Tuesday, April 30, 2013

heads or tails

1 1/2 oz St. George's Terroir Gin
3/4 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Scrappy's Celery Bitters

Shake with ice, add 1 1/2 oz Heady Topper (or Green Flash) IPA, and strain into a cocktail glass.

One of the drinks that bartender Ran Duan wanted to showcase for us was the Heads or Tails beer cocktail. He had created something like this for Kevin Fethe, our local St. George's rep, and Evan Harrison using Green Flash IPA. I figured that the name reflected the head generated from pouring a beer or perhaps some aspect of distillation, but Ran explained that the name Heads or Tails describes the 50:50 odds of whether he can make this drink with the rare and sought-after Head Topper or not. Overall, the idea reminded me of a combination of the French 75 and Airmail beer cocktails that we made for a Mixology Monday a few years ago, but I imagined that the citrussy elements in West Coast IPAs would work better here than the Heineken Light we used.
beer cocktails
The Heads or Tails greeted the senses with a grapefruit and celery aroma from the beer's hops and the bitters' botanicals, respectively. Next, a carbonated lime and honey sip led into an herbal swallow featuring the gin, hops, and celery. Of all the combinations, I was impressed with how well this IPA's hops complemented the celery bitters in the drink.

cisco bay

1 1/2 oz St. George Botanivore Gin
3/4 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1/2 oz Campari
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a Highball glass filled with ice. Add a straw and garnish with either a cherry or a grapefruit twist.

Two Wednesdays ago, Andrea and I ventured over to Woburn to eat dinner at Sichuan Garden II's bar. For a first drink, I asked bartender Ran Duan for the Cisco Bay for I remember how tasty Ran's passion fruit syrup was in the Antoine's Demise. Ran lamented that the bar was all out of fresh grapefruit to peel for garnish and instead garnished this one with a cherry.
The combination of passion fruit and Campari filled the Cisco Bay's aroma. The passion fruit continued on into the sip where it worked well with the grapefruit, and it lingered into the swallow where it mingled with the gin and complemented the Campari.

Monday, April 29, 2013

19th century

1 1/2 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon (Fighting Cock)
3/4 oz Crème de Cacao (Marie Brizard)
3/4 oz Lillet Rouge (Bonal)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After the Army & Navy, I reached for Tom Sandham's World's Best Cocktails and spotted a modern riff on a classic, namely the 20th Century. Here, Brian Miller from Pegu Club and Death & Co. swapped the original's gin and Lillet for Bourbon and Dubonnet or Lillet Rouge, respectively, and renamed it the 19th Century. The 19th Century is a drink that has not appeared on the blog to date, but it is one that we had at home before we started including such items here (in addition to the drinks we had out). I do mention the drink in a Bourbon Corpse Reviver #2 riff that Sam Treadway made me at Drink shortly before we made the 19th Century at home. Since we lack a fresh bottle of Dubonnet or Lillet Rouge, I opted for another quinquina -- Bonal.
19th century cocktail brian miller 20th century cocktail riff
The Bourbon worked elegantly with the cacao on the nose. Next, a lemon and grape sip led into a swallow that began with the whiskey and ended with the chocolate mixed with Bonal's bitter herbal flavors.

army & navy

2 oz Gin (Ryan & Wood Knockabout)
1/2 oz Orgeat (B.G. Reynolds)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters

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

The Army-Navy has come up a lot in conversation and on cocktail menus as of late, and I figured it was time to investigate this drink. The recipe perhaps first appears in print in David Embury's The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, and Embury described it as a Gin Sour that uses orgeat instead of simple syrup. While Embury proffered his source of the original recipe as 2 parts gin to 1 part each lemon juice and orgeat, he recommended a tarter, more spirits driven 8:2:1 of the respective ingredients. Some of the recipes that I have spotted across town, such as at Trina's Starlite Lounge, include Angostura Bitters; indeed, Rumdood wrote a good post about 320 Main's house recipe (that includes two dashes) on their bar's blog. I ended up splitting the difference and adding a single dash of Angostura Bitters and putting the proportions between what Embury recommended and what he recorded as the original.
The lemon twist donated a bright citrus oil aroma that worked well with the gin notes. It also prepared the mouth for the lemony sip, and the swallow proffered gin, almond, and allspice flavors. With a natural orgeat like BG Reynolds, I felt that the bitters masked some of the beauty of the subtle nut notes; however, with an extract-driven orgeat like Fee's or Monin, the bitters probably give a richness of flavor that heightens the drink.

Friday, April 26, 2013

the adams

1 1/2 oz Diabolique Bourbon
3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz Lacuesta Sweet Vermouth
1/4 oz Kümmel
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
For my second drink at Estragon, bartender Sahil Mehta mentioned that he had used kümmel in another drink called the Adams. The Adams was named after a guest who requested something similar to a Boulevardier, and Sahil took the idea in a more spiced route. On the nose, the Bourbon and Campari aromas were joined by the caraway and cumen of the kümmel. Next, a grape sip led into whiskey, Campari, and a chocolatey note on the swallow. After a few swallows, the kümmel began to work rather well to complement this chocolate aspect.

dutch revival

1 1/2 oz Bols Genever
1/2 oz Kümmel
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I ventured down to Estragon for dinner. For a first drink, bartender Sahil Mehta recommended the Dutch Revival, a drink he recently created for a guest who wanted something spicy and slightly tart. Since Sahil has shown his prowess with kümmel before in drinks like the Diaspora and Butchertown, I was definitely game to try this one.
sahil mehta estragon genever cocktail
Once mixed, I was quite impressed at how well the Genever's malt complemented the kümmel's spice on the nose. A malty lime sip led into the rest of the Genever and kümmel flavors on the swallow similar to how they paired in the aroma. The falernum was a bit subtle here, but the drink did finish with a light clove note that built up over successive sips.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

electrical storm julep

2 oz Bols Genever
3/4 oz Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum
1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao

Muddle the leaves from a mint sprig at the bottom of a Julep cup. Add the rest of the ingredients and ice. Garnish with mint sprigs and a float of 1/4 oz Gantous & Abou Raad Arak. A straw was later added upon request.

For my next drink at No. 9 Park, I asked bartender Tyler Wang for the Electrical Storm Julep. The Julep was another creation of bar manager Ted Kilpatrick, and similarly, I was not surprised that he had crafted it since Ted has made some quirky yet elegant Juleps before such as the Julep en Fuego. I am not sure whether the name is a reference to the cloudy louching effect from the arak or whether Ted suggests drinking these during summer thunder storms.
electrical storm julep ted kilpatrick no. 9 park
The Electrical Storm Julep proffered a mint and anise bouquet. A malty sip shared a slightly citrussy note, and the swallow showcased the funky Jamaican rum, herbal notes from the mint and Genever, and cacao flavors from the liqueur.

bleeding fog swizzle

1 1/2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1/2 oz House Swedish Punsch
3/4 oz El Maestro Sierra Pedro Ximénez Sherry
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 barspoon Kübler Absinthe

Build in a goblet glass, fill with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill. Garnish with two dash Peychaud's Bitters and add a straw.

Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I headed down to No. 9 Park for drinks. For a first libation, I asked bartender Tyler Wang for the Bleeding Fog Swizzle from their new cocktail menu. Tyler described how it was bar manager Ted Kilpatrick's smoky riff on a Fog Cutter. And it was actually Ted who made me my first Fog Cutter two years ago, so his fascination with the drink did not surprise me.
fog cutter bleeding fog swizzle ted kilpatrick no. 9 park cocktail
The anise aroma from the floated Peychaud's Bitters and the absinthe in the mix greeted the nose. Next, a grape and lemon sip was followed by a mezcal and absinthe swallow with lingering smoke notes. Overall, it was quite an abstraction of the Fog Cutter, and a tasty one at that.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

negroni tredici

2 oz Gin (Tanqueray)
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/4 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Campari
13 drop Regan's Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into an ice-filled glass (cocktail coupe sans ice). Garnish with both lemon and orange twists.

After the Brown Derby, I reached for Jeff Masson and Greg Boehm's Big Bartender's Book and found the Negroni Tredici. This Negroni variation was created by Toby Maloney at Chicago's Violet Hour in 2009; the 'tredici' part translates from Italian to 13, and this apparently reflects the 13 botanicals present in Cynar. Also, my instinct to reach for Tanqueray for Toby's drink given past recipes of his like the Thick As Thieves was correct, for I later found the recipe listed as such elsewhere.
toby maloney violet hour negroni tredici 13
The citrus oil from the two twists greeted the nose along with the sweet vermouth's aroma. Next, the vermouth's grape filled the sip, and the swallow began with gin flavors that flowed in the Cynar, Campari, and orange notes. The Campari was less intense here which I attribute to the small portion used in the recipe as well as the pairing with Cynar which converted the otherwise bitter swallow into something a bit more earthy.

brown derby

1/4 wineglass Rye (1 1/2 oz Old Overholt)
1/2 jigger Cacao (1/2 oz Marie Brizard)
1/2 jigger Sweet Vermouth (1/2 oz Cocchi)
1/6 Orange Juice (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Saturdays ago, I searched through Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 for something to start the cocktail hour. There, I found a curious rye drink called the Brown Derby. Well, the recipe itself was not the notable part, but it was the fact that it shares the name with a pair of better known cocktails created at the Brown Derby restaurant chain in Los Angeles. Considering that the chain was started somewhere between 1926 and 1929, there is a chance that this drink pre-dates the restaurant itself besides pre-dating the genesis of the more famous Bourbon-honey-grapefruit or dark rum-maple-lime libations.
brown derby cocktail
This Brown Derby began with a rye and orange aroma. The orange continued into the sip where it paired with the sweet vermouth's grape, and the rye appeared again in the swallow where it joined the crème de cacao and the vermouth's herbal notes. Overall, the orange juice-cacao pairing proved to be a quite pleasing combination. Moreover, this drink was less like either of the Hollywood Brown Derby drinks, and it reminded me more of the Delmarva #2.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

european union

1 1/2 oz Old Tom Gin (Ransom)
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/2 oz Calvados (VSOP Boulard)
1 tsp Strega
2 dash Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters (Angostura)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Thursdays ago, I picked up Jeff Masson and Greg Boehm's Big Bartender's Book in search of inspiration for the cocktail hour. There, I honed in on Alexander Day's European Union, and considering Alex's handling of Stega in the La Bateleur, I was definitely game to try it.
bartender alexander day european union cocktail
The European Union proffered a spiced apple aroma that led into a grape sip. The apple reappeared on the swallow where it was joined by Strega's and gin's herbal notes and followed by the bitters allspice and clove on the finish. Overall, the European Union seemed like a tasty cross of a Martinez and a Marconi Wireless.

four vices

3/4 oz Dry Amontillado Sherry
3/4 oz Amaro Montenegro
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (here Carpano, normally Cocchi)
3/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Cognac
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Twist an orange peel over the top. Note: the two bitters were left off of the recipe I was provided, but they are on his OnTheBar recipe.

As we were talking to bartender Ryan Connelly at Belly, he suggested that we come back another time to see more of the off-list offerings. I agreed and replied that I had been eying the Four Vices drink that he had listed in his OnTheBar profile. Instead of having us wait until the next time, Ryan made us small portions of the Four Vices. While Ryan crafted the recipe, the drink was named by restaurant owner Nick Zappia.
belly wine bar
The twist's orange oil brightened the grape and chocolate aromas; later, the Amaro Montenegro's tangerine notes appeared on the nose. Next, the sip offered grape and caramel flavors, and the swallow showcased the Cognac, nutty, herbal, and tangerine notes.

Monday, April 22, 2013

daley fix

1 1/2 oz Dry Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz Rothman & Winter Apricot Liqueur
3/4 oz oz Pineapple Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and 1-2 dash Angostura Bitters, and add a straw.

For my next drink, I asked Ryan Connelly for the Daley Fix for I am a big fan of Fixes in general. I was amused when I heard the recipe as it is the same basic proportions that we used next door with the Kitty Leroy when Katie Emmerson and I bartended at Belly's sister establishment, the Blue Room. I guess that recipe was such a success that the Kitty Leroy made it on to the Blue Room's regular menu! This Fix was not named after a Woman of the Wild West, but for Stacey Daley, the chef at Central Bottle Wine + Provision.
belly wine bar daley fix kendall square
The garnishes contributed greatly to the Daley Fix's aroma by providing mint and Angostura spice notes. A lemon and grape sip segued into a pineapple swallow that offered a great combination from the nutty sherry and the apricot liqueur. Towards the end of the drink, the Angostura Bitters entered into the flavor profile and added allspice notes and a degree of dryness to the mix.

the matic

1 oz Fino Sherry
1 oz Ford's Gin
3/4 oz Meletti Amaro
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass rinsed with Green Chartreuse.
belly wine bar cocktail fanny katz
Two Wednesdays ago, Andrea and I made our way over to Belly Wine Bar after having dinner at Cambridge Brewing Company. For a first drink, I requested The Matic from bartender Ryan Connelly. Ryan described how this libation was created by bar manager Fanny Katz for the new sherry section of the cocktail menu. Once mixed, the Matic presented a gin aroma with hints of sherry and herbal notes. A lemon and caramel-tinged sip led into a gin swallow that shared a pleasant sharpness from a combination of dry sherry, crisp lemon juice, and herbal Chartreuse.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

going back to mezcali

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo LXXII) was picked by Rowen of the Fogged in Lounge blog. The theme he chose was "Drink Your Vegetables," and with the spring crops already appearing at the market, it is quite apropos. Rowen elaborated on his theme by describing, "Want to get more vegetables but you're always eating on the run?... Well then, how about a vegetable cocktail? No, not that nice little glass of red stuff Grandma put at each place setting -- we're talking something with a kick in it. You can definitely start with the little glass of red stuff and expand it to a Red Snapper-style drink like a Bloody Mary. Or how about a cucumber-scented cooler like a Pimm's Cup, or maybe a cocktail featuring a vegetable-based ingredient like Cardamaro or celery bitters? Maybe you've been wondering if you can get more mileage out of that juice extractor before consigning it to the garage sale. However you get them in that glass, be prepared for the most fun with vegetables ever."

I was originally planning on using celery based off of the success of the Lamplighter at Chez Henri and based off how well celery flavors pair with tequila, pisco, gin, Batavia Arrack, and aquavit, and I had searched around for recipe possibilities. Then on Tuesday, I attended USBG Boston-sponsored mezcal talk given by Misty Kalkofen at Brick & Mortar. Afterwards, I looked at the recipe page for Del Maguey and I spotted a pair of cucumber drinks. While I may go back and make the other, the one I chose for this event is the recipe of the month, Going Back to Mezcali by Donato Alvarez who crafted this libation at the Sixth Engine in Washington, D.C.
Going Back to Mezcali
• 3/4 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
• 3/4 oz Lime Juice
• 3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
• 3/4 oz Aperol
• Cucumber (1/2 inch, see tasting notes below)
Muddle the cucumber, shake with ice, and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cold-smoked lime peel (subbed cucumber slice).
Essentially, the Going Back to Mezcali appeared like a cucumber-flavored Last Word-inspired riff, and I was drawn in for I recalled how well cucumber paired with Yellow Chartreuse in Rob Kraemer's Down at the Dinghy. Once mixed, the Going Back to Mezcali offered a cucumber aroma with a hint of mezcal. A lime and vegetal sip led into a swallow that presented cucumber and Yellow Chartreuse flavors. Perhaps I underestimated the potency of the cucumber, and I should have used a quarter inch so that it did not dominate as much.
going back to mezcali mezcal sixth engine
So thank you to Rowen for not only hosting this month's Mixology Monday but keeping us all vitamin enriched. And I can't wait to see the round up post for this one. Cheers!

Friday, April 19, 2013


2/5 jigger Gin (1 1/2 oz Beefeater)
2/5 jigger Orange Juice (1 oz)
1 spoon Pineapple Syrup (1/2 oz)
1/2 Egg White (1 Egg White)

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
palace hawaii cocktail egg white sour
After the Westervelt, I turned to William Boothby's 1934 edition of World Drinks And How To Mix Them and spied the Palace. With gin, orange, and pineapple notes shaken with egg white, the Palace reminded me of the Hawaii Cocktail that I enjoyed at Green Street. Here, the nutmeg garnish played a large role in the drink's aroma. Next, the sip offered a smooth orange and pineapple flavor, and some of this fruitiness carried over into the swallow and mingled with the gin.


2/3 Scotch (1 1/2 oz Pig's Nose)
2 dash Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)
1 dash Cointreau (1/2 oz )
1 dash Dry Vermouth (1/2 oz Dolin)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added an orange twist.
Two Tuesdays ago, I was browsing the Scotch section of Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 when I spotted the Westervelt. With the combination of spirit, citrus, dry vermouth, and orange liqueur, it reminded me of the Snake in the Grass and Haymaker. The book provides no history as to whom the drink is named after, but Jacob Westervelt was a famous ship builder who later became mayor of New York City in the mid to late 19th century. Once mixed, the orange notes from the twist, bitters, and liqueur filled the bouquet. A lemon, orange, and malt-laden sip was followed by the swallow's Scotch plus the citrus and dry vermouth's crispness on the finish.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

my triumphs, my mistakes

2 oz Great King Street Blended Scotch
3/4 oz Russo Nocino
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Batavia Arrack
1 dash Orange Bitters

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

For my next libation at Russell House Tavern, I requested the My Triumphs, My Mistakes from bartender Kelley. Kelley mentioned that it was bar manager Sam Gabrielli's creation, and I was lured in since Scotch and walnut liqueur have worked so well together before such as in Misty Kalkofen's Sentimental Gentleman and Trina's Starlite Lounge's Expatriot. I learned more about the drink in the most recent issue of the Weekly Dig in an article about geeky Comic Con-appropriate cocktails around town. Sam riffed on the Scotch classic, the Godfather, and named his recipe after "Gaius Baltar's manifesto written during the third season of the 2004 Battlestar Galactica series." I am impressed that Sam can hold his own against previous bar manager Aaron Butler who went with a Star Trek obscurity in the Kobayashi Maru a year and a half ago.
sam gabrielli russell house tavern harvard square cocktails
The My Triumphs, My Mistakes presented orange oil accents over a rich dark aroma; this combination reminded Andrea of Coca Cola. Next, a caramel sip led into Scotch and Batavia Arrack on the beginning of the swallow and walnut and Cynar's bitter herbal notes at the end.

a man about town

1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1 oz Aperol
3/4 oz Amaro Montenegro
1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
2 dash Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange twist and add straws. The bartender realized his mistake (about adding ice and straws) afterwards.
russell house tavern cocktail victor pelegrin
Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I got dinner at Clover in Harvard Square before making our way to Russell House Tavern for drinks. For a first cocktail, I asked bartender Kelley for the A Man About Town, and he described how this rye-based recipe was crafted by fellow bartender Victor Pelegrin. Once mixed, the Man offered an orange oil and Aperol aroma. Similarly, the orange and rhubarb flavors continued on into the sip along with the the rye's grain notes. And finally, the rye came through on the swallow along with the Montenegro's clementine peel and spice notes.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

oaxacan spice

1 1/2 oz Añejo Tequila (Espolon Reposado)
1/2 oz Joven Mezcal (Sombra)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Campari
1/4 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
michael grassberg domenica restaurant oaxacan spice
Two Fridays ago, I opened up Gary Regan's 101 Best new Cocktails 2012 to find a drink for the evening. There, I spotted the Oaxacan Spice crafted by Michael Grassberg of Domenica Restaurant in New Orleans. Once mixed, the orange twist notes meshed well with the Campari aroma and accompanied the aged tequila notes on the nose. The lime sip was followed by a swallow that began with smokey agave flavors, followed by Campari herbal elements, and ended with allspice and the lime's tartness. Overall, I was impressed at how well the orange oil worked with the Campari on the bouquet and how well the allspice complemented the mezcal on the swallow.

martinez bell-ringer

1/2 wineglass Gin (1 oz Wireworks)
1/2 wineglass Sweet Vermouth (1 oz Cocchi)
1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Simple Syrup
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a glass rinsed with 1/2 tsp apricot liqueur (Rothman & Winter). Rub a piece of fresh cut lemon around the edge of the glass.

After the Rye Crusta, I decided to keep the drinks in an older style and reached for Maloney's The Twentieth-Century Cocktail Guide for Mixing Fancy Drinks first published in 1900. With a little extra lemon juice left over from the Crusta, I narrowed my choices down to something that would utilize this and picked the Martinez Bell-ringer. Like the Manhattan Bell-ringer, this stirred drink contained a bit of lemon juice perhaps for brightness or fruitiness. The bell-ringer aspect is Maloney's signature move -- a rinse with apricot liqueur that he used in a wide variety of drinks.
martinez bell-ringer cocktail
The apricot rinse added to the nose along with the lemon from the rim and herbal notes including anise and juniper from the gin and bitters. The sweet vermouth flavors filled the sip, and the swallow offered gin, followed by apricot, and finishing with herbal notes. Overall, the Martinez Bell-ringer was softer and different from the better recognized Maraschino-containing Martinez. There were Martinez recipes that lost out that contain curaçao instead of Maraschino, and with the extra citrus elements, Maloney's drink shares some similarity with that history. Indeed, the Martinez was often described as a Manhattan made with gin instead of whiskey, and it was only later standardized (except for gin to vermouth ratio) as a Maraschino and orange bitters containing drink.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

rye crusta

1/2 jigger Rye (1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse 100)
1/3 Orgeat (1/2 oz BG Reynolds)
1/2 Lemon Juice (3/4 oz)
2 dash Grenadine (1/4 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a sugar-crusted wine glass. I garnished with a wide lemon peel (the recipe suggests garnishing with fruit, berries, mint, etc.).

Two Thursdays ago, the copy of Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 was still on the counter, so I began to flip through it again. There, I spotted a Rye Crusta that seemed different than the standard Maraschino, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and bitters combination. While this one did have the classic sugar-crusted rim, it had a very 19th century way of garnishing with lots of fruit, berries, and herbs and lacked the traditional wide citrus peel; the fruit garnish was something that I also observed in the Whiskey Crusta from Harry Johnson's Bartenders' Manual. Johnson's Crusta was also unique as it called for an orchard syrup which has been interpreted cider boiled down several fold into a sweet syrup. In the end, I added the standard citrus peel garnish to the Rye Crusta and spared the fruit (which worked in Johnson's because the glass was filled with crushed ice which supported the garnishes).
rye crusta
The rye whiskey aroma joined that of the lemon peel garnish's. A lemon and malt sip contained some of the fruitiness from the grenadine; the rest of the rye flavor came through on the swallow along with the orgeat's almond.


2/3 Rye Whiskey (2 oz Sazerac 6 Year)
1/4 Fernet Branca (1/2 oz)
1 dash Benedictine (1/2 oz)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

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

Two Tuesdays ago for the cocktail hour, I honed in on the Oldfield that I spotted in Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933. The combination of rye, Fernet, and Benedictine reminded me of a Maraschino-less Down & Brown which proved to be quite delicious at Tavern Road. I first thought about interpreting the recipe as a 2 oz rye, 3/4 oz Fernet, and 1/4 oz Benedictine, but I decided to mellow out the Fernet Branca and make it equal parts with the Benedictine.
fernet branca rye cocktail
The Oldfield offered an orange oil aroma that brightened the herbal notes that were mostly from the Benedictine. Next, the sip offered up the malt and caramel richness, and the swallow rounded things off with the rye and a minty-menthol note. Overall, I was impressed at how the Benedictine's mint complemented the Fernet Branca's menthol on the finish.

Monday, April 15, 2013


3/4 oz Suze Gentiane Liqueur
3/4 oz Lazzaroni Amaretto
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice

Shake with ice and pour into a rocks glass. Top with 2-3 oz of Harpoon IPA beer. Garnish with an orange slice and add a straw.

For dinner two Monday's ago, Andrea and I went to Trina's Starlite Lounge and found seats at the bar. There, I requested the Suze-E-Q from bartender Jay Bellao. Jay described this Beau Sturm original as being similar in feel to the Word to Your Mom beer cocktail they put on the menu two years ago.
trina's starlite lounge beer cocktail
The Suze-E-Q provided an amaretto and orange aroma that seemed to possess an almost cherry-like note. A carbonated lemon, orange, and malt sip gave way to an almondy, gentian, and hops-laden swallow. While the sip was a tad on the sweet side for me, the Suze's gentian and the beer's hops helped to dry things out on the swallow.

red nose

1 oz Beefeater Gin
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 oz Jelinek Fernet
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

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

Two Mondays ago, I stopped into Russell House Tavern for a drink. There, I asked bartender Bobby for the Red Nose that he described as a play on the Last Word. Instead of Green Chartreuse, they opted for Jelinek Fernet; compared to the better known Fernet Branca, Jelinek Fernet is less intense with a decent caramel note and lighter mint ones instead of a blast of menthol.
russell house tavern cocktail
The Red Nose proffered a Maraschino aroma that led into a lemon and cherry sip. The gin started the swallow that contained Maraschino flavors and minty, herbal notes from the Fernet. Overall, the Red Nose reminded me more of an Aviation than a Last Word proper.

Friday, April 12, 2013

pirate's revenge

3/4 oz Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
3/4 oz St. Germain
3/4 oz Pimm's #1
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 barspoon Cinnamon Syrup
1 dash Bittermens Tiki Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg.

For my next cocktail at Island Creek Oyster Bar, I asked bartender Vikram Hedge for the Pirate's Revenge. Vik explained how he and Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli were playing around with St. Germain one night, and the result was a happy accident they dubbed the Pirate's Revenge.
The Pirate's Revenge greeted the senses with a nutmeg bouquet. The lemon coupled with the fruit flavors in the Pimm's on the sip, and the swallow was filled with the rum along with cinnamon, floral, and other spice notes.

spanish union

3/4 oz Milagro Blanco Tequila
3/4 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I ventured down to Island Creek Oyster Bar. There, we found seats in front of bar manager Vikram Hedge. For a first drink, I requested the Spanish Union for the combination of tequila and sherry has often been a winner. Vik explained how he wanted to go heavier on the tequila, but general manager Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli's recommendation of keeping it on the lighter side won out.
island creek oyster bar cocktails vikram hedge tom schlesinger-guidelli
The sherry and lime aromas filled the nose, and similarly, the grape and citrus continued on into the sip. The swallow offered the tequila and cinnamon flavors that were rounded out by the sherry and chocolate notes.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

rum scaffa

1/2 Rum (1 oz Diplomatico Reserva)
1/2 Benedictine (1 oz)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Build in a glass without ice and serve. Note: this is a room temperature cocktail.

After the M. and St. L., I was in the mood for another drink, so I began perusing Frank Meier's 1934 The Artistry Of Mixing Drinks. There, I was tempted by a room temperature drink -- a Rum Scaffa which was different than Scott Holliday's Rum Scaffa, Deep Ellum's Franklin Mortgage Co., or my Madame Mustache that I served at the Blue Room. Instead, Meier's Scaffas are equal parts spirit and Benedictine with a dash of Angostura Bitters. For a rum, I wanted a rich, aged one and opted for Diplomatico.
rum scaffa frank meier artistry of mixing drinks
The caramel notes of the aged rum contributed greatly to both the Scaffa's aroma and the flavors in the sip. Next, on the swallow, the rum's grassiness meshed with the Benedictine and Angostura's herbalness, and the finish highlighted the liqueur's minty notes.

m. and st. l.

1 jigger Old Bourbon (1 oz Fighting Cock)
1 jigger Applejack (1 oz Laird's)
Juice 1/2 Lemon (1/2 oz)
1 barspoon Cointreau (1/2 oz)
(1/4 oz Simple Syrup)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

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

Two Saturdays ago, we began the cocktail hour with a drink, the M. and St. L., from Ted Saucier's Bottoms Up. The recipe was attributed to Lucian C. Sprague who was the chairman of the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway. I had probably skipped over the drink before because the recipe comes off as rather tart; however, I have gotten used to tweaking recipes from my forays into Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933. Therefore, I upped the Cointreau from an eighth of an ounce to a half an ounce. Even with equal parts of lemon juice and orange liqueur, it was still rather tart; perhaps, the aggressive Fighting Cock Bourbon played a roll here. To each drink, I added a quarter ounce of simple syrup which seemed to get the balance in the right ball park.
ted saucier bottoms up
The M. and St. L.'s orange twist's aroma joined that of the Bourbon. A fruity sip from the apple, lemon, and orange elements was followed by the whiskey with a slightly tart finish. Perhaps, a less aggressive Bourbon and a more assertive apple brandy would have made for a more interesting drink, but it was still an enjoyable Daisy.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


1 1/4 oz Gin (Martin Miller Westbourne)
2/3 oz Amer or Amaro (one with Averna, another with Cynar)
2/3 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

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

Two Fridays ago, I was flipping through World's Best Cocktails when I spotted the Amertinez. The recipe was created by Chris Hannah at Arnaud's French 75 bar in New Orleans as a Martinez created with an amer or amaro. The amaro was not in place of the classic's gin but in place of half of the sweet vermouth (in an equal parts recipe) or perhaps in addition to the sweet vermouth (in a 2:1 recipe). As I bandied about bitter liqueurs to use with Andrea, I decided to make two -- one with Averna and one with Cynar.
chris hannah arnaud french 75 amertinez amaro martinez
The Cynar one was my favorite and it greeted me with orange oil and Maraschino notes on the nose. A caramel and sweet vermouth sip led into a gin swallow. After the gin came the Cynar which worked well with the Maraschino funkiness here. Meanwhile, the Averna one was Andrea's favorite for she found it more complex and possessing a prettier color. The drink greeted me with an orange and caramel aroma. The caramel continued on into the sip where it mingled with the sweet vermouth's grape. Next, the gin began the swallow that ended with the Averna dominating the Maraschino notes. Overall, the Cynar Amertinez had a thinner mouthfeel but a more earthy and quirky nature, and the Averna one was more balanced and had a less domineering Maraschino presence.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

rum club daiquiri

2 oz Baccardi 8 Rum (Don Q Añejo)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup 2:1
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
6-8 drop Absinthe (Obsello)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After the Dunhill, I reached for the rum booklet of The Cocktail Hour series. There, I spotted the Rum Club Daiquiri created by Michael Shea. I regret not making it the Rum Club when we were in Portland, Oregon, last October, especially since we were close -- we made it to Beaker & Flask next door, but our timing did not allow for it. Apparently, it is one of the industry hangouts for the Portland bartending scene.
rum club daiquiri michael shea
The Rum Club Daiquiri appeared like a Hemingway Daiquiri with bitters and absinthe but without the grapefruit juice. On the nose, the rum's richness and the bitters' spice began the drink. A lime sip contained some of the Maraschino liqueur's cherry flavors, and the swallow showcased the rum, nutty Maraschino, and spice notes.


1/4 jigger Gin (1 oz Hayman's Navy Strength)
1/4 jigger Sherry (1 oz Lustau East India Solera)
1/4 jigger Dry Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat + Dolin)
2 drop Curaçao (1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand)
1 dash Absinthe (1 barspoon Obsello)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an olive (omitted).
william boothby world drinks and how to mix them
Two Thursdays ago, we began the cocktail hour with the Dunhill, a drink from the 1934 reprint of William Boothby's World Drinks and How to Mix Them. The recipe enticed me since it appeared like a 19th century Perfect Martini variation. Once mixed, it began with an anise and herbal-filled bouquet from the absinthe. Next, a grape sip led into a swallow that began with gin followed by a raisiny orange flavor, and finished with absinthe notes. Overall, it felt like the sherry and dry vermouth combination donated more body than if it were a double part of sweet vermouth here instead.

Monday, April 8, 2013


2/3 Rye Whiskey (1 1/2 oz Old Overholt)
1/3 Sweet Vermouth (3/4 oz Cocchi)
1 dash Curaçao (1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand)
1 dash Picon (1/4 oz Ramazzotti)
1 dash Pineapple Juice (1/4 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After the Brown Trout, I reached for Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933. There, I found the Netherlands, and I was somewhat surprised that it is not a Genever drink but a rye whiskey one roughly based off of a Manhattan. I guess that I should not be too surprised since the book also has the Martinique which is not a rhum cocktail but another rye one with a Manhattan-like base. While we do have both Amer Picon and Torani Amer, I decided to see how this recipe would work with the more available Ramazzotti amaro which packs a similar dark, bitter orange flavor.
rye sweet vermouth bitters
Like a Manhattan, the rye whiskey filled the Netherland's aroma. An orange and grape sip was chased by rye followed by a bitter herbal flavor that was well complemented by the pineapple on the swallow. Over all, it was a bit more fruity-bitter than a Manhattan and just as enjoyable as the Martinique.

brown trout

1 1/2 oz Hendrick's Gin (Tanqueray Malacca)
1/2 oz Johnnie Walker Black Scotch (Pig's Nose)
3/4 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quina
1/2 oz Aperol
1/4 oz St. Germain

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

Two Tuesdays ago, we began the cocktail hour with a drink I had spotted on Alcademics called the Brown Trout. There, Camper English describes how he had this drink during Hawaii Cocktail Week and how it was created by Dave Newman of Pint and Jigger in Honolulu.
dave newman brown trout
The Brown Trout began with an orange aroma coupled with a sweet note. An Aperol and grape sip led into gin and Scotch at the beginning of the swallow. The swallow then offered gentian flavors followed by a bitter and floral finish. Indeed, I was impressed at how well the Aperol seemed to work with the Bonal in this drink, and I am guessing that they would work even better if this drink were quaffed in Hawaii...

Friday, April 5, 2013

human rocket

1 1/2 oz Bulleit Bourbon
1/2 oz Rothman & Winter Apricot Liqueur
1/2 oz Nux Alpina Walnut Liqueur
1/2 oz Suze Gentiane Liqueur

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.

For my second drink at Brick & Mortar, I asked bartender Kenny Belanger if he had the recipes from the Spin the Bottle event in late February that featured Hollis Bulleit on the turntables as the DJ for the evening. The drink that caught my eye, the Human Rocket, was crafted by Misty Kalkofen; I surmise that this fruity, nutty, and bitter Bourbon drink was named after a DEVO song, but I did not ask that night to confirm. It also seemed like a fruitier variation of Misty's Penn Cocktail that she crafted for the Ivy League College menu last autumn.
hollis bulleit bourbon brick & mortar misty kalkofen spin the bottle
The Human Rocket offered up a walnut aroma, and some of those notes bled into the sip along with the Bourbon's malt flavors. Next, the whiskey's barrel notes came through on the beginning of the swallow followed by apricot, gentian, and the rest of the walnut.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

frequent flier

1 1/2 oz St. Teresa Rum
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with ~2 oz ginger beer, garnish with an orange twist, and add a straw.

For Andrea's first drink at Brick & Mortar, she asked bartender Kenny Belanger for the Frequent Flier. The recipe was created by Kenny's fellow bartender Phil MacLeod who we met shortly after he started working behind the bar at Green Street around October of 2011. With aged rum, Cynar, allspice liqueur, lime juice, and ginger beer, it would have tempted me for my next round if Andrea had not ordered it first.
phil macleod brick & mortar cambridge
The orange twist's oils greeted the nose and led into a carbonated lime and caramel sip. Next, the rum, ginger, and allspice filled the swallow; the Cynar's herbal notes were harder to detect in this mix, but it probably worked rather well to support the aged rum.


2 oz Douglas XO Scotch
1/2 oz Luxardo Amaro Abano
1/2 oz Demerara Simple Syrup
2 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters

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

Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I visited Brick & Mortar where Kenny Belanger and Cory Buono were bartending that night. For a first drink, I asked Kenny for the 4-5-6 which was one of his creations. When I saw the name, I wondered if it was a continuation of the 3-2-1 on the Green Street menu given that Misty Kalkofen has worked at both establishments. With the exception of a whiskey and an herbal liqueur, the recipes appear unrelated though.
kenny belanger brick and mortar cambridge ma
The orange oil's brightness contrasted the dark aroma from the amaro on the nose. The amaro's caramel paired well with the richness of the demerara syrup on the sip, and the Scotch came through on the swallow along with the amaro's earthy herbal flavors and the bitter's cinnamon note.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

yellow bird

1 1/2 oz Light Rum (Caliche)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Galliano
1/2 oz Triple Sec (Cointreau)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Sunday afternoons ago, Andrea was in the mood for a cocktail. For an idea, my eyes latched onto one of the recipe sheets from the Boston USBG-sponsored talk about aperitifs and digestifs that I attended at Backbar about a month ago. There I found the Yellow Bird, a drink that we served at an International Migratory Bird Day party that we threw in 2008 (and I wrote up here). The Yellow Bird was one of the 20 bird-themed drinks on the menu, but it never made it onto the blog. The recipe provided by Bols-Galliano was somewhere between the sweeter 2:1:1:1 recipe we made that night (unsure now as to which book was the source) and the crisper 3:2:1:1 recipe in Stan Jones' Complete Barguide. Of course, when we made the Yellow Bird the last time in 2008, it was with the old Galliano (the New Coke-like) formulation, and this time it would be with the new (the Coca Cola Classic-like) one.
yellow bird galliano
The Yellow Bird shared an orange, anise, and vanilla aroma. A citrussy lime and orange sip gave way to a rum swallow with a mint-like and star anise finish. Indeed, the Yellow Bird came across like an herbal Rum Sidecar.

white rene

1 1/2 oz Pisco (Macchu Pisco)
1/2 oz White Rum (Privateer)
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After having the Black Rene, I felt it was good but it could be improved. Taking Max Toste's conversion of the Black Devil into the White Devil for the Deep Ellum menu as inspiration, I set to work. In place of the brandy and aged rum, I swapped in pisco and white rum. I kept the Maraschino liqueur the same, as well as the only color in the drink -- the lime juice.
pisco rum lime cocktail
The White Rene had an interesting Maraschino-pisco funk to the nose, while on the tongue, it offered a lime sip with some cherry-like fruit notes. The swallow was mostly about the great pisco-Maraschino pairing that had worked well in Kevin Martin's Carnivale (a/k/a the Pisco Disco) with some rum flavors providing accent here. Overall, the White Rene was a definite improvement to my palate.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

black rene

2/3 Brandy (1 1/2 oz Foret)
1/2 Lemon (1/2 oz Lemon Juice
2 dash Bacardi Rum (1/2 oz Thomas Tew)
2 dash Maraschino Liqueur (1/2 oz Luxardo)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a green olive (omitted, and instead garnished with a lemon twist).

Two Fridays ago, I was scanning through the brandy section of Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 when I spotted the Black Rene. Overall, it seemed like a brandy-forward and Maraschino instead of triple sec variation of the Between the Sheets, and it seemed worthy of a try.
pre-prohibition era cocktail
The Black Rene's bouquet was filled with lemon, Maraschino, and caramel notes from the rum. A slightly tart lemon-caramel sip led into brandy, rum, and Maraschino flavors on the swallow. Moreover, as the drink warmed up, it became a bit more grassy and rhum agricole-like; Andrea surmised that the Maraschino played a role modifying or pushing this flavor forward.

[pau d'arco]

2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1/2 oz Honey-Ginger Syrup
3 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters
3 dash Orange Bitters

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

Two Thursdays ago, I met up with Andrea at Rendezvous for dinner. For a drink, bartender Scott Holliday mentioned that he had been tinkering with a Penicillin-like drink but without citrus juice or a second spirit as a rinse. Since it was agave-based, it would be more like a Little Branch though. Instead of a spiced honey Sour, this came across more like an Old Fashioned. For a name, Scott was thinking about riffing off of Penicillin, and I later thought that Pau d'Arco, a botanical cure-all extract that originates in a tree found in Mexico and parts of South America, might work.
rendezvous central square cambridge scott holliday cocktail
The lemon twist's aroma brightened the smokey agave notes and worked well with the honey ones. Next, a honey sip led into the mezcal swallow that faded away into a ginger and chocolate finish.

Monday, April 1, 2013


1 1/2 oz El Maestro Oloroso Sherry
1 oz Ransom Old Tom Gin
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1/4 oz Demerara Syrup
2 dash Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist an orange peel over the top.
blue room kendall square cambridge cocktails
For a second drink, I was tempted by the Catedrático which was based off of the classic Martinez and asked bartender Chris Danforth to make me one. Once mixed, the Catedrático shared an orange oil and sherry aroma at first that later became more Maraschino driven. Next, a sweet grape sip led into a swallow dominated by nutty notes from the sherry and Maraschino and herbal ones from the gin and bitters.

columbus exchange

1 1/2 oz Ron Pampero Rum
1/2 oz S. Maria al Monte Amaro
1/2 oz Carpano (or Cocchi) Sweet Vermouth (*)
1/4 oz Grand Marnier
1/4 oz Velvet Falernum

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist an orange peel over the top.
(*) Usually made with Cocchi sweet vermouth, but they were out.

Two Wednesdays ago, I made my way over to the Blue Room where Chris Danforth was tending bar. For a first drink, I asked for the Columbus Exchange, a drink that Chris had created about a month or so ago. Chris thought about the New World rum and falernum as well as the Old World vermouth, amaro, and orange liqueur in the recipe, and he named the drink after the Grand Exchange, the widespread exchange of animals, plants, humans, and ideas between the Americas and Afro-Eurasia following Columbus' voyage in 1492.
blue room kendall square chris danforth
The Columbus Exchange offered an orange oil aroma that brightened the aged, caramel and herbal notes. A caramel, grape, and orange sip gave way to a rum, clove, and minty swallow. Overall, I was impressed at how well the rum and vermouth seemed to tame the S. Maria al Monte and its strong menthol signature.