Friday, November 30, 2012

sling & arrow

1 oz Heaven Hill's Larceny Bourbon
1/2 oz Gran Classico
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a Highball glass containing ice. Add a straw and garnish with mint sprigs and a dash or two of Angostura Bitters.

Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I traveled up to Woburn to get dinner at Ran Duan's bar at Sichuan Garden II. For a first drink, I selected a tall Bourbon number, the Sling & Arrow. I was drawn to it for the combination of Cherry Heering and Gran Classico reminded me of Maksym Pazuniak's delightful use of Cherry Heering and Campari in the Arbitrary Nature of Time and the Charlatan. And I had forgotten that I had made a variation of the Campari-laden Teresa from Gary Regan's book using Cherry Heering in place of the original's crème de cassis that I called Tiger Blood.
sichuan garden II woburn bartender ran duan cocktail
The Sling & Arrow's mint sprig and spicy Angostura Bitters garnish contributed greatly to the bouquet. A lemon and fruity sip gave way to a swallow containing Bourbon, pineapple, cherry, and bitter Gran Classico flavors. Finally, as the Angostura Bitters reached the bottom of the glass, the drink dried out and gained allspice and clove notes.

love & fear

1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Pineapple Syrup (*)
1 barspoon Fernet Branca

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Twist a lemon peel over the top.
(*) West Bridge's pineapple syrup contains orange zest and clove besides the pineapple and sugar.

After our trip to the Blue Room, we crossed the courtyard and paid bar manager Josh Taylor a visit at West Bridge. While looking over the menu, I was able to narrow down my pick to three choices, and Josh recommended that I try the Love & Fear from that short list. I was definitely curious to see if the pineapple-Fernet pairing worked here as well as it had in the Velvet Goldmine, Agave Maria, Fernet Fix, and other drinks.
josh taylor west bridge kendall square cambridge cocktail
The Love & Fear proffered a lemon oil and fruity aroma from the pineapple syrup and Aperol. The lemon and Aperol flavors filled the sip, and the pineapple swallow ended with herbal and spice elements from the gin botanicals, Fernet Branca, and clove. Just as Josh had suggested, the barspoon of Fernet worked rather well to dry out the drink on the finish. Moreover, as the drink warmed up, it acquired more pineapple notes on the nose and a touch more gin on the swallow.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

smokin' fanny

1 1/2 oz Laphroaig 10 Year Scotch
1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro
1/2 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a wine glass. Garnish with a few drops of Angostura Bitters.

For a final drink at the Blue Room, bartender Matthew Schrage offered us one of his creations, a Scotch egg white drink. He had originally created the recipe with Caol Ila Scotch while at Saloon in Davis Square; however, when he switched the whisky to Laphroaig at the Blue Room, the proportions of the other ingredients needed a little adjustment. For a name, he dubbed it the Smokin' Fanny after the smoky Scotch as well as Franny Katz, the bar manager of Belly Wine Bar adjacent to the Blue Room. Technically, Belly and the Blue Room have separate entrances but share the same liquor license thanks to a sliding door adjoining the two spaces (and probably sharing a kitchen).
blue room kendall square cambridge saloon davis square somerville
The Smokin' Fanny's aroma offered smoke, Angostura spice, and honey; Andrea also acquired a candied orange note perhaps from the Amaro Montenegro. Indeed, I was surprised at how well Laphroaig's peat and Angostura Bitters complemented each other on the nose. Next, lemon, orange, and honey filled the sip; the swallow started with the smoky Scotch and ended with herbal notes colored by lemon.


2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1/2 oz Lustau Pedro Ximénez Sherry
1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro
1 dash Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist a grapefruit peel over the top.
blue room kendall square cambridge cocktails bar menu
The drink that Andrea asked bartender Matthew Schrage to make at the Blue Room was the Mercado. The Mercado was crafted by California Gold, and I never got a chance to inquire about how the recipe got named for the Spanish word for "market." The Mercado presented a smoke and grapefruit oil nose that covered a caramel and grape sip. The smoke and agave of the mezcal and the richness of the sherry began the swallow which ended with the amaro's herbal elements and the bitters' chocolate ones.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

bicycle thief

1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1/2 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quinquina
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Cocchi Sweet Vermouth

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

Two Sundays ago, we decided to travel down to Kendall Square for dinner at the Friendly Toast. Afterwards, we visited the bar at the Blue Room where Matthew Schrage was busy revamping the cocktail program. For a first drink, I asked for the Bicycle Thief. The recipe was created by ex-Drink's California Gold who began the bar program effort before Schrage took over. Actually, I inquired if she had created this one for the format reminded me of her Forty Virtues recipe.
blue room kendall square cambridge
The Bicycle Thief presented an orange oil and dark grape aroma. A grape and caramel sip led into rye swallow along with  bitter herbal notes from the Cynar and Bonal. Finally, the grape from the Bonal and sweet vermouth lingered on the finish.  Overall, the Bicycle Thief was a more complex Little Italy from the addition of the quinquina.

the cross & the switchblade

1 oz Puerto Rican White Rum (Caliche)
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao (Marie Brizard)
2 dash Bittermens Burlesque Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

Two weeks ago, the Liquor Fairy gifted me a bottle of Caliche Rum, an aged white rum from Puerto Rico. The rum is made by the Serrallés Distillery that also makes Don Q and Blackbeard Spiced Rums; it was created in a partnership between nightlife entrepreneur Rande Gerber and Roberto Serralles, a sixth generation rum producer from Destilería Serrallés. For the aging, they use a solera system with the oldest rum in the mix being about 5 years old, and the color is then stripped away via charcoal filtration. For a price point, the rum seems to be selling for around $20.
Caliche Rum
• Nose: Vanilla, coconut.
• Taste: Coconut, lime, woodiness.
Overall, the rum had a lot more flavor than I first imagined since the PR materials stressed that it was a superpremium spirit (which often means distilled to a higher proof to rid the liquor of its natural flavor); perhaps a little less complex than some of the white rums in my collection but still more flavorful than the Don Q White Rum they also produce.

In searching for a recipe that calls for white rum without drowning out the rum with a dozen ingredients Tiki-style, I got a little frustrated. Therefore, I decided to craft a drink that works well with the rum's flavor profile. My idea was to cross a Scofflaw with a White Witch. Instead of the orange bitters in the Scofflaw, I opted for the spicier and floral ones in the Bittermens Burlesque Bitters. Keeping true to the Scofflaw theme, I thought about Puerto Rican street gangs such as the Mau Maus from New York during the 1950s; moreover, the film about them, The Cross and the Switchblade, seemed like a great name for this cocktail.
caliche rum puerto rico rican cocktail
The Cross and the Switchblade offered a lime, cacao, floral, and grassy aroma. The lime and coconut-tinged sip led into a chocolate and rum swallow. Finally, the bitters' spice and heat on the finish rounded out the drink.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

the corsican

1 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon (Four Roses)
1 oz Cruzan Aged Rum (Ryan & Wood Folly Cove)
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1/2 oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
3 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with an orange twist.
corsican alex smith honor kitchen
Two Fridays ago, we were in the mood for something dark and stirred, so I decided upon the Corsican that appeared in TastingTable. The recipe was crafted by Alex Smith of San Francisco's Honor Kitchen as a Manhattan Cocktail that takes a tour of the Caribbean. The Corsican offered an orange, caramel, and vanilla aroma. The grape, malt, and orange sip gave way to a Bourbon and aged rum swallow. Finally, after a few swallows, clove from the falernum began to build up on the finish.


1/4 wine glass Bacardi (1 1/4 oz El Dorado 3 Year + 1/4 oz Seleta Aged Cachaça)
2/3 jigger Lime Juice (3/4 oz)
2 dash Grenadine (1/2 oz)
2 dash Fernet Branca (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Thursdays ago, I spotted the Nobel in the Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 book. Basically the Nobel was a Bacardi Cocktail with the added touch of Fernet Branca. To suit my tastes, I expanded the two dashes of grenadine and Fernet to be a half ounce each. Moreover, I took the book's editor's suggestion of using a grassier spirit to better replicate what Bacardi Rum used to be like during the 1903-1933 time period.
noble pioneers of mixing at elite bars 1903-1933 fernet branca bacardi lime grenadine
The grassiness of the rum-cachaça combination mixed well with the Fernet Branca's menthol and a fruitiness from the grenadine on the nose; later, the aroma gained coconut notes as well. The lime and pomegranate on the sip were chased by the rums and Fernet on the swallow with a cinnamon-like finish. Overall, I was impressed at how well the rums' grassiness and the Fernet Branca's methol herbal notes paired here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

the colonial

2 oz Pisco (1 1/2 oz Encanto)
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse (1/2 oz)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)
3/4 oz Pineapple Syrup (1/2 oz) (*)
4 dash Peychaud's Bitters (3 dash)

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with pineapple.
(*) 2 parts pineapple juice to 1 part sugar. Mix until dissolved, and heat until reduced by a third.

Two Tuesdays ago, I picked an interesting Pisco Punch variation from a Tasting Table collection called the Colonial. The recipe was crafted by Micah Wilder of Black Jack in Washington, D.C., and it subs Yellow Chartreuse and Peychaud's Bitters for the classic's gomme syrup.
micah wilder black jack washington DC the colonial pisco cocktail
The Colonial offered up herbal aromas and anise from the Chartreuse and Peychaud's, respectively. The lemon and pineapple combined with perhaps the bitters to provide a cherry-like note on the sip, and the pisco, Yellow Chartreuse, and Peychaud's rounded out the swallow.

old york flip

1 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1 oz Brown Crème de Cacao
1/3 oz Fernet Branca
1/4 oz Cream
Whole Egg

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

For a final drink at the Citizen, bartender Sean Frederick recommended the Old York Flip. The drink was created by Taylor Corrigan of Origin in Toronto who was sitting a few seats down to our left that night; Sean had met Taylor when they were both cocktail apprentices at Tales of the Cocktail in 2011. Old York is a reference to the name of a city that later became incorporated into Toronto in the 19th century.
taylor corrigan origin toronto old york flip
The Old York Flip greeted the senses with a chocolate and nutmeg aroma. A creamy, malty sip gave way to a chocolaty swallow with a light menthol finish. Indeed, the combination of cacao, cream, and Fernet worked well here as it did in the Fernet Alexander I crafted during my tour of the Anvil's 100 Drink list.

Friday, November 23, 2012

act of union

1 1/2 oz Virginia Highland Malt Whisky
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Lemon
1/4 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup

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

At the Citizen Public House, Andrea started by asking for the Act of Union from bartender Sean Frederick. The drink features a whisky produced by the Virginia Distillery Company; the VDC purchased a Highland malt whisky from Scotland and finished it in port-style wine casks from a local Virginia winery. The cocktail is most likely named after the Act of Union of 1707 which joined England and Scotland into Great Britain.
act of union vdc virgina highland malt whisky citizen public house boston sean frederick
The Act of Union's grapefruit twist provided much of the drink's initial aroma. A lemon and malt sip later gained Aperol flavors as the drink warmed up. Finally, the smoky almond swallow showcased how surprisingly well Scotch and orgeat pair together.

new stone wall

1 1/2 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
1/2 oz Banks 5 Island Rum
1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I ventured over to the Citizen Public House after getting Tasty Burger for dinner. There, bartenders Sean Frederick and Sabrina Kershaw were eager to show off the new menu items on their drink list. For a start, I asked Sean for the New Stone Wall which is their modern reinterpretation of the rum and hard cider Stone Wall (or Fence). Actually, the spirit in the Stone Wall can vary by locale and time period, and the one from Green Street in the link is made with Bourbon instead.
new stone wall apple rum citizen public house
True to the original, the New Stone Wall offered up an apple aroma. The apple joined the lime juice in the sip, and it continued on into the swallow where it communed with the Amaro Montenegro's herbal and cinnamon syrup's spice notes.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

white birch fizz

1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin (Cold River)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Strega
1/2 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a Highball glass containing 2 oz of soda water. Garnish with a spritz of Suze (10 drops Salers).

After the Swiss Guard, we were still in an apricot mood. So when I spotted the White Birch Fizz in the P.D.T. Cocktail Book, it was time for another drink. The recipe was created by John DeBary who named the Fizz after the street he grew up on, namely White Birch Lane in Cos Cob, CT.
white birch fizz pdt john debarry
The gentian liqueur garnish contributed to the White Birch Fizz's aroma, and later the drink's nose was a bit more apricot driven. The carbonated herbal lemon sip led into an apricot and gin swallow that possessed a bounty of savory Strega flavors. The egg white did function to sooth the apricot and Strega's intensity though.

swiss guard

1 1/2 oz Farmer's Gin
1/2 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot
1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass rinsed with Kübler Absinthe (1/8 oz).
corpse reviver #2 northstar bartenders guild cocktail swiss guard
Two Saturdays ago, I spotted the Swiss Guard in North Star Cocktails which seemed like a delightful apricot for orange Corpse Reviver #2 variation. The recipe was created by Rob Jones who tends bar at Meritage in St. Paul, Minnesota; Swiss guards are the colorful protectors of the Vatican, and the name may be a nod to the Swiss absinthe used in the drink. The Swiss Guard offered an absinthe and apricot aroma with hints of lemon. Next, the lemon and the Cocchi's wine filled the sip, and the swallow began with apricot and gin and finished with anise notes from the absinthe. As the drink warmed up, it became less apricot forward. Overall, the drink reminded me of a citrus version of a Self Starter.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

fo swizzle my nizzle

1 2/3 oz Gin (Grand Ten's Wireworks)
2/3 oz Cynar
2/3 oz Lemon Juice
2/3 oz Simple Syrup
1 pinch Celery Salt (1 pinch salt + 6 drop celery bitters)

Build in a tall glass, fill with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill. Top off with more crushed ice, garnish with mint sprigs, and add a straw.

As I was flipping through Tom Sandham's World's Best Cocktails two Fridays ago, I spotted a page with drink recipes created by Nick van Tiel. Nick was the DJ who ran the show in the downstairs of Locke Ober during The Thing event in October; he is also an ambassador for Pernod-Ricard's English Gins including Plymouth and Beefeater. Not surprisingly, his page was full of gin recipes and the one I picked also had a music-themed name à la Snoop Dog, Fo Swizzle My Nizzle.
nick van tiel gin swizzle world's best cocktails
The Swizzle's mint garnish offered an aroma that preceded the lemon and light caramel sip. The swallow then presented the gin and Cynar mellowed by the salt with perhaps hints of celery. Overall, it was a pleasing fruity, herbal, and slightly complex gin Swizzle.

hair of the lion

2 oz Appleton Estate Reserve Rum
1/2 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

After the Tailor of Panama, we were still in a rum mood, so I suggested the Hair of the Lion from the North Star Cocktails book created by North Star Bartenders Guild's Adam Harness. The drink is a rum and egg white version of the classic Bourbon-based Lion's Tale. I always found the original's call for Bourbon to be odd as the other ingredients suggest a rum-based Tiki number; in addition, Bourbon and lime never seem as natural of a pairing as rum and lime (or Bourbon and lemon) do.
hair of the lion lion's tale pimento allspice dram north star cocktails
The nutmeg garnish's spice complemented the aged rum notes on the nose. The creamy caramel and lime sip was followed by a rum swallow and an allspice finish. Indeed, the Hair of the Lion brings the Lion's Tail more in line with the rum drink I imagine that it should be. Finally, I am not sure if Adam is suggesting that this drink should be a breakfast hair of the dog-style libation, but I might be game to try it sometime like that.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

tailor of panama

1 1/2 oz Aged Rum (Ryan & Woods Folly Cove)
3/4 oz Lillet Blanc (Cocchi Americano)
1/2 oz Cynar

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass rinsed with oloroso sherry (1/4 oz Lustau) and containing a large ice cube. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Two Wedensdays ago, I searched through the additional recipes for the November/December Imbibe Magazine issue on their website. The drink that called out to us was the Tailor of Panama from Jenn Agg at Toronto's Black Hoof. I have to assume that the aged rum Jenn uses is Panamanian, but the only rum we have owned from Panama, Ron de Jeremy, was only a small sample and now is gone. In its place, I reached for Ryan & Wood's Folly Cove Rum that they make up in Gloucester, MA.
tailor of panama jenn agg the black hoof toronto
The lemon twist added to the sherry's grape and nutty aroma. The rum and Cynar's caramel richness worked well with Cocchi Americano's wine and hint of citrus on the sip. Finally, the rum, sherry, and Cynar's bitter notes filled the swallow.

a bolsy move

1 1/2 oz Bols Genever
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Bitters (*)

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.
(*) Originally, the recipe was crafted with wormwood bitters. To make it more accessible, the recipe was changed to a dash each Angostura and peach.

After the Fernet Branca Barback Games at the Royale, I returned to the Downtown Crossing area and stopped into J.M. Curley. Obviously it was a popular post-games destination since I recognized a handful of people from the event were there catching a nightcap. And there were a few others I did not recognize but knew from where they got their fresh new Fernet hats or shirts. For a drink, I asked bartender Tracy Latimer for A Bolsy Move.
The cocktail offered up a malty aroma with a hint of fruit. The lemon joined the richness of the cherry brandy on the sip, and the swallow showcased the rest of the Cherry Heering flavor along with botanical notes from the Bols Genever and Yellow Chartreuse.

Monday, November 19, 2012

nana's rocker

2 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
3/4 oz Pedro Ximenez Sherry
1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass with ice. Add straws.
russell house tavern john mcelroy cocktail nana's rocker
For my second drink, I asked bar manager Sam Gabrielli for the Nana's Rocker; Sam mentioned that the recipe was created by bartender John McElroy. Nana's Rocker offered up an apple and grape aroma. Lime and grape flavors filled the sip, and the swallow began with tart apple notes and ended with Amaro Montenegro's herbal and bitter elements. With the apple and spice, the Nana's Rocker was perfect for the autumnal season.

fratelli sling

2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
3/4 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice cubes and 1 1/2 oz soda water. Float a 1/4 oz of Fernet Branca, garnish with an orange twist, and add a straw.
russell house tavern fernet branca fratelli sling sam gabrielli
Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I ventured over to Russell House Tavern. For a first drink, I asked bar manager Sam Gabrielli for the Fratelli Sling. Sam mentioned that this was bartender Adam Hockman's creation; its name puts it in the same league as the Fratelli Fizz and Fratelli Flip (although the Flip is an Averna drink). The Sling began with an orange oil and Fernet Branca aroma. A carbonated lemon, honey, and malt sip led into a rye and Fernet swallow.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

the vellocet

This month's Mixology Monday theme, "Garnish Grandiloquence" (MxMo LXVII), was picked by Joseph Tkach of the Measure and Stir blog. Joseph's challenge was "I'm always shocked by the way that an orange peel or a lemon peel can transform the experience of drinking a mixed drink from something mundane to something magical. In a similar vein, eating the olive in a martini will totally transform the imbiber's perception of the drink. So this Mixology Monday, let's really make a study of art of the garnish, by mixing up drinks where the garnish plays a central role in the experience of the drink... This type of garnish is traditionally in the realm of tiki, but you could mix anything, so long as the garnish is the star of the show."

In thinking of what garnishes have been the star of the show, one of the things that I latched on to was fire. Drinks like the Rubicon, Cradle of Life, and Krakatoa have been quite memorable due to the flames involved in the process or in the garnish itself. I soon realized that there was a drink I had not yet made that fit the bill in Beta Cocktails.  The Vellocet, created by the Cure's Kirk Estopinal, is probably A Clockwork Orange reference for an amphetamine:
There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar trying to make up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening. The Korova milkbar sold milk-plus, milk plus vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom, which is what we were drinking. This would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultra-violence.
I hoped that this drink would not set me in the mood for some of the old ultra-violence, but with a little over 2 ounces of 110 proof Green Chartreuse, it was almost as likely as me getting sleepy as revved up. Instead of being solely for show like in the Cradle of Life, the fire in the Vellocet transformed a garnish as it did the Rubicon. In place of the Rubicon's rosemary, the fire affected sprigs of mint. The recipe is as follows:
The Vellocet
• 2 oz Green Chartreuse
• 1 1/4 oz Pineapple Juice
• 3/4 oz Lime Juice
• 1/2 oz Falernum (Velvet)
• 2 dash Angostura Bitters
• 2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
Build in a Collins glass, fill with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill. Garnish with a mint sprig, and pour 1/4 oz of flaming Green Chartreuse over the mint Blue Blazer-style so as to burn the mint.
Unlike the other drinks I mentioned, the flames in the Vellocet were very short lived. Spectacular with the lights out, but once the flaming liquid hit the top of the crushed ice, it did not last too much longer and there was no need to blow out the flames.  I believe the strong glow in the upper right of the photo is the metal jigger doing the fire pouring.
vellocet kirk estopinal cure beta cocktails fire
The burning Chartreuse charred the garnish's leaves such that a burnt herbal note reminiscent of college joined the mint aroma. The sip was full of lime and flowed into a pineapple and Green Chartreuse swallow. Next, the Vellocet finished with clove from the falernum as well as other spice elements from the bitters. Aside from the flamed mint, the drink was not all too different from the Chartreuse Swizzle.
vellocet kirk estopinal cure beta cocktails clockwork orange
Cheers to Joseph from Measure and Stir for giving me an excuse to light things on fire and for hosting this month's Mixology Monday!

Friday, November 16, 2012

saucy sue

1 1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
1 1/2 oz Laird's Applejack
1 barspoon Absinthe
1 barspoon Rothman & Winter Apricot Liqueur

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

For a second drink at Brick & Mortar, I asked bartender Kenny Bolanger if there were any drinks from recent Spin the Bottle events. The one he selected for me was the Saucy Sue from the night that Emily Isenberg DJed. The Saucy Sue recipe appears in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book with Calvados instead of the less intensely flavored applejack that was served here; regardless, both drinks are major slugs of booze only diluted by ice melt during stirring. Given the era and location, Saucy Sue was not a lover of stiff drinks, but a top-rated British racehorse during the 20s and 30s. This would put the drink in the fine class of horse racing drinks including the Suburban, Aqueduct, and Brown Jack. In addition, I was surprised that I could not find a LUPEC broad named Saucy Sue; the drink does appear in LUPEC Boston's Little Black Book of Cocktails on founding member MiMi's page though.
saucy sue cocktail savoy brick & mortar cambridge lupec
The orange twist contributed to the apple and apricot aroma. A dry apple sip led into a fruity and alcohol heat-laden swallow from the apple, grape, and apricot brandies. Finally, the barspoon of absinthe reared its head on the finish.

best in show

1 1/2 oz Ransom Old Tom Gin
1 oz Combier Pamplemousse Grapefruit Liqueur
1/4 (1/2?) oz Aveze Gentian Liqueur (*)

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.
(*) I recorded this as 1/4 oz from Misty's dictation, but Misty put it up on Kindred Cocktails as 1/2 oz.

Two Sundays ago was my friend's surprise birthday held at Brick & Mortar. For a first drink, I asked bartender Cory Buono for the Best in Show. I had tried a predecessor of this when I asked Misty if she could come up with a Fix other than the Temporary Fix; to the combination of Old Tom gin, grapefruit liqueur, and gentian liqueur, Misty added in some lemon juice as well as crushed ice.
brick & mortar central square cambridge misty kalkofen
The Best in Show offered up a grapefruit aroma tempered by herbal notes from either the Aveze or the gin. The sip presented a grapefruit flavor that was less bright than juice but less rich than peel, and the grapefruit continued on into the swallow as a soft peel note. Finally, the swallow ended with the gin and gentian elements. Overall, the Best in Show came across like a grapefruit-instead-of-orange, caramel-free Amer Picon.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

twelve rounds

3/4 oz Ardbeg 10 Year Scotch (Caol Ila 12 Year)
3/4 oz Galliano Liqueur
3/4 oz Combier Orange Liqueur (Cointreau)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 barspoon Absinthe (Obsello)

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

When we went to Central in Portland during their cocktail week, we discovered that there was a Campari and Del Maguey-sponsored event going on that night with drinks made by a pair of New York City bartenders. While I enjoyed the Deck Hand and First Rodeo, it did not give me a sense of what Central's bar program was about save for their beautiful vintage glassware. Therefore, I asked Central's Dustin Knox for a few recipes that appear on the current menu so that we could experience his bar's recipe craftsmanship at home.
portland central dustin knox twelve rounds cocktail
One of these drinks, the Twelve Rounds, appeared like a Scotch-based Corpse Reviver No. 2 variation. The drink's nose was a smoke, lemon, and vanilla aroma. Lemon and orange flavors on the sip were chased by smokey Scotch and Galliano's star anise on the swallow.

the archie bunker

2 oz Pisco
1/2 oz Angostura Bitters
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
1 Egg White

Shake the egg white, pisco, and juices. Add simple syrup and ice, and shake again. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a mint sprig.
pisco sour variation angostura bitters cocktail
On The Pisco Book website, there are additional recipes not included in the book. One that caught my eye was an intense Pisco Sour variation called the Archie Bunker. The recipe was attributed to a Patrick from San Francisco without much other information provided. Once mixed, the mint garnish coupled with the cherrywood and clove spices in the Angostura Bitters on the nose. Next, the creamy cherry and citrus sip was followed by pisco as well as allspice and other Angostura notes on the swallow.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


1 1/2 oz Batavia Arrack
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
1/2 oz Earl Grey Syrup (1:1)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass containing a large ice cube. Garnish with a lemon wheel and freshly grated cinnamon.

Two Fridays ago, I searched through the November/December issue of Imbibe Magazine that had just arrived. In the Batavia Arrack section were three drinks including Deep Ellum's Western Passage (strangely listed with Yellow Chartreuse instead of the Green Chartreuse they serve it with in Allston). One of the other two was the Bushwacked by Peter Vestinos of BellyQ in Chicago which called out to me with its tea syrup.
peter vestinos BellyQ chicago cocktail
The Bushwacked presented a lemon, cherry, and cinnamon aroma that later gained notes from the Earl Grey tea. A dry lemon and cherry sip led into a funky Batavia Arrack, black tea, and bergamot peel swallow.

algernon's afterparty

1 3/4 oz Death's Door Gin
1/2 oz St. Germain
1/4 oz Senior Curaçao
1/4 oz Absinthe (La Fee Verte)
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
3 drop Orange Blossom Water

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

Two Thursdays ago, I flipped through my new purchase of the North Star Cocktails and selected Algernon's Afterparty. The drink was created by Rob Jones who now tends bar at Minneapolis' Saffron; while there is no indication of who Algernon is, perhaps the floral elements in this drink caused him to name the drink after Flowers for Algernon.
north star cocktails algernon's afterparty st. germain gin
The Algernon's Afterparty offered up a citrus and absinthe aroma with a hint of orange blossom water. A crisp grapefruit and orange sip was joined by the fruit note in St. Germain, and the swallow began with gin and St. Germain's floral elements and finished with the absinthe's anise. Andrea commented that the drink was akin to a more complex Corpse Reviver #2, and I replied that it was a bit more citrus juice-driven though.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

blackthorne variation

1 3/4 oz Jameson Black Barrel Irish Whiskey
1 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
1 barspoon Kübler Absinthe
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.

On Halloween, we spent the evening at a fundraising event at No. 9 Park for Barbara Lynch's Meet the Worms organization. One of the drinks on the bar menu was a variation on the Blackthorn, a drink I had as I made my way through Anvil's 100 Drink List back in 2009. When I inquired about the origins of Green Chartreuse in their version, I got a simple answer that it tastes better that way; in the end, I had no argument to their rationale.
no. 9 park cocktail blackthorn irish whiskey
The addition of Green Chartreuse took over on the nose from the original's anise aroma from the absinthe. A dry wine and malt sip led into a Green Chartreuse swallow that ended with a light absinthe finish. Definitely, the Green Chartreuse shifted the drink's balance away from the Dry Manhattan-like feel of the classic and closer to a St. Moritz or Tipperary.

old bill

1 1/2 oz Morenita Cream Sherry
3/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
3/4 oz Appleton Rum
2 dash Fee's Orange Bitters
2 dash Angostura Bitters

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

Two Tuesdays ago, we ventured over to Highland Kitchen for drinks. When I asked bartender Jimmy Lane for the Old Bill, he commented that it was the drink he expected me to pick. Their recipe is a variation of one created by San Francisco's Neyah White that Will Quackenbush had put on the menu.
highland kitchen somerville jimmy lane will quackenbush neyah white cocktail
The Old Bill began with a funky and fruity sherry aroma that was joined by the Maraschino and orange oil notes. The grape, cherry, and aged rum's richness filled the sip, and the swallow began with the nutty sherry and ended with the Maraschino and Angostura's spice. Indeed, there was a bit of synergy between the nutty sherry and Maraschino notes on the swallow. Moreover, I was surprised that a quarter of this drink was Maraschino for it did not overwhelm the balance.

Monday, November 12, 2012

dueling banjos

2 oz High Rye-content Bourbon (Bulleit)
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1 tsp Green Chartreuse
1 tsp Luxardo Maraschino

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

For a nightcap after Trina's Starlite Lounge, I decided to make a drink I spotted in Tom Sandham's World's Best Cocktails called the Dueling Banjos. The recipe was created by Damian Windsor of Los Angeles' Roger Room and seemed like it would be a good transition from the Last Word variation I had with its shared Green Chartreuse and Maraschino ingredients.
los angeles roger room damian windsor duelling banjos
The Dueling Banjos' orange twist and its Bourbon filled the aroma along with a hint of the Green Chartreuse. Malt, grape, and Maraschino's cherry on the sip fell way to Bourbon at the beginning of the swallow. Lastly, the end of the swallow offered Chartreuse's herbal and Maraschino's nutty flavors.

:: boston's best dive bars ::

boston's best dive bars luke o'neil weeklydigAfter reviewing Stephanie Schorow's Drinking Boston book, I decided it was time to tackle another Boston book I had in my pile, namely Luke O'Neil's Boston's Best Dive Bars: Drinking and Diving in Beantown. The book came out in 2011, but I was a little slow to purchase it for I felt that it did not represent my Boston. However, after flipping through it and seeing Somerville's Fasika in the list, I was sold. Fasika is an Ethiopian restaurant that was in Jamaica Plain and was forced to move; instead of staying in the neighborhood, they bought out the East Somerville dive, Coleman's Cafe, and opened in 2006 as a split Ethiopian restaurant and dive bar. The food on the restaurant side is rather good, and I have always been impressed at how the African clientele on the bar side mixes rather well with the old Coleman crew who laid stake to the spot regardless of who owns it. As I scan the bar index, I count a little over a dozen establishments I have been in during my 19 years here in Boston, a few more places that made the didn't-make-the-cut list, and many that I had walked or driven by. Of course there were probably more than that, but many have closed. Even during Luke's researching and writing of the book, places met their demise; that concept reminds me of how difficult it was to write the description of cocktail bars in my book as bar staff changed jobs during the few months that I wrote it.

That is definitely one recurrent theme in Luke's book -- a story of change and resistance to change. The dive bar with its cheap beer and food (if any) scrapes by, and as gentrification, rising property values, neighborhood antagonism, and other changes of neighborhood character occur, many of these places close or perhaps transform into upscale establishments. With liquor licenses fetching 6 figures these days, the temptation to sell it off is probably great.  But as the book describes, many of these places stand as time capsules of eras gone by with their furniture, demeanor, and loyal bar stool squatters.

Parts of Boston's Best Dive Bars reads like a Bukowski book, although Luke is less the drinker-brawler of Hank Chinaski and more the drinking-field researcher trying to fit in and not be at the wrong end of a pool stick beatdown. The book beautifully captures the decor, mood, clientele, and conversations he has with patrons and barstaff. Sometimes there are quotes from his friends and acquaintances that know the places well, and other times, Luke finds it best not to talk and only capture what is being yelled at the television or at others across the bar. Keno, cheap drinks, old men, XXL-sized Patriots jerseys, stale bags of potato chips, and jukebox tunes all make an appearances through out the write-ups.

Luke rates the places on a 1-5 scale in increasing dive-ability and danger. While there are a few 2s in the mix, I do not recall seeing a 1. With the places I knew, I would agree with the assessments although the Rosebud scoring a 5 kind of shocked me; the last time I was in there was when it was an Italian restaurant which was not all that seedy despite having no windows at all. Overall, I was impressed at how much field research and how many lost afternoons were spent compiling this book.

I was also impressed with the author's insight into dive bar truisms. Like how the youthful drinkers at Allston's Silhouette Lounge will drink in harmony with the "wobbly old-timers" that are future versions of themselves.  Or how sometimes at places like Shea's Tavern in South Boston "it's a pretty good idea to keep your head down and not look anyone in the eye. Dive bar drunks are like crocodiles or rhinos or whatever. Best not to show any outward signs of aggression..." Moreover, I was amused at his description of a character at Magoun Square's On the Hill Tavern not too far from where I live in Somerville. Luke's friend described him has "the sheriff. He just stands on the corner by the door and smokes cigarettes." However, my name for him is the Fire Marshall from when I used to walk by him years ago on the way to my East Somerville Muay Thai gym; he would hang out with two other locals at the bench outside the Dunkin' Donuts on Broadway and Rt. 28, and I have spotted him more recently standing guard on occasion in front of said Tavern.

Thinking back to Stephanie Schorow's book, she fetched a bit of her Colonial lore from Samuel Adams Drake's Old Boston Taverns and Tavern Clubs. The book was frequently quoted or re-written by others through the years (with or without attribution) as it was the best resource on Boston bars from that lost time period. In a way, what Luke O'Neil accomplished is capturing a snapshot of a parallel collection of Boston drinking establishments in a way that has not really been acquired in such a survey format before.

Luke's book is available on here: Boston's Best Dive Bars: Drinking and Diving in Beantown as well as at the Boston Shaker store in Somerville, MA (up the square from Sligo's and the Rosebud bar that the book covers -- feel free to stop by before or after).

Saturday, November 10, 2012

slurred word

1 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass.

Sunday after returning home from Portland Cocktail Week, Andrea and I went to Trina's Starlite Lounge for dinner. For a drink, I selected the Slurred Word from their Last Word and variations section of the menu. I have to assume that the slurred part of the drink is a nod to the potent Navy strength Smith & Cross Rum as the base spirit along with the overproof Green Chartreuse accent. The Slurred Word veers from the four equal parts recipe by inserting a fifth ingredient, pineapple juice, in the mix.
smith & cross rum last word trina's starlite lounge somerville
The funky Smith & Cross aroma filled the nose along with a fruit note from either the pineapple or Maraschino. Next, the lime and pineapple sip was followed by the rum at the beginning of the swallow and the Chartreuse and Maraschino at the end. Overall, the addition of pineapple fit in well here for it smoothed out the drink and worked well with the Green Chartreuse such that the lime paired more with the Maraschino instead. Moreover, Andrea commented that pineapple heightened the cinnamon-like note she finds in the Smith & Cross.  In addition, the drink was very different from Lineage's Smith & Cross Last Word variation, namely the Final Voyage.

matteo's word

3/4 oz Luxardo Limoncello
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Tuesday before the Fernet Barback Games, I stopped in to visit Josh Childs at Silvertone. Pardon me for going a little out of order here since this was not the first drink I had after getting back from Portland Cocktail Week; however, symbolically, it is the most important. The Matteo's Word, like many other drinks across town, are being put on menus in honor of Seattle's Murray Stenson who has recently fallen ill and requires heart surgery. Paul Clarke at The Cocktail Chronicles has done a good job summing up Murray as a person and a bartender. I have yet to make it out to Seattle and never had the honor of sitting at Murray's bar. But he did impress me when he was nominated at Tales of the Cocktail as bartender of the year, and he chose to stay behind the stick and keep serving his customers rather than receive his award and deserved media attention. Therefore, I know that Murray is in dire need if he is allowing this sort of fund raising and hoop-la to occur.
last word luxardo limoncello silvertone boston cocktails
The drink Silvertone has put on the menu with proceeds going to Murray's medical expenses was created by Matteo Luxardo as a variation of a Last Word. While the Last Word pre-dates Murray's birth, he is known for popularizing the recipe in the modern age. The variation Matteo created swapped the original's gin for limoncello. Indeed, the limoncello's lemon added to the drink's aroma along with the lime juice and herbal notes from the Chartreuse. The lemon-lime sip was followed by a Green Chartreuse and Maraschino swallow. Finally, the limoncello returned on the finish with clean citrus notes.

Ways to help Murray:
1. Donate to via Paypal.
2. There is a benefit tomorrow, Sunday November 11th, at J.M. Curley's in Boston from 7-11pm. I have contributed a pair of tiki mug-Drink&Tell book combos to the raffle that will be happening that night. For more 4-1-1, go to the This One For Murray Facebook page.
3. There are benefit drinks around town besides the one at Silvertone. Hawthorne, Brick & Mortar, Citizen, and No. 9 Park have confirmed drinks on the menu, and Trina's Starlite Lounge is in the works. Please leave a comment if I missed a bar or restaurant.
4. Check Twitter #MurrayAid for bartenders working shifts to donate their tips and wages to Murray. So far John Nugent at Silvertone and Scott Holliday at Rendezvous have generously done so.

Friday, November 9, 2012

penang afrididi #1

1 1/2 oz Don Q Cristal Rum
1 1/2 oz Flor de Caña 4 Year Gold Rum
3/4 oz B.G. Reynold's Passion Fruit Syrup
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/4 oz Lime Juice
6 drop Herbsaint

Blend with ~1 cup crushed ice and pour into a Pilsner glass. Garnish with a pineapple spear and add a straw.

On Thursday night during Portland Cocktail Week, we finally made our way over to Hale Pele for Tiki drinks. In between "thunderstorms" replete with rain waterfalls by the entrance, I perused the menu. While Andrea picked the housemade fermented pineapple juice-containing libation, I asked bartender Mindy Kucan for the classic Penang Afrididi. The house recipe follows the one that Beach Bum Berry provides in Sippin' Safari except this one uses Nicaraguan instead of Virgin Island for the amber rum and ups the passion fruit syrup by a quarter ounce. Berry lists the drink's history as being created around 1937 by Donn the Beachcomber and served at his Cabaret Restaurant in 1958.
hale pele tiki portland blair bg reynolds beachbum berry
The Penang Afrididi's pineapple garnish contributed greatly to the drink's bouquet. Next, a pineapple, lime, and orange sip was followed by passion fruit, more pineapple, and rum flavors on the swallow. Moreover, the swallow finished with a light degree of spice from the Herbsaint which was perhaps the last part of Hale Pele's drink description of "A light-hearted pineapple focused tropical drink with a hint of mystery."

moment in the sun

1 oz Laird's Applejack
1 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Honey Syrup (2:1)

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass containing a large ice cube.

After Metrovino in Portland, we were walking back to our hotel and Andrea wanted to catch a nightcap at Teardrop. She was a little envious that I had visited there without her on a night she wanted to catch up on sleep, so I decided to break my visit-things-once motif.  I requested from bartender Art the Moment in the Sun which was subtitled, "to fend off the shortening days; bold, bright, and sing-songy." It seemed like a perfect autumn cocktail, and it reminded me of the Prospector at Kask but with mezcal instead of Batavia Arrack (as well as no sparkling wine).
teardrop portland cocktail applejack mezcal pdxcw
The Moment in the Sun greeted the senses with a smoke, honey, and apple aroma. The lemon balanced by honey sip was chased by apple and smokey agave on the swallow. Indeed, the applejack, mezcal, and lemon ended up reminding me of No. 9 Park's Fire in the Orchard.

mai ta-ipa

2 oz Cruzan Aged Rum
1 1/2 oz Ninkasi IPA Beer
1 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz B.G. Reynolds Orgeat
1/2 oz Bols Triple Sec

Shake with ice and strain into an ice filled Collins glass. Garnish with a cherry and a cocktail umbrella (he was out when he made mine), and add a straw.

For my last drink at Metrovino in Portland, I asked bartender Jacob Grier for one of his famous beer cocktails. After he named off two, I stopped him and asked for the beer-laden Mai Tai variation called the Mai Ta-IPA. His rationale for mixing in the beer was to add a hint of bitterness from the hops to the classic Mai Tai which is more of a sweet-sour drink. While Jacob sometimes makes this drink with a split of aged and white rums, here he made it with a lighter bodied aged one.
beer cocktail mai tai ta-ipa jacob grier metrovino portland
Whatever housemade cherry recipe Metrovino uses paid generously in the aroma department where it joined the beer's hops. The lime and malt sip was chased by sweet hoppy beer, rum, almond, and orange liqueur flavors on the swallow. Indeed, the addition of beer to the classic IPA added an intriguing effect -- both lightening the body while contributing bitter notes for contrast.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

walking spanish

1 oz Bols Genever
3/4 oz Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz Cardamaro
1/2 oz St. Germain

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

The drink Andrea started with at Metrovino was one that I had been eying too. Bartender Jacob Grier actually took his inspiration from a Boston-born drink, Stephen Shellenberger's Alto Cucina. I later found on Jacob's blog the origin of the drink's name. He writes, "The name comes from the Tom Waits song, which few customers recognize but I love it when they do. 'Walking Spanish' is used as slang for the prisoner's stoic final walk on Death Row, or more generally for going somewhere unpleasant against one's will." The Spanish origin of the sherry was the tie-in with the name.
jacob grier bols genever metrovino portland walking spanish
The orange twist's oils joined the Genever's malt on the nose. A sweet grape and malt sip was followed by strong nutty sherry notes and subtle St. Germain, Cardamaro, and Genever-derived floral and botanical ones.

midnight shift

1 1/2 oz Novo Fogo Gold Cachaça
3/4 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/4 oz Galliano
2 dash Mole Bitters
1 dash Absinthe

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange twist and add a straw.

Wednesday night during Portland Cocktail Week, we walked over to Metrovino to sit at Jacob Grier's bar. I have been following Jacob since his early blogging days, and we have made some of his drinks, including the Mexican Turnover and Curse of Scotland, at home. Therefore, it was a moral imperative to make it over to his bar when we were in town.
portland metrovino jacob grier midnight shift novo fogo cynar
The cocktail I started with was the cachaça-based Midnight Shift. The drink's orange twist played heavily into the aroma and led into a caramel and grape sip. The swallow offered up the grassy cachaça flavors, Cynar's brooding herbal notes, Galliano's vanilla and star anise, and the absinthe's anise followed by a lingering funk from the sugar cane spirit.

:: blogger to writer ::

blogger writer cocktail getting paid paul clarke lou bustamonte greg harned imbibe seriouseats tastingtable food&wine sfweeklyAfter my talk on Wednesday at Portland Cocktail Week, there was a Drink-Write seminar on how to make the transition from blogger to writer. The three panelists were Lou Bustamonte of SFWeekly, TastingTable, and Food&Wine, Paul Clarke of CocktailChronicles, Imbibe, and TastingTable, and Greg Harned of SeriousEats and Hoochlife. Instead of writing out the quotes and comments chronologically, I will organize them by speaker:

Paul Clarke:
• Blogging has no word counts, no deadlines, no editor. It serves as a good resumé to show off your knowledge base.
• When approaching a publication, understand them and their angle to show that you have done your homework.
• In building up a community of writer friends, you can bitch about bad editors as well as send work your friends way. The Mixoloseum chatroom was a great resource for that.
• Rule #1: Do not be an asshole. Maintain visibility with an editor but keep it short with at most 2-3 ideas pitched. Send a few items and wait a week or two, then send a brief reminder email. If no follow up, wait a month or two. If not, let it go and learn to take a hint.
• Trend stories! Editors love the "top 5 or 10 best/hottest ____" articles.
• The most fun stories are related to people. You can get a lot of mileage on a profile on a crazy distiller or other. Pitch story and mention the people.
• Work for free (once you are established)? Hell no! (*) Unless you are doing it for yourself.
• "Fuck you, pay me." Problems with editors in regard to scope creep, expansion with or without pay expansion. Need to set up parameters to be clear about what is expected from you and from them (i.e.: payment terms and deadlines).
• Paul recommended the Smile When You're Lying: Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer book.
• Give no guarantees that you'll write about anything if you get something sent.
• Remember that glossy national magazines can still screw you over. Hierarchies of editors can end up causing a lot of editing requests. Fewer the better (i.e.: 2-5), but it only takes 1 editor to ruin your life.
• Show up to events, get to know people, be the face of your blog and your writing.

Lou Bustamonte:
• The weeklies are a great place to get a start. They generate a lot of content online, they pay, and look great on resumés.
• For freelancing, write and reach out with some ideas and pitches. Understand their style and house voice. Pitch ideas smartly. Do not overwhelm but keep communication going. Be nice and not too pestering.
• Build up a community of other writers. Talk to each other about good and bad sites; know what places to avoid.
• Doing things for free does not help you in any way once you are established (unlike doing a restaurant stage).
• Be transparent and honest especially when you are being paid off with a free product.

Greg Harned:
• A blog is a great means of building a compendium or portfolio of your work to reference for a new job.
• Learn how to pitch and market ideas to create a role for yourself.
• Writing needs to be leading to something (although not necessarily a direct correlation). Doing things for exposure (like podcasts and talk shows) for free, for example, is good.
• Go to more events, be more involved in community, and value networking highly. Meet as many new people as possible -- not always as a direct path but put out as many spokes to form a hub.

:: publishing your book ::

Below is the audio for the talk I gave with Natalie Bovis and Dave Stolte on publishing books. The moderator for the session was Camper English who provided this summary:
This seminar will give you the information needed to get your book idea into print, in one of three ways. Our speakers are Dave Stolte, author of the Kickstarter-funded Home Bar Basics; Frederic Yarm, author of the self-published Drink & Tell: A Boston Cocktail Book; and Natalie Bovis, who scored a two-book deal with a traditional publisher and since published a third. We’ll hear and how and why they published the way they did and open the floor to questions
publishing book natalie bovis dave stolte fred frederic yarm camper english portland cocktail week pdxcw
(photo from Natalie Bovis)
Click here to listen: DrinkWrite Seminar: Publishing Your Book, October 24, 2012 (for streaming or download).

portland cocktail week pdxcw natalie bovis frederic yarm dave stolteNatalie's Books:
Edible Cocktails: From Garden to Glass
Preggatinis: Mixology for the Mom-to-Be
The Bubbly Bride: Your Ultimate Wedding Cocktail Guide

Dave's Book:
Home Bar Basics (and Not-So-Basics)
or via his site's store: Home Bar Basics (and Not-So-Basics)

Fred's Book:
Drink & Tell: A Boston Cocktail Book

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

:: drink porn 101 ::

pdxcw portland cocktail week seminar photography jennifer farringtonThe first talk of the day on Wednesday at Portland Cocktail Week was given by Jennifer Farrington who I know best as the main photographer for Left Coast Libations amongst other projects. The title of her talk was "Drink Porn 101: Know Your ISO from Your Aperture."

Even though most photography these days is done with digital cameras instead of film-based ones, the basic concepts are still the same. The key to the image is the exposure which is all about the light or balancing the light and the dark.

ISO (or ASA): A measure of the film or sensor's light sensitivity. The higher the number, the more sensitive.
• Big ISO = grainier, more pixelated image
• Small ISO = tighter image
• If in low light = want a big ISO
• If in bright light= want a small ISO

Shutter Speed: The amount of time light is captured. Expressed as 1/x seconds.
• Small shutter speed = longer time open so blurry, light drag (i.e.: 1/2 second)
• Big shutter speed = shorter time open so sharp, freeze action (i.e.: 1/1000 second)
• Low light = want smaller shutter speed
• Bright light = want bigger shutter speed

Aperture: The size of the opening letting in light once the shutter opens.
• Small aperture (i.e. f2.8) = big hole, shallow depth of field
• Big aperture (i.e. f32) = small hole, wide depth of field
• Low light = small aperture needed
• Bright light = big aperture needed

Jennifer offered up a handy way to understand aperture. By making a small hole by curling over your index finger, hold your thumb out about 8 inches away. Note how you can focus on both your thumb and the distant wall in the background (i.e.: small hole, wide depth of field). Now open that hole up by sliding your curled index finger closer to that hand's thumb. Repeat the viewing of the other hand's thumb and the wall; note how you have to make a choice on which to focus on (i.e.: big hole, shallow depth of field).

• Get it. Beg, borrow, steal it.
• McGyver it using a light box, flashlights, smart phones, laptop with a white screen, candles, tea lights, walls, and windows.
• Utilize coasters for contrast. White will bounce light onto the glass and help.
• When using a flash, it will blow out what is closest. Put something dark behind the object so it will not be blown out.
• On-camera flash will often flatten the image. Trying to bounce the light can help.
• Detached flash at different angles and distances from the camera can produce a variety of effects.

Stabilize the camera:
• If you must shoot at small (slow) shutter speeds, stabilizing the camera is essential.
• Go in tight with the body (such as arms against the chest) for stability.
• Ground yourself (à la yoga)
• Setting the camera's timer so there is no jostling in pushing the button.

Shooting Angle:
• To personify the bottle, shoot upward at it.
• To make a person look heroic, shoot upward.
• To make a person look more flattering, shoot downward.

Digital Settings:
• Web: 72 dpi
• Print: 300 dpi
• Tif with LZW compression is the most popular file format.

To tell a narrative, perspective, scale, angle, distance (close up vs. panorama) will all play a role.

white buddha

2 oz Blanco Tequila
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1 oz Cucumber Syrup (1:1)
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Heavy Cream
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with. Double strain into a Highball glass containing 1+ oz soda water. Garnish with 5-6 thin cucumber slices on a skewer and add a straw.

After leaving Central, we bumped into Jabriel Donohue, Portland's Drambuie equivalent to Boston's Tara Feely, walking by on the street (Jabriel is also the creator of the Pantorium). When we mentioned that we were looking for a late night dining spot, he recommended Lúc Lác. Daniel, the bartender at Teardrop, had also recommended that spot the night before, so with that double nod of approval, we set out. Lúc Lác is a Vietnamese place that opened a year and a half a go and serves a mean bowl of Pho. What we were not told is that they have a cocktail program as well. Adam, one of the two co-owners, described how the Portland community taught him how to bartend, and his proficient technique seemed to indicate the high level of instruction he was gifted.
luc lac Lúc Lác portland cocktail ramos cucumber
The menu item that caught my eye was the White Buddha which was a Ramos-style Fizz. The pairing of cucumber and Green Chartreuse reminded me of LUPEC Boston's Irma La Douce and perhaps the cucumber and Yellow Chartreuse Down at the Dinghy from Chez Henri's Rob Kraemer too. Here, the cucumber garnish contributed greatly to the drink's aroma. The creamy, carbonated sip yielded lime notes and vegetal ones from the cucumber. Next, the swallow offered tequila, Green Chartreuse, and cucumber flavors. The White Buddha was truly a delight to drink and complemented the cuisine superbly; indeed, I ran into someone at the Portland Cocktail Week USBG party a day later who was raving about this particular drink as well.

first rodeo

1/2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1/2 oz El Tesoro Tequila
3/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
3/4 oz Yellow Chartruese
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Sink 1/4+ oz Campari.

The other drink I had at Central in Portland from Jade Brown Godfrey of Brooklyn's Bellweather was the First Rodeo. With Maraschino, Chartreuse, citrus, and spirit, the First Rodeo shared some similarities with the Last Word when being built despite having slightly shifted proportions. However, once the Campari was poured over the top and attractively sank to the bottom of the coupe Tequila Sunrise-style, it changed my thinking about the drink.
The mezcal and tequila components contributed greatly to the First Rodeo's nose. Lemon and Maraschino's cherry filled the sip, and the swallow showcased the agave, smoke, and savory Yellow Chartreuse flavors. Later, as the Campari began to enter the swallow, the Maraschino curiously switched from appearing in the sip to in the swallow.

deck hand

1 oz Bols Genever
1 oz Cardamaro
3/4 oz Kronan Swedish Punsch
3/4 oz Campari

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass containing a large ice cube. Twist a lemon peel over the top (this was omitted on my drink but included in others).

Tuesday evening after meeting with Natalie Bovis and Dave Stolte about our talk the next day at Portland Cocktail Week, I rendezvoused with Andrea and we headed over to Central. I had met Central's owner Dustin Knox while out at the Woodsman Tavern, so we put the bar on the list we were assembling throughout the week. When we showed up, it turned out to be a Campari and Del Maguey-sponsored event for cocktail week with two bartenders from New York City. I had no complaints about the products or the drinks; however, I felt denied of experiencing Central's menu. Therefore, I asked Dustin for a recipe or two that we could make at home (one of those drinks will appear on the blog next week) to get a better idea of what their drink program is about.
While Andrea was trying out the drinks of Marshall Altier of Manhattan's JBird, I focused on the libations Jade Brown Godfrey from Brooklyn's Bellweather. The first drink I tried was Jade's Deck Hand. The Genever aroma led into a malty sip with hints of bitter notes peaking through. The swallow was a combination of the Cardamaro's grape and the Campari's bitterness finishing with the Genever's wormwood and other herbal notes.