Wednesday, February 28, 2018


2 oz Blanco Tequila (Cimarron)
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Suze Gentian Liqueur
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain, and fill with crushed ice. Garnishing with pineapple leaves, freshly grated nutmeg, or other would not be out of place here.
After the Youth & Treachery two nights before, I was reminded of how well agave spirits complement gentian liqueurs like Suze. In thinking about other Campari drink that can be swapped to Suze like that drink did akin to the White Negroni, I wondered what a White Jungle Bird would be like? And instead of rum, could it be a tequila-Suze one? Since it was more yellow than white, I dubbed this after a Mexican jungle bird, the Yellow Lored Parrot that was called T'uut in the Mayan language. Once prepared, the T'uut called out with a pineapple and agave nose that led into a pineapple and lime sip. Next, tequila melding into bitter gentian rounded out the drink on the swallow.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

sloe & unsteady

1 1/2 oz Sloe Gin (Atxa Patxaran)
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Honey Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lime wheel.
Two Tuesdays ago, I was lured in by a sloe gin recipe posted in a 2015 Imbibe Magazine article crafted by Jessica Sanders of Drink.Well in Austin. The Sloe & Unsteady was unique for I have never seen sloe gin and Fernet Branca paired together, and I was curious to see if sloe gin would work as well with another amaro as it did with Cynar in the Lipspin and Campari in the Chester Rapkin. Once prepared, the Sloe & Unsteady offered up a lime, menthol, and berry aroma. Next, honey, lime, and berry notes on the sip were chased by plum and minty herbal flavors on the swallow. Overall, the honey and sloe liqueur mollified Fernet Branca's assertiveness and forced it to play rather nicely here in the balance.

Monday, February 26, 2018

:: active bystander - making bars safe ::

Last Tuesday, I attended a talk entitled, “Active Bystander: Making Bars Safe” at Brick & Mortar given by Eliza of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and Alex of the Safe Bar Collective and hosted by Naomi Levi and Bols Genever. The topic was not just about how to make our bars and restaurants safe for our guests but to make them comfortable for our coworkers and ourselves. We started by defining the issues we face in bars and restaurants and later discussed five strategies for dealing with situations and intervening.

We first covered the reasons both to speak out or act and to not. In terms of the “don’ts”, the ideas ranged from personal to financial. For personal, it included not enjoying conflict, diffused responsibility, fear of making a scene (or making things worse), and safety concerns in breaking up a fight. In addition, sometimes we are only hearing snippets of the conversation, and we may not fully grasp the relationships and their context. And for professional, there is a financial balance such that we depend on tips to make a living and speaking up can compromise that (as can not speaking up by affecting other people’s comfort and quality of service); furthermore, when the issue is between employees, there is a fear of retribution from management ranging from losing shifts, demotion, and being told to toughen up. I have even witnessed situations where management told the victim that they were the problem for complaining.

For the “do’s”, while some people have an innate hero complex and feel an unspoken responsibility, some positions like managers have a perceived power to intervene as well as act as a last line of defense. Strangely, many feel more at ease in speaking up for others than sticking up for themselves. In relating to bartending, it is our responsibility to provide safe alcohol service and to get people home unscathed. Often there are signs that we should act whether it is a direct verbal plea or “help me” look, seeing someone appearing creepy or predatory approach a group, and determining people’s willingness to receive a free drink or take part in a round of shots.

The presenters laid out a spectrum of behaviors that we witness. On one end was healthy, age-appropriate, mutually respectful, and safe behaviors and on the other end was sexually abusive and violent behaviors. In the middle were three other demarcations on the spectrum: mutually flirtatious and playful, age-inappropriate or non-mutual, and harassment. Age has a lot to do with how we react to people such as being more submissive to an elder as well as questioning the propriety and power dynamics in our guests’ interactions. Moreover, we are more likely to aid an elderly person than a middle aged one. As an activity, everyone wrote down two things that we witnessed this week at work on sticky notes, and we were instructed to place them on the spectrum. While none fell in the sexually abusive or violent end, there was a good smattering from healthy to harassment.

Further discussion focused on direct interactions with guests. It was pointed out that there is a tie in with bartenders and servers (especially female ones) with sex workers for it is our job to separate the guests from their dollars. With that comes the issue of how do you put on your show on stage and still get people to respect your boundaries; it is a tough game to play because flirty and sassy staff can earn more money. Like the behavior spectrum, there is also a variety of difficult guest types, for there is a big difference between a cranky and demanding one and a sexually harassing one. Instead of a linear axis, it is more of a Punnett Square of nice versus mean crossed with appropriate and inappropriate, and with two of those four outcomes, there is indeed a difference between a polite person who behaves in a creepy way and a rude person who is not inappropriate.

For safe alcohol service, it is possible for us to confirm with others if they want a drink purchased for them whether at a table or across the bar. Even a table or a group of seats, it is possible to scan all the guests to look for confirmation or waving out when the topic of a round of shots comes up. Moreover, what night of the week and what the mood, setting, and vibe of the establishment can change what is acceptable behavior. Clubs have a different level of decorum than restaurants, and similarly, clubs have bouncers for when people step over that line.

Intervening is often the right thing to do for it can prevent situations from escalating and can have guests feeling more safe and willing to return to our establishments. We then covered the 5 Ds of bystander intervention: direct, delegate, delay, distract, and document:

1. Direct: Intervention with the victim can be as simple as asking if they are okay or asking if they need help. It can also involve getting them into a cab safely and physically getting between two parties. To the aggressor, it can be informing them that their behavior is not acceptable, that they are making others uncomfortable, and the like.
2. Distraction: This is a non-confrontational way to divert attention from the aggressive situation whether that is to pull others into it or pull people away. To the victim, it can be interrupting and telling them that their friends are looking for them or approaching the coworker victim and asking for their assistance in another part of the establishment. There are similar ways to distract the aggressor such as coming up ask them about their tab or beginning conversation about other matters. Even making more theatrical behaviors to distract the situation qualify here including dropping and spilling things.
3. Delegate: Here, you can determine if there is someone better equipped to deal with the situation and get them to handle it. To aid the victim, it can be getting their friends to check in on them, and if it is a guest or yourself, it can be to get a manager involved. To the aggressor, it can range from getting their friends to step in to change the behavior or getting security to escort them out.
4. Delay: Sometimes it is uncertain what the proper action is and whether you are over-reacting to the situation, so checking in to get a sense of what action should be taken is appropriate. Also, inquiring to the victim if they are okay or what you can do to help, and telling the aggressor that you saw what they did and that it was unacceptable both qualify here.
5. Document: Record the details through writing down the details or even filming it, letting the manager know, and filling out an incident report.

Our job forces us regularly to be a bystander to a wide range of behaviors, and it is in the best interest of ourselves, our establishments, and our guests to respond appropriately and timely to make for a safer third space and work environment. By remembering the 5 Ds, we have a better arsenal to push us from the don’t get involved mindset to the do effect change one.

youth & treachery

1 oz El Tesoro Platinum Tequila (Cimmarron Blanco)
1 oz Suze Gentian Liqueur
1 oz Carpano Bianco Vermouth (Dolin Blanc)

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

Two Mondays ago, I was perusing an article on Difford's Guide about Suze recipes when I spotted the Youth & Treachery by Jason Simplot at Seattle's Rumba. Jason explained that it was his White Rosita akin to a White Negroni that was crafted for a guest desiring a bitter tequila drink. For a name, he dubbed this one after a misremembered song title from the punk band Modern Life is War. Editor Simon Difford recommended this drink with Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth, but I opted to stick with the original's blanc vermouth.
Youth & Treachery provided a lemon oil over gentian aroma that preceded a somewhat sweet and floral white grape sip. Next, the swallow offered the elegance of agave melding into gentian bitterness as it has done before in drinks like the Monument Valley and Terrible Love.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

chorus lady

1/3 Plymouth Gin (1 oz Beefeater)
1/3 French Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1/3 Italian Vermouth (1 oz Maurin Sweet)
2 dash Orange Flower Water (7 drop)
1 dash Picon Bitters (1/4 oz Torani Amer)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
After rounding out my work week on Sunday night, I came home and wanted to celebrate by way of drink. My thirst led me to Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 where the I spotted the Chorus Lady that made me think of the Florodora crafted around that same time frame for an infamous chorus girl. Instead of a raspberry-ginger delight, this was more of a Perfect Martini with orange notes. In the glass, the Chorus Lady gave forth a perfume-like aroma from the orange blossom water that was joined by darker notes from the sweet vermouth and Picon. Next, red grape with hints of caramel on the sip danced aside to gin, herbal, and bitter orange flavors on the swallow with a brighter floral-orange finish. Perhaps it was the perfume-like nature of the drink that led the drink creator to name this libation after a showgirl.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

diamonds & spades

1 1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1 1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
7 dash Peychaud's Bitters
1 pinch Salt
Absinthe for rinsing glass

Dissolve salt in simple syrup, add rest save for the absinthe, stir with ice, and strain into an absinthe-rinsed rocks glass (St. George Absinthe). Twist a lemon peel over the top and discard.

In contemplating my shift drink at Our Fathers two Saturdays ago, I thought about our amari collection and considered taking the Ferrari (50:50 Fernet-Campari) shot in a New Orleans direction akin to Scott Holliday's Red Dwarf. Given that Boston's love of the Sazerac is frequently traced back to Sazerac evangelist John Gertsen at No. 9 Park followed by Drink (where he hosted Sazerac Sundays), I thought about the New Orleans bar where he learned to love them -- Tujagues. That restaurant name made me think of "Two Jacks" as in playing cards, and the one red ingredient and one black ingredient made me hone in on card suits for a name. In the end, Diamonds & Spades won out over the Clubs & Hearts.
I included a pinch of salt get to the other flavors to shine over the bitterness as was done in the Black Stallion Sets Sail and the Cornerman. Like a Sazerac, the Diamonds & Spades nose led off with lemon and anise aromas. Next, caramel and orange on the sip flowed into orange and minty flavors on the swallow with an anise finish. Indeed, the salt allowed the Campari's citrus and the Fernet's mint to take center stage over the bitter botanicals in each of the liqueurs.

Friday, February 23, 2018

pineapple fizz

2 oz Plantation 3 Star White Rum
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup
1/2 Egg White (1 Egg White)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake once without ice and once with ice, and strain into a Highball or Fizz glass with 1 1/2 oz soda water.
Two Fridays ago after my shift at work, I reached for the 2016 The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book by Frank Caiafa and found my list of recipes to try. The one that felt right for that moment was the Pineapple Fizz that reminded me of a few drinks including Charles H. Baker Jr.'s Gin Fizz Tropical, the early 20th century Cubanola, and my mocktail Pineapple Ramos. Once prepared, the Pineapple Fizz gave forth a pineapple bouquet to the nose that preceded the creamy and carbonated pineapple and lemon sip. Next, the swallow delivered rum, pineapple, clove, and cinnamon flavors to round out a quite delightful Silver Fizz.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

alligator monday

1 oz Mezcales de Leyenda (Fidencio Espadin Joven)
1 oz Fernet Branca Menta
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Orgeat
5 drop Saline 1:3 Solution (1 pinch Salt)

Short shake with ice, strain into a glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a mint sprig and orange zest (orange twist only).

Two Thursdays ago, I received an email from the KLG public relations firm featuring recipes that showcase their clients' products such as Fernet Branca and Mezcales de Leyenda. The one that called out to me was the Alligator Monday by Maks Pazuniak at Brooklyn's Jupiter Disco. The name struck me as a reference to the Fernet Branca alligator mascot until I searched on the web and discovered that it is the song title from the math-rock band Cuzco. At Jupiter Disco, their current menu reads Fidencio Mezcal, so I utilized that as one of the equal parts here.
Even without the mint sprig, the Alligator Monday's aroma was rather minty from the Branca Menta and this joined the bright oils from the orange twist on the nose. Next, a creamy lime and caramel sip gave way to mint with nutty and smoky agave undertones on the swallow.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


1/2 Scotch (1 1/2 oz Famous Grouse)
1/3 Grapefruit Juice (3/4 oz)
1/3 French Vermouth (3/4 oz Dolin Blanc)
1 dash Ojen Bitters (1/2 bsp Herbsaint)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added a grapefruit twist.
Two Wednesdays ago, I reached for Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 to discover any passed over recipes worth exploring. When I came across the Express, I reconsidered the French vermouth as blanc instead of dry, and soon the recipe reminded me of the Bohemian with the grapefruit, floral element (blanc vermouth here and St. Germain there), and anise-driven bitters. With Scotch, grapefruit juice, and a sweetener, it also made me think of the Polly's Special. Once shaken and strained, the Express gave forth grapefruit oil over Scotch on the nose. Next, grapefruit and white grape notes on the sip led into Scotch, floral, and anise flavors on the swallow.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

super mutant

1 oz Rhum Clement Select Aged Rhum Agricole
1 oz Lustau Fino Sherry
1 oz Green Chartreuse
1 sprig Rosemary

In one rocks glass, build the rhum agricole and sherry. In a second rocks glass, add the Chartreuse and rosemary; ignite the Chartreuse and let it burn for 30 seconds. Meanwhile, add ice to the first rocks glass and begin to stir. Extinguish the fire in the second rocks glass, strain the burnt rosemary-infused Chartreuse into the first glass containing rhum, sherry, and ice, and stir for a bit more.
Two Tuesdays ago, I ventured down to Union Square, Somerville, to catch the return of Luc Thiers at Backbar. Sadly, he was not returning as a full-time staff member but merely as an alumni and guest bartender for the night as his bar in Rochester, the supernatural-themed Spirits Room, keeps him quite busy. For his guest shift, he brought with him a whole menu based off of the video game Fallout, and he even dressed up as Pip-Boy for the occasion. The drink I selected was the Super Mutant named after the oversized virally-infected humans in the video game.
Luc mentioned that the drink was based off of a Scotch Bijou drink that he once did, but the Chartreuse-burning rosemary part reminded me of the Rubicon and to some degree the Rosemary's Baby where the herb was ignited via Grand Marnier instead. The Chartreuse fire in a second glass also reminded me of the Drink duo Krakatoa and Super Nova. Once prepared, this rhum Bijou of sorts proffered grassy aromas from the agricole that melded into the Chartreuse's herbal. Next, the Fino's white wine was boosted to semi-dryness from the Chartreuse's sugar content on the sip, and the swallow was similar to the nose with grassy flavors transitioning into Chartreuse with the rosemary coming through on the finish. As the ice melted a bit, the drink got less sweet and the Fino began to shine through more and turn things more savory.

Monday, February 19, 2018

el nova grog

3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
2 oz Mount Gay Eclipse Rum (R.L. Seale 10 Year)
1/4 oz Don's Spices (1 bsp vanilla syrup + 1 bsp Hamilton's Allspice Dram)
2 dash Bitters (Angostura)
1 oz Club Soda

Shake all but the soda water with ice, strain into a pineapple mug (Tiki mug) containing the club soda, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with pineapple leaves, mint sprig, and orchid (freshly grated nutmeg).

Two Mondays ago, I decided to make a drink that EL Nova posted on Instagram about his nameless Superbowl creation from the day before. It looked tasty, and I replied how it needed a name and how it looked "inspired by [Trader] Vic's Navy Grog, Siboney, and Old Yellow Stain, so it seems like a winner."
Since it still lacked a name, I dubbed this one after the creator, and he seemed to approve. In the mug, the Grog shared a woody spice from the nutmeg garnish I used over tropical fruit aromas from the mix below. Next, the sip was mostly the grapefruit and pineapple combination with some of the passion fruit creeping in, but most of the passion fruit showed itself on the swallow along with the rum and allspice flavors and a pineapple, vanilla, and clove finish.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

tony rocky horror

1 1/2 oz Pot Still Rum (Newport Distilling's Thomas Tew)
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1/2 oz Orgeat
2 dash Absinthe (1/2 bsp Kübler)

Dry shake, pour into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with mint sprigs (grapefruit twist).
Postnote 12/4/22: I found an online flashcard from a collection of NYC drinks that listed it as "1 lime, 1/2 orgeat, 3/4 falernum, 1 jamaican rum, 1/2 smith and cross, absinthe, crushed ice, mint sprig and grate nutmeg"

Two Sunday nights ago, I decided to make a drink from a Facebook video for a new libation by Sam Ross at Las Vegas' The Dorsey. The recipe was for the Tony Rocky Horror named after a character from Pulp Fiction, but the video left some gaps in the drink proportions specifically with the housemade falernum and orgeat. When I made my assumptions and posted them on Instagram, I was asked how I came to these numbers; my reply was, "I based it off of 3 things: the standard Mai Tai recipe/how much sweetener would balance 1 oz of lime juice, Sam Ross' other recipes (i.e. his spec style), and watching the pours out of the jigger [a Napier-style stepped cup] -- they were equal and about half as much as the 1 oz measure. It tasted akin to a Mai Tai -- perhaps not as sweet since Velvet Falernum isn't as sugary as curaçao/Cointreau or [probably] Sam's housemade falernum." If I did see this on paper without knowing the citrus amounts, I would have also considered the Test Pilot and made it equal half ounce parts of the two sweeteners and the citrus, but the 1 oz lime juice was not cut out of the video.
With Antwan "Tony Rocky Horror" Rockamora being half Samoan, the name is at least somewhat related to the South Pacific, even if the rest of Pulp Fiction was not. But in the glass, it was rather tropical with a grapefruit and anise aroma on the nose that led into a creamy lime sip. Next, the drink gave forth rum, nutty, lime, clove, and anise flavors on the swallow.

every dream a dream of escape even when it doesn't look like it

1 oz Rainwater Madeira (Blandy's 5 Year Verdelho)
1/2 oz Cointreau
3 dash Angostura Bitters
3 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, add a Champagne float (1 1/2 oz Willm Blanc de Blancs), and garnish with a knotted lemon twist.

Two Sunday mornings ago, I was perusing Instagram when I had spotted a literary-inspired drink by Chantal Tseng at Washington DC's Petworth Citizen called the Every Dream a Dream of Escape Even When It Doesn't Look Like It that impressed me first due to the name length for it had one more than the previous champ of 12 words, The Facts Concerning the Late Van Hagen & The Thirsty Man's Safari. This The Underground Railroad-themed drink also caught my eye for it reminded me of a Prince of Wales minus the brandy; however, Chantal revealed her influence as a "Seelbach Cocktail with Madeira replacing the Bourbon and half the bitters." Finally, it seemed like a great brunch drink (we had the Seelbach on the brunchtails list back at Russell House Tavern for a season or two), so I did not wait until the night to enjoy this creation.
The Every Dream shared a citrus aroma of lemon and orange along with darker notes from the Madeira on the nose. Next, a carbonated grape and orange sip escaped into an elegant red wine merging into bitter orange swallow. Indeed, the Madeira-orange liqueur duo seen in drinks like the 91st Division, Brotherly Advice, and Come Sail Away made this fortified wine for whiskey swap sing delightfully.

Saturday, February 17, 2018


1/2 Scotch (1 1/4 oz Famous Grouse + 1/4 oz Laphroaig 10 Year)
2 dash French Vermouth (1 oz Dolin Blanc)
2 dash St. Croix Rum (1/2 oz Privateer Navy Yard)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

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

After a Saturday night at Our Fathers in Allston, I came home to have late night dinner followed by a cocktail. For inspiration, I flipped through Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and came upon the Burlington. This Rob Roy variation spiked in some rum complexity, and I opted for the Jim Meehan theory that sometimes "French vermouth" drinks can taste better with a somewhat sweetened blanc vermouth instead of a dry one. For a rum, the burly Navy Yard from Privateer caught my eye despite going over to my shelf to select a funky Jamaican rum (that pairing came to mind through the Modernista, Quarter Deck, and Captain Kidd) with a secondary concept being an agricole (that duo was spawned from the Start of a New Road and Two Worlds Sour).
The Burlington gave forth a lemon oil over peat smoke bouquet to the nose. Next, malt mingling with white grape on the sip gave way to Scotch merging with rum on the swallow with floral and orange notes and a smoky finish.

Friday, February 16, 2018


1 1/4 oz Rye Whiskey (Ryan & Wood)
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Maurin)
1/2 oz Ginger Liqueur (King's Ginger)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass rinsed with Herbsaint, and garnish with a lemon twist.
After work two Fridays ago, I was in the mood for a nightcap, so I turned to Sarah Baird's New Orleans Cocktails and selected the Lexington from T. Cole Newton of Twelve Mile Limit. I finally made a trip out to that bar last July during Tales (see below) but sadly the afternoon's light made me think more of beer than consulting their cocktail expertise. The Lexington is Cole's riff on the Sazerac that reminded me of my Sazerac-Manhattan hybrid the Merchants Exchange Manhattan but here with the added angle of ginger spice. Once prepared, the Lexington gave forth a familiar lemon and anise nose. Next, grape and malt held hands through the sip, and this was chased by rye spice, dry grape, ginger, cinnamon, and anise on the swallow.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

palm viper

3/4 oz Zacapa "23" Rum
3/4 oz El Dorado 12 Year Rum
1 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Cynar
2 dash Bittercube Corazon Bitters

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

Two Thursdays ago, Andrea and I ventured down to Brookline to dine at the Baldwin Bar's new sibling, the Blossom Bar, that hosts the same style of Sichuan cuisine as the Woburn location but with cocktails inspired by Central and South America. For a start, I selected the Palm Viper that reminded me of a rum Little Italy. I later discovered that the drink was crafted by Patrick Andrew as a riff on the 1919 Cocktail, and he utilized aromatic bitters from Bittercube that have chili pepper, cocoa, and coffee flavors akin to a mole to give some extra regional flare to the two Central American rums in the mix. And for a name, he dubbed this one after a poisonous snake lurking in the mountains of Costa Rica and Panama.
Once prepared, the Palm Viper gave forth bright lemon oil aromas over the bass notes from the dark rums and amaro. Next, caramel from the rums and amaro mingled with the vermouth's grape on the sip, and the swallow paired rum and funk with an elegant spice finish.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


1 oz Gin (Beefeater)
1 1/2 oz Coruba Dark Rum
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 1/2 oz Passion Fruit Juice
1/4 oz Don's Spices #2 (1 bsp vanilla syrup + 1 bsp Hamilton's Allspice Dram)
1/4 oz Grenadine

Blend briefly with crushed ice and pour (shake with ice and strain) into a Tiki mug with 1 1/2 oz soda water; fill with crushed ice and garnish with an orchid (strawberry fan + paper umbrella).

Two Wednesdays ago to round out Tiki the Snow Away month on Instagram, I searched to see if there were any recipes from Hale Pele in Portland that I had never tried. When I visited Hale Pele in 2012, the bar program was so new that they only offered classics like the Penang Afridi. My web search turned up the A'A'Po'e, and I was able to piece together the recipe from a video on The Oregonian and the BG Reynold's webpage. Overall, the drink looked like it had elements of the Saturn mashed together with some from the Hurricane.
In the mug, the A'A'Po'e gave forth a lemon, passion fruit, and caramel aroma before I added on the garnish which donated complementary strawberry notes. Next, a carbonated lemon and passion fruit sip led into dark rum, pine, allspice, and vanilla flavors on the swallow.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Grenadine
1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum (Coruba)
2 oz Light Virgin Island Rum (Privateer Silver)
1/2 oz Club Soda

Shake all but the club soda with ice, pour into a Tiki mug with the soda water, and fill with ice.
For the penultimate night of Tiki the Snow Away month two Tuesdays ago, I began flipping through Beachbum Berry's Remixed for ideas that I have not tried yet. There, I honed in on Jeff Berry's 2002 tribute to Sven "Sven-Tiki" Kirsten who authored the 2000 The Book of Tiki and later a few other Tiki-themed books. Berry's combination reminded me of a Shrunken Skull with orange and pineapple juices in the mix, so I figured it would be a delightful tropical number. Once prepared, the Sven-Tiki offered a citrus, berry, and rum funk bouquet to the nose. Next, dark caramel, lime, and berry notes on the sip gave way to dark rum, orange, and pineapple flavors on the swallow.

Monday, February 12, 2018

jungle grog

2 oz Dark Rum (Coruba)
2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Campari
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/4 oz Allspice Dram (Hamilton's)

Shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug or tall glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with Tiki intent.

Using the Tiki the Snow Away month as inspiration, I thought about riffs of the Jungle Bird that I could do. Fixating on Campari as a common ingredient, I then honed in on my Negroni-Navy Grog mashup, the Negroni Grog as well as the original Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic Navy Grogs, and I proceeded to design a merger of the two concepts. Instead of the honey in my Grog, I opted for grenadine that worked well with Campari as "bittersweet" in the Freaky Tiki and the night before's Isla Tortuga. Indeed, the pairing of grenadine and amaro was one that Trader Vic utilized with Amer Picon in the Jayco, Kahala Cooler, and other drinks. For a name, instead of the Navy Bird, I dubbed this one the Jungle Grog.
The Jungle Grog presented a tropical nose along with dark rum funk notes. Next, the sip's lime, grapefruit, and rum's caramel was chased by funky rum, pineapple, and berry-bitter orange "bittersweet" flavors on the swallow with a pineapple and allspice finish.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

isla tortuga

1 1/2 oz Column Still Gold Rum (Don Q Añejo)
1 oz Overproof Black Rum (Plantation OFTD)
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Maurin)
1/4 oz Grenadine
1/4 oz Campari
1/2 oz Curaçao (Senior)
1/2 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with citrus peel sails.

During the Tiki the Snow Away hashtag event on Instagram, I was taken by London home bartender @tikildn's riff on Trader Vic's 1946 Tortuga (which was in turn possibly a riff on the Floridita Daiquiri). Here, he dropped the lemon juice to reduce the citrus from 3 to 2 juices, swapped the crème de cacao to Campari, and made a few small touches to the ratios and rum identities. The combination of the grenadine left over from the original and the inserted Campari reminded me of the "bittersweet" mix in the Freaky Tiki. For a name, he called this one the Isla Tortuga after the given name of the island where Columbus landed in his first voyage in 1492 before it became a haven for pirates and later developed into the country of Haiti.
The Isla Tortura gave forth fruity aromas plus hints of dark rum and citrus oils from the garnish. Next, a fruity medley of lime, orange, and grape on the sip transition into rum, berry, and bitter orange flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

black francis

1 3/4 oz Smoky Scotch (1 1/2 oz Famous Grouse + 1/4 oz Laphroaig 10 Year)
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Pedro Ximenez Sherry (Oxford 1970)

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

After getting home from work two Saturdays ago, I was in the mood for somethings straight spirits to wrap up the evening, so I turned to the Black Francis that I had previously spotted on the BarNotes app. This drink was a The Pixies reference crafted by Manhattan bartender Rafa Garcia Febles in 2013, and the combination of Scotch, vermouth, and fortified wine reminded me of the Chancellor and other drinks. That connection made me override Rafa's tempting suggestion that this recipe also is rather tasty as a mezcal drink.
In the glass, the Black Francis shared a bright lemon oil nose over smoke and deep dark grape elements. Next, a raisin-y grape sip gave way to smoky Scotch and raisin melding into bitter complexity on the swallow.

Friday, February 9, 2018

perverted by language

1 1/2 oz Dry Gin (Brooklyn Gin)
1/2 oz Sloe Gin (Plymouth)
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Alessio)
1/2 oz Cynar

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe rinsed with absinthe (St. George), and garnish with a lemon twist; or strain into a rocks glass rinsed with absinthe, and garnish with lemon oil from a twist.
In thinking about the variety of sloe gin and other related plum gins on our shelves at Our Fathers, I recalled the great combination of sloe gin and Cynar that appears in Phil Ward's Lipspin and Colin Shearn's Transatlantic Giant. Using that duo as a base and adding gin to the mix, my initial idea of dry vermouth was wrong for the fruitier notes of sweet vermouth rounded out this combination rather well. And for added herbal complexity and aromatics, I opted for an absinthe rinse. Originally, I was thinking of doing it Sazerac style in a rocks glass, but I prefer the look and feel of our coupes over our double old fashioned glasses at work. For a name, Andrea suggested a reference to the indie rock band The Fall as Mark E. Smith had just passed away this week, and I dubbed this one after their 1983 album Perverted by Language.

Thursday, February 8, 2018


2/3 Rye Whiskey (1 3/4 oz Old Overholt)
1/4 Sweet Vermouth (3/4 oz Maurin)
1 dash Sherry (1/4 oz Amontillado)
1 dash Picon Bitters (1/4 oz Torani Amer)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added an orange twist.
After my work shift two Thursdays ago, I turned to Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 to find the straight spirits sort of drink that I was craving. There, I found the Nelson that reminded me of the original 1908 Brooklyn Cocktail in Jack's Manual that contained sweet vermouth instead of the dry vermouth that won out in history. In parallel to the nutty Maraschino liqueur in the Brooklyn, what if the sherry here was an oxidized one like an Amontillado or Oloroso? Once mixed, the garnish I added to the Nelson donated bright orange oils over the cocktail's darker grape and Picon notes. Next, a semi-dry grape sip led into rye and nutty flavors on the swallow with a complex quinine and orange swallow. Perhaps an Oloroso would have added more nutty notes than an Amontillado, but it still was a decent Manhattan riff albeit not as delightful to my palate as the dry vermouth Brooklyn.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

cobra's fang

1 oz Plantation OFTD Overproof Rum
1 1/2 oz Plantation Original Dark Rum
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1/2 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1/4 oz Grenadine
1 dash Absinthe (Butterfly)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Flash blend with ice and pour into a Collins glass (shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, and fill with crushed ice). The 1937 version was garnished with a cinnamon stick (a citrus peel Cobra here).

One of the drinks that I had been meaning to make was Don the Beachcomber's 1937 Cobra's Fang ever since having a riff of that called the Snake Pit. My search through Beachbum Berry's books only yielded the 1962 variation called the Cobra. I later discovered that the recipe for the Cobra's Fang lives on Tiki forums as well as the Beachbum Berry recipe app, but I put off making it due its close similarity to the Cobra (see below). During Tiki the Snow Away on Instagram, someone pointed to a Matt Pietrek (CocktailWonk) article that listed the 1937 original as well as the riff (presented here) done by Tacoma Cabana's Jason Alexander. To the classic Cobra's Fang, Jason split the 1 1/2 oz of 151 proof Demerara rum into two lesser proof Plantation rums, increased the two citrus components by a 1/4 oz each, and added a 1/4 oz of grenadine to the combination. The Cobra was pretty close as far as riffs go (see the Zombie or even the Mai Tai for how far things can vary) and simply had less 151 proof rum and lacked falernum in the mix. Overall, the combination of rum, passion fruit, falernum, orange juice, and lime reminded me of the 1950s South Pacific Punch except the Cobra's Fang had spice elements and more rum heft.
Once the Tacoma Cabana's version of the Cobra's Fang was prepared, it shared a lemon oil aroma from the garnish over passion fruit and rum notes. Next, an orange-passion fruit flavor on the sip was accented by lime and the rums' caramel, and this was followed by bold rums, passion fruit, clove, and anise spice on the swallow.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

escape from monkey island

1 1/2 oz Dark Rum (Plantation Original Dark)
1/2 oz Mezcal (Fidencio Espadin Joven)
3/4 oz Amontillado or Oloroso Sherry (Lustau Amontillado)
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Crème de Banana (Giffard Banane du Bresil)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
2 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with Tiki intent (spent lime shell with Don Q 151 proof Rum ignited).

Earlier in the month, I wrote down several ideas for January's Tiki the Snow Away event that included the Monkey Pilot and the Ginui Nui. Two Tuesdays ago, I returned to the list and decided upon the Escape from Monkey Island to test; the recipe was inspired by a hybrid of two classics -- the Test Pilot and the Mai Tai -- as well as my Kuula Hina and some other drinks I have tried. Actually, the Monkey Pilot concept came after this one on that idea list when I decided to challenge myself to craft a "monkey" drink that did not rely on crème de banana.
I split the rum base with some mezcal to instill the feeling that there was some sort of fire and destruction that needed fleeing, and it donated a smoke note to the nose along with nutty grape and lime aromas. Next, a creamy lime and grape sip ran to rum, smoky mezcal, banana, and nutty flavors on the swallow.

Monday, February 5, 2018


3/4 oz Plymouth Gin (GrandTen Wireworks)
3/4 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
3/4 oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth (Maurin)
3/4 oz Cynar

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.

Two Mondays ago, I was in the midst of reading Matt Teacher's The Spirit of Gin book, and I took note when I spotted the MI-5 created at the now defunct Gin Palace in Manhattan. The Gin Palace named its drinks after all things London and British, and the MI-5 is the British government's counter-intelligence agency. What lured me in was how it reminded me of a split spirits Little Italy with the two bases being the gin and apple brandy found in a Pink Lady. Moreover, the apple brandy, vermouth, and Cynar combination made me think of the Nassau Street Cocktail.
In the glass, the MI-5 encircled the nose with an apple and funky herbal bouquet. Next, grape and Cynar's caramel filled the sip, and the swallow began with juniper and Cynar's herbal flavors and ended with apple and mint-like notes. The barrel aging of the apple brandy and the grain base of the gin in the end did not equate to the feel of whiskey in the Little Italy, but the MI-5 was still a delight to drink.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

the dapper little gent

1 1/2 oz Pisco (Macchu Pisco)
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Oloroso Sherry (Lustau)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Cinnamon Bitters (Fee's Whiskey Barrel)

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lime wheel.
For a nightcap two Sundays ago, we ended the evening with a recipe from Chris Resnick while at Cardinal Spirits via the BarNotes app. The recipe was the 2013 Dapper Little Gent that reminded me of two other drinks created that year, namely the 2011 and the Stagecoach Mary due to the sherry-Campari and Campari-pisco pairings, respectively. Once prepared, the Dapper Little Gent gave forth lime, nutty grape, and almost floral notes from the pisco to the nose. Next, lime and sherry's grape combined on the sip, and the swallow proffered pisco with nutty sherry melding into bitter orange flavors.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

torino zombie

2 1/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Maurin)
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Funky, High Ester Jamaican Rum (Wray & Nephew)
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1 dash Absinthe (10 drop St. George)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with Tiki intent.

Two Saturdays ago, I stopped into Russell House Tavern after work, so by the time I got home, it was rather late. On the walk home, I started brainstorming on a vermouth Zombie idea based off how well the classic Fig Leaf works, but I decided that since it was such a late of an hour that it might make for a better brunch drink concept the next morning. On Sunday, I touched up the recipe that I had scratched down to make it less of a pure 1934 Zombie by incorporating the apricot brandy element that started appearing in Zombie recipes around 1941 (which I described in the Bath Salts Zombie riff). Since Tiki is usually based on a mix of rums, so why not a mix of vermouths here? To add some depth, I included Punt e Mes which would work well with the apricot liqueur, and while I considered keeping this drink rum-free, I did spike in a small amount of high-impact rum to add some funky complexity to the swallow. Moreover, I kept the cinnamon syrup (after dropping the grapefruit in the Don's Mix) when I recalled how well cinnamon syrup worked with apricot liqueur in the Southern Belle. For a name, I dubbed it the Torino Zombie after Turin, one of the centers of sweet vermouth production.
The Torino Zombie gave forth a grape and spice aroma akin to an anise-y mulled wine. Next, the sip shared grape and lime flavors akin to the Fig Leaf cocktail, and the swallow followed up with more grape leading into bitter apricot and spice notes. In the end, it was less like mulled wine and closer to a Tiki Sangria.

Friday, February 2, 2018


1 1/2 oz Cachaça (Seleta Gold)
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Grenadine
2 dash Regan's Orange Bitters
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Fridays ago after my work shift, I reached for Sarah Baird's New Orleans Cocktails for a refreshing way to end the evening. There, I found the Nertz! by Scott Stierwatt from his time at Cane & Table as his Brazilian riff on the State Street Punch from Stanley Clisby Arthur's Famous New Orleans Drinks & How to Mix'em. In the glass, it began with orange oil over grassy funk and a fruity note from the pineapple or grenadine on the nose. Next, lemon and pomegranate's berry came through on the sip, and the swallow shared grassy rum, pineapple, and berry flavors.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

poison dart

2 oz Bourbon (Old Granddad Bonded)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1 dash Allspice Dram (1 bsp Hamilton's)
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe (shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, and fill with crushed ice). Garnish with an orange peel dart.

After my work shift two Thursdays ago, I decided to stick with the month's Tiki theme and go with another drink that I had spotted on the BarNotes app called the Poison Dart. That drink was posted by Chad Austin, and it turned out to be a vintage 2010 Craig Herman a/k/a Colonel Tiki recipe that I had considered making a year or two ago after trying Craig's Vendetta and Golden Frond. The Poison Dart somewhat reminded me of a Lion's Tail given the Bourbon, citrus, and allspice dram; however, it was the orgeat-Cynar combination that finally lured me in for it has worked well in drinks like the Aster Family Flip, Artichoke Hold, and other recipes. Interestingly, this citrus-laden drink recommended stirring with ice to mix as a silky number; however, I took it in a shaken Tiki mug direction to better fit my mood as well as the way the ingredients spoke to me.
The Poison Dart gave forth an orange oil and Bourbon aroma. Next, a creamy lemon and malt sip led into Bourbon, earthy funk, and allspice on the swallow with a cinnamon finish. The whiskey here was a touch assertive so perhaps a softer Bourbon like Four Roses would have kept a better balance. Perhaps as a stirred drink with less dilution and thus a higher sugar content, my original spirit choice might have been better.