Monday, December 17, 2012


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

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

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


Jordan said...

I just looked up the liquor/cordial law in MA. Your state has the most bizarre liquor laws ever. This is relevant to me since Boston is one of the most likely places for me to find a job after I'm done with grad school.

frederic said...

Boston seems to be the opposite of Portland, OR. In Portland, liquor licenses are cheap and uncapped but spirit costs are high (bar cost of $70/bottle of Chartreuse?). In Boston, liquor licenses are limited and expensive, and once one is freed up, it can go for $250-450k; however, liquor prices are pretty reasonable.

Blue laws affecting alcohol date back to pre-Prohibition Temperance movements and they have been pretty hard to shake here. The cordial license was a way to expand things so Italian restaurants could serve traditional after dinner drinks. Perhaps surmise that there were corrupt politicians, liquor companies, and restaurant owners in action, and the laws created a new class.

Some spirits are allowed in cordial licenses because there is sugar in them. Crema mezcal, Old Tom Gin, some rums, flavored vodkas, etc. Other spirits, there is no explanation. I think eau de vie's are allowed so Clear Creek Apple Brandy is okay, but Laird's Applejack is not. The restaurant can buy what ever the distributor says they are allowed to sell.

In Facebook relationship terms: It's complicated.

There are only a handful of cordial license restaurants who have put together serious bar programs despite the restrictions. Coppa, Estragon, and a few others do well.

Lauren Clark of DrinkBoston did her best to cover this: