Thursday, May 31, 2012

bluegrass mai tai

1 oz Bourbon (Wild Turkey 81)
1 oz Bonded Rye (Rittenhouse 100)
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
1/2 oz Orgeat (B.G. Reynolds)
1 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Two Mondays ago, we decided to make the Bluegrass Mai Tai created by Smuggler's Cove bartender Marco Dionysos. The recipe was presented in Food & Wine: Cocktails 2012 as part of a progression from the classic 1944 Trader Vic Mai Tai, and this whiskey version seemed tempting especially after recalling the success of tequila-based Mai Tai, the Pinky Gonzalez. Marco most likely switched the citrus from lime to lemon to be more complementary with the whiskeys in the drink.
The Bluegrass Mai Tai's mint garnish contributed to the bouquet that contained a passion fruit-like note from the lemon, Grand Marnier, and Bourbon. The sip showcased the lemon, orange, and malt, and the swallow offered the whiskey and tart lemon notes that were balanced by the orgeat's rich almond flavors.

agave maria

1 1/2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1 barspoon (1/8 oz) Fernet Branca
3 dash Peychaud's Bitters
1 dash Agave Nectar

Shake with ice and pour unstrained into a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
Our adventures that Sunday took us later to the Independent in Union Square, Somerville, where MIT-WMBR DJ John Funke was spinning a mix of lost and found oldies and oddities. For a drink, I ordered the Agave Maria. On the nose, the pineapple aroma was joined by the garnish's orange oil. Next, the lime sip led into a swallow that began with mezcal, followed by pineapple and Fernet Branca, and ending with a lingering smoke note. Indeed, the Peychaud's Bitters and light touch of Fernet Branca added a bit of intrigue and character to the drink.


1 1/2 oz Tio Pepe Palomino Fino Sherry
1 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
3/4 oz Galliano L'Autentico
1/2 oz Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with 2 drops orange blossom water.

Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I ventured down to West Bridge in Kendall Square, Cambridge, where Eastern Standard alumni Josh Taylor accepted a position as bar manager. For a drink, I asked Josh for the Wheelwright. The restaurant itself is named after the nearby West Bridge, also known as the Longfellow or Salt-and-Pepper-Shaker Bridge, that connects West Boston with East Cambridge. As for the drink, it was named after Edmund Wheelwright who was the consulting architect for the structure, and Wheelwright took his inspiration from the various bridges he studied in Europe. Josh decided to pay tribute to the architect by combining his love of sherry to make a lighter style aperitif for the West Bridge cocktail menu.
The Wheelwright presented Galliano's star anise and other herbal aromas that merged well with the fino sherry and orange blossom water notes. A crisp grape sip led into a nutty, vanilla, and herbal swallow with a lingering Jamaican rum finish. The drink succeeded as an aperitif, and its bright yellow hue certainly garnered a lot of attention at the bar.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

benton park swizzle

2 oz Gold Rum (Don Q Gold)
1 oz Simple Syrup (Jaggery)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
8-10 Mint Leaves

Muddle the mint leaves with lime juice and syrup in a mixing glass. Add rum and pour into a Highball glass. Fill with crushed ice and swizzle to mix and chill. Float a 1/2 oz of Fernet Branca, garnish with a mint sprig, and add a straw.

Two Saturdays ago, we decided to make good use of our mint patch by making Ted Kilgore's Benton Park Swizzle that appeared in the supplementary recipes to Imbibe Magazine. Ted created this variation of the Queen's Park Swizzle at Niche in St. Louis, Missouri, and named it after the restaurant's neighborhood, Benton Park. The two differences are that the recipe does not call for Guyana rum, and the original's float of Angostura Bitters was swapped for Fernet Branca.
The aroma of the Benton Park Swizzle's mint garnish combined with the floated Fernet Branca's menthol note. The drink was a simple but refreshing combination of a lime sip and a rum and mint swallow; that is until the end, when Fernet Branca's bitter notes entered the picture and rather dried out the balance.

the red light

1 1/4 oz Bols Genever
1 1/4 oz Grand Marnier
1/3 oz Underberg Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe glass.

Two Fridays ago, I had purchased a bottle of Underberg Bitters to make the Red Light from Beta Cocktails. The recipe was created by Charles Joly at Chicago's Drawing Room for their menu in early 2010. At first I wondered if he had perfectly balanced the Underberg and felt that a half ounce was too much; however, I became skeptical when I realized that the 20mL bottle had enough to make two of these drinks.
The drink began with an aroma filled malt, orange, and gentian notes. The sip was filled with orange and malt flavors, and the swallow started with the Underberg's bitter notes and ended with some lingering herbal ones from the Genever. Later, as the drink warmed up, the Grand Marnier's orange began to appear more in the swallow. Over all, it was quite well balanced so perhaps the third of an ounce was a mark of trial and error more than convenience; moreover, the Red Light had the feel and flavor of a classic Fancy Cocktail with the spirits, orange liqueur, and bitters format.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

root down

1 1/2 oz Salers Gentian Liqueur
1 oz Bols Barrel Aged Genever
1/2 oz Sour Orange Cordial (*)
1 barspoon Grand Classico (1/8 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
(*) Originally this was made with bitter Seville oranges, and after the Seville season ran out, it is made with 2 parts regular orange to 1 part lemon. Regardless of the citrus identity, 1 cup of sugar was used to create an oleo saccharum with the peels for 1-2 hours. Next, 1 cup of citrus juice was added; the mix was stirred to dissolve the sugar and then strained.

After Brick and Mortar, we made a stop at Moody's Falafel for sustenance, and this completely reinvigorated Camper. Therefore, we headed to our final destination of Craigie on Main. For a drink, I asked bartender Zachary Evans for the Root Down. What appealed to me about the drink was that it called for Salers Gentian Liqueur; like Suze, Salers is a French liqueur made with wild yellow gentian, but unlike Suze, it is apparently available in our market although I have not spotted on any shelves yet.
The Root Down offered up an orange oil aroma that was joined by other citrus notes in the mix. A sharp orange and malty sip led into a gentian swallow that was punctuated by light Grand Classico herbal notes. Overall, the Root Down did share a resemblance with the White Negroni but with more malt and citrus notes.

flying headlock

1 1/2 oz Nardini Grappa Bianca
1 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
1 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
1 dash Angostura Bitters

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

For stop number four on the Camper English bar crawl, we crossed the bridge into Cambridge. I recommended that we hit Brick and Mortar before it got crowded, and luckily we did for the seats at the bar all vanished within 20 minutes after we sat down. Tending bar that night were Evan Harrison and John Nugent, and the cocktail I requested from Evan was the second grappa drink on the menu, beside A Bullet for Fredo, called the Flying Headlock. While I did not inquire, the recipe had all the signs that it was a Misty Kalkofen recipe.
The Flying Headlock's aroma began with a lemon and sherry bouquet that became more Curaçao as the lemon oil faded. The grape and orange sip led into a funky grappa flavor that paired well with the nutty sherry on the swallow. Also on the swallow were the Angostura's allspice and other notes to round out the drink.

Monday, May 28, 2012

lasky last knight

2 oz Frapin Cognac VS
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Luxardo Triple Sec
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1 dash Simple Syrup
1 dash Berg & Hauck's Lemon Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
After the Hawthorne, Camper English was ready for our third stop on our bar crawl. We considered doing the Commonwealth Hotel hat trick with Island Creek Oyster Bar, but by the time we passed by, the bar was filled with the dinner crowd. Instead, we traveled down Commonwealth Ave to Clio where bartender Todd Maul awaited. For my drink, I asked for Lasky Last Night as the combination of Cognac, Green Chartreuse, and orange liqueur worked so well in the Prospector. The drink is a riff on David Embury's Knight from The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. True to Embury's preferred magic formula for the Sour, the Knight was as follows:
• 8 parts Brandy
• 2 parts Lemon
• 1 part Green Chartreuse and Cointreau (half part each)
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
The Lasky Last Knight began with a lemon and Cognac aroma that preceded a citrus-flavored sip containing lemon juice and orange liqueur notes. Next, the swallow began with Cognac followed by Green Chartreuse's herbal notes and finally a tart lemon finish. While I enjoyed it, I could not help but think what Embury would say about Todd's variation. Riffing on what Embury said about the original equal parts Sidecar, he might declare, "Unfortunately, however, the proportions are stated as two parts brandy and one part each of lemon juice and liqueur. This may not be a bad formula for a midafternoon drink, but for an aperitif it is simply horrible because of its sickish sweetness." While the variation would have been a sugar bomb to Embury (with too much distracting him from the base spirit), it was by no means a sweet drink to the average modern palate.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

dartmouth highball

1 1/2 oz Pimm's No. 1
3/4 oz Plymouth Gin
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
5-7 Mint Leaves

Shake everything including the mint with ice. Double strain into a Highball glass filled with fresh ice cubes. Top with ~2 oz Barritts Ginger Beer and gently stir. Add a straw and garnish with a mint sprig.

For the next stage on the Camper English bar crawl, we headed from Eastern Standard next door to the Hawthorne. For a libation, I asked bartender Katie Emmerson for the Dartmouth Highball. She explained that the drink was created by Bobby McCoy and that it had a tea-like feel to it. My searching on the web seems to indicate that Bobby crafted this drink while at Eastern Standard cerca 2008, and perhaps it appeared on Eastern's special Pimm's section on the menu along with the Rye and Dry. Moreover, it was not a tribute to the college but to one of the three East India Tea Company ships that fell victim in the Boston Tea Party. The other two were the Eleanor and the Beaver, but it is the Dartmouth that resides at the Boston Tea Party Museum in Fort Point near the Drink bar.
The mint garnish played heavily in the Highball's aroma. The sip was fruity with Pimm's berry pairing up with the lemon, and the swallow offered up ginger beer and the gin's botanicals. After the ice began to melt, the flavor of the mint muddled in the shake began to come through.

Friday, May 25, 2012

nouvelle fleur

1 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz Chinaco Blanco Tequila
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Pink Grapefruit Juice
1 pinch Salt

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe glass. Top with ~2 oz dry sparkling wine.

Last week, Camper English of Alcademics made a stop in Boston after the Manhattan Cocktail Classic was over but before he headed back to the West Coast. I met up with him on that Wednesday afternoon at Eastern Standard for the beginning of what turned out to be a five stop tour of Boston and Cambridge bars. After spotting a drink I had never had before on Eastern Standard's Sparklers section of their menu, I asked bartender Bobby McCoy for the Nouvelle Fleur. The drink was created by Carrie Cole, and the "new flower" in the drink title at least partially referred to the floral St. Germain liqueur.
The Nouvelle Fleur offered up a pink grapefruit aroma that let through hints of the tequila. A carbonated citrusy sip was more lime than grapefruit, and it also contained St. Germain's pear-like note. Next, the swallow began with the Aperol followed by grapefruit flavors, and it ended with a floral finish. As the drink warmed up, the tequila came out a bit more in the swallow.

pressgang swizzle

1 oz Old Tom Gin (Ransom)
1 oz Jamaican Rum (Smith & Cross)
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat (Ferrara Orzata)
1/4 oz Ginger Syrup (Ginger People)

Shake with ice and strain into a Pilsner glass full of crushed ice. Swizzle to mix until the glass is frosted over. Garnish with 6 dashes each of Angostura and Pechaud's Bitters floated on top, and add a straw.

Two Tuesdays ago, we decided to make the Pressgang Swizzle that was in the supplemental recipes to the July 2011 issue of Imbibe Magazine. The drink was created by Jeremy Ortel of Dram in Brooklyn, and he named the Swizzle after an old nautical term for forcing captured sailors into indentured servitude on your ship. With a little searching, I discovered that I used the same Jamaican rum, Smith & Cross, as Dram; however, they opt for the sweeter but less flavorful Hayman's Old Tom instead of the Ransom I used.

The Pressgang Swizzle donated a spice aroma from the bitters and a funky note from the rum. The rum's caramel paired with the citrus flavors on the sip, and the rum's strong flavor continued on into the swallow. The swallow also contained the Old Tom's spice, ginger, and almond flavors, and as the floated bitters began to integrate into the mix towards the end, the drink's balance became drier and gained allspice and anise notes.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

oaxacan rose

1 1/2 oz Fidencio Clásico Mezcal
3/4 oz Combier Pamplemousse Rose Liqueur
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
1 dash House Orange Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Two Mondays ago after my DJing gig, we avoided dining down the street in Kenmore Square due to the Red Sox game, and instead we traveled to Deep Ellum in Allston. For a cocktail, I asked bartender Max Toste for the Oaxacan Rose that utilized the new Combier grapefruit liqueur that he was excited about last time we saw him. The drink began with a citrus and mezcal aroma which gave way to a grapefruit sip that offered a hint of lemon. Finally, the swallow began with the mezcal's agave and light smoke flavors and ended with grapefruit peel notes.

islay louisiane

1 1/4 oz Talisker 10 Year Scotch
1 1/4 oz Benedictine
1 1/4 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino (Sweet Vermouth)
1/8 oz Kübler Absinthe (1 barspoon)
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
2 dash Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass pre-rinsed with Herbsaint. Twist a lemon peel over the top and discard.

The third and final stop on my Sunday bar crawl was No. 9 Park. The drink I requested from bartender Tyler Wang was the Islay Louisiane. Bartender Ted Kilpatrick was on hand to explain how the drink was a riff on the Cocktail à la Louisiane; moreover, the collaborative effort of Ted, Tyler, and Sam Olivari originally was going to be called De La Skye after the Isle of Skye in northern Scotland before they decided on converting the "à la" to "Islay" in the name. While Green Street has the original on the A-to-Z menu as it appears in Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix 'Em, the only other variation I have tried was Max Toste's rye whiskey-driven one at Deep Ellum. The No. 9 twist was a step even further with additional smoke and bitters notes.
The Islay Louisiane began with a lemon oil and anise aroma, and as the drink warmed up, it gained some interesting smoke accents. With malt and grape flavors on the sip, the swallow offered up the smoky whisky, the Benedictine's herbal complexity, and the Herbsaint and absinthe's anise. Indeed, I was quite impressed at how well the peat smoke complemented the anise in the drink.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

sleeping with strangers

1 oz Neisson Rhum Agricole Blanc
1 oz Campari
1 oz Kronan Swedish Punsch
1 dash Bittermens Grapefruit Bitters

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

As a follow up to the 1910 Cocktail, bartender Jeff Grdinich suggested a drink created by Maks Pazuniak of the Counting Room in Brooklyn called Sleeping with Strangers. While the drink recipe initially sounded like a rhum agricole Negroni, the stranger here was the Swedish Punsch which would replace the Negroni's sweet vermouth. I have seen similar swappings such as Swedish Punsch for Lillet Blanc in certain Corpse Reviver #2 recipes in 1940s drink books starting with Crosby Gaige's Cocktail Guide and Ladies' Companion from 1941. Having been a fan of Maks since he served us at the Cure Bar in New Orleans as well as his work with Rogue Beta Cocktails, I was definitely willing to give this one a go. I later was able to track down the drink to the April 16th edition of Counting Room's weekly Something Like This menu; the only difference was that the original called for the Bittermens Orange Cream Citrate instead of grapefruit bitters.
The Sleeping with Strangers began with a strong showing of grapefruit oil with hints of Campari poking through. The sip was sweet with citrus notes, and the swallow proffered funky rhum agricole flavors followed by Campari's bitter notes. If I were to compare the flavors to a single drink, it would have to be Scott Holliday's Defensio that he based off of the Lucien Gaudin.

1910 cocktail

3/4 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
3/4 oz El Tesoro Reposado Tequila (*)
1 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist an orange peel over the top and discard.
(*) Postnote January 2022: Ezra finalized this drink with Cognac. See below.

After Stoddard's, I continued my Sunday bar crawl to Drink where I found a seat in front of bartender Jeff Grdinich. For a start, Jeff recommended a variation on the 1919 Cocktail proportions that was crafted by Ezra Star. When I commented that it looked more like an agave-based Red Hook, Jeff replied that it was like Boston and New York took a trip to Mexico. Although I did not inquire about what Ezra named the drink after, I have to believe given the spirit choice that it is a reference to the beginning of the Mexican Revolution.
The 1910 Cocktail offered up an agave and orange aroma that later gained Maraschino notes as the citrus oils subsided. The Punt e Mes' grape filled the sip, and the swallow started with a smoky tequila and mezcal combination. Next, Maraschino's nutty mingled with Punt e Mes' bitter notes, and the drink concluded with spice notes on the finish.
Postnote 9/19/22: I discovered this in the "Drinks of Drink" notebook at work and found the Rosetta Stone -- it was created as a tequila-mezcal cocktail and switched to Cognac-mezcal one later. See the updated 1910 Cocktail entry for tasting notes.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

bittah walshie

2 oz Plymouth Gin
3/4 oz Angostura Bitters
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Curaçao

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe glass.

For my next drink at Stoddard's, I asked bartender Eric Cross for the Bittah Walshie. The cocktail was credited to Boston legend Ryan McGrale perhaps in honor of Stoddard's bar manager Jamie Walsh. With the heavy dose of Angostura Bitters along with lime juice, orgeat, and orange liqueur, the Bitter Walshie reminded me a little of Giuseppe Gonzalez's Stormy Mai Tai albeit with a less tropical feel.
The Bittah Walshie conjured an allspice and clove bouquet that led into a cherry, citrus, and almond sip. The swallow presented more of the Angostura Bitter's spices along with lime tartness and the gin's juniper notes.

penny reel

1 oz Drambuie
1 oz Brandy
1 oz El Dorado 12 Year Demerara Rum
1/2 oz Raspberry Purée
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/4 oz Falernum
3 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a Tiki mug filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a lime twist and 2 cherries, and add a straw.

On Sunday, Andrea had to go into work, so I decided to go on a bar crawl until I could meet up with her later. I started my afternoon at Stoddard's in Boston and asked bartender Eric Cross for the Penny Reel. With a name that evoked an image of early movie theaters and with classic ingredients like brandy, demerara rum, raspberry, and lime, I was expecting a turn of the century style of drink. I was not expecting a Tiki drink especially since the cinnamon syrup and falernum were left off of the ingredients list; however, I was not upset by the surprise. Eric explained that the drink was named after bar manager Jamie Walsh's new daughter Penelope, although he did not rule out the possibility of movie or music influences in the drink's naming. The 1964 Jamaican ska song "Penny Reel" by Eric Morris at least would support the tropical feel to the drink.
The Penny Reel greeted the nose with a raspberry and lime aroma. The lime and honey sip was followed by raspberry and rum notes on the swallow. Moreover, the swallow ended with cinnamon, clove, and other spice notes that grew over successive sips.

perfect pal

1 oz Old Overholt Rye (Rittenhouse 100)
1/2 oz Cinzano Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
1 oz Aperol
2 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After the Jimador Re-animador, we decided to revisit one of the older drinks from the Independent in Somerville called the Perfect Pal. As a softer take on the classic Old Pal (rye, Campari, dry vermouth), this whiskey drink was quite pleasing then as well as now, yet my drinking it at the Independent pre-dated my work on the blog. I am not sure if the drink was created by Evan Harrison, but I believe it dates back to when he was working there.
The Perfect Pal presented an apricot-like aroma. The stone fruit notes continued into the sip as the vermouths' grape combined with the Aperol and orange bitters. The rye appeared as a malty sip and barrel-aged notes on the swallow that accompanied a peachy finish. Overall, the combination of flavors reminded me of the 1795 that I had a few years later at Craigie on Main.

Monday, May 21, 2012

el jimador re-animador

3/4 oz Reposado Tequila (Espolón)
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Lillet Blanc (Cocchi Americano)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse

Shake with ice and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. The recipe was slightly adapted from the original.

On Saturday two weeks ago, to continue the progression from the Sunflower to the Flowers of Distinction, I decided to try a tequila Corpse Reviver #2 variation that I had spotted a while ago in Saveur's Cointreau cocktail competition. The El Jimador Re-animador was created by Kathleen Semanski, a bartender at Scholars Lounge in Boston. With the tequila, aromatized wine, and lime, it reminded me of the Loop Tonic and perhaps the Jimador Sour but with more orange flavors in the mix.
The Jimador Re-animador began with a lemon, lime, and agave aroma. The sip offered up a citrus mix of the orange liqueur, Cocchi Americano, and lime juice, and the swallow paired the vegetal aspects of the tequila with a light amount of Green Chartreuse's herbalness at the end.

flowers of distinction

3/4 oz Del Maguey Mezcal (Vida)
3/4 oz Lillet Rouge (Dubonnet)
3/4 oz St. Germain
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Float 1 dash absinthe (15 drops Kübler).

Two Fridays ago, Andrea was in the mood for an absinthe drink, so I opened up A Taste for Absinthe and found one that Jason Lograsso of Bourbon and Branch had submitted. As a smokey and flowery variation on the Corpse Reviver #2, the Flowers of Distinction seemed worth the try. Moreover, the St. Germain aspect did remind me a little of Sam Ross' Sunflower Cocktail that I had tried a few nights before.
Before I added the absinthe garnish, the drink had a strawberry-like aroma which did in fact return once the floated absinthe layer had been diminished with successive sips; in between, the drink had an absinthe aroma with hints of smokey mezcal poking through. The Flowers of Distinction's sip was citrusy with additional fruit elements from the St. Germain and Dubonnet, while the swallow was St. Germain's floral notes mixed with the mezcal. The drink did taste a bit different than expected for the swallow was much more full flavored than I had first anticipated.

loreto swizzle

4 Coffee Beans
1 oz Cachaça (Cuca Fresca)
1 oz Pisco (Macchu Pisco)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup

Muddle the coffee beans in a mixing glass and add pisco and cachaça. Meanwhile, add the rest of the ingredients to a tall glass filled with crushed ice. Next, fine-strain the coffee-tinged pisco and cachaça into the tall glass (to remove coffee grounds). Swizzle to mix. Garnish with 3 dash Angostura Bitters and a lime twist, and add a straw.

For Thursday Drink Night two weeks ago on Mixoloseum, the theme was "summertime." I decided upon the Swizzle as my summery drink format and in scanning the shelves, my eyes set upon pisco and cachaça. Since Peru and Brazil share a border, perhaps mixing the two spirits would work especially since one has a funky grape and the other a funky grass aroma and flavor. To add some extra pizzazz to the Swizzle, the coffee-infused pisco part of the Zambito came to mind and I figured that a quick muddling would add just enough coffee notes to the drink as muddling caraway seeds did in Corey Bunnewith's Balao Swizzle. For a name, I dubbed the drink after a part of Peru that is on the border with Brazil.

The Loreto Swizzle greeted the nose with lime oil, allspice, and clove aromas. The lime juice seemed to dominate the sip, and the swallow began with the grassy and funky spirits followed by the pineapple and coffee flavors. Towards the end of the drink, the Angostura Bitters garnish began to enter the drink, and thus, things became a bit more spiced and dry at the end.

Friday, May 18, 2012

the charlatan

2 oz Punt e Mes
3/4 oz Campari
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
2 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Stir the ingredients without ice in a mixing glass. Flame 3 orange twists to coat the inside of an Old Fashioned glass with orange oils. Pour in the drink, and garnish with a single unflamed orange twist. This is a room temperature cocktail.

After Trina's, I was in the mood for a digestif-style nightcap while Andrea was wanting something light. As a compromise I suggested Maksym Pazuniak's the Charlatan that appeared in Gary Regan's Annual Manual for Bartenders 2012. Unlike the 2011 edition, there was no large collection of recipes (that will be in a separate book coming out in July); however, there were a few recipes scattered throughout including this one in a section on room temperature cocktails. Maks and others shared their thoughts on unchilled cocktails in a good article in StarChefs last year.
The Charlatan first presented orange oil aromas that later morphed into grape notes from the Punt e Mes. The sip showcased the fruit flavors from the Punt e Mes and Cherry Heering, and the swallow offered up the Punt e Mes' and Campari's bitter notes with hints of orange on the finish. I was intrigued at how the Cherry Heering brought out the fruit notes of the Punt e Mes and how Campari complemented its bitter ones. In the end, the Charlatan served as a good but light digestif.

the o.g.

1 1/2 oz Beija Cachaça
3/4 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Monin Orgeat
3 dash Falernum Bitters

Shake with ice and pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange wheel and a cherry, and add a straw.
On Wednesday last week, Andrea and I headed over to Trina's Starlite Lounge for dinner. For a drink, I asked bartender Emma Hollander for the O.G. While Emma did confirm that the name stood for "original gangster," she surmised that the drink's inspiration occurred in Vegas. As almost an abstraction of a Mai Tai, the drink seemed worth a go. On the nose, the O.G. put forth a grassy and citrus aroma. Next, the lime and orange sip led into the cachaça balanced by the orgeat on the swallow.

sunflower cocktail

3/4 oz Plymouth Gin (Farmer's Gin)
3/4 oz St. Germain
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass rinsed with absinthe (Pernod). Garnish with a lemon twist.

After the Naked and Famous, I decided to try another equal parts drink and one recommended by Devin of the Periodista Tales. Besides obscure Cuban drinks that take root in Boston, Devin is also a big fan of Sam Ross's work, and he recommended Sam's Sunflower Cocktail to me. The recipe appeared in StarChefs back in 2008, and, like many drinks from that year, it was not a big surprised that it contained St. Germain. With the absinthe rinse, gin, lemon, and orange liqueur, the Sunflower did have hints of being a Corpse Reviver No. 2 variation despite the name.
The Sunflower greeted the nose with lemon and anise notes that preceded a citrus sip containing lemon juice and Cointreau flavors. The swallow began with the gin's botanicals and St. Germain's floral notes and ended with a light absinthe aftertaste. Overall, the swap of St. Germain for Lillet Blanc did yield a Corpse Reviver No. 2-like drink, but it came across as a bit sweeter and more flowery.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

naked and famous

3/4 oz Mezcal (Sombra)
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/4 oz Aperol
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

Last week, our copy of Food and Wine: Cocktails 2012 arrived, and that Tuesday I decided to flip through and find a drink. The one that appealed most to Andrea was Joaquin Simo's Naked and Famous that he created at Death and Co. in New York. Besides being an interesting Last Word variation, we have had good luck with his drinks including the Punky Monkey, Flor de Jerez, and Day Bell.
The Naked and Famous presented a mezcal aroma with a citrus note that came across as orange. The orange continued on into the sip along with crisp lime and rhubarb flavors. Finally, the smokey mezcal blossomed on the swallow that ended with Yellow Chartreuse savory herbal notes. The Naked and Famous was a pretty solid drink, and I guess that the Hawthorne in Boston agrees because I spotted it on their menu yesterday. Fans of this mezcal drink may also like Phil Ward's Division Bell and No. 9 Park's La Palabra.

[boa vista]

1 oz Gin
1 oz Ponche de Tambarina de Santo Antão
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Lime Juice
7-10 Mint Leaves

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and add a straw.

Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I headed over to Pomodoro in Brookline for dinner. For a first drink, bartender Steven Shellenberger wanted to make me a drink with tamarind liqueur from a Cape Verdean producer who he and the bartenders at Clio, such as in their Makahiki Cocktail, have embraced. Steven described the liqueur as containing a good deal of acidity such that it was like a sloe gin with a different tonality. With that, he crafted a sour meets bitter-sweet drink.
The drink's mint garnish provided the aroma that preceded the fruity lime and tamarind sip; interestingly, the sip came across as an almost orange flavor perhaps due to Campari's modifying effects. Finally, the Campari and gin botanicals appeared on the swallow that ended with a mint finish. Overall, I was impressed at how well the tamarind and Campari notes complemented each other here.

strawberry swizzle

1 1/2 oz Lustau Dry Amontillado Sherry
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz Strawberry Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Swizzle to mix in a Highball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a lime wedge and add a straw.
After the Last Date at the Citizen Public House, I ended the evening with the Strawberry Swizzle that bartender Nick Korn made for me. Its lime garnish contributed greatly to the drink's aroma. The lime continued on in the sweet sip along with the sherry's grape flavors. Next, the strawberry followed by the nutty notes of the sherry began the swallow; the swallow ended a bit crisper with the Green Chartreuse's herbal notes appearing. Despite the name, the strawberry turned out to be a relatively minor flavor component, but one that complemented all of the other ingredients especially the sherry.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

last date

1 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
1 oz Averna
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into an Old Fashioned glass.

Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I paid a visit to the Citizen Public House by Fenway. For a start, I asked bartender Nick Korn for the Last Date off of their new cocktail menu. I later asked Chad Arnholt about the drink he had a hand in creating. When Chad was doing a guest shift at the Patterson House in Nashville, someone asked for a Scotch drink to celebrate a first date. Through a few changes, the drink eventually morphed into the Cognac-based Last Date.
The Last Date's lemon and Cognac notes greeted the nose. On the sip, Averna's rich caramel notes paired well against the lemon juice, and the swallow began with the Cognac followed by Averna's herbal flavors. Finally, the drink ended with the orgeat's almond that contrasted a tart lemon note. As the drink warmed up, the orgeat began to overtake the Averna on the swallow. When I discussed the drink with Nick, he commented that he was surprised at how much the rather flavorful Averna lurks in the drink.


2/3 Scotch (2 oz Macallan 12 Year Scotch)
2 dash Maraschino (1/2 oz Luxardo)
2 dash Sweet Vermouth (1/2 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino)
1 dash Ojen (18/ oz Obsello Absinthe)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After the Harry M. Stevens Cocktail, I decided to flip through the Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 where I decided upon the Ansonia. The drink began with a light anise and smoke nose. Next, sweet grape and malt notes filled the sip, and the swallow was a procession of Scotch, Maraschino, and absinthe flavors that ended with lingering anise-chocolate notes from the Obsello Absinthe.

harry m. stevens cocktail

3/4 oz Light Rum (5/8 oz El Dorado 3 Year, 1/8 oz JM Rhum Blanc)
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
3/4 oz Apricot Brandy (Rothman & Winter)
3/4 oz Orange Juice
1/2 tsp Curaçao (Senior Curaçao)
1/2 tsp Grenadine

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

Two Saturdays ago, the Harry M. Stevens Cocktail recipe caught my eye; it was in the Big Bartender's Book and adapted from the Hotel Lincoln Cocktail Book published in Havana, Cuba, in 1937. Who was this Mr. Stevens? He was a New Yorker who debatably created the hotdog! At the turn of the century, Harry ran the ice cream and drink concessions at the New York City Polo Grounds where the New York Giants and New York Yankees baseball teams played. Around 1901, he realized that the spring was a bad time to be selling ice cream and he offered up sausages in a bun. Originally, he called them "red hot dachshund sausages" before switching to "hotdog."  Once people realized that there was not dog meat in them, their popularity at the stadium and across the country took off.
The Harry M. Stevens Cocktail offered up lime and apricot aromas. The sip presented the vermouth's wine and the orange juice flavors that came across in a dry but not citrus-crisp sort of way. Finally, the rum and apricot notes on the swallow rounded off the drink.

Monday, May 14, 2012


1 oz Ron Pampero Aniversario Rum (Plantation 5 Year Barbados)
1 oz Neisson Rhum Blanc (JM Rhum Blanc)
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup (Jaggery)
1 Whole Egg

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a Fizz glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
Two Fridays ago for the cocktail hour, I made Daniel Eun's Coda from the PDT Cocktail Book which appeared like a delightful spiced Daiquiri Flip. The Coda's nutmeg garnish contributed a pleasing level of spice that prepared the palate for the drink's swallow. The sip was full of creamy lime and caramel notes, and the swallow began with grassy rum flavors and ended with lingering allspice accents.

neutral ground

2 oz Sazerac 6 Year Rye
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Dry Amontillado Sherry (Lustau)
3 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

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

After the Thursday Drink Night event was over, Andrea was in the mood for a nightcap. Upon delving into the Big Bartender's Book, I spotted Rhiannon Enlil's Neutral Ground that she created at the Old Absinthe in New Orleans in 2008 before she eventually made her way over to the Cure Bar across town the following year. Neutral ground in New Orleans is the term for the median of a street; the term got its name from the stretch on Canal Street that separated the Creoles on the French Quarter side and the new Americans living on the other side at the turn of the 19th century. Given the tensions between the two groups, when they met up to do business, it was on this neutral area.
The Neutral Ground began with an orange oil and rye aroma that led into a grape and malt sip. The swallow began with the rye notes that were followed by Benedictine's spice and sherry's nuttiness and ended with lingering orange notes from the bitters. Overall, the Neutral Ground was a bit less Manhattan-like than I had first expected perhaps due to the flavor differences between sherry and sweet vermouth.

mask of zorro

1 1/2 oz Spanish Brandy (Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)
3/4 oz Dry Sherry (Lustau Dry Oloroso)
1/2 oz Coffee Liqueur (Galliano Ristretto)
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup (BG Reynolds)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with. Strain into a cocktail coupe and garnish with a letter 'Z' made with drops of Angostura Bitters.
Two weeks ago, the theme for Mixoloseum's Thursday Drink Night was "action movies," and I was inspired to do a Spanish-themed one in honor of the Mask of Zorro. I did not originally picture the drink as an egg white one; however, I became obsessed with leaving the mark of Zorro as a garnish, and egg white froth made the perfect canvas. Once mixed, the Angostura garnish's allspice notes filled the aroma. The sip was a rich, creamy grape, and the sherry continued on into the swallow as a nutty note along with coffee, cinnamon, and spice flavors. Initially, the Mask of Zorro started out more coffee-driven but became more cinnamon forward over time.

Friday, May 11, 2012

irish mermaid

1 3/4 oz Irish Whiskey (Knappogue Castle 1995)
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
1/2 oz Aperol
1/4 oz Orgeat (BG Reynolds)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist and a cherry (either a black brandied one reduced with Cherry Heering or a Luxardo Maraschino one).

On Wednesday last week, I decided to make Max La Rocca's Irish Mermaid that he created at Barcelona's Ohla Hotel bar. While the Irish part was understandable from the spirit choice, Max explained the curious part of the name as a "homage to the statue of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen which is where Cherry Heering liqueur comes from." The mermaid was sculpted in 1913 in honor of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, and it soon became an iconic landmark in the city.
The Irish Mermaid greeted the nose with orange oils and Irish whiskey's soft malt notes. The Aperol combined with elements of the cherry liqueur to conjure an almost sweet vermouth like flavor on the sip. Next, the swallow began with the Irish whiskey followed by a delightful pairing of cherry and almond along with lingering spice notes. I was impressed at how well such a small amount of orgeat stood out in the drink perhaps due to being mixed with such a soft spirit.

a murder of crows

1 1/2 oz Christoffel Erben Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett Wine
2 oz Bertagnolli Grappa di Amarone
1/4 oz Lebanese Arak
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

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

The other drink that bartender Ted Kilpatrick wanted to make for me was another of his wine explorations. This one was using a German Riesling from a special part of the Mosel region called the Spice Garden of Ürziger. The region's steep, red-soiled vineyards impart a spicy, tropical fruit, and earthy flavor to the wines. To complement these spice notes, Ted added Lebanese Arak; once mixed, the spirit's mild louching reminded him of a foggy night in London which might be how the drink got its ominous name.
The Murder of Crows offered a light lemon oil on top of a floral-pollen aroma with vegetal notes. The white grape flavors filled the sip, and the swallow showcased the return of the funky pollen note along with an anise finish.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

bridge of sighs

2 oz Marco Bonfante Brachetto d'Acqui Sparkling Wine
1 oz Angostura Bitters
3/4 oz Crème de Cacao
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake the bitters, cacao, and juice with ice. Strain into a wine glass with the sparkling wine and gently stir to mix.
After the Martin Miller event, I made my way over to No. 9 Park where bartender Ted Kilpatrick greeted me. The drink he suggested was the Bridge of Sighs featuring an intriguing sparkling wine from the Piedmont called Marco Brachetto d'Acqui. The recipe was spawned from two guests at the bar who had studied at Cambridge University in England. They had described to Ted the Bridge of Sighs -- a covered bridge built on campus in the early 19th century. Often, the sighs came from the students who crossed the bridge to get their grades from the tutor's office. The brooding aesthetic of this academic landmark set the tone for the drink. The wine itself is a lightly effervescent, raspberryish red wine that traditionally is paired with chocolate and often spoke about around Valentine's Day. Besides the link of the wine with the cacao ingredient, Ted also found similar notes with Angostura Bitters which helped to fortify the drink with its hefty proof.
The Bridge of Sighs offered up an allspice, cherry, and chocolate aroma. The lightly carbonated lemon and chocolate sip had an intriguingly dry and thick mouthfeel. When chilled, the swallow showcased the Angostura's spice followed by a clean finish; as the drink warmed up, the clean finish transitioned into a lingering clove and allspice one.

the berry essence

1 1/2 oz Martin Miller Gin
1/2 oz Dry Sack Medium Sherry
1/8 oz Boiron Raspberry Purée (sub 1-2 muddled raspberries)
1/8 oz Boiron Blackberry Purée (sub 1-2 muddled blackberries)
1/2 oz Boiron Blood Orange Juice (sub fresh)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Agave Nectar
2 dash Orange Bitters
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice, add ice, and shake again. Double strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a fresh raspberry and a rosemary sprig.

Tuesday last week, I was invited to attend a Martin Miller event held at the Back Bay Social Club to promote their gins here in Boston. In attendance was the delightfully eccentric Martin himself whom I had met at Tales of the Cocktail in 2009 when he hosted a bloggers' cocktail hour in 2009. And to further the Tales of the Cocktail connection, behind the bar was Miami's Freddy Diaz whom I had met the next year when he was promoting Dos Maderas Rums with the El Quijote and other cocktails. One of the drinks Freddy made with Martin Miller's gin was the Berry Essence which recently took first place at the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America convention in Las Vegas.
The Berry Essence greeted the nose with a raspberry and rosemary aroma from the garnishes. The fruit notes continued into the creamy, tart sip that contained berry, orange, and grape flavors. Finally, the gin along with a citrus peel note wrapped up the swallow. While I expected the drink to be a lot like the Clover Club, the extra flavors from the sherry, blood orange, and perhaps other ingredients took the drink in a different direction.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


1 1/2 oz Beefeater Gin
3/4 oz Raspberry Syrup (*)
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Build in a Highball glass filled with ice. Stir to mix and top with ginger ale. Garnish with a lime wedge and add a straw.
(*) Green Street's raspberry syrup is only lightly sweetened and less sugary than a 1:1 simple syrup. Perhaps with a sweeter raspberry syrup, a 1/2 oz would be better here.
After Brick and Mortar, we crossed Mass Ave and paid a visit to Green Street Grill. There, bartenders Derric Crothers and Philip MacLeod were presiding over yet another Stout Sunday. Instead of beer, I asked Derric for the Florodora. The name makes reference to the Florodora Girls who were six singing and dancing ladies who started in London in 1899 before moving to Broadway in 1900. Over seventy girls who fit the specification of being 5 foot 4 inches tall and 130 pounds filled the spots over the years; since these pretty and petite girls were the object of much adoration, much of the attrition was due to male admirers, often rather wealthy, who persuaded them to leave the show. In fact, each of the original sextet snared a millionaire. As David Wondrich relates in Imbibe!, the drink was created one night after a performance. One of the sextet refused anything except for lemonade, unless it was something brand new created for her. Jimmy O'Brien was cited by the New York Evening World as the barman who created this Highball for her in 1901.
The Florodora's bright hue did not contradict its gin and fruit aroma. The carbonated lime sip was followed by gin and ginger flavors on the swallow. Moreover, the raspberry appeared as a lingering tangy note on the finish. Even with the color, it was still not the most femme looking drink I have had at Green Street; those honors go to the frothy, pink, and delicious Clover Club also made with their raspberry syrup. After the Florodora, I returned to an old favorite, the New York Flip, and updated the writeup with a photograph.


1 3/4 oz Del Maguey Crema Mezcal (*)
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao (white)
1/4 oz S. Maria al Monte Amaro
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass.
(*) substitute 90% mezcal (here Del Maguey San Luis del Rio Single Village Mezcal) and 10% agave nectar. This would be approximately 1 tsp agave nectar to 1 1/2 oz mezcal.

Two Sundays ago, we decided to visit a few bars in Central Square. We started at Brick and Mortar, and the Guelaguetza on the menu caught my eye. After bartender Kenny Belanger had made me one, I spoke with bar manager Misty Kalkofen about the cocktail's history. Misty had created the drink for a class she did at Barbara Lynch's Stir, and she named it after the Mexican tradition of reciprocity of gifts and services which was important in keeping tight-knit communities. Moreover, the Guelaguetza is an annual festival in and around Oaxaca that involves costumes, parades, and food to honor the survival of this community custom.
The Guelaguetza greeted the nose with a smoky mezcal aroma that was complemented by light chocolate notes. The lemon sip was followed by a smooth mezcal and cacao swallow that contained hints of herbalness. Indeed, I was impressed at how the sweetness from the crema mezcal and the liqueurs rather mellowed out the drink.

broken english

2 oz Gin (Cold River)
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi Vermouth di Torino)
1/2 oz Strega
1/4 oz Fernet Branca
1 barspoon (1/8 oz) Benedictine
2 dash Regan's Orange Bitters
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

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

After the Black Demure two Saturdays ago, I decided to try a challenging drink by Colin Shearn in Gary Regan's Annual Manual for Bartenders 2011 called Broken English. Colin created this cocktail at Philadelphia's Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company, and I knew from experience that his risky looking recipes turn out incredibly well. The Infernal Architect from Beta Cocktails and the Always Crashing the Same Car were but two examples of that.
The Broken English began with a grapefruit oil aroma that allowed some herbal elements to peak out from underneath. Next, the sip showcased the sweet vermouth's grape along with hints of citrus, and the swallow contained the gin and a medley of bitter complexity. Surprisingly, the drink did not stand out as a Fernet Branca or Strega cocktail which was odd since they are usually domineering and distinctive flavors. And overall, the Broken English was certainly not a train wreck but rather elegant in its balance, and it definitely made for a delightful nightcap.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

the black demure

2 oz Wild Turkey 81 Bourbon
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Crème de Mûre (Marie Brizard Blackberry Brandy)
1/4 oz Cointreau
1/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a Old Fashioned glass containing fresh ice. Garnish with a blackberry.

For Cinco de Mayo/Derby Day, Campari's PR group delivered a basket containing the new Wild Turkey 81 Bourbon, Espolón Tequila, and of course Campari. Inside was also a pair of recipes; one was for Eric Alperin's Bebida de Puebla which we made last year for Cinco de Mayo, and the other was for the Black Demure by Clover Club's Ms. Franky Marshall.  Since we lacked crème de mûre, I was almost going to put the recipe aside until I realized that we had blackberry brandy which might work in a pinch. Crème de mûre does have a deeper, richer flavor, so in retrospect, perhaps we should have doubled the volume of the blackberry brandy and decreased the simple syrup amount.
The Wild Turkey Bourbon's aroma greeted the nose along with a fruit note that was almost peach-like. The citrus elements from the lemon juice and orange liqueur joined the whiskey's malt notes on the sip, and the swallow began with the Bourbon's heat and the blackberry flavors and ended with a tart finish.

8th and collins

1 1/2 oz Pisco Quebranta (Macchu Pisco)
1/2 oz Anchor Genevieve (Boomsma Oude Genever)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Angostura Bitters
1 Egg White

Dry shake the egg white and lemon juice. Add rest of ingredients and ice. Shake, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with 3 drops of Angostura Bitters.

After the Stormy Mai Tai, our quest for the unusual led us to the first edition of the Rogue Beta Cocktails book. There, I spotted the 8th and Collins which reminded me a bit of the Rosy John that Charles Baker wrote about in his South American Gentleman's Companion. Like the Rosy John, the 8th and Collins by Chicago's Mike Ryan utilized a split spirit pisco and gin/Genever mix in the egg white-laden Sour. Well, technically Mike's recipe called for an American Genever replica (Genever, like Cognac, is a protected geographical product); since we lacked Anchor's Genevieve, I opted for a true Genever in its place.
The 8th and Collins' Angostura Bitters garnish paid dividends on the aroma where it joined the pisco notes that seeped through the egg white froth. The sip offered up a creamy lemon and malt mix, and the swallow began with the pisco's funky brandy notes and ended with the Angostura spice and perhaps some of the botanicals from the Genever.  Overall, with the Genever and bitters, it was an interesting variation on the classic Pisco Sour.

Monday, May 7, 2012

stormy mai tai

1 1/2 oz Angostura Bitters
3/4 oz Orgeat (Ferrara Orzata)
3/4 oz Curaçao (Senior Curaçao)
1 oz Lime Juice

Build on crushed ice in a rocks glass and swizzle to mix (shaking with ice and straining into rocks glass filled with crushed ice would be equally as effective). Float light rum (1/2 oz 10 Cane) and garnish with mint.

Every so often, our blog's analytics alerts me that the post on the Trinidad Sour receives traffic from a post Paul Clarke did about the recipe I wrote about. The original was created by Giuseppe Gonzalez when he was a bartender at Brooklyn's Clover Club, and it is a crafty inversion of a standard cocktail formula such that the bitters play a significant role with an ounce of Angostura Bitters. In the comments of Paul's post, Giuseppe left the recipe for an Angostura-heavy companion cocktail, the Stormy Mai Tai, that seemed rather curious and tempting. As an inverse bittered Mai Tai with the rum used as an accent and the bitters used as the base spirit (true, bitters do not appear in the regular Mai Tai), I saved this recipe until our mint patch had returned to full swing and I was up for a challenging drink. For the orgeat, instead of the subtle but very wholesome B.G. Reynolds syrup, I opted for a flavorful but extract-laden syrup from Ferrara since I figured that it needed to stand up to the robust flavors in the mix.
With this much Angostura Bitters in the drink, I was a little afraid to use a wood swizzle stick in fears that it would stain red and I substituted a metal bar spoon as a swizzle instead. The mint garnish contributed greatly to the drink's nose along with hints of the light rum that was lurking underneath the sprigs. The rum float dominated the flavor of the first few sips before the Angostura's cherry notes, the lime juice, and the Curaçao's orange entered into the sip. Finally, the Angostura's spice filled the swallow and were soothed by the orgeat's almond notes.

improved whiskey cocktail

2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1 barspoon Gomme Syrup (1/8 oz)
1 barspoon Maraschino Liqueur (1/8 oz)
4 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass rinsed with 2 spritzes of Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe. Twist a lemon peel over the top and discard.

For my other drink at Craigie on Main, I asked bartender Ann for the Improved Whiskey Cocktail that just appeared on the menu. I first had an Improved Cocktail for the 19th century-themed Mixology Monday where I made a Improved Gin Cocktail. There, I explained the two major improvements over the Fancy Cocktail which was an Old Fashioned gussied up with a dash or two of Curaçao, the hot new cocktail ingredient of the day, and which appeared in the 1862 edition of Jerry Thomas' book. The improvements showed up in the 1876 update of Thomas' book where the Fancy's Curaçao was swapped for Maraschino and the new hot ingredient -- absinthe. I also revisited the drink at the Bols Genever release party where the Improved Holland Gin Cocktail was showcased as a classic use of the spirit. However, I had never had the drink as a whiskey one, and I decided to take the Craigie's menu's suggestion that it was a good time to try it.
Much like a Sazerac, the Improved Whiskey Cocktail began with a lemon and anise nose. The malty sip led into a hot, flavorful rye swallow with light Maraschino notes and spice from the Angostura Bitters and absinthe. The drink did veer from the Sazerac for it lacked the specific color and flavors of Peychaud's Bitters and possessed the extra funky, nutty notes of Maraschino on the swallow.

Friday, May 4, 2012

[great king street]

3/4 oz Great King Street Blended Scotch
3/4 oz Cardamaro
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1 barspoon Crème de Mûre
1 dash Mole Bitters

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

Two Wednesdays ago, Andrea and I ventured over to Craigie on Main. For a starter, bartender Jared Sadoian suggested a Manhattan (or Red Hook) variation he was working on that utilized a new blended Scotch from Compass Box. He said that they were so pleased with the Great King Street Scotch that it might replace Johnnie Walker Black Label at the restaurant. When I was given a taste, I was impressed at how the soft the malt notes were such that it reminded me of an Irish whiskey, albeit one with a moderate amount of smoke notes.
The drink began with a lemon oil aroma that later gained smoke and grape accents. The grape notes did appear early on the sip though from a combination of the Punt e Mes and Cardamaro. Moreover, the Punt e Mes and Cardamaro's bitter notes played a large role on the swallow along with the Scotch's peated smoke. Finally, the drink's finish showcased the Maraschino and blackberry; as the drink warmed up, the blackberry began to play a greater role in the flavor balance.

mary's sock drawer

1 1/2 oz Bols Genever
1/3 oz Rhum Clement Creole Shrubb
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Grand Classico

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass garnished with Grand Classico paint (remainder from roto-vap, boiled down to thicken).

The other drink bartender Todd Maul made for me at Clio was Mary's Sock Drawer which is part of the homage, along with Mary's Liquor Cabinet, to the other Clio bartender.  Apparently, Mary counters by referring to the Sock Drawer as the Bitter Todd.
The Mary's Sock Drawer began with a malty aroma that was complemented by herbal notes from the Grand Classico. The malt continued on into the sip where it paired with the citrus notes that seemed to be derived more from the orange liqueur. The lime though came through stronger on the swallow along with the Grand Classico bitter flavors and the Bols Genever's wormwood and other botanical notes.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


1 1/2 oz Housemade Swedish Punsch
1 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Gutierrez Colosia Sangre y Trabajadero Oloroso Sherry
1 dash Orange Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a wineglass garnished with white port paint (roto-vapped and boiled down to thicken). Garnish with a lemon twist.

Two Mondays ago, after attending the Plymouth Gin competition at the Hawthorne, I headed down the street to visit bartender Todd Maul at Clio. While perusing the menu, Todd brought over the "Random Drink Monday" drink, the Capetown. I had made the Capetown before from the vague recipe in the Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933, and it was interesting to see how Todd interpreted it. Todd upped the fruity quotient of the drink by increasing the lemon juice and sherry, and he opted for a sweet oloroso sherry instead of the Lustau East India Solera one I picked.
The Capetown offered up a lemon oil and sherry aroma. The sip was a tart lemon that became a touch sweeter and more grape driven as it warmed up. Next, the swallow contained sherry and the Swedish Punsch's rum and dry tea finish; indeed, I was impressed at how well the Punsch and sherry worked together here. The most notable difference between the two Capetowns was that this one was a bit more citrus forward that mine.