Monday, June 30, 2014

mother of turin

1 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
3/4 oz Gran Classico
3/4 oz Guava Syrup (*)
1 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass with ice. Top with soda water and add a straw. Garnish with an orange twist and a cherry.
(*) Equal parts Defruta Guava Juice Concentrate and sugar. There are commercial guava syrups for sale as well.

For my last drink at the Baldwin Room in the Sichuan Garden II, bartender Ran Duan made me the Mother of Turin. Perhaps this was an extension of his tinkerings with how well Campari and passion fruit syrup pair, such as in the Cisco Bay, for here he utilized Gran Classico and a guava syrup instead. Moreover, the Mother of Turin was in the same tall format as his Rome With a Slight View.
The garnish's orange oil contributed greatly to the drink's nose. A crisp, carbonated fruity sip gave way to a tart, bitter herbal Gran Classico swallow with a tropical guava finish.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

revision #3

1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1/2 oz Nux Alpina Walnut Liqueur
1/2 oz Zucca Rabarbaro Amaro
1/2 oz Byrrh Grand Quinquina

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.
A few Sundays ago, Andrea and I made another pilgrimage to Woburn to have dinner at Sichuan Garden II in the Baldwin Bar space. For a first drink, I asked bartender Ran Duan for the Revision #3 which appeared like an interesting Manhattan variation. I later found an old menu online that had the Amalia, the Bacardi 8 Rum version of this ingredient set that might have been what this was a revision on. Moreover, the Amalia could have been a riff on what I dubbed the Queen's Slipper that he made me a few months before. Once mixed, the Revision #3 offered an herbal grape aroma that led into a malt and grape sip that shared a Madeira sort of feel. Next, the rye came through in the swallow along with the walnut notes, and it ended with an herbal finish that was reminiscent of Cynar.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

doff your hat

1 oz Genever (Bols)
3/4 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Dolin)
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Twist an orange peel over the top.
After the Mr. Clark's Cane, I turned to the 75th anniversary edition of the Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide and spotted the Doff Your Hat in the gin section. The recipe was crafted by David Willhite who now bartends at Chicago's Bristol, and the combination of juniper spirit, Grand Marnier, and Cynar reminded me of Scott Holliday's Hugo Ball. Once mixed, the Doff Your Hat shared a malty aroma brightened by orange oil accents. A rich malty and grape sip then led into a swallow that began with Cynar's herbal and Genever's botanical notes and ended with Grand Marnier's orange finish.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

mr. clark's cane

1 1/2 oz Fernet Branca
3/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Fridays ago, I was reminded of a drink in Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars called Mr. Clark's Cane via the ScientistMcGee blog. Since Fernet Branca and Maraschino liqueur pair so well in drinks that use a little like the Newark to decent amounts like the Root of All Evil, I was curious to see what would happen if they made up most of the drink. The Mr. Clark in question was the author's former boss who asked him for a bitter-sweet cocktail one evening.
Mr. Clark's Cane began with an herbal menthol and sweet, nutty cherry aroma. Next, the sip offered the lemon flavors with a hint of cherry, and the swallow showcased the Fernet Branca herbal notes that were softened by funky Maraschino flavors. Finally, the swallow ended with a lingering menthol finish. Indeed, it would be odd to just say that this was a Fernet Tennessee despite the reality of what the recipe looks like.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

oaxacan standoff

1 1/2 oz El Bujo Mezcal
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
1/4 oz Agave Syrup (1:1)
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.
For my next drink at Tavern Road, I requested the Oaxacan Standoff from bartender Will Tomlinson; Will mentioned that this was bar manager Ryan McGrale's drink. Once mixed, it offered a grapefruit oil nose that led into a citrussy grape sip. The swallow then offered a smoky mezcal swallow with a nutty, orange-rhubarb finish.

Monday, June 23, 2014

blade of destiny

1 oz Amontillado Sherry
1 oz Cynar
1 oz Nardini Amaro

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

After Shojo, I made my way across the Channel to Tavern Road in Fort Point where I found a seat in front of bartender Will Thomlinson. For a first drink, I asked Will for the Blade of Destiny. The menu cites Christopher "Blade" Kotelly as the recipe creator; however, Will explained how it was a collaboration between Tavern Road bartender Bruno Prado and Blade, his guest. Blade was not feeling well that night, and he wanted something herbal to sooth his malaise. The combination of amontillado sherry and Nardini Amaro was one that worked well in Bruno's De La Vega, but that recipe lacked the garnish of the "double high five!" that I received when my Blade of Destiny was served.
The orange oils greeted the nose and provided some brightness for the caramel and hint of grape sip. The swallow was rather complex with chocolate from the Nardini Amaro, nutty grape from the sherry, and herbal vegetal notes from the Cynar.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

kuula hina

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo LXXXVI) was picked by Thiago of the BartendingNotes blog. The theme he chose was "Pineapple" which is perfect for the warming temperatures here even if that is not what Thiago is thinking as things cool down there in Brazil. Thiago elaborated on the theme with his description of, "Let's bring the king of fruits back! After being canned, mixed with all sorts of sugary liquids and blended into... some 80s dreadful cocktails, the pineapple needs more respect! Once a symbol of hospitality, the King of Fruits might be know misunderstood. One of the greatest non-citrus souring agents, used for crazy garnish ideas, infusions, old gum syrup flavoring, the pineapple is a fruit to be reckoned. Be in a tiki cocktails, an old school classic like the Algonquin, a crazy flavor pairing or just mixed in a delicious Verdita, get creative and make a cocktail using any part of this delicious, juicy fruit or share you favorite pineapple cocktail with us!"

At work, we have been going through a lot of pineapple juice with the Algonquin, the Tiki-esque Decatur Respite, and the Broken Shoe Shiner all appearing on the menu. Around a week and a half or so ago during a day shift, one of my bartender friends sat at my bar. She lamented that she would have to face her old academic institution for her graduate school classmate was defending her thesis that afternoon; therefore, she would need the drink to be rather stiff. My thoughts instantly went to Navy-strength Smith & Cross rum, and since the Nui Nui had been on my mind through something I had just read, I decided to do something Tiki with Don's Mix #2 (a/k/a Don's Spices) and to include sherry since my guest is a big sherry fanatic. Then it dawned on me to kill two birds with one stone and use some pineapple juice for Mixology Monday! I tried to use the sherry and pineapple juice as the only acid sources since sherry alone worked so well in the Endicott Cobbler. The feed back that I received was that it needed some citrus to brighten things up. In working out the recipe a few days later, I switched to our too-good-to-be-well-rum well rum, Privateer Silver made in Ipswich, MA, added some lime juice, and moved some of the proportions around. The end result was as follows:
Kuula Hina
• 1 1/2 oz Privateer Silver Rum
• 1/2 oz Lime Juice
• 1/2 oz Lustau Dry Amontillado Sherry
• 3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
• 3/4 oz Don's Mix #2 (1:1 vanilla syrup:allspice dram)
• 1 dash Angostura Bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a Hurricane glass. Fill with crushed ice and float 1/2 oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and add straws.
Since my guest used to study fruit flies, I looked up the god of flies, but Beelzebub did not seem to be all that fitting. Instead, I opted for the Hawaiian fish deity, Kuula, and paid tribute to the fisherman god's wife Hina as well. While the Nui Nui and the Pago Pago were my base inspirations for the Kuula Hina, I did pilfer the blackstrap rum float and pineapple wedge garnish ideas from Sam Gabrielli's Decatur Respite especially since they were handy nearby in the well and garnish tray.
Once mixed, the garnish and float donated a pineapple and coffee-like molasses rum aroma. Next, the pineapple and sherry's grape on the sip were brightened by the lime juice, and the swallow began with the rum and vanilla flavors and ended with allspice and pineapple notes.

So thank you to my bar guest who inspired me, Thiago of BartendingNotes for picking the theme and running this month's show, and the rest of the Mixology Monday participants for keeping the spirit of the event alive!

Friday, June 20, 2014

the jook sing

2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1/4 oz Cynar (*)
1/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Amaro Montenegro
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass (stemmed rocks glass) with a large ice cube.
(*) Note: the Punt e Mes, two amaros, and the bitters were added as a batched 3/4 oz. Nick believed that all but the Angostura Bitters were equal parts.

A few Thursdays ago, I ventured down to Shojo in Chinatown for Nick Korn had mentioned on social media that he was doing a guest shift there. I had been meaning to make it down there for a while especially after Shojo bartender Markus Yao appeared in the Improper Bostonian article along with ten others and me. For a start, I requested from Nick the A.B.C. that was subtitled the Jook Sing; Nick mentioned that this was Markus' recipe. A jook sing according to Wikipedia is "a Cantonese term for an overseas Chinese person who was born in a Western environment and/or a Chinese person who more readily or strongly identifies with Western culture than traditional Chinese culture." In addition, the term stems from a measuring cup made from bamboo; since bamboo is a series of compartmentalized units, liquids in the cup do not connect with the other end and are kept separate. Perhaps this was a nod that this bar inside the Chinese restaurant had put a Manhattan variation on the menu.
The Jook Sing began with a rye aroma with a hint of grape and herbal aromas. A rye malt sip shared some of the amaros' caramel, and the rye continued on into the swallow that ended with a smooth bitter-herbal finish. Overall, the drink reminded me of the Independent's Autumn Sweater for both felt like spirits forward Old Fashioned-Manhattan hybrids.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

count camillo's derby

1 1/4 oz Beefeater Gin
1 1/4 oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth
1 1/4 oz Campari
8 leaf Mint

Muddle mint in Campari. Add rest of the ingredients and ice, and stir to mix and chill. Garnish with mint and add a straw.

Two weeks ago during Negroni Week, I wanted to tap into our rapidly growing mint jungle and put it towards some cocktail usage. With Negronis on my mind, I could not help but remember how well mint pairs with Campari in drinks like Matt Schrage's From the Hip or Stephen Shellenberger's Boa Vista. Perhaps something as simple as mintified Negroni in Julep form? For a name, I considered how the wild Camillo Negroni spent time as a cowboy as well as the mint and gin (not the better known whiskey one) Derby cocktail and dubbed it Count Camillo's Derby.
The bouquet of mint garnish contributed greatly to the drink's nose. A green herbal and grape sip led into a Campari, juniper, and mint swallow. My tasting notes comment "more than [just] a Negroni" for the mint shaped the drink away from the sharper notes of Campari into something a bit more fresh and herbal.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

[la pagerie]

1 1/2 oz Rhum JM Gold
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Fee Brothers' Orgeat

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top with 2 oz soda, garnish with a lime wedge, and add a straw.

Two Tuesdays ago, Andrea and I met up at Rendezvous after my dinner shift at work was over. Our mission was to get at least one last (late) dinner there before the restaurant changes owners, names, and barstaff. For a few months shy of 6 years, we have been been sitting at Scott Holliday's bar, and it was time to squeeze in a final rendezvous. For a drink, Scott mentioned that he had crafted something in the Collins vein with rhum agricole to deplete the bar's stock of it. Since the recipe lacked a name, I took a page from Ted Gallagher's Josephine's Bath and dubbed it La Pagerie after the family home in Martinique of Napoléon Bonaparte's first wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais.
The drink began with a grassy rhum agricole nose with additional almond and lime aromas. Next, the sip was a cross between a sweet richness from the orgeat and a crispness from the lime. Finally, the rhum agricole appeared on the swallow where it was smoothed over by the orgeat's almond notes.

Monday, June 16, 2014

no sleep till brookline

1 1/2 oz Four Roses Bourbon
1 oz Amaro Montenegro
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon twist and add straws.
For a last libation at Fairsted Kitchen, I asked bartender Alex Homans for the No Sleep Till Brookline. Alex explained how this was Patrick Gaggiano's drink for the opening menu that pays tribute to its Brookline location. Once mixed, it offered a lemon oil aroma that transitioned well into a lemon juice and malt sip. The swallow then showcased the rest of the Bourbon flavors in addition to the Amaro Montenegro's herbal and orange ones.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

whispering pines

1 oz Macchu Pisco
1 oz Cocchi Americano
3/4 oz Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur
1/4 oz Lemon Juice

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Top with 1 oz Monte Delle Vigne sparkling wine and garnish with 5 drops Bittermens Grapefruit Bitters.

For Andrea's second drink at Fairsted Kitchen, she asked bartender Alex Homans for the Whispering Pines. Alex described how this was his recipe, and it started from a conversation that he had with a guest at Backbar. That guest tried to describe a drink that they had in Atlanta but they lacked a recipe. Alex took the grapefruit juice and ginger ale elements from that description and transformed them into grapefruit bitters and sparkling wine. He later dubbed the libation the Whispering Pines after the 1970 song from The Band.
The Whispering Pines greeted the nose with a wine and fruity pisco aroma. The lemon coupled with the crisp sparkling wine and citrussy Cocchi Americano flavors on the sip, and the pisco, pine, and wine notes rounded out the swallow.

Friday, June 13, 2014

citizen's arrest

1 1/4 oz El Maestro Oloroso Sherry
1 oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1 pinch Salt

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Twist an orange peel over the top and add straws.
For Andrea's first drink at Fairsted Kitchen, she requested the Citizen's Arrest. Bartender Alex Homans explained how the recipe was crafted by Danielle Berman as a means to continue one's night but with the breaks on. Since Andrea was the one driving, it was a good start to put her consumption level somewhat on arrest. In the glass, the orange oil brightened up the complex grape aroma. The grape medley continued on into the sip, and it was followed by the sherry's nuttiness and the muted bitter from the Punt e Mes being mitigated by the salt on the swallow.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

giuseppe's lady

1 1/4 oz St. George Terroir Gin
1/2 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Twist a lemon peel over the top.
Two Sundays ago, Andrea and I finally made it over to Brookline Village to visit Fairsted Kitchen. For a first drink, I asked bartender Alex Homans about the Giuseppe's Lady. Alex described how it was bartender Will Isaza's drink and as a cross between a Little Giuseppe and a Pink Lady. Originally, the recipe was invented with Ransom's Old Tom Gin, but they soon discovered that St. George's Terroir Gin melded better with the flavor profile here. Alex's commentary on the drink was that the Giuseppe's Lady was "a Cosmo that goes on a spirit journey in the woods." Once mixed, the Giuseppe's Lady shared a floral and lemon oil aroma. A caramel, lime, and pomegranate sip released to reveal a juniper, Angostura spice, and herbal Cynar swallow.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

[against the strain]

3/4 oz St. George Dry Rye Gin
3/4 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
For a final libation at the Barrel House, bartender Sean Maher mixed us up something he had been working on. The combination came across as a distant Negroni riff with a Last Word feel. Lacking a name, I dubbed it the "Against the Strain" after the Cynar slogan "Contro il logorio della vita moderna" which translates to "Against the strain of modern life." Once mixed, it offered a vegetal, herbal, and vaguely cucumber nose. Next, a lemon and caramel sip gave way to a juniper, Cynar herbal, and Campari bitter swallow.

Monday, June 9, 2014

bitter end

1 1/2 oz Fernet Branca
3/4 oz Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut
3/4 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
2 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a coupe glass.

After dinner at the Barrel House in Beverly, I was able to narrow down my choices on the menu to two egg drinks. From those, I requested the Bitter End from bartender Sean Maher while leaving From Here to Eternity for another visit. The assortment of Fernet Branca, Cognac, coconut, and egg white seemed like the perfect combination of dessert and digestif!
Once prepared, the Bitter End's Fernet creeped through into the drink's nose. A creamy, thick sip displayed the wonders of the egg white and coconut cream. However, most of the coconut flavor though came through on the swallow along with the Fernet Branca herbal notes, and finally, the Cognac appeared on the lingering finish along with an additional dose of Fernet's menthol.

Friday, June 6, 2014

ardent spirit

1 oz Old Ipswich Tavern Style Aged Rum
1 oz Cynar
1 oz Cocchi Sweet Vermouth

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
For Andrea's first cocktail at the Barrel House in Beverly, she picked the Ardent Spirit which came across as somewhere between a rum Little Italy and a Negroni riff. The drink was another of Sean Maher's, and the name refers to the old alchemy term for liquors produced after distilling fermented vegetation due to their ability to burn. Once mixed, the Ardent Spirit's orange twist contributed greatly to the nose. A caramel and grape sip led into a swallow that displayed a great transition from the funky aged rum into the herbal Cynar.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

dogger bank

1 1/2 oz Pimm's #1
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Kronan Swedish Punsch

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Sundays ago, we made the voyage up to the North Shore to have dinner at the Barrel House in Beverly. For a first drink, I asked bartender Sean Maher for the Dogger Bank as the combination of Pimm's, Swedish Punsch, and lemon juice reminded me of the Pimmeron. I inquired if Dogger Bank was a nearby patch of the ocean; however, Sean explained that it was a fishing area which saw several naval battles that lies halfway between Pimm's England and the punsch's Sweden. He also mentioned that this menu item was his creation.
The Dogger Bank offered a fruit aroma with notes of spiced rum from the Swedish Punsch. A lemon and berry sip gave way to a slightly drying swallow from the lemon and the punsch's Batavia Arrack and tea. Overall, it was a great, light way to start an evening, and as a modified Pimm's Cup, it will be perfect for the warmer season.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

bone machine

1 oz Bulleit Bourbon
1 1/2 oz La Bodega Oloroso Sherry (Lustau)
1/2 oz Amaro Nonino (Averna)
1/4 oz Benedictine
1 dash Angostura Bitters
2 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. Flame (omit the fire) an orange twist and garnish the drink with it.

Two Saturdays ago, we began the cocktail hour with a recipe I spotted on for a sherry libation called the Bone Machine. The drink was created by Jeff Lyon of Third Rail in San Francisco, and the name makes reference to Tom Waits' 1992 album which also happens to be the first one of his that I purchased shortly after it came out.
The Bone Machine shared an orange oil and whiskey aroma. A caramel, grape, and malt sip gave way to a nutty sherry swallow with a dry, bitter herbal finish. In recipe layout and general sherry-forward feel, the drink reminds me of the Aston Martin that a guest at the bar requested last week.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

calico jack

1 oz Old Monk Rum
1 oz Becherovka
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
1/4 oz Punt e Mes

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange twist and add straws.
For a second drink at The Independent, I requested the Calico Jack from bartender Casey Keenan. Casey described how bar manager Lauren adapted a recipe from Beta Cocktails that was whiskey based; in a quick perusal of the book, I was unable to spot what exactly the inspiration was though. Regardless, he encouraged my request by noting that it was an intriguing rum Manhattan of sorts. Once mixed, the orange twist contributed to the Calico Jack's nose. Dark notes on the sip led into rum, cherry, spice, and vanilla on the swallow.

Monday, June 2, 2014

helen of troy does countertop dancing

1 1/2 oz Laird's Applejack
1 oz Fee Brothers' Orgeat
1/2 oz Angostura Bitters
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.

Two Wednesdays ago, we stopped in at The Independent to pay bartender Casey Keenan a visit. For a first drink, I asked Casey for the humorously named Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing which was described on the menu as "applejack, orgeat, lots of Angostura, and citrus." The combination first reminded me of a bitters-forward version of the Harvest Moon (apple brandy, orgeat, lime) that appears in the 1934 edition of Esquire Magazine's top 10 most popular cocktail as well as the Green Street Grill's house cocktail book where I first spotted it. The Helen of Troy was created by bar manager Lauren, and I was remiss in asking what might have inspired her.
The cocktail greeted my nose with cinnamon spice and nuttiness. A rich apple and lemon sip gave way to a nutty, cherry, and clove-y spice swallow. Overall, the citrus, orgeat, and Angostura combination worked rather well here as it did in the Bittah Walshie, Trinidad Sour, and Stormy Mai Tai.