Monday, September 30, 2013

storm cloud

1 1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top with soda, add a straw, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.

Two Mondays ago, I decided to check out Tony Maws' sister restaurant to Craigie on Main called Kirkland Tap & Trotter. I heard on social media that they had done their soft opening the week before and read a Tweet that week that the bar was open. What I missed was that I was showing up on opening day, and the place was pretty packed despite me arriving close to the 5pm open. Luckily, bar manager Tyler Wang pointed out a nice column near the service window to lean against that had a rail for drinks. For my first libation, I opted for something light -- an aperitif called the Storm Cloud that sort of reminded me of his Triumph of Pompei that he crafted at No. 9 Park. Since the bar was a few deep at this point, I opted to get my information by email. Tyler explained, "The storm cloud is named after Seth 'Lightning' Moskowitz, Matt 'Thunder' Pearlson, and Diego 'Boom' Torres, and Seth's brother Andrew 'The (thunder) Clap'. It's my first menu I had a couple tributes to make to old friends. But also, with the aggressive nature of the various ingredients it was like a bartenders Highball in the vein of a dark and stormy."
The grapefruit twist's aroma filled the Storm Cloud's bouquet. A carbonated orange, grapefruit, and caramel sip led into a swallow where the Fernet Branca melded with the citrus for a bitter herbal complexity that was light on the menthol.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

tin can telephone

1 1/4 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
1 1/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 1/4 oz Salers Gentian Liqueur
1/4 oz Benedictine
2 dash Orange Bitters

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

A few weeks ago at work, I crafted a riff on the classic Marconi Wireless. It started with me thinking about how well gentian liqueurs like Salers pair with sweet vermouth such as in the Harry Palmer. After failing with a Cognac-based idea, I switched over to apple brandy and worked it well into a three equal parts Negroni-like number that included the orange bitters which appear in the Marconi Wireless. Since we do a 4 ounce pour at the bar, I was left with a recipe that was a quarter ounce short. While the original was good, it was improved with the earthy, herbal, and chocolate notes of Benedictine; I tried that knowing how well apple brandy and Benedictine pair in drinks like the Full House #2. I also tried Yellow Chartreuse, another excellent apple brandy pairing, but at one-sixteenth of the mix, it was lost. So in the end, it seemed less like a Negroni structure and more like a Vieux Carré.
For a name, I made things more grounded given the earthiness of the gentian and Benedictine and took the communication theme and dubbed it the Tin Can Telephone. Once mixed, it offered a lemon oil and apple aroma. A sweet orange and grape sip gave way to an apple swallow with an earthy, herbal, and chocolate finish. When I made it for Ethan of Deep Ellum when he sat at my bar, he thought that I had used Punt e Mes perhaps due to the Salers and sweet vermouth combination.

oaxacan dead

1 1/2 oz Sombra Mezcal
1/2 oz Falernum
1/2 oz Rothman & Winter Apricot Liqueur
1/2 oz Lime Juice
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
2 dash Orange Bitters

Shake with ice and pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with mint and add straws.

Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I stopped in at Deep Ellum on our way home from central Massachusetts. For a start, I asked bartender Ethan for a drink, the Oaxacan Dead, that he mentioned last time but he lacked falernum at the bar to make the recipe. Ethan explained how it all started with the name, and he figured that something that sounded like "Walkin' Dead" needed to be a Zombie riff. From there, he crafted the recipe and based it off some of the later apricot-liqueur containing Zombie recipes that first appeared in the literature around 1941 (opposed to the classic 1934 Zombie).
The Oaxacan Dead led off with a mint aroma from the garnish. The sip offered up a lime flavor along with a vague fruitiness, and the mezcal began the swallow which faded away into an apricot, clove, and spice finish.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

the copywriter

2 oz Irish Whiskey (Knappogue Castle 1995)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with soda water and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Saturdays ago, I decided to make a Highball that I spotted on SeriousEats called the Copywriter. The recipe was created by Steven Weiss of Craftbar in New York City, and I was drawn towards it because it seemed like a tall and less herbal version of John McElroy's Sacrilege. Once mixed, the Copywriter offered a lemon oil and Irish whiskey aroma. A lemon, grape, honey, and malt medley on the sip slid into a smoothed whiskey swallow with floral notes.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

speaking in tongues

1 oz Strawberry-infused Crema Mezcal
1 oz Luxardo Amaro Abano
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

For my second drink at Brick & Mortar, bartender Matthew Schrage showcased another drink that he put on the menu downstairs at Central Kitchen, namely a variation on Speaking in Tongues. The original was created by Mike Ryan from Sable Kitchen & Bar in Chicago. In order to save time per order, Matt infused mezcal with strawberries à la Tequila Por Mi Amante instead of the muddling step; the only other changes were slight decreases in lemon juice and simple syrup and using the sweetened crema mezcal instead of regular.
Once mixed, the Speaking in Tongues offered an herbal strawberry aroma. A sweet, fruity, and lemon sip gave way to a strawberry and Amaro Abano bitter combination on the swallow. After a few sips, the mezcal began to become more noticeable on the swallow.

Monday, September 23, 2013

more than classic

1 oz La Favorite Rhum Agricole Amber
1 oz Aperol
1 oz Braulio Amaro Alpino
1 barspoon St. Germain
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Build in a rocks glass. Add ice and stir, garnish with an orange twist, and add straws.

Two Wednesdays ago, I ventured over to Brick & Mortar. For a drink, bartender Matthew Schrage suggested a recipe he crafted for the list at Central Kitchen, their downstairs neighbor. When he mentioned Amaro Braulio and rhum agricole, I was definitely interested. Moreover, with the Negroni-like feel and the rhum agricole and orange notes, it did make me think of Scott Holliday's Defensio.
The More than Classic proffered an orange and rich caramel note to the nose that gave way to rhum and herbal amaro aromas. The caramel continued on into the sip where it mingled with dark orange flavors. And the swallow began with the rhum and ended with menthol and other herbal notes from the Braulio. Overall, the drink tasted more like an aged molasses-based rum drink than an agricole one.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

copper creel

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo LXXVII) was picked by Elana of the Stir and Strain blog. The theme she chose was "Smoke!" which is amusing that it came after August's theme of "Fire!" Elana elaborated on her theme by describing, "They say where there's smoke, there's fire – it isn't necessarily true if we’re down to the smoldering embers, but, well, they say it anyway. In our case, where there was fire, now there's smoke, and it's time to stoke your enthusiasm for the next challenge. Smoke has been everywhere this past year... For me, smoke is also a transitional element: it symbolizes the last summer bonfires, sitting around the fire pit making s'mores, and the start of the fragrant crackles from the fireplace announcing that fall is coming. For September's theme, I'd like to see how you interpret smoke. With your liquor or ingredients? Your glassware? Will you whip out a chemistry set to transform your cocktail into ghostly vapors? Do you own a home smoker, still in the box, that's never been used? Well then, you're welcome. Unpack those ideas and let's set off a couple smoke alarms this month for MxMo."

I did contemplate all the ways that people have been incorporating smoke into drinks. While I have had glasses pre-rinsed with smoke, it always comes off a bit acrid to my palate. I also thought of gaining access to the smoker at work, but the kitchen there is often way too busy for fun and games. Therefore, I opted for the easy, traditional way by reaching for the smokiest thing I have on my shelves, Laphroaig Scotch. And from there, I set off to find a Scotch-based recipe to put it to use. My library adventure led me to grab the North Star Cocktails book where I spotted the Copper Creel.
Copper Creel
• 1 1/2 oz Single Malt Scotch (Laphroaig 10 Year)
• 3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
• 1/2 oz Orange Liqueur (Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao)
• 1/2 oz Drambuie
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lemon spiral.
The Copper Creel was created by Jesse Held of Minneapolis and appeared like a Fancy version of a Rob Roy crossed with a Rusty Nail. Once mixed, it offered a smoky aroma that was brightened by the twist's lemon oil. A honey, malt, and grape sip led into a smoky Scotch swallow and an orange peel-tinged finish. Despite three of the ingredients in the mix being sugary, the Scotch's smoke definitely helped to cut through the perception of sweetness here.
So thank you to Elana of Stir and Strain 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!

Friday, September 20, 2013

welcome stranger

1/6 Dry Gin (1/2 oz Martin Miller Westbourne)
1/6 Swedish Punsch (1/2 oz Kronan)
1/6 Brandy (1/2 oz Foret)
1/6 Grenadine (1/2 oz)
1/6 Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)
1/6 Orange Juice (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After the Wicked Wahine, I searched for recipes that would use the rest of the lemon juice that I squeezed for that drink. In Patrick Duffy's 1975 edition of The Official Mixer's Manual, I spotted the Welcome Stranger which attracted me with its Swedish Punsch and reminded me of the classic Tanglefoot from Barflies and Cocktails.
The Welcome Stranger's pomegranate aromas brightened the Swedish Punsch's tea and rum notes. Citrus and grenadine on the sip gave way to a curious melon-like swallow and a tannic finish.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

wicked wahine

1 1/2 oz Spiced Rum (Kraken)
1/4 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Passion Fruit Syrup (BG Reynolds)
1/4 oz Grenadine
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orchid or another edible flower.
Two Mondays ago, we began the evening with a Tiki drink from Imbibe Magazine. The libation called the Wicked Wahine was created by Brice Ginardi, Okolemaluna Tiki Lounge in Hawaii and reminded me of a little of a classic Hurricane. Once mixed, the dark rum notes paired with the passion fruit ones on the nose. The caramel on the sip contrasted the bright, sweet, but vague fruity note from the juices and syrups. Finally, the molassy rum continued on into the swallow along with spice notes especially clove.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

life vest

1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1 oz Cocchi Americano
3/4 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

Two Saturdays ago, I picked up our copy of Food & Wine: Cocktails 2013 and spotted the Life Vest created by Sean Hoard. Sean came up with the drink one night at the Teardrop Lounge in Portland, OR, for a friend who was meeting a girl at the bar. His friend wanted a lower proof libation so that he did not sink his chances with her, and Sean whipped up something inspired by the Culross.
The apricot and lemon juice aromas combined to produce an almost orange-like note. Grape and lemon paired on the sip and led into an apricot swallow that was modified by the sweet vermouth.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

[hires fizz]

1 1/2 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Cherry Heering
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Cream
1 Egg White
3 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake once without ice and once with. Top with root beer, garnish with cherries, and add a straw.
For a final drink, bartender Joel at Sichuan Garden offered up a Fizz drink for dessert. With Cynar as a base spirit and root beer as the bubbles, it sounded intriguing especially after recalling how well Cynar paired with Root liqueur in the El Toro. For a name, I dubbed it the Hires Fizz with a nod to the Ramos  and to the creator of modern day root beer, Charles Hires. Once mixed, the root beer notes filled the nose. A rich, creamy caramel sip led into a swallow that began with the earthy and complex root beer and Cynar pairing and ended with a lingering cherry flavor.

vow of silence

1 oz Old Monk Rum
1 oz Kina L'Avion d'Or
1 oz Punt e Mes
1 dash Mole Bitters

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

Two Thursdays ago, we ventured over to Sichuan Garden II in Woburn for dinner. There, we were greeted by bartender Joel who wanted to showcase one of his new creations, the Vow of Silence. The recipe was created a few days before via a fortuitous mistake; when he went to grab Tempus Fugit's Gran Classico for a Rum Negroni variation, and he ended up with their Kina L'Avion d'Or instead.
When intentionally made this way, the Vow of Silence offered a dark rum aroma that was brightened by the orange oil from the twist. A caramel and grape sip displayed the Kina's citrussy notes, and the rich rum continued on into the swallow where it was followed by bitter herbal flavors and a chocolate finish. So instead of a rum variation of a Negroni, it was more like a rum one of a Hoots Mon.

Monday, September 16, 2013


1/3 jigger Bacardi (1 oz Ryan & Wood Folly Cove)
1/3 jigger Calvados (1 oz Morin Selection)
2 dash Apricot Brandy (1/2 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot)
1 dash Lemon (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added a lemon twist.
After the End of Days, I opened up my copy of Boothby's 1934 World Drinks And How To Mix Them and spotted the Sonora which seemed like an intriguing split spirits Daisy. Once mixed, the twist's lemon oil joined the fruitiness of the apricot liqueur and prepared the mouth for the lemony sip. The swallow then alternated between rum and apple flavors and ended with an apricot finish.

end of days

3/4 oz Blanco Tequila
3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. Top with 1 oz Strangeways Phantasmic East Coast IPA or another American IPA (Founders Double Trouble). Garnish with a lime wheel.

Two Wednesdays ago, I was flipping through the Beer Advocate magazine when I spotted an interesting beer cocktail recipe called the End of Days. The drink was created at Saison in Richmond, Virginia, and submitted to the magazine by their beverage director Chris Elford. It combines three elements that they really like at the bar -- namely, agave spirit, American IPAs, and bitterness.
The lime wheel garnish contributed to the End of Days' nose along with the tequila aromas. A lime and malt sip gave way to a swallow that began with tequila and ended with a bitter medley of Campari and hops.

Friday, September 13, 2013

grand street

2 oz Beefeater Gin
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1/4 oz Cynar

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

After returning from Estragon, I decided to have a nightcap and I selected one from an article about Brooklyn variations (you might need to register for ShakeStir to read it though). The novel one that appealed to both of us was the Grand Street created by Death & Co. Grand Street is an east-west street in lower Manhattan that runs through SoHo, Chinatown, Little Italy, and the Lower East Side, and is about 10 blocks south of the bar.
The Grand Street's grapefruit twist offered up bright citrus oils to the nose. A grape and caramel sip led into a gin-driven swallow. After the gin flavors came a wave of bitter notes from the Punt e Mes and Cynar that faded into and were balanced by the nuttiness of the Maraschino liqueur. As the drink warmed up, the Maraschino began to take a bigger role in the finish.

midas touch

3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/4 oz Bärenjäger Honey & Bourbon (*)
3/4 oz Manzanilla Sherry
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 pinch Salt

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.
(*) Perhaps Drambuie would work in a pinch.
Two Mondays ago, we ventured down to Estragon. One of the drinks that bartender Sahil Mehta made for us was his recipe for the Bärenjäger competition. His entry, the Midas Touch, utilized their honeyed Bourbon instead of the original honey liqueur, and he crafted it into a savory cocktail. Once mixed, the Midas Touch offered an herbal aroma from the Yellow Chartreuse and thyme. A sweet honey and lemon sip gave way to a savory dryness from the sherry on the beginning of the swallow. Next, the swallow ended with an herbal finish that gained mintier notes over time.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

fort erie

2 oz Old Overholt Rye
1 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Bigallet Viriana China China Liqueur
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a Marasca cherry.

Two Sundays ago, we stopped into Bergamot for drink. For an idea, bartender Paul Manzelli said that he had a drink that utilized Bigallet's China China liqueur. I was pretty excited by this spirit when the Gifford rep brought by the new product line at work. As I was going downstairs to pick up a beer, I scanned the bottles and immediately honed in on that one for I enjoyed the Martini & Rossi China that I tasted at the Demystifying Vermouth talk at Portland Cocktail Week last fall (note: China is a liqueur and not a vermouth). The Gifford's Bigallet version is very dark orange peel driven besides the strong quinine notes, and I found it to be very Amer Picon-esque. Apparently, so did Paul, for he concocted a riff on the Brooklyn. Paul described how it was named the Fort Erie by his friend Tim who is from there.
The Fort Erie presented a cherry and orange peel aroma. A malt and dry cherry sip led into a rye, cherry, and orange swallow. I would have to say that the China helped to produce close enough to a Brooklyn-like libation to satisfy those without Amer Picon in their liquor cabinets.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

colonial bastard

1 1/2 oz Zaya Rum
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/4 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1/4 oz Allspice Dram (St. Elizabeth)
1/4 oz Pineapple Gum Syrup (homemade pineapple syrup)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with pineapple sage (omitted).
After the Wildest Redhead, I decided to make a recipe I spotted on the Fernet Branca Facebook page called the Colonial Bastard. This Tiki libation was crafted by Adam Welch of Goose & Gander in Saint Helena, California, and it reminded me favorably of the Dirt'n'Diesel. Once mixed, the Colonial Bastard offered the menthol notes of the Fernet to the nose. The caramel of the rum and amaro filled the sip, and the swallow showcased the rum, Fernet Branca herbal notes, and the dram and falernum's allspice and clove spice elements.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

:: five boston bars to open soon ::

In late 2011, I made a post about four Boston bars to open soon that I was excited about. One, Hair of the Dog, never materialized due to issues with the building's owner, but the other three -- the Hawthorne, Brick & Mortar, and Backbar -- helped to reshape the landscape of the Boston cocktail universe. This edition will cover another cluster of four five Boston bars that are soon to open, and like I said last time, some of this information is based on firsthand knowledge from the people involved, some of it is hearsay from Chowhound, Facebook, Twitter, or other. So take it with a grain of salt since I will abstain from fact checking and will confirm it all when I am drinking at their bars once they open. I did communicate with people involved with each of these projects and received some interesting tidbits back from them.

Kirkland Tap & Trotter, 425 Washington Street, Somerville, Harvard-Union-Inman Square.

With Tony Maws' success with Craigie on Main, he seeks to expand his reach by taking over the space of the old Kirkland Café, a neighborhood dive bar that had epic wood paneling and a decent live music scene. While I will leave the aspects of the wood-fired grill and food to the restaurant writers, I will hone in on their bar program. The first wisps of information that I heard was that the B-Side Lounge and Brick & Mortar founder Patrick Sullivan was consulting on the project and later learned that Misty Kalkofen was helping to get the program up and running. Their first job was finding a bar manager, and I am quite pleased with their pick -- No. 9 Park's Tyler Wang. Tyler cut his teeth in the bar world at Drink before staying within the Lynchian realm across town; I remember the day that he popped into Russell House Tavern when I was at the stick to tell me of his new position. I kept it quiet then, but with Maws' restaurant about to open and the news being a bit more public now, I feel more comfortable sharing. Tyler describes the bar project as one designed after "the best neighborhood bars in the world"; being right near Bergamot and Trina's Starlite Lounge, this theme will be right at home. Tyler continued, "My team is prepared to talk about and serve under-appreciated but over-performing wines and a great selection of craft beers. Our cocktails will be a compact but compelling mix of simple classically-oriented selections, and unique highballs like our City Side Soda featuring a house-made Pineapple-Celery Soda and Del Maguey Vida Mezcal." Also, on the bartender roster there is Kenny Belanger, Patrick Sullivan's star from the Legal Seafood days that he brought along with him to help open Brick & Mortar.

Beat Hotel, 39 Brattle Street, Cambridge, Harvard Square.

Beat Hotel has certainly been a topic of conversation at work, for Harvard Square is gaining a new cocktail spot to add to the roster that includes the Sinclair, First Printer, Russell House Tavern, and Park. The project is a parallel universe to the owners' other venture, the Beehive, and to some, crossing the Charles River is indeed a formidable gateway to another world. While the owners have sat at my bar at Russell House Tavern for lunch, I regret not quizzing them on the bar program. However, through checkins via the OnTheBar app, I spotted a familiar name checked in at Beat Hotel one day, Ian Strickland. I first met Ian at the Boston Cocktail Summit last year as he had wrapped up his work with the Milky Way in Jamaica Plain and started at Pigalle to update their bar menu. When Pigalle closed for renovations in May, he switched to the Beehive. In contacting Ian, he confirmed that he is indeed the head bartender there and that they will be opening in the next week or two.

Sarma, 249 Pearl Street, Somerville, Winter Hill-Gillman Square.

Up in my neck of the woods used to be the Paddock; I always thought the Paddock was a steakhouse until I heard that one of my friends went on date there for the pizza. We ventured in a few times for the Italian food, divey decor, and occasional neighborhood serenades from the karaoke lounge. The decently sized bar there was always filled with colorful locals quaffing cheap beers and simple Highballs. After it closed, I learned that the folks behind Oleana and Sofra were taking it over to serve Middle Eastern-inspired food and calling the joint Sarma. I was not sure whether they would have a bar program of note being that far out in the 'ville, but I was delighted to learn on a thread in the Chanticleer Society forum that Vikram Hegde last seen at Island Creek Oyster Bar will be the opening bar manager. I have been impressed with Vik's drinks at ICOB, and I am excited to see what he will do with some freedom from the more food-friendly ICOB cocktail menu constraints. Vik just wrote me describing how, "the general concept is going to be to try and reflect some of the fascinating spice elements that are used in the Middle Eastern/Mediterranean style food, so cocktails incorporating flavors like fenugreek, Aleppo pepper, mastic, etc. I'm hoping that as we evolve and grow into our own, we can develop some well integrated twists on classics (think a Sazerac with mastic and using Raki instead of Absinthe...) without making the classic mistake of just trying to create something different, regardless of whether or not it's an improvement."

Fairsted Kitchen, 1704 Beacon Street, Brookline, Washington Square.

I was surprised when I learned via the Boston restaurant blogs that Steve Bowman was opening up his own restaurant, the Fairsted Kitchen. When I first met Steve, he was working at Cirace's Fine Wines & Spirits in the North End. Later, he worked at Russell House Tavern before departing to Menton to be a captain and sommelier. The restaurant will join the neighborhood along with the beer Mecca, the Publick House, as well as the recently opened Ribelle; Matt Schrage first alerted me to Ribelle's cocktail program since he helped as a consultant on the project. Moreover, through's Straight Up column, I learned that Patrick Gaggiano will be leaving Trina's Starlite Lounge to be a member of the opening roster of Fairsted Kitchen's bar staff. When I later contacted Steve, he described how the bar "will focus on classic cocktails, both traditionally executed and updated with tongue in cheek riffs. We'll also forge new ground offering bottled and carbonated cocktails as well as cocktails on draft. Late night brings an off beat and fun energy, drawing the emerging Brookline industry scene. Patrick Gaggiano will helm the program, joined by Alex Homans." When I spoke to Alex last week, he did not mention this, so this is a surprise to me. I met Alex when he was managing Temple Bar; he then went on for a short stint managing Russell House Tavern before ending up at Backbar. While Patrick recently had his last day at Trina's, I am not sure if Alex will be working one or both places.

State Park, 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, Kendall Square.

In discussing this article, I was alerted that I forgot an establishment or two; however, only one of these did I know anything about the bar program. State Park, the second establishment from the owners of Hungry Mother, will be opening in the old Think Tank space. Hungry Mother's Heather Mojer will be making the move across Kendall Square to lead the program there which is a loss for Hungry Mother but a gain for State Park. I was able to reach out to Heather and luckily get some information. She expects an opening at the end of October as "a bar-focused spot with old neon beer signs, a screen door, maybe a diorama, and amusements; shuffleboard, 2 pinball machines, a juke box and a coin-op pool table are in the works... The bar will feature fine mixed drinks (and crushed ice!), a very fun magnum list for our wines by the bottle, and a good range of beer for all occasions."

Also Alden & Harlow is opening in Harvard Square (40 Brattle Street, Cambridge), but I know nothing of the people running the bar program. I did read in a BostonMagazine post that while they will have a complete liquor license, the program will hone in on wine.

Monday, September 9, 2013

wildest redhead

1 1/2 oz Blended Scotch (Pig's Nose)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz St. Elizabeth's Allspice Dram
1/2 oz 3:1 Honey Syrup (3/4 oz 1:1 Syrup)

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass containing a big ice cube. Drizzle 1/4 oz Cherry Heering over the ice cube.

Two Fridays ago for the cocktail hour, I suggested to Andrea a drink that I had spotted on the Hawthorne's Scotch section of the menu called the Wildest Redhead. The recipe was created by Meaghan Dorman, Hawthorne's Katie Emmerson's old co-worker back at Raines Law. Meaghan found an inspirational recipe called the Wild Redhead in Stan Jones' Complete Barguide and added Scotch, honey, and allspice dram to the simple cherry brandy and lemon juice Sour combination. Moreover, the cherry aspect was diminished and added almost as a garnish.
I was doubtful that the Cherry Heering would float, and when I reread the various recipes for the drink online, there was no indication that "top with Cherry Heering" meant to have a layering effect. The description I found of drizzling the liqueur over the ice cube was the best one (I initially gently drizzled it over the cube in order to attempt a layering effect). Once mixed, the Wildest Redhead proffered a Scotch and honey aroma. A floral and lemon sip shared a hint of cherry, and the swallow began with Scotch and honey flavors and ended with the dram's allspice notes. Overall, the Wildest Redhead reminded me of a cherry and allspice for ginger version of Sam Ross' Penicillin cocktail.

under the volcano

1 oz Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal
1 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry
1 oz Amaro Nonino
1 dash Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Flame an orange twist over the top.

Two Thursdays ago, I found myself in the Kenmore Square area and I stopped into the Hawthorne for a drink. Both Katie Emmerson and Carrie Cole were tending the bar that night, and I happened to find an open seat that was in Carrie's section. Carrie mentioned that there was a new mezcal section of the menu, and when I opened it up, I immediate spotted the Under the Volcano. I enquired correctly as to whether the drink was a Katie Emmerson creation. I was familiar with the name of the drink via another agave recipe, Kyle Davidson's Under the Volcano, that I had two years ago. Both drinks I assume are a reference to a 1947 novel about an alcoholic British consul in Mexico on the Day of the Dead Celebration; shortly after I had the first drink, I bought the book, but sadly, it still awaits in my to-read pile. Unfortunately for my fiction purchases, I have been reading a lot more non-fiction these days.
Katie's Under the Volcano offered an orange oil and smoke aroma. Grape and caramel flavors filled the sip, and the smokey mezcal and sherry on the swallow morphed together into an intriguing flavor combination. Finally, the bitters came through as a chocolate note on the finish, and as the drink warmed up, the Amaro Nonino and mole bitters pairing began to shine.

Friday, September 6, 2013

czech matador

1 oz Old Overholt Rye
1 oz Jelinek Fernet
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Cherry Heering

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a cherry.
For a second drink, I asked bartender Kyle Powell at Backbar for the Czech Matador off of the tradesman section of the menu. The name and ingredients suggested that it was a riff on the classic Blood and Sand, and I was intrigued for I know how well Fernet and Cherry Heering can pair such as in the Pinto and the Sainted Devil. Once in the glass, the Czech Matador waved its cherry-scented cape at my nose. The cherry continued on into the sip along with the orange notes, and the swallow began with rye and herbal notes from the Fernet and ended with a return of the Cherry Heering on the finish.

loneliest monk

1 1/2 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 barspoon Absinthe
1 dash Mushroom Tincture (*)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
(*) Might be shiitake. Recipe would work well even without this tincture.
After the Independent, I headed around the corner to Backbar where I got to sit at the bar of not a current but a previous Russell House Tavern co-worker, Kyle Powell. For a first drink, I asked Kyle for the Loneliest Monk, a drink of the day that I had spotted on Twitter three days before, and I assumed that the monk aspect refers to both the Chartreuse and the Benedictine liqueurs. Once mixed, the Loneliest Monk offered an apple and herbal aroma. A lemon and honey sip was followed by an apple and herbal swallow. Next, the swallow ended with anise, spice, and a lingering earthiness from the mushroom tincture. Overall, the cocktail came across like a citrussy Widow's Kiss with perhaps the balance of a Hoop La.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

somerville 75

3/4 oz Gin
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse

Shake with ice and strain into a flute glass. Top with cava and garnish with a lime slice.
Two Sundays ago, I ventured down to the Independent for brunch. While I don't usually do busy brunches, I wanted to visit my fellow Russell House Tavern bartender Hannah Moore for she works at the Indo on Sundays. After the brunch rush died down, I asked Hannah for the Somerville 75 off of the cocktail menu. The name, besides being a riff on a French 75, reminded me of Trina's Starlite Lounge's Pimm's Cup variation, the Somerville Cup. Once mixed, the Somerville 75 began with a lime aroma with hints of Green Chartreuse's herbalness. A carbonated wine and lime sip gave way to a herbal swallow and a lime peel-like finish. In essence, a Green Ghost meets a Champagne Cocktail.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


3/4 oz Bols Genever
3/4 oz Pisco
3/4 oz El Maestro Sierra Oloroso Sherry
3/4 oz Kina L'Avion d'Or
1 small dash Salt Tincture (sub 1 pinch salt)

Build in a rocks glass and stir briefly without ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with orange oil. Note: This is a room temperature cocktail.

For a second drink at Spoke, I turned to bartender Lena Webb to see if she was game. When she asked for ideas, I suggested a four equal parts drink with split spirit and split wine (or aromatized wine). Lena thought for a bit then built the drink up off of her love of pairing pisco with Oloroso sherry which creates a grape nut effect. As she tasted the mix before dilution, she commented that it was drinkable as is, and I encouraged her to take the Scaffa route and eschew chilling and dilution. For a name, I considered the origin of the two base spirits and thought of the chess set up, the Dutch-Peruvian Gambit; shortening it to the Gambit seemed like a better place holder name.
The drink began with orange oil over a malty aroma that shared some herbal complexity. A grape and malt sip gave way to a funky, nutty, and sherry swallow that ended with a lingering sharp note from the Genever. Definitely very drinkable at room temperature and undiluted.

a season of faith's perfection

1 1/2 oz Bols Genever
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Bonal
1/2 oz La Grange Muscadet
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
1 dash Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters

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

Two Thursdays ago, I stopped into Spoke after getting dinner and beer at Flatbread. For a first drink, I asked bartender Sam Karachi if he had any cocktail ideas. Sam suggested on that he described as sweet, bitter, and malty called A Season of Faith's Perfection.
Once mixed, the lemon oil greeted the nose and helped to brighten the sweet, malty, and wine-laden sip. Next, the Muscadet wine softened the transition to Genever notes on the swallow, and this was followed by grape, herbal, and bitter notes. Moreover, as the drink warmed up, the Bonal began to take a large role in the flavor profile.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

[search for the cure]

1 oz Zucca
1/2 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1/2 oz Palo Cortado Sherry
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1 barspoon Lemon Juice
1 barspoon Grenadine
3 dash Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain over a rocks glass with a partially salted rim and a large ice cube. Garnish with the oil from 6 lemon swaths.

After Trade, or technically after getting beers at Stoddard's and going to Trade, I made my way down Congress Street to Drink. There, I found a seat in front of bartender Will Thompson who offered up lower proof offerings. One curious one was a bitter wine-laden one that he based off of Kirk Estinopal of the Cure's Search for Delicious; he also mentioned that it was a hybrid idea with a drink called Three Inches of Blood -- a drink that I could find no recipe but only find the band that it was named after.
For a drink name, I honored the original drink name and an event back in 2009. When I became a finalist in a bitters competition at Tales of the Cocktail 6 weeks out, we made up our minds to go at 5 weeks out. At 4 weeks out, we decided that the Big Easy would be a great place to elope and by 3 1/2 weeks out, we were getting rings. Once in New Orleans on the Tuesday night before both Tales starting and our wedding vows, we wanted to go to the Cure; we commented that this was our bachelor and bachelorette party. We set off on foot from the French Quarter in a straight line to the Cure. What we did not expect was that this path would take us through the Magnolia Projects, one of the worst neighborhoods in New Orleans. It was also one of the hardest hit areas from Katrina. Between the cockroaches on the sidewalk that would fly up and smack you in the face when you disturbed them to the people on the streets trying to shake us down, it was an interesting walk. We later learned that if Katrina had not happened, we might not have made it out alive to the other side that night. However, we walked with driven bravery and without valence and made it to the Cure. When we got there, bartender Rhiannon Enlil was amazed, declared that we needed a drink, and admonished us to be more careful. A more full account of that first night at the Cure can be found here. Basically, nothing stopped us that night which is a pretty symbolic for our marriage that began the next day.

Monday, September 2, 2013

industry fav

1 3/4 oz Nolet's Silver Gin
3/4 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Ginger Syrup
1 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge and add straws.
For my next drink at Trade, I asked bartender Tenzin Samdo for the Industry Favorite. The combination of gin, Fernet Branca, and ginger has worked before in recipes like the Midnight Elixir and the Restauranteur so I was definitely game to try this drink. Once mixed, the Industry Fav offered a bright and spicy ginger and lemon aroma. The lemon notes continued on into the sip, and the swallow offered Nolet's strong juniper signature along with Fernet's minty-menthol and the syrup's ginger flavors. Indeed, I could see this drink being perfect after a large meal or with some soda water as a hangover palliative the morning after.

volstead act

2 oz Bulleit Rye
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
1 oz Lemon Juice
2 dash Bitter Truth Orange Bitters

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

Two Wednesdays ago, I ventured down to Trade to visit bartender Tenzin Samdo. I met Tenzin at the Brattle Theater a week before the showing of Hey Bartender a week or so before, and after chatting with him after the movie was over, I knew that I had to sit at his bar in the near future. Once there, I scanned the menu and selected the Volstead Act as my first drink; the libation only shares a rye whiskey base with the similarly named classic, the Volstead Cocktail from Harry McElhone's Barflies and Cocktails, and is a different recipe entirely. Both are a nod to the act that enforced the 18th Amendment to bring about Prohibition though.
The Volstead Act's lemon twist contributed greatly to the drink's nose. A semi-crisp lemon and citrus wine sip gave way to a swallow that began with rye and ended with Green Chartreuse flavors calmed by the citrus juice.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

:: visit to tree house brewing ::

Two weeks ago, Andrea and I made a trip out to Central Mass. Wedged in between hitting the antique marts in Putnam, CT, and getting dinner at Paul & Elizabeths in Northampton, MA, was our real reason for going -- Tree House Brewing Co. in Brimfield, MA. I first learned of Tree House at the American Craft Beer Fest at the end of May. There, I had their Tornado, an American Pale Ale filled with grapefruit and pine notes, but I was blown away by their Space & Time, a new creation of theirs from April that hit me with dark fruits, molasses, and coffee flavors. However, after the brewfest, it was their Julius IPA that everyone was raving about. When I looked it up on BeerAdvocate, some people went so far as to declare it the best IPA in Massachusetts. Soon after, Julius IPA was entered into my wishlist on the Untappd beer app, and two months later when Andrea asked if I wanted to make a beer-themed road trip, Tree House was my reply.
Once we made it to Brimfield and traveled up the rural roads, we came upon the brewery. A brewery that looked more like a farmhouse with a barn albeit one with a yard-turned parking lot full of cars. Well, parking lot doesn't do the beauty of the place justice as I will explain in a bit. We wandered inside and were greeted by owner Dean Rohan. He was curious as to why we were here, and when I replied "for the beer," he shot off a few feet to ring a ship's bell to celebrate my good answer. I described trying his brews at ACBF, and he then gave me a overview of the brewery activities and explained how to get growlers filled. I was also there to see if I could wrangle a keg to put on as a rotator at Russell House Tavern where I work, but Dean explained that they were at capacity and there was a long waiting list. After viewing the brewing facility in the other half of the barn (photo below), I quickly understood their limitations. They had no clue of what sort of monster they had created -- all by high quality coupled with word of mouth.
Unfortunately, the wait to get growlers was long, but fortunately they make the time pass pleasurably. Before you leave the barn, there are couches to sit in and lots of bowls of snackfood to eat -- most notable was the housemade salsa. Outside, was a glorious koi pond with rather friendly fish. Although they might have been friendly since I was sitting on the footbridge where they probably get fed from a few times a day.
And yes, towards the back part of the property was the namesake tree house that was free to explore. Apparently, music and firepits are also common means of entertainment on the grounds although not while we were there. Eventually, our name was called and the three growlers we purchased were filled; they do limit growler sales per person to prevent unfair distribution of their product, but we were well under our maximum allotment. Besides the Julius IPA that I desired, I also got another Tornado APA and a milk stout called That’s What She Said. I do regret passing over their ESB, Old Man Special Bitter, in favor of retrying the Tornado, but that pale ale was rather good last time. Hopefully, it will be there again as one of the selections the next time.
So far we have only cracked open our growler of Julius IPA. My notes were, "Grapefruit, orange, floral, clean pine finish. Very drinkable." The comparisons to The Alchemist's highly sought after Heady Topper were understandable but there was a little more complexity here beyond the similar grapefruit that predominates Head Topper. We'll definitely be back once our three growlers are drained.