Thursday, May 31, 2018

algiers point

1 oz Cognac (Hennessy VSOP at Work; Courvoisier VS at Home)
1 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse)
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3 dash Peychaud's Bitters
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass rinsed with Herbsaint, and garnish with lemon oil from a twist.

Two Thursdays ago, a pair of cocktailians that I know from around town came into River Bar. For their second round, they asked for something herbal like a Green Point, or perhaps something inspired by John Gertsen. So I thought, "Why not both?" Since John was a big fan of Sazeracs and its variations, why not merge a Cognac Sazerac with a Green Point. Gertsen at No. 9 Park was also excited about serving Green Points (except that the house take on it called for Green Chartreuse instead of the standard Yellow), so it all fit into place. I had previously done a similar thing for a Manhattan-themed Mixology Monday post where I took the Manhattan and crossed it with a Sazerac for the Merchants Exchange Manhattan. For a name, I honed in on the "Point" part of the 2005 Milk & Honey neoclassic and dubbed this one after the section of New Orleans on the other side of the Mississippi River, namely Algiers Point.
The guests rather enjoyed the drink and inquired when I had created this drink; they were surprised when they had heard that it was on the fly. When I got home, I recreated the recipe as close as possible with the only notable change being the Cognac brand and age. When I mixed it for myself, the Algiers Point brought lemon oil and anise aromas to the nose. Next, grape and malt on the sip gave way to rye's spice, Cognac's richness, Punt e Mes' bitter, and Yellow Chartreuse's herbal flavors on the swallow with Herbsaint's anise spice on the finish.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

who dares win

2 oz Beefeater Gin
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Kümmel (Helbing)

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a star anise pod.
Two Wednesdays ago, I reached for Clair McLafferty's The Classic & Craft Cocktail Recipe Book for the night's libation. There, I was drawn to the Who Dares Win by Scottish bartender Mike Aikman for it reminded me of an Army & Navy crossed with a Silver Bullet. Once prepared, it gave forth a spiced nose mostly from the caraway with perhaps lighter notes from cumin, star anise, and juniper. Next, the creamy lemon sip transitioned into gin, nutty, and caraway flavors on the swallow; moreover, towards the end, the star anise from the garnish seemed to infuse into the drink itself.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

brazilian vesper

1 oz Cachaça (Seleta Gold)
1 oz Vodka (Bar Hill)
1 oz Lillet Blanc (Cocchi Americano)
1 bsp Passion Fruit Syrup

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

Two Tuesdays ago, I was lured in by a cachaça recipe posted by Imbibe Magazine, namely the Brazilian Vesper by Jacyara de Oliveira of Chicago's El Che. I had previously written a rant about the Vesper for a Mixology Monday event about how I did not understand the drink and why one would slightly want to diminish the flavor of gin by 25% with neutral spirits. In addition, I have only had one person ever request gin and Lillet Blanc before (previously, I had said no one, but one of the servers at Our Fathers preferred her Martinis that way as she tasted through the gins). Here, instead of a 3:1 of flavorful spirit to vodka, the mix is equal parts and this could help to mitigate cachaça's grassy funk (although I love it especially in Seleta and other better brands). For a vodka, I opted for the brand I used in the classic Vesper post -- a fuller one made from honey by Caledonia Spirits so that it would not be perfectly neutral. And my complaint about the Lillet taking up one-ninth of the pre-melt build volume in the classic was solved by putting it in equal parts footing with the cachaça and vodka; moreover, the fruit element was bolstered by a dash of passion fruit syrup here.
The Brazilian Vesper's lemon twist garnish offered up citrus aromas to accent the Brazilian spirit's grassy funk and complement the Cocchi Americano and passion fruit to follow. Next, a peachy citrus sip led into a delightful medley of cachaça, honey, passion fruit, orange, and lemon flavors on the swallow.

Monday, May 28, 2018

el rey

2 oz Amontillado Sherry (Lustau)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)
2 dash Boker's Bitters (Jerry Thomas Decanter)
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain over ice, and garnish with an orange-cherry flag.
After making the Royal Street Royale, I wanted to keep things on the lighter side, so I opted for a sherry recipe that I had spotted on the BarNotes app. That drink was the El Rey crafted by Nick Jarrett at the Clover Club in 2010 as a sherry egg white Sour. Once prepared, it gave forth a nutty sherry and orange peel aroma that led into a creamy, semi-dry grape and lemon-flavored sip. Next, the Amontillado's oxidized nuttiness came through on the swallow with a lightly spiced finish. Overall, it was light and playful yet elegant.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

royal street royale

1 cube Demerara Sugar
3 dash Peychaud's Bitters
1 rinse Herbsaint
4-5 oz Champagne or Dry Sparkling Wine (Willm Blanc de Blancs)
1 Lemon Twist

Soak the demerara sugar cube in 3 dash Peychaud's Bitters. Rinse a flute glass with Herbsaint, add the bitters-soaked sugar cube, and top with the Champagne (leaving 3/4 inch or so of head space on top for the Herbsaint-coated walls to provide aroma). Garnish with a lemon twist. A large coupe, a double old fashioned, or small wine glass might work well here too. Filling the glass all the way up would stymie the Herbsaint rinse's aroma though.

Two Mondays ago, I had been thinking about the 1850s Champagne Cocktail and how I have never written it up on the blog. I have written up variations such as the Alfonso and Casino Imperial, and I intended to do the classic. However, my mind drifted to how to change things up. For bitters, I considered Peychaud's instead of the Angostura generally associated with the classic, and this got me thinking about taking things in a New Orleans direction with Herbsaint. So what would a Champagne Cocktail crossed with a Sazerac be like as a Champagne Sazerac (instead of a Rye Sazerac floated with Champagne such as the Sea Captain's Sazerac)?
Playing off of the term Royale used to describe Champagne drinks, I paired it with one of the main streets in New Orleans' French Quarter, namely Royal Street, to make this the Royal Street Royale. Once mixed, the libation offered lemon and anise notes to the nose. Next, a crisp, carbonated sip transitioned to a dry and fruity swallow with an anise-driven finish.

Saturday, May 26, 2018


1 1/4 oz Bourbon (Four Roses)
1/2 oz Scotch (Famous Grouse)
1/4 oz Jamaican Rum (Smith & Cross)
2 tsp Coffee Liqueur (Kahlua)
1 tsp Passion Fruit Liqueur (Ezequiel's)

Stir with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Saturdays ago, I was lured in by a recipe posted in Imbibe Magazine for the Highwayman by Tyson Buhler at the new Death & Co. bar that opened up in Denver. The Highwayman came across as a three spirit Old Fashioned of sorts and the trio of Bourbon, Scotch, and Jamaican rum reminded me of Sahil Mehta's Bootlegger's Breakfast. Here, the sweetener was the duo of coffee and passion fruit liqueurs -- a flavor combination that appeared in Tiki drinks like the Kiliki Cooler and Espresso Bongo.
The Highwayman gave forth an orange oil and rum funk bouquet with hints of coffee to the nose. Next, malt and a dark roast note filled the sip, and the swallow showcased the whisk(e)ys, rum's funk, and a touch of smoke with a coffee-passion fruit finish.

Friday, May 25, 2018

my old piano

1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
3/4 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Maurin)
1/2 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1/4 oz Kümmel (Helbing)
2 dash Apple Bitters (Bittermens Burlesque)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.

For my Friday's nightcap, I turned to Amanda Schuster's New York Cocktails and I paused on the My Old Piano presented by Sother Teague at Amor y Amargo. I had passed over this drink since I lacked BarKeep's Apple Bitters (or homemade ones), but I decided that I could probably get by with another fruit and spice bitters. With a little research, I discovered that the drink was created by bartender Ari Form, and I was lured in by the combination of rye over mezcal that worked well in drinks like the Last Caress, Red Ant, and other recipes. I was also curious about the kümmel ingredient; I recalled how well it paired with whiskey in William Schmidt's 1891 Gladstone. Moreover, modern mixology has demonstrated how well kümmel works with agave spirits such as in the Island of Misfit Toys and Mission Bell.
My Old Piano greeted the nose with grape, smoke, and cumin notes. Next, grape and malt mingled on the sip, and the swallow proffered rye along with smoky vegetal flavors with a caraway and cumin finish.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

threepenny opera

1 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Campari
1 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Maurin)
1 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
1 pinch Salt

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and add an orange twist.

Two Thursdays ago, I began flipping through Food & Wine: Cocktails 2016 until I came upon the Threepenny Opera. The recipe was crafted by Ryan Puckett at Indianapolis' Libertine Liquor Bar as a rather amaro-heavy libation featuring the Fernet-Campari "Ferrari" combination. The musical name along with the Fernet, Campari, and vermouth trio reminded me a bit of Short & Main's Jukebox Opera that came out later that year, but here, the bitterness was mollified by a pinch of salt as was done in the Cornerman and other drinks.
The Threepenny Opera gave forth an orange aroma that met up with a hint of Fernet's menthol on the nose. Next, caramel, grape, and orange on the sip led into bitter herbal-menthol flavors on the swallow. Overall, I was impressed at how the curaçao worked with the Campari to push the balance in a citrus direction to counter the salt-quenched Fernet.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

commodore no. 2

1/3 Bourbon Whiskey (2 oz Larceny)
1/3 Lemon Juice (3/4 oz)
1/3 Crème de Cacao (3/4 oz Tempus Fugit)
1 dash Grenadine (1/4 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added a lemon twist.
I recently saw a riff on the Commodore No. 2 in Food & Wine: Cocktails 2010, and two Wednesdays ago, I decided to make the original instead. The classic recipe appeared first in the 1935 Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book as a Whiskey Sour with crème de cacao and a touch of grenadine as the sweeteners, and I modified it slightly to make it more spirit forward. Once prepared, the Commodore No. 2 proffered lemon oil over Bourbon and chocolate aromas. Next, a lemon and berry sip led into a whiskey and raspberry-chocolate swallow.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

zombie julep

1 oz Appleton Rum (Appleton Reserve)
1 oz Plantation 5 Year Barbados Rum
1/4 oz Demerara 151 Proof Rum (Lemon Hart 151)
1/2 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1/4 oz Maraschino (Luxardo)
1/4 oz Grenadine
10 leaf Mint

Muddle mint in the syrup and liqueurs in a Julep cup (or double old fashioned glass), add rest, stir, and remove mint leaves. Add crushed ice, stir, and garnish with a mint sprig.
Since my mint patch has come back for yet another season, I decided two Tuesdays ago to finally make the Zombie Julep that I had spotted in Imbibe Magazine. The article cited Travis Brown at Raleigh's Fox Liquor Bar as the creator, and it described how he merged (or was inspired by) two classics, the Zombie and the Mint Julep. Once prepared, the Zombie Julep shared a mint nose over rum notes. Next, caramel, light cherry, and berry flavors on the sip transitioned into rich rum, nutty, mint, and clove elements on the swallow.

Monday, May 21, 2018

cigarettes and chocolate milk

1 oz Michter's Bourbon
1 oz Hamilton's Demerara Rum (*)
1/2 oz Coffee Heering
1/2 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Crème de Cacao

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass, and garnish with orange oil from a twist.
(*) Sahil made the drink earlier in the evening with the 86 proof but ran out. When I requested it, he tried it with the 151 proof. It shifted the balance away from the whiskey and more towards the rum.

Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I ventured down to Estragon for dinner. For a cocktail, I asked bartender Sahil Mehta for his drink of the day. Sahil described how the evening's cool weather made him veer away from a citrus drink, so he offered a straight spirits number. With the coffee liqueur and smoky Guyanese rum, he wanted to call this Coffee and Cigarettes, but he ended up naming it Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk after the Rufus Wainwright song.
The Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk began with a caramel, smoky Demerara rum, and bright orange oil bouquet that led into a caramel and roast-filled sip. Next, the swallow offered rum, molasses, and mocha flavors that reminded me of an Imperial stout beer.

Sunday, May 20, 2018


1 oz Mezcal
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Carpano Antica (Maurin Sweet Vermouth)
1/4 oz Crème de Cacao (Tempus Fugit)
1 bsp Campari
1 bsp Grenadine

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

On my walk home from work two Sunday nights ago, I began perusing the OnTheBar app's recipe collection for mezcal drinks. There, I spotted Dan Braganca's Langosta that he crafted at Backbar in 2015. Dan was inspired by two events on a trip to Portland, Maine. The first of these was a shot of mezcal, pineapple juice, and Campari that he was served at the Bearded Lady' Jewel Box; the second was a chocolate lobster candy left on his pillow at the hotel. These ingredients got Dan thinking about the Floridita from Cuba and the Tortuga from Trader Vic. Dan also included the equal part Campari and grenadine mix that Trader Vic utilized a lot and that I described in a bit more depth here; moreover, a Torturga riff I wrote about called the Isla Tortuga also opted for that combination. Finally, Dan dubbed his libation the Langosta after the Spanish word for "lobster."
The Langosta proffered smoke overlying bright orange oils and other fruit notes to the nose. Next, lime, pineapple, and grape on the sip led into mezcal and pineapple on the swallow with a bitter chocolate finish.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

singapore sling

2 oz Pineapple Juice
1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin (Beefeater)
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/4 oz Cointreau
1/4 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass filled with ice (wine glass without ice), and garnish with a cherry and a pineapple slice (omit garnish).

Two Saturdays ago, I decided to make the Singapore Sling for the blog. It was a drink I frequently made a few months ago as it was one of the two dozen or so gin classics on the menu at Our Fathers; in fact, one thing I did to speed up the process was making "Sling Juice" that was a one ounce dispense of the three liqueurs from a cheater bottle. The recipe that I utilized here was the one from the PDT Cocktail Book; the one at Our Fathers was similar save for the gin call and only a quarter ounce of grenadine. Moreover, I opted here for a fashion closer to the way we served it at the bar which was in a cocktail coupe sans garnish. While the Singapore Sling was perhaps created around or before 1915 at the Raffles Hotel by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon, the recipe above is a more modern one. Moreover, the recipes for this drink vary greatly in the literature.

To get at the heart of the matter, I went back to my notes from Tales of the Cocktail 2016 to a talk by Jared Brown entitled, "The Life & Times of the Singapore Sling." Singapore is a one city country in the East India Isle chain near Vietnam. The various islands there all adopted Slings as a popular drink type. Sir Stanford Raffles worked for the East India Trading Company in the 19th century, and he selected Singapore to settle down since it was not occupied by the Dutch like many of the other islands. The hotel itself opened for business in 1887.

Slings have a long history with one of the earliest mentions being in 1759 from the History of Sweden where it noted that "Long-sup or sling was one half water and one half rum with sugar in it to taste." In 1862, Jerry Thomas defined the Gin Sling as the same as the Gin Toddy except a little nutmeg is grated on the top. So with sugar, water, gin, and ice, the Gin Sling appeared to have been derived from Punch with the citrus and spice dropped from the roster (the nutmeg garnish could be considered a spice in a way). By the turn of the 20th century, the drink was so common that there was a dedicated glass -- an article in 1903 mentioned a "Gin Sling glass" in Borneo. Around 1908 is when the Gin Sling is speculated to have arrived in Singapore, and the first recipe for a Gin Sling there was recorded in 1913 with a description of "They walked into the S.C.C. [Singapore Cricket Club] and ordered one cherry brandy, one D.O.M. [Benedictine], one gin, one lime juice, some ice, water, and a few dashes of bitters." The bartenders apparently would not mix it for them, so the guests chose to assemble the drink for themselves.

Ngiam Tong Boon started bartending in the late 1890s before retiring shortly before his death in 1918. He is believed to have created the Singapore Sling around 1915, but not the Singapore Sling recipe that is served today at the Raffles Hotel. Moreover, attribution of the drink occurred several decades after his death, so it may be inaccurate (see the Wondrich hoax link below where a recipe was found in a hotel safe). Around that time in the 1910s, a dozen bars in Singapore were making Gin Slings and half of those had a drink called the Singapore Sling. The Straits Hotel has a famous Straits Sling of gin, cherry brandy, Benedictine, Angostura Bitters, and orange bitters, and other places were making their pinkish Slings with sloe gin or claret in place of the cherry brandy. Jared surmised that Boon made the best one of these Singapore Slings which is why it survived and got famous.

During the 1930s and 1940s, the Savoy Cocktail Book, Café Royal Cocktail Book, Stork Club, and Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide all published recipes, and Jared suggested that the Stork Club's was the closest. In tracing the drink recipe's history, the 1960s saw recipes that included orange liqueur as well as the orange-cherry garnish. And by the 1970s, pineapple juice had entered the equation along with gin, the three liqueurs, lime juice, and Angostura Bitters. Jared's history did not mention when grenadine appeared, but David Wondrich at a 2017 Tales of the Cocktail talk on "Great Hoaxes of Cocktail History discussed the financial desire to make the drink more affordable to produce. The drink had always been pink, so perhaps grenadine replaced some of the cherry liqueur as a cost saving measure along with the extra juices not found in the early recipes.
So the bottom line is that the original sling was probably closer to the Raffles Hotel Sling (here is a rum riff of it from the 1970s). As prepared in this more modern way, the Singapore Sling yielded pineapple, cherry, and clove aromas that later yielded gin notes to the nose as it warmed up. Next, creamy pineapple and vague fruit notes played on the sip, and the swallow offered gin, cherry, and pineapple flavors with an herbal finish.

As I curious side note, I was reminded of a 2009 recipe for a Shanghai Sling that I created as a Raffles Hotel Sling that swapped Chinese 5 spice syrup for the Benedictine.

Friday, May 18, 2018

library card

1 1/2 oz Scotch (1 1/4 oz Famous Grouse + 1/4 oz Laphroaig 10 Year)
1/2 oz Bonal (or other) Quinquina
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)

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

Two Friday nights ago, I was reminded of the great flavor combination of dark amari (like Cynar and Averna) and apricot, and it made me think about the Mulberry Bend and other recipes where it worked well. Given how my blended Scotch at home, Famous Grouse, has an apricot undertone perhaps from the Glenrothes single malt in the recipe, Scotch seemed to be a direction. To fill out the recipe, I kept with my quinquina kick, but decided to give Bonal some love over Byrrh. For a name, I had the blended Scotch brand Bank Note in my head and it made me think of the the 1970s era checkout card at the back of the retired library book on Scotch that I bought used; therefore, I went with the Library Card.
The Library Card shared peat smoke brightened by orange oils on the nose. Next, malt, grape, and a fruitiness from the apricot brandy on the sip gave way to smoky whisky and bitter apricot on the swallow with an orange-apricot and quinine finish.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

desk job

3/4 oz Zacapa 23 Rum (Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva)
3/4 oz Smith & Cross Rum
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
3/4 oz Cynar

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass with ice, and garnish with a lime twist.
For a nightcap after my Thursday night bar shift two weeks ago, I returned to Food & Wine: Cocktails 2016 and landed on the Desk Job. The recipe was crafted by Donny Clutterbuck of Rochester's The Cure as his happy hour drink if he had a desk job. The dual rums, vermouth, and Cynar aspect reminded me of the Blossom Bar's Palm Viper, but here there was extra depth from a bitter vermouth and a funky rum. Once prepared, the Desk Job's lime oils from the twist joined the caramel and rum funk bouquet on the nose. Next, grape and caramel paired elegantly on the sip, and the swallow brought forth funky rum matching funky bitter flavors.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


2/3 Bacardi (2 oz Barbancourt 8 Year + 1/4 oz Smith & Cross)
2 dash Cointreau (1/4 oz)
2 dash Kümmel (1/4 oz Helbing)
2 dash Maraschino (1/4 oz Luxardo)

Stir with ice and strain.
After my bar shift two Wednesdays ago, I dove into Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 for a nightcap. There, the Minsky with its spirit, Maraschino, and kümmel reminded me of William Schmidt's 1891 Gladstone from a few weeks ago, so I was curious to see what a rum-forward cousin would be like. In the glass, the Minsky proffered Jamaican rum funk and hints of caraway to the nose. Next, caramel from the aged rum on the sip gave way to rum, nutty, and orange flavors on the swallow with a cumin followed by caraway finish.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

spider of the evening

1 oz Blanco Tequila (Cimmarron)
1 oz Swedish Punsch (Kronan)
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Build in a Collins glass, fill with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill. Garnish with 3 dash mole bitters (Bittermens) and add a straw.

Two Tuesdays ago, I set out to craft a Swizzle utilizing Katie Emerson's tribute to the Death & Co. formula, the Company Swizzle, as my recipe skeleton. For a spirit and fortified wine combination, my mind drifted to tequila and Swedish punsch which worked great in my Metexa riff Chutes & Ladders. While Swedish punsch is not a fortified wine, it can act as a substitute for one as demonstrated in Crosby Gaige's 1941 Corpse Reviver #2 which swapped the punsch for the original's Lillet. Tequila and Swedish punsch went rather well with Campari in the Mambo #5, and Campari and passion fruit are a match made in heaven as I first discovered in the Novara. Finally, lime juice and molé bitters garnish were the last two elements of the Company Swizzle format to round out the recipe.
My Eyes on the Table named after Remedios Varo kept me in the surrealist painting mindset, so I began looking over Salvador Dali works. Given the tequila aspect, I did confirm that Dali visited Mexico, but he found that he could not stay there, for "There is no way I'm going back to Mexico. I can't stand to be in a country that is more surrealist than my paintings." His 1940 Spider of the Evening seemed to connect with the feel of the drink and won out here. In the glass, the Swizzle donated a chocolate aroma from the bitters that later allowed hints of the agave spirit through. Next, lime and a touch of passion fruit danced on the sip, and the swallow gave forth tequila and a tropical orange flavor that came across in an almost grapefruity way.

Monday, May 14, 2018

french aquatics

2 oz Orgeat
1 oz Calvados (Boulard VSOP)
1 oz VS Cognac (Courvoisier)
1/2 oz Hamilton's Demerara 151 Proof Rum (Lemon Hart 151)
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice

Shake with ice and pour into a Collins glass.

For a drink to round out that Monday night two weeks ago, I perused Food & Wine: Cocktails 2016 for a recipe idea. There, I landed upon the French Aquatics crafted by Cleveland bartender Shannon Smith at the Tiki Room and Porco Lounge. His creation paid tribute to French ingredients in classic Tiki, and here, orgeat, Calvados, and Cognac were three of the main players in a Scorpion Bowl-like number.
The French Aquatics greeted the nose with apple and nutty aromas with a brightness from the citrus. Next, a creamy sip shared tropical notes from the pineapple, and the swallow gave forth apple, Cognac, pineapple, and nutty orgeat flavors to make for a rather fruity but complex refresher.

improved dunlop

2 oz Croft Reserve Tawny Port
1 oz Clement 6 Year Rhum Agricole
1/4 bsp Cane Syrup
1 dash Mole Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.

Two Mondays ago, I attended a seminar on port wine at the Hawthorne given by Chris Forbes, a Fladgate Export Manager, and Andy Seymour of Liquid Productions. Throughout the seminar, we tasted various ports as well as a handful of port cocktails crafted by Liquid Production's Lulu Martinez. One of my favorites of the collection was a simple modification of the Dunlop that appeared in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book. The Savoy's Dunlop was a 2:1 rum to sherry cocktail embittered by Angostura akin to Trader Vic's Arawak. Here, the fortified wine was swapped to tawny port, the rum to wine proportions were inversed, and the bitters were changed to chocolate molé. Andy started his talk by describing how underdog spirits can be introduced to people using cocktails as a bridge, and this strategy worked wonders for gin, mezcal, and sherry. So here, a sherry drink was elegantly modified into a port one.
The Improved Dunlop greeted the senses with bright grapefruit oils that countered darker notes from the port on the nose. Next, the sip showcased a crisp grape note, and the swallow had grassy rhum meeting earthy grape and dried fruit notes with a chocolate and acid-rich finish.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

le negociant

1 oz Rhum Agricole (Rhum Clement Premiere Canne)
1 oz Byrrh Grand Quinquina
1/2 oz St. Germain (St. Elder)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Sundays ago, I was inspired by a thread about St. Germain recipes on Facebook to make a recipe called Le Negociant. I was able to trace the recipe back to 2012 post on eGullet that cited the back of the Byrrh Quinquina bottle as the source of the recipe. When I checked my recent bottle, the two recipes on the back were not this one; since it reminded me of Misty Kalkofen's Maximilian Affair, I was game to give it a try. The French name certainly matched the three French (or French isle) ingredients in the mix.
Le Negociant gave forth a rose-like scent from the elderflower being modulated by the Byrrh's grape in addition to a grassy note from the rhum. Next, the lemon and grape danced on the sip, and the swallow continued on with grassy, floral, and bitter quinine flavors.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

mai tai suissesse

1 oz Absinthe (Kübler)
1 oz Rhum Agricole Blanc (Rhum Clement Premiere Canne)
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Orange Liqueur (Cointreau)
1 oz Heavy Cream
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, and fill with crushed ice. The contest restricted things to 7 ingredients so I could not garnish with freshly grated nutmeg, but feel free to add it if desired.

A few weeks ago, I submitted a recipe to the USBG Cocktail Classique sponsored by Lucid Absinthe. It ended up making the cut to compete in the New York semi-final round, but it was not a convenient time for me to travel, so I bowed out. My drink idea began with considering how Tiki drinks are very absinthe friendly, and I selected the Mai Tai as a starting place. Instead of swapping pure absinthe in place of one of the rums in a Mai Tai, I opted to swap in the delightful New Orleans treat, the Absinthe Suissesse, in place of that rum. My rational was that both drinks contained orgeat as a common ingredient, and how the creamy, rich, nutty, citrus, and grassy combination in the mashup would complement the herbal spice notes in absinthe.
Once prepared, the Mai Tai Suissesse gave forth an anise aroma from the absinthe that was mitigated by a sweet creaminess on the nose. Next, creamy lime and orange notes on the sip slid into grassy, nutty, and surprisingly lightly absinthe-driven swallow. Overall, the mix was closer to a classic Absinthe Suissesse with some citrus and grassy rum flavors as accent than to an adaptation of a Mai Tai itself.

Friday, May 11, 2018

pine room pippen

1 jigger Scotch (1 1/2 oz Famous Grouse)
1/2 oz Dubonnet (1/2 oz Byrrh Quinquina)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Juice 1/2 Lemon (1/2 oz)
1/4 tsp Sugar (1/2 oz Simple Syrup)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
For a libation to round out Friday evening two weeks ago, I opened up Ted Saucier's Bottoms Up for a previously glossed over gem. The one that spoke to me that evening was the Pine Room Pippen attributed to the Carolina Hotel in Pinehurst, North Carolina. The recipe was a Whisky Sour colored by Dubonnet Quinquina and Angostura Bitters, and I was curious as to how Byrrh would fill in for Dubonnet of that era. Once shaken and strained, the Pine Room Pippen gave forth a Scotch bouquet with a brightness from the lemon juice to the nose. Next, the lemon mingled with the grape on the sip, and the swallow showcased the Scotch that was accented by elegant herbal-spice notes.

Thursday, May 10, 2018


2 oz Bacardi Rum (DonQ Añejo)
1 peel of a Lemon (Full peel of a small Lemon)
1 tsp Sugar (1 Demerara Sugar Cube dissolved in 1/2 oz Water)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 Whole Egg

I muddled the sugar cube with the lemon peel in water and stirred to dissolve. Add the rest of the ingredients and shake once, add ice, and shake again. Strain into a cocktail glass.

My desire for a nightcap two Thursdays ago led me to Trader Vic's 1946 Book of Food & Drink. There, I was lured in by the Mofucco that was "a pleasant variation of a Bacardi Flip from La Florida Bar in Havana," and I was curious to see how the lemon peel in the shake colored the drink. As for the name, perhaps it was a misspelling of a Cuban necessity that sprung up around the time of the book's publishing; my search discovered that "a combination of ethanol and gasoline called mofuco was employed during World War II [in Cuba]" that does not seem to different from today's gasohol.
While I stuck with a Spanish-style rum, my mind drifted to El Dorado 151 and a few others in the collection that would remind me more of a mix of gasoline and ethanol. Instead, I opted for an aged Puerto Rican rum from DonQ for this drink. In the glas, the Mofucco proffered rum, lemon, allspice, and clove notes to the nose. Next, a creamy caramel sip shared a brightness from the lemon peel, and the swallow was all about the rum that was colored by the bitters' dark clove spice.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

the bobby boucher

2 oz Overproof Bourbon (Fighting Cock 103)
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Maurin)
1/4 oz Cherry Heering
1/4 oz Benedictine

Stir with ice, strain into a ice-filled coupe (no ice), and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Wednesdays ago, I reached for the 2011 volume of Food & Wine: Cocktails, and I turned to John Coltharp's section on whiskey drinks. The Bobby Boucher, his creation at the Tasting Kitchen in Venice, California, stood out as a take on the 1930s Bobby Burns but made more Southern. To me, it also appeared like a cousin of the Remember the Maine with Benedictine in place of absinthe and bitters. While there are a few semi-famous Bobby Bouchers in history, my guess is that the name refers to Adam Sandler's Southern-born character in The Waterboy.
The Bobby Boucher greeted the nose with orange, Bourbon, and cherry aromas. Next, malt and a dark cherry and grape sip gave way to whiskey and cherry-herbal flavors on the swallow.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

wire + string

1 1/4 oz Pimm's No. 1
1 1/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Syrup

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass filled with ice, and top with soda water (2-3 oz); I added a lemon wheel as garnish.

After dinner two Tuesdays ago, I began perusing the Brooklyn Bartender book for a way to round out the evening. There, I was drawn to the Wire + String crafted by Maks Pazuniak at Jupiter Disco. The combination of Pimm's, Campari, and pineapple was one that worked well in the Royal Cup #4, so I was definitely interested in seeing Maks' take on an embittered Pimm's Cup.
In the Wire + String, the lemon wheel garnish added to the Campari's orange bouquet. Next, a complex red fruit- and orange-flavored sip gave way to tangy bitter orange and pineapple notes on the swallow. Overall, an aspect of the profile here was reminiscent of strawberries perhaps from the Pimm's being modulated by the other fruit elements in the mix.

Monday, May 7, 2018


1 oz El Tesoro Blanco Tequila
1/2 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1/4 oz Marie Brizard White Crème de Cacao (Bols)
1/4 oz Campari
1 tsp Ginger Syrup (1 coin Ginger, muddled)

Shake with ice, strain into a flute glass, and top with champagne (2 oz Willm Blanc de Blancs).

Two Mondays ago, I selected the Death & Co. Cocktail Book for a recipe idea. There, I landed upon the Flaquita by Jessica Gonzalez; she created this drink in 2011 and dubbed it after her nickname from when she worked in restaurants back in Florida. With the agave, Campari, and cacao combination found in Mon Sherry Amour and other drinks, I was game to give this one a go.
The Flaquita's herbal notes from the tequila mingled with sparkling wine and hints of chocolate on the nose. Next, a carbonated white grape and lemon sip led into tequila and bitter orange-chocolate on the swallow that finished with ginger's bite.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

redhead loretta

1 1/2 oz Irish Whiskey (Teeling Single Grain)
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)
3/4 oz Palo Cortado Sherry (Lustau Oloroso)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice, strain into a Nick & Nora glass, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Sundays ago, Andrea had spotted a drink in the May/June 2018 issue of Imbibe Magazine that had arrived the day before. That recipe was the Redhead Loretta by Chris Burmeister of Denver's Citizen Rail that appeared in an article about apricot liqueur. Since apricot liqueur and sherry have worked in drinks like the Lineage Sherry Cobbler and Backbar's Apricottage, I was definitely willing to give it a whirl. Once prepared, the Redhead Loretta shared orange, apricot, and whiskey aromas to the nose. Next, a semi-dry grape sip transitioned into whiskey and a nutty-apricot flavor on the swallow. Overall, the combination was as delightful as expected.

Saturday, May 5, 2018


2/3 Gin (2 oz Tanqueray Malacca)
1/3 Dry Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat)
2 dash Crème de Noyaux (1/8 oz Tempus Fugit)
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added an orange twist.
After work two Saturday nights ago, I ventured into Harry McElhone's 1927 Barflies & Cocktails and landed on the Fairbank. It is unclear if the drink is a tribute to Douglas Fairbanks of that era like this one was, but a Martini with a dash of crème de noyaux seemed delightful akin to the Silver with its dash of Maraschino. Once stirred and strained, the Fairbank's garnish gave orange oil aromas over a nutty pine note. Next, a crisp white grape sip led into gin and nutty cherry flavors on the swallow with a strawberry-orange finish.

Friday, May 4, 2018

shark eye

1 1/2 oz Elijah Craig 12 Year Bourbon (Old Grand-Dad Bonded)
1/2 oz Bonded Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse)
3/4 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1/8 oz Curaçao (Pierre Ferrand)
2 dash Tiki Bitters (Bittermens Burlesque)

Shake with ice, strain into a shark mug (Tiki mug), fill with crushed ice, and garnish with 3 dash Peychaud's Bitters and pineapple leaves (omit leaves).

On Friday night two weeks ago, I continued on with the Tiki theme by making the Shark Eye. The recipe was crafted by Jane Danger at Mother of Pearl in NYC and was published in Food & Wine: Cocktails 2016. While the drink shared a slight overlap with the Shark's Tooth, it took things in an curious American whiskey direction.
The Shark Eye greeted the nose with an anise waft from the Peychaud's Bitters. Next, malt notes joined lemon and a hint of cherry on the sip, and the swallow featured the whiskeys, nutty cherry, passion fruit, and orange flavors

Thursday, May 3, 2018

skull & bones

1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1 oz Plantation OFTD Overproof Rum
1 oz Plantation Original Dark Rum

Shake with ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass filled with crushed ice; I garnished with a spent half lime shell.

Two Thursdays ago, I spotted Jason Alexander's take on the Skull & Bones on Instagram that he makes at the Tacoma Cabana. The Skull & Bones' history can be traced back to a Don the Beachcomber recipe by that name (with no known recipe as of this report); when the Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale opened up in 1956, their menu was heavily influenced by Don's, and the Skull & Bones perhaps morphed into the Shrunked Skull on their initial menu. The Shrunken Skull was later garnished at the Mai-Kai with a cinnamon stick, and this cinnamon element was later adapted by other bars such as Hale Pele into the addition of a flavored syrup. Apparently, Jeff Beachbum Berry just published a recipe for the Skull & Bones his his recent Sippin' Safari 10 Year Anniversary book, but I have not purchased the updated edition yet (Postnote: For that recipe, see this entry).
The Skull & Bones began with dark rum with hints of berry on the nose that led into a caramel, berry, and lime sip. Next, the dark rum continued on into the swallow along with red fruit notes and a cinnamon finish. The cinnamon spice definitely added a much needed burst of spice to the Shrunken Skull recipe akin to the absinthe in the Drunken Skull.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


2 oz Willet Rye (Michter's)
1/2 oz Byrrh Grand Quinquina
1/2 oz Salers Gentian Liqueur (Suze)
3 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with an orange twist.
On Wednesday night two weeks past, I opted to make the Imperfection by Neal Bodenheimer of New Orleans' The Cure and Cane & Table that he published on the BarNotes app. This Manhattan riff reminded me of the Harry Palmer, and Neal left a note of, "This cocktail gets even better as it warms up and may even do well as a diluted room temperature cocktail." In the glass, the Imperfection shared a lemon and rye bouquet with hints of gentian and cinnamon. Next, an elegant combination of malt and grape on the sip stepped aside for rye along with quinine- and earthy gentian-laden bitter herbalness on the swallow with a cinnamon finish.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018


3/4 Brandy (1 3/4 oz Courvoisier VS Cognac)
2 dash Sherry (3/4 oz Lustau Amontillado)
1 dash Parfait L'Amour (1/4 oz Marie Brizard)
1 dash Picon (1/4 oz Torani Amer)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added an orange twist.
Two Tuesdays ago, my desire for a nightcap led me to Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933. There, I spotted the Frenchy that called for Parfait Amour -- a confectionary spirit of citrus, floral, and vanilla notes that has lingered on my shelf for the last decade. I have used it in random drinks like Don the Beachcomber's Royal Daiquiri and one of the Savoy Cocktail Book's Trilby cocktails. Since, the Frenchy which paired the liqueur with Amer Picon and sherry seemed like it could make for an elegant brandy drink, it was time to dust off this bottle again. Once prepared, the Frenchy proffered orange, vanilla, and floral aromas to the nose. Next, a dry grape and citrus sip gave way to Cognac, nutty sherry, dark orange, violet, and vanilla flavors on the swallow.