Tuesday, January 31, 2017


2 oz Old Forester Bourbon
1 oz Cardamaro
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1/4 oz Fernet Branca

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass, fill with ice, and garnish with a lemon twist.
While in Louisville two Tuesdays ago, I made my way over to Rye. Rye's neighborhood was on the edge of downtown that lay between two interesting neighborhoods: the Highlands "Keep Louisville Weird" district where I went to the Holy Grale beer Mecca the night before and Butchertown where I went later that night and the following evening. For a first drink, I asked the bartender for the Schnitzelberg which might have been a slight misspelled tribute to the Schnitzelburg neighborhood about 2.5 miles south of the restaurant. In the glass, the cocktail presented a lemon oil and herbal aroma. Next, the whiskey's malt and the Cardamaro's wine mingled on the sip, and the swallow gave forth Bourbon flavors that were modified by the Fernet Branca-Maraschino rounded bitter combination.

Monday, January 30, 2017

dead hemingways

3/4 oz Copper & Kings Immature Brandy
1/2 oz Copper & Kings Lavender Absinthe
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Orgeat

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Top with ~2 1/2 oz brut sparkling wine and garnish with a short mint sprig.

Two Monday nights ago while in Louisville, Kentucky, I ventured over to Meta for a drink. Meta opened in 2013 in the space that held an old strip club called Show-n-Tell. Besides repurposing the sign and turning the stripper poles into the foot rails for the bar, the bar's theme is to transform old cocktails into new. Their menu explains, "Meta is a term, especially in art, used to characterize something that is characteristically self-referential. At Meta, we believe the craft cocktail movement is as meta as it gets - bartending about bartending. Please enjoy our house cocktails, and feel free to trace them to their roots by sampling our own rendition of the classic(s) they're inspired by."
I was able to narrow my choices down to two and asked the bartender which one he suggested; when I affirmed that I did indeed like licorice, he pointed me to the Dead Hemingways. Being a 1980s punk fan, the name definitely made me smile so I am glad that he pointed me to that one. Amy Fisher, the drink's creator, later described by email how "it's the love child of a Hemingway Daiquiri and a Death In The Afternoon." Once prepared, the Dead Hemingways presented an herbal aroma filled with anise and mint notes. Next, a sparkling wine and grapefruit sip led into anise and nutty notes on the swallow.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

poison arrow

1 1/2 oz Heaven Hill 6 Year Bonded Bourbon
3/4 oz Bigallet China-China
1/2 oz Campari
2 dash House Blood Orange Bitters

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

Two Sundays ago, I flew down to Louisville, KY, to help run the American Craft Spirits Association competition. For sustenance, I headed first down to the Against the Grain brewery and restaurant for some craft beer and food, but afterwards I needed a nightcap. A lot of Louisville's cocktail bars are closed on Sundays, but luckily I found one on my list of recommendations that was indeed open. Proof on Main was also between the brew pub and my hotel, so it made perfect sense. The bar there was set off from the main dining room by a wall which served as the bar's backbar. For my nightcap, I selected the Poison Arrow that was perhaps a Boulevardier cross with a Liberal that dropped the sweet vermouth akin to this Creole variation.
The Poison Arrow began with an orange and caramel aroma that preceded a caramel-driven sip. Next, the swallow offered a bit of complexity by pairing Bourbon and bitter orange flavors with a quinine-tinged finish. While I have had Campari-curaçao and Picon (or similar)-curaçao pairings, I think this was the first time that I had a drink that matched up the bitter Campari-Picon liqueurs and with great success.

Saturday, January 28, 2017


2/3 Rye Whiskey (1 1/2 oz Sazerac)
2 dash Dubonnet (1/2 oz Bonal)
1/3 Dry Vermouth (3/4 oz La Quintinye)
1 dash Benedictine (1/4 oz)
1 dash Picon Bitters (1/4 oz Amer Picon)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Saturdays ago, I finished packing for my trip to Louisville and decided to treat myself with something from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933. There, I selected the Jackson that appeared like a Creole with the sweet vermouth substituted for dry vermouth and a quinquina here. In the glass, the Jackson shared a rye and dark orange aroma. Next, malt and grape mingled on the sip akin to a Manhattan, and rye, bitter orange, herbal, and quinine notes rounded out the swallow. Overall, it was not to distant from a Creole but one with more complex bitterness.

Friday, January 27, 2017

juan ho royale

3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Blue Curaçao (Senior Curaçao Clear + 1 drop blue food coloring)
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1 1/2 oz Blanco Tequila (Avion)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe (Fizz glass) with 2 oz sparkling wine (Willm Blanc de Blancs).
After my bar shift two Fridays ago, I turned to the Smuggler's Cove book to find a sparkling wine recipe that I had spotted last time. The drink in question was the Juan Ho Royale that Martin Cate created for Hula's in Santa Cruz. TikiCentral first listed the recipe in 2007 as the champagne-less Juan Ho, and the restaurant still has that bubbles-free drink on the menu as the Juan Ho Martini. I was only able to find the Royale version in Cate's book though. In the glass, the Juan Ho Royale offered savory and vegetal agave notes to the nose. Next, a carbonated lime, orange, and white wine sip led into tequila, nutty, and clove flavors on the swallow.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

peat's kiss

1 1/4 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
3/4 oz Laphroaig 10 Year Scotch
1/2 oz Amaro Nonino
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with lemon oil from a twist.

After my shift two Thursdays ago, I took the opportunity to catch last call at Backbar on my way home. For a cocktail, I asked bartender Carlo Caroscio for his drink of the day called Peat's Kiss. The concept started with a request for a bartender's choice with apple brandy but smoky. Carlo was inspired by the apple-Scotch pairing in Phil Ward's Shruff's End and decided to merge that recipe with George Kappeler's Widow's Kiss. Finally, to stray from a straight mashup, he swapped the Benedictine common to both recipes for Amaro Nonino.
The Peat's Kiss's nose offered a large amount of peat smoke that was brightened by the lemon oil. Next, a caramel and honey sip transitioned into smoky Scotch and herbal apple notes.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

illusion travels by street car

1 1/2 oz Lustau Oloroso Sherry
1 oz Cimarron Blanco Tequila
1/2 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters
3/4 oz Water

Build in a cocktail coupe, and briefly stir to mix without ice. Note: This is a room temperature cocktail.

A few Tuesdays ago, Andrea and I ventured down to the South End to have dinner at Estragon. For a cocktail, I asked for a intriguing room temperature recipe from his drink notebook called Illusion Travels by Street Car. Sahil described how he crafted this recipe as a stirred with ice and strained libation, but he enjoyed it more when it warmed up. For his next iteration, he eschewed ice completely and substituted it with a half jigger of water. For a name, he dubbed this one after a quirky 1945 Luis Buñuel movie.
The Illusion Travels by Street Car offered a vegetal nose from the Cynar and tequila that paired well with the nutty aromas from the sherry and Maraschino. Next, the sip was rich and grape driven, and the swallow proffered tequila, herbal, and nutty flavors with a light spice finish.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin (Martin Miller)
3/4 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Blanc Vermouth (Dolin)

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

A few Mondays ago, I was looking through Paul Clarke's The Cocktail Chronicles for any passed over recipes. There, I spotted in the Negroni section the Continental created by Douglas Derick of Portland, Oregon. While the book provided no back history, I was able to find on the Barnotes app that he created this at Nostrana as part of his Negroni variation a month for a year project. The Continental was his favorite of the dozen.
The Continental shared lemon, herbal, and pine notes to the nose. Next, a sweet white grape and caramel sip gave way to a soft herbal and floral swallow with funky notes and juniper on the finish. Indeed, I was impressed at how the blanc vermouth modulated the Cynar into something a bit less funky and strange of an amaro.

Monday, January 23, 2017

autumn in oahu

1 oz Foursquare Cask Rum
1 oz Old Monk Rum
3/4 oz Allspice Syrup (*)
1/2 oz Pineapple Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a rocks glass, fill with crushed ice, garnish with 4 dashes Peychaud's Bitters, and add straws.
(*) Perhaps substitute 1/2 oz allspice dram.
For Andrea's first drink at Little Donkey a few Sundays ago, she asked bartender Seth Corliss for the Autumn in Oahu that Seth attributed to bartender Ingrid Schneider. Once garnished, the tropical drink offered anise and other herbal notes from the bitters. Next, pineapple and lime on the sip led into rum with an allspice finish on the swallow.

plymouth street harvest

3/4 oz Rittenhouse Rye
3/4 oz Laird's 100 Proof Apple Brandy
1 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Lustau Pedro Ximenez Sherry

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass, and garnish with orange oil from a twist.
A few Sundays ago, Andrea and I finally were able to score two seats at the bar at Little Donkey. For a first drink, I asked bartender Seth Corliss for the Plymouth Street Harvest. Seth described how this was his creation and how he was inspired by the 1919 Cocktail formula to craft this autumnal-themed libation. Once in the glass, the Plymouth Street Harvest shared an orange oil aroma over that of the sherry and Punt e Mes' grape notes. Next, the grape continued on into the sip where it mingled with the brandy's apple flavors, and the swallow presented rye, raisin, and bitter elements. Indeed, the pairing of Pedro Ximinez sherry and Punt e Mes worked as wonderfully here as it did in the Jack of No Trade.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

blackstrap betty

1 1/2 oz Cruzan 5 Year Rum (Barbancourt 8 Year)
1/2 oz Cruzan Black Strap Rum
3 oz Pineapple Juice
Juice 1/2 Lime (1/2 oz)
1/4 oz Coconut Cream (2 bsp Coco Lopez)
1/4 oz Licor 43

Shake with ice, strain into a 14 oz glass, fill with crushed ice, garnish with a mint sprig (grapefruit peel snake), and add a straw.
One of the other drinks that caught my eye on the BarNotes app was a Tiki drink created by TikiWahine called the Blackstrap Betty. She entered this drink into the Forbidden Island cocktail competition, and it impressed Martin Cate and the other judges so much that it was deemed the winner. When I prepared the drink a few Saturdays ago, the molasses and vanilla aromas from the mix were joined by grapefruit oil from the garnish. Next, the creamy sip offered lime and pineapple flavors, and the swallow shared rum and molasses elements that were sweetened by the liqueur's vanilla notes.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

negative space

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo CXV) was picked by Katie of the Garnish blog. The theme she chose was "Chocolate," and she elaborated on the choice with her description of, "I'm sorry to sabotage your well-intentioned New Year's resolutions to cut back on the booze and eat fewer sweets, but this month’s theme is... chocolate. When I think of chocolate and cocktails together, my mind still automatically conjures the image of a chocolate martini with a syrupy drizzle and a dollop of whipped cream, plucked right from the photo-laden menu of a classy establishment like Chili's or The Cheesecake Factory... My tastes have since evolved, and so has the role of chocolate in cocktails. Instead of creamy sugar bombs, bars are serving up crème de cacao classics like the 20th Century and Brandy Alexander, Boulevardiers made with cacao-nib infused Campari, and Oaxaca Old Fashioneds with mole bitters. Chocolate has found its way into serious cocktails, and I couldn't be happier about it. So this month, give in to your sweet tooth (or not) and see what you can do with a little chocolate! Chocolate liqueur, crème de cacao, chocolate bitters, cacao nibs, cocoa powder, cocoa tea... if it comes from the cacao plant, it's fair game."
I started looking around for a chocolate recipe for a few days, but I did not realize that I had one picked out. In the latest issue of Imbibe, there was a chocolate by way of crème de cacao drink from Maks Pazuniak of Brooklyn's Jupiter Disco. When I read the recipe, I shelved it without much thought until I bought a new bottle of sparkling wine. When I returned home from the liquor store with my bottle of blanc de blancs, I re-read the ingredients and realized that Maks' recipe would be perfect. I will always remember Maks as the one who made my first drink in New Orleans; that drink was the Art of Choke at the Cure. I also bought my copy of Rogue Cocktails from him, and after that got sued out existence and I acquired the two editions of Beta Cocktails from him in successive years. I was also pleased that he united with Al Sotack to open their own place in Brooklyn. I also met Al in New Orleans, but in the following room at the Art in the Age tasting room where he served me the Appalachian Flip. Enough with this trip down memory lane and on with the cocktail:
Negative Space
• 1/2 oz Suze Gentian Liqueur (Salers)
• 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
• 1/2 oz Crème de Cacao (Tempus Fugit)
• 1/4 oz Absinthe Blanc (Obsello)
• 1 drop Orange Blossom Water
Shake with ice and strain into a flute glass. Top with 3 oz prosecco (2 1/2 oz Willm Blanc de Blancs).
The Negative Space's nose first greeted me with anise aromas before I sank into the earthy chocolate ones. Next, the carbonated lemon and wine sip gave way to earthy-bitter gentian, chocolate, and herbal flavors on the swallow. Surprisingly, the absinthe here was rather gentle either due to the drink's recipe or my choice of absinthe. Also, the orange blossom water was a bit subtle at one drop, and increasing it to two did not help much. Overall, Andrea commented that this drink would be a perfect Valentine's Day cocktail! And definitely the gentian liqueur paired quite well with chocolate as it had in the Copper Canyon and the Zig Zag Wanderer.

Thank you to Katie for picking such an excellent theme as well as doing all the work to host this month! And thank you to all the participants, past and present, who have made this event a pleasure to be a part of. Cheers!

Friday, January 20, 2017

the search for delicious

2 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
15-21 drop Lemon Juice (18 drop)
6 dash Regan's Orange Bitters
1 pinch Sea Salt (Baline)

Build in a rocks glass 1/8th rimmed with salt and stir with ice. Garnish with lemon oil from 5 twists and insert the last peel skin side in.
Before leaving for my work shift two Fridays ago, I had already decided to make The Search for Delicious by The Cure's Kirk Estopinal from 2011's Beta Cocktails. I had recently thought about the drink when I found the post for Will Thompson's The Search for The Cure that he made for me at Drink. I believe that I never made the original from the book for it reminded me a bit too much of the Little Giuseppe, but I felt it was worth giving the recipe a try if only to revisit the delightful flavor combination. Once constructed, The Search for Delicious presented a grand lemon aroma from the quintet of twists' worth of oil. Next, a caramel and grape sip gave way to minty herbal and orange flavors on the swallow. Overall, the pinch of salt killed the bitterness from the Cynar and Punt e Mes but still allowed their herbal notes to come through.

nordic toddy

1 oz Baska Snaps Malort
1 oz Old Ipswich Tavern Style Rum
1/2 oz Grade A Molasses
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup

Build in a pre-heated ~8 oz mug. Top with 4-5 oz boiling water, stir to mix, and garnish with a floated star anise pod.
My drink of the day two Fridays ago was a riff on Jerry Thomas' 1862 Black Stripe recipe that was originally two ounces Santa Cruz rum and a tablespoon of molasses. Thomas' The Bartender's Guide gave the option of serving the drink with shaved ice or filling the tumbler with boiling water and garnishing with nutmeg. I took to the hot path as I did with my apple brandy riff the Black Limbertwig Toddy, and I split the original's rum with an equal portion of Malort. To balance the Malort's bitterness, I added demerara syrup to the mix, and I changed the garnish to a floated star anise pod instead of the nutmeg. One comment was that the combination reminded them of salted black licorice with its savory herbal essence.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

dashboard hula girl

1 1/2 oz Plantation Stiggins' Fancy Pineapple Rum
3/4 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
3/4 oz Averna

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with flamed orange oil from a twist.
After my work shift two Thursdays ago, I went with my co-workers up the street to Trina's Starlite Lounge for a nightcap. For a drink, I asked bartender Nabanita Nag for the Dashboard Hula Girl. Nabanita explained how this was created by Tainah Soares as a tribute to the old band that one of the Parlor Sports' bartenders was in; moreover, a little research discovered that the drink was first placed on the menu with pineapple-infused El Dorado 12 Year Rum and Amaro Montenegro before the recipe switched to Plantation and Averna. Once mixed, the Dashboard Hula Girl gave forth orange and nutty aromas with a dark note from the Averna and perhaps the rum. Next, grape and caramel on the sip stepped aside to rum, pineapple, nutty, and herbal flavors on the swallow.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

abandon ship!

2 1/4 oz Appleton 12 Year Rum (Appleton Reserve)
3/4 oz Aperol
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice (Cara Cara)
1 oz BG Reynold's Don's Mix (*)
3/4 oz Orgeat
3 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a hollowed pineapple shell (Tiki mug), and fill with crushed ice. Float a boat made out of a lime shell, cinnamon stick mast, and 1/2 star anise sail (lemon peel sail); pour 1 oz Wray & Nephew Overproof White Rum (Rum Fire) into the boat, and light on fire.
(*)  Or use two parts grapefruit juice (2/3 oz) to one part cinnamon syrup (1/3 oz).

Two Wednesdays ago, I found a recipe posted by TikiWahine on the BarNotes app for an interesting Tiki drink called the Abandon Ship! The recipe was crafted by Felix Fernandez at Tiki Kon's 2014 Iron Tiki Tender event, and it seemed like an intriguing set of fruit flavors matched by spice. And the concept of a flaming ship garnish did not hurt. I had previously done a flaming pirate ship using a citrus shell, peels, and, toothpicks, but the idea of smouldering spices seemed intriguing. Unfortunately, I could not locate the star anise jar at home, so I opted for a lemon peel sail here.
The 126 proof rum was slightly difficult to get lit, but soon after it caught, it made a candlewick out of the cinnamon stick. The fire was so bright that it made photography a bit challenging here. After the fire was extinguished, the funky rum from the lime shell and the smouldering cinnamon filled the air. I ended up dumping in the Rum Fire as a float, although mixing it in after a few sips would have been a good idea since the first taste at the end that was mostly this elixir was a bit of a change up. Next, the sip was rather citrus driven with lime, orange, and grapefruit notes coming together quite well with the fruit notes in the Aperol, and the swallow gave forth rum, grapefruit, nutty, and cinnamon flavors.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

frank's cocktail

1 1/2 oz Cognac (Camus VS)
1 1/2 oz White Port (Ramos Pinto)
1 tsp Grenadine or Maraschino (1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino)
3 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

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

In David Wondrich's 2016: A Year in Drinks article on the DailyBeast, he listed a simple but elegant Cognac cocktail he made at home in his list of memorable drinks that he had around the world. The recipe was the Frank's Cocktail crafted by Frank Newman who was tending bar in Paris where he published a cocktail book called the American Bar in French. The unusual ingredient here is the white port that comes across as soft, sweet, and soothing all without masking the main spirit's flavor, and it is best known for being the flavor complement in the Clubland. In Newman's 1900 edition, the drink appeared with a dash of grenadine, but the Maraschino option in his 1904 edition was the one that called out to me two Tuesdays ago.
The Frank's Cocktail greeted the senses with lemon oil, Cognac aromas, and a hint of nutty cherry on the nose. Next, a very smooth and clean white grape flavor filled the sip, and the swallow offered Cognac and nutty Maraschino notes smoothed out by the white port.

Monday, January 16, 2017

norwegian paralysis

1 1/2 oz Orange Juice (Cara Cara)
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Demerara Syrup
1 1/2 oz Aquavit (Aalborg)

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass, and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge speared with a paper umbrella (orange twists).

Two Mondays ago, my thirst led me to the Smuggler's Cove book where I was lured in by their riff on the Polynesian Paralysis from 1971 that they sourced from Beachbum Berry's Remixed. The major issue with the original is that it calls for the Hawaiian spirit okolehao which can be hard to source on the mainland; Berry recommends Bourbon as a substitute here. Instead, Smuggler's Cove swapped the spirit to aquavit as well as halved the volumes to something more reasonable for one person. Aquavit has had good success in Tiki drinks such as the Port of Göteborg and the Viking Fog Cutter, so I was definitely game to try this out.
The Norwegian Paralysis proffered a citrus and caraway bouquet that preceded a lemon, orange, and pineapple sip. The swallow led in with caraway and other aquavit botanicals as well a hint of nutty from the orgeat and ended with a pineapple finish.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

alto california

2 oz Siembra Azul Blanco Tequila (Avion)
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1/2 scant oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/4 tsp Cinnamon Syrup (1/4 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
After my shift two Sundays ago, I reached for the Death & Co. Cocktail Book for liquid salvation. The recipe that called out to me was Alex Day's 2009 Alta California which reminded me of an agave Alaska-Puritan. I misread the 1/4 tsp and added a full 1/4 oz of cinnamon syrup here, but my latest batch of that syrup is not that potent, so the effect save for the syrup was perhaps similar. In the glass, the Alta California presented agave with herbal notes to the nose. Next, honey and white wine on the sip transitioned into a tequila and lightly herbal swallow with a cinnamon finish.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

pondo punch

3 oz Puerto Rican Rum (Caliche)
1/2 oz Curaçao (Van der Hum)
1/4 oz Grenadine
1 oz Orange Juice (Cara Cara)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a 14 oz glass with 3 oz soda water, and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with sliced fruits in season (orange slice).
After my New Year's Eve shift at Loyal Nine, I wanted to relax with something tropical so I reached for Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink (1981 edition of the 1946 original). There, I spotted the Pondo Punch that Vic described as, "We used to drink these on the Borneo Coast. Pondo, our Filipino boy, concocted this drink. It's a nice drink before sundown, and after four of them, keep away from open flames." The recipe is denoted with a symbol listing it as a Trader Vic original, but he attributed the history to someone else in the recipe description. The text did not allude to what stupidity occurred after drinking 4 of these, but one was mighty potent besides the 14 ounces of booze that would be in the quartet. Once prepared, the punch shared an orange aroma that led into a carbonated orange and lemon sip and a rum-driven swallow. Overall, the drink was a pleasant Rum Collins, and perhaps a more flavorful rum as well as upping the curaçao, grenadine, and tart citrus might help to give the drink a bit more character.

Friday, January 13, 2017

black mesa

1 1/2 oz Demerara Rum (El Dorado 5 Year)
1/2 oz Overproof Jamaican Rum (Smith & Cross)
1/2 oz Pedro Ximenez Sherry (Lustau)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a double Old Fashioned glass with a large cube, and garnish with a flamed orange twist (not flamed).
Two Fridays ago, I received my new issue of Imbibe Magazine and I happened upon Damon Boelte's Black Mesa that he created at the Grand Army Bar in Brooklyn. The recipe appeared like Trader Vic's Arawak Cocktail with the Jamaican rum being split with one from Guyana. In the glass, the Black Mesa shared an orange and raisin aroma that was accented by the Jamaican rum's funk. Next, rich grape and the rums' caramel paired on the sip, and the swallow saw the return of the funky rum along with raisin and winter spice flavors.

Thursday, January 12, 2017


2/3 Scotch (1 1/4 oz Famous Grouse + 1/4 oz Laphroaig)
2 dash Dubonnet (1 oz Bonal)
2 dash Apricot Liqueur (1/2 oz Rothman & Winter)
1 dash Orange Bitters (2 dash Regan's)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Thursdays ago after my bar shift, I reached for Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 to uncover another gem. In the whiskey section, I spotted the Queens that I had skipped over before since there is a better known Queens that is a Perfect Martini with pineapple juice akin to the Bronx. Since very few people make the pineapple version anyways, I decided to give this recipe some attention. Once mixed, the Queens gave forth a peat smoke and apricot aroma. Next, grape and malt on the sip led into smoky whisky and bitter apricot on the swallow with an orange and quinine finish. Indeed, there was an elegance in the glass from the stone fruit complementing similar notes found in the Famous Grouse blend.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

eeyore's requiem

1 1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Tanqueray Gin
1/4 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
15 drop 50/50 Bitters (1 dash Regan's Orange)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with orange oil from 3 twists.

Two Wednesdays ago, I finally purchased a replacement bottle of blanc vermouth and wanted to make a drink with it. One of the ones that I had queued up was Toby Maloney's Eeyore's Requiem that he created at Chicago's Violet Hour and got published in Beta Cocktails in 2011 (it did not appear in the 2009 Rogue Cocktails or 2010 intermediary zine Beta Cocktails). I had actually made the rum riff of this quirky gin drink in the Winnie the Pooh from the Experimental Cocktails Club book. The trilogy of Campari, Cynar, and Fernet Branca is one that Toby has utilized elsewhere such as in the Autumn Negroni save that the Campari is pushed way forward here.
The Eeyore's Requiem began with a bright orange oil aroma over that of the Campari's bitter orange notes. Next, the sip shared orange and peach flavors, and the swallow presented Campari balanced by Fernet's and Cynar's herbal bite which all came across as a complex bitter wave supplemented by the gin's botanicals. Moreover, the sweetness of the blanc vermouth helped to mollify the amari's bitterness.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

get the wolfe

1 1/2 oz Grant's Blended Scotch
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry
1/4 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
1/4 oz Cynar
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a flamed orange twist.
For my cocktail at Craigie on Main, I asked Rob Ficks for the Get the Wolfe that had caught my attention the last visit or two. Rob explained that it was his creation and that originally it utilized all East India Solera Sherry, but he split it with amontillado to dry out the balance a touch. In the glass, the Get the Wolfe gave forth an orange and grape bouquet to the nose. The grape continued on into the sip where it mingled with the Scotch's malt, and swallow proffered smoky whisky and bitter herbal flavors. Although the amount of Cynar in the drink was slight, it did complement the Scotch here well perhaps in conjunction with the Punt e Mes.

a drink has no name

1 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1 oz Cardamaro
1 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass, and garnish with orange oils from a twist.
Two Tuesdays ago, Andrea and I stopped into Craigie on Main for a nightcap. Andrea asked bartender Rob Ficks for A Drink Has No Name; she explained to me that it was a Game of Thrones reference, and Rob mentioned that it was created by his fellow bartender Benjamin Kweskin. Once prepared, the cocktail offered an orange and slightly nutty aroma that led into darker notes later on. Next, the sherry and Cardamaro's grape flavors filled the sip, and the swallow shared rye and a hint of nutty notes with a sharp chocolate-bitter finish.

Monday, January 9, 2017

glandula del mono

2 oz Blanco Tequila (Lunazul Reposado)
2 dash Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe (1 bsp Pernod Absinthe)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice (Cara Cara)
1/2 oz Grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
Two Mondays ago, I ventured back into the pages of the Death & Co Cocktail Book where I happened upon Phil Ward's tequila Monkey Gland riff called Glandula del Mono. Phil in 2008 split the classic's orange juice with lemon juice to balance the sweetness of the grenadine. Then again, the grenadine level was increased relative to most Monkey Gland recipes to compensate, but it shifted the drink from a softer one smoothed over by orange juice to something more akin to a Sour. Once prepared, the Glandula del Mono presented agave notes with hints of anise to the nose. Next, orange, lemon, and berry flavors filled the sip, and the swallow was mostly about the tequila with anise nose on the finish.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

remember the alamo

1 1/2 oz Reposado Tequila (Lunazul)
1 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Cherry Heering
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass pre-rinsed with absinthe (St. George), and garnish with a cherry (omit).
Two Sundays ago, I reached for The Canon Cocktail Book and spotted a riff on the Remember the Maine that Charles H. Baker, Jr. recorded in The Gentleman's Companion. I was more intrigued by the swapping of Punt e Mes for the classic's sweet vermouth than I was by the aged tequila taking the place of the whiskey. Once built, the Remember the Alamo gave forth an anise aroma from the absinthe rinse at first before offering agave and other herbal notes. On the palate, the sip was dominated by the Punt e Mes' grape flavor, and the swallow lent vegetal agave and bitter cherry flavors with an anise finish.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

storm the beach

1 oz Hamilton 86° Demerara Rum (El Dorado 5 Year)
1/2 oz Plantation O.F.T.D. Rum (1 oz Plantation Dark)
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1/2 oz Cinnamon-Cumin Syrup (*)
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
2 drop Bittermens Tiki Bitters (8 drop Bittercube Jamaican #2)

Shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a dehydrated grapefruit slice (fresh grapefruit slice).
(*) Syrup: Bring 1 cup water and 2 broken up cinnamon sticks to a boil, simmer 10 minutes. Meanwhile, toast 3 tsp cumin seed and grind. After the 10 minutes, add 2 cup sugar and the ground cumin. Strain and refrigerate. Note: I did this 1/4 scale, and I also made this as a 1:1 syrup and increased the volume from 1/2 oz to just under 3/4 oz.

Two Saturdays ago before I started cooking for Christmas eve, I spotted Ryan Welliver's Storm the Beach drink recipe in Imbibe. Ryan won the Charleston Wine & Food "Rum, Rum Rudolph" competition with this Tiki drink, and I was willing to give it a go especially since the structure reminded me of a Jet Pilot. The recipe requires the crafting of a cinnamon-cumin syrup, and since I was already in the kitchen cooking, it was not that much extra effort. While cinnamon is a well known Tiki syrup, cumin is a bit less known but it has appeared via kümmel in tropical recipes like the South Pole Swizzle, Tropicalia, and the Mata Va'ha. Perhaps in a pinch, the syrup could be split between cinnamon and kümmel to achieve a similar effect.
The Storm the Beach greeted the nose with a grapefruit and cumin aroma. Next, the grapefruit continued into the sip where it mingled with the lime and rums' caramel flavors, and the swallow presented rum, cinnamon, cumin, and clove spice with a lime finish.

Friday, January 6, 2017

black flip

2 oz Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout (Stone Xocoveza Stout)
1 1/2 oz Cruzan Black Strap Rum
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup
1 Whole Egg

Swirl to de-gas the beer, shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a Fizz glass (rocks glass), and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Two Fridays ago, I was opening a stout beer, so I saved some to make Jim Meehan's circa 2007 Black Flip from the P.D.T. Cocktail Book. I had been kicking myself when I had spotted the recipe a few days ago, for I had just unknowingly drank the one Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout that I had bought; instead, I made this recipe with a different dark beer in my refrigerator. Meehan created this recipe after being inspired by Wayne Curtis' chapter on Flips in And A Bottle Of Rum. While I have had other dark beer Flips such as the Black Cadillac, Rumbustion Flip, and Breakfast of Champions, I still felt it was important to try the drink that pre-dated all of them by a few years or more. Moreover, the recipe reminded me of Meehan's Great Pumpkin which is an epic autumnal beer-egg drink.
The Black Flip shared a nutmeg aroma with dark notes from either the beer or the black strap rum. Next, a creamy caramel sip gave way to molasses, coffee, cinnamon, and vanilla notes on the swallow.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

the silent x

1 1/2 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
3/4 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/4 oz Agave Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a tall glass, fill with crushed ice, garnish with 7 dash Regan's Orange Bitters and an orange twist, and add a straw.
After my shift two Thursdays ago, it was early enough to make it over to the Automatic where I found a seat in front of bartender Pam Maguire. For a first drink, I asked Pam for the Silent X that she attributed to Jordan Runion. Given the menu description, I was expecting more of a mezcal-forward up drink; instead, I was pleasantly surprised that it was more of a smoky Sherry Cobbler in style. Once prepared, the Silent X greeted the nose with an orange aroma from the bitters and twist oils. Next, a grape and citrus sip gave way to nutty sherry, vegetal agave, and cinnamon on the swallow with a lingering smoke finish.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

rye hummingbird

2 oz Rye Whiskey (Sazerac)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Honey Syrup
1 tsp Green Chartreuse

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.

Two Wednesdays ago, I selected Sasha Petraske: Regarding Cocktails and was intrigued by the Rye Hummingbird especially after recalling how well lemon, honey, and Chartreuse worked in the Board of Directors. Sasha was a big fan of tinkering with the Bee's Knees such as swapping the citrus to lime to create the Business. This encouraged Chad Solomon to add Green Chartreuse to the classic to craft the Gin Hummingbird Down, and Marcos Tello took the progression a step further by doing this rye twist.
The Rye Hummingbird Down shared a rye and floral honey bouquet with hints of Chartreuse's herbal to the nose. Next, lemon, honey, and malt mingled in the sip, and the swallow had rye transitioning to Chartreuse's herbal flavors combined with additional honey notes.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


2 oz Jamaican Rum (Coruba)
2 tsp Grenadine (1/3 oz)
2 dash Maraschino (1/6 oz Luxardo)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. A recipe in another Trader Vic book included a lemon twist (but I saw that recipe afterwards and thus did not have a garnish here).

Two Tuesdays ago, I reached for Trader Vic's 1981 edition of the 1946 Book of Food & Drink and spotted the Canton that was listed as a Trader Vic original. The recipe read like a rum Old Fashioned with the sweetener being a combination of grenadine and Maraschino seen in other drinks of that era like the Mary Pickford and the Champs-De-Mars Daiquiri. After the drink was made, I later found the recipe in Trader Vic's 1947 Bartender's Guide, and it included a lemon twist.
The Canton began with a nutty aroma from the Maraschino, a funk one from the Jamaican rum, and an allspice aspect from the bitters on the nose. Next, caramel, berry, and a hint of cherry filled the sip, and the swallow mingled funky rum, nutty, and clove flavors. Instead of an Old Fashioned, the drink reminded me of a rum Fancy Free with the pomegranate here taking the place of the Fancy Free's orange bitters fruit note.

Monday, January 2, 2017

:: fred's picks for the top cocktails of 2016 (in) ::

I will complete my seventh 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 have put a bit more focus on my closest and dearest bar with my posts. 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 luckily there is no last call).

January: There were two really good drinks that I made from Lost Lake in Chicago with their eponymous Lost Lake that came across like a Jungle Bird meets a Mary Pickford getting top nod for the month. Two soda water lightened drinks got my attention as well including the Vatican City from Mikki Kristola of L.A.'s The Varnish (that influenced by Italian Stallion) and Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars' West Indies Fizz.

February: I definitely enjoyed the brandy Diamondback riff, the Sidewinder, from Death & Co. Cocktail Book. Also of note were the Periodista-feeling Shipwreck Daiquiri from Tiki Drinks: Tropical Cocktails for the Modern Bar and the elegant pineapple-tinged Martini, the Madame Lou, from Boothby's 1934 World Drinks & How to Mix Them (which helped to name my Queen of the Lava Beds for V-Day at work that month).
March: My pick for March was Zac Overman's Angostura Colada from Fort Defiance that took the classic into funky rum and winter spice land. Runners up were two drinks that I have should have tried long before, namely Milk & Honey's Bensonhurst Manhattan riff and Don the Beachcomber's Three Dots and a Dash.

April: I really enjoyed the Daiquiri variation given my ingredient choices and recipe interpretation of the Westward from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars. The split spirit-based Harvest Moon by Daniel Eun via The PDT Cocktail Book and the ginger-spiced Daiquiri, the Snow White, were definitely good recipes in April.

May: A lot of good choices, but the fact that I made All Jacked Up by Jordan Brower of Mayahuel twice by accident should be symbolic. I was also impressed by Bravo Zulu as Vincent Toscano's Bacardi Legacy recipe and Phil Ward's Baltasar & Blimunda from the Death & Co. Cocktail Book. While not necessarily a recipe runner up, my garnish from Trader Vic's Tortuga is the photo below.
June: Another tough month, but I still remember enjoying Frank Caiafra's Frida from the updated Waldorf Astoria Bar Book a lot especially with the raspberry-Chartreuse combination. Garret Richard's Yacht Rock from NYC's Slowly Shirley and Giuseppe Gonzalez's quirky Magic Julep were also rather tasty.

July: Even with a week away from the home bar due to Tales of the Cocktail, there were still a bounty of choices. Not only did I love Nick Detrich's Absent Stars from Cane & Table at my home bar, but I also make it for certain guests at work. Also noteworthy were a Tiki duo -- one old and one new -- of Trader Vic's tequila Ponche and Lost Lake's Fog Cutter variation.

August: I am rather pleased with my purchase of the Smuggler's Cove book and the Martin Cate's Shudders in a Whisper is a good reason why. Davey Jones' Locker by Brad Farran as a Daiquiri tinged by Don's Mix and Fernet was rather good, as was the classic that I should have written about sooner, namely the Applejack Rabbit from 1928's Here's How Again.
September: It was hard ordering these three, but I'll give the honors to a Crusta, namely rye-Cynar-mint Pie-O-My by Brynn Smith of L.A.'s Sotto. Continuing on with the mint was a delightful Brazilian number from Charles H. Baker Jr.'s The South American Gentleman's Companion with the Bee's Knees-White Lady mashup, the Bahia Busy Bee. The final slot was a toss up between two beasts of flavor with the nod going to Rafa Garcia Febles' Young Marble Giants tribute, Colossal Youth (the other was the Shattered Glasser, by the way).

October: I was really impressed by the recipes I made in Lou Bustamante's Complete Cocktail Manual, and I selected the Shark God of Molokai by Andrew Dolinsky of Cleveland Heath in St. Louis as October's pick. A brandy Brooklyn-Creole mashup from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars called the Benediction was delightful as was the Luau from The PDT Cocktail Book.
November: Martin Cate's aquavit-driven Port of Göteborg was not one from his book but one published on Facebook, but it was worthy of mention. Secondly, the agave Midnight Bouquet from Meaghan Dorman of Manhattan's Raines and light but flavorful Pimm's-Tiki The Isle of Fawkes from Brian Maxwell of the Grass Skirt Tiki Room & the Side Bar both in a Columbus, Ohio, deserve note.

December: Somehow the combination of Scotch, raspberry, and lemon was magical in the Devery Crusta from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars. Also of note were Sother Teague's room temperature Black Rock Chiller from The Cocktail Chronicles that astounds me at how well it works, and the Sherry Cobbler from the Canon Cocktail Book (if you can source Paxtxaran that is).

I do want to tip the hat to Sasha Petrashe: Regarding Cocktails and Brad Parson's Amaro book that had great drinks that sadly got nudged on certain months.

silver lining

1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (Jim Beam)
3/4 oz Licor 43
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a Collins glass with a long ice cube (several ice cubes), and top off with soda water (2 oz soda water in glass, 1 1/2 oz soda water to top off). I added a lemon twist.
Two Mondays ago, I looked to Sasha Petraske: Regarding Cocktails for drink inspiration. The Silver Lining caught my eye; it was crafted by Joseph Schwartz at Milk & Honey circa 2001 after Sasha brought in a bottle of Licor 43. Joseph decided to merge this new bar ingredient with his love for Rye Fizzes and Silver Fizzes, and perhaps the name was inspired by one of Chet Baker's songs that they favored at the time. In the glass, the Silver Lining gave forth a citrussy nose that preceded a creamy, carbonated lemon and orange sip. Next, the swallow issued rye flavors mollified by the egg white's smoothness and a large dose of vanilla from the liqueur.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

:: fred's picks for the top cocktails of 2016 (out) ::

At the end of 2010, someone challenged me as to what my favorite drink of the year, and I was flummoxed for there were so many good options to chose from. As I sat down to compose my thoughts, I divided my list by whether I had them out at a bar or in at home, and I subdivided each of those by month. My choices were influenced by two factors -- tastiness and uniqueness; it had to be both memorable and worth repeating. Each month was selected for when the drink post appeared and not when they were had. Without further ado, here is the seventh annual installment for drinks I had out on the town for 2016 with a runner up or two listed.

January: For best drink out, I opted for Luc Thier's Ferrari Colada for merging the Fernet-Campari hybrid with the classic Piña Colada at Backbar. Runners up were the amaro-Tiki riff on the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club at Sarma called the Adriatic Yacht Club and the Manhattanesque 4 Devils at A Wink & A Nod.

February: With the help of David Wondrich, Yvonne's finally solved how to make the Ward Eight not a horrible drink due to the whiskey-orange juice combination (they added sherry!), so for that, I give February's top honor. For runners up, I rather enjoyed the tropical wonders of the Estragon's cachaça Chachalaca and No. 9 Park's agricole spice riff on the Royal Bermuda Yacht club called the Vielle Daquiri.
March: One part flavor profile and one part garnish theatrics garnered Sichuan Garden II's Baldwin Bars the month's pick with their Nose Dive. Backbar's Gilligan's Isle meets Little Guiseppe in the Little Buddy and Highball Lounge's rum- and spice-laden Full Sail Swizzle were also worth the mention.

April: I split the honors for best drink of the month with Stoddard's sherry bomb, the Palomino Sling, and Backbar's amaro-tropical Pinwheel Swizzle.

May: Tropical notes feature in two out of the three drinks this month including the winner, Sichuan Garden II's tribute to Privateer Rum distiller Maggie Campbell in the Campbell Town Rock. Also worthy of a nod or two are Trina Starlite Lounge's Dengue Fever and Ames Street Deli's mashup of a Rob Roy with a Red Hook and a Green Point in the Charles Roy. RIP Ames Street; we did get one more visit after drinking the Charles Roy before it closed less than a week later.
June: The month was a tough one to give an order to, but the Hawthorne's elegant Holy Molé took the Penicillin and swapped banana liqueur for the honey. I was also impressed by Green Street's Double Entendre both for the name and the elegant use of sherry and amaro in a gin drink and Citizen Public House's split rum-tequila drink Waking Up Ain't Easy.

July: Despite taking a week off to go to Tales of the Cocktail (those drinks are next), the remainder of the month yielded a lot of great drinks. After a bit of decision, I gave the month's top billing to Ames Street Deli's complex Rusty Nail riff, the Bitter Nail, that I had less than a week before they closed. For honorable mention honors, Estragon's bitter-fruit-spice M.N. Roy and Sichuan Garden II's entertaingly named The Adventures of Peat & Peat. Somehow I opted for three Campari drinks this month!

New Orleans & Tales of the Cocktail: I was rather impressed again by Cane & Table's drink program and their elegant yet funky Death & Sundries gets my pick as a great Sherry Cobbler riff. For seconds, Joaquin Simo of Pouring Ribbons not only crafted a great Martini variation Sweet Valley High, but the story he emailed me when he got back was excellent; and Latitude 29's Jungle Bird tribute to Paul Gustings, the Paul of the Jungle, was also memorable.
August: First place for August would have to go to the juice-free Stiggins' rum curiosity at Brick & Mortar called the Jungle Stirred. Tip of the hat to two heat busters, Russell House Tavern's Hoti Hoti and Sichuan Garden II's Summertime Sling.

September: Picking the top three drinks was easier than ordering them. Estragon's Bootlegger's Breakfast had a medley of flavors that lure me back mentally enough to give it the nod. Craigie on Main's Pastry War and Area Four Ink Block's Any Other Name were worthy competitors.

October: With the cooling weather, Tiger Mama's Manhattan riff, the Kan Shibuya, hit its mark for October. Definitely noteworthy were Backbar's mezcal Buck, the Magical Mezcal Mystery Cure, and Estragon's strange Sidecar variation, the Abricot Chevalier.
November: Top billing for the month was another tough one to call, but Brick & Mortar's Everything Nice hit fruit and spice notes with a sexy Cognac backbone. Definitely delights to drink were two Tiki offerings: one from Backbar called the Passport Painkiller, and the other from Sarma called the Merchant's Fog Cutter.

December: All three drinks I selected for the month were amaro-containing Tiki from a trio of newcomers to the scene, and all three I would have again. A tough call, but Bar Mezzana's Dutch Totem that took a Genever route was pretty novel. Also delightful were The Automatic's Devil's Left Hand and Benedetto's Maitalia. I look forward to what else these three can conjure up in the upcoming year!

So there are my 35 best drinks in Boston for 2016 with a trio from Tales of the Cocktail and New Orleans thrown in. From the local talent, those drinks stem from 22 different establishments across town (and some just outside of town). For trends, I would say that amaro-containing drinks are still king although they are being used less abrasively than in the past; the point is not so much jarring the palate but to combine and synergize with other flavors. One of those ways is in Tiki, and regardless of ingredients, Tiki, Swizzles, and other tropical styles are on the rise. Along with that, presentation has increased with garnish eloquence taking a step forward. Finally, lighter drinks especially ones that focus on more aperitif and fortified wines than spirits such as in Cobblers and Collins are also catching my note. So cheers, and I look forward to what 2017's list will bring!


2/3 Brandy (1 1/2 oz Camus VS)
2 dash Dry Vermouth (1 oz La Quintinye)
1 dash Cassis (3/8 oz Massenez)
1 dash Absinthe (1/8 oz Butterfly)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
After my Sunday work shift two weeks ago, I turned to Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 for nightcap inspiration. In the brandy section, I happened upon the MacKay and I was reminded of how well cassis and absinthe pair such as in the Br'er Rabbit. Once prepared, the MacKay showcased a dark berry aroma with anise notes. Next, a dark fruit sip gave way to Cognac, tart berry, anise, and light herbal flavors on the swallow. Overall, the pairing of a cassis and absinthe here reminded me of the Improved style of cocktail with the crème de cassis filling in somewhat for the Maraschino.


1 oz Mezcal Amaras
1 oz Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz Clement Creole Shrubb Orange Liqueur
1/2 oz Baska Snaps Malort

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Sundays ago, I decided to riff on a light digestif of 4 parts Lillet and 1 part each of Malört and orange liqueur and convert it into a mezcal drink. The idea was to craft a White Lucien Gaudin type of drink in the style of a White Negroni. I felt that the Malört would be complemented by mezcal but before I could make it that way, I did make for a guest as a gin variation. When I did give it a go, the vegetalness of the agave as well as the smoke really tied the combination together for me.
I dubbed the recipe the Destreza after the Iberian school of fencing to keep with the Lucien Gaudin theme. On the nose, the Destreza shared orange, earthy, and smoke notes that led into a light peachy and orange sip. Next, the swallow offered agave, smoke, bitter orange, and light lingering wormwood notes. Indeed, the sweetness of the orange liqueur and the complementary vegetal notes in the mezcal seemed to keep the Malört in check.