Sunday, January 31, 2016

ferrari colada

1/2 oz Plantation Trinidad Rum
1/2 oz Rhum Clement Select Agricole
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Vallet Fernet
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz House Coconut Cream
1/4 oz Demerara Syrup

Shake with crushed ice and pour into a coconut tiki mug. Top with crushed ice, garnish with a lime wheel coated with a dash of pineapple-infused Angostura Bitters, and add a straw. Regular Angostura Bitters (as well as other glassware) will work here.

Two Sundays ago, we closed up Loyal Nine in time for me to get last call at Backbar. Moreover, in time to get another chance to sit at Luc Thiers bar since he was in back in town for the bar he is helping to open in Upstate New York is not ready yet. As I was deciding on a nightcap option, Luc was making a drink with the house coconut cream and mentioned that he had an idea for me: he had merged the cult Fernet-Campari shooter, the Ferrari, with the classic Piña Colada. Since my re-creation of the lost Hungry Mother No. 34 recipe for a Fernet Colada was so delicious, I was game.
The Ferrari Colada's lime wheel garnish filled the aromatic aspect of the drink. While the sip was creamy and thick, the swallow offered coconut, pineapple, and bitter herbal flavors. Moreover, just as Luc had mentioned, the swallow did have an intriguing strawberry feel from the Campari interacting with the other ingredients.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


1 liqueur glass Gin (1 1/2 oz Bluecoat)
1/3 liqueur glass Grenadine (1/2 oz)
1/3 liqueur glass Curaçao (1/2 oz Van der Hum)
Juice of 1 Lemon (3/4 oz)
1 tsp Sugar (omit)
1 Whole Egg

Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a tumbler glass and fill with soda water (strain into a Fizz glass containing 2 oz soda water). I added an orange twist.

Two Saturdays ago, I decided to make a recipe that I uncovered while researching the H.S. Special called the Hanseafen-Glory. Both of these drinks as well as a third were created by a UK Bartenders Guild member, H. Seifert, and published in the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book. The Hanseafen-Glory reminded me of a Tiki drink with its grenadine and curaçao combination balanced by citrus as in the Outrigger Tiara all with a classic Royal Gin Fizz (whole egg) format.
The twist I added to the Hanseafen-Glory contributed greatly to the drink's aroma. A creamy and carbonated sip was filled with fruity orange, pomegranate, and lemon flavors, and the swallow was a combination of gin botanicals and orange peel notes.

Friday, January 29, 2016

dead italian cocktail

1 1/2 oz Four Roses Bourbon
3/4 oz Oloroso Sherry (Lustau)
3/4 oz Cynar
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist (lemon oil).

Two Fridays ago, I decided to make a recipe that I had spotted on the GeeksWithDrinks blog called the Dead Italian Cocktail. They acquired this recipe after attending a Four Roses Bourbon charity cocktail competition that pitted San Francisco bartenders to craft the best drink with the Bourbon. The winner was this one from Eric Rickey of %ABV, and it appealed to me for it reminded me of a Boulevardier riff akin to the No. 72 and the Criminal Mastermind with their use of sherry instead of vermouth.
The Dead Italian presented a lemon oil and grape nose that prepared the mouth for a malt, grape, and caramel sip. Next, the swallow began with the Bourbon, the sherry's nutty, and the Cynar's funky herbal bitter flavors and ended with a dry spice finish.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

winnie the pooh

1/2 oz Banks 5 Island Rum
1 oz Campari
1 oz Gancia Bianco Vermouth (Dolin Blanc)
1/2 oz Cynar
1/6 oz (1 tsp) Fernet Branca
3 dash Fee's Orange Bitters
3 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

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

Two Thursdays ago, I ventured into my copy of the Experimental Cocktail Club, a collection of recipes from the various E.C.C. bars across the world, and found a recipe from the E.C.C. in New York's Chinatown. That recipe, the Winnie the Pooh, was a Negroni riff that included both Cynar like the Negroni Tredici and the Double Double and Fernet Branca like the Southpaw and the Countless Night along with the Campari. There is also a base spirit- and vermouth-free combination of these three bitter liqueurs as a Negroni riff in the Bottecchia, but here in the E.C.C. number, the spirit is a half part of rum.
The Winnie the Pooh started off with an orange oil aroma with hints of Campari. Next, a white grape flavor on the sip transitioned into a complex bitter medley ranging from funky Cynar notes to bitter orange Campari ones on the swallow with a Fernet menthol finish.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

adriatic yacht club

1 oz House Rum Blend (*)
1 oz Amaro Montenegro
3/4 oz Housemade Falernum
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass. Fill with crushed ice and garnish with mint and grated nutmeg.
(*) A mix of 4 rums: Plantation Dark and Three Star Rums, and Hamilton Jamaican and 151 Proof Demerara Rums.

A few Wednesdays ago, Andrea and I had dinner at Sarma. For a first drink, I asked bartender Brandon Rucker for the Adriatic Yacht Club. I recognized it as an Amaro Montenegro riff on the early 20th century Royal Bermuda Yacht Club that I first had at Island Creek Oyster Bar; I had done a similar swap with elderflower liqueur in the Hold the Line over the summer. This particular variation turned out to be Brandon's, and his pedigree from ICOB perhaps explained his interest in that classic.
Instead of the cocktail glass format of the Royal Bermuda, the Adriatic variation went in the direction of tall with crushed ice and garnished accordingly. Once assembled, it gave forth mint and nutmeg notes on the nose. Lime with a decent mouthfeel on the sip led into rum, orange, clove, and herbal flavors on the swallow with a spice-driven finish.

sun stealer

2 oz Letherbee Gin (Bluecoat)
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Crème de Cacao (Tempus Fugit)
1/4 oz Fernet Branca
1 dash Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass; garnish with a lemon twist.

After the Tiki drink, I switched to another modern recipe with a bit more of a classic feel. From Punch Magazine, I turned to Henry Prendergast's Hanky Panky variation, the Sun Stealer, created at Analogue in Chicago. The recipe also reminded me of a chocolate Martinez, the Maxim, from 1903-1933, and Eastern Standard's variation on the classic Pall Mall. Actually, combining the crème de menthe Pall Mall with the crème de cacao variation would come rather close to the Sun Stealer minus Punt e Mes' bitter complexity.
The Sun Stealer shared a lemon oil aroma over that of Fernet Branca's menthol notes. Grape on the sip was supplemented by darker notes like caramel, and the swallow offered juniper, clove, minty, and bitter herbal flavors.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

heaven is a place/this is the place

2 oz London Dry Gin (Beefeater)
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1/2 oz Honey Syrup
1/4 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
3 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with 1 cup crushed ice, pour into a tiki mug, and top with crushed ice. Garnish with a pineapple leaf, mint, Luxardo cherry, and edible flower (mint, spent half lime shell with El Dorado 151 proof rum and ignited).

Two Tuesdays ago, we began the night with another recipe from Chicago's Lost Lake via Imbibe Magazine. Just like the eponymous Lost Lake a few weeks ago, this Tiki-ism was created by Paul McGee and he dubbed it Heaven is a Place/This is the Place. What caught my eye was that instead of rum in this fruit and spice number, it called for gin in a very similar way as the Saturn.
The Heaven is a Place/This is the Place began with a mint and lime oil aroma. The lime notes continued on into the honey sweet sip along with the curaçao's orange, and the swallow shared herbal and spice flavors from the gin, allspice dram, bitters, and falernum.

Monday, January 25, 2016

the outlaw

2 oz Lunazul Añejo Tequila
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/4 oz St. George Coffee Liqueur
2 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with orange twist oil.
After State Park, I headed towards Central Square to visit Brick & Mortar. For a nightcap, I asked bartender Ryan McLoughlin for the Outlaw since a stirred straight spirits drink seemed perfect for the night's trajectory. Once prepared, it offered bright orange oil notes over the lower aromas of coffee and agave. Next, honey richness on the sip led into agave, roast, and herbal flavors on the swallow with a chocolate and coffee finish.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


3/4 oz Novo Fogo Cachaça
1 1/2 oz Cardamaro
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. Garnish with an orange twist.

Two Mondays ago, I headed over to State Park after having dinner with Andrea at Cambridge Brewing Company. For a first drink, I asked bartender Evan Harrison for the Iguaçu. Evan described how the recipe was created by Andrew Ianazzi who really likes Cardamaro and Blood & Sands. In crafting the Iguaçu, Andrew found that Cardamaro was akin to a combination of vermouth and cherry liqueur in that classic, and he crafted this as a cachaça drink. Keeping the State Park cocktail naming convention, this one was dubbed after a national park in Brazil.
The Iguaçu offered up orange oil aromas that led into a rich, grape sip. The swallow was much more complex though with funky rum, herbal, and orange notes and a spice-laden finish.

hot tiger's milk

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo CV) was picked by the good Doctor of Doc Elliot's Mixology blog. The theme he chose was "Brace Yourself," and he elaborated on the choice with his description of, "Now that the holidays are behind us, we get to deal with the rest of winter... that magnificent season of grey skies, blustery winds, freezing sleet and blowing snow. January is Mixology Monday #105 and we're definitely talking cocktails. Winter usually evokes scenes of roaring fires with glasses or mugs filled with warming liquid fortifying us against the cold and damp. Winter provides the shared universal experience that spans language, geography and the centuries -- that moment just before you step out into the cold; to walk to the bus stop, hit the ski slope, shovel the snow or feed the livestock. So what adult beverages can best prepare the body and steel the will for that moment when we go forth into Winter?"
Winter drinks make me think of two directions: hot drinks or thick flavorful egg drinks (or both, like the Tom & Jerry). Two Mixology Mondays ago when I made the Viking Fog Cutter, I declared, "Given my Tiki momentum which will go as long as my mint patch survives the colder weather..."; true, my mint patch did last weeks later than normal this season but it did die off around New Years. But does Tiki need to end? Pegu Blog Doug only begins to start his Tiki adventures on February 1st, so why not continue on? The impetus for the Tiki idea was when thinking about hot drinks, I remember spotting several in Jeff Berry's books. The one I chose, the Hot Tiger's Milk, was from Sippin' Safari, and Berry attributes the recipe to Don the Beachcomber back in 1937. In essence, the Hot Tiger's Milk is akin to a Hot Buttered Rum with the butter batter in the classic also including coconut cream and honey but not having as much spice as many of the classic Hot Buttered Rums do (and certainly not as many as the recipe I provide in that link that has 4 of the 10 house spices in the magical butter batter at Loyal Nine listed). Berry fully admitted that this recipe was his adaptation since Lopez Coconut Cream was not invented until 1953 but it works so much better than the original's coconut milk and sugar. Hot drinks, tropical-themed escapism, booze, and spice? Sounds like the perfect way to brace myself against Winter.
Hot Tiger's Milk
• 1 1/2 oz Amber Virgin Island Rum (El Dorado 5 Year)
• 3 tsp Tiger Milk Batter (*)
• 1 strip Orange Peel
• 3 whole Cloves (5 here)
• 4 oz Boiling Water
Build in a 6 oz mug or single old fashioned glass and stir to mix. I studded the orange peel with the cloves and added two more that were above the water line to make 5 cloves total. I also microwaved the drink briefly to help to melt the coconut fat into the mix.
(*) Batter is 4 parts Lopez Coconut Cream, 1 part softened butter, 1 part clover honey. 2, 1/2, 1/2 tsp, respectively, will work for making one drink.
The Hot Tiger's Milk greeted the nose with a butter and honey-floral aroma. The rum's caramel danced with the honey on the sip, and the swallow roared with rum, orange, and clove notes. The flavors, especially the orange and clove, built over time as they steeped into the Toddy.

Thanks to the Doc Elliot for hosting this month and giving people ways to combat seasonal affective disorder without all of those bright lamps or unnatural pills. And thanks to the rest of the Mixology Monday participants for bracing themselves against the cold and getting up the gumption to participate once again in this monthly online cocktail party of sorts. Cheers!

Friday, January 22, 2016

italian stallion

1 oz Aperol
3/4 oz Avèze Gentian Liqueur
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass containing 2 oz soda water. Fill with ice cubes, add a straw, and garnish with an orange twist.
In needing to revamp the Loyal Nine cocktail menu, I looked to turn over one of the senior members of the "low octane" section of the menu. One of the thoughts was to riff on Michael McIlroy's low proof Rome With a View. Given that we have an abundance of Avèze gentian liqueur, I wanted to include that especially after having tried the Vatican City riff of that neo-classic. Another drink that came to mind for a flavor combination was the Square Root in pairing Aperol, gentian, and citrus. Given how well passion fruit works with bitter liqueurs, I considered taking things in a tropical direction especially when considering Mother of Turin and Rome with a Slight View. Finally, the name Italian Stallion came up from thinking about Rome and Italian themes, and a kitchy movie title seemed apropos. Overall, the drink's appearance and balance is a complex orange soda albeit one with herbal and tropical flavors in the mix.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

corpse reviver

1/4 part Dry Gin (3/4 oz Bluecoat)
1/4 part Cointreau (3/4 oz)
1/4 part Swedish Punsch (3/4 oz Kronan)
1/4 part Lemon Juice (3/4 oz)
Dash Pernod (1/8 oz Butterfly Absinthe)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added a lemon twist here.

Two weeks ago, my bar ran out of Lillet Blanc and we were faced with either removing the Dose, a very popular mezcal Corpse Reviver #2 riff, for a few days until the liquor order arrived or figuring out an alternative. I decided that we would swap out the Lillet for Swedish Punsch which I first spotted in Crosby Gaige's 1941 Cocktail Guide & Lady's Companion. This recipe was repeated a few times during that decade including in 1940s  Trader Vic cocktail books; however, soon after, most books returned to the Lillet standard. So why did this variation come about? Well, the early 1940s would have found France with a bigger concern than producing and shipping out Lillet to the United States, for World War II was upon them as well as trans-Atlantic shippers. Drink makers in the United States must have gotten crafty and figured out what had a citrussy note as well as a moderately low sweetness level to substitute to make their beloved Corpse Reviver #2s. While I am not sure how many bars were serving drinks like this in the United States after Prohibition killed off most bar programs in addition to decimating desire for these drinks, it only takes a single bartender to craft a variation like this for a cocktail book author for it to gain notoriety. My explanation does not deal with whether Cointreau was still available, but perhaps liquor shelves had a bigger stockpile than European aromatized wines back then; moreover, other orange liqueurs certainly existed.
The change for those two or three days at work did allow for a lot of discussion with guests over history, availability, and necessity when mentioning the temporary variance in the menu item. Hard to compare a foul-up in ordering with World War II, but the end result to the well bottles was the same. Two Sundays ago (which was the last shift without Lillet), I decided to have my nightcap drink be Gaige's Corpse Reviver (despite having plenty of Cocchi Americano at home -- and I am guessing that Italy had bigger concerns during the early 1940s than shipping out that Lillet alternative). With a lemon twist added to the drink, the aroma was full of floral and citrus notes. Lemon and orange on the sip led into gin, rum funk, orange peel, tea, and anise on the swallow. Overall, this Corpse Reviver had a similar balance to the classic #2, but the Swedish Punsch donated a delightful complexity that increased my enjoyment of the cocktail.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

drunken skull

3/4 oz El Dorado 12 Year Rum
3/4 oz Appleton V/X Rum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Grenadine
2 dash Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe (1/8+ oz Butterfly)

Shake with ice and strain into a flute glass and top with Champagne (3 oz Gruet Blanc de Blancs).

Two Saturdays ago, I capped off my work night with a libation from the Death & Co. Cocktail Book called the Drunken Skull. Given the Tiki feel, it was not surprising that Brian Miller was the one who crafted this back in 2009. While there was no explanation provided, the recipe and name reminded me of the Shrunken Skull which was a mid-1950's Mai Kai creation as a two rum Jack Rose. The Shrunken Skull did need some gussying up, for I did skip over the recipe in Jeff Berry's Remixed until there was an Instagram challenge for bartenders to make the drink and photograph it that week. To dress up the classic recipe, I utilized a vintage Tiki mug and garnished with mint and nasturtium flowers in my Instagram photo. Here, Miller changed things around by adding a hint of absinthe complexity and turning it into an elegant sparkling cocktail.
The absinthe's anise provided much of the Drunken Skull's nose. The crisp and carbonated lime was balanced by the sweetened pomegranate and rums' caramel on the sip, and the swallow began with the rums and ended with the absinthe's herbal notes.


1/2 Rye Whiskey (1 1/2 oz Old Overholt)
1/3 Sweet Vermouth (1 oz Dolin)
1/6 Crème Yvette (1/2 oz)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Fridays ago, I reached for Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 to find the evening's nightcap. In the whiskey section, I spied the Caboose that reminded me of the Lord Sheffield that was a Manhattan with Crème Yvette and additional bitter notes. Here, the Caboose gave forth floral and berry aromas from the Crème Yvette. Next, malt, grape, and berry flavors on the sip led into rye, floral, and spice notes on the swallow.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


2/3 jigger Bacardi (1 1/2 oz Caliche Rum, 1/2 oz Seleta Gold Cachaça)
1 spoon Grapefruit (3/4 oz Juice)
1 spoon Grenadine (1/2 oz)
1/2 Egg White (1 whole Egg White)
(I added a piece of grapefruit peel)

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and grate nutmeg over the top.

Two Thursday ago after my shift, I began to thumb through Boothby's 1934 World Drinks & How to Mix Them and came across a drink, the Hollywood, that reminded me of the egg white-laden Pantomime from the same book. To add a bit more complexity to the recipe, I included a 2 square inch or so of grapefruit peel to donate its bitter and aromatic oils to the mix and split the rum with some funky cachaça.
The nutmeg garnish joined the grapefruit aroma on the nose. On the palate, a creamy grapefruit and pomegranate sip transitioned pleasantly into grassy rum and grapefruit peel on the swallow.

Monday, January 18, 2016

key party

2 oz Plymouth Gin (Bluecoat)
1/2 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quina
1/2 oz Amaro Nardini
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass.
Two Wednesdays ago, my nightcap needs were met by a Joaquín Simo recipe from the Death & Co. Cocktail Book. In the gin section, Simo's 2009-vintage Key Party had all of the straight spirits herbal complexity that I was seeking. Once prepared, it gave forth a mix of Green Chartreuse herbal and gin botanical aromas on the nose. Next, grape and caramel on the sip gave way to gin and Green Chartreuse notes on the swallow with a chocolate, minty, and quinine finish. Overall, the Key Party was reminiscent of a Bijou.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

west indies fizz

2/3 Bacardi (1 1/2 oz El Dorado 5 Year)
Juice 1 Lime (1/2 oz)
3 dash Pineapple Juice (1/2 oz)
3 dash Sherry (1/2 oz Lustau Pedro Ximenez)

Shake with ice and strain into a 5 oz Toddy glass and fill with soda water (6 oz Fizz glass containing 1 1/2 oz soda water). I added a lime wheel as garnish.

Two Tuesdays ago, I turned to Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and found an interesting drink in the rum's Sour section called the West Indies. Since there are many drinks that make use of that name such as the West Indies Punch, I tacked on the term "Fizz" to better differentiate it. Moreover, the combination of rum, sherry, pineapple, and lime seemed appealing since it worked rather well in the Kuula Hina.
The West Indies Fizz began with a lime and raisiny aroma. The carbonated grape sip was aided by the lime's crispness, and the swallow offered rum and raisin notes with a dry pineapple finish. Indeed, upping the pineapple juice amount would not hurt here to tie the drink together.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

halfway to havana

1 1/4 oz Plantation 5 Year Rum
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Twist a lime peel over the top.

Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I stopped into Backbar for a drink. For a start, I was lured in with the drink of the day, Halfway to Havana. Bartender Dan Braganca described his creation as starting with the Hemingway Daiquiri and when he spotted something on this blog using Don's Mix, he decided to take it in that direction. The presence of the sweet vermouth in the Daiquiri also reminded me of the Floridita.
The Halfway to Havana proffered cinnamon, floral, and lime aromas. The fruity sip shared grapefruit, lime, and grape notes, and the swallow showcased the caramel aged rum, citrus peel, and cinnamon flavors.

Friday, January 15, 2016

h.s. special

1/3 Gin (1 oz Hayman's Royal Dock)
1/3 Sweet Vermouth (3/4 oz Dolin)
1/3 Dry Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Prat)
1 dash Swedish Punsch (1/2 oz Kronan)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry (omitted) and twist an orange peel on top (garnish).

Sunday night after my shift found me perusing the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book where I spotted an interesting Perfect Martini recipe that added complexity with Swedish Punsch. The drink was created by bartender H. Seifert who had three recipes in the book, and this was his H.S. Special. Instead of leaving the Swedish Punsch as a dashed accent, I brought it a bit more forward to take up one-sixth of the pre-melt volume.
The H.S. Special gave forth an orange, grape, and juniper aroma. Next, the grape from the vermouths provided most of the sip's flavors, and the swallow shared gin, funky rum, and tea tannin notes.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

radio days

1 oz Tanqueray Gin
3/4 oz Salers Gentian Liqueur
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Honey Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 crescent Orange

Muddle the orange crescent with the bitters. Add the rest of the ingredients and ice, shake, and strain into a coupe (flute) glass. Top with champagne (2 oz Gruet Blanc de Blancs) and garnish with an additional orange crescent.
Two Fridays ago, I wanted to cap off my work night with a drink, so I honed in on the Death & Co. Cocktail Book. There in the sparkler section was a citrus and herbal champagne cocktail called the Radio Days that was crafted by Alex Day in 2013. Once mixed, the Radio Days let loose an earthy and orange aroma. Carbonated orange, lemon, and wine notes on the sip set up the gentian, juniper, and orange peel swallow.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


2/3 Gin (1 1/2 oz Bluecoat)
1/3 Sweet Vermouth (1 1/2 oz (Dolin)
1 dash Crème de Cacao (1/4 oz Tempus Fugit)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Wednesdays ago, I spied the Maxim from Boothby's 1934 World Drinks & How to Mix Them that I viewed as a Chocolate Martinez. Therefore, instead of a two parts gin to one part sweet vermouth, I made this one equal parts like I prefer my Martinezes. Once prepared, the Maxim gave forth juniper, chocolate, and vanilla aromas. The vermouth's grape filled the sip, and the swallow presented juniper, citrus, and complementary chocolate flavors.

juglans regia

1 1/2 oz Pig's Nose Scotch
1 oz Lustau Oloroso Sherry
1/2 oz Nocino Liqueur
2 dash Fee's Walnut Bitters
1 dash Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
The drink that Andrea requested at Estragon was a Scotch and nutty number that bartender Sahil Mehta later named Juglans Regia. I was familiar with the Latin name for walnuts from Craigie on Main's Jupiter's Acorn Flip. Here, instead of a Flip, it was more of a Bobbie Burns using a nutty sherry as the wine element. Once prepared, the twist donated orange oils on top of the dark grape notes and hint of smoke on the nose. Next, the sip offered dry grape and malt notes, and finally, smoky and nutty flavors filled the swallow.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


1 1/2 oz Beefeater Gin
1/2 oz Avèze Gentian Liqueur
1/2 oz Guava Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.

A few Tuesdays ago, we were lured over to Estragon by the drink of the day. While we frequently visit Sahil on Mondays, he has been working at the bar on Tuesdays recently as well, and his guava-gentian liqueur drink seemed rather intriguing. Moreover, it reminded me of the passion fruit, gin, citrus, and bitters Tanglin Club. In asking Sahil for a name of the drink so I could post it on Instagram, Sahil came up with Hullabaloo after the Indian children's book Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard.
The Hullabaloo shared a foresty earthy-pine aroma from the gentian liqueur and gin. Lemon and guava on the sip led into cedar and spice flavors on the swallow. Overall, the drink did remind me of a Tanglin Club to some degree but also of a Groovy Child as well.

lost lake

2 oz Appleton V/X Rum
3/4 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
1/4 oz Campari

Shake with 1 cup crushed ice and pour into a Tiki mug (shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, and fill with crushed ice). Garnish with a pineapple frond, pineapple slice, orange peel, and edible flowers (mint, orange slice, borage flowers, and Lost Lake swizzle stick).

A few Mondays ago, I began to flip through the latest issue of Imbibe Magazine where I came upon one of Paul McGee's Tiki recipes. This one was the eponymous recipe from Chicago's Lost Lake, and the combination reminded me of a Mary Pickford crossed with a Jungle Bird. Moreover, this recipe gave me a good excuse to garnish with the Lost Lake swizzle stick that I kept after McGee made me a Penang Afrididi #1 at an event at Tales of the Cocktail last summer.
The Lost Lake conjured mint, floral, and orange aromas by my choices of garnish. Next, lime, the rum's caramel, and passion fruit notes filled the sip, and the swallow gave forth rum, pineapple, and passion fruit flavors along with a funky Campari-Maraschino combination. Overall, there was too little pineapple and too much passion fruit to be close to a Jungle Bird, but it still fell firmly into that classic's realm of delicious yet complex Tiki recipes.

Monday, January 11, 2016

lavender lady

4/10 Booth's Gin (1 oz Tanqueray)
2/10 Cusenier Calvados (1/2 oz Boulard VSOP)
2/10 Cointreau (1/2 oz)
1/10 Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)
1/10 Crème Yvette (1/4 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

A few Sundays ago after my work shift, I began scanning my copy of the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book and found the Lavender Lady by J.C. Armstrong. As an egg white-less riff on the White Lady series, this one had a split gin and apple brandy spirit base like the Pink Lady; however, instead of grenadine in the Pink, the Lavender went with Crème Yvette for color while keeping the White's orange liqueur as well for additional sweetness.
The Lavender Lady began with a floral, bright lemon, and orange peel aromas. Next, the sip was rather citrussy with lemon and orange flavors, and the swallow shared juniper, apple, and violet-herbal notes. Perhaps a slightly less aged apple brandy and more violet liqueur would garner a more lavender color, but the drink was delightful regardless.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

julien sorel

1/2 oz Courvoisier Cognac (Camus VS)
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a flute glass, and top with champagne (Gruet Blanc de Blancs). Twist a lemon peel over the top (I included the twist).

After the Vatican City, I wanted one more drink to round out my Saturday night post-shift libations. Therefore, I began flipping through the Death & Co. Cocktail Book and stumbled upon Phil Ward's variation on the Last Word, the Julien Sorel, that he created in 2008. This variation stood out in two ways: Cognac as the spirit and it being a sparkling cocktail. I have had another sparkling wine Last Word-like drink, the Afterword, as well as a beer one, the Word to Your Mom, but the Cognac part was unique.
The Julien Sorel gave forth a lemon oil aroma that covered nutty Maraschino notes. Next, the sip was a combination of the lemon and sparkling wine, and the swallow shared the Cognac and subtle Maraschino and Chartreuse herbal notes. Definitely, the sparkling wine helped to lighten the flavor profile here.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

vatican city

1 oz Suze Gentian Liqueur (Salers)
1 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass with 3 oz soda water. Fill with ice, add a straw, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Saturday two weeks ago, I reached for my copy of The Essential New York Times Book of Cocktails to make a drink that I had spotted earlier in the week called the Vatican City. The recipe was created by Mikki Kristola of the Varnish in Los Angeles and appeared like a riff on Michael McIlroy's Rome with a View. Once prepared, it gave forth a grapefruit oil aroma. Carbonated lime and wine notes on the sip led into earthy gentian and other herbal notes.

Friday, January 8, 2016

seven seas swizzle

2 oz Batavia Arrack
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz 2:1 Green Tea Syrup (3/4 oz 1:1)
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Build in a tall glass, fill with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill. Garnish with a mint sprig and freshly grated nutmeg.

A few Thursdays ago for my post-work shift nightcap, I decided to make a drink that I had spotted in Punch Magazine article about Batavia Arrack. The recipe that caught my eye, the Seven Seas Swizzle, was Nick Bennett's riff on the Queen's Park Swizzle that he crafted at the Porchlight in Manhattan. Besides the rum to Batavia Arrack switch, he swapped the muddled mint and simple syrup to a green tea syrup as well as changing the aromatic bitters to orange.
The Seven Seas Swizzle generated a woody spice and mint bouquet. On the palate, sweet lime on the sip led into funky rum, green tea, and a dry finish on the swallow.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

tiki alexander

3/4 oz Lost Spirits 151 Proof Cuban Rum (Lemon Hart 151)
3/4 oz Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Heavy Cream

Shake with ice and strain into a snifter glass. Fill with crushed ice and garnish with nutmeg, a pineapple wedge, and pineapple leaves (nutmeg and borage flowers).

After my night out on the town, I decided to make a drink from TurnTableKitchen that I had spotted on the Instagram of Jeffrey Levy, the drink's creator. The article was on the Brandy Alexander, and Jeff's riff on it was a rum one that took it in a Tiki direction.
The Tiki Alexander shared a nutmeg aroma from the garnish. Next, a creamy lime sip gave way to chocolate, rum, and pineapple flavors. I could not help but think that Green Chartreuse would not be out of place here to convert it into a Pago Pago Alexander, but that would take the drink even further away from its roots.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

4 devils

1 1/2 oz Bulleit Rye
1 oz Lustau Oloroso Sherry
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz Fernet Branca

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Wednesdays ago, I made a field trip to the South End to stop into Wink & Nod. For a drink, I asked bartender Jace Sheehan for the 4 Devils off of the "Featured Releases" movie-themed section of their menu. The 4 Devils was a 1929 black and white movie subtitled "A swinging circus trapeze becomes the pendulum of passion." Besides the circus theme, I was drawn towards the drink for it reminded me of an Oldfield with sherry.
The 4 Devils began with a nutty aroma with a hint of menthol and other herbal notes. Next, the dry grape sip offered a bit of body, and the swallow shared rye spice, nutty, and menthol herbal flavors.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


1/3 jigger Gin (1 oz Hayman's Royal Dock)
1/3 jigger Dry Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat)
1 spoon Cointreau (1/3 oz)
1 spoon Benedictine (1/3 oz)
1 spoon Orange Juice (1/3 oz)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)
2 drop Bitters (1 dash Jerry Thomas Decanter)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added an orange twist.

After getting home from Audubon, I treated myself to a nightcap. For inspiration, I opened Boothby's 1934 World Drinks and How to Mix Them and spotted the Argentina. The combination of ingredients reminded me of a Satan's Whiskers perhaps crossed with aspects of the Tango #2.
In the glass, the Argentina proffered orange aromas from the twist oils and the juice. Next, a crisp orange sip with hints of white wine gave way to juniper, orange peel, herbal, and spice elements on the swallow. Overall, the drink was definitely a step up from a Bronx given the richer orange flavors as well as the spiced and herbal components.

darkwing duck

1 oz Royal Thistle Scotch
1/2 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
1 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Russo Nocino
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a single old fashioned glass. Garnish with a cherry.
Tuesday two weeks ago, Andrea and I ventured over to Audubon for dinner. For a drink, I asked bartender Taylor Knight for the Darkwing Duck from the cartoon-themed section of the menu, and he mentioned that it was bar manager Tyler Wang's menu item. Once prepared, it gave forth nutty and smoke aromas with a hint of grape. The grape continued on into the sip where it mingled with apple flavors, and the swallow presented the Scotch with nutty notes smoothed over by the Carpano Antica.

Monday, January 4, 2016


5/10 Brandy (1 1/2 oz Camus VS Cognac)
3/10 Marie Brizard Apricot Brandy (1/2 oz Rothman & Winter)
2/10 Cederlunds Swedish Punsch (1/2 oz Kronan)
1 dash Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Monday two weeks ago, I turned to the Café Royal Cocktail Book and spotted the Coronian attributed to W.H. Taylor. I was drawn in to the recipe for it reminded me of the Havana Cocktail but with brandy instead of gin. Once prepared, the Coronian shared a brandy and apricot bouquet. Next, lemon on the sip was joined by hints of orchard fruit, and the swallow proffered brandy, tea, and apricot notes. Overall, the Swedish punsch donated a dryness and complexity to the swallow, and its flavors worked rather well with the apricot to modify the other's flavors.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

st. columbus rill

2 oz Bushmills Irish Whiskey (Teeling's Small Batch)
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass.
A few Fridays ago, I decided to open up the Death & Co. Cocktail Book to find my evening's nightcap. Phil Ward's St. Columbus Rill from 2008 called out to me and reminded me of the Flushing-Main St. that I had tried earlier in the week. Once mixed, the St. Columbus Rill presented a malt, Chartreuse herbal, and hints of nutty cherry on the nose. Next, a light malt and grape sip gave way to smooth whiskey and a Last Wordy combination of Green Chartreuse and Maraschino.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

:: fred's picks for the top cocktails of 2015 (in) ::

I will complete my sixth annual trilogy of year end wrap up posts by picking out the best recipes we tried at our home bar this year. Given my schedule of working nights, I find myself having the home bar as the only drinking option available, so I definitely put a bit more focus on my closest and dearest bar. I used to also tack on the best of my own creations at the end of the post, but I think I covered that in the first part of the trilogy (and you can see the whole collection here). Thus, this list is dedicated to the best recipes created by bartenders, living, deceased, and unknown, from around the world all brought to me at my home bar (where pants are optional).

January: To start the year off, I selected the Turn Signal by Portland's Sean Hoard and Daniel Shoemaker as a great fruity, bitter, and Bourbon drink. Luna de Cosecha by Justin Noel of 1534 in NYC with a stirred bitter and chocolatey tequila Manhattan and the strange early 1900's cassis for Maraschino Martinez, the Marblehead got honorable mentions.

February: Despite the name, 50 Shades of Maguey captured my attention with the ever delightful passion fruit-Campari pairing. Seattle's Scott Diaz's A Simple Quandry as a gin and aquavit 1919 Cocktail of sorts and Central Provisions' Schooner Punch that they created up in Portland, Maine, to show off a classic punch style have my attention as well.
March: I rather enjoyed Natalie Jacob's Jake Barnes for combining the Jack Rose with the pineapple-laden Jersey City. March's secondary honors go to Jeremy Oertel's Haunted House from The Old-Fashioned book with its use of Swedish punsch as the sweetener, and the sherry and orgeat Youngs from Pioneers of Mixing in Elite Bars: 1903-1933.

April: April was quite a Manhattan-filled month. First, I was quite impressed with the gin-pineapple-IPA beer combo in Thomas Waugh's Strange Brew from The Death & Co. Cocktail Book. Next, for runners up, Phil Ward's R'Cobbler -- a Rosita riff he created at Mayahuel, and Jesse Vida's Square Root -- an earthy Paper Plane-like equal parter that he created at Dead Rabbits.

May: May brought things back to Boston with Ryan Lotz's Benny & the Jets Tiki-style drink that he created for a Beachbum Berry event in town. Keeping with the Tiki theme, one of the second spots goes to Pleasure Island by Seattle's Ryan Lobe. And on the elegant side, Morning from Boothby's 1934 book captured elements of the Brandy Crusta without all the peel and sugar rim.
June: Tiki did continue on with the 1961 Puka Punch as a top pick, and Blair Reynold's Hilo Hala that he created before he even opened Hale Pele as a runner up. The other runner up, the Baltimore Cocktail, was created by Andrew Willett as a Madeira and spice variation using the Vieux Carré structure. The photo above was also from this month, the 1946 Zombie, which was also delightful but the photo and garnishing were more top notch than the variation recipe.

July: The month was a tough one to narrow down, and the top nod will be shared by two bartenders mentioned already. One was Scott Diaz's The Count's Swizzle which veered from the Negroni into Swizzle-land but still kept the Campari; and the other was Jeremy Oertel's Cynar and fire Artichoke Hold. For honorable mention in July, Jessica Gonzalez's Night Watch from The Death & Co. Cocktail Book made for a great nightcap. A garnish nod to myself went to my pirate ship on Blackbeard's Ghost.

August: It was easier to narrow the pack down to three than it was to pick a top drink. Perhaps Seattle's Connor O'Brien's Unique Bird that split the difference between a Jungle Bird and a Daisy de Santiago and graced the pages of Paul Clarke's The Cocktails Chronicles book. The Spiced Park Swizzle from Tiki Drinks: Tropical Cocktails for the Modern Bar and a leftover recipe from Tales of the Cocktail, the Sip Sip Hooray from San Diego's Noble Experiment, both were solid drinks.
September: Jason Alexander's Golden Shellback offered Tiki with elegant Benedictine and Swedish punsch notes for September's pick. Next, Maksym Pazuniak's A Moment of Silence still holds up after all these years since Beta Cocktails was published, and Gregory Buda's update of the Japanese Cocktail -- the Orientation at Dead Rabbits both deserve some recognition.

October: When Will Isaza of Fairsted Kitchen competed for Bacardi Legacy in Boston, I went home and made his winning drink the Paraiso at home to show myself why it was top dog. October also found me drinking a lot of quirky banana liqueur drinks with the Banana Boulevardier from the Anvil being one of the better ones. And for the other runner-up, a strange Daiquiri variation using an already taken name -- the White Lion from the irreverent Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 reminded me of a little of a Periodista.
November:Hale Pele's Mindy Kucan crafted one of the better seasonal drinks this year with the Nutty Like a Fruitcake. Silver and bronze medals (in no particular order) go to Eric Witz's Last Word-Widow's Kiss hybrid the Widow's Word and Boothby's 1934 dry vermouth elegant yet tropical egg white Pantomime.

December: Another great seasonal drink came from Chicago's The Whistler with Billy Helmkamp's South Pole Swizzle. A nod should be given to a pair of egg drinks, namely Griffin Lawler's Treaty of Paris with its Earl Grey tea notes and Pip Hanson's Angophile with a hearty dose of Angostura balanced and complemented by the vanilla-driven Licor 43.

Friday, January 1, 2016

:: fred's picks for the top cocktails of 2015 (out) ::

In December 2010, someone asked me the difficult question of what was my favorite cocktail of the year, and I was a little lost for words for there were so many. In working out a post for this, I decided to sort it out by dividing the list down by month and also by whether I had them out at a bar or in at home. My choices were influenced by two factors -- tastiness and uniqueness; it had to be both memorable and worth repeating. The drinks were organized by when the drink post appeared and not when they were had. Here is the sixth yearly installment with my monthly breakdown for drinks I had out on the town for 2015 with a runner up or two listed. When looking for interesting trends, banana whether in liqueur (more common) or syrup (seen twice this year) was done well without the candy-fake liqueurs of yesteryear. Gentian liqueurs were utilized in varying amounts to give a certain earthiness to drinks, and sherry especially in Tiki drinks continued on with Madeira taking a growing role in the fortified usage in cocktails. In addition, room temperature drinks still hold a place in Boston's heart as well as do amaro of all sorts albeit used less abrasively than in the past.

January: For best drink out, I selected Ames St. Deli's Zig Zag Wanderer that they named in honor of the anniversary of Captain Beefheart's passing; the combination of mezcal, herbal liqueurs, and chocolate was rather elegant. For runners up, Sichuan Garden II's addition to the sherry Tiki theme, the Sherry Colada, was so good that we ordered it again a few months later. Also notable was Backbar's reworking of the Trinidad Sour into the Trinidad & Toboggan.

February: A close call here with this trio, but I will give the nod to West Bridge and their tribute to Seattle's coffee capital Lake Union. Of note were Russell House Tavern's Eye of the Storm that reminded me of a Suffering Bastard with a hint of Mr. Bali Hai and Citizen Public House with its delightful mezcal and sherry sipper Smoke and Mirrors.
March: Another tough choice to pick a top spot, but Estragon's Payaso de Roseo (Rodeo Clown) had an aperitif classiness to another mezcal and sherry combination. Townsman's rum and spice Kingston Cup and Brick & Mortar's pineapple juice-less Jungle Bird, the Jets to Brazil, were also rather delightful.

April: Sichuan Garden II made a point early that banana liqueur could be used in a classy way, and their Father's Advice partnered it with bitter elements and sherry. For runners up, Backbar's room temperature Derby Scaffa and Audubon's rum riff on the Lawhill, the Law Harbor, deserve recognition.

May: Another strong month for Sichuan Garden II where the Absinthe Buck tamed the anise-driven cordial with almond and spice. Also intriguing was the Independent's Kapuna Kane that worked a large amount of gentian liqueur into a drink did not feel overwhelmed by it.
June: A Piña Colada-Negroni hybrid for Negroni Week? Count No. 9 Park in for the top seat in June with their Amaro di Cocco (they ignored my suggestion for the name Piña Negrada though). For honorable mention, Townshend's Chartreuse-y Peacefield and Lincoln's mezcal and spice Battle of Puebla.

July: For July and August, I will segregate out the New Orleans and Tales of the Cocktail drinks and deal with the local talent here. Just north of the city, I was intrigued by Barrel House's Jersey Isle Julep, and for a silver showing, Spoke with their A Bird Named Rufus.

New Orleans & Tales of the Cocktail: With 16 recipes written up from the event and around the city, I felt that it needed its own category. I was definitely impressed with Beachbum Berry's Latitude 29 and found myself there quite often (the only bar that matched it was the 24 hour craft beer bar near my hotel, the Avenue Pub); I was advised to start with their take on the classic Pearl Diver called the Pontchartrain Pearl Diver and that recommendation was strong. Pouring Ribbons' Sing for Your Supper was probably the best drink at the Bartenders Breakfast, and for over the top elegance, the Meyer's Cobbler at Compère Lapin stood out.
August: August was indeed a challenge. Top honor will go to Frogmore's tribute to Charleston's role in Madeira trade with the Sun City. The Golden-eyed Treefrog at a rum event at Felipe's and the New Orlean's tribute, the Easy E, at Backbar get the tip of the hat.

September: Things did not get any easier in September to make a choice, and it was hard enough to narrow it down to three. So here they are without any designation. Hawthorne's Boulevardier in the Heather as the beginning of the banana Negroni phase for me. Estragon's Tropicalia with cachaça, spices, and tropical flavors. And Hojoko's Budokon as an overproof rum-madeira Sazerac of sorts.

October: It was tough to pick a best drink at No. 9 Park this month with a strong showing on their new menu; perhaps their Declaration with Madeira edged out the Sherry Painkiller and the I'wi Bird. A duo of gentian liqueur cocktails deserve the nod: Monument Park at State Park and the Barnyard Punch at Highball Lounge.
November: I couldn't narrow down which four equal part drink was the top dog, so why not split the difference with the Franklin's Almost Famous and Brick & Mortar's One One Thousand. Off of Audubon's cartoon-themed section of the menu, the Friar Tuck deserves some notice.

December: Just opened this month, Tiger Mama impressed me with their rum Manhattan of sorts, the Long Eclipse. A downtown duo of the amusingly named High Five, So Am I with its tequila, Cynar, and honey action at JM Curley and the Bela Vista with rye, banana, and Ramazzotti and No. 9 Park round out the month.

So there are my 34 best drinks in Boston for 2015 a trio from Tales of the Cocktail and New Orleans thrown in. From the local talent, those drinks stem from 25 different establishments across town (and some just outside of town). I also left out any drinks that I had a hand in at Russell House Tavern and Loyal Nine. And as I said last year, there were certainly ones that got edged out that I wish I could mention, but the scope of this post was kept tight (although not as tight as a top 12 would have been). I am looking forward to what 2016's list will bring. Cheers!