Friday, August 31, 2018

the truth

2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Strega
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Fridays ago, I decided to make a low proof bitter number that I had spotted on the BarNotes app -- namely the Truth by Mike Steele of Dallas' Cedars Social. With Punt e Mes as the base along with two herbal modifiers, it reminded me of some of Maks Pazuniak's drinks like the Charlatan; moreover, the Strega aspect made me think of Chris Hannah's creations like the Rebennack. Once prepared, the Truth proffered orange oil with some dark notes from the Punt e Mes and Cynar poking through on the nose. Next, a sweet red grape sip with hints of orange on the sip led into bitter herbal flavors on the swallow that transitioned to Strega spice on the finish.

Thursday, August 30, 2018


1 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida (Fidencio)
1 oz Aperol
1 oz Blanc Vermouth (Dolin)

Stir with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
After I finished reading Finding Mezcal by Del Maguey's Ron Cooper and spirits author Chantal Martineau, I decided to make one of the book's forty recipes that night. In tribute to recently departed bartender John Lermayer of Miami's Sweet Liberty, I selected his mezcal Negroni of sorts called the Mezcalero. Once prepared, the Mezcalero greeted the nose with grapefruit oil from the twist and orange aromas from the Aperol that both brighted the mezcal's smoke. Next, orange and white grape on the sip led into smoky mezcal and bitter orange on the swallow.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

jamaica snifter

1/2 oz Passion Fruit Nectar (1/4 oz Passion Fruit Syrup)
3 oz Trader Vic Navy Grog Mix (1 oz Lime Juice, 1 oz Grapefruit Juice, 3/4 oz Simple Syrup, 1/4 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram)
1/4 oz Dark Crème de Cacao (Tempus Fugit)
1 oz Jamaican Rum (2 oz Smith & Cross)

Shake with ice, pour into a 11 oz brandy snifter, top with ice, and garnish with a mint sprig.

Two Wednesdays ago, I was perusing Trader Vic's 1972 Bartender's Guide when I spotted the Jamaica Snifter. The drink came across like a Navy Grog accented with the flavor duo of passion fruit and cacao that worked rather well in the Bahia Sling. Given that Trader Vic's Navy Grog consisted of equal parts of lime juice, grapefruit juice, and simple syrup-allspice dram, I modified the recipe accordingly.
The Jamaica Snifter proffered mint over rum funk and allspice aromas. Next, a tropical sip shared lime, passion fruit, and grapefruit notes, and the swallow rounded things off with funky rum, chocolate, and allspice flavors.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

lost in rio

1 1/2 oz Cachaça (Seleta Gold)
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/4 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Honey Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube.
Two Tuesdays ago, I decided to make a drink called Lost in Rio that I spotted on the BarNotes app. The recipe was crafted by bartender Tim Walker then of Asheville, NC, and the concept began with an "urge to pair Fernet with pineapple" and ended with a result he was quite pleased with. Once prepared, the Lost in Rio showcased a honey-floral meeting cachaça funk nose. Next, lime and honey with hints of pineapple on the sip gave way to cachaça, honey, and pineapple on the swallow with an herbal-menthol finish. Overall, the combination reminded me of a less minty, more floral, and less aggressive Pencil Thin Mustache.

Monday, August 27, 2018

el mariachi club

2 oz Blanco Tequila (Casa Noble)
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/4 oz Kümmel (Helbing)
2 dash Mole Bitters (Bittermens)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lemon twist.
In thinking about the tequila-kümmel pairing from the Silver Surfer two nights prior, I wondered what it would do in a Georgetown Club Cocktail that Charles H. Baker, Jr. had in Guyana. Instead of white rum and falernum, the tequila-kümmel combination seemed like it would slide in well to that drink skeleton especially if complemented by some chocolate molé bitters. For a name, Andrea suggested the El Mariachi Club for mariachi music centers around the heart of tequila in Guadalajara, Jalisco. Once prepared, El Mariachi Club proffered lemon oil notes that brightened an agave and cumin nose. Next, a semi-dry white wine sip led into vegetal tequila and caraway spice flavors on the swallow with a chocolate finish. Overall, Andrea commented that this would make a great aperitif for it promoted salivation with its dry and savory elements.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

fu manchu

1/2 oz Lime Juice (3/4 oz)
1 tsp Green Crème de Menthe (1/4 oz Tempus Fugit White + 1 drop green food coloring)
1 tsp Simple Syrup (1/4 oz)
1 tsp Orange Curacao (3/8 oz Cointreau)
1/2 tsp Triple Sec (combined with above)
1 oz Light Rum (1 1/2 oz Privateer Tres Aromatique Overproof White Rum)

Shake with ice, strain into a Sour glass (snifter), fill with ice, and garnish with a lime wedge speared to a green cocktail cherry (mint sprigs).

Sunday night after my bar shift, I decided to make a recipe that I had read about that morning as I made my way cover to cover through Beachbum Berry's Remixed called the Fu Manchu. The drink was created by Sax Rohmer who featured the character Fu Manchu as a villain in his books, and he wanted a green drink to capture the energy. While Rohmer crafted many version, Berry found that this 1947 one was the best. While the recipe calls for a Sour glass, it was often served in a Fu Manchu mug that has come under a lot of heat for its cultural appropriation. An Al Sotack article in Vice's Muchies series best explained the dilemma by quoting Paul McGee, "We're sensitive to the origins of tiki, and how it was a concept developed 80 years ago during a time when 'cultural appropriation' was not a mainstream concern in America. Some of the early tiki bars presented artifacts of Polynesian cultures outside of their sacred context and meaning, and without respect to the significance those items held in Polynesian culture. We do have some mugs with 'tiki' illustrations, but there are other mugs on the market that we don't feel comfortable using in service. For example, the Fu Manchu mug, and any hula girl or 'native babe' mugs."
I probably avoided the drink due to this concern coupled with not having green crème de menthe, but I decided that the recipe was worth trying and green food coloring could solve the second issue. In the glass, the Fu Manchu delivered an orange-herbal mint bouquet that was supplemented by my choice of mint garnish. Next, lime and orange paired elegantly on the sip, and the swallow began with funky rum flavors and ended with minty herbal elements. Given how restrained and elegant Tempus Fugit's liqueur is to cheaper ones, perhaps doubling the amount and removing the simple syrup ingredient would help shift this in the right direction.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

silver surfer

2 oz Blanco Tequila (Cimarron)
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Kümmel (Helbing) (*)
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with mint sprigs.
(*) For a potent kümmel like Combier, cut this to 1/4 oz (can add a 1/4 oz simple if desired as well).

On the walk home from my bar shift Saturday night, I began scheming my evening's nightcap. I honed in on the agave-kümmel pairing that I first appreciated in late 2012/early 2013 by way of Tommy Klus' Mission Bell and Misty Kalkofen's Island of Misfit Toys shortly after Combier's kümmel liqueur came out. Perhaps the concept started with a Mai Tai riff subbing in kümmel for the curaçao akin to the cinnamon syrup substitution in the Cuban Anole, and then it drifted to subbing it into Trader Vic's tequila Mai Tai, the Pinky Gonzalez. As prepared above, I was quite pleased at how the drink balanced out with Helbing Kümmel; however, when I made it for a guest 18 hours later at River Bar using Combier's kümmel, the kümmel was a bit more overpowering (I ended up increasing the lime and orgeat each by a 1/4 oz to compensate). The guest who received it commented that it was the best drink she had tried this year, so perhaps this combination is a winner.
Since part of my thinking was that this was a Silver Bullet crossed with a Pinky Gonzalez, I dubbed this one the Silver Surfer. I know that there are other Silver Surfers drink recipes out there, but none that are at home at a Tiki or craft cocktail bar. Once prepared, it shared mint notes over vegetal, caraway, and cumin aromas. Next, a creamy lime sip transitioned into vegetal agave, earthy nuttiness, and caraway-cumin spice. Overall, the match of the flavors were supported mentally by how tequila, almond, and cumin all factor into Mexican culture and cuisine.

Friday, August 24, 2018

panorama punch

3/4 jigger Light Puerto Rican Rum (3/4 oz Don Q Añejo)
3/4 jigger Gin (3/4 oz Aviation)
1/2 jigger Cointreau (1/2 oz)
1 dash Grenadine (1/4 oz)
Juice 1/2 Lime (3/4 oz)

Shake with a 1/2 scoop of ice, pour into a 10 oz Pilsner glass, and fill with ice (whip shake, pour into a small Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with nasturtium flowers). An alternative recipe recommended garnishing with mint sprigs.

Two Fridays ago, I spotted the Panorama Punch in Trader Vic's 1972 Bartender's Guide that seemed like it would make a delightful refresher. The recipe varied from the one that Beachbum Berry provided in Remixed dating to the 1962 World's Fair held in Seattle, and Berry's estimated recipe included rums, orgeat, and a trio of juice: orange, lime, and cranberry. As a White Lady mashed up with a Bacardi Cocktail of sorts or perhaps a Between the Sheets/Jerusalem's Between the Sheets hybrid, I was game to try Trader Vic's version despite trusting Berry's modern assessment more.
The Panorama Punch gave forth peppery floral aromas from the garnish over orange and pine notes from the drink itself. Next, lime and orange mingled on the sip, and the swallow showcased rum, gin, and berry flavors.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

documentary daiquiri

2 oz Aged Rum (Diplomatico Añejo)
1 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe rinsed with Fernet Branca Menta, and garnish with a mint leaf.
Two Thursdays ago, I selected a Daiquiri variation posted on Imbibe Magazine by Damon Boelte of Prime Meats in New York. Despite the similarity to Kirk Estopinal's Tiger Balm that appeared in Rogue Cocktails and that I made last autumn, I was definitely happy to give this one a whirl. In the glass, the rinse and garnish contributed a minty and menthol bouquet. Next, crisp lime on the sip transitioned to rum on the swallow with subtle herbal complexity on the finish.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

lost lake's fog cutter v2.0

1 oz Neisson Eleve Sous Bois Rhum Agricole (Depaz)
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac (Camus VS)
1/2 oz Ford's Gin (Beefeater)
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
3/4 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry

Flash blend with 1 cup crushed ice, pour into a Tiki mug, and garnish with a mint bouquet, orange floret, orchid, and swizzle stick.

Two Wednesdays ago, I decided to make the Fog Cutter variation from Lost Lake in Chicago recently posted on Punch Drinks. I labeled this one version 2.0 for bartender Paul McGee had published an earlier version in Imbibe Magazine back in July 2016 that I made that month. In the first revision, McGee switched lemon to lime juice, the sherry float to mixed in, and orange juice to curaçao. McGee explained the removal of the orange as juice as, "I hate orange juice in cocktails -- it's not tart, it's not bright; it usually just adds a lot of water content without having that orange flavor." After learning that trick, I utilized it in my Three Dots and a Dash/Bee's Knees mashup with solid results.
From the 2016 to the 2018 recipe, McGee moved the rum more forward relative to the two other spirits and dialed back the citrus; moreover, he made that the light rum in his original a more flavorful aged rhum agricole to gain complexity. Once prepared, this Fog Cutter proffered orange and mint aromas from the garnish that gave way to a lemon, orange, and grape sip. Next, the swallow began with grassy rum, rich Cognac, and nutty flavors and ended with an orange note from the Curaçao.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

the 212

2 oz Partida Reposado Tequila (Cimarron Reposado)
1 oz Aperol
2 oz Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass, top with ice, and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Tuesdays ago, I spotted a recipe for the 212, so I went to the first place that I had spotted it -- the PDT Cocktail Book. Jim Meehan provided the history that Contemporary Cocktails' Aisha Sharpe and Willy Shine crafted this tribute to Manhattan's telephone prefix in New York City circa 2008. Willy replied to my Instagram post with a bit more history by explaining, "This was a beautiful drink that bartenders around around that time would love & hate. Love because it is delicious and easy to make and order. Hate because the 2 oz of fresh grapefruit would quickly diminish their nightly par of juice if you ordered a few of them which typically happened."
The 212 gave forth an orange and agave nose that preceded a pink grapefruit sip with a touch of orange from the Aperol. Next, tequila melded into the light bitter herbal notes of Aperol and helped to conjure up a grapefruit pith taste on the finish.

Monday, August 20, 2018

maloney park swizzle

10-12 leaf Mint
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
2 oz Matusalem Clasico Rum (Don Q Añejo)

In a Collins glass, muddle the mint with the lime juice and syrup. Add rum, top most of the way with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill while keeping the mint at the bottom. Float 5-6 dashes Pychaud's Bitters, swizzle it in to the top layer to get a tri-color effect, fill with ice, and garnish with a bouquet of mint.

Two Mondays ago, I picked up Sasha Petraske's Regarding Cocktails and spotted the Maloney Park Swizzle. The drink was a Queen's Park Swizzle riff that utilized Peychaud's instead of Angostura Bitters; Sasha named it after bartender Toby Maloney who worked at a variety of Manhattan bars before moving out to Chicago. While Trader Vic's recipe for the Queen's Park Swizzle has the bitters in the mix, Sasha's recipe like most recent ones for Queen's Park Swizzle and their kin have the bitters added to the top (either as a float or swizzled in for more of diffuse top band). Perhaps this tri-color effect started in the New York bartending scene?
The Maloney Park Swizzle donated mint and anise aromas to the nose. Next, the well-balanced lime sip led into rum and mint flavors on the swallow. As the bitters entered the equation, the sip became a bit drier; however, unlike the intense winter spice notes of Angostura in the Queen's Park Swizzle, the Peychaud's was much more mild of an effect to the palate.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

pegu pilot

2 oz London Dry Gin (Beefeater)
1/2 oz Rhum Agricole Blanc (Rhum Clement Premiere Canne)
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Falernum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
2 dash Angostura Bitters
6 drop Absinthe (St. George)

Whip shake, pour into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a mint sprig.

On my walk home from work late Sunday night two weeks ago, I began thinking about the Test Pilot and considered the overlapping lime, Cointreau, and Angostura ingredients with the Pegu Club. So for my evening's refreshment, I experimented with a gin-driven Test Pilot and wanted to know how it would compare to the Pegu Club given the falernum and absinthe in the mix. Furthermore, I included a bit of grassy rhum agricole to push the mix into a more tropical direction along with help from the additional ingredients. In the Tiki mug, this hybrid that I dubbed the Pegu Pilot shared orange, clove, and pine aromas like a Pegu Club that was accented by the notes from the mint garnish. Next, lime and orange on the sip slid into the beautiful grapefruit flavors conjured by gin, orange liqueur, lime, and bitters on the swallow along with grassy accents from the rhum. Overall, it was a softer, more tropical Pegu Club that lay somewhere between the two classics.

Saturday, August 18, 2018


3/4 Rye Whiskey (1 1/2 oz Michter's Straight Rye)
1 dash St. Croix (1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum)
1 dash Italian Vermouth (1/2 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino)
1 dash French Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added a lemon twist to the mix.
After fulfilling a few social obligations around town, I was ready for a nightcap followed by bedtime. Therefore, I delved into Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and spotted the Watterson. The recipe was a Perfect Manhattan with some of the whiskey split with rum; moreover, Peychaud's were the specified bitters here. Technically, the drink could have been made with a mix of sweet and blanc vermouth to better balance the spirits' heat, but I opted for the more stark perfect way instead. Once prepared, the Watterson greeted the nose with lemon oils smoothing over rum funk notes. Next, a semi-dry caramel and grape sip gave way to rye and funky rum on the swallow that ended with a hint of anise spice.

Friday, August 17, 2018

port light

1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup (2/3 oz)
1/4 oz Grenadine (1/3 oz)
1 1/2 oz Bourbon (2 oz Fighting Cock 103)
8 oz Crushed Ice

Blend for 5 seconds on high speed and pour into a Port Light glass (shake with ice, strain, and fill with crushed ice).

Two Fridays ago, I was flipping through Beachbum Berry's Remixed when I came across the Port Light from the Kahiki of Columbus, Ohio. Though I had never made the classic, I had previously made Martin Cate's variation in Smuggler's Cove that swapped the grenadine for honey and took things in an egg white direction. With Cate's riff, the passion fruit-honey was a classic duo utilized by Donn Beach in his Don's Special Daiquiri, but it stepped away from the original by a bit. Moreover, the classic combination did inspire me in my creation of the Fiji Mermaid, but it was time to make the Port Light as Berry published it (well, given a few proportion tweaks).
The garnishes on the Port Light generated a mint and peppery floral aroma over the drink's Bourbon, passion fruit, and berry notes. Next, lemon, berry, and a tropical aspect from the passion fruit filled the sip, and the swallow showcased the angry Bourbon softened by pomegranate and passion fruit flavors. Overall, the sip was a bit more evocative of raspberry and strawberry while the swallow was more suggestive of blackberry.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

holiday in the sun

1 oz Blended Scotch (1 oz Famous Grouse + 1 bsp Laphroaig 10 Year)
1 oz Averna Amaro
1/4 oz Pastis (Pastis d'Autrefois)
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 pinch Salt

Shake with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass, fill with crushed (cracked) ice, and garnish with a lemon wheel (omit) and a cinnamon stick.

After the Pisco Punch, I decided to continue on with the pineapple theme with a recipe that I had bookmarked on ShakeStir. That drink was the Holiday in the Sun by Brian Dressel then of Austin, Texas, and now bartending in Athens, Georgia. Besides being drawn in by the quirky Tiki-inspired combination, the drink's name reminded me of a Sex Pistols song. I soon realized that the song title is plural as "Holidays," so perhaps it was inspired by the 2001 movie starring Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen? Regardless, Brian described the concept as, "Drawing inspiration from both classic Tiki drinks (pineapple, anise, aromatic spice) and holiday flavors (smoke, baking spice, orange peel), the 'Holiday in the Sun' is for those of us who choose to (or may wish to) spend our winter holidays in somewhere a bit more tropical." Regardless of the fact that we were in the middle of a heat wave, I committed to making the drink in August.
The Holiday in the Sun welcomed the nose with a cinnamon and anise bouquet. Next, caramel from the Averna danced with the pineapple on the sip, and the swallow offered smoky Scotch accented by herbal notes. Indeed, Andrea commented at how well pastis works with Scotch here and in other drinks.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

pisco punch

2 oz Pisco (Macchu Pisco)
1 oz Pineapple Syrup
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Lillet Rouge or other Red Wine (Byrrh)
1 dash Aromatic Bitters (Jerry Thomas Decanter)

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail goblet, and garnish with an orange (lemon) twist.

After writing about Trader Vic's Pisco Punch, I began delving into Duggan McDonnell's research on this libation in his Drinking the Devil's Acre. Duggan traced the history back to Duncan Nicol who purchased the Bank Exchange Saloon in San Francisco that first opened its doors in 1853. The bar's Pisco Punch was legendary in that city, and it was often written, "A visitor to San Francisco must absolutely do three things: ride a cable car, watch the sun set through the Golden Gate, and drink a Pisco Punch!" This spirit-forward punch like the Zombie was limited to two per guest, and the recipe was held secret even to Nicol's death during Prohibition. Duggan mentioned that the recipe was not first crafted by Nicol as commonly attributed, for he bought it along with the bar from the Bank Exchange Saloon's original owner. There had always been mention of white powders that made the Pisco Punch special. Some thought it was the gum arabic that was frequently used in syrups, and others thought it was cocaine (although that did not commonly exist as a purified drug until much later). While the powder was not available back then, the coca leaf was, and its euphoric side effects had been well documented throughout the 19th century. Duggan latched on to a quote from Rudyard Kipling who described how the punch was "compounded of the shavings of cherub's wings, the glory of a tropical dawn, the red clouds of sunset and the fragments of lost epics by dead masters." Duggan matched the "red clouds" aspect to an unopened but oxidized bottle of Nicol's punch that displayed a reddish brown. He surmised that the coca leaf-infused wine crafted by Angelo Mariani created in 1863 could be the answer. Vin Mariani contained around 7 mg cocaine per ounce, and soon other imitators popped up in France and California; this trend continued until coca wines (and coca soft drinks like Coca Cola) were outlawed. Duggan surmised that Lillet Rouge might have a similar flavor profile as the original Vin Mariani.
Since I have never carried Lillet Rouge at home, and I gave up on Dubonnet years ago after their formulation was substandard to other quinquinas on the market (note: they just relaunched American Dubonnet with a new formulation that I got to taste at Tiki by the Sea back in June so I may reconsider it in the future), I needed another option. Therefore, I chose Byrrh Grand Quinquina as the aromatized red wine component to hopefully generate the red clouds of sunset albeit with less chemical kick than a century plus before. Once mixed, this Pisco Punch greeted the senses with a lemon and red grape aroma. Next, a smooth grape and lime sip preceded pisco, pineapple, and herbal flavors that led into spice on the finish. Definitely the inclusion of an aromatized wine as well as bitters added a pleasing depth to the otherwise refreshing mix.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

hiva oa

2 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Giffard)
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Lime Juice
8-10 leaf Mint
1 dash Absinthe (12 drop St. George)

Shake with ice, double strain into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a mint sprig.

Two Tuesdays ago, I returned to the low ABV tropical drinks theme and was inspired by Trader Vic's Aku Aku. With mint and lime in the mix, I thought of my Low Heat-O and took it in a dry vermouth and dash of absinthe direction. Instead of the Aku Aku's peach liqueur and rock candy syrup, I replaced them with apricot liqueur and orgeat syrup, respectively. The Aku Aku like the classic Missionary's Downfall are both reasonably low proof drinks, and here the two ounces of dry vermouth is pretty close in alcohol content to those two drinks' one ounce rum pours; therefore, while it is low ABV, it is not that much lighter in strength than the rum drink inspiration.
For a name, I went with the French aspect of the vermouth and picked an island in French Polynesia, namely Hiva Oa. Once prepared, the Hiva Oa shared mint aromas along with tropical fruit notes from the pineapple and apricot combination. Next, a creamy lime and pineapple sip shared a hint of apricot, and the swallow was a delightful medley of herbal, apricot, mint, and a hint of absinthe's anise spice.

Monday, August 13, 2018


1 jigger Gin (2 oz Beefeater)
2 dash French Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Prat)
1 dash Maraschino (1/4 oz Luxardo)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

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

Two Monday nights ago, I returned to Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and spotted the Yale in the gin section. The Savoy Cocktail Book's Yale Cocktail is closer to Pink Gin with dry gin being colored by both Angostura and orange bitters, and other Yale Cocktails take the gin in a dry vermouth plus either Crème Yvette or blue curaçao direction. Some of the Crème Yvette or crème de violette recipes that I spotted also included Maraschino in the mix akin to a citrus-free Aviation-inspired Martini. Here, the only liqueur is Maraschino accented by Angostura Bitters.
The Yale greeted the nose with a lemon oil and clove scent. Next, white wine with a light cherry note on the sip gave way to pine, nutty Maraschino, and clove flavors on the swallow akin to a winter-spiced version of the Silver.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

bornean spiderhunter

2 oz Cynar
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 pinch Salt

Dissolve the salt in the fruit juices, add rest, and shake with a few ice cubes. Strain into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with mint (mint sprigs and nasturtium flower).

On two Sunday nights ago, I was in the mood for something light, so I began thinking about the low ABV tropical drinks that I have been making lately with fortified wines and other sub-20% products. Instead of sherry or vermouth, I decided on Cynar and subbed it for rum in Jason Alexander's Commando Bird akin to what was done in the Cynar Colada. To balance the drink better, I added a pinch of salt to keep the bitter flavors in check. For a name, I went with a small jungle bird theme and dubbed this one the Bornean Spiderhunter. Spiderhunters are tiny tropical birds that feed on nectar and insects using their long curved beaks.
The Bornean Spiderhunter shared a peppery floral and mint aroma that preceded a caramel, lime, and passion fruit sip. Next, the salt-muted Cynar came across as minty on the swallow along with orange, pineapple, and passion fruit flavors.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

olaffson's punch

1 whole Lime (3/4 oz Juice)
1/2 Orange (1 oz Juice)
1 tsp Sugar (1/2 oz Simple Syrup)
3 oz Haitian Rum (Rhum Barbancourt 8 Year)
1 dash Maraschino (1/4 oz Luxardo)

Squeeze lime and orange into a mixing glass, stir with sugar and liquors, strain into a 12 oz glass, and fill with cracked ice. Here, I shook the drink and included the citrus shells in with the crushed ice.
On Saturday two weeks ago, I kept with the Trader Vic theme and opted for his 1981 Book of Food & Drink. There, Olaffson's Punch seemed like a delightful refresher after a hot evening of bartending. The recipe was probably named after the Hotel Oloffson in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, given the rum specification (and regardless of Trader Vic's choice of spelling). Otherwise, it came across like a delightful Planters Punch with a touch of Maraschino -- an element that I mentioned in Trader Vic's Pisco Punch the night before. Once prepared, the Punch donated an orange aroma that led into an orange and lime sip. Next, the swallow continued on with rum, Maraschino, and orange flavors to make for an easy going quaff.

Friday, August 10, 2018

trader vic's pisco punch

Juice 1/2 Lime (1/2 oz)
1 dash Maraschino Liqueur (1/4 oz Luxardo)
1 dash Simple Syrup (1/4 oz)
1 oz Pisco (1 1/2 oz Macchu Pisco)
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice (3/4 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a Tiki stem champagne glass.

Two Fridays ago, I was lured in by Trader Vic's Pisco Punch that he published in his 1972 Bartender's Guide. While the original recipe created by Duncan Nicol in San Francisco at the end of the 19th century was taken to his grave, modern interpretations generally call for pineapple gum syrup, lemon juice, and pisco. The original may have had a cocaine-infused product such as Vin Mariani which would have given things a red hue, but most modern pisco punches overlook this aromatized wine aspect save for Duggan McDonnell's recipe in his Drinking the Devil's Acre. Here, Trader Vic called for lime juice (as does McDonnell) instead of lemon and included a dash of Maraschino that he frequently utilized in drinks like the Kona Gold. Moreover, Maraschino has a magic affinity for pisco (more so than with rum) as I noted in the White Rene.
In the glass, Trader Vic's Pisco Punch proffered a pineapple bouquet with a nutty-earthy element to the nose. Next, pineapple and lime mingled on the sip, and the swallow offered pisco and nutty Maraschino melding into pineapple.

Thursday, August 9, 2018


2 oz Aged Rum (Don Q Añejo)
2 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
1/4 oz Crème de Cacao (Tempus Fugit)

Whip shake, pour into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with mint (chocolate mint).

Two Thursdays ago, I decided to adapt a recipe that I had created for a brand-centric competition that I could not attend due to my work schedule. I did not have time to test out the recipe before submitting it, so I was game to give it a try. On the fly, I combined two pineapple juice drinks: the Royal Hawaiian and the Pago Pago that I thought would go well with the competition spirit's coconut flavors in a Piña Colada sort of way (here, it is made with regular aged rum). To streamline things, I dropped the Royal Hawaiian's gin in favor of the Pago Pago's rum base but kept its lemon juice over the Pago Pago's lime. For a name, I dubbed this after the 18th century Hawaiian chant Kumulipo that told their creation story.
In the Tiki mug, the Kumulipo greeted the senses with a pineapple and chocolate mint bouquet. Next, a creamy lemon and pineapple sip transitioned into a rum, nutty, chocolate, and pineapple swallow with Green Chartreuse's herbal elements coming through on the finish. Curiously, the first two swallows or so were devoid of chocolate notes, but this gained strength after successive swallows.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

frightened tiger

1 1/2 oz Macchu Pisco
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Suze Gentian Liqueur
1/4 oz Apricot Liqueur
2 dash House Persimmon Bitters (*)
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
(*) Substitute another fruit-forward bitters here in a pinch.
Two Wednesdays ago, I ventured over to Backbar after my day shift at River Bar. There, I found a seat at Kat Lamper's bar, and it was a pleasant surprise since she had just gotten back from her extended European travels. For a cocktail, I requested the Frightened Tiger which was bartender Joe Manthey's Pisco Sour riff that complemented the pisco's complexity with orgeat, apricot, and gentian flavors. Once prepared, the Frightened Tiger was full of grapefruit oil aroma that preceded a creamy lime sip. Next, pisco and earthy gentian met almond and apricot on the swallow.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


Juice 1/2 Lime (1/2 oz)
1 1/2 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Grenadine (1/2 oz)
1/2 oz Curaçao (3/4 oz Cointreau)
1 1/2 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Don Q Añejo)
1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum (Coruba)

Blend with a half scoop of crushed ice, pour into an individual scorpion bowl, and garnish with a gardenia (whip shake, pour, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with chocolate mint and a nasturtium).

Two Tuesdays ago, I decided to make a recipe from Trader Vic's 1972 Bartender's Guide that I had previously passed over called the PB2Y2. I had probably skipped this Trader Vic original for it requires three freshly squeezed juices akin to the Tortuga which is a slight hurdle for making drinks at home (less so at work where all the juices are prepped in advance), and the Tortuga is basically a gussied up PB2Y2 with different rums and the addition of sweet vermouth and cacao. Here, the sweetener focus was Trader Vic's duo of curacao and grenadine that he utilized frequently in drinks like the Pondo Punch and others. The orange juice here was pushed forward relative to the Tortuga and Pondo Punch though.
The drink name was a tribute to the World War II flying boats that ventured from Alaska to the South Pacific after the war to make booze runs for the military bases; Trader Vic crafted this combination in their honor. Once prepared, the PB2Y2 gave forth an orange, chocolate-mint, and peppery floral bouquet to the nose. Next, a tart orange, lemon, lime, and berry sip gave way to rum flavors with a hint of funk and an orange finish. Even with the adjustment in the sweeteners, the drink came across as slightly crisp, so I do recommend adding either simple syrup or increasing the grenadine and curacao to match the lemon and lime juice amounts.

Monday, August 6, 2018

don lockwood

1 oz Smoky Islay Scotch (Laphroaig 10 Year)
1 oz Bourbon (Fighting Cock 103)
3/8 oz Maple Syrup
2 dash Chocolate Bitters (Bittermens)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Build in a double old fashioned glass, add rock ice, stir, and garnish with a long orange twist.
Two Mondays ago, I was in the mood for a straight spirits nightcap, so I looked into Amanda Schuster's New York Cocktails for a solution. There, I was drawn in by Abraham Hawkins' split spirit Old Fashioned called the Don Lockwood that he crafted at Dutch Kills. The name appears to be a tribute to Gene Kelly's character in the 1952 movie Singing in the Rain. Once prepared, the Don Lockwood began with an orange and seaweed-medicinal peat smoke on the nose. Next, maple's richness on the sip transitioned into Bourbon and smoky Scotch on the swallow with maple spiced with chocolate and allspice on the finish.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

lightning swords of death

3/4 oz Letherbee Malört (Jeppson's)
3/4 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Giffard)
3/4 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Demerara Syrup
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Build in a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, swizzle to mix and chill, top with crushed ice, and garnish with mint.

When investigating whether malört and apricot liqueurs was an established combination while designing the Cutman, my Google search led me to an article about a drink at Chicago's Whistler called the Lightning Swords of Death. Since the Chicagoist article from 2013 only listed the ingredients, I decided to write my friend Billy Helmkamp who co-owns the Whistler and inquire about the recipe. He responded immediately with the specs and described the combination as the Whistler's Malört Mai Tai. He also commented that they use Letherbee's Bësk instead of Jeppson's since it is higher in proof and complexity, and that their house apricot liqueur is equal parts Rothman & Winter and Marie Brizard's Apry. While I was not provided with information about the name, it is most likely a reference to the 1973 Japanese movie in the Sword of Vengeance series or to the American black metal band formed in 2013.
The Lightning Swords of Death proffered rum funk, lime, and mint aromas before hitting the tongue with a creamy lime sip with hints of orchard fruit. Next, the swallow was all about high ester rum and bitter wormwood that was mellowed out by the nutty orgeat and apricot combination, and things rounded out with a lingering Jamaican rum funk.

Saturday, August 4, 2018


1 oz Malört (Jeppson's)
1 oz Swedish Punsch (Kronan)
3/4 oz Apricot Liqueur (Giffard)
3-4 wedge Lemon
6-8 leaf Mint
1 pinch Salt

Muddle the lemon, mint, and salt. Add the rest, shake with ice, double strain into a double old fashioned glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish lavishly with mint.

After having Nick Jarrett's Prizefighter No. 2, I was inspired to riff on it like I did after imbibing his Prizefighter No. 7 with my Cornerman riff. For a bittering agent to be mollified by the salt, I opted for Malört, and I figured that apricot liqueur would pair rather well with it. For the third element, I was going to go with the more traditional sweet vermouth until I remembered how well Swedish punsch works with apricot -- something that I learned from the classic Havana Cocktail that I utilized in the Tainted Love, Gunwale Punch, and other drinks. Finally, the name Cutman came to me the last time I riffed on the Prizefighter series, and I kept it in mind for the next time. Indeed, a good cutman is invaluable in the corner to minimize the effects of absorbed strikes and thus prolong the fighter's unobstructed vision and breathing, and in the end is not as gruesome as it sounds.
The Cutman began with a mint and apricot bouquet gifted to the nose. Next, lemon and orchard fruit on the sip gave way to woody, lemon, and mint flavors with a tea-like finish. As the ice melted and diluted out the salt, the flavors got a bit more intense on the swallow. Finally, Andrea commented that the combination as a whole "tastes like really delicious iced tea."

Friday, August 3, 2018

prizefighter no. 2

1 1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
3/4 oz Angostura Bitters
3/4 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
6-8 leaf Mint
3-4 wedge Lemon
1 pinch Salt

Muddle lemon, mint, and salt. Add the rest of the ingredients, shake with ice, double strain into a double old fashioned glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish lavishly with mint.

Two Fridays ago, I continued on with another one of Nicholas Jarrett's Prizefighter series. Jarrett crafted eight variations through the years at the various bars he worked at including Clover Club, Dram, and The Cure. Previously, I have had the original and the seventh, and here I went with the second that he crafted at Brookyln's Clover Club. I was drawn to this recipe for it reminded me of another of Clover Club's drinks, namely Giuseppe Gonzalez's Trinidad Sour, given its heavy Angostura Bitters content along with orgeat and lemon juice.
The Prizefighter No. 2 broadcast a mint and allspice wave to the nose. Next, lemon and grape filled the sip, and the swallow gave forth grape, nutty, clove, and allspice flavors. Overall, the salt helped to mollify the bitterness to allow for a relatively gentle but still quirky Smash of sorts.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

lono's grog

2 oz Wild Turkey 101 Proof Bourbon (Old Grand-dad Bonded)
1 oz Coruba Rum
1 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz BG Reynold's Don's Mix a/k/a "Paradise Blend"
3/4 oz Honey Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Flash blend with crushed ice (shake with ice, strain, and top with crushed ice); garnish with a mint sprig and a "Samoan war club" (mint sprig and a Latitude 29 swizzle).

Another of the 2018 Iron Tikitender Navy Grog Challenge recipes that attracted my attention was the Lono's Grog by Carlos Jimenez. While very little information was available about Carlos, Lono in the Hawaiian religion is the deity associated with fertility, rainfall, and music who married Laka. The Lono's Grog swapped the grapefruit in the classic's split juice base for Don's Mix along with cinnamon syrup; moreover, two of the three rums in the classic were exchanged for a double portion of American whiskey.
The Lono's Grog proffered a mint aroma over dark rum's caramel and Don's Mix's cinnamon notes to the nose. Next, caramel, honey, and grapefruit on the sip led into Bourbon, funky rum and cinnamon on the swallow with a lime-flavored finish.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

leilani grasshut

2 oz White Puerto Rican Rum (Plantation 3 Star)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Papaya Juice (muddled fruit, strained)
1 oz Orange Juice
1 dash Grenadine (1/4 oz)

Pour into a Highball glass, fill with ice, and top with soda (whip shake with an ice cube or two, pour into a Highball glass with 2 oz soda water, and top with ice). Garnish with a cherry and pineapple slice (mint).

Two Wednesdays ago, I continued on with the other papaya juice-containing drink from Trader Vic's 1972 Bartender's Guide. This one was the Leilani Grasshut that seemed like a comparable companion piece to the Leilani Volcano down to my finding a reference of it being made with guava instead of mango. Therefore, this might have been another recipe adapted by Trader Vic that was originally created at Walt Disney's Polynesian Village. Here, the flavors were lightened by orange juice and soda water to make a more rounded and refreshing drink than the Leilani Volcano.
The Leilani Grasshut welcomed the senses with a peachy bouquet from the papaya, orange, and other fruits. Next, a crisp, carbonated orange and tropical sip repeated that peachy element noted in the nose, and the swallow merged the rum flavors into the pineapple and papaya ones.