Saturday, September 30, 2017

touch of love

3 oz Black Strap Rum (1 1/2 oz Cruzan)
3 oz Bourbon (1 1/2 oz Fighting Cock 103)
3 oz Amaro Montenegro (1 1/2 oz)
1 oz Curaçao (1/2 oz Van der Hum)
5 oz Pineapple Juice (2 1/2 oz)
2 oz Lime Juice (1 oz)

Shake with ice and strain over fresh ice in a Tiki punch bowl. Top with soda (4 oz in the Tiki mug) and garnish with mint.
For the drink hour two Saturdays ago, I was drawn to a Tiki punch that I had spotted on Imbibe Magazine online. The recipe was the Touch of Love crafted by Jesse Bernal of Whisler's in Austin, Texas, where it currently resides on the menu. Jesse named the drink after the explanation his mom used to give as to why dinner turned out better this time. Once prepared, the Touch of Love gave forth a mint and citrussy aroma over darker notes from the black strap rum. Next, a carbonated caramel and lime sip led into dark rum, orange, tangerine, and pineapple on the swallow. Overall, the feel of the drink was dark, brooding, and murky like the Tar Pit and the Dirt'n'Diesel while mirroring some of the Jungle Bird's structure.

Friday, September 29, 2017


1 oz Campari
1 oz Fernet Branca
3/4 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
3-4 wedge Lemon
6-8 leaf Mint
1 pinch Salt

Muddle lemon wedges, mint, and salt in the passion fruit syrup. Add the rest, whip shake, and strain into a rocks glass with crushed ice. Garnish with a mint bouquet and add straws.

Two Fridays ago, Nicholas Jarrett's Prizefighter No. 7 was still fresh on my mind and I was thinking about how the Prizefighter series never included a Campari recipe. I was considering an Americano direction and pairing the Campari with sweet vermouth (since that series generally contains an aromatized wine element), but instead I paired it with Fernet Branca with a nod to the 50:50 shot the Ferrari which has worked well in drinks like the Ferrari Colada. Moreover, I was introduced to the concept of muddling citrus wedges with Campari in the European riff of the Caipirinha, the Camparinha, and I generated my own Fernet riff that I dubbed the Brancinha. Instead of the Prizefighter's simple syrup, I took a page from Jamie Boudreau's Novara and reached for passion fruit syrup instead. For a name, I kept the boxing angle but went with the Cornerman (more attractive than the Cutman alternative that popped into my head) to perhaps start my own series with a nod to the inspiration.
The Cornerman presented a mint over tropical passion fruit nose that preceded lemon melding into passion fruit to make an almost mango-like sip. Next, orange and somewhat minty-herbal flavors rounded off the drink on the swallow. Indeed, the pinch of salt really reduced the amari's bitterness and made for a softer balance.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

tiara tahiti

1 1/2 oz Orgeat (1 oz Orgeat + 1/2 oz Simple Syrup)
3 oz Orange Juice (2 oz)
3 oz Lemon Juice (2 oz)
1/2 oz Brandy (1/3 oz Copper & Kings American Brandy)
3 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (2 oz Angostura White Oak)

Blend with 1 1/2 oz scoops shaved ice (shake with ice and strain). Pour into a bowl, fill with crushed ice, and decorate with a gardenia (mint, nasturtium and ornamental pea blossoms, and a lemon shell with ignited El Dorado 151 proof Rum).
Two Thursdays ago, I was in a Tiki mood and reached for Trader Vic's 1972 revised Bartender's Guide. There, I spotted the Tiara Tahiti perhaps named after the 1962 movie that reminded me of the classic Scorpion Bowl. I ended up scaling down the drink by a third to make it better for a single serving (also, my orange was not large enough to yield 3 oz of juice), and I added some simple syrup to the mix to better match the tart citrus content in the recipe. Once prepared, the Tiara Tahiti gave forth a lemon and orange aroma with floral and mint notes from the garnish. Next, a creamy lemon sip led into rum, orange, almond, and vanilla on the swallow.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

detroit diamond

1/2 oz Gin (Anchor Junipero)
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe with 2 oz dry sparkling wine (Willm Blanc de Blancs). Here, garnished with nothing but the beauty of my garden.

Two Wednesdays ago, I began thinking about how sparkling wine in Diamond Fizzes (Sours elongated by Champagne instead of soda water) such as the South Side Royale could change the balance of the regular drink (i.e.: the South Side) to a lighter one. The citrus-based classic that I honed in on was the Last Word and how that could use some softening. For a name, I paid homage to the Detroit Athletic Club where the drink was first recorded in 1916 with the name the Detroit Diamond; Urban Dictionary informed me that Detroit Diamonds are "broken glass from an automobile on the ground; usually from a theft" which seemed less regal but certainly fine by me. The end result was similar to Phil Ward's brandy and lemon Julien Sorel.
The Detroit Diamond presented itself with the intriguing interplay of nutty Maraschino with herbal aromas of Chartreuse and gin along with the Maraschino's fruit being modulated by the white grape nose. Next, a carbonated lime and light fruit notes from cherry and grape on the sip led into herbal and nutty elements on the swallow with a crisp wine finish. Definitely, the Detroit Diamond was less assertive than the Last Word and a lot better balanced especially for those whose palates are fatigued by Green Chartreuse burliness.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

cockpit country

1 oz Appleton Estate Signature Rum
1 oz Averna
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Tuesdays ago, I ventured down to Backbar for their Appleton Estate Rum night. For a drink, I asked bartender Matthew Conner for the Cockpit Country off of the special menu that he attributed to Carlo Caroscio. I asked Matt if the drink was sort of a riff on the Test Pilot with rum, two sweet modifiers, and lime juice (although sans bitters and absinthe), but I later got my answer from the regular menu that had it as a drink of the week. That described how it was "named after the unique geography that creates the perfect microclimate to create rum." Moreover, the recipe reminded me of some of Luc Thiers' recipes at Backbar such as the Daq in Black.
The Cockpit Country greeted the senses with dark notes over a lime aroma. Next, the sip continued likewise with caramel and lime flavors, and the swallow was a pleasing combination of rum and herbal elements.

Monday, September 25, 2017

brandy smash no. 2

1 jigger Brandy (2 oz Copper & Kings American Brandy)
a few sprig Mint
1 lump Sugar (1 demerara cube)
a little Water (3/8 oz water)

Dissolve sugar in a mixing glass with a little water. Add mint and press gently with a muddler. Add brandy and shaved ice, stir, strain into a Champagne glass with a mint sprig stem down, and trim with fruit. Add a dash of Jamaican Rum (1/4 oz Smith & Cross) before serving. Note, I strained the unchilled mixture into a Champagne glass and filled with crushed ice; my fruit was 3 slices cucumber and I added a straw.

While so many Smashes these days include an herbal element such as the traditional mint, they also include citrus wedges or juice that were not in the classic. Therefore, when I spotted the Brandy Smash series in George J. Kappeler's 1895 Modern American Drinks, I decided to give it a go. Brandy was the original call for many of the upperclass Juleps served in the Colonial days of America for American whiskey was not very prevalent and rum was somewhat looked down upon. After the Revolution, whiskey began its ascent to take over as the preferred Smash and Julep call, and brandy began to fade in the early part of the 19th century. Jerry Thomas in 1862 differentiated between the Julep and the Smash by calling the latter "simply a Julep on a small plan." David Wondrich described in Imbibe how the Smash was a quick bracer often served without a straw and hit its heyday in the 1850s. While Jerry Thomas' Smashes included crushed ice, Kappeler's did not. Both Juleps and Smashes were referred to as "Mint Slings" so serving them without crushed ice back in the day would not be off by this definition. Kappeler's Brandy Smash No. 1 followed Thomas' recipe (save for the lack of ice in the serving vessel), but the No. 2 included a garnish of Jamaican rum which is what lured me in. I decided to split the difference for I could not parse the garnishes of a mint sprig and fruit trim served that way without ice as a base (plus, the chilled ingredients would only half fill a Champagne glass).
The Brandy Smash No. 2 began with the aroma of Jamaican rum funk accented by mint and smoothed by cucumber. Next, the sweet sip offered caramel derived from barrel-aged notes, and the swallow displayed brandy and mint flavors with hints of Jamaican rum creeping in over time. The float of funky Jamaican rum is something that I have included in many of my Juleps both whiskey- and brandy-based. For example, in summer 2016, one my bartender friends turned liquor sales rep texted me to see if he could swing by with the assistant distiller Travis from Copper & Kings to show off the product line. I cheekily texted back that they could swing by my place for Juleps for I was not scheduled to come into work that day. Five minutes later, I got a text back that they were on their way. I immediately began making simple syrup in the microwave and ran out to harvest mint for their arrival. I utilized their brandy adding my touches of the Jamaican rum and freshly grated nutmeg as additional garnish to the mint bouquet. The photo taken by either my rep or the distiller shows me floating the rum.
Brandy Julep (Fred's home recipe)
• 2 oz Copper & Kings American Craft Brandy
• 1/2 oz Cane Crystal Simple Syrup
• 8 mint leaves
Muddle mint in syrup in a double old fashioned (or Julep cup). Add brandy, fill with crushed ice, and stir. Garnish with mint sprigs, freshly grated nutmeg, and float 1/4 oz Wray & Nephew Jamaican Rum.

Sunday, September 24, 2017


3/4 jigger Whisky (2 oz Old Granddad Bonded Bourbon)
2 drop Curaçao (1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry)
3 drop Peychaud's Bitters (3 dash)
2 drop Bitters (2 dash Angostura)

Stir with ice and strain into an absinthe-rinsed (Herbsaint) cocktail glass (rocks glass). Serve with an ice water chaser.

Two Sundays ago, I was perusing Boothby's 1934 World Drinks And How to Mix Them and I spotted a pair of Creole cocktails. The Creole No. 2 was the better know one with whiskey, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, and Amer Picon, while the Creole No. 1 was a bit of a surprise. The drink read like an orange-tinged Sazerac Cocktail served in a cocktail glass. I have already written about two Creole Sazeracs with one of them being a modern one calling for rhum agricole and orange liqueur similar to this whiskey and orange liqueur one (the other, the Death & Co. one, took a rum and brandy with simple syrup route). Gary Regan also had an orange liqueur sweetened Sazerac riff with the La Tour Eiffel. The 1934 Boothby recipe read like a shooter given the small addition of modifiers and the ice water back; however, the cocktail glass as a means to shoot a drink seemed a bit odd, and I morphed the recipe into something more akin to a Sazerac.
The Creole No. 1 began with an anise bouquet from the Herbsaint rinse. Next, malt and dark orange notes on the sip transitioned into Bourbon and orange on the swallow with an anise-herbal, mint, and clove finish. With the Pierre Ferrand's Dry Curaçao, the drink felt a little dark and perhaps flat as compared to the Cointreau (with added depth from gentian liqueur) in Regan's, and overall, I think the better known Creole No. 2 reigns supreme of the duo both in history and in flavor.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

prizefighter no. 7

3/4 oz Salers Gentiane Liqueur
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
3/4 oz Wray & Nephew Overproof White Rum
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
6-8 leaf Mint
3-4 wedge Lemon
1 pinch Salt

Muddle lemon wedges, mint, and salt in simple syrup. Add the rest, whip shake, and strain into a rocks glass with crushed ice. Garnish with a mint bouquet and add straws.

Two Saturdays ago, I decided to make one of Nicholas Jarrett's variations on the Prizefighter that I had spotted on the BarNotes app. The gist of the series is an amaro-vermouth Smash (the citrus wedge-mint variety popularized at Eastern Standard et al.) with a pinch of salt to mollify the bitterness. I narrowed the list of 8 down to two that contained gentian liqueur and blanc vermouth, and Andrea picked the one that had the addition of overproof funky Jamaican rum. Jarrett described how he created this at The Cure in New Orleans, and it appears to be a variation on the rum-less version (No. 6) that he listed as a 2012 invention.
The Prizefighter No. 7 greeted the nose with a mint aroma. Next, lemon with light green herbal notes on the sip led into gentian and floral flavors on the swallow with a hint of mint and rum funk on the finish. Indeed, perhaps due to the salt, the drink was a lot less rum funky as well as less minty than expected.

Friday, September 22, 2017

eskimo's kiss

10-12 leaf Mint (16)
2 cubes Demerara Sugar
2 oz Lime Juice
1 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
4 oz White Rum (3 1/2 oz Plantation 3 Star + 1/2 oz Rum Fire)

In an Imperial pint glass (regular pint glass), dissolve the sugar cubes in lime juice through muddling. Add simple syrup and mint and lightly muddle again. Next, add the rum, fill with chunky crushed ice, stir, add two straws, and garnish with a mint sprig (5 sprigs).
In "The Fix" section of Sasha Petraske: Regarding Cocktails, Andrea and I were lured into the Eskimo's Kiss two Friday nights ago. The book described the drink as "a double Mojito in a large glass with two straws" (and no soda water) and mentioned how Sasha used to trade this drink at the nearby photocopy shop to have work done for the bar. With two straws, the instructions suggested to share with someone that you would not mind rubbing noses with. Once prepared, the Eskimo's Kiss shared a mint aroma, and when mutually leaning in for a sip, the drink lived up to its name. The sip gave forth lime balanced by demerara's richness and simple syrup's sweetness, and the swallow mixed funky rum and fresh mint flavors. Without soda water or a shaking step, the drink took on a less lively and more silkier feel akin to a Rum Julep (with citrus) such as the Santiago Julep.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

surf liner

2 oz Canadian Rye Whisky (Alberta Premium)
1 oz Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Orgeat
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a pineapple leaf, edible orchid, and lemon wheel (edible nasturtium flower and lemon swaths).
Two Thursdays ago, I turned to Imbibe Magazine online for the evening's refreshment. There, I found Gabe Fonseca's Surf Liner that he crafted at Polite Provisions in San Diego, and the form reminded me of other Polite Provision recipes such as the Iron Ranger and the Tourist Trap which both were great. Once prepared, the Surf Liner gave forth a lemon and peppery-floral aroma from my choice of garnish. Next, a creamy pineapple sip gave way to whiskey and nutty flavors on the swallow with a lemon and anise finish. Here, the Canadian whisky really brought out the almond notes in my orgeat.

rolls royce

1/2 Dry Gin (1 1/2 oz Beefeater)
1/4 Sweet Vermouth (3/4 oz Cocchi)
1/4 Dry Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Prat)
1 dash Benedictine (1/4 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added a lemon twist.

After returning home from Ward 8, I was in the mood for a nightcap, so I turned to the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book. There, I spied the Rolls Royce Cocktail that came across as a Perfect Martini with a dash of Benedictine. The Savoy has other car-related drinks like the Bentley with a similar feel, and I was surprised that I had never written about this classic despite discussing variations of it like the Aston Martin. I did make reference to it in my old drink journal when writing about the Lamb's Club (which has equal parts gin and the two vermouths with two dashes of Benedictine), but I could not confirm if I had ever had the Rolls Royce itself.
In the glass, the Rolls Royce gave forth lemon notes to the nose before giving way to a slightly sweet grape on the sip. Next, the swallow proffered gin and a rounded herbalness with a light minty finish. The sweet vermouth in the mix seemed to obscure the Benedictine that shone through more in the Poet's Dream that only contained the dry vermouth.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

healthy scratch

1 1/2 oz Bache Gabrielsen VS Cognac
1 oz Bianco Vermouth
1/4 oz Campari
1 pinch Salt

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Wednesdays ago, I went over to Ward 8 to visit my old coworker Michelle Harrington who was at the stick that night. For a first drink, I asked Michelle for the Healthy Scratch that was new on their menu. Once prepared, the drink offered a lemon and floral aroma which shared the richness of the Cognac. Next, a sweet white grape sip gave way to brandy on the swallow with an orange finish. Indeed, the pinch of salt significantly reduced the Campari's bitterness but retained its citrus-herbal complexity.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


1 1/2 oz Bourbon (Four Roses Yellow Label)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Triple Sec (Cointreau)
1 dash Absinthe (1 bsp Kübler)

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

Two Tuesdays ago, I turned to A Spot at the Bar for recipe inspiration. There, I spied in the Sidecar variation section the Commando that was described as "a delicious Bourbon Sidecar with a cheeky dash of absinthe." The combination reminded me of a drink I used to make a regular who hated gin; I modified Sam Ross' Sunflower Cocktail to be a Bourbon drink and soon it became one of his two calls at the bar. Moreover, Drink once made me a Bourbon Corpse Reviver No. 2 that has a similar balance as the Commando.
The Commando greeted the senses with a lemon and anise nose. Next, orange and lemon on the sip preceded whiskey and tart orange on the swallow with an absinthe-herbal finish. Definitely, the dash of absinthe gave this Whiskey Daisy combination some panache.

Monday, September 18, 2017


1 oz Gold Rum (3/4 oz Diplomatico Añejo + 1/4 oz Smith & Cross)
1/2 oz Galliano
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/4 oz Lime Juice (*)
1/4 tsp Sugar (1 bsp Simple Syrup) (*)

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass or pineapple shell, and fill with Champagne (strain into a Champagne flute containing 2 oz Willm Blanc de Blancs). Garnish with a cherry and a lime wheel (nasturium flower).
(*) Increasing to a 1/2 oz lime juice and/or dropping the sugar/simple syrup aspect would probably not be out of line here.
While editing the blog to free myself of Photobucket (who drastically changed their TOS), I spotted Scott Holliday's Whiskey-A-Go-Go that he created at Rendezvous shortly after the Galliano L'Autentico (re)release in 2009. I read my post-note that Scott was inspired by the Galliano-containing Barracuda, and I was inspired to make the original which I found in Stan Jones' 1977 Complete Barguide. Once prepared, the Barracuda offered vanilla aromas that joined my garnish choice's peppery floral notes. Next, a crisp lime with hints of pineapple led into funky rum and vanilla on the swallow with a pineapple, white wine, and anise finish.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

forbidden fruit

1 oz Boulard VSOP Calvados
1 1/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe glass, and garnish with a cherry with a little bit of syrup.

Two Sundays ago, I decided to make a recipe that I had spotted on ShakeStir called the Forbidden Fruit. The recipe was created by Tom Richter of TomR's Tonic and formerly of Dear Irving in NYC for the book The Way We Ate as a way to correct the Apple-tini. Tom explained, "Instead of all the junk that goes in that drink, I use Calvados, and fresh ingredients, making this is a truly delicious, delicate, and elegant solution. The name is a double entendre of 1. the apple from Eden, and 2. the sensual aspect of the cocktail." Indeed, the recipe reminded me of how we used to make Jack Roses at a previous bar in response to a request for a Sour Apple Martini, but here the Jack Rose's grenadine and Peychaud's Bitters are swapped for orgeat and blanc vermouth.
The Forbidden Fruit greeted the nose with crisp apple with nutty unternones. Next, a creamy and crisp sip was followed by apple and nutty orgeat flavors with a crisp lime finish reminiscent of green apple.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

park genoves swizzle

2 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
2 sprig Mint

Muddle the mint in the falernum and banana liqueur. Add the rest of the ingredients, fill with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill while keeping the mint at the bottom. Add a straw, garnish with 2-3 dash Angostura Bitters and a mint bouquet.

Two Saturdays ago, I was inspired by some of the low proof sherry drinks that I had spotted while perusing this blog, and I decided to improvise. I was inspired by the sherry-based Platonic Julep and other drinks and took it in a Queen's Park Swizzle direction. Using sherry as a base for tropical and Tiki drinks has been an interest of mine such as in the Sherry Mai Tai and Jungle Bird, so taking it in a Swizzle direction seemed quite natural. For a name, I dubbed this one after an amazing park in Cadiz, the area of sherry production in Spain.
The Park Genovés Swizzle began with a spiced aroma filled with clove and mint notes. Next, lime meeting grape on the sip gave way to nutty and tropical banana flavors on the swallow with a return of clove and mint on the finish.

Friday, September 15, 2017

je suis le tigre

3/4 oz Wray & Nephew Overproof White Rum
3/4 oz Appleton Estate 12 Year (Appleton Reserve)
3/4 oz Bianco Vermouth (Dolin Blanc)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Cherry Heering
1 bsp Benedictine
4 dash Angostura Bitters

Whip shake with 2 ice cubes, strain into a Hurricane glass, top with crushed ice, add a straw, and garnish with a mint bouquet and a brandied cherry (omit the latter).

Two Fridays ago, I decided to make a Singapore Sling variation that I had spotted on Punch Drinks. The recipe crafted by Dan Sabo of Rick's Place in Los Angeles swapped the base spirit to rum from gin, removed the soda water, and added blanc vermouth and orgeat to the mix. The changes were familiar for I have had other Singapore Sling variations that have taken the rum route such as the Lani Kai Sling as well as the touch of orgeat way such as the City of Gold Sling and the Haji Sling. I also realize that I have never written up the classic recipe despite attending a seminar on its history at Tales of the Cocktail 2016.
The Je Suis Le Tigre's mint bouquet donated greatly to the nose. Next, a creamy lime and caramel sip led into a funky rum and herbal swallow with a nutty, cherry, and clove finish.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

three mile limit cocktail

2/3 Brandy (1 1/2 oz Courvoisier VS Cognac)
1/3 Bacardi Rum (3/4 oz Privateer Tres Aromatique Overproof White Rum)
1 tsp Grenadine (1/2 oz)
1 dash Lemon Juice (1/4 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

While looking through my blog archives, I came across the Twelve Mile Limit and realized that I had never made the Three Mile Limit that preceded it. The three mile limit was part of international law that defined a country's territorial waters due to the distance that a cannon could fire upon a target. Cannons could eventually fire further than that, but due to the curvature of the earth, the targets would not be visible on the horizon. The three mile limit was what allowed liquor bootleggers during Prohibition to set anchor and trade close to shore. Harry & Wynn's 1927 Barflies & Cocktails captured that in liquid form as listed above. As Prohibition wore on, the limit got extended to 12 miles out to make smuggling rum and other spirits harder to do. Likewise, a Twelve Mile Limit recipe was added to the drink books that included rye whiskey as a third spirit to the mix and the drink became more rum- than brandy-forward instead. Since the Twelve Mile Limit only seems to shine when a rougher rum is utilized, I opted for a funky local overproof rum to fill the role in the Three Mile Limit, namely a double pot-stilled white overproof rum from Privateer.
Barflies & Cocktails attributed the drink to "Chips" Brighton of Harry's New York Bar in Paris with the description of, "one of the effects of the Volstead act, people get busy when outside of the three miles." Once prepared, the Three Mile Limit Cocktail gave forth a fruity aroma from the grenadine and lemon that was accented by aromatic rum notes. Next, lemon and berry flavors on the sip transitioned into Cognac and funky rum on the swallow. Overall, while not too complex, it did serve as an interesting split-base Daisy that reminded me of Brick & Mortar's Bokemon Daiquiri.

miami nice

2 oz Plantation Pineapple Rum
1 1/4 oz Coconut Syrup (*)
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a small shaker tin (perhaps a Tiki mug, Collins glass, or double old fashioned would work well here), fill with crushed ice, garnish with a paper umbrella and a plastic mermaid, and add straws.
(*) Coconut syrup was made with dried shredded coconut steeped in coconut milk overnight, blended, strained, and cut 50:50 with simple syrup. In a pinch, 3/4 oz each of coconut milk and simple syrup would work well here.
For a drink at Firebrand Saints, Andrea asked for bartender Dave Erickson for the Miami Nice which turned out to be his drink. Once prepared, the Miami Nice did not offer much up in the aroma department but yielded a creamy coconut and lime sip. Next, the pineapple rum shined through on the swallow. Overall, simple but satisfying and delicious as a pineapple-coconut Daiquiri riff that reminded me a little of the Independent's Copacabana.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

witch from the west

1 1/2 oz Pig's Nose Scotch
3/4 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Nux Alpina Walnut Liqueur
1/4 oz Vanilla Syrup

Build in a double old fashioned glass, add ice, and stir to mix and chill. Garnish with an orange twist and add straws.

Two Wednesdays ago, Andrea and I made our way over to Firebrand Saints for dinner and found seats at Dave Erickson and Juan Mederos' bar. For a first drink, I asked Dave for the Witch from the West that he described was Juan's drink. Juan later explained that the witch in question was a girl who liked Scotch and would ask for cocktails to be made for her. This recipe went through 5 or 6 iterations before she like it, and the drink got its final name when she left him to go back West. Since Scotch and walnut are a natural pairing such as in the Expatriot and the Sentimental Gentleman, I was definitely willing to give this a go.
The Witch from the West presented an orange aroma that later displayed more dark notes once the citrus oil dissipated. Next, a grape sip from the Carpano Antica led into Scotch and walnut flavors on the swallow with a gentle vanilla finish.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

avenue a

2 oz Four Roses Bourbon (Larceny)
3/4 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with lemon oil.
Two Tuesdays ago, I wanted a simple bitter and brown cocktail to wind out my day. The one that caught my attention was a recipe that I had spotted on the ShakeStir site called the Avenue A by Jesse Peterson at the Last Word in San Diego. Jesse described, "A cool spin of a Manhattan meeting a Boulevardier." The drink name reminded me of two things with the first one being the summer of 1992 when I was living in Manhattan. People advised me back then to not venture into "Alphabet City," and when my wanderings in the East Village led me to the cusp at Avenue A, I distinctly recalled turning around. The second is one of my personal post-shift late night drinks that got dubbed FLAN at Loyal Nine. Standing for "Fred's Lazy Ass Night Cap," the trend began when guests at tables began asking servers for amari to end their dinner. Often servers would have me approach the table and explain our rather undersized collection, and I would mention some of the 50:50 mixes such as Cynar:Averna that we did just to increase the options. As soon as I mentioned that I could make what I drank at home, a 50:50 of Cynar and Bourbon with a dash of Angostura, the one request at a table turned into two or three. As I mentioned in my Cocktails in the Colonies talk summary, people often want to drink like either the chef or the bartender, so that combined with the elegance of the pairing sold this drink well.
F.L.A.N. (Fred's Lazy Ass Nightcap)
• 1 1/2 oz Four Roses Bourbon
• 1 1/2 oz Cynar
• 1 dash Angostura Bitters
Build in a rocks glass, add ice, and stir to mix and chill. At Loyal Nine, I added a lemon twist and straws; at home, I skipped all garnish and straws and utilized different Bourbons depending on mood.
The idea itself did not spawn from a Black Manhattan per se, but from a Camp Runamok 2015 ritual. I was in the Cynar cabin and we made it our tradition to do 50:50 mixes with other cabins (yes, even the Skyy Vodka cabin where it did alright with their peach-flavored spirit); our neighbors were in the Old Granddad Bourbon cabin, and that combination was fantastic! Here, in the Avenue A, the role of the Angostura Bitters for complexity was swapped for Tempus Fugit's glorious cacao liqueur. In the glass, the Avenue A gave forth bright lemon aromas over the darker notes swimming underneath. Next, rich caramel on the sip led into Bourbon along with Cynar melding with the chocolate to be less funky than usual. Over all, the Avenue A made for a delightful dessert-digestif hybrid cocktail.

Monday, September 11, 2017

polynesian remedy

1 3/4 oz Plantation Dark Rum
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup
1/2 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)
1 oz Lemon Juice
4 dash Laphroaig Scotch (1/4 oz)

Shake with ice, strain into a double old fashioned (Tiki mug), fill with crushed ice, and garnish with candied ginger, a lemon wheel, and a pineapple leaf (lemon twist, mint, nasturtium and ornamental pea flowers).
Two Mondays ago, I began flipping through the pages of the latest Imbibe Magazine issue and came across the Polynesian Remedy by Scotty Schuder of Paris' Dirty Dick. The description read, "This riff on the Penicillin swaps rum for whisky and adds orgeat to the mix"; moreover, I wrote about Scotty's bar in my review of the Pumping Out Paradise 2016 Tales talk. Once prepared, the Polynesian Remedy gave forth a minty and peppery-floral aroma from my choices of garnish. Next, a creamy honey and lemon sip transitioned into a rum, honey, and nutty swallow with a smoke and ginger finish. The orgeat definitely took the drink in a different direction whereas the rum added character but seemed to maintain the theme (especially considering most Penicillins are made with less descript blends as the base and utilize a smoky single malt as an accent as done here).

Sunday, September 10, 2017

harry's pick-me-up

1 glass Brandy (1 1/2 oz Copper & Kings American Brandy)
Juice 1/2 Lemon (1/2 oz)
1 tsp Grenadine (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice, strain into a wine glass, and fill with Champagne (2 oz Willm Blanc de Blancs); I added a lemon twist.
To close out Sunday night two weeks ago, I ventured into Harry & Wynn's 1927 Barflies & Cocktails to continue my sparkling wine cocktail run. The one I selected was Harry's Pick-Me-Up crafted by Harry McElhone in Paris in any one of the bars that he worked in or helped open during the 1920s. It was one of the recipes that I had spotted in A Spot at the Bar when I made the Fortune Cocktail on Friday night, and I opted to add the lemon twist to Harry's Pick-Me-Up that the newer book included in their recipe. Overall, the combination reminded me of an old Russell House Tavern recipe, and bar manager Sam Gabrielli crafted his as a riff on the Jack Rose and named it after his sister. I remember when one of the rather new bartenders came up to me during a shift confused about how to fulfill a request for a French 75; I explained that he already knew how to make the drink: just plug in gin (or Cognac) and simple syrup into the Emily Rose that was on the menu. That made his day!
Emily Rose by Sam Gabrielli, Russell House Tavern, 2014
• 2 oz Laird's Applejack
• 1/2 oz Grenadine
• 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
Shake with ice, strain into a flute glass, top off with ~2 oz sparkling wine, and garnish with a lemon swath.
The Harry's Pick-Me-Up gave forth a lemon and brandy nose that preceded a crisp, carbonated lemon and berry sip. Next, the brandy came through on the swallow along with pomegranate and dry white wine notes.

Saturday, September 9, 2017


1 1/2 oz Mezcal Amaras Espadin
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Benedictine
1 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Saturdays ago for drink of the day at Loyal Nine, I was inspired by the waning days of Amaro Week to do something bitter and stirred. For a direction, I started with mezcal as the base spirit and thought about how well it paired with Cynar such as in the Midnight Marauder, Bitters & Smoke, and other drinks. To better join the amaro with the agave, I added Punt e Mes which often helps to round out bitter notes and Benedictine which often functions as a binder of disparate elements. To give some extra depth here, a dash of molé bitters finished the drink along with some bright aromas from an orange twist. For a name, I went with the South of the Border theme and dubbed this one the Chachita after Evita Muñoz, a starlet of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema.

Friday, September 8, 2017

fortune cocktail

1 oz Apple Brandy (Copper & Kings Floodwall)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 small handful Mint Leaves (6 leaves)

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and top with Champagne (2 oz Willm Blanc de Blancs). Garnish with a mint leaf.
Two Friday nights ago, I was lured into opening A Spot at the Bar for my evening's nightcap. There, I spotted the apple brandy version of a South Side Royale called the Fortune Cocktail. The recipe was inspired by the Serendipity from the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz Paris; that drink contains Calvados, apple juice, mint, sugar, and Champagne served in a Highball. Once prepared, the Fortune Cocktail gave forth a mint and white grape aroma. Next, a crisp, carbonated lemon sip shared a grape note from the sparkling wine, and the swallow offered a delightful pairing of apple and mint. No great surprises here but I made two rounds of this drink the following night at work; first for one guest seeking something light but crisp, and second for her drinking companion after she had a sip of her friend's.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

68 guns

1 1/2 oz Barbancourt 8 Year Rhum
1/2 oz Blandy's 5 Year Malmsey Madeira
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters
10 drop St. George Absinthe

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a lime twist.
Two Thursdays ago for drink of the day at Loyal Nine, I was inspired by No. 9 Park's Declaration while looking for Madeira drinks. Instead of gin and demerara syrup, I opted for rum and cinnamon here, and I also included some absinthe since the format reminded me of a Test Pilot. The name Declaration made me think of a song by the Celtic rock group The Alarm who was my first rock show back in the mid-late 1980s; one of my favorite songs from them is "68 Guns," so I went with that for a drink name.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

golden gate swizzle

1 1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Orgeat Syrup
1/4 oz Velvet Falernum
6 dash Angostura Orange Bitters
4 dash Angostura Bitters

Build in a Collins glass, fill with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill. Garnish with a bouquet of mint and an orange slice (omit the latter).
Two Wednesdays ago, I reached for the Tipsy Texan book and uncovered a recipe by Matt Tanner of Houston. Matt's drink, the Golden Gate Swizzle, was his homage to San Francisco which is the largest consumer of Fernet Branca in the United States. Once prepared, the Golden Gate Swizzle greeted the nose with a wonderful mint aroma. Next, a creamy lemon and caramel sip gave way to Fernet's herbal flavors softened by orgeat's nutty notes on the swallow with a clove-menthol finish. Indeed, the Fernet-orgeat combination worked just as well here as it did in other drinks such as the Mansfield Cocktail and the Tar Pit.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


1 1/2 oz Reposado Tequila (Lunazul)
1/2 oz Mezcal (Montelobos)
1 oz Drambuie
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a salt-rimmed cocktail coupe; I split the drink into two vintage cocktail glasses. Perhaps half-salting the rim would work well here (see below).
Two Tuesdays ago, I delved into my collection of Food & Wine: Cocktails books and found the Broxburn in the 2011 edition. The recipe was crafted by Phil Ward as a Margarita riff at Mayahuel, and he named this drink after the town in Scotland where Drambuie is made. Once prepared, the Broxburn gave forth an agave nose with hints of smoke. With the rim, the sip shared salt and lime notes and the swallow offered honey and agave flavors. Interestingly, when tasted once the salt rim was worn away, the sip was lime with malt notes and the swallow displayed agave and Scotch flavors. Indeed, the difference was stunning enough that perhaps I would recommend only covering half the rim with salt.

Monday, September 4, 2017

the french pearl

2 oz Plymouth Gin (Beefeater)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Pernod Absinthe
1 sprig Mint

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added a mint leaf garnish.

Two Mondays ago, I reached for the Tales of the Cocktail 2009 Stir Your Soul Recipe Book to see if there were any old recipes that I had neglected to make. One that stood out was the French Pearl that was featured at that Tales of the Cocktail's Bartender's Breakfast event. The recipe was crafted by Audrey Saunders and Kenta Goto at the Pegu Club and the combination reminded me of a South Side with absinthe. Moreover, the name has always reminded me of the Pearl White that has Lillet instead of absinthe (and lemon instead of lime); one of my bar regulars commented that he was only able to find the Pearl White recipe on my blog (where it was served at Green Street). I later discovered that it is printed in the 2012 Mr. Boston: 75th Anniversary Edition cocktail book but without attribution, so it is a mystery of Audrey and Kenta had a hand in that recipe as well.
The French Pearl began with a mint aroma with hints of anise. Next, a lime sip showed off a few herbal notes, and the swallow offered gin and mint leading smoothly into an absinthe finish.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

rattlesnake cocktail

4 glass Rye Whiskey (2 oz Old Overholt)
Whites 2 Egg (1 Egg White)
1 glass Sweetened Lemon Juice (1/2 oz Lemon Juice + 1/2 oz Simple Syrup)
A few dashes Absinthe (1/4 oz Kübler)

Shake once with and once with ice; strain into a cocktail glass. I added a snake-like lemon twist.

Two Sundays ago, I decided to make the Rattlesnake Cocktail from The Savoy Cocktail Book. I had spotted the drink referenced in another book, I realized that I had never had one despite having a riff of it in the Rattlesnake Fizz. The Savoy provided the naming back history of "so called because it will either cure Rattlesnake bite, or kill Rattlesnakes, or make you see them." Are rattlesnakes the new pink elephants? I only had one of these scaled down from the original's build for 6, so no telling if that is the case.
The Rattlesnake Cocktail provided a lemon and rye bouquet to the nose that preceded a creamy malt and lemon sip. Finally, the swallow began with rye and ended with the absinthe's anise and other botanicals on the finish.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

the diamond queen

1 1/2 oz Ford's Gin
1/2 oz Encanto Pisco
3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
1/4 oz Liber & Co. Pineapple Gomme Syrup

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.

Two Saturdays ago, I decided to remake my Tales of the Cocktail 2017 official cocktail competition: the Martini entry called the Diamond Queen that I had submitted earlier in the year. For inspiration, I started with the Madame Lou from Boothby's 1934 book which was an inverse Martini with a barspoon of pineapple syrup. I then decided to merge the Martini with aspects of another classic, and I described the drink in my entry as, "A Martini cross with a Pisco Punch with a nod to the Madame Lou." Since Madame Lou was Lou Graham who ran a famous brothel in Seattle, I stuck with the profession as a naming convention and dubbed this one the Diamond Queen after Lulu White who ran a brothel in New Orleans' Storyville.
The Diamond Queen began with pineapple aromas that mingled with those of the pisco's floral grape and the gin's pine. Next, a smooth grape sip had just enough sweetness to come across as gentle, and the swallow showcased the gin's juniper and other botanicals transitioning into the tropical pisco-pineapple combination.

Friday, September 1, 2017

piglet's lament

1 oz Berkshire Mountain's Greylock Gin
1/2 oz Campari
1/4 oz Cynar
1/4 oz St. Elder Elderflower Liqueur
1 oz Cinzano Sweet Vermouth

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Two Fridays ago, I was tinkering around with Negroni variations for a request from an upcoming wedding. I was inspired by Eeyore's Requiem to include other liqueurs in the mix, but I did not want it to be as extreme as Toby Maloney's neo-classic with Campari being the largest component. Therefore, I stuck with the equal parts gin, liqueur, and vermouth ratio. Since Campari and elderflower work so well together in the Cell #34 and Sweet Valley High, I selected St. Elder as one of the parts. Also, elderflower and Cynar work rather well in the Alto Cucina and other drinks, I took that direction as well especially since Cynar also appears in Eeyore's Requiem. For a name, I kept the Winnie the Pooh theme and decided on Piglet's Lament; one of Piglet's laments in Winnie the Pooh is "It is hard to be brave when you're only a Very Small Animal."