Monday, December 31, 2012

:: fred's top 10 cocktail moments of 2012 ::

In 2010, I was asked what my favorite drink of the year was and I decided not only to start a list of my favorite drinks I had out and in, but I decided to list the top 10 moments of the previous 12 months. The one for 2010 can be found here and last year's there. The list for the best drinks of 2012 out and in will most likely be posted on January 1st and 2nd, respectively.

1. Still Around
Despite hearing about the Death of Cocktail Blogging, CocktailVirgin is still here and growing in terms of followers, page hits, and infamy. Indeed, the blog is mentioned and used as a reference and resource by a variety of print and web magazines. 2012 saw the blog's 5th anniversary in September and my 4th anniversary with it in June. Speaking of the strength of blogs in general, I also took over MixologyMonday in September to keep the event that Paul Clarke found in 2006 going for more years to come; it definitely serves as a monthly community center meetup that provides some sense of unity in the blogosphere.

2. Visited New Bars in Boston
The Hawthorne, Backbar, and Brick & Mortar all got visits shortly after they opened at the end of 2011; I definitely learned to love each of them for very different reasons. The list for 2012 contains both new and new-to-me bars. One of my new favorites, the Blue Room, has been around for years; however, Matthew Schrage has recently taken over their bar program. It also helps to solidify Kendall Square along with new comer West Bridge and old standbys like Hungry Mother and Abigail's as well as Catalyst which I have yet to visit. Likewise, Local 149 has gotten my attention ever since John Mayer left Craigie to manage the bar there. Other bars that have been around that I have added to the loop are Scholar's, Sichuan Garden II, and Art Bar. Finally, other new bars for 2012 are J.M. Curley across from Stoddard's and Park in Harvard Square; technically, J.M. Curley opened in the last week or two of 2011, but it was not until early 2012 that I first visited.

3. This, That, the Other
During the first week or so of 2012, we paid a visit to the Independent in Somerville, and Andrea ordered the This, That, the Other that I had enjoyed so much. The bartender declared that they had run out of one of the key ingredients since "some blogger" had written it up as one of the best drinks of 2011 and people came in and cleared them out of Maurin Quina (it is back on the menu again, so go order one!). Also, another side effect of that best of 2011 cocktail list was Eastern Standard being touched when I named the Rapa Nui not only the best drink of January but one of the best Tiki drinks I had that year as well. Thus, they changed the drink's description on the menu:
eastern standard tiki tikism boston
4. Winning Contests!
One of the first contests I won this year was for Drinking in America's Cabin Fever Cocktail Challenge with my Pokey Crocus. I also won the Hiram Walker Margarita Madness contest with my Diablita -- a Diablo-Margarita hybrid. My Pegu Club riff, the Tanglin Club, also got picked by TheDailyMeal as the best drink on ShakeStir when they looked.
grandten privateer turkey shore distillery
5. Visiting Distilleries
2012 had more involvement with distilleries than previous years. Part of the fun was helping GrandTen in South Boston develop their Wire Works Gin through two rounds of tasting. It was great not only seeing the improvements after each round but their ability to take abstract commentary and interpret it into changes in the botanical choices and ratios. I also met people involved in the two rum distilleries in Ipswich during the Boston Cocktail Summit. They invited me up for a split day of tours first at Privateer and then Turkey Shore. I did meet the distillers from Ryan & Wood at the Cocktail Summit, but I have yet to make it up there.

6. A Cocktail Book?
If you had asked me at the end of 2011 if I was planning to write a book, the answer would have been no. However, a freeing up of personal time mixed with a wise old lady telling me that I should write a book, and 4 months later, Drink & Tell: A Boston Cocktail Book was born. It has been selling well at the Boston Shaker Store and at Amazon (see links on the upper right of this page). Writing the book was a lot of hard work but it wasn't that challenging to me, but everything that came afterwards was uncharted territory. I had a great series of interviews with the first few hunting me out immediately. These include ones that appeared in Eater, Boston Magazine,, and the Metro not to mention a great writeup in SeriousEats. I am still getting a handle on how to promote things better, but I am thankful that everything I have gleaned from this learning experience.

7. Portland Visit
While attending the Boston Cocktail Summit was definitely worth mentioning, going to a distant city to tour the bars was great. We were there for Portland Cocktail Week, and as a fringe benefit of Drink & Tell, I was invited to speak at the conference on publishing a book. There, I also took and passed Barsmarts Advanced and with that came a year's membership to the USBG. We are currently working our way through both seasons of Portlandia in its afterglow.
portland cocktail week pdxcw
8. Future Things Lined Up
One of my recipes, the Knickroni, will be in Gary Regan's Negroni book slated to come out in the first half of 2013. I also submitted a recipe for his 2013 cocktail recipe book so perhaps there too? At the end of January next year, I will be teaching a class with John Gertsen at Stir with a tie in to the book I wrote. And mid-February, I am slated to have my pro-bartending debute; I will be teaming up with the Hawthorne's Katie Emmerson to do one of the Blue Room's Monday night special events.

9. Great Boston Events!
This year, Boston threw its own cocktail week, and I covered it as media. Other great Boston parties, competitions, etc. that I attended included the Hawthorne's Farewell to Bathtub Gin, TheThing at Locke-Ober (shortly before it closed), Fernet Barback Games, Speedrack, Appleton's Remixology, J.D. Salinger 9 Stories-themed charity event, Single Malt Scotch Whisky Extravaganza, and the American Craft Beer Fest to name just a few.

10. I knew I should have paced myself...
I think I combined too many ideas together in some of the previous 9. Then again, I had a similar problem with the last two year end roundups, so perhaps I should make it a yearly top 9 (except that I'll probably get stuck after #8 that way). Instead of mentioning any accomplishments, I should probably give thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way with these goals (besides all the bartenders who have helped to give me great source material to write about!). This list includes but is not limited to Camper English, Paul Clarke, Josh Childs, Sahil Mehta, Luke O'Neil, Stephanie Schorow, Dave Stolte, Natalie Bovis, Adam Lantheume, Jamie Walsh, Alexei Beratis, Mike Dietsch, and John Gertsen. I know I am missing plenty, but these guys have helped me with the book, various events, and the like.

Friday, December 28, 2012

the independent

1 1/2 oz Citizen's Miltonduff Single Barrel Scotch
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
2 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe glass.

Two Mondays ago after my DJing gig, we headed over to Tasty Burger for dinner followed by a nightcap at the Citizen Public House where bartenders Sean Frederick and Dave Delaney were busy slinging drinks. For my cocktail, I asked Sean for the Independent. In discussing the drink, Sean poured us a taste of the unique Scotch that serves as the recipe's base spirit. Their barrel of the Miltonduff single malt was surprisingly soft and gentle with cacao and grassy notes.
citizen public house cocktail
The Punt e Mes' grape and the Curaçao and perhaps Cocchi Americano's orange aromas filled the Independent's bouquet. The Scotch's malt joined the citrus and grape flavors on the sip. Next, the Scotch continued on into the swallow along with orange peel notes and the Punt e Mes' bitter elements.

:: let's bring back - the cocktail edition :: & the veritas cocktail

lesley blume let's bring back cocktail edition3/4 oz Gin (Martin Miller Westbourne)
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a small cocktail glass, and float 1/4 oz crème de cassis (it will probably sink on you though; I later stirred it in).

Following the After Dark two Fridays ago, I began to peruse my new copy of Lesley Blume's Let's Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition. A Compendium of Impish, Romantic, Amusing, and Occasionally Appalling Potations from Bygone Eras. The book is a recently published collection of classic recipes, many of which have been forgotten over time and are rarely called upon despite appearing in more common books like Duffy and Trader Vic's. Blume explains, "Plenty of splendid cocktails have been rudely shunted aside after falling out of vogue -- and their successors often do not hold a candle to the drinks they replace." Sourcing recipes from the late 19th century up until the 1960s, the collection takes a humorous look at a literal gross of these drinks with special attention given to potations with noteworthy names. Each recipe is accompanied by a short history including entertaining facts or quotes about people involved, and the page is decorated rather elegantly in period fashion. For critique, if you have a decent collection, you will probably have most of these drinks; however, having them displayed in a new and favorable light will probably make you more willing to try them. In addition, some of the recipes are not my preferred ones such as the Fluffy Ruffles not including a piece of lime peel in the shake to make it more than just a Rum Manhattan (something that I discussed with BoulderLibation who repeated the drink with the peel after I urged him to try). Also, the Symphony of Moist Joy has a newer recipe that avoids the expensive and difficult to source crème de rose and sadly replaces it with grenadine of all things (but at least you can make it). Regardless, this book is stylish and there is much value in the text and illustrations that puts a positive perspective on these semi-neglected gems.
lesley blume let's bring back cocktail veritas
While I was tempted to do the Symphony of Moist Joy since it has one of the best cocktail names ever, I am still holding out for now until Crispin's Crème de Rose made at the Germain-Robin distillery in California makes its way out to Massachusetts. Instead, I opted for the Veritas Cocktail which seemed like a Pegu Club of sorts that swapped the Angostura Bitters for crème de cassis. The cassis was added as a float, but knowing that cassis is one of the most densely sugared liqueurs out there, it as expected still sunk no matter how carefully I layered it. While it is pictured above with a cassis layer on the bottom, I ended up stirring it in. The liqueur's currant joined the Cointreau's orange on the nose. An orange and lime sip contained berry flavors, and the swallow showcased the gin along with more cassis and the lime's tartness. Overall, the crème de cassis added a lot of complexity here without dominating the drink like cassis can often do.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

after dark cocktail

1 1/2 oz Lustau Don Nuño Dry Oloroso Sherry
3/4 oz El Tesoro Reposado Tequila (Espolón)
1/4 oz Galliano Ristretto Espresso Liqueur
1/4 oz Benedictine
1 dash Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Fridays ago, I decided to make a drink from the recent Vino de Jerez cocktail competition. The one that called out to me was also the winner -- the After Dark created by Dan Nicolaescu of Mayahuel in New York City. Once mixed, the After Dark greeted the nose with a coffee and chocolate aroma. A grape and roasted sip was followed by a nutty sherry, herbal, and chocolate swallow. When the drink was cold, the tequila was not as apparent, but it seemed to fit in quite well; as it warmed up, the agave flavors began to appear on the swallow.  The tequila-nutty sherry combination also worked rather well in a Thomas Waugh's 2009 contest entry, the Delores Park Swizzle.

tangier nights

2/5 Caloric Punch (1 oz Kronan Swedish Punsch)
2/5 Courvoisier Brandy (1 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac)
1/5 Cusenier White Crème de Menthe (1/2 oz Tempus Fugit)

Stir with ice and strain into a sherry glass (small cocktail glass).

Two weeks ago, I spotted Tempus Fugit's crème de menthe at Ball Square Fine Wines in Somerville. I had been waiting for a quality crème de menthe for a while as a savoir from the bottom shelf bottles, so I gladly snagged a bottle. For tasting notes, it was more subtle than expected; indeed, it was more herbal with natural peppermint and spearmint notes and less of an intense, almost synthetic extract flavor that is common in many of the other brands. For a cocktail to put it use, I looked through the Café Royal Cocktail Book and found the Tangier Nights. The recipe was an original created in the 1930s by UK Bartender Guild member Freddy Janowitz and looked like a Stinger that was enhanced by Swedish Punsch.
tempus fugit creme de menthe cocktail recipe
The Punsch's rum joined the liqueur's mint on the nose. A smooth sip led into brandy, mint, and the Punsch's tea on the swallow. As it warmed up, the Tangier Nights became a little sharper and more Batavia Arrack-driven on the finish; perhaps serving this drink on crushed ice like the Stinger might help to reduce this effect.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

cedric's chartreuse smash

2 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Muddle a half dozen or so mint leaves with simple syrup. Add rest of ingredients and ice, shake, and double strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with fresh mint and add a straw.

For Andrea's drink at Silvertone, she requested from bartender Josh Childs a Chartreuse Smash. The recipe for this libation appears in Drink & Tell: A Boston Cocktail Book; however, it has yet to find its way on to the blog until now. The history I provided in the book is, "At Silvertone, if Cedric Adam's name is associated with a drink, there is a good chance it contains Green Chartreuse." Indeed, my first drink at Silvertone years ago was Cedric's Chartreuse Gimlet. As I mentioned in the summary of the History and Change of Downtown Boston Bar Culture talk, Cedric was one of the first bartenders in town pouring and prosthelytizing about the wonders of this herbal elixir, and he is often cited as the reason it became so popular here starting around 15 years ago. Silvertone was also one of the leaders in using fresh juice in Boston, so drinks like the Gimlets and Smashes would shine more than drinks made with Roses' and bottled juices back then.
chartreuse smash mint silvertone cedric adams
As for tasting notes, the mint contributed greatly to the Smash's aroma along with Chartreuse herbal notes poking through. A lime sip gave way to Chartreuse and fresh mint on the swallow. There are no great surprises here, but its simplicity of ingredients still provides a wealth of flavor as it does in another Boston Chartreuse legend, the Silent Order.

wood word

3/4 oz Citadel Gin
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz Dimmi Liqueur
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

A few Thursdays ago, we had dinner at Silvertone. After dining, we noted a pair of seats at the bar and sat down for a drink. Bartender Josh Childs offered to make me a Wood Word, a Last Word variation that appears on the Trina's Starlite Lounge's menu. The recipe was created by Scott Woodworth, a bartender at Catalyst, and is a play on his name. His variation uses Dimmi instead of Maraschino; besides the herbal notes in Dimmi that would work well with the gin and Chartreuse, it possesses peach and apricot flower notes that perhaps function for the Maraschino's fruity side.
scott woodworth bartender catalyst trina's starlite lounge silvertone josh childs
The Wood Word showcased the Green Chartreuse aroma, but it was devoid of the nutty Maraschino notes present in a Last Word. The lime sip was followed by gin, Dimmi, and Chartreuse botanicals. Indeed, the Dimmi added a lot of herbal depth to the mix and helped to meld the gin and Chartreuse together. Moreover, somehow there was a ghost of Maraschino flavor on the swallow that could be attributed to the fruit blossoms in the Dimmi.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

farewell & adieu

1 1/2 oz Del Maguey San Luis Del Rio
1 1/2 oz Privateer Amber Rum
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Drambuie
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass.
russell house tavern fairwell and adieu jaws
For a nightcap at Russell House Tavern, John McElroy mentioned the Fairwell & Adieu that he had created. I remembered reading about the drink a few weeks before in Josh Childs' blog post on When John mentioned the large, booze-forward recipe, I figured that the name of the drink was a direct correlation of its effects. However, John explained that it was the song that Quint sings in Jaws:
Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies,
Farewell and adieu you ladies of Spain;
For we've received orders for to sail back to Boston,
And so nevermore shall we see you again.
The Fairwell & Adieu's aroma was rather mezcal driven. A honey and barrel-aged rum sip led into a mezcal and herbal swallow. Taken as a whole, the drink was reminiscent of a single malt Scotch.

sazerac toddy

3 oz Old Overholt Rye
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
7 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Build in a pre-heated Irish coffee mug. Fill with boiling water (~4-5 oz) leaving some space at the top, and stir to mix. Add ~1 oz Herbsaint whipped cream (*), spritz with Herbsaint, and garnish with a lemon twist.
(*) 4 oz cream, 2 oz Hersaint, 1 oz simple syrup shaken with a balled up spring from a Hawthorne strainer until whipped. Normally, this is made as 20 oz cream, 8 oz Herbsaint, 4 oz simple syrup in an iSi charger.

For Andrea's first drink at Russell House Tavern, she was seeking something hot to warm up with after the chilly walk over. Therefore, bartender John McElroy suggested the Sazerac Toddy that he created. He figured that the cold version of the classic was so delicious that it would have to translate into a delightful warm drink as well. Indeed, Max Toste had the same thought process with his Hot Old Fashioned at Deep Ellum.
russell house tavern sazerac toddy john mcelroy
My first sip of the Sazerac Toddy was mainly about the whipped cream foam, and the initial aromas were lemon and anise, and the topping yielded a creamy sip with an anise swallow. Once I incorporated the hot beverage below, it was malty on the sip from the whiskey, and rye barrel, anise, and spice on the swallow. While it was like a regular Sazerac, the cream functioned to coat the tongue, soften the flavors, and negate the stinging effects of the warm alcohol.

Monday, December 24, 2012

harvard yard #2

2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
1 oz Cocchi Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Becherovka
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass rinsed with St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram.
russell house tavern cocktail harvard yard
Sunday about two weeks ago, Andrea and I stopped at the bar at Russell House Tavern for dinner. For a first drink, I asked bartender John McElroy for the Harvard Yard #2 as I was in a whiskey mood. The drink is named after the nearby part of campus that can almost be seen from the restaurant's front door. Out of curiosity, I asked what the original Harvard Yard recipe was that appeared on the menu back when Aaron Butler was the bar manager there. John provided this recipe:
Harvard Yard #1
• 2 1/2 oz Pikesville Rye
• 1 oz Dubonnet Rouge
• 1/2 oz Benedictine
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass rinsed with St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram.
Basically, they had switched the rye to Bourbon, the herbal Bénédictine to the spiced Becherovka, Dubonnet to sweet vermouth, and cocktail to rocks glass besides adding a dash of Angostura Bitters. Once mixed, the #2 offered an allspice aroma from the rinse. A grape and malt sip led into Bourbon, clove, and allspice flavors on the swallow.

cock 'n bull special

3/4 oz Bourbon (Four Roses)
3/4 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Cognac (Pierre Ferrand 1840)
1/4 oz Curaçao (Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Build in an Old Fashioned glass with a big ice cube. Stir to chill and garnish with an orange twist.

A few Saturdays ago, I was perusing the new and improved Anvil's 100 Drink List and spotted the Cock 'n Bull Special. The Cock 'n Bull was a British-style pub that opened in Los Angeles in 1937, and during its fifty year life, it was best known as the birthplace of the Moscow Mule. I was able to locate the recipe for the Cock 'n Bull Special in Ted Saucier's Bottom's Up; this meant that their namesake cocktail was crafted sometime between 1937 and the book being published in 1951. Saucier's recipe did not include Angostura Bitters; however, it was included in the Anvil's list of ingredients, so I added a dash.
cock 'n bull special los angeles moscow mule
Along with the orange twist's aroma was one that alternated between being more Bénédictine and more Bourbon. Next, a malt and orange sip was followed by a Cognac swallow and herbal finish. Overall, the Cock 'n Bull Special had a New Orleans feel to it for it reminded me of a cross between a Vieux Carré and a Cocktail à la Louisiane sans vermouth and absinthe.

Friday, December 21, 2012

lazy bear

3/4 oz Jamaican Rum (Smith & Cross)
3/4 oz Rye Whiskey (Ryan & Wood)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)
3 dash Spiced Bitters (equal parts Angostura Bitters and Allspice Dram)

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Add a straw.
jacob grier cocktail
After the Son of Man, I flipped through the rum booklet of The Cocktail Hour series and found Jacob Grier's Lazy Bear. Jacob created the recipe for a wedding reception held at Lazy Bear, an underground restaurant in San Francisco. Once mixed, the drink's funky Jamaican rum played a large role in the aroma along with the lime. A tart honey-lime sip led into a Smith & Cross rum swallow that finished with spice notes from the bitters. The rye was never clearly definable in the flavor profile, but it did serve to lighten the drink by decreasing the amount of the overproof and surly rum in the jiggerful of spirit base. The lime also probably helped to accentuate the rum more than the rye; rye seems to pop out more when lemon is used instead.

son of man

1 1/2 oz Calvados (Boulard VSOP)
1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro
1/2 oz Galliano
1/2 oz Cynar
1 dash Bittermens Boston Bittahs

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Fridays ago, I decided to make a recipe that came by way of Matthew Schrage who bartends at the Blue Room in Cambridge. He had created an herbal Calvados recipe and needed assistance with the name, so he emailed me the details. Since I know that Matt has an interest in Dadaist and Surrealists from discussing the Hugo Ball with him, I decided to run with the apple idea and name the drink after surrealist René Magritte's self-portrait Le fils de l'homme (the Son of Man).
blue room kendall square cocktail mattew schrage
The Son of Man proffered a minty aroma from the Amaro Montenegro and vanilla and star anise notes from the Galliano. A lightly fruity sip shared apple and vanilla flavors. Most of the fruit though came through on the swallow as a barrel-aged apple that was spiced by herbal flavors from the liqueurs. Moreover, the Galliano contributed greatly to the finish with lingering vanilla and star anise notes. Surprisingly, the Cynar was less noticeable in the mix; perhaps it worked to accentuate Amaro Montenegro's mintiness.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

stitzle flip

2 oz Bulleit Bourbon
3/4 oz Falernum
3/4 oz Vanilla Syrup
1/2 oz Bonal Gentiane Quina
2 dash Fee Brothers' Cherry Bitters
1 Whole Egg

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Double strain into a coupe glass and garnish with 5 drops Fee Brothers' Whiskey Barrel Bitters and a cherry.
artbar cocktail royal sonesta hotel
For my second drink at ArtBar, I asked bartender Elizabeth Powell for the Stitzle Flip that I had read about on Josh Childs' Boston Globe blog post. While the Flip was on the sweet side, it definitely had a lot of complexity to it. Once mixed, a cherry vanilla aroma was followed by a creamy sip containing light grape notes from the Bonal. Next, a bitter cherry and Bourbon swallow was capped off by a lightly clove finish. While the sip was definitely sweet, the Bourbon and clove did help to dry out the swallow.

early fog

1 oz Lepanto Spanish Brandy
1 oz Art in the Age's Snap Ginger Liqueur
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Earl Grey Syrup (1:1)
1 dash Bittermens Peppercake Gingerbread Bitters

Heat a cocktail glass with boiling water. Stir ingredients without ice to mix. Steam milk (*). Dump hot water out of cocktail glass, pour in stirred ingredients, and top with 2 oz steamed milk. Spoon froth on top and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
(*) Hot milk will work in a pinch although there will be less froth element.

Two Thursdays ago, I made my way down to the Royal Sonesta Hotel to visit the ArtBar. After the chilly walk over, a hot drink seemed like a good start. Therefore, I asked bartender Elizabeth Powell for the Early Fog. Elizabeth mentioned that fellow bartender Jordan Marshall had created this warm libation that coupled citrus peel and ginger notes.
artbar royal sonesta hotel cocktail
The steamy vapors of the Early Fog brought ginger and nutmeg aromas to my nose. A warm milky sip contained orange notes from the Cointreau and perhaps the Earl Grey's bergamot. Next, the brandy joined the ginger on the swallow along with some dryness from the black tea on the finish.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

very old cow

1 1/2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
3/4 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Twist an orange peel over the top.
citizen public house fenway boston cocktail
After the Repeal Party at the Hawthorne, I met up with Andrea at the Citizen Public House for a late night snack and drink. For a cocktail, bartender John Nugent recommended the mezcal-based Very Old Cow that he had created. The drink began with an orange oil, fruity Aperol, and smoky mezcal aroma. The Punt e Mes' grape and Aperol's orange sip was followed by the mezcal, Punt e Mes' bitter elements, and a light Maraschino finish. The Aperol and lighter touch of Maraschino in this drink definitely took it in a different direction than other mezcal Red Hook-like drinks like the Magoun Squad, South Congress, and 1910 Cocktail.

daisy de santiago

2 oz Bully Boy Rum
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Float 1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse, garnish with mint, and add a straw.

For Repeal Night two weeks ago, I chose the Hawthorne's Farewell to Bathtub Gin event over the other tempting 79th anniversary celebrations going on across town. One of the drinks on the menu of Prohibition-era libations was the Daisy de Santiago; the drink also appears on the new version of Anvil's 100 Drink list so I knew that I had to try it that night. Bartender Katie Emmerson, who was manning the bar in the side room, mentioned that she chose this drink for the menu as she wanted something on crushed ice to serve. The recipe can be traced back to Charles Baker's Jigger, Beaker, & Glass where he had it in Cuba at the old Bacardi Distillery bar; he went so far as to declare that the Daisy de Santiago and the classic Daiquiri were the two best Bacardi drinks that he had ever tried. The recipe that Baker presented is similar save for a switch of the Yellow Chartreuse and simple syrup proportions and an addition of a squirt of soda water.
hawthorne kenmore boston bully boy rum
The mint garnish contributed greatly to the Daisy de Santiago's aroma; at first I figured it would also be joined by the Yellow Chartreuse, but the sugar-dense liqueur probably sank instead of floated. The lime filled the sip as one would expect in a Daiquiri-like drink, and the swallow was all about the robust rum flavors that later gained herbal notes from the Yellow Chartreuse.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


2/3 Applejack (2 oz Laird's Applejack)
2 dash Sweet Vermouth (1/2 oz Cocchi Vermouth)
1 dash Lemon Juice (1/4 oz)
1 dash Curaçao (1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao)
(+ 1 barspoon Simple Syrup for balance)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

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

After the Vow of Silence, I still had lemon juice left over, and I found the Snyder in Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933. The recipe made me think of a Marconi Wireless if it had appeared in James Maloney's The Twentieth-Century Guide for Mixing Fancy Drinks. True, it would probably need a glass rinsed with apricot liqueur to truly belong there, but the small amount of lemon juice did make me think of the Manhattan Bell-Ringer and other drinks.
laird's applejack cocktail pre-prohibition recipe
The Snyder presented an apple and lemon oil aroma that became more orange-driven as it warmed up. A lemon and orange sip contained a fruitiness from the applejack; however, most of the apple flavors came through on the swallow along with the vermouth and a lingering Curaçao note. Overall, it came across more like an Applejack Crusta sans sugared rim than a Marconi Wireless. Perhaps adjusting the applejack and sweet vermouth to 1 1/2 and 1 oz, respectively, or 1 1/4 oz each would have helped to make it more like a Marconi Wireless.

vow of silence

1 1/2 oz Ransom Old Tom Gin
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/4 oz Averna
1/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Tuesdays ago, I decided to search through The Cocktail Hour recipe booklets that Jacob Grier had mentioned on his blog. The series is a set of 3 guides -- one for rum, one for vodka, and one for gin -- with drinks gathered from west coast bartenders and writers as well as some classics thrown in the mix. The cocktail that caught my eye that night was the Vow of Silence created by Daniel Shoemaker of the Teardrop Lounge in Portland. The name which was suggestive of Carthusian monks did not let my expectations down, for some of the herbal elements in this gin-citrus drink were donated by Yellow Chartreuse.
daniel shoemaker teardrop lounge portland jacob grier
The Vow of Silence greeted my nose with a savory and almost mint aroma. The citrussy sip yielded more grapefruit than lemon notes. Finally, the drink swallowed like it smelled with a bounty of herbal notes from the Ransom gin, Averna, and Yellow Chartreuse.

Monday, December 17, 2012


2 oz Ron Abuelo 7 Year Old Rum
1/2 oz St. Germain
1/4 oz King's Ginger Liqueur
1/4 oz Kümmel
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Muddle 2-3 curry leaves. Add rest of the ingredients and ice, shake, and double strain in a cocktail glass. Garnish with a curry leaf.

For my next drink at Estragon, bartender Sahil Mehta wanted to show me another one of his contest entries called the Diaspora. The Diaspora got him into the semi-finals of the Bacardi cocktail competition held in October at the Boston Cocktail Summit. Since Estragon cannot carry Bacardi due to its cordial license restrictions, Sahil made this drink for me with Ron Abuelo, a Panamanian rum that is allowed under these strange Boston laws.
estragon sahil mehta cocktail
The curry leaf garnish contributed to the spice aromatics that filled the Diaspora's bouquet. On the sip, the lime juice was balanced by the sweet spice of the liqueurs; next, the swallow presented the rich rum, curry leaf, caraway, cumin, and ginger flavors. I have a feeling that even without the curry leaf in the recipe, it would still be delicious, but the fresh spice notes it contributes certainly adds another dimension to the drink.


1 1/2 oz Daron Calvados
3/4 oz Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz Averna
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and pour into a rocks glass. Add a straw, and garnish with a lemon twist.
estragon sahil mehta angostura bitters cocktail
Two Mondays ago, we headed down to Estragon for dinner. For a first drink, bartender Sahil Mehta made me the Elegy, a recipe he created for a recent Angostura Bitters competition. The Elegy began its lament with lemon and apple aromas. The lemon sip offered a hint of apple notes, but most of the apple came through on the swallow along with herbal notes from the Averna and Angostura and a tart lemon finish.

Friday, December 14, 2012

a drunk in a midnight choir

mixology monday christmas humbug egg nog cocktailThe theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo LXVIII) was picked by JFL of the Rated R Cocktails blog. The theme he chose was "Humbug!" with the explanation that "Let's face it the holidays suck... You put yourself in debt buying crap people will have forgotten about in a month. You drive around like a jackass to see people you don't even like, or worse they freeload in your house... Plus if you work retail, you're pretty much in hell, so don't we all deserve a good stiff drink?" The gist was to mix something in the spirit of anti-Christmas (or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Festivus) whether it be bitter, really strong, or a traditional holiday drink turned topsy turvy.

While brainstorming with Andrea about the theme, she found an 2011 article in the Chicago Tribune that did a dozen cocktails created across the city and based off of "The Twelve Days of Christmas." She was taken by the Bird on a Wire by Robert Haynes of The Violet Hour which was the final partridge in a pear tree drink. Being Leonard Cohen fans, we mulled over the sentiment and read through the song's lyrics for further inspiration.
Oh like a bird on the wire,
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
Well, what says the holidays more than trying to be free of familial, work, and shopping obligations; however, it was the "drunk in a midnight choir" line that stuck. With Leonard Cohen's favorite spirits being Scotch and Cognac, I opted for the former and put into the Egg Nog format that I had been considering earlier in the week (originally, the idea was a Tiki Nog). So there's the traditional holiday drink as a starting point, and with enough Scotch, it could be really strong. For bitter, I opted for Averna with thoughts of the Black Manhattan in the back of my mind. Structurally, the recipe was based off Max Toste's Fernet-laden San Francisco Nog -- a drink that would have been perfect for this event had I not already written about it.
A Drunk in A Midnight Choir
• 1 1/2 oz Scotch (Famous Grouse Blended)
• 3/4 oz Averna
• 3/4 oz Heavy Cream
• 1 dash Angostura Bitters
• 1 Egg Yolk
Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
The nutmeg garnish contributed greatly to the nog's aroma. A creamy sip showcased the Averna's caramel, and the swallow offered the Scotch and a lightly bitter herbal finish. Probably a smokier Scotch than the Famous Grouse would have worked better here, but definitely nothing too smoky so as to dominate the flavor profile. A barspoon of Caol Ila, for example, would have made a great addition.
scotch egg nog averna
Finally, I would like to thank JFL for hosting this month's Mixology Monday -- even with its dark theme that made me consider crafting a drink called "Tinsel-Butt" after the December veterinary woes. Cheers!

dolly dagger

1 1/2 oz Dry Sack Sherry (Lustau Dry Oloroso)
1 oz Smith & Cross Rum
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Cane Syrup (JM Sirup (2:1 simple will work))
1 tsp Vanilla Syrup (BG Reynolds)

Build in a Highball glass, top with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill. Add a straw and garnish with a dash of Angostura Bitters, a mint spring, and a spent half lime shell (fresh lime wheel).

Two Saturdays ago, I was in a rum mood, and searched Tom Sandham's World's Best Cocktails for a recipe. When I spotted the Dolly Dagger, Andrea seemed excited about the heavy sherry presence in the mix. Luckily, our mint patch is still going so I was able to properly garnish this one. The recipe itself was created by Alex Day, and perhaps this recipe was served when he was at The Varnish in Los Angeles.
alex day the varnish los angeles cocktail
The combination of the mint, lime, and Angostura spice from the garnishes filled the Dolly Dagger's bouquet. The aged rum's caramel mingled well with the lime juice and sherry's grape on the sip. On the swallow, the funky Smith & Cross rum complemented the nuttiness of the oloroso sherry and the hint of vanilla from the syrup.

racquet club

3/4 Brandy (1 1/2 oz Foret)
1 dash Dry Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Prat)
1 dash Cointreau (1/2 oz, perhaps 1/4 oz would have been better)
1 dash Yellow Chartreuse (1/2 oz)
1 dash Anisette (rinse Razzouk Arak)

Stir with ice and strain into a glass rinsed with the arak.
preprohibition cocktail
For a nightcap on Friday, I searched through the brandy section of Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and spotted the Racquet Club, and the variety of herbal elements in the drink made it seem intriguing. While I do not mind anise flavors, I felt that making the anisette a rinse might keep it from dominating here. Once mixed, the Racquet Club greeted my nose with an orange and anise aroma with a vaguely herbal undertone perhaps from the Yellow Chartreuse. The orange sip was followed by brandy and savory Yellow Chartreuse flavors on the swallow and anise on the finish. Perhaps I overdid it with the Cointreau especially as it warmed up and became too orange driven.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

czech remedy

1 oz Dewar's 12 Year Blended Scotch
1 oz Becherovka
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a spritz of Laphroaig 10 Year Scotch.
backbar sam treadway becherovka cocktail
Two Fridays ago, I stopped into Backbar for a drink. Bartender Joe Cammarata suggested the Czech Remedy, a smoke and spice number that was created as a group effort at Backbar. The Czech Remedy's recipe shared a similar structure to John Mayer's Magic Wand Malfunction which went in a more malt and maple direction. The drink itself offered an iodine smoke aroma that later contained honey and hints of clove as the drink acclimated to temperature. A lemon and honey sip gave way to a Scotch and clove swallow that later gained cinnamon notes.

midnight runner

1 1/4 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
1 oz Cocchi Sweet Vermouth
1/4 oz Vanilla Syrup
1 dash Bitter Science Ras el Hanout Bitters (*)

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist an orange peel over the top.
(*) They had run out of these bitters, so they substituted 1 dash Bittermens Tiki, 2 drop clove tincture, 2 drop black pepper tincture. Ras el Hanout is a Moroccan spice mix, and most contain cardamom, clove, cinnamon, chili, coriander, peppercorn, turmeric, and cumin. Another spice-driven bitters such as Angostura or Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters would work well here.

For a second drink at No. 9 Park, bartender Tyler Wang wanted to make me one of Sam Olivari's recipes called the Midnight Runner. Sam later explained that he created this to fulfill a request for a really twisted Vieux Carré; the direction he went in was making a silky smooth rum drink.
no. 9 park cocktail sam olivari bitterscience
The Midnight Runner offered up an orange oil aroma with barrel-aged caramel notes that blended into hints of the vanilla syrup. A dry grape and Cognac flavor on the sip led into Smith & Cross Rum and spice on the swallow. As the Midnight Runner began to warm up a little, vanilla also appeared on the finish.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

suhm heering float

Peter Frederik Suhm Heering2 oz Cherry Heering
1/2 oz Old Monk Rum
1/2 oz Bitter Science Mole Bitters
1 Egg Yolk

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Double strain into a Highball glass. Top with 4-5 oz of Maine Root's Root Beer, and add a straw.

After Silvertone, I made my way over to No. 9 Park where bartenders Tyler Wang and Sam Olivari were behind the stick. For a first drink, Tyler suggested a root beer and Cherry Heering Highball that he had created called the Suhm Heering Float. When I inquired about the "Suhm" part, Tyler explained that the inventor of the cherry liqueur's full name was Peter Frederik Suhm Heering. Also in the mix were vanilla-spiced dark rum, a healthy dose of mole bitters crafted by Sam's Bitter Science label, and an egg yolk.
no. 9 park tyler wang barbara lynch
The Suhm Heering Float proffered cherry notes along with darker aromas from either the Old Monk Rum or the chocolate bitters. A carbonated caramel sip contained the egg yolk's richness, and the swallow showcased the cherry, root beer, and chocolate notes with a drier finish.  Overall, the Float was complex but all too easy to drink.

shirley temple black

2 oz Old Overholt Rye
1/2 oz Maurin Quina
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup
1 dash Lemon Juice

Shake in a pint glass with ice. Add 2 oz Barritt's Ginger Beer and gently stir. Top with ice, garnish with two cherries, and add a straw.

Two Thursdays ago after attending Stephanie Schorow's book launch party for Drinking Boston at Doyle's Cafe, I made my way back to Downtown Crossing. For a first stop, I visited Silvertone. As I scanned the menu, the Shirley Temple Black caught my attention, not for it being an adult version of a childhood drink, but for its use of Maurin Quina. The original Shirley Temple was created in the 1930s and named after the famous child actress; it contains ginger ale, grenadine for color, sometimes citrus juice, and a cherry garnish. My order for the drink was given a quizzical look; yes, I was ordering a slightly chick drink, but Maurin Quina is delicious enough to overlook such distinctions.
silvertone boston shirley temple black
The brandied cherry garnish contributed greatly to the Shirley Temple Black's aroma. A somewhat syrupy sip was mitigated by the carbonation mixing with the sharper notes of the ginger and lemon. Finally, the swallow presented the rye, ginger, and Maurin's cherry. Afterwards, I made the bartender smile with my order of a High Life for my next round.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


1 1/2 oz Palo Viejo White Rum
1 oz El Dorado 8 Year Rum
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 1/2 oz Toasted Coconut Brown Sugar Syrup (*)

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Top with fresh ice, zest a lime over the top, and add straws.
(*) Equal parts brown sugar syrup (1:1) and toasted coconut. The mixture is cooked, blended, and strained.
independent somerville union square
For a second drink, I asked bartender Isaac Sussman for the Copacabana. Isaac described how one of the kitchen staff had nicknamed him "Copacabana," and he paid tribute to that with this adult Piña Colada. Once prepared, the lime oil and rum combined for an almost grassy aroma. The sip contained lime and toasted flavors with a vague fruitiness from the coconut and pineapple. Finally, the pineapple and coconut came out on the swallow. Indeed, the toasted coconut syrup offered up a strong coconut flavor without the richness of coconut cream or the thinness of coconut water.

nerina jones

1 1/4 oz Plymouth Gin
1 1/4 oz Punt e Mes
1 1/4 oz Meletti Amaro
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

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

Two Wednesdays ago, we found seats at the Independent in Somerville. For a first drink, I asked bartender Isaac Sussman for the Nerina Jones. In asking for a history of the drink, Isaac replied that bartender Glen Cancelleire had put it on the list as a modification of the Nerina from Employees Only in Manhattan. The Nerina is Employee's Only's take on the Negroni with the Campari and sweet vermouth swapped for Meletti and Punt e Mes. The only change the Independent made was adding was a dash of orange bitters.
employee's only nerina jones independent somerville
The orange twist's oils added to the aroma of the Punt e Mes' grape and the Meletti's violet. A grape sip with hints of orange led into a swallow offering gin, Punt e Mes' bitter flavors, and Meletti's floral and herbal elements.

Monday, December 10, 2012

creole contentment

1 1/4 oz Cognac (Pierre Ferrand 1840)
1 1/4 oz Madeira (equal parts Blandy's 5 Year Malmsey and Verdelho)
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

A few weeks ago, Camper English posted that the Anvil in Houston had updated their 100 Classic Cocktails list. I had made it my goal to finish the original by the end of 2009 and I succeeded; however, after Bobby Heugel swapped some drinks around either by preference or by new ingredients returning to market, I am reopening the project. The first drink I decided to try was the Creole Contentment. The recipe can be found in Charles H. Baker's Jigger, Beaker and Glass: Drinking Around the World which points to the "charming hot-bed of intrigue and culture" known as New Orleans for its origin. He was given the recipe by a friend who had it as an equal parts Cognac, Maraschino, and Madeira drink; even Baker, the master of providing recipes that need tweaking, mentioned that the Maraschino should be decreased here.
charles h. baker jigger beaker glass
Besides reducing the Maraschino, I also opted for a punchier Cognac, namely Pierre Ferrand's 1840, although a regular Cognac would still work well in this recipe. Once mixed, the Madeira aroma was sweetened by the Maraschino's cherry notes. A dry grape sip showed a hint of orange, and the Cognac on the swallow transitioned elegantly into the Maraschino on the finish.

a shot in the dark

1 1/2 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry
1/2 oz Cognac
10 oz O'Hara's Irish Stout

Build in a highball and top with stout. Garnish with grated nutmeg.
For a second drink at Deep Ellum, bar owner Max Toste recommended the A Shot in the Dark beer cocktail that appears on the menu. The libation offered up the nutmeg's spice and sherry's grape aromas. A lightly carbonated malty sip gave way to a stout and grape swallow that ended dryly. Max commented that the beer is so rich and dry and the sherry adds a sweet component such that the whole mixture comes off like a Pedro Ximénez sherry.

Friday, December 7, 2012

[brooklyn roasting company]

1 1/2 oz Bacardi 8 Year Rum
1/2 oz Galliano Ristretto Coffee Liqueur
1/2 oz Amaro Meletti
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
2 dash Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist an orange peel over the top.

Two Mondays ago, we had dinner at Deep Ellum. Bar owner Max Toste came by and mentioned that he had been working on a few drinks. The one I chose from that collection was a recipe that Max built around Galliano's Ristretto coffee liqueur. He also mentioned that he was quite pleased at discovering how well the Fernet Branca and Meletti paired here.
deep ellum allston max toste galliano ristretto
The orange oil brightened the dark roast coffee aroma that was accented by sweet herbal notes. A rich caramel and roast sip led into coffee on the swallow. The Fernet Branca's menthol and the Meletti's violet notes were prevalent on the drink's finish. Andrea commented that it tasted like how she would want cola syrup to be.

left turn at alburquerque

trina's starlite lounge emma hollander bugs bunny left turn at alburquerque2 oz Macchu Pisco
3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
1 oz Carrot Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Agave Nectar
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a Fizz glass.

Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I made our way over to Trina's Starlite Lounge for dinner. For a drink, my curiosity got the better of me and I ordered an intriguing carrot-juice Sour from the menu. The drink, the Left Turn at Alburquerque, is a homage to a recurrent joke on the Bugs Bunny; and if you have ever been to Monday brunch at Trina's, you know that they take their cartoons seriously. Moreover, bartender Emma Hollander seemed quite pleased that I was ordering this drink.

The Left Turn at Alburquerque had a nice froth from the shaken carrot juice and egg white. For an aroma, there was a funky grape from the pisco, a bright citrus from the lemon, and a vegetal element from the carrot. The egg lent a creaminess and rounded off the carrot and citrus wine flavors in the sip, and the lemon continued on into the swallow where it joined the pisco.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

old alhambra

1 1/2 oz Laphroaig 10 Year Scotch
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1/2 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry
1/4 oz Crème de Cacao (Marie Brizard)

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

Two Fridays ago, we began the evening with a drink I had spotted in TastingTable from Nomad in Manhattan. The drink was named the Old Alhambra after "a once-debaucherous saloon in the Flatiron neighborhood" and has become a popular menu item at the current day bar. According to David Wondrich in Esquire, while the area had stylish hotel bars, the neighborhood "earned the sobriquet 'Satan's Circus' for the gambling halls, dance halls, and brothels surrounding the hotels."
nomad flatiron manhattan cocktail bar
The twist's grapefruit oils joined the Laphroaig's iodiny peat smoke aroma. Next, a malt and grape sip led into a smoky Scotch swallow that gained a chocolate finish after a few sips. Indeed, the Scotch seemed to diminish the sherry's prominence in the Old Alhambra.

br'er rabbit

2 oz Old Overholt Rye
1/2 oz Crème de Cassis
1/2 oz Salers Gentiane Liqueur

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Float a barspoon of absinthe and twist a lemon peel over the top. Add a straw.

After a drink at J.M. Curley, I ventured over to the Red Line for I had to meet up with Andrea at Rendezvous for dinner. Once there, bartender Scott Holliday suggested a drink he had recently created to fulfill a customers request for something bitter and blackberry-like but not sweet. For the berry and bitter elements, Scott utilized black currant and gentiane-based liqueurs, respectively.
scott holliday rendezvous salers gentiane liqueur briar rabbit
The lemon oil mingled with the floated absinthe's anise on the nose. A malt and berry sip led into rye, black currant, and bitter gentian flavors on the swallow. Later, as the absinthe integrated into the drink, anise and other herbal elements joined the Salers on the finish. Overall, I was impressed as how well the gentian worked with the cassis; it made for an interesting pairing for the Salers complemented the tartness of the black currant berry.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

jenna haze

1 1/4 oz Drambuie
3/4 oz Fighting Cock Bourbon
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Amaretto
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a rocks glass, top with ice cubes, and garnish with an orange twist and a cherry.

After the Pumpkin Toddy, Tara convinced me to accompany her to J.M. Curley a few blocks away where bartender Kevin Mabry had a new Drambuie drink to showcase. Kevin's recipe was in rebuttal to Sam Gabrielli's tribute at Russell House Tavern to the American actress Taylor Rain.
Taylor Rain
• 1 1/2 oz Bacardi 8 Year Rum
• 3/4 oz Drambuie
• 1/2 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
• 1 oz Lime Juice
Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass containing fresh ice. Top with 1-2 oz ginger beer.
Keeping the theme of American filmstars going, Kevin named his Bourbon-Drambuie Sour after thespian Jenna Haze. Kevin mentioned that the original version lacked amaretto, but he found that a small amount added an extra dimension to the drink.
jm curley boston kevin mabry cocktail
The orange peel and cherry garnish contributed greatly to the Sour's aroma. Next, a creamy lemon and honey sip was followed by Bourbon and amaretto on the swallow.

pumpkin toddy

1 oz Drambuie
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
1/4 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1 1/2 oz Pumpkin Butter

Stir to mix in a pre-heated Irish coffee mug. Fill with boiling water (~4-5 oz) and stir again. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

As I was drinking my Scarlet Letter at Scholars, Tara, Boston's Drambuie rep, showed up. When bartender John Henderson pointed out that I was drinking a Scarlet Letter, she got very excited and mentioned that she had a hot Drambuie recipe using pumpkin butter that she wanted me to try next. This drink, the Pumpkin Toddy, was created by Chris Hannah at Arnaud's French 75 in New Orleans; originally, it was a Cognac drink that later incorporated some Drambuie in the mix.
chris hannah Arnaud's French 75 New Orleans NOLA
The Pumpkin Toddy that John Henderson made proffered a delightful pie aroma containing pumpkin, cinnamon, and allspice notes. Next, the honey-pumpkin sip was followed by Scotch and brandy on the swallow. The pumpkin returned on the finish along with the allspice and later a lingering honey note.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

scarlet letter

1 1/2 oz Bacardi 8 Year Rum
3/4 oz Drambuie
1/2 oz Pimm's No. 1
1/4 oz Balsamic Vinegar
1 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

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

For a second drink at Scholars, I narrowed it down to two drinks I was curious about, and bartender John Henderson recommended the Scarlet Letter for it was the more dynamic of the duo and changed over successive sips. The drink may have been a Nathaniel Hawthorne reference especially given the subtitle, "deep red, the addition of balsamic could be considered taboo." While I have had vinegar-based shrubs as cocktail ingredients, I have only been served one other drink, the Averna Pineapple Shrub, that used vinegar as a mixing ingredient. And I did tinker with it in the Casper Sour. With the honey liqueur being the main sugar source in the Scarlet Letter, perhaps this was an instant Drambuie shrub.
scholars boston bistro 25 school street drambuie cocktail bartender john henderson
The Scarlet Letter's twist's lemon oil covered over much of the balsamic vinegar's aroma. A rich, sweet sip showcased the Pimm's berry fruit flavor. The swallow began with the rum and Drambuie's Scotch followed by the vinegar's zip and the mole bitters' chocolate. Indeed, the balsamic vinegar dried out the swallow and donated an almost citrussy tang to the finish whereas citrus acids generally appear more on the sip. Moreover, grape notes in the balsamic worked rather well with the aged rum and Drambuie here.

señor elmo's fire

1 1/2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1/2 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Tuesdays ago, I finally stopped by Scholar's in Boston. For a first drink, I asked bartender John Henderson for the Señor Elmo's Fire that was subtitled, "smoke not fire, with a taste of fall spices." I picked it for it reminded me of a spice-driven Division Bell. And like a man in motion, John set off to make the drink.
scholars boston bistro 25 school street john henderson cocktail
The Señor Elmo's Fire proffered a smoky mezcal aroma that was softened by the lemon and spiced by the allspice dram. Next, a lemon and light cherry sip was followed by a mezcal, Maraschino, and allspice swallow. Overall, the Maraschino rather tempered the mezcal, and the combination worked well with the spice notes in the drink.

Monday, December 3, 2012

spice trade

1 oz Bols Barrel-Aged Genever
1 oz Zacapa 23 Year Rum
1/2 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quinquina
1/2 oz Lustau Pedro Ximenez Sherry
2 dash Bittermens Tiki Bitters

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

For my last drink at Sichuan Garden II, bartender Ran Duan pointed out the Spice Trade that just appeared on the menu. My guess is that the drink's name reflects the Dutch origin of the Genever in honor of their power in the spice trade starting at the beginning of the 17th century.
spice trade sichuan garden II woburn ran duan
Orange oil and grape notes greeted the nose. The richness of the sherry and aged rum joined the sherry and Bonal's grape and Genever's malt flavors on the sip. Finally, the swallow began with the Zacapa Rum, followed by the Genever's botanicals and Bonal's bitter herbal elements, and finished with the bitters' spice. This Spice Trade was more on the softer, richer side as opposed to the kümmel and Herbsaint-laden Spice Trade in Beta Cocktails.

domo arigato

2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 barspoon Sesame Oil

Shake with ice and strain into a Highball glass with ice. Top with 4 oz of ginger beer, add a straw, and garnish with a lime wheel.

At Sichuan Garden II in Woburn, bartender Ran Duan suggested the Domo Arigato for Andrea, and its inclusion of sesame oil in the ingredients list definitely intrigued her. Ran explained how he discovered how well mezcal and sesame paired when he happened to drink the agave spirit with a  sesame dish, and thus, he crafted this Mezcal Buck as a result. Perhaps this should not be so surprising once you consider that sesame seeds play a large role in Mexican cuisine in many mole and adobo recipes; however, as the drink's name suggests, sesame's role in Asian cooking is also quite important.
sichuan garden II woburn bartender ran duan cocktail
The sesame in the Domo Arigato played a large role in the aroma department where it joined the lime and hints of mezcal. A carbonated lime sip led into the return of the sesame on the swallow along with the smoky mezcal and spicy ginger flavors. Definitely the drink was as delicious as it was curious.