Friday, September 30, 2011


1 oz Thomas Handy Uncut Sazerac Rye 126°
1 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz Cynar
1/2 oz S. Maria al Monte Amaro
1 barspoon Demerara Syrup (1/8 oz 1:1)
1 barspoon Allspice Dram (1/8 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.

For my last drink at No. 9 Park, bartender Ted Kilpatrick suggested a drink he created as a variation of Dominic Venegas' 1794. Instead of the Campari, Ted swapped in a combination of Cynar and S. Maria al Monte with a dash of allspice dram. While I did not ask what he named the drink after, given that the original was called the 1794, my best guess is that it is a reference to the Whiskey Rebellion that happened in America that year. During George Washington's presidency, his treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton decided to attempt to pay off the national debt by taxing whiskey. The farmers and small distillers west of the Appalachians that protested the tax lashed out at the tax collector; they felt that the burden was disproportionately too great on them to pay off the nation's problem. With some governmental intervention, the uprising was suppressed before the militia arrived. The whiskey tax still remained difficult to collect, but the nascent government showed that it was willing to use its muscle to maintain control; the tax was later repealed with the next presidency.
The Rebellion began with a rye aroma that contained herbal and vermouthy notes; when I let my neighbor Tyrone have a taste, he commented that it "smelled medicinal" probably from the S. Maria al Monte. The whiskey continued on into the sip where the liqueurs' caramel notes blended well with the Carpano Antica vermouth. Next, the allspice from the dram and the menthol note from the S. Maria al Monte filled the swallow; moreover, the funky herbalness of the Cynar definitely helped to bridge the gap of these two flavors.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

zimmermann telegram

1 1/2 oz Milagro Blanco Tequila
1 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
1/8 oz Kübler Absinthe (1 barspoon)
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with. Double strain into a highball glass and top with 2 oz Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel beer.

One of the drinks that bartender Ted Kilpatrick recommended as I contemplated the menu was one that he recently concocted -- an agave riff of the Scotch-based Morning Glory Fizz variation he made me last year. Just like that variation, Ted utilized beer for the Fizz, but he went with a Belgian IPA instead of a Tripel for the bubbles. Ted's rationale for keeping the beer was that hops and tequila go so well together, and India Pale Ales have a higher level of hoppiness than most other beer styles. Symbolically, the Fizz was Mexican spirits being teased by European bubble agitation. Similarly, Ted named the drink the Zimmermann Telegram after the 1917 diplomatic proposal from Germany to Mexico. In that coded telegram, Germany urged Mexico to go to war with the United States; Mexico would seek to gain back territories lost in the 19th century and Germany would gain the United States becoming distracted. Germany anticipated that the then neutral United States was going to be drawn into World War I anyways due to Germany scaling up their submarine warfare program. However, the decoding of the intercepted note angered the United States into declaring war on Germany and her Allies a few months later anyways.
The Zimmermann Telegram served to me was not as encrypted as the nearly century old one was. It began with a smokey mezcal aroma that was joined by anise notes from the absinthe. The sip was a sweet, creamy lemon flavor that contained a bit of bubbles that tickled the tongue. Next, the beginning of the swallow contained the tequila and mezcal flavors, and the end presented the beer's hops.

mr. hoy

2 oz Old Overholt Rye
1 1/2 oz Pineapple-infused Dolin Dry Vermouth(*)
2 dash Bitter Truth's Celery Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.
(*) To make the pineapple-infused vermouth, treat it like making a pineapple syrup. Chop up 1/2 pineapple (without peel or core) for every 16 oz of vermouth. Infuse in a jar or covered bowl overnight and strain.

Tuesday last week, I paid a visit to bartender Ted Kilpatrick at No. 9 Park. For a starter, I selected the Mr. Hoy off of the menu which Ted described as his riff on the Algonquin. Ted related his tale of dissatisfaction with the classic, and after trying all sorts of whiskeys, pineapple juices (including fresh, bottled, and canned), and dry vermouths, he decided that the Algonquin just needed a major overhaul. Therefore, he captured a more ethereal aspect of the pineapple by making an infused dry vermouth. For a name, Ted paid homage to Hoy Wong who was the country's oldest bartender before he retired in 2009 at the age of 93. Hoy spent the last 30 years of his bartending career working behind the stick at the Algonquin bar. On his 90th birthday, he was still very optimistic and describing the reasons for his longevity and vigor, "Not many secrets. Eat right, take a nap and every day get exercise working. Don't worry about money. I don't plan to retire. I love my job. I love to meet people. President Bush needs money, he needs income taxes, so I will help."
The Mr. Hoy cocktail began with a rye aroma. The sip contained the rye's malt along with a light pineapple and wine note. Next, the sip contained the rye's heat and a light vegetal finish perhaps aided by the celery bitters. Later, as the drink warmed up, the pineapple flavors began to blossom on the swallow. When Ted asked me what I thought of the drink, I told him that I found the pineapple infusion very curious for the pineapple was very hide-and-seeky in the drink.
In the earlier discussion about the drink, I mentioned that the Algonquin was one of my lazy, go to summer drinks back in 2007. I used a 3:2:1 ratio of 1 1/2 oz rye, 1 oz pineapple, 1/2 oz dry vermouth which I quite enjoyed. I wondered if some people would like this drink more if the vermouth was switched to a blanc vermouth for extra sweetness and floral notes, such as what has been mentioned for the El Presidente by others. The Mr. Hoy is the second Algonquin variation I tried this year; the other was Ryan Fitzgerald's Far East Algonquin at Tales of the Cocktail. And looking back, I cannot help but think of Scott Holiday's Whiskey-A-Go-Go for it is one of the more elegant abstractions of this classic that I have quaffed.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

stone grant collins

1 1/2 oz Grant Amontillado Sherry
1 oz Sweetened Peach Purée (*)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass. Add 2 oz soda water, top with ice, and add a straw.
(*) Yellow peaches were mashed, simmered, and sweetened. I did not get the proportions, but from taste, 1 part sugar to 2 parts peach purée would probably suffice.

Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I paid a visit to Paul Manzelli at Bergamot's bar. For my first drink, I selected the Stone Grant Collins off of the cocktail menu. I was drawn to it for I remember how well stone fruits and sherry pair up such as in the Old Tom's Stone. While the Old Tom's Stone was mostly red plum in the form of a shrub, the Stone Grant Collins featured peach as a sweetened purée.
The Stone Grant Collins presented the peach in the aroma along with the sherry's grape notes. The sweet peach continued on in the sip where it was balanced by the lemon and crisp soda water. While the Amontillado's grape appeared on the sip, its nutty character rounded out the swallow; furthermore, over time, the peach flavors began shifting from the sip into the swallow. I was quite impressed at how well peach paired with the sherry, and the Collins format was perfect here as it was in another peach drink, the CLT Peche.


2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. This drink was served without garnish, but certain recipes include a cocktail cherry.

After the Cornwall Negroni, I asked bartender Derric Crother's for the Slope. The Slope was a Manhattan variation that we had at home as the recipe circulated across the blogosphere in 2008 (a few months before I started writing here). Julie Reiner created this drink while at Brooklyn's Clover Club in honor of the nearby Park Slope neighborhood. While I did not have a chance to visit Clover Club in my last visit to New York despite it being only a few blocks from where my brother lives, I did get to visit one of Julie's other bars, Lani Kai.
The Slope presented a rye aroma with hints of the apricot brandy underneath. The sip contained the rye's malt and the Punt e Mes' grape, while the swallow contained the rye's heat and the Punt e Mes' bitter notes. Similar to the Manhattan Bell-Ringer, the drink finished with a pleasing apricot flavor. Overall, the Slope had a similar balance to a Red Hook but perhaps a hair more subtle than its Maraschino liqueur-laden brethren.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

cornwall negroni

1 1/2 oz Beefeater Gin (*)
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
2 dash Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange wheel.
(*) Generally made at Green Street with Plymouth, but I was given the option of a more robust gin to stand up to the Campari and Punt e Mes.

Two Sundays ago, we decided to stop into Green Street for drinks and make another dent in their large recipe library. For my first cocktail, I asked bartender Derric Crothers for the Cornwall Negroni, a drink created by Phil Ward then of Manhattan's Pegu Club. Why is it called the Cornwall Negroni? Phil created the cocktail in fall of 2005 while or after attending Gary Regan's Cocktails in the Country workshop held in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, although "country" there is only 50 miles north of New York City.
In this variation, the gin proportion is upped (I believe the original recipe actually contains 2 oz of gin), and the Campari and vermouth components are bridged by Punt e Mes, a bitter vermouth-amaro. The Cornwall Negroni began with an orange aroma from the garnish that mingled well with the drink's Campari nose, and the sip possessed fruit notes from the orange bitters and the wine-based ingredients. Next, the Campari melded with the Punt e Mes on the swallow that was punctuated by a nice, strong gin signature. Thinking back, I have had a rye-based Negroni variant that also included vermouth, Punt e Mes, and Campari (as well as Aperol) called the 1795 that was just as delicious and complex as this one.

pinky gonzalez

1 oz Blanco Tequila (Espolón)
1 oz Reposado Tequila (Espolón)
1/2 oz Orgeat (BG Reynolds/Trader Tiki)
1/2 oz Curaçao (Senor Curaçao)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Agave Nectar

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and a spent half lime shell.

While flipping through our 1972 Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide, I was reminded of all of the Mai Tai variations in there. Beside the classic rum and a lesser known Bourbon one, there is a tequila drink called the Pinky Gonzalez that Trader Vic created in 1964 for his Señor Pico restaurant. The Pinky Gonzales may sound like an odd concept at first, but with a little thought, it is not much more than an orgeat-laden Margarita with a minty aroma. While the Trader Vic book was promoting their Mai Tai Mix by recommending equal parts spirit and bottled flavorant, the LUPEC Boston Little Black Book of Cocktails contains an actual recipe in honor of Rain who chose Pinky Gonzalez as her LUPEC identity. The recipe I present above is modified slightly from these sources given my preferred Mai Tai format.
The mint garnish provided much of the aroma for the Pinky Gonzalez. The sip was citrussy from the lime and orange liqueur; surprisingly, the tequila pushed the orgeat into the sip instead of the swallow where it often resides. Indeed, the tequila controlled the swallow and provided a much more lingering agave note than usual.

Monday, September 26, 2011

coromandel coast

1 oz Añejo Rum (Ron Abuelo)
1/2 oz Domaine de Canton Liqueur
1/2 oz Coconut Cream
3/4 oz Lime Juice
5 dash Angostura Bitters
3 Fresh Curry Leaves

Muddle curry leaves. Add rest of ingredients, shake with ice, and double strain into a coupe glass. Gently rub the edge of the glass with a fresh curry leaf to release the oils and float as a garnish.

As I mentioned in the Prince of Orange post a few weeks ago, one of the drinks that bartender Sahil Mehta had made me at Estragon was his submission for the Angostura cocktail competition. Part of the rules required that the drink not be a published one, so Sahil requested that I hold off. Unfortunately, Sahil's creation did not make the cut, but fortunately I have the recipe to share this amazing drink! With the name Coromandel Coast, the drink holds true to the flavors of this southeastern part of India. Probably the star flavor in the drink is the curry which donated a great flavor that worked well with the ginger liqueur and Angostura Bitters.
The Coromandel Coast began with an Angostura and curry aroma that had a hint of lime juice to it. The lime next appeared in the sip along with the coconut flavor. On the swallow, the ginger coupled with the Angostura spice and these notes were balanced by the aged rum's richness. Finally, the coconut returned in the aftertaste along with the curry.

[vincent rose]

3/4 oz Averna
3/4 oz Luxardo Maraschnio
3/4 oz Anchor Distilling Genevieve Gin
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 heaping barspoon Blueberry Jam (~3/16 oz)

Shake with ice and double strain into a cocktail glass.

After the cocktail with Skinos at Lineage, bartender Ryan Lotz listed off a few other ideas. When he mentioned that he had been tinkering around with some locally made blueberry jam, I was intrigued. Though the drink had no name, the Averna and Anchor Genevieve containing recipe sounded like a winner. Since I need to call the recipe something for this post, I dubbed it the "Vincent Rose" who wrote the music to the 1940 hit "Blueberry Hill."
The drink began with a blueberry and malt aroma from the jam and gin, respectively. The malt continued on into the sip where it mingled with the lemon juice and a vague berry-like flavor. The actual blueberry notes came out in the swallow along with the Maraschino liqueur, and the drink finished with the darker botanical notes from the Averna.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

ward 8

This month's Mixology Monday theme, "Local Color" (MxMo LXI), was picked by Lindsay of the Alcohol Alchemy blog. Lindsay's challenge was for people to focus on their local craft spirit scene.

The last time we did a local themed Mixology Monday was back in 2008 and the concept was "local flavor" that did not necessarily focus on spirits but to "gather ingredients that are representative of the culture/geography/tackiness of your respective cities and make a drink with a truly place-based style." I took the tacky part of that description as a dare and bought some horrid vodka produced here in Somerville, MA, and I soothed it with cucumber and herbs from my garden. While there were much better spirits being made in Massachusetts back then, I figured that closer to home was better.

Since that time, a few more local distilleries have opened up. One of these newer ones that I was impressed with is the Ryan & Wood Distillery up in Gloucester, MA. We have been mixing with their Knockabout Gin for almost a year and a half now, and they also have a rum and a vodka. Recently, they just released their straight rye, and local food and drink writer MC Slim JB spoke highly about it. Therefore, a few days ago, I stopped into Atlas Liquors and bought a bottle of the rye that had come from the distillery's very first barrel. When Andrea and I tasted it, it had a pine-spice and caramel nose. The sip started a little thinly flavored but with a fuller mouthfeel; most of the flavor was in the mid and back palate especially with caramel and spice on the swallow. As MC Slim had mentioned, this is a not a rye that would easily be lost in a cocktail. If I were to compare it to a better known whiskey, I would liken it to a more flavorful Sazerac 6 Year Rye.

For the first local themed Mixology Monday, I bandied about the idea of doing the Boston classic, the Ward 8. I probably chose not to do that recipe since the drink generally comes across as an unremarkable Whiskey Daisy. However, when my old college friend was in town back in April, I took her to Drink and bartender Joe Staropoli made her a Ward 8 that was pretty amazing. Between the inside of the wine glass being rubbed with mint, the crushed ice, the drizzling of grenadine over the final drink, and the mint and orange spiral twist garnishes, the Ward 8 was an act of love and beauty, and not just a way of softening the whiskey.

The next time I was at Drink, I asked bar manager John Gertsen about it, and he said that it was their take on the specific Ward 8 recipe that David Wondrich recommended in Imbibe!. Not remembering now the exact recipe that Drink used and wanting to change up Wondrich's recipe slightly to include what I did remember and some of my own preferences, this recipe is an unique hybrid.
Since Wondrich's book is in front of me, I will start with a recap of the drink history that he provided. The drink was created at Boston's Locke-Ober restaurant for a political victory party held for someone running for some office or other in the eighth ward. Some reports take the drink back to 1898, but grenadine was not frequently used until after 1910. With perhaps some support for the drink-riddled voting stories in Christine Sismondo's America Walks into a Bar, a 1918 novel declared that after one of these "you're ready to vote right."
Ward 8
• 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
• 3/4 oz Orange Juice
• 1 barspoon (1/8 oz) Sugar
• 2 oz Rye (Ryan & Wood)
• 3/8-1/2 oz Grenadine
Stir juice with sugar until the crystals dissolves. Add rye, shake with ice, and strain into a wine glass that had its inside rubbed with a mint sprig and then filled with crushed ice. Drizzle the grenadine over the top so it will cascade down to the bottom of the glass. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig and an orange peel spiral twist, and add a straw.
From the beautiful garnishes on top to the attractive red layer on the bottom, this Wondrich-Drink Ward 8 that I have adapted is quite stunning. The garnishes provided a mint and orange aroma. The sip was a crisp orange flavor that was followed by rye and lemon on the swallow. In addition, the mint used to coat the interior of the glass provided some pleasant notes on the finish.

So cheers from Boston to Lindsay for leading the political rally this month and for Paul Clarke for masterfully rigging the election just so!

Friday, September 23, 2011

[wood nymph tears]

2 oz Bully Boy Rum
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1/4 oz Skinos Mastiha Liqueur
3 dash Bitter Truth's Celery Bitters

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

Last Friday, Andrea and I went over to Lineage for cocktails. One of the drinks that bartender Ryan Lotz wanted to make for me was a cocktail that used a Greek liqueur flavored with pine resin. This resin has been used by the Greeks for thousands of years as a breath freshener and a digestive aid; in addition, it is used as a preservative and flavoring to make retsina wine. While we found the liqueur to be somewhat floral, Ryan picked up more on its vegetal notes and thought that it had a somewhat carroty note to it. Therefore, Ryan bolstered this aspect by incorporating celery bitters in the mix. For a drink name, I dubbed it Wood Nymph Tears after the name for the resin dots that build up after the trees are pricked in preparation for harvest.
The drink began with a lemon oil nose that was floral from the Dolin Blanc and Skinos. Next, the sip was rather dry and vegetal; the liqueur also entered into the swallow where its resin notes mingled with the rum. These resin notes lingered on the finish where it paired well with the celery bitters.

her majesty's pearl

1 1/2 oz White Rum, preferably Rhum Agricole (Vale d' Paul Aguardente Nova de Santo Antão)
1/2 oz Cognac (Courvoisier VS)
1/2 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
7 drop Rosewater

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

Thursday last week, I decided to make Her Majesty's Pearl from Food & Wine: Cocktails 2010. The recipe was created by Misty Kalkofen of Drink here in Boston when one of the guests asked for something with a floral note. That guest happened to be Randy Wong who I have written about on this blog for creating Tiki recipes like the Chee Hoo Fizz as well as bartending at Clio. Besides Randy's drink interests, he also leads the exotica band Waitiki 7; Randy asked Misty for this flowery libation to match a ballad, Her Majesty's Pearl, on the Waitiki 7's newest album back then.
Instead of a rhum agricole, I decided to use a Cape Verdean rum that shares a lot of flavor similarities with rhum agricoles given the growing region's volcanic soil and the use of sugar cane juice in the ferment. The Cape Verdean rum also popped into my head for Randy and Clio bar manager Todd Maul are both big fans of this style of rum. The drink began with a St. Germain aroma coupled by the grassiness of the rum; as the drink got warmer, the rose notes began to surface on the nose. The sip proffered the lemon juice along with a vague fruitiness from the St. Germain and perhaps the Cognac. Next, the rum, Cognac's richness, and St. Germain's floral notes appeared on the swallow; the rum, like an agricole, also contributed a slightly sharpness to the finish as well.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

king george v

1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz White Crème de Cacao
1/2 oz Gin (Ransom Old Tom)
1/2 oz Scotch or Bourbon (Famous Grouse)

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

Two Wednesdays ago, I was browsing our 1972 edition of Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide and came across the King George V again. I had previously skipped over this five part drink, but after thinking about the White Witch which also combines orange liqueur, crème de cacao, and citrus, I was willing to give this one a go. I was not so sure about the split spirit of whiskey and gin, but I figured that the richer flavored Ransom Old Tom would work well. I do regret not using a more robust whiskey, whether Bourbon or Scotch, to make the drink more distinctive, but the Famous Grouse here did no harm.
The King George V greeted me with a lemon aroma colored by cacao and orange liqueur notes, and the sip was citrussy from the lemon juice and Cointreau. Next, the swallow provided chocolate notes and a combination of the lemon's crispness and sharper notes from the Ransom Old Tom Gin poking through. Interestingly, the King George V came across as more chocolaty than the Twentieth Century despite having similar proportions.

miami special

1 oz Gin (Beefeater)
1 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
3 tsp Orange Marmalade (1/2 oz Hero Bitter Orange)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

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

Two Tuesdays ago, I was browsing through Burke's Complete Cocktail and Tasty Bites Recipes and spotted the Miami Special. While it did remind me of the Savoy Cocktail Book's Marmalade Cocktail given the gin and marmalade, instead of the latter's lemon juice, the Miami Special called for orange juice and knocked the sweetness back with dry vermouth and Angostura Bitters.
The Miami Special's nose contained orange notes and a hint of spice from the bitters and gin. The orange continued on into the sip where the marmalade also donated a rich mouthfeel. The Angostura Bitters notes then dominated the swallow with bitter complexity and spice. The bitters were supplemented by the gin and dry vermouth, and these worked well with the marmalade flavors at the end. Overall, the Miami Special had the essence of a Pegu Club sans the crispness and flavor of the lime juice; in addition, the bitters seemed to prevent the drink from being insipid like a lot of orange juice drinks can often turn out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

sands of time

1 1/2 oz Bols Genever
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
1/2 oz Pimm's No. 1
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Simple Syrup (by taste, approx >1/4 oz)
1 dash Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with marigold petals if in season.
Two Mondays ago, I paid a visit to Clio to sit at Todd Maul's bar. For a first drink, I spotted the Sands of Time off of their extensive cocktail booklet and I was curious as to how all of the fruity, bitter, and malty flavors would play out. The Sands of Time began with a floral and malty aroma that contained hints of cherry. The sip started with a lemon juice and Pimm's berry-like flavor; later, as the drink warmed up, malt from the Genever and cherry from the liqueur began to appear in the sip's profile. The Punt e Mes' bitter grape notes began the swallow that ended with the Genever's botanicals. Overall, I was impressed at how well the Punt e Mes paired with the Genever and was rather pleased at how the other ingredients as a whole smoothed out this spirit.

learning to tie

1 1/4 oz Cachaça (Seleta)
1/2 oz Absinthe (Kübler)
1 oz Orgeat (BG Reynolds/Trader Tiki)
1 oz Orange Juice
1/2 tsp Campari

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

My nightcap after the Celery Bowl was the Learning to Tie from the Cocktail Collective book. The drink was created by David Shenaut from the Teardrop Lounge in Portland, Oregon; I got to meet David this year at Tales of the Cocktail. My first exposure to his mixology was through the Ephemeral that morphed into the Means of Preservation here in Boston. In researching the Learning to Tie, I was able to locate an interview that gave the genesis of the drink's name. Shenaut explained, "when [my daughter] was 5 years old, I was working on making a cocktail with flavors that I knew would work, but everyone else thought would not. I worked on it every day, with variations on ingredients and measurements during the same time I was teaching my daughter to tie her own shoes. The day she tied her shoes for the first time, I went to work and picked a recipe and said that it would be the Learning To Tie cocktail. I always told that story whenever I sold the drink." Indeed, when I saw the ingredients, I was unsure of how it would turn out, but I had faith in his other recipes enough to give this one a go.
The Learning to Tie presented a lot of orange aromas from the twist's oil and the juice, and the orange notes continued into the sip. The swallow was a bit more complex; it started with the cachaça's grassiness, followed by the spirit's funkiness which paired with the orgeat, and lastly the absinthe. Over time, the Campari notes became apparent and complemented the Kübler absinthe. While orange juice can often mute flavors in drinks, here it functioned to hold the motley collection of ingredients together into a cohesive cocktail.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

celery bowl a l'amerique

Peel 3-4 celery roots (1/2 celery root) and cut into thin slices.
Cover thickly with powdered sugar (1 1/2 oz).
Infuse with half bottle of brandy, arrack, or rum (1 1/2 oz Batavia Arrack).
Cover for 12 hours (10 hours, chilling for the last hour, then strained into a mixing tin).
Add 4 bottles of Rhine Wine (12 oz Bear Flag White Wine Blend, chilled) and 1 bottle of Champagne (3 oz Cava, chilled).
My eight-fold scaled down recipe made two servings when poured into highball glasses. I garnished each with a celery stalk.

Earlier on Saturday, I finally bought some celeriac since I have wanted to make the Celery Bowl à l'Amérique from William Schmidt's The Flowing Bowl for quite some time. After peeling and slicing the celery root, I opted for Batavia Arrack to steep it in for I figured that its funky and earthy notes would complement the celery flavors better than brandy or rum. I waited until after we were finished with the Everyman Afterall cocktail before starting on the final preparations for the Celery Bowl.

The Celery Bowl's provided a white wine aroma that led into a crisp, bubbly wine sip. The intriguing part came in the swallow which presented a combination of the celery, cava, and Batavia Arrack notes along with a lingering celery finish. We had already discovered that celery and sparkling wine worked well together; indeed, we had tried that pairing at Tales of the Cocktail in 2009 when our hotel provided us with a complementary bottle of champagne and all we had on hand were the celery bitters that I was competing with later in the week. Moreover, our choice of Batavia Arrack did not disappoint here. Over all, the Celery Bowl à l'Amérique would probably make for a great breakfast or aperitif drink.

everyman afterall

1 1/2 oz Denizen Rum (1 3/8 oz 10 Cane, 1/8 oz J.Wray & Nephew)
1/2 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
3/4 Massenez Crème de Pêche (Briottet Maison Edmond CdP de Vigne)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
(1/2 oz Simple Syrup to balance)
1 dash Peach and Orange Bitters Mix (Fee's Peach and Angostura Orange)

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lime wheel dusted with cardamom.

Two Saturdays ago, I decided to make the Everyman Afterall that I spotted on SeriousEats. The drink was created by Marshall Altier of Jbird Cocktails and seemed like an interesting fruity rum drink. The rum Marshall called for, Denizen, is a blend of mainly Trinidadian with some funky Jamaican for complexity; lacking this spirit, I mixed 10 Cane from Trinidad with some J.Wray & Nephew from Jamaica to approximate the description of Denizen's flavor profile. After mixing the drink and straw tasting it, it was rather tart as I guessed it would be from the ounce of citrus; therefore, I added some simple syrup for balance. I presumed that the difference is that my Briottet Crème de Pêche is not nearly as sweet as Massenez's liqueur. Lastly, I was not able to rest my lime wheel on the edge of the glass since I cut it too thin, so I floated it instead.
The Everyman Afterall began with a cardamom aroma from the dusting on the lime wheel garnish. The sip contained citrus flavors spiced with cardamom; while our cardamom was from spillover from the floated garnish, Marshall's peach bitters contain cardamom as well. Next, the swallow presented the apple brandy and rum flavors with a peach finish.

Monday, September 19, 2011

good things come

1 3/4 oz Redbreast Irish Whiskey (Knappogue)
1/2 oz Pedro Ximénez Sherry (Lustau)
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1 dash Scrappy's Lavender Bitters (homemade floral bitters)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Fridays ago, I opened up Beta Cocktails looking for a nightcap. When I read off Jeff Grdinich's Good Things Come, Andrea gave it the thumbs up. While we lacked two of the ingredients, namely Redbreast and Lavender Bitters, we figured that subbing in another Irish whiskey and homemade Bumblebee Bitters would work rather well. On the nose, the drink presented to me a malt and mint aroma, while Andrea detected a minty vermouth-like one. We did agree that the sip was malty and grape from the whiskey and sherry, respectively; moreover, the swallow contained the Fernet Branca along with raisiny notes from the Pedro Ximénez. The Fernet was surprisingly tamed here, but it was hard to miss especially as a light but lingering menthol note at the end. The sherry gave the Irish whiskey some body, and we surmised that it was what mellowed the Fernet Branca so well.

la rosa

2 oz Lunazul Blanco Tequila
1/2 oz Strawberry Purée
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Ramazzotti

Shake with ice and double strain into a cocktail glass. Top with rosé champagne (~1 oz) and garnish with an edible flower.
For my second drink at Lani Kai, I left the Happy Hour menu and began perusing the full one. While my first choice, the Hotel California, could not be made since they were in the midst of making another batch apricot-infused Old Tom Gin, I eagerly asked bartender April Wachtel for La Rosa. The drink began with a tequila, berry, and sparkling wine aroma. Next, the sip was crisp and contained a lemon and vague berry flavor. In the first part of the swallow, the strawberry and Ramazzotti stood out, and this was followed by the tequila merged with the rosé sparkling wine at the end.

Friday, September 16, 2011

pacific swizzle

2 oz White Rum infused with rosehips, lemon grass, and hibiscus tea (*)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Passion Fruit Purée

Add to a tall glass filled with ice. Swizzle to mix and chill. Garnish with a pansy flower and add a straw.
(*) The rum is infused with Tazo brand Passion tisane which contains hibiscus flowers, orange peel, rosehips, cinnamon, lemongrass, licorice, and red poppy. For an infusion time and concentration, perhaps the instructions for Audrey Sander's Earl Grey Marteani can be a starting point.
After departing Vandaag, I decided to make Lani Kai in SoHo my next destination. When I walked in, I was surprised that behind the bar was April Wachtel who used to work at the Gallows here in Boston! April was stunned as well and asked what I was doing at Lani Kai as well as where else I had gone. I replied that I was stalking her, and that I had just come from Vandaag. She laughed and mentioned that she also was doing a few shifts there too. When April inquired if I knew that she worked at Lani Kai, I replied no; I explained that I picked it as I was impressed with the drinks that Julie Reiner and others from Lani Kai made at the William & Grant party at Tales of the Cocktail two months before. A few weeks ago when April told me that she was leaving Boston for New York, she was very vague about where she would be working as she had a few options she was going to explore to see what would be a good fit. While it turns out that this was only her second training shift at the bar, it did seem like Lani Kai was a good match for her. Indeed, it was quite serendipitous and great to see a familiar face behind the bar.
For my first drink, I decided to order something off of the happy hour menu. The concept of a happy hour was quite the novelty since Massachusetts does not allow bars and restaurants to offer alcoholic beverages at lower prices (they can offer food specials though). The special that called out to me was the Pacific Swizzle which utilized a rum infused with passion fruit, floral, and spice elements. Moreover, the rum's fruit notes were intensified by a passion fruit purée. The hibiscus and red poppy in the infused rum were complemented by further floral notes donated by the pansy garnish in the aroma. On the sip, the Swizzle was full of floral and passion fruit flavors, and the swallow contained the lime's crispness, the tisane's tannin and rosehip notes, and the rum.

balsa raft

2 oz Linie Aquavit
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)
2 slice Cucumber (approx 1/2 inch)
1 piece Celery (approx 4 inches)
2 dash Bitter Truth Celery Bitters

Muddle cucumber, celery, and bitters. Add rest of ingredients and ice, shake, and strain into a highball glass filled with ice cubes. Garnish with a pineapple leaf and add a straw.

While I was enjoying the last of my Genever cocktail at Vandaag, bartender Alex began to talk to me about the other drinks on the menu. When he mentioned one being like a banana smoothie, I was curious. Especially when he told me that the Balsa Raft does not contain any banana; instead, the ingredients combine to give a banana-like impression. I replied that he could not tell me that without me taking him up on that challenge. As Alex was making the drink, another bartender commented that the Balsa Raft was the first ever Scandinavian tiki drink.

The Balsa Raft presented the pineapple, celery, and cucumber aromas, and Alex was not lying for they did combine somewhat into a banana-like nose. The pineapple continued on into the sip where it mingled with the honey and lemon flavors. Next, the swallow presented the orgeat, cucumber, and aquavit's spice; later in the drink, the celery notes began to appear as well. Indeed, the Balsa Raft was tropical in the front and vegetal on the back in a parallel way as fruity rhum agricole drinks can sometimes come across. Moreover, the creaminess and flavor of the orgeat seemed to bring the whole drink together.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

vandaag gin cocktail

2 oz Bols Genever
1/8 oz Reduced Saison Ale Syrup (1 barspoon)
1 dash Kirschwasser and Absinthe mix
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters
1 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with 3 fresh ice cubes. Garnish with a grapefruit twist and add straws. The Kirschwasser and absinthe might have been used as a rinse in the glass.

On Wednesday last week, I traveled down to New York for my brother's book launch party; the event was in honor of his oral history of grunge entitled Everybody Loves Our Town. In between the time I arrived in Manhattan and the event, I was able to squeeze in lunch and two bar stops. Unfortunately many of the city's cocktail bars are not open that early, but luckily a few were! My first stop was Vandaag in the East Village; I was lured there for I enjoyed the Dutch Flip that Katie Stipe, one of their bartenders, created. Vandaag has an interesting concept in that their bar menu (and presumably their food) is northern European inspired with a focus on Denmark and Holland -- namely aquavit and Genever. I was greeted by bartender Alex who doubled as their barista; hearing him compare and contrast the bartending and barista mindsets was rather interesting.
While perusing the menu, I figured that the namesake Vandaag Gin Cocktail was a good place to start. Moreover, it had the form of an Improved Gin Cocktail that had been modernized since the days of Jerry Thomas. Some of the changes were a swap of the classic's gomme syrup for a reduced beer one, Maraschino liqueur for Kirsch, and Boker's Bitters for Peychaud's and chocolate ones. Instead of the lemon twist in the Improved Gin Cocktail, the drink's grapefruit one worked rather well over the aroma of the malty Bols Genever. The malt continued on in the sip where it was accented by the Kirsch's cherry notes. Next, the Genever appeared on the swallow especially its wormwood-like bitter note which paired well with the hint of absinthe at the end. Moreover, the beer syrup seemed to lend a smooth finish to the drink for the Genever was not as sharp as I anticipated; this was not too different from my experiences with the gum arabic in the classic's gomme syrup.

black cat

1 oz Chichicapa Mezcal (Del Maguey Vida)
1/2 oz Hayman's Old Tom Gin
1/2 oz Ransom Old Tom Gin
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
3/4 oz Lustau Dry Amontillado Sherry
1 tsp Sugarcane Syrup (2:1 Simple)
1 piece Grapefruit Peel

Muddle the grapefruit peel with syrup. Add rest of ingredients and ice, stir, and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a fresh grapefruit twist.

After purchasing a fresh bottle of Punt e Mes, it was time to tackle some more of the drinks in Beta Cocktails. After reading a few recipes to Andrea, the Black Cat was her favorite of the bunch. The drink was created by Nicholas Jarrett who bartends at the Clover Club, Dram, and Bushwick Country Club in Brooklyn and who I met at a bitters competition at Tales in 2009. The Black Cat is a reference to the Old Tom Gin's marketing image starting in the 18th century; interestingly, the Old Tom here is split between the milder and sweeter Hayman's and the spicier and aged Ransom product. In other splits, the base spirit is a split between mezcal and the gins and the wine portion is a split between sherry and Punt e Mes.
The Black Cat's grapefruit twist offered a fresh aroma over the smoke and agave nose. The grapefruit continued in the sip as a light citrus flavor from the muddled peel; after a few additional sips, grape notes began to enter into the picture. The swallow also had two phases. At first, the swallow was dominated by the mezcal. Over time, this faded and the spicy Ransom Old Tom Gin, the bitter Punt e Mes, and the nutty Amontillado ascended. Moreover, later in the drink, smoke and spice notes began to linger on the finish.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

brandy scaffa

1 oz Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac
3/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse

Stir without ice in a coupe glass.

After the Biter at Green Street, I spotted the Brandy Scaffa and decided I needed to have this again. I explained to bartender Derric Crothers that the previous times I had this menu item made for me, it had been stirred with ice and strained; however, Scaffas are generally served room temperature. With the Sir Francis Drake Special still fresh in my head, I wanted to give the Brandy Scaffa another go. Derric could not argue with my logic or my request that he do less work in preparing the drink.
The Maraschino and Green Chartreuse combined in the nose to create an aroma that was different from either ingredient alone. The sip presented mostly the Cognac notes, and the swallow proffered the Chartreuse's sharp herbal flavors followed by a Maraschino finish. With the waterized version, I recalled the drink a lot sweeter. Here, the liqueurs' sweetness was countered by the undiluted alcohol content of all of the spirits involved, such that neither the proof nor the sugar content were jarring.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

biter cocktail

1 1/2 oz Hendrick's Gin
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/4 oz Ricard Pastis

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

Two Sundays ago, we stopped into Green Street where bartender Derric Crothers was presiding. For a first drink, I decided to revisit the Biter Cocktail which I had tried there before I started writing for this blog. The Biter Cocktail does appear in the Savoy Cocktail Book; however, there it is a Green Chartreuse instead of the Yellow one served at the bar. CocktailDB does support the proportions of the Green Street recipe as well as the presence of this sweeter and less intense sister liqueur. Strangely, the database has the Green Chartreuse version listed as the "Bitter Cocktail."
The Biter Cocktail possessed a lemon aroma over faint anise and herbal notes. The sip was tart with lemon juice's crispness, and the swallow presented the Yellow Chartreuse first followed by the Ricard and gin flavors at the end. Overall, the lemon was rather dominant here and the rest of the flavors were more accents to the citrus. With the pastis and the tartness, the Biter would probably make a rather good pre-prandial cocktail.

la mancha

1 1/2 oz Reposado Tequila (Espolon)
1/2 oz Joven Mezcal (Del Maguey Vida)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 1/2 oz Roasted Tomato-Agave Purée (*)
2-3 Basil Leaves

Shake with ice and pour into a rocks glass (I strained into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice to remove the battered basil leaves). Garnish with a fresh basil leaf.
(*) I used 2 medium large heirloom tomatoes (Cherokee Purple). Cut in half, roast in a bread pan at 450°F until the juices begin to bubble and the sugars begin to carmelize. Purée and press through a strainer. For every 3 parts of tomato purée, add 1 part of agave nectar. Simmer in a sauce pan for 10 minutes and cool.

While I am not a big culinary cocktail fan, we have been staring at a lot of tomatoes this season and figuring out how to work our way through them before they rot. After a few batches of Chana Masala (3 pounds per batch) and two rounds of tomato sauce (8+ pounds per batch), the tomatoes kept mocking us on that Sunday morning. Therefore, it was time to look in Imbibe Magazine at their tomato drinks article to find a good brunch beverage. The one that appealed most to us was La Mancha created by Atlanta bartender Paul Calvert for the Killer Tomato Festival there. While we had plenty of tomatoes to complete this recipe, we lacked basil. Luckily, I remember seeing it growing in front of our bank while using the ATM. After getting a nod of approval from Andrea, I made my way over to the bank and scouted for police cars before scaling up the garden's wall, shuffling down the ledge, and hopping the fence. Unfortunately, we did not do the control experiment to see if bank-robbed basil actually tastes better, but it did save me a trip to the supermarket to buy less-than-fresh basil for way too much money. The round trip for the basil helped to pass the time that the tomatoes were in the oven.
The basil garnish on La Mancha added favorably to the drink's tequila and mezcal aroma. The sip presented a lemon and vegetal flavor, and the swallow started with tequila and ended with tomato and smoke notes. Moreover, the drink had a very sweet finish from the roasted tomatoes supplemented by the agave nectar. Overall, the drink worked rather well as a brunch drink to complement our kale omelets. What it lacked in spice and heat of a traditional Bloody Maria was made up for by the extra smoke notes from the mezcal.

Monday, September 12, 2011

brazilian bramble

2 oz Cachaça (Seleta)
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Drizzle 1/2 oz of Jubitacaba Liqueur (sub Crème de Mûre or Cassis) over the top, garnish with a lime slice, and add a straw.

After the Panamanian Cooler, I decided to stick with the South American theme and make something with the Jabuticaba liqueur that Stephen Shellenberger introduced me to earlier in the year. Jabuticaba is a grape-like dark fruit that is native to Brazil, and the liqueur possesses a Concord grape-like flavor with a little sharpness to it. When I spotted a bottle at a neighborhood liquor store in Somerville, MA, for $9.99, it seemed like a great bargain. For an idea, I decided to make a variation on the modern classic, the Bramble. Well, the Bramble is more of a classic in feel than age for it displays a great similarity to the Fix; while the latter's recipe was first recorded in the mid 19th century, the Bramble was created in 1984, more than a century later, by Dick Bradsell in London. By merging the Bramble with this liqueur and elements of the Caipirinha, the Brazilian Bramble was born.
The Brazilian Bramble presented the cachaça and lime notes to the nose. With the liqueur being added after the mixing step, its sweetness and berrylike flavor were more concentrated on the bottom of the drink due to its greater density. As the straw drew from the bottom, the sip was full of the Jabuticaba's grape-berry flavors which mingled with the lime, and the swallow contained the cachaça funky notes. Once the liqueur on the bottom was diminished or if the straw was raised to avoid it, the sip was more grassy from the cachaça which paired well with the lime; in addition, the swallow contained the cachaça's vanilla notes from its aging as well as its funkiness.

panamanian cooler

Juice 1/2 Orange (3/4 oz)
1 tsp Lime Juice (1/4 oz)
2 oz Dry White Wine (Bear Flag)
2 oz Sherry (Lustau Dry Amontillado)
1/2 pony Maraschino (1/2 oz Luxardo)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Fill a big goblet a third full with cracked ice. Add ingredients and stir until cold. Top with soda (1 oz). Vary lime and Maraschino proportions as desired.
Two Saturdays ago, I was looking for a recipe that called for white wine and stumbled upon the Panamanian Cooler in Charles Baker's South American Gentleman's Companion. The drink was served to Baker in Santa Clara, Panama, and the wine was bolstered by sherry, citrus, Maraschino liqueur, and bitters. The Cooler began with a sip full of orange juice and grape notes. Next, the swallow contained the crispness from the carbonation and lime and the nuttiness from the sherry; moreover, the white wine appeared on the finish. After some of the ice melted, the Maraschino began to appear on the swallow as well.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

sir francis drake special

1/2 oz Gin (Darnley's View)
1/2 oz Bonded Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse)
1/2 oz Triple Sec (Cointreau)
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse

Stir without ice and serve in a 2 oz glass.

While drinking the Prudence Prim, I began flipping through Bottom's Up and noticed the Sir Francis Drake Special. What caught my eye was that it was a room temperature cocktail, a style that generally disappeared with the Scaffa but the authors from Beta Cocktails are trying to revive. The drink was created at the Hotel Sir Francis Drake in San Francisco sometime between the hotel being built in 1928 and the book being first published in 1951. The bar is significant in San Francisco drink history for Tony Abou-Ganim, Marco Dionysos, and Jacques Bezuidenhout and others have worked there through the years. Moreover, Camper English wrote a pair of posts a week or so ago about the bar reopening after a major renovation and menu revision.
The Sir Francis Drake Special began with an orange liqueur aroma supplemented with a hint of Chartreuse; Andrea thought that this combination smelled a bit like old fashioned bubble gum. The Cointreau continued on in the sip, and the swallow was the Chartreuse followed by the gin and concluded with a lingering whiskey note. The pairing of the Cointreau and Chartreuse reminded me of the Prospector Cocktail. In addition, the heat of the spirits seemed to be mitigated by the two liqueurs sugar content; even without chilling or dilution it was rather drinkable, but as Andrea pointed out, it is not for the faint of heart.

prudence prim

2 part Gin (1 oz Beefeater Summer)
1 part Apricot Brandy (1/2 oz Rothman & Winter)
1 part Dry Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Prat)
2 dash Lemon Juice (1/4 oz)
3 dash Grenadine (1/4 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass with a sugared rim.
Two Fridays ago, I was searching through Burke's Complete Cocktail and Tastybite Recipes from 1936 and spotted the curiously named Prudence Prim. I later learned that Prudence Prim was one of the illustrated characters that artist Nell Brinkley drew for newspapers and magazines during the 1920s. Prudence along with Flossie, Dimples, and Pretty Polly were stylish characters during these flapper years and appear in a recent book about Brinkley's work. President Calvin Coolidge even named one of his two collies Prudence Prim with the other being Rob Roy.
The drink itself is very similar to the English Rose down to the sugared rim as well as close to the Leave It to Me and the Take It or Leave It which both lack the sugared rim. For a gin, I opted to use Beefeater Summer for I still had a few days before the spirit would seem out of season. The Prudence Prim began with an apricot aroma that led into a vague fruitiness from the grenadine, lemon, and vermouth's grape on the sip. Next, the swallow started with apricot and an herbalness from the gin and vermouth and ended with the lemon's crispness. I was pleased that the apricot did not overwhelm the flavor profile, and the drink's overall balance reminded me of the Scofflaw.

Friday, September 9, 2011

bitter peach

1 oz Gran Classico Bitter (Campari)
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Peach Syrup (*)
1 small Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish the egg white froth with a dash of Peychaud's Bitters
(*) I made my syrup by heating a 10 oz bag of frozen peach slices with a cup of water and a cup of sugar. Bring to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes, cover, and let cool for an hour or two. Strain through a tea towel, bottle, and refrigerate. To make the syrup last longer, add 1 oz of vodka to the empty bottle, shake the alcohol to sterilize the inside, add the syrup to the vodka, and mix.

After making the 19th century Gin Fix recipe, it was time to try something modern. One of the drinks I spotted in a recent Esquire article was from Derek Brown and Brian Tetorakis, bartenders at the Columbia Room and Rogue 24, respectively, in Washington, D.C. With a pile of peach scraps available to them, they made a syrup that they discovered worked well with Gran Classico's bitterness. Derek described how they created, "a great aperitif cocktail: sweet, sour, bitter, and low-alcohol. It's a perfect pre-dinner drink, especially for an end-of-summer feast. It reminds me of a fluffier, more accessible Negroni."
One of the alluring aspects of the drink was that it would utilize the peach syrup that I had made for the Temperance-era Georgia Mint Julep which I wrote about on the Four Pounds Flour website. While I did not have Gran Classico, I figured that the less artisanal Campari would substitute well here. Once mixed, the drink presented a Campari aroma spiked with the Peychaud's Bitter's anise notes; the anise was strong enough to make Andrea inquire if the drink contained some absinthe. The sip was a rather pleasing creamy lemon-peach flavor, and the Campari entered in on the swallow. Indeed, the peach did pair well with the Campari but their flavors were for the most part temporally separated in the sip and swallow.

gin fix

1/2 tsp Sugar
3-4 dash Lemon Juice (3 barspoon, 3/8 oz)
1/2 pony Raspberry Syrup (1/2 oz)
1 wineglass Holland Gin (2 oz Bols Genever)

Add ingredients to a glass, fill with fine shaved ice (rocks glass, crushed ice), and mix well with a spoon. Dress the top with fruits (orange slices and mint) then serve with a straw.

Last week, I was reading through George Winter's How to Mix Drinks, A Bar Keeper's Handbook from 1884 and spotted the Gin Fix. I was introduced to the Fix as a drink instead of as an ancient recipe by Ted Kilpatrick at No. 9 Park when he made me Harry Johnson's Brandy Fix. When I later read an article describing the Fix as a dead drink form, it bothered me since it is such a lovely drink style that elevates the simple Sour or Daisy via a grand presentation using crushed ice, fruits and berries of the season, and a straw. Since the Brandy one, I have made my own Fix recipes, the Barbados and Fernet Fixes, and I decided it was time to try another 19th century one to reacquaint myself with its beauty.
The Gin Fix greeted me with the aroma of the Genever's malt supplemented by the scent of the orange and mint garnish; while mint is not generally a classic Fix garnish, it did work rather well here and in Ted's Brandy Fix. Next, the sip was a fruity-citrus flavor that surprisingly was not distinctly raspberry; moreover, the Genever's malt added some fullness here. Finally, the Genever's bitter botanicals rounded out the swallow with a wormwood-like note.

manhattan bell-ringer

1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Simple Syrup
2 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters
1/2 wineglass Bourbon Whiskey (1 oz Bookers)
1/2 wineglass Vermouth (1 oz Vya Sweet)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass pre-rinsed with apricot liqueur (Rothman & Winter). Rub a piece of fresh cut lemon around the edge of the glass.

As I mentioned in the post about the Charlie Lindbergh, the apricot liqueur rinse was a signature move of James Maloney. Maloney's book, The Twentieth-Century Cocktail Guide for Mixing Fancy Drinks first published in 1900, has several variations of this rinse that he called a "bell-ringer." The one that I gave a try Wednesday last week was the Manhattan Bell-Ringer that I felt would satisfy Andrea's desire for a Bourbon drink.
The Manhattan Bell-Ringer began with a Bourbon, apricot, and lemon aroma. While the sip contained the vermouth's grape and the orange bitters flavors, the swallow showcased the Bourbon and spice with a hint of apricot on the finish. Overall, the drink was a little fruitier and sweeter than a regular fifty-fifty Manhattan, but it was still recognizable as a Manhattan. For the pisco fans, Paul Clarke recently wrote about the Pisco Bell-Ringer that did not make the cut for the 1900 edition of Maloney's book but appeared in the 1903 one.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

prince of orange

1 1/2 oz Bols Genever
1 oz Drambuie
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Orange Juice
1 tsp Orange Marmalade
2 dash Angostura Bitters

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

Last Tuesday, Andrea and I made the journey to the South End to visit Estragon for Sahil Mehta had mentioned that lately he was working occasional Tuesday nights (normally he works on Mondays). Sahil had a few new drinks to showcase for us -- two were his entries into the Angostura Bitters competition and two were recipes he was submitting for a Bols Genever article. For our first round, Andrea and I tried the Angostura Bitters contest drinks; the southeastern India-inspired one I had was quite spectacular. I will write about it in the future; however, the contest guidelines specify that submissions need to be unpublished recipes. While Andrea was lured away with the Starbird for her second round, I opted for the Prince of Orange from his new Genever drinks.
The Prince of Orange balanced the sweetness of Drambuie with orange and lemon elements similar to the Duke and Madelaine Cocktails. Moreover, the addition of marmalade would add extra depth of citrus flavor as well as a full mouthfeel such as was noted in the Jubilee Line and other drinks. Here, the Prince of Orange presented a malt and orange aroma. The citrus sip did have the smooth richness from the marmalade as expected. The swallow was a combination of the Bols Genever and the Drambuie; indeed, the two spirits paired rather well for the sharper notes of the Genever and sweeter aspects of Drambuie were quite complementary. Lastly, the Prince of Orange ended with a lingering citrus zing that was coupled with the bitters' spice and Genever's botanicals.


1 oz Cynar
1 oz Martini & Rossi Rosé Vermouth
1 oz Espolón Blanco Tequila
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail or other small glass.

Monday last week, Andrea and I went to Pomodoro in Brookline and sat at the bar to have dinner. There, the honorable Stephen Shellenberger was presiding, and for a first drink, he made me an equal parts tequila number that matched the agave spirit with Cynar and rosé vermouth. While I have mentioned how well tequila and Cynar pair up such as in Under the Volcano, I had never had it with rosé vermouth. However, I have noticed how well it works with blanc (sweet white) vermouth such as in the Rojo Bianco and the Mary Sharon, so I figured this would be similar. When I asked Stephen about the drink concept, he described how he inverted the aromas in the classic Negroni but left the gustatory proportions the same.
In the drink, the dark, funky Cynar aroma was balanced by the light fruitiness of the vermouth and the floral and vegetal notes of the agave. I soon understood Stephen's drink concept because the combination of the liqueur and the vermouth was indeed reminiscent of Campari to the nose. The rosé vermouth's grape flavors filled the sip, and the tequila and Cynar rounded out the swallow. Overall, it was a different tasting drink than the tequila-sweet vermouth 1836 and the tequila-sweet and -dry vermouth Rosita, but just as delightful.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

charlie lindbergh

1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin
1 1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe pre-rinsed with Rothman & Winter Apricot Liqueur.
Last Sunday, Andrea and I stopped by Island Creek Oyster Bar. The drink that caught my eye was the Charlie Lindbergh; the menu item's subtitle was "a modern take on the Prohibition variation" which hinted at the two rounds of alterations from the original. The drink commemorates Lindbergh's non-stop trans-Atlantic flight back in 1927, and the recipe first appears a few years later in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book. In the Savoy, the recipe contains gin, Lillet, apricot liqueur, orange juice, and a lemon twist. Back in 2008, the Charlie Lindbergh had been on Eastern Standard's Prohibition-era drink of the month list that led up to their epic 75th Anniversary Prohibition Repeal Party. It was also served during the cocktail-pairing dinner portion of the party. According to my notes for the event, Eastern Standard' s Jackson Cannon removed the orange juice and lemon twist and replaced these citrus elements with Bittermens grapefruit bitters. In the Island Creek iteration, bar manager Bobby McCoy explained that they switched from Lillet to Cocchi Americano and from grapefruit bitters to orange ones. I am not sure if the Eastern Standard recipe used the apricot liqueur in a rinse or as a regular ingredient, but the Island Creek version included it à la James Maloney's bellringer -- an apricot liqueur rinse which was Maloney's signature move in his 1900 drink book. Here, the Charlie Lindbergh presented an aroma of gin with hints of citrus from the Cocchi Americano and orange bitters. The citrus continued on in the sip, and this was followed by gin on the swallow and apricot on the finish. My guess is that the orange bitters work better here than classic's orange juice, but I do think that the 1930 recipe's lemon twist would work wonders here.

Friday, September 2, 2011

marliave's cocktail

2 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)
1 dash Maraschino Liqueur (1 barspoon or 1/8 oz Luxardo)
1 liqueur glass Dry Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat)
1 liqueur glass Dry Gin (1 oz Beefeater)
1 liqueur glass Quinquina (1 oz Bonal)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Last Saturday night, I decided to make one of the cocktails I had spotted in Louis Mixed Drinks called the Marliave's Cocktail. I have no clue whether the drink was created at the Boston establishment, but it is very possible for the book was printed in Boston in 1906 well after the restaurant opened in 1885. While the drink book is best known for having the first recipe of the Dry Martini Cocktail, the Marliave is best known for having survived Prohibition as a speakeasy. Indeed, the Marliave's Cocktail is but one of the many riffs on the Martini that appears in Louis Mixed Drinks, and it comes across like an embittered and dry Martinez. Here, the drink's balance could vary greatly by what quinquina is used. According to Vermouth 101, Bonal, Cocchi Americano, Kina Lillet, Dubonnet, Byrrh, and other quinquinas were around back then, and I decided that Bonal would probably work rather well.
The Marliave's Cocktail began with the Maraschino's aroma complemented by a hint of orange from the bitters. The Maraschino continued on into the sip where it paired with the grape notes of the Bonal and perhaps the dry vermouth. Finally, the Bonal's gentian and quinine notes worked well with the orange bitters and gin flavors on the swallow. Overall, the Marliave's Cocktail made for a splendid aperitif cocktail.

south of no north

1 1/2 oz Reposado Tequila (Espolón)
1/2 oz Simple Syrup 1:1 (Jaggery Syrup)
1/2 oz Cynar
1 oz Coffee (*)
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with 2 dashes of chocolate mole bitters (homemade).
(*) Cold-brewed African coffee is recommended here. I used a drip-brewed dark roast blend.

On the Imbibe Magazine website, they posted a new drink by Chris Langston called South of No North in a section on coffee-laden cocktails. Chris is one of the bartenders at 1022 South in Tacoma, Washington, and I had written about one of his drinks in July called The Grasshopper Lies Heavy. A few days later, I happened to meet Chris while waiting in line for the "Before Man, the Plant" agave seminar at Tales of the cocktail. One of the allures of the South of No North is the pairing of coffee with Cynar for I have noted coffee notes in Cynar drinks like the Cynar Julep and Andrea has noted that Cynar reminds her of Autocrat coffee syrup such as in her post on the Sous le Soleil. The other allure is that there is a collection of Charles Bukowski's short stories under that name; while Imbibe Magazine gave no hint of the name's genesis, the collection is riddled with coffee (and booze) allusions.
The South of No North began with a mingling of tequila, Cynar, and chocolate aromas. On the sip, the Cynar and jaggery syrup combined to make a rich, almost caramel flavor that was complemented by the bitters' chocolate notes. Next, the Cynar and tequila appeared on the swallow and the egg white functioned to smooth out their edges; finally, the coffee notes lingered as a pleasant aftertaste. Andrea explained her happiness over this cocktail as, "[it's] all of some of my favorite things."

Thursday, September 1, 2011

des esseintes

1 1/2 oz Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal
1 1/2 oz Amaro Nonino
1 barspoon Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 dash Angostura Bitters
2 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

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

For a follow up to the Garden Sun Swizzle, I asked bartender John Mayer if he had any new drink ideas. Sticking with an agave spirits theme, John proposed a cocktail that he felt was similar to a mezcal Martinez which used Amaro Nonino instead of vermouth. It sounded intriguing and John rarely fails with his agave-fu, so I gave it the thumbs up. The drink began with an orange oil and mezcal aroma. The Amaro Nonino contributed a rich caramel flavor to the sip where it mingled with the agave notes. On the swallow, the mezcal's smoke followed by Maraschino then the bitters rounded out the drink. I was quite impressed at how the sweetness and richness of the Amaro Nonino did a good job beating back the mezcal's intensity.
For a name, I dubbed this the Chipilo as a nod to an Italian-Mexican link in the ingredients. Starting in the late 19th century and continuing on through the Mussolini era, there was a sizable Italian diaspora to the Americas including central and eastern Mexico. Many of these immigrants to Mexico were given land grants and took up farming. One of these heavily settled towns, Chipilo in the state of Puebla, still has traces of Venetian in their dialect.

Post note: John wrote me that the drink now appears on the Craigie on Main menu as the Des Esseintes. John explains:
I thought I'd follow up and mention that this cocktail is now on our list at Craigie; named the "Des Esseintes" after the eccentric and reclusive main/solo character of Joris-Karl Huysmans 1884 work, "A Rebours" (translated "Against the Grain").

There are many streams of this characters conscience that resonate with me; notably his affinity for the color orange and his description of his home bar as a "mouth organ", pulling individual stops to let certain liquors play their part in his drunken symphony.

garden sun swizzle

6-8 Anise Hyssop Leaves
1 1/2 oz Cucumber Cordial (*)
1 1/2 oz Milagro Silver Tequila
1/2 oz Macchu Pisco
2 dash Bittermens Boston Bittahs

Swizzle ingredients with crushed ice in a tall glass to mix and chill. Float ~1/2 oz Granier Mon Pastis on top. Add a straw and garnish with dried anise hyssop flowers.
(*) 2 part Cucumber Juice, 1 part Lemon Juice, 1 part Anise Hyssop Simple Syrup, 1 pinch Salt, 1 drop Anise Hyssop Essential Oil

Wednesday last week, Andrea and I paid a visit to Craigie on Main for cocktails. The drink that caught my eye on the menu was the Garden Sun Swizzle and I asked bartender John Mayer to make me one. The concept seemed like a follow up to their herb and cucumber Fin du Saison from around this time last year; however, instead of a sparkler, this offering was harvest-tiki Swizzle.
The anise from the pastis float, perhaps coupled with the anise hyssop elements, contributed greatly to the Garden Sun Swizzle's aroma. The cucumber played a big part of the sip and worked well with the herbal notes there, and the swallow presented a smooth tequila flavor with an anise hyssop aftertaste. Lastly, the pastis began to enter the drink towards the end and presented a more intense flavor than that of the anise hyssop.