Monday, March 31, 2014

dragon's bane

1 1/2 oz St. George Terroir Gin (*)
1 1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Génépi des Alpes Liqueur

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist a lemon peel over the top and discard.
(*) The drink was made for me batched up as a 2:1 drink, but Scott prefers it as the 1:1 listed above.

After my double shift two Wednesdays ago, I made my way down Mass Ave to meet up with Andrea at Rendezvous. For a post-work drink, I asked bartender Scott Holliday for the Dragon's Bane and for any history behind it. Scott explained how he was bewitched by the St. George Terroir Gin and was not incredibly satisfied with any combination until he made a Martinez. With a little tinkering, he created the Dragon's Bane as an advanced Martinez; I assumed the name was a reference to St. George, the Crusades-era knight who slayed a dragon.
The Dragon's Bane began with a lemon oil aroma that later gave way to more evergreen notes. A grape sip led into an intensely herbal and spruce swallow from the gin and Génépi that was balanced by bitter notes from the Punt e Mes.

Friday, March 28, 2014

mela rose

1 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
1 oz Campari
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Cointreau
1 Egg White
6 drop Pernod Absinthe

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a glass and garnish with freshly grated cinnamon.

Two Mondays ago, we ventured over to Eastern Standard to get a late dinner. There, we found a pair of seats at the far end of the bar in front of bartender Kevin Morrison (who I no longer need to refer to as Kevin not-Martin since the other Kevin has moved on to work with Privateer Rum). For a cocktail, I asked for the Mela Rose which was subtitled in the Oeuf section as "when Italy comes to America," and Kevin mentioned that this was a Hugh Fiore original.
The Mela Rose shared a cinnamon notes over a smoothed Campari aroma, and the nose later displayed the absinthe's anise. A creamy, sweet citrus sip was filled with orange and lemon flavors, and this was chased by a muted Campari swallow. The apple flavors were not as obvious here, but they seemed to function in tying the fruit and Campari notes together. Overall, this was delicious, but it was a touch on the sweet side so perhaps dropping the simple syrup a bit would work better for my palate; the sweetness does make the Campari more accessible though.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

rhum dandy shim

1 oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Rhum JM Blanc
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 tsp Cane Syrup (JM Rhum)
2 dash Absinthe

Build in an Old Fashioned glass. Stir with crushed ice and garnish with grated lime zest.
Two Saturdays ago, we began the cocktail hour by making the Rhum Dandy Shim from the The Art of the Shim book. The recipe was crafted by Craig Lane at Bar Agricole in San Francisco back in 2010 by making a lower proof version of a Rhum Dandy. Once mixed, the freshly grated lime zest contributed wonderful citrus oils to the aroma. A lime and grape sip then gave way to a grassy rhum flavor that blended elegantly into the absinthe notes. Overall, the Rhum Dandy Shim came across like an absinthe and vermouth-tinged version of a 'Ti Punch.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

red duster swizzle

1 oz Plymouth Navy Strength Gin
1 oz Malmsey Madeira
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1/2 oz Campari

Build in a tall glass (*) with ice and swizzle to mix and chill. Garnish with 2 dash Angostura Bitters and add a straw.
(*) Technically, Matt explained " a glass with a penis on it" but this in hindsight isn't probably all that necessary.

After the Bokemon Daiquiri, Matt Schrage mentioned that it was Negroni Week at the bar, and he had a drink that would keep well with the theme and transition well from the Daiquiri variation. When I heard that it was a Negroni adapted to Swizzle format, I was game. Matt named the drink the Red Duster (or the Red Ensign) Swizzle after the flag of the Royal British Merchant Navy included nautical-themed gems like Madeira and navy strength gin. For a structure, Matt based his recipe off of Hawthorne's Company Swizzle; Katie Emmerson called the drink that for it paid tribute to the Swizzle recipe format that her previous employer Death & Company utilized. Matt was quite proud of the bar's collection of cheeky glassware and forced me to take a photo of the drink with the artwork facing the camera; he did allow that I censor it as long as I sent him the original, and you can see the original in his OnTheBar entry. I am not sure if the yellow rubber ducky has something to do with the merchant navy as well.
The Angostura Bitters garnish paid dividends in the aroma front with cinnamon and clove notes. Next, a lime and grape sip gave way to a rich, herbal, spice, and smoky swallow with a tart and bitter finish. Overall, the elements of the Negroni were there with interesting flavors donated by the Madeira instead of vermouth and elegant spice notes from the falernum; however, the lime juice was the biggest curveball in the concept (but not the flavor) mix.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

bokemon daiquiri

1 oz El Dorado 12 Year Rum
1 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe.

Two Thursdays ago, I decided that I needed a post-shift drink and headed down Mass Ave to Brick & Mortar where Matt Schrage and Nic Mansur were tending bar. For a first libation, I asked Matt for the Bokemon Daiquiri off the menu. Matt explained how it was put on the menu by Will Thompson, and he insisted that it was not a random misspelling of Pokémon. While it did not click at the time, it did seem like a familiar recipe; I later discovered that it was probably a variation of a drink I had two years prior -- Alex Day's Boukmon Daiquiri that here utilized aged rum and lemon instead of white rum and lime.
The Bokemon Daiquiri offered a citrus and cinnamon aroma, and this led into a complementary caramel and lemon sip. The swallow began with smooth rum notes balanced by hotter Cognac ones, and it ended with a cinnamon finish that increased with each successive swallow.

Monday, March 24, 2014


3/4 oz Amontillado Sherry (1 oz Lustau Dry)
3/4 oz Gran Classico (1 oz Campari)
3/4 oz Carpano Antica (1 oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth)
3 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice and strain into a glass with an ice cube or two. Garnish with a lemon twist.

After the Louis Special, I turned to a newer creation, the Haberdasher, from the The Art of the Shim book. The recipe was crafted by Josh Harris and Scott Baird of the Bon Vivants in 2011 as the house aperitif for Trick Dog in San Francisco. I was intrigued for it came across like a Sherry Negroni that decreased the gin's proofy punch via use of a lighter yet flavorful fortified wine.
The lemon twist's oils accented the fresh herbal notes from the Campari. Next, the grape flavors from the sherry and vermouth mingled on the sip, and this led into a nutty sherry swallow that ended with Campari's herbal complexity. Overall, the Haberdasher reminded me a bit of John Mayer's Bonal-laden 2011 that he created at Local 149.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

west indies punch

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo LXXXIII) was picked by Craig of the A World of Drinks blog. The theme he chose was "Preserves" which is perfect for this time of year when the ground has not yet even sprouted the beginnings of this year's harvest; instead, it will be utilizing the flavors of the other seasons through preservation techniques like syrups, shrubs, and jellies. Craig elaborated on the concept by describing, "For this month's challenge I would like to take us back to the humble beginnings of the cocktail bar, the days when bartenders didn't have he luxury of daily deliveries of ingredients from around the world. In these times bartenders would have been uncertain when they would again have the privilege to work with special ingredients so would naturally try to make the most of them... Such methods of preservation such as syrups and preserves have been staple ingredients behind the bar ever since, while others such as shrubs and sherbets were relatively short lived. The aim of the challenge is to go back to the days of the preserve, pick an ingredient, seasonal or not and treat it as if you won't be seeing it again for quite some time. Syrups, sorbets, jam, shrubs and the like are all fair game, anything that will preserve the integral character of your favourite ingredient."
Throughout the years of my home bar, I have made many syrups, shrubs, and infusions, and I have continued on as well in my work bar (although most of the routine work is done by the barbacks and the experimental preparations by the bar manager). In thinking about preserved flavors, I looked to what recipes I could find in the literature and compare it to what I had at hand in the fridge. My recipe search found my way over to the 1946 Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink; actually, I was looking for a drink to make that night, but I bookmarked the page for the West Indies Punch for Mixology Monday to make later in the week. The punch called for guava marmalade, and I have been curious about preserved guava ever since I had Dave Delaney's Groovy Child at the Citizen in Worcester and noted how well the lime and guava partnered. I bought my own guava paste (more of a pectin-ized block than a jelly) shortly after to make the Barbadoes Punch, the 1862 Jerry Thomas recipe that influenced Delaney. I have since used the guava paste over the last 3 years in the Alderman's Punch and Fifth Avenue Hotel Ice Punch, and the block still looked as good as ever. So instead of preserving flavor from the season, this is preserving flavor over several years in a fruit product that I purchased at a local market that no longer exists today.
West Indies Punch
• 1/2 pound Sugar (1/2 oz)
• 1 pint Green Tea (1 oz)
• 1 dozen Limes (3/4 oz juice + 3/4 of a lime shell)
• 1 cup Guava Marmalade (1/2 oz Guava Paste)
• 2 cup Boiling Water (1 oz)
• 1/2 bottle Dark Jamaican Rum (3/4 oz Coruba)
• 1/2 bottle Light Jamaican Rum (3/4 oz Appleton V/X)
• 1 pint Cognac (1 oz Foret)
• 1 bottle Madeira (1 1/2 oz Blandy's Verdelho)
Dissolve sugar into tea. Juice limes and add juice and shells into the tea. Dissolve the guava marmalade in boiling water and combine with the tea. Add rest of the ingredients and let stand overnight. Remove the lime shells and pour over ice in a punch bowl (here, made at 1/16th scale and poured over a large cube in a rocks glass). Let chill.
The West Indies Punch shared a funky rum and fruity aroma. As before, the lime and citrussy guava flavors elegantly paired on the sip. Next, the swallow began with a fruity and funky rum flavor that ended with minty cinnamon-like spice, guava, and green tea notes. Overall, the recipe as well as the overnight blending of flavors led to a rather smooth drink where no one note stood out as all that dominant. Pleasing yet flavorful, the way punch ought to be.

So thank you to Craig of A World of Drinks 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, March 21, 2014

louis special

1/3 Dry Gin (1/2 oz Wireworks)
1/3 Benedictine (1/2 oz)
1/3 Green Chartreuse (1/2 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Wednesdays ago, the cocktail hour began with a curiosity from the 1940 edition of The How and When by Hyman Gale and Gerald F. Marco. The Louis Special recipe was provided "courtesy of Louis Postenrieder, head barman Hotel Bristol, Wien," and the intense equal parts combination that includes Green Chartreuse and Benedictine seems like it could roll out of a hip speakeasy bar in Manhattan today moreso than a hotel bar in Austria over 70 years ago. Once mixed, the Louis Special offered a green herbalness to the nose. A sweet almost honey-like sip gave way to a swallow that presented the Green Chartreuse smoothed out by the Benedictine. Indeed, Andrea declared that it was "delicately sweet and floral." I was curious what the libation would be like as a room temperature Scaffa, although perhaps 1.5-2 parts gin to one part each of the liqueurs would work better since there would be no ice-melt dilution to cut the sweetness.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

queen's park hotel super cocktail

1 1/2 oz Gold Trinidad Rum (Appleton V/X) (*)
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Dolin)
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Lime Juice
4 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
(*) I had too little of 10 Cane left for a drink, and the Zaya seemed too dark for this recipe.

Two Saturdays ago, I stopped by the Boston Shaker store to drop off another box of Drink & Tell: A Boston Cocktail Book. At the store, I spotted Beachbum Berry's new book, Potions of the Caribbean, and decided to pick it up there instead of paying the shipping costs from Cocktail Kingdom. For a drink that night, I cracked it open and searched for a Tiki libation. The Queen's Park Hotel Super Cocktail called out to me, and while the book provides a richer history, the basic gist is that a British travel writer weaseled this recipe out of a hotel bartender in 1932. Sounds like a familiar story...
The cocktail began with a clove and cinnamon aroma with a fruit note from the grenadine and lime. A grape and pomegranate sip gained some structure from the lime's crispness, and the swallow offered the aged rum with a dry spice finish. The lime was definitely less distinct here than in a classic Daiquiri perhaps due to the bitters' effect. Overall, the drink was a fruitier and slightly spicier version of the Fig Leaf Cocktail from the addition of grenadine and extra dashes of Angostura (although I guess that would depend on which vermouth was used).

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

pat bra

1/2 jigger Gin (1 1/2 oz Beefeater)
1/4 jigger Sweet Vermouth (3/4 oz Dolin)
1 dash Maraschino (3/8 oz Luxardo)
1/2 spoon Lime Juice (3/8 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Thursdays ago for the start of the cocktail hour, I opened up my copy of Boothby's 1934 World Drinks And How To Mix Them and found the Pat Bra. Since a good number of the recipes have light pours on the citrus and sweeteners compared to modern cocktail recipes, I tinkered with the ratios to fit my preferred palate. Once mixed, the Pat Bra offered a fruity aroma from the lime and Maraschino. A lime sip shared grape and cherry notes, and the swallow ended things with gin botanicals and a nutty cherry flavor. Overall, it came across rather Aviation-like, and after a bit of thought, I recalled that the recipe was rather similar to the Emerson Cocktail save for that calling for an Old Tom Gin and slightly different proportions.

Monday, March 17, 2014


1 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Nux Alpina Walnut Liqueur

Shake with ice and strain into a beer tulip glass with ice. Top with 3 oz Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA, gently stir, and add straws.

For a second drink at Kirkland Tap & Trotter, Tyler Wang recommended the Sawbuck, a beer cocktail on the menu. With the beer, spice, and walnut notes, it reminded me of Brick & Mortar's Fears and Failures, while the IPA, citrus, and cinnamon medley made me think of Russell House Tavern's Private Shandy. Regardless, the combination as a whole was different enough and intriguing.
The Sawbuck greeted my nose with a dark honey like note that I attributed partially to the beer's floral hops. A carbonated citrus and malt sip gave way to dark nutty notes on the swallow. The swallow then ended with the IPA's piny hop flavors with growing cinnamon notes from the syrup.

Friday, March 14, 2014

cover letter

1 1/4 oz Tuthilltown Half Moon Gin
1/2 oz Sotol
3/4 oz Lustau Amontillado
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1/4 oz Honey Syrup (2:1)
1 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters

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

Two Wednesdays ago, I stopped into Kirkland Tap and Trotter on the way home from work. In narrowing down my choices, I spoke to bartender Tyler Wang about the Cover Letter. He described how it had more industry-favored ingredients than the others on my short list. Tyler explained how he picked an apple and wheat-based gin to work better with the flavors. When I inquired about the specifics on Sotol, Tyler described how it was a different but somewhat related plant as the agaves used in tequila and mezcal, and how it still had a smokiness to it like mezcal. As for the cocktail name, the motley collection of "things that don't fit well together, but look cool together" was reminiscent of interviewing people for a job; hence, he called it the Cover Letter as a way to tie together such disparate aspects.
The Cover Letter filled the nose with lots of orange aromas with a hint of smoke. A light cherry and grape sip led into a nutty cherry swallow with gin and other herbal notes perhaps from the Sotol. Finally, the Cover Letter finished with cinnamon and smoke that grew on successive swallows.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

maroon beret

1 1/2 oz Diabolique Bourbon
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz Avèze Gentian Liqueur
1/4 oz Angostura Bitters

Shake with a sprig of rosemary (here, used thyme) and ice, and strain into a cocktail coupe.
One of the cocktails that Andrea requested from Sahil Mehta at Estragon was the Maroon Beret from his recipe notebook. I neglected to ask Sahil whether the name Maroon Beret was a riff on the Prince song "Raspberry Beret" or a tribute to some military fighting force or other. The combination of gentian liqueur and Green Chartreuse did remind me though of the Trapped Under Ice that was on the menu at Russell House Tavern when I started bartending there last year. Once mixed, the Maroon Beret offered a gentian and herbal aroma that led into a dry, malty sip. Next, the swallow began with Green Chartreuse notes and ended with a complex chocolate, coffee, cinnamon, and spice finish.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

[joan miro]

1 1/2 oz Cynar
1 1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 inch Celery Stalk

Muddle celery, and add rest of ingredients and ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice rimmed with celery salt-ginger-honey crystals (*). Garnish with a celery leaf.
(*) Substitute celery salt and sugar mix in a pinch.

Two Mondays ago, we traveled down to the South End to pay bartender Sahil Mehta a visit at Estragon. For a first drink, I peered into Sahil's drink notebook and spotted an unnamed herbal drink that combined Cynar as a co-base spirit with herbal notes from celery and floral notes from St. Germain. Celery has worked well with Cynar such as in the Gloamin Dwines as well with St. Germain such as in the Alto Cucina in the past. For a name, I took the unusual combination, artful presentation, and Spanish theme of the restaurant and dubbed it the Joan Miró.
The libation offered an herbal aroma with brighter notes from the celery and darker ones from the Cynar. The lime sip shared wine notes from the vermouth and fruit ones from the St. Germain. Finally, the swallow presented an herbal swallow that transitioned into floral notes; the celery began poking through at the end after a little ice melt. Overall, the drink functioned well as an aperitif, although with the Cynar, it would make a fine digestif as well.

Monday, March 10, 2014

death at the savoy

3/4 oz London Dry gin (Martin Miller Westbourne)
3/4 oz Triple Sec (Cointreau)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass rinsed with absinthe (Butterfly). Top with 1 oz sparkling wine (Gruet Blanc de Blanc) and garnish with a lemon twist.

Two Thursdays ago, I opened up my copy of Food & Wine: Cocktails 2012 and spotted the Death at the Savoy. The recipe was in PDT's John deBary's section on Corpse Reviver #2 riffs, and he described it as the lovechild of the classic CR#2 and Death in the Afternoon.
The Death at the Savoy offered a lemon oil and anise aroma that led into a lemon and wine sip. Next, the swallow shared a gin and orange liqueur swallow; while the sip started out dry from the citrus and sparkling wine, it ended surprisingly sweeter.

Friday, March 7, 2014

man who left town

2 oz Bulleit Bourbon
3/4 oz Braulio (*)
3/4 oz Byrrh Grand Quinquina
5 dash Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.
* Originally was Amaro Nonino which would work in a pinch.

One of my favorite drinks at Russell House Tavern as a guest was Victor Pelegrin's A Man About Town. Vic created it as a Boulevardier riff, and it sold rather well on the menu. Bar manager Sam Gabrielli declared that it would remain on the cocktail list as long as Vic was at the bar. Unfortunately for Boston, Vic had to part ways a few months ago for he was starting his family on the West Coast to be closer to family, and Sam kept his word. As a successor to A Man About Town, Sam stuck with the Boulevardier theme and paid tribute to Vic's departure with this elegant cocktail. Originally, the recipe called for Amaro Nonino (besides being served on the rocks and with an orange twist), but with a temporary shortage of Nonino at the bar, a substitution of Braulio was chosen and later was deemed superior.
The Man Who Left town began with Byrrh's grape aroma accented by Braulio's menthol herbalness. A caramel and grape sip was followed by a Bourbon swallow that transitioned into an herbal finish with lingering minty notes. Perhaps due to the Byrrh more than the Braulio, the Man Who Left Town delightfully reminded me more of a Little Italy than a Boulevardier.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

french laundry

1 1/2 oz Citadelle Gin
3/4 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
3 dash Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

A few Tuesdays ago, we had dinner at Myers & Chang, and afterwards we rounded the corner and visited Joy Richard at the Franklin Café. For a first drink, I asked Joy for the French Laundry for the collection of ingredients reminded me of Brick & Mortar's Time Traveler. Originally, I thought the drink was on St. Germain Industry Night menu at the Franklin back in 2009, but from the photo in this post, it obviously came later. The name is most likely a tribute to one of the top restaurants in the world found in Napa Valley.
The French Laundry began with a gin, cherry, and floral aroma. A fruity sip with lime and cherry notes led into a gin-driven swallow that ended with nutty and floral accents.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

sherman square

2/3 jigger Sherry (1 1/2 oz Lustau Amontillado)
1/3 jigger Sweet Vermouth (3/4 oz Dolin)
2 dash Crème de Cacao (3/8 oz Marie Brizard)
1 dash Apricot Brandy (3/8 oz Rothman & Winter)

After the Around the World, I turned to Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 for our second drink. There I spotted the Sherman Square which appeared like a variation on an Adonis or a Sherry Manhattan. The Sherry Manhattan aspect fits the bill for Sherman Square is located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and named after one of the more famous historical residents of the area, William Tecumseh Sherman.
The Sherman Square shared a nutty grape aroma with chocolate notes; Andrea got more of the apricot on the nose than I did. The apricot appeared more on the sip where it mingled with the grape flavors, and the swallow shared a nutty sherry with chocolate accents.

Monday, March 3, 2014

around the world

1 oz Ron Zacapa Rum (Zaya)
3/4 oz Blanc Vermouth (Dolin)
3/4 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Swedish Punsch (3/4 oz Kronan)
1/4 oz Simple Syrup (Omitted)
1 dash Fee's Peach Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with edible flowers or not.

Two Saturdays ago, I turned to Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars to help start the cocktail hour. For a drink, I spotted the Around the World; its rum, Swedish punsch, and orange juice components reminded me of the classic Tanglefoot save that its lemon juice was replaced by blanc vermouth here.
The Around the World shared a dark rum aroma with a fruity undertone. A caramel sip possessed a degree of smoothness from the orange juice, and the swallow began with dark rum flavors followed by tea and spice notes and a peach finish. Overall, the libation was very drinkable perhaps due to the orange juice and sugar content easing the rough edges.