge to assuage your anger, making up and spreading rumors that you spotted them late at night walking in or out of Hustler's Barely Legal on Bourbon Street might be okay. In some cases, you will not even need to make it up.
In terms of networking, getting business cards printed up is key and there is still time; I highly recommend VistaPrint but plenty of other online and local establishments can provide you a stack of cards in the next few weeks. It saves you from finding paper or mustering up enough sobriety to produce legible penmanship, and it makes exchanging contact information a snap. But wait? What happens at the end of Tales when you end up with a stack of cards you do not recall receiving? My advice is to write a short note on each card you receive that will help you trigger a memory of who this person was and/or why you should contact or remember this person in the future. Notes like "girl in the purple dress at the XYZ event" and "email later about this product" will help make sense of your stack of odds and ends once the dust settles and the fog lifts. Lastly, make a point of writing thank yous to the people you met at Tales. You now have their business cards and they might be as hazy as to what you spoke about as you would be had you not written that short reminder note on their card. Taking a few minutes per potentially valuable contact to reconnect in a calmer, less booze-influenced moment a week or two later can solidify interactions. I did this the first year we went to Tales and I regret getting too busy to do so after last year's trip.

While I said that I was not going to give basic life advice, there are few things worth pointing out. New Orleans weather is extreme. It can go from hot and sunny to dark and stormy on a moment's notice. Carrying a portable umbrella and wearing a hat to keep sun and rain away are good ideas. Last year was not too rainy but the year before had torrential downfalls that made us seek shelter in stores or under overhangs. Moreover, New Orleans is a walking city so bring sensible shoes; Andrea adds that you should bring fast drying socks and shoes for the deluges you seem inevitably to get caught in. There are plenty of taxis and cheap street trolleys for longer distances or for safety's sake. Some people have commented that New Orleans is not that safe of a town, but if you walk with a purpose (even if you do not really have one), you will not seem like an easy target.

New Orleans is filled with great restaurants. One thing we learned is not to be surprised with slow service. Things work on a different pace there. Often, it seemed like a test -- after a slow period of ignoring us, they get things moving and become really friendly perhaps because we did not complain. This happened on more than one occasion and the result of our patience was great treatment in the latter half of each experience. Some of our best restaurant recommendations came during these moments.

Lastly, New Orleans allows for open containers. Sure, you will have plenty of booze at the tasting rooms, seminars, bars, and events, but do not neglect a chance to drink on the street. In a rush to leave, ask for a go-cup for the rest of your drink or for one for the road. And street beer? Yes, please. When stopping in to a store for a fine Belgian or other, some establishments will ask if you want the bottle opened right then and there. Whether it is a hot July day where some suds will help quench the heat or a balmy evening where a nightcap brew will help make the walk home pass by easier, a good beer can be your friend. Do not neglect the local Abita Brewery while you are down there for the cocktails; they make some fine product worth sampling.

Soon, I will do another vegetarian dining in New Orleans post, but until then, start organizing your trip for the less obvious things than airline, hotel, and event tickets. Purchasing spare smart phone batteries (and a battery charger), larger memory cards for your camera, and the like still need to be done. And even if they do not, things always seem to work out.

Friday, June 17, 2011

root of all evil

1 oz Root Liqueur
1 oz Housemade Spiced Rum
1 oz Coconut Cream
2 dash Angostura Orange Bitters
1 Egg

Dry shake ingredients, add ice, and wet shake. Strain into a coupe glass.

Last weekend, Doug of the Pegu Blog was in town with his wife as part of their cross country tour. On Saturday night, Andrea and I met up with them at Eastern Standard. For a drink, both Andrea and I honed in on the Root of All Evil which just appeared on the menu and asked bartender Kit Paschal to make us a pair. This drink is different from the Root of All Evil that we had at the Grand Marnier Event. Instead, this one features Art in the Age's Root Liqueur which we were introduced to at Tales of the Cocktail last year via the Appalachian Flip. We later tracked down a bottle at the New Hampshire state liquor stores and made the Prince Farrington Punch. The company based their liqueur after Colonial recipes for root tea brewed from sassafras, sarsaparilla, wintergreen birch bark and other roots and herbs. Thanks to the temperance movement, this alcoholic brew morphed into the root beer soda of today. The Root of All Evil was an Eastern Standard original Flip that shares a semblance with Tiki drinks such as the Painkiller.
The Flip provided a pleasing root beer-like aroma. While the sip was rich with coconut flavor and the egg's smoothness, the swallow contained a bounty of Root liqueur and spiced rum notes. Andrea commented that the Root of All Evil had everything one would want in an egg cocktail -- a glorious full mouthfeel and a bit of sweetness as well. Even though we had this before dinner, it would definitely make an excellent dessert cocktail.

dalang cooler

1 oz Batavia Arrack
1 oz Drambuie
1 oz Madeira (Blandy's 5 Year Old Verdelho)
1 oz Orange Juice

Build on ice in a highball glass, stir, and top with 1-2 oz of soda water. Garnish with an orange slice.
For Mixoloseum's Thursday Drink Night last week, the theme was "tall drinks." While looking for inspiration, my eyes kept stopping on the bottle of Drambuie which worked so well in another tall drink, the Mackinnon. To complement the Drambuie, I opted for a pair of more vintage-styled spirits with a nautical past, Batavia Arrack and Madeira. To round out the drink, I added orange juice to soften the Batavia Arrack and Madeira's sharper notes and soda water to help beat down Drambuie's sweetness. For a name, I went with the Dalang Cooler as a nod to the Indonesian origin of the Batavia Arrack; the dalang is the puppet master in Javanese shadow puppet performances. The Dalang Cooler showcased the orange and Batavia Arrack on the nose. Next, a crisp citrus sip was supplemented by grape notes from the Madeira; the sharper notes of the Madeira appeared on the swallow where it paired well with the Batavia Arrack. Overall, the Dalang Cooler was flavorful yet rather easy to drink.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

night porter

1 oz Bianco Vermouth (Dolin Blanc)
3/4 oz Absinthe (Pernod)
3/4 oz Ruby Port (Taylor Fladgate)
1/2 oz Mezcal (Del Maguey Vida)

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

While sipping on the Naked Lady, I reached for our copy of A Taste for Absinthe. Since we had just purchased a bottle of Dolin Blanc Vermouth to make the Forty Virtues, I could now make the Night Porter which had taunted me previously. The drink was created by Jeff Hollinger of the Absinthe Brasserie & Bar in San Francisco. Beside the Dolin Blanc and the requisite absinthe to appear in the book, the recipe was rounded off with the smooth richness of ruby port and the rough smokiness of mezcal. With the combination of potent absinthe and mezcal flavors being balanced by sweet grape ones, the Night Porter had the makings of a good nightcap.
The Night Porter greeted the senses with a lemon, smoke, and anise aroma. The sip contained the ruby port's flavor along with hints of the spiciness yet to come, and the swallow was all about the smokey mezcal and the absinthe's botanicals especially the star anise. The Dolin Blanc was perhaps present in the sip and swallow, but it functioned more to lighten and sweeten the drink and to smooth out the rough edges along with the ruby port.

naked lady

1/2 Light Rum (1 oz Ron de Jeremy)
1/2 Sweet Vermouth (1 oz Vya)
4 dash Apricot Brandy (3/8 oz Rothman & Winter)
2 dash Grenadine (1/8 oz homemade)
4 dash Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added a lemon twist. For a more rum-driven drink, 1 1/4 oz each for the rum and vermouth, 1/4 oz for the juice, and a barspoon each for the grenadine and liqueur would work.

A few weeks ago, I received a small sample of the new Ron de Jeremy Rum -- yes, the rum that features the likeness and name of adult film star Ron Jeremy. The idea for the rum apparently started as a clever joke using "ron," the Spanish word for rum, and when Ron Jeremy was finally contacted, he approved of the marketing brainstorm. I know from watching the documentary Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy, Ron is a shrewd businessman with a good sense of humor, so it did not surprise me that he would support this venture. Soon, 72-year old Cuban Master Distiller Francisco "Don Pancho" Fernandez got aboard, and they crafted a 7 year old rum made in Panama.

So does the joke end with the name? On the nose, the rum possesses notes of caramel and leather. The sip has a bit of body to it and contains vanilla, clove, and tannin notes; the latter aspect comes across as a wood note that was a little rough. My assessment was that this rum is no joke and would make a good mixing rum but perhaps not a sipping one. Mixing could tame some of the sharper edges and perhaps offer some spice and intrigue to a cocktail. The rum is perhaps priced a little higher than I would like at $30-35 per 750mL bottle; that puts it in the same price league as Smith & Cross, Scarlet Ibis, and El Dorado 12 which is some stiff competition. Moreover, if you forget that I said leather, wood, rough, and stiff in this paragraph, you might even forget the marketing behind this spirit.
My hesitation in using or reviewing this rum was that I needed find the right recipe especially since I was only sent a 4 ounce sample. When I was confirming my remembrance that Up in Mabel's Room was in Crosby Gaige's Cocktail Guide and Ladies' Companion, I spotted the Naked Lady which happens to be a rum drink! Perfect. I adjusted the dashes in the recipe to meet my preferred sweetness to tartness balance point, and my interpretation was pretty close to the recipe I later found on CocktailDB for the drink. The Naked Lady as I mixed it began with a fresh lemon oil aroma from the twist. A sweet lemon sip was supplemented by the richness of Vya's grape flavor, and this was followed by the apricot from the liqueur and the spice from the rum and vermouth with the rum's clove note being the strongest. Overall, the drink was very reminiscent of a less citrussy Periodista, and with the Vya sweet vermouth, it even had the appearance of the Boston version of it (despite the original Cuban Periodista being a white rum drink, the dark rum variation has won out on menus across town here in Boston). In order to tone down the apricot and bring forward the rum, I proposed an alternative recipe in the drink instructions above, but I have yet to try the drink this way; the John Gertsen-approved 2:1/2:1/2 (here, fractionated) did make for a good starting point though.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

up in mabel's room

1 1/2 oz Old Overholt Rye
3/4 oz Pink Grapefruit Juice
3/4 oz Honey Syrup (3:1)

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

For my second drink at Stoddard's last week, I asked bar manager Jamie Walsh for the Up in Mabel's Room. When I inquired how he came across the recipe, Jamie stated that he found it on a post about Hollywood-inspired drinks, and I figured he meant this one from the Intoxicologist blog. I was curious for the only place I had seen this recipe was in Crosby Gaige's Cocktail Guide and Ladies' Companion and wanted to know if there was an earlier or other source for this recipe. The Intoxicologist links the drink to Charlie Chaplins Mabel's Strange Predicament; however, there are two movies actually entitled Up in Mabel's Room -- a silent one from 1926 and a remake from 1944 that were both based on a play of the same name from 1919. Since Gaige's book was first published in 1941 before the 1944 remake, it was probably in reference to the original 1926 Up in Mable's Room movie (note: I have the 1945 3rd edition of Gaige's book, so perhaps the drink was added after the remake was made).
With a base of dark spirit modified by grapefruit and honey, the recipe reminded me of Jackson Cannon's Honey Fitz and a little too much like the classic De Rigueur Cocktail. From flipping through Crosby Gaige's book, he did have a habit of renaming recipes to fit his book's themes, and adding a "ladies' companion" sort of tone to the De Rigueur recipe has to be considered. Regardless of the drink's history and genealogy, the recipe is a solid one. The citrus twist provided a delightful grapefruit aroma that led into a soft honey and rye sip. The grapefruit, which I usually associate as a sip flavor, appeared on the swallow and perhaps pushed the rye forward into the sip. When I let Andrea have a taste, she immediately commented that the swallow reminds her of a honeydew melon. Indeed, the pink grapefruit and honey flavors integrated to make a rather smooth and delightful fruit flavor.

red hook

2 oz Old Overholt Rye
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur (*)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry.
(*) Most recipes for this drink are listed as 1/4-1/2 oz Maraschino by taste.

Tuesday last week, I met up with Andrea at Stoddard's in Boston. For my first drink, I asked bar manager Jamie Walsh for the Red Hook which was one of the more modern drinks from their classics section. The drink is credited to Enzo Errico who created it at Milk & Honey in New York sometime between 2000 when the bar first opened and 2005 when Paul Clarke first wrote about it. Jessica, who founded this blog, wrote about the drink in 2007, and I left a comment in that post that I first tried that drink several months before at the legendary B-Side Lounge in Cambridge. Since I had not had this Manhattan variation (or a Brooklyn variation making it two steps from a Manhattan) in a while, I felt it was worth revisiting. Beside the similarity to the Manhattan, the drink always reminds me of the Fancy Free which lacks the Punt e Mes in exchange for Angostura and orange bitters (also generally made with Bourbon instead of rye). Moreover, between my last Red Hook a few years ago and this one, I tried Ryan Lotz' Bols Genever and dry vermouth variation called the White Hook which was in the style of Max Toste's White Manhattan.
The Red Hook's Maraschino liqueur dominated the drink's aroma. A sweet, faintly grape sip was chased by rye's heat, Maraschino's funkiness, and Punt e Mes' bitter notes (in that order). The Maraschino and Punt e Mes seem to pair up to sooth the intensity of the other and make the Red Hook a more drinkable potation.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


1 1/2 oz Tequila Ocho Reposado
3/4 oz Amer Picon
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Grenadine

Build on crushed ice in a tall glass and stir. Fill with more crushed and top with soda water. Garnish with mint sprigs and add a straw.

For my next beverage at Drink, bartender Will Thompson recommended that I switch to something crisp after the previous egg white drink. The recipe Will recommended was the Jayco which he found and adapted from the 1972 edition of Trader Vic. The Jayco is a tequila drink that uses the orange-flavored Amer Picon and lemon juice similar to the triple sec and lime in a Margarita. The Jayco is further lightened by the addition of soda water which reduces the darker and more bitter notes of the Amer Picon into something a bit more easy to drink. Tequila and Amer Picon are not often paired together, but the most memorable use was the stunning Jaguar created by Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli during his time at Eastern Standard.

The mint paid dividends in the aroma department. The sip was a semi-sweet citrus flavor, and the Amer Picon played a roll here adding richness and supplementing the lemon juice. The tequila notes on the swallow contributed a cleansing crispness to the Jayco that made it rather refreshing.

[cucumber fizz]

1 1/2 oz Hendrick's Gin
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 Egg White
3 inch piece English Cucumber (no peel)
1 pinch Salt

Muddle cucumber with salt. Add rest of ingredients and shake; add ice and shake again. Double strain into a tall glass containing 2 oz soda water. Garnish with celery bitters and add a straw.

Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I went to Drink and found seats at the center bar near bartender Will Thompson. When I asked Will what he had been making lately that he thought I might like to try, he mentioned a cucumber Fizz that sounded intriguing. Will created the drink a few weeks back when they had a large batch of rhubarb syrup at the bar. When the syrup got used up, he searched for a substitute and switched over to a combination of Cynar and simple syrup instead. While I have had drinks that have paired up cucumber with Green Chartreuse, Herbsaint, and Pimm's, I have not had one that matched it up with the vegetal notes of Cynar, and the combination seemed like one worth trying.
The celery bitters garnishing the egg white foam contributed to the nose and aided the fresh cucumber aroma. Next, the sip was rather clean with lemon and herbal notes, and the swallow contained a pleasing cucumber flavor that was complemented by the gin. I was quite surprised that though the Cynar taste was present, it was not overwhelming like it often can be but played a more supporting role to the cucumber.

Monday, June 13, 2011

juanito rosado (rosy-john)

1 oz Pisco (Machhu Pisco)
1 oz Gin (Death's Door)
2 tsp Lemon Juice (1/3 oz)
2 tsp Grenadine (1/3 oz)
1/2 Egg White

Dry shake, add ice, and shake again. Strain into a Sour glass and garnish with 5 drops of Angostura Bitters.

For a nightcap two Sundays ago, I opened up Charles Baker's South American Gentleman's Companion and spotted the Juanito Rosado which he had at the Guayaquil Yacht Club in Ecuador. The recipe lured me in for it was an interesting Pisco Sour variation that split the pisco with gin and made it a bit more colorful with grenadine. Alternatively, the drink could have also been a Pink Lady variation with pisco in place of the applejack. Given that the recipe stemmed from South America, the Pisco Sour as the starting point seems a little more likely. Searching on the web, the drink name appears to be common in Chile; however, it refers to a wide variety of recipes with the closest one being a Cognac, lemon, and grenadine combination and the quirkiest one being brandy, Fanta orange soda, and condensed milk.
The Angostura Bitters garnishing the Juanito Rosado provided an allspice and cinnamon aroma to the drink. The sip was a fruity lemon flavor sweetened by the grenadine, and this was chased by the Pisco's grape fullness and the gin's botanicals on the swallow. While I was not expecting too much from the pisco-gin combination at first, it was actually a lot more pleasing than the applejack-gin one in the Pink Lady. I supposed that it helped to have a flavorful pisco like Macchu Pisco and this balanced the potency of the Death's Door Gin rather well. Moreover, the gin added some herbal complexity that is lacking in the Pisco Sour. Overall, the Juanito Rosado was the most interesting Pisco Sour variation I have had since trying the Alfa Sour at Trina's Starlite Lounge.


1 oz Beefeater Gin
1 oz Aperol
1 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange (or lemon) twist.

Two weekends ago, Andrea and I paid a visit to Ben Sandrof's Sunday Salon. One of the drinks on the menu was a No. 9 Park classic, the Contessa. The Contessa was created as part of a Flight of Heraldry that included the Negroni and another Negroni variation, the Patrician. Ben described how the Contessa was created by Courtney Bissonnette and John Gertsen, and Courtney later adopted the drink's name as her LUPEC pseudonym. Lauren Clarke of DrinkBoston wrote about the trilogy and attributed the drink to Ryan McGrale and John Gertsen, so perhaps all three of them had a hand in the drinks' creation.
That night, Ben had a guest bartender joining him, J.B. Bernstein of the Middlesex Lounge in Cambridge. The Contessa J.B. made for me had an orange oil and Aperol aroma. The sweet sip contained citrus notes from the Aperol and dry vermouth, and the swallow was a bit drier with gin, dry vermouth, and Aperol's bitter notes. The dry vermouth bolstered the syrupy Aperol by making it sharper; however, it was no where as intense as Campari even when softened by sweet vermouth in the classic Negroni.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

forty virtues

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo LVIII) was picked by Filip Jach of the Adventures in Cocktails blog. Filip chose the theme of "Niche Spirits" where the goal was to present "any cocktail where the base ingredient is not bourbon, gin, rum, rye, tequila, vodka etc. So whether you choose Mezcal or Armagnac get creative and showcase your favorite niche spirit."

For this theme, I was bandying around a bunch of different spirit options. Then on Monday, we were at Drink here in Boston and I spotted bartender California Gold. I wished her luck on her "No Boys Allowed" event on Wednesday and asked her what she was planning to do. The event was the kick off of a series celebrating and promoting female bartenders, and despite the name, male guests were definitely allowed. The problem with this one was that it was being held at Brooklyn's Dram which made it a bit difficult for me to attend on a school night. Cali and bartender Tonia Guffey each crafted a menu of original drinks for the event. When Cali showed me her menu (elegantly designed by Rain Robertson), my eyes zoomed in on the Forty Virtues which featured Armagnac. I asked Cali if I could acquire the recipe for this event and she gladly agreed.

The Forty Virtues was a drink Cali created for the French Spirits Soirée hosted by the Dizzy Fizz at the Astor Center in Manhattan. The recipe featured not one but four French spirits -- Armagnac, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, Bonal, and Green Chartreuse:
Forty Virtues
• 1 1/2 oz Armagnac (I used Larressingle Armagnac VSOP)
• 1/2 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
• 1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
• 1/2 oz Bonal
• 1 dash Orange Bitters (I used Regan's)
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
The drink's name makes reference to a 14th century quote about Armagnac. Prior Vital Dufour wrote a medical treaty where he described the health benefits of the spirit. Dufour wrote, "This water, if taken medically and soberly is said to have 40 virtues... It enlivens the spirit, if taken in moderation, recalls the past to memory, renders men joyous, preserves youth and delays senility." The virtues also include curing hepatitis, gout, cankers, and fistula -- yes, fistula. Well, if it did not, one would at least die happily. So Andrea and I decided on Wednesday night, in solidarity with the girls at Dram, to raise a glass of the Forty Virtues to our collective healths.
The Forty Virtues cocktail proved to be the delightful bitter medley of gentian (from the Bonal) and Chartreuse notes coupled with the Armagnac's flavor and heat. The Bonal also came across as a grapey nose and a mildly grape sip, and the Dolin Blanc surely helped to soften the drink a touch. Overall, it was rather balanced as no one flavor was overpowering in the drink. When Andrea commented that it had "a very old fashioned feel to it," I replied that it was very much like an Armagnac Bijou with the sweet vermouth exchanged for the drier Bonal sweetened by the blanc vermouth.

So cheers to Filip for hosting this month's Mixology Monday and to Paul Clarke for keeping the torch burning on this fine event series!

Friday, June 10, 2011

white heather

1/2 Booth's High & Dry (1 1/2 oz Ransom Old Tom Gin)
1/6 Cointreau (1/2 oz)
1/6 Pineapple Juice (1/2 oz)
1/6 Dry Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Prat)
1 dash Absinthe, if required only (1 barspoon Pernod)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Last Friday, I flipped through the Café Royal Cocktail Book in search of a nightcap. When I spotted the White Heather, I was curious as to what "Booth's High & Dry" was. My guesses of a whiskey or a gin were somewhat both right for it was a London Dry gin that had been aged in oak barrels. For a substitute, Seagram's aged gin was recommended; since I lacked that, I wondered if Ransom's gin would work. While it is an Old Tom instead of a London Dry, it does have barrel notes and some exquisite flavors that make many drinks taste better. Another oddity was that the recipe included juice yet specified that the drink to be stirred. I followed along, but I cannot imagine this drink being negatively affected by shaking except for the froth that shaking pineapple often produces. Finally, if the recipe suggests that absinthe should only be added if required, then whether I added it is pretty much a rhetorical question.
The pineapple and absinthe's anise provided much of the White Heather's aroma. An orange sip from the Cointreau was followed by the botanical notes of the gin, absinthe, and dry vermouth. The pineapple was a little hard to pinpoint in the drink and could have been pairing up with the Cointreau on the sip or possibly the absinthe and other herbal notes on the robust swallow. Perhaps the Ransom Old Tom was a little too flavorful and a regular London Dry gin would have worked better in terms of letting the pineapple shine more.


2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1/2 oz Galliano l'Autentico
2 oz Orange Juice

Build in a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with an orange twist and add a straw.
For my second drink at Rendezvous last week, bartender Scott Holliday said he was tinkering with the Slow Comfortable Screw Against The Wall-like drinks and tried to give some glory to the fallen genre. When Scott said that he thought about the Richard Brautigan poem "Fuck me like fried potatoes" instead of a Wallbanger or other, I was intrigued.
Fuck Me Like Fried Potatoes
by Richard Brautigan

Fuck me like fried potatoes
on the most beautifully hungry
morning of my God-damn life.
So would this drink make a good breakfast drink on that most beautiful morning? The drink started with an orange and vanilla aroma and these notes followed in the sip. The swallow contained the whiskey's heat and the Galliano's spice especially the star anise. The Rittenhouse Rye contributed a lot of flavor and backbone to the drink that the classic Harvey Wallbanger sadly lacks. In a way, the drink reminded me a bit of the Monkey Gland with the orange and herbal notes, especially since I had watched Robert Hess' video about that drink earlier that day.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

el rico rickey

2 oz Lunazul Reposado Tequila
1 oz Rhubarb Juice (*)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Build on ice. Top with soda water and stir. Garnish with a lime wheel and add a straw.
(*) This was a sweetened juice and no heat was utilized; I did not ask how much sugar was added.

Last Thursday, Andrea and I went to Rendezvous in Central Square for dinner. Bartender Scott Holliday had just revamped the menu and added a few new drinks including the "El Rico" Rickey. Scott mentioned that it was his first tequila drink to ever appear on the menu. Moreover, Scott commented that "Rickey purists will harumph" because it is not a true Rickey; Rickeys as they were created in the late 19th century contain little or no sweetener to balance the tart lime juice. Also, Rickeys often include the half shell of the squeezed lime to be dropped in the drink. Regardless, I was not going to let a tequila-rhubarb drink slip by me; the last one I had was quite delightful.
The "El Rico" Rickey began with a fresh lime aroma complemented by some agave notes. Despite the sweetener added to the drink, the sip was still crisp and limey; perhaps the tartness of the rhubarb juice helped to counter the added sugar. The tequila and rhubarb flavors appeared on the swallow and pleasantly lingered on the palate for a bit. Just like my previous experience with the pairing, rhubarb and tequila definitely proved to be a delightful match.

division bell

1 oz Mezcal (Del Maguey Vida)
3/4 oz Aperol
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist (I substituted an orange one).

After the Greenbriar Cocktail, I began flipping through Food & Wine: Cocktails 2011 and spotted the Division Bell. Phil Ward created this drink for the opening menu of Manhattan's Mayaheul and named it after the Pink Floyd album that he was listening to a lot at the time. What drew me in was the Division Bell's Last Word vibe; considering that Phil's Final Ward was one of the first Last Word variations I tried, it is indeed within his style to play with that formula. Moreover, it is not the first mezcal Last Word-like drinks I have had, for I recall enjoying Ted Kilpatrick's La Palabra at No. 9 Park last autumn.
The Division Bell started with an aroma of citrus and smoke. The sip contained a sweet lime flavor with an increasing amount of Aperol notes as the drink warmed up. Next, the drink finished drier and funkier with the mezcal and Maraschino presenting themselves on the swallow. The Division Bell was definitely less herbal than a mezcal Last Word for Aperol is sweeter and less complex than green Chartreuse. The extra sweetness of Aperol did function well to balance the rougher aspects of the mezcal though.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

greenbriar cocktail

2/3 Sherry (2 oz Lustau East India Solera)
1/3 Dry Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat)
1 dash Peach Bitters (Fee Brothers)
1 sprig Mint

Shake with ice and double strain into a cocktail glass. Lightly muddling the mint followed by stirring would work well too. I garnished with an additional sprig of mint.

Last Wednesday, I recalled my conversation with Lineage's Ryan Lotz about Mint Juleps. When I mentioned that we had made the sherry and yellow Chartreuse-containing Platonic Julep last year, Ryan replied that he loved Sherry Juleps and that Toro serves them at their bar. I then set out to find the sherry and mint drink that I had spotted a few weeks prior. I soon found it, the Greenbriar Cocktail, in Harry McElhone's Barflies and Cocktails. The Greenbriar Cocktail is not a Julep, but appears to be a sherry and dry vermouth version of the gin-based Derby down to the inclusion of the peach bitters.
To balance the dry vermouth, I reached for one of our sweeter sherries, Lustau East India Solera which is a combination of a sweet Pedro Ximénez and a dry Oloroso. The mint in the drink donated much of the drink's aroma. The sip was a slightly sweet grape flavor that was chased by the sherry's nuttiness, the mint, and a lingering peach note. The swallow had a slight degree of bitterness from shaking the mint with ice, and perhaps lightly muddling the mint followed by stirring with ice would provide a more pleasing flavor. Overall, the Greenbriar Cocktail would probably make for a nice summer aperitif.

viking funeral

1 oz North Shore Aquavit
1 oz Luxardo Amaro Abano
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 Egg White

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

While finishing up my Green Jacket at the Whistler in Chicago, bartender Paul McGee recommended that I try the Viking Funeral. With an egg white Sour base, the drink used a combination of North Shore's Aquavit and Luxardo Amaro Abano as the spirit. For the former, I remember contacting and hunting out Sonja Kassebaum of North Shore Distillery (and the Thinking of Drinking blog) during Tales of the Cocktail in 2009 for a sample of their aquavit, and it was definitely worth the effort. At first, I was a little surprised to see it being served since we never see it on menus, until I realized that we were a stone's throw from the distillery. Hopefully, their spirits make it out east for their gin is one of my favorites. The latter, the Luxardo Amaro Abano, has been described as cardamom, cinnamon, and bitter orange peel forward. Given the egg white and aquavit components, perhaps another dark amaro like Averna or Rammazzotti could be substituted in a pinch without altering the drink too much.
The Viking Funeral presented a caraway and dark herbal aroma from the aquavit and amaro, respectively. While the sip was lemony, the swallow was a pleasing caraway flavor supplemented by a rich herbal swallow from the liqueur. Shortly after finishing the Viking Funeral, we had to bid adieu for it was time to make the drive over to Midway Airport to catch our flight home, and luckily there was no traffic so we made it there in time. Hopefully, Andrea will write up the drink she had, the Roman Spring, in the next few days. And thank you to Paul and the other bartenders at the Whistler for their hospitality during our whirlwind visit.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

green jacket

1 1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Housemade Ginger Liqueur
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Scrappy's Celery Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice cubes. Top with (1+ oz) ginger beer and stir. Add a straw and garnish with a few additional drops of celery bitters.

For Memorial Day weekend, Andrea and I flew out to Chicago to visit her family in Indiana. On returning to Chicago before catching the flight home, we paid a visit to the Whistler. Bartender Paul McGee greeted us at the door when the bar opened at 6; we actually got there a little early and waited since our window of opportunity was only a little more than an hour. While waiting for the Whistler to open, I checked out the menu on the bar's website and spotted the Green Jacket, a quirky Cynar highball that caught my attention. Once inside and we were handed menus, I quickly noticed that the Green Jacket had disappeared; Paul surmised that Chicagoans had not developed as big of a taste for Cynar as Boston has. Therefore, they recently rotated the drink off the menu, but he was quite happy to make it for me. One of the ingredients in the drink was a housemade ginger liqueur made from ginger juice, overproof vodka, and simple syrup, but I imagine that Domaine de Canton or ginger syrup would make a decent substitution in a pinch.
The Scrappy's Celery Bitters contributed greatly to the Green Jacket's nose and set forth the herbal undercurrents in the drink early. Next, the sip was a crisp lemon and ginger flavor. The ginger continued on in the swallow along with the Cynar, pineapple, and a hint of celery. The trio of pineapple, Cynar, and ginger was a strong flavor combination that made the drink a success. Moreover, the Cynar and pineapple pairing reminded me of the excellent match Averna and pineapple made in the Averna Pineapple Shrub and Haverna.

thin mint julep

2 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Crème de Cacao

Lightly muddle 2 sprigs of mint in some of the crème de cacao. Add crushed ice and the rest of the ingredients. Stir and top off with more ice. Garnish with 2 sprigs of mint and add a straw.

Two Thursdays ago, we went over to Lineage for Andrea's birthday. One of the drinks that I had stemmed from a discussion with bartender Ryan Lotz about Mint Juleps. The conversation led to the creation of a chocolate and minty variation that utilized crème de cacao and Fernet Branca in addition to the mint. As I learned from the Hansen Special and the Fernet Alexander, Fernet Branca pairs exceptionally well with crème de cacao.
Indeed, the Julep was chocolate and mint with extra herbal complexity stemming from the Fernet; while I got a lingering mint note, Andrea perceived a lingering chocolate one. Like in the drinks mentioned above, the crème de cacao worked both to soften and complement the Fernet Branca. When Andrea declared that "It tastes like a Girl Scout cookie!", the drink was dubbed the Thin Mint Julep after their Thin Mints cookies.

Monday, June 6, 2011

foul weather

1 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Nectar (Ceres)
1 dash Vanilla (1/4 oz Navan Liqueur)
1 dash Sugar Syrup (1/4 oz Jaggery Syrup)
1 oz Jamaican Rum (Smith & Cross)
1 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (DonQ Cristal)

Pour over ice in a highball glass. Stir and decorate with fresh mint and a fruit stick.
After the Teenage Riot, I was flipping through our 1972 edition of Trader Vic and spotted the Foul Weather. The Foul Weather does not appear in our 1948 edition which narrows the window to a 24 year range when the recipe was created or curated. Once mixed, the drink presented a rather pleasing mint and vanilla aroma. The sip was slightly tart and carried the citrus and passion fruit flavors. Had I used vanilla extract instead of the vanilla liqueur (or syrup), the drink would have been even more tart which makes me wonder if passion fruit syrup would have been a better ingredient, such as in the Mara-Amu, rather than the unsweetened juice. Next, the Smith & Cross' funk notes and the Navan's vanilla filled the swallow. The vanilla worked as a good accent to complement the Smith & Cross; moreover, the tartness of the drink actually worked well with the rum as well. Indeed, the Foul Weather might be the perfect prescription for an overcast or stormy day.

teenage riot

1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1 1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 oz Lustau Dry Amontillado Sherry
2 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

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

Two Wednesdays ago, I was drawn to the Teenage Riot created by Tonia Guffey of New York City's DRAM, Flatiron Lounge, and Lani Kai. The recipe appears in Gary Regan's Annual Manual for Bartenders and could be named after one of the Sonic Youth songs that I used to listen to in high school when it first came out in 1988. So beside the possible alterna-rock drink name, the Teenage Riot had a very Little Italy vibe to it, so I was sold.
The Teenage Riot began with a lemon oil aroma that floated over a hint of the Cynar's herbaceousness. Next, the sip was malty from the rye and grape-tinged from the sherry, and the swallow packed the rye's heat, the Cynar's complex botanicals, and the bitters' orange notes. Overall, it was drier and a little more citrussy than a Little Italy but equally as tasty to drink. Mmm... spirit desire.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

white devil

3/4 oz El Dorado 3 Year White Rum
3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
3/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino
2 dash Housemade Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a Marasca cherry.

Two Tuesdays ago, Andrea and I went to Deep Ellum for dinner. For a drink, I asked bartender Evan Harrison for the White Devil on the newly updated cocktail menu. Evan mentioned that the drink was a variation of a Rum Martini called the Black Devil:
Black Devil
• 2 oz Light Rum
• 1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a black olive. Adapted from Playboy's Host & Bar Book.
Evan explained that it was actually a variation of a variation for bar owner Max Toste substituted a Luxardo Maraschino cherry for the black olive when the Black Devil appeared on the menu a while back.
Evan commented that the Cocchi Americano, Dolin Blanc, and Maraschino went well together in this drink, and he was not wrong. The Maraschino liqueur dominated much of the drink's aroma. Next, the sip was a light citrus flavor supported by a bit of body from the sugar in the drink, and the swallow was an herbal element bolstered by the Maraschino liqueur and aged white rum.

Friday, June 3, 2011

darkside iced tea

1/2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1/2 oz Zaya Rum
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Combier Orange Liqueur
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup

Shake with ice and pour into a highball glass (here a rocks glass). Garnish with a lemon wedge and add a straw.

Two Mondays ago was a Fernet Branca industry event at the Franklin Southie. While I sadly did not win the Fernet Branca beach cruiser bicycle that night, I did have some tasty Fernet and Carpano Antica drinks. One of the original recipes was created by Chad Arnholt of the Woodward and Citizen Public House and was his Fernet Branca-inspired tribute to the Long Island Iced Tea called the Darkside Iced Tea. Amusingly, the Long Island Iced Tea will also be honored at this year's Tales of the Cocktail. The original was voted to be buried after a jazz band leads its funeral procession in July to join the ranks with previous year's winners the Appletini, Red Headed Slut, and Sex on the Beach.
Chad's version started off with a caramel and menthol aroma from the Zaya rum and Fernet Branca, respectively. The Zaya then donated a richness to the sip that was balanced by the citrus notes of the lemon juice and orange liqueur. Next, the swallow was a combination of the Fernet Branca's herbal flavors and Rittenhouse Rye's barrel notes. The only thing that I felt the Darkside Iced Tea needed was the original's splash of Coca Cola for I felt that it would greatly complement both the rum and the Fernet.

jungle bird

1 1/2 oz Myer's Rum (sub dark Jamaican rum)
3/4 oz Campari
3 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Build in a goblet or Tiki mug on crushed ice, and stir. Garnish with mint and a pineapple spear.
One of the other drinks I had at Ben Sandrof's Sunday Salon was his variation of the Jungle Bird. The original was created at the Aviary Bar of the Kuala Lumpur Hilton in Malaysia around 1978. The drink is unusual for most Tiki drinks do not call for Campari liqueur and only LUPEC Boston's Ken-Tiki comes to mind as another Campari-laden Tiki drink that I have tried. However, Tiare of the Mountain of Crushed Ice blog has done her homework and has a lot more experience with Campari in Tiki drinks and lists a few more here and there. Ben's variation reduced the pineapple proportions from 4 to 3 ounces and slightly modified the garnishes. Here, the mint garnish Ben used contributed greatly to the drink's nose. On the taste, the sip contained the citrus and richness of the dark rum, and the swallow presented the pineapple and Campari notes. Over time as the ice melted, the Campari definitely took a greater role in the flavor profile.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

maroquet swizzle

2 oz Neisson Rhum Agricole Blanc
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/4 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Grenadine

Add grenadine to the bottom of a Highball glass. Gently add crushed ice and other ingredients. Swizzle to mix while taking care not to disturb the grenadine layer on the bottom. Garnish with mint sprigs and a few drops of Pernod; add a straw.

Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I attended another of Ben Sandrof's Sunday Salons. The first drink on the menu that lured me in was the Maroquet Swizzle. Ben explained that Maroquet was a small fishing village located on the most eastern part of Martinique. The location explained the Martinician rum as well as the presence of the grenadine on the bottom. Why the grenadine? Well, Ben reasoned that it was the the part of the island that would see the dawn first, and thus, the grenadine was in the style of a Tequila Sunrise.
The mint sprigs and Pernod's anise pleasantly greeted the nose. The first sips of the Maroquet Swizzle possessed the sweetness and fruitiness of the grenadine, and later sips contained a crisp grapefruit flavor aided by the rhum agricole's grassiness. Lastly, the rhum agricole's funky notes rounded out the drink on the swallow.