Sunday, July 31, 2011


3/4 oz Zacapa 23 Rum
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3/8 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
5 Thai Basil Leaves

Shake with ice and double strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a piece of candied ginger.

In the Asia section of the Diageo Cocktails Around the World Happy Hour, I enjoyed a drink by Eryn Reece of Mayahuel in Manhattan. Instead of the tequila drink I was expecting, Eryn chose Zacapa 23 as her base spirit. Eryn's drink was called Indochine, and it brought together French elements like Chartreuse and Southeast Asian elements like Thai basil leaves and lime. With Green Chartreuse, lime juice, and basil, the drink composition reminded me of a rum-driven, Chartreuse-light Silent Order or perhaps a Chartreuse instead of vanilla syrup and Punt e Mes Surbiton Road.
The Thai basil presented itself first as a glorious aroma that preceded the lime sip. Next, the basil added an herbal element to the swallow that helped bridge the gap between the rum and Chartreuse. I do not recall my drink being garnished with candied ginger, but perhaps that could add some extra spice notes to the drink.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

bernardino's bulleit

1 oz Bulleit Bourbon
1/4 oz Fernet Branca
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/8 oz Black Pepper Simple Syrup (*)
1 tsp Goya Mango Jam

Shake with ice and double strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.
(*) While I did not ask Misty how she made her syrup, an adaptation of Todd Thrasher's recipe is 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup coarsely cracked black pepper corns. Bring water to a boil, add sugar and stir until dissolved, add pepper corns, and turn off heat. Let stand for 20 minutes, strain, bottle, and refrigerate. 3/4 oz of vodka will help preserve the syrup. In a pinch, muddling a few pepper corns and letting them sit with the Bourbon for a few minutes would probably work (in conjunction with regular simple syrup).

On Thursday evening, I attended the Diageo Happy Hour. The theme was "cocktails around the world" replete with a passport book akin to the drink golf parties back in college. Except here, instead of 18 holes, there were 42 plus a few hydration stations where you could get a stamp as well. A few people wondered why I was entering my own stamps at the stations; I had to explain that I was making tasting notes and the stamp section was great white space. Needless to say between good conversations and needing to be somewhat sober enough to enjoy dinner at the Green Goddess later that evening, I only tried a fraction of the drinks. Out of those, I picked 4 to report on: two from Asia, one from Central America, and this one from Drink's Misty Kalkofen from South America.
Misty's Bernardino's Bulleit had two elements from South American cuisine. The most obvious one was the mango jam which contributed a great flavor and mouthfeel to the drink. The other was the Fernet Branca which is one of the favored spirit of Argentina; the Bernardino part of the drink's name made reference to this for Bernardino Branca was the creator of this elixir back in 1845. Once mixed, the drink provided a citrus bouquet with lemon oils from the twist that combined with an almost orange-like aroma from the mango. Next, the sip was a mango-citrus flavor that had a thickness from the jam's pectin content, and the swallow contained the Bourbon with an element of spice and bitterness from the black pepper syrup and Fernet Branca at the end.

Friday, July 29, 2011

corpse reviver no. 17

1 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1 oz Calvados
1 oz Lillet Blanc
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a Luxardo Maraschino cherry.

At "The Bad, Bad Boys of Saloons" talk, authors Christine Sismondo and James Waller (*) explored the seamier side of the bar trade. Despite all of the talk about craft bartenders who have raised bar standards through the last century and a half, plenty of saloon owners were filling the opposite end of the spectrum and this talk was to honor them -- about drinking wrong. The Anti-Saloon League that gained force leading up to Prohibition summed up these saloons as:
The saloon is the storm center of crime; the devil's headquarters on earth; the schoolmaster of a broken decalogue; the defiler of youth; the enemy of the home; the foe of peace; the deceiver of nations; the beast of sensuality; the past master of intrigue; the vagabond of poverty; the social vulture; the rendezvous of demagogues; the enlisting office of sin; the serpent of Eden; a ponderous second edition of hell, revised, enlarged and illuminated.
However, as our talk's hosts point out, bad bars are homes to people, too. Immigrants often received charity at these establishments, and they, gay men, politicians, and frontiersmen made these places a part of their life. Often, these places were written about in a pathological way; meanwhile, the rich at the Waldorf-Astoria were deemed to be drinking right even when they started in the morning.

The immigrant section of the talk discussed the rise of the German beer gardens. While these establishments were often villainized, they were generally family friendly places that served lower proof drinks than most other bars. With World War I looming, the Anti-Saloon Leage targeted them as aiding and abetting the German Reich. Both the beer gardens' and the saloons' prices were often controlled by the brewers which caused some financial difficulties. While the beer gardens kept a more respectable air, many saloons needed to supplement their income to survive, and thus, they were sometimes forced to add amenities such as gambling and prostitution to make up for the price control. This gave the Anti-Saloon League even more ammunition. For more on the beer halls, Maureen Ogle's Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer was suggested reading.

Besides a sense of community, these saloons offered a safe drinking source. Even though the tenement housing's water was not as polluted as the Europe they had just fled, safety was still on their mind. Furthermore, the saloons offered an escape from their tiny, cramped living quarters. The speakers cited Upton Sinclair's The Jungle as a good literary reference to this time period.

Moving on to politics, the concept of buying votes through booze, such as in Tammany Hall, was discussed. While the article in the The Balance and Columbian Repository gained fame for where the cocktail was mentioned and later defined in 1806, the point of the article was the vast tally sheet of drinks that were purchased in trade for votes. All that booze was for naught, save for giving cocktail historians an artifact to study, since that candidate in the end lost the election. The outrage against the buying of votes supported the idea that Prohibition was not about drinking per se but about controlling its distribution and sale. Sismondo and Waller offered up Jack London's John Barleycorn as a love letter to a bar that included a glimmer of how a bar worked in election time; there local politicians made the rounds, the booze flowed like water, and in one parade London joined in on, he did not even know or care who he was campaigning for. While some politicians were drinkers, others had to pretend to drink if they wanted to get elected; many were spotted and slammed in the press for leaving bars walking perfectly straight.

The final section of the talk dealt with gay and leather bars and the political unrest leading up to the gay rights movement. One of the most famous ones they discussed was the Stonewall Inn. The Stonewall, like the Sewer and the Snakepit, offered up protection for gay men and women to live their lifestyle. With that came a price which included an expensive cover charge, exorbitant drink prices, watered down drinks, backed up toilets, and the like. Between the mafia who ran the establishment and the police who continually raided it, there was eventually a major uprising that led to four nights of rioting in Greenwich Village in June of 1969.

Somewhere in the middle of the talk, after a PBR had been proffered and a Muleskinner mixed up, a Corpse Reviver was served (recipe above). It was provided as an example of a breakfast drink, and by today's standards, drinking first thing in the morning is a bad idea; such bad ideas are often linked to bad bars. This drink had a fruity lemon and apple sip, and the swallow brought out the lemon's crispness and the rye's barrel-aged notes.

During the question and answer session, they were asked about the difference between a bad bar and a dive bar, the answer was, "A bad bar is one a hipster won't go into, but a dive bar they will."

(*) Christine's latest book, America Walks into a Bar: A Spirited History of Taverns and Saloons, Speakeasies and Grog Shops and James' latest volume of his series, Drinkology: The Art and Science of the Cocktail are both available on Amazon.

el toro

1 oz Root Liqueur
1 oz Milagro Silver Tequila
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Lapsang Souchong Tea Syrup (2:1 with Demerara Sugar)
1 pinch Salt

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

At the Art in the Age tasting room at Tales, they had their Root and Snap liqueurs which are rootbeer-like and ginger offerings, respectively, but they also had their newest product, Rhuby -- a rhubarb liqueur. While the Rhuby was available for a taste, there were two bartenders from the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. in Philidelphia making drinks with their other two products.
The first drink I tried was by bartender Colin Shearn (on left in photo below) who mixed up Root liqueur along with tequila, Cynar, and a smoky tea syrup. The El Toro began with a rootbeer-like aroma punctuated by agave notes. In the sip, the tea shined through and worked well with the birch flavors, and the swallow was a combination of rootbeer and smoke notes that were chased by the tequila at the end.
The other drink I tried was by bartender Al Sotack (on right in photo above) who mixed with Snap. Perhaps taking a page from last years Tales talk entitled, "The Smooth and Creamy History of the Fern Bar," this one was called the New Fern Order:
New Fern Order
• 1 oz Snap Liqueur
• 1 oz Banana Chip-Infused Pampero Rum (*)
• 3/4 oz Punt e Mes
• 1/2 oz Cream
• 1/2 oz Martinique Cane Syrup (sub 1:1 Simple Syrup)
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a stripe of Fee's Aromatic Bitters on top.
(*) 2/3 of a quart (perhaps a pound or 20 oz?) of dry banana chips per 750 mL of rum. Infuse for 20-40 minutes, and strain.
The Fee's Aromatic Bitters provided a glorious cinnamon note to the nose. True to the theme, the sip was rich and creamy; the swallow though contained the banana and rum notes followed by a lingering ginger and spice note that provided a pleasant zingy finish to the otherwise smooth drink.

:: tales odds and ends ::

There were plenty of interesting things that ended up in my notebook that were not "best of" moments or drink recipes (and some were "best of" parts that I missed in my last post), so here is a list in no particular order or relation:

• There needs to be a name for the acid reflux and dry throat that everyone suffers from by day 2 or 3 of Tales of the Cocktail. Tales Syndrome? Monteleone Malaise? Tuenneritis? Suggestions welcomed.
• Most Dada moment goes to the talking box in the Hendrick's Gin "Enchanted Forest" tasting room. Basically, inside the box (made up of 4 hinged slatted door sections) was a man with a French accent reciting absurd sound poetry. I ended up standing next to the box and feeding him words which he rifted off of. The tasting room's description did include an Einstein quote that read, "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." Well, part of the mystery evaporated when the gent stepped out of the box to catch a breather, but I did have a good conversation with him about the Fluxus movement and recommended he check out archives.
• One way to spot a true Tales or New Orleans veteran is that they will not go to Cafe du Monde wearing black. It is impossible to keep that massive heap of powdered sugar from staying put. Regardless, it is still hard to talk and eat beignets without uncomfortably inhaling that sugar. Besides black, white items of clothing, especially white pants, need to be avoided during Tales since the spilled drink stains can make you appear like a sloppy drunk. Stylish drunk is of the highest order according to the Cocktail Virgin aesthetic.
• The most interestingly absurd party locale would have to go to Zu Bison Grass Vodka. True, the William & Grant party in the World War II Museum (the whole museum!) was epic and visually stunning, but Zu held their event in a roped off area in the middle of Bourbon Street! Between the chaos of the mechanical bull bison and the rest of the mayhem inside, there was outside on the street where the typical partiers and lights and visuals of the Hustler Club et al. resided.
• Best headwear award goes to Hollis Bulleit of the Bourbon and now rye clan. Of the 3 times I saw her and captured her hats, this one was one of the most bizarre; through other photo albums, I know that there were more hats that I missed, and I bet her hat boxes took up more luggage space than my suitcase and backpack combined. Runner up would Brother Cleve who presented at the "The Art of Pisco Blending" seminar wearing a Luchador mask (although in Peru, it would be a Cachascanista mask). And honorable mention to Drink bartender Bryn Tattan's wacky duckling mask.
• Favorite neighborhood to walk through was the Marigny. My first year, it was definitely the Garden District with its distinctive and grand architecture and large and well manicured lots. The Marigny, on the other hand, has more of the feel of New Orleans -- quirkier architecture, flowering vines growing over people's roofs, and a more approachable and soulful feel. Definitely worth the walk to the other end of the French Quarter to explore this neighborhood.
• That view of the Marigny was also supported by our tour guides on the "Waking the Spirits" cemetery excursion. The tour was sponsored by Herbsaint, although sponsored is a rough term since it was the most expensive thing I did at Tales; however, on the mini-bus, we had two great bartenders who mixed up Corpse Reviver #2s and Death in the Afternoons for us as we drove through the cemeteries. There were two places that we got to go out for photo opportunities: one was the family tomb of Henry C. Ramos, creator of the Ramos Gin Fizz, and the other was the the family plot of J. Marion Legendre, inventor of Herbsaint. After one of the bartenders poured out a little Herbsaint for Mr. Legendre, he left this cup as a respectful token of our visit.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

angel version

1 oz Boulard Calvados
1 oz Broker's Gin
1/2 oz Marie Brizard Apry
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
>1/4 oz Lemon Juice
14 drop Angostura Bitters
6 leaf Mint

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Express the oils out of a piece of orange peel and garnish with it.

For my last drink that night at the Cure, I requested Turk Dietrich's Angel Version from the man himself. Turk explained that he took the Angel Face from the Savoy Cocktail Book, an equal parts drink of Calvados, dry gin, and apricot brandy, and made his own variation of it. Turk kept the dual base spirits but split the apricot brandy into apricot, Punt e Mes, and lemon juice and added some mint and Angostura Bitters to the mix.
Here, the orange twist paid great dividends to the drink's aroma and worked well with the apricot flavors that came out later in the drink. The sip was rather fruity with lemon, grape, and apple notes, and the swallow was a contrast of apricot and bitter notes from the Punt e Mes and Angostura Bitters. Indeed, the counter balance of the apricot flavor and the dark herbal ones made for a very stunning effect.

king vittorio's cobbler

2 oz Zucca Rabarbaro Amaro
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 Strawberry

Muddle strawberry. Add rest of the ingredients and ice. Shake and double strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a slapped mint leaf and another strawberry.

For my second drink at the Cure bar in New Orleans, I asked bartender Turk Dietrich for the King Vittorio's Cobbler created by Neal Bodenheimer. I was quite impressed when Turk replied by asking me if he had made me a Cobbler the last time I had been there. Keep in mind that was a little over a year ago, but apparently that Sherry Cobbler was delicious enough for both of us to remember. Besides my appreciation for the drink style, the combination of Zucca and strawberry was rather tempting. For a name connection, there is a bar in Milan that is called Caffè Miani and nicknamed Zucca. This cafe is located in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele at the Piazza del Duomo. As for the "king" part, this expensive shopping arcade was named after King Vittorio Emanuele II who ruled over Italy for 17 years until his death in 1878. And yes, they do serve Zucca at the Zucca now.
Indeed, the strawberry paired quite well with the dark notes of the Zucca on the nose. Next, the sip was a sweet strawberry and lemon taste, and this was followed by a clean flavor from the rhubarb root and other botanicals in the Zucca. For such a simple drink, it had a lot of character and the Cobbler format was perfect for the presentation.

the drink of laughter and forgetting

1 1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup
14 drop Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a spritz of Angostura Bitters over the top.

The evening after landing, I did one of my favorite parts of the Tales experience -- my third annual trip out to the Cure bar on the Tuesday night before things kick off. Without all of the Tales attendees in town yet, I easily found a seat at the bar in front of Turk Dietrich. For a starting point, my eyes honed in on the Drink of Laughter and Forgetting that was created by Mike Yusko. In my mind, the pairing of Green Chartreuse and Cynar worked so well in Ryan Lotz's Monk's Thistle; however, I did not realize until later that the Drink of Laughter and Forgetting seemed to be a progression from the Art of Choke that I was served at the Cure two years ago.
The drink Turk made me started with an aroma of Angostura from the garnish and lime and Chartreuse notes from the drink itself. While the sip was a rich lime flavor, the swallow contained the Cynar and Chartreuse. Interestingly, these two flavorful liqueurs switched prominence throughout the latter half of the sip and swallow. In fact, my neighbor who was also drinking one commented that there was an "ebb and flow of bitter and herbal." I am not sure if the title refers to both of these liqueurs individually, but if so, my money is on the 110 proof Chartreuse as the forgetting part. Or perhaps Mike is just a big fan of Milan Kundera who wrote The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

:: best of tales 2011 ::

I got home from Tales of the Cocktail two days ago, and I am still feeling the effects. As I described last year, those 6 days were an epic marathon of socializing, learning, tasting, drinking, eating, and swag wrangling. This year, I was traveling alone for neither Andrea nor I got credentialed media status, and due to financial constraints, only one of us went. Not having media passes prevented me easy access to some key aspects of Tales, but thanks to the help of Willy Shine, Desmond Payne, Shawn Kelley, Camper English, Simon Ford, and others, I was able to experience many of them. Since I was not bound to any obligation to report only official events (part of the media pass deal), I will mention here anything I did during the week as part of Tales of Fred in New Orleans 2011. All of the official and unofficial events are why so many people go to Tales, so let us celebrate the week that it was!

Best Reactions to Cocktail Virgin Swag: This year I went down with a large bag of Cocktail Virgin Slut pins to give out (see my advice post for a photo). The best reaction was a woman who spotted me wearing it in front of the Monteleone Hotel and declared that it was the best pin she had seen that week; therefore, I gave her one, and when I tried to explain that it was a blog, she seemed uninterested. I was flattered that the pin was that entertaining, and her wearing it was good for the blog regardless. Moreover, I got to meet a lot of fans of the blog by either wearing the pin or someone else wearing the pin and then pointing me out when asked.
Best New Product: Pierre Ferrand 1840. With help from David Wondrich, the company tasted a bunch of 19th century Cognacs and picked this style to reproduce. When I spoke to PF's Hugo Chambon-Rothlisberger, he described it as less fatty than the more rounded Ambre style. The 1840 is more viny, drier edges, more warmth, higher proof, and a cheaper price tag as well. I did not need to take his word for the spirit being better in cocktails for Drink's John Gertsen was there to make Sazeracs with it (they called it something else to avoid disrupting New Orlean's rye-centric view of the drink despite the original being made with Sazerac Cognac). I felt that I had come full circle because John had served me my first Cognac Sazerac while sitting at his bar at No. 9 Park.
Other Interesting Products: Lillet released a rose to add to their blanc and rouge offerings. The rose has stone fruit, berry, and grapefruit notes to it as opposed to the more orange peel-flavored blanc. Lillet also offered up a taste from an old bottle from 1982 to demonstrate that the drink was not as bitter as people think it was when the formula changed in 1986; there was no answer to what nearly 30 years of aging did to the botanicals in the bottle though. Art in the Age introduced their rhubarb liqueur called Rhuby to add to their Root and Snap product line. And a whole boatload of pisco brands, like Encanto, that utilize a greater amount of aromatic grapes for floral and spice notes were showcased at a variety of events. Camper English's article in sfGate on these new piscos is definitely worth a read.
Best Demonstration during a Seminar: For a winner, I would have to say Wayne Curtis Flip demonstration during "Beyond Punch: Colonial American Drinks." Last year, Wayne impressed us with his gun powder-based proofing of rum. This year, the Flip he made was not the egg concoction that we know and love today, but a Flip made by heating a piece of iron called a loggerhead and dipping it into a pitcher or mug. Wayne had to get one of these crafted by an ironsmith and when he did the demonstration, it made a great foaming and hissing sound. Some of us got to taste the final product and then understood how this rapid heating to produce certain caramel notes was not the same as the effect of normal heating. For more on Wayne's talk, go read Todd Price's article.
Runner Up for Best Demo: Ian Burrell during the "Who's Your Daddy? A Mai Tai Paternity Test" performing the Ninja Shake. Ian's silver-plated shaker had a handle that allowed him to spin it like nunchucks to mix up a drink. The photo above is not as blurry as the rights to the Mai Tai genesis though.
Most Passionate Talk: The 3 hour agave-palooza session called "Before Man, the Plant." Assembled together for this talk were a Ph.D. biochemist, a village president and jimador from Oaxaca, Ron Cooper of Del Maguey, a handful of tequila distillers, and two renown tequila and mezcal mixologists. Ron's passionate rebuttal to the scientist's claims that the wild harvesting of tobala was not good for the sustainability of the species I believed cinched the honors. Added to that were the producers' pride in their work,the discussion (and tasting) of terroir in agave-based spirits, and a glimmer into Ron Cooper's spiritual side.
Most Unusual Spirit Tasted: A pre-Prohibition bottle (tax stamp read 1917) of rum punch produced by Wynand Fockink that I got to try at an informal tasting right before Tales began; basically, it was a bring an interesting bottle or two to share event. I recognized the brand for these Dutch producers have made some of the finest Creme de Violette and Genever I have ever tasted (my friend visited the distillery and brought some back). This rum punch was unusual; unlike Swedish Punsch which is more citrussy, this was more grape driven or at least the fruit tasted oxidized like a port or a Pedro Ximinez sherry. Other notes were fig, toffee, licorice, root beer, and sloe gin. The only history I could get was that the bottle was acquired at an antiques store in Adamstown, PA.
Best Swag Bottle Brought Home: Scott Marshall showed up for an event at the end of the week and gifted me a bottle of his Batavia Arrack, Green Chartreuse, and Yellow Chartreuse milk punch. For a more commercially available product, it would be a bottle of Barker and Mills Bourbon Vanilla Cocktail Cherries.
Best Swag to Bring Home to the Wife: In the Lillet tasting room, I was able to acquire a beautiful wood and paper Lillet folding umbrella; last year, she adored the Art Nouveau folding fans tremendously.
Best Random Gift: Being handed a stack of 4 tickets to "Meet the Craft Distillers"; the group wanted to go out to dinner instead, and we made rather good use of them. Thank you whomever you were! Runner up would be the natural swizzle stick I found on Royal Street at the end of the week; thank you for your random generosity and/or sorry for your loss.
Favorite Quote during a Seminar: Ian Burrell during the Mai Tai talk joked that the "Appleton [Rum] bottle is like a Jamaican Woman. Hips, waist, gets prettier the more you drink."
Best Social Commentary during a Talk: "The Bad, Bad Boys of Saloons," hosted by Christine Sismondo and James Waller, covered a wide variety of topics including immigrants, gay bars, the mob, political campaigning, and the like with literary and musical color added. When they were asked about the difference between a bad bar and a dive bar, the answer was, "A bad bar is one a hipster won't go into, but a dive bar they will." Christine's book probably covers a good bit of this in great detail. And yes, that PBR handed out upon admittance was a great respite since I was suffering from cocktail fatigue by that point.
Best Seminar Drink: This was a tough one for many were delicious. But I have to give the nod to some of Wayne Curtis' Colonial drinks including the Pineapple Syllabub which would make a great morning drink. It was easy and refreshing like a Ramos and lacked the roughness that I expected in Colonial-style drink. For a runner up, the Mai Tai variations that Ian Burrell, Jeff Berry, and Steve Remsberg made up did not suck in the least.
Best Celebrity Award: Adult film star Ron Jeremy. Ron was there at Tales promoting his Ron de Jeremy Rum. I was going to entitle it the strangest photo op, but when I saw him play harmonica with the band to "When the Saints Come Marching In" at the Bartender's Breakfast, I had to broaden it. Ron is indeed a true Renaissance man.
Most Impressive Memory Moment: One of the drinks I ordered at the Cure bar that week was the King Vittorio's Cobbler. Bartender Turk Dietrich did not miss a beat and asked, "Didn't I made you a cobbler the last time you were in here?" Yes, but that was a little over a year ago.
Best Frozen Food: Cynar popsicles! These were handed out in front of the hotel and I was lucky to get one. Made from the liqueur plus simple syrup, they were delightful -- that is if you adore Cynar. The facial expressions on some of the crowd who thought they were "vanilla" pops were priceless! Runner up would be Meltdown Gourmet Popsicles (see my food post); this time I got pineapple-basil.
New Alcohol Delivery Trends: Weapon based. The first was sabering of Champagne bottles at an afterparty (technically, an old tradition, but a rare one today); for some reason women are better at it than men (Freudian reasons were offered). Second was water guns. They appeared last year from what I gathered, but at least this year, people wisely used clear spirits instead of sticky, dark, staining ones like Fernet Branca. Live and learn.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

:: the boston cocktail experience ::

I just got back from Tales of the Cocktail on Monday, and while I had every intention of live blogging during my week in New Orleans, my hotel wanted to charge me $13 a day for internet. A day or two in, I figured out how to convert my Droid phone into a wireless hub, but by then my spirit to write in the moment was crushed and I felt that I should live every minute in the Crescent City to the max instead. I could sleep, sober up, heal my blisters, and write later, and probably you as a reader are thankful for posts that were more carefully written and proofread. While there, Boston made a lot of news as I will elaborate on, and instead of starting with my usual "Best Of" post, I figured I would give Boston a shout out. Originally, I wanted to call the post "This is Boston, Not L.A." after the seminal Boston hardcore punk album from the early 80s, but that seemed a little too antagonistic and Boston is not like that (except during Beer Pong and Petanque). Instead, I named it after one of the events at Tales.
The big news was that, beside Boston having a big representation of people -- both industry and not, they really shined in the judges' eyes. First, Eastern Standard won the Bar Room Brawl over some stiff competition from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Portland. Honestly, my favorite drink of the night was from Portland's Teardrop, but the Eastern crew had what no other bar had -- service and speed (and their drinks were quality to boot). Behind their replica bar, five Eastern Standard bartenders were shaking pairs of double filled Boston shakers (sometimes six when the barback had a break from his duties) so there were twenty drinks being poured out every 3 minutes or so. Since each bar only had 4 drink choices (from the 4 sponsors) and since the drinks were free with admittance, there was no risk in just grabbing a drink off of the bar. Other bars were making single drinks to order, so Eastern's strategy paid off. Still, it was great to experience the different styles and tastes of those bars I have not visited yet.
Moreover, at the awards ceremony, Drink won the Best American Cocktail Bar award this year, and in Massachusetts news, Citizen-Worcester's Dave Delaney was chosen for Imbibe Magazine's cover cocktail honors; his drink must have been so good that by the time I got to the Imbibe Happy Hour in his honor, it was all gone. Since Worcester's scene is Citizen and the Armsby Abbey for craft cocktails, I will adopt them and lump them as "Boston" here.
Boston was also honored by Anchor Distilling Company who hosted a tasting room called The Boston Cocktail Experience (hence, this post's title). There, the likes of John Gertsen and Misty Kalkofen of Drink, Jackson Cannon of Eastern Standard, Joy Richard of the Franklin, Trina Sturm of Trina's Starlite Lounge, Brother Cleve of Think Tank, Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli of Island Creek, and Ben Sandrof of the Sunday Salon were making Boston-styled cocktails showcasing Anchor's product line. I will post more about some of the drinks they made there later.
In addition, a good number of Bostonites were presenters this year. Misty Kalkofen (Drink, LUPEC) spoke about applejack and agave, Brother Cleve (Think Tank) about cocktail culture and music, Jeff Grdinich (Drink) about the sporting life, and Kirstin Amann (Toro, LUPEC) about occupational hazards and women behind the bar (I need to point out that those are two different talks so I don't get in trouble through insinuation). Our fine bar scholars all apparently did a excellent job showing off the academic side of our university drinking town; I can only vouch for Misty during the agave talk. I can also partially vouch for Cleve as his music wafted through the walls when I was at the Embury session.
Boston also helped out plenty by sending down an army of CAPs (the cocktail apprentices program) who prepared all of the ingredients and drinks for the seminars, talks, parties, and other events. California Gold (Drink), Bryn Tattan (Drink), Corey Bunnewith (Citizen-Boston), Sean Frederick (Citizen-Boston), Jeff Grdinich (Drink), Sabrina Kershaw (Noir), Chad Arnholt (Woodward, Citizen-Boston) and David Delaney (Citizen-Worcester) all worked their butts off for the week. Please comment if I missed someone here (or anywhere else in the post); parts of the week are a bit hazy. And thank you CAPs for your efforts!
Lastly, the Boston Shaker store held a prime spot at the cocktail bazaar, and owner Adam Lantheume and his assistant Jessica Marcus (who is also the Cocktail Virgin matriarch) showcased the great cocktail tool and bitters offerings that are conveniently available to us here in Boston. You easily forget how spoiled we are here until you meet people from other parts of the country and world.

So cheers to Boston! Thanks for the company, the memories, and some of the things that weren't recorded to long term memory as well.

Monday, July 18, 2011

horace gray

1 1/2 oz Old Raj 110 Gin (*)
1 1/2 oz Loomi Black Lime Tea (**)
1/2 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur
1/2 oz Orgeat Syrup
3-4 leaf Mint

Shake with ice and double strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with fresh mint and add a straw.
(*) They make a variation of the Horace Gray with Appleton 12 Year Rum instead of gin.
(**) Made out of crushed up dried black lime (lumi) steeped as a tisane.

For my second drink at Clio, bartender Randy Wong recommended the Horace Gray. Horace was a Boston-born, Harvard-educated intellectual who later became an Associate Supreme Court Justice. Besides associating with the Saturday Club of Boston with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, Horace was best known for being the father of the Boston Public Gardens. Through his vision, efforts, and personal wealth, the swamp next to the Boston Commons was drained and converted into a horticultural wonder of the day.
Randy mentioned that there were two variations of the Horace Gray drink -- one with Appleton 12 Year Rum and the other with Old Raj 110 Gin. Since my last cocktail was rum based, I opted to switch over to gin. Once mixed, the mint garnish greeted the nose and the sip was a tea-like lime flavor. Next, the swallow was a bit more complexly flavored with apricot, mint, gin, and orgeat notes. Overall, the gin kept the drink on the lighter side, and the black lime tea and ice melt provided a softer drink than the Yellow Mist. Moreover, the tea and overproof spirit helped to dry out the liqueur and orgeat's sweetness.

makahiki cocktail

1 oz Ponche de Santo Antão (Cape Verdean rum liqueur)
1/2 oz Aguardiente Grogue de Santo Antão (Cape Verdean rum)
1/2 oz Clarified Sugar Cane Water
1 oz Clarified Lime Juice
1/4 tsp Kona Coffee

Paint the inside of a rocks glass with pineapple paint (sediment after centrifugal clarification, thickened with a tapioca thickener). Add crushed ice, place pineapple ring in middle, add more crushed ice. Shake ingredients with ice and double strain into glass. Pack with more ice. Garnish with a candied pineapple disk (here a charred one) and a Marasca cherry soaked in house allspice dram. Insert a straw down the middle of the glass (through the pineapple ring).

Last time I spoke with Randy Wong, he told me that he had a drink that he wanted to make for me, so last night when we stopped by Clio, I had a chance to try it. The drink was the Makahiki Cocktail that garnered him the victory in the Dole Pineapple cocktail contest a few weeks ago. Makahiki is the Hawaiian version of Thanksgiving that occurs during harvest season, and Hawaiians show their gratitude toward their god of agriculture, fertility, and rain. In addition to the pineapple, Randy included sugar cane and coffee grown in Hawaii to round out the islander agricultural theme. Randy describes the Hawaiian symbolism in further detail on his blog.
The Makahiki Cocktail's aroma was primarily from the pineapple garnish. The sip was a light lime and pineapple flavor that had a pleasant sugar cane juice flavor to it; since the drink lacked pineapple juice, Randy explained that the pineapple flavor was from the pineapple paint slowly entering into solution. Next, the sip had a dark rum flavor from the rum, rum liqueur, and coffee. As I have seen elsewhere, coffee and lime make a good flavor pairing, and here it was similar; I say similar because clarified lime juice is a bit different from regular freshly squeezed juice. Randy explained that the drink could probably be made with fresh lime juice (and perhaps muddled pineapple at the bottom), but simple syrup would give a different flavor than the sugar cane water.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

the grasshopper lies heavy

1 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Simple Syrup (Jaggery Syrup)
3 healthy shakes Cocoa Powder (1/2 tsp Ghirardelli Unsweetened)
1 Egg White

Shake without ice, add ice, and shake again. Strain into a short Collins glass with ice. Top with soda water (2 oz) and garnish with a dusting of more cocoa powder. Note: 3/4 - 1 tsp of cocoa powder would work well for the 3 "shakes" too.

On Friday night, I decided to make a drink I had spotted on the 1022 South blog for MxMo: Niche Spirits last month. The drink, the Grasshopper Lies Heavy, appears on the Spring/Summer cocktail menu of this Tacoma, Washington, establishment, and it struck me as a wonderful modern mixology take on the classic Grasshopper. The classic is best known as the following:
• 1 oz Green Crème de Menthe
• 1 oz Crème de Cacao
• 1 oz Cream
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail or coupe glass. Recipe from Masson & Boehm's Big Bartender's Book. Gary Regan calls for 1 1/2 oz of each liqueur and 1 oz of cream in The Joy of Mixology, and 1972's Trader Vic for 1 oz of crème de menthe and 1/2 oz each of the other two (1947's Trader Vic lacks the dairy).
The oldest Grasshopper recipe I found in my collection was from the 1940 The How and When which is equal parts of both liqueurs with a cocoa dusting but no dairy at all; indeed, I was surprised that this drink was that old! For some reason I wanted to place it in the disco 1970's and no earlier than the synthetic 1950's. After finding this reference, I told Andrea, and she somehow expected it even older; she envisioned Victorian ladies in the late 19th century to be drinking this. Perhaps, with 2 dashes of crème de rose, I could almost envision it in William Schmidt's The Flowing Bowl (*)
In terms of how the Grasshopper Lies Heavy relates to the classic, the minty Fernet Branca and perhaps some of the herbal aspects of the Green Chartreuse symbolize the crème de menthe; moreover, the green from the Chartreuse has a somewhat similar coloration to the liqueur. The cocoa powder clearly substitutes for the crème de cacao, and the egg white has a similar richness and mouthfeel as cream. Here, the green coloration lost out to the cocoa powder and Fernet, and the drink had the look of chocolate milk instead of a chemical green color. Next, the cocoa powder garnish contributed greatly to the drink's nose along with a hint of the Fernet Branca. The creamy, rich, and carbonated sip led into the chocolate followed by a light Fernet Branca flavor on the swallow. The Green Chartreuse fit in well here, but, suprisingly, it was less distinctive in the mix. Overall, the Grasshopper Lies Heavy was a tasty and slightly minty adult Egg Cream that made for a rather good dessert drink.

(*) While many sources trace the drink back to Philibert Guichet Jr., the owner of Tujaque's bar in New Orleans, Robert Hess provides a little more history and places the drink's creation during Prohibition around 1928.

Friday, July 15, 2011


1 pony Absinthe (1 oz Obsello)
1 pony Vino Vermouth (1 oz Vya Sweet)
3 dash Maraschino (1/4 oz Luxardo)
3 dash Benedictine (1/4 oz)
3 dash Curaçao (1/4 oz Senior Curaçao of Curaçao)
3 dash Crème de Cacao (1/4 oz Marie Brizard)

Shake with ice and strain into a wine glass.

Sunday, after the Boston Bartender Collaborative's speed trials event, I decided to make a nightcap. During the event, I spoke with Drink bartender Will Thompson about The Flowing Bowl, and I, therefore, decided to make one of Will's favorites from the book, The Kaleidoscope. For each of the four "3 dash" measurements, I assigned a 1/4 oz volume to make a final 3 oz size. Moreover, the recipe advised shaking, and I followed William Schmidt's instructions instead of stirring; in the end, I do not believe any damage was done by shaking this rich combination. Marconi, my co-pilot, was a little less sure though.
So what did this kaleidoscope of colorful bottles yield? The drink's nose smelled strongly of the absinthe's anise. The sip was an herbal chocolate flavor combined with a bit of grape; both the Obsello absinthe and Benedictine contain some chocolate notes that combined here surprisingly well with the crème de cacao. Finally, the anise and spice notes from the absinthe, Benedictine, and vermouth were joined by orange and Maraschino notes on the fruit finish. Definitely, the Kaleidoscope was a rather complexly flavored potation.

grace cup

1 bottle Muscat or Malmsey Madeira (6 oz Blandy's 5 Year Verdelho Madeira)
1/2 pint Cherry Brandy (2 oz Cherry Heering)
1 glass Pineapple Syrup (1/2 oz)
Juice of 1 Lemon (1/2 oz)
Peel of 1 Lemon rubbed off on Loaf Sugar (1/4 peel muddled with 1/2 oz sugar and left for 1 hour to make an oleo saccharum)
A bunch of Borage, Balm, or Verbena (4 leaf Borage)
2 bottle Soda Water (6 oz)

Make oleo saccharum. Mix borage with rest of ingredients (save for the soda water) in a cocktail shaker, and allow to infuse and chill in the freezer for an hour. Add 1 oz water to sugar-lemon oleo saccharum to dissolve the sugar. Add oleo saccharum syrup and ice to the cocktail shaker, shake and strain into 2 highball glasses partially filled with ice cubes. Top each glass with 3 oz of soda water.

My garden's borage plants had finally reached the size where I could start harvesting them for drinks, so I delved into The Gentleman's Table Guide from 1871 to find an use. The Grace Cup stood out as a recipe that not only called for borage, but I had all of the other ingredients and it seemed like a tasty 19th century tipple. The only tricky part was deciphering what the cherry brandy meant; when I gave Andrea the option of kirsch, Cherry Heering, and Maraschino Liqueur, she opted for the Heering. While Maraschino seemed wrong, kirsch could add some pleasing subtle flavors to the mix, but I agreed that the Heering probably matched the Madeira the best.
The Grace Cup began with a Madeira-scented nose. The sip possessed crispness from the lemon and carbonation but was a bit more on the sweet side; again, the kirsch would have made the drink a little drier, so perhaps it would have been a good option. The sip also contained a vague fruitiness that was probably a combination of the Heering and the pineapple syrup. Finally, the swallow contained some of the sharper notes of the Madeira flavored with vegetal ones from the borage; borage leaves have a pleasing, almost cucumber-like essence to them, and they give many of these Cups a very British feel (despite the book being American). Overall, the Grace Cup was not all that dissimilar from the Madeira Cup; however, the former provides the option of Muscat and the latter of sherry.


1/2 Four Roses Whiskey (1 oz Bulleit Bourbon)
1/4 Sweet Vermouth (1/2 oz Vya)
1/4 White Curaçao (1/2 oz Senior Curaçao of Curaçao)
Juice 1/2 Lime (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass that had been pre-rubbed (inside) with a mint leaf. Garnish with a mint leaf.

On Saturday while our Grace Cup was steeping, I decided to make the Derby from Crosby Gaige's Cocktail Guide and Ladies' Companion. My translation of the proportions was backed up by CocktailDB. Overall, the Derby reminded me of the Delmarva #2 that I had at Green Street. And taking from that drink, I used the mint-rubbed glass trick that bartender Derric Crothers utilized and I have seen done at Drink in Fort Point as well. Rubbing the oils inside the glass adds an extra aromatic and light flavor component to the drink that surpasses the mint leaf garnish alone.
The mint leaf did pay dividends in the nose. The sip contained a pleasing combination of Curaçao, lime, and sweet vermouth. While Curaçao and lime seem like a natural combination, sweet vermouth and lime work rather well together such as in the Fig Leaf which I believe first appears in Gaige's book. Next, the Bourbon notes and the spice from the vermouth entered on the swallow to round off the drink. Essentially, the Derby is rather similar to the rye-based and mintless Oriental.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

[black cadillac]

3 oz Bar Harbor's Cadillac Mountain Stout
1/2 oz Laphroaig 10 Year Scotch
1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup
1 Egg

Shake once without ice, add ice, and shake again. Garnish the top with 9 drops of Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters.

To pair with my dessert at Lineage, bartender Ryan Lotz had a Flip idea he wanted to showcase. Since I was in the midst of a beer-themed week with Mixology Monday, Thursday Drink Night, and the rest, I was intrigued when I heard that it contained beer. The beer was not used as a float, but as a shaken ingredient which would leave the end result without carbonation. Here, the beer was a stout that was paired with Scotch; while I have had that combination in the Dark Horse made with a blended Scotch, the Laphroaig 10 Year in this drink was going to take it to another level. Moreover, the third major ingredient beside the egg and sugar syrup was Smith & Cross Rum which also packs a mighty punch.
The Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters provided a great cinnamon aroma to the drink. The sip was rich from the egg and funky from the rum and Scotch. Next, the swallow started rather smoky, and as the taste buds acclimated to that over several sips, the roasted caramelly malt notes from the stout began to come more forward. The egg, demerara syrup, and the rich stout did an excellent job in taming the Laphroaig and the Smith & Cross and helped to create a flavorful but not overbearing Flip.

red sea

1 1/2 oz Beefeater Gin
3/4 oz Campari
1/2 oz Plymouth Sloe Gin
1 barspoon Royal Combier Orange Liqueur (1/8 oz)
2 dash Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist a grapefruit peel over the top and discard.

On Friday, Andrea and I went to Lineage for dinner. For my first drink, I asked bartender Ryan Lotz for the Red Sea, a new addition to their cocktail menu. Ryan mentioned that it was bartender Brendan Pratt's first contribution to the Lineage menu. When I asked if the drink's name had something to do other than the Campari and sloe gin's color, Ryan laughed. It turns out that Brendan's nickname at the bar is Moses, and with the drink's hue, it got dubbed the Red Sea.
The Red Sea began with a fresh grapefruit aroma from the twist. The sip was an orange-berry that was followed by the gin, Campari's bitter notes, and sloe gin flavors. The sloe gin functioned to smooth out the Campari's sharpness, although when the drink warmed up a bit, this smoothing effect decreased. Still, the drink was rather balanced in terms of sweet, fruit, and bitter notes.


1 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)
3/4 oz Triple Sec (Cointreau)

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Top with 4 oz Miller High Life.

During the Mixology Monday beer wrap-up post, I mentioned that I, too, had created a beer cocktail during Mixoloseum's Thursday Drink Night. As a take on the Periodista, or more specifically how most of Boston has embraced the Periodista recipe, I decided to substitute the rum for the Miller High Life that I had bought for the Milwaukee Monk and Coney Island Strongman. Initially, I made it as a light-hearted joke akin to the Pegu Clubweiser using Bud Light Lime, but both Andrea and I agreed that it was actually pretty good. Sadly, as a result of my wrong intuition, I did not take a photo of it.

The best flavor combination of this drink was how well the apricot liqueur paired with the beer. I guess this should not have been a surprise having tasted apricot brews such as Ithaca's delicious Apricot Wheat Beer. Second, the Miller and the lime worked just as well here as it did in the Milwaukee Monk by donating a great cleansing tang to the drink. The orange liqueur, while not incredibly notable here, seemed to fit right in. At first my proportions were equal parts for the citrus and liqueurs; however, it was a bit too sweet so I upped the citrus juice a tad. Andrea commented that she could seriously see drinking several of these.
For a name, I called it a Millerista as a blending of the beer brand with the cocktail inspiration. What I thought was a made up word turned out to be the name of the religious followers of William Miller in the early half of the 19th century. Around 1831, Miller's Bible studies led him to believe that the world would end "about the year 1843" as Jesus would return for the Second Coming. His numerous disciples, perhaps one hundred thousand in total, sold all of their belongings and took to the mountains to await the end. When they saw 1843 come and go, it was then declared that the actual date was October 22, 1844. His fanatical followers prepared again for the event with their ascension robes, but alas, no dice. The Miller movement sort of fizzled without even a third strike, and it eventually morphed into the Seventh-day Adventists. So the next time a religious group claims that the world will end or perhaps in 2012 when the Mayan calendar stops, remember to mix up a Millerista and toast the imminent non-demise.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

:: mixology monday: beer wrap up ::

With the last of the Mixology Monday entries showing up yesterday, I set it to be my goal to finish this wrap up post today so I would not have it hovering over me as I set about to tie up loose odds and ends before I leave for New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail on Tuesday morning. I am not sure whether I am more impressed with the number of style of beers or the ways that they were used. Below, I present drinks made with everything from fine Belgians to lowbrow macrobrews (my two drinks included in the latter category). Moreover, beer was used as a float, base, syrup, and liqueur, and poured in recipes as old as classic punches, as traditional as Micheladas, and as new as created in the last week. The only disappointment was that no one wrote a curmudgeonly post about the Boilermaker, although as Chuck Cowdery points out, most times that drink is served in a beer-back format, not as a Depth Charge one.

Note: the top beers (left to right) of each six pack relate to the first 3 posts, and the bottom row to posts 4 through 6 of each section. And yes, I do realize that these plastic rings are an ecological nightmare, but thematically fitting and perfectly safe in the electronic format.
• Lindsay of Mix it Up Cincinnati got her start with beer cocktails when she tasted Al Sotack's Appalachian Flip at Tales of the Cocktail last year. Here, she presents the Southern Magic using a pale ale as a float. Having mixed beer and apricot liqueur together like she has, the drink looks to be a winner.
• I was second to post with a pair of beer cocktails created here in Boston, namely the Milwaukee Monk and the Coney Island Strongman. Both use Chartreuse, citrus, and Miller High Life in very different ways.
• What impresses me most about Tiare's (of A Mountain of Crushed Ice) post is that she did it on the road for she is already in New Orleans as part of her pre-Tales of the Cocktail festivities. Being in New Orleans allowed her the opportunity to use favorite beer, Abita, in the New Orleans-Style Michelada.
• DJ Hawaiian Shirt goes a little non-traditional using a dark Mexican beer for a Shandy called the Wahine Censor that he discovered on the Tiki Central Forums.
• Scraps of Sips & Shots revisits one of the drinks created for the 50 Shots of America series, namely the North Carolina one – the Glazed Donut in honor of where Krispy Kreme was founded. A yeasty honey wheat beer is craftily used here to impart some of the donut's flavor.
• Tempered Spirit's Ian Lauer pops his first Mixology Monday bottle cap here with the Honey Beer. Essentially, a Bee's Knees with a beer float, except Ian recommends using Dogfish Head's Midas Touch for its honey and herbal notes.
• Keith of the Speakista blog cooks up a stout beer syrup and figures out a variety of uses for it such as in the Happily Ever After. Keith finds that the syrup, besides adding sweetness, draws out fruit and chocolate notes from certain ingredients.
• Nihil Utopia's Dagreb presents the Skip & Go Naked. Dagreb first alerted me to the name of this drink when he saw my MxMo 36 post and declared that the Dutch 75 was really the S&GN.
• Mackenzie Wheeler offers up a pair of drinks on the Spirit of Imbibing blog. The Weizen Ungeheuer brings beer and smoky tea syrup together and the other, Red Tide Royal, is essentially a ginger Margarita lightened with a strawberry-flavored beer.
• Beer cocktail evangelist Jacob Grier could not resist discussing one of his passions. Here, he presents a yet unnamed beer Tiki drink that looks rather delicious. Maui Brewing Company's Coconut Porter brings the concept together quite nicely.
• Michael Dietch of A Dash of Bitters reworks his Seelbock submission for the Food 52 Competition into the drink he first wanted to make. Aventinus' Doppelbock puts the finishing touches on his beer translation of the classic Champagne one.
• Felicia's Speakeasy's Amelia saves the expense of Champagne or even a $10 bottle of cava by making the PBR Mimosa. Actually sounds pretty good especially how the beer would add some crispness to the citrus, and at least she recommends using real juice (wait for it...)!
• Like Dietsch's Seelbock, Kennedy from the That's the Spirit blog presents the Beerbach and keeps true to the classic's form save for the sparkler's identity; in this case, he recommends a light lager.
• Playing off the name of a Edna St. Millay poem, Elizabeth Dodwell of Mix'n'Sip site invents the Being Yueng and Green. Yet again, Green Chartreuse appears as a natural complement to beer, namely Yuengling Lager, along with some other spice, fruit, and floral ingredients.
• Adam at the Inspired Imbibing blog mixes up sloe gin, Scotch, and grapefruit with a wheat beer to make the Wind-Up Bird. I have had a tasty beer and sloe gin cocktail before, so I have little doubts about Adam's assertion to its tastiness. However, with the sloe gin's red color, the drink reminds me more of a drinking bird toy (the ones with the red wicked head) than a wind-up one.
• Kindred Cocktail's founder Dan Chadwick created the Choke Let Malt during Mixoloseum's Thursday Drink Night "Beer Cocktails" last week. Scotch and Cynar make a great pair, and the extra malt and botanical notes from a pale ale ties this drink together.
• Erik Ellestad of the Savoy Stomp (it's still the Underhill Lounge to me, dammit!) levies some nautical history in rationalizing why a hop-infused whiskey drink would make a good beer substitute on a long voyage. Definitely, his drink, the Industrial Pale Fizz would keep a boatful of angry, thirsty Pilgrims well satiated. Postnote: Erik provided a link to part 2.
• One of the best historical story telling blogs, the 12 Bottle Bar does not disappoint with the Brown Betty. Here, the drink is scaled down from the punch size recipe in the 19th century Oxford Night Caps and looks like a good, strong ale and Cognac-based drink.
• The Done Like Dundee, Gone Like Gandhi went there -- the Mimosa without Champagne or orange juice. With this month's theme, the use of Miller High Life "the Champagne of Beers" is not surprising, but the use of Tang powder is! AJR describes how the drink, the White Trash Mimosa, was put on the menu of Tonic at Quigley's Pharmacy in Washington D.C. with great success!
• Ed of the Wordsmithing Pantagruel blog also created drinks during the Mixoloseum TDN: Beer event and describes a few of them with gorgeous photographic evidence. The Bruges Sling is one of them, and it uses a cherry Lambic to mesh with a variety of fruit and spice notes for a tall, refreshing cooler.
• Another MxMo first timer, Colleen of the Tipsy Vixen blog presents a few drinks including the Skip & Go Naked that Dagreb described. One of the other two, an original called the Sangrichelada, is an interesting Bloody Mary-like concoction.
• A Drink on the Rocks' Dennis Shafer pours out a pair of beertails. One of them, the Dutch Monk uses a beer syrup made out of a Belgium trippel to sweeten and flavor the Demerara rum-based drink, and the other, the Outlaw Czar, uses a tall pour of Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout in an orange-tinged delight.
• Dave of the Barman Cometh takes the Imbibe Magazine cover drink, the Charentes Shrub, and brings it to life in his kitchen including the crafting of a pineapple-rosemary shrub. All that work is definitely worth the effort from what I gather, but I will have the chance to have David Delaney make this drink for me at a Tales of the Cocktail event next week (or I can visit him at the Citizen in Worcester).
• Paul Clarke, besides running the show here on Mixology Monday, makes it his goal to get in his entry as close to midnight on Monday as possible. Paul pulls an unused recipe out of his hat, the Weissen Sour, that he gathered for his 60/30 posting marathon. The drink was created by Kevin Diedrich then of San Francisco's Burritt Room, and it pairs Bourbon, wheat beer, and citrus elements including marmalade into a tasty sounding tall drink.
• Instead of going the syrup route, Marc of A Drinker's Peace brews up (literally) his own beer liqueur and crafts the Beer Simple, Hop Complex with it. The end result is a drink in the style of an Old Fashioned.
• Tacoma's 1022 South restaurant presents a drink that uses Unibroue's apple-flavored Éphémère called Running Up That Hill. It is an interpretation of Jay Kuehner's Cavale, and they will be serving it on Sunday for their pre-Tales of the Cocktail event.
• Next up is a trilogy of posts made on the eGullet forum. First off is Jeff Meeker describing his recipe for the Michelada. I believe that the secret to his recipe is the use of a small amount of Maggi seasoning for a savory component in the drink.
• Haresfur is our second eGullet contributors and presents a modification of Billy Dawson's Punch from David Wondrich's Punch book. Whether or not you have access to Haresfur's homebrew porter, the recipe looks like one to explore, although with the hot water aspect, perhaps not until summer is over.
• For the hat-trick, Sunny&Rummy offers up the Flemish 75 he crafted at the TDN: Beer event last week. Instead of the funky Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René he wanted to find, he ends up using an apple lambic bolstered by ginger, maple syrup, and brandy flavors.

Thanks again to the case and a quarter of you who submitted recipes to this event and to Paul Clarke for letting me host once more!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

damson fizz punch

This guest post was authored by Sarah Lohman. Sarah writes the Four Pounds Flour blog and chronicles her research and experimentation with historical food and drink recipes. As she describes below, the idea for a blog exchange came about during an event that she ran here in Boston, a bar crawl done with a 1800s aesthetic. My contribution to the exchange was a post on the seminal work of Dry drink book author, Bertha Stockbridge, who has been called the Jerry Thomas of Temperance Drinks.

Why did I get into the food and drink business? Well, mainly because I love to share: I want to stuff people's faces with baked goods and pour cocktail after cocktail down their throats. But most of all, I love to share a favorite recipe or a scoop on a new product.

Last month, I met Fred at the 19th Century Pub Crawl in Boston; we chatted cocktails over a seemingly bottomless bowl of punch at Drink. I was thrilled when I found out I had come across a relatively new-to-the-market liquor that Fred hadn't heard about yet: Averell Damson Gin.

Averell first came on my radar after I read an article in Edible Manhattan a few months ago; I immediately wanted to taste it for myself. From the first sip, I was hooked.

Averell is created by New York gin man Scott Krahn, who previously hit gold with his crisp, clean DH Krahn gin. A friend suggested to Krahn that he might try his hand at making gin infused with plums--popular in England, but almost unknown in the States. The "damson" in Averell Damson Gin is a small plum: tart and spicy, it's an extremely old variety, brought to the New World with some of the earliest European settlers. But over time, the Damson plum became rare, falling out of favor to larger, sweeter varieties.

But, as Krahn would find out, there was at least one orchard still growing the plums in New York: Red Jacket Orchards. Red Jacket is a place that somehow manages to balance commercial viability with a dedication to preserving the past: I've turned to them for heritage apple breeds, like Thomas Jefferson's favorite apple, the Newtown Pippin. Krahn bought up the entirety of Red Jacket's damson crop and turned his attention to the logistics of marrying the flavor of plums and gin.

In England, Damson Gin is rarely commercially produced. It's more often made at home: the plums are harvested in the fall and macerated in a dry gin until Christmas time, when it's given as a gift, or drunk amongst friends over the holidays. Krahn experimented with macerating the plums, but finally decided to use a barrel press to extract the juice as well as the rich color from the skins. Then, Krahn's aromatic gin was combined with the rich, red juice.

The result: a stronger plum flavor and an intense hue. Out of the bottle, one can taste a pleasant sweetness; the plum flavor is complex and complimentary to the herbal gin. Mixed in a cocktail, the flavor it adds is heavenly, the color a super-saturated surprise.

I wanted to highlight this gin at a tasting I held in Brooklyn last month, so I created a cocktail that both spoke to the gin's historic past and was an ideal summer drink. I came up with the Damson Fizz Punch. The recipe is derived from a Sloe Gin Fizz; instead of water as the base, I brewed a strong green tea, which is a nod to historic punch recipes. Topped off with a splash of seltzer, this cocktail is flavorful, refreshing, and guaranteed to keep the sticky summer heat at bay. But, I'll warn you: despite it's color and sweetness, this ain't no girly drink. It packs as much "punch" as any other gin cocktail.
Damson Fizz Punch (inspired by "Sloe Gin Fizz" from Sloppy Joe's Bar, 1932)
• Juice of 1 Lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
• 1 tsp Sugar (or simple syrup)
• 1 oz Damson Gin
• 1 oz Strong Green Tea
• 1 oz Seltzer
Stir, and serve in a glass with ice.

Averell Damson Gin is available at Astor Wine and Spirits in New York, and Liquor World in Cambridge, MA, via Ideal Wines and Spirits. It is also being served at the Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar in Boston and Russell House Tavern in Cambridge.

Monday, July 11, 2011

vida rebellion

1 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1 oz Lustau Dry Oloroso Sherry
1 oz Gran Classico
2 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

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

Last Monday for the 4th of July, Andrea and I spent the day walking through Boston. Our travels eventually took us to the Citizen Public House where bartender Sean Frederick was presiding along with Corey Bunnewith. Andrea commented that it only seemed right to spend the holiday with Sean since he was at the same barbecue that we attended the 4th of July before. For a drink, I picked the Vida Rebellion which was one of bar manager Joy Richard's creations. Sean best described Gran Classico as a boutique version of Campari, and the drink was akin to mezcal Negroni. From past experience, agave products seem to pair up well with sherry, such as in the Bebida de Puebla, and perhaps just as well if not better than with vermouth.
The Vida Rebellion began with an orange and smokey mezcal aroma that contained darker notes from either the sherry or the Gran Classico. While the sip displayed the sherry's grape flavor along with some orange notes, the swallow presented the sherry's nutty notes followed by the mezcal's smoke and a bitter finish. Overall, the Vida Rebellion worked rather well just as similar combinations did in the Rosita, the 1836, and perhaps the Jabuticaba.

lingua franca

1 1/2 oz Pisco (Macchu Pisco)
1/2 oz J.Wray & Nephew Rum
1/2 oz Falernum (Velvet)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Pear Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Shake with ice and strain into a tall glass. Add ice and top with 2 oz soda water. Garnish with a mint sprig and a lemon twist.

Two Sundays ago, Andrea was flipping through the latest issue of Imbibe magazine and reading all of the Tiki drink recipes inside. The one that we both agreed on as a starting point was the Lingua Franca by Martin Cate of Smuggler's Cove in San Francisco. Beside previously enjoying Martin's Dead Reckoning, I was drawn to the drink for two reasons. First, the split spirit of pisco and J.Wray & Nephew Rum seemed intriguing, and the second was that the recipe calls for pear liqueur and our bottle rarely gets used. In fact, I can only recall two other recipes where I have had pear liqueur, namely Scott Holliday's Bosc Word and the Naughty Nanny that Andrea created for a Mixology Monday one month. The name "lingua franca" means a working or bridge language that can be used when two people do not share a common mother tongue. With Peruvian, Jamaican, and Austrian spirits in our recipe, a lingua franca might be needed for these people to communicate, although just sipping this drink should keep them happy enough until they figure out what it would be.
The Lingua Franca was a rather white beverage that reminded me of the White Witch; moreover, its garnishes provided a pleasing lemon oil and mint aroma before the drink was even tasted. On the sip, the lemon, pear, and pisco notes presented themselves, and they were followed by apricot, the falernum's spice, and the rum's funkiness on the swallow. Surprisingly, the pisco and the J.Wray & Nephew worked well together, and the rum gave the drink a bit of an edge. Overall, the Lingua Franca was a complex fruit medley that was rather complementary to the pisco.

dubonnet mint julep

3 oz Bourbon (1 1/2 oz Bulleit)
2 oz Dubonnet Rouge (1 oz)
1 tsp Sugar (1/2 tsp)
1 Handful of Mint (4 sprigs)

Dissolve sugar in a splash of water, add a sprig of mint, and lightly bruise the sprig with a muddler in a Julep cup or double old fashioned glass. Remove mint (or not), add rest of ingredients and some crushed ice, and stir. Top with more crushed ice, add a straw, and garnish with the remaining mint sprigs.

When I was on the Dubonnet website, I spotted the Dubonnet Mint Julep and decided to give it a go. The concept of the drink might seem a bit weird that a foreign sounding aperitif wine is mixed with Bourbon for a Derby Day delight; however, Dubonnet is made in two locations. While much of the world's Dubonnet is still made in France, the aperitif wine for the American market is made at the Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. According to Paul Clarke, there is a slight difference in the taste between the two, but once mixed, those differences become harder to detect. Therefore, depending on which whiskey is used, both products can stem from the same state.
The Dubonnet Mint Julep came across sort of like a Manhattan where the mint functioned as the bitters. Moreover, the Dubonnet, sugar, and the mint helped to smooth out the flavor of the Bourbon into something quite drinkable. The concept of a Julep containing aperitif wine still seems a bit strange despite enjoying the minty Greenbriar Cocktail made out of dry vermouth and sherry; on the other hand, in both cases, the end results were rather delicious.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

paul's own

1/3 Gin (1 oz Beefeater)
1/3 Dry Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat)
1/6 Cointreau (1/2 oz)
1/6 Curaçao (1/2 oz Senior Curaçao of Curaçao)
3 dash Fernet Branca (1 barspoon = 1/8 oz)

The instructions say shake but I stirred with ice and strained into a cocktail glass.

After returning home from ICOB, I was in the mood for a nightcap, so I opened up Ted Saucier's Bottom's Up and spotted the Paul's Own. The book provided a history that the recipe was created by B. Paul, the head barman at the American Bar at the Grosvenor House in London. In addition, the drink was awarded first prize in an international cocktail competition held in Vienna in 1927. The drink caught my eye for two reasons beside being an award winner. The first was that I found it curious that the orange liqueur quotient was split between a triple sec and a Curaçao. If the proportions were combined, the drink reminded me of a cross between a Contessa and a Patrician, two equal part Negroni variations created here in Boston. The second was that the small amount of Fernet Branca as a bitter accent to the drink reminded me of the Hanky Panky created by Ada Coleman at the American Bar in the Savoy Hotel a few years earlier around 1925.
The pair of orange liqueurs donated a sweet orange nose to the Paul's Own. The citrus continued on into the sip, and the swallow contained an orange peel note that led into the gin followed by the Fernet Branca flavors. Overall, the Paul's Own was very similar to a less gin-driven Don't Give Up the Ship as well as Eastern Standard's Heather in Queue.