Monday, November 30, 2015

coola culla don

1 1/2 oz Gold Puerto Rican Rum (Caliche)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup (BG Reynolds)
1/4 oz Donn's Spices #2 (1/8 oz each vanilla syrup and allspice dram)
1 tsp Cool Culla Mix (1/2 tsp each softened sweet butter and orange blossom honey)
3 oz Crushed Ice

Blend briefly to mix, add ice, and blend again for 20 seconds. Strain.
Two Saturdays ago, I began my post-shift drinks with a Tiki number from Beachbum Berry's Sippin' Safari. The Coola Culla Don was created by Don the Beachcomber circa 1937 and the combination of butter, honey, cinnamon, vanilla, and allspice dram reminded me of the Pearl Diver's Mix. Once prepared, it offered honey, cinnamon, and allspice aromas. Next, a rich creamy sip had honey balanced by lime notes, and the swallow offered the rum, allspice, cinnamon, and vanilla flavors.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

velvet club

1 oz Hine VSOP Cognac (Foret VSOP)
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc (Cocchi Americano)
1/2 oz Marie Brizard White Crème de Cacao

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Top with 1 oz Champagne (Gruet Blanc de Blanc).

Two Fridays ago, I reached for the PDT Cocktail Book for some nightcap inspiration. There, I spied Jane Danger's 2008-vintage Velvet Club that riffed on the 1937 Velvet Glove from the Café Royal Cocktail Book by switching around the proportions and adding a splash of Champagne. To me, it appeared like a brandy-for-gin 20th Century from that same 1937 cocktail book but with crisp sparkling wine in place of the lemon juice.
The Velvet Club began with a white wine aroma that led into a carbonated wine sip from the sparkling wine and Cocchi Americano. The swallow was a bit more complex with rich brandy and chocolate notes. Overall, the sparkling wine was not as crisp to give the drink the same degree of backbone as in the 20th Century, but the Velvet Club was rather elegant in its own right.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


2/3 jigger Dry Vermouth (2 1/4 oz Noilly Prat)
1 dash Orgeat (3/8 oz)
1 dash Grenadine (3/8 oz)
1/2 Egg White (1 full Egg White)

Shake once without ice and once with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
The post-shift drink two Thursdays ago was the Pantomime from Boothby's 1934 World Drinks & How to Mix Them. The recipe was quite curious for it was a low alcohol egg drinks that featured dry vermouth; moreover, I was also intrigued by the tropical elements of orgeat, grenadine, and nutmeg in the mix. Once built, the Pantomime offered nutmeg over nutty orgeat aromas. Next, a creamy and rich sip shared hints of pomegranate, and the swallow was a mix of nutty and herbal flavors.

Friday, November 27, 2015


2/3 Scotch (1 1/2 oz Buchanan's 12 Year)
2 dash Sloe Gin (3/4 oz Atxa Patxaran)
2 dash Dry Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Prat)
1 dash Orange Bitters (2 dash Regan's)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After the Cool Rummings, I turned to something a bit more nightcappish that I spotted in Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 called the Hilliard. There was no hint of whom the drink was named after but the most famous Hilliard would be the circa 1600 painter Nicholas Hilliard who crafted miniature paintings of the British and Scottish royalty. Instead of sloe gin proper, I used the sloe berry-infused Patxaran for the added anise notes shifted the recipe in my mind towards that of the Savoy Cocktail Book's Modern #2 (sloe gin, Scotch, grenadine, absinthe, orange bitters).
The Hilliard gave forth a plum, coffee, and smoke aroma. The Scotch's malt came through on the sip along with dark rich fruit notes, and the swallow showcased the smokiness of the whisky and more sloe's plum flavors with an orange and hints of anise finish.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

cool rummings

1 oz Denizen Aged White Rum
1 oz Madeira (Blandy's 5 Year Verdelho)
3/4 oz Lime Juice (1/2 oz due to using a drier Madeira)
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup (BG Reynolds)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 pinch Sea Salt
2 x 1 inch pieces Pineapple (3/4 oz Pineapple Juice)

Shake with ice and strain into an old fashioned glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and a pineapple leaf.

Two Tuesdays ago, I turned to a recipe that I had spotted in Imbibe Magazine's online supplements; the drink was Jonathan Jones' Cool Rummings that he created at the Revel Room in Chicago. I had to adapt the recipe slightly since the generic call for "Madeira" is probably a Rainwater variety that does not use one of the four noble grapes, and my call for the semi-dry Verdelho would have made the drink a bit too tart with that much lime juice as compared to cinnamon syrup.
The Cool Rummings began with a cinnamon aroma that transitioned into a lime and pineapple sip. Next, the swallow shared rum, grape, cinnamon, and allspice notes.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

what would bill murray do?

1 1/2 oz Boodles Gin
3/4 oz Carrot Juice
1/4 oz Suze Gentian Liqueur
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Falernum
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
Oil from a Lemon Twist

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a second lemon twist.
After we closed the Baldwin Bar at Sichuan Garden, Vannaluck, Raul, and Ran invited Andrea and me to accompany them to the Bancroft for a nightcap. For a drink, I was intrigued by the What Would Bill Murray Do and asked bartender Melissa Filgerleski for one. She had to explain the name to me for I had not seen the movie Rushmore and was unaware of the scene where Bill Murray went over to the teacher's house where she offered him some of her carrots (I later caught up on that scene via YouTube). Moreover, I mentioned that this was the second time that I had tried a carrot cocktail with the first being Trina's Starlite Lounge's Left Turn at Alburquerque. Once prepared it shared a lemon and vegetal aroma. The sip displayed lemon and orange notes along with a thick mouthfeel, and the swallow was a bit more complex with juniper and earthy bitter rootiness with a dry clove finish.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

bossa nova special

3/4 oz Privateer Silver Rum
3/4 oz Galliano
1/4 oz Apricot Liqueur
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a Collins glass, top with crushed ice, garnish with a lemon twist, and add a straw.
For a final drink at the Baldwin Bar at Sichuan Garden II, I asked bartender Vannaluck Hongthong for the Bossa Nova Special. This recipe appears in Stan Jones' Complete Barguide and the proportions were modified by bartender Ran Duan. Here, the drink shared a lemon aroma with hints of vanilla and spice. The egg white donated a creaminess to the sip that was joined by lemon and some pineapple notes. And finally, the swallow showcased rum, pineapple, and vanilla flavors with an apricot finish.

velveteen rabbit

1 oz Angel's Envy Bourbon
3/4 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
3/4 oz Averna
3/4 oz Water
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Build in a rocks glass without ice and stir to mix. Note: this is a room temperature cocktail.
For a first drink at Sichuan Garden II's Baldwin Bar, I asked Van for the curiously room temperature Velveteen Rabbit. Van mentioned that it was created by bartender Ran Duan and was a re-working of one of his previous drinks. I later realized that I had made this one at home as the Last Cold Night Before Spring after it had won one of the monthly ShakeStir competitions using a different Bourbon. Here, the Velveteen Rabbit showed off a dark nutty grape aroma. Next, caramel and grape on the sip transitioned into rich Bourbon accented with herbal spice and sherry nuttiness on the swallow. The swallow also displayed some chocolate notes on certain sips.

Monday, November 23, 2015

bahia sling

1 1/2 oz Avua Cachaça
3/4 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1/2 oz Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao
1 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass. Fill with crushed ice and garnish with a mint sprig, edible orchid, and grated coffee bean.
Last Monday, Andrea and I ventured over to Woburn to dine at Sichuan Garden II in the Baldwin Bar. There, bartenders Vannaluck Hongthong and Raul Zelaya were manning the stick, and for a first drink, Andrea asked Van for the Bahia Sling. Van described how this was bartender Ran Duan's tropical creation that he named after one of the states in Brazil. Once built, the Sling shared either a mint, coffee, or floral aroma depending on where the drinker's nose was focused. Next, lime on the sip led into funky, grassy, and passion fruit flavors on the swallow with growing chocolate notes on the finish.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

voodoo grog

2 oz Gold Puerto Rican Rum (Don Q Cristal)
1 oz Gold Rhum Agricole (Depaz)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz White Grapefruit Juice (Ruby)
3/4 oz Allspice Dram (St. Elizabeth)
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1/4 oz Honey
1 Egg White

Dissolve honey in juice, add rest of ingredients and 1 cup of ice, blend 20 seconds, and pour into a voodoo tumbler or large snifter (shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a snifter, and fill with crushed ice). Garnish with a mint sprig, pineapple spear (omit), and nutmeg.

Two Saturdays ago, I reached for Beachbum Berry's Potions of the Caribbean for my post-shift libation. The Voodoo Grog was one that I had noted before and it was time to give it a whirl. Berry took Trader Vic's recipe from the 1972 Bartender's Guide and interpreted the "2 oz Navy Grog Mix" as equal parts of lime, grapefruit, and allspice dram. The drink itself appeared in Trader Vic's restaurants somewhere during the 1950s and featured an ornate painted glass voodoo tumbler as its vessel.
The Voodoo Grog began with a woodsy spice and minty aroma from the garnishes. A creamy honey and citrus sip gave way to a grassy rum, passion fruit, and allspice swallow.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

kon-tiki mai tai

1 1/2 oz Appleton Extra Rum (Appleton V/X)
1 1/4 oz Gold Puerto Rican Rum (Don Q Cristal)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Orange Juice (Cara Cara)
3/4 oz Honey Syrup
1/4 tsp Ginger Syrup (2 thin slices fresh ginger)
6 drop Absinthe (Herbsaint)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Blend with 4 oz crushed ice for 5 seconds (shake with ice and strain over crushed ice). Garnish with mint sprigs and a pineapple spear.

A few Fridays ago, Beachbum Berry's Sippin' Safari called out to me as the night cap-worthy cocktail book. The drink that won out was the Mai Tai created at the Kon-Tiki Restaurant in Cleaveland, Ohio, around 1961. Unlike the classic Mai Tai created by Trader Vic, this one is more of a riff on Don the Beachcomber's Mai Tai that later morphed into the Zombie; Ted Kilpatrick at No. 9 Park played around with that recipe to concoct the Mai Tai Swizzle which also follows this other-Mai Tai formula.
The Kon-Tiki Mai Tai began with a mint aroma that preceded a lime and orange sip. The swallow offered darker rum notes along with complementary spice flavors including ginger, allspice, clove, and anise.

Friday, November 20, 2015

green flash

1 1/2 oz Rhum JM 100 Proof Agricole Blanc (Depaz)
1/4 oz Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe (Butterfly)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz 2:1 Honey Syrup (3/4 oz 1:1)

Shake with ice and strain into a flute glass. Top with champagne (Gruet Blanc de Blanc) and garnish with a brandied cherry (Luxardo cherry).
Two Wednesdays ago after making my drink for this week's Mixology Monday event, I turned to the Death & Co. Cocktail Book for inspiration. There, the Green Flash by bartender Brian Miller caught my attention for it reminded me of the classic Air Mail with a grassier rum, different citrus, and a bit of spice from the addition of absinthe. Once prepared, the Green Flash proffered a grassy and anise aroma. Next, carbonated honey and lemon on the sip led into grassy, herbal, floral, and anise flavors on the swallow. The absinthe was at the proper level for me in this drink and seemed like a better starting point for absinthe/pastis sparklers than the Death in the Afternoon early in my drink journey was.

missionary's downfall

1 1/2 oz White Rum (1 oz Don Q Cristal, 1/2 oz Seleta Gold)
1/2 oz Brandy (Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
3 dash Peach Bitters (Fee Brothers)
10-15 leaf Mint

Muddle mint in a hightball glass and add rest of the ingredients, top with ice, and stir (shake mint with ingredients and double strain into a Tiki mug; fill with crushed ice). Garnish with a mint sprig (mint and a lime wheel).

While reading Duggan McDonnell's great cocktail tribute Drinking the Devil's Acre, I came across his adaptation of Donn Beach's Missionary's Downfall. This past summer, I enjoyed the one that Beachbum Berry's staff made for me at Latitude 29; that one was true to the one Berry published albeit with less mint and a slightly different Caribbean rum. Duggan's version did away with the blender and swapped honey syrup and peach-flavored liqueur for simple syrup and peach-flavored bitters in a stirred libation (true, I shook mine). It also upped the alcohol content slightly which is amusing since when I ordered it at Latitude 29, I asked the bartender for the least alcohol-laden drink because I had a big night and many hours to go.
The Missionary's Downfall offered lime and mint aromas that led into a lime sip with hints of pineapple. Next, the swallow gave forth grassy rum, pineapple, and mint flavors with a peach and mint finish. Overall, toning down the most likely artificial peach notes (i.e.: more peach than peach is) from the liqueur gave this drink a bit more dignity.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

the grand bargain

1 1/2 oz Laird's 12 Year Apple Brandy (Boulard VSOP Calvados)
3/4 oz Del Maguey Santo Domingo Mezcal (Montelobos)
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 dash Angostura Bitters
2 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Build in an old fashioned glass, add a large ice cub, and stir to mix and chill. Garnish with both orange and lemon twists.
Two Saturdays ago after my work shift, I was in the mood for a nightcap, so I turned to Robert Simonson's The Old Fashioned for something stirred. The one that reached out to me that night was Tom Macy's drink that he created at the Clover Club in Brooklyn circa 2013. The Grand Bargain was in part a commentary on the cost of the top shelf ingredients. While I could not match the apple and agave distillates exactly, I did not exactly skimp either. Indeed, I was drawn to the recipe as it reminded me of the Fancy Free cocktail with a split spirits base; moreover, apple and agave go rather well together such as in the Downtown at Dawn. In the glass, the Grand Bargain shared a smoky aroma that was brightened by the citrus oil. Next, a sweet sip with hints of fruit led into a smoky mezcal and nutty cherry swallow with an apple finish.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

holy terroir swizzle

1 1/2 oz Banks 7 Rum (Denizen's Merchant Reserve)
3/4 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1/4 oz Demerara Syrup
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Build in a tall glass, fill with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill. Garnish with 4-5 dashes Pimento or Angostura Bitters (Angostura) and serve with an umbrella and a straw (mint, spent half lime shell with 151 proof rum and ignited).
Two Fridays when I got home from work, I was rather excited to make a drink that I had spotted on Imbibe Magazine's website for it was from my Cocktails in the Country roommate Christopher James. Christopher runs the show at the Jockey Hollow Bar and Kitchen in Morristown, New Jersey, and his Swizzle seemed like the perfect way to wrap up the evening. Lacking a paper cocktail parasol at home, I decided to improvise with some mint and some flame. Once built, the Holy Terroir Swizzle shared mint and clove aromas. A lime-driven sip led into funk rum and clove notes on the swallow.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

chinese itch

1 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (1/2 oz Don Q 151, 1/2 oz Caliche)
Juice 1 Lime (3/4 oz)
3/4 oz Passion Fruit Nectar (1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup)
1 dash Orgeat (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Thursdays ago, my post work drinking had me flipping through the pages of Trader Vic's Rum Cookery & Drinkery from 1974 and stumbling upon the Chinese Itch. While this Itch had a slight similarity to the Tropical Itch, it reminded me more of a Mai Tai with passion fruit for the orange liqueur. Therefore, I shaped the recipe closer to how I mixed a Mai Tai although I kept the cocktail glass vessel drinking specification.
The Chinese Itch brough mint and passion fruit notes to the nose. Next, lime and tropical notes on the sip sidestepped the rum, passion fruit, and almond nuttiness on the swallow. Overall, it reminded me of the Manuia albeit with less funky rums and without the added spice from Angostura and absinthe.

kon tiki ti-punch

50 mL (1 2/3 oz) Bacardi 8 Year Rum (Tommy Bahama Gold)
20 mL (2/3 oz) Lime Juice
15 mL (1/2 oz) Grenadine
5 mL (1 tsp) Demerara Syrup
5 mL (1 tsp) Guava Jelly
1 chunk Fresh Pineapple (2/3 oz Juice)

Muddle pineapple and guava jelly in lime juice (microwave jelly with grenadine and demerara syrup to melt and dissolve the jelly). Add the rest of the ingredients and ice, shake, and strain into a punch goblet (double old fashioned glass). Garnish with a lime wedge, pineapple chunk, and mint (spent half lime shell, mint sprigs, flowers).

After getting home from my night on the town that Wednesday, I reached for Beachbum Berry's Remixed. There, I was surprised by a drink created by Sean Muldoon well before he came to the United States to open the Dead Rabbit in Manhattan. The drink was the Kon Tiki Ti-Punch that he concocted at the Merchant Hotel in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and I was definitely lured in by the use of guava jelly that Jerry Thomas featured as an ingredient in his 1862 book via the Barbadoes Punch.
The Kon Tiki Ti-Punch began with a floral and mint aroma. A rich guava, pineapple, and pomegranate sip gave way to rum and more guava notes on the swallow. Interestingly, the lime here was less of a noticeable flavor and more of a balancing component to my palate and drink build.

Monday, November 16, 2015

one one thousand

3/4 oz Henry McKenna Bourbon
3/4 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Apricot Liqueur
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

Two Wednesdays ago, I ventured into Brick and Mortar and found a seat in front of bartender Patrick Gaggiano. I had spotted a new recipe on the OnTheBar app that seemed promising, and I was quite pleased that it had made the menu. The drink in question was the One One Thousand created by bartender Paul Yem, and the bar's Facebook later explained the name as, "We call this the One One Thousand, 'cause it only takes a second to drink." I was definitely curious about the combination of Cynar and apricot liqueur in this Last Word-like formula, as save for a drink that Andrea had written about, it is a duo not often done. Averna and apricot yes, but Cynar and apricot not so much.
Once delivered into the glass by Pat, the One One Thousand shared bright apricot aromas with an undertone of darker herbal elements. Next, the sip offered caramel, lemon, and a hint of orchard fruit, while the swallow gave forth Bourbon flavors and an orange bitter herbal combination.

sleeping giant

1 1/2 oz Light Rum (1 oz Caliche, 1/4 oz Wray & Nephew, 1/4 oz Vale d' Paul Aguardente)
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1 1/2 oz Orange Juice (1 oz)
1/2 oz Sweet & Sour (1/2 oz Lemon Juice, 1/2 oz Simple Syrup)
1/4 oz Orgeat (1/2 oz)

Shake with crushed ice and pour into a tall glass. Garnish with a mint sprig and a cherry (mint, orange and lemon twists).

After getting home two Tuesdays ago from JM Curley's, I was in the mood for a nightcap and turned to Beachbum Berry's Sippin' Safari. The recipe that caught my fancy was the Sleeping Giant created at the Lagoon Cocktail Terrace at the Coco Palms Resort in Kauai circa 1950s. The Sleeping Giant took its name from a nearby hilltop that "awed the Hawaiians of old who feared he might awaken."
The Sleeping Giant awakened the senses with a citrus and mint aroma. Orange and lemon on the sip gave way to funky rum, pineapple, and nutty orgeat notes.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

viking fog cutter

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo CIII) was picked by Shaun and Christa of the BoozeNerds blog. The theme they chose was "Standoffish," and they elaborated on the choice with their description of, "Now that we're into the cold weather, it's a good time to be bringing out the richer, stronger ingredients for use in cocktails. How to use them in good proportion though, where they speak up but don't overwhelm? Well, one way is to include them in smaller amounts, perhaps slightly offset from the other ingredients in one way or another. They can introduce themselves at the start or the end of the drink, or shepherd the other components into a cohesive whole, depending on how they are used. Which brings us to this month's theme: standoffish! We're looking for cocktails that use at least one non-garnish ingredient that is not stirred or shaken with the others. Rinses, floats, foams? Sure! Mists? Why not? We welcome whatever your creative geniuses can come up with."
Given my Tiki momentum which will go as long as my mint patch survives the colder weather, I considered one of the more elegant uses of floats in the genre being the sherry float in the Fog Cutter. Actually, that link is to the one Ted Kilpatrick made for me at No. 9 Park where the float was equal parts sherry and madeira. But are those wines really something that fit this theme of intense flavors? Sherry floats can deliver sweet, dry (see the Fino Swizzle), or nutty flavors and aromas, but they are relatively mild in the realm of cocktail ingredients. One of the Fog Cutter variations that Beachbum Berry provides in Remixed does not use the classic sherry float but one of aquavit. While Linie brand can be relatively mild due to the aging and the botanicals, my Aalborg at home is rather intense. Therefore, I opted for the Viking Fog Cutter crafted at the Norselander Restaurant in Seattle around 1955.
Viking Fog Cutter
• 2 oz Lemon Juice (1 oz)
• 1 oz Orange Juice (2 oz Cara Cara)
• 1/2 oz Orgeat
• 1/2 oz Brandy (Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)
• 1/2 oz Gin (Seagram's Extra Dry)
• 1 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Don Q Cristal)
Shake with ice (crushed) and pour into a tall glass. Float 1/2 oz of aquavit (Aalborg).
The recipe seemed a bit tart so I reversed the volumes of lemon and orange juice to make something a bit more fitting to my palate. The aquavit float definitely donated a robust caraway component to the mint and citrus aroma. Using a straw, the citrus aspect of lemon and orange flavors filled the sip, and the swallow was nutty and juniper driven; at the end, the caraway and other botanicals mixed with those of the gin and began to overtake them. Indeed, the float here on the nose provided extra herbal notes that help bring out the gin botanicals in the flavor. Moreover, the white cap on top aided in making the drink a bit more visually intriguing.

Thanks to Shaun and Christa for hosting Mixology Monday once again and making an abstract term like "standoffish" into a great exercise in drink building dynamics, flavor, and aroma. And thanks to the rest of the MxMo participants for floating, rinsing, sinking, foaming, and misting their way into keeping this event going. Cheers!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

bittersweet aloha

1 oz Beefeater Gin
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
1/2 oz Pineapple Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 pinch Sea Salt

Dissolve the salt in the lime juice and pineapple syrup. Add the rest of the ingredients and ice, shake, and strain into a coupe glass.
Two Tuesdays ago, I ventured over to JM Curley's and found a seat in front of bartenders Katie Soule and Laura Ganci. For a drink, I asked Katie for the Bittersweet Aloha; Katie described how it was bar manager Tracy Latimer's contribution to Negroni Week this past spring. Once prepared, it gave forth juniper and bitter orange aromas to the nose. Lime and other citrus notes on the sip led into gin flavors and the pineapple tempering Campari bitterness on the swallow. Indeed, the name reminded me of another island-themed drink, the Hawaii Cocktail with its gin and pineapple, but the Bittersweet Aloha also had elements of the Jasmine mixed in.

Friday, November 13, 2015

almost famous

3/4 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
3/4 oz Rothman & Winter Apricot Liqueur
3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass.
After visiting Sahil Mehta at Estragon, I headed over to the Franklin Café where Jay Cool was working that night. For a first drink, I asked Jay for the Almost Famous. While the name suggested a riff on the Naked and Famous, it appeared more like a mezcal Culross on paper. In the glass, it offered a smoky aroma over orchard fruit notes. Next, the sip presented lemon with an almost orange-like flavor, and the swallow was full of smoky agave and apricot.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

[wight army cocktail]

1 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1 oz Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur
1/2 oz Orgeat
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Allspice Dram

Shake with ice and strain into a tall glass. Fill with crushed ice and garnish with 1 dash Angostura Bitters and a mint leaf.

Monday last week, I stopped in to visit bartender Sahil Mehta at Estragon. A drink that caught my eye was one of his unnamed drinks of the day that reminded me of the 1941 apricot liqueur-laden Zombie. Sahil replied that he had utilized the Sherry Mai Tai as a starting point instead of any classic Zombie recipe though. For a name, I thought of the Game of Thrones-themed Zombie riff, the White Walker Cocktail that I had tried about a week before and considered the White Walker's victim army, the Wights. According to the show's Wikipedia page, a wight is "a reanimated corpse, either human or animal, raised from death by the White Walkers to act as their minions. They are also called just 'The Dead' or 'The Army of the Dead'." In addition, the name Wight also reminded me of my friend's family ties to the old Maryland rye distillery; while the Wight Rye name was sold off, the recipe still lies in the hands of the descendants via New England Distilling.
The drink began with a mint, clove, and allspice aroma. The sip proffered grape and lemon notes, and the swallow displayed rye, nutty, apricot, and allspice flavors.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

cocoanut grove cooler

1 1/2 oz Blended Scotch (Buchanan's 12 Year)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz Curaçao (Van der Hum)
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Nectar (PF syrup)
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/2 tsp Orgeat

Blend with 1 cup of ice and pour into a tall glass (shake with ice, strain into a tall glass, and top with crushed ice). Garnish with an orange slice, cherries (omit), and mint sprig.

After my bar shift two Sunday nights ago, I was feeling the Tiki mood and reached for Beachbum Berry's Remixed. The Cocoanut Grove Cooler from the Ambassador Hotel's Cocoanut Grove Night Club in Los Angeles seemed rather intriguing with the medley of fruit flavors. Moreover, the libation is one of the few classic Tiki drinks that call for Scotch as a base spirit with the other famous one being Trader Vic's Starboard Light. In more recent years, there have been a few modern Scotch Tiki recipes such as the Angry Barista, but this number is still rather low.
The Cocoanut Grove Cooler began with a mint and orange bouquet. Next, the fruity sip showcased orange and lemon flavors with a hint of passion fruit, and the swallow offered smoky Scotch, passion fruit, and orange notes.

nassau street cocktail

1 oz Apple Brandy (Boulard VSOP Calvados)
1 oz Punt e Mes
1 oz Cynar
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a Luxardo Maraschino cherry.

Two Saturdays ago for a night cap, I looked to Imbibe Magazine's new issue and spotted the Nassau Street Cocktail as an interesting apple Negroni variation. Chris Frankel of Houston's Spare Key concocted this three parter plus bitters and used Cynar as the amaro as have the Trident, Urban Anxiety, and the Ardent Spirit. Instead of vermouth, Chris utilized Punt e Mes which I frequently ask for when I get a Negroni.
The Nassau Street Cocktail offered an apple and funky herbal aroma. The apple continued into the sip where it mingled with the Punt e Mes' grape, and the swallow presented caramel and herbal flavors with a spice-driven finish.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

bitter scotsman

2 oz Blended Scotch (Buchanan's 12 Year)
3/4 oz Orgeat
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Campari

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with a lemon wheel and freshly grated cinnamon.

Two Fridays ago, I flipped through Food & Wine: Cocktails 2015 for a post-shift nightcap. The Bitter Scotsman by Meghan Eastman of San Diego's The Noble Experiment caught my attention for it appeared like a Cameron's Kick that curiously replaced the Irish whiskey with Campari. Or perhaps it was the smoky version of the Chestnut Cup that made it seem promising. Regardless, it appeared like a good way to end the night.
The cinnamon garnish added some spice to the nutty orgeat aroma. On the palate, a lemon and malty sip was followed by smoky Scotch, peanut butter, and bitter orange. Indeed, the peanut butter coming from the orgeat being altered by the other ingredients was intriguing and reminded me of the delightful Peanut Malt Flip.

Monday, November 9, 2015

white walker cocktail

1 1/2 oz Aged Rum (Plantation Barbados 5 Year)
1/2 oz White Rum (Wray & Nephew)
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup (BG Reynolds)
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a Pilsner glass (Tiki mug). Top with crushed ice and garnish with tropical fruits (mint sprigs).

Two Thursdays ago after my shift at work, I decided to treat myself to something tropical and the White Walker Cocktail from Imbibe Magazine seemed to be the answer. The recipe was created by Dan Rook of South Water Kitchen in Chicago, and the combination of pineapple, citrus, and cinnamon spice has always been a winner such as in the Newmarket and Subterranean Swizzles as well as the Gilda Cocktail. Instead of a Pilsner glass, I opted for a Tiki mug that reminded me of the White Walker zombies from Game of Thrones.
The mint that I garnished with offered a welcoming aroma. Next, lemon and pineapple on the sip transitioned into caramel and funky rums on the swallow and pineapple and cinnamon on the finish.


1/2 jigger Bacardi (1 oz Old Ipswich Tavern Style Rum, 1/4 oz Smith & Cross)
1/4 jigger Brandy (1/2 oz Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva)
1 spoon Grenadine (1/2 oz)
1 spoon Orgeat (1/2 oz)
1 spoon Lemon Juice (3/4 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added a lemon twist.
After the Nutty Like a Fruitcake, I looked to Boothby's 1934 World Drinks and How to Mix Them for an use of the rest of the lemon juice. There I spotted the Natural which had a decent continuity of flavors from the last drink. Moreover, it had a somewhat Tiki feel to it, so I converted the proportions to something resembling how I would make a Mai Tai; however, I still kept the cocktail glass format instead of serving it on ice. Once assembled, the Natural's lemon nose prepared the mouth for the lemon and pomegranate sip. Next, the swallow shared a rich combination of rum, brandy, butterscotch, and nutty flavors.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

nutty like a fruitcake

1 1/2 oz Demerara Rum (El Dorado 3 Year)
1/2 oz Spiced Rum (Kraken)
1 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Curaçao (Pierre Ferrand Dry)
1/4 oz Allspice Dram (St. Elizabeth)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick, grated nutmeg, and an orange slice studded with cloves.
Two Wednesdays ago, I turned to the new issue of Imbibe Magazine, found the holiday section, and needed to make the Nutty Like a Fruitcake by Mindy Kucan. Since Mindy works at Hale Pele, I opted for a Tiki vessel instead of an old fashioned glass to make this Mai Tai-inspired spiced number. I also hopped on this recipe for I rather enjoyed her Winter Daiquiri from two years ago. In the glass, the drink shared cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove aromas from the garnishes. On the sip, the orgeat donated a creaminess to the orange and lemon notes, and the swallow presented rum, nutty, orange, and allspice elements.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

betty boop

3/4 oz Ron Diplomatico Reserva Rum
3/4 oz Barbancourt 5 Year Rum
1/2 oz Pecan Orgeat
1/2 oz Marie Brizard Crème de Cacao
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a tulip glass. Fill with crushed ice, garnish with a paper parasol, and add a straw.
The drink that I got at Audubon was bartender Sam Spence's contribution to the cartoon-themed section on the menu, the Betty Boop. In the glass, this Tiki number donated a lemon aroma with hints of nut and chocolate. Caramel from the rums paired with the bright lemon on the sip, and the swallow proffered rum, nutty, and chocolate flavors. Indeed, the flavors here took the Betty Boop in an unique direction from the classic Mai Tai that the appears to be the inspiration here.

Friday, November 6, 2015

friar tuck

1 oz Perry's Tot Gin
1 oz Cocchi Americano
1/2 oz Combier Peche
1/2 oz Amargo Vallet

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Two Tuesdays ago, Andrea and I had dinner at Mei Mei and wandered around the block to Audubon for drinks. Both Andrea and I were smitten by Audubon's cartoon-themed section options and ordered a pair. The one that she selected was bartender Taylor Knight's Friar Tuck. In the glass, the Friar Tuck shared a peach aroma accented by grapefruit oil notes. Orchard fruit and citrussy flavors on the sip were followed by juniper, peach, and herbal elements on the swallow. The success of the drink hinged on how well the peach liqueur paired with the Amargo Vallet bitter herbal notes; I previously noticed that peach worked well with Campari and Gran Classico in the Bitter Peach and the Campeche, so perhaps other peach-amaro pairings would blossom.

fair trade

2 oz Scotch (Buchanan 12 Year)
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Coffee Liqueur (Galliano Ristretto)
3 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Two Mondays ago, I looked to Food & Wine: Cocktails 2015 to a nightcap idea. There I spotted Meghan Eastman's Fair Trade that she created at San Diego's Noble Experiment, and the combination of Cynar and coffee made me think about how much Andrea enjoyed the pairing of a Unicorn Blood coffee custard with Cynar 70 at Loyal Nine. Meghan described her concept as, "Cynar and coffee liqueur are great flavor buddies" and how the drink conjures the flavors of an espresso with a twist of lemon.
The Fair Trade donated a lemon aroma over peat smoke and darker roast notes. Next, caramel and malt on the sip gave way to smoky Scotch, coffee, and earthy herbal flavors on the swallow. As the Fair Trade warmed up over time, the orange notes from the bitters became more evident.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

dolores park swizzle

2 oz Rhum Agricole Blanc (Vale d' Paul Aguardente Nova de Santo Antão)
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Cane Syrup (Syrup JM)
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
1/2 tsp Absinthe (Herbsaint)

Build in a tall glass, fill with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill. Garnish with 1-2 mint sprigs and 4 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters.

After the Kiki, I turned to Paul Clarke's The Cocktail Chronicles book and spotted Thad Volger's Dolores Park Swizzle. Thad created this recipe at Beretta in San Francisco as a riff on the Queen's Park Swizzle (and similar classic Swizzles) using rhum agricole instead of Demerara rum. Instead of a rhum agricole, I opted for an agricole-style rum from Cape Verde.
The Dolores Park Swizzle, named after the park only a few blocks away from the bar, began with anise and mint aromas. Next, lime on the sip led into the elegant pairing of grassy funky rum and nutty Maraschino on the swallow with an anise-driven spice finish.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


3/4 jigger Gin (1 1/2 oz Bluecoat)
1 dash Cointreau (1/2 oz)
1 dash Noyaux (1/2 oz Tempus Fugit)
2 spoon Sweet Sour (3/4 oz Lemon Juice)
2 drop Bitters (1 dash Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Sunday two weekends ago, I began the cocktail hour by flipping through Boothby's 1934 World Drinks and How to Mix Them. In the pages was the curiously named Kiki which seemed like a good use of my new bottle of crème de noyaux in what appeared to be a gin Mai Tai of sorts. Perhaps it was named after Kiki de Montparnasse who was served by many an expatriate bartender during Prohibition including Jimmy Charters as described in his This Must Be the Place biography. Moreover, the name also triggered the Scissor Sister's song "Let's Have a Kiki" that got referenced here and there at Camp Runamok this past September.
So when we had a Kiki, it proffered a lemon and almondy bouquet. The lemon continued on into the sip where it was complemented by the Cointreau's orange, and the swallow donated gin, clove, apricot, and almond flavors. Instead of the anticipated gin Mai Tai similar to the Blande Dubois, it felt a bit closer to an Amaretto Sour.

ibo lele cocktail

2 oz Barbancourt 5 Star Rum (Coruba Dark)
1/2 oz Dubonnet or Port (Taylor Fladgate Ruby)
1/2 oz Grenadine
Juice 1 Lime (1/2+ oz)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry (mint sprig impaled on a citrus peel raft).

Two Saturdays ago after my work shift, I was feeling the Tiki mood and reached for Trader Vic's 1974 Rum Cookery & Drinkery. There, I spotted the Ibo Lele Cocktail named after a hotel in Haiti. Since I lacked the Dubonnet option (I often substitute another quinquina instead until I can acquire some French instead of Kentucky-made Dubonnet), I chose the port route. Port appears in a few Tiki drinks like Martin Cate's Dead Reckoning and Trader Vic's South Sea Dipper, but it still feels like it is underutilized as a Tiki ingredient. The closest that I have come to using it that way is in my Josephine Baker cocktail riff, the Banana Dance.
The Ibo Lele Cocktail presented a funky rum and mint aroma. Caramel, grape, and pomegranate flavors were balanced by the lime's crispness on the sip, and the swallow gave forth funky rum, clove, and allspice notes with a dry finish.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

pink flag

2 oz Tanqueray Gin
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Crème Yvette
2 leaf Sage

Muddle the sage leaves. Add the rest of the ingredients and ice, shake, and double strain into a coupe glass.

While drinking the Widow's Word, I thought about the last Widow's Kiss variation that I had which was Joaquín Simó's Widow's Laurel. Therefore, as a follow-up drink, I reached for the Death & Co. Cocktail Book and stumbled upon Eryn Reece's Pink Flag. Between being a big fan of the band Wire as well as having a large amount of unpicked sage in the garden, I decided to give this one a go.
The Pink Flag began with a pineapple and sage aroma with hints of floral notes. Next, lemon and pineapple on the sip gave way to juniper, floral, and berry flavors on the swallow with a nutty finish. Overall, the Pink Flag was very similar to the Royal Hawaiian with berry-floral and sage elements in the mix.

widow's word

3/4 oz Calvados or Apple Brandy (Laird's Bonded)
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/4 oz Benedictine
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Fridays ago, I decided to start my post-work nightcaps with a drink from Boston cocktail enthusiast and old booze bottle collector Eric Witz via his Instagram. Like his Red Right Hook that mashed up two (neo)classics, here Eric merged the Last Word with the Widow's Kiss. Once prepared, the Widow's Word shared an herbal and clove aroma. Next, autumn arrived to the palate with lemon, honey, and lemon on the sip and spiced apple on the swallow.

Monday, November 2, 2015

wooden leg

2 oz Bacardi 8 Year Rum
3/4 oz Manzanilla Sherry
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup
1 dash Pernod Absinthe

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a mint leaf.

After my adventures at Highball Lounge, I continued my tour of Boston and eventually ended up at Blue Dragon where bartender Tyler Murphy was working. Besides Blue Dragon, Tyler also does a few shifts at Loyal Nine, and I recently attended the Bacardi Legacy competition event here in Boston a few weeks ago to support him. Due to the structure of the event, I was unable to try his creation which was a stirred Tiki number called the Wooden Leg. Therefore, I asked Tyler to make me one that night.
The Wooden Leg shared a mint aroma over a semi-sweet grape sip. Next, the swallow was much more complex with rum, molasses, herbal, and spice notes.

all seeing eye

1 oz Leblon Cachaça
1 oz Plantation 5 Year Barbados Rum
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a Pilsner glass. Top with crushed ice, garnish with a trio of pineapple fruit leaves and a lime wheel-cherry flag, top with a splash of soda water, and add a straw.
When I was last at Highball Lounge at the end of September, bartender Shaher Misif showed me their secret Tiki menu (I put a photo of it on Twitter). So when I returned two Wednesdays ago, I asked bartender Matt Schrage about the list. Matt brought over bartender Steve Bookman who created many of the libations on that second menu, and I requested the All Seeing Eye. Steve described that the drink was his riff on a classic Mary Pickford. Once in the glass, it offered a lime aroma that preceded a pineapple-driven sip. Finally, the swallow showcased the funky rum medley pairing with nutty Maraschino notes.