Saturday, August 31, 2013

new orleans

1/2 Rye (1 1/4 oz Redemption)
1/2 Sweet Vermouth (1 1/4 oz Cocchi) (*)
1 dash Sherry (1/4 oz Lustau Amontillado) (*)
1 dash Maraschino (1/4 oz Luxardo)
1 dash Ojen Bitters (Herbsaint rinse)

Stir with ice and strain into glass. I opted to take the anise element out of the stir and add it in as a rinse akin to a Sazerac.
(*) Perhaps drop the vermouth to 1 oz and up the sherry to 1/2 oz.

After the Oaxacan Fix, I opened up Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and spotted the New Orleans. With the rye, vermouth, and small amounts of Maraschino and other ingredients, the structure reminded me of a Brooklyn. As I began to interpret the recipe, I figured that I could drop the anise spirit from the stir and give it a New Orleans flair à la the Sazerac by including it in as a rinse.
The Herbsaint rinse donated a light anise note to the aromatics. A grape sip gave way to a rye swallow that was followed by nutty Maraschino and sherry flavors. Finally, the Herbsaint returned on the finish to wrap up this Crescent City-themed Manhattan-Sazerac-Crusta hybrid. My only recipe notes were that the sherry was a bit subtle here and perhaps doubling the quarter ounce I used might improve the complexity of the drink.

oaxacan fix

1 1/2 oz Añejo Tequila (Espólon Reposado)
1/2 oz Mezcal (Sombra)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Curaçao (Senior)
1/4 oz Agave Syrup (1:1)
1 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters (Homemade)

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

Two Sundays ago, I decided to make a recipe that Sam Treadway of Backbar posted on Facebook. For the drink of the day, he riffed on Phil Ward's Oaxacan Old Fashioned, added citrus, and turned it into a Fix. He was so proud of the result that he posted it on Facebook just in case you could not make it in that day. A week later, I did make it in to try their newer offerings, but this one I made at home.
The orange twist's aroma prepared the senses for the citrussy sip. Next, the swallow began with tequila and smoky mezcal and ended with a light chocolate note. Andrea commented that the end result was akin to an Agave Sidecar.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

have a heart

1 jigger Dry Gin (1 1/2 oz Cold River)
1/2 jigger Cederlund's Swedish Punsch (3/4 oz Kronan)
2 dash Grenadine (1/4 oz)
Juice 1/2 Lime (3/4 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry on top of pineapple slice (omitted).
Two Fridays ago after making the American Flambée for Mixology Monday, I reached for Hugo Ensslin's Recipes for Mixed Drinks from 1916. There, I spotted the Have A Heart that seemed like a pleasing use of Swedish Punsch. Once in a glass, it offered citrus notes and the Punsch's Batavia Arrack and tea to the nose. A lime and pomegranate sip then gave way to a medley of gin, rum, and tea flavors on the swallow. Overall, it was a simple but elegant riff on a Bacardi Cocktail.

la belle epoque

2 oz Cognac or Dry Brandy (Foret)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 barspoon Benedictine
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Two Thursdays ago, I opened up The Cocktail Hour: Brandy and spotted La Belle Epoque by Kevin Dowell of Laszlo in San Francisco. The booklet described the recipe as, "This sophisticated cocktail in the classic tradition really harkens back to a beautiful French era." Besides the name, I was drawn in for it reminded me of a Champs-Élysées cocktail; while some Champs-Élysées use Green Chartreuse, all of the ones that I have been Yellow. Here in La Belle Epoque, there was an additional herbal element of Benedictine added to the mix.
La Belle Epoque greeted the nose with a lemon oil and brandy aroma. A sweet lemon sip gave way to a brandy and herbal swallow that finished with a honey note from the Yellow Chartreuse.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


1/3 jigger Cognac (1 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840)
1/3 jigger Sweet Vermouth (1 oz Cocchi)
1/3 jigger Sweet-Sour (1/2 oz Lemon Juice, 1/2 oz Simple Syrup)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
After the Western Front, I opened up Boothby's 1934 edition of World Drinks And How To Mix Them and spotted the Gazette. The Gazette seemed like an abstraction of the classic Sidecar and reminded me of Emily Shaw's Special from Ted Saucier's Bottom's Up. Once in the glass, the Gazette shared a Cognac aroma that gave way to a sweet lemon and grape sip. The Cognac flavors on the swallow were tempered by the vermouth and accented by the lemon.

western front

1 1/2 oz Bols Genever
3/4 oz Ramazzotti
1/2 oz Aperol
1/4 oz Grade B Maple Syrup
4 dash Peychaud's Bitters
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain over a large ice cube in a double old fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
For a nightcap two Wednesdays ago, I decided to make a drink I saw on the Bols Bartending Facebook page called the Western Front. The recipe was created by Adam Robinson of Portland's Rum Club, and the combination of Bols Genever and Ramazzotti was alluring for it worked so well in Eric Alperin's Skid Row. Once mixed, the Western Front provided a lemon and malty aroma. The malt continued on into the sip where it mingled with the maple and the Ramazzotti's caramel flavors. The rest of the Genever notes came through on the swallow, and they merged well with the bitter elements of the Ramazzotti amaro; finally, the swallow concluded with anise and spice notes from the bitters.

Monday, August 26, 2013

pastis fizz

1 1/2 oz Plymouth Sloe Gin
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Ricard Pastis
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a Fizz glass and top with 1 oz soda water.
Two Mondays ago, we headed over to Eastern Standard for dinner after my DJ set was over. There, I asked bartender Kevin Martin for the Pastis Fizz off of the egg section of their menu. Despite being called the Pastis Fizz, it seemed more like a Sloe Gin Fizz given the dominant ingredient in the recipe; however, pastis does have some flavor potency. Moreover, it reminded me a little of Eastern Standard's Berry Fizz from several years ago. Once mixed and presented to me, I was impressed that Eastern Standard had acquired proper Fizz glasses instead of trying to make the drink style in Highballs or Collins glasses twice the size (or more); so cheers to that attention to detail! Next, an anise-scented nose preceded a creamy, berry, and lemon sip. The anise returned on the swallow along with a lingering lemon note.


2/3 Rye Whiskey (1 1/2 oz Old Overholt)
1/3 Dry Vermouth (3/4 oz Dolin)
1 dash Sherry (1/4 oz Lustau Pedro Ximénez)
1 dash Maraschino (1/4 oz Luxardo)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added a lemon twist.
After the Texas Tornado, I turned to Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 for a final drink. There, I spotted the Joliet which reminded me at first in recipe and later in balance with a Brooklyn. Once mixed, the Joliet offered a lemon oil and rye aroma. A malt and grape sip gave way to a rye swallow with a nuttiness from the Maraschino and sherry; finally, the drink finished with a pleasing dryness and Angostura spice.

Friday, August 23, 2013

texas tornado

2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida (Montelobos)
3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Agave Nectar
3/4 oz Egg White (1 Egg White)

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with an Angostura Bitters flower.

Two Sundays ago, we could not figure out where to go out, so we stayed in for the evening. For a first drink idea, I began to flip through The Cocktail Hour: Tequila booklet until I spotted the Texas Tornado. The text credits Vincenzo Marianella of Copa d'Oro in Santa Monica, CA. Vincenzo's love of motorcycles led him to name this one after champion racer Colin Edwards' nickname.
The Texas Tornado offered an allspice with hints of clove aroma. A creamy orange and lime sip led into a smokey mezcal swallow that transitioned well into a subdued Campari finish.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


1/3 jigger Gin (1 oz Wireworks)
1/3 jigger Dry Vermouth (1 oz Dolin)
1 spoon Cointreau (1/3 oz)
1 spoon Benedictine (1/3 oz)
1 spoon Orange Juice (1/3 oz)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)
2 drop Bitters (1 light dash Fee's Boston Cocktail Summit Bitters)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
After the Lion's Share, I opened up my 1934 edition of William Boothby's The World's Drinks and How To Mix Them and spotted the Argentina. The recipe is a gin drink that reminded me of the Honeymoon and the Scofflaw in structure and flavor combinations. Once mixed, a gin and orange aroma gave way to an orange and wine sip. Next, an herbal and gin swallow was chased by orange peel and spice notes.

lion's share

2 oz Cognac (Pierre Ferrand 1840)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Lapsang Souchong Tea Syrup (*)
1/4 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
(*) I steeped a tea bag in 4 oz of boiling hot water for 5 minutes. Removed tea bag, added 4 oz of sugar, and stirred to dissolve. Let cool.

Two Fridays ago, I opened up the new The Cocktail Hour series' brandy booklet and found a drink from Jacob Grier who works at Metrovino in Portland, Oregon. Having tried Jacob's recipes both at home and at his bar, we were definitely game to make this one for the cocktail hour. And this enthusiasm was augmented by my love of tea cocktails which was most apparently when I hosted Mixology Monday 45: Tea (see the announcement and the round-up posts).
The oil from the lemon twist's brightness was a great contrast over the smoke notes from the tea. A rich lemon sip gave way to Cognac and tea flavors on the swallow. Finally the drink ended with allspice accents and a smoke note that built up over time.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

from the hip

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

Muddle mint sprigs at the bottom of a Collins glass. Add crushed ice and swizzle to mix and chill but leaving the mint at the bottom. Layer 1/2 oz Campari over the top, garnish with fresh mint sprigs and a dash of Angostura Bitters, and add a straw.

A little while ago, I spoke with Matt Schrage who was working on drinks for the opening cocktail menu at Ribelle and he wanted my opinions on one he crafted called From the Hip. When he mentioned that it was a mezcal Swizzle, I was game; moreover, the idea of Campari added at the end reminded me of Jade Brown Godfrey's First Rodeo (although the Campari there was a sink, not a float).
The From the Hip's mint garnish's aroma joined that of the Angostura's allspice and clove. A lime-laden sip was chased by a mezcal and clove swallow. Later, as the Campari and Angostura Bitters integrated into the drink, the swallow became drier and more bitter and complex.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


1 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1 oz Plantation 3 Star White Rum
3/4 oz Lustau Pedro Ximénez Sherry
1 barspoon Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao

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

After experiencing some of the Tiki menu from the Eastern Standard guest bartenders at Citizen, Nick Korn, one of the Citizen bartenders, wanted to showcase a drink he created called the Transatlantic. Nick gathered inspiration for this drink while in London where he not only had many cocktails using mixed spirit bases but ones that utilized Pedro Ximénez sherry as a sweetener. Perhaps the use of American rye whiskey as one of the two base spirits solidifies the name here given the French and Spanish brands here (the Plantation rum is a trio of Caribbean rums but blended and bottled by Pierre Ferrand in France).
The Transatlantic's orange twist added bright accents to the raisiny sherry aroma. A malt, grape, and orange sip led into rye, rum, and a return of the raisin notes on the swallow.

Monday, August 19, 2013

the angry parrot

1 oz Lemon Hart 151 Rum
1 oz Old Monk Rum
1 oz Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Triple Sec
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a lime wheel floated on the surface, grate nutmeg over the top, and add a straw.
Two weeks ago, we ventured down to one of Citizen Public House's weekly Tiki Tuesdays. While we have made other nights of this recurrent event on occasion, what drew us out were the pair of guest bartenders, namely Eastern Standard's own Seth Freidus and Hugh Fiore (pictured above). For a start, I asked Hugh Fiore for the Angry Parrot, one of the original recipes that he crafted for the night. Seth commented that the genesis of the drink was quite Hunter S. Thompson like; Hugh then explained that he came up with the idea after two Rittenhouses, three glasses of wine, and a pair of Fernets. I tried to find a connection between Hunter and parrots but only found one with a Mynah bird in an interview with cartoonist Ralph Steadman:
Hunter had a Mynah bird called Edward. He kept it in a big iron cage. Then he would creep towards the cage and bang the wires loudly and say menacingly, "I'm coming to get you Edward," and the bird would start to squawk. Hunter would open the cage and grab the bird amidst more squawking and Hunter saying, "You cannot escape, Edward! I have you in my power," and the poor bird would struggle and peck furiously at Hunter's hands which held the creature. "Yes! Edward!! It's me and you are doomed. There is no bird god who can save you now. It is futile to struggle -- and I am hungry, Edward. Hungry!!" Then he would simply allow it to jump back on its perch. I think they tormented each other for fun. The bird often sat on Hunter's shoulder.
That aside, when the Angry Parrot was mixed, it offered a nutmeg aroma. Lime and orange flavors joined the rums' caramel on the sip; the rums continued on into the swallow where they joined the pineapple and cinnamon flavors.

coral triangle

1 1/2 oz Batavia Arrack
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Muddle 2 curry leaves in a mixing glass with all of the ingredients. Stir and strain unchilled and undiluted into a cocktail coupe and garnish with a fresh curry leaf.

For my second cocktail at Estragon, Sahil Mehta asked me if I was in the mood for a Scaffa, a room temperature cocktail that can sometimes be undiluted as well. Since I have a soft spot for Scaffas, I gave the thumbs up. Sahil's use of Batavia Arrack and perhaps the curry leaves led him to name the libation the Coral Triangle. The Coral Triangle is a region of ocean encompasses the Philippines, Indonesia, and other islands and contains a great deal of biodiversity.
On the nose, the curry leaf aroma coupled well with Batavia Arrack funk. A sweet fruitiness on the sip led to a swallow that began with Batavia Arrack followed by apricot notes and ended with curry spice. Even with the citrus to dry out the drink (instead of the sugar being used solely to balance the spirit's heat like in many Scaffas), the drink still came across as rather well balanced.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

american flambee

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo LXXVI) was picked by Muse of Doom of the Feu de Vie blog. The theme she chose was "Fire!" which I could not help but read with a Beavis & Butthead voice. The Muse elaborated on the theme with her description of, "Tiki-philes have their flaming spent lime shells and scorpion bowls. Classic cocktailers have the magic of a flamed orange zest. Molecular mixologists have their Smoking Guns... You don't have to go full Blue Blazer, not nearly -- heck, you could go full Fireball Whiskey!... You could riff on the Old Flame or come up with an inventive name of your own. You could even use a good firewater or burned wine. ...In essence, bring the heat! Bring the Fire! Bring your inspiration!"

When I thought of fire drinks that I have already covered, I have done Tiki ones like the Cradle of Life, burnt mint ones like the Vellocet, burnt rosemary ones like the Rubicon and Rosemary's Baby, and burnt citrus peel containing fires that are quenched by a chilled drink such as the Krakatoa. All of these were relatively new recipes, and I know that the history of flaming drinks goes back quite a ways. I have had classic Blue Blazer and new school ones like the Death in a Doublewide, but I did not feel comfortable doing that in my home kitchen. As I flipped through the literature, I found a few 19th century flaming poussé-cafes, but poussé-cafes always seem like a novelty drink (unless there is an egg yolk in the middle and then it is a right of passage). What I was searching for but had forgotten where I had read them were a series of drinks that utilized spirits ignited in inverted citrus peel "cups"; I had always been intrigued by them but glossed over them when it came time to mixed. Finally, I re-discovered several in Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933. The ones that used orange peels seemed like they would not utilize much spirit, so I opted for the American Flambée that calls for a grapefruit peel; there was another grapefruit peel one but it was served with boiling water which seemed wrong for the warm summer evening. I was definitely curious to see how alcohol as a solvent mixed with the caramelization effect from the flame would extract interesting flavors from the citrus peel.
American Flambée
• Take the skin from a large 1/2 grapefruit, turn inside out.
• Put in a vessel to hold skin, add 1/2 liquor glass of Bourbon.
• Light, and when out, strain into a glass.
• Add a dash of gum syrup.
• Garnish with nutmeg.
To this recipe, I increased the spirit to 1 1/2 oz and utilized Fighting Cock 103° Bourbon. After it burned to the point of extinguishing itself, it was about an ounce. Some loss was due to the burning process while the rest was either from absorption into the peel or drippage over the side. I did move the flaming peel from the jigger base to a bowl shortly after the photo (once the first drop of burning alcohol hit the counter). For a dash of sweetener, I used a 1/4 oz of simple syrup, and I added a stir with ice and strain step instead of serving it room temperature; however, I did add the "room temperature" to the post to pay homage to the original recipe.
Once prepared, the nutmeg's aroma complemented the caramelized grapefruit peel notes; later, as the drink warmed up, it gained whiskey elements on the nose. Next, a sweet malt sip led into a Bourbon-y swallow with a wonderful bitter grapefruit finish. Overall, the effect was akin to a spectacularly generated à la minute grapefruit bitters that flavored a Whiskey Old Fashioned.
So thank you to the Muse of Doom for getting me to try a recipe I had skipped over many a time before, thanks to Saint Florian for protecting me in my mixology protocol, and thanks to the rest of the Mixology Monday participants for keeping the flame of Mixology Monday events from extinguishing!

Friday, August 16, 2013


1 1/2 oz Ron Abuelo Añejo Rum
1/2 oz King's Ginger Liqueur
1/2 oz Lustau Pedro Ximénez Sherry
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Mondays ago, we decided to visit Estragon for dinner. For a first cocktail, bartender Sahil Mehta made me a recipe that he crafted for his sherry Christmas dinner last December. While it lacks a name, I dubbed it the Balboa to tie in the Panamanian and Spanish elements in the drink. Once mixed, it offered a rum aroma with allspice accents. A lemon and grape sip gave way to a rich rum and raisin swallow that shared ginger and allspice notes on the finish.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

:: 14 great old cocktail blogs you should read now ::

Last week, Michael Dietsch wrote an article on SeriousEats entitled 8 Great Cocktail Blogs You Should Read Now that included some of the new crop of bloggers. I was alerted that a few people in the comments section of that article, on Twitter, and in real life thought it was an outrage that CocktailVirgin was not included. However, I was not bothered since we aren't exactly new having been around since 2007; however, we were probably a year or so too new to make the Ted Haigh blogroll in the second edition of Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails though.

In response to all of this, I'm paying tribute to the cocktail blogs that were around when I started blogging here in June 2008 (yes, I am not the originator of this blog as I started a year in). I have always given the advice to new bloggers that it is easy and fun to begin a blog; however, it is a lot of work with little payback. My estimation is that the average cocktail blog never sees its first birthday (or even half birthday), so I remind them that it is the love of writing (and drinking) and pushing yourself into an education that should keep you going. Therefore, here is my tribute to blogs that have hit their fifth-plus anniversary and are still active, and the order here does not connote any meaning. And a hip-hip-hurrah to all of the bloggers who have turned the lifestyle into a paying career via writing, cocktail ingredients, class teaching, or bartending and did not turn their backs on the blogging in the process!

• The Gumbo Pages. Chuck Taggart helped teach me a lot about cocktails in the years before I started blogging via his posts and his cocktail database. I remember being in awe when I realized that the Hoskins Cocktail I had been enjoying at Eastern Standard in 2007 was his creation. Oh, that Chuck Taggart.
Art of Drink. Darcy O'Neil has taken cocktails from historical, scientific, and social angles and helped to broaden my thinking about the art. I'm pretty proud of his successes in putting out both a kickass book, Fix the Pumps, as well as an ingredients line.
A Mountain of Crushed Ice. Tiare literally started blogging the same month that I did, and she was the first one to request a mutual shoutout in the blog roll. Her work on rums and Tiki in general has been pretty stunning and has been spoken about by several bartenders here in Boston as a great resource.
A Dash of Bitters. Michael Dietsch has been doing his blog around the time I started looking up cocktails on the web and has a keen angle on the history, marketing, and recipes of the last century or so of imbibing. Even with the successes of his professional writing career, he still has not turned his back on the freebie world of blogging.
Alcademics. Does Camper English even need more attention than he's already gotten via winning the Best Cocktail Writing award at Tales of the Cocktail in 2011? I say hell yeah. From his nerding on ice to globe trotting to various distilleries, it is great to see him making a career out of writing and sharing a good chunk of it through the blog.
Matt Rowley's Whiskey Forge. Matt started a few months before I did and has been going strong with historical drink and food posts that provide a good back drop to his great book Moonshine!
RumDood. Matt Robold's love of rum has been quite influential to many of us in the community and helped him to land a bartending gig at 320 Main. Things like trying almost every rum and liqueur pairing to figure out what makes the best Mai Tai definite gets my nod of approval.
Underhill Lounge Stomping Through the Savoy. Erik Ellestad is another blogger whose amazing efforts have gained him a spot behind the stick. Not only did he make his way through the whole Savoy Cocktail Book drink by drink, he continued finding new topics to write about once that project was over.
Scofflaw's Den. I have been following SeanMike and Marshall since their days on LiveJournal (which is where I started writing about cocktails in 2006), and they keep on keeping on and have used their success to teach classes and host other events.
• The Pegu Blog. A man who writes about the gin recipe, the Pegu Club Cocktail, that turned me from a gin skeptic to a gin lover? And one who uses a puppet as a blog, Twitter, and real life prop? Awesome. Cheers to Doug Winship!
Cocktail Chronicles. Paul Clarke has such a knack for writing that he could describe the history of the cocktail napkin and I would read every word of it. Also another great blogger who gained a professional writing career and did not give up putting out freebies via the blogosphere. Not as active as he once was, but still just as appreciated.
Dr. Bamboo. Craig Mrusek almost didn't make it on here as he hasn't written since February, but he has been busy taking his knowledge and putting it to work behind the stick shift after shift, so I'll cut him some slack. That and I see his artwork on the B.G. Reynold's syrups in my fridge pretty frequently.
Cask Strength. Andrew Bohrer is another blogger who has had success branching out into the publishing world with his Best Shots You've Never Tried book. His posts cover a lot of territory including discussing buybacks and how to drink like a man.
Two At The Most. Stevi Deter took the Dorothy Parker quote and ran with it. I almost wrote TatM off as a defunct tome but she made a save with a post in July! Cheers to you Stevi and I hope we get to read more of your musings!

Did I miss anyone? I'm sure I did. And there are plenty that I wish I could have included but they hadn't posted in well over my arbitrary several month cut off for activity. Please comment to tell me what a jerk I am for forgetting someone. And cheers to the undead cocktail bloggers everywhere!

downtown at dawn

1 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
3/4 oz Benedictine
3/4 oz Cocchi Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a single old fashioned glass.

A few weeks ago, my bar manager wanted to change up our mezcal offerings on the menu and asked that I craft something with said spirit. The only question I asked was shaken or stirred, and he wanted something shaken to replace the Laguna Sunrise. While the Laguna Sunrise is a delicious tall drink with mezcal, grapefruit juice, Kina L'Avion D'Or, pear liqueur, and a sparkling wine float, it just sounds too inviting. People will order it from servers without realizing that mezcal is smoky, and sadly, many of them get sent back. After crafting my mezcal recipe, I searched for a name; when I stumbled upon Richard Hell & the Voidoid's song "Downtown at Dawn," it had a gritty angle that still captured the sunrise albeit a sunrise from an urban all-nighter perspective.
Instead of going full mezcal, I split the spirit with apple brandy -- a pairing I appreciated in Portland such as in Teardrop's Moment in the Sun (the other drink I was thinking of at the time was actually a Batavia Arrack and apple brandy pairing in Kask's Prospector, not a mezcal one). The rest of the ingredients fell into place as ways to complement and temper the mezcal into a yin and yang of a stiff and smoky drink in harmony with a fruity and herbal one. Word on the street is that the drink will appear two menu revisions from now since my Chutes & Ladders should appear on the next; when asked which one I wanted on the next menu, the Chutes & Ladders seemed more summery and Downtown at Dawn seemed more like an autumnal libation.

creole variation

2 oz Old Overholt Rye
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz House Picon Replica
1 dash House Aromatic Bitters
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

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

Two Sundays ago, we ventured over to Deep Ellum for dinner. There, we sat in front of bartender Ethan who mentioned earlier in the week that he worked Sunday nights. For a starter, Ethan wanted to show me his variation of the Creole. After his co-workers got back from Tales of the Cocktail, he got inspired by this New Orleans classic and decided to give it the Deep Ellum treatment by dialing up the flavors. He did this by dropping the sweet vermouth from the recipe and upping the liqueurs from mere dashes to significant players in the balance.
This Creole variation greeted the senses with an orange oil aroma with dark notes from the Picon and Benedictine. A caramel and malt sip then led into a rye, dark orange, herbal, and spice swallow. This twist took the Creole from a Manhattan variation to a bittered, brown, and stirred drink. To return it a bit to a Manhattan, Ethan added back some of the vermouth and the grape notes worked to soften the swallow.
Creole Variation #2
• 2 oz Old Overholt
• 3/4 oz House Picon Replica
• 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
• 1/4 oz Benedictine
• 1 dash House Aromatic Bitters
• 1 dash Peychaud's Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist an orange peel over the top.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

long snake moan

1 1/2 oz Reposado Tequila (Espolon)
1/2 oz Averna
1 tsp Batavia Arrack
1 tsp Agave Nectar
2 dash Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters (Angostura)
1 dash Bitter Truth Mole Bitters (Housemade)

Stir with ice for 15 seconds and strain over an ice sphere in a double old fashioned glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Two Fridays ago, I felt in need of a nightcap. While looking at home for a name for a drink that I had created at work, I saw a CD from Nick Cave and immediately thought of the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. in Philadelphia. I figured that they had all rights to Nick Cave references in my mind and instead opted for a Richard Hell one (drink recipe to be posted in a day or two). I then recalled a Franklin drink recipe for something Old Fashioned-y that I had wanted to make before, but it was a P.J. Harvey instead of Nick Cave named one though called Long Snake Moan; the recipe was created by Mike Treffehn and published in Imbibe Magazine's online recipes.
Once mixed, the Long Snake Moan offered an orange oil over tequila nose. A caramel and chocolate sip led into tequila with a bit of funk from the Batavia Arrack on the swallow. Finally, the drink ended with an earthy chocolate and herbal spice finish.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

use your words

1 oz House Rum Blend (*)
1 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 barspoon St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
(*) Equal parts El Dorado 12 Year and a white Puerto Rican rum

For my second drink at Sycamore, I gave the suggestion of an equal parts drink to bartender Scott Shoer. He thought for a moment and then remembered a recipe created by Rob Iurilli when they both worked at Abigail's in Cambridge. The recipe was a rum-based riff on the Last Word that also included a fifth element -- a dash of allspice dram.
The Maraschino liqueur notes filled the aroma along with a hint of lemon juice. The lemon took prominence in the sip though along with the Maraschino's cherry flavor. On the swallow, the rum joined the Maraschino's nutty and Yellow Chartreuse's herbal flavors; finally, the swallow ended with an allspice finish that build up after successive swallows.

good buddy

2 oz Four Roses Bourbon
1 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1 oz Campari
2 dash Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
Two Thursdays ago, Andrea took me out for part 2 of my birthday celebration at Sycamore in Newton. For a first cocktail, I asked bartender Scott Shoer for the Good Buddy which was a riff on the classic Old Pal. Once mixed, the Good Buddy offered an orange and floral aroma with a muted Campari note. Next, orange and malt on the sip led into Bourbon and Campari flavors on the swallow. Definitely the swap of dry for bianco vermouth made for a more quaffable potation here.

Monday, August 12, 2013

so say kaiser

1 oz Pimm's No. 1
1/2 oz Drambuie
1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
1/4 oz Averna
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Celery Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe and flame a lemon twist over the top (I omitted the flaming aspect).
After remaking the Sea Captain's Sazerac two Tuesdays ago, I reached for Food & Wine: Cocktails 2013 and spotted the So Say Kaiser. Melissa Hayes of Atlanta's Holeman & Finch created the drink, and I have to imagine that she was inspired by the infamous character Kaiser Söze from 1995's The Usual Suspects movie. Once mixed, the So Say Kaiser offered a lemon oil aroma with a darker note from perhaps the Averna amaro. A lemon, caramel, and honey sip then led into a Scotch and herbal swallow with a celery note on the finish. Overall, the libation was light, sweet, and perfect for the season.

sea captain's sazerac

2 oz Rye Whiskey (Old Overholt)
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
4 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Build in a Double Old Fashioned glass and fill with crushed ice. Top with champagne (1 1/2 oz Gruet Blanc de Blanc) and float 1/4 oz absinthe, Herbsaint, or pastis (La Muse Verte). Garnish with lemon oil and add a straw.

Two Tuesdays ago, I decided to repeat at home what I made for a guest at work who wanted a whiskey drink. I had wanted to riff on the Sea Captain's Special from Stan Jones' Complete Barguide for a while and this was the perfect moment; the original was a drink I made for MxMo 31 where I took a handful of champagne cocktails and subbed in a crisp, cheap beer in its place to see how well the substitution worked. Essentially, the recipe was akin to how Boothby might make an Old Fashioned by topping it with champagne -- he would ask the guest if it was alright if he did it but not inform them that there was an upcharge for that service. In addition, there was a pastis louche halo as there is in my favorite aperitif cocktail, the Half Sinner-Half Saint, that Scott Holliday taught to me. As I mulled over the drink the week or so before, I realized that the Sea Captain's Special could easily be turned into an abstraction of a Sazerac by specifying Peychaud's as the bitters and adding lemon oil to the mix.
The Sea Captain's Sazerac offered a lemon oil and anise aroma. A sweet malt and wine sip led into a swallow that began with rye spiced with the anise-driven Peychaud's Bitters and ended with a mousy sparkling wine note. As it got closer to the end, the absinthe notes became prevalent on the finish.

Friday, August 9, 2013


1/3 jigger Amaro (1 oz Fernet Branca)
1/6 jigger Cognac (1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840)
1/6 jigger Cherry Brandy (1/2 oz Cherry Heering)
1/2 Egg White

Shake with ice and strain into a glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
Two Saturdays ago for the cocktail hour, I began flipping through Boothby's World Drinks and How to Mix Them and spotted the Frisson. When I saw the combination of amaro and cherry liqueur, I immediately thought of the Pinto from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and selected Fernet Branca to match. Moreover, Fernet would complement the drink's name which means "a sudden strong feeling of excitement or fear; a thrill." Once mixed, the nutmeg garnish melded elegantly with the Fernet Branca's menthol aromas. A creamy caramel sip led into a cherry and brandy swallow with a Fernet Branca finish. Like the Pinto, the Cherry Heering helped to temper the Fernet Branca's intensity although the egg white here also probably helped considerably.

secret weapon

1 oz Macchu Pisco
1/2 oz Lavender Syrup (find a recipe here)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a small cocktail coupe. Top with 1 oz Dibon Cava and garnish with a lemon twist.

A few Thursdays ago, I ventured over to Spoke Wine Bar and I found a seat in front of Drink alum Lena Webb. I was quite pleased that I could return the favor since Lena has graced my bar at Russell House Tavern before. For a cocktail, I requested the Secret Weapon. Lena described how this was California Gold's take on the French 75. I have no clue if Cali was influenced by the lavender in bloom these days or by her old co-worker Misty Kalkofen's love of lavender syrup such as in the 1820, but the effect here was delightful.
The lavender first offered itself on the nose along with the pisco and the twist's lemon oil. A lightly carbonated lemon and wine sip then led into a pisco swallow with more wine notes and a floral finish.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

water wings

1 1/2 oz Sailor Jerry's Spiced Rum
1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
3 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a Highball glass filled with ice. Add a straw.
The libation I requested from bartender Sabrina Kershaw at the Franklin Café was the Water Wings. The idea of a Tiki drink seemed perfect for the warm summer evening, and the medley of ingredients seemed like it could do no wrong. Once mixed, the Water Wings floated a pineapple aroma by the nose. The sip was rather fruity from the pineapple and Curaçao, and the swallow began with the richly flavored rums and spice. Finally, the pineapple returned on the finish along with the falernum's clove notes.

cleansing tonic

1 1/2 oz Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila
1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
4 dash Celery Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
After Myers & Chang, Andrea and I went around the block to the Franklin Café where Sabrina Kershaw was tending bar. For a first drink, Andrea selected the Cleansing Tonic. With tequila, citrus, aromatized wine, and celery bitters, the drink reminded me a bit on paper of Phil Ward's Loop Tonic albeit a less herbal one. Once mixed, the Cleansing Tonic greeted the senses with an agave and lemon aroma. A citrus and wine sip then led into a tequila swallow with pleasing herbal notes.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

jade mountain

2 oz Bols Genever
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Wednesdays ago, we paid a visit to Myers & Chang for dinner. For a drink, Andrea selected the Jade Mountain which appeared like a riff on the classic Bijou Cocktail except using Genever and Angostura Bitters instead of gin and orange bitters. It turns out that the proportions were also a little different, but I have seen similar spirits-driven versions of the Bijou presented before. Once mixed, the Jade Mountain offered a Green Chartreuse aroma. A herbal and grape sip transitioned into a malt and Chartreuse swallow that ended with Bols Genever's wormwoody finish.

climax cocktail

1/3 jigger Applejack (1 oz Laird's)
1/3 jigger Dry Vermouth (1 oz Dolin)
1 spoon Lime Juice (1/2 oz)
1 spoon Grenadine (1/2 oz)
1/2 White of an Egg (1 Egg White)

Shake once without ice and once with; strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

A few Mondays ago while perusing The How and When by Hyman Gale and Gerald F. Marco, I spotted the curiously named Climax Cocktail. I had to ask Andrea if she wanted to have a drink named that given that she adamantly refused to try one called the Peach Blow Fizz (especially since it completely lacks peaches) a few years ago. Or was it the Apple Blow Fizz (which at least has apple product)? Regardless, she was game especially since it seemed like a delightful egg white-laden Sour.
The nutmeg garnish's aroma joined that of the lime juice on the nose. A creamy lime and pomegranate sip led into an apple and herbal swallow. Overall, the Climax Cocktail was rather reminiscent of the Pink Lady.

Monday, August 5, 2013

italian fizz

2 liqueur glass Sweet Vermouth (2 oz Cocchi)
1 liqueur glass Fernet Branca (1 oz)

Add to a Highball glass (*) with a lump of ice. Fizz with soda water.
(*) The beginning of the book delineates a Highball glass to be a 6 oz vessel. I ended up chilling the ingredients (without dilution), adding them to a 5 oz glass (pardon or enjoy the mismatching of amaro brands), and topping with 2 oz soda water. I added an orange twist to the recipe.
The following evening, I stuck with the same Fizz theme from the first decade of the 1900s -- namely, the Italian Fizz from 1906's Louis Mixed Drinks. The combination was appealing for it seemed like a lighter and absinthe-free Appetizer a l’Italienne from the decade before. Once mixed, the Italian Fizz had a pleasant orange oil and herbal aroma. A carbonated caramel and grape sip preceded the grape-tempered Fernet Branca swallow with a menthol finish. Overall, the Fizz was a relatively easy drinking way of enjoying the Italian liqueur.

telephone fizz

1 pony French Brandy (1 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac)
1 pony Maraschino Liqueur (1 oz Marasca)
1 Egg
1 tsp Sugar (omitted)

Shake with ice and strain into a stemmed glass. Fill with seltzer water.
A few Fridays ago, I selected another drink from 1905's Hoffman House Bartender's Guide called the Telephone Fizz. While the telephone was invented in 1876, its popularity continued to grow, and telephone lines still would not connect the two sides of the country until a decade after this recipe was published. Besides the name, I was drawn in by the simplicity of this Royal Fizz. While I do love Maraschino liqueur, I selected the less intense (than Luxardo) Marasca brand, but perhaps a combination of liqueur and simple syrup would work equally as well. Once mixed, the Fizz offered a light cherry aroma. A creamy, carbonated cherry sip led into a nutty brandy swallow. Curious and delicious, although the addition of another ingredient (in place of some of the Maraschino or in addition to) would not be out of place here.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


1/2 oz Lustau Pedro Ximénez Sherry
3/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Build in a Highball glass, fill with crushed ice, and top with soda. Garnish with an orange twist and add a straw.

After previewing a drink from Belly Wine Bar's upcoming vermouth cocktail section of the menu, I returned to the current sherry cocktail section to have one that I had skipped the last time I was there. That drink was the Hampshire most likely named for the bar being near Hampshire Street in Cambridge. Bartender Ryan Connelly commented that it was created by bar manager Fanny Katz and the libation has an iced tea aspect to it; the last time I heard that description from a bartender it was for Bobby McCoy's Dartmouth Highball.
The Hampshire presented an orange oil aroma that led into lemon, orange, and grape flavors on the sip. Next, the swallow showcased how well Pedro Ximénez sherry and Pierre Ferrand's Dry Curaçao go together for it offered an elegant raisin-orange peel combination.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


1 1/2 oz La Cigarrera Amontillado
3/4 oz Braulio Amaro (*)
1/2 oz Carpano Antica
1/4 oz Punt e Mes

Stir with ice and strain into a wine glass. Garnish with grapefruit oil.
(*) In a pinch, perhaps another alpine amaro like Fernet or S. Maria al Monte would do.

Perhaps it was all this talk of sherry the night before that made me consider going to Belly Wine Bar the following night. That and I spotted Ryan Connelly checked in on the OnTheBar app before I left the house. Once there, Ryan mentioned that he had some new drinks which he had developed for the upcoming vermouth cocktails section of the menu. Of that batch, I selected the Infanta.
The Infanta's grapefruit twist provided a brightness to counter the darker, nutty, and herbal aromatic undertones. A medley of grape flavors on the sip led into a nutty and complex herbal swallow. Elegant, herbal, and light, the Infanta straddles the line between aperitif and digestif quite well.

coronation cocktail

1 gill Dry Sherry (1 1/2 oz Lustau Dry Amontillado)
1 pony Dry Vermouth (3/4 oz Dolin Dry)
2 dash Maraschino Liqueur (1/4 oz Luxardo)
3 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an olive (omitted) and a lemon twist.

After the Moretta Cocktail, I decided to make a cocktail I spotted in the 1905 Hoffman House Bartender's Guide called the Coronation Cocktail. The book credits Joseph Rose of Murray Bros. Cafe in Newark, NJ; Mr. Rose won second place in the Police Gazette bartenders contest back in 1903 with this libation. The recipe reminded me of a Bamboo that had been gussied up with a bit of Maraschino, and I had not had a variation of the Bamboo since I made a Crusta out of it two years ago.
The Coronation Cocktail greeted the nose with a lemon oil over wine aroma. A clean, savory grape sip led into a swallow that worked similarly as the Moretta I just had did -- a combined nuttiness from both the sherry and the Maraschino. Overall, the Coronation Cocktail would make for a great aperitif, and probably adding a briny olive garnish as recommended would add to this effect and the drink's savoriness.