Thursday, February 28, 2013

lani kai sling

1 oz White Rhum Agricole (Vale d' Paul Aguardente Nova de Santo Antão)
1 oz El Dorado 3 Year White Rum
1/4 oz Cherry Heering
1/4 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz Grenadine
1/4 oz Cointreau
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with an umbrella, cherry, and pineapple wedge (omitted) and add a straw.

Two Fridays ago, we began the evening with the a drink from Food & Wine: Cocktails 2012. It was the Lani Kai Sling from Julie Reiner's variations of the Singapore Sling. Since I enjoyed the drinks I had at Lani Kai before it closed, including the Pacific Swizzle and La Rosa, I was game to give this one a try. I lamented that my garnish game would not be anywhere as good as if I had ordered this Sling at Lani Kai, and I left this one unadorned in defeat.
lanikai sling
The Sling began with a pineapple aroma that shared a vague cherry-fruitiness. A lime, pineapple, and cherry sip led into a swallow offering the complex funky rums, light herbal spice notes, and a lingering pineapple finish. Instead of a rhum agricole, I opted for a Cape Verdean sugar cane rum that is produced in a similar way, and I found that it paired exceptionally well with the pineapple in the drink.

basilica cocktail.

1 oz Cocchi Americano
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/2 oz Suze (Salers Gentiane Liqueur)
1/2 oz Campari
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Build in an Old Fashioned Glass, add a large ice cube, and stir. Garnish with an orange twist.

For Valentine's Day two weeks ago, I decided to make a drink I spotted in Josh Childs' column in He pitted Heather Mojer of Hungry Mother against her boyfriend Evan Harrison now of Highland Kitchen to see who could come up with a better drink for the holiday. Since we lacked the strawberry-infused Tequila Por Mi Amante to make Heather's, I decided to give Evan's Basilica Cocktail a go. Evan based his drink off of the Old Hickory, a cocktail he prefers on date nights since the low alcohol of an aperitif-style libation keeps him in his game, but the drink still looks like a stiff drink. The other connection to Valentine's Day was the reddish hue of the drink.
valentine's day cocktail evan harrison highland kitchen somerville ma
The twist's orange oils worked well with the Campari's aroma. The Basilica offered a surprisingly thick mouthfeel to the grape sip, and this was followed by a citrusy gentian and Campari swallow. Overall, the drink was pleasantly light but still plenty complex.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

white lion (variation)

2 oz Añejo Rum
1/2 oz Housemade Falernum
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with mint and 2-3 dash of house aromatic bitters (sub Angostura), and add a straw.

Two Wednesdays ago, we traveled over to Allston to Deep Ellum for dinner. For a drink, I asked bartender Jen Salucci about the White Lion since the ingredient list was not the same as the one in Jerry Thomas from 1862:
White Lion
• 1 tsp Sugar
• Juice of 1/2 Lime (include rind in mixing glass)
• 1 wineglass Santa Cruz Rum (2 oz)
• 1 tsp Curaçao
• 1 tsp Raspberry Syrup
Mix well, chill with shaved ice, and garnish with berries in season.
Jen explained that it started out with bar own Max Toste trying to craft a Tiki-like drink for the winter to utilize the housemade falernum they had just created. As Max tinkered, he realized that his recipe was close to one that already existed -- the White Lion from Stan Jones' 1977 Complete Barguide:
White Lion
• 1 tsp Sugar
• 1 oz Lemon Juice
• 1 1/2 oz Rum
• 1/4 oz Grenadine or Falernum
• 2 dash Bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Variation: serve in a Highball glass with crushed ice and soda water. Orange curaçao may be added.
Max decided to use the name to continue the lineage of variations, even if this one was unintentionally created as such. Since I had this drink at Deep Ellum, I revisited the Jerry Thomas recipe and will write about it in the next week or two.
white lion deep ellum max toste
The aromatic bitters' allspice and clove notes joined that of the mint on the nose. A lime and pomegranate sip led into a clovey rum swallow. Definitely different in flavor than the original raspberry syrup version and closer to the Stan Jones one; however, the presentation was more akin to the Thomas instructions.

hiding nemo

1 oz Plantation Barbados Rum
1 oz Aperol
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1/4 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1/2 oz Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a submerged Swedish Fish (omitted here).

After the Agave Snake at Backbar, I asked bartender Sam Treadway about some previous Drink of the Day offerings. One that sounded alluring was served on the 7th in anticipation of the blizzard which started on the 8th. Since the storm was named Nemo, they played with the Hiding Nemo movie title and dubbed this drink Hiding Nemo; I also surmise that they schemed the drink's color to match the fish from the movie.
backbar somerville sam treadway
The Hiding Nemo was fruity from the Aperol and other ingredients, a little nutty from the Maraschino, and funky caramel from the aged rum on the nose. The creamy sip offered a vague fruitiness from the pomegranate and Aperol, and finally, the swallow presented the rum, a dry nutty Maraschino note, and a bitter finish.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

agave snake

1 oz El Buho Mezcal
1 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Agave Syrup (1:1)
1 dash Soy Sauce
1 dash Brooklyn Hemispherical's Sriracha Bitters
1 slice Cucumber

Muddle cucumber in agave syrup. Shake with ice and double strain into a cocktail glass.

A few Sundays ago, we paid a visit to Backbar. For a drink, bar manager Sam Treadway suggested that I try the upcoming Drink of the Week in honor of the Chinese New Year. The drink was unnamed then, but Sam knew that he wanted pay tribute to the Year of the Water Snake, and later he dubbed it the Agave Snake after the mezcal in the recipe. The drink was served then with a cucumber-infused agave syrup, but Sam was able to quickly replicate the flavor with a muddling step.
backbar somerville sam treadway
The Agave Snake's nose was rather savory with hints of agave and later cucumber. The lime and grape sip was followed by the swallow that began with the mezcal, followed by the cucumber and nutty sherry, and ended with a little heat from the Sriracha Bitters.

the detroiter

3/4 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
3/4 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Stone IPA Beer (Southern Tier 2x IPA)

Dry shake to de-gas the beer. Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass containing another 1 oz of IPA. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

A few Saturdays ago, I decided to make a recipe from 320 Main that I had spotted on the web (most likely from something Rumdood posted on Facebook or Twitter) called the Detroiter. The recipe is Jason Schiffer's follow up to the Michigander that I enjoyed a little over a year ago. To that set of ingredients, he added pine notes and carbonation via an IPA beer. I later found the recipe again on 320 Main's blog which provided additional information about the recipe's genesis; Jason tinkered with the Michigander recipe to further his thoughts about his home state, autumn leaves, and warm fireplaces.
jason schiffer 320 main detroiter
The grapefruit twist joined the sweet floral notes of the honey. A carbonated apple, lemon, and honey sip gave way to the Cynar-grapefruity hops combination on the swallow and a honey finish. Indeed, even though I used a different IPA, the grapefruit twist and the beer's hops made for fine bookends on the drink.

Monday, February 25, 2013

mock wit

1 oz Rhum Barbancourt 3 Star (Ryan & Wood Folly Cove)
1 oz Cynar
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
15 drop Angostura Bitters (1 dash)

Shake with ice and strain into an ice-filled Highball glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

After the Mansfield Cocktail, I turned to the North Star Cocktails book for the next libation. There, I spotted the Mock Wit created by Birk Stefan Grudem of Hola Arepa in Minneapolis. The recipe's pairing of Cynar and grapefruit juice is one that worked rather well in Evan Harrison's Peralta and Highland Kitchen's Bitter End.
Mock Wit created by Birk Stefan Grudem of Hola Arepa in Minneapolis
The grapefruit oil joined the barrel-aged rum on the nose, and the grapefruit continued on into the sip where it mingled with the Cynar's caramel. The swallow began with the rum, transitioned to the Cynar herbal flavors, and finished with grapefruit notes.

mansfield cocktail

1 1/2 oz Lagavulin 16 Scotch (Caol Ila 12)
1 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Monin Orgeat (B.G. Reynolds)

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

A few Fridays ago for the cocktail hour, I opened up World's Best Cocktails and found the Mansfield in the whiskey section. The recipe is attributed to Rob Libecans who works at the Black Pearl in Melbourne, Australia. The drink's combination of Fernet Branca and orgeat intrigued me, and I had only tasted the pairing in the Tar Pit. The Scotch and orgeat is actually a solid pairing which I have had in the Act of Union and other drinks.
rob libecans black pearl melbourne
The lemon twist's aroma joined that of the Scotch's smoke. Next, the malt and caramel sip had a sweet almond note to it. And on the swallow, the Scotch was joined by the Fernet Branca that was pleasantly modulated by the orgeat's almond, and the finish offered a lingering menthol note.

Friday, February 22, 2013

second wife

1 1/2 oz Power's Irish Whiskey
1 oz Carpano Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz Suze Gentian Liqueur

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After my second drink at Stoddard's, I departed to meet up with Andrea at Local 149 for dinner. The cocktail on the menu that caught my eye was the Second Wife, but asking bartender John Mayer for one seemed a bit more dangerous than requesting a Prison Nickname. With Irish Whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Suze, it reminded me of the rye-based Harry Palmer that I had a few months ago at home.
local 149 john mayer cocktail
The Irish whiskey aroma joined that of the Suze's gentian on the nose. A malt and grape sip led into a swallow that began with the whiskey and ended with the Suze that was smoothed out by the vermouth. Overall, it had a bit more sweetness than I have come to expect from Suze drinks.

jack frost

1 1/2 oz Laird's Applejack
1/2 oz Sheep Dip Scotch
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
2 dash Absinthe

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass containing a large ice cube. Garnish with a lemon twist.
eric cross stoddard's cocktail
For my second cocktail at Stoddard's, I asked bar manager Jamie Walsh for the Jack Frost. Jamie mentioned that it had been created by bartender Eric Cross for the recent menu revision. The Jack Frost presented a lemon oil aroma that prepared the mouth for the lemon and apple sip. The Scotch filled the swallow at first, but later apple and cinnamon spice notes crept in.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

the persecuted gentleman

1 1/2 oz Old Overholt Rye
1/2 oz Brandy
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Agave Syrup
2 dash Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a cherry.
stoddards boston ramona pettygrave shah
Two Thursdays ago, I ventured down to Stoddard's to check out the new items on the menu. The first one that called out to me was the Persecuted Gentleman, and bar manager Jamie Walsh mentioned that it was created by bartender Ramona Shah. The drink offered up a rye and Fernet Branca aroma. The rye's malt and the amari's caramel filled the sip, and the swallow began with the rye and ended with the Cynar morphing into Fernet Branca on the finish. The Persecuted Gentleman was not as herbal as I expected it to be, and perhaps the agave nectar worked to smooth over the flavor profile without making this drink all that sweet.

irish rover

1 1/2 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
5 drop Liquid Smoke
2 dash Fee's Black Walnut Bitters

Build in a Highball glass. Top with ~10 oz Berkshire Brewing Company Coffee Porter.
trina's starlite lounge cocktail
A few Wednesdays ago, we paid a visit to Trina's Starlite Lounge for dinner. For a drink, I asked bartender Patrick Gaggiano for the Irish Rover, a new beer cocktail on their list. The name is most like a reference to an Irish folk song about a great sailing ship that meets its doom, and the song has been covered by the likes of the Dropkick Murphys and the Pogues. In cocktail form, the beer's roasted malt notes filled the aroma and continued on into the sip along with the carbonation. Next, the swallow began with the Irish whiskey, coffee, and walnut flavors and ended with a smoke finish. In a way, it was the tall version of the Breakfast I had two nights before.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

dick, jr. cocktail

1/3 Dry Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Prat)
1/3 Dry Gin (3/4 oz Hayman's Royal Dock Navy Strength)
1/3 Apricot Liqueur (3/4 oz Rothman & Winter)
Juice 1/2 Lime (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
hugo ensslin cocktail
A few Tuesdays ago, I returned to Hugo Ensslin's Recipes for Mixed Drinks and selected the Dick, Jr. Cocktail. The recipe reminded me of the Café Royal Cocktail Book's Snake in the Grass with the orange liqueur and lemon exchanged here for apricot brandy and lime. The Dick, Jr. proffered an apricot and juniper aroma which led into a fruity sip from the apricot and lime; in addition, the sip contained a clean dry wine note from the vermouth. Next, the swallow began with gin and ended with an apricot finish that came across as a dried apricot or perhaps prune flavor.


2 oz John L. Sullivan Irish Whiskey
1 oz Galliano Ristretto Coffee Liqueur
1 dash Chocolate Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass rinsed with Laphroaig 10 Year Scotch.

The drink that Andrea selected from John Henderson's half of the menu at the Blue Room's first Whiskey & Amari night was called Breakfast. With coffee and smoke notes, probably all it needed was a bacon-infused whiskey or an egg shaken with the ingredients to seal the deal. Instead of a complete meal, it was an elegant dessert-y drink that was quite popular that night. John mentioned that the drink works rather well with Michael Collins Single Malt Irish Whiskey for it has a lightly peated barley aspect to it, but the Blue Room lacked a bottle in its inventory.
john henderson cocktail scholars tavern road boston
The drink's Laphroaig rinse contributed a smoke note to the dark and malty bouquet. While the sip was filled with the Ristretto's roast flavors, the swallow showcased the Irish whiskey and the rest of the coffee notes. Interestingly, the first swallow was rather chocolatey from the bitters, and the later swallows were more coffee-driven in nature. Overall, Breakfast was a coffee Manhattan similar to the Averna-laden Black Manhattan.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

streets of san miguel

1 oz Old Overholt Rye
1 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quinquina
1 oz Campari

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

The drink I ordered from John Henderson's half of the menu at the first Whiskey & Amari Night at the Blue Room was the Streets of San Miguel. While the name made me think of Misty Kalkofen's Streets of Gettysburg, it was a reference to the location where that night's movie, "A Fistful of Dollars," was set. In terms of what was in the glass, the drink reminded me of a 1794 with different proportions, no bitters, and Bonal instead of sweet vermouth.
john henderson bartender boston
The Streets of San Miguel's orange twist joined the aroma of the Bonal. A grape sip led into a rye swallow with bitter herbal notes from the Bonal and Campari. Overall, the Bonal seemed to take the edge off of the Campari for it was not as sharply Campari-driven as I expected it to be.

the quick & the bitter

3/4 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
3/4 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz S. Maria al Monte Amaro
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

The first of the Blue Room's Whiskey & Amari nights featured the bartending duo of Tyler Wang of No. 9 Park and John Henderson of Scholars and soon of Fort Point's Tavern Road. Andrea and I chose a pair of drinks from Tyler's half of the menu for our first round and a pair of drinks from John for the second. While Andrea selected one of Tyler's drinks, the Triumph of Pompei, that I had tried at No. 9 Park a few months ago, I opted for one of his new ones called The Quick & The Bitter. At first I figured that the drink was a riff on the movie that was playing that night, but "The Quick & The Dead" is a more modern movie and was not the one on the television screen. Instead, that movie was "A Fistful of Dollars."
tyler wang cocktail blue room cambridge
The S. Maria al Monte's menthol joined the syrup's cinnamon notes on the nose. A lemon, grape, and caramel sip was followed by a swallow that began with rye. Next, the swallow offered an herbal flavor that was smoothed out by the sweet lemon and ended with a minty finish.

Monday, February 18, 2013

gloom lifter

1 jigger Irish Whiskey (1 1/2 oz Knappogue Castle)
1/2 tsp Brandy (1/4 oz Foret)
Juice 1/2 Lemon (1/2 oz)
1/2 spoon Sugar (omit)
1/2 pony Raspberry Syrup (1/2 oz)
1/4 pony Egg White (1 Egg White)

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

After the Lankershim Fizz, I still had lemon juice left over, so I began to peruse the Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book for a good use of it. The one I spotted was an Irish whiskey and touch of brandy version of the gin-based Clover Club called the Gloom Lifter. Since the Clover Club is one of my favorite egg white drinks, I decided to give this variation a try.
gloom lifter waldorf astoria
The whiskey contributed to the Gloom Lifter's aroma along with a vague fruit note from the lemon and raspberry. The malt and lemon on the sip was joined by a tart berry note, and the whiskey led off the swallow that ended with a raspberry finish. The whiskey seemed to take the drink in a different direction than the Clover Club such that it was less raspberry and citrus driven.

lankershim fizz

1 1/2 oz Gin (Beefeater)
1/2 oz Pedro Ximénez Sherry (Lustau)
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a Fizz glass containing 2 oz soda water, garnish with a lemon peel, and add a straw.
marcos tello aidan demarest lankershim fizz
Two Saturdays ago, we started the evening with a Silver Fizz that I had spotted in Imbibe Magazine called the Lankershim Fizz. The drink was concocted by Marcos Tello and Aidan Demarest at the Bow & Truss in Los Angeles. Lankershim was the earlier name for North Hollywood from the late 19th century until 1927. The Fizz offered up a lemon aroma with hints of gin on the nose. Next, a creamy, carbonated sip contained lemon and grape flavors, and the swallow was all about the raisiny sherry and the gin's botanicals.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

brandy champerelle

mixology monday inverted cocktailThe theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo LXX) was picked by Stewart Putney of the Putney Farm blog. The theme he chose was "Inverted" based off of his enjoyment of Julia Child's upside-down or inverted Martini that goes very heavy on the vermouth. Stewart began to ponder the term, and he wrote, "What does 'inverted' really mean? Well, here is the definition, 'To turn inside out or upside down; to reverse the position, order, or condition of.' Hmm... it appears that the definition is pretty broad. It seems that 'inverted' really just means something 'flipped on its head.' And that can mean almost anything, and leaves plenty of room for creativity... You can invert the ratios of spirits, liqueurs or bitters in a cocktail, but we suggest you go beyond that and 'invert' whatever you want. Spirits, name, ingredients, proof, color, geography, garnish and glassware are all fair game... The only thing we expect is the unexpected. Have fun."
brandy champerelle jerry thomas
Having just come down from a burst of creativity from the menu items I crafted for the Women of the Wild West night that I bartended at the Blue Room earlier in the week, I decided to see what recipes were already in the historical literature. Actually, it was my wife who was looking through 1869 Cooling Cups & Dainty Drinks, and one of us spotted the Brandy Champerelle. With equal parts of brandy, curaçao, and bitters, it seemed pretty inverted to me. The Brandy Champerelle appears in Jerry Thomas' 1862 The Bartender's Guide: How To Mix Drinks in a very similar format save for the measurements being "1/3 small glass" each and calling for specifically for Bogart's Bitters. It gives very little in the way of instruction which is why some books have it as a stirred drink and others have it as a layered drink à la Pousse-café such as in Harry Johnson's 1888 Bartender's Manual. The Cooling Cups & Dainty Drinks version was a stirred one, and that format held more interest to me in terms of flavor and the theme. Moreover, I had already made a layered Champerelle a few years ago from Boothby's World Drinks and How to Mix Them.
Brandy Champerelle
• 1 wineglass Brandy (3/4 oz Foret)
• 1 wineglass Curaçao (3/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry)
• 1 wineglass Bitters (3/4 oz Angostura)
Stir with ice and strain into a glass.
Essentially, this recipe was an inverted Fancy Brandy Cocktail with the otherwise minor orange liqueur and bitters ingredients given the same volumetric weight. The only regret is that I had run out of lemons, for a lemon twist seems like it could set up the drink rather elegantly. Without a twist, the aroma was orange and spice. The sip began rather orange when the drink was cold, but as it warmed up, it became more cherry from the Angostura Bitters. Finally, the swallow offered the brandy and the bitters' allspice and clove. Overall, it was surprisingly refreshing, and the balance of orange liqueur to bitters reminded me of the Dragon's Mouth that I had at Beaker & Flask in Portland. Moreover, the combination made me think of the Genever-based Red Light from Beta Cocktails.

So thank you to Stewart for not only hosting this month's Mixology Monday but picking such an interesting and abstract-yet-approachable theme. Cheers!

Friday, February 15, 2013

up to date

1/2 Sherry Wine (1 1/4 oz Lustau Dry Oloroso)
1/2 Rye Whiskey (1 1/4 oz Rittenhouse 100)
2 dash Grand Marnier (1/2 oz)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After the Tiger Lily two Friday's ago, I opened up my reprint of Hugo Ensslin's 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks and found the Up to Date. I remembered spotting the drink in the PDT Cocktail Book before, and they opted for a manzanilla sherry, different proportions than I used, and added a lemon twist. Perhaps the lemon twist would be a great addition, but I think that my choosing a darker sherry worked better with the rye for my tastes. In retrospect, perhaps Lustau's East India Solera sherry would have been a good selection too albeit in a less funky, nutty, and old school feeling way.
hug ensslin recipes for mixed drinks up to date cocktail
The sherry in the Up to Date dominated the nose, and this worked with the Grand Marnier to almost come off with a hint of Maraschino from the oloroso's nuttiness and the Grand Marnier's fruit. A dry grape and malt sip was followed by the rye whiskey and the nutty sherry on the swallow. Finally, the drink ended with a spiced orange finish.

fannie porter

1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
3/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
3/4 oz Nardini Bassano Amaro
1 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

Another of the drinks that Katie Emmerson created for the Whiskey & Amari Night at the Blue Room was the Fannie Porter. The formula was one that she had tinkered with in the past, and I had a gin version at the Hawthorne that she called the Young Blood. This time, the recipe used rye whiskey and chocolate bitters, and the combination perhaps worked even better than the gin. For a glimpse of Fannie's life, I'll repost what I wrote on the Facebook event page:
Another of the amazing women that Katie and I will be honoring on Monday is Texas madam Fannie Porter. Wait, did I say madam -- er, the U.S. census listed her establishment as a "boarding house" and not a brothel. So perhaps she was a famous landlady instead? Besides the five ladies that lived there, they also sheltered quite a few outlaws on the run; famous and often frequent visitors included Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, Kid Curry, and other members of the Wild Bunch gang. She not only protected her girls but her outlaws as well.

Fannie was born in England but traveled with her parents to the U.S. at an early age. By age 15, she was already working as a prostitute in San Antonio, Texas. Her business acumen brought her to owning her own brothel by age 19 or 20 that was always filled with attractive girls with excellent hygiene and immaculate appearances. There was some turnover through the years since there was a good bit of matchmaking going on as outlaws would fall in love with the women.

Fannie was pretty well connected and ran her establishment without too much interference from the law. She was arrested once for "vagrancy" which is a police-speak for prostitution. It is surmised that it might have been linked to the time she chased a policeman from her establishment and threatened to beat him senseless with a broom.

So if you decide to partake of the libation bearing her name, we will use the utmost discretion for any and all occurrences that night. And hopefully, we do not have to chase you out with a broom.
The last drink that Katie crafted for the event was a tall drink, and it was the perfect option for anyone looking for something either refreshing or without bitter liqueurs. The special touch was a Rangpur lime marmalade that she had made that week. From the Facebook event page:
"I ain't afraid to love a man, I ain't afraid to shoot him either."

One of the most famous women we're honoring tomorrow at the Blue Room is Annie Oakley. Born Phoebe Ann Oakley Moses, she was shooting like a pro by the age of 12. Her time in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show included such acts like shooting a playing card the thin way and shooting ash off of a cigarette while it was being smoked. Through her career, Annie worked to empower women by teaching over 15,000 of them to shoot guns, not only for the exercise but as a way to defend themselves.

If you're looking for scandal, there was the 1904 story published about her getting arrested to support her cocaine habit. Unfortunately, it was a burlesque performer who told the police that her name was Annie Oakley, and the newspapers took off with the story. The real Annie spent years winning libel lawsuits but only breaking even with legal fees.

Instead of posting a besmirching quote and fearing Annie's vengeance, here's an uplifting one: “Aim at a high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, not the second time and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally you’ll hit the bull’s-eye of success.”

Just don't do too much shooting after the first or second of the drink named after her...
The recipe for the Annie Oakley was:
Annie Oakley
• 1 1/2 oz Blended Scotch
• 3/4 oz Lime Juice
• 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
• 1 heaping barspoon Rangpur Lime Marmalade
Shake with ice and strain into a Highball glass filled with ice. Top with soda water and add a straw.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

calamity jane

1 1/2 oz Beefeater Gin
3/4 oz Amaro Abano
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup

Shake with 2 orange slices and ice. Double strain into a cocktail glass.

One of the drinks that my partner-in-crime, Katie Emmerson from the Hawthorne, created was a tribute to Calamity Jane. That night in service, I used the mnemonic of Calamity Gin to remember which recipe the name referred to. For an amaro, she opted for Luxardo's Abano, but the ingredient that got the most praise was the ginger syrup which was freshly juiced ginger with sugar. People figured that the "ginger" in the ingredient list was a more subtle ginger liqueur, although that would work in a pinch here. My favorite part of the recipe was the inclusion of two orange slices in the shake that reminded me of Sam Ross' Too Soon?. While I only got to straw taste the drink and thus have no written tasting notes, people seemed to enjoy this libation tremendously that night. Instead, I can offer my notes from the Facebook event page:
Another of the drinks on Monday the 11th is named after Martha Jane Canary, or more specifically after her nickname Calamity Jane. Back in the day, women were not allowed to do certain jobs; therefore, Martha began to dress in men's clothing and built up a reputation as a hard drinker (see the event photo of her) who could out swear, out spit, and out shoot any man. She became a solider to explore the Black Hills and during an Indian ambush, she gained the name Calamity Jane when she rescued her injured captain and brought him to safety.

Her colorful life included nursing the victims of a smallpox outbreak in Deadwood, but it was joked that those that she cured would end up with other diseases as a crack about Calamity working a brothel or two amongst her many other professions. After her time saving stage coaches, swimming across rivers to deliver communications, and the like, she became a part of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show -- at first as a sharp shooter and horse rider, but later as a storyteller. This lasted for a bit with the stories getting bigger each time until she was fired for her frequent drunkenness and the antics that followed.

She led a good life and for that we should toast her! And she got her dying wish -- to be buried next to Wild Bill Hickok, a man she was infatuated with but would not return her affection. The drink named after her is spicy, rich, and complex and Calamity Jane wouldn't want it any other way.
Besides the ginger syrup, Katie also prepared a pineapple syrup for pineapple as many darker amari pair quite well with it. She was running low on time, and I recommended a choose-your-own (or bartender's choice) amaro Fix. For a recipe, she based it off of the Fernet Fix and figured out that Averna was one of her favorites in this combination. The biggest fan perhaps was Deep Ellum's Max Toste who ordered this drink a few times with a different amaro each drink. For a name, she wanted something trampy -- someone from the Wild West who got around (given the open nature of the recipe). For a name, Katie opted for Kitty Leroy who was performing in dance halls and saloons by age 14. By age 15, she was married for a brief time; the marriage failed for she was promiscuous and too wild. Later, she became a card dealer and often dressed in men's clothes. After becoming a skilled gambler and then a saloon owner, she was on to her third husband. The two of them got into an argument and she attacked him; when he would not fight back and strike a lady, she returned dressed in men's clothing and attacked again. This time with a gun, and she shot him dead. Actually, he was not her husband then and not quite dead yet, but they got married in the few days left in his life after the incident. A little bit of prostitution, gambling, and another two husbands before one of them shot her dead. To make this promiscuous drink:
Kitty Leroy
• 2 oz Amaro
• 3/4 oz Pineapple Syrup
• 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Fill with crushed ice, add a straw, and garnish with berries in season.

diddlin' dora

dora dufran diddlin' dora1 oz Dry Amontillado Sherry
1 oz Cocchi Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Pimm's No. 1
3/4 oz Fernet Branca
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur

Build in a Highball glass, fill with crushed ice, add a straw, and garnish with an orange twist and freshly grated nutmeg.

The fourth drink I created for the Women of the Wild West night was one to fulfill the tall drink category. Instead of a Highball, I decided to do a Cobbler; the sherry, vermouth, and Pimm's all seemed to take to Fernet Branca rather well which aided in fitting in with the Whiskey and Amari theme. To bolster the Pimm's that was losing out slightly to the grape products, I added a little Maraschino to bring out more of the Pimm's fruit notes. For a name, I decided to honor Dora DuFran, or more specifically one of her four brothels. I think that night during service, people enjoyed ordering the drink for the name alone -- Diddlin' Dora, and the tasty Cobbler that came with it was just a bonus. Here is what I wrote on the Facebook event page as a teaser:
One of the drinks on the 11th is a tribute to Dora DuFran, one of the most successful madams in the Wild West. She started her life in the West as a dancehall girl, and once the Gold Rush hit, she became a madam and moved her way up to owning four establishments in different cities. My favorite of the bunch was called Diddlin' Dora's and the sign on the right is a reproduction of an advertisement for that establishment. Diddlin' Dora's advertised itself as "Three D's -- Dining, Drinking and Dancing -- a place where you can bring your mother" although one cowboy commented that, "I wouldn't want my mother to know I had ever been there." Luckily, this tribute will be something you might not mind telling your mother about...
The nutmeg and orange twist notes filled the Diddlin' Dora's aroma. The grape sip contained some berry notes, and the swallow offered a nuttiness from the sherry and Maraschino and a light menthol and herbal finish. Refreshingly light yet flavorful.
diddlin' dora cobbler

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

stagecoach mary

1 1/2 oz Macchu Pisco
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
1 pinch Salt

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

Jumping over to the last drink I created for the Blue Room's Women of the Wild West-themed Whiskey and Amari Night is the Stagecoach Mary. I will do the fourth drink tomorrow, but I figured that this pink and chocolaty drink is the closest I will come to a Valentine's Day recipe, so I might as well print it early. One of the amari that had not received any love in the night's recipe collection was Campari, and the pairing that I eventually focused on was Campari and crème de cacao which worked so well in the Carletti. I wanted to tone down the Campari a touch, so I added a pinch of salt to the recipe. After trying a few base spirits, Pisco seemed the best match for the funky salt-smoothed Campari-cacao combination, and the drink was perhaps influenced by Love Makes You Feel 10 Feet Tall. I think I picked Stagecoach Mary because I figured that I needed to take a break from women engaged in the more sinful professions for one in a more honorable one. For some history on Mary, here is what I wrote up for the event:
No, not all of the women we were honoring on the 11th earned their money through illegal trades, but some like Mary Fields a/k/a Stagecoach Mary had honorable jobs. Mary was the first African-American employed as a mail carrier in the United States, and the second woman to work for the United States Postal Service! Born as a slave, she was freed after the Civil War and made her way West to Montana to work which led her to an Ursuline nunnery as a laborer. Part of Mary's job was to haul goods and materials to the nunnery by horse-drawn wagon. While she lost the job getting into a shootout with a co-worker that gave her grief, it led to her carrier as a mail carrier at age 60 for she was the fastest candidate to hitch 6 horses. She gained a reputation for delivering the mail no matter how bad the conditions were, and protecting it with her guns and accurate aim.

When Mary wasn't working, she was a hell of a woman and hellraiser. At 6 foot 200 pounds, she fit right in with the tough frontier life. Sporting a 6 shooter and a flask of whiskey in her apron, a cigar in her teeth, and a large bore shotgun, she took no shit. With her short temper, she was known to let fists fly, and the Great Falls Examiner claimed that she broke more noses than any other person in central Montana. In fact, she had a standing bet until her death at 82 that she could knock out any man at the bar with a single punch for some money and whiskey.

"She was one of the freest souls to ever draw a breath or a .38."
- Gary Cooper

And for that, we should raise a glass! And hope that we don't give the ghost of Stagecoach Mary the wrong kind of look.
Once mixed, the Stagecoach Mary's twist contributed bright lemon oils that mingled well with a fruitiness from the pisco. A richness from the cacao paired with the vermouth's grape notes. Next, the funky pisco was followed by the less bitter Campari-chocolate combination on the swallow.
campari chocolate cocktail

madame mustache

1 1/2 oz Aged Rhum Agricole (*)
1 oz Drambuie
1/2 oz Cynar
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Build in a rocks glass, give a quick stir (no ice), and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
(*) The drink was developed originally with aged cachaça, so feel free to substitute for a funkier drink.

The third drink I created for the Women of the Wild West event was by request. Matthew Schrage, who organized the whole Whiskey & Amari series, mentioned that it was his birthday that night, and he would like nothing more than a birthday Scaffa crafted for the event. Scaffas are a 19th century style of cocktail that are stirred, un-iced cocktails often as simple as a spirit, a liqueur, and a dash of bitters; some utilize water for dilution to make them more potable, while others utilize syrup or liqueur's sugar to balance the spirit's heat. As I thought about possible base liquors, I was drawn to sugar cane spirits which had been neglected in the first batch of recipes that Katie Emmerson and I had created for the menu. Looking back at the Scaffas I have had, Scott Holliday's Rum Scaffa and its use of Cynar caught my fancy. Instead of rum proper, I first grabbed an aged cachaça and began to tinker with flavor combinations. Since cachaça is a bit thinner than Plantation Barbados Rum Scott used, I wanted to bolster the body, and eventually I happened up on Drambuie to fulfill this roll -- especially when I recalled how well Scotch and Cynar pair. After remembering Matt's love of rhum agricole, I switched to an aged one for a base spirit, and the change worked albeit it drove the profile to be a little less funky and perhaps more approachable.

With such a quirky drink, it definitely needed a quirky name, and Madame Mustache answered the call. Here is what I wrote on the Facebook event page:
The most curious drink of the night tonight is named after the most curious lady of the bunch, Eleanore Dumont, better known as Madame Mustache. To honor her, there is a Scaffa -- a room temperature, non-dilute cocktail, and feel free to raise a glass with Blue Room's Matthew Schrage for it is his birthday tonight and he requested a Scaffa and he loves rhum agricole (the base spirit here).

When Eleanore arrived in San Francisco in 1850, she claimed to have been the daughter of a French viscount amongst other sordid tales, although it is believed that she was born in New Orleans. At this time, the mustache had not made the trip over to the Wild West yet and she was quite beautiful. She found a job as a card dealer; her game was Vingt-et-un a/k/a "21", a pre-cursor to Blackjack, and by 1854, she had earned enough money to open her own luxurious gambling house. Miners came to be around her witty and charming persona and found losing money was balanced by the privilege of being around her. Amusingly, she was known to buy the men who lost heavily at her table a glass of milk when they’d run out of funds; although other stories say champagne.

She moved her establishment from one boom town to the next. When she was in Montana, she earned the name Moustache Madame from a miner who lost his temper along with a lot of money, and the sobriquet stuck. Soon after, she got out of the business, bought a ranch, and settled down with a handsome man, but sadly he disappeared with all the money, sold the ranch, and left her with debt. Legend has it that she hunted him down and shot him dead from a double shotgun blast. She denied it at first and the sheriff did not bother to investigate, but years later she admitted to it.

At this point, she was penniless, the mustache was in full effect, and her body was not as shapely as before, so men were not seeking her out for her beauty. She chose not to shave off the mustache; it was surmised that she was a shrewd business woman and used it as a gimmick akin to the bearded lady at a sideshow carnival. She still drew customers but she became less of a lady and more of a character. Her establishments were more second rate than lavish at this point, and she added the bordello aspect to her business. Her gambling abilities also went south; one night she had to borrow $300 which she then lost. She then wandered out into the desert with a wine bottle laced with a lethal dose of morphine and with a written suicide note and will.

So raise a glass tonight in honor of the good times in life, but be careful -- Madame Mustache has been known to carry a derringer pistol under her skirt. And after a few, the mustache will not matter as much.
What I thought would be a fringe drink that very few people would order turned out to be a very wrong assumption. Perhaps it was the name, the description, or word of mouth, but it was one of the top 2 or 3 best sellers of the 9 drinks that evening. In fact, we came a jigger away from finishing a freshly opened bottle of Drambuie that night. Luckily, given its popularity, the drink was so easy to make; however, the best part was seeing people ordering the drink by gesturing their finger across their lip!
scaffa cocktail
When made with aged Seleta Cachaça, the drink's nose contained grapefruit oils that complemented the funky grassy notes from the sugar cane spirit. A honey and caramel sip led into a grassy and herbal swallow and spice finish. Once remade with aged rhum agricole, the grassy notes remained but the funkier notes diminished; I cannot tell which way I prefer the drink, but the tribute to the birthday boy aspect won out.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

pearl de vere

1 oz Reposado Tequila
1 oz Cocchi Americano
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Benedictine
1 dash Angostura Bitters

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

The second drink I worked on for the Women of the Wild West-themed Whiskey & Amari night at the Blue Room was the Pearl de Vere. I decided to use the Scofflaw as a formula and tequila as the spirit. While I tried a variety of amari including Nardini and Ramazzotti, it seemed that Benedictine worked well. I was reassured that there was no rule that the drinks needed to contain either whiskey or Italian bitter liqueurs, so a French liqueur found its way in. I did not do a write up on Pearl de Vere for the Facebook event page since the only photos I could find of Pearl were of her tombstone and her brothel. Pearl found her way to Cripple Creek, Colorado, during the gold rush there. Since men greatly outnumbered the women in town, she took up the profession and soon had opened up her own brothel. Pearl's brothel catered to the more prosperous men, and her ladies wore fine clothing to match their beauty and received good pay and medical exams. At one gala event at her second brothel, she overdid the morphine she occasionally used to sleep and sadly never awoke. Her lavish funeral procession played such tunes as "There'll be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight" in tribute.
pearl de vere
The orange oils from the twist complemented the aged tequila aroma. The lime and citrus-wine complemented the light caramel notes in the sip, and the tequila mingled with the herbal Benedictine and Angostura spice on the swallow.

belle starr

3/4 oz Bully Boy Aged Whiskey
3/4 oz Apple Brandy (Laird's 7.5 or Calvados)
1 oz Bonal Gentian Quina
1/2 oz Strega
1 dash Orange Bitters

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

One of the first drinks that I came up with for the Women of the Wild West-themed Whiskey and Amari night was the Belle Starr. For a direction, I based the drink off of the Marconi Wireless-like Star Cocktail for obvious reasons. I split the apple brandy into apple and whiskey, swapped the sweet vermouth for Bonal, and added Strega to take it in a Green Point or Nonantum Cocktail direction. The first pass used rye and Yellow Chartreuse and these would make a fine substitution. For a history of Belle Starr, I will turn to what I wrote in the Facebook event page:
Belle Starr, the Bandit Queen, is another Woman of the Wild West to be honored next Monday in drink. Born Myra Belle Shirley, she spent much of her childhood as a spoiled rich kid, until the Kansas-Missouri Border War broke out which took her brother and destroyed her family business. A few years later, after the James-Younger Gang robbed a bank, Myra was smitten by one of the robbers, James Reed whom she later married, gave them shelter, and became a member of the gang. Her parents had no objection to the marriage since James was not yet a wanted man and they lived a good, upstanding life in Texas. Until they moved back to Missouri where Reed was indeed a wanted man for allegedly murdering a man. So they fled to California, where outlaw life caught up and led to Reed's demise via gunfire. Myra then married Sam Starr, formed a gang, and entered upon a life of rustling, horse stealing and bootlegging whiskey to Indians. The lifestyle was lucrative and they used the extra money to bail out gang members; when that wouldn't work, Belle Starr would use her womanly charms. Her arrests and being written up in the Police Gazette had turned her into a western folk hero, "a female Robin Hood and a Jesse James." Her career ended during an ambush at age 41. A lot of her infamy came after her death including some from stories told by her daughter, Pearl, who enhanced her mom's outlaw image by running brothels in the West from the late 19th century until World War I.

"I regard myself as a woman who has seen much of life."
- Belle Starr stated to the The Fort Smith Elevator about one year prior to her death.
The Belle Starr's lemon twist oils joined the aroma of the apple brandy. An apple and grape sip led into a whiskey swallow with an herbal and bitter finish. Indeed, the end result was somewhere between the two drinks I based it off of and perhaps close to the Woxum from the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book as well.
belle starr wild west

Monday, February 11, 2013

tiger lily

1 oz Dark Rum (1/2 oz Appleton VX, 1/2 oz Plantation Barbados)
1/2 oz Brandy (Foret)
1/2 oz Curaçao (Senior Curaçao)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice (*)

Shake with ice and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
(*) The recipe was provided as 1/2 oz (7 mL). I ended up using the 1/2 oz instead of the 7 mL (which would be 1/4 oz) here.

Two Fridays ago, at the beginning of the cocktail hour, I decided to make the Tiger Lily that I spotted in the Big Bartender's Book. The source of the recipe is Ted Saucier's Bottom's Up; I had held off on making the recipe for a while since I could not spot the drink in my copy of Saucier and figured that there was a mis-attribution. I finally realized that the recipe resides in the 1951 first edition version and not in my 1962 second edition of the book. The Tiger Lily is credited to Robert Bushnell, and I have no further explanation for the recipe's removal.
tiger lily cocktail
The Tiger Lily's lemon peel oil aroma danced over that of the dark rum and hint of orange liqueur. Flavorwise, Andrea commented that it was very punch-like given its smooth citrussy balance. Indeed, the sip was mostly orange and lemon, until the ice melted and the rum's caramel notes came out. Next, the rum and brandy filled the swallow along with an orange peel finish.

tombstone mule

2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Add ~1 oz ginger beer and flame a lemon twist over the top.
bergamot somerville mezcal mule
Two Thursdays ago, I stopped by Bergamot where Paul Manzelli and Kai Gagnon were tending bar. For a drink, I asked Paul for the Tombstone Mule from the menu. The drink offered up a lemon, honey, and mezcal aroma. A carbonated honey and lemon sip led into a smokey agave swallow and a ginger finish.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

:: women of the wild west night::

calamity janeTomorrow night, Monday February 11th, will be my bartending debut! I will be accompanied by the Hawthorne's Katie Emmerson at the Blue Room's Whiskey and Amari Night Series. For our night, we are doing a Women of the Wild West theme -- a drink-guided history of some pretty bad-assed broads. Nine women, nine drinks, including a 19th century style Scaffa (room temperature cocktail) named after an infamous professional gambler and madame in honor of Matt Schrage's birthday! Bully Boy Aged Whiskey and Fernet Branca will be in the house and "For a Few Dollars More" will be playing in the background. Drinks and bar snacks for purchase.

The Blue Room
1 Kendall Square, Cambridge
Monday, February 11th, from 9pm-1am

I'll be posting some drinks soon from last week's event featuring No. 9 Park's Tyler Wang and Scholars' John Henderson. And the next two weeks are listed on the flier below (click to enlarge):

Friday, February 8, 2013

little rebel cocktail

1 jigger Applejack (1 1/2 oz Laird's Bonded)
1/2 jigger Scotch (3/4 oz Laphroaig 10 Year)
1/4 jigger Grenadine (1/2 oz)
Juice 1 Lime (1/2 oz)
1 Egg White

Shake with ice and strain into a glass.

Two Wednesdays ago, I was flipping through Hugo Ensslin's 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks and spotted the Little Rebel, an egg white applejack and Scotch Daisy. Besides the allure of apple and smokey whisky which worked so well in drinks like the Applewood and French Toast Flip, I recalled Camper English's article on grenadine that lists the Little Rebel and other drinks by Ensslin as part of the first major wave of grenadine-containing cocktails. While no back history on the cocktail name was provided, there was a movie called The Little Rebel in 1914. Moreover, although not a precise match, there was a 1911 Broadway melodrama called The Littlest Rebel which would have played near where Ensslin was tending bar nearby at the Wallick Hotel on 43rd and Broadway in Manhattan.
hugo ensslin little rebel
In the Little Rebel, apple and smoke greeted the nose. The egg white provided a mouthfeel to the sip along with a smoothness to both the malt and fruitiness of the lime, pomegranate, and apple. Next, the swallow began with the Scotch and finished with the apple brandy. Indeed, there were more apple notes on the nose but more Scotch on the palate.


1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (Redemption)
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz Cynar
2 dash Grapefruit Bitters

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

Two Tuesdays ago for the cocktail hour, I made the Kirkwood that Imbibe Magazine covered in their article on Georgia in the November 2010 issue. The Kirkwood was created by Miles Macquarrie of Leon's Full Service in Decatur. Miles modeled the drink after the Red Hook and named the recipe after one of the neighborhoods in Atlanta.
leon's full service atlanta miles macquarrie
The Kirkwood's grapefruit twist dominated the aroma at first, but later grape notes from the Punt e Mes crept in. A malt and grape sip led into a rye swallow. The swallow also contained the St. Germain which came across in a grapefruity way and was balanced well by the Cynar and Punt e Mes' bitter notes.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

wells cocktail

2 liqueur glass Cognac (2 oz Foret Brandy)
1/4 liqueur glass Crème de Menthe (1/4 oz Tempus Fugit)
1/4 liqueur glass Crème de Cassis (1/4 oz G.E. Massenez)
1/4 liqueur glass Fernet Branca (1/4 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
louis mixed drinks fernet branca cognac
After the Rebennack, I decided to make a recipe I found in Louis Mixed Drinks from 1906 called the Wells Cocktail. With a brandy base and fruit and minty herbal notes in the mix, it seemed like it would make a great nightcap. Once prepared, the Wells proffered a berry aroma. The cassis continued on into the sip with a hint of mint. The rest of the mint flavors came through in the swallow along with the brandy, and the Wells ended with a tart cassis finish and lingering menthol notes. The Fernet Branca was surprisingly tame here, and perhaps it was smoothed out by the cassis and hidden by the menthe.


2 oz Bourbon (Four Roses)
3/4 oz Ramazzotti Amaro
1/4 oz Strega
2 dash Regan's Orange Bitters
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist draped over the rim of the glass.

Two Mondays ago, I spotted a collection of Chris Hannah recipes in Tom Sandham's World's Best Cocktails, and the Rebennack he created at French 75 in New Orleans seemed to appeal the most to Andrea. Chris named the drink after the singer and song writer Mac Rebennack who is better known as Dr. John. The drink was one that Chris used to make for his flask, and during Mardi Gras in 2010, he let Dr. John have a taste at a Krewe de Vieux event; soon after, Chris dubbed the drink after the musician. While researching the drink afterwards, it appears that the Rebennack is a fluid recipe as I was able to find a few significant variations. The most common and perhaps oldest one is a rye drink with Averna and Creole Shrubb, and I was able to find an intermediary Bourbon one with Averna and Strega.
chris hannah french 75 recipe
The Rebennack made with Bourbon, Ramazzotti, and Strega offered up an orange oil aroma on top of darker notes. A malt and caramel sip was followed by Bourbon with orange peel bitterness and Strega's herbal flavors on the swallow. Surprisingly, even with an ounce of amari, the drink came across as somewhat dry especially on the swallow.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

a slow dance with pedro infante

1 3/4 oz Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal
3/4 oz Gran Classico
1/2 oz Averna

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.
misty kalkofen mezcal cocktail
The other cocktail I had at Brick & Mortar was another of Misty Kalkofen's creations called A Slow Dance with Pedro Infante. José Pedro Infante Cruz is one of the most famous actors and singers of the golden age of Mexican cinema, and he frequently sang slow, danceable songs during his movies. The drink itself greeted the nose with a smoky agave aroma. A caramel sip from the Averna led into a mezcal and herbal swallow and a Gran Classico bitter finish.

mistaken for strangers

1 oz Nardini Grappa Bianca
1 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass.

Two Sundays ago, we stopped in at Brick & Mortar where Kenny Belanger and Cory Buono were bartending that night. For a first drink, I asked Kenny for the Mistaken for Strangers. Kenny explained that Misty Kalkofen had created this drink for the holiday menu and had called it The Grinch. After December was over, Misty decided that the name needed to be changed to something less seasonal. Since the combination of grappa and Green Chartreuse is one that is not expected, she renamed it Mistaken for Strangers. Overall, the drink shared a resemblance to the Green Ghost.
misty kalkofen brick & mortar central square cambridge cocktail
The Mistaken for Strangers greeted the nose with a Green Chartreuse aroma, and as things warmed up a bit, grappa joined the aroma. A herbal and lime sip was followed by the funky grappa, the Green Chartreuse, and an almost minty note on the swallow. Indeed, the drink was like a drier, less herbal, and more funky Silent Order. Moreover, the grappa and Chartreuse went well together perhaps akin to how grappa paired with the herbal and vegetal notes in the Piazza Vecchia.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

lion tamer

2 oz Vodka (Damrak Gin) (*)
1 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz Crème de Cassis
1/2 oz Egg White (1 Egg White)

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with 5 drops of Angostura Bitters. Swirl the drops with a toothpick to resemble a flower (mine sort of looked like birds).
(*) This drink would have probably been better with tequila, but gin was a good first start.

After the Golden Dog, I picked up The Cocktail Hour's vodka booklet to see if there were any vodka recipes that could be converted into tasty gin ones. The one that seemed to have potential that night was the Lion Tamer from Vince Lund of Beretta in San Francisco. Vince first made the drink for a Leo guest of his, and the name Lion Tamer seemed to fit.
lion tamer cocktail
The drink's Angostura Bitters offered a spice aroma with additional notes that alternated between the St. Germain's floral and the cassis' berry. The sip was full of lime flavors that were joined by the fruit notes in the St. Germain. Finally, on the swallow, the gin, St. Germain's floral, and black currant rounded out the drink. While gin was as decent substitution, I felt that all the elements were calling out for agave, whether tequila or mezcal, as I was drinking it down.

golden dog

1 1/2 oz Talisker 10 Year Scotch (Caol Ila 12 Year)
1/2 oz Rothman & Winter Apricot Liqueur
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc or Bonal (Bonal)
1/2 oz Benedictine

Shake (no, it specifically says that stirring will not do here) and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Fridays ago, I picked up Gary Regan's Annual Manual for Bartenders 2011 and looked for anything to glean after a few passes at it. One that stood out was the Golden Dog by Matt Piacentini then of Inoteca Liquori Bar in New York City and now of The Beagle. I had skipped over it the first time for the combination with Lillet did not catch my eye; however, when I read the text this time where it suggested, "If you want to make it a little richer, say on a cold night, substitute the Lillet with Bonal," the Golden Dog seemed rather appealing given Bonal's bitter complexity.
inoteca liquori bar manhattan nyc
The peaty whisky aroma mingled with that of the apricot liqueur. The malt sip contained a fruit note from either the liqueur's apricot or the Bonal's grape. Next, the swallow showcased the Scotch, Bonal and Benedictine's herbal notes, and a bitter apricot finish. With the Bonal instead of Lillet in the mix, perhaps it was a little more of a brown dog, but overall quite good.

Monday, February 4, 2013


2/3 Swedish Punsch (1 1/2 oz Kronan)
2 dash Dry Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat)
1 dash Yellow Chartreuse (1/4 oz)
1 dash Apricot Liqueur (1/4 oz Rothman & Winter)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Shir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added a lemon twist.
swedish punsch yellow chartreuse cocktail
Two Wednesdays ago, I spied the Temptation in Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933, and I was lured in by this herbal and fruity Swedish Punsch libation. With an interpretation of the vague recipe to include a greater amount of dry vermouth, I hoped to tone down the vast amount of sweetness within. The Temptation once mixed proffered a lemon oil and tea nose. A sweet white wine sip contained a honey-like note perhaps from the Yellow Chartreuse. Next, the swallow showcased the Punsch's rum, an herbalness from the Yellow Chartreuse and the Punsch's tea, and an apricot finish. Overall, the Temptation was indeed sweet, but not as sweet as it was pre-dilution; perhaps serving it on the rocks to tone down the sugar content would not be a bad idea. Moreover, the Yellow Chartreuse notes could probably be increased for they were a bit hidden; however, they did appear once the drink warmed up.


2 oz Gin (Knockabout)
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Marasca)
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

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

Two Tuesdays ago, I was flipping through Tom Sandham's World's Best Cocktails and spotted a perfectly named drink, the Tuesday by Nick Van Tiel. Essentially, the Tuesday was a Red Hook made with gin and orange bitters instead of rye. For the Maraschino component, I opted for Marasca over Luxardo for I wanted the balance to be less driven by the liqueur.
nick van tiel gin cocktail
The Tuesday's lemon twist aroma joined a fruity note from either the Maraschino or the Punt e Mes' grape. The grape was definitely evident in the sip though, and as the drink warmed up, so was the orange from the bitters. On the swallow, the gin and the Punt e Mes' bitter notes transitioned into a Maraschino finish. Finally, as the drink approached room temperature, the Tuesday became less sharp in balance.

Friday, February 1, 2013


2 oz Manzanilla Sherry
1/2 oz Bärenjäger Bourbon & Honey (*)
1/2 oz Kümmel

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe rimmed with dried olive powder (was not available at the bar that night). Twist a lemon peel over the top.
(*) Perhaps in a pinch a half ounce of Bourbon and a barspoon of honey syrup would work here.

For my last drink at Estragon, bartender Sahil Mehta wanted to showcase a cocktail that he crafted for a Bärenjäger competition using their Bourbon & Honey product. When I expressed curiosity over the name Bitchertown, Sahil explained that it is a neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky, where German immigrants settled; thus, there was a tie in with the whiskey and the German origin of the liqueur. Normally, the drink is served with a dried olive powder rim like in the San Luca to bring out the brine and savory notes in the sherry, but the bar was all out of the olive powder. Moreover, the savory notes in the sherry are what made Sahil reach for the spice notes in the kümmel.
estragon south end sahil mehta cocktails
The Butchertown greeted the nose with a lemon oil, caraway, and sherry aroma. A honey and grape sip was followed by the wonderful pairing of the manzanilla sherry and kümmel spice. Indeed, Sahil was on the money with that pairing.

celery stalker

1 1/2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
3/4 oz Manzanilla Sherry
1/2 oz Falernum
1/4 oz Lime Juice

Muddle an one inch piece of celery. Add rest of ingredients and ice, stir, and strain into a rocks glass rimmed with celery salt and filled with ice. Top with 1-2 oz soda water, garnish with the leafy end of a celery stalk, and add straws.

After J.M. Curley, I crossed town to meet Andrea at Estragon for dinner. For a first drink, bartender Sahil Mehta made me one of his celery-inspired cocktails; I am not sure if Celery Stalker was the name assigned to this variation, but it was the most catchy of the bunch. The combination of agave, manzanilla sherry, and falernum sounded rather appealing especially when I recalled a Tequila Scaffa that Tyler Wang made for me at No. 9 Park on my birthday. And of course, the sherry fit in rather well with Estragon's Spanish theme.
sahil mehta cocktail estragon south end boston
The vegetalness of the muddled celery in the drink, celery salt rim, and the celery stalk garnish contributed greatly to the drink's aroma. The celery carried on into the flavor where it joined a dry grape and lime sip. Finally, the smoky mezcal led off the swallow that ended with clove spice notes and a vegetal finish.