Wednesday, July 30, 2014

handbook for the recently deceased

1 oz Bourbon (Bulleit)
3/4 oz Velvet Falernum
4 dash Angostura Bitters
4 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a flute glass. Top with ~2 oz prosecco (Gruet Blanc de Blanc). The recipe does not mention a twist, but there is one in the photo, so I opted for a lemon one.

Two Saturdays ago, the OnTheBar app tweeted about a drink recipe posted by one of the bartenders. When I saw that it was Timothy Miner of the Long Island Bar in Brooklyn, I was game to give it a shot for I was quite impressed by his Sherry Duval recipe that he posted on ShakeStir. This curiously named literary reference, Handbook for the Recently Deceased, was his riff on a classic Seelbach cocktail.
The lemon twist I added contributed greatly to the drink's aroma. I got more lime and wine on the sip while Andrea got more of the whiskey's malt flavors. The Bourbon came through the strongest on the swallow where it mingled with clove, anise, and other spice notes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

[flowers of romance]

1 1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac
3/4 oz Breckenridge Bitters
1/4 oz Chamomile Tea Syrup (*)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with dried chamomile flowers (here, dried chrysanthemum).
(*) 1:1 strong brewed Stash brand chamomile tea:sugar
For a second drink at Estragon, I asked bartender Sahil Mehta about a Cognac drink in his recipe notebook and inquired if it were a Champs-Élysées variation. He described how it was created as a Sidecar one where the orange liqueur was swapped for more floral elements. Once mixed, the floral aspect shone through on the nose where it mingled with the Cognac's aroma; the floral notes continued into the sip along with the crisp lemon. The swallow then offered Cognac and herbal flavors that finished with gentian and spice notes. For a drink name, I dubbed it after an old Public Image Limited album and song that were a nod to an even older Sid Vicious band.

Monday, July 28, 2014


1 1/2 oz Ron Abuelo Rum
3/4 oz Meletti Amaro
1/2 oz BG Reynolds Passion Fruit Syrup
1 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Top with 1 oz soda water, garnish with a lime wedge, and add straws.
Two Thursdays ago, I met up with Andrea at Estragon. For a first cocktail, I searched through bartender Sahil Mehta's drink notebook and spotted an unnamed recipe that reminded me of the Hurricane. The major difference was the presence of the caramel, floral, and herbal Amaro Meletti. Once mixed, it offered a lime, floral, and perfume-y aroma. A caramel sip from the rum and amaro displayed fruity notes from the lime and passion fruit, and the swallow began with the rum and ended with a herbal passion fruit finish. For a name, I dubbed it the Tempest to connect the Hurricane aspect with the Italian ingredients by way of the characters in the Shakespeare play.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

cocoa puff smash

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo LXXXVII) was picked by Stacy of the Stacy Markow blog. The theme she chose was "The Smash" which seemed perfect for the herb and fruit-laden summer. Stacy elaborated on the concept by describing, "...The Smash, those ice-laden, refreshing concoctions designed to celebrate my favorite things about life: stiff drinks and warm weather. It's no surprise that in 1862 Jerry Thomas was the first to declare that "the Smash is simply a julep on a small plan." The drink originally gets its name from the way mint was smashed up in the shaking process. Fast forward twenty-five or so years later to 1888 and barman Harry Johnson addresses the Smash as a separate cocktail from the julep entirely and expands the components to include "fruits in season." What little was originally written about the Smash can lead most to believe it wasn't a terribly popular beverage, but that couldn't be further from the truth... The basic elements of the drink have remained the same over the years: they always include a spirit base, ice, fresh herbs (most popular is mint), sugar, seasonal fruit, and a little bit of water. Let's get ultra creative, smash things, and then drown them in alcohol and ice."

While I have made a fair share of Whiskey Smashes, I wanted to move to some less charted territory. I did consider the Meletti Smash that I made for a regular guest who rather adores the amaro neat. And I guess that I could have used the Pugilist that I wrote about on Friday. However, I was drawn to one of the brunch cocktails at work created by Sam Gabrielli. In Russell House Tavern's section of cereal cocktails next to the Applejacks Rose on the brunch menu is the rather delicious Cocoa Puff Smash. The beauty of this drink is that it pairs something better than peanut butter with chocolate -- that being Green Chartreuse! Originally, the drink was being done with Cocoa Puff-infused Green Chartreuse, but during a busy brunch shift, it was learned out of necessity that à la minute cereal muddling worked almost as well. From there on out, the drink has been done that way to reduce the amount of bottles we carry and bar reagents we need to prep.
Cocoa Puff Smash
• 2 oz Cocoa Puff-infused Green Chartreuse (*)
• 1/2 oz Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao
• 3 wedge Lemon
• 6-8 leaf Mint
Muddle lemon wedges and mint leaves. Add rest of ingredients and ice, shake, and double strain into a rocks glass. Fill with crushed ice, garnish with mint sprigs and a few Cocoa Puffs, and add straws.
(*) See infusion instructions below. Alternatively, muddle two dozen Cocoa Puffs à la minute with the lemon and mint.

Cocoa Puff-infused Green Chartreuse
• 750 mL Green Chartreuse
• 4 oz Cocoa Puffs
Crush cocoa puffs and add to the Chartreuse. Mix vigorously, let stand for at least 1 hour, strain, bottle, and refrigerate.
Once prepared, the Smash offered a mint and chocolate aroma from the garnishes, and the lemony sip shared a malty richness. Next, the swallow was rather herbal with a chocolate finish. The Chartreuse notes were more rounded and less distinct than expected, but the mint was undeterred and carried from the beginning to the end of the swallow. With two ounces of 110 proof spirit not to mention the crème de cacao, this is quite the way to face the day!
So thank you to Stacy for picking the theme and running this month's show, and thanks to the rest of the Mixology Monday participants for keeping the shakers shaking and the spirit of the event alive!

Friday, July 25, 2014


1 oz Cardamaro
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Cardamom Syrup
6-8 leaf Mint
2 wedge Lemon

Muddle lemon wedges and mint, add rest of ingredients, and shake without ice. Strain into a rocks glass, fill with crushed ice, garnish with mint sprigs, and add straws.

Two Wednesdays ago, I paid a visit to Sarma just as the dinner crowds had begun to subside. There, I was greeted by bar manager Vikram Hedge who was surprised to see me in Boston instead of New Orleans and was glad to make me a drink. The cocktail that caught my eye was the Pugilist which seemed like a take on Nick Jarrett's Prizefighter. Vik supported my assumption and described how he wanted to craft a variation that was less Fernet Branca forward than the original.
The Pugilist's mint garnish contributed greatly to the drink's bouquet. A fruit-driven lemon and grape sip gave way to a more complex bitter, herbal, mint, and spice swallow. Indeed, the Pugilist was less controlled by the Fernet Branca for the other ingredients rounded out the flavor profile.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

cason cocktail

1/3 Dry Gin (1 oz Tanqueray)
1/6 Calvados (1/2 oz Boulard VSOP)
1/6 Swedish Punsch (1/2 oz Kronan)
1/6 Grenadine (1/2 oz)
1/6 Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
After the Visionary Cocktail, I turned back in time to our 1940 edition of The How and When by Hyman Gale and Gerald F. Marco. There, I spotted the Cason Cocktail that reminded me of a Pink Lady without the egg white but with the added flavor component of Swedish Punsch. Once mixed, the Cason Cocktail was more orange-brown than pink though, and it presented a fruity aroma from the grenadine and Calvados. The fruitiness continued on into the sip where the crisp lemon, sweet pomegranate, and apple notes mingled. The swallow then took a more herbal tone from the gin and the punsch's tea and spice; finally, the fruit accents returned with a crisp apple finish.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

visionary cocktail

40 mL Vodka (1 1/2 oz Beefeater Gin)
2 tsp Fernet Branca (1/3 oz)
2 tsp Cinnamon Syrup (1/3 oz BG Reynolds)
3 tsp Lime Juice (1/2 oz)
3 tsp Egg White (1 full Egg White)

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with 2 dash chocolate bitters (homemade).

Last Tuesday, I opened up World's Best Cocktails and spotted an interesting recipe from Russia in the vodka section. Despite my partial Russian heritage, I decided to alter the recipe and use my favorite flavored vodka in its place -- gin! The Visionary Cocktail was crafted by Roman Milotivy at Chinaya Tea & Cocktails in Moscow, and the herbal and spice elements in the mix seemed like the would work even better with gin.
The Visionary Cocktail shared chocolate and anise aromas from the bitters garnish. A creamy lime sip gave way to gin's and Fernet Branca's botanical notes with a lingering cinnamon finish. While the drink prospered with gin for my palate, the Visionary Cocktail would probably be superb with a dark aged rum.

Monday, July 21, 2014

queen's park swizzle

3 oz 86 proof Demerara Rum (3 oz El Dorado 3 Year)
1/2 large Lime (1/2 oz Juice + 1 half Shell)
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
Mint Leaves (10 leaf)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Lightly muddle mint in simple syrup in a 14 oz glass. Add rest of ingredients and crushed ice; swizzle to mix and chill. Add the half lime shell and straw, and garnish with mint sprigs.

Two Saturdays ago, I opened up Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink and spotted the Queen's Park Swizzle. While it is not a new drink to me having first tried it at the Mixoloseum house at Tales of the Cocktail in 2009, it was a recipe that I wanted to put into my repertoire by making it myself. Actually, I had made a riff of one, the Benton Park Swizzle, two years ago, but the drink book lured me to make the classic. The book provided the context of "this is a world famous drink from the Queen's Park Hotel in Trinidad." In retrospect, I wish I had used a darker Demerara rum, but the El Dorado 3 Year was right in front on the rum shelf; moreover, others have recommended garnishing with a dash or two of Angostura Bitters for aroma and effect in addition to the dashes in the mix.
The Swizzle began with a mint aroma that preceded the lime sip with herbal notes. Finally, a rum, spice, and mint swallow rounded off this cold delight.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

fat like buddha

2 oz Flor de Caña 7 Year Rum (DonQ Añejo)
3/4 oz Dubonnet Rouge (Bonal Gentiane-Quina)
1/4 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz Cointreau

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a flamed orange twist (omitted flame aspect).
Two Thursdays ago, I was looking through Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide 75th anniversary edition and spotted a curiously named rum drink called Fat Like Buddha. Though there was no attribution in the book, a quick websearch informed me that it was the work of Brian Miller at Death & Co. as well as something more specific than Mr. Boston's dark rum. For a quinquina, I opted for Bonal as my substitute for Dubonnet which has yielded positive results in the past. Once mixed, the Fat Like Buddha shared an orange oil aroma that led into a grape and light caramel sip. The rum shined through on the swallow along with bitter, herbal, and orange elements. Overall, the recipe reminded me a bit of the Tony Montana at Trina's Starlite Lounge.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


1 oz Citadelle Reserve Gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz Amaro Montenegro

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with an orange twist.
Two Wednesdays ago, I ventured into Bergamot to pay tribute to bartender Paul Manzelli. For a first drink, I requested the Montenegroni from the cocktail menu. The drink was Paul's Negroni variation subbing Amaro Montenegro for the sweet vermouth. I was not so surprised by this substitution for the man does have a love for that amaro and has done substitutions before such as the Hoop-La! riff I dubbed the Hurly Burly. Once mixed, it offered an orange oil and herbal aroma. Orange notes on the sip mingled with Amaro Montenegro's caramel; finally, the swallow shared juniper, soften Campari, and mandarine flavors. Despite having two amari instead of one, the Montenegroni seemed less bitter and more approachable than the classic.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

howling winds

1 3/4 oz Ansac Cognac
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1 barspoon St. George Absinthe
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
One of the elegant drinks that appeared on the Russell House Tavern in the fall was a Champs-Élysées riff created by bartender Adam Hockman. To the classic, he supplemented the flavor profile with additional spice and herbal elements via absinthe and cinnamon syrup. Once mixed, the Howling Winds offered a lemon and Cognac aroma with notes of anise as the drink warmed up. A lemon and honey sip gave way to a Cognac, herbal, anise, and spice swallow with a cinnamon finish. While created for the autumn and winter weather, the Howling Winds still remains a popular drink through the spring and now summer months.

Monday, July 14, 2014

of lambs and lions

1 oz Martin Miller Gin
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Avèze Gentian Liqueur
1/4 oz Rothman & Winter Crème de Violette
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
For a second cocktail at Estragon, I perused Sahil Mehta's drink notebook and spotted Of Lambs and Lions. Sahil confirmed my assumption that this was his tribute to Spring. Once mixed, it offered a lemon, herbal, and floral aroma. A lemony sip gave way to green and earthy flavors on the swallow with a floral and lemony finish. Overall, Of Lambs and Lions came across like a more botanically driven Aviation.

Friday, July 11, 2014

pan-european pandemonium

1 oz Drambuie
1/2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Manzanilla Sherry

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

Two Mondays ago, I decided to venture by subway and foot to the South End to pay Sahil Mehta at Estragon a visit. For a first drink, Sahil mentioned that he remembered my curiousity about the Pan-European Pandemonium the last time I peered into his drink notebook and suggested that I start with that. The combination of Drambuie, agave, Cynar, and sherry were ones that I have found to pair rather well together in various drinks, but here they were all in one. My guess that the Mexican aspect of the agave is just part of the pandemonium though.
The Pan-European Pandemonium began with a lemon, smoky, and honey-tinged nose. The Drambuie's honey continued into the sip where it mingled with the sherry's grape flavors. Finally, the swallow offered the smoky mezcal notes with an herbal finish from the Cynar. Indeed, this complex, herbal, and savory drink could go either way as an aperitif or digestif.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

camino del ray

1 1/2 oz Añejo Tequila (Espolon Reposado)
1 oz Oloroso Sherry (Lustau)
1/2 oz Drambuie
1 dash Rhubarb Bitters (Bittermens Burlesque)

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

After the Accoutrement, I turned to the 75th anniversary edition of the Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide for inspiration. There, I spotted the tequila and sherry-containing Camino Del Ray created by Ted Henwood, a spirits ambassador in New York City. In addition to the sherry excitement, the drink utilized the great combination of tequila and Drambuie that Misty Kalkofen introduced me to via her spirits guide Charlotte Voisey.
The Camino Del Ray greeted the nose with lemon oil, tequila, and grape aromas. A honeyed grape sip led into agave, Scotch, sherry nuttiness, and a spice heat from the bitters.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


2 oz Calvados (VSOP Boulard)
3/4 oz Strega
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Creole Shrubb or Grand Marnier (GM)
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with 3 brandied cherries (omitted).

Two Saturdays ago, I began the cocktail hour by looking for a drink from the new Food & Wine Cocktails 2014, a best of the last decade of drinks from them. The one that caught my eye was one from Chris Hannah of Arnaud's French 75 Bar in New Orleans; like his Decolletage, this one was elegantly named the Accoutrement.
The Accoutrement greeted the nose with an apple and herbal aroma. The apple notes continued on into the sip where it mingled with the lemon being modified by the Grand Marnier's orange notes. Finally, the rest of the apple flavors came through on the swallow along with the Strega's herbal ones, and the Accoutrement ended with an orange peel, anise, and spice finish.

Monday, July 7, 2014

choke up

1 oz Old Overholt Rye
1 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a small dash of Angostura Bitters.

For my second drink at Backbar, I was curious about the Choke Up with the menu subtitle was "Step up to the plate and try this Whiskey Sour..." Since the Deep Six, a Cynar South Side, and similar cocktails have been such successes, I was definitely looking forward to a whiskey spin on things and requested one from bartender Joe Cammarata.
The Angostura Bitters garnishing the froth provided allspice aromas with a hints of clove. A lemon, caramel, and malt sip led into a rye swallow with a funky vegetal Cynar finish. The rye did provide a solid backbone to the Cynar notes here.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

real fancy

1 1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac
1 oz La Garrocha Amontillado Sherry (*)
1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
1/4 oz Raspberry Syrup

Muddle 6-8 leaves of mint in the bottom of a Julep cup. Add rest of ingredients and crushed ice, and stir to mix and chill. Garnish with a strawberry, mint, and a lemon twist, and add a straw.
(*) Usually made with Lustau's amontillado.

Last Thursday, I ventured over to Backbar after my shift at work. For a first libation, I asked bartender Joe Cammarata for a drink of the day from the previous week, the sherry-laden Real Fancy. In essence it was a gussied up Mint Julep, but I wondered if the "fancy" part did not mean its ornateness but a nod to the 19th century cocktails with added curaçao before they were then "improved" with Maraschino and absinthe. Moreover, the idea of sherry-containing Juleps was one that I was familiar with after enjoying the Platonic Julep.
The garnishes played heavily into the Real Fancy's aroma with mint and strawberry being more apparently early and the lemon twist's oil later in the drink's enjoyment. On the palate, a dry grape sip led into a Cognac and mint swallow that ended with an orange and tart raspberry finish.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


1 3/4 oz Plymouth Gin
1/2 oz Cinzano Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
6-8 leaf Mint

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Tuesdays ago, I headed over to Straight Law after work. For a drink idea, bartender Sean Sullivan suggested a Cooperstown. While I have had other wine-forward mint libations such as the Greenbriar Cocktail, I never have had this one despite spotting it several cocktail books. The recipe dates back to the mid-1910s with appearances in books by Hugo Ensslin and Tom Bullock (albeit with the dry vermouth left out in the latter). Robert Vermeire in 1922 strangely provides some history of "This drink is very popular amongst the cowboys in America." I know that the Straight Law drink concepts and bar name stem from The Savoy Cocktail Book where this drink also appears.
The Cooperstown offered a juniper-driven nose that led into a light grape sip. On the swallow, the gin's botanicals pleasantly melded with the mint herbal notes. Indeed, the mint elevated the drink beyond a Perfect Martini to new ground just like it did to the Negroni in Count Camillo's Derby.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

radio call

3/4 Rye (1 1/2 oz Old Overholt)
1/4 Sweet Vermouth (3/4 oz Dolin)
2 dash Pineapple Juice (1/2 oz)
1 dash Picon Bitters (1/4 oz Ramazzotti)

A few Thursdays ago, I opened up Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and spotted the Radio Call; the presence of pineapple juice made me think about the pineapple-themed Mixology Monday that was coming up. Moreover, pineapple juice pairs rather well with dark amaro, so I was curious about giving this one a shot. While I do own Amer Picon and Torani Amer, I decided to use the more available Amaro Ramazzotti here. As for the name, much of the standardization of radio call signs for boats to radio stations started around 1912 which falls within the book's era.
The Radio Call began with an herbal rye aroma that came across with an almost almond-like note. Next, a fruity grape sip gave way to rye, caramel, pineapple, and dark orange flavors on the swallow. Overall, the Radio Call appeared like a darker and sweeter Algonquin.