Thursday, June 27, 2013

mellow yellow

1 1/2 oz Weller Bourbon
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz Becherovka Liqueur
1/4 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

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

Two Tuesdays ago, we wandered over to the bar at Craigie on Main after getting dinner at Veggie Galaxy. There, bartenders Jared Sadoian and Rob Ficks were tending the bar. For a cocktail, I asked Rob for the Mellow Yellow which turned out to be his own creation; Rob described the recipe as a spiced Green Point.
The Mellow Yellow greeted the nose with a perfumey orange-apricot aroma. The malty sip shared hints of honeyed fruit, and the swallow provided the rest of the whiskey flavors along with clove, cinnamon, and herbal notes. Moreover, as the drink warmed up, the apricot took a larger role in the flavor profile.

garden of good and evil

1 1/2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1 oz Velvet Falernum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Angostura Bitters

Muddle 2 slices of cucumber, add the rest of the ingredients and ice, and shake. Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice and half-rimmed with celery salt. Garnish with a cucumber slice and add a straw.

Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I ventured over to Estragon for dinner. For a drink, bartender Sahil Mehta suggested the Garden of Good and Evil that he created for the Angostura competition. With mezcal, cucumber, and falernum in the mix, it was hard to turn down especially with how good the cucumber, mezcal, and ginger Olivia last month was. I am not sure if the drink name is a reference to the book and movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil or to something other (*).
The celery salt from the glass' rim provided much of the Garden's aroma along with hints of vegetal cucumber and smoky agave notes. A lime sip led into a swallow that began with the mezcal and ended with the falernum clove, Angostura spice, and a lingering cucumber peel finish.

(*) Sahil visited me when I was bartending the other day and told me it was indeed after the book and movie, but such a long name would be more difficult to say and order so he cropped it down.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

[golden temple fizz]

1 oz Campari
1 oz Peychaud's Bitters
1 oz Combier Pamplemousse Liqueur
1 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Yuzu Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 Egg Yolk

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a Collins glass, top with 2 oz soda water, and add a straw. Garnish with a grapefruit twist-cherry flag.

One of the drinks Andrea had at Sichaun Garden II was a bitter-citrus Golden Fizz that featured a bit of yuzu juice in the mix. Bartender Ran Duan did not have a name for it yet, so in the meanwhile, I dubbed it after a temple in China built during the Ming Dynasty with lots of copper (not gold).
The grapefruit twist in the garnish joined up with the aromas from the grapefruit liqueur and Campari. Next, a creamy sip let through some of the bite from the citrus, and the swallow showcased the Peychaud's-Campari herbal and spice notes as well as grapefruit peel flavors.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

rome with a slight view

1 oz Kina L'Avion d'Or
1 oz Aperol
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass with ice. Top with 2 oz soda water, garnish with a grapefruit twist, and add a straw.

For a second drink at Sichuan Garden II, Ran Duan suggested a Rome with a Slight View, a riff of Michael McIlroy's Rome with a View created at Manhattan's Milk & Honey. I was first introduced to McIlroy's recipe when Tyler Wang made his own spin, the Triumph of Pompei, at No. 9 Park. Ran softened the neo-classic's Campari by using Aperol instead, switched the dry vermouth to Tempus Fugit's Kina L'Avion d'Or, and added additional flavors by using passion fruit syrup instead of simple.
The grapefruit twist garnish's aroma helped to prepare the mouth for the carbonated citrussy wine sip. The swallow then donated a passion fruit and herbal swallow with a grapefruit-like finish.

lost in laos

1 1/2 oz Plantation 5 Year Barbados Rum
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
3 oz Coconut Milk
4 slice Cucumber

Muddle the cucumber. Add the rest of the ingredients and ice, shake, and double strain into a Collins glass with ice. Garnish with cucumber and a cherry, and add a straw.

Two Thursdays ago, Andrea and I traveled over to Sichuan Garden II in Woburn for dinner. For a drink, I asked bartender Ran Duan for the Lost in Laos. Ran described how he was inspired by Luc-Lac's tequila-cucumber Ramos-like Fizz, the White Buddha, and he crafted his own riff using some of the flavor elements. Instead of cream and egg white, he used coconut milk; while regular coconut milk would work, Ran opted for a canned drink available at Asian food markets that had a lighter body.
The cucumber garnish contributed greatly to the drink's nose. The lime on the sip mingled with the creaminess of the coconut milk. Next, the swallow proffered the great flavor combination of rum, cucumber, and Green Chartreuse. Overall, the balance was a touch on the sweet side so perhaps cutting the simple syrup amount in half would appeal to drier palates (the coconut milk drink might be sweetened a bit too), but the flavors definitely came together quite well.

Monday, June 24, 2013

imperial delight cocktail

1 pony Brandy (1 oz Foret)
3 dash Curaçao (1/3 oz Pierre Ferrand)
3 dash Fernet Branca (1/3 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a flute glass. Top with champagne (~2 1/2 oz Gruet Blanc de Blancs) and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Mondays ago, I searched through my 1940 edition of The How and When by Hyman Gale and Gerald F. Marco, and there I spotted a curious champagne sparkler that included Fernet Branca in the mix. After making the drink, it offered up a lemon oil and candied orange aroma. A dry sparkling wine-laden sip possessed orange notes, and the swallow began with crisp brandy flavors with an herbal, menthol finish. Over time as the Imperial Delight warmed up, the Fernet Branca became more prominent on the swallow.


3/4 Brandy (1 1/2 oz Foret)
1 dash Apricot Brandy (3/8 oz Rothman & Winter)
1 dash Curaçao (3/8 oz Senior)
1 dash Sweet Vermouth (3/4 oz Cocchi)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added an orange twist.
After the Visionary Cocktail, I opened up our trusty copy of Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and turned to the brandy section. There, I spotted the Judge, and its Periodista-like combination of apricot liqueur and curaçao called out to me. Once mixed, the drink greeted the nose with an orange and apricot aroma. A stone fruit and grape sip transitioned to a swallow that began with brandy and candied orange flavors and ended pleasantly with Angostura's spice.

Friday, June 21, 2013

visionary cocktail

1 1/2 oz Vodka (Bak's Bison Grass)
1/3 oz Fernet Branca
1/3 oz Cinnamon Syrup (BG Reynolds)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with several drops of chocolate bitters (housemade).

Two Saturday nights ago, I began looking for a drink recipe in Tom Sandham's World's Best Cocktails. In the vodka section that I had previously glossed over, I spotted the Visionary Cocktail created by Roman Milostivy. Roman works at Chainaya Tea & Cocktails which is a speakeasy-like establishment in Moscow located under a Chinese restaurant in a space that used to be a tea house. After discovering the delicious spice notes in bison grass vodka when I made the Club Land, I figured that these apple pie-like spice accents would work well with the cinnamon syrup here.
The Visionary Cocktail greeted the nose with a chocolate-anise spice aroma from the housemade chocolate bitters. Next, a creamy, smooth lime sip led into a cinnamon-minty swallow that was tinged with more lime notes. Finally, the Visionary Cocktail ended with a clove-like finish.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


2 oz Ransom Old Tom Gin
1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a flute glass. Top with 1 oz prosecco (Gruet Blanc de Blancs) and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Fridays ago for the cocktail hour, I flipped through Food & Wine: Cocktails 2013 and settled on the M-80. The drink was created by Erin Harris of Jimmy's in Aspen Colorado as her riff of the French 75. With the Ransom Old Tom and the Amaro Montenegro, the M-80 shared extra herbal notes to the lemon oil aroma of a regular French 75. Next, a carbonated lemon and grape sip led into a crisp juniper and herbal swallow with a winey finish.

i'll have another

1 1/2 oz Eagle Rare 10 Year Bourbon
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 fistful Mint Leaf

Shake with ice and double strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. Top with 1 oz housemade ginger beer and garnish with a mint leaf.

After the DrinkOne event at the Sinclair, I popped into Bergamot on my way home for a nightcap. On the menu was the I'll Have Another which looked like the ginger beer instead of sparkling wine version of the Kentucky Proper. The Kentucky Proper was bartender Paul Manzelli's Bourbon riff on the Old Cuban, and the I'll Have Another was reminiscent of many of the ginger beer-laden Mules they serve there. Since those Mules are so popular, I figured the name was something the guests frequently said; however, Paul described how it was named after a horse that had 14:1 odds in the Kentucky Derby. As Paul's friend was going to Vegas that weekend, he asked him to place a wager on said horse, and lucky for him, I'll Have Another made the biggest upset in the history of the race by winning from post 19 out of a field of 20.
The mint leaf garnish added a fresh spice aroma to the I'll Have Another. Next, a lemon and malt sip shared some green herbal notes, and the swallow offered the Bourbon that was pleasantly accented by the mint and ginger.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

drink one up

1 1/2 oz Reposado Tequila
1 oz Drambuie
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Thursdays ago, I attended the DrinkOne charity event at the Sinclair to benefit the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. For a first drink, I selected the Drink One Up which was the Sinclair's regular menu to raise money for the past month or so. Bartender Bryn Tattan mentioned that bar manager Dave Werthman crafted the recipe and she suggested that I contact him after the event. Via email, Dave described how he picked which event sponsors and ingredients to use, "I am a big fan of all the Fratelli Branca products... [and] Drambuie has been doing great things throughout the city for a while now. Honestly, I am friends with the reps from both companies, and know how well each product mixes with Tequila Reposado. Grapefruit is my go to citrus and all the flavors play off each other perfectly, without masking any of their individual characteristics."
The Drink One Up greeted the nose with a honey and agave aroma. A citrus, honey, and malt sip led into a swallow that began with tequila followed by Punt e Mes' bitter flavors and ended with a honey finish. Overall, the Drink One Up had a elegance to its balance that had me returning for a second taste later in the evening.


3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz Cocchi Barolo Chinato
3/4 oz Ransom Old Tom (usually Wireworks Gin)
1/2 oz Coffee Rustico Syrup (1:1)

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

The better demonstration of how well coffee and Campari required a short wait as Tyler fetched some freshly brewed coffee, added sugar, and made a syrup. For a coffee, he selected Counter Culture's Rustico which is an espresso roast-level bean. He originally crafted this drink with Wireworks Gin with which he also made the Purple Princess, but in its temporary absence at the bar, he opted for Ransom's Old Tom. Tyler did not have a name for the drink yet, so in the meantime, I am dubbing it the Bezzera after the man who in 1901 filed the first patent for an espresso machine.
coffee cocktail
The drink greeted my nose with a grape and orange oil aroma. The grape continued on into the sip where it mingled with the coffee's roast notes; the roast notes then flowed into the swallow where it paired with the gin and Campari herbal elements.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

[la perla de oaxaca]

1 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1 oz Campari
1 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 Whole Egg

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with freshly grated coffee bean.
no. 9 park tyler wang
After my foray at Blue Dragon, I made my way over to No. 9 Park for a nightcap or two. There, I spoke with bartender Tyler Wang about the barista-bartender event that he helped to put together, and we began to talk about the other coffee-spirit combinations that he fell in love with. One in particular was coffee and Campari which he showcased first with the aroma of coffee and second with a coffee syrup. In the first instance, he crafted a Flip that began with a coffee aroma from the grated coffee bean garnish. On the tongue, a creamy caramel sip led into a smoky swallow that shared the Campari flavors and the Cynar's earthy bitterness.


1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Hart 151 Rum
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a Champagne flute. Top with 2 oz cava and garnish with an orange twist.
john drew cocktail blue dragon boston
After the pisco event at Hawthorne, I made my way over to Blue Dragon for some food and a drink. For a libation, I selected the Haumea, named after the Hawaiian goddess of fertility and childbirth, from the menu. Once mixed, the aroma of the grapefruit juice in the drink mingled with that of the orange twist's oil. A carbonated grapefruit and lime sip yielded delightful honey and wine notes, and the swallow began with rum and cava flavors and ended with a cinnamon and lime finish.

Monday, June 17, 2013

andean flamingo

1 1/2 oz La Diablada Pisco
3/4 oz Vya Whisper Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Creole Shrubb Orange Liqueur
1 barspoon Galliano
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe.

Since the Andean Flamingo came so highly recommended, I tried it next at the Macchu Pisco La Diablada event at the Hawthorne. Bartender Jackson Cannon described how Katie Emmerson had crafted this recipe and based it off of the El Presidente. The drink was named after one of the rarest flamingo species in the world that happens to reside in the wetlands around the Andes mountains in Peru, Argentina, and Chile; with the Peychaud's Bitters in the mix, the color of the libation matched the birds' plumage rather well.
macchu pisco la diablada cocktail
The Andean Flamingo proffered an herbal, floral, orange, and anise nose. A citrussy wine sip led into the pisco on the swallow; finally, the swallow ended with vanilla and anise spice notes from the Galliano and Peychaud's Bitters. Definitely the lighter balance of this drink allowed the subtleties La Diablada Pisco to shine through more than it did in the rather flavorful Montesco.


1 1/2 oz La Diablada Pisco
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a Highball glass with fresh ice. Top with 1 oz ginger ale and add a straw.

Two Tuesdays ago, I attended the La Diablada Pisco event at the Hawthorne. La Diablada is the second offering from the same people who make Macchu Pisco; while Macchu Pisco is made with the non-aromatic Quebranta grape, La Diablada is an acholado or a blend of aromatic and non-aromatic grapes, namely aromatic Moscatel and Italia and non-aromatic Quebranta. Briefly, Macchu Pisco is more earthy while La Diablada has those same low earthy notes mixed in with high floral and fruit ones. To understand more, read the post I wrote about a pisco blending seminar I attended at Tales of the Cocktail in 2011. In attendance were Melanie da Trindade-Asher, founder and CEO of Macchu Pisco (and sister of Lizzie Asher), Brother Cleve, Boston's Macchu Pisco rep who was also DJing the event, and Jackson Cannon who was making cocktails for us all.
la diablada pisco
The first drink I tried was the Montesco, created by Katie Emmerson, and subtitled "the spice of life." Jackson explained that the format of the Montesco is similar to how the Hawthorne does their Mamie Taylor with a mix of ginger syrup and ginger ale instead of ginger beer proper. Once mixed, the ginger notes were bright and sharp on the nose. A carbonated lime led into the pisco, herbal notes, and ginger spice on the swallow. Though the Montesco was a delight to drink, the robustness of the flavors here did mute out some of the wonderful notes in the La Diablada, and it was highly recommended that I try the Andean Flamingo next.

Friday, June 14, 2013

cherry blossom brocade

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo LXXIV) was picked by Andrea of the Gin Hound blog. The theme she chose was "Cherries," and with the that fruit beginning to ripen in certain regions of the world, it is quite fitting. And even if it is not ripening, Andrea provided for plenty of other ways to incorporate the ingredient into cocktails. Andrea elaborated on her theme by describing, "Singapore Gin Sling, Blood and Sand, and the Aviation wouldn't be the same without them... But cherries in cocktails are also horribly abused, few things taste worse than artificial cherry aroma, and the description of how most maraschino cherries are made can make you sick to your stomach. So it's my pleasure as the host of Mixology Monday... to challenge you to honor the humble cherry. However you choose to do that, is entirely up to you. You could use Maraschino Liqueur, Cherry Heering, Kirchwasser, Belgian Kriek Beer, cherry wine, or any spectacular infusions invented by you in a cocktail. Or make your own maraschino cherries for a spectacular garnish."

I was originally searching for an interesting classic kirsch-containing recipe in my library that I have not made before, but I got a bit frustrated. Instead, I opted for something newer, namely something from Kate Simon's Absinthe Cocktails. The drink I spotted there was from Chris Hannah of New Orlean's French 75 Bar. His Cherry Blossom Brocade was dubbed after a fabric pattern frequently used in corsets, and the recipe's structure reminded me of Remember the Maine with Genever and grapefruit juice in place of the Bourbon and sweet vermouth, respectively.
Cherry Blossom Brocade
• 1 1/2 oz Bols Genever
• 1 oz Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice (Pink)
• 1/2 oz Cherry Heering
• 1/4 oz Absinthe Verte (La Muse Verte)
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass or coupe. Garnish with a stemmed cherry (omitted).
Once mixed, the Cherry Blossom Brocade offered a cherry and absinthe aroma. A malty sip shared grapefruit and cherry flavors, and the swallow showcased the absinthe and Genever botanicals.
So thank you to Andrea of Gin Hound for picking the theme and running this month's show, and thanks to the rest of the Mixology Monday participants for keeping the spirit of the event alive!

becca's blood & sand

3/4 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
3/4 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz Maurin Quina
3/4 oz Orange Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After Eastern Standard, I made my way over to Silvertone where Josh Childs and Cedric Adams were tending bar. For a drink, I asked Josh for the Becca's Blood and Sand as the use of Maurin Quina as the cherry-flavored ingredient instead of Cherry Heering intrigued me. The call for mezcal instead of Scotch was one that I had seen before though, such as in Coppa's Riccardo, with good results.
silvertone boston
The Becca's Blood and Sand presented a smoky mezcal aroma along with a vague fruit note from either the sweet vermouth or Maurin Quina. This fruit note came through on the sip as a cherry and grape combination. Finally, the mezcal appeared on the swallow that finished with smoke and orange flavors.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

torpedo juice

1 oz Pierre Ferrand Cognac
1/2 oz King's Ginger Liqueur
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Orgeat

Shake briefly with ice and strain into a rocks glass containing a 2 inch diameter ice cube containing cut up pieces of pineapple frozen inside. Add a straw.

The other drink of Kit Paschal's that I had at Eastern Standard was the newest member of the Tikisms section of the menu called Torpedo Juice. Kit explained that he paid tribute to how naval sailors during World War II were rather inventive and used to process torpedo fuel to get out the ethanol to drink and separate it from the methanol and dye. The Torpedo Juice libation that they used to make was high proof ethanol cut with pineapple juice, and this tradition went on for a bit until the Navy started adding other chemicals to make it more difficult and it required the sailors to set up makeshift stills.
torpedo juice tiki cocktail eastern standard boston
This modern day Torpedo Juice presented a Cognac and pineapple bouquet. The lemon juice accented the richness of the sip, and the swallow coupled the Cognac with the orgeat's nuttiness on the first sips before the ginger took hold. Moreover, as the ice cube melted, pineapple notes began to seep into the flavor profile.

patriot sling

1 1/2 oz Plantation 5 Year Barbados Rum
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a Highball glass filled with ice. Top with 2 oz Barritts Ginger Beer, garnish with a lemon twist, and add a straw.

Two Mondays ago, I wandered over to Eastern Standard to grab lunch. I did not realize it before I got there, but it turned out to be bartender Kit Paschal's last day at Eastern Standard before he heads north to Portland, Maine. While bartender Seth Freidus made my drinks that day, both of them were Kit Paschal originals. The first was the Patriot Sling which was Eastern Standard's DrinkOne menu item -- a charity drink to support the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Kit explained to me that he named it after the attack falling on Patriot's Day, a Massachusett's holiday that coincides with the Boston Marathon, and that he opted to use Plantation 5 Year Barbados from the list of possible liquor sponsors for the charity.
A lemon oil and ginger nose led into a sip that was carbonated, lemon, and initially caramel. Over time, the caramel in the sip gave way to honey flavors. Finally, the swallow began with rum and ginger notes and ended with a honey finish.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

purple princess

1 1/2 oz Wireworks Aged Gin
1 1/2 oz El Puente Coffee (chilled) (*)
3/4 oz Crème Yvette
1/2 oz Dolin Blanc
1 dash Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
(*) 44 grams coffee beans ground and steeped in 24 oz hot water.
Two Sundays ago, I attended the Bartender-Barista Exchange event at Backbar in Somerville. The idea started out of bartender Tyler Wang's passion for coffee and his discussions with various coffee professionals at the Counter Culture Coffee Boston Training Center located a few blocks from Backbar. Since Tyler saw so many parallels between the bartender and barista crafts, he wanted to unite the two trades for a friendly competition. No, not bartenders versus baristas, but pairings so that they could work together and teach each other about their professions. Tyler found that the most famous Coffee Cocktail did not even contain coffee, and the most frequently ordered ones that did, such as the Irish Coffee and Espresso Martini, were not all that notable. Therefore, he hoped that the bartender-barista teams could begin to change all that.
My favorite of the competition was conjured up by No. 9 Park's Tyler Wang and Pavement Coffee House's Wolfie Barn. While the other libations were excellent as well, they felt much more like coffee that was flavored with booze instead of my personal preference of integrating the brew into a cocktail-like drink. The coffee that the pair settled on was El Puente; with its plum and lavender notes, it has been nicknamed the Purple Princess. To match the fruit and floral notes in the drink, they paired the coffee with Crème Yvette. Moreover, Tyler likes to pair coffee with gin more so than rum, and he found that the Wirework's light floral notes worked rather well here. Once mixed, the Purple Princess shared floral and roast aromas. The sip then offered a creaminess along with light roast, floral, and berry flavors. Finally, the swallow began with juniper and violet notes and ended with lingering roast and clove elements.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


2/3 Bacardi Rum (1 1/2 oz Caliche + 1 bsp Vale d'Paul)
2 dash Lime Juice (1/2 oz)
2 dash Grenadine (1/2 oz)
2 dash Yellow Chartreuse (1/2 oz)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Saturdays ago for the cocktail hour, I perused Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 looking for recipe gems in need of interpretation. When I spotted the Lovers in the rum section, it reminded me of a Bacardi Cocktail crossed with a Daisy de Santiago. For proportions, I gave it a 3:1:1:1 structure which turned out to be a decent estimation of what would work well here.
preprohibition cocktail recipes
With the dash of rhum agricole-like Cape Verdean rum in the mix, the Lovers had a grassy nose in addition to the pomegranate notes. A fruity sip from the lime and pomegranate gave way to the rum, grassy, minty, and spice flavors on the swallow. Overall, the Lovers had an elegant tartness and complexity and would make for a delightful Daiquiri Time Out.

sherry jungle bird

1 1/2 oz Lustau Palo Cortado Sherry
3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a large glass filled with crushed ice. Float a barspoon of Lustau Almacenistas Oloroso Sherry, and garnish with a mint sprig, an orange twist, and a cherry.

Two Fridays ago, I arrived in South Boston a little early for the American Craft Beer Fest, so I decided to visit Drink to elegantly pass the time. When I found a seat at bartender Will Thompson's section, I mentioned that I was going to the beer fest and that I wanted something on the lighter side. Since he did not have any recent original creations fitting that description in mind, we began discussing sherry drinks for Will had read my post on the Sherry Mai Tai. I wondered what other Tiki drinks could be sherryfied, and we began bouncing ideas back and forth until the concept of making a Sherry Jungle Bird came up. Since sherry and Campari (or Gran Classico) work really well together such as in John Mayer's 2011, it seemed like a splendid direction and I gave Will the go ahead to execute the drink as he thought would work the best.
will thompson drink boston sherry jungle bird
Will dropped the pineapple juice from 4 ounces to 2 1/2 akin to how Drink normally makes their Jungle Bird. For a sherry in place of the dark rum, he opted for a palo cortado which has the richness of an oloroso and the crispness of an amontillado; he also floated an aged oloroso sherry in place of whatever rum that Drink floats on top of their version of the classic. Once mixed, the Sherry Jungle Bird's mint and orange twist garnishes contributed greatly to the nose. A lime and fruity sip led into a nutty, soft Campari, and pineapple swallow. Indeed, the nutty richness of the sherry held the drink together just as well as a dark aged rum would.

Monday, June 10, 2013

santurce special

2 oz Aged Puerto Rican Rum (DonQ Añejo)
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
1/2 oz Amontillado Sherry (Lustau Dry)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters

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

After dinner, we returned home and Andrea was in the mood for a cocktail. Therefore, I opened up Food & Wine: Cocktails 2013 and spotted the section of rum drinks from Paul McGee of Three Dots & A Dash. We had first first met Paul two years ago at the Whistler, the bar he was managing in Chicago back then before he helped to open Three Dots & A Dash, and we greatly enjoyed his drink style. From the recipes in the book, the Santurce Special called out to Andrea most likely due to the sherry aspect; the drink's name refers to a part of Puerto Rico and the book seems to suggest that Three Dots & A Dash uses Ron del Barrilito as their aged rum.
The Santurce Special's bouquet contained Amontillado sherry notes and fruity from the lemon more than the cherry. A lemon and grape sip was followed by the rum and a delightful nutty cherry flavor.

bonatti & the jets

1 1/2 oz Nardini Aquavite Bassano Riserva Aged Grappa
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Cardamaro
1/2 oz Cocchi Sweet Vermouth
1 dash Angostura Bitters

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

After the Blue Room, I crossed Cambridge to visit Brick & Mortar before meeting up with Andrea for dinner. There, Matthew Schrage and Phil MacLeod holding down the fort. For a libation, I asked Matt for the Bonatti & Jets, a new edition to their menu. He then explained (after singing the drink name à la Elton John) that the recipe was created by fellow bartender Cory Buono. Cory named it after Walter Bonatti, a famous Italian mountaineer who scaled K2, for he was inspired by the Italian Alpine qualities of many of the ingredients in the drink. The aged grappa was one that I fell in love with after trying Misty Kalkofen's Bullet for Fredo on one of Brick & Mortar's early menus.
cory buono brick & mortar cocktail
At first the Bonatti & the Jets began with a grapefruit aroma, but as the citrus oils diminished, it became more chocolate-herbal on the nose; when I spoke to Schrage about it, he commented that he specifically got a chocolate-basil note. The sip was grape from the sweet vermouth and Cardamaro, and the swallow was chocolatey, bitter, and herbal. I surmise that the chocolate notes stem from the Benedictine and grappa especially given my tasting notes from the Bullet for Fredo.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


2 oz Old Overholt Rye
1/2 oz Amaro Braulio
1/4 oz Demerara Syrup
1 barspoon Maraschino Liqueur (*)
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist an orange peel over the top.
(*) I suggested upping this to a 1/4 oz.

For a second cocktail at the Blue Room, bartender Chris Danforth suggested a drink that he had been tinkering that sounded a little like a Toronto that used Amaro Braulio and Maraschino liqueur in place of the Fernet Branca. For a name, I dubbed this concoction the Peloni after Dr. Francesco Peloni who created the amaro in 1875 and named it after Braulio Hill in Bormio, Italy, where the various herbs are harvested.
blue room cambridge cocktails
The orange oil aroma joined floral notes that I assume were from the Braulio. A malt and caramel sip then led into the rest of the rye flavors on the swallow. The swallow also showcased a minty, menthol, and pine medley, and the Maraschino donated a smoothness to the finish especially as the drink warmed up. While Braulio is an alpine amaro like Fernet Branca, the Peloni came across as different from the Toronto.

Friday, June 7, 2013

honey & thistle

1 1/2 oz Cardamaro
3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
1/4 oz Amaro Sibilla

Build in a Highball glass filled with ice. Top with 2 oz tonic water, garnish with an orange twist, and add a straw.

A few Wednesdays ago, I ventured over to the Blue Room where Chris Danforth was bartending. For a first drink, I asked Chris for the Honey & Thistle from the menu, and he believed that it was one of Matthew Schrage's creations. I surmise that the drink's name refers to the honey in the smokey and bitter Amaro Sibilla and the blessed thistle in the Cardamaro, respectively.
blue room cambridge kendall square
The orange twist contributed greatly to the Honey & Thistle's nose and prepared the mouth for the refreshingly light, carbonated, and citrussy sip. Next, the swallow was pleasantly herbal, and the quinine from the tonic worked rather well here with the Cocchi Americano and amaros. Chris accidentally made this drink the first time with Cocchi sweet vermouth instead of the Cocchi Americano, and he let me taste the error; while it was still a solid drink with richer grape notes on the sip and swallow, the Cocchi Americano version was indeed the winner.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

small dinger

1/2 oz Gibley's Gin (1 oz Tanqueray)
1/4 oz Bacardi Rum (1/2 oz Caliche, 1 dash Vale d'Paul)
1/4 oz Grenadine (1/2 oz)
1/4 oz Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass filled with crushed ice. I used a small rocks glass and garnished with a mint sprig.

Two Saturdays ago, I was browsing Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink and spotted the amusingly named Small Dinger. Underneath was the caption, "Big or small, it's a humdinger, and it's from the Florida Bar in Havana." To mimic the older style of Cuban rum, I reached for a bottle of white Puerto Rican rum and accented it with a small amount of grassy rhum agricole-like spirit. The split spirit, grenadine, and lemon format reminded me of the Three Mile Limit and the Blue Skies, and with the success of the White House the night before, I decided to garnish again with mint.
Without the mint, the Small Dinger offered a juniper and funky rum aroma, and after I garnished with the sprig, only the rum poked through the fresh mint nose. A lemon and pomegranate sip gave way to a grassy, juniper, and herbal swallow. Even if size allegedly does not matter, I was glad that I doubled the recipe of this particular libation.

white house

Jigger St. Croix Rum (1 1/2 oz Privateer Silver)
3 dash Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)
2 dash Gum Syrup (1/2 oz Simple)
2 dash Madeira (3/4 oz Blandy's Verdelho)

Shake with ice and strain into a glass filled with cracked ice. Decorate with fruits, berries, and mint.
rum fix
After the Cortez Julep, I found a recipe in Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 that would well utilize the extra mint sprigs that I picked from our garden. That drink, the White House, appeared to be a rum Fix, but it did not appear in the Fix section of that chapter on rum recipes. Once mixed, the mint contributed greatly to the White House's nose. A grape and lemon sip led into the rum on the swallow along with the Madeira and its sharp and smoky notes.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

cortez julep

1 1/4 oz Blanco Tequila (Piedra Azul)
1/2 oz Oloroso Sherry (Lustau's Dry)
1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
3/4 tsp Simple Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)
12 Mint Leaves

Lightly muddle the mint leaves in a Julep cup. Add rest of the ingredients, fill with crushed ice, and stir. Top with more crushed ice, garnish with a mint sprig and a blackberry (omitted), and add a straw.

Two Fridays ago for the cocktail hour, I opened up Food & Wine: Cocktails 2013 and spotted a recipe from Bobby Heugel of the Anvil in Houston. Bobby's Cortez Julep recipe came together from his love of the tequila-sherry combination. While I have grown to appreciate this pairing in drinks like Thomas Waugh's Delores Park Swizzle, the presence of sherry in the Julep reminded me of the quirky but delicious Platonic Julep we had a few years ago. With our mint patch going pretty strong, I set out to harvest a few sprigs.
tequila julep
The mint garnish's aroma prepared the senses for the green notes in the sip that played amongst the grape and light citrus elements. Next, the tequila began the swallow that ended with the nutty sherry and spicy mint.

not the first cyn

1 1/2 oz Bulleit Bourbon
1 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
3 dash Fee's Rhubarb Bitters

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

For my drink at Casa B in Somerville, I asked bartender Taso Paptsoris what he had been making with Cynar lately since I was impressed with the Cynar-laden drink that he crafted for the USBG-Boston aperitifs and digestifs event's mix-off a few months ago. One of the drinks Taso suggested was a Bourbon-based one called Not the First Cyn that rounded out the recipe with fruity notes from Cherry Heering and rhubarb bitters.
casa b union square somerville ma
Once mixed, the orange oils were joined by hints of cherry on the nose. The cherry notes continued on into the sip where it mingled with the Cynar's caramel flavors. The swallow then began with the Bourbon and ended with a bitter, earthy cherry combination.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

union dram

1 1/2 oz Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon
1 oz Dolin Rouge
1/2 oz Drambuie
3 dash Angostura Bitters
3 dash Peychaud's Bitters
3 dash Fee's Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. Note: the dashes were on the gentle side.

Two Wednesdays ago, Andrea and I ventured down the hill to Casa B in Union Square, Somerville. I had met bartender Taso Paptsoris at USBG events and had always meant to sit at his bar, and after he was a contestant in the Licor 43 competition and I enjoyed his drink, I decided to finally do so. For a first cocktail, Andrea asked for the Union Dram which was Taso's DrinkOne menu offering to benefit the victims of the Boston Marathon.
The Union Dram conjured a lemon oil and Bourbon aroma. A honey and grape sip displayed some of the Drambuie's heather floral flavors, and the swallow wrapped up the drink with Bourbon and bitter spice notes. Andrea commented that the Union Dram was a lot brighter than she expected from the Manhattan-like recipe.


3/4 oz Applejack (Laird's Bonded)
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth (Dolin)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/3 oz Grenadine (3/4 oz Homemade)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After the Marie, I reached for Jeff Masson and Greg Boehm's Big Bartender's Book and was intrigued by the Psittacosis for it reminded me of other Daisies that also called for dry vermouth such as the Snake in the Grass and Haymaker. What confused me was the medical sounding name, so I looked it up and found that this drink sourced from 1934's My New Cocktail Book by G.F. Steele was named after parrot fever -- a bird-carried infectious disease. The distasteful name did remind me of David Embury's Appendicitis (basically a White Lady using whole egg instead of just the white) as well as some drink names from Crosby Gaige. Doubtful these concoctions can cure those ailments, but surely they can help to mitigate the discomfort.
The Psittacosis presented an almost floral note over the citrus-apple aroma. Next, the sip was rather fruity from the apple, pomegranate, and lime, and the swallow offered a tarter apple and herbal end to the drink. Overall, I was glad that I upped the grenadine here to an equal parts recipe to reduce this tartness

Monday, June 3, 2013


2/3 Brandy (1 1/2 oz Foret)
2 dash Dry Vermouth (3/4 oz Dolin)
2 dash Maraschino Liqueur (1/2 oz Luxardo)
1 dash Crème Yvette (1/4 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Tuesdays ago, we began the evening with a curious Crème Yvette drink from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 called the Marie. For an interpretation of the vague recipe in the book, I opted to structure the drink in a Hoskins Cocktail-like way, although I did consider using a Brooklyn for a model as well. Once mixed, I got a floral-cherry aroma while Andrea got something more akin to raisiny notes. Next, a somewhat dry and fruity sip led into the brandy on the swallow followed by Maraschino and a floral finish. Andrea backed up her aroma notes by declaring that it almost tasted like there was sherry in there.

the sun also rises

2 oz Fino Sherry
1 oz Avèze Gentian Liqueur
1 oz Cocchi Americano
2 dash Orange Bitters

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

Two Mondays ago, I judged my first cocktail competition, one for Licor 43. Through the years, I have been a competitor before, but it was my first time on this side of the equation. After tasting 7 contestants drinks and then trying the top 3 again, I had both a lot of sugar and booze flowing through my veins. Once the event was over, Andrea picked me up and we went off to Estragon for dinner. For a drink, I described my night to bartender Sahil Mehta and requested something rather dry and low in alcohol. Sahil smiled as he had just the perfect drink for me -- one he had just crafted for the Avèze competition called The Sun Also Rises.
aveze gentian liqueur cocktail
The Sun Also Rises greeted me with orange oils brightening the herbal aroma and with a sunrise-like yellow and orange appearance. A citrus wine sip led into the fino and gentian root flavors on the swallow with lingering bitter and savory notes.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

:: american craft beer fest ::

Last night, we went to the American Craft Beer Fest at the Seaport World Trade Center here in Boston. You can read my top picks from last year here, and some of those breweries I honed in on again to try their newest offerings. And through word of mouth (as well as curiosity), I tried a bunch of new breweries too. Unfortunately, it was only a subset of the 141, but over the years, I have tried at least 85 of those breweries, and some of that count was last night. Like last year, I sort of stuck with Belgian-style, sour, saison, and dark beer themes, but I also branched out more into the IPA realm this year as my hops aversion has subsided. Here were some of the top finds:

Port City Brewing (VA) @portcitybrew - Monumental IPA. One of the tips I received was to check these guys out for their IPAs. Of the two, I much preferred the Monumental which was floral with hints of grapefruit and citrus notes. The Maniacal Double IPA was solid with more creamy and caramel notes.
Burley Oak Brewery (MD) @burleyoak - Honey Comb. Burley Oak and this beer was another tip I received. When the brewery ran out of fermenter space, they decided to purchase some old whiskey barrels and barrel-ferment this beer. Definitely had some character to it with a light funkiness.
DC Brau Brewing Co. (Wash DC) @dcbrau - Yonder Cities. Their website describes it as a collaboration with Union Craft Brewing (MD) @unionbrewing; this Farmhouse or Belgian-style IPA had floral, fruit, earthy, and slight funkiness to it. I did enjoy their On the Wings of Armageddon which they crafted for the Mayan calendar end and developed a single-hopped double IPA with a great grapefruity signature.
Mystic Brewery (MA) @mysticbrewery - Entropy. While I was not focusing on barley wines, the fact that this one spent many months sitting on sherry yeast lees as well as seeing other yeasts before and after attracted me. It was definitely loaded with yeast notes as well as the more classical barley wine flavors of being caramel and high proof; the beautiful fruity esters were different and enjoyable though. Their Welkin Ringer was released this week, and this extra special bitter had a good caramel and bitterness with slight grapefruit notes.
Idle Hands (MA) @idlehandsbeer - Pandora. Listed as a Belgian-style pale ale, it had an elegant floral, grapefruit, and spice character to it. I was also impressed by the D'aison, a dark saison with rich caramel notes which altered the way I normally think of saisons. They released it as a one-off last year, and it was so good that they put it out again in April as a Spring seasonal.
NoDa Brewing Co. (NC) @nodabrewing - Word to Your Mother. A collaboration they did with Mother Earth Brewing (NC) @motherearthbrew for North Carolina Beer Week. The apricot in this red saison really came through, although the cardamom was not as obvious for me.
Night Shift Brewing (MA) @nightshiftbeer - Honeydew. Since I'm on the topic of beers brewed with fruit, I should tip my hat to Night Shift for their warm weather seasonal that they just released in April. The slight funkiness of the farmhouse ale was elegantly balanced by the melon notes. So much better than what I expected when I first read the beer name on the board as "Honey chew."
Green Flash Brewing Co. (CA) @greenflashbeer - Saison Diego. Green Flash is well known for their IPAs, so I focused in on their other offerings. This saison was funky and lemony, while the Grand Cru was a dark abbey-style with great chocolate notes.
Lawson's Finest Liquids (VT) - Double Sunshine IPA. I felt bad when I commented to my friend that this was a Heady Topper clone upon my first sip, but he replied that it isn't a bad thing to be similar to a BeerAdvocate 100-score beer; then I learned that Vermont IPA is apparently a recognized style. Very solid with great cleansing grapefruity hops notes.
Trillium Brewing Co. (MA) @trilliumbrewing - Bug Valley. A beer that sees time in first-fill Petite Syrah wine barrels with a bacterial "bug" blend, it came across with great sour, wine, and cleansing tartness aspects. They re-used the barrels for the Lineage Rye which I also tried. Previously, I rather enjoyed the Trillium saison that I had back in April when a keg appeared at VeeVee in Jamaica Plain.
Tree House Brewing Co. (MA) @treehousebrewco - Space & Time. Released in April, this offering was not even in the booklet; dark fruits, molasses, and coffee flavors produced a stunning effect.
Watch City Brewing Co. (MA) @hopsexplosion - Weiss Weiss Baby. A Berliner Weissbier brewed with lavender? I was curious and it impressed me. Since their website describes it as being named "after that notorious 80's one-hit wonder, Vanilla Ice," perhaps this was a one-off experiment.
Portico Brewing Co. (MA) @porticobrewing - Chroma. Brewed out of Watch City is Portico which I discovered after ordering the Sett Seven at Trina's Starlite Lounge; I enjoyed that one a lot despite not preferring Scotch ales. This one, the Chroma, had pleasing caramel and rye spice.
Uinta Brewing Co. (UT) @uintabrewing - Hop Notch IPA. A solid IPA in a sort of West Coast-style with grapefruit, pine, and resin notes.